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Mayday

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Tony walked into the board room, a serious look on his bearded face. He glanced around at the others with tired eyes- he'd clearly been up for hours, before he called an impromptu Avengers meeting at 4am. Natasha, Steve, Clint, Thor, Bucky, Bruce, Wanda, and Sam all sat around the long table, looking sleepily at him. Clint and Wanda were still in their pajamas. Sam looked the sleepiest; since he didn't currently live in the tower he'd been given the heads up a few hours ago and had driven there. No one knew where Vision had gone off to. He was a little odd.

 

“We have a potential addition to the team.” Tony slid a stack of files onto the table, one to each person. They all opened the folders and read the dossier. “We need to plan an extraction.”

 

“An extraction? For a manicurist in Baltimore?” Sam raised an eyebrow. “I can just, you know, drive my car and pick her up. You know that right?”

 

Tony frowned. “She's a little more dangerous than meets the eye. Keep reading.”

 

Natasha finished the page and looked up. “No problem. Clint and I can just go knock her out and bring her back.”

 

“I can go grab her. She'll never know what hit her.” Bucky chimed in.

 

Tony rolled his eyes. “I said extraction, not kidnapping.” He paced back and forth. He'd had his eye on this woman for a while, but wasn't sure. Now, with what had happened just last night, he was positive. They needed her. If not on the team, then at least to teach her to control her powers. “She's made six blocks of Baltimore go radio silent. Power is out.”

 

“How... how did she do that?” Thor leaned an elbow on the table. “Is this magic?”

 

Tony shook his head. “No. I think she... Bruce, you want to explain it?”

 

Banner looked up from his end of the table where he'd been nodding off. He'd known about her since Tony had found her, amidst a large number of power outages in the same area of Baltimore. He'd been studying the patterns, and had gotten her medical records. “She drains power, when she's out of control. We think she can harness it and electrocute people, recharge objects...”

 

“That's amazing!” Steve's eyes were wide.

 

“What's not so amazing is that she has no idea how to use it. And according to her medical records, every time there's a huge power outage, she ends up in the Behavioral Health Unit. The energy she drains makes her manic.”

 

“So she's insane?” Thor asked.

 

“She's not crazy. She has an imbalance. There's a difference.” Wanda glared at Thor. He grimaced.

 

“My apologies.” He said under his breath.

 

“Where is the mark now?” Bucky questioned, straight-backed and solemn. He just wanted to take her down so he could get back to sleep.

 

“So far, not in a BHU yet. Probably at home, getting more manic by the second. You'll have to be careful.” Tony warned.

 

“I'm pretty sure we can handle a manicurist.” Natasha raised her eyebrows.

 

“What do you think your electrocution weapons will do to a woman who absorbs electricity? Bucky, how bout your bionic arm? She could sap that, too. I can't go in in my suit- I'd give her enough power to do God knows what on accident. Neither can Jim, which is why he's not here. Sam, you can't use your wings.” Tony sat down and steepled his fingers. “We have to go in low tech.”

 

“I'm going to have one arm??” Bucky frowned.

 

“I didn't say she would sap your power. I said she might.”

 

“Aces.” Bucky looked annoyed.

 

“So what do we do when we get to her? What are we even offering?” Steve asked, objective first in his mind.

 

“We want her to come with us... for the public safety. And if we're lucky we can train her to control this power... and if we're even more lucky, she'll be useful and can join us.” Tony stated bluntly.

 

“A manicurist? We don't need our nails done, Tony. It says nowhere that she has any fighting ability whatsoever.” Natasha looked at him. “I want to help her as much as you do, but it's not likely she'll be an asset. This is damage control at best.”

 

“We also got hold of her IQ Test records. Along with a few other exams she's taken. Her IQ is near genius, she's excelled at everything she's ever tried with the exception of Chemistry, and she has the ability to possibly drain power. How is that not an asset?”

 

“You could have put those IQ test results in the dossier.” Natasha sighed. “All right well, if we're going in, I'm suggesting either myself or “Dad” Barton talk to her.”

 

“Can you stop calling me “Dad” Barton?” Clint scowled.

 

“You're such a dad, though.” Nat goaded him. Seeing him scowl further, she added, “but seriously, you're good at talking to people. Either she'll connect with me because I'm a woman, or you because you're a... nice guy.” She stopped herself before she said “dad” again.

 

“You're kind of an intimidating woman.” Thor chimed in.

 

“Excuse me?” Nat snapped her head in his direction.

 

“If you need to convince a scared mortal of something, sending in a warrior may not be the best idea. That's all that I'm saying.” Thor replied. “You aren't soft. Maybe Steve would be a better idea. Or Barton.”

 

“I'm not soft!” Steve protested. Everyone at the table looked at him amusedly. “Man, I'm soft...”

 

“You aren't soft, Steve. You're diplomatic.” Sam added. “We should send Steve and Barton.”

 

“The rest of you will secure the scene.” Tony nodded.

 

“What happens if she won't come with us?” Clint asked.

 

“With her history, she'll end up in a Behavioral Health Unit, manic as all hell, by the end of the week. I can have her transferred here.” Tony shrugged.

 

“We.. aren't a hospital.” Wanda reminded him.

 

“No, not yet. But we can be if we need to be.” He winked. “Suit up, everyone. Wheels up in half an hour.”

 

Steve shot a sidelong glance at Bucky. “Guess we're going to Baltimore.”

 

Bucky frowned. “This bitch better not take out my arm.”

* * *

 

I woke up and tried to turn on my bedside light. Nothing happened. I tried the main light, and the bathroom light. Nothing. Not again, I thought. I was beginning to dread these power outages. And beginning to think I'd caused them. No, that's delusional thinking. How could I cause a power outage?

 

The familiar feeling crept up in my chest, in my arms, in my legs. Almost a buzzing. I felt like I was crawling out of my skin. I took some deep breaths. This happened, every time there was a power outage, too. I closed my eyes, willing myself to be calm. I knew what happened next, it was what always happened next. I'd wig out, I'd break a bunch of appliances on accident, and I'd get so angry I'd check myself into a hospital until I got it all sorted out. I really didn't want that to happen. It messed up my work, my finances... I sighed. I couldn't take it anymore; I got up and started pacing. That never worked, but it was better than being uncomfortable and trying to sleep. I opened my medicine chest and looked at my bottle of Ativan. I tried not to take it, but right now I needed it. I downed my maximum allowed dosage, and went to the refrigerator, putting my glass under the water dispenser. About a teaspoon of water came out, before it made a weird clunking noise, stopped working, sparked a little, and smoke came out.

 

“God damn it.” I swore. I went to the sink to fill up my glass, drank the water, and slammed the glass down. It broke into a million pieces in my sink. And I cut my hand. I was looking at the damage; it probably needed stitches; when there was a knock at my door.

 

It was barely 6am- who was at my door? I cautiously looked out the peephole. A man in a star spangled suit was standing there, accompanied by a man dressed all in black tactical wear. I was a tad surprised. No, I was very surprised. I'd seen this man on the news, I'd read about him. Why the fuck was Captain America at my door? I double checked, but it was definitely him.

 

I opened the door as far as the security chain would allow. He and the other man, who had short blonde hair and hearing aids, looked at me. Then Captain America's gaze fell to the ground, where I was bleeding from the cut on my hand. “You might want to get that looked at, Miss.” He looked concerned. “May we come in?”

 

I silently let them in. I was stunned. “Um.. okay.” I pressed my other hand to my destroyed palm to stop the blood. I let them in and then went back to pacing. “Why is Captain America and, forgive me, you look familiar but I don't know why...” I looked to the other man.

 

“Hawkeye.”

 

I nodded. “Why are you both in my living room? At 6am?”

 

“I think you know why.” Captain America reached out a hand and stopped my pacing. “Call me Steve. And let me bandage your hand.”

 

“This?” I held up my hand. I was getting more amped by the second. “It's fine. It'll be fine.” I shook him off.

 

“You're bleeding all over your floor.” Hawkeye aimed his flashlight down, even though you could already kind of see in the dawn light.

 

“Y/N, stop. Let me bandage that.” Steve ordered. I stopped, and nervously let him lead me to my couch and push me to a sitting position. Hawkeye emerged from my bathroom with a first aid kit. Steve set about wrapping my hand. “You're going to need stitches.” He said.

 

“Right okay. I'll get stitches today. Why are you here?” I asked, my insides feeling like they were about to become my outsides.

 

“Why is the power out in the surrounding six blocks?” Hawkeye asked me.

 

“The power is always going out here.” I shrugged.

 

“Can you, can you face me when you talk to me?” Hawkeye asked. He gestured at his hearing aides. “Gotta read your lips.”

 

“Um, yeah, sorry. I said the power is always going out here.”

 

“You do realize you're the one causing it, right?” Steve was kneeling on the ground in front of me.

 

“That's crazy.”

 

“You're absorbing power. We've been studying you for a while now.”

 

“We? We who?”

 

“Tony Stark.”

 

“What? Why?”

 

“Because you drain power, store it, and then don't know what to do with it. Not to place blame, but you're continually destroying the power supply in your neighborhood...” Steve looked at me pointedly.

 

“So the Avengers are here to... avenge the power grid?”

 

“No. We're here to offer to help you with this problem. You can learn to control it.”

 

“I have work tomorrow. Today.”

 

“We both know you aren't going to work today. Your mania is just getting started. You'll be in the hospital by the end of today.” Steve put a hand on my shoulder. “We can help you.”

 

I looked at his hand. “Why do the Avengers want to help me? I don't do anything besides destroy toasters and refrigerators.”

 

“We'll find out what you can do. But you're special. And you're smart.” Hawkeye spoke up from behind Steve. He'd just been in the kitchen; no doubt saw the broken glass. “And your water dispenser looks like it needs some help.”

 

“I can't just leave. What about my job?”

 

“You think Tony can't find you a new job? After you're trained?” Steve asked.

 

“My rent?”

 

“Tony Stark is a billionaire. Your rent is taken care of.”

 

“Hell, he might just buy the whole building.” Hawkeye said under his breath.

 

“Y/N, you know your behavior is a problem. We're giving you the chance to fix it. No strings attached, no co-payments. You'll be somewhere safe.” Steve stood up. “It's this, or back to the hospital, where you've been before.”

 

I sighed. I was getting really agitated. I had two Avengers in my living room, my hand hurt, and my Ativan hadn't kicked in yet.

 

“I do need help. I can't... I can't handle this. Right now. I can't... I can't breathe. Jesus Christ, I can't breathe, I- I'll go with you. Just help me.”

 

“Bruce, she's having a panic attack.” Steve spoke into a mic on his wrist.

 

All I could hear was a garbled response, but Steve turned to Hawkeye, who pulled a small syringe out of his pocket. “Do it, Clint. She's freaking out.”

 

“What the fuck? No, I'm fine. I'm fine. Just let me get up. I can't breathe. Oh my God.” I pushed Steve away, clambering up off of the couch and pacing my apartment once again. “Do not come near me with that? What is that? Stay away.”

 

“It's a sedative. It'll calm you down.” Clint was edging towards me.

 

“You're not a doctor. Let's just go.” I packed into a corner. “Don't even think-”

 

Steve was talking into his wrist again, and coming towards me. “Mayday... Tony she's really losing it.”

 

Suddenly a man, also in black tactical gear, with long dark hair and a mask, stalked in. “Stop fucking around, Clint.” He grabbed the needle, stalked up to me, and jabbed it in my arm.

 

I lost it. I kneed him in the crotch- or tried to. He was expecting it and blocked. He grabbed me in a bear hug to where I couldn't move. I started screaming expletives at him, but he wouldn't budge. Then, quickly, I got groggy, and slumped over. He caught me, stooped and tried to pick me up. In my last few moments of consciousness, I saw him look at Steve.

 

“Fuck. My arm isn't working. She fucking sapped it. Steve, you mind carrying her back to the jet? And we'll just hope the jet still works.”

 

Then the lights went out.

* * *

 

Chapter Text

I awoke in an unfamiliar room, in an unfamiliar bed. I was still in the pajamas I'd been wearing the night before... what the fuck had happened and where was I?

 

I closed my eyes and images began flooding back. The power outage. Cutting my hand on the glass that I broke in my sink. Captain America and Hawkeye showing up on my doorstep... was I dreaming? I looked at my hand. It had a green bandage on it. I tugged it down a little and saw six stitches. No, I wasn't dreaming. The last thing I remembered was a tallish man in black stalking in, stabbing me with a sedative, and me trying to attack him while getting groggy. Since I'd been knocked out, apparently that hadn't gone very well.

 

I sat up and looked around. I was still feeling extremely anxious, but not as bad as before... I wasn't sure how long ago. How long had I been sleeping? I was a little bit pissed that they'd knocked me out, but I'd had to have sedatives before, and I had agreed to let them help me. But still... some hit-man commando looking guy running in and stabbing me with a needle had been a little much.

 

I swung my legs off the bed and began to look around. It was a small apartment, kind of, but without a kitchen. There was a full bathroom, a small bedroom, and a sitting room in the front with a couch and a TV. It was more homey than a hotel, but still kind of... unlived in. I wasn't sure what to do, or where I was. I sat on the edge of the bed and reached over to switch on the light. The bulb immediately blew, leaving me in darkness. Figures, I thought. I was used to that shit by now. I got up and looked out the window. My room was high up in a tower, overlooking... New York City? It was night again. I'd been out at least 12 hours. What the fuck has they dosed me with?

* * *

 

“Nat, it's your turn to check on her.” Steve looked up from his novel at the Black Widow, who was busy quickly tearing through a book of Sudoku.

 

“Is it that time already?” Natasha finished the puzzle, put the book down, and got up. “You hit her with some heavy stuff, Steve. She'll probably be out for a while still.” She turned to go.

 

“Technically Bucky hit her with the hard stuff.” Clint shot a glance over to Bucky, who was sitting in the corner of the room. He was reading “The Art of War.”

 

“Yeah, because you two wouldn't stop pussy-footing around. It really takes two of you to take down a manicurist in her pajamas?” Bucky went back to his book.

 

“We were trying to be gentle.” Clint frowned.

 

“Yeah, it seems like... never mind.” Steve shook his head.

 

“Like what?” Bucky glanced back up. Everyone knew he was having a hard time readjusting to life outside Hydra, and that all of his memories were definitely not back. Steve was still getting used to this version of Bucky. He was hard, and laughed a lot less than the Bucky he remembered.

 

“Just... after everything you've been through... you didn't seem like the guy to sedate her and make her come with us.” Steve trailed off.

 

“She agreed to come. Then she freaked the fuck out. I did what I needed to do.” Bucky shrugged. “There's a difference between intervention and kidnapping.” He went back to his book matter-of-factly.

 

“Okay then...” Steve shot Natasha a look. She raised her brows, shrugged, and wandered off down the hall, and up the stairs to Y/N's room. There was a camera right outside her door, so if she woke up and left they'd know, but there were no cameras in the rooms. That would be an invasion of privacy.

 

Natasha stepped up to the door. Somehow Tony had had this entire floor lined with rubber (she had a feeling this extraction had been in the works for a while) in hopes it would barricade Y/N's powers. She wasn't sure that would work, but it was worth a try. There was a kitchen, a meeting room, a common room, and a training room on this floor too, along with a small medical office. She knocked lightly on the door, then opened it slowly and peered in.

 

A figure sat on the edge of the bed, in the dark. “Hey... Um, I'm Natasha.”

 

Y/N turned towards her. “Hey.”

 

“Why are you sitting in the dark?”

 

“The lamp exploded when I touched it.” Y/N shrugged.

 

Natasha nodded, flipping on the sitting room light and peering at Y/N through the door to the bedroom. “I see. I'll get that replaced for you.” She approached slowly. “Are you all right? Can I get you anything?” Natasha wasn't used to being a caretaker, but she knew what it was like to be alone in an unfamiliar place.

 

“I'd... I'd like some clothes. I'm still in my pajamas.” Y/N looked down at her lounge pants and tank top.

 

“Pepper sent out for some clothes for you. She guessed you were a size ten. Long. Is that... close?” Natasha asked. Y/N nodded. “I'll go get them.” She retreated out of the room, and down the stairs back to the common room.

 

Walking in, she turned to Steve. “Mayday is awake.”

 

“We named her Mayday?” Steve raised a brow.

 

“We thought it'd be appropriate since she fucks shit up, and you seemed pretty freaked out when she went ballistic.” Bucky smiled.

 

“Riiight.” Steve shook his head. “You might want to run that by her, but it's a good code name.”

 

“She's asking for clothes. Where'd you put the bag Pepper brought over?”

 

Bucky got up, grabbed a bag from the shelf by the door and went to leave the room.

 

“Where are you going?” Natasha asked him.

 

“To give the lady her clothes. And apologize for dosing her with knock out juice.” He looked around the room. Everyone was staring at him. “What? I'm not an animal. Jesus.” He stalked out.

 

Steve got up. “I'll go let Banner and Tony know she's up.”

* * *

 

There was another tap at my door. Expecting the redhead, Natasha, again, I called out for her to come in. Instead of Natasha, a broad shouldered man with long dark hair stood at my door, awkwardly holding a bag from a clothing store. I was pretty sure he was the guy who'd tranqed me, but he wasn't wearing a mask anymore, and instead of combat gear he wore black sweats and a black tee shirt. His left arm appeared to be made of metal.

 

“Oh. Um... hi.” I said, suspiciously.

 

“Hi.” He just stood there.

 

“Are you going to come in? Are those my clothes?” I asked him.

 

He looked down at the bag. “Yes. And yes.” He walked in a few steps. I got up and entered the sitting room. He held the bag out to me and I took it. “I, uh, I just wanted to say sorry about sedating you. You were freaking out though and Steve and Clint were freezing up. You were gonna hurt yourself or someone else.”

 

I looked at him strangely. That was the lamest apology I'd ever heard, but it was an apology at least. “Uh, okay. Thanks?”

 

He nodded. “You decommissioned my arm for three hours, by the way.”

 

“I what?”

 

He held out his arm towards me. “It's mechanical. You... somehow made it stop working.”

 

I reached out timidly to touch his arm. He looked like he was going to draw back, but he stepped closer. I ran my fingers gently up the metal plates in wonder. I looked up at him. “It's... your arm? You have no left arm?”

 

He shook his head. “This is it. It's a pretty good substitute... unless someone loses her shit and drains it's batteries.”

 

I still had my hand on his arm, running my fingers over it absentmindedly. I traced where his veins should be down to his hand, and he flipped it palms up so I could continue, all the way to his palm and down off of his fingers.

 

I snapped out of my trance. This was an odd time for a second of intimacy with a stranger. “I vaguely remember trying to kick you in the balls. I don't remember anything about your arm.” I looked up into his eyes finally, kind of embarrassed. “Sorry about that, by the way.”

 

He shrugged. “It's okay. I blocked. The boys are still intact.” He gestured towards my bathroom. “Aren't you gonna get dressed? The others are waiting to meet you.”

 

“The others? How many others are there?” I asked, retreating to the bathroom. I closed the door, leaving it open just a crack so I could hear what the man was saying. “What's your name, anyway?”

 

“I'm James Barnes. You can call me Bucky. I guess. Everyone else does.” The reply came through the door.

 

“Is Bucky your name?”

 

“I guess so. Or it used to be.”

 

“Used to be?”

 

“It's a long story. I'll tell it to you later if you want to hear it.”

 

I finished pulling on the clothes. They consisted of black jeans, a black boat neck top, and black socks, bra, underwear, and sneakers. I looked at myself in the mirror, and looked in the bathroom drawers, finding a toothbrush and a regular brush. I put them to use, then emerged from the bathroom.

 

Bucky was still exactly where I'd left him, standing just outside the bedroom doorway. His eyes met mine as I left the restroom, and I thought they settled on me appreciatively for a second, but I wasn't sure. I could feel my anxiety building again. I didn't want to destroy anything else, or decommission his damned arm again. “Did, uh, did anyone bring my meds along when you all came and got me?”

 

He nodded. “Sam raided your medicine chest. Banner has everything.”

 

“Sam? Banner?”

 

“There are quite a few of us. Sam is Falcon. You've seen him on the news I'm sure.”

 

“The guy with the wings? Yeah.”

 

“And Banner is... a doctor. Yeah.” Bucky trailed off. “And he's the Hulk.”

 

“My new doctor is the Hulk?” I took this in. Bucky held his breath, but I found it more appropriate than he thought I would. The Hulk destroyed things... I destroyed things. It made sense. “Thats... fitting.” I took a deep breath.

 

“Are you sure you're ready to meet them? You can wait until tomorrow and get some more sleep.” He seemed slightly concerned.

 

“I've been comatose for … what time is it?”

 

“Nine pm.”

 

“For fifteen hours. I think I'm good. Plus I need something... I'm starting to crawl out of my skin. And bad things happen when that starts.”

 

He opened the door for me. “Bad things like what?” I noticed he moved his metal arm away from me slightly.

 

I nodded to his arm. “Things like that. Or exploding lighbulbs or toasters. Or... I one time electrocuted my school principal.”

 

“That's... unfortunate. Or fortunate. Did you like the principal?”

 

I smiled. This Bucky guy had a sense of humor buried somewhere in there. “He was okay. I didn't fry him too badly, luckily.”

 

He grinned at that, and led me down the hall to what ended up being a meeting room. We entered, and found ourselves in a room surrounded by people.

 

I recognized Tony Stark, because everyone and their mother knew who he was. He nodded at me as we walked in. “Mayday, welcome.”

 

“Mayday?” I asked, taking the seat Bucky pulled out for me. I thanked him, and turned back to Tony. Bucky nodded and sat down across from me.

 

“Yeah they nicknamed you Mayday because Steve is a pussy and called “Mayday” when you started getting hyper. I hope that's okay.” Tony spoke rapid fire.

 

“Um, I guess so...”

 

“Good. So we'll introduce everyone, and then you can talk to Dr. Banner about why you're here. And me. I'll tell you why you're here.” Stark sat down at the head of the table. “Sam went home, and you've met Star-Spangled Steve and Clint. And obviously Bucky. That's Natasha, aka Black Widow. Bruce Banner down at the end. Thor is next to him. Thor, seriously, can you tame that glorious damned hair, it's giving me a complex. Jim is next to him. Jim wears the War Machine suit. Wanda too, we call her the Scarlet Witch. We're not sure where Vision ran off to but if you see a red guy hanging around, that's him.” Tony ran through everyone quickly. I mentally took note of everyone's names. Steve sat up straight in his chair, rolling his eyes at Tony's nickname for him. Clint lounged in his seat. Bruce Banner was a mild looking man, sitting very still in the spot across from Tony. Thor was just... majestic, there was really no other word. Jim's dark eyes nodded at me, and he smiled warmly. Wanda waved, she seemed nice but had crazy eyes. And then Bucky, sitting at attention across from me, his eyes darting towards me and then away thinking I wouldn't notice.

 

“Does Bucky have a code name?” I asked. Everyone kind of went silent, like they didn't want to tell me.

 

“Yes, I do. It's the Winter Soldier.” He turned and looked right at me. I inhaled quickly. I had heard that name before, but it was just a conspiracy theory that had been going around after the death of Nick Fury last year. Or so I'd thought. It was an insane conspiracy theory.

 

“You're... you're real?”

 

He nodded.

 

I nodded back. “Okay then.”

 

“That's... it?” Tony looked at me curiously.

 

“Well, he's at your tower with a bunch of heroes, and he did pull out my chair for me. So I'm guessing you're keeping him around for a reason.” I shrugged.

 

Tony looked at Steve. “She took that well.” He looked around. “All right everyone, get lost. We need some privacy to talk to Mayday.”

 

“Your people skills never cease to impress.” Steve said dryly to Tony. Then he turned to me. “We'll see you tomorrow.”

 

“Uh, okay.” I replied as they all filed out. Bucky put a hand on my shoulder briefly before he left, and looked in my eyes.

 

“If you need anything, let me know.” Then he left too. I wasn't sure exactly how I was supposed to let him know... I didn't know where any of them stayed or their cell numbers. I nodded stupidly at his retreating form.

 

“Y/N.” Bruce Banner spoke to me in a gentle voice from the other end of the table. I snapped to attention. “You, you know why you're here?”

 

I nodded. “Steve said you could help me control my... issues.”

 

Bruce nodded back. “We're hoping we can. You have extremely impressive powers, but obviously not the tools to control them. If we can guide you, you could be invaluable.”

 

“Invaluable? What do you mean?”

 

“We collect... extraordinary individuals. We work together. You know what we do. What the Avengers do.” Tony piped in from behind me. I nodded, but frowned.

 

“Yeah, you guys are like superheroes.”

 

“What do you think you are?” Tony looked at me evenly.

 

“A manicurist who accidentally destroys electronic devices?”

 

“A woman who can control electricity.” Tony was still looking at me, a very serious expression on his face. “If we can get you to be able to master it, do you realize how valuable an ally you'd be?”

 

“Are you asking me to join your team?”

 

“If you get where you need to be, yes.” Tony shook his head in affirmation.

 

“Tony, she doesn't need to worry about that right now. Right now she needs to focus on training herself.” Bruce chimed in.

 

“How do I train myself?” I asked.

 

“There are a variety of theories, but obviously there aren't any other people like you out there, so we have to tailor the therapy to you. It mainly has to do with calming the mind, focusing, and, when you absorb powers, letting them out in a concise way. That way the mania won't build.”

 

“You mean... there's a way to get rid of that?” I asked hopefully. I'd been uncomfortable in my skin forever.

 

“Not... not all of it.” Bruce looked at me, and he looked sorry. “The mood fluctuations... They aide in the absorption and expulsion of the electricity. They're intrinsically connected. Medication can help that though. We'll try to find the right one.”

 

I nodded. I'd heard that part before. I'd been hoping to get out of a diagnosis, but no such luck. I sighed.

 

“Hey, I know how you feel. When I get angry I destroy cities.” He looked at you with kind eyes. “Hopefully, we can make it to where when you get angry, you can destroy precisely what you want to destroy.”

 

“I guess that's a silver lining.” I said glibly.

 

“Honey, you're at Stark Tower. There's always a silver lining here.” Tony winked at you.

* * *

to be continued

 

Chapter Text

Three weeks later

I was trying to focus, I really was. I had been doing everything Bruce had told me to do. Deep breathing, altering my thought patterns, anger management. I'd been relegated to the same floor of the Avenger's tower the whole time. Whatever I did on that floor apparently didn't effect the rest of the building- it was lined almost completely with rubber, forming a barrier. However, I'd caused a couple of brown-outs on floor 23 (my floor) and gone through enough light bulbs to sell out a CVS. I'd also accidentally destroyed my TV. And Bucky's arm a second time when he'd come to check on my during a particularly bad manic episode.

 

This particular day, I'd spent the morning in therapy with Bruce, working on harnessing my powers. The afternoon was spent sparring. Tony decided I needed to learn how NOT to get my ass kicked, and so he'd enlisted the whole team to take turns kicking my ass. So far I'd learned a few take down moves from Natasha, though I was never going to be able to to do that thigh choke-hold she was so fond of. After falling on the floor twelve times, she gave up and taught me basic punches instead. Steve had taught me blocking the next day. I felt like I held my own pretty well, considering I was up against a man who could back flip off of airplanes. Sam taught me the most- he was the most normal of all of them, and in his head still had a firm grasp on what an average human could or could not do. I was dreading going up against Thor- what the fuck a God could accidentally do to me freaked me out. Bruce refused, stating that he couldn't get that amped up or he'd Hulk Smash everything, and Tony had been busy the last few weeks working on a new Iron Man suit. It was Mach 106 or something. Everyone had lost count.

 

I was feeling relatively depressed. My training wasn't going as well as I felt it should have, though how fast I could learn to control my behavior after a lifetime of draining power and zapping things, I wasn't sure. All the concentration sure was hard. I'd get down, drain the floor of power, and then have an uncontrollable bout of mania. Luckily the floor only had so much power on it- I couldn't get too high. But man could I get low. Floor 23 was in a perpetual state of half power that day. Bruce told me I was actually progressing really well- I wasn't causing a blackout. That meant I was controlling myself somewhat.

 

After a grueling session of therapy, I walked into the training room, threw myself to the ground, and started changing into my running shoes. I didn't know who I was up against today, and I didn't give a shit. I was tired, mentally drained, discouraged, depressed, and felt like crap. I was sore from the last few days of being thrown around by various Avengers. Even though they were trying to teach me and not hurt me, learning still, well, hurt. I hadn't been sleeping well, and I was beginning to feel alienated, stuck on floor 23. I put my shoes on and lay back on the practice mat, my arms out to my sides, and closed my eyes. It wasn't long before a familiar voice began speaking from above me.

 

“Should I call a medic? Or are you okay down there?” Bucky's voice rained down on me. I opened one eye and peered at him.

 

“I might be dead. What's the protocol for that? Do I get to not be beaten on today if I'm already dead?”

 

His mouth curled up at one corner in a half smile. “It looks like you're just mostly dead. And you know what happens when you're mostly dead?”

 

“Oh God did you just watch The Princess Bride?” I asked him, recognizing this line of reasoning.

 

“Steve might have shown it to me last night. I plead the fifth.” Bucky still stood over me, hands on hips. “But since you're talking you aren't dead. And since you're just mostly dead, that means we train.”

 

I sighed. “Fuck. Fine. And which way are you going to beat the shit out of me today?” I closed my eyes again in defeat.

 

“I wasn't planning on beating the shit out of you.” You could still feel him hovering. “I was going to start teaching you to fight with a knife.”

 

“Oh good. I get sliced and diced today.”

 

“We aren't starting with real knives. I'm not insane.”

 

I looked up at him again. “I've had a rough morning. A rough three weeks really. Sorry if I'm not exuberant to roughhouse.”

 

He shrugged. “You've been working hard. You want help up?” He reached a metallic hand down towards me. I took it and he easily pulled me up from the floor. I eyed him. He had on black track pants and a black tank top. He had a duffel bag with him.

 

“What's in the bag?” I tore my eyes away from his physique. The two of us had been spending a little bit of time together. I found him insanely attractive but I knew that was a distraction. I wasn't sure why he went out of his way to come visit me. I figured the legendary Winter Soldier had better shit to do than check up on the electricity stealing manic-depressive on floor 23, but apparently he did not.

 

“Weapons.” He stated simply, letting go of my hand and opening the bag. It was full of knives, the blades blunted for training.

 

“Are knives your thing?”

 

“Technically assault weapons are my thing. But I can pretty much use anything.” He caught your look of awe. “Hydra did their job well. If it can be used to kill, I can kill with it.”

 

“And you're going to teach me?”

 

“Not everything, but yeah.” He looked at my face, which was still stricken with amazement. “I have to have some secrets.” He handed me a knife. I took it gingerly. “No, don't hold it like that. It's not a kitten. It's a weapon. Grip it.” He frowned at my lame grip on the blade. “No...” He took my hand, adjusted my fingers, and stepped back. “That's better. Now it won't fall out of your hand if you happen to hit something.”

 

“You don't honestly want me to try to stab you, do you?” I asked in alarm.

 

He shook his head. “You'd never hit me anyway. But no. We're starting with that dummy over there.”

 

“Oh thank God. I wouldn't want to hurt you.” I let out a sigh of relief, but it was met with Bucky laughing uncontrollably. “What's so funny?”

 

“Darlin', there is no way you would hurt me.” He stopped laughing. “I'm sorry for laughing. But you don't have to worry.”

 

“Accidents happen.” I frowned.

 

“You've never fought with a knife before. Accidents don't happen today.” He shook his head.

 

“You're awfully sure about that. I could hit you. Maybe.”

 

He looked at you. “I've been killing people since before your parents were born. There is zero percent chance you could connect today. Maybe eventually. Not today.” He seemed to realize he was being a little harsh. “No offense. Not many people can.”

 

“Care to wager?” I looked at him defiantly. “Because I will eventually hit you.”

 

“Sure.”

 

“What should we bet?” I asked, as he lined my stance up to correctly take some stabs at the dummy.

 

“Dinner.”

 

I froze. “Uh, okay. But you forget, I'm not allowed off the 23rd floor yet.”

 

He smiled, and I could feel his breath on my shoulder as he adjusted my stance some more. His body was very close to mine. The hairs stood up on the back of my neck. I should not have been so turned on by this. He was trying to teach me to kill this dummy with a knife. “You'll be allowed off the 23rd floor by the time you might be able to catch me.”

 

I huffed. “Fair enough.” I took a few stabs at the dummy, then turned to him. “But mark my words, I will eventually hit you.”

 

He looked at me levelly. “I believe you.” He smiled that half smile again. “Now turn around. Your stance is terrible. If you ever want to go up against me and stand a chance, you're going to have to do better than that.”

 

I looked at him, focusing all my energy. Then I turned away, stabbing at the dummy again. I heard a groan from behind me.

 

“God damn it, Mayday.”

 

“What?” I asked sweetly.

 

“My arm.”

 

I smirked before I turned around and acted surprised. “What's wrong with it?”

 

“It's not working.”

 

“Oh. That sucks. I'm so sorry.” I feigned apology.

 

“Right. This is the third time. And I have a feeling this time it was on purpose.” He raised an eyebrow at me accusingly.

 

“I have no idea what you're talking about.”

 

“Uh-huh.” He looked me up and down. He seemed pissed, but also slightly amused. “Don't think this gets you out of training. I can train you with one arm.”

 

“Oh, I'm sure you can.

 

“I also understand innuendo when I hear it.” He was trying not to laugh. “Just turn around and hit that fucking dummy, Mayday.”

 

“Yes, sir.”

* * *

 

That night I was thoroughly exhausted but couldn't sleep. I'd trained for the better part of four hours. Eventually Bucky's arm had started working again, and he'd taught me a few disarming techniques, which I was absolutely terrible at and had gotten “killed” nearly every single time. Frustrated, I'd eaten dinner in my room and tried to watch TV on the new television that had been brought up, but I was distracted. I felt sad and lonely. Floor 23 was in a brownout again, and I knew I was draining energy but couldn't help it.

 

It was nearly nine o'clock when I heard the knock on my door. Bucky's voice rang through. “Hey, you alive in there?”

 

“Yeah. Come in.” I called back from my spot, lying on top of my covers. I was trying to distract myself by playing solitaire on my phone, but I kept losing. I couldn't figure out why my phone was still working when I was draining power from the building. I must be able to control it somewhat.

 

The door opened and he walked in. I sat up. “What's up?”

 

“I could ask you the same. You've been in your room for hours and didn't answer my texts.” He stood in the doorway, his broad shoulders leaning against the frame.

 

“I just... don't feel like doing anything.”

 

He looked around at the dimly lit room. “So that's how it works eh? You get depressed and drain the power, then you light up like the Fourth of July and destroy things?”

 

I nodded. “Seems so.”

 

“You're feeling down right now?”

 

I nodded again.

 

“Get up.” He motioned to the door. “Let's go.”

 

“Where?”

 

“Out.”

 

“I can't leave the 23rd floor yet.”

 

He gave me a look. “If you can brownout the whole floor, you can disable the camera outside your door. And you aren't a prisoner.” He picked up my jacket from the couch and held it out to me. “Let's go.”

 

“Are you sure?”

 

“Yes.”

 

I got up off of my bed wearily, shrugged into my coat, and stood beside the door to my room.

 

“Take out the camera.” He nodded at it. We were standing just out of it's line of sight.

 

“Isn't that more your department?”

 

“Of course it is. But you can do it. I have faith.”

 

“Shit. Okay.” I turned and focused all of my attention on the surveillance camera. It took a minute, but eventually the blinking red light slowed down and stopped all together. The camera stopped buzzing. As I was focused on it, the lights in the rest of the floor brightened back up. As soon as the camera died, the lights dimmed again. I looked at Bucky, surprised. “Wow.”

 

“One day at a time.” He smiled at me, took me by the hand, and led me down the back stairwell.

 

“No elevators?” I asked as we descended floor after floor.

 

“I don't want to get stuck in an elevator this evening, do you?” He looked at me questioningly. I could think of worse people to be stuck in an elevator with, but I wasn't going to tell him that. He must have known from the look on my face, because he continued. “At least not an elevator with a surveillance camera in it also.” He winked, and continued leading me down four thousand flights of stairs.

 

Who was this guy? I had read up as much as I could, but most of the theories were insane. He couldn't have killed that many people, throughout the entire cold war. I knew Steve was hella old and had been frozen, and that was the common theory with Bucky as well. But until I heard it from him, I didn't know what to believe. I was beginning to think he'd been quite the charmer in his previous life, though.

 

Once we got to the bottom stairs, I followed him down a few corridors and we entered what ended up being a garage. He pointed at a black motorcycle in the corner. “Take the helmet from Steve's motorcycle. He won't miss it.”

 

I gingerly picked up the blue helmet from the next motorcycle. Bucky climbed on his, put his helmet on, and waited on me expectantly. I fastened on the borrowed helmet, and straddled his bike behind him. “Hold on tight.” He warned me, and we sped out of the garage.

 

I couldn't ask him where we were going, but I noticed that every streetlight we passed dimmed a little bit. I really needed to work on controlling this better, or I'd end up causing lights out on the entirety of Manhattan. We sped along for a while, me holding on tightly to Bucky's solid frame, scared to death. We finally drove out of the city and he stopped his bike at the side of a tall brick wall. There was a hole in the wall where the bricks were crumbling, wide enough to fit through. I followed him off of the motorcycle, and through the hole in the wall. We were in a cemetery, surrounded by tall mausoleums.

 

“You brought me to a graveyard?” I asked him uncertainly.

 

I saw him turn his head towards me, his eyes black pools in the darkness. “Yes.” Before I could ask why he thought bringing me to a cemetery was a good idea, he explained. “There's nothing out here for you to drain.” I looked around. He was right. The night was dark. “Except my arm, so please try not to or we're stuck here unless you know how to drive a bike.”

 

I smiled. “I'll try my best. Because I would crash that thing for sure.” I looked around. It was peaceful here. “Thank you. I feel... better, a little.” He nodded at me, offered me his arm like the gentleman I had a feeling he was once, and we walked between the small buildings. The moon was full, casting enough light to see. We finally stopped in a courtyard. He'd brought a blanket in his small backpack, and he laid it out and we sat on it, eventually laying down and looking up at the stars and towards the bright outline of the city.

 

“Do you come here a lot?” I asked him.

 

“Sometimes, when I need to get away.”

 

“Why here? How'd you find this place?”

 

He was silent for a while. “Most of my friends, and my parents, are buried here. In another part of the cemetery. But the same one.”

 

“I'm so sorry.”

 

“Don't be. They thought I was dead, and I'm glad they passed and didn't find out what I've become.” He was very still beside me.

 

“I still don't know exactly what that is. But you seem like a decent man to me. A good one, actually.” I turned towards him. The night air was cool on my skin.

 

“You haven't looked me up? On the Google?”

 

I smiled at his lingo. He seemed like he was pretty good at using modern terminology, but “the Google” made me grin. “Yes, I have. But... I don't know what to believe.”

 

“Most of it's garbage. I'm not a ghost. I'm not Russian royalty descended from Anastasia. I'm not a vampire. That was my favorite theory.” I saw him crack a smile.

 

“I see you used the Google on yourself.”

 

“I did. Then it just got too bizarre so I stopped.” He was silent again for a beat. “I fell off of a train in the Great War. Steve tried to save me. He was my best friend since we were kids. But... I don't remember a lot about back then yet. The memories may never come back, I don't know. Everyone thought I died. But Hydra found me. Gave me a nice new arm and a memory wipe. Brainwashing.” He spat the last sentence out like it hurt to say. “I spent the next sixty odd years pulling off every major assassination during the cold war, and a few after it.” He spoke very matter-of-factly, almost distantly, as though he were speaking of someone else.

 

“JFK?” I had to ask.

 

“No, not him. Someone beat us to that. I vaguely remember being woken up and them putting me right back down. I don't know who that was that got JFK.”

 

I sighed. I'd thought I was going to learn the great mystery, but I was also very relieved that the man laying next to me had not in fact murdered John F. Kennedy.

 

“I didn't get Martin Luther King, either. Thank God. He was never a target of ours.”

 

“That... makes me very glad that it wasn't you.”

 

“Yeah, me too.” He paused. “I killed Tony's parents.”

 

I was quiet. I wasn't sure what to say to that. Finally I spoke. “But you weren't you.”

 

“I still have to live with it.”

 

“That's true.” I was still looking at him. His stony eyes gazing at the stars, his chest rising and falling with each breath he took. I reached over and took his hand. Cold metal fingers laced through mine. “We all have our demons, Bucky. They used you.”

 

He turned towards me, eyes bright, seeming surprised but not opposed to my action. “I know. It's hard to come to terms with it, though. But now you know.” He sighed. “I can take you back now if you want. Now that you know.”

 

“No. Let's stay. This is nice.” I squeezed his hand.

 

“You aren't afraid of me?”

 

“No.” I shrugged. “I mean, I'm a little disappointed you aren't a vampire, but it's no big deal. The metal arm makes up for it.” I smiled at him. He smiled back. He turned on his side, and was just reaching out to me, when his phone rang.

 

“Shit. It's Steve.” He frowned.

 

“Busted.” I said.

 

He clicked his phone on and listened. I could only hear Steve's muffled voice, but Bucky listened for a few minutes. “No, I took her out. She was having a tough time... We're safe, she didn't wipe out any power grids... Yeah. We're on our way.” He hung up, and turned to me. “We need to head back.”

 

I was a little sad. This outing had been nice, as weird as it was to be in a cemetery in the middle of the night. And things had just began to get interesting. “What's going on? Are we in trouble?”

 

He shook his head, helping me up. “No. Tony doesn't even know we're gone yet. I'll sneak you back in. But Vision is back from his sabbatical, and he wants to see you. He thinks he can help you.”

 

I was intrigued. I could use all the help I could get.

* * *

to be continued

 

 

Chapter Text

“How exactly does Tony NOT know we're gone?” I asked as we got off of the motorcycle in the garage of the tower. “It's his tower...”

 

Bucky shrugged. “The others didn't tell him we left. Obviously someone figured it out when your camera went down. But we look out for each other.” He took Cap's helmet from me and replaced it back on his bike. “Besides, like I said before, you aren't captive. And Tony isn't King.”

 

“They covered for us? For me?” I was surprised. I hadn't gotten a chance to spend a whole lot of time with the Avengers. They were all basically strangers.

 

Bucky nodded. “Of course. You're one of us now.”

 

I hesitated. I was far from an Avenger. “I don't know about that.”

 

He smiled, holding the door to the building open. “Close enough. You're on your way.” He followed me through the door. “Steve said they'd meet us in the meeting room on your floor. Said things might get dicey.”

 

“Dicey? Shit, what's Vision going to do to me? Who is he, anyway?”

 

“As far as I understand... he's Tony's computer program joined with a life force of some sort. No one really knows, to be honest. He just showed up one day in a botched experiment, back when all of that stuff went down in Eastern Europe.”

 

“So.. he's artificial intelligence? Like Skynet?” I asked. Bucky looked at me blankly. “Right. Haven't seen Terminator yet then?” He shook his head in the negative.

 

We made our way up to my floor. My mood had picked up a little, and I didn't seem to be dimming any lights, so we risked the elevator. Luckily, it made it up all 23 floors, and we exited and found the meeting room. Steve was in there, with Wanda and a tall crimson man. Tony had said Vision was a red guy. He had not been wrong.

 

They all turned to look at us as we entered. Vision stood. “Greetings. I am Vision. I take it you are Mayday?”

 

I nodded, extending a hand. He looked down at it, then at Steve questioningly. “You shake her hand. Remember, we went over this.” Steve reminded him.

 

“Oh, yes.” Vision took my hand and shook it very formally. Then he appeared to study me for a while, nodding every once in a while. By the time it was beginning to make me kind of uncomfortable, he spoke. “Steve explained your situation to me. I believe I can be of some assistance.”

 

“Okay... um, how exactly?” I wasn't sure what he was getting at, at all.

 

“I am, how would you put it... created from a computer. Partially.” Vision waited until I nodded again, then continued. “I have a vast knowledge of power supplies and electricity. I believe if I give that knowledge to you, it may make harnessing your powers easier.”

 

“So... like studying? You'll tell me everything you know?” I asked. Internally I wilted at the thought of learning about electricity. Outwardly I tried to appear eager.

 

“No. It's more of a base knowledge. Intrinsic. It's a part of me. It needs to become a part of you.” He glanced at Wanda. “I will transfer the knowledge to Wanda- you know she can read minds? And she will in turn transfer it to you through a form of hypnosis.”

 

“Right. Is this even safe?” I asked. I was also mentally freaking out because if Wanda could read minds, she knew some of the depraved stuff I'd been thinking about Bucky. Fuck, that was not good.

 

“Don't worry, I don't read people's minds all the time. I can turn it off.” Wanda said, obviously reading my mind. I put my hand up over my eyes in embarrassment.

 

“Kind of like you aren't reading her mind right now?” Steve asked.

 

“Oops.” Wanda shrugged. “I haven't read anything else though.” She said to me.

 

I nodded, knowing I was bright red. I turned back to Vision. “Are you sure this will help? Because to be honest, I don't know if I can ever master this on my own. Not enough to be safe, or helpful.”

 

Vision nodded. “It's just knowledge. You should be perfectly fine.” He paused. “Eventually you'll master it, but it will go faster with my help, and be much more thorough.”

 

I took a deep breath. “Okay. I'll do it.” Bucky looked nervous. I shrugged at him. “What's it gonna hurt? Might as well try.”

 

He shrugged, looking unconvinced. I could see his point- he'd had a lot of weird shit done to him, if the stories were true. But I was agreeing to this. I faced Vision again. “How do we do this? Are we doing it now?”

 

“You should sit down. It may overload you and be a bit disorienting. I'm not certain.” He gestured towards a chair. I sat. Wanda stepped between us, taking Vision by the hand, and then me. “Are you ready?” Vision asked me, once I was seated.

 

“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Bucky asked Steve quietly. Steve nodded.

 

“Something's gotta give, Buck. She's going crazy up here.” Steve replied.

 

“I can hear you guys.” I turned to them. They looked sheepish. I turned back to Wanda and Vision. “Yeah, I'm ready. Load me up. All systems go.”

 

Wanda turned towards Vision, looking deep into his eyes, focusing on something that none of us could see. After a few moments, her hands got very warm, and she broke her gaze from him, and turned towards me. “Look in my eyes. Don't look away.” She directed. I did as I was told, but quickly realized that even if I'd wanted to, I couldn't break my stare. She had me mesmerized. I don't even know what I saw; worlds I didn't understand, the smallest particle and the largest celestial body, the entire concept of power, down to the most basic level and up to the most complex. I didn't understand any of it, and I understood it completely. I felt my body begin to throb. Whatever Vision had shown Wanda was becoming part of me as well. I tried to blink. It was becoming too much. I started worrying my body couldn't handle it, that my mind couldn't take it; that this had been a bad idea.

 

“I don't think this is working right.” I heard Bucky say, sounding a million miles away.

 

“Do not touch her.” Wanda commanded. “We're almost done. She is going to be fine.”

 

I didn't feel anyone touching me, just Wanda's hand buzzing in my own. Suddenly all of the power and lights snapped back to a tiny pinpoint, and Wanda closed her eyes, breaking the connection. She let go of my hand.

 

“Is it done?” Steve asked. Wanda nodded. She put a hand to her head, then shook it, trying to clear her thoughts. “Did you get all of that, too?”

 

“No.” she said, gathering herself. “I transferred it. I didn't retain it.”

 

Steve turned to me, and Bucky looked really concerned. “Did you get it? Did anything... do you feel different?”

 

I sat in a daze. “I... yeah.” I was unsteady in my seat. “I think I'm going to throw up.”

 

Steve dashed for a trashcan, but I didn't throw up. The last thing I remember was turning to Bucky. “I can't breathe.” I said, then slumped over. Lights out. Again.

* * *

 

I had an excruciating headache. I could hear people talking around me, but it wasn't registering what they were saying. I opened an eye tentatively. The lights on floor 23 were at full power. I was layed out on the meeting room table. Someone had put a cold cloth on my head, and Natasha was now there. I saw her pulling some smelling salts out of the first aid kit, but when she saw that I was awake, she put them back. Bucky hovered beside me, his hand on mine. No, his hand was on my pulse. He was monitoring my heartbeat. A wave of calm passed over him as he saw me glance at him.

 

Tony was there too, and he was not happy. “You should have run this by Bruce and me. At least Bruce. You could have killed her!” He was shouting at Vision, Wanda, and Steve.

 

“It wouldn't kill her. Don't underestimate my intelligence, Tony.” Vision replied calmly. “I told her it might disorient her. She understood.”

 

Tony made a strained face and shook his head. “This was reckless.”

 

“Unlike anything you've ever done?” Steve stepped up. “Yeah, Tony, I said it. You've been so preoccupied with your Mach 327 or whatever you're building, you didn't notice how much Mayday's been suffering up here. She's working really hard and she's up and down and all over the place. Vision had a solution. We took it.”

 

“You took it.” Tony pointed out.

 

“I made an executive decision.” Steve affirmed.

 

“No.” I sat up, shaking off some residual dizziness. “I made a decision. About myself.” I looked at Tony. “I'm really not doing well, Tony. I'd do basically anything to help it. I've been draining the shit out of the floor 23 power grid since I got here. Bruce's training was working... but not fast enough. I couldn't hold on that long.” I noticed Bruce had rushed in and was now listening at the doorway. He approached me, and began taking my vital signs. “I'm fine, Bruce.”

 

“I still need to check.” He said, putting a blood pressure cuff on my arm. “You've really been doing that badly?” He asked and I nodded. “Why didn't you tell me?”

 

“I didn't want to complain. And you aren't a psychiatrist. The power thing isn't the problem, it's the symptom. You've all been trying so hard but... this up and down thing... you can't understand if it isn't how you live.” I held still until he read my BP, then curled my knees up to my chest. “If I can at least stop worrying about destroying things on accident, I can work on not destroying myself.”

 

Everyone was quiet, like I'd dropped a huge secret or some devastating news.

 

“Well, something worked because the power's at full capacity and obviously nothing exploded when you passed out.” Natasha pointed out.

 

“How well did it work?” Wanda asked Vision. She turned to me. “Do you... know how to control it now?”

 

I stopped and thought. I wasn't feeling depressed or manic at the moment, so I couldn't tell if I would still accidentally mess with the power. I closed my eyes. The lights on the whole floor went out.

 

“Did you mean to do that?” I heard Tony ask in the darkness.

 

“Yes.” I replied, flipping the lights back on. I turned them to half power, then on again all the way. “That's... how am I doing that?”

 

“Knowledge.” Vision stated cryptically.

 

“Just like that?” I asked him.

 

“You may still need to work on the power draining and surging as a result of your mood swings. But... It appears so.” He turned to Tony. “I think I'll retire for the night.” He nodded at me and left the room.

 

“Is he always like that?” I turned to Bucky.

 

“Usually. He's sort of a... strange man.” Bucky told me.

 

Bruce was now apparently convinced that I was actually fine. He stood, looking down at me. “We'll run some tests in the morning. You should get some sleep.” I nodded at him. I was exhausted. Everyone began to leave. I wobbly got down from the table, and Bucky walked me back to my room. I was still unsteady, and he had me under my shoulders, helping me along.

 

We got to my room, and he opened the door, depositing me on my bed fully clothed. “You want your pajamas?” He asked me.

 

I shook my head. “No. I'm... so tired. I just need a blanket.”

 

He pulled my shoes off of me and pulled my covers up to my chin. “Are you sure you're okay?” He asked worriedly. I nodded, already beginning to doze.

 

“Thanks Bucky. I had a good night.” I smiled sleepily up at him, slipping into sleep.

 

He bent and laid a kiss on my forehead, then flipped out the light and left.

* * *

 

The party for the unveiling of Tony's latest Iron Man suit, which was actually the Mach 127, was that Friday night. For three days I hadn't accidentally drained anything, or destroyed anything. I'd been doing a grueling series of tests designed by Bruce. I was still slipping between depression and mania like a roller coaster, but I wasn't taking the electricity with me anymore. While I was still constantly in a state of discomfort, at least it was a step.

 

Tony had stated on the invite that it was a black tie affair, and also added that I was free to move about the building freely now. I had gone with Natasha to buy a dress; I'd found out that I was now on the payroll here, and had the cash to do so. Natasha wasn't really one for shopping, and neither was I. It took her about two seconds to find a party dress that looked amazing on her fit 5'3” frame. It took a little longer for me. I wasn't large, but I was a bigger girl. I finally settled on a knee length little black dress, backless with a flared skirt.

 

The night of the party, the ballroom on the top floor of the tower was brimming with people. I didn't know hardly any of them. All of the Avengers were there, of course. Clint had brought his wife, which I hadn't known he had. Natasha and Bruce were chatting cozily in the corner; I wondered if there was anything going on with them. She seemed happier than I'd seen her, and she had her hand gently resting on Bruce's knee as she laughed at something he said.

 

Steve seemed like he was far away, mentally. The band was playing old jazz, and he had a look in his eyes as though he were remembering something from a lifetime ago.

 

“Hey, Steve.” I approached him, handing him a glass of champagne.

 

“Hi.” He accepted the glass. “Thank you.”

 

“Don't mention it.” I took a sip. Tony bought good champagne. “You look like you're somewhere else. You all right?”

 

Steve smiled, but his eyes were sad. “I am. I'm fine. I'm just... thinking of a dance I had to miss.”

 

“Someone special?”

 

“Unforgettable. There's no one else like her.” His gaze settled on me. “How are you doing?”

 

I laughed. “Like a damned yo-yo.” I shrugged. “Normal shit. But I'm not causing blackouts on accident, so Vision's little trick worked I guess.”

 

“That's good to hear. We took a risk with that one. I just couldn't stand to see you so... the way you were.” He lifted his eyes from me, looking over my shoulder. He waved at someone. I turned. Bucky had just entered the room and stood at the top of the stairs, looking awkwardly around. He wore a black European cut suit and and a black dress shirt. His metallic hand was covered in a leather glove.

 

“He hasn't been to a party lately I take it?” I said to Steve.

 

“Not in about seventy years.” Steve smirked at me. “He looks like he needs saving.”

 

“That man never looks like he needs saving.” I glanced up at him and waved. “No, I retract that statement. He totally looks like he needs saving.” I beckoned him down to us.

 

“Steve, come here. I need you to prove to this guy that you can't lift the Hammer!” Thor suddenly thundered from across the room.

 

Steve rolled his eyes. “Not this again. Every party, I swear. Every party, with the Hammer.” He finished his champagne and set his glass on the bar. “Excuse me. I have to go prove I'm not as valiant as everyone thinks I am.” He smirked and left.

 

I turned, just as Bucky made it to the bottom of the stairs. I had a feeling Steve had made a quick exit to give his friend some alone time with me, but I wasn't sure. It was possible Bucky had just taken a liking to me because he felt we were both out-of-place kindred spirits. He was hard to read. He was a busy guy. He approached me, looking dashing in his suit but clearly uncomfortable in the situation. I could read plain as day on his face that there were way too many people in this room for him to keep track of.

 

“Hey, Bucky.” I grinned at him as he walked up.

 

“Hey, Mayday.” He looked me up and down. “Nice dress.”

 

I did a little spin. The champagne had gotten to me a bit. “You like it?”

 

“You look beautiful.” He said very seriously. I smiled up at him.

 

“Thank you. You look pretty nice yourself. Been a while since you rocked a suit and tie?”

 

He snagged two flutes of champagne from a passing waiter, handing one to me. “Not since the forties.” I gladly accepted the drink.

 

“They're playing your kind of music.” I gestured towards the band. “Do you dance?”

 

He got a glint in his eye and a small smile on his face. He seemed to relax a bit. “I used to.”

 

“I'll bet, that back before the war, you were quite the ladies man.” I stepped towards him and put a hand on his chest. “I'll bet they loved you. And I bet you were a hell of a dancer.”

 

“I did all right.” He sipped his drink. “I'll tell you a secret.”

 

“I'm all ears.”

 

He stepped closer, putting a hand on my waist and leaning down to whisper in my ear. “I was an excellent dancer. And the ladies did love me.” He leaned back, smiling slyly. He didn't remove his hand from around my waist.

 

“Well then, are you going to just stand there or are you going to take a girl dancing?”I shot him a daring look. “I'm a very busy woman and I haven't got all day.”

 

He set his glass down next to Steve's on the bar, taking my hand. I set mine down as well and he led me out onto the floor. The band had started playing an upbeat song; he wasn't wrong about being a good dancer. I hadn't expected a scary assassin to be this good, to be honest. I had no idea what I was doing. He spun me all across the floor, then back into his arms when the music got slower.

 

“Did everyone know how to dance in the forties?” I asked, breathless. We were now swaying to a slow song.

 

“Not everyone, but it was pretty common. Had to keep the ladies happy at the USO dances.” He winked at me. “That was so long ago. I'm a different person now.”

 

“No, you aren't.” I rested my chin on his shoulder. “I have a feeling you're still the same man. Just older and wiser.”

 

“A hell of a lot older.” He chuckled.

 

“Soldier!!!” Thor's voice boomed across the room again, this time towards Bucky. We both turned to see the large blonde man beckoning to us. “Mayday! Come! Try to lift the Hammer!”

 

I looked at Bucky. “I hear he does this at every party.”

 

“Is Thor drunk?” Bucky looked at me questioningly.

 

“I don't know. Can Gods get drunk?” We both looked at Thor. He definitely seemed like he was pretty wasted. I turned back to Bucky. “Odds are, yes they can.”

 

“I know I can't lift the Hammer.” Bucky sighed.

 

“Come, friends! Come try!” Thor yelled again.

 

“We'd better go. Before he flips a table or something.” I took the arm Bucky offered me, and we approached the group gathered around Thor. All of the Avengers were there, plus a few people I didn't know. Pepper was standing to the side with Tony, looking beautiful and amused. An old man with white hair who everyone called Stan was sitting on the couch, observing. War Machine was currently trying to lift the hammer.

 

“Jim, you tried at the last party and you couldn't do it.” Tony reminded him.

 

“That's bullshit. I should totally be able to lift this hammer.” He gave up with a disgusted sigh.

 

“Get over it, man. It's not healthy.” Tony clapped his friend on the back. “Even Cap can't do it. That's saying something. Steve doesn't even swear. Steve might be a virgin.”

 

“Steve isn't a virgin.” Steve retorted, a long-suffering look on his face.

 

“I'm a woman, and I can guarantee you, Steve is not a virgin.” I chimed in. “Just look at the man. There's no way no one's tapped that by now.”

 

“Feeling feisty this evening, are we Mayday?” Tony gave me an amused look. Steve was turning red.

 

“Sorry Steve. Someone had to stand up for your honor.” I grinned. “Or dishonor.”

 

Bucky looked really amused at his friend's discomfort.

 

Thor spoke again, his voice resonating through the room. “Try to lift the Hammer!”

 

I stepped up. “Seriously, has anyone been able to lift it? Besides you?” Everyone looked uncomfortably over at Vision, who was floating by himself in the corner, holding a drink of champagne, looking deep in thought. “Oh. That's... unexpected.”

 

“That's what we thought.” Clint replied.

 

“I'll give it a try. But I'm seriously doubting...” I gave the hammer a good pull. It stayed put on the table. “Nope. Guess I'm not virtuous enough.”

 

Thor looked on in amusement. “Bucky?”

 

“Are you kidding? There's no way I can lift that. I might leave a black stain on the damned thing.” Bucky sighed. Thor nodded at the Hammer. He wasn't going to let it alone until Bucky tried. He stepped towards it, gripping it tight. I held my breathe. I could have sworn I saw the hammer move a tiny bit, but in the end, Bucky couldn't lift it either. “Big surprise there.” Bucky ran a hand through his hair, stepping away.

 

“We finally got Nat to try this time.” Sam grinned. Natasha shot him an evil look. He shrugged. “It went about as well as expected.”

 

“Yeah, I'm about as likely as Bucky to be able to lift that thing.” She rolled her eyes. She was seated next to Bruce, her shoes on the floor in front of her and her feet tucked neatly beneath her. “I lot of blood spilled by these hands.”

 

Various other people tried lifting Mjolnir, but inevitably no one could, of course. We spent the rest of the evening drinking and laughing. Bucky's arm ended up around my shoulders at some point, and I let it happen. I felt good. I'd had a good week. I was becoming friendlier with this group of strange heroes that I was now sharing my life with. I looked at Bucky. He tucked a strand of dark hair behind his ear and smiled at me. He had relaxed, and seemed to be enjoying himself for once. He was leaned back on the chair we were sharing, his body loose instead of coiled and ready to strike like he usually was.

 

The evening wore down, and the party ended. Bucky walked me up to my room and dropped me off at my door. I was carrying my shoes.

 

“I had a wonderful evening.” I smiled up at him as we stopped outside of my door.

 

“I... I did too. I didn't think I would.” The serious look that he usually wore returned to his handsome face.

 

“You still got it.” I winked. I was wondering what would happen next.

 

“I'm not sure if I do.” He looked thoughtful for a minute. Then he brought a hand up to cup the side of my face, leaned down, and kissed me.

 

I hadn't expected that. I had hoped for it, but hadn't thought he'd actually do it. The kiss was intense; my whole body felt like it was buzzing. He brought his other hand up, tangling his fingers in my hair, deepening the kiss. My hands came up, running up his sides.

 

Then, as quickly as it had started, he broke away. He looked into my eyes for a moment, then gently kissed me again. “Goodnight, Mayday. You look beautiful.” He took off down the hall for the elevator. He stopped midway, turning back. “Thanks for the dance. It's my first dance since 1944.” He winked at me, then disappeared down the hall, the elevator doors closing behind him.

 

Chapter Text

“This is amazing!” Thor boomed, filling up the training room with his voice.

 

“What is?” I asked, picking myself up off of the ground, again. “Throwing me on the ground was not amazing.”

 

“Fighting a worthwhile opponent!” Thor nodded at me approvingly, his hair streaming down his back. Even in gym clothes, the man was clearly not from this Earth. He watched me amble slowly back towards him, putting my guard back up. He was working on defense with me.

 

“I'm a worthwhile opponent? You mean I'm getting good at this?” I couldn't imagine that was the case, with as many times as I had been thrown on the floor today.

 

Thor chuckled. “No, you're still terrible. But your outlook is refreshing. You just don't give up! You've been here nearly a month and it's been rough on you, for some reason that I don't fully grasp. But you keep on going.” I regarded him strangely. “Like I said, a worthwhile opponent. You keep getting back up again.”

 

“Thanks, I think. I mean, what else am I supposed to do?”

 

“Not everyone with this little fighting talent would even try.” Thor pointed out.

 

“Wow, tell me how you really feel.” I said dryly.

 

“My apologies. I thought you knew you didn't know how to fight. I thought that's why I was here.” Thor looked genuinely sorry at the thought of hurting my feelings. He hadn't really; he was a nice guy, but proud and not from this planet. He didn't grasp humans just yet.

 

“No, trust me, I know I don't know how to fight.” I smiled at the big blonde man. “And I appreciate being considered a worthwhile opponent. Now let's try to make me a slightly less worthless fighter.”

* * *

“So Bucky was talking to me, and he had a good idea.” Steve sat down across the desk from Tony in the lab. “In regards to Mayday.”

 

“Oh good. Another brilliant idea. Is this one going to knock her out?” Tony raised a brow at Steve.

 

“No.” Steve replied gruffly. “Not unless you screw it up. It's something you need to build.”

 

Tony sat quietly for a moment, as if trying to play the waiting game with Steve, then finally perked up at the idea of making something and spoke. “Okay I'll bite. What was his idea?”

 

“Well, she can drain power, but he's noticed she's been a little... more manic lately. She can't get rid of enough of it apparently.” Steve relayed the information to Tony. “We were thinking you could build her... something to where she could channel the power and shoot it.”

 

“Like a blaster?” Tony asked.

 

“I don't know. You're the engineer. But she's not able to dispel as much energy as she takes in, and if she could actually shoot the energy out as pulses... that would be really helpful, actually.”

 

“So our stone cold assassin is looking out for our manic wild child.” Tony pondered this. “He's got a case of the feelings. I don't know if I like it.”

 

“It doesn't matter if you like it.” Steve chuckled at Tony's glibness. “It's definitely there. He won't admit it, but I know Bucky. He's soft for this girl.”

 

“I don't know him and even I can tell.” Tony drummed on the desk, pulling a pencil from his drawer and beginning to sketch out an idea. “I like the way you two think though. I'll try to figure something out.”

 

Steve peered at Tony's drawing. Tony looked up at him.

 

“Are you still here? Did you need something else?” Tony asked.

 

Steve rose and shook his head. “I'm Team Captain. You'd think I'd get a little respect.”

 

“This is respect. I let you sit down didn't I?” Tony went back to drawing. Steve took his leave.

* * *

I'd been doing really well with my mood fluctuations and power draining, but my mania was starting to get uncontrollable. I reasoned I was taking in more energy than I could misspell, because now that I wasn't accidentally destroying appliances, I wasn't actually getting rid of much. I'd tried going down to the garage and starting all of the cars by placing my hands on them, but that had only helped so much. By Wednesday morning I was feeling really high. I felt good, but I needed to get this out of my system.

 

I went to my usual brain training with Bruce, and he was trying to come up with a way to bring me down, as well as adjust my meds to help. I didn't feel like training this afternoon. I felt like doing something much more fun. I'd set my sights on Bucky.

 

He'd been really busy since the kiss after the party, as had I. We'd watched a movie together, and he'd noticed my inability to sit still, and my uncontrollable fidgeting. He had told me it was driving him crazy, seeing me so uncomfortable while there was nothing he could do to help. We'd tried going jogging but that had only helped so much, and let's be honest, jogging is no fun. I had a better idea of what to do with all this energy and a hot bionic super soldier. And I was feeling just out of it enough to proposition him. I'd thought of a way he could definitely help me.

 

I told Natasha I wasn't feeling like training, and I made my way down a few floors to Bucky's room. He wasn't there. I found him in the small gym on that floor, on his back, bench pressing an ungodly amount of weight.

 

“Hey Bucky.” I leaned against the door. He turned his head, arms outstretched above him, straining, mid press.

 

“Hey, Mayday. Aren't you in the middle of training right now?” He set the bar down, letting his hands drop to his sides.

 

“No. I skipped it.” I sauntered over to where he was, threw a leg over him, and straddled him. “I thought of something better to do.”

 

He gave me a strange look. It wasn't an unpleasant look, but he did seem kind of confused. He looked up at me from where he was still laying down on the bench beneath me. “And this idea is?”

 

“You're a smart man. You can figure it out.” I smiled. He sat up, avoiding hitting his head on the weight bar. We came face to face. His hands came up and rested on my hips.

 

“You just decided this? Just now?” A small grin formed on his lips.

 

“Well I can't say I haven't been thinking about it, but now seemed like a good time.”

 

“Why right now?” He looked a tad suspicious but not disinterested.

 

“It's a great way to get rid of some extra energy.” I threw my arms around his neck.

 

His grin fell from his face. His suspicions were confirmed. “You're manic.”

 

“Maybe. So?”

 

“So no.” He removed my arms from around his shoulders, and stood, lifting me off of him and depositing me on the floor in front of him.

 

“No?” This wasn't going how I wanted it to.

 

“No.” He shook his head.

 

“Why not?”

 

He turned towards me. “Because you're manic. You're out of your head right now. I'm not taking you to bed when you aren't thinking clearly.”

 

“I'm thinking perfectly clearly.” I crossed my arms.

 

“No you aren't.”

 

“Yes, I am. It makes perfect sense. I like you. You like me. I need to get physical.”

 

“You aren't thinking clearly. If you need to exert yourself, we can go running again. Or fight. Or anything. But I'm not sleeping with you right now.”

 

This was really not going to plan. I was so anxious and above everything, my skin was crawling. I needed to feel good. I'd do anything to feel good. And Bucky was not helping. “I hate jogging.”

 

“Suit yourself.” He shrugged, picked up his towel and gym bag, and headed back towards his room. I followed.

 

“You just don't want to. Is that it? You aren't interested?”

 

“I didn't say that. At all.” He said, but kept walking.

 

“That's got to be it. I'm practically throwing myself at you and you're turning me down.” I sighed defeatedly. “Just tell me. I can take it.”

 

We'd reached his door. He slung his towel over his shoulder, and faced me. “You know that's not true.”

 

“No, I don't.”

 

“You're being manipulative now.”

 

I bounced my hands off of my thighs a few times. Man was I uncomfortable. “No I'm not. I'm just... I don't know.” I trailed off.

 

He looked at me for a long time. “Listen. Not like this. I don't want to do it just because you need to get some energy out of your system and you aren't thinking straight. You won't accept my other options to work through it.” He saw my look of utter disappointment.

 

“I don't want to jog, or spar, right now.” I turned to leave, but he stopped me.

 

He pulled me towards him, wrapping his muscular arms around me, and kissed me with an intensity I had never experienced before. Then he stepped back. “I'll give you the best night of your damned life. I'll be glad to. When you're not manic. I promise.” He brushed the hair out of his face, turned, and retreated into his room and closed the door, leaving me breathless.

* * *

 

I found Natasha in the training room. She was hitting a punching bag lightning quick. She finished up a round of punches, and then noticed me. “I thought you weren't feeling like training?” She said, stopping the bag from swinging.

 

“I wasn't. But I'm back now.” I said dejectedly.

 

“Oh no. What happened?” She stood facing me, hands on hips.

 

“I just... decided I should train. That's all. Get rid of some of my energy. I seem to have a surplus.” I shrugged.

 

“Things didn't go well with Bucky I take it?” She asked knowingly.

 

“How did you know?”

 

“I went downstairs because I forgot the tape for my knuckles. I saw you two in the weight room.” She frowned. “I tried not to eavesdrop but... you weren't exactly being discreet.”

 

I looked at my shoes. Now I was rejected and embarrassed. “Yeah I guess not. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But he said no.” I shrugged, trying to seem nonchalant. “Guess he wasn't as into me as I thought.”

 

The Back Widow smiled bemusedly. “Right.” She rolled her eyes. “Have you seen him around you? It's almost disgusting.” She saw the sad look I gave her. “Disgusting in a good way. Like, uh, a romantic comedy that's a little too much.”

 

“Well he said no. So he can't be that interested.”

 

“Mayday, have you taken a look in the mirror today? Have you stopped and thought about what you're doing? You're clearly over the top right now.” Natasha led me to the benches and sat me down, grabbing both of my hands to stop me from fidgeting. “Bucky is a good man. He's not going to take advantage of the situation when you clearly aren't well.”

 

“Everyone keeps saying that! I'm fine!” I said, a little too loudly.

 

“That's because everyone's noticed. It has Wanda particularly concerned.”

 

“Is she reading my mind again?”

 

“No. But she says the vibes emanating off of you the past few days are so intense, she has a hard time being in the same room.” Nat told me gently. “She says you're too uncomfortable, she doesn't know how you do it.”

 

“I've always lived this way.” I shrugged.

 

“So let's do something. Distract you. Until Bruce figures out what to do.” Natasha stood up. “I'll teach you some kicks. We should stretch first.”

 

I followed her dejectedly to the mats. I dejectedly went through a series of stretches. Then she lined me up at the punching bag and showed me a series of kicks. I imitated her exactly. She stood back. “Wow, you're actually not bad at this.”

 

I perked up a little. I finally had potential at something. I went through a few more rounds of kicks, keeping up with Natasha until I was exhausted. Then, without warning, a loud alarm rang through the entire building. I turned to her questioningly. “What's that?”

 

“We're being summoned. Meeting room. We have a job to do.” She started toward the door. “And Mayday, don't worry about Bucky. I guarantee, he'll be there when you have your head screwed on straight.”

 

“You think?”

 

She laughed. “No, I know.”

* * *

We all shuffled into the meeting room. Cap and Tony stood at the head of the table. As soon as everyone was seated, Cap began to speak. “We got a distress call from a cruise ship on the Black Sea. It's been taken over by Russian commandos.”

 

“Is it the General?” Natasha asked him.

 

“We're not sure yet. But the Intel that got out was from someone's cell phone. Men in black speaking Russian parachuted onto the ship and hijacked it with assault rifles. They appear to be highly trained. We aren't sure how many there are- there were around twenty in the video clip alone, shuttling everyone to the bottom deck. It's only thirty seconds long- then the person filming got caught.”

 

“What happened to them?” Clint asked.

 

Steve got a sad look on his face. “They don't appear to have survived. One of the hijackers shot them.”

 

Everyone was silent.

 

“It sounds like the General.” Natasha finally said.

 

“You think everything sounds like the General.” Clint gave his friend a suffering look.

 

“I know what he's capable of. You all are underestimating him.”

 

“No one has heard from him in years. There's no indication this is him.” Tony said.

 

“There's no indication that it's not, either.” Natasha folded her arms over her chest. “When do we leave?”

 

“As soon a possible. Suit up and get ready. Falcon's on his way. So's War Machine.” Steve told them all.

 

“What about Mayday?” Wanda asked. She was eyeing me strangely. I guessed I was still making her uncomfortable with my discomfort.

 

Tony shook his head. “She's not ready. She'll stay back with Maria and monitor the operation. Learn how we work.” He turned and addressed me personally. “I have some things in the works for you. Bucky and Steve brought some issues to my attention that I'm... inventing something for.”

 

You looked at him and nodded, though you had no idea what he was talking about. Secretly you were glad you weren't going. Not yet. You weren't ready.

 

“All right, team, go get your shit and let's do this. Meet at the jet.” Tony waved them all away. We all stood to go, shuffling out the door. Bucky was in front of me. I called his name. He stalled a bit in the hallway while everyone else departed.

 

“Yeah?” He asked, his eyes dark and brooding.

 

“About earlier... I'm sorry.” I spit out the words. He had been right. They were all right. I had been out of my mind. Now that I was coming back down, I could see it. “I put you in an unfair place.”

 

He waved it off. “Don't worry about it.” He put a hand on my shoulder. “We'll fix it when I get back.”

 

“All right. I know you have to go but... be careful. Don't be a hero.”

 

He smiled at that. “Don't worry, Darlin'. I never was much of a hero.”

* * *

 

It took the jet, as fast as it was, six hours to get to the Black Sea. I slept fitfully until they were scheduled to arrive, then went to the command room. A tall brunette was there, manning a bank of computers with a few other people. She turned as I arrived, smiling at me. “Mayday. I'm Maria Hill.” She extended her hand and I shook it. “Tony said to be expecting you. You're here to monitor the operation with us?”

 

I nodded. “Yes. I... I'm not quite ready to actually go out on the field.” I replied. I didn't know when, if ever, I would be ready. I couldn't figure out really how getting rid of power and lighting things back up, along with half-assed fighting skills, would qualify as Avenger-worthy, but apparently Tony and Steve knew something I didn't.

 

“It's a lot of training. You'll get there.” Maria sat in front of a computer, and I sat beside her. She handed me a headset. “You'll be able to hear everyone through this. If you press the button on the side you can talk to them. I advise against it though.”

 

I nodded, and sat, listening. Maria pulled up a satellite view of the cruise ship, along with a view from a camera mounted below the jet. I could see armed men patrolling the ship. “Have they asked for any demands?”

 

She shook her head. “No. We're checking passenger manifests to see if anyone on board is important in any way. So far there are two nuclear physicists and a medical doctor, as well as a doctor of bio-engineering. Everyone else is ordinary.”

 

I pondered that. If Natasha was right and this was the work of some crazy general, nuclear physicists would be pretty valuable. “Natasha mentioned a General. Who is it?”

 

“General Yuri Brushov. He was a major player in the KGB during the cold war. Natasha is convinced he's still a threat. No one's heard from him in years. He's probably dead.” Maria typed something into my computer and a dossier came up for the man. I read it. It was full of really bad things, but it appeared to end in 1998. “This is most likely a terrorist offshoot of the Military. But we don't know for sure.”

 

My headset suddenly sprang to life. Everyone was checking their connections. I heard all of them say various versions of “check” or “testing” into their mics. “We can hear you loud and clear at command.” Maria pushed the red button on her headset and spoke into it.

 

“Roger that, Maria. Good to hear from you. How was your vacation?” I heard Steve say.

 

“It was good, Steve. Relaxing. First day back and shit hits the fan. Thanks for saving it for me.” She smiled.

 

“Wouldn't want you to miss it.” Steve replied. “OK guys, I'll jump down first and check stuff out.”

 

“Him never using a parachute freaks me out every time.” I heard Wanda say.

 

“Bucky doesn't use on either.” Clint stated.

 

“Jesus Christ. What is with you two?” You heard a hint of exasperation in Wanda's accented English.

 

“It'll just slow me down.” Bucky stated, then a brief moment of silence.

 

“And there he goes, too.” Natasha stated bluntly. “Those boys will be the death of me.”

 

“My chute's ready. Are you guys good to go?” Clint asked.

 

“Yeah, we're good. Just waiting for the all-clear from Steve.” Nat replied. “Don't do anything stupid Clint. Your wife will kill me if I don't bring you home in one piece.”

 

“You mean you don't want God-children?” Clint asked amusedly.

 

“Not even a funny joke.” Natasha retorted.

 

Maria turned to me. “Falcon, War Machine, Tony, Steve, Bucky, Vision, and Thor went in first to clear the top of the cruise ship, so it's safe for the others to parachute in. So no one gets shot out of the air. Since none of those guys use chutes. Of course, most of them can fly. Steve and Bucky are just insane.”

 

“Badass.” I whispered under my breath. I couldn't imagine watching them just dive out of an airplane. Maybe some day I'd get to. And I'd worry every second, like I was worrying now. We waited in silence for a few minutes.

 

“On your left, Sam.” I heard Steve say. Sam grunted a response and I heard some gunfire.

 

“Warning me about probably death is the only time you ever get to say 'on your left' to me again, Steve.” Sam breathed into the mic. Steve chuckled. I wasn't sure what that was about. Several minutes later, with checks from the first group, the second group got the go ahead to jump down. A few more minutes went by and they all confirmed landing on the ship.

 

The next half hour was a cacophony of gunfire, yelling, quips to one another, Steve telling Bucky to stop swearing, Bucky telling Steve to go fuck himself, and more gunfire. Finally there was quiet.

 

“Maria, are you there?” Steve's voice rang through the headsets again.

 

“Roger that, Steve. Is everyone accounted for?”

 

“Yes. Thor took a knife to the thigh but he's fine.” Steve relayed.

 

“A puny knife is no match for me.” Thor said.

 

“Stop moving while I bandage it.” Wanda told him.

 

“I'm fine. I need no bandage.”

 

“The blood that's all over the place says you do. Hold still.” Wanda said crossly.

 

“You didn't have to bring down the Hulk?” Maria asked.

 

“No. I'm still in the jet.” This was the first thing Bruce had said the whole time.

 

“The green machine didn't get to wreck a cruise ship today.” Tony added. “Pity. I built a new Veronica. Waiting to test it out.”

 

“That's not funny, Tony.” Bruce sounded defeated.

 

“Hope it works better than the last Veronica. You did a bang up job with that one.” I could hear the sarcasm dripping from Natasha's voice.

 

“Okay guys, enough chatter. You all have the list. We need to check the survivors against the passenger manifest. See if anyone's missing. Maria, this might take a while. It's a small cruise ship but there are 300 people on board, plus crew.” Steve spoke loudly.

 

“How many civilians are down?” Maria asked.

 

“None got taken out in friendly fire, so as far as we know just the person who filmed the original video. Hopefully.” Steve stated, then the mics were cut off. I waited in anticipation for nearly an hour. Finally Steve came back on. “Maria, we double and triple checked. Doctor Nevaya Rodrigo isn't here.”

 

“She's the nuclear physicist from the DOD.” Maria sighed.

 

“The passengers are saying she got taken away in a helicopter shortly before we got here. No markings on the helicopter. Just a black one.” Steve confirmed their suspicion. This hijacking had been for a scientist.

 

“All right. We'll start looking for her. Come on home, guys. I'll hopefully have something soon.”

 

I looked at Maria. “They hijacked an entire ship for one woman?” Maria nodded. “That's not good. Whatever they needed her for, they needed her bad.”

 

“That's what I'm afraid of.” Maria turned back towards her computer, and started looking up images of that region, trying to get a photo of the helicopter or find out where it went. I helped scour maps, but we didn't find anything. No satellites had been in that area at that time.

 

“This is not good.” Maria said to me. I agreed.

 

To be continued in Mayday Part 6: URA Fever

 

Chapter Text

The group had finished clearing the ship in the early morning hours. By the time they got it to shore and departed, the sun was high in the sky. Knowing they were all safely on the way home, I bid Maria farewell and wearily made my way to my room and crawled into bed for some more sleep. The excitement of the previous day and night had drained me. I was spent. I literally had no extra energy.

 

I slept like a rock most of the day, waking just as the jet landed bringing them all home. All of the Avengers, looking exhausted, retreated immediately to their quarters, or, in Sam and War Machine's cases, to guest quarters, to sleep. They were all weary and had dark circles under their eyes. It was six o'clock in the evening. Figuring they'd all be sleeping until the next morning, I spent a little while practicing with a punching bag, then grabbed a snack and returned to my room. After showering, I settled down to watch an action movie on TV.

 

About four hours after they had landed, there was a knock on my door. Since everyone was currently passed out, I wasn't sure who it could be. I got up, peered out the peephole, and grinned. I opened the door to Bucky, standing in the hallway, his hands in the pockets of his faded black jeans.

 

“I thought you'd be asleep.” I looked him up and down.

 

“I slept for a while. But I wanted to see you.” His dark eyes met mine. “So I got up.”

 

I gestured in towards my apartment. “Do you want to come in?” I asked.

 

He eyed me with a look of caution. “I think so. But how are you feeling?” He asked me.

 

“Very level, honestly. The last 20 hours was enough excitement to beat the shit out of my nerves and mellow me out.” I replied very truthfully.

 

He perked up. “Then yes. I definitely want to come in.”

 

I ushered him in, removing the blanket that was on my small sofa and tossing it over the arm. We sat down. “You wanted to see me, huh?” I asked with a small smile.

 

He nodded once.

 

“Why?”

 

“I think you know.” His eyes looked deep into mine.

 

“Oh.” I blushed.

 

“If you're still interested. If it wasn't just your mania talking.” He was still looking into my eyes, the seriousness of his expression clear on his face. He wanted to be sure that I wanted him.

 

“Ummm.” I stammered. This was awesome and embarrassing at the same time. I looked away for a second, then back at him, my expression matching his. “Yes. Yes I do. My mood didn't interfere with that. It just made me reckless.”

 

He nodded. “Good.” A small smile hinted across his face, and then he was on my side of the couch, his arms around me, his lips on my lips, feeling, exploring, just being. I returned his kisses and caresses. My hands were in his hair, down his sides, everywhere I could get them. I couldn't get enough of this man. I brought my leg up around him and he paused.

 

“What? Is something wrong?” I asked, breaking away from a kiss.

 

“No. No, nothing's wrong.” He smiled down at me. “This isn't going to work on your sofa though. It's too small for the both of us.” He pulled himself off of me, and dragged me up after him, still kissing me. He walked me backwards into my room, pulling my tank top off over my head as we went. He pushed me down on the unmade bed, pulling his tight black tee shirt off and kicking off his shoes before joining me. I just watched him, enjoying the view. He'd had the forethought to bring a condom, which wasn't surprising because he was always prepared for everything. He pulled it from his pocket, looking sheepish. “I wasn't expecting anything. I was hoping.” He told me, to clarify.

 

He made love like he did everything else; focused, methodical, and intense. He ran his hands over me; took me in and memorized me like I was a map and he was dedicating it all to the far reaches of his mind for a later adventure. As he filled me and pushed me to my breaking point, his back muscles coiled and flexed under my travelling hands. He didn't move fast or slow; he bent and turned and thrusted just right. He rolled me on top of him as I was nearing the precipice, and as I went over it, all of the lights in the room suddenly lit up bright for a few seconds, then went back out. I was afraid for a split second that I'd taken out the power in his arm again, but he reached up with both hands, flesh and metal, and placed them on my hips. He kept me firmly on top of him, working me through it, then he himself reached his peak a few moments later.

 

Laying in the sweaty sheets in the dark after, breathing heavily, he pulled me closer to him. His metal arm held me safely pressed against his side. His breathing got more steady, and he spoke. “I've been thinking about this for a while.”

 

“Not going to lie, it's crossed my mind a few times.” I replied, grinning into the dark. “Mostly when we're sparring, oddly enough.”

 

“That's not so odd. It's also very physical.” His voice emanated in the dark room.

 

“So, this may not be any of my business, and I don't mind whatever the answer is, but... you've been frozen basically for seventy years...” I was curious as to whether I should even ask this question or not.

 

“Yes?”

 

“You were... how should I put this... really good at that. Is this your first time in seventy years; is it like riding a bicycle where you never really forget how to do it?” I rushed out the sentence. “I don't want to know how many people you've been with or anything, that's not my business. But... like seventy years?”

 

“Calm down. I'm not offended by your question.” I heard a faint hint of amusement in his voice, and he pulled me tighter. “No, you aren't my first in seventy years. But yes, it is kind of like riding a bicycle.”

 

“What happened to the other girls?” I asked. I probably should have wondered if he had some other girlfriends from the get-go.

 

“They were never anything more than a one-and-done thing. They knew the deal. I'm not into lying for sex.” He responded after a brief silence. “A few girls I met while getting back on my feet, before Steve found me. A British Intelligence officer that I'm pretty sure was just out for a cheap thrill.” I felt him turn his face towards me in the dark. “No one to worry about. And I was safe.”

 

“Is that what this is? A one-and-done thing?” I was beginning to get anxious. Why now? Why couldn't I just relax?

 

“This is whatever you want it to be.” He responded quietly. “But I'd like for it not to be a one time thing.”

 

I nodded. “I think... I'd like that, too.”

 

His muscles, which I hadn't realized were so tense, seemed to loosen up. I leaned over and kissed him gently on the lips, and got up to use the facilities. When I got back, he was sound asleep naked in my bed. I watched him for a few moments, in the moonlight shining through my window, smiling. I was glad he'd said no the other day during my crazed outburst. Tonight had been a much better scenario. I climbed into bed beside him, pulled the blankets over both of us, and had a surprisingly easy time falling asleep.

* * *

 

The next morning I didn't have any scheduled appointments with Bruce, so we slept in. Or so I thought. At 8am there was a knock on my door. Since Bucky was still beside me, I knew it wasn't him. We both awoke with a start, looked at each other, and I sprung out of bed, throwing on my robe. I went into the livingroom, closing my bedroom door behind me to keep a very naked Winter Soldier out of view, and opened the door. Tony was standing there, along with Steve. Awkward.

 

“Mayday, we have some news for you. Can we come in for a second?” Tony asked. Steve was peering into my apartment. I looked behind me and noticed Bucky's shirt on my floor, just outside my bedroom door. He must have tossed it there the night before. Double awkward.

 

“Um, sure. I wasn't expecting company but all right...” I moved aside to let them in, but Steve stopped the obviously oblivious Tony from entering my rooms.

 

“Let's give her a chance to wake up, and meet in your office in twenty minutes?” Steve suggested. He pointedly looked at me, then at the shirt, and raised his brows. He recognized it, because of course he did. Bucky was his best friend, and the only one who habitually wore all black except Clint (who wouldn't be in here because he was married, obviously.)

 

Tony seemed to notice I was in a robe, with bedhead and bleary eyes, for the first time. “Oh, right. Sorry about that, Mayday. My office, twenty minutes.” He nodded. “Good thinking, Steve.” They departed, and I closed the door.

 

Bucky opened the bedrom door right after I shut my front door, clad in his boxer-briefs. I turned to him, and pointed at his shirt on the ground. “So Steve seemed to notice that shirt.” I said.

 

Bucky nodded. “Not a lot gets past Steve.”

 

“You gonna tell him?”

 

“I don't have a problem with him knowing, but I won't say anything if you don't want me to.” He looked at me questioningly.

 

“I think everyone kind of supposes it's either gonna happen or has happened.” I said, aproaching him timidly. Now that it was daylight, I wasn't sure how to proceed. It had been a while since I'd had a man around. “So, I don't think we should announce it like a couple of horny teenagers... that wouldn't be professional.”

 

“But I don't think we should hide it either.” Bucky said what I was thinking. I nodded in agreement. He smiled pretty wide, then kissed me again. “I wish I could stay longer, but I'll let you get ready for your meeting.”

 

“Do you have any idea what it's about?”

 

“I have a vague idea, but I'll let them explain it. I'm not sure exactly what the outcome was.”

 

“Outcome of what?”

 

“Of something we suggested to Tony.” Bucky pulled on his shirt and shoes, and I walked him to my door. “Don't worry. It's not bad. It might solve a lot of your problems.”

 

“If you're gonna stick around, you'd better get used to my problems.” I smirked at him, only half joking.

 

“I'm well aware of your problems.” He winked at me, and took off down the hall. “By the way, you're training with me this afternoon.”

 

“Great! That won't go south or anything.” I called after him. He chuckled and got onto the elevator.

* * *

 

Twenty minutes later I was dressed and presentable, sitting across a cluttered desk from Tony and next to Steve. My chair was turned so I could see both of them.

 

“You're probably wondering what this is about?” Tony began. I nodded. “Steve came to me the other day to tell me that Bucky and him were concerned that you were having problems expelling enough energy to counter the amount you've been taking in.”

 

I nodded again. Bucky had gone to Steve on my behalf? That was nice to know he was looking out for me.

 

“I suggested maybe Tony could build something to turn the energy into a pulse.” Steve began.

 

“Like a weapon?” I asked, intrigued. Maybe I could be useful to this group after all.

 

“Not like a weapon. Very much a weapon.” Tony corrected me. He pulled a box out of a drawer and handed it to me. “It didn't take long. I just revamped some tech I already had. Of course they'll have to be tested, but consider this the beta version.”

 

I opened the box. In it was a pair of fingerless gloves, with some kind of mechanical device and what looked like a round metal plate in each palm. I peered at them, then at Tony. “How do they work?”

 

“Hypthetically, you focus the energy you want gone into these, and they shoot pulses of electricity.” Steve told me.

 

“Not hypothetically. That's exactly what they do.” Tony frowned.

 

“We haven't tested them yet.” Steve reminded him.

 

“They'll work. They might need fine tuning, but they'll work.” Tony continued to frown, as though his work was being questioned.

 

“How strong are these pulses?” I asked, gingerly taking a glove out.

 

“However strong you make them. So, don't go shooting any of us. You can potentially incapacitate or even kill a target with these.” Tony turned to me.

 

I dropped the glove back into the box and looked at them with wide eyes. “Are you sure you want me to have these?” They both nodded.

 

“We need to test them. You'll be doing your training down in the big training room today, with Bucky and me.” Steve told me. “Tony will be observing. We'll see how this goes.”

 

I breathed out a long pent up breath. “Alright.”

* * *

 

Steve met up with Bucky in the dining room for breakfast, to go over the change in training schedule. The man in black looked up as Steve entered.

 

“How did it go?” Bucky asked him, taking a drink of coffee. “Did Tony make something that will work?”

 

Steve poured himself some coffee and nodded. “They're gloves, that focus the power into a beam. I have high hopes that they'll work.” He sat across from his friend. “We're meeting in the big training room in an hour. It's been moved up. You and I will be teaching her today, and Tony will be observing.”

 

Bucky nodded. “Sounds good.”

 

Steve just gave him a questioning look.

 

“What?” Bucky asked, looking at the ever-so-slight grin on his oldest friend's face.

 

“You know what. Don't give me that.” Steve replied.

 

“I don't know what you're talking about.”

 

“Yes you do. I saw your shirt on the floor this morning.”

 

“A gentleman doesn't kiss and tell.” Bucky went back to his eggs and coffee.

 

“Since when are you a gentleman?” Steve chuckled. “I'm not asking for details! But you were clearly in Mayday's room this morning.”

 

“Maybe I was.”

 

“Maybe you were.” Cap rolled his eyes. “You're harder to crack than Fort Knox. Come on Bucky. Tell me something. Anything.”

 

“What do you want to know?”

 

“Are you serious about this girl? Because if you aren't, you could be messing up team dynamics.”

 

Bucky flashed an angry look at Steve. “You think I'd risk the team for a one night stand?”

 

Steve shrugged. “I don't know. You never talk to me like you used to. I don't feel like I really know you anymore.”

 

“You don't. I'm not the same Bucky that fell off of that train seventy years ago.” Bucky drained his coffee cup. “I don't even remember half of growing up with you.”

 

Steve looked hurt. “Listen, Buck, this conversation got out of hand fast-”

 

“Yes, it did. But to answer your question, no, I'm not just fucking around.” Bucky stood, seeing Steve flinch at the language he used. “I wouldn't sacrifice the team for something insubstantial.” He picked up his plate and left.

 

“Buck I just want you to talk to me...” Steve began, but his friend was gone. “Like we used to...” He trailed off to the empty room.

* * *

 

There was an expansive row of targets and dummies in the huge training room when I arrived a little later. Steve was waiting, and Tony was up at the observation window above. Bucky stalked in a minute later, taping up the knuckles on his regular hand. He and Steve exchanged an uncomfortable look. I wondered what that was about.

 

“You ready?” Steve asked me. I nodded. I guessed I was as ready as I was going to get. I pulled the gloves on. They were dark maroon leather with straps all over to pull them tight and secure the silver-dollar sized plate exactly where I wanted it on my palms. I adjusted the straps and flexed and bent my fingers a few times.

 

“Do they fit?” Bucky asked, taking one of my hands in his larger one and examining the glove.

 

“Yeah, they fit.” I affirmed.

 

“They're nice.” Bucky said gruffly, dropping my hand and stepping back.

 

“Now let's see if they work.” Steve added.

 

“They're going to work. You guys keep talking like that, I'm going to get offended.” Tony's voice came over the loudspeaker in the room.

 

“Yeah yeah, Tony. Let's just test them.” Steve replied. I found it humorous how at odds those two always were, even though I knew they were friends and colleagues. “Just aim at, well, any of the targets, and fire.”

 

I wasn't sure it would be that easy, so I lined up my palm with one of the bullseye targets along the far wall, and focused all of my consciousness into channelling my power to the glove. A tiny, wussy pulse of energy shot out and quickly faltered before it reached the target. I frowned and looked at them. “I don't have a surplus. I need to drain something first.”

 

“Shit, we didn't think of that.” Tony said from above. “Hang on. I'll have a generator brought up. Do NOT drain my building. I repeat do not drain my building.”

 

Ten minutes later a huge generator was gleefully pumping away in the corner. I stepped up near it, letting the waves of power emanate into me. The generator started revving much more slowly for a few minutes as I drained it. Feeling a surge of mania wash over me, I finished up and approached the two men again. “This should be enough.” I said, my voice a little heightened. They both raised their eyebrows at me.

 

“I hope this works.” Bucky whispered to Steve. “Or we're going to have to keep her contained for a while until all that energy wears off.”

 

Steve nodded at his friend. They clearly both thought that I couldn't hear them. I shrugged, turned towards the target, aimed, and set off the biggest pulse of energy I could muster. It jarred me back a little, like the kick on a rifle, and when I'd steadied myself, I noticed that both Steve and Bucky were looking at me, eyes wide.

 

I looked down at the target, which was actually really far away. Turns out I was a good aim, and the entire target was black now, with a big hole in the middle. The concrete wall behind it had a small chunk taken out. “Holy shit.” I said under my breath, just as Tony said the same thing over the loudspeaker.

 

“I told you guys it would work.” He said. “Mayday, can you try doing a little less damage?”

 

I nodded, lined up again, and shot a less destructive pulse at a dummy. It knocked it over, but didn't destroy it.

 

“Is this... coming easily to you?” Bucky asked me.

 

I nodded. “These are surprisingly easy to use.”

 

“Of course they are. I built them.” Tony quipped. “How about an in-between bolt? Knock a dummy head off but don't light it on fire.”

 

I did as I was told, and the third target was taken out. The dummy was left standing, rocking on it's base, but the head bounced along the floor before coming to rest at Natasha's feet. She had just entered the room.

 

She picked up the head, peered at it, looked at me, and said “Impressive.” Then she joined the rest of us. “I heard commotion in here.”

 

“That's us.” Steve told her.

 

“Mayday has a new toy.” Tony stated. “And she's doing a hell of a job with it.”

 

I fired off a few more shots. The pulses were creepily silent, in actuality. I could feasibly take out several targets undetected using these things. I hit every bullseye and dummy on the first try. Soon, all thirty that had been in the room were destroyed completely or headless. I turned to look up at Tony. “I think they'll do the trick. They got rid of the energy really well. And I can blow shit up.” I went to brush my hands together, but when the metal plates from each of my palms hit each other, something happened. Lights out for me, again.

* * *

 

“What the fuck?” Bucky ran over to Mayday, picking her up off the floor. “Someone call Bruce. What the fuck happened, Tony?”

 

Tony was dashing down the stairs and joined the rest of the group around Mayday's unconscious form.

 

“She's breathing, and her pulse is normal. I think she'll be okay.” Steve put a hand on Bucky's shoulder. Nat had ran off to find Bruce.

 

“When she hit the plates together... it must have caused a short.” Tony shook his head. “And that shorted, well, her. I'll have to redo them. That can't happen again.”

 

“No, it can't.” Bucky gave him a hard look. “It didn't occur to you that she might touch the two plates at some point?”

 

“I didn't think about it. I can't anticipate everything.” Tony glared at Bucky. “Calm down.”

 

“Calm down? She's knocked out again! And this time it's your fault. And we don't know if she's okay!” Bucky was getting angry. He was leaning over Mayday's body, checking her carotid again.

 

“She's okay.” A weak voice chimed in. They all looked down. Mayday was awake. “But shit, that really hurt.”

 

Continued soon in Mayday Part 7: A Hard Pair We Will Be

 

Chapter Text

It took a few attempts, but Tony ended up making me some spectacularly effective gloves. The first pair, as we all know, shorted and knocked me out. Bruce told me I was lucky that I absorb power or the short might have stopped my heart. The second pair Tony made... well lets just say they were defective. One of them caught on fire on the first test run and I had to tear it off, ending up with a few burns on my right hand. The third try worked all right but if I gave them too much power, they'd fizzle out. It wasn't until the fourth attempt that they were exactly right. Tony made me three pairs of them. We teasingly called them the “Mach 4, Mach 5, and Mach 6.”

 

Having this new found weapon at my disposal, not to mention being able to get rid of excess energy at will, gave me a new sense of confidence and purpose. I threw myself into training harder than I ever had. I was determined to be useful next time the team went anywhere; next time Bucky went anywhere and might be in danger. I knew he'd been a one man army, assassinating people, for the last 70 years, and that he was tough as nails, but now that we were sort of together, I felt protective over the guy.

 

I'd been training so hard for about two weeks since my first pair of gloves, I hadn't been able to spend a lot of time with him during the day. My schedule was relentless, because they wanted me strong. I wanted to be strong. At night, after a long day, sometimes I'd crawl wearily into his bed or he into mine. Some nights we slept. Some nights we spent hours talking about our pasts, our arms wrapped around each other. Some nights we made love. And some nights we stayed in our own rooms, too exhausted or depressed to see anyone. Bucky, for all of his bravado, was no stranger to dark days and darker moods. He struggled with self loathing over what he'd done with Hydra, over not being able to remember life with Steve; over just about everything. We both knew that no other person can cure a thing like this for you; the only thing anyone else can do for you is give you a place to come home to when you're ready.

* * *

 

I'd been training a lot with Thor and Natasha. Mostly dodging for now. Natasha was teaching me how to use having a female body to my advantage during a fight. We may not be as strong as the men, but we're smaller and more agile; it's easier for us to manipulate our bodies out of tight situations and slip out of holds with the proper practice, or avoid getting caught altogether. I wasn't nearly as small as Nat, but I was still a hell of a lot smaller than Thor. A mac truck was smaller than Thor. We'd spend days with him getting me in the most obscure holds possible, and Natasha walking me through how to get out of them. After about a week, I was pretty proficient at weaseling my way out of a solid grip. I was getting so good, it was beginning to piss Thor off that he couldn't trap me.

 

“This is not fair! I've never had anyone so hard to hang onto!” Thor boomed as I rolled and fell out of yet another hold. “Natasha, you've taught her too well. How is she doing this? Last week she couldn't even give a decent handshake.”

 

Nat shrugged. “Feminine mystique, Thor. Feminine mystique.” She smiled, patting me on the back. “Care to join us for target practice?”

 

“I have no need of guns.” Thor replied. “Good work, Mayday. As I've said before, always a pleasure sparring with you.”

 

“You too, Thor.” I nodded at him as he left, and Nat and I made our way down to the gun range. Bucky had given me some training on dismantling various weapons and putting them back together in the first few weeks I'd been there. I'd been training on shooting a bit, but knew it wouldn't really be a necessary skill since I could shoot lasers out of my hands now. We still spent the better part of two hours at the range. First with pistols, then with larger assault rifles that kicked so hard, Natasha had to stand behind me pushing on my shoulder to keep me in place. I had a certain skill at aiming that everyone was surprised at.

 

“You certainly know how to shoot.” Nat said, pushing a button and pulling the target towards us. Every bullet hole was in the head or the heart. “Didn't see that coming. No offense.”

 

“None taken. Manicuring nails for a living doesn't instill much confidence in my shooting ability, I'd imagine.” I replied, proudly examining the destroyed target.

 

“Not really. But everyone has to start somewhere.” She strung up a new target, and handed me an Uzi. I was a little hesitant to use it. “Don't worry. Just, you know, only aim it where you want to shoot it. And like all of the guns, finger off the trigger until you're going to shoot. No exceptions.”

 

I nodded and picked it up, aimed, and let a hail of gunfire go. I wasn't quite as spot-on with the Uzi, but the bullets still all hit the target. Nat looked at me, eyebrows raised, obviously impressed. I felt like she had kind of taken me under her wing, much as I'd heard she'd done with Wanda when she'd first arrived. The Avengers was a boy's club, and even though all of the men were good and fair, the women had a certain undeniable bond.

* * *

“Where are we on the search for Dr. Rodrigo?” Steve strode into the command center a few days later, and approached Maria Hill, who was busy at a bank of computers. Each screen had something different on it, and she was expertly navigating through all of them.

 

“I'm getting nothing, but we are homing in on a Hydra base here on the east coast. Should know the location soon. I'm hoping you guys can infiltrate it and maybe hack a computer or two. Get some Intel. I'm sure Nat can swing it.” Maria replied, her eyes glued to the screen.

 

“They're completely silent on her? That's bad.” Steve sat down next to Maria.

 

“Yes, it is. And the longer they have a nuclear physicist, the worse it gets. Especially with the radioactive materials stolen from Iran recently. I have a feeling they're connected.” Maria sighed.

 

“Have we heard anything from Fury?”

 

“No. I put all of the agreed upon info out to try to get him to contact me. It's just a waiting game now. No one knows where he is. At least I don't think they do.”

 

“You'd be the first person to know where he was. If you don't know, no one knows.” Steve put a hand on her shoulder.

 

“I know. I haven't heard from him since Ultron... I'm getting worried.”

 

“Don't be. He has a habit of showing up at the last possible second. He'll be in touch.” Steve got up. “Let me know when you find that Hydra cell. And how big it is. It might be a good first mission for Mayday.”

 

“You think she's ready?” Maria looked dubious.

 

“She's made a lot of progress in the last few weeks. I think she's getting there.” Steve nodded. “Not for a big mission, but for a small one.”

 

Maria nodded back at Steve. “You'll know as soon as we find it.”

 

Steve exited command and rode the elevator to his floor. He was entering the dining hall when he ran straight into Bucky.

 

“Hey man, sorry. Didn't see you.” He stated, mid-collide.

 

Bucky straightened up, catching himself before he fell. “It's fine. I actually... was just looking for you.”

 

“You were?” Steve looked hopeful. He'd been handling Bucky with kid-gloves, but wanted his best friend back more than anything. Things had been strained ever since Bucky had been found and brought back here nearly a year ago. There were good days and there were bad; Steve was just waiting for the positive to outweigh the negative.

 

Bucky nodded. “I, well... this is embarrassing.”

 

“Go on.”

 

“I need some advice. Some advice on women.”

 

Steve raised his eyebrows. “You were always the one who was good with the ladies. I struck out all the time.”

 

“I know, I know, but... I don't remember a lot, and ladies back then weren't like ladies are now.” Bucky made his way into the dining area and sat down.

 

Steve poured two cups of coffee, sat across from Bucky, and slid one to him. “I'll try my best. What kind of advice do you need?”

 

Bucky looked down into his coffee cup for a while, then took a drink. “Well, I've been seeing Mayday for a couple of weeks-”

 

“I knew that was your shirt in her place!” Steve beamed a broad smile at his friend. “Good job!”

 

Bucky blushed. “Um, thanks. Yeah, that was my shirt. Thank you for not mentioning it to Tony. I can only imagine the hell he'd put me through.”

 

“Oh, Tony knows more than he's letting on.” Steve said. At Bucky's look of panic, he added, “I didn't tell him about the shirt though. Come on, Buck, we aren't gossiping teenagers. Have more faith in me.”

 

Bucky seemed to relax. “Okay. You're right. You never did me wrong before, as far as I remember.” He paused. “She's been training really hard. When she's done at night, I know she's tired and sore and just wants to sleep, but she usually comes and spends her evenings with me. I just wanted to do something nice for her.”

 

Steve pondered this. “What do you think she'd like?”

 

“That's why I'm asking you. What do girls nowadays like? I mean I could get her flowers but that seems so... cliché. Plus I'm pretty sure she'd kill them really quickly.”

 

Steve was at a loss. “I'm not really sure. You could take her out somewhere? Some place nice?”

 

“Yeah, but I was thinking a surprise. Something she won't have to get dressed up for if she's tired.”

 

“A whole lot of good sex won't work?” Steve smirked.

 

“I can't believe Captain America just said that.” A voice floated in from the doorway. Bucky and Steve both whipped around to find Natasha standing there. She chuckled. “Steve, Steve, Steve, I didn't know the word 'sex' was in your vocabulary.”

 

“For the last time, I'm not a virgin!” Steve closed his eyes in frustration. “And I didn't know you were there.”

 

“Sure you aren't.” Nat said teasingly. She approached the duo and sat down. “What are you guys talking about?”

 

Steve turned to Bucky. “She might actually be a good person to ask.”

 

“I do know a thing or two about sex.” She looked Bucky up and down. “But I'm going out on a limb here and assuming you do too. I read your file. You were quite the charmer, James Barnes. Back in the olden days.” She smirked.

 

“I don't have questions about sex Natasha; I know how that works.” Bucky rolled his eyes grumpily.

 

“Buck here wants to do something nice for Mayday. Because she's exhausted all the time. What do women like?” Steve asked.

 

Natasha regarded both of them like they had just asked her if 2 plus 2 equals four. “Are you two serious?” Both men nodded. “The both of you can't figure this out?” They nodded again. Nat sighed. “There goes any hope Bruce will ever figure it out, either.” She said under her breath. “You realize I'm not the best person to ask this. Like, Clint would be way better.”

 

“Come on, Nat, help a guy out. You are a woman, that's got to count for something. You know more about women than we do. Plus I've been frozen for seventy years, and... basically so has Bucky. Don't look at us like that, we're not infants. We know the basics; take her out and show her a nice time. But she's too tired to go out.” Steve rested his head on his hand.

 

“Fine. You want little romantic gesture or grand romantic gesture?” Nat asked dryly.

 

“I guess in the middle. I don't want to freak her out.” Bucky replied.

 

Natasha nodded. “I have a great idea.” She smiled, leaned in, and gave Bucky her idea.

* * *

“Today you'll be fighting Bucky and myself.” Steve told me. We were in the big training room. Two and a half weeks had gone by since Bucky and I had gotten together and since I'd gotten my gloves. I'd been training nonstop. I nodded uncertainly at him. “We'll both be trying to take you down. I don't have my shield and Bucky doesn't have his guns; this is strictly without weapons. For us at least.”

 

“What do you mean?” I asked. I didn't like where this was going.

 

“You'll be shooting at us. With your gloves.” Bucky stated bluntly. I gaped at him. “Please set your phasers to stun.”

 

“Did you guys just watch Star Trek? Seriously that's how you're going to explain this to me?” I shook my head. Bucky smiled.

 

“Yes we did. And make sure your pulses are low. We don't want you to make Red Shirts out of us.” Steve grinned at his own joke. I rolled my eyes.

 

“You guys trust me to do that?” I asked. They both nodded. It was true, I had gotten really good at controlling the blasts. But accidents could happen. I let out a long breath. “Okay.”

 

I went to one end of the room, and the two men started at the other. Obstacles had been interspersed between us; half walls and large blocks. It would provide them some cover. Tony was watching from above. On his signal, the two soldiers started closing in. Steve hopped over a short wall and I let a blast fly in his direction. He crouched and dodged it. As I was focusing on him, Bucky slid behind a block and out the other side, diving behind a stack of mats. I shot a blast at him, but he'd moved just out of the way. Shit, this was harder than I thought.

 

Steve lunged behind a rock climbing wall that had been placed on the floor. He was halfway to me now. I was going to have to blast him soon. I saw Bucky creeping along to my right. I let a pulse fly in his direction- it caught him in the heel as he ducked behind a desk. “Fuck!” I heard him exclaim, but I knew I'd barely phased him; he would keep coming.

 

Steve was almost on me. He'd taken my moment of distraction and was running at me. Just as he leapt in the air at me, I shot him with a beam of electricity, right in the chest. He made an “Oomph” sound, as it knocked him onto his back. I looked at him, concerned.

 

“He's fine Mayday. Keep your head in the game.” Tony said over the speakers. I snapped out of it, glancing to my right. Bucky was on me in a second. He tackled me, pinning my body under his flat on the floor, my hands above my head so I couldn't blast him. I was stuck. I concentrated all of my focus and-

 

“God damn it, Mayday! Not again!” He roared as his metal arm went limp. I wormed my way out from under him, or tried to, but he pinned me with one arm. “Don't think I can't stop you this way.” He said tartly. But I'd been practicing getting out of such holds, with a much bigger man than he was. I maneuvered my body sideways, slipping my left leg out and flipping myself over on top of him. At the same time, I wormed my arms out of his grasp. I was now on top of him, aiming my weapon directly at him.

 

“You were saying?” I raised a brow.

 

“You do realize that you most likely won't be up against anyone else with a mechanical arm, right?” He asked me. “I mean, good move, but there's only one me.”

 

“I wasn't fighting anyone else. I was fighting you.” I retorted. “Do you surrender or do you need a proper tasing like Cap over there?”

 

“Just surrender, Buck. That stun thing hurts.” Cap looked sheepish. “You know I could have gotten up and kept coming.”

 

I climbed off of Bucky. “Yeah I know. You guys weren't going to full on ambush me on the first round.” I reached a hand down to help him up. “You want to go again?”

 

“I'm... incapacitated.” Bucky looked at me. “Thanks for that.”

 

I laid my hand on his arm, and felt my mind push the power back into it. He looked at me, mystified. “You can fix it now, too?” I nodded. He smiled, stretching his fingers. “Then yes, let's go again. But no cheating this time!”

* * *

After I'd fought Cap and Bucky a few more times, mostly losing now because they were giving it their all, I'd taken a turn with Natasha. Close combat. I got my ass kicked. I'd done a decent job of dodging, but close combat was not my thing yet. Every time I brought a hand up to blast her, she kicked it down or batted it to the side. I'd gotten her only once; I'd run away, turned, and nailed her in the chest with a pulse.

 

I was dragging myself back to my room when Tony called me. “Mayday, I have something for you. It's outside your room in a box.” He spoke simply, then hung up. I frowned. Tony was so weird sometimes. I continued to my door, finding the aforementioned box. I picked it up and went to unlock my door, but it was already unlocked. Curious, I went in. The only other person with a key was Bucky, but I knew everyone in the building could pick a lock.

 

I flipped the lights on. On my coffee table was a bottle of Merlot, two wine glasses, and a bottle of Rose scented bubble bath. A note lay beside it.

 

Y/N, I know you've been training a lot and thought you could use some relaxation. I hope you like rose. Take a long bath; I'll be down later on. XxBuckyxx

 

I smiled, re reading the note. I wondered what had gotten into him. I put the box from Tony down and forgot about it on the sofa. I opened the bottle of wine, and took it and the two glasses into the bathroom, leaving a trail of clothes along the way. I ran a bath and put a ton of bubbles into it. I poured a glass of wine, then filled the other glass and left it on the cabinet. I left the bathroom door cracked open, and sunk into the tub, letting the stress and tension of the day leave me. I took a sip of wine, then leaned back and closed my eyes. This was nice. I opened my eyes and dried my hands, reaching for my phone. I sent one text, two words. “Come down.

 

A few minutes later, there was a knock on my door. “Who is it?” I called. I was pretty sure I knew who it was, but seeing as I was naked in the bathtub I figured I should check.

 

“It's me.” I heard Bucky say faintly.

 

“Come in. I'm in the tub.” I yelled back. I heard the front door open and then close, and heavy footsteps approach the bathroom. He peeked in shyly. “Don't be modest. Come in.” I smiled at him. He pushed the door open and approached, leaning against the sink.

 

“Do you like it?” He asked, unsure.

 

“Of course I do. Thank you.” I beamed at him. “I poured you a glass.” I motioned at the other cup. “You know what else I'd like though?”

 

“What?” He asked eagerly.

 

“You should join me.”

 

“You think we'll both fit?” He eyed the bathtub. It was a fairly large tub, but I wasn't a short girl and he was a pretty decent sized guy.

 

“It'll be a tight fit. I don't mind.” I moved to one side of the tub. “See, plenty of room. We might get a bit tangled up though.” I winked at him.

 

He shrugged and a hint of a smile ghosted across his dark features. He removed his shirt, exposing a rock hard torso. I watched appreciatively as he removed the rest of his cloths from his ridiculously toned body, and made his way the few steps to the tub.

 

“Don't forget your wine.”

 

He turned and retrieved it, and I took the opportunity to shamelessly check out his backside. He stepped into the tub with me and maneuvered his way in, setting the wine glass on the floor. “This is a tight fit.” He agreed.

 

I switched positions, leaning onto his chest. “Is that better?” I asked as he stretched his legs out.

 

“Yes.” He seemed kind of awkward sitting with me in a bathtub full of bubbles. He was a man more at home in a grungy hideout, stalking his prey. But since his prey was currently me, I guess he'd had to switch his tactics up a little bit. He slowly began to relax, putting an arm around my waist and letting the water warm his muscles.

 

“This was a nice surprise, Buck. Thank you.” I told him, kissing him on the cheek.

 

“I can't take all the credit. I wanted to do something nice for you, and I didn't know what you'd like. So I asked Steve.” He told me quietly.

 

“This was Steve's idea?” I'd pegged Steve as a romantic, but not like this.

 

“Uh, well no. Steve told me to take you out to dinner, but I knew you'd be too tired for that. So Natasha helped me out.” He took a long drink of wine, draining half the glass. I respected how hard this was for him; he wasn't used to being soft, and he wasn't used to having a woman around. But he really wanted to please me. “It was kind of a team effort. I didn't even know where to buy bubble bath. Nat made me go to this store that smelled weird and sells lotions and perfumes and things.”

 

“Bath and Body Works?”

 

He nodded. “Everyone looked at me weird.”

 

I grinned, thinking of him going in there, dressed all in black with his combat boots and long hair, and asking for Rose bubble bath. I took the wine glass from his hands and set it down, and crawled onto him, straddling his lap. There were bubbles everywhere. I had been a little overzealous with the bubble bath. “Thank you. It's wonderful.” I leaned down and kissed him. “And I guarantee all the women in that store were wondering who the lucky girl was you were buying this for, and any guy knew for certain you were about to get laid.”

 

He looked at me with wide eyes; he wasn't used to people being so frank about the subject, I guessed. Then he smiled. “I guess that's true.” He ran a hand up my back. “Am I about to get laid?” He had a sparkle in his eyes.

 

“You bet your ass you are.” I nodded, took the last drink of my wine, and sunk lower onto him in the tub, leaning forward and kissing his neck. I could feel him getting hard underneath me. He grabbed me with both hands, snaking his fingers through my hair, and kissed me, parting my lips and exploring with his tongue. It became clear the bathtub wasn't going to cut it, so he stood, easily picking me up, and made his way into my bedroom, tossing me on the bed dripping wet. He'd grabbed a condom and tackled me in no time, and the rest, as they say, is history.

* * *

 

The sun was pouring in my window the next morning when the alarm sounded all through the building. All I wanted was to stay in bed with Bucky, but we both knew what that sound meant. It meant trouble. We both practically leapt out of bed, throwing on clothes and heading for the door. That's when I saw the box from Tony, still unopened on my sofa.

 

“Wait a sec, Buck.” I removed the tape and the lid. He watched me quizzically.

 

“What is that?” He asked.

 

“Tony dropped it off, I don't know. I forgot about it when I saw the wine and bubbles.” I pulled back some tissue paper, and removed a heavy leather garment from the box. It fell into place in front of me; it was a heavy leather and Kevlar bodysuit, deep burgundy in color. It zipped up the front. Each leg had multiple pockets. The torso and back had Kevlar built in, and the shins had thin metal plating along the front of each. The elbows and knees were reinforced. “It.. it's a...”

 

“It's a tactical suit.” Bucky finished. He looked at it. “Guess he thinks you're ready.”

 

I looked at him, suddenly feeling kind of sick. “I don't know if I'm ready.”

 

Bucky hoked an elbow around me, kissing me on the side of the head. “You're ready.” He took my hand and pulled me down the hallway, into the elevator, and hit the button for the floor with the main meeting room. Once the doors closed, he pulled me towards him and his lips were once again on mine. I sunk into the kiss, and when the doors opened, pulled away.

 

“What was that for?”

 

“Our mornings are always interrupted.” He shrugged. “I just wanted to kiss you again. Especially if shit is about to get bad.”

 

We entered the meeting room. Half of the people were already there. Natasha sat quietly in her chair- she had no doubt been the first to arrive. Clint and Sam weren't- they were both at their actual homes. Thor followed after us, and Wanda after him. Tony stood at the front, Cap next to him. Maria Hill sat right next to them.

 

Tony looked at all of us. “We have Intel on HYDRA. Maria?”

 

Maria stood up. “We are still searching for Dr. Rodrigo, but, what with the shipment of Uranium that was stolen from Iran last week, we need to move with more urgency.” She clicked the light out and a map appeared on the screen behind her. “We've located a small HYDRA cell just south of DC. It's not much. Sam and Jim did some surveillance and there are ten agents in this old building. There's a lot of computer activity in and out, though. We need a few of you to break in, neutralize the agents, and get the data off of their computer systems. They'll move the doctor as soon as they detect the breach, but if we can figure out where she is right now, we may be able to track where they take her.” Maria clicked the light back on, and slid folders to each of us. “Steve, Bucky, and Sam will go in first. Natasha, you'll go in last and hack the computers. I know you're good on first wave, but we need to make sure you can get the data- you're the best at that sort of thing. Mayday and Clint will go in second.”

 

My eyes got wide. “I'm going?” I asked.

 

Tony turned to me and nodded. “Yup, the wild child is entering the building.” He sat next to me. “What did you think of the suit?”

 

“I haven't tried it on yet, but I like it. Thank you.”

 

“It'll fit. Remember, that tailor measured you a few weeks ago?”

 

“You have tailors make the tactical gear?” I furrowed my brows, remembering the kindly older woman who had come to take my measurements. I thought it was just for clothes, because Tony had had regular clothing delivered to my room the very next day.

 

“Who else would make them? Elves?” Tony regarded me strangely. “Of course it's a tailor. Edna is the best there is. Your suit has stretch panels for movement, metal in the shins to protect them, and all of the important organs are covered in Kevlar.”

 

“I'd think my whole body is important.”

 

“You'd think so, but it's not.” Tony shrugged. “Covers the vitals. Covering everything would be too cumbersome.”

 

“Says the guy in a metal suit.” Steve rolled his eyes.

 

“Your old suit had nothing to stop bullets, and you did fine. Stop complaining.”

 

“I got shot. Four times.”

 

“You're the one who chose to wear it instead of a bulletproof vest.” Tony shrugged. “Anyway, Mayday, you're going.” He turned to address the whole room. “Everyone else, study your files, memorize the floor plan, and get some sleep. We go in at 2100 hours tonight.”

 

“I'm not going?” Thor asked, sounding wounded.

 

“No. I need you to conjure up a good thunderstorm tonight, right over the HYDRA base. Provide some cover noise.” Tony explained. “I'll be outside too. To shoot anyone who runs out.”

 

Thor nodded and smiled that smile of his. “I can do that.”

 

We all got up and left the room. Bucky came with me back to my quarters, and we lay in bed, studying the files for a long time. I finally broke the silence. I looked at him.

 

“What's wrong, Mayday?”

 

“I don't think I'm ready.”

 

“You're ready.”

 

“But I can barely fight you and Cap, or Natasha.”

 

“We're all trained super soldiers. The agents at this base are... well they're just guys. Hired goons and computer techs most likely.”

 

“I'm scared.”

 

He pulled me into his arms. “Darlin' you're ready. You have to go fight sometime. Today may as well be the day.”

 

To be continued in Mayday Part 8: We All Must Bleed

 

 

Chapter Text

“Comm check?” I heard Maria Hill ask through my earpiece. It was a minuscule bit of technology that Tony had developed, that fit in the ear canal and could pick up speech as well as transmit voices over long distances.

 

“Loud and clear, Maria.” I replied, not quite used to someone- no, everyone- else's voices being in my head. The others in the group went through in turn, affirming that they could communicate with command.

 

We were in a van, driving into an area on the outskirts of southern D.C. We'd flown to D.C. in the jet, but there was no place to land it near the building we were infiltrating, and what with the storm Thor was about to make happen, the jet couldn't hover above. Those of us that were land-bound were bumping along an old, poorly paved road in the large black vehicle. Thor and Tony were airborne. Sam, Steve, Bucky, Clint, Natasha, Wanda, and myself waited in anxious silence for the vehicle to stop. Wanda had been added to the lineup at the last minute, to protect the agent driving the van, and to provide memory wipes in case any of the Hydra personnel in the building happened to live through the assault. We didn't want their command to know who took out their hideout and stole their Intel.

 

We rounded the last corner, and parked a fair amount down the street from the old abandoned apartment complex. We exited the van.

 

“Remember guys, keep your eyes open. There should be ten agents in there. You all know the floor plan. Don't do anything stupid. In and out.” Maria reminded us.

 

“Right. Nothing stupid.” We heard Tony over the comm. “That means you, Steve.”

 

“Seriously, Tony. Give it a rest.” Steve sighed into his mic.

 

“You ready to light up the sky, Thor?” Tony's voice rang in my ear once again.

 

“Gladly.” Thor replied, and in the distance I heard the first clap of thunder.

 

“How does he do that?” I turned to Bucky questioningly.

 

“Something with his hammer. I'm not really sure.” Bucky shook his head.

 

“No one's really sure about that guy.” Natasha stated.

 

“My friends, I can hear you.” Thor boomed, and we saw a flash of lightning over the house.

 

“Sorry.” I said. Rain began to pour outside.

 

“All right, Team One, move out.” Maria commanded.

 

Bucky gave my hand a squeeze, and he, Steve, and Sam piled from the vehicle. Bucky and I had spent most of the day memorizing the floor plan while lying tangled up with each other on my bed in various states of undress, but once we came down to the jet for the mission, we were the epitome of professional.

 

Clint, Natasha, and I waited as we saw the three men disappear into the shadows. A minute or so later, I heard Cap's voice transmit. “We're at the building. The coast is clear. Mayday? You want to come jack the power? I'm at the window on the North side.”

 

“Roger that, Steve. Clint and I are on our way.” We unloaded ourselves from the vehicle, and slunk along alleys and side streets, approaching the ramshackle building. I would have thought Hydra could afford better than this, but apparently they were slumming it. I rounded the back and found Steve by the cracked north window. The screen hung at an odd angle.

 

“You got this?” He asked me. I nodded, closing my eyes. I felt the power from the building begin to enter my body, amping it up beyond belief.

 

We heard exclamations coming from the building, and one loud, Russian accented voice yelling “Shut the fuck up, guys, it's just the storm. Troy go check the fuse box and start the generator if you have to.”

 

“Is he gonna be able to start the generator?” Bucky's voice rang in my ear.

 

I smiled to myself. “Nope.”

 

“All right, Team One, move in.” Steve gave the command. He tore the haphazard screen from the window and bashed the glass with his shield. It shattered everywhere, and he leapt inside in one fluid motion.

 

“East second floor window” Bucky whispered into his comm.

 

“Taking out the guard near the door.” Sam said, and I heard sounds of a brief struggle. “Consider him taken out.”

 

I was to wait for clearance and go in the same window as Steve had- Clint was to follow Sam through the front. Tony was in the sky somewhere, ready to nail anyone who ran outside. Our comms rang with sounds of gunfire, sporadic messages from the three already inside to each other, and grunting as though they were engaged in combat.

 

“First floor is clear.” Steve said. “Come on in, guys.”

 

“Still cleaning up on the second floor.” Bucky replied.

 

“Need some help up there?” Sam asked.

 

“For four guys? Nah, I'm good.” Bucky's voice was slightly breathless, as though he were fighting. I heard three gunshots, and then he was back. “Second floor clear.”

 

“Heading back to the jet.” Tony replied.

 

I climbed in the broken window, surveying the scene. It was a small building, with three apartments downstairs and three upstairs. I found the bodies of six Hydra agents on the floor. Many of the walls were fallen down, leaving the building pretty much wide open. Steve looked sad, like he hated all the killing he had to do in the hope of something better for the world.

 

“The computers are up here.” Bucky said into his microphone. We began to make our way upstairs when Natasha's voice broke into all of our ears.

 

“Guys, heads up. A van just pulled up outside. A big van. Eight... no nine guys are coming at you. Shit, no, eleven.” She whispered. “Hang on, I'm coming in.”

 

“I'm coming back.” Tony said.

 

“Natasha stay where you are. We need you to hack the system, we can't risk you.” Maria Hill commanded. “Stand down.”

 

“We've got this, Nat.” Sam assured her.

 

“Tony's taking out two of them, they're on the run. You have nine. I repeat, nine incoming.” Nat said calmly. She sounded frustrated.

 

We heard the men approaching outside. Quick commands were dealt in Russian, and pretty soon the building was surrounded.

 

“Get behind something.” Steve instructed all of us, as if we needed the direction. “Mayday, can you cut the power to their comms and phones?”

 

“I can try... I don't know.” I ducked behind an old stove, when all hell broke loose. I focused on cutting power to everything except our own comms, hoping it worked. The guys appeared to still be talking to each other- I couldn't do anything that vague. I didn't know where their comms were. “Negative. I failed.”

 

A hail of gunfire shot through each of the windows, followed by men dressed in black diving in. Steve threw his shield at one and caught him in the chest. Sam was grappling with another. I could hear Bucky's voice swearing at a man upstairs. No one had noticed me yet. Clint took out Sam's guy with an arrow, and Cap knocked the other out.

 

I peered out from behind the stove. Two guys were now on Sam and Clint, one each, and they were doing their best to knock the guns away so they didn't get shot. Cap was taking out a large man with his shield. Two men lay on the floor. Another was aiming at Steve from the doorway. That meant three were upstairs with Bucky most likely.

 

I felt a surge of adrenaline shoot through me, and I leapt out from behind the stove. I let two pulses go at the man in the doorway- he fell, a surprised look on his face, his chest smoldering, to the ground. I aimed at the two on Sam and Clint, and let more bursts fly, electrocuting them both. Someone tackled me from the side. I grappled with him for a minute, slipping the hold he had around my neck, rolling, and kicking him in the face. He grabbed the side of his head and called me a bitch. I placed my hand on a table for support and pulled myself up; not fast enough. He'd seen the pulses come from my hands. He shot to his feet and I felt a knife go through the back of my hand, pinning me to the table. I cried out in pain, feeling nauseous. The man grabbed me around the throat again. I could see Sam running towards me. I reached up with my other hand, placing it on his the Hydra agent's head, and fired a beam of electricity right into the man attacking me. He fell limply beside me. I looked around. I was stuck to the table.

 

“What was that noise? Mayday??” I heard Bucky in my ear.

 

“How.. how many do you have up there?” I asked weakly. Sam gave me a sympathetic look as he went to help Steve fight a dinosaur of a man. I was still stuck to the table, and pretty sure I was going to throw up.

 

“Just... one....” Bucky replied, as though still fighting. “I swear to God they sent the Terminator after me. Who the fuck is this guy? These are not hired thugs.” I heard the sound of gunshots but the fight continued.

 

“What the hell is going on in there? That's only eight, guys. There's a ninth one somewhere!” Natasha was yelling into the mic.

 

With Sam's help, Cap finished off the agent with a shield to the side of the head. Sam ran up the stairs to help Bucky. I had steeled myself to pull the knife out, but Cap approached. “On the count of three I'm going to pull it.” I nodded. He counted to one and yanked the knife. I yelped, pulling my hand and my broken glove to my chest.

 

“You said the count of three.” I glared at him.

 

“I changed my mind.” He turned to also go upstairs, when a figure leapt into the window in front of me, and lightning fast, aimed a gun at both of us. Cap tried to dive towards me but he was too far. Two shots rang out, and I was on the floor.

 

“What the fuck was that??” Bucky growled into my earpiece.

 

Cap had jumped on the guy, and was pummeling him in the face. “Mayday's down. Get your ass down here and check on her.” Steve shouted in between punches.

 

I had never been in so much pain in my life. I was pretty sure I'd been hit twice. My chest hurt beyond belief. My lower left side also hurt, like I'd been hit by a truck. “Kevlar.” I whispered into the comm. I felt around. My chest was sore but I quickly found the smashed bullet on the outside of my clothes.

 

Bucky and Sam were at my side in seconds. Swift hands scanned my whole body. “I'm fine, guys. I'm fine.” I shooed them away.

 

Bucky held up his hand in front of his flashlight. There was blood on his fingers. “No, you're not.” He aimed the light at me and looked again. His face registered shock and fear, which in turn scared me. “Shit.”

 

“What?”

 

“The bullet got lodged in the seam of your suit. Between the Kevlar panels. You've been hit.” Sam explained. Cap finally finished pummeling the shit out of the man who shot me, cold cocked him with his shield, and approached us.

 

“Nat, come on in.” He said. He knelt down beside me. “How bad is it, Buck?” He turned to his friend.

 

“It's not deep. I can see the end of the round. The suit caught most of it.” Bucky looked at me. “We need to get you up.”

 

“Am I going to die?” I asked, wide eyed. It sure felt like it.

 

He shook his head. “No. You're gonna bleed, but you aren't gonna die. Let's get you upstairs where it's safer and I'll bandage it.”

 

“We need to hurry in case someone notices this base went dark and they alerted anyone.” Natasha ran in and up the stairs, leaping over dead guys as she went. Bucky hauled me up from the floor, and we managed to get up the stairs. “Mayday, can you boot up the computers, and only the computers?”

 

I nodded, the pain beginning to overcome me, but I held myself together. I pressed my eyelids closed, and the computers sprang to life. Natasha wasted no time typing in codes, or whatever it is hackers do to access computers, and downloading all of the data she could.

 

Clint and Sam were guarding the entrances, and Bucky and Steve were in front of me. They'd put me on a chair. Blood was starting to drip on the floor, from my hand and my side. Bucky quickly unzipped the front of my suit and ripped it down off of my arms, exposing my sport bra. Now was no time to be modest; I'd been fucking shot, and stabbed. I drowsily tried to pay attention to what was going on, but the pain in my chest, my side, and my hand was beginning to drum through me at an unbearable level. Steve wound a bandage around my hand, and Bucky wrapped a dressing tightly around my torso; so tight I grimaced. Blood began to seep into the fabric almost immediately. He helped me get my arms back into my suit, and they stood me up.

 

“Got it.” Nat said. She slipped a thumb drive into her pocket and we all headed towards the door. Tony had come in through a wall downstairs.

 

“Nice of you to drop in.” Steve shot him a look.

 

“Sorry, the two guys outside were serpentining pretty good. It took me forever to nail them with my lasers.” Tony peered at me. “Shit, what happened to you?”

 

“I got shot.” I mumbled. “Twice. And stabbed once.”

 

“Go big or go home.” Tony replied. The van squealed to a stop out front; the driver sent by Maria. We piled in.

 

“Is anyone alive in the building?” Wanda asked as we all took seats. Cap was still outside the vehicle.

 

“There are a couple of guys who just got knocked out. Let's go in and you can erase us.” Cap escorted her quickly back to the building. “We need to hurry.”

 

“Bruce, have a surgeon ready and waiting when w get back.” Steve spoke into the comm.

 

“Already on it, Steve. Hang in there, Mayday. You'll be fine.” His soothing voice played into my ear. I weakly nodded, even though I knew he couldn't see me.

 

Bucky had me pressed against his side. I knew it was half for comfort, and half so he could hold pressure on my wounded side and monitor my breathing. I leaned into him. “Hey, stay awake.” He nudged me. It hurt like hell. “Do not go to sleep. Do you understand me?” I nodded at him.

 

Wanda and Cap returned, and the van took off.

 

It was a long and excruciating ride back in the jet.

* * *

 

After an X-Ray, it was determined the bullet had only penetrated my side an inch and a half, and though I had lost a decent amount of blood, it had not damaged any internal organs. I was shot up with painkillers and it was extracted with a large pair of tweezers, and stitched up. The bullet I'd taken to the chest had left extensive bruising all the way down to my ribs, but hadn't caused permanent damage either. I'd also been fortunate with my hand- the knife had gone between my bones. The surgeon Tony had on staff numbed my hand and repaired a tendon. I was stitched up and sent on my way within two hours.

 

Maria and the rest of command were busy deciphering the data on the drive Nat had downloaded. Apparently there were a few translators working late tonight.

 

Bucky brought me wearily into the common room to get some food before I retired to bed. Upon entering, we were met with the sounds of arguing.

 

“If I'd been able to go in sooner, Mayday might not have gotten shot.” Natasha was glaring at Tony.

 

“Or you'd have been shot, too. We needed you to hack the computers.” Tony retorted.

 

“You can hack a computer, Tony. I know you can.” Nat fumed.

 

“I can't hack a computer in fucking Russian.” Tony shot back. “You were given an order. Deal with it.”

 

“And where were you when the van was pulling up? You didn't see it approaching? From your vantage point in the fucking sky?” Sam asked Tony.

 

“I wasn't in the sky, hotshot. I was on the roof. So no, I didn't see it approaching.”

 

“I could have been of more help.” Wanda added.

 

“And leave the driver with no protection? We needed your force field around the van, Maximoff.” Tony was getting agitated. “Jesus, why do I even give commands if no one listens?”

 

“I don't know. Why exactly are you the one giving commands?” Natasha shot back.

 

“Guys, can we all agree that this mission could have gone a lot better, but it also could have gone a lot worse?” Steve tried to placate them all. “Not every mission is going to go off without a hitch.”

 

Everyone turned to glare at Steve.

 

“Fine. Keep arguing.” He shrugged.

 

Bucky and I stood at the door. Bucky cleared his throat loudly. Everyone turned towards us. “Hey guys.” I said weakly.

 

“You feeling better?” Natasha asked, motioning me towards a chair.

 

“Not really. But at least I'm not bleeding all over the place anymore.” I sat down and put my head in my hands.

 

“What's wrong?” Steve asked.

 

“What's wrong?” I laughed bitterly. “What's wrong? Oh, I don't know. I go on my first mission, which I didn't feel I was ready for, and I get fucking shot. Twice. And a knife through my hand.” I shook my head. “I jeopardized everyone.”

 

“You took out four guys before you got shot. You helped us a lot.” Clint stated, approaching with a cup of tea.

 

I grimaced. “Yeah, but I should have been better.” I took the tea graciously and thanked him.

 

They all exchanged glances.

 

“Hey, Mayday... most of us have been shot.” Steve said quietly.

 

“You... you have?” I looked around at the group.

 

He nodded.

 

“I've been shot twice.” Natasha come to stand in front of me. She lifted her shirt to show me a scar on her abdomen, then pulled her collar down to show me one on her chest near her shoulder. “That's the exit wound. It went straight through. So did the one on my stomach.”

 

“Who shot you?” I asked.

 

Natasha looked uncomfortable. “Uh... He did.” She motioned at Bucky. “On two separate occasions.”

 

I raised my eyebrows at him. He looked ashamed. “I don't really remember much, other than, Nat, you were really hard to hit.”

 

“I'll take that as a compliment.” Natasha pulled her shirt back down.

 

“I was shot once too.” Clint added.

 

“I've been shot. Three times.” Steve pulled up his shirt and turned around to show me a large scar on his back, and the mark fro where the bullet left on his toned stomach. His six pack was marred by a large, jagged white mark. “One in the leg and one in the arm, too.”

 

“Jesus, how did that happen?” I asked.

 

Steve frowned. “Ummm.” He trailed off, glancing at Bucky. I looked over at my lover in disbelief, my eyes wide.

 

“I shot him, too.” Bucky sighed. “A third of the people in this room have been shot by me.”

 

“Oh, Buck. You weren't you.” I reached out a hand to him.

 

“No hard feelings, pal.” Steve clapped him on the back.

 

“Yeah. Thanks.” Bucky was looking at the ground.

 

“I get shot all the time.” Bruce said quietly from the corner. “But they bounce off when I'm Hulked out.”

 

“I've never taken a bullet, which is surprising considering how many women I've pissed off.” Tony muttered. “But my suit gets hammered with them.”

 

“I'm sure I've been shot at some point, but I don't remember. I have plenty of scars, though.” Bucky lamented. He'd come to stand behind me, a hand on my shoulder. I knew about all of his scars; I'd seen them and committed each to memory. I often wondered what they were from, but he didn't seem to know. Sometimes, on nights we couldn't sleep, we'd play a guessing game, trying to figure out what kind of weapon made each one. It was kind of a fucked up game, now that I thought about it.

 

I noticed Wanda had slipped out of the room. “Where did Wanda go?” I asked, looking around.

 

“Oh, shit.” Clint closed his eyes. “Pietro...”

 

“Her brother?” I questioned.

 

“I'll go find her.” Nat got up and left.

 

“Pietro died last year. He was shot to death. Saving me and a child.” Clint looked at his hands. A silence fell on the room, Pietro's ghost lingering in everyone's minds.

 

We didn't have long to be saddened, though. Maria Hill walked into the room right then. “We deciphered most of what was on the computer, and while it's interesting, it unfortunately doesn't have anything to do with Doctor Rodrigo. I don't think Hydra is behind the kidnapping.” She said. “One thing stood out though, it's kind of weird. I was hoping maybe Barnes would know what it meant.”

 

“What's that?” Tony asked.

 

“A transmission marked confidential. From one Hydra commander to another.”

 

“What did it say?” He frowned.

 

“Six is in the Wilderness.” Maria replied.

 

“What the hell does that mean?” Tony sighed and looked at Bucky.

 

“I don't know.” Bucky shrugged. “I feel like I should know... but I don't remember.” He looked miserable, like he had failed everyone. “I'm sorry.”

* * *

 

Hours later, in the middle of the night, Bucky sat bolt upright in bed beside me. I was startled, not least because I was in so much pain and he jostled me when he moved.

 

“Jesus, Bucky, what's wrong?”

 

“I know what it means.”

 

“What what means?” I yawned and tried to make myself comfortable, wondering if it was time for another pain pill. It wasn't odd for Bucky to wake up in the middle of the night muttering strange things. His head was filled with half-memories, and they often manifested in his dreams.

 

“Six is in the Wilderness.” He looked at me, his eyes dark orbs in the night. “I remember what that stands for. It's code.”

 

“What's it mean?”

 

“The Wilderness means an assassin is on loan from Hydra.”

 

“So who's Six? Do you know him?” I struggled to sit up. Bucky was sweating buckets, obviously having just had a nightmare. Unfortunately for him, most of his nightmares had actually happened to him at one point or another.

 

Her. Six is a she.” He let out a deep breath. “I don't remember much, but I remember fighting her.” He flicked on the light, and pointed at his side. A jagged scar ran up the length of the left side of his torso. “She gave me this.” He rubbed the scar absentmindedly. “She's an animal. And she prefers knives.”

 

I trailed my fingers down the scar. It looked like it had been stitched and restitched several times, as though it had opened up more than once. Frankly, it looked brutal. Anyone who could land that kind of wound, with a knife, on Bucky Barnes, had to be good at what they did. No one ever got close enough to do that much damage.

 

“Is that all you remember?” I asked him, my hand still caressing his old injury.

 

He nodded. “I woke up from cryo, and there was a new soldier. Six. We fought. It was a tie.”

 

“Jesus Christ, what did you do to her?”

 

“I don't remember exactly, but I think I broke the arm she stabbed me with.”

 

I would never understand his time in Hydra, or the horrible shit he'd been brainwashed to do. All I could do was accept the man sitting before me. He was shirtless, drenched in sweat, and looked like he wanted to jump off of a cliff. Despite the team he had around him, I knew he felt alone in the world, and frankly, he kind of was. Even though I made things easier for him, truth was, none of us could relate the the level of PTSD he suffered from.

 

I knew now was not the time for comfort- there really was no time to waste. A Hydra assassin was out there somewhere, “on loan” to another organization.

 

“We need to tell Tony and Steve.” I said.

* * *

 

Continued soon in Mayday Part 9

 

Chapter Text

Bucky had pulled himself together. We'd both gotten dressed, and made our way down the hallway to Steve's room. Naturally he'd wanted to go directly to Steve with this information as soon as he'd remembered; I'd actually had to stop him from trudging out of his room in nothing but his underwear to go find his friend. I'd dragged him back from the doorway and insisted he put on sweats and a tee shirt first. He'd obliged a tad embarrassed.

 

We stood outside of Steve's door in the dead of night, and I knocked. Steve had been thinking about finding a place in Brooklyn- I had a feeling he was having a hard time with the search only because he wanted to stay and be close to Bucky. Tonight, that was a good thing. Instead of a phone call the two old friends could talk face to face immediately.

 

Steve opened the door looking sleepy, barefoot and wearing blue lounge pants and no shirt. When he saw that it was us, and the look on Bucky's face, he stepped back and let us in.

 

I'd never been in Cap's room before. It was like a melding of the old and the new. There was a TV, but his sofa looked vintage, and a record player sat on the end table. Through the door to his room I could see a flag hung on his wall, and a flier for the Smithsonian exhibit on the Howling Commandos.

 

“Buck, Mayday... what's going on? It's three in the morning.” He gestured for us to sit on the sofa and he pulled up a chair. “Is everything all right?”

 

We both shook our heads. I decided at that point that Bucky needed to tell Steve everything he remembered. Friend to friend. Soldier to soldier. He might not be comfortable talking about that level of violence in front of his girlfriend. Was I his girlfriend? I pushed that thought out of my head; now wasn't the time for it. I stood back up, squeezing Bucky's hand and letting it drop.

 

“I'm going to go find Tony and Maria.” Bucky looked up at me questioningly. “Save us some time. You guys talk. I'll be back.”

 

“Are you sure you're okay to do that?” His gaze dropped from my face to my side, where he knew a wide bandage lay under my shirt covering my gunshot wound.

 

“I'll be fine. It's almost time for another pain pill- I need to get them before I take it and get all loopy.” I waved off his concern.

 

“All right.” He looked worried but he also knew I could take care of myself.

 

“Bring them here when you find them. I'll make coffee.” Cap told me.

 

I nodded. I turned and left the room, racing to the elevator. “Friday, let Tony know I need to speak to him.” I said as I entered the elevator. I was met with no response. Shit. Was Friday down for repairs? I hit the button for the penthouse. Guess I was going to have to wake Tony and Pepper up myself.

* * *

Bucky what's going on? You look... well...” Steve began, but trailed off. He didn't want to be rude and tell his friend that he looked like hell, but he did. “You look like you've seen a ghost, pal.”

 

Bucky looked at him with dark, blank eyes. “I did.”

 

“What do you mean? What happened?”

 

“I was asleep... Mayday and I were asleep in my room.” Bucky seemed to soften a little at the mention of her name. Steve was grateful for whatever small amount of comfort Mayday could provide for his friend.

 

Steve nodded. “Go on.”

 

Bucky had been staring through the bedroom door and out the window. He turned quickly and looked directly at Steve. “Six is in the Wilderness.” He was breathing heavy, his gaze distant, as though looking right through Cap. “It means a Hydra assassin is contracted out to someone else.”

 

“That's what 'Six is in the Wilderness' means?” Steve was surprised. Bucky nodded. “Why 'Six in the Wilderness'?”

 

“Six is the assassin. 'In the Wilderness' means 'on loan.' And they wouldn't loan out anyone unless the interest was mutually exclusive.” Bucky sighed. “I remembered this... in my dreams.”

 

Steve nodded. He got up and started a pot of coffee. He knew this was going to be a long night and an even longer day. “What did you remember exactly? How?”

 

“I remembered fighting Six.” He ran a hand nervously across the back of his neck. “I almost lost.”

 

“And this Six guy is still alive, I take it?”

 

Bucky nodded. “Six is a woman. Why does everyone automatically think Six is a man?” He wondered to himself. He looked back up at Steve. “That scar down my left side. She gave it to me. She's lethal. They pitted us against each other... to test her I think.” He shook his head as though to clear it. “She passed.”

 

“She didn't kill you.” Steve poured two cups of coffee and gave one to his best friend. “And you didn't kill her, apparently.”

 

He shook his head 'no.' “If my dream is right, she was lightning fast. She came at me with two knives. I held her off but she stabbed me right under my arm. I knocked her away; the knife was still in me. She came back, kicked me in the head, and ripped the blade down my side. I got her in a chokehold and I broke her arm.” He looked a bit ashamed, and a bit angry, and a lot confused. “And then I must have lost too much blood because I don't remember much after that.”

 

Steve had seen the scar Bucky was talking about when they'd first brought him in nearly a year ago. It was possibly one of the worst indicators of a healed wound that he'd ever seen. It was nearly ten inches long, and had obviously been sutured several times before it healed back together. “Did you have any other encounters with Six?”

 

Bucky took a long drink of coffee, looking miserable. “I- I don't know. I must have. I'm sure I did. I just don't remember.” He paused for a very long time. “I usually worked alone, as far as I can tell. But something tells me I might have worked with her at some point.” Bucky paused again and sighed. “I- I don't know how much of a history I have with Six. I might have known her. I might have known her well. Or that may have been the only time I met her... I... I just can't remember, no matter how hard I try. But if she's anything like I was, she's dangerous and she'll do her job at all costs.”

 

“Whatever that job is can't be good.” Steve lamented.

 

Bucky nodded in agreement. “She's either there to take someone out, or protect someone. Or both. And believe me, she can do it. Hydra assassins don't get worse; they get better.”

 

“What did she look like? Did she have an accent? Do you remember any details?” Steve questioned.

 

“Uh... she had dark hair. She kept it kind of short. And... I think she was French. I'm not sure exactly. She didn't speak a whole lot when she was stabbing me.”

 

“Do you know when this was?”

 

Bucky shook his head. “It was a long time ago, though. I think she's been in cryo as well. It wasn't recent. And if she's been there that long, it won't matter if we knew each other; her memory has been wiped dozens of times. She won't know me, just like I don't know her.”

 

Steve shook his head. “It's too bad Wanda can't fix this.”

 

“I don't want to remember the things Wanda could replace.” Bucky looked pale.

 

“No, I know. You might not make it through the process.” Steve reached out and put a hand on Bucky's shoulder. “I wouldn't want to risk that.” It was entirely probably that Wanda could restore Bucky's memory, or hypnotize him into remembering; however it was also highly likely that those memories would break the man far more than he was already broken. They would be filled with seventy years of torture, pain, and killing. The Bucky Steve knew couldn't live with that.

 

Bucky looked up at Steve, as though reading his thoughts. “I'm not the same man you grew up with, Steve. You're a good man. I don't know what I am anymore. And it's getting harder to figure it out every day.”

 

Steve steeled himself against the onslaught of emotions that always came with a serious talk with Bucky. Sitting before him was a man he'd known for years; but most of that man was locked inside of his own mind, and might never get out or come back. “It's okay, Buck. No matter what, I'm with you til the end of the line.”

* * *

“Mayday, is everything all right?” Pepper opened the door to the penthouse. She looked glamorous even at three am, in a long, white silk nightgown, her hair slightly rumpled. I looked down at my own sleep clothes, or rather what I'd put on when I'd left Bucky's room. My black jeans and one of his tee shirts.

 

“I need to see Tony. It's urgent.” I looked her in the eye; we were about the same height.

 

“Tony isn't here.” Pepper began. “He hasn't been sleeping well lately. He's in his lab. I think he's doing maintenance on Friday.”

 

I had already began to retreat down the hall. “Thanks, Pepper. Sorry for waking you!”

 

“Should you be up and around, Mayday? Let me call him...” Pepper looked concerned.

 

I nodded. “I'm fine. I'll be fine. Tell him I'm on my way.”

 

I heard the door to their suite close behind me and I painfully went back to the elevators, and took one down to Tony's lab. Pepper must have made quick work calling him because he was waiting outside the lift when the doors opened. I stumbled out of it. He helped me to a chair.

 

“What's going on? Pepper just called me. Said you showed up at the door looking godawful and asking to see me.” He looked me up and down. “She wasn't wrong. Why aren't you in bed? You got shot multiple times.”

 

I took a deep breath. “We need Maria. Bucky has some information.” I cringed. “I need my painkillers.”

 

“No shit.” Tony stood, and rounded his desk. He did something on his computer, and Friday booted up. “Where is Bucky?” He asked me.

 

“He's in Steve's room. They're talking. We're supposed to meet there.” I replied.

 

“Friday, please locate Maria Hill and tell her to meet me in Steve's room.” Tony told the computer.

 

“Steve Roger's room, sir?” The AI asked him.

 

Tony frowned. “Yes, Steve Rogers. Is there another Steve that lives here that I'm not aware of?”

 

“No sir, not that I have record of.”

 

Tony rolled his eyes. “Have I threatened you yet with donation to a community college?”

 

“No sir, you have not. Records show you told Jarvis he would go to one.”

 

Tony nodded. “Well keep it in the back of your mind, all right?” He turned to me, and gently helped me out of my chair. “Let's go find the Wonderboys and see what this is all about, shall we? We'll stop off and get your pills on the way.”

 

I was surprised at how tender Tony was being. He always seemed abrasive and harsh, but he was really trying to get me downstairs to Steve's room without me being in pain.

 

We made it down to floor 18. “Why didn't we stop at your room for your pills?” Tony asked as the elevator passed floor 23.

 

I looked around at everything except Tony. “Uh, well, because they're on Bucky's nightstand.”

 

Tony raised his brows at me. I shrugged. A huge smile lit up his face. “I knew it! I kneeeew it! The Bionic Man and the Wild Child!” He actually did a little victory dance, right there in the elevator, at three in the morning. “Bruce owes me fifty bucks!”

 

You guys were betting on us?” I asked incredulously as we exited the elevator.

 

“Technically, I was betting on you. Bruce was betting that Metal Man wouldn't have the gonads to make a move.” Tony leaned me up against the wall outside of Bucky's room. I handed him a key. “Damn. You already have each others house keys. Bruce might need to ante up more money.”

 

“Just hurry, Tony. I'm like half an hour late for my dose and I'm starting to feel it.”

 

Tony shut the hell up and went in to Bucky's rooms, returning a minute later with my prescription bottle. We continued down the hall. We were almost to Steve's room when Maria came jogging up from behind us. She wordlessly reached around me and propped my other shoulder up on hers, and they both walked me the rest of the way. The door was open a crack; Tony nudged it the rest of the way. Seeing me being held up between two people, Bucky jumped up. He quickly took me from Tony and Maria, and got me to the sofa, handing me his coffee cup as I popped my dose of painkillers.

 

“Are you all right?” He whispered to me.

 

“Yeah. I just overexerted myself.” I whispered back. “Are you?”

 

He nodded.

 

“If you two are done playing 'Romeo and Juliet on the balcony' over there, can you let Maria and I know what's going on? Tony perched on the other arm of the sofa, opposite me.

 

Bucky took a deep breath, and began to relay his story yet again.

* * *

“So now we're dealing with a kidnapped nuclear physicist, stolen radioactive materials, and a Hydra operative on loan to an unknown entity.” Maria stood at the front of the boardroom the next morning, briefing the rest of the Avengers. “We have to assume that these are interconnected. While I hope they aren't-”

 

“Someone's building a bomb, and they have Hydra's blessing to do it.” I stated rather bluntly. I'd been up since three, was in a lot of pain, and to be honest was a little stoned off of my pain meds. It had given me very loose lips.

 

“Yes... what Mayday said.” Maria frowned at me for interrupting her.

 

“So Bucky knows this operative?” Sam inquired.

 

Bucky nodded. “I've met her. I don't remember a lot about her other than she's dangerous. Extremely dangerous.”

 

“She almost killed him. You should see the scar on his side. It's like, huge.” I added. Everyone looked at me.

 

“Mayday did you just take a pain pill?” Tony asked suspiciously.

 

“Yessir I did. About an hour ago.” I smiled. “Pain free!”

 

“No shit. Okay, um, since you already know everything about the current situation, maybe you should go lay down?” Tony was looking slightly exasperated.

 

“No, I'm okay.” I replied cheerfully.

 

“Well, we really don't need any more comments from the Peanut Gallery, if you get my drift.” Tony gave me a look that clearly said shut up.

 

“Oh. Sorry. I'll stay quiet.” I made the motion like I was zipping my mouth shut.

 

“Thank you.” Tony turned back to Maria. “Have we decrypted the rest of the data?”

 

Maria shook her head. “I have a team going, but part of it is encoded and is proving really difficult to break. I'll let you know as soon as we have anything. We've also been looking into the Uranium theft but so far we've come up with nothing.”

 

“This reeks of the General.” Natasha said under her breath. Clint groaned. She turned to him vehemently. “What?”

 

“You and the General. You're obsessed!” Clint said to her.

 

“I'm not obsessed. I know what he is capable of. What other Black Widows did for him. He's not gone. Just wait and see. It's him. He's been biding his time.”

 

“If you say so.” Clint replied hastily.

 

“It's actually not a stretch to assume it may be General Brushov.” Maria finally stated.

 

“It's not?” Nat's eyes lit up.

 

“No. We know he made threats like this in the late nineties; the cruise ship was hijacked by Russian Commandos- none of whom were currently military, but obviously had military training. And there's stories of black-ops training grounds in the same area that the General was last known to inhabit.” Maria explained. “While it's far from certain, it's not far fetched.” Maria looked like she didn't want to admit this fact. I'd heard her say that she thought the General was dead; not it was looking like he may not be, and Maria didn't strike me as the kind of person who liked being wrong.

 

“So what do we do now?” Thor asked from his seat in the corner. “It feels like we should be doing something, if a bomb is out there somewhere.”

 

“We're doing all we can right now.” Steve informed the group. “Jim is having his people at the military look into Uranium sales and other black market purchases that could be used for weaponry. Command is decrypting the Hydra info- hopefully it will tell us where this Agent Six actually is. Until then, as much as we hate it, all we can do is wait.”

 

Everyone looked glum. If a bomb went off somewhere, we would all blame ourselves. Even though we couldn't possibly know where it was, we knew we would. We just had to have faith that Doctor Nevaya Rodrigo was a good and strong person and would stall as much as she could, and that we would find the culprits before they could harm anyone.

* * *

 

 

After the meeting, Bucky was going to play basketball with the other team members. I'd been invited to come watch, but I was feeling really loopy and figured it was best to go take a nap. So while Sam, Clint, Natasha, Wanda, Thor, Tony, and Steve were heading out to play, Bucky dragged me, giggling, up to my room.

 

“What is with you?” He asked, unlocking my door and depositing me on my bed. He acted annoyed but I could see his lips upturning. He was amused.

 

“I might have a very low tolerance of this drug.” I giggled, falling back on the bed and trying to kick my shoes off. He helped me with my footwear, and sat down next to me.

 

“No kidding.” He smiled down at me.

 

“I'm feeling quite good.” I nodded up at him. “And kind of really sleepy.”

 

“You need your rest. You did gt shot yesterday, and then get about an hour of sleep before I woke everyone up.” He lay beside me, propped up on his elbow.

 

“I did. I'm so tired.” I closed my eyes. I felt him get up.

 

“Don't sleep yet. You're hanging halfway off of your bed, Darlin'.” I felt him lift me up and place me in the center of my bed. I grimaced as my wound pulled slightly. “Did I hurt you?” He asked worriedly.

 

“No. The guy who shot me hurt me.” I looked up at him. “You're perfect.” I smiled dreamily. I knew I was being silly. But I was over the moon for this guy. This Winter Soldier. I patted the bed next to me.

 

He eyed me suspiciously. “You're stoned and injured. I am absolutely not sleeping with you right now.” He warned me.

 

“Don't be so uptight. I'm too tired and sore to do anything anyways. Just lay with me a minute.” I rolled my eyes at him. He lay down beside me. I snuggled up to him. “You're so virtuous.”

 

He chuckled. “I haven't heard that in a while. Actually, ever.”

 

“You are.”

 

“You forgot that I spent the last seventy years murdering people indiscriminately.”

 

I shook my head. “No, no. You treat me well. You treat everyone well. That's what I mean.”

 

“Whatever you say.” He wrapped his arm around me. “You deserve to be treated well.”

 

“Even though I'm crazy? That doesn't bother you?” I asked the question that I feared the answer to, deep down.

 

He paused. “I'll tell you what Wanda said. The first night we learned of you. Thor asked if you were insane when Tony was explaining your powers and your illness.”

 

I wasn't sure what the hell Wanda had to do with any of this, but I'd play ball. “What did she say?”

 

“She said 'she's not crazy, she has an imbalance.' And I know she's right. You aren't insane.” He was looking into my eyes, very seriously. “Don't ever think you are. I don't think you are.” He looked away for a second, then back at me. “But no. None of that bothers me. It just makes you, you.”

 

He couldn't know how happy I was to hear that. How happy anyone with my problems was to hear that from someone they were with. It was always lurking in the back of our minds; whether we were too crazy to put up with. Bucky had just removed that worry for me. I looked up at him quizzically. “Am I your girlfriend?” The pain meds were giving me courage, or just removing my filter. I wasn't sure which. Probably a little of both.

 

He looked at me like I'd lost my mind. “Of course you are... wait. Do you want to be?” I nodded. He let out a pent up sigh. “I just kind of assumed, and I guess I shouldn't have assumed.”

 

I snuggled down beside him even closer. “We've been so busy, we never got around to the conversation.” I smiled drowsily. “I just needed to know. You know, if you were serious about me.”

 

I was falling asleep. I felt his lips brush across my forehead, and my blankets get pulled up to my chin. “Darlin', I've never been more serious about anyone in my life,” was the last thing I heard before I drifted off.

* * *

It was a week later that I woke up and realized I wasn't in pain anymore. It was a Sunday morning, and sunlight was streaming in my window. I lazily looked at the clock. It was after ten am. I stretched, tenderly seeing if that hurt to do. It did not. My stitches had come out yesterday and I wasn't on any pain meds anymore. I rolled onto my side and looked at Bucky's sleeping form beside me. We'd been seeing each other for nearly a month, and today was the first night we'd spent together where we had actually gotten to sleep in. He looked softer in the morning light; less world weary and less defeated. He'd been close beside me the entire last week while I was healing. He'd been afraid to touch me, afraid he'd hurt me. He didn't realize that just being awake hurt.

 

He rolled over and groaned as the light hit his face. “Is it morning already?” He asked as he peered at me from beneath sleepy eyelids.

 

I nodded. “And guess what?” I smiled mischievously.

 

“What?” He reached over to me and pulled me against his scarred chest.

 

“I don't hurt. At all.”

 

“You don't?”

 

“Nope.”

 

“So... we can?”

 

“Yup.”

 

He grinned down at me, and rolled over so he was on top of me. He bent and kissed me, hungrily and lustily on the mouth. “It's been a long week.” He pulled back just long enough to whisper. I nodded in agreement, pulling him closer to me, pushing his boxer-briefs off of him. He kicked them off, removing my shirt and panties, and we were both naked under the blankets. “You started the pill a few weeks ago right?” He asked me between kisses. He paused. “Sorry. That might be the least romantic thing I could have said right now.”

 

I giggled. “Yes I did. And it's effective now. So we're good.” I smoothed his hair behind his ear. “Have at me, Soldier.”

 

I could feel him smile into my neck, as he bent and, making sure I was ready, filled me up with himself. I moaned, wrapping my legs around his waist. “Just be gentle.” I reminded him. “I did just get shot.”

 

He kissed the side of my neck, down to my shoulder. “I'll be careful.” He whispered into my ear, and began slowly pulsing into me.

 

The man was magic. Even though we'd formerly had some bouts of rough sex, this morning he treated me like I was the most delicate object he'd ever encountered. Even so, I was somehow soon nearing the edge. Bliss was washing over me. He kissed me as I came, riding it out slowly, and only when I was done did he let himself fall. He held me close afterwards.

 

“So you meant what you said last week? You're mine?” He asked me breathlessly from where he'd tumbled down beside me.

 

I nodded, running my fingers over the jagged scar on his side. I looked up at him. “I'm yours.” I replied.

* * *

 

The dining room was full when we arrived to grab something for lunch. Our morning had consisted of sex, then a steamy shower. It was well onto noon when we finally left my room.

 

Looking around, it seemed like everyone was getting a late start. Bruce and Natasha sat in the corner, both looking tired. I knew Nat had a serious hang up on Dr. Banner, and I could tell he was pretty caught up with her as well. I'd heard Steve had finally convinced him to take her out somewhere nice. I was glad; she deserved it. Thor had been with Jane in the Hamptons the last two days and had gotten home the night before; he looked tired as well. Tony and Steve had been up at least until midnight drinking and playing video games, because that's what they'd been up to when Bucky and I had gone to bed. Steve looked tired but healthy; Tony looked hungover. Vision was nowhere to be found... I was beginning to wonder about that guy. Clint and Sam were both at their homes.

 

Bucky and I walked in, found some stuff in the fridge to make sandwiches with, and sat down to eat.

 

“You two finally woke up, eh?” Tony asked. It seemed like he wanted to make an inappropriate quip, but he waved it off. “I'm way too hungover to come up with anything clever about your sex life. Carry on.”

 

I rolled my eyes. Steve looked uncomfortable at the mention of a sex life. Bucky just sat down and grumbled something about Tony being inappropriate.

 

Suddenly, the alarm began to sound throughout the building.

 

“God damn it. Every time I make a sandwich.” Bucky threw his hands in the air.

 

“God make it stop.” Tony covered his ears. “I need an aspirin.”

 

“You need to not drink so much.” Steve told him as we all got up and made our way to the conference room.

 

“I still won every game of Super Smash Bros.” Tony retorted.

 

“Only because you used Link every time and that is truly not fair.” Thor reminded him.

 

“Winner picks their character first.” Tony shot back.

 

“I'm really okay with losing a video game, guys.” Steve said.

 

“That's good because you're terrible at them.” Tony smirked.

 

I have Bucky a sidelong glance. “Are they always like this?”

 

“Yes. And then some.” He replied.

 

We were almost to the meeting room when we met Maria in the hallway.

 

“You called a meeting, Tony? Did you find something out?” She asked him, joining us.

 

“I didn't call a meeting. I thought you did.” Tony looked at her with bleary eyes.

 

“No, I didn't.” She looked at Steve. He shook his head indicating it wasn't him, either.

 

“Who called the meeting then?” Steve asked as we all rounded the corner and crowded into the doorway. Steve and Tony were in front, and they stopped on a dime. I stood on my toes to look around them.

 

A tall man with an eye patch and a long black coat stood at the had of the meeting room table. He surveyed all of us one at a time and finally spoke. “Well, have a seat, everyone. I didn't call this meeting to have you all stare at me.”

 

I looked at Bucky. “Who's that?” I asked.

 

“That's Nick Fury.” Bucky looked at me painedly. “I shot him too.”

 

To be continued in Mayday Part 10

 

 

Chapter Text

“Sir, when did you arrive?” Maria approached Nick Fury. I was thoroughly confused. I had thought Nick Fury had been killed over a year ago when the SHIELD scandal blew up, and I had thought that Bucky had killed him. Every Google search of “The Winter Soldier” had yielded hundreds of results; fuzzy cellphone videos of a man in black with a metal arm attacking a car. Though Fury had apparently escaped that incident, there were newspaper articles confirming his demise due to gunshot wounds from a long range rifle. I had never asked Bucky, because I figured it wasn't something he was proud of or would want to talk about. Now the man was right in front of me, and he was very much alive.

 

“Just now.” Fury replied, tapping on a stack of files in front of him absently.

 

“Friday was programmed to alert me if you showed up.” Tony looked cross. “I swear to God if Friday is malfunctioning again, I'm putting it on a thousand thumb drives and mailing it to Siberia.”

 

“I'm not malfunctioning, Sir.” Friday's voice filtered into the room from a hidden speaker.

 

“It's funny you say Siberia... and I did an override.” Fury informed Tony. “I wasn't prepared to confront all of you yet. I needed to get a little more information.”

 

“Information from where?” Tony asked suspiciously. “How the hell did you hack my computer?”

 

“From Maria's office computer; and your command center.” Fury replied. “And I didn't hack your computer. You never changed my passwords. Now if you'll all have a seat, I have some Intel that I think will interest you. And if it doesn't, well, then I'll have to find a new team to save the world.”

 

“It was Maria's job to secure the passwords.” Tony frowned at Maria.

 

“Why would I change Fury's access to the database?” Maria shot back. “The system is perfectly safe. Calm down.”

 

Tony shrugged. “I'm so hungover I don't even care right now.” He walked into the room and threw himself into a chair.

 

I filed in after everyone and sat down. I gulped nervously. Save the world? I wasn't ready for that shit. I looked at the man to my left. My partner. My heartstrings felt like they were being plucked one by one. If he's going, I'm going. That's all there was to it. I was scared to death and I didn't even know what we were up against, but I was going. I turned back to Fury, and found him looking at me questioningly.

 

“Who's this?” He asked, looking me up and down. He didn't look disappointed, which was nice. But he looked curious and a tad dubious.

 

“This is Mayday. She's the newest member of our team.” Steve informed him, without hesitation, from his seat to my right.

 

“A new Avenger?” Nick Fury nodded. “That's good. Tell me, Mayday, what's your specialty?”

 

“Other than being insane?” I asked him. This earned me a strange look from him, and a chuckle from Wanda. “I drain electricity. I can also power things up. And I have some gloves Tony made me, so I can basically shoot laser beams.”

 

Fury nodded. “Is she any good?” He asked Maria. I kind of felt like I wasn't even there, but I tried not to take it personally. This man was all business, and his business was dangerous. He couldn't risk a mission on a total noob.

 

“She took out four agents and possibly saved Sam, Clint, and Steve, before she was shot on the last mission. And still managed to power up the computers for Natasha to get the data from.” Maria replied. “She's solid.”

 

I had not expected that. My fighting abilities were sub par at best. My hiding and getting shot abilities were stellar, but I was pretty sure that wasn't something Fury would think highly of.

 

He nodded. “All right then. We're going to need all the help we can get.” He slid the files across the table. “Friday, please notify Sam, Jim, and Clint that their presence is requested at the tower. Immediately.” He turned back to all of us. “I've been keeping tabs on the searches you've been running, and I've been doing research on my own. I think I've figured out who has the missing Doctor, and the stolen Uranium.”

 

“And where Agent Six is?” Tony asked.

 

“Who's Agent Six?” Fury was obviously surprised, and he didn't look like he liked surprises.

 

“That weird message we got from the Hydra computer. 'Six is in the Wilderness.' It means a Hydra agent is on loan. Her name is Six.” Tony replied.

 

“How do we know this?” Fury cocked his head to the side.

 

Tony sighed and gestured at Bucky. “Our Deviant Soldier over here took a knife to the side from her sometime during his amnesiac years. We're thinking she's involved. It's too much of a coincidence for her not to be.” Bucky frowned at Tony. It didn't escape him that Tony never referred to him by his actual name. But then again, Tony didn't often refer to anyone by their actual names.

 

Fury nodded. “That makes sense.”

 

“How so?”

 

“I'll get to that.” Fury flipped off the lights, and photos began to display on the screen behind him. “The Uranium was stolen from Iran a month ago, by a rogue terror cell. They killed a lot of innocent people to get it, then it turns out they didn't have any way to use it, so a Colombian drug cartel bought it, for a lot of money. They then turned around and sold it to a large group of para-military types in Siberia. In exchange for guns- a lot of guns- and safe access to smuggle their goods into the country. The leader of the militia is none other than General Yuri Brushov.”

 

“I wish Clint were here right now.” Nat muttered. “I've been telling him for years that the General will come back.”

 

“That he has, and with a vengeance.” Fury flipped to another photo. It was of a low, square building in the snow. A small bridge leaned out from it, spanning a ravine. He zoomed in. There were armed guards interspersed along the top with rifles. Zooming in more, the picture landed on the figure of a gray haired man who appeared to be in his sixties, in a kind of bastardized dark green leather military jacket. Beside him was a tall woman with short black hair. I heard Bucky draw in a sharp breath from beside me. Fury didn't pay any attention, or didn't hear; he continued. “Agent Six explains who this is. I'd been trying to figure it out. I figured either a daughter or a bodyguard. I didn't connect Hydra.”

 

I peered sideways at Bucky. His hand had automatically gone to his side where his scar was, and he obviously recognized the female on the screen.

 

“Is that her, Buck?” Steve asked, looking over me to peer at his friend.

 

“Yes.” Bucky replied flatly.

 

“Half of her face is covered, and the photo is pixelated. Are you sure?” Fury asked him. I could tell Fury wasn't all that comfortable being in the same room with Bucky, and frankly I couldn't blame him. I didn't know for sure, but the last time Fury had seen him was probably when he was still an assassin, and actively trying to murder him. Nearly succeeding in murdering him.

 

Bucky nodded. “I'm sure. That's her.” He paused. “She's very dangerous. If we go in, I'm taking her alone.”

 

“That's stupid, Bucky. If she's so dangerous, someone will help you.” Natasha rolled her eyes. “The two of us can wreck her far more easily than you alone.”

 

“No. You don't know this woman. I'm not risking any of you.” He looked around, but his eyes settled on me.

 

“You don't know her either. You remember fighting her once, in a dream.” Tony pointed out.

 

“It's not up to the Soldier who risks what. This conversation is over.” Fury spoke loudly from the front of the room.

 

“How did you get all of this information? We've been searching for weeks, Jim's had the government looking, and you waltz in here with a stack of files like a 1950's secretary and magically know everything?” Tony raised his eyebrows. “I call bullshit.”

 

“You call bullshit, huh?” Fury leveled his gaze at Tony.

 

“I do. Shenanigans, at least.”

 

“I was second in command at SHIELD for years. Do you really think I don't have contacts absolutely everywhere?” Fury looked stonily at Tony. “I can throw a rock in any city in the world and hit an asset of mine. I have friends in high places, and friends in very low places. Let's just say I inquired among my friends in the lower rungs on this particular case. So yeah, shenanigans it was.”

 

“That's it? That's all you'll say?” Steve asked.

 

Nick nodded. “That's all I'll divulge. But it's enough. I know where their stronghold is, and the doctor and the bomb are inside. What I don't know is where they're planning on dropping the bomb, or when. Which means we strike fast and we strike hard.”

 

“When do we leave?” Bruce had been silent in the back of the room until now. I could feel the tension surrounding him. He knew the Hulk was going to come out, and it made him anxious.

 

“We leave immediately. We'll arrive at the base at 0400 hours, parachute into the treeline nearby. Take the base, find the doctor, have her disarm the bomb, and try to take the General alive. He's wanted by Interpol, and I'd like to deliver. The Avengers could use some good PR right now. Maria, I'd like to go over strategy with you and Steve. Everyone else, suit up and meet at the jet.” He picked up his file and walked out, Maria following. Despite both of their brusque natures, I could tell she was happy to have her old boss back. Steve got up and followed.

 

Bucky and I took the elevator up to our rooms. We rode in silence up to the 18th floor. Before the door could open, though, he hit the button to keep it closed. He turned to me, a very serious expression on his face, and took hold of my hands. “I don't want you anywhere near Six.

 

I nodded. “I don't want to be anywhere near her either. If she can stab you, she'd make quick work of me.” I took a deep breathe. “But I go where you go.”

 

He shook his head. “Not this time. I'm fighting her alone. She's not taking you from me. She's not taking any of you from me, but definitely not you.

 

“I can shoot her from a distance.”

 

“She'll be on you before you know she's there.”

 

“How the fuck do you know that?”

 

“Because she's like me. She's dark and she's cold and she's fearless. That's what we do. We move in shadows. How do you think I almost killed Nick Fury? Because he didn't know I was there.”

 

I frowned. I knew he would get his way. I knew he'd go off after her. He'd do whatever it took to keep me out of harm's way. “I'll stay away from her if you agree to take someone else with you.”

 

He glared at me. “You're making the rules now?”

 

“Well you sure as shit aren't making any smart decisions.” I threw back at him. “That's the deal. Someone stronger than me has to help you. Take it or leave it.”

 

He was quiet a moment, as though pondering my offer. Then he slightly nodded his head forward. “All right. I won't go alone.”

 

“Good.” I still wasn't happy about it, and I really had a strong urge to follow him and shock the shit out of this bitch from a distance. I still might. He didn't need to know that though. The tension in the air between us was palpable. We were both extremely worried about each other and extremely annoyed with one another at the same time. I reached to push the button to open the door, but he grabbed my wrist to stop me. “What?” I asked. He whirled me around to face him, and brought his lips to mine roughly. I closed my eyes and breathed him in. Then I spun him around and slammed him into the wall of the elevator in one fluid motion. “I remember you once not wanting to be stuck in an elevator with me.” I whispered into his ear. I felt goosebumps spring up on his neck as my lips brushed against his skin.

 

He was busy running his hands up the maxi dress I was wearing. “I never said I didn't want to be stuck in an elevator with you, I said-” realization dawned on him. “I said there were cameras in the elevators...”

 

I closed my eyes and focused on the surveillance camera. I heard it's little motor buzz out and stop. “Not any more.” I reached down and unzipped his cargo pants. “We need to make this quick. The world kind of needs us right now.”

 

Bucky grabbed my legs and picked me up, turning us both around, and it was my turn to be pinned tightly to the wall, pressed up against his solid chest, my legs around his waist. “I kind of need you right now. The world can wait a few minutes.” He brushed some hair out of my face. “You in?”

 

I nodded. “I'm still upset at you though. Because you're a moron. But yes. Let's do this.”

 

He shrugged and grinned evilly. “If memory serves me, angry sex is sometimes the best.” He thrust into me, and I was lost. We spent the next few minutes basically throwing each other around the elevator, making love roughly and passionately. When we were done, his shirt was torn and on the floor, and he had scratch marks down his back. I had love marks on my chest where I could thankfully cover them up. We looked like we'd gone to battle, I was pretty sure. And we kind of had. We didn't know if we'd even live through this mission- this was heartbreak warfare. He held me close, still up in his arms, my legs wrapped around his waist, my arms around his neck.

 

“This mission might not go very well.” He pulled back a little and started to speak, then stopped. He began again. “In case this mission doesn't go very well, I just..”

 

“What? What's wrong?” I asked. He suddenly looked distraught.

 

He shook his head. “This feels rushed, but it may be all the time we've got.” His blue eyes stared into mine from beneath dark lashes and brows. “I love you. You need to know that before we leave. Just in case.”

 

I hadn't been prepared for that, at all. That last 'just in case' tore at my heart and felt like it threw it on the floor. We weren't in some cheesy romance novel where some strangers declare their love within a day and a half of meeting each other; Bucky was correct, it was rushed. But it was also so right. I snaked my arms back up around his shoulders and pulled him against me once again. “I love you.” I kissed him gently on the lips and closed my eyes. “Don't do anything stupid that would take you away from me.”

* * *

We all met at the jet, waited for Clint, Sam, and Jim, and were in the air within two hours. Steve relayed the slap-shod strategy to us; since we didn't have blueprints of the base, they were really more like guidelines. Tony, Jim, Vision, and Falcon would take out the guys on the roof. The rest of us would battle the guys on the ground, gain entry, and search. That was basically it. Natasha, Clint, and Bucky were going to go after the General; I was not happy about this because that meant Bucky would definitely be fighting Six, and though he was the toughest man I knew, Six had already proven to be just as dangerous. I took some comfort in the fact that Clint and Natasha would be with him. I knew Clint was an excellent shot and level headed, and I also knew Nat was as deadly as they come. Steve, Jim, Bruce, and Tony were on bomb duty. Thor, Wanda, Vision, and myself were basically there to keep the rest of the team safe. Bruce didn't want to Hulk out unless he needed to- but he knew it was a real possibility.

 

The flight was mostly silent. We were all reading dossiers on the General. We checked our comms to make sure we could communicate with Maria and Fury back at the tower. As we approached our drop zone, I started to get nauseous.

 

“What's wrong?” Steve asked me, noticing that I'd put my head in my hands and was breathing heavily.

 

“I've never parachuted before. I'm going to forget to pull the chord and I'm going to die.” I replied.

 

“Calm down.” Natasha told me, glancing around nervously. No one wanted me to get too worked up and decommission the jet while we were all flying in it.

 

“I know you haven't done it before. You're going to jump with one of us.” Steve assured me. “I'm sorry, we didn't have time to train you on this.”

 

“I'm sure as shit not jumping with you or Bucky. You don't use chutes.”

 

“We use them when we're landing on the ground. Just not in the water when we're flying super low.” Bucky arched an eyebrow. “We're not insane.”

 

I gave him a sassy look. “You jump out of planes with no chutes. To do that, ever, requires a certain level of insanity.”

 

Steve and Bucky looked at each other and shrugged. “She's not wrong.” Steve said.

 

“I'll jump with you. Don't worry. I've got you.” Bucky rubbed my back.

 

“What if I pee my pants?”

 

“What?”

 

“I hate falling. It's freaky. What if I pee my pants?”

 

“Uh... use the bathroom before we jump? I'm not really sure what to tell you on that one.” Bucky regarded me strangely.

 

“This is a very real concern for those of us who aren't supersoldiers.” I said tartly.

 

“She's right. I always worry about that, too.” Wanda agreed.

 

“See? It's not just me.” I gave Bucky a knowing look, deep down thanking God that it wasn't just me.

 

Everyone else in the jet didn't seem to share our fear of leaping out of a perfectly good airplane. Oh well, good for them. They were all practically Gods, or could fucking fly. Wanda and I were just people with some interesting skill sets.

 

We approached the drop zone. Wanda and I did in fact use the restroom. There was no way I was going into a mission and pissing myself right off the bat. Once we were out, we all strapped on the chutes.

 

“I'm going to jump out with you, and when we get to the right height I'll pull your chute for you. Once I'm far enough away I'll pull mine.” Bucky said to me in a low voice, pulling the straps of my chute tighter around me.

 

“I'm not all that certain I can make myself jump out that door. You might just have to push me.” I told him honestly. I was beginning to get anxious, but I shook it off. There was a bomb out there, and it was now partly my job to make sure it didn't go off. How I'd gone from doing nails two months ago to fighting for the free world and shooting lasers out of my hands today, I wasn't sure. I'd been tranquilized, hypnotized, had my meds adjusted, been beaten half to death by practically everyone during training, stabbed, and shot. I'd found an unlikely romantic partner in all of that mess. I looked at the man next to me. He was strong, he was brave, he was damaged more than any of us would ever know, and he was mine. He was checking his weapons that he had strapped to him in various places like fucking Rambo. He tightened his parachute straps around his torso, the canvas lacing pulling on the leather of his vest. My heart ached a little. His words echoed in my mind... Just in case...

 

“We're at the drop zone. Head out, everyone.” The pilot, an ex-military man named Dave, informed us. The back hatch dropped open, and Iron Man, War Machine, Thor, Vision, and Falcon leapt out and flew into the night. One by one, Steve jumped, then Natasha; Clint and Wanda, and reluctantly, Bruce. I looked at Bucky.

 

“Are you ready, Darlin'?”

 

“No.” I told him, terrified.

 

“That's too bad. Because we've got places to be.” He pressed his lips against mine, wrapped an arm around me, and threw us both from the jet and out into the darkness.

 

Continued in Mayday Part 11: How the Mighty Fall

 

Chapter Text

My heart was in my throat. We were falling, and we were falling fast. We were surrounded by darkness. Bucky's arms were wrapped tightly around me, but it really didn't make me feel any better about hurtling towards the earth at breakneck speeds. I felt like I was going to pass out. After what seemed like forever, he flicked on a flashlight attached to his chute, and did the same for mine. I looked down. The beam was lost in the darkness.

 

“We're over a clearing!” He yelled, so that I could hear above the howling winds.

 

“I can't look again!” I shouted back, my face buried in his chest. I thought I felt him laugh briefly. I was so glad he found my fright amusing.

 

“You'll be fine! I promise!” He replied loudly. “Mayday, it's time. I'm pulling the parachute.”

 

“No wait-” I began to exclaim, but he'd yanked the chord and let go of me. I felt myself jolt upwards and his arms slip away. I felt like he'd dragged a part of me with him, and my chest was heavy. We were doing this; this was real. There was a bomb. There was an army. And there was a woman that could kill the man I loved. We may not both come back. It was a very real possibility that neither of us would come back.

 

I floated down and eventually the flashlight illuminated the clearing I was landing in. They'd given me rudimentary instructions on how to steer the damned thing, and I made it to the drop zone unscathed. I fell heavily and ungracefully into a snowdrift; I sunk so far in, I wasn't looking forward to having to climb out. It was going to take a lot of effort to gt out of this much snow.

 

I hadn't been down long when I heard feet trudging through the snow near me.

 

“Mayday? You all right?” I heard Steve's voice ask from above.

 

“I don't know. Am I dead?” I called back to him.

 

The sound of Bucky chuckling drifted down to me. “No, Darlin' you aren't dead. You're in a snowbank.”

 

“All right. Let me gather my wits and I'll be right with you.” I proclaimed flippantly, unclipping my parachute straps. I heard more laughter from above.

 

“Did you pee your pants?” Wanda asked as Bucky waded into the snow and reached into the body-shaped hole I was currently dwelling in. I gripped his arm and he helped pull me out. I was from Baltimore- I'd been in snow, but not this much snow. It came nearly to my waist.

 

“No, I did not. Thankfully.” I replied. I looked around. “That landing wasn't so bad.”

 

“New snow is a good spot to land on your first jump.” Natasha told me. “We'll have to teach you how to really do it correctly when we get back.”

 

“Oh God, you mean I have to do that again?”

 

Natasha nodded. “Probably quite a few more times. We kind of jump out of planes a lot.”

 

“The odds are not in your favor if you keep leaping from jets, you know.” I grumbled. Suddenly we heard gunshots from the other side of a stand of trees. “Guess we're late to the party.”

 

Steve did a headcount, and we all waded through the deep snow towards the base. Bucky and Steve were in front and they moved with an air of familiarity; like they had never left each others side, like seventy years hadn't torn them apart and made different men out of them. Wanda and I followed, then Nat and Clint, and at the back, Bruce. He was going to stay in the treeline until the bomb was discovered. He didn't want to lose his cool and turn into the Hulk unless things got really bad.

 

At the edge of the trees, Steve and Bucky both held up a fist at the exact same time, signaling for us to stop. I was struck by how similar their movements were. I knew in that moment that they would make it; their friendship would persevere over absolutely anything that it had to. What I didn't know then was how much it was going to end up having to eventually overcome.

 

“Wait for Tony's signal.” Steve ordered in a low voice. We waited in the cold for word from Tony. We could hear the battle overhead and through our comms; see the flashes of gunfire light up the dark night. Thor, Tony, Sam, War Machine, and Vision were speaking briefly to each other about where they were or who was shooting at them.

 

“Team two GO. They're all targeting us. Go, go,go!” Tony's voice filled my ears. But instead of being filled with anxiety, I was overcome with calm. I looked down the slight decline, towards the base. The floodlights outside were on. The snow was hard packed to the earth. There were guards. In front of me was the USA's greatest soldier, and beside him was Hydra's most dangerous creation. They both looked back at the rest of us.

 

“Time to move.” Steve said. Bucky's eyes landed on me; a soft look came over them. Then he put on his mask, and the assassin took over. He became hardened. He and Steve turned back, dropped their shoulders, and charged the building.

 

Strategy had dictated that we wait for those two to surprise the guards, then the next wave was to go in. That consisted of myself and Wanda, enclosed in her force field. After us, Nat and Clint were sneaking down.

 

Wanda and I waited a few minutes. I watched, with a certain amount of amazement, as Captain America and The Winter Soldier barreled down on their enemies. The guards were solely focused on the onslaught from the sky; Steve and Bucky were nearly on them when they realized there was also danger on the ground. Steve let his shield fly and took out three guards at once. Bucky grabbed the rifle one man had aimed at him, rammed it back into the man's face, took it, spun it around, and shot him with it. It wasn't a Cap-approved method, but it worked. Everyone knew that even way back when, Bucky had been the one who was at peace with doing the dirty work.

 

I heard Bruce behind me, speaking to Natasha. We could all hear, but we pretended not to notice. “Be careful, Nat.” He said to her. It rang through all of our comms. Natasha wasn't one for public romantic moments or displays of vulnerability. But I heard snow move as she turned towards Bruce from behind me.

 

“I'll come back, Banner. You won't get rid of me that easily.” She quipped. She played it light hearted, but underneath it lay the same message Bucky had given me in the elevator. There were a lot of ways to say the same thing, and this was her way.

 

We watched Steve and Bucky leap over barricades, punch soldiers in the throats, and one by one lay out their enemies. Steve smashed faces with his shield; Bucky hadn't touched his own guns even once yet. He'd been stealing everyone else's and shooting them with their own weapons. I had never really seen him in action. Everything he did was calculated; he didn't make any unnecessary movements. Approach, disarm, shoot. Approach, disarm, shoot. Approach, punch in the face, disarm, shoot. He was like a machine. He didn't even move particularly fast. He stalked his prey steadily and mercilessly, without emotion or compassion.

 

“Let's go.” Wanda grabbed my hand, threw up her other one, and a softly glowing red ball surrounded us. We began to run down the hill, towards the guards by the nearest door. They saw us, stopped shooting blindly at Cap and Bucky, and lifted their machine guns towards us.

 

“This force field works, right?” I asked, a moment of panic weakening my resolve.

 

“It works. Start shooting.” Was her reply. I nodded, flicking my palms at the men. They let a torrent of gunfire fly at us; the force field stopped all of the bullets. They fell harmlessly to the ground. I shot off a few blasts; most of them hit their targets. We kept running, and I kept shooting. When all of the men near the door were taken care of, and we had reached it, Wanda shut down the shield. I quickly burned out the lights near the door, surrounding us with darkness. Now was no time to be subtle; I simply blew the light bulbs in a surge of power. Broken glass rained down on us. She began whirling her hands around, forming balls of light between them. She used those to help me pick off anyone who came around the corner of the building. Steve and Bucky were still clearing out the men down the rest of the wall, until they got to the end and rounded the corner. Clint was shooting from the treeline, making his way down the hill. Natasha was nowhere to be seen. She'd pop up, take out a guy with her thighs, shock another guy with her sticks, punch another one in the face, and disappear into the darkness between the outside lights once again. She and Clint rounded the Southernmost corner and vanished.

 

“The top of the building is clear.” I heard War Machine say. “We're coming down for the ground patrol.”

 

Steve and Bucky had rounded the corner a while ago. Everyone on our side of the wall was on the ground, dead or incapacitated. “The West side of the base is clear.” I spoke into my mic. “Wanda and I have secured the door.”

 

“North and East sides are clear. We're coming back to the West door. Don't shoot us.” Steve spoke into the airwaves.

 

“South is clear. These guys don't know how to fight.” Natasha lamented. “That was too easy.”

 

“I did help a little, Nat. You're welcome.” Clint stated.

 

Natasha chuckled. “My guardian angel.”

 

Everyone met back at the door that Wanda and I were guarding. “I'm going to go blow the East door. Give you guys a chance to go unnoticed over here.” Tony said, taking off in his Iron Man suit, flying over the building. We only had to wait a second before we heard a huge explosion.

 

“What the fuck did he take the door out with? A fucking missile?” I asked, cringing at the sound of the blast. I could only imagine the hole in the wall that it had created. For all I knew, he'd taken out half of the building.

 

“Stark Industries mini shoulder mounted missile, Electro-girl.” Tony said to me over the comm.

 

“Always has to put on a show.” Jim shook his head. “Get behind me. I'm opening this door up.” He stepped towards it, and pulled it open. A bunch of bullets bounced off of his metal suit, and he walked in calmly. A few shots from his shoulder rifle, and the interior was silent. “You all can come in now.”

 

We followed him, once again in formation. Steve and Bucky, Wanda and myself, Clint and Natasha. Vision, Thor, and Sam followed.

 

“Clint, Bucky, let's go. The General has my name on him.” Natasha stated with determination.

 

“You never told me why you're so hung up on catching this man.” Clint said to her. They began to move down the hall. Bucky followed. He turned one last time back towards me. I held up my hand in a somber goodbye. He did the same. Then they were around the corner and out of sight, but we could still hear them.

 

“He used to recruit Black Widow trainees for missions. Most of them never came back.” Natasha stated simply.

 

“But you hated the Black Widow program.” Clint said.

 

“I know. But I didn't hate the other women there.” Natasha's words rang out in the night, and they indicated that the conversation was now over. She had her reasons beyond the fact that the General was wanted for several pages worth of international crimes. She was going to make him pay for his sins both the ones we knew about and the ones that we didn't.

 

The rest of us set to work, slinking through the base, looking for the doctor and the bomb. The base wasn't huge, but it wasn't small either, and we soon realized it had at least two floors underground. We split up. I was with Steve and Sam. Wanda, Vision, and War Machine were together, and Tony had met back up with Thor. We made quick work of the place. It appeared most of the guards had gone outside to fight. I pulled the energy from everywhere we'd been, darkening the place. I felt my power growing. I had drained floor 23 before we left, but that had all been spent fighting outside. I was restocking.

 

Steve cautiously opened a door off of a hallway, two floors down. “I think this is it, guys. This door locks from the outside.” He pushed it open, ducking behind his shield. When nothing hit him, he peered into the room.

 

“Please don't hurt me.” A voice came from out of the darkness.

 

“Doctor Rodrigo?” Steve asked.

 

“Please don't hurt me.” The voice repeated, sounding scared.

 

Steve flicked on the light. All of us were ready for an ambush, but what we weren't ready for was what greeted us. The doctor was dead, a bullet hole strategically placed between her eyes. And a tape recorder on the floor next to her, with “Please don't hurt me” repeating, over and over. Steve ran to her, checking for a pulse. We all knew it was too late for the doctor.

 

I got sick to my stomach. We hadn't made it in time. Steve turned to us. “She's cold. Really cold. She's been kept in a freezer.” He stood. “They're playing games with us. She's been dead a while.”

 

“The General likes to play games.” Nat responded over the comm from somewhere deep in the base. “And I think we just found him.”

 

“Steve, Jim, get your teams up to floor one. I think we know where the bomb is.” Tony's voice echoed in my head.

 

“Bucky, be careful.” I said into my mic.

 

“I will.” Was his reply.

 

“You sure you found the bomb?” Steve inquired.

 

“I can't personally see it, no, but there's a small jet ready to take off out of a side entrance, and I'm assuming it has a bomb on board. It's extremely heavily guarded.” Tony said.

 

“On our way.” Steve signaled for us to follow. I wondered why we'd been set up with a death scene and a tape recorder. What kind of sick whacko would take the time to do that?

 

I soon found out it was only meant to stall us and keep us from stopping the jet.

* * *

 

Natasha crept up to the door, three floors underground, Bucky and Clint behind her. The door had stars on the window, and she could hear talking inside. A woman's voice with a french accent, and a Russian man.

 

“We need to leave now.” The female voice said sternly. Bucky drew in a breath. He recognized that voice. Foggy memories began swirling in his head, but he couldn't pinpoint anything.

 

“The bomb isn't out of the building yet.” The Russian man, the General, replied.

 

“The bomb is not my concern. Protecting you is my mission.” Six shot back. “The bomb is on it's way out. We need to go now. The jet is waiting.”

 

“We're not leaving yet.”

 

“You do not understand. Protecting you is my mission. If that means I have to make you leave, I will.”

 

Bucky closed his eyes. This woman really had gotten tougher. She wasn't subservient like he had been forced to be. Or rather, she may be subservient to Hydra, but not to the General. He was her mission, not her dictator.

 

“The jet with the bomb is taking off. Making me come with you won't be necessary.” The man replied angrily. “And don't forget who hired you. Let's go.”

 

Natasha, Clint, and Bucky sidestepped, positioning themselves on either side of the door. Bucky motioned for them to let him take the lead. He knew Six would come out first. She was the same as him. That's how he'd been trained.

 

The door opened, and a pistol was aimed out of it, followed by a tall woman with dark hair. She had a half mask on much like Bucky's. She wore black leather like Natasha. And she was ready for trouble.

 

Bucky reached out and grabbed her pistol. She jammed her knee up into his stomach, pulled the gun back, and pistol-whipped him. Natasha jumped on the General, but guards had come from either side and descended upon the trio of Avengers. By the time Natasha was done choking everyone, Clint had shot several of them, and Bucky had stabbed the rest, Six and the General were gone.

 

“They went that way!” Natasha pointed down the hall, and the three went racing after them. “We can't let him get on that jet. I can't lose him! Not again!”

 

“Again?” Clint asked under his breath

* * *

 

“This is ridiculous.” I said into my comm, hiding behind a huge metal locker. I stepped out, let some blasts fly, and ducked back. Wanda did the same from the other side.

 

We were in the room with the jet, and all hell had broken loose. Iron Man and War Machine were taking down a lot of soldiers. Thor was fighting mercilessly with his hammer. Vision was knocking people out left and right. Sam and Steve were back to back, annihilating enemy combatants. The vibranium shield was flying everywhere. Wanda and I were providing cover fire, and we were doing a damned good job of it.

 

Suddenly the engines on the small jet started, and it began to move.

 

“I've got it!” Tony yelled, taking off after it. The plane sped out through the huge bay door and down the snowy runway outside, where the morning light was just peeking out. Tony followed, and caught up, hanging on to the tail fin.

 

I hoped he knew what he was doing, because we had our hands full in here.

 

I saw Steve hop over a snowmobile, ding a couple guys with his shield, hit another man in the jaw, and duck before gunfire hit him. I aimed at the shooter and blasted him in the chest- he went down, a hole burned through his shirt and partway through his chest.

 

“Thanks Mayday.” Steve said.

 

“Anytime.”

 

We eventually incapacitated all of the enemies in the room, and raced outside to see what was going on. We found Tony laying in the snow, the battery light on his suit cracked and burned out.

 

In the distance, we could see smoke wafting up through the trees.

 

“What happened, Tony?” Steve helped him remove himself from the suit, and stand up.

 

“I got into the plane. The bomb is in there. They were headed for London.” Tony sat down on his now defunct suit. “The suit's dead. A guy shot me in the chest with a missile. A Stark Industries missile, just to make it worse. I've lost all power.”

 

Steve looked towards the wreckage and back at Tony. “How did the plane go down?”

 

“The suit has three minutes of backup. I jumped out and hit the jet with another missile. A bigger one.”

 

“So it's done then?”

 

“No, it's not done. That bomb has a timer on it.” Tony replied.

 

“Damn it.” Steve swore under his breath. We were all surprised.

 

“Language.” Tony scolded.

 

“Now is not the time for jokes.” Steve frowned at Tony and took off towards the trees. “We need to disarm it. Come on.”

 

We all began to follow, but halfway across the bridge spanning the ravine, Tony stopped us. “We can't go any farther.” He was looking at his wrist.

 

“Is that a mini Geiger counter?” I asked.

 

Tony nodded. “The bomb is leaking radiation. We can't go any farther.”

 

“I can. My suit will protect me, right?” Jim turned to his friend.

 

“No. Not against that much radiation. The only suit that would protect against that is the new one. The Mach 127.” Tony gestured over his shoulder defeatedly. “And it's dead.”

* * *

 

Bucky, Natasha, and Clint barely made it to the runway when they heard the jet engines start. They were three floors underground. The ground slanted upwards, and a huge bay door was opening.

 

“We need to get on that plane!” Nat shouted, racing forward. Clint and Bucky ran after her. They barely reached the jet before it began to move.

 

Bucky reached up and pulled at the back hatch, yanking it off of it's hinges with his bionic arm. Still running, he hoisted Nat through, and leapt up into the vehicle himself. He reached back to grab Clint, but they were too far away. Clint was moving as fast as he could, but the jet was moving faster. He watched as his friends were taken from him.

 

“Clint!” Natasha shouted, watching him get smaller and smaller the further they flew from him.

 

“It's all right. I'm going back to the General's office. Find out what's on his computer.” Clint's voice traveled to them through the comms.

 

Bucky was on edge. He was looking around. It wasn't a large jet. The General was flying it himself. Bucky continued scanning. He didn't see Six anywhere. The plane picked up speed, and began to lift off. Suddenly she came out of nowhere, dropping down on them. Bucky slammed her into the wall; she countered, hitting his elbow to bend it, grabbing his face, and throwing him off of her. Natasha made a move towards the General. “No, you don't. Protecting him is my mission.” Six growled. She grabbed Nat by the throat and Bucky by the front of his leather vest, and threw herself and the both of them from the back of the plane.

 

The jet kept going, but the trio fell twenty feet into a snowbank and rolled down it. Six had lost her grip on them as they fell; she landed a good ten feet from Bucky. Natasha fell to his left. He scanned the ground for her. She lay motionless; looking further, he saw that she had hit her head on a rock in the fall. He could only hope she was still breathing. It wasn't fitting for Natasha to be taken out by a rock.

 

“Nat's down. I repeat Nat's down. I'm with Six. Do not approach.” He said into his mic.

 

He heard Bruce come over the speaker. “Nat's down?” After a brief pause, he came back on, his voice deep. He was yelling now. “Nat's doooooowwwwwwnnnnn????” Bucky flinched. The Hulk was in the picture now.

 

Bucky steeled himself for the inevitable attack by Six. She had dropped to a fighting stance, but she was regarding him strangely. His mask had gotten lost in the fight on the jet and the tumble from it. A flash of recognition registered in her eyes, and she seemed confused for a moment. She shook her head as if to clear it, but it was obvious to Bucky; she knew him. Apparently there were things she was remembering that he could not.

 

In the distance, he saw Steve on the bridge. He had stopped walking abruptly and turned back to to Tony. Mayday was with them. Bucky couldn't worry about what was going on right now; he ignored the cacophony of voices in his comm.

 

Six was circling him like a wild animal. He began to circle her as well. The patch of ground they were on was hard-packed snow and ice. He wasn't sure what she'd do. He didn't expect it when she stopped, peered over his shoulder at Steve, and looked back at him.

 

“I see you finally found your Captain America, Winter Soldier.” She stated flatly.

 

Bucky's heart jumped in his chest. That was something she couldn't know; shouldn't know. “How did you know I was looking for him?” Bucky growled back at her.

 

“You don't remember any of it, do you?” She asked. She was still oddly emotionless.

 

“I remember fighting you.”

 

“That's all?”

 

“Yes.”

 

She suddenly lunged at him, her foot coming up to connect with his head. He grabbed her leg, flipping her over in the snow and throwing her a few yards away. She landed on her back, sliding on the ice. She did a kip-up, and spun around to face him again. She was just inside the treeline now. Her mask had come off as well.

 

Recognition hit Bucky like a tornado. The dark eyes, dark hair, red lips. He remembered all of it. The scar above her lip was new. She wasn't any older; that made sense. They'd keep her frozen until she was useful, like they had done to him. Memories flashed in his mind. Memories of the fight, and memories of other things that he wasn't sure were real or not. He was getting bits and pieces, thrown together in a kind of violent dream sequence. Her memories of him had returned much more clearly than his memories of her. But he knew, in that instant, that they had a complicated story.

 

How do you know I was looking for him?” Bucky demanded again, advancing towards her and drawing his knife.

 

“You were my mission.” She replied with dead eyes. “And you talk in your sleep, Winter Soldier.”

* * *

Continued in Mayday 11: Mach 127

 

Chapter Text

We all stood on the bridge, looking dejectedly at Tony's Geiger counter. The radiation levels where we currently stood were elevated but not dangerous, but where the wreckage was, Tony informed us that they would be deadly.

 

“How long is this timer?” Cap asked him.

 

“It said an hour. That was 15 minutes ago.” Tony looked at his watch. “Approximately.”

 

“Shit.” Sam said under his breath. “I'm assuming we're in the blast radius?”

 

Tony nodded.

 

“We can just leave.” Wanda suggested. “There's nothing around here, right?”

 

“On the contrary, there's a town a few miles away. This can't be another Chernobyl.” Nick Fury's voice emanated from the comm.

 

“Shit. Again.” Sam shook his head.

 

“One of us is going to have to disarm it.” Thor spoke with authority. “I can-” He was cut off by noises behind us. There were more soldiers on the roof, and they began shooting at us. We all leapt over the sides of the bridge and into the ravine, ducking for cover to avoid the hail of bullets. We didn't have to hide long though- we heard screaming, also coming from the top of the base. The shooting stopped, or rather, it stopped coming towards us.

 

I peeked up above the edge. “Oh Jesus.

 

“What?” Cap also poked his head up to look quickly as well. “Oh.” He ducked back down and turned to everyone. They looked at him questioningly. “Hulks out.” This was followed by all of us looking back above ground. Huge and green, the Hulk was busy throwing men over the sides of the base, screaming at them, and generally wreaking total havoc.

 

“Nat's down, guys. Bruce went nuts. I'm going to go find her. Because he's out of his mind and won't remember to do it.” Clint's voice came over the speaker.

 

“Clint, you're in the General's office, right? Do you have schematics to the bomb?” Steve asked him.

 

“Yes, I can get them. His computer was protected but... he used his own name as the password.” Clint replied a minute later. “Seriously? His own name? Who does that?

 

“I need you to stay there. We're sending... one of us to diffuse the bomb and we need you to tell us how to do it.”

 

“I have to find Nat. She's with Bucky and Six.. But I don't know where they are.”

 

My heart leapt to my throat. I'd heart Bucky say Nat was down, but there'd been so much din in the comms and conversation about the bomb, I hadn't been able to decipher any more. If he was with Six, nothing good would come of it. My thoughts flew back to the scar on his side.

 

“Negative. Stay with the schematics.” Cap looked up at the roof of the base, where the Hulk was still slamming people around. “Bruce will find her. Bucky can handle it.”

 

“God damn it, Cap.” Clint swore at Steve. “Bruce went rage-monster on us. He won't find her.”

 

“That's an order, Clint. Stay with the schematics.” Steve looked pained to have to tell Hawkeye not to go find his friend, but he had a job to do. We all did. He turned to the rest of us. “I'll go. I'll disarm the bomb.”

 

“That level of radiation... you won't make it back.” Tony told him. “Not even you, Steve.”

 

Steve looked at Tony sadly. “I've already lived my nine lives, Stark. I'll do it.”

 

I had been looking at the Iron Man suit, left behind us in the snow. “No. You won't. I'll go.”

 

Everyone looked at me. “Do you know anything about bombs?” Sam asked.

 

“No. I know nothing about bombs. Never even seen one.” I took a deep breath. “But you said your suit can hold off the radiation, right?”

 

“Honey, my suit is dead. It's a hunk of metal.” Tony rolled his eyes. “I thought we already covered that?”

 

I nodded. “I can power your suit.” Tony's eyes lit up a little as I said this, but quickly hope faded.

 

“If you can re-power the suit, why doesn't Tony just go?” Thor asked me.

 

“That won't work. My suit needs continual power. Not just a short burst. That's why it has the battery.” Tony looked at his hands. “That's a good idea, Mayday, but the amount of energy to power the suit would require, well, basically for you to drain the equivalent of Manhattan. And we don't have a Manhattan around here.”

 

“We can't switch the battery from my suit to yours?” Jim Rhodes inquired.

 

“No. The Mach 127 needs a stronger one. Don't you think I would have thought of that already?” Tony frowned.

 

I was looking at Thor. More specifically, at his hammer. “What about a lightning bolt?”

 

“Come again?” Tony raised his eyebrows at me.

 

“Would that be enough power? A lightning bolt?”

 

“It.. probably. If it didn't kill you.” Tony was looking from me, to Thor, and back to me. “This is a ridiculous idea. Like a really bad idea.”

 

“Mayday, don't!” Bucky's voice came to me over the comm. It sounded like he was fighting. I knew he was fighting Six.

 

“Bucky, you're either going to lose Cap today for sure, or me possibly. The team needs Steve more than it needs me.”

 

“God damn it, Mayday-” Bucky was about to continue but sounds of a scuffle brought the conversation to an end. I tried not to think of what was happening, wherever he was. He was fighting Six, and I couldn't do anything about it.

 

I stepped up to Thor. “Let's do this.”

 

“Are you certain?” He looked down at me, concern blatant in his eyes. I nodded. He took my hand. “Everyone else, off the bridge.” As the others scrambled to give us space, he held his hammer high in the sky. Clouds began to swirl above us, and the distant sound of lightning crackled. Thor looked down at me. “You're very brave, Mayday. But I hope you know what you're doing.”

 

I looked up at him. “So do I.”

* * *

Bucky followed Six into the trees, stalking her every move. “What do you mean I talk in my sleep?” He asked her. He had a bad feeling about this. He had a bad feeling about everything that was going on right now. He heard a clap of lightning in the distance and tried to put Mayday, and the Hail Mary she was about to pull, out of his mind.

 

“Exactly what I said. You talk while you dream. And you were always talking about Captain America.” Six had backed up, but was still poised to strike. “You never remembered anything when you woke up.I always wondered what it was about him that had gotten to you.”

 

“He's my friend. And... he's a good man... Why were you anywhere near me when I was sleeping?” Bucky glared at her suspiciously. Had they been cellmates? Friends?

 

Six looked at him like he was an idiot. “I was right next to you. You don't remember, Winter Soldier?” She took his moment of confusion to leap at him once again, drawing a knife and aiming it down at his chest. He threw up his metal arm, knocking her hand with the knife out of the way. He grabbed it and spun her around, pinning her against him, her back to his front. She struggled, extracted her arm and elbowed him in the side of the head, skirting out of his grasp and behind a tree. But it was too late. The close proximity, the smell of her hair, the warmth of their bodies touching; he suddenly remembered. Everything came flooding back in an instant, nearly overcoming his senses.

 

Nights in a cold barracks room. Six coming to him. Their bodies intertwined. He'd never felt much for her. It hadn't happened often, and he was pretty sure a lot of cryo and a lot of memory wipes had occurred in between their interludes. He also remembered the fight, and his injury, with a new found clarity. That had happened before the intimacy, he was pretty sure. Why would he sleep with her if he didn't care about her? He had been a machine, hadn't cared about anything back then, except for... his missions.

 

You were my mission, too.” A sudden realization came over him. Hydra had plotted them against each other, for some reason. A trick, training, trying to find a traitor; he didn't know. But he'd seduced her because it had been his mission. She was beautiful, and she was smart, and she was strong; but Bucky knew he'd had no capacity for emotion back then. And it was becoming very clear that she didn't, either.

 

“I knew right away what they were doing. They were testing our devotion to the cause.” She stepped out from behind the tree, aiming a gun at him. “You wouldn't have let me come on to you if I weren't a mission as well. They didn't expect me to figure it out.” She pulled back the hammer. “You failed, by the way.” The coldness in her eyes never left. She, like him, had apparently left emotion out of the equation. They hadn't been lovers. Not really. They'd been each other's targets.

 

Bucky reached for the rifle strapped to his back; it wasn't there. He'd lost it in the fall from the jet. “Shit.” He dove behind a tree just as she began shooting. “If I failed, why didn't you turn me in?” He peered around the trunk of the pine. It seemed to him her eyes had softened a little at this thought.

 

“There was no need.”

 

“No need?”

 

“Logically, you were going to run. Eventually you were going to remember your Captain. Then I'd be their best asset. I just had to wait.” She aimed again and fired. Bucky ran from tree to tree, quickly getting behind her. She whirled around and aimed the gun at him, but he pushed her hand out of the way, disarming her and sending the firearm flying out into the trees somewhere. They began to fight. She went for a high kick; he deflected. He tried to get her in a choke hold; she ducked. They both pulled their knives at the same time, dropping into the same stance. It was creeping Bucky out, how similar their fighting styles were. It made sense, though. They'd been trained by the same people.

 

“You wanted to be the best.” He growled at her.

 

I was the best. You were just their golden boy.” She spoke very low; he could barely hear her.

 

“So they had me seduce you to try to find out if your allegiance was true?” He countered a knife attack, kicking her back a few feet with a boot to the chest.

 

She straightened up, dropping low again. “The seduction was mutual. They were hoping for pillow talk.” She jumped at him, bringing her knife down. He spun out of the way, bringing his up to try to catch her in the chest. She sidestepped, kicking his knife out of his hands. It flipped up in the air, and he caught it as it came back down.

 

“You could leave, you know.” Bucky stated, grabbing her arm and flipping her over onto the ground. She kicked his legs out from under him, and he fell onto the ice beside her.

 

“Why would I leave?” She threw herself on top of him, her thighs around his throat.

 

This is Natasha's move, Bucky thought, struggling to breathe. He reached up and grabbed a handful of her hair, yanking her off of him. He rolled, pinning her to the ground. She hit him in the face with a severe right hook, snapping his head to the side violently.

 

You had a life before Hydra. Don't you wonder about it?” He asked her, taking the hit. He slammed his knife down, trying to get her, but she moved at the last second and he only grazed her left arm. He remembered that he had never been able to crack her; she never remembered anything. She was truly Hydra, through and through.

 

“No I don't. This is all I am. And I won't stop until I kill all of you.” She winced, then pulled another knife hidden inside her suit, and jammed it into his shoulder. He reached to pull it out and she rolled out of his grasp once again.

 

“Why? The General is gone. Your mission is accomplished.” He lunged at her, landing a blow to her face as well. She fell, picking her original knife up off of the ground, and coming back for more.

 

“You won't stop until you've killed him. So I have to take you out first.” She replied detachedly. “I heard the redhead say she needed to kill him.” Bucky realized there was no reasoning with her. Either he had to kill her, or she would kill him. He threw her against a tree; she kicked him in the chest down a snowbank. He leapt onto his feet and fell back as she jumped down after him, and he threw her on the ground once more, jamming a knife into her side. She looked up at him in horror and pain; it had never occurred to her that she might lose the fight. He really didn't want to kill her.

 

“Just stop. We can help you.” He pulled the knife from her side; blood was pooling in the snow. She said nothing, but reached into the dead, frozen foliage beside her. She quickly raised the gun that she'd previously lost out of the snow. It was inches from Bucky's head.

 

“No.” She said, though her voice wavered a bit and that didn't go unnoticed by Bucky. “I need to complete my mission.

 

“No, you don't.” Natasha stepped out from behind a tree as Bucky threw himself out of the way of the gun, and she smashed a branch into Six's head. Six fell back in the snow, dropping her weapon. She was out cold. Natasha picked it up. Blood was matted into the side of her hair, and a large purple bruise was already forming on the side of her face. She aimed the weapon at Six.

 

Wait!” Bucky put his hand on her arm. She looked at him quizzically, but didn't pull the trigger. “We don't have to kill her.”

 

“Why shouldn't we?” Nat shot back. “She was just going to kill you.”

 

“She was... I may have gotten through to her.”

 

“Why would you think that?”

 

“I have a feeling. I don't know.”

 

“And what if she comes after you again? Then what? If protecting the General was her mission, and she knows we're after him... what happens when she comes back?”

 

“If she comes back... I'll kill her myself.” He looked down at the unconscious woman, bleeding into the snow. Hydra would come find her, no doubt. “She won't come after us though.”

 

Natasha looked frustrated, but she handed the gun back to Bucky. “If you say so.” She didn't look convinced.

 

With one look back, they left the woods, and left Six to her fate. Bucky hadn't told Natasha, but he had a feeling that even though they had been pitted against each other in a game of sabotage, and the fact that he didn't appear to feel any empathy for her despite the nights they'd apparently shared together, Six had been the closest thing he'd had to a friend in the seventy years he'd been in Hydra. He had to give her the chance to leave.

* * *

The lightning bolt hit, and it hit hard. I think I was out for a second. Either way, when I got my bearings, I was being laid onto the ground by Thor. “Nope, I'm good!” I leapt up. I had so much energy pulsing through my body, I didn't know what to do with myself. I was in a state of euphoria.

 

“Fuck me, she made it.” Tony looked at me, incredulous. “Maria, please inform Friday that it needs to change the suit parameters. Mayday is going to be wearing it.”

 

“Right away, sir.” Maria replied.

 

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Steve asked me as we jogged back over to the incapacitated Mach 127.

 

“I already got struck by lightning. What else am I going to do? Let you go, and die?” I shook my head. “You're a hero, Steve, but I'm not letting Captain America sacrifice himself if he doesn't have to.”

 

Vision and Tony helped me climb into the suit. “Okay, you use the hand pulses to steady yourself, and... fuck. I hope you can fly it.” Tony sighed.

 

I lay back in the suit, and let the power flow out of my body. The Mach 127 lit up, the chest glowing, and it closed around me. I could see out of the face shield, and there was a computer readout in front of my eyes as well. I sat up. The suit had somehow connected with my thought pattern. It was doing whatever I wanted it to do.

 

“Good morning, Miss.” Friday's voice echoed in my head. “We need to be heading east.”

 

“Thank you, Friday.” I nodded, and got to my feet. I looked at the other. “Find Bucky and Natasha.” I took a few steps towards the wreckage. “And wish me luck.”

 

“Godspeed, Mayday.” Steve saluted me. I saluted him back, and took off into the sky.

 

Flying was a strange sensation. It wasn't awful like falling was; it was freeing. I knew that nothing in my life would top this, but I had no time to enjoy it. I needed to find the bomb. According to my watch, I had only twenty minutes left, and I still had to diffuse it. It didn't take me long to get there; the jet had gone down about a mile and a half from the base. I landed near the vaguely plane-shaped pile of twisted metal, and began to look around. I was strong in the suit; I pulled huge pieces of the vehicle apart and tossed them aside.

 

What's it look like? What am I looking for?” I asked. Then I spotted it. A large oblong piece of metal, with fins on the back. Someone had decided to get flashy and paint a skull and crossbones on it. I rolled my eyes. Why did super villains have to be evil and so damned weird at the same time? Seriously, pick one or the other. “Never mind, I found it.”

 

“Uh, bad news.” Clint said to me.

 

“Yeah, I just noticed.” I replied.

 

“What's wrong?” Tony asked urgently.

 

“There's no way to get into the bomb to deactivate it. It's completely soldered into the frame.” Clint stated.

 

“Don't you have a blowtorch or something on this suit?” I asked. I was scanning the list of tools and weapons. Yes, he did have a blowtorch.

 

“Do not use the blowtorch on the bomb.” Tony and Steve said at the same time.

 

“I need to get through the casing! How else am I going to do it?”

 

“You run the risk of detonating it.” Tony explained.

 

“You're going to have to take it somewhere. Is there water to put it down in?” Steve asked. “Maria, where's the closest body of water?”

 

“What is with you and dropping bombs in water?” Sam asked.

 

“It worked the first time.” Steve replied dryly.

 

“There's no water close enough, Steve.” Maria came back on the comm, sounding sad.

 

“Wait. What about a mine shaft?” I asked.

 

“A mine shaft?” It was Vision's turn to ask me a question, like I was nuts.

 

“Yeah. The US used to do nuclear testing underground in Nevada. Can I get this bitch underground somewhere? Somewhere close?” I looked at the timer on the bomb. I had only a few minutes left.

 

“Yes. YES. There's an abandoned mine shaft sixteen miles away. It's not near anything. I'm sending you the way-point.” Maria told me. “It says it's deep enough. Drop it and haul ass out of there. Don't get trapped.”

 

“Thanks Maria.” I looked at the bomb. It wasn't huge, but it was going to be hard to carry. Thanks to the suit, I was able to pick it up, and got myself into the air, albeit a tad wobbly. I got my bearings, and started heading towards the beacon on my computer screen. I was going fast; recklessly fast. I had three minutes left by the time I was over the mine. I searched for the opening in the hillside below.

 

“I'm here.” I said. “I'm going in.” I started heading for the entrance.

 

“Mayday, get in and get out quick. Don't... don't let me lose you.” Bucky's voice broke through my comm.

 

“Are you all right?” I asked him.

 

“Yes. Six is... taken care of.” He replied. “Hurry.”

 

I breathed a sigh of relief. Whatever happened now, my team, and my man, were safe. I flew into the mine shaft, and abruptly lost all contact on my comm.

 

“Friday? Are you still there?” I asked.

 

“Affirmative, Miss. I'm in the suit with you.”

 

“At least I'm not alone.” I was flying deeper and deeper into the mine. The clock on my dash registered that I had 45 seconds. “I don't know if I'll make it back out. I don't want to die alone.”

 

“I'm not leaving, Miss.” Friday told me.

 

“Thank you.” I finally hit a dead end. I didn't know how deep underground I was, but I hoped I was deep enough. I placed the bomb gently on the ground. I had twenty seconds left. “Let's get the hell out of here.” I leapt back up, and went as fast as I could towards the exit. Ten... Nine... Eight...

* * *

 

“Hey there big guy. The Sun's getting real low don't you think?” Natasha approached the Hulk on the roof of the base. Sam had flown her up there, set her down on the opposite side, and waited to make sure things went smoothly. You never knew with the Hulk. He'd gone full on rage upon finding out that Nat had been injured; but in his monster form, he'd gotten caught up in wrecking things and forgotten what his goal was. She walked up to him, speaking gently. He was surrounded by bodies. She held up her hand. He held up his to mirror her, reaching out for her fingers. “It's time to calm down now. What do you say?”

 

The Hulk closed his eyes, and changed back into Bruce. Nat would never get used to seeing the transformation. It was odd and violent and alien; but when it was over, Dr. Banner sat in the snow on the roof, in only his pants. He looked up at her. “Nat... I'm sorry.”

 

“For what?” She helped him up, putting her arms around him for warmth.

 

“I heard you were down, and I... I lost control.” He looked ashamed, the same way he did every time he came back from the edge. “And then I forgot what I was doing. I didn't come find you.”

 

“I can take care of myself, big guy.” Nat smiled. “You saved everyone on the bridge. You're my hero.”

 

Banner smiled awkwardly. “Can we go inside? I'm really cold.”

* * *

 

“Where is she?” Bucky paced back and forth. “We need to go find her. Where's the jet? It needs to come land and we need to go.”

 

“Bucky, you need to stop. It hasn't been that long since her comm went down. And there was no blast that we could see. She got to the mine shaft.” Steve tried to comfort his friend, but he knew what he wasn't saying. They all did. Mayday had gotten the bomb to the mine, and deep enough to avoid a blast and a mushroom cloud; but that didn't mean she'd gotten back out.

 

“It's been six minutes. She should be back by now.” Bucky was on edge. Where the hell was Mayday? He'd made it out alive; she had to. He couldn't even think of the alternative.

 

“I'm sending the jet to do a fly by.” Maria informed them.

 

Steve looked out onto the horizon. “That won't be necessary. Just organize a radiation cleanup for the area near the base.”

 

Bucky turned to where Steve was gazing, and shielded his eyes. The Mach 127 was hurtling towards them. Mayday crash landed in a snowbank, again. Bucky let out a sigh of relief, and they all went racing towards her.

* * *

 

I had lost all communication, and had narrowly escaped the mine shaft when the bomb went off. I had been hit by falling rocks and debris, damaging the suit. I'd made my way back, unable to control my speed and also unable to speak to anyone.

 

“Friday, is there a decontmination option on the suit?” I asked.

 

“Affirmative, Miss. I'll start the process.”

 

“Thank you.”

 

By the time I got back to the base, I didn't know how fast I was going, but the suit was no longer covered in radiation, and I was preparing for a crash landing. I aimed for the fluffiest snowbank I could see, and slammed into it, skidding across the snow until I finally stopped.

 

I was disoriented and making sure none of my bone were broken, when Bucky's face appeared in my line of sight.

 

“Get her out of the suit!” Tony ordered everyone. I was trying, but the suit wasn't working. I was down on power. Jim stepped towards me, and began pulling the suit apart.

 

“Sorry Tony. You're going to have to build a Mach 128.” I said weakly as Jim threw aside the last piece holding me in, and Bucky pulled me out and into his arms.

 

“Jesus Christ. This suit was well worth the damage.” Tony's eyes were wide. “Thank God your stunt worked. That was insane. Even for you.”

 

Bucky was hanging onto me so tightly, I couldn't breathe. “Is everyone alive?” I asked.

 

“Yeah. Everyone made it. But the General got away.” Steve nodded.

 

“Look on the bright side, kid. We probably stopped Nuclear War from starting today.” Tony slapped Steve on the back.

 

“The General will be back.” Natasha's voice came over the comm.

 

“Where are you?” Thor inquired.

 

“We're inside. Bruce is cold.” Nat replied. “In his defense, he is half naked. He's not just being a wuss.”

 

“I'm never a wuss.” Bruce proclaimed flatly. We heard Natasha giggle.

 

“I have all of the data from the General's computer.” Clint added. “I'm coming up.”

 

“Good.” I stated. “Lets... let's go home.” I sat on the ground, my arms around my Winter Soldier, and we waited for the jet to come get us.

 

Continued in Mayday Epilogue: These Arms of Mine

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Two weeks later

 

“I think I'm getting used to Tony's parties. I might even start to like them soon.” Bucky said to me, wrapping his arms tighter as we danced on the open floor on top of the tower. The band was playing fifties songs this time; not quite Bucky's kind of music, but close.

 

“That's just because you have me here to protect you from the big, bad party guests.” I smiled into his neck.

 

“That's true. I don't think I'd be all right with this crowd otherwise. There are too many. I can't watch all of them all the time.”

 

“No one is trying to kill you right now. You can relax.” I whispered, and he chuckled and pulled me in even closer.

 

It had been a hellish last few weeks. We'd all arrived home beaten and bruised. A team had been dispatched to do radiation cleanup at the jet crash site; there wasn't a lot that could be done at the mine shaft other than fence it off. I'd apparently saved the day, but it felt half-assed to me. Thank God the mine was in Siberia, and had been a few miles deep to contain the blast. It was also miles off the grid, and the bomb hadn't made it to London like the General had planned. If it had, or if it had gone off near the base, it would have been devastating.

 

We didn't know why he'd targeted London. His files were incomplete; we had a feeling he'd taken another computer with him. A laptop maybe. He was in the wind now. Natasha was obsessed with catching him now that she knew he was alive. She wouldn't say much about why; she kept a lot of things to herself. Tony had gone to work immediately on a new Iron Man suit (it was his way of relieving stress); the unveiling of the Mach 128 had been this evening at the start of the party.

 

Two weeks earlier

 

As soon as we'd arrived home and his shoulder had been patched up, Bucky had told me all he could remember about Six. The fight when they'd met, how vicious she was; the mind games they'd played; the sex. He had come out of the surgeon's office, looking sad and anxious. I knew something had gone on with them; I was waiting for him to decide the right time to tell me exactly what. Apparently the right time was now.

 

“Can we go back to my room? I... I need to talk to you.” He looked pained, and I didn't know if it was his shoulder or his heart. I nodded, and he took my hand and led me to the elevators and to his quarters.

 

“What's wrong, Buck?” I asked, sitting down beside him on the bed.

 

“I let her live, Mayday.” He looked at me from below heavy lids. I already knew this. He's been partially debriefed on the plane ride home. We all had.

 

“I know, babe. I know.” I nodded.

 

“Did you hear what she said? Could you hear over the comm?” He eyed me warily.

 

“No. I heard your end, but so much was going on, I didn't catch a lot.” I told him honestly.

 

He looked at his hands for a while. “I remember. I think I remember everything about her. Everything I knew at least.”

 

“What did you remember?”

 

“Listen... I have a history with Six. It's awful and violent and... we tricked each other.” He was still looking down.

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“She was my target, and I was hers. I met her when we fought, and we almost killed each other. I don't know how much longer after that, we were each given a mission. To find out our allegiance to Hydra.” He ran a hand through his hair and sighed.

 

I kind of already figured out what this mission must have entailed, but I had to ask. “And this mission was?”

 

“Get close. Find out information.” He looked at me. “It involved... intimacy.”

 

“I see.”

 

“It didn't mean anything.” He told me. “She was-”

 

“She was your mission.” I finished for him.

 

He nodded. “It was a spy game. And it turns out we were both exceptionally good at it.”

 

“How much time did you spend together? Were you partners?”

 

“No. I always worked alone. I don't think we were kept together for very long. I think there were memory wipes and cryo freezes in between. They tried a few times. Neither of us cracked, so they stopped. Decided we really were stone cold killing machines with no souls.” He looked out the window. “Actually, I cracked.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“I guess I talk in my sleep.”

 

“You totally do. I can't get you to shut up.” I smiled fly at that, but then my expression returned somber. This stuff was hard to hear, but not for the reasons he thought. Six had happened long before I had entered Bucky's life. He hadn't even been himself. I could tell he was worried I'd be jealous, but I wasn't. I was horrified of what Hydra had done to him, and, to be perfectly honest, I was sad it was probably still happening to Six. I wouldn't have been upset if he'd let Natasha kill her in the forest in Siberia, only because of how hard she'd tried to kill him; but I found that I agreed with his choice to let her live. Maybe there was hope for her somewhere down the road. There'd been hope for him.

 

“I kept talking about Steve. She never turned me in, though. She said she knew I'd leave to find him eventually so there was no need.” He shrugged. “I don't remember... remembering Steve at all. And I feel strange. I don't really feel anything about Six except regret. We were both monsters. I didn't know her, I didn't care. She was a mission, that's all... but... she was my only human connection in seven decades.”

 

“I don't think she kept your secret just because she knew you'd leave, Buck.”

 

“What do you mean?”

 

“You two may have been each others missions; rivals even. But you were probably her only glimpse of humanity, too. That had to count for something.” I watched as realization dawned on him. “She might not have consciously known it, but she chose not to have you killed.”

 

“Are you mad at me?” Bucky was breathing heavily. “It's a lot to take in.”

 

“I imagine it's worse for you.”

 

“Yeah, probably. I knew I was a killer. I didn't realize I was a liar, too.”

 

I reached out and ran a hand down his cheek. “They made you do a lot of things you wouldn't normally do. I know that. I'm not mad. I didn't know you. The Winter Soldier owes me nothing; he's just a code name now. That person is gone. Bucky is what matters.”

 

He nodded, sighing in relief. “I don't imagine it's easy having an amnesiac super assassin as a boyfriend. I have no idea what surprise I might remember next.”

 

I wrapped my arms around him. “It doesn't matter. I love you. And like I said; I'm not dating the thing Hydra made. I'm dating the man you are now.”

 

“Sometimes we overlap. A lot of times, we overlap.”

 

“I can handle it. I'm a big girl. Besides, dangerous is kinda sexy.”

 

He smiled, still obviously devastated by this new layer of his past, but also glad that I hadn't decided he was too much to handle and walked out. He fell back on the bed, pulling me with him. I landed on his shoulder wound. He grimaced.

 

“Shit, sorry.”

 

“I'm tough. I'll be fine.” He said through gritted teeth. “Come here.” He pulled me to the other side of him, wrapping his arms around me. “We both made it.”

 

I closed my eyes. “We did.”

 

“I wasn't sure you were coming back.” He told me, a hitch in his voice. “I was waiting a long time. I was ready to go find you.”

 

“I wasn't sure Six wouldn't kill you.” I replied. “Or rather, that you two wouldn't kill each other.”

 

“You're an amazing woman, Mayday.” He reached over to turn out the light. We were still fully clothed, but we were exhausted. “That's why I'm in love with you. Don't forget that.”

* * *

 

Present

 

The party was winding down, and we were still dancing. He wouldn't let go of me. I don't know what had gotten into him; maybe the dancing and revelry reminded him of a part of his past that he actually wanted to remember. But we danced until the early morning hours.

 

“I heard Steve saying he wants to find a place to live in Brooklyn.” Bucky finally said to me, as another old ballad began to play.

 

“Yeah. He's been thinking about it for a while. I think he was worried about you and didn't want to go too far away.” I was enjoying being in his arms. He really was a good dancer.

 

“I was thinking, well, I had an idea.” He began. “I don't want to be too far from Steve either, you know?”

 

“Are you going to find an apartment there, too?” I thought getting out and establishing a real life would be good for him; I hoped he was thinking about it.

 

He nodded. “Yeah. But I was thinking... maybe you and I could look for a place. Together.

 

I stopped and pulled back slightly. I hadn't been expecting that. “You... you really want to do that?” He nodded.

 

“If you want to. I don't want to pressure you. But... we're at each others place every night. And the tower is getting a little confining. And... honestly there's no one else I'd want to do this with.” He had stopped dancing and his hands had fallen to my waist. They gripped it tightly, as though he were nervous. “Would you?”

 

I smiled, stepping close to him and pressing my lips against his. “I'd love to.” He picked me up and swung me around. “You have a metal arm and I drain power. What will we tell the neighbors?”

 

“We're circus performers?” Bucky grinned down at me, kissing me again.

 

“Soldier! Mayday! Come, lift the hammer!!!” We heard a voice booming across the room.

 

“Oh my God, he really does do this at every party, doesn't he?” Bucky looked at me.

 

“Yes, he does.” Steve had walked up, draping an arm around each of our shoulders. “Get used to trying to lift that God forsaken hammer. At every party. Forever. I should have stayed in the ice.”

 

“Is Thor drunk again?” I peered at the tall blonde man. He was beaming as Jim Rhodes tried to lift Mjolnir, again. Jane was by his side.

 

“Yeah, I'm pretty sure he is.” Steve nodded. “He drinks this Asgardian liquor that no one can handle except him. And me.” Steve looked at his friend. “So, Bucky, how about Brooklyn?”

 

“Yeah. It's a go.” Bucky nodded at Steve, then looked slyly over at me. “For both of us.”

 

Steve smiled, slapped Bucky on the back, and lifted me into the air a little bit. “Good! She's good for you, pal.”

 

The three of us made our way over to Thor, to try once again, an fail, to lift the hammer.

 

* * *

That night

 

I was awake after the party, in my bed, staring into the darkness. A lot had happened in the last few months. I was pretty sure my manicuring days were over.

 

I felt a hand slip around my waist; a metal hand, followed by a plated metal arm. I turned and looked at Bucky. His hair splayed across his pillow, and he was muttering something in his sleep about Howard Stark and a flying car. I smiled softly to myself and snuggled up next to him.

 

Things were going to be all right. Bucky was going to heal, and we were going to be okay. I could feel it.

* * *

Somewhere in Europe

 

Across the world, a lone woman stowed away on a train, with few belongings, and even fewer memories. As the locomotive began to pull away, she looked at the rising Sun and had to believe that the worst was behind her. It was finally time to go.

 

She wasn't looking for the Winter Soldier; he couldn't help her. He was as used and broken as she was. He was and always had been a means to an end; she just hadn't known what that end was until now. She was looking for someone she knew could help; someone she could trust. Someone the entire world trusted. She was looking for the man on the bridge. She was looking for Captain America.

 

Check out my Spin-off series, "Six". Coming soon...

Six (35099 words) by SupernaturalFlavoredLollipopWinterSoldierfics
Chapters: 7/?
Fandom: 
The Avengers (Marvel Movies)The Avengers - Ambiguous FandomMarvel Cinematic UniverseThe AvengersThe Avengers (Marvel) - All Media TypesCaptain America (Movies)Captain America - All Media TypesWinter Soldier (Comics)Steve Rogers - FandomAvengerscap - Fandom
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Captain America/Original Female Character, Steve Rogers/Original Female Character(s), Captain America/Reader, Steve Rogers/Reader
Characters: Captain America - Character, Captain America's Shield, Six, mayday - Character, James "Bucky" Barnes, The Winter Soldier, Natasha Romanov, Natasha Romanoff, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, Clint Barton, Vision, Wanda Maximoff, Black Widow, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, Deadpool, Peggy Carter, Maria Hill, Thor, Wade Wilson
Additional Tags: Hydra, hydra assassin, The Avengers - Freeform, steve rogers romance, captain america romance, captain america smut, captain america fluff, steve rogers smut, steve rogers fluff, captain america angst, Avengers - Freeform, Super Soldier Serum, Super Soldier, Bucky Barnes - Freeform, The Winter Soldier - Freeform, Brainwashing, Red Skull - Freeform, general yuri brushov, The Black Widow Program, Black Widow - Freeform, Iron Man - Freeform, Mystery, Marvel - Freeform, Spies, russian spy, Deadpool - Freeform, Wade Wilson - Freeform, avengrs - Freeform, Avenger Tower
Summary: