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under stars chilled by winter

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"Not gonna have to amputate, are ya?" Barnes smirked up at her from the gurney. 

"Nope..." Jane muttered, "It's just dislocated...AGAIN..."  she sat him up, swinging his legs over to the side and reaching around him to pop his left arm back in place.  He grunted, his other hand tightening briefly on the metal frame of the gurney.

As an EMT, this wasn't Jane's favorite place to be on call.  Motocross races pretty much guaranteed a steady stream of gruesome and intense injuries.  It was one thing when it was accidental injuries.  But these people just seemed to be purposefully putting themselves in harm’s way.   

Plus, there was Barnes. She seemed to see him every single time she worked the track.  He got injured more than anyone else.  Probably because he was more reckless than anyone else.  And in Motocross, that was definitely saying something.    

"Do I get another cast?" he asked, a charming smile gracing his lips, even though his face was white as a sheet. 

It didn't matter how many times you did it, it still hurt popping an arm back into the socket.  

"Nope..." she answered.  "Just a sling this time." 

"Aww...do I get to spend some time with you at least?  I'm sure I could find something else that hurts..." 

She rolled her eyes, "I'm sure you could, but...I'm working.  I've got a hundred other Evel Knievel-Wannabes out there to look after." 

"So... why dontcha come out with me afterwards?  My evening just fell wide open...when are you off duty?"

She smiled, it was hard not to smile when he looked at her like that.  But she really REALLY wasn't looking for another mistake.  And Barnes, judging by his medical history alone, was one mistake after another.  She worried enough about him without adding romance into the equation.  She'd learned enough from dating Thor, who single-handedly was out to prove that you really could lose every single tooth in your head while playing professional hockey.

And hockey wasn't anywhere NEAR the danger level of Motocross.  She wasn't going to date someone she had to worry about constantly ever again.  Thor was enough.

"Listen...James..." 

"Toldya, Doll...call me Bucky..." he grinned again. 

"BUCKY...I can't.  Okay?" 

He snorted, swinging his legs.  "Don't even bother with an excuse anymore, do ya?  Am I that far outta my league with you, Foster?" 

She sighed.  "You're not.  You're not out of your league.  I just...I won't waste my time on someone who makes a career out of getting hurt.  I know the physical risks and... I can't date someone who doesn't take care of themselves.  Okay?"

He pricked up immediately.  As much as someone with a recently dislocated shoulder COULD prick up.  "Okay.  So... if I didn't ride, you'd date me?" 

She shrugged.  "Yeah.  You're pretty cute...I mean...if you got your act together." 

He grinned widely, "How cute is pretty cute?" 

"You're very...very cute, okay?" 

He was quiet for a few minutes, thinking hard about something and chewing on the thumbnail of his uninjured arm.  "Hey Foster, what are ya doin' next week?" 

"Hey Barnes, I told you I wouldn't date someone who does this to their body on the regular..."  She shook her head. 

"Okay, but what if next week, I was just some dude who worked in a bike shop?  Would ya...have any opposition to me then?" 

"Are you some dude who works in a bike shop who is taking time off from all that mess..." she gestured towards the track, "just because he dislocated his shoulder?" 

"Nah.  Just some dude who works in a bike shop." 

Jane tried to fight the smile creeping across her face.  "Then, I'd say, call me next week.  Bucky..."