Bucky took another swing at the red leather punching bag that was hanging from the roof of the training room. The material of it rippled around his fist as it made contact; the chain holding it up would clang against itself. He often went down there, to the training room. Normally, it would be ten or fifteen minutes after he had had a nightmare that night. He would sit in his bed, curled up in the crisp white sheets as he stared out of the window, and would sometimes hear the birds singing.
But, most of the time, he would be down there before the birds came out of their nests. He would go straight to the punching bag, splitting the material around it as he punched it even harder than the last; as if he was trying to beat his personal best. This had been going on for around three or four weeks, three nights a week. He would only spent a maximum of two hours down there, a minimum of one and a half.
His fist threw another punch and he let his bruised knuckles rest against the bag, closing his eyes and taking in deep breaths of air. He reopened them and went to take another swing, but missed. He looked up and saw the bag floating peacefully in front of him; that was when he noticed the red mist wrapped around the outside. He turned his head and saw Wanda sitting on the bench, letting her fingers move rhythmically, one at a time.
The dust tangled itself around her small, pale hands and drifted out towards the bag. She looked up and brought her knees up to her chest when Bucky saw her, narrowing his eyes at her. She let the bag slowly fall back into its place as he walked towards her; heck, he hadn't even heard her come in the room. He sat down next to her, looking at her as she looked at the ground below them. Bucky went to say something, but she beat him to it.
"This won't help you." To him, her thick accent was calming. Her words and sentences seemed to flow easier because of it. Bucky sighed and clenched both of his fists, bringing up in front of his chest and wrapping one around the other. Silence lingered around them; the tension was so thick that you could cut it with a knife.
"How long have you been here?" He asked, his deep voice echoing around the room. The small girl placed both her feet on the floor and twisted her body so it was facing him. She crossed her legs and placed a hand on his knee; he looked down at her hand, then up at her. She had a small, apologetic smile upon her face, and a twinkle in her eye.
"Long enough to see that you are distressed in some way. Fighting something won't help you. Trust me, I know." Wanda spoke softly, taking her hand off of his knee and folding them together, placing them on her lap. Bucky then also twisted his body so that he was facing her more than before.
"You can read minds. You don't need to look at me to see that there's something wrong with me." Bucky responded, scoffing at his own answer as he looked up at her face. Her smile had fell and she was biting her lip.
"I only read them when I need to. Now is not that one of those times. Let me help you, vă rog."
Bucky's eyes lit up when he heard her speak Romanian. He didn't know that she spoke that language; of course he knew that she spoke one other than English, but Romanian wouldn't have been one of his guesses. He nodded and looked up at the ceiling, running a hand through his hair and catching a glimpse of the time on the small clock situated on the wall; it read 6:57am. He looked down again and saw the red mist again. It was floating around Wanda's hands again, and her eyes had turned a shade of red.
"When my brother and I volunteered for Strucker's experiments, we weren't sure what to expect. We were young; around twelve or thirteen. Our parents had been killed in the bombing when we were ten, so we were alone. We didn't know what to do. Our home had been destroyed and we had no money, not even before all our belongings had been burnt. We stayed in Sokovia, because we couldn't travel anywhere. We wandered around, getting a few coins here and then and buying some fruit and such in the market; we did this two or three days a week for two years. One night, we decided we were going to go out in the city for the night, try and have some fun."
Bucky listened carefully, taking in all the information about her past that she was telling him. He rested his head on his chin as she spoke up again.
"A man approached us; he was wearing a black hooded jumper with black jeans, also. He handed us a card with an address on it, and left quickly after. We were young, so we were stupid." Wanda chuckled to herself slightly.
"We went to the place printed on the card. It was big, stone building with lots of metal gates and fences around it. But, being kids, we thought that this was the coolest place we had ever been to. I can't remember much of what happened next, only that we were separated and placed in separate cells inside the building. For the first month or so, we were left inside the cells; they fed up twice a day and gave us drinks too. But after that, they started to beat us and torture us until we could 'fight like soldiers'. Then, after around two or three years of that, they decided to try something that they had never tried before. They strapped me into a large chair and injected something into my neck; I'm still not sure what it was. I passed out and the next thing I knew, I had these powers."
She had formed a small energy ball between her fingers and she began to roll it around.
"I'll skip all the boring details but, we escaped when we were twenty-one. Here I am now."
Bucky's mouth had fell open during some point of the story, he wasn't sure when. She sighed and rubbed her eyes with the sleeve of her pyjama t-shirt, yawing too. Bucky looked at the ground and placed his hands on his knees.
"I'm sorry." He said, simply.
"Hydra are assholes." Wanda announced, loudly. Bucky raised his eyebrows and smiled slightly, nodding to himself.
"Yes, yes they are."
"I heard about what they did to you. I'm sorry, it sounds horrific." Wanda said, looking over at Bucky who was looking at the floor still. His thoughts were, to her, echoing around the room they were so loud; almost as if they wanted to be heard by someone, anyone. Wanda had tried for a long time to control her powers, especially mind control and mind reading. Steve told her to only look inside someone's mind and rummage around in their thoughts if she really needed to, otherwise it was classed as rude and disrespectful. But, Wanda couldn't help herself, sometimes. She would be sitting in the kitchen in the compound, surrounded by her teammates, so all their personal thoughts would be jumping out at her if she became too focused. She was getting better at controlling her other powers; energy balls and such. She just needed to understand the full extent of her powers and what they could lead to if she messed up. She knew she wasn't fully powered yet, as she was always finding new abilities, such as levitating for a longer amount of time or creating slightly bigger energy balls.
"I don't know what to do. I could still turn into the Winter Soldier if something triggers the memory."
Wanda looked straight ahead at the wall, the ticking noise of the clock seemed to be getting louder as they sat, once again, in silence.
"I could try and help. I could look through old memories, maybe you would forget the bad ones." Wanda knew this wasn't going to work. How could it? The memories would still be there, just forgotten about for a short period of time; they would come back at the worst of times and maybe, the worst would happen. Wanda just wanted to try and help his abused mind, make his feel happy about something for a few minutes. Bucky lifted his head up and looked at her, sorrow in his eyes. He sighed and looked down at the bench.
"You sure it will work?" Bucky asked.
"No. But it's worth a go." Wanda stated. Bucky nodded and turned so he was facing her and placed his hands in his lap. Wanda's eyes glowed a dark red colour as she lifted her hands up, the red magic flowing out of her fingers and slowly seeping it's way into Bucky's mind. Bucky closed his eyes, tilting his head towards the floor as Wanda sifted through all his memories. She found herself in one; she saw a small, thin boy with blond hair. In front of him, Bucky was standing holding a piece of paper, looking down at it.
'Oh you're from Paramus now?' Bucky asked, nodding at Steve, who was wiping the blood underneath his nose with his sleeve. He stopped momentarily and looked up at Bucky.
'You know it's illegal to lie on the enlistment form. Seriously, Jersey?'
Wanda wasn't really sure what was going on, only that Bucky was wearing a uniform and Steve was a lot smaller than he normally was.
'Did you get your orders?' Steve asked, breathing in and out deeply. Bucky looked at the floor for a moment, smiled and then looked back up at Steve.
'107th, Sargent James Barnes. Shipping out for England first thing tomorrow.'
Wanda pulled herself for the memory, trying to find another one and being careful not to come across any bad ones. In this memory, Bucky was clapping at smiling at Steve, who had become a lot taller since the last memory. Steve was looking down at a woman, who had short, brown hair and red lipstick. Bucky looked happy; Wanda had never really seen his smile since he moved into the compound. Wanda hadn't really spoke to him at all. She retreated her hands back to her sides and Bucky opened his eyes, blinking a few times. He smiled, a genuine smile, before nodding at her.
"That was nice. Thank you." Bucky spoke, keeping his eyes fixed on her. Wanda smiled too, and looked at the floor.
"Steve was so small." She giggled and swivled round in her seat so that she was facing the wall again. Bucky laughed and raised his eyebrows.
"Yeah. It's weird to think that I once was the one looking after his sorry ass."
Wanda laughed, sighing afterwards as she looked at the clock; 7:32am. The time had gone so quick, she thought to herself as she lifted herself off of the bench. Bucky followed her as she walked towards the door, pushing it open. She turned around to face Bucky, and wrapped her arms around him, taking him off guard.
"Fi fericit." Wanda whispered. Bucky smiled and nodded.
"Eu voi." Bucky replied. "Mulțumesc."