[text] Why would that be my responsibility? He’s a grown ass man! He knows what sex is, he’s probably playing up the naivete to fuck with you.[text] They’re like sixteen. How many dark, terrible secrets can they have?
[text Don’t answer that.
[text] You cried when she was born, remember?
[text] You’re gonna cry when she goes to prom, too.
[text] James Barnes: King of the Saps
[text] You know if you weren’t so hell-bent on never leaving your daughter with someone else for a night, I’d make a suggestive comment about you getting lucky tonight.
[text] But you are, so oh well~
[text] I’m not placing my kid in the care of another kid!
[text] Those were special circumstances.
[text] You think my criteria for babysitters is high, wait till you see the one for prom dates.
[text] Send me that list.
Send me `Heil HYDRA` to see how my muse responds to yours being revealed as a Double Agent.The outburst caused her eyes to widen a fraction of an inch. She knew how strong James was, even before when she was younger it had been effortless to chip away at his conditioning. The only way to stop it was to remove her entirely from the equation. Ice him, marry her off like a princess. Then he followed orders and didn’t question.
And there was no one there to put him on ice or tear him away from her now.
She was sure, more sure now because of the way his voice and words had shifted than she had been before. Tasha pulled a chair over, sitting directly in front of him. Should probably hand cuff him, or something, but she could tell he was probably too distracted by the conditioning falling away in larger more painful chunks to think about killing her. And even if he did, she had an ace in the hole she’d learned about. Just as long as he didn’t choke her so she couldn’t talk.
<”Nah.”> Tasha set the gun on a nearby table, out of his reach. ” I kinda like it when he’s chatty. Goes on and on about shit like pancakes and Lord of the Rings and crap I pretend to be annoyed by, but really that’s when I’m the most content. Just listening to him be happy about something, that makes me happy.”
She looked him over, watching the struggle for control. Natasha knew there wasn’t much she could say to ‘help’. This was James’ battle, and she was confident in his ability to overcome. He’d done it before, after all. Still it probably wouldn’t hurt if she shook up the part of his mind that was loyal to HYDRA. "You guys really need a new slogan. I mean, that cut off one head, blah blah blah shit was at least kinda poetic. This out of the darkness thing makes you sound like a bunch of emo kids trying to freak out their parents.”
Grunting, he held his head in his hands. “I don’t recall you being so chatty either. Not in circumstances such as this.” Why wouldn’t she just kill him? Why couldn’t he kill her? True, she could still be useful…but she was also a threat. Liability. She chipped away at his programming, she made him weak. Ineffective. Trying to calm his breathing, he swallowed.Ignoring her comment about slogans, he relived all the memories. The feelings. How happy he made her, how happy she made him. How much he loved her, needed her. "H-…I…<Nat>…”
She hated that sad little smile of his. “Still… it is sweet that you still felt the need to try protecting me, even if it was misguided.” Was it so bad the she wanted to know all of him the way he knew her? She wasn’t asking for full disclosure; Gretchen would settle for whatever he would give her in that respect. “Well of course you’re conflicted over it, as you said you weren’t in control but it was your hands and skills behind all of it. That you still feel the weight of it is a good thing, since if you didn’t I’d be worried.”
He is a good man, always had been even if he refused to believe that about himself. Not perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but who was? Not even Steve could claim to be. He sometimes acts as though you might be scared or appalled by the Soldier, but you were once a fighter as well. You killed to survive, not in the way he did during that time but it’s not difficult to realize if he hadn’t done those things there’s a strong chance the two of you might not even be having this conversation.
…not that you need to justify anything.
"And how’s that working out for you?" she asked, gasping and clapping one hand over her mouth almost as soon as the words were out. "I mean, I don’t doubt you when you say you’re happy, and that things have calmed down, but you still sometimes have trouble sleeping, and that means that it still has its’ hooks in you. I hate to say this liebe, but there is a difference between living with something and letting it define you. That was a dark time in your life, but it’s not who you are. Trust me, I know."
Grimacing, Bucky rest his hands on her shoulders. “I know what you mean, and…you’re right. I’ve been running from it, ignoring it, and here we are having this conversation. There’s no denying it, I should know that by now. I can’t run from it, I don’t really want to embrace it. I guess I just need to find a way to balance the different sides…”
You’ll never really move past it, will you? You’re happy, but the scars are still there. Even if they’re healed, you have to live with them. You don’t have to hide them from her, they’re just a fact of your life. A part of you. Gretchen deserves to know the man she loves, all of him.
"I’m sorry. I’m sorry that it’s come to this, that it’s an issue. Like I said before, you’ve been more than patient. Understanding to say the least. The fact you aren’t fed up with it, that…despite the frustration, you’re so determined. That it matters to you, that you care that much. Not about my past, but about me...”
She didn’t have, or need, any weapons. If she’d wanted to that gun would have been plucked out of his hands the moment she’s distracted him. Natasha didn’t want to kill him, she didn’t want to kill anyone unless they were a true threat to the cause. They’d made her that way after all. It was as easy as making her think she’d been on the fast track to being the prima ballerina assoluta for the Bolshoi. And something she didn’t fully understand told her that James was important. Too important to let die without a fight.
"So what’s your plan?" She gave him a suggestive little smirk, sliding her hands up over her head when she could, arching her back away from the wall slightly. No point in resisting if he was going grope…erm…frisk her for weapons. “Tie me up, torture me ‘till I give you everything you want?” She giggled as she looked him over slowly. “You know you could just say pretty please.”
Snorting, he pressed close against her, meeting her eyes. She needn’t try to seduce him, it wouldn’t have any sway. Did he still love her? Even he wasn’t sure. Was he attracted to her? Well duh. <”I should kill you. Bring you in, if nothing else.”> Instead, James captured her lips with his own. He fully expected her to stab him in the back. Did he trust her? No, but he believed she wasn’t going to kill him. That the connection between them was genuine.
His mask had protected him from the gas, but even if she was taken off her game…she was still Natalia. She didn’t need any back up. She didn’t need any extraction. She didn’t need anyone, least of all him;to shadow her and bail her out, and bring her back here. So why did he? Didn’t matter, he planned on getting the hell out of Dodge before she woke-
"…Crap."With a sharp intake of breath, Nat returned a hand to her wound, now having mostly stopped bleeding. But he was right. She probably should be checked out. And she would be. Eventually. Once he was gone. Once she was alone. Again.
Her eyes raked over him, taking him in as though it were the last time. It very well could be the last time. She needed to remember him. Every inch of him. If she ever forgot him…well, it would be like the end of her humanity. The end of everything she’d come to cherish as a part of herself since leaving the Red Room. “It’s you I’m more worried about,” she whispered.
Having scanned over the rest of him, her eyes came up to meet his, locking onto them. “Ты вернешься ко мне,” she stated. It was matter-of-fact. There was no questioning. It was more of a command than anything.
Pausing, he smirked beneath his mask. She’d be seeing him again, very soon. If he had his way. This meeting, it was all strictly…’business’. The next time they crossed paths? It would be personal, ‘off duty’. It wouldn’t end with him getting her shot as they both infiltrated the same cell.
She still worried about him. She still cared, and maybe it was the ordeal they had just went through but she wasn’t making any attempts to hide it. Slinking out, he tried to push the thoughts from his head, the feelings from his heart. It had been so long since they had seen each other.
Despite everything that had changed, all that had transpired for each of them? He couldn’t just let her go. He wouldn’t.
"Cut off the head —"
"You don’t believe their cause. An alliance suits you at the moment…but are you truly loyal?”
[text] You want them to give a blood sample and pass a polygraph, too?
[text] Why would that be my responsibility? He’s a grown ass man! He knows what sex is, he’s probably playing up the naivete to fuck with you.
[text] The way you obsess about leaving her with a sitter someone might think YOU carried her around in your body for eight and a half months.
[text] Then we’ll be a phone call awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay~
[text] Srsly. What are you going to do when she goes to school?
[text] I’m pretending I don’t know you if you end up standing at the bus stop weeping like a little bitch about your baby leaving home.
[text] Yeah, you did.
[text] So did I. <3
[text] It wouldn’t be a bad idea, yeah.
[text] I’ll take that as a compliment?
[text] Home school her?
[text] I wouldn’t cry!
[text] Not in public.
Send me `Heil HYDRA` to see how my muse responds to yours being revealed as a Double Agent."Uh huh." She stood up, the seconds worth of hesitation enough for her to be sure all hope was not lost. She’d seen them try to do this to him before, endured them trying to do it to her as well, so Natasha knew all it would take is a crack, a little imperfection in the shield around their asset and without much effort the entire thing would shatter and explode.
Dangerous. Might end in them both getting hurt, but it was better than the alternative.
"James always was chatty with me." She leaned forward, curling her fingers through his hair to get him to look into her eyes. She wasn’t sure ‘who’ she was talking to at this point, if his personality had severed entirely or of it was far more complex than that. "You want him to stop, don’t you?" Tasha almost smirked as she looked him over. "James voice in your head. He’s probably screaming, fighting, clawing to get his way out.” The edge of her lips curled into a smile. “Would probably be really nice to report back there, get in that chair and get him out of your head again, wouldn’t it? Get him to just shut up so you can be a good little weapon again, yeah?” She wasn’t letting that happen, not now what she knew there was a chance to save him.
“I am James! I remember, I-” The fact they didn’t wipe him clean was probably for the reason for this little breakdown. The memories. The feelings, at odds with the programming. That voice, it wasn’t as though it was another personality. It was him. His conscience, his own will trying to like hell to reassert itself. It stung like a bitch. Setting his jaw, he met her eyes. She seemed so sure of herself now, as if his hesitation gave her a surge of a confidence. If the hope, the knowledge that the man she loved was still in there, was what kept her from just giving up. <”Stop talking.”> Hissing, he thrust his gun into her hands. <"Make him stop.”>
It would be easier, wouldn’t it? To go back, have them take away the memories. The conflict. The struggle. This would be faster, if she would just give up on him. <”Out of the shadows, into the light.”>
His reticence hadn’t bothered her at first, but as time went on she had sort of expected him to reciprocate. That he didn’t open up to her even a little despite all her patience was frustrating, and she had been trying not to let it bother her but they wouldn’t be having this conversation if she had done a better job of keeping her feelings to herself on that matter. He should be allowed to keep some secrets from her; she’d never ask him about his previous relationships; there was just something about the type of secret that left scars which she felt was worth sharing. When you love someone, you want to help them, and he wasn’t letting her do that.
Admittsdhedly, Gretchen recognized that she might have fallen into a trap at the sight of his smirk. Did he know she would react this way? “If you know it’s stupid, why do it?” A simple question, but one she felt spoke volumes. She didn’t want to say that she thought he knew better, but the look she gave him did imply it. “You know in your head, but did you not believe it in your heart as well?” All she wanted was to understand. “You’ve been handling this all on your own for how long now? Don’t you think it would be nice to not have to do it alone?”
He might not think she should have to help, but that’s what people in relationships did. They shared responsibilities and burdens. They comforted one another. They didn’t hold back.
Sighing, he gave a sad smile. “I don’t want to say it’s a habit…even if it were, it’s no excuse. I should know better, and I do…you don’t need to be protected from it.” Meeting her eye, Bucky bit his lip. “It would be easier…and yeah, sort of. In my head I know I didn’t have a choice, that I wasn’t in control. That doesn’t change how it feels, the fact it’s something I have to live with.”
She was experimented on. Used. It’s how she’s here, how she’s alive. How you’re together. Yet you were robbed of your will, your sense of self. Forced to…she’ll still understand. She won’t think any differently of you. She’ll never think you were to blame, and she’ll never think you ‘weak’ for needing someone. Needing her.
You stupid ass.
"I’ve been trying to ignore it. Act as though I could escape it. I’m with you, I’m happy, things seem to have finally calmed down. I guess…I didn’t want to admit, to myself, that it was still an issue. That if I avoided it, focused on everything I’ve got going for me, that I don’t have to look back. That I don’t have to live with what I’ve done…”