The museum was cold as a tomb, maybe it was one, I stared at the faces I knew all those years ago, faces of soldiers I fought next to, men, I had the privilege of fighting alongside now they are just ghosts of my memories, I walked into the Captain America exhibit, I flattened my cotton dress, it was navy blue with white and bluebirds on it, I fixed my hair and moved to the big pictures of Steve with those true blue eyes, sweet smile and the kindness I missed dearly, he stood in his suit with a big star on his chest; I miss his questions, his patriotic presence and though he seems serious, he always made me laugh.

I moved on to the next pictures to find those icy blue eyes staring at me and memories came flooding back:

The fabric clung to my skin as droplets of water fell from my hair as a breathy laugh took my voice, I wiped my brow pushing away the water that wants to fall into my eyes, I felt a jacket throw on my shoulders as flattened my mustard dress which completely wet and probably see-through; I turned to the left to see those icy blue eyes, that childish smile and hair that always fell into his face:

I slowly moved the strains of hair out his face ”we shouldn have done that ” I whispered into his air

”Where is your sense of adventure? Tam ” he whispered in that velvety deep voice.

”Somewhere with my appetite ”, I looked at his wet shirt that clings to his chest giving me a good view of his abdominal muscles, I sense his eyes on me, I looked up and he winked ”I am starving ” he pulled out a pack of liquorice bullets, chocolate and a couple of beers.

”Your wish is my command, beautiful ” he smiled as I nudged as we stared at New Jersey, we sat along the docks. ”Paris, ” he whispered ”we could go to Paris, live there, grow there ” he nudged my shoulders as guilt settled in my chest ”love there, just you wait, Doll ”

I leaned my head onto his shoulder and he kissed my forehead ”Paris ” I whispered, closing my eyes when suddenly we heard a whistle, we perked up over the head to see a security guard shouting for us.

Bucky jumped to his feet pulling me to mine before we went sprinting down the docks, its a good thing I decided to wear flats, it made this journey much easier, we ran for a street with wind drying us off but making us colder as we went along, with Bucky running in front of me my life somehow complete even if we were running for our lives; before we knew it we were on the basement stairs of my home, it was dark, I couldn see his face, just outline of his profile:

With his hands on my waist, he began to snicker into my side ”ssshhh ” I said as he pulled in his arms.

He moved his fingers over my skin slowly, his fingers caressed my face, down my nose towards my lips which he skipped and curl around them towards my chin ”you are so beautiful ” he whispered into the night air.

I smirked ”thank you, doll ” he rolled his eyes as he removed his hands from my waist and face, he stepped back as I pulled him in by his waist with a giggle.

A light went on the porch upstairs from my place. ”I gotta go, ” he whispered as he looked to the apartment where a man shadowy profile stood behind a curtain, His eyes went serious but all I did was push my face into his chest where a faint scent of musk, fresh balsam and salty water sat.

”Yea ” I took a step back as he kissed my cheek softly ”later, Mr Barnes ”

”Later…Doll ” he said before jumping onto the barrier and up over it before running down the street.

I opened my eyes at the memory to see his face looking back at me. We were supposed to be in Paris, that was the plan but that seems like a lifetime ago. A lot happened, some good, some bad and some destructive but there are only memories I hold onto. As I was reminiscing of past moments when I felt a presence behind me:

”Must be important ” I turned to see Fury standing behind me in that ridiculous long black coat ”Phil usually gives me my missions ” I smiled at him. ”You never come in person ”

”Do you ever want recognition for your duty? ” He asked as he moved to stand next to me, as I turned to look back at the pictures.

”No, I didn deserve it ” I whispered as we stared at the different pictures, information and artefacts of history, remembering the faces of the men, remembering the terror

”We found something, something you will be very interested in, ” he said as I turned towards him. ”An old friend, ” he smiled as a shiver ran up my body.

I found myself in front of a steel door, the journey to the SHIELD headquarters was a blur, I touched the doorknob which sends a quiver through my body stopped me for a moment but I turn the knob as I was greeted with a tall strong frame of Steve:

”Steve ” I whispered slowly as if he would disappear if I spoke any louder.

He turned as if I was a dream ”Tamara ” I ran up to him and threw myself into his arms as he hugged me close.


Seventy years ago…


The corridor seems to consume the lights, I moved silently along the shadows towards a door where two guards stood ready for action, I closed my eyes entering the minds of the two guards finding their deepest secret, the one that contains murder and once I found it, I pulled it forward then forced an unyielding determination to fulfil the action, I opened my eyes to see the guards turned to his guard partner shooting him in the face before standing over the man shooting non-stop until the mans face was unrecognisable; I watched the action with distraction on my brow, the shots echoed through the empty corridor….

”Tamara! ” Mr Donald, my manager, called out as turned towards him ”your tables ” he uttered as I nodded.

”Sorry ” I whispered before heading to my table where Bucky sat with a sweet smile as I minced over to him ”Good morning, Mr Barnes, what will it be? ” I asked as he folded his newspaper.

He winked at me ”what the specials? Doll ” he asked the same question every day, just to get me to talk to him for a bit longer.

”We have a two-egg, bacon with toast and a coffee on the house for 60c ” I smiled as I listed the first special.

”How long is your shift? ” He asked as I pointed onto his menu.

”Its a double, ” I said with a smile as Mr Donald walked past my table ”we have a wheat cake, rashers of bacon and a coffee for 55c ” I explained.

”Can I walk you home tonight? ” Bucky asked while Mr Donald spoke to the couple at the far end of the Diner.

”Only if you follow my rules ” I began to write his order down, knowing exactly what he wanted, he always picks the same thing every day ”walk in front of me and when we come to certain neighbourhoods, we walked on opposite sides of the road ” I looked up at him as he rolled his eyes.

”You can ask that of me ” he huffed as I grabbed the menu.

”Take it or leave it ” he grabbed my wrist before I could snatch it up.

”Ok, ok, I will follow your rules ” He smirked as I took the menu just as Mr Donald came walking back past us. ”So I would like a… ”

”Oatmeal with cream, buttered toast and coffee ” I showed him the notebook ”I know ” I turned to leave as he chuckled, unfolding his newspaper as Steve came running past me.

”Morning Tamara ” he greeted before heading to Buckys table.

I walked behind the breakfast bar and pinned his order on the wheel before turning it to the cook at the back, I turned to grab a coffee pot before slowly refilling the people mug who sat at the bar, the diner wasn too big but it reminded me of a can of sardines, long rectangular building with long seat against the walls and a long breakfast bar that most seated with businessmen while the long seat was cluttered with idol housewives, lonely elders or newlywed couples who haven grown tired of each other yet, all bathed in a light blue and white colours like our uniforms; a baby blue skirt with a white blouse, small white apron and my hair net.

I moved back to Buckys table where Steve sat now and I smiled ”Morning Mr Rogers, can I get you anything? ” I asked as he smiled at me weakly.

”Two eggs, bacon with toast and coffee, please, Ms Tamara ” he smiled as I began to pour their coffee.

”On it ” I smiled as I placed the coffee pot on the table and took down his order ”milk? ” I asked as he nodded softly.

”How are you today? ” He asked as I smiled, Steve always asks me this question, he had this untapped wisdom he held, it was both assuring and intelligent but most miss it because of his small stature and his incredible courage that get him into horrible fights.

”Fine, working, you know ” I smiled softly, hating that I lied to them, I walked back to the bar to place the order in before moving about my other tables before Bucky waved me over again, I leaned against the table next to Bucky as Steve went on and on about the army.

I felt his fingers rubbing up and down my hip ”I have every right to fight for my country ” Steve expressed as I shook my head.

”Where are you from now? ” I asked as Bucky gave me his sign up paper ”Paramus ” I threw the paper at him as he just caught it. ”You could be more than being a brawl for the army ” expressed as he rolled his eyes.

”Like what? Work in a factory? ” He argued back as I shook my head.

”No, ” I said softly as I stared at him, ”like using your integrity and intelligence, men like you don go to war, they stop them, ” I said as I felt Buckys eye on me.

”Wars are not won but integrity and intelligence ” Steve scoffed with sad eyes looking at his sign up sheet.

”Well, they should be, ” I said before leaving the two men to get their food.

I leaned against the diner wall watching the last of the people scattered towards their cosy homes for rest at the end of the day, the pins in my hair was poking into my head, encouraging my headache to turn into a powerful migraine, so slowly began to remove the pins, letting my straight brown curls loose from their cage, they fell around my face and down my waist, I ran my fingers through my thick curls and let out a sigh of relief before turning to look down the street for Bucky but he was nowhere to seen; until I felt hands grab my waist and poked in that certain spot that made me giggle, I jumped out of the arms of this stranger only to find those bright blue and crooked smile:

”Bucky ” I playfully hit his chest ”almost scared me half to death ” he chuckled and pulled strains of my thick mane, swirling it around his finger.

”Sorry, I am late, Steve and I session went a bit over time, ” he said as he let go of my hair, took my purse and grabbed my hand but I stopped in my tracks, he gave me an odd look before rolling his eyes ”you can be serious ” he complained, I just crossed my arms and stared at him. ”Fine ” he slumped his shoulders playfully and began to walk in front of me. ”How was work? ” He asked with his hands in his pockets, mercilessly crushing my tiny purse.

I began to walk a few steps behind him, combing my fingers through my hair and closing my eyes with relieving sigh. ”the usual ” I said as a jacket was placed on my shoulders, I looked up to see Bucky walking a few steps forward again but this time, only in his white t-shirt and jeans.

I watched him sneak a look at me ”how did you do today? ” He asked as I shook my head in frustration.

”With the war raging overseas and the fair employment practices committee, not great, no one is gearing up to tip a black waitress ” I whispered as I stared at his form, his face twisted at the words I said.

He was silent for a moment ”this is shit ” he said louder than he should ”the whole… ” I stopped him before he could go on a rant about discrimination is.

”Bucky ” I exhaled as he stopped and looked down at me.

”Fine, fine, I will stop ” he whispered as we began to walk again, past the little shops and apartments around town.

”How was your session with Steve? ” I asked, watching his face calm down and turn concerned.

He exhaled soundly ”he is learning but he is still too slow and weak, his asthma is what I am worried about ” he whispered ”I worry about him ” he mumbled under his breath.

”What are you more worried about? Him getting regretted again or him getting enlisted? ” I asked slowly, watching Buckys reaction to the question.

”Him getting enlisted ” he growled as I nodded softly.

Suddenly an idea popped into my mind ”why don you and Steve go dancing with two girls, you know, take his mind off the war ” I suggested as Bucky stopped in his tracks.

He turned to look at me ”you want me to go on a double date with Steve ” I nodded ”you want your boyfriend to go on a date with another girl? ” He asked again and I nodded softly. ”A little jealous would be nice and some sort of longing for me NOT to go out with other girls ” he expressed as I shook my head and walked past him.

”Bucky ” I expressed with frustration ”we both know this… ” I turned back to look at him and gestured between us ”is not gonna work in the long run ” I didn want to look at him so I turn again and started walking ”you know this ” he grabbed my wrist to turn me around.

”Hey ” he slipped his hand down to my hand and held it tight ”I promised you Paris ” he pleaded with those gorgeous eyes.

I let my head fall ”what do you want me to do? Go with you? ” I said as he nodded softly and I began to turn away from him again but I couldn move because he still held my hand.

”What are you so afraid of? ” He expressed an air of discontent. ”What people might say? ”

”No ” I uttered slowly, I turned to look into his eyes ”I am afraid of what they might do ” I watched his stature change, his chest puffed up, his back straighten, his sweet smile was replaced with a straight line and his eyes turned cold.

”You know I will never let anyone hurt you, right? ” He said in a stiff unfamiliar voice.

”I know but… ” I wanted to grab his face at this moment but decided against it, we were still in public ”you know I never let anyone hurt you either ” I whispered looking into his eyes, they turned stunned for a moment.

A silence settled between us as we stared into the eyes, it was like I was telling him everything without saying a word like we were communicating on a higher level than the physical before he let go of my hand and began to walk past me, I stared at the empty spot he left with a tear in my eye, knowing our connection was nothing in this world but two rebels infusing the American dream:

”Lets go, its getting late ” he whispered as we began to walk again.

I took this opportunity to admire the quiet gentleman who walked in front of me, he had his head turned up to the sky as the moon perfectly sculptured it, the glow caressed his features like a soft paintbrush and moved about those pillow lips which always seemed to be up to no good; with his hands tucked deeply in his pocket, the tension in his shoulders at our disagreement making his arms pull veiny with the strength:

”Are we just not gonna talk for the rest of the way? ” He mentioned as I looked down at my shoes. ”Only have a few pasting moments together ” he whispered.

”Are you going to sign up? ” I asked the question cautiously, not for his sake but mine, I didn want him to leave, I didn want him to die on some lonely muddy battlefield, the image alone was damaging to my heart, brass buttons covered in inky red blood…

”No, ” he said as I nodded, looking at my feet ”don have a reason to ” he struggled softly, he moved to my side as we entered my quiet street ”do you think I should? Is it expected? ” He watched me closely so I kept my face neutral, with no emotions to be read.

I nodded slowly, buying some time to organise my thoughts, I was torn between reality and my selfish narrative ”it is expected ” I mentioned slowly ”in a world that we live in, the men want to prove their duty, some want to find their fountain and others find it entertaining until they realise that war is anything but that ” I looked up at him as he bows his head, not listening closely to me or our height different but to feel me near without having to touch ”so the only question is, why do you want to stay? ” Now it was I who watched his emotions carefully.

He chuckled, knowing I was analysing him ”well if every able-bodied man left for the war, who would support the country? ” He teased as he nudged my shoulder ”plus I don think Steve could take it ” he whispered to himself more than anything else ”and this pretty little waitress who caught my eye ” I shook my head as a blush crept up my neck onto my cheeks ”she stubborn like barbed wire and eyes so bright she puts stars to shame ” he whispered as I giggled.

”So corny ” I chuckled as he struggled, he loved spitting those corny lines to make me laugh or lighten up a situation.

I felt his fingers caress mine ”if she plays her cards right, I might ask her to spend her life with me and the others to come ” he whispered as we stopped in our tracks and stared at him.

”Buck, you know I can ” I whispered as he grabbed my face between his hands. ”We can ” as the tears fell from my face.

He placed his forehead against mine ”shhh shhh ” he looked into my eyes ”just close your eyes ” I did as I was asked, ”if nothing in this world would stop you, would you? ” He whispered flashes of the people I have killed, my father in his sickbed and faces of those who knew nothing about me but turned to hate at the sight of my skin.

Pushed away from Bucky and all his promise, his light ”you deserve better ” I whispered as I took off like a gun towards my home, leaving Bucky standing in the streets of Queens.

I made it to my humble apartment which was half in the ground, tears stained my cheeks as I tried to catch up with my thoughts, I took along with my humble home, the cracked walls that spoke of sweet memories, the carpet that has been in my family for years the open plan kitchen that looked into the living room and the beloved sofa which called my name; I was about to claim the sweet price of sleep when I heard a loud gut dreading cough come from the only bedroom.

I rushed to the bedroom to find my fathers head with a rusted cup ”Pa ” I moved him to sit upright, I grabbed the cup and destroyed it into dust then completely made those particular disappear ”did you take your medicine? ” I made sure he was completely covered and warm.

”Yes, I have ” he whispered, staring at me with those kind eyes clouded with wrinkles, his salt and pepper hair sprinkled around his head and his sweet smile always brought a smile on my smile.

I nodded softly ”thats good ” I began to tidy up the room, folding the blankets and collecting all the dirty dishes.

He watched me closely ”come, sit, talk ” he whispered closing his eyes ”how was your day? Did that boy walk you home tonight? ” I frowned at the mention of Bucky.

Quickly folded the blankets and huffed softly, he gave me a look ”its nothing, Pa, let me get you some water ” I whispered as I turned to Bucky standing by the door ”James ” I murmured, his eyes rimmed with tears, his shoulders slumped as he stared at my father behind me, Bucky and I stared at with pure sadness in his eyes, we communicating without words, without sentence, without a subject.

My father spoke up in overaggressive silence ”so you must be the young man… ” he began to cough aggressively as if the devil reached his hand down his throat and grabbed his lungs.

I sat back on the bed, grabbing the cold wet cloth and began to wipe the sweat that forms on his forehead ”James, just give us some space ” I slowly caressed his throat, I felt him step forward ”Please… ” I pledged in a whimper as he stepped forward again and I turned to stare at him ”James, Please… ” I whispered as we stared at each other for a moment before he turned and left without a word.


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