It’s been a long while since we all just sat back and enjoyed some good ol’ Marvel fanfiction.
So these were my choice of taking a break from book editing and I thought I’d share.
One sad, one happy, just to keep things evened out.
Sad first. Which of course means The Winter Soldier.
Thar be spoilers ahead. But I’m pretty sure it’s nothing you haven’t stumbled across before.
The lack of memories used to bother me.
But now the emptiness is familiar. Knowing nothing helps me stay numb. Emotion is dangerous.
Now the opposite is what disturbs me.
I have moments. Flashes of memory and feelings I can’t grasp. But they go away . . . none of them last long.
After that man at the bridge, though . . .
I thought it was nothing. I felt nothing while I was fighting him. Just routine. I had my orders to kill him and I would follow those orders.
But after I left . . . after he said that name . . . Bucky.
A slap stings the side of my face, bringing me back to the present, and a familiar face hovers close to mine.
I open my mouth, frowning slightly. The mission report is pushed aside and the most urgent thing surfaces first.
“Th-that man on the bridge,” I say quietly. “I knew him.”
I’m not sure what I want them to do when I say it. Just make the questions stop. Whether they take them away or answer them . . . I don’t care.
They take them away. The machine pushes back the flashes of memory and the thoughts of the man with the shield. Those can’t compromise me now.
I have a mission to finish.
I never usually use more than one bullet. I don’t need to. Just aim for the right spot and one is all it takes.
But I can’t seem to make myself do it. Not with the knife or the gun.
I stab him in the shoulder. I shoot him in the leg. In the middle. I’m immobilizing him, but I’m not taking him out.
Make it count, come on. Just kill him. Kill Captain America.
Captain America is your target. Kill the man with the shield.
The flashes of memory and feelings keep coming back. It’s like there’s someone else caged inside my mind, pounding painfully and trying to get out. But I can’t ask those questions. I can’t get distracted.
But my target succeeds. He does exactly what I was supposed to stop him from doing.
The ship starts collapsing on itself, bombarded from outside gunfire. Pieces fall from the ceiling and before I know what’s happening, I’m trapped underneath one of them. My arms are trapped by my sides and the metal crushes down on my chest.
I can get out of this. Just try harder. Push it off.
I grit my teeth and close my eyes, fighting the pain and pushing against the unmoving metal. Explosions continue outside. My hair blows around my face as the ship continues its dive down.
I’ve failed. Captain America is probably long gone by now.
But before I can even finish my thought, there’s a sound to my right. Staggering towards me and losing his balance from the ship’s constant jolting . . . covered in his own blood . . . is my target. Captain America.
I can still get him.
Memories tug painfully at the edges of my mind as I strain at the beam. And then suddenly, it moves. I scramble out, sucking in a deep, shuddering breath. Captain America is at the other end and drops the beam as soon as I’m out.
He’s in no condition to fight me. Barely in the condition to walk.
Get up. Kill him.
We both struggle to our feet at the same time, but before I can do anything, he speaks.
“You know me.”
That voice. Memory pushes harder. But I can’t get distracted.
“No I don’t!” I swing my metal arm at him, knocking us both over with the force of it.
Still, he staggers back up again, not fighting back. Blood comes from the corner of his mouth. “Bucky . . .”
That name again. My head feels like it’s about to explode.
“You’ve known me your whole life.” His voice cracks.
I attack him again and we go sprawling.
Captain America holds his shield up weakly as he stands again. This guy just doesn’t know when to give up. He speaks again, making those painful images in my mind clearer.
“Your name is James Buchanan Barnes . . .” he gasps in air between each word, barely keeping his feet.
“Shut up!” I take another swing and he falls over backwards. This time when he gets back up, he takes off his mask.
His blond hair sticks out around his face and blood stains his mouth and jaw from where I’ve hit him. His blue eyes meet mine, like he’s looking for something. He tips his jaw back and swallows before speaking.
“I’m not gonna fight you.” With those words, he drops his shield through the hole in the glass. It clatters through and falls towards the water. Captain America never once stops watching my face. “You’re my friend.”
I don’t have friends. I can’t have friends.
I clench my teeth, pushing down the memories, and charge at him. He falls right against the edge of the glass and I’m on top of him.
I have to finish this.
“You” I say through clenched teeth, “are my mission.”
Holding him down, I bring back my fist and swing it back down. Over and over, smacking his head back . . . watching the blood appear . . . watching him slowly loose his grip on consciousness . . .
“You. Are. My. Mission.” I accentuate every word with a punch to his face.
The Winter Soldier never fails.
I will not fail this time.
“Then finish it,” comes his weak voice.
I stop for a second, frozen by that voice. I look down at that face . . . beaten and bloody . . . only one eye even able to open . . .
Steve was always getting beat up like this. Could never stay out of a fight . . .
He coughs, choking out another sentence. “’Cuz I’m with you . . . to the end of the line.”
The other person in my mind I was trying so hard to hold back breaks out. It’s like someone pulls a blindfold off my eyes. I see what I’m doing. What I’ve done.
Steve. Shot and stabbed. Beaten within an inch of his life.
And I was about to kill him.
Little Steve . . . my best friend.
My fist that had been raised to strike another blow drops. My breath comes fast, panicked. What have I done . . .?
Steve’s blue eyes pierce into mine, almost physically hurting.
But before I can say anything, another piece of the ship falls off, smashing the ledge off. I barely manage to catch a hold. Steve falls towards the water, surrounded by pieces of burning metal and debris.
He’ll drown. He’ll die.
I can’t believe I wanted that just a few seconds ago.
Driven half by an old, long forgotten instinct and half by guilt, I let go and dive towards the water after him.
Steve hits the water on his back and starts to sink down, bubbles rising above his head. I splash in next to him, partly stunned by the cold sting of the water. I dive down deeper and sweep the dark river. I have to find Steve. Have to save Steve.
Finally, I touch on his arm. Pulling him close to myself, I get a grip and pull us both to the surface, swimming desperately for shore. I can’t tell if he’s still breathing.
It takes forever to get to the point where my feet can touch the ground. My legs barely want to hold me up as I slog towards shore, dragging my friend along with me.
Finally, I reach the bank. My hair drips water around my face as I lay Steve down on the grass. I watch him.
Please don’t be dead, Steve . . .
He takes in a shuddering breath and lets it out.
Blood still covers his clothes and bruises cover his face, but he’ll live.
The same instinct that sent me diving into the water pushes me to stay. Patch him up and make sure he’s alright. I can stay around and rib him about getting in another fight once he comes around . . .
Only this time I’m the one that beat him up.
I’m a criminal. A murderer. I just about murdered him.
I can’t stay.
I watch him breathing for another few seconds, take a deep breath and stumble in the other direction down the bank.
That’s enough feelings for one day.
Let’s go on to happy Ant-Man.
So my theory on the story behind that -cough- charming stuffed rabbit that Scott got Cassie for her birthday.
I had always kind of assumed thrift stores could never reject job applications. Take what you can get, you know. They don’t really have people beating down their door for jobs.
Apparently I was wrong.
They could reject Scott Lang.
It was a nicer rejection than some that I’ve had. More the sugared-up “well, you’re not the right person we’re looking for” sort of thing than the “you’re a criminal, get out” that I’d gotten used to.
Still, I had no job. No money. No little Cassie and no way to get to her.
I walked out of the office and into the mothball smell of the rest of the store. I stopped by the bookshelf and bit my lip.
There was a soft squeak by the desk as the manager settled back into her old chair. “Can I help you with anything, Mr. Lang?”
I let out my breath and shook my head, “Nah, I’m fine. Just . . . gonna look around for a bit.” As long as it’s not insulting to have me in your store for just a few more minutes.
“Alright, just tell me if you need help with anything.”
I ran my fingers over the book spines on the shelf at my eye level, then dropped down into the cold leather chair next to the shelf. It wasn’t that I had anything particular to do in here. More that I didn’t have much to do elsewhere.
I rubbed my hand over my face. Baskin Robbins was beginning to be a serious possibility at this point.
A tiny gasp broke the silence from the other side of the bookshelf. I jumped at the sudden noise.
“Mommy!” the little voice was reverent, “Look!”
I knew that voice.
My heart drummed against my ribs and I barely kept my hands from shaking. I picked up a book off the shelf and held it over my face. They couldn’t see me. I swallowed hard.
A delighted laugh came over the shelf. “Isn’t he perfect?”
She was so close.
“Sweetie, your birthday party is in just a week. You’ll get plenty of toys then, okay?” Another familiar voice.
In a week? Man, had it been that long already? I mentally kicked myself for forgetting.
There was a scootching of something being pulled off the shelf, “But . . .” the little voice was pleading.
“It’s probably all germy anyway, Cassie. There are lots of better stuffies you’ll get, okay?”
“Okay,” Cassie gave a gusty sigh and there was another scootch as whatever stuffed animal she was so enamored with was put back on the shelf.
Both of their footsteps continued past the bookshelf to the front counter.
I sunk further into the chair, holding the book up to cover my face. Actually noticing the words for a few seconds, I realized I was holding the book upside down. I shifted my grip on it and chanced a look out towards the desk.
Cassie stood there, leaning on her mom. She’d gotten so tall since he’d seen her last. Her hair used to only be down to her shoulders, too. Now it fell almost halfway down her back.
I blinked a couple of times and swallowed again.
“Thank you for your business, ma’am.”
“You’re welcome. Come on, Cass.”
Cassie trailed after her mom, taking the offered hand. She glanced backwards as they reached the door. Her gaze fell on the shelf and lingered for a little. Then she saw me.
I gave a small wave and smiled at her.
Her mouth opened, but I put a finger to my lips and she nodded, her little mouth closing in a half-hidden smile. She waved back and then was gone out the door.
I stuck the book back on the shelf and walked around to the other side, scanning for the toy Cassie had been so enthusiastic about.
There were no toys on the shelf that I could see at first. Then I found, right at my waist level, an unbelievably ugly stuffed rabbit. I bent down and picked it up.
Its misshapen, red mouth gaped at me as I held it. My fingers found a button in its chest underneath the fur. I pressed it. The snout of the rabbit wiggled and a strange giggle came out.
“You’re my bestest friend!”
I muffled a laugh. Of course she wanted it. Only Cassie would.
I brought the rabbit up to the front desk and set it down as I dug in my pockets. I barely had anything left to spend, but a few dollars for my little girl’s birthday present was worth it.
The clerk picked the rabbit up, looked at it, then at me, obviously questioning my sanity. “Will this be all for you today, sir?”
“Yep.” I dug out a twenty dollar bill and put it on the counter. “Is that enough?”
“I think so . . .” the clerk rung it up, gave me my change and wrapped the rabbit in a brown paper bag before handing it back. “Have a nice day.”
I walked out of the door still without job, but I had a homicidal looking rabbit and a birthday party to attend.
It was a good day.
Have I mentioned how much I like writing in Scott Lang’s voice? It’s awesome.
Bit of a whiplash with that story from the last one, but hey…
Anyway, hope you enjoyed! Any other fanfic ideas I should do? Which was your favorite?
Hope you all have a great Monday and I’ll see ya next time!