Some Assembly Required

January 06, 2017:

Bucky checks out the IKEA Brooklyn for a supply run to try to make Jane more comfortable. The Guardians also check out IKEA for a couch for Groot. HYDRA operatives have the bad luck to try to bring Bucky in right as he's trying to tell Peter Quill they're not friends. Everyone shoots.

IKEA Brooklyn, New York

IKEA!!

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Jane Foster, Zatanna Zatara, Steve Rogers

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The only IKEA in all of New York City is, of course, in Brooklyn. It's in Red Hook, and it is so vitally important to the denizens of New York that there is both a ferry and a shuttle service dedicated to just /going to IKEA/.

Not that Bucky Barnes, aka the Winter Soldier, aka 'that other Man Out of Time,' wanted or needed to travel by such conspicuous routes. He's already in Brooklyn. Walking is just fine by him.

He was aware, courtesy of Jane, that IKEA was some sort of home furnishings store— the furniture in her apartment, she had said, had been from this particular outlet— and, not seeing any better options around, had gone to get his hands on more bedding for Jane. He had not exactly anticipated storing a guest in his bolthole. She said it was fine, but he was of the opinion a sheet and blanket were not cutting it. He had studied this 'IKEA' for some time before approaching, discerning the time at which it closed (9 PM, sharp), and the routes by which most people flowed in and out of the store.

She had said something, exasperated, about how he could just go get a memory foam mattress topper if it bothered him so much. Once he got her to tell him what the hell one of those was, he opined that it would likely be too conspicuous for him to haul that up to the top floor of an abandoned building, but he could probably find something else.

Regardless, in the moment, here he is— dressed in civvies, jacket and jeans and gloves to hide the metal shine of his left hand. He is in the parking lot of the IKEA, slowly making his way towards the doors, doing his best to look like just another shopper trying to survive the last-minute 8:30 PM IKEA rush.

—-

Why the Guardians were in Brooklyn at this time of night is a long and involved story for a different time. There were tears. There were great heroic sacrifices. There was pizza found, and then pizza lost. A tragic tale of dinner gone awray.

But that is not this tale.

This story began about an hour ago(after the tragic pizza affair) when Peter realised something. Something of vital importance if they were going to be staying at Zee's place.

Groot needed his own damn sofa.

I mean really. When he sat on the current one there was no where else to go!! So after one more night of trying to peer though branches to see the episode of Gillmore Girls that Rocket was currently on Peter Quill made a leadership decision.

WE ARE GETTING A NEW SOFA.

Which is why they are here. At IKEA at 8:30. Hopeing that most people will be cleared out of the place by now…which is a futile hope.

Which is why he totally swiped an IKEA hat for Groot.

Perfect disguise.

He's just part of the team.

LOOK OUT HE MIGHT SELL YOU SOMETHING!!

"Yeah," He is saying towards the inseperable pair as they walk. "I went to Princess Science's place and it was a mess. But I got my jacket back!" He is wearing it right now. "And then Captain America…yeah I have no idea who he is either…came out of no where and started being all law enforcement type at me. I have no idea what was up with him."

—-

"Wait, wait- you're going to mention someone like Captain /America/ and not laugh? That ain't right. What kinda sad sap names themselves that?"

Rocket snorts in disbelief, ignoring any stares shot his way because there's no reason anyone should be staring at him, right? He's got clothes on, and a jacket and cap besides! The cap- not IKEA branded, mind. He balances on the rolling cart for large furniture boxes that they've acquired because it's not for humans to ride on but no one said anything about other species, and he can stand at the end of it and feel special.

"Princess Science sounds fun though, I wanna meet her. -and um, /why/ exactly was your jacket there? She holding it hostage or something? If it were your dumb walkman you woulda got it sooner."

The raccoon keeps an eye out for what they're looking for, pointing. "Oh hey, there's a cafe! And I read that they sell good meatballs in like sacks! We gotta get some'a that!"

—-

Despite it being a pain in the butt for employees, an actual last-minute rush to the store is exciting. Seeing all of the people going in and out of the parking lot toward the giant blue building is like watching ants heading toward their anthill. And Groot gets to be a part of it all.

Thanks to Quill, the swiped hat is for effect, somehow (SOMEhow) completely immersing the tall tree fiend as another regular weirdo wearing camoflauge hailing from out of town who may or may not be running an errand for his parents on this particular weeknight with two of his bestest buddies. Late night shopping is AWESOME.

"I am Groot," Groot happily says after Rocket's quip about the famous meatballs in sacks, stalking alongside Quill while pushing the cart. He really wants to try them once they get the Groot-sized couch.

—-

The Guardians are surprisingly unregarded as they make their way into the IKEA and down the aisles. New Yorkers are used to seeing extremely strange things by now. Just a quick walk around Times Square is enough to get most people assuming that nonhuman entities are just sweaty people in suits trying to take your money.

It helps that while there's the usual closing-time crowd, it's starting to thin out as employees start herding shoppers towards finishing their purchases and leaving before 9 PM hits. Most people look more concerned with securing their new furniture pieces than they do with the gigantic tree and the dressed-up raccoon.

Besides, the tree is wearing an IKEA hat. Clearly a mascot.

Thus it is that the night proceeds relatively uneventfully. That is, up until the three of them approach the end of an aisle just in time for someone Peter Quill knows to round the corner, right into their path.

The Winter Soldier looks up. He recognizes Quill, because the first thing he does is say, "Jesus Christ," and the second thing he does is turn around to leave.

—-

"I know right! I thought he was joking at first but…no no you gotta see this…" And Quill pulls out his phone to start to avidly go though it. "I'm sure…all the pictures people took…AH!"

Flipping the little piece of electronics around to Rocket and Groot can see. There is indeed a picture of /The/ Captain America in all his star spangled glory. Beside him, doing the double point with a huge grin. Is Peter Quill.

Steve Rogers does not look amused.

Duty done to mock someone else, the next stop was of course the snack court. Because meatballs are a must. Its only once the most important part of the trip was aquired that the intrepid Guardians of the Galaxy could move on to other important matters.

Like finding a Groot-couch.

"Like, no your biggest couch." Quill had said to one of the poor workers. "I mean its for /him/." A hooked thumb cast to indicate Groot. "So. Big."

The poor worker just stared.

"Don't stare, man. Its rude."

Before the poor man can get to stuttering out locations, around the corner comes the Winter Soldier himself. There is a look of suprise on Peter's face before it breaks into a grin. "VADER! What are you doing here?" And riiiiiiight over he starts to walk. "You here with the Princess, my engineer would totally get along with her. He likes science." A pause. "Actually…" A glance back towards Rocket. "…you like explosions more, so hell you two might get along just fine too."

—-

Rocket looks at the phone and the obnoxious laughter starts. "Hooo, that. /That/ right there is special," he says, shaking his head. And as they make way for meatballs, he stands like Washington in that famous painting crossing the Delaware because when you're tiny and riding the front of a cart you OWN IT.

The man that steps out in front of them and utters that curious phrase before turning away definitely catches one's attention, however. "Seriously?! You think we haven't noticed you! I CAN STILL SEE YOU-" he shouts after Bucky, because, dude, that's just plain /rude/. His ears perk up under his hat at Quill's exclamation, and glancing back at Groot, Rocket then hops off of the cart to trail Quill as they go after the Winter Soldier.

"-oh that's not Vader! Well…no, he might have the hair like the whiny guy but-" Pause. "Oh! Quill actually knows people not of the feminine diversity! This is rare!"

—-

The tree leans in to get a better look at Quill's phone, squinting at the image so hard that the cart's path sort of veers. "I am Groot," he comments with a nod, catching himself just in time to keep the cart from crashing into Quill while Rocket strikes that classic pose. Some oarsman he makes.

When they pause to ask a worker about the couches, Groot smiles and waves, utterly oblivious to the fact that his appearance is still very odd and that the poor guy just needs to go home and sleep everything off. He just wants to make good first impressions, that's all.

Speaking of first impressions:

"—I am Groot?" It appears his two friends have gotten sidetracked by A NEW CHALLENGER a.k.a. new friend! He meets Rocket's glance, puzzled yet intrigued enough to shove the cart aside and follow at his own pace.

The cart unceremoniously crashes into the wall, fishtailing until it stops.

—-

VADER, Quill says at his back, sounding absolutely and inexplicably thrilled. Bucky grimaces to himself a little. He can't remember much of his and Quill's interactions— everything from the past few weeks has been… blurred in his head ever since he touched that book, a little muggy and mixed together with all the old memories struggling to emerge from beneath his damaged mental conditioning. But he's pretty sure that he can't remember a single interaction that would warrant this level of joviality. This level of friendliness.

Especially not the one where he kept a gun in Quill's face for at least ten minutes straight.

"No, I am not here with her," he hisses back at Quill, pausing long enough to glare over his shoulder as he keeps on walking. "I'm /trying/ to be inconspicuous." He glares at Rocket, then Groot in turn. "I don't think any of you have ever heard of the word." Costumes. He's gonna go with the 'costumes' assumption right now, because 'tree-thing' and 'sapient raccoon' are not in his lexicon of his experience quite yet, and that takes a considerably longer time to mentally process.

He might have started to say something else, but he hesitates visibly. He's heard something. Rocket, with his keen ears, might hear it too: the faint whistle of something flying through the air. The Soldier turns instantly to present his left side towards the sound, lifting his arm as a rudimentary shield, with the result that when the concussion grenade explodes, it does so after having already been reflected off the upper part of his arm.

The blast shockwaves the aisle, knocking reasonably-priced items off the shelves and frightening off the already put-upon worker. It also successfully blasts the upper part of the Soldier's jacket sleeve into shreds, exposing the reason his left arm didn't get blown off entire by him using it to bat away a grenade: it's made of metal, polished and sleek, formed into the shape of many moving, intricate plates that are already locking into a new configuration.

A flicker of calmer movement off to the left, through the mass of suddenly-panicking, running civilian bodies, is duplicated off to the right. There's two, whoever they are, though they're still semi-distant: swimming through the running crowd.

"Shit," the Winter Soldier says, ripping the tatters of his sleeve off his arm and pulling a compact pistol. He turns on Quill indignantly. "Are they here for me or for YOU?" A pause. "I know which one I want it to be."

—-

Levels of jovility are entirely relitive when dealing with one Peter Quill. There is a smirk from the red clad space rogue. "Naw, never really seen the need to do that. Anyway, I went over to her place to get my coat…" A glance at Rocket. "…I was being a /gentleman/ and loned her the coat when she was cold for your information. Anyway!" Back to Bucky. "So I was over there, and it toally looked like she went to splitsville, and since you just said your not here with her it means you might know where she is." A pause. "Since you arn't tearing the Big Apple apart looking for her and all."

His flow of words are intrupted by a crash of a cart. A sigh as he glances behind him. "This is why I don't let Groot drive…" He mutters before back to Bucky. "…anyway, I was leaving there and this /Steve/ guy in some red white and blue pajamas stops me and starts asking me about you. He said you were his buddy or something?"

This flow of words is fairly normal in the world fo Peter Quill. Bucky would at least have figured this out by now. "Oh and this is Rocket, and Groot. Part of the crew…"

A glower at Rocket. "Laugh it up fuzzball! I told you I knew some guys too!"

He would continue, but reflexes and senses trained over the course of growing up in a place like the Reavers kick in. That horrible whistling, just over the edge of hearing snaps Peter's head around just as he sees Bucky backhand a grenade. Concussive force and a light dusting of shrapnel go on their merry way as Quill tumbles back, coming up on one knee. His hands are already reaching for his pistols.

Some of that shrapnel and force might just have damaged the precious meatballs too. The horror.

"Well…" He drawls as the armored facemask slams down. "…tell me. Does it /really/ matter which?" A longer pause. "And if we're lucky we might just make it out of here with a discount on a sofa."

Five fingered of course.

A glance back towards Rocket and Groot. "You want the left one or the right one?"

—-

"Flark, that coat's probably laid with more women than you!" He saw Darcy wearing it the other day, didn't he??? Quill's words in defense only get that toothy raccoon grin, and he's about to laugh more, save that his best pal in the 'verse just made some loud noise with that cart, and -wait. What's that sound? It's kind of like a-

His ears twitching, Rocket looks towards the Winter Soldier, and when things explode, it's for once not started by him! Throwing his arms in front of him, Rocket takes a step back as the blow buffets against him

"Oh hell, this just got /loads/ more fun!" He's grinning again, but in the midst of all the smoke and not-Vader having shielded himself with- well, hel-/lo/. Rocket's eyes widen at that beautiful sight of silver. That there? Now that's some fine tech.

"LEFT! I want the left one!" he shouts, in no way talking about whomever'd been chucking grenades at them, but he's staking his claim while the staking's good as he leaps and rolls to the side so as not to catch Bucky in the crossfire (not that he doesn't think he'd be able to handle it- unless it'd get that arm easier- wait no, Quill-friend. Sorta. Ugh.) -whipping out a pair of space-y looking pistols from beneath his jacket. Hey, Quill told him he couldn't bring his rifle, so he brought the next best, concealable thing. Bang bang.

—-

Five finger discounts are great discounts. Groot has yet to learn what that means exactly, but he's good for now.

While the others talk among themselves, Groot sort of…zones out, pausing to look back at the cart that sadly sits there in the background. Those meatballs need to get to a fridge and soon — if they survive the sudden thrashing they receive out of nowhere, that is.

Vader nooooo

The sound of explosions and flying sharpnel snaps his attention back into the present. Bucky's reflexes are good, leaving the three Guardians technically unscathed once chaos breaks out among the remaining customers. Groot's eyes narrow as he looks in the same direction, casually rolling a bark-covered shoulder. "I am Groot," he replies gruffly, slowly stepping toward the right.

The slowness doesn't last very long, however; with fists clenched, Groot lets loose an un-tree-like roar, charging into the fray like whoa.

—-

A brow twitches slightly as Quill decides to helpfully explain to Bucky what exactly he's been doing over the past while, and just what his thought processes have been about it all. "You went," he enunciates, "to her place. And broke in." He glares at the coat. That's proof right there he broke in. "What the hell is with you breaking into places?" Pot, kettle.

He doesn't even address Quill's deduction that he must know where Jane is, if she's not with him right now and he's not tearing apart New York looking. He's not going to answer that— and he gets distracted, anyway, when Steve's name gets casually dropped. A stab of pain comes and goes in his head, as it uusally does when he tries too hard to think about 'Steve Rogers'— tries to conjure up a face to go with the name.

"He's… looking for me?" Bucky asks. He hesitates and stops. He seems uncertain— more uncertain, certainly, than Quill has ever seen him. So uncertain that he just nods absently through Quill's introductions, though he does absorb the information. So uncertain that he almost doesn't react to the grenade until too late.

He spins and manages to whack it away at the last moment, though at the cost of his jacket sleeve. With a frown he pulls his pistol, moving into cover. Are they here for him? Here for Quill? It's impossible to tell just from a single thrown grenade. Quill claims it doesn't matter, either way.

"Actually, it does," Bucky replies grimly, already thinking of how he'll probably have to move him and Jane after this. He checks his magazine, peeks from cover— and is promptly treated to the extremely unique experience of watching a raccoon and an angry tree charge into the fray, plowing panicked civilians harmlessly aside in their charge.

The enemy operatives don't know how to take it either. Expecting only one target, they suddenly find themselves confronted with four. Both are, interestingly, young women. The one on the left rushes Rocket, baiting his fire only to divert at the last instant to run lightly up the very side of a shelving unit to twist and try to drop down an axe kick on the raccoon.

The one on the right, seeing a TREE plowing towards her, decides on something weightier and starts unloading an assault rifle in Groot's direction.

—-

"What I was supposed to do, she had my coat and wasn't returning calls." Quill replies as he snaps off shots at the first of the two Hydra agents, the running one. Blue balls of spitting electricitcy slash towards the young woman.

"…she's kinda hot." He says of his target.

Focus Quill. Focus.

"Anyway yeah, he's looking for you. And Jane. I mean he's your buddy right, so course he's looking for you. Also, once he finds you. You /totally/ need to get him laid. Pronto. Dude has a stick /way/ up his ass." This is of course Quill's professional medical opinion.

Science fact really.

"How does it matter? Educate me!" He adds as he pops up from his crouch and extends an arm.

"Rocket! Comein' over your head!" He shouts as he snaps off two more rounds. This time not aiming at the running woman, but at the shelves she's climbing. Sizzling rounds right over Rocket's head in order to give the Raccoon just enough advantage on the melee focused agent.

Hopefully freeing the explosives expert enough to help Groot.

—-

Rocket doesn't seem to care who they're after. It's been a very long while since he's gotten to shoot anything, and he's gladly about to remedy that. His weapon blasts sear the floor and punch holes through displayed furniture and the like. He doesn't seem to cease firing even as he maneuvers the twin blasters after his target.

"Ooh, girl's got some moves," he muses appreciatively, finally pausing on the triggers as he leans back into a skid on his knees upon Star-Lord's shouts. He spins around, ducking chunks of fiberboard before he launches himself into a leap to meet the woman in midair. Hey lady, ever get kissed by a raccoon before? Don't blink.

-of course, he's gonna swing his guns around right after to try and smack her upside the head, but why waste an opportune moment??

—-

Already a lot of energy is going into this fight! After this, they all needed to eat those darn meatballs. If there are any left. That's another worry for later.

Thanks to the heavier set of fire power, the ent's relentless plowing is slowed. Chunks of wood blow off of his sides and his leg, leaving empty patches to fill as his right arm weaves smaller branches together to form a bundle of a shield. The rate of shots shorten the usefulness of its protective qualities, but it helps Groot continue his head-on rush.

With some help from Quill, the distance between the two is closed fairly quickly. Someone calculate the velocity of a tree hitting an assassin because this isn't going to be pretty.

—-

What was he supposed to do, Quill asks. "Did you try that step where you knock first, and if she doesn't answer, try back later?" Bucky inquires in return.

That news Steve is looking for him, though— thoughts of it just keeps throwing Bucky off-balance, his mind knocked askew enough for the Winter Soldier to start struggling to reclaim dominance in their shared mind. He grits his teeth and fires off one, two precious shots at the HYDRA agent on the right. She's forced to stop firing at Groot long enough to reposition.

Of course he's looking for you, Quill says. He's your buddy. The line of Bucky's jaw tightens, but he doesn't say anything— though Quill's professional opinion that Steve badly needs to get /laid/ resonates in his mind with an unusual pointedness. "Not for lack of trying," he says instinctively, the words just coming out of him, before he shuts up and looks surprised.

But he grows silent when Quill wants to know WHY it matters who's being shot at. His mouth thins and he says nothing: the age-old hallmark of someone with something to hide.

The two HYDRA agents, meanwhile, are having a bad time of it. They are highly skilled, but they were not expecting this degree of force, this number of opponents, the firepower that even half the Guardian team can level. The first operative dodges and weaves Quill's first two shots, but the subsequent two catch her by surprise by dint of the fact they're aimed at her footing and not at her. She loses momentum midway, forced to twist awkwardly in the air to try to make a graceful landing.

Except for the small problem of there being a raccoon between her face's current position and her face's intended position.

Her fall sends her plowing facefirst into the raccoon. Luckily, there isn't much time for her to be conscious and aware /what is happening to her/ before she's knocked the hell out. Unfortunately for Rocket, her unconscious body threatens to fall right on him.

Her counterpart isn't having any better luck. In fact, she's having worse luck, because what plows into her isn't a small raccoon. It's a WALKING TREE that doesn't even seem to CARE about her bullets. She's flung backwards at least fifteen feet, her back hitting a far wall before she slumps onto her face.

Bucky peers out from his cover. He looks around warily, checking for other hidden attackers, before he steps out of cover and towards the fallen enemy operatives. His gun is in his right hand; his left is empty, though the metal fingers are loosely flexed in tense readiness. He definitely looks like he's considering killing them both with shots to the head, but in the end seems to decide two bodies create more complications than they solve.

"…None of you waste any time. Efficient," he comments, and from him it sounds like a grudging compliment. He takes another look at the three of them, memorizing faces as best as his crippled brain can, before he makes to turn and melt away into the milling, traumatized crowd.

—-

"Eh, bullets cost money and if your busy fighting its less time for drinking and looting." Quill replies easily as he snaps his pistols back into their faces. A look is tossed towards Rocket says 'That was an awesomely sweet move and I am jealous that I didn't think of it first.'

Then he just blows out a sigh. "Rocket, get their stuff…" Because he's pretty sure the engineer is already on that. So he might as well look like he's in charge. "Groot…" He casts about the ruined lane before his eyes land on a box, and the dinged up cart. "Ha perfect! That one looks like a sofa. Grab it groot and lets get outta here before anyone shows up to ask too many questions."

A glance at the crowd that Bucky just dissipered into and his smirks just slightly. "And there he goes. Huh. They are buddies." A shake of his head. "Wonders never will never cease. Ah well." A shrug.

Then a grin.

"Alright! Lets get the goods and get gone!" He calls as he starts to wheel over the dinged cart for the goods to be put on.

Might as well get what they came for right?

—-

Sometimes he hates gravity. Actually, it's a bit of mental wrestling as Rocket tries to decide whether or not it would be worth it to have some hot assassin chick land on him. In the end he has his pride, and with the momentum of his guns already twisting him about, it's just a matter of pushing away from her and making sure she lands before him. Well, at least she's already unconscious when she hits the floor.

Blowing off imaginary smoke from the ends of his weapons, the raccoon gives them an expert spin before trying to shove them away in the holsters at his back. His mouth is open, debating words but nothing makes it before the Winter Soldier's already moving. Rocket holds a hand out almost longingly after the shiny metal arm that's moving further and further out of reach.

"…/next time/!" he promises, spinning around to look back at his Guardian pals. There's a smug look tossed Quill's way as he helps himself to whatever sweet artillery the girls had been toting, and tech if they've got it. He can always use more things to make bombs out of. Or better guns. Mmm.

"Groot, you okay buddy?" he asks, slinging one of the big blue reusable tote bags over his shoulder. Best IKEA trip, EVER.

—-

Out like a light. Groot sighs a hollow sigh, pretty pleased with the result of bodychecking the assassin into the wall way back there. He lets the extra branches fall away from his arm as he turns around, shaking out a few bullets that were lodged into his body. More chunks of wood fall away as well, but it's easy to replace. Maybe.

Hey, Bucky's compiment is a compliment nonetheless! Groot takes it, smiling away just as Quill directs his attention toward the closest sofa. Once his tree hands are free, he goes to pick it up. He really likes the color.

"I am Groot," he says cheerfully, walking the sofa over to Rocket. He sure feels GREAT.

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