Days Gone By

December 31, 2016:

Backscene. Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes in the midst of WW2.

Greece

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

MALIAC GULF, PHTHIOTIS, GREECE
January 1944

To push this far behind enemy lines would be considered foolish by some. D-Day was months away and the Germans are firmly entrenched in Greece, actively fighting various resistance forces throughout the area. Normally, this would be the last place you'd find American forces. But some elite troops /are/ here, SSR forces from the US, Britain, and other nations. Their goal? To hit a Hydra base that is located in Lamia and get out before being overtaken by the forces in the area. It's unclear how or why Hydra is in located here, but it's rumored to have something to do with being so close to the Aegean Sea, which feeds into the Mediterranean Sea. The development of water based weapons is one theory, using it as a launching point for operations within the northern parts of Africa is another.

In the end, it doesn't matter what they are doing here to Steve Rogers, only that they need to be stopped. At the moment, he is currently in a small electric motorboat designed for extremely high speeds as silently as possible. Dressed as Captain America, he squints as he lifts a flashlight to a map and some navigational equipment. While Howard also provided a fancy navigational system to assist with the nighttime operation, it went out way before the squad of speedboats made it to the coast of Greece.

"The mouth of the Tafros Lamias should be around here somewhere," Rogers points out with frustration. "Once we find it, I think it should be a lot easier from there." While there are teams of two and three in the other stealth vehicles, there is only one other person in Cap's boat, the man that likely prefers to drive, James Buchanan Barnes. The other boats follow behind, clearly following whatever path the two decide to take, regardless if it's right or not. "If I knew I was going to be doing this after joining the army, I would have paid more attention to my geography class," he admits with mirthless smirk.

—-

"Can't help you," the man at the wheel of the boat replies, as he squints forward into the darkness. James Buchanan Barnes doesn't turn around— he doesn't fancy running aground or hitting something submerged— but the answering smirk is audible in his voice. "I didn't pay attention in geography either. There was this redhead…"

He chuckles. "Helped me study."

There's a little itch at the back of his neck, aggravated by his collar, that has been bothering him, on and off, for a while now. He paws briefly at it. "You sure we're heading the right direction? If we are, then it's pretty much only a matter of time before we run into it, if we follow the coast. Just gotta keep going."

There's a pause of a few moments. "You ready for this?" Bucky asks eventually, his voice softer.

—-

"Figures" is all Steve cheerfully replies on Barnes' choice of academic assistance, giving a large grin. A simple and still optimistic "Think so" is given in response to the directions. It's clear that Rogers is really giving focus on the map. After all, timing is everything for missions like this. And considering that they are enlisting the aid of the local resistance cell of the National Republican Greek League, they can't afford to be figuring out which set of lights is Lamia when the set of feint attacks begins.

After a few moments, Cap finally just admits defeat, signaling with the small flashlight for one of the other men to try their luck. Shortly there after, a familiar man in a bowler hat leads his boat forward and the rest follow behind.

Only after the mission is able to continue does Rogers finally take in his friend's seemingly odd reaction. "I think the mission will be fine. If the intel's right, should be the least defended of the bases and the intentionally leaked stuff should make them think we're moving toward the base in Poland. Should be easy as pie," Steve announces with a clear pride in how things are going.

However, it swiftly fades as Rogers realizes that Bucky isn't sharing the 'LET'S GET EM' attitude and concern enters in the friend's voice. "Something wrong?"

—-

Bucky falls silent as Steve finally gives up and signals the others to try scouting ahead. His blue eyes follow the other boats as they circle in the dark, successfully finding after a few moments what he and Steve did not. His eyes turn aside briefly, Bucky biting back a frown, but he says nothing about it as he guns the engine to follow.

He says something else instead. A question, really. Steve answers in his typical Steve way, focusing on the mission, the job. Bucky listens, but it's with a wistful sort of askance look. This is only his second mission under the command of his childhood friend. There's not any doubt in those clear blue eyes, but he's clearly finding it surreal, still. It's hard to wrap his head around it.

"No, nothing wrong. I didn't mean the mission," he says candidly, even as he steers the boat in to the mouth of the river. "I meant you."

He finally glances over his shoulder, a familiar look in his eyes— that look of concern, eternally making sure Steve's okay. A flicker comes and goes in the muscle of his jaw, a brief tension. "Haven't had any side effects?" They did, after all, essentially just use his friend as a guinea pig. That's still something he's wrapping his mind around, too.

—-

As the boats come in with relative speed, Cap gets up and moves forward, realizing that through luck or tactical success there isn't any German patrols in this area. Standing next to Bucky, a nonchalant tilt of the head is given. "I've been hungry for more stuff, meat in particular; doctors say I'm adjusting to the muscle mass. Don't sleep nearly as much, but I'm not used to having this much energy. Could be that I'm in a war too."

With that, he gives a side smile. It's short, however, considering the question. The talk of side effects reminds him of how he found Barnes. While Steve was now the perfect savior, James was strapped to a table for who knows how long with Hydra goons attempting to do who knows what.

"I should be asking that of you," Steve asks, mixing brotherly care with a desire to deflect from himself as a red glove gentle attempts to rest on Bucky's shoulder. "No one would have blamed you for asking to sit out a couple of these. None of the Howling Commandos went through what you did. It wouldn't have made you weak to take a breather." The last line is an awkward one, perhaps due to the fact it is similar, if not the exact sort of persuasion that would have been used in an attempt to keep Steve from doing things that he shouldn't have. Like the war.

—-

Cap gets out of the boat a lot faster than Bucky; all he's got is the gear in his pack and the shield on his back. His major weapon is his own body and mind. Bucky's loadout is a little more complicated. He checks and rechecks his M1903 Springfield, slings it over his back, ensures his M1911 is dry and secure, goes over his remaining gear: bayonet, grenades, combat knife.

He listens as he works, taking in Steve's enumeration of the various differences he's observed. "I noticed," he says dryly. "You used to eat like a bird. Now I don't even get to finish your food anymore." Slinging his pack over his back, he steps out of the boat, slogging up to join Steve. "You finish mine, in fact. I'm gonna waste away soon."

He doesn't address the elephant in the room related to that assertion— that James' own appetite has decreased. That it might have something to do with the way Steve found him, a bare few months ago. Steve does, though, turning to his friend and resting a hand on his shoulder as he says he should really be asking Bucky that question.

"I'm fine," he says, an automatic response if ever there was one; he grimaces a little, knowing how transparent that's going to be to Steve. "Haven't noticed anything lasting from… whatever it was. You know? I had pneumonia for a while out there. Could just be remnants of that."

He shifts his burden on his shoulders. "I'm not gonna sit out," he adds softly. "Not on anything you're going into. You wouldn't have if it were me." He chuckles. "You didn't, in fact, if you remember." He definitely didn't miss the irony of Steve trying to convince him it wouldn't be weak or shameful to sit out.

—-

Barnes is the marksman of the group, so it's little surprise that he has his assortment of weaponry. Steve has own M1911, but that's it. It pairs well with the shield and if he needs something better, he has no qualms in 'borrowing' a Hydra weapon. Reminded to do his weapons check as Bucky does his, the Captain pulls back the slide to make sure there's a round in the chamber before putting it back on the holster. While Bucky is finishing up, Rogers watches the rest of the people as they scatter about. Hitting the place from multiple points at once seemed solid and decreases the chance of the enemy believing a trained military force is moving in on them. Still, as the location of the city and the base is a good distance away, it allows for a little more conversation.

As Steve speaks, he stays close to Bucky, keeping his tone low and his eyes about him. Anything could happen in the field, which both concerns and excites him at the same time. Despite the concern for his friend, there is part of Steve that is almost overjoyed in a visible way that his close friend would be able to notice. To be able to help, to be able to fight? Steve never thought God would give him this chance and he's taking the blessing for all that its worth.

"As usual, you're right. Just don't do anything /too/ crazy," Cap concedes, realizing that attempting to talk sense into Bucky is not going to work. After all, it never did when the shoe was on the other foot. "After all, you don't need to prove yourself to me; I already knew you're sterling way before Hitler was in the news. And next time, we get the chance, I'll promise I'll get us two steaks a piece, that way we both can eat like kings at the end of this." He gives a grin on that, tapping Bucky on the shoulder.

—-

It's still a dissonant thing to Bucky, watching Steve— scrappy little Steve, not so little anymore— handling a gun. Getting ready to go into battle. He glances askance at Cap as the man checks his M1911, a lingering big-brother air to the way he watches to make sure Steve isn't having any trouble with it.

It's increasingly unnecessary. Bucky's found, over the course of the last few months, that Steve doesn't really have trouble with things anymore.

A bit uselessly, he averts his gaze and clears his throat, adjusting the straps of his pack crossed over his chest in the unexpected downtime where, previously, he would have been helping his friend. He shoots periodic glances at Steve still, however, the reflexive looks of someone who just can't shake the habit to keep watching over somebody. He catches the obvious pride and joy Steve shows in just… being able to help. Being noticed.

A small, wistful smile comes to roost on James's features. Genuine happiness that his friend seems happy.

It changes aspect, turning a little ironic, when Steve admonishes him not to do anything too crazy, because he doesn't need to prove himself. "Where've I heard that before," Bucky muses, unholstering his M1911 in readiness to move. "Right back at you, Steve. You still don't have anything to prove either."

He rocks a little under the clap of Steve's hand on his shoulder— not used to having to brace against it THAT much— but his answering grin is untroubled. "I'm gonna hold you to that," he says of that last promise, answering with his own free hand on Steve's shoulder. "If anybody had the pull to get that kind of stuff provisioned way out here, it'd be you."

He glances back forward, into the forest. "Ready to go?"

—-

A cocky grin is the response to the 'nothing to prove' and the talk of provisions. "You got it," Steve replies.

As Bucky's spirits rise, it begins snowball of momentum. After all, when people are happy, Cap's happy. More so when it's the people closest to him. "Time to show these guys what happens when you mess with America." The shield is pulled from his back, giving a soft ring when it is placed in front of him. With his prized weapon and banner in front of him, Rogers waits for the nod from his friend before he breaks into the dead sprint bravely into the night.

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