June 06, 2017:

Steve and Bucky have a quiet conversation about the upcoming trial. After Steve stops some people from picking on Bucky, for a change.

Brooklyn, New York


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Peggy Carter, Jane Foster, Peter Quill, Rocket, Groot

Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. — James 1:12

It shocked most of the world that the vaunted Winter Soldier was even released on bail at all, even with an RFID chip, but released he was when Jane convinced Tony Stark to cough up a million dollars. God knows what Jane promised Stark in return. Bucky certainly doesn't really want to know, though he's sure eventually he will be finding out.

He hasn't been sure how to feel about that, being beholden to Howard's kid — hasn't been sure how to feel about any of this, and his thought have swung wildly between the extremes until he had to get out, even despite the fact he knows judgment is waiting out there in a world that has become much more interconnected, much more in tune with the sudden minute-to-minute developments of big news stories, than it ever was in his youth decades ago.

He's still not really used to it. He knows it on an intellectual level, but much of him emotionally is still living back in the forties, when even with a case of this magnitude he'd have some grace period for anonymity before the papers got to printing his face for everyone to see. So he's still a little moderately surprised when, about fifteen minutes into him trying to work off some nervous energy on a sandbag at the gym down the street from Jane's apartment, he feels eyes watching him. Eyes that he can feel want nothing more than to start some shit with him.

He's been to this particular gym countless times before, and no one's given him a second glance. The fact people do now is quite telling. What's even more telling is when one of the three men staring at him, one with more balls and less brains than the others, says, "Fucking traitor," and spits right at the erstwhile Winter Soldier's heels, only just missing him. Not because he intended to miss, either. Bucky's head turns slightly, but he does nothing. "They oughta skip the trial and put you up against the wall."

"Innocent until proven guilty. I suggest if you truly love your country enough to hate a traitor, then you honor its laws that people bled and died to protect."

Who is that man on that moral high horse so white and large?

It's Steve Rogers! When the eyes turn to look at source, they will find Captain America close to the entrance of his place, glad in his causal attire, tan cargo pants, a loose fitting short sleeve button up, and footwear that walks the odd line of boat shoes and dress shoes. He currently is removing his hat and glasses, having pulled a trick from Hollywood starlets to mildly conceal his identity. He was surprised to see how well it worked, that's for sure.

Regardless of how or why he got here, the firmness of his eyes suggests that Cap is not playing around. The uncommonly harsh judgment of Rogers pairs well with the calm drop of his hat, which is turned upward so the sunglasses can rest in it. While Rogers would never claim to look for a fight, the mild 'throwdown' suggests that he is more than willing to entertain one. At the moment, his attention still isn't Barnes. Instead, he is just scanning this whole place, waiting to see who has the nerve to push the button or dare to escalate… If anyone.

Buck is, uncharacteristically, silent and passive in the face of this challenge, perhaps feeling himself with little right to contest it — or just keenly aware of the costs involved in him picking a fight while so tenuously out on bail. But someone else isn't having any of it.

The three men turn at the sound of that interloper's voice. Their expressions start out belligerent, sneering, ready to fight, but suffer a sudden sea change as that mild bit of identity concealment comes off and the unmistakable features of Captain America are revealed. There is a brief moment where they obviously debate the clear challenge in Steve's face and stance, the plain willingness to fight anyone who wants to start shit with him right now.

In the end, nobody wants to start shit. It's Captain freaking America. The gym clears out, people who weren't even involved deciding they have somewhere else to be. The three hecklers skedaddle too, though the saucy one feels it necessary to level a parting shot, "Good thing your boyfriend was here to cover your ass, Russki-lover."

The role reversal doesn't escape Bucky, who has not moved or spoken this entire time. He turns his head enough to throw a wry, half-hearted smile in Steve's direction. "Years go by, and you still get that same look on your face when you're ready to take somebody on," he says. He's already undoing the white wraps about his hands, clearly not in any mood for further exercises. "…Regret you had to do that."

There is a patient wait as Steve waits for everyone to clear out. In previous situations, Rogers would be rather leery of being so aggressive, not wishing to appear a bully or abusing the gift America had given him. But it seems the situation warranted it and it worked out as the room now has a lot less hecklers in it. He doesn't even bat a lash when they accuse him of sexual attraction toward his friend. When they all leave, the anger seems to filter out of Steve swiftly enough, his chest lowering like a slowly deflating balloon.

"It's fine," the blond states with a faintly more relaxed but definately less irrate tone. In the brief pause between thoughts, he moves to get his stuff, putting on the hat and glasses again. "Though we should likely get going. When people start talking about this in Snap and Chat, we might have some company." That said, once Bucky has gotten ready, Steve moves toward the back, clearly looking to leave in a less noticeable way than how he entered unless stopped by his dark haired pal.

Bucky doesn't really bat a lash either. They used to get this a lot even way back in the day, what with all the 'Why do you like skinny little Steve so much, is he 'cause he's just girly enough for you?' stuff They've already grown a pretty thick skin about it.

The anger leaves Steve. There was none to begin with in Bucky, the man uncharacteristically subdued. He focuses on packing up, shouldering his bag and checking to make sure he has everything. He's transparently listening to anything Steve has to say, though, as evidenced by the faint furrow of his brow and the eventual question, "The hell is a Snap and Chat?" Finally, Steve knows (marginally) more about modern social media than someone else.

He follows Steve readily enough when his friend makes to leave through a less obvious exit. "You wanna stop over?" he says, manfully avoiding immediate discussion of 'what just happened' and the vast amounts of awkward Everything lurking behind 'what just happened.' "Still got a lot of Asgardian mead left, might as well drink it."

It's not until they're halfway down the street, in fact, that he looks at his friend. "How's it all going?" He could mean anything from 'Steve's work at SHIELD' to 'how Steve is feeling about this entire trial fiasco.'

"It's what kids talk about" is all Steve can really advise on the social media. It's really the blind leading the deaf.

Tastefully, Rogers leaves the incident alone for the time being, seemingly having better things to talk about. After checking to make sure it doesn't set off a fire alarm, Steve moves through the back, clearly propped open so smokers can take a break from the faade of a super fit lifestyle. "Not really a mead guy, but could stop by for a bit," the American Icon offers with a causal shrug. With his disguise in place, the hands are tucked into his pockets and he slouches slightly, clearly trying to 'pretend' he's someone else. Now he looks like a man trying to be cool and failing, but at least it's not the usual Rogers profile of a man with a straight back and militaristic purpose to his stride.

As Bucky offers a vague question, Rogers seems inclined to answer him back in kind. "Busy but fine. Nothing really worth complaining about. How about you?" Despite the tone that suggests just a regular chat between pals, Steve seems to be wary. His attention notices details that would normally be dismissed in times past: People having their phones out, people getting close enough to accidently bump into one or both gentlemen, and so on While Steve is rarely invited to wetworks (for good reason), slowly necessity and learning from watching his more covert-minded peers is perhaps starting to take hold. Perhaps he understands that for every person willing to say their piece about a public enemy, there is often another willing to take justice in their own hands.

Bucky doesn't try to hide his own identity or presence. In fact, with his hair cut short again, he looks even more recognizably like the Sergeant James Barnes of historical fame than he ever did with his hair worn long. He certainly looks a lot more like the Bucky of Steve's memories, the one he grew up alongside, albeit with a face much more lined and weary with the things he's seen.

Perhaps it's because he feels it futile, or a cop out, or something, to try to hide who he is at a time when all of who he is is on trial. Perhaps he was just too overly hopeful that he wouldn't have the recognition levels of Steve Rogers.

Thankfully, nobody else stops or accosts the two of them as they head back to the apartment. Steve says he's not really a mead guy, but he'll stop by. "I wouldn't be either," Bucky says, "but it's the only damn thing that works. Other than some of the stuff Zatanna's got, anyway." But he doesn't push the envelope. He knows Steve isn't much of a drinker to begin with, if at all.

The news Steve hasn't got much to complain about — other than the obvious — softens Bucky's gaze. "Glad everything else is going OK for you," he says, and it sounds sincere. He's genuinely happy if Steve seems happy in most aspects of his life now. "Me, well, if I can avoid getting killed that'll be a good start." Gallows humor. He's got half his mind on the way Steve is watching everyone around them like a hawk, wary and suspicious of every person that gets too close or holds their phone up a little too long. The sight stirs a few different emotions up, some of them proud, some sad, some apprehensive, some grateful.

They get back without incident, at least, and Bucky opens the door for his friend. "You gonna talk to the Murdock kid soon? I figure he'll wanna go over stuff since you got called up." He frowns. "By the prosecution. Weird choice."

Steve offers with a weak grin in the wake Bucky's talk of the strong stuff, but doesn't say anything immediately. Instead, he listens and soon the grin fades with the talk of 'avoid getting killed'. It's clear he has some thoughts on that, but he doesn't really remark on it, understanding the likely futile efforts convince Bucky to put himself into protective custody of some sort would be.

Instead, Captain America awaits to be in the apartment, walking inside before talking about Murdock. "I'll actually be heading toward his place soon to talk. I just wanted to check in on you first. Stuff like this makes people want circle the wagons and all that." A shrug is given before he adds, almost as an after thought. "Murdock seems like he's a good guy. He seems to care, which is the important thing." Or at least the important thing to Steve.

The weakness of that grin — and the way it fades — doesn't go unnoticed by Bucky, but he doesn't remark on it immediately. Close as he and Steve are, they're still products of their time, and it's quite ingrained that men just don't throw open the doors right away on the chatter.

Instead, he opts to talk about Murdock first. He lets Steve in, but doesn't immediately entreat his friend to sit, nor rush around to get glasses and drinks. "He came pretty highly recommended by Jessica," Bucky says. "I talked to him pretty much as soon as I got out. Seems to know what he's doing, for how young he is. But like you said — he cares. And he's got integrity."

There is a brief pause. "Thanks for checking in," he says eventually, finally starting to acknowledge that elephant in the room. "Listen, Steve, I…" He shakes his head. "I guess it doesn't always look like it, because — it gets hard, sometimes, remembering what I remember about the things I've done. Sometimes it feels like I deserve it. But I am gonna fight this."

He rests a hand down on Steve's shoulder. "You still need looking after, no matter how important you get."

In agreement on Murdock, Rogers lets the praise of the lawyer rest on itself for the time being to focus on other things. Seeing Bucky stand around means that Steve does the same. The reason for the lack of movement is soon given as Bucky as he speaks on Steve needing to be looked after and moves the hand to rest on his shoulder. "So you say," Cap replies with a smirk.

Patting Bucky back on the shoulder a couple of times before moving on, Steve continues on toward a couch to sit on, seemingly eased of a burden as Bucky states that he is going to fight. "Good. For a bit, I thought you were going to do the whole 'self-pity thing'. And considering how much you hated when I did that way back when, I wouldn't let you do that to yourself now. I know you think you made some boners here and there, but as you said, it wasn't you making you do those horrible things. I don't think the judge will be able to try you on unintentional boners."

For some reason, some UNKNOWN REASON, Steve has yet to be corrected on slang not being the same anymore. It's like SHIELD agents want him to keep saying it. But that couldn't be, could it? Perhaps it is a small miracle that this hasn't happened in front of the media yet. That could be a /massive/ boner.

The smirk is a welcome sight in the midst of all the potential soberness this topic could bring. Bucky smirks back in kind. "I think you do," he says. "You still haven't gotten anywhere with Peggy yet, have you? Totally need looking after."

He lets Steve off the hook afterwards, though, moving to sit in the armchair across from the couch that Steve gravitates towards. He slumps down with less energy than he usually has, as if a great weight were on his shoulders (one is). But his sharp eyes don't miss the relief that suffuses Steve when he says he plans to fight, and seeing his friend at ease lessens some of his own burden.

And then something… happens. Something happens, several times. Bucky stares through these occurrences, carefully blank-faced. He decides he won't address that immediately. There's more serious conversation to take care of first.

"I thought I might do that for a bit," he admits. "Sometimes I still feel the impulse to. I know I didn't do any of it, but at the same time… I did do it. Someone has to account for the fact they happened. Maybe that someone's me, for not… fighting hard enough to stop myself, to break free, to just… put an end to it. Those memories are mine to live with, the acts done with my hands." He shakes his head. "You're right, though. I never let you do that martyring shit when we were kids, so I guess you wouldn't let me do it now."

He shakes his head slowly. "But in the end, it was Hydra yanking those strings. I can't take all the burden here. And it's not just me that would hurt if I… gave up."

There is a long pause.

"Steve," Bucky finally says, "People don't use — Nobody told you what boner means nowadays? Nobody?"

There is merely a slow stare as Bucky brings up Peggy and the lack of sexual exposits. The Man Out of Time could say so much, but he doesn't. It's not the appropriate time and place for such things anyway.

"You hate a hypocrite as much as I do, Bucky, so I know you won't do anything drastic," Steve replies with an air of assurance, his words meant to encourage as well as merely remind. It's clear Steve has a lot of faith in his friend and seemingly always will.

Then there is a pause in response to the long pause and question that follows. "Condom?" Steve guesses with a tone that suggests that his response is not by any means his final answer.

Steve's slow stare is answered by the bland, obstinate look of a man who has not given up for nearly ninety years, and isn't about to start giving up now. You know, Bucky's expression says, I'm just saying.

That blandness falters a little when Steve gets him on the hypocrisy angle. He frowns pointedly, but there's not much argument he can present there. He would be a hypocrite to get on Steve's case for being a martyr and a bullheaded asshole that staunchly refused aid, and then do the exact same thing here. Besides — "Can't do anything drastic," he sighs. "Even if I wanted to. I have it from Murdock that Archer'll start going after everybody I know if I step wrong. Charge Jane with treason. Zatanna as an accessory. Dig up shit on everyone else." He looks at Steve. "Probably even go after you. He's probably the only guy in Washington with enough balls to do something like that."

He can hear that deep faith Steve has in him, though, that simple staunch belief that resonates in his tone so clearly that he doesn't need to say all that much to convey his assurances. His expression falters a little, guilt flashing across it to still have that much faith from Steve after all he's done — after how far his life has fallen from the good path Steve's own life took. But in the end, not even Bucky is immune to the more inspirational effects of his best friend, and the doubt does not last long.

Especially not when there is critical information to dispense.

"No, Steve." It's really telling about the depth of their friendship, how unphased Bucky sounds right now, and how little he blinks at that doubtful answer. "It's — the thing the condom goes on. Probably gotta take that one out of the vocabulary. I guess they replaced it with cock-up. Or fuck-up. Or just 'mistake.'" He shrugs eloquently. "Dunno when that changed. Maybe the 50s?"

The fact that Bucky took the 'nothing drastic' as possible violence rather than self-destructive behavior is oddly good news, but when life is giving you lemons, you have to make lemonade where you can.

"It seems a bit excessive" is all Steve states on Murdock's thoughts on Archer. Hopefully, it's not true. To have someone being a prosecutor with a vindictive streak? That doesn't seem good at all. But he doesn't seem too phased by the possibility of someone coming after him. "Either way, we'll take it as it comes."

It's a simple answer, but it seems Rogers is intentionally keeping things simple. The world is complicated, people are complicated, and problems are complicated So Cap has learned there is a power in simplistic plans and responses, a power he tries to use whenever possible.

Speaking of simple answers, when it comes to the explanation, there is a slight widen of the eyes with a mere "Oh". And then he looks around for a bit. Awwwwkward.

Finally, Steve gets enough sense to change the topic. "So, um, do anything fun recently?" he asks, the legal situation and talk of sexual slang enough to bring Steve to World Fair date night levels of forced dialogue.

It doesn't even occur to Bucky that 'something drastic' might mean something self-destructive. Whatever else James Barnes was, self-harming wasn't really one of them — though arguably, him submitting himself to this trial already filled his entire quota of self-destructive behavior for his entire lifetime.

On the whole, though, his anger, especially when young, always went outwards rather than inwards, expressed in sudden fits of violence, outspokenness, and rage rather than in self-castigation. Though that did change after his first captivity by Hydra. Whatever they did to him there permanently took away the Bucky Steve remembers from his youth, leaving behind a hard-eyed man whose silences could speak far louder than his angry words.

It seems a bit excessive, Steve observes of Archer's promised vindictiveness. Bucky shrugs. "I agree, but not much I can do if he wants to be that way. Just gotta avoid pissing him off." It's Bucky's own way of boiling down everything to one simple statement. Just take it as it comes. Avoid making anyone too mad.

Then, Bucky is forced to explain a certain change in vernacular. Awkward. Steve looks away. Bucky looks away too. There is a brief silence, afterwards.

Steve has enough sense to change the topic. Though not enough sense to change it to a topic that's much less awkward, given all that's going on. Steve must be really stressed, Bucky thinks. He's regressing back to skinny-Steve levels of awkwardness. "Took Jane down to Coney Island about a week or two ago," he eventually says, after a long silence in which he really has to strain to think of 'anything fun' that happened recently. "Had her lab right near there and she'd never been. Can you imagine? I had, uh… stuff I needed to talk to her about, anyway."

The chance to talk about something not the trial is given and Steve rushes for it. While Steve is usually willing to rush into the brave unknown, there is definitely reluctance on his part, insecurity that is certain not Rogers. But fighting Nazis, evil robots, or seductive Norse Gods with a do or die mentality is one thing… the political and judicial mires of this trial requires a much different skill set than Steve really has. But conversation? That he can do.

"It's always odd how you don't do the things that are right in front of you," Steve begins. "I guess you think, you'll just do it tomorrow, or next week and then time flies from you and you missed the chance." Steve considers his own wisdom before taking it in a way that Bucky likely would not. "I remember doing that with a Broadway show or two. If it wasn't for the fact I promised a raccoon and a talking tree I'd take them to Hamilton, I'd likely miss that show too." A shrug is given before Steve drifts back toward Bucky's tale. "Hopefully, you both had a good time and a fruitful conversation or two."

The longer they talk about things that aren't the trial, the more Bucky feels himself slipping into a greater sense of ease. Perhaps it's really only Steve Rogers, in the end, that can give him this particular sense of comfort — the comfort of a familiarity that hearkens all the way back to his childhood. His body language reflects it, the man sitting back in his chair instead of on its edge, loose-limbed and careless in that way he used to be before war and torture and privation tore his life apart. If he closes his eyes, he can almost imagine it's 1941 again, and he and Steve are hanging out again: boys with nowhere to be, nothing to do, and no dire weight of the world resting down on their uncertain shoulders.

He has only to move his left arm slightly for that illusion to shatter.

He's reluctant to let that sense of peace go now he's found it, however. His eyes open, the blue of them faraway, as Steve ruminates on not doing the things right in front of your face. "You missed a lot of chances, yourself," he points out. "Glad you're getting to make up some of it now. Though I'd never have guessed 'going with Rocket and Groot' would be how you'd finally catch up on all the Broadway shows you put off. You oughta take 'em to more than just one, and not just because of a promise." He grins. "I'd say I'm surprised you managed to get tickets, but… you're Cap. Could probably get a private performance if you wanted." Though of course, Steve would never.

He scrubs a hand through his hair, newly short again. "Yeah, it was relaxing. Kinda funny to see all the things that have changed, and all the things that haven't." His tone turns lightly teasing. "Showed her all the spots you got beat up. She said probably somebody could get plaques put up everywhere 'Captain America' was beaten on as a kid. I said, nobody wants to bankrupt the government."

Talk of fruitful conversations sobers him. "Just one," he admits. "It was gonna happen sooner or later, her taking up with me. She wound up killing a man while we were in Germany." He grimaces. "Felt like I was giving a buck private the Talk again. It was self-defense, so I think she took it well, but. People these days aren't used to what we got used to."

"Huh, I had no idea you knew those two," Cap begins, giving a faint smirk as he finds out how small this world is that Bucky knew Groot and Rocket. But perhaps most people remember meeting those two since they are defiantly not your usual New York tourists. "I normally wouldn't consider a private showing, but considering how those two are, I might ask for a smaller audience or the like." A brief chuckle is given before Steve continues. "I mean, Rocket was threatening to melt a dog with a space gun when I first met him." Last thing, Steve wants to be doing is managing an evacuation of a theater because those two did something to set the whole place on fire and doing everything to reduce risk seems like a wise move.

There is a slow :| face the 'Captain America was beaten up here' signs. He just decides to leave that be, but the chain has officially been yanked for Rogers, a simple thing to do when you've known him as long as Bucky has. The face sobers, however, in the wake of the important conversation. Rogers pauses as he thinks of the first time he killed. It's not something he's really told Barnes about, having processed it on his own in a rather private way.

"I'm glad she doesn't have to get used to it. There is definitely a switch that is turned when you start killing. It's hard to find that line between respecting all life yet being willing to take life if required." There is a big of silence as Rogers remembers some of the more violent aspects of his life. A weak smile is given as his eyes meet with Bucky. "But she got through and she has you to thank. God willing, she won't have to deal with it again. Despite her angry streak, she doesn't really seem like the type that would ever really get used to killing. Or the kind you'd want used to killing. Thankfully, she doesn't need to be."

"I had no idea you knew 'em either," Bucky rejoins. "But they kinda stand out, don't they? Ran into them a couple times, hanging out with that guy — Quill. …What a dick." A pause. "I think the raccoon wants my arm. He keeps starin' at it."

He looks a little dismayed at stories of Rocket wanting to melt a dog, though. "Somehow that doesn't surprise me," he says slowly. "Yeahhh, you better do the private showing if you take them. Rocket might bomb the place if something about the musical upsets him. No telling."

He grins a little when Steve frowns — even after all these years, he knows how to instantly push his best friend's buttons — but he doesn't press it too far, because best friends also know where the line is. The conversation also turns, and this by Bucky's doing: settling now instead on talk of Jane's first kill.

It brings both men to think about their own first kills. Bucky never really had the chance to ask Steve about his, when it was more relevant, and in turn Steve never really asked Bucky either; by the time they did have time to talk about it, so much had happened between then and now that it no longer really mattered. Besides, it never really seemed there was much to talk about, anyway. What was there to discuss? They were soldiers, and killing to protect was what they did.

Bucky's face is carefully blank when Steve speaks of that switch that flips when you start to kill. There's a moment where it seems likely he might slip back into some dark frame of mind — but then Steve smiles and brings him back. The brief shadow passes from Bucky's expression when Steve says Jane has him to thank. "No, she doesn't," he agrees. "She's not a killer. Her hands were meant to make things, not… do whatever mine do. I plan to try to keep her from having to ever deal with it again — or from ever having to get used to it."

He's quiet a moment. "Hey…" he starts, with the awkwardness of a man engaging a topic dangerously close to an admission of having emotions. "Crazy all three of us ended up here, isn't it? You and Peggy and I? I'm glad for it, though. Just regret I didn't wake up and come back sooner. Could've…" Could've had more time, before I potentially get executed again. He doesn't finish the sentence for obvious reasons.

"They're an odd group, that's for sure" is all Steve has to say, not knowing that Quill was linked to them. But it certainly makes sense when the pieces are put together.

The series of emotions Bucky has is not really remarked upon by Steve. He knows killing is a lot for Barnes to unpack as well, but for entirely different reasons, so the blond lets them be. If talk of Jane's blood stained comes up again, Rogers will know it's something to be tackled. For now, there seem to be other elephants in the room.

A simple shrug is given at the start of conversation of lost time. "Hey, by all accounts we should have been dead. None of this should have worked for any of us. Every moment is a gift." He looks up for a moment to suggest God's hand. Sometimes Rogers brings up the faith hard, sometimes not at all. Like a true people person, it often depends on who he is dealing with. But the fact that he's bringing it up now with Barnes suggests that things are serious.

"Just enjoy it for what it is, I suppose." The advice is given a short silence to carry weight before going on. "I mean, if you got scared every bullet is thrown at you had your name on it, you wouldn't be able to do a mission. Just like that, don't worry about the trial until you need to worry about it." Steve puts his hands behind his head as he leans back, as if trying to practice what he preaches. "We deal with enough as is without borrowing trouble," he admits with a faint smirk.

Bucky does not address the matter of Jane further. He seems to feel it reasonably under control, for the moment. Jane's reactions were not abnormal, and were readily handled with some quiet conversation. If she starts to have recurrent nightmares or begins to get a little overly bloodthirsty, perhaps then it would be time for some concerned intervention.

There are other things hanging unsaid in the air, for now. Things like Bucky's regret at having spent so much time enslaved and killing, when he could have spent it with Steve and Peggy instead in this new and unfamiliar modern world. A brief smile flits over his face when Steve points out, hey, by all rights they should be dead, so the fact they have any time at all is a gift. "I guess it does balance out the pain I went through, getting here, to be here with you and Peggy and everyone we now know. Guess it is against all odds we're even here now."

He blows out a breath. "So I'll fight this, Steve. Promise I will."

There is a brief moment where Steve looks up, as if to invoke God. Bucky was never as devout as his friend, but he believed too, once — believed up until the brutality of his life beat doubt into his soul. He takes comfort in Steve's continued faith, even if he has trouble with his own.

Don't worry until you need to worry. "Sound advice," he says, getting up from his chair. "So we won't worry. For now. I'm gonna get you a drink, and then we're gonna watch this 'Pulp Fiction' movie instead, because I think Jane will kill me twice over if I die without ever watching it."

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