Remember Berlin

October 30, 2017:

Two 'old' men happen to run into each other and grump about no smoking policies, electronic cigarettes and how throwing car doors at people is rude. Remember Berlin.


The city of New York…in the morning…with a view of the bay.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The cusp of November brings the start of colder weather, and with it a certain contemplative mood in the erstwhile Winter Soldier. There's something about the first encroachment of winter he's experiencing as a free man that makes him somehow… antsy, as if expectant of some sudden disaster with the change of seasons.

There's really no reason to feel that way. He's already been put on trial and got through it. He's already escaped execution by the one country which wouldn't heed the ruling of American justice. Jane replaced his arm. She's well on his way to reconfiguring the machine that will remove any latent programming from his mind.

So why feel uneasy? Maybe it's just the cold.

That restlessness drove him out into the city, even on a day as grey and chill as this one. People are sparse outside in weather like this, which means fewer people to notice who he is and stare. He's walking slowly alongside a bike path in one of the many riverside parks that dot New York City, though he has temporarily paused at a spot with a good view of the bay, in order to take out a pack of cigarettes and light one up.


November. Check. Still Alive in the US. Check. No Attempts at his or his daughter's Kidnapping within the last 48 hours? Check. Good Night's Rest on the one of 2 days during the week Emery 'Papsworth' actually sleeps? - No Check. Never a Check. The Irishman woke up, trembling but not screaming…which means it is was particularly rough night. Showered, tossed on a pair of black sweats and coordinating hoodie with some random Irish Football team logo colors striping a sleeve…pair of black and white converse sneakers and white beanie…slung his duffel bag over a shoulder and then, like all people swung by mass.

…There's a clunk and a clatter of whatever is in that bag as it hits the ground as time fastforwards to the present and the Professional Butler throws himself down on a bench with a line of sight of the bay…and the Winter Soldier. There is a pause as he kicks the duffel bag under the bench and tugs an old fashioned silver cigarette case from a pocket, toying with it thoughtfully and just staring out towards the bay.

It is with all the eloquence in the world he announces. "How the /f*ck/…did I forget…to grab a cup of coffee…" Because it just dawns on him. He went from church, to working out, to the bench and skipped caffine all together. But, the view of the WS's backside…with the backdrop of the Bay, brings this thought to mind.


The sound of the bag hitting the ground not far away draws Bucky's attention. Old soldiers lose the luxury not to be perpetually alert for sudden noises. He regards Emery a few moments, frowning as some vague memory pulls at the edges of his mind. Can't quite place a finger on it, but… he feels like he's seen the man, somewhere before.

Sharp hearing catches the remark on coffee. Bucky's forced to smile, especially at himself once he looks for his zippo and comes up empty. "Probably the same way I forgot my lighter," he says, drawing closer, unlit cigarette loosely in hand. "You mind?"

Normally, under such a circumstance, he would just give up on the smoke entirely. But bumming a light gives him a good chance to get closer and see just why this man touches at his memories.


A small smile tugs at both Emery's dimples and his lips as he raises an eyebrow and tilts his head to the side, studying Bucky quietly for a moment. "I blame lack of sleep and a lifetime of piss poor decisions occasionally catchin' to me." That Irish Lilt rounds his vowels and makes his place of origin hard to deny. A hand slips into a pocket to retrieve his own silver zippo, vintage…a bit tarnished, a few faded scratches. But it looks authentically old or convincingly retro.

"Mind? Oh no, ye can't see it but on the inside I am weepin' with relief at meeting an American who still partakes in such a deplorable habit." There is a wink as he holds up the lighter and his own cigarette case with a shrug.

There's another squint as he places the face with his database of recent news worthy events.


Half a smile comes and goes on Bucky's features as he accepts the light. The vintage zippo is taken note of, as well as the Irish lilt to the man's voice, and for a moment the former Winter Soldier studies Emery in turn, unblinking, faint recollection in his eyes.

Then he blinks, and the look passes. "Yeah, same way then. I got my share of both those things," he mentions, of lack of sleep and terrible decisions alike.

Genuine amusement flickers in his expression when the man mentions relief at meeting an American who still indulges in such a filthy habit. "It's not for lack of everyone trying to get me to stop," he says. "Even the city itself. It's all no-smoking now." As opposed to… when? It's been no-smoking for many years now.

Handing back the lighter, he takes his first long draw on the cigarette. "You ever been to Berlin?" he asks, almost apropos of nothing.


"I gave it up once." Emery admits, slipping his own cigarette free and reflexively tapping it against the case as he muses this memory over. "They still 'aven't found all the bodies." He could be joking, his tone is light enough for it. But who knows.

Roll of his shoulders garners a few pops and cracks as sighs with a small shake of his head. "I tried to explain to a waitress that the bartender's inability to mix anyting other than a Jack and Coke or a Margarita gave be legal and biological rights to light up to avoid burnin' the cafe to the ground. But instead, she told me a story about her friend who gave it allll up tanks to an /electronic/ cigarette."

There's a huff of laughter as he takes his lighter back and places his cigarette between his lips so he can cup his hand and light up in turn. The question though makes him blink as he takes his first drag. Smoke exhaled through his nose as he nods and gestures with his cigarete. "A few times…aye for Work. I'm a Butler." He explains.


Bucky laughs at the joke about giving up the cigarettes, and the bodies, because of course it's a joke. There's no way there might be any possibility that it isn't a joke. "I haven't even tried giving it up," he says. "It doesn't even work on me like it used to, but it's the habit I've gotten into more than the nicotine."

Tapping ash from the end of his cigarette, he leans a hip against the railing. There's something calming about being able to just stand outside again, in the free air, having a brief conversation with a stranger who might not be a stranger, where even the possible subtext may not matter much in the end. The story about the e-cig even makes him smile. "I actually still don't understand the workings of electronic cigarettes," he says. "Or what the point is. Do you plug it into the wall like a phone? It's very unclear."

The inevitable question comes. It's a hunch, a guess… time can blur faces, especially time on the order of decades. How many of their ilk can there really be out there? It's strong enough a memory that he asks in his oblique sort of way, and Emery answers — understandably — in a way equally oblique. For work, he says. Bucky is all circumspection, musing the answer over. "Yeah, so have I," he says. "You looked like someone I met there once. I might've started some shit once or twice there. I regret the trouble I caused." Good enough.

He's a butler, Emery says. The once-Soldier's brows lift. "I didn't realize there was still a trade in that," he says, "though I suppose there's still plenty of idle rich in the world."


A small nod from the Irishman. "I tink, keepin' me lips and me fingers occupied often either…keeps me out of trouble or gets me into the right kind trouble. Either way, its more teh habit that lingers than the chemicals I suppose." A small smile and another quiet drag, much needed drag. Emery lets his head fall back, extending an arm along the back of the bench as he exhales his next stream of smoke upward. "Best I figure it, ye stand there like ye be wielding a banana or microphone and ye suck…like…" He just trails off and purses his lips. "I wish to teh almighty it was like a phone."

But its the Berlin topic that gets him, worrying his bottom lip a bit as he watches Bucky carefully and taps a bit of ash to the ground distractedly. "Mm. Did ye toss any automobile bits at anybody while ye were there? Because one visit, somebody hit me wit' somebody else's car and I had to postpone me visit with a set of twins and their friends." He fakes a pout, tsking wistfully at the memory.

Right, back to the present where garters are no longer consistently used to hold up stockings. "Professional Butler, Certified Personal Assistant…ye will always have people out tere who need help for one reason or another." A pause. "I still dun like German Beer."


Bucky actually laughs at the talk of occupying lips and fingers. "Occupying mine always got me in trouble," he says, putting his cigarette back in his mouth. "The right kind as far as I was concerned, but the wrong kind as far as everyone else was. That was a long time ago, though."

He is briefly wistful, his gaze cast across the decades. "Very long time ago. Long before e-cigarettes."

He sobers a little at the talk of Berlin. There is a flicker of confirmation in his eyes as Emery makes that casual inquiry… two old men, sussing one another out without being too obvious, in case they've got it mistaken or the other doesn't want to play ball. And because old habits of extreme caution die extremely hard. Emery was trying to save the man he was trying to kill, however, which makes Bucky think the apology owed is from his own end. It's kind of rare he was sent to do anything that wasn't 'bad' back in the day.

"That was me," he admits around his cigarette, of flung automobile bits. "My apologies about your visit."

A pause. "I don't care for German beer myself. I shouldn't, but I've still got a taste for vodka."


There it is, suspicions confirmed. News Reports + Memories = Suspicions. Random ass encounters = Confirmation. Emery cocks his head to the side with a hint of a smirk at the mention of 'The Time Before E-Cigarettes', his own mind drifting a bit from being yelled at by nuns…to making aspiring nuns…He quickly drags his brain to the present.

But Berlin…yes. Now he can point at Bucky. "Ye bloody bastard! I knew it!" Then he waves a hand vaguely with a cigarette between two fingers. "Oi, dun apologize. Gettin' winged by that car door gave me twisted brain plenty to keep me warm on the very horrible f*cking cold days I 'ad to spend in Russia after that shite." He takes a drag.

Back in the day, lots of orders were given and not all were on the up and up. He was there to see what direction the man's fate would take, and to end his life if it didn't seem to go in the favor of the people he worked for. And reap that soul for the demented version of an archive. "/You/ me friend, are teh reason why I'll drink Vodka, I'll shag someone with a Russian Accent without tinkin' about it very much. But I protest, by refusin' to learn that f*cking language. Ye will 'ave to live with that. Denying me the chance to curse fluently in yet another language."


Suspicions confirmed, indeed. There aren't many with that look, that Irish lilt, that particular story-telling way of speaking. It stirred a memory, and if there is one thing Bucky is determined to do, it is to make a clean breast of it for what he did as the Winter Soldier. Under duress, to be sure — but the acts still happened.

He does have the grace to look sheepish at 'ye bloody bastard.' He chews on his cigarette a little, leaned back against the railing, left arm braced atop it, and allows himself half a rueful smile. "Ah," he says, "the apology's owed. I wasn't quite myself back then. Just lucky I didn't kill anyone that night." The reality of Emery's presence there, that he might have had much more ambiguous orders concerning the matter, either doesn't occur to Bucky, or perhaps isn't terribly important to him compared to what actually happened.

As for being the reason for a number of life choices on Emery's part? "I've been blamed for much worse things," he says, "so I'll take it. «But Russian, it has its charms,»" he adds, sliding fluently into said language with a fleeting smirk.

He sobers, soon enough. "We all have our ways of persisting long past our expiration date," he says, "and I won't ask yours. Man's business is his own. But I'll consider us square, for 1962."


Emery is not one to tell someone how to do their penance. So when it is stated that apology is owed, he just bows his head and gives a small nod of quiet understanding. ?Aye. But fortunately ye left before ye had to chuck the gear shift at me head. Ye may not have been yourself but if ye had kept at it, I would have found a way to strategically afix the steering wheel to your arse.? He drawls wryly .

There is a blankish stare at the Russian, a bit unclear if he really does not know even a little or if he stubbornly refuses to even guess but he does flash a grin. ?Look at me, still a rebel.?

And he is indeed…still here. So many years later. ?Square, rectangled, triangled and circled. Ye checked all the bosses. And I be like alcohol….boyo. I just get better wit? time. Also probably more damaging to livers as well.? He tips an invisible hat with a cheeky grin and takes a drag off of his cigarette.


There's a wealth of understanding in that one quiet nod. It gives Bucky brief pause, the erstwhile Soldier canting his head, but he doesn't pry or press.

Instead he just grins as Emery says where he'd have put the steering wheel, if things had gotten much hairier. "I'm sure you would have," he says. "Mission was blown, though. No reason for us to stay. Was a hell of a fight, what I remember of it. Shit's hazy at times, though it's all still there."

Still there… like they themselves. And getting better with time, or so Emery says. Bucky isn't so sure about himself.

Finishing his cigarette eventually, he stubs it out, hanging onto it until the next ashtray he finds, and straightens up to take his leave. In deference to a certain someone's nerves, he doesn't stay out too long. "Good to meet you," he says, "as my own self. I owe you for that missed visit. You need a favor sometime, look me up."


Emery looks down at his smoldering cigarette as Berlin is dwelt in just a little longer. He is quiet however before he scoots forward on the bench as Bucky takes his leave. "That goes both ways. The being glad to meet and teh favor." He holds up a black glossy business card with his number and email on it and offers it as he stands. "Ye ever need anyting….anyting at all. Ye ring me up and say 'Berlin Foursome'."

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