Chapter 10- Stand Alone
Kurt soon realised that Steve had never really fought for himself before. All his life had been him putting up his fists in the name of the honour of someone else. His mother, Bucky, America, people who really needed him, but he had never fought to save himself. And now he was fighting for Kurt.
It was strange, really, having someone who would unabashedly fight for him. It wasn't like anyone else had ever done that. Kurt knew that he was being unfair not counting him father in that list of people, but Burt had always had an agenda. Burt had always fought for Kurt to prove that he could despite his shortcomings. Kurt believed that Burt loved him, there was no doubt in his mind about that, but there always something which tipped him off to the fact that Burt had never fought for Kurt because he thought it was the right thing to do. The Defying Gravity debacle had been because of Kurt's sadness. Burt had never liked him singing girls songs around the house. Kurt knew it was stupid to pick at something like that, but he couldn't help himself. Not when he had Steve who was the person that did both at the same time. He wanted to help Kurt, but also because he knew that it was the right thing to do and would do it even if it were anybody else. He was an Avenger, after all.
With the impending chaos that surrounded the invasion, nothing was certain. Even though Steve had made promises about returning to him after the battle, but nothing was concrete. Kurt really hoped that that would be the case. Steve could more than handle himself. He survived World War II and came out the other side decades later. He had adjusted to modern life in the twenty-first century after having been encapsulated in ice for all those years. Steve was the strongest person Kurt had ever met and the fact that he kept his moral compass this whole time said a lot about his character.
Avengers Tower was overrun with people making plans.
Kurt was making plans for a way he could help during the battle. He couldn't fight anyone physically, but he was sure that he could do something. He had enlisted Santana to help him find ways to help. Steve had insisted that Kurt not be near the action, but Kurt wanted to help in any way he could. Santana had suggested managing supplies somewhere or setting up a medical tent, but Kurt thought they were more passive ideas. He wanted active, he wanted something that would help the endeavour.
Tony was trying to mastermind the entire thing by himself. Kurt had suggested he co-ordinate with Steve, but the latter was busy creating safe spaces for civilians beforehand, so they could escape the mayhem of the battle and limit casualties.
Thor had been filling them in about his brother and things that he was likely to do, even with his limited knowledge of his current plans. Bruce figured that he had the best chance of pre-emptively organising something that just might work. Everyone realised that they were just grasping at straws the entire way, but maybe something just might have worked. His trip to Asgard had not been very successful, although he had returned with some friends who were itching to join the fight. Kurt hadn't had time to acquaint himself with them, although Santana had immediately locked eyes with Lady Sif and was in a trance of lust by just being around the woman.
Clint and Natasha were working closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. and their agents to co-ordinate a line of defence that would intersect with Steve's sanctuary plans. Anywhere was in danger of being destroyed, but the logistics and location strategists were working to predict the areas of least risk.
Everything seemed to shaping up well enough, considering the circumstances.
Except for Bucky, who wanted to join the fight.
And Steve, who wouldn't allow him to.
Kurt had walked in on an argument between the two in the gym.
"Steve, I'm more than ready. If you'd just open your mind for just one goddamn second, you'd notice how much better I'm doing."
Steve nodded. "You are doing better. But you're not there yet, Bucky. That's why you're still working with Bruce to integrate yourself back into your own body, that's why we don't send you on missions yet. Because you're not ready."
Bucky cursed. "Jesus, Steve, I know you're protective of me but damn you're being short sighted here. I'm more than equipped for this. My arm isn't bothering me anymore, I'm healthier than I've been since the serum, you can even ask the Doc."
Steve jutted out a hip. "So if I ask Bruce, he'll say you're cleared to be in action?"
"Then why hasn't he cleared you yet?"
Bucky sighed. "Look around you, Steve, there's a possibly world-ending invasion going on, Doc doesn't have time to think about clearing me for duty."
When Steve looked around him, he saw Kurt. Bucky smiled.
"Oh good, Kurt's here. He can vouch for me."
"Kurt isn't a medical professional."
Kurt shrugged. "I mean, twelve seasons of Grey's Anatomy can qualify a guy for pretty much any medical specialty."
Steve and Bucky both stopped glaring at each other to look at him quizzically.
"Okay, so that's on the list of contemporary media to show you both. So what exactly am I supposed to be vouching for?"
"Nothing, because it's not happening," Steve replied angrily.
Bucky growled. "Steve, look past yourself for a second. You guys need all the numbers you can get. I'm on par with you physically, have more combat experience and I'm a strategic asset."
"You're not the Asset anymore," Steve reminded him.
"I didn't mean it like that," Bucky snarled. "Just that I can help. You know, to make sure the damn world doesn't end and there's still a human race to save after all of this is over. You need me, Steve." Bucky looked to Kurt pleadingly.
"He has a point, Steve. We're in no shape to refuse help when we need it the most."
Steve shook his head. "Unbelievable. I thought at least you would have my side on this."
Kurt gaped. "Steve, I just think that—."
"I've heard what you think. I'm going to go and find Bruce."
Steve stormed from the room, muttering something under his breath.
"What the hell happened?" Kurt frowned.
Bucky sighed softly. "I'm sorry he took this out on you. I've been asking him to let me help and he thinks I'm not ready yet. Truth is, he's just worried. About everyone.
"He was given the moniker of Captain at age 21. Ever since then and after he woke up from the ice, I imagine, he's been in charge and always felt like he was in charge. Even when people are more than capable of leading themselves. So he's taking on everybody's burdens as his own personal ones. I tried to get him to relax a little, but we just ended up fighting."
Kurt released the breath he was holding. "So I shouldn't go and talk to him just yet? I don't know his anger very well."
Bucky shrugged. "That's a good thing. Steve is the most passionate person I've ever met, so his emotions are intense. When he loves, as I know you know, it's all-consuming. When he's mad, it makes the Hulk look like a gentle breeze."
"Is it a serum thing?"
"Probably. I have really intense mood swings too, but that might just be my PTSD acting up."
"So...do I leave it for a little while, let him cool off?"
Bucky shook his head. "That's now how Steve works when he's like this. He's probably already calmed down, hating himself for getting mad at you. But he's far too proud to face the situation with his tail between his legs. You have to go to him."
Kurt smiled. "Thanks, Bucky. You always know what to say."
"You don't get to be ninety-something without a few life hacks."
"For what it's worth, I think you're ready," Kurt said tenderly and left the gym in pursuit of Steve.
He found him almost immediately, pacing near the gym.
"Kurt, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean to snap, I just—."
Kurt smiled. "Steve, relax. It's okay. You don't have to apologise for anything. I know how much Bucky means to you. I'd be the same if it was Santana. But you have to realise how Bucky must feel right now."
Steve tilted his head, as if that hadn't occurred to him, which was odd because all Steve did was think about other people and their feelings.
"He's cooped up all day thinking about this invasion and whether or not he's going to lose the only person he's got and there's not a damn thing he's being allowed to do about it."
Steve rubbed his neck. "I didn't think about it like that."
"I know, Bucky knows that too, he just wanted you to see it how he did."
"I can't lose him, Kurt. He's the one person who has always been there. He was there before."
Kurt nodded. "I get it. Not on the same scale, but I get it. I separate my life into Lima and post-Lima and Santana is my only constant."
Steve smiled. "I like her a lot."
"Good. You're both important to me. As is Bucky."
"He really likes you, too. Says you're like the responsible little brother he never got to have."
Kurt chuckled. "I'll take it. He has to like me, we're going to be metal arm twins soon."
Steve sighed. "I got to ask, what it is with you two and the metal arms?"
Kurt shrugged. "Just something we bonded over the first time we met. Don't do his thinking for him, Steve, it's not good for either of you."
Steve nodded back. "You're so right. As always. I'm going to go talk to him. I love you."
"Love you more."
Steve just scoffed and said "Yeah okay then" as deadpan as possible.
Kurt just enjoyed the view watching him walk away.
He laughed, but inside he was crossing everything that would work that Steve would make it out of this. Because they were quickly running out of time and the new dawn would approach and take no prisoners.
Kurt just hoped they had done enough.