Disclaimer: I do not own Marvel or MCU just this fic
It had been a long time coming but the Avengers were finally reunited under one roof. After rescuing his team from the Raft Steve had taken T'Challa's invitation for them to lay low in Wakanda. The only person outside of his crew who had any form of contact with them was Sharon Carter. When it had become clear the governments would do nothing to clear Bucky of their charges she had taken action and leaked the information to the press, the reaction had been instantaneous.
Around the world people began to voice their opinions, Bucky was no villain just another casualty in a corrupt government's agenda. On the streets the Captain's Star had begun appearing on walls, poles, any available space, a show of support to the man who dared to stand up to the government. If the government was willing to bury the truth just to put a man behind bars then the people didn't want that same body controlling the force of the Avengers. It helped that Sharon had also leaked information of Bucky's torture and brainwashing while in Hydra's hands.
Public outcry saw the Sokovian Accords abandoned and Steve's team given an official pardon for their actions. Although even on American soil Steve was hesitant to return to the training facility and he certainly wasn't about to set foot near Stark Tower. Bucky had been more than happy with that, the pair finding a house in Brooklyn. For Steve it was a way to feel more at home, for Bucky it was a way to reconnect with a past long forgotten while amusing himself with watching Steve and Sharon dance about each other. Still, there was just something that wasn't quite right and no matter how much Bucky tried to pinpoint what it was exactly, he just couldn't seem to figure out what was missing.
Both Steve and Tony had made a public appearance to inform the news crews that there was no animosity between the two factions but neither team had set foot near each other since that day at the airport. That all ended when Thor decided to resurface, Tony calling for a party to celebrate. While everyone accepted and pretended it was all about greeting Thor they all knew it was just a publicity stunt to prove to the media that they were all still friends.
Scott and Sam had been the first of Steve's team to arrive, the former thief losing his anxieties over the matter the moment he laid eyes on Thor, for Sam it was Rhodey's greeting that set his mind at ease. Sam had felt responsible for what happened and it helped for the two military men to be able to sit down and discuss what had transpired. The pair had only just begun to relax when Steve and Bucky entered.
The pair looked every inch a soldier, perfectly pressed dress shirts, tailored suits and ties with immaculate military precision, even their shoes were spit-shined to perfection. Steve had opted for a deep navy suit while Bucky had gone with a charcoal grey, the latter had also chosen to wear gloves to hide his metal hand from view. In an attempt to distance himself from the 'Winter Soldier' Bucky had even cut his hair and shaved his face, looking more like the man he had once been. Hesitantly they greeted the group before a soft voice caught Bucky's attention.
Wanda and Clint were the last to arrive, the young girl retreating with Clint to his farm rather than stay in New York with the others. Bucky spun the moment he heard her voice, the familiar slanted grin appearing on his face as he saw her. "You look beautiful." Bucky commented, blue eyes taking in her appearance.
It was a simple red dress, bodice clasping her form while the skirt fell freely to her knees. The neckline was modest but hinted at her feminine curves. Crimson heels adorned her feet, a low heel but enough to give her just a couple of extra inches of height, the same colour tinted her lips while hair had been half-pulled back so her long curls could bounce lightly against her back. "Thank you Sergeant. You cut your hair, it looks good." They both knew the reason behind his new hairstyle, he wanted to remember Bucky, not what he had become.
"He's quite right." Vision stepped forward to address Wanda, it was what he'd been waiting for all night, to see her again. "That particular shade of vermilion is quite eye-catching on your form. May we speak?" The telepath hesitated before finally taking his outstretched hand, letting him lead her away from the group. One last look had her catch Bucky's gaze and she didn't need their connection to know his thoughts, if she felt even the slightest bit uncomfortable he'd be over there in a heartbeat, consequences be damned.
Bucky had thought going back to Cryo-sleep would be the best solution until the young telepath had requested a chance to break his triggers. One by one she tore away Hydra's commands but the more time she spent in his head the stronger the mental connection between them became. After everything the soldier had been through he hated the idea of another person messing around in his head, yet there was just something about Wanda's presence in his mind that felt so…natural. He wasn't sure if it was their shared experiences with Hydra or just the simple fact that all she wanted was to heal him but for the first time in his life he actually liked feeling connected to someone.
No words were needed between the pair, not when they could feel each other's emotions or hold their own private conversations in their own heads. A single look, a small touch, that was all it took to convey more than words could express. If one felt the other was reliving bad memories, a gentle hand was all they required to snap each other out of a daze and bring them back to the present. After all the pair had been through, it was no wonder Bucky felt so protective of the younger girl.
It felt so wrong to use their connection like this but Bucky had to know Wanda was okay so he tapped into their bond, letting his eyes close as he listened using her ears. Vision apologised for his actions, hands clasping hers as he requested they resume their previous interactions. Shaking her head Wanda tugged her hands free of his. "Vis, whatever there was between us, I'm not that girl any more. The things I used to want don't seem so important now." Taking a step back she bit her lip, there had been something there but she no longer felt it and it was too cruel to allow Vision to think there was a chance. "I've changed and I don't want to go back to who I used to be. Maybe before there was a chance but that's over." Walking back over to the group Wanda took a seat on the empty space beside Bucky, smiling faintly at the reassuring hand on the small of her back.
As much as the two parties tried to show they were still a team there was a small division between the two sides with Steve's team seated on one side of their table and Tony's on the other. Their private area overlooked the rest of the party, the people below mingling and dancing, completely unaware of the slight tension above and as long as no fights broke out it would be assumed they were all still friends. All seemed rather amicable until Vision slid a glass of wine across the table to Wanda in an attempt to regain her attention.
Bucky's hand moved to intercept the glass, calling Scott's name, passing it over for him to drink before fixing Vision with a piercing gaze that spelled trouble. "She doesn't drink alcohol, at least not in public." All discussions stopped as everyone readied themselves in case a fight began. "Her powers are chaotic enough without adding alcohol to the mix, and while everyone here could handle her abilities the people down there can't. If anything happened to them she wouldn't be able to forgive herself, and I'm not about to let a drunken mistake tear her apart."
Before anyone else could speak Bucky flagged down a waitress. "She'll have something fruity, non-alcoholic. She likes berries and lime. I'll have whiskey, straight, three fingers." Turning his attention to Wanda he gave her a soft smile. "Alcohol is for people who need to forget." One finger gently tapped her forehead. "And there is nothing in there you should be ashamed of."
All eyes turned to Clint, wondering if the archer had anything to say about it but he merely nodded his agreement. Bucky had his flaws but he also wanted what was best for Wanda. Most of the time Bucky was content to let Wanda make all the decisions but there were a few moments he'd pulled rank, this being one of them, but he always had a good reason for it and as much as Wanda hated admitting he was right, he was and she accepted it. It helped that his reasons were for her benefit and always revolved around his own experiences. She'd been inside Bucky's mind and she knew all of his failings, she also knew the only time Bucky took control was to prevent her from making mistakes he had made himself. It was an odd relationship but Clint couldn't find a problem with it, not when they helped each other so much.
"This is good." Wanda grinned, sipping on the drink Bucky had requested for her, content to sit back and enjoy it until she heard the song that began to play. "They're playing the song!" Setting her drink down she rushed over to the railing, gazing down at the people shuffling along to it below them. Spinning around she stared at Bucky expectantly, the man already downing his drink in one go as if he had been expecting this reaction.
"All right, I'm coming." Rolling his eyes he set the empty glass down. Walking over to Wanda he spun on his heels so his back rested against the railing, arm waiting for her to take it. "So pushy." He remarked as she accepted his arm, leading her down the stairs an onto the dance floor. Soon the pair had joined the throng of people, moving about with practised grace as Bucky spun her around the floor.
One eyebrow raised, Tony waited until the pair had left before turning to the group. "Okay, I feel like I've missed something here." The last he'd seen Wanda and Vision had been engaged in a strange dance of attempting to sort out their feelings for each other, and now she was practically joined at the hip to Bucky.
Steve smiled fondly, glad things were finally working out for Bucky. "Wanda broke Hydra's control over him, he can't be used as a puppet any more. They healed each other." It wasn't his story to tell but the rest of the Avengers deserved the right to know. "The Raft, it was hard, but it hurt Wanda the most." Eyes cast downward, his self-loathing for being the one to put her through that tainting his words as he spoke of the torture the girl had endured aboard the floating prison.
"When she got out she didn't speak, it was too painful, but she also didn't use her powers. It was almost like she was scared to." All of Steve's team remembered those first few days of coaxing her to leave her room and then the struggles of trying to make her eat. Worst of all was her complete refusal to do anything with her powers. "The first time she used her abilities was to try to break Bucky's triggers because she didn't want him to be put on ice, she didn't want me to lose my friend. It took a few weeks but she finally broke them all, but all that time in each other's heads…they found a connection." A frown marred Steve's features, as much as he disliked the idea of Bucky keeping things from him he also knew that there were some things he would never be able to understand, not the way Wanda did. He couldn't begrudge the pair finding comfort with each other, not when he was so happy just to have the old Bucky slowly resurfacing.
Clint nodded along with Steve, as much as it pained him to say it, Bucky was the reason Wanda had regained her old self. The haunting emptiness that had taken over her eyes was long gone and that was mostly Bucky's doing. "The first thing he did when he got his new arm was teach Wanda the Charleston." The archer snickered, remembering Bucky's patience and his carefully concealed grimaces every time Wanda accidentally stood on his feet. Wanda's laughter when they finally got it right was engrained on his memory, it was the first time she'd truly smiled since the Raft. "That's the first song they danced to."
Thor smiled from his position near the railing, watching the two move about the floor. Steve was the most honourable person he'd met on Midgard, and from what he'd seen his friend was cut of the same cloth. It warmed his heart to see the man dancing with the girl he considered a sister, her face bright with joy as they moved.
Wanda couldn't contain her laughter as Bucky dipped her before bringing her back into his arms as the song ended. They'd been dancing for five songs now and she was beginning to feel a little breathless. "Drink?" He asked and she quickly nodded her head, letting him lead her to the edge of the dance floor where she could catch her breath while he sought out some drinks for them.
An elderly women nodded to the empty chair at her table, inviting Wanda to sit with her. "Such a nice young man." She crowed, laugh lines crinkling at the corners of her eyes as the woman looked over to where Bucky was ordering drinks. "You're so lucky to have someone who cares about you so much." Wanda's attention snapped to the woman's face, eyebrows crinkling in a silent question. "He looks at you the way my Reginald looked at me, like I was the only person in the room. Few of us are blessed to find something like that so hold on to it tight and never let go."
Wanda was still trying to work out what the woman meant when Bucky turned, eyes seeking her out before finding her face amongst the crowd, then suddenly it all became clear. Standing up she didn't wait for him to come to her, she marched over and gripped his tie, tugging him down until she could press her lips to his. This was why she could no longer be with Vision, because she'd already moved on, she just hadn't known it yet.
Bucky froze at the determined look on Wanda's face wondering what he'd done wrong, only for his mind to go completely blank when she kissed him. Hands gripping their drinks lifted out of her way to keep from spilling, making him appear almost comical with his head bent to hers and arms raised like chicken wings. A wicked smirk on his face he leaned into her, nipping at her lower lip as a sign he enjoyed this new development as much as she did. This was what he'd been missing, his connection to her, he needed her presence as much as he needed air.
A glass shattered behind him drawing Thor's gaze away from the pair to see Vision standing behind him. The android made a comment about forgetting the strength of his grip before stepping away from the railing. By the time Thor turned back the pair below had vanished. With a heavy heart the Asgardian stood and made his way downstairs, on one hand Vision was his creation, on the other stood Steve's friend. It was time to meddle in the affairs of mortals.
Bucky stepped out onto the balcony with Wanda, watching the night sky while they sipped their drinks, content to simply enjoy each other's presence. Removing his glove Wanda placed her free hand in his metal one, she wasn't afraid of him, she would never be afraid of him. It was a simple gesture but it meant the world to Bucky, she accepted all of him, even the parts he hated. His head bent to kiss her once more when the sound of a throat clearing drew his attention.
"Lady Wanda." Thor greeted, nodding his head to her while silently signalling that she should back away before turning his attention to Bucky. "And you are the Warrior of Winters. I am proud to call the Steve my Brother-in-arms, just as Lady Wanda is a sister to me." Stepping up to meet Bucky Thor drew himself up to his considerable height. "So I must insist on knowing your intentions towards Lady Wanda."
Bucky blinked for a moment, wondering if this was actually happening. He'd actually expected Clint to give him a talk just like this one, Steve too, but the Asgardian was straight out of left field. "You look like a big, strong guy." Bucky replied, stepping to one side so he could see Wanda's face once more. "But honestly, if I hurt her I think I have more to worry about from her than you."
His comment earned a chuckle from the Asgardian, the Thunder God knew all about a woman's wrath and ability to fell much stronger men from Sif. "Aye, she is certainly more than capable of exacting revenge." Thor agreed, turning to offer Wanda a wide grin to show there was no animosity in his words. The blond god turned back to Bucky, waiting for him to continue.
Bright blue eyes sought out the familiar pale green he'd come to love. "She's my second chance." Bucky responded softly, a gentle smile full of hope and love appearing on his face. "Hydra took everything from me but you found parts of me I thought were gone. You made me remember the man I used to be, the man I want to be again." Hands reached out for hers, fingers entwining with hers the moment they met. "You know my demons and yet you love the parts of me I can't even stand. You've been through so much, lost so much, and yet you still smile. Even if you didn't want me, I'd spend the rest of my life making sure no one ever hurt you again." Wrapping his arms around her Bucky didn't need to hear her speak to know she felt the same way about him, they were connected in ways no one else would ever be able to understand.
Nodding to himself Thor watched them leave the party, they had much to discuss between themselves. As he returned to the Avengers table he placed a hand on Steve's shoulder before muttering in his ear that he should seek an alternate place to rest that night. Rejoining he party he began a drinking game with those who wished to try Asgardian Ale.
Shaking his head the Captain pulled out a phone, texting a certain blonde agent about a spare bed for the night. He'd have to have a word with Bucky about this but they had made a rule that whatever went on in their own bedrooms was their business, excluding nightmares. Besides, any excuse to see Sharon was a good one in his books, so maybe this worked out best for everyone.
May your thoughts and creativity flow
Lady Ami DragonHeart