Brooklyn, New York
December 24th, 1928

She was running faster than anyone would have thought that an eight-year-old girl was capable of. She was running faster than she had thought that she was capable of. As she ran tears went streaming down her face. They fell onto the top of her shirt and ruined the new lace that was stitched into the top. She didn't bother stopping them though. Tear-stained lace was the least of her concerns. They were supposed to love her. They were supposed to protect her. That was the promise that they had made to her. They were her family. They should have always stood by her side. They should have always loved her like the way that they had said that they did.

She wanted to kick herself. How could she have been so stupid? How could she have thought that they really loved her? She was a freak. Just the way that they had told her before everything had happened. Her computer-like brain tried to convince her that it was just minute differences in the coding of her DNA, but her parents would have never thought of it that way. They saw her the way that the rest of the world would. A monster. The villains out of the stories that her parents had once told her would come after her to get her to behave.

The tears still weren't slowing down as she bolted through the back alleyways of buildings that were surrounding her. She couldn't tell where she was. She had never been here before. She had never been this far north in Brooklyn before. Her parents had always kept mostly to the woods. This was strange to her. The buildings that she was passing were all apartments that rose high into the sky. She couldn't quite tell where exactly they were considering the tears were blurring her vision. The only good thing was that she didn't need her sight to hear where the sirens from police cars and alarms of the fire trucks were. She just knew that they were headed away from here. She had made sure of that.

As she ran she shivered at the icy blasts of cold air that ripped over the bare pieces of skin on her. Not that there was much. But New York was freezing during Christmas. She had never been comfortable with being cold. She would have grabbed her coat had she known that she would be leaving tonight. Had she been given more time. Her pink and white pajamas were doing almost nothing to keep her warm. They were only designed to keep her decent as she slept. But she was sure that there would be no sleeping tonight. Not with everything that had happened. Not with the garish green reminders of what had happened splattered all over her pink shirt, making ugly stains.

Despite the fact that she was only eight she knew what she had to do. She was no moron. She was smarter than most men five times her age. Of course, men were not quite as smart as they liked to think that they were. As she ran she realized that she should have known that this was going to happen. This always happened to people like her. Not that there were many, but she had heard whispers of a few. She knew that people like her were different and she knew that anyone who was different was terrifying. People feared and hated that which they didn't understand. She wished that she wasn't different. She didn't want to be different.

She wanted to be able to wear dresses, and play with dolls, and have her mother teach her to be the proper lady. But that was a lost cause now. She knew that that life had already passed her by. She wished that there was something that she could do to change herself. She wished that there was some way that her parents would love her. She wanted them to not be afraid of her. But they always would be. They always were. She was just a fool that had never seen it. Most of all she wanted a place to go. She hadn't ever even spent a night at a friends' house. And now she was alone. She had no family left and no one that would care anything about her.

As she began to wind through the buildings, hoping to throw off any traces of herself, she walked through some old buildings that looked like they might have been abandoned. She needed to stay away from people right now. There were too many people looking for her. She was sure that her picture would be up on the televisions by tonight, missing children reports all over the news. As she walked in between two beige buildings she realized that this was the best place for her to stay for the night. The building on the right was so far dilapidated that she was sure that it might collapse at any given moment. The one on the left was slightly less decrepit but no less disgusting. The paint was peeling and some of the floors seemed to be sinking in.

No one would ever expect that a little girl like herself was brave enough to try and sleep in a building like this. They would be expecting her to go to a friends house. Or maybe a little shop that had unlocked doors. They would never be looking for her in a rundown apartment on the north side of Brooklyn. Maybe she would be able to find an orphanage soon. It would give her a few years to think things out. And she was going to need to buy herself some time once the night was over. For right now she needed a place to rest and relax for the night. She needed to stay out of the public eye. They were looking for her all over New York right now. But they couldn't find her. They could never find her.

The young girl turned towards the right apartment complex and went to face it. It was in the back of an alleyway and it was clear that the place hadn't had a good cleaning in years. Maybe it had never had a good cleaning. The apartments on this side of Brooklyn were all older, built in the eighteen-hundreds, but this was even more pathetic than the rest of them. It was perfect. And it made an almost guarantee that at least one of the apartments was going to be empty. As she walked around the back of the building she noticed that there was a ladder hanging over the edge of the building. It was the one way to the top of the building. Apartment complexes like this always had a lock on the front gates. And the last thing that she wanted was to show just how different she really was out here in the open.

So she walked over to the ladder and gave a strong jump, trying to reach the top of the ladder. Her peeling fingertips barely brushed the bottom rung and she let out a breath of air as she stared up at it. She was going to have a hard time reaching it, seeing that she was just barely over four feet tall. She took a few steps backwards before going into a running leap and catching the bottom rung. She gave a soft cry as skin ripped off of her palms but she didn't let go. The ladder remained stuck in its position for a moment before giving a low groan and dropping to the ground. She let go as the ladder came back towards the ground and shook out her hands. The pain had already faded. She let out a deep breath before grabbing the fourth rung on the ladder and beginning her ascent towards the top of the building.

Even if she were to accidentally walk into an apartment with someone else occupying it she knew that she could always just jump out the window. Even if she was ten stories up the fall wouldn't hurt her. She had fallen enough to know that nothing could hurt her. Not after what had just happened. Not after everything that she had seen. Things that no eight-year-old should have to see. And if nothing else she could always just attack the person in the apartment. It was late. Well after one in the morning. Most people would already be asleep. If someone were to wake up and see her in the apartment they would be too groggy to do anything else.

As she hit the top rung of the ladder she jumped off and hit the edge of one of the walkways. It was the highest up and she felt a tiny bit dizzy as she looked over the edge. Even though she could survive a fall to the bottom of the apartment complex and fix anything wrong with her it didn't mean that she wouldn't feel it. And she was not fond of pain. Any type of pain. She had already been through too much pain. She intended for today to be the last day that she ever felt pain like this.

Shaking her arms out from the climb she looked around the top level. It seemed to be smaller than the ones on the lower floors. That was good though. Less people to see her. Less people to wonder where a little girl that looked like she had just crawled out of the woods had come from. There were only three or four apartments on this level. One had the lights on but the others were dimmed. The one on the far left of the level had the lights on and it was easy to hear the couple inside chatting. In the third apartment she could hear the sheets rustling in the background. Presumably the bedroom. She blushed and looked towards the last. It seemed to be the only apartment that was unoccupied at the moment. She took a deep breath and began to walk closer to the apartment, making sure that her movements were silent. Thankfully she'd had plenty of practice with that from the nights where she had wanted to sneak around to hear her parents discussions about her.

As she walked closer to the front door she risked a glance at herself in the window. She shivered and shook her head. She looked horrible. She looked nothing like she had this morning at her church. She had never understood why they'd dressed her up so nice just to hide her in the back of the pews. She knew now. They were trying to hide the truth of what she was.

Her soft blonde hair looked nothing like it normally did. It was always her mother's greatest pride about her only child. Her stunning hair. It seemed to light up the darkest of rooms, considering that it was so close to white. It looked nothing like that now. It was tangled in knots and matted completely on the top of her head. The hair that normally ran in soft waves past her shoulders and onto her mid-back was now in a mess that sat on the top of her head. It looked like a rats nest. It was barely reaching down to her shoulders right now and it was so caked with mud that it almost looked brown. It matched the streaks of dirt that went across her face and down her neck. Her eyes were red and blurry. They seemed a little puffy to her too but she couldn't quite tell. She rarely cried.

Although the odd coloring that was in the whites of her eyes was going down quickly. It still detracted from the normally brilliant yellow eyes that she possessed. Right now they seemed a little dull, making her look almost sickly. Her tanned face was slightly pale and her cheeks were flushed from running in the icy air. Her bright pink shirt was dulled slightly and stained with green, mostly down her chest and stomach. There were a few streaks on her back too. The green looked like the sort of sludge that sometimes came out of the sewers. Her white pants were stained with dirt and torn at the bottom, seeing as they were too long on her. But that was the way that she had liked them. Her bare feet were scratched up but they weren't bleeding. She rarely bled.

Using her fingers, she tried to brush the hair on top of her head a little straighter but it didn't work. The only thing that it did was cause unnecessary pains at the roots of her hair. So instead she took a deep breath and silently crept along the edge of the railing. She would find a brush later. Her priority was shelter right now. The sirens were getting slightly closer and she needed to get some cover. She jumped over the last railing and walked over to the second to the last apartment.

The door was bolted shut but she was no fool. Her parents had done the same thing. Everyone did the same thing. It was a miracle that there weren't more break-ins in New York. The key, just as expected, was underneath the mat and she grabbed it. She slipped it into the lock and waited to hear the tell-all click. It sounded a moment later and she pushed the door open slowly. The door was old but it thankfully didn't make a creaking noise. As she closed the door behind her she pushed the key into her pocket and walked forward slightly. She didn't bother to re-lock it, just in case.

Her yellow eyes gazed over the apartment and took the old thing in slowly. It only took her a fraction of a moment to realize that the apartment wasn't abandoned like she had originally thought that it was. People did live here. A rather large family too. Clearly with kids, judging by the Christmas tree with presents underneath the colorful tree. It seemed so out of place. Or maybe she was the one that was out of place here. Even if there hadn't been the tree she could still tell. Toys and books and papers were laid out everywhere, unpaid bills on the kitchen counter. Some dirty dishes were out and the television remote was scratched up. Kids lived here. Kids that fought over the remote. Even though she couldn't see the family she could hear them. She could hear the faint rustle of sheets in the back bedrooms. She could hear the dreams that flooded their minds. She could hear the gentle grinding of their jaws. She could hear everything.

And no matter how hard she tried to tune it out, she couldn't. She never could. It was the one reason that she was grateful that her parents had home-schooled her. But in the meantime she had learned to deal with it. It still drove her insane at the times that she couldn't control it but for now it was no big deal. The thoughts were quiet. She could hear the thoughts of the parents in the bedroom in the back of the apartment. The woman was dreaming of the chores that she already had to do in the morning. The father was dreaming of his day to come in the warehouse. There were a few kids in the apartment too. A young girl, who was dreaming of a new dress. A slightly older girl who was dreaming that a boy in her class was giving her a rose. There was a young boy dreaming of the Stark Expo coming up in a few months. It all made her smile.

They weren't the only ones in the home though. There were two more that she could hear. But these two weren't just thoughts. They were actually speaking to each other. Whoever it was was actually speaking to each other. She hadn't been expecting anyone to be awake. She panicked slightly before ducking out of the pain view and running into the kitchen. She didn't want them to see her. She didn't want to hurt anyone. She didn't want to hurt herself. Enough people, herself included, had been hurt tonight. No more. She could hear the two boys talking and she took a deep breath. If she was silent they wouldn't say anything to her. They wouldn't hear her. No one would ever even know that she was ever in the apartment.

She slipped into the kitchen silently and was careful to step over the toys on the floor. She assumed that there were some younger kids in the house considering some of the toys were the same ones that she's played with years prior. She scowled at the large collection of princess dolls. There was no such thing as fairy tales. There were no happy endings. She had already found that out. The young girl popped open the refrigerator and stared at it blankly. There wasn't much in there but she knew that she would be bale to make a sandwich or something. Her mother had never gotten around to teaching her how to cook.

All she knew was that she wanted food. She was starving. She was pretty sure that she hadn't eaten in well over a day. The past twenty-four hours had left little room for trivial things such as food. She never thought that she could have used as much energy as she did tonight. Especially on so little food. And she was still just a young child. She could never forget that. No matter what had happened tonight, she was still a young child. She didn't deserve to have her youth stolen from her. She grabbed the bread out of the refrigerator along with some turkey meat and cheese before pushing the door back closed.

Her happiness at the potential meal only lasted a few moments. Panic settled into her chest when she heard the scuffing of shoes on the floor and turned back to run from the apartment. She wasn't going to be caught. But she had no choice. It was too late. The two boys that she had heard talking in the first bedroom were standing right behind her, keeping a few feet distance between themselves and her. One of them was holding up a baseball bat and the other was holding what looked like a steeled-toe boot in his hand. Both seemed to relax the moment that they realized that it was just a small girl in their home. She merely stared at them. It had been a long time since she had seen someone her age so close.

And they really were about her age. The only other person that she had seen around her age was her parent's friend Christine, and she was in her mid-twenties. The boy in the back was the first one to catch her eye. Not because he was outrageously stunning or anything of the sort, she had just never seen anyone quite like him before. She was a little concerned just looking at him. He was incredibly thin and pasty looking. It seemed like he hadn't had a good meal in a few weeks and he hadn't been sleeping well. She could tell that he was sickly with just one look at him. He was short too. He might have been shorter than her. And that was saying something. He was the one that was holding the shoe.

The other was the one that she found herself scrutinizing a little closer. Perhaps that it was because out of the two boys she knew that he was the one that she needed to worry about. If she was going to run he was going to be the one that would try to stop her. He had dark hair and a piercing stare. His blue eyes seemed to be the one thing that was lighting up the room. She wondered if he thought the same thing about her yellow eyes. His hair was slicked back with some type of grease and he towered over her. He was five, maybe six, inches taller than her. It seemed that he was about three or so years older than her. Maybe he was eleven or so. And his friend... She couldn't quite tell. He looked like he might be her age, or maybe a little older.

The boy with brown hair shifted slightly and her attention quickly diverted back to him. She relaxed though as he dropped the baseball bat to his side. She was extremely curious just what he was thinking. So she sent her gaze to the ground and let her mind wander. I can't hit her. She's a girl. How did she even get in here? It was easy to hear him thinking to himself. He was a child. He hadn't learned how to control his mind yet. Maybe he wouldn't ever learn how to control his mind. Most men didn't. And she wasn't surprised what he was thinking about her. They all seemed to react that way to her. "Who are you? How did you get in here?" He asked.

His voice was slightly deeper than she had been expecting. She didn't bother to say anything. She wasn't quite sure what she could say. She hadn't spoken to anyone her age in three years. She hadn't spoken to anyone that wasn't her parents in over a year. It was what happened when she spent all of her time in her house. Besides she had no friends in her neighborhood. She had no siblings and no one else even close to her age in the family. Not that her parents ever let her see anyone else. She had thought for years that she wanted to speak with someone, anyone, other than her parents. But now here she was with someone else and she had no clue what to say, or whether or not she wanted to speak.

Well done, Buck, scare the poor girl even more. She nearly smiled at the blonde's words. He seemed like the type to reason things out and figure things out slowly. The brunette seemed like the type to act first. She supposed that they were good for mellowing each other out. And she was a little impressed. The boy was right. He turned to look at her and this time the words were out loud. "Are you hungry? We can make you something," he offered.

She was starving. It felt like her stomach was about to eat itself, or maybe cave in on herself. She wasn't quite sure. The two boys were waiting on her to say something so she finally nodded, not trusting herself to say anything. She hadn't spoken in hours and she wasn't ready to speak yet. She wasn't even sure if her vocal chords had recovered yet. It seemed that the boys were waiting for her to say something to them but she kept her mouth shut. Just in case someone found out that she had been here she wanted these boys to know as little about her as possible. For her sake and theirs.

The trio stared at each other for a few minutes before the blonde finally gave her a soft smile and turned away from the other two. The brunette continued to stare at the small girl before shifting and dropping the baseball bat. He had noticed her gaze resting on it harshly. "You're gonna have to talk to us eventually," he stated. She didn't waver in the slightest. Her gaze simply turned to the blonde in the kitchen making a rather large sandwich. "But if you don't want to tell us your name or anything like that, you could at least tell us something." She simply turned her gaze back to him and stared. What is that all over her shirt? It's green.

His gaze had dropped down to her shirt and she nearly laughed. She wanted to laugh. Of course it was green. Of course he had no clue why it was green. No one knew why it was green save her parents and a few government officials. And that was the way that it needed to stay. He didn't need to know what she was. It wasn't important. Not to him. Not to anyone. Not even to her anymore. Once this was all over she was going to leave and ensure that she was never found again. "Buck, leave her alone," the blonde in the kitchen called. She turned back to him with a curious gaze. Buck was an odd name. "She's starving. You're hungry, aren't you?" He asked, turning back to her. She nodded hesitantly. "We'll make you something," he told her.

She nodded weakly and watched as the brunette boy walked into the kitchen with his blonde friend. The pair stood together and she grinned softly when she saw that they put the boot and bat together on the corner of the counter. She didn't miss that they had made sure to put themselves in between her and the makeshift weapons. They would never know that she didn't need a weapon to get away from them. She watched with hawk-like eyes as the two boys moved back and forth in the kitchen. They worked like an effective team and it made some sense of nostalgia build in her heart. She had once acted like that with her mother. Before she had realized what her daughter was. The two boys laughed and teased each other as they went and she grinned.

These two were surprising her more and more every second that she was in the run-down apartment. She was shocked that they hadn't attacked her. Of course she was a child and so were they. And she was a woman. No one ever believed that it was right to strike a woman. Under any circumstances. Of course, most women would never put themselves in a position like that. She was also shocked that the parents hadn't woken up yet. But maybe they were used to the boys making noise like this. Especially since there seemed to be quite a few kids in the household. Or maybe they just weren't concerned with the boys. Interrupting her train of thoughts she turned back to the boys and let herself intrude their minds, probably going deeper than they would have cared for.

She tried for the brunette first. He was a little harder to work at. I have to figure out who she is. Mom and Dad are going to kill me if they wake up and see some random girl in my bedroom. Or in the living room. Maybe that's a better idea. Who am I kidding? She can't stay here! I don't know her. She won't even tell us her name. She broke in here! How did she break in here? She smiled at his thoughts. He would never figure out who she was. Not really. No matter what she would tell him she would never tell him the entire truth. If she ever told him anything. And it had confirmed that this was his house, the blonde must have been a friend. She was not staying here either. She couldn't now. And the key under the mat was easy.

She tried for the blonde next. His thoughts were more straightforward and his mind was easy to invade. Perhaps it was the innocent air that surrounded him. Something has to be done about the poor girl. She looks half starved to death. She looks exhausted. If I didn't know any better I'd say that she was about to drop dead. I guess food is a good way to start. Maybe she'd be able to stay somewhere in my house. My parents always wanted a daughter. And she seems like the type to need help. We have to help her. All she wanted was some food. He was a smart boy. And he was definitely a friend. A friend to everyone. Even to her. Whose name she didn't even know. He was already thinking of a place for her to go. Technically they both were. They seemed good enough to her.

She stared at the two boys for a while longer as they finished off the sandwich and put the bread on the top of it. It looked better than anything that she had seen in weeks. Her parents had always just left her old meals, leftovers from whatever they would have while they remained locked away in their lab. They both turned to her and she stared at them. They each gave her a small nod as they laid the plate down in front of her. They led her over to a large table and she didn't wait for their approval. She grabbed the large sandwich and instantly took a large bite out of it. The brunette boy laughed at her with an impressed smile and she gave him a sharp glare. His laughed subsided but he continued to stare at her with a strange smile. She turned to the blonde haired boy who was giving her a soft smile with worry concealed deep in his eyes.

It took her less than two minutes to eat the entire sandwich. A sandwich that would have taken a normal kid at least ten to get through. The boys didn't look away from her once. At least the brunette didn't. He kept an amused stare on her the entire time. The blonde tried to look away to give her somewhat of a sense of privacy. Not that it really worked but she appreciated the effort. As she took in the last bite she swallowed and turned to them to give them what she hoped was a smile. It might have been a sneer. They didn't really look happy but they didn't look afraid of her either. It was more than she had gotten in a long time. "Thank you," she muttered.

Her voice was a little scratchier and rougher than it had been the last time that she had used it. She was glad that neither one of them commented on her clearly unused voice. "She speaks!" The brunette yelled with a smile. The blonde boy turned to glare at his friend and she turned a glare on him as well, not faltering on the deep glare that she intended to use on him. He didn't seem the slightest bit bothered by it and she groaned. She couldn't help but to wonder why his parents hadn't come out to see him yet. She knew that they had to have heard him.

The blonde nudged his friend, who merely smirked when his friend nudged him. The nudge had done almost nothing to move the brunette. "Sorry about him. He's had a little too much sugar tonight," the blonde told her. She laughed softly and shook her head as the brunette smacked him over the back of the head. Despite the fact that they clearly weren't physically related she could tell that they were almost like brothers. They were like brothers. Ow. I guess I deserved that. She laughed softly once more. He did. She wished that she could have been like this with someone. "My name is Steve. Steven. Uh... Steven Rogers, but you can call me Steve," he stuttered. His face was slightly red and he averted his eyes from her. She merely gave him the tiniest of smiles. That was pathetic.

She had actually found it rather endearing. It reminded her of the way that she was right now. Trying to make new friends and failing miserably. And he was still doing better than her. She had only said two words since walking into their apartment. Since breaking into their apartment. But they had been good about it. Better than most other people would have been about it. "Don't mind Steve here, he hasn't had enough sugar tonight," the brunette told her. Once more she laughed. They were obviously the best of friends. Brothers. It was sweet. She wished that she could have stayed with them longer. "My name is James. James Buchanan Barnes. You can call me Bucky," he told her with a sharp grin. He held out his hand but she didn't grab it. She didn't want to hurt him. Although at least she now knew their names. He stared at her for a moment before slowly letting his hand fall back to his side. His smile hadn't faded once since telling her his name. "We'll work on it," he teased.

Despite the fact that she kept an even look on her face she was smiling on the inside. He was a charmer. Her mother had once told her that they were the most dangerous types of people. Men and women alike. So she merely shifted to hand him back the plate and Bucky took it, walking it over to the sink. He dropped it in before turning to walk back to them once more. "You know, there are some old shirts that Bucky's sister has in his room. It's extra storage too. We can get you one if you'd like?" Steve asked her. She was a little shocked by the offer and stared at the boy in curiosity. "That one is a little messed up," he motioned politely.

She nodded slowly, not wanting to intrude on the pair. It seemed that she had already ruined a fair amount of people's nights. She didn't want to ruin theirs too. But they didn't say anything about it. They just smiled. Bucky walked away without another word and disappeared into the back hallway that she was pretty sure led to the other bedrooms. She turned to stare at Steve, who was trying hard not to stare back at her. She knew that he was being polite. She also knew that she must look extremely strange to them.

Women were supposed to wear dresses and skirts, and makeup and heels, and have curled hair with pins in it neatly. Women were supposed to smile and laugh and always answer a question when asked. She had barely said anything, rarely smiled and laughed, and looked like she had been starved and crawled out of a sewer. They both were properly fed and had clearly taken baths in the past day or so. She couldn't believe that they were actually letting her hang around and being nice to her. Even her own parents didn't bother with her this much. They had done more for her in the ten minutes of knowing them then her parents had done in the past three years.

A few minutes later she saw Bucky come back into the room with a handful of things that were all wrapped in a dark blue towel. The towel was large and she could tell that he had gotten her everything that he could imagine a little girl would need. The only things that she could see were a pair of pants and a shirt that were falling out of the corners of the towel. There seemed to be a few hygiene products in there as well. Either way, it was a million times more than anything that she needed or deserved. "Here you go. Figured these might fit you. You're about my sister's size. And these are better than nothing," Bucky told her as he handed her the towel. She took it silently. "The bathroom is right around the corner. Take as long as you need. There's soap in there too," he told her.

She nodded and followed his directions to the bathroom. Just like he had said the bathroom was at the end of the corridor and right around the corner. She pushed open the door and shut it behind her before turning on the lights. She squinted and dropped the clothing and other products on the floor. She hadn't seen the light in a few hours and the fluorescent lighting in the bathroom was irritating beyond belief. Once her eyesight adjusted she looked around at it. The bathroom was dirty white and tiny with some wooden paneling. It was nothing compared to the marble white floors and crystal cleat mirrors in her home. Her old home.

Giving a quick look into the mirror she saw that her eyes had finally come back to their normal color. They were the same brilliant yellow that they had always been. She could see that they were beginning to dull to a deep gray though. Depressed. She should have been expecting it. She shook her head and turned away from the mirror, slipping her pink shirt over her head and tossing it onto the floor of the bathroom. She grabbed the white shirt from off of the pile and pulled it over her small torso. All of the bruises and scratches from earlier were gone. She looked normal once more. Well, as normal as she could get. She pulled off the tattered pants as well and pulled on the pair of pale blue pants that were slightly loose on her waist.

She unrolled the towel that held all of the hygiene products once she had straightened the new clothing out and looked over the contents. There was a toothbrush at the top and she grabbed it first, unabashedly brushing her teeth. She hated the feeling of unclean teeth. She gargled a little bit of the dirty water in the sink before spitting it out and washing out her mouth. Once she was done she tossed the toothbrush and toothpaste back onto the towel. She grabbed the brush that was in the package as well and ran it through her hair. It took her nearly twenty minutes to get all of the knots out and by the time that she was done there were giant knots of her hair in the sink.

It had taken her nearly twenty minutes to get her hair back to the silky feel that it normally had. And afterwards she had spent another half an hour trying to get all of the clumps of dirt and mud out. Once she was done she smiled at the sight of it returning to it's near-white state once more. She grabbed a ponytail holder off of the counter and wrapped her hair in a tight up-do. After scrubbing the dirt off of her feet and hands she pulled up the rest of her things and walked out into the hallway once more. Like she had expected, Bucky and Steve were waiting for her in the living room.

They were standing side-by-side and she walked over to them slowly. She placed the things that she had used on the table and tossed her old clothes in the trash that Bucky pointed her to. Once she had tossed them in she turned to look at them awkwardly. Both boys were staring at her, looking much less unnerved by her now. "Look, you can stay here tonight," Bucky told her and her mouth nearly dropped. "My parents won't mind. They hardly pay attention anyways. They didn't even notice when Steve lived with us for a month. There's a spare bedroom in the back of the apartment. You can stay back there tonight," he told her.

No one had ever done anything like that before for her. She couldn't believe it. She almost didn't want to believe it. "Thank you," she said quickly before she could forget her manners.

If there was one thing that her mother and father taught her it was how to use manners when they were required. And this seemed to be one of the times where she needed to use her manners. She gave a quick nod to both boys before walking off to head to the back of the apartment. But before she could get a few steps Bucky took a wide stance in front of her. She backed off quickly, not wanting to touch him. She could feel the buzz of energy surge through her veins and she forced herself to calm down. "I'm sorry. Sorry," Bucky said quickly, knowing that he had overstepped a boundary. "There's just a few things that you need to tell me. Tell us. We have to know some things about you. Just start with how you got here," he half-asked and half-instructed her.

She stared at him for a moment, debating on what exactly she should say. She wasn't sure how much she could tell them. She didn't want to put them in danger and she didn't want these potential friends to run from her in fear the moment that they found out what she was. "My parents. They told me that I had to leave. So I left. This was the first place that I saw. I just wanted some food, I swear. I was going to get the food and then leave and figure things out from there. I never intended to get caught," she said softly. That was the truth, just with some things left out.

Both Bucky and Steve nodded at her, clearly taking a moment to process the story. It wasn't something that either one of them had been expecting. They had thought that she was either a foster child, someone from an orphanage, or just some kid trying to prove that they were tough to their parents. "How old are you?" Steve asked her.

She was a little surprised. She had thought that Bucky was going to do all of the talking. He seemed like the one of them to take charge in the discussion. "Eight," she answered slowly.

There was an indignant scoff over to her side and she glanced over to see that Bucky was giving her a sour look. She cocked her head at him and he quickly wiped the look from his face before giving her one that was something akin to sorrow. "Your parents told you to get out of your own house when you were eight?" Bucky asked. She nodded softly and wanted nothing more than to go to that room that Bucky had told her about. She didn't to relive the last twenty-four hours of her life. Not today and not ever, "Well, like I said. You're welcome to stay here for the night. For a few days if you need," he told her and she smiled. That was enough for her. In a few days she could work out a plan. She might only need one. "We're in the next room over if you need us. Just knock on the door. Or we can leave it open if you're afraid," he told her.

"I'm not afraid," she snapped indignantly. Her mother's voice flooded into her mind telling her that it wasn't right to be rude to a man in general, and certainly not a man that was trying to help her. Steve looked a little thrown by her words but something was shining in Bucky's eyes. Something that she couldn't quite place. Maybe it was pride. Maybe it was glee. She wasn't quite sure. And for once she didn't want to go digging and find out what either one of them thought about her right now. She didn't need to know. She didn't need to be the monster that they all thought that she was. "I'll be alright. Thank you. For everything," she said politely.

She turned to leave once more and wrung her fingers together. She would be out of here in a few days and back on the street but for right now she could be happy and pretend that she was friends with these two boys. She had barely made it two steps before Bucky came to step in front of her once more. She took a step back just like she did before and stared at him for a moment. "Just one more thing before you go," Bucky told her and she nodded. "What's your name?" He asked her.

She nearly laughed at his words. The one thing that she hadn't even bothered to think about telling these two boys was her name. For whatever reason she evidently hadn't thought to introduce herself. Maybe it was because she hadn't introduced herself to someone in years. This was a good first time. "Victoria," she answered with a small smile. "Victoria Davies," she added, remembering that they had both given her their last names too.

The smile spread over Bucky's face and she even noticed that Steve was smiling slightly. Perhaps they hadn't thought that she was going to actually tell them her name. Bucky had a broad grin on his face and she couldn't help but to smile back at. She hadn't seem someone smile at her like that... ever. Even her own family had never smiled at her like that. "Well, it's nice to meet you!" Bucky yelled. Victoria flinched at the raise in volume but smiled anyways. "We've been trying to get rid of that bread forever," he said, motioning back to the refrigerator. She laughed softly and shook her head. She had never had anyone joke around with her like that before. "Welcome to the family, Vicky," he told her softly.

It was only for a night. She had to keep reminding herself of that. She had to keep reminding herself that they were not permanent in her life. But that didn't matter. They had treated her better today than anyone had in years. "Uh.. Victoria?" Steve called to her before she could turn to leave. She looked back on him with an even stare. "Merry Christmas," he told her. She smiled softly as Bucky repeated the words to her. A warming feeling settled in her stomach before she smiled and nodded back at them, walking towards the back bedroom. It's only for a night. But it would be the best night of her entire life.

A/N: Welcome to my new story guys! Got a few notes here! I've had this one in the back of my mind for a damn long time. I absolutely love Bucky and The Winter Solider is one of the most complex Marvel characters in my mind. I've been thinking about this story for years now and I actually have a majority of it planned out. Just a few chapters that I haven't figured out so far! Now I intended for this to be a long story. I want it to cover the events from (for some only pieces of the movies) Captain America: The First Avenger, Iron Man 2, Thor, The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man, and Captain America: Civil War. Now some will only have a few chapters dedicated to them (pretty much anything that isn't one of the Captain America movies or an Avenger movie) and others will completely cover the entire movie.

Okay, now let's get a few things cleared up here really fast! In the comics Steve Rogers is born on July 4th, 1920. The movie explicitly denies this, stating that he was born in 1918. I'm gonna go with the movie version! This story will incorporate everything, the Avengers (in time!), the X-Men (again, in time!), among other, new characters. Timelines will be messed with as well. You'll start to see that in the coming chapters. However the main story will remain the same. This is starting about twelve years before the events of Captain America: The First Avenger. I know some dates and ages will be wrong, I intended for this to happen when I started this.

And it is a Bucky Barnes/OC story that I plan to carry out for a while! It'll just take a bit for us to get there. I love Bucky and if you're reading this I assume that you do too! So obviously this is just an introduction to the story and my character. I know most of the details of her life are a secret right now but they will be revealed as time goes on, not to worry. The next chapter is going to be set a little closer to the events that we're all so familiar with. But this story will have a lot of the backstory that The First Avenger was lacking. At least, Bucky and Steve's backstory. And of course, Victoria's! So be prepared for plenty of added scenes! I promise the story is going to get better from here, this was just the first chapter to show that the boys will have some history with Victoria.

Oh and one last announcement! The story will be in first person P.O.V. (Victoria's). It was just the prologue that is written like this. Please let me know what you guys think about this! I always welcome reviews on new stories so that I know if you guys are liking where it's going. I'm not sure how often I'll be able to update but I'm going to try as often as I can. So anyways, until next time! -A