Disclaimer: I don't own the Avengers.
By Jennifer Collins
The first time James saw his sister in his modern life, Steve had arranged it. He'd asked Nick Fury to track her down and he'd ordered the car that would take them there. Natasha came with them, gently patted James on the back as they stood in front of St. Francis Alzheimer's Home.
"You ready?" She asked.
He nodded wordlessly and they proceeded inside. Steve walked right up to the counter and introduced himself and his friends. An orderly greeted them and motioned for them to follow her to the elevator. "She has her good days and bad days," the girl warned.
"Thank you," Steve said as she knocked softly on the door and opened it for them.
"Miss Becca?" She called. "You have some visitors today."
"Rebecca Barnes," Steve smiled warmly, grasping her hand in his. "I'm Steve Rogers."
She smiled back. "Oh, I know who you are… Captain America."
"That's right. And this is my friend, Natasha."
She moved forward, politely extending her hand. "It's nice to meet you, Ms. Proctor."
"Please… call me Becky. Everybody does."
"Okay.. Becky," Natasha said. She looked to James and tilted her head forward, beckoning him inside. "There's someone else who wants to see you," she said softly.
"Oh, how wonderful," Becky replied.
"James?" Natasha called. She stepped back a couple of steps and took his hand.
He walked in slowly and Becky gasped when she saw him. "It can't be…"
"Hi, Becca," He said.
She got up from her seat at the round table and gestured for the others to sit down, but no one did. She shuffled across the floor to him, squinting slightly. "B..Bucky?"
He eagerly let out the breath he didn't know he'd been holding. "Yeah, it's me."
She raised her hands to her face. "But.. how is this possible?"
He looked down at the floor. "There's a lot.. that I need to catch you up on."
She nodded. "You're so… young…" She reached her hand out to his face, her fingers moving across his cheek and he had to remind himself to lean into her touch rather than cringe away as she slid her hand down his neck and across his shoulder. She frowned and pulled away for a second, pushing his sleeve up and running her frail fingers up his metal arm. "When did this happen?" She asked.
"Oh.. uh, back at the end of the war…" He explained awkwardly.
She nodded in understanding, still examining the prosthetic.
"It's fine, really…" He said.
She murmured a joke, something about "flesh and blood" that he didn't really hear, but he smiled anyway, although the smile didn't quite reach his eyes.
She looked up at him. "Well, now. Why don't we all have a seat?"
Natasha gently pushed him forward.
Becky's eyes sparkled. "Such as beautiful woman. Is she your girlfriend?"
"We're just… uh.."
"Yeah," Natasha spoke up. "Something like that."
Becky raised an eyebrow.
"We… dated a while back," Natasha explained. She shrugged. "We've recently become re-acquainted."
"Isn't that sweet?" Becky said with a smile. "My brother always did get the pretty ones."
James coughed. Natasha laughed, wrapping an arm around his waist. "Just relax," she whispered, and he found that it was easier to lean into Natasha's touch than his own sister's.
"So what brings Captain America and company to see little old me?" Becky asked once they were all settled around the table.
"Actually, we wanted to hear about you," Steve said.
"Oh, there's not much to tell really." She patted James' hand. "I had a good life."
"What did you do after school?" James asked.
"I went to college."
"Really?" James said, surprised. "That's… nice."
"Yes.. Columbia University," she continued. "I got a pretty decent scholarship from the army."
"Oh. I didn't know that," he said.
She nodded. "That's where I met George."
"Your husband, right."
"I've got a photo album somewhere…" She started.
"I'll go get it for you," the orderly offered.
"We have two children," Becky said. "George Junior and Patricia. They even have kids." She smiled. "Have you got any children?"
He shook his head. "No."
"Well, you'll like my grandkids. They're about your age," she said happily.
James looked down at the table and fidgeted with his hands.
The orderly placed the photo album down on the table in front of Becky. "Ah, yes. Here they are," she said, pointing to a picture. She pushed her chair closer to his and started flipping through the pages.
"Oh, that's right. I almost forgot. My granddaughter Kimmy, she had a baby not too long ago. That's her right there."
James nodded. He listened to her stories and looked at the pictures with genuine interest for a few hours more, until a nurse peeked her head in and reminded them that visiting hours would be ending soon. By the time Steve and Natasha were standing up, he realized that he didn't want to go.
"I've missed out on so much," He murmured as he bent down to give her a hug.
She tapped his chin up. "No regrets," she told him.
He nodded. "No regrets."
She embraced him again. "You always were such a good boy, Jimmy. Will you come to see me again?"
"Really soon," he promised. "Maybe next time your family can come?"
"They're your family too," she reminded him.
He smiled. "Right."
The orderly gently ushered them out. She informed James that he would have to sign out at the front desk. She turned to Steve and Natasha once he was out of earshot. "He's good for her," she commented. "I hope he really does come back soon."
"He will," Steve assured her.
"Only one thing... she thinks he's her brother," the orderly said, shaking her head.
Steve and Natasha exchanged a knowing glance.
James made his way back over to them after signing out, nodded to the orderly.
"Today was a good day for her," the orderly told him. "She might not remember you the next time you come."
"That's fine," he said.
"Come on," Natasha said, taking his hand. "Let's go home."
James grinned. "So now you're my girlfriend, huh?"
She winked. "You wish."
He laughed. "You didn't have to do that, you know."
She shrugged. "It just seemed.. easier."
Steve placed a hand on his shoulder. "Are you okay?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm okay."