Status: Prologue 6/7/2016

Silent Guardians

Chapter Thirteen

Steve landed the jet next to T'Challa's and all three of the walked out to meet with him. An assistant of T'Challa was waiting for him at the only doorway.

"These are our guests and need to be treated as such." The assistant bowed to his King.

"Yes, your highness." T'Challa glanced over to Steve as Anya and Bucky helped each other. The pain was slowly easing away in Anya's ribs.

"I would take you to the medical wing myself, but I have some business to attend to." The King looked back at his assistant. "Take them to have their wounds checked." Bowing once more, the assistant began leading the way with Steve, Bucky, and Anya following.

As they walked past many medical rooms and hallways, Bucky mapped where they went in his mind. He still didn't trust T'Challa much like Steve did. Before they reached the large examination room, Bucky noticed a room to his right with a large tube in the middle. Knowing it looked familiar, he turned back towards the room they were heading for.

Steve and Bucky insisted that Anya was to be checked out first. They x-rayed her ribs and noticed one had been cracked. She was healing nicely and there really wasn't anything the doctors could do other than giving her pain medication.

"Just keep ice on the rib." Anya nodded at the doctor tending to her and even though she knew what to do, she wouldn't since she healed much faster than the average person. The tall doctor sat her down on the medical bed and started examining the gash on her cheek. Bucky stayed close to her as the doctor grabbed an orange ointment and began applying it to the gash that had already begun closing.

"This ointment will help with the healing and make the scar less visible." The doctor placed a piece of gauze and medical tape over the wound. "In the next three days, it should be gone. You may shower and get it wet, but just don't scrub your face." She nodded and gave her thanks. Steve was looked over and only had a few cuts and bruises that needed ice. Bucky sat down on the bed next just as T'Challa came in.

Instead of wearing his black panther suit, he wore a dark grey suit with a white undershirt.
"I am trusting the doctor's are taking good care while I have been away?" Steve walked up to T'Challa as Anya stayed back with Bucky. The doctor in front of him was wiping the blood away from his face.

"Everything seems to be going okay." T'Challa walked up to Bucky and took a quick glance at his missing left arm and noticed the mangled nub.

"What are we going to do about it?" He didn't think Bucky had seen him looking, but nevertheless, it had to be taken care of. The new King only stood in front of Bucky with his hands in his suit pants. The doctors examined his cuts and gashes and took note of how fast they were healing. Applying the same orange ointment to some, T'Challa spoke with the doctor about Bucky's arm.

"We are going to shave the mangled pieces away and make it smooth. Then, we will have a hard suctioned cover over it, so you can sleep and shake a shower with no problem. We have been working on prosthetics and we should be able to provide you an arm in the next few days." Bucky only nodded gently as thoughts were running through his mind.

The doctors had Anya back away as they began smoothing down Bucky's torn arm and once they were finished, they put a black hard cover over top of the metal.

"We are finished, your highness." The doctor bowed to T'Challa and once he nodded, the doctor walked back to his research.

"If you would like, I can show you where your rooms will be," Steve smiled courteously and began following him. Anya stayed back with Bucky, but he stopped as they passed the room with the large circular tube in the middle of the room.

"Bucky?" Anya's voice grabbed him from his thoughts as he looked over to her. "Are you okay?" She looked up at him with concern etched on her face. Bucky stole another glance back at the room and began walking with Anya, and catching up with Steve and T'Challa.

"Your rooms are all next to each other. Steve, you will be on the left. Anya, you will be on the right, and Bucky will be in the middle. I will leave you to rest."

Steve went into his room and Anya began going on her own but noticed Bucky wasn't moving. He stood at the large window across from their rooms. Bucky knew what he wanted, but he also knew what he needed to do. He couldn't keep everyone he cared about in danger especially Anya.

"Bucky, what's wrong?" Anya slowly walked up to him and gently laid her hand on his human arm in a comforting manner. He knew he couldn't tell her his thoughts just yet. His steel gray eyes looked over into her emerald green ones.

"I'm fine." He gave her a reassuring smile, but it didn't sit well with her. She knew he was lying, but she also didn't want to push him. She nodded gently as she turned to go into her room. Before she closed the door, she watched as Bucky went into his own room next door to hers.

It was six in the morning when all three of them woke up. T'Challa had given them clothes to wear, so they would be more comfortable. Anya wore a black tank top with tight dark wash jeans and her normal black boots. As she brushed her hair, she decided to leave it down but keep her hair band around her wrist. As she walked out of her room, she saw Bucky and Steve talking with each other. Whatever they were talking about was serious as Steve's brows were furrowed and Bucky had a worried look to him.

"Is everything okay?" Anya walked up to the pair slowly. Steve's serious face quickly vanished and nodded.

"Yeah. We are going into T'Challa's conference room after breakfast." They were hiding something from her, but she only nodded and started towards the canteen area. After eating some eggs, bacon, and toast, Anya washed it all down with water and followed the boys to the conference room. Bucky had been unusually quiet and stiff while they had been eating. Steve just shrugged it off when she would look at him.

As they all sat down in the black swivel chairs, T'Challa closed the glass door behind him and walked in front of the large oak table.

"I believe Bucky would like to announce something." Furrowing her brows, Anya looked over at Bucky who seemed to be having a hard time beginning.

"I," He looked away from everyone. "I want to be cryogenically frozen again." His eyes finally met back with Anya's who only sat there shocked and allowing what he was saying to process in her mind. She looked over at Steve quickly, and he never met her stare. This is what they were talking about, and Steve accepted it? That was why Bucky had been so distant.

"I know you have cryogenic tubes. I saw them." T'Challa only nodded some. The announcement had been a surprise to him as well, and he wasn't really prepared for it.

"Yes. We do have them." Anya couldn't understand why Bucky would want to do this to himself again. She shook her head towards him.

"No." She looked up from the table and kept her eyes on him. A sigh left his mouth gently.
"Anya, I have to do this." She could slowly feel her anger rise.

"Why? Why would you want this? You just got your best friend back. We are finally safe." Bucky ran his human hand through his chestnut brown locks. He knew she would be angry, but he was also beginning to feel anger run throughout his body.

"Anya, it's the only way. I'm sorry." She stood in fury.

"So, you're running away again." It wasn't much of a question as she was raising her voice at him. Bucky stood as his own anger began flooding his vision. His chair slammed against the wall behind him.

"I'm not running away! This is MY choice, Anya! You're acting like HYDRA. HYDRA had taken all of my own choices away from me, and you're doing the same!" Anya's eyes went wide at him. He was comparing her to HYDRA. Tears began welling in her eyes as she walked out of the conference room. Bucky sighed some as he plopped back into his chair, and laid his head on the table.

"Everything will be fine, Buck." He couldn't understand how Steve could possibly think that. He just insulted the only person he has been able to connect with since he had been free from HYDRA. She will surely hate him now.

"When can we get it done and over with?" T'Challa let go of a breath he didn't even realize he was holding.

"We will have it ready by tomorrow morning. You will be given special clothing, saline through IV, and then put you into the machine." Bucky only nodded. The quicker he can be frozen and asleep, the better for everyone.

Anya had walked around the corner and looked out the window watching the white birds flying freely. Their bright white feathers was a beautiful contrast against the dark lush greenery of the jungle.

Sniffling slightly, she wondered what it would be like to be a bird. They weren't bound by all of the rules humans were. They were free and didn't have to worry about much. Anya couldn't believe that she had cried. It was the first time since she was a little girl, and the feeling felt strange to her. It wasn't long until Anya felt someone come up behind her.

"You love him, don't you?" A sarcastic laugh came out of her as hot tears began to flow once more.

"Is it that obvious?" T'Challa leaned against the window and crossed his arms.

"To everyone but him." Anya only nodded to T'Challa.

"He feels the same." Her wet eyes darted towards him. He only glanced down to his feet. "I could tell when we were at the airport. Why do you think he is doing this, Anya?" She began chewing on her bottom lip some.

"Because he is scared. He is scared of HYDRA getting a hold of him again." T'Challa noticed the tears and offered her his handkerchief.

"That is only half of the answer." After cleaning her face gently, Anya only looked at T'Challa with a confused look.

"Then what is the other half?" He only smiled at her as softly as he could.

"He will have to tell you the other half." Anya only looked back out the window, crossing her arms.
"It didn't really seem like he wanted to confess anything other than thinking I am HYDRA." T'Challa pushed off the window.

"Well, Miss Petrova, sometimes when you're angry and frustrated, you do things and say things that aren't true. I must go tend to some business. Please, think of my words. He is doing this to protect the ones he loves."

Swallowing hard, Anya only nodded as T'Challa began walking away.
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Edited: 7/26/2016