Status: Prologue 6/7/2016

Silent Guardians

Chapter Six

Bucky began walking towards a quieter part of the neighborhood and into an abandoned apartment building. Must, mold, and mildew made Anya's eyes water slightly. It was rather dark inside the building. The only light coming in was from parts of the roof that had collapsed. Bucky led her up dingy steps and eventually in an apartment. It was small, but livable. Granola bar wrappers and energy bar wrappers littered the floor, tables, and refrigerator. A small navy blue sleeping bag was on top of the old decrepit mattress. It almost depressed Anya. No one should have to live like this.

"What do you want?" Anya looked away from the dirty floor and up at him. His facial features seemed to change since she last saw him. In the cabin, he was the Winter Soldier. A ferocious look that never faltered from his face, but now Anya saw a man who could still break someone in half, but would hesitate beforehand and think about it. Even though he could kill with his bare hands, there was still a glimmer of fear in his eyes. Worry that he might be found by someone other than herself.

"I was sent to track you." He only furrowed his brows.

"By who? Steve?" Anya looked around his apartment and saw a small brown leather book. Her face softened as she realized that it must be where he keeps all of his memories, nightmares, and anything else he believes to be important about finding out who he is. Who he was. She looked down with a sigh and turned back to him. The old floors creaking under her weight.

"I'm supposed to call Steve when I found you, but." Anya thought back to last night and remembered Sokovia. "He is a bit busy at the moment."

"Yeah, with Lagos, right? Well, what now? If you can't reach him, do you have a higher power to contact?" Anya shook her head gently as she leaned against the wall.

"No." Bucky sat down at the kitchen table and put his two plums down in a bowl. He took his cap off just to run his human hand through his hair.

"How did you find me?" Anya crossed her arms gently.

"I followed your tracks to Russia. Three men in a bar had been trying to get to HYDRA. They knew you cam to Bucharest and were going to one of their superiors, but they didn't make it."

"What do you mean they didn't make it?" Anya walked over towards Bucky and sat next to him at the table.

"I mean, they all three got a bullet right between the eyes." Bucky couldn't understand why Steve would go through the things he did, but now a complete stranger is doing the same.

"Why?"

"Bucky, I know you're feeling guilty, but you need to realize that you were a victim." Anya got a distant look in her eyes and stared at the wall. Bucky noticed her far off look. "You were vulnerable, innocent, and they completely twisted your mind and took away the life you were supposed to have." Tears welled into her eyes as her voice strained. She was almost gritting her teeth.

"You seem to know a lot about being a victim." Anya's eyes darted to his own. She had let too much slip with too much emotion. "You know my story, what's yours?" Swallowing hard, Anya thought back on her own past. The thoughts, nightmares, and memories were never ending. Bucky was about to tell her that she didn't have to explain, but she began before he spoke.

"My father, Andrei Petrova, was with the KGB as you know. He wanted a son instead of a daughter, but seeing as how I was born, he had to do what he could with me. When I was three years old, my father started giving me the super soldier serum. My mother would only let him give it to me in small increments and by the time I was six years old, I had finished."

Bucky was in shock that someone would give the serum to such a young person, especially just a toddler.

"I didn't have the super strength or the fast reflexes he wanted so, he put me through the Red Room program. Seeing as how you tensed the first time I told you, I am guessing you know about it?"

Silence filled the air. Bucky honestly didn't know what to say to her. What was he supposed to say, that he helped train Black Widow? He knew that wasn't really something that should be mentioned at the present moment.

"I guess it wasn't all bad. I got a few nice things from the serum. Great eyesight, I heal faster than most, and my stamina is enhanced." Anya still had the far off look in her eyes. "But, I also obtained a few bad things with it." Bucky was curious, but he didn't want to push her. He knew what it was like to talk about the past when you're ready to stop.

"Do you have nightmares?" Anya looked up at him and noticed the dark circles under his eyes. She couldn't believe she didn't notice before.

"I do. I wake up screaming and at home I usually have to change my bed sheets from all of the sweat." Bucky got up and grabbed his brown journal.

"I write all of my nightmares and memories down in this. It helps me sort things out and process everything." Anya smiled slightly and looked out the small window to see the street empty now. The vendors were closing up shop for lunch.

"I used to have one as well, but over time I stopped. It ended up just being the same." They stayed silent for a moment until Anya realized she didn't eat breakfast. "So, are you hungry for something other than granola bars and plums?" The corner of his mouth raised into a slight smirk.

"I do eat bananas every now and then." Anya only nodded some as she pushed herself away from the window.

"C'mon, let's get you some real food."

Anya and Bucky had gone into a small cafe down the street.They sat in the back. Bucky kept his baseball cap on to try and hide his appearance. The building was relatively empty and the waitresses kept to themselves. The inside was bright with orange sherbet walls and dark oak furniture. Small pictures were lining the walls and hanging plants gave the room freshness. Small chandeliers were over every table.

They both had gotten their food and ate in silence. As Bucky plucked a fry from the pile, his brows furrowed.

"I can't remember the last time I had a cheeseburger and fries." Anya took a sip from her drink and looked up at him.

"What did they give you while you were with "them"?" Bucky thought back and ate slowly.

"Usually, they would just hook up an IV. I would do a mission, get checked out by doctors and engineers, and then they would freeze me. If I looked malnourished they would treat it, but I usually didn't have time to eat." Bucky finished his burger and was on his last few french fries as Anya only nodded. How could someone only survive by IV fluids, super soldier or not?

Bucky was sitting back and thinking to when Anya told her about her father. Should he tell her that he was helping with the Red Room? With Madame B.?

"Anya, I need to tell you something." She looked up at him as she chewed her food and furrowed her brows.

"What is it, Bucky?" He looked down at the table. Looking into someone's eyes when they said something this important could break someone.

"When you said that I knew about the Red Room, you weren't wrong." He paused for a moment. "I actually helped the instructor with her lessons. I helped train some of those students."

Bucky slowly looked up at her, but she didn't look shocked or surprised, or even betrayed. She only nodded gently.

"I know." Bucky shook his head some and leaned forward towards her.

"Wait, you knew?" She smiled softly.

"Yes, my father came in one day explaining how there was some body guard for Madame B. He raved on and on about 'The Man with the Metal Arm'. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I peeked into the studio and saw you." Bucky couldn't understand why she wasn't mad at him. Why wasn't she walking out, why was she still helping him? Was it all a trick, or was this coming out of the goodness of her heart?

"I guess you are wondering why I am not screaming and yelling at you for not telling me?" He only nodded gently, he sat back and only furrowed his brows in confusion, trying to figure her out. A sigh left her mouth gently. "I am not like regular people, Bucky. I am a lot different. I don't get angry with somethings that most do. The Red Room is a touchy subject for any one and I know you were trying to save me from pain and anguish. Thank you."

She was thanking him now? Bucky couldn't honestly believe this woman. From how many years he has been on the earth, he noticed that a lot of people would feel betrayed, but he had to agree with her that this was a very touchy subject for some.

"You're welcome." It felt strange for him to say, but he was glad that they could continue on the path they were headed.

Anya was about to start on her burger when she noticed Bucky watching her. She noticed his gaze on her burger in her hands.

"Do you want it?" He only shook his head and looked away.

"No, go ahead." Bucky sipped his drink and kept his head down. Anya smiled slightly as she put her food on his plate.

"You need it more than I do." He didn't know what to say.

"You really don't have to. I've survived this long on granola bars and fruit." Shrugging, Anya ate the rest of her fries and began on her drink. Bucky got an idea on how to settle the matter. He grabbed the unused silverware next to his plate and cut the burger in half. He picked up one half and put it on her plate and began eating the other half. Anya only watched him. She shook her head with a smirk and began eating.

Once the two got finished, Anya and Bucky walked back to his apartment. They both stayed silent as they walked. They enjoyed the sounds around them. The kids running and laughing, birds chirping through the rustled trees. Romania was beautiful.

"Where were you planning on going if Romania didn't work out?" Bucky stopped at his door and leaned against the frame.

"Honestly, I wasn't sure. I thought about heading to the mountains." Furrowing her brows, Anya stood across from him and leaned against the old creaky banister, folding her arms.

"Why the mountains?" Anya couldn't explain why she was so interesting in Bucky. His story pulled her in like a magnet and she had to know more. Bucky only shrugged and looked hesitant.

"I wanted to see where my life ended." It was a morbid sentence, but she understood. She wanted to get the mood a bit lighter as she looked at the time.

"I will have to go soon. You're not going to run away again and make me track you are you?" Bucky only smiled gently.

"What would be the point? You've found me once, I am sure you can do it again." The corners of her mouth turned up into a smile.

"Yeah, well going from country to country is exhausting." Anya was about to push off from the banister for it only to crack. Bucky quickly grabbed onto her arms to help support her. The banister didn't break, but Anya wasn't going to be leaning against it any time soon/ Her breathing was slow, but deep and when she turned to face Bucky she didn't realize how close he had pulled her. She looked up into his startling blue eyes and looked away quickly. Bucky only let her go as soon as he knew she had her footing. He hadn't meant to pull her that close.

Smiling, Anya took a step back.

"I should go." Bucky only nodded. He was confused with the feeling in his stomach He was worried he might've scared Anya off. He was a monster in his eyes and he believe everyone would look at him as such. As Anya walked down the hallway, she looked back with a smile.

"Don't make me chase you." Bucky felt relief wash over him and shook his head with a smirk.

"Wouldn't dream of it." She smiled and walked down the sirs with Bucky watching her.
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6/9/2016
Edited: 7/28/2016