Till The End Of The Line

Chapter 10

Steve came into Frankie’s bedroom, sitting on the chair across from her bed. Cleaning up the pieces of the phone she had scattered everywhere, she pulled him onto the bed with her. He laid down, allowing her to lay next to him. He remembered the last time they just sat like this, was after he was released from the hospital. She laid her head on his shoulder, staring down at their feet. He took her hand, trying to tell her everything was okay.

“I’m going to tell you everything, and I don’t want you getting mad at me” she told him, his chest rising as he chuckled. “after you left, Bucky came and found me. He asked me to help with his memories, so I did. I was going to call you, but he was so vulnerable and just needed someone to be on his side for once. We hid in my apartment until HYDRA found us, then we went to a cabin up north. We stayed for months until we agreed to move towards England, to make sure no one would find us. That’s when they got me. I was just happy it wasn’t Bucky. I didn’t want him to be hurt or used anymore. I told him to leave me. He got a phone call in before they began. I set the solider free. I turned him into the asset. The phone died after that and they began all the injections and everything”

She stopped to look up at him. His face was stern, motionless. She felt his body tense a little bit and she tried rubbing his arm to relax him. She let it be silent for a bit. Not really knowing how he was taking everything.

“they injected me with a modified serum, Steve. I don’t exactly know what I can or cannot do yet, but they injected me with a serum just like yours and Bucky’s. Tony and I are trying to figure it out. I’m enhanced”

Continually sitting in silence, she was getting antsy. He wasn’t moving, nor did he say anything. He sat there, holding onto her tightly.

“you know, I thought I lost you. Maria called me after she went to check in on you, found the apartment torn to shreds, blood on the floor. I sat in that apartment for days, waiting for you to come back. I didn’t know how long you were gone or if you were even alive. Sam made me leave your house, told me I wasn’t going to find you by sitting on the couch waiting. Any free second I had I was trying to figure out where you went” he smiled down at her, watching her as she leaned up a little bit to kiss his cheek.

“I’m not happy at all you were with Bucky. I trust him but he is unstable and very dangerous. He could’ve snapped at any moment” Steve was smart. He saw her flinch and look away and he knew he already had. He’d stiffened up again “Dum Dum, that was so stupid of you. To allow him to be around you. You are way too trusting. And look what happened because of it”

“Bucky didn’t do this to me” Frankie shot up, annoyed he would try to pass blame “it was my fault. I wasn’t paying attention, I got out of the car”

“he shouldn’t have let you go alone in the first place” he yelled, bringing himself back down instantly.

“I’m not a china doll Steve. Grandfather taught me well. I’m not made of glass like you and Bucky think I am!” she was now standing, pacing across the room. “god, you two are just alike”

“well, we were both taught a certain way back in our day” he giggled, trying to calm her a bit.

“I am definitely not made of glass anymore Steve. I am just like you two. There is nothing we can do about it anymore. So, if you’re going to be mad, be mad at me. Bucky didn’t do anything. He tried his best to find me. He still is”

He gave her a questioning look, catching the phone from the corner of his eye. He opened his mouth to ask something but was interrupted by Sam busting into the room saying they’d found Rumlow and needed to go. Steve turned and left, leaving without saying anything to Frankie or kissing her head like he always did.

She watched as everyone disappeared from the compound. Clint was back home; Nat, Wanda, Sam and Steve leaving on the quinjet. Vision was somewhere but once again, she was alone. Taking this time, she went to the gym. Sitting in the middle of the floor, she meditated. She learned in her little cell it was one of the things that calmed her down. She was already aware of some of her senses that were heightened. She has super solider strength and agility. She could run without getting winded. She was the female version of Steve.

Alone in the gym for two days, she sat in her meditative position, trying her best to figure herself out. Snapping out of her trance when she heard commotion upstairs. She heard Steve talking to Wanda in her room, Vision making his way into the conversation too.

“what happened?” Frankie asked, sitting next to Sam in the kitchen. He gave her a look.

“have you not watched the news or anything? What’ve you been doing?” he leaned into her “we got Rumlow. But he set off a bomb and Wanda tried getting it up, but it exploded in a building”

Frankie automatically placed her hand on her mouth in terror. She tried turning, to head down the hallway and be with her friend, but Sam grabbed her arm. Steve must’ve told him, because he was trying to use all his strength to keep her there. Telling her to leave it alone, he let go.

It didn’t take long before most of the team were sitting around the table, listening to General Ross. Frankie sat outside the door, listening to him spew on about a set of accords to keep the Avengers in check. Annoyed, she made her way down to her bedroom. Messing with her phone, she was able to get it charged just enough to hear some of Bucky’s messages.

‘Frankie, I’m sorry. I want nothing more to find you, be by you again as you sing that stupid song. I will find you, I promise. I’m in Bucharest, I took up a little apartment. It’s nothing like our cabin, but it’ll do for right now. Please, find a way to let me know you are okay. I am so worried about you’

“Frankie” Steve barged into her bedroom. Turning quickly, she shoved the phone into the oversized sweatshirt she’d been wearing. It reminded her of Bucky’s. She looked at him, tears nearly overflowing from his eyes “she’s gone, Frankie. Peggy’s gone”

Frankie’s heart caught in her throat. She hadn’t seen the women she saw as her aunt since first moving to D.C. There wasn’t a day she didn’t think of her. She repeated those words daily while captive. She stood as a tree, telling them to move. She stood still in the room, the walls caving in around her. Steve ran to her, hugging her tightly. While he moved around quickly, she stood in the same spot. It wasn’t until Steve told her to get on the plane that she snapped out of it.

Both were silent on the way to England. As Frankie sat in the pews of the church, she watched Steve help carry her. She sat between Sam and Steve, holding onto both hands tightly. She was stone faced, even as Sharon took the podium and began her speech. Steve looked stunned, unaware of who she really was. As the funeral finished, Frankie stormed out of the church, marching her way down the street. It hit her, the last person who helped raised her was gone. As much as she knew this day would come, she hated herself for not being with her.

“Aunt Peggy always loved you, I hope you remember that Frankie” Sharon told her, not waiting for her to turn to properly hug her. “you were always the best cousin to grow up with”

“Steve didn’t know who you were huh?” Frankie laughed “you should’ve seen his face”

Sitting alone in her hotel room, she watched the news as an explosion had been reported. Bucky’s face flashed across the screen. Her heart dropped, stomach in knots. The picture was blurry, but it looked just like him. She found Steve and Sam just as they were getting onto the jet with Sharon. She ran fast enough to make it before they flew off. Steve sat in the cockpit, Sharon and Sam standing behind him.

“its not him” she screamed, staring at Steve as he looked forward. Tears were falling freely “Steve, its not him. He wouldn’t do that. That’s not who he is anymore”

“you said it yourself Dum Dum, you let the solider loose” he stared at her. “Vision is on his way to get you, you’re flying back with him”

She grabbed his shoulder, not paying attention to her force. She saw him wince at her strength.

“Steve, please. It’s not him” she begged “let me come. I can control him. I can help him”

“it’s not safe Frankie, you need to go home” Sam told her, she stared at Sharon who just nodded in agreement.

Sharon and Sam walked to the back of the jet, preparing their stuff. leaving Frankie and Steve alone in the cockpit. She stared at him, sitting in the co-pilots chair. He took her hand again. Wiping a few tears from her face. He turned, allowing auto-pilot to take over so he could face her.

“Steve, he’s in Bucharest, that wasn’t him” he stared at her but simply nodded. “when he goes into solider mode, he forgets everything. His mind wipes again. But he remembers me, Steve. I can help him”

Landing softly, he leaned forward, kissed her forehead and walked off the back of the plane. Vision appeared, scaring Frankie a bit. He sat where Steve was just sitting, bringing the jet back into the air.

“it is safer this way, Frankie” he told her. She shook her head.

“no Vis, it’s not”

Bucky walked through the farmers market, picking up a few things. He heard sirens, his breathe hitching, stomach in knots. He’d grown confident enough to go out in the day. After all, he was still a ghost story to most of the world. He saw a man at the counter of the newspaper shop give him a side glance, running when Bucky walked closer to him. He saw his face on the front page of that day’s paper. Immediately, he ran back towards the apartment. He saw Steve standing against the fridge, looking at his journal.

“do you know me?” he asked.

“you’re Steve, I read about you in a museum” Bucky told him. He wasn’t lying. Before going to Frankie’s, he did read about Steve and himself in the exhibit.

“I know you’re nervous, and you have plenty of reason to be but you’re lying”

“I wasn’t in Vienna, I don’t do that anymore” Bucky was stern faced. Steve just stared at him, listening to Sam give him a play by play of the special forces coming their way.

“well the people that think you did are coming here now and they’re not planning on taking you alive”

“that’s smart, good strategy” He didn’t care anymore. He wasn’t guilty of this crime, but he knew the only person who would believe him was gone. He didn’t know if she was alive or not, but he didn’t want to be without her anymore.

“this doesn’t have to end in a fight Buck”

“it always ends in a fight” he stared down at his hand, removing the glove that covered the metal plates.

“you pulled me from the river” Steve yelled. He didn’t know if it was justified to bring Frankie’s name into play yet. “why?”

Staring at him, Bucky just simply told him “I don’t know”

He was lying. He wasn’t going to tell Steve that those few words snapped him from what he was. Those simple words reminded him exactly who he was for a few seconds.

“Wanda, I don’t know what to do. I need to go help them” Frankie paced back and forth in front of the young girl’s bed. They’d both been confined to the compound, Steve ordering Frankie to stay put. Vision was their babysitter.

“Frank, I know you care but you don’t know what you can do yet. You could hurt someone” she told Frankie.

She was right. Frankie had no idea what she could do yet. She’d been trying a bunch of things but couldn’t figure it out. Tony was gone, but she sat up in the lab for awhile trying to figure out what they put into the serum they injected her with.

She heard Wanda exclaim, staring at the television. On the screen was footage of a chase in Bucharest. Bucky being chased by Steve and some other guy. It ended with Roadie catching them all. The police basically throwing Bucky to the ground. Frankie gasped, saddened at how he looked. He looked just as he did when he first arrived at her house. Sleep deprived, hungry, worried.

“I can’t just leave him Wanda” she looked down at her friend. “I can’t leave him again”

Frankie sat in the middle of the gym once again in her meditative state. Her mind was completely gone. Pushing her limits, she was trying her best to figure out what they’d done to her. She focused, pushing herself, she could hear the conversation Vision and Wanda were having upstairs in the kitchen. He was telling her Tony has instructed her she can not leave. That she was safer in the compound.

‘Wanda, can you hear me?’ Frankie paused, it was a long shot, but she was going to try everything ‘don’t fight with Vision, you’ll be leaving soon’

Frankie smiled, she had figured something out.