Till The End Of The Line

Chapter 13

"Is there a reason you're ignoring me Steven?" Frankie asked, tapping her foot gently on the metal of the ramp of the quinjet.

"Go home Dum Dum" he quickly answered, continuing whatever he was doing to keep himself occupied so he didn't have to look at her.

What the hell is wrong with him? she asked Sam.

"I don't know" he simply answered. This caught Steve's attention, finally looking back at the two of them.

"That’s not fair" he complained.

"It's not fair that I used my powers?" she laughed. "I don’t have a home Steve. I was fraternizing with a criminal for almost a year, then held captive and then broke a bunch of people out of a prison. I'm wanted too"

"Go to Fury and Maria then, they can help you out" he walked towards the front of the jet. Pressing a few buttons, he didn’t notice Frankie ask Sam to leave them alone for a few minutes. She took a few seconds to muster up the courage to stand up to him.

Steve had always been her rock, since the day they met. Whatever she needed, she could always count on Steve. They were once inseparable. She would tell him everything, good or bad. He's share stories of growing up in Brooklyn with Bucky. The countless times Bucky was save him from getting beat up, or even just being there when his mother got sick and passed. How grandfather always thought he was the best around. How he'd instantly fallen in love with Aunt Peggy, even when she was super awkward when he first came out of the serum and she reached for his newly sculpted body. He'd never once treated her as he was now.

"Steve" she mumbled, sitting next to him and turning his chair towards her. "What's going on?"

"I'm sorry" he told her, staring right at her. "I just, I don't know how to tell you that he didn't want to talk to you before he went under again"

"So he's in cyro again?" she asked, Steve nodding in conformation.

"I took him somewhere he'd be safe. I know the person working on him. She's helping fix his arm after Tony blew it to pieces" He watched Frankie flinch, she hadn’t known that part. But she knew Bucky could feel the arm. "She's getting the solider and the words out of his head. For good"

"And he couldn't tell me this himself? Before he was frozen again, for god knows how long?!" she was frustrated. She gave up her entire life to help and protect him. She'd been tortured and injected with random things in order for him to be safe. But he couldn't call to say he was going to be fixed?

"This is why I was trying to avoid the conversation" Steve told her, watching her knuckled clench and turn white "with your new powers and abilities, I didn’t know how you'd react"

"It's nothing you could've stopped Steve. He should've been the one to tell me. I gave my life for him and he couldn't even call to tell me himself" she was no longer angry, tears flooded her eyes as the pain and realization that maybe she didn't mean as much to him as she thought she did.

Steve jumped up, wrapping his arms tightly around her. Brushing her hair down as he always did. They sat in silence for a while, holding onto one another. Steve was so happy to have her back in his arms, over a year without her felt like a decade to him.

"I missed you so much Dum Dum" Steve choked out. She nodded in agreement. "Why didn’t you call me? I could've saved you from this so much sooner"

"It’s not the serum I'm upset about Steve. I'm happy about that. Tony said he'd try and get it out but I don’t want him too. It just means I won't age. I won't have to grow old without you. You won't have to bury me after I die of being an old woman. It's me and you Steve; for the rest of our lives. I won't have to lose you"

They were interrupted by Sam trying to make as little noise as possible. They'd both snapped back into reality. Steve mentioned Frankie wouldn't be leaving them. Steve brought the jet into the air, cloaking them so they wouldn't be found.

"Where are we gonna go?" Sam asked. Frankie took over control. She headed towards England.

Landing in an empty field, she got off the jet and walked towards an old beat up house. "Where are we?"

The red paint was peeling. The door and trim of the windows was slightly brown, the mud and dirt staining the old white features. Frankie grabbed the spare key and opened the door with a large creak. Everything was covered in dust. Steve and Sam were close behind her. Sam had his gun drawn.

"Put that away" Frankie told him, shaking her head. "No one has been here in almost ten years"

Steve walked around, looking at all the pictures hanging everywhere. Frankie as a little girl, Dum Dum and Falsworth right next to her. He smiled, finding a few pictures of him back during the war. Hanging proudly over the old fireplace, was a picture of the whole squad. Howling Commandos written under in on a gold plaque.

"Is that what you used to look like?" Sam asked "you did not age well" he rolled his eyes, laughing at his own joke

"I own mostly all of the team's old houses. I guess that’s what happens when you grow up having the Howling Commandos as your uncles" she laughed. "Uncle Pinky's isn't too far from here"

It clicked in her head that Bucky was there for a few weeks by himself. She wanted to sneak out while they were asleep and go to the cabin, see if he'd left anything. Sam and Steve were smiling at her when she came back too.

"I'll call for the service to bring us some groceries" she smiled, turning to grab the old yellow phone that hung on the wall.

Sam and Steve were both sound asleep in the rooms Frankie had instructed them to stay in. No one was to touch Uncle James'; He'd kept it a certain way and she wanted to leave it as such. She sat on the bed of the old room he'd set up for her. He tried his best to make it girly; he always told Grandfather he was raising a young lady, not a solider. He was her break from constant training. She hadn't been to the house since she was 18. She was just accepted into college, he was starting to become ill. Grandfather convinced her to spend her summer with him, knowing he wouldn't be making it much longer. She was grateful for everything he'd done for her, so she sat here and took care of him.

Sneaking past both sleeping soldiers, she made her way down the old steps until she reached the back door. In the shed, which was falling apart, was Uncle James' beat up WWII bike; His pride and joy. He'd taken care of it since the day he'd gotten it. Frankie had a mechanic coming to check on it every few months, making sure nothing would happen to it. That reminded her to write him a thank you note and send him his latest check. Making her way down the dirt road, she drove the twenty minutes to Uncle Pinky's cabin. It was immaculate. Bucky had been cleaning while he was here. He'd watched how clean she'd kept the cabin, knowing that she liked everything spotless.

Everything had been dusted, but put right back where it belonged. The cabinet was stocked with cans, the fridge containing the bear minimum. She'd grabbed a bag, shoving everything she could into it. If they weren't staying at the house long, they'd still need these for their journey. Making her rounds of the cabin, she didn't see anything out of the ordinary. Lying on the bed, she could smell his scent from when he laid there. Staring at the wall, she saw the paper hiding between the wallpaper and the wall. Something you'd only be able to see if you laid on her side of the bed.

I'm so sorry. I'm going to try and find you. If you come here, just call my cell. I can't believe I let this happen. You are the greatest thing that happened to me. Thank you for everything you've helped me with. If I don't find you, don't forget me. Tell people how I really am. I am no longer the solider, thanks to you. I will be with you always, just as I know you will always be with me. You've changed me, Frankie. I'll never be able to thank you enough for that. I'll see you soon. I'm coming home to you.
Your Bucky'

Steve woke up to muffled noises coming from downstairs. Without a hesitation, he snuck down the stairs and peaked around the corner but couldn't see anything. Reaching for the closest item he could use as a weapon, he jumped into the kitchen with the lamp held high.

"What the hell are you doing?" Frankie asked, continuing her packing.

"What are you doing?" Steve put the lamp down, chuckling at himself.

"I'm packing some supplies and food for you and Sam" her voice was low, a mumble almost. She was choking back some tears.

"Where are you going?" Steve snuck behind her and wrapped his arms around her, letting her know he was there for her.

"I don't really know. Maybe I'll go work for Tony for a bit or with Maria and Nick. I just need to do something to keep myself occupied. Hiding out with you and Sam isn’t going to do much occupying"

They sat in silence for a while. The note was sitting out on the table, Steve reading it as he held his best friend. He apologized again.

"It's a good thing he found someone who can get it out of his head. I can finally forget those words" She tried to joke.

"He should've called you though. He loves you and he should've called you to tell you that. I mean, what's not to love" Steve smiled at her.

"He didn't say that. The solider wouldn't let him say that" She told him. He shook his head in agreement.

"But Bucky told me everything that happened. I could see it on his face" Sam walked into the kitchen, interrupting them "he can't hide it on his face"

"What's going on?" he asked. Frankie walked over to him, pulling him into a tight hug.

"Frankie is going to leave us for a bit, try and figure out her powers and everything"

Frankie handed them both the things she packed for them. Making a call to Fury, who cleared her name so she could travel, she informed him she'd be joining them soon enough.

"You both have emergency phones. You need anything, you call me. Even if you just miss me. I packed you months' worth of food. I'll be with Fury and Maria. I love you both"

"Same for you Frankie" Sam smiled, hugging her.

"You call me with anything, you got that? I can't lose you again Frank" Steve told her "I love you Dum Dum"

Kissing her forehead, as always, just before he got onto the jet with Sam. Sam blew her a kiss, smiling back at her as the back raised and they began to take off.

Once again, she was alone. Something she'd gotten used too.