Till The End Of The Line

Chapter 5

The cabin was silent for nearly three days. Frankie still annoyed that Bucky saw her as a damsel in distress that couldn’t take care of herself. Bucky still mad that she left without him, with not much protection and the worry of someone from Hydra following her back to their hide out. They danced around each other, in complete silence, but with such grace. Bucky would sneak up next to her, try to say something, and she’d twist slightly and walk right past him. They’d silently agreed to take turns sleeping in the bed, switching back and forth from the couch.

The third night, Bucky asleep in the bed, Frankie staring at the tv screen watching some stupid infomercial about knives, she heard his screams. The fourth time he’s had a nightmare since his first arrival nearly three weeks ago. She’d figured it only happened when he was in a deep sleep, almost like when he was in cryo-freeze.

Sitting gently on the bed next to him, she took his hand in hers, brushing back some of his hair that stuck to his face, waiting patiently for either the solider to come out or for him to wake up. She hummed quietly to the beat of The Caissons Go Rolling Along. Grandfather used to sing it lowly to her when she was having a nightmare, told her to sing it when she was scared, that it’d help her get the strength of all the soldiers to fight away the scary things. The screams stopped, his body slowly becoming still, she looked at him. He lay shirtless, muscles bulging from his chest and arms. His lips twitched, his face freshly shaven. Something he must’ve done before falling asleep. Knicks and cuts scattered on his face, tissue dried with little specks of blood. With her free hand, she stared tracing the tender red skin again. His eyes fluttered, his hand squeezing hers a bit.

“Then it's hi! hi! hee! In the field artillery, shout out your numbers loud and strong, for where'er you go, you will always know, That the Caissons go rolling along”

“welcome back” Frankie half smiled. She released his hand, getting ready to get up. His hand snapped around her wrist, looking up at her.

“go to sleep Frankie” he said, pushing the blanket back for her. She laid flat, staring at the ceiling, Bucky doing the same “I’m sorry I freaked out. I just don’t want you getting hurt”

“I can handle myself just fine, James” she spit.

He chuckled to himself. She’d only really called him James when she was annoyed with him. He figured she did the same towards Steve. Probably the only person to ever call him Steven. He laid next to her, staring into oblivion. Turning his head slightly, he saw her slowly falling into a peaceful slumber. She was just as stubborn as Dum Dum.

“are you going to take the damn shot or not Barnes?” Jim shouted, watching as a few Hydra agents came running at him. Snow was falling gently. Bucky sat on the hill to the east, eye close to the scope watching as his team infiltrated the Hydra base.

“Bucky” Steve yelled, looking in his general direction. A quick breath in, squeezing the trigger, he watched as the bullet left his riffle and followed it until it hit the agent between the eyes.

“took you long enough Barnes” Jim muttered, throwing the gear into the back of the truck.

“you know if you didn’t barge in early, I wouldn’t have to take out the agents you missed” Bucky went back at him, earning a laugh from the rest of the team.

Jim lunged toward Bucky, grabbing him in a choke hold, scratching the top of his head and messing with his hair. Everyone laughing, Steve ordered them to behave, Jim sticking his tongue at him like a five-year-old.

Bucky woke up, arm draped across Frankie’s midriff. Her shirt had lifted a bit and the metal rested directly on her skin, but she hadn’t flinched or pulled away. He reminded himself to be the solider, it was too dangerous to be Bucky. Getting up, he made breakfast. Eggs, toast and potatoes. He made her tea, the way she liked it, placing it all on the table before banging on the bedroom door to wake her.

“what the hell Buck” she asked, pulling her hair up into a messy bun.

“eat. We’re going to train today” he told her, sipping the last of his coffee, sticking the cup into the sink. “I’ll meet you out back when you’re done”

It was as if she was back at SHIELD, learning to be an agent. For their warm up, he made her run four miles. Afterwards, they spilt wood, used chopped up pieces as weights. They worked on different technics. Some surprising to him.

“Natasha trains me sometimes when she’s free. Clint too” she smiled.

They continued, he allowed her to show him what Nat had taught her. He couldn’t help but smile when she used the same move Nat had during the fight on the bridge, landing on his shoulder with her legs wrapped under his arm. She smiled proudly. Until he flipped her over his shoulder and pinned her to the ground.

Being repeatedly thrown on the ground after yet another failed try of overpowering him, Bucky called it quits. Annoyed at herself, she skipped dinner, falling asleep on the couch. Upon waking the next morning, she grabbed her towel and went into the shower. Bucky was awake when she came back out. Pulling her shirt over her bra, Bucky gawked at her.

“sorry” she mentioned, pulling it down faster. She hadn’t realized he was awake yet or else she wouldn’t have walked out of the bathroom with sweats and just her bra on. He rushed over to her, pulling the shirt up higher. “what the…”

“I am so sorry Frank” he whispered. Touching her back gently, she flinched at the cool touch.

“huh, I didn’t even realize” she smiled at him, pulling her shirt back down and walking out the back door.

After three weeks in the cabin, training every day, Bucky agreed it was time to go and get some more food. After an argument, he said he was going alone, stopping to get some more ammunition as they also touched up her shooting skills. Frankie didn’t like the idea of him leaving her alone, especially for more than a few hours, but he insisted on going to Connecticut to get supplies, just in case.

“I’ll be back in two days” he promised her, kissing her forehead as he walked out the front door. “if you hear anything, you take the bike and go to our meet up spot. If you aren’t here when I come back, I’ll meet you there”

They’d found an old abandoned building in New Hampshire where they decided if anything ever happened, they’d meet. Once an old hospital, it was shut down in the 90’s and never opened up again.

“can’t I just come with you?” Frankie asked, staring at him as he got into the old pick up truck. She saw his head shake, smiling at her and he started pulling away from the cabin.

She continued to train, running laps around the cabin, taking the guns and continuing target practice. She hadn’t shot a gun outside of the range in a while, used to having other agents around her talking and practicing herself. She got used to the noise, now the silence was deafening to her.

Day two came slowly. Trying her best to keep herself occupied, she read at least five books, watched a few movies and cleaned the entire cabin. Now spotless, she started preparing dinner for Bucky’s return, knowing he’d only had a can of soup on his run. Sitting patiently at the table, the freshly made vegetable stew slowly becoming cold, she continued to look at the clock.

Seven o’clock.

Eight o’clock.

Nine o’clock.

Day two passed.

He’d instructed her to leave the cabin on the fifth day if he wasn’t back yet. On day four, after deciding to take a break from target practice and training, she decided to clean again.
The pictures were so spotless, you could basically eat off them. She’d swept and mopped the floor three times, washed the sheets and their clothes by hand, in a bucket. The washer and dryer worked, but this way was longer and took up time. Continually looking out the window, she didn’t see the truck coming through the trees.

Not being able to sleep much since he’d left, she said up pretty much every night, writing notes. A few were marked for Steve, Natasha, Clint. But she was writing one for Bucky. What she’d hoped for him. Hoping the solider wouldn’t come back, that he’d get his life and memories back, that he wouldn’t forget her if she’d left the cabin and they never met up again. That he was okay.
Looking out the window on day five. She watched as the snow slowly fell, collecting on the branches of the big fir trees. The sky dark, the sun escaping the clouds every so often.

Five o’clock.

Grabbing her things, she stuffed them into the old duffle bag. She began tearing a bit, folding Bucky’s clothes and putting them neatly on the bed. Prepared for him, if he came back. Grabbing the little ammunition and guns left into the duffle too. taking one of his sweatshirts, she threw it on over hers, zipping up her boots and closing the cabin door behind her.

She started strapping the bag to the back of the bike. Her stomach formed knots at the thought of riding it, alone, while it snowed. Steve was right, there was no way she was going to be able to ride this thing without hurting herself. She was too clumsy. She needed practice, and not when it was snowing.

She started crying at the thought; Steve. She left everything in her apartment and by now he had to have known she was no longer there. Three weeks they’d been at the cabin. Almost two months since she last saw him. Was she going to see him again.

“are you stealing one of my sweatshirts?” she heard, turning around quickly “you can’t ride that bike in the snow”

“you bastard” she mumbled, walking to him and hugging him tightly. His arm wrapped around her tightly. She backed away, smacking his chest “I didn’t know what happened to you!”

“I ran into a little trouble. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to take that long” he told her, trying his best to smile.

“did the solider have to come out?” she asked, he nodded slightly. She saw him flinch and hold his ribs while they walked to the bike to remove the bags.

Upon going inside, she heated up some of the stew she’d made and handed it to him. He went into the shower, coming out in just his sweatpants. Thanking her for washing everything and cleaning the cabin, she stared at him. The bruise on his ribs was prominent, nearly turning purple. Rushing to his side, she examined it.

“you fractured a rib, Buck. What happened?” she grabbed an ace bandage, wrapping it tightly so he wouldn’t be able to move his torso much. He’d mentioned it would be healed within a day or two, reminding her he’d been given a serum. “I was in the sporting goods store. I guess word got out we were up here. Two Hydra agents pinned me in, got a few good shots in. nothing too bad”

“when” she looked at him. “you were supposed to be back three days ago. When did that happen Buck” she stared at him. He fidgeted a bit.

“I was going to leave. Let you be safe here, until Steve found you. I was near Canada, until I found the picture you put in my jacket. I wasn’t going to come back. I just got the food and supplies last night”

He looked down, ashamed. For the second time he tried to leave her, protect her by getting as far away as possible and failed. If he left, he wouldn’t know what would happen to her. Would she be okay? Would Steve even find her? Would she do something stupid and get herself hurt?

“you were going to leave me, again?” she whispered, hurt. Throwing the rest of the bandages at him, she pushed him out of the bedroom, locking the door.

She felt betrayed. It was hard for her to picture herself without him anymore, but apparently for him it was the easiest thing. Two times he tried leaving, but it must’ve meant something that he wasn’t able to completely go through with it. Maybe she should try and find a way to reach out to Steve, have him come get her so Bucky didn’t have the burden of taking care of her anymore.
He repeatedly knocked on the door, apologizing repeatedly.

“I couldn’t go through with-it Frankie, I couldn’t leave you” he told her. “you’ve helped me too much. I care about you too much now. You helped me push the solider back. You helped me bring Bucky to the surface”

“and you got what you wanted, James. You can go now. I’ll find a way to get back home”

“I don’t want to leave you. Bucky doesn’t want to leave you. The solider thinks it’s safer for you. Safer not to care about you”

She opened the door, staring at him. He smiled at her, she couldn’t help but smile back. No matter how annoyed at him. She couldn’t refuse that she cared about him too.

“plus, Steve would kill me if I got you into this mess and left you behind” he chuckled, grabbing her into a hug. “I’m sorry Frank. For getting you into this. It would’ve been smarter for me to never come to you”

“I’m glad you did Buck, I’m glad I get to help you be you again”