Till The End Of The Line

Chapter 8

Settling down in a little apartment, Bucky sat on the mattress on his floor, grabbing things out of his duffel bag. He couldn’t help but look around, staring at the newspaper covered windows, he felt sorrow. He was alone, worried about Frankie. It bothered him that he couldn’t find her. He wasn’t having any luck, and as much as he didn’t want too, needed a break. He wanted nothing more than to find his Frankie.

Stuffing some things into a new bag, he opened the side pocket of the duffel and felt the piece of paper. After he arrived at the cottage, he dumped his bag out in hopes of finding something useful to find Frankie. A note fell out, Bucky written in her handwriting. It’d become worn and wrinkled. He’d read it a million times, the paper beginning to tear at the seams of where it was folded. There were always a few lines that always brought him back.

Bucky, if something were to happen, I don’t want you thinking it was your fault. You have helped me more than you understand. You’ve changed me, James Buchanan Barnes. I will always love you for that.

Frankie lay on the table in the center of the lab. Motionless, she allowed the pain to take over. Alarms blared around her, but frozen in pain she couldn’t do anything. She accepted that she wouldn’t survive this round of whatever they injected into her that morning, before the commotion started. Two years of being poked and injected with things had taken its toll on her. She’d given up hope. Hope that Bucky or Steve would find her. Hope that she’d be able to go back to the cabin and be with Bucky once again.

Closing her eyes, she heard rounds of gun fire going off, guards yelling and screaming in German. She’d started to learn a few languages,listening to the all the different people coming and going over the years. Slipping into oblivion, darkness surrounding her, she heard someone scream ‘Cap’

Steve followed Sam into the large, open area. Tables of different colored fluids and substances scattered everywhere. Computers and file cabinets had paperwork overflowing. In the corner was a stainless-steel table, a large bright white light hung low over it, Frankie mumbling in and out of consciousness on it.

“Cap” she mumbled, falling back into the darkness.

Steve made a face, his heart sinking upon finding his best friend just like he’d found Bucky all those years ago. He lay motionless, calling out his draft number and name repeatedly, until Steve found him and rescued him. Fire and explosions going off everywhere around them. It was déjà vu for him. Sam leaned down, untying her arms and legs, picking her limp body up and running back towards Steve.

“Cap, let’s go before this place burns” he yelled, adjusting the lifeless Frankie in his arms “we need to get her to the doctors”

Shaking the memories from his head, he ran beside the two people he trusted more than anything. Sam placed her down gently in the quinjet, sitting next to her head in case she woke on their flight back to the compound. Steve was silent the entire ride home. Calling Tony, asking for his help.

Frankie’s eyes opened, slowly taking in her surroundings. She was used to the lab, she’d sat on the table a hundred times in those two years. This wasn’t familiar to her. Her breathing hitched, squeezing the bed she laid on tightly, hearing the snap of the metal frame below her.

“Dum Dum, it’s okay” Sam smiled, leaning over her so she could see him. “Steve, she’s awake!” he slapped the sleeping Captain beside him.

Quickly jumping up, Steve wrapped his arms tightly around the freshly woken Frankie. She felt drowsy, confused. She’d sent Steve that text nearly a year and a half ago. She knew her approximation of her location was close enough. What had taken him so long.

“okay enough, let me run some more tests let go of her” Tony pushed Steve away from her. Looking down at her, he smiled. “I’m Tony”

“I know” she laughed. His smile grew a bit more. “you sent Happy to check in on me”

“happy to see you again ma’am” she heard from the corner of the room. Sitting up she saw Happy lounging in the chair with the newspaper in his hands. She smiled at him.

“how do you feel?” Tony asked, waving some sort of wand all around her. Staring at the computer screen, she saw her x-rays pop up.

“tired, confused, annoyed” she stared Steve down. He rubbed the back on his head, just as Bucky did, and her heart began to race.

“everything okay, Francesca?” Tony asked, worry as he saw the rising heart rate.

“Frankie and I’m okay”

Tony continued to check her out, taking some more blood to do a few more tests. He asked questions, wondering if she saw anything they might’ve put into her. She shook her head no, she wasn’t allowed to look around or get curious. She had once, and she didn’t eat for a week, after the one guard beat her for being noisy.

Steve asked what seemed like a million questions, but Frankie just couldn’t answer any of them. Sam brought her some food, and like she hadn’t eaten in forever, she ate it too fast. Everyone sat around and watched her, she felt like an animal on exhibit at a zoo. Tony asked to speak to her alone, pushing Sam and Steve out of the room.

"I've never personally met you before, but I have heard about you non stop from those two and Nat and Clint for years. So if I am out of line, please just let me know" he started, roaming around the room "you feel different don't you?" he waited for her to nod before he continued "I'm running a few tests, I took some of Cap's blood to compare you two. I believe they injected you with something like his, like Bucky's"

Her heart began again, and he looked at her. Sitting on the bed by her feet, he smiled at her. He continued rambling. Mentioning that he was going to run every single test he could think of to try and help her, see if he could cure her. He was shocked to hear that if something had been done to her, she didn't want to be cured. Tony tried to smile, unsure as to why she wouldn't want to be normal again. He mentioned it'd be easier to test for everything if Bruce was around. She gave him a side glance, prompting him to inform her that Bruce had been missing.

Though it felt as if she'd known them for years, Frankie had only met Nat and Clint from the team. Tony and Bruce rarely ever came to headquarters. Thor was rarely on earth. But yet, she felt close to all of them. Over the years she heard stories about their missions and adventures. Tony had left the room, leaving Frankie to get washed up and changed.

She roamed the open compound. Getting lost a few times, she kept talking to herself. It startled her when the ceiling seemed to answer her. It introduced itself as Friday, Mr. Stark had created her. Finally making it to the kitchen, she helped herself to a cup of tea.

"it's a lot to take in at first" she heard a soft woman's voice say. Quickly turning, she was face to face with the red head. She smiled a soft warm smile. "I'm Wanda" extending her hand, she reached for Frankie's.

"Frankie" she was happy there was another girl around here. She couldn't seem to find Natasha anywhere.

The two sat at the table, talking. Wanda steered clear of any talk about being held captive. As per orders of the Captain. Frankie shared her story of meeting Steve, becoming friends, growing up with a legend of the army for a grandfather. Wanda told Frankie about becoming enhanced, changing the subject when she noticed Frankie flinch a bit. The two were giggling when Sam walked in.

"Mind out of the gutter please Sam" Frankie laughed, looking up at him. He kissed her cheek, a little smirk on his face.

"I see you've met Wanda. Have you met Vision yet?" Frankie gave a weird side glance up to Sam. Jumping when she heard a voice and the man slowly came through the wall.

"Vis, door, remember!" Wanda scolded. He nodded his head in apology and introduced himself to the new comer.

"Francesca Dugan, it's a pleasure to meet you. you're grandfather was an extraordinary man" he smiled at her.

"you knew grandfather?" she smiled, but he shook his head. After he explained who he was and how he became, she understood.

Bucky laid on the mattress, staring straight up at the ceiling. Since losing Frankie, he's nightmares and episodes came in waves, he hadn't been able to sleep much at all. He felt like he'd lost some of the memories he was starting to remember. Fearing turning into the Winter Solider made his brain revert back to the brainwashing and forgetting. He remembered everything that had to do with Frankie though. But thinking about her sent him into a frenzy. His insides flipped, his heart raced, his mind going to the worst possible scenario. He wanted nothing more than to have her safe in his arms again.

"Frankie, will you talk to me now?" Steve asked. He stood beside the chair his best friend was sitting in, cutting the conversation between Wanda and her short. Frankie looked up at him, shook her head no, and continued to talk to the one person that was treating her like she hadn't been locked up for two years.

"Dum Dum, come on" Sam nudged her arm. She stared at him, giving him a warning look.

"Ms. Dugan, Mr. Stark requires your presence in the lab please" Friday rang from the ceiling above.

Frankie got up, shoved her cup into the sink and started her way to the door. Pausing slightly, she turned, asking Wanda how to get back to the lab. With Cap's hand on the young girls shoulder, she simply spoke quick directions, telling her Friday would help if she were to get lost.

"it's quite bright in here, it could use some color" Frankie told Tony, sitting in the chair that centered the white room. It was clean, unlike the water logged dirty lab she'd come to know. The desks were clear of papers, the computers hung from the ceiling, seeming way to advanced for her to try and use. "maybe some pictures would help"

"Frankie, I'm going to cut straight to the point. They injected you with a modified serum, like the Cap's"

"like Bucky's?" she whispered, unsure of what she was actually feeling.

"a little bit. it's more of a mixture of Cap's, Bucky's and what they did to Wanda and her brother. you have the super solider serum, with the possibilities of enhancements. I need to go back to where they were keeping you, I need to see that paperwork and figure out what they were trying to make you into"

"they were trying to make me into another asset, since Bucky is gone" she told him, standing up and walking towards the door "thank you Tony, I really appreciate it"

It was more than she expected. She never had an idea of what they were doing to her. If she tried asking or anything, it usually meant a beating and three or more days in the cell, no food or water or anything. She learned to accept it. Knowing now, hurt her. There was only one person she wanted to talk to, but he was gone. She was surrounded by so many people, but she felt so alone.