Till The End Of The Line

Chapter 9

"What do you plan on doing?" Natasha sat on the bench next to Frankie, handing her the cup of tea. The sun was beginning to set. It was starting to get a little bit warmer now, the sun casting orange and pink all over the sky.

She'd arrived at the compound just a few days ago, still avoiding Steve and Sam at any cost. Wanda had reached out to Nat to let her know Frankie was here and within a few hours she was sitting next to her. Frankie had been keeping to herself. Sitting with Tony in the lab, talking about what had happened to her or running a few more tests. They agreed they'd return to the place she was held hostage to find the paperwork of whatever they were doing to her, if it hadn’t been destroyed. She was having trouble talking to Steve, scared of what he'd do or say if she knew anything that happened after he'd left her.

"I just don't know what to say to him" she looked over at Natasha who looked wearily and tired. She'd been trying to find Bruce. Fury was informed the quinjet when down near Fuji, so that's where Nat went. "He'd kill me if he knew the truth"

"Yeah but you might be stronger than he is now" she joked, getting a little chuckle from Frankie. "So tell him about the enhancement first. Does he desperately need to know everything right now?"

"It's Steve. You know he's been asking a million questions already" Frankie rolled her eyes. The two sat in silence for a while.

Nat informed Frankie that they'd gone to her apartment and collected anything of importance. Everything related to her grandfather or the howling commandos had been collected and placed in a storage unit. Thanking her friend for doing that, she smiled at Nat. She told her everything. Bucky's arrival, the episodes, when he showed the real Bucky, the break in, cabin and being kidnapped. Natasha sat in horror. Frankie saw the rage shadowed on her face when she told her about the episodes, when he hurt her and when he didn't immediately leave the boat to go find her. Frankie explained she'd instructed him not too, because she didn't want them torturing him.

"You didn't want them getting him because you love him don’t you" Natasha stared at her while she looked away, the sun finally disappearing and the stars brightly lit in the sky. Biting her lip, she wasn't really sure on how to answer that.

In her head, she always justified telling him to leave because she didn’t want him going through the pain anymore. Being used as a machine. All the memories he had left were of killing, being brainwashed and hurt consistently. She didn't want him going through any more pain. She looked up at Natasha, her eyes starting to overflow with tears.

"I just didn't want him to be in anymore pain" she told her. Nat nodded, wrapping her arm around her friends' shoulders.

Friday rang out informing the two in the courtyard that dinner was ready. Walking up the stairs and into the kitchen they saw the entire team sitting around a large table, plates of food everywhere. Tony had hired a chef to make a family meal, everyone all together. Clint even flew in. He stood, hugging Frankie tight and kissing her cheek. She had to remember not everyone was made aware of her enhancement. She continually had to remind herself not to squeeze too tight. Sitting between the two people she was trying her best not to talk too, she smiled. Vision sat at the opposite of her, nothing in front of him. Chuckling to herself, she watched as everyone ate and he sat in silence. Vision tried his best to smile at her, making her chuckle a bit more.

Once dinner ended, the chefs brought out dessert and coffee. Interrupting everyone's laughter and fun, Frankie stood up and stared out the window. Her mind was going a million miles a minute. While everyone was smiling and enjoying the company, her mind only thought of Bucky and how alone he was.

Bucky hadn’t moved in days. He laid still, the old mattress forming around his body. His eyes were blood shot, sleep deprivation was taking control. He'd charged up his cell phone, trying multiple times to call her phone in hopes she'd answer. It continually went to voice mail, but he tried multiple times a day. He was hoping Steve had found her. It was only a matter of time before he would. Closing his eyes, he thought about her. Safe and sound with Steve. Protected once again. Happy. For the first time in a while, he'd actually get some sleep without waking up screaming.

"Francesca, are you okay?" Vision asked, joining her in front of the window. "it is such a beautiful sky"

"Vis, please call me Frankie" she smiled. He places his hand on hers, smiling back. "I have to go back to where I was held. To try and get some answers. But I'm a bit nervous"

"The bunker withstood the explosions. It is still there. The information you seek will be waiting for you. No current beings are there, you will be safe" he paused "would you be more comfortable with more backup, I wouldn't mind joining you. I'm sure Steve and Sam wouldn't either"

"Tony and I will be okay. Thank you Vision"

Tony packed his personal jet with a few days' worth of supplies. Feeling like a burden, Frankie tried her best to help. As per requested by Steve, Tony would be recording their trip, allowing Steve to watch from the compound. Frankie was trying her best, but it was still difficult for her to talk to the one person she used to tell everything too. But she had requested that he let the two of them handle this themselves, making a note that Tony would have his suit.

"I'm going to be watching and if I see anything I don't like I'm coming" Steve told her, holding her tightly and kissing the top of her head as he always did.

"when I get back Steve, I think it's time I finally tell you some stuff" she promised, looking up at him.

He was starting to notice some differences. She wasn't as short as she normally was, the muscles in her arms and legs were more prominent, there wasn't a single flaw on her anymore. The scar she always tried her best to hide from the car accident was now missing. Steve always said she was perfect before, but now she was flawless.

Both Tony and Frankie sat in the back as the plane flew itself. Tony lounged, a large cup of coffee sitting next to him. Frankie caught him every so often looking over at her. She'd noticed her hearing was a lot better than it used to be. Her contacts were no longer needed. Her strength was nearly twenty times more than what she was used too. Each passing day she learned a new thing she could do.

Bucky had taken up residency in Bucharest. He never really left his little apartment. Being alone at all times again was starting to take a toll on him. He'd gotten used to having someone by him at all times. He liked the feeling. He had the windows covered in newspaper. His to-go back was hidden under the floor board by the back door. He was starting to give up. He'd traveled a lead to the Ukraine. He found a bunker recently destroyed. It seemed as if there were a lot of people there, but it was empty now. After making his way back to his apartment, he sat on the mattress and read the note again.

"I'm so sorry Frankie" he mumbled, folding it and placing it next to the picture he had of the two of them from the cabin.

The landing on the bumpy mountain side cause Frankie a little nausea. She was shocked that she was held in such a place. Never really seeing it. Tony clicked on the camera, saying hi to Steve and Sam before he continued to the door. Steve made comments that he was uncomfortable with Frankie not having anything while Tony had his suit on. Mumbling she'd be fine, the two of them continued.

Frankie rushed into the bunker, making a b-line straight to her cell. Tony followed, yelling at her to slow down. The water was high. Frankie splashed making her way to the door that she heard slam so many times. Tony stood on the stairs, the camera pointed right at her.

"Tony, what is she doing?" Steve asked, in the reflection of the water you saw Tony shrug.

A smile grew on Frankie's face when she saw the door had been pried open. One very strong hand mark imprinted on the steel. He had come. It was too late but she was happy knowing that he was looking for her but said that he could've came sooner and got himself hurt. Throwing the door to the side, she had a little knot in her stomach. What if he was in the room, if Tony saw him what would he do. She was happy to see it empty, but hurt a little bit. She wanted nothing more than to see him again. Dragging her legs threw the water she reached the little bed she would lay on for days at a time. She flipped it, grabbing the brick that she once hollowed out and grabbed the phone. Shoving it in her pocket before Tony could see, she made her way back to him.

"What was that?" He asked. She stared at him as she led him back towards the lab.

"that's where I was held. That was my cell for nearly three years" she mumbled.

It was quite while they searched through the lab. She grabbed any papers she found while Tony cleared all the hard drives of each computer onto his flash drive. Underneath the towers of papers, she found the folder that had her name on it with a big red classified stamped on it. Leaning against the steel table she'd always be laid upon, she opened it.

Serum injections began three months into captivity. No signs yet

Year into injections, serum beginning to combine with blood cells. modified from original serum

Subject starting to exhibit asset strength. Still has not located original asset. Enhancement serum to follow

Subject to be scheduled for last serum. final stage.

"what's that?" Tony asked as they placed everything in the jet to bring back to the compound. She placed the folder in his lap as she sat down to buckle herself in "they were really trying to make you into another Bucky huh?"

"yup. without having to do the brainwashing. it took too much time. the next injection I was scheduled to get was a memory wiper. It in the stack of papers. They'd been testing it on civilians"

The entire flight back to the compound all you heard was pages being flipped. They both immediately made their way to the lab and began reading through it all a bit more clearly. The two of them danced around each other, passing back and forth some papers, throwing away anything that was of no importance. Steve came in, bringing them both something to eat but they couldn't stop working.

They finally had answers to what they did to not only Bucky but now Frankie.