Strangest of Places

When Steve Rogers meets a mysterious young girl late one night at a coffee shop, he has no idea what he's gotten himself into.
At first, she seems innocent enough. Dark backstory, tough upbringing and set as an outcast for most of her life. But during their encounter, something unexpected happens with him and the girl, causing Steve to ask questions about his newly found acquaintance.
Then one night as Steve is sleeping peacefully, a loud banging comes from his front door, and when he opens it, it was something he definitely did not suspect he would ever see.

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3. Mind Tricks and Alleyways [PART: 2]

To both of their unfortunate luck, Bucky and Luci were stuck with each other the next couple of days. Well, it's not like Luci could anywhere with her ankle. Sure she spent most of her energy healing herself, but it usually caused her to black out and get a blood nose some of the time. She didn't really push herself this much in using her powers but she wanted to get her ankle healed as fast as possible. Plus, Luci had shared her power between fixing the injury in her head (that one didn't take much but it was better to be safe than sorry) and her bruised up and broken ankle. It took a lot of energy every few hours when it regenerated so she usually slept all the time because of it and also ate a heap because it took so much energy. Using up that much power in just two days was extremely exhausting. But, it was worth it in the long run.

By the end of the second day, Luci's ankle was almost fully healed. The bruising and swelling had gone down immensely and her head injury was a thing of the past. She could limp around a bit now but if too much pressure was applied to her ankle, it would hurt like hell, so Luci was careful.

Bucky rarely talked to her - like, ever. The whole two days Luci had been crashing at his place (she couldn't go home just yet because of her ankle) and he had only spoken a few choice words to her, asking her to mostly 'shut up' because she sang most of the time and seeing if she needed refreshments or anything. It was quite boring to Luci actually. There was nothing else to do in the run-down and small apartment except watch crappy soap operas and read the newspaper. There were no books, video games, movies, nada. Luci had never been so bored in her entire life; plus Bucky wasn't much of a conversationalist so that didn't help either.

Around 6:00pm on the second day, Luci was out of ideas for passing the time. She actually wasn't sure where the apartment was (even if it was still in Brooklyn) so she couldn't go out and explore. Bucky was no help. He just shut himself in his room, away from her and away from the world. So Luci had to improvise with what very little she had. She searched the apartment and soon found herself an empty notepad and pen. Luci had never considered herself an artist, but she was a doodler and she didn't really care what she drew when she lifted the pen from the paper. She just let her thoughts go wild and it usually turned out alright.

Luci sat on the couch for a while, drawing whatever came to mind. She made several mistakes - as any artist does - but eventually she became with what she had drawn and held the notepad at a distance to look at it better. It was a simple drawing of Prospect Park in the spring. There wasn't much colour to it since she only had one drawing utensil but it looked okay nonetheless. The were children playing on the lawn, families sitting and enjoying a picnic in the warm sunshine, people flying kites etc. Luci hadn't been to Prospect Park in a long time; she was surprised that she'd even remember what it looked like. Every little detail. Luci sighed and tore the page off of the notepad and folded it neatly into her pocket. She planned to colour it in later, whenever she got her hands on some coloured pencils.

Bucky still wasn't out of his room by 7:45pm and Luci was starting to get hungry. She put the notepad and pen down on the coffee table as she stood up and began hobbling towards Bucky's room in his small apartment, hoping to get at least a few words out of him on what they were going to eat tonight. Luci knocked on Bucky's door and waited for an answer. Not that she'd suspect to actually get one but it was worth a shot. Silence, typical. Luci knocked again but still heard nothing.

 

"Bucky. Hello? Anyone home?" she called out but no one answered. "Bucky, c'mon. You can't hide in there forever. You have to come out some time to eat. By the way, what's for dinner? I'm hungry."

 

"Go away, pipsqueak," came a voice from the other side of the door. Glad to know he was actually alive in there. "You've been a nuisance to me these last few days and all I want is some peace and quiet. So shut up and go away."

 

"But I'm hungry," Luci whined like a four-year-old. "I want food."

 

Bucky went back to being a silent hobo.

Luci groaned and stormed away, being careful not to apply too much pressure on her foot, before waddling back over to the couch and flopping down onto it. She sighed and let out a huff of air as she lay her head back and stared up at the ceiling. This was boring. The whole place was boring. Bucky was boring. Everything was boring! And Luci was hungry, but Bucky wouldn't even lift a pinky to help her since she was the cripple one. Why did life hate her so much?

Luci thought about going back to Bucky's door and annoying him until he helped her - but that would just put him in a pissed off mood and not benefit Luci in any way. Then Luci suddenly remembered the orphanage she was put in when she was twelve. Don't ask why, but it suddenly came to her in this dire moment of boredom and she figured it might just work. Sitting up a grabbing the notepad and pen off of the coffee table, Luci made her way back over to Bucky's shut door and sat down outside of it in the hallway. She then began scribbling some hastily written words on the paper before taking it off the notepad, knocking on the door and sliding the paper under it. If Bucky wasn't going to talk to her, she would just have to improvise.

Luci waited and waited and waited. Several moments felt like a lifetime before she finally heard footsteps coming from the other side of the door and she stared at the floor, waiting for the paper to show under the crack between the floor and the door. At first, she felt like she had let her hopes get up too high and that Bucky wouldn't respond (it was a long shot) but soon the familiar piece of paper found it's way back under the door with a new addition to it. Luci read it over and smiled. This might just work after all.

 

Hey, Bucky. What sound do you think a giraffe makes, Luci wrote.

 

Why would you be asking that? Bucky wrote back in reply

 

I don't know. It just seemed strange that I've never heard them make a sound before.

 

You're so weird. And annoying.

 

Thank you. I do try. Am I good at it?

 

Exceptionally.

 

YAY!

 

Luci sent the paper back under and waited for a response with a small grin on her face. She hadn't done this with someone in... well, nearly five years. It was fun and she forgot how silly and childish it could be. However, it did seem to be a good way of being able to communicate with Bucky and if it worked, it worked. At least, he wasn't being a total dick.

Until he sent back a reply.

 

Look, could you just leave me alone? he had written. I've put up with you long enough and I just want my own privacy, in my own place if that isn't too much to ask. By myself.

 

Luci pursed her lips and bit the inside of her cheek. Well wasn't Bucky just a ray of sunshine all of a sudden?

 

"You don't have to be such a jackass!" Luci said aloud and snatched up the piece of paper in frustration. She had just wanted to have a normal conversation with the guy, without him being a complete ass the whole time; was that too much to ask? "I just wanna have a regular conversation with you like a normal human being."

 

"Well, pipsqueak, neither of us is even close to being normal," was Bucky's reply from the other side of the door, sounding annoyed and exasperated. "So if you're looking for a 'normal' conversation with a 'regular' human being, look somewhere else, because you sure as hell won't find one here."

 

Luci felt her heart sink to her stomach. Bucky's words twisted in her head and made Luci think that he was calling her 'not normal' - to an extent he was but he didn't mean it that way technically. All her life, Luci had been cast out as a 'freak of nature' or 'abnormal', and no matter how many times she heard it, it still hurt. Her eyes began to well up and her blood boiled as she remembered all the names and insults she had been called over the years. She hated being an outcast and not able to fit in, it's what Luci hated most about herself. But this time - this time she wasn't going to let it affect her. This time, she was going to stand tall and build her walls up a little higher.

Luci slowly got to her feet, her jaw clenched and hands curled into fists of rage as she rose from the ground. Bucky calling her 'not normal' was something she wasn't going to tolerate and she was going to prove how much his words actually meant. Luci stood tall in front of Bucky's door, it taunting her from hiding the so-called 'Winter Soldier' behind it. It just made her more mad.

Without warning, Luci's right arm shot into the air like she was punching something invisible as a wave of bright purple energy shot from her hand and blasted towards the door. The door blew back with such a force that it banged into the wall behind it and slowed to a slight sway as Bucky stared at Luci from inside his room while he sat on his bed, eyes wide in shock and disbelief with some anger fitted into the mix. Luci still had her arm stretched out with her fingers sprawled apart like a spider before she lowered it and returned Bucky's hard stare with a cold one of her own, hers full of hatred and rage while a small glimmer of sadness hid behind it. Her cheeks were stained with tears and her eyes were red and slightly puffy.

They stared at each other as if in the world's most intense staring competition, neither of them moving a muscle for a few moments until Luci was the first one to break the silence.

 

"Don't ever call me 'not normal' again," she spoke in such a low and menacing tone through gritted teeth that it would've struck fear into the bravest soldier. Bucky sat on his bed, unfazed but still in shock. He pointed to his now wide open door that Luci had seemed to have blasted open.

 

"If you broke my door, you're fixing it," Bucky said.

 

Luci sneered. "Oh suck it up, snowflake," Luci spat, tired of trying to be polite and nice. "Now get a coat and some shoes on. I'm hungry and we're going to go get some food. No arguments."

 

Bucky began to open his mouth in protest but Luci had had it; she stormed - well, limped - away on her crippled ankle and went to go get ready herself, leaving Bucky alone on his room wth his mouth left open in an attempt to start protesting but failed. Not once had he told what to do by a moody teen. On the other hand, he made himself a vague self-note not to mess with the crazy chick with superhuman capabilities.

__________

 

In the quiet 50's themed diner, Luci and Bucky sat at a booth at the far end of the restaurant whilst Luci inhaled her food like her mouth was a deep, black vacuum of space. Bucky wasn't eating anything, even though he had ordered himself a burger with a side of fries, but he was giving Luci a strange look as he watched her devour her Beefy Bacon Burger Deluxe in what seemed to be in less than under six minutes. It was ridiculous and inhuman; it was liked she just unhinged her jaw and ate it a few bites. Weird stuff.

 

"You eating for two over there?" Bucky remarked as he cocked an eyebrow at the teenage girl sitting in front of him.

 

Luci paused for a few moments and stared up at Bucky. "Hmm?"

 

Bucky rolled his eyes. "I said-"

 

Luci burped loudly, interrupting Bucky which caused him to stare at her in shock. Luci patted her chest and coughed.

 

"Phew. Big one," she said and wiped her greasy hands on her jeans. "And no, there's only one of me over here and I ain't sharing. You gonna eat that?"

 

Luci pointed to Bucky's burger and fries with a hopeful look in her eyes and Bucky just silently slide it over to her; attacked it within moments. This was not natural.

 

"Uhh..." Bucky as unsure of what to say as Luci ripped apart his burger like she was a tiger feasting on a small mammal. He cleared his throat. "So... your powers."

 

"What about 'em?" Luci replied with a mouth full of burger.

 

"How long have you had them?"

 

Luci shrugged and swallowed. "For as long as I can remember I guess. I discovered them when I was about five - no, six, and I got a kid stuck up a tree at school."

 

Bucky quirked an eyebrow. "What made you stick a kid up a tree?" he asked in confusion.

 

"He was peeving me and being a bully -  and I don't like bullies, mind you," Luci explained. "So I got mad, right, and wanted to embarrass this kid so bad that he'd be scarred for life. What I wanted to do was drop a bucket of mud on top of him from the tallest branch in a tree. Next thing I know, he suddenly flew upwards into the air and was hanging up on the tallest branch of a nearby tree by his toucan undies for the whole 1st grade to see. I then wondered if there were any other cool things I could do experimented with a few more times after that, like levitating books and such, before I finally mastered it and got some pretty cool tricks up my sleeve. Some kids caught me doing it sometimes when I was practising and went and told the teacher, who luckily didn't believe them, but they still taunted me and called me names."

 

Luci continued eating the rest of Bucky's burger without missing a beat as patrons came and went into diner whilst waiters served the customers with amazing skill as they rolled around the diner in roller skates, dressed in attire from the 1950's. 

 

"So that's why you got so pissed before," Bucky mumbled, recalling the events from before in the apartment. "You thought I called you 'not normal' and blasted my door down."

 

Luci furrowed her brow and put a fry in her mouth, moving onto those as she finished her burger. "But you did."

 

Bucky shook his head. "No, I didn't, as a matter of fact. So that means you owe me a new door."

 

"But you said-" Luci paused and thought about what Bucky's words had been an hour ago and sagged her shoulders once she remembered. "Oh."

 

"Yeah, oh."

 

Luci sheepishly looked away and nibbled on a fry as she stared at the television hanging on the wall that was stuck on the news channel. It was a report about some petty shoplifters that were caught stealing a packet of cigarettes from a drug store downtown. Nothing new.

 

"What else do you know?"

 

Luci turned her attention back to Bucky as he spoke. "What?"

 

"What else do you know about me through your little mind-reading trick?" Bucky asked, slanting back in his seat with one leg up on the leather-padded chair and one arm one the table. "Did you find anything else?"

 

Luci furrowed her eyebrows. "Why would you ask that?"

 

Bucky shrugged nonchalantly. "Just curious is all. It's not very day you get your mind read by a random chick you saved from getting assaulted in an alley."

 

Luci narrowed her eyes and ate a fry. She stared at Bucky for a few moments. "You wanna know if I found out about anything from your memories that you lost when you became the Winter Solider."

 

Bucky froze for a few seconds as his heart thumped against his ribcage. She wasn't wrong, to be honest, in fact, she was spot on. Bucky had figured that maybe, just maybe, that if Luci's powers were strong enough, she could be able to dig up any memories of his past life that Bucky had yet to remember and maybe he could piece them together.

 

Bucky nodded slightly. "Yeah, that's it."

 

Luci inhaled deeply and finished off her last fry. She was seriously the human version of a black hole. "No," Luci shook her head. "No, I'm sorry, Bucky. I didn't find anything that wasn't already blocked."

 

That was half a lie. Luci had found some things, but there some pictures and fragments of Bucky's memory Luci had come across that she couldn't understand or comprehend properly as if someone had tampered with them.

 

"Blocked? What do you mean by 'blocked'?" Bucky said, his confusion levels rising.

 

Luci shrugged and dusted the crumbs off of her hands. She wasn't so sure herself. "I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with HYDRA brainwashing you which caused those memories to block me from access. But in other words, there's no way I can get to them."

 

"Can't you try?"

 

Luci looked at Bucky, shocked. "I'm sorry, what?" Luci wasn't sure she had heard right. Did Bucky say that he wanted her to dig around his head for memories? No one was ever willing to let her do that.

 

"Can't you try and unblock my memories, or find some way to uncover them?" Bucky repeated, slight hope rising in his chest as he waited both patiently and impatiently for Luci's answer.

 

Luci sighed. She'd tried it once, but to make a long story short, it didn't turn out very well. "I don't know, Bucky. It could be dangerous. But maybe next time, okay?"

 

Bucky wasn't believing what he was hearing. This was possibly his only chance at getting his memory back and the person capable of doing it, wouldn't do it? This was unfair and Bucky wasn't going to let this go that easily.

 

"Please, pipsqueak. I need my memories," Bucky pleaded, grasping Luci's wrist from across the table and it holding tight. "I need to remember who I was."

 

Luci yanked her arm out of Bucky's grip with a slight bit of restraint but nothing too drastic. As much as she disliked Bucky, she felt sorry she couldn't do more to help him. "I'm sorry, Bucky. But no. I'm not doing it," Luci stood up and pulled out a few notes of cash out of her back pocket before counting them up and tossing them onto the table. "Besides, I've overstayed my time in your 'humble abode' and should really be going my own way. Again, I'm really sorry, snowflake, but I've got places to be."

 

Luci began to head for the exit, leaving Bucky alone in the booth they had occupied for the evening. She wandered past couples and families who had decided to dine at the restaurant as well, and couldn't help but feel sad and envious of them. She'd never experienced having a proper family; the only thing she had left of her biological parents was a strange box about just a small as the size of her palm and no matter how hard she tried, it wouldn't open. She'd tried prying, blasting it, using her teeth, but no matter what, it was like it was glued shut.

Luci sighed and shook her head; she'd half expected Bucky to come running after her and demand that she unblock his memories, but she knew that it was too much of a risk. However, he didn't. Luci left the diner and put up her hood as she made her way home. She'd realised that Bucky's place wasn't actually that far from hers and that the diner was halfway between them, so she started walking home, opposite to Bucky's place. Cars drove past on the road with their headlights gleaming brightly in the dark night while pedestrians wandered along the sidewalks. Luci kept to herself with her head bowed and eyes trained on the ground. She knew her way home, it was just a matter of getting there without people seeing.

Soon Luci came to a familiar alleyway that was vandalised with graffitied walls and broken beer bottles littering the ground with trash bags lying next to dumpsters. A fire escape hung above Luci as it built it's way up along a brick wall along apartment windows. The fifth floor, that's where Luci was headed. Looking around at her surroundings, no one was really paying attention to her so she wandered into the alley, keeping a low profile. Luci's beat up sneakers trodded along the cobbled ground as she kicked away an empty soda can towards a lone rat that was huddled against a wall, it screeching and hissing at Luci before running away behind a dumpster. Luci sighed, her breath becoming a visible white cloud in the cold air as she looked up and noticed the fire escape ladder hanging above her head, just out of reach. Luci groaned internally; she hated being short.

Luci looked around for anything that might be of service to helping her reach the ladder, but finding nothing big or sturdy enough that she couldn't lift by herself or cause too much attention. Why did she have to pick the fifth floor of all places?

Thinking she'd have to resort to finding a sheltered dark corner out on the street if her options came to that, Luci looked more thoroughly at the junk surrounding her, spotting an old crate hidden behind some garbage bags. It looked sturdy enough that maybe Luci could stand on it and possibly jump up and grab onto the ladder, but considering she didn't want to risk hurting her ankle more, she wasn't sure if she should do it. But what else could she do? She couldn't exactly walk in through the front door, she'd end up tripping the alarm and having to make a run for it before the cops came. So the fire escape was her only choice.

Luci positioned the crate just below the ladder and placed one foot on it; the crate wobbled slightly but was sturdy enough that she was able to put two feet on it. Slowly reaching above her to try and grasp the ladder, Luci strained her limbs and stood on the balls of her feet as she groaned and extended her muscles as far as she could. No luck.

Luci sighed and steadied herself again on the crate as she came to her only option for reaching the ladder; she would have to jump. Of course, she could always heal her ankle afterwards if the injury worsened, but she didn't want to use up her energy and collapse on the filthy and unhygienic ground. She had to be careful and not put too much pressure on her ankle as she jumped, otherwise, she didn't know what her options were.

Preparing herself for the jump, Luci bent her knees and got ready to spring upwards. She took three deep breaths, counting to three in her head, and jumped as high as she could, accidentally kicking the crate out from underneath her. Her hands found the second ladder rung and Luci held on for dear life, her breathing hitching in her throat as her body dangled beneath her. Acting quickly, Luci hauled herself up and used all her upper body strength to climb up the ladder with just her arms until she could get her feet stabilised. She took a deep breath of relief and was surprised to see that the ladder didn't give out under her weight and slide down.

She spoke too soon; the ladder suddenly gave way and rolled down towards the ground. Luci let out a small scream as she fell towards the ground at an alarming speed as she rode the ladder downward, preparing for the inevitable, but nothing ever came. The ladder stop with a jolt and Luci was holding on as tightly as possible, her knuckles going white while she visibly shook from the shock. Slowly, Luci opened her eyes and saw that she was only a foot off of the ground, the ladder suspending in midair. Luci released the breath she was unknowingly holding and rested her forehead on the rung in front of her, catching her breath and inhaling deeply. Who knew she would get such a thrilling and free amusement park ride?

Luci began climbing after a few moment to herself and made her way up the ladder then proceeding to go upward to the fifth-floor window where her 'apartment' was located. Technically it wasn't actually her apartment, she didn't even know the people who owned it, but through her amazing powers of mind reading, she had discovered that the apartment had been unoccupied for nearly two months while the people who owned it was on a vacation cruise for three months. Luck sure did have its moments when it favoured Luci.

Luci entered the apartment, shutting the window behind her as she shut out the sounds of Brooklyn below. She proceeded to then wander over to the light switch and turned on the lights which lit up the apartment. Luci shrugged off her hoodie and took the contents she had in the pockets before placing the objects on the coffee table and throwing her hoodie into the laundry bin for when she'd have to wash it later. It was extremally filthy, as was her other clothes, but she'd have to worry about that later. Luci was in desperate need of a shower.

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