Hell Bound

Start by pulling him out of the fire and
hoping that he will forget the smell.
He was supposed to be an angel but they took him
from that light and turned him into something hungry,
something that forgets what his hands are for when they
aren’t shaking.

When is a monster not a monster?
Oh, when you love it.

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27. Chapter Twenty Seven

I wasn’t eager to figure out what the hell was going on in my book, but Bucky was. He insisted that we needed to talk about it, privately. And he wasn’t going to stop pestering me until we did. And he actually used those words. So I helped him up the stairs, and we returned to my bedroom. He sat down on the bed, breathing heavily from his trip up the stairs and I sat down beside him. He immediately got to work. He opened the book, turned to a page, and showed me where the letters were bolded.

“It starts on page thirteen,” he told me. “Which happens to be the day of your birth, according to your birth certificate. I don’t know if that’s a coincidence. The first few pages spell out ‘Beata.’ Then ‘Weisberg.’ Then a few pages later there are three bolded letters. I, G, and H. Several pages after that I managed to pick out the word Sokovia.”

“And the numbers?” I asked. He showed me where various numbers had been added to the ends of random paragraphs. They were in a nearly identical font, and would have gone completely unnoticed if he hadn’t pointed them out. I stood up. “Let me get my laptop.”

I kept my computer in the spare bedroom. I meant to take it out before letting Graham take the room, but I’d been a bit distracted by Bucky turning up covered in blood. So I crossed the hall to get it and returned to Bucky’s side a minute later. He called out the numbers for me, and I typed them up. Then we both sat there staring at the screen as the coordinates came up.

“Where is that?” I asked.

“Ohio,” he replied. I nodded slowly. “Middle of nowhere.”

“Only about an hour and a half away from the town I grew up in, which is coincidentally in the middle of nowhere.” He glanced at me before going back to the book.

“There’s more in here, but it’s not as easy to understand. He was good. All I’ve been able to get after that is a bunch of random letters and numbers. I don’t know what they mean.” He showed me his notebook, where he had written down all that he picked out of the book so far. “It’s not uncommon for teams like yours to have their own codes and languages so they can communicate nonverbally or without being intercepted. The Commandos had a similar system, but this is unfamiliar to me.”

“You remember the Commandos?”

“I remember enough.” He flipped the page and handed the notebook out. “See if you can come up with anything.” I took it from him and looked over the code he’d written down. The sequence seemed far too random for me to come up with anything. It didn’t look familiar. I shook my head.

“I don’t think Russell ever showed us a code like this. If he did, I can’t remember it. But I can’t remember half my training either. I used to think I had Post-Traumatic Stress, but now I’m not so sure.”

“Russell wouldn’t have given you this code unless he thought you could understand it. Can you think of anything at all?”

“No, I don’t…” I paused and sat up straight. “My parents had a code,” I told him. I moved the laptop aside so I could face him. “When I was a kid, my mom had a code. I never learned it. But she used to write letters to my dad in this code because he was always into puzzles and things. I remember her writing them during the day when we’d do our homework. I remember thinking it was weird that she seemed to have this code memorized, but he didn’t. Like it was constantly changing.” He studied my face for a moment.

“Or it was following an intricate pattern,” he said. “Did you ever see your dad decode them?” I shrugged and shook my head.

“If he did, I never paid much attention to it. You don’t think we should ask her, do you?”

“No, absolutely not.”

“Don’t tell me you don’t trust my parents either.”

“It’s not that I don’t trust them. It’s that I think your parents are keeping information from you.”

“Why?”

“Parents are—unpredictable,” he explained. “They will lie, cheat, and lash out violently when they think their children are threatened. If your mom has a code this complex, a code that evolves or changes as it’s being written, then she learned it from someone else. Your mom has no military background, and no offense, but I have no reason to believe she could come up with something like this on her own. She has no legal or biological contacts, according to her records. Someone either taught her the code or developed it with her.”

“That’s only if it’s the same code. It could be something completely different. I was a kid. She could have been using a Little Orphan Annie decoder ring for all I know.” He looked very confused. I shook my head. “It’s a movie reference. Forget it.”

“We can’t ask your parents because they will lie if they think it will protect you.”

“Then what do we do?”

“We need to find Russell. In the meantime, I’ll keep trying to make sense of this.” I lifted the notebook and looked over his handwriting. He’d written the code near the back of the book, which made me wonder what was in the rest of it.

“You looked up their history, didn’t you?” I questioned.

“You’re connected to a woman who died the day before you were born. I thought it might be important to find out how you got involved.”

“What did you find?”

“Your dad’s father owned a newspaper in Southern California and was a member of a secret organization that disbanded in the late 1940’s. That’s why they relocated to Ohio. He could have picked up a code there but…”

“You think it’s connected?” He shrugged.

“Could be,” he decided. “But I don’t think it’s your father. I think it’s your mother.” My mom was the sweetest little old lady on the planet. I couldn’t imagine how she would have made unusual connections.

“Why?” I questioned.

“Because she had a younger brother who disappeared in nineteen-eighty-four.”

“The year that Russell’s alias appeared.”

“Yes.”

“So you think—my former commanding officer was actually—my uncle?” He didn’t say anything. He was staring at the wall. His eyes had gone dark again, and his jaw was tight. I got the feeling that it wasn’t what he was implying at all. “You don’t think he’s my uncle,” I stated. He shook his head slowly.

“Biologically? No.”

“Then say what you’re thinking.” He turned back to me.

“I don’t want to say it because I know you’re going to try and avoid it again.”

“Just say it.” He took a deep breath.

“I think he’s your father.”

I was silent for about half a second before I shut the laptop and went to return it to Graham’s room. I didn’t really want to take it there just in case I needed it again, but I needed to get away.

“Goddamn it,” Bucky said from behind me.

I understood why he was frustrated with me. I’d be frustrated too. But I didn’t know what else to do. He was saying something that could potentially change my whole life. Something I’d never want to think about.

I set the laptop down on the desk that was now piled with all the books Graham wanted to read. I tapped my fingers on the lid a few times before turning around. Bucky was right where I thought he’d be. Standing in the doorway, bare-chested. I should really get him a shirt.

“She died the day before you were born,” he reminded me.

“Yeah, so?”

“So there’s no record of your mother giving birth. Not to you. Just a birth certificate. There’s no record of doctor’s visits or nurse’s logs or time in the hospital. There was plenty of paperwork on your sister. She had a high-risk pregnancy. She saw a doctor at least once a month. Sometimes more. She spent four days in the hospital to recover. You? You just appeared.”

“That doesn’t mean anything. Especially if someone has been tampering with my records. They could have hidden that information.” I went to pass him, but he was blocking the doorway. I forced myself to look at him, but I couldn’t make my expression any warmer. I was biting the inside of my lip and trying not to scowl. I know he was trying to help, but it felt like a personal attack.

“Why would they hide information like that if it didn’t mean something?” he asked me.

“You think this Beata woman was my mother?” I questioned. He nodded slowly. “You said she died the day before I was born.”

“No,” he said. “She died the day before your birth certificate was fabricated.”

My chest felt heavy, and I was finding it difficult to breathe. I wanted to run away. I wanted to leave my house and never come back. I didn’t want to talk about this anymore. This is why I wanted to avoid it in the first place. I was perfectly happy with the parents that I had. I didn’t want to lose them.

“They would have told me,” I tried.

“Not if they thought it would put you in danger.”

“I just need to be alone.” He moved out of my way, and I returned to my bedroom. But I didn’t invite him back in. I shut the door so he couldn’t follow after me. I was sure Graham could help him back down the stairs.

 

 

So this little "suspicion" was not supposed to be made until much much later. But shit happens, I guess.

Also, in season 2 of Agent Carter there was a character who owned a newspaper in the little secret gentleman's club society thing. And I'm like 80% sure the guy's last name was Hayes. Unfortunately, they didn't show much of him or what happened to the club after the finale. So I didn't have much to work with, but you know with Marvel fucking everything is connected. So I decided to add that little tidbit in there. Jo's paternal gramps was probs a major asshole and did a lot of illegal stuff prior to transferring to Ohio.

But was he REALLY Jo's grandpa? We just don't know. Well, I do. But not you. Or do you? I just don't know.

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