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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22. Chapter Twenty Two

Even though the couch was uncomfortable with two people, one of whom was pretty tall, we managed to fall asleep without a problem. The only issue we faced at all was when Bucky woke up with a start, and his first instinct was to shove me away from him. So I woke up being knocked off of the couch and onto the floor between it and the coffee table.

“Shit,” Bucky said as he peered over the edge of the couch and I reached up to check my head for blood. “I’m sorry.”

“I’ve never heard you cuss before,” I noted. He reached his metal arm down to help me back up.

“Are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Banged my elbow on the coffee table, but I’m sure I’ll live.” He helped me back onto the couch and sat up so he could examine my elbow. I could already tell that nothing was wrong with it, but I let him check anyway. “What happened?” I asked him. He shook his head.

“Remember when you said you see things you thought couldn’t be real? Or maybe you just don’t want to believe they’re real.”

“Yeah, I understand.” He continued to run his fingers over my elbow even though there was nothing left but a pink mark and a fading ache. “What do you see when it happens?”

“I see the people I killed. Sometimes I see things I know can’t be real. I’ve seen myself kill him a thousand times.”

“Steve?” He nodded.

“This time, it was you.”

“You saw yourself killing me?”

“I saw myself shoot you.” Then he looked back at me. I could see that he didn’t remember. He had no idea. There was such a look of innocence on his face before he read my expression and his eyebrows rose. “It was real,” he stated.

“I don’t know if what you saw was real but…” He moved his hand away from my elbow and into the collar of my shirt. He pulled it aside to expose the scars. His thumb grazed over the surgery line.

“I did this to you.”

“You saved my life.”

“How?”

“You bought me time on a technicality. They told you to shoot me. Not to kill me.”

“I’m sure it was implied.”

“Do you think? They want me alive, remember?” I shrugged. “Doesn’t matter anyway. You gave me enough time and a big enough distraction to hold them off until Stark got to me.”

“I shouldn’t have…”

“There was no other way.”

“You believe that?”

“Yes.” He took a deep breath and released my shirt.

“That wasn’t the first time I’ve seen you,” he told me. “Sometimes I see myself choke you until you turn blue. Sometimes I’m holding your head under water. What happens if I lose control again, and that becomes—real? What if I make it real?”

“You won’t.”

“You don’t know that.”

“Yes, I do.”

“Wanting to believe something isn’t the same as knowing. All I did was knock you off the couch. What if I’d thrown you across the room or snapped your neck?”

“I wouldn’t let you.” I knew I sounded naïve, but I didn’t want to believe he was capable of that anymore. I wanted to trust that he could stop himself before it went too far. Even if I didn't entirely believe that myself.

“You wouldn’t have had enough time to stop me.”

“I’m not going to let you go, Buck,” I snapped.

He paused and studied my face. The sky was growing lighter by the second. I was almost embarrassed about how those words had spilled out of my mouth before I could stop them. I didn’t know what made me say it. We really didn’t know each other all that well. My only defense was that I could claim the feelings were still platonic. I couldn’t love him romantically yet, but I cared enough about him to love him platonically. And I’d hang onto that until I knew how to deal with the fact that I desperately wanted to kiss him. And I hadn’t even bothered to find him a shirt even though I knew I still had the ones he left behind.

“Why?” he finally questioned. I knew he was going to ask, and I was angry at myself for not preparing an answer while he was quiet.

“Because,” I started. “I think—some people are worth holding onto.”

“Even me? You know nothing about me.”

“I know that Steve loves you, and that’s good enough for me.”

“I ruined your life.”

“Don’t say that. You didn’t ruin my life. You gave me a purpose. I had nothing before I met you.”

“And what do you have now?” I put my hands on his shoulders but looked away at the floor instead of his face.

“Something I don’t want to lose again,” I admitted slowly.

“Would you fight for it?” he asked. I opened my mouth to speak but stopped when I heard a door open upstairs. Then I pulled away from him and stood to my feet.

“I’ll get the coffee started.”

I wasn’t ready to answer that question. I knew he wasn’t asking me to fight for him or whatever we might possibly have going on between us. He was asking me if I was willing to fight against HYDRA if I had something I thought was worth holding onto. Did that mean I’d be ready to defend myself if they came for me? Would I be willing to hide behind my friends and allow them to protect me? Or would I go away so that he could run and not be burdened by my vulnerability?

I wasn’t sure that I could do any of those things.

 

 

So teeny tiny. I would have added it to the next chapter but it didn't feel right and might have been too long if I did. So I left it as is. Sorry sorry.

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