Napalm and Apple Pie

February 25, 2015: Captain America visits Winter Soldier for his first round of interrogation after being captured by the Americans. Note, this scene was run March 12, 2015 and is back-dated.

American Military Base

Outside of Gotham



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Mood Music:
Shine on You Crazy Diamond, Pink Floyd |

The Winter Soldier's down to cargo pants, boots, his mask, and a few rolls of tape wound around aching ribs and fading bruises. His cell is small, bare save for a cot, and lit by a single tile in the ceiling; either it or one of the prison's interview rooms could easily serve as a venue for interrogation or conversation if the right person asked.

Either way, his hands and most of his arms are almost entirely enfolded in bulky metal restraints secured by a chain to a collar around his neck. Eventually, once the tech team has a chance to examine him and determine a way to do so without hurting him, the limb will be removed; until then, it's the meta-grade restraints for him.

"You sure you wanna do this?"

Steve Rogers turns at the waist and raises an eyebrow to the Junior field agent standing beside him. He doesn't talk. The look on his face says enough. There is one person who should talk to James Buchanon Barnes, in Captain Rogers' opinion, and that man is Captain Rogers.

"Visitor," says the guard outside the door as the metal bars grind a bit to open up. Steve, wearing his uniform without the helmet enters quietly and takes a seat across from Bucky.

He doesn't say anything for a long moment, but he finally rests his arms on his knees, hunches his back, and looks up towards his best friend, "How much do you remember?"

Seated on the cot with his restraints resting on his knees, the Winter Soldier's eyes have been fixed on the door for hours, rarely blinking and never changing otherwise. His breathing's been steady and the visible half of his face has remained frozen as odds are calculated and re-calculated.

This changes when Steve arrives: his gaze bounces towards the Sentinel of Liberty, narrows, and holds as fire flickers in his eyes. Air is audibly sucked in and held, released some seconds after the Captain sits; new odds are run, extra variables considered. He drinks in every last detail of the man across from him as his eyes scan across his form.

Maybe ten seconds after the question, electricity momentarily arcs across his upper arm before fizzling out into a hiss of smoke and the Soldier's nostrils flare.

Sixty seconds later, he finally replies: "Not enough," with a hint of anger underlying his usual monotone. "Are you here to gloat? To spin more lies?" After a visible moment of sizing the Captain up with a vertical eye movement, he adds: "To finish what you started?" in an accusatory hiss.

Steve sits up just a bit straighter as Bucky tries to make a move. He grimaces and tilts his head. "What do you me by lies?" he asks, calmly. "Buck, I remember a lot. You're an American hero. You were lost during the war. And you're my best friend."

He looks up towards him, trying to meet his gaze. "What did they do to you, Bucky?"

The Soldier's lip curls at 'Buck', air is drawn in sharply through clenched teeth, and his body visibly tenses as if the word were a shot to the breadbasket instead of his name.

His ankles are cuffed to each other, but nothing else, so before Steve can get all of his second question out, he tries to take advantage of this by lunging at his former best friend, intent on—

Really, he isn't entirely sure of what he means to accomplish by throwing himself at a super-soldier without the use of his arms or legs; a headbutt, maybe? It doesn't really matter, because as soon as he passes some invisible border in the cell, his muscles tense even further as the collar administers a shock that sends him sprawling to the ground in front of Steve.

"You— " he forces out through an agonized grimace as he strains to push himself up to his knees. "— and him— murdered— my sister."

It feels like someone's plugged a live wire into his nervous system, but he manages to straighten up enough to toss his hair back and look at the Captain, eye to bugged out, agonized eye as he spits out, "You— and Bucky— tried— to murder me; 'they' told— me— the truth!"

"I'm not sure who they are, but you are Bucky. Your name is James Buchanon Barnes. You were born in Shelbyville, Indiana. You're an orphan — Your father was killed in a military training accident. Back when you joined the army, they didn't have age requirements in the same way they do today. You became my partner when you were 16. I'm not sure who brainwashed you, but I'm not going to drug you. I'm not going to operate, or put any memories in you. All I have, Buck, is the truth."

Steve sighs as he slides his hands up and down his thighs. "Frankly, I want my best friend back. Do you remember anything? Anything from before?"

"James— Buchanan— Barnes— is— a dead man!"

Every word is a struggle as long as he's this close to the Captain— or, rather, this far from the cot; veins bulge all over his body as he tries to force himself just a little bit closer, but it's ultimately futile. He has to retreat, which means flopping and rolling away like a fish until he bumps against the edge of the cot.

Once there, he pants loudly, glares at Steve, and intermittently twitches.

And remembers the smell of Chanel and gun oil pressed into a pilot's cap.

And the glare of harsh lights and impatient directors tired of trying to make actors out of soldiers.

He remembers boarding a plane side by side with the best comrade he ever had.

He remembers falling; he does not remember stopping.
"My— father— " he stammers after half a minute of staring somewhere between Steve and the door behind Steve with gradually widening eyes. "— he is the one who— saved me from you," he forces out. Whatever fire that might've been stoked by Steve's arrival is gone; he may as well be reciting the words off of a prompter. "And gave me— his face. I— you— you will not— take him— from me."

Whether he's trying to convince Steve or just himself, his expression remains rattled, even with the monotone voice.
"I remember— nothing— before waking up as this."

Steve remains patient and calm, the flip side of the coin from the rage that bellows from the Winter Soldier. He takes a deep breath as Bucky retreats towards the cot.

"I'm not going to give up on you, Buck. You're still you, no matter what these bastards did to you. You mock yourself—This? You're an American hero, Bucky. You should be proud of who you are and I will not leave you until you remember. I can be patient, and my doctor assures me I look to be living for a very long time."

"I'm with you till the end of the line, Buck. Always have been. Always will be."

The Soldier's eyes roll down from Steve as he speaks to stare at the restraints— and, past them, himself.

There's no immediate response to any of it, but that last promise elicits a wince. Or, maybe it's the fact that he's got his banged up torso pressed against the cot that causes him to wince; either way, he looks uncomfortable.

"I'm not a hero," he murmurs a few seconds after it. "Just a soldier fighting for something that you and— 'America'— " There's a hint of venom dripping from the word, but it's nothing like the hate he managed to summon up moments ago, "— could never understand. Something— better— than it. Than you."

Following a couple of beats, he breathes out, "For peace," in addition to that. "Real peace."

"I don't doubt that you believe that, Bucky. But for a guy who says he believes in peace, you seem a lot more willing to fight than to talk." With a weary sigh, Steve stands up and begins to move to the door. "Guards."

There's the metal upon metal screech of the unlocking doors that open for Steve before he looks back at Bucky, "Your meal will be coming soon. I had to pull some strings for you to get apple pie. It used to be your favorite. I hope you enjoy it."

And, unceremoniously, Steve leaves the cell.

"I was not trained to talk my way to a better world," the Winter Soldier notes as Steve stands. "No more than you were to disarm threats to this degenerate country with your words."

His brows lift at the mention of apple pie; he can't remember the last time he's had it(what with its decadent, American associations), but he can almost taste it melting together in his mouth while sticky filling drips down his chin.

Not that he says thank you while Steve leaves; he's too busy staring at the man's back. Once he's alone again, his attention returns to the door for a while, gradually falling back down to the restraints as minutes tick by, then ultimately just staying there.

The memory of drifting endlessly in freezing water prickles his skin and briefly robs him of air before passing with a shiver and a small, clipped noise; the beginnings of a scream, a sob, or some other foreign sound.

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