Pre-Edit Count – 2,157 Words
Song I listened to for this chapter: Fuckin’ Perfect by P!nk
Hank is tired of losing family.
After several hours of solid work where they tried to make no mistakes while, at the same time, working as fast as they could, Loki and the rest had done their parts. Now under the direction of the Lady, the three are placed in the room by themselves, with only Bella and Bucky touching. She had warned them all that there was going to be fireworks as well as they may all scream since the pain will be high, but none of them could interfere.
Of all of them, Steve had to be strapped down with some restraints that the Lady brought with her, telling him that if he breaks out of these and goes to interfere with the other two, the three vampires will be in here to restrain him.
What none but Loki know, is that when he infused their serum with the venom, she had helped add something to her two champions. As she told Loki, if the worst happens and he is overtaken again, they will need a defense against that as well.
He had not been happy since she implied that there was more coming, that they will have more confrontations to come. But in his head, he is told that after it, there will be a chance. A small one, but an opportunity for him to meet his Enchantress.
That had been what he needed to hear, and he swore that he would keep the worlds safe in order to make sure things like what happened to the Shield doesn’t happen to his Enchantress. But he swore his loyalty again to the Shield, and the Lady blessed him, unknown to him since he does have his part to do. Loki’s story is a side note to the main story, for her Shield’s and her Warrior’s stories are the endgame, which will involve the two of them in the end.
It has always been one of her weaknesses, she never likes throwing away her tools when she is done with them. She would rather reward them and have them live their lives than to discard them as others have done in the past.
But now she waits with the others to see what her champions will choose to do. She has given everything to them to make a choice. With that thought and a prayer, she nods to the people waiting for the signal.
With a push of a button, the three individuals are injected with the new serum, and the world holds its breath to see what will happen.
Bella feels her pain escalate then suddenly she is in a park like the ones she had found in different areas her mother had moved her to. She notices that she is sitting on a swing, the place is empty even though it feels like it should be busy. It is also very, very quiet.
As she looks around, Bella suddenly hears someone walking on grass. The soft swoosh of well-watered grass, meaning that she is not in Arizona, and not helping her place the location more than that.
She turns to face the sound, and finds a clean-cut Bucky standing in front of her, in his hands some long grass he is shredding, his face looking around them. He reminds her a lot of the Bucky she had seen in Steve’s pictures and the newsreels she had seen when she was younger that had shown them both.
He then turns to her and smiles. “Hi, I’m Bucky.” He has waited a long time for this moment and is nervous about meeting this Dame more than any other in his long life. This one means something more than any other had in the past. She is everything to him.
Bella cannot keep the smile from appearing as she answers, “Hi.” Then she realizes that unlike her, he has no past references to be able to clue into who she is so she introduces herself, “My name is Bella.”
His smile widens and he tells her, “I know. I woke up after you did whatever it was that helped me clear my mind. Steve was a little shocked, but he told me as much as he could before they put me out.” His eyes move over her, taking in the differences, minute as they may be, from the version he had seen on the table, full of pain from all she has suffered because of the vampires. Noting them in his mind, he is determined that she will resemble this pain-free version as soon as possible: She shouldn’t return to it without him doing all he can to fix it.
When she realizes what he just said, Bella’s eyes widen, “Put you out?” Bella can’t help but wonder why he would need to be restrained since her trick should make him safe again. It made her worry that maybe she had failed on her one mission.
Smiling ruefully as he realizes that he made her worry, Bucky then crouches down in front of her. As he pulls some more grass out of the ground, Bucky explains with his eyes mostly on her, but also looking around the park for any dangers, “I was in pain, seems I ripped myself out of Cryonics and hurt myself. But I felt that you were in pain, so I needed to find you.” His eyes slide to watch her, to see her reaction to his admission. He needed the grass to keep his fingers busy or else he would be doing something else: He’d always had to hide his fidgets from everyone. He gathers a few flowers to use his nervousness to give his girl something.
Blinking in shock, Bella can’t help but ask, “Why?” Why would he rip himself out of Cryonics, why would he hurt himself, why did it matter that she was in pain, and why did he need to find her? None of this is making any sense. Her eyes are drawn to his hands as she notices he is weaving a daisy chain.
Smiling down at his hands, Bucky answers her, “Because you are the one I have been waiting on. I did much, suffered through much for this chance.” He shrugs as if dismissing the reasoning, because to him it didn’t matter. He grabs another flower and weaves it into the chain.
Shocked, Bella becomes very still as she tries to understand what he means.
He nods to himself, knowing that he needs to explain more. Bucky begins, “A Lady came here, well she came to me often, but she offered me choices. I didn’t like them, but I understood that I did have control during a time I thought I was stripped of it altogether.” Frankly, now he can see it was the hope and the choices that didn’t make him worse than he is now. Bucky would have had only had portions of his memory, as well as nothing being in the right order. Whatever Hydra did had screwed up a lot of his mind, but this woman in front of him, and the Lady, made it possible for him to still have his mind intact.
He looks up into the trees surrounding them, his fingers still busy with their task, and Bucky bluntly confesses to her, “I hated my choices. I chose to allow a murderer to live before he committed his crimes to accept the deal to be able to be here now. I had to choose to kill my friend. I had to choose whether to kill a woman who wanted it, thought she deserved it. But I left her alive. The last one was my best friend. The one who would never give up on me. That one I liked but hated having to walk away from him at the end. But the other choices would have allowed millions to die in New York City to start with.” He closes his eyes briefly in memory of all those that he had chosen to let die. For now, he is grieving them, not the ones that he had no choice in killing nor the ones his actions caused suffering too.
Bella is shocked with his admissions, and without meaning to, she asks, “Who? And what do you mean millions to die?” How could his decisions affect millions? And who would put that on someone’s shoulders? How would they be able to live knowing they had to make those choices on someone’s life?
Bucky looks down and, tying off the daisy chain, stands up to put it on her head before softly answering her. “I murdered Howard Stark and his wife. Without their deaths, their son would not grow up to be Iron Man and save the world: It was mainly New York City. At the time I had no other information, but I know now that the crisis was a nuke fired at the city to take care of a threat that the Avengers were already dealing with. The second choice I made under her deal was on a woman called Black Widow. She too was part of the group to save New York. The third I told you, though it was after New York, without him, I wouldn’t have had this chance to meet you.” He pauses so he can ready himself to tell her the first-choice he ever made, the one that sent them on the road that led here.
Taking in the information, she finally whispers hoarsely, “You saved me too.” Bella’s eyes are wide with the realization that if it had not been for those two people, she would have been dead too. So, his decisions saved her life as well.
Bucky jerks his head to hers, and demands from her, “Explain.” He still needs to know what she is telling him. He had never been told that she was one of the lives that he had saved with his actions. While Steve had been one that he had been upset with him slightly, he also acknowledged at the time that Steve’s hero complex would have him in any situation that meant their hometown would be at risk.
Swallowing, Bella remembers those days. She shrugs as she tells him, “I was in New York City when all that happened. Agent Coulson had asked me to come to reunite with a missing family member. It happened to be at the time all that happened. After being told there was someone in the main lobby of the building, Steve came to find me when I was hiding a bunch of children in Stark Tower under some security desks. After that, it came out that he was the one I was invited to see, but since Coulson had died, he never had the chance to tell him that he had family there.” She remembers their conversation as they passed the time while they waited for someone to help them get the kids out of the area without being more traumatized with a fond smile.
Clenching his teeth, Bucky stares at the scenery, his mind and emotions rolling deep inside of him. He finally takes a deep breath, and mutters, “Without making the right choices, you would have died. I only made one selfish mistake with you so far.” He reminds himself, telling himself it didn’t matter, she is fine and right there in front of him.
With that Bella lifts her eyebrow to him, silently asking what was he talking about.
He sighs and then turns to crouch before her on the swing. “My first choice, to show me the stakes and what was to happen was to save a sickly boy on his deathbed. It had been right after I was born, but because of the circumstances, I had the choice to allow him to live long enough, or for him to die right then and there. I found out that if he died, you would die before I ever got the chance to save you. I left him alive, though I knew he would kill, he would go on and cause trouble, that he would hurt you worse than any mortal wound. All because I wanted to meet you.” He is silently begging her to understand what he had done. This is the moment Bucky was afraid that she would reject him, to know that he could have saved her from suffering, and didn’t.
Bella understood suddenly, and she whispers, “Edward.” Bucky had the chance to change her fate by not allowing him to be turned into a vampire?
He nods, still watching and hoping for the best, not wanting a clue of the worst.
Shaking her head, Bella asks Bucky, “Why would you want to meet me?” What would make her worth him doing all that to meet her?
He smiles at her, “Because I wanted to meet the one woman who would be my perfect equal.” He had not wanted to dream too much about her, knowing how much it can hurt to not meet those ideals. But Bucky had held the hope of her against all the pain and suffering he had gone through.
She starts shaking her head, “There is so much wrong with me. Edward leaving like he did messed me up big time. You deserve more than me.” Nobody ever wants her. Nobody ever has, except a forever teenager who wanted to mold her into what he thought he wanted. Nobody cared except when she got sick. Why would this hero, this person who has his life to live now, free from all, save anything to do with her now that he is free?
Bucky shakes his head, denying her. While there might be things wrong with her, what could he complain about when she had to deal with his history and issues?
Getting angry at him, Bella jumps off the swing, shouting, “I am nothing! Everything and everyone leaves me. My parents didn’t care about me until I was sick. I don’t have a heart to give anyone because it was torn from me. You deserve someone who is whole and will love you. The Lady is wrong, and no matter how many times I told her this, she just smiled and ignored me. I agreed to help to free you since no one deserves to have others tell them what to do and you couldn’t fight them,” She yells at him. Frustrated that here was another telling her that she will be his. Bella felt that there was no time left and feeling so rushed is making her yell at him instead of being calmer like normal. Like how Steve and her new expanded family had taken a chance to show her to control the pain.
Bucky takes her comments, and when she went to grab something, he steps forward and takes her hands in his. “You are perfect to me. I don’t want some woman who never went through hell on her own. How would she understand what it was like when I had no control? How would she be able to forgive me for all the death I caused? So Edward tore out your heart. We will work together to get it back. I too have so many heartbreaks that the only thing left in life for me is Steve and you. You are important to me, even if not to anyone else. You are the one that has gone through lived life after the bad decisions I made. The bad I caused. I did so much to take apart this world, that only the chance of you forgiving me has me able to agree to keep going.” His blue eyes search hers, looking for understanding.
When Bucky’s words find a resonance in the woman in front of him, he can see it in her brown eyes. “I just want to make sure you are safe, that you have the time to find yourself. I have faced down my demons, and am more than willing to meet yours with you. But only if you can give me a chance.”
Kneeling before her, Bucky asks her, “Are you willing to give this broken man a chance? An opportunity to prove that I will never leave you, that I will love you and never hold back. To be the perfect choice for you, the only one I want to be ideal for. Will you do that?” He stares into her eyes, begging her to give him that chance as he lays it all out at her feet, letting her know what she is going to receive by accepting him.
At that second, it seems everything in the world is waiting for her answer and Bella’s tears fall. “It’s not that easy. It’s never that easy.” She shakes her head remembering how hard being with Edward had been. She had to fight to stay by his side. Everything, including Edward himself, seemed to get in the way.
Smiling at her, Bucky lets go of one of her hands to wipe the tears off her face gently. He knows what she is talking about, and explains to her softly, “This time it really is. Think about it. How much hatred and pain are out there? How often are we told that there is one person who will understand? Already our souls know their other half. Our hearts even know, but our minds are the enemy. Your mind is telling you that you are less than perfect, that there will never be someone that you are worthy enough for. But don’t you think I think the same of you? That I am not perfect for you, worthy of having such a beautiful woman have anything to do with me, but kill me? I have done so much that I regret, even though I wasn’t in control. But at the same time, I did choose some of what happened, and I will live with that guilt, as well as the guilt of seeing so much pain that I caused with my own hands.”
He cups her jaw with the one hand as he brings her hand to his heart, “Will you give me a chance? Will you allow me to show you that we are worth it? That we can break out of this game of self-doubt? Will you allow me a chance to love you, and to gain your love for myself?” He is begging, not too proud to do anything to get the chance that he thinks they both deserve after talking with her.
She shakes her head, “How could you love me? You don’t know me!” No one can fall in love with her! Those that knew her in the past have all left her, as she forgets those that have surrounded her and stood by her. All her mind is remembering is all those years of loneliness before.
He gives her a sad smile, “But I do, Bella. Did I not explain what you are thinking?” Bella is right, he does not love her exactly, but he understands her, and that is starting that feeling in him. He knows that it will grow, and Bucky is eager for it.
When she swallows and nods, he tells her sincerely, “I will give you all the time in the world. And I can love you all I want, for it is my heart, my feelings. It may be small, but I can say with certainty that it will only grow as I get to know you more. For you are perfect to me, I just wish the chance to prove that I am the same to you.” He explains to her, making sure that she understands how he feels. And that she has no right to tell him how he feels.
Closing her eyes, Bella finally understands what he was saying all this time, and she answers him, “Yes.”
The serum infusion had gone smoothly for Steve, and he was gasping from the effects, but he is done with the change. He sits up and looks over at his sister and Bucky. He had heard nothing but a short scream from Bella, but now that he is up, he can smell and see her tears falling down her face.
Before anything can happen, a pulse of light occurs from where she and Bucky are touching and then it pulses again, taking over the two. It pulses a few more times, then it goes away.
He can’t help but ask, “Are they okay?” He hears nothing from them which would indicate the pain he had suffered from in the past was present, and he cannot help but be worried that something had not worked right. Neither are reacting as he had in the past. As much as he knows and respects the two for their strength, not to hear anything worries him.
The Lady appears beside him, and with tears on her face, answers him, “They are perfect.” Finally, there is hope for them and the rest of the universe.
Final count: 3,535