Title: Blood Moon
Characters: Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Natasha Romanoff, Clint Barton if you squint. Agent 13 if you squint really hard.
Summary: A little AU scene set on a rooftop during tonight’s solar eclipse. Post causeway incident. Pre-Hydra hullabaloo. In which you can pretty much ship any ship you want. For now.
Steve stood on the roof of his building looking up at the sky. It was a balmy spring night. The evening breeze swept across his skin, a ghost caress in the midnight hour. All was quiet now. Most of the city slept, including his attractive blonde neighbor. The only noise was the occasional purr of an engine a few streets over as cars passed on the main thoroughfare.
He’d been told tonight’s moon was a rare sight, the first in a tetrad of lunar eclipses…a blood moon. He watched as shadow slid across the full white expanse of dead rock floating in the sky, long lost sister cast out violently eons ago, left forever to gaze down on what she could no longer have, what she could no longer be a part of. He thought of the man he’d fought earlier that day, the one that looked so much like his friend.
Who the hell is Bucky?
He’d say it was impossible but all he had to do was look in a mirror to know that wasn’t true. Anything was possible in this new world he’d woken to. Aliens, false gods, metal men.
They call him the Winter Soldier. He’s a ghost. You’ll never find him.
A rustle of fabric just then, and Steve turns, startled, almost. Speak of the devil, he thinks. Devil in a red dress, devil with hair like fire to match the burning in her heart.
“Can’t sleep?” she asks.
Steve shrugs. He’s leaning against the brick wall separating him from the street below. Jeans slung low and tight t-shirt hugging company manufactured muscles.
“Thought I’d take in the show,” he replies, nodding up at the red moon.
Natasha approaches slowly, leans her slight frame against the dusty and rust stained bricks. The loose threads of her sweater catch on the rough stones but she pays it no mind. Instead she looks up at the sky, thoughtful. The fingers of her right hand play with the charm dangling from the chain around her neck when she speaks next.
“We’re all looking at the same moon,” she says.
“I don’t follow,” says Steve as he looks at her.
She spares him a glance and then looks back up at the moon. “It’s something someone told me once. Right now, at this very second, the person who was hired to kill us is looking at this moon. Or maybe the person we’ve been ordered to kill.”
Steve shifts, turns to face her.
“Or maybe a past lover,” she continues, “Or a future one.” She looks at him. “And we’re all thinking the same thing.”
Steve’s brow creases as he tries to parse the meaning of her words.
“We’re thinking it looks beautiful. We’re thinking we’re safe, in this quiet moment looking at the sky.”
Natasha turns her head, scanning the cityscape, searching.
“Problem is,” She stops fingering the charm, lets her hand drop and steps away from the wall, “we’re never really safe.”
Steve crosses his arms in front of him.
“Nat, what’s going on?”
She smiles weakly. “Nothing,” She heads for the door leading to the stairwell. “I couldn’t sleep.” She pauses. “I’m worried about a friend. That’s all.”
The Soldier had his sight trained on the target, finger ready and itching. It was easier than he’d expected, so easy to track the man they called Captain, like a wounded deer leaving a blood trail through the forest. He didn’t even try to hide his tracks.
The word bounced around his head like a bullet, painful and loud in his skull. It transformed with every pass as his mind chewed on it and spat up memories the men in the lab coats tried to make him forget.
He remembered the smell of popcorn, the taste of cotton candy in his mouth and the weight of a girl in his arms. He felt the kick of a rifle hard against his shoulder, the scent of weapons fired and the lick of flames against his skin, sharp and stinging. He remembered dancing, and a midnight kiss, and somehow, inexplicably, he remembered the man standing in the crosshairs of his weapon, remembered him the same way one recalls part of a dream but not all of it. His memories were like the shadows that slid across the moon that night: blurry and dark, eclipsed by the work of the machines that stripped him of identity, making him more efficient, more lethal.
His finger rested on the trigger, pushed and pulled the tiniest of fractions, torn between duty and the desire to know his past self, to know the truth.
The thin line of his lips tightened. His finger began to press down. He was going to do it.
He would have, if the door to the roof had not opened at that very moment.
The woman from earlier, the one that had almost bested him, approached the target. He could see them speaking, could see that it was casual, filed this information away for later. He watched as they spoke, too far away to discern their words. He saw as she looked up at the sky and he followed her gaze. The moon hung red and fat in the sky, a blood moon they called it, a hunter’s moon.
When he looks back he sees that she’s leaving, sees her turn to speak once more, and then sees his target embrace the woman, arms wrapped tight around her, chin resting on the top of her head. He feels something, something he can’t entirely identify. He lowers his weapon and watches as they leave the roof together, the man’s hand resting lightly on the woman’s shoulder as they go. He has another sliver of a memory, of wrapping his strong arm around a slight shoulder, bony and thin, the stench of garbage permeating the air.
Sometimes I think you like getting beat up…
He doesn’t know who said it, doesn’t recognize the voice. It’s another piece of a puzzle that doesn’t seem to fit and he wonders briefly if the doctors have poked around his head one too many times, if everything in there isn’t just some scrambled, irretrievable mess now. He wonders how long before he’s the target, before they decide he’s a risk and not an asset. He looks up at the moon again, can just see the edge of bright white sneaking past the Earth’s shadow. Tonight seems like as good a night as any to try and learn the truth.
He climbs down from his hiding spot, switches out his gear from military to civilian, and heads for the museum.