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 Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair

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VampireCat92
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:24 pm

For his second visit James meant to admire. Admire he did, though...not exactly in the same way he intended.

While Angelina hopped around the shop asking River about this blanket or that tapestry, and wanted to know when her next class was, James hid behind one of the tall racks full of small cross stitch pictures. He enjoyed the way his daughter's eyes lit up, and River's own eyes were tender and /adoring/. The way he talked to Angelina made his chest feel warm, and his stomach do flip-flops. River was...a beautiful person. Sure she had curves in all the right places, even looked delicate and graceful in the way she moved, her fingers long and whimsical, her face not too round but not too sharply angled. Her physical appearance was certainly something to be desired. Yet, her personality was what really got him. Kind, understanding, willing to listen to Angelina ramble.

With no drawing or painting class today, as per informed by their facebook page, James had...let go a little bit. No hat, nothing to hide his face. Then he wore a dark red silk shirt with a collar, picked a black jacket but still had his usual glove to hide the metal. His jeans were a dark blue and flared over his favorite pair of boots. For all his memory's worth, he didn't really understand why he more or less 'dressed up'. River's facial expression when he walked through the door had been worth it, though.

Angelina was looking at one of the blankets that River was showing her and she hummed. “It’s a baby blanket.”

“One of my students has a little boy.” River agreed. “He’s getting so big that I’ve been having to make bigger and bigger blankets and things. Johanna can do a lot of it herself, but…she’s been having a hard time trying to juggle a life and motherhood.”

Angelina nodded her agreement. “Uncle Steve liked the pacifier.”

River cracked up. “It was all Vince and Calla too. They wanted superheroes and it was down to Captain America and the Black Widow. Johanna chose Black Widow and Vince was treated to dinner for a month afterwards. Calla was /so/ certain Captain was going to win.”

“There’s a girl that I know named Vibrance. I dance with her. She’s a Captain America fan. She always is wearing Captain American things. A few nights ago, she made nothing but Captain America tradables. Someone joked about changing her rave name to Electro Captain but she said no.”

"That sounds silly anyway," James came back around and walked towards them, tucking his hair behind his ear, "Do you go to raves, River? Or Calla?"

River shook her head. "Loud music and dancing isn't really my thing. I like to do my cross stitching or crocheting when I have down time. Vince sometimes goes but that's only on a blue moon and to pull Zan out of a bad situation if there is one. Calla I don't thinks all that fond of them."

This was new. Angelina looked between the two of them like she was watching a tennis match. Her father's thoughts were /very/ on to River. Her likes, her dislikes, the way she acted with Angelina, how beautiful she was (the beauty part seemed to be the loudest thought) as well as the odd small tiny voice that'd ask "I wonder if she's single". Did her dad...like River?

"How many people do you usually have in your classes?" James tilted his head curiously, "I'm sure Zan said something about my headspace. I don't really like crowds, either. Loud noises are terrible, especially if I'm not prepared for it. Someone dropped a box of soda in the store the other day and I didn't even buy half the things I went there for."

"It was a bad moment." Angelina agreed.

River shook her head. "If Johanna has a baby sitter then I'm looking at six people in my class. Johanna's my youngest. The oldest is about forty. I don't get many teenagers in my classes like Calla does. We're also very quiet. Super focused on our work. If you'd like, you can come observe. I have had people who would do that and bring by coloring books or sketch books or what not when they were afraid to go home. No one minded."

"What about your stitching class?" Angelina asked curiously.

"That one I have three students for, all of them teens." River agreed. "It's not the most popular class, but it's quiet then too."

"As you get older your fingers and eyesight don't like looking and working the tiny stitches," James shook his head, "I like older people. Listening to their stories and it makes their day, too, having someone to talk to. If the Fates permit it and I don't have anymore bad breaks, I'll come to your crochet class to watch. If I'm watching do I gotta pay?" he arched a brow.

"Only in food." River shrugged. "If I'm not reading the vibes wrong."
"You're not." Angelina muttered to herself.

"What kind of food do you like?" James blinked at her, "I've been teaching myself to cook, with a little of Dylan's help here and there. Though, I think the sweet baking is more Angelina's thing. Her chocolate chip cookies and brownies are great."

"I'm not picky." River blushed brightly. He was going to /cook/ for her? She could squeal, though she wouldn't dare get her hopes too high. "Just nothing that has fish in it."

Angelina decided that fudge would be fun to make. It would go well with whatever type of idea her father was having. His mind was going through pages and pages of cookbooks right now, already planning for a meal that may or may not happen depending on his PTSD.

"No fish. Okay. That still leaves me a million options," James rubbed the back of his neck, "Help me out a little bit, at least. I made chicken and rice, stir fry with rice and also stir fry with noodles, a couple soups..."

"What's your favorite dish?" River asked immediately.

"Uh...um..." James mentally blasted through the dozen or more food he's made so far, "I'm going to be really lame. I felt like experimenting with something that wasn't in a cookbook one day, baked some chicken nuggets and made mashed potatoes - red skin potatoes mind you - and mixed it all together with cheese. Grilled cheese with ketchup is amazing, too. I like the simpler dishes for my favorites, though I gotta make big meals since I have a high metabolism."

"Then why don't you make me something like that? I could go for simple." River grinned. "Though if you wanted a challenge, you could do something you've wanted to try in the cookbook but never got around to making it before."

"Okay. That helps," James nodded with a small smile, "We'll see what happens between now and then, huh? Angel, love, did you find yourself a blanket you'd like to have similar to mine? You have been eyeballing it lately." He didn't want to leave without buying something. Hell, if he could he'd buy the whole damn store, but that'd require a house and he was quite happy with his apartment right now. "I, myself, have been looking at those coasters. Made sun tea one morning and condensation was all over the table on my glass."

"I can make you a blanket if you want Angelina." River turned to face her with a smile. "Wouldn't take me long. Probably a week if you want me to make it special."

Angelina blinked at River's kindness and she looked between her and her dad again. Why did her dad suddenly think of a house before shoving it aside? It made her wonder. She didn't know what the correct response was to this.....

"You know...didn't you tell me after your first rave with Zan you were given the name Neon?" James asked gently, fluffing at Angelina's hair playfully, "Maybe a blanket that makes you think of the happy and fun times you had there?"

"Neon. I can make a blanket that looks like that." River smiled, her eyes twinkling. "And you don't get to worry about price. Either one of you." Angelina was a bit taken aback. Did she read minds? "I rarely do crochet commissions." She explained. "So it'll be the same price as for a normal blanket."

"Make it out of heavier material if you can? Angel is a little different than me. The heavier the better, makes her feel grounded where I feel confined," James explained to her, "It'll be perfect for the winter coming up I think."

"That's fine. I understand that." River nodded and smiled over at Angelina again. "Do you have a winter or fall celebration you're looking forward to?"

"I know there's Halloween this month...I heard from Vince you celebrate it differently?" James asked, "Angelina...hasn't experienced any of the upcoming holidays before."

"Samhien." River's cheeks flushed. "Well both holidays are super fun. We like to go all out for Samhien. Make sure our apartments and store is nice and scary so that when the kids come by they have something to look forward to. I always have a big, big bowl of candy to pass around too. I carve pumpkins too. I'm a bit of a traditionalist that way." She shrugged. "Of course the difference between Samhien and Halloween is that on Samhien I ask for the dead to come and visit. A small festival where they can return and see how the living's doing and impart any last minute advice they have on to us. Things like that."

"Do you switch out a normal class for pumpkin carving? I've never carved a pumpkin..." Well, that /might/ be a lie? He didn't /remember/ if he had or not, anyway. "I'd love to see your store all spookyed up. Maybe if we become friends well enough you could convince me to help decorate. Hard labor and all," he smirked.

"I thought we already were." River smiled warmly at Bucky. "If you want to learn how to carve some pumpkins I'll let you know when I'm planning on doing it. I have a /bunch/ of supplies. Vince will probably help out though I'm sure I could convince him to let it just me."

"Please?!" Angelina squeaked. "I never carved pumpkins either."

"Well now I have to do it." River grinned brightly. "That's just a shame."

"Looks like we got ourselves a deal! Vince is certainly welcome to join in the pumpkin carving, and Calla, too. We'll drag Dylan and Zan from their apartment on top of it," James laughed softly, grabbing the coaster variety bundle off of the hanging rack and headed for the cash register. He could feel his step was light but not to be quiet. He was happy. Quite happy. Today was a good day.

()
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Wed Sep 28, 2016 8:50 pm

That's just the way it goes isn't it? One day is great and going good, the next everything comes crashing back down. James would be able to roll with the punches if it was a nightmare again. Nope. This time his daughter was basically paralyzed on the bed, bloody sheets, and sobbing. After helping her to the bathroom and setting her in a nice warm bath that wasn't too deep so she could sink into the water without drowning, but high enough the warmth would seep into her sore body. It was about...six? Sun wasn't even coming through the blinds.

Zan didn't rave nor did she work, but he needed her help. Tired eyes and dragging feet, James jingled Zan's number, simply told her he had an emergency, and opened the door when she showed up maybe fifteen minutes later, "While Angelina is in the tub, will you help me go to the store and buy women's supplies?" he said first thing, "I didn't know her cycle was irregular. I've never experienced it. I don't know what she needs."

Zan could understand why. Heavy brainwashing and severe conditioning probably made him forget a lot of things that he probably already knew or didn't know. She didn't really know /how/ much time was spent out of Cyro, let alone with his daughter. "I think I have some extras." She said seriously. "Though I'm mostly a tampon person, I'm /certain/ I have pads running around. Not that they actually run." She hastened to assure. "But I have some. It could help tide her over for a bit while you and I go to the store. Is she okay by herself for now though? Like...she's not needing you?"

"I put her in the tub...sobbing too hard to tell me anything besides that she hurts," James' expression was miserable, "I asked her if it was okay if I left for a little bit to get her what she needed and she nodded. I figure I have until the water goes cold, so an hour? I'm thinking a heating pad for sure. She has her fuzzy blanket, but I know she's going to get hot and cold flashes. Some more tea. A variety of pads and tampons so she can pick and choose?"

Zan sighed softly and he carefully shut his door. "Let's go ahead and do that." She murmured gently. "She's going to be just fine James." She promised gently. "Though if her cycle is really off like that, I think you should consider taking her to a special doctor for it. An OBGYN. They can see if it's something wrong or if its just constant stress. Maybe give her something for the pain and cramps and what not. Though we don't have to talk about that right now. Let's just get things done first."

Oh, great. Doctors. Paperwork. Needles and white walls and sanitizer. He would have to move along in his previous idea. "I know you don't work today, but do you think Steve would be at the cafe?" He asked as they headed down the stairs.

"He might be..." Zan pursed her lips together. "Why do you ask suddenly?"

"I have...to ask him a favor. I can't take her to the doctor. I'm just as terrified as she is. Yet they need...a family member or guardian. She may be eighteen, but she wouldn't understand half the questions they ask on those stupid sheets of paper." James fiddled with his hat. "I wanted to ask him in person, when I made contact with him, but...this might be an emergency that throws a wrench into that plan."

Zan nodded. "He doesn't have to know where you live." She said slowly. "We can still hide you." She tapped her finger to her lips. "But this is up to you. Let's worry about getting her her stuff, making sure she's alright first. She's our priority right now."

"Right. Thank you," James nodded and focused on the task at hand.

~*~

Once Angelina was all tucked up in her bed with clean sheets and a cup of warm tea in her hands, James had left in order to do laundry and Zan walked back in to the room.
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:26 pm

Angelina noticed that Zan had a grey book in her hands along with stacks of paper and a small blue basket that was filled with scissors, hole punchers, and stamps and stamp pads. She set them all down and she noticed a stack of photos. A lot of them had people dressed up in costumes, but there were some from the Raves, there were some that looked like just random pictures taken on a phone. Of Dylan. Of Vince and River. Of River’s class. Of Calla and River. Of Calla’s class.

“What this?” Angelina asked, nodding to the things.

“I scrapbook. It’s like a journal, but with less writing and more picture taking.” Zan explained as she pulled out a sheet. She picked up a few of her rave pictures and carefully eyed it before she started cutting using a pair of scissors that would make the boarders look like loops. “My therapist recommended it to me a long time ago.”

“Therapist?” Angelina asked, letting a twinge of fear into her voice.

Zan paused in her cutting and she looked at Angelina. “Not the type of therapy you’re thinking of. We just talked. About me and my problems. Whatever they happened to be that day.”

“So you’re sick?” Angelina wanted to probe into Zan’s mind to find where that sickness was. She wanted to push it away.
an smiled sadly. “There’s no one here that’s never had a mental illness. Some times it’s temporary. Sometimes it’s permanent. River’s fucking terrified of making someone angry and upset. Calla and her self-worth need to have words with one another. Vince needs to learn how to put down burdens and realize that not everyone needs to be analyzed. Me? I needed to learn to let go and let be. I held on to things.”

Angelina blinked slowly as she watched Zan start working on the picture again. She glued it onto a black piece of paper that looked like it had fireworks going off. She placed on a sticker of glow sticks on the edge of the picture and a disco ball on the diagonally on the other side.

“My father was a veteran.” Zan said after a moment. “He went to Afghanistan. He died there.”

“Oh…” Angelina understood that. It was sadness that couldn’t be let go.

“We were close. My dad and I.” Zan said quietly as she picked up another picture. “Your dad reminds of my dad. The soldiers at the cafe…they remind me of what could’ve been instead of what did. I don’t tell them that my dad died there. I do tell them that I was a military brat…so…automatic trust there.”

James had come back after putting the sheets in the wash only to hear the part about Zan being reminded of her dad with himself. A military brat. That explained so much, about how she handled things and the way she thought and understood. It was good that he had been quiet, and he stood by the door, listening in. Angelina sounded a little better now, which he was glad for.

Angelina shifted uncomfortably on the bed, but watched Zan work with her scrapbooking. “So why photos? You could scrapbook whatever you wanted right?”

“I do have some tickets to movies that I liked. Some random quotes from books.” Zan said, flipping through the pages to show Angelina. “Some people have memory boxes, some scrapbook. I heard you’re trying to find a creative outlet too.”

Angelina nodded. “I was trying to get Uncle Steve to be happy again.”

“So what about you? What makes you happy?” Zan asked curiously.

Angelina thought about it. Her dad was making a list of good things and safe things. He was always doing his best to make this home better and brighter. They had an indoor plant now, at Vince’s insistence. She thought about what made her happy and she shrugged. “I’m happy with my dad. I’m happy with Dyl-dal and you. I like doing things with you. We played cards against humanity, I like that game. We played left for dead, Mario Party, Mario World, Super Mario bro’s 3, Mario kart, Dragon Age, Mass Effect. We played a lot of games.” She said seriously. “I like the animes we choose too. No matter how weird.”

“Like FLCL?” Zan grinned.

“That was a weird, weird anime I never want to see again.” Angelina replied firmly. “But I liked Ouran High School Host Club the most.”

“You should cosplay as Haruhi or Honey.” Zan grinned. “That’s good.”

Angelina beamed. “Dad makes me the happiest through.”

“Well I wouldn’t /dare/ make it into a contest between us and your dad. Though I think we should win.” Zan teased.

James grinned widely and shook his head. Angelina showed him pictures of her favorite people from her animes and games and sometimes he even watched her play with Dylan, like Dragon Age and Mass Effect. He himself enjoyed Garrus, and Alistair. Edward Elric was an inspiration. Death Note was disturbing and he didn't want to see /that/ ever again. Tamaki was...quite a comic relief but he loved the Hitachin twins and Haruhi herself most. So many new things and new friends and it was amazing. He was very glad Angelina was enjoying herself.

“He does a lot.” Angelina nodded firmly. “He tells me he loves me even though we just recently met. Well, met me. He didn’t really raise me. Couldn’t raise me. Hydra did. Anyway. He tells me he loves me and he found me a fuzzy blanket cuz he knows I like soft things. He makes me laugh. He’s trying /really/ hard not to be a solider anymore and I’m really proud of him. He’s learning how to be a dad and a person at the same time and I know that’s really hard. Hydra didn’t do parenting classes and I’m not easy. I’m an adult already but I’m a kid too. It’s hard. But he’s my dad. I’d rather have this dad than a different one.” She nodded firmly. “Even if people think that he’s better a different person /I/ love him this way. I wouldn’t change him no matter what was offered!”

James had to wonder if she knew he was there. He didn't want to hide anymore and he came around the corner, "I'm flattered you feel that way, because I don't want any other daughter and I wouldn't change you, either, Angel," he promised and watched her tear up. Zan helped her set her tea down and he came over, hugging her around the shoulders, trying not to jostle her too much.

Zan grinned brightly as Angelina hugged him back, a ever happy smile on her face. Zan watched the two of them and remembered how James was so scared that Angelina would need to go to the doctor. How he thought about what she needed. She turned back to her scrapbooking to give them a little bit of privacy. James deserved Angelina. He deserved a wife and however many kids he wanted too. But he fucking deserved Angelina. She hoped that he'd get pardoned...and that they could live life peacefully as they could.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Wed Sep 28, 2016 11:52 pm

Steve had no idea what he was in for that morning. It looked like he hadn't gone running, just in a light jacket and casual clothes, sipping his super simple coffee that literally anybody in the cafe could make him. Was this guy one to come here like every day? He was on his computer again, lounging and he had his earbuds in while a man with an Afro painted black magic onto a black canvas. Like how the fuck did he even do that? James was sitting way far in the back so Zan could go to and from and Steve wouldn't even see his hoodie, but James could look through the panels and see Steve's reactions. He had Steve's jacket bugged so he just turned on his earpiece. Zan sat down in front of him and Steve looked up with a start.

“We got to talk.” Zan said softly and Steve immediately closed the laptop and pushed it aside. She went into her apron and pulled out a letter. She hesitated and she passed it to him. “Before you read that letter…I got to tell you something.” Steve looked at her with worry. “I know who James Barnes is. I know where he lives and I know a lot of things. The same goes for Angelina Barnes.”

“Angelina…Barnes? But-“

“James had a kid during his imprisonment with Hydra. I don’t know the story. It’s not my story to know.” Zan said quickly. “The only reason why I’m contact right now, is because Angelina’s really sick. We’re debating over whether or not even taking her to a doctor is in the cards.”

“Why?”

“Because of what you’re gonna read in that letter. Because we’re worried that things about her will be found out and into the light. I told him once that anyone who loved him was in immediate danger. I’m not risking Angelina. She’s a good kid. A sick, scared kid. Who deserves to learn that humans are nice, rather than to think for a moment that they’re dangerous.” Zan watched Steve. “He’s gonna ask you something super important in that letter Steve.” She tapped the letter. “Be sure that when you say yes, you know what you’re saying yes to.”

“And what exactly am I saying yes to?” Steve demanded.

“To a kid whose sick and scared and doesn’t know much about normal. To a kid who thinks junkyard hopping is the greatest thing ever invented, who thinks machines are people. You’re saying yes to someone whose been around the Solider. I don’t know if she has a file or not. I don’t care if she has a file or not. But what I know is that Hydra had her. Raised her. James is trying his hardest to be the role-model he can be for her. He sees her as his shining star, always bright and cheerful even when the moon’s not around. But he can’t do it. I can’t do it. James doesn’t know what normal is. He’s trying to be a person but he was tortured and traumatized and he knows that’s not healthy. He knows that Angelina seeing him like that isn’t cool. He knows Angelina needs someone whose a little bit on the normal side.”

Steve looked down at the letter.

“Think about it.” Zan stood up and left him to his thoughts while she got James’ drink ready.

He didn't want to tell Zan that story. She already knew a lot for a civilian. James settled deeper into his booth as he watched Steve stare at the letter, a deep frown on his lips and on his forehead. He listened intently to the earpiece, waiting to hear Steve's mumbling. but instead heard the ripping of the sealed paper. No. Of course not. Why would Steve thing twice about /anything/ concerning him or his daughter? Granted. this particular thing was /good/, but the point still stood.

Steve

Serious request of you. This is very impersonal, asking in a letter, but it is an emergency. Zan will explain and I hope you will understand. I will make it up to you somehow as I wanted to ask you in person, I swear.

Attached you noticed are Angelina's birth certificate and anything else you will need.

Will you be Angelina's Godfather?


Well, that explained the rushed explanation. He didn’t need to think this over. He felt bad that he was finding out just now. Angelina was Bucky’s kid. That explained way too much. Why she was the contact. Why she was trusted with so much. He turned the letter over and he started writing in his scrawl.

“Bucky,” He wrote.

You know I will. I’m sorry that circumstances prevented you from telling me this in person, but I’m not upset.

You know I was wondering where she got that smile from. She has your smile. That smile that turned heads, melted icy hearts, and had people dazed for miles. That should’ve tipped me off.

I’m sorry Angelina’s sick. I hope you know I’ll take care of her. I’ll do what I need to do to keep her safe. It sounds awful.

We have a medical bay at the Tower. It means she’ll be surrounded by Avengers. I know that it’s risky. But we can keep everything under wraps there too. Tony wouldn’t deny me family. I know he wouldn’t.

Helen Cho is our best medical examiner. A woman. I bet it’ll make Angelina feel a little more secure in knowing that there’s someone of the same gender in the bay. I don’t know how we’ll do this without meeting. I know meeting me is the last thing you want right now.

But we’ll come up with something.

If worse come to worse, we’ll meet and we can just pretend it never happened. That we were just…something else. I don’t know Buck.

Just…

Come home soon.

Steve.


Zan placed the drink across from Bucky and she watched Steve fold the letter up and placed it back in the envelope. Sensing her cue, she walked over to the table and nonchalantly took his empty glass and winked at him. Steve smiled softly. "Just to let you know Zan. I'm Angelina's Godfather."

"Good. I would've hate to waste a tray." Zan grinned knocking on the table. He didn't turn back to see where she went and she slipped the letter to Bucky. "We're in the green." She told him happily. "Yay!"

James read over the response and let out a heavy breath, "The Avengers Tower seems like the best option. Less questions than if she went to any ol' clinic. In order not to be present when Steve becomes her Godfather we can just go with the usual, that I'm dead and Steve's the only family she has. When I make contact we can fix things. Why am I so difficult? It would be so easy to go over there right now and /talk/ to him, but I..." his throat stuck and he opened and closed is mouth a few times, wanting to continue but couldn't.

Zan placed a comforting hand on Bucky's shoulder. "Do you want to try?" She asked softly. "To talk to him? This is a safe place Buck."

"I know if I do everything will change," James murmured, grasping the letter close and he shivered even though he wasn't cold. Steve had gone back to watching the man with the Afro. "I can't. I'm scared, Zan. Angelina and I talked about this. I'm afraid of a lot of things, things you wouldn't quite understand. You've done so much, and this /is/ a safe place...but not yet. Not yet...I'm so sorry." Maybe...the earpiece? Would Steve feel better even if it was only one way? He had a notebook with him in case he had a random memory he wanted to write down, and he used it to write a quick note. "Give this to Steve?" he asked quietly.

Zan smiled softly and she gently patted James shoulder again and murmured softly. "I'll never pressure you." She promised. "I just want to do right by you." She took the paper and she walked back to Steve and slipped a note. "He was feeling generous."

"Thank you. You're not alone, punk. What the hell is that black magic on your screen? That hairdo is ridiculous.
-Jerk
"

Steve swallowed thickly as he looked behind him to see if maybe..just maybe...he could spot a look a glimpse of him. But there was no one there. Zan had already left and she was probably with her contact again. He was bugged somehow. Something on him had a piece. Which meant that he could be heard. "Jesus..Buck...you're somewhere close by aren't you?" He muttered as he pulled his laptop up and woke it up. If he could see the screen...could he see the writing? "Why can't you be normal and have a skype?"

He sighed loudly. "No. You're right." He almost could feel that glare burning off of him. "No secure servers and I'm already asking too much."

Why was...being talked /to/ so relieving? Steve sounded relieved, too, even as he said the Bucky-Person's name with such remorse. James sighed heavily and slouched for a minute before he shuffled so sit properly and see Steve's screen. He didn't have a drink to sip on yet, and Zan was his only form of passing notes. He felt like he was in high school trying to talk to his crush. Steve's voice...it rumbled and rolled over his senses through the earpiece and he closed his eyes. This same voice broke through his programming three-four months ago.

"I'm glad that you're okay. I know you got my note. About Angelina. Think it over Buck. I don't know how we'll get her to me without us meeting, but we'll figure something out. I might have to ask Dylan or Vince to help. Have you met Vince? He's a swell guy."

/We just say I'm dead. Yes. Yes he is. Haven't really talked to him lately, but he is fun. Angelina likes him, too./ Oh hey. James wrote another note and was very glad he was a sniper. This really was like high school and after he wrote what he /just/ thought then crumbled it into a nice little ball, he calculated the distance. Now. Just so he didn't land it in Steve's coffee...

Headshot. Of /course/.

Steve felt something hit his head and he looked down at the note that landed on him. He picked it up, rubbing his head for good measure. "Jerk." He muttered under his breath and he opened it up. "So you're nearby. And...Jesus Buck. Is that something we should do? Make that public knowledge so you don't have to be afraid to show your face again? Glad you met Vince...He's a likable guy."

Was it childish to hope that hurt just a little? James shook his head. He had to make sure Steve wasn't looking. /Why does that have to be public knowledge? I do plan on making contact and that would be more of a mess. Unless we put it off and you just take her to the Tower and we deal with it until I get over myself?/

Zan came back over, nearly dying of laughter. "Angelina would like to remind you that she can read minds and that techincally if you and Steve were sitting across from each other not talking you can't call it contact because Angelina would be your contact base still. Also, Steve's mind is really fun to read." She nearly started laughing again. "Your daughter is a fucking psychic and you didn't tell me. Oh my god. Dylan's going to love that. He's going to talk to her mentally and try to develop that power /just/ to annoy me. I love you. You made my day. Oh my god."

James' face was beat red as he listened to Steve scratching furiously in his own notepad, even if his was blank paper in case he wanted to draw. The panels prevented Steve from seeing him but since Zan was standing it was so easy for Steve to aim and the crumbled paper hit the wall of the opposite booth he was settled in, landing on the table. "We're acting like teenagers, aren't we?" he whispered as he grabbed the ball, "Is Punk Extraordinaire at least smiling? When did Angelina get here? Is she in another section?"

"He has a good light in his eye." Zan murmured. "And Angelina came in just as that ball hit Steve in the head."

/I can't make you contact me and I won't. I remember your shots. So I'll always figure out where your hiding. I don't know what you're scared of, contacting me. But Angelina's here. She looks alright. Pale and she's clearly limping. I could take her to the Tower this way...or I could leave her alone./

"Oh geez..." James rubbed his face. This was ridiculous, but he felt ten times better than when he first walked in there. "Remind me next time to bring my journal and either you or Angelina can play pass along. I can /compromise/. Apparently." He wrote his response. /Take her to the Tower before she hurts herself and show her a good time. She's on her Cycle. If Angelina is feeling better she can explain to Helen Cho what is going on./ He rolled his eyes as he handed her the paper, "Your other patrons are probably enjoying themselves."

"They think it's funny that you're trying to hide and Steve's just out there without no protection." Zan took the note from him. "Compromising is good James. I just don't know if Steve's good at the word."

"Guys like him you just can't tell them no," James responded.

"Guys like him have the lost boy scout look." Zan agreed. "It's terrifying it works in this day and age." She took the note and passed it to Steve who took it, nodded his agreement and started packing up. Zan watched as he managed to persuade Angelina to come along with him an she walked back to Bucky. "Well. He left me a hundred and fifty for a tip. One of these days someones' gonna think I'm sleeping with him."

"Steve likes darker hair," James answered, fingering his own, wondering why that was what came from his mouth instead of anything else.

"So I'm a pimp." Zan nodded her head. "I like that a lot better than sleeping with Captain America. Vibrance would kick my ass." She laughed again as she walked away, tapping the table.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:05 am

Here was what she learned. She was sick mentally and physically. There was a lot of scientific babble about this thing another. PSTD, Severe Anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and a few others that she didn’t know what they were nor decided to ask. Steve was nodding along like he knew, and he seemed to be planning it out. But those were all mental illnesses. As for what was physically wrong with her?

The short answer was they didn’t know. Nor understood. It required blood testing, something she refused. Steve honored that and also denied it. But she was too skinny and small to be able to hold in the serum correctly. So the serum was probably turning it’s self onto her, and since it was apart of her DNA it could only eat so much.

Which was why muscle was hard to gain, scars were easy to form. She was just too stressed out to be a proper super solider. She was just too stressed out to be a normal decent human being, but her dad already told her that normal was a far away dream.

Normal was something they’d never get ever again. Well, that he’d never get again. Normal for Angelina might as well be a foreign word with no meaning.

So she was forced on bedrest and Helen had asked if it was okay to try something called birth control. Angelina agreed, considering it was the /last/ type of medicine she’d deem would hurt her, and they decided to see if that would help at /least/ with the cycle problem.

Everything else needed blood.

Something they weren’t going to get /even/ if she was menstruating.

Fuck that.

All in all, that’s how she wound up in the medical bay, with the covers tightly tucked around her and she was smiling at something Steve had said when a man and woman barged into the room.
"Dude, Steve, totally saw the security footage from the cafe and did Barnes /really/ throw that stupid piece of paper at your head? Geezus, I knew he was a sniper, but Nat and I didn't even see his face the whole damn time." The one wearing black and purple said as he found a seat to plop into, right next to Steve and close to Angelina, "Hey, there, little lady. How are you feelin? Any better? Nice to meet you, I'm Clint Barton, otherwise known as Hawkeye. I'm sure we'll be great friends," he beamed.

"I'm Angelina. Solider's Companion. I hope we're friends?" She offered tentatively. She felt panic rising in her chest. She didn't notice the eyes. Why didn't she feel them? She always felt them. He always felt them. Did he know? What was he doing now? Was he going to leave her behind? Did she endanger them?

The woman with the red hair only shifted her weight. Her expression might be hard to read, but her mind was profoundly simple like her fathers. She was waiting.

"If you're worried about the cameras, little lady, there's only two, one watching the door and one watching the registers. We weren't watching at the time, we had to go back and kind of maneuver around," Clint said easily as if reading her own mind, "Nat heard about Barnes making some sort of contact with you, Steve, and got all up and arms. Considering she gave you that file and all."

Angelina tensed up a little, grabbing at her sheets. Steve placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and looked at Natasha. "Brainwashed." He reminded softly. "He's doing pretty okay all things considered."

"If he was doing okay, then why didn't he abandon his Companion?" Natasha raised an eyebrow at Steve before glancing at Angelina and flicking her attention back to Steve. "He's only going to show you what he wants you to see."

"Must be nice to play with reality like that." Angelina mumbled. "I wish I could."

Steve tightened his grip on Angelina's shoulder.

"Well, /maybe/ there's something here we're missing, Nat?" Clint arched a brow and then looked at Steve pointedly.

"A lot of files leave things out, Nat." Steve said cautiously. "Angelina happens to have some things about her that isn't well known."

Natasha nodded. "I can understand that. But we're not really talking about the Companion. Even though she's another story entirely. We're talking about you taking a risk to meet Barnes."

"Because he's unstable?" Angelina didn't like either of these thoughts going through their minds. At all.

"Exactly." Natasha nodded. "You don't know if he'd trigger just by seeing you. Let alone-"

Angelina didn't know what she did, but she was pretty certain that she just threw the IV stand down to the ground and accidentally ripped out the ONLY needle in her body that was helping her dull some of the pain. The loud clanging was the only thing that she could hear and it /echoed/.

"Hey, oh boy, okay, I got this," Clint was the only calm one as he bent down and picked it up. Steve had shot to his feet at Nat as well as Angelina's duel reactions to each other and he grabbed some tissues on the bedside table to press against the area where Angelina had ripped her blood vessel open. He was gentle with her and used soothing sounds, even as Angelina and Nat had a stare down. "Barnes doesn't seem like he's on the fast track to having a meltdown, Natasha," he said, "He's been doing this for freaking 70 years. He must have had time on missions to play normal, right? What more do you want from him?"

Angelina was momentarily distracted by Clint's calm demeanor and the way he was dabbing at her blood. She blurted out the first thing that came to mind too. "Are you a dad?"

Steve just had to /pause/ and really think about this because...did Clint have a family? He looked over at Angelina and Clint curiously, momentarily distracted by the question, but he didn't miss the way Natasha suddenly tensed up.

"That's for me to know and for you to find out when we become better friends. How's that sound?" Clint flashed her an adoring smile.

Angelina smiled brightly. "I like you." She turned towards Nat and scowled. "You I don't like." Natasha merely raised an eyebrow. "You're one of the reasons why tată and I can't have a good life. We're always watching our backs because of you. We can't wash the blood off our hands. My tată does. Any time something reminds him of being a machine, he does something to make him human. He cooks. He talks to our neighbors. If you want to worry about a weapon then you're looking right at her!"

Steve felt like the room just went...cold. Angelina was shaking hard and he worried briefly about her accidentally hurting Clint. But instead of going after Clint or tossing the I.V down again, she was looking away. Tears slipping down her face as she shook violently. "Angelina...you know that's not true." He murmured softly "Hydra-"

"I don't know normal!" Angelina turned to face Steve angrily. "I don't know normal! I don't know what this means! This world is big and scary and frightening and I don't know anything about it! I know how to kill. I'm good at that. I know how to shield. I'm good at that. I can talk my tată down from a panic attack because I see his nightmares. I can't turn them off even if I wanted to. My tată is human trapped as a machine. I don't even know what I am. I bleed like a human. I have emotions like a human. I laugh when I'm in pain. But this /hurts/ worse than a broken bone! You want a weapon you have her! I'm right /here/! My father is NOT a weapon. He's a man who wants to have his life back and I'm the one holding him back from that. He should've just left me in the cell..."

"Now you just wait a minute here, little lady," Clint barked at her. "You can go on and on all day about what you're good at and what you're not, but if you think for one blasted minute Barnes, the same guy who pulled Steve from the river a few months ago after trying to bash his face in, would leave his daughter in a cold hard cell then you got another thing comin'. Ain't that right, Steve?"

Steve watched Angelina who was highly upset. Of course she didn't know what normal was. He looked at Natasha, who looked a little surprised by all of this, but at the same time kept her demeanor. "Angelina." He said softly, walking over to her. "All of us have been put up as weapons at one point in our lives or another. And you're right. This world is a big and scary place. It's hard to see the hope and beauty in it when you feel like you're being left behind. And sometimes that feeling is suffocating. It makes you doubt your own life, makes you doubt your abilities. Life would be easier if we were all stuck in a cell and only used when spoken to. It's much simpler. But Bucky's trying really hard to make this life yours too. I think you're his inspiration to continue to be what he's doing now. I think it'll kill him to think that you, who brightens his world, is loosing the shine that made her so bright. I think the last thing you should worry about, Angelina, is what normal is. I think you should be you, and lose the idea that you need to be normal to be apart of this world. We need more people like you Angel. People who see the world in a childlike wonder. We lost that years ago. But being around you and listening to you? You make things that are so complicated simple again. Come here sweetheart." Steve gently brought Angelina into his arms. "You're not a weapon. You're a human Angel. A beautiful, kindhearted human."

Clint didn't say anything more, just gave a firm nod as he stepped out of Steve's way while he gave his little speech. He was good at speeches, after all. Looking sharply at his redheaded friend, he gestured for her to follow him and they left the room together, "As gun-ho as you are about the Winter Soldier, Angelina's not just sick in the head she's having a horrible time physically and that was the last thing you could've done. We went in there to make her feel better, not talk shit about Barnes. At least you know something you didn't before, huh? That she's his daughter. That wasn't in the files, I'm sure."

"You're right it wasn't. It makes sense though." Natasha sighed as she walked with him. "The Soldier's Companion was like another weapon. It was always frightening. A ghost story was one thing. But his companion was another. I don't know if I should give Steve that file."

"If he makes a ruckus about it then fine, but for right now let them have their happy time," Clint grunted, "Steve'll want to know, I'm sure, but that guy needs a little sunshine to break through his little storm cloud that's always hanging around his shoulders. How about we go have a drink and call a truce?"

"Sounds good to me." Natasha agreed after a moment. "I'll go and apologize later."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Fri Sep 30, 2016 12:17 am

Vince was a little surprised when the door opened easily. He didn't think anyone heard him knock. Angelina would've been rushing towards the door since she knew that he was there. But no one was there and he was a bit worried. He set down a bag of groceries on the coffee table, nothing that would be worried about if it was at room temperature, and walked over to the main bedroom.

The door was cracked open and James was sitting on the bed, holding a small device in his hands. His whole body was slumped forward. "Hey." Vince murmured, making the man look up at him. "Your door was unlocked. I bought you some food. What's gotten you so glum? Where's Angelina? I heard she's sick."

Shit. That wasn't like him. He had /sworn/ he had locked the door. Careless. Dangerous. Compromising. At least Vince was the one to come inside and not some enemy. "I was...in a daze when I came in. I barely remember getting home." He told him first, "Angelina is on her cycle. Steve took her to the Avenger Tower to get her checked out there so I wouldn't have to take her to a clinic."

Vince clicked his tongue worriedly. "I'm guessing the cycle was...um...pretty, pretty bad." He didn't want to assume anything. He gently gestured to the room. "Do you mind if I sit down? You look like you might want someone to vent to."
"Yes, go ahead..." James nodded slowly, "Just..." He sighed heavily, "Before...Before I tell you anything, just how much do you know of Hydra? What you've read on the internet?"

Vince stiffened and he looked away. He played with his fingers, twisting them and pulling on them as he thought about what he wanted to say. "I know...too much." He said after a moment. "I know what kind of people they are. I know what they're capable of doing. They don't see us as anything more than weapons."

James' eyes widened like saucers and he felt his throat tighten and feel even more raw than it was. "You can tell me more about that later...when and if you're ready. As for why I'm glum? The way they raised my daughter." He frowned back at the device in his hand that helped with the frequency and quality of the listening device in his ear, "I have...Steve bugged. He talked to me in the cafe through it while I tossed notes at his head...that was a good start to things. Then I listened to the answers they gave Angel and they put her in a hospital bed to keep an eye on her and give her pain medication when she needed it. Natalia...she and Hawkeye, Clint, joined her and Steve and there was a fight. Clint defended me while Natalia questioned...whether or not I was stable and functioning."

"And Angelina blew up?" Vince asked gently. "Went off on them?"

"Yes...very much so..." James took a deep breath and repeated to him what had happened, trying to stay as true to the actual conversation as possible, even Steve's speech, considering it was all still ringing in his head.

Vince listened and he nodded when the story was over. He walked over and sat down on the bed, crossing his legs and leaning forward, putting his hand in his chin as he thought about what he wanted to say. "I don't blame her for trying to put the spotlight on her rather than you."

"Why do you say that?" James frowned at him.

"Because she loves you." Vince answered simply. "I know she's a mind reader James. I know that she reads you like a book. She sees your intentions, your confusion, your doubt. She sees you try and knows how hard it is, better than what anyone else is going to see and think. She knows your fears and nightmares.So when someone tells her very stupidly that you could still be conditioned to kill someone. She would much rather trap herself in a cell, never see light of day again, than to see you executed or worse."

James felt wet sliding down his face and reached up, scowling at the tears on his fingers. He hated crying, but this...anything concerning Angelina got him all up in arms and emotional. "And here I am, incapable of being with her right now. I'm a mess. She's a mess. It's a wonder how we even function. I just...I don't..." he choked back a sob, "I don't want her to be locked up, either. I know she knows that. Right now it feels like everyone is against us."

"I'm not." Vince said, carefully telegraphing his move so that James knew that he was putting a hand on his back. "River isn't. Calla isn't. River would be devastated if she found out her favorite people in the world is going through this right now." He watched James for a moment longer. "Dylan and Zan definitely aren't and boy if they knew what just went down, Zan would be here instead of me and Dylan would be marching his way up to the Avengers Tower to make sure Angelina was comfortable." He smiled a little. "Right now, no one's locking no one away. Angelina knew that you couldn't handle the Tower and so did Steve. Had they known what type of situation they'd be in, you know damn well that Steve would do something different or done something different so would Angel. I can promise you that Steve's not gonna let Angelina out of his sight. He's gonna do what he does best and protect those who can't protect themselves."

"He always does..." his voice was strained, "We have...so much more support than I ever really imagine and it's...hard...feeling like the world is spinning out of control at the same time knowing I have people to lean on. After such a short span of time, as well. I appreciate this...I really do. I appreciate Steve and Zan and Dylan...everybody. I just...don't know how to deal with it all."

"You breathe." Vince answered. "Or you do yourself a favor and call River for her Zen because my fucking god she's better at this than I am." He was grateful to hear a small chuckle on James' side. "You pick a person that you want to be your touch stone. The person you know that can make the world stop spinning for five seconds. Calla's good at just listening. River's fucking good at talking. I'm just...the guy you go to if you want a good book or if you want to know what people really think. Zan's /amazing/ at people. Soldiers in particular and Dylan is just...well...he's a nut."

"You're more than that, Vince," James promised, but he nodded, "I don't...have River's number, but would she be at her store? I probably...shouldn't be here brooding..."

"Come up." Vince said, clapping his hands together. "She works the afternoon shifts mostly anyway. I'll go and put the groceries away and lock your door when you get out. Have you watered the plants? No. You don't get to worry about anything right now. Go and find Riv and tell her that you're having a bad day. She'll get it."

"Does...is she...?" James struggled with the words, "Like you?"

"Not the same powers, but yea she was with us." Vince said solemnly. "They gave her the ability to manipulate water. One of the few dangerous elements there is in life." He paused. "It's not my story to tell...but I can tell you James that...despite everything she went through. Despite that it's enough to make a grown ass adult kill themselves, she stayed compassionate and kind. And /that/ is why I know Angelina will be fine. As well as you."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:57 pm

James stared at the door to River and Calla's shop. Calla, too, then. Vince had said 'with us' so, who else could it be? He had so many questions. Would she answer them? He...swallowed and reached up, about to take the handle and push it open when River showed up on the other side of the glass with an empathetic expression and opened it for him.

"Vince texted me about Angel." River said as she pulled the door open. "I was just trying to come up with a care package to give to her. Come on. You look like you need to sit down and breathe for a bit."

"Vince...said you know a little more about Hydra than you should..." James joined her inside, hands deep in his jacket pockets and he allowed her to lead him wherever it was she wanted to go for privacy. "What sort of care package?"

"Things that might give her something to do, something that'll make her happy." River smiled in thought as she walked through the classroom and gently pulled a plastic chair for him to sit. "I'm almost done with that blanket so I was going to lose a few nights sleep and get that done ASAP, as well as I was making a little Winter Solider chibi doll since Vince said that was her favorite superhero. I was also thinking about sending her some cross stitch things, but I haven't been able to teach her anything like that. I was also going to send her some puzzle books like Sudoku or even coloring books with some colored pencils to help with the boredom. A get well card is a must." She blinked a little. "Vince told you about Hydra?"

"Yes he did..." he blinked at her, a little curiosity peeking through the misery, "Sudoku? She might like the coloring books, since she was so disappointed she couldn't draw with Steve. Um...Winter Soldier is a superhero? Wouldn't he be a super villain? I mean...he did destroy everything a few months ago. How did he gain so much popularity?" It boggled his mind. It also felt weird talking about himself like that.

"A lot of people are debating exactly what he is. Vince thinks hero. Calla thinks hero and so do I. You're not a villian. " River nodded. "Though we're a bit biased considering we know about you and your background. Okay so puzzle books are out, but coloring books are in. I'll throw in a bunch." She paused. "What did you want to know?"

She was extremely more perceptive than he first gave her credit for. "Powers?" was the first question that popped out of his mouth, "Could I see what a Sudoku book is?"

"Yeah. River smiled warmly as she walked over and started looking for that book that she just bought. "I'm a water elemental." She explained. "Vince can mimic powers. He's mimics mine so often, he can do it without too much strain. Calla's fire." She brought out the book and walked over to him. "No same number in the same line vertical or horizontal." She explained. "This progress from easy to very difficult just in case she gets a hang of it."

"Might...end up doing this with her, it looks really fun," James admitted as he flipped through the pages, "Fire, huh? I haven't met her yet, but I know Steve has. Angelina told me they spent some time talking." He looked up at her, eyes gentle, "How long...did they have you?"

"Two years give or take." River nodded. "Not as long as you nor Angelina, but the damage that they did." She shrugged. "If Vince hadn't broken us out, I wouldn't be talking to you right now."

"You can tell me to stop, if you don't want to talk about it. I won't push," James murmured, and held the book close, "How? How did they draw you in? Kidnapping? Or...bribing?"

"I fell in love with the wrong guy." River smiled sadly. "That's how they drew me in. Manipulation turned into kidnapping and once they had me in their grasp...well...I fought the only way I knew how. By hoping and by praying and fighting when I could. I never killed an innocent. But I did accidentally kill some of the agents....when my power got out of control when I was forced to practice with it. But I wasn't what they wanted in the end. Calla and Vince were better prospects than I was."

"Water's meant for healing. Fire is more destructive, which is what they like," James nodded, "What kind of movies do you like?" It was a random question, but it was a change of pace from what they were talking about.

"I like action films a lot." River mused. "Some of the teen movies from the eighties/nineties too. I loved Scott Piligrim. I read the comics and saw the movie. How about you?"

"I haven't...seen a whole lot besides whats on Netflix thanks to Dylan and Zan. Angelina and I binged. Sometimes we have a hard time with action but if we go in braced for it and know what we're watching and that it's /fake/ then we're okay. Lots of blood gets to us, though, fake or not." James got to his feet, "Come to the movie theatre with me." It was spontaneous. It was reckless. Yet that was what he wanted.

"Now?" River blinked and smiled brightly. "Sure. Let me text Calla to get her to watch the store." She quickly shot off the text and grinned. "Let's go."

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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Wed Oct 05, 2016 11:05 pm

“You got everything?” Steve asked as Angelina happily rocked back and forth on her feet, waiting for him to open the doors to head out. “I know it’s just clothes…”

“I have it in the backpack you bought me.” Angelina patted on the straps. “Everything. Including Ghost.” Clint had asked her what her favorite animal was and gave her the stuffed animal making her promise that she’d protect it and let it protect her. Steve had found it utterly adorable. Even more so when he found out that the wolf’s collar was the Black Widow’s insignia, telling him that it was peace-making.

Angelina didn’t really forgive, but she didn’t really hold a grudge either. “Okay good.” Steve said as he patted her on the shoulder. “Your medication for estrogen is in there too right? As well as your pain meds?” Angelina nodded. “Good girl.”

“We can start going home now?” Angelina complained and Steve laughed as they walked out of the door. “Yay!”

“I bet Bucky will be really happy to see you again.” Steve assured her. “He’s going to be so interested in that wolf Clint and Nat gave you.”

Angelina nodded, smiling brightly. “Dyl-Dal will want to see it too. I really can’t wait. But how are you going to escort me back without tată seeing you?”

Steve shrugged. “Play it by ear. I don’t think he’s gonna mind it all too much. I can just pretend that he’s a window. I don’t think he’ll mind.”

Angelina frowned deeply. They were idiots and lovable ones at that.

~*~

Angelina froze like a deer and she looked between him and Steve who also had looked up and noticed that Bucky was standing there. Steve blinked and looked away, turning to her. “Something up?” He asked, though his voice was strained.

“No.” Angelina shook her head from side to side. “I’m okay here. You can let me go.” She bound up the stairs two at a time, clutching at the wall to pretend that she needed the railing, while at the same time giving Bucky space.

Steve smiled and his eyes glanced back over at his friend and he smiled brightly. Unable to control his mouth he raised his hand. “Hey Buck. You look good.” He turned to Angelina. “I’ll see you around, kiddo.” He promised as he turned and walked away, his footsteps light.

Angelina watched him leave and looked at her dad curiously before looking back at Steve. “I like your mind.”

"Oh really? What's my mind saying?" James asked curiously, his heart and stomach flipping and fluttering and spinning. Steve. His throat was tight, but that smile...It wasn't the way he smiled at the Bucky-Person in the museum, but it was a bright smile all the same. He took Angelina's hand and helped her up the rest of the stairs, "Vince got you a variety pack of cocoa to try to your heart's content. I had some and I like it better made with milk instead of water. More creamy."
Angelina squeezed Bucky's hand tightly as they walked up the stairs. "Warm." She answered after a moment. "I can't wait to see it."

Warm, huh? Was that what this fuzzy feeling was? He wanted to make Steve come back. Wanted so many things. Was he really not ready or was he just being stubborn at this point? He didn't know. Things just happened so fast and it wasn't an overnight thing and everyone pushing him didn't help. He'd do things on his own time. "So, I'm very glad you're not in so much pain now, fetiță. The meds they gave you are working good?"

"They gave me some to take home." Angelina nodded. "Clint gave me an animal. I called it Ghost. It's in the bag." She patted the straps. "So are the clothes Zan brought me from time to time." She watched him for a long time and squeezed his hand a little. "You're different too."

"I'm...different?" That confused him and he furrowed his brows at her.

"Good different." Angelina confirmed, lessening her grip on his hand. "You don't have the same mental patterns anymore."

"That's...that's good. I'm glad. I don't want to be boring," he laughed softly and smiled brightly, going to the kitchen, "I already made lunch for you. I was nervous and I'm honestly glad I went down there. I'm not the Bucky-Person he wants but I made him happy just now, didn't I?"

Angelina nodded. "Real happy. You should've said hi back. What did you make for lunch?"

"He left before I could even wave. I might've," James smiled softly and he brought out a plate of one of her favorite foods and the package of variety cocoa with caramel, mint, white chocolate, dark chocolate, regular, and a couple others. "Pick which one and I'll make it for you," he told her, "I hung out with River yesterday, by the way. We went and saw a movie at the theatre and we had fun. Nothing happened."

But it did. Angelina could see it in his gait, in his eyes, even in the way he spoke and thought. She frowned a little, wondering if it was even her place to say anything. River brought the change. She was certain of it. She looked at the packages and chose a french vanilla hot chocolate and smiled brightly. "She's good for you."

"I got her phone number and found their shop on facebook. I remember the talk you two had at the shop, and she has some classes coming up. Do you want to go?" James asked curiously, heading back to the kitchen to start making her chosen beverage.

"Can we?" Angelina asked curiously.

"Yeah! I mean, I won't be participating, but I'm sure River can set you up with what you need and I'll sit in on it," James nodded happily.

Angelina nodded and took a bite of her lunch. She didn't know what to do with these new emotions. A mixture of sadness, hopefulness, and happiness as well as a dash of despair. She just ate, and smiled and hoped it was enough. Her father deserved every ounce of his happiness. Every bit.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Thu Oct 06, 2016 12:32 am

It took until about midnight of just laying on her side and staring off into the distance when she realized what this weird feeling was. That mixture of happiness and despair. Sadness and hopefulness all combined together in some sort of emotion that she just didn’t understand. Her father snored softly behind her, and she carefully slipped out of the bed.

A long time ago, he would be up too.

He was still snoring now. She padded her way to the door and carefully slipped out. He kept it open just a bit so that if someone wanted to barge in, they’d be a little surprised that it was already open and it would give off enough of warning for them to grab whatever they had to defend their homes from the invaders. Whatever they were.

She padded her way to the darkened living room, lit up only by the city-lights. She listened to the cars going below and she thought about it.

She walked over to the charging station by the window and carefully picked up her flip-phone. Her dad gave it to her after meeting Vince. She only had five numbers in there. She knew that Dylan would probably be up. He’d probably be watching anime at this time of night too.

/“What’s jealousy?”/ She texted and sent. /“Is it bad or good?”/

/"Tricky tricky question. It has a lot of factors. Call? Probably don't want to wake your dad if I do."/ Dylan's response came a few seconds later.

She hit the call button and when he picked up, she sighed softly. "It's hard to explain." She murmured softly into the dark living room. "Happy. Sad. It's a mix." She thought for a moment. "Tată isn't tată but dad. Which is good. Which is sad."

"What's...the difference?" Dylan asked, confused, "Jealousy can be outright bad, or turn bad even if it starts out good. It all depends on who you're jealous at, or what. There's a reason why one of the 'deadly sins' is 'envy' remember? So, tell me a little more."

"Pattern of thought's different. I don't know if I can distinguish him from friend or monster if the time comes." Angelina said sadly. "He is confident. He let Uncle Steve see him on the landing. His thoughts were more normal. Like a civilian. Still had the programming. But it was more background than front and center. He speaks differently too."

"Which explains why you said it was sad but good," Dylan hummed on the other end, "Let me give you a little more context. Vince told me he explained to him a little something concerning him, River, and Calla. Vince knows you read minds. Those three have powers of their own. Your dad was...having a rough time yesterday and Vince told him to pick someone to be his rock after giving him a pep-talk of his own. James picked River."

"He said he hung out with her yesterday." Angelina confirmed. "I...don't know how that makes me feel. Good. He has support when I'm not here. Sad. Because he learned coping mechanisms that I don't know how to activate should he have a bad day. He likes River. A lot. It makes me wonder what my role is going to be later."

"His daughter," Dylan replied simply, "He's not replacing you, Angie. You'll always be his. Have you stopped and thought about what he might think of you and I hanging out so much? That I'm teaching you things and he's not? It's quite possible he might be jealous himself. Both off you deserve someone to go to, like you are /right now/, when you're upset. If your dad is upset, call River. I can give you her number as well if you need it. When he can't call her himself."

"He has it on his phone." Angelina paused. "But I guess I could use it for a rainy day." She stood up and padded over towards the bedroom. She softly rummaged for a notebook and slipped out again, hopefully not waking him up. "Okay." He rattled off the number and she wrote it down. She set the pen and down and leaned back in the couch. Her dad would be jealous...wouldn't he? He kept his mind perfectly blank..."He doesn't think about those things around me sometimes." She said after a moment. "He's very practiced on what he wants me to read and doesn't want me to read. But I get what you're saying. I don't think I like this Dyl-Dal. I don't like feeling like this at all."

"New feelings can be scary, especially when you don't know how to deal with it," Dylan assured, "You'e doing good right now, Angie. Talking about it. Is there anything you want...to /do/ about it, though?"

Angelina thought about that. "Like...to take it away from my mind? Or...something else?"

"I dunno. You tell me. That's the bad part about jealousy. A lot of people get really stupidly angry over it and do stupid things. I would suggest talking to River /and/ your dad about it. Separately or together, doesn't matter. I'm just making sure, is all," Dylan explained.

Angelina thought about it again and she looked down at her knees. "I think I wanna take a long walk and think more." She said slowly. "I don't want to hurt River. I don't want to hurt my dad."
"That's good, then. Do what you gotta. I'm here to help, Angie, anytime," Dylan promised, "How are you feeling, by the way? I want to take you to my favorite pizza place tomorrow for lunch."

"Better." Angelina smiled brightly. "I have medicines now. They're supposed to help. They want me to see someone about my head. I don't think I want to do that. They can't force me since I'm not endangering anyone. So..." She shrugged. "I want pizza tomorrow. We'll have fun."

"They want you to see a therapist who probably has no fucking clue what you're going through. There's war vets like Sam and Steve and then there's you and your dad. Don't do it. You're on a whole other level," Dylan sighed, "Yes, we will have lots of fun and then I'll take you to the park, too."

"Bring a ball." Angelina smiled. "We can play catch or something. It'll be fun. We won't be boring like the adults that go there."

"That's for damn sure. Okay, goodnight Angie. I hope you sleep okay," Dylan cooed, and when she responded, and hung up.

Angelina hung up herself and she leaned back against the couch, just for a moment before she stood up. Instead of leaving the apartment to go out and take that long walk, she went out to the balcony. The warm August air gently breezed against her bare legs and she sat down by the potted plants. She closed her eyes and started talking to them, not realizing she was lulling herself back to sleep.

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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:18 pm

"TODAY, I HAVE A TREAT FOR ALL OF YOU!" Calla chirped excitedly, bouncing on her toes as she greeted all of them. She hadn't let them sit down, instead ordering them to stand by the wall until the appointed time, which was 6:30. All her classes took two hours, she didn't like rushing. Scattered through the room were seven canvases already perched on easels, all the same size, the only difference is they were either laying vertical or horizontal. On top of it. They were all black. Not pre-black, or maybe they were, but there was a shine on them that could only be paint.

"I know for traditional artists there's Inktober going around, but as for my classes? Black Canvas Month," Calla continued, "Today I went ahead and pre-painted all of these for you. You can't tell because of how it's blended, but it's not /actually/ black on any of them, just a really dark color or /colors/ layered on. The reason why I haven't let you sit down is because I want you to go around and pick the one you're gravitating most towards. If any of you are conflicted and want the same one, I'll help," she promised, "The only dark color you should use is whatever you end up using for trees. I would love to see bright paintings come from a dark beginning."

"Sounds like one of those profound affirmations that's supposed to change your life." Whispered one of the college students to another who nodded with lips quirked. "Yet all it does is make you think back to your emo days."

"I'm not trying to make you think anything. You guys should know me by now. Just have fun. Pick your painting and go from there," Calla responded to the college students, "It was an honest thought. If it's motivational, cool. I've just always liked bright on black, like glow in the dark," she shrugged.

Steve watched as some of the two of them shrugged and went to pick out their canvases along with everyone else now that they were dismissed to go and find something. Steve didn't really have one that he gravitated to. Just picked a random one that no one else seemed to be grabbing and went with it. After that the chatter finally died out to just people mixing colors and trying to figure out exactly how they were going to work on a black canvas. Some of them just stared blankly at it, while others were at least attempting to do something with it. Steve never worked with a black canvas either, but also decided to try his best. He decided that black with white would be fun. A little off from what Calla wanted with bright, but...he was colorblind first so he had more of advantage on using black with white or visa versa than most of the students here who only seen color their entire lives.

There was a soft noise of surprise from one of the students who had just started doing wavy lines in her black canvas, following Steve's initiative to use white. She had spent the last twenty minutes just staring and looking at the two others beside her, unable to see what the three to her back were doing. Black canvas was daunting and a lot of them had frustrated faces on. Calla was just waiting patiently by the sink, as if waiting for something specific. Taking her brush, the student started doing flicks upwards on the white wavy lines she'd done, and watched as it stated to reveal what was underneath. A blue and red mixture with green on one end. "It...looks like an aurora almost?" she mumbled mostly to herself but the other girl closest to her leaned in.

"You know, it kinda does...I wonder what colors are on mine?" she hummed and used yellow on a bigger brush. Stuffing it in the middle of her canvas she began blending it outwards. That seemed to be the right choice, as it blended with the red underneath and began creating an orange glow. "Holy shit," she muttered, staring at it. "Hey, I could make that into a fire or something."

"Dude! I can make a forest out of mine!" said the third girl, looking giddy and beaming at her painting. She'd used a tiny bit of white as well, too nervous to try anything too outrageous. Now she looked more than pleased at the green and began to do much more blending.

Steve hummed softly as he painted on his. The colors that were revealed made it easy for him to pick and decide on what he wanted to make. There were a lot of greens and blues in his and he decided to manipulate it so that he could make a vibrant waterfall, with greenery. He decided to make this into a scene he remembered seeing at a botanical garden. A small area used for meditation. He had been debating about getting a fountain or an aquariam for home, but he wasn't ever sure which one. A fountain was easier to take care of he went off the grid, but the aquariam would require cleaning and feeding the fish. Angelina might enjoy a pet fish...something to visit when she came over. Tony was still pissed off at him for not letting him see Angelina.

"She's the national treasure's daughter!"
"Goddaughter, Tony."
"I don't care. And you didn't let me see the relic's legacy!"
"Tony she's not an object."
"YOU'RE BREAKING THIS FAMILY APART STEVE!!!!"


"That's an interesting face you're making," Calla peered at Steve from behind his canvas, leaning on her crossed elbows on the table, "Exasperated fondness and amusement. Who are you thinking of, if I may be so bold to ask?"

"A friend of mine." Steve answered as he carefully dipped his brush into yellow to brighten the leaves a twinge. "My goddaughter slash niece came over to visit me-" better to say that than to say she was ill and was in Avenger's Tower- "and my friend's pissed that he didn't get to meet her even though I don't know if it'd be a good thing or a bad thing."

Calla clicked her tongue a bit. Uncertain if he was hiding for the benefit of the kids or if she didn't know. "River was gushing about Angelina when she came to her embroidery and crochet classes," she said first, "Couldn't crochet to save her life, kept fraying the thread, but enjoyed cross stitch a bunch. James looked like the full moon, all bright and big smiles. Promised to bring her back for more classes, said he also hoped to meet Johanna next time since she was tied up both times with a sick baby then work."

Steve clicked his tongue. "Poor girl. I bet she's probably down with whatever the baby has to top it all off." He looked at Calla curiously. "I didn't know that Bu-ah James knew River."

Calla's pale green eyes gained a sparkle, and she grinned wide, "River told me he came in here the first time asking for advice on supplies for your drawing class with Angel and then for your very belated birthday present. Which, by the way, do you like?"

"Yeah it was nice." Steve beamed. So that's how Angelina got the supplies. He should've known that. He had thought that maybe they went off somewhere else. "I am sorry that the drawing class didn't work out. Angelina was pretty disappointed."

Calla pulled back with a happy smile at his grin, "It's not a problem. She found her medium with River." She glanced around and saw some of the students had contemplative expressions on but weren't upset anymore, "I'll be back around." With that, she patted his table like Zan did and did a walk, helping out a few, giving them ideas, turning mistakes into new pieces of their paintings that looked like they meant for it to happen, and looking content.

By the time the class was over and done with, not everyone completed their paintings. In fact a lot of them were still trying to work on it. Working with a new medium, regardless if it was a new canvas technique or a new brush, took a while. Calla swore to them that they could finish the paintings and that they'd get a new canvas when completed. Those who did complete their paintings, Steve and one other College student who was the silent type /and/ the only other boy would have to race to get there early to get first pick of a new canvas. Unlike the drawing class, everyone pitched in to help clean up the class room. Putting away paints and easels and storing the canvases. By the time it was just Steve left he turned to Calla. "How do you feel about coffee?"

"Zan's cafe or somewhere different?" Calla grinned wide at him over her shoulder, then closed the cupboard with the broom and turned back to him, "This time of night, there's not going to be anyone around. No crowds. That'll be nice."

"Somewhere different." Steve shrugged. "Unless you like Zan so much you want to bother her a bit."

"We just can't tell her we betrayed her," Calla winked, "Let me grab my coat and I'll meet you at the door."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:56 pm

"Oh man, I didn't realize how cold I was," Calla moaned softly as the warmth of her coffee seeped through her and she sat down at a corner table, facing the door. She clutched her cup close and inhaled the steam as it wafted up to her nose, "This is good stuff, too."

"I'm telling Zan." Steve said calmly as he took a sip of his own coffee, mixed with half and half and sugar. It was nice just to sit and be comfortable rather than having to fill up the entire date with nothing but endless chatter that meant absolutely nothing.

"You think a lot," Calla said after a little while of content silence, just enjoying their drinks, "I can see some of your thoughts flicker across your face. It's all in the way your eyes twitch and narrow and your lips curving up or down. It's kinda fun to watch."

"James would say I don't think often enough." Steve replied with a smile as he placed his coffee aside. "So what made you start a craft store?"

"When the three of us came from California, Zan and Dylan were the first people we ran into. We were scraping by with what we had saved up, and they helped even though they weren't much better off," Calla started, setting her cup on the table, leaning forward, "Vince found the library as soon as he could and practically lived there for a long time. Still does, but not to the extent. He goes out places now. Riv and I needed outlets, and ways to support ourselves. Slowly we gathered the supplies we needed. I started out with watercolor, selling prints of them online and keeping the originals. Started buying myself the things I needed for oil painting. River started out making baby gifts for neighbors who would refer others to her and she got people that way. She got more yarn for crochet and soon we didn't have enough room in our two bedroom. So. Vince got his own cheep place and River and I hunted for a place to rent for a shop. Got a loan, and boom here we are."

Steve nodded. "And you boomed in business too. I saw how much support you guys get on your facebook pages. I don't get a lot of down time. Oddly, this is kind of my only time /for/ down time. I shouldn't jinx it though. The less bad things the better." He paused. "How did you guys meet?"

"High school besties," Calla said smoothly, "I was a rebel," which /wasn't/ a lie, all their high school selves were real, just not the friends part, "River was the sweet one everybody wanted to be friends with, Vince was always the hipster, the one I could be wild with, and River and Vince were high school sweethearts before he realized he hates sex and loves his books more."

Steve blinked at that. He was going to assume that it was more than just the sex thing. Other people probably wouldn't understand it, or it was just too private to be told in front of him. "That had to be rough."

"Nah, it was a mutual thing. They still pretend they're fake married and River was cheating on him with a yoga guy with a feather earring. Cards Against Humanity inside joke."
the rock one wouldn't make sense in this one XD(

Steve smiled warmly and nodded. "I'm guessing James might be that yoga guy then. Can't really see him doing that, but...I get the gist." He shrugged a little. "Natasha and Tony are crazy when it comes to CAH. You never know what they're going to put down."

"To be perfectly honest it would be terrifying to watch the whole Avengers team play, and it would be worth every second," Calla laughed, though kept her voice down since the shop was practically dead, "Have you played? I gotta ask."

"Some here and there." Steve shook his head. "Usually with Sam and Natasha."

"Oh, the war vets and the ballerina spider," Calla grinned wide, "That must be entertaining. Maybe...in the future we could do that. That would be so much fun." If there was a future? "You had a lot more fun at my class this time. I'm glad you had a little more spark."

"Thanks. The black canvas was a good idea. Threw a lot of the students off, but I think that was the entire point." Steve grinned. "It was creative."

Calla straightened, looking positively proud of herself, "I'm glad you think so! I hope nothing drastic happens and you didn't jinx things, because this month's black canvas' will be displayed around the shop for Halloween along with the pumpkins."

Steve grinned. "I don't mind mine being displayed. It'll be fun. Speaking of fun, who was the kid that finished the painting alongside me? He was pretty silent."

"Jake, he's not shy. Don't let him fool you. He's a little shit is what he is. He gets silent around new people, and that was only the second time he's seen you in person. By the time pumpkin time hits he'll be terrifying the girls with his knife skills. He commented he loved watching the Winter Soldier flip his knife around trying to stab you." At Steve's look Calla smiled, "He's rooting for James to be cleared. He's a good kid, if a bit of a devil."

"I bet James is going to love hearing that he liked his knife skills." Steve said slowly, shaking his head from side to side. "I understand that silence thing. A lot of people do that when they're trying to figure out a person."

"We'll see what happens. Jake does different things with different people," Calla explained, "The one person he's terrified of himself is Zan. Met the twins at a con, while I was selling some of my personal fan art watercolors. I don't know exactly what happened, but Zan kicked his ass, Dylan cracked up, and Jake showed up at my next class looking like a kicked puppy."

Steve let out a low whistle. "I should get her to spill that story. Or at least get Angelina to ask Dylan. That sounds like one that I need to hear." He shook his head fondly. "It feels like the twins practically know everyone don't they?"

"Zan does through her cafe, and Dylan through his cons, so yeah, almost," Calla agreed, "Shall we walk? They look like they're closing up..." she didn't want to leave so soon, but they were going to be forced to pretty soon.

"Sure." Steve finished his coffee and stood up smiling as she took her arm into his and he allowed it. "I can walk you back to your store/apartment."

Calla's face flushed but she was grinning, "I'd like that."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Thu Oct 06, 2016 11:51 pm

"You went to another cafe last night? Which one?" Sam asked Steve once they sat down from their morning run, absolutely starving so they ordered some sandwiches and jumbo muffins.

Steve wanted to groan. Why Sam had to ask that when Zan was working and could over hear was beyond him. He wouldn't doubt either that James probably told Zan the truth anyway, considering that he was being listened in to. "The one further away from her shop. Matt's Tea and Coffee shop I think it was called."

"I heard about that one, doesn't sound too shabby. A bit out of our way, though, for morning jogs. I think I'll just stay here," Sam nodded, "So how was that painting class with the surprise you were curious about? What did you do?"

"Calla made us paint on black canvases. She's going to put them all up during October for Halloween just to show them off. River apparently is doing private pumpkin carving lessons since it was highly requested." Steve shrugged. "Some of the students weren't too thrilled with it, but there were a lot of enthusiastic about it."

"Dude that sounds like fun," Sam chuckled, "So you went to the cafe with Calla, did you? That was a pretty bold move. Did you have a good time?" he smirked teasingly.

"I did." Steve grinned looking at Sam. "Though I haven't seen Draco with you as of late." His grin faded a little bit. "Is everything okay?"

"Draco and I are doing fine," Sam assured with a promise, "He's just a lot more quiet than the rest of us, is all. We went on a date to the diner just the other night, in fact," he beamed, "Not to worry. He's joined a yoga club and...wow."

"Oh god." Steve laughed a little. "I don't need to know anything else thanks. But that's good. I'm really glad. You look happier too Sam." He assured.

"Ha, I thought so. FOOD!" Sam suddenly shouted as Zan came over to them, and he practically drooled at the sight of his pumpkin muffin, "I love this time of year."

"I should take it away since I know Steve went off and had an affair with Matt. But I'm a nice person." Zan teased lightly. "River texted me and told me that you and Calla went on a date. Congrats. Now if James can say the same about him and River, we'll be gold. Though..." she shrugged. "Angelina's not too fond of the idea."

Sam's smile faltered, "What Angelina got against River?"

Zan shook her head from side to side. "It's not about being against." Zan replied gently. "It's about whose attention is on who."

Steve set his cup down. "Angelina only knows James and a few others." He said slowly. "It doesn't surprise me really to know that she's a little unsettled by the fact that James is trying to expand his safety." He paused. "I bet that was a scary thing to come to realize too."

Zan nodded. "She's not letting it get in her way though. It's not like she's hurting River or James. I don't think James knows really." She shrugged. "But she certainly didn't know what it was and Dylan had to walk her through it. He was a little upset when I came home so I asked him what was up."

"Jealousy is a tricky thing," Sam nodded, "It's really good that she had someone to talk to. I am not surprised she's pulling a you, though, Steve, and suffering in silence."

Steve gave Sam a look and Zan shrugged. "There's not much we can do to help, Sam. Angelina will deny it. Not that she's jealous, she'll admit that. But she'll deny any need for help unless you know way to block out the feeling."

"Nope," Sam shook his head, taking a bite of his muffin. "I haven't actually met her, even after the last couple months. I wouldn't know what to do for her."

Zan shrugged. "So, suffer in silence." She tapped on the table as she walked away with a soft hum.
Steve watched her leaves and he wondered if James heard all of that. He kind of hoped, for Angelina's sake, that James wasn't listening in and that the conversation would remain private. At the same time, he couldn't help but to think that maybe it'd be good if James heard. He'd know what to do for her. He shook his head. "She became my goddaughter."

"I remember that whole thing. I'm glad for the two of you," Sam nodded head. "Buck apparently remembered and trusted you enough to put her in your care."

Steve nodded. "It still feels surreal." He took another drink of his coffee and sighed. Suffer in silence. He doubted he could...do anything...but he certainly had to try something or another.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:44 pm

"Anzhelina, fetiță, I would like to talk to you," James said softly to his daughter who was sitting on the couch, watching Netflix on the TV and she looked conflicted between his using her real name scramble, and his pet name for her. "I heard something interesting at the cafe this morning."

Angelina tossed her mind back as far as she could. She didn't kill anyone...she didn't think she had a public panic attack. Did she dissociate and accidentally named-called someone? She showed Dylan how to correctly feed the ducks before he killed them all, so that was supposed to be a good thing. Did she forget something at the Tower? Did she do something at the Tower that Uncle Steve didn't tell her about but accidentally told her dad? Was Zan okay? Was there a new Hydra base? She carefully scooted over so that her dad could sit down next to her, and she tried to read his mind to get a vague idea of what it was that he could of heard, but he was doing the "zen" thing and was hard to read. "Am I in trouble?"

"Maybe a little. I'll quote Flying Sam in this and say you're suffering in silence like your Uncle Steve, and I wish you'd talk to me," James said slowly, reaching out and taking her hand in is, "Are you jealous of River and I?" he just decided to be blunt with it and at her expression he explained the conversation he heard.

Angelina looked away and brought her legs up and wrapped her arms around her legs into a ball. She kind of wished she had her blanket, but...she was alright. She looked ahead at the paused T.V and thought about what she wanted to say. Talking to Dylan was one thing. He understood that emotions were complex to her and helped her untangle them the best that he could. But talking about it with her dad was a whole other animal. She hid half of her face into her knees, her mind still running on how she wanted to say this. "I want you to be happy." She said after a moment. "You're happy with River. You can't lose that."

"What makes you think I'm going to?" he tilted his head at her, "It's been a little over a month now, maybe two if I actually count, since I met her. We're becoming friends and she's nice. Refreshing. I know you like her, too. Your classes with her are so enthusiastic and you're enjoying the other people who go there, too. So, what's the matter?"

Angelina watched him for a long moment before turning back into her little huddle. "You're mind patterns are different now. It's not a bad thing. But if we have to fight..." She shook her head from side to side. "..." She thought about this. How could she explain this? "Decoding emotions is...hard for me." She said after a moment. She let out her breath for a moment. "I like River. I like you. I like that you and River are together." She ignored her father's noise of...embarrassment? Rejection? "For a while I was jealous. She changed your mind patterns in twenty four hours. She made you different. I don't know how to help you if you fall back down anymore. Because the methods I know, probably won't work anymore. I could try, but if they wind up hurting you, then..." she shrugged sadly.

She let the silence go for a moment longer. "I thought about where I am. Then I thought about where you are. It's complex. You were ripped away from your own time like Uncle Steve and forced to do bad things. You think Uncle Steve wants Bucky back, but the truth of the matter is, he just wants his friend back. They're not the same person. Uncle Steve from your stories is a shadow compared to the Uncle Steve I talk to now. Then I think of me. Uncle Steve sees me as a connection. A way to get to you like Hydra only with less violence and more worry and care. Dylan takes great pains to do things no one else does. He's been practicing trying to "talk" with me silently. It's hard. A lot of nosebleeds. But it's good. Fun. And when I see where I am and where you are, I feel guilty. Guilty that jealousy was even an emotion to feel. I start to wonder if my mental patterns changed. I wonder if my comfort-items are different. I added Ghost to the equation, but that's it...but who knows subconsciously of what I added. Dylan asked me once if I ever stopped to wonder if you were jealous of him trying to teach me things. I thought about it...and decided that yes. You felt that rift, too."

"I felt that rift, and then I let it go. Because what good would it do me to be jealous? There's so much that you haven't learned, haven't experienced. Things Dylan will still teach you, things Uncle Steve will teach you. I'm teaching you how to help me cook dinners, but I realized there's not a whole lot I myself can teach anymore. I taught you how to fight. How to survive. There are...a lot of things I'm learning just like you. Re-learning, even. How can I teach you if I don't know how myself? We can learn together, but it's not the same," James sighed deeply and scooted closer, putting his arm around her.

"I always wondered what "goodbye" meant." Angelina placed her chin back into her huddle as she leaned a bit into the hold. "I imagine it feels like this. Bittersweet. Because this is a "goodbye". Not physically. I'm not leaving you. But it's a parting too. Because I can tell you all I learned. But its not the same." She agreed. "It's something we have to do on our own. A new sub-mission."

"I want to tell you a little something...about...how easy it was to remember you, fetiță," James murmured softly, squeezing her tightly, "I love you, Anzhelina...you woke me from my dreams. Crying. Calling for your tată. I didn't understand at first. Then...I ran into a little girl, that looked like you..." he continued his story, explaining how he helped the little girl find her mom and that she called him safe and asked if he was a dad. How happy the mother was, and how he knew exactly what to do and where to go.

Angelina felt a lump in her throat and she uncurled herself to burrow herself into her dad's arms silently. Even though the whole conversation was sad and bittersweet, Angelina wondered if this was what hope felt like. A certainty that yeah, everything was fucked up and everything was changing, but...everything would be okay. "I never forgot you." Angelina admitted hoarsely. "I used to watch them wipe you and put you back. I visited when I could."

"They could've hurt you, probably did," he frowned at that, but he ended up uncurling her and they laid down on the couch, his body curled around hers, "If I or Uncle Steve can help it, I won't forget you ever again. You should ask to hang out with him some more. He'd like that."

Angelina closed her eyes, letting a few tears fall. "He would." She murmured softly. She wouldn't tell him about they put her through. As much as she hated lying and keeping secrets, these were secrets no one should ever know. It'd hurt everyone and no one deserved that hurt. "I'll text him later. Cuddle time."

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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Sat Oct 08, 2016 1:05 am

About a week later, Sam jumped as he heard a shout, Steve barely glancing up from his private conversation with Bucky in the blue journal, pen poised. Looking over, he saw a woman with raven black hair tied into a braid and the ends of it were colored swirls of a gradient blue from dark to light. She was hugging Zan from behind and Zan was clutching her tray to her chest, catching her breath.

"Don't hit me!" the woman cried as she laughed and then pulled away, "I haven't been here in forever! I missed you!" she told her happily.

"I should hit you for giving me a damn heart attack!" Zan cried out. "You are so /goddamn lucky/ that my favorite isn't having a moment with my screaming!" She slapped Calla's arm, but it was a gentle swat than something violent. "Go sit down and maybe I'll be nice to you. Traitor." She huffed. "I know you and Steve went a different cafe than here." She said as she walked off, probably to take a moment to breathe.

Steve snorted. Zan forgave Steve quickly for it. But Calla still had yet to deal with Zan's wrath. "Hey Calla." He called over to her.

Calla beamed at him and hopped her way over to him, blinking at the man across from him, "Hello. I recognize you. Falcon?" she asked curiously.

"Hell yeah," Sam grinned wickedly, eyeballing Steve and held his hand out to her as she sat down, grinning wider at her very firm grip and good shake, "Sam Wilson, Steve's impulse control."

"His...impulse control?" Calla furrowed his brows.

"He likes to run in head first," Sam clarified with a smirk.

Steve rolled his eyes as he went back to writing. "He likes to think that makes him more important. He's also the Avenger Therapist and Reasonable Thinking."

"Aw, just like Zan," Calla nodded, "That's nice. Must be difficult, dealing with all the blockheads."

"Not all. There's one I haven't gotten my hands on. When I do, I'll say yes," Sam half agreed, "It's nice to meet you finally, by the way. Steve told me about your black painting idea."

"Really? Did he tell you wait he painted?" Calla asked. When Sam shook his head she giggled softly, "A waterfall in one of the botanical gardens that's around here. I thought it was pretty good."

"Steve's memory is like, the /best/," Sam agreed.

Steve smiled as he finally shut the journal, ready to give it to Zan when she came back around to give to James. "So what have you been up to lately Calla?" He asked curiously.

"I sold three paintings! I think someone blabbered about you being there at my classes, or at least seeing you walk into the shop and wanted to check it out," Calla explained to him, "If it's just some random person that's watching that's fine, but I want my store to stay tiny and cozy. More business would mean a bigger place," she leaned on her elbows, chin in her hands, "Whatcha writin'?"

"He's writing love letters to his boyfriend," Sam teased Steve.

"James and I have this "don't see each other" thing." Steve said carefully. "I think he's a bit worried about...well...a lot of things. At the moment I'm just writing down a response about what happened between him and Angelina." He shrugged. "Both of them discovered that they can't really teach each other to be human, and are drifting a part a little. At the same time, they're still trying to be each other's rock. It's a complicated situation. He wanted me to invite her to visit me more often."

"I see," Calla hummed, and Sam spotted the ghost in her eye before she hid it with a smile when Steve looked back up from the journal. Sam got suspicious. Why would some random civi look like she knew what the hell they were going though? "I think that might be beneficial to both of you. You get to know your God Daughter and she gets to know her Uncle. That's all it should be, too. Just you two as you are not thinking about other baggage."

Steve nodded in agreement. "The classes didn't really work out to our advantage, but there's probably something else we can do that we can bond over." He paused and quickly wrote down something in the journal before he signed off again and closed it. "I know River's always happy to see her. Apparently she gave her a bunch of stuff as a get-well package."

"She was going on an on about it. Was really glad to give her coloring books and apparently James likes the Sudoku book a lot. Math and all," Calla laughed.

"Oh hey, our coffee is here! Pumpkin spice latte for the win!" Sam cheered as Zan came their way.

Zan laughed as she handed out the drinks, "I like apple cider myself but I just like being contrary." She teased as she took the writing journal from Steve and slipped it into her apron pocket. "I'm just glad peppermint is a thing. I hate gingerbread."

"I'll take a peppermint frap, Zanna!" Calla grinned at her, "Has James gotten his coffee yet? Ask if he likes mint, I'll totally pay for him to have one, too, if he hasn't."

Zan nodded. "Let's see if that's something he'll like. He wasn't overly fond of the pumpkin spice one." She smiled as she knocked on the table and walked away.

"You know I still wonder /why/ she does that." Steve mused.

If only he knew. She'd also done it back during the class, but maybe he hadn't thought anything of it. "Ask her sometime in the future if you remember," Calla told him.

"Steve doesn't know anything..." James whispered to Zan when she came around his corner to his booth, "He's going to be so upset. Yet another secret, but I know why. They've tried so hard, been on their feet for two years, and if Steve found out it could all come crashing down."

Zan sighed as she handed the book to James. "There's a lot of things that Steve doesn't know." She agreed. "But that doesn't mean that just because you cheat with Angelina he will too. If he finds out." She looked at him curiously. "You're looking a little better than when you first came in. Oh yeah, Calla said she'll pay for you to get a peppermint drink if that's more your style."

"It was difficult getting here before them. I was out of breath and it's cold today, My lungs were /burning/," James complained before he took it, opening it to the bookmarked page. It had actually gotten so full they had to use a bookmark to keep track. So many mundane little things. Some short, some long. Steve's chicken scratch out of things he didn't want James to read that he accidentally wrote anyway. Today was going to be another long one. "I like mint, so I'll go for it. I always hate it when I don't like something you bring me, but it didn't sit right on my tongue."

Zan laughed. "That's why we have a list." She assured him. "Now we know. Pumpkin's not a favorite. It's a acquired tasted really." She watched him for a moment. "I'll leave you to read." She murmured, knocking on the table and leaving humming to herself.
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Sat Oct 08, 2016 2:41 am

It sounds like it was a rough conversation to have. I knew about the jealousy, but everything else. Well. When she yelled at Natasha about being a weapon, I know Natasha had a whiplash. Once an assassin always an assassin. Once a Solider always a Solider, isn’t that how it goes? Sometimes, it feels like it. Other times it just feels like a hindrance. Though I won’t say that aloud to anyone.

You’re both trying very hard and I’m proud of both of you. I’m proud of you for reaching out to me, even if it’s hard and difficult. I know I bring along painful memories. I know that I’m not the easiest guy in the world to talk to. I’m also proud of you for making a bunch of friends. I know you know that. I just like saying it.

Has Natasha run into you yet? I wonder if she’s gonna try to get Angelina on her side first. I doubt it really. Her main concern is you. I don’t think really anyone’s all that concerned about Angel. I have to admit, I am. Not really because of the many medical issues thats’ been recently discovered. But I just worry.

I’ll text her once I get out of the cafe and see if she wants to meet up. I get the feeling Halloween is going to be a father-daughter celebration, as well as Christmas and all of the first holidays. As it should be, Buck.

Sincerely, Steve.

P.S: You know you’re the best father figure for her right? That you’re doing your best to love her and smother her in all the love she can get? That’s a good thing, Buck. You’re so good to and for her. Never doubt it.


James sighed deeply and clicked his pen a few times before he started jotting down his words.

Damn it, Steve.

You really know how to win hearts don't you? All this 'proud of you' stuff makes mine twist. --I feel g-- I have a plan. I'm feeling better and more confident every time we do this journal thing. Next month. I'll leave you hanging on when, but this time when I see the tension in you're shoulders I'll know you're waiting for me.

No she hasn't. I'm a bit worried. I know she knows where I live. If you see her tell her I think Ghost is actually pretty cute for a stuffed wolf. I like the sparkly blue eyes as girly as it is.

Yeah, the pumpkin thing will be a father-daughter event. If I carved pumpkins as a kid with you I don't remember so it'll be like doing it for the first time all over again. I'm excited. I'll make sure you get pictures of mine and Angelina's. I might pose for you in with her it if you ask nicely.

You should do some 'normal' things with her like fishing or canoeing. I dunno. Silly evey-day normal stuff. Ice cream. Not pizza, that's hers and Dylan's thing.

Your Jerk

PS - Um...not sure if it's ok to tease, I hear Sam teasing you. But...they have some good movies at the theatre?


James looked up as he closed the journal and smiled at Zan, "Just in time."

"It's like I just know by now how long it takes you guys to write in a notebook." Zan replied as she took the book with a smile. "So what exactly are you trying to convince him to do this time?"

"To do normal things like a normal Uncle," James told her, looking at his new drink with curiosity, "I suggested fishing or ice cream, but he'll no doubt have better ideas. I told him not to do pizza since that's what Angel and Dylan do for their dates. I also hinted at a date with Calla to the movies."

"They're dating?" Zan blinked for a moment before smacking herself in the head. "/That's/ why Dylan is insisting on a couple's costume."

"I...don't think Steve's been up-front with her but that's what the other coffee shop thing was about. River told me about it, she was so excited Calla was getting out of the shop," James told her, "I'm thinking of asking River. Maybe. November should be a good month with good things. I'll wait until the first and take her to dinner for All Souls Day. She's been telling me all about these different sub-holidays that people forget about."

"You and River huh?" Zan looked at him curiously and then smiled. "She'd be real good for you." She promised after a moment. "And I know you're still in that stage where you feel like a threat sometimes, but you'd be good for her too."

"You think so? I might...message their facebook page and see if she has a Skype. Recently got Angelina a laptop and we share it. It's handy," James tapped his chin, brought his drink closer to him and took a sip, his eyes lighting up, "Oh...wow. This is...this is really good. Tell Calla I said thank you. By the way...couple costumes?"

Zan pondered on that and she looked at James curiously. "You haven't seen them together, but it's like...Dylan knows where she is. When they're baking in the kitchen, it's like watching a dance. When they're watching an anime, if one of them doesn't like it by the time episode three comes around, the other one changes it. No questions. No complaints. And when they talk to each other, it's never...a miscommunication. Or a fight waiting to happen. It's...sincere. Soft. I mean, yeah they get frustrated at each other. Angelina has so much to learn, and Dylan can't /read/ minds." She shrugged. "I wouldn't be surprised if they just...fell into it."

"That...sounds adorable, really," James smiled tenderly, "I hope they do. I like Dylan. He's good for her, and so are you. She maybe exhausted after a rave, but she's very relaxed the following days. It's a good tired. I have to thank you both for so much."

"I'll make sure Dylan doesn't run off and elope and that he asks you for her hand." Zan promised as she knocked on the table. "You have nothing to thank us for. I should be thanking you." She told him over her shoulder as she walked back to the trio and passed the notebook to Steve.

"Your thinking faces in rapid-fire are even better than when it's over time," was Calla's first comment as she supped her frap.

"You spend a lot of time watching his face," Sam noted, and he and Calla had a raised eyebrow staring contest as they drank their respective beverages.

"My life is a romantic comedy." Steve deadpanned as he looked at his friends. "Or a sitcom. My face /really/ can't be all that interesting."

"It really could." Zan offered her two cents in easily enough. "Considering that we don't have a gym nearby where we can stare at you while you work out."

"You're being creepy." Steve gave Zan a look.

"Sorry." Zan chirped. "But you know it's true."

Steve sighed.

"Should I stop?" Calla asked, breaking the contest with Sam to look back at Steve and Zan, "I mean, if it makes you uncomfortable. I just...prefer looking people in the eye when I talk to them. It's respectful, shows you're listening and paying attention. I may have been a rebel but my parents taught me manners."

"It's not the eye contact. I do the same." Steve said softly. "And it's fine. I'm not used to be observed."

Sam looked at Zanna, "What are /your/ plans for your Halloween costume?"

"I have no idea. Dylan wants a couples' costume so I gotta figure out where that leaves me." Zan sighed.

"Dylan and Angelina are together?" Steve blinked. "I didn't know that."

"I didn't until five seconds ago." Zan groaned. "I'm the worst twin."

"Awww, that sounds so cute!" Calla grinned widely, "I can't wait until he actually asks her out. I bet he's going to do something really freaking adorable and /simple/ that she would totally understand."

"Oh /betting/," Sam's eyes glinted, "Draco and I are still debating on costumes, but I'm going to bring him to the Tower for Stark's Halloween party, Steve. Get him to meet everybody. Have people been talking yet? Anything you're going to do specifically?"

"Hand out candy to the kids. Stark's party because I literally cannot say no. I thought about dressing in my uniform, but I'm not sure if that'll invite trouble or not. What are we betting on?" Steve asked, looking at Sam and Calla curiously.

"The scariest costume!" Calla immediately demanded.

"Oh, not pulling any punches, this one," Sam smiled in amusement, "What are you going to be, then, a zombie? 'Cause anyone who's a zombie instantly wins unless there's more than one and then it's who's the most ugly."

Calla's face contorted, "Oh god, no. I'm just going to fall back on either a witch or a vampire. Classics."

Steve shook his head as he looked at the note that Bucky wrote him. Zan was immediately amused by this. "Thanks. You guys gave me like the best costume idea ever. I'm gonna win." And she walked off laughing, as she tapped on the table to let them know that she was leaving.

"Oh noes, that doesn't sound like a good idea," Calla made a face and shook her head, then watched Steve start writing furiously in the notebook, "I'm looking at it at a weird ass angle but holy crap your handwriting is awesome." A pause, then she said, "I think using your uniform would be expected. You should do something that throws everyone for a loop and look twice."

"Tony probably already has you beat." Steve said with a laugh. "I'll be wearing that costume to the party. The Captain America one is for handing out candy to the kids."

"Oh, I understand. You'll have to show me pictures," Calla smiled at him.

"Why don't we have her join us, Steve?" Sam smirked at the blond, "If I'm showing off Draco I mean..."

"Do you want to?" Steve asked looking at Calla. "Come with us?"

Calla's face flushed, but she hesitated. She was supposed to help our River with handing out candy. Just as she opened her mouth again she yipped and jumped, looking at a tiny piece of paper that had hit her head and landed on the table, "James you're a jerk," she said a little louder than normal and picked it up. /'SAY YES'/ it started in bold capitalized letters, /'If you go I'll help River with candy with Angelina Very Happy'/ That gave her great pause and she looked at Steve with a huge grin, "I'll go as long as I get to help you out with candy."

"Oh my god I got to see that in action," Sam laughed heartily, "Jeez he's a good shot."

"Sounds like a deal." Steve smiled brightly. "I can't wait."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Sat Oct 08, 2016 9:00 pm

The apartment had small things now. A laptop resting on a coffee table with pretty light blue oceanic coasters. The couch was well-used and there was a blanket throw on it. An interesting crochet one with purple and white mixed in. Ghost was standing on the bar counter, a little off balance. It was a beautiful grey wolf with some white markings on it's paws and muzzle. The Black Widow collar still hung around it's neck.

She walked over to it, and gently touched the collar around it's neck. "<There were reports that you had a companion with you.>" Her Russian was soft, but easy to hear. "<You were a ghost story, but she had no background. You were a legend, she a mere shadow.>" She turned to face James, who was standing by the kitchen, his hand in his pocket and his body tensed like he was ready for a fight. She was not at all surprised to have seen him there. "<Steve says you go by James now.>"
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Sun Oct 09, 2016 4:44 pm

"<I do.>" He's set the tea cup he'd had on the counter in case the intruder was unwelcome. However, noticing it was just Natalia and knowing she wouldn't do anything to him, he took the cup again, "You are lucky that Anzhelina is the one who didn't cross you breaking into our home. It would not have been pretty. What do you want?" He asked, going around the corner to come face her.

"Nothing in particular." Natasha said, looking back at the stuffed wolf. "To re-meet you and to get a bit of an idea on how avoiding Steve is working out for you."

"I suppose I can agree to that. You could have asked to meet me somewhere or something," James shrugged, though knew she liked seeing things for herself, "Sorry...about your shoulder. Did it heal well?" he asked, going to the couch and tugged the blanket off the back and over his lap.

"It healed fine." Natasha walked away from the counter and Ghost to go over to the couch. She sat down next to him, her legs crossed. "I could've." She agreed after a moment. "But I know how attached Angelina is to you. There's things you and I wouldn't say in front of her and the conversation would just be a stop and go." She shrugged. "She's attached to you like a duckling."

"I need her just as much," James told her softly, "I stayed in an abandoned apartment building for a week or so trying to get things in working order, waiting for that moment where I would remember what I /needed/ to in order to move on. Things were at a standstill until then. I had a dislocated shoulder and no money and no clothes. Stole money from Hydra and put a chunk in a bank, kept the rest. Still have a good bit in cash stashed away. Didn't want to be traced by amount. I got a gym membership so I could have somewhere to take showers and while I'd break the equipment I could at least do basics like pull-ups and sit-ups and things."

"Are you hurting for resources?" Natasha asked carefully. "What are you doing to replenish the income?"

"Angelina goes with Dylan to his job and she repairs computers for some nice pocket money. I myself am not doing anything. I'm looking and trying but nothing's popping up," James sipped his tea, fiddling the blanket with his flesh hand, "I mentioned mechanics to...either Zan or Vince? I went looking for a motorcycle at the junkyard and I frequent it but nothing I like has appeared. I don't have anywhere to take it, even if I did. No garage and I'm sure I could find an abandoned building again, but that's risky because cops don't like that."

Natasha nodded after a moment. "No the cops wouldn't like that at all. I might know someone who could use a good mechanic though. Do you want me to look around for you? See what pops up on the radar?"

"Do you have a catch?" James asked back with an arched brow.

"Is Angelina also a mechanic or is she just a hacker?" Natasha asked in return.

"More hacker, I think. She's become very savvy with the internet and taking apart and putting computers back together. She knows basic mechanics to repair my arm should it go down, as well," James explained, "I would like another set of eyes looking for a job. It's one thing finding income in a small town. Another in a huge city like this, especially when I have to compete for that job with dozens of other people."

Natasha nodded. "That makes it easier. I don't think the place I'm thinking of would take two of you, but..it just as well might've." She shrugged after a moment. "Do you like the peaceful life?"

"It's never lasted this long..." James admitted to her, "I would have time...over the course of the last seventy years...watching targets before I kill them, learn their habits, wait for opportunities. The longest they would ever let me stay out is two weeks. One...they let me out for a month and I went rogue. They didn't like that. I didn't have the chance to truly disappear at that time, either. They were on me within a few days, prepared for it I think."

"I do like it, yes..." he added after a long pause, "Yet I know...once I contact Steve, it won't be peaceful after that. I will only tell you this, but my plan is to contact him on Thanksgiving. Zan told me the only holidays he's not there is Valentines' day for all the lovey-dovey crap, and Christmas Eve because he wants to be alone."

Natasha watched him for a moment before nodding her head. "So then why look for a job at all if you're going to be an Avenger soon?"

"That's a good point," James agreed with a hum, "With them, if I ask they could have an entire mechanic shop set up for me. I would need to be cleared first to get any business, though. Perhaps that is something you could do instead, get the ball rolling with all the paperwork and evidence and then all I gotta do when I reveal myself is have a trial."

"But then that leaves a question about Angelina." Natasha looked around at the apartment. "While you could be an Avenger, Angelina will have a harder time. I wouldn't doubt that she'd stay in the Tower. You need her as a rock of sorts, she can't be your Companion on the field. I know we kill sometimes, but...we can't afford another Massacre."

A wry smiled crossed his face, "So that got back around to the Avengers, did it? The one in England a few months ago?" James asked her, "I have thought of that, actually. I will make it very clear to Steve that I'm keeping my apartment. He had one, before I shot the place up, a home away from home. I want to keep this place for that purpose as well. Though, I will no doubt set up the second bedroom instead of having two beds in one, so she can expand. Bookshelves for her anime things and all the figurines Dylan's gotten her for 'just because' presents. She's running out of room in her corner of the master bedroom," he chuckled.

Natasha nodded and stood up with an easy flourish. "Steve will probably want a bigger apartment, or maybe you'll want one so you can keep collecting all the strange people you meet. Strange in a good way." She amended. "You just draw people to you James. It's a talent for someone that's supposed to be hidden." She walked towards the door. "The mechanic place that I was thinking about is over by Sunset Park. Just close by. Just mention me if you want the job or if you decided against it. Best to look before you do." She walked out with saying a goodbye.

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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Sun Oct 09, 2016 11:46 pm

"Let me take that for you," was the first thing out of James' mouth when he reached for the pumpkin, the young woman having issues carrying the baby basket /and/ the heavy orange pumpkin. Well, heavy for her. He could balance it on one finger if he wanted to, but that was beside the point.

"Thank you." The woman sighed as she let James take the pumpkin so she could adjust her hold on the baby's basket. Once she got it situated, she looked up and blinked. Next to him was a girl with white hair and balancing a pumpkin on her head, keeping it steady with both of her hands. "Oh! You're Angelina's father then. I'm Johanna. We live in the same apartment building by a few floors."

"Er...We do?" James blinked at her, "I never see you. You must've left quite a bit after me if we're just getting here at the same time, since we walked. You've missed River's classes, too, at least the ones I go to. She tells me a lot about you and I've wanted to meet you."

Johanna blinked in surprise and smiled brightly. "I have a car and I was trying to leave early to beat traffic." She swung the carrier up and down a little. "Angelina walked me back to the apartment, that's how I know we lived in the same building. Dylan mentions you sometimes too."

"You didn't tell me you met Johanna," James poked his daughter's cheek, "I probably would've met  you a lot sooner had I known you lived where we do." He got to the door of River's shop first and opened it for them, "Ladies first," he grinned.

"Which one?" Johanna teased before going in first, maneuvering the carrier with ease as she walked in. Angelina headed inside too, grinning brightly when she saw River at the counter. "Look what we brought!" She grinned.

River looked over and grinned. "You brought me a baby pumpkin!" She squealed softly as she walked over to Johanna carrier and peered in. "Aww and he's awake! Come on to the classroom, let's get you a chair so you can put down that carrier."

"Oh thank god." Johanna groaned. "Angelina's dad probably wants to set those down just as badly as I want to set this down too."

"I don't mind," James promised, "You can call me James if you'd like. How many people are here already, Riv?" he tilted his head at the purple haired woman, following all of them to the classroom.

"Just you four. Vince said that he was going to be a bit late and Calla's just going to come when she wants." River explained as she held open the classroom door. There were newspapers, a bunch of huge plastic bowls, and a few pumpkin carving sets and a stack of papers. "It used to be just us and Johanna since this is the only time she can try to decorate for Halloween since having little Leo. So, we sort of expanded it to include you guys."

"That's...thank you, I didn't know. I'm glad we're not intruding and it was an invitation," James told River and Johanna sincerely.

"I nearly insisted when River told me." Johanna set down the carrier and brought out a tiny thing that Angelina had /never/ seen before. He was wearing a white shirt that she could see the graphics of a pumpkin on and small jeans and socks. Shoes apparently didn't go on a pup all that well. "She told me that you were wanting to meet me and I've been wanting to meet you, but with Leon getting sick and my work schedule going crazy, I just kept missing you."

"Let me see Leon, Johanna and you sit down for at least five minutes before we start." River said as she walked over and took Leon away. He made a noise of compliant but settled down easily enough when his head was at River's shoulder. He looked around with wide, wide brown eyes and his hair was standing up everywhere.

"I wasn't that tiny was I?" Angelina whispered horrified as she looked at the pup. "He looks so small. We're surrounded by knives."

"It'll be alright, Angel," James promised, "I found you when you were five, so I don't know how tiny you were, but probably smaller than that," he walked over slowly to River, a bit nervous, but he had vague, very fuzzy memory of holding a baby. One of the sisters Steve mentioned? "How is he when strangers hold him?" he looked at Johanna, "Some babies don't like that, and I don't want to upset him."

"He might complain, but he'll settle down easily enough. You can hold him if you want." Johanna looked at Leon with a smile. "I wouldn't worry about him crying unless he wants something. He's woken up from a nap so he's not tired anymore."

"If you're okay with it," James watched the baby boy for a bit before he reached out slowly, being careful with his grip as he hoisted him up by the armpits and placed him against his chest, flesh hand cradling his head, his metal arm supporting him under his butt, and he looked down at him, "Aren't you a spoiled little thing? Heftier than I expected," he cooed.

The boy stared at him with wide eyes and gave him a grin. He had very white teeth and his hands went up and down a few times, excitedly. River giggled and Angelina approached cautiously like the poor thing was a bomb rather than a person. Johanna quickly grabbed her phone out. "Are you alright with a picture?" Johanna asked carefully as she got it on camera.

"As long as you send whatever pictures you take to River," James told Jo with a tint to his cheeks, "I promised Steve pictures from today."

Johanna beamed brightly. "You got it." She said and she snapped the picture and Leon let out happy squeal, making James look back at him. Johanna laughed. "Well it looks like Vince just got replaced as a favorite again."

"Oh dear." River's lips curved. "Vince's heart's gonna be broke. He fought so /hard/ against Dylan."

James went and sat down in a chair, getting Angelina to follow him, and he eyed her with amusement, "Poke his cheeks, feel how soft his skin is, Angel. Let him grab your finger, too. You'll be surprised how strong a baby's grip is."

Angelina gave her dad a skeptic look, but she carefully traced her finger over Leon's cheek and the baby immediately stilled and looked over at her, squirming to get a better look. She froze, like she just set off an unexpected alarm, but Leon didn't seem to be too phased. He looked at her curiously and made a grabbing motion at her. She gave him her finger and instead of just holding it, he placed it in his mouth to chew, holding it with both hands.

Jams laughed at Angel's expression, then helped her pry her fingers away, "He apparently thinks you're a chew toy," he teased, "Don't worry, I wont ask you to hold him. They can tell when people are uncomfortable."

"Ba-ba." Leon squirmed again, reaching out for Angelina and sighed when James stopped him. "No." He said firmly making River crack up and Johanna covering her face.

"I'm sorry." Johanna sighed. "He's starting to learn how to talk and...well...no is a favorite word of toddlers."

"No." Leon repeated, grinning as he reached up and patted James' face.

James crouched his head a little lower so Lon could get a could feel of his fuzzy stubble that wasn't quite a beard but it wasn't prickly, "I need to shave but he seems to like it," he smiled.

"Oh my god. Calla. Calla. Calla!" Vince had just walked in and walked out calling Calla's name. "You need to come here. You need to just...bathe in this. Come here. I will drag you so help me god."

"I'm /coming/!" Calla laughed as she walked back in with Vince, stopping short and she jumped up and down, "River! Steve is going to /love/ this! It's totally going to make his night!" She clapped her hands and pulled out her phone.

"You can send them directly to Steve, right? You have his number?" James asked Calla.

"For sure!" Calla nodded, "You want me to?"

"Yes," James nodded, and he did pose this time with two fingers up in 'peace' as Calla's flash went off. He watched her type away at her phone and send it off.

Johanna's smile was bright. "You know what? I had the perfect idea. River why don't you and Angelina get with James and take a picture?"

River and Angelina both looked at Johanna. River more confusion and Angelina with more thought. "Okay...I don't know your plan, but...." River got on one side of Bucky and Angelina on another. "Is this alright James? If this is too uncomfortable, I can take Leon and sit down and you can stand up."

"Johanna you are /sly/." Vince whistled.

"I'm...This is okay," James said slowly, his face completely red. He'd taken his hat off as soon as he was inside the shop, so his hair framed his face with one side tucked behind his ear, his face flushed, head tilted down but eyes looking up from under his lashes, his whole expression shy but happy, "Go ahead." Calla and Johanna took different positions to take the pictures and snapped away.

"Send that to Angelina and Zan." Vince said when the pictures finally died and River was free to move. "Those are some mighty good pictures. But now's the time James, to give me back my second favorite person in the world." He held his hands out to take Leon. Leon looked at Vince and blew a spit bubble, grinning proudly at the accomplishment.

"You like kids?" Angelina asked as she watched the exchange with wide eyes.

"I can say that kids and books are my top loves yeah." Vince nodded as he took Leon and held him at the hip. "They're interesting and Leon makes my life fun." He poked the boy on the nose. "So how about we learn how to carve pumpkins /and/ see if you and Leon can get along." He winked at Angelina. "No harm no foul here."

"Yeah! Time to carve pumpkins!" Calla cheered as she grabbed the one she had and found a place among the newspapers to settle down as she got several bling notification noises at once on her phone, pulling it out and she giggled, "Steve spam messaged me."

"W-What's he say?" James asked hesitantly, grabbing his own pumpkin now his hands were free and found his own place.

"Here, you read them," Calla shoved the phone towards him.

James blinked at the messages and was amused at first when they started off with a series of exclamation points and smiley faces before Steve actually managed to start typing words. Even then there would be one or two at a time, building up to a longer sentence.

Steve: He looks super happy in that photo you guys just sent me. You all almost look like a family it's super cute. I'm putting this as a wallpaper.

James' fingers twitched. He wanted to say something, like he was doing the journal with him, but 1) it was Calla's phone, and 2) that was the reason he hadn't allowed Steve to have his number. The temptation to call would intensify and he was stubborn. So, he handed it back to her, "I'm glad he liked them so much."

Angelina watched him for a moment before taking the pumpkin that she bought a little closer to her and started using the magic marker to make the opening of it. Vince nodded his head. "Dylan should text Angelina soon unless he's at work. That was a damn cute picture. He's gonna be so jealous."

After a few minutes Vince was right, and Angel's phone buzzed, causing her to stop working on her pumpkin and pull it out. /OMG YOU RIV AND JAMES ALL LOOKED LIKE A FAMILY IT WAS SO COOL ALMOST LIKE RIVER WAS THE ONE WHO HAD A BABY AND THAT WAS LIKE YOUR LITTLE BROTHER OR SOMETHING I LOVE IT/ Was the all caps message that came through in about five texts since he had a smart phone and she had a flip and the character limit in one text sucked balls.

Angelina blinked at the message and then grinned brightly as she wrote back: /I never held a kid before. I might ask Johanna to let me after class and if Leon's still up./ She wondered what he would think...and she wondered how she would do. Everyone else started working on the pumpkins, Vince happily was just hanging around with Leon sometimes letting him see what Johanna or James or anyone else was making as he walked around the table.

Dylan's answering response was simple and quick: /GO FOR IT/

The rest of the class went by in a flash. James was so focused working on a Captain America one without making the pieces fall, eventually settling for a sort of hatched shield that had thin connecting lines around it, and while it was super simple, and he probably could have gone further with the fine-tuning of his left hand, but he really didn't want to. Simple sometimes was much better than intricate. He hoped Steve would like that he thought of him. When he looked up, basically everyone else was done as well and were starting to clean up, "What did you make, Angel?" he called to his daughter.

"A cat!" Angelina held up the pumpkin. It had a cat sitting on the moon and she beamed. Leon was in River's arms now since Vince passed him to Calla and in between the time Calla shoved Leon into River's arms. "I thought it was  good picture."

"I like it." Johanna beamed. "I decided to do the whole creepy skeleton face." She spun hers around and Leon banged on the table like he knew he was supposed to applaud or something. "Aw thanks sweetie! I knew you'd like it!" She cooed across the table.

"I went traditional. Nothing wrong with a good ol' Jack o' Lantern." Vince beamed. "Which is handy because I had a babe on my hip while I was doing most of this."

"That explains the missing tooth." River teased making Vince threaten her by grabbing a bowl filled with pumpkin guts and seeds. "You won't dare!" She covered Leon protectively.

"I think Vince would," James laughed, "Though I'd rather not get covered in pumpkin guts, so no food fights please?" he stood up and stretched, his back popping as he arched it backwards, groaning and straightening again, rolling his shoulders, "Who wants to take pictures of Angelina and I with our pumpkins?!"

"I'll do it." River offered as she stood up, about to hand off the kid to Calla when Angelia blurted out "Wait!" River paused and looked over at Angelina, blinking at her.

"I wanna try." Angelina pursed her lips together and she looked absolutely terrified. "To hold him. Can I?"

Johanna blinked and Leon just happily grabbed River's hair and started chewing at some of the strands till River pulled it away. "You want to try holding Leon? Are you sure Angel? You don't have to...I know it's scary for you."

"He's small." Angelina confessed. "But I still wanna try."

Johanna looked at James helplessly. "I don't mind...but do you James?"

"If she thinks she can do it, then let her," James beamed proudly.

"Steve is going to lose it with this one, I swear," Calla said, poised with her phone.

River carefully held out Leon to Angelina. Angelina took him in her arms and carefully settled him on her hip. She was shaking badly and Leon seemed to notice. But instead of crying. He made a sad face and he grabbed her hair. She blinked shocked and Leon beamed, pearly whites and all. "Gil!" He chirped. "Gil!"

"Too cute." Vince muttered. "Go on, get in the picture James. Stand behind Angel though."

"I took one with just Angelina just now, so go on," Calla coaxed as well. When he nodded and slipped in behind his daughter, he squeezed her shoulder and pulled her close, helping steady her so her shaking would lessen. The two of them looked up, their smiles and faces matching, and she snapped the picture.

They finished picture-spamming with the baby and the pumpkins, when Calla turned to Johanna. "It's still early in the day, even if the setting sun says otherwise, so be careful in six-o clock dinnertime traffic, Jo," Calla told her as she watched James fasten Leon in his crib and then hoist him up, his pumpkin secure under his other arm, "Looks like James is going to help you out in putting your boy in your car."

"Do you two want a ride?" Johanna asked as she picked up her pumpkin. "Since we live in the same place and all it won't be any trouble."

"If you're offering...you can give Angelina a ride, but once I put Leon in your car I'm gunna come back inside," James explained with a smile as the three of them headed outside, "Thank you, though. I don't mind walking. I go for a run nearly every day anyway."

Johanna beamed and she looked at Angelina who was still looking at the carrier, but not with a whole lot of fear anymore. "That's fine with me." She smiled as she gently patted Angelina's shoulder. "I bet Dylan will be eagerly waiting for her anyway." She thanked James again once the car-seat was in and fully secured and Angelina waved to him outside the window as they drove off.

Back inside, Calla was hugging River when her phone's ringer tone was going off instead of her text notification, and she giggled before pulling away, "That's Steve's ringtone. I wonder what he's got to say about Angelina with the baby. You were so happy to see your man and his guppy with Jo's guppy," she poked River who blushed dark and then answered her phone, "Hi Ste-" she was immediately cut off and had to hold her phone away from her ear as the voice on the other end was /not/ Steve shouted. She listened for a minute once it was safe to put it back, "Mr. Stark...I..." another pause and she gave River a wide-eyed look, "Uh, yeah...yeah I can. As long as you got all the pumpkins ready I can...okay. I'll be right there." A blush, "N-No, Steve doesn't need to come get me, and /no/ you don't need to, either. I have a car..." she blinked at her phone when Tony just abruptly ended the call, "I guess I'll be carving pumpkins with the Avengers tonight? When I get home we'll watch movies and have cake," she promised.

"You have fun." River promised. "And don't worry if you come home late okay?!" She gently pushed Calla out the door. "Go be a Superhero for a day!"

James blinked as Calla was running out, running behind the back of the registers and grabbing her jacket before bolting out the door, "Wow, what set her shoes on fire?" he asked as he joined River in the classroom.

"Tony Stark." River smiled as she leaned against the table. "I told her not to worry about coming home late. She hasn't had a lot of fun and the Avengers are definitely one way. You just don't say no to Tony." She looked at James. "You handled Leon beautifully by the way."

"You think so? If...my calculations are right. I don't think I've held a baby since I was maybe eight? When my littlest baby sister Alison was born," James explained.

River slowly blinked at him. "I'm guessing Hydra didn't let you hold her after she was born, did they?" She frowned sadly. "Regardless, you held him really well and Calla swears that in one photo we looked practically like family." She scratched her cheek. "I like that photo too. It gives something to look forward to."

"That's a long story. Basically her birth mother raped me, put her up for adoption, she got put in an orphanage, and I found and saved her when she was five. That is the short story." he explained, "I'm glad I did a good job with Leon, and I saw the picture when Calla shoved her phone at me...I like it, too..." he blushed a bit.

River felt her heart break and she nodded. "That's horrible. You're pretty strong to raise Angelina then." She smiled. "I know how that goes. Well not the giving birth and what not. I got lucky on that. But I know the rest of it." She gave him a gently smile. "So did you like pumpkin carving?"

"I find it interesting that you had the carving on your birthday," at her expression he shifted, "I looked on the Facebook page and there was a notice that today was your birthday. I wanted to come back and wish you a good one. I didn't...want to say it when I showed up because no one else was and I figured you didn't like it, so," James ran his hand through his hair.

"You're the first person to ever wish me a happy birthday." River's cheeks flushed. "I mean, besides Calla and Vince. They always wish it, I meant...you know. Someone outside our little group. I didn't think anyone would pay attention to it outside us. Thank you. Um...would you like me to cut some of the birthday cake up so you can take some home to you and Angelina? I promised Calla we'd have cake together, but I think she'll understand me giving you a couple of pieces."

"I'd like that. I'll eat mine here with you, if you don't mind," James offered, "I'll take the other piece back with me. She'll probably feel bad she didn't get to say it, but if it's private then I think she'll understand. Have you made any wishes on the candle? Or will that be later?"

River smiled warmly. "We can do candles if you want me to. I have plenty of wishes to make and I don't think there's a rule about blowing the candles out twice." She scratched her cheek. "I just got to make sure the wish I have for the second time around isn't too important."

"If...if you're sure, I'm kinda honored," James admitted softly and motioned for her to lead the way, since he didn't know anywhere else in the store besides the main part and the classroom. Once they got everything set up with the candles and plates at the ready, he cleared his throat, face hot and he was so shy, but he started singing her Happy Birthday, and at the end she stared at him a second before she snapped out of it and blew out her candles, "So um..." he cleared his throat again, "I haven't sang in a while...I'm pretty nervous for when they start the Christmas songs in November, but I wasn't too horrible, was I?"

River felt her eyes water and she rubbed them fast so he wouldn't think that she was crying. "N-not at all." She grinned happily. "You made me really happy. Thank you for singing for me. I wasn't expecting it at all. Now I feel like the cake is just a modest treat now." She laughed a little.

"Speaking of food..." James said as she cut him a slice, "I have a question. How do you feel about having dinner on the First for All Souls Day? No one celebrates it, but we should, for those...lost to Hydra and such. I think it'd be meaningful. The spirits would appreciate it. We can even light some candles later in the evening for it. Maybe some scented ones."

"I don't know if your goal is to make me super happy or really emotional or to see me cry or all three." River rubbed her eyes again. "But you're doing a damn job at it." She took a breath and laughed shakily. "I'd love to do that. A feast, the candles. I think this year we should find some soft scents. Like vanilla or lavender or something gentle. A soothing pathway for the ones who were lost violently."

"I can agree to that," James smiled, reaching out and touching her cheek, wiping away a stray tear she hadn't managed to clear, "I didn't mean to make you cry, but I'm glad it's for good reasons."

"Do you mind if I ask what made you decide to celebrate it?" River asked curiously as she felt her skin tingle where his touch lingered on her cheek from wiping away the tear.

James felt the same tingling sensation in his fingertips, but didn't say anything, just cupped her cheek a bit more, his eyes lidded in a tender expression, "I'll...tell you when we have that feast, hmm?"

]She smiled a little and she placed her hand over his. "That'll be a promise." She told him sincerely. "I'm glad you and Angelina had a lot of fun today. Thank you for celebrating my birthday with me."

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:49 am

"Steve, Steve why did you pick a /cowboy/ of all /things/?" Sam whined at the blond who was fiddling with his cowboy had. Sam'ss arm around Draco's waist, and they were dressed as Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros. Draco, like Steve, was blessed with a baby-smooth face so he had a fake mustache for his Mario outfit, but Sam had just shaved off his goatee, easy enough to grow back in a week anyway, "There is like, /no/ difference. Might as well have dresses as a police officer or a SWAT team outfit with the real gear."

"Cowboys have honor, police officers really don't?" Steve offered. "Captain America would've been an awesome cowboy, I'm just saying." He looked between the two of them. "And..aren't you guys a couple? What's up with dressing like brothers?"

"I don't do scary all that well." Draco answered with a small laugh. "So Sam had to decide on whether or not he wanted to do the contest by himself or hang with me."

"Of course I follow my man, so scary got tossed. Looks like Calla is more sexy than scary witch, anyway. Zan won by default," Sam laughed. "And boy, Silent Hill? Steve, you should google image search Silent Hill Nurse 'cause that's exactly where she got it from."

"She has the walk down pat it's uncanny." Draco agreed, shuddering a little. "I don't know where she got the make-up. I think Angelina and Dylan might've bad a bunch of fun tossing fake blood on her though. It looks realistic enough."

"Zan did say that she was going to win the bet." Steve agreed solemnly, tipping the cowboy hat that he was wearing. "Did I ever show you pictures of the pumpkin carvings that they did and the group?"

"No!" Sam shook his head, "Told me about it, but didn't show me anything. Might wanna fix that," he grinned.

Steve quickly pulled up the picture of River, Bucky, Leon, Angelina, and Johanna lookiing like a family together and turned it to Sam. "That's one of my favorites. I have this one as my wallpaper and this." He turned the phone back to find the next picture and turned it to Sam and Draco again. This time, it was just Angelina holding Leon and Bucky gripping her shoulders. "It's just adorable isn't it? I have the pictures of the pumpkins they carved but this was too adorable not to show first."

"Wow..." Sam stared at the picture, jaw slightly agape, "That's...He looks...really good, Steve. The same eyes that glared at me on the helicarrier...that promised murder and death and were so cold...that's not the same person."

Draco looked at the picture for the longest time and he smiled softly. "Angelina looks dead terrified about holding the child." He looked at River's image curiously. "He picked a good partner for himself and his family."

"I thought so too. She makes him really happy and I can tell when we write about her, his hand writing gets more loopy." Steve agreed as he clicked away and showed them the pumpkins. "Angelina though...I was wondering....would she ever get color back in her hair?"

"White hair is temporary." Draco looked up at Steve. "Since she's been out of Hydra's care you'd think she'd get her hair color back, but that's not always the case. We don't know the trauma she went through. We know it's enough to make her sick. But you also have to understand that living among people like us, a crowd of people with different personalities, no handlers, and little rules, is a stress all on it's own. You could almost say it's a type of trauma too." He paused. "I haven't met her yet. So. I can't tell you if she'll recover or not. Sam's methods of healing might be enough, but at the same time, she might need a little more direct care." He shrugged. "I wouldn't worry too much about it now, Steve. You're supposed to enjoy yourself."

"Yeah, you have a certain lady with the most damning dark red lipstick on who came for you, after all," Sam smacked Steve's arm, "You should take your spurs and tassels over and hang out with her before Tony comes to interrogate her about her relationship with you."

Draco watched Steve gently shove Sam as he walked away and he placed a hand on Sam's shoulder. "His guilt is going to destroy him." He said after a moment. "He can't let things go, can he?"

"No, he can't. I'm trying to help. Have helped, some nights since meeting him, but ever since this whole Bucky thing came up it's like he's too far for me to reach," Sam sounded hurt about it, even though he tried to cover it up, "At this point, I think Bucky himself is the only one who can heal him. I want to /hope/ Calla can heal him up a little bit her own way, but she's a civilian, like Zanna. She doesn't understand. Zan at least had a military upbringing and knows what the fuck PTSD is. The only thing that makes me wonder was the way she responded to Steve at the cafe a few weeks ago and had like, that same ghost in her eyes we do. I don't know if I was imagining it, though."

"You're not wrong." Draco said softly. "I find it incredibly ironic that Steve's healer will be the one that can carry out destruction. Her powers are pretty powerful if she lets go, even for a moment." At Sam's look he gently pointed at himself. "Soul-reader, sweetheart. I haven't met James either. So I wouldn't know who would be his primary healer. But chances are, it's going to be a mixture of all three of them. James for the past that he couldn't change, Calla for the future that he wants burned, and Angelina for the hope he's lost. It's only a theory though. I could be wrong."

Sam's voice went incredibly low, "Are you telling me Calla has elemental powers? Fire? Was there anything you read off of River in that photo?" His mind whirled around. The ghost in her eyes wasn't imaginary, then. She /did/ understand in more ways than she cared to. Probably understood Bucky to a terrible extent. "Steve's going to be so upset. Chances are that Buck knows about her, and River if their pasts really are the same. Now we do. He's going to feel left out and now I want to tell him but that's probably not for the best, either."

"River's water. She's a healer and James' primary touch-stone. You can see it in the photos. He adores her and she adores him." Draco gently rubbed Sam's shoulder. "River is James' soul-mate. She's the reason why Angelina was jealous, remember. Because she could heal where Angelina could not. Because Angelina is not a healer in any sense of the word." He let his love's shoulder go. "Steve and Calla are a match too. Destruction and despair are one in the same after all. They're strong enough to rebuild from the ashes. I think it's best if we don't tell him about Calla. Let Calla tell him her story. When and if she's ready. Steve has two people he's worried about. Adding a third isn't going to benefit him right now."

"No, not it's not. C'mon, let's go talk to Zan and see if we can convince her to tell Dylan to show up tomorrow at the cafe after our run," Sam grinned at Draco and kissed him briefly, chuckling at the fake mustache getting in the way, and then grabbed his hand and dragged him over to the girl dressed as a bloody nurse.
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:49 am

Clint lounged on the couch, one eye open and his tongue slightly sticking out the corner of his mouth as he held a taunt rubber band between his fingers, aiming right at Tony's head. With a soft 'Aha!' he let it fly and the result was so worth it.

"Jesus fucking Christ!" Tony rubbed his head and spun around, knowing all too well who could've done that. "Why are you shooting at me? Shoot at the lovebirds over there, Cupid!" He gestured over to Steve and Calla who were talking. It was kind of funny to watch a witch talk to a cowboy.

"Maybe I was trying to see if my rubber bands of love worked on you," Clint countered sticking his tongue out. He wasn't dressed as a Cupid, but he did have fake wings on, going for a 'dark angel' vibe that Nat told him he couldn't pull off since he was such a good guy, "Where's your dear Pepper, anyway?"

"Business trip." Tony pouted. "She couldn't make it. So what are you supposed to be anyway? A mistaken fallen angel?"

"Maybe, possibly," Clint shrugged, "That's what Nat thinks, anyway so I'll roll with it. Who's to say Angels can't get in trouble for doing the right thing like we do?"

"Then you're gonna have to fight Rogers for being Lucifer." Tony remarked. "And then you're gonna have to fight Calla to be his wife."

"Whut?" Clint blinked at him, "What makes Steve Lucifer and not like, Archangel Michael or somethin'?"

"Because do you honestly think Archangel Michael would try to save an assassin who killed people and trained others to try to take his place? Do you think that God would /really/ let Barnes through the peraly gates? Rogers would. He'd trade his wings in a heart beat and fall right down to hell and believe me, kid's already a devil in disguise. All it'd do is seal that fact right up." Tony explained. "My dad would tell me stories of his antics. It's all over the history books sure, but they're too neat. Rogers isn't /neat/."

"You have a very big point there. Let's just hope they're not going to swoop down on us like Thor and Loki did. Then we're all going to Hell. I saved an assassin in my own right, so there. I guess I am a Fallen. It honestly doesn't sound so bad as long as I got my friends to enjoy roasting smores with me by the lava rivers," Clint grinned at Tony.

Tony laughed. "I think we all knew we were going to hell the moment we became a team."

"I'll drink to that!" Clint held up his beer and he and Tony took a good swallow of their respective beverage.

Across the way, Calla giggled at Tony and Clint, "They look like they're having a good conversation."

Steve raised an eyebrow at them. Super enhanced hearing made it so he heard at least the gist of the conversation since he wasn't too far away. "Yeah. A really strange one too." He turned to Calla. "So what happened to scary?"

"I was going to...be a vampire instead, then something came up and I decided I would have a lot more fun dressed as a witch. By the way, when I said wear something to throw everyone for a loop, you did a damn good job at taking that to heart. Though I think Sam was the one with the only complaint," Calla grinned at him, "You don't seem like the type to do scary anyway."

"Zan really took it to the next level." Steve agreed looking over at a bloody, faceless nurse who was talking to Draco, limp and carrying a plastic butcher knife. Or was it foam? He couldn't exactly tell. Regardless. "I get the feeling that she got this idea the moment we were talking about Angelina's health. I bet Angeline /loved/ that costume."

"Things like that I think would set her off but then she surprises me by not caring or enjoying the hell out of it. Like Death Note. Can't understand that one. Whatever makes her happy and floats her boat, right?" Calla shrugged, "Sam and Draco...their outfits are amazing. Nostalgic."

Steve smiled a little as he looked back at them. "Oh yeah." He agreed. "I just recently started playing that game on the console. Super Mario 3. Apparently it's a good one though I haven't gotten far in it." He paused. "You know, I've watched Death Note." He admitted. "Just so I had something to talk to her about...and I realized something while watching it. She likes it, not for the horror, but for the character falling into madness in the end. Apparently she started playing a game called Alice Madness Returns. I remember reading the Alice and Wonderland stories, and boy....I only had to see one scene from that game and I was sick for a whole day. Too bloody and...well...too strange for me. She's enjoying it though."

"Not for the faint of stomach and faint of heart, then," Calla shook her head, "Have you played Mario Kart on the Wii or anything? Dylan and Zan introduced me to that one. It was pretty fun. Drunk Mario Kart is crazy. Too bad you can't get drunk. At least you can enjoy the rest of us bozos while we make fools of ourselves," she smirked.

"Asgardian mead." Steve quipped back. "And I'll be drunk like rest of you. I have played Mario Kart. Tony's fucking ruthless."

"As...Asgardian mead? Something from Thor's world? I've had regular mead at the Renaissance Fair. Tasty stuff. Is it one of those things like, just a sip will get any of us hammered off our asses?" Calla looked highly amused, "I'm /very/ curious what kind of drunk you are, now."

"Still a lightweight." Steve promised. "Bucky...I mean James, was more of the fun drunk." He shook his head. "Thor doesn't come by here often enough to provide the alcohol. Though he does sometimes is here every once in a while."

"That'll be a treat, Calla nodded, "I Tony is ruthless then Zan's the one who knows how to use nearly every item against you, by the way. I'd be scared to see how they are together. Probably no survivors. Anyway, have you spotted Nat /anywhere/? I feel like she's waiting or the perfect moment to pop out of the walls."

"She's in the kitchen getting some of the snacks ready." Steve said with a shrug. "She's dressed like a dead cat. Don't ask me. She thought spider was going to be overrated and since Clint went as an angel/bird thing, I think she thought it was funny."

"Arching a brow, she just shrugged before smiling softly up at him, "I know Sam coaxed you to ask, but thank you for inviting me, Steve. I'm looking forward to handing out candy to the kids with you later."

"You're welcome." Steve smiled warmly. "It'll be nice to do it with company that's not Tony really. I like hanging out with you."

Her grin grew much brighter, "I could say the same. Our sense of humor mesh pretty well, and we haven't offended each other with our banter yet, so that's a good sign," she laughed.

"I'm pretty hard to offend." Steve smiled a little. "Well, as long as it doesn't have something to do with other people. Everything else is fair game really. Can't live in the Depression without developing thick skin and survival instinct."

"Geez, I forget about that. You're definitely a survivalist. You've beaten all odds so far even when everyone else said you couldn't and that's /really/ admirable, Steve. Someone says 'No you can't do that' You say 'Watch me'," she giggled.

"It's what I do." Steve grinned. "You're pretty admirable yourself. You came all the way to Cali and built a world for you own here. Not everyone makes it in New York."

"I had a lot of help along the way," Calla glanced towards Zan who was cracking up at something Sam said, then looked back at Steve, "But thank you for the compliment. It's okay if after the whole Black Canvas thing is over, by the way, if you don't want to come back to my classes. I mean, I've been coming to the cafe to chill with you and Sam more, anyway."

"I'll think about that." Steve shrugged. "I might just take it because it's really good for me to do. Let's see what happens and see where I go from there."

"Okay, fair enough," Calla nodded, still beaming, "So, what would it mean to you if I held your hand?" she asked on baited breath, chewing her bottom lip.

"I don't mind." Steve held his hand out to her. "Hugs are fine too. We can work up to kisses."

Calla slipped her fingers together with his, and her face immediately flushed a bright red in contrast to her dark makeup when there were multiple shouts in the room, "Oh my god were they all waiting for us or something? Your friends are impatient."

"Well let's see what they want." Steve rolled his eyes. "Welcome to the Avengers. Where nothing is sacred and everything about you is on display."

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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Tue Oct 11, 2016 12:08 am

"I love that you wore a sugar skull top for today," James laughed softly as he led River the direction of their first stop. It was evening, but the feast wouldn't have to be until at least six or seven when the sun started setting. He'd decided they'd have it at his place, and he'd already pre-made everything. Angelina would be at home until he gave her a call, she'd heat it all up and it'd be ready to go when he got there, then she would be with Dylan overnight. All he and River would have to do would be to light the candles.

"Thanks." River smiled shyly. She wore a black sugar skull top that barely showed her midriff and a black skirt that had some sliver in it. She also wore black laced boots instead of heels since she didn't want to cripple herself walking far distances. "You look handsome too. You pulled your hair back, it looks good."

James hadn't intended to go anywhere with high traffic and wasn't too afraid of people recognizing him anymore. He was nervous, but squashed that down. He wore black slacks and a white button-down, with his black trench coat he bought for rainy days over it. He /felt/ stylish, like he was dressed in almost something Steve would wear, "I'm glad you liked my hair pulled back. I had a feeling you would." He glanced around. Now where was that stupid place Natalia mentioned? They rounded another corner and his question was answered.

The sign hung looked like someone had just grabbed a piece of plywood and wrote out "Future Diary" out in the largest cursive scrawl that they could. The facade of the building looked a lot nicer, and the door looked like it actually fitted. Future Diary....River's eyebrows furrowed as they walked in through the building.

The orange lanterns that hung from the ceiling brought a gorgeous sunset romantic glow to the shop. The wood was dark coffee brown and soft bamboo flutes played throughout the store, bringing the mysticism to life. There were a bunch of books that were on shelves, rows of crystal balls behind a counter, there were even books stacked high along with quills and calligraphy supplies. She took a deep breath in and she could smell a soft, subtle incense. Sandalwood...mixed with sakura? She looked at James curiously when she heard someone call out. A familiar voice.

"River?" Jake, black hair and blue eyes coming around the corner, looked surprised and wiping his hands of grease, "I saw you come in here through the mechanic shop next door. I didn't know you were into future seeing? Or is that your friend's thing?"

"I was actually looking for the mechanic shop but though this place looked interesting," James told him, "Natalia...er...Natasha referred me." Saying her name was like speaking a password as another voice chimed in.

"I was wondering when I was going to meet you, Soldat," A man with long dark black hair just passed his shoulders walked through the beaded section of the store. He wore causal suit and his tie was barely hanging from his neck. He wore a navy blue trench coat and his eyes were piercing grey. "Welcome to my shop."

James moved quickly, putting himself between the man and River, his eyes wide, chest puffing as he sucked in a breath, shoulders back and posture braced for a fight. "<Did Natalia tell you that name?>" his Russian was rougher than his smooth Romanian, but at least it was similar.

"No the little black spider did not. You're frightening your girlfriend, shame on you." Zakhar frowned deep. "Did Natasha fail to tell you what I can do? Of course she did. She finds amusement in causing chaos wherever she goes. I think that's why I don't bother her as much. My name is Zakhar Sala. My ability is to See."

"I go by /James/. Perhaps by the end of the month I might go by /Bucky/. I am /not Soldat/ anymore," James spat the word with venom, and he felt and heard his left arm clicking and whirring back into place from where it had shifted under his clothing.

"I think I just died," Jake was leaning against the shop wall, looking dazed.

"Kid...if you say anything..." James warned.

"Can you sign my blade holster?!" Jake immediately exploded with energy, moving his half-tucked-in shirt to reveal a brown leather holster with a blade sheathed in it and he unbuckled it, fished out a sharpie from his pants pockets, and shoved it towards James like an excited puppy.

James just stared at him, super confused for a moment, slowly taking the item and sharpie, staring at it a bit longer before he used his James Barnes signature and handed it back.

"I TOTALLY JUST DIED! THIS IS AMAZING!" Jake shouted excitedly as he held it up, beaming brightly, hugged it, then put it back on.

"It's something you should get used to." Zakhar smiled as he watched Jake. "To many of the Underground, you're a hero. To many above, you're an assassin. But there are those in between both worlds who will see you as both. Take ease. I cannot call this a "safe place" but I do have some control over my workers."

"You sound more and more like a mobster than you do a Seer." River eyed the man cautiously.
"I play my cards, I test my fate." Zakhar answered easily enough. "You can say I...play a balancing act. There's a reason why myself and my people are sought. Jake. Be a dear and keep an eye on the mechanic shop for me. No one's allowed inside this part of the shop unless it's needed."

"Sure, Riah! Of course!" Jake nodded vigorously, "You two are in for a great treat," he told River and James before he waved at them and practically /skipped/ back the way he had come.

Zakhar turned to James. "So what do you wish to do? To test my abilities, or to leave?"

"I'll...see what you have to offer, as I'm here by Nat's recommendation anyway," James shrugged, then looked at River, "I'm very sorry I frightened you..." he frowned deeply, metal fingers twitching to take her hand, but he held back. After he'd just prepared for a fight and got back out of it, he was keenly aware of the power and that always scared /him/.

River walked over to him and squeezed James' bicep. She didn't think holding his hand was the wisest move. "Only for you." She promised. "Not of you." She turned to Zakhar. "Can you do double readings?"

Zakhar grinned. "Of course, Companion. I can give you a double reading." He nodded his head. "Through the beads. I have everything set and prepared. Tea especially though whether or not you take it from me is not cause of offense. I know the Soldat is trained in consequence." He walked through the beaded hallway and to a room that was more dimmed with one lantern in the windowsill, cards and tea cups already on the table. Instead of couches, there were fluffed up colorful pillows. The room was small, cramped even.

Nat wouldn't send him to someone who would compromise things. At most, with the way this guy was set up, his tea would have relaxing effects instead of anything else. So, he took his teacup and put a few sugar cubes in it, stirring it, his flesh hand shaking a little while his left was forced to be still, "What is Jake to you?" he decided to ask by way of conversation.

"My messenger boy. A fond friend." Zakhar said with a pleasant smile. "You could say that he makes sure I play the balancing act accordingly. Jake was abandoned, you see. And I took him in. No harm. No foul." He looked at James gently, "I make sure to make him do things to keep him firm in the world above. Though there are times I have to make him go Underground. I'm starting to see that I can't continue doing that. I will need a second messenger soon. Someone who is not afraid to get their hands a bit dirty. I refuse to do that to Jake. Anyone else...well...as long as they were Underground first, I have no qualms about using them."
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Tue Oct 11, 2016 7:42 pm

"You sound like you've been around for fourty years but you don't look much older than I do. You've...seen some dark things, haven't you? That darkens the soul. I'm not talking about Sight," James shook his head, "Evils of humanity."

Zakhar smiled a little. "You could say I'm apathetic. I like to think I have a bit more compassion and that I'm merciful. I suppose that's all in the way you see things." He picked a green deck from one end of the table and slid it to the middle. "James Buchanan Barnes. Twenty-eight years old. Your birthday is March 10th. Anyone who knows Steve Rogers knows that too." He smiled widely. "That makes you a Pieces. It shouldn't be a surprise that's why you're in love with a Water Elemental." River shifted. "I'm going to enjoy the story you weave. The deck I placed before you is not a story deck however. It is a quest. Knight in shining armor is a Pieces fate after all. It'd be shameful for me /not/ to give you a quest. The question is...will you shuffle and accept the cards as fate gives them or will you shuffle and discover a new road for you to go down on?"

"Isn't it the point to see the options available and it's your choice to take the advice or not?" James asked as he set his tea down and got more comfortable in the pillows, taking off his trench coat as it was warm in the shop compared to the windy outside, reaching out and taking the deckk.

"The point my friend, is to open your eyes and see the things that blinded you before." Zakhar said gently. "and what you will do about it when you finally take the blind fold off. That is all I do. Everything else...well...depends on your actions. Karma is a thing."

Zakhar watched him shuffled the deck with an intense expression on his face. When he was done, Zakhar took the cards away and did a very complicated thriteen card spread. The first six were laid out in a equal cross with one card over lapping the other in the middle. Next to the cross, he laid out two columns of three cards and one card on top of the columns. He peered at the spread, a smile warm. "Well now. The Solder’s card is death itself. A living death at that.” He pointed at the inverted card. “You do not want to change. You’re digging your feet in to the ground. No. You have the ability to change. You have the means necessary. You just don’t want to use them.” He tapped on the second card. “Abundance, solace, fulfillment and you want none of it.” He looked at James squarely in the eye. “As a knight you failed your kingdom and you have no place to go. You don’t believe that you should be welcomed back. Truly a living death for a knight.”

"You're not wrong," James didn't refute him. There was no point in it as it was true. "I know what I have to do. I know what's there for me. Steve has it all out on a silver platter and I tell myself I'm not ready but your cards are probably going to tell me I am and I should stop being a dumbass."

Zakhar shrugged. "It is a quest." He reminded. "But it's only two cards." He pointed at the card above the ones that he talked about. “There is someone who is trying to shoulder the responsibility of your actions, but at the same time they’re burning out. They’re doing their best to connect to you, but it’s hard for them, for you won’t let them.” He pointed at the card below. “You have decided to take time for yourself and analyze what it is that you intend to do. You take the things that the universe gives you, and you think about it. Sometimes, you don’t get a chance.”

"Steve..." James said simply to the first part. He knew Steve was getting tired. Saw it in his eyes, the way his shoulders were tensed and yet also slouched in depression. There'd been a perk up when they started doing the journals, and he knew for a fact Steve had been extremely happy at the pictures. That wasn't enough, though, was it? "I suppose you could say I tend to over-analyze things if I get too much time to dwell."

Zakhar watched him for a long moment. "Is there a reason behind the over-analysis? A person perhaps? Or is it just your own imagination?"

"I don't know how to answer that one. My own imagination for the most part, I'm sure," James shrugged.

Zachary nodded, “The reason why I asked is because of this.” He pointed at the card that was behind the one of death. “Disharmony.” He tapped the card a few times. “Your thoughts are organized. You don’t seem to be at an imbalance. But something is out of discourse. Your over-analyzing perhaps? Maybe it is your own support system. Whatever it is, whatever you think it might be…you must let it go and you must keep it away from you. When you find your self over-analyzing, you will find yourself trying to look at a future you can’t see.” He pointed at the second card. “You’re going to write stories that don’t exist besides in your head. Judging from that expression on your face…you know someone who is exactly like that. Who falls victim to the universe in their head.”

James' first thought was Steve again, but then he thought twice about it. No. This wasn't about Steve at all. He paled as he remembered his daughter's nightmare. The bodies in the closet, the blood on the walls, voices in her head and the sentences he was sure she didn't realize she spoke out loud. His Angel was a lot more damaged than he was. To an extent not a lot of people could fix. "I know what you mean..." he answered slowly, quietly.

He pushed the section of the cards to the side, and he began pointing at the beginning of the first column. He had a feeling it was best to continue on. “Now that we got the background story, let's continue on. This card here is called the root chakra. There’s no surprise to know that you’re perceptive or skilled. That you can take care of yourself and protect yourself when needed. You’re good at what you do and you have your ground firm. Therefore, I’m not worried about whatever path you choose. It’s not chosen by whim. However, you have lost something.” He pointed at the second card above the first card. “Normally this card is about your creativity, but in this context I’m seeing it as your sexuality. Your abdominal chakra is blocked. You were forced to deal with a sexual trauma. You lost something in regards to it. I don’t know what that something is, but I get the feeling you might have an idea. Because despite that you have a good ground and a good grasp on what reality is, you’re still looking for a way to regain what you’ve lost.”

His Adam's apple bobbed as he swallowed thickly and looked away, not really looking at anything in particular, "I'm always looking for ways to regain what I lost. That's not something I prefer not to think about, however. Is that card saying I should? Figure out what that something is?"

"Is that a quest you want to go down on?" Zakhar replied back. "Is it something that will heal you? Is it something you should let go? Remember, this is a quest deck. A personal journey."

His mouth felt dry, so he reached for his tea which had gotten lukewarm and took a long drink. It took a moment for him to unstick his tongue. "This is why I'm here," he said carefully, "To see what you...or the cards have to offer. I've gotten this far, so might as well keep going."

“Good man.” He smiled a little, offering his encouragement and turned to the last card on that column. “The way you display your personal power is with empathy. You have charm and you have some romanticism in you. You’re kind and compassionate and that’s how you decided to use the power that you were given.” He looked at River. “As if you need proof that it’s a power.” He turned back to James and pointed to the bottom of the second column. “However your heart chakra is blocked. You don’t really allow yourself to enjoy the love given to you. You don’t really enjoy showing it much either. A little stiff around the corners. A little uptight. But I can assume very well it’s from the damage done to the abdominal chakra. That doesn’t mean you don’t love. It just means you’re reluctant to show it.”

"Showing weakness got me punished," James said simply, "The more people know how much I care about somebody, the more likely they are to be hurt. So, yes, I'm standoffish so I don't cause them suffering by my enemies. Yet, I know that causes them suffering by me. Love to me is a sort of catch 22. I don't mean anything by it, but someone usually gets the short end of the stick."

River gently placed her hand on James' knee. She didn't think that touching his shoulder, or the back of his neck would calm him down or make him realize that she was still here, by his side.

"Maybe to regain what you lost is a quest you should think about. Maybe healing your heart is the quest you should think of too. After all, the last I recalled, there is no Soldat anymore. If I remember, I'm doing a reading for James Barnes. A man with a girlfriend and nothing more." Zakhar shrugged. "It's a thought worth thinking about."

James took a deep breath in and let it out slowly, "Yeah, I'll think about it." He looked at River who had multiple emotions on her face and he placed his metal hand over hers carefully, lacing their fingers together.

He decided to continue and looked at the second card on the second column. “I see that you are a father-figure in someone’s life, for that’s one way you communicate. You also communicate with authority and leadership, with compassion.” He looked at the card. “How interesting is that. I would love to take more of a look into that. A father. Well. Continuing on, we have the third eye chakra, which is blocked. No surprise. This is about how you see through illusions. The problem is…you don’t.” He tilted his head. “Failing to listen and premature exposure. Hmm. Who are you failing to listen to? Yourself? Someone in your cards?”

He looked at the third and last card. “The crown chakra. What the universe wants from you. Well even though it’s upside down…interestingly enough the universe is warning you to “be alert to someone betraying you” and that “you have a supporter by your side”.” He looked at James. “What an interesting message to give.”

"Be...trayal?" James stared at the card. Just who would betray him? In what way? He wasn't sure how he would handle that. Perhaps that was a bridge for another day. "Thank you, for the reading..." He pulled out a twenty from his wallet and placed it on the table before moving much further back into the pillows, his tea held close and his brows furrowed. It was a whole lot of nothin' he didn't already know and a whole lot of somethin' to think about.
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Tue Oct 11, 2016 10:48 pm

"My turn." River smiled gently at Zakhar. She took a breath and let it out. The card reading had been intense for her. A lot of things that were said, she didn't know much about. But from the way he reacted and from the way the cards were read, she could figure out most of it. The betrayal one scared her a little. She couldn't think of anyone that would do it...not in their group.

“It is your turn.” Zakhar grinned as he placed the cards away and set them to the side. He refilled the tea-cups when James offered up his. “Let’s see. I don’t think I need to give you anything harsh. You’re a water elemental much like James here is. Tell me your name.”

“River Cross.”

“Oh that’s an ironic name. Almost sounds like a pen name. I normally don’t go for false information, but…the way you say it…” Zakhar hummed. “It sounds like you gave up your old name to become someone new. I like it. When was your birthday by chance?”

“October the Twenty-fourth.” River replied looking a bit confused.

“Scorpio. A water elemental through and through. It’s funny that you’re a Scorpio. I see none of the traits of them in you. Well, besides your clear stance on where you are and your loyalty.” Zakhar mused. “You were captured once before, like a mermaid and you were bound to your captive’s will. I see it in your wrists. Those scars haven’t healed from when you were tied down.”

River look down, she didn’t even notice the scars anymore. They were thin, and lightly colored. “Oh…”

“So the type of reading. Hmm. Healing sounds about right doesn’t it.” He pulled another type of deck, larger than the other one, but thicker too. Yet there were less cards. “Shuffle and I’ll do a spread.”

She shuffled a few times and handed the cards back to Zakhar who did a spread. First he did a row that staggered and then on the third card he started lining up cards in a row straight down. He paused as he looked at the cards that he was given. “You don’t really trust your instincts anymore. It’s not a wonder. Last time someone played a game with you, you were hurt. Now you’re trying to relearn how to listen to it.” He looked at the third card, the one that held the straight row. “You’re very in-tune with nature. You’re not exactly lost. You feel lost because someone used your abilities and abused them.”

“It doesn’t help that you can no longer see yourself as apart of something. You can vision everyone else, but it’s harder for you.” Zakhar explained as he looked at the last card on the row. “You’re afraid that if someone knows about your abilities they’re going to use you again. Maybe even capture you again. Even though you’re in-tune with the world around you, you still feel like an outsider looking in. You feel like your environment isn’t meshing. You have a horrible time relying on yourself don’t you? After everything you been through.”

River didn’t answer, she took a sip of her tea and watched him.

“So you have to let go of the ideal of what “beauty” is. It isn’t your abilities. It isn’t your face either. It’s your personality. But I’m already saying things that you already know now.” Zakhar hummed. “It appears you used to have the disadvantage of not being about to express yourself without being negative for the longest time. You decided to raise your standards on the people and situations that you came across. The hard part is that you still don’t know that you’re free. You still feel trapped, sometimes in nightmares and other times just by being around a man whose too loud.”

"River?" James felt compelled to come forward again, place his arms around her shoulders and check in, "Are you alright?" He didn't like what he was hearing, but he would rather talk to River in private about it rather than here with this man.

River blinked and gave James a shaky smile. "I'm alright. Sorry." She scratched her cheek. "It's a pretty accurate reading so far."

Zakhar didn’t say anything about the behavior. He knew that this was going to be a conversation just for them. “So in order to start this new pathway, you need to be more honest with yourself. You need to be more clear about what you want and who you want in your life. Of course you already made good progress.” He nodded over to James. “So I think you’re one of the simpler readings I ever had to do actually."

River nodded her head and sighed, pulling out her purse and handed him a twenty. "You're really good at this. Even if you are a bit..." she did a sea-saw motion with her hand.

"Calling me by that name didn't help matters. The readings were good, regardless," James answered and grabbed his coat before he helped River stand, steadying her on her shaky legs. Her reading brought up not-so-good memories, he could tell, "Perhaps coming here on All Souls Day was not the best of ideas."

Zakhar raised an eyebrow. "Or perhaps you don't realize that you and your girlfriend are the few souls that need to find rest on this day. Keep my readings in mind, won't you? And pass around recommendations. I enjoy getting new costumers."

"If I do that, I have a request of my own..." James asked, "If I found a motorcycle husk, may I bring it to your mechanic shop to work on it? You and Jake don't have to touch it, I just need a place to store it and tools to use."

Zakhar smirked. "I like you. Very well. You can use my shop and spread the word. I'll make sure none of my people will touch it. But that means if you use my shop, you stay silent on everything that happens. You're a ghost here. You do not exist. The moment that you do, well...you'll be apart of our group and you won't be able to leave all that easy unless you get into the Avengers."

"Now you just plain sinister." River let out a slow breath as she gripped James' hand tightly. She knew that he could handle himself. Zakhar was probably just testing him.

"I'm used to being a Ghost Story, as you know," James responded dryly and turned on his heel, taking River with him. "I'm going to walk fast," he warned her, before he used his long legs to his advantage, holding River by the waist and it took all he had not to walk so fast she couldn't keep up. It wasn't until they were a block or two away that he slowed to a stop and pulled her into a tight hug, "Don't go near him again unless it's necessary," he breathed heavily.

River blinked and she hugged him back. "Okay." She murmured. "You really didn't like him all that much did you?" She could feel his heart thudding hard against her and she could guess it was mostly fear. His walk didn't seem to phase him all that much. Not like how wild her heart was going from trying to keep up.

"Anyone...anyone who calls me /that/ is untrustworthy in my book," James could barely swallow. His stomach was twisting and he felt lightheaded and he really wanted to sit down in a corner. As it was, he held her a moment longer before he pulled away from her and pulled out his phone. He didn't want Angelina to hear his voice, so he just sent her a text to get dinner heated up even though it was ahead of schedule. It didn't matter. They would spend more time talking about their readings, he was sure.

River stayed close, watching him worriedly but decided to change subjects. "It was a good idea. To get a reading. I haven't gotten one since I was younger. I used to be really into that kind of thing. But of course the accuracy hurts if they're good at it."

"Is that so? I know you're Wiccan, so Tarot and stuff? What about Calla?" James asked as Angelina replied to him and he held River just as close on their way back to the apartment complex. He needed to get off the street. He felt paranoid now. That name. It threw him into a whirlwind. and he hated it.

"She has her Angel Oracle deck and I actually use Scrying. If I knew you wanted a reading, I could've given you one." River knew that he was upset and tried to keep on topic and hope that he would feel a bit calmer with him. "It's water based and harmless. All I do is show you your reflection. Your will so to speak."

"Angel Oracle...That sounds a lot more friendly. Scrying...I'm not surprised he used Fairies then. Maybe another day, another time. I hope you like the food, I really did make a feast, though I'm not expecting it all to be eaten tonight. I fully intend there to be leftovers," James spoke faster, his breathing unstable. He kept his pace steady. He didn't want to draw attention.

River frowned worriedly, but decided to stay silent on his breathing and her worry. She knew that being here, out in the open was probably really fucking terrifying right now. "Well it's a feast. If there's no leftovers, then we were either a) very hungry or b) wasn't all that much of a feast to begin with."

"You you have a very good point there," James smiled down at her, before returning his gaze to where they were going and fell silent as well. It took them several more minutes, it felt like a lot longer than it had when he went looking for the mechanic shop to begin with when it really wasn't. Nat...he was going to have a word with her next time he saw her. Finally, he breathed a sigh of his relief when he saw his home.

"Before Dylan and Zan moved to this apartment building, they were in another and it was a little more worn down." She explained after a moment while they got inside and then went up the stairs. "But Zan and Dylan pulled money together and bought this apartment. I kind of miss their old one, but...this one's always been good too. Its' strange that we didn't meet till Angelina dragged you in to the shop."

"I kept to myself. Had to." Home. Safety. It was so close but each step felt like it was getting him nowhere, "We were in the apartment for at last a little while before we ran into Zan on her way to a rave. I stayed in an abandoned apartment complex before that." He said as he grabbed his keys from his pocket, his hands strangely steady instead of shaking like the storm inside his chest.

River watched him open the door with a harsh shove and she blinked as she looked inside. The smell of food and warmth immediately took away any and all tension that she didn't realize that she was holding. She walked in, smiling at the small dining table that they bought. It was big enough to seat four, and they placed it in a place that made it look like it's own room. There were tealights and holders placed on the counters and she smiled. "You went all out." She closed the door behind her and locked it so that he'd feel a bit safer. So she hoped.

"Good, she left a few for us to light ourselves," James breathed, and he went and sank into one corner of the couch, head buried in his hands, the heels digging into his eyes, elbows planted on his knees. He was visibly trembling now and he breathed out heavy once, then tried to regulate his breathing, calm down before he hyperventilated and really had a panic attack. He was shocked he was able to make it through both readings as it was.

"James?" River asked softly gently walking over and sitting on the couch too. She careful, she didn't want to touch him in fear that she'd set him off. She noticed the blanket on the back of it and she carefully took it off the couch and threw it over his shoulders, gently adjusting it and hoping that it'd be enough. "I used to be scared of people who moved too fast. Boys. Girls. It didn't matter. No matter how fast they moved, I flinched and I remember flash-backing. Apparently I'd plead "don't hurt me"." She smiled sadly. "I used to walk fast, head bowed and carried a knife on me. Calla insisted. She wanted me to be careful. I remember double-checking if I locked the doors. Man...I couldn't sleep without Vince or Calla near me for the longest time. On bad nights, I needed both of them. Sometimes, even then...it wouldn't keep the monsters away."

"What about now?" his voice was small, but he was listening. He pulled the blanket around himself just a tad more, just barely brushing the bounds of too tight, and leaned into her, nosing her neck and breathing in her natural scent as well as the very feint perfume she had apparently put on.

"I have insomia." River murmured, rubbing his shoulders and leaning against his hold. "Nightmares. But I stopped flinching. I haven't stopped apologizing. Sometimes on real bad nights, I call Vince or I wake up Calla and we talk. Sometimes I take long baths, just to see if I can get rid of the feeling of hands on me. There are times where I'll flash back and get scared. There are still times I get paranoid, like you were, and would take cover in a public place because I pray that if I'm somewhere where all eyes on me, I'm safe." She paused and she gently tucked a strand of hair away from his face. His ponytail was coming undone from the rush. "But right now? At this very moment? I feel very safe. Because I'm with someone who I consider to be very safe." She smiled gently. "He's a good guy. Who has a lot of questions and loves his daughter so much if he wanted to, he could bring the moon down from the sky and give to her."

"He ruined it," James said after a second, and looked up at her through hooded eyes, "You asked me why I wanted to celebrate today. Then he goes and calls you my girlfriend before I even had the chance to ask." His heart was twisting, but for a much different reason than before, "I consider you to be very safe, too, River."

"You could ask me now." River murmured, leaning in just a bit. "He's just a guy whose a stranger. So. Ask me now."

James reached up and gingerly stroked hr cheek, belatedly realizing it was with his left, but she was so good, not flinching...never flinching. Afraid for him, she said, not of him. "We're two very messed up people, myself more than you and Angelina is worse than the four of us combined, but will you be my woman, River? Zakhar spoke of loud men, men who dominate and control. I'm not calling you my woman because of that, and you know it. Our stories are different yet the same, and I never want that for you."

River broke out into a smile leaning a little into his touch and looking at him warmly. "As long as your mine in return." She said softly, bringing herself close to kiss him on the lips, very gently to not alarm him and so if it was too much at once, he could get away. She hummed softly in content.

Instead of twisting now it felt like his heart exploded. He kissed her back intently and dragged her into his lap, thumb stroking her cheek while his flesh arm wound around her waist, pulling her tight against him and he just /held/ her while he kissed her, asking permission with a swipe of his tongue and /sighed/ instead of moaned as they melted further into each other. He was glad his hand was gloved so her beautiful purple hair wouldn't get caught in the plating while he moved from her cheek to the back of her neck to cradle her head.

River whimpered softly as she allowed him to deepen the kiss. She wrapped her hands around his neck and gently started tugging the ponytail from it's hold and letting it go. She tangled her fingers in his hair and tugged lightly as they kissed. She gasped softly at his growl, feeling her heart thud faster and heat rise to her cheeks and in her stomach. They pulled away only after a moment and she smiled at him shyly at his intense gaze. However, her stomach decided to ruin the moment when it grumbled loudly. "I'm sorry!" Her cheeks reddened brightly. "I haven't eaten since lunch."

What he could only describe as a giggle bubbled up in his chest and he eventually let it fall from his lips as he fell forward, forehead thudding against her chest as he laughed nearly hysterically. She squeaked in confusion and it was so adorable, he had to lean back up and kiss her again, this time more chaste, "Then let us light the last of the candles and enjoy our feast."

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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Wed Oct 12, 2016 1:00 am

Bright light. It was the first thing Angelina remembered seeing when she opened her eyes. Bright light and a padded area. It was a small closed off space with windows for everyone to look in and see. They were reenforced with bars. There was a little boy sitting in the middle of the cage, tears down his face. He was screaming for “mommy”.

She felt herself being shoved into the room and the door closed. She heard them make bets. Were they…thinking she was going to kill a little boy? She looked back down at him. He was a tiny pup. No older than three at the most. She knelt down and smiled at him.

But he cried harder and she felt her smile slip away from her face. “He thinks you’re too scary!” Someone shouted and someone laughed. She felt her fingers twitch. The crying was heart-wrrecnhing it was annoying.

“<Big sister are you going to kill me?>” The boy looked at her and she froze. His eyes were missing, there was blood. There was a bunch of blood coming from his neck. She widened her eyes and she looked down at her hands. She didn’t touch him! She knew she didn’t touch him! Yet her hands were stained with blood.

His smile was wide, wider than what was normal. Wide enough that it looked like it was literally splitting hi ahead into half. “<Monster! You’re a monster! I hate you! Go die!>” She closed her eyes and covered her ears.

When she opened them, she was in the same room, with nothing but blood pooling by her knees. There were three bodies laying on the ground. She swallowed thickly and she crawled her way over to them, something telling her to investigate. She could still hear shouting, laughing, people cheering.

She pushed one body away and let out a sharp scream.
River.

River was lying there in a pool of blood, sightless eyes staring up at the ceiling. Her stomach was open and her intestines were strewn about. Her mouth was filled with blood.

Angelina wanted to run away to try to catch her breath. Her stomach felt like acid, but she had to keep looking at these bodies. The second one made her cry out. It was Uncle Steve, in his Captain America uniform. His throat was ripped his eyes were too. He didn’t have his shield.

Why didn’t he have his shield?

“fetiță…” Angelina looked over at the third body, his voice more familiar than any song she ever sang. She walked over to him, and shuddered. Her father was looking at her, his hand covering his wound. She must have done something…the black was covering it up.

Did she rip out something? She fell hard to her knees and she watched as he grabbed her by the wrist, the cold metal biting into her skin.

He stared at her.

“Murderer.” He hissed. “How did…I raise…a monster like you?”

“Tată…” Angelina felt her breath clog up her throat. “<Please…I didn’t….>”

“After taking you in…this is what you do to me? To us?”

“<I’d never…>”
“<Go die.>” And she watched in muted horror as he took his gun…

She felt herself jerk up and fell off of the bed. She breathed rapidly, her body chilled from the cold.

/Go die/.

Go…die?

/He doesn’t need you anymore./

/Murderer./

/Why should he care?/

She stood up quickly and she stumbled over to the window. She unlocked it and threw it open. She could hear the sirens of the police and she felt herself freeze.

/You know where they are./

/You were never going to change./

/Poor sweet thing./

/Poor child./

/Monster./

/Monster./
/You were supposed to run./

She walked over to the bedroom door and opened it. The living room was still dark. She walked over to the front door, and noted that it was locked.

It was locked.

And this wasn’t her layout of the apartment.

/Does it matter?/

She supposed it didn’t.

/You murdered them./

“I didn’t. I didn’t.” She whispered as she walked to the living room balcony and opened it. She frowned and she walked over to the kitchen. She opened the pantry and closed it. She opened it again, and closed it.

No blood. No bodies yet.

/What? You can’t remember where you hid them?/

/Hahahaha/

/HAHAHAA/

/Stupid monster.../

"Angie?" Dylan's tired, sleep-rasped voice called out softly.

Angelina didn’t hear him, her heart was too far up her throat and she felt dizzy from her panic. Dylan. Dylan was in here. Oh no. Oh no. No. No. She had to /find/ them. Before he found them. Otherwise, what would he /think/ of her? She hurriedly ran off to the bedroom that she was staying in. Maybe she hid them in the closet. She threw the closet door open and she shut it. She opened it again…and she shut it. No. Nothing. She felt her nails claw at her arms as she tried to think.

/Bathroom/

What?

/Bathroom/

What? Her nails bit deeper, she felt her teeth play with her tongue.

/You were supposed to /run/ why didn’t you /run/.

/Witness/

No. The teeth was starting to sink into her tongue.

/Witness./

“<He’s not a witness. I didn’t do anything.>”

/Liar./

“<I’m not lying. I don’t like lying. I didn’t do anything. It’s your fault.>” Angelina walked to the bathroom, practically in a daze and she opened the door.

She fell down to her knees and groaned as her stomach twisted in a horrible knot. She covered her ears and she rocked herself back and forth.

“<I failed. Dad. I failed again. He’s gonna hate me. They’re gonna hate me. Dylan’s gonna hate me. I worked so hard.>” Angelina whimpered.

"Anzhelina," Dylan's voice was sharper. While she'd walked around he was trying to get his brain in working order and Zan was going to hate him but she was at a rave having fun and he was going to be the reckless one for once. Walking into the bathroom he reached down and slipped his hands slowly around Angelina's wrists. Not a grab like he was restraining her, but he tugged and kept his grip loose so she could easily snap away. He dragged her to her feet and brought her back out into the living room, the place with the most open space. "What does it feel like? Are you trudging? Is this inky blackness nothing but blood?"

Angelina's lips trembled. She was shaking full body and she didn't know. She didn't know what was happening. "They won't stop." She murmured faintly. "Not...it's...blood." She hoped she was making sense. "River...and Tată..." She felt her stomach give an uncomfortable lurch and she felt her knees buckle again. "He wants me to die. He wants me to...he wants-"

"River is across the hall, sleeping in the same apartment with your Tată. I never heard the door. She never left. Tată would never want you to die. He would rather die than you." Dylan responded, then made her stand in the middle of the room. "Stay. Stay right here," he told her. His eyes had adjusted to the dark and he darted to his room where he grabbed a heavy fuzzy throw blanket of his own and brought it back out, wrapping her up in it, leaving some over her head like she was wearing a hoodie. Leaving her again, he went over to the light switch and flicked it on. Ugh. His own eyes hated him and he watched as she flinched, her face pale and terrified, "We're not in Gluttony's stomach, Angie. There's no blood. There's no bodies."

Angelina trembled and she pulled the blanket closer. It was warm. It smelled good. She took a breath and let it out. No blood. No bodies...the lights were on and Dylan looked...well...he looked like he could use more hours of sleep. He was worried...but he was focused. His mind solely on her. She swallowed and looked around at the apartment. She rubbed her lips together and looked at him, still terrified. "Nothing?" She asked, her voice small and timid.

"I can turn on all of the lights and show you, if you would like?" Dylan offered softly, "Otherwise, no, nothing. Your father's alive. River's alive. I don't know who else you thought, but they're alive, too," he said this a lot more firmly.

Angelina nodded, still frozen in her spot. She couldn't get her legs moving and she couldn't do anything. "Hot chocolate? Tea?" She offered. Dylan had started stocking up on those things too when he realized that she liked other things than coffee. "Sit down? I can't move."

"Shh, yeah," Dylan soothed, loosening his stance and he came over to her, hauling her into his arms bridal-style, "You're sleeping next to me tonight," he told her, carrying her to his room with ease and setting her down among the pillows, "I'll make you some cocoa, since that sounds really good. You just curl up and I'll be back in about five minutes," he swore, hand over his heart in promise.

Angelina gave him a flash of a smile and watched him go off to the kitchen. Luckily she could still see him from where she was, so it wasn't like he was disappearing into the abyss. She curled herself up and tucked the blanket in a little more. She could still hear the whisperings of the voices, and her father's still being the strongest, but she did her best to ignore them. No bodies. No blood. No one was dead. She wasn't there anymore too. She wasn't in the Cage.

Soon enough, Dylan came back with two steaming mugs of cocoa and handed her her favorite one, climbing in the bed next to her, the light already out in the kitchen so it was just them in the dark together, the moon shining through his window, "Do you want to tell me anything?" He asked, "We can just sit in silence, it's okay. You don't have to talk to me."

"You don't have questions?" Angelina's eyebrows furrowed. She took the chocolate and took a deep breath in before exhaling. The sweetness calmed her down and she blew on it so she could take a welcoming sip.

"Oh I have lots. One glance in my head and you can tell. Whether I ask the out loud is another story. I just...wanted to give you the option. I don't want you to be pressured. I'm here for you, Angie. I'm...I'm aware bad things have happened. See, if we were in Gluttony's stomach, I probably would throw up while you don't really blink an eye. I'll be honest. Though..." Dylan sighed and he was silent for a minute while he also took a sip, stared at his cup, then sighed again, "Yet if you...if you disappeared, were gone for...weeks, a month or even a few, even a /year/...and you came to me in the middle of the night absolutely soaked in blood, I would still let you in."

Angelina's eyes widened her grip on her cup slackened, but she quickly tightened it so she wouldn't spill. She felt her heart do somersaults and she nodded a few times. This was trust. He would give her a safe place if she fucked up and went against her dad's new rule about protecting and being non-lethal. She let out a breath. "Captive of Hydra." She swallowed. "Tată found me when I was five. It was during a war. or a fight. Something that had lots of explosions. He called me little angel at first. But he said that he noticed something. That something made him very protective of me when agents came by. They separated us after the fact. I had half of his DNA. He was really my tată." She paused. "But they didn't want him to remember. Thought that if he forgot me, they could get rid of me or something. I'm not sure what they thought. I watched them wipe him and throw him into Cyro. I visited him a lot during his frozen years. Talk about everything there was to talk about. Made up stories, too."

"Whatever you learned, you learned through them. How to read and write and do math." It wasn't a question, "Everything else came after. God, you went through some messed up shit. No school. No friends. No wonder why you don't understand anything you're going through," Dylan cursed, "Normal is foreign and what we consider foreign and fucked up is normal. It's a wonder you even followed James and didn't default right back to Hydra."

"Because he was nice." Angelina answered, taking another sip of her hot chocolate. "He was always nice to me. Even training. He taught me how to shoot. There were lots of times he didn't remember me. Not until he was about to be put back in." She paused sadly. "They made me do...a lot of things. A lot of bad things. Bloody things. They tried to get me to kill a pup, a kid once. I didn't. I watch them torture and execute him themselves. They told me I could've been nice and spared by killing him faster. But I didn't. I didn't know. So. If I liked their mind, fast. If I didn't, slow."

"/Mercy/, you were showing them /mercy/, Angie, and that's a /very/ good thing," Dylan promised her, "I would rather you kill me fast than some Hydra good using me against you. I would even off myself before I let them do that. I don't want to die, but you deserve so much better. I've never killed, and I know knowing the lot of you one day I'll have to. Bad guy or not, that first kill will tear me up inside, because I grew up in a different world. It tears James up, because he's from a different world, too. Every kill you lose a piece of your soul, that's a saying I heard one time. I think it's true in a sense, if you don't have a way to come back to yourself, you'll get lost. You're so, so very lost and all I can do is wrap you up and give you cocoa," he laughed, even though it was a bitter, hollow sound, "I didn't go through any torture like River did. I /don't understand/ but I'm trying to be there for you. Be the rock you need."

Angelina set the cup of coco down on the bedside table and she gently wrapped her arms around Dylan's shoulders. "I like you." She said firmly. "If Hydra caught you, I'd kill you fast if I can't get you out." She assured softly. "You do a lot more." She pulled away from him, but kept him in her arms. "You listen. You asked me questions. You knew you wouldn't like my answers. You knew it was bad. But you still asked. You still wanted to know. People don't do that. You're the first to ask me questions. You're still here too. You're still here and you still will give me a safe place. I don't want you to kill. I don't want you to understand this. I like you. Exactly as is. And if you do kill, I'll wrap you up in blankets, give you coffee or whatever you need, and I'll tell you the same thing. I like you."

"Angie..." Dylan's voice and throat were raw, and he had no idea what she went through, for the woman's side of being a captive, but he could imagine. He didn't want to scare her away with this, so he banked, and leaned into her, kissing her cheek ever so tenderly, "I like you, too. Everything you are. Holes and tears, blood and tears, I like you, too. I don't think you're ruined or broken. You just need guidance and that's what I've been trying to do. I hope I'm doing a good job."

"You're doing the best job." Angelina hummed as she gently pulled away to grab her coco, but she immediately rested her head against his shoulder after responding to the kiss on the cheek with her own. She curled up against his side and smiled softly. "I'm sorry I scared you, Dyl-Dal. I know it was bad seeing me like that. Voices get to be too much. Dreams set them off. I'm lucky I'm not confined. That's where things go south."

"Might I ask how a heavy blanket doesn't equal confinement? That does confuse me," Dylan furrowed his brows, using his free hand to wrap around her shoulders, the other holding his cup and he took a nice long drink, humming at the warmth.

"Grounding and hugs." Angelina explained. "It's not a room. I can get out of it. If I can't handle someone's hug, it's a substitute. Even when I can, two hugs are better than one." She shrugged slightly. "I don't like thinking of the Cage. The blanket keeps here. There's gonna be times a blanket won't do it...and I have to ride it out without it...but...so far blankets are good. They're on the good list."

"I like that," Dylan nodded, "I hope you have a pretty hefty good list that's outweighing the bad list by leaps and bounds. Hey, do you like scented candles? Do you know? I've been wanting to buy one of the seasonal ones that's out, and there's this Harvest one that's really nice. I ask mainly because it bothers some people, like the scent gives them headaches."

"I don't know." Angelina blinked. "I would like to try them. I bet it'll be fun." She brightened. "We can go to a candle store! We can find all the scents! We can do that tomorrow for a fun day if we're not too tired."

"We'll see how you are. It'll save you from Zan's questions at least," Dylan kissed the top of her head, "Let's finish our cocoa, get under the covers, and sleep the rest of this bad night away."

"Aye, aye cap." Angelina giggled as they jumped to another conversation topic as they finished their coco, got under the covers, and they murmured to each other until they passed out from the night's events.

~*~
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PostSubject: Re: Forgotten Memories and Golden Repair   Wed Oct 12, 2016 6:24 pm

"I should get you a step-stool," James teased his daughter while she stretched on her tip-toes to reach the shelf where the glass cups went, and he grabbed her around the waist, hoisting her up with ease and a chuckle at her little huff.

“I could do it.” Angelina complained, but she put away the cups that had been dried. She gently squirmed to get him to let go of her and she fell lightly to her feet. She eyed his waist where she knew he had his gun at and swallowed a bit before smiling again. “Dishes are put away.” She declared happily. “What do we do with the left over candles?”

"Well, since they were glass I was thinking about gutting the dead wax out of it and using the jars for something. I dunno. Tiny plants maybe? Water holders for your watercolor Calla's been teaching you?" James shrugged.

Angelina was thoughtful as she picked up one of the glass jars. They were really pretty and it'd be a shame not to reuse them. She wondered what would be the right move here. Should she use them for plants? It'd be nice to add more to the balcony or even having another indoor plant. Water colors would be nice, but...Angelina set the jar down and shrugged too. "Up to you." She chirped. "Do you have a favorite candle scent?"

"Hmm...that's a good question..." James rubbed his chin as he considered, "i guess...back before...I liked the woodsy and pine ones around this time of year. Ocean or water-scented ones during the summer. I would think that the woods and pine ones might make me remember the war, though, so I think it would be best not to get them. I recently smelled an apple cinnamon one, though, in one of the shops between here and the cafe? It was pretty nice. Would you like to get a scented candle?"

"Dylan's gonna take me candle shopping. See if I like any of them. Maybe incense shopping too. It depends on him and what he's up for." Angelina shrugged. "Apple cinnamon. I'll find some and bring them home."

"Aw, thank you, fetiță," James patted her head with a gentle ruffle, then pulled her into a light headlock and ended up giving her a noogie, "I got ya now, what ya gunna do about it?" he taunted.
Angelina's breath was caught in her throat and for a moment she was scared. This was a quick and fast way to die. But then he started rubbing her head with his knuckles and she wanted to cry with relief. Instead, she laughed and tried to pull away. "Nooo!" She tried to move her leg behind his ankle to make them fall backwards, but he was pretty quick on the uptake. She still tried though, so they moved around the room, Angelina shrieking and laughing and James taunting till Angelina finally succeeded in getting them on the ground. She pinned his arms and grinned. "Now I got /you/! No way!" She yelped as he got up and tried to roll them over and she flailed trying to keep him down. "You're supposed to stay /down/."

James grinned down at her and then flopped over back onto his back, "Oh noes, I've fallen and I can't get up!" he acted even more dramatic by putting the back of his hand against his forehead, "What ever shall I do? I'm defenseless!"

She thought about his gun, she thought about how he could just take that and shoot her. That he really wasn't defenseless. She leaned over him and instead of taking advantage and tickling him to death like she normally would, she hugged him instead. "Now you really can't move."

"My greatest weakness, hugs! How did you know?" James gasped, but he chuckled deeply and he wrapped her up in his arms, hugging her back with a kiss to her cheek, "Do you feel a better, little angel?"

Angelina responded with a kiss of her own and snuggled against him. "I feel a lot better." She said honestly. She'll get to the point where his gun was no longer a fear. But right now, she was okay. Not completely better, but okay. "Can I hang out with Uncle Steve today?"

"Is that even a question? Of course you can!" James sat them both up and pinched her nose between his fingers playfully, "Just make sure you give him a big ol' hug from me and tell him I'll give him one myself soon."

"Okay." Angelina spoke, her voice sounding funny since James pinched her nose. He let her go and she hugged him again before getting up and going into the master bedroom to find her phone and text Steve to meet her some place to hang out.

~*~
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