“The asset needs to be taken care of, bathed and fed or he won’t be able to complete his missions effectively,” One of the handlers said, his brow coming together.
The head handler scoffed, “What are we supposed to do, submerge him into the water and have him think that we’re drowning him? He’ll kill everyone in the room before we could soap his hair,”
Another handler in the room perked up.
“We could have someone new look after him, someone who he won’t be expecting pain from,”
The head handler rolled his eyes, “And where would you suggest we find someone like that? All of our agents have directly interacted with The Asset or are too threatening to give him any sense of calm. He needs to be calm or he won’t eat, and he’s of no use to us when he’s unable to walk from lack of sustenance,”
The junior handler scratched his chin, thinking.
Just then, an idea seemed to strike him like lightning.
“We have a man, Steven Rogers, who has only been with us for a short while. He’s scrawny and probably won’t survive any experiments, much less the chair. He is the least threatening person I’ve ever seen, he’s perfect,”
The Head handler cocked an eyebrow, smirking slightly.
“Alright then,” he said, “let’s introduce them,”
Steve was fucking pissed, and he wasn’t exactly sure how he had gotten here.
One moment he had been walking around Brooklyn, looking in alleys as he went, when he had seen a man dressed all in black trying to grab a girl who didn’t look like she wanted the attention.
Now, Steve had seen this type of thing hundreds of times, and he got punched almost every single time.
“Hey!” Steve yelled, making the man turn his attention to him, giving the girl a chance to escape.
The man gave him a once over before he shrugged,
“I guess you’ll do,” he said with a thick Russian accent before pulling out a gun shooting it, making Steve’s vision turn blank.
Steve had woken up to a terrible pain in his right shoulder, much worse than the usual bruise left by a punch.
He also noticed that he was in a very clean white box, brightly lit with one wall made of glass.
Getting shakily to his feet, Steve looked at his shoulder and saw a bullet hole bleeding slowly.
The sight made him gag.
“What do you want? I don’t have anything to give you, assholes,” Steve used his left arm to bang on the glass, though he could tell it was pointless as none of the guards even glanced in his direction.
After a solid ten minutes of kick and punching at the glass, Steve slumped down to let his hands and feet rest.
“Steve Rogers,” said a voice, making Steve look up to see a man in a grey business suit with an octopus symbol pinned to his shoulder.
“Fuck off, dickless,” Steve spat, making direct eye contact with the man’s cold green eyes.
“Now now, Mr. Rogers, that’s not how you treat your hosts, especially now that they’re giving you a job,” the man smiled cruelly, making Steve shiver.
“And what job is that, asshat?”
“We need you to look after our prized soldier, our… asset if you will,” The man smiled like he was telling an inside joke but Steve just glared.
“I’m not looking after shit for you, especially not your killing machine,”
The man laughed, pulling out a cigarette and lighting it casually, “I’m afraid you don’t have a choice, Mr. Rogers. After all, the Asset is being told to have his way with you, and then punish you as he sees fit,”
He took a long drag from his cigarette, blowing the smoke onto the glass dividing them.
Steve’s brain took a moment to comprehend what the man was saying, but he didn’t like it one bit, “Have his way with me?” He asked, voice barely a whisper.
“Yes, you belong to the Asset now. You will look after him and do whatever he requires to keep him calm, and in return, we’ll let you live,” the man took another drag from his cigarette, smirking as he walked away from Steve’s cell, humming a tune Steve couldn’t recognize.
Steve was about to sit down and contemplate what he had just been told when the glass wall of his cell slid open, two heavily armed guards dressed in all black took him by the arms.
“This way, pipsqueak,” one of them mumbled, shoving Steve in the general direction of their largest cell as far as Steve could tell.
This cell was entirely blocked off, no glass wall like his to see inside.
“The Asset doesn’t take well to most people, he’ll kill you if he doesn’t like you, make a good impression,” one of the guards said, a thick Russian accent making him a little hard to understand.
“He’ll kill me?” Steve asked, but he didn’t get a response, the guards just opened a door.
When the people here talked about The Asset, Steve thought of a machine, maybe some sort of guard dog that he needed to look after.
Steve was not expecting a man who looked around his age, long brown hair brushing his shoulders.
The thing that made him gasp was the man’s eyes.
Bright blue and piercing, making him feel like the wind had been knocked out of his lungs.
“Актив, этот человек позаботится о тебе. Он твой, поэтому постарайся не убить его, ты не получишь новый,” One of the guards said, ignoring Steve’s confused look. (Asset, this person will take care of you. He is yours, so try not to kill him, you will not get a new one,)
The Asset remind silent, leaning back onto the hard wooden chair he was sitting on.
The guard holding Steve’s right arm pushed him onto the cell floor before closing the door.
Steve looked around the cell, seeing an army cot in one corner, a sink and toilet in the other as well as a shower and bath combination.
“Well, this feels homey,” Steve said, putting a hand in his pocket.
The Asset eyed his pocket before getting up and taking off his shirt, revealing a very toned stomach that Steve refused to acknowledge.
“Hey, man, what are you doing?” Steve asked, vividly aware of the metal arm he could now see.
“You’re here to hurt me, aren’t you,” The Asset sat down on the army cot, his expression docile.
“What? No! I’m not going to hurt you. To be honest, I thought you were supposed to be the one hurting me,” Steve looked at his feet, not able to meet The Asset’s eyes.
“Do you have a name?” Steve asked, trying to start some type of conversation.
The Asset just stared at him, eyes blank of any emotion,
Steve sighed, “Sure don’t talk,” he mumbled.
“The Asset doesn’t get to have a name, because he has nothing,” he said, almost like he was repeating a line from a textbook.
Steve wasn’t sure why, but his heart broke a little at the words.
He walked over and put his arm on The Asset’s knee, making the other man jump slightly so he took his hand back.
“Listen, I’m not going to hurt you, but I need to look after you, or I’m pretty sure the guys guarding your cell are going to kill me,” Steve met The Asset’s eyes and saw confusion in them.
“They said you were mine. If you’re mine then I won’t let them touch you,”
Steve felt like the wind had been knocked out of him for the second time today, but he couldn’t help but believe this man, no matter how dangerous he looked.
“Well, if I’m yours, does that mean you’ll let me help you?” Steve asked, sky blue eyes meeting ice blue.
The Asset sat in silence for a few seconds, long enough to make Steve feel like he had overstepped, before he nodded.
It was at this moment, when Steve looked over the Asset’s body, that he realized The Asset had been shirtless this whole time, making Steve blush like mad.
“W-Well, that beard looks good on you, but it probably doesn’t feel nice, do you have a razor?” The Asset nodded, pointing to the sink on the other side of the room where Steve did see a razor sitting there as well as a can of shaving cream.
Steve got up and grabbed the two items before motioning for The Asset to follow him, (“It’s easier to do this near a sink,” he explained at The Asset’s confused look)
“Alright,” Steve said, grabbing the can of shaving cream, “I’m going to put this on your throat and cheeks, this is the easy part,”
The Asset sat on the chair that Steve had pulled up next to the sink, his back straight as a plank of wood.
Steve lightly put some shaving cream on The Asset’s cheek.
He wasn’t expecting The Asset to lean into his touch so much, and he defiantly wasn’t expecting him to sigh
“When’s the last time someone was nice to you,” Steve whispered, almost to himself and not expecting a response.
The Asset’s eyes opened, meeting Steve.
“I don’t know,”
Steve finished applying the shaving cream before he picked up the razor, aware of the fact that The Asset vividly tensed.
“Hey,” Steve put his clean hand on The Asset’s shoulder, “I’m not going to hurt you, I’m not like them. Trust me, I’m just as scared as you are,” Steve tried to smile but it looked more like a grimace.
The Asset cocked his head to the side, looking adorably like a confused dog (why had he thought of adorable?)
“Why are you scared? I’m protecting you. Steve is mine, so no one can hurt Steve,”
Smiling slightly, Steve brushed a strand of hair out of The Asset’s face, getting ready to start shaving him.
“Alright, I’m going to bring the razor to your cheek, try not to move,” Steve barely touched The Asset’s cheek before the man was out of his seat, jumping back against the wall.
“Hey,” Steve said, his voice soothing as he could make it, “I’m not going to hurt you, I’ve only known you for a little while but I know you’re just as scared as I am, don’t worry,”
He walked over to where The Asset was standing against the wall and took his hand, noticing how The Asset didn’t flinch at his touch as much, and sat him back down in the chair.
Deciding that it was probably better to keep The Asset distracted while he did this, Steve started talking.
“You almost looked like a spooked horse, back there, horses always buck around when they’re spooked and I swear you jump almost as high as them,”
Steve laughed to himself, “Maybe that’s what I should call you: Bucky. What do you think, ‘cause I can’t keep calling you ‘The Asset’,”
Without stopping his stream of speech, Steve started dragging the razor along The Asset’s throat, probably the thing that would ‘spook’ him the most.
“My ma’s brother used to own some horses down in Kansas, but we lived in Brooklyn so we didn’t see them much, not with how long it took to get down there. Then, of course, my ma died and I haven’t seen the horses since, it always was fun to ride, though,”
Steve made the last swipe of the razor before letting out a breath.
“So, what do you think, Bucky?” he asked, smiling slightly.
The Asset cocked his head like a dog again before a small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth.
“I like it,” he said.
“Ok, Bucky, you’re all done,” Steve laughed at the sheer ridiculousness of this situation.
He had been kidnapped by some sort of organization that made super assassins who didn’t know how to shave. In that time, Steve had been forced to ‘look after’ their top soldier who - it turns out - acted like a lost puppy when shown any form of kindness.
To top it off, Steve had given this soldier a name so ridiculous, with an even more ridiculous story behind it. He had called him Bucky because he looked like a bucking horse when he was spooked.
How was Steve’s life so messed up?
“What’s wrong?” Steve was broken out of his thoughts by Bucky’s voice,
“Huh? Nothing’s wrong, just lost in thought,” Steve said quickly, running his hands through his hair.
“You’re crying,” Bucky said, his expression concerned, almost angry.
“Oh,” He ran his hands over his face and did feel some wet spots, “Yeah, it’s just that my life has been completely turned around. I got kidnapped less than a day ago, now I’ve been told to look after you or I die, and I probably won’t live till I’m 30 because they’re probably going to kill me soon anyway,”
Without warning, Steve felt more tears falling down his face, splashing onto the hard concrete floor beneath him.
He looked up and saw Bucky’s face filled with an unexplained rage, it honestly scared Steve.
“Did you have a life?” Bucky asked, voice distant. Steve felt a little taken aback, but answered nonetheless.
“Not really, I guess. My ma’s dead and she was my last family. I can’t afford to go to any higher form of school and not many people want to hire a sick 26-year old who can’t carry a few sacks of flour without coughing up his lungs,” Steve shook his head, and sighed, feeling more tears trickling down his face.
“You didn’t have a sweetheart?” Bucky asked, his voice now with a heavy Brooklyn accent that startled Steve a little.
“Nope, no sweetheart. Not many people are lining up to dance with a guy they’re gonna step on,”
Bucky huffed, the anger dissipating from his eyes though still prominent.
After a moment of silence, Bucky spoke once more.
“I’m going to kill them all,”
Steve filled with shock, more at how emotionless Bucky sounded than the line he had said.
“What?” he asked, still not exactly comprehending what had just been said.
“I’m going to kill everyone here, everyone who thought of hurting you, everyone who did hurt you, and most importantly, everyone who took you from your life,” Bucky remained emotionless, eyes not leaving Steve’s.
“I don’t think I’m worth all of that, Buck, and I’m certainly not worth you risking your life,” Steve took Bucky’s hand, still sitting on the floor.
“Any life here isn’t worth living, the least I can do is give you back yours,” Bucky’s eyes were intense, making Steve’s insides squirm.
Without warning, the door to the cell opened, revealing the two guards from earlier accompanied by the man who had spoken with Steve when he first woke up.
“Ah, Asset, I see you’ve made friends with Steven here. I do hope that you don’t kill him, it would be a pain to get you a new one,” The man took a drag from his cigarette and blew it into Bucky’s face.
Bucky didn’t even flinch.
Steve wanted to punch the man for treating Bucky like a dog, but he knew it would just get both of them in trouble.
Contrary to popular belief, Steve Rogers knew how to pick his battles.
“I’m just updating Mr. Rogers here on the rules, if you’ll excuse us,” the guards took Steve’s arms and pulled his roughly to his feet, dragging him out of the cell.
As he passed Bucky, Steve thought he heard a growl come from him, though it might have been his imagination.
Once the door closed, leaving Steve and the three other men standing in a hallway, the man in charge spoke.
“Steven,” he grinned, showing revolting yellow teeth, “I saw that you shaved the Asset, I’m not going to lie, I’m surprised he let you put a razor to his throat but this just proves that you were the right man for the job,”
Steve coughed as the man blew cigarette smoke into his face, “You will be responsible for feeding, bathing, clothing, and shaving The Asset. If you fail in any of those tasks, well,” his eyes flickered to the bullet wound in Steve’s shoulder, “we’ll test just how much pain you can take. After all, I'd love to have my fun with a pretty thing like you, and I'm sure the guards wouldn't mind either," the man smirked, showing off his yellow teeth again.
In this situation, Steve usually would have fought back, he would have made some witty remark or a sarcastic comment, but he wasn’t sure if he wanted to test the man’s willingness to follow through with the threat.
“You understand?” The man asked, taking another drag on his cigarette before blowing the smoke into Steve’s face and making the smaller man cough again.
Steve nodded, hoping they would just put him back in his cell or, better yet, back into Bucky’s cell.
“I’m not sure if you do,” the man whispered, tapping his fancy leather shoe lightly on the concrete floor, “we might just have to give you a little taste of what’s to come if you fail to follow orders,”
The man motioned for the guards to take Steve somewhere, all the while, Steve was yelling and kicking at their shins.
He was tied to a chair in a room much like Bucky’s cell, only one wall was a mirror (presumably a one-way window).
“What the fuck are you going to do to me?” Steve asked, seeing a police baton on the table in from of him, a dagger sitting next to it.
Spoiler alert, Steve did not enjoy what happened next.
He was thankful that they only hit him, and nothing more, but the threat hung in the air like humidity after a summer rain.
The guards seemed to almost enjoy hitting Steve in the ribs with that stupid baton, making sure to leave a bruise each time. Not to mention, making a mark on his arm with the dagger each time they hit him.
“That’s enough, he still needs to be able to do his job,” the man from earlier said, strolling into the room like this was simply another day in the office.
“You’re a sadist,” Steve chocked out, lip bloody where he had bit it to keep from screaming (it hadn’t worked)
The man simply chuckled, “Take him back to the cell,” he instructed the guards.
Steve was relieved to see that they were taking him to Bucky’s cell and not his own. He wasn’t sure if he could tend to his wounds by himself.
The guards threw him through the door unceremoniously, closing the door behind them.
Steve looked up from the floor and saw Bucky on the bed, clutching a pencil that was now nothing more than splinters in his metal hand.
“What did they do…” Bucky sounded deadly calm, and deadly dangerous.
“I think it’s pretty obvious,” Steve hissed as he sat up, clutching his ribs,
“They said you were mine, they wouldn’t hurt you if you were mine,” Bucky let the broken pencil pieces fall from his hand to the army cot.
Steve rolled his eyes a little, “I hate to disappoint you, Bucky, but these guys are assholes and will probably be doing this again, and worse, soon,” he hissed against once he stood up, making his way to the army cot and sitting down.
“I’m going to murder every. Single. One. Of. Them,” Bucky whispered, eyes staring straight ahead at the blank wall.
“Do you think you could help me wrap these wounds before you do that?” Steve asked after a moment of silence, making Bucky jump up almost as quickly as he had when Steve had touched him with the razor.
Bucky tore off the bottom half of his shirt (turning it into a very stylish crop top that showed of his toned stomach) and put it under some water form the sink.
With the now wet cloth, Bucky walked back over to Steve, pressing it to the cuts on his arms.
“Why did they cut your arms?” Bucky asked softly, dabbing at the blood with a tender hand.
Steve shrugged, then winced at the action, “I’m not sure, I think it was their way of keeping count, each time they hit me they would give me another cut,” he laid back onto the pillow on the army cot, scrunching up his face when his cuts started stinging.
“Did they tell you why they were hurting you? HYDRA doesn’t torture without reason,” Bucky said, lifting Steve’s shirt to wipe across the spots where the baton had broken the skin.
“HYDRA?” Steve asked, wincing more as Bucky pressed the cloth to his more painful cuts.
Bucky sighed, “HYDRA, they’re the ones who run this place, a Nazi science division back in world war 2 but they eventually grew out on their own,” Bucky didn’t sound like he was reciting from a textbook, but more from memory.
“Well, they said that if I couldn’t look after you, they would keep doing this until I finally got you to eat or something, and then the main guy said he would 'let they guards have their way with me',” Steve let out a deep breath, wincing as Bucky lightly pressed his ribs.
The metal armed man remained silent for a few minutes, just running the cool fabric over Steve’s wounds.
“So, this happened because of me?” he asked eventually, eyes dropping to the floor.
“No!” Steve grabbed his arm, making Bucky wince but Steve honestly couldn’t care less at the moment, “this isn’t your fault, it’s HYDRA’s and HYDRA’s alone, there’s nothing you could have done to stop this,” Steve held onto Bucky’s wrist, his eyes almost begging Bucky to believe him.
“I would understand if you hated me,” Bucky muttered, tearing his eyes away from Steve’s and going back to cleaning the wounds.
Steve sat up, wincing, and forced Bucky to look at him, “I don’t hate you. I hate what they did to you. Earlier, I heard a Brooklyn accent in your voice, you sound like some stuff you said didn’t come from HYDRA, you had a life before this and I hate that they took you from it. I don’t have a life, all my family is dead and I can’t hold a job to save my life,” Steve’s eyes remained fixed on Bucky’s not wavering in the slightest.
Bucky remained silent, his hand resting on Steve’s chest.
“You think I had a life?” he asked quietly, his eyes showing a vulnerability Steve hadn’t seen before.
Steve felt himself soften at the sight, cupping Bucky’s cheek before he could think better of it (he didn’t expect Bucky to lean into the touch).
“Yes, I think you had a life, maybe you had a brother, or a sister, a family. Hell, you might have had your own sweetheart, just waiting for you to come home,” Steve was vividly aware of Bucky leaning closer, dropping the wet cloth.
“What would my sweetheart be thinking right now?” Bucky asked, so close that Steve could feel his breath on his face.
He felt himself gulp, “Probably wondering how they had gotten someone as great as you, even for a short time,” Steve’s eyes flickered to Bucky’s lips then back up to his icy blue eyes again.
“They’re pretty stupid if they think I’m a good person,” Bucky whispered, steadily getting closer.
“It’s rude to call people stupid to their face,” Steve muttered.
Bucky finally leaned forward, capturing Steve’s lips with his own before pulling away, smiling fully for the first time since Steve had known him.
Maybe they would be alright.