Once Bucky had Steve pulled safely onto shore, he looked over his shoulder to make sure Brenna was alright. He saw her swimming his way. Within seconds she was on the shore as well. Kneeling beside Cap, she listened for a heartbeat while Bucky only watched. His face was full of uncertainty and indirect frustration.

Brenna sighed in relief when she picked up on a faint beating in Steve's chest. A lighthearted laugh escaped her lips. "He's alive," she announced happily. From where she sat, she met the icy eyes of the Winter Soldier. "Thank you."

The words were genuine and pure, blowing Bucky away. This woman never did seise to amaze him. But his own internal conflicts were too large, too loud. He needed to be alone with his thoughts; not the ones that HYDRA had plugged into his brain, but his own actual thoughts. Without a word, he turned and began to walk away.

Brenna stumbled to her feet and chased after him. "Wait," she called, catching him by his metal shoulder. He stopped, but did not turn or speak. Brenna moved to stand in front of him. "Where are you going?"

"..Away," Bucky responded monotonously.

Worry beginning to sprout in her heart, Brenna asked nervously, "why don't you stay? With me?" He blinked in surprise, caught off guard by the suggestion. She smiled sweetly. "Be my friend."

Bucky's heart lurched. He softly took her hand into his flesh one. Starring at their clasped fingers, he muttered reluctantly, "I need to go away."

Brenna sighed and nodded. "Okay," she accepted with a sad frown. "Then go away," she told him gently. His eyes met hers again. "Go where ever you need to, but please...don't go back to HYDRA." Bucky's eyes darted back and forth between hers, taking in every drop of her emotion. "They don't care about you, they'll just take your memories again; you'll forget everything...."

Bucky turned his head slightly. There was a long pause before he told her, "..I won't." He lifted his metal hand to Brenna's cheek, bringing her closer to him. She had to look directly up to see his face clearly. "Won't go back, I mean," his voice was soft and serious, "..I...I don't think I wanna forget this."

Brenna's face went bright red. She continued to stare up at the Winter Soldier's face. His five o'clock shadow was going on day two, contouring his face beautifully. Her eyes took in every detail and she realized that was developing feelings for him. She'd only known him for a short time. But after everything that had happened, the intensity of every waking moment, Brenna couldn't help but feel like it fit.

Feeling his metal hand slip away from her face, Brenna watched Bucky look back at Steve once more. He then left, walking away into the unknown. He seemed to leave in slow motion, and many times Brenna found herself wanting to chase after him again. But she didn't. Steve needed her. So she hurried back to his side to see that he was still okay.

• June 4, 2014 •

After the whole helicarrier incident, Brenna went back to Sam's house with Natasha. Sam was the one to take Steve to the hospital, since all of Nat's dirty past secrets were free now. And as much as Brenna wanted to visit him, she knew that wouldn't be a good idea. With bullet holes, scrapes, and bruises littering her body, she'd probably be taken in as a patient if she walked into a hospital.

So she stayed at Sam's place, allowing herself to heal. And when she was finally healthy again, it was time to go home. Brenna was excited to see her father again; she couldn't wait to tell him everything she'd learned about herself.

But a part of her was left in DC. Steve, still struggling to cling to life in the hospital. And Bucky, adrift in the wind once again, like a ghost. As Natasha drove her back to New York, Brenna stared out the window. She played back the events of the past few days; it felt like weeks had passed.

No matter how hard she tried to distract herself, the eyes of the Winter Soldier were burned into her mind. Hard, yet soft. Relentless, yet hesitant. Emotionless, yet heavy. Brenna wanted to understand them; to understand him. She wanted to see him in person again, not just in her head. But all she could do was look out the window of Natasha's black sports car, and wish.

As their surroundings became more familiar, Brenna felt excitement begin to push through her longing. And soon, Natasha was pulling into the massive Avengers Tower garage.

"Alright, B," Natasha began with a sigh. She looked Brenna over intently once they were out of the car, making sure she looked unharmed and safe. "Now, Tony's probably figured out that we weren't just training," she explained, "so let me deal with that."

Brenna smiled gratefully at her trainer and responded, "thanks." Then the two made their way to the elevator.

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