Title: The Replacements
Pairing: Union Jack/Destroyer, Bucky/Toro implied, Fred Davis, Captain America (II)
Rating: PG 13
Warnings: Some mild swearing, and Roger being snarky.
Summary: The war in Europe is over, but the scars are still visible.
Author's Note: For those who don't know, Fred Davis was the second Bucky and William Naslund was the second Captain america. I see this taking place in 1945, Post Germany surrender, but pre atomic bombs
“You can come into the kitchen, lad. I don’t bite.”
Biting his lip slightly, Fred Davis stepped into the massive French farmhouse kitchen, where the Invaders were staying. At nearly 2 am it was deserted, except for the man known as the Destroyer, who was sitting at the table without his mask, drinking from a cup.
“Couldn’t sleep either huh?” There’s no anger, no judgement in the voice, just an undertone of understanding.
A laugh converses over the blond man’s face. “Lad, I’m not an officer. It’s Destroyer or Roger, whichever you prefer.”
“O.K....Roger.” it feels a little strange to call anyone by their true name. None of the Invaders, or their allies that they have met, have trusted him enough to give their real name. He’s tried convincing himself that maybe they aren’t aware of the switch, and that as Bucky already knew their names...but Toro’s face every time he looks at him convinces him that’s a lie.
“Good.” Roger nodded his head. “Now what’s your name when you’re not running around in tights?”
It’s on the tip of Fred’s tongue to say that the Destroyer’s own costume is nothing to write home about, in that respect, but he stops himself.
“Fred Davis, sir. Roger.” He corrects himself.
“Well, Fred Davis, would you like some cocoa?” He indicated his cup. “I was just about to make some and I’ll feel less guilty if there’s two of us drinking it.”
Anything’s better than going back to bed and lying awake waiting for dawn, so he nodded and sat down.
He watched the other man pottering around the kitchen, remembering the other man had been working with the resistance. It was clear in the way he moved around the kitchen that he was used to moving in the dark without being observed.
“Ahh. Food of the gods” He sighed, sinking down. Fred took a sip, and he had to admit it was good.
“So Fred Davis,” Roger said, regarding him over the top of his cup. “What are you doing up so late?”
“Could ask you the same thing, si-Roger.” Fred took another sip. “It’s not for a mission. Cap says you guys are going home tomorrow.”
One of Roger’s eyebrows shot up. Somehow it looked worse without the mask.
“Naslund should learn to watch his tongue. Careless talk like that could still cost lives.” He shrugged “and as for my own reasons for being up, they are quite simply it being easier to get into a routine than out of it.” Noticing the confusion on Fred’s face, he explained. “Having spent nearly five years teaching my body to survive on maybe two hours sleep, it is now very reluctant to let me rest. I didn’t want to wake Brian, so I came down here.”
“Oh.” A faint flush moved over the kid’s face, and he moved slightly away from him. Roger wasn’t surprised. Naslund had known how his tastes ran, and he had no doubt all the Invaders were well aware of it.
He gave a biter laugh. “Your virtue is safe with me, child. For one thing, I have no interest in children, and for another, I have a lover who I would not hurt by betraying.”
“Oh.” Fred looked even more embarrassed. “I’m sorry.”
Roger shook his head. “I repeat what are you doing up at this god forsaken hour?”
“Why?” The eyes bored into him. Fred dropped his eyes. He couldn’t’ admit to this man, who had spent nearly five years behind enemy lines, seeing all that those monsters could do, that he was having nightmares about Berlin, about what they’d seen.
Toro had told him that if he woke him up once more (“Crying like a baby”) then he’d burn him.
“There’s no shame in having nightmares, Fred. Everyone does.” Roger sighed, taking a drink from his cup.
“Even young Toro has woken us all with a nightmare more than once. The only weakness is in the fear control you.”
“Toro doesn’t have nightmares.” It was said as a whisper.
“Not that he’d admit to, I’m sure.” He sighed. “Don’t take what Toro said to heart. At the moment he’s hurting a lot and you’re just a convenient target. You’d think he’d know better, but none of us are rationally where feelings are involved.”
“He’s right though.” Fred’s head was hanging. “I don’t deserve this costume. It’s not mine. I don’t have any special powers or really any training. I’m just a kid running around in borrowed clothes.”
Roger made a mental note to ask Jim to do something about his ward’s pain. He accepted that the other man might not understand it, but this could not be allowed to continue and while he respected Will as a friend and an opponent, the man knew nothing of children.
“Do you know how I ended up with this costume?” he asked. “It isn’t mine. You can see the alterations if you look around the belt.”
Fred shrugged. Union Jack and Destroyer seemed to exist in their own little world, along with Spitfire. Partly because they weren’t yanks, but there was always something else, like someone was holding something back on them.
“I first met the Invaders as a member of the Crusaders. A Nazi team.” He watched as the eyes widened. “In my defense, I had been brainwashed and didn’t know who I was. I was also only five inches. Hardly my finest hour.” He looked embarrassed. “I was with the Crusaders, because I had followed Brian to Germany, something he specifically told me not to do. And I got captured.” He shrugged. “The costume was Brian’s. Once I was rescued, I went back. To try and make up for some of the ways I’d messed up.” He paused. “I learnt something out there. We can’t change our past, but we can change our future. We can’t change the person we were, but we can become the person we want to be.” He paused. “Just make sure it’s who you want to be. Not who you think you have to be.”
“I guess.” Fred yawned suddenly causing Roger to hide a smile. Berlin had been nearly a week ago, if the kid hadn’t had a full night’s sleep since then the little addition to the cocoa should be a great help. “Think I’ll try and grab some shut eye.”
“As I understand you are going East tomorrow, that might be a good thing.”
Fred was almost tripping over his own feet, as he made his way towards the stairs. He turned. “Thanks Roger.”
“You’re welcome Bucky.”
Roger waited until he was certain the young man had made his way back to his shared room, before observing. “As I told your side kick earlier this evening, I don’t bite. Well, unless I’m asked to.”
Will Naslund stepped into the kitchen, looking sheepish.
“Didn’t your mother ever tell you it was rude to eavesdrop?”
“Dam it, Roger do you ever stop?”
Roger raised an eyebrow, considering it. He sighed. “If you wish to know what is the matter with your sidekick, I suggest asking him. Or Toro.”
“I tried. Fr...Bucky denies anything is wrong, and Toro just looks at me like I’m something disgusting on his shoes and pushes past. Jim’s called him on it more than once.”
Roger smiled. “Ironic. The android is the most human of the lot of you.”
William leaned back against the kitchen worktop. “Dam it, Roger; I don’t have a clue what I’m doing here. When Brass told me about this mission, it seemed all theoretical, all safe.”
An anger burned in Roger’s chest, and it was on the tip of his tongue to tell him about all the close calls that he knew about, never mind the ones Brian had kept from him. He knew that, unofficially, Britain had about five guys lining up to take the costume if anything happened to Brian, but he knew he’d fight them for it. And he knew Will was one of those men.
He also knew that he was speaking the truth. Steve Rogers had...something that none of them could put a name on, but it was the sort of stuff leaders were made of. Charisma and presence.
Bucky had had them too, but in less quality, far better designed to blending into the shadows than his partner ever could be. Men would go to hell for Bucky, but for Steve...they might well evict the devil himself.
Will didn’t have those qualities. He was a good leader, Roger accepted that, but when you’ve seen the real deal, as the yanks would say, it was hard to respond to adequate.
Suddenly, he decided that lying awake next to Brian was considerable better than this.
“Well you’d better figure it out, Captain.” He said, dumping his mug in the sink. “Because I refuse to attend a funeral for another Bucky.”
He stepped out, leaving Captain America standing alone in the darken kitchen.