Pairings/Characters: Steve/Bucky, Various OCs
Continuity: Captain America 1: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
Series Notes: Any ideas that pop up about the boys in their early days will end up under this umbrella title. Skinny!Steve and Protective!Bucky for the win! ;) The entire series can be found here.
Genres: Action, Angst, Drama, Romance
Warnings: Children in danger.
Summary: Bucky and Steve’s fun day at Coney Island is interrupted by an unexpected emergency.
Date Of Completion: August 7, 2014
Date Of Posting: August 16, 2014
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel and Paramount do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1739
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
At the top,
And we were
As we looked
Coney Island Past"
Coney Island was always exciting. There was the clanking noise of the rides, screams of delight from the passengers, vendors hawking their wares, and shouts and laughter. The smells of sausages, popcorn, and fried dough wafted on the salt-sea air, and bright colors flashed as people wore their summer best.
Steve and Bucky strolled the grounds, soaking up the atmosphere. Calliope music cheerfully trilled as the carousel whirled with happy children on board and proud parents waving and snapping pictures. Teenagers flirted as they ate ice cream cones and held hands as barkers extolled the mysteries of fire-eaters and sword-swallowers.
Bucky was pleased to see the high color in Steve’s cheeks. His friend was too often pale from lack of sunshine and illness.
Steve’s eyes were bright as he watched the crowds. He loved any chance the two of them had for a break in their routine. It was nice to stop worrying about where your next meal was coming from for a little while and just enjoy fresh air and sunshine.
Bucky had an overwhelming urge to grab Steve’s hand and walk with him like the opposite-sex couples were doing, but except for certain parts of Greenwich Village, it was not a wise move. Instead he brushed his hand against Steve’s. The blond gave him a quick smile and they stopped at the foot of the Cyclone.
“You going on?” Steve asked.
“How about you?”
He wryly shook his head. “After the last time when I lost my lunch, I think I’ll keep it this time, thanks.”
“Me, too.” The Cyclone was a thrill but he would have to take the ride before eating next time.
Bold seagulls strutted around the food stalls, gobbling up discarded French fries and shamelessly following people around in the hopes of more.
“Try your aim! Shoot the ducks and win a prize!” hawked the barker at the shooting gallery. “Hey, fella, wanna try your hand?” he asked Bucky.
“Sure.” Bucky strolled up to the counter with Steve right behind him. The barker glanced at the blond, stifling a pitch about winning a prize for Bucky’s girl.
Bucky lifted up the rifle, sighted carefully, and began to shoot. He was precise and quick, knocking over the painted ducks one-by-one. The barker sighed but asked after Bucky was done, “What prize, sir?”
Bucky saw a pair of young women standing nearby, giggling and whispering as they watched him. He grinned and chose a Teddy bear, handing it to one of the women.
He bowed. “My pleasure.”
“Hey, buddy, wanna try the ring toss?” called the barker from the next booth.
Bucky put his arm around Steve’s thin shoulders. “Not me, but my friend here is the expert ring tosser.”
Steve grinned and allowed Bucky to lead him up to the booth. He paid and picked up the rings, easily calculating the angles and let the first one go. It rolled around the stake, and so did the next three.
“Wise-ass,” muttered the first barker.
Steve chose a stuffed penguin and the other girl happily took it, thanking him with a smile.
“C’mon, Mabel, we gotta catch the train,” said the first girl as she clutched her Teddy bear.
Mabel smiled again at Steve and followed her friend as she walked away.
“Oh, well, easy come, easy go,” Bucky said. At least he and Steve could hold on to their meager stash without the girls spending it.
Steve seemed satisfied, too. He and Bucky walked toward the Ferris wheel. A cock of the head by Bucky elicited a nod by Steve, and they purchased tickets. The Ferris wheel was tame enough for Steve’s delicate stomach. It also suited Bucky today. The wheel began to move after all the customers were seated in their cars.
The turn up was slow and both men grinned as they reached the top, the car swinging as they hovered for a moment before beginning their descent. In that moment they could see the grand expanse of the fairgrounds. It was a wonderful sight as the ocean glittered in the back round.
“It’s so open,” Bucky said, throwing out his arms.
“Different from Brooklyn. Everything’s cramped there. I hate small spaces.”
As the wheel turned down, Steve said, “You should be one of those fire-jumpers out West.”
Bucky curled his hand around Steve’s. “Not without my best fella.”
“Bet you say that to all the boys.”
Bucky laughed as the wheel gathered speed, Steve kicking the car and making it sway sharply. The wind blew through their hair and against their faces. It was freedom of the best kind, and Bucky was happy.
The wheel swung up again and began to creak ominously as they approached the top. The great wheel ground to a halt and Bucky looked at Steve. Disbelief turned to amusement as they burst out laughing.
“Never fails,” Steve chuckled. “Oh, well, for the price of a ride we get a great view for some extra time.”
Bucky leaned back, stretching his arm out and resting it on the back of the car. Steve smiled knowingly as he kicked out and the car swung gently.
“You are a brat,” said Bucky. “Maybe you need a spanking.”
“No ‘maybe’ about it.”
“I gotta get down!”
The shriek held the edge of panic. Steve and Bucky leaned over to see a little girl of about six frantically trying to get out of the car below them. A boy a few years older attempted to keep her seated.
“No, Alice! Stay put! They’ll get us down.”
“No!” Alice was past logic as she pushed her brother away and started to climb over the restraining bar.
“Bucky,” Steve said fearfully, grabbing his friend’s arm.
“I’ll get her.” Bucky looked back at Steve. He knew that he couldn’t ask his frail lover to hold onto him. Steve would try, but Bucky would end up spattered on the sidewalk, and wouldn’t that be a mess!
“Try and calm her,” Bucky directed Steve.
Steve nodded, worry clearly in his blue eyes but he understood what Bucky had to do.
“Alice, honey, it’s gonna be all right. Don’t worry,” Steve pleaded.
“Let me go, Peter!” Alice cried, pushing the boy away. Her honey-colored curls bounced as she started to climb over the bar again.
Bucky grabbed the strut of the wheel and swung over, wrapping his legs around it. He shimmied down the strut, trying to ignore how small everyone looked below. Calliope music was loud in his ears as he concentrated on not falling. He could hear a woman’s high-pitched screaming below, maybe the mother. Peter grabbed his sister again but she began to slide through the opening in the car. Her screams of panic turned to terror as Peter tried to pull her up but he wasn’t strong enough.
Bucky reached the car and grabbed Alice just before she slid out. She clung to him desperately as she sobbed.
“It’s okay, kid.” Bucky looked up and smiled at Steve. “It’ll be all right.”
The great wheel shuddered and began to move again. As Alice cried, Bucky ruffled Peter’s hair and smiled at him, then looked up at a white-faced Steve. Steve gave him a shaky smile, his fingers gripping the bar of his car with white-knuckled intensity.
The ride seemed to take forever in Bucky’s opinion. He and the children had to wait until each car was emptied of passengers, and a distraught mother grabbed her daughter out of Bucky’s arms as soon as they reached the ground. A police officer shook Bucky’s hand.
“Good work, fella.”
“Thanks, Officer.” Bucky exited the car and helped Peter out. “Everything’s okay now,” he assured the boy and ruffled his hair.
The next car brought Steve down, and as he left the car a short, beefy man wearing an apron scurried up.
“I see it all! You’re a hero, young man!”
“Just helping out, Mister,” said Bucky.
“You eat free at my stand. Come!”
The mother sobbed, “Thank you, young man.”
A flashbulb went off and an enterprising reporter interviewed Bucky while the photograph took more pictures.
The restaurant proprietor escorted Bucky and Steve. It became an impromptu parade as admiring citizens tagged along.
The procession stopped at Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs. The proprietor laughed at Bucky and Steve’s surprise.
“Thanks, Mr. Nathan,” Bucky said with a big smile.
“How many do you want?”
“I’ll take three. Steve?”
“One is fine, thank you.”
They happily accepted their hot dogs, piling on relish, mustard, and onions, and on one dog, Bucky tried sauerkraut.
“Free hot dogs! We’ll have to come to Coney Island more often,” Bucky said in satisfaction. The crisp snap of the frankfurter produced juicy flavor.
“You’re a hero, Buck.”
Bucky grinned. “I’m just glad it all worked out.”
Steve paused. He and Bucky were seated at a picnic table in relative privacy as everyone was busy with their own affairs. Fame is fleeting, Bucky thought wryly.
“I was really scared for you.”
Bucky chewed his hot dog, the sweetness of the green relish contrasting deliciously with sharp, tangy mustard and fresh onions. He took a swig of Coke from the bottle and swallowed.
“Gotta admit, Stevie, I was pretty scared myself.”
Steve looked up at him. Their eyes met and they understood each other perfectly.
I wish I could take your hand and comfort you, but we’ll just have to play best buddies. Just wait ‘til I get you home, though.
Steve’s sparkling blue eyes promised a hero’s welcome.
“We’re famous now, Stevie, at least as long as tomorrow’s edition lasts.”
“Ah, fame,” said Steve light. He bit into his hot dog. “Mmm, I do love me a juicy wiener.”
Bucky was drinking his Coke and started coughing violently as Steve smiled slyly.
“Brat,” Bucky sputtered.
Steve gleefully ate his Nathan’s Famous.
Yellowing pages from The Daily Bugle showed a handsome young man with a skinny blond friend taking the heartfelt thanks from a grateful mother as the headlines, CONEY ISLAND HERO captioned the photo. With a sad heart, Steve put the clipping away and wondered if Bucky would ever remember that day so long ago, smiling slightly as he thought of the year’s supply of free hot dogs.