Pairings/Characters: Steve/Bucky, Matt
Continuity: Captain America 1: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier (2014)
Series Notes: This series is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but diverges from canon after Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier (2014). The entire series can be found here.
Genres: Angst, Drama, Holiday
Spoilers: For Captain America 1: The First Avenger (2011) and Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier (2013)
Summary: While searching for Bucky, Steve remembers past Thanksgivings together.
Date Of Completion: November 28, 2015
Date Of Posting: December 9, 2015
Disclaimer: I don’t own ‘em, Marvel and Paramount do, more’s the pity.
Word Count: 1013
Feedback welcome and appreciated.
Author’s Note: I had this story idea before Thanksgiving but naturally nothing coalesced until the day after! Enjoy! :)
And good hearts
"Thanksgiving In Brooklyn"
Even before the Depression, the Rogers and Barnes families lived at the lower end of the economic spectrum, yet they always managed to pool their resources for Thanksgiving. It was a happy day, even though Steve had to be always careful of what to eat and how much of it. His delicate digestive system was one of his many problems.
“Don’t worry, Stevie. Leftover turkey is great in sandwiches,” Bucky assured him.
The Barnes kitchen was warm and cheerful as everyone gathered around the table. There was a good-sized turkey, stuffing, yams, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. Sarah Rogers had brought pumpkin pies and people ate, laughed and drank the wine made by one of the local Italian families in their bathtub during these dark days of Prohibition. The Rosettis made a good under-the-table living providing homemade wine for all occasions.
Steve sighed. “Just one Thanksgiving I’d like to eat without worrying about an upset stomach.”
Steve got his wish many years later in war-torn Europe. In accordance with the U.S. Army’s tradition of serving a hot turkey dinner to the troops on the front lines for Thanksgiving, the Howling Commandos were enjoying their first hot meal in a week. Surrounded by snowy mountains and blue skies, it was a beautiful setting for the holiday.
“Not as good as your mom’s cooking, but I’ll take it.” Steve took a bite of turkey.
Bucky laughed. “Once this war is over, we’ll have a real feast that isn’t served in tin plates. You could eat a whole turkey by yourself, couldn’t you?” Bucky’s eyes were soft with affection.
Steve grinned. “Two turkeys.”
“And you don’t gain an ounce.”
Steve lightly tapped his stomach. “Work-out warrior.”
Bucky snorted. “Super-fast metabolism.”
Steve took another bite of turkey while he smirked.
Steve sighed. He had not envisioned spending Thanksgiving in Baltimore’s run-down neighborhoods, but Sam had gotten a tip worth checking out. They had split up to cover more ground, and Steve was now trudging through garbage-strewn back alleys dressed in faded jeans, an old blue T-shirt and ancient brown leather jacket. He was glad of the sturdy hiking boots he wore instead of sneakers. It was cold and getting colder. He and Sam had covered a lot of broken pavement today.
He heard a movement and instinctively brought his arm up, wishing he had his shield, but he wanted to search incognito. He grunted as something hard hit his forearm. He made a quick move and his attacker was slammed against the brick wall of the alley, a baseball bat clattering against the pavement.
The assailant swore, pushing away from the wall as he picked up his bat and swung. Steve noted the muscles on the ragged man and used a bit more strength, letting loose with a haymaker and knocking him out.
“Pretty good, kid.”
Steve whirled to see a homeless man in an old green Army coat, dirty jeans and T-shirt, and dark-blue woolen cap. His gray beard was stubbled and he was missing a front tooth.
“Thanks.” Steve flexed his hand.
“You wuz a lot gentler than that other fella.”
“What other fella?”
“Guy in an Army coat like me. Some other yahoo tried to rob ‘im and he beat ‘im to a pulp. Coulda killed ‘im but he backed off. Guy was still a mess.”
“When was this?”
The homeless man pulled on a set of fingerless gloves. “Yestidday.”
“Couple alleys over.” Rheumy eyes squinted. “You know ‘im?”
“I think so.” Steve felt a frisson of hope. “Do you know where he is now?”
“Pr’bly over to the 21st Street Mission for Thanksgivin’ meal. Wuz headin’ over there m’self.”
“Mind if I tag along?”
“No bother to me.”
Steve walked with the man, stopping briefly to search the alley where the other beating had taken place but found nothing, and by the time they reached the mission, he had learned that the man was a Vietnam War veteran and had been homeless for fourteen years after losing his job.
“Well, Matt, I might be able to help you.”
“Aww, livin’ on the streets ain’t so bad. No clocks to punch.” Matt cackled.
Steve smiled a little sadly. “Well, let’s go inside.”
The mission was an old, 19th-century building with narrow windows and crumbling brick walls. On the first floor the main room was filled with the cast-offs of society, men and women in ragged clothes and with little hope as they drowned their sorrows in liquor, drugs, or mental instability. For many of them, Thanksgiving was just another day. The food was better than the usual bread and soup, but otherwise it was just another day of struggling for survival.
Matt shuffled into line. Steve scanned the room and that was when he saw him.
The man huddled at the end of a long table, leaning his shoulder against the wall, was staring down at his plate. He wore a gray hoodie underneath the green Army jacket with the hood up, strands of long, brown hair peeking out, but Steve saw enough of his unshaven face to know who it was. He walked over to the tables, the men at the far end ignoring him as they ate.
Steve walked through the narrow aisles between tables and stood across the corner table. The huddled man looked up. Brown eyes that had seen too much stared at Steve.
Hope flooded through Steve. “Yes, Bucky.” He sat down.
Bucky looked down at his laden plate. “Two turkeys?”
Steve nearly cried. “Two turkeys.”
Matt appeared with two trays and sat down next to Steve. “Here ya go, kid.”
“Dig in while it’s hot.”
Steve did, and Bucky slowly picked up a fork, his hand hovering over turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and squash. He placed the fork in the turkey and lifted a piece to his mouth, taking a bite.
It was the best Thanksgiving dinner that Steve had ever enjoyed.