Continuation of this post
Life in a Northern Town–a (fan)fiction
As stated in this post, one of my favorite things to do is write. I don’t do it often but sometimes I like to get out my emotions by writing. This little blurb came from an idea I’ve had for a while and I decided to start writing and posting little by little. Like it? Leave a like or a comment?
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author of this story. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators or producers of any previously copyrighted material. No copyright infringement intended. This is just for fun.
This is an original work by me. While you may recognize a character or two I am putting them in an entirely new situation. I discussed this a little in this post.
Bucky Barnes tossed the bale of hay down from the hayloft with force. One by one, the Timothy-Alfalfa bales fell from the small hole in the ceiling of the dark red barn planted on 115 acres of farmland in northern New York. The fall was growing colder to make way for snow, but Bucky hardly noticed the cooler temperatures, too caught up in the constant ache in his left arm and hand, and the demons consuming his mind.
He’d been home from the war for six months, had been out of the war for almost a year. Six months were spent in an Italian hospital while his left arm and hand healed from the burns he had experienced in a firefight between the 107th Infantry Regime and German forces. The skin had been burned in some places almost down to the bone, and he’d almost lost the limb. Forever thankful to his best friend, Steve Rogers had gotten him to a command post not long after it had happened, and he’d been transported to a local hospital. It had taken three transports before he’d ended up in Italy–where he had stayed until the infection was gone and the healing had all but finished. Well, what healing he would have. Unfortunately the scarring was dramatic and extended the entire length of his left limb, from where his shoulder met his chest and all the way down to his finger tips. He often kept the hand and arm covered–it was easier than explaining. And he hoped it made his young daughter a little less weary of her angry, absent father.
Charlotte Barnes had been a year old when he’d been drafted. And despite his arguing with the Army, and spending money he didn’t have on a lawyer, no one else seemed to agree that leaving his young daughter with her grandparents was not the best idea. She’d already lost her mother, now she might lose her father, too? No one saw his side of it, and he was shipped off to England only two months after her first birthday. She’d gone to live on his parents’ farm after that. He’d written her letters, missed her every day. He’d spent every day with the little girl, all up until he’d left. Little did he know it would be three years before she saw him again. And when she did, she didn’t know who he was. And that moment was etched in his already broken heart forever.
He didn’t bother pulling the glove from his right hand as he jumped down from the loft, moving the hay to an empty stall, setting it up for feeding the horses over the next few days. There was always a method to the madness, a reason for all they did on the farm. He’d move round bales later for the cows, corn for the chickens, and then start chores. Shortly before chores, Charlotte would be home from school and she’d help him with feeding the sheep and the pregnant mares. Those were her favorite of the animals; the soft bleep of the sheep and the promise of foals as the spring came closer.
Bucky’s father has died before he’d returned from the war; his mother Winifred and Charlotte on their own for almost a year before Bucky’s return. Winifred had hired hands to help tend the farm but upon Bucky’s return, he’d ran off almost half of them with his terrible temper and his perfectionist attitude. As far as he was concerned it was better off that way, he could do most of the work himself. And he did. Day in and day out.
Saddled with his self loathing and self pity, he worked the farm until late each night, taking time only for dinner and tucking Charlotte in. And while she’d grown closer to her father, they were still miles apart. There were often times she would disobey and run the opposite direction because Bucky had no idea how to talk to a four year old and no patience to learn. Winifred did the best she could to bridge the gap but it was a difficult feat with both parties as stubborn as Bucky and Charlotte.
The familiar sound of tires on gravel alerted Bucky to company he wasn’t expecting. He didn’t really have time for interruptions. He had stalls to clean, cows to move and horses to feed, along with re-stacking the hay bales. Sighing, he climbed down once more from the hay loft, jaw set and ready to send whoever it was packing back where they came from.
“You know, your face is gonna freeze that way if you don’t smile once in awhile.”
Bucky visibly relaxed as he looked up from the hay to find his best friend since childhood, Steve Rogers, leaning against a stall door a few feet away. The horse inside sniffed at his uniform, his warm breath fogging up the cold steel of the Sheriff badge he wore. Steve scratched behind the horse’s ear as he spoke. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were angrier than usual,” came the playful tease only a friend could pull.
“Fuck off,” Bucky grumbled, allowing a hint of an annoyed smirk to touch his lips. “Charlotte has been extra difficult the last two days as if she knows it makes it even harder for me,” Steve was the only person Bucky could open up to besides his mother. He allowed the words to tumble out before he could stop them. “Girl has a wild streak the size of Texas.”
“Sounds like she didn’t fall far from the tree, but we already knew that,” It came as no surprise to Steve that Charlotte had a way of pushing Bucky’s buttons. But he had known Bucky as a kid and Charlotte couldn’t be anymore his daughter if she tried.
“Well she needs to be a little more like her mama and a little less like me,” Bucky grumbled as he picked up two bales, on in each hand and began for the small stall he kept them in for easy feeding. “If you’re here, you might as well help…,” he threw over his shoulder at Steve, who chuckled and grabbed two bales, following him down the barn aisle.
“Listen, I didn’t come here to help stack hay, I came to see about you meeting Peggy and I for dinner at Hal’s. It’s been awhile since we all got to together and his wife is making that pumpkin pie I know you love,” Steve set the bales next to Bucky’s with ease, having helped on the farm as a kid. His parents had owned a store in town and while Steve had terrible asthma as a child, he still insisted on helping where he could and learning what he could about his best friend’s farm.
“I don’t think the diner is anywhere I should be going, no one wants to look at my hand while they’re eating,” his angry tone wasn’t directed at Steve and the man knew that. But that didn’t mean he’d allow it.
“No one cares about your hand, Buck. You went to war and you were fortunate enough to come home.”
“I care,” he shot back in a low tone, heading for more bales.
“It’s not my invitation you’re declining, it’s Peggy’s. And you know how she is about declined invitations.”
Bucky stopped with his back to Steve and let out a heavy sigh. Leave it to Steve to use his wife to get Bucky in to town.
“You can’t stay here forever. I know your Ma does all the shopping and you don’t get out of the truck when you take Charlotte to school,” Steve continued, “Peggy will come over here herself and drag your sorry ass to Hal’s if you don’t come on your own accord. Please don’t make me have to deal with that,” Steve added with exasperation, and while Bucky knew he /would/ have to deal with that if in fact the invite came from Peggy, he also knew Steve was carrying on because he thought what he was doing was right. It wasn’t, but maybe he didn’t need to tell him that.
“I might not stay for pie,” Bucky warned as he turned, “but I don’t want to piss off you lovely wife.”
The smile that split Steve’s face at first was much bigger than Bucky was sure he meant it to be. Asshole. Steve pulled it back and nodded.
“It’ll be good for all of us to catch up. It’s been since–”
“Yeah yeah, don’t say it. Get outta my barn before I change my mind and throw you to your wolf,” Bucky waved his hand at his friend before grabbing two more bales.
“See you at six, don’t be late. You know Peggy hates that.”
“I’m wondering who married her, me or you,” Bucky chuckled a little as he headed back down the aisle.
Bucky could hear Steve laugh as he climbed in his car. Once he was gone, Bucky swallowed hard and sighed. Steve was right, he couldn’t hide here forever. But that didn’t mean it made it any easier to head into town where he knew all the pitying eyes would lay upon him. In small towns, word gets around. Everyone knew his issues with Charlotte, his near death experience, the loss of his wife and father. The farm was barely hanging on.
Town was not a place Bucky felt comfortable or felt he belonged. And he was sure dinner wouldn’t change any of that, only cement it more.