Excuse me while I fangirl over my thread with barbershopfourth.
Steve lets out a tense breath in realisation of who the voice at the other end of the line belongs to. But then her words sink in, and he props the phone on his shoulder to swing his feet out of bed.
"That depends… you bring a pizza? Because I could eat a horse right now."
The hotel doesn’t have any security system to speak of. They’re an “ask questions later” kind of place, which he’s kind of thankful for; with shoulders like his, his disguise game is not strong, and he’s basically been relying on the hoodie that Natasha had picked out for him. He’d ditched the glasses sometime back, replacing them with dark Wayfarers. So he lifts the joke of a latch, staring down the side of the building toward the mostly-empty parking lot, his frame taking up the whole of the slim doorway.
"How’d you know I’d be up?"
He wouldn’t put it past her to bug the place to keep an eye on him, but even he hadn’t known he’d be here tonight, so that can’t be the case.
"I have gum." she said holding the packet of the gum in the air. "And you’re not that hard to find, Rogers. There’s an entire twitter dedicated to the whereabouts of Captain America. You trend daily."
And there was. Not that any of the “sightings” were actual sightings. They were mostly just people pretending to have access to the legendary Captain for their 15 minutes of fame. But that wasn’t how Natasha had found him. She had tracked Barnes, as she tracked him, as he tracked Barnes. She knew Barnes would be seek out places that he’d assume he’d have been, hoping it’d trigger even the smallest flow of memory. She knew, because that’s what she had done when she was trying to remember.
"You won’t sleep until you find him. You and I both know that."
"Now, are you going to leave a lady out here in the dark? Or are you going to be a gentleman and invite her up?"
It’s 2 in the morning, and he should be asleep.
Instead, he’s flat on his back in a motel in Jersey, one arm stretched across the double bed to curl around the lip of the shield, which is propped against the mattress.
This is the 17th tip in almost two weeks. Either he’s reading the signs wrong, or Bucky is faster than him and doesn’t want to be found. The second one hurts enough to make him want to believe in his own inadequacy.
His phone beeps, the little flip number he’d bought himself after the StarkPhone had nearly made him cross-eyed, and he reaches out to open it, a tiny crease of confusion between his brows. No one should be up at this time of night, but in his world, the possibilities are endless.
Natasha had been to Stuttgart. London. Kiev. Honolulu. Detroit. Moscow. Creating new aliases. Forming new “friendships.” Creating and then recreating a million different versions of herself. All of her secrets may have come out when SHIELD went down, but Natasha knew how to remake herself in ways even the “truth" couldn’t destroy.
Now she was in New Jersey, popping gum on a street corner, waiting for Captain America to answer his phone. She knew Rogers hadn’t any luck locating the Winter Solider - Bucky - James, and now that she was done recreating herself, she had decided to offer Steve her help.
"Would it be creepy if I told you I was standing outside of your window?"