The Question
Roleplaying Log: The Question
IC Details

Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes catch up and, inevitably, talk registration.

Other Characters Referenced: Jane Foster, Peggy Carter, Nick Fury
IC Date: February 03, 2019
IC Location: Owl's Head Park, Brooklyn
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 03 Feb 2019 20:22
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

"I heard that as soon as the news came out, Kimberly and her husband decided to move out to New Jersey."

"I thought it was because the attack made them not want to live in a major city."

"Of course they are going to say that. Who wants to admit their daughter's a mutant?"

"Well, that makes me feel better that we won't have to have them in our schools. What would happen if one of them just went up in flames like that one mutant?"

"I don't know who you are talking about, but tell me about it! I just hope it lowers my car insurance when New York puts it in place."

The man with the blue ball cap stops from his walk looking to the two women gossiping. He adjusts his sunglasses slowly to look at them, shake his head and continue walking. On one side of him, the women talk of the oncoming legislation as it mingles with intercity gossip. On the other side, the calm innocents of the children playing on the playground. A small sigh is given, the man digging his hands into his dark blue jacket pockets, his low cut sneakers moving with a slow but determined stride.

After a few more minutes of walking, the lone soul moves toward a simple bench which faces a skyline lower Manhattan. He takes a seat, acting as if he was lugging on an extra twenty pounds. Slowly, he slides back into the bench, waiting for his current company to make his way over. He's alone right now, but he knows it won't be for long. After all, when Steve Rogers lets Buchanan Barnes knows to meet up in Owl Head's Park, he knows he won't be waiting for too long.

Similar conversations dog the periphery of James Barnes' hearing, as he makes his way through the park at a slow walk. None of them garner any visible reaction — ever since the trial, the former Winter Soldier has worked hard to regain a sense of anonymity, and that's certainly not done by drawing any sort of attention. Internal reactions, however…

Owl's Head isn't too far from the apartment he shares with Jane, so he opted to walk despite the chill temperatures that have hung over New York for the past few days. He's pretty resistant to cold, but by the time he arrives, inviting himself to a seat on the bench beside Steve, he's got his hands shoved in his pockets. Even if only one of them can technically feel the cold, anymore.

There's a brief moment of silence.

"The view's a little different," Bucky finally says, as his hello for his oldest friend. "Benches are hard as ever, though."

He glances over at Steve. "How you holding up?"

A brief nod is given toward Bucky, taking in the city for a second or two in the wake of the question. "Alright, I suppose. Just a lot to think about these days," he answers with a hint of thoughtful musing behind his words. With eyes hidden behind the shades, Steve glances back toward the newly freed (at least legally) soul. "What about you? Hopefully you've been able to find some enjoyment now that you don't have the trial looming over you. Maybe take a vacation with Jane."

A lot to think about. It's probably the understatement of the year, so far. Bucky doesn't speak to that immediately, instead turning the ID bracelet he habitually wears around his wrist in an absent motion.

It's funny that this, of all times, is probably the first time we'd have breathing room to even think about a vacation," he says. "Not fighting demons, not being in space, not keeping Tony from getting himself killed." His brows quirk in a wry expression. "People keep wanting to put me to work, though. I figure I gotta hang around in case the call comes."

He glances over, his gaze gauging. He's never really had to consider his words with Steve before, and it's not a comfortable feeling. "You talked to Tony, recently? He's got some feelings about this whole thing." His gaze tracks away. "Same as I did, I guess."

A simple brow is arched at the talk of Bucky's work while he's gone. It is never too long at the two reconnect, but it always feels like years with how much they've done. "You're good at what you did. Always have been," Steve admits with a smirk. "Glad people finally got the memo on how great you are; heck, you're likely doing more good out there than me. For every speech I give or public appearance I make, I could be helping more people directly. But who knows, maybe when things get better, they'll be letting you make the speeches too."

The mirth goes as Steve sees the judging look from Bucky, the semi-causal attempt to gain insight on the National Hero. "Everyone's got feelings on this, it seems," Steve states with a frown. "I just see what this may turn into and that's worries me the most."

There's a flicker of a split reaction from Bucky when Steve mentions he was always good at what he did. Half pride, half guilt. What he did 'wasn't always nice,' so to speak, but on the other hand it was also very necessary. "You're gonna make me blush," is his first, irreverent remark, though a moment later his expression modulates to something more serious. "I hope the end result is good," he admits. "Sometimes it's hard to tell, midway through."

As far as the rest? Bucky snorts a sound halfway between a laugh and a sound of utmost dismay. "It'll be a cold day before they get me up there doing speeches," he says. "You're a prettier sight up on the podium than me, by far. I wouldn't think your appearances or speeches don't help directly, though. What you say, what you represent… that matters to people." Including Bucky Barnes himself, though he doesn't need to say as much.

His demeanor turns grave again, as Steve finally responds to his faint prod. "I don't much like it either," he admits. "For the dangerous people, who've already offended, sure. It's necessary." It's transparent, from how quickly he acquiesced to register himself, that Bucky considers himself in this category. "Preemptively registering everyone… like you said, who knows what that'll turn into? Seen plenty of other things that started small, and snowballed."

He's silent a moment. "You think you'll speak out on it?"

The talk of the importance of Captain America is given a nod, still thoughtful in his countenance. "Well, as long as people view me as a hero worth listening to, I'll do my best to encourage America and the World to become what it could be."

As Bucky talks about registering himself, there is a faint but sad smile. Proud of the responsibility that Bucky is shown, but clearly sad of the circumstance.

Then The Question is asked. Most that speak to Cap these last two months inquire of it in some way with different views and different expectations placed on it. He knows he should get used it to for the next year if he's blessed, the rest of his life if he's not.

"I'm not taking a side. Not yet. At the moment, as you said, I think it's important to have additional protections to prevent previous tragedies; there are mutants with uncontrolled gifts, metas that need to have a better understanding of their abilities before using them in public, and individuals that should be allowed to understand what opportunities they have to help their fellow person. But as you said, the potential for abuse is great and I haven't seen any real sign of control to prevent that."

A glance is given toward Bucky before Steve looks back out toward the skyline, exposing the turmoil and frustration that he hides. "I know I'll have one real chance to speak my mind about it, two or three if I'm lucky. After that, the news won't cover it; the people won't care about it unless it supports whatever they believe. That means having the right words to say at the right time. At the moment, I'm considering stating that the bill needs to be held off, not because it doesn't need to be, but because it needs to be crafted carefully. Things that restrict freedoms and rights of others should always be given consideration, both for the people being restricted and those that the bill is meant to protect."

Steve leans back, sucking in a breath to avoid giving a speech now on it further. It's clear he has a lot to say on the matter, but it's clear that Steve is looking for near perfect application of each word. A couple of moments are needed for some words to escape, but clearly not as many as the blue-eyed idealist initially had planned. "I wish people would come together in times like this, trying to work together to figure out the best way forward instead of dividing into camps and figuring out how to undermine one another."

Bucky listens in silence as his friend speaks, without interrupting and without initial reaction.

"They're not gonna let you stay Switzerland for long," is Bucky's first and rather cynical remark… typical of his lifelong pragmatism. "This feels like one of those all-or-nothing things. A lot of people're calling for what you want — more time, more nuance, more protections and fewer blanket statements and immediate registration lists — but their voices aren't the loudest right now."

He turns over his left hand, looking at it. "I haven't seen much dialogue about keeping control of it all," he says. "The only dialogue I've seen is one of fear. I saw enough of fear-driven decision-making back in the Cold War, I know what it feels like. Funny enough, it just led to a lot of escalation and a lot of good people getting locked up on little more than paranoia. That keeps a lot of the more measured heads doing their talk behind closed doors." A hesitation. "I think SHIELD itself is pretty split on the matter, though people are afraid to speak too openly given the org's public stance."

He glances over, seeing the frustration in his friend's face easily where most might see only the calm visage of Captain America. He's known Steve long enough to tell, even when he's hiding. He reaches over with his right hand, spur of the moment, clasping Steve by his closer shoulder. "I think you've got more shots to sway people's minds than you might think," he says. Perhaps he's one of the few remaining people who recalls that Steve remembers, very keenly, being someone small to whom no one listened at all. "It's worth a shot to try to get people to hold off until we can have a clearer dialogue on protecting the people we're jockeying to put on a government list."

His grasp tightens a little. "You know I've got your back, either way," he says. "Whatever you might need from me to help smooth the way. I don't try to stand up in the public eye too much, but… I talk to people more'n I used to."

"The perspective that a person chooses one side or another is just a sign of the general problem; suggesting issues like this require intentional polarization. I'm sure there are some people that want to go against SHIELD's orders within the organization. It's like the prohibition all over again, but this time a lot more lives are on the line," Steve bounces back, as frustration turns further to anger seen as he turns his face toward Barnes. However, it swiftly ebbs away to a tired expression, perhaps making it clear that it's the topic earning the negative reaction rather than the man bringing it up.

As Bucky encourages his friend; Steve nods as he rests his elbows on his knees, clasping his hands together in thought. Considering the statements, Steve gets that distant look to him. A plan is forming within his mind, his blue eyes flicker slightly from unseen point to unseen point, trying to make it all connect. "If I can encourage a true discussion on the matter, make it clear that it is a complicated and multifaceted topic that deserves various points of consideration, as well as humanize all points simultaneously…"

It's a grand overreaching plan with little chance for success.
Yeah, Steve's gunna try it.

"If the time comes that I have to choose a side, I'm sure I'll know what I need to do when I'm there," Captain America states, placing his hand on Bucky's shoulder to mirror his own movement, a sign of brotherhood. "As for yourself, you're a lot smarter than you make yourself out to be. Don't underestimate yourself. People talk highly of yourself. I'm not the only one selling myself short in this conversation. Sure that especially within SHIELD and the people who need to hear the right message, you'll be sure to make sure they don't do something stupid. Or just shake your head when they ignore your advice anyway."

A large grin forms upon the ex-puny from Brooklyn.

"No disputing that," Bucky sighs, when Steve points out that the idea there are 'sides' to be picked is part of the problem. "Fury's hardlining for registration, so SHIELD on the whole's gotta fall in line regardless of anybody's personal feelings, but… you know the man. I wouldn't be surprised if he's got fifteen other irons in the fire behind the scenes." Perhaps it's a tacit warning for his friend, who much more centrally mired in SHIELD politics: beware the sharks.

"Me, I stay away," he shrugs. "Not supposed to be publicly associated with SHIELD at all, much." It's a comment that hints at Peggy's hand in the matter, and it's followed by a pensive pause. "Things were easier back when you got dropped on a battlefield and told which way to shoot."

But Bucky gives Steve a somewhat searching look as the Man starts to form A Plan. A true discussion on the matter… make it clear it's a complicated topic… humanize all points…

Bucky gets A Feeling.

"Look, Steve," he starts, having a pretty good idea where this is going, "anytime you need overwatch on anything, you call me, all right? Never hurts having an eye out." It's never worked, but even after ninety-odd years Bucky keeps trying. He doesn't try to dissuade Rogers from actually doing The Thing, though. He's known the man long enough to know that Steve won't rest until he's gathered all the information to make his decisions himself.

His gaze does gentle when Steve returns the physical gesture, Steve's grin returned by one in kind. Bucky smiles a lot more like he used to when they were young, nowadays; he's come a long way since the ice of Hydra, two years hence. "They talk better than they did two years ago, that's a fact," he has to admit, of his own standing. "They let me wrangle the kid Avengers, anyway, that's gotta count for something." He doesn't discuss what else he might be wrangling, care of Waller, but that's not a topic made for casual discussion anyway, and it's just… more pleasant to talk about the kid Avengers on the whole. "And if anybody needs a rein on 'not doing anything stupid, it's those kids."

"Fury respects me and he carries about the country. He knows we're same team here," Cap says in a way that seems to not at all understand the warning given? Or erroneously believe that past friendships and mutual goals will rise above all else. "But if I need help, I'll be sure to ask." It seems a gradual transition of conversation pull in talk of Fury, SHIELD, and Steve getting over his head with peril. One can hope that the trio are not linked together.

"So with all the talk of taking care of kids and being with Jane, a man's gotta wonder about what's in the future for you two," Steve begins, lightly taking his free hand and jabbing his friend playfully in the side. "We should try one of those double date things. You know something chill and fun."

Surely, tales of this date would not be recounted in the true life comics of Marvel Team-Ups. Surely.

Bucky pauses a little at Steve's response with regard to Fury. At first there's the temptation to be cynical, but then… he has to admit, those two things are true about Nick Fury, at the end of the day. Aren't they? "Yeah," he says, though he still has that look like he's going to be watching Steve's back, whether or not it winds up needed. "We all should be on the same team." Should.

But there's not much more to be said on the topic… not yet, anyway. Plenty to be said about others, though. The jab, both physical and verbal, is taken in reasonably good humor. "Is this another 'when are you gonna make an honest woman of her' thing?" Bucky complains. "Because I'm gonna answer with the same question I always do: so when are you and Peggy gonna settle down? If it takes a double date to get it moving, then you're on. Date and time, Steve Rogers."

Surely nothing will go amiss with this. Not like all the other times.

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