Chapter 3.2 || Damn it, Bucky
Sam and Clint walk into the station just then, with Bucky walking in front of them. He isn’t handcuffed yet, and he doesn’t look too bothered, so that is a good start. But he's worn, worn and wary and there's just something off about him. His nerves are strung too high. This can't end well, it just can't.
Sam leads Bucky out towards the interrogation room before either Steve or Bucky has a chance to say anything, to even glance at each other, but Steve makes sure to follow them and watch from the side room as they both take their places. It is already cold in the investigation room, but when Clint comes in right behind Steve, he turns down the thermostat by another degree. Steve’s fist clenches.
"Mister Barnes. Where were you around 4:30 am yesterday morning?" Sam asks, leaned back in the metal chair. The camera in the corner blinks steadily every few seconds, a little red dot at the edge of his vision.
"I already told you," Bucky replies, more than a little confused. "I was at home, watching fight club. Dimka was with me." Bucky's scratching the edge of the scars on his neck, every so often flashing a little glimpse of raw skin. Sam slides a beige folder towards him, revealing a second copy of the surveillance picture. Bucky bites his bottom lip when he sees the picture, one hand drifting over to it, as if to move it closer, but he halts midway and drops his hand again, fingers against the metal of the table.
"Except you weren't, were you, Mr. Barnes?" he asks. "This is time-stamped 4:34:17 AM. Let's try this again. Where were you at that time?" Bucky opens and closes his mouth, opens it again and just sighs so silently the recorder probably won't pick up on it. Steve closes his eyes, heart beating in his chest. He can feel it in his throat, a throbbing ache. Damn it, Bucky.
"I went down to my brother's," he finally replies. "I had a nightmare that I couldn't shake and I didn't want to..." He looks at the reflective glass, right past Sam, and signs a quick 'sorry'. "I just didn't want to bother my friend with it. So, I got some coffee and went to Peter’s." Bucky taps the photo. "I think that is when I came back. I needed to go down to my brother’s anyway, because he had taken my bag when we landed at JFK that morning. When I went home, I took it with me. I don't see how this is a crime."
"Will your brother be able to confirm that?" Sam asks. "Why couldn't you tell us before?" Steve is almost glued to the divider screen, though he tries his best not to make himself look too eager. It’s only Clint there, but Clint is watching equally concerned.
“Did you see that?” he asks. “Sorry? Sorry for what?” Steve just shrugs. He had almost forgotten that Clint can sign too. That he can’t hear worth a damn, without those implants above his ears. So far for secret messages. Steve was already halfway through replying a short ‘no worries’, - although Bucky won’t be able to see it, it is always nice to go through the motions – but he drops his hand rather suddenly.
“You can ask him later,” Steve suggests. “If Sam hasn’t picked up on it. I somehow doubt it.” Clint smiles.
"Because I know what it looks like," Bucky says to Sam, rather harshly even. It pulls Steve’s attention back to the interrogation at hand and away from Clint’s prying eyes. "I didn't have anything to do with these murders. My brother can confirm that I was there, yeah. I left there around twenty past the hour, I think. I wasn't exactly in the best mindset to keep time very well." Bucky’s crumbling, a little it at a time.
"We'll be sure to confirm that with your brother,” Sam replies solemnly. “If you would write down his contact info for us.” Sam shoves a piece of paper and a pen Bucky’s way and Bucky absently starts writing, jotting down each letter more carelessly than Steve has seen him do before. That will be very unreadable contact info.
“What kind of mindset was that then?” Sam asks and Bucky’s pen stops in the middle of a letter. Bucky looks up at Sam and does not look happy with that sentence. If looks could kill, Sam would be very dead. Twice.
“Steve?” Clint says, confused. “Step away from the chair.” Steve hasn’t even realized that he’s grabbed a hold of the chair, but now his fingers have started to squeeze the metal tight.
He isn’t even completely comfortable talking to Steve about this stuff, or he would have gone off and talked to Steve rather than go down to his brother’s. He won’t go to the VA with this. Doesn’t want to bother strangers. Probably won’t even open up about it to his mother, then how difficult will it be for him to talk to a random police officer about it? This is not going to come out well. Not at all. Maybe it is a good thing that Bucky never actually went down to the VA. Because knowing that Sam helps with counseling sessions won’t make this any easier. He shoves the piece of paper back in Sam’s direction.
“I’ll go and get it,” Steve replies. “See if...” he almost says Peter, but manages to contain himself, “his brother can confirm that.” Steve passes Natasha in the hallway, she enters the side room to listen in as well.
“I’d just gotten off of a fifteen-hour flight, I couldn’t sleep well, I had just relived the worst moment of my life and my upstairs neighbor was being a misogynistic asshole,” Bucky replies testily. “You tell me.” Steve opens the door to the interrogation room, trying not to flinch when he hears the anger in Bucky’s voice. Sam looks conflicted, but Steve just walks to the edge of the table and gently brushes against Bucky’s hand when he grabs the paper.
“I’ll check in with the brother,” he says to Sam, just to make clear exactly what he’s doing there. He hopes his little brush by conveys his ‘Hey, it’s okay pal. No harm done’ message, but he might be dead wrong. Bucky actually manages a little smile at Steve even though it is very unconvinced. He taps Steve’s finger gently, before he moves away out of the room. Steve hopes Sam hasn’t noticed. That the rest of the team hasn’t noticed it. But well... He’ll have to explain himself someday. Sam looks troubled, though.
“It’s no use getting mad at me,” he notes dryly, as Steve closes the door behind himself. Natasha is in the little room, when Steve comes back. He has no intention of missing a beat of the interrogation, but he will have to call Peter now. And make it seem like he doesn’t know him. Bucky’s hand must really have shaken, because even Steve is having some trouble trying to read it all. It obviously says Peter though, and Peter’s number is programmed in Steve’s cell.
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