The Bird Is Beautiful And The Cage Is Somber

A man chooses; a slave obeys.




Concrete walls simultaneously echo and deaden sound. The reverberations of the cell deep within some secret hole get lost amongst the hardness of the walls. Concrete is a natural dampener, and here, in this place, the dank of the basement room's musk lingers. Other familiar scents of blood and sweat combine into a thick aroma that virtually hangs in the air.

The room smells like death.

But then it always has.

Overhead flourescent lights flicker and flash irritably, casting ghostly pallors on everyone in the room. The metal table in the centre of the room is a vastly uncomfortable bed for vastly uncomfortable purposes. The subject strapped to it can't move. Not yet, anyways. Someday these enhancements will make a world of difference. Someday the torture will begin.

Bucky's woken from a strange, dismal doze by the remarkably mundane discomfort of his nose itching. His wrists bolt against the restraints for one ignorant second— no. Wrist. Maybe the shoulder of that dismembered limb tightened in response. It's difficult to tell. Difficult to do anything at all. His nose itches.

Trying to roll his head to look rubs the strap there deeper against his forehead. A small indentation marks where it'd been sitting the longest, cutting a soft line against his skin. Weird little domestic complaints. By the pallor his skin, the cast of the room— which does nothing to hide its purpose, the stunted nerve-endings of damage, it seemed like he should be in more pain. Feel something. Anything more.

Besides his nose.

He can smell times when he'd felt more. Blood, musk— that rank in the air— it's not like that's the other men's. Nobody broke a sweat tying Bucky down. He's been in and out. He can't tell time by days; it's just 'people time' and 'alone time' and the vivid fog of remembering how he got here. We're sorry to have to tell you this, Sergeant Barnes, but we're going to have to let you go… Fall, fall, fall…

… no! Steve!

Bucky grunts as his shoulders hit the metal table with a useless thump.

"Das Thema scheint zu wachen," a heavily accented voice echoes through the lonely metallic room. German, of course it had to be German. There's little reason to ask Bucky about his comfort level, not when that's clearly not the goal. A quieter voice, female inquires something in that same language. Lighter sounding, perhaps… concerned? It's hard to tell. German is such a harsh language.

One figure begins to come into focus. The short fellow with his pudgy form, glasses, and reddish blonde hair smiles grimly towards Bucky as he steps further into the light. Not that he's smiling at Bucky exactly; his attention focuses on the missing arm. There's something clearly fascinating about a missing appendage.

Zola steps away, back behind to retrieve something. When he returns, the piece of metal in his grasp, as arm-shaped as it is, looks lifeless in its robotic state. It lacks animation of any kind, and might be nothing more than a piece of decoration. The scientist holds it against Bucky's other arm, assessing something. Is he measuring?

Bucky wants nothing to do with it. Just seeing that strange, metallic tool near him makes his gut go as cold as that thing looks. He couldn't really want to— it's just not possible—

Fair to say, but the young sergeant's value for "possible" has evolved some in the past year. Unfortunately, try as he might, the unconnected lump of his stump bicep can't fight back. He jerks under the straps, but his impotence is as obvious as how calmly this German doctor ignores his movements. Christ. Lord, he thinks, this isn't even the first time I've been here, is it. Pinned to a table, feverish… bridled as much by leather and buckle as by the fallible standards of his own body.

Steve wouldn't be held prisoner for five seconds. Steve found him before. Steve isn't coming this time.

It's like three different thoughts coming from three different people. Bucky feels fractured, foggy— angry. Remorseful. Pain! aggh, no; it fades into a weird memory as quickly as it peaked. Maybe he cried aloud and they did something. Whatever they've got him on, it's coming back with a vengeance, clutching to his consciousness and pulling him down, down. Fall, fall, fall…

Nobody's gonna catch him, are they.

He doesn't even have fingers to grab.

At least his nose doesn't itch anymore.

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