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Thread Contributor: ShuriJust a little Crush
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#1
The Bazaar was...well Shuri was pretty near wordless at least most of what escaped her was delighted squeaks followed by long technical excited rants/discussions at the shop keepers. Figuring out a common currency she could use without baking the Wakandan bank or giving away their technical secrets (less because she thought they were irreplaceable and more that T’Challa would kill her). Shuri was doing her best to keep the weirdness between her and Bucky...well kinda on the DL, she was pretty sure now that there was literally whole other WORLDS of people for him to meet his fixation on her would fade into the background. After all it was just because she’d saved his sanity, not because he would have been that attracted to her with out meeting that way.

He did how ever as always make a fun friend to bring along, and since there was no way in HELL the Dora following her would help her carry her packages...he came in handy for that too!

“OK ok! Last one than we can take a break to eat.” She grinned eyeballing the impractical yet beautiful drape of cloth that shimmered in a perfect illusion of a waterfall. Look yes she was a geek but she was also a girl damn it! “Right ok lets go.” Shuri took the last package from the vendor smiling as he pointed to a shop across the way miming eating. “Well I think that means we should try that place out.” She really needed to figure out how this place was translating everyone. In this case though she was pretty sure this guys species did not HAVE verbal communication sooo… yep SO MUCH TO SEE!!!

Shuri wiggled her fingers back at his waving...antenne? Ears? Head Tentacles? What ever he was his form was hard to make out, she figured he was visible more one ultraviolet spectrum which made him shift and slide in and out of visibility.


“Oh! Its...earth type food.” Shuri’s nose twitched at the savory and sweet smells; she wasn’t expecting much from the listed lunch special of Chilli and corn bread but hey, she was hungry and they could try something more exotic for dinner!

---

“Sit were ya like hun!” the buxom red head behind the counter called out, and Shuri took her at her offer, moving to a table and letting the Dora take one infront of them between the rest of the shop and her.

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#2
Bucky was incredibly good at pasting a seemingly calm smile on his face, laughing, and joking along with the world. He was getting even better at it lately. It didn't help that Shuri was being incredibly sweet, wide-eyed and fascinated in a way that made Bucky want to give her the world.

It was for the best that she didn't want him, he argued to himself. It wouldn't have worked out. He was nowhere near good enough to be with her for one thing. For another thing, he knew that he was not a practiced 'good boyfriend.' He had spent so many years chasing down any doll who caught his eye- and hadn't touched a dame since. He thought he had been approaching her respectfully, flirting with her, and yet...

Bucky forced himself to focus on the world around him. He snorted at her comment and gestured with his full arms. "I feel like the key part of that is 'break.' Why haven't you just invented a robot to follow you around and carry your things?" He took the most recent package and bumped her shoulder slightly on the way. "It's just so you get to see an idiot carrying things for you, huh?"

He followed along easily enough, grateful that she had gone ahead and added the sensitivity controls to his arm. Meant that he didn't feel as though the bags were cutting into his flesh. He grinned and pushed the door open, walking into it backwards. Bucky saw Shuri moving towards a table and he carefully redirected her to one of the booths in the corner where he could keep a better view of what was happening. Setting the Princess's purchases carefully at the end he offered her a placating smile. "Sorry Princess, not at ease unless I have a wall at my back."

When the redhead came over to take their order, Bucky couldn't help but grin. "I'll take the special please." He offered with a wink automatically, before adding a second thought. "Thanks doll, I've missed this kind of food."

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#3
With a twing of regret Shuri passed up the gorgeous drape of fabric, she was here to collect technology samples not to be shopping for herself.

„I mean i COULD.“ Shuri grinned letting him move them to a booth, „But than who would i have to keep me company?“ The Dora escorting them snorted not so subtlety from her table, taking a sip of her juice.

Belle cocked her head at the trio, „No problem hun.“ smiling as the girl doubled the order.

Shuri wiggled her elbow into Bucky‘s side, „OH! I see you, gettin‘ your flirt on.“ she smirked grinning happily at him. Good yep, good meant that he wasn‘t serious about her, just a lack of options, now that he had all of the mutiverse to look around in..well he‘d figure out that he‘d just had a fixation on her as his doctor.

Shuri did wonder why that thought bit deep, making her stomach twist hard enough for her to lose her appetite.

„Now yah enjoy!“ Belle smiled cheerfully setting down the plates and bowls, „On the house. Ya are James Barnes right?“ the bowl clinked slightly as she balanced them. „One of ya helped me a‘fore.“ she winked, „So you enjoy ok hun?“ She was FAIRLY sure he wasn‘t the same one ...but she wasn‘t completely and if he was well that would be a nice surprise!

Shuri’s eyebrows went up, „Looks like you already have an in.“ she muttered when the bouncy redhead moved out of earshot.

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#4
Bucky watched the desire in the Princess's eyes. Made him wonder why the hell he had ever thought he had a chance all over again- even if he noticed how much she wanted the beautiful fabric, he couldn't afford it. He didn't have any lettuce to toss out- just a small pile of scraps that could maybe get him a square of it. And that was all he had left of the emergency stash Falcon had offered him. Being ex-hydra wasn't a good way to get money- and there were only so many odd jobs around for someone of his sort.

But that wasn't important. He could still be a friend even if he couldn't treat her like he wanted to- even if she didn't want him to treat her that way. And he could buy lunch.

Bucky raised an eyebrow at the Princess's statement, though he bit back the words that said she already knew well how he flirted, and that he was apparently very bad at it. He still opened his mouth to argue for a moment before shutting it, deciding there wasn't a good way to deny the claim without making it obvious all over again how much more he wanted from her.

Instead he shook his head in the tiniest fashion, certain that she probably wouldn't care- but not quite able to let it go. Even though she looked so damn pleased about the idea. Focusing on the redhead taking their orders, he forced his smile to steady. "Oh. While that would be real keen, it isn't necessary doll- er. Ma'am." He replied automatically, correcting himself as he went. "I may be James Barnes but I ain't- haven't- done much of anything in the hub just yet. It's enough to know that some of- uh- me, are doing more than just grandstanding." Bucky replied with a small laugh.

His smile faltered again when Shuri remarked that he had an in. When the redhead was well out of earshot, Bucky shook his head slightly. "She seems like she might be a swell dame, but-" He cut himself off abruptly, forcing down the statement that he was still stuck on Shuri- forced out a different finish in place. "Still getting my feet under me in this new place, not in a hurry to go fishing for a gal." Bucky mumbled, sipping on his water instead of adding more words.

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#5
Shuri wasn’t oblivious to the moment where James struggled with himself; for her part Shuri’s hand made an aborted movement to touch him, this wasn’t...she didn’t..

Damn it!

The naturally bubbly scientist hated what had come between them, hated that she couldn’t figure out a way to fix it, hated that there was no way to skip to the time when they would be ‘ok’ again. Because it was pretty clear right now that her methods of trying to treat him just like nothing had happened wasn’t working. Worst thing was ever since she’d shot him down...well Shuri kept having intrusive little daydreams.

About his skin.

His lips.

His kiss.

The way-

Yep. Nope!

Shuri was not thinking about any of those day dreams, not because they were impossible but because they were with in her power to make real.

Except for the nagging issue where he was only fixated on her because she had put his shattered brain back together.

And that was exploration of not only a patient who had put his trust into not just her but her country to heal him, but also of...well a friend. The problem was that Shuri DID like Bucky maybe even like a lot. But until something drastic changed there was no way she could even fanttastize about...well anything more than those guilty midnight dreams.

Shuri was silent uncharacteristically long watching him as alll of these thoughts sped across her mind, “I think you have your feet back under you. Just need to trust them.”

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#6
Bucky shrugged slightly to Shuri's statement. It wasn't that he didn't think he had gotten the lay of the land yet, he knew very well that the reason why he didn't want to chase skirts was sitting at the table with him. It wasn't exactly like he was going to put that into words though. To say that his dreams were about a woman who's skin neared the vibranium she knew so well. To tell Princess Shuri that hers were eyes that pulled him into the only darkness that he had no fear of. He had no desire to count how many times he had woken up, having replayed his question, and her giving a different answer- one that caused his heart rate to soar until he inevitably didn't even get to enjoy the dream.

Shuri didn't need to know that since his fall- since before hydra had him- that she was the only dream he had where he didn't wake up screaming.

Bucky had entirely too detailed an imagination for his own well being, and he had to force himself to idly watch the redhead's sway. A sway that once upon a time would have had him whistling and trying to catch her attention, but was now entirely lost on him. Still, the Princess seemed determined to encourage him to flirt, so... he'd do his best.

Focusing on her words, he offered a sad smile. He may be trying to shove his main motivation down as far as possible- but there were other reasons why he was in no hurry. Automatically, he reached behind his neck to touch the edge of his shield for comfort. He finally broke his pause, bringing his hand back down self consciously. "A lot of things have changed." Bucky explained. And bit his tongue again, rather than add on that he had tried to trust his feet and that had gone very poorly. He needed to stop being a bitter old man. Shuri didn't owe him a damn thing- in fact, he owed her more than he could repay. The least he could do was try harder to not make her so uncomfortable.

Grinning as wide as he was able without verging on manic, he bumped her lightly with his elbow. "Besides, I think right now, all my feet are good for is lugging around your pile of purchases. What does King T'challa think about your new pile of tech, huh?" His smirk was interrupted as he took a moment to tear a piece of cornbread and dip it into his chili. "Surprised he hasn't told the Dora to keep you away from shopping yet."

He gave a faked groan as he stretched his arms behind his head. "And I think it might be abuse of the elderly to have me carry it all."

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#7
Shuri hadn’t known James Barnes the kid from Brooklyn, the soldier, the wounded agent, the assassin; she had seen those memories through the lense of a doctor, carefully dulling the sharper edged ones that served no purpose beyond pain, brightening those that time and malicious intent had dulled. Shuri wasn’t a god, she refused to remove anything that was not absolutely clearly foreign, which meant yes Bucky would remember the years as the Winter Soldier, every activation and being put down. But Shuri gave him the gift of some measure of distance.

Shuri was young, and pretty inexperienced. But she was also a genius and not a complete social idiot, she knew very well what he was referring to. “Has it?” She questioned, curling her hand around his living flesh wrist. His painful switch to ‘happy’ twisted deep in her chest and Shuri decided enough was enough.

Twisting in her seat Shuri reached up wrapping her arms around his shoulders, “Your feet and all of you are good for many things.” Shuri tightened her hold on him squeezing with all the strength in her small frame.

Shuri held on for a long moment, finally pulling back to smile at him, “And it is funny you think T’challa could stop me.” @alex
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#8
Bucky had no clear guarantee of all that Shuri had done for him- But he had an idea of the scope. Perhaps it was partially wishful thinking, but there was no good alternate explanation for how well he remembered the good things. He knew the taste of Sarah Rogers' apple pie, knew how he and Steve used to run home after school, and Bucky used to deliberately trip on the way so that his best friend could win without having a hard time breathing. Those were memories that he had struggled to remember even the vague concept of before he had went under.

He knew that Shuri had given him those back- given him back the wheezy sound of Steve's laugh before he had become Captain America. The way his friend would smile despite the broken lip he often sported.

What it all added up to, was that the pain of being the winter soldier was lessened, and the pain of losing Steve was so much more. Without a doubt it was the way he'd rather things be skewed, but sometimes he felt Shuri didn't understand that she hadn't truly lessened the pain. Simply rebalanced it in a less negative way.

He wasn't surprised that she had misinterpreted his comment. Because his reason for lack of flirting with women- hadn't changed in the slightest. While he wished the rejection had done more to that, he wouldn't have been chasing the redhead even if he had never asked Shuri to kiss him.

Bucky opened his mouth to explain that he wasn't blaming Shuri in anyway- that he wasn't even speaking of her this time- except she was holding on to him and hell. Did she not realize that he was going to lose a little bit of his ability to function when the way she was curled against him meant that even the powerful scent of Chili was lost to the perfume of her braids?

Automatically he hooked his arm around her waist and hugged back, though he did restrain his strength rather than cause her pain. When she pulled back and quipped, Bucky threw his head back with a laugh. With a rueful smile, he took her hand carefully and pressed a kiss to her wrist. She was too good a person for him to be resentful for too long- and he wouldn't let her lose out on the parts of his company that she enjoyed just because he was an idiot with not enough self control.

Speaking softly, he made sure to hold her gaze for his explanation. "Princess Shuri. I was referring to the fact that I was never supposed to be the one wielding this-" He tugged at the straps that held the magnetic disk to his back. "- nor the mantle associated with it." Dropped his grip on her hand, he winked at her easily. "Though I'm happy to take the compliment anyways. Perhaps I ought to be more self deprecating in the future. Trick you into saying nice things about me."

Bucky distinctly did not make a move to shift away from the Princess, to the point of using his inorganic arm to scoop up another bite of chili. "As for T'challa- I know the Tech Queen of Wakanda's powers too well to think a suit designed by you would win in a fight against you- if you're in your base. If not- I've heard stories of you being taken down by your cousin, who I believe lost to T'challa in the end." He shrugged slightly. "However, he does have an entire military at his beck and call either way so yeah inclined to believe he could take you down if needed." Bucky explained, trying to hold down his smug grin, but doing an absolutely terrible job.

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#9
If he asked, or brought it up, Shuri would say that remembering the good times even though the painful lense of loss was better than forgetting them at all. At least that was how she felt about her Tata.

For just a moment Shuri allowed herself to close her eyes, arms holding his solid frame, so much stronger, larger than hers, let herself really accept how...not safe but...something his strength surrounding her made have to fight the urge to just...well melt into the solid mass of him.

Caught in the moment of awareness, her heart skipped a beat, chapped lips catching over the sensitive skin of her wrist.

’Ok what is the WORST that would happen if I did tell him to kiss me?

She was honestly contemplating putting action to thought when he brought up her brother. Which was a boner killer in any light.

“Hey!” Shuri’s nose wiggled indignantly. “Just because i am not the BEST fighter doesnt mean I dont have skills!” raising her fists between them “I could beat your ass I bet!” No. No she couldn’t there was no way in HELL but...Well THAT sounded actually kinda..fun?

Shuri wasn’t the girl that liked to fight with her fists, but the idea of sparing with James? That was...well lets say intriguing.

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#10
There was no argument that James Barnes was oblivious- it was a fact plain as day. It was no wonder the little actions that someone else might think of as a polite topic change, seemed to Bucky as though he were being rejected beyond belief. Had he been capable of seeing the moment Shuri considered accepting his kiss- there was not a single ounce of him that would have hesitated in offering her the moment needed to make that decision.

But as previously established, Bucky Barnes was nothing if not oblivious. So instead he mentioned her brother and thoroughly killed his chances. Again.

Bucky hummed as he processed her statements. He let a small grin grow before twisting sharply in his seat. He scooped her wrists up in one smooth movement, pinning them to the wall behind her.

"I'd say that my win is almost guaranteed." He whispered, pressing his cheek against her, and in turn breathing warmth against her ear. "But then, I think you might know entirely too much about me. I'm certain you'd find a way to turn the tables." He added, far too tempted to nip at the skin his mouth had easy access to. Even with his restraint, he still brushed his lips against her ear, purring a final word before letting go of her and pulling away. "Princess"

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#11
Usually, Okoye protected her king. She was the general of the Dora Milaje, it was her place to accompany him when he left the palace. But the king hadn’t left the palace in… A long while.

Accompany her princess and the White Wolf while they walked and had lunch? Okoye smiled indulgently for the princess and immediately greed to go. Another Dora might think she jumped at the chance to go somewhere, anywhere, but while her warriors might speak about nearly anything else, none of them would ever comment on this.

The little place they found to eat met with Okoye’s approval; it was warm and it smelled good. She sat slightly apart from them, at the next table, to afford them at least the semblance of privacy, discluding herself from conversation more for the Wolf’s sake than Shuri’s - the princess was accustomed to her or another Dora’s presence, after all.

The food was good, and Okoye let the two speak between themselves, ignoring most of the conversation until Shuri’s indignant ‘Hey!’, her head turning to look over to the table even as she smirked at what she heard of the conversation, and… Oh, no, dear girl, you couldn’t. Barnes was the White Wolf for a reason; the Dora did not fear him, but they did respect him. It was painfully obvious to them at least that Sergeant Barnes was but a helpless pup around Shuri, something that had been quite the topic of shared statements, conversations, and bets among her warriors, and with good reason, too. These two orbited each other recklessly, and neither seemed to even realize it!

She had nearly gone back to her food when Barnes moved. Okoye registered each action he made, fluid as they might have been, hers were much the same, quiet, flowing, and quick. Fork went back to her tray, the Dora stood, drew her weapon, and rushed forward more quickly than most would be able to truly register.

Bucky would feel the tap of spearhead on his shoulder, his flesh and blood shoulder, Okoye’s head just slightly tipped, gaze leveled on him, wordlessly warning him; he could roughhouse and play in the privacy of their home, but here? In public? Okoye took her responsibilities seriously, and the princess could not be seen as unprotected.

Quietly, in their native tongue, Okoye asked Shuri, ”Princess?”
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#12
So Shuri really wasn’t helpless! She wasn’t! She was the second born of the royal house, there was always the possiblity she would be called to challenge for the throne. Just next to her brother or you know the Dora who where literally the ultimate female warriors in ALL of Wakanda she was well..not the best. Plus it didn’t hurt that she really was more focused on science rather than physical combat.

So when she raised her fists it was mostly as a joke, sure a challenge but you know for LATER when they weren’t out in public trying to have lunch(also why was food suddenly so charged??) the Wolf pinned her before she had a second to react, his lips brushing against her neck, and over the sudden pounding of her heart Shuri wondered if she was ever going to have a meal with him again that didn’t send her heart racing.

“Almost.” Shuri’s mind raced in that half second; there was half a dozen moves she could try. Headbutt, she was limber enough to knee him in the solarplexus...but all of those were really really violent, and they were at some ones place of work. That wasn’t polite at all to start an actual fight or even something that could accidently break the bowls.

Shuri’s brain often had multiple trains of thought going at once, and one of the options offered by it was to simply repeat the same few words from the last time ‘I think it is time to eat..’
Luckily she shied away from the cruel thought.

*Princess*

*Princess*

Two completely different tones two completely different people.

The first had her actually full body arch twitching in response.

The second? Was a bucket of cold water sending a full body flush of embarrassment over her.

“See. Sometimes I don’t even need to kick your ass personally.”
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#13
Bucky knew who was behind him even before the spear tapped down on his shoulder. He offered a few more words to Shuri. "If you decided you want to find out one way or another, you know how to find me." He smirked at the Princess as he raised his hands and backed away. "General Okoye, have you ordered yet? The chili is quiet excellent." He offered conversationally. His switch to Xhosa wasn't always perfect, but the deep rumble in his voice only helped him. He didn't bother to restrain himself from moving quickly- he knew Okoye was more than capable of keeping her spear to his shoulder without wounding him. Hell, if she wanted she could probably move him with the spear point without wounding him.

It was really too bad they were in public, because for a moment he had been certain that Shuri was arching against him. The distance between her and the bench proved that when he was far enough away- Hell. Had it not been for Okoye, Bucky's restraint would have been worn perilously thin. He had already proven that his self control was almost inexistent- the only thing stopping him was her lack of desire. If that changed... Bucky didn't know what he would do.

It was why his words hadn't been about her ability to take him down in combat. He had mostly meant that she knew exactly how many things would have him holding his breath in hope.

Clearing his throat, he turned his gaze on the head of the Dora rather than the beautiful woman sitting far too close for him to think straight. He slid a reasonable distance with a nod of acknowledgement. "Would you like to join us? There's no need for you to sit separately." He added politely, pulling his chili closer, taking a small bite casually as though he hadn't just pressed the Princess up against the back of her seat.

That would be a memory to hold on to.

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#14
No, Shuri was not helpless. It was, however, Okoye’s duty to protect the royal family, which included genius princesses who talked themselves into trouble (even the fun kind of trouble) with super soldiers. This was what the Dora Milaje did, after all.

So there was no hesitation when Sergeant Barnes made his move to pin her princess; Okoye abandoned her seat and meal to dart forward and ascertain that Shuri’s safety (or at least the public appearance of Shuri’s safety, as Okoye was absolutely certain that the White Wolf meant the princess no actual harm here) was assured. Truth be told, Okoye approved of the two finding a quiet gym in the palace and sparring. It would be good for the princess, good for the Wolf, and maybe, just maybe, they would be able to work out some of the tension that they shared. It certainly couldn’t hurt, considering that she trusted the White Wolf to be respectful and to restrain himself from injuring the princess.

Shuri’s statement when Okoye interrupted them earned a Frown of Disapproval; the Dora Milaje weren’t meant to be thugs or enforcers; they were protectors.

At least Barnes had the grace to acknowledge her in a way that wasn’t hostile or hurt. It reminded Okoye why she liked the man so much. ”Yes I have, thank you.” Her tone was positively light and even friendly, taking no offense at Bucky’s motions or that he wasn’t concerned about her spear. A warning didn’t have to incite fear, it just needed to be respected.

When Barnes invited her to join them, Okoye had already turned to resume her place at the other table, and she turned at the invitation, eyes flitting to Bucky, then Shuri, and back. She gave them a smile, “I do not wish to be a bother or to intrude on your private conversation.”
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#15
Shuri caught the look and didn’t exactly roll her eyes, mostly because there was a thread of chagrin in her expression that hopefully only Okoye caught; she hadnt meant THAT.


Also being ‘caught’ by the older woman...well honestly she’d spent her life in the shadow of the Dora and Kings Guard, they knew everything about her so while it was embarrassing...it was also a familiar kind of embarrassment, like being caught out by a favored aunt that you knew wouldn't tell on you but would also have your back if you needed advice.

Okoye’s nonverbal request for Shuri’s approval was met with a little smile, there were odd strictures of protocol and formality that bound them no matter how ‘casually’ they seemed to act to outsiders. “It's not private.” Shrui protested in English, “he is just complaining at being used as a work horse.” At least that was the last thing she remembered them talking about before things got… well yeah that.

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#16
Bucky was more amused than anything to be caught by the Dora. A combination of the time he was raised in, and the attitude he had long had- well. Bucky was not unused to being interrupted. It came from being a flirt in a time when a young woman was still expected to have at least some form of chaperone. Even if that simply meant another friend joined them. He had been caught with his pants down a time or two.

A time or two of which it was a literal statement.

Bucky was content to keep speaking in Xhosa- but if Shuri wished to converse in English, so be it. Even he was starting to notice the pattern, she would get close, and then she would withdraw as much as possible. In this case, that meant making their conversation one that was easily heard and understood.

"Actually I believe I was making fun of you for thinking you could face your brother head on." He added with a shrug and smile, not quite letting the Princess retreat all the way to a topic they had brought to fruition already.

Switching once more from English, he spoke again. "You are never a bother, General. I appreciate your company quite a bit, you always have interesting insights. Even if you rarely speak them." Bucky remarked, turning his teasing to the leader of the Dora. If nothing else, Shuri did not seem in a mood to handle more of his attention, and he didn't want to force her to face it. He trusted that the smile on his face said plenty about how he was expecting his comment to be received.

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#17
Okoye met Shuri’s eyes, seeing the expression the girl wore, knowing what it meant, what her princess was telling her. Part of Okoye, the part that remembered being seventeen and being awkward and uncertain, empathized for her, the rest was on the cusp of exasperation. The other Dora found the situation between the princess and the Wolf amusing. Okoye realized that it must be painful for one if not both of them.

Arching her brow just slightly, as if to ask what Shuri was waiting for, Okoye backed away just slightly, letting them have their space. They were sweet, the two of them, but this… This could not last forever, not with them skirting the edge like they were.

Complaining about being used as a workhorse? That sent Okoye’s expression rocketing into surprised disbelief as she turned to set eyes on Sergeant Barnes. “Oh was he?” Head tipping slightly to the side in amusement, Okoye asked Bucky, “You feel as though you work too hard for us?” And then the soldier was changing the subject. Smart boy. Okoye laughed heartily at what he turned the conversation toward, shaking her head, “Oh, she might be able to at that…” She gave a shrug as she moved back to the other table with her meal and utensils, since both had said she could, and the general thought that perhaps the Wolf would be more comfortable that way. “Her brother would be loathe to move against her, after all.”

Never a bother? She blinked at the statement, “Then perhaps I am not doing my job as thoroughly as I should.” Interesting insights. The smile she gave him at his teasing was amused and knowing, “It is only wise to speak of your insights when it is relevant or requested.” She spoke her thoughts on the council because she was expected to do so. But when it came to private conversation, not everyone wanted to hear what others truly thought.

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Marvel-MCU-1

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#18
Okoye’s direct intervention had lowered the tension over lunch, meaning they could have something like the conversations they’s enjoyed before...well that not kiss.

Leaving the cafe the trio headed towards the Wakandan portal, moving out of the Bazaar proper, cutting through several other boroughs towards home.

So maybe just maybe Shuri was a bit fast in putting him so firmly in the ‘friend’ box.

Bucky gestured the blue shaded sun that lit this section of the Hub turning the arm she’d created for him into liquid, highlighting all the golden details that were functional yet as all things she designed artistically enticing. “Maybe next Time I’ll be nice and let you bring a anti-gav-” Her grin froze.

Shuri was not her brother, she was not a warrior, and for all her portestations she’d never been trained to the harsh standards that she could have been if her talents had dovetailed into martial vs scientific. During the war she had been cold, hungry, tired, terrified, but she’d never really been hurt.

“-Slip?” the last word came out in a confused whisper, her brain completing the sentence even as her body at last registered the fact that something was wrong. Shock kept the pain from registering, at least for the first precious seconds.

Adrenaline surged, constricting blood vessels, forcing her heart to keep beating, driving her awareness into over drive. She saw a ...aliens? Anthropomorphic cats? In a running retreat from a bunch of ...Lizards? Neither group seemed to be giving much of a care for any bystanders hit by random fire.

Shuri was the first but not the last hit.

She must have been hit by someone firing far enough away that none of the professionally paranoid people around her had seen it coming, and considering in the time it took her knees to buckle the fast moving battle had already broke past continuing to a near by portal…

Sparkles by that point had driven them from her vision; ’Oh. I can’t breathe.’. She realized with the calm panic of shock.

If she could have inhaled, the stench of burnt flesh, melted fabric would have choked her anyway; directly between her breasts, two inches from her heart was a hole the size of a quarter, the flash point of heat might have cauterized the wound partially, but it had also melted her clothing into it. Surface bleeding was arrested, but internally…

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#19
Bucky had enjoyed his meal, enjoyed the conversation, had felt somewhat comfortable around the Princess. In short, he was expecting something awful to happen. It seemed to always be the way of the world for him, the good being balanced or crushed by the bad. All of his good years, at home before the war, followed by four times as many bad ones.

Bucky was doing his best to calm his paranoia, but it wouldn't escape notice that he was carrying his shield on his arm for the return trip. He was so frantic watching the area around them that Shuri making his arm go transparent was almost startling in its own. It was a good reminder though, he was more than the things that had happened to him, and here, some people actually cared about him. Her teasing caused his strained lips to quirk ever so slightly.

Right until he heard the shots ring through the air. He pulled on the back of Shuri's clothes to maneuver him behind her, swinging his shield up in front of her with the same fluid grace that he had used to pin her to the booth earlier. He winced slightly when he felt a shot ricochet off the shield- simply relieved it hadn't struck his Princess.

Bucky did not have the presence of mind to examine why he had just thought of her as his Princess but it was hardly important. What was important was that the shooters were leaving and Bucky could take a breath again.

Before his breath, Bucky was ever so slightly proud. He had protected the woman he cared about, and, guiltily, he had wondered if maybe Shuri would see him in a better light for it.

But Bucky knew the scent of burning flesh. It was one of the many that haunted his dreams, came directly with the horrors that were there when he closed his eyes. He prayed to God that he'd find out it was Okoye who had been hit- but he knew before he finished turning that he couldn't be so lucky.

It must have all happened within the shortest of moments, because Shuri hadn't even hit the ground before Bucky had his arm behind her to stop her fall. He dropped all of the items he'd been tasked to carry, they didn't matter even the slightest bit in comparison to Shuri's life. For once, Bucky was even pretty certain T'challa would agree with him.

Bucky's other arm went under her knees, lifting her into the aptly named Princess carry before he started running.

Bucky was no doctor. But he had been a soldier, there were only so many injuries you could see before you started to pick up bits of it. Like; he knew that Shuri could only go a few minutes without air, yet he also knew that with a deep wound so close to the heart- the risks of internal hemorrhaging where much more severe.

Worst of all, Bucky knew that the only thing he could do was get her to the lab as soon as possible. He didn't slow down to see if Okoye had a different opinion, or to consider options other than that. He simply sprinted as fast as he was capable, and tried to bury the panic in him that was yelling that he wouldn't be fast enough.

Though he took a breath to yell to the general. And he knew she likely would have already come to the same conclusions, but he needed this semblance of coordination to keep him from falling apart at the seems. "Okoye, we need an emergency alert, get medical professionals to the lab as soon as possible. And you should call T'challa."

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#20
Shock did wonders, it constricted her blood vessels, it hit the gas on every flight, fight, painkiller chemical her body could pump into her frame. Any thing, everything to give her a chance to survive long enough to get to help.

It didn’t change the fact she was dying in agony.

Shuri wouldn’t say her life flashed before her eyes, but a thousand disconnected thoughts flew, colliding with one another, spinning off fragmented and confused.

Her brother would be so sad. Her experiments, would her assistants remember to feed the reactor she’d been working on? Would Okoye ever let her come back to hub if she survived?

Powerful, intimately familiar Arms cradled her, one she had crafted to be one of her greatest creations, the other she’d spent hours studying to create its opposite.

Most importantly; she wondered if their owner would ever forgive himself if she did not survive.

Tears seeped out, the only way she could express the mind skittering horror of what had happened to her. Her mind latched onto his mouth as it moved, why hadn’t she let him kiss her? A whimper struggled past clenched teeth, the product of the tiny inhale she’d managed.

‘You need to wear a scarf’ she was so certain she said the words, they were so clear in her mind. After all if he had a scarf like a normal man than she could have grabbed it, could have pulled him down to her…

“Lasgalendil.” The word was more a whisper, a gasp, a desperate attempt to be heard to fight the pain and make him look down at her.

She wasn’t going to fucking die with out …

Shuri used the last of her will to press her lips to his.

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