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Thread Contributor: James Barnes (MCU-1)Take me instead. Tag Death
Marvel-MCU-1

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#1
Bucky had stayed standing outside the door for half a day before he reached the point of not being able to wallow in his guilt anymore. He should have been able to protect Shuri, and this never should have happened. But he knew that no one could change the past. Heaven knows he had tried to do so often enough.

There were so many things he wished he could undo. He wished he could go back and not fall off a train. He wished he could go back and stop the death of Tony's parents. He wished he could have gone on the mission instead of letting Steve. Right now? Bucky wished he could have taken that bullet instead of Shuri.

He knew enough about the hub to know that there was almost nothing he could do. But almost was more than nothing. And he could find a way to help. He had to find a way to help.

Surely the hub had something or someone who could help.

It took almost no time to find that there was a power in the hub that was beyond compare. A few of them even. Had he been able to track down the primordial being of Love- it would be Bucky's preference.

However Love was a hard thing to get a hold of- apparently that remained true especially so when Love was opinionated and had their own two feet. The other gods he knew of- didn't strike him as particularly helpful folk. He didn't have anything to offer them for a trade. All he had was himself.

So Bucky was looking for Death. Maybe he could convince them to take him instead.

He strode into the building, filled with all of the determination he still had left.

He slammed his hand down on the biggest desk in the biggest office. Bucky gave no preamble, confident that any all knowing being would understand why he was there without him needing additional details.

"She's got so much life left." Bucky started, eyes downcast before gritting his teeth and stating his purpose. "If you have to take someone, take me."

@kel
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#2
Death was not hard to find. Her picturesque realty office, was more along the lines of a cluttered mess that your spinster aunt that loved chachki’s would have as a living room than the den of the litteral cosmic aspect of Death.


He was not the first, last, or really even the only mortal currently attempting to bargain with an aspect of hers, some were even succeeding. Unfortunately for most Death did not make the rules, she did not even mark those that were to come to her, she was simply the collection, the record keeper, the one that watched. Those few that were trapping or bargaining with her came from mythos where her bailiwick was more...or rather less limited.

Unfortunately for this James Barnes he came from a Universe where she did not make deals.

“James Buchanan Barnes. Born March 17th 1917.” He wanted to speak to Death so she would accommodate opening a endless tome to reveal his name and history listed out in short phrases.

Death shook her head, smokey cowl drifting slowly in a impossible wind that chilled the bones, that felt like snow, falling. “Life is not a hand of poker chips. Not everyone gets the same amount when they are born, some piles are larger than others. Children die, babies, should I take your life for the babe about to be born who will only live long enough for his mother to wonder why he does not scream? Why this girl?”

@alex
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#3
Bucky was unsurprised and not at all disturbed to see that Death was a Skeletal figure in a black cloak- it was how he always had thought the being would appear. A reaper to hurry him along to a final resting place.

He never once thought he'd seek for Death. Yet, Bucky stood, ready to breathe his last.

He nodded in confirmation when they did the job of introducing himself for him. He raised an eyebrow at the massive book for a moment before shrugging. It was hardly news that Bucky had nearly died enough to fill probably a few books with it. He didn't even know how much of the book was made up of details about him.

He stood as a soldier, feet shoulder width apart, one arm resting against the small of his back. The question filled him with shame nonetheless. It was true, he was being selfish. He would protect everyone with the same ferocity- but there was a difference between that and offering up your soul to eternal damnation.

He had no illusions about his trip to the land of the dead. There would be no need to weigh his sins and his virtues. He knew which side was overwhelmingly heavier. Bucky wouldn't be going up when he died.

That would have scared him, save that living without Shuri would be worse. Always knowing that it was his fault that the only woman he had every truly cared for (that wasn't related) had died. Knowing that he would never again see her smile, hear her laugh, get to hear her when she was passionate about a subject.

The very idea of it was enough for him to wince in pain. He looked straight into the empty sockets of Death's face- And squared his shoulders.

"Why would I die for Shuri? Because of everything she is. The light inside of me was long ago extinguished- but Princess Shuri is nothing but light. Because without her I would have no life worth giving. Because she brightens the world around her. Because whatever part of me that's left, that she restored, will die with her."

He grit his teeth for a moment. "Because I am not special, and she is. I am a soldier, one of many- She is a brilliant scientist who has so much more to give. Because her world has no need of another cantankerous old man, but so many have need of her." He finished, his eyes having drifted away from the creature that his body was instinctively telling him to run from. He forced his eyes to meet the eye sockets once more.

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#4
“And who are you to demand a deal? I am Death. There is no power that holds me, I come to every soul in time. Even if you save her now, age or accident will call me again.”

No, James Barnes had no call in his own right to bargain with her...but the woman he bargained for…

The book vanished, Death pulled back her cowl, the shadowed cloth dropping to reveal the face of the woman he came to save.

Of course what was most amusing for her was that the girl was not scheduled to die, oh even with the advanced technology she had pioneered she would end up paralyzed, reliant on that same technology to survive and be mobile for the rest of her life. But her life was not on Deaths list.

“Which Shuri?” The room vanished around them, hundreds, thousands perhaps of nearly identical women surrounded him in the darkness. Some wore Panther Habits, some sat on the Throne of Wakanda, some were clearly injured, missing arms, eyes, body’s clearly replaced with vibranium substitutes.

Every one stood, eyes staring forard, a moment captured in time.

“You are lucky. Because of what she is there are other Rules I can adapt for her.” Death explained conversationally.

“Of course you have to pass certain tests to gain your wish.” Shuri’s face smirked up at him playfully.

@alex
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Marvel-MCU-1

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#5
Bucky winced with the accusation. It would not hurt so much if he didn't know it were true. But Bucky wasn't certain he had a soul left to claim- let alone a soul left to give. Even knowing this ahead of time, he still had to try. "I know and understand. I humbly ask you to please, take me instead. If she has even one more day, it is more than worth my life."

His pain only intensified as Shuri's beautiful eyes stared back at him, to know that she almost certainly would never see him again without hating him. To know that if he ever did see her again, her eyes would not reflect happiness, they would be filled with distrust and disgust.

The only physical indication he gave was a hard swallow to force himself to recenter for the moment. He focused on the differences- the cold behind her eyes that the real Shuri would never have.

The next question was much easier to answer. "The one from my world. The one who personally saved me. The one who I..." Bucky cut himself off, needing to not vocalize the emotions that had him on this trip. Let alone give a record of them where they could potentially get back to Shuri- if Bucky had this the way he'd like to, Shuri would never know what happened to him.

Hell, he'd be good if Shuri forgot about him entirely. Forever. It would certainly be better for her.

Instead of voicing any of that, he offered a different comment. "- Failed to protect. Despite being right beside her."

Bucky nodded his understanding of Death's explanation. "Of course. Whatever I need to do." He murmured softly. If he had been unwilling to do anything, he wouldn't have been here offering his own life for hers.

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#6
Death was really quite glad that she had nothing that really doubled as a sex drive. Because it seemed the traditionally attractive ones compensated by being dimmer than a bag of hammers.

“Than go find her.” Death wearing Shuri’s irritated expression at having to detail out his first test. Finding her among the thousands of others.

“Is that it? Obligation? Guilt? Because that will not win the day, not here. Here there is only one chance one bit of magic that you just might stumble into.” Death shifted into her default male form, inhaling on a cigarette.

“True love. Kid. That’s literally the only shot you’ve got.”

Death flicked the ashes into the darkness. “So if you don’t think you’ve got that in you...well might as well leave.”

@alex
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#7
Bucky started shuffling through the thousands of Shuris automatically, without a single question once his task had been listed. It was more than easy to comprehend the test that had been set before him- to prove that there was something definably different about the Shuri of his world. Bucky could do that.

Though the criticism from the now male avatar of Death did irk the super soldier. Obligation was a perfectly understandable reason to seek to save someone. And if there was something more to it than that it was none of the immortal's damn business.

Bucky paused in front of one of the young women that filled the room, hand lifting up to reach for hers- before the rest of the deity's words filtered into his mind. Bucky jerked his hand to his side as though out of his control, turning to keep searching the group.

He wouldn't give up if the only way to win was 'True Love'. Even if Bucky doubted that his emotions could be called that- since that gave the implication that those feelings were reciprocated- there was one other way to succeed. After all, if one was lucky enough, they could happen to chose the right person at random.

Unfortunately Bucky did not consider himself to be particularly lucky which meant that all he had to go on was the gut feeling of his that kept insisting he was walking away from his Princess Shuri.

Another five minutes passed before Bucky found himself once again standing in front of the young woman he had initially marked. He simply had no idea- he couldn't even define why he thought that this Shuri was the right one- all he knew was that he had no such feeling about any of the others.

Rubbing the back of his neck, he sighed. "This one. This is her." He spoke quietly, unable to look away from those familiar brown eyes, even though he was completely certain he had just lost the woman he adored forever.

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#8
Death leaned, on ...well nothing, there were no walls holding up this place the only light came from each projection, each shuri. They were more than images, Death had brought forth a piece of their soul, what the boy was seeing was the inner most self of ever Shuri who currently lived.

The scent of tobacco filled the room as Death calmly smoked while Barens dithered over his choice, “You are sure?” he asked, noting that it was the second time he’d returned to the same woman.

“Oh good for you.” Death clapped just a touch sarcastically when he finalized his choice. Death flicked his butt into nothing, the gallery of Shuri’s vanishing along with it.
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#9
If Bucky had been able to see the expression on Death's face at the beginning of his search, he may have been less offended by the sarcasm in the man's tone when Bucky did reach a conclusion. Instead he found himself paralyzed with trepidation as the immortal being spoke.

And then his heart was leaping out of his chest as the gallery of Shuris disappeared- and... nothing happened. Bucky cursed under his breath, for a moment entirely convinced that he had chosen the wrong woman. That he had truly condemned Shuri to death because he thought he was better at protecting her than he actually was. Though Death's words.... They certainly implied that Bucky maybe didn't screw up? Bucky was very confused.

"What happens now?" Bucky said quietly, wondering whether there was another test.

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#10
“Now you have a chance.” Death smirked. “There is a portal-” he handed a map to Bucky, “Take her there, and give her True Loves Kiss.” there it was, “It will wake her up, and if your love is Meant To Be-” the caps were audible. “She will be healed.”

The fact that Death was playing something like matchmaster was HILARIOUS.

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Marvel-MCU-1

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#11
Well that was a waste of Bucky's time. If he was offering his life, than why did it matter if the love was 'meant to be'? Plus, how he could be certain she'd survive long enough to get her to this other world?

It would have to be a last ditch effort then. Bucky didn't want to risk moving her when there was a chance of her getting worse from the interference. Still he took the map with a nod of gratitude. "Thank you." He offered quietly, stepping towards the door. "And thank you for your time." Bucky added before nodding in place of a bow and strolling out of the building.

Time to find another avenue of inquiry. At least he had a fall back plan if everything else fell through. Though he did message a request to Okoye to call him if Shuri got suddenly worse.

@kel and I guess @eve should read that last part.
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