Steve and Bucky shot each other a meaningful glance. This wasn't the first time they had gotten themselves into a pretty tight situation, and it wouldn't be the last. But out of all their scrapes, being captured and chained up by a man with a Squid hat in an old Soviet military uniform had to be one for the ages. The things they did for the greater good…
"Well, well, this is certainly a great moment for the glorious resurgent Soviet Union!" The supervillain announced in a clearly fake Russian accent. "Captain America, and America's overseer of superheroes, at my mercy! The mercy of…Commander Kraken! Betrayed by one of your own! And soon, I shall claim my ultimate victory over America's decadent costumed heroes…but not before you have betrayed your country's deepest secrets to me!"
"Better men than you have tried, Kraken." Bucky sneered.
"Ah, but few have had such a master interrogator at their service!" the villain preened as he motioned for his partner in crime to step out. Steve and Bucky forced themselves to keep a straight face as Natasha stepped out in the light, playing her role perfectly. "Make sure to get everything out of them, my Black Widow. But leave them alive for me!"
Natasha stalked up to Steve and pulled his chin upwards, staring him in the eye. She spoke in the cadence of a harsh interrogator, in perfect Russian. "This man is a complete and total imbecile."
Steve and Bucky kept their faces stony as she paced around them. They both understood her perfectly, thanks to Steve's training in multiple languages and Bucky's time under Russian control. An advantage that "Commander Kraken" seemed to lack.
"He claims to be the reincarnation of a Soviet General whose submarine met its end at the hands of a Giant Squid. In reality, he is an accountant from Peoria with an extensive Soviet memorabilia collection." Natasha paused before whirling around dramatically to face Bucky. "He doesn't even speak Russian!"
Seemingly satisfied with the tone of the interrogation, the villain smirked and turned to leave, motioning to Black Widow to proceed. She kept watch over her "captives" until he was well out of earshot, and her stern expression turned to a devilish smirk.
"Finally. You would not believe how hard it was to keep a straight face. You can get out now."
Within minutes, Steve and Bucky had managed to successfully shed their chains. Steve's expression was a combination of annoyance and bemusement.
"There had to be a way into this lair without having us get publicly captured during an Avengers conference."
"None quite so effective." Bucky grinned as he threw the chains to the side. "You might be America's top cop, but we're spies. When it comes to getting into secret bases, there's no route better than playing possum."
"A part of me is annoyed that villains always seem to believe I would switch sides on a dime." Natasha shrugged as she passed a gun to Bucky. "I suppose a Russian accent trumps everything."
"Easier to take advantage of, then." Steve grinned as he declined Natasha's offer of a gun. "None for me, thanks. I can take care of myself."
"You always could." Natasha purred as she sidled up to Steve. She gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, then moved, cat-like, across the room to Bucky and gave him an identical kiss. "For good luck."
The three soldiers, each with a face that hid their experience and battle-wariness, gazed at each other for a second. They had all been connected, in many ways, for decades. From the first time Steve and Bucky met on the battlefield as young men, to Steve and Natasha's many trysts in the earlier days of the Avengers, to the volatile but passionate bond Bucky and Natasha shared after his return. They had been through countless wars, both human and inhuman, and the bond they shared now was deeper than any words could say.
"Mmm." Natasha licked her lips as she bent down and picked up the chains that had briefly bound the two Captain Americas. "I think I will keep this. I might be able to find use for them later."
"Always with your mind in the gutter." Bucky smirked.
And as quickly as the levity had begun, it ended as Steve kicked open the door of the interrogation room, and the trio charged into the halls. Minions fell like dominoes, putting up only token opposition to the well-oiled machine that they presented. It wasn't long before they had fought their way to the villain's main base, put his ill-fated attempt to build a "Soviet Squid Bomb" out of commission, and placed him in cuffs to be turned over to Federal agents. Steve, always the most comfortable with the public spotlight of the three of them, took on the job of addressing the media.
"I want to reassure the public that this criminal network has been shut down, and all involved are in custody. And I'd like to give special credit to my partners in this operation, Captain America and the Black Widow." Steve shot a glance back from the podium at Bucky and Natasha, who were hanging in the background.
"Not bad for a pair of ex-Russian agents, am I right?" Bucky whispered in Natasha's ear. "I don't think I'll ever get fully used to playing the big damn hero."
"You fill out the costume well, though. In more ways than one." Natasha whispered back as Steve finished up his speech.
"Looks like the media's satisfied for the day." Steve said as he turned towards them. "This job involves a lot of press conferences. Let's—"
Before Steve could make any suggestions for how they could de-stress after the day's events, three cell-phones went off in unison.
"The President wants an emergency meeting on Earth-Kree relations."
"A breakout at the raft. The Avengers are needed to mop things up before it gets ugly."
"They've spotted a wanted terrorist and need someone to track him before he slips out of the country."
"So…" Steve smiled wryly. "I guess we meet at the Mansion later?"
"Just another Wednesday. It's not a normal day if we only have one crisis." Bucky said as he pulled his Shield and put out the signal for an Avengers transport to pick him up.
And as they all went their separate ways for the moment, they knew that they would see each other as soon as the world had been saved again. The lives they had chosen to lead weren't easy, but it was the only way of life they could imagine. And it was made a lot easier when you had not one but two people who understood.