With an infuriated yowl, Punk the Kitten launches himself from the Winter Soldier’s shoulder and claws right onto the unprotected groin of a HYDRA agent.
Technically speaking, kitten claws and fangs shouldn’t be able to tear through the sturdy material of those pants.
Nobody told Punk that, though.
The Soldier has the oddest feeling of deja vu - like he’s walked into an alley, only to find one tiny boy fending off a local bully with a trash can lid and him drawling, "Hey, buddy, you wanna try picking on somebody your own size for a change?" and sending off said bully with a literal kick in the ass.
HYDRA came prepared this time. They have a huge German Shepherd dog meant to take the cat down. The Soldier would’ve shot him if he had to; there wouldn’t be a lot of choice at this point and he didn’t carry tranquilizer darts on him. Except Punk the Kitten sent the dog yipping away, moving faster than what the Soldier thought a normal cat should and getting the dog with a fierce claw right on the nose.
Did SHIELD or HYDRA experiment on his little kitten somehow? Was that the reason why Punk seemed to be smarter than the average cat? Stronger? Faster?
The Soldier brought down the last standing HYDRA agent with a clear shot to the throat. Punk came scurrying over, climbing over his trousers, his metal arm and finally settling down next to the crook of his neck with a satisfied purr.
Ready to follow Captain America into the jaws of death?
And he still hadn’t any intel about Steve Rogers. This particular HYDRA cell, at least, didn’t have him. He was a day away from the meeting he’d set up with Agent Skye. The Soldier had hoped he would be able to bring better news to Steve’s friends.
"Steve, where are you?" the Soldier murmured.
Punk the Kitten purred louder.
The Soldier snorted. Sometimes, this cat had a knack for answering him at just the right moment.
"Right, like you’d know where Steve Rogers is."
"Meow! Meow!" Punk nuzzled at his chin. "Meow!"
"Sure, sure. Two meows for yes. One for no. Punk, do you know where my Captain is?"
He was joking, really. He wasn’t serious about it, except that he wondered what sort of experiments HYDRA or SHIELD had carried out on a defenseless kitten and what was the purpose? He didn’t expect —
The Soldier paused. What. The. Fuck. He plucked the cat off his shoulder, carefully cupped him in his hands, looked him in the eye.
"You can actually understand what I’m saying?"
"Meow!" There was a reproving paw on his nose.
"Stop it, you’re begging to act like Steve — "
Wait a minute. It was getting stronger now. The sense of seeing the kitten and the scrawny, ninety pound asthmatic Steve Rogers used to be. Something in the kitten’s expression, the soft downy hair, the bright blue eyes….
"Oh fuck me."
It was the most mournful sound Bucky had ever heard.
- tbc -