"Who the hell is Bucky?"
Indie Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier MCU RP Blog
As he’s packing, Steve moves to stand beside the door, ready to go whenever he is. Of course, he’s nervous: he’s bouncing on the balls of his feet and gnawing on his lower lip, anxious and excited and unsure of what’s to come. They aren’t terribly far from the apartment where Steve now lives, so the drive won’t be too long. The only thing that may make the drive feel longer is the awkwardness. The scenario being ‘yeah, I know you tried to kill me that one time but we can still be friends’. It’s just a little bit uncomfortable to think about.
Bucky’s ready in maybe five minutes — few belongings, barely any clothes to match the long period of time he’s been gone. Even back in the 30s, Steve had more clothes than Bucky does now. It doesn’t matter much though; Steve intends to hopefully change a few things while Bucky stays with him.
“‘Fun’?” He asks, honestly surprised. Did it really matter if he was surprised that the soldier had an idea of what that was? Should he even be surprised? It’s been a couple of years since he’s even seen Bucky. It wasn’t impossible that, in very small ways, he’d improved on his own. His expression shifts at the idea, from confused to pleasant, smiling and shrugging one shoulder. “That’s a good attitude to go into this with,” he says, leading the way out the door and walking back to the front desk. As soon as Bucky handles the key exchange with the woman at the front desk — with whom Steve smiles at, letting her know that this was who he was looking for — he walks out and stops at his car, unlocking it. It’s not exactly his type of car; it’s meant to go fast, it’s sleek and a dark shade of blue. It’s too expensive for his tastes, but maybe Bucky could find some enjoyment out of it. Plus, Steve’s not going to complain about the comfortable interior either.
"Stepping in and starting up the car, he lets Bucky get inside and familiarize himself with the vehicle for a moment. "I’m thinking we could stop somewhere tonight… take a rest, wake up early tomorrow and hit the road after breakfast. See where we get then. Sound good?"
A huff of laughter leaves the brunette’s lips at Steve’s comment. The idea of ‘fun’ is limited to him, more something he’s picked up within the last few years, after hearing it from others. To him, ‘fun’ implies safety and perhaps a smattering of conversation - having been entirely alone for several years certainly had its downsides. The close possibility of sleeping properly was also something that pleased the soldier, although whether he’d break the habit of sleeping incredibly lightly, remained to be seen.
Bucky leads Steve to the front desk, returning the keys before slipping the woman at the front desk some additional cash, mostly a bribe to keep his stay there quiet. He doesn’t need any extra attention, especially not the kind that witnessed him with Steve Rogers - an easily identifiable man, something remarkably easy to track down. He follows Steve to the car, an eyebrow raising as he unlocks the vehicle. For what limited knowledge Bucky has, he’s aware its an expensive piece of hardware, but doesn’t comment regardless.
Bucky climbs into the car, particularly careful of his metal hand catching on any of the interior. He’s ripped too many shirts and jackets to not be wary of new fabrics. “This is real nice, Steve,” He says, glancing across the car’s interior, the excessive buttons lit across the dashboard. “Yeah, that sounds great,” He adds, offering another brief smile in the super soldier’s direction. “Do they let old cronies like you drive?”
Bucky’s knowledge of Steve is limited to a smattering of snapshot memories and the intel he’s gained from various HYDRA and SHIELD documents. He’s well aware of Steve’s return to the universe via ice, something startlingly similar to his own messy past.
"Shh, hey, it’s okay," he says calmly, leaning in a little closer. "It’s not your fault this happened to you, alright? It’s not your fault you can’t remember anything. We’ll just… have to work on it." When he asks about getting his memory back, Steve doesn’t speak up immediately. He doesn’t know if it can be done. There may be people out there, those who could help, but there were no guarantees. Even in the world they now live in, how different is is to the time they’d come from… not everything is possible.
"We’ll see what happens," he offers, not really answering Bucky. It’s the best he can do without lying to him. It’s by no means comforting though, and seeing Bucky nervously rub the blanket and seem so completely disturbed in his seat, Steve tries for a different approach. "I’m gonna help you, alright? You can ask me anything about us, about Brooklyn — where we grew up. I’ll tell you whatever you wanna know. I mean, sometimes people remember when you tell them about it… jogging the memory, making connections. That could happen to you. I’d damn well bet on it." He smiles, praying to God that he’s right. This isn’t like Peggy, where her disease makes it impossible to remember any new information, like Steve being alive. Bucky’s just forgotten… had the memories washed out. There’s a chance that this could actually be fixed.
"I won’t give up. As long as you want to remember, I’ll help you. We’ll get through this, we’ll fix it together. Sound okay?"
Bucky nods along to Steve’s words, the despair across his expression gradually fading. His fingers work less frantically at the blanket, instead halting to hold it against him instead. “Brooklyn?” Bucky repeats, his voice a few shades calmer than before. It seems Steve is capable of calming him down, even with a few sentences.
The sickness fades from his throat, but the cold remains. He leans slightly closer to Steve, to the point that their shoulders connect, the warmth of Steve’s body already pressing through the fabric of the blanket. “I guess I’m real lucky you found me,” Bucky mutters, forcing a short smile. It’s obvious that he’s still reeling from the onslaught of new information, despite his calming from the initial reaction.
After a few moments of quiet contemplation, he speaks, voice tired and low, “Can you tell me somethin’ about Brooklyn? About when we were kids?” He asks, his arm still pressed lightly against Steve. Even the contact is enough to ground him, to calm his nerves and stay the fear.
He blinks, narrows his eyes, and his brows draw together for a few seconds. But then it hits him, he realizes just what he’s said, and he’s full-blown grinning. He’d come home? He’d really stay with him? Steve doesn’t know what all this adrenaline inside of him suddenly makes him want to do, but he refrains from the excitement, focuses on keeping himself calm and nodding quickly — he doesn’t want to freak Bucky out now.
"Great. Wow, okay, this is… I don’t know what I was expecting, but I’m glad you’ve agreed." He lets out a somewhat helpless laugh and shrugs, smiling at Bucky with an expression of relief and happiness. This way, he can keep an eye on Bucky, know where he is at all times. Maybe he can help him deal with the memories, the trauma of it all, help him get past what he needs to leave behind. It’s pretty damn hopeful, even for Steve, but it was exactly like he said: he’s not one to give up easily.
"Did you… wanna go now? I didn’t really think this through, if I’m honestly…" He scratches the back of his head and shrugs, giving him an apologetic look. "It’s a bit of a drive from where I live, so it might take a few days. But it’s up to you, where you wanna go. Figure my place is… well, y’know. Not this motel." He manages not to look at the bottles that litter the floor and the files that are scattered about, but it’s a pretty thinly veiled comment about just that.
A hint of a laugh drops from Bucky’s lips at Steve’s reaction. “It’ll be nice to be somewhere that isn’t a complete shithole,” He replies, his hands finally drawing from his pockets. He suspects Steve’s apartment will be pristine, or at least a vast improvement on his current conditions. The chance of a nights sleep in a comfortable bed rather than a biscuit-thin mattress almost sends him running out the door already. Instead, he paces across the room, scooping up the documents discarded by Steve.
"I can tell," Bucky muttered, his lips now curved into a greater smile. "Yeah, lets go now. I’ve already paid, I can leave whenever." He moves around the room, collecting the remaining documents, scooping up clothing and checking the small cache of knives he stores beneath the bed. He shoves everything into a black duffle bag, slinging it over one shoulder and zipping the loose hoody up around his body. He barely has any belongings and he intends to destroy the HYDRA files at the next safe location - leaving military intel in motel rooms would not be wise.
Almost out of instinct, Bucky pulls the hood of his jacket up, obscuring most of his face along with his hair. It’s a force of habit from his travels and he doesn’t particularly need to be witnessed leaving his location with Captain America.
"Your place sounds good. And a road trip sounds fun," He says quietly, smile still pressed across his lips, eyes lingering on the empty bottles as he ushers Steve outside, flesh hand clutching the door knob and key, metal hand holding the duffle bag at his shoulder close to his body.
He can see how his assumptions suddenly send him reeling, how the thought of not only himself, but Steve being bring a completely different time baffle him. Steve would never consider lying to him, but somehow the thought of assuring him otherwise seems appealing in a strange way… maybe that way, Bucky wouldn’t feel some sort of obligation to remember him. Of course, the very thought of
willinglylying to Bucky makes him feel terrible inside and he shakes his head. “Yeah, I knew you… sorta ended up the same way, huh?” He offers a small smile, but it doesn’t last. “We… we were friends, growing up. Best friends, really. You were all I had, even when I had nothing.” He looks down, notices the way Bucky’s hands are clutching desperately at the armrests, and he lays a hand over Bucky’s wrist, sighing softly.
"I only ‘woke up’ about two years ago. Somebody found me I guess, turned me over to SHIELD, and next thing I know, it’s been almost seventy years and everyone I know is…" He looks up at Bucky, then lets out a short, soft laugh. "Most everyone I know is dead, or… well. Doesn’t know I’m really here right now.” He thinks of Peggy for a brief moment, his eyes cast away from Bucky for a moment, but he brings himself back. There wasn’t any purpose in mentioning her; Bucky wouldn’t remember her anyways.
"But we’re here now. I still can’t believe I found you… but we’re gonna go back to New York. I know Nick’s gonna pretty much be up my ass about wanting to talk to you… but he can wait. He’s not a bad guy by the way," he adds; especially if — when — Bucky ever meets the man. “He’s just very interested in knowing everything that’s going on.”
The plane by now has leveled out and they’re flying steadily. There’s an announcement that they’ll be back in the US in approximately five and a half hours, which is a comforting thought to Steve. “I know this is a lot to take in, so I mean… if you wanna know anything, just ask. I can fill you in on what I know.” The hand that covers Bucky’s wrist squeezes gently, yet another assurance of safety and trust that Steve is extending towards him.
Bucky’s expression changes to something between fear and despair as Steve confirms his worries, eyes staring wide at the blonde. The man beside him was someone he’d once loved dearly, a best friend, whom he now held absolutely no memories of. The feeling sent a pang through the soldier’s heart, the nausea quickly returning to his throat. Before he could vocalise his panic, he felt Steve’s palm on his wrist, warm and reassuring as he spoke. Half his words are nonsense, ‘SHIELD’ and ‘Nick’ being places or people he doesn’t know, but his voice is somewhat calming at least.
"I can’t remember anything,” Bucky mutters, more of a startling realisation than a declaration. “We were best friends and I can’t remember any of it.” The loss of memory seems to be more unnerving to Bucky than the apparent time lost in cryo. His eyes fall on Steve’s hand on his wrist and remain there as he speaks. “Do you think I’ll remember again? Can ‘SHIELD’ or ‘Nick’ get my memories back?” In a world where metal limbs and cryo-storage exist, one would expect memory retrieval to be possible… But then again, Bucky can’t fully comprehend this new world just yet.
Shuffling in his seat, his metal hand moves to clasp the blanket around his shoulders. He feels cold down to his deepest core, as if the reveal of this information has only worked to chill him further. The sick feeling won’t leave him, only worsening as he considers the extent of the situation. If there’s a silver lining at all, its that the man who has found him has the greatest of intentions for him.
Bucky anxiously rubs the fabric of the blanket between his metal fingers, the odd feeling at least briefly distracting from the trauma he’s attempting to process. He can ‘feel’ the fabric as it moves against the metal, but not the way a human fingertip would process the texture. It feels thicker, artificial, a computerised notion of touch.
Steve laughs again, not exactly bitter, but not fully amused either. It’s a mixture of exhaustion and fondness, something he wouldn’t be able to explain if he wanted to. “Figured it’d be a little obvious by now,” he says softly; it’s not a scolding for Bucky not knowing. “I’m a stubborn guy. I don’t give up on things, ever. I fight til the last breath and keep fighting on from that. I don’t care what people tell me, to let it go or move on. You’ve always been a part of my life, and you’ll still be a part of my life. And if you don’t want me around, then… that’s fine. I’ll get past it. But until then, until you tell me to get my ass outta here and never come looking for you again, I’ll keep going. I’m never givin’ up on you, Buck, not if I can help it.”
The confession (of sorts) leaves him standing awkwardly in the room, feeling like he’s given a speech that didn’t need to be said, something that came out too soon. But he doesn’t look away from him, doesn’t back down. Bucky needs to know that this is how he feels about them. This is why he’s come all this way to find him. Because they have a strange sort of bond, and Steve won’t give that up for anything. A long time ago, Bucky would’ve probably told him that he was too stupid to have the sense to know what was good for him. And in response, Steve would say he’d be stupid for letting someone as good as Bucky be left on his own.
"I guess I’ve been running too much to notice," Bucky muttered, shrugging. His constant movement had kept him one step ahead of any recovery missions, had there been any occurring. He hadn’t often stopped long enough to check.
The next words that leave the captain’s mouth leave him silent, his gaze dropping fast from Steve’s, to the floor. He sighs a shaking breath as the words sink in, the knowledge that someone hasn’t given up on him entirely. He can’t understand why, why someone he’d betrayed still endeavoured to care for him, but he supposed that was exactly the stubbornness of Steve Rogers.
"I won’t tell you that," Bucky replies after a long silence. His disdain for the man’s reappearance a few minutes ago seemingly melted away since his confession of care. He shuffles in his position, eyes rising to meet Steve’s once again as he pushes his hair back from his face. The light only enhances the dark rings around his eyes. As much as he wallows in his own stubbornness, the idea of safety, of being able to stop running, is more appealing than he’d like to admit. "You’re a damn punk, you know that?" He mutters, the corner of his lips tilting ever so slightly into a smile. "I’ll come back with ya’, for a few days at least." It feels uncomfortable to give in, but the draw of safety, combined with the unlikely event of Steve ever backing down, win him over. At least temporarily.
He’s up on his feel the minute he reveals how cold he is. He knows exactly where the blankets are and he grabs two for good measure. Unfolding them and bringing them back, he holds it up in front of him for a brief moment (he’s cautious about throwing something on him, in case it goes over his head and he panics — Steve’s not sure if that would ever happen, but it doesn’t hurt to at least be prepared) before draping it around his shoulders. Without thinking, he sits down beside Bucky and lays the second over his own lap. It’s there if the soldier requests for another.
'Once we're up, I'll get you something to eat.” As soon as he asks about the year, Steve feels his smile fade, his face probably paling somewhat. He doesn't fear telling him the truth — the sooner he knows, the better — but he does worry what his reaction could be. It's a lot to take in. But at least this time, Bucky can be told up front, by someone who cares about him. Not by an organization that tries to lie before breaking the truth to him. Or at least attempt to before Steve runs out of the building and figures it out for himself.
"It’s 2014," he says, speaking softly, a hand resting on Bucky’s shoulder that hides beneath the blanket. "You… you were born in 1917. You’ve been in that cryotube for a long time… probably not that long after 1944." Steve leans forward and tries to meet his gaze, his hand squeezing his shoulder in an attempt to ground him. Of course, it’s immediately more difficult when the plane begins to move and begin it’s ascending procedure. He sighs and smiles for him. "Don’t forget, I’m here, alright? It’ll only be a minute…"
Bucky accepts the blanket graciously, pulling it tight around his shoulders. It’s an instant comfort, the soft fabric brushing around his skin as it pulls it closer, snuggling as he does so. “Thank you,” He replies with a smile, although the smile is mostly due to Steve sitting at his side. The warmth is close and he barely holds himself back from pressing against the man - the blanket will suffice for now.
He catches Steve’s expression, the way he pales at his question, causing a flicker of a frown to cross his face. He pushes back in his seat, pulling the blanket ever closer around him as he braces for whatever truth Steve is about to bestow on him. He doubts that the answer will surprise him, he has little to be surprised about considering he has no recollection of any year of his existence. His eyes lock to the blonde’s, considering a handful of possibilities in between the silence.
"1917!?” Bucky exclaims. He was wrong - the answer was a surprise. It doesn’t take him long to do the math, “You’re saying I’m 97 years old?” He glances down at his own body, cold and somewhat dilapidated, but clearly not the body of an elderly man. An entire lifetime, he’s spent it frozen in a tube, preserved in whatever state he entered it in - clearly a young and virile one, minus the arm. The answers tick over in his mind for a few seconds and he feels the squeeze of his shoulder, causing his eyes to meet Steve’s again. “So I was born in 1917… Did you read that on a file somewhere? Or did…” The words stall in his mouth, the frown now constant, “Did you know me? Back then?” Just the concept is enough to make the soldier feel sick, and he swallows back the nausea. The sheer idea of this man being an old friend, someone he knew once, someone he now held no memory of whatsoever - it was horrifying.
The movement and sounds of the jet fall into background noise as Bucky’s eyes fixate on Steve, frown hard as he strains to recall something, anything. His fingers unconsciously grip the arm rests on either side of him but his gaze doesn’t falter.
"You’re under the illusion that I some how need you to look after me. I was fine before I met you…I’ll be fine after this. I don’t need you James Barnes."
"Believe what ya want, flower. We’ll see how well you’re doing in a month, hey?"
The smile on Bucky’s face, no matter how small it was, was all he needed to see. Steve knew that his friend carried a great deal of guilt with him; just like he did, as well. And while he’d had a few years to deal with it, Bucky had just been freed from HYDRA control. It was going to take a great deal of time for his best friend to deal with and come to terms with everything that he’d done during his time as the Soldier. He, too, was going to need some time to deal with the guilt that came with feeling like he’d failed his best friend during the war. Maybe together the two of them could actually help each other overcome everything that had happened. It wasn’t something he was going to hold onto; the knowledge that the two of them could possibly help each other. But he would keep it rattling around inside of his head.
"I was, yes," he told him, again offering him a small smile. The memory wasn’t something he expected Bucky to remember. It was from before the war and Steve had thought those memories would have been long destroyed by HYDRA. Hearing him mention him being sick gave him even more hope. "Almost died from pneumonia one year. Had you and mama worried I wouldn’t survive the night. I vaguely remember you at my bedside the whole night." There had been other times, too, that he was sick. Most of the time he survived but there were more than a few times that he’d been so sick that they’d called a priest. Those were the times that scared him the most. "Yeah I was, Buck. Always used to watch over me and keep me safe. Or patch me up when I found someone a bit bigger than me."
Those were the days he missed; having Bucky there reminding him that he didn’t need to constantly prove to the world that he could handle being on his own. Even though he had his friend standing there in front of him it wasn’t the same as those days. “You remember anything else from back then,” Steve asked, not wanting to hold onto the hope that maybe more of those old memories would return. He had no idea just what would and wouldn’t come back. For all he knew this was nothing more than a fluke, trick his mind had played on them both. Or it could have been something more. Either way he was desperately trying to coax more memories from his friend.
Bucky’s stomach lurched at Steve’s confirmation, his eyebrows raising in shock. He hadn’t fully expected the memory to be accurate, especially given the vast difference in Steve’s appearance. It barely made sense in his mess of memories, but to have it be true, a real memory, filled the soldier with overwhelming relief. He felt his knees weakened ever so slightly beneath him as Steve elaborated. The foggy memory, the feeling of his fear at losing Steve was there, somewhere in the dark recesses of his mind.
"I don’t remember exactly," He replied, nodding, "But I think I know that feeling. Being scared you weren’t gonna make the night." It was there, the shadow of an emotion attached to a memory. It was enough - enough to relight the faintest of hope in Bucky. He strained for more, even if it was more sickly Steve, but nothing of that era came. He squeezed his eyes closed momentarily, attempting to conjure something, anything else. The next flurry of images were not ones he wished to relive.
"I remember beating the shit out of you,” Bucky muttered, his gaze dropping to the floor in shame. The memories of the helicarrier had been pressing at the edges of his conscious for some time, threatening to make a vivid reappearance. They were recent enough that he could recall words and sounds, the crashing of metal against metal, metal against flesh and bone. The mental onslaught didn’t come as so much of a shock, these images having decorated his nightmares for the past few weeks. These, in particular, were memories he hoped were false, but the depth of the recall suggested the opposite. “I’ve been gettin’ nightmares about this one,” He muttered, eyes still affixed to the ground. “About hittin’ you, over and over.”
When his hand had failed to reach to the throat of the man above him, Oliver felt the fist connect with his jaw. Blood started to drip from a cut on his cheek, joining the blood from his mouth. This wasn’t going the way he wanted and the man above him was too powerful for Oliver on his own. It was obvious from the way he pinned him down.
Both arms were pinned down and Oliver struggled to move them; however, he couldn’t. There was too much weight on him. Laying there, Oliver felt helpless, unsure of what to do or even how to get the man off him. “Felicity.” He groaned, hoping that she’d hear him, hoping that someone else would walk by them. “Stop.” Oliver struggled against the man, only to have the bone of his knees dig into his arms even more.
The crimson running from the archer’s cheek was a satisfying result, proving he was, at the very least, human. He felt him wiggle beneath his hold, but his metal arm alone would likely be strong enough to restrain him.
"Stop?" The soldier muttered through gritted teeth, "Why would I do that?" He dug his knees in further, the gravel beneath them crunching from the extra impact. Both of them were exhausted, the only advantage the soldier held was his added weight.