So much had changed since his childhood, everything from style to speech to entertainment to medicine, hell, even the cost of money changed!
But each of these changes, with time, had become the new normal for Bucky Barnes. Eventually a twenty dollar book didn’t give him heart palpitations and words like “Hootch” and “Horn” faded from his vocabulary.
The one change that had perhaps shellshocked him the most though came in the month of October with the arrival of Halloween.
As a child, Halloween had been the best night of Bucky Barnes’ life. His mother and Steve’s would have worked weeks on their costumes, transforming them from boys to beasts, and would let them roam throughout the city streets, knocking on neighbor’s door for candy, Bucky promising Sarah that he would watch out for Steve, and then promising his mom the same for Rebecca. They would return home late at night and sneak into their rooms, swapping candy for candy, talking about particularly scary house decorations, and discussing their plans for next year. It was a night where magic became real and where everything truly scary and frightening about the world slipped away, covered up by toilet paper cobwebs and sheets with holes cut out for eyes. On that night, he didn’t have to worry about whether his best buddy would make it to see sixteen, or whether they were gonna have to sacrifice dinner so the twins could have diapers. It was a time where he was just free to be a kid and nothing else. It was no wonder why it was his favorite time of the year.
But these days? Halloween was different. Costumes were more about being sexy than scary, and here in the city, few kids ever went trick or treating alone. The occasional scary decorations that had once seemed so impressive were now pitiful when compared to the new plastic skeletons and automated hand grabbing candy bowls. It was almost entirely unrecognizable as the day of magic that it had once been, instead it became just another foreign experience upon a pile of other ones.
He still tried to make the best of it, however, he really did, but it just wasn’t the same anymore. After everything that happened to him, everything he’d done, he couldn’t find it in his heart to get excited about a night of playing monsters when, in his mind, he already was one.Add to that the fact that almost all the Avengers seemed to think Halloween was just another day and it was even more difficult to get excited. In fact, he could only think of two teammates of his who were genuinely excited for the day.
The first was Tony, who was apparently planning a crazy costume party the night of that all the Avengers were invited to attend.
The second was (Y/N), who just seemed excited for the day as a whole. The whole month was seemingly leading up to this day for her. She practically skipped around the house, leaving lit pumpkin spice candles in her wake and the sound of some song about skeletons ringing in your ears.
She had come to the compound around the same time as Bucky had, her powers of flight and telekinesis landing her onto the Avenger’s radar during her final year of college where she was trying to graduate in peace with a Bachelor's in Journalism and Communications. Right away she had swooped in with her sarcastic personality and wit and secured her place inside every one of the Avenger’s hearts, even his which he had thought of as nothing more than a block of ice in his chest until then.
His feelings for you had been stirring inside him for a long time, he had tried to ignore them at first, tried to repress them and keep them hidden from view, but, with one smile from you it was as if all his hard work were for nothing. His heart would soar and his own lips would spread into a grin, and he would feel a little bit of that ice begin to thaw before he would remind himself that you would never, ever give him the time of day, maybe once, but not anymore, not after all he’d done.
“Hey, Bucky,” your voice called out, snapping him out of his thoughts and returning him to the real world where he was currently sitting in the Avengers’ tower common room, “do you wanna watch a movie?.
He turned up to look at you and instantly he was enthralled, it took him a few moments before your question fully registered, “what kind of movie?” he asked even though it didn’t really matter, you could have wanted to go jumping off cliffs and he would follow you.
You smirked, “what kind do you think, Buck? Do you even know what time of year it is?”
He laughed a little at your dramatics, “alright, what movie is it then?” he asked.
A smile lit up your face, so wide he thought your cheeks might burst from the strain, “it’s called The Re-Animator,” you said, “it’s a cheesy film from the eighties, I’ve seen it like a thousand times.”
“Do you really wanna watch it again then?” Bucky asked.
You nodded, “yes, yes I do,” you said, “it’s one of my favorites so will you please watch it with me? Please, please, please, please!”
Bucky laughed and nodded, “alright doll, I’ll watch it.”
Almost instantly after his reply she launched herself into his arms and kissed his cheek, “and this is why you’re my favorite Avenger!” you squealed and Bucky blushed at the sudden display of affection, not that you seemed to notice though, pulling away and rushing back into your room only to return a few moments later in a pair of pajamas carrying the DVD Case proudly in your arms.
“What’s this movie even about?” Bucky asked as you put the disk into the player and worked your magic on the television to make the movie play.
You rolled your eyes, “will you please just let the movie happen?” you said, “I wanna see it through a first-timer’s eyes.”
And so that ended most of the conversation for the duration of the movie. The story was about a doctor named Herbert who used a special green sludge to bring people back from the dead, and it was safe to say that the film was different from anything Bucky had ever seen before. Topless girls filled screens, fake blood and guts spewed from corpses, morbidly funny jokes had him laughing one minute and gasping in shock the next. It all came to a head however in the film’s climax where the doctor was strangled by a corpse’s small intestine and the screen cut to black leaving Bucky in suspense.
“What, that’s it?” he cried and you laughed.
“What happened to Herbert? Did the serum work on Meg? What is Dan gonna do about all the dead people just roaming around?” he cried out before looking at you desperately, “please tell me there’s more!”
You giggled, “there’s a sequel,” you sighed, “but it’s not very good…”
“I don’t care,” Bucky responded, “I need more!”
So there the two of you sat for the rest of the afternoon and night, glued to the television watching a movie that in all honesty kind of sucked after the first twenty minutes, but neither of you truly caring, just too wrapped up in the characters to mind the terrible plotlines and inconsistent character development.
When the movie finally came to an end and the credits began to roll, you launched into an excited discussion on Herbert West’s motivations and Dan’s inability to touch a patient without immediately killing them. It was some of the most fun Bucky had had in awhile, and, for a second, it was almost like he was a kid again ready for Halloween to arrive.
“Can I tell you a secret, Buck?” you asked leaning into him, so close he could practically smell your strawberry shampoo.
He nodded, “of course,” he said.
“No,” you said, “I mean, it’s like top secret, like, some CIA shit, can I still trust you?”
He smirked, “what, are you gonna tell me you’ve been reanimating people on the side?”
You laughed, “no, the only thing I bring to life is the spirit of Halloween in this place,” you said, “so, can I trust you or not?”
Bucky nodded, “lay it on me doll,” he said and he could swear he saw a faint blush creep into your cheeks.
“Alright then,” you said, glancing away for a moment before returning to meet his eyes, “it’s about my costume for Tony’s Halloween party.”
The got Bucky’s attention. You were notoriously secretive about your costume for the party, deflecting any questions aimed at you about it, hiding it away behind the locked door of your bedroom, even refusing to ask for help when you came out of your room bleeding from sticking yourself with sewing needles one too many times. The fact that you were willing to trust him with your secret costume was something of an honor.
“What is it?” Bucky asked?
You smiled, “not so fast,” you said, “why don’t you tell me what you’re going to be.”
Bucky’s excitement faltered as he contemplated lying to you and saying something basic, he’d gone to the party store with Sam and Steve who’d tried to rope him into being the third stooge with them, but he’d refused, it just hadn’t felt right, none of the costumes they’d suggested had, in the end, he’d just decided not to go, he just wasn’t up for it, but he knew telling you that would be the most disappointing thing ever.
So he just shrugged, “I don’t have one yet,” he said, “I’m still weighing my options.”
Your smile grew wider, “would you like to do a partner costume with me?”
The proposition was shocking to say the least, taking him by surprise. Halloween was two weeks away and you’d been working on your costume for months, did you really expect him to just have something ready?
“What is it?” he asked.
Then you leaned closer, your lips touching the lobe of his ear and sending shivers down your spine, and you told him, and his smile only grew. When you pulled away he nodded excitedly.
“I’ll do it,” he said.
“What’s up with Frosty and the Little Girl?” Sam asked confused though Steve could barely hear him over the music blasting throughout the party room, “they’ve been spending a lot of time together lately, and now their both late, what’s up with that?”
Steve shrugged, “I didn’t think Bucky was coming, but (Y/N) surprises me, would’ve thought she’d be the first one here,” he practically shouted to be heard.
“I know! That girl is crazy about Halloween, and I wanna see this costume she’s been obsessing over,” Sam replied.
Steve was just about to say something else when the doors to the party room opened and in stepped you with Bucky in tow. You were clad in a disheveled looking, blood covered dress shirt and suit with your hair pinned back to make it look shorter and quoiffed. A skinny tie was around your neck and you held a vial of what looked like green glow stick fluid in your hand while a pair of huge glasses took up most of your face.
Bucky stood behind you, his outfit was much simpler with a blood-soaked white tank top and a pair of bloody blue jeans, his hair had been styled shorter too, and in his hand he carried a blood-stained axe.
Steve had absolutely no idea what you two were supposed to be, but you both someone worked it so well that he didn’t care. You two had the biggest smiles on your faces both relishing in their parts.
He approached you and smiled back.
“What the hell are you two supposed to be?” he asked.
“You remember that movie I tried to get you to watch a few weeks back?” Bucky asked.
Steve rolled his eyes, “you mean the really crappy one from the eighties?”
You gasped with mock outrage, “how dare you! It’s a tour de force!”
“We’re the main characters from it, Herbert West and Dan Cane,” Bucky explained further.
Sam laughed, “you two are such dorks,” he said.
You just beamed and entwined your arm with Bucky, “yes,” you said, “yes we are, and we’re gonna go kill it on the dance floor now, so if you’ll excuse us,” you pulled Bucky towards the crowd of dancing people and both of you were quickly swallowed up by the crowd.
And that night, dancing with you, laughing until his sides hurt, taking terrible pumpkin flavored shots, and wearing one of the best costumes in the world, Bucky felt every real struggle and fear melt away from him, he felt his heart begin to thaw and he remembered just what he loved so much about Halloween.
It truly was a night of magic.