Bucky snaps out of the nightmare, panting, and groping for a knife. For a handful of moments his mind is terrifyingly blank. Then he remembers the name Soldat, and what that means, and he wonders if the darkness all around him is a punishment. He swipes at thin air, the knife real in his hand, before a voice calls to him through the fog of confusion. It's familiar, warm and comforting. It feels like understanding, acceptance and belonging. It feels like home.
What is home?
His chest aches and head swims as more memories start to trickle back to him. So much pain and death. He pushes himself back against the wall, away from the voice, searching in the dark. Is this a test? Did he do something wrong on his last mission? He can’t remember the last mission and that scares him.
And then there’s light. There’s a man turning on a lamp. Soldat blinks in the golden glow as he takes in his surroundings. He looks down and sees he’s in a bed, that they’re both in the bed. He can feel the softness all around him now, from the pillows to the sheets. The man’s still talking, making him relax. His voice is soft too. The man tells him to put down the knife, and he does.
The man blinks and Soldat realises he said it out loud. The man’s name is Clint. Clint ignores the knife between them on the covers, and leans over to take Soldat in his arms. Soldat doesn’t understand at first but the Clint seems so certain. He just holds on to him and talks. Soldat tries to pull away but it it just makes the man’s grip tighten on him.
Clint keeps saying a word. Bucky? Bucky. Your name is Bucky,, Clint is telling him, and Soldat - Bucky - knows it’s true. He turns, pressing his face into the blonde man’s neck. Slowly, more things come back to him, memories of the far past and the near. He shudders against Clint, not able to hold back the tears. Clint just keeps talking to him in a soothing voice as he lets them fall: telling him he understands, that he has been there too, that he’s not going anywhere.
In Clint’s arms, Bucky realises; this is home.