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Between the Motion and the Act

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He hears it. More than hears it, feels it in his bones, down his spine, reverberating through the earth under the soles of his feet. It's a sharp, percussive sound, and he can't identify it exactly, except that he knows exactly what it is.

It's the end.

The fighting had already hit a lull and now it stops entirely. Everyone heard that sound.

Bucky turns and starts running toward the source of the sound, which is also, of course, the last direction he saw Steve moving.

He can feel the end beginning inside him, like something is coming undone. Not a wound, but an unwinding. He remembers Shuri telling him about all the empty spaces in matter that seems solid, held together by... he doesn't remember what, and now, he knows, it's not holding together anymore.

There's nothing to be done about it. The end is here. The only thing he can choose is where to stand.

He comes around a curve in the path and finds them. Steve's pals, and the man himself.

"Steve?" Bucky calls out. He doesn't know what question he's asking, but it's already answered by the sight of him there, still whole, solid and golden and real even now.

Bucky's still moving, trying to get closer. It'd be nice to get one last touch, to catch hands this time while everything else falls apart, but at least he can see Steve, and Steve can see him. No uncertainty this time, no missing, presumed--

Steve's just standing still. He's not uncaring--never uncaring, not Steve--but stunned. His hands are at his sides. He's not fighting, not shouting, not even trying to close the distance between them. It looks like he knows, too.

There's nothing left to fight. There's just this unraveling in the silence after the sound.

That's all right, then, Bucky thinks, feeling the wind whistle through the widening spaces in what used to be him. That's all right. Maybe now we can both get some rest.