The Force Between Us (Is Magnetic)
He looked... different from what Bucky remembered. At least, from part of what he remembered. In Bucky's mind's eye, Steve Rogers (your best friend, a voice supplied in his subconscious) was a small, skinny man who lived in 1920s Brooklyn and couldn't hold his own in a fight, no matter how hard he tried. And yet, in some of Bucky's hazy, indistinct memories, Steve Rogers was Captain America, symbol of justice and freedom, strong, courageous, and kind. He was a super soldier, a fighter (he had Bucky's back in every fight, and Bucky had his), the hero of the Second World War. As much as the two Steve Rogers clashed in his brain, they both seemed to have the same core principles as the other.
Indeed, the strangest thing to Bucky was not the two different Steves in his mind, but the current Captain America. This man had Steve Rogers' face, his voice, his memories (I'm with you to the end of the line). How could Steve be here, unchanged and young, seventy years since Bucky last saw him? Had he been kept in Cryosleep too? Was he a clone created by Hydra or SHIELD? Was it something completely different? Conspiracy theories aside, deep in his gut Bucky knew that this modern Steve was still his Steve: loyal and brave to the end.
But- A loud crash interrupted Bucky's thoughts as a giant robot landed right in front of him with the man of his musings riding on it's back. Civilians were screaming and running everywhere.
The monstrous bot reached over its shoulder and hurled its hitchhiker into the nearby building. An unwarranted "Steve!" escaped from Bucky's lips as he automatically leapt a towards the offending machine.
Vaulting onto the robot's now unoccupied back, Bucky grabbed the round (vibranium, his subconscious supplied) shield jutting from the artificial humanoid's metal spine. With his mechanical arm, he reached into the head cavity and pulled out every important-looking wire he could find. With a final defiant whir, the bot fell face forward onto the pavement.
Bucky looked up from his work, previous adrenaline fading, to find Cap struggling to get out of his human-shaped dent. The next logical course of action would be to flee and never look back but—
There was so much Bucky still couldn't remember or just didn't know, about himself, who he was, who Steve was to him, and how all of the Rogers in his memories were connected. So many questions would be answered, and yet Bucky hesitated. Once chosen, he could never return.
He turned to leave but, alas, made the mistake of looking back. The broken, hopeful, pleading look on Steve's face as he struggled all the harder to remove himself from the rubble made Bucky stop in his tracks. But then he wasn't stopped anymore.
Just as Cap burst from the debris, Bucky was yanked sideways by his fake arm towards the fallen robot. Realization hit him like Cap's shield as other metals flew in the same direction. The robot had a giant electromagnet in it that just had to still be functioning. Bucky tried to pull away, but the magnet refused to give up its arm-shaped prize. His boots skidded on the gravel. The Winter Soldier's only weakness: magnets, Bucky thought sarcastically.
A strong hand grabbed his flesh arm, startling him. Bucky turned and found himself face-to-face with Captain America. Determination shone in Steve's eyes as he dragged Bucky out of the magnet's range, Bucky helping as much as he could. When they finally made it, they collapsed against the side of a building, panting.
"Buck-" Steve started, only to be interrupted.
"I'm not leaving again. I need to know more about myself and everything else and you seem to be the best source of information." Bucky's voice was carefully neutral, giving nothing away. Cap seemed to deflate a bit.
"Oh," he muttered, looking his companion straight in the eye. "How much do you remember?"
"Enough. I know my name is James Buchanan Barnes. You are Steve Rogers. We knew each other well."
"Yeah," Steve agreed. Then a hesitant "Is that all?"
"I remember that we... we were best friends."
"We could have that friendship again."
"We'll have to wait and see."
"Come on." Steve stood up and helped Bucky to his feet. "Let me get my shield, then we can get some coffee and... talk things over. Just, don't leave. Please."
"I'll be here."
Steve dusted himself off, gave Bucky a quick grin, and hurried off to retrieve his shield. As soon as Cap was gone, the Winter Soldier took a quick analysis of his surroundings and escaped up the side of a building. This time, he didn't look back. He wasn't ready to face his past. Not yet.