Bucky wasn’t even sure he was going to play any Overwatch that night, but when he opened the Blizzard app and saw a few of his friends in a custom game, his curiosity was piqued. He launched the game and sent a private message to one of his friends, a fellow army veteran named Laura that he really liked playing with.
TO [Quueenie]: got space?
[Quueenie]: yeah perfect, we need one more
[Quueenie]: hang on
The invite popped up a second later and Bucky hit accept.
TO [Quueenie]: why a custom game
[Quueenie]: falcon’s friend is new, he wanted us to play custom so he could get the hang of it
Bucky joined match chat.
“Yo yo yo,” Laura said. “Welcome to the game.”
“Hey everyone,” Bucky greeted, watching as the game’s moderator, FalconKnight reset the match and the twelve players were slotted onto different teams. Bucky didn’t know everyone in the game, but it was easy to tell that the new person was THECapRogers, because the guy was level 3.
“Yo, Prez, good to see you, man. Thanks for filling out our 12,” Falcon said. Bucky didn’t know Falcon personally, but Laura did. They were friends from the VA. Between Bucky’s friends, Laura’s friends, and Falcon’s friends, they had a pool of ten or so regulars, plus a few other people who came and went. They’d fill up a team to six most nights, first-come-first-serve. “You're not streaming tonight?”
“Nah, just playing for fun,” Bucky said, answering to his in-game nickname. His screen name was President15, so everyone called him Prez. First names weren't uncommon among this group, but since not everyone knew each other, using screen names kept things simpler— especially during the fast paced matches, when it would have been chaos trying to clarify who was meant by an IRL name call. “What’re we doing?”
“Just running some basic gameplay so Cap gets a feel for the game,” a new voice chimed in, someone Bucky had only played with once before called BigMoodMan. Bucky remembered him because, who wouldn’t remember such a great name? Speaking of screen names….
“Cap Rogers,” Bucky mused. “You a big fan of the man himself, huh?”
There was a pause while everyone waited for Cap to answer, and then Bucky heard Falcon’s voice quietly, from Cap’s mic, “—off push to talk, nobody wants that. Try that.”
“Hello?” a new voice said, deep and uncertain. “Can you hear me now?”
Everyone started laughing and quoting Sprint commercials, which Bucky could hear Falcon explaining to Cap in the background. He quirked an eyebrow as he locked in on his favorite hero to play when his team was just messing around or warming up, the sniper Widowmaker. Laura and her husband Dave picked tanks, their friends BoopGalore and BetsyHI ended up on healers, and the last person on the team was someone Bucky didn’t know, GandalfAF, who picked the fast-moving, high-damage hero Tracer. Not too bad.
“So, you’re a Captain America fan, huh, Cap?” Bucky repeated his question now that the jokes had stopped.
“Maybe my name really is Rogers,” Cap pointed out, voice amused.
“Sure,” Bucky said easily. “And I’m really James Buchanan.” Not really a lie, but that was part of the joke. Though Cap wasn’t in on it.
Laura and his other real-world friends were, and snickered.
“President fifteen, James Buchanan,” Cap said dryly. “Not the most frequently picked president to— what’s the word? Fanboy over?”
Cackling was had all around. “Fanboy,” Dave repeated gleefully. “It’s official, you can stay in our group.”
“Besides, I didn’t make my account, Sam did,” Cap said. “He picked this name.”
“Well, we all know Sam’s a Cap fanboy,” Laura said, making Falcon squawk indignantly.
Then the match started. Bucky found his way into a nice sniper perch and pulled up his scope, mouthing the words “I see you” along with Widow’s taunting voiceline. He got an early pick on one of their healers, and quickly tabbed to make sure it wasn’t Cap. He didn’t really want to snipe the guy too much during his first time playing. The point was for Cap to learn how to play, not to take advantage of the fact that new players always ended up standing stock still for way to long.
But no, Cap was on the classic shooter character Soldier76, the stoic, seasoned super soldier who wielded a big, rapid fire rifle.
“You a Call of Duty man, Cap?” Bucky asked, missing a shot on Falcon, who was playing his usual Pharah, the flying rocket-launching queen. He took another shot, hit Falcon’s body—not enough to kill him, but enough that he dropped out of the sky for healing.
“What? What’s Call of Duty?”
Falcon snickered. “He picked 76 because he saw a kindred spirit. Old.”
“Hey!” Cap said. “He runs fast, too. Know who else runs fast, Sam?”
“Shut up,” Falcon shot back.
Bucky got a sweet headshot on Falcon and grinned with satisfaction at Falcon’s quick, angry curse.
Then one of the guys on the other team landed a headshot on him with Hanzo, and his laugh cut off with a disappointed “Fuck!”
Falcon laughed as Bucky watched his team lose the fight on point A from the view of death spectating, the worst feeling.
“Regroup, we got this,” BetsyHI said calmly.
“High ground shield?” Bucky requested.
“You got it,” Laura agreed easily. “Meet you up there.”
Cap surprised them all with a triple kill ult, but it wasn’t enough to make up for Bucky taking out both enemy healers at the beginning of the push, and Bucky’s team rallied thanks to the defense respawn advantage, and they won the next two fights handily.
“Watch Zarya, she’s gotta be sitting on grav,” Laura called right before Falcon’s friend who was playing Zarya used her ultimate and caught three including Bucky, who had been out of position thanks to Falcon harassing him on the high ground. Then came the telltale shouting in Japanese and twin red dragons destroyed him and the other two stuck in the gravity orb of Zarya’s ultimate.
Falcon’s team cleaned up quickly after that and then it was a series of frustrating dive-and-dies until finally they lost and it was done.
Bucky’s team steamrolled Falcon’s when they switched sides, then they switched up teams and Bucky found himself on the same team as the new guy.
“What’s your poison this time, Cap?” Bucky asked. “Sticking with Soldier?”
“Nah, who’s this?” he asked, picking Mei.
“Oh god,” Laura, who was still on Bucky’s team, groaned. “Falcon, you didn’t tell us the new guy is a satan-lover!”
“What!” Cap yelped while everyone else immediately started laughing or harassing him for liking Mei.
Eventually the game started up and things went okay until Cap mistakenly ice-walled Bucky, who was solo-healing, away from everyone else.
“No, the wall!” Bucky groaned, pulling out his sad little pistol and taking a few shots at the enemies closing in on him, before promptly dying.
“Oh no!” Cap said, realizing what had happened. “Oh god! I’m so sorry, I didn’t—sorry!”
“It’s alright, man,” Bucky said, letting it go. “You’re still learning. But next time, you can push the wall button again and it’ll go away.”
“Oh,” Cap said. “Sorry.”
A few games later and Cap was getting the hang of a few characters, and finally a few people started to bow out. Falcon invited the remaining people to stick around to show Cap some cool tricky things, like deflecting and teleporting ults or different ways to get environmental kills. Things devolved from there when Bucky discovered how much Cap was entertained by some of the emotes, and it became Bucky’s goal to show him all of the silliest things.
Ana’s beach ball emote was a favorite, and Bucky was delighted when Cap joined him in bullying Falcon into abandoning any semblance of serious play to orchestrate a beach party on Gibraltar, which involved a lot of dying by accidentally falling off the cliff as everyone crowded around to get closer to the beach ball that Bucky would throw out until someone was nudged over the edge to their death.
Finally it was late enough that Bucky sighed and excused himself, knowing he had to be up for work in the morning. Before signing off, he sent Cap a friend request, then hit up Twitter to confirm he’d be streaming in the evening the next day.