When James Buchanan Barnes was born to Winifred and George Barnes, they knew immediately that the distant (so distant that they might as well never have been related) Addams blood had shown in their boy. While most ‘normal’ people would be horrified at the pale as death skin, icy, colorless blue-grey eyes, and a full head of hair that exuded darkness, the Barnes couple looked on with pride as the newborn James bit the nurse with his two small baby fangs when she spanked him.
“It’s a Barnes!” George smiled with pride at his newborn son, flashing fang. Winnie flashed her own, her dark eyes looking with love as her newborn son reached for her necklace with its razor blade pendant. The little baby pricked his finger on the sharp blade, and giggled, sucking his tiny hands in his mouth, smiling as he suckled the blood. When his hand left his mouth, the tiny wound was healed without a scar.
The nurses whispered about the ‘Devil-child’ and the parents that looked far too dark and frightening to be normal. They avoided entering the Barnes’ room, and those who were forced to enter did so with great reluctance. They came back with stories of babies with knives and teddy-bears with fangs and glowing red eyes. The head Doctor scoffed at the stories, though he never checked himself, and it was with great relief that the nurses saw the Barnes family leave the hospital a week after James Buchanan Barnes was born with nary a sound; still and quiet as death as he left his mother's womb.
The neighbors whispered about the house in the Brooklyn suburbs, a dark, Victorian house that looked like something from a dark novel, in between two apartment buildings, surrounded by wrought iron gates and a swamp. The neighbors heard howls during the day, cackles on full moons, and blood curdling shrieks in the dead of night. Mrs. Barnes never left the house without her black parasol covering her pale skin and dark hair from the sun, and George Barnes never left without his cane and his cigar. It was said that his cane contained a sword and that he would challenge any random man to a sword fight.
The Barneses were avoided on the street, in the shops, and in general. Though it wasn’t often they were seen outside their large house at all. They didn’t work, yet they always seemed to have money, baffling the neighborhood and making them jealous that while the rest of them worked to put food on the table, the Barnes family lifted nary a finger in order to get food, clothing, and luxuries such as sugar, extra milk, and the best cuts of meat. The butcher swore that the Barnes would nibble on the raw meat as they took it from the store, blood dripping from their blood red lips. The butcher once said that they fed little James a nibble of raw goat.
As the baby grew, the boy was more often seen on the streets, though he never played with the other children, and prefered to observe the young kids playing while carving what looked like black, charred wood into figures of horror. Once, a skull swallowing a bird, another time, a heart with a dagger embedded in it. The Barnes boy was never seen without his little knife and wood block, while staring at his age-mates with cold, icy blue soulless eyes.
The other children were frightened of the Barnes boy, and he was never invited to play.They wouldn’t talk to him, either, ignoring his existence like he wasn’t even there, just as their parents had told them to do.
Until Sarah Rogers moved in and little Steven Rogers had seen the pale boy with the dark glare sitting alone and ignored while others played.
Little nine-year-old Steve walked right up to ten-year-old James Buchanan Barnes and thrust his hand out.
“Hi I’m Steve,” the blond boy smiled, sunny and bright. James squinted as the smile made something in him cringe at the happiness. “Wanna play?”
“I’m James Buchanan Barnes,” James said flatly, not a smile to be seen on his face. “And why? Nobody plays with me.”
“Why not?” Steve asked the pale-skinned boy.
“Because they are afraid of me.” James told him bluntly.
Bucky sighed, and pointed his dagger in Steve’s direction, his interest piqued when Steve didn’t even flinch at the movement.
“They don’t like my family. They don’t like my knives, and they don’t like the way I play.”
“Well that’s stupid,” Steve huffed, “What do you like to play?”
“Knife juggling, Blood-draw Tag, things like that.”
Steve scrunched up his nose, but didn’t look afraid, which made James even more interested.
“Well, ‘m not very good at juggling, and I can’t run fast cus’ my chest gets all funny an’ tight,” Steve told him, “But maybe you can teach me ta’ carve like you?” Steve suggested.
Slowly, James grinned, flashing a fang. James felt a burst of--Ew--joy when Steve just smiled back.
He thought he might have, at long last, found a friend.
A month later, Steve was playing with James, slowly learning the movements of his carving with his own dagger that Mrs. Barnes had gifted him when James had dragged him home by his hand, introducing him to his family. Mrs. Barnes had been so dreadfully happy when she heard that James had found a friend that wouldn’t run from him, commenting on how Steve would look just like them with his sickly pale skin if it wasn’t for his horrible blond hair.
Steve hadn’t been offended, just accepting it as one of their quirks, and taking it as the compliment it was meant as.
James liked him even more.
“So why Buchanan?” Steve asked James, being careful not to slip and cut himself; he wouldn’t heal like James, and it would be dangerous if he lost enough blood.
“My great great great Pa’pa was named Buchanan. He was burned in the Salem witch trials, and lived.”
Steve nodded, accepting it. “Well that’s a bit boring, what about Bucky?”
Bucky curled his lip. “That’s so… cute. Disgusting.”
“But once when we lived in Ireland I saw a Buck spear a man through the stomach with his horns. Reminds me of ya,” Steve explained, and Bucky smirked.
“How gruesome,” He said flatly. “I love it, you may call me that, then.”
James, now named Bucky, flashed a fang, making Steve smile.
“I think your fangs need sharpening,” Steve observed, poking the tooth, the fang not piercing the skin. “You want me to get ma’s steel wool again? I think we have some.”
“Mother has some metal sandpaper, it arrived in the mail yesterday,” Bucky said, “Would you like me to do yours?” the brunette offered, and Steve shook his head.
“No thanks, Buck, I think my teeth are more fragile than yours.”
Bucky shrugged, “If you say so, though I think you would have less people beating you up if you could rip their throats out on a whim. What about growing your claws? You could use them as well.”
“Bucky, I’m not gonna rip their throats out, that kills normal people, remember? And besides, I can’t grow my nails as strong as yours, anyways.”
Bucky huffed, pouting.
“My Uncle survived a wolf ripping off his head. Normal people are gross.”
“Hey,” Steve pouted, and Bucky smirked, patting Steve on the cheek.
“Don’t worry, you’re different then them,” Bucky assured him, “Even if you are weak and fragile and normal.”
“M’ not weak ,” Steve snapped, and Bucky looked at him fondly.
“Only in body, Mon Ami,” Bucky smirked, “Your soul is just as strong as my grandmama's rat poison stew.”
Steve laughed, and Bucky only twitched a little bit at the happy sound.
“I love it when you speak French, Buck, wish I could speak it.”
“I will teach you then,” Bucky declared, and Steve brightened even further, making Bucky cringe a little.
“Really? Thank you Bucky!”
“Anything for my best friend, Stevie,” Bucky’s eye twitched as the nickname left his lips. He would deal with the cutesy name, he decided.
The first time Steve got Sick,Bucky had no idea what to do; sickness was not something that happened in his family. So when Steve became bedridden from illness the first Winter that Bucky spent as his friend, the Barnes boy had no clue what to do.
Bucky at first had wondered what it felt like, to be sick, but one look at Steve's runny nose, cheeks flushed with fever, and glassy eyes made him glad he wasn't able to contract any illness. Bucky had wrinkled his nose at Steve's state , but had immediately gone to help Ms. Rogers take Care of Steve. Bucky knew that Sarah Rogers was stretched thin between work and her son, and it was taking a toll on her, by the bags under her eyes and the increasing thinness to her cheeks.
"James, you need to stop worrying about me," the blonde woman smiled tiredly, "I'm perfectly fine, James."
Bucky raised a skeptical eyebrow at what was clearly a lie, and scoffed, not believing her for a second.
Ms. Rogers sighed, used to the fact that she was incapable of lying to any Barnes. To be honest, Ms. Rogers was just as bad a liar as her son, and Bucky had no doubt it was an inherited trait.
"Forgive me, Ms. Rogers, but I don't believe you," he told her gently, shaking his head.
Gently leading her to her room with a hand on her arm, Bucky made sure she got there ok, and then went to take care of his best friend.
It was one of many times this would happen.
When Sarah Rogers started showing signs of Sickness, Bucky knew that he would have to start making plans. Steve was only 15, Bucky a year older, and didn't have the means to take care of himself on his own.Bucky knew he needed to make plans for when Steve's ma passed over, and he decided to bring the subject up with his mother.
Walking into the Barnes Mansion, Bucky smelt the lovely smell of his mothers Rat Poison Stew. Sniffing out the origin of the scent, Bucky's nose led him towards the main kitchen, where his mother was stirring a neon-green stew in a cast-iron pot.
Walking over, Bucky kissed his Mother's outstretched cheek.
"What brings you home so early, love?" his Mother smiled. Bucky knew that his mother knew exactly what he was home early for, but he chose to not mention that.
"Sarah Rogers is dying, " Bucky murmured, "Steve is going to need a home. "
Winifred Barnes chuckled, and replied simply, "Then he will stay here, with us."
And that was that.
Bucky wasn’t sure why Steve was crying. Steve’s mother’s soul had left the achingly dull earthly plane and had joined her ancestors on the delightfully dark spiritual plane, shedding her weak human form. Wasn’t this a cause for joy? Apparently not, since Steve was crying into his best waistcoat and making it soaked.
“She has joined her ancestors and is no longer in glorious agony, Stevie. Is that not better for normal people?”
“But, now I’ll never see her again!” seventeen-year-old Steve sobbed, while the eighteen-year-old Bucky patted his back awkwardly.
“When you eventually leave this earth in what I predict will be a bloody and gloriously painful death, you will see her again as you join her and your ancestors, Stevie, do not fret.”
Steve sniffed, lifting his head and wiping his eyes.
“Thanks, Buck, you always know what to say,” Steve smiled wobbly at him and then sighed. “I got nowhere to go now, though, I need to sell the house, I can’t afford it on my salary.”
“Nonsense,” Bucky scoffed, “You will move in with me and my family. Mother would love to have you, and cousin That loves it when you play fetch. Nobody gives him hand massages better than you.”
“Thanks, Buck, but I can get by on my own,” Steve said softly, and Bucky rolled his icy eyes.
“You are moving in, and that’s final.”
And like all those years ago, Bucky grabbed Steve’s hand and dragged him home. To their home.
Living with Steve at his family Mansion was a delight.
Becca loved Steve, Cozying up to him almost immediately. Steve, Becca had informed him, played 'dead and dying' better than even Bucky did. It helped that Steve's breathing was usually uneven and slow, and his skin pale and cold, and constant trips to the hospital gave Bucky the chance to pinch a few old medical items and empty pill bottles. Bucky even swiped a scalpel once, after making Becca promise she would never use it on Steve. Becca promised, and used it on Bucky instead.
Laura, the oldest of the Barnes Girls, said that Steve made amazingly dreary paintings to add to her walls. She would watch Steve paint, standing still for hours while he worked on commissions for his job. He didn't need a job, but insisted on having one anyways. Winifred would cluck her tongue and shake her head, but she was always happy that Steve was getting something from what he loved doing.
Mother loved how Steve was an amazing help in the kitchen, even if he had to wear a gas mask and rubber gloves while doing so. Steve was surprisingly good at cooking, and took to it like a duck to water. Winifred enjoyed cooking, and would kick anyone out of the kitchen before Steve came to live with them. Now, only Steve was allowed to help Winifred Barnes in the kitchen. Bucky tried to sneak in once, and suddenly found himself on the other side of Brooklyn, trudging home in the bright sunlight. Bucky never tried again, after that.
Lily, the middle Barnes girl, loved it when Steve would teach her to draw. She was so talented at, as well; Lily picked up Steve's lessons quickly, making beautiful drawings even at age 12. Steve even sold some of her drawings, giving the earnings to the young girl.
Basically, Steve Rogers fit in with the Barnes family like he had always been there, and if it wasn't for Steve's sickly disposition and blond hair, one could mistake him for a Barnes by blood.
When Bucky got his draft notice, it was with great joy for the Barnes family, and sadness and fear from Steve.
“Oh, James,” Mrs. Barnes cooed, trimming the live rosebuds off the rosebush in the greenhouse. “You get to know the glory of battle that your grandfather Edness knew! So much blood, the fear, the delightful pain of bullets and death…” Mrs. Barnes sighed wistfully, eyes fluttering. “Your father will be so proud on his spiritual plane,”
Bucky’s father had died two years ago when he was hunting wolves in Romania. Father had told them he had lived long enough, and then had gone on the trip with his mother’s blessing and his son’s well wishes. Steve had wished the man well, used to the Barnes’ thoughts on death by then.
“I’m sure he will send us a sign, Mother,” Bucky smirked, ripping the live daisies out of the soil, while Steve threw them in the portable witch fire.
“I want to go with you, Buck,” Steve told him firmly, his jaw stubborn and clenched.
“Steve, you cannot even beat a bully in a fair fight,” Bucky said bluntly. “You wouldn’t last through training, let alone true glorious and bloody battle.”
Bucky had known Steve since he was ten. He knew that Steve was a strong person, when it came to his soul, but when it came to his average, human body, he could be broken by a child. Steve was fragile in normal situations, but in battle… Steve would likely slow down most of his unit. Though Bucky did not care much for the other men, he worried Steve would be killed if he went into battle. Though Bucky knew Steve would join his ancestors in death, Bucky was not ready for Steve to leave his mortal shell quite yet. Bucky knew that Steve would make an enchanting corpse, but he was not ready for that body to lose its brightness, painful as it was at times. Bucky knew that Steve would eventually leave this world, most likely sooner than even most normal humans, But Bucky was determined to make sure that Steve’s soul stayed on this plane for as long as he could possibly keep him. Bucky would tear into anyone that dared try and take Steve away from him.
So Bucky would not stand for Steve joining the army. He did not want to see Steve losing what brightness he had, the light that persevered even though he had been friends with Bucky for years, and lived with the Barnes family since he was seventeen. Steve’s brightness and goodness often made Bucky grimace, and his bright smiles still made Bucky twitch when he was unprepared, but Bucky didn’t want to see Steve lose that light, that innocence that he still carried years later.
And Bucky told Steve this, staring blankly as Steve gaped at him, jaw swinging in the wind.
“Buck…” Steve whispered, looking at him with--gross-- love . “That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to anyone,” Steve told him, and Bucky scowled.
“Is it? Disgusting. Remind me to never do it again.”
Steve shook his head, chuckling. “Of course, Buck. I’ll tell you next time.”
Bucky knew Steve wouldn’t tell him, but he didn’t much care.
“So should we pour the acid on the raspberry bushes now, or the apple tree?” Bucky changed the subject, eager to get on other topics. Bucky should have known that Steve wouldn’t let his stubbornness of going to war go.
Though he didn’t quite expect what exactly happened to happen.
He should have expected Steve to find a way.
Zola found himself shaking his head over the results of his latest ‘session’ with what he hoped would be HYDRA’s next and greatest Asset. Sergeant Barnes, 32557038 was newly minted and young as the newest recruit. He had expected the oddly pale man to have broken within the first hour, like many of the men that had graced his table had done; or at least have had the grace to die when they had not.
Strangely, Sergeant Barnes seemingly enjoyed the torture and experiments Zola and his assistants forced upon him. Barnes would laugh and moan and downright purr when most men would scream or cry and beg for their lives. Barnes seemed to look forward to each new session, each new torture or test that would be introduced. He especially loved the electric chair; He said it tingled him delightfully.
To be completely honest, it baffled the ever living hell out of the Swiss scientist.
Baffled, and annoyed him.
Herr Schmidt was breathing down his neck for results, wanting Barnes as an Asset at the soonest opportunity, and Zola was terrified that he would have to tell the man of his current failure. Not once had Zola failed to break a man, and he feared what the consequences would be if he failed to deliver what he promised he could produce.
But as he yet again turned on the electricity on the Chair and the currant ran through a delightedly laughing Barnes, Zola found himself preparing mentally for the punishment he would receive upon Herr Schmidt discovering his failure.
It wasn’t until one of the Techs started singing a cheery lullaby that he sang to his daughter the night before that they had gotten any reaction out of Barnes.
The second the cheery tune entered the Sergeant’s ears, his laughing cut off, and he flinched, his face going, if possible, even paler than before. The techs did not notice, but Zola’s shrewd eye caught the movement, and he squinted. Much to the techs surprise, he began to sing along, to test his theory, and was delighted when Barnes began to tremble slightly, sweat beading on a previously dry as bone forehead.
Bringing one of the techs aside, he motioned for the young father to continue singing, much to their confusion.
“I want you to do something for me that will be...unusual,” Zola said quietly, “I want you to bring me everything cheery and happy you can find, be it recordings, toys, nice smelling oils, perhaps, even, some blessed water, and a way to simulate the sunlight when we can not open the sun hatch.”
“Dr. Zola, what-” the Tech began in confusion, but a swift jerk of his head silenced the woman.
“Do not ask questions, just do as I say. I have a suspicion about Barnes, and if I am correct, we might just break him yet.”
The tech still looked hesitant, but nodded reluctantly.
Zola began to sing again, watching with satisfaction as Barnes trembled at the cheery tune.
“Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high…”
Bucky mumbled his service number in pain as the happy music continued to sound in the chamber, and the lavender and rose oils scented his nose. A steady drip of blessed water dripped onto his forehead, steam rising as every drop hit his skin. His body was flushed and rosy, his usual icy temperature heated and warm. It was disgusting. It was torture.
Bucky could feel himself slowly losing everything that made him, him. He wished that he could see Steve one last time, even if the younger man’s brightness would most likely make it worse.
Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he flinched, hissing weakly, flashing his dull fangs. If this was Zola come to brag and gloat about his continued success in breaking ‘The Asset’, then he would not show weakness in the rat-like mans view. Bucky would be strong, he was a Barnes, and he would gladly feast on those who would subdue him . He would go down fighting, or not at all.
“Hey, Buck, It’s me, it’s Steve,” Bucky couldn’t believe his ears; Steve? In the middle of a HYDRA stronghold? Steve, being able to get- then he looked, really looked, at Steve. He looked at his childhood friend, and was shocked.
“Buck, I thought you were dead,” Steve sighed in relief, quickly wiping the oils off him with a cloth that felt delightfully like it was covered with his mother's Acid Scrub. Steve had released him from his bonds while Bucky had looked at him with shock, and had shut off the radios, recordings, sunlamps, and destroyed the drip.
Bucky’s skin felt delightfully tingly with the burning of acid scrub (the secret was in the poison ivy oils) and he looked at Steve in fascination. The once five foot four man now reached taller than him, and probably a few inches past six feet. His once skinny, malnourished body was packed with muscle that made Bucky think of his great grand uncle Vlad. Much to Bucky’s relief, Steve’s skin stayed as deathly pale as always. Bucky may not have been able to deal with that much change. The aura around Steve had an added delightful darkness to it that Bucky both loved and despised; it was the loss of innocence, the taking of a life, an awareness of the world in all its darkness and glory. Despite that darkness, Steve still shone like a beacon, if a duller one.
“I thought you were...normal,” Bucky quirked an eyebrow at him, and Steve smirked.
“What happened?” Bucky asked, as he limped after Steve out of the chamber, and Steve scoffed.
“I joined the Army.”
“Clearly,” Bucky drawled, “Is it permanent?”
“Was it gloriously painful?”
“Lovely, I’ll have to try it sometime,” Bucky mused.
“You’d love it,” Steve nodded.
Although Bucky had been intrigued by Schmidt's red skull, he was no less displeased that the man claimed himself superior and saw himself as better than all of humanity. The man was still human, no matter what ran through his veins or what glorious visage his face had taken on. Steve, though he had clearly gained strength that Bucky couldn’t wait to test out at the nearest opportunity, was still human. Schmidt, on the other hand, clearly saw himself as a literal god amongst men.
The Barnes clan and their (extremely distant) Addams cousins would laugh in the face of Schmidt's words. Bucky was no more afraid of the Red Skull then he was afraid of his Mother’s Rat Poison stew (made with extra arsenic), which is to say, not at all. The only thing Bucky felt for the man was disdain, and disgust.
Zola, on the other hand, better hope that Bucky or his family never caught up to the little toad. The minute Bucky ever got near that man.... He’ll have never felt the type of torture like the torture he would torture him with. The man would beg for the sweet release of death by the time Bucky would be done with him; Which of course, Bucky wouldn’t give the man the delightful luxury. Bucky would trap the man’s soul in his body and make him live in unbearable pain for the rest of his life. He was sure his grandmama would have a spell, somewhere in her grimoire. He would have to visit her grave and ask, when he was able to.
The march to the base gave him a delightful stretch in his sore and stiff muscles, and he pouted when they stopped hurting, his healing catching up with him. Steve had just given him a knowing look, and out of sight of the rest of the group, he reluctantly took the dagger Bucky had gifted him on his nineteenth birthday and had slid the knife into a non-lethal, but still painful, place in Bucky’s chest, the handle sticking out grotesquely. He welcomed the feeling, relishing the slow drag of the blade as it entered his flesh and passed muscle, piercing veins and pricking organs.
The wound didn’t bleed, because Bucky didn’t want the rest of the men to notice more oddities then they probably had with him. Under the guise of scratching his chest, Bucky would occasionally dig his fingers in the hole left behind so that he would get the pleasurable pain from the wound. Each and every time he did that, the horrible torture Zola inflicted on him would fade more and more, and he recovered faster and faster.
His men didn’t think anything about it, luckily not noticing. Bucky may have had no shame about who he was, but he did not want to cause trouble for Steve.
Steve, Bucky learned with delight, could handle a lot more than he used to. The once fragile man who would bruise at the slightest bump now wouldn’t bruise unless you put all your strength into hitting him. Bucky learned that when when Steve told him to test it, and he punched Steve in the shoulder with most of his strength. A purple bruise came and went just as fast as it would on Bucky or any of his family, and while it was an amazing feat, Bucky wondered just how Erskine had made something like this ‘Super Soldier Serum’. What was it made from? How did it give Steve the strength of five Barneses? Would it have any long-lasting or permanent downsides?
Bucky had plenty of questions he wished to be answered, but, as Steve had informed him, that probably wouldn’t be possible.
“What do you mean, you don’t know ?” Bucky hissed at Steve in the dead of night, the other soldiers sleeping while they kept watch. “That would be something I would ask about before signing up to be the next Frankenstein's beast!”
Steve jerked back, a hurt look on his face, and Bucky softened.
"Steve, you know I did not mean it that way..." Bucky frowned. "The beast my grandfather fought was much different than you, and hideous beyond measure. You are a specimen that would be revered by the gods. You shine twice as bright as a diamond soaked in the blood of your enemies.” Steve looked skeptical of the sudden praise. “What I mean," Bucky grimaced, "is that you let them remake you into the image of their own desire. You let them make you into THEIRS, and that is... unacceptable."
"Bucky? what do you mean?" Steve narrowed his eyes, a sudden tension filling the air, a tension that lingered like thick smog down their throats.
Bucky leaned forward, usually gunmetal blue eyes almost black with...something. "I mean, that you are mine , Steven Grant Rogers, and not some pathetic mortal soldier’s. And scientists--the fact that they tried to own you like a mule when you are all but a Barnes in everything but blood--" Bucky narrowed his eyes, "it makes me want to remind you just who you belong to.”
They were close, their faces only inches apart, breaths washing over each others faces, mingling and warm, gunmetal blue staring into sky-blue orbs. Steve’s ridiculously long lashes were fascinating, and Bucky found himself wanting to kiss each lid with loving intensity.
“Do you feel it?” Bucky whispered, the sound of his voice almost silent. The air seemed like it was crackling, the sudden onset of this aura of tension, of things Bucky long tried to ignore, was thick in the air, so much so one could almost choke on it.
“Yes, I feel it,” Steve breathed, the words seemed almost like a spell, and the tension in the air that had cracked around them became like a live wire, sparking and making their hairs almost stand on end. Leaning forward together, drawn like moths to a bonfire, their lips touched and the world around them stood still, the moment entrapping them in a bubble of just SteveandBucky .
Their world seemed to drip with darkness and red blooms of light, sparkes of Steve’s bright personality lighting up and complimenting the dark, dangerous aura. The kiss started out as a slow press of lips, barely brushing the flesh together, shocks of electricity running from their mouths down their spines, the feeling of rightness pouring from every motion of lips.
Bucky shuddered as Steve’s aura mingled with his own, as that brightness touched his own darkness. Bucky had known Steve for years, since they were children, but he still felt the slightest of twinges as Steve’s blinding aura grasped his and playfully stroked along it edges, teasing his own, tempting it. Bucky found himself musing on how Steve’s aura fit him, being just as much a little punk as the blond himself was.
Steve hissed slightly when one of Bucky’s fangs cut into his lip and tongue, but didn’t pull away, only kissed him even harder, the iron tang of blood making the duel of tongues and teeth sinfully decadent. Nevertheless, Bucky was more careful with his fangs, not wanting and blood to stain their clothes, less the others notice and question new blood that wasn’t there before. Bucky could have chosen not to bleed, but then Steve would bleed and he wouldn’t, and where was the fun in that?
The kiss seemed to go on for eternity and no time at all, and when they both pulled away, staring into each others’ hooded, dark eyes, the subtle tension that had been lingering between them ever since puberty had all but disappeared, a new, more lustful tension crackling in their auras. Unfortunately, it was a tension that they would have to ignore at the moment, since their current location and company, even asleep, was not the best place to continue anything further.
“Well,” Bucky smirked, voice smug, “You taste divine , dollface.”
Steve blushed from the roots of his hair down to his neck, and past his uniform collar, and Bucky was tempted to tear off that hideous thing to see if it went all the way down.
Later, Bucky found himself putting his shoes back on in the med tent while Steve was off debriefing Phillips and Carter (and the way she looked at Steve was not acceptable, and she better back off what was his or-) while grimacing as he looked at the Captain America poster with Steve’s costumed face and pointed finger grinning up at him.
Bucky sneered; they had turned his lover into a dancing primate and dressed him up in garish clothes and made him a symbol to the nation , not a person. Barely even human, the way some people were speaking about Captain America.
Bucky was angry at Steve for choosing such a way to make himself into property just to fight at Bucky’s side, but at the same time, he was flattered beyond belief. It was like those romance stories his mother told him when he was young, of the man who fell in love with the woman, and they left their earthly bodies behind so that they could be together in the spirit plane.
Granted, Steve had not killed himself, nor had Bucky, but they almost had died in that wretched place, so he counted it as a win.
A sudden whisper of canvas had him whip his head up, eyes narrowed, then relaxing when he saw it was just Dugan, one of his fellow prisoners before he got dragged to Zola’s ‘lab’.
“Hello, Corporal Dugan, to what do I owe the pleasure of your company?” Bucky asked, his voice extra-formal. He didn’t know the man well enough to relax completely around him, despite being held prisoner alongside him.
“Sergeant Barnes, right?” Dugan asked him, looking at Bucky with shrewd eyes, and Bucky stiffened.
“Yes, this is he,” he replied carefully, watching the larger man with wary eyes. “Is there something I can help you with, Corporal?”
Dugan looked at him in silence for a few minutes, his eyes looking over his shirtless form. If Bucky wasn’t so sure of Dugan’s heterosexual leanings, he would think the man was admiring his body. Alas, he realized with some alarm, he was gawking at at the clean, scar-free skin, even Steve’s little gift from the road had healed without a mark.
If anyone was going to notice, it would be this man, who was one of his cellmates and fellow soldiers who had fought in the 107th. Dugan had been there with him when he got shrapnel wounds from bombs and flying debris, he had been there when the HYDRA guards had beat him bloody and cut into him with their knives for fun.
Dugan knew that he ought to have scars. He knew that intimately from the time he (unnecessarily, because he loved the burn) helped hold Bucky down while Morita dug a bullet out of his arm, cleaned and cauterized the wound. He had seen that scar form and now, shirtless and still slightly weak from Zola’s ‘treatment’, it was glaringly obvious that where there was once a puckered, ugly looking red scar, now there was pale, flawless flesh that didn’t have a mark.
Dugan looked up from where he was staring, and looked right into Bucky’s eyes, his gaze narrowed. Bucky just looked back steadily, chin raised and jaw tight.
Bucky didn’t want to hurt this man, despite his usual playful games he wished to play, but he was prepared to do anything to prevent anyone from ruining his place beside Steve. If Steve had still been at home safe in the Barnes mansion, then things would be different, but alas, Steve had been his usual foolishly brave self, and had volunteered to be a government pincushion. There was no way in Hades’ realm Bucky was going to leave Steve alone to fight in the War on his own, let alone leave this plane of existence before the big blond.
“Put a shirt on, Sarge,” Dugan finally said, breaking the tense silence, “The boys and the Captain are going to the pub, have some drinks to celebrate bein’ free. Thought you could use the break.”
Slowly, Bucky smiled for the first time in front of him, and noticed with a twinge of...something… that Dugan didn’t even flinch as he saw his fangs for the first time.
“Sounds great, Corporal,” Bucky nodded, and Dugan scoffed.
“Call me Dum-Dum, Sarge, all my friends do.”
Smirking, Bucky replied, “Call me Bucky then.”
“Like hell,” Dugan laughed, and Bucky joined him.
Internally, Bucky felt an irritating flutter in his chest, next to his heart; It seems he had found another friend.
Morita was the first to comment on Bucky's. . . oddities. Granted, Bucky was mainly at fault, considering Bucky had gotten shot right in front of the man and had dug out the bullet and had healed in front of the man’s eyes. Something like that isn't easily explained away by any means.
The shot had come from his left while he and Morita had been scouting ahead while the rest of the Commandos waited until the two men gave the all-clear signal.
The shot cut through the air and shattered the still and previously silent air like a sharp knife, birds scattering from the trees and small animals running from the area.
Bucky didn't even flinch as the bullet pierced his flesh, right through his arm.
Bucky turned, and with a smooth movement he aimed his gun into the trees on his left and pulled the trigger, his own shot even louder with the lack of animals and natural noise.
A HYDRA Agent fell out of a tree 20 meters from them on their left.
Bucky sighed, holstering his gun and then bringing his un-injured hand up to poke at the hole in his fairly new jacket.
Pouting when he realised he would have to darn it with the little thread they had, he growled.
"Damn it," Bucky huffed “I hate sewing."
Bucky hated sewing. Most men would assume it was because sewing was thought of as a woman's job. They would be wrong; Bucky had three sisters, and sat in along with Steve when Winnifred Barnes taught her daughters how to sew and mend. Bucky didn't want to miss any time spent with his mother, not after Stevie's ma passed over. Bucky was just . . . really slow at it. Bucky didn't have the quick and nimble skill with a needle and thread as his mother and sisters. Steve was actually just as good as Bucky's mother at sewing and mending.
Bucky was snapped out of his thoughts when he felt Morita grab his arm. He looked at the man and saw his face pale as Bucky's skin knitted back together in front of his eyes.
Bucky met Morita’s shocked gaze and shrugged. "My distant cousins are Addams"
By the even farther widening of Morita’s eyes, he knew exactly what that meant.
Falling, Bucky decided, was a lot like flying, only in the wrong direction and with a more permanent destination. Bucky found himself looking around while he fell, not letting out a peep, not a scream or a cry leaving his lips. Bucky looked around himself, the glaringly white snow almost blinding in its brightness, the occasional hint of rocks and trees dotting here and there. The fall felt peaceful, almost, and freeing.
It was hitting the bottom that gave him the most delicious pain.
The Captain looked at her out of the corner of his eyes, still concentrating on the bottom of his empty whisky glass, wondering if he hoped hard enough, maybe he could use some of the Barnes Olde Magik to bypass the serum and let himself get spectacularly drunk.
“Ya know, I can’t get drunk anymore,” Steve muttered, pouring more into the glass before toasting the ghost of his best friend, slamming he glass back on the table.
Peggy brought one of the few untouched chairs to the table, sitting gingerly on it, watching Steve warily.
“Yes, Erskine said that might be a side effect of your healing factor,” she replied, tapping her fingers on the table.
“He didn’t scream,” Steve looked at her, and Peggy narrowed her eyes.
“I beg your pardon?”
“Bucky didn’t scream, when he fell. Hell,” Steve chuckled, “he probably thought it was better then the coaster at Coney Island. Probably had a fun time before he hit the bottom and joined his family on the Spiritual plane… left me behind…”
Peggy had a tick in her jaw as Steve talked, but then, she was used to Bucky and his...oddities, as people called them, and the fact that Steve had a few of them as well, from growing up with him.
“It wasn’t your fault, Steve.” Peggy told him, ignoring the other words he had spoke.
“Probably not,” Steve agreed, and the brunette woman arched her brow, surprised.
“Bucky will stab me if I blame myself for his fall,” Steve explained, and Peggy seemed to ignore his use of present tense. “Wouldn’t kill me, but it would damn well hurt. He knows that, the little bastard.”
“It was his choice to follow you, Steve.” Peggy pointed out.
“I know, Peggy. I should have sent him home, but he would have happily strangled me.”
“You loved him.” It wasn’t a question.
“I always have, always will, and HYDRA will pay for taking him too soon.”
In the dim lighting of the bar, Steve’s smile almost looked like he had fangs.
Bucky frowned to himself as he lay in the icy snow. Despite the absolutely delightful agony he was in, he really should have joined his ancestors by now. The fact that he hadn’t, despite his left arm laying fascinatingly a few meters away from himself, no longer attached to his cooling body, was somewhat of a mystery for him.
Bucky may have Addams-Barnes blood that ran cold and icy through his veins, but that did not mean he should be able to survive the 200-thousand-foot drop from the train. Maybe if he was a full-blooded Addams, but the Barnes clan blood was diluted from the Addams blood, ever since his great-great-great-great-great-great-great aunt Velicina in the 13th century wedded and bedded that normal man. Bucky should not be alive and living in his mortal flesh, unless… Zola .
That horrible little toad must have done something, with all those injections, ran some sort of Olde Magik through his veins that helped him survive an unsurvivable fall.
Bucky shifted in the snow, giving up on the idea of dying anytime soon. Sitting up, the brunette Barnes hoisted himself to his feet, grunting at the lovely pain that racked his flesh as bones shifted and crackled in his body.
Looking around himself, Bucky oriented himself, then set off towards the way the train, and Steve, went.
He didn’t notice the people behind him until he felt the prick in his neck, and cursed as the world spun around him, black poking at the edges of his vision. He saw a flash of fur hats and heard muffled Russian words before his world darkened completely, and he collapsed in the snow and into the darkness of sleep.
A faint searing pain tickled his senses, brushing against the feeling of unconsciousness that threatened to drag him back under into blackness. As nice as the darkness was, Bucky knew that he had to wake himself up. He had no idea who had taken him, other than the fact that they were Russian, and that they had not been there to help him find Steve. They wouldn’t have drugged him with...whatever it was, if they were going to help him.
Not to mention, Bucky very much wanted to know what in Hades’ realm was in that drug, to be strong enough to take him down, injured or not. Very, very few things were strong enough to take down a Barnes, and the fact that their enemies had something strong enough to take on that task and succeed, was beyond very much not good .
The searing pain that had started to wake him heightened for a brief second, before something seemed to give and Bucky felt something- fall off ?
Opening his eyes, Bucky felt a faint sense of oh dear as the saw that was lifting up from what was now a stump of his left arm. If they had just left what had remained in the beginning, Bucky could have reattached his arm, no problem. Now, that section was gone, and Bucky may be a Barnes but he was no Addams , and as such, could not regrow his arm like an Addams could.
“Holy shit he’s awake-”
“Knock him out-”
“Shit he’s strong-”
“Fuck, hand me the needle-”
“He’s struggling too much-”
“Just jam it in-”
He blacked out.
He woke up again, this time his vision was less blurry, brighter, and his brain clear of most of the fog of the drug. In a move he knew was futile, Bucky tried to move his left hand up to see it, to hope that it was there.
He was not expecting the gleaming metal limb that pulsed with so much Blacc Majik that he felt himself shudder in terror. It was an abomination and it was attached to him . Crudely welded into his body by both human and Blacc Majik means, leaving a horrid, ropey scar that under different circumstances Bucky would have loved to open and watch it heal over and over again. Looking at the scar now, he only felt horror and disgust as the Blacc Majik pulsed from it, almost invisible from anyone that was not gifted enough to see it. Normal people would just get a feeling of unease from it. Those with the sight would feel its Blacc aura and cringe from it in disgust and visceral fear.
Bucky wanted it off his body but his other arm was strapped down tightly. Struggling with the strap, he failed to notice the bespectacled scientist coming up on his left side until his face was grabbed by a clammy hand with short stubby fingers and an unnatural strength.
Bucky’s eyes widened as he laid eyes on Zola for the first time since he was tortured in Azzano. The man now had a sickly Blacc aura around him that made Bucky want to vomit and flee in terror as it licked along the edges of the aura his arm was giving out.
“Sergeant Barnes,” Zola smirked, “Welcome back.”
Bucky spat in his face.
Rubbing off the spit with his free hand, Zola only smirked wider.
“Yes, I believe I was right,” the toad said, “You will do nicely as The new Fist of HYDRA . Welcome to the rest of your existence, Asset .”
Using as much strength as he was able, Bucky ripped his face out of Zola’s hold. Bucky’s jaw ached at the effort, and he was unnerved to realize that if Zola had wanted to hold him, Bucky would not have been able to escape from his grip.
What had Zola done to have gained that Blacc aura, that strength, and the knowledge to create the monstrosity that the toad had welded onto the empty space where his left arm used to sit? What horror’s had Zola delved into to gain the insight to do all this?
When Zola left, Bucky grabbed the nearest scientist by the neck and used the horror attached to him to rip the bastards head clean off his shoulders, showering Bucky and the surrounding area in a fountain of blood.
Bucky was still laughing madly as they shoved the needle into his leg and he fell into darkness once more.
“I gotta put her in the water, Peggy,” Steve gritted out through clenched teeth.
His hands pushed the controls down, aiming it toward the vast white and blue of the Arctic Ocean. The sun blindingly bright on the reflection of the snow and ice.
He wondered if it would hurt; drowning. Maybe it would be like falling asleep, before waking up to Bucky, like so many other times before The Fall. Maybe he would die in agony, and have a story to tell Bucky about when he joined him.
“I’ll get Howard on the line, he’ll know what to do!” Peggy cried, and Steve shook his head, even though he knew Peggy wouldn’t see it or the resigned smile on his face.
“It’s too late, Pegs, the coordinates are locked in, and I’m carrying a lot of bombs that will hurt a lot of people if I dont put her down now. Peggy,” Steve paused, wondering if using Peggy’s own words was too much, but decided it would be the only ones to fit.
“This is my choice.”
“...alright Steve,” Peggy sniffed. “Tell Bucky I said hi, will you?”
“He’ll get a tickle outta this, though he’ll probably strangle me when-”
He was right. It did hurt.
Bucky will be thrilled.
The torture, Bucky found, was near constant. Since Zola had been in charge of his ‘conditioning’, the Russians knew exactly what to do to make Bucky writhe in agony. It was much of the same thing that was in Zola's lab in Azzano, but with greater quantities and stronger effects, thanks to whatever they had been shooting him up with. Whatever was in that blueish-green sludge they injected into his bloodstream twice a day without fail had changed him. He had grown more muscular, his hearing had grown, his sight, his senses had all been heightened. Even his sense of touch; something that made the torture all the worse for him.
Day after day, the torture continued, and eventually, Bucky began to lose himself, his memories becoming fuzzy and less distinct. He began to doubt that there was anything before his life of constant unpleasant pain and agony.
Eventually, he stopped screaming when he was founded in holy water or exposed to large enhanced amounts of sunlight. They had discovered that if they put him in a mirrored room with a gap that let in a small amount of sunlight, it was the fastest way to make him scream in agony.
Eventually, he stopped reciting the numbers that had been stuck in his head for ages, as they disappeared. His mind grew hazy and his thoughts hard to grasp, like wisps of smoke that floated away before he could.
Eventually, he was taken to the Chair.
Eventually, he was given a gun and a knife, a mask and a handler, and told to kill.
He shot, and stabbed, and sliced, blew up more things, people, and places than he could count. He struck fear into the minds and hearts of everybody and never felt a single thing, because Assets don't feel.
Eventually, he was frozen in a metal tube. He would feel as every bit of him froze, piece -by-piece , and he would feel every single second of it until the ice reached his brain. Then, still awake, but with no pain, he would wait to be thawed, dragged out and used for the next Mission.
Eventually, he was told he was shaping the century.
Eventually, he trained a little redhead that screamed of familiarity. Her stubborn and determined demeanor that made his head hurt and his Handlers panic and throw him back in The Chair.
Eventually, he was told to steal a briefcase from the car in police lock-up after the couple who owned it had died in a crash.
Eventually, he ran and was brought back confused from Brooklyn, and taken straight to the chair, and lingering memories destroyed before the could reform.
Eventually, he failed to kill a black man on the first try, and succeeded on the second.
Eventually, he saw the Man on the Bridge.
Eventually, he asked who he was, and was shoved in the Chair.
Eventually, he fought a familiar man to protect Insight.
Eventually, the man had said those words , and he had recognized them, a flash of a little blond boy gently sharpening his fangs for him flashing through his head.
Eventually, he watched the man fall into the river and he dragged him back out.
Eventually, he stood in front of a giant display and looked at a copy of his face with short hair and less age.
Eventually, he realized his name.
He was Bucky Barnes…
He was Bucky Barnes, and he would gladly feast on those that dared to subdue him.
Steve woke up to a Baseball game. A Baseball game he had gone to with Bucky, and had been kicked out of when Bucky had gotten bored and started juggling his knives. Security had been horrified when Bucky had brought out the set of deadly poison-tipped throwing knives and began to juggle them.
So waking up to that game on the radio was impossible.
The room itself was strange as well, the sheets he woke up on were made of a finer, more expensive material then you would get in a typical household, unless you were wealthy. The pillow that was under his head was too new, too fluffy, the cover far too soft. His clothing, that while the look and feel of the fabric was fine, the smell was all wrong; like dust and age, like the old items at the Barnes mansion.
The room was even worse, and Steve felt growing panic as he looked around the construct he woke up in. The room had been a horrid attempt by somebody to make it look like a hospital room; But Steve had spent most of his life before the serum in and out of hospital rooms, so he knew with just a glance that what he was looking at was not one.
The dame who entered was no more a nurse than this was a hospital. Her hair, lipstick, tie, the lines of her brassiere beneath her unstarched blouse, they were all wrong.
Steve hightailed it out of there so fast, he didn't even bother to go past the gun toting men blocking the doorway. He ran and ran until suddenly-
He stepped into a world of color, and almost expected Dorothy and her companions to walk up to him right then and there in the middle of the street.
Looking around at his surroundings, Steve felt like he was in one of those sci-fi novels Bucky had loved to read. The giant moving pictures on the buildings reminded him faintly of radar screens in the War, only on a much, much larger scale, and in color.
The cars looked strange, and some of them looked almost alien.
"You've been asleep cap, for over seventy years."
Eventually, they brought him back to SHIELD, and explained in more detail. They explained that he was frozen for seventy years , stuck in the ice, and couldn't be found by anyone searching for the plane and his long-dead corpse, and,though they never said, his Serum.
Eventually, Steve learned that things were different in the future. A lot more things that were not acceptable in his time were normal now, and things that were considered normal was despicable.
Bucky and Steve could have gotten together without fear of jail or death.
They could have been holding hands in public, kissing in the park, cuddling in the theater…
Eventually, he was told he was going to be training junior field agents in combat and strategy. He wasn't happy about it, and he didn't want to do it. He was wary of this new organization that claimed to have been founded by Howard and Peggy.
Eventually, he discovered he couldn't die. Even he should have been dead from a bullet to the heart. But he hadn't even noticed until Rumlow pointed it out in the showers.
"You should keep that little ability quiet, Cap, " Rumlow had muttered." The wrong person will take advantage of that. "
Eventually, he learned even Rumlow would lie and take advantage. He took a lot of potentially fatal wounds while working with the man.
Eventually, Steve learned he was tired of missions. He was tired of the constant fight, the constant hilling, subterfuge, and lies.
He wanted to go home. He wanted to go home, he wanted his ma, he wanted Mrs. Barnes, he wanted Becca, Laura, and Lily. He wanted -
He wanted Bucky .
Eventually, they gave him an apartment. It reminded him far too much of his mother’s and his apartment that they lived in until she died.
Steve hated it with a passion.
But he didn't change anything. He didn't have the heart at this point to decorate his dwelling like it would be if Bucky was with him.
Eventually, Loki came to earth, and Steve was fighting a battle that reminded him of the War. Those weapons that shot blue light and took down any unlucky enough to get hit was a horrible reminder that while a lot had changed, even more had not.
The battle was won, and the hastily put-together team went their separate ways.
Eventually, The Avengers were drawn back to The Tower, one-by-one, settling into their own floor. Each floor made especially for them, down to every last detail.
Tony would have been told by his father about Steve and Bucky's peculiar tastes, so Steve wasn't surprised to find his floor designed like a miniature of the Barnes mansion. Steve wasn't surprised, but he was beyond grateful and had shown that by giving the shocked and confused man a gentle, but firm hug, whispering a watery 'thank-you' into the Stark's shoulder.
If the others were surprised or unnerved by Steve's taste in decor, they didn't say anything; though he did get a few wide eyes and aborted movements to stop him when he sprinkled Arsenic over and in his own food, they grew used to it.
Eventually they became like family; They had movie nights, game nights, and when they weren't on a mission, they spent most of their time together on the Communal Floor. They took turns on who was cooking on each meal, and reminded those of them that tended to forget to eat.
Eventually he returned to doing missions, this time with Natasha at his back.
Eventually, he started working with the STRIKE Team, and unfortunately, that meant working with Rumlow again.
Steve had to make sure that Natasha didn't notice Rumlow using Steve as a human shield, even though she knew he couldn't die after the Battle of New York.
Eventually, he met Sam Wilson.
Eventually, Nick Fury was shot in his apartment in DC .
Eventually, he discovered HYDRA had grown inside SHIELD.
Eventually, he fought the Winter Soldier on the Bridge.
Eventually, the Winter Soldier was Bucky Barnes.
Eventually, he joined Sam and Natasha in taking down project Insight.
Eventually, he once again fought Bucky on the Helicarrier.
Eventually, he let Bucky beat the life out of him.
Eventually, he once again fell into freezing water, this time knowing he wouldn't be able to die.
Eventually Bucky dragged Steve's passed-out and freezing body out of the Potomac, and left him there.
Eventually Steve woke up in the hospital with all of the Avengers sitting asleep at his bedside.
Eventually, Steve was shown footage of a Baseball-cap-clad Bucky Barnes, looking at his display in the Smithsonian.
Steve watched as Bucky smirked that deadly smirk that promised death and destruction for HYDRA.
Steve knew then, that Bucky would be gladly feasting on those that subdued him .