Steve has asked Bucky to try living in Wakanda for a bit as an alternative to just going under. No doubt Stark was already working on some anti-brainwashing stuff and Shuri probably had something that could help, but Bucky wanted to be absolutely sure that everyone around him would be safe.
T’challa and his whole family had been really welcoming of Bucky, especially considering that Bucky had been a Murder Drone not two months ago. But Shuri in particular had made him feel most comfortable, fondly referring to him as the “broken white boy she needed to fix.” She wanted his input on the new arm she was building, but he couldn’t even look at a replacement arm without feeling nauseous. So she had put him to work in her lab, fetching large things and doing odd jobs. (He had the feeling that she was just humoring him, considering that she was head of all Wakandan technology and medicine, but it gave him something to do.)
Once Shuri finished the blueprints and started actually building his arm though, the sound of the grating metal Just. Got his hackles up. She took pity and had him deliver some Kimoyo Beads over to M’baku. She said M’baku would know what to do with them. Bucky hadn’t worked with him before, but he seemed decent. He didn’t begrudge Bucky for what he was, or for what happened in Sokovia.
Little did Bucky know, the new Kimoyo Beads were actually for the goats .
M’baku took great pleasure in telling the clueless white boy how to feed the goats. Oh yeah, and assign the correct Kimoyo Beads to the correct goats. Each goat had a special serial number, drawn harmlessly on their ears in some weird vibranium ink marker.
The process to match the goats with beads was simple, all anyone had to do was activate the vibranium tattoo on their lower lip and it would cause the serial numbers to project over each goat.
Unfortunately, as a non-Wakandan, Bucky couldn’t do that.
So he had to go up to each goat and read the codes one-by-one to match the bead to the goat.
The goats did not care for that shit at all . They didn’t know who he was.
Bucky spent an entire afternoon trying to successfully mark all 38 goats. Sure, he was an international assassin of legend and was an expert in dozens of fighting styles, but goat wrangling was not one of them. Be had lightning sharp reflexes and honed senses, which helped a little , but those goats did not fuck around.
It was kind of freeing to be bad at something for once. Especially when he didn’t get shocked every time he failed to put the correct Kimoyo Bead on the correct goat. So even after the task was finished, he asked if he could help take care of the goats.
In the end, Bucky still made the decision to go under a few weeks later after he had a bad freak out when Shuri brought his newly constructed arm out and tried to install it. He didn’t get any super-soldier sleeper spy commands but.... he just. He hated every minute of it. Hated every minute of the very tangible reminder of who he was and what he did and oh god he couldn’t get it off because it was his own arm and it wasn’t safe it wasn’t safe it wasn’t safe everything I do burns to ash get it away
The arm was not installed.
When Bucky had the whole arm freak out, he blindly busted out of Shuri’s lab and just ran away. What little rational part of him that was left knew that the people of Wakanda had his location tracked and could easily take him down, but the reaction was just so knee-jerk he couldn’t help it.
When he came back to himself, expecting the shock of reconditioning and the metal chair and the slimy ECG gel slathered all over his scalp, he instead found himself sitting in a field, petting Goat No. 82018a. No punishment came, but he was offered a therapist. Steve encouraged him to try it, desperate as always to stop Bucky from going back under. It helped, and the therapist encouraged him to spend time with the goats as a coping mechanism.
Shuri said his new nickname was Goat Boy, which seemed like an upgrade from Broken White Boy. He couldn't really tell, though.
In the end, he still chose to go back into cryosleep because he would never truly feel safe enough to be among allies with all the HYDRA garbage still in his head.
The last thing he saw before slipping under was Steve, his ice-blue eyes melting to oceans as he smiled at his friend.
The last thing he felt before slipping under was Steve’s warm hand squeezing his own, accepting his choice.
The lasting he heard before slipping under was Shuri's soft, mocking voice. “Sleep tight, Goat Boy.”