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Knife Tricks and Grapefruit Juice

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“You’ve been ignoring the texts from Sam” she said, smacking her lips in disappointment.

Bucky fought an eye roll. He didn’t have time to “nurture friendships”, or whatever she lectured him about next. He was working full time on making amends, and knew he would push his guilt on other people if he got too close to them.

“I think we have to talk about your trust issues,” his psychiatrist continued.

Bucky just glared at her.

“I believe that, maybe, because your loved ones passed away while you were… not in control, you’re now scared of making new bonds because you fear they will be taken away from you. And you don’t want to suffer through this kind of loss again. Does that sound familiar?”

“Stating the obvious so far, yes” Bucky sighed.

“Has there ever been people that you trusted, fully trusted?”

“I mean my mother I guess, and…”

“Wait, no, I don’t care. Of course we tend to trust our parents, and our relatives in general. How about I ask you something different: have you ever been in love, and if yes, did you trust that person?”

Bucky was silent for a long time. He took his left glove off and stared at the small mechanisms in his hands with intense focus while flexing his fingers, trying to put his thoughts in order. With a long sigh, he finally answered.

“I have, and I did. But that’s not exactly an accomplishment doc. I mean, I’m one hundred and six, and I fell in love once. Once . It’s quite pitiful when you think about it.” 

“Any love is a success, James, and should be celebrated as such.”

He disliked that she called him James. His name was Bucky.

“Right, well. I don’t know about that.”

“I take it this relationship didn’t end up as you wished it had? Tell me about it.”

“I honestly don’t see where we’re going with this, doc. How is digging in my failed loved life going to help me… not hurting people and ‘making amends’?” The sarcastic tone was back. “This is not what I’m here for.”

“What kind of shitty defense mechanisms are these? Listen, by working on your trust issues, you might learn to create new, meaningful relationships. This will in turn help you feel more at ease in this century, and have more of a support system. Plus, I decide what will help you and what won’t. This is the work, James. Now stop dodging this and answer my question please, how did this end?”

“Well, you know how it is. A classic story.” Bucky hesitated a moment – he knew this was supposed to be ok, or at least okish these days but he still didn’t quite believe it. He took a deep breath and barreled through the rest of his sentence. “He went back in time to spend his life with his ex and left me all alone again.”

Even though his gaze was fixed on the floor of the office, he was hyper aware of any reaction the doctor would have at his words. At the pronouns he had used. The few people who knew back in the day had now died with his secret, and the trauma from the 40s queerbashing still brought a metallic taste in his mouth and a ringing noise in his ears because he dared to say this out loud.

But Dr. Raynor didn’t have any visible reaction, and it threw Bucky off. He wasn’t sure whether she didn’t care or simply had a very good poker face. What if she stored that information and would use it later to hurt him? Was she disgusted by him now? Did she understand who he was talking about? Did she not hear him correctly, and in that case, should he repeat himself or should he take this as a sign that he shouldn’t have said anything? Why did he say it in the first place when it wasn’t – 

“Apart from the time traveling part, I guess it is a classic story. How did it make you feel, when he took that decision?”

“I…” Bucky furrowed his brows, having a hard time understanding how she was so casual about this. He tried to focus on her question. “Hum… It made me feel… abandoned. Like I wasn’t worthy of love. I tried to be a good friend and support his decision but… it felt like he ripped my heart out of my chest and smiled about it like it was nothing.”

Bucky took a moment before continuing.

“The truth is, when we both ended up, alive, in the same moment, at approximately the same age, after going through so many things… It felt like fate to me. I thought it meant we were destined to be together. Why would life bring us together again and again through centuries? But clearly,” he scoffed sadly, “I was the only one of us who thought so.”

Bucky realized how open he had just been and clamped his mouth shut. He had not allowed himself to think about what happened with Steve even when he was alone, why was he suddenly talking about it with his awful therapist?

“That sounds like a difficult heartbreak indeed. But James, everybody goes through heartbreaks, and you can’t judge all future relationships with this past wound in mind. You need to realize that not everybody will hurt you like this, and that you are worthy of love, but that you will never find it if you don’t open up to new people. So man up and get back out there!”

“Right, thanks, I was starting to doubt my previous assessment that you’re a terrible shrink, but it’s good to see that I was right. What the hell, “man up”, am I back in the 40s? I’ll see you next week doc, not like I have any choice.”