December 2019



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[MCU Fic Rec]: "I Didn't Know What Time It Was" by MoreThanSlightly (cadignan)

TITLE: I Didn't Know What Time It Was
AUTHOR: MoreThanSlightly (cadignan)
AUTHOR'S LJ NAME: unknown, author's AO3
FANDOM: Captain America (Movies; MCU)
PAIRING: Bucky/Steve
OTHER PAIRINGS & CHARACTERS: mentions of Natasha/Clint, cameos by Natasha and Sam
GENRES: Slash, First Time, Hurt/Comfort, Brainwashing|Identity Amnesia, Quest for Identity, Recovery, Angst, Slow Burn
WARNINGS: language, graphic m/m sex*violence*
CONTAINS: emotionally-hurt!Bucky|Winter Soldier, hurt!Steve, protective!Bucky, worried!Steve, feels, pining *nightmares, hugging, domestic, sharing an apartment/bed, cuddling, kissing, blow job, hand job, anal fingering, masturbation, first-time-with-a-man!Bucky&Steve, bisexual!Bucky, bisexual!Steve, rescue mission, drugged!Steve, friendship*
TIME FRAME: post Captain America: The Winter Soldier
WORDS: approx 19,066
SUMMARY: It’s been two days now. He knows it would be logical to get out of the city, but he’s waiting for something. Against everything he knows about hiding, he went to the exhibit on Captain America at the Smithsonian and looked at a photo of a stranger who might have been his twin from seventy years ago. He’s not sure what he wanted. An epiphany of some kind, a feeling of doors opening and light flooding in; whatever it was, it never came. (Given by the author.)
NOTES: Bucky|the Winter Soldier's POV

Wherever Steve is when he receives the call, it takes him hours to arrive at the safe house. From the sound of boots on the wood floor, he comes with someone else. There’s a muffled conversation in the other room, one that sounds more like male voices than female voices, and then the bedroom door opens.

Steve lets the door close, but leaves it unlatched. Reading his facial expression is difficult, but based on the tightness of his mouth, he seems to feel a sequence of emotions: relief, happiness, worry, sadness, and then he plasters on a deliberately neutral and stoic expression. “Bucky,” he says, and his tone of voice conveys an even more complex mixture of emotions.

“I don’t know that name.” The room seems too small for both of them to be standing like this, halfway prepared to fight, but he’s too restless and agitated to sit. Steve looks like he might take a step forward, but something sad crosses his face, and he hangs back.

“But you wanted to talk to me.”

He thinks about telling the truth: I stopped for pie while I was on the run for my life and it made me remember you, so I let your friend capture me because for some reason I need to see you. No. It’s absurd. It makes him feel vulnerable. It’s better not to reveal anything. He came here to gather information. “Tell me who ‘Bucky’ is.”

Steve doesn’t quite smile. “That’ll take awhile. You want to sit down?”

He narrows his eyes. Steve is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, unarmed except for his strength. His feet are bare. It’s funny to see him like this, since there was a time when Steve ran cold and would have been bundled up no matter the season or—he blinks. More light through the cracks, and Steve has barely said anything.

Cautiously, he lowers himself until he’s sitting on the edge of the mattress. He stiffens when Steve sits down next to him, far too close for comfort.

“I don’t know how much you know about me,” Steve says. He’s careful about where he looks. They face forward into the bedroom, as if the empty wall really bears examining. “You do any background research on your targets, or—?”

He shakes his head. Not this time. They never told him more than they had to, and they didn’t have to tell him much.

“I grew up in Brooklyn in the ‘30s,” Steve says. “James Buchanan Barnes—Bucky—was a dumb jerk who was always sticking his nose where it didn’t belong, joining in fights that I already had under control.”

“Sure,” he says, and it comes out sarcastically, so naturally that he startles himself. He resists the urge to touch his mouth in wonder. Where had that come from?

He startles Steve, too, but Steve looks away quickly and keeps talking. “He was also my best friend.”

The story continues, and none of it is familiar. Steve talks about his mother’s death and his own health problems, all the times he nearly died of pneumonia or his own stupid sense of right and wrong, and how Bucky was always there. Then there’s the war, and the Howling Commandos, and a fall from a train. And a long silence.

The words themselves don’t bring back anything. But there’s something—something about the way Steve talks, his voice, maybe, or maybe just the way he sits there and patiently explains his whole life story to a stranger who recently tried to murder him.

Or maybe not a stranger. Because what else explains this? He has to be Bucky. But he can’t remember enough to be sure. It’s hard to tell what’s real on the best of days. His memory isn’t a reliable source.

But Steve… Steve seems like the definition of reliable.

Steve is looking at him, and it’s hard to be looked at like that, with so much concern. He doesn’t know what to say. In a way, everything is worse if he is Bucky. He’s killed… he doesn’t know how many people. Too many. He tried to kill Steve. He swallows. Is there any worse betrayal than that?

“I don’t,” he starts.

“Remember,” Steve finishes. “Yeah, I got that. From the beating.”

It’s a joke, he thinks, but he cringes. “I’m sorry,” he says. It’s inadequate, but he does mean it.

“Well,” Steve says, full of mock surprise. “A sincere apology. You must not be Bucky after all.”
He shakes his head. It’s too delicate, his sense of self. He doesn’t want to joke. He looks at Steve, and Steve’s expression crumbles. “Hey,” Steve says, and reaches out to put a hand on his shoulder. “I didn’t mean—,”

Grabbing Steve’s wrist in his right hand and wrenching it away is an automatic reaction. Before he knows it, he’s standing, and then they’re both standing, because he’s still got Steve’s wrist in a death grip. Steve makes eye contact as if he’s looking a wild animal in the eyes. “Buck,” he says. He sounds so steady. “Let go.” Steve says it again, and somehow the words filter through the sound of his heart pounding. “It’s me. It’s Steve. Let go.”

Shit, what is he doing? He takes a shaky breath and releases his grip. “Sorry, I—,”
“No touching,” Steve says. “Got it.”

Steve hadn’t intended to hurt him. But no one has touched him in tenderness since he can remember. He wonders what it would feel like and bitterly wishes he could take back the last two minutes. Let’s try again, he wants to say. I won’t try to kill you this time. But he doesn’t. He’s a long way from that and they both know it.

“I don’t know what to do,” he admits.

I love post Captain America: The Winter Soldier fics that feel like they could be canon. This is one of those fics told from Bucky|the Winter Soldier's POV. After he rescues Steve from the Potomac River, the Winter Soldier is lost. He has no idea who he is. When Steve finally finds him and offers him a place to live, he reluctantly accepts. But it's a slow progression to recovery.

I love this fic! It has such a great Bucky voice! All the characterizations are great here. The slow built of Steve and Bucky's relationship, their interactions, Bucky's development, the mild fluff, the right amount of hurt and angst: what a lovely, well-written, and sweet fic! I also loved the cameos by Natasha and Sam. This fic warms your heart and gives you lots of precious Stucky!feels.

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