grianchloch: (Bucky)
[personal profile] grianchloch
Title: Remembering
Character: Bucky Barnes
Fandom MCU
Rating: Gen
Word Count: 939
Disclaimer: Sadly, the characters aren't mine, I'm just playing with them for a while.
Beta: Seleneheart
Notes: Written for [ profile] comment_fic for the prompt "Home, love, family
There was once a time I must’ve had them too" left by [ profile] brumeier. Inspired by Sebastian Stan's comments about what Bucky carries in the backpack shown in the Civil War trailers.

Summary: Bucky writes every memory down in his journals.

The café is warm, filled with the scents of baking pastries and bread. James gravitates to small independent places like this to eat. There’s plenty of them scattered through the small European towns he’s been passing through lately.

He takes another bite of his pastry, and dusts the flakes that fall onto his journal away. He reads the last entry he made, nodding a little to himself when he can still recall the memory that inspired him to write, “Brooklyn. Caught in the rain. Running home?”.

It had been summer, the day warm but unremarkable apart from a sudden rainstorm that had caught everyone out in their summer clothes unawares and sent them running for shelter. He’d sprinted down the street, a newspaper held over his head, his shirt soaked through in minutes. Three girls that he knew from the neighborhood squealed and laughed as they huddled in a doorway trying to keep out of the rain, their thin summer dressers already clinging to their legs. He’d grinned at them, and kept running, rounding the next corner, finally reaching the door to the building where he lived with Steve.

That’s where the memory had faded, but it was a good one, so he tries to work out what he’d been doing when the rain started, what day of the week it had been, but the details aren’t there, not yet.

He’s deep in thought, pencil in his hand, when the door to the café opens, and a family walk in. They are all smiles, wrapped in good warm coats and colorful scarves, a small boy and smaller girl running up to the counter and pointing excitedly at the treats piled high on large plates. Their parents smile at them, and James puts the pencil down and picks up his own coffee as they place their order.

Family, he thinks, as the man ruffles the boy’s hair. The four of them crowd around one small table, moving plates and mugs around so they all fit, before munching on their cakes. They smile and laugh around bites and sips, and something tightens in his chest.

Family, love, home. He must have had them too, once upon a time, but those memories still elude him. He’s read about his family, but that’s not the same as remembering them. Memories from before the war are still few and far between, even memories of Steve before the serum. He’s read books and so many articles online about himself, about Steve and their lives, but that’s not the same as remembering that life, remembering who he was before. Who Steve was to him.

Steve. James drinks his coffee, holding the warm mug in his hands. If he sits still for long enough, if he stops running, Steve will find him. If he makes this café a regular place to eat, stays in town for a week, maybe less, Steve will walk through that door. Deep down, that’s all he wants, but it can’t happen yet, maybe not ever.

One of the first memories that came back to him after he’d visited the exhibit at the Smithsonian was of diving in to protect Steve from a larger boy whose name he doesn’t think he ever knew. Hitting the boy hard enough to make him back off, then picking Steve off the ground and helping him home. James … Bucky … had stayed while Steve’s mom had patched Steve up. She’d tutted at the bruises and gently wiped away the dirt from his skin so she could clean the cuts and scrapes. James remembered the bright smears of blood on the cotton she used. Remembered swearing to himself that no-one would ever make Steve bleed again, not if he had anything to do with it.

James shifts in his seat so he can feel the backpack sitting safe and sound on the floor between his feet. That was the first memory he wrote down, but when he next took a few hours to sleep, the soft caresses of Sarah Rogers tending to her injured son were overlaid with more recent memories of his own fists pounding into Steve’s face, Steve’s blood shining wetly on his metal hand. He’d woken drenched in sweat, trembling, not wanting to look at his hands knowing what he’d done with them.

That was months ago, but the nightmares still haunt him, mixing up good and bad memories in his head until he doesn’t know what’s real anymore. After bad nights, he goes back to his journals, starts at the beginning and reads every word he’s written, living each memory again as it happened, accepting the feelings that come with them, good and bad, reclaiming the truth for himself. Until he knows himself, and trusts himself again, regains and retains enough of his memories to make a whole person, he’ll keep moving, keep several steps ahead of Steve. Keep him safe.

He watches the family as he finishes his coffee, and as the children laugh at something their father said, he remembers his sister, Becca, and the sound of her laughter.

He writes, the pencil unsteady in his hand.

“Becca. Sister. Laughter like sunlight. Made everything brighter.”

He closes the journal, and stows it away in the backpack, checking the fastenings twice. He pulls on his jacket, leaves a tip on the table, and makes sure the backpack is seated right on his shoulders, fastening the buckle at the front as he leaves. He nods to the server behind the counter, and without another glance at the family, he walks out of the warmth of the café, into the biting cold of a winter’s afternoon.

Date: 2016-03-21 03:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OMGosh, so good! I love how you incorporated Seb's remarks about the contents of the backpack, and how Bucky is jotting down any memories that come to him. I can understand him not wanting Steve back in his life yet, not while he's still struggling with his past, and the truth of it.

Really well done. Thank you!!

Date: 2016-03-27 02:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm really glad you liked it! It's my first MCU fic, so it's good to know you enjoyed it :)


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