Okay-- so I wonder sometimes when I'm doing the Fanfic Friday-- OMG-- what if I love that bit? What if I decide to use it someday in my published writing? Will my readers hold that against me? And, for those of you who are interested, I also wonder what would happen if I ever wrote a story about two older law enforcement types getting together when they had adult children at home. Because, the more I write Cartinski, the more fun a story like that seems like it would be.
Anyway--so, given that I have no ideas how readers will react to that, I think it's only fair to tell you: I DO plan to use the "Some... Day..." idea someday. Because one of my favorite movies of ALL THE DAMN TIMES has been LadyHawke. And when Rutger Hauer said this line in that movie, ALL THE THINGS IN THE WORLD just... stopped. Held their breath. And we all wanted to know what could cause Navarre so much pain.
So, probably not in an easily recognizable form... but, you know... some... day...
(Also... I apologize for it being so short--I may have mentioned "Drabble" in the labels?)
* * *
Steve watched dispassionately as the cybernetics-enhanced body thrashed against the vibranium-reinforced hospital bed. His own wounds--wrenched shoulder, broken nose, bruised internal organs, broken ribs, cracked hip-- were all healing ahead of schedule, because hey! Those were just the Captain America perks!
The Winter Soldier had the same perks it seemed--except, while Steve had come out of his anesthetic well ahead of schedule, the same way he healed...
Bucky-- or the man left inside his shell--was struggling. Going deeper and deeper inside his head each day.
"Maybe," Fury said, during one of his quiet periods where he'd only lain there, twitching, "he just needs to realize that what's out here isn't going to beat him, drug him, and destroy what's left of the man inside."
"That's very wise," Steve said, so dryly he couldn't differentiate his despair form his sarcasm. "I'll let you know if we find a way to tell him."
His response had been a hard squeeze of his shoulder, and then Fury had left.
And Sam had taken his place.
Steve had given him a sideways glance, wondering how he felt about this. He'd helped Steve take Bucky down--he'd heard their final words, screamed just before Sam had fired the vibranium-fiber snare.
Why can't you just let me go!
Because I loved you--I loved you with all that was inside me. I can't let ME go--and you never gave up on me, Bucky-- not once!
He'd been falling down, in pain--just like their previous encounter, only this time, he had the teeniest bit of hope that he wouldn't die.
And that's when Sam had fired the snare. One of the weights had gone awry, almost smashing Bucky's head--and another had shattered Steve's femur.
But the fight was over. Bucky was anesthetized, Steve was healing.
Sam was... quiet.
"What?" Steve said after an hour of just sitting there, watching Bucky twitch.
"I can't let you go either," Sam said.
Steve looked at him in surprise. "I'm sorry?"
"You think I don't know what's at stake, you tracking him across the known universe. Risking your life--again--to come up against him. You think I'm fooled? YOu're just here for your 'friend'?"
He had no answer to that, so he studied his hands instead.
"You're here for him in the same way I"m here for you," Sam said, and that--that came as a shock when it shouldn't have. Steve almost broke something twisting around in his chair, and Sam's defiant, tortured eyes met his.
They were red-rimmed, and Sam's mouth trembled.
"Shut up," Sam muttered. "I'm just here."
"But what if--"
"I don't care if he wakes up and wants you right here and now." Sam's voice shook. "You are not the same person. He may have known you then, but I know you now. And now is what you need."
Steve couldn't seem to get a handle on his jaw--it wobbled up and down, and his breathing started coming in short pants, hurting his side.
"What if I can't?" he asked finally, but his voice was weak, and he had to stare at Bucky to make sure he remembered every detail of that dear, alien face.
"You will," Sam said, the confidence inches voice giving Steve something to cling to. "Someday."
* * * *
Bucky Barnes remembered the first time he looked at Steve Rogers and thought he was beautiful.
Steve had gotten the shit kicked out of him--again--for defending somebody who didn't need defending--again. Bucky pulled him out of the trash pile, wiping blood from his nose and shaking blond hair from enormous eyes, glaring at Bucky and daring him to say anything, anything at all, about his fifty-billionth fight.
Bucky hadn't been able to. "Jesus, kid. Do you even remember how to hold up your left?"
Steve held his fists up, just like Bucky had showed him. A righteous bruise was blooming along the outside of Steve's arm. Yeah-- he'd held up his left, and it had gotten battered to hell. Bucky had taken him home then--Bucky's home, where his mom let him use the bathtub, and then given him some of Bucky's little brother's clothes to wear.
Bucky had walked into the bathroom just as Steve had stood up, water sluicing from his scrawny chest and delicate waist and flanks, and it should have been no big deal. Skinny naked guy-- they'd seen each other without clothes since they'd been first graders, fighting back to back in PS 12.
But this time, he'd stood up, and Bucky had seen his bruises first, beauties, all of them, from his shoulders to his jutting hipbone.
Then he'd seen the milk-pale skin, and then he'd seen his graceful, almost dancelike movements, and then he'd seen...
Those enormous eyes, staring at him in confusion.
"Buck? You got clothes for me?"
Bucky had cleared his throat and ignored the flush took over his body, and thrust his armload of clothes into Steve's arms and then turned to exit the bathroom like the fiends of hell were after him.
And now, locked into the horrible, recursive hell of doctors, probes, brainwashes, rinsing away Bucky and leaving only Soldier, it felt like every atom of his being was running through the molasses of time go get back that moment. that moment, when Steve's body was new and beautiful to him, and the possibilities of them touching had seemed... endless.
So when the anesthesia threatened to wear off, and consciousness threatened to overwhelm him, with a new world, a new directive, a new Steve, one in a perfect body and a new uniform and a deep, bitter anger against the powers that forged them both--that was what he struggled against.
He wanted to go back, back... to that moment in the hotel room in France, when they'd both forgotten who they were supposed to be and were only hands on bodies, aching pleasure, the subsumation of each of their strong, dominant personalities into the well-being of the other.
He arched off the hospital bed, fighting the newness, the present age, the reality he would wake up to. He fought for that perfect moment, that exact pitch in time, when he touched Steve Roger's skin, and all of that sweetness, that strength and innocence, had been his for the taking.