He wasn’t sure how long they sat there. When Steve had moved to lean against the wall, Bucky had tensed up but when no harm fell upon him, he settled once more and kept staring. Even when Steve closed his eyes, Bucky just kept staring at him, waiting for something to happen but nothing did. There was no movement, no one came in and shot him with anything, no one tried to pin him down; nothing. Just Steve.
The scent was the one thing that was keeping his calm. It felt… like he knew it, even if he couldn’t place where he’d smelt it before or why it made him feel like he would be safe no matter what. Hours they just sat there, Bucky detailing everything about the soldier before finally, after a lot of internal confusion and debate, he made a move.
It was slow, untucking himself from the corner and moving. Each movement was calculated and almost didn’t feel like his own doing. But never had he felt a stronger need to be close to something than he did right now. He was too tired, much too tired to fight what his body was telling him and he just went with it, sliding over until he was inches away.
He didn’t drift off, but the quiet let him fall into a trance-like state where he could sift through all the memories he had of himself and Bucky to share when the time was right. He decided on small happy things, like going to the pictures together, the birthday Bucky surprised him with art pencils and the Christmas after where he got a sketchbook. The time they went to the Dodgers game together. Getting drunk on the roof of their building and ending up curled together in a sleepy pile, noses pressed to each other’s necks.
All this he could offer up, their life together bit by bit for Bucky to pick through and hold up to himself to see where it fit.
He only noticed Bucky moving because the room was dead silent, but he chose not to react until it stopped. Slowly turning his head towards Bucky, he blinked open his warm blue eyes and offered a soft smile.
”Hey, pal,” he murmured, hope dancing in his eyes.
[ a sigh catches in bucky’s throat, just snagged
before it can flee. even after most of their
childhood had been spent scuffling in dusty
alleyways, picking fights that ruth charged into
pigtails first, bucky couldn’t tame the frustration
at that recklessness.
this isn’t a back alley, ruth; it’s war. ]
”Pair up with Morita. Create chaos;
disorder in their plans. Anything to give us time.”
[ her eyes burn low with determination,
a vow to be useful this time, to bring
back the fond smile that used to so
often be thrown her way. she won’t
repent, can’t be sorry for helping the
mission, but she’s slowly starting to
feel like bucky’s annoying little sister,
always tripping after him trying to get
he has a way of looking at her when
she’s done something reckless that
cuts through her like it never used to.
it finds all the cracks in her artificial
armor and makes her feel smaller
than she ever did back in brooklyn.
she can’t catch his eye, but she sure as hell can be a good soldier. ]
We’ll wait on your command to move out.”
Bucky. That name again that held no meaning for the assassin and yet the way the man said it made him feel like he should know what it meant. Just like when they’d fought, back then he’d felt like he should have known but Pierce… Pierce had set him right.
The lock on the room means nothing gets in and nothing gets out. Thus Steve’s scent is filling the room and James can’t work out why it smells so… familiar. He didn’t smell anything on the bridge, the drugs he was given made sure everything was blocked but now, without a regular injection, it’s all flooding back and Bucky feels like he’s drowning in the scent.
He eyes the way Steve offers himself openly, James could attack now and Steve was baring himself for it. A strange move, there wasn’t a single defensive movement about him and the growl died down. He felt… comfortable.
That in itself was a strange feeling that he couldn’t quite place but it was better than anything else he had felt, so Bucky simply stared as the man spoke. He didn’t remember him, didn’t believe that he’s safe but he no longer growls. Just stares and… breathes.
The quieting down was a good sign, but Bucky didn’t give any other that he recognized Steve. Bucky’s eyes on him were heavy, but welcome. He had nothing to hide from this man; everything in his soul was on offer for just a hint of recognition.
Eventually, he came to settle back on his heels and finally leaned against the wall a good foot or so from Bucky. He wasn’t attacking, Steve had to remind himself, that’s a good sign in and of itself. Bucky had been through enough, and the last thing Steve needed to do was push him and drive him away again.
He could be perfectly content just like this, sharing a room with Bucky, breathing the same air, letting Bucky’s familiar scent wash over him and soothe away all his rough edges. He let his eyes close to better experience it, a small smile playing at the corner of his mouth. Nothing was right, but everything was going to be okay. Steve would make sure of it.
Steve’s head was tipped back against the couch, sure, but he wasn’t asleep. He wasn’t. He just preferred to listen to the baseball game with his eyes closed sometimes; he found it easier to absorb that way, more calming to let the cadence of the announcers’ voices wash over him without the glaring green of the pitch burning his eyes. He barely murmured a protest when he felt someone (Bucky was the only other person in the house) tracing what felt like a finger over his arm. The fumes hit his nose a second later and he wrinkled it, but allowed the soothing sensation to continue. He could always wash it off, anyway.
It wasn’t until Bucky spoke and Steve lifted his head to confirm what he’d written that he reacted.
The only people that had come in his cell was the woman who placed a tray of food and water on the table at 12 hour intervals and the man in the white coat that would shoot him and then he’d wake up on the bed. He’d heard him be called doctor before, and he knew what doctors were usually like but he found no needle marks or anything on his skin. Regardless, he would always crawl back into that corner and stay there.
So when the woman didn’t come, when no one came, James was surprised when it was someone new that pushed in the code for the door. It was the sound of the door that brought his gaze up, eyes narrowed and a low growl rumbled in his throat, a warning despite the fact that it was an Alpha that had walked in. I he could tuck further in the corner then he would but there was no where to go.
So, the man from the bridge was with the people keeping him here. He didn’t know what it was but everyone kept sticking him in some kind of cage and he was beginning to dwell on it. Always four walls, always people looking in. At least this one was warmer than the one before. He watched him walk forward, not too far but he was there and James made another warning noise but he didn’t move.
Tony, on the other side of the glass, had prepared a sedative in a weapon like before and handed it to one of the guards. He assumed this would be the same and it was only a matter of time before Bucky attacked.
He came close enough that he was directly in Bucky’s field of vision before kneeling and holding his hands out palm-up in front of him.
”I’m not gonna hurt you; it’s okay.” His smile was gentle but his nostrils flared at the smell of Bucky up close. He smelled like home and it was the most comforting thing Steve had ever experienced, filling in a gap he didn’t even know had been widening inside him.
It took all of his concentration not to lean forward and scoop him up into his arms right then and there, press his nose to Bucky’s neck, and breathe deeply. That, and the warning sounds coming from his best friend.
”It’s just me. Don’t you remember me? I promise I won’t ever hurt you, Buck. You’re safe with me.”
- "Come ooonn, I’m really hungry! You’re the one supposed to feed me."
- "Do you ever think what it’d be like if we had the same marks? If it were you and me?"
- "Do you love me? And not because you’re supposed to."
- "Do you think I’ll ever find it? The one with a mark on their arm saying they have to be with me?"
- "Do you think there’s more than one? More than one soulmate for each one?"
- "Do you think sex with a soulmate could ever be better than this? Because I doubt it."
- "Get out of work? Just tell them your soulmate needs you."
- "God, I love you so much. I know what I said before, but you’re everything I think about, everything I want, I don’t wanna turn my back on this. I don’t care what a piece of paper says or doesn’t. I’d still want this, you, if it didn’t say a thing."
- "Hell, no! You get that erased right now! It’s not me!”
- "I can’t believe you’re it. From all the people- You can’t be. I hate you."
- "I got your letter. I know we never talked before, but you sent your number and… Do you think we can meet? And yes, it’s your name too."
- "I know I always say I don’t want to know, I don’t want to get it, the marker, but knowing for sure there’s someone out there for you, no matter what… I can’t say it isn’t tempting.”
- "I know you’re horny. I can literally feel it. And it’s not helping me focus at all. So can’t you deal with it?”
- "I know neither of us have markers, but I’m pretty sure they’d be glowing right now if we did."
- "I know this is not ideal, but I’m willing to try if you are."
- "I know you’re scared, I’m fucking scared too, but this says we got each other for life, that’s gotta be worth something, right?"
- "I thought I’d never find you. Are you scared?"
- "I’m scared as hell. But I still want to go through with it, I want to be able to prove it to anyone, let’s do this, let’s get the markers."
- "If I knew sex could be this amazing, I would have searched the name a long time ago."
- "If someone had warned me I would end up here… I would still have chosen you. I’ll always choose you."
- "It’s me…? Hell, it’s me. It really is me. You’re ruined."
- "Look at it! Don’t turn away. Can you see it? It’s a perfect match. I’m sorry if it sucks that it’s me. But it’s true. You can’t run from this."
- "No! No, it can’t be! That’s not-, no that’s not it… [Name] I can’t be your name… It’s not possible because… You’re not mine."
- "Our chests might not glow, but I would do anything for you, I’d go anywhere, I love you, and if that’s not soulmate material, than I don’t want to find my soulmate."
- "Okay, name one time pretending to be soulmates got us in trouble.”
- "Please don’t ask me to leave. I want you so much it hurts. I never thought it could feel like this."
- "Promise me, promise me you’ll give us a chance before you go and get your mark done. Promise me."
- "So what? Just because a thing on my wrist glows I’m suddenly supposed to rebuild my whole life around you? Please. You’re fucking insane. This is fucking insane. Get the hell out."
- "This is just too hard. This soulmate thing. I know they say I’m your only chance. But I can’t do this. I’m sorry. You’re gonna have to find another way. I can’t be your soulmate."
- "We have to talk… I’ve met him/her. I’ve met the one. I can’t do this, I can’t marry you tomorrow."
- "We’re done. Mark or not mark. We’re done here. Don’t call me."
- "What if it never happens to me? Do you ever get scared about it?"
- "What’s wrong?? I could feel in how much pain you were just now. God, I’m still shaking."
- "Why don’t you ever let me see it? If you have the name already, why can’t you tell me whose is it? I thought we were best friends."
- "Yes, I’m still scared! What if this is just a mistake? What if it passes someday and you don’t love me for me? What will be left then?"
- "Yes, we’re soulmates! I get it, now shut up and fuck me, because I’m pretty sure it’s one of your duties."
- "You know, for someone who’s supposed to be my soulmate, you really need a new wardrobe. Or a new whole taste.”
- "You know sometimes, some people, they don’t ever find a match, right? Do you still want to know?"
- "You’re it okay?? I don’t know how, I don’t know why, all I know is that you’re the only one that will do, it hurts like goddamn hell, and I don’t-I just need you to let me in, please.”
- "You’re my soulmate, I don’t need something telling me that."
- "(Name)? We need to talk… There’s something I have to tell you. Or show you, I guess. Please don’t be mad. I would have never- I’m sorry. But it’s your name. It’s you."
”He was a good agent and you all but fed him to the dogs.”
”He let innocent people get killed, and then failed to put it in his mission report. I think your standards for what makes a good good agent are slipping.”