This is going to be in the Hour of Our Death series at some point, or is in that continuity, anyway, but I just can’t figure out where or when. It came to me kind of entire a little while ago, and I wrote it, and I’ve been sitting on it, and I just– it wants out, so I’m posting it here, at least temporarily. (For anyone not reading that series, Full of Grace has as one of its major plot points that Bucky’s trying to avoid disappearing into a basement after his inevitable recapture by making a series of videos that go viral on the Internet, so– there’s none of his POV in the story, except the videos, which he mostly narrates.)

It’s A Funny Story, 2400ish words, tw for descriptions of gore and depersonalization: The Winter Soldier tells the viewer all about cryostasis.

“I got a story,” the Soldier said without preamble, sitting back from the camera. He was shirtless, illuminated by silvery natural light from an offscreen window to his left. “I got a story I gotta tell. I don’t got names or dates or nothin’, I just, I gotta tell it. I was thinkin’ about this and I just– I don’t know if there’s a point, lemme tell it and I’ll figure it out.”

He sat back in the rickety wooden chair he was in, which creaked in protest at his weight, and crossed his arms across his chest, metal over flesh. “So here’s the thing with– I was readin’ documentation on this, I know now I’m the only one ever to survive cryo, and I know people been, like, debating it. Like, it could help real people or something, and I gotta tell you, no. Just– no. It’s– no.” He sat forward. “In the docs it talks about some stuff that sounds all medical and sterile and boring and whatever.” He gestured with the metal hand, a flyaway gesture. His hair was loose and fell in his face, and he shook it back absently, a practiced gesture. “Subject experienced tissue damage, organ function compromised, acclimatization period blah blah. Skin sensitivity, I remember that phrase. So like– the only reason I survived thawing was that I got amped tissue regeneration. I got a healing factor. And it’s like– it’s a doozy. Okay? I know they tried to duplicate it, it gave all the subjects like–” He closed his eyes, shook his head quickly, “fast-acting face cancer or some shit. Don’t fuck with it.” He grimaced. “It’s not– actually a picnic. Is the thing. Anyway.”

He sat back a little, shoving his hair back more with his skin hand. “I could try to tell you how fuckin’ nasty it was, but I’m gonna tell you a story instead. So imagine– I don’t know what year it was. I don’t know how long I’d been in cryo. I know it was some kind of party. Whoever had me in his department, he was having some kind of shindig, showing off for other people, right? So you know how sometimes nowadays– well, everybody’s got a freezer. And you see it on sitcoms and memes and things.” He glanced up. “You see like, Mom asks the kids to take the chicken out of the freezer to defrost it so she can make dinner when she gets home, right?” His eyes were very blue in the indirect light, a cloudy hazeled blue, and he cocked an eyebrow. “And the punchline is, the kid forgets to take the chicken out and then the mom is super mad.”

He gestured. “Whoever was in charge of getting me out of cryo didn’t leave enough time.

 I don’t know the details, I was never awake for this, but it takes a while for the tank to come up to temp, and then I gotta be on a respiration machine dealie, my lungs were flooded with PFC fluid during stasis and had to switch out to air, it’s this whole process, and you can’t like microwave me to hurry it along because I’m still wrapped in foil.”

He grinned, and brandished the arm. “Ding! Somebody made that joke and I been waitin’ to repeat it forever. Anyway.” He looked down, then brushed his hair back. “Ah. So like, some schmoe fucks it up and I’m not defrosted in time for whatever this fuckin’ party is, and they’re like, trying to hurry me along. It takes, like, a while for me to come up to speed outta the cryo tank. I’m not sayin’ how long, because like, I don’t need that info out there but also I don’t know, see. Because I’m not in great shape and it’s not like I can possibly understand what’s going on for that first, y’know, couple hours or whatever.” He shrugged, rolled his eyes a little. “To put it mildly.”

He sighed, blew his breath out through his mouth, clearly collecting himself to tell the story. “So I guess the deal was, they were gonna have me fight, like a prizefighter, show off how good I was at fighting, right? So they got some– some guys, soldiers or convicts or whatever, I’ve no idea to this day what the deal was. Only I’m, you know. I got organ failure, not everything comes back in the right order, my skin is sloughing off, I’m shitting out my intestinal lining, I’m puking blood and stomach lining and what have you, and I can’t stop screaming. So there’s your image, that’s what cryo is like. That’s what defrosting is like. I got this crazy regeneration thing that’s keeping me alive, I’m held together internally by microfilaments– I don’t know, I can’t find any documentation, I still got it and it unnerves the fuck outta me every time. But I’m like, I should be dead, okay? And so I’m– I can’t bear anything touching my skin, my skin is splitting and bleeding. My nerves, it’s like I’m in boiling water, there’s fire, there’s ice, I’m screaming. My vocal cords aren’t working right, they’re half-shredded, I’m making these awful fucking noises, I’m like howl-groaning and puking while I do it.”

He tipped his head back and made a wavering, half-voiced, awful hoarse noise, Wookie-like. “I sound like Chewbacca in a blender. I’m bleeding from the fuckin’ eyes. I’m just, shitting out like, body parts. It’s horrifying. It’s disgusting. It’s– it’s monstrous. It’s fuckin’ horrible, is what it is, and it’s like, the boss’s like, big party for the muckety-mucks like, he’s reapplying for funding or something, they really really need me to go out there and show ‘em what I got, right. Puking. Shitting. Howling. And they’re like–”

He cut himself off, shaking his head. “Up and at ‘em, tiger!” He gestured with one hand, a gung-ho clenched-fist gesture. “They’re just– totally trying to ignore what a disaster I am, like, I’ll snap out of it if they just believe hard enough, right? They’re trying to psych me up. And I’m drooling, my eyes are pointing opposite directions–” He held up his hands in front of his face, fingers pointing out in opposing directions as if to indicate the directions of his gaze. “I’m like, totally incoherent. And naked, don’t forget that. There’s just– I’m shitting blood, I’m drooling puke. It’s fuckin’ horrifying. I don’t know who I am, I have no memories of anything, as far as I know I’ve just been born, this is the first thing that’s ever happened to me. And I’m in goddamn agony. And these jackasses, they know they’re gonna get fired or killed or whatever, so they just–” He grimaced. “Like, if they just pretend this is fine, we’ll be okay, right?” He rolled his eyes, and sighed, and shook his head.

“Yeah. They hose me down, which is fucking agony– even the water splits my skin, I’m just a fuckin’ mess. And they get a pair of, like,” he gestured, holding his hands out in front of his belly. “Shorts. Big ones. Like boxers wear. Big shorts on me. Red, I remember that. And like, the waistband is just ripping my skin. It’s agony. I’m too uncoordinated to fight them off. But they can’t get shoes on me, they just can’t, no matter how hard they fuckin’ ignore my screaming and flailing. They’re like, I remember one guy being like, it’s okay! He doesn’t need shoes! This is fine! Like, massive denial.”

He closed his eyes a moment, shook his head slowly, gestured with one hand, a helpless palm-upward half-curled-finger gesture of resignation or supplication or giving up. “So I got no shoes on, just these shorts. I’m droolin’. I’m probably still shittin’ blood. And they get me up on my feet, and it hurts everywhere they touch me, it’s agony to stand, my feet are like, fucked-up. And I can’t balance. I’m staggering around. My arm,” and he gestured at the metal shoulder. “The metal arm is glitching, I don’t have control, it’s just like, twitchin’ around, and it’s jerkin’ me off-balance.”

He paused, looking down, and crossed his arms across his chest again. “Thing is? I think it had been like, a fancy dinner party. Military types, politicians, etc. And this is, like, out back, or somethin’. The wives and everybody else, they’re inside with like, cocktails or dessert or whatever. And the men come out to this– it was like a gym, and there’s a ring, and all these guys are in their dress uniforms and suits. It’s a fancy fuckin’ party, they got drinks and cigars and whatnot. And they’re here to see a display of, I dunno.” He shook his hair back, glanced over at the camera. “I think they were supposed to be seeing my fighting prowess. I’ve surely been talked up, right? Like, I’m this mystical shit, I’m some kind of magical super-soldier weapon. And they have– the guys they have to go up against me are just random guys, I think. Convicts maybe? I dunno. I probably was supposed to kill them. I don’t know. I can’t think about it too hard. They were just a random assortment. And they’d kind of sorted them, right? I think?” He screwed up his face, gestured at his head. “Again, my memory of all this is a little hazy. They had a little guy, a kid really, to face me first, and then a slightly bigger one, on up, and there were at least half a dozen of them and the last one was this big meathead scary motherfucker. If I’m remembering right. Which– I might not be.” He waved a hand near his face, the metal hand as it happened, and it was bare and glittering in the light. “It’s kinda not the point of the story, but I mean. It’s relevant.”

He shook his head. “So they must have announced me or something, and there’s all this frantic he’s not ready and somebody’s like, well make him ready come on, and I’m like, still trying to scream because I can’t– to say I don’t know what’s going on is a huge fucking understatement. I just, like, I don’t know what reality is. I’m not competent to walk. I’m not even breathing right yet, I’m coughing up lung tissue. There’s just, it’s all blood. I know I couldn’t bear the light, it was like knives in my eyes, and everything was red. That’s why I remember the shorts, because later they were still red. But then everything was red. And I couldn’t stand up.”

He paused, looked up. “It’s a funny story,” he said, “I guess, it’s supposed to be, but I mean, I was in agony. So I’m only guessing how funny it was to the people there. Because I know it was funny, I heard the story told later, which is the only reason I’m able to reconstruct it as well as I am.” He glanced straight into the camera. “I’m assuming the people who told it again in my presence are dead of old age. I can’t recall specifics well enough, but it was a very long time ago.”

He cleared his throat, and pushed his hair back. “So they must’ve announced me, and my handlers get me on my feet and point me the right way, and one of ‘em lightly socks me in the shoulder. Like,” he makes a big cheesy grin, “go get ‘em. And he probably barely touches me but it splits the skin and it fuckin’ hurts. So I fuckin’ deck him.” He gestures, a punch, with the left arm, swinging wide. “Only I got no coordination, no control at all. So I think I broke his jaw. Maybe his neck. He goes down like a sack of bricks. Scares the shit outta me, I didn’t mean to do it, it was reflex, and I don’t know how my body works at all. I don’t know what’s just happened. They’re all freaking out. They shove me out the door. So I come out into this bright room, this boxing ring place– so bright, knives, in my eyes– and I’m bleeding and shitting myself and puking and howling, and there are all these people and I don’t understand what’s just happened, so I’m standing there like, fuckin’, bellowing, because everything hurts and I don’t know where or who I am and I’m fuckin’ terrified. And– it’s just– there I am, staggering, I look like I’m drunk, I’m a mess.”

He gestured. “That’s the punchline, kind of, I think. Here, this super-soldier secret weapon, and I come out and I’m this horrifying monstrosity, blood down my cheeks, puking and staggering and glitching and making this inhuman noise.”

He paused a moment. “That’s the part where everyone laughs,” he said, with a horrible sad smile and an encouraging gesture, a little nod. “When the person telling the story is impersonating me, staggering and flailing like Frankenstein’s monster, groaning– that’s always when everyone laughs.” He let the sad little smile thin out into something unmistakably bitter, then looked down and away from the camera. “Later one time my handlers all sat with me and watched that movie, the Frankenstein movie, and I remember it because I was so hurt.” He turned his head to one side slightly, tilting it, mouth pulling sideways. “And I remembered having seen the movie, I think, I know I saw it when I was a kid– and I was so confused, and they were laughing because it was me. I recognized it. I was the monster.” He curled into himself a little, left arm across his stomach and right holding it in place, and let out a tiny, shaky breath; a profound little noise. “I didn’t have any context, but I got it. I mean, now, I understand. I was a monster. And if you’re just some kid, you signed up to be a soldier and they make you work with this fucked-up thing, you gotta deal with that somehow. So you poke fun at the monster, a little, to try and kind of. Have some control, I guess. But I just. I was so hurt.”

He twisted his mouth to one side, and glanced up at the camera, raising his eyebrows to look up without lifting his head. “It’s a funny story, I’m told.” He looked back down. “I don’t remember what happened, really. That’s the– the thing is, I know, I killed the guys I was supposed to kill. I got out there, I’m screaming and bleeding, they made the kid come at me to fight me, and he’s sort of laughing, like is this for real, and he comes up and just sort of hits me, not all that hard, and I just, I straight-up took his head off.” He shrugged. “I just– I didn’t remember anything, I didn’t know what was happening, but I knew I was supposed to fight, I kinda picked that up. So I just, I think I just punched their heads off.” He shrugged again, still looking down. “I don’t know if it illustrated what it was supposed to. I was in so much goddamn pain, and I was so fuckin’ terrified. I don’t remember what happened, I just remember I was so fuckin’ scared and everything hurt and I didn’t understand. And then later when they told the story, I just–”

He stopped, and was silent for a moment, breathing in sharp, breathing out slow. He didn’t raise his head, shoulders hunched, staring down. “It’s a funny story,” he said again, muffled, and sat like that for a moment, and then the video cut out.
Like, thanks, Winter, for holding off until like two months late and then suddenly shitting all over me and my family. My baby sister left midday yesterday for a 2-day drive out Midwest to visit in-laws, and she and her husband and baby had to white-knuckle it through four inches of slush in Indiana; meanwhile my older sister and her husband and two dogs and three kids left first thing this morning and had to deal with the tail-end of the same huge storm system crapping freezing dribbles on them and slowing them enough that they got stuck in DC rush hour traffic enroute to their Georgia home. We hit bad snow about 3 hours into the 5-hour drive and it was real bad for a bit there. And it’s going to be 45 and raining tomorrow. 

WTF anyway. I spent the drive first reading the gift fic I got in the first fic exchange I ever did, which was an adorable and elaborate bit of… I’d describe it as earnest sweetness. I’ll have to go back and reread it tomorrow and comment more intelligently– I just reblogged the post with the link, and it’s really delightful. The formatting was a bit messed up on my e-reader though, so I look forward to giving it another readthrough in a proper browser. 

Then I read the literal actual novel I wrote while trying to come up with the fic I eventually wrote for my part of the exchange. I seriously wrote 50k of an AU that didn’t even have the correct pairings in it. I got off on the wrong footing, stumbled around, hit a tangent and started going, and couldn’t tear myself away even when I realized it was utterly unsuitable. And rereading it… 

I could file the serial numbers off this one and do an original novel, like I’d been considering for literally years. Nothing else I’ve ever done would really work; all my epics are too based in canon of whatever thing I’m working off of to work. But this one was an AU enough that I could actually just shift everything about six inches to the left and be fine. It’s really tempting. 

It’d probably be 100k long or more by the time I was done, but– I mean– why not? 

Free sample:

“How long did it take you to nerve yourself up to come into my diner?” Angie asks.

“I staked the place out,” James says, “and watched for about three weeks, and decided out of all the employees you were the most likely to be nice to me.”

“Really,” Angie says. “How’d you figure?”

He shrugs. “Watched,” he says. “I started out by staking out the burger place.”

The only other restaurant in town. There was a pizzeria in the plaza by the post office too, but they didn’t do sit-down service. The burger place was only recently year-round, and was mostly staffed by high school kids and recent graduates. They seemed to make most of their hiring decisions based on the candidate’s softball ability, so the employees had a definite… demographic.

“I can see how that didn’t work out,” Angie says.

“Also I watched a kid pick his nose and then assemble a burger with his bare hands,” James says, “so that pretty much ended that experiment.”

“Are you good at stakeouts?” Angie asks.

“I specialized as a sniper,” James says. “I can sit motionless and watch just about anything for as long as you need me to.”

“That sounds like a good life skill,” Angie says. She has her pancakes syruped to her liking, so she starts to eat them. “Holy shit these are good!” He’s managed to get almost a crust on the outsides, without making them rubbery.

He shoots her a grin. “The recipe from the book, man,” he says. “I read the notes section though.”

“It has literally never crossed my mind to read the notes section,” she says. There’s always a how-to section at the beginning and it goes on and on about the fundamental underpinnings of whatever the food is, but Angie has never actually read the notes section of a recipe book ever.

“That’s because your mother taught you how to cook because it is something a human needs to know how to do,” James says. He flips a pancake a little violently. “Unless you want to doom your son to mess hall chow or force him to find a woman, apparently.”

“Could Steve cook?” Angie asks.

James snorts. “No,” he admits. “See, it was doomed.”

“Did you guys manage to actually date, or did you mostly just–” Angie stops, because it’s kind of a mean question actually.

James scrapes the pan, then flips a pancake. “No,” he says. “We kind of– mutually pined for years, experimented a little, and then we slept together once and I felt like I had to tell my mom and she put her foot down. Said it was okay for Stevie to be gay because he had the strength of character for it, but not me.”

“Wait, what?” Angie hasn’t heard this one.

James’s mouth twists bitterly. “Yeah,” he says. He turns the pan off, and brings a plate over with a serving for himself. He sits down at the less-cluttered end of the table and cuts up pancakes with his fork. “Her basic point was that Steve was already super-weird and would be fine no matter what he did, and she’d always kind of figured he was gay, but me? I was too normal, I’d need to live a normal life, I’d never be happy in that lifestyle.”

“That’s super fucked-up,” Angie says.

“She meant it kindly, I’m sure,” James says, and pours syrup onto his plate. He has a sweet tooth, she’s noticed, and he prefers his pancakes really drenched, but he’s being sparing.

“I got another thing of syrup,” Angie says. “Use as much as you want.”

He gives her a flash of a sweet smile, and goes back and adds more. “Not tryin’ to eat you outta house and home,” he says.

“I have food,” she says. “Food is cheap around here. I ain’t worried. What I’m worried about is your damn mother. That’s maybe the meanest thing I ever heard.”

James shrugged. “I sure proved her wrong, I guess,” he says, unsmiling now. “Didn’t matter what kind of life I led, I’d never be happy anyway.”

“I barely know you,” Angie says, “and I met you at what’s probably a real bad time, but I gotta say that’s the least fair assessment of anybody I’ve possibly ever heard. You’re the kind of person who could find happiness living in a goddamn storm sewer, as long as you had somebody to take care of.”

He stares at her. “That’s a weird thing to say,” he says, frowning.

“Is it not true?” she asks, gesturing around the room. “You show up in the middle of goddamn nowhere and like the first thing you do is adopt a literal box of helpless kittens, and the second thing you do is make friends with this weird little lost soul and become her sworn protector just because she smiled at you when you were scared.”

“You’re not–” he says, frowning.

“Sworn protector!” she says, throwing up a hand. “Even now! You won’t even let her talk shit about herself! And you like it here, even though all you do here is sleep on the floor and hurt yourself and work, and sometimes get fed.”

“Says the woman whose response to a freak coming into her diner and having a panic attack over nothing was to sit him down and devise a method of communicating with him so you could feed him,” James shoots back.

“Feeding people is my job,” Angie says. “You would not believe the shit that I see in that place, you weren’t even the weirdest thing that shift. But we weren’t talking about me. My mom never worried about what would make me happy.”

“Yeah but then I told you I’m wanted by some shady organization and am prepared to die in an armed standoff, and you’ve been eerily even-keeled about that,” James says. “Maybe I’m fuckin’ nuts but it still seems to me like that’s an odd reaction.”

I set it in my hometown and also set it in the year 2002 or so (texting is new, she sends emails from the library) and it’s a platonic friendship fic of Angie Martinelli and Bucky. Like… what? Why? Well. We’re not quite sure what my brain was doing. 

The unforgivably unfortunate thing is that I inexplicably wrote it in present tense. WTF. Way to go. Bonus: James fosters kittens who need bottle-feeding. There’s a box of kittens in this story. In my head, it’s called Box Of Kittens. 
4600 words, at AO3 for ease of reading. :)

The So-Called Good Guys

“I’m the Fist of Hydra,” Bucky said, sounding a bit smug about it.

In which Bucky comes back and isn’t willing to change careers just yet– until he is. This is as holiday-sweet as I could manage to be.

For Stucky Secret Santa 2015– my recipient is @kendrasaunderses! Sorry this was a day late and not at all what your wishes sounded like, and thanks for being so super chill!

I actually ended up writing 50k of a totally platonic Bucky & Angie AU when I first tried to do this, which was even less what you’d asked for and also didn’t remotely fit the challenge guidelines. So. Who even knows anymore what my brain is trying to do. If you’re into that, I’ll work on that sometime in the New Year. :) (Well, even if you’re not, I will, but if you are, you can see when it goes up and feel special for having inadvertently inspired it.)

Without further ado, an excerpt:

Steve absently threw the deadbolt behind him as he sorted through his mail with the other hand. He flipped the lightswitch, but the lights in his apartment only came on dimly. He glanced up, frowning, then remembered— Christmas lights, right, Sharon had insisted he decorate. So he’d put up like eight strings of Christmas lights because they were so damn cheap and efficient nowadays, and had unplugged his lamp to do it.


Holiday cheer and whatnot. That was all he’d done. He wasn’t having glittery crap in his house. It was hard enough to avoid as it was.

He had to remember to care, when people asked. It was, you know. It was all right.

It did mean a sharp uptick in conservative pundits who asked him pointed questions about the good old days. Which meant a sharp uptick in the public rants he got to go on about public health and social wellness and so on. Good times. (Actually, those were probably his favorite self-indulgence, those rants. People acted so shocked.)

Happy fuckin’ holidays. He went into his kitchenette and flipped the other lightswitch, so he could properly read his mail, and went through it— he didn’t get a lot of real mail here, mostly bills and junk. The fanmail got filtered through the Avengers, and sent in thick repackaged envelopes like— yep, like this one. That’d do, he was set for the evening with one of those. He did answer almost all of them. It was one of the few things that was genuinely satisfying.

He set the envelope aside, dumped the rest into his recycle bin, and then he noticed the dark red droplet in the middle of the doorway to the hall, distinct in splatter pattern against the pale wood.

He’d been at the office. He’d been doing paperwork. He was absolutely not bleeding. He moved to the hallway and bent to swipe his finger through the droplet.

It was not dry. It was tacky, but not dry.

It was also absolutely blood.

There was another droplet farther down the hall.

The shield was leaning against the couch. He tended to leave it weird places in the house. He was fastidious about some things, but the shield was kind of… out in the world he was careful. In his own house, no. He caught it up and slunk down the hall.

There was a smear on the bathroom door, which was ajar; he usually left it open. He shoved it all the way open and sprang through.

There was a body in his tub, one heavy-booted foot slung over the side, the black-clad figure within slumped down. As he slammed into the room it rolled its head and looked up at him, pale-faced through dark hair.

“Bucky,” he said, and started to lower the shield until he remembered the last time he’d seen that face, and the gun in the right hand.

“Hey,” Bucky said, head tipped back against the edge of the tub. 

Ficlet series: outtakes from before I fell down the rabbit hole and wrote an epic. (This is how I write epics, btw, I open a document and start writing things that amuse me until I suddenly get sucked into A PIT OF FEELS and that’s where the plot comes from.)

Bucky Barnes makes hilarious, sometimes-serious videos as part of his recovery. 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three: 

The text appeared, bright yellow, on a blank black screen. Bucky Barnes’ Children’s Funtime Corner.

The Benny Hill theme started playing over a montage of images. Steve ran by, in workout gear, obviously just jogging for fitness, and suddenly Bucky dropped from above the frame, wrapped his thighs around his neck, and took him to the floor. “Ow,” Steve said, off-camera, weakly. 

Sam came down a hallway in his underpants (exceedingly flattering boxer briefs), looking morning-sleepy and half-conscious (and fucking glorious), shuffling stiffly and yawning. Bucky jumped out at him and Sam screamed and reflexively punched Bucky so hard they both fell over. 

Keep reading

I had forgotten I ever posted these. One year ago! Insomnia is sending me on a little jaunt through the weird back alleys of my back catalogue. Apologies for the self-reblog spam.

I really ought to collect everything into a central AO3 location. 

Continuing ficlet series: more outtakes from my “videos” scrap file before I got started in earnest on my giant epic fic series.

Part One

Part Two:

It took a while after the acquisition of the decent camera, but eventually a YouTube account popped up, and the population of the Avengers Tower collectively braced themselves.

Keep reading

Ficlet series: These are outtakes from before the Choice Is Not A Word A Bullet Knows series began to coalesce. Traces of them exist in that series but these are from a rather different atmosphere. I’m struggling a bit so it struck me that I could post this mini-series here on Tumblr. I’ll perhaps eventually collect them on AO3 if they hold up as amusing. 

They’re in a scrap document called “videos”, and perhaps unsuprisingly (though it would be surprising if you knew how not-descriptive most of my working titles are) most of them are just descriptions of videos posted on social media by an Avengers Tower-confined Bucky Barnes as he readjusts to life as a non-puppet. 

Part 1:

The week Bucky discovered Instagram let you post videos was simultaneously awesome and terrible for PR for the remnants of SHIELD and the inhabitants of Stark Tower.

Keep reading
It’s up! The rest of Ch 13, with the Neko Atsume stuff and meeting Lakeisha’s family and getting some of her Tragic Backstory. We’re also getting more of James’s cyborg deal revealed. I promise that’s cooler than it sounds. 

Chapter 13, That’s All Right (Mama), and I’m so high on knockoff Mucinex that I’m starting to think I’ve already used that chapter title somewhere else so maybe I’ll fix that and maybe I won’t. Fuck, we’re all lucky if I haven’t just pasted the script from the Bee movie in there instead of the chapter I wrote, because I don’t know where my face is.

I am most proud of this line:

Lakeisha stared at him, and it was really good she’d transcended her physical form or there would have been more hitting. “You would love for this to be about that, wouldn’t you?”

Oh siblings. I love siblings. Also I might set a record for the number of times I have a character curse in one segment of dialogue. 

Also, Baghead Idiot: 

My dude literally has an actual figurine of this character on his keychain. He’s got a real name, but in our household he’s just called Baghead Idiot. 
Gonna be shameless a sec since my cold-medicine-addled state is making me hesitant to do any serious editing, and rec myself. I wrote this story last year for a bunch of reasons, not least because my Dude was making latkes; he’s making them again tonight and it made me go back and reread it. I write things because I want to read them, and this is a rarity for me, a gen story with only implied pairings!

It came out of one of the first things that it struck me I *had* to believe about the Avengers/MCU universe, which was that Natasha Romanoff was originally born to a Russian Jewish family. (I am not Jewish myself, but have had numerous Jewish classmates and friends; Natasha was of course raised as a brainwashed child soldier so she knows even less about it than me. Sam and Bucky are just following a recipe. What does any of it mean? It means what you want it to mean, Bucky concludes.)

And then I wrote it because I wanted to write Bucky and Sam being ridiculous bros, and somehow Pepper wanted to be cute. 

It’s been, statistically speaking, an entertaining case study for me in what a relatively-short standalone with no smut gets you in terms of audience, and what that is, is– the same exact people, generally, who read my shorter smut, and also a lot of the ones who read the longer smut! Fascinating. 

So anyway. My holiday-time story from last year, sort of causally written for the Fandom Hanukkah Challenge 2014: 

Truth In Potatoes, General Audiences, Bucky POV.
This is another excerpt from Full of Grace’s upcoming chapter, because I was so bent on putting Neko Atsume into it that i have to commemorate that. This is notable for being possibly the only time I’ve actually incorporated any elements of my real-life relationship into my fic.

Natasha was poking absently at her laptop with James next to her on the couch when she got the email from Vision. It seemed oddly formal, to get an actual e-mail from an actual android; had he, himself a computer, sat down at another computer to compose it, or had he sent it with his mind?

The subject line was “our mutual friend”, so she opened it without saying anything to James. It was a link to a new info drop online: some snoop had uncovered a bunch more documentation on the Winter Soldier in some godforsaken Russian backwater.

Tony hasn’t finished translating it yet, Vision wrote, but what he’s understood so far has him panicking. Other documents have mentioned the existence of control words, but this one has an actual list and some of their effects.

Natasha suspended her breathing for a moment, before glancing over at James, who was giving his phone a deep look of concentration. He knew, then. He frowned, and scrolled sideways across the phone, and scowled deeper.

She set her laptop aside, then reached over and put her hand around his wool-sock-clad foot, squeezing gently and reassuringly. “It’ll be okay,” she said. She was still working out how to explain Vision to him, how to maybe get them to meet up, and most importantly how to get him to consent to being scanned without setting off his conditioning.

He blinked at her, expression clearing. “Oh,” he said, “it’s fine. I was just thinking about something.”

Maybe he didn’t know. She raised her eyebrows at him. “You looked upset,” she said.

He laughed, and leaned in a little closer to her, re-settling so she could see his phone. “No,” he said. “I’m trying to get a good picture of a cartoon cat from a game to text it to Steve.”

His phone was open to a screen full of a cartoon landscape, maybe a backyard or something, littered with cartoon cats in varying states of repose. All the buttons were in– Natasha squinted. Bubbly Japanese. It was very kawaii. “What is this,” she said.

“Neko Atsume,” James said. “It’s appallingly popular among non-Japanese-speaking nerds who can’t read the buttons.”

“Can you read the buttons?” she asked. 

He gave her an inscrutable look. “You can’t?” She shook her head. He frowned. “Why would they give it to me and not you?”

“They took things back out sometimes,” she said. “I think I was more of a flight risk.”

“Fair point,” he said, a little glum. 

“No, no,” she said, “tell me more about cute cartoon cats,” because I am about to wreck your day.

He grinned. “It’s a dumb game, you just put stuff out and then you check back and they’ve come by and are hanging out. It’s really relaxing, there’s not really any strategy. But I sent it to Steve and I’m trying to make him all competitive about it. Just to wind him up.”

“Maybe you really are a supervillain,” Natasha said admiringly. Steve’s competitive streak was possibly his most entertaining feature, but it was hard to exploit. He had to be pretty comfortable with you to be unwary enough to let you wind him up. He’d basically never be at that point with Tony, which was too bad, because that would be some quality entertainment.

“Right?” James said. He scrolled sideways. “I’m Captain America’s fuckin’ nemesis. Somebody’s gotta be.” He laughed. “Anyway. So, you pick what objects, food or toys or beds or whatever, to put out into your yard, and it attracts cats, and that’s all there is to it, but if you use different objects you get, like, rare cats. It’s a whole– thing. And I’ve been doing it a little bit so I already have a whole dossier of cats, and I’m going to mess with Steve about how many more I have and so on.” He showed her said dossier, and the cartoons were really cute. Apparently you could take the pictures, in-game, and save them in your book of cats who had visited you.

“If you don’t feed them do they die?” Natasha asked.

James shook his head. “Nah,” he said, “they just don’t come by. They’re not, like, your cats. It’s no big deal if you don’t check in for a while. You come back, you can just pick up where you left off. It’s not like the cats get mad or anything. You put out more food, they’ll come back.”

“I can see how that might be appealing,” Natasha said.

“Yeah, it’s basically zero pressure,” James said. “But it’s still kind of rewarding.” He swiped through. “This one’s my favorite. The cheapest toy you can get with your credits is a stupid plastic bag, and this cat just, fuckin’, wears the bag on his head. Like an idiot. His name is something like Spot or Dash or something but I call him Baghead Idiot. Because he is.” He laughed, bringing up the photo. “Look at this fuckin’ idiot with a bag on his head. It’s fuckin’ great.”

“What an idiot,” Natasha agreed, amused.

“He’s my fuckin’ favorite,” James said. “It’s so stupid. And look at how all their assholes are little x’s. Isn’t that fuckin’ adorable?”

“It is,” Natasha said. She leaned in against James’s warm body, and made herself comfortable. “But you have a real cat.”

“The real cat is more work,” he said. He exited the app, and put his phone down on the arm of the couch, and kissed the top of Natasha’s head. “You seemed like you were readin’ something a lot less entertaining.”

“I was,” she said. She sighed. She could feel his heartbeat through her shoulderblade, warm and steady.

“Don’t, then,” he said. “Stop thinkin’ about it for a minute, hey?”

“I can’t,” she said.

“It’s about me, ain’t it,” he said, low and soft. His heartbeat picked up, going a little faster.

She twisted to look up at him. He had known, then. “Yes,” she said.

He looked away. “I knew one was comin’,” he said. “Info dump, yeah?”

“Yeah,” she said. “Control triggers, in this one.”

“Fuck,” he said. He breathed in slow, and breathed out, and she could feel him slowing his heartbeat deliberately. “Each of ‘em only works once but– each of ‘em works, y’know?”

“I have some too,” she said. “They’re buried, the ones that are left, and I may never find them all.”

He wrapped his arm around her chest– the left one, solid and immovable and warm. “I tried to find out about mine,” he said. “But I– it’s like my– I’m not allowed to rr– to read-” He stopped talking, and sighed. “Mm.”

“I can read it for you,” she said. She hadn’t thought of that.

He put his cheek down against the side of her head. “Yeah?” His voice was very quiet, but he sounded almost hopeful.

She pointed at her laptop. “Hand that to me and I’ll read it and summarize.”

“I don’t know if I can even do a summary,” he said.

“Tap out if it’s too much,” she said.

He let go of her to reach her laptop for her, and she started scrolling. His heartbeat went erratic before steadying out, and he turned his head. “I can’t even look,” he said.

“Close your eyes,” she said. “Put your hand around my wrist and squeeze if it’s too much.”

“If I have a seizure I’ll break your arm,” he said. “No. I’ll use the other hand.” He put his right hand so that the backs of his fingers touched her thigh, and put his left arm down next to her. “Okay,” he said. “Here goes nothin’, huh? Hit me.”

She rubbed her cheek against his chest, turning slightly so the screen was less in his line of sight. “I’m not hitting you,” she said, “I’m going to read it first, and tell you the most important things first.”

“Good call,” he said, and dug his phone back out to look at the cartoon cat game again. “Hey,” he said, “check it out, I got Samurai Cat! I gotta text that one to Steve.”

“Do that,” she said fondly, sparing him a smile before she went back to her grim reading.
Steve’s mom got him a camera when he was 13 and recovering from pneumonia. It was a cheap one, used, one of the really basic box cameras, but she knew he liked to draw, and knew many artists used photographs as references. She was, Steve thought rather bitterly, always on the look-out for things he could do without going outside or moving too much.

Of course Bucky instantly knew how to use it. His family had a much fancier camera, one of the kind that folded, and had a nice leather case, and had a lens that could be focused. It also had been purchased new, and that meant it had its instruction manual with it. The instruction manual was important, because it had the chart in it that told you how to make the pictures come out. Steve knew that developing film was expensive, and he didn’t want to waste any.

So Bucky came over after school with the notes he’d collected from Rosemarie Anderson, who was in Steve’s class, and also with his father’s camera, in its original box with the instruction manual.

“Dad almost never uses this,” Bucky confided. “He thought he would, when he bought it, but like Mom said, he shot like one roll of film with it and then put it back in the box and only drags it out when she makes him.”

It was a very nice camera, in a very nice box– black, with orange chevrons, and the interior of the box was a lustrous gold, matching the cover of the manual. The camera and its case were exactly the same shade of brown, and there was all kinds of fancy chrome detailing on the camera’s body. To open it, there was a button you had to press, and the door dropped down to reveal a folding bellows assembly and a lens that slid out onto the door on a track, and settled into place with a really substantial and satisfying click.

Steve’s own camera was much less interesting. Somewhat battered, and it was just a box, a solid box, and there was a lever to make the shutter go, and that was it. But Bucky wasn’t fazed at all. “This kind’s just as good,” he said. “The back opens like this, see?”

He unfastened the catch and opened the rear door. That much, Steve had figured out on his own. “I can’t see where the film goes in, though,” Steve said.

“You gotta pull out the film holder,” Bucky said, and his strong fingers wrapped around something Steve couldn’t make out in all that matte black interior. “And you gotta pull out the film winding knob. Here.” He wound the knob until it protruded, then pulled carefully on the very back of the camera’s interior, and worked out the camera’s insert, which was all matte black and looked like wood or cardstock. “Here, this is where the roll goes in. You take the empty roll out and put it in the takeup position, and then you put the new roll where the empty one was and wind it through.” He demonstrated deftly.

“You taken a lot of pictures?” Steve asked a little gruffly.

“Yeah,” Bucky said, “Dad always made me load the camera because he said I had clever little hands.”

“They’re not that little,” Steve said, and Bucky paused, holding his hand out, palm up. Steve fitted his hand against it, and they were pretty close to the same size, but Steve’s hands and feet had always been kind of too big for his small frame. His mother had used to joke that it was because he was like a puppy and he’d grow into them, but he was starting to worry he might not. Most of the boys his age hadn’t hit their growth yet, but he privately doubted that his weak heart would be able to withstand the kind of dramatic growth spurt a lot of the older boys seemed to go through.

Bucky was still pretty small, but he was growing steadily, perfectly average for his age and bigger than Steve by the year. He’d grow into his hands too, but a lot sooner than Steve would.

His skin was warm and dry, and he held his hand against Steve’s longer than he had to just to measure. “I guess,” he said finally, and Steve couldn’t tell what he was thinking. “So what do you want to take pictures of?”

“I can’t go outside yet,” Steve said, glum.

“Me, then,” Bucky said, cheerful. “I’m the only interesting thing in this place.” He pretended to preen, patting at his curls like a girl– but his hair was too short for curls, so it was a meaningless gesture. He fluttered his eyelashes, too.

When it was long enough, his hair did curl, and quite fashionably too. Unlike Steve’s, which just flopped into his eyes. Like it was doing now. He shoved it out of the way a little fiercely. “Interesting is the nicest way to put it,” he said.

“I got character,” Bucky said. He neatly fitted the roll of film into place. “Anyway. It goes in like this, and then you pull the leader over this way and thread it through the take-up reel, like so. Then the whole insert goes back into the box like that.” He shoved the insert back into position and fastened the catch. “Then you gotta wind the take-up reel. You know it worked ‘cuz you can feel the resistance. Got it?”

Steve took the camera from him obediently, and wound the take-up reel in the direction of the arrow. “Okay,” he said. “Your camera doesn’t work the same way, though, does it?”

“Nah,” Bucky said, “but we had one of these when I was little, I used to load it for Dad too. Oh yeah, don’t load it outside, load it where it’s kinda dim.”

“Is it dim in here?” Steve asked, looking around the bedroom. The blinds were mostly drawn. He supposed it was.

Bucky laughed, and went over and opened the blinds. Sunlight streamed in. “That’s perfect now,” he said. “You can take a picture indoors if there’s sunlight. Here, in the book, it lays it out pretty good.”

Steve read through the charts, and Bucky got his father’s camera out and set it up and focused it and then went and posed, and Steve did as he was shown and took a picture. As long as it was a picture of Bucky, then Bucky’s mom probably wouldn’t complain about them wasting film. So he peered through the backwards-and-upside-down little mirrored finder and approximately centered Bucky in the frame, lit from the side, and took the picture when Bucky looked appropriately solemn and dreamy, gazing out the window with his eyelashes somewhat lowered.

“That’ll be a good one,” Bucky said approvingly, having heard the click. “Now you gotta wind the film.”

Steve did, and then he set up his camera, and Bucky posed him in the sunbeam and showed him how the view-finder worked to compose the picture, then took a portrait of him. Steve sat self-consciously, and tried to make the same expression Bucky had, tried to look interesting, tried not to look deathly ill, and Bucky said quietly, “Yeah, Stevie,” and took the picture.

“You think it’ll come out?” Steve asked, squirming a little.

“You looked like an angel,” Bucky said. “Your mom will like it, I think.” He wound the film and put the camera down. “Anyway, that’s enough of that for now, we gotta get through these notes.”
Chapter 12 of Full Of Grace: Alright, Okay, You Win

Natasha and Bucky’s sex tape, an Avengers’ Girls’ Night In, introducing Vision, and a bunch of debates on what makes a person a person. 

“This is a video of the Winter Soldier,” Jess said, “noted international assassin and agent of chaos, having sex in the back of a car with the legendary Black Widow.”

“You’d think it would be less boring,” Natasha said. “Oh, there I go again.” One of her feet appeared briefly above the back seat of the car as she rearranged position.

“Did you get off?” Jess asked.

“Psh,” Natasha said, “like eight times.”

“And that didn’t tip you off that he was showing off for somebody?” Jess asked, pained.

Natasha slid a look over at her. “It would have had to be unusual for it to tip me off,” she said. Sharon made a little choking noise. Jessica literally boggled at her.
so uh my hand slipped 

“Well,” the guy said. “I figured those were goggles but uh. You got no eyes. That’s unusual. I heard stories about a guy, runs around with a blindfold on, but I figured junkies mess up what they’re lookin’ at sometimes. I guess not.”

“I have eyes,” Matt said. “They’re not useful eyes, but I have eyes. For the record.”

“Good to know,” the guy said. He shifted his weight slightly, but it wasn’t an aggressive move; more like he was settling his posture more comfortably. “So the question is, I kinda in my head had the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen separated out a little bit from the fakey ninjas, but not much, because I’m not sure what your deal is. Are you with them or against them?”

“Categorically against,” Matt said.

The guy’s weight shifted a little, back onto his heels a little bit. He was relaxing. “Good,” he said. “Then I got no quarrel with you. I figure the fakey ninjas are a local deal, and I’m not super involved with local politics.”

“Then why are you patrolling abandoned warehouses in the dead of night?” Matt asked.

The guy laughed silently through his nose. “I told you,” he said, “I’m a bum lookin’ for somewhere to crash. I actually wasn’t lyin’.”

“You don’t smell like a bum,” Matt said.

“Is that your deal?” the guy asked. “You’re blind but like, have super-senses apart from that? I figured that was a comic book thing.”

“I wouldn’t say they’re super,” Matt said, “but I get by.”

“It’s probably not my smell that’s weirdin’ you out, then,” the guy said.

“I mean,” Matt said, “it’s not helping, but no, I’m most concerned by the fact that you’re clearly part machine.”

There was a louder mechanical whir. “You been able to hear that since I walked in, right?”

“Yeah,” Matt said. “What the fuck is that.”

The whir repeated. There was a silent moment, and then the guy fuckin’ laughed. It was a low laugh, and not particularly mean. “Well, shit,” he said. “I done the big reveal of my identity a couple times lately but usually what does it is just, you know, I turn off the camoflage sleeve and then I don’t gotta say anything.”

“Camoflage sleeve,” Matt said. “What, you got a robot arm?”

“Yeah,” the guy said. Like that was an entire answer unto itself.

“And I’m supposed to,” Matt said, then cut himself off. “Holy fuckin’ shit.”

“Most people catch on right about then,” the Winter fucking Soldier said, taking half a step backward. There was something kind of gentle in his voice.
I was looking for a new snippet or excerpt I could put up because I’m so excited about Bucky’s thighs in the CA:CW trailer. And I found one, sort of. (Criteria: doesn’t spoil anything, stands alone, is short. That last one rules out nearly everything I write.)

This is from a nebulous future chapter of Full of Grace and features two OCs. I think it stands alone, it just might not be immediately obvious. 

Because one of the things I’ve always been most interested in about Bucky is that while Steve Rogers was alone in the world– even when I had nothing– except for Bucky, Bucky was not, he was from a community he was very much a part of, he was a big brother and had parents and a family who loved him. Steve had nothing to lose once Bucky was gone, but Bucky left a lot behind. And when he came back, some of it might still have been there. (I have a big Irish NYC family okay, I have a lot of feels.)

“Grandpa!” Maria said, crossing the room to latch the window, which had come loose and was flapping in the breeze. “Why did you open the window? It’s too cold for that!”

“I didn’t,” her grandfather said, looking over at it in bemusement. He was in his chair, wrapped in a blanket. Clearly he hadn’t considered himself too warm. “It just blew open.”

“It should have been latched,” Maria said. She was sure it had been latched, she checked the windows herself pretty often. She tried to remember back when it had been open last. They hadn’t had any really warm days in a while. She opened it to air the room out once a week when she changed the sheets, because she didn’t want it to get to smelling too much like old man, but that had been on Thursday and she knew she’d latched it again after.

“Oh,” Grandpa said, “I know. It was Bucky.”

Maria turned to look at him. “It was what?”

“Bucky,” Grandpa said. “He came by to visit, night before last, didn’t I tell you?”

“Bucky,” she repeated flatly.

“Oh,” he said, “it was your mother I told. I’m sorry, I forgot. He came in at night, through the window, so he wouldn’t scare anybody else. I was sure your mother would pass it on, I was so happy to see him!”

Maria shook her head. “Bucky,” she said again, frowning. “Is this— what is a bucky?”

“My cousin Bucky,” Grandpa said, affronted. “You know. Bucky Barnes!”

“Oh,” Maria said. “What? Grandpa, the one you were on TV saying was dead and this crazy assassin guy was an impostor?”

Grandpa drew himself up with dignity. “I was wrong,” he said. “It happens to the best of us. His story is pretty out there. But it’s true, it’s really him. And he stopped by to see little Johnny, and see if I really meant it, that it wasn’t him. Because he has memory problems sometimes, and he was worried that maybe I was right, and he wasn’t really him.”

“But he is,” Maria said, blinking in disbelief.

“Yes,” Grandpa said. “It is him, and I was wrong, but in my defense I couldn’t have understood what they did to him to make him do those things.”

“And Bucky came in the window,” Maria said. She knew it was true, that Grandpa’s cousin had really been the real Bucky Barnes, and that he’d been babysat by Bucky back in the day. They’d met Steve Rogers, she’d been there; Captain America himself had hugged her grandpa and cried and called him little Johnny. It had really been something.

But Grandpa had been a little more confused lately. The news crews had caught him on one of his mean days, and Maria was still mad at them; Grandpa had looked kooky and old and had said viciously that his cousin Bucky hadn’t been any assassin and this guy out there couldn’t be him. He’d come across as really mean and old. But…

He was old, he was really old. And he was more and more confused lately, and less lucid, and his kidney disease wasn’t improving things at all.

“He did,” Grandpa said, waving. “About scared the pants off me, I know, when I woke up and saw him sitting there. He hadn’t really meant to wake me up, he said, but he just wanted to see me, because he couldn’t really understand how many years it had been, he didn’t really understand what happened to him either…”

“So he came in the window,” Maria said, “and he didn’t shut it behind himself when he left.”

“He must not have latched it,” Grandpa said. “But I don’t know that he’d be able to, from the outside.”

“Mm-hmm,” Maria said, inspecting the latch. “Well, as long as he didn’t scare you too much.”

“He was so sad,” Grandpa said. “He was so tired and sad, Maria. It’s not right, what happened, and I’m sorry for what I said on the TV. Do you think they’d let me take it back?”

“I don’t think they really care about the truth, Grandpa,” Maria said.

Chapter 11

Nov. 24th, 2015 01:09 pm
Full of Grace chapter 11 update: Can’t Help Falling In Love

In which there is a blanket fort, a renegotiation of terms, and the aftermath of a mission gone right. 
There’s also maybe some progress on the theme that was the original entire premise of the first fic in this series, Ora Pro Nobis: why James remembers a tragic love story with a long-past Natasha, but she does not remember ever having known him.  (That’s the thing with writing epic-length stories: I got themes, I know I do, but damned if I can remember to work them back in.)

Natasha watched the explosion in the rear-view mirror and thought to herself with grim satisfaction that, very occasionally, her job was kind of cool.

James, not driving, had the freedom to turn around and actually watch the explosion face-on. He startled her by letting out a whoop; she had to glance over to realize that the noise was genuine high-spirits. “That was the fuckin’ nuts,” he said, yelling over the noise of the engine. “Yeah! Eat fire, you fuckin’ Nazis!”

He cackled like a lunatic halfway back to civilization, and as they swapped their gear out at the stash point and pulled on civvies to blend in enough to make it to the safehouse unremarked he was still in refreshingly high spirits. “Fuck yeah,” he said, apropos of nothing.

“That one was pretty rewarding,” Natasha conceded.

“C’mon,” he said, “ain’t you even a little worked up?”

“I’m not the whooping type,” she said primly.

He telegraphed his next move so she didn’t fucking deck him, which she appreciated: he came toward her with his hands out, grabbed her by the ribs, picked her up and swung her around. She allowed a laugh, then grabbed him and shoved him against the side of the Jeep and kissed him hard.

He liked that, he opened right up for her and went sweet and pliant, and she grabbed him by the hair and manhandled him around. His eyes went dark, pupils huge. “Such a good boy,” she purred. They were at a shed in the middle of the woods, and it was the middle of the afternoon and there was nobody around for miles and they really should keep moving to make sure there was no pursuit, but—

She pushed him down onto his knees, and he stared at her like he was a dog and she had a treat— worshipful, hopeful, wide-eyed, avid. “You’re going to help me with this zipper, aren’t you?”
Chapter Update: Full of Grace, chapter 10: If I Can Dream 

Sam Wilson is a superhero. And Natasha starts to think maybe they’re in over their heads. 

Content warning for discussion of suicidal ideation.

“I thought you were dead,” he said, blank-eyed. She retrieved the discarded grenade launcher– those things weren’t cheap– and started to walk back to the transport, but he was still standing there, so she doubled back and caught him by the arm. It wasn’t just his hand, his whole body was trembling finely.

“James,” she said. “Are you okay?”

“I thought you were dead,” he said again. “I couldn’t find you and I thought you were dead.”

“I’m better than that,” she said, a little crossly.

He blinked, and the expression he turned on her was so blank it didn’t look like he’d ever been a human. “Anyone can get unlucky,” he said.
here’s another snippet, in which you can totally tell I’ve been reading a lot of Stucky fic, but I can’t put my finger on who this is *totally* ripping off, at least in tone. Which is how it goes for me; I absorb things and then totally bite those things’s style but can’t remember where I got them so people either think I’m a tool or misattribute genius to me, and I am vaguely guilty but not enough to take better notes. 
Again, this isn’t part of any of my big WIPs, it’s a bit floating around in my Giant Scrivener Doc O’ Fanfic, and it is Bucky/Steve immediately post-coitus. It’s part of something bigger but may or may not ever get finished, and some of the bits of this may not actually become my personal canon but I think I’m hilarious, and I wrote it today when I was supposed to be writing something else. LOLOLOL right? That’s actually my life. 

So tell me who this sounds like, it’s driving me nuts. I totally absorbed someone else’s style. 

“If you’re gonna put on a good show it better last longer than that,” Bucky said, right in his ear.

“I will punch you,” Steve said.

“What, right in the afterglow?” Bucky bit his ear.

“You dick,” Steve said. He was even still out of breath.

“My dick is down here,” Bucky said. “I mean, it’s not gonna do you much good right now but gimme a minute, if you need more practice.”

“I don’t,” Steve said, and rolled them both over. “Get off me.”

“I just want to cuddle,” Bucky complained. “God! People nowadays, nobody wants to be held after sex, they gotta go update their Instagrams.”

Steve rested his forehead against Bucky’s. “I’m not the one who Tweets every time he comes,” he said.

“Oh,” Bucky said, “that, that’s an app I installed. Interfaces with the heart rate monitor in the one molar.”

“It tweets the word booyah every time you orgasm,” Steve said.

Bucky laughed. “Sometimes it gets it wrong though,” he said. “Sometimes I’m just working out. Or having a panic attack. You can check, see if it got it right just now.”

“I don’t know why I keep you,” Steve said.

“Aw,” Bucky said, and freed a hand from his encircling arms to reach up and pull his face down, and kiss him sweetly. “I make it worth your while sometimes. C’mon.”

“Fuck,” Steve said, resigned, “you do.”

(dw/lj-exclusive edit: I LOVE WHAT THIS DOES TO THE TAG ART, man am I incoherent or what?)
random snippet. I was paging through my enormous Scrivener Doc O’ Fanfic (this is a real thing and is not *all* of my fic, but is a bunch of different ones, mostly unpublished, and contains all of my SGA and MCU fic, and more; it’s three years old and about two point five million words, I just looked that up and am not exaggerating) and found this scrap, which is definitely Choice Is Not A Word -verse, and not part of any particular story but in that continuity. So here you go, because I have a feeling Full of Grace isn’t going to be kind to Tony. (There’s just not room for his POV, so he’s going to be the asshole because we don’t get to see his motivation. Sorry. I don’t dislike Tony, he’s just– well, he was so wrong in AOU it’s sort of impossible to have him be right in a compliant ‘verse.)

So anyway. Tony and Bucky are bros, and talk about Steve, in a short unfinished random snippet I liked when I found it just now. I miss writing Tony like this, and I miss Bucky’s POV. And I have ¾ of the final chapter of Facepunch written, BTW, just– the other story is addictively progressy at the moment so it’s hard to put down. 

“You got any musical requests?” Tony asked.

Bucky sat on the low workbench— it wasn’t a gurney, absolutely wasn’t, and he didn’t have words for how grateful he was that it wasn’t anything anybody had ever mentioned— and kicked his feet a moment, considering. “Mastodon,” he said, “Leviathan.”

“Oooh,” Tony said, “that’s a good one.” He pointed one finger. “You’ve done some research.”

“Listening to music is my primary method of not freaking out,” Bucky said. “I may or may not have an encyclopedic knowledge of the music of the last nine decades or so.”

“I like music sort of punishingly loud,” Tony said, and it wasn’t a question but sort of was.

“I noticed,” Bucky said drily. “It’s probably better that way.”

“I always sort of wonder if Steve’s going to tell me off for it,” Tony said, “since he’s got something up with his hearing or whatever, but—“

“No,” Bucky said, “I don’t think his is much better than mine. It’s sharper, but it’s not like we hear things louder. Loud music is fine.”

“Ah,” Tony said.

“I don’t really get why you and Steve don’t get along,” Bucky said. “I mean, I know he’s an asshole, you don’t gotta tell me, but I can’t figure out why that bugs you, I’m an asshole and we get along fine.”

“You’re kind of the opposite of an asshole,” Tony said, frowning inexplicably.

Bucky made a face. “I guess you don’t get the typical Bucky Barnes experience,” he said. “I haven’t stolen your girl even once.”

“I figured that was hype,” Tony said.

Bucky laughed. “It was,” he said. “I never stole anybody’s girl.”

“And Steve’s not an asshole,” Tony said. “We just got off to a bad start, he and I. And I just keep… saying all the wrong things.”

“Naw,” Bucky said, “Steve’s an asshole. He tries, with you, though, so that’s good— he doesn’t try if he doesn’t think it’s worth it.”

“He tries more because of you,” Tony said. “I think he’s worried if he pisses me off I won’t help you.”

“No,” Bucky said, “that’s not it. He’s not worried about that. He’s just realizing it’s extra assholey to be a dick to you when you and I are buds.”
*bangs fists on table* HIJINKS! HIJINKS!

I wrote hijinks. It might be FOG-verse and might make it in there, it might not. Because I was so pleased by how it happened in Facepunch and it’s got to happen in this ‘verse too. 

Here be hijinks:

This time Clint spotted him, and he knew it was because Buc– Barnes wanted him to. (You couldn’t call a grown man Bucky without his express permission, and that had pretty expressly not been granted.)

He made his way over to the other sniper’s position as the action shifted to more the kind of thing the pencil pushers handled. Barnes was packed up and ready to vanish, but obviously waited for him. “Barton,” he said, sitting on his rifle case.

“Nice shootin’,” Clint said.

“Not too shabby, yourself,” Barnes said.

“Comin’ from you that means somethin’,” Clint said.

Barnes looked confused a moment, then laughed. “From the Winter Soldier?”

“Naw,” Clint said, “from Bucky Barnes! You don’t figure a freakshow of a kid like me, in the Army the day I was plausibly legal straight off a literal circus sideshow sharpshooting act, didn’t fuckin’ idolize the US Army’s first Special Forces sniper?”

Barnes made a funny face, and rocked from one foot to the other, shoulders curled in a little. “I ain’t that famous,” he said.

“To nerds, you are,” Clint said, “and I was a fuckin’ nerd.” He looked over his shoulder. “You know I never told anybody this but my prize possession for a big chunk of later in my childhood than I like to admit was a Bucky Bear doll.”

Barnes frowned. “A what?”

It dawned slowly on Clint that Barnes’s cultural knowledge came largely from recent in-depth perusal of the Internet, and Bucky Bears were very much a phenomenon of a certain era, and may not have been well-represented in Barnes’s research. “Oh holy shit,” he said, “have you not– do you not know about Bucky Bear?”

“No,” Barnes said slowly, and went for a– Clint’s reflexes had him reacting before he realized that duh, the guy was going for his fucking phone. Of course he had a smartphone, literally everyone in the world besides Clint did. They blinked at one another, and Barnes cracked a rueful half-smile. “You been in a long time,” he said, and pulled his phone the rest of the way out.

Clint swallowed, throat dry. He usually had that shit a little more under control. Maybe he wasn’t quite as sanguine about this guy as he’d thought. “Not as long as you,” he said.

“Fair point,” Barnes said. He unlocked the phone’s screen. “Bucky… bear like the animal, or was this some kind of freaky–”

“Bare,” Clint said. “Ew! No! Bear like the animal. I was a kid, Jesus.”

Barnes shrugged, and typed it in. “Bucky… Bear. What the fuck is that?”

“They were, I dunno, everybody had ‘em,” Clint said.

Barnes poked at the screen, then turned the phone sideways, and screwed up his face. “Bucky– they’re not named– why are they called that?”

“Hit the Webipedia link,” Clint said, “I bet it explains.”

Barnes did so. “Why the fuck,” he said. “Why would they name a toy after me? Wait who the fuck– what is that thing?”

“Ohhhh,” Clint said. “You didn’t– weren’t the comic books out when you were, y’know, alive?”

“Comic books?” Barnes raised his head and fixed Clint with a look. “About– who the fuck is the twink in tights? Who the fuck wears tights and a mask to a warzone?” His voice had risen to an unexpectedly high pitch. “What the fuck!”

“Natasha didn’t tell ya, huh,” Clint said, utterly delighted.

“Nobody told me!” Bucky scrolled furiously. “How the fuck did I– how did I not know this?”

“It’s a marvel,” Clint said. “I thought you had friends.”

“Hang on,” Bucky said, “this– I mean, it’s fucking awful, but it’s too late for me to be mad. Hang on, you’re going to record a reaction video with me.”

“A what?” Clint had done tons of selfies, he was good at them, so he recognized the posture as Bucky opened the camera app and held out his arm.

“So this guy,” Bucky said. “This guy. He says to me, you know, I used to be a big Bucky Barnes fan, I had a Bucky Bear doll when I was a kid. Right? This seems reasonable to all of you, right?”

“Well,” Clint said, utterly unselfconscious on camera because why the fuck not, the Winter Soldier was recording a video with him. “Right. What kid didn’t have a Bucky Bear doll?”

“Right?” Barnes said. “Only I don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.”

“So I say to him,” Clint said, catching on and talking to the camera, “I say you know, a Bucky Bear. Like… didn’t anybody tell you about Bucky Bears?”

“No!” Barnes said. “Nobody fucking told me about Bucky Bears! So I’m like what the fuck. So I looked it up, just now, and– how did nobody fucking tell me about this? How did I not know that they– so I fucking died, right, in a fucking war, and they decided to use my name and slap it on some kind of gay porn wet-dream twink, which– I mean, I’m flattered, but– tights! They put him in tights!”

“All the best people went through a tights phase,” Clint said sincerely.

Barnes paused his diatribe and glanced over at him. “I think I gotta look you up in more depth,” he said. “I ain’t seen no tights.”

“Oh,” Clint said, “it’s– it was brief.”

“Circus sideshow act, you said?” Barnes looked sort of sly.

“Well,” Clint said. “I mean, yes.”

“There were definitely tights in that,” Barnes said. “I gotta find pictures.” He looked straight into the camera. “I can say this with reasonable confidence– okay, as reasonable as anyone with as many lobotomy scars as I got can say– I never ever had to wear tights. None of my uniforms– and not even for fun. Steve, now, Steve wore tights. But I never fuckin’ did, okay. I never wore tights. Maybe I’ll go find some now, because now I’m curious, but I promise you, I definitely did not wear tights to a fuckin’ war. Okay? So what the fuck, guys?”

“They’re easier to draw,” Clint said, a little meditatively.


“They’re– for the comic books, it’s easier to draw just– nude models, basically, and then you put some lines on, and whammo you got a guy in tights, instead of having to put in reasonably convincing folds and stuff for bulkier clothing.” Clint shrugged.

“We got ourselves a comic books scholar here,” Bucky said. “I’m glad, because otherwise I woulda just thought everyone lost their minds. But a bear! Why a bear!”

“Oh,” Clint said, “that was from the TV show.”

There was a moment’s dead silence, and then Barnes turned his head slightly. “TV show,” he said.

“Saturday morning cartoons,” Clint tried. There was no response. “Fuck! Really? You don’t know about that?”

“I don’t know about that,” Barnes said.

“Aw fuck,” Clint said. “They made the comics into a TV show and you were a bear!”

“I was a bear,” Barnes repeated to the camera. “I was a fuckin’ bear. Why?”

“I don’t know why!” Clint said. “I just– I watched it, okay? I had a real shitty childhood and I was basically raised by the TV and the Justice Friends were the only actual example I ever had of rightness and good in my tiny world, okay? And I loved Bucky Bear. Christ, this is worse than the time my ex-wife made me try therapy.”

“Was anybody else an animal?” Barnes asked, grimacing.

“No,” Clint said, a little sullen, though he was putting it on and knew that showed. “Just you. You were… everyone else was a kid, and you were Steve’s toy bear.”

“I could talk, though,” Barnes said.

“Hm? Oh, no,” Clint said, “you didn’t talk, you were a toy. You– mostly Steve just carried you around, and lost you and had to go find you and stuff. You were kind of, I think in his imagination you were real but as far as the actual reality of the show, you were just a stuffed animal.”

Barnes stared at him, then turned back to the camera. “That’s fucked-up,” he said. “That’s fucked-up.”
I felt shitty today, so I wrote this on gdocs instead of being productive. 

It’s not a deleted scene, it’s not a preview or anything. It’s just, there’s a bit in the as-yet unpublished Ch 8 of FOG, just a detail, where Natasha notices that James still has nailpolish on his toenails, and remembers that she put it there. She’d painted his nails a different color months ago in an earlier chapter, so I put the detail in this one that he’d had her re-do it. 

So– this is the scene where he got this particular re-coating of nail polish. And it’s not plot-significant, I just wanted to spend the time. 

This is the luxury of fanfic. i’ve been contemplating going back to original stuff, but you don’t get to have this, traditionally, in regular fiction– just, to no purpose, characters spending time together and being themselves. And yet, it’s what people want, in fanfic. 

So, since I felt shitty, I went and hung out with James and Natasha. James was feeling shitty too. Natasha knows how to not make that a big deal. It has no bearing on the next chapter (which I’ll probably have up by the weekend if no other disasters strike) except to account for the detail of James having painted toenails. 

Gen-ish, G-rated, like just under 1k words (real short, for me!)

what u up to 2nite, Natasha had written a couple of hours before, and James hadn’t written back. He wasn’t having a good couple of days, she was pretty sure; something had triggered him, and he’d vanished. 

She’d been over at the Avengers Academy for most of it. She knew he’d been by, because he was the only one who fed Liho canned food and the old can was gone and a new one started, but no people-food had been missing, so she rather thought he’d only stopped by to feed the cat. He hadn’t done any laundry, and she didn’t think he’d taken or left any clothing.

He had put away the dishes she’d left in the drying rack, which was an amusing detail.

She wasn’t going to text him again. She’d resigned herself to not hearing from him, and had started making dinner for just herself, when her phone buzzed. Expecting Jess or Bobbi to be texting her, she left it for a few minutes before she got around to picking it up.

i got no plans, he wrote.

There was no reason for that to make her smile. I was gonna make piroshki, she wrote, which was a lie; she’d put together a pot of borscht because it was easy and froze well and she knew sometimes if she left a note he’d eat something like that out of the freezer. She mostly lived off things like that when she was in town. But she had the ingredients necessary for piroshki. It just wasn’t something she’d bother with for herself.

I’m not good company, he wrote back, but if you need help eating piroshki i could definitely be of service.

I could use some assistance of that nature, she wrote, and got out the ingredients, and hunted down her rolling pin. Also Liho could use some attention, you know how she gets when I cook.

I can help with that, he wrote.

The door opened about twenty minutes later, and James came in with a canvas grocery sack and a wine bottle in a paper bag. He set the paper bag on the counter, the canvas sack on the table, and went back to the doorway to take his shoes and coat off. Liho immediately leapt up and perched on his shoulder, purring before he’d even touched her.

“Hey,” Natasha said, smiling at him. He looked tired, dark circles under his eyes, and his body language was jerky and closed-off. He didn’t answer her, didn’t quite smile, but his face changed shape a little, and she knew him well enough to recognize it as an acknowledgement of her greeting.

Without shoes on he moved quietly that she could only really track his motion by the proximity of the cat’s purring. He stayed in the room briefly, going through the contents of the canvas bag– mostly papers– then moved off into the other room. She knew better than to try to make small talk.

She poked her head in a moment later to ask if he was all right, and he had nodded off at one end of the couch, curled up with the cat in his lap. She’d had a suspicion he didn’t sleep much when he wasn’t around her, and this only reinforced it. He ate, she knew he couldn’t go long without food, but she was pretty sure he mostly subsisted off of packaged food supplements if she wasn’t there to notice.

It wasn’t that she fed him. He did most of the cooking when they were together. She just sort of suspected he didn’t bother being human if no one was there to observe him. It wasn’t a dependency on her, but it wasn’t healthy independence either.

She woke him up to eat, when the food was ready, and he snapped awake with no hint of grogginess.

“Everything okay?” she asked him, when they sat down at the table.

He nodded. It looked like he wanted to say more, but there didn’t seem to be a good connection from brain to mouth, so she just smiled at him and went back to eating, unconcerned.

“Good,” he managed, after a while, gesturing with his chin at the food. She grinned.

“I know,” she said.

“Sorry the company’s bad,” he said, looking unhappy.

She smiled and shook her head. “If you think I don’t know about that kind of thing, James– I can put the TV on if you’re self-conscious, but it doesn’t bother me.”

He looked relieved. “Thanks,” he said. She held out the ladle, offering him another serving, and he managed a smile as he accepted it.

After dinner she sat next to him on the couch and flipped idly through channels before handing him the controller and hauling out her nail polishes. As she’d sort of hoped, he settled on an old movie, and then watched raptly as she did her nails.

She nudged the basket over toward him. “Pick a color, I’ll do yours.”

He laughed silently at her and vanished to the bathroom, but when she looked over after he came back he’d washed his feet and had picked out a couple of bottles, and was cleaning his nails with rubbing alcohol like she usually did.

“Teal,” she said, investigating the bottle.

“Teal the Cows Come Home,” he corrected her, and she laughed.

“And pink glitter,” she said. “Oh, sorry– I Can’t Hear Myself Pink. Accent nail?”

“Topcoat,” he said. “Just on the big ones. Maybe just a stripe.”

“You have excellent taste,” she said, and set to work.

Once his nails were dry, he went and took a shower. He came out tousled and pink and with his face a lot more mobile. He sat next to her and leaned in to kiss her cheek. “You feel better?” she asked.

He settled next to her, putting his arm around her shoulders, and she leaned on him. “Yeah,” he said. “Now I do.”
Chapter update! Full of Grace, chapter 5: the explanation for Bucky’s Internet presence, and the introduction of Wanda as a character– her role in this story is largely to be a good bro to Steve, because somebody has to be. 



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