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.”
I didn’t mean for this to happen. But I put them in a cab together and Natasha got in in the middle.

James bent and kissed her temple. “I know about the trackers,” he said. “I wear those boots on purpose, Nat.”

“I thought you probably knew,” she said.

Steve was watching them, and she glanced over at him. “Don’t judge me,” she said. “You’d put a tracking device on him too if you had a chance.”

Steve smiled sadly. “I haven’t had a chance,” he said. “I count on you for that sort of thing.” He considered her a moment, then leaned down and kissed her other temple.

“I demonstrate my affection through inappropriately intrusive surveillance,” she said, a little glumly.

“You do better than that,” James said. “You’re why I even bother pretending to be a person, ever.”

“I gotta admit,” Steve said into the moment of silence that followed that, “the same goes for me, Nat.”

“I barely even hang out with you,” Natasha said. “I haven’t done shit for you, Steve.”

Steve put his hand on hers, where it was on his thigh. “You definitely have,” he said.

“You makin’ a move on my girl?” James asked, mouth curling with– it was trouble, that was the best Natasha could do at parsing it.

Steve looked over at him, head tilted at an angle Natasha hadn’t seen much of. “Only if you want me to,” he said.

“Oh, ho ho,” James said, and leaned in. His body was warm all along her side, and he murmured, right in her ear. “Has Steve ever told you about the time we shared a girl?”

“Noooo,” Natasha said slowly, turning her head a little to look at Steve. “Maybe you should tell me that story.”

Steve leaned in a little. “Bucky tells it better,” he said, his voice a low rumble of a murmur, vibrating in his chest along her arm.

“I doubt that,” James said, his lips brushing against her neck as he spoke, barely a hint of voice in his breathing. “I never told anybody that story, Stevie. That was never a braggin’ story.”

Natasha couldn’t help it, she tipped her head up to give him better access to her neck. “I love the way you tell stories, James,” she said, “but you know, there don’t have to be words in this story.”

Steve let out a low rumble of a chuckle. “That’s one way of putting it,” he said.

James kissed her neck, slow and teasing, mostly lips, a nip of teeth and a soothing touch of tongue, working his way slowly up from her shoulder to her throat. She caught her breath and tightened her fingers on Steve’s leg. “I like this story,” she whispered.

“You oughta hear Steve’s side of it,” James murmured.

“Oh?” She blinked dreamily, and slid her gaze over to where Steve was watching James’s mouth from under his eyelashes. “I bet I’d like that,” she said.

Steve’s eyelashes were just unreal, how long they were, and his mouth was shiny and plush and red and she wanted him. “Would you?” he asked, letting his eyes move slowly up from James’s mouth, to her mouth, to her eyes.
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.”



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