Hexed, Vexed and Perplexed
Honestly, Bucky thinks he's outgrown this. He's technically ninety years old, a former HYDRA assassin and Captain America's long time war-buddy and best friend. Maybe I should retire, he thinks. Yeah, that sounds nice, laying somewhere warm where the sun never stops shining, sipping martinis and getting fat — probably on an island, somewhere he won't get crushed to death by falling debris, bludgeoned by psionic floating dumpsters and get blasted by stray chaos magic.
It was his first mission with the team, and it was just Bucky's luck to get in the way of Wanda Maximoff's powers going awry.
All in all, Bucky thinks he's made some good progress.
Sure, he was HYDRA's former lead death dealer, tortured and brainwashed throughout the decades. Sure, he was technically ninety years old or something, even though he had the body of a twenty-four year old, due to the machinations of Arnim Zola and his cryogen chamber and the multi-headed serpent that he kissed ass to. Sure, his left arm is gone after an unplanned — and now that he thinks about it, a little pathetic — dive into Siberia's cold mountain wastes and is now replaced with a cybernetic prosthetic made of titanium alloy, deadly to the core. Sure, he almost killed his best friend, and that he surely killed the parents of his other friend in his brain-washed state. Sure, he's a little alright now, and he doesn't want to bolt at the nearest second trying to get himself away from Steve and Tony before he could accidentally hurt them more than he had already done. Sure, he still has nightmares that wake the entire Tower with his screaming.
But, and Bucky thinks with all positivity, all things considered, he's doing pretty well.
He's been good, he's been stable and he doesn't have the killer urge to fling a knife straight at anyone who walked into the room without announcing — it's wonderful progress, he thinks. Steve agrees, if the teary and proud way he looks at Bucky is any indication. There's also the tight hugs and the whispered "I'm so proud of you, Buck" but sappiness didn't really sit well with Bucky (even if he was secretly pleased with it), so he opts for rolling his eyes, thumping his metal arm down Steve's back and calling for a video game match with Barton.
It had been a great two years since that day on the Insight-001, above the Triskelion's crumbling ruins, where he was pummeling Steve to death with his hand. Now, wasn't that a nightmare come to life? If someone had told 1942 Bucky that he'd end up beating his best friend to death seventy years into the future, he'd laugh, shake his head then punch the idiot for even considering that Bucky Barnes would ever lay a harmful hand on Steve Rogers.
Life comes in ironies, he realizes.
Still, muddy past and countless cryostasis-induced shutdowns notwithstanding, he's been doing pretty well.
Steve and him are slowly going out, finally allowing half a century's worth of repressed feelings to break free, and he can't help but let a small smile quirk his lips at the memory of Steve's red cheeks and whimpers as Bucky trailed kiss after kiss down his neck. He's gotten well with the team — he and Nat with their sparring, and occasional dance practices; there was video game night with Barton, where the entire team would get comfy on the couch and laugh as he demolished Clint over and over; Banner was a quiet guy and Bucky preferred sitting by him after a particularly sleepless night full of screaming; Sam was still a little shit, no doubt about that and for all their little quirks, Wanda and Vision were sweet. Thor wasn't on Earth as of the moment (and wasn't that a discussion that had Bucky questioning everyone's sanity when they all insisted that someone named Thor existed). And Tony…
Well, Tony was always a wildcard when it came to things. They didn't start out right — when did killing someone's parents make for a great conversation starter right? Bucky could already imagine that comedic route: Oh hey I'm Bucky, I like killed your parents but its all in the past, yeah?
Still, it wasn't surprising when Tony responded with wanting to murder him and Bucky frowns a little as he recalls how his left arm was destroyed during that breakdown. He managed to thrash Tony's armor a bit, so it all evens out. Even if Steve had to force Bucky to have his arm fixed by some sneaky mechanic.
Still 2.0, it was good between them, all things considered. Sure, for the first weeks Tony refused to let Bucky live in the Tower, and Steve had to pull every string he could (plus the puppy face — you know he's desperate when he pulls that All-American puppy face) just to let Bucky take one step inside the Avengers Tower without having the security system go hostile and FRIDAY calling the Iron Legion to sic on him. Then the months that followed after consisted of Tony ignoring him, glaring at him, flinging insults and harsh bites at him and Steve shaking his head and begging Tony to act nice and Bucky just nodding, allowing all those barbs to hit home. And then those months turned to more months where Tony's barbs started decreasing in number and the times Bucky has caught him staring at his metal arm with curiousity increasing until he finally cracked one day, marching down to the workshop and all but slamming his metal arm into Tony's face.
The adorable forty-year old, God bless his soul, simply spluttered with his red cheeks before going down and started dismantling Bucky's arm like the curious little brat Tony denies he is.
All in all, Bucky had it good.
And because he had it good, it was just his luck that good turned to shit.
Honestly, Bucky thinks he's outgrown this. He's technically ninety years old, a former HYDRA assassin and Captain America's long time war-buddy, bestfriend and sort of boyfriend. Maybe I should retire, he thinks. Yeah, that sounds nice, laying somewhere warm where the sun never stops shining, sipping martinis and getting fat — probably on an island, somewhere he won't get crushed to death by falling debris, bludgeoned by psionic floating debris and get blasted by stray chaos magic.
It was his first mission with the team, and it was just Bucky's luck to get in the way of Wanda Maximoff's powers going awry.
They were all in the living room (if Bucky can even call it that) on a Tuesday night, one of those rare times that the Avengers were all present, no covert operations for Nat and Barton, no press for Tony to deal with and no patriotic ceremony for Steve to attend to. It was rare to have everyone in the Tower, relaxed and warm and of course, Tony had challenged Barton to a game of Tekken 7. Bucky wonders why there's seven games of the same name (what is the point, even?) but he's also warm and a little sleepy, pressed to Steve's side on the end of the couch.
Steve has his arm around Bucky's shoulder, his fingers idly playing with the collar of Bucky's Henley and Bucky could hear the faint pounding of Steve's heart, his head pressed to his chest, blinking tiredly as Tony and Barton fought over who get to play some Monegasque blond, street-fighting princess character.
With them on the couch is Nat, who is sprawled over it, head resting on Banner's lap, a bowl of popcorn on her stomach, looking quite harmless in her pink pyjamas even though Bucky knew she could probably kill people with her own hair. Probably.
Wilson is over by the recliner, a beer in his hand and he's obviously siding with Barton on this one, if Tony's angry shrieks are anything to go by. On the floor, near the over-the-top large screen where the player menu was flashing, Wanda and Vision were engaged in a game of chess — the dweebs.
Maybe he shouldn't have thought that as hard as he should, as Wanda looks up from her game and pretends to glare at Bucky.
It was a good night, everything seemed stable, he was fully rested even if he was a little sleepy. He closed his eyes and burrowed his face deeper into Steve's abnormally large chest and breathed in that faint vanilla scent, Steve's fingers combing through his hair.
That was until there was a blaring all around, and Bucky sat up immediately, fully awake and body tense as the screen flashed red. Beside him, Steve had gotten up, and Bucky could feel that commanding aura around him strengthen (if not, a little turned on as well).
"Director Hill is on the line, boss." FRIDAY announced, and no matter how many times he says he's used to the disembodied robot voice, he always finds himself craning his neck up to look at the ceiling. Looking around, he feels a little less embarrassed as everyone else had their eyes up as well (except for Tony and the Vision, but that's normal).
"Put her in, if you must." Tony mutters, Director Maria Hill's face coming into view. Steve walks to the screen. "Status, director?
"It's bad." Hill says, and they're shown a many video-cuts of floating buildings, disintegrating cars and bright flashes of light. In the middle of it all, there's a man in a brown coat with long dark hair, stone and rubble flying around him like monkeys on strings.
"Is—is that telekinesis?" Wanda asks, standing up. Hill nods.
"It appears so, and he's managed to repel whatever we've been throwing at him, sometimes even throwing it back at us." Another video pops up, and it's a SWAT team engaging the hostile, only for them to get hoisted in the air and flung back.
"Okay, that's enough. Tony, get the coordinates, everyone suit up and rendezvous on quinjet." Tony nods, before he's calling FRIDAY for his armor, and the hurried energy of the other Avengers scrambling to get ready destroyed what peaceful night Bucky had hoped for.
He looks to Steve, who walks back to him and places his hand on his shoulder. Before he could even open his mouth, Bucky beats him to it. "I'm ready, let me do field."
A frown, concern in blue eyes. " Are you sure, Buck?"
He nods, trying to ignore the warmth that settles on his chest at Steve's concern. "I am. There's some crazy fucker and he's making shit fly. If you think I'm letting you go and deal with that without me, I will deck you."
Steve smiles, quirky and pleased, and he presses his lips against Bucky's for a moment. He pulls away and whispers, "suit up, then."
Bucky nods, letting himself smile once more before the two make their way to their room.
They reach their room, and Bucky presses the button to the wall next to their bed and it opens up, sliding smoothly, revealing two uniforms. There's Steve's, that ridiculous red-blue-white costume, the shield resting next to it, that Bucky loves to see him in, if only to laugh at him. Beside, there's an all-black combat suit, armed and packed to the core with explosives, cablewire and a small first aid kit packed to the chamber of the belt, courtesy of Tony. He takes a moment to breathe, look at it and wonders if he can actually do good now, for once in his life. A warm hand squeezes his shoulder, and Steve is smiling at him — encouraging, proud and always ready to back him up. Bucky swallows down the tightness in his throat, and he nods.
It was time to be a hero.
"I don't want to be a hero!" He screams, two hours later, as a gigantic slab of concrete comes hurtling at him and he jumps to the side, breathing hard as it hits the car he was standing on, watches it get wrecked to a metal pulp. Fucking lucky, that's what he was.
There's the sound of earth scraping again, and Bucky turns his head sharply as another slab of concrete goes for him again. It was smaller this time, just half a meter bigger than him and Bucky grunts as he leaps into the air and punches the center with his now vibranium alloy metal arm, Stark Industries patented ("Take that, Hammer!" Tony gleefully exclaims one night all those months ago). The slab breaks and splinters into different pieces, Bucky bursting through and landing to a crouch on whatever remained of Fifth Avenue.
"Hey, Terminator, three o'clock!" Bucky turns to his right, and manages to roll away as a car tumbles past, windshield long broken, paint ruined in so many ways. Overhead, Tony flies past, a "Sorry" trailing behind him. Brat.
He shakes his head, and surveys the scene around him. The hostile, Matt Malloy or something, was standing on top of a pile of cars, surrounded by, yup, floating slabs of steel and the remains of Fifth Avenue's streets. He hears metal hit against metal, and he turns to see Steve repelling lamp posts being thrown at him with his glorified Frisbee, the nerd. Above, Tony flew, filling the comm link with mumbling, looking for a weakness or a hole around Malloy's psychic hurricane. Barton and Nat were on the ground, trying to distract Malloy, but it was working against them, Nat's bullets and Barton's arrows flying back at them instead of at Malloy, Sam above them providing cover. Vision and Wanda were in the air, and twin flashes of gold and scarlet burst down on Malloy, only for him to raise a hand and both magic collided before they could hit the fucker. Banner was asking repeatedly, a little close to panicking, if it was a code green.
"No! Stay where you are, Banner. This is not a code green, too many civilians around." Steve's voice breaks through the chatter, and Bucky curses as he looks around, seeing civilians gawking at the Avengers instead of running for their lives, you little shits.
"What the fuck—get out of here!" He screams at a crowd, standing too close to the battlezone, their phones out and videotaping the entire thing. One man lowers his phone and says, in a dumbstruck voice. "Are you crazy, that—that's Iron Man out there!"
Cursing to himself, Bucky jumps and kicks a stray flying dumpster intent on taking out the crowd, permanently, and he feels a little guilty at feeling vindicated with how the civilians scream in terror before running away, smartphones forgotten on the ground, still recording.
"This is getting ridiculous, what does that shit even want?" He mutters into the comm, standing up from his crouch and pulling out his knife. Malloy was around fifty yards from him, and with how busy he was brushing off Nat and Barton's projectiles, he failed to notice Bucky slinking behind the pile of vehicles he was standing on.
"I believe Malloy is distraught over the death of his wife." Vision answers, sounding extremely calm for someone who is about to get hit — and Bucky winces as a car closes in on Vision full force — and Vision phases through. Oh, yeah, voodoo magic and shit.
"Not to be rude, but is that our fault again?" Steve bites back, just as sassy as he was back in 1942, all skin and bones and a soul made of fire.
"His mind is a mess. I've been trying to get a read on him, but there's so much energy going around. Whatever it is, I know it's not our fault." Wanda answers, and Bucky watches her bring up a psionic barrier, catching Nat's redirected bullets.
"Care to tell us how you know that, Sabrina?" Tony asks, cheeky as always, even when he was getting the full brunt of four dumpsters flying through the air. Jeez, the guy wasn't running out of things to throw at them.
"I can read minds, remember? Malloy doesn't even know he's fighting us. It's like his powers are going crazy, but I'm getting flashes. He's getting tired, I can feel it. He's winding down."
"What, we just wait it out?" He finally asks, gripping the knife tightly.
"Uh, no, I disagree." He takes a moment to roll his eyes at Tony. "We are not waiting it out, not unless we want the entirety of Fifth Avenue and Broadway to go bye-bye, and Pepper will kill me if she can't watch Wicked for nth time."
"Then what's your plan, Stark?" Sam says, flying past Bucky and he watches the Falcon pull his wings back and hurtle through the air, kicking a flying lamp post away before it hits Steve.
"Please don't say 'attack'." Steve responds, deadpan even though he was breathing hard into the comms.
"I am insulted, Cap. I thought we had put that in the pa—"Tony pretends to be hurt, but he's cut off by Barton.
"Uh, guys, I can't believe I'm saying this but less chatter, more fighting, please." The two de facto leaders of the Avengers are silenced by Barton's unexpected seriousness.
"Something's happening." Was Nat's only entry into the comm link, and Bucky tenses as an ear-shattering metal groan echoes around. His enhanced senses are taking the full brunt of the reception, especially with how close he is, and he raises a hand to cover his left ear, squinting.
Before them, in the center of the field, Malloy was floating. There was a yellowish glow around him, and his body was lax. Mouth open, eyes glowing, golden light like a halo around him — all the alarms in Bucky's head started blaring at full volume.
The pile of cars he was standing on started floating as well, like balloons. There was no order or pattern to the way they were floating, it was like they just did. They bumped into each other, before pushing off opposite directions like they were floating on water instead of the air — an Audi flashes by, slowly, and it was ridiculous enough sight for Bucky.
The pause he took to marvel at the floating hostile was long enough to make him a target, and Bucky prepares to be hit by a slab — only that the slab hurtling towards him is gravitating back to Malloy. He looks around, and sees lamp posts floating back, cars flying back, even a dumpster was circling around Malloy like some shield.
Beside him, Wanda and Vision touched ground. The android was, more or less, unruffled and unharmed. Wanda was sporting a graze on her cheek, and her scarlet suit was marred with dirt but she looked stable enough, if not a little tired, sheen of sweat covering her forehead.
"What is he doing?" He asks Wanda, even though he was still a little wary of her abilities. He had heard of her, not much, but during his time as HYDRA's death dealer, his handlers would often talk about a girl who could move things with her mind, one of Strucker's little experiments. It was in one of his more recent wipes, making it easier to recall and seeing her now, he realized that there are some things in this world he can never understand.
"It's not him, it's his powers. It's…it's not doing anything. It's doing nothing." Wanda says, eyes red. She looks empty like this, eyes blank even in their scarlet red, seeing things he can't.
"Well, whatever it is, it's time for containment. Wanda, Vision, containment. Everyone else, prepare for support." Just like that, Steve has his Captain America voice on, unwilling to accept argument. Even Tony, with his often well-intended rebellious streak, doesn't put up a fight, simply nodding and taking flight.
He turns to Wanda and Vision and nods. The android starts to float, the gem on — its? his? — forehead glowing a pale yellow. He trains his eyes on Malloy's floating form, surrounded by floating debris, circling around him like he was the center of gravity.
It would be a little dangerous, with Malloy unpredictable. It was the best bet for the team to have Vision and Wanda do containment, and even though Wanda's powers were still developing, she had proven herself strong enough to handle it. Vision's ability to phase through matter would be a great advantage here.
"You ready?" He asks her, admiring her strength. She was the strongest out of all of them, but for all her powers, she was still a child. A little lost, a little afraid.
Wanda nods, and she takes flight, her magic glowing around her like a shell. He felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end, a product of being in close vicinity of the Scarlet Witch's powers. He sees Nat and Barton on the opposite side, next to a demolished McDonald's, the wheels of the truck Malloy had attacked it with still circling. Steve was to his five o'clock, breathing hard and he locks eyes with Bucky's, a smile replacing the wary expression beneath his cowl. He winks, and delights in the roll of Steve's eyes.
"Wanda." Steve says, and Wanda looks from him to Malloy. She starts floating closer, hands outstretched, approaching the — well, whatever it was Malloy was doing.
She closes in, and one of the cars flies towards her. She raises a hand and pushes it away. Bucky lets his eyes trail after the red glow fading away as the car crashes to the ground. Malloy throws another at her and she flicks it away like it's nothing, and it's astounding to see her powers growing. He remembers the first time they fought together, in that airport in Leipzig, where she struggled to hold the collapsing roof over their heads.
That Wanda was vastly different compare to the Wanda now, who was pushing away everything Malloy was throwing at her and more.
They all watched as Wanda closed in, the red glow of her powers slowly overtaking the slow-forming hurricane around Malloy.
"That's it, Wanda. Slowly. Vision, prepare to contain Malloy with the Mind Stone." Steve's voice breaks through Bucky's fixation on the reddish tornado, and he—
A gasp. Wanda.
Bucky froze, eyeing her. She had stopped, still floating, but her hands were not outstretched anymore. She was clutching at her hair, crying out.
Wanda doesn't answer, still crying out. The floating debris are falling, hitting the ground, metal compacting at the force of gravity. Bucky looks from her to Malloy; he wasn't floating, lax, anymore. His hands were outstretched, pointed at Wanda. His eyes were glowing red.
"He's got her!" He shouts, looking to Vision. The android nods and closes in on Malloy, the blasting a beam of golden energy at the hostile. The beam burns through whatever remained floating around Malloy, but before it could hit him, it diverted towards Tony.
He calls out a warning, and he breathes in relief as Tony dives and releases frag grenades at the beam, dispersing it in mid-air. "Do not engage! He's got Wanda!"
Bucky jumps away from his spot, just in time as a signboard fell from the field around Malloy. He watches Nat and Barton run off, avoiding concrete flung at them like rocks. Steve was holding his shield up, being pushed back by debris.
He's doing something to me.
A female voice, Wanda, breaks through his thoughts and he stills. Bucky has never experienced Wanda using her powers on him, but he looks up and sees her looking at him, her expression wrapped in pain.
Stop me. Knock me out. Anything. He's doing something to me. He's messing with my control. I'm holding him back, but I can't do anything else when I'm covering everyone.
Bucky feels cold, not knowing what to do. Everybody else was slowly being pushed back, and Wanda was twenty feet in the air. He shares a gaze, sees the desperation in her eyes and it seizes at him. He realizes, they were fighting someone who could move things with their mind, hoist them up in the air with a thought but none of them had been affected. The footage Hill sent them showed the SWAT team being thrown around like dolls, but Malloy hadn't done that to any of them.
Wanda. Wanda had been covering them from the start, straining under the weight of covering everyone.
And she needed his help.
He wants to be a good man. He wants to do right.
He has to save her.
Her expression doesn't change, she's still crying out but a feeling of warmth, of gratitude washes over him — foreign, but not dangerous; kind and innocent — and he knows it's Wanda.
Bucky sheathes his knife, and he crouches, aims for the pile of rubble to the side. If he angles himself right, he can propel himself close enough to Wanda. She was wearing that cloak of hers, and it was long enough for him to grab on to — it might distract her, Malloy, enough to do — he doesn't really know what else to do, but damn it if he was gonna let some freak hurt his friends, especially kind Wanda.
He crouches, centers his gravity down to his heel and, with all his strength, Bucky pushes forth. He lets momentum carry him and with his left leg, he lets his foot land on the broken pillar, lets his body's momentum transfer from one foot to the other—
"Buck, what are you—"Steve's voice goes silent in his ears. He needs to do this, he can't let himself be distracted. He tunes out the noise of the battle.
With all his strength, Bucky kicks himself off and he's cutting through the air, metal arm outstretched, hand ready to take hold of Wanda.
Her eyes are desperate, he can see it now as he hurtles closer, desperate and afraid.
Then they go blank.
They flash red.
They flash white.
Things go wrong.
Wanda says something. Bucky doesn't catch it. She says something and everything burns to white.
He wonders why this kind of shit always happens to him.
Images flash through his mind. It was like someone had smashed his skull open, picked the insides apart and threw it all away, replaced it with a film reel.
There's pain, a torrent of it, and he wants to scream but he can't. It's everywhere, the pain, it envelopes him and he can't fight it, can't escape it.
He wants to close his eyes, wants to cry at the pain, but he can't. He sees images, he sees things. He sees people.
The images feel like they were burned to his brain, burning, bright, colors magnified. There's sound, there's motion, it's unlike a film, more of a sensation. A vision.
He sees court steps. They flash. He sees Tony, he looks older, he looks sadder.
He sees a body by the steps. There's a flash of blond hair and blue eyes.
His chest tightens. It's Steve. He's dead.
More images flash, too many for him to take stock and the pain intensifies. It was like crackling electricity, sifting through his veins, threatening to break his mind apart.
He sees himself. He's different. He's large, grotesquely so, all muscle and brutish. It reminds him of Banner and the Hulk. He's not green.
He sees Steve. He looks the same. He's not green as well. He sees a primitive world.
He sees a man. The man is in a floating chair. The man is bald.
The man is looking at woman.
He sees Wanda.
She smiles at her arms, held as if she was holding a baby. There's nothing in her arms. She looks unwell, dirty, crazed.
The man says something, he hears Wanda's name.
He sees Natasha. He sees Barton. He sees Steve.
Steve is old. Steve is so old. Steve is not a super soldier.
Steve is old and dying.
When Bucky comes to, he has a shitty headache. In fact, shitty headache is an understatement. It was like that time he and Steve rode the Whirlpooler on Coney Island, except instead of puking, he got pummeled by it over and over.
Fuck being a hero, he is passing his resignation as soon as he can, take his ninety years' worth of back pay and go surfing in Hawaii or something.
He groans, the pain threatening to make him pass out — and wasn't that surprising? Ever since 1942 and HYDRA, it had been a while since Bucky felt anything remotely painful enough to make him want to kill himself. His body, injected with a second-rate, synthesized form of the Project Rebirth serum, repaired itself at a faster rate than most humans, still slower than Steve's but fast enough to be abnormal. Bucky could take on more damage but he wasn't invincible, neither was Steve but the Project Rebirth serum was meant to induce perfection. Zola's serum was for destruction, and his body took time to heal, slower than it took time to kill.
When Bucky felt like he could actually breathe without groaning, he lets himself relax and open his eyes.
Like clockwork, the moment he opened his eyes, it was like a warning to all his other sense that yes, Bucky Barnes was up now and he was ready to deal with the world. Which he wasn't, but his body, as always, never listened to him.
The white noise that pervaded his hearing faded and he hears muted chatter, hears the dulled honking of cars. His eyes are looking up at bright light and he squints, taking a moment to let his sight adjust. The bright light dims to a blue sky, tinged with growing orange.
He feels something sharp prick his neck, but it's a different kind of sharpness — not like a weapon, more like…more like…
Grass. He was laying down in grass, their blades pricking his neck.
Concentrating, Bucky holds his breath and pushes himself up, exhaling. The sudden movement pounded at his head, threatening to kill him then and there but he persevered, he was if not stubborn.
When he felt that he was stable enough, Bucky relaxes and raises a hand, feeling for the comm link. It's still there, in his right ear, and he presses the tiny button there — the distress signal.
"Guys? Steve?" He says, still breathing fast. No response.
He stands, pain lancing up his back, and he rests his hand on his knees, breathing. He straightens up, asking once more. "Tony? Nat? Barton?"
Bucky looks around, a little confused as to where he was, but there was something oddly familiar about the area. He was in a park, that much was clear, but there were no signs and—
"Bucky?" A curious voice, so familiar, the intonation and that soft way Steve always called him. The tightness in his chest eased at Steve's voice, and he turns, a wide grin in place (and he can already hear the speech Steve was about to give him, about danger and self-sacrifice — pfft, like he was any better).
The smile freezes on his lips.
Except, Steve was no longer six-foot-two, golden skin, muscles and sporting a ridiculous red-white-blue costume.
Steve was barely five-feet tall, skin and bones, pale skin and hand-me-downs three sizes bigger than him.
This wasn't Captain America, Steve Rogers. No, no, oh dear God, no. Bucky knew his face was most likely sporting a stupid expression, but this wasn't the Star-Spangled Man. This was Steve Rogers, from Brooklyn. This was the Steve Rogers before Project Rebirth. This was the Steve Rogers before everything else had happened.
"Um," Steve begins, frowning at Bucky in confusion, eyes widening as he takes in Bucky from head to foot. "Buck…what are you wearin—is that a metal arm?!"
This has to be a dream. It has to be.
And when he wakes up, he is so fucking retiring.
AN: So, my first chaptered Marvel fanfic. I'm taking this slow (and most likely winging it but that's not the point) and maybe I just wanted an excuse to turn Bucky into a guinea pig and travel through time and reality.
Title taken from Episode 21 of The Super Hero Squad Show.