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Bucky stumbled down the street, his breathing labored. For the first time that he could remember, The Winter Soldier was scared. No scratch that, he was terrified. His metal arm hung limply by his side as he staggered down the road, searching and praying for some sort of salvation. He had done it! He had managed to get away from Hydra! Now his next mission was to find help.
It seemed as if a higher power truly was looking out for him as Bucky heard a familiar voice shout his name.
"Help!" Bucky tried to shout, but it ended up coming out as a strangled groan. Through the haze in front of his eyes, Bucky saw the same man that he had fought on the bridge. Although instead of actively pursuing him, the man was holding out his arms, as if encouraging Bucky to come to him.
Steve stood in the middle of the road, moving slowly towards his long lost friend.
"Hey, Buck," Steve murmured, holding out his arms, "It's okay, I'm not gonna hurt ya. We're buds, remember?"
"I-I t-think s-so" Bucky said, apprehensively moving closer to Steve.
"C'mere, bud," Steve murmured, gently taking hold of Bucky's arms, "let's get you patched up."
"Y-you w-with me t-to th-the e-en-end of the l-line" Bucky slurred, after a long pause, causing Steve to freeze in his tracks.
"Bucky, who told you that?" Steve asked, gently, praying for confirmation that Bucky was beginning to remember.
"S-steve" Bucky answered slowly, before gaining his confidence and saying in a definitive voice and sounding quite pleased with himself "Steve told me."
Suddenly, the joy disappeared from Bucky's eyes and he quietly began to sob, rocking back and forth on his heels.
"Hey, hey, what's wrong, Buck?" Steve asked gently, drawing his friend into a strong embrace.
"H-hu-hurt," Bucky whimpered, "Hydra -hic- hurt me. Hurt me -hic- r-really b-bad."
It was then that Steve noticed, Bucky's whole body was trembling; his breathing coming in labored gasps.
Suddenly, Bucky began to convulse in Steve's arms, his head slamming against Steve's collarbone.
Ignoring the pain, Steve sat on the ground and positioned Bucky so that he was laying flat, letting the seizure work it's course.
All Bucky felt was a gentle hand stroking his hair before he blacked out.
"Well," said Doctor Bruce Banner, walking out into the waiting area, "We did a CT scan and there is definitely evidence of severe blunt force head trauma. To put in simple english, by all medical accounts, Bucky's injuries should have killed him years ago."
He paused, allowing Steve to process the information before continuing, "But since he seems to be functioning quite normally, apart from the speech impairment and the seizures, I'm gonna put sergeant Barnes on a regiment that would normally be used for patients with a grade four concussion."
"Does he need to stay here in the clinic?" Steve asked, "I know Bucky well enough to know that even with everything that Hydra has done to him, Bucky's hatred of hospitals will never be changed."
"I think that would be fine," Bruce answered, "But you are gonna need to watch over him 24/7. Some of the medication that he will be taking can cause drastic behavioral changes within the first few days. Given how hard you are working to save him, it would be pretty bad if Bucky went and hurt himself even more. I also want him woken up every two hours for the first few nights. That's when I want him to take the meds. I'm gonna give you a list of basic motor skills to have him do before he goes back to sleep. If he is unable to do three or more, that's when you call me. I wanna check up with him in three days and see how he's doing. The good thing about these meds is that if something does go wrong, it'll happen in the first few days"
"Okay, so no leaving Bucky alone and waking him up every two hours to check his motor skills and give him the meds."
"Right," Banner said, "other than that, I think you're good to go"
Steve clapped a hand on the doctor's shoulder before going into the hospital room to tell Bucky the good news.