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comment_fic 958: Avengers, Steve/Bucky, AU

Title: there's really no difference in who he was once
Fandom: Avengers movieverse/Criminal Minds
Disclaimer: not my characters; title and prompt from "Just Be Simple" by Songs: Ohia
Warnings: modern-day AU; talk of violence/death
Pairings: Steve/Bucky
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 1405
Point of view: third
Prompt: any, any, and everything you hated me for, honey, there was so much more - I just didn't get busted
Note: written for the theme “300 words.” But it didn’t want to stay that short. *hands*



They get out of the army together and then just -- fade away. He wakes up one day from dreams of blood and screams and Bucky's gone.

He looks. Of course he does. But Bucky doesn't want to be found.

.

He joins the FBI because he has to do something. He can’t just drink away the grief and the guilt; he needs to get out of the apartment and do something. He ends up with the BAU.

He hates it. But he’s doing good and does anything matter but that?

(He asks their tech goddess to find Bucky. She tries and can’t. Bucky doesn’t want to be found. Natasha and the boys tell him that’s a message of its own. Steve ignores them.)

.

He gets the first postcard on the anniversary of the day they got out. He gets the second on the anniversary of the day he woke up alone.

He wants to believe he doesn’t know what it means.

.

Bucky Barnes was everything Steve Rogers wanted to be: handsome, charming, so fucking smart. Bucky thought he was a good-for-nothing punk, but Steve knew that Bucky was the best guy in the world.

Eventually, he convinced Bucky that he believed it. Bucky always said, though, that Steve was the greatest thing in the whole wide world, not him. Steve was brilliant and bright and brave. Steve was going places. Bucky just wanted to go with him.

Saps, the pair of them. So young and so in love. So stupid.

.

They’re both good at killing. Bucky’s better. Bucky’s always been better at everything except hoping. That… he’s never been good at. That’s what he needed Steve for.

.

Bucky doesn’t want to be found. Steve can’t give up looking.

I left so you’d be happy, the first postcard said.

The second said, in that scrawl from their shared school notebooks, in the loveletters he always tore up before Steve saw them, Don’t.

.

“Steve?” Penelope says one morning, peering into his cubicle. “I… I think you need to see this.”

.

Bucky used to take punches for Steve, kicks and curses, once a beer bottle. He took three bullets and shrapnel so that Steve could carry them both out.

Bucky only joined the army because Steve did.

.

“I... is it him?” Penelope asks, wringing her hands, watching Steve with sorrow and regret her gaze.

.

If Bucky had only asked…

.

“Thank you,” Steve says. “Thank you so much for looking. But it’s not.”

Morgan pops in, gives Steve a raised eyebrow, and then tells Penelope, “Wheels up in ten, baby girl.”

Steve leaves silently, waits till the end of the day to put in a request for vacation time, goes back to his silent apartment, packs up his weapons, and locks the door behind him.

.

It’s been three years. Three years alone and twenty-six before that with Bucky in sight and reach and hearing. Three years praying that Bucky stayed safe, stayed happy, stayed free.

Bucky’s always thought Steve was the better man. You’re the good one, Rogers, he slurred, late one night, drunk and on pain-killers. Something dark in his eyes, his tone.

Steve didn’t agree, not ever, not even once.

.

They’re both good at killing. Steve doesn’t like to, not really. He just wanted to do good in the world. Protect his home. If he’d known what it’d do to Bucky…

But he didn’t know.

.

Ignorance is no excuse. Not for what it cost Bucky.

.

They said I’ve got a talent, Bucky told him, four months in. There’s this program they want me to go into.

Will you? Steve asked.

No, Bucky said. And he didn’t.

He kept getting loaned out, though. Always came back a little quieter. A little colder.

There is so much Steve would do differently.

.

“I need a favor,” Steve says, driving away from DC.

“Name it,” Natasha says.

.

Bucky’s waiting for him. There’s nowhere else he needs to be. Nowhere else he wants to be. They met at pre-k and never looked back.

I left so you’d be happy, Bucky wrote, and that he left at all shows he utterly fucked up he is. How could he have thought Steve would ever want to without him? Happy without him?

No.

.

“This is a bad idea,” Tasha’s guy Stark says. “I’m pretty sure that assassins don’t like being tracked.”

“Then he shouldn’t have left,” Steve says and Stark heaves the world’s largest sigh.

“Fine,” he says. “But if the long-lost assassin kills me, I’m haunting you.”

.

Sam, Clint, all the boys – they all have advice, ideas, words of caution.

“I know you’re gone for him,” Sam says, and Steve knows he’s trying for comforting, but Sam sounds worried, instead. “But he left for a reason.”

“He left because he’s trying to protect me from himself, and that’s just stupid, Sam,” Steve says. “I’ve gotta go. Call you later.”

“Yeah, Rogers, sure,” Sam says, and they both know it’s goodbye.

.

He wakes up to Bucky crouched over him, hands around his throat. “You goddamned idiot,” Bucky hisses, grip tightening. “Why the fuck didn’t you stay at home?”

Steve scoffs as best he can. “It’s not home,” he says, bringing his hands up to cover Bucky’s. “Not without you.”

.

Bucky stepped in when Steve faltered, taught him to throw a punch, told him to dodge, to run, to save himself.

I’m a dead man walking, Stevie, he gasped while Steve dragged him away, tried to cover him, swore to God with everything in him that if Bucky lived –

Please, please, please, Steve whispered, clutching the beacon as tight as he could. Please, Bucky, don’t leave me here alone.

.

They’re both good at killing. Bucky said once, halfway through their first tour, back before they both got transferred to spec ops, that he’s never been so good at anything else.

That should’ve been Steve’s first clue. He should’ve figured it out then, saved Bucky from this, somehow.

But he didn’t see it then. And he can’t change it now.

.

“Trying to save me, Rogers?” Bucky asks with a smirk that doesn’t reach his eyes, throwing a can of Coke to Steve.

“I’m with you, Barnes,” Steve says, setting the Coke down. “Always. ‘til the end.”

Bucky laughs, but it’s bitter and cold. “And how do you see this ending?”

Steve shrugs. “Doesn’t matter.”

.

When they were kids, fourth or fifth grade, Steve wanted to be a comic book artist. Bucky wanted to be an astronaut.

In eighth grade, Steve decided he’d be a soldier like his dad. It wasn’t till his growth spurt right before graduation, though, that it actually seemed possible.

Bucky followed him. Pulled him out of trouble. Watched his back, saved his life.

Steve owes him so much, but that’s not why he’s here. Not why he looked, not why he stays.

.

Bucky lays it plain as cruel as he can. Steve knows it’s because Bucky’s trying to protect him. Wants him go back to DC, to the FBI. Bucky’s never thought he was worth anything. Has never believed Steve when Steve says he is.

Bucky is an assassin. He doesn’t care about why someone wants a target dead. Doesn’t care about race, sex, or age. Doesn’t ask questions. Plans it all out, carries through, sends proof, gets paid, moves on.

He looks Steve straight in the eye and waits for the rage, the disgust, the shame that Steve could’ve ever loved him.

“Bucky,” Steve sighs, “I knew all that before I got here.”

.

When they were kids, Steve knew they’d live forever. When they were twenty-three, Steve knew they’d die together on a mission, each trying to save the other.

When they are thirty-two, Steve knows they’ll die badly for someone’s revenge.

It doesn’t matter. Bucky left to keep him safe, but when they’re away from each other, there’s no one watching their backs.

(Natasha and Stark have muddled things. The guys will all lie through their teeth if questioned.

Steve wonders how long it took Penelope to start tracking him. If she’ll take it to someone higher up or if she’ll let it go.)

.

“I didn’t want this for you,” Bucky murmurs into Steve’s skin, hands warm and strong and so perfect. “You could be something great, Stevie. So much better than me.”

“All I want is to be with you,” Steve tells him, gently raising Bucky’s chin. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”

He wishes with everything in him that Bucky believed it.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
classics_lover
Sep. 21st, 2014 10:38 am (UTC)
Oh, all my feels, right here in this fic. ;__;

Lovely and heartbreaking
tigriswolf
Sep. 21st, 2014 05:25 pm (UTC)

Thank you!
maldeluxx
Sep. 21st, 2014 01:48 pm (UTC)
I really do hope that Bucky will be able to see how devoted and true Steve is, for him, for them, no matter what *sniff* :*) <3<3
tigriswolf
Sep. 21st, 2014 05:26 pm (UTC)

I honestly don't know if he'll ever believe it. But Steve'll be there till one of them dies.

Thanks for reading!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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