Imagine Bucky getting lost in his old neighborhood and having a horrible panic attack, until the Avengers come and find him and calm him down.
Bucky likes walking. It’s a hard-won pleasure, to stroll a neighbourhood, even if it’s just his own. Just, sometimes there are … traps. Like the park across the road. Maybe it’s the slant of the afternoon light, or a smell, but … his chest is tightening, muscles locking. Damnit.
He takes a deep breath. I’m in Brooklyn. It’s 2014. My name is James Buchanan Barnes. I can see… I can see…
He can see the park, and the park is wrong. It should be a vacant lot. He turns away, looking for something familiar but the drug store on the corner is missing and there’s no smell of beer from the building next to him, and his head hurts. His mind is scrabbling against the disorientation, trying to find something that makes sense and failing.
His mind … slips.
His leg buzzes, and he flinches. There’s something in his pocket. He fishes it out, it’s still buzzing. He doesn’t remember it from mission brief, but he knows it’s a comms device, and his hands know how to activate it.
"Hey Buck." A man’s voice: American, speaking English. Casual, perhaps mildly concerned. "You’ve been out a while. You okay?"
He doesn’t know how to parse that. His head is pounding. He latches onto the question.
"You —. Bucky?" There’s alarm there. He keeps his eyes closed against the wave of dizziness. He’s aware that’s also a question, but he doesn’t know how to respond.
"Shit," the man’s voice says. "Hang on."
A moment later, a woman’s voice: calm and brisk and Russian.
Opening his eyes is horrible. But she has given him an order. He’s standing next to a… next to… Antiques store, his brain supplies, but what comes out of his mouth isn’t even Russian.
"The bar where we…" But that memory is gone. "Down from the —." But the bar is gone, whatever it was down the street from is gone, and the pain spikes so badly he can’t take a full breath. “The bar,” he repeats, helplessly. “O’Malley’s.”
They will come with tranq darts, and they will make the pain in his head stop, they will make all of this stop. He’s shaking, he realizes. He lied on the phone; he’s not even functional. But the handlers are coming, and they will take him back to the labs, and they will fix him.
They come in a vehicle; a redheaded woman and a blond man.
"<Stand down>," she orders, authoritative and firm. "<Surrender your weapons, Soldier>." He reaches reflexively for his sidearms on his thighs, but even the holsters are gone. His knives are gone. They are going to punish him for losing his weapons. He squeezes his eyes closed against the fear and waits.
"Wilson, Stark: stand down," the woman reports. "We’re good here."
Maybe it’s a smell, maybe it’s a slant of the light, but when he opens his eyes Nat and Steve are standing in front of him, like goddamn switch has flipped in his brain. Sam and Stark are coming in to land half a block away.
"Aw, hell," Bucky manages. He presses his hands against his face, digging his fingers in.
"We’re good here," Nat repeats, gently, for him. "You’re fine. It’s okay."
It’s not, it’s goddamn not, but Steve’s moving in behind. “Got your back,” Steve murmurs against Bucky’s neck, and the tension shivers out of Bucky’s shoulders. His head is still pounding, but Steve is taking his weight, and Nat is rubbing his wrists, coaxing his hands down.
"We’ve got you," Nat says. The world has steadied into trees and park and stores.
"2014," Steve recites for him. "Brooklyn, James Buchanan Barnes — best jerk I know."
Bucky laughs, shakily. Steve smiles against Bucky’s ear, and it’s the best fix he could ask for.