Imagine Bucky is agender, has been since childhood. He (they? Xe? The only one Bucky knows is wrong is *it*) can't help but wonder, though, if this only made it all the easier for HYDRA to create the Winter Soldier. A weapon doesn't have a gender, after all, does it?
The panic attacks and the flashbacks are horrible, but they’re things Bucky can rage and fight against. The thought that drifts into their mind and clings as light and persistent as spider webs … that is harder to fight. The thought is a calm, rational pointing out that perhaps Bucky had been particularly … suitable for HYDRA’s experiments. Susceptible, whispers the voice. Weak.
It slips from Bucky’s lips late one night in the dark. It feels like an all-too-reasonable truth by this point; they’re not expecting Steve to snap from the sleepy meandering conversation to sudden alertness, sitting upright.
“‘A weapon doesn’t’ - Bucky, what…?”
They’re not expecting the utter bafflement and shock in Steve’s voice, either. They flinch away a little, rolling to the edge of the bed.
“Hey, no,” Steve says. He presses up against Bucky’s back and slides an arm around Bucky’s waist, hugging them close. “That’s bullshit,” Steve says, gently.
“You don’t know that,” Bucky protests.
“Yeah, I do. If HYDRA had caught me instead -.” The thought is intolerable; Bucky physically tries to twist away from it, but Steve’s lightly trapped them in his embrace. “Seriously, Buck, hear me out. If they’d caught me instead, would it have been harder for them to break me because I was a man?”
“What? Steve, no. I just…”
“Good,” Steve says. “Because I don’t think the reverse about you, not for one damn second.”
Steve shifts back just enough to give him space to rub Bucky’s back; slow, firm pressure, working at the tension locking Bucky’s back. He exhales quietly.
“When we were looking for you ….” He grimaces. “When we were looking for you, Nat dug up what she could about HYDRA. She found an early file about you.” Bucky tenses again. Steve keeps stroking their back. “I’m sorry, I read it. I’m sorry. The things they did to you … you held out for months. Months and months, you fought them all the way down. There was nothing ‘easy’ about any of it.” Steve smiles wryly against the back of their neck. “You pissed them off, Buck. And even after they got their soldier, they had to keep beating you down, because anytime they dropped their guard you kept trying to come back.”
Bucky rolls back over and presses themselves against Steve. Steve returns the embrace, hard. “You came back,” Steve says, voice wavering. “And there’s not a day that I’m not profoundly fucking grateful for that.”
“Needed you in order to do it,” Bucky mutters.
“That doesn’t make you weak, that makes you human. We all need people.” Steve takes a breath. “I need you.”
Bucky snorts. “You’re a sentimental fool, Rogers.” But their voice is a little damp, and they in no way loosen their grip. Neither does Steve.
So like, having their mind blanked so often made them forget gender and gendered behavior, and just one day after some time of rehabilitation, they decide to “find out” what gender they are. And after a lot of soul searching, they finally decide…
Hella, thank you guys
I’m not really sure why, but the idea just really appeals to me? It could be the whole blank-identity, blank-slate component of Bucky’s characterization in MCU that kickstarted that feel.
I just like the idea of a superhero/villain character who reads as traditionally, typically-for-the-genre ultramasculine being very free of traditional, stereotypical gender roles and doing and looking however they want uvu