"You dropped it; finders keepers" IM DEAD XD also I wasn't really looking for a shock moment I mostly just wanted to see bucky's fixation on tony and his way of looking at the world.
Rhodey, outraged, summoning the War Machine armor: i didn’t drop SHIT
Mm! To me it seems like a lot of people really adore that ‘shock and awe’ moment of ‘here it is, this is it, this person is shining and amazing and i have immediately fallen in love and will devote myself from here on out’ - and I love it too, honestly, but I’ve never been able to write it. That’s not how I write attraction and love *shrug* The more I struggled to answer your ask to my satisfaction, the more confused and twisted up i made myself lmao. I really just take Bucky’s fixation on Tony for granted.
So the thing about Bucky is that despite everything, he stockholmed himself to his captors, even when they brutalized him. That takes a special level of survival drive - a special level of incredible emotional and psychological damage. I rarely bother with writing a Bucky that thinks he ‘can become’ a Real Boy or even wants to become a ‘real boy.’ I’m honestly too convinced of the fact that he’s too damaged to allow that kind of concept to cross his mind out of pure self preservation. He doesn’t get frustrated with himself over his PTSD and breaks from reality because that’s just How Bucky Barnes Functions. That’s just business as usual for him.
He does get frustrated when other people expect him to behave as a standard issue human, though, because why would he? Spring a surprise party on him and almost get shot in the face, and honestly that’s your own fault because what did you think was going to happen, really?? Whereas if Natasha or Tony nearly shoot you in the face over a surprise party, they’ll be embarrassed and give themselves a hard time about it. Instead of, you know, correctly wondering what the fuck people who know you have PTSD and hyper-vigilance issues thought they were doing.
So anyway, Bucky and his weird fixation on Tony. I phrase it this way because in the end, all things end up coming back to Tony with Bucky. He’s more than happy to live out his life in a rural village doing handy work for dinner. Bucky’s motivations mostly revolve around ‘what can I do that will cause the least amount of damage to everyone involved.’ He basically wants to live quietly while helping people, which is something native to his basic personality.
Prior to Siberia, Bucky would have been willing to fight whatever ‘good fight’ Steve brought to his door if it were necessary (his opinion previous to the bombing was ‘you have a perfectly good team, steve, fuck off’ but then he got backed into a corner and took the best way out of it). Bucky doesn’t want to fight. He’s an incredibly effective weapon. People will die.
Then you bring him into contact with Tony Stark, and whereas before that, Tony Stark is like a talisman against the destruction wrought by the Winter Soldier (kind of a forest fire analogy, and a weird, twisted one, since Tony was never actually in danger from the winter soldier), Bucky basically gets all his Winter Soldier baggage rubbed in his face like a naughty dog. He spent years unable to escape the legacy of Stark Industries no matter where he went, carefully attaching all this baggage to Tony Stark, and now Tony Stark is in his face demanding answers, demanding he take responsibility and quit pretending what happened doesn’t matter.
Bucky would have been weird about any of the survivors of families he’s decimated. The fact that Tony ties in closer to his forgotten past and could-have-been future than the others is only salt on the wound. The fact that Steve and the rest of the team are tied up in knots about Tony Stark only exacerbates the situation. Bucky hasn’t been able to escape the legacy of Tony Stark since he got away from Hydra. He’s like some kind of omnipresent force of nature, like the sun if the sun wanted you to answer to your sins.
HYDRA happened to Bucky. Steve happened to Bucky. But Bucky happened to Tony Stark, and that matters. So.
in the brokemachine verse, Thanos invades before this matter of the pardons could go down, and it was the rogues’ actions during the invasion that creates the opportunity for talk about pardons (services rendered etc etc). Bucky is deeply baffled by the fact that Tony would be working to get the pardons signed when he no longer has use for any of them. T’Challa, due to his obligations towards Bucky and his work with Tony during and in the aftermath of the invasion, orchestrates a situation where both of them can resolve their issues with one another, starting with Bucky asking to be allowed a pardon, and Tony working on that outside of trying to leverage Bucky’s pardon against Steve.
Bucky starts to contemplate the idea of actually resolving his Winter Soldier issues now that Tony’s opened a path to do so, and as Tony is the one that’s orchestrated this opportunity to start making amends, Bucky focuses on Tony. Tony is the injured party, Tony made it possible for Bucky to ‘come home,’ Tony is paying for the therapy and experimental procedures to fix Bucky, Tony is still wandering around with those dark eyes and that clenched jaw, designing up and maintaining a better arm than Bucky’s ever had before. It’s Tony’s ghost telling him he’s still not doing enough, and Tony rejecting his apologies (and why shouldn’t he, it’s not like Bucky can make amends for what he did, he can’t unkill Tony’s parents, undo Steve’s secrets), and Tony who holds Bucky’s fate in the palm of his hand and despite the bitterness and resentment, never curls that hand shut and crushes Bucky the way he should.
Bucky starts to work incredibly hard on resolving/owning the whole Winter Soldier mess (violently destabilizing himself in the process) because he’s trying to measure up to becoming something Tony Stark can approve of - or if not that, at least use. Bucky seeks absolution from Tony because Tony needs him to, and it’s the least Bucky can do for all the expense Tony has put out on maintaining Bucky.
So they have this weird kind of unspoken dialogue, and then in a broke machine, Tony consciously lets go of his anger and resentment, thus releasing Bucky from the burden of absolution, and allowing their relationship to evolve into something new and nurturing. They can start to heal together instead of working at odds to one another.
Well, as much healing as Bucky can do anyway. He has a safe space to figure out what the fuck is going on with his head and what he actually wants from the world at large, now, because Tony was generous before he liked Bucky, and he only all too clearly likes Bucky now, and the idea of someone actually liking Bucky as he is, now, instead of just working with him for someone else’s sake, or because of the man he once was, or because they pity him - well. No one thinks of a cat as greedy for curling up in a warm spot of sunshine all to themselves, do they?