TITLE: Your Past Does Not Define You
IMAGINE: It was no secret that Bucky hated his past, how he regrets being the Winter Soldier. What happens when he meets someone that can change his mind?
[gif is not mine. requests are open. let me know what you think]
warnings: swear words, brief harassment, small violence.
word count: 2.4k +
‘He had built up walls for years, keeping everyone out. Then she came into his life and with a touch of her finger the walls crumbled into ashes.’
Everyone knew that Bucky wasn’t one to converse with anyone, to talk to anyone let alone spend a minute in a room with someone that wasn’t Steve. He grunted and nodded, but no actual words ever came out of his mouth. He kept quiet, he kept to himself. No one really knew him, Steve did, but still…There were some things that he kept to himself, things that kept him up at night -waking from his nightmares, knives sheathed out panicking and looking around the room. He hated himself, he hated that he caused a war within a group, forcing everyone to take sides. Even years later when everything was settled, he still felt guilty thus he kept to himself. Maybe, just maybe if he didn’t speak and just did what everyone wanted him to do he could chip away the guilt.
He remembers the day vividly, it’s as if it’s a movie in his head, one that he can replay over and over again. He can pick out the exact moment that he knew in himself that she was going to change him.
“(Y/N), you have to be calm when you meet them, okay kid?” Tony looked over the kid next to him. Granted that she wasn’t a kid anymore, she was still a kid to him. “You can’t embarrass me, I have a reputation to uphold.”
(Y/N) barked out a laugh as she saw Tony puff out his chest, “I cross my heart that I won’t embarrass you.”
Tony smiled at her and opened the door, she instantly saw all the Avengers lounging around -some sitting down, some playing pool and some in the kitchen. He cleared his throat and they stopped and stared at him. “This is (Y/N),” he gestured the awed girl beside him.
She smiled at the group and waved, “I’m his love child,” she waggled her eyebrows and laughed out loudly when she saw the expressions on their face.
“She’s not,” Tony deadpanned. “What did I say about embarrassing me?” She shrugged in reply. Turning back to the group he explained, “She’s a recruit from Isla Nublar, Tony wanted her expertise on something. Plus, I’ve also known her since she was little so she’s like a little sister to me, so if any of you hurt her I will seriously kill you.”
“You can’t just mildly kill them?” (Y/N) teased and she received a jab from him. As they went around the room, introducing (Y/N) to everyone, she was awestruck by just how ordinary they were. Of course she kept up on the details, not hard to really. But it was so different, they were just normal people who were expected to drop everything to fight off the next evil.
After the introductions, she went to the kitchen to fix herself something to eat as everyone was heading to the gym. “For a bunch of superheroes they surprisingly have a lot of junk food in the fridge,” she mused to herself, thinking out loud. “Ooo, lasagne.” She picked out the heavy dish and turned around but bumped into someone.
“SHIT! I am so sorry,” (Y/N) looked at the lasagne and then back to the figure. Their black uniform was covered in red and white sauce. “I got lasagne on you,” she began wiping it off his uniform, after three wipes she realised how awkward it was.
She smiled sheepishly and look up at the man, “Sorry, didn’t mean to awkwardly touch you.” (Y/N) was going to say more but she stopped when she saw who she was talking to. It was Bucky Barnes. She read up on him, fascinated by history as both James Barnes and the Winter Soldier. “It’s not everyday that you get to live the tale that you accidentally dropped lasagne on an infamous assassin.” She tried to lighten the joke being the idiot as the was.
Bucky looked down at her, veiled amusement in his eyes. “Don’t really know the protocol for throwing lasagne at an assassin so forgive me if I don’t know how to act, I’m usually much cooler than this.” She gave him a toothy smile. (Y/N) wasn’t nervous, not at all, nor was she embarrassed.
“It’s okay,” his voice was rough from the lack of use. To his ears it sounded foreign, but to her it sounded beautiful.
“Do you want me to pay for dry-cleaning?” He tilted his head. “Uh, dry-cleaning is like this fancy service that you use when you want something to be professionally cleaned.” She sounded so unsure, but at the same time her voice was gentle and not at all patronising.
“I know what dry-cleaning is,” he gave her a small quick smile.
She found that she liked it when he smiled, he seemed younger and more relaxed even though she saw it for at least 3 seconds. “That’s good, that’s good.” She muttered, then looking down at the floor. “I haven’t been in the compound a day and I’ve already made a mess.” (Y/N) walked to the counter to fetch the kitchen roll, once in her hand she bent down and started wiping.
“Want some help?” Bucky knelt down and ripped some paper.
Maybe it was the way that she didn’t seem afraid of him and she treated him like a normal person. Or maybe it was because she made him laugh -something that hasn’t happened to him for so long. Or maybe it was her small, awkward yet charming smile that made him feel lighter than he’s ever felt before.
From that day on Bucky seeked out (Y/N), he came out of his room more, stayed in rooms longer than before. Of course everyone noticed his odd behaviour, it was hard not to. Bucky didn’t actively participate in conversations, but when (Y/N) asked him a question, flashed him a smile, or tried to include him in the conversation he reciprocated.
They were sitting in the living room, Stranger Things playing on the television. “You’re enjoying this,” she teased as she saw him lean in trying to figure out the scene.
Bucky leaned back nonchalantly and turned his head towards her, “It’s…different.”
He nodded hesitantly. “It’s nice.”
She smiled triumphantly and leaned back, her arms touching his lightly. She tried not to think of how warmth seemed to radiate of him, or just how nice he smelt.
(Y/N) passed him the pizza, “Thanks, doll.” (Y/N)’s hand froze and turned to him.
He felt his face redden, and his hands clamp up. He didn’t mean to say that out loud, he didn’t mean for that nickname to slip. He didn’t turn to her, afraid of her reaction. It was an intimate nickname for someone, so he wouldn’t be surprised if she got up and left, never speaking to him again.
She made an appreciative noise, “I like that.”
Startled, he turned to her, “What?”
“I like that. It’s cute and it’s very you,” she gave him a grin and a wink. “Doll,” she tried it out, rolling the word off her tongue.
He smiled at her when she clucked her tongue, “Don’t I get a nickname?”
She narrowed her eyes, smiled and tilted her head, “Hm, what to call you. Buckster?” She tried out and she chuckled at his horrified expression. “Buckarro?” He poked her this time. “I know, I’ll call you James.”
This time he chuckled, “That’s my name, not exactly a nickname.”
“Except no one calls you that and that’s why it’s perfect. Everyone calls you Barnes, or Bucky, but never James. The name is something just the two of us,” she smiled at him.
He felt his heart quicken and reciprocated her smile. It was genuine and it was wide. It was the smile that he would have had on his face practically all the time back in the 40s. As they continued watching the show, he realized that he liked it when she said the two of them. ‘Just between the two of them.’ He smiled, contented for the first time.
(Y/N) stood in line, trying to memorize everyone’s drink order. She felt a hand touch her backside and she turned around, “What are you doing?”
The man behind her gave her a lopsided smile. Even under the bad fluro lights she could see that his eyes were glossy and he could hardly stand on his on two feet. “Hey there pretty lady.” He gave her a wink and (Y/N) screwed up her nose in disgust. “Don’t be like that,” he tried to touch her arm but she yanked it away.
“Don’t touch me,” she growled, her arms ready to fight just in case.
“Come on, pretty lady,” he yanked her by the waist and she yelped. (Y/N) hardly had time to hit the man as he was yanked off her. She tumbled to the ground, and watched as Bucky hit the man over and over again. Noticing how hard the punches were she pulled herself up and ran to where Bucky was.
“Bucky!” He didn’t turn around. He held the man’s collar and pulled his hand back to punch him again. “Bucky! Bucky!” (Y/N) ran and touched his shoulder, “James.” This time he turned around. Letting the man go.
She saw how his eyes and his face were different, she tentatively touched his cheek, “James, come back to me darling. Come back to me.” She rubbed his cheek affectionately, “I’m here, just come back to me, please.”
His gaze softened, and he cupped the hand that was on his cheek.
Bucky was sure that (Y/N) would have ran away, fleeing as she saw the side of him he desperately never wanted anyone to see, especially her. But all she did was hold his hand, nodding to Steve and took him outside leading him to the car.
Once they were in the safety of the complex, (Y/N) opened Bucky’s door and pulled him in. “Are you okay?”
He didn’t answer, instead he fell to his knees. (Y/N) knelt down and pushed back his hair, “Buck?”
“I’m sorry,” it was soft and she could hardly hear him but at the same time she could hear it clearly, the emotion; the heartbreak, anger and sadness.
(Y/N) launched herself at him, wrapping her arms around his neck, squeezing him tighter as each second passed by. Once they broke apart she looked at him, “Never, ever apologize for that. Never apologize for that James.”
“I let him out, I never wanted to let him out.”
She could have burst out crying at how small he sounded. “No matter what, he will always be a part of you James, you can never erase him but,” she closed her eyes and shook her head. “Don’t ever be ashamed for something that you never did. You needed to be brainwashed, you needed a long time to transfer from James to the Winter Soldier. You’re not him.”
Bucky wrapped his arms around her, never letting her go, “You’re not him. You’re Steve’s Bucky, you’re my James, you’re our Barnes. Never forget that.” She gave him a kiss on the top of his head, “Even if you do, I’ll always be here to make you remember.”
“Always.” It was such a simple word but it was filled with so much more than it could possibly contain. He felt his heart open, and it all it took was one word for his walls to be tore down.
It was a casual day, there was nothing important. She was in her pyjamas, and he was in his gym clothes. Both of them sat at the kitchen counter, each eating their respective breakfast.
“What would you say if I asked you on a date doll?” He didn’t look at her, fear of her rejection.
She placed her spoon down, “I would say that it took you long enough James.” When he looked up he could see her smile, happiness radiating off her face.
He was Bucky before. He was known for charming the dames, being everyone’s friend and always being there for Steve. Then he was known as the Winter Soldier. He was adored. One of the greatest killing machines that HYDRA has ever created. He was feared.Then he was Barnes. Long gone was Bucky (though not for Steve, he would always be Bucky for Steve), buried underneath everything, and long gone was the Winter Soldier. He was Barnes and he was part of the Avengers. He was accepted. Finally, he was James. Her James to be exact. He was understood, loved and adored. She was the one person that managed to find him when he was so lost in the dark. She was the beacon in his life that he longed for, that he thought was long gone because of the atrocities that he committed.
But here she was, next to him, one of her arms carelessly tossed on his stomach, one under the pillow. As Bucky stroked her hair, she softly groaned and lifted her head. “Hey Buck, is it morning yet?”
He gave her a small smile. “No, not yet.” (Y/N) sat up and stretched, then with a grin she straddled him.
She grabbed his metal arm and fiddled with his fingers, “You know we could just etch the ring on your finger, I mean you won’t ever lose it that way.” (Y/N) leaned forward and laid on his chest.
He loved this position, mostly because he could feel her heartbeat. “I’m not you, doll, I mean how many times have you lost your ring?” He felt her lightly smack him, and he started running his hand down her back.
“Shut it, you love me.”
“Maybe I don’t.”
“You’re marrying me.”
“Eh,” he gave her a shrug and sat back up.
“Do I have to convince you that marrying me would be the greatest thing ever?” She grinded her hips against his, and smirked when he groaned.
“The greatest thing ever was meeting you doll,” he sat up and kissed her.
Bucky managed to find someone to break him out of his shell. A person who managed to keep the nightmares at bay, even on the rare occasions he had them she was there right by his side, brushing his hair back and whispering comforting words in his ear. He found the person that managed to love his past even when he couldn’t.