Summary: In which you help Bucky combat a sleepless night by going on a night drive.
Pairing: Bucky x Reader
Word Count: 2,366
A/N: Oh hey, it’s me. I guess I’m back.
The screaming starts late that night. Or maybe it starts early that morning; it’s too dark outside your window to be sure of the time.
Rubbing the sleep out of your eyes is easier said than done. Your slumber had been a deep one, as the fatigue from two sleepless nights in a row had caught up to you. Once your head hit the pillow, you were convinced nothing could possibly wake you up.
Nothing except the sound of Bucky’s screams in the room down the hall from yours.
Or in which the team sees the security footage of Lance torturing Joras.
If you haven’t read the first one and felt like the torture scene was cut off or simply just not enough, here’s the cctv along with the team’s reactions to A Certain Elegance
*** I am extremely sorry for taking this long to post this! I had trouble with the structure and flow of this story that I had to scrap the whole thing and rewrite it over and over- it sucked!! (And it still is in my opinion). But I’d rather post it now than not post at all, right? So I guess I’m apologizing for two things: 1) That this took so long to write, and 2) That the structuring and flow might be a little iffy..***
Caution: This turned out longer- waaaaay longer- than what I planned!
To say that Shiro was concerned was an understatement. Being the Black paladin does that to you. He had to juggle being a leader and being a friend to the other paladins, balance between being stern like a General, and being considerate like a friend. He thought he’s been doing a good job so far, ordering the others around with a firm tone and patting their backs for a good job; until now.
The other paladins- Keith, Hunk, and Pidge- were already in their lions waiting for the wormhole from the Castle of Lions, all except the Blue Paladin. Shiro tried to play no favorites when it comes to his teammates, giving them equal attention if need be, but Lance was beginning to occupy most of his thoughts.
“Yo, my dudes. Aww you guys so sweet, waiting for me.” Lance’s face projected in his lion’s screen.
“About time.” Katie’s face popped up on his screen.
“I was outnumbered Pidge, get off my case…”
Shiro let them drone on into a harmless squabble of words against words, but one thing stole his attention.
Shiro may have been used to the sly and seemingly innocent act Lance pulls during diplomatic missions, but the splatter of blood on his helmet was a surprise.
‘Maybe it’s alien blood. He did say he was surrounded.’ He thought, wishing the cold tendrils of suspicion let him go.
The tendrils of suspicion didn’t let him go. Instead, it gripped him tight and held on for dear life.
"If you’re such an amazing paladin, what did you get out of that Galra ship, Keith?“
"Well, me and Hunk, managed to hack into their servers.” Keith held out a small thumb drive, “You are looking at the ship’s security footage from the year it was used until we sacked the place."
"Ha, don’t make me laugh.” Lance opened a zipper in his flight suit and fished out a data pad, “Behold! The data pad containing all information about the ship’s plans, course, slaves, meal plans and all of the above! Beat that, Keith."
Keith scoffed, "For all we know, that data pad’s full of malware and alien porn."
"It’s from one of the Generals who supervised Shiro in the pits, mullet head…"
There was blood splattered everywhere on Lance’s white and blue armor, from his helmet, his breastplate down his knee guards. There were also dark spots on his black flight suit that Shiro assumed it was alien blood not Lance’s.
He met the princess’ eyes and they both had the same suspicion.
What the hell did Lance do this time?
'Shit,’ Lance thought, 'of all the things they could find, they’d have to find security tapes.'
After the debriefing in the Bridge, Lance made his way to the showers. Lance walked in strides, letting his long legs do their work. He undressed in a way where he’s taking off armor and flightsuit in an efficient way yet not looking like he’s in a hurry, like he’s not a bundle of nerves.
The blood on his hands was still warm as well as the memory of blade gliding across skin, leaving a trail of vibrant red. Lance shivered despite the warm spray of water against his body. The thrill of letting loose a part of him that he badly kept a secret was a complete euphoric feeling. It was like the flood gates were finally open, setting free the torrent that was the Salazar in him. And for it to be contained yet again because of a thumb drive the size of- well - his thumb, Lance scoffed at the cruel joke that was his life.
He scrubbed at his chest, reliving the sensation of warm blood and tears on his fingers.
He lifted his hand to his face. Lance watched the beautiful crimson of Joras’ blood wash away from his fingers like it was never there. He frowned with the thought of the others finding out that part of his life.
Lance was and never will be ashamed of who he is. He planned on telling the team about his upbringing and his family, but now was not the time. They are fighting an intergalactic war, the fate of the entire universe are on their hands, they don’t need any distractions right now. That means no surprise attacks in the form of him being a mafioso was needed. And also, Lance was wary on how the team would take it. Will they look at him differently? Would they treat him at an arm’s length?
A feeling of warm comfort hummed in the back of his mind, gently waving through his body.
Blue sent him feelings of acceptance and assurance, telling him that the team will understand, that they will not think badly of him. Lance smiled at the comfort that his sentient lion was sending him. But he was still reluctant about the cctv footage. There has to be a way where the team doesn’t find out he’s a Salazar and still hold on to the high of being one.
A mischievous spark of an idea jolted Lance out of his thoughts.
“Of Course!” Lance exclaimed and hurriedly looked for anyone who might have heard him.
When he was sure no one was listening, Lance started formulating his plan. But little did he know, he was smiling that Salazar smile once again.
“Knock, knock. Pidgey, open up!“
Pidge looked up from her laptop and sighed. She knew that voice, heard it over and over again until she can pick it out in a crowd.
She groaned when the knocking hasn’t stopped. What she would give for some peace and quiet-
“Pidge, you know I come from a big family, I can do this all day!”
“Alright, alright, I’m coming, geez!“
PIdge trudged to her door and placed her hand on the pad on the wall. The door opened to a Lance wearing that stupidly soft robe with an equally stupid green goo on his face.
“What do you want?“
“Well hello to you too, Katie.“
PIdge gave Lance a pointed look.
“I’m just here to give you the data pad I retrieved from the Galra ship, no need for your sass, Pidgey.”
PIdge took the data pad from Lance. “Is that all? If you haven’t noticed, I have a shit ton of video feed to go through.”
“Oh I noticed alright!“ Lance unceremoniously waltzed his way inside her room. With Pidge’s dwarf like height, she doesn’t exactly have the ability or the energy to stop him.
“I mean look at this room!“ He gestured at the scattered clothes and the multitude of wires all tangled up that occupied most of the floor and the bed. “There’s more junk covering the floor than, you know, actual floor. And look at you!” Lance pointed at Pidge and leaned closer to take a sniff, “You reek, Pidge. Have you eaten anything since we arrived? Please tell me you at least ate something before you planned on binge watching years worth of security footage.“
Pidge was touched, really she was, especially when Lance was acting more like a mother to her than the space brother she dubbed him as. But Lance acting like a mother hen sometimes can get a little overboard. Like that one time he lectured Pidge about brushing her teeth before going to bed, he texted her every hour reminding her to brush her teeth.
“Will you leave if I say I did?“
“That depends,“ Lance crossed his arms on his chest, “are you telling the truth?“
Pidge was about to say yes but her stomach whaled a guttural cry like the traitor it is. She opened her mouth to argue but closed it again because Lance was smirking at her.
“Nice try, Pidge.“ Lance made his way towards her drawer and pulled out clothes and a tower, “Take a shower, the one I taught you with the scrubbing and the conditioning, understand? After that, you will eat. We just raided a Galra ship and took all of their rations, Hunk went wild with his cooking. I promise the food tastes divine.“
Pidge was tempted to do just that, hell, she could almost feel the warm water on her skin. Then her gaze slid on her bed and saw her laptop. Right, she has a job to do.
“Lance, I have videos upon videos to watch. I don’t have time for a thirty minute shower-“
“Nuh-uh.“ Lance placed a finger on her lips, stopping her from reasoning out. Pidge tried to chew that finger but Lance pulled his hand back and ruffled her hair, “I know when you can do stuff and when you can’t. In your current condition, you can’t. In a matter of hours, you’ll find yourself sleeping then chugging mugs of coffee. I know you, Pidge.“
“No, you don’t under-“
“Katie/‘Pidge’ Holt/‘Gunderson,’ if you don’t take care of yourself I will. I’m one step away from dragging you to the bathroom and giving you a bath myself.“ Lance ruffled her hair a bit more before smiling softly at her, “Go. I’ll watch the videos for you. Go!“ Lance gave her a little push towards her door.
Pidge plopped down on her bed, her hair still a bit damp after her thirty minute shower Lance routine. She felt light as a feather. She picked up her laptop and placed it on her lap. The notepad program was open. She clicked on it and saw a typed message from lance:
‘Hey Pidgey, I ran your Galra translation program on the videos and it seems that it didn’t place the videos in the right order. Some are in the right order though, but some are definitely misplaced. I sifted through the earlier videos and marked them whenever something interesting happened. Remember if you need some help, don’t hesitate to ask for it, ok?
P.S. I left you snacks under your bed, be sure to eat them when your vision starts to blur :)’
Pidge scanned the file names of the videos Lance listed below his message. There weren’t a lot, which she expected. It was a courier ship, the most exciting thing that must have happened was when they were carrying prisoners, which- based on Lance’s notes- happened only twice so far. Pidge clicked on the file containing all of the security footage and confirmed that it was truly out of order, she expected that too. Her Galra translator still had a few kinks she needs to fix but at least she has something.
Pidge cracked her knuckles and adjusted her glasses.
“Let’s do this,” then she clicked on the next video.
Lance Analysis: sneaky boy values stealth and the element of surprise
ok, i’mma be frank. i have no idea where i’m going with this post, i just wanna talk about an interesting thing i’ve recently noticed with Lance’s character. this is probably gonna be a bit disorganized so i apologize but yeah.
Fluffy Darkstache, can be read as both platonic and romantic.
TW: Disassociation, hallucinations, panic attacks, and mental illness in general. Please read with caution!
Wilford hated blood.
It would be easier if people didn’t bleed whenever they got injured or, say, shot a few times. After all, a body is basically a puppet, some hollow shell that any spirit can use or steal. But puppets don’t bleed, so why do humans? It’s ridiculous and messy.
For a long time, Wilford believed that blood never came out of anything. Walls, floors, pants, shirts, and even hands – they’d be permanently stained red, sometimes fading to a bitter pink.
He was always annoyed that everyone pretended not to see it. Even Dark, when Wilford brought it up, said, “Blood doesn’t stick around forever, Wil.”
But Wilford knew better. It did stick around forever, because Wilford still saw it sometimes. In those rare moments of being alone, or after waking from a nightmare, he’d look down and see it on his hands.
Palms covered in bright red, still warm and wet.
By the sixth or seventh time it happened, he tried washing it off. Wilford stood by the sink for hours, repeatedly scrubbing his hands, using enough soap and water to fill a bathtub. But it did nothing.
The soap couldn’t block out the smell of blood that seemed to fill the air. And the water slipped off his skin like he was made of rubber. He clawed at his flesh, attempting to strip the skin off, because maybe it was just rubber. If he couldn’t get the blood off, he’d throw the bloody pieces away and grow a new skin for his shell of a body. He could do that.
Dark stopped him before he could.
His friend rarely showed concern for others, but with Wilford, it was clear on his face. Wilford saw it after Dark turned him around, brows furrowed and lips drawn tight with worry.
“Wilford, what are you doing?” His hands gripped Wilford’s shoulders gently, like he was a piece of glass not meant to be broken.
But Wilford was already broken and couldn’t pick up the pieces.
He barely heard Dark’s question over the sound of his own frantic thoughts. “It won’t come out,” he babbled. “It’s still there, but it shouldn’t be, it should come out and it won’t, I need to tear it off –”
“No,” Dark interrupted, voice gentle like his grasp. “Tearing it off won’t help. Where is it?”
Wilford held his palms up, waiting to see Dark’s surprise. There was so much blood, it was practically dripping off his skin. Dark had to have seen it, had to have smelled it in the air.
But Dark remained calm, as if the situation was completely normal. He reached around Wilford to turn off the sink. Without the sound of water running, Wilford panicked, worried that he’d be trapped with the voices in his head and nothing to drown them out.
He opened his mouth, about to demand Dark turn it back on, but stopped. Dark had taken his hands, his red palms, and covered them with his own.
It was still there, the blood was still there and he could feel it, but Wilford couldn’t see it. Not over Dark’s gray skin.
They stayed like that for a moment, Dark linking their fingers to keep Wilford from pulling away. Wilford could feel their skin mold together, the blood like an adhesive. He started losing feeling in his palms. His fingers. His entire body was getting numb and the panic returned.
“Sit down with me,” Dark commanded. His calm voice stood out among the shrieking in Wilford’s mind. He tried listening, tried focusing all his attention on that voice and nothing else.
“Sit down, Wil,” Dark said again. How could Wilford sit down when he couldn’t feel his legs? He didn’t know how. He was paralyzed, trapped in one spot. Maybe he was sinking into the ground or becoming part of it.
But Dark was insistent, tugging Wilford’s hands down. And, still linked together, Wilford followed, legs bending without thinking about it. He felt the ground, but couldn’t really register it. Was he on the floor? Everything seemed both closer and farther away.
Except Dark, who was sitting right across from him. Some distant part of Wilford realized they were within kissing distance. He could feel breath on his lips. He felt a cool forehead press against his own. And he heard a low, soft voice say, “Breathe with me.”
Sit down with me, Wilford remembered the voice say. And then he sat down. No, they sat down, him and Dark. If Wilford could do that with Dark, he was sure he could breathe too.
If Dark was there, he could breathe.
Dark took slow breaths; his chest expanded with each long intake of air that escaped through his nose when he exhaled, drawing it out as much as possible. Wilford tried doing the same. He felt his lungs fill with air, trying to ignore the smell of blood, and release in a shaky exhale. It wasn’t for as long as Dark, but Wilford didn’t think he had that much air to breathe out.
He didn’t have much air at all. It felt like it was draining out of the room, leaving a bitter emptiness that stung his nostrils and made his mouth dry. But he felt something tighten around his hands, just for a moment, enough to drag Wilford back to the present.
“Focus,” the voice reminded him. He tried focusing again.
Inhale, exhale. It was so difficult to breathe. But after a while, it became easier. Wilford got caught up in the repetition of it, tuning out the voices to focus on matching his breaths with Dark.
Wilford had no idea how much time had passed. His eyes had eventually closed on their own and he started to slouch. The hands holding his own were cold, a pleasant feeling against the heat surging through his body.
Reality slowly came back to Wilford. He was here, next to the sink, sitting with Dark. Holding hands with Dark. He wasn’t alone; he was with Dark. That thought comforted him more than anything.
“Open your eyes, Wil,” Dark said. His voice was close and when Wilford opened his eyes, he saw his friend looking at him. The concern was still there, but less than before. “Can you speak?”
Wilford considered the question. He felt like he could talk without getting panicked now. The voices had died down and he could feel his body again, separate from the floor. He was here with Dark. “Yes.”
Dark gave his hands a tiny squeeze. “Good. I’m going to let go now, okay?”
Wilford frowned. “But what if it’s still there?”
“It was never there to begin with, Wil,” Dark corrected him. “Just because you see something doesn’t mean it’s true.”
Memories flashed in his mind – a body falling, a corpse standing, a face changing. It was too fast to make them all out.
Of course, Wilford thought. His eyes were playing tricks on him. They couldn’t be trusted, but Dark could. He could believe in Dark.
And so, after a moment, Wilford nodded and stopped gripping Dark’s hand. When their hands separated, Wilford was expecting to see it again, bright red and fresh.
But there was nothing. He didn’t see it, smell it, or feel it. It was gone, like the entire debacle had never happened and it was all just a fever dream. Dark had even implied that Wilford only imagined seeing it – was he just imagining Dark here too?
“No, I’m actually here,” Dark answered. Wilford realized he must’ve asked the question out loud. “And so are you. But that thing you saw, that was never there. You only thought it was.”
His words weren’t demeaning, but Wilford still felt ridiculous. And frustrated. Of course it wasn’t real! It was all just some sick joke his mind played on him. And he fell for it.
“This is bullshit,” he huffed. “How can I tell what’s real and what isn’t?”
Dark shrugged, unable to answer his question. “If you’re in doubt, you can always ask me,” he offered.
It wasn’t the best solution, but it was something. And it reassured Wilford that Dark wasn’t going anywhere without him – if he did, Wilford wouldn’t be able to ask him.
And Dark had just said – well, implied – that he’d always be around to ask.
Wilford grinned at that, comforted by knowing that he’d never be alone. Dark would be there and he could believe in Dark.
That’s all he needed.
Now Wilford knows that blood doesn’t stain permanently. He knows that it can be washed off walls and floors, bleached out of clothes, and scrubbed off skin. He knows that, like Dark said, blood doesn’t stick around forever.
Wilford knows that, but a part of his mind doesn’t.
That part of him still clung onto the memories, fabricating images of bright red covering his hands. And it looked real, it felt so real that there were still times Wilford thought it had to be, it had to be on him, there’s no way he was imagining it.
But then he’d remember – he’d remember to breathe. To close his eyes and focus on his chest moving, his lungs expanding and compressing, the soft voice in his mind that could be heard over the screaming and wails of people he’d forgotten long ago.