Reversal of Roles: Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes x Reader
Assumed female reader
Word Count: 3810
I’m loving this series more and more as I’m writing it. I have Natasha’s coming up next, but I have no idea what I actually want to do with it, so…yeah. This was also semi-inspired by the picture.
“I didn’t know it was her.”
“Don’t lie to me, Rogers. Did you know?”
Steve took a breath and lied through his teeth to give Tony the only answer that he would believe. “Yes.”
Tony stepped back in horror. He took a second to look like he was calm, but you could see otherwise. You ran to block the hit before it came, but the grieving man was too fast.
All Hades broke loose.
You retaliated quickly, but Tony grabbed hold of you and tossed you around like a rag doll. Steve tried to come to your rescue, but he was taken down and his feet were bound in a matter of seconds. The man in the metal suit picked you up again and slammed you against one of the cryo chambers. He tried to charge up a repulsor blast, but you broke his gauntlet before he could. You redirected his arm when he resorted to his missiles, and it blew into another chamber. The domino effect took care of the rest of them, and as the last chamber fell onto yours, you were thrown free while Tony was trapped under debris.
“Get out of here!” Steve shouted at you. You took heed immediately, finding a shaft and opening the roof.
Tony tried to fire his working repulsor at you, but he missed, and Steve jumped in between the hallway to the shaft and Tony. He tried to fly, but with his suit so damaged, the best he could really do was float.
“It wasn’t her, Tony!” Steve attempted to defend you. “Hydra had control of her mind.”
“Move,” Tony commanded nonchalantly.
“It wasn’t her!”
You jumped your way up the shaft, landing on grate-like ledges. Tony managed to get rid of Steve for the time being, and tried to fly up to meet you, but he could only hop up a few ledges at a time. He got up to where he could charge a repulsor, and as it fired, Steve jumped in front of you to deflect it with his shield. It rebounded to hit Tony.
“He’s not gonna stop,” Steve told you. “Go.”
Tony got back up, and as he flew slowly upwards, Steve wrapped a cord around the neck of the suit, bringing them both down. They both fell onto bottom ledges.
You were almost home free when a missile hit the hinges of the lid on the roof. You jumped back down to the last ledge, not landing so neatly. Tony had caught up to you at last, and there was no running any more. You picked up a metal pole and batted him away, but it didn’t hold for long.
He wrapped you in a chokehold, and asked, “Do you even remember them?”
“I remember all of them,” you answered honestly.
Tony let the both of you fall down the shaft, and Steve jumped onto the already stressful ride downward. He let go of you, and the two men fell to the ground. You landed on a ledge that forced the air from your lungs.
“This isn’t going to change what happened,” Steve pleaded.
“I don’t care,” Tony answered. “She killed my mom.”
As they fought, you saw the shield laying on your ledge. You picked it up, and shouting a sort of battle cry, you slammed it down onto Tony’s back. He fired a blast at you, and you used the shield to defend yourself. You tossed it to Steve and attacked Iron Man with your bare and metal fists.
Tony was forced to go back and forth between the two of you as you and Steve traded off the shield. A blast from a repulsor shot Steve into the wall, and it was left to you to defend your friend. You kept Tony’s arm at bay as he shot a long, continuous blast. You used your metal hand to push Tony into a wall and claw at the arc reactor in his chest.
You forgot that the arc reactor had a repulsor blast of its own. It fired straight through your arm and into your chest.
You fell to the ground in agony. Steve rose and fought back with his shield. The last thing you could see before the darkness over came you was the golden light of the repulsors reflecting off of the shield.
When you next opened your eyes, you weren’t inhabiting your body anymore. You could see yourself lying on the ground, your long hair coming out of its braid to frame your face. You would have looked better if your face weren’t covered in blood and your chest still smoking from the repulsor blast. You could see that you weren’t moving anymore. You were gone.
Watching Steve and Tony fight was awful. They were relentless in displaying their emotions so violently. You wondered if Steve even knew that you were dead yet.
Tony almost tripped over your body, and Steve used his unbalance to throw him on the ground and pound the shield into his mask again and again until it flew off. You couldn’t bear to watch what you were certain was about to happen, but instead of a horrible crunch, you heard one last clang.
The shield was lodged into the arc reactor. Steve fell back, shaking from all of the adrenaline. While Tony lay still in shock, Steve twisted the shield out, leaving the reactor to flicker in and out of life.
Steve grew still once he took a knee next to your body. He realized why you hadn’t been able to get up. He gingerly lifted your head and brushed your hair over your shoulder.
“You…you killed her,” he whispered. “She’s dead; you killed her!” he said, his voice escalating in volume and pitch. “She was my friend!”
Tony resisted the urge to fire a remark back, but everything came into perspective when he saw his friend hunched and shaking over the body of the Winter Soldier. He understood that they were both grieving.
“I’m so sorry,” he apologized quietly. “I am so, so sorry.” He walked over to Steve and knelt next to him, fully prepared to take any blows that the man had left for him.
He wasn’t prepared for the hug that the supersoldier pulled him into. He wasn’t prepared for the tears that were streaming down his face. He wasn’t prepared for his own tears.
They came to an understanding that this conflict had to end now. It wasn’t worth fighting when everything was said and done.
“Captain Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, fled from the scene. Tony Stark is back at the compound, helping his friend, former US Marine James Rhodes, to recuperate,” the news anchor announced.
The words that conflicted with your knowledge and memories stirred you from your rest. “Bucky Barnes?” you wondered aloud. “But he’s not the Winter Soldier; I am,” you corrected sleepily.
You opened your eyes and found yourself on a white couch, wearing a white tank top and black yoga pants, your long, dark hair braided neatly. You went to push yourself up, but your left arm wasn’t responding. You groaned loudly; you had thought that the bugs had been worked out for a couple of decades. You tried to grab the metal appendage so that you could sling it across your body, as you remembered the basics on how to fix it, but it wasn’t there.
Using your flesh arm, you pushed yourself into a sitting position and took in your metal arm, or more, what was left of it.
It was barely a stub, covered by black fabric cap. You had managed to lose your left arm again.
Of course, you remembered how you had gotten it blown off, and how you died. But if you had died, how were you here?
You turned your eyes to the screen, which had been suddenly paused on a picture of the only person that could be Bucky Barnes, the supposed Winter Soldier. You froze once again in shock. He looked like you would imagine a male version of you would look.
“How can there be two Winter Soldiers, then?” a lightly accented voice asked skeptically from behind you. The speaker was a dark man that, although dressed casually, carried a regal air about him. He stared down at you, hiding his confusion well, but you could pick up small give-away.
“You’ll have to tell me, I’m afraid,” you answered. “Last I checked, there was only one of me, and I’ve always been a woman.”
“The Winter Soldier has always been a man–in this universe,” the man responded, a glint behind his eyes. “However, I have always supported the multiverse theory. Perhaps you are evidence of two realms meeting.”
“I’m not familiar with the ‘multiverse theory.’ You’ll have to explain it to me.”
“Ah, I will have to explain it another time. Now, you are needed elsewhere, before your male counterpart makes a decision that I do not feel is best for him,” he said.
“Alright,” you consented uneasily. “How am I supposed to stop him?” You tried to get up, but found it extremely difficult to balance. Now that a huge weight had disappeared from your left side, your learned compensation was useless. Before you fell over, the man rushed to your aid.
“Barnes has the same difficulty,” he commented.
“The same thing happened to him that happened to me, then,” you guessed. “Except he didn’t die.”
The man shot you a face of alarm, but didn’t push you to explain what you meant by that. As he helped you to walk where he was leading you without falling down, you took the liberty to recount your tale, anyway. When you finished, the man nodded, and said that that was more or less the tale he had heard, but Barnes hadn’t been caught in the chest with the repulsor blast that had claimed your arms.
Just outside of a white door, the man stopped and looked at you, as if he were reading your soul. “It was a pleasure, Miss…” he paused, waiting for you to fill in your name.
“(L/N),” you supplied. “(Y/N) (L/N). However, the pleasure is all mine, Mister…” you paused similarly.
“T'Challa,” he filled in. “I can assure you, Miss (L/N), the pleasure is indeed mine.”
“Agree to disagree, then,” you said, offering a small smile.
“Of course,” he nodded, mirroring your expression. “Now, you should introduce yourself to Mr. Barnes and Captain Rogers.”
You sighed. “It’s going to be so weird, knowing him so well, while he has no idea who I am,” you worried.
“I feel that you will be familiar enough to him,” T'Challa comforted you. “If you are truly a woman that lived exactly the same life as his best friend, there should not be a big difference.”
You thanked him for both his physical and moral support, then walked quietly into the room, struggling to keep your balance. As soon as you entered, Steve’s eyes locked on you, and his brows furrowed in confusion. He quickly caught the attention of who could have only been Bucky Barnes.
The dark-haired man met your eyes, and you both audibly gasped. Even though you had known that he would look exactly like you, it was startling to see him in person. You couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for him to see you when he didn’t know that you existed.
“Who are you?” Steve snapped both of you out of your stupors. Those words hurt coming from him, especially in the way that he said them. He was your best friend, and, you had always hoped, maybe even a little more than that.
“I’m (Y/N) (L/N), the woman that he might have been,” you shrugged, trying to gesture to Bucky with your left hand. You looked back at your shoulder and muttered, “Right. That’s not there anymore. Basically the female version of him,” you reiterated, using your right hand this time.
“Are you a clone?” Steve asked.
You gave up a small laugh, trying to walk closer to the two men without losing your balance. “No. I was born and raised the same as Bucky, lived the same life he did. There was no Bucky Barnes in my universe, just me. I’m here now, and I don’t know why, exactly, but I’m going to make the best of it,” you answered.
“So you’re me, but not me,” Bucky summed up.
You nodded. “That’s right,” you said.
Bucky let out a sound of interest, but Steve was still confused. “How can you be him, but not him? What do you mean by 'your universe?’ That doesn’t make any sense,” he stated, folding his arms over his chest.
“And you think that this makes sense to me?” you fired back. “One second, I’m dead and watching you and Tony tear each other apart, the next, I’m alive and well in a universe that I’m not supposed to exist in. Yeah, and you said that I was taking all the stupid with me.”
“Wait, you died?” Bucky interjected. “How…how did you manage that?”
“Same way that we lost that arm, except the blast hit me right here, too,” you said, touching your chest lightly with your fingers.
Bucky swallowed nervously. “Guess I got lucky,” he remarked.
“No kidding,” you said, taking a seat next to him on the bench.
Now that you and Bucky were sitting side by side, Steve could see every similarity between the two of you, from your coloring to your posture. He didn’t find the idea of you being a female Bucky coming from a different universe so far-fetched.
“Say that you are who you say you are,” he said. “What are you trying to accomplish right here, right now?”
“Mr. T'Challa or whatever told me to stop Bucky from doing something that he said he probably shouldn’t,” you relayed. “So, Buck, tell me, what are you going to do?”
“Well, first of all, it’s just T'Challa. He’s the king of Wakanda, where we are,” Bucky told you.
Your eyes widened. “Wait a second. King T'Challa, as in the guy in the black kitty suit?” Bucky nodded, trying not to laugh at how you described the Black Panther. “How did I not recognize him? I make it a point to recognize the faces of people that want to kill me. I’m slipping,” you criticized yourself.
“I mean, you did die,” Steve pointed out. “I don’t exactly know the effects of death on the mind, but it can’t be good.”
“Yeah, but how could I have up and forgotten the second most recent person that tried to kill me?” you asked rhetorically. “Or is it third most recent. I don’t know. Bucky, would you count Zemo?”
Bucky shook his head. “Nah. He wanted us dead, but he didn’t directly try,” he said.
“Fair enough,” you nodded. “Your opinion, Steve?”
“Let’s just not bring up the last week,” he said. “I don’t really want to think about it.”
“The last week was a roller coaster, to say the least,” you agreed. “Now, back to the present. What is it, exactly, that I’m supposed to stop you from doing?”
Bucky took a moment to think about it, but you knew that he knew what he wasn’t supposed to do. He just didn’t want to say it out loud. “I’m going back into cryo,” he finally pushed out.
“Why?” you asked quietly.
“I can’t trust my own mind. It’s better…safer for everyone until they figure out how to get this stuff out of my head.”
“But maybe it’s not,” you said. “I’m here, and I’m the same as you in almost every way.”
“Then maybe we should both go under,” Bucky said.
“No, you can’t do that,” Steve protested. “I just got you back; I’m not letting you go under without a fight. (Y/N) has a point. With her here, we might be able to figure this out faster.”
“We don’t know that for a fact, Steve,” Bucky said. He was quiet, not becoming angry. He really just didn’t want to hurt people. You really were just the same as him. “The only thing that I know right now is that the Soldier is still inside my head, and that makes me dangerous,” he sighed. He placed his hand on top of yours, saying, “(Y/N), you can make your own decision, but I’m going back under.”
You laced your fingers through his. “I get it,” you said. “I totally get it. Just understand that I’m going to make sure that you’re not under long enough for people to wonder where you went.”
“Good luck with that,” your counterpart chuckled. “Hey, Steve, at least you have (Y/N) to keep you company, right?”
“Not funny,” Steve deadpanned while you smiled.
“It is kind of ironic, though. You have to admit that,” you asserted, smirking.
“I don’t have to admit anything,” he said.
“Never exactly stopped you, though, now did it?” you joked.
“He’s admitted plenty of things that he shouldn’t have, as well as kept plenty of things to himself that he shouldn’t have,” Bucky agreed.
“Like his undying love for Agent Carter?” you snorted.
“Especially his undying love for Agent Carter,” Bucky laughed.
Steve didn’t say anything; he didn’t even react to the teasing. Not even a hint of a blush.
“Steve? Are you okay?” you asked, trying to meet his eyes. He didn’t respond for a moment, and you exchanged a worried glance with Bucky.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” Steve finally replied. “It’s just, well…” he took a breath before continuing. “That’s something else that happened this past week. She…died.”
You suddenly understood his silence; you couldn’t find anything to say yourself. Peggy…Peggy had been one of your best friends as the only other woman around most of the time. The world had no business in letting go of such a fantastic woman.
“Sorry I didn’t tell you sooner,” Steve apologized.
You and Bucky both raced to tell him that he shouldn’t have to be sorry, and ended up blurting out the message at the same time and letting out small laughs.
“You go,” Bucky told you.
“Thanks,” you smiled. “You don’t need to be sorry. I don’t think I would be able to talk about it either. That woman…she was really something, wasn’t she?”
“No kidding,” Bucky agreed. “It’s not fair that people like me are alive and well while people like her…I just can’t believe it.”
“Neither could I,” Steve shrugged.
The door to the room opened, and T'Challa stepped back in, closely followed by a few people in white lab coats. “If you still plan on following through with this, Mr. Barnes, now is the time,” the King said.
Bucky nodded in agreement. Steve helped Bucky to stand up, and the dark-haired man pulled his best friend into a hug. You couldn’t help but wonder if you would have made the same decision if you had lived, and T'Challa hadn’t told you that you were supposed to stop it from happening. However, things were the way they were now, and you knew that you had to make it so that you could get Bucky out as soon as you could.
You were very surprised when Steve helped you up and wrapped you in an embrace, the same as Bucky. You accepted it, though, and tried to fight the tears as your best friend hugged you again.
“Thank you,” the blonde whispered.
“Of course,” you said back, not bothering to ask what he was thanking you for.
As soon as Steve released you, Bucky pulled you in, too. After a moment, he pointed out, “This is the most awkward hug ever.”
“Yep,” you agreed immediately.
“Why, because you’re basically hugging yourself?” Steve inquired, cracking a smile.
“Nope,” the two of you responded. The smile disappeared from Steve’s face, replaced with confusion. As you and Bucky released each other, you both held up your right arms.
“It’s hard to hug someone when both you and the other person only has one arm,” you explained while Bucky nodded.
Steve placed his face in his hand. “Only you,” he said exasperatedly.
“Mr. Barnes,” a woman in a white lab coat pressed. “We need to do this now.”
“Right,” he acknowledged glumly. “We do need to do that.”
As the chamber began to freeze Bucky, you reached for Steve’s hand anxiously. He didn’t let go. You hated watching Bucky’s face disappear as the glass of the cryo chamber misted over, but it made you more determined to help find the answer to this Winter Soldier mess. It wasn’t just for you anymore. It was for Bucky, and for Steve just the same.
You didn’t know how long you and Steve silently sat in that room, hand in hand, but it was dark outside when one of the staff came to take you to your rooms. Steve still wasn’t letting go. You figured that he had forgotten that your hand was in his, but that theory was disproven when he squeezed it as your hand began to shake lightly.
You were directed to your room first, and it was there that Steve finally let go of your hand. “I really can’t thank you enough. You just show up out of nowhere, willing to help a complete stranger,” he stated.
“Well, Buck’s not really complete stranger to me. He’s the other half that I never knew I had. And besides, who do you think I picked the 'showing up and helping strangers’ thing?”
“I can’t imagine who,” he replied honestly.
“Come on, Steve. You know him pretty well, I feel like. He’s big, dumb, blonde, had never kept a rule in his life…” you trailed off, waiting for him to get the picture. His eyes widened, and his face turned red. “It took a bunch of scientists and some goo to make everyone see the you that I knew, but I’ve always thought you were amazing, Steve. You’ll always be that punk from Brooklyn to me.”
“Gosh, you sound just like him,” he sniffed.
“Because I am him, Steve. Get used to it,” you teased. The two of you chuckled, and you wanted so badly in that moment to be back with your Steve, the one that knew you as you were. You could only imagine how much he was hurting without you.
In a spur-of-the-moment decision, you pressed your lips to Steve’s cheek. “I love you,” you told him earnestly before you disappeared into the room that you had been granted and closed the door softly behind you. “I only wish I’d told you before,” you whispered to yourself.