Summary: (Modern!AU) Army medic, Private L/N, gets deployed on her first tour of Afghanistan. Struggling to fit in with her new comrades and adapt to the world of war, Pte L/N finds herself befriending a local, and pushing the boundaries of army regulations.
Pairing: Reader x Bucky Barnes - Reader x OC
Warnings: war, angst, blood, gore, death, PTSD, terrorism, stereotypes, sexual indications, swearing, cockney, slow-burn, a little offensive maybe? (throughout series)
Key: Pte - Private. Cpl - Corporal. Sgt - Sergeant. Skrimmed - Tassels. PT - Physical Training. TAB - Run in full kit with weight and weapons. Doris - Woman/Girl
Word Count: 2,467
A/N: I hope this is good and easy to read. Please also remember this is my first time writing. Tags are at the bottom and I’m sorry there isn’t too much of Sgt Barnes in this, but he’ll be around more and more as time goes on! & Isn’t Wanda awesome!! Sorry if you find the soldiers nicknames weird, they are the actual names from the TV show.
Camp Bastion, Afghanistan. 4:30am
The journey to Afghanistan was drab.
Soldiers lined the cold aircraft walls; kit cluttered around their feet. Most were now either asleep or conversing with their comrades. Faces wrinkled in pure joy, despite the knowledge of what’s waiting on the other side.
Sleep seemed to evade you as your eyes wandered over the many faces littered within the shuttle. Not everyone here will make it home. Your chest tightened at the thought of losing a peer, especially one in your section. The five guys whose lives you’re responsible for saving.
Fingers, Mansfield, Dangleberries, Baz-vegas and Smurf. Your brothers in green.
To your left, Captain Rogers absently fiddled with his radio. His perfectly styled blonde hair no longer hidden under his navy beret.
Was this guy immune to hat hair?
You let your focus wander down from his hair, taking in his strong jaw, crystal blue eyes, and inhuman physique. Seriously, did they all look like this in America?
“Right. We’re thirty minutes outside Bastion, put on all protective clothing including helmets.” The Captain ordered.
Forcing yourself out of your trance, you began to attach your armor. A bullet-proof vest covered your torso while pads protected your knees and elbows. Hard-knuckled gloves shielded your hands as you strap your skrimmed-helmet under your chin and swung your duffel bag onto your back.
Nervous butterflies spew in your stomach when the plane begins to drop. Your fingers gripped tightly onto metal ridges of the bench as your eyes squeeze closed; trying desperately to free yourself from this new-found anxiety.
Until now you had been undoubtedly excited to get to Afghan. Excited to do your job and help the Afghan people dismantle the Taliban and regain their home.
However, at this moment, you’re terrified.
Sand bags and shipping containers made up the four-mile walls surrounding Camp Bastion, with the inside absolutely brimming with flat-pack tin buildings, tents, vehicles and large weaponry.
Marching with your section, you made your way over to a large, green tent. Perfectly lined up US soldiers stood straight just outside.
“Section halt! Right turn!” Captain Rogers commanded. You stomp your right foot closely to your left with your back straight. Sharply turning right and stomping again, your sections stood to attention alongside the US soldiers.
“Under five’s, Welcome to Afghanistan. This ugly bunch here,” He signaled towards the US soldiers. “like to call themselves The Avengers. ” You snorted at the name.
The Captain ignored your little disruption and began introducing his team. There was Sam - a gorgeous, dark-skinned, well-built man, with a gap tooth and killer smirk. Clint – A slim, dirty blonde with a face that said ‘I seriously couldn’t give a fuck’ and Tony – A cocksure engineer with ridiculously trimmed facial hair.
Within minutes, tears were streaming freely down your face. Sam was attempting to impersonate your South-Eastern accent causing you to double over laughing. You covered your face with both hands and attempt to hide the ugly-laugh-face you pulled when something really set you off.
Your laughter started to slow as you straightened up, only to notice the whole platoon was now braced and facing towards the front. Copying your comrades, you quickly stood-to-attention, facing forward.
Next to the Captain stood an equally beefy brunette. His dark hair was definitely longer than army regulation usually allowed; falling just below his ears. A few strands fell around his face as he ran his finger through the tousled locks. Dark stubble surrounded his pink lips and a long, straight nose stood proudly between two captivating blue eyes, that just so happened to be scowling at you through the bodies of your peers.
You were definitely sporting some serious heart eyes right now. How come the US got all the male models and the UK got a smurf and a knock-off Prince Harry?
Standing up straighter, you mumble a quick apology to the sour-faced brunette and averted your gaze to Captain Rogers.
“ This is Sergeant Barnes.” The Captain motioned Mr blue-eyes. “He will be leading you through your two-day simulation here in Bastion, as well as joining you on your first mission. Barnes here is on his fourth tour of Afghanistan, there’s no one I trust more than him.” He placed a firm hand on the Sergeants shoulder, smiling fondly in the process.
The sight of the smiling sergeant was enough to make you go weak in the knees. The way his eyes almost completely closed and his nose scrunched up above his wide toothy smile.
If you weren’t drooling before, you definitely are now.
After leaving the boys their tent to get situated, you found yourself wandering the sandy base trying to find the female quarters. Sergeant Barnes had made it abundantly clear you would not be bunking alongside your male associates. Instead, sending you out alone with a side-eye and a snide remark along the lines of ’ did you even pass geography in school?‘
Now both the Captain and the Sergeant seem to dislike you. All you did was giggle a little bit and try to lighten the heavy mood. Maybe these guys were just all work and no play, if so, you sure as hell weren’t going to get along. You were well known in training for being disobedient and a joker.
Footsteps were gaining behind you causing you to snap your head in their direction. Your dust-filled eyes found those of the only prick who could make your mood fifty percent better or one-hundred percent worse: Smurf.
“Barnes sent me to help you find your way. He thought our little Doris would get lost on her own.” He shook his head towards the floor, walking along side you.
“Why’d he send you? Sam said this is his second tour, surely he’d know exactly where they are.” you quipped.
“Because he loves me, everyone loves me. I’m the life and soul pal.”
“Oh fuck off Smurf.I don’t know if I can put up with six months of your bullshit..”
“Are you really that pissed off that Barnes likes me?”
”Well. maybe I don’t want that rude prick to like me!” You defended.
“ You know what Y/N, find your own way. Sergeant Barnes is a better person than you’ll ever be.” With that he stormed off in the direction he’d come from, once again leaving you to find your own way.
“Are you looking for the female quarters?” Voiced the petite brunette just a few steps ahead. You nodded at her question causing her to reach over and take one of your bags.
“ I’ll show you. Don’t worry about Smurf,” she assured as she led you into another large tent. “Dump your kit, the bed next to mine is free. I’m Wanda.” she outstretched her hand after dropping your bag on the empty bed. You shook her small hand briefly stating your name and a thank you.
“You know Smurf.” You asked as you put your kit under the bed.
“Not really, but I knew his twin brother, he was killed in Area Fifteen.”
“Barnes was his Sergeant too, that’s why Smurf won’t hear a bad word about him.”
“I just called him a rude prick.” You sighed, pinching the bridge of your nose.
“Geraint was shot in the neck on patrol. Sergeant Barnes crawled about two hundred meters on his stomach to retrieve his body. He wasn’t leaving him as a trophy for the Taliban.” She smiled sympathetically. “He’d do the same for you.” She continued.
You widen your eyes as the words spill from Wanda’s mouth. Not for a second did you expect that to be the reason behind Smurfs sudden outburst.
”Let’s hope he doesn’t have too.” You mumbled. “He’s just come across so snotty and rude like I’m not good enough for his platoon.”
“It’s ok. He can come across that way sometimes, but he’s a good guy and an even better soldier.” She smiled reassuringly. “Why don’t we get dinner later, they have a pizza hut here?”
“That would be great, thanks, Wanda. Can I ask you one question?” She smiled and nodded to you, urging you to continue.
“ Does it always feel like you’re walking through treacle here?” At this Wanda let out a full belly laugh, throwing her head back nodding in the process.
“You did what!?” Wanda gasped, Staring at you with wide eyes and an open mouth.
“I gave a recruit a lap dance in basic.” You laughed, taking a bite of your greasy pizza, while she stared at you in bewilderment.
“Where? Why? H-how?” Holding your hands up in surrender, she paused with her questions and picked up her slice again; raising her eyebrows for you to explain.
“Well first off, it was a dare. We were going home for a long weekend the next day so we had a couple of games. I had let slip a few weeks before that I had taken a six-week lap dancing class, as part of a bridal party, so they just picked a guy and I gave him a lap-dance. It was either that or streak round the quarters.” you huffed a laugh as you recited the vivid memory. Basic training truly was the best time of your life.
Brushing your fingers over your trouser legs, you interlock your fingers and use them to rest your chin as you continued.
“ We went into the storage locker where they kept the rations and I gave him a lap dance. It was mortifying really. I couldn’t look him in the eye again.” Wanda was staring as if you had grown two heads.
She opened her mouth to speak when a loud alarm rang through the air. To you, it sounded like a nuke warning, but one look at Wanda and you knew that wasn’t the case.
She scrambled off the bench, quickly tossing the pizza in the bin a few feet away. Another woman ran up to her, rambling something you couldn’t make out.
“ Six injured, they’re bringing them in now. All medical personal report to the hospital.” She shouts to you as she begins to run backward.
“ You’re medical aren’t you?” you run towards the hospital, rounding onto the main dirt road within the camp. Your legs are burning as you run up behind the ambulance. Wanda jumps on the nearest stretcher, ready to wheel it into the hospital.
Your panicking eyes ghost over the quivering body that occupied the stretcher. A man, no older than twenty-five. The skin around his eyes was clean from tears when the rest of his body was covered in soot, dirt, and blood.
“Y/N! GET ON THE STRETCHER!” Wanda’s voice snapped through your trance, and look at her. You force your shaking hands to grasp the end of the stretcher and push it forward through the hospital doors.
Looking back over the crying male, you finally notice his injuries. Legs completely blown below the knees. Blood was oozing from around the shattered bones as bits of flesh hung on to the red wound by threads.
He’s not going to make it.
Pulling up to the bed, a team of surgeons moves in, sticking the soldier full of needles and IVs, preparing for theater. You take a step back as the room begins to spin. Adrenaline was pumping through you by the bucket load as more soldiers with similar injuries begin coming into the room.
You’re still stumbling backward as you hit the shoulder of another medic.
“Pull yourself together medic.”
You knotted your running shoes and straightened out your shorts and t-shirt. Sergeant Barnes had requested yesterday that your section do a PT session this morning to help your bodies acclimatize to the warmer conditions. By this morning he meant four-thirty am, and by PT he meant a tab which became apparent when you stepped outside the tent to find all nine men dressed in their full uniform.
“I suppose I should be glad you’re not wearing your stilettos,” Barnes mocked as the guys wolf-whistled. “It’s full kit L/N.”
“Yes, boss.” You replied as you ducked back into the tent to get changed.
Thirty minutes into the tab and you were breathing out of your arse. The images from the hospital kept you from sleep last night, every time you shut your eyes all you saw was blood, bones, and flesh. So not only did it feel as though you were inhaling golden syrup with every breath, you were a majorly sleep deprived.
You ran in the back. Sergeant Barnes ran ahead of the section, leading the way around his makeshift course. He doesn’t even look like he’s broken a sweat, let alone about to keel over like you.
“Is everyone acclimatizing to the conditions?” He yelled. His voice completely gasp free. A chorus of ‘yes’ or ‘boss’ was answered back, all coming out slightly breathy. “Alright, sprint the last fifty meters. GO!” They all took off running. Totally distancing themselves from you.
“Smurf! Drop to the floor!” following commands, Smurf hurriedly fell to the sand, laying flat on his back. Everyone stopped by him.
“ Medic! Man down! Left arm blown off above the elbow! What are you going to do?” The boss shouted at you, walking to you as you try to jog to Smurf without passing out. Slowing down, even more, you suppress the urge to vomit as you slowly squat before the 'injured’ soldier. Panting furiously, your shaking fingers fumbled with the tourniquet.
“ Come on medic! You gonna let him bleed out while you gasp for air like a puffer fish?!” You give the Sgt the angriest look you could muster while still gasping for air. Your fingers would not separate the Velcro tourniquet no matter how hard you tried.
“L/N! Come! On! This isn’t Call of Duty. If someone stands on an IUD, there’s a life to save!” Smurf was staring at you with a pitiful look, while the others looked terrified at the fact the person in charge of saving them, can’t open a bloody tourniquet.
“Smurf get up! Get yourselves showered!” Smurf jumped up and the section took off running again. You slowly stand, jogging after them with Barnes at your side. You were right. He hadn’t broken a sweat.
“He could’ve died just then L/N.” He was speaking quieter now, but you could still her the enmity in his tone. “Now please don’t tell me we’ve got the only medic who can’t stand the sight of blood.”
You didn’t answer. You just gave him a look that said 'please can you fuck yourself’ and carried on running. Barnes stayed running beside you for a few seconds more before sighing and running off to the showers.