hardy har

Help A Buddy Out

Words: 4066

So its a lot of words. but its a quick read cause its in sections. I just thought it was kind of a cute idea :D Not my best ever, but I still wanted to post it cause why not? It may make one person smile… maybe haha ;D

— You and Bucky are roommates and you ask for him to teach you to be better at sex so you can please another guy —

“Y/N!” You heard your roommate shout from across the apartment. “Have you seen my shirt?!”

“Why of course, I know exactly what you do with all your shirts. What type, what color, what brand are you looking for? Wait, let me just look into my Bucky Barnes archives…” You shouted back with way too much sass.

A shirtless Bucky poked his head around the door of your bedroom. “Hardy har har.” He returned before coming fully into the room. “You’re overly sassy for no apparent reason. What’s going on?” He strutted over to the bed and took the book from your hands as he sat down. “Chaucer?” he questioned. “You only subject yourself to Chaucer when you’re in a bad mood.”

“Yea, well I had a change of heart.” You retort as you try to snag your book back. He pulled it further from your reach. “Buck, give me my book back.”

“No, not until you tell me why you’re in full sass mode today.”

“Well, then I’ll never get it back.” You sighed as you crossed your arms in front of your chest and leaned back against the headboard.

“C’mon Y/N. I’m your best friend. You can tell me anything.” He spoke as he smiled one of his killer ‘your panties just melted’ smiles. Except, you knew when he smiled like that to you, it was merely platonic. Which sucked.

“Ok fine” you huffed out. “The truth is…” you began as you sat up. “Steve is my best friend.”

Bucky let out a frustrated groan and threw your book back in your general direction. “As if. You know you like me better.” He stood in front of you and stared down; His eyes traveling up and down your body. “If you don’t tell me then I’ll just tickle you until you do.”

You made a face at that. “Don’t do that.”

Bucky started to walk towards the side of the bed where you sat. “You’ve left me with no choice, Doll.” He got closer and grabbed your arm as you tried to scramble away.

“OK, OK!! Don’t do it. I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you!” Bucky released you from his grip.

“There. Was that so hard? Now spill, Doll. Whats going on?”

You sat up once again and brushed your fingers through your hair. “Fine, but stand over there.” Bucky’s eyes travelled to where you pointed.

“You want me to stand in the corner?” His ‘you-cant-be-serious’ look took over his face. “You cant be serious.”

You sighed as you began to explain. “I need you to be as far away from me as possible when I tell you this. Its embarrassing.”

Bucky crossed his arms and began to retreat to the corner. “Fine. Makes total sense, Weirdo.”

You ignored his comment and pulled your knees up under your chin. “Ok. There is no easy way to say this so im just gonna do it.” You sucked in a deep breath. “I don’t know how to have sex. Not well anyway. I have this date with this guy on Friday and its going to be the third date. Everyone knows the third date rule! I don’t want to suck.” You finished with a deep breath, recovering your oxygen levels from your intense rambling.

“You’re still going out with that guy?” Bucky demanded as he began to near you again.

You pointed your finger back at him. “Stay! And yes I am.”

“Why the fuck–?” he started but caught himself before he revealed too much. “Y/N, look, sex is sex. Its, uh, its not that big of a deal. Im sure youll be great.” He said as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“It’s a huge deal, Buck! HUGE! Its sex!”

“You’ve had, uh, sex before right?”


“Twice.” He repeated.

“Yes, twice. I’m going to suck. I know it.”

“Youre not going to suck. It’s not possible”

“How would you know, Buck? Its not like we’ve had sex.” Bucky couldn’t argue with that, they hadn’t, despite how much he wanted to. “Which is why I’m asking you to help me.” You said, snapping Bucky out of his thoughts. “I want you to make me better at sex.”

Buckys head shot up from the direction of his feet, eyes wide. “WHAT?!”

“Please Buck, you said it yourself: sex is sex. Whats the harm if you teach me the ins and outs of it. No pun intended.” You smirked to yourself.

“You’re my best friend!” he spoke in an attempt to find an excuse.

“Friends have sex all the time. You’d just be helping a friend out.”

Bucky thought of another excuse. “What makes you think I can teach you anything?”

You chuckled “I think the plethora of random girls that scream their heads off in pleasure and beg for more is enough for me to know how good you are.”

Bucky blushed. “You hear that?”

“They’re like banshees, Bucky.”

“Are not.” He huffed

“Are too” You returned. Bucky crossed and uncrossed his arms before shifting his weight to his left foot. “Bucky, please. We are always there for each other when the other needs something.”

Bucky let out a sharp laugh. “Yea, but usually its when you want me to pick up your prescriptions from the pharmacy or fix the plumbing.”

“Buck, I need you. I know this is slightly different, but whats the harm?”

“I don’t know.” Bucky pulled his phone from his back pocket to check the time. “I have to go meet Steve. Just let me think about it.” He pocketed his phone again and turned to leave the room.

“Don’t forget a shirt!” You called after him.

Bucky opened the door to the café and scanned the room for his friend. When he saw the over compensating build and light hair he started towards one of the window tables. “Steve.”

Steve looked up from his view of the city and smiled as he saw his oldest friend. “Bucky, its good to see you.”

Bucky took a seat opposite of Steve ordered a coffee when the waitress came around. “Hows things?”

“Great.” Steve began. “Sharon is great. We got a cat.”

Bucky chuckled. “A cat? Since when are you a cat person?”

“Since Sharon is a cat person.” He smirked. “But, whats going on with you? Hows Y/N?”

“Funny that you bring her up.” Bucky said before he smiled and thanked the waitress for his coffee.

“Oh yea?” Steve smiled. “Finally tell her how you feel, did you?

“Yea right. Cause that would go over soooo well.”

“Oh c’mon man, you’ve liked her since she moved in.”

“Doesn’t matter, she doesn’t feel the same. She, uh, asked me this morning to help her become a pro at sex.”

Steve choked on his coffee and reached for a napkin to clean the drops from his chin. “What!?”

“Yea.” Bucky signed and sipped his drink

“What exactly does that entail?”

“She wants us to have sex.” Bucky replied nonchalantly. “She wants us to have sex until shes good at it, apparently.

“Wow. Why?”

“Shes got this date on Friday. Says it’s the third date so they HAVE to have sex for some stupid reason.” He huffed.

“Well,” Steve started “Think of the Bright side: Youll get to have sex with the girl you love.”

“Smooth attempt at making me feel better, pal, but there is no bright side. She wants me for the wrong reason. Its not like she loves me back.”

“All the more reason to tell her. Maybe she just hasn’t thought of you in that way yet and telling her may open her eyes.”

“I don’t know, man. Shes pretty determined. I think if she liked me she’d know.”

“Just think about it, Buck”

“Its all I think about. Which makes me think I cant go through with this.”

“Oh, you definitely cannot go through with this.”

Bucky reentered his apartment after a long and thoughtful conversation with Steve. He had a very valid point: there was no way Bucky could go through with this, but the more he thought about it, the more he didn’t want to disappoint Y/N.  She felt insecure and that was the last thing Bucky wanted. So he could do this just once, right?

“Bucky?” Y/N called, stepping out of her bedroom. “Are you alright? You seem a little dazed.” She continued once she saw his facial expression.

“Yea well what do you expect?” Bucky mumbled to himself as Y/N entered the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee.

“Did you say something?”

“What? No.” He hurriedly spit out. Y/N returned her attention to the coffee maker. “So, I was thinking…” she met his eyes as he continued. “We could try what you proposed. Just once. I’ll tell you what you want to know from that one time, but no more. Deal?”

Y/N squealed in appreciation. “Oh Bucky, you have no idea what this means to me. Thank you so much.”

She jumped into his arms and wrapped her own around his neck. “Yea. I mean what are friends for right?”

“Right!” she smiled. She was so beautiful that he almost kissed her right then and there, but he quickly stepped away.

“So, uh, how do you want to go about this?” Bucky questioned as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“I say we just jump into it. I mean, this is practically for science. No need to beat around the bush.”

Bucky felt his heart crumble just a bit. Hearing her say those words was the last thing he wanted. If anything, he wanted this to mean something to her in the slightest. But clearly it didn’t. “Alright.” He spoke clearly frustrated. He reached for the hem of his shirt and aimed to pull it over his head, but was stopped by Y/Ns soft hand on top of his.

“Let me.” She lifted his shirt off for him and Bucky thought he had never been more turned on. Y/N pulled hers off and slipped out of her sleep shorts then turned and strutted off into her bedroom.

“Jesus.” Bucky mumbled as he followed after her.

When he stepped through the door, she was standing there waiting for him in just her underwear. He eased himself closer to her and she reached for the belt around his hips. ‘This is so bad’ he thought as he grabbed her shoulders and pulled her up to him. She looked into his eyes and down to his lips. Slowly, she reached up and pressed her lips to his in the softest of motions. Bucky fell completely into it and Y/N placed her hand on the back of his neck in an attempt to pull him closer, but Bucky pulled away. He couldn’t do this. It just wasn’t right.

“Bucky?” she whispered as she placed her hands on either sides of his face. “Whats the matter?”

Bucky gripped her hands in his own and removed them from his face. “I cant do this.” He spoke so quietly; it was practically to himself.

“What?” Her face twisted in concern.

“I cant do this.” Bucky said a little louder so she could hear him, but this time it was laced with a bit of frustration.


Bucky took a few steps away from her. “I just cant.” He grabbed for his shirt, but Y/N stepped up into his space and grabbed it from him before he could put it on. “Y/N, give me my shirt back.”

“No, Buck. Not until you tell me whats going on.”

“Fine, keep it.” He huffed as he headed for the door.

“Bucky!” Y/N yelled after him. “Bucky, wait!”

Y/N chased him out the door and into their tiny living room. She grabbed his arm to keep him from getting further away from her. “Y/N, Stop!” Bucky yelled as he tried to break free from her grasp. She was deceptively strong.

“Bucky, please just tell me whats going on.” He could hear the sadness in her voice. It almost broke his heart. “Please.” She whispered. Bucky turned to face her with a cold expression on his face. He figured it was better than showing her his true emotions in this moment. ‘Did I do something wrong?” He met her eyes in shock. That was the last possible problem. “Do you not want me?” Slowly, tears began to fall down her cheeks.

Bucky sighed. “That is not possible.” He whispered

“Which?” she questioned

“Neither. You didn’t do anything wrong and its definitely not because I don’t want you, OK?” He reached up and brushed the tears from her cheeks.

“Then what is it?”

“Nothing, Y/N”

“Youre lying.” She was starting to get angry.

“No, Im n-“ he started, but was interrupted.

“Yes, you are!” Y/N was a full on mix of pissed and distressed. “Tell me!” she yelled.

“Y/N” Bucky sighed

“TELL ME!” She screamed again.

“I LOVE YOU!” Bucky yelled in her face before he’d even realized what he was doing. He breathed heavily, eyes looking directly at her before he stepped back and looked to his feet. “I love you.” He spoke again, much quieter.


“No, just don’t.” Bucky rushed past her back to her room and put his shirt back on. When he got back to the living room, Y/N was still standing there in shock. “I have to go.” He grabbed his keys of the hook and slammed the door, knocking Y/N out of her shock.

Sharon opened the door to her and her boyfriends apartment to find Bucky standing in the doorway, his head hung low, soaked to the bone. It must’ve been pouring outside. “Bucky, come in.” When he didn’t make a move to enter the apartment, she grabbed him by his arm and slowly pulled him inside. “Steve!?” she yelled “Can you come here?”

Steve walked out from their bedroom. “Yea, babe- Bucky?”

“He just showed up. Im going to go get some towels and an extra shirt.” She said ask she walked Bucky over to the couch and helped him sit down before walking to the bathroom. Steve inched closer to his friend and sat down across from him.

“Buck?” he spoke, but got no response. “Bucky?” he tried again. “What happened?”

Bucky looked up from his hands, but refused to meet Steve’s eyes. “I told her.”

“Well, that’s good isn’t it?” Steve questioned.

“No, Steve, its not. We were about to have sex?”

“You were going to do it!?”

“Just once. She was doubting herself and you know how I get when she does that. I was only going to do it once and help her. I thought I could suppress my feelings for one time.”


“I kissed her once and I couldn’t do it. Before I knew it, I was yelling that I love her and now im here.”

Steve placed a hand on his friends shoulder as his girlfriend returned with the shirt and towels. She placed them next to Bucky to use as he needed.

“What did she say?” Steve asked.

“Nothing.” Bucky sighed. “She just stood there. So I left. Well, actually I started to leave the second after I told her.”

“You didn’t give her a chance to say anything?”

“I couldn’t, Steve. I just had to get out of there.”

“Oh, Buck.” Steve started “Just stay here tonight, ok?” he sighed. “But tomorrow you have to talk to her.”

Buckys eyes widened. “No, Steve. I cant.”

“You can. And you will. She is the only girl you’ve ever given a fuck about, never mind the fact that she and Sharon get along great. You’ve made yourself a nice little mess and you’re going to fix it so we can all still be friends. Im too used to our little foursome now to have it fall apart at the seams.”

“Arent you the one who told me to tell her how I felt?”

Steve stood from his chair. “Yea. I was thinking more of a sweet scenario where you buy her flowers and don’t bolt after you tell her.”

Bucky grumbled and wrapped a bright, pink towel around his shoulders. “Well you didn’t specify.”

“I figured it was implied, Buck” Steve began to turn towards is bedroom. “Couch is all yours for tonight. Enjoy, stretch out, think of ways to get your girl. But im gonna turn in. My lady is waiting.”

Bucky made a face. “Steve, I swear if you guys have sex 20 feet away from me…”

“Chill Buck, Sharon and I are hardcore cuddlers.”

“That’s almost worse.”

“Oh please, Buck if you had Y/N you’d cuddle nonstop.”

“Don’t remind me that I don’t have her.” Bucky returned as he stretched out onto the couch.

“Goodnight Bucky.” Steve sighed and retreated to his bedroom where is girlfriend waited for him. Lucky bastard Bucky thought.

Bucky jolted awake at the sound of 3 sharp knocks. He could have sworn he imagined it and was getting ready to settle back into sleep when he heard it again. He grabbed his phone from his pant pocket which had long been discarded onto the floor halfway through the night. It was 3:30 am. What the hell. Bucky groaned as he sat up and walked his shirtless, underwear clad body into Steve and Sharon’s room. Sharon was nestled up against Steves side and their cat sat on his chest, rising and falling in rhythm with Steves breathing. Bucky shuffled forward to Steves side and nudged his shoulder until he woke up.

Steves eyes slowly opened and looked into those of his best friend. “Bucky, what the hell?”

“Little early for cursing don’t you think, Cap?”

Steve sighed and laid his head back on his pillow. “What do you want, Buck?” He whispered in an effort not to stir his girlfriend.

“Theres a knock on your door” Bucky spoke nonchalantly as he pointed in its general direction.


“Theres a knock-“ Bucky started but what interrupted by the knock itself. “See?”

Steve sat up slightly, causing the cat to jump of his chest and Sharon to slowly shift in her sleep. “And you woke me because…?”

“I don’t know. Its 3:30 am. Its dark. Im vulnerable. It could be a psycho killer and im not in the mood.”

Steve pushed the sheets of his legs and sat up. “Are you kidding me, Buck? Youre the fucking winter soldier.”

Steve began to walk towards the door as the knocking continued with Bucky hot on his heels. “Yea, well you’re Captain America. We are equally as capable of opening the door, but this is your apartment so I figured id let you. Just in case it is a psycho killer, youd be able to say you defended your own domicile.”

“Gee thanks.” Steve huffed as her reached for the doorknob. The door opened to reveal a slightly disheveled Y/N in none other than her pajamas. Bucky and Steve stared at her for a moment before Steve turned to Bucky. “Well, it’s for you. Totally get why you were scared though. She looks like a murderous demon.” Steve sighed sarcastically. “Im going back to bed. Lovely to see you though Y/N. Sharon misses you like crazy. I mean it’s been like what, 3 weeks since we’ve seen you. Crazy how time flies, we should really-“ Steve continued before behind interrupted by Bucky.

“Steve go to bed.” Bucky spoke without taking his eyes off Y/N.

“Oh geez, fine. Goodnight Y/N”

“Goodnight Steve. “Y/N returned with a feeble smile.

Once Steve was definitely in his room, Bucky turned back to face Y/N. “What are you doing here?”

“Bucky, we need to talk.”

“Look, Y/N if this is about earlier then theres no need. I-“

“I love you, Bucky.” Y/N interrupted.

It was Buckys turn to stand there in shock.


Bucky snapped back to his senses and was less than pleased. “Is this some kind of sick joke to you? That’s really low Y/N. I spill my guts and you have the audacity to make fun of me for it.” Bucky turned back into the apartment but Y/n followed him in, shutting the door behind her.

“Bucky, im not lying.”

“You are too. You are supposed to go out on a date this weekend. You don’t love me. If you did, you wouldn’t date that idiot.”

“Bucky you said you love me and you had sex 3 days ago. Not with me, I might add.” Y/N replied laced with a little frustration.

“So? I had to get my frustrations out somehow. I’m not the one who suggested we have casual buddy sex.”

“Bucky, I was just really confused ok? I really thought that if we had sex once that I’d get over you. I don’t even have a date this weekend. I broke up with Mike after he slapped our waitress’ ass as she walked by on our last date.”

“Prick” Bucky mumbled. “So you tricked me into sex?”

“Tricked is such a harsh word.”

“But an accurate one” Bucky finished.

“We didn’t even have sex Bucky. I didn’t even think id be able to go through with it. I just wanted to propose the idea to see how youd react. To see if you wanted me too. I almost died when you pulled away from me.”

Bucky looked up into her eyes. “Yea, well you got what you wanted didn’t you?”

Y/N detected a hint of anger in his words. “Are you actually mad at me? Bucky, we love each other. Or at least we did a couple hours ago.”Bucky refused to speak. It lasted so long that Y/N turned to leave. “Fine, Bucky. Ill just go” Y/N was stopped by a firm grip on her wrist. She looked up and Bucky pulled her to him, kissing her like his life depended on it. Y/N kissed back with as much ferocity as she could. It was passionate and sexy and melting. Y/N had wanted this for so long and it was amazing. They pulled apart only to breathe and Bucky brushed his fingers through her hair.

“We love each other?” He spoke as he rested his forehead on hers.

“Yea, we do”

“I cant believe it.” Bucky chuckled. “I’ve been in love with you since you moved in.”

“Two years, Four months, and eighteen days.” Y/N whispered.

“What?” Buckys head snapped up in shock.

“That’s how long we’ve lived together.”

“Wow.” Bucky stepped back from her embrace and rubbed the back of his neck with his hand.

“I know because that’s how long ive loved you too.”



“You’ve loved me that long too? You had a boyfriend when you moved in.”

“I know, which is weird now that I think about it because he let me move in with another man. He said he wasn’t worried, but he should have been.”

“I’m the reason you dumped that guy a month after you moved in?” Bucky questioned. Y/N only nodded in response. “I cant believe it.” Bucky sighed. “I hated that guy!”

Y/N giggled and moved to cup his face with both hands. “That’s what he told me.”

“Oh, yea right. How would he know?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t see it either, but he insisted that you liked me and wanted to kill him with your metal arm.”

Bucky chuckled and crossed is arms over his chest. “Well, the guy wasn’t as big of an idiot as I thought.”

“You’re ridiculous.” Y/N laughed.

Bucky grabbed Y/Ns hand and walked her over to the couch. He laid down and pulled her on top of him.

“Bucky what are you doing?”

“I’m getting ready to sleep with the girl I love.” He replied as he readjusted his pillow.

“Um, shouldn’t we go home? You know, since you aren’t mad at me anymore?”

“Oh please, doll. I was never mad at you. More just mad at myself. Also, Sharon and Steve miss you didn’t you hear? And all I want to do is take you home and stay in bed with you for days, but I figure I owe them a favor for letting me stay and whine. So, tomorrow we can all go out and they’ll stop complaining about never seeing you, THEN we will stay in bed for days.”

“Ah, great plan, Barnes.”

“Yea, I thought so.” He smiled his cheeky grin. “But for now we will sleep together and actually sleep.”

Roses Are Red, But So Are Gingers: A Valentine's Day Short

It was Valentine’s Day and Jerome did everything in his power to make sure you were happy. He was always sweet to you, but every time February came around, he would only get sweeter. Jerome was currently in the kitchen making you your favorite breakfast food. His red robe swayed with his hips as he danced to a tune.

“Morning, Ginger.” You chuckled, looking at his dance moves. “Nice moves if I do say so myself.”

“Doll face.” He smirked, with his back to you. “Happy Valentine’s Day! Breakfast is almost ready.”

“Smells good, but you promised me something fun this year.” You sang.

“Yes! Right after breakfast! It is the most important meal of the day…well after you.” He wiggled his eyebrows.

“Hardy har har.” You nudged him. Grabbing yourself a plate, you sat at the table and Jerome sat across from you.

“So, I was thinking,” Jerome started, digging into his pancakes with a knife and fork. “How about we wreck some havoc on Gotham?”

“Gotham’s dull, but it’s night life sure isn’t. How about we go on a killing spree instead? After all it is Valentine’s Day. Why not paint the town red?” You mischievously smiled, taking the knife and stabbing the table with it.

Jerome sighed. “You are so sexy when you speak like that.” He dropped his knife and fork on his plate and stood up. “What the heck! Why not?! We should get ready now.”

“But its only morning, Jerome. What are we gonna do until then?” You said, taking the dishes to the sink.

“I have a few things in mind.” He eyed the bedroom.

“It’s only eleven…we have a few long hours to kill.” You smirked. “But I do feel the need to take a shower alone.” Laughing, you took off all of your clothes and ran to the bathroom.

Jerome chuckled darkly, running after you. You of all people should know not to tease me, Mrs. Valeska!“


Eventually you two passed the time with some holiday romance, keeping not one sound to yourselves. The next door neighbor and next door neighbor’s next door neighbor, wouldn’t let you two hear the end of it. So of course you and Jerome went to pay them a visit.

“Mwah!” Jerome kissed his finger tips. “A masterpiece if I do say so myself!” He looked towards the once white walls that were now covered from top to bottom in deep red blood.

After giving Miss Bailen one last stab to the heart, you walked towards Jerome and mesmerized your “artwork” together.

“I agree. How much you think it’d sell for?”

“A million smackers at least.” He chuckled.

“Van Gogh has nothing on us!” You laughed. “Now come on. We have a few more neighbors to take care of. Then we terrorize Gotham.”

Jerome only smirked. “Again…that turns me on.”


Body after body forced off of buildings, by the two of you. Innocent, guilty, you could care less. The piercing screams, blood, and thrill of the kill was the only thing you needed. In only two hours, you and Jerome managed to kill 40 people. No bombs, just pure skill…in murdering others.

A woman was knelt down in front of you begging for her life. “Pl-please don’t kill me! You can have my money! Take it!”

“Ooooh let’s see how much we got here. 1, 2, 3-3000 dollars. Can you believe they busy carry this on them?” Jerome said waving the wallet around.

“She’s rich, babe. Check out her necklace. They’re real diamonds. Very expensive too. And that’s a good thing too. Cheap jewelry always breaks me out.” You said, with a sinister tone in your voice.

“Bu-but my grandmother she-” The lady cried.

“-Is probably rolling around in the grave somewhere. Now give her the diamonds or I blow your brains out.”

“Thank you!” You told her putting the necklace on. “It really compliments my skin tone.”

“Ready to go?” Jerome asks you, putting a few more dollars in his pants.

“Yep. Now can we say Bye Bye Birdie to Ann Margaret here already?”

“Eh why not?” And with a pull of the trigger, the rich woman falls off of the building.

A satisfied smile on your face, you took Jerome’s hand and you both hurried down to the car.

“Wait wait wait! I wanna frame this!” You took a picture of the dead bodies and laughed. “Okay now we can go.

"This is why I love you, (y/n).” He kissed you, before driving off.

“We’re just like Bonnie and Clyde, aren’t we?” You asked.

“Well of course we are. The famous crime duo.” Jerome smiled. “The only difference is they’re dead and we’re alive!”


“Jim! You gotta see this!” Harvey screamed to him.

From atop the building that death fell from, your message was red with blood.


Jim only looked at Harvey in answer. He knew you two weren’t coming back unless you had a good reason. “They’re done here. They won’t be back anytime soon. Let’s go, Harv.”

That night, Gotham went up in flames. The GCPD just couldn’t catch the two of you. Love, screams, and death was in the air. And nothing could ever smelled better.


A legendary argument #JustDoIt #TheOffice

Lol @ the people tweeting out comparison pictures of the crowds from this inauguration and the last one. “Hardy har, he’s not as popular as Obama!!!”

And? Doesn’t make him any less the president. Y'all really grasping at straws.


After Nina was already in bed, Riley and Darren relaxed on their couch for a bit with a nice movie and a drink.

Darren: “Riley.. I want to talk with you about something?”
Riley: “Hmm.. sounds serious?”
Darren: “Oh, no! Don’t worry! It’s nothing serious.. Well, it is.. but nothing to worry about.”
Riley: “Spit it out then babe!”
Darren: “I just wanted to know if you would consider having kids with me one day..?”
Riley: *coughs up her drink* “With you?! Eww!”
Darren: “Hardy har har, Riley..!”
Riley: *laughs*

'Troll Bridge' Review by Counter Monkey John Arminio

It’s that Neil Gaiman story that’s a mature fairy tale for adults with the pale, wan protagonist dressed in black.

Um, I need more.

You know, the one where childhood sins have a lifelong effect on the soul of the main character? With art by Coleen Doran?

Um, can you be more specific?

Heavy implementation of magical realism with a sympathetic antagonist and lettering by Todd Klein?

I need more….

Hardy har har. In all seriousness, I am a sucker for Neil Gaiman and one would be hard pressed to find something of his I don’t love. But why should anyone else love him, and Troll Bridge, the way that I do?

Troll Bridge is a graphic novel adaptation of a Neil Gaiman short story originally published in 1998, two years after the conclusion of his magnum opus in the comic book world, the Universe-spanning Sandman series. Troll Bridge itself is sort of a distillation of every Neil Gaiman trope and why they work and how they are conducive to compelling storytelling. Since the 1980s, Neil Gaiman has picked or has attracted talented and perfectly suited collaborators; creative individuals who complement and enhance his work. Colleen Doran is one such collaborator, one who has been illustrating Gaiman’s writing since the Sandman days. Her ability to manifest the fantastical tales that Gaiman creates in lucid dreaming detail is unparalleled. Her characters are immediate and realistically rendered, even when they are mystical beings like trolls, but the worlds they inhabit, the environs they cross, are straight out of our shared dreams.

Troll Bridge’s protagonist is as archetypal a character as can be envisioned; a young boy exploring a newly discovered path. Such journeying youths are familiar to anyone who has read Gaiman’s comics or novels, or fantasy literature in general. What makes this venture so engrossing is the landscape Gaiman’s character chooses to traverse across is initially a meadow so pristine and glowing, it brings to mind suggestions of Andrew Wyeth’s Christina’s World. Like Wyeth’s painting though, there is an air of foreboding mystery, a sense of something lurking, waiting to entrap us. And oh, is there ever.

The titular troll’s entrance is both shocking and expected. Sure, we go from golden meadow to a Mirkwood-like maze of gnarled trees and shade of unnatural darkness, but our protagonist’s curiosity and urgency in pressing forward provide a certain veil of security. Seeing the troll’s tusks, giant stature, and wiry-haired nakedness break this bucolic boyhood fantasy of woodsy exploration is thrilling; a sudden material danger in a world previously devoid of it (or at least concrete forms of it). When the troll declares that he wishes to “eat your life,” it is almost as if he means the reader just as much as the young boy who has wandered too far into this land of tangible dreams.

Since this encounter occurs so early in the book, it’s obvious that the boy’s life is not eaten, but his method of escape lends an air of dark foreboding to the man he might become. Like the boy, the future of his idyllic childhood town, tucked away in a countryside of memory, is only destined for darker things. Such is the synchronicity of so much of Gaiman’s work. The same horrors are occurring to the boy as are committed by the boy as are enacted upon the land the story takes place in. Even the reader is not immune to this effect, as the caress of the troll’s gnarled, clawed hands reach out from Doran’s luminous pages and Gaiman’s glowing prose to caress our face just as they threatens the boy’s.

As Troll Bridge progresses, this multi-mirrored storytelling continues. The town of our protagonist’s birth drifts further and further from the form he once knew just as he becomes more cynical and distant, drifting further and further from the boy he once was. His own language matures but, at the same time, is more inhuman in its lack of hope. He walks across plains more purgatorial than fantastical; endless plateaus of steam and smoke with soulless prefabricated homes dotting the dreamscape. There certainly has been some “life-eating,” but who has done the feasting and to whom is open to interpretation. 

Ultimately, Troll Bridge is a dark fairy tale and the narrative follows the path laid out by the form of such stories. However, like much of Gaiman’s work (and the best of fairy tales in general), Troll Bridge uses these paths to find something new within us, something nascent and unexplored. It is touching and tragic but leaves us better for having experienced it.