memories full circle

Imagine if: Bucky wasn’t the only winter soldier

Word count: 1467

Warnings: Angst, violence

Characters: Bucky, Steve, reader

Author’s note:  Hey guys, I’m super excited about this one, it was so much fun to make, and I think it turned out pretty much the way I wanted it to!  So I hope you guys enjoy it, please let me know what you think, and thank you @these-midnight-memories for the prompt!

She walked down the street, laughing to herself as she thought about some dumb joke she had told her mother the day before.  She thought for a moment.  Had it been just the day before?  Somehow it felt like it had been longer than that.  It didn’t matter, she reasoned with herself.  It was just a funny joke.
   Besides, she didn’t have time for distractions today.  Today was her brother’s birthday, and she needed eggs from the store to make him a cake.
   The grocer should have been just around the next corner, but each time she thought she had finally found it, it turned out to be the wrong store.
   Frustrated, she finally decided to ask someone for help.  “Excuse me sir, do you know where Johnson’s Grocer is?”
   The man gave her an odd look. “You’re not old enough to remember Johnson’s, it closed down over twenty years ago!”
   She stared at him.  “I was there last week!  I still have the receipt in my jacket from the bread I bought, look!”
   She felt around in her pockets for the paper; she knew she hadn’t thrown it out yet, her mother always made her keep the receipts for at least a week after they had bought something.  
   Despite her memory, nothing was found, and bewilderment, she suddenly realized- “this isn’t my jacket.  Where’s my jacket?”
   The man she had been talking to began to back away, looking at her like she was insane.  “No, wait, help me!”  She said urgently, grabbing his wrist.  He yelped in pain, and pulled away from her as she loosened her grip on him in shock.  She wasn’t strong enough to elicit a reaction like that from someone just by grabbing him, and she stared after him in shock.
   She shook herself to try and calm down.  This was an overreaction, she’d probably just grabbed her brother’s jacket instead of her own.
   She sprinted across the street to find someone else to help her find the grocer, and found herself face to face with her own image, prominently displayed on a television in front of the electronics store.  It was a photograph of her, and it looked quite old, although her face looked the same in the picture as it did now.
   Why was her face on the TV?  A cold feeling of being watched suddenly filled her.  She glanced around and saw a car pull up behind her.  Probably no one.  Possibly someone.
   Her mind screamed for her to run, but she had to see.  Something in her brain wasn’t adding up, and she needed to know what was going on.  
   A tall, handsome man with shoulder length dark hair got out of one of the car doors, and a similarly built man got out of the other side, except his hair was sandy and short.
   Her legs were spring loaded to run, and she watched cautiously as they approached.  There was no time to react, and the most logical thing she could think to do was to duck into the electronics shop.  They couldn’t hurt her if there were witnesses around, she reasoned.  But if she was wanted for some undisclosed crime, she wouldn’t be able to stay inside for long.
   She made her way to the back of the store, checking behind her in the reflection of a TV as she went.  The dark-haired man was following her, and he looked oddly familiar.  
   Her body told her that he was someone to be feared and she walked faster, past the store clerk, through the storage area and out the back door.  The moment she swung the door open the sandy-haired man stepped in front of her.
   Reflexively her arm swung out and there was an audible CRACK! As her fist made contact with his skull.  He collapsed to the ground with a look of surprise on his face and she jumped down the steps to take a closer look at what she had done to him.
   “Steve!”  The brown-haired man leapt out of the doorway to examine his friend.
   Her heart caught in her throat as she fully saw the brown haired man’s face, and then she was suddenly trapped in a memory.
   She was strapped into a tall metal chair, unable to move.  People walked around her, speaking in hushed tones to one another.  It was unbelievably bright, spotlights shone down on her, and there was fear.  She’d never felt so much fear in her life before.  
   Suddenly there was commotion and he appeared in front of her, people gathered around him, holding him back from her.
   “Don’t do this to her!” He yelled, desperately trying to break of his bonds, to get to where she was.  “She’s just a kid, just leave her alone!”  She tried to call back to him, to tell him that she would be all right, that he was going to get in trouble if he didn’t stop fighting them, but her mouth wasn’t working right.  Everything began to grow fuzzy, and her mind began to glitch.  But she heard the scream, the animalistic sound ringing out across the room as he was struck, again and again until he finally went limp.  She wanted to stop them, but her own vision grew dark, and there was nothing she could do until she slipped behind the veil of unconsciousness.

   When she came to, she was back in her cell, the one all of the prisoners shared.  She sat very still on the bench, waiting for Bucky to come back.  Bucky.  She was the only one he let call him by his real name, and he was like an older brother to her in the cell; the two of them against everyone else.
   By the time Bucky was dropped off in the cell, she had already come to terms with the fact that they had killed him.  She pushed herself off the bench and flew at him.  “I thought you died,” she whispered, crushing herself against him as tears of relief ran down her face.
   It took her a moment to notice that something was wrong.
   He wasn’t hugging her back.  She glanced up at him.  His arms were hanging limp by his sides and he was looking straight forward, almost like he hadn’t even realized she was there.
   “Bucky?”  She asked, her voice cracking as she reached up to touch his face.  It was only when her hand brushed his cheek that he finally reacted.
   He grabbed her wrist and twisted it until she was forced down to her knees to relieve the pain he was inflicting on her.  She could hear the tendons in her wrist snapping as she whimpered for him to stop.  He gave it one last twist, ensuring
its brokenness, dropped her to the floor, and then walked away.  And not once did he look at her.
   She breathed in sharply as the memory hit her, as all the memories did, of her being tortured, of the blood running down her neck as she kept quiet, because being quiet meant that you got a longer break before your next session.  She remembered going to sleep thinking it was 1942 and waking up with vivid memories of living in this time and age, but did not know who had given them to her.
   The brown-haired man, Bucky, caught her eye.  She watched as he slowly looked down at her wrist, as the pain filled his eyes, and she knew he had remembered her as he had known her before they had taken his soul.
   She knew, and yet she needed something more, something only he could know about.  There was a name he had called her, in the quiet of the night when she had just come back from her session.  He would whisper it to her through her tears, and somehow it would make her feel strong again.  She knew that he would use it now, if it were truly him.  And if it were not, she would let him kill her.
   So she waited.
   Cautiously he approached her, concern and fear painted across his face.
   The blond-haired man sat up and looked over at her, remaining silent, and yet speaking a million words with his eyes.
   When Bucky was a few feet away, he stopped.  “Winter soldier?”  he whispered, his voice breaking as he spoke.
   She nodded slowly, and a wide grin spread across his face as he flew at her.  “I thought you died,” he whispered, crushing himself against her as tears of relief ran down his face.  And they were back in her memory.  They had come full circle.  Except.  Except this time, she enfolded him in her arms as well, knowing that finally, finally everything was going to be all right.