The Soldier heaves in a breath, lets it out in a rush of exasperation and honesty.
“He keeps touching me,” he says, and Clint cocks his head to one side. The Soldier glowers at the metal fist his arm has made apparently involuntarily. “He keeps acting like I’m -”
“Bucky,” Clint says, and the Soldier’s scowl deepens.
“I’m not Bucky,” he says, and Clint shrugs.
“Well sure,” he says. “Bucky died.”
“I don’t want people to touch me,” the Soldier says, and then moves his hand quickly, outstretched, palm down, hovering close. “But I don’t want you to leave.” He makes it sound… begrudging. He doesn’t mean to make it sound desperate, but it does.
“Okay,” Clint says. “So Mario Kart.”
They go through three freaking Wiis before the Soldier gets the hang of it. Another six once they unlock Rainbow Road. It’s fine, Tony can afford it, and Clint is enjoying himself immensely. Also learning more Russian swearwords - and, more recently, ‘30s slang - than he will likely ever need.
Bucky always plays as Luigi (”He’s the sidekick, right?”) where Clint’s a fan of Princess Peach. Thor joined them once and played as Toad, and all that could be heard was Toad’s wobbly shrieking as one or other of them ran him off the road. ‘cos against each other they’re a storm of swearing and - eventually, slowly, carefully introduced - shoving, but working together they’re a freaking force of nature.
And Clint refuses to read into that. He can’t.
The Soldier is attending therapy sessions, obviously, and that’s maybe the only time he leaves the sanctity of the Avengers’ living quarters, and Clint kinda hates those times because he has slightly forgotten how to talk to anyone else. But there’s progress there, at least; the Soldier edits his Mii one evening, giving it shorter hair and carefully typing in ‘James’.
“Your old you ain’t better,” Clint says, not meaning to be discouraging but needing to say - “just different.”
“And Bucky is dead,” the Soldier says, and there’s no anger, no pain, no loss, just consideration. “I think James could be real, though.”
It makes sense. It’s a part of him but not one that ever really grew into a personality; it’s a name he can take but common enough not to be taking it from a dead man.
“Can I call you James?” Clint asks, navigating carefully around the falling stones of the castle and keeping his eyes determinedly on the screen.
“I’d like that,” James says, a little soft, a little uncertain, and it’s worth crashing into lava to catch a sideways look at the smile on his face.
For anyone that wants their favorite suffering magical girls on their island!
Sorry about Kyouko’s hair, that was the best I could do (same with Mami, actually…)
Feel free to edit these miis as you like.
Warning: they have a habit of saying some incredibly painful things about how they love their life here and how they feel like they’ve known each other in past lives. Only download if you can handle the pain.