Two Haunted Souls
Note: this wasn’t a request, but I’m hoping this kick-starts my writing again. I haven’t had the motivation to write lately :( which sucks, but it happens ( a lot ). I hope you all are doing well! school is starting for some of you so I wish you the best! I’m just ready for Fall. also, Fall means cozy sweater!Seb. I’m very excited for that! but without further ado, enjoy this. feedback is welcome! .c
Your nightmare clawed at your eyelids, your nails were digging into the sheet on the bed that had been pulled from the top corners of your mattress. A light layer of sweat lay on your skin, dampening the hairline on the base of your skull. It took everything in you to wake yourself up. An ear-piercing scream erupted from your chest and broke out of your dry lips, scratching at your throat. You’d feel it later on, no doubt. You always did.
Your body quickly shot up, your breath caught in your throat. As you looked around, you found yourself safe and in your room - not in the torture chamber you had been kept in for most of your teenage years. The memories plagued your thoughts day in and day out. When it was time to sleep, that’s when the demons came to play the most.
It was hard accepting Tony’s offer for you to live in the Avenger’s compound. It wasn’t something you were used to. In the base Hydra kept you in, you had to stay in a broom closet, so it seemed, it was way too small. You were locked away like a prisoner of sorts, used for testing – like a lab rat.
Eventually, you knew you had no other choice. They wouldn’t let you become homeless, and now that you had been rescued, keeping you safe was their priority. Hydra was still out there. Everyone was easy to talk to, but more often than not, you chose to stay quiet or to yourself.
Your feet padded down the chilly hallway as you made your way to the elevator. You knew sleep wasn’t going to be on the agenda now. Something tugged at your gut and you just needed to get out of your room. It’s like you could feel the demons staring at you, ready to pull you under and drown you again. Taking the elevator a few floors down, you exited and walked into the living quarters. You were slow-moving, slightly swaying on your feet as exhaustion swirled around your head.
To your surprise, you weren’t alone. You looked up at Bucky and met his blue eyes as he sat still in the recliner; eerily still, like if he moved, his demons would pounce on him. The lamp on the other side of the room was on, illuminating enough light to see the details on his face.
It was covered in sweat and his eyes were bloodshot, the underside decorated with dark circles. You knew he had nightmares and that they were the very reason he’s awake at such an unholy hour. Countless times you’ve heard his painful screams on the floor above yours.
Steve had introduced the two of you when you arrived and he was just as quiet as you had been. There were walls built up and a sort of fear of being around anyone. He had simply shook your hand, muttering a small hello while keeping his metal hand out of the way. His past with Hydra was no secret to you.
Taking a seat on the couch opposite of him, you sat in the middle with your knees pulled to your chest. You hugged them close and kept your eyes on your feet. As you sat, you could hear Bucky’s breathing slow down. It was heavy and labored when you entered, and you found that yours had slowed as well. Being in the same room as someone that had been through much of the same thing as you, comforted you in some twisted way.
Neither of you spoke, neither of you moved from your spots, neither of you dared to close your eyes long enough to be drug back down.
3:41am, one week later
It was as if lava had been poured on your skin. You were burning, screaming as loud as you could with no voice, the demons clawed and grinned devilishly as they ripped you to shreds. Only when you shot up in your bed once again, was your voice found, a loud scream echoing throughout your room. Your chest heaved and your fingernails nearly ripped through your sheets, the soreness evident as you relaxed them.
You sat for a moment, taking in your surroundings. Suddenly being in your room felt foreign and unsafe. You took the elevator down to the living quarters again, keeping your eyes on your feet. You took your usual spot on the couch after switching on the lamp, pulling your knees into your chest. Your eyes looked for Bucky, but he wasn’t to be seen.
Your thoughts were loud as you sat alone. Your body was still slightly shaking and you couldn’t ignore the images that circled around your mind, until the faint sound of heavy breathing sounded through the room. Your head snapped up and your eyes landed on a rather shaken up Bucky. His chest was glistening with sweat, his hair matted slightly.
The feeling of comfort washed over you and you sighed softly, watching him take his seat in the recliner again. His eyes remained on the ground as he leaned forward, his hands clasped together with his elbows on his knees. His hair fell around his face and you didn’t want to stare at him any longer, but just as you were about to look away, he glanced up at you through his lashes. No words were spoken, only a short glance of eye contact was shared.
Until the morning sun rose, you two remained still and quiet.
2:17am two days later
You hadn’t slept. You stayed awake and wondered about Bucky. The past few nights, you both stayed in the living quarters, silent and un-moving after nightmares brought you both out of a deep sleep. It was calming, but something made you want more, in a non-creepy way. You wanted to help him, but you couldn’t even help yourself.
What happened to you both, haunted you two to the point where closing your eyes even to blink seemed like a horrible task. It made you nauseous. You wanted to speak to him, but you could never find your voice. Especially after so many nights of waking up from your own screaming.
You sighed and sat up in your bed, feeling like you were going to suffocate in this room if you stayed in it any longer. Slipping out of your door, you made your way to the elevator. It arrived at the living quarters once again. Your hugged your arms around yourself as you walked into the room. Out of reflex your eyes went to the recliner. It was empty. You sank into yourself.
You turned towards the couch and was shocked to see Bucky sitting on the side, his eyes on his hands in his lap. He looked like he was deep in thought, and you hadn’t heard his screams all night. You weren’t sure if you should sit in your usual spot – the change in seating was odd – so you made your way over to the recliner.
You heard a faint whimper come from Bucky before you could sit down. It sounded desperate and broken; it made your heart sink in your chest. You turned to look at him and his eyebrows were creased, his hair framed his face and his eyes were staring right at you. Did he want you to sit beside him? You bit your lip nervously as you stood there, unsure of your next move.
Taking any ounce of courage you could muster, you cautiously walked over to the couch and sat down in the middle. Bucky didn’t move and neither did you. You weren’t close enough to make skin contact, but you were close enough to feel the body heat radiating off of him. His breathing eventually slowed and you felt yourself starting to fall into that wave of comfort. You felt safe and you only hoped he felt the same way.
3:03am one week later
The closeness between you and Bucky felt natural. Many times you’ve found yourself wanting to hear his thoughts, to ask him if he’s okay, what his nightmares are about, and if he felt any relief with you beside him, like you felt. But you were scared that that itself was a dream, as well. If you spoke, he’d disappear – all of it would disappear and you’d wake up in the torture chamber.
Your body felt drained of it’s energy tonight. Your nightmares only seemed to get worse. Your throat throbbed from your screams. It lasted longer and you managed to rip your sheets up this time. It’s the worst nightmare you’ve had, and that’s saying a lot. You were taken prisoner again, but you weren’t alone. Bucky was there, tied up and tortured like you had been. You screamed out and tried to save him, you did everything you could yet nothing at all to get them to stop. You couldn’t move, you were bound to that damned chair, needles poking into your skin, injected with anything they came up with.
You entered the room and avoided looking at Bucky. You knew you’d break at any moment. Crying wasn’t something you did, or even wanted to do. It was a sign of weakness, you had been told. You cried nearly every day during the time Hydra had you. Until one night, you became numb and accepted your fate.
Bucky was exhausted, like he always was. You heard his screams moments after you woke up. When they stopped, you knew he was making his way here. His eyes followed your body as you sat down on the couch. Your hands rest either side of you on the cushion, your legs hanging off the edge.
Your breathing was ragged and you could see Bucky’s head slightly turn, his blue eyes looking down at you with a hint of worry. You kept your eyes straight ahead, trying to keep your tears inside.
Bucky watched your lip tremble and your eyes water, the rise and fall of your chest hiccuping in motion while you struggled to hold it together. Your eyebrows creased as the images and screams flashed through your mind. The look in Bucky’s eyes in your nightmare caused you to finally break. A sob fell from your lips. The sound shot through Bucky and he looked away slowly, biting his tongue. His heart broke at the sight and sound of you breaking.
Your right hand had formed a fist and you felt a touch of metal bump against the side of it. You gasped and looked down, seeing Bucky’s hand resting palm down like yours had been. His pinky nudged your hand and you sniffled, blinking away tears as you un-clenched your fist. Both of your movements were slow and you let his hand rest on top of yours. The cool metal was nice against your heated skin. You knew how hard this was for him, but both of you needed it. He knew that.
Flipping your hand over underneath his, you watched him link your fingers together. You took a brave glance at him and looked into his blue eyes. During your crying, he had shed a few tears himself. Pain crossed his features as he held onto your hand. His metal arm was something you knew he struggled with. It wasn’t something he wanted. Neither of you had a choice in your past.
As time passed by, he relaxed into your touch and you did the same, gently tightening your hold on him. His metal thumb slightly caressed your skin. All through the night, you held onto his hand and listened to his deep breaths.
1:47am, three days later
Holding hands had become the new “normal” for you and Bucky when you two sat in the living quarters. It’s not intimate, or if it was, it was only a slim percentage. Gentle human contact was something you had been without for most of your life – you figured the same for Bucky. Only tonight, you knew for sure he would need more contact. His screams jolted you awake. For the first time, your nightmares hadn’t been the thing that woke you up, or your own screams.
He was screaming continuously and your body moved before you could think. You ran towards your door, but stopped upon hearing something you never would’ve guessed he would yell. ”Y/N!” He was screaming your name. Your hands trembled and for a moment, you couldn’t move at all. You were stuck and planted, unable to move as you listened to Bucky scream for you.
In the short time you’d spent together in silence, a bond had formed. You felt it, you knew he did, too. When he appeared in your nightmares, you didn’t think you’d appear in his. But you were wrong.
A particularly loud scream jerked your body back in motion. You started running as fast as you could to the elevator, pressing his floor number. Luckily he was above you so you’d get there quicker. Your breathing was fast and heavy, your own nightmare still fresh. But you couldn’t think about that this time. Bucky was screaming for you and you knew tonight was the night you needed to focus on him, instead of the both of you.
You ran up to his door, the sounds of his screams louder than ever. You opened his door gently and peeked inside. He was writhing around, his metal arm gripping his pillow before throwing it across the room. You rushed over to his bed and leaned your knee on his mattress. “Bucky!” You whispered, not wanting to scare him. If you did, that metal hand wouldn’t be gripping his other pillow. He was screaming again and it hurt your eardrums but you had to do something.
Your hand reached out for his shoulder and you shook it. “Bucky, wake up!” Your voice was firmer and louder, it broke him out of his sleep and his breath hitched. He jolted up, nearly knocking you off of his bed. You backed away slowly, your hands shaking at your sides. He stared at you, not believing it was you. His eyes were wide and his chest rose and fell rapidly.
“I’m here.” You whispered, your bottom lip trembling again. A tear fell down your cheek as Bucky reached his hand out towards you, his fingers trembling. Taking a step forward, your hand slid into his. Before you could get onto his bed, Bucky pulled you into his broad chest. It was damp with sweat but you didn’t care.
His arms held you close as he sobbed into your shoulder. Your arms loosely rest around his neck, your bodies rocking back and forth. “I’m here.” You cried, tangling your hand into his long, damp, dark hair. He nodded against you, his own sobs hiccuping as his hands gripped onto your shirt, his arms nearly crushing you against him. You two stayed in each other’s arms, holding onto the other as if it were the only thing that helped, the only thing that kept the demons away.
Slowly but surely, your breathing started to calm and match in rhythm. For once in both your lives, you felt like everything would be okay; as long as you had each other to hold onto.
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