And I’ve never loved a darker blue
Than the darkness I have known in you, own from you
You, whose heart would sing of anarchy
You would laugh at meanings, guarantees, so beautifully
Exhaustion weighed heavily
over your beaten and bruised frame as you stumbled painfully through the tower,
having blatantly ignored every instruction and recommendation Banner had given
you just moments prior. You insisted that sleeping on a stretcher overnight was
too much of a hassle, promising you’d swing by first thing in the morning as
you exited the medical offices. You wrestled with the stiffness that had settled
into your muscles, each step reverberating with pain. The copper taste of blood
still overwhelmed your taste buds despite having gargled antiseptic mouth wash
several times. Reaching your bedroom door, you made a mental note to chastise
Steve at the debrief for assuming you’d be able to handle two consecutive
undercover missions without any reprieve.
A shaky sigh of relief flew
past your busted lip as you slipped inside and caught sight of Bucky’s
expansive form sprawled across your unmade bed. You were grateful for his
presence, knowing full well that after being away for so long you’d only find
sleep cradled between his arms. You committed his peaceful form to memory while
throwing your hair back into a messy bun and slipping out of your tactical
gear. You bit back the urge to grunt as the material of your uniform peeled painfully
off of your wounds, opting for one of Bucky’s oversized tees instead of your
pajamas. You crawled weakly into bed beside your boyfriend, allowing yourself
to succumb almost instantaneously into unconsciousness.
The much-needed serenity you
had found in your sleep was cut short hours later as you were shaken awake by
the violent thrashing of Bucky’s body against the mattress. His body convulsed in
exaggerated movements accompanied by strained grunts that tumbled from his
parted lips. Even in the haze of your exhaustion, you recognized that Bucky was
likely having another nightmare. You willed yourself to sit, reaching out
tenderly toward him to help him escape the dream.
“Bucky.” You sounded
half-asleep as you attempted to stir him awake. “Bucky, sweetheart.” You
managed a little louder, gripping his shoulders with what little strength you
had left in you. You struggled to hold him place, his movements worsening the
aches riddling your body.
“Babe, wake up.” You tried again
to no avail.
You craned your broken body
toward him, cupping his face and peppering kisses over his cheeks. The
nightmare he continued to suffer through and the added pressure of your palms
jolted him into consciousness. In one, foul swoop, Bucky’s metal appendage
wrapped tightly around your neck. You gasped for air as a bewildered, predatory
expression contorted his face. He lifted you easily into the air before throwing you
with all the strength of his body. You flew back forcefully, your arms flailing about you in a desperate attempt
to break your fall. You failed to slow the impact, hitting the corner wall of your bedroom with a loud
“Fuck!” You screeched, folding
into the fetal position.
Your trembling hands hovered
over your midsection where blood began oozing from the fresh wounds across your
abdomen. A hot white flash of pain crippled you further, nearly splitting you
in half. You cried out in excruciating agony, the entire back side of your body
tender with a purple-yellow smear of a bruise. A harsh half-stifled
yell escaped you as you attempted to stand, slumping back onto the ground. Thick tears streamed down your face as you emitted continuous, raw groans.
“Y/N!” Bucky scrambled to his feet as he came to his senses, rushing to your side. He fell onto his knees and took in your shattered form, tears brimming his own eyes. “Christ, doll, I’m so sorry.” Bucky was gasping for breath as his arms slowly slid under your body. You groaned as he lifted and tugged you into his chest before bursting out into the hallway.
“We’re gonna get help.” He reassured, breaking out into a light jog. “STEVE! STEVIE! HELP US!” Bucky screamed as he hurried down the dormitory corridor and toward the medical wing. “God, I’m so sorry, you don’t deserve this, you deserve better.” Bucky was mumbling through his sobs struggling to maintain his composure. You reached up to touch his face, smearing blood against his pale skin.
“I’ve never known a better love than you.” You reassured, voice shaky and hoarse. “You just owe me dinner and a movie now.” You managed to tease, coughing for fresh air.
“You’re impossible and I love you, I love you, I love you.” Bucky chanted as you reached Dr. Banner, Steve half-asleep and in tow. The trio ushered you to the nearest operating table as you dozed in and out of consciousness.
Reels of memories flashed beneath your eyelids, like a movie being played in fast forward. The melodic sound of Bucky’s laughter, the jolt of electricity you felt every time he kissed you, the very first time he’d told you he loved you - each scene more significant and profound than the last.
“You’re going to be just fine, Y/N.” Bruce reassured, drawing you from your thoughts. Your vision blurred substantially as you tried to focus on Bucky’s cool blue eyes, a small smile tugging at your lips.
“I’ve never loved a darker blue,” you mused incoherently, “the way I love all of you, James.” You managed before falling into unconsciousness.
Egyptian Granite Bust of a Man, 20th Dynasty, 1190-1075 BC or Later
Wearing a belt, pleated sash, and striated and echeloned double wig, two names of Ramesses III carved on his chest, the back-slab with two columns of inscription in sunk relief, the bust perhaps reworked from a statue of the mid-18th Dynasty, the face reworked in modern times. The inscription translates: “May the King be gracious and give sacrifice to Amun-Re, King of the Gods, Lord of Heaven, Ruler of Thebes…, May the King be gracious and give sacrifice to Mut, Lady of Heaven and to Khonsu Neferhotep…”
A limestone statue of Kynebu and his wife in the Kestner Museum, Hannover (inv. no. 2945), shows a man wearing a similar pleated garment across his chest. Dated to the 18th Dynasty, it is now considered to have been reworked in the 20th Dynasty, when the pleated garment was added.