I feel like I've been reading the same plotline over and over and over again for everything regarding Bucky after Winter Soldier. So here's my take on everything. I know more about Bucky from the comics, but I LOVE his back story in the movies. I think I like it more than the comics, to be honest. Anyways, gonna put my own spin on it instead of it being simply Bucky-meets-a-girl-who-helps-him-remember-and-he-hits-her-and-remembers-and-they-fall-in-love. It's not really that, but that's the plot lines I feel like I've been reading all week….
"I'm with you till the end of the line."
Something inside the Winter Soldier froze—more than just his actions. He stared at the mission is his hands with wide eyes. In that moment, his head felt clearer—freer. Like it was his mind. For the first time in a long time. But in this single moment of hesitation, the ground beneath them shuddered. On pure survival instinct, the Winter Soldier grasped a heavy metal I beam still attached to the sip as the ground gave out.
As he watched his mission—no, he had been more than that to him in his life, once upon a time—his once friend drop into the Potomac, it was like he was Steve back in 1942 on that train, watching his best friend fall. Debris crashed in after him and suddenly Captain America was no longer visible. He would be left to die in the water. No.
Without a second thought—or even a first thought—the Winter Soldier let go of the ship and dove down into the water. The second he hit the water, a pain shot up from his left arm, a vision of a bloodied left arm next to him on a gurney springing to his mind for a split second. But he pushed down the pain and swam down to the blur of red white and blue, easily seeable even in the murky waters.
The Winter Soldier reached out with his "good arm," ironically the metal one, and began to pull Steve's body towards the surface. He gripped the front of his uniform tightly and somehow made it to the shore with his flesh arm pinned to his chest and dead weight occupying the other. But the feeling of protection was more like how his missions felt. Protecting Steve right now from drowning felt like his mission.
He dropped the man on his back and took a step away from him, eyes scanning the bloodied suit. Bullet holes dotted the fabric, the stains of blood making them easy to find. I know him, he kept chanting in his head, willing the repressed memories to surface at his command, to which they did not oblige. But he didn't dare touch Steve. The wounds, the bullet holes—he inflicted them.
Steve coughed weakly, water spilling from his lips. He was alive. The Winter Soldier backed away slowly, watching the slow rise and fall of Steve's chest. There would be others looking for him. They would check the riverbanks first. He needed to leave before they came. There would be no forgiveness, especially if he stayed.
Worst of all, he knew in the back of his mind somehow, that Steve might actually forgive him—and he wasn't ready for that. Slowly he'd been remembering things that had been shocked from his conscious mind. Mostly his other missions, but some of his family. Some of Steve. He knew him.
He began to reach up with his flesh hand to pull the wet hair away from his eyes, but the searing pain in his shoulder stopped. The world around him faded away and suddenly he was standing in an alley a lifetime ago. Steve, smaller, frailer, was in the corner of his eye, slumped against the wall breathing heavily.
He focused back on the man in his hand, a well-placed punch knocking him out cold. He let him fall to the ground in a heap next to two others. "You alright?" he muttered, taking a step over the bodies towards his friend.
"Yeah," Steve wheezed.
"No you're not," he muttered, reaching down to pull Steve off the ground. The minute he gripped Steve's shoulder to pull him up, he noticed a second too late that it didn't look right. Steve let out a gasp of pain and jerked away from the touch.
"Okay," Steve grunted, pushing himself up off the ground with his good arm. "But I think I dodged an asthma attack."
"You've got a dislocated shoulder, Steve," he rolled his eyes. "C'mon, punk. Hospital is this way." He led the way out of the alley, Steve's battered arm cradled against his chest.
"Jerk," Steve grumbled. "But thanks."
The Winter Soldier blinked and suddenly he was back in the woods next to the Potomac, halfway back to the city. He glanced over his shoulder towards the sounds of boat motors and spotted a small rescue boat making its way towards Steve. Good, he thought, content knowing for sure they had found him.
He turned his back and began to focus entirely on himself for the time being. He needed medical help with his arm and there was no way in hell he was going back to Hydra. Not right now. He needed to figure things out first. But priority number one was his arm. He glanced down at his waterlogged clothes.
Stopping at the edge of the woods, he carefully removed the thicker black top, then thick black turtle neck, gritting his teeth through the pain. Although he was now shirtless, hoped he could pass off as an officer or even a SHIELD agent in his black cargo pants, holsters, and combat boots. A quick inventory revealed he'd lost all his guns, but not all his knives. For persuasion, he told himself as he made his way towards what looked like a hospital—at least, it was where all the ambulances were headed.
"I require medical attention for my arm," he grunted once he'd made his way into the lobby. The doctor in a white coat behind the nurse's desk looked up, eyes immediately draw to the gleaming metal one of his left. He narrowed his eyes. "My right arm."
"Oh," she managed. "Uhm, are—are you a SHIELD agent?"
"Doesn't SHIELD have their own medical staff?" a nurse muttered next to him as she leaned over the counter and swapped files.
"Well, considering half the building ended up in the Potomac about an hour ago—" the doctor said.
"—I think so did he," the second murmured with a glance in his direction.
"Look," he snapped, voice low and dangerous. "Can you reset my arm, or not?"
After a second the Doctor nodded. "We don't have available rooms, so it's going to be in a hallway somewhere, wherever we can find room."
The Winter Soldier said nothing, but followed him down the chaotic hallways filled with injured people on gurneys, children crying, families torn. The second hand destruction he'd caused in his pursuit of both the important SHIELD agent, and Steve. But he couldn't look away.
Weren't these the people he'd fought in the war to protect? What had happened? What had driven him to become this? This, this assassin? He knew that man, Steve. He knew Steve had the answers.
As they walked down the halls, people begged the doctor to stop and help them. They begged for his attention. Most of them were being tended to by nurses—wounds like that needed no diagnosis. They needed stitches, bandages, and antiseptic. These people didn't want a doctor. They wanted a miracle.
The Doctor stopped at an empty gurney and motioned for the Winter Soldier to hop on.
"You say you need your arm reset?" The Doctor came over and began to gently prod at his shoulder. "I think we can skip the x-ray—that would take hours due to the wait. I'm fairly certain it's a common dislocation. I'll be right back."
Being the place where all the wounded went, the Winter Soldier was surprised he had not been recognized yet. Especially with the arm. But then again, in a place like the hospital, the focus was on helping people. They didn't notice anyone but their own problems.
"So you work for SHIELD," the doctor muttered when he came back with a needle. "Is that how you lost that arm?"
"I lost it in the war," he grunted. "What's that?" He felt his muscles tense up, muscle memory afraid of doctors coming at him. A vision of a scientist in a white coat hovering over him, grinning, telling him what a valuable asset he'd be, flashed before his eyes and he slammed back against the wall.
The doctor, noticing the reaction, smiled kindly. "Anesthetic. I won't use it if you don't want me to, but it will hurt like hell if I don't."
"Don't." He was pretty sure it wouldn't work on him anyway. Whatever the scientists did to him, he knew anesthetics didn't work.
"Alright." He put the cap back on the needle and dropped it into his lab coat pocket. He glanced around the hallway. "You, can you help me for a minute?" he pointed to a woman in light blue scrubs as she was walking down the hall.
"But I'm not—"
"It'll just take a second, nurse."
The Winter Soldier noted the subtle raise of her eyebrows, head twisting slightly in small surprise.
"Alright," she said, stepping up next to the bed. "What do you need me to do?"
"He's a SHIELD agent, dislocated shoulder." The Doctor motioned for her to stand at the head of the gurney. "Lie on your back, please." He shook out a spare sheet and wrapped it under the soldier's armpit, handing the ends to the woman above his head. "This might hurt a bit. Still don't want the anesthetic?" The Winter Soldier shook his head.
A part of him waited for someone to stick a mouth guard between his teeth, but it never came. The Doctor gripped his forearm and gently angled it down and away from the soldier's body. "On three." The Doctor shifted his gaze down to him. "Try to relax the muscles in your shoulder."
He let out a breath as the Doctor counted down. A grunt left his lips as the doctor pulled down on his arm while the nurse pulled in the opposite direction with the sheet. He felt a painful pop in his shoulder and instantly it felt better. Not painless, but he knew it wasn't dislocated anymore.
"That should do it. Let me go get you a sling and a prescription and you'll be good to go," the Doctor told him before walking away.
The Winter Soldier sat up and glanced up at the nurse quickly, then did a double take. "Connie." The name slipped his lips before he could catch himself, and he didn't know where the name came from. At this point, he had no memory of this woman in blue scrubs with dark wavy hair and eyes to match.
"I'm sorry?" she said. "My name is Clara."
"You're British," he noted.
"Thought I was someone else?" she smirked. When he didn't answer her voice dropped to a whisper. "And between you and me, I know you're not from SHIELD. I'm the head of the medical department, and I've never seen you before. I'd remember and arm like that."
He hopped off the gurney and began walking back down the hall the way he'd come. He didn't need someone like her, someone actually from SHIELD prodding into who he was.
"Hey, wait," she called after him, running to catch up. "You should wait for the sling and the medication—you could injure your arm further."
"What's your name?" He ignored her and kept walking. Why had she taken an interest in him anyways? She caught up to him and tugged his metal arm. On an instinct instilled in him by Hydra, he whipped around and pushed her into the wall, pinning her there by her shoulders. "I'm sorry, I'm just really interested in your arm. It's kinda cool to be honest."
"Who are you?" he demanded.
"My name is Clara." She tried to push him away but he stood his ground. "Look, if you're really with SHIELD, their barracks got destroyed when the helicarriers came down—I know because I was almost buried underneath them." He loosened his grip on her shoulders when she rolled up one sleeve to show her whole forearm covered in gauze. "23 stitches."
He stared at her, not sure what to do. This woman claimed to only be interested in his arm. And being in the medical field, he could see why. But being that she was also a part of SHIELD, he knew she would find out who he was and what he'd done if she didn't already know.
"What's your name?"
"I don't know," he admitted finally.
Again, the world dissolved in shades of browns and grays and when he blinked, he was no longer standing in the hallway at a hospital, he was in a bar. Swing music played loudly from a stage to his left, and a pretty dark haired girl sat on a stool to his right sipping from a glass of what looked like simply water.
"So what's your name?" she was asking with a coy smile.
"Bucky Barnes," he told her.
"Well, Bucky Barnes," she said, pushing her drink away from her and hopping off the stool. "Take me dancing and you can call me Connie."
"Hey, are you alright?" The voice cut the memory short and in the next second he was looking into Clara's worried face. "Okay, let's get you out of here." She helped him off the wall her was currently slumped against and wrapped his metal arm over her shoulder, her own arm around his waist. He didn't fight her. Because she looked exactly like Connie.