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"Wait a minute," Bucky whispers to himself, not really realizing that he had. Little flickers and flashes of information were playing through his head, and it wasn't that he was in the act of remembering, it was all just…there. Like it had been back when he was a kid before basic or his first couple of weeks overseas before he'd been captured. There was new stuff too, from after he'd been captured both times, and in-between with Steve and the Howling Commandoes, but he wasn't struggling to remember—or even having to go through the process of trying to remember! "I'm Bucky! That's me. I'm Bucky!"
Before he even realizes what's happening, he's standing up and rushing over to the stairs; the elevator wasn't nearly fast enough. He wrenched the door off of the hinges, not even acknowledging the fact that it sets off alarms, and rushed upstairs to the lab that he knows Steve was in with Tony and some of the others. He took the stairs two at a time, sliding around the landings and simply leaping over the railings in some places because he's so excited.
The lab was four floors up from where he'd been, and Bucky busts through its door with just as much gusto as he had the first, and breaks it partially off the hinges, too. All of the faces in the room turned in his direction—first, worried they were under attack; then, that something was wrong with Bucky—but Bucky ignored all of them. Instead, he zoned in on Steve sitting in a chair across the room, and made a beeline for him, unable to wipe the grin off his face.
"Bucky?" Steve asks wearily, despite the fact that his friend is clearly happy. "What's wrong? Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Steve," Bucky brushes off his concern, even as Steve stands up to meet him.
"Really, because—" Steve reaches out to Bucky with the frown still in place, but Bucky cuts him off as he grabs Steve's fingers and squeezes them tightly.
"I remember!" Bucky gushes, unable to phrase it any other way. "Steve, I remember! All of it! You, Dum-Dum, your mother, Coney Island, me! All of it, I remember."
It takes Steve a minute to process what he's saying—to hear the words, and really understand what Bucky's talking about (they'd talked about the whole Bucky having to think about stuff before he remembered it thing, and Steve knew the distinction that Bucky was talking about without having to ask)—before he started smiling too, "Really? That's fantastic, Buck!"
"I know!" Bucky agreed with an excited giggle and little bounce on his toes. He followed that up with an ecstatic squeal; and before either one of them knew it, they were both pulling each other into a tight hug. "I'm so excited!"
"You should be," Steve chuckled, rocking him back and forth from side to side as he buried his face into the side of Bucky's neck and pulled him closer.
They stood there like that for a couple of minutes, hugging each other and giggling back and forth amongst themselves. They both sensed the confused tension in the room (at least Tony, Bruce, Clint, Fury, Thor, Pepper, and Natasha were standing around from what Bucky had seen when he'd come in the room) and heard Tony's quiet "Um, why the hell is that important? He's been remembering stuff for awhile…" (and Pepper's quiet reprimand in return), but they'd both ignored it. They had much better things to be thinking about at the moment.
Like all of the wonderful implications this newest development had.
"I can't believe this," Bucky broke the silence between himself and Steve, and he couldn't help but blink his eyes a couple of times to keep the tears at bay.
"Me neither," Steve agreed with a happy sigh.
"Do you have any idea what this means?"
"I hope so," Steve's grip tightened even farther. "You really remember everything?"
"Everything?" Steve asked again, and Bucky didn't miss the hidden implication behind his question.
"Everything, Stevie," Bucky answered him softly, more tender, and nodded his head as he rubbed his hand over Steve's back a bit.
"Bucky will do fine."
"Oh, yeah," Steve couldn't help but giggle and nip at the side of Bucky's neck in retaliation. "You're definitely back."
"About damn time, too. All of that worrying that this was all some kind of demented dream was starting to give me a headache."
"I know what you mean," Steve couldn't help but nod his head in understanding. "All I felt while I was freezing and waking up was cold and pain. I can only imagine what it's been like for you."
"Yeah," Bucky said noncommittally and just sank even farther into Steve's grip. Honestly, he was trying his best to not think about the last seventy years and what they'd felt like, at the moment. He still remembered them, they were all right there too, but the memories weren't quite as loud as they used to be, and Bucky had no interest in bringing them back up any time he didn't absolutely have to. "But it's over now."
"Yes, it is," Steve agreed, squeezing Bucky's side with one of his hand before he turned back to a happier subject. "And were both still alive, and we both remember everything, and it's all going to be okay."
"Yep," Bucky sighed and let his mind relish in all of its newfound information for a minute, focusing on going over and cataloging everything that happened to Steve since he'd joined the army. Those memories were the haziest of them all (not having much time to solidify before the fall and the torture, and not having quite the same freshness or fear factor that everything since had carried), and he'd wanted to make sure there weren't anymore blind spots he couldn't see before they'd done too much celebrating.
"Seriously though, Buck," Steve sounded so genuine, but Bucky was barely paying attention. In all of his thinking and cataloging, he was in the middle of realizing something, and he wasn't happy about what he was finding. "That's amazing. I'm so happy for you, I…"
Steve stopped when he felt Bucky stiffen in his arms.
"Bucky?" Steve asked uncertainly. He hesitated for a second, certain he must reading Bucky's body language wrong as Bucky's hands fisted into the back of his shirt and his teeth ground together, before he spoke up again. "Hey, Bucky? What's—"
Bucky let out a deep growl of disapproval in response to whatever Steve was going to ask, and all of the Avengers except for Steve tensed.
"James?" Steve was significantly quieter this time as he loosened his grip on the man in his arms a bit. "Bucky, it's me. It's Steve. Do you remember—"
"I know who you are," Bucky bit back, absolutely seething. "I still remember you, Steve. I remember everything."
How had something that had been so incredibly wonderful a minute ago turned into something that sounded so disgusting now?
"Okay, so—hmph," Steve started tentatively but his words died off in a quiet (but sharp) sound of pain as Bucky bit into the side of his neck—hard. All he could manage after that was to blink and, "What?"
"I remember everything," Bucky growled against the side of his neck. "Everything, you…you…you punk!"
"What?" Steve floundered for some indication of what Bucky was talking about, but he couldn't think of anything. He was in luck though, because a second later, Bucky brought his hands down from around his shoulders—to his chest—and shoved Steve back so that he could glare up at him.
"The fuck were you thinking, Rogers?" Bucky berated him, looking madder than Steve had ever seen him or the Winter Soldier. "You joined the army? I very explicitly told you not to do anything stupid while I was gone!"
Oh, so that's what he's talking about, Steve thought to himself as he held his hands up in front of himself in a pacifying gesture and took a precautionary step back.
"Bucky, I don't think now is the best time—"
"No, Steve," Bucky cut him off yet again, shifting his weight back to his heels and cocking a hip to the side as his voice raised a bit in disbelief. "Now is the perfect time. What were you thinking? Hmm? And what about that time you jumped on a grenade in basic? You could have died, Steve. Died. Do you have any idea what that would have done to me over in Europe when I found out? At best it would have killed me. At worst it would have gotten somebody else killed because I was too distracted to think straight."
"I know that now, Buck," Steve tried to placate him, but Steve had a bad feeling that it was already too late. "But it all turned out okay—"
"It all turned out okay?" Bucky's eyes widened as his anger bubbled over and morphed into pure rage. Bucky grabbed something off the nearest table (an old coffee cup of Stark's, as it was) and chucked it at Steve's head, "It all turned out okay!? Steven Grant Rogers, you almost died!"
Luckily, Steve had a pretty idea it was coming and ducked out of the way. Bucky reached for something else (this time one of Bruce's computer monitors that was ripped off of a swiveling arm), and Steve took the momentary distraction to launch himself behind another one of the work tables for cover.
"And what were you thinking, taking on all of those Aliens back a couple of years ago? Did it ever occur to you that maybe the super soldier serum wasn't meant to withstand magic and lasers and shit?"
Bucky threw the monitor somewhere in the middle of his accusations, and it only narrowly missed Steve's back as he hunched down below the table.
"Buckyyy," Steve all but whined in protest, but the childishness in his voice only seemed to spur Bucky on even more as he grabbed for something else to throw.
"What were you thinking, Rogers?" Bucky demanded again as he let loose with the empty set of test tubes that his hands had happened to fall on before finally getting close enough to grab the table and wrench it from over top of Steve with his metal arm, carelessly spilling it's contents everywhere as he threw it to the side. "Did you even try to find a way to land Schmidt's plane before you crushed it into the Artic? Huh? Or did you just throw in the towel and give yourself up for dead because it was the easy thing to do? I'm waiting for an answer here, Steve. You're supposed to be the smart one of us, so start talking."
"Look, Buck," Steve looked up at his best friend pleadingly, hands still held up in surrender, and slowly pushed himself up into a standing position as he spoke. "I know you're mad and you have every right to be. I've been a horrible friend, and I know I've done some things that I shouldn't have, and I know it's put you in a bad place sometimes, and I know you want me to apologize, and you deserve one…but I'm just not going to give it to you."
At first, Steve's words were calming to Bucky—placating even, with their calm tone and the steady eye contact behind them and way that Steve said them. But then, Steve said the part at the end and Bucky slowly processed it, making sure that he was certain he'd heard Steve right before he reacted.
"Excuse me?" Bucky spoke in a deathly calm voice as he raised his eyebrows at Steve.
"I'm not apologizing to you," Steve smirked and shook his head at his best friend. "I haven't done anything wrong, and you know it, and you're the one that should be apologizing to me."
Bucky seemed to ponder the statement for a moment before he finally snorted, "You want me to apologize to you?"
"Yes," Steve nodded his head once and gave a pleasant little smile, dropping his hands because of how sure of himself he was.
"Alright," Bucky nodded his head in what seemed to be agreement as he looked away, absentmindedly playing with the spine a rather large reference book Bruce or Stark had sitting out on the nearest table (or at least seemed to). "You want an apology? Here's your apology."
And just like that, Bucky threw the book at Steve and Steve dropped to his knees just long enough to avoid the projectile before he took off running again, and the chase was on.
"Bucky!" Steve yelled behind him, dodging more equipment and knick-knacks and clutter as Bucky continued to launch whatever he could reach at his head (or shoulders, or back, or chest, or feet).
"Where the fuck do you think get off thinking I own you an apology?" Bucky yelled back, dodging a chair that Steve had slid his way in the form of a distraction and paying no mind whatsoever to the fact that they were single handedly destroying Tony's most well stocked, personal lab. "You owe me an apology!"
"You chucked a computer at my head!" Steve reminded Bucky pointedly (if not in a voice higher-pitched than normal) and regretted it when another one crashed into the wall where his head had been just seconds ago as he headed towards the door.
"You jumped out of a plane into a Hydra base by yourself!"
"To save you!"
"Like that matters!"
Once again, the sound of shattering glass rang through the room, and Steve ducked out of the door with Bucky skidding around behind him a couple seconds later. And that was how the two spent the rest of the day, yelling and running and throwing things at each other throughout the Avengers Tower.
No public room was spared from their wrath (or rather—Bucky's wrath and Steve's inability to apologize), and their were several times that Bruce and Pepper and Thor had to hold back a very distressed Tony from getting into the middle of it when some of his more prized possessions happened to fall in the duo's path. They'd all questioned intervening at some point in time during the whole shebang, but they'd all also come to the decision fairy early on that this was a best friends thing, not a superhero/former regular-war-hero-turned-super-kind-of-villain-assassin-thing, and that the two had to work it out on their own.
Regardless of how many of Tony's expensive art pieces and one-of-a-kind inventions were destroyed in the meantime.
The argument finally came to a head around 7:30 that night, three hours after the whole thing started. Bucky had finally caught up to Steve behind the one couches that was still standing, and tackled him to the ground. They wrestled back and forth for a bit—still bickering back and forth—before Bucky finally managed to pin Steve, and force an annoyed apology out of him.
Steve hadn't liked that very much, but he had enjoyed the way Bucky had let him go and wiggled his way back into Steve's arms after he'd done it. Steve hugged Bucky as tightly as he had earlier in return—tighter even, and found himself apologizing again, much more insistently this time. Bucky let him go on for a couple of minutes, as he relaxed even more, before he offered up an apology of his own for reacting so violently, and pretty soon the both of them had dissolved into laughter that neither one of them could find an explanation for other than they were just happy to be back together.
Laughter somehow turned back to jokingly giving each other a hard time about all of the things that they'd done, and somehow giving each other a hard time turned into play wrestling back and forth, and somehow play wrestling back and forth turned into just lying on the ground and talking about anything and everything that came to mind about their pasts, presents, or futures. They were both tired from running around all over the place and neither one of them felt the need to get up anytime soon.
JARVIS had ordered pizza at some time during the whole thing, and it wasn't too long after Steve and Bucky had settled down that Clint had settled down beside them with a large box of pizza and the three had tucked into it whole-heartedly. The rest of the residents of the Tower were a little more hesitant to join them, but they did eventually, and pretty soon all of the Avengers and a collection of their friends were settled onto the floor of the destroyed living room, sitting around (except for Bucky and Steve who were still mostly laying down, propped into half-sitting positions on their elbows), talking and laughing and listening to Steve and Bucky tell stories on each other like they'd never done before.