Summary: What if Bucky never fought back. Takes place in Captain America: Civil War
Shock. Everything stilled as he saw the metal arm choking her. For once Tony Stark had nothing to say. He couldn't even move, move to scream or do something. Anything. Tony slowly turned his head towards Barnes. The man looked back wearily, the gun in his hand pointed at the Sokovian dude.
Anger. Red hot burning rage coursed through his body, his frame shaking. He finally moved, lunging to do something to his parents murderer, but Steve leapt at him and grabbed his arm.
Tony turned his head to stare blankly at the man he thought was a friend. He couldn't even feel betrayed though.
"Did you know?" Tony's voice sounded foreign, even to him. Steve's expression immediately became defensive.
"I knew it wasn't him."
"Did. You. Know?" Tony punctuated, staring right at the man who messed up with his brain way more than he had the right to.
Tony blasted the Captain hitting his chest and the beloved hero of America flew in the air and hit the wall with a hard thump.
Then he turned his attention on Barnes who backed away from him. Tony flew towards him and the man made no move to defend himself, dropping the gun on the marbled floors. Barnes gasped as his breath escaped him and his head hit the ground with a sickening crack. But Tony didn't care. He lifted the man up and threw him into a wall and then rushed to punch him again.
Why was he not fighting? Tony seethed. Was he a coward? Tony punched him again and finally Barnes put out his hands over his face, protecting himself. Tony snarled, pointing the repulser at his face, ready to let it shoot.
Steve screamed from somewhere behind him.
Barnes gritted his jaw then, stared right at Tony, and before he could do anything, the man pushed him off with his abominable metal arm. He got up again ready to fight but Steve decided to intervene and throw the blasted shield towards his chest. Tony angrily threw it away from him and then flew straight towards Barnes, his repulsors keep missing the shot. Finally he reached the man and held him by his throat. It felt fitting to choke him to death.
"Do you even remember them?" Tony spat at Barnes who strangely stopped struggling.
He looked at him with an expression that took Tony a while to decipher. Guilt.
"I remember all of them."
They all had it. The Avengers. Tony had seen it in every one of their eyes, even Vision's. He had seen it everyday, staring right at him from his reflection in the mirror. It haunted him each night, the pain and remorse. Sometimes it was so hard to even breath because it hurt so much. Tony could see it in this man's eyes in spades. It was then he realized he wouldn't even achieve anything if he killed Barnes. He released his choke hold, just as heard Steve arrive behind him, and the man who murdered his parents gasped for breath, his chest heaving and his dark hair falling over his dark, intense eyes.
"Why'd you stop?" Barnes rasped heavily, bending away from him.
"Maybe I thought I would gain nothing from killing you," Tony said coldly.
Barnes looked away and Steve quickly went to his side, helping him stand straight. Tony turned, sighing softly.
He knew he didn't have to kill him, the man would kill himself soon enough if no one would stop or help him.
Bucky couldn't look at Stark in his eyes. He was still reeling from the rage that he'd already seen in the man's eyes. Steve sat silently next to him, shooting him concerned looks every minute until Bucky finally snapped at him in exasperation. The idiot rolled his eyes, a wistful smile on his face. Bucky knew he was reminiscing in the past of when Bucky used to yell at him every time he showed even an ounce of pity or concern. He had always hated that. Especially after Steve had saved him from the experimentations, his friend laid by his side for two days straight! Though Bucky had secretly loved it, he couldn't have looked weak, especially not when his scrawny friend has suddenly turned into a super soldier with crazy six-packs.
Bucky looked up when the car door opened and the Black Kitty or something like that entered. He immediately tensed up.
"At ease Sergeant," and Bucky stiffened in shock. It had been a long while since he'd been called that and it brought too many memories. Memories that he didn't want to look back at right now.
Black Kitty sat in front of him, but Bucky couldn't meet his eyes either. He remembered the angry punches the boy landed on his body and the sorrow and vengeance that shown in his eyes as they fought. He knew he deserved them but it seemed that the boy stopped feeling the same way. Bucky watched him discreetly, from the corner of his eyes as he played nervously with his kitty mask. He looked up at Bucky who automatically looked away.
"I'm sorry," he said softly. "For uh," the boy (he really needed to know his name) gestured at his figure as if that said everything, "hurting you."
"But," he added, smiling a little, "you hurt me too. You have quite a stance."
"Thanks," Bucky smiled slightly, ducking his head. It was nice when his skills were recognized, but not when they were used by this other self. The controlled one.
"And I'm sorry for throwing you a lot of times into a wall or ceiling too."
"No problem," the kid smiled cheerfully at him, and Bucky could tell that any anger he had for him had all but evaporated.
"Are you guys done apologizing and praising each other?" Stark snarked from the side.
"Cause we are almost here and any other feelings you two wanna work out better be quick. Otherwise people could get the wrong meaning."
It seemed he was back to his old arrogant self and Bucky honestly could say he liked this side of Stark better than than the expressionless but fueled with rage Stark.
Steve shot Stark an exasperated look, one that was so familiar that Bucky felt a twinge of jealousy. It quickly vanished and was replaced with the familiar dullness. This time even Stark look worried. Thankfully they got out of the car before Bucky started screaming from being claustrophobic of the overwhelming amount of concern that had all of a sudden filled the much too small car. Bucky almost wished they went back to try killing him.
The Secretary Ross? Rott? Strolled out of the building looking important. Bucky only hunched into himself, hoping the man wouldn't notice him. That was obviously a childish thing to think of because the man's eyes immediately landed on him. He opened his mouth to probably yell but Steve cut him off.
"Secretary Ross. He will do no harm," Steve put a warm hand on Bucky's shoulder, radiating of safety and protection. Without meaning to, Bucky relaxed.
Ross shook his head, annoyed.
"Whatever. I really don't have time to deal with this. If it was up to me you'd all be locked up in the Raft."
At this Bucky felt Steve bristle with anger, but say nothing.
"Where's the prisoner?"
"Here," Black Kitty appeared swiftly with Helmut Zemo in tow. The Sokovian looked more smug than he was entitled to. Bucky shivered a little and then berated himself for being so weak. But he couldn't help himself, this man had the power to turn him into his worst enemy, the Winter Soldier. Hoping Zemo didn't see, he turned away, but found himself burrowed into Steve's chest. He almost gasped at the emotions he felt and the tenderness of which Steve held him. Then it turned into sharp embarrassment and he tore out of Steve's arms. Bucky could almost feel the palpable hurt that Steve emitted and Bucky looked away, trying to lid his wild emotions.
Ross grunted, "Bring him in and they all went in, leaving only Steve and him behind.
"Bucks. Bucky. Are you alright?"
"No I am not," he whispered softly, still not looking at his best friend. He felt Steve lift his chin up and he almost cried out loud as he looked into the man who had been his friend since forever. His dark blue eyes were filled with such warmth and concern that Bucky couldn't take it. To his immense horror he felt tears leaking out of his eyes.
"I- I," he gasped, "oh god Steve I don't think I deserve any of this. I'm a monster, why do you still fight for me!"
Steve looked back at him, pained.
"Of course you do. We talked about this remember. It wasn't you. And you deserve it Bucky. More than you can ever know. You're still the same man who saved the scrawny boy from Brooklyn."
"Not so scrawny now are you," Bucky laughed. Steve felt so much more older than him, so much more wiser. He was always wise, he'd seen that wisdom radiating in his eyes since he was young. But how he changed, how he changed from that man who used to doubt himself into this strong, independent hero who fought for what he felt was right. Bucky felt so small compared to him.
"Yeah," Steve shone one of his brilliant smiles at him, "a lot has changed."
"Everyone we know is dead as well."
Steve sighed, "You are such a pessimistic. They've lived their lives Bucky," he had a faraway look in his eyes, "but we still haven't lived ours."
But I don't want to live mine, Bucky thought.
"Peggy?" he asked, knowing Steve too well.
They stood in silence for a while, basking in each other's familiarity, the only thing that was the same in this different world they woke up to.
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