moviegeek03: (Bucky 2)
[personal profile] moviegeek03
Title: Cup O’Kindness
Author: moviegeek03
Wordcount: ~2300
Fandom: Marvel
Characters/Pairings: Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Assorted Avengers; Stucky if you squint and want to see it that way
Rating/Warnings: PG-13; Drunkenness, violence, language
A/N: This came to me on New Year’s Eve when I realized that 2015 marked the 70th anniversary of Bucky’s “death” and I began to wonder how Steve would handle that. This is my first full Bucky/Steve story ☺.
Summary: The last year has been hard on all the Avengers, but Steve in particular. His search for Bucky keeps coming up empty handed and all trails have gone cold. The rest of his team persuades him to let loose and relax some for New Year’s Eve. He never realized it would be exactly what he needed, in more ways than one, or that a certain friend had been watching out for him all along.

Tony Stark knew how to throw a party. So did his dad, come to think of it. But this was nothing compared to the infamous shindigs the tabloids usually depicted come New Year’s Day. No, this was much smaller. Something just for the team and their friends. Well, most of their friends. Steve’s best friend was still missing in action with no clues to be found.

Steve skirted around the edge of the party, taking in the rest of his team. They’d all lost something this year. It hadn’t been the best of times for any of them. But they’d survived. He figured that was worth celebrating, even if he didn’t feel up to it.

Steve saw Natasha across the room. Sam and Clint stood on each side, laughing and no doubt swapping stories of various missions. Steve was grateful to have them this past year if nothing else. Natasha had gone off the grid, found Clint and hid out in the aftermath of SHIELD’s fall. But they’d helped him behind the scenes nonetheless. Sam on the other hand had stayed by his side throughout the search, traipsing across the world in Steve’s search for Bucky.

There were some close calls, but Bucky was always a step ahead. He managed to leave town a day before they arrived, leaving a HYDRA base in shambles or one of Pierce’s successors in cuffs. His masked face would be a flicker on the broken security footage, but that would be all. He would be long gone from the city and moving on to the next base before Steve and Sam had stepped off the plane.

Even the attacks on the bases had slowly but surely come to a halt, dashing any hope Steve had for finding his friend. He had returned to New York just before the holidays, no closer to Bucky than he had been when he’d left. He was losing hope.

Steve started to take a sip of his beer, only to feel the bottle tugged from his grasp. He looked up to see Tony in his space. “I was drinking that,” Steve sighed.

“Yeah, but figured you could use something stronger.” Tony pulled out a flask from the inside of his jacket and handed it over.

Steve furrowed his brow but took the flask nonetheless. “It won’t really matter.” He opened and sniffed at the contents, nearly gagging at the strong alcoholic smell that greeted him. “God, what is this?”

“Something you’ll thank me and Bruce for later.” Tony took a sip from the beer he’d stolen from Steve. “Consider it a late Christmas present from us.” He held up the bottle and waited for Steve to do the same with the flask. “Cheers Capsicle.” They clanked their drinks together and Steve took a swig from the flask. Tony snorted as Steve nearly spit out the drink.

Steve cleared his throat. “What is this?”

Tony smirked. “I remember Dad saying you could never get drunk after the serum. Figured you’ve been through enough shit this year that you’d wish you could. So Bruce and I came up with that concoction.” Tony took another drink from the beer. “Like I said, Merry Belated Christmas, old man.” Pepper motioned for him from across the room. “Now go enjoy your first buzz in seventy years.” He clapped Steve on the shoulder and wandered back to Pepper.

Steve looked at the flask for a moment. It had been years since he’d been drunk. Even before the serum, he rarely overdid it with alcohol. His health was usually too poor to bother. But after the serum, there had been many times when he had wanted to. He could remember sitting in a bar almost seventy years to the day, wishing he could drink away the image of Bucky falling from the train.

Steve took a long drag from the flask. Now that he expected the taste, he reveled in the feeling as it burned his throat. He leaned against the wall and looked out the nearby window. The building across from the tower had a flashing sign with “Welcome 2015!” hanging. Steve quickly looked away and took another long drink.

2015…70 years since Bucky fell from the train and he was no closer to saving his best friend than he was that wintery day.

Tony returned at some point to hand him a second flask. Steve hadn’t realized his first was already empty. He muttered a barely coherent thanks and took it eagerly. Tony said something to him and laughed heartily. It hurt how much that laugh sounded like Howard’s from New Year’s Eve so many decades ago. Before everything had gone to hell. Before Bucky had fallen.

Steve moved on to the second flask.

**************


The night continued. The team remained in high spirits, drinking and laughing as the rest of the town took to the streets. Steve stayed against his spot on the wall. The second flask was nearly empty and midnight was fast approaching. Soon everyone would be cheering and embracing 2015. Steve wasn’t sure he could handle that just yet.

Steve set the flask on the windowsill and stumbled out of the room. The tower suddenly felt too crowded, too tight. He needed air. He needed space. Before he knew it, his feet were moving from the lush tile of the lobby to the icy concrete of the sidewalks. The streets were crowded with too many drunken tourists making a final attempt to get closer to Times Square. They bumped into Steve, not paying him a second glance. He shook them off and headed the opposite way. He needed to get away.

Steve rounded the corner of the tower and made his way toward the back alleys. The darkened streets offered a reprieve. Steve didn’t think, couldn’t really. He just kept moving. The noise from the nearby parties slowly faded. He stumbled over discarded bottles and various litter on the streets. His feet slipped from the edges of the curbs the farther he went. His head felt like it was spinning with each step.

“Never could hold your liquor, punk.”

Steve fell into a nearby wall, shaking his head as Bucky’s voice assaulted his memories.

“Hey! You! Can’t hold your liquor, pal?”

Steve blinked; half hoping Bucky’s voice wasn’t a memory after all. But it was. Instead of Bucky, he saw a stranger leering over him, smirking and laughing. He rubbed his face, ignoring whatever else the man was saying to him. He got his feet underneath him again and pushed off from the wall.

“Hey,” the stranger yelled again. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“Need to find B’cky,” he slurred. Steve tried to shove past the stranger, but he pushed back, sending Steve back into the wall.

“You’re not goin’ anywhere, man. Not until you give me what I want.”

Before Steve could figure out what the man would want, he felt a fist connect with his ribs. It didn’t hurt. Not really at least. But it was enough to make him lose his balance. He stumbled backwards and fell into a set of trashcans behind him. His limbs were sluggish from the alcohol. He couldn’t get to his feet quick enough. The stranger was on him again.

“Just give me your wallet and this will all be over.”

Wallet? What wallet? Steve didn’t have one on him. What was this person talking about?

Steve was about to ask what the stranger meant when a loud thud echoed through the alley. The stranger turned towards the noise and was suddenly thrown backwards. He hit the wall opposite Steve hard, gasping for air and groaning in pain. Another guy had come out of nowhere. He stood in the shadows, making sure the stranger couldn’t get to Steve.

The stranger staggered away from the wall and looked the newcomer up and down. The stranger and the newcomer faced off for a few moments before the newcomer quickly and effortlessly knocked him out cold.

Steve sat up against the wall as the newcomer moved towards him. He wasn’t sober enough for a fight, but he didn’t want to be slumped against the wall either. He blinked and tried to focus on the newcomer advancing on him.

“B’cky?” he gasped when the guy stepped under the streetlight.

The guy tensed, running a hand anxiously through his long, stringy hair. He kept moving towards Steve, but it looked like his hands were shaking. He knelt down next to Steve and wiped away a small trail of blood that Steve hadn’t even noticed on his forehead. When had he been hit? Was he really that drunk? He couldn’t remember feeling like this before. Could he?

“Always could find trouble in alleys couldn’t ya?”

Tears prickled in his eyes as Steve surged forward, nearly knocking the guy off his feet and hugging him close. “Bucky…I found you. I finally found you.”

The guy was stiff under Steve’s hands but rubbed his back after a few minutes. He cleared his throat and gently manhandled Steve off of him. “Let’s get you home.”

Steve clung to the guy the entire way back to the tower. Steve stumbled and would have fallen if it weren’t for the firm grip the guy kept on his arms. It was a slow trek, but once the tower came into view, the guy stopped.

“Afraid you’re on your own from here.”

“No,” Steve feebly argued. “No, Buck. You have to come up. Been lookin’ for ya for too long. No.”

The guy smiled sadly. “I’ll be around. Someone’s gotta save your ass in those alleys.”

“But—”

“Steve!”

Steve turned towards the tower just in time to see Sam and Tony running towards him.

“What the hell happened to you?” Sam gasped.

Steve motioned for them to stay back and he turned around to find Bucky again. The guy was gone, leaving no traces of having been there at all. “No! Bucky!”

Tony approached him and laid a hand on his arm. “Come on Cap. Think you’ve had enough tonight.”

“No, need to find Bucky! He was just there. No…”

“Come on Steve,” Sam coaxed. “Let’s get you cleaned up. Natasha will have my ass if she sees you like this.”

“But I—Bucky was—”

“Let’s get him inside,” Sam said to Tony.

The two manhandled Steve back into the tower and up to his apartment just as the clock struck midnight.

“Happy New Year, punk…”

*********


“But it was him!”

Tony hung his head. “Steve, we’ve been over this already. There was no one out there with you when we found you.”

The team was all crowded around the kitchen trying to reason with Steve.

“Man, I swear we didn’t see anyone with you. I don’t know what happened but you were alone.”

“Damn it, I wasn’t!” Steve argued, slamming his fist onto the table.

“Ok,” Natasha interrupted. “Let’s try a new approach. Tell us what happened. Every detail you can remember. We’ll retrace your steps from there.”

Steve rubbed a hand over his face in frustration. “It’s a little fuzzy—”

“Which is why I said you probably just imagined him,” Tony argued. “You had some strong shit last night and you’re not exactly used to being drunk. You must have just imagined him and—”

“I didn’t imagine him!”

“Alright!” Natasha yelled. “This is getting us nowhere.” She sent a glare in Tony’s direction. “Stark, shut up. Steve, talk.”

“Yes, I got a little drunk last night.”

“A little my ass,” Tony mumbled, earning himself a swift kick in the shins from Natasha. “Ow! Son of a bitch—Nat!”

“I said to shut it,” she said coolly with a shrug. “Go on Steve.”

“After I started drinking I felt like I needed to get away. So I went outside and started walking. I think I walked behind the tower somewhere. Maybe one of the alleys?”

“There are security cameras on most of the buildings around here,” Pepper said. “I could phone in a few favors and maybe get the footage from the surrounding ones?”

“That would be great,” Steve replied.

“On it.” With that, Pepper pulled out her phone and began calling around to the nearby building managers and owners. Within a few hours, she had electronic copies of the footage from the night before up on her laptop. Tony, who was still nursing a bruised shin, fast forwarded through the videos so that Steve could watch. Tony was ready to give up after the first few, but Steve urged him forward.

“This is useless, Steve. I’m sorry but—”

“There!”

Tony stopped and hit play, allowing Steve to watch the footage at regularly speed.

“There I am.”

Sure enough, Steve was on the screen. The team watched as he staggered into the alley and a mugger approached him. Tony and Natasha leaned forward in their seats when the second stranger approached and threw the mugger across the alley with inhuman strength.

“What kind of security cameras don’t have sound nowadays,” Tony griped.

“Shhhh.”

“Why are you shushing me? There is no sound and—ow! Shit, Natasha stop!” Tony rubbed at his shin following another kick from Natasha.

Steve paid them no mind as they bickered behind him. He was too focused on the laptop and the man on the screen. He watched as the events unfolded and the man spoke. He held his breath as the stranger stepped into the light from the nearby streetlamp.

“Oh my god,” Sam gasped from behind him.

Tony and Natasha stopped arguing and returned their attention to the screen.

“Holy shit,” Tony mumbled with wide eyes.

Natasha leaned forward, pressing her shoulder into Steve’s. “That’s—”

“Bucky,” Steve said with a small smile. “That’s Bucky.” Steve rewound the footage and paused on Bucky’s face so that he could zoom in more. “It’s really him.”

Steve barely noticed as the team crowded around him to see the screen for themselves. He was too busy taking in his friend’s face. There were a few more scars here and there; he looked more tired than he had ever seen him. But he was there. He was alive, and he had saved Steve’s ass last night.

“I’ll be around…”

Maybe there was still some hope after all.  

Date: 2015-05-04 03:07 am (UTC)
blue_wonderer: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blue_wonderer
I LOVE the idea of Bucky vigilante-ing HYDRA and guardian angel-ing (shut up, don't be jealous of my mastery of the English language) Steve. Like, no matter how super Steve gets, he'll always need Bucky to watch his back. Bless their hearts, I want to hug them both. <3

Thanks for writing and sharing!

Date: 2015-05-21 06:20 pm (UTC)
nanslice: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nanslice
Bucky the guardian angel haunting Steve is one of my favorite things. I love this! Good job. :3

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