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Title: What Do You See?
Author: caitri
Rating: PG-13
Pairings: Steve/Tony, Bucky/Natasha
Word Count: 1237
Summary: A character study. Movieverse.
Disclaimer: I know this may come as a shock, but I am not, amazing as it may seem, Stan Lee, Avi Arad, or Marvel Pictures. Just so you know.
A/N: Trying to figure out how to write Bucky, and then this conversation sort of occurred to me, and, well. Can be read as taking place in the universe of Avengers Rampant though I’m not sure if it really is or not.

“I don’t get it, brother,” Bucky says when he catches that dopey look on Steve’s face again later. It’s kinda like that expression he used to have whenever he peeked at that photograph of Agent Carter he kept in his watch (and thought no one knew about, like Steve Rogers was ever able to keep his heart off his sleeve), but softer somehow. Happier. “What do you see in that guy?”

Tony Stark is all the way on the opposite end of the extensive gym he’s got in this mansion of his. He’s talking with ‘Talia—Natasha, Bucky reminds himself firmly, her name is Natasha now—and even though there’s no way in hell he could possibly hear them from over here, he looks up and gives them a little lift of the chin in acknowledgement, but his gaze never leaves Steve.

Steve smiles back, and looks even more contented if such a thing is possible. “You sap,” Bucky says, but he means it affectionately.

Steve shrugs and sits down on the bench with him, eyes and hands set on his task of applying all the safety straps and buckles on the protective gear for sparring. Bucky has even more stuff to put on than he does, but he’s gotten a head start while Steve was makin’ eyes at Stark. “Well what do you see?” Steve wants to know.

Bucky pauses in fixing his shin guards and looks at their teammates again. He has to work to take his eyes off of Natasha and her small, neat frame and those curves that are so sweetly outlined by her jogging bra and shorts. (And Christ, there’s some part of him that’s never going to get over seeing a dame in so close to her altogether with other fellas around, but there’s also that part of him that’s happy to sit back and take in the view, too.)

Stark, though. That guy had been a surprise—older now than his dad had been when Steve and he knew him. Bucky had disliked him at first—he was just too much, too slick and too abrasive, too talkative, too showy and flashy and…something he can’t name. Bucky doesn’t like him all that much now, but Steve says he loves the guy—and imagine that, Steve not only saying the l-word out loud and where other people can hear him, but saying it about a fella.

Man, that had thrown him for a loop, but SHIELD’s thrown enough stuff at him now that he knows that being a fairy is just like being a dame or a Negro—it don’t matter. And hell, he could’ve told ‘em as much, that was one thing you learned fast as hell in a firefight, didn’t matter if you was from Brooklyn or Iowa or London or the asscrack of the world: you always keep the back of the guys you’re with, just like they keep yours.

So he looks at Stark, desperately trying to see, maybe, that thing Steve sees, that makes him go all quiet and calm.

“Don’t kill yourself on my account, Bucky, geez,” Steve says. He sounds like he’s holding in a laugh. “When I asked what you saw I didn’t mean for it to turn into mental recon!”

“Smart ass punk,” Bucky says, and nudges him with his shoulder. “Okay, yeah, fine, I don’t see what you see. You tell me, Rogers. What’s the deal here?”

Steve pauses, one glove on and one off. “Well,” he says slowly, “I think the trick is that—I mean Tony’s Tony. And it’s like everyone sees him all the time, sees him in the papers and the TV and stuff on the Internet, but they don’t look any further than that.” Bucky must look as confused as he feels, so Steve turns to look at him full-on, his expression as wide and open as when he used to earnestly go on about joining up with the army, or even before that, when he was in art school and trying to explain the finer points of shading and light.

“So everyone sees the cars and the models and, yeah, the jumping on the tables in Congress.” Steve shakes his head like he can’t believe he’s saying this stuff either. “That was the stuff they even gave me in his file when we started the team. You know? So this is what I learn about him. I even watched that video when he first got back to Afghanistan and said he wasn’t going to make weapons anymore. And you know, that’s what people always forget, Buck—he lost more money than most people can even dream of doing that.”

“Like he misses it.” Bucky snorts, ‘cause yeah, that’s something else that he doesn’t know how to deal with, being surrounded by all of Stark’s stuff all the time—sleeping in a bed that even feels expensive and eating food all the way from China. (Steve says that’s normal now, but whatever, Bucky’s still that kid from Brooklyn with too many jobs and too many memories of the soup kitchens, thanks.) It makes him restless.

“He gave it up without a thought,” Steve says simply. “He was smart enough to figure out alternatives, to build other things, make a whole new cloth, right? But, I mean, who was to say that was the way it was gonna fall out, right? And he did it anyway, because it’s the right thing to do.” That tell-tale pink is creeping up Steve’s neck and cheeks now. “How can I not—” He breaks off, shaking his head, looking dopier than ever. “How can I not, Buck?”

And, okay, Steve’s got him there. Bucky should have known the little punk who never knew when to quit would always know the score, no matter who’s playing.

“Yeah, Steve. Knowing you, I got it.” He nudges Steve’s shoulder again, then hops up to start warming up. “I’m just sayin’,” and he nods at Natasha, “you don’t know what you’re missin’.”

“Uh huh.” Steve gets up too and starts doing stretches. “You ever going to tell me the whole story with her?”

“Nah.” Bucky smirks like he used to when he’d come back to their room early in the morning, lipstick on his collar and the scent of perfume all over.

“Jerk.” Steve said the same thing back then, too, every time.

Bucky’s not going to tell him the truth: how he thinks of those odd half-memories he still has, vague and tinged with—something that doesn’t feel right. He can hear Natalia’s voice in his memory, the Russian cadences like an old song half-remembered, and hell, how is it he can speak all these other languages but not even know how they got there?

A memory: Warm flesh and something silk, Natalia under him and the breeze from an open window. You shouldn’t be here. Like they could keep me out if I wanted…

It’s like a kick in the gut, palpable and almost as painful.

“Bucky?” Steve steadies him. “You okay?”

“Yeah,” Bucky lies. “Yeah—I think—I think. Yeah.” He shakes himself, putting whatever that was out of mind. He forces a grin and steps back, jogging in place. “C’mon, Rogers, we gonna do this or not?” He pounds his gloved hands together for emphasis. “Let’s do this thing!”

And they do. There’ll be time enough for more, later. Maybe.


( 18 comments — Add your .02 )
Feb. 8th, 2012 06:17 am (UTC)
Lovely! This is a wonderful portrait of all four of them.
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:52 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!!!
Feb. 8th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
I think we circle around each other in a strange race to get our Steve/Tony fics up. You're probably ahead right now, because I only have four stories, but it seems like we're always posting within two days of each other.

Stalkerish observation? You bet!

Loved the story. I haven't done much background on Bucky (so a movieverse kid *rolls eyes*) but I'd like to think that from the movie at the very least you got it down pretty good.
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:53 am (UTC)
*G*G*G*G*G*G* Thanks, bb!!!!!! <3
Feb. 8th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
I think this. I love character driven pieces so this was especially up my ally.
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:54 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!!!
Feb. 8th, 2012 01:18 pm (UTC)
Hmmm. I like it, but you're right, I'm not sure about the voice. It could just be that my only knowledge of Bucky comes from the movie and his bit in it didn't thrill me, but it does paint a lovely picture none the less.
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:56 am (UTC)

Part of my issue is that there was so little movie!Bucky, and I'm trying to elide him with the 616!Winter!Soldier!Bucky. So....working on it? And head!Bucky always has so much more of a New York accent than movie Bucky seems to...IDEK.
Feb. 10th, 2012 03:15 am (UTC)
Well, I've rewatched Captain America AND Iron Man after reading this, so you must be doing something right.

Feb. 10th, 2012 03:37 am (UTC)
ROFL. <3 Alrighty then!
Feb. 8th, 2012 02:02 pm (UTC)
What an interesting and effective Bucky! Nicely done thanks for sharing :D
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
*G* Glad you liked it!!!!
Feb. 8th, 2012 07:38 pm (UTC)
Oh man, poor Bucky. I'm glad he can be so understanding about Steve and Tony though.
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:57 am (UTC)
He's trying. ;)
Feb. 9th, 2012 11:30 pm (UTC)
Loved it! Loved Steve trying to explain and Bucky not entirely getting it.
Feb. 10th, 2012 02:58 am (UTC)
*G*G*G*G* Glad you liked it!!!!
Feb. 10th, 2012 03:03 pm (UTC)
Damn my flist! *shakes fist at you all*

I refuse to branch out... to go hunt for Steve/Tony fics. *wails*

I can't do another fandom!!!

Why? Why you gotta do this to me, bb?

Awesome, as was the prequel of this!
Feb. 10th, 2012 04:48 pm (UTC)
Because of Joss Whedon, bb. Because of Whedon. <3
( 18 comments — Add your .02 )

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