?

Log in

No account? Create an account
do i dare or do i dare? [userpic]

Captain America fic: Five Times Steve Begged Bucky (And One Time Bucky Obliged)

December 27th, 2017 (07:10 am)
apathetic

feeling: apathetic

Title: Five Times Steve Begged Bucky (And One Time Bucky Obliged)

Disclaimer: Nothing is mine.

A/N: Written for kristen_mara. Thank you for another year of friendship! I hope you had a lovely holiday and that 2018 is excellent. Fills my begging square for hc_bingo.

Pairing: Steve/Bucky

Summary: Steve had spent so much of his life looking for a cause to fight for. Bucky had found his when he was 12 years old.



-o-

One.

Danny McAlistair was a bully.

That was the short of it.

He was a head taller than all the other kids, and he was slightly overweight in that way that made him especially imposing. Some kids used their stature just to pick on other kids. Danny McAlistair used his to back up his threats.

Steve had been on the receiving end more than once.

But today Danny McAlistair had picked on Kenneth Dalton, the skinny little Irish kid who had moved in just a few months ago. He spoke with a heavy accent and smell sort of funny, and he didn’t have a penny to his name most days, so the one day he did, Danny McAlistair decided to take it from him.

Kenneth had been crying, and Steve had been ready to charge in, stand the ground that everyone else seemed really content to give. But when he started to move forward, another imposing figure had stood in his way.

Steve, being Steve, stepped around the figure, but it simply moved to intercept him again. Glaring, Steve huffed, trying to push the figure aside, but it was bigger than he was; unyiielding.

“You’re not going.”

The declaration was calm and reasonable, as if a little kid hadn’t just been shoved into a snow-covered bush on the Brooklyn streetside.

“Yes, I am,” Steve said, moving forward again.

This time, he was stopped, corralled by a strong grip. “There’s no point.”

Across the street, Danny McAlistair was cackling, flipping his new penny in the air while Kenneth skittered down the street crying.

Glaring up, Steve gave Bucky a shove. “I could have stopped it,” he insisted.

His best friend gave him a long suffering sigh, that went well beyond his years. “Danny would have just beat you up, too.”

“Someone has to try,” Steve said with a sharp look at Bucky. Bucky was a head taller than him, too, and built much sturdier. He’d never tried to beat Steve up, but he had a tendency to stand in his way from time to time. “Or it’ll just happen again.”

Bucky seemed to think that the situation was now diffused, now that Kenneth was around the corner and McAlistair was stalking his way down the street again.

Smart as Bucky was, he was also pretty dumb.

Steve set off again, darting around his friend. “Hey!” he called. “Hey!”

McAlistair turned, just as Bucky grabbed Steve about the collar and hauled him back. Before McAlistair could get a good look, Bucky shoved Steve into an alley, thumping him against the wall.

Steve grunted, dismayed. “What are you doing?”

“Stopping you from getting beat up,” Bucky told him, glaring down his nose at Steve. “Again.”

Steve puffed up his chest. “What’s it to you?”

Bucky looked somewhat incredulous. “I’m your friend,” he said. “And I’m tired of cleaning up after you. Somehow all your fights become mine.”

“I’m not making you,” Steve told him with a glower. “But you can’t stop me.”

He started to move again, trying to duck under Bucky’s arm. But Bucky anticipated the move, catching him neatly and using his forearm to hold Steve against the wall. “Actually,” he said with a smirk. “I think I can.”

This wasn’t usually how it went, and Steve thrashed against the hold, trying to get himself loose. But Bucky had at least 20 pounds on him, and Steve had no leverage and no chance at all.

“Let me go,” he said, kicking one leg at Bucky’s shin. “Let me go!”

“Not until you promise you’re not going to go pick a fight with the biggest kid in our school,” Bucky said, apparently unmoved.

Steve tried to wrench Bucky’s hand away. “You have to let me go!”

His frustration was rising now, peaking in a way that it usually didn’t. Steve was used to being the smallest, and he was used to being manhandled by, well, everyone.

Everyone else.

Not Bucky.

Gritting his teeth, he growled at his best friend. “You have to let me go!”

“Not until you start thinking with your head!” Bucky said, half shouting in Steve’s face. “I know you mean well, but you won’t teach Danny anything by letting him give you a bloody nose.”

Steve kicked again, twisting desperately. “Let me go,” he said, a hint of a whine in his voice now. He looked up at Bucky imploringly. “You’ve got to let me go.”

Bucky wavered, something uncertain flickering in his expression. His grip loosened just for a second.

And Steve responded in kind, fighting with new vigor.

Equally frustrated, Bucky tightened his grip again, pushing Steve against the wall a little harder. “I can’t carry you home again,” he seethed. “I can’t.”

Steve liked to think of himself as a crusader for justice. Nevermind that his sense of justice expanded well beyond the scope of his control. He’d always thought the consequences were his and his alone, but he was started to wonder if he’d been wrong about that.

Because the look on Bucky’s face was something else entirely.

What it meant, Steve wasn’t sure. He was 12 years old, after all, and he’d spent his whole life walking the same crappy Brooklyn streets, looking for ways to make the world a better place. It had been easy to take Bucky for granted, walking next to him.

Not so easy anymore.

Squirming, Steve felt tears burn in his eyes. “Please, Buck,” he said, almost begging now. “You have to let me go.”

“It’s already over,” Bucky told him pointedly, keeping his fingers taut.

That just made it worse. He thought about Kenneth, hiding his face from his mother back at home so he didn’t have to tell her what happened to the penny. He thought about Danny, buying candy he didn’t deserve with the money he’d pilfered.

The idea of it made him so mad that he wanted to scream. “Bucky, Please,” he pleaded in earnest now. “You have to let me try.”

“No,” Bucky said, voice against Steve’s ear almost in apology. “I don’t.”

When Bucky finally let him go a few minutes later, Steve felt the tension coil inside of him. His fingers squeezed into fist, the way it always did in the face of what he deemed to be injustice.

But this wasn’t a bully; it was his best friend.

With a sigh of resignation, Bucky nodded down the alley. “Come on,” he said. “You can eat dinner at my place tonight.”

Steve didn’t say anything as Bucky started off back toward the street.

He didn’t have to.

Steve followed him, shoulders squared but fingers relaxed, all the way back home.

Two.

Steve had been nothing if not deferential to all the soldiers going off to the war. No matter who they had been in their previous years, Steve chose to honor their sacrifice in all possible ways.

All of them, except one.

It hadn’t been easy when Bucky got his notice. While Bucky’s family grieved at the possibility of losing him, Steve found himself bridling with unseemly jealousy.

It wasn’t something he was particularly proud of, but it was also getting increasingly difficult for him to suppressed. Around everyone else, he had to put on a happy smile and be respectful.

Bucky was his best friend, though.

And Steve hated that, for the first time in his life, where Bucky went, Steve really couldn’t follow.

True, Bucky had been dissuading him from following after him for most of their lives together, but that didn’t mean that Steve had ever listened. He had grown quite accustomed to defying Bucky, but he didn’t have the ability to defy the American government.

Especially not if he wanted to serve it.

“Take me with you,” he said anyway, well aware how stupid it sounded.

Bucky, for his part, didn’t look surprised. He shook his head, taking a sip of his drink. “You know I can’t.”

Steve sat forward, leaning across the diner table where they were sharing breakfast. Bucky was one week out from deployment, and he had insisted on enjoying all their favorite haunts before he left. Steve supposed this was sentimental, and he would do it for Bucky’s sake.

Which was why, in turn, he wanted something in return. “I don’t mean you need to smuggle me in your bag or anything,” he said, as if that made it somehow more reasonable.

Bucky chuckled. “You’d probably fit.”

Steve didn’t indulge him with a laugh. “I mean, take me to the recruiter’s office.”

Bucky’s own smile faded as his shoulders slumped. They hadn’t had this particular conversation before, but they’d had enough in the same vein for Bucky to recognize where this was going. “That’s not how it works.”

“You could give me a personal endorsement,” Steve continued, voice gaining momentum. “Tell them that all that stuff they count against me doesn’t actually matter.”

Bucky pressed his lips together quizzically. “It does matter--”

“I’d be a great recruit!” Steve enthused.

“You’d never make it through basic training,” Bucky countered.

“And I’d be the model soldier,” Steve continued, unabated.

“The disease in the trenches? You wouldn’t stand a chance,” Bucky pointed out.

Steve, however, was utterly undeterred. “I could do this,” he vowed. “You just have to tell them.”

It was, perhaps, a little naive.

In actuality, however, it was just desperate.

Steve needed to go over there. He had to play his part, do his duty. He couldn’t let everyone else fight this fight, not when he had two willing fists and the desire to serve.

Bucky looked back at him, more wearily than ever. He shook his head. “I agree with them,” he said. “Every denial you’ve gotten has been made for the right reasons.”

Steve bristled. “But you know that’s not the whole story,” he protested. “I know I’m small; I know I get sick easily. But I want to do this. It’s not like there’s anyone who’s going to blame them if I don’t come home.”

At this, Bucky scoffed, his brow creasing for a moment. Then he composed himself, shaking his head. “I’m not doing it, Steve.”

“Bucky, please,” Steve said, leaning even further forward across the table as he let his voice drop. “I can’t be left behind. Not anymore.”

“It’s not my decision to make,” Bucky insisted.

Steve felt his face flush red. “But you’re the only one who can possibly help!” he said. “You have to do this for me.”

“I have to help you get yourself killed?”

Steve’s gaze hardened. “You have to help me serve in the way that I was meant to serve.”

Bucky shook his head again. “You’re being ridiculous.”

“And you’re being selfish!” Steve retorted. “You have to do this for me! Please!”

His raised voice attracted a few glances from around the diner, and Bucky shifted in his seat self consciously as he leaned closer to Steve. “I am doing this for you.”

“Just give me a chance,” he said, pleading now. “If you give me a chance, then maybe they will, too.”

“You’re my best friend, Steve,” Bucky said. “Why would I want to do that?”


“Because it’s what I want,” Steve said.

At that, Bucky gave a long, familiar sigh. “You can beg all you want,” he said, motioning for the waitress to get the check. “But I’m beholden to the American government now. I’m not about to go against them.”

“Not even for me?” Steve asked.

Bucky accepted the check with a smile to the waitress before he turned his eyes back to Steve. “Not even for you,” he said, getting out a few bills and lying them on the table. “Now, come on.”

Steve sat sullenly while Bucky edged his way out of the booth.

On his feet, Bucky gave him a slight shrug. “Are you going to spend my last week as a free man pouting?”


“Maybe,” Steve said, more than a little dejected. “Will it work?”

“No,” Bucky told him.

With a sigh of his own, Steve slid out of the booth. “You can’t blame me for trying,” he said.

Bucky smirked. “And you can’t blame me for ignoring you every time.”

It was true, Steve couldn’t.

Even if he really wanted to.

Three.

Steve always took the impossible missions, the ones that they said couldn’t be done. He took the ones with too much risk, too little reward; the ones that everyone wrote off as lost causes.

He did this for the greater good, for the innocent people dying, for the innocent civilians who were inexorably caught in the worst crossfire of the ages. And he did it without complaint, asking for nothing in return.

This time, however, he asked for just one thing.

Just one, small, impossible thing.

The thing was, the brass granted it to him. His team followed him. Peggy was by his side the whole time.

But scouring the snow-laden valleys of Germany, there was still one person who would not comply with what he thought to be a very reasonable request.

“Bucky, where the hell are you?” he asked, staring out over the latest expanse he’d marked for recovery. He had taken the team to scout the area, marking a full grid pattern where he estimated that Bucky had fell just a week earlier. It was a large area, and he had purposefully expanded it to include the local areas, in case Bucky had managed to move and find some kind of shelter.

Optimistic, he had been called.

But Steve was as he always had been: desperate.

“Come on, Buck,” he pleaded, scanning the edges of the snow tipped mountains. He can see the train tracks above, and the unmarred surface of the snow. The others were spread out in a search pattern, casing the towns and the caves in the foothills. This task, exploring the vast valley, he had left for himself. “You got to give me something.”

There was nothing, though. A week had passed, and even if there had been signs of life
-- or worse -- it had been lost in fresh snowfall and the winds sweeping through the valley. Looking for a needle in a haystack would have been harder, sure.

The task before him was still worse.

“Anything,” Steve implored, shaking his head as the sun struggled to shine behind the heavy clouds. The cold was biting against his skin, and even with his enhanced body, he could feel the chill as it settled deep into his bones. “I don’t want to leave you behind.”

It was ironic, of course. Steve leaving Bucky behind. His entire life he’d trailed after Bucky. Bucky who was stronger and better looking. Bucky who never got sick and who could fight off the bullies that Steve could never quite beat. Bucky who went to war when he never wanted to.

Bucky, who Steve didn’t want to admit might not be coming home.

The emotion churned inside him, and he felt himself start to break. He was the bigger one now. He was stronger and more capable. He’d have to make an effort to die, and the army asked him to do all the impossible missions.

But this one?

The one that mattered to him most?

Was the one he was starting to doubt he could finish.

“I know you’ve got to be here somewhere,” he said, trying to keep his voice light. It wavered with tears, which he choked back with some effort. “I know I’ve got a lot of clout now, but I’ve already taken a week, Buck. They’re not going to give me forever.”

The fact was that Steve had exhausted himself and his team this last week. He combed every inch of the main search zone, and he’d ordered the others to scan all the surrounding areas twice. It had been impossible to precisely pinpoint where the accident had occurred, but Steve had already expanded his generous search area -- twice.

If Bucky had been able to move on his own after falling, they would have found him.

If he hadn’t….

He swallowed, harder than before.

Not even a super soldier could plow the entire valley. In this much snow, with this much cold….

He closed his eyes against the tears this time.

Sighing heavily, he opened them again. “Please,” he said. “Don’t make me leave you here. Don’t make me go home and give your mother a flag. Don’t.”

Bucky had been the one who had understood the risks, far better than Steve. He’d been the one with the common sense to dread the battlefield. Steve had always been so convinced that the sacrifice had been worth it, and when it was his own measly life, it hadn’t been a problem.

But when it was Bucky’s.

“You can’t do this to me,” he begged, barely holding back the sob now. “You can’t do this to me.”

Steve had never been inherently selfish, but he was a man who’d given up his entire life for the greater good. The only thing he wanted, the only thing he ever asked for, was this.

The tears were falling now, almost like crystals on his chapped cheeks. “I can’t do this, not without you,” Steve begged. “Please.”

There was no answer, of course, except the howling of the wind across the empty plane. He’d held it together pretty well over the last week, focusing his energies on completing the job and recovering what he could. In fact, he’d been downright optimistic, telling the others that he expected to come back with definitive evidence.

He’d speculated that even at that height, the snow would provide a cushion. And people had survived crazier stuff. He’d told them that they had every reason to hope, that he didn’t intend to leave his best friend behind.

He already had, though.

He’d let Bucky fall, right through his fingers.

Bucky was gone.

All that was left was for Steve to go back to base, make if official and write the letter to Bucky’s mother himself so they could bury an empty casket in full military honors.

He’d always hated the times that Bucky told him no.

This time, he hated the silence even more.

Four.

Steve was a soldier, had been for what seemed like forever. Even before he’d joined the army, he’d always been fighting.

Here, face to face with Bucky, he was all out of fight.

He dropped his fists; he lowered his shield.

And he used the only weapons he had left.

“Bucky, please,” he said, more plaintively than before. He was too tired to be desperate, too weary to be hysterical. “I’m not going to fight you.”

Bucky’s face tightened, and his entire body was tense as he stood ready at the opposition. He refused to speak, and though he was poised to kill, he still didn’t move in his unyielding stance.

In the past, he’d fought and raged against Bucky. He’d cried and pleaded.

But that wasn’t the only way to beg.

Sometimes, all it took was empty hands, a full heart.

And a simple request.

Bucky’s face flushed, and his breathing hitched slightly.

“You have to know who I am,” he said, as if the truth could be that self evident. “Please.”

Bucky’s eyes narrowed, and he made his move.

Later, when Steve woke up on the banks of the river, battered, broken and alive, he blinked away the pain and came to the realization of what had happened.

The Winter Soldier had tried to kill him. Indeed, it was the Winter Soldier who’d stalked away, leaving him on his own on the riverbank.

But it was Bucky who’d pulled him from the water.

All these years Steve had been pleading.

This was the closest Bucky had ever come to saying yes.

Five.

It was the beginning all over again.

Just Steve and Bucky, in the aftermath of a fight. Only this time, Steve wasn’t asking to go back. No, this time he was asking Bucky to stay.

“You don’t need to do this,” Steve reasoned. They were eating at a private apartment in Wakanda. T’Challa had been pretty generous, offering them much more than sanctuary after things went south with Tony. They’d been holed up for the better part of a week, which probably sounded like misery to some people. For Steve, however, it had been the best week of his life.

Just him and Bucky.

Steve had spent most of his life looking for a cause to fight for.

Now he just wanted one to lay down arms for.

“I mean, here? In Wakanda? I feel safer around T’Challa’s people than all of Tony’s tech combined. They’ve got the science and the power and--”

Bucky shook his head in resignation. Steve had made arrangement to procure as much of Bucky’s favorite foods as he could remember, but there was still so much of Bucky that was the Winter Soldier. More than Steve wanted to admit.

“It’s just not a good idea,” Bucky said, pushing food around his plate again. It was mostly untouched.

“You did fine on your own,” Steve pointed out.

Bucky gave him a look, telling Steve that he knew better. “Until someone figured out where I was,” he said. “And then I was triggered, and you saw what happened.”

“Sure, but no one will find you here,” Steve said. He gestured to the view out the window, where the sequestered forest grounds sprawled before them. “And besides, this time you’re not alone.”

Bucky half flinched. “That makes it worse.”

Steve sighed. “It’s a risk I’m willing to take.”

“And it’s not one I’m willing to take,” Bucky replied staunchly, raising his eyes in quiet defiance to Steve’s.

There was something in that, something unspoken. Something they had never spoken, not in all their years together. It was something they had both understood, implicitly. It was why Bucky hadn’t let Steve get himself beat up. It was why he hadn’t helped him join the army.

It was why the Winter Soldier, despite all his training and confusion and programming, had dragged Steve out of the water in DC.

Steve had spent so much of his life looking for a cause to fight for.

Bucky had found his when he was 12 years old.

The realization was hard, and Steve’s throat was too tight to speak.

Bucky shook his head. “Cryo’s the only option,” he said. “Until T’Challa’s science team comes up with some way to reverse the programming, it’s the only way to keep everyone around me safe.”


Gritting his teeth together, Steve couldn’t hide how much it hurt to hear. “You don’t have to do this,” he said again, measuring his words carefully in an attempt to keep his emotions under control.

“I do, though,” Bucky said with even more confident now.

“Bucky, please,” Steve said, voice dropping low. “Please, don’t do this. I just got you back, and--”

He faltered, the emotion overtaking him anyway.

Across the table, Bucky was unmoved. It was not a choice he was making without reason. It wasn’t a choice he was making without regret. But it was a choice he wasn’t going to yield. Steve could tell. He’d asked Bucky for many things in their years together, and while Bucky had been a good friend, he knew how to make his lines not in the sand -- but in the ore of the earth itself.

“I’m sorry, Steve,” Bucky told him resolutely.

“Bucky,” he said, almost unable to form the words now. “We can work something out--”

But Bucky’s expression was stolid. Steve knew it; it was the same one he’d used in the alleyway when they were 12. It was the one he’d had when he refused to help Steve join the army. It was the frozen certainty of a field of snow in Germany, and it was the quiet reality of waking up alone on the riverbank after the fall of shield.

Sometimes, Bucky had used his strength to keep Steve at bay.

Now, all he needed was the clarity of his eyes.

And the plaintive tone of his words.

“I’m doing it,” he said flatly. “I’ve already had T’Challa make the arrangements. By this time tomorrow….”

Steve felt gutted, and when the tears burned down his cheeks, he didn’t try to stop them. “Please,” he begged, voice almost gone now. “Please, don’t do this, Bucky.”

Begging, pleading, imploring.

Beginnings were just endings.

And Steve had always been really good at endings.

And One Time Bucky Obliged

Steve had one last battle to fight.

If anyone asked him, he would inform them that the fight was to restore Bucky’s sanity, to undo the programming that had stolen his free will and finally let his friends live the freedom and peace he so richly deserved.

And that much, Steve did. It was a hard battle, harder than the Nazis or Hydra or any of the rest. Steve had to defend against those who would use Bucky for their own purposes; he had to take a stand against the establishment that seemed too willing to use Bucky as a scapegoat. And he had to fight the very programming in Bucky’s head, the code that had robbed Bucky -- and, by extension, Steve -- of everything.

But now that it was done, now that Bucky was awake and free and living openly without fear of his own demons, Steve found himself dissatisfied.

On their own, Bucky had accepted his newfound freedom with a tentative sort of joy. He’d stayed close to Steve, and Steve had offered Bucky anything and everything, except the one thing he wanted.

Sometimes he thought that Bucky might feel the same way. Sometimes he thought all he had to do was ask, and Bucky would grant him this.

For the first time in Steve’s life, however, this was a fight he was going to run away from.

At dinner one night, six months after Bucky woke up from cryo and their lives had been restored, he smiled at Steve across the table. They were still living in Wakanda, though they had moved to a private home off the palace grounds. It had been a gift from T’Challa, and though they weren’t on any official watch list anymore, it was still close enough to provide protection if needed.

That wasn’t why they’d stayed, however.

Steve had grown quite fond of Wakanda.

Bucky, however, had grown quite fond of Steve.

“You can ask me, you know,” Bucky ventured as they ate their salads.

Steve took a bite of spinach and kale with a quizzical look. “Ask you what?”

Bucky gave him a look. He was still guarded; he could still be tense; but Bucky had regained some of his humor since waking up. “The question you’ve been dying to ask me for years now.”

Steve raised his eyebrows, willfully obtuse. “If this is about leaving dishes in the sink, then--”

Bucky rolled his eyes. “Steve.”

“I know you will wash them eventually, but it attracts gnats and--”

Bucky reached across the table, his human hand settling lightly on Steve’s.

Steve stopped, looking up at Bucky and seeing him. Not for the first time or anything.

But with the realization that had been missing.

His stomach churned; his heart skipped a beat.

“Ask me,” Bucky said, more forceful this time, even as his voice dropped.

Steve licked dry lips. “I don’t...I mean…”

Bucky slid out of his chair, hand still gripped tight around Steve’s. He eased into the chair next to Steve, pulling it closer still. “I know you want to ask me.”

Steve’s mind raced. He thought of a thousand things. He thought about asking what it felt like to fall, plummeting from so high with no hope of survival. But then, Steve already knows what that’s like.

Ice seems to drop down his spine and his feet feel numb with cold.

Bucky was intent, his fingers tightening. “Ask me.”

Swallowing, Steve looked for one last out.

But with Bucky’s face mere inches from his own, there was nowhere to go. True, he was a fair match for Bucky now, but the fight was gone. The fight was lost.

He twitched, not sure what to feel. Emotion bubbled deep within him as he looked into Bucky’s unyielding gaze.

Or maybe the fight was won.

Steve took a short, convulsive breath. “Bucky,” he said, voice straining to be heard. “Please.”

That was all he had; mercy was his last recourse.

Bucky’s grip was a vice now, and he shook his head.

Steve felt the uncontrollable urge to sob, but he kept his wits about him. Trembling, he looked pleadingly up at Bucky. “Please,” he begged, softer still, more desperate than he’d ever been.

They were practically nose to nose now, so that Steve could feel Bucky’s breath on his cheek, smell his scent in his nostrils. “Ask me.”

Steve broke, as he always did when it came to Bucky. “Please, Bucky,” he begged. “Please, kiss me.”

It was a horrible sort of thing to be that vulnerable. It was terrifying and unsettling.

But then Bucky smiled.

He released his grip

Leaning forward, he whispered the words into Steve’s ear. “Okay.”

That was all he had to say before he obliged Steve’s request.

And all the rest to come.

Comments

Posted by: kristen_mara (kristen_mara)
Posted at: January 7th, 2018 08:27 pm (UTC)


Well, I love the title ;) Thanks so much for writing Stucky for me and for giving them a happy ending. I like how and when Steve and Bucky both find their causes, and Steve’s thoughts about consequences and his sense of justice and how he tried to deal with Bucky going off to the war.

I’m glad that Steve did get to search the valley for Bucky, even if he didn’t find him. So angsty as he searches day after day… And intriguing situations for each time that Steve begs Bucky (I have a feeling that Bucky snuck his own penny to Kenneth as soon as he could, without letting Steve know).

Yay for them getting to rest and recover together and Steve getting to be happy and lay down arms.

1 Read Comments