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Title: Rooted Sorrow
Author: Tabaqui
Fandom: Marvel Cinematic Universe/Captain America Cinematic Universe
Character/Pairing: Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes (pre-slash)
Rating: None/General
Warning(s): None
Word Count: 500

Part of the 'Solitude' series; all at AO3.
Beta'd by darkhavens

Recovery is not a straight line.

"They call it…pee tee ess dee now," Steve said, crouching down, one hand on the floor for balance. He ached, all over. "Post-traumatic...stress disorder. Stress...disorder. Like...like your cake fell."

Steve shifted a little, until he was on one hip, and then, carefully, slowly, he straightened his legs out. His right knee was swollen, pushing at the ripped fabric of his jeans, hot to the touch. He winced,leaning back against the wall.

"Remember - old Mr. Kenickie? We'd be playin' stick ball or something and get to shoutin' real loud...he'd come out yellin' at us to shut up…. Ma said he'd got half-buried in a trench with his boys...had to listen to 'em die all night. Shell shock, she called it."

Steve reached up to rub at a persistent tickle; his fingertips came away wet with blood. He wiped the blade of his hand back across his cheek and temple and then wiped the mess on his thigh.

"I remember how he always smelled like gin; how his eyes were always so…." Steve stopped and shook his head, just a little, putting that aside. "But see, now - they know so much more about it. There's stuff we can do. You've heard me, I know...I wake up yellin' too. But there's things...Sam's been helping me, a little. And I read a lot. And we just- we try things until we find something that works. 'Cause there is something that'll work, I promise you. We keep tryin' and we'll figure something out and...you'll be better."

Steve shifted a little, leaning forward and then back again, his shoulders throbbing. He just wanted to lay down, oh God, he wanted to sleep. "We'll figure something out, Bucky. Swear to God and all the saints...this ain't forever. I swear, it's not forever."

In the corner, Bucky sat with his knees drawn up and fallen sideways, against the wall. The fingers of his right hand were caught in the hem of his t-shirt, twisting and stretching the ragged cloth. He was staring sightlessly out through lank strands of plaster-dusted hair. His lips moved a little as he talked to himself, something Steve couldn't hear, maybe not English. His face was streaked with blood, and dust, and tears.

Steve watched him for a long moment, aching to reach out, to gather Bucky close and just hold on. Hold tight. "We just need to take a rest, and then we'll start fresh in the morning, okay, Buck? We'll just take a rest. Maybe get somethin' to eat."

Bucky didn't move, didn't acknowledge that Steve had spoken, and Steve let his head fall back against the shattered wall behind him, trying to ignore the pounding in his head. He could feel tears threatening, his eyes stinging, and he was just so tired. Too tired to stop them. They tracked slowly down his cheeks, cutting clean paths in the dust and blood on his face.

"It'll be better in the morning, honey, you'll see. Better in the morning, I promise."


( 8 — Comment )
Nov. 13th, 2016 02:56 am (UTC)
{{{smishes them both}}}

Lovely, and sad, and hopeful.
Nov. 13th, 2016 03:00 am (UTC)
Thanks, bb.
Nov. 13th, 2016 03:46 am (UTC)
Newcomer to this series, agreeing with the comments by darkhavens, and planning to read the rest of the series after the demands of holiday-time fic writing.
Nov. 13th, 2016 03:49 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
I hope you enjoy the rest. :)
Nov. 13th, 2016 01:38 pm (UTC)
Ouch, that was beautiful.
Nov. 13th, 2016 03:55 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Nov. 13th, 2016 04:16 pm (UTC)
love love love this. So wonderfully painful and beautiful. <3

*luffs hard*
Nov. 13th, 2016 04:58 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you, bb. :)
( 8 — Comment )


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