Tough Love

*I Started Writing This Before Civil War Came Out*

After finding Bucky in an abandoned warehouse with his arm stuck in a machine, Sam and Steve take him to Tony to get his arm fixed up. Almost immediately, the realize that fixing Bucky is going to be harder than they expected. He doesn't know who he is, can't do anything for himself, and barely talks. He see's Steve as his handler, which isn't how Steve wants to be seen.
Bucky slowly learns to trust Steve, talking more, and, eventually, he learns to love.

~OR~

Bucky is super fucked up and Steve just wants what's best for him.
(Cover art belongs to its owners, and cover made on the Moldiv app)

*Battle of the Fandoms Comics Entry*

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14. Chapter Thirteen

Steve's POV

Bucky's balance wasn't that great. When he first got up off the table, he nearly toppled over but I caught him and helped him stand straight.

At first, I just thought it was the drugs that were still sort of in his system and wearing off, but a few hours later I realized that his entire center of balance was off. His arm had weighed about forty-five pounds, so when he would walk, or stand up, he would automatically think all that weight was still there so he'd fall over or serious stumble. I spent most of the time of us moving with my arm around him, keeping him balanced.

Walking up and down the stairs was a slow process, but we got quicker and quicker with it each time.

At the beginning, Bucky had been terrified for me to touch him and would tense every time I wrapped my arm around his waist, but he was getting used to it; it was just taking time.

Sam had been calling to check in, and when I told him what happened, he had wanted to come and check up on Bucky, but I talked him out of it. Bucky hadn't really been talking since the time he was on morphine, and I wasn't going to push him into socializing.

He had been sleeping on my floor, and I knew that couldn't be comfortable, but I was too afraid to ask him to share my bed again after what happened last time.

We still haven't talked about it but since he didn't seem to want to talk at all, I avoided the subject.

I sat on the floor behind Bucky, putting the healing cream onto his shoulder. At first, he was flinching whenever I touched him to put on the cream, but by now, which was about the tenth time, he was leaning into my touch.

When I started putting the healing stuff on, I would just quickly wipe it on and rub it in before wrapping it up again. Now, I massaged what was left of his left shoulder and he would lean his head to the side so I could work on it better. He had knots upon knots upon knots in his shoulder and would stifle moans and sounds of pain as I worked on them.

"Steve," he said quietly and my hands stopped moving, but quickly started up again. This was the first time since the incident that he had spoken first.

"Yeah, Buck?" I responded.

"Do you think we could try sharing the bed again?" He asked and I tensed. "We don't have to have sex," he added quickly, "it's just that the floors uncomfortable and, like you said, the bed is big enough to for two people."

I smiled softly.

"Yeah, Buck," I said again. "We could try that."

Once I wrapped up his shoulder, we laid in bed, as far apart as the bed would allow."I'm not who I used to be, Steve," Bucky said after about twenty minutes of us laying in silence, "And I'll never be him again."

"Good," I responded, "Because I'm not who I used to be either."

~~~

Tony and Bruce showed up two days later with a brand new arm.

It weighed about fifteen pounds, was a shiny silver, and had my shield painted onto it where the red star had been on his last one.

Bucky loved it.

Right after Tony and Bruce attached it and hooked up the nerves and such, which took much much longer than when they took the arm off, Bucky had immediately started waving his arm around and smiling widely. It might've been the first time I'd seen him smile in weeks.

"Thank you," he said, sounding very genuine. "Thank you so much."

Bruce and Tony gave him a quick rundown of his arm. It was one hundred perfect water proof, had more sensors so it was almost like a real arm, was still strong enough to block a bullet and carry heavy loads, and how he could easily switch off the sensors so the arm just moves like normal but doesn't feel anything.

As soon as they left, Bucky turned to me, a smile still on his face.

"I like Bruce and Tony. They're nice," he told me and I grinned.

"Yes, they are."

~~~

When Bucky had come down for breakfast, he was wearing a long sleeve shirt that was only long sleeved on one side.

On the left side, the sleeve had been torn off, and he was proudly showing off his new arm.

"Looking good, Buck," I told him and he smiled.

"Thank you," he replied politely.

"You know," I told him, "You don't have to be so polite. You can just be like, 'Yeah, I know my arms amazing,' and that'll work too. You could even be like, 'Fuck yeah I do,' and that'd be okay."

Bucky looked confused. "You won't get mad?"

I shook my head. "I'd never get mad at you. You can say anything you want. You can do anything that you want."

"Can we try this conversation over?" Bucky asked hesitantly.

"Of course," I said, nodding. "Looking good, Buck," I repeated.

He smiled widely. "Fuck yeah I do." I chuckled and then he chuckled. It was a beautiful sound.

"You know, you used to swear quite a bit back in the day," I informed him and he paused for a second, thinking.

"If I remember correctly," he told me, "you were the one who taught me to swear, and how to swear in different languages."

He remembered something else, and I couldn't be happier. "I might've been the one to make you start, but you learned a wide verity on your own once you joined the army."

He froze and then looked me in the eyes. "I was in the army?" He asked slowly. I nodded and before I could start talking, he continued. "Like, you mean that as the Soldier, right? The Winter Soldier?"

I shook my head. "No, Buck. You were a soldier. With other men, who fought against the bad. Who fought against Hydra," I tried explaining.

"But why would I fight against my handlers?" He asked, eyebrows furrowing together. I could tell that he genuinely didn't understand.

"Because you didn't always have handlers," I told him. "You were once a free man, free to do anything. And that's what you are once again, Buck. You're free. You have no one to control you."

He looked at me like I was crazy. "But I like having a handler. I like having you as a handler, having you take care of me."

I sighed. "I don't have to be your handler to take care of you. I can be your friend," I explained. "But if it makes you happier or more comfortable to think of me as your handler, for now, you can, but you can't forever."

"Thank you," Bucky said and I shut my eyes and sighed again.

"Just remember," I said and opened my eyes, "you're free to say and do whatever you want. You don't have to ask permission to do anything. The kitchen is open to you, so is the tv, if you want to do something, just do it."

Bucky smiled at his new found 'freedom' that he's had for weeks now, but at least he's finally starting to understand it.

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