Winter Sunlight

The Sam & Bucky fic: an assortment of things

Here's a little grab bag of some extra stuff that goes with the fic I just posted.

First of all, for the last chapter I was trying to figure out what the generator room of a secret underground HYDRA base would actually look like (seriously, I swear THE big source of delays on the last couple of chapters was trying to figure out how a secret underground bad guy base would be constructed, probably in more detail than actual TV show/movie show writers generally do) and I came across this really cool page on the power station at the Amundsen-Scott base at the South Pole. At least, I thought it was interesting! I started out patterning the HYDRA power plant after this one, although as you'll notice if you read the story, it ended up taking a somewhat different turn.

Second - the fic actually started out very different. I started writing it for a prompt at avengersgen last May, for Sam getting Bucky out of trouble. Originally I had imagined it as some kind of "5 Times Sam Saved Bucky" fic, or something along those lines, but I wrote this little tossed-off bit about Sam catching Bucky after he fell out of a plane, and then I thought "OKAY ACTUALLY I WANT TO WRITE THAT FIC", and then 32K words of fic happened. XD But I did actually start writing the other one. So here's about 800 words of the fic it almost was, but didn't turn out to be. It's still tempting to turn this into an actual fic, but I don't really have a plot, so mainly it's just some plotless speculating on how Sam and Bucky would work together in the field.

Sam still can't quite wrap his mind around the fact that he's an Avenger now. He's not a superhero. He's a soldier with a rocket pack. Except ... apparently quite a few people disagree with that.

Like his partner, for example.


The Avengers aren't really well organized enough to have regular, established partners like, say, cops, but the more they work together, the more everyone starts to fall into particular patterns of behavior. It's just easier than having to say, "Okay, Natasha, are you with Steve or Clint this time? or maybe Thor?" every single time they go out.

When Bucky first started going out in the field, everyone assumed he'd team up with Steve. It hasn't really worked out that way, though. The issue is that Steve and Bucky's skill sets don't actually complement each other all that well. They're either both doing the exact same things and getting in each other's way, or Bucky hangs back and covers everybody with a sniper rifle while Steve charges into the nearest burning building or exploding HYDRA facility. Eventually everyone figures out that it makes more sense to split up the two supersoldiers and team them up with people who aren't extra fast and capable of punching through walls. And putting Bucky, the sniper who frequently ends up on top of (and getting blasted off of) high places, with Sam, the guy who has wings, is entirely logical.

(Clint is obviously the other option, but Clint usually prefers to work either with Natasha, or go off alone and do the commando-type things he's been trained for.)

And Sam's a little unnerved at how well he and Bucky work together. Bucky's terrible at communicating but he's good at reading a situation and making snap decisions, and Sam's pretty laid back with a good skill set for reading people (such as figuring out what his uncommunicative partner is going to do next), and somehow it works. Sam's not quite sure why they click like they do or how this stupid kid who ripped his wings off ended up being on the short list of people he'd take a bullet for.

Unfortunately, he also learns that Bucky is even worse than Steve when it comes to making absolutely insane split-second decisions. Steve at least is predictable; his annoying lack of self-preservation engages in certain types of situations and in certain ways. Bucky, though ... Sam literally never knows what his partner is going to do. Sometimes Bucky hangs back, thinks things through, and actually comes up with some pretty good plans. Other times ... not so much. He'll throw himself into the middle of things with absolutely no regard for his own skin -- or anyone else's. Sometimes he gets in the way of Clint's arrows or Hulk's fists; he can't always seem to remember that he's not working alone anymore. Sometimes he just disappears without telling Sam what he's up to (okay, that happens a lot) and turns up later, singed and bloody with all the hostages or the glowy crystal that was making people lose it or whatever.

He's a terrifying one-man army with the common sense of a mushroom. Granted, that could apply to most of Sam's teammates (though not all of them: "Thank God you have a functional brain," he's moaned to both Natasha and Bruce on separate occasions). But Bucky is the one he's customarily saddled with.

He finally snaps after an incident in which Bucky takes out the baddie who's about to shoot Natasha in a cargo plane careening earthward -- by throwing himself at said baddie and knocking both of them out of the open door, twelve thousand feet in the air.

Sam dives after them. This altitude is right at the top of his flight range without oxygen equipment, but he is, at least, in the right place at the right time.

"Nice catch," is all Bucky says as they drop earthward. The bad guy is too shell-shocked to do anything, even when Sam drops him to the ground from about twenty feet up. Then Sam drops Bucky on top of him, because they both deserve it.

He doesn't stop shaking for hours.

When the team rendezvouses at a restaurant afterwards -- exhausted and sporting a few new bandages, as usual -- Sam brings an Office Max bag with him. He took a detour.

[something else here]

"No, I hope it'll help you remember that you're not working alone anymore, and if you go throwing yourself at trouble, some handsome devil in a wingsuit -- that's me, by the way --"

"Figured that out, yes."

"-- has to risk his ass pulling your ass out of it."

It sounds better if he makes it sound like it's himself he's worried about. But that goes with the territory; he's been resigned for a long time to the fact that every mission might be his last. (Superheroes survive. Superheroes come back from the dead. Soldiers don't -- just ask Riley -- and somewhere deep down Sam's pretty sure he's the latter, not the former.)

No, the thing he can't say, won't say, is that he already watched one partner die in a fireball in front of him, and he's not sure if he can survive watching it again.

And that's as far as I ever got with that.

The other thing I wanted to post is something I just pasted into a comment over on the fic at AO3, and I thought, why not repost it here as well? I tend to write out of order, and one of the early scenes I wrote was a reunion scene that got cut because the plot went a different way. Deets under the cut so I don't spoil my own fic.

I originally wrote a reunion between Steve, Sam, and Bucky on the shore of the lake, just after the helicarrier arrives. Unfortunately, by the time I got to that point, it'd become fairly obvious to me that they were both in such terrible shape that the scene just wouldn't work as written, so I decided to move the reunion to the helicarrier's med bay. I hated to lose this, though, because you get much more of a sense of Steve's desperation here than in the final version, when he's already had time to work through some of his immediate emotions before Sam sees him. (Also, hugging.)


Steve dropped a hand onto Sam's shoulder, reached for Bucky like a drowning man groping for a life preserver and then stopped with his fingers a few inches from Bucky's shoulder. "Touch okay?" he asked hopefully. Bucky gave a small, tight nod, and that was all the encouragement Steve needed to wrap an arm around Bucky and drag him into a desperate yet careful hug. Steve slid his other arm beneath Sam's shoulders, pulled Sam into his other side, and just clung to them both for a moment.

"Hey, man, it's all right," Sam said, awkwardly patting his back. "I'm all right. We're all right."

"I know," Steve said, muffled. "I know that now."

"How the hell did you get here so fast, anyway?" Sam asked, since Steve didn't seem likely to let go of them anytime soon without being given something else to focus on.

Steve cleared his throat and recovered a bit of composure, as well as some personal space. He still had a hand on Bucky's arm, which Bucky, uncharacteristically, made no move to shake off. "We were in the area already. Nat got some good intel from our prisoners, so we knew there was a HYDRA base around here, just not where it was?"

"They're okay?" Sam asked. He hadn't even been aware of the tight knot in his chest until it eased. "Natasha and Sharon?"

"They're fine." Steve gave him a shove that was only half playful. "You're the ones everyone's been worried about."


(The final version is at the end of the fourth chapter.

I also have some thoughts about how this story was or wasn't jossed by Age of Ultron, but I'll put those in a separate post so people who are avoiding spoilers won't be spoiled.

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