'Falcon and the Winter Soldier' Short: Tantrum
Another edition of the 'Downtime' series.
Gen; Friendship; Sam and Bucky, Zemo and Sharon Carter. Missing Scenes for TFATWS 1.03. Bucky Barnes doesn't trust or like people who don't have tempers. And Sam Wilson is the most even-keeled guy on the planet. Or is he?
Bucky cuts his eyes at Sam as John Walker, Steve’s shield on his back, smirks smugly, leaning on the police cruiser, the shield scratching its paint. It’s as if the vibranium itself is expressing its distaste in a metallic wail. Walker talks as if he knows them or even has any idea what he’s doing. As if carrying Steve’s shield annoits him with some God-given power.
True leaders don’t command respect, they earn it. Like Steve did when he rescued 100s of men from the clutches of Red Skull. Or when he stood up to Tony Stark.
Or when he stood up, broken and injured, ready to fight Thanos and his army on his own.
He doesn’t understand how Sam can be so calm, how he can suppress his anger. As the legacy Steve fought and died to create was tarnished and tossed around like a pigskin.
His teeth crack in an unpleasant reminder to unclench his jaw. He doesn’t trust or even like people who don’t have tempers. Even Steve was known to bust holes in walls or bust a few heads.
A nasty, bitter part of him wonders if Sam even cares. His determination not to take up the mantle makes absolutely no sense.
There’s no way to address this without screaming his throat bloody and ripping something off its hinges, which isn’t ideal on a good day, let alone on another transcontinental flight. Bucky tries the deep-breathing Dr. Raynor suggested. It doesn’t help but it also keeps him preoccupied and a little dizzy while they fly back to Berlin.
Snapping metal caging with his metal hand like popping bubble unnerves Sam, and that’s something.
Nothing aids in compartmentalization like an impromptu supermax prison-break, bounties on their heads, a few harrowing firefights, and going undercover as the Winter Soldier.
It’s easier to be a tool, someone else’s weapon and guard dog. Bucky doesn’t have to think or grieve or try to make his way in a world that’s even crazier than the bizarro versions they imagined as kids with 90 years of trauma on his soul and a metal arm he has to hide.
He should feel disgusted by slipping back into the Winter Soldier mindset, but oddly he’s grateful for the mental break.
Sharon Carter saves their asses from the bounty on their heads and whisks them away to her flat in Madipoor’s High Town.
Before they’re off the elevator, Sam, still clad in the Smiling Tiger’s garish African print suit, whizzes him in a blur of speed and a growl of rage, grabs Zemo by the throat and shoves him backwards. Furniture topples. A colorful, and most likely priceless blown glass sculpture shatters into worthless shards.
Zemo hits the wainscotted wall with a grunt of abused wood and a painful wheeze of breath.
There’s lightning and thunder in Sam’s eyes and a relentless grip on the Baron’s throat. “Consider this a reminder,” Sam seethes in a murderous whisper.
Bucky and Sharon share an amused look. It seems like Mr. Goodie-Two-Wings hasn’t enjoyed their descent into Madripoor’s underworld.
“You think you’re calling the shots, but you’re not. I know exactly who you and what you are. King-killer. And don’t let my acquiescence fool you. Serum or no serum, I’m still a soldier. I’m still a damn Avenger. Screw with Bucky’s head like that again, and you won’t even see it comin’.”
Bucky's entire body prickles with cold. With feeling.
This isn’t about Zemo’s butley trying to feed them rotten food or making comments about Sam’s race that even made the man from the 1940s wince at their ignorance. It’s not even about forcing Sam to pose as some kind of pimped-out mercenary. Sam is spittin’ mad because Bucky in the position of revisiting his murderous alter ego.
Zemo makes a move to escape Sam’s wrath. And Sam smoothly switches his grip so wrist and arm flexed, poised to snap. Zemo whimpers in Russian and finds himself face-first against the matte paint in an attempt to keep his arm intact. Bucky finally sees the soldier in Sam, and the bloodthirst that has to burn in order to be able to kill.
And it’s just as wrong as seeing John Walker wearing the shield.
Bucky taps Sam’s shoulder gently at first, and then tugs on his arm before Zemo says something stupid and Sam actually breaks it. As much as he hates him, they need Zemo. “All right, tough guy. Disengage. We’re taking a walk.”
It takes a moment of tug-o-war before Sam regains a bit of himself. He mutters something in Russian to something violent and horrifying enough to startle Bucky before he releases him. Zemo gapes, shaking out his arm, as he realizes Sam’s understood him the entire time.
Bucky walks Sam outside and leans against the door as he paces and rants out his anger.
Sam does have a temper, apparently. And it’s activated by the same thing that compelled Steve Rogers to lie on his military forms and submit to Erskin’s experiment: bullies.
“What are you smilin’ at?” Sam snaps as he snatches off the offensive suit jacket and flings it across the scant balcony. Even at night with a chill in the air, Madipoor is uncomfortably humid.
“You defended my honor,” Bucky grins.
It stops Sam in his tracks and he sputters in shock, eventually settling on an embarrassed chuckle. “I just needed an excuse to choke the guy.”
Something dawns on Bucky, and it slaughters the smile on his face. “Did Steve tell you to watch out for me? Is that why you put up with me?”
“Believe it or not, I can make my decisions all on my own. You’ve had enough tough breaks, man. I’m not going to let him mess with your mind like that.”
“I’m okay, Sam.”
“Well, I’m not. Not after seeing what he...the Winter Soldier was like…”
Bucky doesn’t know what to say to that. He’s more than a little touched by Sam’s fierce protection. And the fact that Steve didn’t bequeath the Avengers’ resident nutjob to Sam. “Do you drink? Sharon has some 52-year-old single malt.”
Sam turns mid-stride towards the apartment, and offers Bucky his fist to bump. “Hell yeah.”
It’d be easy to think that Sam’s rage has evaporated in the Madripoor heat, but Bucky knows it's stowed away in the recesses of his soul, where it’ll be unleashed during a nightmare or the next battle to save the world. Bucky taps his fist against Sam’s as they both realize they have one more (terrible) thing than Steve Rogers in common.
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