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capkinkmod ([personal profile] capkinkmod) wrote in [community profile] capkink2014-02-11 08:29 pm

Prompt Post 1

Remember to title your comments, use appropriate warnings (or "choose not to warn"), and be civil. Embeds are not allowed.

At least one of the characters in your prompt must have been in Captain America: The First Avenger or Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

As of May 3, 2014, the spoiler policy is no longer in effect.

Update, April 22, 2014:
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Glass of Milk, Part 1

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-04-16 05:23 am (UTC)(link)
[Responding to my own prompt because the plot bunnies came stampeding in, I don't even know. There isn't even milk in this part.]

The concept of “want” is not something the Winter Soldier can grasp.

Not exactly. The wants of others, those he understands. I want you to eliminate the target. I want you to stand down. I want you to await orders. I don’t want you to ask questions. Present him with a want and he will jump to fulfill it like a trained dog, a finely tuned machine.

But machines don’t want things. HYDRA had understood that. Captain America – Steve, the mission, the contradiction who makes him feel things he never wanted to experience and yet can’t let go of, can’t function without now that he’s felt them – doesn’t. He insists that the Winter Soldier – Bucky, your name is Bucky – is a person, and acts as if the Soldier has all the autonomy that accompanies humanity.

What do you want to talk about? I don’t know. Where do you want to go? I don’t know. What do you want to eat? What do you want me to want? It gives him what Steve called a headache – he hadn’t known there were terms for the pains he felt beyond distractions to be ignored – and he is no closer to understanding what he wants than he is to remembering the life of the man in the museum, and reconciling that person with what he is.


For once, the Winter Soldier can say with certainty, “I don’t want this.”

“Come on, Buck, it’s just for a few days.” There’s brightness in Steve’s voice that the Soldier can’t find in his eyes.

“What does the A stand for?” the Soldier asks, staring at the building. He can’t keep from staring at it. It seems designed to be stared at.

“Asshole,” Steve says under his breath before quickly amending, “Avengers. It means me, Tony, Bruce, Natasha – you remember Natasha?”

He remembers being told that he shot her. It blurs together. He’s shot many people, and save for Steve, none of the memories are distinct.

“It’s a base, of sorts. Or at least that’s what it’s become. Listen, Tony can be a little…abrasive, but he’s a good guy. He’s Howard Stark’s son. Remember Howard? You’ll like him.”

“I don’t like things.” That’s not quite true, not anymore. He’s almost sure he likes Steve. And he likes not going back to HYDRA’s chair.

Steve sighs, head drooping, but his smile is wide and perfect when he looks back up. “Sure you do. You like dancing, you like baseball and those roasted peanuts vendors sell, and trust me, you’re gonna like staying here for a while more than you’d like coming to DC.”

The Soldier had learned, through discarded newspapers he’d scavenged while wandering aimlessly after failing his final mission, the lengths Steve and his companions had gone through to expose HYDRA in addition to taking down their helicarriers. He’d seen on television the redhead he shot, confronted by angry bureaucrats. The only reason Captain America hadn’t been there was because Steve had vanished to find the Soldier, and now that he has found him, Steve says he has to see what can be salvaged with the government. He says he’s a symbol to America, even today, and people are panicked.

The Soldier does not tell Steve what HYDRA taught him, does not say that the America dream is propaganda and lies pushed onto decadent fools by capitalist dictators. He’s learned to keep such comments to himself, and he’s not sure he remembers what decadent means anymore. At first Steve seemed horrified by the Soldier’s lack of vocabulary, especially his lack of English beyond that related to tactics and missions, but after phone calls to someone named Bruce and the man whose wings the Soldier had broken, the Captain has relaxed. Language, he assures the Soldier, is like muscle memory. It fades when it isn’t flexed, but it can be built up again.

The Soldier might say he’s content with the language he has now, but he doesn’t know how to say it. His emotional vocabulary is missing, a blank corner amidst the many other empty catacombs in his mind. He doesn’t know how to say that either. It seems better if he stays quiet.

Besides, Howard Stark’s son appears capable of doing enough talking for everyone. They have barely stepped out of the elevator and the Soldier is already considering the methods he knows to permanently silence a man. He is partial to tongue-ripping.

“Sure you don’t wanna stay for the night, Rogers? I’ve got extra beds. Or I could fly in an iceberg if that’d be more comfortable for – hey there Soul Surfer, love the craftsmanship. That baby what they gave you back in the forties, or is it an upgrade?” Stark’s eyes are glued to the Soldier’s arm, a look in them like a strange hunger, and the Soldier reminds himself that it is not his mission to kill this man. He has no mission. Perhaps if he did, this would be more tolerable.

“Would you mind if I have JARVIS run some diagnostics, maybe a performance test or two-” Stark is babbling on, but the Soldier ignores him, taking out the phone Steve has given him. He feels a need to consult the Google on what a “soul surfer” is, so at least part of this barrage will make any sense.

The voice sounds as soon as the search engine loads. HELLO, SERGEANT BARNES. MAY I BE OF ASSISTANCE?

The motion he makes is not quite a jump, hands instinctively, immediately moving for the weapons Steve’s taken before forming a defense stance of their own.

“Hey, at ease, soldier,” Stark says, and grins – grins more – when the man just as instinctively relaxes while Steve retrieves the phone from the floor. “Don’t let Jarvis get to you, he’s not about to go all Space Odyssey – wait, have you seen Space Odyssey? Uh, I, Robot? The Day the Earth Stood Still? He just likes to step in when he senses inferior technology being used to-”

Where?” is all the Soldier can manage, watching as Steve hovers beside him out of the corner of his eye, seeing the way his hand hovers over the metal shoulder, but doesn’t touch.

“He doesn’t have a physical presence, Bucky,” Steve tries. “He’s a machine.”

“Like me?”

The Captain’s face falls again as Stark snorts. “No, Rick Allen, but if I ever give him a body, I’ll be sure to go with L’Oreal model hair. ‘Cause he’s worth it.”

“Jarvis is like Siri,” Steve offers. Siri is the voice on the phone the Soldier does not speak to, because given the choice between speaking and typing, typing is preferable.

Now Stark is pouting. “Vastly superior to Siri, thank you. But then, the elderly tend to be behind the times technologically, so it makes sense that you would-”

“Tony,” Steve says as the Soldier wonders if he can spend the next few days in cryo-freeze. “Who else is here?”

Stark mumbles something about “Capsicles” – capsules? - before calling out “Avengers assemble!” He then loudly sighs when there is no assembly and marches off to drag others into the common area.

“You’ll be fine,” Steve assures the Soldier, and this time, his hand makes contact, a ghost of a touch that the metal barely registers. “And you have the phone. You can text me.”

How texting Steve is going to help anything when it’s the man’s face and voice that awaken things in the Soldier is beyond him, but then Stark is back, making rapid fire introductions, and the Soldier is back to wishing for his own unconsciousness.

There is Natasha, whom he should remember but doesn’t, Thor – “Wait, do you know mythology? Might just be easier to call him Jesus .” “Don’t call him Jesus, Buck.” – who is tall and blond and always smiling, Barton, whom Stark introduces as Robin Hood, and suddenly the Soldier recalls a dark theater, the smell of salt and butter, and the name “Errol Flynn,” and Bruce, who is mercifully quiet. Then Steve is ruffling his hair as if he is a dog and saying goodbye, while Errol Flynn is announcing to no one that he’ll be in the kitchen making cookies, and Stark is hovering with question after question about the arm and quips the Soldier can’t begin to identify.

[text to: Steve Rogers] Are you certain I can’t take my chances being seen with you on Capitol Hill?

Glass of Milk, Part 2

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-04-16 02:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Steve refuses to give the Soldier missions. He has said that the Soldier is not an asset, not a machine, but a person, and deserves to be treated as such. The Soldier feels, sitting here with Stark poking at his ribs, stopping just short of making contact and asking about how deep into his body the anchor points for the prosthetic go, that it would be easier not to eliminate all of them if that were his mission.

This free will that Steve is always speaking of is exhausting. He is of the opinion that HYDRA was right to take it from him, but HYDRA wouldn’t appreciate the Soldier having opinions at all. He has no right to them.

But somehow he doesn’t think HYDRA would mind his annoyance with Stark.

“How much can you feel? Not in an “if I only had a heart” kinda way,” he adds, off the Soldier’s look. “It’s gotta have some pressure sensitivity, or you’d be crushing half the things you pick up, but what about temperature or texture or—”

“Tony,” Natasha says, before the Soldier’s hand can crush the phone in it. “You might want to make sure Barton’s not destroying your kitchen.”

“I know how to bake,” Errol Flynn calls out, immediately followed by “Aww, flour, no.”

At that, Stark stands up, still smirking as he makes his way out. “Listen, just ‘cause I’m used to Dum-E destroying my stuff, that doesn’t mean I want any dummy—”

“Tony, out—”

“What did you – how did you screw up cracking eggs? You’re half-bird!”

There follows more conversation that the Soldier doesn’t care to listen to, as he finally has the opportunity to consult with his phone as to what a soul surfer is. He eventually hears what sounds to be half-hearted, ineffectual combat, which confuses him as he assessed everyone upon entering and they all seem capable of holding their own in battle.

“Are you going to keep your hair that way?” Natasha asks, and once the Soldier realizes she is speaking to him, he finds he has no answer. His hair has not interfered with any missions – not that he now has missions to be interfered with – so it has never crossed his mind.

She shrugs. “I mean, it’s not bad. I wondered if I pulled it when I jumped onto you by the bridge, but other than that—”

The machine voices announces that the smoke detectors are about to go off, and Stark delays them while demanding to his suit, over Errol Flynn’s protests of “This is all your fault.” Natasha sighs, standing, and Thor follows after.

“I wish to see the creation of your Midgardian delicacies!” he announces, and the Soldier is left with Bruce, who is shaking his head and smiling, but otherwise silent.

Things become quiet, if he ignores the shuffling and protests from the kitchen, and the phone is briefing him on the identity of “Rick Allen” when Stark reappears with streaks of flour down his front. “You like cookies?”

The word is almost familiar to the Soldier. “печенье?”

“That’s right,” Natasha calls from the next room. He does not remember why he knows that word, what benefit it provides him to know what cookies are. But then, sometimes dogs are given biscuits. Perhaps it is similar.

“I am not hungry.” The Soldier lacks appetite, which Steve has theorized is a result of receiving most nutrition intravenously for decades. As such, eating is an occurrence he tends to put off until ordered otherwise, or until the need becomes so strong he cannot ignore it. The food in this society is unpleasant. One day, after leaving the Smithsonian, he tried what the Americans call “fast food” to ensure his body had sustenance, and it sat in his stomach like a pile of rot and grease.

“Not hungry. Right. Tell me, Six Million Dollar Man, when did you last eat?”

“I am sufficient.”

Stark does not leave. The Soldier believes this is a trend with Stark. “Listen, here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it: just try it, all right? The last thing I need is Rogers deciding I starved you and pitching a, what do old people call it, a conniption? And then falling and not getting back up and—”

The Soldier is already up and moving, because missions are not something he can choose to accept. He feels at ease for the first time since entering this tower, now that there is an objective.

The kitchen and everyone in it is covered in a dusting of flour. He notices that, in Errol Flynn’s case, there are two white handprints on the seat of the man’s pants, but does not question them. Thor has consumed one cookie and is reaching out to the plate – “Another!” – when Natasha offers the desserts to the Soldier and he takes one, melted chocolate staining the flesh of his fingertips.

“Here,” Stark hands him a glass of milk. “Essential to the experience. Just don’t spill it on yourself, ‘cause even if you don’t rust, it’ll get in all the little nooks and crannies and go sour, and nobody wants that.”

Taste is something the Soldier is still adjusting to. When HYDRA did let him consume food orally, in the waking times, it came in a flavorless pulp of the perfect nutrients and serving size. Savory, fatty, sweet, and the rest are alien, and so the cookie seems cloying. He keeps his face passive, drinking from the glass so as to wash away the flavor, and then something happens.

He must have had milk in the past, as he knows what it is without thinking, but he cannot recall it. It is, perhaps, the first taste he has not found unpleasant, and as the glass lowers, his mouth twitches into a configuration that seems both new and familiar.

“Well, there’d be more chocolate chips if you hadn’t let the god scarf half the bag – hey!” Stark’s eyes are on the Soldier again, and his grin is so wide that nearly every tooth is visible. “That’s a smile! I got the Terminator to smile! Quick, Jarvis, get a picture for Cap. Actually, Instagram it while you’re at it—”

The Soldier freezes, face sliding back into its impassive mask, and Stark’s own expression falters.

“Hey, no, it’s all right. You can smile. Go on, smile, you like it, it’s okay."

He attempts smiling again. This time, the motion is mechanical, and the Soldier feels it bares his teeth more than anything else.

"Well, you're halfway there. Uh, hey, everybody up for a movie night? I mean, Anakin Skywalker here’s got a lotta pop culture to catch up on, and hey, there’s one, bet you’d love Star Wars. Or Trek, or Tron, or – actually, come on, you can pick whatever DVD cover looks best to you. To the surround sound, everybody.”

Deciding that this movie night is a part two to the preexisting mission, the Soldier considers it tolerable and follows after Stark. He sets the cookie with the single bite taken from it onto the counter top, but keeps the glass in his hand as he goes.

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 2

(Anonymous) 2014-04-16 05:00 pm (UTC)(link)
ok I almost never comment on fics but

But then, sometimes dogs are given biscuits. Perhaps it is similar.

WHAT A KILLER LINE like goddamn just break my heart in two

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 2

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-04-17 04:46 am (UTC)(link)
You know, I sit down to write parts of this intending to tell a cute little story and then lines like that spring unbidden from my keyboard and just punch me in the heart.

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 2

(Anonymous) 2014-04-17 10:23 am (UTC)(link)
oh man, this is both sad and wonderful

poor bucky, learning to be, again, after so long

can't wait to see more
hokuton_punch: A screenshot of Izuru Kira from Bleach looking panicked, captioned "NOT AS PLANNED." (bleach kira not as planned)

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 2

[personal profile] hokuton_punch 2014-04-17 12:42 pm (UTC)(link)

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 2

(Anonymous) 2014-04-17 05:55 pm (UTC)(link)
This was so great to read and so sad to see the Winter Soldier struggling with humanity. Though he is trying.

Glass of Milk, Part 3

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-04-17 07:30 pm (UTC)(link)
[Note: The Russian should have English translations in the hover text. Not sure how accurate the Russian is, as I'm working off of Google Translate.]

The movie is called Tron and the Soldier picks it because the cover art includes circles within larger circles, which brings to mind Steve’s shield. He is not unfamiliar with filmstrips – he watched the looping videos in the Smithsonian until he’d memorized every second, and HYDRA would show him footage of targets, recordings of new weapons since the last time he awoke, cartoons about the Decaying West and all its people starving despite their claims of prosperity, their soldiers eating infants, their class oppression, and farther back, he remembers Robin Hood – but he has never seen a film like this. The majority of the story takes place inside a computer and while that world does not look animated, it does not look real, either.

Bruce calls this computer generated imagery and has a long explanation for it, most of which the Soldier does not understand. But it intrigues him, what these machines are capable of. In his world, they are tools of either elimination or storage, not innovation.

Errol Flynn suggests they introduce him to something called Pixar, which then segues into a long debate about whether Toy Story should be viewed before Wall-E or Ratatouille or Up, and other things the Soldier doesn’t understand. He sits, puzzled, and on the adjacent couch, Thor watches the others with a similarly blank look. “What is a ra-too-ey?” he asks the Soldier, and the man shrugs. By the time an agreement is reached on the optimal viewing order for the Pixar, it is dark, and everyone shelves the plans and retreats to their rooms for the evening.

The Soldier does not sleep. The bedroom seems too small to contain his thoughts – there was a time when the cryo-tube contained it all easily, but the world has suddenly become so much larger – so he wanders, silent and aimless. The thought of texting Steve flits across his mind but no words follow, and he can hear Stark’s muttered phone conversation with the Captain as he pauses outside a door, listening to the assurance the talkative man is providing in his place. The Soldier hears himself referred to as “fine” and cannot decide if it is a lie.

A scene from the film replays in his mind as he meanders. Many of the characters were computer programs, beings that looked human but weren’t, and there was one called Yori, who had been reprogrammed so that her memories of the title character were gone. But then Tron found her again and their eyes met, and just like that, Yori knew who he was. The Soldier had watched that scene wide-eyed, knuckles white and tense, and it lingers now like a taunt, a splinter. Yori had regained everything in an instant. The Soldier, over weeks, has cobbled together hazy scenes and half-remembered phrases. He supposes his memories are gone forever, cleared like unnecessary data from a hard drive.

He wouldn’t mind if not for the pain he can see in Steve’s eyes when he fails to remember, if not for the feeling inside him when he looks at Steve.
“Can’t sleep?”

The voice sounds as he sets foot in the kitchen, and he raises his eyes, body taut and prepared to strike, to find Errol Flynn drying the dishes that must have been used to create the cookies from before. He is aware that Errol Flynn is not the man’s name, but he cannot remember what the correct one is, and while he deserves the slap to the face he would receive for asking, for not listening, he chooses to stay silent, nodding. It isn’t that he is incapable of sleep. He can sleep for years. It’s that which follows sleep that keeps him up. Nightmares were slower in the cryo-tube. There, they were lessened.

Now everything is sharper.

“It’s like this could all be a dream, right?” the archer asks, voice soft. He sets the baking sheet down. “You worry that if you’ll fall asleep, you’ll wake up back in their hands. Trapped in your own head.”

What the Soldier most worries is that he’ll find, if he does awake with HYDRA, that he will want to stay. That he will let them strap him into the chair if it means the world will be quiet again, and he will lay there sobbing but willing as they take the knowledge of Steve away. They can take Bucky Barnes – the Soldier has the man’s history down, has learned the details of his life more intimately than any target, yet he does not know him – but he doesn’t want to lose Steve.

He nearly nods, but his eyes narrow, gears of his arm whirring as he stares at this stranger who knows so much. Steve had said this one was SHIELD. And he had said HYDRA infiltrated SHIELD.

Errol Flynn raises his empty hands in surrender. “Hey, it’s okay. Look, I don’t know if you were awake for New York – or if anyone filled you in on it – but I’m not with them, all right? I’m on your side. But I know what it’s like to be brainwashed. Made into someone’s lap dog and sent after the people you care about.”

There is hardness in his voice, but his motions are gentle when he retrieves a glass from Stark’s cabinets. A pale blue light floods the floor when the refrigerator opens and when the glass is full of milk, Errol Flynn neither drinks from it nor extends it, but instead places it in the microwave.

“HYDRA?” the Soldier asks.

He shakes his head. “No. There was a god in my brain.”

It doesn’t sound unreasonable to the Soldier because for all their control in his life, HYDRA might as well as have been omnipotent. “How long?”

“Not even a week.” The microwave beeps and the man removes the glass from within, offering it. “But the nightmares? Those haven’t completely stopped, and that’s been months.”

The Soldier takes the glass, and the taste has been altered just enough from the change in temperature that his mouth doesn’t repeat the strange motion from before. But it is not unpleasant, and he drinks again. If less than a week of brainwashing can cause months of nightmares, the Soldier imagines he will be dreaming of HYDRA until he dies. Considering how angry he has made HYDRA, that may not be far off.

Errol Flynn leans against the kitchen island, missing the dusting of flour still over the granite until he glances down to see his clothing coated with it. “Aww, shirt,” he mumbles, shaking his head. “How much do you remember?”

Drinking again, the Soldier holds in a yawn. “немного.”

He doesn’t realize he hasn’t responded in English until the archer says “Это может быть и к лучшему.” The Soldier would agree if not for the ache inside his head where the memories of Steve should be. Everything else can be wiped away. But now knowing that he should remember Steve and yet not remembering is just as confusing as living without a mission. Maybe more.
“The dreams might not stop,” Errol Flynn says as the Soldier finishes the glass, “but they do get easier to bear. Not nearly fast enough, but they do.”

Three hours later, when the Soldier begins screaming in his sleep, limbs jerking against the figures in his dreams who seek to wipe him again, it is Errol Flynn who wakes him, speaking softly, shooing others out of the doorway. Errol Flynn is one of the two who remains in the room after, sitting in the opposite corner with Natasha, who sings "Nani, nani” so quietly the Soldier can barely hear her. And when Errol Flynn retrieves the phone after the Soldier asks for it, the asset remembers enough about being a person to say “Thank you.”

[text to: Steve Rogers] When will you be back?
penis_sheath: (Default)

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 3

[personal profile] penis_sheath 2014-04-17 09:09 pm (UTC)(link)
this. is. KILLING. ME. oh my god so good

Glass of Milk, Part 4

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-04-18 05:02 am (UTC)(link)
Once the Soldier wakes up a second time – heart pounding and breath racing, but not screaming – he decides that everyone would benefit if he did not leave the room again, not until Steve returns. The less time he spends around people, the quieter he becomes. It’s a struggle to remember the last time he came out of cryo, but he does know that when he first thawed, he hardly retained the ability to speak.

No communication is as good of a mission objective as the Soldier can think of on his own, but it fails immediately once the phone beeps with a message from Steve.

[text received from: Steve Rogers] Bruce is offering to teach you meditation. Want to give it a go?

[text to: Steve Rogers] Stark says Banner turns into a giant green rage monster. I don’t know what he is referring to. But from what I know about meditation, that is a contradiction.

[text received from: Steve Rogers] New rule, Buck: Whenever Tony tells you anything, have either Natasha or Jarvis clarify it.

[text received from: Steve Rogers] And being a giant green rage monster is actually beneficial in this case. Sort of.

He spends the morning on meditation, which sounds promising until he realizes that it is not a less painful, more selective version of HYDRA’s memory wipes and it is not something that can be done to him, but something he must do himself. The Soldier has trouble figuring out whether or not he is hungry without assistance, so how can he shut down the thoughts and feelings and creeping nightmares in his head just by willing it?

When Bruce – who, as far as the asset can tell, shows no signs of rage or greenness – dismisses him with a smile and words of encouragement that must be borne out of pity, the Soldier begins back toward the room where he sleeps, only to be interrupted by Stark, who is in a suit of armor and carrying a casserole dish of the thing called ratatouille. He says it is from Thomas Keller himself, as though the Soldier knows who that is, and he felt like flying out to California to get some and set the mood for the next film viewing. This is how the Soldier ends up eating the second pleasant food he can remember having while watching the adventures of a computer-generated rat, along with the others. Half of the commentary during the film involves Thor trying to pronounce various French words.

His accent would kill Dernier, the Soldier thinks abruptly, and he cannot recall who Dernier is when he tries to revisit the thought.

[text to: Steve Rogers] Are you certain these people helped you save the world? Someone else may have done it for them when you weren’t looking.

[text received from: Steve Rogers] Remind me to introduce you to Youtube when I get back. And don’t ask anyone else about it. Tony would make you watch videos of him for hours, and I shudder to think of what he’s got floating around online.

In the evening, Bruce and Stark disappear into the labs and Natasha announces that she and Barton – the Soldier managed to catch his name during the film – are going to retrieve Oreos. The Soldier does not know what Oreos are, but he takes the opportunity to slip back into his room and is confronted by the voice of the machine in the walls immediately upon arrival.

MR. STARK INSISTS THAT YOU EAT AT LEAST TWO MEALS A DAY, SERGEANT BARNES, JARVIS explains, and the Soldier decides it fruitless to argue. Stark appears to understand how being a human works – he reminds the Soldier of Americans in propaganda films, only he is not obese and nor is he a slave-driver – so perhaps he has a point. Besides, the kitchen will be empty, so it isn’t as if the man will need to speak.

Or so he assumes. In actuality, the possible god is there, drinking from an ornate and massive tankard. “Greetings, Soldier of Winter!”

The Soldier is not sure Steve would want him to respond to that name, so he makes a noncommittal sound in reply.

“Midgardian ales are so small,” Thor says, in reference to his beverage, “and so weak that I have to combine them if I hope to feel anything at all.”

“I can’t drink,” the Soldier says, though he can remember someone, maybe a handler, putting a glass briefly to his lips in celebration of something and laughing at the frown he gave upon feeling the burn of alcohol. He knows enough about intoxication to realize it is a bad idea for someone struggling not to kill everyone while sober.

“Ah,” says the god, and retrieves a second, equally enormous tankard, pouring the full gallon of milk from the refrigerator into it. “Here.”

The Soldier decides that is a large enough portion to constitute a complete meal and begins to drink.

“What does it come from?” Thor’s eyes are on him, his expression both puzzled and smiling, as always.

“крупный рогатый скот.” The Soldier wipes at his mouth. “Cattle.”

“There are cattle on Asgard.” Thor’s voice when he says it – when he says most things – makes it sound as though this is the best thing he’s ever heard. He is off, going on about what Midgard has that Asgard doesn’t and vice versa, and something about “bilgesnipe” and his encounters with them, the way that he and his brother would provoke them.

The Soldier is content to let him speak, drinking in silence. The lighter the tankard becomes, the more aware he is of an odd and increasingly unpleasant pressure in his stomach. The Soldier has never been full before, not that he can recall. He eats when he is told to and stops when what he’s been given is gone. The thought of listening to his body’s signals and ceasing before the glass is empty does not occur to him.

Around an hour after sitting down, the tankard is empty and the Soldier is reeling internally in a mix of nausea and pain and completely missing all of the adventures the god is describing. He concludes that this sensation must be a result of sabotage, poisoning, and in that moment, the most logical course of action that occurs to him is to rip the door from the refrigerator with his metal arm and send it hurtling toward Thor’s head.

Five minutes or so into the ensuing battle, the Soldier’s metal arm is malfunctioning from the blows rained down upon it, and that only serves to make him angrier. He resolves to make this god bleed, but the effort is immediately halted by the sudden and uncontrollable vomiting the Soldier begins to experience. By this point, Stark and Bruce have arrived and Thor is holding the asset’s hair back, apologizing for not understanding the frailty of Midgardian physiology.


“I think it’s time for some house rules, Frosty,” Stark says. The Soldier is lying down on one of his workbenches, body tensed and ready for searing, all-consuming pain that does not arrive as the man repairs his damaged arm. “Rule one: No destroying appliances lovingly selected by Pepper. I mean, that’s getting me in trouble here without even having the chance to earn it. I can destroy my own fridge, thanks."

Elsewhere on the same floor of the building, the Soldier can just make out Barton shouting at the god. It isn’t the fight that bothers him from what the Soldier is hearing, but rather the lack of milk. He makes out the words “You can’t wash cookies down with water!” and then the sounds of someone stomping away.

“Rule two,” Stark continues, “next time you think you’ve been poisoned, you say “I am not feeling well and may require medical assistance.” Or something similar but less “Danger Will Robinson” about it. You know, so we have a chance to see what’s wrong before you use your karate chop action?”

“Well?” the Soldier repeats. Missions go well. He understands the word then. What does it mean in regards to people?

“Yeah, well. As in, not about to be sick everywhere? Content? Not in pain? Healthy and happy?”

“Happy,” the Soldier repeats.

“Uh-huh,” Stark murmurs, switching out one tool for another.

“Then I am never well.”

There is a pause in which their eyes meet. “We’re also gonna have to have a talk about things not to say when Cap’s around,” Stark says finally, but the Soldier’s mind is suddenly in another place, another time.

“Your father said we’d have flying cars.”

Stark blinks. “One train of thought at a time, Tin Man, okay?”

“At the expo, decades ago.” He can remember watching. “He said it would be a few years before everyone had a flying car. What happened?”

“Fury’s car had flight capabilities before you flipped it with your Frisbee of death,” Stark offers. “Dad got a little distracted with stuff like the war, searching the sea for MIA patriotism popsicles, and forming SHIELD and all, but hey, remind me once we’ve taken out HYDRA for good this time and I’ll see what I can do for Project Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.”

The Soldier’s expression goes blank at “MIA patriotism popsicles,” and it remains that way.

Thor enters, leaning against the doorframe with a sigh. “Your people are so excitable. And confusing.”

The Soldier realizes he is included in that statement, yet he still cannot help but agree.

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 4

(Anonymous) 2014-04-18 01:43 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm the anon who said Thor would give the Soldier a tankard, and now I feel sort of guilty. But mostly I'm loving this fic and its blend of humour and soul-destroying little moments of angst.

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 4

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-04-18 02:41 pm (UTC)(link)
I mean, it was a really sweet gesture on Thor's part. "Oh, you can't have this? Don't fret, little Midgardian, have all of your favorite thing!" It's just that the Winter Soldier doesn't understand how eating works.

Glad you like it!

Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-04-18 02:38 pm (UTC)(link)
Today is the day when Steve is returning, at least temporarily, and after the destruction of property incident from the night prior and the way he was sick over Thor’s boots, the Soldier has decided that everyone would be best served if he did not leave the room until Steve arrives, sustenance be damned. But his thoughts drift to the refrigerator and while he is not sorry for breaking it, he imagines Steve would want him to be, so he decides to take a closer look at the damage and see what can be salvaged. The metal will be dented from striking the god’s head repeatedly, but perhaps it can be hammered out.

When he arrives in the kitchen, however, the refrigerator is in one piece, looking so exactly as it did that he begins, not for the first time, to question his perception of reality. The Soldier reaches out with the human arm, gingerly opening the door just to make sure it is fully attached.

“Stark flew a replacement in,” Natasha explains, refilling her coffee mug. “Thought if he took care of it fast enough, Potts wouldn’t find out. Of course, she knew before he even left – Hill picked up the fight on the security sensors and then JARVIS filled her in on the details.”

The Soldier nods as though he knows who either of those people are. Natasha is still speaking, something about how Potts isn’t angry with him but he isn’t listening, partially because he doesn’t care and also because the contents of the new refrigerator have caught his eye.

“What is Silk?” he asks. In his memory silk is a fabric, not a carton of presumably edible liquid.

Natasha sighs. “Soy milk. Or in this case, almond. And you’re not allowed to complain – Clint already pitched a fit, but that’s all we could find yesterday.”

His mind begins to calculate the statistical improbability of there being no milk in New York City, but the Soldier cuts that off because milk is the one thing in the world he is currently absolutely certain about, and he’s certain her words make no sense. “Milk comes from animals.”

“Not necessarily.” Natasha carries on as if she hasn’t just shattered his perception of reality. “You should try it – Clint’s sure as hell not having any and I don’t think Stark drinks anything that isn’t at least 180 proof. Besides, there’s no lactose.”


“лактоза,” she tries. It isn’t familiar that way either, but if lactose, whatever it is, is the thing that made him ill yesterday, then avoiding it in the future would be preferable.

A moment later and there is a glass of the not-milk in his hand. The Soldier stares at it hesitantly.

“All right, look,” Natasha says, slipping her mug into the dishwasher. “You’re a perfect shot and you’re terrifying in combat, but if you’re afraid of almond milk, your intimidation factor is gone.”

Is that an insult? Her insults are not as harsh as HYDRA’s if it is. He drinks. It tastes vaguely of vanilla and while it isn’t bad, it is different and he’s not sure how to respond to it.

He remembers suddenly a different, much smaller kitchen in a different, far off time. He can remember Steve, but Steve is so much younger, so, so much smaller, and this vision of his friend makes him tense, feeling the urge to protect the child even though it’s only a memory. They are in someone’s kitchen – Steve’s mother or Barnes’s? – and they have dared each other to drink straight buttermilk because they are – he does not know whose words he is remembering – “stupid punks.”

They both drink, then gag, and Barnes is concerned Steve will be sick, that this will trigger an asthma attack or an allergic reaction or any of the dozen things likely to go wrong with Steve at any time. But then Steve is laughing and Barnes is laughing, and outside of the memory the Soldier feels his mouth shape the configuration called a smile.

Natasha raises an eyebrow. “Like it?”

The Soldier shrugs.

It is then that Steve enters, panting and sweaty, and the Soldier feels that Barnes would have hugged him. He does not, because his mind is half in the past and he worries he would break the man. Even with the serum flowing through Steve’s body, the Soldier has nearly killed him before. He has just decided to linger back when Steve is hugging him anyway and the Soldier hugs back, hard. “Good to see you, Bucky. Natasha.”

“Go for a run?” Natasha asks.

“Traffic was at a standstill,” Steve explains, and he looks tired. Nothing tires Steve, so the Soldier assumes that he ran all the way from DC. “I left the cab early. Needed time to clear my head anyway.” He is taking the glass from the Soldier’s hand – “Hey, buddy, mind if I –” and drinking before the Soldier can tell him what it is.

Steve doesn’t gag, but his utterly confused look and the surprised sound he gives at the unexpected flavor, combined with the recently recovered memory, snaps something inside the Soldier and he is suddenly shaking, emitting a sound that he does not recognize as laughter until his ribs are aching and tears are starting in his eyes.

It isn’t until he is gasping for breath and straightening up that he sees Stark holding out a phone, recording.

“Here’s the sixty-four million dollar question,” Stark says, sliding the phone into his pocket. “Should I put that whole thing online, or choose the best seven seconds for a Vine?”

Steve’s eyes meet the Soldier’s, and somehow the asset knows without being told that the ensuing chase around the floor for Stark and his phone is not true combat, but more of a spar, a play. He manages to tackle Stark in the lab, pieces of armor coming through the air and bouncing off of him as they try to affix to the other man’s body. Steve is not far behind, reaching for Stark’s pockets while the Soldier keeps the captive contained through an attack that he somehow knows is called tickling.

Behind him, he hears Bruce’s voice – “Two against one’s not fair, guys,” before he can feel the doctor’s hands spidering over his body the way his are moving on Stark’s. He jerks, but he realizes there is no threat and does not attack, involuntarily laughing again as Thor, Barton, and last of all, Natasha join in.

He decides afterward, panting, realizing he has been smiling throughout as he watches Steve retrieve the phone, that this is what Stark meant by “well.”

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] celiaequus 2014-04-19 07:15 am (UTC)(link)
This story has my heart. Right down to the tickle fight (and especially the tickle fight).
marbleglove: (Default)

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] marbleglove 2014-04-19 01:35 pm (UTC)(link)
All the feels! This is wonderful.
snarkyducky: (Default)

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] snarkyducky 2014-04-19 07:20 pm (UTC)(link)
thank you for sharing this gem! i loved reading every word :)

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

(Anonymous) 2014-04-20 05:52 am (UTC)(link)
This was super great. Also a direct hit to my Bucky feels. Sad but hopeful and sweet.
rivers_bend: (women: emma watson camera)

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] rivers_bend 2014-05-01 05:25 am (UTC)(link)
this is both delightful and incredibly moving. i'm so glad the plot bunnies bit!

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

(Anonymous) 2014-05-04 10:15 pm (UTC)(link)
omg, this is AMAZING. <3

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] lauralot 2014-05-05 01:33 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you!

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

(Anonymous) 2015-01-01 02:09 am (UTC)(link)
Everything about this was beautiful - so beautiful, in fact, that I had to live-blog as I read it while screaming about feels. Well done you!

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] lauralot 2015-01-01 02:10 am (UTC)(link)
Oh wow, that sounds amazing. Thank you!
aome: All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us (all we have to decide)

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] aome 2016-04-03 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
I just. I'm in awe that you took the milk prompt and turned it into something so utterly amazing. I love that your Bucky Soldier is struggling so much with humanity, that it is told from his perspective that we can SEE him struggle, from recognizing humor to recognizing hunger, and yet you can see that he's trying. This was a marvelous look through his eyes - I loved it.

Re: Glass of Milk, Final Part

[personal profile] lauralot 2016-04-06 05:47 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much! I was originally just envisioning some short, fluffy thing with Bucky drinking milk, and somehow this happened.
hypertwink: (Default)

Re: Glass of Milk, Part 2

[personal profile] hypertwink 2014-04-19 09:37 pm (UTC)(link)
This is excellent. It's funny but undercut by the sadness/heartbreak of Bucky acclimatizing to modern times and the Avengers.