It's late at night when the thoughts creep back into Bucky's head. But there's one thought that keeps him from a nightmare free night.
I tried to kill Steve.
I tried to kill Steve.
I tried to kill Steve
Sure, he held guilt for all the horrendous crimes he committed. He'd kill men and women alike. He killed Howard and Maria. He attempted to kill his new comrades — no, his new friends . Although he'd been granted forgiveness, even from Tony, Bucky couldn't forgive himself for almost killing the one person he'd been longing to see again, even if just in dreams.
Initially, Clint and Natasha joked around, saying that regular PTSD was an improvement. But once they saw Bucky's eyes shifting focus from that moment to somewhere distant, they immediately apologized.
"Sometimes humor helps," Clint explain.
"These things take time," Natasha said. "But HYDRA doesn't have control over you anymore."
Clint nodded in agreement. "The thoughts... the memories, they don't go away completely. They just get quieter."
"It's hard when you only have yourself at night. But one day, you can sleep easier." Natasha gently put her hand on Bucky's shoulder. "Trust us. We understand, and I'm sure Steve does, too."
Bucky sat up in bed. Normally, he'd wait until the panic tired him out enough to fall asleep. But he didn't want to settle for that. At least, not tonight.
He left his bed, making his way over to Steve's room. Bucky didn't bother knocking. It'd be unfair to make Steve get out of bed, he thought. Instead, he walked towards Steve's bedside. God , he looked like an angel in his sleep.
"Steve," Bucky whispered. "Steve. Wake up."
The blonde stirred, opening his eyes slowly.
"Bucky?" Steve rubbed his face. "What's up? You okay?"
When Steve looked up, his heart skipped a beat. He'd never seen Bucky look so damn guilty .
"Can't sleep," Bucky admitted. "My head... I can't turn off the static."
Without hesitation, Steve scooted over and patted the space next to him. "Come here."
Bucky nodded, then climbed into Steve's bed. As Steve pulled the blanket over the both of them, he noticed Bucky's shifting eyes.
"You can come closer, y'know."
Bucky gulped. "Are you sure?"
Steve smiled softly. "I wouldn't offer if I don’t mean it."
With caution, Bucky closed the distance between them and rested his head on Steve's chest while wrapping an arm around him, as if Steve was on the verge of slipping away. To his surprise, Steve let out a sigh of content.
"We can do this for as long as you need," Steve said. "For as long as you want. Tonight, days, weeks. All you gotta do is ask."
Bucky listened to Steve's heartbeat — the heartbeat he once tried to end. Despite his best to stay composed, to stay quiet, Steve must have heard Bucky's whimpers since he ran his fingers through Bucky's hair.
"It's okay, Buck. I'm here. 'Til the end of the line, remember?"
Bucky nodded against Steve's chest. Sleep didn't come easy. Typical. Even so, that was the best sleep Bucky had in decades.