Like most things, it starts out as a joke. It’s the Fourth of July, and there’s some American history special playing faintly in the background on the TV as Steve bakes his famous apple pie and Sam grills in the backyard of the new house they all bought together after all the dust from the mess in DC finally settled, after Bucky stopped retreating like a wounded animal and started chasing memories instead, after Natasha found herself a new identity and a new history for herself and cut her hair short again.
It’s been almost a year since everything quieted down again, after Steve found Bucky or Bucky found Steve (no one is quite sure which way it happened, really, because it all happened like it was all preordained, like everything was supposed to be like this, like they were supposed to find each other in the middle of the winter in Omsk, staring at each other over the dead body of an ex-HYDRA agent from across a dimly lit warehouse floor, like it was always supposed to happen like this – Bucky dropping his gun to the ground first, dropping to his knees next, murmuring low and soft and sad, “You didn’t have to save me” and Steve saying, “Of course I did” and Bucky running with Steve and Sam tagging along for as long as Bucky needed before he decided that he was ready to go home).
It’s been almost a year, and Bucky has recovered most of his memories, or enough to get by anyways. Sam took a liking to Bucky relatively easily, all things considered, but they spent the first several months of knowing each other fighting side by side and Bucky never once did a single thing to hurt him, so there’s that. Natasha was a little (a lot) more wary initially, because he’s been weaponized for so long that she has every right to be suspicious and every nerve in her body is wired to question everything, but the months wore on and he never threatened her, even saved her life a couple times when they had to go out and fight, and then Steve came home one day to find Natasha taking a nap on the couch and Bucky cooking lunch in the kitchen with several knives within arm’s reach not fifteen feet away from her. And really, it’s all been smooth sailing since then.
Anyways, it’s the Fourth of July and it’s Steve’s birthday and he’s already told everyone not to make a big deal about it because he’s not big on birthdays, and Sam comes in to get a beer and asks, “Where’s Nat?”
“Getting more drinks,” Steve says, pressing the top crust onto his pie. The oven should be finished preheating in just a moment.
Sam makes a humming sound and gazes over at Bucky, who’s standing behind the couch with a distressed look on his face. He just came back from a run, still dressed in sweats and a ratty old t-shirt that’s just too big for him (like half of the things he wears, the shirt is Steve’s), and he looks like he’s noticing the TV for the first time. Sam raises an eyebrow.
“What’s gotten into you, grumpy?” Sam asks.
“That’s not right,” Bucky says, glaring at the TV, which is playing one of those annual tributes to Captain America, beginning with a brief history of his life before moving onto his accomplishments after the serum.
“What?” Sam asks.
“We were seven, not five,” Bucky says as Natasha bursts through the front door clutching two enormous grocery bags that dwarf her compact frame.
“Little help?” she says.
Bucky reaches over to give her a hand without even thinking about it.
“We met when you were getting beat up by those older kids for trying to stop them from bullying those little kids,” he says to Steve, carrying one of the bags over to the kitchen counter.
Natasha hefts the other bag up onto the counter and runs a hand through her hair.
“You know, we go through a surprising amount of alcohol for a household in which half of the residents can’t even get drunk,” she says.
Steve shrugs at her. “It’s a social thing,” he counters, like he always does. “It’s weird being the guy without a drink in his hand.”
Sam’s still frowning at Bucky. “It’s just one of those silly things news channels put together for publicity on the big holidays,” he says, confused by how serious Bucky is taking this whole thing. “You can’t expect them to get all the information right.”
Bucky’s mouth twists unhappily. “It’s misinformation,” he grumbles. And then he adds spitefully like he’s been thinking about this for a while now, “Everyone keeps getting stuff wrong, especially on the internet.”
Sam laughs. “It’s the internet,” he says, “Of course stuff’s going to be wrong.”
The oven makes a soft dinging sound, and Steve goes to put his pie in to bake. Natasha eyes it curiously as she sticks some more beer in the fridge.
“What kind?” she asks.
Steve smiles. “Apple,” he says. “My mom’s recipe. Money was tight, but she always made an effort to bake on holidays.”
Natasha’s face falls into one of those looks that she gets when the full reality of Steve’s history crashes down on her. It’s an easy thing, to forget everything he struggled through to make it here. She offers a small smile.
“Anyway,” Sam says to Bucky, and his voice is light and joking. “If you’re so concerned about the state of the internet, you could always spend your days correcting Wikipedia articles.”
“Don’t give him any ideas,” Steve says to Sam, setting a timer for his pie. “He knows way too many embarrassing things about me.”
And Natasha’s eyes grow bright with interest and says that Sam’s idea is the greatest thing she’s ever heard and Sam laughs and Steve shakes his head at both of them, and all the while, Bucky is completely silent and just that side of too serious, and really, they all should’ve known that it was always going to be more than just a joke.
Last edited 7 hours ago by an anonymous user
Steve Rogers (Captain America)
Steven Grant Rogers was born on Thursday, July 4, 1918 to Irish immigrants Sarah and Joseph Rogers in Brooklyn, New York City. Rogers grew up a frail and sickly but cheerful youth during the Great Depression in America. His father was confirmed KIA when Rogers was a child, and his mother died from pneumonia years later when he was a teenager, after he had graduated high school. At the time of her death, Rogers was enrolled in and had attended one year of art school. Immediately after her death, Rogers dropped out of art school to work and moved into his own apartment with his childhood friend, Bucky Barnes, who he met when they were seven years old and Rogers was defending a group of younger children from bullies. Barnes saved Rogers from being beaten up, a pattern that would endure for the length of their relationship, and the two have been close friends ever since.
Natasha smirks at Steve when he walks into the kitchen for his morning coffee (two creams, two sugars).
“I didn’t know you were an artist,” she says, bare feet kicked up onto the kitchen counter as she cradles her iPad in her lap.
Steve frowns at her, cup raised halfway to his mouth. “It was just art school, and it was only a year,” he says slowly, as if he’s afraid that this is some trick. “How did you—?”
And then a look of sudden realization breaks across his face, and he reaches across the counter and snatches Natasha’s iPad. She laughs. Steve inspects the screen, and sure enough, she’s got his Wikipedia page pulled up. Steve can spot at least a few new edits to his biography at just a glance.
“Since when do you read Wikipedia?” Steve asks, still frowning at the iPad screen.
“Since I had a feeling that our metal-armed friend would make good on his threat to rid the internet of errors concerning you,” Natasha says, smiling and leaning back in her seat and looking far too pleased with this entire situation.
Bucky chooses that moment to walk into the kitchen, flexing and unflexing his metal hand and rolling his shoulder like he does every morning, checking on the rhythmic clinking of the metal plates recalibrating to his movements like he’s afraid if he misses a day, his arm will stop working. He pours himself a cup of coffee (black) and leans back against the kitchen counter, taking a long sip of his coffee. He notices as he goes for another sip that Natasha and Steve are both staring at him.
“What?” he asks, his voice still raspy from sleep.
“You’re such a hero, Bucky,” Natasha says, exaggerated and dramatic and smiling just a little too much. “Saving our precious young Steve from bullies at every turn.”
Steve ignores Natasha. “Why did you edit my Wikipedia page?” he asks Bucky, who looks far too calm about this.
Bucky shrugs. “Couldn’t sleep last night,” he says, and Steve frowns when he thinks about the way Bucky often tosses and turns at night, distressed Russian phrases slipping out of his mouth every now and again. “Turns out anyone can edit Wikipedia. People got a lot of stuff wrong.”
“That doesn’t mean you have to broadcast every detail of my personal life,” Steve counters, but there’s no heat in it.
He’s not angry, not really; how can he be? This is the first thing outside of his daily runs and sparring that Bucky has shown any interest in and Sam has been encouraging him to branch out and find new hobbies to occupy his time with, saying that it helps with the recovery process to have something to do, because it engages the mind and helps with reintegrating into daily life, and this is evidence that Bucky is remembering more of his past and Steve doesn’t want to hinder that. Anyways, it’s not hurting anyone, so Steve doesn’t see any point in getting too worked up over it. And really, he thinks, what’s the worst that can happen?
Last edited 11 hours ago by an anonymous user
Steve Rogers (Captain America)
In his youth, Rogers was largely unsuccessful in his courting attempts. While his good friend Bucky Barnes tried to set him up with girls on various occasions, Rogers was often seen as too scrawny and thus unattractive by his female peers. During WWII, Rogers developed a close relationship with Agent Peggy Carter, a British field agent who helped supervise his unit. The two became romantically linked in their time working together, though their relationship was cut short when Rogers was forced to crash a HYDRA ship into the Arctic. Rogers’ own personal team of soldiers, the Howling Commandos, comprised of Barnes, Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier, were Rogers’ closest friends during the war. Rogers was also close with Howard Stark, who was integral in designing and producing Rogers’ iconic shield and uniform. Rogers has recently become close with a team of powerful superheroes known commonly as The Avengers. Rogers is currently in a relationship with Barnes.
Rogers was raised Catholic by his Irish parents. He has stated that while he believes in God and considers himself Catholic, his connection with his religion is largely a cultural one. Rogers, who identifies as bisexual, is also a supporter of LGBT rights and considers himself a feminist.
“Should I congratulate you on your coming out?” Natasha asks.
She and Sam are watching TV, her legs across his lap, and she’s smiling just a little too sweetly at Steve and Sam’s trying very hard not to snicker.
Steve frowns. “What?”
Natasha offers her iPad to him, and Steve only hesitates for a few seconds before taking it. He reads over the new edits Bucky has made to his page and sighs.
“Well, you guys already knew that,” Steve says, “And anyways, it’s not like I make a secret of my sexuality. It’s not a big deal.”
Natasha shrugs. “Well up until now, there’s been no definitive proof on the internet,” she says. “Some would consider this a coming out.”
Steve rolls his eyes. “Don’t be ridiculous, Nat.”
Bucky wanders over and looks at the iPad over Steve’s shoulder. “Should I not have written that?” he asks, sounding genuinely concerned that he overstepped.
“No, that’s fine,” Steve says absently, because it’s really not a big deal (it’s never been a big deal, even when he was younger and it should’ve been a bigger deal to him) and he doesn’t care and he’s more distracted by the things Bucky wrote about his adolescence. “You didn’t have to make me seem like such a loser as a teenager, though.”
Bucky levels Steve with a look. “You were a loser, Steve,” he says flatly, and Sam bursts out laughing, because of course that’s the detail that Sam fixated on.
“You must’ve been so precious as a kid,” Sam says, his voice bright around his laugh.
Steve sighs, knowing that they’re never going to let him forget this. Next to him, Bucky just shrugs.
“You guys are the worst,” Steve says.
Last edited 4 hours ago by Brns17
Steve Rogers (Captain America)
World War II
»Liberation of Allied Prisoners of War
In 1943, Rogers infiltrated a fortress belonging to Johann Schmidt, a German scientist obsessed with the idea of a new world order and founder of the German experimental science division, HYDRA. On this mission, Rogers was able to free a number of captured Allied soldiers, including the men who would later become Rogers’ Howling Commandos. Rogers was also able to accomplish his main objective in breaking into the base: rescuing his childhood friend Bucky Barnes. When Rogers found Barnes, Barnes was being experimented on by HYDRA scientists, but Rogers was able to successfully free Barnes. As the two attempted to escape the HYDRA base, they were confronted by Schmidt, who revealed that his face was a mask. Upon removal, Schmidt revealed his red-colored, skull-like face that earned him the nickname “The Red Skull”.
As he had rigged the HYDRA base to self-destruct, Schmidt fled, leaving Rogers and Barnes to find a way out for themselves. Rogers returned to the Allied base with the freed soldiers and stolen HYDRA weaponry. Rogers submitted himself to Colonel Chester Phillips for punishment for his actions but was denied it, as Phillips knew that Rogers had done good work in saving the lives of the captured soldiers.
It was proposed that Rogers lead a team into HYDRA territory in order to continue to destroy HYDRA bases and free any captured Allied soldiers. Phillips offered to put together a team for Rogers, but Rogers chose instead to form his own team. Rogers recruited Barnes, Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier to assist him on his new mission into HYDRA territory. While the known risk on his mission was high, Rogers’ men displayed the right mixture of bravery, daredevilry, and stupidity to agree to participate in the mission, leading to the creation of the team that would become the famed Howling Commandos. Howard Stark was tasked with providing Rogers with a new uniform, which included a new, circular shield that Rogers picked out of several prototypes. The shield was made of Vibranium, a rare, lightweight material capable of negating large amounts of damage by absorbing vibration with ease. Its efficacy was tested almost immediately after Rogers selected it when Agent Peggy Carter, angry with Rogers for personal reasons, picked up a nearby gun and fired four bullets at the shield, which Rogers was holding in front of him. Luckily, the shield tested well, and Rogers was unharmed. This event is the only known disagreement between Rogers and Carter.
Sam looks up from his laptop when Steve and Bucky return from running some errands, arms full of groceries and shampoo and paper towels and Swiffer pads.
“You have a type, did you know that?” Sam says.
Steve raises an eyebrow, setting his bags down by the kitchen counter. He peers at Sam’s laptop, quickly picking up where Bucky made edits. He doesn’t have to look to know that Bucky’s ducking his head to hide a smile, because that story about Peggy shooting Steve is one of his favorites and Bucky’s always upset that it never quite makes its way into history books or popular media.
“And by type,” Sam continues, “I mean that you seem to have this thing for angry brunettes who point guns at you.”
“A lot of people have pointed guns at me,” Steve says, shaking his head and moving to help Bucky put groceries away. “I fought in a war, remember?”
Sam rolls his eyes. “Deflect all you want, but I have you all figured out, old man,” Sam says.
Bucky snorts, avoiding a glare from Steve by turning to stick a couple boxes of pasta in the pantry.
Last edited 8 hours ago by Brns17
Formed from various rescued P.O.W.s, the Howling Commandos were an elite combat unit hand-picked by Steve Rogers (Captain America) to help him take out HYDRA bases across Europe. Comprised of Bucky Barnes, Timothy “Dum Dum” Dugan, Gabe Jones, Jim Morita, James Montgomery Falsworth, and Jacques Dernier, the Howling Commandos were hugely successful on their various missions.
The team grew quite close over their many missions together, and the surviving members would go on to be lifelong friends. In their limited free time, the Howling Commandos enjoyed engaging in various antics together, often finding themselves in trouble, formally or otherwise. Largely revolving around a drinking culture, the men’s activities ranged from Dernier and Jones loudly trash talking other soldiers in French to sneaking into fellow soldiers’ tents to shave off eyebrows to putting various substances in soldiers’ helmets in the middle of the night. Though only formally caught and reprimanded a handful of times, the Howling Commandos quickly earned a reputation amongst their peers, who learned that this group of men was not to be messed with.
The Howling Commandos were famously responsible for capturing Arnim Zola on a train in the Alps during one of their raids. During this mission, a HYDRA soldier blasted open a hole through the wall of the train cabin using one of HYDRA’s advanced weapons. Barnes was knocked through the hole while fighting the HYDRA soldier, and despite Rogers’ attempts to save him, Barnes fell into the ravine next to the train tracks and was presumed dead. After Barnes was lost, the remaining Howling Commandos also assisted in an attack on Johann Schmidt’s last base with Agent Peggy Carter and other US forces led by Colonel Chester Phillips after Rogers decided to avenge his friend’s death. This attack was their last mission as a team led by Rogers.
“You know, all those history books make you guys sound like such saints,” Natasha says as she and Steve rinse off dishes from dinner to put in the dishwasher. “I always forget that that the Howling Commandos were just a bunch of army guys stupid enough to run into HYDRA territory head on.”
Steve chuckles. “What did you expect?” he says. “It can be argued that stupidity is half the reason why I picked them.”
Natasha lets out a breath that would be a laugh if she would let it.
“Not Bucky, though, right?” she says quietly after a moment. She’s so small and unassuming most of the time that Steve forgets sometimes how uncannily perceptive she can be, that she’s been trained to pick up on everything. “He was different.”
Steve smiles a little sadly at that. “Bucky never liked a second of it,” he admits, because he knows, he’s known ever since he dragged Bucky out of that HYDRA base and saw the haunted look in his eye that never quite left, even after all his physical wounds had healed. “He never had any delusions about the whole thing. He knew there was a good chance at least one of us wasn’t going to make it out alive. But he was never was really good at leaving me to fight my way out on my own either.”
Natasha’s face falls into one of those thoughtful expressions again, not so much pained as suddenly hyperaware of the things that neither Steve nor Bucky ever really talk about. She touches a light hand to his elbow, an unspoken understanding passing between them because she’s known pain too and she’s known loss more than most and even though it’s not the same, it’s close enough and war is war in the end and Steve appreciates the gesture if nothing else.
In the living room, Bucky and Sam let out a loud shout, engrossed in some video game that Sam introduced them to. Steve looks over at Bucky, at the creases pressing in the corners of his eyes when he laughs, and thinks, somewhat selfishly, that despite all of the horrors of Bucky’s past and the lost years between the two of them, he’s glad that they can have this today, that he can see Bucky smiling again, maybe not quite as widely as before because death has a way of getting to you like that, but smiling nonetheless.
There are, of course, things Bucky never reveals, no matter how thorough he is in editing his and Steve’s and all of the Howling Commandos’ Wikipedia pages, including details like birthdays and favorite ice cream flavors and an assortment of dirty jokes that they were particularly fond of. There are always things that are just too private.
Bucky never writes about the way Steve always used to curl in on himself during the winter when they were younger and sharing a rickety one-bedroom apartment with walls so thin it could never keep the heat in. He never mentions the way that he used to wrap himself around Steve’s fragile form under the pretext of keeping them both warm, all soft skin on skin and secret kisses pressed into Steve’s hairline when Bucky thought Steve was asleep.
Bucky never writes about those times during the war, when Steve stayed up half the night soothing Bucky back to sleep after he woke up screaming from dreams of still being trapped in Austria and being surrounded by scientists with eerily calm smiles, promising to use him to build a better future. And Bucky certainly never writes about those quiet conversations they’d had by firelight, long after the others had gone to bed, conversations about after the war, conversations about the future as if either of them were certain they even had a future. He doesn’t write about the night Steve confessed that he loved Peggy and thought that maybe after all this was over, he’d like to marry her if she would have him, and he doesn’t write about the way his own heart had seized in his chest at that, a strange, inappropriate ache blooming up when he should’ve been feeling nothing but pride and happiness for his friend.
Bucky doesn’t write about the way Steve ran tirelessly all over the world looking for him or the many almost-fights they’ve had when Bucky forgets who he is and lashes out instinctually, fight programmed into him so strongly that he doesn’t think he’ll ever quite unlearn it. He doesn’t write about all the angry Russian phrases that Steve has learned because Bucky still talks in his sleep like he’s about to be tortured and wiped and put on ice again.
And Bucky certainly, certainly doesn’t write about this, the soft press of his mouth to Steve’s bare skin, or this, the way Steve gasps and moves and shudders beneath him, or this, the way Steve looks at him like he’s the only thing that matters in the entire universe. Bucky will never write about the way Steve still curls into Bucky in his sleep like he’s still small or the way the two of them huddle together when the weather starts to get nippy, piled under a mountain of blankets because each of them for their own reasons can’t stand the cold. Bucky will never write about the way he’s been madly, ridiculously in love with Steve since about ten minutes after they met and how he’s sure that Steve has loved him for almost as long, the two of them sidestepping and just missing each other in the height of their longing, with Steve pining before the war and Bucky more so during, when Steve found Peggy and they all thought that maybe that sickly kid from Brooklyn had a shot at a normal life after all. And really, that’s all okay, because misinformation be damned, there are things that Bucky never wants the world to know, jealously hoarding these little details like they’re the only precious things he has (and maybe they are, and that’s okay with him too, because all the little pieces come together to make Steve and really, there’s not much more Bucky could ask for, all things considered).