An 11 meant that I got to choose a prompt from YOU GUYS. The secondary dice roll decided that today I would be using katsheswims' prompt. (FYI: You can still prompt me by going to my prompt post and leaving one there.)
Prompt: Hmmm, maybe something in MCU with Steve (and others) attempting to help Bucky get his mind back together/his memories back via hypnosis [not that I think that would be a great idea in real life--so hey it could go badly too...].
I decided to go for something lighthearted rather than tragic or too serious - mainly because yesterday's ficlet was on the serious side, and also because I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to hypnosis. Also, making it lighthearted meant I could reuse a joke that my sister once pulled on me when I set up a recording device in her room to prove to her that she talked in her sleep.
So... to the fic...
You Are Getting Sleepy
Spoilers: Post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Special Appearances by: Tony Stark
Bucky had been back with them for a bit now. He was quieter and more serious, but Steve remembered him being like that in the war too. Steve had made peace with the fact that Bucky was probably just permanently like that now. Before, Steve used to think that once the war was over and they were home in Brooklyn, Bucky would go back to easy smiles and irreverence, but then, they were still essentially soldiers, so perhaps “after the war” didn’t actually exist.
Bucky and Steve got along like they always had, though Bucky’s memory was a tricky thing. He knew things, he just didn’t remember them. He knew Steve. He knew how to get around New York. He knew how to use all his weapons. He knew how to speak Russian. He knew how to make a good soup. He knew how to dance. He knew all those things, but he didn’t remember why he knew them.
Steve knew it bothered Bucky. Steve could tell Bucky stories from their youth and Bucky would laugh at them like he had never heard them before, like he didn’t know the punchline – because he didn’t. He couldn’t remember. “I really do that?” He’d ask and Steve nod, and Bucky would say, “We were really somethin’” and laugh, but then sometimes he’d say, “you’re making it up,” and shake his head, and stare off into space for a second, and he didn’t need to say “I wish I could remember” for Steve to hear it.
They didn’t see Stark that often, he grated on Steve’s nerves more than a little, truth be told – but they happened to be over in his lab one day to check out some new tech for Bucky.
“How’s our favourite amnesiac?” Tony asked. “Is your brain repairing those connections yet?”
Steve winced. Bucky’s brain was slowly repairing itself – or, so they figured, anyway – he’d been suffering from nightmares, and getting very little sleep as a result. It would have seemed like a small price to pay if they had been the good memories – instead, it seemed to only be memories of his time as the Winter Soldier. He’d wake up screaming. He’d been showering more frequently in an attempt to wash blood off that had been washed off decades ago. Yet, he still didn’t remember the drafty apartment in Brooklyn, his childhood with Steve, or his own parents. Basically, to say it was a sore topic was an understatement.
The dead silence that met Tony’s question spoke to that.
“Not doing that great, huh?” Tony said. “Have you tried hypnosis?”
“Sure,” Bucky said, stretching out the syllable in obvious sarcasm. “Because what I really want to do is have someone attempt to control my mind – it worked out so well the last time.”
Tony rolled his eyes. “And people say that I’m dramatic. Come on, I read all about it once, but Pepper and Rhodey wouldn’t let me try on them... let me give it a go!”
“Tony-” Steve started to say.
“You know me,” Tony continued. “You trust me and-”
“I wouldn’t go that far-“ Bucky interrupted.
“Please,” Tony said. “You trust me way more than you’d trust any professional hypnotist – come on! It’ll be fun! What’s the worst that can happen? It either works or it doesn’t, and Steve will be there the whole time, so you know your virtue is safe-”
Bucky gave Steve a sly look like he wanted to comment on that too. Steve bit back a laugh and tried not to blush.
“Fine,” Bucky said.
“-and I don’t have anything to do this afternoon, because Pepper- Wait, what? Really?” Tony said.
“Yeah,” Bucky shrugged. “Like you said, it either works or it doesn’t, and I wouldn’t mind being able to remember a baseball game with Steve rather than punching a hole in someone’s chest.”
“Understandable,” Tony nodded. “Okay, uh, lay down on the couch... um, Jarvis, some mood lighting please!”
The lights all dimmed as Bucky sauntered over to the couch and stretched out on it. Bucky glanced at the darkened room and lifted an eyebrow.
“You sure my virtue is safe?” Buck asked. “This is all very romantic.”
Tony laughed. “Have I mentioned that I like you? Because I do.”
“And now the sweet talk,” Bucky replied, deadpan. “My heart’s all aflutter.”
“Shut-up,” Tony muttered, as he dragged over a chair. “Now, close your eyes and listen to the soothing sound of my voice.”
Steve came to stand behind Tony. He had to admit that he was curious whether this would work.
“Soothing isn’t exactly the word I’d use,” Steve muttered.
“Hey, no comments from the peanut gallery,” Tony said. “Now... Bucky, listen to the soothing sounds of my very soothing voice... it’s very very soothing... as you listen, I want you to relax all the muscles in your body... and your cybernetic arm... I want you to imagine that you’re sinking into the couch cushions. You’re body growing heavy... I’m going to count down from ten, and as I count down, your body will grow heavier and heavier, and as your body grows heavy, your mind will travel back... back into your past... 10... 9... 8... 7... 6... 5... 4... 3... 2... 1. Your mind is now in the past, far into your past... you are thinking about your earliest memories... “
Bucky hummed a little, it sounded almost blissful – Steve raised his eyebrows, wondering if it had actually worked. It seemed way too simple a thing to have worked...
“You’re in a memory, Bucky,” Tony continued. “Can you describe where you are?”
“In an apartment,” Bucky said softly.
“Can you describe the apartment?” Tony asked.
“There’s a couch,” Bucky murmured.
“Good, that’s good, anything else?” Tony asked.
“There’s a note. I’m reading it,” Bucky described.
“What does it say?” Tony asked.
“It says...” Bucky whispered. “It says... Tony Stark is an idiot.”
There was a brief moment of absolute silence, and Bucky cracked one eye open and looked straight at Tony and smiled. Steve burst out laughing.
“I take it back!” Tony declared. “You’re a bastard and I hate you!”
“And after I let you put the moves on me and everything – typical!” Bucky replied indignantly, causing Steve to go into another giggle fit.
Tony sighed loudly. “You two deserve each other. Here I am, trying to help, and you can’t even take it seriously-“
“Aww, don’t be sore,” Bucky rolled his eyes. “Come on, you can give it another go, and this time I promise to take it serious.”
“Really?” Tony asked. “Because I could be doing better things with my time-“
“Really,” Bucky said. “I just wanted to make Steve laugh. I’ll be good now, I promise.”
“Okay, but if you screw with me, I’m totally going to hypnotize you to cluck like a chicken, I swear-“
“Yeah, yeah, just get on with it, Mr. Magician,” Bucky said.
Tony went through the entire relaxation speech again, this time making it longer – more thorough, asking Bucky to relax his muscles one by one... telling him to imagine sinking into a sandy beach rather than the couch. Jarvis started playing ocean noises on some silent cue from Tony. This time, when Tony finished counting down from ten, Bucky didn’t make any noise at all. Steve had to admit, that Bucky looked completely and utterly relaxed.
“Can you describe where you are?” Tony asked.
Bucky stayed silent.
“Bucky? Are you in a memory?”
Bucky started snoring.
“Is he asleep?” Tony said, staring at Bucky as though he had been betrayed yet again. “Is he pretending to be asleep?! Bastard!”
Steve clamped a hand over Tony’s mouth and stared at Bucky.
Bucky really was asleep. As quickly as possible, Steve manhandled Tony out of the room. Tony made angry protesting noises and even tried licking Steve’s hand – gross.
Once the door was closed and Steve knew Bucky wouldn’t be able to hear them. He released Tony, who scrambled away from him looking indignant.
“What the hell!?” Tony yelled.
Steve just smiled at him. “Tony, you’re amazing! Thank you so much!”
“Wait, what?!” Tony said. “I mean, I’m not going to argue – but... uh, I didn’t actually do anything.”
“Bucky made jokes just like he used to and now he’s taking a nap!” Steve said. “Tony – that’s a good day!”
“But... the memories,” Tony said.
“They’ll come back to him eventually,” Steve shrugged. “And if they don’t, well, he’s still Bucky, as he just clearly demonstrated. I’m mostly just excited that he trusted us both enough to fall asleep while you were in the same room as him. Usually, he’s got to check all the locks in the apartment twice, keep a gun on the nightstand, and a knife under the pillow.”
“I’m not sure if I should be happy or sad right now,” Tony said, “or just disappointed that I still haven’t gotten a chance to hypnotize anyone.”
“Well,” Steve said, considering. “You get to tell me that I was wrong and that should make you happy.”
“Of course that makes me happy,” Tony said, then looked puzzled. “What were you wrong about this time?”
“Apparently, you do have a soothing voice,” Steve conceded. “You just put a highly trained assassin with trust issues to sleep just by talking to him... and you didn’t even have to start talking about computers.”
“I was feeling proud there for a moment, before you ruined it,” Tony said.
“Come on, I’ll make it up to you by letting you use me as a test subject for whatever the latest weird thing you’ve been working on is.... I got nothing to do now that my sparing buddy’s asleep.”
“Deal. And is that what they’re calling it these days...”
Hope you enjoyed it!
Sorry to any of you who are getting sick of MCU fic. Don't worry, I'll be switching it up soon, I'm sure.