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Latest revision as of 15:44, 10 August 2019

Ersatz
Dramatis Personae

Steve, Bucky

1944-12-04


"Telling me Captain America is gonna blow the chance at a Christmas miracle for his team?"

Location

French Countryside


Bucky decided a long time ago that he hates winter. He hates how it made life, which was already a bastard, even harder, how it stole people's lives in the night. How, at one point, it had inched it's icy fingers into Steve's lungs and fought like hell to steal him too. Turns out the winters in Brooklyn are jack shit compared to winters in France. After a day of slowly stalking a cell of HYDRA agents through a snow-covered forest, the Commandos had finally decided to make camp when the light started to fade. Bucky, like the dumbass he is, had called first watch.

Which is the only reason he's not sitting around the fire with the rest of his team, trying to get his hands to thaw. Instead, he's circling the camp to keep the blood moving in his feet, like a rifle carrying chump, far enough away to not hear the crackle of burning wood and be tempted towards warmth. Christ, after this, he's going somewhere that's never even seen snow. Maybe he and Steve can go to the Grand Canyon. He'll lay on sunbaked rock until the warmth soaks into his bones and he forgets all about this place.

The soft crunch snow beneath boots announces Steve's approach. He's not trying particularly hard to be quiet, but definitely not making nearly as much noise as most would expect from a guy of his stature, either. "Hey, Buck." His voice is quiet but covers the distance between them easily through the brittle, icy air. "Brought you some spoils of war." He's carrying two tin cups trailing wisps of steam. The ersatz coffee is not particularly fragrant and contains no caffeine whatsoever, but it is warm and roasty, at least.

The thought of something warm to wrap his hands around is enough to make Bucky risk shouldering his rifle. "Thanks." He meets Steve halfway, reaching out to relieve him of half of his burden. The heat of the tin is near painful against his numbed fingers, which is a good thing. Means they aren't frostbitten yet. "You should get back where it's warm, before--" he cuts himself off before he can finish well-used admonishment. Before he gets sick. He hasn't even seen Steve sniffle since the weather turned. "Before I put you on watch instead," he says, grinning to try and cover the blunder.

Steve's guffaw manifests as a white puff of steam from beneath his helmet. "Am I taking orders from you now?" But he's grinning, too, and there's no heat in the retort. "C'mon, I'll walk with you." He doesn't wait for Bucky's agreement before starting to trudge along the perimeter, taking a great swig from his own cup. "Gosh, do you even remember the taste of real coffee?"

"Giving you any sort of order is a waste of breath," Bucky comments, falling in step on Steve's left. He's content to hold his cup, let it thaw his fingers, pretend the 'coffee' inside is the real deal for a bit longer. "Real coffee, real smokes. Real chocolate," he sighs wistfully, breath fogging the air. "I would give my left arm for real chocolate again."

"Maybe we can sneak a coded cry for help into our next report," Steve suggests causally. "I know I'm not supposed to encourage Howard's rogue supply runs, but you know he's going to come out for Christmas no matter what anyone says." He looks up at the sky as if expecting Stark to materialize out the night. "Though I'm not even sure he has the pull to get hold of chocolate now."

Bucky's expression doesn't change, but his fingers tighten around his cup. He would consider starvation before eating any chocolate that Howard fucking Stark brought. Well. Probably not. It's an ugly first reaction, and he knows it. Also knows there isn't going to be any changing it. "If you asked? He'd probably find a way." Look at that, Barnes, you're even sounding casual. He could be an actor in Hollywood after this. "Are we supposed to be writing letters to Santa? Tell him what we want?"

Steve looks down into his cup, trying not to smile. His blush might not be detectable to someone who knew him less well, but there's no hiding it from Bucky. "Probably, yeah." He shrugs. "Phillips would have a fit if he noticed, but if you can get talk Gabe into slipping it into a transmission, go for it." He switches the cup to his other hand and flexes his recently warmed fingers. "I'm still kinda hoping we can take these bastards down in time to get back to base for the holiday, but..."

The grimace Bucky wears after finally taking a drink is only half from the taste. "I'm sure it won't take much to have the other kids badger Gabe into it for me. Just gotta let a few things slip first." He forces a grin for Steve, gently clapping him on the shoulder. "Telling me Captain America is gonna blow the chance at a Christmas miracle for his team? You sick again, Stevie?"

"Gee, it's not that bad, is it?" Steve salutes Bucky with his cup. "Should have dressed it up with milk and sugar, huh?" His grin returns, no less forced, though he's clearly had more practice. "Have a little faith, Buck. They've got little chance of extraction here. Just a matter of time." His face hardens. "For them, and the entire Reich."