A Brief History of Romantic StuckyNat Part 4: Captain America: Civil War from Lagos to Berlin

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Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Five

This is the fourth part of a five part series on romantic StuckyNat. It tells the story of the MCU versions of Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Natasha Romanoff from the point of view of all three characters as if they were in love with each other. This part covers the beginning of Captain America: Civil War, from the mission in Lagos, Nigeria to Bucky’s arrival and imprisonment in Berlin, Germany. Part five will cover the rest of the movie. The series is canon-compliant.


Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff had worked with their new recruits, Sam Wilson and Wanda Maximoff, intensively for the last year. They’d become a cohesive team. Wanda and Sam had earned the right to call themselves Avengers. With the rest of the Avengers busy with other projects or semiretired, the four of them had begun going out on missions together.

They’d been tracking Brock Rumlow for a few months when they became aware of the Lagos op. Steve and his team gathered what intel they could, then continued surveillance at the probable site. Once Rumlow’s vehicles had been spotted, the team pursued and intercepted the terrorists Rumlow was working with. Everyone remembered and used their training, working together and taking down an organized attack force. But then Rumlow caught Steve off guard, and manipulated him into overlooking a goddamn bomb strapped to Rumlow’s chest. Steve might not ever forgive himself for putting Wanda in the position of having to clean up after him. A position she wasn’t ready for yet, and which had terrible consequences.

The Lagos mission wasn’t a complete disaster, though the rest of the world acted like it was. Steve tried to remind himself of how much of the mission went right, before Rumlow played him so easily by invoking Bucky’s name. They’d worked well as a team, they’d stopped the theft of a bioweapon, and the new maneuvers that combined each person’s unique talents went off without a hitch. If only he hadn’t allowed himself to become distracted at the thought of new information about Bucky, grasping at any possibility, after so long without leads. Now Wanda, and all of the casualties in Lagos, were paying the price for his mistake. As a soldier Steve knew that mistakes were going to happen, you just had to keep going, and try to do the best you could with the situation. It was so much harder to cope with failure as an Avenger in the 21st century than it had been in his time. Now there were cameras everywhere and 24 hour news waiting to pounce and place blame. Somehow the Avengers never really got to tell their side of the story.

 Wanda had become like a daughter to him. They had so much in common, with them both being science experiments who had lost their soulmates, homes and families. Training her was a joy that finally brought some of the meaning back to his life that had been missing since Bucky fell. He was damned if he was going to let one accident, something that happened during the course of saving countless lives, be used as an excuse to put her under government control. She was a person first. It was time the world stopped thinking of human beings as weapons. That was no better than thinking of them as property. Wanda, Steve, Bucky, Thor, Bruce, and all of the other enhanced individuals belonged to themselves, not to any government. Bucky had already spent 70 years as property. Enough was enough.
That was his real problem with the Accords. He didn’t like that a government agency was taking control over their activities again, either, but they could negotiate on that. It was Ross’ attitude toward the enhanced, and the way he slanted and twisted his arguments to hide his real motivations, that made up Steve’s mind.
He saw how the sides were falling. The regular humans, and Tony’s creation Vision, on the side of government control. Steve and Wanda, the two enhanced, and Steve’s close, loyal friend Sam on the side of freedom. He was sad to see Natasha side with Tony. Steve understood and agreed with some of her reasoning, but he couldn’t risk what he knew the accords meant for people like himself, Bucky, and Wanda. He’d seen the concentration camps in Germany, and the Japanese internment camps in his own country. He’d seen what had been done to Bucky. Steve just couldn’t allow the potential for that type of abuse of power to become legal again. People’s fear of someone more powerful than them was not a just reason for imprisoning or owning others.
Then Steve got the call that Peggy had died, and every other thought left his head. He knew this was coming, but still, he was devastated. God, he missed Bucky so much. He was desperate to have Bucky by his side to say goodbye to Peg. She was almost his last link to the past. Bucky was the only other person he knew who would remember her, if Bucky even did remember her.
For the 3rd time in his life, he cried until there was nothing left in him. He cried for Peggy, for Bucky, for the future together they’d all lost. Peggy had told him, after he’d woken up in the 21st century to find attitudes about sex and sexualities very different from what he remembered, that she’d always known that he was in love with Bucky, too, and that Bucky was in love with him. She said she knew Steve loved her, and realized that he was probably bisexual. Peggy confessed to being bisexual as well, and having been in love with a woman before she settled down and married her husband. Steve was relieved to hear that Peggy was so accepting of the truth about him and Bucky, and grateful she was willing to share the truth about herself. Then she dropped the biggest bomb of all. Peggy told Steve that she hadn’t wanted to take him away from Bucky. Instead, she had a solution that might have worked for all of them. She and Steve could’ve gotten married, and Bucky could’ve been a 3rd person in their relationship, living with them equally, but appearing to be a roommate who’d never married as far as the rest of the world knew. She hadn’t said anything during the war because it didn’t seem like their relationship was at that point yet. She was waiting for the end of the war, when they could all actually get serious.
This, of course, floored Steve, since he hadn’t even realized he was in love with Bucky at that time. He had no idea how he would have reacted to the idea at first, or what would have happened in the long run, but it sounded like absolute heaven to him now. He was keeping it in the back of his head, should more miracles occur. Maybe he would get Bucky back, and wouldn’t lose Natasha in the argument over the Accords. Having a relationship with both Bucky and Nat would be his dream, if they were both open to it. He didn’t know how he’d even begin to bring it up, but he’d worry about that after those miracles occurred.

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Bucky had been in Budapest for several months and was out shopping when his skin began to crawl. He looked around, and, sure enough, there were eyes watching him, while pretending not to. He’d been discovered. The day he’d dreaded for 2 years had arrived. He glanced at a newspaper to try to find out who was hunting him, surprised to find he was being blamed for a bombing he hadn’t committed. Whether he did it or not was of little consequence, though, and whoever was framing him knew that. The Winter Soldier was guilty of enough crimes that people would believe him guilty of anything he was accused of. They’d rush to turn him in, to get him away from their own homes and families. Bucky put his head down and raced back to his room to prepare to get out of town, fast.
When he got to his room, Captain America was already standing in his space. Bucky began to panic. He wanted to trust Steve, but this wasn’t his little Stevie from his memories. This was a giant, helmeted, uniformed authority figure waiting to subdue him and take him into custody (at best), as far as he could tell. Bucky knew Steve was as fast as he was, so he didn’t immediately run. He’d have to be smarter than that. Steve said some things that made it sound like he was on Bucky’s side, but then they were in a fight for their lives. Bucky lunged for his bag and got out.
By the time the chase was done, Bucky realized Steve and his winged friend were on Bucky’s side, but it hardly mattered. He was in custody now, and people like him never got out, never got due process. They disappeared into a deep, dark hole in the ground for however long or short their captors decided their lives would be. The best he could hope for was that he’d either just be a prisoner this time, or be quickly executed. No torture, no more being forced to do horrible things against his will. He knew he was strong enough to break out of the mobile cell he was transported in, but what would be the point? He’d been nothing but a pawn for most of a century, since the start of World War 2. It was stupid to think he could ever be anything more, memories or no memories.
He tuned out Steve’s arguments with the officers in charge. He knew how they’d end before they started. It was nice to think Steve still cared about him enough to try, even if he shouldn’t.
 As she watched Steve, Bucky, and their entourage of armed guards arrive in Berlin, Natasha’s jealousy was getting to her again.  She loved Steve and Bucky both, but they loved each other more. They had always loved each other. First, best, and with a love for the ages. And Bucky was fucking it up. He was making Steve fuck everything up. Leaving her to try to clean up the mess. Steve could be patient, but waiting for years to see if Bucky would ever come back to him was taking a larger and larger toll.
She knew she was being unfair. Who knew how much Bucky remembered. She’d seen firsthand what they could do to his brain, and how hard it could be for him to get anything back of his own. He’d probably remember more if he’d come home to her and Steve, but he was always so skittish when he started to remember anything, not knowing if it was safe to trust anyone after so many decades of torture and abuse. Fearful that he’d be taken and wiped again if he showed any signs he was remembering. Without anything familiar to trigger memories, or a place to feel safe while his brain healed, they could be in for a long wait while he pieced himself back together enough to come find them on his own.
Nat knew she should talk to Steve about this, tell him what she knew about Bucky’s condition, but she still couldn’t bring herself to confess their affair. She couldn’t risk her relationship with Steve any further. Not when the Avengers were already in such disarray. She saw how Rumlow mentioning Bucky affected Steve. He considered Bucky to be his weakness. With her and Steve on opposite sides over the Accords, he’d definitely take her sudden confession the wrong way.
Steve was already a mess over Bucky having been missing for the 2 years since he’d escaped from Hydra. She’d held him more than once while he silently shook from how much he missed Bucky, from the guilt he felt over Bucky being out there all alone with a Swiss cheese brain, from everything that had happened between them and to them over so many decades. Nat knew Steve needed Bucky, and would never really be whole without him. All she could do was be there for him, and try to fill in as much of the Bucky-sized hole in his heart as she could until Bucky finally showed up to take over. Then hope that somehow there would be a place for her with them as well.
{Author’s Note: Once again, Natasha is an unreliable narrator. She is starting to lay some claim to Steve by virtue of the time and effort she’s put into the man. She would never try to keep Steve and Bucky apart is the thing.}
So, she did the best she could to keep Steve on an even keel after Lagos, and to hold the group together when the Accords came up. When she was forced to choose a side, she reluctantly chose to sign. Experience had taught her that you were more likely to be able to influence policy if you appeared to be cooperative and an insider, so that’s what she would do. It wouldn’t stop her from using whatever other forms of influence and information gathering she could.
She didn’t trust Ross or his agenda, and she was just as protective of Wanda as Steve was. But Steve was a supersoldier, who formed a battle plan and assaulted the front doors, loudly. Natasha was a master spy, who infiltrated the other side, gathered intel, and quietly carried out a plan that might not ever be detected by anyone but herself and her handler. She was used to being misjudged and misunderstood. She hoped she and Steve would be able to keep talking openly and not lose their closeness through this, but she also had to look at it a bit like a mission. Protect the family and do what she could to keep them together and safe in the long run.
Then Bucky went and bombed the UN, killing King T’Chakka. How the hell was she supposed to keep them all safe now? When Steve called her, Nat had to at least try to keep him from putting himself in more danger, since there was nothing she could do for Bucky. She wasn’t shocked at all when he ignored her.
If Steve and Bucky weren’t the loves of her life, she might have killed them both herself when they showed up in Berlin with Sam. They were the Falcon, Captain America, and the fucking Winter Soldier. Supersoldiers. The greatest assassin and the greatest soldier of the 20th century, plus a guy who could fly and shoot bullets at the same time, yet they couldn’t even manage to escape when Steve knew the attack was coming and they were escaping from Bucky’s home base? Disgusting. Sloppy as hell. She was just spitting at mad at the two of them. She couldn’t help taking it out on Steve a little. Still, she was so relieved to see Bucky alive, unharmed, and with life and heart in his eyes. If only it weren’t here. She would keep her eyes and ears open to figure out the best way of getting them all out of this mess. Nobody was dying or getting sent away for good. Not if she had anything to say about it.
Steve was still reeling from Peggy’s funeral when news of the UN bombing came in. His first thought was for Natasha. He couldn’t lose her too. His heart actually stopped in his chest, and the air left his lungs at the thought of it. Thankfully, she answered her phone on the first ring. He almost collapsed in gratitude. Things went to hell quickly after that, when the news started flashing a blurry photo they identified as Bucky, while claiming he was the bomber. Steve refused to believe that the Bucky who dragged him from the Potomac, and hadn’t hurt any innocent people since, would suddenly do something like this.  Either way, Bucky was Steve’s responsibility, Steve’s to take care of. If this was the end of the line, Steve was going to be there for it, one way or another.
Steve’s heart stopped again, later, when he turned around in Bucky’s room and Bucky was there. It’d been so long since he’d really seen that face. He wanted so badly to just stop and stare for hours, to map out the changes the years had made, to run his hands over everything that was the same, everything that made him Steve’s Bucky.
But there was no time. Bucky was obviously scared and nervous, and having trouble trusting Steve, even though he remembered Steve. As they fought their way out, at times they moved together like they’d never been separated. Other times, Steve could tell that Bucky was running from him as much as he was running from the others. It was heartbreaking at the end to see Bucky captured and imprisoned, but this gave them a shot at clearing his name. When they arrived in Berlin, to Steve’s disgust, it seemed that due process was out of the question, despite Bucky being an American citizen and POW. Steve would get Bucky out himself if necessary.
So much for the Accords. He knew Natasha was mad at him for all kinds of things at this point, but this situation, and the ongoing situation with Wanda, showed exactly why the Accords weren’t a compromise, they were dangerous. The Accords made it sound like they were meant to protect everyone, when their real purpose was to legalize restricting the rights and movements of enhanced humans. Wanda and Bucky were the beginning, but Steve had heard from Bruce about his chilling history with Ross. Nothing good for enhanced humans could ever come from that man. Ross was already using the Avengers themselves to imprison other Avengers, without even a fair trial for their alleged crimes. This was only the beginning. Steve didn’t want to lose Natasha, or Tony for that matter,  but his people’s lives and freedom were at stake.
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