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some days were harder than others for bucky. though he'd been free from hydra for nearly a year now but he still hadn't learned to distance himself from the memories. more often than not he would wake up before dawn sweating and panting, fear rushing through him as he was forced to remember what he'd been through since he'd fallen from the train all those years ago. forced to remember the things he'd done. there were good days and happy memories, new and old, but those didn't keep him awake at night or sneak up on him while he was going about his day. thank god for natasha. bucky knew he had a support system waiting the moment he needed it but n one really knew what he was going through. not even steve. he'd woken up in a panic again that morning, the clock showing that it wasn't even four. feeling caged in he'd gone for a run before coming back to shower, letting out a sigh of relief to see her awake as he exited the bathroom. "i couldn't sleep again," he yawns, unable to hide anything for her. "did i wake you up?"
as the door clicked shut behind james, natasha stirred from the bed. she had been awake long before he had left her side, feeling his weight leave her on the mattress that they shared but she didn't stop him from leaving, laying in the stillness until he had left him to the silence of their apartment. rising from the bed she took the window and waited for his form to reappear out on the street, a silhouette barely visible in the dim light tae street lamps offered. she watched him move, considerably more slowly but still rapid, and watched him until he was out of sight; as james disappeared form view, natasha sighed and returned to the bed, trying to close her eyes in a attempt to return to her slumber – not that she was getting much sleep anyway. instead she lay in bed curled on her side, watching the window as the light changed from dark to the faintest pinkest light, waited for the sound of his return. another click of the door, and the sound of running water alerted her that it was safe to get up now. she exhaled and sat up in the bed, still facing the window. living with james was hard, but she wouldn't imagine sharing her space with anyone else. who else could possibly fathom her demons, the darkness in her life, the nightmares that haunted her? who else? a soft smile graced her usually sharp features as she heard him return to the bed room. "i know," she responded softly, gently holding out her callused hand to him. "and you didn't. i've not been getting much sleep anyway. run alright?" this space they shared was full of darkness, full of screams and terrors of the pasts that haunted them both but here natasha found solace and for the first time in many years she had found a home.
natasha holding her hand out for bucky is his equivalent of a lifeline. their fucked up pasts might have been the thing that brought them together but sometimes bucky couldn't believe that she'd want to stay with a broken man like him. bucky didn't feel like he had a lot to offer her when it really came down to it. most of what he seemed to provide her with were sleepless nights and even more worries. bucky needs natasha too much to do what's right for her and leave. he takes her hand and crawls back in bed with her, laying his head on her chest. he knows that this quiet moment can't last forever and that he'll eventually need to get up and try go about his day normally, but for now he just wants to stay here with her. "the run was fine," bucky tells nat quietly, running the cold metal fingers of his left hand over her stomach. natasha is the only person he can touch with his prosthetic without feeling like a monster. "same as always. i broke another ipod." sometimes when he wasn't paying attention he'd let his fears overwhelm him and he'd make mistakes, like breaking whatever it was that happened to be in his hand. once again natasha was one of the only things he never worried about damaging. "maybe i should just start running in silence. or taking you with me."
natasha ran her callused hand over the rough ridges and bumps on his skin of the back of his hand, the pad of her thumb making the journey back and forth as if they could rub out the scars that marked it. she hummed an old lullaby her mother used to sing, someone whose memories she can barely recall from the recesses of a mind filled with screams and bodies and the angry red of blood. it is a placid memory, something that doesn't quite belong. for awhile, nothing lies betwen them but natasha's soft humming and the sound of their breathing. natasha moved her hand to the top of his head where she stroked his hair. here with james, in the darkness of their room, is her safest spot. normally, she can't stand stillness but with james, it's a different experience in its entirety. usually needing the constant barrage of noise, of sound and motion to push all of the ugliness from her head, she doesn't seek out that sort of commotion with him. here, she is perfectly content to stay with him. "i'm sure you can just get another one from tony," she said with a slight chuckle, shivering slightly from the cold metal of his arm. "i'd like to go with you," they could easily run against each other without scaring off any other fellow runners who might be up that early. "are you scared i'll outrun you?" she asks, a teasing lilt to her voice as she lowers herself down so that her her face is right across his instead. taking a moment's pause she places a kiss on his forehead, this tip of his nose, and finally on the corner of his lips. "because i can, you know?"
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