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MCU Flashfic Meme - Weekly Prompts!
Week 4 - A story about three siblings
Week 4 - A story about three siblings
For our next challenge:
A story about three siblings
The prompt runs until next week, so oldest children will be posting in the next six hours, middle children will be starting Thursday, and youngests will be starting when someone reminds them to start.
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2016-01-28 06:58 pm (UTC)
Frozen In Time
Captain America (Movies) Star Wars (Movies)
Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes, Rebecca Barnes, Beth Barnes
Star Wars AU, Droids, Angst, Memories
“Play it again,” Beth said slowly.
R3 made a long, low beep, but after a few seconds complied with her request, and a moment later the dark room lit up with the light of the holoprojector.
The clip was only a few seconds long, but R3 played it on loop: the Barnes siblings and Steve, too - a Barnes in nature if not in name - laughing in the faint glow of their first campfire in months, warm food in their bellies; together; safe; happy. That was years ago, now, but Beth still remembered it clearly: their first night in a proper shelter after moons of searching for food and water and safety on the barren desert plain. The first night they found R3. The first night Beth had thought,
maybe we’ve finally found a place to call home.
After a few long minutes, R3 turned off the holoprojection. Beth sat up in bed and rubbed at her eyes.
“Play it again,” she said.
They found the droid buried in the sand. Well -- that wasn’t quite right. They found the droid buried in the wreck, which itself was buried in the sand. As a matter of fact, it was thanks to the droid that they found the wreck in the first place.
It started off as a thin noise off in the distance, muffled slightly by the sands of the desert’s flat plain. Bucky heard it first, and tried to steer them away - at this point they’d well learned that any noise in the sands usually meant trouble, and was best avoided - but it was hard to tell which direction it was coming from, and before long it had grown louder, piercing: a scream, with a strange metallic edge.
“Sounds like someone’s hurt,” Steve said.
Bucky nodded, frowning as he scanned the horizon and found nothing. He raised a closed fist, and they got into formation: himself in the lead, the girls in the middle, Steve at the rear. Then, in one smooth motion, he swung the rifle from his back and braced it against his shoulder, setting the charge to stun.
They continued on, slower this time. Seemingly regardless of which direction they moved in, the noise was steadily increasing in volume, enough for their curiosity to outgrow their caution, because it was a sound unlike anything they’d ever heard before: not the low mournful cry of an injured Luggabeast, nor the blood-curling howls that signalled a swarm of Gnaw-Jaws out for blood, nor the sobbing cries scavengers used to draw their victims into traps.
No; this noise was different. For one, it was continuous, like whoever was screaming didn’t need to pause for breath, but there was something else about it, too, that only grew more apparent the closer they got: it was echoing off something. Something big. And it wasn’t until the sand began to shift under their feet that they realised what it was.
The moment he saw the sand beneath Bucky beginning to slide, Steve immediately pulled Beth and Becca back a few steps, and then a few more, until the ground was solid beneath their feet. In horror the three of them watched as Bucky lost his balance as he tried and failed to get some purchase, the sand flowing faster, inexorably heading down towards a hole in the sand that had been hidden by the desert’s uneven surface, invisible all the way up until they were nearly on top of it.
Bucky scrambled for the axe strapped to his leg, unsheathed it and rolled on to his front, trying to stab down into whatever surface it was that the sand was sliding over. The first attempt didn’t work, nor the second, and on the third the blade of the axe shattered in his hand. He made a noise of pain - echoed in Beth and Becca’s screams of “Bucky!” - reaching instead for the ropes tied to his pack, but he’d slid too far out of reach, now, and either way he was too close to the edge now to get it free in time. Steve saw the moment Bucky realised what was about to happen, saw Bucky lift his head just long enough to look up at the three of them, standing there frozen, unable to do anything but watch.
Then the sand pushed Bucky over the edge, and he disappeared out of sight with a yell that cut off abruptly.
It had all happened so fast. Steve stood there, paralysed with shock, and waited to hear the thump of a body hitting the ground, but even after a long moment there was none, which must mean that Bucky had fallen so deep he was out of earshot.
Suddenly his legs buckled, and he was kneeling on the ground, and he couldn’t breathe, because Bucky was gone. Anger and fear and shock rose up in his throat like bile, choking him, and it was only distantly that he noticed that Beth and Becca were crying, too. He opened his arms, and they crawled to him, and, not knowing what else to do, he held them close, and cried too.
Time passed. Steve wasn’t sure how long. It was only when the noise suddenly stopped, almost shocking in its absence, that he uncurled and sat back, rubbing at his eyes. The silence was broken again; from somewhere deep inside the hole Bucky had fallen into came a series of beeps - entirely unlike the long scream of before - and then a loud grating noise, like metal being scraped against metal. Then came a loud clang, and more beeping that, the longer Steve heard it, began to sound oddly like words:
thank you! thank you! thank you!
The beeping began to grow louder, like whatever was making the noise was steadily approaching the surface, and after a few minutes that seemed to stretch on forever, Steve watched transfixed as a strange white shape emerged from the hole in the sand, followed by -- a pair of hands, and then a mop of brown hair, and then a body: Bucky, looking bruised but
He had rope tied around his waist that led back down into the hole, but the sand had stopped moving now, allowing him to set the droid down and climb out fully.
“Bucky!” Beth and Becca cried, still a little tearful as they watched their brother emerge from the sand.
“Hey, guys,” he said, wiping a smear of blood from his temple.
“Bucky Barnes,” Steve growled, voice rising steadily, “you pfassking asshole!”
The droid stopped beeping and turned its -- head? -- to look at Steve, then back to Bucky, then back to Steve, before letting out a long low beep.
Bucky patted its head. “It’s okay,” he said. “Steve’s always like that.”
“Only when you go and---we thought you were
,” Steve said, his voice cracking as Bucky unslung two pieces of rope from his pack, tied them together and flung them up for Steve and his sisters to catch.
“Fell pretty far,” Bucky said, fixing the droid to the pack on his back before grabbing hold of the rope and beginning to climb up the incline. “Sand cushioned my fall. Landed pretty close to the droid, figured since I was already down there I might as well free it - it was trapped under some debris. Then I found some stairs that got us close to the surface, and used the rope from there,” he finished, stepping back onto firm solid ground and into his sisters’ waiting arms.
“It’s okay,” he said soothingly, “I’m here, I’m okay,” and the droid on his back made a series of noises as if to confirm that this was true.
“What was down there?” Steve asked, frowning as his words came out a lot more shaky than intended.
“It’s some kind of wreck - maybe a ship,” Bucky replied, pulling back from his sisters so he could ease the droid onto the ground. “Doesn’t matter; either way, it’s got supplies. Once we figure out how to get down--”
,” Steve interjected, watching as the droid extended an arm and held it out. Beth gently grasped it, giggling as the droid moved its arm up and down.
“Once we figure out how to get down safely,” Bucky continued, “it could be a good place to, y’know, stay. Settle down for a while. It’s got shelter, supplies -- sounded like it had water in there somewhere, too.”
“Okay,” Steve said, nodding along with Beth and Becca; it would be nice to get out of the harsh suns and the sandstorms, to be able to light a fire and eat warm food without worrying about being seen by scavengers.
“But if you ever scare me like that again,” Steve added, “I’m gonna kill you myself, you jerk.”
“I won’t,” Bucky replied, grinning as he pulled Steve in for a hug, “I promise.”
“Play it again,” Beth said, but the room stayed dark. “R3?”
R3’s light blinked, and it let out a series of short, sharp beeps, head swivelling from side to side.
“Please,” Beth said, feeling her voice crack in the middle, “Play it again.”
R3 stayed quiet for a long moment, silent save for the whirring sound of its head moving.
Sitting here alone in this dark room it was almost impossible to imagine that the Barnes family had ever existed; that there had ever been anything before this long, unending grief, because Bucky was dead, and Steve was too, and Bec spent all her time away from the base out on secret missions for General Carter because there was no time to grieve; the Rebellion wasn’t over yet.
But when, with a click, the holoprojector flickered into life once more, filling the room with dim blue light, it was like a moment of a time long past had been frozen in time and preserved forever; a reminder that they had existed, that they had been happy.
Beth rolled over and turned to face the wall.
The holoprojector clicked off. R3 beeped quietly, questioning.
“I miss them,” she said, voice muffled by the pillow.
R3 moved closer, treads pattering against the floor. There was a faint hydraulic noise, and then its utility arm was extending out, the curved end of it gently patting her shoulder.
R3 beeped a single time, but Beth understood the meaning perfectly:
Yes. I know. I miss them too.
Again, playing pretty fast and loose with this week's prompt, and I'm not quite sure I managed to capture what I was going for, but as a whole writing this was useful in terms of helping me flesh out this AU, and also gave me the opportunity to read up on some Star Wars curse words. One thing it did make me think about was pronouns for droids -- I did initially use 'he' but that felt wrong, and I'm not sure I'm happy with 'it', so if anyone has any thoughts on this I'd be interested to hear what you think. My tumblr url is the same as here in case you want to talk there!
2016-01-28 08:07 pm (UTC)
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2016-01-28 08:17 pm (UTC)
Awwwww, poor Beth! And poor R3!
I really love this AU and can't wait to see where else you go with it.
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2016-01-28 10:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! :) Honestly, at this point I don't really know where I'm going to go with it either -- I do have a bunch of scenes in my head, it's just figuring out how to put them together that's proving to be a challenge, so we shall see!
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