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MCU Flashfic Meme - Weekly Prompts!
Week 10 - A story featuring a countdown.
Week 10 - A story featuring a countdown.
All right, here we go (belatedly, with my apologies!):
A story featuring a countdown.
The prompt runs through Friday so that's 6... 5... 4....
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2016-03-09 02:29 am (UTC)
Untitled (for now)
Each time he is led to the chair, the numbers in his head get shorter.
Bucky Barnes, Arnim Zola, random Soviet scientists
Torture, brainwashing, casual dehumanization, trash party adjacent probably
This is really only partway finished, but I've been so busy lately and wanted to post something even if it's not done, after missing a few weeks. This is also somewhat of a combination fill for this week and last week. It hopefully contains creepiness, and also contains two countdowns of a sort. If I get it more finished, I'll post it on AO3 and add a link later in the week.
“It is ready?”
“Yes, Dr. Zola,” the Soviet scientist said, shuffling his papers nervously.
“What aren’t you mentioning?”
“The test subjects still die when subjected to the level of electricity necessary to remove memories. However, we believe that with the Primary Subject’s enhanced healing factor, it should be able to survive the process.”
“He had better. If he dies, you will be wasting a very valuable resource. I do not like wastefulness.”
“Soviets,” Zola muttered to himself in disgust as he walked away. What he would not give for some proper German Hydra scientists. He would build Hydra back up from its ashes, but for now, he would work with what he had.
The Subject had restarted his mantra when Zola approached his cell. “James Buchanan Barnes, Sergeant, 32557038,” he said, voice still hoarse from the water deprivation tests Zola had run the previous week. He glared at Zola, but it was a half-hearted, pitiful thing at best.
“Come,” Zola said as three guards dragged the Subject to his feet. “We have developed something new to help you with your insolence.”
“James Buchanan Barnes, Sergeant, 32557038,” the Subject said, spitting at Zola’s feet, but he followed the guards.
He resisted when he was shoved into the chair, but there was little he could do in his weakened, one-armed state. Soon enough, he was firmly strapped down. Once the last cuff had been fasted around his chest, he slumped in the chair. His mouth still moved in the familiar words, but they were too low to make out. A technician approached him with a rubber mouth guard, and he clamped his teeth shut.
“I would advise you to take the mouth guard, Sergeant,” Zola said calmly when a growl began emanating from the Subject’s chest. “There is no need to behave like an animal. I understand that the several test subjects broke most of their teeth due to muscle spasms before the mouth guard was implemented. It would be a shame for you to lose those pretty teeth.”
The Subject opened his mouth like a challenge, and the technician slipped the guard between his teeth.
“Three!” a scientist shouted as soon as the technician had scuttled back from the chair. The scientist flipped a switch on the giant computer terminal that took up the western wall of the room, and a large, wire-covered helmet began to lower over the Subject’s head.
“Two!” another scientist echoed from the eastern wall, flipping his own switch. The helmet began to spark and glow near the Subject’s temples.
“One!” two more scientists shouted together, and they turned their keys to start the Chair.
The Subject screamed. Every muscle in his body locked, and then he began to shake and spasm hard enough to rattle the chair.
train that awful noise out of him,” Zola murmured to himself, noting the thought down on the clipboard he had snatched from a passing assistant.
The process went on for nearly a minute before something went wrong. The thrashing Subject went suddenly rigid, eyes wide and sightless. Zola was about to call a halt, when the Subject lurched forwards so strongly that the restraint around his chest tore free of the chair. His head came out from under the helmet, and he vomited bile all over his legs, the seat, and the floor. Zola grimaced in disgust.
Several scientists and technicians were shouting at each other, each one trying to blame someone else for the shoddy restraints. Zola ignored them all to step forward. He had to breathe shallowly to ignore the stench of vomit, but he was used to dealing with unpleasant circumstances in the pursuit of science.
“How do you feel, Soldier?” he asked the panting Subject. The Subject looked up at him, dazed eyes slowly hardening back into a glare. Zola sighed, preparing himself for the usual evasion.
“James Buchanan Barnes,” the Subject said, breaking off briefly to cough. “3255703.” Zola blinked, and then a smile spread over his face. The Subject continued to repeat his serial number, one digit short, but Zola ignored him.
“Fix the restraints, and then we will try this again,” he said to the first technician he passed. He did not look at the man, too busy writing down his thoughts on his clipboard. Zola was an optimistic man, but the past few years had strained his naturally positive personality. This new development, however, brought back that hopeful spirit that had drooped under captivity and the trade-in of Hydra scientists for Soviet fools.
, he thought. It was only a matter of time now before he would be rid of that pesky Sergeant. Then, finally he would be able to begin crafting the Soldier who would become his masterpiece.
2016-03-10 11:14 pm (UTC)
Captain America (Movies)
Sam Wilson/Bucky Barnes
Starvation, Psychic link, post CATWS
Implied suicidal ideation
Sam stepped into the base’s control room, slow and careful, his gun drawn; even if the place seemed abandoned, he knew from vast experience that looks could be deceiving. His suspicions were confirmed: for all that the place seemed lifeless, the various control panels around the room were glowing with activity. Sam moved in closer, and stopped.
Barnes was slumped against the wall in the far corner, his head bowed, thick dark hair masking his face from view, longer than Sam had ever seen it. He’d hoped, after their last meeting, that Barnes would be doing better - he’d seen a flash of that hope reflected in Barnes’ eyes, too, before they’d parted ways - but even from across the room he could see that that’s not the case, and he was beginning to
it, too: the faint feeling of sickness in his gut intensifying the closer he got to Barnes, pain sharpening in his left shoulder, his spine throbbing with a dull ache.
Sam holstered the gun, stepped quietly forward, and crouched down.
“Barnes?” he said softly.
Unlike the other times he’d seen Barnes rouse from consciousness, this time the man didn’t snap awake instantly. Instead his eyes blinked open slowly, wincing at the sharp knife-like pain in the back of his head, worse than before, that Sam felt zinging through the thread that still inexplicably linked them together. Barnes raised a shaky hand and brushed the hair from his eyes to reveal his face, sickeningly gaunt and bruised with an exhaustion Sam could feel in his bones. For a few long seconds his eyes were glassy and dull, before he seemed to shake himself out of whatever reverie he’d been in, his gaze feeling on Sam.
It looked like it took him a few seconds to register what he was seeing, and Sam felt the moment the realisation hit Barnes, and then, inexplicably, the slow dawning horror thrumming through their connection.
“No,” Barnes said, voice barely more than a low rasp, hoarse with disuse. “No, you can’t-- you need to--” His voice cut off with a ragged cough, before he settled into a slow rattling wheeze.
Sam glanced around, looking for water, for supplies, anything to ease Barnes’ parched throat, but came up empty; the room was bare save for the various flashing control panels, and Barnes himself. In fact, there didn’t seem to be any supplies at all, and from the layer of dust on the floor surrounding Barnes he hadn’t moved in a while.
“How long have you been here?” Sam asked, like Barnes’ condition hadn’t already told him all he needed to know, like he couldn’t already feel the answer filtering through their connection.
Barnes blinked slowly, nodding his head towards one of the nearby control panels. Sam looked closer, and saw what Barnes was gesturing towards: a series of lines, scraped into the desk’s metal surface, and then a number - 57 - circled. He counted the lines: forty one uneven scrapes. It was a tally; Barnes was counting down.
Sam turned back to look at Barnes, slumped against the wall, body cannibalizing itself to keep going, every line of his body communicating defeat. Sam knew exactly what Barnes was counting down towards. But what he didn’t understand was why.
Something about that question must have echoed across the thread that connected them, because after a moment Barnes took a long wheezing inhale and spoke.
“I can’t-- they won’t let me-- I need to.” He raised a shaky hand and rubbed a knuckle fiercely against this temple, the gesture and the intensifying throb of pain in his head both familiar to Sam, who now knew it to mean that whatever Barnes was struggling to say, it was causing him pain, and from the ‘they’, it was probably some left-over HYDRA programming that was preventing him from speaking.
“Hey, hey, easy, s’okay,” Sam soothed, trying to radiate calm through their connection when Barnes dug his nails into his head hard enough to draw blood. “Barnes, look at me,” he said, and Barnes did.
“We can help you,” Sam continued.
Barnes shook his head sharply from side to side, blinking away the thin stream of blood trickling into his eye. “I -- this. It’s the only way I can-- if they, if.” He made a harsh choking noise, and tried to make himself go on. “This is the only way. You -- you have to let me.”
“You know I can’t do that, Barnes,” Sam said.
Faint surprise filtered through their connection, quickly subsumed by desperation. Barnes’ expression turned pleading, and he opened his mouth to argue - it was becoming very clear that he and Steve shared the same stubborn streak - when he stopped, head cocking to the side.
“Who else is here?” he said suddenly.
“Steve and Natasha,” Sam replied, “on the other side of the base.”
From Barnes’ expression, that hadn’t been the answer he’d been looking for. “Someone else is coming. There’s a chopper heading towards the base.” His brow furrowed. “Two choppers.”
“Shit,” Sam said, rising to his feet. “Someone must’ve followed us here.” His hand went to the comms in his ear, but they were worryingly silent. “Comms are down; someone must be jamming the signal.”
A second later one of the control panels began to beep. Sam glanced it, confirming Barnes’ assessment: two bogies heading directly for the base.
“We gotta get out of here,” he said, reaching for Barnes’ arm to pull him to his feet, but Barnes shrugged him off, hand brushing Sam’s side. In an instant, he had Sam’s gun in hand.
For a moment they just looked at each other, shock and desperation flooding between them, and then Barnes was moving forward, guiding the gun into Sam’s hand and lifting it to press against his own forehead.
“I can’t do it myself, Wilson,” he said quietly. “Sam. Please.”
“It might not be HYDRA,” Sam argued.
Barnes made a choked noise. “Doesn’t matter. Either way -- it. They can’t.” He lifted his eyes to Sam’s once more, his dark gaze filled with determination.
Sam never had to know what he might have done next, because suddenly the moment was shattered by a distant boom. Barnes’ eyes widened, his haggard body belying the strength he still had left as he pulled Sam back down to the ground and, with a sharp shove from the metal arm, pushed him bodily across the room to rest under one of the solid metal desks, Sam just managing to get his arms up in time to prevent his head from cracking against the wall.
He pushed himself to his knees, just in time to catch a glimpse of Barnes, metal arm outstretched from across the room and with a look of grim satisfaction on his face, before the building came down around them.
So I’ve been plotting out a post-CATWS SamBucky (with some civil war-ish themes) fic for like, a year now? But since it’s my first proper attempt at writing long-fic, and since I knew I wouldn’t have it done in time for Civil War, I figured I’d wait until that came out to start writing it properly, since whatever happens in that film might make me change some stuff around. Currently I have four parts roughly planned out - this snippet is from the third (although that is subject to change). Tumblr url is the same as here if you want to bug me there about it!
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