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Knowing Your Opponent

950 | Phil Coulson/James "Bucky" Barnes | R (KB: Rough Body Play)

Notes: James is portrayed as a genderqueer character.

James still isn’t used to the freedom of being under SHIELD’s protection. It’s not just that he’s free of Red Room. It’s that he can do things that he wasn’t allowed to as a spy for them. He’s growing his hair out, past a length that is non-descript. He’s not sure what length he wants it, if it’s going to be long enough that both sides of him are happy, or if it’ll just be long enough that Coulson can tug it when they’re fucking.

Being able to come and go from Coulson’s place is new, too. He was used to the arrangement they had, that they’d meet and Coulson would buzz him in so that James won’t see the security codes. And he knows that was a safety measure, because Coulson knew what he was, who he was, even if neither of them mentioned it.

But now he knows the codes, and he has two sets of clothes there, for whoever he is feeling. He can be Irena without either of them blinking, and it’s a liberty that he isn’t used to. He doesn’t know how to work that in with the memories that he’s slowly gaining from before Russia, from when he had both arms and his names wasn’t just James but Bucky.

“Buck?” Steve says, over the video phone. He leans close, like James will get bigger in the screen for Steve. “Are you listening?”

James shakes his head. He can’t remember what they were talking about. “I--I’ll call you back.” He disconnects and ignores the chime of Steve trying to call again. His cell phone, SHIELD issue, goes off beside him, and suddenly Coulson’s apartment feels too small. He doesn’t have a place to hide from the efforts to check up on him.

He gets up from the couch, and he tries to stay calm. The arm is humming, and he knows that he could blast through the wall and get down from here. He can make a way out. It’s not hard.

“James?” Coulson’s voice is distant, and James can ignore it. He crushes the SHIELD phone in his metal fist, so that it can’t go off anymore. They won’t find him here.

He’ll pack a bag. Two t-shirts, a dress shirt, a pair of jeans, and maybe one outfit for Irena, just something so he doesn’t have to feel like he’s putting her away again. That’s it.

He isn’t expecting the hand around his wrist, and he whirls, ready to strike out. Coulson’s face looms close, and then he’s sweeping James’ legs out from under him.

James doesn’t let himself fall completely, because he’s not going to let Coulson take him in. Coulson is dangerous in a guns sort of way, but not with fists and legs and fighting skill.

He could use the arm, but he won’t. He could kill Coulson, and he doesn’t want to do that. It’s his first instinct, but he doesn’t need to be that person anymore.

He comes up swinging, and Coulson deflects the first blow, getting inside the swing of James’ arms, and then his hands are on the metal arm. It lets James get a kick in. Coulson doesn’t let go, and James only realizes that he’s touching the panel in his arm, putting in the code, when he feels the click deep in his nerves.

“I don’t need it to kick your ass,” he snarls, and he gets a shot to Coulson’s side before Coulson can let go of the arm.

Coulson laughs, and it’s shaky. “You haven’t even seen me try yet,” he says, in a calm sure voice.

James laughs, but it’s short lived. The fight is fast, punishing swings of arms and legs, and he knows he’ll win on endurance. His reach is longer, and he’s younger. Eventually he’ll wear Coulson down. Even with one arm, he’ll win. He’s had seventy years to practice fighting without that arm.

There’s a spike of adrenaline from fighting, but also from seeing Coulson like this, all flushed and focused. He hardly ever sees that look when they’re fully clothed, and he doesn’t know that dangerous gleam to Coulson’s eyes. It’s the look of a shooter, someone who won’t think twice about putting you down.

And it’s focused on him.

The fight lasts for minutes longer than he expected, and he can’t get the angle he needs to get Coulson down. He’s not thinking about getting out anymore. He’s focused on getting past Coulson, to get through that punishing swing of fists, the rough way Coulson gets him out of the living room and into the hall, where there is less room to kick and use his legs.

It’s smart. And he doesn’t realize how smart until he misjudges Coulson’s speed when he kicks out, and Coulson grapples him down to the ground, pinning him with his hips. “Stay down, soldier,” Coulson hisses. “Stay down or they’ll make me put you down.”

James starts to buck, starts to pull away, but Coulson shifts his hips, and James can feel that he’s hard, realizes with a start that he’s hard too. And then Coulson is kissing him, one hand already undoing his jeans.

They don’t make it to the bed, and James doesn’t care, his bare ass getting carpet burn from Coulson rubbing against him, their cocks together in his hand. It feels like a series of heartbeats before he’s coming all over both of them, Coulson not two seconds behind.

Coulson kisses him when they’ve taken a moment, softer than feels right. “I’ll turn off the communicators for the day,” he murmurs against James’ lips. “But you can’t try to run like that, or they’ll take you away.”

James kisses back and realizes, for the first time, that he’s just in a much larger cage.

He probably won’t ever be free.


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June 2013

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