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blue skies over bad lands by sevenfoxes, steve/natasha + bucky/natasha + steve/peggy + other marvel characters, natasha-centric, the winter soldier speculation fic, red room issues, 13.5k
    The truth is that in the Red Room, there was no part of Natasha her that truly belonged to herself, so it had never bothered her to seduce men, to sleep with them. She had hurt herself, cut and burned her own flesh in pursuit of her missions. Her mind was the last fortress, and by the end, she had given over that as well. It was difficult to explain to the woefully unprepared psychologists trotted out before her that it hadn't hurt her in the least to sacrifice these things at the time, and even now, on the other side, she still carries few regrets. They are prices for war and survival. Natasha is only learning now how to make choices for herself, how to claim ownership over herself, her body, her desires. It is as foreign as first learning to walk or speak, stumbling along the way. The first time Natasha sleeps with Steve, it is a choice she makes for herself.
    This is a stunning look at Natasha and her connection to the Red Room and Captain America and Winter Soldier and Peggy Carter, the complications between all of these characters as seen through the lens of the Black Widow. It's gorgeously told, there are so very many beautiful sharp edges, but it's also ultimately a story about Natasha learning who she wants to be, how her past shapes her, but she chooses herself and it's exquisitely crafted for that. I loved the use of Steve/Natasha here, it's utterly perfect for both characters and it may not be movie-compliant after Cap2, but the spirit of it is true. It's a must-recommend for me, both for being an amazing Natasha fic, but also for if you want more of these characters and the painful lives they lead and gorgeous writing that's subtle and yet hits like a freight truck all at the same time. GORGEOUS.

five people bucky barnes never was. by rhllors, steve/bucky + bucky/natasha, the winter soldier spoilers, 1.9k
    Five lives that never came to pass.
    A short, but lovely look at the different possibilities that Bucky might have lived, which are only brief glimpses of short moments in time, but the writing here is very solid. I'd have been interested in seeing each of them explored, each of them felt possible, and that's what I really liked.

To Be Modified As Necessary by ignipes, steve/bucky + bucky/natasha + clint/natasha + thor/jane + avengers, 5.9k
    They only need ten rules to ensure (relatively) peaceful cohabitation.
    I'm always wary of toasterfic, but I've liked everything I've read by this author and it starts out with Steve having a great sense of humor, so it's one of those that wins me over! It's still silly, but it's the kind I love and is genuinely well written and gave me some great Steve moments, which is exactly what I wanted. ♥

Didn't know I was lonely till I saw your face by gunboots, steve/bucky + bucky/natasha + sam + bruce + tony + xavier, 2.9k
    There are words on paper, actors in movies, and a grand story that fills a whole corner of a museum defined by history. There are words, there are pictures, there are movies, but they're limited, fragmented. They can't do justice to the sniper that Captain America trusted, the man that grew into a boy in the streets of Brooklyn with his best friend at his side. The man that could be James Buchanan Barnes leaves a legacy that is barely defined. The man that Steve Rogers says he is.
    I read pretty much anything gunboots writes in the MCU and I've always enjoyed it and this one is no exception, the way Bucky feels so fractured here, in pieces scattered around is really well done. But it's a generally more positive fic, it's about the painful recovery process, told in short bursts of scenes that better convey the long road this is. I really enjoyed this one, ahhhh.

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