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persistence of memory by hollimichele, steve rogers/bucky barnes/natasha romanoff, NSFW, the winter soldier speculation, 11.5k
    Itís a nondescript sort of a Wednesday morning when the Winter Soldier walks into SHIELD headquarters, bold as brass, and announces his intention to surrender.
    This fic was written pre-Captain America 2, so there's more focus on the Bucky/Natasha connection from the comics, as well as things can't mesh with the canon of the movie, but I found that the fic absolutely nailed what I wanted from this trio. The Winter Soldier turns himself in and it's a long, slow process towards healing and Bucky coming back to himself and the relationship between these three slowly stabilizing him. It paid attention to all three sides of this trio (as much as it could, given that it's a Bucky POV piece) and everyone is gorgeously in character, it strikes that balance between all the sharp edges and heavy weights these characters have, while still working towards something good. I was hesitant about this threesome when walking into this fandom, because I wasn't sure it could be written so that all three were done justice as well as equally important to each other, if in different ways, but, oh, this fic achieved it and then some. It's a fascinating look at Bucky coming back to himself and the develoment of this trio. And so very, very hot, ahhhh.

devil's gonna follow me (wherever I go) by Lyaka, steve rogers/bucky barnes + natasha romanoff + other marvel characters, the winter soldier speculation, 63k
    The man who used to be Bucky Barnes lined up his shot. His finger twitched, only once, very precisely. Help me, the bullet sang. Ninety-eight floors below him, the bullet glanced off a vibranium shield with a musical ping. And Steve Rogers looked up.
    This fic was written a year and a half before TWS and I did read it before the movie came out, so I'm not entirely sure how it holds up after having seen the movie, but I really enjoyed this immensely while reading it. It's a speculation fic, on how the discovery of the Winter Soldier might have gone, with really excellent use of Natasha in amongst everything else, and action scenes and Bucky having a very painful recovery process and Steve trying to be supportive and patient but having just so many intense feelings about Bucky and a whole lot of therapy. This is the kind of fic that really took its time with bringing Bucky back around, that even with a lot of time and support from people around him, the kind of trauma he went through was horrifying and so deeply damaging, that nothing about this recovery is easy. But that's contrasted against how the feelings between Steve and Bucky are really sort of sweet, that they go hand in hand with the recovery, but aren't in place of the actual recovery, it's instead another complication, but a good one.

I recommend it for those who want more Steve/Bucky fic and enjoy speculation about other ways this could have gone down, but possibly save it for when you're ready to read speculation instead of wanting canon-based stuff, if you're like me, that's what I really want right now, before eventually settling down to read more widely. This is really lovely when you're ready for that!

Brooklyn, Brooklyn, Take Me In by victoria_p (musesfool), steve rogers/bucky barnes + natasha romanoff, reunion fic, 4.1k
    Bucky finds himself, and then he finds Steve.
    This was a shorter speculation fic, which was actually surprisingly fluffy and almost humorous, for all that it was about Bucky coming back from being the Winter Soldier and finding Steve again. I think it works best for people who really want all the Steve/Bucky fic and all the "How might the Winter Soldier revelation have happened?" fic, to which this one scratched an itch very nicely. Plus, it's nice to read something light hearted once in awhile, too!

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.

The Dawn of That Last Great Day by ignipes, steve & bucky + avengers + minor pairing references, the winter soldier speculation fic, 13.8k
    The Winter Soldier has a mission: kill Captain America.
    This is Winter Soldier speculation fic that's utterly gorgeous and I tore my way through it in one sitting because I just could not put it down. The writing itself is smooth and so readable, the author certainly knew how to build the tension so I was practically squirming in my seat for the resolution! But the other beautiful thing was the way Bucky's voice started to slowly creep back into his thoughts and words, the way it was just a turn of phrase here or there, unremarked upon and all the better for it. Then add in Bucky's interactions with every other Avenger in some way, all of them gold and emotionally impactful, and you've got a stellar fic. I was especially fond of the story Thor told and the things that were unsaid there, but you felt them, but also every time Tony was onscreen, it was a total scream. Even if you're usually only looking for canon-compliant fic, I think this one is worth reading.

testament by paxlux, steve/bucky + other marvel characters, the winter soldier speculation fic, 10.6k
    His memory runs backwards in crooked bright flashes, hard as the noise flare of an assault rifle.
    While I liked the structure of this, the way it worked backwards from the present to the past, when Steve and Bucky first met, the scenes getting faster and faster, I found that I enjoyed it the most as a look at Bucky's character, the sharp edges that were always there. I loved this Steve, who is a fighter and does what he thinks is right, but he's stubborn and determined and a natural leader an, oh, he was right on for how I see him. I loved the use of Peggy as well, but my very favorite was the teasing between Steve and Bucky and even the other Howling Commandos, because it was genuinely hilarious and showed such affection between them, even when Steve and Bucky were sometimes angry with each other.

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. ♥

lights at two dollars a strand by legete, steve/bucky + tony, 1.4k
    They don't mean to decorate for Christmas. It just sorta...happens.
    I am entirely here for Steve/Bucky Christmas fic where they're still adjusting to everything, so it's somewhat fluffy, but not entirely sugary, and then some bonus quality Tony Stark. I am charmed beyond the telling of it by this Bucky (and the brief bits of Bucky and Tony interaction), like, this is who I would fall in love with levels of delightful Bucky fucking Barnes.

devil's gonna follow me (wherever I go) by Lyaka, steve/bucky + avengers, written pre-tws, 63k
    The man who used to be Bucky Barnes lined up his shot. His finger twitched, only once, very precisely. Help me, the bullet sang. Ninety-eight floors below him, the bullet glanced off a vibranium shield with a musical ping. And Steve Rogers looked up.
    I hardly know what to say about this fic, especially given how I tore through it in only a handful of sittings. I've been craving revelation/reunion fic with Steve and Bucky ever since the Captain America 2 trailer came out (this rec was written pre-release of the movie) and this one was nicely long and plotty! I love that Natasha had a strong role, I love that therapy plays such a strong role here, I love that it's not perfect for them, but they're constantly trending towards the good, that it's also about who they are now instead of who they used to be. The use of the Avengers and OCs is really well done and the writing is incredibly smooth. The reveal moment is built up to nicely and was satisfying for that!

It's not a dark fic for all that fucked up shit happens, it won't tear your heart out to crush it, but it does make you care for the characters and get invested in them. I really felt like this was Steve as well, which is a thing I've been craving lately. I was good with the way the issue of Peggy and Steve's feelings for her were resolved, too. This was a satisfying Winter Soldier fic and (adding, now that TWS has been released) I think it still holds a lot of merit to read, even when it's been Jossed by canon!

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