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this is a back alley by Febricant, steve rogers/bucky barnes + natasha romanoff + sam wilson, the winter soldier spoilers, 14.2k
    Here is the only thing you know: the body remembers.
    This is it, this is the post-CA2 fic that I desperately wanted. It picks up where the movie leaves off, showing the painful resurfacing Bucky goes through, how hard it is to come back to even just the idea that he's not who he's been programmed to be, but the longer he goes on his own, the more memories that start to surface. The fic does a gorgeous job of capturing that horrible process right along with gorgeous characterization for everyone--Steve, especially, is that perfect, perfect blend of being good-hearted but not squeaky clean, where he recognizes that there's a lot of bad shit in the world, but that he can look past some of it. Who won't give up on Bucky, who won't give up on this person he loves so much, who listens to the warnings from Sam and Natasha, but who still knows that Bucky is in there somewhere, who isn't blind to what the Winter Soldier is or what he's done, but will forgive him anyway. Natasha and Sam are both gorgeously written here as well, everything felt like a natural extension of what we got in the movie, both for friendships and the romance that was developed here between Steve and Bucky, that didn't feel out of place or jarring at all, but just furthering the story continued from the movie.

This is a Steve/Bucky fic, to be sure, but that doesn't mean that Natasha and Sam don't get their moments. Natasha especially is fantastic in this fic, she is absolutely done justice to, and all the complications that come with her. I inhaled this fic, I couldn't put it down, and if you're going to read one fic after walking about of the movie, READ THIS FUCKING FIC. This was gorgeous, the spirit of every single character was absolutely nailed, the balance of tragedy and slowly clawing towards something better was perfect, my heart ached for Bucky, in a way that wasn't over the top, but instead just right, just as the movie itself did. I would have read this forever, but it was also just beautifully contained and did exactly what it needed to do.

And it felt like a kiss by piratemoggy, steve rogers/bucky barnes + natasha romanoff + sam wilson, the winter soldier spoilers, ~1k
    We can't stop feeling Winter Soldier feelings. And neither can Bucky or Steve.
    This is one of those short reactionary pieces, the kind where it focuses on the more general feelings between the characters, the bigger picture contrasted against smaller details, and it's a lovely piece for it, especially when I'm so hungry for post-TWS fic!

but the fires are coming by stitchingatthecircuitboard, steve/bucky + bucky & natasha, the winter soldier spoilers, 4k
    He does not remember, except that is better than being made to forget, again, and again, and again. He does not go to Brooklyn.
    Oh, what a gorgeous look at Bucky slowly surfacing after the movie, the bits of memory that float back up and all the confusion and pain of not knowing himself on such a fundamental level, it's all beautifully done. This Natasha is spot on, elegant and caring and uncaring and new and old and everything she should be, as she navigates how to handle the winter soldier after the movie. But it's also the ending that really knocked the wind from my fannish lungs, gorgeously done reunion fic and it's a must read, especially for how amazing the Steve/Bucky parts are.

Selfies from the Underground by eleveninches, steve & tony + steve/bucky + background implied tony/pepper (blink and you'll miss it), the winter soldier spoilers (minor), humor, 2.3k
    Tony reminded himself that the second the incorrect password was entered, the phone would destroy itself and any data on it. And there was no way someone named Tepid the Magnificent would guess-- “I’m in,” said Tepid. “Soon I’ll know all of the Avengers’ secrets.” Tony briefly closed his eyes. “Steve. What was your password?” “It’s ‘password,’” Tepid replied. Or: Tony and Steve get captured.
    Well, so I cackled my way through this fic, because Steve and Tony trapped by an evil villain is hilarious enough when told in Tony's voice (which this fic does beautifully), but add in Steve's phone having Bucky pics on it and I was over the moon (and also cackling at every thought going through Tony's head at everything about this situation). It's silly humor fic, but the genuinely sharp and clever kind that I would read pages and pages of.

we did not make ourselves by M_Leigh, steve/bucky + sam + natasha + tony, the winter soldier spoilers, 25.1k
    It is like steel, the determination inside of you that tells you you will achieve this, that you will find him. Nothing will stop you. You are two sides of the same coin, you and he: he cannot escape you forever. Bucky runs. Steve follows.
    I have to admit, the second person pov threw me off at first, but I got used to it by about a third of the way through and I was fully engrossed in the story by then, which I basically read all in one sitting. The structure of this is lovely, the use of memories of Steve/Bucky pre-movie and the plot of finding Bucky post-movie wind together for this really satisfying and fleshed-out feeling for the characters and their relationship. It's painful and hard and there's so much hurt here, but there's hope as well, and some great moments with Natasha and Sam and Tony Stark (who is perfection here, even if it's a little bitter/angry through Steve's eyes) and just. Everything I have been craving from post-movie fic. READ IT.

measured my life in cooking lessons by FoxGlade, steve/bucky + clint + avengers, fluff, the winter soldier spoilers, 4k
    He knocks on Clint’s door, sharp and loud, and half a minute later Clint is standing there in boxers and a baggy Army Rangers shirt. “Morning,” Steve says shortly, before Clint can say anything. “You up to teaching me how to make those French toasts? I think I need to talk.” Clint yawns and stretches. Something in his back makes a loud cracking sound and Steve winces. “Yeah, I’m up,” he mumbles, then squints. “This is going to be a long cooking lesson, isn’t it?” “I found Bucky sitting outside the tower on the street when I went out for a jog and he remembered me but I’m pretty sure that’s all he remembers.” Clint just waves a hand and heads for the kitchen, Steve shuffling in his wake.
    This is a sequel to After Action Report, which should be read first.
    This is pure fluff fic and everything is happy and everyone is friends, with Avengers movie night and snacks and ratty old clothes to wear. But when you've read a lot of heart-wrenching fics in this fandom, sometimes this is exactly what you need. And everyone is charming here, just... minus all the angst. I love the idea of Clint teaching Steve to cook, that it's not really entirely about that, it's also about having something to do with his hands and something to work on, an outlet and maybe someone to talk to while he's doing it or maybe someone to just distract him sometimes. That worked nicely for me!

Soft Spot for the Hell Raisin' Boy by ifeelbetter, sam & bucky + steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, (some) humor, 1.9k
    The Winter Soldier takes an interest in Sam Wilson. Bucky Barnes wants to tell him how to be Steve Rogers's best friend.
    This is exactly the fic I have been wanting to read, the sharp and clever writing of a more "normal" (in comparison, because goddamn) pov on the Steve/Bucky fuckery and "why is this my life" hilarity, which Sam is delightful for, balanced with genuine feelings all over the place here. I laughed so many times and I loved Sam Wilson with a fierceness so many times and I loved the sharpness of his character so very much, and I want Bucky and Sam to be awkward friends forever now, after this fic. So much hilarity! So perfectly timed! My new favorite Sam pov fic!

Reconstruction Site by EmilianaDarling, steve/bucky + sam, the winter soldier spoilers, 7.6k
    He is the Winter Soldier. He is James Buchanan Barnes. He’s not one and he’s not the other, and he’s not sure if that makes him anything worth saving. In which the Winter Soldier leads Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson on a wild goose chase through Eastern Europe so that he can learn more about the man who actually thinks he can be saved.
    Oh, this was a fantastic piece from Bucky's pov, as his memories slowly start to surface and he finds that, rather than wanting to know more about himself, he fixates on Steve instead, leading him on a deliberate chase across Europe and Asia. I would have loved it for that alone, as it was really well done, but the hitn of details about the Winter Soldier's memories and Bucky's memories resurfacing at the same time, this delicious mix of good and bad, that it wasn't all positive stuff, was also really done done. I love stalker!Bucky and I love that I ate this one sitting, because I was so hungry to get to the reunion scene, which was nicely satisfying, mm.

hold me tight by hollimichele, bucky/steve + sam + natasha, nsfw, the winter soldier spoilers, 11.1k
    In the old days, before the war, Steve got cold at night. That was all it was, at first.
    This was another fuck fic to read, that balanced angst and fluff well, that filled in a lot of the missing pieces as Bucky started to come back to himself. The highlights of the fic were the Bucky/Steve reunion and the ending (which definitely got me in the emotional places) with the cute epilogue. I tore through this quickly and pretty much immediately ran to get the next fic, which is always a good sign!

A Bullet in the Barrel (of your best guy's gun) by lc2l, steve/bucky, the winter solderi spoilers, canon divergence (sort of), violence, 6k
    You return to the concrete hole in the ground where the mission is not dead and not in the sewers and is looking at you. "Bucky," says Rogers, Steve (deceased).
    I'm not quite sure how to parse this fic, which is a canon divergent fic where Winter Soldier holds Steve captive and eventually things still end up largely where they movie did. It's set from Bucky's pov and it's pinaful and chaotic as fits his slowly returning memories (which did make it hard to track at times, but that's entirely fitting for Bucky at this point in time!) and it was often hard to read in the way it was mean to be, because things are so painful and hurtful between them. There's a lot of ouchy feels here!

Sleeperhold by Argyle, steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 1.6k wip
    He's hardwired to disappear.
    At the time of this rec, there are only 3 of 5 chapters posted and it's on the short side, but it's a lovely look at Bucky's memories starting to surface and all the confusion and pain that comes with that. I'm definitely looking forward to more!

lost my fear of falling by wistful_joy, steve/bucky + natasha + sam, 1.8k
    “It’s been two weeks,” Natasha says, pressing a coffee cup into Steve’s hand. “How long are we going to do this?” Steve watches the steam curl into question marks above his cup. “I know he’s still in there,” he says, and that’s that.
    this is a series of smaller scenes that give an overview of Bucky coming back from being the Winter Soldier and moving foward, a little bit at a time. It's bittersweet and made for a nice piece when I was on a spree and I admit, I kind of loved Bucky constantly telling Steve to fuck off in the early stages.

All the First Times by Vera (Vera_DragonMuse), steve/bucky + other marvel characters, the winter soldier spoilers, 9.6k
    Bucky starts over and finds new ways to survive.
    From start to finish, this is exactly what I wanted from the fandom. Bucky slowly learning how to be alive, how to be a person again, the long and slow crawl forward that will never be the same as what it once was, but that doesn't mean it can't be good or hopeful, too. The mix of old memories and new experiences, the first things Bucky can remember or experience, the first choices he can make are gorgeously done, the weight of how much they mean is perfect here. Every scene shows progress, some purely good, some painful, and you can never pinpoint where things really changed. The interaction with the other Avengers are all so meaningful and varied and gorgeous, too! My favorite is probably the scene with Thor (though, Tony is a delight in this fic as well) because the author did really well with the character, as seen through Bucky's eyes and I'm just utterly delighted at the portrayal of someone with Thor's strength against even these super-powered people. But, really, all of the Avengers are amazingly done here, I just have my favorites. This is one of those Absolutely Must Read fics if your'e into this section of fandom! Such a good Bucky pov, too!

Me Against Your Memory (It's a Two-Step Recovery Process) by thisiswhatthewatergaveme, steve/bucky + steve & natasha + steve & sam + natasha & sam, the winter soldier spoilers, 5.5k wip
    The Soldier needs answers. It's the only mission he has left. And the mission is all he has.
    I've been a bit hesitant to get into wip fics for this fandom, because I need resolution more than anything, but I've loved this author's work before, so I gave it a chance and while it has some tough cliffhangers, it's worth getting into anyway, I think. Steve preparing and adusting to what's coming next, Bucky trying to find answers because he needs direction, it's all solidly interesting and good. This Bucky is more chatty than I usually go for, but the author has such a solid, readable kind of prose that I sailed right rhgough this like it was hardly anything. I'm a sucker for fics where Bucky shows up on Steve's doorstep and is pushing himself beyond his limits and this fic gave me that nicely.

Make It Up as We Go Along by hannahrhen, steve/bucky + natasha + sam, mildly nsfw, the winter soldier spoilers, 1.6k
    Steve's a terrible liar when he opens his mouth.
    This was a lovely piece and I'm delighted to see Hannah in this fandom!! I really liked this, the fighting between Steve and Bucky, the way Steve and Natasha and Sam are all important to each other, but there's this sense of... distance to Steve, because there are some things that he can't really share with them, and, boy, did that make my fannish heart hurt in all the right ways.

What's in a name by Ark, steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 3.4k
    Steve doesn’t resist. He is dipped back: a dance. “Bucky,” says Steve. The severely serene surface does not stir. “You will answer the questions I ask.” The Soldier's voice is Bucky’s but the accent is all wrong. His face is Bucky’s, perfect, and all wrong.
    Another fic of Steve trying to find Bucky, who is slowly (and angrily and confusedly) trying to figure out what all of this means, now that he's starting to come out of things. It's a pretty Steve-centric piece, with some lovely and insightful lines (my favorite is Bucky has been to war every day of his life since he left Steve behind in Brooklyn.) to make this another nice fic to add to the collection.

Drawn From Life by littlerhymes, steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 2.5k
    "I remember," Bucky says, but that's not entirely true. Set after The Winter Soldier.
    Sometimes you want to hurt yourself from Bucky feelings and Steve/Bucky feelings. And that's when you go read this fic. I admit that it seemed short and clipped at first, but, by the end, I understood why and that I agreed it was the better choice for the pacing, so it packs just the right punch. And I definitely felt my feelings were punched by the time I was done with this one!

tabula rasa by dance_at_bougival, steve/bucky + natasha + sam, the winter soldier spoilers, 10.3k
    Bucky Barnes screamed himself hoarse on that table and screamed falling off that train. He screamed when they programmed him and screamed and screamed until he isn’t Bucky Barnes anymore, not really. He is still screaming, a trapped rat running around a labyrinthine machine, clawing at the doors and running into dead ends. He has been screaming for seventy years.
    This is another author I was ecstatic to see in this fandom and I am so glad is here! This is a Bucky pov fic that is painful and wrenching as he starts to come out of the fog a bit, where you really feel the depth and weight of what was done to him, not just the programming, but everything the Winter Soldier was ordered to do, everything he lived with during those years. The ebbing and flowing of memory, the almost scattershot feel of the structure of the fic are really effective for this Bucky fic and the brief scenes with the Bucky/Natasha history or Steve trying to reach out to him, oh, they pack such an intense punch here. This is a bit of a hard fic to read at times, but because Bucky has gone through something that should be hard to read about at times.

The Age's Most Uncertain Hour by dewinter, steve/bucky + peggy, the winter soldier spoilers, 1.8k
    Five times the Winter Soldier remembered (and then forgot).
    A lovely look at the places the Winter Soldier has been and what he's done, using the five themes structure and a lot of nicely done detail. What I really liked about this one is the way his memories keep popping back up, tiny and vague but persistent. It's short but well-written and a good character piece!

Find My Way by Brenda, steve/bucky + oc pov, the winter soldier spoilers, 4.6k
    Well, someone had to write the post-Winter Soldier fic where Bucky gets a decent meal and some homemade apple pie, right?
    This fic was sort of fluffy, but not wholly sugary, just sweet and good-natured and healing. It's a wonderfully warm-hearted OC pov piece as Bucky sits in a diner and the owner is really kind to him, as bits of memory start floating to the surface, the way details from her own life were worked in but not overwhelming the story. And I definitely got emotional at swept up in the story, so the ending was completely perfect for me. Feelings all over the place, okay, especially because you know Steve is going to show up and is so satisfying when he does.

Parallel Constructions by freshbakedlady, steve/bucky + sam + natasha, the winter soldier spoilers, 13.6k
    In the absence of orders, the man wearing the face of Bucky Barnes must figure out who he will be. The answer, mostly, is "somebody Steve Rogers can love." Nothing so easy should ever take this much work.
    Oh, this fic was so very good, as Bucky begins to remember things and it's this long, difficult, painful process and he's just never going to be the same after all that's happened. The lovely thing about this is that Steve isn't perfect about it, he's wounded here, too, and yet they eventually get to where they understand that new and different aren't automatically bad. The story is so very solid and it has excellent Sam and Natasha in supporting roles, both of them have fantastic character voices to go with Steve and Bucky's as well. This is a fic that conveys the heavy weight of recovery that's not a straight line and I loved it for that.

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.

no heart to recall by KiaraSayre, steve/bucky + sam + natasha + tony, the winter soldier spoilers, 15.3k
    He's been in Steve Rogers's company for less than twenty-four hours and he's already losing sight of his mission.
    This is another fic where I meant to just read a few pages before bed, but then found myself suddenly sucked into the story and stayed up far too long. I'm a sucker for fics where Bucky decides to pretend to remember and shows up on Steve's doorstep because of reasons, especially when told from his pov in that way that feels like the right kind of voice for him, direct and mission-oriented, but with Bucky slowly leaking through. The identity issues, the way he knows he's Bucky, it's just that it doesn't matter, the way Steve makes everything come apart just by being Steve, oh, it's all gorgeously done. The ending was perfect, the build-up, the reveal, the things that were resolved, the things that weren't, it's all just so solidly told and so good here.

Bring Us Back a Souvenir by newredshoes, steve/bucky + sam & bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 1.5k
    Even with all his hair hacked off, he doesn't look like a Bucky, Sam thinks. Maybe as some sort of stupid joke, like naming your most vicious dog Sweetpea. Steve's told him the stories, and he's seen the old newsreels; he knows what this Barnes guy used to be like. But it's not like knowing what to look for is going to magically make some spark rise to the top. This isn't an excavation.
    Sam and Bucky fic! It's a short piece, only a handful of moments, but it shows the tiny half-steps towards personhood again and some great Sam characterization and voice. This was lovely and I could have read it for another out at least!

i will be your ground by Misprinting (misprinting), steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 4.7k
    A character study. The subject: Bucky’s hair. (Also, a Bucky comes in from the cold fic.)
    This one is a little hard to describe, it's half-summary and half-fic, which the author mentions ahead of time, but it's "Bucky comes in from the cold" fic and I eat those up like you wouldn't (well, you probably would) believe. It's a warm-hearted and solid piece that made me feel better after I'd read it and the hair cutting scene gave me all the emotions it was supposed to. Bless.

Debts by vestigialwords, steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, ~1k
    Steve's life is a collection of debts, and the balance does not work out in his favor.
    Steve's thoughts during that final fight on the Helicarrier can be a tricky thing to write about without overdoing it, especially when throwing so many memories/flashbacks in with it, but this fic manages it beautifully. It felt spot on to me and has a killer final line!

Five times Steve kissed Bucky by paragon, steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 16.5k
    (+ once, finally, it was the other way around)
    I read this straight through in basically one sitting because it was so damn good for me and so solidly written and did such an amazing job of capturing pre-serum Steve. For all that I was practically tripping over myself to get to the current day stuff, the pre-movies parts were amazing, the way these two were the whole world toe ach other, but not in an unhealthy way. Just that they fit together and love each other so deeply and you understand that from both sides. The Steve characterizaton was especially spot on, how solid his personality was even as his body was frail, the way he was stubborn yet back off when needed, the way he planted himself over what was right, the way it truly felt like his body caught up with his brain after the serum. And, oh, fierce, loyal, stubborn, angry, jaded Bucky who loved Steve so very much and the way they revolved around each other, it was perfect. I don't read a lot of pre-movies fic, but this one was so good and gave me post-movie fix-its, too.

Run Until the Road Runs Out by ignipes, steve/bucky + sam & bucky + natasha, the winter soldier spoilers, 5.2k
    Sam's along for this ride because he's not about to let Steve Rogers go it alone, but Steve's not the only one who needs a friend.
    Oh, this was lovely as well, the kind that makes me want to read hundreds of thousands of words about Sam and Bucky as not quite friends, as Bucky starts to regain himself so very slowly. This fic does a beautiful job of keeping Steve as so important in the background, but the focus is on Sam and Bucky, the slow healing that Sam can help with in a different way and makes me love him so very much. And there's an utterly fantastic scene when they're at a former HYDRA base that was so incredibly satisfying to read and I would have picked up this fic for that alone, but, oh, everyone and everything was good here.

The man on the bridge by boopboop, steve/bucky + tony + background pairings + avengers + other marvel characters, the winter soldier spoilers, 39.5k wip
    Steve Rogers turning up at Tony's door in the middle of the night might be a bit out of character, but it's not completely out of the realm of possibility. Stranger things have happened. Steve Rogers turning up at Tony's door with an amnesiac assassin - who may or may not have some of Tony's personally designed hardware attached where his arm should be - well that's just far too interesting to turn away, even if Tony is trying to avoid all things S.H.I.E.L.D these days.
    This is one of the first fics I picked up in this fandom and it remains one of my favorites, no matter how much I've read now. It's a fantastic look at what happens after the movie, drawing in the rest of the Avengers (minus Thor, of course) and dealingw ith HYDRA, told through Tony's pov. It's gorgeously solid and complex, the depth of what's happened is felt here, but not overdone or too heavy-handed. It's one of those stories that does justice to the feelings, the characters, and the plot, the kind where I could read 100k+ of this and come back for more. The fic is really good at working in details of hwat they're trying to uncover and having the characters be spot-on while they deal with this, using Tony as the pov/central character as a surprisingly well-done choice. You wouldn't necessarily think it was a wise choice from the beginning, but as the story unfolds, it made more and more sense to me, why the author chose him and how he's used in this fic! And, oh, the scene where they're watching HYDRA videos is one that got me, as is every observation Tony makes about the way Steve looks at Bucky or the way Tony talks to Clint or his friendship with Bruce or the way he loves Pepper or his own family connections to this are murky and muddy. It's a gorgeous fic that ties so much together that it's absolutely one of my must reads in this fandom.

And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me by ifeelbetter, steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 4.4k
    The Captain woke quickly and tested the chain before he saw the Soldier. All the tension in his body evaporated once he met the Soldier’s eyes and he slumped downward, back up against the wall. "Oh, thank god," he said. He repeated it twice, quiet. Like a secret.
    Yet another fic I stayed up too late for but I don't regret because it was so good and so satisfying as Bucky starts remembering things and wanting to know what they mean. The interspersion of memories/flashbacks and the current day are really well done and I love the way Steve handles being kidnapped by Bucky, even the way he doesn't know everything that Bucky asks about, the way Bucky's own thoughts come back to him, how he felt about holding Steve back, and all of it is gorgeous and wrenching and perfect.

Your Mind Rings by Amberly, steve/bucky, the winter soldier spoilers, 1.2k
    You aren’t Bucky. You’re not the Winter Soldier anymore, either, but you’re not Bucky
    This is a short piece, but it nicely captures the confusion Bucky's in after the movie, the pull and push of all these different directions and half-formed impulses, and the terribly confusing, messy relationship he has with Steve and even himself, who he is versus who he was.

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!

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.

you got blood on your hands (and i know it's mine) by nighimpossible, steve rogers/bucky barnes + natasha romanoff + brief mention of sam wilson/natasha romanoff, suicidal ideation, 2.9k
    Bucky refuses to see Steve after his deprogramming.
    There was some excellent use of Natasha in this fic, but I especially loved it for how rough the journey was between Steve and Bucky, that saving him didn't fix everything or even mean that Bucky was happy with Steve. It's not a long piece, but it did a lovely job of getting at the ways some good acts can be done out of care but can be selfish, too. That that takes time to come back from.

Bucky and Bear by goldtitaniumman, steve/bucky, fluffy, ~1k
    Steve gets Bucky a cat.
    So, I need all the fic of Steve getting Bucky a cat now, because that is a pretty great parallel and also because it genuinely would be good for Bucky. This fic was charming and delightful about it, I honestly couldn't stop smiling the entire time! It's not long, but it doesn't need to be, it's just the right length to be happy and adorable, as intended.

Size Isn't A Problem by bondboy68, steve/bucky, NSFW, 1.8k
    It's the first time Bucky has seen Steve naked in some seventy-odd years, and things have definitely changed.
    I haven't been interested in much sex for these characters yet and I'm not sure if that's for character reasons, if I think they're not ready, or if I'm just not interested in that or what. But then I hit size queen Bucky fic and, okay, wow, this fic was really, really good for me and really hot and I think I know what I want now, goddamn. It's fun and light-hearted and joyful and good and hot, which is basically what I needed!

Practical Mathematics by Grey_Bard, steve/bucky + steve/peggy + steve/peggy/bucky + tony, 1.7k
    After a hard shift saving the world, Stark - in his infinite wisdom - has decided to bond with Steve by talking about his favorite subject. Well, third favorite, after building things and smart-mouthing people. Steve is pretty sure none of his experiences really count. Tony is starting to wonder what Steve's definition of "is" is.
    I really enjoyed this fic for getting that mix of Steve right, in that he's not a blushing virgin, but he has old-fashioned values, but really it's more about Steve than it is about him being a product of his time. The conversation with Tony as Steve talks about his history is a fun and intereting one!

how happy must be angels thus employed by lanyon , steve/bucky + clint/coulson, mildly nsfw, humor, 2k
    It begins entirely accidentally. Clint walks in on Bucky and Steve in a compromising position and then Bucky escalates by tapping a private line between Clint and Phil. Also known as The One With The Cock-Blocking Competition (and it's all fun and games until Phil and Steve find out.)
    This was cute and fun, where Clint and Bucky get into a cock-blocking war with each other because they're both dicks and I am all for the fun of people you can trust to have your back in battle, but who are hilarious dicks to each other in downtime. Plus, I want all of the fic of Bucky with the avengers, give that to me! So this helped scratch that itch, too.

Fate by sovietdistilled, steve/bucky + peggy, 2.1k
    Bucky finds a drawing and it turns out to mean something more than he thought.
    A lovely look at Steve and Bucky growing up together and the constant attraction between them, the longing and the mutual affection and the hardships and how they never quite had the time or space to get things quite right. It's bittersweet, but in that sort of way that I love, the scenes from their days in Brooklyn both nostalgic and... well, bittersweet is all I can think.

One More Time by DevBasaa, steve/bucky, pre-serum, ~1k
    Steve’s clueless and Bucky’s not yet ready to acknowledge these feelings. But that doesn’t stop him from having them. Set before Bucky ships out, but after Steve receives his A1.
    This was short, really more of a ficlet than anything, and really got down the bittersweet longing between Steve and Bucky pre-serum. It was a tasty little read with some very nicely done feelings.

The Steven G. Rogers Guide to What You Missed the Last Few Years by what_alchemy, steve/bucky, humor, 5.1k
    Steve's got the hang of this 21st century thing.
    Sometimes I need fluff and that is when fic like this is perfect, because it's adorable and charming and hilarious. Steve and Bucky adjusting to the 21st century is adorable and sparkling,t he way they react to and absorb things and clearly pine after each other, where I think I enjoyed the build up and get-together moment as much as the stuff that made me laugh--the internet meme was probably my favorite bit, because that would happen. It's not as much of a case of "the blind leading the blind", so much as two people who can really bond over this shared experience, as well as finally get a chance to properly fall in love. Just what I wanted!

and it starts just where the light exists by caughtinanocean, steve/bucky, mildly nsfw, 3.4k
    In which Bucky can't admit the things he needs, but Steve knows them anyway, and Steve and Bucky are definitely a couple, even if they don't know it.
    This was just pure fluffy future fic, vague enough about the past that it could still work with CA2, and just... wholly happy and warm-hearted and domestic. It's just sharp enough and just enough angst it to keep it from being sugary, so that it was warm and comforting a read and good for my heart after all the ouchies I've read lately.

tango till they're sore by dev_chieftain, steve/bucky, nsfw, 4k
    Four shorts about Steve and Bucky, and romance, and sex, and dominance, and grief, and forgiveness.
    Oh, this was a lovely fic that was complicated and messy and painful and hurt at times to read, in the way it was meant to hurt. It's one of those where progress has been made, but the scope of the damage is so bit that it's almost too much, especially so soon, and the fic does a beautiful job of showing all the conflicting things about it. The sex was lovely as well, almost more interesting for the command kink they've fallen into almost out of necessity, and the moment Bucky remembers something also hit me hard.

I Say What I Mean To Say by maeglinhiei, steve/bucky + avengers, fluff, 1.3k
    [Tony] only raised his hands in surrender, managing to look both annoyed and confused. “You’re a piece of work Barnes. God.” He turned his head to look at Natasha who interrupted with a sharp word or two, only to have Bucky turn on her with an equally cutting sounding phrase. “Translate, translate, quick. Is he threatening me?”
    This was fun and cute and adorable, with Bucky slipping into Russian when he's upset and so Steve learns a bit of Russian to help with that, because Natasha is a very good friend. For all the angsty issues here, this is a light-hearted fic that made me feel better to have read it.

Permission by derekstilinski, steve/bucky + other marvel characters, 2.5k
    After Bucky’s captured by SHIELD, they put him in a holding cell, and strip him of everything but his clothes. He’s dirty, damaged, and Steve can’t just watch him like that, protocol or not.
    This was a quick, short piece on Steve tending to Bucky's wounds after SHIELD brings him in and I am entirely a sucker for this sort of thing, where Bucky faintly remembers something, just a bit, but is still like a wounded animal that only Steve can get close to. Give me that for always.

Milkshakes & Penguin Suits by TheLocket, steve/bucky, fluff, 2.9k
    At the latest Stark party, Steve and Bucky share a milkshake — and spend the evening together.
    Oh, I love sharp and teasing Steve/Bucky fic, especially when it's part of Bucky leaking through again, those hilarious comments and Steve giving right back, that's it for me, that's what I want. You add in the dancing that made my heart happy and then the way Steve can throw Bucky around now (the conversation in the elevator was perfection, the perfect Bucky comment) and that makes it hotter for both of them, all of it is wonderful.

??????? by smilebackwards, steve/bucky + other marvel characters, canon divergence, 1.8k
    “Are you goddamn kidding me?” Fury asks when Steve shows up to the rendezvous point in Fredericksberg with the Winter Soldier.
    Oh, this was totally fun as well, a difference universe (well, canon divergent universe) where the Winter Soldier starts helping Captain America out (Natasha's reactions are delightful all the way around about this) without anyone really realizing why. It's told in short snippets, but you don't need more than that, any longer and I fear it would have dragged. Instead, this is cute and funny and has Bucky calling Steve pet names in Russian. Yes.

Green-Eyed Monster by storiesfortravellers, steve/bucky + steve & tony + steve & sam + bucky & natasha, humor, 1.9k
    The Winter Soldier has joined the team and is slowly recovering, but he goes into a jealous rage whenever he sees that Steve is close friends with Tony, Sam, or Natasha. Past Steve/Bucky.
    I was wary about going into a cracky fic, but I definitely wanted more light-hearted stuff, so I started reading it and promptly wound up giggling my way through this fic. It's silly and the kind of cracky humor that's sharp and genuinely funny, the littel touches of Bucky coming through in the journal, just at a really impulsive level and with delightful comedic timing. And, oh, do I love Bucky Barnes a lot in fic like this.

have you ever thought just maybe by Desdemon, steve/bucky + tony/pepper + other marvel characters, humor, 4.4k
    “JARVIS,” Tony called thoughtfully. “Yes, sir?” “Those young people are in love,” he said.
    I fucking cackled my way though this fic as well, because it had such a great Tony voice and didn't overuse it, instead it felt very spot on to how Tony talked in canon. But also this fic has Tony and Bucky interacting in a way that is fucking magic and now I want nothing else because they totally would get along like a house on fire! The best part is that the author didn't try too hard there, either, they weren't bffs, just... their interaction was priceless. Throw in some quality Pepper (and cute bits of background Tony/Pepper) and Tony playing matchmaker in a Tony sort of way, utterly charming Steve/Bucky interaction, and just so much greatness, I was completely charmed.

Use Your Damn Words by wilddragonflying, steve/bucky, NSFW, a/b/o, 4.2k
    There’s murmuring, indistinct voices, all around him; all he catches, at first, are the occasional words. “—mated.” “—no difference—“ “—make him forget—“ That’s when Bucky starts fighting.
    Sometimes you just really need some a/b/o fic in your fandom and you need it to be solidly written and when you find it, you just embrace it. This was fuck and good for me and exactly what I was looking for. ♥

It's an Adequate Life, Bucky Barnes by what_alchemy, steve/bucky, it's a wonderful life fusion, 10.2k
    This is a world without Bucky Barnes.
    This fic is a bit difficult to describe and I was initially wary of it because of the semi-OC (ehh, not really an OC, but since we don't know anything about Rebecca...), but it was an interesting, solidly written read, where Bucky sees the world if he'd never been born. It lays it on kinda thick at times, but it's a story about the Bucky Feels and how he did make a difference, how he mattered and so I just completely indulged myself on this one and it was a lot of fun.

broken pieces (the rough edges remix) by legete, steve/bucky, 2.1k
    It's wrong, he knows it's wrong, but sometimes Bucky prefers the nightmares that actually happened.
    This was a quieter piece, one set in the middle of the night, probably one of at least a hundred, as Bucky copes with what's been done to him and the slow recovery process. It's not a break through, it's just... a night, maybe a step forward, maybe a step to the side, but it's lovely for exactly what it is.

Talk Dirty to Me by PeetaPan, steve/bucky, NSFW, wall sex, 2.5k
    Steve spends months tracking Bucky down, and when he eventually find him, it's in a nightclub in Europe.
    This is a pure pwp without much real content, it's pretty much "Steve finds Bucky in a nightclub in Europe and winds up fucking him in the bahtroom", which is sometimes all I want out of fic. Throw in a bit of dirty talk, Steve telling Bucky just how hard he's going to fuck him and a hint of super soldier strength in the fucking and I was happy!

the body adrift by Febricant, steve/bucky + sam, mildy nsfw, 4.2k
    Steve has no drawings of Bucky from before. Those are all gone, destroyed in the war or by his own hand; it wouldn’t do for anyone to see how easily the details came from memory, how often Bucky was in his thoughts.
    I know it's kind of cliche to clutch your chest and whine about the feelings you have, but damn if that isn't what I did while reading this fic anyway. Bucky leaving things for Steve and how none of this is okay, how painful the coming in from the cold is, and how this is only limbo for now, it's all designed to be the best kind of ouchy fic. I love all the things they leave for each other and what they do/don't say here.

and we are finally home by springsoldier, sam & bucky + steve/bucky + sam/natasha, 7.3k
    The Winter Soldier shows up in Sam's kitchen, one morning. He deals with it. (Natasha helps. Steve would, if they let him.)
    Oh, this was just purely good for me, where Bucky stays with Same for awhile because he's not ready to see Steve yet and it's pure ouchy and hilarious in equal measure. The fic does a lovely job of capturing Sam's incredible charm and Bucky's slowly returning asshole sense of humor without making it too easy. It is a healing fic and so it's the better moments that are focused on, which are just so good to read, but the path isn't easy. The Steve/Bucky reunion just about had me tripping over myself (as well as the developing relationship gave me feelings, too), the Natasha moments were pure joy, the Sam/Natasha was adorable, and the Bucky & Sam friendship was all that I wanted from them. I had feelings all over the place, I love all of these people!

Tony Stark and the Illegal Cross-Country Road Trip from Hell by ActionAddiction, steve/bucky + tony + sam + clint + natasha + fury, 17.7k wip
    A stir-crazy genius, a secretly sentimental assassin, two soldiers lost in time, and an undercover archer without an identity zigzag across the continental United States in Fury's stolen van. Or: How Bucky Met Steve (Again)
    This is a wip fic and could use some better transitions to make it clearer what's going on, there are times where it's hard to track what the fic means, but the author has a really solid Tony voice that brought all my affection for the character flooding back. It also has me intrigued about where it's going and while nothing is resolved yet, it's 10k long (at the time of this rec) and already worth it for the Tony pov scenes!

all my heroes (have now become ghosts) by sammykinz, steve/bucky + sam + natasha, 5.4k
    Bucky’s face is gaunt and covered in stubble, and he licks his chapped lips. His voice is rusty from disuse when he speaks: “Why do you call me that?”
    This is another fairly short-ish one, where Bucky slowly starts to come in from the cold, where there's the beginnings of this long road they have tow alk, and plenty of feelings along the way. It's another of those fics that's entirely solid and I found myself tearing through it before I even noticed it. A good addition to this set of fics!

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.

the inaccuracy of historical wartime dramas by Mici (noharlembeat), steve/bucky + sam + natasha, 3k
    (or: Steve has feelings, and shouldn't ever watch television)
    I am a huge sucker for Mediavengers type of stuff, so this was a solid and fun read for me, as Steve watches a Howling Commandos show and thinks about Bucky a lot and all the things they're getting wrong, even as he knows it's just a tv show. An interesting character piece!

The Shape I'm In by radialarch, steve/bucky, 2.6k
    [AU where Bucky never fell.] They win the war. Steve and Bucky come home and deal with their feelings.
    I did not know how much I needed a "they survive the war and go home" fic as much as I did until I read this one. It works really well because it shows how the damage wasn't all HYDRA stuff, a lot of it was just simply the war and their shifting dynamic and trying to find out they work again. It's a hard piece to read at times, but not in a bad way and, oh, I had some good Bucky feels over this one, as he wants but tries to be better than those wants.

Capture the Flag by Shiny_n_new, steve/bucky + sam, dark au, 9.4k wip
    Bucky has always been willing to do Captain America's dirty work. This was no different. Sometimes, the day isn't won by high ideals or bravery or compassion. Sometimes, it's won by monsters.
    I lvoe this author's fic in the Thor fandom, so I snagged this one to read and it's so interesting to see a Bucky that is far more lucid but maybe not good after all he's been through. What really sells it is the way it plays on the darker nature Bucky's always had and yet his protective streak and affection for Steve. With another author I may not have bought it, but here I am so intrigued.

Memories are Made of This by eleveninches, steve/bucky & natasha & sam, 13.2k
    Nearly a year after turning himself into SHIELD and the Avengers, Bucky struggles to find himself in the 21st century. Unfortunately, no one told him about the aliens.
    I've had a craving for functional!Bucky fic where he's still working through everything and this fic was so satisfying for that, but also! My favorite thing! Assholes in love is apparently one of those completely bullet-proof kinks for me and this fic absolutely embraces the charm of two people who are amazing assholes who are in love. I practically wanted to kick my feeing in glee while reading this because it's genuinely funny and sharp and gets what I want from these characters! Assholes learning to be in the 21st century! Give it to me always, especially when it's from such obviously deep affection!

but hey, you're all right by beardsley, steve/bucky + other marvel characters, 5.5k
    Yes, this is the story where the Winter Soldier is a Russian mail-order bride. Everything goes about as well as you'd expect.
    This fic is sort of hard to describe, except maybe as crack treated seriously, when Bucky is a mail order bride from Russia except then turns out to be the Winter Soldier. It's a solid piece that had some nice feelings to it and was a good self-contained piece!

Out of the Dead Land by emilyenrose, steve/bucky + sam + natasha + nick fury + other marvel characters, nsfw in one scene at the end, 62.7k
    Someone is building machines that look and act like people. Meanwhile, the Winter Soldier tries to be Bucky Barnes.
    I'm not sure I know how to write a rec for this fic, because it's one I want to do justice to, but my mind has trouble focusing on any one element long enough for coherency. But if there is one post-TWS fic I would recommend, this is unquestionably it. It uses all the elements from TWS and the greater MCU that are necessary, focusing on Bucky slowly coming in from the cold in a way that I felt more than was told. Even the language and structure of the fic are just right, starting out terse and clipped, showing the almost dead feeling of the character, slowly gaining personality as he goes along. This goes hand in hand with the plot of the fic, which is a gorgeous and natural extension of TWS, where it's not a retread or half-hearted attempt at plot--it's wholly central to the story and just as important in scope and in the feelings it gave me, as the relationship part of the story was. It's that fic I wanted ever since I walked out of the theater and wanted to know what happened next! As much as I loved the Steve/Bucky, as much as it was necessary and inextricable from the plot, it was that plot that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time. (Also, Tony is pretty fucking perfect in this fic.)

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!

I Left Myself in 1943 (Who the hell is Bucky?) by originalblue, steve/bucky + sam + natasha + other marvel characters, 21k
    You have a mission, but your mind is being split in two, and there's a man on the bridge, and you know him. You don't know why, but you know him.
    I devoured this fic like it was candy because, oh, it was such a good blend of all the things wanted, from competent Bucky to his regaining sense of self and what that means for what happened to the relationship with Steve. The fic is very much about moving them forward and healing, but without being fluff or skipping the angst, or wallowing too much in it. It punched me in the feelings just the right amount and was... it's not reinventing the wheel, but instead captured that feeling I had just after the movie and wanted to read every post-TWS fic, this captured that magic again for me and sparkled for it.

sam deserves better than these assholes by lazulisong, steve/bucky + sam + natasha + other marvel characters, 10.7k
    IM SORRY BUT SAM WILSON STARING IN BAFFLED WONDER AT STEVE AND BUCKY AND HOW WEIRD THEY ARE ABOUT EACH OTHER
    The thing I've always enjoyed about Meg's writing is the constant stream of little details of things, the things (cultural or hobbies or trivia) she works in that clearly delight or amuse her. I can feel the fun she has while writing and how much joy I get out of a character's life being so difficult because of lovable assholes, and the embracing of the nerd life and tropes. There's just a lot of silly heart to go with the lovely writing! Also, Sam's life is really hard, okay, and that's pure sunshine and joy to me.

Lab Rats and Tin Soldiers by dancinbutterfly, steve/bucky + peggy + howard + erik lehnsherr, 17k
    Doktor Karl Scmidt(Sesbastian Shaw) worked closely with other Nazi scientists such as Johann Schmidt, the Red Skull. It is in his care that the Doktor leaves Erik for further "experiments" and "training" when he cannot continue the work personally. Being in the grip of the Nazi's nightmare subdivision, HYDRA, puts Erik in place to be found by a recently made Captain America on his first rescue mission. Now instead of being trapped by his tormentors, Erik finds himself cared for by a different sort of human in the forms of Howard Stark, Peggy Carter, and Steve Rogers as he discovers his powers and himself.

    aegistheia recommended this fic and it immediately caught my attention--Steve and Bucky rescue a young Erik Lehnsherr from the Nazis and that makes all the difference in the world? Yes, give me that immediately. The writing is beautifully done and the two worlds fit together beautifully, even beyond just that they're both Marvel properties. The difference Steve makes in young Erik's life, the way his abilities fit together with the '40s in this world, it's beautifully done on a technical level, but also really got to me on an emotional level. It's not super long, but it touches on all the things it needs to touch on, with all the shit they all go through and the connections they forge together, especially punch-me-in-the-feelings-why-don't-you is Erik's interaction with both Steve and Howard.

They're different dynamics, but they're both important--as is his interaction with Peggy. While Steve is the one that makes this incredible impression on his life, influences him and connects with him in a way that no other does, it's also Howard Stark's almost casual (but still genuine) way of letting Erik have free reign around the lab, it's also Peggy's guidance to give him some structure and focus for all that rage he has. The fic doesn't pull its punches on all the rage and terrible potential Erik has, but you can see how these different events make an entire world of difference with the character, how it all feels like a natural progression out of that moment where Steve saves him.

It's a beautifully done crossover, but also an amazing character piece. I'd love to see a sequel, especially set in the future, but it's also wonderfully complete as is. I'm so glad to have had this pointed out to me, I don't know that I would have found it on my own otherwise!

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