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Waking Up (Bucky Barnes, M, Cold)


Dusty15

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M, cold, Bucky Barnes

So, when I saw Black Panther’s post-credit scene of Bucky waking up in the Wakandan village, it inspired this idea for a fic. I’ve had it partially written for ages, but I FINALLY finishes it. The end lines up with the credits scene. 

---


Shuri looks once more at the chart on the screen in front of her, fingers swiping back and forth across the lines of data. She presses one finger lightly to the screen and a three dimension model of a brain leaps forth from the monitor, rotating slowing.

“The healing is nearly complete,” she says confidently. T'Challa looks between the floating projection of a brain and the man lying on the nearby examination table.

“Are you sure, sister?”

“He will need time. But he will not be a danger anymore.”

“When will you wake him?”

Shuri spins the brain model and flicks it back into the screen with a swift motion.

“Soon. But not here.”

“Not here?” T'Challa repeats, confused. “I told Captain Rogers that he would remain safely in Wakanda. It is a promise I do not intend to break.”

“He will stay in Wakanda, brother,” Shuri clarifies. “But not here. Not in the lab. His brain needs quiet and rest, but a lab is not the place for Sergeant Barnes. Too many bad things have happened in to him in places like this.”

“Then where do you suggest? He cannot remain in the city while we are still testing the results of your treatments,” T'Challa says.

“The treatment will work,” Shuri insists. “But he should not remain in the city, I agree. He needs a simple, quiet place. Do you think some of the farmers in the lands beyond the river would oversee his healing?”

T'Challa turns to survey his kingdom as it is projected on the screens across the lab. He taps on a map and zooms in on the area, smiling.

“I know just such a place that will take this man.”

That is how the next day, Bucky Barnes is transported from the sterile white biotech ward of Shuri and into the fertile grasslands of the perimeter of Wakanda.

The healers and scientists bring him in the cryo-sleep chamber and carefully transfer him onto a cot in a hut just beyond a collection of similar dwellings.

Shuri dismisses the majority of the scientists until it is just her, T'Challa, and two farmers who have agreed to oversee the new man's recovery. From a silver case, she extracts a needle and draws up a measure of pale purple serum. With practiced hands, she injects it into Bucky's arm.

It only takes a moment for Bucky to begin showing signs of life again. He groans weakly and shifts on the cot. Shuri reaches out and runs a scanner along his limbs, taking vitals.

“Sergeant Barnes,” she says, voice soft as not to startle him. “Can you hear me?”

“Mhm,” Bucky murmurs, eyelids fluttering, but he says nothing more.

“He will sleep until tomorrow, likely,” Shuri tells the two farmers. “I will leave a contact device here if he wakes and you require assistance. He may need clarification on how he got here and you are to inform him that he is in Wakanda and has received an operation to repair his mind.”

The farmers nod their agreement.

“Then we will leave and check on his progress tomorrow. Thank you both for your help,” T'Challa says to the pair.

He follows his sister from the hut and back to the vehicle that's waiting to take them back to the city.

“Why does he sleep when he has been sleeping so long?” T'Challa asks.

“His body has been in a suspended state in the cold,” Shuri explains. “It will take some time for his temperature to stabilize and for his mind to settle. Sleep is the best way for him to do that.”

Shuri is sound asleep when the alarm sounds shrilly from her communication device. The face of one of the farmers glows from the screen's projection, squinting at her in the darkness.

She sits up and the lights come on.

“What is it?” she says wearily.

“It is Sergeant Barnes,” the farmer says.

Shuri flicks the projection of the farmer aside and reads a report from her remote monitoring system of Bucky. The man's temperature is reading far above normal.

“I'll be right there,” she says, slipping her feet into shoes and stepping out into the vehicle just outside her chambers. There are few others on the streets at this hour and she makes it out to the hut with great speed.

“He woke and is very confused,” one farmer informs her as she arrives. “He's feverish.”

Shuri enters the hut and is struck by the stifling air compared to the cool Wakandian night outside. On the cot, Bucky is shivering and mumbling as the second farmer tries to cool the fever with a wet rag.

“Please, let me,” she says, taking the woman's place.

She runs her reading device across him, picking up the high fever and a hyperactive immune system that is clearly going wild after months of inactivity.

“Sergeant Barnes?” she says.

His face flexes with an expression of discomfort but he makes no sign of recognition of his name.

She flips open the case she's brought and draws a syringe. With practiced hands, she injects the medicine into the flesh of the man's thigh. He flinches a little but he's too weak to pull away.

“What is wrong with him?” a voice asks as a cool breeze rushes in from the tent flaps opening. T'Challa is standing in the dim light, looking concerned.

“An illness of a sort,” Shuri says, consulting the scanner again. The fever isn't dropping. “His body is reacting poorly to the shift in state. His immune system is getting a little over-excited and he's probably going to feel a little unwell while it stabilizes.”

She rummages in the medical case and finds a thin gel-like pad. Leaning over the fevered man, she pushes back some of his unruly hair and presses it to his forehead. The scanner beeps as his temperature drops a degree.

“Open the door flaps,” Shuri instructs as she tugs the blankets back to expose Bucky's feet.

The cool evening air cycles into the hut. The man in the bed shifts a little, rolling slightly to one side.

“Sergeant Barnes?” T'Challa tries. No response.

Shuri gently shakes the man's shoulder.

“Bucky?” she tries.

There's a bit of a grumble and a slow exhalation from the man.

“Where...?” he manages to mutter. His voice is barely audible.

“Wakanda,” T'Challa explains as Shuri pours a glass of water.

“There's water, just here,” she offers, tipping the glass towards his lips.

Bucky takes a greedy sip.

“Where?” he tries again, blinking and squinting as he opens his eyes. He shuts them again, groaning.

“Just rest,” T'Challa says. “You are safe now.”

Barnes' face twitches with a grimace of discomfort but he stays quiet, eyes closed.

“Should he be taken back to the hospital where he can receive proper care?” asks T'challa.

“No,” Shuri replies. “He will be well in a day or two. He just needs time to recover but he is in no danger. This place will be more comfortable for him.”

“Will you stay, then?” T'Challa asks. “At least until he's back on his feet?

“I will stay tonight,” Shuri says. “And then we will see.”

“Do not sacrifice your rest for his,” T'Challa warns. “There are others who can oversee his recovery. Call on them when they are needed.”

Shuri nods her understanding, turning her attention back to the man on the bed. Her brother squeezes her shoulder and leaves the hut.

Sergeant Barnes is asleep once more, his face in a more relaxed expression as his fever drops. Shuri adjusts the gel pad on his forehead and tucks the blankets back over his feet, checking her scanner one last time to confirm that his fever is no longer at a dangerous level. Assured that he is stable, she sits on a spare cushion on the hut floor and leans back against a post, closing her eyes. The brisk night air floats through the open flap, rustling the cloth walls and bringing with it the perfume of grass and grazing animals.

Shuri drops off to sleep herself in no time at all.

When she awakes again, it is to the sound of coughing and in the early dawn light her eyes adjust to the image of Sergeant Barnes writhing on his cot.

She hurries to her feet and over to his side. He's awake and struggling to pull back the tangled sheets with his one arm as he coughs roughly. Shuri tugs the sheets from around him and pushes him upright. Bucky bends over, chest spasming as he strains with each breath. She grabs the water glass and refills it, passing it into his hand. He sips between coughs until he regains his breath and the hacking stops temporarily.

“Good morning, Sergeant Barnes,” she says playfully. “Not quite the way I'd hoped you'd wake up but the good news is, you're not likely to turn violent on me.”

Bucky stares at her through red-rimmed eyes.

“Sorry,” he croaks. He coughs once more into the shoulder that terminates where his second arm once was; Shuri has removed his prosthetic for the time being. “Who are you?”

“My name is Shuri,” she tells him. “You're in Wakanda. Captain Rogers had you sent here for treatment.”

“Wakanda?” Barnes repeats, the word sounding foreign in his mouth. He's still groggy from sleep and clearly congested. He coughs once more and clears his throat. “Where?”

“Wakanda,” Shuri repeats, gesturing to the water glass and encouraging him to drink more. “The Kingdom of Wakanda. My brother, T'Challa, is the ruler of this nation. You were sent to us for reprogramming. I've removed the Hydra protocols from your brain. Do you feel differently?”

Bucky sips the last of the water and puts down the glass so he can rub sleep from his eyes with his hand.

“I guess? I mostly feel sick,” he says.

“You've been in cryo-sleep for some time. Your body needs to adjust a bit. You will rest and recover here in the countryside,” she tells him.

“But where's Steve?” he asks, pushing his tangle of hair back off his face. “Captain Rogers, I mean?”

“He's in America still. He's been contacted about you, but I'm unsure when he'll next be in touch. There's been some unrest.”

“But he's okay?” Bucky asks, clearly concerned.

“He's fine, yes,” Shuri confirms. “Do you want something to eat? Some more to drink?”

“I don't know...” Barnes says with an odd expression. He wrinkles his nose and paws at it with his fist. “I'm just--”

He breaks off before he can finish the sentence and his breath rushes inward with a quick gasp before he's pitched forward with a strong sneeze.

Urhh-TSGHH!

He covers his face with part of his arm but a spray is still visible in the air and his nose becomes wet with congestion. He sniffles thickly and his breath hitches again, now more desperate and irregular in rhythm.

Ehh....hehh-TSGHXTT!

His head bobs down into his bare forearm, not once more, but several more times.

Uh-NGHTT! Ts'GHTT!

The fit ends and he presses his nose against his arm to stem a steam of congestion that's trickling down towards his lips.

“For you,” Shuri offers, holding out a patterned square of cloth. He tentatively takes his arm away from his face and accepts it, pressing it to his nose and blowing hard.

“I don't think I've sneezed quite like that in...say, 50 years?” he croaks from behind the handkerchief. 

“Your body is over-reacting to everything. It's a bit like having allergies and a cold all at once. It should go away shortly. It's just part of the adjustment back from the stasis.”

Barnes finishes wiping his nose and lowers the handkerchief. He leans his head from side to side, stretching his neck and wincing.

“That's the cryo-sleep too,” Shuri comments. “You haven't really moved in a while. Do you want to get up and take a short walk to stretch your muscles?”

Bucky nods and swings his feet over the side of the cot, standing up on shaky legs like a newborn gazelle.

“Slowly,” Shuri coaches, holding open the hut flap and ushering him out. They emerge into the morning sunlight on the plains. The air is hot but not yet at the peak of the day and there's a gently breeze that ruffles the tall grass.

“Whoa,” Barnes says, blinking in the bright light and looking out at the heart of Wakanda's capital city in the distance.

“Welcome to Wakanda,” Shuri tells him with a grin. “You'll see it further once you've had a chance to settle here and allow the healing of your mind to finish fully. Life is a bit slower out here in the plains and we thought it best for you to stay here at the start.”

“It's beautiful.”

Shuri is about to reply when he comm device beeps. She presses a button and T'Challa's face appears in a projected hologram.

“So he is awake!” T'Challa says, spotting Bucky behind his sister.

Barnes grins in recognition.

“I remember you now,” he says. 

“Welcome to Wakanda, Sergeant Barnes.”

“It's an honour, sir. I was just remarking how—hehh”

He pauses, his breath hitching.

Hehh...eh-GHSTT!

With the force of the sneeze he nearly tumbles over but Shuri grabs him with a steadying arm.

“He is not quite recovered, brother,” she says once she has Bucky gripped firmly by his arm. 

“I'm s—-sorry—hehh---miss...” Bucky stammers. She's still holding his arm tightly.

Heh-TSGHHT!

He's unable to shield his nose with his arm being held, so he opts to turn his head over his shoulder. 

“Oh! Sorry!” Shuri cries, releasing his arm as she realizes why he'd been pulling away. He pinches his fingers to his nose and pulls away some moisture, wiping it on his linen pant leg.

“Blessings, Agent Barnes,” the hologram of T'Challa offers. “I see that you indeed are not well still. But you are in the very best of hands with my sister. She is the most talented healer in all of Wakanda with a brain to rival the top medical researchers in the world.”

Bucky nods politely while still wiping his nose self-consciously with the back of his hand.

“I will leave you to recover, then,” T'Challa continues. “When you are back to your strength, I will visit. We have much to discuss.”

“Thank you, sir,” Barnes says. “For all you and your sister have done for me.”

T'Challa inclines his head and the hologram disappears.

Bucky and Shuri continue their short walk, rounding the tent and looking out over the vast landscape where mountains rise in the distance and a herd of animals dots the horizon with small, moving dots. 

“Are you weary?” Shuri asks as Bucky begins to fall back in pace.

“I'm afraid my legs are protesting a little,” he admits. His breath is coming in wheezy pants.

“We've pressed you too far for now. Let's go back to your tent and I'll send for some food and tea. Then you can rest and we'll try again later. You'll likely bounce back quickly once you've eaten and had a little more rest.”

“Thank you,” Bucky says. “I appreciate it.”

“It was a favour for your friend,” Shuri replies. “My brother felt it a debt to him. But we are glad to help.”

They head back to the tent and Bucky reclines back on the small bed, closing his eyes momentarily. He thinks back to his life before either he or Steve received the serum and recalls seeing his friend suffer with a cold much like this one. Hopefully, he thinks, after this recovery he'll be back to a life of no more colds. Being idle in bed is unfamiliar territory for him and he's eager to explore this strange new country with his new-found freedom without Hydra clouding his mind. So when Shuri brings a plate of food and a cup of tea, he eats willingly. There is much to look forward to now. 

That night, he’s given some fresh clothes and he sleeps soundly. When he wakes, it’s to the sight of three young faces peering curiously down at him. He jumps and sits up with a deep breath. His head is clear again and he feels strong and healthy. He emerges from the tent into the fresh air and sees the young Wakandian scientist standing in the distance. She smiles and greets him. 

“Come,” she says. “Much more for you to learn.”

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