This fic is incredible! Anyone else who loves the ship must read it!!
“Who needs a camera?”
(Apparently not James Bucky Barnes.)
(Camera Roll < Sketchbook < Memory)
For shits-n-giggles, and because I am dry as a bone for Week 4 of Fleur De Love, I’ve decided to post the original version of a Drabble Challenge that I wrote before I reread the challenge and came to find out in my excitement and haste, I’d misread the Word Count. (Note: Read Challenge instructions at least twice.)
I had to get out the chisel and scalpel, and cut all o’ these 1800 + - words…down…to 500 words. I knew what I needed to do. I had to kill a whole bunch of darlings.
I cut the prologue, a lot of camera roll and sketchbook details, and some dialogue, and rewrote some. I’m just posting this here because why not? Plus, I’m trying to figure how Tumblr works. (Frankly, I hate it.)
Anyway, the title of the resulting 500 Word Drabble is “The Sleeping Venus of Delacroix” on AO3: https://archiveofourown.org/works/34214926 .
What follows is what it was before it became that.
The prompt: Camera(s).
Rated : TEEN+ for mere mention of an adult couple having had sex. I don’t really know. Please let me know if the rating is wrong. Thanks.
After putting the boys down for the night, he invited her up to his room.
She smiled that girlish grin that lit him up from inside. Made him warm and made him shiver at the same time.
He picked her up, and she stifled a giggle.
It felt good to lift her and carry her up the stairs to the attic.
He liked the way she felt in his arms, in his hands.
She pretended she didn’t like being lifted, but he could tell by the way she relaxed in his arms…and she how smiled that secret smile he understands when she softly said “Boy…you and this foolishness…”
He’d wanted to untwist her hair, and promised to get up early in the morning to re-twist it for her so she could wear one of her satin-lined beanies to the restaurant, but she said she was planning to wear her full curls out, so he made love with her, his ikumkani, her hair wrapped (head crowned) in a rich, deep red fabric that was shot through with gold threads.
She whispered his name into the side of his neck: “James…”
He kissed her name into her soft shoulder: “Sarah…”
And they called each other “Intanda”.
Stars shone through the skylight above the bed. The two of them gleamed in the soft light as they moved and rolled together like waves on the Gulf under the crescent Moon.
Afterwards, he was relaxed and wrung out, but he didn’t didn’t sleep.
Sometimes he had nightmares, even night terrors, and he would wake up not knowing where, or even who he was.
He felt that this, in combination with a Vibranium arm, made him unsafe to sleep with, and tonight, though he was happy, he didn’t want to chance it, so he held her until she fell asleep, then he quietly left the bed.
When he came back from the bathroom, he saw her, on top of the blanket and sheets, in his bed beneath the skylight…
He stood there for a while and watched her before he went to her, gently touched the tags lying on her breast, and whispered his Promise…
“…not next to you, still with you…”
Then he went over to the sleeping bag and laid down on the floor against the wall close to the side of the bed near her, and smelling sex in the air and her fragrance on his skin, he closed his eyes.
“…not next to me, still with me...”
Soon, he drifted off to a deep, dreamless sleep, hearing her breathe.
…………2 months later………….
“May I see?”
“OK. I mean…you and the kids, mostly. And the P&D. Sam in the Suit. And you. And sunsets. A couple of…Selfies. (God, awful word.) with you. Cass & AJ in their baseball uniforms. Playing baseball. And you…”
“James…you don’t have to show me if you don’t wa—“
“No! It’s not like I’m…ashamed of my camera roll. I only have pictures in there for the phone…screen…thing.
Cass showed me how to swaps out photos for Lockscreens and Caller ID.
I don’t need a camera, anyway.”
“Everybody’s phone has a camera in it these days.”
He chuckled and shook his head, “Doesn’t mean they need it.”
“Alright, then, Gramps. Give. Toss it over.”
She catches the phone and he goes back to cleaning his hand plates and finger joints.
“Let me know if you need me to take a look at your hand, ‘k, nandi?”
“Mmm-hmm.” He keeps swabbing, but grins wide..
(She’s amazing. How’d I get so lucky?)
Laying back on his bed she scrolls through his Camera Roll, seeing a series of images: lots of Cass & AJ; and Cass & AJ with her; Sam at a Press Conference being stoic; a few selfies of her & James, grinning ear to ear, one of her smiling bashfully as he kissed her cheek; candid shots of her, watching the kids play baseball; a shot of her on the deck of the P&D, pointing at the dock as workers carry the catch ashore.
And there’s a photo of her at the kitchen sink, taken from behind. She’s wearing those cargo shorts that fit her in a way that makes him feel, as the kids today say, “some kind o’ way”.
She looks over at James, and he’s busying himself wiping the cloth over the back of his hand, while plates in his forearm vibrate, shift, and slide back into place.
He’s softly smiling…and blushing.
She waits….because she knows he knows what she just saw on his phone.
He finally puts the cloth down, and sighs, looking at the floor, the wall, back at the floor…anywhere but at her..
“You were singing, and you just looked..so…and I…you can delete that one…”
“James, what are you talking about? There’s nothing wrong with this picture.”
“I don’t need to keep—“
She sits up on the bed.
“James, look at me.”
Still blushing, he lifts his eyes and looks over at her.
“You look at this picture, these pictures, when you’re on a mission and homesick, or when you’re stressed, don’t you? When you’re feeling…”
“Unmoored is…one of the words Dr. Raynor used.”
“Okay. And with this one, you imagine being here at home, in the kitchen, walking up behind me and holding me?”
He nods, and grins. “You complain, sometimes, but I can tell that you like it.”
“I do, James.”
“I like it too. I like holding you. You feel like…I look at that photo of you, Sarah, and it’s like…it’s...Home.”
“And I’m wearing those cargo shorts that, when you see me in them, make you feel some sort of way.”
He smiles and nods, wetting his bottom lip with the tip of his tongue.
“Yeah, I see you, James Bucky Barnes.” She smiles a wry smile. “You think you’re slick, you.
Go ahead and keep this photo.
But, baby, if I ever see this photo of my ass on social media, I’ll call Carlos myself, and I’ll gladly help him cut you up into fish food. You’re not the only one with knife skills up in here, sithandwa.”
They both chuckle.
The last, and most recent photo in the camera roll is a shot of her looking out onto the ocean from the deck of the P&D, dark brown skin highlighted by golden sunset.
It’s, more or less, the typical Dad Camera Roll.
“I honestly thought you’d have more than just 20 pictures on you phone.”
“Of what else? Selfies of myself and some cookies I baked for the boys’ PTA Bake Sale…or me during a mission with Cap? Or me and my arm at the dock—“
“OK. I get it.” She says, laughing.
A book on his desk catches her eye.
“Is that a…sketchbook? Are you drawing again?”
“Yeah. It’s…relaxing. Helps me focus. Wanna see?”
“Only if you want me to. I understand if it’s part of your thera—“
He stands, picks up the book, takes it over to her, exchanges it for his phone, which he tosses onto the overstuffed chair on the other side of the room, and he sits on the edge of the bed, with one leg on the mattress, the other foot on the floor.
(In case he wants/needs to walk or leave.)
She criss-crosses her long legs, pats the mattress nearer to her, and he scoots closer, bringing his leg up and criss-crossing his legs as well.
“Better? You OK with this?”
“Yeah,” he exhales. “No one else has seen it. Except, now you. I…want you to see.”
“Okay.” She leans slightly forward and lays her hand on his cheek.”Thank you, James.”
He leans his head into her palm and smiles, almost bashfully. “Thank you, Sarah. I hope you…Thanks.”
Inside the 8 ½” x 11” hardbound book are pencil drawings, ranging from impressionistic to photorealistic in style.
The one of her right hand—graced by his engagement diamond ring— nestled in his Vibranium hand, is lovely.
There are beautiful studies of her (their) kids: Cass, on his way to Tweendom, at home plate, waiting for a pitch. All arms and legs, and a determined grin.
There’s a sketch of him with that “I don’t need your help I’m not a baby” pout next to one of him, eyes wide and smiling, engrossed in a book.
And there’s AJ, glasses askew as always, inquisitive smile touching the star on Captain America’s shield, one of him holding a fishing pole and a fish, and another of him in an Easter Sunday suit, and sneakers.
There is a portrait partially impressionistic, part photorealistic of a Black woman. She’s a warrior. Her head is clean-shaven, which brings out her eyes, that look loving and kind, but at the same time like she would put a spear through your heart if it needed to be done, no problem. She is stunning and frightening. She could be on the catwalk in Paris, or in the middle of a battlefield, handling business.
(Is this the Royal Guard soldier James talks about wanting me to meet? I’ll ask later.”)
There are studies of Sam working on the boat, Sam in the Falcon suit and then in the Captain America suit that the Wakandans developed and made for him.
Sam: laughing, talking to his nephews, playing catch with them.
A portrait of Sam and Sarah next to a drawing of a photograph of the two siblings as children.
A drawing of Sam, talking to a fellow Vet, eyes full of compassion and quiet strength.
And there are studies of her as well.
James can tell she’s looking at the drawings of herself because her eyes get a look…like she can’t quite believe someone sees her like this:
girlish grin…determined, brooks-no-fools glare…
her: holding AJ…encouraging Cass…standing on the front porch waving good-bye/waving hello… tasting something she’s cooking…laughing…
her hands…her back and shoulders…her eyes/lips/neck…her hands…her long legs, laying on top of white bedding, and the ankle that wears the gold and Vibranium ankle bracelet he had made for her by a Wakandan artisan….her hands…the ecstatic smile only meant for his eyes, the smile he sees during and afterwards… her hand wearing his ring…
There also are a few sketches of the house. And one of the little dock past the backyard, and the little river that leads to the Gulf and then the Ocean.
There’s a sketch of Sam’s barbershop, which is now his shop as well. And studies of various Delacroix street scenes at various times.
Sketch after sketch, studies and landscapes, impressions.
Some leap off the pages. Some draw her in.
“These are beautiful, James. Honestly, you should consider mounting some kind of exhibi—“
The drawing in the back of the book makes her jaw drop.
He turns partially away, placing one foot on the floor, almost holding his breath, not sure how she’s going to react…
Her hand first reaches out to him, then flies back to cover her mouth and she softly gasps.
It’s a photorealistic pencil drawing. A full-on portrait of a Black woman, her, asleep on a bed, in a darkened library…or study. His bed, in his room.
She’s nude, lying on blankets and sheets that pool around her curves.
Her thighs, belly and breasts are revealed and a soft light from above throws highlights on her skin, making her look soft, and… luscious.
Her face is tilted slightly up and away from the viewer, but a soft smile is visible on her lips.
Her hair is covered by a head wrap tied in an intricate style that looks like something a Queen would wear. The wrap adds a look of regal grace and strength to her lushness.
Her left arm is raised and her head is resting on that hand.
There is a book lying on near her, face down, open, as if she drifted off to sleep while reading. On the cover of the book is written: The Two Towers.
Her right arm is draped over her hip and a diamond graces the ring finger on her hand, which covers the delta of her thighs.
Her only other jewelry, aside from an ankle bracelet, is a ball chain necklace, and hanging from it, something that falls onto the swell of her breasts: dog tags.
And above the bed…is a skylight filled with a starry sky.
"James...sithandwa,” she looks up at him, wiping her eyes with the sleeve of her (his) shirt. “This…is…beautiful.”
“Like I said, intanda…” he says softly, and finally looking into her eyes, “I don’t need a camera.”
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