- “I’m with you ‘till the end of the line”
Steve and Bucky grew up together as neighbours in Brooklyn, New York and became family to one another. When Steve's mother, Sarah Rogers, died tragically of Tuberculosis, Bucky attempted to persuade Steve into letting him help, canonically it is unknown if Steve took him up on his offer. Throughout their childhood Bucky was there for and stood by Steve as he got in back ally fights standing up for what was right.
Steve is at the movies after receiving his 5th 4F from the army, when a bully shouts insults about the soldiers and tells Steve that Bucky is going to die in the war. So small 5'5" Steve decides to fight him. The bully is beating Steve up pretty badly until Bucky saves the day. He finds Steve In a back ally fight he can't finish and promptly (literally) kicks the bully's butt. Bucky drapes his arm around Steve and tells him they're going "to the future." Steve and Bucky are on a double date at the Stark Expo, When Steve disappears to try to inlist again. Bucky argues with him about ditching him on his last night before shipping out. Steve tells him that he needs to help and they quickly make up. Bucky hugs him calling him a punk, to which Steve responds by calling him a jerk. Bucky leaves telling Steve, "Don't do anything stupid while I'm gone." Steve responds by asking "How can I? You're taking all the stupid with you!"
They don't see each other again until Steve goes to Europe with the USO after receiving the serum. Steve performs to an unimpressed audience of soldiers who shout at him and throw things. After he runs off the stage, he runs into Peggy who tells him that the 107th just lost a bunch of men to a POW camp. Steve freaks out because Bucky is in the 107th and he wasn't in the crowd. So Steve marches into Col. Phillips' tent and asks if Bucky's missing. Upon learning Bucky is MIA, Steve apparently finds Bucky's stash of stupid he brought with him and launches an unapproved one man mission across enemy lines to find him. Steve does find him along with the other missing men of the 107th. Steve finds Bucky lying on a table after having been experimented on. He is dazed and when Steve says, "Bucky, I thought you were dead." Bucky answers with, "I thought you were smaller."
Steve leads the two of them to the exit, but they see Zola and Red Scull who save themselves and blow up the main exit so Steve and Bucky have to take a different route. The bridge is narrow so Steve has them go one at a time with Bucky going first. Bucky makes it to the other side, then the bridge breaks. Steve shouts, "GO ON! GET OUT OF HERE!" And Bucky shouts back, "NO! NOT WITHOUT YOU!" So Steve Jumps across. They return to camp and Steve is given permission to start an Elite team to take down Hydra, they call themselves the Howling Commandos. Steve asks Bucky if he's "Willing to follow Captain America into the jaws of death?" Bucky says, "No, That little guy who was too dumb to run from a fight, I'm following him." And follows it with, "You're keeping the costume though, right?" The newly formed Howling Commandos are enjoying their time drinking and loudly singing a drinking song when Peggy walks in and Bucky gets to meet her. He doesn't seem happy about their meeting.
During their time in the army, Steve leads the Howling Comandos with Bucky as his second in command taking down Hydra bases. It is going great until they get a mission to zip line onto a moving train and take out Zola and Red Skull.
Bucky falls out of the train to his apparent death leaving a sobbing Steve clinging to the train. Steve goes to the bar where he had asked Bucky to join the howling commandos two years earlier. He learns he can no longer get drunk. Soon after Steve crashes the plane into the ocean.
Steve is depressed. He has been out of the ice for 4 years and he still feels like he doesn't belong. His family is dead, all his friends are dead, and his best girl has dementia and has lived her life. He frequents the Smithsonian's Captain America exhibit to stare at the Bucky Barnes memorial. Things start looking up when he meets Sam Wilson, who helps him realise he's not alone. Then Nick Fury gets assassinated. Steve chases the assassin to the roof and throws his shield, but the assassin catches it with his metal arm shocking Steve before he backflips off the building. The next time Steve runs in to the assassin whom he has learned from Natasha is the Winter Soldier, they are fighting on a bridge. They engage in hand to hand combat and the Winter Soldier's muzzle falls off revealing Bucky Barnes. Steve is shocked by this revelation and disbelieving, says, "Bucky?" Bucky responds, "Who the hell is Bucky?" And walks away.
Steve discovers S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a front for Hydra and Bucky has served as their brainwashed assassin. Saving the world from Hydra's plan, Steve has one last confrontation with a newly tortured Bucky, who seemingly doesn't remember him at all. Steve frees Bucky from a fallen steel beam and tells Bucky 'I'm with you to the end of the line' as Bucky said to him more than 70 years earlier. Steve falls from the collapsing ship into the ocean, but Bucky dives in after him, pulling him ashore and leaves, having saved his old friend.
Steve has been tracking Brock Rumlow since the fall of SHIELD and finally finds him in Lagos. They have a confrontation and Rumlow distracts Steve saying, "He remembered you you know. Your pal, your buddy, your Bucky." Steve is so caught up in the thought of Bucky that he misses when Rumlow attempts to explode the both of them. Luckily, or unluckily, Wanda cantains the explosion but causes the building to explode, leading to the Sakovia Accords.
Steve finally finds Bucky after searching for 2 years when Bucky is framed for a terrorist attack during negotiations of the Sokovia Accords. Bucky is buying plums from the local market in Bucharest when he notices people staring at him and checks the Newspaper. As it turns out, he seems to have bombed the UN. He runs back to his apartment and finds Steve there with Sam. Steve asks him how much Bucky remembers, Bucky lies and says he learned about Steve in a museum despite the fact that he remembers a lot more than that. Steve knows he's lying because he flipped through his memory journal. German Police come to arrest Bucky but Steve fights them side by side with Bucky and they fall right in sync with each other's fighting style. The fight leads them to a rooftop where T'Challa begins to fight Bucky in the hopes of avenging his father's death. Steve joins the fight and T'Challa chases the pair to a tunnel. There, T'Challa chases them along with Sam through the tunnel and they end up arrested by the Avengers that signed the Accords. Bucky is separated from the other three because he is an alleged terrorist.
They are taken to a facility where Bucky is held in a secure cell and given a psych eval while Steve and Sam are brought to an office and meet up with Sharon. The three of them are watching Bucky being interviewed when the power goes out. Steve freaks out and they all rush down to Bucky's cell where they realise that the "psychiatrist" has reset Bucky into Winter Soldier mode. Steve fights the Winter Soldier trying to get Bucky back. Steve chases the Winter Soldier to the roof where the Soldier attempts to escape via helicopter but Steve decides to stop a helicopter with his bare hands. Bucky crashes the helicopter and the two of them fall into the water below, which they seem to do constantly.
It then cuts to Bucky chained in a secluded building and Steve asks him which Bucky he’s talking to, to which Bucky responds, “Your mother’s name was Sarah and you used to wear newspapers in your shoes.” Bucky and Steve then go on a road trip with Sam in a tiny VW bug. They meet up with Sharon who gives them their suits and gear back then kisses Steve while he was going in for a hug leaving him and the entire theater very uncomfortable. Then they fight team Iron Man in an airport and Steve and Bucky escape with Natasha’s help. The pair go on the run together while the rest of the team are captured. While Steve and Bucky fly to where the other Winter Soldiers were kept they reminisce about their lives before the war as well as discussing briefly Bucky’s guilt over what he was forced to do. They get to the facility where the other Winter Soldiers were kept and Tony finds them. After finally convincing them he’s not there to hurt either of them, they all go on to discover the rest of the Winter Soldiers have been killed by Zemo. Zemo shows Tony footage of his parents being killed by Bucky as the Winter Soldier. Tony attacks Bucky, and Steve and Bucky proceed to fight Tony. In the end Steve drops his shield and Steve and Bucky limp off leaning on each other.
T’Challa takes Bucky in and Bucky decides to go back into cryo freeze while Steve goes on the run.
After the events of Black Panther, Bucky comes out of cryofreeze, during the time between Black Panther and Avengers:Infinity War, Steve visited Wakanda and FaceTimed Bucky many times.
There are many peices of evidence from canon that support Stucky. The most prevalent may be the music choices for certain scenes in the first two Captain America movies. In CA:TFA, during the scene where Steve askes Bucky if he’ll follow him, the Bucky meets Peggy, the song that plays is “There is a Tavern in the Town” a classic drinking song with Steve sitting down on “where my dear love sits him down” and Bucky meeting Peggy on, “he left me for a damsel dark.” The song is about a man who’s male love left him for a woman. In CA:WS Steve walks into his apartment before the scene where he sees Bucky for the first time in nearly 70 years as the song, “It’s Been a Long Long time” by Harry James. Had the song continued instead of action music starting, the lyrics that would have played as Steve and Bucky’s eyes met would have been, “so kiss me once, then kiss me twice, then kiss me once again, it’s been a long, long, time.” The song is about a WWII soldier returning home to his sweetheart.
The pair frequently look at each other as only people in love generally look at each other. There are also allusions to unexplained vague event, such as, “I heard Bucky and I was that 16 year old kid from Brooklyn again” despite the audience not being told why 16 was a significant age for Steve. Or lines that seem sexual or romantic in nature such as, “you’re keeping the suit, right?” Or “I’m with you ‘till the end of the line.” Which many fans can see no platonic heterosexual reason for.
This ship has over 32,000 fanworks on archiveofourown.org, meaning it is one of the most massively popular ships in the entire Marvel fandom. It also has over 400 fanworks on www.fanfiction.net. As such, there are many tropes and headcanons that avid shippers share about the pair.
Childhood Tropes and Headcanons
These characters have lived for around 100 years in canon, which leads many MCU fans who love history to gravitate towards their early years. In the comics they did not meet until later in life, however the movie verse they “were inseparable on both playground and battlefield” leading many to headcanon a much earlier first meeting than that of even the MCU canon prequel comics. Many Stucky shippers disregard the prequel comics due to the fact that the Bucky depicted is far ruder and less gentlemanly than the one Sebastian Stan portrays. Many shippers headcanon their first meeting being sometime between the ages of 4&5-7&8. Many fan fictions mace them meet while Steve is standing up to a playground bully or some older neighborhood kids tormenting an animal. Most fans agree that Steve and Bucky’s first meeting was while they were very young and involved a fight. Many fans also headcanon that Steve gave Bucky his nickname, though many also believe it may have been Becca or another family member.
Another aspect of the pair’s early years that shippers enjoy speculating about is their family lives. We know that Steve grew up with a single mother, Sarah Rogers, after his father, Joseph Rogers, died in WWI serving in the 107th. We know he had no siblings and that his mother was a nurse. Steve’s family life is pretty well established in Canon, the one that can be speculated and theorised about is Bucky’s family life. We know that he was the oldest of 4 children and the language used leads most fans to believe that he was the only boy with 3 younger sisters. This is generally how the Barnes family is depicted in fan fiction and fan art. Bucky’s Mother’s name was Winifred Barnes and his father’s name was George Barnes. In the comics he has a sister named Rebecca who goes by Becca, she is the eldest girl in almost all fan works concerning the Barnes family. The remaining two siblings are generally OCs and usually both are girls. In many works the Barnes and the Rogers are close because of Steve and Bucky and many shippers head canon the two families even spent holidays together.
Ethnicity and relion are anthor explored topic in the Stucky fandom. While we know that Steve is Irish, it is heavily debated weather he is Catholic or Protestant in the MCU. Bucky’s ethnicity and religion are unknown, popular theories include; black Irish Catholic, black Irish Protestant, Jewish, and Romani.
Adolescent Tropes and Headcanons
Many shippers believe that they either got to get her or Steve discovered his feelings for Bucky when Steve was 16 due to a line in “Captain America: Civil War” alluding to something significant happening at that age. It is widely believed that Steve graduated high school, some believe Bucky graduated, some believe he did not.
Young Adult Tropes and Headcanons
Steve is generally considered bisexual by fans, this is due to his interest in women despite their having no interest in him, it is also because of his relationship with Peggy. Bucky’s sexuality varies depending on personal headcanon. Many believe that Bucky may be bi because it is widely accepted that he was a skirt chaser. Though some believe this may have been a front to conceal the fact that he was gay and in a relationship with his best friend.
It is widely believed in the Stucky fandom that Steve and Bucky lived together after Steve’s mother died of TB. According to canon Steve and Bucky grew up in a rough, gay neighborhood, and so many shippers who accept the headcanon that Steve and Bucky lived together believe they stayed in that same neighborhood. Many non shippers as well as post war shippers also believe they shared an appartement for money purposes as this was during the time of the Great Depression. Many post war shippers also headcanon that Steve and Bucky shared a bed for warmth and/or to save money on a second bed.
An extremely popular subject in the Stucky fandom is the topic of Steve and Bucky in the gay community that was thriving right near by. Most agree that since they grew up right in the heart of the gay community while it was thriving in the 1920s, that once they were grown and realized they were a part of that community, that they would take part in the gay community of Brooklyn. Another aspect of canon that fans believe play into this is the mention of Cony Island as this was a major spot for the lgbt+ community in the 1920s and into the early 1930s, while Steve and Bucky would just be coming into themselves and their sexualities. Steve and Bucky grew up right near the redlight district, which meant the grew up very close to a hotspot of homosexuality and prostitution.
Another aspect of Steve and Bucky’s pre war life that fans frequently examine is where they worked. Most have Bucky working at the docks to provide for himself and Steve while Steve does odd jobs, makes art for money, or works at a grocers.
Many popular Headcanons arise from the existence of Steve’s many health problems. An example of this is the asthma cigarette headcanon; where Steve smokes asthma cigarettes, which were filled with belladonna and often times cannabis, due to his severe asthma. These caused some wild hallucinations and can make for an interesting fan work. An extremely common trope found in almost all pre war Stucky fanfics that are longer than one shots, in addition to many one shots, is the idea that Steve got last rights twice before the serum.
Many fanworks have at least Steve in art school due to the prequel comics, in which both Steve and Bucky were in art school during Pearl Harbor. Many fans do not however, agree that Bucky is also an artist, many believe he was more skilled with writing or playing piano.
War Time Tropes
Because of his serial number, many fans believe Bucky was drafted, though many disregard that idea and instead accept that he enlisted in the war.
Letters between the pair are also an area shippers explore. It is unknown canonically weather or not Steve was permitted to send letters to Bucky while at basic or on tour with the USO. As such, this is a topic frequently covered in fanfiction. Some believe they exchanged many letters, and that they were forced to hide the truth of the topics of conversation as many gay couples writing to each other during WWII were. Others believe that Steve was unable to write to Bucky once part of a top secret government experiment. Letters or no, almost all shippers agree that Bucky had no idea about the serum before Steve rescued him from Hydra.
Another popular headcanon is that Bucky told his war buddies about his sweetheart back home, pretending that Steve was a woman. There are many fanfictions about Bucky telling the rest of his platoon about his sweetheart, “Stevie” or “Stephanie” occasionally even, “Stella” a tiny, fiery blonde back in Brooklyn. Often times this leads to the Commandos who were part of the 107th to discover the truth about the pair once Steve becomes Captain America.
Another question on many shippers minds is weather or not Peggy and the Commandos knew about the relationship between Steve and Bucky. Often times they do know and are accepting of them, they agree not to tell anyone, other times, they know and deal with a moral struggle due to this information, sometimes with these kinds of fics one of the Commandos tells Col. Phillips who covers it up, other times still, the pair are very good at covering up their relationship. Because of the fact that Steve is the CO of the Commandos and Bucky is his second in command, they share a tent in most war time fics. Which can also cause suspicion with the Commandos. In fics where the Commandos know or suspect about Steve and Bucky’s relationship, they attempt to comfort Steve after Bucky falls to his apparent death.
Post War Tropes
Most fans believe that due to the non-canon nature of the ship, Steve kept his sexuality and relationship to himself after coming out of the ice. Though some fics have him coming out to the world as bisexual before the events of “Captain America: Winter Soldier” happen. Many fans, however do not believe Natasha knew about Steve’s sexuality before CA:WS because she kept attempting to set him up with only women.
CA:WS Tropes and Headcanons
One popular trope is, “up all night to get Bucky” where Steve with the help of Sam are searching for Bucky after he leaves Steve by the river. This trope focuses more on finding Bucky than life after he has been found. The recovery trope generally deals with the nitty gritty of Bucky’s de programming and memory recovery as well as rekindling his relationship with Steve.
After CA:WS, an extremely popular trope was the Avengers family trope where Steve lived in Avengers Tower when they find Bucky or when Bucky comes to Steve or another Avenger for help. These fics generally follow the Avengers as they help Bucky and learn of Steve’s relationship with the ex assassin. Within this trope there are many popular headcanons and tropes, such as the banana trope, where Steve and Bucky discover that bananas are different than they were before the war. Movie/game night with the Avengers is another popular trope. Coming out fics are another popular trope within this trope as there are many directions it can go.
All of the fafics with these tropes became non canon compliant after Captain America: Civil War came out, this does not mean that people stopped writing or reading them, the just exhist as AU fics now.
CA:CW Tropes and Headcanons
After CA:CW many fics dealt with the Steve/Sharon kiss, because there was outrage about that kiss. Though what was even more popular was getting Bucky out of cryo. Often times this included a reunion, many times Steve would stay in Wakanda while Bucky was in cryo. Many of the fics are no long canon complian but some are. After “Black Panther” fics including Shuri’s friendship with Bucky became popular as well.
- “NO! NOT WITHOUT YOU!”
- —Bucky in CA:TFA
- “Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky”
- —Steve in CA:WS
- Bucky – I don't know if I'm worth all this, Steve
- Steve – What you did all those years wasn't you. You didn't have a choice
- ―Civil War