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Avengers:Endgame Canon Divergence and Fix-It Fic Recs

From Steve/Bucky Recs

AVENGERS: ENDGAME SPOILERS AHEAD

As I write this introduction, Avengers: Engame has been released for less than a week and fandom has already exploded with discussions and arguments about the film. Fandom, a community that specializes in close reading of texts, can't agree on the meaning of the inconsistent mechanics of time travel as laid out in Avengers: Endgame and what that means for the characters of Steve and Bucky, let alone anybody else.

The film seems to imply that Steve created a closed loop when he returned to the 1940s and that he was always Peggy's husband, but this is inconsistent with past canon established in previous MCU films and the Agent Carter tv series, makes the already weird kiss with Sharon in Captain America: Civil War even weirder, and creates a situation where Steve is forced to live his life with Peggy knowing that his best friend is being tortured and forced to kill people and that SHIELD, Peggy's organization and life's work, is being taken over by HYDRA, all without doing anything about it. This seems not only inconsistent with Steve's character, but also, frankly, horrifying.

Therefore, most of fandom has naturally concluded that by returning to the 1940s and marrying Peggy, Steve must have created an alternate timeline. In this new timeline, he could have rescued Bucky and destroyed HYDRA much earlier. (Many Steve/Bucky/Peggy fans seem especially excited about this possibility.) But this scenario also leaves some unanswered questions. For example:

  1. How did Steve return to his original timeline to pass his shield along to Sam? We can handwave this in several ways; for example, by assuming that in a timeline where HYDRA didn't wreck havoc and sow discord for 70 years, the technology for hopping between different universes might have been developed earlier, or by assuming that the serum slowed Steve's aging process and his elderly appearence means that he's actually visiting from the future, maybe even the far future.
  2. If Steve from one timeline goes back and marries Peggy from another, what happens to the Steve from her timeline? Do they leave him on ice? Do they rescue him, too? (Maybe one of the Steves marries Peggy and the other Bucky?) Or does Steve somehow merge timelines so there isn't another Steve?

On top of the possible alternative timeline created by Steve going back to marry Peggy, there's also the question of what happens in the altered 2012 timeline where Steve tells his past self after the Battle of New York that Bucky is still alive and says "Hail HYDRA" to Sitwell, Rumlow, and Rollins in order to get the scepter from them. Does that timeline's 2012!Steve wake up and go looking for Bucky much sooner? Does he get super confused when SHIELD coworkers start whispering "Hail HYDRA" to him in the halls?

There are lots of possibilities to chew on here, and many people are already plotting fics that clean up these loose ends. Meanwhile, for other people, the inconsistencies and unanswered questions are so frustrating that they're just scrapping the whole ending in the time honored tradition of fans unhappy with what they've been given by canon.

Here's a selection of Avengers: Endgame canon divergence and fix-it fics I've enjoyed.

Fics on this page are Steve/Bucky unless marked otherwise.

2012 Alternate Universe Fic Recs

I've seen a lot of requests for fics focusing on the 2012 alternate universe where Steve told his past self that Bucky was still alive and convinced Jasper Sitwell, Brock Rumlow, and other members of the STRIKE team that he was HYDRA, so I created this section to make them easier to find.


Title: darling heart, i loved you from the start (but that's no excuse for the state i'm in)
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18914104
Author: voxofthevoid
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~20k
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

“I thought you’d make a terrible Nazi but turns out you’d make a terrifying one instead.”

The year is 2012. Loki has vanished with the Tesseract, and Manhattan is a blazing wreck. A very tired Steve Rogers goes home and meets another very tired Steve Rogers.

Or, the one where Steve saves the mind stone for the last and decides to fuck the timeline beyond all recognition, which regrettably involves crawling delicately up Hydra's asshole and less regrettably involves showering a very confused Bucky Barnes with affection.
Reccer's Notes:

A satisfying fix-it in which 2023!Steve goes back to 2012 and helps 2012!Steve and the other 2012 Avengers rescue Bucky, destroy HYDRA, and, hopefully, create a better future for themselves. I also especially enjoyed the interactions between 2023!Steve and 2012!Natasha. Contains references to past 2023!Steve/Rumlow.


Title: find a way to forgive myself
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/24417814/
Author: napricot
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~34k
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed May 2020
Summary:

“Okay, let’s try this again,” says Steve’s own voice. “I’m not Loki and I really need you to listen to me. The literal fate of your universe depends on it.” Steve comes up swinging before he’s even really opened his eyes. “Oh for god’s—”

As if Steve’s life isn’t already weird enough what with the waking up in the 21st century and fighting aliens thing, his future self’s Time Heist and Reverse Time Heist have left 2012 Steve in a pretty awkward position: not only does he have to pretend to be HYDRA in order to save Bucky, but now he also has to help save the whole damn universe too? Luckily for him, if the first time was tragedy, then the second time around is definitely a hell of a lot closer to farce.
Reccer's Notes:

Companion fic to like heaven stood up in you (recced below).


Title: The God of Solid Life Advice
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18588082
Author: kehinki
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~1600
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

It's 2012. Steve is just informed by Loki that Bucky's alive. Loki also tells him some other things.
Reccer's Notes:

A short, cute take on what might happen in the 2012 universe after the time heist


Title: a road less traveled
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/21371884
Author: Claudia_flies and zilia
Rating: Explicit
Word Count: ~75k
Warnings: Creator Choose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Status: Completed November 2019
Summary:

Steve wakes up on the cold stone floor of the foyer. He scrambles up; there’s glass shards everywhere and they crunch under his gloved hands. People are staring, holding themselves back. They must have seen the fight, must have seen two of him.

His own voice rings in his head.

“Bucky is alive!”


It’s all gone FUBAR in 2012.
Reccer's Notes:

A longer take on what might have happened in the 2012 alternate timeline after Steve woke up


Title: Searching Every Lonely Place
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18654451
Author: dragongirlG
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~4200
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

The impersonator hisses, "Bucky is alive"—and that's all it takes for Steve to loosen his grip and get a hard knock to the head.

After the Battle of New York in 2012, Steve searches for Bucky with the help of the Avengers as he bumbles through a series of comedic misunderstandings with undercover HYDRA agents.

Featuring 2012 Avengers-era Steve, confused HYDRA agents doing their best, and a soft, happy ending for our favorite two supersoldiers.
Reccer's Notes:

A mostly light-hearted take on the 2012 AU


Title: a stitch away from making it
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18615154
Author: QueenWithABeeThrone
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~1700
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

The doppelgänger pivots, grabs his arm, and moves with him, spinning him around to throw him away. “Jesus fucking—hey, punk, for fuck’s sake will you just let me explain?”

“I don’t need an explanation,” Steve spits, “Loki.”

or: Steve fights someone who looks a lot like him, and gets the shock of his life. ENDGAME SPOILERS.
Reccer's Notes:

Short snippets from a universe where Steve was Snapped instead of Bucky


Title: When People See Us
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18667030/
Author: Brokenpitchpipe
Rating: Mature
Word Count: ~6000
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

Rumlow knocks his shoulder good-naturedly. “Hail HYDRA.”

“Thanks,” Steve says automatically, “you too.”

Hearing “Bucky’s still alive” in his own voice might have been a little unexpected, sure. But Steve’s definitely not prepared for the entirety of STRIKE to suddenly and inexplicably think he’s a secret Nazi. (He’s not prepared to learn there are secret Nazis either, for the record.)
Reccer's Notes:

In which Steve is confused, but not stupid

Other Endgame Canon Divergence and Fix-It Fic Recs

Title: born in fire (again and again)
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18707680
Author: defcontwo
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~4100
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

Natasha lands, in dust and sand and light, in the middle of a great landscape of nothingness. She sits up, and touches one hand to the back of her head, and it comes away wet and sticky with blood.

There’s copper in the back of her mouth, and she spits it out into the sand, watching with satisfaction as the blood splatters into the otherwise pristine surface.

“Huh,” Natasha says. “So this is death.”
Reccer's Notes:

Lovely Natasha-centric *Endgame* fix-it with a great depiction of her friendship with Steve, plus background Steve/Bucky. Now has an equally lovely Steve-centric sequel.


Title: Day after day, year after year
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/20642696
Author: verzacefatale
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~1500
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Status: Completed September 2019
Summary:

It’s 2023 and Bucky rolls over in his bed.
Reccer's Notes:

Lovely


Title: Ever Mine, Ever Ours
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18682327
Author: hitlikehammers
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~2900
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

Steve goes back to return the Stones, for the sake of the universe.

The extra Pym Particles he palms when Bruce isn't looking, though? Those are for the heart he has now and the heart he took into the ice; those are for the loves he's known and held and lost and found, those—

Those are for the sake of his soul.
Reccer's Notes:

Steve gives himself some advice.


Title: how much was mine to keep
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18968125
Author: kaydeefalls
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~8600
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

Peggy's face in the compass, always pointing the way to true north, and Steve has long since lost any other sense of direction. Bucky knows what he's gonna do with the time machine even before Steve does, probably. He can't blame him.

The post-Endgame fix-it in which Bucky gets a time machine of his own, Steve gets a chance to process his trauma, and Peggy gets a say in the matter, too.
Reccer's Notes:

A satisfying fix-it. Bucky POV, but also has some thoughtful exploration of Steve's trauma and post-Snap experience


Title: Kiss me once, then kiss me twice
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18610594
Author: obsessivereader
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~2000
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

Staring at the empty platform where Steve had stood just a moment ago, Bucky experiences one of the longest five seconds of his life. Steve’s not coming back, he thinks, over and over, Steve’s not coming back.

“…two, one.”

A weird distortion shimmers in the air as Steve materializes on the platform. Bucky lets out his breath in a quiet rush. He was so sure. He said his goodbyes and convinced himself that he’d get by just fine, that he was happy that Steve could finally have the life he’d always wanted with Peggy. He knew enough about the machine to know that Steve had a chance to go back to the 40s and pick up the life that was lost to him when he crashed the Valkyrie. And yet, here’s Steve back again, looking tired, dusty, disheveled. Bucky can’t tell what Steve’s thinking as their eyes meet. He’s never seen Steve’s eyes look so blue.
Reccer's Notes:

Steve makes a different choice


Title: like heaven stood up in you
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18691345
Author: napricot
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~9800
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

“You said you were gonna miss him,” says Bruce slowly. “He was supposed to be back in five seconds, but you hugged him and said ‘I’m gonna miss you.’”

Bucky’s face is serene again now, and gives nothing away. “I know Steve,” he repeats. “You think you can hand him a time machine and some rocks of unspeakable power and he’s just gonna go put ‘em right back where they belong?”

Steve does put the Infinity Stones right back where they belong. He just does a couple other things too. Or: three timelines and a Reverse Time Heist.
Reccer's Notes:

A satisfying fix it that wraps up many of Endgame's loose ends, by force when necessary


Title: Slow and Splendored
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/21184370/
Author: eyres
Rating: Mature
Word Count: ~66k
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed November 2019
Summary:

In the chaotic years after Steve Rogers arrives back in 2023 as an old man, he helps rebuild the world, falls in love with his best friend, adopts a stray cat, and saves the entire timeline. Not necessarily in that order.



“Now you’re slow enough for me to catch you the next time you try to do something stupid.” Bucky leans close and jostles their arms together. “That’s the best part.”

Steve presses a wrinkled hand to his chest. “I’ve matured, James Barnes. I would never do something stupid.”

Bucky rolls his eyes and drops an arm over Steve’s stooped shoulders. “Yeah, you’re still a punk, old man.”
Reccer's Notes:

A well-written, thoughtful, and satisfying canon-compliant slow burn fix-it


Title: Taking the Time
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18644578
Author: newsbypostcard
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~2700
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

Bucky shrugs Sam off, half livid. "You think Steve's not sending a message, but I'm getting one loud and clear. I'm leaving him the fuck alone until he's ready to say his piece."

But Bucky doesn't. He finds a half-dozen people in need of his help and then, against his own volition, raises his head to find Steve in the crowd. He's still a battlefield away, one hand bunched at his hip, leaning on the hammer where it's resting on a rock. Steve Rogers, god of thunder. Bucky should've predicted this ninety years back.
Reccer's Notes:

A fix-it involving lots of alternate universe shenanigans


Title: There's Only Now, There's Only Here
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18651229
Author: stevergrsno
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~4100
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

“Steve,” Peggy says when she reaches him with quick, steady steps, her- husband and friend? friends? partners? following behind at a more sedate pace.

“Uh,” Steve says, and “Hi?” and “Would you mind telling me what the date is?”

1951. Steve aimed for home and ended up in fucking 1951.

Jesus christ.

---

In which Steve not showing up on the time pad wasn't exactly on purpose and we ignore 95% of that ending.
Reccer's Notes:

Enjoyable Steve/Bucky fix it with background Peggy/Angie/Daniel.


Title: to every thing a season
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18803860
Author: bonjourd
Rating: General Audiences
Word Count: ~1100
Warnings: Major Character Death
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

“All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses.” -Walt Whitman

After the five seconds, he gets another twenty-three years.
Reccer's Notes:

Sad, but with a hopeful ending. A good choice if you're in the mood for a nice cry.


Title: to love like the world might end
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18616561
Author: miriad
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~5700
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

Steve isn’t sure that his plan is going to work, is the thing
Reccer's Notes:

Lovely Steve/Bucky/Peggy fix-it where Steve gets his dance with Peggy and then they go rescue Bucky and build a life for themselves.


Title: when we came home
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18707917
Author: augustbird
Rating: Teen+
Word Count: ~10k
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed May 2019
Summary:

Fighting is hard. Rebuilding is harder. Post-Endgame AU.
Reccer's Notes:

Bucky pines as he and Steve help rebuild in the aftermath of Endgame


Title: A Worthy Weight
Link: https://archiveofourown.org/works/18630814
Author: Deisderium
Rating: Mature
Word Count: ~1600
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Status: Completed April 2019
Summary:

People are out there writing thoughtful, beautiful fix-its, and my first thought was "hey what if Steve pinned Bucky down with Mjölnir now that he can lift it?" I can't help the way I am. But perhaps some of my feelings about the end of the movie got in here anyway.
Reccer's Notes:

I think the summary says it as well as anything :)

Comments

What are your favorite Avengers: Endgame canon divergence and fix-it fics? Share them in comments below!


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