Avengers/Captain America movies-comics mashup; Clint Barton POV
PG-13-ish; 67K words
Summary: The Winter Soldier was the dog that ate the good guys' homework during the Cold War, a convenient bogeyman to explain failure, and Clint Barton is pretty sure those tall tales died with the fall of the Wall. But reality is stranger than fiction, something Clint really shouldn't be as surprised by as he is at this stage of his career, and now there are ghosts to chase once more.
He wondered what they would say when they found out that the Winter Soldier was real, let alone that he was a brainwashed American. If that part even got told; there were obvious reasons not to want to share anything about the existence of the Winter Soldier, but some of them conflicted with SHIELD’s stated hope that they bring him in alive. But the Winter Soldier was currently neither aware of nor in support of that hope and his body count was growing exponentially and that, too, was going to have to factor in. Sooner than later. Clint didn’t know how Steve would handle the mathematics of saving James Barnes versus saving all of the people the Winter Soldier was going to kill before that could happen. But that was a calculation that was going to have to be made at some point and they — all of them — were going to have to deal with the answer.
Notes: Thaw is a sequel to Freezer Burn plotwise and a successor to BOHICA in terms of characterizations. Neither is required reading for this. However, I do recommend reading the post-credit scene to FB to establish the Winter Soldier within the context of this universe, which is compliant with Phase One movies but diverges afterward.