Stay in tonight with Coming Apart at the Seams (Marvel Cinematic Universe/Comics, James “Bucky” Barnes/Natasha Romanov)

keysmash stay in tonight with coming apart at the seams featured image

Saturdays are known for being a day or night where people go out and have a good time. But I work Sunday mornings, so I spend most of my Saturdays in my house. What most people don’t realize is I’m usually having just as much – if not more – fun as they are going out. I like to read some fic, usually with a snack and a beverage. So I figured, why not share these things with you? I’m sure there are several of you who prefer to spend your Saturdays the same way I do. Hence “Stay in tonight with … ” was born. I’ll be choosing one fic that is at least 10K words long, and a snack and a beverage inspired by that fic.

Today I’m staying in with Coming Apart at the Seams, chocolate fudge pudding, and a cup of Stars and Stripes tea.

This pairing is about the only way I will read about Bucky Barnes. Heh. (Note that there is a threesome between Bucky, Natasha, and Steve but Steve/Tony is endgame.) But this fic is very little about Bucky himself and very much about Natasha, and especially about the group as a whole and their dynamics. It felt almost Friendsian in its ensembleness (both of those are totally real words shut up), complete with intergroup hook-ups and set-ups galore! In the fic Natasha “indulges” in some sugar-free, fat-free chocolate pudding, and I had a such a moment of solidarity with her – which is literally the only time that has ever happened because I am NOTHING like Natasha (except I guess we share a fondness for red hair) – that I had to choose it as my snack. When I first did Weight Watchers, sugar-free fat-free pudding was my go-to dessert and YES I WOULD EAT THE WHOLE BOX THANK YOU VERY MUCH.  The tea choice seemed fated – tuesday’s Steve always has tea on hand, and I just happened to have some Steve Rogers (now Stars and Stripes) tea leftover from a Christmas gift last year, so voila! Super easy and super tasty consumables for your fic-reading enjoyment.

If you’ve already clicked on the fic link then you know this fic is an AU, and omg what a perfect premise for this pairing. Here’s the summary:

Natasha is a professional ballet dancer. After a breakup, she ends up moving in with her ex/sometimes-fuck-buddy Bucky in the same building as their friend Steve. Meanwhile, her dance partner Clint is in serious trouble of screwing up his relationship with Phil, she’s attempting to set her friend Sam up with Clint’s cousin Kate and find someone for the perpetually lonely Steve, and she’s trying to hold herself together to squeeze a few more years out of her career.

A story about a group of 20-somethings in Brooklyn who tease each other constantly, love each other fiercely, and sometimes hook up with each other at parties. Or, the HBO ballet/dramedy AU.

Please please please also go look at the art linked in the notes because it is so good.

Stay in tonight with Coming Apart at the Seams, chocolate fudge pudding, & a cup of Stars and Stripes tea. #FicRec #WinterWidow #Marvel Click To Tweet

Most of the time Natasha is written as this cold, all-knowing, unbreakable sort of superhero, but tuesday writes her more complex. This Natasha is vulnerable while still being super strong (mentally and physically), caring while still being slightly standoffish about her own feelings, and funny while still being no-nonsense and snarky. She wants everyone in her life to be happy but has no idea what happiness means for herself. It’s such a refreshing change for the standard fanon representation of Natasha. Sure, it’s an AU so it’s easier to add those things in, but it felt so natural, which makes sense with Natasha’s canon ballet background. Honestly I wouldn’t have been surprised if AU Nat would have shucked her toe shoes and leotard for boots and a catsuit.

The conundrum of her and Bucky isn’t easily resolved, and there’s so much tension along the way. Delicious sexual tension. I love it. It’s clear they have feelings for each other but don’t know how to a) handle them, or b) address them. It’s hard when you’ve broken up with someone for good reasons to realize that as you’ve grown up those reasons may no longer be valid. I like that each of them seem to really give those reasons lots of thought along the way. Falling into bed with each other without addressing them isn’t always the best way to handle things, but they work it out just fine. And in the meantime we get to read some hot sex, so really it’s win-win.

Bucky’s hands on her body were warm and steady. She melted into his touch. He knew exactly how to work a muscle until it felt like jelly, finding knots she didn’t even know were there. She knew she was moaning, but she couldn’t help it. It felt so good.

“If you keep making those noises,” Bucky muttered.

Natasha turned around under his hands. He was closer than she expected somehow. Their faces were inches apart, close enough that she could feel his breath.

She met his eyes, holding his gaze. She vaguely wondered if she had ever done it before. She’d seen his face thousands of times, but there was something new there in his eyes that she hadn’t ever noticed. She couldn’t help but lean in.

I love love LOVE the inclusion of the rest of the group in this fic, but in particular Sam (which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as the Bucky/Sam relationship is one of the other ways I can actually enjoy canon Bucky) and Kate. And poor, lonely Steve. He’s so lovely in this fic. The Nat/Steve friendship is portrayed perfectly. It also makes me wish I had a Steve to go to for tea, and I normally wouldn’t choose Steve over others in the group.

Natasha got a profile written up about her in some New York City magazine. The questions were generic—what’s a typical day like? When did you start dancing? What advice do you have? Over the years, Natasha had gotten better about being personable, but it was still one of her least favorite parts of the job.


When the profile came out, Steve bought 10 copies and stuck a copy of the article on Bucky’s fridge. Natasha didn’t have the heart to take it down, even though the question about her future plagued her.

If you’re looking for some non-juggernaut ship Marvel fic, this is a great place to start (or continue). Whip up some pudding, steep some tea, and enjoy.

Liz Keysmash
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Liz Keysmash

Liz has a ginger kitty named Thackery Binx who chirps like a bird and plays fetch like a dog. She reads a lot of slash, and writes a bit as well. She thinks she’s a good cook, she brews beer, she's a total nerd about baseball, she reads YA fiction, she has recently rediscovered her love of pop music, she swears like a sailor.
Liz Keysmash
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  • leckadams

    OOOooo I think I will re-read this today as well!

    • Liz Keysmash

      I also want to make more pudding. 😉