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Fanfic / Ipseity

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Even the strongest personalities, when subjected to great physical, emotional, and sexual abuses, can splinter, or dissociate. Bucky Barnes lives a nightmare after falling from a train and being recovered by Hydra. His mind deals with the trauma by splintering into the soldier, the prisoner, the patriot, and the assassin. Rated Explicit for physical, emotional, and sexual abuses. Detailed description of mental illnesses and trigger warning for the standard implications of the existence of the Winter Soldier.

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Ipseity series, by SkyisGray, hosted by Archive of Our Own.

Slash Fic pairing: Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes

There'll be HEAVY spoilers below!


The Ipseity series contains examples of:

  • Adaptational Sexuality: Apart from the standard as this is ultimately a Slash Fic, the four personalities fractured from James Barnes' psyche ended up having drastically different sexual orientations. Bucky is bisexual, Axel is strongly hinted to be gay, Yasha is heterosexual, and the asset is asexual. Whether it would lead to Incompatible Orientation remain to be seen.
  • Artificial Limbs/Red Right Hand: In their subconscious dream apartment, the asset still has a metal left arm, while the three other brothers all see themselves as having two functional flesh arms and whole.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The asset. Even the three other personalities fail to understand where he's coming from half the time, and that is after decades of sharing brain-space with him.
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  • Broken Bird: BUUUCKKKYYY!!!
  • Expository Hairstyles: In their subconscious dream apartment where they see themselves as who they are, Bucky has messy short hair, Axel has long hair that falls into the middle of his back, Yasha has tidy short hair, and the asset has chin-length hair.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble
    • The Cynic: Bucky.
    • The Realist: Axel.
    • The Optimist: Yasha.
    • The Apathetic: The asset.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble
    • Choleric/Melancholic: Bucky. Corresponds with young to middle-aged adulthood, extroverted or introverted and task-oriented.
    • Melancholic/Phlegmatic: Axel. Corresponds to middle-aged to older adulthood, introverted and task-oriented or people-oriented.
    • Sanguine: Yasha. It corresponds to childhood, extroverted and people-oriented.
    • The asset doesn't have a defined temperament.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: The split personalities are aware of each other's existences fairly early on, though it takes some time for them to come with a way to communicate with each other. The dominant personality rotates depending who best suited to "cope" with their current situation.
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  • Government Agency of Fiction: SHIELD and Department X.
    SHIELD is the American version of Department X. It makes sense if they're controlled by Hydra.
  • Happy Place: For James Barnes, this is the apartment he once shared with Steve Rogers in Brooklyn. Bucky, Axel, Yasha, and the asset are here when they aren't in the driver's seat. Or not.
  • Hollywood Personality Disorders: To start with, a case of Dissociative Identity Disorder for the main protagonist(s). They also suffer from:
  • Internalized Categorism: Bucky and Axel, for what happened to them in Karpov's hands. Especially Bucky, Axel is starting to finally get over it.
  • Multinational Team: From a certain pov. Bucky is American, Axel is German, Yasha is Soviet/Russian, and... the asset has no nationality.
  • No Need for Names: The asset.
  • Patient Childhood Loveinterest: Steve, of course, for Bucky. He is first extremely understanding of Bucky's stalker-with-a-machine-gun tendency, then very patient for Bucky's mental and physical recovery, not to mention how tolerant he is of Bucky's unexplainable mood-swings and often times volatile behavior patterns.
  • Patriotic Fervor: Yasha, the patriot personality. He is Soviet/Russian.
  • The Pollyanna: Yasha is a rare male example, who never completely looses his cheerfulness despite going through the same tortures and decades long trauma as his "brothers". Until that one time, but he gets better.
  • Professional Killer: The asset, the assassin personality.
  • Self-Harm: Bucky and Axel would do so deliberately, often to communicate via blood or cuts on their skin. The asset, from a lack of care or awareness (like stepping on shattered pieces of glass and ignoring/neglecting the wound). Yasha usually don't.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Bucky, the soldier personality.
  • The Sociopath: The asset, is the Lack of Empathy and Imperviousness to Shame variety.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The asset is always referred to as the asset.
  • Split Personality: The entire premise of this series.
  • Team Mom: Axel is a rare male example, he is mentally the eldest of the four "brothers" and is generally the one that holds them together. (Doubly so, when Bucky is having another of his psychotic breakdowns and not available.)


Part I. Chyetirye contains examples of:

  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Where to even start? All are played completely and horrifyingly straight, below are not even all the examples.
  • Crazy People Play Chess: Bucky plays chess with Axel by switching back and forth, when it is still only the two of them and with no easy way to communicate with each other.
  • Crazy Sane: Bucky once admits to his "brothers" that he would probably go insane without them. Yeah, of course DID is a kind of mental disorder, why do you ask?
  • Driven to Madness: James Barnes is driven into dissociating, first by the abuse and neglect while under Karpov's care, then by the physical and psychological tortures from Lukin and the Red Room.
  • Driven to Suicide: Bucky, many many times. Axel and Yasha to a lesser degree. It didn't take.
  • Gallows Humor: The only kind of humor in the first part of this series.
  • Heaven
    Heaven is... an apartment, or, no Steve has Army money now. Heaven is a house in Brooklyn with Steve and Agent Carter and there's no way they don't have at least one baby by now. And Bucky knows that Steve won't mind if he stays there for a while to shake off the year of hell. Steve might even have a guest room with Bucky's name on it.
  • Karma Houdini: Alexander Lukin, who gets away with arguably the most horrifying deed(s) in this entire series.
  • Lie Back and Think of England: Bucky thinks of Brooklyn when he is being molested by Karpov, before he finds his Happy Place.
  • Rape as Drama: This is the start, and then... goes downhill from here.
  • Room 101: The Red Room.
  • Sex for Services: While under Karpov's care, it is strongly implied to be one of Axel's ways to get some relatively decent food, warm showers, and possibly the chair that (for Bucky) suddenly appeared in their small cell. The "service" here is not much objectively speaking, but A LOT compared to the neglect and/or casual abuse.
  • Sexual Extortion: Karpov gives Bucky the choice to "let him pace in a cell" for a blow job or "strapped to a bench forever".
  • Shameful Strip/Shirtless Captives: Bucky is not allowed any clothing for over six months during the first part of his imprisonment.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Bucky is basically this for Steve during the final section of part I. A more benevolent version, though he does stalk Steve while carrying a semi-automatic while murdering any possible threat nearby. Steve is okay with this, Sam though is visibly disturbed.
  • Torture Technician: Alexander Lukin, at his finest. The asset is surprisingly not, due to being the result of torture in the first place, he would refuse to do so to another even under threat.
  • Trauma Conga Line: How James Barnes was first broken before the Winter Soldier got made is this.
  • Wild Hair: One of the ways to differentiate Bucky and Axel back in their first prison is by how they keep their hair. Bucky's hair is a lot messier because he just doesn't bother with, while Axel generally makes an effort to look slightly better by combing his hair with his fingers.
  • Worth Living For: Bucky finds that person in Axel, by the end of his first year in his metaphorical hell of a prison.


Part II. Chasm contains examples of:

  • Cute and Psycho: How Bucky comes across as from Steve's perspective. The "cute" is usually Yasha, while the "psycho" is always the asset. (Most other people just see him as a psychopath though, due to the Winter Soldier's fame and apparent lack of care for his previous victims during interrogation.)
  • Easy Amnesia: Steve's first theory for Bucky's unexplainable behavior change, due to the latter seemingly unable to recall conversations they have barely minutes before on more than one occasion. Obviously, Steve is no psychologist.
  • Emotional Regression/Time Dissonance: Steve's second theory for Bucky's unexplainable behavior change, because Bucky's behavior patterns seemed to correspond with how he was at different points of his life.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Steve (the blond) who is younger, brighter, hopeful, enthusiastic, helpful, and relatively more innocent; James (as a whole, the brunette) who is older, moody and testy a lot of the times, cynical, so angst, with an extremely detailed Dark and Troubled Past, and can be very snappy depending on the day.
  • Hope Is Scary: Bucky is initially averse to and later constantly wary of Steve's kindness, is precisely because of this.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Bucky wants Steve to be happy, and is convinced that there is no happiness with him. Axel wants Bucky to be happy, and would never contemplate pursuing Steve romantically himself. Everything is a mess of course, because for Steve there isn't anyone else, and would gladly spend the rest of their extended life in a celibate relationship limbo.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Steve is this for Bucky, to a slightly unhealthy degree.
  • Mask of Sanity: The four brothers hiding their DID condition from others, with varying degrees of success. Basically Bucky and Axel are better at it, Yasha and the asset are... not.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Insanity is Steve's third theory for Bucky's unexplainable behavior change. He discards this theory rather quickly because Steve still equates insanity as the stereotypical crazies, while Bucky might be unpredictable but still functional.
  • Mood-Swinger: Steve spends enough time with James to see his "mood-swings", since Steve has no context (until he does) to explain why his friend flips with seemingly no warning from Bucky's depression to Yasha's cheerfulness to the asset's Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • Morality Chain: Steve is this for the asset, though he doesn't know it. The other "brothers" however are technically not, since they always compromise when dealing with the asset's innate bloodlust.
  • Strangely Arousing: Steve first finds it distracting when the asset makes an obvious threat at him after kicking him in the groin. Later again, when Steve spars with the asset in a highly violent match, and especially so when the asset disregards his own wounds and punches Steve with a broken hand.
  • Token Evil Teammate: The asset is the remorseless "evil" teammate of the Avengers once he is offered an auxiliary spot, and a couple (bad) people end up needlessly dead because of it.

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