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Stucky Rant

I'm going to preface by saying that I have no beef with Stucky (Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes) in 99% of the pairing's many, many variations (with the exception being hate sex, just because of how I read their dynamic, but to each their own), but I'm ranting anyway because sometimes you're just feeling bereft of a certain dynamic within a pairing, and it's a rant because, especially with this specific pairing, this should NOT be a dynamic that should be missing within the fandom.

I am an avid reader of basically every type of fanfiction, from canon to canon-divergent to outright alternate universes; within those, I'll read all the different spins and interpretations you can take on the ship/verse, from (within Stucky) Steve becoming the Winter Soldier to Bucky being born in the 1980's to the two having a meet-cute in some modern AU. Seriously, I'll read almost anything, especially with this pairing.

One of the things I love about Stucky is how versatile it is within canon itself - because there's pre-WW2, on the battlefield, and in the 21st century (and all the variations within the 21st century alone), and there are different dynamics for each, so it's almost always fresh. Then add the infinite possibilities with AUs, and there are near-endless amounts of fanfic to read no matter what mood you're in.

Now, I'm not going to say I'm not picky, or I'm not looking for specific plots that just aren't plentiful, because I know I'm particular, but most I can excuse because I understand why there's focus in some areas and less in others.

What baffles my mind, however, is how plentiful meet-cute AUs are in this fandom (and this is outside of that Meet-Cute AU series by 74days, which has 50 stories so far), in comparison to AUs where Steve and Bucky have been friends since childhood. From a fandom that cries over the iconic line "Best friends since childhood, Bucky Barnes and Steven Rogers were inseparable in both the schoolyard and the battlefield" from The Winter Soldier on a daily basis, you'd think we'd luxuriate in this relationship in all interpretations of it, but it's surprisingly lacking in the fics based in alternate universes. Sometimes authors compromise and have them be friends from childhood to adolescence but a plot device keeps them apart until later in life where Bucky is a veteran freshly discharged from being a spec ops soldier and is dealing with life as an amputee with severe PTSD they're reunited and fall in love, but even these aren't common.

It's not that I don't understand why meetings aren't popular because of course they are - in every fandom, in every medium since the dawn of time we've loved romances based on chance encounters that turn into something more, among other reasons - but you'd think with this pairing with their canon history, that'd we'd make more of an exception, right? Or at least there'd be more authors wanting to explore how they'd go from lifelong best friends to something more romantic, even in an alternate universe (you know, a universe where homosexuality isn't illegal).

Who knows, maybe there's a treasure trove somewhere that I've yet to stumble upon, what with the fanfic count for Stucky on AO3 being more than 20K (and growing) - which, if this is the case, some recs would be amazing. But, also, a more consistent tagging system would be fantastic, because, man, the tagging system is all over the place in this fandom. Just a "Best Friends Since Childhood" tag would be enough. (My heart's fluttering just thinking about it.)

Anyway, sorry, it's just been something that's baffled me as I trawl through the Stucky tag.