Alone For The Holidays
Relationship: Bucky Barnes x Reader
Summary: Neighbors!AU - You and Bucky realize you both are alone on Thanksgiving
A/N: this is just a little holiday fic i whipped up to go with the season!! i’m thinking of making a Christmas part 2 so keep your eye out for that next month <3 I hope you enjoy, i love writing holiday-themed stuff
You looked down at the trash bag in your hands and chuckled. It was Thanksgiving morning and you were…taking out the trash. That was your big plan for the morning. Trash first, then the Thanksgiving parade on television. Maybe you’d make some coffee, maybe you’d eat a whole pumpkin pie by yourself. You didn’t really care. There were no rules when you were alone on Thanksgiving.
Everything felt quite comical as you threw the bag down the chute. You waited, listening as it hit the bottom with a bang. You tried to ignore how pathetic this all fell as you closed the chute door and turned back around. But just as you did, your neighbor’s door swung open. A tired, annoyed-looking Bucky joined you in the hall.
"Morning," you said, quietly. He jumped, looking at you quite stunned. You didn’t blame him. You were actually amazed to see him here.
Part of you had assumed the Avengers were having some big Thanksgiving feast. By how extravagant they could be, you thought they’d have breakfast and dinner, festivities all around. But judging by the fact Bucky was leaving his apartment in an old, stained t-shirt and sweatpants, you didn’t think he was actually going anywhere today. Your gaze dropped and that’s when you noticed he too was taking out his trash.
"Good morning," Bucky eventually said. He shifted awkwardly, clutching the bag tightly.
You tried shooting him a warm smile but it felt a bit faltered. You and Bucky had always had an odd relationship. When he first moved in, he seemed to almost…despise your presence, like he expected to have a whole apartment floor to himself. Eventually, though, he warmed up to you and actually joined in on the small talk you tried to engage him in.
Over time, you actually came around to enjoying having him as your neighbor. He was kind and thoughtful. In little to no time, you found yourself slowly developing a burning crush on him. But just when you felt you were getting somewhere further with him, he retracted, leaving you a bit heartbroken and confused. Still, you persisted with civility and he tended to make most conversations worthwhile.
You tried to put on your best smile. "Happy Thanksgiving."
"Oh, yeah," Bucky chuckled then glanced at the dusty hallway floor. "That’s today, isn’t it?"
You frowned. "You didn’t know today was Thanksgiving?"
"Guess not," Bucky shrugged. "Must’ve slipped my mind."
You didn’t really know what to say to that. You stood there in front of the garbage chute, staring awkwardly at your neighbor. He took a few steps down the hall towards you, no doubt wanting to just throw away his trash and head back inside. You didn’t know why you were preventing that from happening.
When you didn’t say anything in response, Bucky spoke again. "I’m guessing you’re probably getting ready to head out somewhere."
You raised your brows in surprise. Is that what he really thought? You stopped yourself from staring down at your own outfit: an old college sweater and a pair of faded leggings.
"Got nowhere to be beside my couch," you laughed. It probably came out a bit more sad than you had intended but at least you weren’t hiding anything. Bucky’s eyes finally landed back on you. His surprised expression was back.
"Really? No family dinner?" He asked.
"I don’t really have any family in town," you admitted.
As much as you didn’t want to confess that out loud, it almost felt good to tell someone. Your family members were few and far in between. Your mother was gone, your father M.I.A. You had some cousins who called occasionally but it wasn’t like any of you were close. So, that just left you to make your own Thanksgiving. Parade, pie, the whole nine yards. You had a couple of those frozen turkey dinners to complement it all.
"I-I’m sorry," Bucky said with the utmost sincerity. It warmed your heart. That fluttering crush was coming back in waves. You didn’t know how he always managed to do it.
"It’s fine," you shrugged, waving a hand in dismissal. "I’m going to go out on a limb and say you didn’t have anything planned."
He smirked but there was nothing behind it. "Not really. Sort of in the same boat as you, I guess."
As much as it should’ve pained you to hear, there was something comforting in knowing someone else was having just as much of a lonely holiday as you were — even if he hadn’t realized today was a holiday. Still, there was someone like you and… A little light bulb went off in your head.
This was going to be bold but where was the harm in asking?
"Would you like to come over and have Thanksgiving dinner with me?"
Bucky looked physically taken aback by that question as if he had never seen it coming. Which, granted, maybe he hadn’t. You worried for a minute that you had gone too far. Was he going to shrink back, take a million steps away, let your crush fizzle off just to spring it back on you? You spent too much time contemplating as you waited, watching him process the request.
Eventually, he broke the dreadful silence. "Sure." Bucky nodded. "I’d love that."
You had told Bucky to come by your apartment around one that afternoon. You figured that’d give you enough time to make your apartment, well, presentable. The Thanksgiving Day parade played in the background as you tidied up your rooms and began to worry about what you actually should feed your neighbor. Why had you done this?
While your pumpkin pie was going to be perfect, all that was left for dinner in your freezer were the frozen meals. The grocery store had a sale on the turkey ones. (Who knew why? You wondered with such ridiculous sarcasm.) Would that be okay with Bucky? Or was he expecting a five-course meal? Maybe you were just making this Thanksgiving more pathetic than it already was. You scrubbed at your bathroom sink trying to ease your nerves.
When you finally got done cleaning, there was no beating around the bush: frozen meals would have to do. You didn’t have time to run to the store given that you had cleaned and dusted from head to toe. And even if you did had time, who could whip up a turkey in mere minutes? Let alone all the sides? If you paired the frozen dinners with enough wine, maybe they’d taste better. Thankfully your wine cabinet was not running low. From whites to reds, you were set for whatever this Thanksgiving was going to turn out to be. All else fails, you knew someone else would be as annoyed with the day as you were.
You tried to remind yourself that Bucky probably was not expecting anything as you preheated the oven and began reading the back of the frozen meal box. Usually, you would just pop these suckers in the microwave, but you decided to pull out the big guns. It was a holiday after all.
Just when you popped the meals in the oven and set your timer, there was a knock at the door. You felt overwhelming giddy as you walked towards the door. Bucky had never really been in your apartment before and you never really knew how to go about inviting him over in a platonic way. You couldn’t believe the spurt of confidence you got this morning and almost, just for a second, you thought you were in over your head. But you didn’t have a chance to weigh on it any longer. Bucky knocked again.
You called out, "Coming!" You put a little pep in your step to get to the door. You were greeted by much more awake Bucky than this morning. He had swapped his t-shirt for a knit sweater and his sweatpants for slacks. He was also cradling a bottle of wine which almost made you laugh.
You greeted your neighbor with a smile and stepped aside, letting him enter. "Welcome to my humble apartment."
He stepped in a bit cautiously and looked around as if assessing the situation. You tried not to be offended, mentally reminding yourself of his background. You went over to your kitchen and grabbed two wine glasses, trying not to act like you were at all staring. Bucky eventually came to join you, apparently deeming your apartment safe.
"Thanks for inviting me," he said and then motioned towards the deep red bottle of wine. "I-I hope this wine is okay."
You nodded and pushed the glasses towards him. It took Bucky little effort to get uncork the bottle. That certainly made you feel something.
You tried covering your blushing by forcing yourself to talk. "I don’t think I’ve ever met a wine I didn’t like."
Bucky seemed to visibly relax at your comment. He poured you each some wine then passed you your glass.
"So," Bucky said after he sipped his wine, "what does Thanksgiving with you entail?"
You took a big gulp of your wine. "I have turkey dinners cooking in the oven," you admitted. "Along with pumpkin pie, fresh whipped cream, and plenty of wine."
Bucky chuckled. "Did you say turkey dinners? As in more than one?"
"Yeah," you sighed, turning your eyes to your wine. You watched it swish around in the glass. It was a fine beverage. Maybe a bit on the bold side but that was probably what you needed. "These turkey dinners may just be frozen meals I had on hand."
Bucky hmm’d, considering. You waited, defeatedly, for his reaction.
"I think that sounds nice."
He nodded. "Simple and on theme. I’m also certainly not above eating those frozen dinners."
You just about let out a sigh of relief but instead opted to shoot him a grateful smile. He really did always know what to say, whether he realized it or not. It was one of the many things that kept you falling for Bucky like a snowball picking up downhill speed.
"Still, I’m sorry it’s not glamorous," you said. "How do you usually celebrate Thanksgiving?"
There was an uncertainty in your voice when you asked the question but you were genuinely curious. Had he celebrated Thanksgiving since regaining his life? You weren’t about to ask that outright but you could tell he knew what you meant.
"A friend invited me to dinner last year with his family but it didn’t feel right being such a big holiday and all," Bucky said after an eerie moment of staring into his wine. You knew the feeling. "Back in the day, my mom would make a whole feast and invite the entire family around. She’d make us all go around and say what we’re thankful for. We all had to say something before we could eat. It was pretty hectic, from what I remember, but it was also…fun." He paused as if unsure and gave it a thought. "Yeah, it was fun. It was a good time."
You watched him recall the deep memory with wonder. "That sounds lovely."
Bucky leaned closer and tapped your wine glasses together. The sound of the glass ringing reverberated throughout the apartment. "This is lovely, too."
As if on some weird cue, the oven timer went off. You scoffed. "Maybe you should make that declaration after you taste this food."
Bucky didn’t say anything as you carefully pulled the two frozen dinners out of the oven but you certainly felt him watching you. You just about dropped the food when your eyes met again. You motioned for him to take a seat at your kitchen island while you began plating the food. You slid Bucky a meal and topped off his wine. Once you did the same for yourself, you sat next to him.
At first, Bucky wasn’t really touching the food. He was just moving some green beans around in the gravy flowing off the sliced turkey. Your heart just about sank. Your worst fears about today were coming true. He didn’t like the food or… or something…
But then he unexpectedly turned to you. You were very still in your seat, barely holding onto your fork.
"I don’t need to taste the food before deciding anything," Bucky said seriously. "Just being here with you has already made this an amazing holiday."
"You’re so wonderful," Bucky continued, "and I don’t just mean inviting me over and cooking dinner… I mean how you also talk to me. You see me. You make me feel like the person I once was is still there." He took a shaky breath then turned back to the food steaming away. "Sometimes I’m not sure how to handle all that. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve your kindness or attention. I can’t hide that it worries me. But you never give up and I’m so thankful for that. I’m so thankful for you."
You seriously didn’t know what to say. You sat there, stunned and silent like an idiot, but your mind was going blank. Bucky was usually very kind to you but this…this was a whole new level. It felt like he was opening up a part of him to you, just for you.
If you were to be honest, you hadn’t thought you were doing anything spectacular. You two were neighbors and you felt neighbors should be friendly with one another even when the other didn’t always reciprocate. Even when you began developing a crush. A crush that had exploded like a firework within you. You didn’t think it could be suppressed ever again after this.
Bucky looked back over at you, his eyes pleading for you to say something. When your mouth couldn’t come up with something, he began taking back his words. "I-I’m sorry, I probably shouldn’t have said that. You… You were just being nice and inviting me for dinner and now here I’ve gone—,"
In an impulsive move, you grabbed Bucky’s hand. He jumped at the action, staring down at how your hand rested above his.
"I’m thankful for you, too," you said as you let a smile spread across your face. "I’m glad you let me talk to you, I’m glad you talk to me… and I’m especially glad you agreed to come over. I won’t pretend to understand any of the self-doubts you have but I will say that I’m here when you need me. I enjoy our moments."
It took a few seconds for even you to process the words that had come out of your mouth. You were being so bold today and somehow, it felt like it was actually paying off. Now you saw why your crush never went away fully. There was unfinished business.
Slowly, Bucky’s eyes flicked back to you and he matched your expression, looking relieved and relaxed.
"I think we should do this again."
You chuckled. "What? Thanksgiving?"
Bucky ate a few green beans finally while you tried the mashed potatoes. Not as fluffy as you would’ve liked but certainly edible. And you didn’t have to slave over it all day.
He shook his head. "No. Dinner."
You felt your face getting warm. "Dinner? Like a date?"
He squeezed your hand, smiling as he took a bite of the turkey. "Exactly like a date," he said in between bites.
Scratch that, your whole body was on fire. Burning up like this steaming dead bird drowning in brown gravy on your plate.
Your smile only kept growing, if that was even possible. "Now, that sounds lovely."
"I’m relieved," Bucky said with a smile a mile long. He disconnected your hands and grabbed his wine glass. He tapped his with yours for the second time that afternoon. Bucky spoke your name like it was his favorite prayer then said, "Happy Thanksgiving."
You blushed. "Happy Thanksgiving, Bucky."
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Hey❤️ i have a request can you write something like b becoming winter soldier again and becoming really protective of reader like he have to be always beside her and nobody can't even come into the room unless she tells him it's alright?
(you don't have to write if you don't want to ofc❤️)
Old Habits | Bucky Barnes x Reader
Thanks for this suggestion, Anon! 🤗
Please feel free to send me comments, requests, and/ or suggestions! 💕
Tag list: @beefybuckrrito @shadytalementality @everything-burns-down @rainbow-unicorn-pony @mandersshow @emetophilily @breakablebarnes 🥰💘
Strong arms wrapped around your waist and pulled you into a bear hug as a surprised yelp escaped your lips. Sam held on to you, shaking you slightly, and you giggled against his chest.
"She's baaaaaaack!" he sang as he welcomed you home from your long mission. The sweet moment with your friend was cut short by Bucky's metal arm gripping Sam's shoulder and ripping him from the hug, throwing him to the ground with all his strength.
"Woah, woah, HEY!" you called to Bucky, running after him to stop him from pursuing Sam further. He felt your hand grab his wrist and stopped in his tracks, turning to face you. "What the hell was that?" you asked, searching Bucky's face for any explanation you could find. When he didn't answer, you ran to Sam to make sure he was okay.
"Where did that come from?" he muttered as you helped him up. You shook your head and stared back at Bucky who seemed like he had shaken off whatever strange animosity had overtaken him.
"Sam, man, I am so sorry. I have no idea what came over me..."
Sam waved him off and walked slowly toward his room, getting away from Bucky as soon as he could.
"Buck, are you okay...?" you asked, concern coloring your voice.
He took a moment and then shrugged, not sure how to answer your question. "I'm fine, I just...it was like a switch flipped in my brain, or something. I saw Sam grab you and I couldn't stop myself...old training, I guess?"
You nodded, not convinced that everything was okay in Bucky's brain, but it was late and you were exhausted. The two of you walked hand in hand to your shared room in the Avengers compound so you could take a shower and get some rest.
"Maybe you just need to sleep" you suggested, and Bucky nodded unconvincingly. The uneasiness was palpable as both of you knew that there was something very wrong in Bucky's subconscious.
Around 3am, you rolled over in bed and found Bucky's spot empty. His large figure sat upright at the end of the bed, facing the door. You crawled to his side and sat next to him, letting your hand rub light circles along his spine.
"Hey, Buck. Nightmare?"
"No, I'm fine". His tone was flat and direct, giving you absolutely no indication of his state of mind.
"Oh, okay. Can't sleep?"
"I'm on watch" he stated.
"On watch? For what?" you prodded.
"For you. In case someone comes for you."
You shook your head, completely lost in Bucky's strange utterances-and for a moment, you wondered if he was doing some form of sleepwalking.
"In case who comes for me?"
"Anyone. I have to protect you..."
You sat up with him all night in an attempt to get more information, but made no progress and ended up falling asleep in his lap. The sound of a struggle woke you up, and you opened your eyes to see Bucky's metal hand wound tightly around Nat's throat.
"Stop! Bucky, stop!" you called, and he released immediately. "What has gotten into you?"
Bucky stared at you, unable to answer your question. Quickly, he darted out of the room and shut the door behind him without a word.
"Sam told me what happened yesterday and I'd hoped he was exaggerating but...he clearly wasn't" Natasha mused. "Something's wrong with him".
"I know. He sat up all night, just watching the door," you told her, "he said he was 'on watch' in case someone came for me-he had to protect me".
"Shit..." Nat muttered, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I think- it sounds like part of him is reverting backward, back to the Winter Soldier. He had to protect Hydra's higher ups, no matter what-staying up all night while they slept, attacking whoever came near them...this could be bad".
Nat pulled out her phone and began making calls to Shuri, Bruce, and Tony while your mind raced. "Unfortunately, you're just gonna have to go with it for a while till we get this figured out, so let him protect you, whatever that means...just don't let him kill anyone."
She strode out of the room while on the phone with Banner, leaving you alone with your thoughts-but not for long. Bucky was back by your side in seconds, taking his rightful place as your protector.
"What are your plans for the day, Buck?" you asked, wondering if he'd let you go to training unaccompanied.
"Well I believe you have training in an hour, and I thought I'd join you, моя любовь".
Your heart stopped when you heard Bucky's words-he only ever spoke Russian when he was dreaming about his Winter Soldier days. An uneasy smile crept across your face and he kissed your cheek, looking as though he were waiting for instructions.
Training had gone worse than you'd expected, somehow. Within ten minutes, Bucky had gripped the throat of one of your fellow SHIELD agents and almost dislocated the man's shoulder.
"Buck, stop! What are you doing?"
"He was trying to hurt you, любимая"
"I know! He's my sparring partner! He's supposed to try to hurt me!"
Bucky released the man's throat and muttered a quick apology before Sam asked the two of you to leave.
That night, Bucky leaned in close to you, letting his head rest on your shoulder.
"I know I'm kind of driving you crazy..." he muttered, "I just- I can't help it. It's instinctual-involuntary, even. I see someone near you and an alarm sounds in my brain. I wish I could stop but I just...I can't."
You took his hand in yours and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "I know, Buck. I'm not mad," you promised, "and I have to admit that you looking out for me this intensely makes me feel like I'm really important to you-"
"You are, лапушечка. I'd die for you, you know that, right?" he asked, squeezing your hand so tight you feared he might give you a fracture.
"I know, babe. And I’d die for you-”
Bucky lifted his head from your shoulder and stared intensely into your eyes. “I’d never let that happen.”
At first, it was weirdly kind of nice to have Bucky so close all the time. Getting to spend so much time with him after being away felt good- and when he wasn't attacking Sam or Nat, things were okay. On the third night of his new condition, he'd listened to your "orders" and finally gotten some sleep- but only a few hours worth. You'd him to rest as long as he needed, but he'd refused:
"I can't leave you unprotected, Золотце," he'd argued. "I can't let anything happen to you."
He'd always been protective, especially of you, but this was a whole new level and his condition only worsened as the days progressed. By the fifth day, he wouldn't let anyone into the room without your permission, no matter where you were. He attacked anyone who came within your personal space, nearly strangling Clint and Agent Hill in the same day. Bucky acted as your shadow, not letting you go anywhere or do anything alone.
"You know, Buck, I can get a snack by myself. No one in the compound is going to hurt me," you'd said as Bucky accompanied you to the kitchen on the fifth day.
"Жизнь моя, I can't let you out of my sight."
If it hadn't been for the foreboding nature of Bucky's condition, his level of protection toward you would actually have been sort of endearing. When he wasn't refusing to let Wanda into the kitchen without your permission or trying to kill someone for shaking your hand, his protection made you feel loved- special, even.
But you knew that this was bad. Something had been knocked loose in his mind, causing some his Winter Soldier tendencies to come to the surface. It scared you a little that this had happened in the first place, and you wondered what other things from his past could possibly show themselves next.
It had been over a week since Bucky first attacked Sam and you were desperate to get your Bucky back. This level of protection and surveillance was starting to freak you out, making you feel a little trapped-claustrophobic, even. When your phone rang at 4am, you begrudgingly checked to see who was calling and bolted upright when you realized it was Bruce.
“Banner? Tell me you’ve got good news,” you pleaded anxiously.
“Shuri figured it out and sent me everything we’re going to need. Bring him down to the lab.”
Relief washed over you as you hung up and you noticed Bucky staring at you with concern. You took his face in your hands and stroked his cheeks gently before pressing a kiss to his lips. His deep blue eyes stared at you like you were the only person on the planet, never breaking focus from your face.
“Everything okay?” he asked, and you nodded.
“We’re gonna go downstairs to see Banner. They’ve got everything they need-they’re gonna fix you up, Buck.”
His head bowed and he let out a deep sigh of relief, tears forming in the corners of his eyes. “Thank god,” he muttered, “I’m so fucking tired.”
Your heart broke for your exhausted super soldier and the two of you quickly got dressed before walking hand in hand to the elevator. “I know I’m about to be my old self again, but it doesn’t change the fact…I still want you to know- I would die for you.” You nodded and leaned into his shoulder, letting him press a kiss to the top of your head.
As the two of you walked into the lab, Bruce whisked Bucky away and disappeared into another room, leaving you alone for the first time in over a week. You took a seat and felt your tense muscles finally starting relax as you waited to see your Bucky again.
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‘The Road Goes Ever On and On’ - part 3.
summary: When you get thrown into a difficult situation, as always, Bucky’s there for you. You and Jasper finally meet Sam. Thank god for Bucky.
warnings: a few bad language words, angst/comfort, probably inaccurate contractual things, domestic!bucky? mentions of anxiety, mentions of finances/living situations. (chapter characters: singlemom!reader, jasper, bucky barnes, sam wilson, natasha romanoff, alpine!)
a/n: sorry to be a pain but i’m reposting this since it was taken down for some reason??? i literally hate it here, i’m super duper frustrated. also, as always, if you like this, please reblog it! please don’t let this flop! i love this story and want to continue it! but i don’t want to put time and energy into another fic if it’s not something that people will read/share :(
‘The Road...’ series masterlist
my main masterlist
Weeks pass and staying in contact with Bucky has become part of your daily routine. Jasper begs to see him at least every other day, so it’s not something you can avoid. From frozen yogurt dates, to walks in the park after school, to the Sunday matinee of some animated kids movie, Bucky’s nearly become your son’s favorite human. Of course, after you, that is. No one will ever top Mama.
It’s unusual, but you feel safe with him. Green flags start popping up left and right whenever you’re around Bucky. It’s clear that Jasper feels comfortable with him, and after the time he scooped your son out of the parking lot, you don’t doubt his safety for a minute when he’s with Bucky. As for your own feelings for the man with the metal arm, you feel like you can open up and talk to him about anything and everything. Anything from your past that people had told you not to do or say or think, you feel like you can express freely around Bucky. You completely let down your walls around him, and it feels fantastic after having them up for so long.
The icing on the cake is when he texts you to let you know he’s got the job at Nat’s place. He hadn’t even told you that he was applying, so you figured it was because he didn’t want you to talk to Nat about him, like you’d teased about the first time you grabbed coffee together. He’s beyond excited to start working there and it makes you happy to see him so happy.
And whenever your car starts to act up again, Bucky is your go-to. Of course, it’s an understatement to say that Jasper is excited to see that black car sitting in the parking lot anytime Bucky would have to take you to pick him up after school, knowing full well the three of you would be going back to Nat’s coffee shop for an after school hot chocolate.
Eventually, your car gives out for good, and you wouldn’t be so upset about it if you hadn’t put so much money into repairs that were beyond Bucky’s garage knowledge. You have to convince Bucky out of giving you the tips he’s made at the coffee shop but it’s hard to do since he’s so persistent. You cough up what you can for a new (to you) car that’s more reliable, and it puts you in a rough financial position. However, thanks to the generosity of your boss and your dedication to your job, you earn a small bonus just in time, and it tides you over for a few weeks.
The frigid December air stings your cheeks and you feel as if you can’t get from the parking garage to inside the building fast enough. Your hands are occupied carrying long overdue groceries and your fingers feel as if they may freeze off. Once inside, you take in a breath of the warm air, inhaling the faint scent of lavender in the apartment lobby. You fumble around to make your keys accessible to you, check your mailbox, and shove the letters haphazardly into one of the grocery bags before walking over to the elevator, stepping in, and pressing your floor’s button.
Getting your door open is a hassle, too, and thanks to the sudden change in temperature, you feel your nose start to run. Sniffling as you manage to unlock your door, you huff out in frustration when you feel your phone start to buzz in your pocket. Scrambling through the door to set your bags down on the counter, you sigh as you pull out your phone, seeing it’s Nat who’s calling.
“Hey,” you answer.
“Hey,” Natasha echoes, and it feels so nice to hear her voice again.
“What’s up? How are you?”
“Doing well. Just thought I’d check in with you. How’s everything holding up with you guys?”
“It’s alright! How’s the West Coast?” you laugh, knowing that she’s in Los Angeles with the higher-ups, in hopes to start a franchise line of her own coffee shops country-wide.
“Warm,” she laughs, and the sound of her laughter, although distorted from the slightly unstable cell signal, brings you comfort.
“God, I’m jealous,” you laugh right back.
“I’ll bring some of the warm weather back with me,” she jokes.
“That would be much appreciated. When will you be back?”
“I’m thinking a week from tomorrow. Think you can make it that long without me?”
“It’ll be a stretch, but I think I’ll manage,” you chuckle. “Jasper, on the other hand, I’m not so sure about.”
“I miss my little guy already,” she says, and you can hear her smiling through the phone. “So how’s work been?”
“Mundane, but alright. Got that bonus I was telling you about, but not without working my ass into the ground,” you sigh, sifting through the junk mail until you see an envelope from your landlord. You put your phone on speaker and set it down on the counter to open it up, expecting it to be nothing more than your biannual contract.
“Well, then you really deserve a bonus,” she says.
“Mhm. So how’s work been for you? How are the meetings going?” you ask, but when you slip the envelope open and pull out the enclosed letter, Nat’s voice fades to nothing and your head begins to spin.
Dear (Y/n) (L/n),
We thank you for your valued tenancy at Maple Avenue Apartments. This Notice is to inform you that the $1,100 monthly rent for the unit you currently occupy, Unit 1424, will increase to $1,450 per month.
This Notice is given to you 30 days prior to your next rental payment. If you wish to continue your tenancy, the new monthly rental payment of $1,450 is required. Please be aware that all other terms of your current rental agreement remain in effect.
Please sign the Notice below, indicating your agreement and continued tenancy. If you do not agree, you have 7 days to indicate your disagreement and termination of tenancy and move out of your current unit.
The Notice can be returned to the rental office. If you have any questions regarding this issue, please use the number below to contact the rental office and ask for Robert Stanley.
Maple Avenue Apartments
Your heartbeat picks up and a hot, static rush floods in your ears. Three hundred and fifty dollars more each month? That’s outrageous. That’s insane. That’s… is that even legal?
You swallow thickly, rereading the second to last paragraph. Seven days. Seven days to pack up everything and leave? Seven days to find you and your toddler a new place to live?
“Shit,” you mumble to yourself, but it’s loud enough to be picked up by the phone, and Nat, on the other end, hears.
“What’s up?” she wonders.
“Uh…” you clear your throat. “Nothing.”
“That is the most obvious way of saying it’s something,” she lightly teases.
“No, it’s just…” you take a shaky inhale before making up an excuse. “Just, bills racking up. I want to get rid of the cable but the nature channel is the only thing Jasper watches.”
“Oh, okay. You’re sure that’s all?”
“Yeah. Yeah, don’t worry about it, Nat.”
“I’m always worried about you, (Y/nn),” she chuckles.
“I know. I love you,” you say gently, trying not to let your voice break.
“I love you, too,” she responds, and there’s a moment’s pause before you speak up again, debating whether or not to ask Nat for some help, but deciding against it, not wanting to be a burden to her while she’s so busy.
“Well, I’ve got groceries to put away and I gotta pick up Jasper from school pretty soon, so I’m gonna have to let you go,” you break the silence.
“No problem. Give him a big hug for me!”
“I absolutely will,” you say, trying to smile, but failing. And you’re glad it’s not a video call because she’d see you starting to cry. “We’ll talk later.”
She gives her sweet goodbye before you press the red button to end the call. Trembling, you fall forwards and bury your face in your hands, letting yourself sob for a moment. Then, you remember you have food to get into the fridge: the same fridge that has to be empty, once again, in less than seven days.
“Hi, Mama,” Jasper says less enthusiastically than he normally does when you pick him up from school.
“Hey, Jas,” you greet, scooping him up into your arms and pressing a kiss to his cheek. “How was school today?”
“Good,” he shrugs.
“Good? Then why’re you so down?” you ask, rubbing his belly.
“Cause… where’s Bucky?” he asks with a frown.
“He’s at work, Bubs. We have the new car now, so he doesn’t have to drive us everywhere anymore,” you remind him with a light chuckle.
“Oh, okay,” he sighs, resting his head on your shoulder until you reach your car.
“Hey, how about we stop by the coffee shop to see him at work?” you offer, and it’s not just because you know Jasper wants to see Bucky. You would also like to see him, even if it’s only for a brief moment. The toddler lifts his head to look at you and his demeanor is almost immediately lifted.
“Yeah!” he exclaims as you set him down in his car seat.
“Well, let’s get going, then,” you say as you start buckling him up.
When you walk into the shop, the aroma of hand-ground coffee and fresh baked goods flood your senses, and when you see Bucky working behind the counter you feel just the edge of your stress taken off your shoulders.
“Bucky!” Jasper exclaims once he sees him, too.
You’re thankful to look around the shop to see you and Jasper are the only people here at the moment, so the little boy’s excitement hasn’t disturbed anyone. You see some other employees, Ben, Eva, and Mikaela, and they all turn around and smile when they see you and Jasper walking in.
“Hey, sport,” Bucky laughs from the espresso machine, turning around to face you both.
Jasper knows he can’t go behind the counter so instead, he gets as close as he can to Bucky. He runs to the counter and is able to just peer over the top when he goes onto his tiptoes.
“What can I get you today, Sir?” Bucky asks with a smile. He wipes his hands on his apron as he leans down to look Jasper in the eye, and it’s only then that you realize just how good he looks.
He’s let his hair grow out a little longer and you’ve noticed it’s started to curl just a bit in some places. His shiny blue eyes are filled with joy and his peach-tone skin glows in the late afternoon sun that’s beginning to set through the front windows. And you didn’t think it could be possible for someone to look that adorable in a simple brown, canvas apron.
“Hot chocolate, please!” comes Jasper’s request. Bucky nods, standing up to look over at you to make sure it’s okay. You nod and smile, making your way over to where Jasper’s standing. Bucky types in the order into the tablet once you’ve given your non-verbal approval and you pick up Jasper, hoisting him onto your hip.
“And your usual?” Bucky asks you.
“You got it,” you giggle, managing to pull out your wallet. But before you can take some cash out, Bucky’s interrupting you.
“This one’s on me,” he waves his hand at you, starting the transaction before you can protest further.
“No, Bucky,” you hum, shaking your head.
“I insist,” he chuckles, looking deep into your eyes.
And for a moment, you had forgotten about your living situation. But when he brings up paying for your order, you’re reminded of the financial crisis you may be going into. And it’s as if he knows this.
“You alright?” he asks.
You nod and feign a smile, which seems to satisfy him for a moment, giving you the chance to sneak away for you and Jasper to find a table. You let him pick where he wants to sit and he chooses the booth by the fireplace. You help him climb into the seat and once he’s situated, you sit opposite of him, smiling at the way he’s watching Bucky behind the counter.
Then, Jasper quickly jumps into telling you a story from school and only a few minutes pass before you hear gentle footsteps coming over to you, pulling your attention from your son. Bucky stands before you with a mug in each hand and a smile on his lips.
“For you, Ma’am,” Bucky says, setting your drink down in front of you as you thank him. “And for you, Sir,” he says, sliding a kid-sized mug of hot chocolate - with whipped cream adorning the top - in front of Jasper. And actually, it’s not hot at all; his drink is barely warmer than room temperature, because Bucky knew the boy wouldn’t have the patience to wait for it to cool.
“What do you say, Jasper?” you ask.
“Thank you, Bucky!” he responds appropriately.
“Of course, sport,” he chuckles, then looks at you. “Mind if I join you?”
“Not at all,” you smile, and he slides onto the couch beside Jasper. “How has your day been so far?” you ask him, cupping your hands around the warm mug.
“Well, the morning rush was chaotic, but otherwise it’s actually been pretty slow today,” he answers. “How about you? How was your day?”
“Uh, you know… It’s been okay. Just work.”
“Mhm. But you’re good, though?” he asks, just to make sure you know he’s actually wondering how you are.
“I’m good,” you shrug.
Not convinced, Bucky slowly takes his eyes off of you to look down at Jasper beside him, who’s finished with the drink already and now has whipped cream decorating his upper lip and the tip of his nose. Bucky laughs, grabbing a napkin from the holder on the table and gently wipes the foam off his face.
“How about you, pal? How are you?” he asks once his face is clean.
“I’m good,” Jasper shrugs, imitating how you had responded.
“Wonder where he gets that from,” Bucky teases, looking back up at you and making you smile. “What did you do in school today?”
“Counting numbers. I ‘ready know ‘em, though,” Jasper states casually, lifting the little mug to see if there’s any more left and slurping out what little else he can.
Bucky laughs again as he watches your son, making your heart swell in your chest. It’s like when you’re together, everything feels right. Everything feels good. Everything with Bucky is just better.
After a few minutes of chattering away with Jasper, Bucky must realize you’re still somewhat spaced out. He gently taps his fingers against the table in front of you to grab your attention.
“You with us?” he wonders softly.
“Mhm. Just… savoring this,” you say as you take a sip from your mug. Bucky thinks you’re talking about your drink, but you’re also savoring this moment of togetherness.
“Okay. Be brutally honest. Do I make it as well as Nat?” he asks, and you have to take another sip to think before you answer.
“Almost,” you say with a small smile.
“Alright! I’m getting there,” he smiles back proudly, then looks down to Jasper. “And I guess there’s not much to mess up about a hot chocolate, right, pal?”
“Mmm. So yummy,” Jasper hums, sticking his finger into the mug and bringing it back out to lick the whipped cream off.
“Okay, that’s enough, Bubs. There’s no more left and you’re making a mess,” you laugh, reaching into your bag to pull out some wipes. You reach over the table to wipe his face off again, but you can’t quite reach him.
“Here, let me,” Bucky offers, taking the wipe from you and cleaning off the boy’s face again. He notices his hands are sticky, too, so he wipes them also. Everything he does is so gentle and caring and you’re so glad that he’s become such a great influence in Jasper’s life.
Thank god for Bucky.
“Thank you,” you giggle once your son is clean again.
“No worries,” he chuckles right back. “So, I get off in an hour. Dinner at mine?”
It became routine for the three of you to share a meal together at least twice a week, either at Bucky’s place or yours, so it’s not uncommon for him to invite you over for dinner now. However, the first time you went to his, you were extremely nervous. You didn’t know why, but you think it had to do with the fact that you hadn’t been to a man’s house in a long while. However, like everything else about him, Bucky’s home is warm and welcoming. It has a classic red brick exterior with a white door and white window panes. Then, when he invites you and Jasper inside, it’s clear he’s a bachelor, but in the best way possible.
It’s no surprise to you that, like a number of men, he lacks interior design skills. His furniture is nice and simple; it’s all shades of grey with dark leather accents. The main room has a small flatscreen tv, a small couch, and a rustic coffee table with a candle and some books on it. His walls are pretty barren, except for the one bookshelf that stands tall in the living room, which is completely packed with books, so much so that you cannot find an empty space.
When he shows you where the bathroom is down the hall, you think it’s adorable that he has photos hanging on the wall. Granted, there’s only a few, and most of them are of him with who you think must be Sam and Sarah and her sons, but it still warms your heart all the same. Similarly, when you find out he has a cat, and that her name is Alpine, you can’t help but smile.
“Alright,” you nod in agreement.
“You okay?” he asks, a hint of worry still weighing in his voice.
“Yeah. Just tired,” you lie.
“Okay,” he nods, although unconvinced.
“Thank you for the treat,” you say, starting to slide out of the booth after a few more minutes. He does the same, then helps Jasper down before grabbing both mugs from the table with his metal hand.
“Of course. See you in a bit,” he smiles.
“See you,” you nod, taking Jasper by the hand.
“Bye, Bucky!” your son says.
“See ya, sport,” Bucky chuckles, dropping his empty hand to give the kid a high five before the two of you head back home for a little bit.
Bucky shoots you a text after he gets home from work and starts dinner. When you and Jasper get back to your own place, your stomach starts to hurt almost immediately. You have to be out of here in less than seven days. You shake your head, dismissing the thoughts as you change Jasper out of his clothes, messy from school, and into some comfier ones, before heading out.
Jasper, as per usual when en route to Bucky’s, is chipper and energetic. You, on the other hand, can’t stop thinking about the worst possible things that could happen. All you want is to be with Bucky, to let him comfort you, and to let yourself be weak for a moment. But you have to stay strong, if not for your own sanity, then for Jasper’s wellbeing.
When you arrive, Jasper is more than happy to see both Bucky and Alpine. Bucky invites your son into the kitchen with him when he sees him watching intently. And it’s not long before you’re settled at the kitchen counter enjoying the meal that he’s made.
Not long after that, the three of you are lounging in the living room together. Jasper is cozied up in your lap under one of Bucky’s knitted throw blankets and Alpine is curled up in Bucky’s lap while you talk about god knows what. You have to admit, you’re not really that engaged in the topic, too preoccupied with the other things on your mind. So when you feel Jasper’s head fall heavy in your arms, you’re glad there’s a lull in the conversation.
“He’s asleep?” Bucky asks.
“Mhm,” you nod, standing up with the boy in your arms, still covered by the throw. You’re thankful that it’s a Thursday night and Jasper doesn’t have school tomorrow so you don’t have to worry about getting him home to bed.
“Sweet kid,” Bucky chuckles, stroking Alpine as she gets up from his lap and leaps off the couch.
“Can I lay him down somewhere? He’s super heavy when he’s asleep and I wanna keep talking without waking him up.”
“Oh, yeah,” Bucky says, standing up with you. “Follow me.”
He leads you down the hall to the spare bedroom and you gently lay Jasper down on the full sized bed. You softly tug the throw blanket out from where it’s tangled beneath him to drape it back over his tired, little body, watching for a moment as his chest rises and falls with each breath he takes. You lean over to kiss his forehead, then exit the room, leaving the door just cracked, to meet Bucky in the hall again.
“Out like a light, hm? Bucky asks, and you nod and smile in response then lead the way back down the hall. Without saying a word, you grab Jasper’s water bottle off the kitchen counter then make your way around to the sink to wash it out.
“Hey, what’s up?” Bucky asks in a whisper, letting his flesh fingers scratch lightly over your shoulder to let you know he’s there.
“Huh?” you ask, feigning ignorance to his question.
“What’s wrong?” he asks a little louder this time.
“Uh, nothing,” you shake your head and continue to rinse out the bottle. “Why?”
“All afternoon you’ve just seemed… off. Sad. Upset… I don’t know,” he shrugs as he blushes pink, worrying that maybe he’s overstepped.
“I’m fine, James,” you fake a smile. But when you call him ‘James’ instead of ‘Bucky’ he knows something’s not quite right.
“I know that’s a lie, but… I mean, you don’t have to tell me, but just know I’m here for you. I care about you, (Y/n),” he whispers. And the sincerity and care in his voice is something that, besides Nat, you haven’t heard in so long.
Dropping the water bottle in the sink with a quiet clatter, you sigh, then sniffle. You turn around to face Bucky and you see his eyebrows are furrowed in concern and his perfect lips are pulled into a small frown.
“It’s… god, I’m just so stressed,” your voice shakes. “Something happened today and I just… I don’t know what to do.”
“Darlin’, if you need to get a load off your shoulders, I’m here,” he reiterates.
Finally unable to contain your emotions any longer, you blink away a few tears and fall into Bucky’s arms out of pure instinct. And instead of pushing you away or finding it weird that you’ve collapsed into him, he simply wraps his arms around your body and holds you tight, letting you cry all that you need to.
Your breathing is staggered while inhaling the cooler air of the room around you when you pull your face from his chest, the smell of his cologne and natural musk no longer piercing your lungs. All you can do is shake your head and part your lips, but no words come out.
“It’s alright,” he reassures you, rubbing your shoulder.
“God, I’m sorry,” you say, pulling away from him while sniffling and harshly wiping your face, embarrassed to let him see you like this.
“Please don’t apologize, Darlin’. How about we sit down and you can tell me more?” he suggests, ushering you over to the living room to sit on the couch together. Once you’re situated, facing him, seated cross legged on the couch, you take a deep breath.
“So my yearly contract is up for the apartment but they’re increasing rent for the next year, I guess. And there’s no way I can pay the new amount they’re demanding, after the repairs I put into the car just to buy a whole new one, and paying for everything else because life is just so goddamn expensive and...” you ramble on. “And we have to be out in seven days if I can’t pay the new rent because I just can’t pay that much money per month… And I just don’t know what to do,” you whimper, trying to hold back more tears.
“Hey, it’s alright,” he coos, placing a gentle hand on your knee and not knowing quite what to say. “I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”
“That’s the thing, though, Bucky. I don’t think I can figure this one out,” you sniffle, shaking your head.
“Could you ask Nat for some help? I know you said she’s been there for you in the past,” he suggests sweetly.
“Nat’s out of town and dealing with some stuff for work right now, too, so I don’t want to bother her for help. Plus she helped me to get on my feet for a long while and she’s already done so much for us,” you explain shakily.
“Right…” he trails off, running his natural hand over his beard.
“I just feel like everything good that happened up until this point wasn’t real. Like, I knew it was all too good to be real. At least for it to be for me. But it’s not just me now. Jasper’s gonna go through this too and I wanted… I wanted better for him,” your voice trembles as you let your head drop down. You cover your face with your hands and begin to sob once more.
“Shh,” Bucky hums, bringing you back into his embrace. He places his hand protectively over your head and lets you cry into his chest again. A few more minutes pass and you finally pull back to take a few deep breaths. He holds you by the shoulders and breathes with you.
“I’m so sorry to put this all on you,” you stammer once you catch your breath.
“Please stop apologizing, (Y/n),” Bucky says with a sympathetic chuckle, wiping the tears off your face with his soft thumb.
“I just feel bad. You only invited us over for dinner. You didn’t ask for this,” you roll your eyes at yourself, using your sleeve to wipe your eyes.
“No, but I’m your friend,” he says, rubbing your shoulder. “And being a friend means to be here for you. Which, by the way, I have that extra room if you and Jasper need a place to stay,” comes Bucky’s offer, making you stop everything and stare directly into his eyes.
“No. I couldn’t,” you state after a moment of contemplation.
“Of course you could,” he reasons.
You pause. You think. There’s not many other options.
“I don’t want to be a burden,” you shake your head, almost trying to convince yourself not to take his offer.
“You’re never a burden, (Y/n). I swear.”
“It would only be for a little while. Until I find us another place to live,” you promise.
“I’m not worried about that,” he reassures you, shaking his head.
“And you can tell us to leave if you get sick of us,” you tell him.
“I cannot imagine ever getting sick of you or your incredible little boy, (Y/n),” he says with a kind smile.
“And I’ll pay rent like I would anywhere else,” you say, hoping he knows that if you take his offer, you won’t take advantage of him.
“That will not be necessary,” he chuckles. “All I ask is that you let me do this for you without feeling like you owe me something in return. You’ve already done so much for me. More than you know. Both you and Jasper have.”
There’s a final break of silence before you find yourself simply melting from the inside out.
“Oh Bucky, are you sure?” you ask with a trembling voice.
“I’m positive, (Y/n),” he assures you.
“Thank you so much,” you barely whisper, falling back into his chest.
“You don’t need to thank me,” he coos, cradling the back of your head and for the next few minutes, you feel completely safe in his embrace. Once you’re through crying, you pull away slowly, only to see that he’s sharing a comforting smile with you.
Thank god for Bucky.
“It’s gonna be okay,” he promises, still holding your head in his hands. “I’ll get Sam to help us move you out. A week, you said?”
“Yeah. I have to be out in seven days. It’s outrageous,” you shake your head, feeling your throat tightening again.
“Hey, we have it worked out now,” he reassures you, moving his hands from your face to your shoulders. “It’ll be great. Sam’s great.”
“I’ll finally get to meet him,” you giggle through sniffles, wiping any remaining tears off your face.
“He’s… a lot,” Bucky chuckles. “I love him like a brother. But he can be overwhelmingly supportive at times. But his aura is really uplifting. He’s really great.”
“I’m excited to see him,” you smile and sigh, feeling a sense of relief for the first time today. It’s as if your brain knows you can relax now, because a yawn escapes your mouth, showing just how exhausted - mentally and physically - you are.
“Well we’d better get going,” you stand up from the couch slowly. “I’ll grab Jasper.”
“Okay,” Bucky nods, standing up with you and following you to the spare room where you laid Jasper down.
When you push open the door, the sight before you makes you so happy. Alpine must’ve found Jasper sleeping on the spare bed, and she’s cuddled up beside him, resting her face against his cheek and curling her tail on his tummy. Both are fast asleep.
“Bucky, look,” you giggle silently, stepping aside so he can peer into the room. He laughs quietly at the sight, his own heart warmed at seeing his beloved companion cuddled up to Jasper.
“They’re already best buds,” he smiles, placing a gentle hand between your shoulder blades. “I’ll grab Alpine,” he offers, walking into the room quietly to lift the cat off the bed, then letting her jump down and run to her favorite hiding spot. You walk around to the other side to pick up your son and he stirs a little bit, but remains sleeping in your arms.
“Keep the blanket,” Bucky says when he sees you struggling to untangle your son from it. “You’ll be back anyways,” he smiles.
He walks you out to your car and starts it to get it warmed up while you situate Jasper in the backseat. Once he’s settled, you drape the blanket back over him in addition to his coat, making sure that he’s warm enough. You close the door quietly then turn to Bucky.
“I’ll shoot Sam a text,” he says. “What days work for you?”
“I took tomorrow off since Jasper doesn’t have school and then I have the whole rest of the weekend off, too,” you shrug.
“I do, too. I’ll let Sam know. It shouldn’t be a problem, though. He’s normally free on weekends, too.”
“You sure he’ll want to spend his weekend like this, though?” you ask.
“Absolutely. When you meet Sam, you’ll understand. He lives to help people. I swear, he’s the kindest soul out there.”
“Well, thank you,” you whisper, pulling him into a hug. “For everything.”
“Of course,” he says, and in his arms, you’ve never felt safer.
That feeling of security follows you all the way home, running warm in your veins and letting you rest easy that night.
Thank god for Bucky.
The next morning, while you’re making breakfast for Jasper, your phone begins to ring. Reaching over to grab your phone off the counter, you see that it’s Bucky.
“Good morning,” he greets you sweetly.
“Hey, good morning,” you reciprocate.
“Did you get some sleep last night?”
“What’s up?” you ask.
“So, Sam’s good to go,” he states. “What time works best for you?”
“Oh, awesome! Um, let me think,” you say with a sigh, setting your phone on the counter and pushing it to speaker to put some food on Jasper’s plate, and when he hears Bucky’s voice over the line, your son grows ecstatic.
“Hi, Bucky!” Jasper calls.
“Hiya, Sport. How are you?” Bucky chuckles through the phone.
“Good! Mama makin’ pancakes!”
“Oh, I bet they’re yummy, yeah?”
“So yummy,” Jasper says while stuffing another bite into his mouth.
“Slow down, bubba,” you laugh, going around to sit at the counter beside your son. “I mean, really any time works. I got up early this morning and started packing some boxes already,” you explain.
“How about we drop by in about an hour?” Bucky asks.
“Great. We’ll see you then!”
“Thank you so much,” you sigh.
“You’re so welcome. See you later,” Bucky says, and at the sound of his goodbye, Jasper has to get his goodbye in, too.
“See you in a little bit, pal,” Bucky laughs.
And he’s true to his word; in a little over an hour, the buzzer to your apartment is sounding, signaling someone is here for you. You answer over the intercom, hearing Bucky and Sam both telling you ‘hi’ and you laugh at their already chaotic, combined energy. When they make it up to your door, your heart starts to beat faster. You’re excited to meet Sam and you feel you have so much to be thankful for.
“Hi!” you greet them both, “come on in!”
“Sam, this is (Y/n). (Y/n), Sam,” Bucky introduces.
You and Sam exchange a handshake, but he pulls you into a hug at the last second, making you giggle a little after he pulls away.
“So nice to meet you, (Y/n),” Sam smiles.
“Same to you. Thank you so much for agreeing to help out today,” you say sincerely.
“Hey, of course. Anything for a friend,” Sam nods.
“Well, now the two most important people in my life know each other,” Bucky chuckles quietly as a blush creeps onto his cheeks.
“Bucky!” Jasper says, running over with his favourite shark stuffie.
“Oh! And this is Jasper,” Bucky says as he lifts the boy up into his arms. “Make that the three most important people in my life. Hiya, Sport!”
“You here to play with me?” the tot asks.
“Well, not really,” Bucky says, then looks at you, picking up on the fact that Jasper doesn't know what’s happening.
“I haven’t told him anything,” you admit. “I didn’t know how to. I figured he’d just be excited to hear that we’re gonna have an extended sleepover with you,” you say with a feeble shrug.
“Hey, that’s alright,” Bucky shakes his head, then steps over to bring you into a side hug. “Let’s get started!”
So for the rest of the morning, Bucky and Sam help you pack things into boxes, label them, and take trips down to load them into Sam’s van. With three of you and the cooperation of Jasper, the work moves fast. Just after noon, there’s only Jasper’s fishbowl and the stuff in the fridge you have to deal with. You break for lunch and use up most of whatever’s in the fridge, and what you don’t finish, you pack into a cooler. Then, it’s off to Bucky’s.
Box by box, the three of you unload the van into the house while Jasper plays inside with Alpine. You could’ve made him help out, maybe given him a simple task, but you figured it would be best for him to stay out of the way. Besides, he loves that darn cat and she’s so tolerant of his toddler antics, too.
“So, things are getting serious with Bucko?” Sam asks with a grunt as he sets down a box that’s labelled ‘Jasper fall/winter clothes’.
“What?” you ask with a nervous laugh, setting down the box of shoes.
“Well, you’re movin’ in together? I mean, he talks about you all the time, but he never even said you started dating!” Sam exclaims.
“Oh, no no no,” Bucky shouts at Sam while jogging into the room to hopefully stop the conversation that’s about to unfold.
“No?” Sam asks, looking over at you.
“No, uh…” you say with another nervous chuckle.
“Nope, we are not together. Just friends, y’know,” Bucky says, and you know that’s the truth, but for some reason it makes you… sad?
“Ah, mhm,” Sam murmurs, seeming a little unconvinced.
“Yeah, no, yeah. He’s been so helpful, uh, with everything lately. And Jasper just loves him, so that’s a bonus,” you explain.
“And she helped me get a job at the coffee shop,” Bucky adds on.
“Uh, do not let him fool you, Sam,” you say with a laugh, then clarify, “I didn’t help him at all. He got it all on his own.”
“Well,” Bucky starts as his cheeks flush pink from embarrassment.
“No,” you interrupt him. “I didn’t do a thing!”
“I believe you, (Y/n),” Sam laughs, then playfully claps Bucky on the back. “This punk just can’t ever give himself any credit.”
“I know,” you laugh, playfully nudging Bucky’s side. “Y’know, Bucky, you can brag about your achievements from time to time.” Bucky only blushes more, causing you and Sam to both laugh at his humility.
Eventually, everything is settled inside and it’s just up to you and Bucky to arrange everything how you’d like it. A few hours later, Sam says he needs to get home, explaining to you guys that he promised his nephews he’d be there for a Mario Kart tournament. He tells you he can help out tomorrow with moving your furniture into a storage unit for the time being. You give him your endless gratitude for his help before he heads out, leaving you and Bucky and Jasper. And Alpine. And Jasper’s fish.
“So, uh, make yourself at home. Well, I guess it is your home now,” he chuckles as he watches you tuck Jasper into bed. “Sorry it’s only one room.”
“Please, don’t be sorry, Bucky. I cannot thank you enough,” you say, bringing him into a tight hug. He gladly reciprocates, holding onto you securely.
“You need to stop thanking me,” he laughs. “It’s really not a problem.”
“I promise it won’t be long,” you assure him.
“Please, don’t worry about that. Take your time. It’ll be fun having you guys here.”
“I appreciate you, Bucky,” you smile.
“Sneaky way of saying thank you,” he teases. “I’ll let you get settled in. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Bucky,” you echo with a small yawn, watching as he turns out of the room.
Thank god for Bucky.
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