To my gorgeous Nyxie boo on her birthday: the combo to my heart. I will be sending you three scenarios for your birthday sleepover from my endless list of ideas. I love you too much to simply pick one. Here is the first. 9. You’re a complete bookworm so you live at your local bookshop. Enough so that Bucky thinks you’re an employee. He asks you for help finding something as he’s working his way through the historical section to catch up.
⋅☾ My Masterlist | Nyx 3k Sleepover | Ko-Fi ❥ ☽⋅
— word count: 1.3k
— a/n: here you go, wifey. some lovey-dovey meet-cute at a library, as per requested. love you <3
He's seen her around the library, floating through the aisles with her impassive face, perfect posture and clever fingers.
Bucky thinks she works here. Every time he stops by to grab something for his classes, he's seen her somewhere.
At first, he thought she was a graduate student, but that thought was soon discarded—she roamed the aisles of almost every section, and he's seen her with books under her arms that he knows no graduate student would read unless their life was on the line.
(Sometimes, not even then.)
Bucky's seen her enough times now that he recognizes her back.
He recognizes her steps, he can already tell what kind of style she likes best, and after two months of mainly creeping around the shelves and the old books with no excuse on his mind as to how approach her, he notices what this is.
"Jesus on a stick, dude, you're going to the library again?" Sam whined during lunch, before Bucky came here. "What, you got a crush on the Librarian or somethin'? 'Cause I know you have the pdf of this one."
A crush on the librarian. Fuck. Isn't he too old for that?
Whether he is or not, Bucky ignored Steve's giggles, flipped Sam off, and now here he was. Again.
Today, you're wearing a maroon skirt with a simple, wool white shirt underneath. The boots that go to your knees cling to your legs as if they're made of velvet, and Bucky saw you walking from the Linguistics section back to the Art History one, where he usually saw you.
"Can I help you, Professor Barnes?" The receptionist at the Library actually is a grad student—she's in Bucky's Monday group, but there's nothing she can do for him.
"Not really. Thanks." He flashes her a smile—being polite and friendly is a thin line he's always walking on, because he knows from Steve's horror stories what can come from students mistaking your nice manners for flirting.
Bucky leaves to the computer session, and he starts thinking that maybe he should stop being so extra over one beautiful woman.
He's seen them before. Dated them. There's no reason why this one should have this grip on him—he's never exchanged a word with her, and maybe she's nothing of what his mind is painting her to be.
Putting the last books he borrowed back in their place, he sighs heavily.
She probably isn't.
Bucky's aware of what projections do to people and relationships. Most of the time, creating an image of a person in your head fails to meet the reality of what they actually are like.
And that would be on him.
He should just walk away—Sam was right on claiming he has the pdfs to teach this class and creating excuses just to see glimpses of someone's smile as they read can get a bit much.
That's what he's thinking about when the universe decides to have its shot at laughing at him a little bit.
Bucky stopped with the George Orwell books he brought for the analysis class when someone speaks by his side.
"Lost, Mr. Barnes?"
Bucky spins around with his heart already hammering at his chest. He's used to the voice of his students calling him by his name, by the unfamiliarity of the person calling him startled him—and then he sees it.
White wool shirt, maroon high-waisted skirt and her hair half-tied up in a beautiful design.
That smile on the corner of her lips of someone who's right at home.
Bucky's tongue feels three sizes too big for his mouth, and he must look like an idiot. He blinks a couple of times, trying to undo the fogginess that her beauty puts in his eyes when she's closer to him than she's ever been and he desperately searches for an answer. "I might be. D'you know where I can find Tsuji Nobuo?"
"Oh, sure. Here." She turns around and starts walking, and Bucky follows with his sweaty hands still gripping Orwell's book. He should've asked for her name. Instead, he's thinking about how her heels must be padded because they barely make a noise against the linoleum.
She must love being here.
"There you go." She points to the fourth shelf, and Bucky notices how smaller than him she is. Her head ducks a little in her shoulder and Bucky recognizes the shyness that his first-year students have around him, but on her, it just looks natural. "Sorry to have startled you," she chuckles. "You looked quite lost in there."
"I was!" He guarantees. The last thing he'd like is for her to feel like she overstepped. "Thanks for the help. How long have you worked here?"
His mistake slaps him in the face as soon as the words are out of his mouth.
First, her forehead creases in confusion—Bucky's stomach drops, but for more than one reason. She never worked here and, sure, that's an embarrassment, but not only has he gotten that wrong, he's also admitted to seeing her around before.
"I don't?" She laughs shyly. "I'm here a lot, though. You're not the first one to make that assumption, don't worry." Her laughter makes him laugh, too, and he has a hard time looking away from her how her smile brightens up her face. "I want to, someday. Not this library in particular, but—you know. That's the goal."
"You look right at home." He wonders if it's too much. He picks up Nobuo's book to distract himself, but when he looks down at her again, her smile is softer.
"I feel like it."
"What's your name?" He asks. He can't leave this place without knowing.
She looks at him for a heartbeat too long before answering, but when she does, Bucky feels the way she's looking at him in his gut. "Y/n. Nice to meet you, Mr. Barnes."
Y/n. He repeats the name in his head, and then whispers it out loud.
He extends his hand and when she gives him his, Bucky fights back the stupid urge to kiss the back of her hand. It's what he wants to do, but she might find him weird for it.
"The pleasure's mine. And you can call me Bucky." A smile and a light head bow should do it.
She has this aura that makes Bucky want to do all sorts of things considered 'old-fashioned', just because the glint in her eyes feel wiser and older than anything he's ever seen.
She also makes him want to do crazier things than old-fashioned hand kisses—Bucky wants to ask her on date, buy her a house in the woods, perhaps, always cook her breakfast and ask her what new thing is she reading today.
He realizes he's still staring when her cheeks go bright red. He's staring and still holding her hand, so he drops it while feeling the same heat in his own cheeks, and then looks away before something slips out of his mouth.
"You can ask for help the next time you come around if you're lost again," Y/n tells him. Then, with anther smile, she turns around and leaves.
If Bucky had any delusions about stop coming around the Library in his breaks, they're shattered and spread across the galaxy with one look that Y/n throws over her shoulder.
Bucky's coming back again and again, until he has the courage to leave here with her number.
The only time he's ever been this caught under a spell was when seeing La Guernica when he was seven years old, and here he is today. Teaching about it.
The smile stays on his face throughout the rest of the day.
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