Go On, Leave Me Breathless - Chapter 2
Mob!Bucky Barnes x Reader (OFC)
Warnings: Fighting, Mentions of death, Murder, Anxiety, Violence, Crime, Explicit language (I will add to this if I think of anything else.)
Word Count: 3.3K
Previous Part | GOLMB Masterlist
A/N: Two chapters in one week? Look at me go!!
Chapter 2: Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover
Location: Howard Beach, Queens
Jarvis was in the driver’s seat for the journey home. While he drove back at his normal pace, to the average person, he drove dangerously fast and completely out of control. Tony and Y/n had grown accustomed to it over the years, they barely noticed the way their bodies were being flung from side to side. Peter on the other hand hadn’t been driven by Jarvis before, he’d had no time to adjust. When they pulled up, he looked like he was going to empty the contents of his stomach onto the driveway.
Meanwhile, Steve was certain he’d broken every speed limit on the way over, so that he could keep up with Jarvis. Collectively, Steve and Natasha tumbled out of the car, clumsily landing on their feet. Sam and Bucky followed them in a similar fashion, both mimicking Peter’s rather green complexion.
Bucky stood up straight, swaying in place as he struggled to maintain his balance. He stared up at Stark’s house, centering his breathing slowly. It’s extravagance was undeniable. Although he didn’t care much for the view of the house itself, he continued to stare up at it, breathing it in and listening to the world around him. There was nothing but quiet for miles and for the first time in a long time, he felt relief break over him like a tall wave.
In truth, it was too muted, the feeling of calm would soon become uncomfortable and he’d be craving the overwhelming sounds of the city. At least he could drown out his mind that way, in the long silence his mind would only scream louder. But, for the moment, he would welcome the serenity as though it were an old friend.
The salty, damp air stuck to his skin like early morning dew. His lungs expanded, growing desperate for more of the clean oxygen. They’d only travelled a short distance from Steinway, but this felt like it was world’s apart.
Steve’s request played on a loop in her mind, Y/n’s gaze found Bucky once again. She smiled softly noticing the difference in his body language. He wasn’t hunched over, hiding himself from their prying eyes. Instead his shoulders stood taller, his chest puffed out wider as he deeply breathed in the clean coastal air. She fell behind the group as they walked up to the house, her gaze following his as they walked. He was transfixed by the long emerald grass as it blew softly in the wind. She sensed he found comfort in nature, just as she did.
The Stark mansion was nothing short of luxurious. Located in the gated community of Howard beach, it backed onto a private beach that spanned the length of the house. The ebb and flow of the water could be heard from any room in the house when it was quiet enough. Since the death of Tony’s parents, it was nearly always silent.
The exterior was constructed of an orange shaded brickwork. It was warm and inviting, juxtaposing the cool dark frames that decorated the window panes. Many, many years ago, Maria Stark had designed every fixture and feature of the house that stood proudly on the beachfront. She’d strived to create the perfect looking home to match her seemingly perfect family.
When she passed away, Tony had done his best to preserve the house for her, particularly the front garden. He could still picture her sitting in her study, smiling softly as she watched the colours of plants alter to fit the passing seasons. Tony wouldn't say it out loud, but he believed his mother would be at peace, if he could maintain the house's pastoral beauty.
Following the initial meeting, Tony offered to host Steve's family for dinner. There was a promise of no shop talk. As hard as they’d tried over the years to get along, Steve and Tony agreed on very little.
Their mutual respect for one another was surface level, nothing more than a publicity stunt. They had different management styles. Tony hid behind a barrier of quippy remarks, surviving on an alarming amount of luck. Steve couldn’t approve of that approach, he’d spent years learning, crafting his leadership. There was no mistake that he was the boss and he revelled in people’s fear of him. Running the mob was a serious job, not a stand up gig.
Ultimately though, it was their similarities that drove the real rift. Steve, like most people, found Tony’s narcissism intolerable, failing to see that he too suffered the same affliction. They were both driven by emotion and controlled by stubbornness.
But for tonight, that would all be left at the front door. There was no need to end a day of breaking bread, on the sour notes of disagreements.
Tony stepped into the foyer of his house, holding his arms out proudly claiming the space as his own. The large grin on his face faltered as his energy was left unmatched. He turned away from the group, hiding his embarrassment and coughed loudly.
“Can we get those off him now?” He inquired, waving his hand over his shoulder in the direction of Bucky’s wrists.
Sam’s chest immediately puffed out aggressively as he watched Steve silently remove the restraints. His arms crossed over his chest making him appear larger, his curled biceps tensed as he prepared for the worst.
But Bucky’s hands dropped from Steve’s grip and immediately fell to his sides. He raised his head to meet Sam’s angry eyes, challenging him.
“Jarvis, will you show Barnes up to his room please.” Tony called out, still facing away from the group. Unknowingly cutting through the tension that hung thickly in the air and missing Bucky and Sam’s fatal staring competition. “Oh and please give Antonia and Michael a call. Tell them we need them urgently.”
“Consider it done sir.” Jarvis replied with a curt nod. “This way Mr. Barnes.”
Bucky began to follow the man but stopped again as his brain intercepted, instead he frantically turned to the familiar faces of his family. He searched for signs of malice, as he waited for the world to come crashing down around him. To wake up from this cruel dream and come face to face with his torturers. When he saw nothing but blank, confused stares, he silently followed the old man.
“My tailor and barber.” Tony explained as he began to walk off down the hall. Y/n and Peter followed quickly after him, signaling the remainder of the group to do the same. “Barnes could do with a spruce up if he’s going to be staying with us… And child size clothes aren’t a good look.”
“Tony that’s very kind of you, but please let me send a few things over for him or at least bill it to us. He’s my man after all.” Steve reasoned, catching up with Tony.
“Nonsense Steve! We can spare a small fortune to get the man looking smart, right?” Tony paused, his eyes flickering to Y/n as he silently asked for her permission. “Plus the red white and blue would stand out in Queens.”
As much as Steve hated the idea, he couldn’t argue with Tony’s logic. He knew deep down if they were to hide Bucky here successfully, then he’d have to blend in. He shuddered at the thought of his best friend donning the red and gold colours of Queens.
The night was meant to be a celebration of sorts, but the atmosphere hanging over the room was far from jovial. Peter had tried to keep everyone talking. However, after the first twenty minutes, he'd exhausted all the talking points he’d thought of during Tony’s tour.
He’d spoken with all of the guests, with the exception of Bucky, who had stared right through him, ignoring his very existence. Eventually, he’d settled in a chair opposite Natasha, resuming his earlier actions of staring down at the floor, bouncing his legs nervously.
Y/n stood beside Tony on one side of the room as they conversed in hushed tones about their new guest. It was imperative to both of them that they had a plan of action. Y/n sensed that Tony had already formulated a plan, but he wasn’t ready to share it yet. Only giving her a few pieces of the puzzle.
Thoughts of Bucky invaded her mind once again, successfully setting up camp in the forefront of her mind. Carefully, she peered in his direction with the intention of looking away immediately. However, once she had him in her sights she couldn’t look away.
Tony’s barber had worked his usual magic and had cleaned Bucky up magnificently. His long unwashed hair was a distant memory as he now sported a short cropped style that highlighted his chiseled cheekbones.
Under the harsh lights of the room and no longer hidden behind the veil of his hair, she could see a yellow tinged bruise that spanned from his forehead to his cheek. She could also see dotted purple bruising along his jawline, nestled between the short, clean stubble that had been left on his face.
Jarvis had spent the afternoon digging through the loft, in hopes of finding something more suitable than his previous garments. Although it was a rather unsuccessful venture, he’d managed to find one all black suit that was an acceptable size. The trousers fitted perfectly, as did the shirt, the suit jacket on the other hand was a couple of sizes too big. The arms were too long and it hung off him baggily, but he seemed more comfortable than earlier.
Since Bucky had resurfaced from his room, Sam had become a relentless bodyguard for him. They stood impossibly close, their elbows always touching. It was clear how uncomfortable they both were, but pure stubbornness stopped either of them from moving and admitting defeat.
Bucky’s gaze shot up from the floor, feeling eyes on him. He searched for the culprit burning a hole in his head. Their eyes met from across the room, his icy stare boring into her. He quirked his eyebrow challenging her, the corners of his lips turned up into a smirk.
Y/n’s breath hitched in her lungs as his eyes flickered up and down her frame, analysing her in the same way she had done to him. She felt exposed. He was taunting her, giving her a taste of her own medicine, but still her eyes never left him.
She’d lost track of the world around her, unaware if Tony was still talking to her. So consumed that didn’t see Steve coming her way. He stepped into her vision, abruptly ending the pair’s eye contest. Y/n looked up surprised, letting out a relieved breath.
He smiled at her curiously, “I thought it might help if I introduced you to him before we leave. Just so he knows you.”
His tone suggested far more than his words offered up. She’d been caught red-handed, by more than one person in the room.
Y/n tried to hide her embarrassment, plastering a fake smile on her face and nodded to Steve. “I was thinking the same thing actually.” She replied, linking her fingers under his elbow, allowing him to lead the way.
“Buck, this is Y/n Stallworth.” Steve announced. “Tony and I have spoken and decided that she’s going to oversee your stay.”
Sam stepped forward before Bucky could respond, extending his hand to her out of respect. Bucky’s greeting was far more cold, offering nothing more than a nod as he smirked at her again.
She smiled politely at Sam, although it was strained and turned her attention to Bucky. “James, I look forward to getting to know you better while you’re here.”
Bucky scoffed loudy, before he could stop himself. Up close his dark features seemed menacing. “Look doll face, I can see through the little act and I don’t need a shrink.”
Sam and Steve turned their attention to Bucky, shocked. “Good because I’m not one, not a good one anyway.” Y/n replied simply letting out a humourless chuckle. “But if you need anything at all please just ask.”
Bucky examined her face, the tired eyes and the strained smile spoke loudly. It was clear to him that she was only doing this purely out of obligation. “Well it has been a while, you know of any good strip clubs around this way?” He shot back snarkily.
She’d tried to remain unphased, but her face deceived her. She was unable to hold back, rolling her eyes and walked away from him, leaving his unanswered question suspended in the air.
Bucky regretted his words as soon as they flew out of his mouth. Sighing as he watched her saunter off in Peter’s direction, retreating from his stupidity.
Sam placed his hand on Bucky’s shoulder and squeezed it softly. Bucky flinched at the intrusion on his body. “Nice one Bucky. You just pissed off the one nice person willing to help you.” Sam chuckled quietly, walking off.
“Don’t call me that.” Bucky muttered after Sam was out of earshot. He turned to Steve, hoping to find some reassurance. But Steve’s face was tinged pink with rage. His jaw clenched, eyes stern. Bucky had to apologise.
Dinner and the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol lifted the spirits of the whole group. The flow of expensive whiskey loosened almost everyone’s lips, although Bucky much preferred the tense silence.
It was overwhelming how loud they had become, it hurt him that he couldn’t join the conversations fully. Three years locked up as an experiment had rendered him useless. He didn’t know of the new operations, the unrelenting politics or hot gossip. It was the loneliest he’d felt in a long time.
Everyone’s attention had turned to a debate regarding Carol Davners and the Bronx family. So, he decided to slip away, in search of a quiet place to look out at the ocean.
He strolled down the long empty hallway, staring at the cream coloured walls littered with photo frames. There was no dust collected on the frames; but, it was clear they hadn’t been touched in years. There were many of Tony with his father and in all of them he looked uncomfortable, they both did.
He stopped as he came to a photo of Tony and a little girl at the beach. They’d built a large sandcastle kingdom that was decorated with seashells, both real and sand. Tony and the young girl’s hands were thrown in the air, large cheesy grins splayed on their faces and one leg in the air, ready to knock down their kingdom to rubble.
He inspected the photo closely, recognising Y/n’s features in the young girl. He looked around him, noticing more of her on the walls.
Bucky didn’t know Y/n’s story completely. Everyone knew about her parents. He remembered hearing about their story when he was a rookie, but that was. Looking at the pictures, she was clearly a member of this family and he was happy she’d had somewhere to go after the incident. It resonated with him, as he’d lost most of his family early on and quickly found refuge with Steve and his parents.
He moved along coming to a set of large red stained double doors. The left door was cracked open enough that he could see the floor to ceiling bookcases. He’d been pulled in by the smell of leather bound books before he’d realised he was entering the room uninvited.
He pulled his right hand free from the confines of his black leather glove, running his hand along many smooth spines as he walked further into the large library. He passed a few bookcases before coming into a clearing in the centre of the room and he noticed her immediately.
Y/n had slipped off earlier, but no besides Bucky had noticed. He’d been checking on her throughout the evening; waiting for her to have a free moment, trying to build up his courage and apologise. But she’d slipped off subtly before he’d got the chance.
She was seated on the large cushioned window sill. Her head was resting against the window as she stared out to the beach. The top window was cracked open, allowing the sound of the ocean to ride in on the waves of the cold spring air. She had a worn out book resting in her lap, it closely resembled the hundreds he’d passed on his way in.
Bucky was surprised by the sight before him. Gone was the tailored burgundy pant suit she’d sported earlier. Now she wore grey shorts and a navy oversized sweatshirt, with the sleeves rolled up so that they sat just under her wrists. Her walls were completely down, the cogs in her mind were taking a well deserved rest.
Bucky stood there for another moment admiring her, before clearing his throat to catch her attention.“Sorry. I didn’t know anyone else was in here.” He mumbled, his eyes dropped to the floor sheepishly. “I should have knocked.”
“On a library door? Sweetie, this isn’t a strip club, you don’t need permission to come inside.” She smirked to herself, turning to face him. Although he was lost for words, Bucky relaxed as he caught her playful expression. “You’re fine. Please stay if you want.” She answered herself. Her smirk changed into a gentle smile that she sent to him.
Bucky’s mind blipped. He felt the rug being pulled from under his feet. This wasn’t the strained smile she’d forced herself to wear all day, this was genuine and beautiful.
Y/n turned her attention back to the window, whilst Bucky rocked back on his heels, lifting his ungloved hand to scratch the back of his neck anxiously as he decided where to sit. His eyes flickered over the many options, there were bean bag chairs, a blue sofa and an armchair in the clearing. It wasn’t by any means over crowded, but it seemed like too much furniture for one space. With a sigh, he lowered himself into the leather armchair that faced the window.
The light inside the room was just gentle enough to allow him to view the world outside. He’d found the perfect spot to watch the world go by.
Bucky became so engrossed by the calm unchanging waters, that he didn’t notice Y/n turn back. Her eyes flitted down to his hands, the exposed one was tinted a light shade of pink. He’d piqued her interest, she’d noticed he had worn the gloves constantly since he’d arrived. But now wasn’t the time.
“Why did you leave everyone else?” Bucky asked, turning his attention to her.
Y/n was surprised by the directness of his question. For a moment she pondered her answer as they examined each other’s faces.
“I suffer from anxiety. So I usually slip off a little early when my social batteries are drained.” She paused and took a deep breath. While she didn’t enjoy the prospect of sharing this information with a total stranger, how could she expect him to open up to her, if she wasn’t willing to do the same. “I try to stay a little bit longer each time because I know there will be a day when I have to stick around for the whole thing. For now though, Tony knows where I am if he needs me.”
Bucky’s mouth gaped open slightly as he allowed her honest words to wash over him. He looked as though he might speak, but quickly clenched his jaw shut again.
“What?” She asked quietly as she watched carefully as his face went through a jumble of emotions.
“Nothing.” He finally looked away from her soft eyes, focusing back on the ocean. “Sorry about earlier…”
“It’s okay.” Y/n smiled, returning her gaze back outside. “It’s beautiful out there isn’t it?” She asked, not really expecting an answer as they fell into a silence that was somewhere between awkward and pleasant.
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