"You can do this, Clint."
"Steve will bring Bucky over. You can count on that."
"I know -"
"Tony has made the necessary arrangements as per requested. You don't have to worry."
"I'm not. But Nat, what if..."
"Trust your heart, Clint. Trust in your relationship. Trust in what you share."
Annoyed, Bucky looked up just as Steve sidled over. He had that familiar, determined look on his face that Bucky had a bad feeling about.
"What do you want Stevie?" He grumbled, returning his gaze to his coffee. He scowled at his reflection on the black mirror, which scowled back at him. "Leave me alone."
Steve took that as invitation to lean even closer into Bucky's personal space. He was looking very earnest. "Uh uh, no way, Bucky. Do you remember that thing you asked me to help you with?"
Bucky frowned, clearly not liking where this conversation was going. Yeah, he definitely remembered the favour he asked from Steve - somehow getting Tony to get him that Street 750 Harley Davidson bike that Bucky had been shamelessly been ogling at. Steve had fully utilised his bedroom and seducing skills on Tony, who finally, grudgingly acquiesced after a mind-blowing third round. Tony even added some upgrades, after Steve promised him steamy workshop sex afterwards.
"Yeah," was the only thing Bucky said. He friggin' loved that bike. "What do you want, then, Steve?"
Steve was staring intently at him. "Accompany me to Brooklyn Bar tonight."
"What?" Bucky shot his best friend an incredulous look with a tone to match. "What the hell are you going to do there? It's not like we can get drunk anyway."
"There is a performance I would like to see," Steve insisted.
"Bring your boyfriend!"
"He'll be waiting for us there, Bucky. And you promised."
"Okay, okay, fine, Steve. After this, we're even!"
"They're here, Clint. He's here."
"Tony's there with them too. They're well within your line of sight, so you won't be able to miss them."
"You look fine, Clint. Everything will be alright."
"You promised me, Clint."
"Clint, just go out there. If all else fails, I'm still here with you. You know that."
"We have a surprise guest performing for us tonight," The emcee was saying, "He composed this song entirely on his own, for someone who has always been, and will always be, special to him, regardless of what had happened between them."
Bucky shifted uneasily on his seat. Why the hell was he feeling so anxious?
When the figure stepped into the spotlight, Bucky was so shocked he bolted upright from his seat, nearly toppling their table over.
"Presenting, Clint Barton, with his song, My World."
From across the floor, Clint's eyes met his, and he looked so, so heartbroken. He was dressed in the suit Bucky had bought him as his birthday present last year, with the purple tie Bucky had gotten for him last Christmas, and the sight of Clint, still keeping the things Bucky had given him, still wearing the things Bucky had given him, even after what had happened between them, sent a sharp pang through Bucky's heart.
Steve yanked at him to sit down.
Clint bowed slightly to the audience, before making his way to the grand purple piano sitting inconspicuously at the corner of the stage.
"Leaves falling in the summer time..."
Clint could never forget that night, the night when everything had fallen apart, had crashed and burned all around him. It was his fault, really. Bucky was only terribly worried for his safety, yet time and again Clint had recklessly thrown all caution to the wind even if it was for good of the mission, even if it was to save Bucky who clearly didn't need any saving, much less from a frail human like him, being a super soldier Winter Soldier he was.
"I can't do this anymore, Clint," Bucky had confronted him after the mission, pissed as all hells. "I can't care for you when you don't care about yourself! There's no point in me to keep protecting you when all you ever do is to throw yourself needlessly into nearby danger! And don't you even dare say it's to save others! How could you possibly hope to save others when you can't even save yourself?!"
"And the days and nights, feel the same..."
Clint had thrown himself into any available missions SHIELD could throw at him. He realized with a start that he had gone exactly what Bucky was against him doing, but now Bucky didn't care anymore so all the more Clint shouldn't. It was during these missions that night blended seamlessly into day, again and again as he waited to take his shot. When he was on sniper mode, no other thoughts crossed his mind other than the need to complete the mission's objectives successfully.
"I'm looking for the mask I hide behind, so then how'd you go and rain on this parade..."
Clint tried, he really did, to act as though he was perfectly fine whenever Bucky was around. But he almost always couldn't maintain that facade, and soon enough he would be fleeing from the scene before he did something stupid like crying in front of everybody.
"Now I guess that there's nothing more that I can say..."
If Bucky wanted to leave, there was nothing Clint could say to make him stay, to make him change his mind. Clint was certain that even if he did try to say something, he would probably say something he shouldn't.
"So why'd you leave my world, when you turned your back and left me far behind..."
Despite his best intentions, Clint couldn't keep his voice from cracking, nor could he keep his tears from escaping.
"You saved me from the front line."
You've saved my life countless times, Bucky, but please, save me again. I can't breathe easy, can't sleep at night till you're by my side. I can't dream yet another dream without you lying next to me. There's no air.
"And when you walked out I couldn't let you know that I..."
Clint took a shuddering breath.
"... can't let go."
Clint paused, his fingers running across the ivory keys of the piano, as he vainly fought for his tattered control.
"... can't let go."
Bucky didn't know what stunned him most - the fact that Clint was able to play the damned piano, able to compose a song, able to sing or the fact that Clint actually cried during the performance, singing a song especially written for him...
"Go after him, Bucky," Steve was nudging him none too gently.
And so he did.
Natasha gestured him to the top, which meant that Clint had predictably gone for the roof to hide.
Clint was standing too close to the edge for Bucky's comfort, and out of desperation, Bucky did the only thing that he could of;
"The best thing about tonight's that we're not fighting
It couldn't be that we have been this way before
I know you don't think that I am trying
I know you're wearing thin down to the core
But hold your breath
Because tonight will be the night that I will fall for you
Don't make me change my mind
Or I won't live to see another day
I swear it's true
Because a guy like you is impossible to find
You're impossible to find..."
At that Clint spun around, so astounded he took a couple of steps towards Bucky, much to Bucky's relief.
"Secondhand Serenade?" Clint chuckled weakly. "Really?"
Bucky flushed. "The damned song was everywhere, okay?"
Clint could only watch in wonder as Bucky closed the distance between them. "Do you mean it, Bucky? The song you just sang?"
Bucky nodded seriously. "Every word."
Clint looked miserable all over again. "Look, Bucky, I'm..."
Bucky knew what Clint was going to say, so he kissed Clint long and hard to shut him up. After awhile he broke off the kiss and rested his forehead against Clint's, brushing their noses slightly.
"It's not only your fault, Clint. It's mine too. Both of us have been stupid and reckless, disappointed and upset. You couldn't help do what you did because you're being you, and because you love me, and I couldn't help react the way I did because I was being me, and I love you, and I have loved you from the start."
Clint's voice was tentative when he asked, "Even now?"