Bucky Barnes walks out of the bathroom from his morning shower. He grabs some clothes and gets dressed and finishes getting ready for school like he normally does. But when he finishes, and he reaches for his book bag by the desk in his room, he glances through his window to see if the girl next door is getting ready for school. He unfortunately sees her bundled up under her covers in her bed. She's curled up in a ball, staring at the wall in front of her. He sighs and grabs his book bag before walking out of his room.
Pietro seems worried about her too. When Bucky asks him about her, he just looks down and sighs.
"I don't know. She hasn't left her room in three days. She says she doesn't feel good, but I think it's something else," He answers as he's shoving books into his locker.
"Do you think that guy would know?" Bucky asks pointing at the tall blond walking past them by himself.
"Thor? I'm not sure. I haven't even thought about asking him if he knew anything."
"I can ask," Bucky says.
Pietro slams his locker door with a confused look on his face. "If you insist, Bucky. Go ahead."
Bucky nods and walks away, looking for Thor. He has to know something about Wanda. Bucky remembers seeing Thor for the first time. A tall, muscular human being, though he doesn't seem like a human. He remembers seeing Wanda giving Thor a tour of the school when Thor transferred high schools, and he remembers that pang of jealously beat against him when he saw Thor kissing Wanda's hand, making her cheeks turn a beautiful rouge. UGH! What is talking about? He wasn't jealous! He's got to find Thor and help Pietro find out what's wrong with Wanda.
He finally spots the giant down the hall, but the bell rings before Bucky can take another step closer. He sees Thor pat the back of a pal and walk to his classroom. Bucky can't be late for math again, so he'll catch Thor later.
Wanda tosses and turns, trying to get some sleep. She moves her legs around in various positions to get comfortable, but she feels too exposed no matter how she lays down. She angrily throws her covers off of her and stands up. She runs to the bathroom, grabbing a towel and rag on the way. She turns nothing but the scorching hot water on, and quickly steps in.
'What if he's watching you shower right now? You better hurry!' Wanda thinks to herself.
She grabs an exfoliating brush and starts scratching and scratching and rubbing every inch of her skin till it's raw. Her back stings, her chest itches, and her legs give out. She's sitting down in the shower when she quickly grabs the rag and her body soap. She scrubs every part of her body with soap until the scorching hot water started to cool down.
She rinses the soap off her body and steps out of the shower. She quickly dries off and puts on a pair of baggy sweatpants and a large t-shirt. She leaves her hair in a bun because she didn't feel like washing it again. She exits the bathroom and is startled to see a male in her room. She nearly jumps out the window again until she realizes it's Pietro.
"Whoa!" He says. "Sorry. I didn't mean to scare you, sis."
"It's okay. I didn't expect you to be home right now," Wanda responds.
Pietro sits in Wanda's desk chair in front of her. "You feel any better?"
Wanda shakes her head at him and goes to sit back down on her bed.
"What's wrong?" He asks.
She shrugs. "I don't know. I told mom, and she told me to try some NyQuil. That just made me really sleepy."
"Well, if you're really sick, then you need to sleep. It's helps a lot when you're sick," Pietro says, knowing Wanda isn't really sick.
There's something going on with Wanda that she's not telling anyone about. Pietro usually stays out of Wanda's business, but he thinks he needs to intervene on this one, but he doesn't want to push her, so he won't pester her with too many questions right now. Something has been off with Wanda since before this week. She's actually seemed different for two of three weeks now. Their parents haven't been around for her to talk to. He hasn't been around enough for her to talk to, and the guilt settles in his stomach. Why does he have to be the worst brother in the world? Why does he have to be the worst TWIN in the world? It's not that hard to reassure Wanda that if she needs to talk, then she can always come to him. She says that to him all the time!
"Are you sure you're okay?"
"I'll be okay, once I get over this," She says, gesturing to her face, signalling signs of a cold or something.
"Look, I'm your brother. I'm always on your side, so if you ever need someone to talk to, you can always come to me tool," He tells her.
He swears her eyes are filled with tears, but she blinks them away before any of them spill out. Pietro stands up from Wanda's desk chair, gives her a hug and walks to her door.
"I better get back to school before next period," Pietro says. Wanda nods and lays back down on her pillow. "Love you, Wand."
"Love you too," She says as he's walking out the door.
The tears start streaming down her face.
Bucky waits by the door of Thor's third period class. The bell is about to ring in a few seconds, so he doesn't have to wait for a long time. He hopes Thor will talk to him because he had to sweet talk his environmental studies teacher to let him out a couple minutes early.
The bell rings, and the door opens. Student pour out the classroom, but it isn't hard to miss Thor walking out. He nearly has to duck his head under the door frame.
"Hey! You're Thor, right? Wanda's friend?" Bucky asks.
Thor is kind of surprised to see James Buchanan Barnes standing here talking to him, let alone waiting on him to get out of class. Thor remembers that he has to respond to questions that are being asked to him. "Yea?"
"Can I ask you a question about her?" Bucky asks.
"About Wanda? What do you want to know about her?" Thor asks, immediately ready to protect Wanda at all costs.
"It's all good, dude. I just want to know if you've talked to her in the last couple of days. She's my neighbor, she's my tutor, she's a friend, and I'm just worried about her," Bucky asks.
Thor sighs. "I don't know anything. She hasn't texted me since Sunday, and I've been trying to reach her since then."
"Every time I see her, she's sleeping or trying to go to sleep. Pietro says she claims that she's sick, but it doesn't seem like it to either of us," Bucky says.
Thor crosses his massive arms in front of him. "She hasn't been talking to me. I don't know what's going on. I want to go talk to her, but I want to give her some space, you know?"
Bucky nods. "I know what you mean."
Thor looks at the worried expression on Bucky's face when Bucky turns his head away from him. He didn't think Bucky was being sincere when he approached him, but Thor swears, he can see something going on in Bucky's head, and it is one hundred percent about Wanda.
"What?" Bucky asks when he catches Thor looking at him.
Thor shrugs. "Nothing. I'm just wondering what's got you so into Wanda all of a sudden. I know Pietro didn't ask you to talk to me because Pietro will do that on his own time, so I'm curious."
"Believe it or not, I've known Wanda since we were little kids. I consider her a friend. I want her to okay," Bucky defends himself.
"So you know about your little gang of friends making her life a living hell?"
"Well...no. I didn't," Bucky answers truthfully.
And his response is true. He doesn't pay much attention to what his friends do like he should. He knows his friends can be assholes, but he never thought they would bully Wanda. Wanda is Pietro's sister, and Pietro is their friend. What kind of people treat their friend's siblings that way? Ugh! He should've known! Clint and Steve and Nat and Betty and Darcy and a whole lot of other people are always laughing about something when Wanda walks by. Does he really not pay that much attention to them when she's around? Either way, he should've known, and he has to put a stop to it. The first thing he's gonna do is talk to Wanda.
"You didn't?" Thor asks.
"No. I thought they were nice to her because she's Pietro's sister," Bucky says. "But I never pay attention to any of them whenever she's around. She always smiles and waves at me, which gets my attention more than what those idiots are talking about."
"How am I supposed to believe you?"
"Because I'm asking you if you've heard from her. Because you and Pietro aren't the only ones worried about her," Bucky answers.
Thor processes his response for a minute. He sighs, "Pietro was able to talk to her between third and forth period today. He said it looked like she'd been bawling her eyes out, and she looked exhausted...Do you have any ideas on how we can get her to talk to us?"
Bucky looks around and ponders the thought. He really doesn't know how he'll get Wanda to talk to him or Thor if she's in the state she's in. She barely wanted to talk to her own brother, so something serious is going on, and Bucky just wants to help her through it.
"I think I have an idea. It's kind of cheesy, but I think we'll get some sort of response."
"Where the hell did you get this idea from?" Thor laughs at Bucky's idea.
Bucky looks at the piece of printer paper with the words, "CHIN UP PRINCESS, OR THE CROWN SLIPS. We hope you're okay. Everything is going to be okay." He grabs some tape out the drawer of his desk and tapes the sign on his window, right where Wanda will be able to see it.
"You've seen that Taylor Swift video, right?" Bucky asks.
Thor's smile fades. "You're a fucking idiot."
"Do you have any better ideas?" Bucky asks, looking back at Thor. The two bicker back and forth over the "cheesiness" and "idiocy" and "stupidity" of the idea. Thor starts to beg Bucky to take the sign down before they both make fools of themselves. Bucky argues against it, and they sound like an old married couple for a good two minutes before Bucky says, "You want me to take the sign down? Fine! I'll take the fucking sign down!"
Bucky looks across to the window directly in front of his, where there's a response taped back.
"Hey! Looky there!" Thor says pointing at Wanda's window.
Bucky's heart skips a beat when he sees that the note says, "Will you both come here, please?"
Wanda's bedroom door is unlocked, and she's laying down in her bed when Thor and Bucky knock and enter. They cross the room so they can see her face, and Pietro was right when he said it looked like she'd been bawling her eyes out.
"Hey," Thor greets her first. "How you feeling?"
"Better. Now," She responds. "Thank you both for coming over here. I don't...I don't know what's wrong with me. I...I...I can't bring myself to get out of bed. I gotta...I feel like I need to run away."
Bucky's heart rate picks up speed when she says this. He really doesn't want anything bad to happen to Wanda, so her saying this right now isn't good.
"I know I'm...I'm springing a lot of the both of you, but...I've been holding this in. I gotta get away from here," Wanda says. "But I don't want to. I can't do that to you, Thor, and I can't do that...I can't do that to Pietro."
"Do you want to talk about what's bothering you? You don't have to if you don't want to. We can help you get your mind off it," Bucky suggests.
Wanda finally meets her teary green eyes with his. She just stares at him for a minute. Taking in all of his beauty. Now it's her turn for her heartbeat to quicken. He's absolutely breathtaking to her, but she reminds herself that she isn't the same for him.
She shakes her head. "I don't want to talk about anything. I just want you both to be here...if that's okay."
Bucky and Thor look at each other and shrug. "It's alright with me," Thor says.
"Don't you have football practice today, though?" Wanda asks.
"No. Coach is sick, and he doesn't trust anyone with us," Bucky responds. Wanda nods in understanding and turns on her back in bed. She rests her hands behind her head and finally feels a little bit relaxed.
"Do you want to watch a movie or something?" Thor asks. "I'm sure Bucky, here, could learn a thing or two."
Wanda rolls her eyes and turns Netflix on. She doesn't really pay attention to the movie she picks because she's so tired. She thinks she picks a Disney movie and gets too comfortable before the first thirty minutes are over. She closes her eyes and drifts into sleep. The first real sleep she's had in a few days. A comfortable sleep.
Wanda nearly panics when she wakes up at four in the morning. She sits straight up, pants for air, and waits for her heartbeat to regulate. Her hair sticks to her neck and chest due to the sweat, and she feel like she could scream. Then she sees James sleeping in her beanbag chair. He looks very comfortable, but it's cold in her room, so she gets out of her bed to grab him a blanket.
She pulls one out of her closet and unfolds it, laying it across his body. His body stirs once she does this, feeling the change in temperature. He slowly opens his eyes and smiles at her once he does.
"Are you okay?" He immediately asks her.
"Yes," She tells him. "Go back to sleep.
"What time is it?" He asks.
"After four a.m.," Wanda responds.
Bucky's eyes widen. He's definitely overstepped his boundary here. He's about to get up from her comfortable beanbag chair, but she gently pushes him back into it.
"Would you mind, staying? Please?" She asks so sweetly, he can't tell her 'no'.
"I don't mind staying. Do you need anything or want anything?" He asks.
"No. I'm okay, right now. You can go back to sleep," She answers.
"Are you sure?" He asks one more time.
Bucky smiles at her. "Goodnight, Wanda. You try to go back to sleep too."
"I will...Thank you...Goodnight, James."
Boy, did it feel good to hear her say his name again.