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Holding On

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You were sitting inside a nearly empty coffee shop outside of Brooklyn nursing a cup of coffee when the front page of a newspaper sitting at the table next to you caught your eye. Glancing around, you reached over and snagged it, your eyes narrowing as you scan the headline: “The Thief Who Can Walk Through Walls”, and underneath a grainy security camera image that looked just a little bit too much like you. You bit your lip as you considered the driving time between Kansas and Brooklyn, would they be looking for you here yet? Best not to risk it, you decide, tucking the newspaper under your arm. You’d have to get a change of clothes. Your usual grey hoodie and leather jacket combo would have to go now that you had been captured on camera. You head down the alleyway beside the cafe considering your little slip up. It was supposed to be an easy, routine robbery--if you would even call it that. Teleport into the vault, grab just enough to live on for a while, a grand or two at most, and out. Unfortunately teleporting someplace you couldn’t see was a little harder, and dangerous, and instead of landing in the vault, you landed just outside in plain view of a security camera. Happens to the best of us, you sigh glance around to make sure no one was in sight before you twisted in the air and appeared in the dirty motel room you had rented out the night before.

Immediately something felt out of place and your gut was screaming at you to disappear when the lights in the room clicked on. Leaning against your kitchen counter was none other than Tony-fucking-Stark, clutching your purple Jansport bag in one hand and a glass of what looked like scotch in the other. You whirled around to see Captain America standing by the light switch, his arms crossed across his broad chest. You consider your chances of getting your bag away from Stark and Captain America, found it to be almost zero, and started to twist out of there when Captain America lunged forward, locking his large hands around your wrists.

“Let me go!” You hiss, struggling in his grasp. It would do you no good to teleport out of there if he was just going to come with you.

“Will you stay and talk to us?” The Captain asked, “We’re not going to hurt you, we just want to talk.”

You glared at Stark, and then nod slowly. Immediately your hands were released and you turned your head slightly to spit at the Captain’s feet.

“I didn’t realize the Avengers cared about petty robbery these days,” You said mockingly, slowly moving forward into the room and away from the burly man behind you, your body tense as you prepared to take off at any second.

“We don’t,” Stark said, “Well, I mean, Cap’s not a fan, but that’s neither here nor there. If you don’t like what we have to say then you’re free to go kid, I’ll give you your bag back and everything. Scouts honor.” You roll your eyes and cross your arms. “We’re here to talk to you about the Avenger’s Initiative.” You don’t know what you expected him to say, but it sure as hell wasn’t that, and a choked laugh escapes your throat.

“You...want me...to join the Avengers?” Another laugh, and Stark almost looked amused. Captain America however did not, as he strolled forward to stand next to his teammate.

“I’m not sure what’s so funny about this situation,” he said, and crossed his arms once more. You wondered if he was doing that to intimidate you with his massive muscles. It wasn’t working.

“What’s funny is that you want me to join your ragtag bunch of do-gooder superheroes.” You grin. “No thank you. Is that all? Can I have my shit back?” Stark was full on grinning now as he reached back to grab a file folder.

“Not quite--Looks to me like you’ve been running from something. You can track your string of “petty robberies” around the world twice. Most aren’t reported, you never take more than two grand from anywhere, but if you’re looking…” Stark trailed off, tossing the folder behind him onto the counter. “We can offer you a roof over your head, a fat paycheck, and protection from whatever you’re running from. All we ask in return is you use your unique skill set to help us save the world. Seems like a pretty good deal to me kid. And if it doesn’t work out, well I’m not sure there’s anything we could do to prevent you from leaving, is there?”

“Not a damn thing,” you mumble before tossing the folded newspaper towards the two men. The captain snatched it out of the air with a frown. “Can you make that go away?”

“Done,” Stark said, downing the rest of his drink. “Cap, you take her back to base, and I’ll see what I can do about the kid’s photograph being national news.”

“You got a car?” Captain America asked, tossing you your bag.

“Please.” You grin, holding out your hand to him. “Coordinates?” You concentrated as he read them off. “Hold on tight,” you advise as you twisted, pulling him with you. You weren’t very practiced at landing with passengers so you both stumble clumsily. You immediately drop the Captain’s hand, only to grasp his arm as he swayed unsteadily on his feet.

“Ugh,” Captain America grunted, “Never doing that again.”

“If that’s true then why am I here Captain?” You roll your eyes, but you were kind of amused that you had unsettled the super soldier. “Besides, you get used to it. Imagine how it was the first time for me.”

“It’s Steve, Steve Rogers. Let me show you inside.” You hoist your bag onto your shoulder and fall into step with him as he leads you towards the compound. You eye the vast nondescript building warily. Just the sort of place to lock you up for all kinds of nasty experiments. You glance over at Steve “Mr. Patriotism” Rogers and decide he doesn’t particularly look like the torture and experimentation type.

“The first floor is just reception and conference rooms,” Steve was explaining as we walked through the front doors. The inside was clean and airy, and a pretty receptionist smiled from a smooth white desk. You follow Steve to a glass elevator and step inside. No turning back now. “B1 is the common areas, the kitchen, the training rooms, and the lounge. B2, B3, and B4 are the living quarters. You’re going to be on B2. B5 is Stark and Banner’s labs as well as medical.” You watched as he pressed the round button marked B2. The ride was so smooth that you hadn’t realized you had moved until the elevator doors slid open and revealed a clean open hallway. Two doors marked either side of the long hallway. “The first room on the left is mine, Wanda, who you’ll meet later is across on the right. You’re up here on the right,” he stopped in front of the door and it slid open automatically revealing a large open living space decorated in the same modern clean decorating scheme. You took a few steps in, taking in the small kitchenette and large living room

“Wow,” You breathed, running your hand along the marble countertop.

‘Yeah,” Rogers chuckled, “A lot better than that skeevy motel room you were staying in.” You shoot him a look but he just smiles, “Bedroom and bathroom are down the hall.”

“Great… I’ll check those out later.” You shift your weight, suddenly feeling awkward, “So what now?”

“Well if you’re ready, we’ll meet the others in the training room. You can meet everyone and we’ll be able to test your abilities.”

“A test? I think you know how my abilities work.” You narrow your eyes.

“We’re not expecting you to be full on Avenger material right off the bat, but we are interested in your hand to hand combat capabilities.”

You frown, “I’ve never been in a fight in my life.”

“We’ll train you, we just want to see what kind of raw material we have to work with.”

“Right, fine,” you sigh and toss your bag onto the counter, “Lead the way Captain.”

Stark was already standing outside of the training room door when you arrive, “You ready for this kiddo?”

“Scared I’ll take down one of your precious Avengers Stark?” You taunt with your hands on your hips, sounding much more confident than you felt.The older man grinned and waved you forward into the room. Your eyes jump from face to face trying not to be intimidated by the group of superheroes standing in front of you.

“Avengers, this is our new recruit,” Stark clapped his hand on your shoulder, and you quickly shrug it off. “This is Dr. Banner, Wanda, Vision, Clint, Natasha, and Sam.” The Hulk, The Scarlet Witch, the Android, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and the Falcon, you mentally told yourself.

“Damn Stark, talk about jailbait. Where’d you find this one?” Sam joked, stepping forward towards you. You glance up, meeting his friendly gaze with your own cold one. “I’m just messing with you, I’m Sam Wilson. Nice to meet you.”

“Yeah, you too,” You said warily as you shook his hand.

“Alright,” Steve called your attention back to him, “Sam, I want you to test the new recruit.”

‘Okay,” he grins moving towards the center of the room, “I’ll try not to hurt you too bad,” he said with a wink in your direction. You force yourself to not glance around the room once more and instead focus on calming your nerves as you turn to face the dark-skinned man. He pauses, waiting for you to make a move, but you stay still, watching him for any signs of movement. After a handful of seconds he lunges towards you faster than you expected, but right before he hit you you disappear, leaving him off balanced and you with an opening as you appear behind him, using your momentum to kick him low in the back and sending him sprawling to the ground. He curses as he quickly hops to his feet and spins around to face you again.

“Alright, alright,” his grin disappears,, “I see how it is now.” He takes another quick lunge at you and you quickly teleport about a foot to the side, letting his fist hit the empty air beside you. He quickly turns to aim a kick in your new direction, so you move back to your previous position. Adrenaline was pumping through your veins in a way you had never felt before, and it felt good. Really good. Before Sam could attack again you flit away, landing about four feet in front of him and facing off once more. You could hear Steve murmuring something quietly to Stark, but you didn’t dare turn to see if he looked disappointed or impressed. Sam was tensed, this time determined to wait you out and force you to make the first move. With no outward warning, you disappear, appearing directly in front of him and delivering the hardest punch you could muster to the other man’s jaw before returning to your original place. Sam immediately charges forward, and you quickly appeared behind him. Unfortunately he had been expecting that, and spun around delivering a solid kick to your abdomen. You let out a pained gasp as you fall backwards, landing hard on your back and leaving you winded.

Sam came to your side, holding out a hand to help you out. After a moment you take, wincing at the pain in your stomach as you rise to your feet. “You alright?” You nod, not trusting that your words wouldn’t come out as wheezing pants. “You’re not bad,” Sam said, “For an amateaur.”

“You did good,” Steve said, coming up behind you to clap his large hand on your shoulder before you could retort. “Take five.” He nods over towards a bench against the wall and you quickly crossed the room to reach it before gingerly settling yourself down on it. The Avengers all came together, and you realize, embarrassed that they were talking about you. You strained to hear what they were saying as you gently probed your stomach with your fingers, wincing as you found the sore spot.

“Her power is very impressive,” you hear Vision say, “Something like that could be invaluable during infiltration missions, or to get people out if a job goes bad. You said she can take passengers?”

“She brought me from Brooklyn to the tower. It felt like a kick to the head, but she says you get used to it. We’d have to train with her individually, landing in enemy territory disoriented like that could mean death.”

“Her hand to hand skills could use a lot of work,” Natasha commented, “But that can be learned. Her ability gives her a good natural defense.”

“Definitely strength training as well, she put a lot into her attacks but they weren’t exactly packing a punch.” Sam noted.

“Alright,” Steve nodded, “We’ll start her on a training schedule immediately. Nat, you’ll work on her hand to hand combat in the morning. Clint, you’ll teach her to shoot directly after. In the afternoons we’ll rotate working on teleporting with her.”

You watch as they all broke apart and filled out of the room, leaving you and Steve. You stood up as he walked over to you, meeting him halfway.

“How’s the stomach?” He asked, a friendly smile on his lips. You gently pulled up your shirt to examine the faint bruise spreading across your pale skin with a grimace, before letting it fall back down.

“I think I’ll live,” You told him.

“Good. Stark’s ordered pizza, it should be in the kitchen. I’ll show you to it.” You gesture for him to lead the way and fall into step beside him.

“So what was it like the first time?” Steve asks after a moment, peering down at you. You glance up confused. “The first time you teleported, you mentioned it earlier.”

“Oh, I thought I was losing my mind,” You laugh, “I was about 13, went to head upstairs to my bedroom when suddenly I was standing in it, with the worst headache of my life. It took me a couple years to get it completely under control, and the speed comes with practice. It used to take me five minutes of concentration to even jump a foot. Now I can go anywhere I want, instantaneously.”

“Are there any limitations?”

“I don’t know how many people I can take. Honestly taking you along was only the second time I had done that. Also if I don’t know exactly where I’m trying to land it can be dangerous, like my little mishap at the bank. I knew approximately where the vault was, but I undershot it a little bit. And look where that got me.”

“I think you’ll like it here. And if not, you got the whole world to explore at the snap of your fingers.”

The kitchen was decorated in the same minimalist style as the rest of the tower you had seen. Sam, Natasha, and Clint were sitting at the table chatting amicably around bites of pizza. Stark was mixing a drink, while Wanda leaned against the counter, picking her piece apart slowly with long slender fingers. Steve walked over to Sam, clapping him on the back fondly before snagging a slice of pizza from his plate.

“Yo, Dillinger!” Starks voice called out, unmistakably for you. You reluctantly turned to look at him. “Your little indiscretion has been taken care of. The cops won’t be knocking down the door looking for you.”

“Nothing that money can’t fix, huh Stark?” You deadpan. He just smiles and crosses the room handing you a glass of amber liquid. You sniff it gingerly and take a sip. Not bad. You wander over towards Wanda and snag a slice of pizza. She smiles tentatively at you.

“It’s good to meet you,” She says softly, “It’ll be nice to have another girl around, if you decide to stay.” You glance up at her, surprised. “I can read minds,” she explains, “I wasn’t snooping, I promise, I just pick up things sometimes. You’re undecided.”

You glance around to see if anyone was listening to your quiet exchange, but no one seemed to be paying attention. “I’ve spent so long trying to stay off the radar, from people like S.H.I.E.L.D....and others. Not wanting to be used, or dissected, or turned into a weapon or something.” She nods in understanding, so you continue, “Just not sure this is the right place for me. I’m not exactly you know, the definition of a good guy.”

“You may have stolen, but you never hurt anyone. Besides, most of us don’t have squeaky clean pasts. We’re a family here, and a place for redemption. You won’t be used here, and you’ll be safe from other interested parties. Give it a chance.” You take a bite of your pizza, thinking over her earnest words.

“So you can go anywhere?” Wanda asks after a moment

“Yup,” You say, popping the p. “We could see the pyramids in Egypt, have crepes in France, and swim in Bermuda and be back before bedtime.”

“Sounds like a great day,” She smiles, “You’ll have to show me this sometime. I’ve never seen the pyramids.”

“It’s a deal,” You tell her, popping the last of your pizza crust into your mouth. You glance at the door, trying to remember your way back to your apartment.

“I can show you, we’re on the same floor.” She smiles kindly, nodding towards the doorway. You smile in response and quietly slip out the door behind her. She left you outside your doorway, which once again slid open revealing your living quarters. You snag your bag off the counter and walk back towards what Steve had said was the bedroom. A large bed sat against the far wall, and you eye it longingly. Shower first though, you decide. You walk up to the first door, which opened up into a large walk in closet. You had more luck with the second door, and you whistle appreciatively at the large bathtub set in the corner. There was also a walk in shower, and his and hers sinks. You toss your bag onto the countertop, and turn towards the bath. You turn on the taps, watching the water slowly fill the tub. You eye your reflection in the floor length mirror on the walk next to you and shrug off your leather jacket and then your hoodie, letting it fall to the floor at your feet. You try to picture yourself dressed in the dark kevlar uniforms of the S.H.I.E.L.D agents, fighting alongside the Avengers and groan. Turning away, you kick off your black boots and strip off the rest of your clothes before dropping into the sinfully hot water, letting it soak away some of the tension in your shoulders.

You reluctantly step out when the water turns cold, quickly drying yourself with one of the fluffy white towels from the towel rack. You slide your clothes back on and grab your bag, jacket and shoes, leaving them in a neat pile at the front of your bed. It’s hard to resist the urge to slip underneath the crisp sheets, but you force yourself to lay on top of the bed and stay alert. Just in case you need to make a quick getaway.

Chapter Text

“Ms. (Y/L/N), your presence has been requested by Ms. Romanoff in Training Room C immediately for combat training.” Your eyes shot open and you looked around the room searching for an intruder, but you were alone.

“Hello?” You called out, “Who’s there?”

“Hello! I am F.R.I.D.A.Y. an AI developed by Mr. Stark. Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.”

“O...kay.” You muttered, getting up and slipping your shoes back on. You move your bag and your jacket to the front door, and step out. You teleport down to the training room floor, and follow the empty hallway until you find room C.

The Black Widow is standing inside, stretching on the floor in a pair of black tights and a tank top.

“Uh, morning?” You call out hesitantly as you approach.

“Good, you’re here.” She stands up, “Welcome to your first lesson in hand to hand combat.”

The next few hours were torture, as the red haired woman continuously tossed you to the ground each time you attempted to attack, all while calmly explaining what you did wrong and how to fix it. Finally she stopped, standing above you while you pant on the ground.

“Same time tomorrow, Clint will be here in five for your marksman training.” Without another word she turned and walked out, leaving you a crumpled mess on the floor. You had just managed to pull yourself into a sitting position when Clint walked into the room, looking around confused until he spotted you on the floor.

You give him a half hearted wave before you climb to your feet, every muscle in your body screaming at you to stop.

“Ooph, you look like you had a rough time.” Clint says, “Don’t worry, you’ll be up to speed in no time.” You watch as he crosses the room hitting a button on the back wall. A portion of the wall slides open, revealing a shooting range. Another panel opens, revealing a large collection of handguns. Clint shows you how to load and unload the gun, and then how to shoot. He easily empties a clip into the target, hitting the same spot each time.

You take the gun and load it, turning off the safety as you face your target. “Aim, breathe, and pull the trigger.” You take a deep breath as you aim the gun, and another before you pull the trigger. You miss the target completely. “Try again.” You take another shot and clip it. “Again.” After a while, Clint finally stops you. You had only managed to hit the target a handful of times, and your wrist was killing you from the kickback of the gun. In fact your whole body was killing you. You definitely weren’t cut out for this. “You did good, we’ll pick this up again tomorrow. Lunch?” You follow him back to the kitchen, your body screaming with every step that you take. You fall into one of the chairs in the empty room ungracefully and begin rubbing at the muscles in your calves to ease some of the ache.

Clint hands you a cup of coffee, which you take graciously, cupping your hands around the hot liquid and breathing in deeply. “Thank you.”

“No problem, you’re going to need it. Turkey sub okay?”

“You don’t have to cook for me,” You tell him, but he waves you off.

“Eh, I don’t mind. You look like you’re having a day.”

“I feel like I’m going to be having A LOT of days,” you frown, taking a sip of the coffee. It’s good. Clint just chuckles and sets the plate in front of you. You didn’t realize you were even hungry until you took the first bite and you were suddenly ravenous, scarfing down the sandwich in a very unladylike manner, but you were so exhausted you couldn’t even find room within yourself to be embarrassed. After finishing his own sandwich Clint stands up, grabs your empty plate from you and pops it into the dishwasher.

“Steve will come find you at one to practice teleporting alongside you,” Clint tells you, “If you need anything I’ll be in the gym.” As the door slides closed leaving you alone, you suddenly feel awkward just sitting in the kitchen of the Avengers base as if you lived here--well, you technically did, but you weren’t really one of them. Reluctant to run into one of the others, you quickly refill your coffee mug and then teleport back up to your room, being careful not to spill the coffee upon landing. You check the clock and see that you still have an hour before Steve will “come find you”, so you once again fill up the bathtub and slip in, letting out a groan as your sore muscles hit the hot water. Too soon you find yourself slipping back on your clothes, mentally reminding yourself to do some clothes shopping A.S.A.P., just in time to hear a soft knock on your door. You pull your hair back as you walk towards the door which slides open at your approach. Steve stands on the other side, dressed casually in a white t-shirt and grey sweats.

“Good afternoon,” He says respectfully, “How was your training this morning?”

“I’m not how I’m even standing right now,” you reply honestly, “And somehow I’m supposed to do it again tomorrow.”

 

“You’ll get used to it,” Steve smiles kindly, “Nat said you did really well for your first day, and so did Clint.” Surprised and unsure what to say, you instead notice the way Steve is just hovering outside your doorway. You realize he’s waiting for you to invite him in--a change from last time, you think to yourself with a wry smile.

“Please, come in,” You tell him, “I’d offer you a refreshment but unfortunately I haven’t stocked up yet.”

“Oops,” Steve scratches at the back of his head sheepishly, “I probably should have told you how F.R.I.D.A.Y. works, well, how to use it at least. Maybe I’ll have Stark explain it. Just ask her to start a grocery list, and they’ll be delivered to the compound. We keep a fully stocked fridge downstairs, but if you want anything personal,” he gestures to the kitchenette.

“Guess I’ll have to hit another bank soon,” You mutter, mostly to yourself, but Steve gives you a shocked look.

“(Y/N), you don’t have to do that anymore. Tony did mention a decent paycheck right? The groceries are already taken care of, and…” he cuts off rummaging around in his pocket before holding a card out to you. You pluck it from his hand and glance down at it. It’s a sleek black credit card with your name printed across it.

“Are you serious?” Your eyebrows are furrowed as you look back up at his earnest expression.

“Very, so let’s keep the petty thievery to a minimum, okay?”

“I’ll see what I can do,” You roll your eyes and take a step towards him. “So where to?”

“Hey, this is you training me,” he laughs, “I’m following your lead--literally.”

You shrug and hold your hand out to him, which he takes with a firm grip. You consider your options, and twist slightly in the air, disappearing. You stick the landing a little better this time, despite landing in sand, but still hear a groan from the man beside you. You drop his hand and blink a few times to adjust to the absence of light around you. You’re standing on an empty beach, the moon hanging low in the sky over the water which laps quietly against the sand in front of you.

“Where are we?” Steve asks, sounding dazed.

“A small island off the coast of Australia,” you tell him, breathing in the soothing ocean air, “It’s very peaceful, especially at night like this.”

“I can imagine,” Steve replies, his eyes trained on the coastline. “You go a lot of places like this?”

“All the time,” you smile to yourself, “Travel is very cheap when you don’t have to worry about airline prices.” You reach your hand out to him again and he takes it. You point at the mountains jutting out of the water in the distance. “We’re going to be landing there, try to brace yourself this time, imagining the rocky surface under your feet. It’ll help you with the landing.”

You picture the flat outcropping of rock on the mountain, and instantly you’re there, standing atop the large landmass and looking over the island. You sit down, letting your legs dangle off the edge.

“This is amazing,” Steve breathes, “The places you must see…” He shakes his head. “It was a little better that time.”

“Well, let’s make it even better.” You rise to your feet, this time holding out you arm for him to loop his through, “Hold on tight, and don’t let go until I tell you. This is going to hurt, but it should help in the long run.” Without giving him a chance to reply, you’re suddenly on the beach. Without skipping a beat you teleport a half mile down the beach, and then back the moment you land. You repeat the process five or six times before you finally fall to the sand exhausted. Steve sways unsteadily on his feet for a moment before falling to his knees, breathing hard.

“A little warning would have been nice,” he pants, “I feel like I went through a blender.”

You don’t reply for a moment, distracted by the stars above you. In some ways you thought of your ability as a curse, but in moments like this you didn’t know if you would ever be able to give it up. “It’ll be easier next time,” You promise him, “I need a moment before we head back to base though, that took a lot out of me.”

“Are you sure we can’t just fly back?” Steve groans, and you grin, sitting up next to him.

“You got your passport on you?”

“Didn’t think I’d need it,” he laughs, “I wasn’t planning on visiting Australia today.”

“Touche,” you reply, climbing to your feet. “Ready?” You offer him your hand and he takes it. Once he’s steady you focus back on the kitchen, and appear there, squinting against the bright lights.

“Whoa!” Sam lets out a startled shout as you and Steve appear directly before him. “God damn you’re going to give me a heart attack.”

“Oops,” You smile wryly.

“What time is it?” Steve asks, bracing himself on the counter.

“1:30--why?” Sam responds, sitting down at the table. You drag out a chair and have a seat as well.

“...We went to Australia and back, and it’s only been 30 minutes?” Steve asks, turning to look at you.

You nod as Sam says, “Y’all went to Australia?” Suddenly Steve lunges towards the trashcan by the door and bends over it, retching. “Damn dude, you alright?”

After a few seconds he straightens up, running the back of his hand across his mouth. “Is that normal?”

“I probably should have warned you,” you purse your lips, trying not to smile, “I thought since you were like this super soldier that you’d be fine.” Sam burst out laughing at that, but Steve only looks at him, amused.

“You think that’s funny, Wilson?” Steve smiles, “Wait till it’s your turn tomorrow.” That shuts Sam up real quick, and now he’s looking at you apprehensively. You give him a disarming smile and he goes back to eating his lunch.

“Captain Rogers,” F.R.I.D.A.Y.’s voice rang out through the room, startling you, “I’ve been asked to inform you that Ms. Romanov is twenty minutes out.”

“Right, thank you.” Steve says, his expression suddenly nervous. “Bucky,” he says to Sam in explanation, which only confuses you more.

“James Buchanan Barnes,” he tells you in response to your raised eyebrows, “You probably know him as the Winter Soldier.” Him, you had heard of.

“You captured the Winter Soldier? And you’re bringing him here?” You asked dumbfounded. “Is there a secret prison here that you never mentioned?”

Steve frowned at your response, “We didn’t capture him, and he’s not being imprisoned. We’re bringing him home.”

“I don’t understand, he’s HYDRA, he’s dangerous, he--”

“He’s my best friend,” Steve cut you off, his voice hard, “And he’s not Hydra. They turned him into a weapon and forced him to do the things that he did, he didn’t know what he was doing.”

You turned your head away, suddenly feeling nauseous. “Dr. Banner will be waiting for you in medical, for your physical,” Steve said after a moment. It was clearly a dismissal. Without looking at him you teleport to the elevator and take it down to the fifth floor. There are two rooms on either side of the hallway, and you enter the door labeled medical.

Dr. Banner was laying across one of the hospital beds in the room, buried in a book, and looked up when you entered.

“Hi,” He said a bit awkwardly, “We haven’t really gotten a chance to meet yet. I’m Bruce.”

“I thought you were a scientist, not a physician.” You said after a moment, your eyes scanning the room.

“Well, I just do what I can to help out,” He hops to his feet, “Have a seat, this will just take a moment.” You’re quiet as he looks you over, only speaking in response to his questions about your medical history. As he bends down to check your reflexes, he looks up at you over the rims of his glasses. “Everything okay? You seem a little...tense.”

“Just not sure this is the place for me,” You respond, meeting his curious gaze.

“What makes you say that?” You shrug in response. “It’s only your first day,” Bruce reminds you, “I think you should give it time.” He pauses, “Did something happen?”

“They’re bringing the Winter Soldier, here,” You tell him, hoping to your feet as he stands up.

“I know,” Bruce replies.

“And that doesn’t bother anyone here? The guy is like, a mass murderer.”

“He didn’t have control over the things he did.”

“Does he have control now? What’s to stop him from going full on assassin on any of us?”

“Yet you sit here talking to me, when you know what I am, what I can become.” Your mouth snaps shut with an audible click, and your eyes widen.

“Dr. Banner, I am so sorry,” the words tumble out of your mouth, as you feel a blush spread across your cheeks, “I didn’t mean to--”

“It’s fine, I know you didn’t mean anything. I’m just saying, maybe get to know the guy before completely writing him and the Avengers off. If Tony can give him a chance, so can you.”

“Why Tony?”

“Because the Winter Soldier killed my parents,” You whirl around to see Stark leaning against the wall behind you, “But Nat isn’t bringing the Winter Soldier back to the compound, she’s bringing James Barnes. Walk with me Dillinger.” You look back at Bruce who’s suddenly interested in your file, before following Stark into the hallway. He peers down at you as he hits the button to call the elevator.

“So, thinking of taking off already?”

“I didn’t say that.” You shift awkwardly, “I just...I don’t know.”

“Listen kid, just don’t do anything rash. Hang in there, and see how you feel in a few weeks. But try, ‘kay?”

“I’ll see what I can do,” You roll your eyes, and watch as he hits the buttons for the first and second floor.

“That’s what I like to hear,” Stark grins, “Take a couple hours, chill in your room. I’ll have some food sent up, and then tomorrow’s a new day. Sound good?”

“Whatever you say Stark,” You tell him, stepping out of the elevator. You turn and catch his amused expression before the door closes and sigh.

Steve is standing in the doorway of the room across from yours, talking to someone, but you don’t remember him saying that anyone stayed in that room. As you approach your door you peek over your shoulder to see who he’s talking to. Your eyes meet a pair of pale blue eyes and for a second you’re stunned that someone with such dark hair could have such beautiful light eyes. As Steve turns around you give them both a small wave before stepping through your door. “That’s (y/n),” You hear Steve say before your door slides shut behind you.

Chapter Text

Chapter Three

You weren’t sure when, but somehow two months had gone by. Between training and getting to know your various teammates, you hadn’t had much time for anything else--you had bonded with Wanda over books you had read, and reminiscing about your families. She had confided in you about the difficulty surrounding both her parents, and then her brother’s deaths, and you in turn had confessed to your own family’s death at the hands of HYDRA.

You and Sam had discovered each other’s terrible taste in television, and could often be found lounging on the couch together binge watching Netflix. Even Natasha who you had found to be cold and aloof had begun opening up to you, and you found that under her cool exterior she really cared about her friends. In the evenings you could often be found helping Bruce or Tony in the lab, soaking up their intelligence and helping with anything you could. You still weren’t sure if you were meant to be an Avenger, but the compound was slowly starting to feel like home.

You had apologized to Steve shortly after your Winter Soldier argument, and had taken him to another of your favorite beaches one lazy afternoon to make up for it, where Steve had explained his complicated history with the Winter Soldier, allowing you to understand where he was coming from in regards to the enigmatic man. You felt kind of silly about the whole thing now, considering since his arrival you hadn’t seen head nor tail of the legendary assassin.

Ten minutes before you were due for your morning combat training, you heard a knock at the door. “Come in,” you call as you pull on your shoes. The door slides open and Steve walks in, in full Captain America gear. “Steve? What’s up?”

“We got called for a mission, we’re heading out now. Just wanted to give you a heads up, and ask you for a favor.”

“Sure, no problem.” You lean against the counter, “What can I do for you Cap?”

“Buck’s...still adjusting,” Steve says slowly, “You may have noticed that he just keeps to his room, which is fine, but…” Steve sighs and shakes his head, “I don’t think the isolation is doing him any favors. We’re only going to be gone three days, but do you think you could just check up on him? Maybe bring him some food and make sure he’s eating?”

“Of course Steve,” You say after a moment, “Don’t even worry about it. Focus on your mission and bring everyone back in one piece, we’re all good here.” Steve smiles and claps his hand on your shoulder. For a second you think he’s going to say something else, but he just shakes his head.

“Thanks (y/n).”

You hear the plane take off, and you consider your newfound freedom. Since the first time you had set foot in the Avenger’s compound you were completely alone--well, besides the assassin across the hall, but like Steve said, he never left his room. Deciding it had been far too long since you had felt the sun on your skin, you trade your training gear for a t-shirt and shorts, and throw the book Wanda had lent you into your backpack. The compound had a large, underutilised backyard, and you beelined for the large oak tree in the center of it. Utilising your newfound agility you hoist yourself onto the lowest branch which gives you a nice nook to sit in.

You’re deep into your book when movement catches your attention, and you see none other than the Winter Soldier nervously crossing the yard. You watch him for a moment, and as he moves closer to your position you realize he hasn’t noticed you up in the tree.

As he passes under you you casually call out, “Making a run for it?”

The man jumps, looking around startled until you drop down from the tree.

“I thought everyone left,” he says quietly after a moment, his eyes trained on the ground.

“Nah, I haven’t been deemed worthy to go on missions yet,” You grin, “So were you?”

He looks up at you, and once again you’re amazed by the lightness of his eyes, made even brighter by the dark sleepless circles that surround them. His long brown hair was unkempt, and the scruff on his face said that he hadn’t seen a razor or a mirror in weeks. Somehow, despite all of that, there was something brokenly beautiful about the man standing in front of you.

“Was I what?” He asks sharply, his eyes narrowed.

“Making a run for it?” He shakes his head slowly.

“Just wanted some air. I didn’t think anyone was here,” he reiterates, once again casting his gaze downwards.

Inspiration suddenly strikes you, you could do one better for Steve then making sure the Winter Soldier was eating, you could possibly give him some peace for once. “Where would you go? If you could go anywhere?” You ask after a moment. He just stands there silently, and you think he’s not going to answer until he finally does.

“Just...away from it all.”

“I can do that,” You tell him with a smile, reaching out for his hand. He eyes you warily, but reaches up to take it, keeping his metal arm tightly at his side.

“Hold on tight, this is going to be disorienting, but you’ll be fine.”

He rips his hand away from you upon landing, stumbling backwards as he looks around. “What the fuck was that?” He snaps, eyes wide.

“I thought Steve would’ve told you… I can teleport,” You tell him soothingly, “Anywhere you want to go.” You watch as he looks around distrustfully, taking in the moss covered trees and rocks. In the distance you can hear a babbling creek, but otherwise all is silent in the forest.

After several tense seconds, he seems to relax slightly and reaches out to run his fingers down the trunk of a nearby tree. “Where are we?”

“Japan, the Yakushima Forest--we’re pretty off the trails though, we shouldn’t run into anyone else.” You slowly start to walk through the forest as you talk, and after a moment you hear him start to follow behind you.

“How do you know about this place? You been here before, or you just...teleport at random?” The Soldier asks after a few minutes of silence.

“I’ve been here before. It’s always quiet, and away from everything. That’s what you said you wanted,” you tell him softly, “I found a picture of it in a book, I can’t just teleport randomly, I have to know where I’m going, or I could end up… I don’t know, in a volcano or something.”

“Huh. Can see why’d they want you though, that’s a pretty useful ability.”

“They’re good people,” You say finally, “I’m glad they found me when they did, but I never thought I would be an Avenger. Well, Avenger trainee.”

“Not the Avengers,” The Soldier says calmly, “HYDRA.”

Your breath catches in your chest and you whirl around to face him, eyes narrowed. “What?” The word comes out as a snarl, “What do you mean?”

He looks slightly alarmed by your reaction and holds up his hands in front of him, “Nothin’, just heard your name around there quite a bit before I escaped. Know you’ve had a run in with them before. Don’t worry, I’m not recruiting for the people who want me dead or captured at any cost,” he chuckles darkly, but you don’t relax your position.

“What else did you hear?” You demand.

“Nothin’! Really. Just that there was no point in making a move on you if they wouldn’t be able to keep you captive.” You relax slightly at that and turn your face slightly away from him, letting out a weary sigh.

“We should get back.” Without waiting for a response you grab onto his arm and appear back in the hallway outside your rooms. “Door to door service,” You mumble without any humor, ignoring the feeling of the Soldier’s eyes boring into your back as you enter your room.

You slide down the wall next to the door as it closes, pulling your knees to your chest as you take in the information that the Winter Soldier had given you. You hadn’t fallen off HYDRA’s radar like you have hoped and it sounded like they were still very much interested in you. But they probably wouldn’t make a move since they couldn’t keep you. That was good at least. A tear ran down your cheek, you were probably safe here. Another fell, splattering on the back of your hand. They might hurt more people to get to you though. You look around your apartment, at the sparse personal belongings. Had you ever really considered staying here? Did you really believe that you could have a home? The tears were flowing in earnest now, and a choked sob escaped your throat.

When you woke up it was dark, and you were still sitting against the wall, your backpack crushed to your chest. You groaned as you stretched out your sore legs and pushed yourself to your feet.

“F.R.I.D.A.Y., please turn on the lights,” you call out quietly, and wince as the overhead lights in the apartment all turn on. You rub the back of your hand across your face, clearing any traces of your previous tears. You were feeling kind of embarrassed about your earlier interactions with the Winter Soldier. Steve had asked you to spend a little time with him, and instead you had almost attacked him.

You made your way over to your kitchen and peeked in the cabinets. You didn’t typically keep much food in your apartment, just some basics in case you got a light night craving--though these days you typically fell into bed exhausted most nights. You pop a pot of water on the stove and dig out your book while you wait for it to boil. You finish the last chapter just as the noodles and sauce finish cooking. You mentally remind yourself to thank Wanda for the recommendation as you plate two portions of the spaghetti. You set one on the counter and take the other one over to the Soldier’s door. You balance it in one hand as you tentatively knock on the door.

To no answer. You consider just leaving it outside and sending him a message via F.R.I.D.A.Y., but another wave of guilt about your earlier behavior leads you to knock on the door once more. Just as you’re about to give up the door slides open. His apartment is dark, but the hallway light illuminates his form in the doorway. His face is blank as his eyes trail over your face, until they drop to the plate in your hands, and then he just seems confused.

“I made extra, thought you might be hungry,” You tell him softly, holding the plate out in his direction. After a moment he takes it, his eyes locked onto yours. Now feeling uncomfortable, you start to turn back towards your own door when his voice stops you.

“You’re not having any?” You turn back towards him surprised, noticing the way his eyes are once again focused on the floor in front of your feet.

“Oh, I didn’t realize...Sorry, I didn’t think that you would want to…” You trail off, embarrassed and compose yourself, “Would you like to come eat with me?” He nods, and you hesitantly head back into your apartment. Upon entering, you take the food back from his hands and set it on the small dining room table, before grabbing your own as well as two glasses and a bottle of wine.

“Sit, please,” You gesture to him as you pour two glasses. As you sit across from him he takes a bite of the pasta, chewing slowly. “I wanted to apologize for earlier,” you say slowly as you wrap the thin noodles around your fork, “You caught me off guard, and as you said I’ve had run ins with HYDRA before.”

“No harm, no foul.” The Soldier says after a moment, “I probably should have been more delicate with the topic.”

“Probably,” you reply with a grin, taking a sip of wine. “Is today the first time you’ve been out of your room since you’ve been out of your room since you’ve been here?” He shifts uncomfortably in his seat and nods. “Why?”

“I thought everyone had left,” He says pointedly. You roll your eyes at his answer.

“I meant why haven’t you left your room?”

“You’ve been here over two months,” he says after a moment, looking around the room, “Why is your apartment still empty?” You glance around the room and shrug.

“I’m not a big fan of interior decorating,” You tell him, filling up your empty glass and topping off his. The corner of his mouth quirks up at your response.

“I’ve tried to kill most of them at one point or another,” The soldier says slowly, “It makes for a bit of tension in a room, ya know?”

“I really wouldn’t worry about it, I’m sure they’re all used to it.” He gives you an annoyed look and you smile disarmingly, “Seriously, I was the one with the biggest issue with you being brought here, and we’re having dinner like old pals. I really think you’ll be fine.”

“You?”

“The tales of your exploits are infamous Soldier, I think you can understand a girl being a little nervous.”

“Bucky,” The dark haired man says abruptly, “Please call me Bucky.”

“Bucky,” You grin, tossing back the rest of your glass. “More wine?” You grab your plate and his and dump them into the sink, searching your cupboards for the second bottle of wine, before you remembered you and Wanda had finished it one night last week.

“It’s fine,” Bucky says, watching you look, “You don’t have to search on my account.”

“Can you keep a secret?” You ask suddenly, closing the cupboard behind you. Bucky gives you an odd look and another grin spreads across your face as you suddenly disappear, only to reappear about a minute later clutching two bottles of wine in your arms. “Don’t tell Captain Rogers,” you stage-whisper, “Unfortunately the wineries in Tuscany are closed so I had to nick these.”

“I’m sure the 7/11 down the road would’ve sold you a bottle,” Bucky shakes his head in amusement.

“True, but would the 7/11 down the road have a 1975 Montalcino Riserva? Or an ‘06 Masseto?”

“I’m honestly not sure.”

“Yeah, me either, but based on the lock on the celler these were in, I would say no,” You laugh as you pop the cork out of the first bottle and pour two large glasses. You come back around the table, handing Bucky one of the glasses, and hold up your own. “To...new beginnings.”

“New beginnings,” Bucky echoes, tapping his glass against yours.

Chapter Text

You open your eyes groggily and roll over, rubbing your face with your hands. Drinking is fun, you remind yourself, the hangover not so much. You remembered popping open the second bottle of wine, and then the rest of the night was a blur. You hoped you hadn’t done anything too embarrassing. Sitting on your night stand was a glass of water and two aspirin. Who knew the Winter Soldier was such a sweetheart? You gulp down the water, then eye the aspirin and take those as well.

Reluctantly you find yourself in the gym, staring down the treadmill as you stretch. Before coming to the compound you probably wouldn’t have been to run a mile to save your life, but thanks to Natasha’s brutal training regimine you could manage a couple of painstaking miles. You connect your iPod to the speakers and start, concentrating on the throbbing of the bass instead of the throbbing in your muscles. You manage five miles before you stop the machine and fall to the ground panting.

“It gets easier.” You look up to see Bucky leaning against the doorway to the gym holding two cups of coffee.

“Unfortunately we’re not all super soldiers,” You pant, climbing to your feet.

“I wasn’t always a super soldier,” Bucky responds, walking towards you and holding out the mug. You take it gratefully and take a sip.

“Mm, thanks. For the water and aspirin as well.”

“Thought you might need it,” he leans against the wall, his shaggy hair falling into his eyes.

“Not you though?”

“Can’t get drunk,” Bucky shrugs, “It’s one of those super soldier things. But I can still remember how nights like that feel the next day.”

“You’re not kidding,” You say with a shake of your head, “Anyways, thanks for the coffee. I’m gonna get cleaned up and make lunch in a bit, if you wanna meet me in the kitchen in an hour or so.”

“You don’t have to cook for me.”

“No,” You said rolling your eyes, “But I do have to cook for myself, and I suppose I could throw you the scraps.”

“As long as you’re not going out of your way,” Bucky grins, the corners of his eyes crinkle, and for a moment you can imagine what Bucky was like back in his own time, before he was brainwashed by HYDRA.

“Wouldn’t dream of it,” You smile, “See ya.” You concentrate, and a moment later you’re in your bathroom, a slight blush on your cheeks.

Did you just have playful banter with the Winter Soldier? Granted it had been awhile, but to you it had almost felt like flirting. Unsure what had come over you, you get into the shower, determined to shove that thought to the furthest reaches of your mind. While you shower you focus your attention on how despite the soreness your body felt better than you could ever remember. Your body had toned up during your time with the Avengers, and now under your skin you could feel lean muscles developing. Flexing your right arm you grin to yourself, maybe when everyone got back you would challenge Sam to a rematch.

 

The kitchen is still empty when you arrive so you start pulling out the ingredients for some cold cut subs from the fridge. You can’t imagine Bucky is a picky eater, so you just pile the same ingredients on both rolls.

“Those are some pretty good looking scraps,” You jump and whirl around, not having heard Bucky enter. You’re surprised to see him standing so close behind you, and your eyes drag up from his broad chest to his handsome face. You swallow thickly as you notice he’s pulled his hair back in a ponytail, allowing you an unobstructed view of his icy blue eyes.

“Guess I’m feeling generous,” You joke, hoping you don’t sound as breathless to him as you do to yourself.

Bucky apparently does notice, as he’s now looking at you with concern, “You okay? I didn’t mean to scare ya.”

“Oh, no, it’s totally fine. I guess I should get used to people sneaking up on me, living with all these superheroes,” You shove the plate with his sub on it into his hands. “Come on, let’s eat in the lounge.”

Bucky sits on the opposite end of the couch from you, shoving the rest of his sub into his mouth, and looking better than anyone had any right to doing it. “That was good,” Bucky says once he swallows, “Thanks for making it.”

“It’s just a sandwich,” You smile, holding out the last half of yours to him, “Want it?”

“You don’t?”

“Nah, my eyes were bigger than my stomach I guess,” he takes it and gives you a grateful smile before he devours that as well.

“So how’d you end up here?” Bucky leans back on the sofa to look at you.

“Oh, um, I used to rob banks,” Bucky snorts and you shoot him a look, “Hey, I was really good at it. Except for the last time I undershot the vault just a bit, and got caught on the security camera. You know, appearing and disappearing instantaneously. It got put in all these newspapers, big debates online about if it was a camera glitch or a ghost or you know, whatever. Guess Stark put two and two together and next thing I knew I come back to my motel room one day to find Stark and Steve in my kitchen, talking about the Avenger’s Initiative.”

“And so you found your calling.”

“Hardly,” You grin, “I wanted nothing to do with it, but then Stark said that he could take care of the whole debacle and get my picture out of the papers and all I had to do was come back with them and check it out, no strings attached. I really wasn’t going to stay but, one day became two, and two became three, and before I knew it weeks had gone by. Now, I guess it’s just kind of nice to not be running for once.”

“Yeah, it is.”

“So what happened to you? I mean, you were all over the news a few years ago and then you just disappeared.”

“I’ve been in Wakanda,” Bucky frowns, “Steve wanted me to come back with him immediately but we decided to wait until all the heat from the Accords died down, and Stark came to terms with…” Bucky trails off, his expression unreadable.

“Well you’re here now,” You lean over and set your hand on his knee, and his eyes snap to yours, surprised. “Sorry,” You say, immediately pulling your hand back, “I didn’t mean to--”

“It’s fine,” Bucky says quickly, “I just wasn’t expecting it, I’m not really used to things like that anymore.”

“Right, of course,” You say, just as F.R.I.D.A.Y. chimes out, “Ms. (Y/L/N), Captain Rogers has asked me to inform you that they will be arriving in just a few minutes.”

“Oh wow they’re early,” You stack your plate on top of Bucky’s on the table, “Guess that means the mission went well.”

“I should go,” Bucky mumbles suddenly, “Thanks for the food.”

“Whoa, hey,” You stop him, “Just stay, okay? I promise you that everyone is completely cool with you being here. We’ll put on a movie, like we’re just chilling here, and no one is going to say a thing. I like hanging out with you Bucky, don’t go.” His eyes search your face for a moment, before he gives you a slight nod, his lips pressed in a hard line. You give him a reassuring smile and grab the remote, turning to a random movie, just as Steve and Sam shuffle in, still in combat gear. Steve’s eyes widen as he notices Bucky, and you give him a small smile.

“Oh man, is this Die Hard? I love this movie,” Sam says, sprawling out on the arm chair.

“Sam, you’re dripping mud onto the floor. Maybe get cleaned up first?” Steve scolds him half-heartedly. Sam groans and climbs to his feet, making a show of stomping out of the lounge.

“Everything go smoothly? Everyone okay?” You ask as Steve takes Sam’s vacated chair, his head hanging tiredly.

“Yeah, everyone’s just getting cleaned up right now. We’re gonna have to head out again in a couple of days. I’m gonna hit the showers and then I’ll be back down.”

“See you in a bit Steve,” You turn your attention back to the movie until he’s out of earshot and then turn to Bucky, “See, everything’s cool.”

“Ya know, oddly enough Steve was not one of the people I was worried about,” Bucky says with a roll of his eyes.

“Just stay with me kid, I’ll show you the ropes,” You grin, leaning back into the couch, as Sam busts back in.

“Alright, now I better not have missed anything good. Budge it (Y/L/N), you’re in my spot.” It’s your turn to roll your eyes as you quickly scoot towards Bucky, barely getting your feet out of the way before Sam plops down where they were just a second before.

“Watch it Tweety,” You snap, narrowing your eyes.

“Come now,” Wanda calls as she enters the room, Vision trailing in behind her. “We’ve only been home a few minutes and you two are already fighting?” She perches lightly on the armchair, her long hair still damp from her shower.

“Hey, it’s not me,” Sam grins, “She been this mean to you this whole time Barnes?” Bucky looks surprised to be addressed, but recovers quickly.

“Nah man, I think it’s just you.”

“Uh-huh, I see how it is,” Sam pretends to pout as he turns his attention back to the movie. You see Wanda shoot Bucky a kind smile, and you smile back at her in return. Natasha wanders in next, falling onto the loveseat.

“Where’s Clint?” You ask, used to seeing the two of them together.

“He’s spending some time at home before the next mission, we dropped him off on the way back,” Natasha replies, “This movie sucks Sam.”

“First of all, you’re wrong,” Sam says, “Second of all, I didn’t put it on.”

“It’s so weird that you two have the exact same terrible tastes in movies,” Natasha scoots over to make room as Bruce walks in and then crosses her legs on his lap, leaving him with a slight blush on his face.

Sam snatches the remote from you as soon as the ending credits play with a huge grin, “Who’s ready for Die Hard 2?”

“God no,” Natasha groans, holding out her hand for the remote, “Let’s watch something good for once.”

“It’s a classic!” Sam protests, clutching the remote to his chest.

“Oh not this again,” Steve chuckles, coming around the couch to sit by your feet. You shift slightly closer to Bucky to give him room. Using Steve’s entrance as a distraction Wanda’s hands glow red as she slips the remote from Sam’s hand and into Natasha’s waiting one.

“That’s cheating,” Sam scolds her, “Cheaters, both of you, and you,” he turns to look at you, “You just let it happen. I thought we were in this together.”

You shrug at him, “Die Hard 2 kind of sucked.”

“Kind of, being the understatement of the year,” Tony breezes in, arms full of bags, “Oh, no it’s fine, no one help or anything.” He drops the bags onto the table with a thud and starts handing out take-away boxes. He holds out containers for you and Bucky, “Mango chicken courtesy of the Captain for full metal jacket, and since you like the heat, spicy chicken ramen for you, Dillinger.”

“Keep it moving Stark,” You snag the containers from him, “I can’t see the t.v. with your ego in the way.”

“Ha ha,” He snags the remote from Natasha who gives him a dirty look, and tosses it behind the couch. “My compound, my movie choice.” He takes a seat in the last armchair and smugly calls out, “F.R.I.D.A.Y., dim the lights to 40% and put on something scary,” He turns towards you as the lights dim, and the opening credits for The Grudge start on the screen, “Scared of the dark Dillinger?”

“You wish Stark,” You snort, balling up a napkin and tossing it at him. Next to you, you finally feel Bucky relax for the first time since the team had gotten back. You turn your body slightly to peer up at him, and when he meets your eyes you give him a reassuring smile. You set your empty take-out container on the table, and kick your feet up, ignoring the dirty look you get from Tony.

“Can you scootch over a bit, (Y/n)?” Steve whispers after a few minutes, waving off Sam’s impatient “Shh!”, “This floor is not great.” Bucky lifts his arm onto the back of the couch, giving you more room to scoot into his side. You try to ignore the warmth of his body as your side presses against him and instead focus on the movie, which proves to be more difficult than you imagined when you jump at a scene and Bucky lets out a quiet chuckle, his warm breath brushing over your ear, sending a slight shiver through your body. Steve hops to his feet as soon as the credits roll, and you’re torn between gratitude and reluctance as you scoot back over to give Bucky more room.

“Well, I’m off to bed. You should too Sam, if you want to keep up tomorrow morning.” Steve says, clapping his friend on the shoulder.

“I’m not sure a good night's sleep is going to put me on your level, but I guess it can’t hurt.” Sam snorts.

“Hey, wake me up for that,” You tell Steve, “I’ll keep Sam company while you lap him.”

“Sounds great,” Steve grins, “You wanna come Buck? It’d be nice to have someone who can keep up for once.”

“Wow, you guys do know I’m sitting right here, right?” Sam mutters.

“Um, sure,” Bucky says slowly after a moment, “Just let me know when.”

You can see the surprise on Steve’s face, but he quickly schools his expression, his eyes resting on you instead.

“I’ll have (Y/N) grab you,” Steve says, finally freeing you from his searching gaze.

“Suppose I should hit the sack then, goodnight everyone,” You say before disappearing. In your room you collapse onto your bed, feeling slightly uncomfortable about the look Steve had given you, and unsure what the expression on his face had been. Unwilling to let thoughts of either Super Soldier ruin your night you shove your bag off the bed and slip under the covers, quickly falling into a dreamless sleep.

Chapter Text

You’re stretching out your calves on the floor next to your bed when F.R.I.D.A.Y. calls out, “Ms. (Y/L/N), Captain Rogers wanted me to let you know him and Sam are heading down to the track now.”

“Thanks F.R.I.D.A.Y.,” You respond automatically, hopping to your feet. You’re about to teleport down, when you remember you’re supposed to grab Bucky. You knock lightly on his door, pulling your hair back as you wait. A few seconds later the door swings open with Bucky leaning in the doorway. For the first time since you had seen him his face is clean shaven, and his hair is once again pulled back, exposing his handsome face.

“You still up for a morning run?” You ask, holding out your hand to him, which he eyes warily.

“You gonna just zap us there then?”

“It’s good for you,” You laugh, “The more you do it the less it sucks.” He rolls his eyes, but is still smiling as he claps his hand into yours. You land easily on the track, carefully accounting for Bucky’s stumble so neither of you trip.

“That’s cheating, you know,” Sam calls out as him and Steve walk out the back doors, “Walk like the rest of us, (Y/L/N).”

“Says the guy who literally flies.” You grin at him, before realizing you’re still holding onto Bucky. You nonchalantly drop his hand before Sam notices and tighten your ponytail.

“Morning Buck, (Y/N),” Steve says, clapping Bucky on his shoulder, “Thanks for joining us this morning.” Steve was always way too chipper first thing in the morning.

“I can already tell I’m going to regret it,” You turn to Sam and wink.

 

After the third time the super soldiers lap you and Sam, you turn to him with raised eyebrows, “You do this every morning?’

“Yep.”

“Dear god why? I’m very quickly developing an inferiority complex as we speak.”

“Ah, come on (Y/N),” Steve says, coming up behind you once again and falling into stride beside Sam, “You’re doing great, and you’ve already improved so much from when you first got here.” You grin at Sam as he rolls his eyes.

“Eh, don’t listen to this guy,” Bucky says, nudging your arm, “I remember when this guy couldn’t run two feet to save his life.”

“I had asthma!” Steve says indignantly, but the effect is ruined by the smile on his face. His mood seemed to directly correlate with how well Bucky was doing. It was actually kind of sweet.

“Once a punk always a punk, but let’s see who’s faster now. First one back to these slow-pokes wins,” Bucky says before taking off, Steve on his heels.

“Rude.” You call out, watching as they both speed around the track faster than you thought was humanly possible and back to you. As the two boys playfully bicker on who won you turn to Sam, “Breakfast?”

“Definitely.”

 

The kitchen is empty, and you head towards the fridge, pulling out a carton of eggs. “You’re on toast,” You tell Sam, tossing him a loaf of bread. You focus on the eggs as they cook, trying to keep Bucky’s face out of your mind. Specifically the way some of the strands of his hair had come loose from his ponytail as he ran, and even more specifically how those strands had framed his jawline--which was a completely non-normal thing to think about in regards to your quasi-teammate, and--damn it, you were still thinking about it.

“Smells good (Y/N),” Steve says as he enters the room, followed by Bucky, who had the nerve to smile at you as he walked in, as if you didn’t already have enough going on without that. You quickly turn back to the pan, turning off the burner, and brushing past them all as you dump portions of eggs onto the plates Sam had put out on the counter, trying to keep your blushing face out of view. You snag a plate and lean back against the counter.

“Thanks for the food, again,” Bucky leans against the counter next to you, scooping a large portion of eggs onto his toast.

“Anytime,” You can’t help but smile, for an international super assassin, he sure is adorable.
“Ms. (Y/L/N), Mr. Stark is requesting your presence in the lab, and also asked that you bring a cup of coffee. Two sugars.” F.R.I.D.A.Y. calls out over the intercom.

“Vaguely ominous,” You mutter, rolling your eyes. “Wait--I’m sorry, did he ask me to get him coffee?”

“Well, technically he asked F.R.I.D.A.Y. to ask you to get him coffee,” Sam grins over the rim of his own coffee mug.

“I actually think that’s a little more demeaning,” You laugh, putting your empty plate into the dishwasher. You reach around Bucky to grab a cup and try to ignore the way his body seems to just radiate warmth, and pour Tony his coffee, popping two sugar cubes in it. “This better be good news,” You give Bucky one last smile, you can’t help it, and appear in the lab.

“You better not have spilled that,” Tony calls out, buried in something on his desk.

“What, you think I’m some kind of rookie?” You joke, setting down the cup in front of him, which he takes, leaning back in his chair to look at you.

“Wow, great segway to why I called you down here. You, are no longer a rookie, or at least you won’t be. We’re going on a mission, and Cap wants you with us.”

“Wait, really?!” You squeal, “Wait--does that mean--”

“It sure does. Your very own suit. You want to see it? I just put the finishing touches on it last night.”

“Yes!” You jump up, waiting for him to point you in the right direction. He pulls a box out from underneath the desk and places it in front of you. You eagerly open it, pulling out the bodysuit within. The fabric is thin, but hardy, and jet black. Inside the box is also a tactical belt with holsters for your weapons, and a pair of black boots. “I love it Tony, I’m so excited.”

“I’m glad,” He smiles warmly before gesturing to the boots, “The boots have extra shock absorption in the heels, it should assist in the stabilizations of your landings, though clearly,” he holds up his coffee mug, “it’s not an issue.”

“Hey, it can’t hurt. Might help when I take passengers.” You carefully put the suit back in the box and grin.

“So, we are due for a mission briefing in ten, so...suit up. I’ll gather up some weapons for you, we’re meeting in Conference room 3.”

“See you there!” You give him a warm smile before you disappear, appearing back in your bathroom, the box clutched to your chest. You slide off your clothes, and slip the suit over your body where it fits perfectly--of course. You pull on the boots, and then loop the tactical belt around your waist, pulling it till it’s snug. Finally you slip the fingerless gloves on, flexing your fingers, amazed at how you could barely feel them on your skin. Taking a breath, you turn around and face yourself in the mirror. Your first day at the compound you had tried to picture yourself as you were now, suited up and ready to fight with the Avenger’s with disdain--but now, actually seeing it, your eyes wide and bright with nervous excitement, your skin flushed, you were having trouble remembering why this outcome had seemed so terrible to you at the time.

 

You teleport up to the first floor, landing right in front of Sam who lets out an indignant squawk, his hand flying to his chest.

“Sorry Sam,” You give him a sheepish smile in response to his glare.

“You are going to give me a damn heart attack girl! I thought Vision and his walking through walls was bad, but you,” Sam shakes his head in mock anger.

“Doors, walls, walking,” You roll your eyes, “They’re just so last year. Maybe you should get with the times Wilson.”

Before he can retort, Tony breezes out of the elevator, “Well look at you, looking like a real-life superhero,” he walks around you once, checking the fit of the suit, “Am I good, or am I good?”

“You’re amazing,” You admit, still too ecstatic with the garment to remember to not feed Stark’s ego.

“That, is what I like to hear. Okay, knife,” He slips a tactical knife into the holster on your belt, “And guns,” Those he slips into the holsters on your hips. “Draw those for me.” Taking a step back, you quickly draw the weapons like Clint had taught you, before just as quickly slipping them back into place. “Perfect. I declare you mission-ready.” Grinning you follow the two men into the conference room where Natasha, Bruce, and Steve are waiting.

“(Y/n), welcome to your first mission briefing,” Steve says warmly, “Have a seat.”

“Where’s Wanda? And Vision?” You ask, pulling out one of the office chairs.

Steve hands out file folders as he responds, “Wanda and Vision are on their way to Wakanda for a mission of their own right now, they won’t be back for a few days at the least.” You open the folder in your hands, eyes scanning the information. The first page was an aerial photo of some kind of base, while the rest were just photographs of high ranking HYDRA members. You turn your attention back to Steve as Tony hits a button and a 3D model of the base appears in the center of the table.

“During our last mission we took out a small HYDRA satellite base in Northern Canada. Previous intel we received suggested that there’s a much larger operation in place up there. We tracked the survivors of the previous mission to this base here,” Steve gestures to the image suspended above the table, “This base is heavily armed, and we believe contains a central database of all HYDRA affiliated locations in the country.” Steve pauses for a moment, “Tony, Sam, and I will draw as many as we can to us, leaving Natasha and (Y/n) to infiltrate, you two will just keep moving, get the information and get out as soon as possible. Bruce, you’ll be waiting in the quinjet as medical, and if things go...poorly, back-up. Everyone understand?”

“Aye aye,” Sam mutters, shooting you a grin.

“Looks like it’s me and you kid,” Natasha says, bumping your shoulder with hers.

 

Your stomach was churning as you approached your destination, you had never flown in a plane before, for obvious reasons, and the whole thing had left you feeling, well, queasy to say the least. Steve’s eyes kept flickering to your face, so you forced yourself to endure it stoically before you were sidelined.

“We’re about two minutes from the drop zone,” Bruce called over the intercom. Steve pulled his helmet onto his head while Tony stepped into his suit, the cover snapping over his face with an unsettling clang. “One minute.” Sam pulled his goggles over his eyes, and tightened some straps on his flight suit. “Thirty seconds.” Natasha pulled you to your feet, looping her arm through yours tightly.

“Steve will jump first so Tony can grab him on his way down, then Sam. Then we’re going to teleport straight down, okay?” You nod at her, hoping your face didn’t look as terrified as you felt.

“Ten seconds,” Steve pulled the door open, and your hair was whipped back with the force of the wind. The door opened and Steve stepped forward, securing his shield to his back, before he stepped out of the plane, plunging from sight. Immediately Tony flew out the opening, followed by Sam. Natasha quickly led you forward, and you stood on the edge. You glanced down, trying to figure out the trajectory of where the others would land, and then suddenly you were there, your heart hammering in your chest. An alarm suddenly emanated from the base as Tony flew over your heads, Steve dangling below him, followed by Sam. Once they passed the barbed wire fence at the edge of the compound, Tony dropped Steve, who immediately launched his shield at the soldiers now filing out of all of the doors of the base.

You froze as the sound of gunfire suddenly erupted around you, echoing in your ears. “(Y/n), we need to move, get us inside,” Natasha yelled, pulling on your arm. You turn to look at her and nod, appearing at the back of the compound. Natasha quickly took out the two guards back there before they even realized you were there. As they hit the ground you swallow back bile, and try not to look at the blood sliding down from the holes in their foreheads. “Take us about five feet in, be ready for anything.” You nod face ashen, and grab her arm, jumping five feet in where you land in what looks like a storage area that’s thankfully empty. “Come on, stay close.” You follow behind her as she exits the room and into a hallway. Peering around corners, she moves silently, and you try to just focus on her careful movements instead of the situation around you. You watch as she glances through doorways as she passes, making sure the rooms are empty, until she comes across one with, what looks like to you, a very heavy security system.

Natasha plugs something into it, and takes a step back as the screen goes haywire, sparks flying off of it, and then the door slides open. Immediately you both jump to the side as the men inside openfire. Natasha peeks around the doorway, firing off two shots before she ducks back. You just watch her with wide eyes as she fires off a few more shots, before she dives into the room, pulling you with her as she takes cover behind a desk. “Stay here, okay?” She hisses, reloading her gun. She launches herself sideways out from behind the desk, taking out the last three men in the room before she hit the ground. She makes her way back to you, kneeling before you.

“(Y/n),” Your ears are ringing as your eyes flicker up to her face, “(Y/n), I need to get into the computer system so we can get out of here. I need you to watch the door for me. Can you do that?”

“Yes,” Your voice comes out a cracked whisper, so you clear your throat and blink a couple times, for what feels like the first time since you landed, before you try again, “Yeah.” She slides over the desk towards a complex looking computer setup, while you move to the doorway, looking both ways down the hallway. You can hear explosions and gunfire coming from the front of the base. You hope everyone’s okay. You glance back towards Natasha, she’s bent over the computer, her back to you. The hallway is still empty, and you strain your ears to see if those footsteps are moving towards or away from you. You turn back towards Natasha, to tell her someone might be coming when a figure pops up from behind one of the desks, a gun in his hand--he must have been hiding during the initial firefight. Adrenaline floods your system in a way you had never felt as you realize he’s got Natasha in his sights, and in that moment your body acts independently of your brain; before you know what’s happening you’ve unholstered your gun and fired off one perfectly aimed shot, the bullet ripping right through the man's head. You barely register Natasha whipping around, wide-eyed. All of the sound seems to fade away, as you watch the man crumple to the ground, blood pooling on the tile beneath him.

Suddenly Natasha’s in front of you, gently prying the gun out of your hand and putting it back in your belt, her eyes never leaving yours. Her lips are moving, but for some reason you can’t hear anything, instead all you can focus on is the cold clammy feeling settling all over your body. Vaguely you wonder if you’re going to pass out. Vaguely you wonder if you’re going into shock. You watch Natasha’s hand trail back, confused, and then her palm slaps against your cheek, and with the sharp stinging sensation comes all of the sounds that had previously disappeared, you can hear footsteps thundering in your direction.

“(Y/n)!” Natasha is yelling, “You need to get us back outside now, now (y/n)!” You reach out and grab her wrist, you fumble your landing and you both tumble to the ground in the spot you originally landed. The fighting must have moved inside, because the yard is empty, aside from the aftermath of the battle; bodies, bullet casings, and smouldering areas of rubble where Tony had taken out sections of the building. Natasha is on her feet within moments, but you can’t find your legs to stand, your whole body seems to have become numb. Sighing, she kneels down in front of you, “Hey, I’m sorry for slapping you. You were in shock. Are you okay?”

“I...don’t know.” You say slowly, “I just…” you shake your head, trying to find the words to explain, but you’re not entirely sure what you’re trying to explain.

“It’s okay,” Natasha, glances back towards the base as an explosion rings out, “I’m going to go help the guys finish this up. Can you go home and wait for us there? We’ll be back in a few hours, tops.”

“Okay,” You murmur as Natasha pulls you to her feet. You release her hands as soon as you’re standing, and teleport, not trusting your shaking legs to hold you. You were aiming for your bedroom, but to your dismay you land in the kitchen, knocking over the metal trash can in the kitchen, as you stumble and then fall. You feel like the room is shaking--and what’s that weird sound? And then you realize it’s just the sobs wracking your body, and it’s you making that sound.

Suddenly, or had it been a long time? You hear the door open, and rapid footsteps to your position, “Y/n? Are you hurt?” It’s Bucky, he must have heard the trash can fall, “Y/n?” His hands are gently pushing your body around as he looks for an injury.

“I’m okay,” You choke out, finally opening your eyes to see his concerned face hovering over you through your tears, “I...missed my room.”

“Hey, it’s okay,” Bucky slips his flesh arm under your shoulders and the other under your legs, picking you up like you weighed nothing. You let your head sag against his broad shoulder, trying to stop the trembling in your limbs. In what seems like no time at all he’s setting you down on your bed, where he sits next to you, his large hand gently rubbing your back. “(Y/n), what happened? Is everyone okay?”

“I think so…” A sob rips it’s way through your chest, and you squeeze your eyes closed, “Natasha sent me home. She said they would be back in a few hours.”

“What happened?” Bucky asks again, his voice soft, but firm.

“Bucky, I killed someone,” The words come out a strangled groan, and saying it suddenly makes it feel so real, another shuddering sob escapes you, and you just collapse into him, his arms slip around you to hold you as you bury your head into his chest, your tears soaking into the cotton of his t-shirt.

“Shh,” Bucky whispers, his lips brushing the top of your head, “You’re okay.” After what feels like hours, you start to find a little bit of control. You still feel weak, but everything but your hands has stopped shaking. Your sobs turn into shaky breaths, and finally you lift your head, avoiding eye contact with your unlikely savior as his arms release you.

“Sorry,” You whisper, “I’m really okay now. I don’t know what that was.”

“You were in shock,” Bucky says softly, “There’s nothing to be sorry for.”

“He was going to kill Natasha” You murmur, you’re not sure whether it’s to Bucky or yourself.

“You saved your teammate--your friend. You didn’t have a choice. He was a bad guy.”

“Yeah, but most people aren’t just good or evil,” You say softly, looking up at Bucky, “Maybe this was just a job for him. Maybe he just wanted to go home to his wife and kids. Maybe he didn’t want to be there at all. I don’t know. But now he’s dead, because of me.”

“And Natasha is alive. She does get to come home. She gets to lay in bed with Bruce tonight, because of you,” Bucky’s hand rests on your knee, “That man made his choice, and if you hadn’t made yours, we woulda lost an Avenger tonight.”

You give him a small, sad smile, your fingers absentmindedly running down the back of his hand. Despite the situation, your mind wanders to just how close Bucky is to you right now, and just how blue his eyes are up this close. You find yourself leaning into him slightly, as those icy eyes slip down to look at your lips. A shiver of anticipation hits you now, as his head tilts slightly, his soft breath ghosting over your skin.

You jump when there’s a soft knock on the front door, and quickly look away from Bucky, your face hot. “F.R.I.D.A.Y., who’s at the door?”

“Captain Rogers, Miss (Y/L/N).”

“Please let him in,” You tell her, listening as the door slides open. You casually slide over, putting some room between you and Bucky before Steve walks in. “I’m so sorry Steve,” You say immediately as he enters the room, “I understand if you don’t want me to be an Avenger anymore, I put the mission in danger, I’m so sorry,” A tear slips down your cheek, and you take a deep breath before you can start crying again.

To your surprise Steve kneels down and wraps his arms around you, pulling you into a tight hug. “(Y/n), I should be the one apologizing right now. What you had to do…” Steve shakes his head, “You weren’t supposed to have to do that on this mission. We just wanted you to get used to battle, not have to take part, not right away. Nat just feels terrible that she didn’t see that guy.”

“It’s not her fault, you’ll tell her that for me right?” You sniff, “Still though, I’m obviously not cut out for this. I’m not a superhero.”

“(Y/n), what you did today proves that you are a superhero,” Steve smiles at the silly title, “You saved a life today, you made the tough call and got the job done. I’m proud to call you an Avenger today.” You let out a shaky laugh, tears sliding down your face again. “But none of that matters right now, are you okay? Nat said you were really shaken up.”

“I’m okay now,” You wipe the fresh tears from your face, “Bucky kind of talked me off the edge. I’m going to be okay, I just… need some time.” Steve glances at Bucky, as if noticing him for the first time.

“I owe you then, Buck, thanks for taking care of her.” Steve gets to his feet, “I’ve got to debrief everyone--don’t worry, we can do yours another time. You going to be alright?”

“I’m good,” You smile, waving him off. You hear the door close, and you glance over at Bucky.

“I should probably go too,” Bucky says quickly, “You probably want to be alone.” You really didn’t, but a mix of embarrassment from the moment you two had shared a moment ago and your break down left you unable to tell him so, so you just nod, and watch as he leaves, awkwardly patting your shoulder on his way out.

Sighing you peel off your tactical uniform and take a quick shower, washing the grime from your tired body. You slip into your favorite pajamas and snuggle up under the covers, the exhaustion from the day seeming to hit you all at once. Your eyes slide closed, and all you can see is the bodies laying in the courtyard, the way that man’s body had crumpled after you pulled the trigger, the way the blood had pooled beneath him. Suddenly the man wasn’t the man anymore, but Steve, while Natasha screamed silently in your face. Your eyes snap open, your blanket is on the floor, and a fresh layer of sweat is now covering your body. Letting out a shaky breath, you sit up, your hand fumbling for the light controls next to your bed. Despite the light, you can’t stand being alone in here another second. You gather your blanket around you, and pad silently out your front door to the room across the hall. You knock gently and lean against the door frame. The door slides open, and Bucky’s tall frame immediately steps aside to let you into the dimly lit room.

“Everytime I close my eyes, I see it,” You say softly, “Can I…” You swallow thickly, “Can I stay here tonight?” The lights are too low to see his expression, but he wraps one arm around your shoulders and leads you back to his room, where he quickly starts fixing the twisted sheets.

“Here ya go,” Bucky says quietly, taking your blanket and spreading it across the bed, “Make yourself at home.” You smile and slip into his bed, which is still warm from his body. You must have woken him up.

“Thank you Bucky.”

“Anytime,” He hesitates a moment, then brushes a strand of hair off your forehead, “If you need anything I’ll be on the couch.”

“Stay, please,” You whisper, grabbing his wrist, “I don’t want to be alone right now.” His eyes search your face for a moment, and then he comes around to the other side of the bed. You shift towards the edge, giving him room--it is his bed after all, but he surprises you by pulling you towards him, wrapping his arm around your waist, your back pressed against his firm chest. Quietly, he begins to tell you funny anecdotes about pre-serum Steve, how Steve always managed to find trouble that he would have to bail his friend out of, how he used to love to go dancing, the many failed double dates he tried to set up for the two of them. You listened, enraptured, until finally you couldn’t keep your eyes open any longer, and they fell closed. But for some reason with Bucky there, the nightmares didn’t come.

Chapter Text

Sam’s leaning against the counter in the kitchen when you walk in, eating dry cereal out of the box. “How was your run?” You ask, pouring yourself a cup of coffee.

“I think you’re right about that inferiority complex,” Sam grins, “I think it’s starting to set in.” You move to his side, grabbing a handful of the cereal he offers you.

“Told you,” You pop the cereal in your mouth, chewing thoughtfully, “So I was thinking,”

“That’s new.”

You shoot him a glare, “Christmas is in a few weeks, we should do something.”

“Stark throws like a big Christmas party every year,” Sam shrugs, “More like a gala, I guess.”

“I know, he told me about that. But we should do something, like us, like our team,” You press, “I want to do secret santa.”

“Secret Santa,” Sam looks down at you with that she-may-be-crazy-after-all look.

“Come on, I used to love it as a kid,”

“As a kid.”

You give him another look, rolling your eyes, “Come on Sam, most of us don’t have any family, it would be really nice to exchange gifts with everyone.”

You give him your best puppy dog eyes and he lets out a groan, “Fine, I’m in. What do you need me to do?”

“Absolutely nothing!” You grin, “We’ll do it old fashioned, names in a hat. It’ll be fun!” You grab another handful of cereal as the door slides open, a teenage boy stepping in the room looking just as confused as you felt. Weren’t there security protocols to stop this sort of thing from happening?

“Um hello?”

“Oh, hi! I don’t think we’ve met? I’m Peter, Peter Parker. Hi, Sam!” Peter smiles, “It’s nice to meet you again now that we’re not, uh, fighting and stuff.” You glance over at Sam who rolls his eyes.

“F.R.I.D.A.Y., please let Tony know his prodigé is in the kitchen.”

Peter gives you a nervous smile, “I took the train here, I was looking for Mr. Stark but I wasn’t sure where I would find him so I’ve just been kind of wandering around. I’ve never actually been in this room before, this place is like so big. So are you like an Avenger, like a new one? I’ve never seen you before.”

“Yeah, I’m (Y/n)...” You trail off as you see Bucky start to walk in the room, see Peter, and then quickly head back in the opposite direction.

Peter’s head whips around, and then back to you, “Oh man, was that Mr. Barnes? He is just the coolest, with the arm and stuff--”

“Peter, what are you doing here?” Tony asks breezing through the door, his eyes focused on his phone as he types something out, “How did you get in here? F.R.I.D.A.Y. how did Peter get in here?”

“You never removed Mr. Parker’s security clearance from the last time he was here, Mr. Stark,” F.R.I.D.A.Y. responds, making Tony roll his eyes.

“I thought since I was on my break I could come up, maybe do some training or something? Maybe you need me for like a mission or something?”

Tony’s eyes are still focused on the screen when he answers, “Yeah, maybe some other time kid.” Your heart breaks a little at the dejected look on Peter’s face. Poor kid.

“Maybe he could come for the party, and do the secret santa?” You suggest.

“...Secret...Santa?” Tony’s now staring at you like you’ve grown a second head and you force a smile.

“Yeah, Sam and I were going to do like an Avenger’s Secret Santa, for Christmas,” You ignore the look Sam’s giving you, “Maybe Peter could take part in that. Like an honorary Avenger.”

“Oh wow, that would be super awesome, uh, Ms. uh, (Y/n)”

“Yeah, okay, fine, whatever,” Tony rolls his eyes before turning his attention back to his phone, “Peter, I’ll send someone to get you for the...party. Dillinger, can you take Peter home please?” You frown as he walks out of the room.

“Who’s Dillinger?” Peter asks, turning back to you and Sam, “Is that like an AI like F.R.I.D.A.Y. or Karen?”

“Uh, no, that’s me. It’s a nickname. A stupid one. With no real world significance at all,” You smile disarmingly, while Sam snickers. “Where do you live Peter?”

“Uh, Queens, here, I can map it for you,” He pulls out his phone and taps away for a moment before handing it to you. You grab it and switch it to satellite view, giving yourself a good reference point to teleport to. You hand him his phone back.

“Okay, loop your arm through mine and close your eyes,” You tell him slowly, holding out your arm. He looks at you confused, but does it. You appear at the back of the building, with a wide-eyed Peter Parker.

“Oh. My. God.” He says, pulling away from you, “That was the coolest thing EVER! We were like, just upstate and now we’re in Queens and oh my god you can teleport! You are like the coolest Ms. (Y/n)!” You can’t help the amused smile that spreads over your lips, the kid’s enthusiasm was absolutely adorable, and he was obviously pretty tough as he took the teleport better than any of the other Avengers had previously.

“Thanks Peter, it does come in handy. I’ll send you your secret santa name as soon as we get them. And I promise I’ll make sure Stark doesn’t lose your party invite in the mail.”

“Thanks Ms. (Y/n), you’re like totally the best.” You shoot him another smile and then disappear, appearing in Stark’s lab and making him jump.

“What’s the deal with the kid?” You ask him, ignoring the glare he shoots you.

“Peter? He helped me out in a situation a couple years ago, he’s a good kid. Strong, but young,” Stark sighs, “I really just don’t want to see him get hurt, but you know, he wants to use his powers for good.”

“You don’t have to be so hard on him, it’d probably be good for him to spend some time here, do some training, make him stronger.”

“You’re probably right, I guess I just don’t want to encourage him. I’d rather see him live a normal, happy life.”

You smile, “I know what you mean, but I also think you may be a little too late on this one. You should think about it.”

“Okay mom.” Tony smirks. “Newest member and you’re already pushing your weight around.”

“Hey, you’re the one who wanted me to make myself at home,” You grin, and sit on the other side of his desk. “Mind if I steal a piece of paper?” He pushes a notebook towards you while he scoots back, manipulating a 3D projection of what looks like a cell. You start writing down names and ripping them off the paper. Looking around you snag a discarded ironman helmet and start dropping them in there.

 

“Okay, what are you doing?” Tony leans over the desk to look in the helmet.

“Secret santa!” You push the helmet towards him, “You get first dibs.” He rolls his eyes but reaches in, withdrawing a piece of paper. He glances at the name and then balls the paper up, throwing it in the general direction of the waste basket.

“Okay, now get out of my lab.” You smile, snatching the helmet off his desk and heading towards medical. Bruce is once again lounging on one of the beds, focused on some kind of textbook. He looks up as you enter, shooting you a smile

“(Y/n), how can I help you?”

You hold out the helmet to him, “Secret Santa.”

“Secret...Santa.” He snorts in amusement, “Never thought I’d see this day. Okay.” He snags a piece of paper. “Thanks.”

“You’re very welcome,” You teleport up to the lounge and hand out names to Sam and Natasha, giving her a second one to send to Clint who was still at home with his family. You find Vision in the kitchen with Wanda, who seems to be the only one excited by the idea.

“This will be so much fun,” She smiles, clutching the name, “We will go shopping soon, yes?”

“Promise,” You laugh, “Know where I can find Steve?”

“I think I saw him go into training room 3 earlier, you can probably still find him there.” Vision responds, giving you a kind smile.

“Thanks!”

When you walk in Steve is going to town on punching bag, and you clear your throat to get his attention. “Hey (Y/n),” he steadies the bag, “What’s up?”

You hold out the nearly empty helmet to him, giving it a shake. “We’re doing secret santa, and I’m here to deliver your name.” Steve gives you a bemused look but grabs a name without questioning it.

“You know, I never took you as the Christmas type,” Steve smiles, slipping the paper into his pocket.

“Hey, I’m cheerful!”

“The first time we met you spit on me.”

“I didn’t spit on you, I spit at you,” You rebuke, “Besides, you broke into my house.”

“Motel room, and you were technically a criminal.”

“That’s besides the point,” You grin, “None of that gives any evidence that I don’t love Christmas as much as the next girl.”

“Fair enough,” Steve laughs, “So who else have you roped into this.”

“Everyone--though, I guess now that you mention it, I didn’t really ask, I just started handing out names. No one’s refused me yet.”

“Is uh...Bucky doing it?” Steve asks in a very fake nonchalant way that has you raising your eyebrow at him.

“He’s my last stop,” You cock your head at him, “Why do you ask?”

“No reason,” Steve pauses, staring at the floor near your feet, “Well, I uh, saw you going into his room the other night.”

“Oh...oh! No! It’s not like that,” You say quickly, “I’ve just been having some trouble sleeping this past week after… Bucky’s been really great,” You finish lamely. In reality you had ended up sleeping in Bucky’s room five out of the seven nights since your mission--each night’s nightmares prompting you to gather your blanket and steal across the hall to his bed--and each night Bucky had embraced you as he had the first night, telling you stories from his childhood, his time in the army, and even some where he fought alongside Steve and the Howling Commandos after his first run in with HYDRA until you finally fell back asleep. You were being honest with Steve though, it really wasn’t like that. Besides the moment in your room (and you hesitated to even call it a moment), nothing remotely suggestive had happened between the two of you.

“That’s good, I mean, not that, if there was something between the two of you, I mean that’s great too. I’m just glad he’s finally out of his room, he really seems to be doing better. You’ve been really great for him too,” Steve scratches the back of his head sheepishly.

“I’m just glad I could help,” You smile, patting Steve gently on the arm before you walk out.

As you approach Bucky’s door, it slides open automatically to your surprise. Bucky’s laying across his couch reading the copy of the first Lord of the Rings book you had lent him. “I updated the security settings to allow you in,” Bucky answers your unasked question as he bookmarks his page, “Figured it’d save you some knocking.”

“Oh, thanks,” You awkwardly on the couch as he sits up to give you room and set the helmet on the coffee table. “Do you like the book?”

“I’m not very far yet,” Bucky admits, “But I do like what I’ve read. Thanks for loaning it to me.”

“Figured it was time to catch you up on pop culture.” You toy with the hem of your sweater, unsure why you suddenly feel so awkward. You hadn’t really spent much time with Bucky besides your late night rendezvous--which sounded really bad--and you hadn’t really talked about it; but that was a can of worms you definitely didn’t want to open. Unfortunately Steve’s comment had caught you off guard and things you didn’t want to think about were now being thought about.

“What’s with the helmet? You take off Stark’s head finally?” Bucky grins. Duh. You had already forgotten your single reason for coming up here. Where was your deal? It definitely wasn’t because you were busy thinking about how cozy Bucky looked in the sweater he was wearing, or how the soft gray material made his eyes look almost colorless. It most definitely wasn’t because you were admiring the way the sleeves of said sweater were pushed up to his elbows, revealing his muscular forearms, both metal and flesh--which for some reason you were recently finding both to be very attractive. It was definitely not any of those things.

“Santa,” You stammer, feeling the blush rising to your face, “Uh. Secret santa. We’re doing secret santa. I’m here to deliver your name. So you can get them a gift. For Christmas.”

Bucky smirks, throwing his arm over the back of the couch and leaning towards you, “Like a little elf,” he says, throwing you a wink. Is he fucking with you? There’s something about that bad-boy Brooklyn accent that makes you just want to climb in his lap and--

“Here,” You shove the helmet in his direction, avoiding eye contact as he plucks out a piece of paper. He glances at the name and then sets it on the table, turning back to you. “I should get going...Gotta return this to Tony. He might need it. For something.” You stand up, the helmet tucked under your arm and abruptly walk out of the room without saying another word. Outside in the hall you silently mouth “What. The. Fuck.” before taking the elevator back down to Tony’s lab.

You put the helmet on Stark’s desk, and hand him one of the pieces of paper, telling him to send it to Peter with the invite. It isn’t until you’re back in your room that you unfold the little piece of paper in your pocket and look at the scribbled name--Bucky. Fuck.

Chapter Text

“You look exhausted,” Wanda says, sipping her mimosa. You, Wanda, and Natasha were currently sitting in a cafe in Paris grabbing brunch after the three of you went dress shopping for Tony’s party. “Are you still having trouble sleeping?”

You try and fight down the blush that threatens to envelop your face as your friend’s words dredge up the memory of the dream you had woken up from this morning. Which had been nothing, you remind yourself, just a dream. Could have happened to anybody. Could have been about anybody.

You had just finished your morning run when Bucky had walked in, striding purposefully towards you. “Wha--” is all you managed before he had grabbed your hips, pushing you against the wall behind you. His head dipped down, lips nipping at the sensitive skin on your neck before his tongue had traced a path up your neck and his mouth was on yours. A shuddering sigh had escaped your lips and he immediately took advantage of it, pressing hot open mouthed kisses against your parted lips, his tongue dipping in slightly to caress your own. “Bucky,” You had whispered against his skin, your fingers tangling in his hair to pull him closer to your body. You remembered how in awe you had felt about how good it felt to finally give into this feeling between the two of you. Bucky had grabbed your waist, lifting you up on the wall, and you had wrapped your legs around his hips, a soft moan escaping your lips as you felt his hardness against you through your clothes, and when he grinded against you you thought you were going to lose your mind.

“(Y/n),” he had whispered against your lips, and the thought that this man wanted you was doing funny things to your stomach, not to mention the way he nipped at the soft skin on your shoulder and dragged his teeth along your collarbone, “(Y/n)...”

“(Y/n)!” Natasha waved her hand in front of your face, her expression somewhere between amused and worried. You look up to see Wanda looking at you with wide eyes, a slight blush on her face, and your own face turns red as you realize she had picked up on your thoughts.

“Sorry,” You choke out, “Uh, yeah, no, I’m sleeping okay now.” Avoiding eye contact with the two girls, you down the rest of your drink.

“So what are you gonna do for Bucky?” Natasha asks suddenly, making you choke on your drink.

“What?” You sputter out, feeling your face get even redder.

“For Christmas. You did say you were his secret santa right?”

“...Right.” Natasha is looking at you like the cat that ate the canary, and you sigh, defeated.

“I. Knew. It.” She grins, “(Y/n) wants to melt the Winter Soldiers cold icy heart.”

“I think she already has,” Wanda says, giving you a look.

“It was a dream,” You interject, “Just some weird subconscious thing, it doesn’t even mean anything.”

“You had a sex dream about Bucky?” Natasha exclaims, bringing another blush to your face.

“Shh,” You glance around making sure no one around you was listening to your conversation, “It’s nothing okay? Now can we get out of here?”

“She wants to get back home to her Soldier,” Wanda smiles, “Let us hurry then.” You let out a groan and grab your jacket.

“You guys are the worst.” You lead them both away from the busy streets and link arms, mentally preparing yourself for the teleport home. Bringing them to Paris was the first time you had attempted it with two passengers, and you were surprised on how much more difficult it was. Your landing had been sloppy, and a wave of exhaustion had settled over you immediately, something that didn’t happen unless you used your powers a lot in very quick succession. You did a little better this time, landing somewhat steadily in the yard in front of the compound.

“Oh!” You gasp as you look around, a thick layer of snow had coated the grass, and continued to slowly cascade down around you, “The first snow.”

“Ew.” Wanda wrinkled her nose, “I am not a fan of the snow.”

“(Y/n) only likes it because it reminds her of her lover,” Natasha grinned.

“Natasha!” You scolded, “He is not my lover.”

“Sure, sure,” she says, brushing past you towards the door with Wanda, “Whatever you say.”

You hurry up to your room to put away your dress, eager to spend some time outside just in case the weather cleared up. You had always loved the snow, even if you weren’t a big fan of the cold, and it was somewhat of a tradition for you to always take a moment to enjoy the first snow of the season--wherever you were. Teleporting down to the kitchen you put on a kettle of water, searching through the cupboards for a thermos to put cocoa in. Stark had told you about a lake about a quarter mile into the woods behind the compound, and it was with that destination in mind that you teleport with your beverage, landing in the thickening snow within the woods. As you walk forward, the treeline opens up, revealing the lake, and a familiar figure sitting on a fallen log on the other side. You groan internally as you walk around the water, did it really have to be Bucky out here? What were the chances?

“Hi,” You say quietly as Bucky brushes some snow off the log so you can sit down. You take a seat, cracking open your thermos and taking a sip, letting the warmth wash over your body. “Want some?” You ask, holding out the cup. His fingers brush yours as he takes the cup and your stomach does a weird flipping thing. What is wrong with you?

“Thanks,” he murmurs, passing you back the thermos. He’s sitting close enough that his arm is pressed against yours, and despite the cold air you feel almost hot from the heat radiating off his body. You’re starting to wonder if he knows what he’s doing to you. If he’s doing it on purpose. You wonder what would happen if you just reached out and intertwined your fingers with his, I mean they were right there, his hand would feel so big and warm wrapped around yours--

“Did Tony tell you about this place?” You ask abruptly, trying to ignore the weird fluttery thing that your heart has decided to do.

“Nah, Steve did when I first joined up. He thought I would find it peaceful. This is where I was heading that day you stopped me.”

“Oh,” You look out onto the lake, it’s surface gray as it reflects the clouds. It’s very quiet, the cold driving the animals into their burrows. “It is peaceful.” You close your eyes, breathing in the cold air. When you open them and look back at Bucky he’s staring at you with the oddest expression. His hair is slightly damp from the melted snow, his cheeks and nose tinged with pink from the cold air. Your eyes meet his, and you’re not sure who leaned in first but suddenly your lips are on his. It’s nothing like the forceful hot and heavy kisses of the Bucky in your dream, but instead it’s sweet and slow and gently, his hand gently cupping your face. After a few seconds he pulls away, his blue eyes half-lidded as he looks at you, eyes searching yours, and then he leans in again, placing feather soft pecks against your lips.
“Bucky,” You murmur softly, brushing your hand once from his cheekbone to his jaw. In that moment, several of your questions had been answered; yes, there was something there, and yes, it went both ways. Now the only question was, what were you going to do about it? You could see Bucky had questions of his own as his confused gaze met yours.

“I’m supposed to meet Steve to spar,” Bucky says finally, rising to his feet. He holds out his hand, and you grasp it, his fingers warm in your own while he pulls your feet.

The two of you walk back in silence, it’s surprisingly non-awkward considering you two had just kissed each other. You wondered if you were going to talk about it. You decided to just play it cool, you kissed, whatever. In reality, you weren’t even 100% sure what you wanted; you had never really had a romantic relationship before, and considering you had been on your own since you were sixteen years old, you hadn’t even had a non-romantic relationship in quite some time. Of course over the years there had been one night stands, a brisk romantic weekend with some local boy in Greece, one time you had even spent a very beautiful week on a small island off the coast of Australia with a handsome fisherman--but you had never stayed in one place long enough to form connections. Not like you had now. For the first time since you were a child you had people you cared about; people you would not just consider friends, but family. The way you felt towards Bucky was nowhere near familial. And it was nothing like how you had felt about any of the other men you had been with. It was deep, and achy, and quickly becoming impossible to ignore--and you had a very strong feeling that Bucky felt it too.

You’re surprised when you enter the building, too caught up in your thoughts to remember the walk. Bucky was still silent by your side as you stepped into the elevator. As the door closes he suddenly rounds on you, wrapping one arm around you waist and pressing his mouth against yours, his hand coming up to cup the back of your neck and pull you deeper into his embrace. As the elevator comes to a stop he pulls away, leaving you dazed as he exits the elevator and heads towards the training rooms.

Sam is walking by to the lounge as you step out of the elevator, slightly breathless. “You okay (Y/L/N)? You look…” He pauses, a gleam coming into his eye as something clicks, “Dare I say, ravished?--And, dare I note a certain Bucky Barnes leaving this elevator?”

You groan, “No you may not, I swear you and Natasha gossip like housewives.” You push past him towards the lounge, and he follow you, a stupid grin on his face. You regret even coming down here when you spot Natasha laying across the loveseat, balancing a glass of wine in one hand. Not that Bucky had really given you a choice in floor number. You fix your hair as you take a seat on the big couch next to Sam and pull a thick blanket over your legs.

Natasha turns around takes one look at you, “Something happened,” She says with a grin, turning around fully to look at you, “Spill.”

“Absolutely not!”

“She came out of that elevator with Bucky looking all breathless and nervous,” Sam teases.

“We kissed okay? Twice.” You glance behind you that no one’s eavesdropping.

“Twice?” Natasha’s leaning closer now, her eyes glowing with excitement.

“Okay, oh my god I can’t believe I’m telling you two this of all people, but I guess I could use an outside opinion.” You’re only telling the two of them because you know you can trust them, they were your best friends, and you had never really gotten to be giddy over a guy in your youth, “So I head out to that lake in the woods back there, and Bucky’s already there. We were talking and stuff, and then, well, I’m not 100% sure what happened but we kissed, and it was like the tenderest, sweetest kiss I’ve ever had. Then we like, literally just pretended it didn’t happen, didn’t say a word on the way back,” Well you had been a little preoccupied with your thoughts, “Then we get in the elevator, and he just like jumps me, and hits me with like the most passionate, panty-dropping kiss ever. And then he just walked out of the elevator without saying a word.”

“This is literally the most exciting thing that’s happened in the compound ever,” Natasha says.

“What should I do?” You fall back on the couch, pulling the blanket up to your chin.

“Well, it sounds like you should jump his bones--wait--no--Secret Santa.”

“What?” You ask confused.

“You’re his secret santa--wait for the party, tell him the gift is in your room, and boom--”

“Merry Christmas!” Sam grins.

“Absolutely not,” A blush spreads across your cheeks, “That is probably the world’s worst advice.”

“Speaking as a man, I’m gonna say it has a hundred percent chance to work.”

“Right,” You snort, “Anyways, I mean I just don’t know if it’s something I should even pursue.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’ve just never been with someone like that before, and--”

“Are you telling me you’re a virgin?” Sam buts in and you shoot him a glare.

“No, shut up Sam--I meant like, I’ve never really long term dated. It’s hard when you’re always on the go. Plus, we work together, that’s a pretty good reason to not do this.”

“Hey, Wanda and Sam seem to be making it work, and Bruce and I,” Natasha frowns, “It sounds like you’re just making excuses because you’re afraid to be tied down.”

“Maybe,” You admit, a small smile on your lips. “Maybe, I’ll take your input into consideration. But probably not.”

“That’s all I can ask for,” Natasha shoots you a wink and you roll your eyes.

“Alright, come on, put on a movie or something. I need to try and forget that I just got romantic advice from Black Widow and the Falcon.” You snuggle up onto the couch, curling your knees up to your chest as you lay down. You try and focus on the movie Sam puts on, but by the middle you’re a little lost--your brain just keeps replaying your clandestine kisses with Bucky.

Chapter Text

You could hear the music from upstairs faintly from your room as you adjust the the sleeves of your dress. Natasha had picked out the garment, a long-sleeved emerald green wrap dress with a plunging neckline. You had been unsure about it, ball gowns were a little out of your comfort zone; you couldn’t remember the last time you had worn a dress but Natasha had insisted that it was perfect for the event. You had brushed out your hair until it was smooth and shiny and applied a little bit of the mascara Wanda had loaned you for the occasion. Taking one last look in the mirror, you walked out to your bedroom and checked that Bucky’s gift was still expertly wrapped on your bedside table. You had decided against taking it to the party as you weren’t sure whether or not he was actually going to attend. You were hoping he would--part of you was very eager to further explore the connection between the two of you despite your reservations. Sighing, you walk out of your apartment and make your way to the elevator.

Stark had insisted that you had stayed off the first floor all day today as he arranged the decor for the party, and as the elevator opened, you understood why. The lobby was completely unrecognizable, twinkling lights hung from the ceiling casting the room in a surreal lighting. The reception desk had been replaced with a bar, and chic couches now lined the edges of the room creating little nooks where guests currently mingled. You could see Natasha leading Bruce in a waltz on the dance floor, while Tony leaned against the bar talking to a tall blonde man. He caught your eye and beckoned you over.

“Well don’t you clean up nice?” He teased as you approached, “I’d almost go as far as to say you look stunning.”

“Coming from you I’d almost go as far as to call that a compliment,” You retort, rolling your eyes as he hands you a glass of whiskey.

“(Y/n), I’d like to introduce you to our favorite Asgardian royalty, Thor.” Tony gestured to the man before you while you almost choked on your spit. “Thor, this is our newest member, (Y/n).”

“Oh my god, hi,” You hold out your hand awkwardly, feeling somewhat star struck. Sure you were around superheroes every day but none of them were from another planet.

The feeling intensified as Thor took your offered hand and brought it to his lips, pressing a soft kiss against your knuckles. “Lady, (Y/n), it is a pleasure to meet you.”

“You too,” You stutter out, bringing your glass to your lips to cover your blush.

“No one introduces me,” A man says from next to you at the bar, “I’m Scott, Scott Lang. Honorary Avenger. Sometimes.”

“Hi,” You smile, “I’m (Y/n).”

“They call me Antman, I get like really small. And sometimes really big but that’s kind of difficult. It’s cooler than it sounds,” he continues.

“I don’t know, it sounds pretty cool already,” You smile, taking another sip of your drink. Stark always had the good stuff. Before you can say anything else Clint breaks through the throng of people, his arm around a pretty brunette.

“(Y/n),” He exclaims, “This is my wife Laura.”

“Laura, nice to meet you,” You shake her hand, “I’ve heard so many great things about you.”

“Same,” Laura smiles, “Clint speaks very highly of you.”

“Scott!” Clint exclaims, “Have you met my wife Laura?” You shoot her a smile as she turns to Clint, and wander off. You’re admiring an intricate ice sculpture when Steve steps up beside you.

“Stark really knows how to throw a party,” he says with a grin, “You gotta give him that.”

“No kidding,” You turn to look at Steve who naturally looks like a model in his black tuxedo. The band shifts from a high energy swing number to a slower melody and Steve holds out his hand.

“Will you do me the honor?”

“What? Dance?” You hesitate for a moment, unsure of your dancing abilities, but decide it can’t hurt to try. Smiling, you finish your glass and set it on the nearby table. You take Steve’s hand, laughing as he spins you towards the dance floor. You follow his lead, setting your hand gently on his shoulder as the two of you move along to the music.

“So, should I assume that you’re the reason I had a panicked Bucky Barnes in my room this morning, asking me to borrow a suit?” Steve asks you quietly, a teasing smile on his lips.

“I don’t know. Maybe,” You admit, averting your eyes.

“Hey, whatever it is, I think it’s great. I’m glad you decided to stay, (Y/n).”

“Thanks Steve,” You smile as he gently spins you, his movements fluid and confident. “I guess it is all in the leading,” You joke, “I’ve never slow danced like this in my life.”

“You’re a natural,” Steve smiles, before something over your shoulder catches his attention.

A shiver runs down your spine as you hear Bucky’s husky voice behind you, “Mind if I cut in?”

“Please,” Steve releases you and you turn around, your eyes widening. Before today you would’ve said that Bucky in jeans and a t-shirt was the best thing you’d ever seen, but that was just because you had never seen Bucky in a suit before. The combination of the dark fabric and the lightness of his eyes was stunning, and you couldn’t look away as he took your hand in his, his metal arm wrapping around your waist as he claims Steve’s previous position. You let out a contented breath as he pulls you close, your head falling against his shoulder as you sway to the music.

“This is all we used to do back in my day,” Bucky says softly, and you feel his lips brush against your hair, “Go dancin’. I never remember having a partner as gorgeous as you though.”

“You don’t look so bad yourself Barnes,” You respond, your pulse racing in your chest. You weren’t sure how you managed to ignore this feeling for so long, it was almost electric, this thing between the two of you. Every time he touched you it was like a shock to your heart that sent your pulse hammering. As the song comes to an end you look up and meet his gaze, suddenly breathless as you see your own desire reflected back in his eyes. Everything seems clear in that moment, you want this man, and you know he wants you too; the next step seems obvious to you.

“I almost forgot,” You say softly, your voice much more confident than you currently feel, “I’m your secret santa. Your gift is up in my room.” His arms slowly release you, and you take a step back, glancing around you. Semi-confident that no one is paying you any attention, you reach for his hand before you both appear in your living room. You take a few steps in and take a deep breath, steadying yourself. God you hoped Natasha and Sam were right. “Turn around and close your eyes,” You tell him, watching as he turns to face the door obediently. Taking one more breath you slowly slide the dress off your arms and shimmy it down your body where it pools at your feet. “Bucky,” You breathe, not trusting your voice. He slowly turns around and you watch his eyes widen as he finally faces you.

“(Y/n),” Bucky murmurs taking a couple steps toward you. You fight your natural reaction to cover yourself as his beautiful eyes rake over your body before meeting yours. You can tell he’s fighting an internal battle as he looks at you, but when you step backwards away from the dress and kick it away from you with one heeled foot something seems to snap; in a moment you’re off your feet, your legs wrapping around his waist as your back hits the wall and his lips are on yours. Everything else falls away in that moment, and your fingers thread in his hair as you swallow the groan that falls from his lips and onto yours. “(Y/n). You were wearing nothin’ under that dress that whole time?” He whispers against your lips, his voice shaking. You don’t have time to respond before he’s moving, his stride steady as he carries you towards your bedroom and gently sets you on the bed, his lips never leaving yours as he pushes you down and climbs on top of you. A soft moan escapes you as he nips at your neck, his lips brushing against your throat, shoulders and collarbones before attacking your lips again like a drowning man, his tongue brushing against yours in a delightfully unfamiliar was that leaves you aching for more.

His flesh hand slides down your ribcage and then grips your hip as he pulls away and looks at you, his eyes fill with wonder as you lay beneath him trying to catch your breath. He shifts so he’s laying on his side next to you, pulling you against him until your head’s cushioned against his shoulder, and he once again kisses your lips, your cheekbones, and your nose before he captures your lips once more. “You want this?” He trails his fingers along your hip bone and then across your stomach as you nod, “...with me?” The confusion and disbelief coloring his tone almost breaks your heart. You reach up and intertwine your fingers with his metal ones next to your head and look up into his eyes.

“More than anything,” You tell him and that’s all it takes before his mouth is on yours once again and his fingers dip into you, his moan matching yours as he feels how wet you already are.

You roll him onto his back so you’re sitting in his lap and almost lose your composure as you feel how hard he is pressing against you, but manage to unbutton his dress shirt with shaking fingers. He sits up and together you shrug it and his jacket off, and finally you can run your fingers against his broad shoulders and down his chest and finally to caress the hard muscles on his abdomen. He watches you with rapt attention as you press a gentle kiss against the scarred skin where flesh meets metal, before your fingers are once again on the move and popping the button on his pants. He rolls you back over, hovering over with one hand while the other shimmies his pants and boxers down and off. In one smooth motion he enters you, his forehead falling to rest against the top of your head.

His eyes never leave yours as he sets a steady pace, leaving you writhing beneath him looking for friction, for something because it feels like you’re losing your mind, and just when you think you can’t take it anymore he plunges fully into you and begins to grind against you, his eyes boring into yours as you finally fall off the edge, your nails scratching against his chest as you shudder beneath him, your hips bucking up into his as his pace quickens, drawing gasps from you as his head falls to your shoulder and you can hear him breathing your name like a prayer against your neck as he comes undone. After a minute or two he slips out of you and rolls onto the bed next to you, rolling you with him so you’re still facing him. Unable to resist you place another kiss onto his lips, smiling as he opens his eyes once more.

“Merry Christmas,” You whisper.

“Gotta say, think that might be the best Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten,” Bucky replies and you giggle.

“Oh right, your gift, I almost forgot,” You grin, rolling over and grabbing the box from your table. Bucky sits up, rolling his eyes at the over the top red and green bow as he unwraps it. Inside is a photo album, and he looks up at you in shock as he opens it.

“How did you--?” He turns the pages, his eyes tracing over family photos that he hadn’t seen since he was just a kid. “Where did you find these?”

“I did a little digging, you know, visited a lot of places, tracked some people down. I know it’s not a lot, I couldn’t find many, but I figure you can fill up the rest with new memories.” He runs his finger down a photo of his parents on their wedding day that you had found in the basement archives of the church they had gotten married at.

“I don’t know what to say,” Bucky says softly, “I don’t deserve the kindness you’ve shown me.” He sets the album aside, reaching out to intertwine his fingers with yours.

“I think that’s for me to decide,” You tell him, brushing your lips against his knuckles.

“I’m not...good (Y/n)...I’ve done things,” He shakes his head, “Things I’m not sure you can come back from. I don’t know if I can have something like this,” his fingers tighten against yours.

“Well, you have it,” You remind him your bare leg caressing his, “Nothing else matters. Except the fact that our absence at the party has probably been noticed by now. Should we head back down?”

“Probably,” Bucky says, a wry smile on his lips, “But…” He rolls you onto your back and you giggle as he slides down your body, his lips kissing a trail from your throat to your stomach, before teasing against the inside of your thigh, “I can think of something better we can do.” You immediately forget all thoughts of the party going on above you as his tongue brushes against you, and the shuddering sigh that leaves your lips is the only answer he needs.