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we only see each other at weddings and funerals

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the funeral was over.

there was no one left in the church. no one but steve.

steve, who knew bucky better than he knew himself. who loved him more than he loved himself.

steve, who could feel his heart shattering with every step closer to the casket.

steve, whose tongue was loaded with words left unsaid.

steve, who fell to his knees at bucky’s side, the pain of knees hitting hard marble incomparable to the pain in his chest, to the pain of losing him, to the pain of the sob that ripped out his chest.

“do you remember, buck? do you remember when we were kids, and i was such a scrawny little shit, and you, god, buck, you were so perfect and everyone loved you? everyone. and for some reason, you followed me around. i never knew why, but i did know that you are, shit, were my best friend.

steve sucked in a shuddering breath, and went on, softer now. “do you….do you remember when we were twelve, buck? well, i was twelve, you were thirteen. and we. we promised each other that, that we would get married. because, because we were already best friends, ‘n marriage would be the same thing, just with a couple of rings right? cuz we said that we. that we were gonna be together ‘till the end of the line.”

no more words were spoken in the small church that lovely afternoon, for there was nothing steve had left to say.

_______________________________

it was there that ms. barnes found him hours later, slumped against the casket, his eyes red and swollen. she went and sat with him, this boy who may as well have been her second son.

“stevie?” she said after a few moments.

“yeah?”

“you’d better invite me to your wedding.”

steve let out a wet laugh. “of course i will winnie. how could i not?”

she turned to look at him, and said sadly, “well, love, just know that when they ask for objections, my hand will be in the air.”

“what? why?”

“oh darlin. because you were supposed to marry my boy.”

steve broke down at that, tears he thought had dried hours ago began to run again. “winnie, i miss him. i miss him so fucking much, and it hasn’t even been three days, winnie, i can’t i can’t i-”

she wrapped her arms around him, this boy that was now her only son, and stroked his hair.

“i know, love. i know.”