Bucky removed the phone from his ear, carefully thumbed the red end call button, and set it down on the counter slowly and deliberately. He knew if he didn't focus he would end up throwing it across the room. He took a deep breath and released it. He shouldn't be so worked up, he knew going in what he was gonna get. If another vet told him they had a quick, easy call to the VA where they got the answers they needed and immediate action or help, he would laugh in their face and call them a liar. He had known it would be a pain in the ass, that it would take way longer than necessary, that he’d spend hours on hold to be told he needed to contact a different department. But here he was, pissed and right where he started. He hadn't even really accomplished anything. Just had a list of forms he needed to find, fill out and send to various places.
He wanted to curse and hit something, but he knew if he started that he wouldn't stop till the apartment was trashed and his fists bloody. He wanted a drink and cigarette, really he wanted a bottle and a pack, but the fucking VA was not worth his sobriety.
His hands clenched and he stared at his feet trying to control his breathing. There was a splotch on the linoleum, he had been stepping over it for a few days, something had dripped and he hadn’t bothered to get the mop out. Well, no time like now. He had intentionally planned to have nothing else to do today in order to be able to make that fucking call. He had the time and the place could use a tidy.
Two and a half hours later he heard the front door open. Clint whistled as he walked in.
“What’s with the field day babe, are we getting inspected by the CO or something?” Clint’s voice was joking as he set his keys and wallet on the front table.
Bucky looked up from where he was kneeling with a bucket scrubbing the baseboards. The whole apartment sparkled. He had gone from top to bottom then back. Each time he thought he had gotten everything he noticed another thing he could clean. He watched the smile slip off Clint’s face and the concern bloom in his eyes.
“Fuck sorry, I was supposed to make meatloaf, I must have lost track of time.” He stood, dropping his rag in the bucket, drying his hands on his jeans.
“Hey no worries man, we can order pizza no problem.” Clint closed the distance between them, bringing his hands up to cup Bucky’s jaw “you wanna talk about it, do you need anything?”
Bucky’s chest hurt, goddammit he was such a mess. “Naw, I’m okay just had to make that call to the VA today, got a little stressed.”
There was a pause, Clint’s thumb stroking Bucky's cheek, Bucky staring at Clint’s shoulder, unable to make eye contact.
Clint’s reply was slow and careful, “Okay, well I’m not going to complain about you going a little overboard on cleaning, the place was getting a bit messy.” He left unsaid the part where it was better than Bucky going on a bender or finding a bar-fight. “Maybe next time instead of busting out the bleach you could call me?”
The tension left Bucky in a rush, he dropped his head onto Clint's shoulder and mumbled into his sweatshirt, “Sorry, I didn’t even think to call you.”
Clint’s arms wrapped around Bucky and he rested his cheek on Bucky’s hair. “It’s alright, I’m here now.” He rubbed his back and pressed a kiss on the top of his head. “Come on, let's order that pizza and put on a shitty movie.”
Bucky breathed in deep, relaxing even more with the comforting scent of Clint filling his senses. “Alright, you pick toppings, I pick the movie.”
Clint pulled away slightly to grin into Bucky’s face, “Deal, and I won't even make you eat pineapple, ‘cause I love you so much.”
Bucky couldn't help the chuckle as he pushed Clint away. “Yeah right, you just know if you make me pick that crap off my pizza you won't get laid.” He bent to grab the bucket then carried it to the sink to dump it out. He ignored Clint’s protests of having no ulterior motive with a shake of his head and a smile. Silently he thanked whoever was listening for Clint. He may not be perfect, for example he liked pinapple on his pizza, but Bucky knew he would be lost without him in his life.