#best friends to lovers
hairmetal666 · 2 days
Early Summer 1987
Steve's hosting a going away party. For everyone. Nancy going to Emerson, Jonathan and Argyle back to California, Steve and Robin moving to Indy, Eddie going off to find his fortune, wherever it may lie.
They've been at it all day, drinking and smoking and loving each other in the way you do when you've subverted several apocalypses together. And Steve is happy. He is. Truly. They're getting out of Hawkins, starting their lives, and he'll be with Robin, his other half, his sister, the platonic love of his life.
But as the night continues and Steve looks around his living room, at all these people he loves--at half of the family they built out of tragedy and fear--his joy turns to melancholy. They're spreading in the wind, chasing the dreams they put on hold to save the world. It's a bittersweet end, and suddenly Steve can't be in the house anymore.
He slips out the sliding door, fully expecting to be alone, but Eddie stands at the edge of the pool, glow of a cigarette illuminating his face. Steve's stomach flips, skitters with butterfly wings, like it always does when he and Eddie are together.
Eddie turns at the sound of the door thumping softly shut, face creasing into a brilliant smile when he spots Steve. It's a smile so beautiful, so genuine, that it makes Steve hurt when it's directed at him. Hasn't been able to help noticing that usually it is, that Eddie--even in full theatrical Eddie-mode--only smiles like this, all dimples and affection, for Steve.
"Okay, Stevie?" Eddie asks.
"Just needed some air."
Eddie offers the cigarette, so Steve sidles up next to him, lining his toes up with the pool edge so they match.
With a nudge, Eddie settles closer, wrapping his arm around Steve's waist. It's not the first time they've embraced like this, not the first time the proximity makes Steve think he'll burst into flame, but it is the first time Steve leans in, rests his head at the join of Eddie's neck and shoulder. They're of a height, and it's just enough that the position is comfortable, easy. Though, everything with Eddie is now.
They smoke in silence for a few minutes, both lost in their own thoughts before Steve speaks, not even sure if he means to, but the words are tumbling out. "Everything's changing."
"It's a good thing," Eddie says. "Right?"
"Yeah, yeah, totally." Steve runs his hands through his hair, pushing it back. "It's just. Thinking about how nothing will ever be the same after this, you know?"
"Maybe," Eddie agrees. "But--I don't know--You think Dustin isn't going to demand visits to all of us? Cross-country roadtrips every summer?"
Eddie offers the cigarette back to Steve, only this time, he moves to place it between his lips and Steve adjusts to let him. Maybe it's an accident, maybe not, but Eddie's thumb strokes the corner of Steve's mouth. Their eyes meet, something hot, wanting passes between them.
"I'm going to do something," Eddie whispers. His eyes drop to Steve's lips. "Don't kill me, okay? Please."
Steve doesn't get a chance to say he'd never hurt Eddie, not in a million years, because the other man is stomping out the cigarette, slotting their mouths together.
There's no hesitation, no questioning, Steve kisses back and it's so soft, so sweet, gentle in a way that he's never been kissed, not even once. And when Eddie licks at the seam of Steve's lips, he opens without thought, because of course he wants Eddie to taste his mouth, to nip at his lips, to slide their tongues together. He fists his hand into the fabric of Eddie's shirt, pulling them closer together. They moan and sigh, swallowing each other's noises, reveling in sensation.
The sliding door pops open, runners scraping, and Robin's voice singsongs, "Steeeve, we're loooooking for you."
Eddie breaks the kiss, turning away, and Steve stumbles towards the door. Doesn't wonder what Robin knows because he sees it in her face, but she's yanking him into the house and everyone is shouting, Argyle hands him a joint, and he lets himself be pulled along, lets himself forget, doesn't notice when Eddie doesn't come back right away.
And the next morning, when they say their goodbyes and Eddie pulls him into a tight, bone-crushing hug, neither of them mentions it. Eddie says, "don't be a stranger," throws him a smile, and he's gone.
Steve can't explain why it hurts so much.
Winter 1991
The invitation--cream and gold, embossed lettering--sits on Eddie's kitchen counter. He knew it was coming, of course, of course, but it hadn't really prepared him to see it. "The families of Steve Harrington and Rebecca Alsworthy cordially invite you to celebrate their nuptials..." burns itself into his brain.
He's in the wedding. Steve asked months ago if Eddie would be a groomsmen, and he said yes; yes because Steve is his best friend, yes because in the moment it didn't hurt so bad, yes because Steve could ask him for anything and he'd give no other answer.
They never talked about what happened the night before they both left Hawkins. It's fine. Truly. Better this way. Steve is straight. So straight he's getting married, and that's good. What he's always wanted, six little nuggets, etc. Eddie is happy for him. He's happy for Steve, but it eats him up inside; the kiss, the love he harbors for his best friend. He should end it, he knows, but ending it is so final and Steve is--everything.
Before he can talk himself out of it, he picks up the phone, makes the call. Tells Steve he can't make it, book deadline, and Steve is disappointed. He is. But they're best friends, saved the world together, so he understands.
When the call is done, his heart hanging together by a thread, he balls up the invite and throws it in the trash.
Summer 1991
Steve's wedding is in 12 hours and Eddie has to go. Can't believe he ever thought he could miss it. He can't not be there when Steve, his Steve, gets married. It doesn't matter how much it'll hurt to watch, because it will make Steve happy and Eddie will always default to making his best friend happy.
Somehow, through the grace of clear summer weather and light Indiana traffic, he makes it to the church with ten minutes to spare. He practically trips through the carved wood front doors, which would be embarrassing, except his eyes fall immediately to Steve standing at the alter and he forgets everything else. He's wearing a navy blue suit, silver accenting, and he's gorgeous. Will never not be. Their eyes meet, and Eddie's heart stops, because it always does. Steve smiles, gives a little wave, but he's pulled away by the minister, and Eddie makes his feet move down the aisle.
He spots Nancy, El, Max, and Erica in a pew, makes his way towards them. They all hug, scream about being back together, but it's Nancy whose eyes are soft, whose smile doesn't quite manage to be happy.
"You okay?" she asks. She wraps her little fingers around his.
His smile doesn't manage to be happy either. "I will be."
The ceremony starts, and he's fine, really, until Rebecca starts walking out to Steve, and he watches his best friend's face light up brighter than a cloudless day. He lets his attention go, then. In the moment where it truly counts, he can't stand to witness the man he loves marry someone else.
And Rebecca is fine, she is, but it's not about her. It's about a kiss in the middle of the night after they saved the world for the last time, and hope, and a love so sweet Eddie's entire chest is rotten with it.
He's out of it until Steve's voice manages to pull him back. He's saying, "I, Steve," and his eyes are locked to Rebecca's, and he's in the middle of repeating after the minister, who's saying "take thee, Rebecca."
Steve smiles, soft and gentle and fond, and he says--the words that come out of his mouth are, "take thee, Eddie--"
His loving smile evaporates, face going rigid with shock.
It's a punch, a kick to the groin, a knife in the gut, all the air in Eddie's lungs snaps out of his body. Nancy squeezes his hand, her nails digging into his skin, and he can't look at anyone else, can't see the reaction, because he's looking at Steve, and Steve is looking at him, abject panic on his handsome face.
Steve stumbles back, Rebecca's hands fallen from his, and Robin grabs him around the shoulders. She bends forward, whispering something in his ear, but it's too late. Steve's eyes are glassy, his body trembling.
"S-sorry, I need to--I have to--Sorry," the man says. He runs.
Eddie makes to stand, but Nancy, El, Max, and Erica force him to stay seated, and Robin's already running after her platonic soulmate, anyway.
"It didn't mean anything," Eddie says. "It was just--he was just. He's marrying Rebecca. It didn't mean anything."
It means everything.
Post inspired by @antithetical-dream-girl 's coney island au, except this is when Ross says Rachel
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cacoetheswriting · 2 days
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a best friend eddie story + collection of drabbles
pairing: eddie munson x fem!reader total word count: tbc tags/content warnings: best friends to lovers, slow burn, mutual pining, suggestive & mature themes, adult language, use of pet names, emotional hurt / comfort, self-doubt / insecurities, recreational drug use — will add to these as i post more, so pls also read cw's for each part & if i missed anything, let me know!
summary: a story about two kids trying to navigate through love and loss, inevitable goodbyes, various reunions, friendships and hardships, joy, heartbreak, plus surviving the upside down - all to the sound of Janis Joplin's Pearl.
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⪼ your first conversation with eddie [drabble coming soon]
⪼ eddie realises he might like you as more than a friend (march)
⪼ your last moment with eddie before you leave for college [coming soon]
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a/n: the following are some songs i think they fit perfectly with their story, so i wanted to share them with you.
janis joplin - me and bobby mcgee | conan gray - the exit | dolly parton - i will always love you | the weekend - die for you | måneskin - the loneliest | kate bush - oh to be in love | u2 - sunday bloody sunday | red hot chilli peppers - eddie | ethel cain - sun bleached files | leonard cohen - hallelujah | boston - more than a feeling | taylor swift ft. bon iver - exile | red box - why so few | milky chance - frequency of love | janis joplin - cry baby
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main masterlist
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nyikondlovu · 2 days
Was rewatching Left Behind (1x07) and as much credit as I give Bella for Ellie’s gay pining, I gotta give 10s to Storm for her Riley.
Riley pretends to be this cool gal who’s unflappable and isn’t fazed by anything until it comes to Ellie.
She’s nonchalant about disappearing until she sees Ellie’s black eye, then she’s pissed and protective and only after Ellie says she dealt with Bethany, she goes back to cool mysterious girl mode.
She’s all blasé about the carousel until she sees Ellie’s little smile and all of a sudden SHE’S shy and staring at her like she can’t believe she’s real.
She is all about impressing Ellie when they arrive at the arcade then they start playing MK 2 and Ellie allows her to be a kid so she’s loud and jokes with Ellie and even celebrates Ellie kicking her ass then snaps back when Ellie realizes she missed her shot to kiss Riley and retreats so Riley tries to salvage the night by saying she has a gift for Ellie.
Then they read the pun book and you see Riley revert to a teenager because yeah, this is something she and Ellie share. Something they both love and she’s giggling unabashedly…until Ellie finds the bombs and now she’s having to start being real about her leaving and disappointing Ellie.
She goes to the Halloween store and sits there because she’s sad she hurt Ellie. She’s sitting with the fourth wonder at the fifth wonder and we see an expansion on her sadness. She’s leaving and her last conversation with the only person who matters to her (Storm’s words) ended harshly, with venomous words and tears.
Then Ellie comes back and finally Riley let’s all her walls down because holy fuck she nearly lost Ellie more than physically. So, she decides to tell Ellie that while she’s not sure about the FireFly mission, she is sure she needs something or someone who needs her. Then Ellie confesses that Riley mattered to Ellie, the first we truly see outside of playful moments (“I’ll be your best friend again” “again? You’re already my best friend Ellie.”) and Riley is no longer showing this +1 wonder because she wants to be cool, it’s because she wants to make Ellie happy. Whether she looks like a dork dancing on a glass counter with a creepy clown mask on…as long as it makes Ellie laugh, she doesn’t care anymore.
And then the moment when Ellie does the one thing Riley wanted happens: she asks her to stay. And you just see the instant release of tension by Storm when she realizes she truly does matter to someone so of course she’s staying. Of course she’s not gonna want Ellie to apologize for kissing her and of course she reacts to kissing her best friend and first love by giggling uncontrollably and averting her eyes for a second.
They get bit and finally she shows that she’s just a scared kid. She’s doomed herself, she’s doomed ELLIE and she’s just cost them the potential relationship and life they could’ve had. Storm plays Riley as a child who is truly broken. Then she puts herself together again to try and raise Ellie’s spirits because at least they’re in this together and without even saying it, she loves Ellie.
Storm played Riley with such nuance. She’s different from the constantly playful and unserious Riley from the dlc and issue 1-3 of the comic and takes on the same energy as the last page of issue four Riley: she’s hardened. She’s closed off. She has trauma. She keeps a secret until Ellie puts the pieces together herself (why she got Winston to take Ellie on a ride on Princess in the comics)
But she also loves puns and games and music and giggling with her best friend and teasing her and being quippy with her. She wants to show Ellie the beauty of the fucked up world they live in. She’s a quiet optimist to Ellie’s loud pessimist.
Bella played 1x07 Ellie as openly hopelessly and thinks it’s never gonna happen in love with Riley. Storm played her as as in love but holding back because what if Ellie does like her back…she might lose her. And she almost does. Then Ellie loses her.
TL:DR, I need Storm and Bella in a romcom asap because I give 10s where 10s are due and they ate best friends to lovers THE FUCK UP!
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phoxphenex · 11 hours
Heyy can you do friends to lovers with Jungwoo and him being jealous? sorry if it’s a bit too much, love ur works btw!!!!
friends to lovers jungwoo
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jollyrolls · 1 day
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@prongsfoot-microfic Prompt from Day 23- Tea
I wanted to draw some cozy, domestic are-they-flatmates-or-are-they-fuckbuddies-or-are-they-in-love AU if that makes sense.
Today I just couldn't draw hands so notice my ingenious ways to avoid drawing them.
Here is another version. Which one looks better?
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simpforboys · 4 months
you’ve bewitched me
xavier thorpe x fem!reader
summary: xavier takes your virginity.
warnings: smut!! loss of virginity, unprotected piv, soft!xavier, he’s a fat simp, fluffy smut, best friends to lovers, oral (f and m receiving), swearing
based on this !!!
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the way you couldn’t get out of xavier’s head was driving him insane. he never knew he could need crave someone so bad. 
he remembered the moment so vividly. 
you two were walking in the rain as he held the umbrella for the both of you. you didn’t remember exactly how the topic came up, but you and your best friend had started talking about sexual experiences. 
“a gentleman doesn’t kiss and tell.” xavier joked you rolled your eyes and nudged his shoulder, making the both of you laugh. 
“just tell me,” you groaned. 
“fine. bianca wanted me to eat her out once. things escalated from there and we ended up fucking.” xavier confessed, keeping his eyes down. 
your gasp made him jump. “damn... my best friend gets hella pussy then.” you joked as he sarcastically rolled his eyes, face blushing in embarrassment. 
“now what have you done?” xavier asked you. 
you pursed your lips together. the sound of the rain falling with leaves crunching filled the silence. 
“go on,” xavier said. your silence was making him nervous. 
“i’m a uh, a virgin.” 
xavier bit the inside of his cheek while nodding at you. 
‘thanks for the silence, asshole.” you said jokingly, trying to ignore the way your face felt hot. 
xavier was trying to ignore the blood rushing to his pants. 
xavier had been in love with you for years. he’d dated other girls to try and get over you, but they never ended up being you. 
but ever since your confession, he couldn’t help but want you even more. the amount of nights he’d spent jerking off to a vision of you in his head, the way he would do absolutely anything for you. 
xavier was so lost in thought he didn’t even notice his phone dinging. the only thing that snapped him out of his daydreams was a knock on the door to his room. 
 he opened the door to see you standing there, eyes wide and anxious. 
“why haven’t you been answering your phone?” you asked him. you pushed past your best friend as he confusedly shut and locked the door behind you. 
“busy thinking. what’s wrong?” he questioned. 
“you know that siren boy, kent?”
xavier nodded, eyebrows furrowed tightly together in hesitation. 
“he asked me to come to his dorm to do... things.” you said in embarrassment. 
xavier bit his tongue so hard he didn’t even realize it was bleeding slightly. 
“what things, y/n?” 
“he asked me to give him a blow job.” you confessed quietly, sitting on xavier’s bed as his tall frame stood in front of you. he was wearing grey sweatpants with a red shirt on, his hair damp from a shower. 
the pang of jealousy that shot through xavier felt almost like a stab in the gut. 
“so why are you here then?” xavier asked, trying to keep his cool. 
“i need, uh, never mind. it was stupid for me to come here.”
“answer me, y/n.” 
“i’m scared, okay? i’ve never done anything like that before and i guess i just wanted... i don’t know... lessons?” 
xavier’s heartrate spiked tremendously. oh my god. 
“i’m sorry-” you began but xavier cut you off. 
“i mean, i can definitely help.” 
“really?” you questioned, staring straight up at him. your stomach hurt from anxiety and you swore you’d never noticed how gorgeous your best friend was until he looked at you with such lust in his eyes. 
“is this okay?” he whispered, leaning down as his left hand moved to cup your jaw. you nodded against his hand as he kissed you. 
you kissed back, the feeling weird. it felt like electricity was connecting your lips together, an addictive feeling. neither of you could get enough of it. 
xavier moved to lie you down on the bed, his lips not leaving yours. 
your own hands pulled his waist close to you, feeling his hard cock on your thigh. holy fuck, this is happening. 
“are you sure you want this?” xavier mumbled against your neck.
“mmm please, yes,” you gasped as you felt him suck a hicky.
he stopped momentarily to remove his shirt. his heart was racing as you also removed yours. he’d never seen you in a bra before and the look of your tits made him start to drool.
the way he stared at you made you feel incredibly nervous and as you tried to cover yourself up, he began sucking hickies along your boobs.
“xavier,” you whimpered. xavier swore that was the hottest thing he’s ever heard in his entire life.
“you’re so pretty, y/n.” xavier told you as his big hands removed your sweatpants and panties.
you undid your bra and suddenly realized how vulnerable and exposed you were. but yet, xavier made you feel safe.
you watched as his head went between your already shaking thighs and sucked teasingly close to your cunt.
“holy fuck!” you accidentally yelped as his tongue came in contact with your clit.
you felt him smirking against your pussy as he ate it like it was his last meal. your back arched as you gripped his hair.
the feeling of having your pussy getting eaten by your best friend was euphoric and you were on cloud 9.
“that feel good, y/n?” xavier hummed.
“so good, please don’t stop,” you begged.
the new pleasure was too much. you were a shuttering mess as he continued to suck your clit, two fingers stretching out your soaking wet pussy.
“i’m already gonna cum-“ you moaned.
“cum for me, y/n.” xavier’s pride was beaming as he watched you squirm for him. he was so fucking hard for you.
your body trembled as your orgasm hit you like a truck. your breathing was heavy and your skin was damp with sweat. 
xavier moved to sit back. 
“do you still wanna learn about that blowjob?” he asked after you calmed down from your high. you nodded as you got on your knees in front of xavier. 
your heart continued to pound. you shakily gripped his hard cock. xavier immediately noticed your nerves. 
“what’s wrong?” he questioned, worry written all over his face. 
“i don’t really know what i’m doing.” you let out a breathy laugh. xavier smiled from your confession, leaning down to kiss you. 
“i’ll help you. start by licking the tip.” 
you followed your best friend’s instruction. you began to lightly lick the tip of his leaking cock and felt him shudder against you. 
“fuck- now try sucking the head and jerk me off in your hand.”
you brought the head into your mouth and hollowed your cheeks. your right hand began to jerk the base of his cock, feeling xavier’s own hand come up to hold your hair back. 
“good girl. holy shit-” xavier whimpered. 
the sight laid out in front of you was engraved permanently in your brain. xavier, your best friend, with his head leaned back as you sucked his dick. he looked like a fucking god and you knew there was no going back from this. 
you started to gradually suck further down until you felt his dick twitch in your mouth. fighting the gag, you desperately focused on trying to get him to cum in your mouth. 
“so, so, so good for me, y/n.” 
tears formed in your eyes as you gagged on his cock. hearing xavier whimper  your name with praises almost made you cum again. 
“i’m so fucking close, if you don’t wanna swallow it then- oh shit.” xavier spurted hot cum into your mouth. the liquid tasted salty but not in a bad way. 
now it was xavier’s turn for his breathing to be jagged. you stood back up, your naked body in all its glory. you laid down on his twin size bed, his eyes following yours as you spread your legs. 
“please take my virginity, xavier. please.” you begged. 
xavier’s whole body was overwhelmed with ecstasy. “i don’t have a condom.” he breathed out, his body now hovering over yours. 
“i don’t fucking care- i need you so bad.” 
xavier kissed your lips again. you held his hand as he rubbed his tip and down your cunt. “tell me if you need me to stop.”
with that, he slowly pushed in. your pussy was so wet it was almost went in with one motion. he went all the way in slowly, watching your face for any sort of discomfort. 
“oh my god-” he whispered. your pussy felt amazing on his hard cock and all he wanted to do was fuck you. but this was about you. and he didn’t want to ruin this intimate moment for you. 
“you okay?” he whispered against your neck. 
“it feels weird.” you mumbled back. you felt stuffed, yet so needy. 
“can you please move?” you asked. 
xavier started to slowly move his hips in and out. his hair fell in front of his face. 
“fuck-” you moaned. 
his hand came down and rubbed circles against your clit. your body felt extremely hot from the overwhelming amount of pleasure it was receiving. 
“you feel so good. my good girl, right?” he asked, eyes looking directly into yours. 
you nodded quickly. “i’m all yours, xavier.” 
he continued to fuck your cunt. the only thing that was heard was the sound of skin slapping skin, both of your moans, and the bed squeaking. 
“i’m gonna cum again, xavier.” you announced. 
“me too,” he mumbled. the pleasure was becoming too much for him as your pussy clenched against him.
“holy fuck- shit.” your second orgasm overcame your body. xavier kept his finger on your clit, fucking you through your orgasm. when he felt his own, he quickly pulled out and jerked the tip of his cock. warm cum spurted out onto your stomach and his hips bucked against his hand. 
he plopped down next to you, both breathing heavily and tired. the temperature of the room was very hot and humid. 
after a couple moments of silence, xavier whispered, “i love you, y/n. not in a friend way. i want to be more then friends.”
“i love you too, xavier. i want to be more then friends.” 
xavier leaned up on his elbow, looking down happily at your face. 
“let me take you out tomorrow?” 
“it’s a date.”
xavier and you both smiled as he leaned down and kissed you once again. 
“also, fuck kent. i’ll tell him to go fuck himself.” 
you laughed at xavier’s attitude. 
“if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have been here.” you murmured, drawing circles on xavier’s chest. 
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sanegreen · 6 months
it's just me and my very specific romantic scenarios against the whole world
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hs-is-loml · 4 months
The Way I Love You. (x.t)
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Pairing: Xavier Thorpe x Best Friend!Reader
Summary: xavier and you are weird pair of "best friends" always reaching towards something more, but neither having the guts to talk about it so plainly, until now.
Warnings: best friends to lovers trope, enid and yoko being done with both of you, major fluff, doesn't follow exact storyline or timeline
a/n: exams in a couple days are destroying me, so this is probably the only thing i'll post for the next week sadly:(
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“Hey, babe? Are you almost done? If not I’m heading to breakfast without you,” Xavier yelled through the door as you stumbled to finish getting ready. 
“I won’t be done in time, I’ll meet you in the quad,” you shouted back realizing how late you were actually running. “Can you get me juice please!”
“Okay, I’ll see you down there,” he replied back.
Enid just stared at you with the widest eyes and a dropped jaw. You turned away from her gaze as it freaked you out a bit. “HE CALLED YOU BABE?!” 
“I think Enid is referring to the fact you and Xavier are repulsive,” Wednesday explained. 
“I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU GUYS AREN’T DATING?!” Enid kept yelling rushing over to you and helping get your bag so you three could leave the dorm soon. “YOU CAN’T KEEP HIM WAITING!!”
“Enid! Slow down!” she threw your blazer in your arms and pushed you out of the dorm as Wednesday followed beside both of you. “What are you even going on about?”
“Yeah, what about him?” you asked confused not understanding why she was making such a big deal over something.
“I can’t believe you two are dating!” Enid cheered excitedly as you walked down the halls.
“Enid, wait for a second,” you halted in your tracks and took a second to comprehend the girl’s words. “We’re not dating.”
“What,” Enid said dishearteningly. “I thought since he called you-”
“You thought wrong, we’re just best friends,” you cut her off as you three made the quad.
“I did not know best friends had pet names for each other,” Wednesday stated. "Odd."
“Because they’re in love with each other and won’t admit it,” Enid whined while you look around for Xavier.
You felt an arm drape around your shoulders and saw a hand holding out a bottle of orange juice in front of you, in which taking it happily and opening it to take a sip. “Won’t admit what?” 
“Nothing!” you choked out, glaring at Enid hoping she would get the hint to stop. 
“Just that-” She didn’t.
“Enid, let’s head to class, I rather pick out my eyes than watch this,” Wednesday said to Enid.
“Oh, okay, umm… Bye, Y/n! Bye, Xavier?” Enid called out as she trailed behind Wednesday as they headed to Ms. Thornhill’s class. 
“Bye, Enid,” you both tell her.
“What was she going on about?” Xavier asked while you both headed to fencing. 
“Just the usual things Enid loves to talk about,” you replied. “Gossip.”
“Of course,” he puffed out a laugh. “Who’s the poor souls?”
“Just a pair of friends that she thinks are dating,” you tried to say inconspicuously when you made it the locker rooms. 
“Enid has pretty good intuition with that kind of stuff, I wonder if they are?”
“Trust me, they’re not,” you gave him a small smile. “Wait for me?”
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You walked out of locker rooms tying your hair out of your face, and saw Xavier waiting to the side with his mask already on. He held his own foil (sword) in one hand while the other held an extra foil and mask. 
“M’lady,” he teasingly bowed handing you them as you approached him.
“Why, thank you, kind Sir,” you curtsied back letting out a small giggle.
“You’re paired with Yoko, this morning,” he told you making your way to the mats.
“Maybe if you whined less and praticed more, you wouldn’t suck,” you heard Bianca mocked Rowan as you and Xavier got closer to the class. “Seriously, Coach, when am I gonna get real competition? Anyone else want to challenge me?”
“I will,” you stated removing yourself from Xavier’s side and slid the mask over your face. 
“Are you sure? I don’t think Xavier would want his sweet Y/n to get hurt,” she gave you pout which only encouraged you more to beat her. 
“You sure do talk so much shit,” you replied to her and heard ‘ooh’s…’ around the room. “It kind of match’s your skill, don't you think?” 
“Rowan doesn’t need you to come to his defense. He’s not helpless,” Bianca snarked. “He’s just lazy.”
“Are we going to do this or not? Or are you too scared?” getting yourself in a stance ready to go against her.
“En garde!” someone called out.
Swords clashed and Bianca made the mistake of lifting her arm too high in an attempt to strike you, so you lowered yourself avoiding her sword while you were able to strike her side.
“Point to Y/n!” 
You both continued to duel, as the crowd around you guys grew. Bianca wasn’t able to tag you yet as you picked up the speed of your hits against her. So much anger at her for how she treated everyone at the school, and how she believed that she was automatically better than everyone else. The force of your strikes against her caught her off guard and her sword swayed to the left allowing you to tag her directly in her chest. 
“That’s my girl!” you heard Xavier call out from the sidelines and you were thankful you had the mask still on so no one would be able to see the blush on your cheeks.
“Winner, Y/n,” the coach announced and Bianca stalked off in anger.
You walked over to Xavier, and took off your mask in a swift motion as you noticed some time during the match against Bianca he had taken his off to see you better. He held out his arms for you and brought you in a tight hug. “I’m proud of you,” he murmured into your hair as you leaned your head against his chest.
“Thank you, Xav,” you lifted your head to give him a smile which returned his wide one. You stood on your tip toes, pecking his cheek and stood back allowing you to see the blush that spread across his face. “I’ll see you after!” you told him as Yoko called you over from the other side of the room. 
“Wait-“ Xavier was too late to respond as you hurriedly rushed to Yoko who seemed like she was going to burst from the questions she had for you. 
“WHAT WAS THAT?!” Yoko yelled which caught the attention of many of those around you including Xavier who was still staring at you from across the room. 
“Yoko, shh! I don’t know what you’re talking about…” you shushed the girl. 
“Don’t know,” she mockingly laughed, “He called you his girl!” she pointed out. 
“SHHHH!” you held a hand over her mouth in order to stop her from saying anything else. “NOT ANOTHER WORD.”
“Babe, you okay?” Xavier asked loudly from where he stood and a part of you was silently cursing him while the other part blushed profusely.
“Just peachy,” you uttered, glaring at Yoko who was dying of laughter at the hypocrisy of you two. You dragged her away to a more closed-off area to allow her to question you, but the bell saved you from the interrogation. 
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“Okay, that’s now Enid and Yoko acting weird around you. That only ever means one thing…” Xavier pointed out once you both were walking to his dorm for lunch after attending fencing and botany. 
Let’s just say Botany might have been even more irritating than fencing because you had Bianca staring at you the whole time after she saw you and Xavier walk into class together. The only problem with you and him walking in together was that he had his arm around your waist keeping you steady as you died of laughter over hearing Ajax complaining that he stoned himself the other day which led him to miss his date with Enid. You felt bad for laughing, but Ajax resembled a kicked puppy too much not to.
“One thing what?”
“There’s a guy,” he scoffed.
“Where?” you looked around to see no one around you both, so you gave a look of confusion not really understanding what he was insinuating. 
“Are you talking to somebody?” Xavier questioned. “Enid and Yoko only ever get that giddy if they’re talking about a guy, and if you are I don’t know why you didn’t feel the need to tell. Y/n, we’re— w-we’re… you know.”
“Xavier!” you tried to interrupt, but he ignored you as he continued to talk.
“I thought you felt the same way, but obviously not since you felt like you hide the fact you’re with someone right now. I just wish you told me before Enid and Yoko,” he rambled on looking down at the floor with a scrunched expression covering his face. 
“XAVIER!” you exclaimed.
“What?’ he softened looking back to you. 
“I’m talking to you aren’t I?” you tried to hint at him.
“Well, obviously you’re talking to me right now but I meant-”
“Xav, I am talking to you,” you restated once more. “No one else.”
“But-” you knew he was going to argue with what you were saying but you weren’t going to allow it.
“Enid and Yoko were talking about us,” you explained nonchalantly letting yourself into his dorm with him following behind you, shutting the door. 
“Wait what?” he took a step back allowing himself to process what you said. “What do you mean they were talking about us?”
“They were teasing about how we are with each other.” you looked down on your hand as you turned to face him.
“And how are we with each other?” he retorted back in question, walking closer to you.
“We both won’t admit it…” you trailed off as you felt heat rush to your cheeks as you tried to avoid his gaze. “But-”
“Admit what? That fact I’ve been in love with you since we met,” he noted. “I have loved you since I saw you wandering around the halls looking for your class, I love you every day when we meet in the morning to walk to class together, I love when you scrunch your nose when you're overthinking, I love the sound of your laugh when I tell a stupid joke that’s not even worth your laughter, I love that you hold my hand when you're anxious, I love you more than anything,” he confessed to you which brought you close to tears as you went to close the space between you and him.
You grabbed the collar of his uniform to help bring him down closer to your height and smash your lips against his, moving your hands to have one the back of his neck and the other on his cheek. He immediately responded to the kiss with the same amount of urgency. His hands landed onto your hips pulling you even more closer to him. 
It was a messy kiss but seemed perfect for you and him. Both of you pulled back to take in a breath of air, leaning your foreheads against one another. “I love you. I will never love someone the way I love you,” you whispered to him seeing a smile spread across his face as he went to pull you back in for another kiss.
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djarintreble · 8 months
“is something wrong with me?” | e. munson
best friend!eddie munson x fem! reader
summary: in which you got stood up, again, and eddie is determined to lift your spirit, even if it means admitting the one thing he’s been able to hide for years…
notes: not to be sad on main but i wrote this based on what actually happened today irl and i needed some eddie comfort so this is a tad bit self indulgent but we all need an eddie pick me up sometimes. im also a sucker for the best friends to lovers trope so- i copied and pasted from notes so it’s unedited, be warned, some insecure thoughts but just know you are loved and very much wanted <3
word count: 3k, i got carried away
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it happened again.
you got your hopes up.
you woke up earlier than usual, you took extra time styling your hair and even picked out your favorite outfit. you had work all day and knew you’d be able to clock out and meet this cute boy downtown for a date. a first date.
you hated the dating game. it physically made you ill to admit you’ve been putting yourself out there in attempt to break the record for being single the longest in your friend group. after countless rejections and guys who straight up to your face said “you’re pretty and fun to be around but i just don’t have feelings for you,” you finally felt confident about this one.
you met when you passed by each other at the store. he flashed a smile and asked for your number. pulled all the right cards. this guy actually asked you out on a date. it wasn’t a “hey come over to my house and we’ll watch a movie” which was code for “i just want to get in your pants.”
so when you showed up to the small diner on the outskirts of hawkins at the time you agreed to over the phone the night before, you weren’t expecting to be left stranded. you waited an hour. the waiter took pity over you and gave you a free milkshake which you gladly accepted before making the trek back to your car where you drove home in silence.
it was around 10pm when you heard the ring of your house phone and you picked it up to hear the familiar buzz of metal music playing in the background.
“hello?” your voice gave away your sad mood.
“L/N, i’m in desperate need of a late night drive partner. been itching to get out all day. this final project has been kicking my ass. damn you, o’donnell.” your best friend, eddie, rambled into the phone.
apart of you wanted to nicely decline and continue your sad romantic movie bing with ice cream but another part of you knew eddie would help distract you from your problems.
the only thing was.
you didn’t tell anyone you had this date. you didn’t want it to be another tragic date story. so you kept it to yourself. it explained why eddie was clueless to your abnormal sad tone.
“sure, eds.” a small smile forcing its way onto your face.
“perfect! be there in 10.” he hung up causing the buzzing noise to suddenly drop and you were back to feeling that pull in your stomach.
“you look rough, girl. what happened to you?” eddie playfully asked as you jumped into his van. the linger of smoke and alcohol stained the leather seats. you took in the familiar scent with a long inhale before shrugging.
“finals been kicking my ass too.” you lied.
“it looks like you’ve been crying. seriously, y/n, what happened?” his voice was laced with concern now he turned to face you more in the van. you just continued to stare forward. almost regretting this. you didn’t want to think of the familiar feeling of rejection any longer.
“nothing, i thought we were driving?” you snapped.
leaving it alone and trying to pretend you didn’t practically bite at him, he started the engine back up and drove away.
you and eddie have been best friends since middle school. what started out as a talent show rivalry turned into life long friendship. now, as seniors, or one repeat senior and former junior, you were attached at the hips. you were the rhythm guitar and background vocals in corroded coffins and a current level 15 half-elf bard in the hellfire club. after being friends this long, the idea of being more was off the table. your middle school crush was pushed so far down in your mind, it was almost nonexistent. that was why rejection hurt so much more. no way did eddie see you that way and as it turns out, no one else did either.
eddie could tell something was eating you alive. maybe it was fate that he felt the urge to call you up and invite you for an impromptu late night drive. he missed you, it felt like lately you’ve been avoiding him. now, he realizes something else was keeping you away from him. he could feel you becoming distant.
it was his goal now to make you smile and to hopefully fix whatever was making you upset.
the idea that came to mind was one he should have thought of when you first got in the car. as he turned onto creighton road, trees on each side of you, he rummaged through to find the mixtape you made for these late car rides.
with a quiet aha, he put it in and a smile came to his face when the familiar favorite began to play.
heaven and hell by black sabbath.
you could see his premature head banging from the corner of your eye. the song yet to transition to the part where you both would normally go all out. you knew he was trying to get a reaction out of you.
“nothing? come on, L/N” he began to drum at the steering wheel. “it’s a crime to sit still in the presence of metal. and with dio? that’s just plain disrespect.” he joked around, poking at your leg as he drove.
he screamed the lyrics, occasionally singing in silly voices or purposely being off key which caused you to finally look over at him with a face of disgust.
“you sound terrible.” you laughed quietly.
“ah she speaks!” he exclaimed, taking his hands off the steering wheel for a slight second to applaud.
“shut it, munson.” you sat back in the passenger seat with your arms crossed, starting to relax with a comfortable smile on your face.
the transition you were waiting for took place and you found yourself slightly nodding your head.
“there she is! best part of the song come on now!” he yelled over the music that was way too loud.
“oh what the hell” you shook your head before jumping up in the seat and fully head banging to the black sabbath song blasting from the speakers.
beneath the loud intricate melodies playing in the van were you and eddie’s laughs and off key singing.
a true distraction. for a second, the world stopped and it was just you and eddie.
when the song faded, eddie pulled into the empty parking lot you both would sneak to smoke when skipping class. it was your hang out spot outside of the hidden place in the woods where eddie did his dealings.
there were two sources of light at this hour. a light post and the flickering neon sign of randy’s music shop. the sign flashing green and red making eddie’s car light up like a christmas special.
once parked, eddie turned off the music with a heavy sigh.
“okay, trouble. spill it. what’s wrong?” eddie asked, his voice softer than before.
you went back to your defensive stance, with arms crossed and staring out the front windshield.
he didn’t deserve the attitude. he deserved the truth. he came to you when rebecca rejected him in front of the whole basketball team. he came to you when susan asked him out as a joke and ran off laughing when he said yes. you could tell him about being stood up.
for the third time. hoping he didn’t think it was as embarrassing and pitiful as you felt.
he just looked at you in silence as he saw the hesitation painted on your face. your eyes flickered between your feet and the light right outside the car.
“is something wrong with me?” you finally blurted out after what seemed to be years of silence.
eddie scoffed, “woah what? is something wrong with you? no, why would you think that?” you were his best friend of 6 years, his crush the majority of the time, and the sweetest most amazing person he’s ever met. of course there was nothing wrong with you.
you shrugged, tempted to go silent again.
“i’m starting to think there is. it’s the only explanation.”
“for what?”
“why today was the third time a date stood me up. i'm a complete joke.” you responded, so soft he thought he misheard you.
a date? you went on a date and didn’t tell him? he felt a pang in his chest.
he just looked at you with a sad face as he put the pieces together as to why the past few months you’ve had these small moments. three different times, three different dates have stood you up and you kept it to yourself.
“Y/N… nothing is wrong with you. you are pe-“
“you’re my best friend. i give you full permission to tell me straight forward. what is it about me that makes me seem like a joke?” you asked, genuinely. you stared at your hands that fidgeted in your lap.
eddie’s eyes widened at the question. how could he answer that?
he touched your shoulder to get you to look at him but you couldn’t. you knew if you did, the tears that you were trying so damn hard to hold back would finally let go. with a sigh, he grabbed your chin to force you to look at him.
his eyebrows were raised in concern and a frown appeared in his face, adding to his overall sad puppy look. it was his big sad eyes that got you.
“and no pity” you added, not fighting the small sniffle that came to you.
“sweet girl, there is nothing wrong with you. i mean that, full heartedly. cross my heart.” he ran his finger across his chest in an x-pattern. you rolled your eyes and tried to look away before he turned you back to him, staring into your eyes hoping it showed you he was serious. “those guys… they’re complete idiots. cowards even. and honestly, it’s their loss. they are missing out on one amazing girl.”
“you’re just saying that.” you wiped under your eye, trying to catch the tears before they ran down your cheeks. “you have to.”
“no i don’t, y/n. im serious. ive known you for six years now? im pretty sure i have the credibility to say that. any guy would be lucky to even be in your presence. so fuck those guys huh?” he laughed.
“then why do i feel like i’m never wanted.” you said quietly, the dark fear that haunts you being revealed. “i’m always someone’s second choice or entertainment for when they’re bored or until they find the next thing. i just want to feel desired for once.” you rambled, not caring anymore about the judgement of your best friend.
sure there was a small hint of pain in your voice caused by the boy next to you. the first hint of rejection was in fact the day eddie came home to tell you about this cheerleading captain from your class and how he couldn’t stop staring at her at lunch. but eddie didn’t have to know.
it hurt eddie to know that you have been hanging onto this feeling for awhile now. he didn’t like knowing his best friend was looking at herself in the mirror and telling herself she was undesirable when he in fact have been pushing away his own feelings toward her for years. he even forced an infatuation with chrissy cunningham, the queen of hawkins high, in order to get over you. he himself felt unworthy to be anything more than your friend.
that’s why it confused him as to who and why these boys were breaking your heart.
eddie cleared his throat.
when he finally spoke up, he said your name so soft as if it was fragile. as if, spoken at any louder volume, it would break. he mustered all the courage in the world to look into his best friends eyes and hope that what he said didn't make this worse. didn't make you feel worse.
"freshman year, we just started corroded coffins, right?"
you nodded, confused to what he was getting at.
"we played at whatever festival it was that year and that guy came up to us after just to talk to you."
the memory recollected in your mind.
a student, who seemed to be a year or two above you, came up to you clearing not interested in the band as a whole. he just thought it was hot to see a girl play guitar up on the stage. you didn't like the situation one bit.
"you came and wrapped your arm around me and called me babe." you snickered.
"thanks for coming and seeing the band, we appreciate the support."
"well, I was actually wanting to ask-"
"my girlfriend here was amazing. weren't you babe?"
"oh- uh- yeah she was." the dude walked away rolling his eyes and you laughed so hard as you took eddie's arm off you.
"good one, eds."
"yeah, well. if we're being honest tonight..." he started, clearing his throat to stall. "I was jealous."
"I hated how easily the guy came up to you with confidence. I was scared he would sweep you off your feet. I did that not only to save you from a disaster waiting to happen but also because I didn't like the idea of another guy taking my spot."
guilt from the way you responded that day creeped in, mixed with your own hurt from rejection.
"when you laughed, I told myself that we were clearly just friends. you didn't see me as anything more. so i accepted my place as the best friend."
he shook his head, chuckling nervously.
"no hard feelings, I promise. Im just telling you that to say..." he was scared to look into your eyes again, afraid he'd melt at the way you stared at him now. "you are very much in fact desirable. I would know, because I've had a stupid crush on you since the seventh grade. i've just been too scared to tell you. scared you would laugh in my face and i'd lose out on an amazing band mate, my best campaign partner, the one person that knows me more than I think I know myself sometimes. it makes me so angry to know that others don't see you the way that i do. god damn it, Y/N, you have no idea how wanted you are. there's nothing wrong with you. not one single thing. every part of you is my favorite. and if I just made this whole thing awkward, im so sorry I just- I hope it makes you-"
"feel better because I hate seeing you upset."
"can I kiss you?"
he nodded with his wide eyes and slightly parted lips, wondering how you both got here. he wasn't complaining. not when the girl of his dreams was currently grabbing his face and pressing her soft lips against his.
years of mutual pining and the both of you being idiots led to this moment. a soft kiss that pushed to be more passionate. unspoken feelings being expressed by the way eddie gently grabbed the sides of your face, pulling you closer. you ran your hands through eddie's hair as you tried to get as close as the front seat would let you. pushing up onto your knees causing eddie to moan as you slightly tugged at his curls.
if breathing wasn't a vital part of living, you don't think you would have ever stopped kissing him. there were so many times during your friendship with eddie that you were scared he caught you staring at his lips. now you were able to finally say that his lips were softer than expected.
you pressed your forehead against his as you both slowed your breathing.
"in case it wasn't obvious-" you laughed between breaths, "i've had a stupid crush on you ever since you beat me in the talent show."
"i still think it was rigged, you should have won."
"not the time, munson" you both laughed. everything feeling peaceful.
"we're really big idiots aren't we, sweetheart?"
"i really had to get stood up three times to finally get a kiss from eddie munson."
you sat back in your seat and stared up at your best friend. his smile turned into a sympathetic frown.
"i'm sorry, again."
you shrugged.
"it's alright. it's their loss. i'm no longer available anyways."
"oh really now?" he asked, the biggest smirk on his face.
"and who's the lucky fella?"
"i'm staring right at him." you smiled, both of you never daring to look away.
"can i take you out on a proper date? I want to do this right. i-i'm gonna get you flowers, i'll even wear a button up and tie. i heard there's this nice Italian restaurant downtown-" eddie rambled again. he swore he would never let you feel rejected or undesired ever again. this meant he would do any and all he could to make up for what the other guys took from you. what you deserved.
you reached over and grabbed his hand to give a reassuring squeeze.
"i was thinking we could go rent a movie and stay at your place." you shrugged. you didn't need fancy dates. you didn't need eddie to change how he dressed or waste his money on flowers and jewelry like all the other guys did to prove their love. you just wanted him. your best friend. "i just want you."
"is it too soon to say im in love with you?"
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eveningepiphany · 13 days
far from sober | H.S
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my masterlist
summary: you’re incredibly drunk, and when you are it comes with you having an obscene lack of a filter. harry being the sweetheart he is, is trying to get you back into your hotel room in one piece. he was not ready for you to be so touchy.
warnings: alcohol consumption, drunk people (including close family members), fluff, sexual tension, brothers best friend, drunk crying lol
a/n: sorry I haven’t posted properly in a while! here’s a shorter piece while I work on some more stuff <3 plenty to come x
Saying you were a bit drunk was a drastic understatement.
You were stumbling all over the place, heels becoming impractical now you were so intoxicated.
Harry, who knew you were going out with some of your family and friends tonight at the bar, had no idea what he was coming back to.
You don’t remember actually intending to get this drunk, but your Aunty had been egging the group on to do some shots, and before you know it you’re well past tipsy. Even your mum was getting drunker than you’d seen in years.
So all the other boys who’d gone out— including Harry— walk into the hotel bar. It was as chic as the lobby, just adorning some more neon signs and rustic bar stools.
Harry had gone out with them to look at a heap of shit that you and your female family members had little interest in. They’d insisted you all stay and just have a couple cocktails, since it was a holiday after all.
It was to their surprise when your same eager aunt bounded up to them when they popped through the door to the bar. They had expected tipsy, but not hammered.
“Oh my god!! You guys will not believe how good the cocktails are here!” She swooned, and they all glanced at each other with an amused chuckle.
“I think I just might believe it.” One of the boys piped up.
Most of them dispersed to find their significant others, family or friends amidst the bar, and see how much chaos was being caused.
But you’d b-lined straight for Harry, regardless of whether he was seeking you out.
His brows shot up when you collided with his side, “Harry!”
Your arms wrap around his middle and you end up latching onto him, practically using him to keep yourself upright.
“Oh!” He speaks in surprise, hands jumping up to brace around your lower back.
“Are you absolutely hammered too, love?” He chuckles and you bury your face into his chest.
“Yeaaaaa…” you drawl, a smile spreading onto your face.
“Everyone else is rounding up their partners. Suppose I’m in charge of you, yea?” He suggests, rubbing your back.
“Wanna—“ you hiccup, “have a drink with me?”
He shakes his head with amusement, “I think you’ve had plenty, sweetheart. We should get you back to your room.”
Most of your drunk family were getting escorted out by their respective people, being taken up to their hotel room before they can drink themselves any sillier.
This included your brother, Leon, who had his longtime girlfriend pulled into his side, holding her half up and laughing a little at her drunken slur.
He came to a stop when he seen both of you, eyes flitting between your two figures. A small twitch of his brows suggested he wasn’t sure of how he felt about the sight.
“You got her?” He asks, a protective edge to his voice. One that drunken you missed easily as you stayed plastered against him— which is something sober you would not do in general, let alone in front of your brother.
Harry nodded straight away, understanding his defensiveness over you since he feels the same about Gemma. He said softly, “Of course, I’ve got her mate. I’ll take her up to her room.”
Leon glanced at you again. Harry and him met when they were 9, and they’ve been best friends since then. He trusts Harry with his own life, and knows he’d never ever do anything that would hurt you, but his protective side is still flaring up.
Only when his girlfriend, Brie, complains of feeling nauseous he curtly nods, and continues heading for the door.
You are again, oblivious to all this, running your fingers along the tattoos exposed on his forearm— his sleeves rolled up to his elbows— putting his gorgeous skin out on display for you.
“I loveee your arms.” You slur, and his eyes shoot from the door back down to you.
He rarely sees you this drunk, and you’re suddenly very close— making comments that for many reasons are bringing a flush to his face.
“Y/N, Jesus you’re hammered.” He shakes his head, still smiling.
He slowly starts walking, “Cmon, let’s go. Y’brother is expecting me to get you back to your room in one piece.”
“You definitely won’t have a drink with me?” You whine, taking a few steps backwards trying to tug him in the direction of the bar instead of the door.
“Nope. Maybe tomorrow if you can even stomach alcohol.” He pushes the doors from the dimly lit bar open, and leads you into the back of the lobby that it’s connected to.
You squint at the dramatic change in lighting, which is hardly helping your sense of perception, or lack thereof, from the alcohol.
Harry’s hand has taken yours though, leading you to an elevator.
You noticed how warm it was, smooth against yours, aside from the rougher pads of his fingers from the years of playing guitar.
Being so off it, you could not keep that thought to yourself.
“Your hands are so soft, H. Like silk.” You say as you walk into the first elevator to open, squeezing his hand.
“First time anyone’s ever told me they feel like silk. I’m flattered.” He smiles, squeezing back.
“what floor are y’on, by the way? D’ya even remember— or are we a bit too wasted for numbers?” A teasing lilt is in his voice.
You half-laugh half-hiccup, “it’s… 7…?”
“You hardly sound certain about that.” He nudges you with a laugh, “It’s 12, we’re on the same one, remember.”
You laugh much harder than any sober person would, which makes it funnier to him. Since it was a mediocre joke at best.
You’re still laughing as you touch his chest with your palm, “you’re not funny.”
His gaze travels down to it, and he’s shocked at how touchy you are. You never do shit like this when you’re sober. His own amusement quickly takes the back seat, even though you’re still giggling.
However your face falls shortly after, laced with a curious gaze as you slide the neck of his long sleeve to the side, in search for the swallows inked onto his collar bones.
He watches as your eyes wander the small expanse of skin there, and how your fingers brush the tattoos.
“Having fun?” He asks, trying to joke again, but really he’s undeniably a little worked up.
“Yah, heaps.” You snap your gaze back up to him as you enthusiastically nod.
He hates the fact he’s blushing so hard right now over this, since you’re drunk and not completely in control, but he at the end of the day is a man with a very pretty girl— which happened to be you— pulling at his top like she wants it off him.
You hum to yourself, “Have such a pretty neck.” And you trail your hand up it, running a finger over his adams apple.
The elevator door opens like a blessing, and he quickly moves to make distance between the two of you.
“Can you remember your room number, darling? That’s one thing I actually don’t know.” He looks to you as you follow him out with clumsy moments.
“Uh… I dunno— wait I think the keycard is in my purse.”
He laughs at this— wondering if it will come to you in time once you sober up.
“Fuckkk.” You groan. “My purse is in Molly’s big handbag.”
The groan soon turns into a whine, because drunk and being slightly inconvenienced is not a good pair.
“It’s ok!” He amends quickly, trying to keep from having a drunken meltdown on his hands, “We’ll just got back to mine, only if you’re comfortable?”
He quickly prepares for you to not want that, “otherwise— I’ll call her, she didn’t seem too wasted, I’m sure she can—“
He’s interrupted by you, “I don’t mind going back with you.”
You say it with a confused look on you face, a tiny pout on your lips.
“Why would I be uncomfortable going with you?”
“Because… well— I’m not sure. I just wanted to leave you with other options.”
It’s not like you haven’t spent time alone together before— you’ve actually spent plenty, but just never with you drunk.
And so touchy.
“No. It’s ok. I love being with you!” You chuckle.
He leads you down the hall, pulling the keycard from his back pocket once he reaches his room, 3313.
The door clicks open, and he holds it open for you, following you in shortly after.
You’re still unstable on your feet, and one look at those heels, he’s surprised you haven’t ended up on the floor in the last ten minutes
They’re practically a health and safety issue. He can not imagine you getting them off right now— which is exactly what you’re about to bend over and attempt.
Before you can throw off your centre of gravity, he quickly says, “Go sit on the bed.”
You glance back over your shoulder, face only lit by the light from the lamp in the corner of the room.
“That’s a little forward, don’t you think, Harry?”
He toes off his own shoes, shaking his head immediately at your drunken misconception of what he asked.
“So I can take your shoes off.”
You make the few steps left to the bed safely, and you sit at the edge of it, still giggling as you say, “just my shoes, huh?”
“Yes.” He walks over, kneeling down on one knee, pulling your heeled foot up onto the strength of his thigh.
He fiddles momentarily with the laced up string, warm hands splayed on your calf, and choosing to ignore the way your dress is riding up your thighs.
Christ. This is harder than he thought.
“I forget how hot you are sometimes.” You deadpan, and his jaw goes a little lax.
You’re usually playful, yes, but never do you breach into territory like this.
It was only others, like those at a family gathering, or your close friends, that would push to get stuff like that out of you like they were matchmakers.
There were many times that barbecues or some kind of event held at yours, Leon would invite Harry over. And if the two of you even interacted for just a second, someone in your family circle would tease you. Especially your own damn brother— it was a constant streamline of snarky comments from him.
“You are so drunk.” He mumble while pulling up your other foot.
You ignore his statement, thinking back to when he was a boy to now. He was cute— always was— but the way he looks now is just unmatchable.
“Have you always looked so… like… this?”
He chuckles, almost nervous, “what does question that even mean?”
“So pretty.” You clarify after a moment of trying to find the word.
“Ah, you’re only saying that because you’re plastered up the walls.” He laughs, and a dimple popped on his cheek, and your hand jumped into action before you could even think about it.
“Noooo, sober me thinks that too. She thinks you’re more than pretty.” You say, cupping his jaw, gently tracing the dimple that popped up.
He doesn’t know how to interpret any of this. His heart is jumping in his chest, and he’s trying to reason its genuinely just the alcohol in your system.
He holds eye contact as he slips off your other shoe, placing in neatly next to the other.
He stays there for a moment, unprepared for your next question.
“Can I kiss you?”
She’s drunk, she’s drunk, she’s drunk…
“You’re drunk, sweetheart.” He says, and it’s painful— because he wants to, so fucking bad, but you’re not in a state to consent to literally anything at the moment.
And especially not in the mind frame to be making decisions like this.
You lean forward anyway, before he has a chance to avoid it, managing to meet his lips on your own terms.
He caved for a brief flash of time, and allows a second for himself to feel it, no longer than that though. Just a mere moment to take in the warm, soft feeling of your lips on his. It takes so much strength for him to not kiss you back, he has to focus on the task at hand— sobering you up and getting you safely asleep.
He pulls back after that single moment, leaving his forehead against yours, “baby, I know, I really…” he cuts himself off.
A deep inhale and he stands up, “Not tonight. Cmon, let’s get you out of your dress. You can wear something of mine.”
He walks over to his suitcase, anything to remove you from his sight for a moment, to reset his thought process. He pulls out a tshirt and pair of gym shorts, hoping they won’t be too big on you.
Turning back around, he convinces himself he’s fine. Placing the clothes from his bag on the bed beside you, his hands come under your arms, helping you stand up on flat feet for the first time in hours.
You lean into the touch, turning around so he can undo the back of your dress.
The feeling of his fingers brushing your back have you going wild, and the way they gently slide the zipper of your dress down.
His eyes lock with the back of your lacy bralette and he chooses not to follow your skin any further down.
You use your hands to slip the straps off your shoulders— and very quickly the dress is pooling at your feet.
A shaky inhale passes through his nose as now you stand in just your underwear and a seemingly very pretty bralette.
He reaches and picks up his shirt from the foot of the bed.
“Do you want to… take this off before…?” He gestures to your bralette when he catches your eyes.
You nod, reaching behind you to undo the clasp and allowing it to slip from your shoulders to the floor.
Harry puts all his focus on getting the tshirt over your head to cover you up.
Once it’s over your whole frame, you can’t help but smile.
He’s so nervy and cute around you.
“Thanks, Harry.” You smile, suddenly feeling an overwhelming amount of adoration for him hit you.
It inflated up in your chest, and bubbled deep into the pit of your stomach.
It killed Harry to watch it happen, and although he had no idea what kind of thoughts were going on in your head, just seeing you light up like that…
You wrapped your arms around his middle again, just like you did when you ran up to him in the bar.
He placed his hands in your hair this time, taking in your scent— which was mixing with his own now that your were in his shirt.
“Love, if you were sober right now. God.” He confesses.
“Im sober enough.” You beg, even though it’s such a lie.
He still shakes his head against you, “‘M not gonna be that guy, Y/N. I have waited years just to have you. I can wait another night. Or week. Or a whole ‘nother year if that’s what it takes.”
This hits you hard.
And it felt like your 15 year old self could hear it up in the confines of your head it rung through you that loudly.
She loved him then, more than she’d ever admit. And sure, you’ve grown up from 15, but yet never once did you grow out of him.
As noted earlier, being drunk and inconvenienced is not a good pair. But being drunk and having someone say or do something sentimental like that is another level.
Tears immediately start to fall from your eyes, and he feels your chest shake at the sudden outburst of emotion.
He pulls back, thinking he’s done something wrong, or said the wrong thing, and an apology was immediately on the tip of his tongue.
But relief thrums through him as you tug him right back into the hug, “that’s— that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
“The nicest thing a boys ever told me.”
“Sweetheart.” He coos as you cry, his own voice wobbly with emotion.
He feels like he’s on a roller coaster. 5 minutes ago it seemed all he could think about was the unspeakable things wanted to do to you, and now he just wants to lay you down and hold you until you fall asleep.
He forgets the shorts on the foot of the bed, shuffling the two of you up to where the head of it is— which was still unmade from last night when he’d slept in it.
He tugs you into it, pulling you tightly too his chest as your heads hit the pillows.
And he just hugs you.
Eventually, your crying subsides off, and you enter an indescribably calm state.
“I love you. I don’t even know if you’re going to remember this in the morning.” He sighs, “but fuck, I love you.”
“I love you too, Harry.” You whisper, before your eyes begin to fall heavy, and those words were the last to leave your lips before you fell asleep.
a/n pt2:
back again guys, hello!
this is like an extended a/n, but I have a lil update. I saw harry for the very first time live 3 weeks ago. it was so so incredible, and the experience was by far the best time of my life. I miss harry so much i just feel sick ugh. he is perfect. auslot was amazing, he absolutely gave us his all.
that’s why I’ve been so absent on here, literally coping with my pcd a day at a time. I’ve written heaps but nothing I’m 100% happy with haha.
but anyways I just thought I’d share, thank you so much for your continued support and know there is plenty in the works x
all my love, <3
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hairmetal666 · 22 days
Asking Eddie to move to Indy with him and Robin is the most natural thing in the world. After Vecna they became SteveandRobinandEddie, so it just made sense to live together.
Everything is perfect.
It changes one night, at their favorite gay bar. He and Eddie nurse a couple of beers at a hightop, while Robin dances with a cute blonde. Steve half-heartedly shimmies along to the Madonna song pumping through the speakers. Eddie watches him vamp to Material Girl with a look in his dark eyes that Steve can't quite read. It's not the usual fondness he's used to from his friend; too dark and too serious. It makes him nervous.
Eddie drains his drink, mouths the word "bathroom," at Steve, then disappears in the crowd.
Steve sips his own beer, letting his attention drift until he finds Robin, still dancing with the blonde, looking like she's having the time of her life. He expects Eddie back at any time, only--ten, fifteen minutes pass with no sign of him.
His eyes start scanning the crowd in earnest, desperately seeking familiar leather and denim and long dark hair. Anxiety builds in his chest, a dull sizzle beneath his skin.
He finally spots a set of leather-clad broad shoulders towards the back of the room. Eddie has one hand braced against the brick wall, pressed up nice and close to someone Steve can't quite make out.
There's bile in Steve's throat, nausea clenching at his stomach. He shouldn't look; he can't tear his eyes away.
The person is revealed in a flash of light from the dance floor. He has an All-American jaw, swoopy dark blond hair, and is wearing a grass green sweater. The closest thing to Indiana golden boy in the place, second only to Steve.
Room suddenly spinning, Steve struggles to catch his breath, but gives up entirely as Eddie closes the remaining distance between himself and the mystery man, sealing their lips in a searing kiss.
Steve watches, feels himself breaking apart piece by piece. He thought--he thought they were something. Becoming something. All their late night talks and casual touches. He'd been working up the courage to make a move for weeks, and now--
Maybe it's a mistake. Maybe Eddie breaks the embrace and gives an embarrassed chuckle before he comes back to Steve, only he doesn't. The kiss ends, sure, but then Eddie is taking the guy's hand, leading him down the hall towards the bathrooms.
Hands clutched in his hair, Steve sinks into a crouch. He pants, huffing like he just ran sprints, can't catch his breath. Tears dance at his lash line, threatening to fall. He can't have a panic attack now, here. Doesn't want Robin to see; doesn't want Eddie--
It's all too small, too tight, too loud, and Steve shoves his way outside. He rounds the building before sinking to the ground, hands shaking.
He waits outside until Robin and Eddie emerge from the club, both flushed and sweaty. He doesn't speak to either of them and they spend the drive in silence.
When they get home, he goes straight to his bedroom.
"Ste--" Robin calls, but he lets the door shut behind him. He doesn't think it slams.
Steve hasn't spoken to him in weeks. Not since that night at the bar. When Eddie hooked up with a guy and he's pretty sure Steve knows; pretty sure it's why they're no longer on speaking terms. Eddie keeps meaning to confront him. He really does. It's just--it'll change everything, and his life was finally going okay for once.
He reaches his limit when he joins Steve in the kitchen before work, and the guy literally, visibly flinches away from him. It hits Eddie like being punched in the dick.
"What the fuck, Harrington." Eddie's voice is too loud in the small space.
"S-sorry, I'll just get out of your way." Steve's eyes don't stray from his own hands.
"I hook up with one guy and now can't even bear to touch me?"
"What? Eds that's not--"
"Don't lie to my fucking face."
"I wouldn't. Eddie, please--"
"I can't believe that this is the last vestige of King Steve. Can say you're cool with me, but when you see me do gay shit, you can't hang? Fuck you. I'm done. I'll be gone by the weekend." His voice stays remarkably steady, even though he's pretty sure not even the bat bites hurt this much.
"Christ, Munson, I'm not freaked out cause I saw you do 'gay shit.' I don't care." Steve's looking at him now; his little mouth held tight and mad.
"Like hell you don't. You haven't spoken to me since it happened."
"Not because I'm homophobic, asshole."
That makes Eddie laugh, shrill and mean. "Oh yeah? Then why."
"It doesn't matter." Steve yanks his hand through his hair.
"It does to me."
"Just drop it. You don't have to move out. I don't care who you fuck."
"You can barely stand to look at me!" Eddie shouts; doesn't mean to. "What if I bring someone home, huh? How are you gonna cope with that, knowing I'm fucking a guy in the next room?"
"It should have been me," Steve screams.
Neither of them move in the ringing silence that follows. Eddie's throat is tight.
"Wh-what?" He manages.
"Forget it." Steve turns to go. "Just--forget I said anything."
"Steve." Eddie follows him into their living room. His heart's beating all funny. "What do you mean?"
"It's nothing," Steve's face is leached of color; his eyes too bright.
"Please? I want to understand."
Steve laughs a little, looks absolutely miserable. "I saw you. With the guy. And he...he looked like me, right? And I don't understand why I'm not good enough."
Eddie swallows hard. "You don't--you're not--I didn't think you were a choice. For me."
Steve's chin drops, anywhere but on Eddie. "Yeah. Well. Surprise." He doe a pathetic flourish with his hands that clenches at Eddie's heart.
"Ah," is all Eddie can manage. The world is shifting under his feet, tectonic plates realigning as he processes Steve's words.
"It's--it's fine that you don't feel the same way. Just because you're gay doesn't mean you have to like me, and I--I was trying to get over it. I didn't want to--"
Eddie can't stand to listen to another word. He crosses the distance to Steve. "Shh, sweetheart. It's--just. Stop okay?"
Steve is looking up at him now, doe eyes wide.
He laughs, genuine this time. "Stevie. I've had a crush on you for years. Years. I used to make the guys go with me to Starcourt. I told them it was because I liked seeing King Steve laid low. Really I just liked how you looked in those little shorts." Steve giggles, face blushing such a pretty pink Eddie almost forgets what he's saying.
"It only got worse when I met the kids, with how much they talked about you. And then I met you for real? Pssh," Eddie waves his hand in the air. "Gone. No hope for Eddie Munson when you're--you're so pretty and bitchy and brave and hot, Steve, and I'm the weakest man in Indiana.
"That night. That guy. It was--I'd just overheard you and Robin talking about a cute girl, and I realized that I had to stop doing that to myself, pining over a straight guy who could never see me like I wanted. I decided that I'd try to pick someone up, force myself to see you just as a best friend."
Steve's face falls impassive. "Did it work?" He almost whispers.
"Not even close, baby," Eddie whispers back. "I'm hopeless for you."
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novelbear · 1 month
“first comes love, then comes marriage~”  - teasing dialogue over a crush
prompt list by @novelbear | requested: @soph1333
"seriously? [name]? that's who you've been crying about for weeks?"
"i invited them over." "shut up, you did not."
"don't look but they're right behind you- I SAID DON'T LOOK??"
"aww someone's finally got their first crush~"
"is he cute? i bet he's cute let me see-"
"well now you have no choice but to text them, oops!"
"your ears got so red, it was hilarious."
"none of what you said made any sense, i can't believe they have you this flustered."
"should i try to ask around? i think you might actually have a chance- what do you mean no??"
"borrowing my favorite shirt? you're down this bad?"
[mocking them] "'i guess you'll never know' why would you say something like that??"
"you stayed up...all night...for them. oh dude you're in love."
"what- i was NOT smiling like that i have no clue what you're talking about."
"please, you were smiling like the cheshire cat when he came over. be serious."
"if him coming over actually gets you to do the dishes then i might have to get his number myself, damn..."
"i better be the first one you invite to your wedding!"
"look at you. a blushing mess, stand up!"
"you think i didn't notice the voice change? you totally like them."
"so...are you finally going on that date or....?"
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munsster · 11 days
hii!! i'd like to request a steve harrington x fem!reader fic pls <33 reader confesses to steve, but he says he doesn't like her. then reader's all 'okay fine, i'm gonna move on' and when she actually does that, steve is 🥺 lots of angst please and some steve grovelling teehee <33
gut feeling
A/N: okay yes 😏 i screwed this up the littlest bit, but i hope it still tickles ur fancy. also i’ve seen this done for king!steve and i wanted to write it for s4 steven
Pairing: Steve Harrington x Fem!Reader
Summary: You have big feelings for Steve, he’s just not sure he feels the same way. 3.6k words.
Warnings: angst, but it resolves into fluff, unrequited love trope, lots of feelings, friends to lovers?, CURSING!, italics, established friendship, feat. Keith 😑
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"You think it would be gross if we kissed?"
Steve thinks you might actually sound hurt, but he also thinks the face he's making is hilarious beyond belief: kind of contorted and screwed inward, nose scrunched and trying really hard to batten down a grin. You glare at him from the passenger's seat, arms crossed tight over your green Family Video vest.
You think he's wonderful despite his naiveté. If only he knew how handsome you thought he was, all caramel locks and big brown eyes and the kind of smile that reaches his eyes before he's even thought of it. No wonder he has an ego up to the moon. No wonder he still manages to weasel his way into the creases and crevices of any living creature's heart. Even yours. Hell, especially yours.
"Yeah, duh!"—and he's so sure of it, you could cry—"You're like the little sister I never had!"
You chuckle but you look like you're about to hurl yourself out of the car or get yourself arrested for manslaughter. Thank God he's only a block away from your house, or he'd never see the light of day again. Does he really think of you like that? The soft laughter peters out into a grating silence that burns right down your throat and feels like hard metal settling in your lungs.
He doesn't dare glance over at you. He only bites down hard around nothing and grimaces, eyes set hard on the lines dashing beneath the grill of his car. Jesus Christ, he does not think of you like that. And he begs whatever stupid pride is keeping him steady in this nonexistent pissing contest to leave it be, but its jaw is set in the tender meat of the game.
"Don't have to be so jovial about it," you grumble.
"Mine's on the left," you grumble, nodding out the window. Oh, he's definitely in trouble. You only ignore him like this when he's done something boyish to a fault.
"I know. I drive you home every—hey!"
"Bye," you coo, booking it up the steps to your door, refusing to turn over your shoulder for fear that you'll burst into tears upon seeing him smile or frown or crack the slightest look of confusion.
He watches you slam the door and rolls the passenger window up with a frustrated sigh. Where the Hell did that come from and why. All while you're sitting against the foot of your bed, chattering into the phone at Robin, still wearing your uniform and tugging at strands of your hair as expletives weave themselves between every three words.
"Oh my Fucking God, I'm so fucking embarrassed right now, Robs—Does he—? Does he think I'm some sort of fuckin' baby? I just don't—"
"He's just being Steve, okay? He probably didn't mean it—"
"The way he looked at me, Robin, I felt like a fucking imbecile. Of all the dickheads in the world I could fall for, my heart chose Harrington? Maybe I'm the idiot." You sigh and kick your feet out, the frustration winding up new nerves and letting them go like tight springs to fling out over your body.
She sighs and it rattles through the grainy speaker. "You're not an idiot; he has his moments. Don't beat yourself up, you know how he gets. He's probably not thinking straight, just... tell him? The worst he can say is—"
"That I'm like a sister to him? Oh, how delightful. That's even worse than just flat out admitting I'm unattractive."
"You're not unattractive, don't do that."
"I am to him," you groan.
"Hey," she hums after a beat of crackling silence. You close your eyes and grip the sickly yellow receiver a little tighter.
"I really like him."
"I know."
"And it sucks."
"I know." The other end rustles and you let out a curt sigh just as you move to stand. "I love you, and I'm here for you. Especially when dumb boys make you feel like shit. You'll always be the most amazing and most beautiful girl in my life, don't forget that."
"Thank you. I'll see you, Robs."
"Take it easy."
Steve wakes up to an ache in his neck and a soreness in his knuckles. You didn't call him last night. And he's assuming you didn't call him before school this morning because his alarm clock flashes eleven, first period starts at eight-thirty, and the tone his ancient landline emits is shrill enough to deafen a man. Let alone wake him up in a cold sweat. He concocts a sick feeling in his stomach of burnt orange shame and maroon guilt because he has to wait until closing shift tonight to explain himself to you.
But by then, he's feeling spiteful. You weren't home when he went to pick you up and he waited ten minutes and knocked on the door in bulk. Until someone who was not you answered and told him that you'd gotten a ride with some jerk from the Hawkins High football team. That's not how it was originally said, but that's how he heard it. So you're avoiding him? It makes him spit up a little in his mouth, and he's going about twenty over the speed limit the entire way to make it on time.
By the time he can fling open the glass door and hear the sound of the tiny bell, he spots you in the back corner with a stack of tapes under your arm. Listening to music. To drown him out. And it makes him frown. Six hours. That's how long he'd have to endure this, then he could go home and not call you and not be able to sleep.
The casette in your Walkman can only run for so long, right? But he watches you rewind it after an hour and a half and slumps against the front desk when you grab a new stack of tapes from behind him. He simmers down after the first half of the shift, and of course, the fact that you won't talk to him rubs him the wrong way, but what's even worse is that now you're bumming rides off of losers on the worst football team in all of Indiana.
He gets worked up thinking about that guy's motivation and how many times he probably tried to make a pass at you. Steve would never do that to you. Even if he wanted to, he's a gentleman at heart. He could beat that jerk to a pulp just imagining him giving you the look. God forbid that sucker puts his hands on you. Steve would get charged with battery before ever letting that happen.
It's not like he can say anything to you about it either. He's pissed, and he knows himself. He'd get all angry and confrontational, and you deserve better than that. It's his fault you got there first, and it's his fault you got to stocking, and it's his fault you're tuning him out. But he didn't think what he said last night would be worth all that trouble.
"If you keep up the optic blast, I'm gonna buy you a ruby-quartz visored monocle." And that droning voice could only belong to one overbearing manager.
"What do you need, Keith?" Steve grumbles, and out of the corner of his eye, he catches you looking to the front of the store to watch the encounter with a smirk.
"Duty calls, Harrington. Corporate sent us more shelf space. Need someone to unload it into the office," Keith murmurs, shooting a glance your way, "And, uh... it's kind of unwieldy, so get the kid to help you out."
It makes Steve's eye twitch because you're not some kid. And if you heard Keith refer to you as such, you'd unleash a fleet of curses on him. Only Steve is allowed to call you that. Because it's funny, duh. You're a year younger than him, obviously he's going to use that to his comedic advantage. Oh.
He lets out a sigh—"alright"—and leaves Keith to man the front while he skirts to the back of the store and leads you by the hand through the office.
"'The Hell, Harrington?" you hiss, but you keep your fingers locked between Steve's, abandoning the rest of the tapes on Keith's desk and jogging to catch up with his stride. As forward and demanding as his grip may be, you have to admit, the warmth of his palm is comforting and it makes your heart race because you've never held hands with Steve before. And in any other circumstance, you might've been able to enjoy it a little more.
"Keith told me to tell you that you have to help me bring a shelf in from the truck."
"Oh, I have to?" you bark, now pulling your hand away and putting your headphones around your neck once you exit through the back door with him. "And you didn't think to give me a warning before yanking on my arm?"
"Yes, you have to, and maybe if you weren't listening to that shit so loud, you would've been in the loop." It comes out far more harsh than he intended, and that was exactly what he was afraid of happening in a confrontation with you. His brow softens, and the tension in his upper back and jaw dissipates into his own self-pity party. "And I didn't yank on your arm. Or at least I didn't mean to, so I'm sorry for that much."
Steve hops up into the truck and offers you a hand you don't take as much as you both wish you would have. Because he looks like a kicked puppy, and you have to stop yourself from cheering yourself on. Maybe this will be your first literal step towards getting over him. Once and for all.
After about fifteen minutes of heaving and ho-ing, the two of you manage to haul the shelf into the office as per Keith's request. He was right: it was unwieldy. The awkward grip spots caused a lot of overlap, and you both flinched away from the physical contact in a matter of milliseconds. But Steve couldn't deny he felt bad, and you couldn't deny that you definitely still had feelings for him.
You grab your previously abandoned stack of tapes to scurry out of the office, but Steve stops you by the elbow. And you glare back at him.
"Sorry. The... yanking, I know"—he shoves his hands in his pockets and looks down—"Look, I'm not entirely sure what happened last night in the car, but it clearly made you uncomfortable, and I'd like to apologize."
He can see the neurons firing when he looks you in the eye, but he can also see that his apology wasn't effective in the slightest. Because you're still anger-ridden and fuming at him. You put your headphones on and go back to restocking shelves.
He checks the digital clock above the door. Two hours till eleven. Great.
And they creep by like refrigerated molasses. Second by second. Every time he glances at the clock, only a minute has passed. Eventually, though, he starts cleaning up for closing: vacuuming, cleaning the windows, fixing the display. And he finds himself getting a little more efficient at checking tapes back in and rewinding them only so you'll cruise by the front—scowling at him, but nonetheless at him—to grab a new stack and shelf it.
Five minutes to closing and a sleek, blue sedan pulls into the parking lot, and you practically beam at it, grinning and skipping to the front. You grab your bag from under the counter next to Steve's hip and shove your Walkman into it.
"You know, my car works perfectly fine," he grumbles, "don't have to replace me with some football jerk." He knows that struck a nerve because your smile immediately flickers away into a squint.
"That football jerk is bilingual, a painter, and lets me listen to the music I like in his car."
"But that's not the rules," he whines, desperately defending himself against some sports guy who's probably taking advantage of you.
"Well, I like him and he's nice to me." You sling your bag over your shoulder triumphantly, marching towards the door.
Steve is aghast at the implication. He thought you liked listening to the radio. Plus he took Spanish and art for the required two years, it's not that great of an achievement.
Still, he sputters out, "Yeah, well—"
You wave over your shoulder. "Later, Steve."
Since when did he become such a loser.
He watches jerk-face open the car door for you then glance over to wave at him with a perfect smile and perfect hair and perfect manners. What an asshole. Steve does not wave back.
"That's the kinda guy she likes?" he fusses into the phone, palming his face while Robin chuckles on the other line. This whole time he thought for sure you liked the self-assured, cocky, college-age boy type. And now you're dating a high schooler. Come on, jerk-face is not even that good looking.
"First of all, they're not dating. Second of all, don't lie to make yourself feel better; even I can admit he's basically a Greek god," Robin says, shoving a handful of popcorn into her mouth. "Third... why do you care? You’re acting like it’s your job to protect her, but it’s not. She’s an adult now, you know, she can take her of herself.”
He lets out a puff of air through his nose, blinking hard and leaning into the pale yellow receiver. Then mumbling: "She told you."
And she replies, cheerily: "Yup."
"Well—! I just... don't want to see her get hurt. I know that type of guy. I used to be that type of guy. He's bad news, I can tell."
"Right,” Robin scoffs, “It's definitely not because you love her.”
"I don't love her. She's just a baby, and we don't even like the same things. It would never work out between us, there's no connection." They both know it’s a lame excuse, but it’s worked up until this moment. It’s worked since the day you met. You’re too young, the end. Sure, you can be cute sometimes, but you’re also a pain in the ass and you two could never get along long enough to stitch together a real relationship.
But Robin sees through all of that shit. And she’s over it.
“Okay, maybe, but she listens when you talk about cars, and you buy the albums she likes even when she only mentions them once. Plus, you both love Dustin like he's an extra limb”—she’s right, you love that kid to death and Lord knows Steve looks after him like a son—“I think as much as you wretch and complain over her being too young and the connection not 'being there', it seems like you try an awful lot to get her to like you."
He immediately rejects the idea with a scoff.
"Of course I’d want a cool person to like me, old fuckin’ habits die hard. But that's all. She's cool and has a good sense of style and tells the best jokes and makes me feel smart and listens to me, and right now I'm feeling pretty crazy because maybe I do love her and I blew it because... because? Because I don’t know why—but she's probably sitting in some jerk's car listening to her favorite songs and watching him paint the sunset while speaking Spanish or whatever."
Robin closes her eyes, and Steve’s annoyed by the fact that he can hear her smirking. "Jesus Christ, I need to start charging you idiots for my time"—and she sighs—"Just... tell her all that cheese. And maybe throw in an apology or two. I don't know, do what you usually do when you pick up girls.”
He’s frustrated. And annoyed. But he throws a thanks at her anyway and stomps down the stairs and to his beamer. It’s not until he’s shrouded in the piercing light of the convenience store that he realizes three things: he’s still in his work uniform, it’s midnight, and he’s pretty sure he does love you. He grabs a bouquet, not even realizing it’s a bouquet of amaryllis and baby’s breath—he’d prefer roses, but ‘tis not the season, as the cashier told him.
Minutes later, he’s muttering under his breath like he’s mad, waiting for someone to answer your door. And thank God you do.
“Oh, shit, did I—were you—?”
“Oh, no, I was just…”—thinking about him—“nothin’. What’re you doing here?”
He pushes a furious hand through his hair, then tucks a chunk behind his ear, worrying at his bottom lip. More nervous than he’s been in his whole life. Then he flashes those soft brown eyes at you, and you’re toast. You step onto your doormat and shut the door behind you because he starts into his sentence like a blazing fire:
"I feel so stupid, and I’m sorry for saying you're like a little sister to me; I don’t believe that, and it couldn’t be further from the truth. You're not like a sister to me, you're like the only thing that matters and I feel like I wanna learn another language for you and take a cooking class for you and listen to your music with you. I just, I mean I’m trying to say you make me want to be a better person, and I feel like I’m already a better person whenever I’m around you. I... what I’m saying—and I promise I’m getting to it—is that I’m sorry for being so stupid and not seeing it before, but I think you're beautiful and I'd be honored if you'd forgive me and maybe consider letting me take you out sometime. Like on a date."
He’s breathing heavily, looking and feeling manic, and your eyes are wide as you slowly process his confession. It goes down like sweet wine, floral down your throat and settling in your tummy like candy. But still: what the fuck? Is he insane? Are you insane?
His hair is flopped to one side, and his work vest is snug around his shoulders. You step forward slowly, and the creases in his forehead seem to go smooth. And you point to the bouquet.
“For me?”
Steve glances down. "Oh, yeah, got em for you. Sorry they're not roses, it's not—"
"I love them, thank you."
He nods. And you smile. And despite how beautiful the soft pink and white flowers are, you’re not particularly focused on their safety when you hook your arms beneath his and rope him into a hug. It’s clearly just what he needed when he goes pliant and heavy against your chest, smiling into your neck as his hands wrap over your shoulders.
"I think we might both be stupid,” you whisper.
He chuckles. "Yup. Just a couple of stupids. Geez, what kinda pair are we?" You both pull away. Only to look at each other squarely. To see a smile creep and creep across the other’s face. And he cocks a brow and says, "By the way, worst twenty-four hours of my life—"
And that’s saying something after the last three years.
"Oh, I'm so sorry, Steve, I was just so—"
"I know."
"So confused and disappointed, it was—"
"Torture, yeah, don't even think about doing that ever again,” he teases, pinching your side and scrunching his nose when you pinch him back.
"Yeah. Well, never tell me I’m like a little sister to you ever again.”
"I don't plan on it"
With the slow bat of your lashes, and the tender curve of your lips, he can’t not think about kissing you. Not in this light. Not under the meddling moon, and not holding your waist like cupping pools of honey.
Then you look away. For all the shit you talk, he manages to make you far more shy than he ever anticipates. And it gives him butterflies to see you duck away.
"You know, I think you're pretty beautiful yourself, Harrington.”
Oh, he’s blushing now. The blood gushes hot to his face, he could sweat buckets right here and now. You can probably hear his heartbeat. Jesus Christ, what’ve you done to him? You can tell he’s nervous when he chuckles softly. "Does this mean I can start giving you rides again?"
You pretend to weigh your options. As if there would ever be a better alternative. "Only if you let me play my music sometimes.”
"Absolutely. I never liked the radio much anyway."
You let go of him only to cradle your bouquet in both hands, admiring the petals while Steve puts his hands back in his pockets.
"Then I'll see you later," he says. Grinning ear to ear, mind you.
"Yeah,” you coo, “I’ll see you."
With one hand on his shoulder, you plant a kiss on his willing cheek and let him go. But before he can make it to his car you holler, “Wait!” and he jogs back over to you.
"Did I forget somethin’?"
“Yeah,” you poke, "you forgot about our date."
He tilts his head a little, brows furrowed. "Our... our date? What do you mean our… Ohhhh”—he nods in understanding, suddenly hit with a wave of excitement and embarrassment—"Does tomorrow work? We could grab lunch or dinner or something and maybe stop by the arcade or—oh, the fair's in town, that could be kinda fun, unless you don't want to, I mean—"
"Steve?" you hum.
"I'd love to."
And suddenly his ego is miles through the roof; he's nodding and grinning and it’s like he can’t wait to wake up tomorrow just to see you again.
"Me too. Okay. Yeah! I'll see you then."
"Bye, Stevie.” You give him a small wave, and the shroud of plastic around the bouquet crinkles like the corners of his eyes at the idea of tomorrow.
1K notes · View notes
lovelybarnes · 1 month
Flirting and Football- B. Barnes
Pairings: bucky barnes x reader Warnings: past assault of reader, as slow burn as i can, au so bucky is different although i tried to not make him so ooc, sort of enemies to lovers?, genuinely can’t remember anymore, crappy writing in the beginning because i started writing this a year ago but i swear it gets better i promise About: request!! Bucky barnes and a college au where reader is the only one who isn’t interested in him basically
The end of your pen rests between your lips, unused as you scan the textbook page in front of you, your eyes thinning occasionally as you read. Your study partner’s book lays open in front of her, ten pages behind, and notebook adorned with two sole words.
She’s reciting the events of a date she went on yesterday or the day before, although admittedly, you’d only caught detached words for the past double-digit minutes. Your careful attention had dwindled down to nods as you subtly tapped at your notebook, then not-so-subtly and finally disappeared altogether as you made miscellaneous noises. 
You hum along now, eyes flickering from your notes to the material as you annotate pages with bright sticky notes.
She doesn’t seem to notice your disinterest, gushing about arms and hair, and the kiss that changed her life. The words don’t last too long in your mind, too cluttered with equations and vocabulary to make space for them.
“The girls told me he goes on a lot of dates but I can just tell I’m the one.”
You glance at your open computer, frowning at the slimming battery life, and purse your lips at the time. Sighing softly, you meet Quinn’s glazed eyes, offering her a tight smile you hope is somewhat believable.
“Is he in psychology too?” you ask, tapping on the notes the both of you were supposed to start when she began talking.
“Bucky? Oh no,” she laughs, the finger twirling her red hair pulling away to wave her hand dismissively. “He’s in sports or something. He's on the soccer team, you know.”
You nod. “Wow.”
“I know, oh my god.” She fans herself. “Did I tell you he basically won the last game?”
Probably. You duck your chin, highlighting a sentence. “Isn’t it a group effort?”
Quinn rolls her eyes. “Well, yeah, but he scored the winning goal.”
“Okay then,” you agree, deciding that you can finish your notes at your dorm. “I didn’t go to the last game, so what do I know?”
Quinn’s eyes go wide. “You didn’t go?” she exclaims, and you shush her, confirming. “Why?”
You shrug. “I had to do something.”
“You have to go to the next one tomorrow and see him in action. But don’t fall in love,” she warns with a giggle. “He’s mine.”
“Promise,” you reply hollowly, shutting your laptop. “Well, I have to go. This was helpful, though,” you lie.
“Oh, yeah, totally. I have to go too, rest up for the big game tomorrow. Gotta be there early to support Bucky,” Quinn informs. You stack your books to carry them back to your dorm.
“Right,” you respond, standing. “I hope everything goes well with him,” you say as you walk out.
She shoots you a big grin and a nod, her face bright as she agrees.
It’s cold when you step through the doors, bouncing on your feet and hugging your things closer to your chest as you begin to walk toward your dorm. You move to pull out your phone from your back pocket, quickly unlocking it to get to your contacts list. You press on Bruce’s contact and listen to the two beeps until he picks up.
“I hate you so much right now,” you greet, cutting his cheery hello off.
“What? What did I do?”
“‘I’ll be there!’ ‘How could I miss studying physics?’” you mock, imitating his voice. “You left me there, and I was stuck listening to Quinn's monologue about how the quarterback or whatever is the love of her life!”
“What quarterback?” Bruce asks.
“Does it matter? Honestly?” you rebut, taking care to watch your surroundings as you bully your friend. “Your quarterback wouldn’t cheat on you so I’m assuming it’s one that’s not Thor.”
“Okay, okay, I know. I’m sorry about ditching you. Thor and I just finished, we can come by and pick you up at the library. And Thor is a defender. Different sport entirely.”
“Whatever and ew,” you complain. “And I’m already on my way. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”
“What? I told you to not walk home alone. Just wait for me.”
“Don’t worry. The dorm isn’t that far and you’re not exactly the most threatening anyway,” you remind. “I’ll be fine. ”
“Fine. Keep me on the line and be careful,” Bruce tells you.
“Of course,” you quip. A pause drapes over the two of you, the silence only interrupted by the steady sound of your footsteps on the concrete. You turn, leaves crunching underneath your shoes and you can practically hear Bruce relax somewhat, knowing that you’re nearby. You put him on speaker to hear better. “How’d it go with Thor today?”
“Really good.” The golden thread of happiness threaded through Bruce’s words comes through clear and clean. You can imagine him as he talks into the phone, glancing at Thor to make sure he can’t hear as he plays with his fingers. “I’m really sorry for leaving you there.”
“You’re not,” you amend. “But it’s fine. I’m glad you’re happy.”
“I am,” Bruce confirms.
“I don’t know how you find the time to juggle everything. It’s kind of terrifying,” you laugh, expecting him to tease you back, but his answer comes back honest.
“I know you think of boyfriends and whatever as distractions, but it’s the opposite. It’s not juggling if I have help carrying everything.”
You push your tongue against your cheek, listening to the rustling of the trees. You grab your keys as you arrive at your dorm door. “I’m here.”
“Finally.” You roll your eyes, opening the door to see your roommate and her brother inside.
“Hey Wanda, Piet.”
Wanda smiles at you and Pietro winks before greeting Bruce through your phone.
“Okay, Bruce, are we studying tomorrow?” you ask him, balancing your things in your arms. When Pietro notices, he stands, taking your books from you and setting them down on your table. You thank him and pat his arm.
“Before the game? Sure,” he replies. You take him off speaker, pulling your phone to your ear, not noticing that the mention of the game has caught Pietro and Wanda's attention.
“You’re going?” you question. “I thought Thor was benched.”
“He’s off!” There’s a whoop you recognize as Thor’s that makes you smile. “Which is why it’s an important game we need to go to.”
“We?” you echo.
“We as in you and I,” Bruce verifies.
“Wait, I have to go too? Why?” you whine.
Pietro cuts in, “You have to go! How will we win without our lucky charm?”
You purse your lips and squint at him. “Didn’t you guys win last game?”
“Still! Come on, please,” he insists. Wanda joins in, offering to bake you cookies.
You search your brain for excuses. “I have things to do.”
“If it’s not ‘stay home and binge a series,’ I'll let you skip,” Bruce chimes.
You frown as the siblings grin.
“Yeah, you’re going,” Bruce declares. “They’re not that bad and you know it. Besides, Thor wants you to braid his hair. You know my fingers always get tangled.”
“Fine,” you sigh dramatically. “But I want it noted that it’s only because I really like cookies.” You focus on Wanda, who nods enthusiastically. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” Bruce repeats your words before you hang up, and at the click, you let yourself fall on your couch.
Wanda kisses your head and pats your shoulder comfortingly. “It’s going to be fun.”
“Standing in the middle of students I don’t know as they yell at a ball does not sound fun to me,” you disagree, but she ignores you.
“Even Vis is going,” she argues. “And you know how excited Thor gets when you braid his hair.”
You mutter incoherently.
“We’ll leave at three,” she instructs with a smile.
“I could be doing so many useful things right now,” you hiss at Bruce, remembering the half-written essay you have saved on your laptop, a string of frustratedly typed letters highlighted and waiting to be replaced with something coherent typed just beneath it.
Bruce had made you leave just as you began to taste the word you were looking for, assuring you that going out to see a game would somehow give your fried mind the jolt it needed. With little argument and the promise you’d committed to with a hook of your pinkie, you’d sighed and shut your laptop, leaving your apartment early to see the team before the game.
You could recognize some faces thanks to Pietro forcing you out to a few team celebrations and the occasional game you never paid much attention to. Although he’d laid off a while ago when Bruce and Thor started dating, your best friend had dragged you to every soccer-related event he didn’t want to go to alone. Pietro never minded your absence as much as Bruce did, always satisfied as long as you celebrated or consoled him afterward.
The word you’d been wracking your brain for suddenly comes to mind when you sit next to Bruce on a bench, pulling your phone out of your pocket to note it down, not noticing when the entire soccer team begins to leave the locker room, spilling into the hall where you’re slumped with your best friend.
Thor bellows your name excitedly when he spots you both, heading over. You glance up to give him a smile, quickly continuing to type the stray thoughts you’d been trying to catch when he turns, an extravagant arm extending as if to present you to the few guys with him. “This is the lovely lady I told you all about. She is very smart.”
You laugh at his introduction, tucking your phone back into your pocket. “Thank you, Thor.”
“Of course! And you all know Bruce, of course.”
There are chimes of agreement and greetings for your friend, a few of the players coming up to you. Pietro arrives first, as always, and pecks your forehead. “I, for one, am very glad you came to cheer us on.”
“We’ve heard a lot about you,” another says, huge and blonde, but his features are softened by an open grin. “I’m Steve.” He juts a finger at the brunet next to him, his hair tied up into a neat little bun at the nape of his neck, blue eyes shining as they observe you. “That’s Bucky.”
You smile at them, nodding. “Nice to meet you. I’ve actually heard a lot.”
Bucky raises an eyebrow, pleasantly surprised. “Really?”
You stare at him blankly, opening and closing your mouth like a fish. “I meant Steve.” Steve looks startled. “I saw his work when I was volunteering at the art show last month. It was great, I actually bought the piece with the lilies!”
“Oh.” Bucky blinks blankly, tongue poking into his cheek before he clears his throat and manages a lift of the left edge of his lips. “‘Makes sense someone so pretty would have good taste.”
You stare silently at him for a second, relieved when Steve’s surprise takes a second to process.
“Wait, me?” Steve points stupidly at himself. “My art?”
“It was amazing, I couldn’t let it slip by!”
“I told you,” Bucky tells him, elbowing his arm. He, unlike the other players, wears a dark sleeve over the entirety of his left arm, all the way up to his fingers. His fingertips, jagged pink, peek out. “I wish you woulda let me go. I could’ve seen the art and met her sooner.”
His friend sends him a furtive glance. “Is this your first time coming to a game?” Steve wonders as he turns back to you. 
You shake your head. “Pietro is my roommate’s brother and Thor’s my best friend’s boyfriend. They drag me here when they feel like it, but it’s my first time being back here.” You gesture to the hall. “I’m usually a little late because Bruce drives like a grandmother.”
Bruce sighs, sending you a short glance that you respond to with a gentle nudge of his shoulder.
Blue eyes nods, careful to give you his full attention. “Well, I think you should come around more often.”
You scan him for a second. “Why?” you ask genuinely.
He pauses as he begins to explain, eyes pinched in confusion before Thor’s booming voice cuts him off, reminding you that you need to braid his hair. You give them a final smile before standing. “Duty calls, I guess.”
“So you’ll come around?” He calls after you, frowning when you respond with a transparent smile and ingenuine thumbs up. “Huh,” he says.
“What?” Steve responds, a little slowly, knowingly. He knows well what is making Bucky’s features crease in that way, but he’d prefer hearing it from his friend’s mouth.
“Just… wondering why I’d never seen her before. Pretty.”
“Uh huh.” Steve nods disbelievingly. Knowing he isn’t going to be able to push it out of his friend, he begins to walk toward the field, not waiting up for Bucky, the man caught up in his thoughts. “‘Thought it was because the line didn’t work,” he finally tells him, catching Bucky’s attention.
“What’re you talkin’ about, punk? What line?”
Steve snickers. “Any of ‘em.”
The next time Bucky sees you is across the courtyard, arms wrapped around books, your fingers curved protectively around the edges of your laptop. You struggle as you talk to someone he recognizes, bouncing lightly on the balls of your feet as you reach to brush strands of hair away from your eyes.
Why you don’t have a backpack like every other person is beyond him, but it’s the last thing on his mind when your eyes meet his and you smile and wave. Yeah, he knows how to handle this—the attention, the blushing, the flattery.
The hand he raises to wave back freezes awkwardly when he realizes your attention isn’t on him, but rather following something behind his shoulder. His hand lowers as he feels Pietro brush past him and over to you, Wanda following close by. She catches Bucky’s actions and sends him an amused look.
You accept the kiss Pietro drops on your forehead and greet Wanda excitedly, too busy chatting with her to notice the two pens that slip from your pile.
Bucky sniffs, tugging his varsity jacket tighter and deciding to embrace his mistake, walks over to you.
“Hey,” he greets, your name coming out like silk, shooting you a smile. He bends down to pick up your pens, handing them to you with a cajoling rise of his lips.
You return it a pause later. “Hey, um—thanks…” you struggle for a second before you’re cut off.
“Bucky!” the classmate that you were talking to exclaims, and Bucky realizes it’s Quinn, the girl he’d gone out on a date with a while ago. “I saw you on the field yesterday,” she tells him, twirling a strand of red hair around her finger. “You were amazing.”
“I appreciate it,” he thanks her, his eyes flickering back to you for a second, spotting you beginning to step away with a short wave and an elbow to Wanda's side. “I should go, I needed to talk to her,” he starts, acting quickly. “But it was nice to see you again. You look great, I like your necklace.”
Quinn’s fingers reach to pinch at the pendant on her chain, tilting her head at Bucky as she beams. “Thank you!”
Bucky nods, turning to find you gone. He looks around, surprised, but finally catches sight of you turning a corner with your friends. Before he can head toward you, Quinn catches his arm.
“Aren’t you going to ask me out again?” She smiles at him, eyes wide and shiny.
He winces, forcing himself to not glance back at you. “You’re a really great girl, Quinn, but I don’t think we’d work out. I’m sorry.”
“Oh,” Quinn says quietly, not returning the apologetic smile he sends her. He twists his lips and apologizes again before jogging over to you, slowing to match your pace when he finally catches up.
“Hey again,” he quips, offering you a smile. You return it kindly, twirling your pens between your fingers.
“Hey, Bucky.” Probably accidentally, you enunciate his name in a way that makes him realize you didn’t remember it when he came up to you earlier, and he bites back an embarrassed blush. “It was a good game yesterday.”
“Thank you,” he replies easily. “How was I?”
You cock your head at him. “Fine? You… were a soccer player.”
Pietro laughs, pulling you closer. “He’s asking if he lived up to the stories,” he clarifies, shooting Bucky a look. “‘Does another pretty girl think I’m great too?’” he mocks, the imitation edged in his accent.
You hum in understanding, turning back to Bucky. “Stories?” you echo. Your features bear no likeness to the pull Bucky is used to with girls, nothing implying the agreement or validation he’s usually welcomed with.
“Oh, you know,” Bucky starts with a nonchalant shrug, “of the ‘insane stamina’ and ‘could totally carry a bus’ variety. You know, the ‘Winter Soldier’ name.”
Your eyebrows raise. “‘Winter Soldier?’” you repeat, words bolded in an unconscious drama.
“’S my nickname,” Bucky explains sheepishly. You continue to stare at him for a second before cracking a smile.
“Bucky Barnes, right?” you ask him. He pushes his tongue against his cheek at the blow to his ego and nods. “Which one were you again? All the uniforms are the same, I can only recognize Thor and Piet.”
Pietro hoots. “Fifteen, baby!”
Bucky eyes you, his cheeks pulling with an amused lilt. “You wound me, doll.”
“I wound you?” you giggle, unable to help it. “This is our first conversation and I have the power to wound you. I don’t know how I feel about having this power over a stranger.”
Bucky gasps, reaching out to grab your hand with his ungloved hand and wrap it around an invisible knife to plunge it into his chest. He chokes as he mimes nursing his wound. “Just digging it in deeper, aren’t you? Vixen.”
“Oh, come on, you expect me to have learned your number after knowing you for five minutes?” you exclaim with mild indignance, a whisper of amusement betraying it. You click your tongue. “You were fine, I’m sure,” you respond finally. Wanda jabs an elbow into your arm and whispers something to you. Your eyes light up. “Oh, you’re seventeen! The ball hogger! You do realize you’re in a team, right?”
Pietro claps, nodding approvingly at you. “And me, little flower?”
You roll your eyes. “You were fast. Like always.”
“That’s code for ‘the best out there,’” Pietro tells Bucky.
“I think the code for that is Bucky Barnes,” Bucky retorts, turning back to you. “‘Got a favorite player yet?” He asks you.
You tilt a brow at him. “On the soccer team?”
“Yeah,” Bucky confirms.
“Based off of what?” You counter.
“Oh.” You think. “Then no.”
Pietro clears his throat loudly.
“What if I get you the best seat possible next game?” Bucky offers.
You laugh, shaking your head. “I’m good where I am.”
“She barely pays attention anyway,” Wanda informs. “All she does is complain.”
You nod. “And I can do that in any seat.”
“Alright… what if you wear my jersey at the next game?” Bucky continues.
You raise an eyebrow. “And you’re convincing me, right?”
“You should be swooning right now,” Bucky argues accusingly, but his words are tinged with a grin.
“Oh, my bad,” you deadpan, placing a hand on your chest and rocking on your heels. You flutter your lashes at him and melt your lips into a watery smile. “Oh my, golly! Benson’s sweaty jersey!”
“Bucky,” Bucky grumbles. “Bucky’s sweaty jersey.”
“Right,” you reply with an attentive nod, laughing quietly. Your attention is drawn by another building and you turn. “I gotta go, but please keep the jersey far away from me.” You point at Bucky and then wave at Wanda and Pietro. “I’ll see you guys around.”
“Me too!” Bucky shouts after you. You only reply with a thumbs up Bucky can tell is sarcastic even if he can’t see your face, slipping past a closing door. Bucky purses his lips, looking after you. “Huh.”
A hand slaps down on his shoulder, and Pietro's laughter bubbles from behind him. “Nice work,” he lies.
Entirely suddenly, your mind feels vignetted with inky stress. You suppose it was predictable, having ignored the weight your responsibilities had lain on your shoulders for as long as you had, but it’s exhausting nonetheless. You blink slowly at your document in a lousy attempt to soothe yourself, feeling as though you were staring at it through a tunnel.
You yawn as you splay yourself out on your bed, stretching your legs out as far as you can. Your fingertips brush your pillows as you let your eyelids fall closed for just a second, thoughts and reminders of the rest of the things you need to do lining your entrance to sleep, but the door is so inviting, the red tape of your to-do list blurring.
Your ringtone cuts in when you begin to reason with yourself, back straightening fast enough to give you whiplash when you open your eyes again. Your hand slams around your phone, blinking fast as you read Bruce’s contact name.
“The thing,” you mumble, remembering Bruce’s insistence that you went to something. You answer his call and fight to not let yourself fall back on your bed, free fingers moving to rub at your temple.
“Hey, are you ready?” Bruce asks, the sounds of conversation in the background.
“Sure,” you answer tiredly, looking down at yourself. Whoever it is you’re going out with can’t be too picky. “Ready for what again?”
“The team’s win? We’re going out to eat at an actual restaurant and everything.”
You purse your lips. “Are we going to a bar?”
There’s a moment of silence on his end, only highlighted by the muffled voices that converse. “...No.”
Nodding earnestly, you stand, stretching and shaking your limbs out in an attempt to wake yourself up, but the attempt is mocked when you yawn once again. You catch a glimpse of your reflection in the mirror and wince, tilting your chin up to get another angle. “Then, yes, I’m ready. I guess.”
“That's great!” Bruce praises. “Because we are outside.”
You frown, grabbing a hair tie from your dresser before walking out of your room, surprised to see your apartment empty. “We?” you repeat as you look around, confused. “Are Wan and Pietro with you?”
“They’re probably already there. And ‘we’ as in I picked up Thor, Steve, and Bucky.”
You grunt in response, shutting off the lights and plucking your keys from the counter before locking up.
“You know Bucky. He’s not that bad.”
There are sounds of protest and you catch an offended ‘that bad?’ before you hang up, waving to Bruce’s car. The door to the back opens before you can touch the handle, a grinning face and shiny blue eyes welcoming you. “Hey, doll, you look great.”
“Bunny,” you greet, ducking your chin in a nod. Bucky gets out of the car, extending a hand to invite you inside.
“I don’t mind that one.” Bucky winks.
You shake your head, crawling inside and saying hi to Steve, nose wrinkling when you realize you’ll be sandwiched between the two guys, and turning when you notice Bucky getting in again. You tug on your seatbelt with a polite smile to Steve, bumping into hard muscle when you aim for the buckle.
“You tryna cop a feel? Could’ve just asked,” Bucky tells you, bumping you gently.
“Oh please,” you scoff, poking him with the metal thing. “Excuse me, seatbelt. Bruce isn’t that great of a driver. He’s in his twenties and gets night blindness.”
Bucky pats your hand gently and takes the belt from you, clicking it into place for you.
“Nice and safe, don’t worry, doll.”
You set your lips into a thin line and look straight ahead, pushing your phone into the space between your thighs so you don’t lose it. “How’d you do on your Norse mythology exam, Thor?” you ask, recalling the nerves with which he’d told you about it a couple of days ago.
“Wonderful! I really enjoy the subject. Thank you for helping me study,” Thor replies cheerily.
“You didn’t even need to,” you assure, stifling a yawn. Bucky frowns.
“Did you get some sleep?” Bruce wonders, eyeing you at a red light.
“Yeah, I drank some coffee,” you respond.
“Not the same thing. Not even close.”
You laugh. “I’ll be fine,” you promise. “Stop worrying.”
“I’m always worried,” Bruce grumbles.
“Hey, how was art today?” you ask Steve, nudging his arm gently. Bucky’s brows furrow, urging Steve to look at him and read his mind with an intense stare. Steve does not.
“You were right. I was being too judgemental,” Steve sighs. “I should’ve listened to you.”
“Listened to who?” Bucky buts in. “How did you know Stevie had art today?” he continues, trying to keep his tone light.
“We talk.” You shrug. 
“Oh,” Bucky starts, glaring at Steve. “Do you?”
“Yes.” You nod before actually yawning that time. “I’m sorry.”
“You should sleep more,” Bucky comments, watching you shake your head wearily.
“I have things to do,” you defend. “I sleep enough, it’s the stupid car ride, I always fall asleep in cars,” you defend. “But if it pleases you, I’ll sleep the entirety of tomorrow.” Your voice lacks the thick sleeve of satire you tend to use with him, more vulnerable in your exhaustion. Although your request is still sarcastic, Bucky can tell you know you need it.
“It will,” Bucky says.
For the most part, the conversation ends there, the group splitting into their own things during the car ride. After a few minutes, Bucky feels your head fall softly on his shoulder.
He stops paying attention to what Thor is saying, instead focusing on the way you edge toward him in your sleep, nudging your nose into his shoulder. He can see the way your lashes lay on your cheeks when you’re so close and the pretty bridge of your nose.
You’re more open than he’s ever seen you, eyes shut and lips parted with gentle breaths, and he can’t stop staring at you.
Then the car goes over a harsh bump, and Bucky wants to do everything he can to hold you still, but your eyes flutter open and you sit up, meeting his eyes for a second. “Sorry.”
“It's no problem,” Bucky assures, wanting to keep examining the lines of your face, but you clear your throat, looking forward, and Bucky has no choice but to do so too.
The surprise Bucky feels when he spots you at the celebration party is no match for the sweet excitement at the bottom of his stomach, immediately pulling his sleeve further down over his arm and brushing away loose strands of his hair. It would be embarrassing how much he cares about what you think of him if it weren’t so ridiculously important to him.
He busies himself with getting a drink for you, finding himself wondering if you’d come before, only to go unnoticed by him. There’s a startling burst of anger at himself with the thought, and Bucky blinks, eyes continuing to drift to you. Resolute, he moves toward you but pauses as he observes you.
The look on your face is one Bucky has never seen before—though he hasn’t seen many looks on your face before—but it settles so naturally on your features that it is difficult to argue that it’s unfamiliar. You look intense, but the way your eyes scan Wanda's boyfriend—who’s been dubbed Vision—is dangerous. Cocky.
You say something and your entire face relaxes resolutely, but your eyes remain expectant and arrogant, unamused with your companion’s reply.
Vision—who Bucky has heard is never wrong—sure seems wrong in whatever argument he’s just lost against you, and you know it.
“How’re my favorite geniuses?” Wanda pipes up suddenly, forcing Bucky’s daze away, appearing from an unknown place to sling an arm around you. You snap out of the look, your face softening, but the pleasure of being right dances across your features. Bucky clears his throat and takes a sip from his beer, stepping toward you.
“Oh, you know, out-geniusing the other,” you reply, glancing at Bucky as he walks up behind Vision.
“Hey Dolly,” he smiles. “I thought you had too many books to read to go out.”
“I finished them all,” you respond. “And ‘Dolly’? How old are you?”
Bucky clicks his tongue. “What would you prefer, sweetheart?”
“My name,” you state, then squint at him, cocking your head. “Do you remember it? I imagine it’s hard to keep track.”
“Of course I remember.” Bucky scoffs. “I don’t think I could forget.”
You breathe out a laugh. “Right, I’d imagine asking her out to swing dance without it would be pretty hard.”
“Are you asking me to swing dance with you?” Bucky retorts.
You snort. “Yeah, sure.”
Bucky holds out his hand expectantly, covered arm at his side.
Your eyes thin resolutely at him, scrutinizing the details of his face before you shake your head. “You’re ridiculous,” you criticise.
His hand drops and he pouts. “C’mon, pretty please.”
“Do you know what music you swing dance to?” you ask him, wagging a finger to refer to the booming music drowning most sounds inside the house. “Because this isn’t it.”
“I need to take advantage of the fact that you’re here, doll. You said so yourself you don’t go out much,” he complains. 
“Yeah, this is why!” you reply, your last words getting louder as the music impossibly gains volume.
“What?!” Bucky shouts, moving closer to hear you better, but you laugh and shake your head, telling him something he can’t make out. When you realize he can’t hear you, you give him a pout.
“And I was just about to say yes,” you say sadly.
“Wha—” Bucky’s cut off by the sharp shattering of glass. With a cringe, your eyes widen as you look behind him, eyes flickering back to him expectantly. He turns and groans. “I have to check that out. I’ll be right back!” he pledges, walking away to see a deadly amount of broken alcohol bottles on the floor, the stench of their contents burning his nose.
When he comes back, you’re gone.
The disappointment that blankets over his shoulders at the fact is just as surprising to him.
You’re in your bubble at the library, a little clueless to everything going on around you as you thumb the corner of a page, your pinky hovering below your book’s cover. You’re a few pages away from something exciting, teeth digging in with anticipation for it, when someone enters your field of vision, a large figure plopping down on a seat in front of you.
You spare them a glance and are surprised to find Bucky, sporting a large grin and his varsity jacket. You observe him suspiciously for a few moments, having never seen him even near the library, before returning your attention to what you’re reading.
“So, you’re actually here, huh?” he asks, and you shush him, shooting him a look to lower his voice. “Sorry.”
“Why are you here?” you question lowly instead, still not putting down your book.
“Anyone can come to the library.” Bucky points out, your name playfully scornful. You level a look at him.
“Yes. Why are you here? With me? You didn’t know my name until, like, two days ago.” You’re careful to keep your voice down.
“First of all,” Bucky starts, beginning to list off his fingers. “We met two weeks and three days ago.”
“Did we?” you drone, attempting to concentrate on the lines of your book once more.
“And, how do you know we don’t just have alternating study days?” Bucky points out.
“I am here every day,” you inform. “And if that were the case, why would you be here right now?” you rebut. “What would you be studying for? Coaching?”
“Maybe I wanted to switch things up,” Bucky defends. “And I’m not studying coaching. I’m studying biomedical engineering.”
You meet his eyes at the revelation, unable to keep the surprise off your face. You fold down the edge of the last page you read offhandedly and let your book flutter closed. “What? Quinn said you were in… sports.”
“Well,” Bucky sucks in a breath as if what he’s about to tell you is a revelation. “Soccer is a sport.”
“I know,” you affirm blandly. “But are you actually in biomedical?”
“Yeah,” Bucky nods. “What, do you not believe me?” he asks, raising a gloved hand to his chest. “I must say, I’m very disappointed in you perpetuating harmful stereotypes.”
“I’m just surprised. You’ve never talked about it before.”
“We’ve talked four times,” Bucky points out. “Although I want it clear that I have tried to make it more.”
“Yeah, what’s that about, by the wayt?” you wonder, setting your elbows on the table and dropping your face into your hands, cocking your head at him. “From what I’ve seen, you have your fair pick of girls and guys.”
“I wouldn’t say that—”
You laugh quietly. “Sure.”
“But I like you,” Bucky explains, shrugging. “You’re smart and pretty and you interest me.”
You scan his face, squinting. Astonishment tints your chuckle. “You are so much better at this than I thought you were.”
“At first, I was like ‘this guy? This is the Becky people won’t shut up about?’”
“Bucky,” he corrects swiftly.
“But I see it now. The charm. I’m not falling for it, but I see it.” You nod appreciatively and open your book once again to continue reading.
Bucky frowns in front of you, reaching over to insert an abrupt hand in between the pages. “What are you talking about?”
Sighing, you peel his fingers off the pages and meet his eyes, startled to see their intensity, crinkles at their edges, his lips pinched in a pout. You gasp. “Oh my god, you’re doing it now.”
“Sweetheart, it’s something that just happens naturally, I’m not doing anything.”
You stare at him for a moment before shaking your head, turning back to your book. “You are insufferable.”
“And you’re beautiful.”
“And you’re ridiculous.”
“Go out with me, c’mon,” Bucky urges, smiling now. It’s stupidly sweet.
You click your tongue. “Dates are a waste of time.”
“I’ll make it worth it. Promise.”
“I don’t have time to go out with guys I’ve talked to four times,” you explain.
“Alright, so if I talk to you more, you’ll go out with me?”
You wrinkle your nose. “I don’t… I’m not liking where this is going.”
“I will talk to you every single day from now on,” Bucky vows.
“Oh, I was right,” you groan. “I just mean you don’t know me. My favorite color, my favorite book, my order at my favorite restaurant, things like that.”
“I will know all of that,” he pledges.
You laugh disbelievingly. “Okay, Borky.”
A cocky little smirk plays on his lips as he winks. “Bucky,” he says archly.
You learn his name. Completely. Totally. Unmistakably. 
It’s hard not to, not when he becomes a constant in your life and not with a name like that.
James Buchanan Barnes. It rolls off your tongue too nicely all of a sudden.
He talks to you every day. Just like he said he would, even if it’s a two-minute conversation over text where he makes sure you get home safe and asks about your day. It would be overwhelming if it didn’t make you smile so much.
He doesn’t get upset when you answer two hours later because you were distracted with work, asking you how Linda the librarian was and if she liked the cookie he got her three days ago.
You relay her enthusiastic message, deciding to brush over the wink and coy smile she sent you at his mention. Then maybe, because you’re finished with your work for the day, you shove aside your notebook and bite back a small smile when he tells you how pretty he thought you looked in the glimpses he had of you today.
Organizing your books into a neat little pile, you message him and Bruce that you’re heading home. And you intend to, you really do, but then Bucky insists you call him the next time so he can walk you home, and you’ve suddenly been sitting at your table, uselessly leaning against your things for ten minutes.
You shoot up when you realize, lightly bewildered with yourself, gathering everything into your arms as quickly as possible, and shoving your phone into your back pocket. You hope Bruce isn’t getting too worried as you push open the library doors, hurrying down the steps and onto the path you usually take. You’re alert as always, careful to listen past the crunching of leaves beneath your feet and watch for shadows that edge past yours, digging your keys out of your pocket to hold them in the spaces between your fingers.
It’s three minutes in when you begin to feel unsettled. Your phone has vibrated three times in your back pocket in the past two minutes, but the darker section of your path is coming up, and chills rush up your neck as you imagine what the distraction could cost.
A shadow follows nearby, inching closer and closer until your hands are shaking and you’re on the verge of running.
Fingers wrap around your arm and you shriek, books slipping from your arms when they wane. Stumbling back, you tug yourself away from the intrusion, breaths coming out in big, wet gasps when you turn. Bucky’s wide blue eyes meet your glossy ones, hands up in surrender when he catches the tremble of your bottom lip.
A tear streaks down your cheek in profusing relief that it’s only him, the anger indistinguishable beneath it as you stumble into Bucky on wobbly knees, his name braided in a whimper. His arms settle around you hesitantly, guiltily.
“You scared me,” you whisper. “Don’t you know not to sneak up on people?”
“I'm sorry,” he replies sincerely. “I didn’t think—”
“I'm just relieved it’s you,” you interrupt, fingers fisting his shirt. You’re far away, stuck in a memory very far away, and yet it feels enough like you’re standing in it. Your grip is a vice, forcing him closer still until the pads of your fingers can feel the warmth of his skin beneath his shirt. 
Bucky murmurs your name, a large palm stroking up and down your back in comfort. His voice is mournful. “I’m sorry, sweetheart.”
You snap out of it at the nickname, pulling away from his embrace as if you’d awoken. He doesn’t startle, only stares at the furrow of your brow and the light that reflects off of your cheeks. Swallowing hard, you blink away the rest of your daze, eyes falling on your things scattered on the ground.
“My computer,” you remember, frantically dropping to your knees to search for it.
Bucky doesn’t pry, kneeling next to you to help pick up your books, taking the ones you’d stacked up sloppily into his arms. You carry your laptop with a careful grip, relatively unharmed.
“I should get going,” you tell him, motioning to take your things from him but he refuses, ushering you into his car.
It’s silent for a while after you halfheartedly agree, obviously still embarrassed. Bucky’s hesitant to probe, but the guilt at what he could’ve reminded you of gnaws at his gut.
You can feel his stare each time he glances at you curiously; cautiously, as if you’ll burst into tears spontaneously. 
“I was attacked once.” Your voice is quiet, soft for the obvious teeth the words pierce you with. “Walking home from the library,” you explain. “It’s why Bruce doesn’t like me walking home alone.”
“You… someone…” Bucky pinches his lips into a tense line, fingers tightening around the wheel. “Why?” It’s painfully incredulous.
You look down at your lap, the left edge of your lips pulling into your cheek. “I was alone. It was easy.” What’s left to say seems painful for you to push out. “He didn’t like me very much.”
“I'm sorry,” Bucky offers after a tense second, unsure of what else to say and how angry he can be for you.
“For what? You didn’t have anything to do with it,” you retort, offering him a weak smile in an attempt to lighten the mood.
“For scaring you,” Bucky insists sincerely. “For the fact that it happened in the first place.” You don’t respond, watching as trees and lights flash past the window.
“It really wasn’t as bad as you think. The label makes it seem worse,” you palliate. “He hit me once and pushed me against a wall. A bruise was the worst of it. Both physically and to my bank account.”
Bucky’s frown stays, quiet blanketing the both of you.
“So, why’d you come get me? How’d you know I was only on my way?” you chime suddenly.
“I wanted to check up on you. You weren’t answering your phone.”
You pause, meeting his eyes with an inquisitive pinch to your features. “So you drove to find me?”
“Technically, I just wanted to drop by your apartment to make sure you got home safe, but that sounds better, so let’s go with it.” Bucky shoots you a grin. An olive branch.
You accept it as you mimic the sweet curve of his lips. “Ah, yes, and that’s how Barnacle gets ‘em. Being charming and funny and sweet—”
He lets a light chuckle slip past his lips, sparing you a delicate glance. You’re already looking at him, softer in your gaze than he’s ever seen you.
He hums inquisitively. “You think I'm charming and funny and sweet?”
You laugh openly, shaking your head but not negating his words. You hug your laptop closer to your chest, constellations reflected in your shadowed eyes as you look through the window. “I think—” you inhale in relief. “We’re here.”
Bucky slows to a stop when he reaches your dorm, shutting off the car and stepping out as you pack up. You only notice his actions when your fingers slip past the handle once you move to open your own door, huffing air out of your nose when he smirks wantonly at you.
“Thank you,” you grunt, climbing out and clutching your things.
You walk ahead, listening to the door slam and the subsequent sound of shoes quick against the pavement until he walks steadily beside you. “So, you wanna do that again soon?”
You laugh, motioning to grab your keys. “Do what again?”
He steals the jingling set from your fingers, moving hurriedly to the door when you make a noise hald surprise half indignation. He jams a silver one in, cringing when it doesn’t fit. You glower as you reach him, eyeing his hands as they continue to shove the wrong key in the lock. “It's the bronze one—no, the other one. How do you not—”
The door swings open, a satisfied smile parting Bucky’s face.
“Thanks,” you sigh, taking back your keys as you step inside. He stands outside awkwardly, kicking a pebble around with his foot. You squint doubtfully at him after you’ve set your things down and he’s not following behind you like you thought he would be. “What’re you doing?”
“You have to invite me in,” he explains.
“What, like a vampire?”
He blinks. “Yeah, like a vampire.”
You grin toothily. “Vucky…” It drips in an exaggerated accent.
“It's cold out here,” he reminds.
“Maybe you should go home then,” you suggest.
His face drops for a second and you find yourself feeling a tug of something sickening at your stomach. Like a reflex, the offer leaves your throat before you can help it.
“Or. Come inside.” At his hesitant posture, you suck in a bubble of air. “Do you want to come in? You’re welcome to.” I want you to.
He stares at you long enough for you to squirm before a smile breaks through his face. “Really?”
You bite the inside of your cheek, flimsy regret already churning in your gut. “Yeah. Just come on in already. It’s cold outside, dummy.”
It’s startling the first time you miss Bucky's ever-constant presence.
You’d rather not admit it, but it’s hard not to—not when he finds you between classes to carry your books, teasing you about your lack of a backpack but always leaving you with only your laptop and a pen in hand. You can’t help the smiles when he “coincidentally” bumps into you at your favorite coffee shop enough times to have your order ready when you arrive on your tea day.
His goofy jokes while you study at the library get less annoying and, annoyingly, more endearing. You suddenly know a whole lot about biomedical engineering and Bucky. You know his sister’s favorite color and can spout stories about Steve before he grew five times his size like you were there yourself.
It's infuriating, you think, but you don’t mind as much when Bucky's making you laugh with lovely crinkles at the edges of his eyes.
“I like the ocean,” you say sometime at the library, books spread on the table, ignored. He looks up from his notebook in surprise, putting down the pen you’d lent him two weeks ago. “It’s the reason why my favorite color is blue.”
His own blue glitters as he nods, listening. “‘Thought it was because of my eyes.”
You reward him a laugh and a roll of your eyes. “I really wanted Atlantis to be real when I was little,” you tell him. “And mermaids. Even if they were the ugly ones that murder you,” You confess in a rare moment of transparency, meeting his eyes before you clear your throat, bringing your attention back to your laptop.
“I like space,” Bucky offers. “It's endless.”
You nod in acceptance, clearing your throat as if to rid yourself of what you’ve given him.
“You collect those squished pennies, right?” Bucky asks. 
You’re startled that he remembers, and it takes a second for your brain to catch up. “Uh—yeah. Why?” 
Bucky turns to dig around in his bag, pulling out something small and bronze and shiny with a brilliant smile. ”I went to this little souvenir shop the other day and found one of those machines.” He extends it to you and flips it slowly between his index and middle. “It has a little fuzzy monster thing on it. I don’t get it, to be honest.”
It never crossed your mind that he would do that for you. A startling line of electricity runs up your arm when your fingers meet his, quick to take the penny from him. “Thank you,” you mutter, observing the coin in the light. The large eyes of the embossed little monster stare back at you. “This is really nice of you.”
“It’s not big deal,” Bucky shrugs. “I just thought you’d like it.”
Honey fills your throat. Gulping, you glance at the clock, nearly relieved to see it’s time for you to leave. “I gotta go,” you tell him, gathering your things. The smooth edges of the penny dig into your palm. He stands in tandem, rolling his shoulders.
“Okay,” he says. “I’ll walk you.”
“You don’t have to,” you begin.
“I want to. Besides, it would kind of feel weird not to after so long.”
You nod along. “Right.” 
He ducks his chin in affirmation, picking up his stuff too. Furtively, he lightens your own load.
You notice but know better than point it out and argue, remembering how you ended up bedrudgingly carrying only a pen last time.
“Does Sam still have your car?” you ask as you leave the library.
“Yup. One more week, he says.”
“Do you believe him?”
“Well, he’s been saying that for two, so…”
You laugh, staring up at a big tree vignetted orange.
Bucky nudges you lightly as you begin to drift away, preventing you from walking into the street. He guides you past a fissure in the sidewalk as you gasp at something in a boutique’s window. “There’s a sale at the bookstore!”
“Wanna go tomorrow?” Bucky asks.
You nod. “Can we?”
“Sure, we’ll just leave the library a little earlier,” Bucky suggests, balancing the books in his arms.
“Someone’s sure of themselves,” you tease. “You’re walking me home tomorrow, too?”
“Of course. I have been for months,” Bucky points out with a shrug.
Your jests die on your tongue as you realize he’s right, the discovery shocking when the memories of your solitary walks are further away than you had thought; suddenly, you remember that the dog you’d pointed out two weeks ago was more for his benefit than yours.
“Weeks,” you argue weakly, throat suddenly dry.
“Weeks could definitely be months,” Bucky reasons. 
You ignore him, stopping in your tracks. “Why?”
A frown tugs at his lips as he pauses as well. “Because weeks add up to months?”
“Why have you been walking me home every day for months?”
“‘Thought it was weeks?”
“Bucky,” you say, a little urgent.
He shrugs boyishly, near flippant but your things in his arms don’t let you believe that. “I don't want you to walk alone.” Then, “I wanted to make sure you got home safe.”
Shocked pupils dart around wildly and it’s difficult to swallow before you steady yourself, clearing your throat. Your features are pinched in a sort of raw determination—open, honest. “Thank you.”
He smiles and it’s soft as he shrugs lightly, nearly nonchalant.
Before you let yourself get too caught up in the curve of his lips and realize you’ve imitated it unconsciously, you look away, clearing your throat in relief when you spot your door.
“Right. Um, thanks again.” You take your things from him before he can think twice about it, speed walking to your door.
“Wait—” he stammers out, confused and too late when you give him a wave and a quick goodbye before slamming the door shut.
You swallow hard on the other side of the door, wide eyes staring aimlessly into the darkness. In the dreaded stillness, you can feel the heat that creeps up your neck and floods stickily into your face, the prickling static that needles into your palms. Shakily and illicitly, a hand drifts up to your chest, pressing to feel the thundering beating of your heart.
You curse to the silence, letting your eyes flutter shut in candied disappointment.
Bucky thinks you’re acting weird.
No—he’s sure you’re acting weird.
He knows you now, can recognize the sarcastic lines of your cheeks when you wrinkle your nose and poke fun at him. He’s memorized the genuine curve of your lips when he’s said something so cheesy it circles around to sweet. He knows you at your angry and at your happy, but he doesn’t know this.
You’re being nice to him. Sticky nice. Not you-nice.
He tries teasing first, poking a pencil into the flesh of your arm and asking if you’d fallen in love or something. You’d scoffed, blinked fast, and swatted him away. But you didn’t say no.
He’s aware he’s a fool to think so large of a lack of something, but he can’t pretend like it doesn’t inspire something in him, something like hope, like nectar, sticky in his throat.
He wonders if it clogs words up in yours—if it’s the reason you’re so quiet.
You stare through your computer, steam from your tea disappearing into the air as you blink. There’s a sweet indent in between your eyebrows, similar to the one you get when you study something you don’t completely understand, usually accompanied by the nail of your thumb between your teeth. But this one is lighter, more unintentional. You’re struggling with something but he can’t figure out what.
Your eyes flicker up to his, glinting in the light when you catch them on you.
“What?” you blurt. It’s louder than you intend, and you purse your lips in that embarrassed way that you do, shrinking down into your seat. “Why are you staring at me?”
“You’re pretty,” he says honestly.
He waits for your usual flustered reaction and you give it to him, but it’s vignetted with something, different in the quick blinks of your eyes and the thumb you brush over your nose. 
“I'm hungry,” you complain, ignoring his compliment.
“I'll buy you something,” Bucky responds immediately, already pulling out his wallet.
“You don’t have to,” you remind. “I wasn’t asking, I was just—”
“I know, it’s fine,” Bucky insists.
“I can pay. It’s my food.”
“It’s just a meal.” He squints at you. “You never pass up a chance of food on me.” He presses the back of his palm against your forehead and leans in closer. “Are you feeling okay?”
You heat up beneath his touch, shaking him off with a scowl. “You make me sound awful. Fine. Buy me my food then.”
Bucky raises his hands in surrender, wallet between his index and middle finger rising with his shoulders. “I will.” He squeezes your shoulder before he walks away, dipping down to your ear to whisper, “And you’re not awful.”
You huff, pinching your lips together as you watch him get in line, nudging his fingers into his wallet to take out money.
Arbitrarily, you’re annoyed. Bucky Barnes is infuriating, with his long charcoal lashes and lilting chuckle and nonchalance in giving things you want without your asking.
Your laptop screen darkens with your lack of attention, and you’re left staring at yourself, scrutinizing the thin lines around your eyes as you squint. You’re being ridiculous; you can’t be angry over Bucky being a sweet guy.
“They musta’ known you were coming,” Bucky whistles, balancing a bowl and a small bag already darkened with grease spots in his arms. You take the bowl from him, warmth seeping into your fingertips.
You furrow your brows at him when you pop the lid off, barely realizing you’d never told him what to get. “You got me cavatappi pasta,” you realize. You look upset.
Distressed, you snatch the bag from him, shoving your fingers inside to pull out two large chocolate chip cookies. “And chocolate chip cookies.” Your voice rises and falls with a slightly unhinged twinge, features pulling as you examine what Bucky got for you. Your comfort food; the token you’d never explained to him.
“Yeah. It’s what you always get. And I know you always want two cookies but only get one because you’re afraid you won’t finish it, but we can split it or you can save it, or—what are you doing?”
You sweep everything into your arms, holding the food tightly behind your books.
“I have to go.”
“What? We just got here.”
“I have an appointment.”
“For what?”
“For—things—it’s—” you huff. “I have to go.”
“Are you sure you don’t need a ride? I have my car back, you know,” Bucky offers, already beginning to get up, but you shake your head, his actions hitting something in your chest.
“I'll be fine, thanks for the…” you exhale sharply. “I'll see you later.”
You run off, ignoring his confused call of your name as you slam the door behind you.
Hot soup dribbles down your fingers as you speed walk back home, but you barely notice, struggling to remember why you’d rejected him before.
“I hate him,” you mumble, fully dishonest as you struggle with your keys. “I hate him so much.”
“Hate who?” Bruce asks from the table, sparing you a glance from his computer. His eyebrows join as he takes you in, every panting and crazed inch of you, mouth parting and head tilting. “Uh.”
“Bucky,” you reply, setting the a la carte box down hastily. You drop the cookies next to it.
Bruce stares at you.
You make a big gesture with your hands toward it, pursing your lips. “He bought me that. Just—insisted. He's so—” you sigh frustratedly. “I didn't even—he bought me cookies.”
“Okay.” It's long and hesitant. “And that’s bad because…” he begins to shake his head. “You don’t like cookies?”
Your shoulders drop.
“You hate cookies and pasta. You think they’re awful,” Bruce tries.
“No! I love soup and cavatappi and—he’s ruining everything! He's such an idiot!” you rub your face, nuzzling your nose into the crevice between your joined hands.
Bruce examines you for another second before: “Oh.”
“What?” you snap, meeting amused brown. “What?”
“Nothing,” Bruce muses, but his lips are set in a careful smile, amusement poorly hidden. “Just that you finally learned his name.”
His thoughts are pathetically obvious in his tone, lips in a thin line and eyes crinkled.
“Don’t,” you warn. “Bruce Banner—”
“I didn't say anything.”
“Do not think what you’re thinking,” you demand. “He’s a player and a distraction and—”
“Okay.” Bruce has never been one to argue, but his one word answer makes you more frustrated than anything else he could’ve said.
You puff and gather your food, striding to your room with a glare at your best friend. 
For the first time since you met Bucky, you follow through on an excuse to miss the game. It’s not a majorly important one—although Bucky pouts when you tell him either way, insisting that he needs you there for good luck—but you still feel a strange ache at the bottom of your stomach when the game begins and you’re too far away to cheer for him.
The edges of your lips are downturned, brows pinched as you stare at your phone before you realize what you’re doing and snap your attention away.
Scoffing, you shake away thoughts about soccer and the memory of Bucky's sweet blue eyes when he’d teased you, a strange tone of real sadness beneath his playful jests.
You pause, lifting your hands from your computer to eye the time once again. Furtively scanning the work you’re nearly done with, you allow yourself the distraction and grab your phone, fingers dancing in anticipation when your lock screen is littered with icons of messaging apps.
You click Bucky’s name first, smiling softly as you read a quickly typed summary of the game he probably sent after the first half was over. He sounds hopeful and excited, like he always does when he talks abouts soccer, but he signs off with a mispelled reminder that he misses you and a red heart. You check Wanda and Bruce's messages next, your face falling when you learn the second half hadn’t gone as well.
Tugging your bottom lip between your teeth, you glance at your work again and then at the clock, taking a quick breath before you force yourself to write a quick conclusion you promise yourself you’ll revise when you get home.
The game is over by the time you arrive, easily finding a parking spot in the midst of everyone’s departure. You hear disappointed grumbling as you make your way inside the stadium and cringe, striding toward the locker room.
Your name in Bruce’s voice makes you pause, turning to meet his pulled, bushy eyebrows and pinched lips. “What’re you doing here?”
“I finished early,” you explain. “And you said the game wasn’t going great so I thought I'd come and make sure the team’s okay.”
Bruce's features morph into something like realization and then into his poor poker face, lips pursed so tightly they’re edged white. “Right. The team.”
“Uh huh.”
“Well, since it’s the whole team, I should let you know most of them are in the locker room moping, but Bucky wanted to leave early.” Bruce looks pointedly to the right.
“What? Why?”
Bruce shrugs. “I dunno. Maybe he said something about seeing you, but since you’re here for the team—”
“Shut up, Bruce.” You squint meanly at him, making him swallow a laugh as you spin around and continue on your path. 
You bump into Bucky when you turn a corner, familiar hands coming to rest on your arms distractedly before his eyes brighten in recognition. He says your name in surprise, shaking you gently as if to check that you’re real. His hair is damp from the quick shower he’d just taken, dark spots from water droplets around the collar of his gray shirt. He smells like soap and Bucky and it makes you a little dizzy.
“Hey, I heard about the game,” you say. “I wanted to check up on you.”
“Oh. I was just coming to see you. I told you that you were our lucky charm.” Bucky laughs but it’s not completely honest, his disappointment about the loss shining through.
You frown, unsure of what to do. Suddenly, you shove your hands into your coat pockets, pulling out a crinkled baggie in each one. “I brought you something.”
Bucky steps back, eyebrows furrowed as he notices what you’re holding. “Are those orange slices?”
Nervous now, you let your arms drop. “Yeah. I, uh—figured they’d maybe give you a boost and—” You cut yourself off, laughing awkwardly. “It was dumb.”
“My mom used to bring me orange slices after soccer practice,” Bucky mumbles.
You perk up. “Yeah. You told me about that and I thought maybe you’d like them.” The end of your sentence lilts like a question, answered by the quick movements of Bucky's fingers when he takes a baggie from you and pulls it open, taking a slice out to grin happily at it.
He dips his fingers in again and hands another to you, bumping his own small slice against yours. “Cheers.”
As soon as he bites into it, the juice from the fruit runs down his fingers, eyelids falling closed in a delighted hum. You barely realize the sap has streaked sticky orange down your arm, too.
He breathes out your name as he opens his eyes, a dazzling blue in the fluorescent lights of the locker room hall. “I forgot how…” He shakes his head, drifting off, and takes the other bag from you, pulling you to him. He sighs big and warm, rumbling through his chest.
You rub your nose against his sweatshirt, breathing in deeply. There's the fresh scent of citrus and then the lavender body wash you’d bought for him faint beneath his own distinct smell. He thanks you blithely, a lot lighter.
You shrug it off and force yourself to pull away, shivering at the loss even if you initiated it. “Do you want to get something to eat and watch that new episode of The Great British Bake-Off we missed last week?”
“Yeah,” Bucky agrees, hand drifting down to pull yours along. His skin is sticky and sweet against yours, orange juice smearing on your palm, but you can’t find it in you to care.
You feel sick when you step outside; a sticky, prickly rush that coats your throat in sap. It’s cold enough to make goosebumps rise on your skin, dark enough for the stars to drown in ink. Any appetite you had disappears, replaced with something clammier and painful, a twisting anxiety as a result of a bad day and a completely avoidable situation.
The bags with your food bump warmly against your knee, plastic handles pulling against the skin of your wrist. If you stay as you are, there will be indents of them once you finally put the bag down. 
Something like dumb, chest-puffed stubbornness tugs incessantly at you when you contemplate calling Bruce to come pick you up, a biting voice snapping pathetic for even thinking about it convincing you to shut the door behind you, locking away the choice of warmth and safety and shame.
It’s very silent when you begin to walk, the crinkling of your bag loud and in tandem with your steps. You let it slide down and hook on your fingers, carefully aware of shadows that might peek out behind yours and off-space footsteps.
Lonely fingers curl in on themselves, missing the comforting frigidity of the keys you’d forgotten at home. Your dying phone vibrates in the tight grip of your hand, spurring your steps faster. A dark lump appears on your shadow’s shoulder, and you freeze, spinning around violently to face the street, empty behind you.
You turn back around hesitantly, breath trembling. You could’ve sworn you felt someone else behind you.
Eyes rounded and wet, you begin to walk again, feeling an uncomfortable heat in the space where your ribs meet. Your required cognizance turns frantic, making your fingers shake and oxygen difficult to get into your lungs. There’s an echo to your footsteps. When you blink, there’s the ghost of an unforgiving hand on the back of your neck, the sharp slam of your jaw against brick. You gasp when you open your eyes again, a hand flying to the aching skin of your neck as you spin.
Your eyes promise that there’s no threat lurking behind darkness, but your mind blares with an assurance that there is. Ducking behind a wall, you scramble for your phone, cheeks cold with air-slapped tears as you press the call button for the first contact your fingers find.
Bucky’s voice is confused and comforting when he answers.
“I think—I think someone is following me,” you whimper, pulling your legs to your chest. Your food warms the side of your thigh. 
“What? Where are you?”
“I don’t know,” you cry. “I’m sorry, I should, it’s just—I was walking home from the restaurant and I heard something and I can’t concentrate, I can’t breathe—”
“Okay, it’s okay. Try to breathe, okay? Can you tell me what restaurant it was?”
You can picture the glowing sign, the faded wallpaper, the flowered curtains, but you can’t think, barrelling you deeper into panic. “I can’t remember—I—”
You can hear Bucky open his door. “Hey, it’s okay. Were you eating there or picking up to go?”
“To-go,” you answer tearfully, concentrating on the box pressing into your flesh.
“Okay. For you and Bruce or just you?”
“B-both of us.”
“You’re doing great, sweetheart. Try to take deep breaths, I think I—”
There’s a hollow click before it’s silent, the calm you’d been grasping at completely gone. “Bucky?” you plead. “Bucky?”
You pull your phone away from your ear, vision going blurry when you tap desperately at the screen and it doesn’t respond. Dead.
There’s a tremendous weight on your chest, your elbow knocking against the wall behind you with your attempts to draw in a breath. You shove your head in between your knees and try to remember Bucky’s voice, forget the cold fear that another clammy hand will reach for your hair and tug you up.
You need to get home. You can’t move.
You stifle your sobs with your leg, clawing at your shins and trying to think of anything else. You shove your hand in between your stomach and your legs, letting your phone fall to your thighs as the tips of your fingers reach the round hills of your collarbone. Your palm digs into your flesh until the beating of your heart pulses against your thumb, aching when you force it to stay put.
Thump, thump. “O-one,” you force, restraining your fingers from curling. Thump, thump. “Two.” A deep, shuddering breath that makes your mouth snap closed and your eyes flutter into darkness. Thump, thump. “Three…”
It’s how Bucky finds you, your nose deep between your knees, counting watery and muffled. He’s frantic when he sees you, panic like needles against his chest prickling to a pounding ache. He should be more cautious, stand still a few feet away for a few seconds, step slowly. If he were a little less in love, maybe he would; but he’s not, and the relief that you’re solid and no longer a tenuous voice on his phone is too much a relief.
He calls out your name and rushes forward, lowering himself down to his knees before he touches your arm. You flinch, shoving a strong hand against him, a horrible mix of anger and fear contorting your voice.
“It’s me. It’s Bucky.”
You still push yourself back against the wall, but your eyes finally meet his. “Bucky,” you test. “Bucky.”
It’s a silent, cold beat before you blink clearly, irises looking back a little less hazy. You murmur his name once more and promptly burst into tears, launching yourself into his chest. His arms wrap around you in tandem, pleasing the closeness your fisted fingers crave. He takes in your tears, steadily smoothing a hand over your back, desperation in the way he hooks his chin over the crown of your head.
“Are you okay?” he asks too soon.
You make a noise of which answer he can’t be sure of, so he gathers you up in his arms to push you away, only a little, only for a second to stare at you.
You grip at his shirt, cheeks shiny. And then, “I thought I was really gonna die this time.” Hearing your admittance causes a shift on your face, still crumpled and unready to deal with this. “Just for a second and—” Your lips twist to keep words back. 
Bucky pulls you back in.
“Will you take me home?”
His compliance is wordless and patient, hooking a finger through your takeout and grasping your hand with his free one, guiding you to his car. He helps you inside, setting the bag at your feet before he buckles your seatbelt and pushes strands of hair away from your sticky face.
Your breathing steadies while he drives, concentrating on the cool puffs of air hitting your collarbone, the lingering warmth from the food you’re suddenly starving for. But the wash of panic has left a shameful residue and a subsequent otiose apology on your tongue, making the once comforting silence expectant.
Your chest weighs when you finally spot your door, fighting to pull words from your mouth at the dimmed lights, but Bucky beats you to it, clearing his throat without unlocking the door. His left hand lays clothed on his lap, face stormed with uncertainty, but there’s a resolute edge that makes him look at you.
“I’m sorry,” you start, misunderstanding.
You aren’t sure, only certain of how guilty you feel. “For… bothering you. For making you comfort me. I’m sorry that you had to see me like that."
“Don’t apologize.” He clenches his jaw. “I don’t want you to…”
He shoves his sleeve up, taking a deep breath as he pinches the fingertips of the glove. “I know that wasn’t something you were ready to share with me. I understand, I…”
His gaze is heavy, flickering between your face and the fingers peeling away his glove. He swallows hard when it’s pulled off completely, looking away from the sight of his skin.
You can’t help the way your eyes track down his arm. It’s scarred with angry raised lines, ending at his fingertips and disappearing into his shirt sleeve. 
“I was in a fire once,” he says. “‘Got some scars too.”
“Is that why you wear—” You trail off at his nod. “Why are you… why are you telling me?” you ask, wincing at how the question sounds, but Bucky seems to understand what you mean.
He shrugs. “I don’t know,” he lies.
You blink at him, slipping a sure hand into his and squeezing. “Thank you.”
His eyes stay startled on your interlocked fingers, stubborn even beneath his gaze. He laughs hollowly then, squeezing back before he finally meets your eyes. “You, too.”
Your fingers are wound tightly around Wanda’s arm, the nails digging into her sweater giving away what your face is trying to hide. You’re zeroed in on Bucky's figure as he runs across green after blurry white.
The energy from the others who cheer in the stands makes you buzz, a rush of confidence urging you to jump to your feet when Bucky passes the ball to Pietro and then has it once again, close enough to the other team’s goal to make you clench a hand in anticipation.
With the flesh of your thumb between your teeth, you can’t help but lose your breath when it looks like Bucky's going to try to make it, only for it to be knocked out from your lungs when he crashes to the ground from the impact of another player.
Your mouth parts in a surprised o, tongue playing his name before you can stop it.
It's eerily silent in the stadium for a second as Bucky lies on the field, before it disappears into a fold of angry screams.
You’re not worried.
Bucky has never gotten hurt on the field before—”I’m too good,” he had promised you with an uneven grin, annoying in the way that he’s right—and the only times it’s seemed otherwise have been lies, a mere play he put on for the free kick. He had shaken his head disappointedly at you when you’d gotten worried, condemning you for not trusting him. He’s playful when he’s flustered.
So you’re not worried, because you know Bucky is fine.
Except he hasn’t moved in a little while too long and you don’t think it’s ever taken him this long to fake it. Although, maybe it feels longer because you can’t take your eyes off his figure.
You’re not worried.
Your fingers say otherwise, thumb tapping against your alternating fingers so frantically they get jumbled together, clumsily bumping into the crevices between them.
“Is he hurt?” Wanda asks.
“No,” you say automatically, stretching your fingers out like a starfish as if to rid evidence of your anxiety. “No, he’s fine.”
It's another moment that seems too long and the lines of Wanda’s worried face deepen, breaths a little faster. “He's not… he’s not getting up.”
“He’s fine,” you insist. “He has to milk it.” Glancing up at the timer, you nod definitively. “Yes, he has to milk it to get the penalty kick.”
“What?” Wanda asks, meeting your eyes in confusion.
“The hit didn’t seem that bad,” you lie unsteadily. “He has to milk it. He’s fine.”
Your panic escapes in the highs of your voice, something translucent hiding it when you clear your throat. He's still not getting up and it makes your breath comes out quickly. “He has to be,” you admit.
Wanda’s brows furrow, eyes searching your face once Bucky finally limps weakly to his feet, giving the ref a short nod. A sigh large enough to make you bend slips past your lips, caught in a relieved laugh as you gesture to him.
“I told you,” you tell her.
“He’s limping,” she points out.
“It’s fake,” you assure, fingers digging round shadows into your temples. “He’s doing his hero face, he’s completely fine.” It comes out more relieved than you thought it would.
He gets his penalty kick, makes it, of course, and it’s another few, a lot slower minutes before the game is over, but you’re making your way down thirty seconds before, too much attention on the game rather than your footing on the stairs.
You stumble over your feet, barely caring when the whistle blows to indicate the game is over, and turn in the direction of the hall to the locker room. Your anxiety nearly seems silly now, not as oppressive now that the soaked towel you’d been waterboarded with was dry. Yet, it still prickles at your fingertips, faint but enough to ache.
It's only a couple minutes before you can hear the pattering of feet, the stress that the outliers are Bucky, limping like he did on that field, nudging at your mind. The players wave at you, surprised, and your heart grows heavier and heavier with each passing team shirt that does not have “BARNES” on the back.
Then he’s there, completely fine and near the end of the line. He's grinning at the apparent win, letting Steve shove him proudly. His eyes widen in surprise when they catch sight of your own, saying something to his teammates without looking at them as he steps toward you.
“Hey, what’re you—”
Unable to help yourself, you throw your arms around his neck, the prickling disappearing the moment you touch him. He is hot and solid in your arms, but most importantly completely fine.
“Hey,” he coos, hugging you back.
You allow him a moment before you pull back abruptly and smack his arm.
“Ow!” he complains, grabbing your hand.
“You asshole! What’s up with the drama?”
“What, did I scare you?” Bucky teases, smirk dropping when your deadpan doesn’t glitter with playfulness. “Doll?”
“You took your sweet time getting back up,” you continue, ignoring his words. “You’ve never taken that long.” You’re alone in the hall now, eyes frenetic over his figure.
He softens then, chin pulling closer to his neck so his eyes can give you a reassuring smile. “Hey,” he says softly, tapping your wrist with his index, “‘m fine.”
“I know,” you contend, but it comes out a little relieved at hearing it in his voice. “I told Wanda that.”
His cheeks apple at your statement, amusement twinkling back in his eyes. “Of course. My girl knows I can't get hurt.”
You scoff at the term of endearment, nervous energy dissolving. “I'm not your girl.”
“Not yet!” he proclaims.
You wrinkle your nose, stepping away from him. “You stink. Go shower.” You pat his shoulder as a goodbye, beginning to head back out.
“Sure know how to charm a guy,” he mumbles, watching you walk away with a dopey smile.
You’re in your room, laying on your stomach with your computer in front of you and a drink Bucky had bought for you sitting on your bedside table.
He's sitting against your bed, scanning over a document. You should be doing something like it, but you can’t help but be distracted. He's quiet for once, features set in something not playful and not serious, a small knot between his brows indicating his concentration.
He looks pretty. You can’t be blamed.
If he notices your gaze, he’s kind enough to not point it out, although it’s unlikely. It’s undoubtedly heavy.
He’s staring down at his hand when he speaks up for what seems like the first time since hes arrived. His fingers dance nervously before he shoves them away from his view, edges of thick tissue peeking out as a bracelet on his wrist. “Do I make you uncomfortable when I flirt?”
You blink owlishly at him, unsure how to answer. He sounds so serious, guilty. “No.”
“If it makes you uncomfortable, I'll stop.”
“I know you would. But it doesn’t. Is something wrong?”
Bucky cringes. “You don’t really flirt back. I just want to make sure it’s not because I make you uncomfortable.”
“You don’t! I just… don’t really flirt. I don’t really think there’s a point if I’m not dating.”
“You don’t date?” He’s known this. To a point, which he thinks is not completely accurate now that he hears the way you say it.
“Not even guys you like?”
“Especially guys I like, ” you clarify, cringing with the difficulty of putting so many feelings into so insignificant words. “Things get messy. It’s just… distractions and it’s never worth it.”
“You think love isn’t worth it? That it’s a distraction?”
You shoot him a look, huffing a little disappointedly, as if you’d expected him to understand something and he didn’t. “Why do people always twist my words into something so cynical?
I didn’t say that. Not love. I never said love, I just—it never ends well. It’s always something you pour so much into and get so little back.”
Bukcy shifts. “That’s not true. A relationship is fair, or at least, it’s supposed to be.”
“Ah, but see, ‘supposed to be’ and ‘is’ are two different things. I’d rather just skip the entire thing.”
Bucky frowns. “I don’t think you should.”
“You don’t think I should?”
“I don’t… I’m not telling you what to do, but I really think you should try. Love can be really great. And you deserve that.”
Your nails pinch at your fingers. “But what if it isn’t?”
“Then it isn’t.” You move to rebut, but Bucky continues. “But what if it is?”
You refuse to answer, chewing on your bottom lip.
Bucky gazes at you, waiting for a response before he realizes he won’t get one. He doesn’t push, turning back to his work.
“Why do you care so much?” you ask.
He sucks in a breath before admitting, “Mainly because I think you would really enjoy being loved. And very partially because I’m selfish.”
You hum. “You’re a really good guy, Bucky.”
“I try.”
You scowl lightly. “Incorrigible. Annoying. But really good.”
Bucky laughs. “Don’t forget—what was it you said about me? Charming? Sweet? Hand-to-heart hilarious?”
You launch a pillow at his head. “Nuisance is what I should’ve said.”
“Mm, a little contradictory but what’s life without some juxtaposition? Maybe I’m a man of many talents.”
The tip of your index finger shoves into his arm.
You fall into a peaceful silence once again when the laughter dissolves, your fingers busy away at your keyboard. There's a moment where you’re thinking, staring intently just past your computer and Bucky is staring at you, a thoughtful expression on his face, stony and all.
“Will you?”
It takes you a second to realize he’s talking to you. “Will I what?”
“Give it a chance.”
You want a moment to ponder it, because you know the right answer but you aren’t sure if you want to pick it. “Give what a chance?” you play dumb, but he doesn’t buy it.
You look to your side, unfocused eyes lazy on an ugly painting.
“Yeah, maybe.” You want to tell him it depends who it is, that you have very strict rules mentioning annoying brunets with blue eyes who walk you home from the library and never shut up, but you don’t, eyes travelling back to him slowly. His silence when they finally meet his own tell you he knows anyway.
Quickly looking back down, you avoid his gaze and continue to work.
You melt into his side, delightfully prickling when you lean in a little closer to take a sip of your drink. Eyes shimmering in the lame lights of the bar, you’ve never looked so openly bright, hardly containing your delight and everything you can spilling past anyway.
There are enough people in the place for it to feel rightfully uncomfortable, sweat-sticky skin bumping into the arm he has around your chair and making the heat rise, but Bucky can’t seem to notice.
It would feel plain ignorant to do so—to not focus completely on the stitched pride in the dips of your smile or the warmth of your palms as they splay flat on his arm.
It’s not enough to just have your fingers tug at him during conversations with strangers, he feels he should imprint the feeling of your touch like a branding.
You say his name in conversation, cruelly dragging your hand down to bracelet around his wrist and squeezing. You make a little shimmy with your shoulders that can’t help but make him laugh. He zeroes in on your lips, trying to make sense of what you’re saying.
You’re cute. You’re too sweet to be in this stuffy bar with him.
You turn to him brightly in the midst of another exclamation and he feels himself transported.
He can feel the end buzzer vibrating up to his fingertips, the breeze on the heat of his skin when he’d looked up, eyes searching for you like a habit. 
Your features are shrunken into the memory, suddenly far away but still pulled into the biggest beam you could muster, hands clapping ecstatically.
“Bucky,” memory-you says liltingly, too clearly.
When he blinks, he’s back in the present, the tip of your index dimpling his bicep, your face close enough for him to count each individual eyelash. He grins without really thinking about it. “Bucky,” you repeat, a little harsher but still teasing.
“Yeah?” he responds finally.
“We’re complimenting you and you aren’t paying attention? Are you feeling okay?” you frown, lips downturned but the edges of your eyes still crinkled with happy lines. The back of your hand meets his forehead.
“Fantastic,” he says, his left hand vining up to hook around your fingers and lay them on his lap. “Just won a game, didn’t you hear? All by myself, too.”
You shake your head at him, turning back to who Bucky realizes is one of your friends. Carol, you’d said.
“See?” You say accusatorily. 
Carol grins. “Yeah. Kind of hard not to when you describe it so thoroughly.”
That catches Bucky’s fluttering attention, an eyebrow shooting up questioningly in your direction. Your lips part in betrayal at Carol, and you begin to take your hand back from Bucky, but he hooks your wrist before you can. 
“I think Maria is calling you,” you tell her. “You should go see what that’s about.”
“Now, now,” Bucky starts. “Actually, I think I want to know how thoroughly you talk about me, sweeheart.”
“That's my cue,” Carol laughs, dipping a beer at you both. “I'll see you guys later. Congrats on the game.”
She bounces to her feet and takes off, leaving the two of you alone. Bucky nudges a finger in between your ribs, making you jump and swat at him. “Hey!”
“You talk about me to your friends?”
You stare at him, bottom lip pushing out defensively in your tipsiness. “Well, the star football player is one of my best friends, shouldn’t I be allowed to brag?”
“Best friend, huh? Bruce gonna be jealous?”
You wave him off, making a small, stubborn sound. “He ought to get over it with how much he ditches me.”
“See, I would never.” Bucky presses his free hand to his heart in oath. “Star football players are very reliable. Scoring goals, keeping plans, etcetera.”
You grin at the reminder, something sparkling beneath your skin like static, jolting your fingers when it begins to brim. You splay an excited palm on his shoulder out of pure excitement, seeming to relive the night.
“I am so proud of you,” you say. Saccharine, words stout with a smile and pride. “You did so well today.”
You’re startlingly genuine, entirely proud. Bucky can’t bring himself to tease or flirt.
“Thank you.”
You smile prettily, the light in your irises shifting at his authenticity. “I am,” you insist.
You just want to tell him, for him to hear you and understand how much you mean it. Your pupils flicker to a spot above his shoulder, distant for a second as your face brightens more. You laugh disbelievingly.
“I don't know all that much about football but from what I do, you’re certifiably extraordinary.” You sound out the word, unwilling to mess it up when you mean it so much. You try again. “You made a really great play.”
“Impossible,” Bucky corrects completely unsubtly, but it’s soft, blurred by yellow light from above and buzz from you.
You observe him for a second. “I think you’re amazing,” you say thoughtfully, not in an effort to compliment but in a sort of realization. “What… type of person…” you start but don’t continue, tongue unable to keep up with everything running through your mind. The walks home, the paid lunches, the attention, the ability. 
You inhale sharply, as if realizing you’re drifting off and trying to pull yourself back in.
Bucky knows what you expect—what he expects of himself—but he can’t bring himself to tease you, reiterate your words with an artful curve of his lips. He can’t concentrate enough to ignore the prickly warmth at the bottom of his stomach. He glances down at his watch.
“Should we go?” he says instead, casual but urgent. “It's late.”
He stands before you can process his offer, still a little drunk from stolen sips but only enough to make contrasts lighter. You blink up at him from your seat for a second before nodding, two short, stressed lines between your brows. He shouldn’t have been so abrupt.
Kinder, he helps you from your seat and guides you toward the door, keeping you away from stray elbows with benevolent redirection.
Your breath curls visibly in the air when you step outside, white and dissolving until it is replaced by another, longer exhale. You wrap your arms around your torso.
“C'mon,” he urges, guiding you to his car. “Let’s get you warm.”
“Should you be driving?” you ask as he searches his pockets for the keys, standing at the car door, watching him. “And what about the others?”
“Didn’t drink,” he answers, patting his coat pockets until he finds what he’s looking for.
You frown, slowly running through the night and realizing he’s right, recalling the sparkling water dripping moisture next to his jacket sleeve. The cold and the ennui knock a lot into focus.
He clicks open the car. “And this’ll force ‘em to call an uber. Worst comes to worst, I’ll drop by later to force them home. I just want to get you home first. No drunk footballers to puke on your feet.”
He rounds around to meet you, opening the door, and waiting patiently.
“Why didn’t you drink?” you ask. You’ve seen him drink before, tipsy in that breezy way where he’s a little flirtier with a little less filter. “You won a game. If you ever deserved it, it’s now.”
“I had to be able to drive you back.” He shrugs, cocking his head in the direction of the open car door. “Speak of the devil,” he starts pointedly, reminding you of your frigidity.
Still contemplating, you climb inside with furrowed brows, following Bucky's figure as he shuts your door, jogs back to his side, and settles into the driver’s seat. Rubbing his hands together, he turns to look at you. 
“You okay?” he asks.
“Uh huh.”
He clicks his tongue. “Look at that. I think you’re a little drunker than I thought.”
“I am not,” you argue, looking down at yourself and seeing nothing wrong until Bucky reaches over to pull your seatbelt over you. “Oh.”
Bucky breathes out a little laugh, amused.
“I'm just…” You contemplate for a second, sinking into the rumbling of the engine when Bucky turns the car on. Immediately, heat slaps your nose. The glass meets your temple bitingly, jolting your sentence back on track. You turn to see Bucky's attention already on you. “Happy.”
“You’re happy?” Bucky repeats pleasantly, shifting the gear into drive.
“Yes. It was a good day today.” 
You feel clearer now, the edges of reality crisper as you look out the window. “I know I already said it, but I'm really proud, Bucky. You win games and ace tests and don’t celebrate with a drink to drive me home. You’re kind of great.”
“Yeah?” he murmurs, glancing at you.
You hum an affirmation, inhaling deeply. At some point, Your few-sip buzz dissipated into something different.
Sober, but influenced on the darkness of the sky and the roundness of the moon. It feels safe suddenly, a rush of energy jolting you straight. You stare at Bucky's profile. “Yeah,” you confirm clearly. “It's kind of disappointing, you know.”
Bucky is caught off guard, sparing you a look when he stops at a stoplight. “What?”
“I just thought you’d be different.”
“How?” His brows are furrowed.
You take a moment to ponder. “Not so… you. More of the unforgivably arrogant and ignorant jock variety.”
“So you were expecting me to be one of those cartoon stereotypes?” he teases, looking back at the road with an easier smile.
“Kind of,” you laugh. “But you’re not and that’s really great.”
The red light from outside drapes over his features, pulled as he searches the crevices of your face. In response, it slackens slowly, from thoughtful to a little dazed as you stare back. Without meaning to, you’re leaning in at the same time he is.
His skin flips green.
You fall away from him with a surprised exhale, blinking in confusion.
It takes a second for Bucky to look away after you have, and you consider yourself lucky there’s no one else on the road during the long moment it takes for his attention to switch back to driving.
He doesn’t want to just forget what happened. He doesn’t want to move on from this yet. “What does that mean?” he asks, your compliment playing on repeat in his mind.
You stay silent, trying to figure it out yourself. “I don't… I don’t know.”
He tries to remain unbothered, glancing at you once more to catch your focus unmovingly on him. He pulls into your driveway and turns off the car.
“What about going on a date with me?” he requests, a little more serious that usual but glazed in his usual tone. Unbuckling his seatbelt, he continues.  “I'll dress up in that shade of blue you think I look so good in and we’ll go out to eat at that little hole-in-the-wall restaurant I'm still impressed you found. You’ll order that same thing you always do, and we can talk about that novel you’re reading—”
He doesn’t wait for the answer you’ve given before, stepping out of the car and striding over to your side.
You gaze up at him when he opens your door, your buckle unclasped in your hand. He's kind as he always is as he helps you out, hands settling on your shoulders to steady you when you nearly trip over a ridge in the sidewalk.
“Or… or we could go take a walk around the park. Or go to the movies, or the amusement park, or do laundry or taxes or—anything as long as it’s with you.”
And maybe it’s the easy smile, with the glitter of gold pride still sewn into his lips, or the genuine kindness he’s never failed to show you under the mask of the moon. Maybe it’s the proximity. Maybe you just can’t help yourself anymore. You kiss him.
He’s frozen for a solid moment, thick enough for you to start doubting yourself, beginning to pull away when he finally reacts, practically melting into you as his hands frantically pull you closer.
He pulls away hesitantly, torturously, a second later, eyes scrutinizing. “Wait, wait, wait, are you drunk?”
You shake your head, laughing gently at the thumb that pulls gently at the skin beneath your eye to make sure, urgently tugging you back into the kiss when he’s satisfied.
“‘Had to make sure,” he mumbles against your lips. “This can’t happen when you aren’t you.”
“It’s me,” you promise, pulling back. Before you can delve into your mind too deeply, you nod suddenly. “Yeah, okay.”
“Yeah, okay what?” he repeats, chasing after you to kiss you a few more times.
“I'll go out with you.”
His smile drops, fingers tightening around your hips. “Wait, really?”
You nod. “Yeah.” You grasp his arms tightly. “I should at least try, right?”ey
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promptful · 2 months
Best Friends to Lovers Things:
big boi.
WARNINGS: Mentioned death.
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Seeing them in a different way after a long time apart. 
Lingering looks.
Bed sharing, but only platonically. (Regretfully). 
Inside jokes. 
Late night [texts] 
Smiles that hurt. 
Always being each other’s +1 to any event. 
Forced proximity, that wouldn’t be such a problem if things weren’t changing between the two of you. 
Home cooked meals, made special by the other. 
Walking each other home from work. 
Falling asleep on the couch, intertwined. 
Fake-dating; either because you have to, (friends, family, a wedding, job) or because you two made an agreement when you were younger to get married. 
Having to vet the other’s SOs. 
Soft touches. A brush on the shoulder, across the waist, through the hair. 
Everyone knowing that, oh, it’s those two. 
People asking where’s the other if only one is present. 
Minted keys to each other’s apartment. 
^ (Bonus if it’s the only copy). 
Sleepovers because you're sick and they don’t want to leave.
Their parents always asking how you’re doing, and yours asking about them. 
Bets on your relationship. 
That kind of laughter that ends up like squeaking because you can’t hold it in anymore. 
Confessing your love in the worst ways. (In the middle of an argument, while in danger, in a drunken stupor, simply because you’re tired.) 
Using them as a seat, because that’s what you’re used to. 
Slow dancing. Totally platonic. 
Prom with one another. 
Spending sad anniversaries on the couch with buckets of chocolate, their arms curled around your shoulders. 
They only trust you with their problems. 
And you only have them to cry on. 
“Goodnight” and “Goodmorning” texts. 
“Did you get home safe?” texts. 
“If anything ever happens to you, call me.” 
Self-sacrificing behavior because neither of you can live without the other. 
Chiding the other while patching them up, inches away from their lips. 
When they throw themselves into danger, you’re there to pull them out. 
“Can’t sleep, come over?” 
Movie marathons. 
Hiding each other whenever you’re not supposed to be in their room, giggling.
“I can’t imagine being with anyone but you.” 
Petty jealousy. 
“Where are you?” 
Always sitting by each other in [school]. 
Fixing each other’s clothing; ESPECIALLY tying their ties, fingers brushing against their sternum. 
“I’ve wanted this forever.” 
Them being the only person who notices the small changes you make to either your appearance or house. 
Emergency contacts. 
Sleep-deprived nights because the other’s in the hospital. 
Platonic love proclamations, until they're not. 
An accidental kiss to the cheek that leaves both of you stunned. 
“I can’t keep going without telling you how I feel.” 
That awkward phase after you start dating where everything is new and you really don’t want to mess it up. 
“It’s just me.” 
The whole exaggeration about their dating. (E;g, we’ve been dating since I’ve known them.) 
“I didn’t know you loved me.” “I didn’t know you loved me.” 
Semi-protective behavior. 
Knuckle kisses that get progressively longer. 
Dreams shared in the darkness.
Working together—which means no productivity, basically. 
Playful arguments. 
Being able to resolve actual arguments because they both value the friendship too much.
“Take the bed.” “Not without you.” 
Stargazing, your head on their shoulder. 
Being there when things go bad with each other’s families. 
The “do you want to talk?” with pinched eyebrows. 
Knowing the exact shade of each other’s eyes from memory. 
Coffee trips in the middle of the day. 
Dropped off lunches. 
Random midnight snack runs. 
Nighttime road trips. 
A shared music taste and a bass that rocks the car, windows down. 
“Don’t replace me… please. I can’t lose you, too.” 
Straight-faced covering for them, even while they sneak out the backdoor behind you. 
Mutual shenanigans despite the consequences of said shenanigans. 
“Hey, what if we—” “No.” 
That first kiss that’s a tentative touch, then turns into a fervorous kiss, hands on shoulders, jaws, cheeks, squeezing their sides. 
Wanting to take their relationship slow. 
Each milestone meaning more than the last. 
Soft singing to put one another to sleep—perhaps a song that they’ve sang since childhood. 
Being ready to drop everything to go help them no matter what. 
Smiling when thinking about them [and being called out on it]. 
Objects that you have to get for them.
Board Game competition. 
Zipping up their dress, or tying their tie and fixing their cufflinks. 
Secret languages. 
“What are we?” “What do you want us to be?” 
Standing in front of them on the [train]. 
Memories that you can’t forget. 
Growing old with one another. 
Kids who they can’t decide which looks like who. 
The most outlandish anniversaries you can think of. 
“Happy That Time We Almost Died For the Second Time!” 
Communicating through simple expressions. 
And finally, the ability to trust utmost in one another. 
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pendarling · 3 months
٭⊹¤.•⨳•.*☆✬٭⊹¤.•⨳•.*☆✬ 𝙎𝙢𝙪𝙩 𝙎𝙘𝙚𝙣𝙖𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝘿𝙞𝙖𝙡𝙤𝙜𝙪𝙚𝙨 ✬☆*.•⨳•.¤⊹٭
Kissing them so hard that it leaves their knees weak and their body is pressed up against them as their lover struggles to keep their lips on at all times.
One character giving the cold shoulder and the other smirking at them because they know they’re doing this for attention.
“I love it when you act all controlling like that knowing damn well I can leave you shaking under me.”
Character B telling Character A how badly they want to press their face into their pillow and make them scream as the other is trying to work.
Eye-fucking them all day, making Character A nervous and a blushing mess who can’t properly function.
“I haven’t even touched you yet, why are you falling apart so easily?”
Hungerily ripping apart their clothes and biting their neck and thighs as soon as they’re alone.
Purposely turning them on and edging them but never letting them get too stimulated. Watching them desperately trying to hold themselves together for the rest of the day.
Both characters trying to make each other moan and the first one to do it must carry out a favour.
Turning them from a haughty prick to a clingy mess who keeps grinding onto them for more.
Crying from too much pleasure and the other wiping their tears away. “Aww is baby crying? There there, that feels good doesn’t it?”
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