Summary: Steve didn’t know what he had, until it slipped away from him, right into Bucky’s arms.
Peggy’s death hit him hard. It was one of those moments where it hits him right in his face; the ugly truth that even though he was this high and mighty super soldier, he could not stop all deaths. Some just slip right through his grasp.
But there she was, standing beside him, her small but comforting hand atop of his. She was Steve’s best friend. A tiny girl with a heart big enough to accept all his flaws, staying by him no matter what.
A year after Peggy’s passing, Steve began to move on. He started to loosen up when someone introduced him to a lady, he started to give small smiles and could even muster some harmless flirting here and there.
But there she was, still standing by him, a small, pained smile hung on her lips. Eyes downcast, as she heaved yet another sigh. She’ll never be on the receiving end of Steve’s flirting or his lingering gaze. She’ll always just be his “best doll”.
“(Y/N)!” he called out as he walked into the kitchen, wearing a pair of dark navy sweatpants, white shirt clinging onto him, damp with perspiration.
She was preparing his breakfast as he was walking in. She knew by heart what time his finished his morning jog, how he preferred his eggs on his toast, how he drank his coffee; all these little bits and pieces of information she picked up only served to make her love for him grow.
Burying those thoughts to the back of her mind, she turned to face him, both their breakfasts in hand, she gave him a smile and said, “Morning Cap. Breakfast?”
He circled over to grab the plates from her and replied with a chuckle, “You really are my best girl, doll.”
The duo settled into a comfortable silence until Steve looked up and said “So… I met this girl…”, voice laced with a bit of embarrassment with matching flushed cheeks.
Hearing those words, she felt a hard tug at her heart and the breakfast she was eating suddenly tasted like cardboard. She swallowed her food, tried to push her tears back and gave him the same pained smile on her lips as she whispered “That’s great Steve! I’m… I’m sure she’s amazing.”
Three months passed after the breakfast conversation, Steve and his girlfriendare cuddled on the cozy couch in the compound’s entertainment room as a movie played in the background. (Y/N) walked into the room, took in the sight and hastily turned back to the corridor leading to her bedroom.
Tears of frustration started pooling in her eyes, her eyebrows furrowed and her footsteps heavy. In the haze of her anger, she didn’t notice the figure coming out from the gym. The figure had his eyes trained on her back, a sense of longing seeping through as he sees her turn into the comfort of her room.
Bucky was mostly a quiet soul. Partly from his assassin training, partly because he didn’t know how to fit into a group that used to hate his guts. Most of the Avengers were more than okay with leaving him to his privacy, all of them but (Y/N).
When Steve finally found Bucky, cleared up all the Civil War mess and brought him back to the compound, Bucky couldn’t bring himself to look at anyone in the eye, let alone speak to them. Most of the S.H.I.E.L.D agents were wary of him, and the Avengers left him on his own and pretended he didn’t exist.
(Y/N), though, understood his need for silence. But she also never let him forgot he belonged. She started making an extra big serving of breakfast for him when she prepared hers and Steve’s. She also made sure to include old 40’s films when it was her turn to pick for movie night. She knew Bucky wouldn’t join them, but she tried anyway. She just wanted him to know someone cared.
Another three months has passed, Steve was still with the pretty S.H.I.E.L.D agent. This was the longest relationship he’s had since he came out of ice. (Y/N) and Bucky’s friendship has also blossomed into something neither of them expected. They found solace in each other’s silence and comfort in each other’s gaze.
“(Y/N)! (Y/N)? Doll? You here?” Bucky called out, hesitantly pushing her bedroom door open.
(Y/N) was huddled in her thick blanket, sniffles could be heard coming from under.
Hearing that, Bucky hastily closed the door and settled himself on her bed as he quietly wrapped a strong arm over the lump of her covered in the blanket. They stayed in the position in silence for a good long while until (Y/N) poked her head out from under, her face red from sobbing.
She took a few deep breaths and gave the worried soldier a shaky smile.
“I’m okay. I’m sorry I scared you,” she said, her voice hoarse.
Bucky circled his arm around her waist and hoisted her over to him, placing the girl in between his legs. She leaned back into him and snuggled into his warm form.
“Doll? Will you… will you tell me what’s wrong? I’m worried for you. This is the third time I’ve found you like this in the past month.” he whispered as he placed his stubbled chin on her head.
After a short moment of silence, she let out a resigned sigh and closed her eyes. “It’s… it’s Steve,” she said, her voice small and shaky.
“He’s canceled six times on me in half a year. We were supposed to go for the WWII exhibition in town today, but he’s gone with his girlfriend instead,” she said.
Letting out a self-depreciating smile, she continued on, “I mean, it sounds kind of petty doesn’t it? Forget what I said, I’m just a little on edge recently.”.
Bucky’s arms tightened around her waist, wanting to provide her with any amount of comfort, no matter how little.
“Hey, doll… Do you want to go for the exhibition with me tomorrow? I’d have you know I was a respectable sergeant of that time!” Bucky asked, chuckling into her shoulder.
From that day on, Bucky and (Y/N) not only found solace and comfort in each other, they found a sense of belonging, a load of fun and laughter as they spent most of their waking time with one another.
The two were enjoying breakfast over playful banter as Steve walked into the kitchen. He furrowed at the sight, a slight pang of anger hitting him as he sees Bucky wiping a spot off the corner of (Y/N) mouth.
“Morning,” Steve mumbled out as he took his seat next to (Y/N). The flash of surprise on the two’s faces did not escape Steve’s eyes as his annoyance bubbled seeing the coordinated expression on his two friends’ faces.
“Hey, Steve! I didn’t know you’re joining us for breakfast! I’ll go prepare yours now. Just give me a moment alright!” (Y/N) said, hopping off her chair.
“Doll, let me help. I’m almost done with breakfast.” Bucky offered, following her.
Steve’s frown deepened at the nickname Bucky called his best friend.
“You’re usually having breakfast with Jeanette at this time, aren’t you? Where’s she? Should I prepare hers as well?” (Y/N) asked, rummaging through the fridge.
“No. She’s off for a spa appointment with her friends. Again.” Steve grumbled, eye still not leaving the pair standing side by side preparing his breakfast.
It took a whole month till Steve realized what was wrong. Why his heart clenched as he saw Bucky and (Y/N) together doing some mundane day to day activity. He didn’t want Bucky to be the one standing next to (Y/N), he didn’t want Bucky to be the one helping her grab the plates from the highest shelves, he didn’t want her to be wearing Bucky’s shirts, he didn’t want Bucky to be who she screamed for when she spots a spider in her room. He wants it to be him. Steve Rogers.
But as he looked over at her, a huge smile hung on her face, her tiny body engulfed in Bucky’s gray sweater, her hair splayed over his chest, giggling as Bucky whispered something in her ears, he realized, all he could do was wish.
There was once he thought even as a super soldier he couldn’t control what slipped through his grasp. And that hurt. Now, knowing that he let something so precious slip through his grasp, something his efforts could have helped salvage, his heart felt like it broke into a million pieces over and over again.
He let the best thing he had slip right through his grasp.
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