Counting Breaths (Bucky Barnes x Reader)
Prompt: “Could you do a Bucky x reader where she has powers that could level the whole tower and he is the only one that can calm her down?”
You could feel it coming on before it actually hit you - a rising panic that started in your abdomen, clawing its way up your chest until it wrapped around your windpipe, sending your breathing pattern into hysterics.
It wasn’t often that you had panic attacks; in fact, ever since you’d gotten close to Bucky Barnes, they’d kept their distance. There was just something about the Winter Soldier that you empathized with; you saw the hurt that constantly lingered in the back of his eyes, and you could tell that he hated the way people feared him. Even though he’d let Steve bring him to live in the tower, Tony still treated him as if he were a loaded gun pointed at his head, ready to strike a killing blow any second. Natasha and Clint were weary of him, and most people felt sorry for the torture he’d endured, so they didn’t really know how to talk to him.
Like how they treated you. Everyone liked you and thought of you as one of their own, but they knew you were dangerous. They couldn’t really ever forget it, and so there was always an edge of weariness when they spoke with you. You’d had powers since you were born, you see - powers that caused the earth to tremble and bend in anyway you wanted it to. Most of the time, you used it to help with the rebuilding projects that were still going on ever since Loki’s attack on New York, moving piles of rubble and stone away from plots of land, sometimes travelling to disaster areas after an earthquake or tsunami to help dig people out of the destruction.
Other times, though, it wasn’t so easy to control. And these times usually happened during one of your infamous panic attacks.
Even now, as you crouched down where you stood in one of the living rooms on the residential floor of the tower, you could feel the ground slightly trembling, knowing that it must be worse on the lower levels of the tower. Clutching your knees to your chest, you tried to recall the breathing exercises you’d taught yourself, but it was all flying out of your head as you focussed on trying to breathe and fighting the anxiety crippling and crushing you.
You didn’t know how long you sat like that until you felt something cool and metallic take your hand, but when you finally did look up, you saw Bucky crouching down in front of you, a soft, small, worried smile perched on his lips.
“Hey, kid,” he whispered, placing his flesh hand against your cheek, not caring when it got wet from the tears you hadn’t known you’d been shedding. “You don’t look so good. You having another episode?”
A broken sob parted your lips, and all you could do was nod and lean into his touch, indicating you wanted physical comfort.
“Ok, doll,” he sighed, suddenly picking you up and carrying you to the sofa. He sat down with you in his lap and slowly, gently started to rock the two of you back and forth, shushing you softly below his breath, lips moving against your hair.
“It’s all ok, hon,” he sighed, not even looking up when Tony and Bruce came running into the room to investigate what was causing the tower to vibrate like that. “I’m here, and I’m gonna take care of you, ok? Just focus on my breathing.”
Bucky took one of your smaller hands in his and pressed it to his chest, taking deep, exaggerated breaths.
“Just like that, see? If an old man like me can do it, so can you,” he smiled, and you tried your best to breathe like he was, eventually matching his rhythm and starting to feel the coil around your chest slowly start to unwind. Before you knew it, the building stopped its trembling, leaving you feeling exhausted.
Leaning your head against Bucky’s shoulder, you let your eyes close as he stopped rocking you, and then soft lips that you’d thought about too many times were pressed gently to your forehead.
“There’s my best girl,” he grinned, a soft, adoring look in his eyes as he looked down at you. “Feeling a little better?”
“Yes,” you whispered, trying to give him a smile in return.
“That’s great, (Y/N),” he murmured back. “Now. I’m gonna lay you on this couch and get you some water, ok? And when we come back you can tell me what brought all that on. Deal?”
With that, he laid you down against the soft cushions and pushed himself to his feet, not even glancing towards Tony and Bruce as he went through the motions of getting you water.
When he had it ready for you, he started back to the living room, opening his mouth to say something before the words died on his tongue upon seeing what was in front of him.
There you were, curled up into a ball on the couch, eyes closed in a deep and much-needed sleep. Once more, that quiet, soft smile came to his mouth, and he sat the glass on the end table by your head, stooping down to peck your forehead one more time.
“God, I love you,” he whispered, saying it now as you slept. He’d never had the courage to tell you, but now, as he watched you in such a peaceful, vulnerable state, he knew it was the truth. What he didn’t know, however, was that you were just awake enough to smile at his words, mumbling under your breath before finally surrendering to slumber.
“I love you too, Bucky.”