Heart on My Sleeve
Summary: Bucky feels ready for his first tattoo. Only problem is, he’s not sure what to get. Until he gets unexpected help from his four year old daughter.
Characters/Relationships: Bucky x reader; Daddy!Bucky; Bucky x OC
Warnings: None, except perhaps my shit writing.
And I guess by writing this, I officially come out of the shadows. Yes Delilah, I am your 💎, your diamond anon lol. Hi!
Heart on My Sleeve
For several months now, you were hearing Bucky’s incessant musings on the subject of tattoos. They weren’t as common in his era as they are now. Back then, soldiers used them more as identifiers instead of the general population. But now, Bucky couldn’t walk down the street without bumping into someone who had some kind of ink etched on their skin.
And if he was being entirely honest with himself, you were a big reason that inspired his decision. The first time you two slept together was the first time he had seen your tattoo. Moments in between your passionate lovemaking, he’d trace his finger, both flesh and metal, along the ink on your upper thigh, utterly hypnotized by the simple swirl.
“Why a swirl?” He asked.
“It’s stupid,” you sheepishly admitted.
“Come on doll, tell me,” Bucky insisted.
And so, you divulged to Bucky your vulnerability. You explained to him how the tattoo was actually covering an array of overlapping scars from years of cutting yourself. He knew about your longstanding battle with crippling depression. But what he didn’t know was that you used to indulge in self harm.
Right around the time that you started getting better was the time you fell in love with the Harry Potter series. And you had heard in interviews with JK Rowling that she had based the dementors in the third book off her own battle with depression. Malevolent creatures that sucked the happiness out of your very soul could be destroyed with the power of a happy memory. But by no means did that mean it’d be easy. The charm that repelled dementors required great concentration. “I mean, how could it not? Your very soul is being sucked out of you, you’re wishing for death, and you’re supposed to think of something that makes you happy?” you told Bucky. But there was something about that message that resonated deeply with you. That there’s this simplicity in believing that if you were happy once before, why couldn’t that be hope enough that you could be happy again.
“But why the swirl?” Bucky asked. You laughed and explained that it’s believed by Harry Potter fans that each spell has its own hand movement along with its incantation. The swirl was supposedly the hand movement, nothing confirmed but enough to convince you, you explained. “So, there you go!” you laughed. Now whenever your depression threatened to get the best of you, reducing you to the urges to self harm again, you simply traced your finger along the swirl of your tattoo and reminded yourself that there were happy memories in your life worth holding on to, and many more happy memories to come.
“It’s a way of looking toward my future while honoring my painful past. There’s beauty in seeing how far you’ve come. I guess I’ve come to accept that maybe I’m not supposed to forget what happened to me but having strength in not letting it define me. It’s made me who I am today.”
After hearing that story, how could Bucky possibly come up with his own idea for a tattoo? He didn’t want any dime a dozen tattoo after hearing your story. He wanted his tattoo to mean something as well.
Grabbing a beer from the fridge, Bucky sauntered over to the couch and settled in. He took out a legal pad and began scribbling his ideas. The date he met you? The date you both told each other ‘I love you’ for the first time? Your name written in Romanian? After all, he did meet you in Bucharest when Steve finally found him during that mess with the Accords. Maybe the coordinates of Coney Island, the place he and Steve spent so much of their youth at when they were just kids in Brooklyn and before everything in their lives turned so damn complicated? The date he asked you to marry him and you said yes? The date you found out you were pregnant?
Technically they were all great possible ideas, but none of them resonated with him. He loved every single one of those moments with you, and with Steve. But when he heard your choice of word ‘resonate’, it just put all the more pressure on him. He was just about to give up for the afternoon when he heard the faint sound of the door unlocking. Tossing a glance over at the clock in the kitchen, it was just about that time that you’d be arriving home with your daughter after picking her up from preschool. Bucky got up and tossed the beer bottle in the trash just as the door swung completely open.
Greeted by the sight of a wide toothless smile, Bucky lowered to the ground, balancing himself on the balls of his feet and held his arms out.
“Daddy!!!” your daughter cried out, dropping her ladybug backpack on the floor ungraciously before running to Bucky, the sound of yours and his laughter echoing through the house before you closed the door and followed your daughter’s suit.
“Hey princess!” he said with equal enthusiasm, sweeping her up into his arms and planting a great big kiss on her cheek, followed by kissing you on the lips. “How was my girl’s day at school today?”
“Great daddy! I wanna show you something!” She giggled, squirming until Bucky set her back down on the floor.
The tiny tot grabbed Bucky’s metal hand and pulled him toward the coffee table where he had left the legal pad. She fished around for any writing device she get her hands on. Taking pity on her, Bucky grabbed the pen he was using earlier that was only a few feet away from her and placed it in front of her. The two of you sat on the couch as your daughter bent her tiny body over and leaned on the coffee table, writing what you could only imagine. When she was finished, she pulled back and moved to the side so you and Bucky could see what she did. In big handwriting was the name of your daughter perfectly scrawled out on the paper. The “e’s” and the “c’s” weren’t backwards. The “b” wasn’t confused for “d”, “p”, or “q”. There on the paper was name “Rebecca”, written perfectly by your daughter.
“I’m so proud of you babydoll!” Bucky said, picking Rebecca up and placing her on his lap. “You finally wrote your name perfectly. You did this in school today?”
“Yeah,” Rebecca blushed. “Teacher said she was so proud. Said I’ve been working really hard.”
“It shows princess,” Bucky beamed.
And nothing had ever been truer. While only four years old and in preschool, you and Bucky could already tell your Rebecca Winifred Barnes was going to be a perfectionist student. Nothing would be peaceful until she nailed anything she was working on.
That night while you were preparing dinner, you watched as your daughter kept practicing writing her name on any surface she could get her hands on, with Bucky looking on every bit the proud father he was. There’d been a time when he believed that these type of moments would never have been possible for him. That the former deadly Soviet assassin and fist of HYDRA would find freedom, peace, and especially love was a foreign concept to him. And yet there it had been. He was on his knees beside your daughter, a bright and exuberant smile in its purest form on his face. He looked at Rebecca as though she created the stars in the sky herself. A former assassin who was good at masking his emotions around his team could never hide how he really felt when he was around his daughter. When it came to Rebecca, Bucky really did wear his heart on his sleeve.
That following morning, Bucky showed up to your work, his flesh bicep bandaged.
“Babe! What happened? Oh my god are you hurt?” You shrieked, running over to check his arm.
Bucky just laughed and kissed your forehead. “I’m fine doll. I just came back from the tattoo parlor,” he said proudly.
“You finally decided on a tattoo?” you smiled. “That’s great. Though I wish you’d told me. I could’ve gone with you.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m sorry, I guess I was just really excited about it,” Bucky shrugged.
“Well show me,” you encouraged.
Knowing Bucky couldn’t take the bandage off just yet, he took his phone out and scrolled through his pictures until he found what he’d been looking for. He turned the camera over to your possession and you marveled at your husband’s new tattoo, tears brimming in your eyes. Written on the inside of his bicep was your daughter’s name, Rebecca. In her own handwriting, permanently etched into Bucky’s arm.
“Now my heart is literally on my sleeve,” Bucky gushed.
“You know she’s just going to love this!” You agreed. “I’m curious though. What inspired this?”
Bucky smiled and reverently kissed your lips. “There’s beauty in seeing how far you’ve come. I guess I’ve come to accept that maybe I’m not supposed to forget what happened to me but having strength in not letting it define me. It’s made me who I am today,” he replied, echoing your words from all those years ago from the first time you two had slept together.
“Bucky I said that a long time ago. It’s been years. And you remembered?”
“You were the reason I did this in the first place,” Bucky said, as though it were the easiest thing in the world to understand. “Of course I’d remember.”
“I love you James Buchanan Barnes.”
“I love you too Y/N Barnes.”
A/N: If you see a strikethrough in your URL, it’s because I couldn’t tag you. I tried and for some reason it wouldn’t let me. Please don’t think I didn’t want to tag you, and if there’s anyone I forgot to tag, please let me know so I can fix it right away.
Not that anyone cares, but Y/N’s tattoo is actually based on my own, so that’s why I went into such depth in detail. And that was actually me holding back. Lol.
Also, really quick, please don’t take this mean that I’m bashing or judging anyone who has a tattoo that doesn’t have some “deep resonating significance”. I realize not everyone has tattoos like that, and I completely respect anyone’s right to choose the type of tattoo they want. The choice of tattoo/tattoo backstory was just based on my own experience because it was easier for me to write it that way. That’s it.
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