Jack getting Bitty a plaid shirt (just like his one that Bitty stole and wears constantly) for Bitty’s birthday, and Bitty’s happy about it, but he’s just not as excited as Jack expectedwanted him to be. Jack doesn’t get it. “Because you wear mine all the time,” he explains, and Bitty confesses that he only likes wearing it because it smells like Jack, not because of the shirt itself. So Jack goes to take it back after apologizing, but Bitty wants to keep it because it was a gift and it’s a gift from Jack, so of course he wants it.
(He doesn’t wear it nearly as much as the one he originally stole from Jack and Jack notices)
So next year for Bitty’s birthday, Jack gives him seven shirts and tells Bitty to smell them, but Bitty doesn’t need to to know they’re all going to smell exactly like Jack coz he’s seen Jack wearing them throughout the year. And this is so much better because not only does each shirt smell just like Jack, but each one has a story.
The grey t-shirt with the rip in the right shoulder from when they were walking to the murder stop-n-shop and Bitty tripped on the sidewalk and grabbed onto Jack’s sleeve for balance.
The red plaid shirt without pockets that smells a bit like maple syrup and still has dried pastry on the cuff from when Bitty and Jack spent an entire day baking pies for Hausgiving.
The white button-up which dwarfs Bitty when he puts it on, but reminds him of Jack and his half-year anniversary date at a fancy restaurant (though the best part was after, when the shirt lost two buttons to Bitty’s scrambling fingers and Jack’s impatience).
One of Jack’s Falconers jerseys (Bitty has four now), a sleep shirt, another plaid shirt (blue and grey), and a gag t-shirt proclaiming “kiss the cook” which Bitty has been confused about Jack buying for himself and wearing voluntarily the entire year but now it makes much more sense. (Whenever Bitty wears it it takes him twice as long to bake anything because Jack insists on kissing him whenever he reads the shirt, which he makes sure to do often).
It becomes a thing then, buying clothes with the sole purpose of exchanging later. Sometimes they get matching clothes so the swap isn’t that noticeable (though the sizes are always an issue).
Summary: Dance school!AU (or the Step Up/Pride and Prejudice mash up nobody asked for). Bucky Barnes is forced to take twelve hours of commercial dance classes to pass the year- and that just happens to be your regular weekly dance class.
Warnings: Swearing. Profanity. Cursing. Beep Beep is also not fucking around (if you’ll pardon the expression)
HOLY FUCKING SHIT Y’ALL. HERE WE ARE. AT THE END. (Well, nearly the end). I will do a full honour call in the next part because I have so many people to thank but have a generic thank you right now because you deserve it. And! Before you get into devouring this enormous chapter! Please read the author notes at the bottom! It will have a direct effect on what you see in the Epilogue! OK, that’s all. Let’s do this.
Saturday dawns with the
kind of clear, bright light that promises heat to come, and you jump out of bed
with excitement already pulsing through your veins. You’ve always loved the
thrill of competitions. The nerves, the camaraderie, the elation when you finish-
all are just as potent now as they were on your first attempt, however many
years ago. You spend the afternoon wandering around your flat, texting Bucky
and waiting for your lift to arrive.
B: how are you this morning? Excited?
Y: Only always
Y: I assume you don’t get nervous ;)
B: nah, cool as ice ;)
Y: Of course
Y: Is Clint giving you a lift?
The competition is at a
high school somewhere on the far side of town, and those of you without
transport have been forced to carpool. Thankfully, both Wanda and Pepper had
offered you separate lifts- but you had opted for the latter. Competition days
sent Wanda into a state of nervous frenzy that was quite alarming to behold.
B: and nat and sam and steve
Y: They’re all coming?
You’d already had a good
luck text from Steve (he’d also called and apologised for the incident on the
night of the party for at least half an hour- it seemed far simpler to forgive
and forget the whole thing) but you had expected them to stay away from the
actual competition. The thought of seeing them all again makes you smile.
B: couldn’t keep them away
B: nat threatened to bring banners
Y: Is Sam bringing pompoms?
Y: Tell him I’ll be disappointed if he doesn’t
B: Your wish is my command
The blast of a car horn
from the street makes you jump.
Y: got to go, my ride is here
B: see you soon
You pick up your bag, check
you have your keys, then dash down the stairs. Pepper’s car is sat by the curb,
and you can hear music coming from inside. When you open the passenger door,
she leans across and smiles.
“Hey! How are you?”
“Good!” You slide into the
seat and buckle your seatbelt. “Excited. And nervous.”
Pepper shifts into first
and pulls out into the road. “Just for the competition?” Her tone is deceptively
neutral. Your first instinct is to brush her subtle question away with a joke,
but, to your own surprise, you sigh.
Wordlessly, Pepper turns
the radio down, and waits.
“I mean…” You struggle for
words, “I just- I didn’t expect things to work out. With him. I thought he’d
mess it up, or we just wouldn’t be able to go back to that kind of… easiness.
Pepper lets you trail off
into silence before speaking. “Do you want my advice?”
At this point, you’d
probably take the advice of a lamppost, if it offered: you’re nodding before
she’s even finished her sentence.
“OK… I think you’re
thinking too much about this.”
“Oh, right,” You scoff,
“Because I shouldn’t be thinking about it at all.”
“That’s not what I said.
What I mean is that you should just let it happen.”
“Go with the flow.” Your
voice is wry, but Pepper just nods sincerely and thumbs the volume back up. You
turn her words over in your mind. Maybe she has a point. You stay in silence
for the rest of the journey, lost in thought as you watch the suburbs slide by beyond