The "Don't tell anyone you saw me crying" AU sounds super promising!
The best part of Steve’s day is, generally when he gets to go eat lunch in the abandoned teacher’s office on the third floor. It’s quiet up there, and it’s not so dusty now that one of the custodians noticed him hanging out there and comes around to clean it up every so often. So, all in all, not a bad place to quietly eat his lunch, do some homework, and maybe get a bit of drawing done, if he’s up to it.
Except today, apparently.
After the bell rings and fifth period starts, Steve makes his way up to the abandoned teacher’s lounge. He’s got a cheese sandwich, apple slices and a can of Diet Sprite that he’s excited to eat, and a drawing of one of his classmates — a guy who probably doesn’t even know Steve exists, let alone would want Steve drawing him, but that’s the one good thing about being invisible — that he’s excited to finish up. But when he gets to his abandoned teacher’s office, he hears someone…
Well, he hears someone crying.
Still, it’s his abandoned teacher’s office — he doesn’t have much else to take ownership of at this school, so he’ll take what he can get — so he enters anyway.
“What the hell?” Bucky Barnes says, furiously wiping off his face with the sleeve of his henley.
“Oh, uh,” Steve says, clutching the sketchbook that has an in-progress drawing of Bucky Freaking Barnes in it tight.
“Come to laugh at me?” Bucky asks with a rueful chuckle.
“What? No,” Steve says, maybe a little fiercer than he should.
“Then what?” Bucky asks.
“I eat lunch here every day,” Steve says, straightening up. He may only be five foot four and weigh the same as a wet dachshund, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t be intimidating!
He does wish that his beanie would quit sliding down his head and hiding his eyebrows. Having visible eyebrows would probably help the intimidating factor.
“You eat… here?” Bucky asks, looking around the dim room like he’s really seeing it for the first time. He grimaces.
Steve pushes his beanie back. “You’re here crying!” Steve argues.
“Yeah, but I’ve only been here a couple times. You’re here every day.”
Steve scoffs. “Are you trying to contest who of the two of us is less pathetic, because that’s probably a pretty easy fight.”
“What do you mean by that?” Bucky asks, voice getting louder.
“You have everything — friends, football, popularity. I just want to eat my cheese sandwich and listen to my iPod during lunchtime without having to confront crying jocks.”
Bucky stares at him for a moment, then his face screws up. “I’m s-s-sorry,” he says, starting to cry again.
“Oh jeez,” Steve says, shutting the door behind him and taking a few steps across the room, closer to the desk Bucky is sitting at. “Don’t… Cry, okay? I didn’t mean to make you cry.”
“You didn’t… it’s not your fault,” Bucky says, burying his face in his hands.
Steve drops his backpack and kneels down, digging through it. After about forty seconds, he emerges victorious with a half-used pack of tissues. “Here,” he says, handing them out to Bucky.
Bucky looks up at him with wide, bloodshot eyes. “Really?” he asks. Steve nods. Bucky reaches out and takes the tissues from him. “Thanks,” he says, pulling one free from the package and loudly blowing his nose.
“No problem,” Steve says, trying not to be grossed out, though he can’t help but cringe a little when Bucky looks back up with a line of snot dripping out of his nose. “You oughta…” he says, gesturing to his nose.
“Shit,” Bucky says, wiping his nose again.
“Then again, if you’re sporting snot, I’m sure the rest of the school will follow,” Steve says, hoping he doesn’t sound as bitter as he feels.
Bucky shakes his head. “You don’t get it,” he says. “I’m not… It’s not like that.”
“That’s not what it looks from the outside,” Steve says, quiet.
Bucky gives him a little half-smile. “I’m just gonna tell you this because I feel like this abandoned teacher’s lounge is a safe, trustworthy space, okay? And because I feel like you won’t blab to a bunch of people, but everyone fuckin’ hates me.”
“Really?” Steve asks, deadpan.
Bucky nods. “It’s… Well, they may not think they hate me, but they do.”
“Please don’t tell me it’s because you’re too beautiful. If you do, I may scream,” Steve says and is rewarded when Bucky laughs.
“You’re spitfire,” he says. “Anyhow, I’m gay, and they’d fuckin’ hate me if they knew.”
There’s a long pause.
“You’re gay?” Steve asks.
Bucky nods, mouth flattening. “It feels real weird to say it out loud,” he admits.
Steve’s mouth drops. “I’m the first person you’ve told?” he asks, surprised.
Bucky shrugs. “I don’t got anyone to tell. My old man’s a homophobic asswipe who’d kick my ass if he knew, and it’s not like I’m gonna tell the guys on the football team that I like guys. They’d take turns kickin’ my ass and leave me a bloody lump on the field.”
Swallowing hard, Steve takes a seat close to Bucky’s. “That’s… a lot,” he says.
“I know,” Bucky says. “Which is why I feel justified to stay in this abandoned teacher’s lounge and cry for a bit, if you don’t mind.”
There’s a long pause.
“Can I eat my sandwich while you do so?”
Bucky snorts. “Sure,” he says. “Let’s live it up. Cheese sandwiches and tears, quite the couple.”
Steve shrugs. “I’ve seen worse,” he says, pulling his sandwich from his backpack and splitting it in half. “Want some?” he asks, holding it out to Bucky.
“Sure,” Bucky says, grabbing the sandwich and taking a huge bite.
“Hey,” Bucky says as the bell for sixth period rings.
“Yeah?” Steve says, packing his stuff up.
“Wanna do this again tomorrow? Maybe without the crying?”
Steve smiles. “Sure,” he says.
In a week, Bucky is letting Steve draw him.
In a month, Steve is letting Bucky kiss him.
In a year, they walk around their college campus hand-in-hand.