Coincidences Part II (Bucky x Reader)
You guys have waited way too long for this and for that I’m sorry. But here it is, so I won’t start it with my usual long-winded preamble.
Pairing: Bucky x Reader (Modern AU thingy)
Words: 5046 (yikes, that’s the longest fic I’ve ever written)
Warnings: The usual tiny bit of swearing
Excerpt: For a moment, you wonder how this became your life. Yesterday, you were just another girl worrying about everything except her lack of a love life. Now that’s all you can think about because you’re flirting with a complete stranger. How insanely insane is that? For all you know, he could be a forty-something year old dude with three ex-wives and a beer-belly that could carry triplets. Somehow, though, you don’t think that’s likely.
Your name: submit What is this?
New Message from Mr. Catarcs
3:42 a.m u up?
You blink your eyes blearily and shift in bed. The sheet is wrapped around your legs like sweaty vines, constricting your movement. You growl angrily and throw them off, sitting up and relishing in the cool air of your apartment. Despite the frigid cold outside, you somehow still manage to wake up sweating. Maybe you’re a mutant.
Glancing over at your phone, it dings again to impatiently let you know that you still haven’t opened the text that woke you up. Usually your phone is switched to silent because of your job at the diner. There are always so many phones going off that it’s almost impossible to tell which is which. It’s just easier having your phone on silent because then you’re never worried about whether your phone is ringing or if it’s someone else’s. It saves you a lot of unnecessary anxiety.
But ever since last night’s conversation with James, you decided that you wanted to hear your phone ring with a text. It’s the first time in your life that you don’t want to miss a text.
You pick up the offending piece technology and swipe it open. Sure enough, the text is from James and you grin despite the fact that this message is the same one that woke you at—you squint at your alarm clock—3:49 a.m.
Deciding you are both thirsty and in need of some time in the open air of your apartment and not under the suffocating sheets, you get up and stretch. The floors are cold as you pad to the kitchen and fill a glass with water, shooting a text back to James.
3:51 a.m I am now
You wait for an answer while downing your glass of water and putting the empty glass in the sink again. Maybe he fell back asleep when you didn’t answer right away.
For a moment, you wonder how this became your life. Yesterday, you were just another girl worrying about everything except her lack of a love life. Now that’s all you can think about because you’re flirting with a complete stranger. How insanely insane is that? For all you know, he could be a forty-something year old dude with three ex-wives and a beer-belly that could carry triplets. Somehow, though, you don’t think that’s likely.
You have no proof of this, and absolutely no reason to believe he isn’t a creep except for a gut feeling. You resolve to ask his age whenever he decides to answer you.
You think about that. He could lie to you and tell you that he’s 20 when he’s really a lot older than that. The only way you’d truly know is if you meet him in person.
Suddenly you’re a little dizzy. This is just way too much to worry about at four a.m. You decide to just talk to him. You genuinely like his personality, and you don’t have to worry about all that other stuff until you actually meet him. If you actually meet him. That’s a big, neon-colored, flashing sign in the middle of absolute nowhere if.
Your phone dings and you look over from where you’re clutching the counter. You don’t notice how hard you were gripping the counter until you pull your palms away and it stings, lines etching themselves across your palm.
4:03 a.m srry didnt mean to wake u
Before you can even formulate a response, he’s texting you again. A double text. Gasp.
4:04 a.m just couldnt sleep. i was wondring if u wanted to talk
You tilt your head at your screen. He’s up in the middle of the night, and the first thing he does is text you? Why? Does he not have other people he can talk to? A stupid part of you, the same part that wants to meet him in person, thinks that maybe it’s because he wants to talk to you.
Maybe he does. Probably not. It’s too much to hope for. All his other friends are probably asleep. Regardless, not answering is not an option. Well, it is, but it’s not one you’re likely to explore, not when your chest has those freaky bubbles in it and your stomach is doing that stupid flippy-thingy. Nope. This, you decide, feels like High School when a cute boy texted you first and the instinct to giggle shot up to level 12.
4:06 a.m alright. what about?
Capitals, Y/N. What the hell happened to capitals?
You take your phone and pad back into your room, perching yourself up against the headboard with your knees drawn up to your chest and your phone in your hands as you wait for a response. Worrying your bottom lip, your mind drifts to work. You’ll have to get up in about three hours to be at work on time. Man, you’re going to be tired.
It’s then that your phone dings. You decide then that talking to him makes it worth the fatigue.
4:11 a.m twenty questions?
4:11 a.m Fine, but since you woke me up you have to go first.
The three dots that mean he’s typing pop up three different times before the response finally comes through.
4:15 a.m whatd u go to school 4?
4:15 a.m getting down to the nitty gritty personal stuff I see
You think for a moment. Telling him what you do isn’t divulging too much about yourself, so you decide it’s okay.
4:16 a.m lol yup thats me. i want the deep personal stuff. might just ask what ur fav color is nxt
4:16 a.m 1. editing; 2. sorry, that’s sacred info
4:17 a.m 1 ah i understand y ur a grammar nazi now…2 obviously
Thinking for a moment, you decide that favorites are just too cliche. Any conversation anyone has with some new friend ends in questions that start with “What’s your favorite…” You really want to know how old he is, but you figure you need an ice breaker before you get to the actual nitty gritty.
First, though, you must take the bait to piss him off:
4:19 a.m What would you have done if I hadn’t gone to college?
With a yawn, you lie back down and curl on your side, sitting your phone on the nightstand in front of you with your eyes glued to it. Once you realize that staring at it isn’t going to make him type faster, you turn over.
You’re totally not too eager. There’s no—
You flip over so fast that you rip the sheet from the other side of the bed and end up with half of it between your stomach and the bed. It pulls from the bottom corner of the bed and is slightly uncomfortable, but you don’t care.
4:22 a.m high school?
4:23 a.m I didn’t go to high school FOR anything
You’re not sure if the use of caps-lock is weird, but you send it off anyways, deciding that emphasis on that one word is crucial to your meaning. He replies within seconds.
4:23 a.m i mean dunno bout u but i went to learn
You laugh, probably louder than is necessary.
4:24 a.m Touche. What’d you go to school for?
4:26 a.m repeating questions isnt alowed
Frowning, you wonder if he actually didn’t go to college. Should you push it? Maybe you should just change the question. There’s a part of you, the curious part that wanted to be a reporter when you were young, that really wants to know.
There isn’t too much time for you to think all of that before he’s texting you again. Usually, you’re the one to mercilessly double-text. James, it would seem, has you beat in this department. Also, you didn’t want to double-text a complete stranger.
Before you even look at the text, it hits you again: this is a complete stranger. The thought of not answering enters your mind again, but you push it down. No harm in just talking if neither of you meet, right? Right?
4:27 a.m i joined the military right out of HS
It’s a real Oh moment, and you find yourself staring at your screen as if it’s a real person. The military? What are you supposed to say to that? What’s the protocol for a text that you’re not sure how to answer? Should you just leave it alone? No; if you leave it alone then he’ll think he freaked you out. He hasn’t. Your brain is just short-circuiting on an answer.
Should you think him for his service? No. Not yet. You don’t want to call too much attention to it in case he doesn’t want to talk about it or he’s had bad experiences, but you’re still not sure how to respond. Have you taken too long already?
You summon up some courage and type out a message.
4:31 a.m Oh wow. Well, what would you have studied if you had gone?
You cringe, totally not meaning for that to sound like you were completely skipping over the issue altogether. James doesn’t seem to mind though, if his response is any indication.
4:32 a.m hmm history i think. ive always liked ww2 4 some reason
4:33 a.m well you’ve got AP european history girl right here. 1 of only 11 in the whole senior class to take it.
4:34 a.m well, smartypants i get 2 q’s bc u asked 2
You feel that you handled that effectively, and you were already beginning to formulate a plan in your head while he thought about his questions.
See, you know next to nothing about the military or what it’s all about except that it is for valiant people who want to serve their country. You can respect that, but you want—nay, need—to learn more. Convincing yourself that it’s purely for research purposes and not for anything else.
Regardless, you need to know more. It’s probably better to get it from someone who has been through it rather than from some cold, impersonal online source. And besides, you just so happen to know someone who was in the military. Someone who, in fact, lost a limb in the line of duty: Bucky Barnes.
As far as you know, Bucky lost his left arm in the military. You’d asked him before how he lost it and he hadn’t answered you, opting instead to change the subject to Steve and his new (at the time) art studio. It had been suspicious, but you understand that it must not be easy to speak about something like that.
You’ll have to go talk to Steve tomorrow morning to get Bucky’s number, but you think that maybe you’ll treat him to lunch in exchange for him giving you some details about the whole military thing. At the company, you get an hour off for lunch, which is just enough time to go out, interrogate a friend (respectfully, of course), and head back before the hour is up.
The plan was formed and you had your head already set on it. By the time James’ reply comes in, you’ve tuckered yourself out thinking that whole plan out. It is really late—er, early—after all.
4:41 a.m 1 how was ur day 2 how r u likely to spend a friday night
4:43 a.m I feel like I’m taking a Buzzfeed quiz
You yawn again and type out your answers.
4:44 a.m my day’s just begun. it’s four a.m. And probably reading or something
You put your phone down, thinking that you’ll just leave it there and wait for his reply, but you end up turning over and falling asleep.
In the morning, you turn your phone on silent again while you get ready for work, playing some music while you apply some light make-up.
It turned out that James hadn’t answered you anyway, so you would have been up waiting for a text that wasn’t going to come. Good thing you passed out.
Glancing at the clock, you notice that it’s 7:02 a.m and that Steve should be up. You don’t have to be at work until 8 and it’s not a long bus ride to get to work so you figure you can spare half an hour to haggle your best friend into giving up Bucky’s phone number. You wonder why you haven’t thought to get it sooner, figuring that you just never needed it.
You and Bucky only ever hung out with Steve or the rest of the gang. He was a friend of yours, but the two of you had never been too close in the two years of knowing each other. That said, you had heard a lot about each other even before meeting from Steve, and Bucky had expressed in the past how annoying he found it when Steve was constantly mentioning you in casual conversation.
It was the same with Bucky for you. Steve had been talking about his best friend Bucky ever since you had met him. It was in that way that you and Bucky had gotten to know each other sort of inadvertently.
Heading out the door and across the hall, you knock on Steve’s door lightly a few times. He’s a light sleeper anyways, and you don’t want to wake the whole hall with loud knocking. You only opt for knocking this time in case he’s not decent or something. Otherwise, you would have used your key.
Sure enough, Steve answers the door within a few minutes, clad in flannel pajama pants, a white V-neck, and holding a steaming cup of coffee. It smells amazing, and you realize then that in your rush you’d forgotten to make yourself some.
“Got another one of those and half an hour?”
Steve raises an eyebrow but steps aside to let you in. He’s a morning person, so you were sure on your way over here that you wouldn’t receive any resistance.
“What do you need?” he asks you, pouring you a cup of coffee not unlike how he’d done it the night before. He pours in a generous amount of milk and some sugar before stirring it and handing it to you, just the way you like it.
Blow, sip—“Mm,” you hum. “I need Bucky’s phone number.” You say it as nonchalantly as you can manage so as not to raise any flags to Steve, but by his surprised expression you can tell that you’ve raised them all.
You shrug like it’s no big deal. “He has some info that I need.” It sounds so covert and cheesy that you almost giggle, but you manage to keep your composure while sipping your coffee again.
Steve tilts his head to the side almost imperceptibly, leaning his back against the counter across from you as you sit at a stool by his island. Said island juts out from a wall to half-enclose the kitchen area like a wrap-around ‘J’ with the island as the tail.
After a few moments of silence, it becomes clear that Steve is waiting for you to elaborate, and when you don’t indulge, he sighs, setting his cup down and crossing his arms.
“Okay, but don’t call him now,” Steve says, already ruffling in a drawer for a pen and paper. “He—he has trouble sleeping, and he needs as much of it as he can get before he has to work. And he’s taking Friday off so he has to log in more hours to make up the difference.” Steve hands you a piece of paper with numbers scribbled on it.
“Got it,” you said, taking the paper and sticking it in your bag. “Thanks, Steve.”
“Yeah,” he smiles at you. “No problem.”
You stand and head to the door, plan in motion and feeling good about it. Then you remember something and turn as you’re walking toward the door.
He lifts his head from where he’s still standing in the kitchen sipping his coffee. You realize you’ve left yours there, but decide that it’s okay. You’ll survive. Somehow.
“Mom is bringing over pasta around two, but I won’t be home,” you can already see his eyes lighting up. “I told her to make extra and that you should be back by then. Can you—”
“—keep it here until you get home?” He knows you so well, it’s scary. “Yeah, but don’t expect me not to try some of it first.”
You fix him with a warning finger. “I’ll be over at seven and I will expect there to be enough for dinner and lunch tomorrow.”
He holds his hands up. “Hey, we all know my metabolism requires a lot of calories per day, and two is just in time for a late lunch.”
“Steve,” you warn.
“Alright,” he laughs. “I’ll leave some of your mother’s pasta for you for dinner.”
“That’s all I ask.”
You walk back over, kiss his cheek, take one more sip of your coffee, and then leave.
You tap your foot on the ground impatiently as you wait at your desk for the clock to turn from 11:29 to 11:30 so you can head for a bathroom break to call Bucky and find out if he’s busy for lunch.
James hadn’t texted you all day, but you figure that’s okay. He doesn’t always have to text you. He has a life. You push him mostly out of your head, or you try to. You fail miserably.
He’s the reason you’re meeting with Bucky anyways. As much as you don’t want to admit it, that’s the truth. Of course, you can’t tell Bucky that. You’ll just sound stupid. And then Bucky will tell Steve and Steve will have some sort of “talking to strangers is bad” intervention with you. You definitely don’t want to endure that.
11:30 hits and it’s officially been half an hour since your actual bathroom break. You don’t want to call attention to yourself in the office that you share with a whole bunch of other people in too-tightly-packed cubicles. You grab the slip of paper Steve had given you and head to the elevator.
By the time you make it to the downstairs bathroom, you realize that you forgot your phone upstairs on your desk. Great. Now what are you going to do? If you go back up to get it, you’ll look suspicious. Of course, you shouldn’t really care what your coworkers think of you, but you do. Everybody says they don’t care about peer acceptance but most actually do.
It’s human nature.
You sigh angrily and look around. The lobby is all marble floors and a little shop where they sell overpriced snacks and drinks. There’s a desk to the left of the elevator bank with one woman sitting in a black wheelie chair making and taking phone calls.
Can you just ask her to borrow one of her phones? There’s an empty seat next to her. Maybe you can explain your situation and just ask this woman if you can borrow the phone.
The only thing is that you don’t know this woman. Your supers rented the office space with the endless rows of cubicles from the people who owned the building. This woman obviously works for the building management, and not for anyone you know.
You decide it’s better that she doesn’t know you. It’s less personal. You can call Bucky, discuss details, and be done with it.
You sidle over and lean on the high desk. Its polished marble top is so high that you have to lean over it a little to see the woman. She’s plump, with dark hair, blue eyes, and a squished face. She looks the opposite of friendly. She’s wearing a black headset that you realize is some sort of Bluetooth.
You wait until she is done speaking to talk to her.
She doesn’t look at you for a moment, reaching up instinctively as if she thinks you’re in her headset before she realizes she’s speaking to a real person. She eyes you.
You were right to guess she wasn’t very friendly.
“I was wondering if I could borrow your phone,” you say kindly. “I have to call someone and I accidentally left my phone upstairs.”
She looks bored and eyes you for another second before looking back at her computer screen. “Just go up and get it.”
“It’s urgent,” you lie. Man, this is going to be awkward after you make the call right in front of her and she finds out its personal.
She eyes you again. “You have five minutes.”
You smile at her. “I’ll only need three.”
You wait as she plops one of the black phones on top of the counter, and it’s so high that you have to go up on your tiptoes to see the number pad.
“Type extension 382 first, then the number.”
With that, she gets back to her work and you pull the phone from the receiver. You flatten the paper on the desk and do as she instructed.
You wonder if he’ll even pick up. This will be an unknown number to him, and you know that if it were you, you wouldn’t answer.
It rings three times before a familiar, gruff voice answers.
“Bucky? It’s Y/N.”
He sounds surprised. “Y/N?” There’s a pause, a honking noise, and then he sounds as if he’s realized something. “Steve gave you my number.”
“Yeah,” you say. “I had to call you from a work phone, though.”
You catch the woman looking up at you briefly and can tell she’s annoyed that this is a personal call. You’re sure this call needs to be as short as you can possibly make it or else you’re afraid she’ll just cut it herself.
“Listen, are you busy for lunch in, like, half an hour?”
Bucky thinks for a moment on the other line and the lady looks at you again, her gaze becoming more venomous. You’re pretty sure that once she looks at you a third time she’s going to end your call for you.
Just as you’re about to scold him for an answer, Bucky speaks up.
You feel bad, but you have to cut him off.
“Okay, great. Meet me at the Deli down the street from Steve’s studio at 12 sharp. My treat.”
Bucky chuckled on the other end. “Your treat? What do you need from me?”
You smile despite the situation. “Just your brain.”
“Sure you don’t want Banner or Stark for that one?”
“I’m sure,” the woman was giving you her last angry glare. You had to go. “See you then, Buck.”
“Looking forward to having my brain probed. Bye, Y/N.”
You hang up, thank the lady, and make your way back upstairs as fast as you can. 12:00 can’t come quick enough.
Bucky wonders what you want to talk to him about as he drives a company truck to the deli and parallel parks a couple blocks down. The flatbed of the truck is filled with mismatched pieces of junk, from broken computers to the plastic from the top of a printer. It’s all stuff that can be broken down and reprocessed at a plant.
The city is taking down an old building and putting a new office building up in its place. It’s Bucky’s job as the assistant to take all the not-so-useless junk and dispose of it somewhere where it can be reused.
He doesn’t have to be at the plant until two, and he finished loading everything up early, so he has about two hours or so to spare.
Walking into the Deli, he’s hit with a wave of merciful heat and he immediately pulls his coat off. The deli is small with few patrons a small line for take-out. One woman is sipping an iced coffee through a straw while she types madly on a computer. Two men are sitting at a table wearing yellow vests and eating huge subs. Bucky wonders if he would have ended up as one of them, working for the DPW if he hadn’t begun working with the demolition company.
It takes him barely a moment of looking around to find Y/N sitting in a corner flanked by two windows with an empty seat across from her. There’s a wrapped sandwich and a water sitting on the table in front of the other seat.
She’s smoothing out the wrapper of her own sandwich as if the creases in the paper wrapping are offending and should not be allowed to exist.
“Hey,” he says, walking over and taking a seat in front of her.
She looks up at him and smiles. “Hey,” she shoots back, and then nods to the sandwich. “Got you a BLT.”
Bucky’s suspicions are steadily growing. He pulls the paper from around the sandwich and lays it on the table as Y/N had done, though he couldn’t care less about the creases. He looks between the sandwich and the girl, eyeing both with the suspicion of someone who thinks he’s being played.
“What’s this about?” he asks.
She swallows and puts her sandwich down, looking like she’s about to ask him a ground-breaking, life-changing question. Her eyes quickly flick over to his arm and he’s suddenly very sure he knows what this is about.
But that’s strange. Yesterday—or really early this morning—he was talking to Y/M/N about him having been in the military. Now Y/N is eyeing his arm like she really wants to ask what happened but she doesn’t want to sound impolite.
Then there’s the fact that they’re both editors. That’s weird. And how Y/N reminds him of Y/M/N.
He’s an apopheniac, he has to be. He’s seeing coincidences where there really aren’t any. It’s his brain playing tricks on him. In truth, maybe he just wants this strange girl to be Y/N. Though, probably not. Then again, maybe this whole time he thought he was jealous of Y/N for being so close to Steve, he was really jealous of Steve for being so close to Y/N.
That thought derails him so fast that he doesn’t hear it when Y/N actually asks her question.
She lets out a breath as if it’s a load-off to finally ask him, and he’s struck with the realization that if he says he didn’t hear her, she probably won’t take it well. He waits for her to say something else, but when she doesn’t he takes a leap of faith based on her glance at his arm.
“You want to know how I lost my arm,” he says, rather than asks. If her expression of shock and discomfort is any indication, he’s screwed up.
“I mean,” she straightens in her chair. “I guess—it’s sorta part of it? Yeah.”
She sounds so lost and he feels so bad.
He still has no idea what her original question was though. ‘Part of it.’ His thoughts drift back to his earlier conversation with the girl he’s been talking to over text. The military. Could that be what Y/N wants to know about?
No, it’s just too weird. There’s no way. But he has to know.
“The military? You want to know about the military?”
She nods, looking slightly guilty. “Yeah,” he tries not to let his breath of relief show, “I—uh, fact-checking. I’m fact-checking an article.”
Bucky nods slowly, sandwich forgotten. She’s a terribly liar. “You’re a terrible liar.”
Sitting back as if she’s been punched in the gut, she blinks once, twice, three times—“I’m not lying.”
“Your body language gives you away.”
“Is that something you learned in the military?”
Bucky chuckles. “That’s something I learned from a whole lot of spy movies. Seriously, why do you want to know?”
She takes a bite of her sandwich and speaks around it. Altogether, not the most sexy, but that’s okay.
“Research,” she says slowly.
Bucky creases his eyebrows. “For?”
“For a project?”
“If you’re going to lie, at least lie with conviction,” Bucky says. “One of these days, I’m going to teach you how to lie the right way.”
Laughing, she pulls her chair in a little more and sits forward. The picture of seriousness, she says, “Alright, if I tell you, you need to promise me you won’t tell Steve.” She sounds reluctant to tell him at all. This must not have been her plan.
Bucky draws a cross over his heart with his index finger. “Cross my heart or hope to die.”
She shakes her head. “Gotta be stronger than that. You have to pinkie promise.”
He gasps dramatically. “Not a pinkie promise. This must really be serious.”
Reaching over, she swats his arm. “Buck, I’m serious.”
“Okay, okay,” he surrenders, holding up his pinkie. She links hers with his and he’s momentarily struck by how soft her skin is. Then it’s over. “Tell me.”
She steels herself, he can see it. Jeez, it must really be something serious or she wouldn’t be swearing him to secrecy using childish, yet efficient tactics. It strikes him that she tells Steve everything, same as him, so for her to say she doesn’t want him to know must mean it’s not necessarily something good.
He lets himself think for a moment that she might be about to confess that she’s the mystery girl he’s been texting. It’s much more likely, though, that she’s about to tell him she’s got feelings for Steve or something.
Steeling himself as well, he waits as she takes a deep breath.
“I may or may not—”
“You may,” he corrects. She glares at him.
“—have answered a text from a guy who was trying to text someone else—”
This is where Bucky stops listening and his internal monologue becomes one word: