Summary: Ever hear of a love pyramid? It’s when the history major, a fine arts undergrad, and a culinary student all have a crush on you. So in your second year of university, who’s gonna steal your heart first? (A Bucky x Steve x Pietro x Reader story)
A/N: Okay, this is my second attempt at a multi-chaptered fic. Let me know how it is, alright? Also if I continue with this series I’m gonna put a bit of a twist in it - sorta like a “choose your own ending” type thing where in the last chapter you pick who Reader-chan should end up with. Sound interesting? Aiight, good, I’ll leave you to it then :D
Like most life changing days, Bucky’s morning was uneventful. In fact, it was so supercharged with the mundane that he fell asleep in class. Not that he didn’t enjoy history class - because he did - but he knew everything there was to know about the transregional trade expansion in Egypt, so there wasn’t much to do other than sleep.
Thank god for his Wednesday classes, because right after World History Bucky was off for the day, and that happened to line up perfectly with Steve’s second and final class; Mixed Media. Which was really just a fancy term the fine arts students used to put a twist on “do whatever the hell you want”. Bucky was under no impression that two hours of total creative freedom was an easy task, but then that’s why he was a history major and not in any arts courses.
To get to the arts building from his history class, Bucky had to cut through the writing department. It was his preferred route for two reasons - the first and most compelling was a certain journalism student with red hair and a smirk that could kill.
“Oh not you again.” She sighed when she caught Bucky approaching her in the hallways.
“Oh don’t be like that Nat, we both know I’m the highlight of your Wednesdays.” His smile wasn’t nearly as sharp, but it could be just as charming under the right pretenses. Together they would make a dangerous pair - assuming Natasha would accept his advances one of these days.
“In your dreams Barnes. Don’t you have some dead guy to be learning about?”
“Sadly, they were fresh out of important dead guys today. I’m heading to the mixed media room instead.” Natasha stopped walking and looked straight into the sun, like she was about to start a really angsty speech in a movie.
“You’re kidding me.” She groaned, tearing her eyes away from the sky to pinch the bridge of her nose.
“What? Did you just realize I’m the perfect guy, and you should’ve went on a date with me the first time I asked?” This was one of those times Bucky’s smile was more charming than anything else about him. It was also one of those times where Natasha looked at him and got annoyed by everything about him.
“No, that was a good call on my part. I’m going to meet a friend outside that classroom, so I guess we have to walk together.” She didn’t wait for the cheesy remark Bucky was sure to throw at her before marching off.
“You know, we don’t even have to go on a date! I’m fine with holding hands for now!” Bucky chased after her, which was probably the worst part because his volume control while running was at an all time low, so everyone in the hallway heard the stupid lines he yelled after her.
“Steve, I don’t think you understand the purpose of this class.” You say flatly, dropping a canvas on his desk and absorbing all of his focus. “See, it’s about making your own art better, not fixing someone else’s.”
You weren’t exactly annoyed, actually you really appreciated the small details Steve added to your pieces when you looked away. Somehow he managed to pull it all together with three strokes of a brush, or a swipe of charcoal, or whatever he decided it needed.
“Who said I had anything to do with ‘fixing’ your art?” He asked smugly, putting his pencil behind his ear for safekeeping. You crossed your arms and practically dared him to say he had nothing to do with it.
“Right, because I’m supposed to believe Thor has the skills to turn my stuff into a masterpiece.” No offence to Thor or yourself, but the guy just had too much jock in his veins to be good at painting, and you weren’t exactly an artist yourself. Well, you were, just behind the lens of a camera rather than a sketchbook. An art course helped you hone your creativity, and Mr. Stark approved of creative shots, so here you were.
“Well if it’s a masterpiece, why are you complaining?” You didn’t miss the proud smile on his lips, or the fact that the same red paint that had 'magically’ appeared on your canvas was also smudged on Steve’s wrist.
“Because it’s not my masterpiece now. You stole it with your fancy reds and your, like, two bristle brush. How do you even get lines that thin?” You point out a specific thread of paint, which would’ve been unnoticable if you were any further than a step away.
“I wouldn’t know, I didn’t do it.” He shrugged lopsidedly.
“You, Mr. Rogers, are an awful liar. But class is nearly over and I gotta go clean up. This isn’t over.” You glare playfully at him and spin around to deal with the mess of paints you’d left unattended.
When the bell rang you and Steve were the last to leave, like usual. Neither of you had a class right after this one, and the other college students weren’t as meticulous in their clean up as you two were, so it only made sense to stay back and wipe down the tables. You were so focussed in getting one particularly stubborn ink stain off the table that you didn’t even talk to Steve until you were walking through the building’s exit.
“I’m taking this. It’s payment for vandalizing private property.” You smirk, plucking the pencil from behind his ear and placing it behind yours instead. Steve looked aghast, you were pretty sure it was his favourite pencil.
“It wasn’t me!” He reached up to steal it back, but you grabbed his wrist and held it in front of his face.
“Steve, I literally caught you red handed!” Which he saw now - the red smear from his brush that you were holding in front of him. “Don’t worry, I’ll take good care of your pencil. I’ll only feed him the healthiest vegetables.” You teased, dropping his hand and taking a breath of fresh air.
It was nice out, warmer than September should’ve been, but you weren’t about to complain. The longer the snow held off, the better. Plus, cloudless days were always the best for picture taking.
“Feel like posing for me today?” You and Steve had a sort of give and take relationship. You might say you were each other’s muse, though it was more for practice than for publishable pieces. He let you test out shot angles and a variety of filters while you sat pretty and let him sketch you from time to time. Nothing either of you handed in ordinarily, just stuff you’d stick in a folder and probably forget about in a month.
“Sure, but I’m meeting someone soon so I’ll probably go when they get here.” Even though he said it, Steve doubted he’d be able to walk away from you once you got going. When you had a camera in your hands time seemed to stop, not just for you but for anyone on the other end of the lens. Maybe it was from the wide contagious smile that crept up on you or the bubble of pure excitement that enveloped everything around you - either way Steve was about as resistant to you as aluminum was resistant to heat.
Which is to say, not at all.
“No worries, my friend’s meeting me here too. Watch them come at the same time.” You laughed, already feeling a familiar happiness seeping through your fingers when they wrapped around your camera. Sometimes you were concerned about how good just holding a camera made you feel - you had come to the conclusion in high school that you weren’t entirely human, but, at the very least, had the heart of an artsy cyborg. No purebred human could feel this attached to a chunk of metal the way you were to your cameras.
“Anyways,” You continued, sweeping the surrounding campus for a good place to shoot. “Mr. Stark has us doing one of those 30 day challenges. Today’s supposed to be 'sweet’ and I’m fairly certain the whole class is gonna have a cake or lollipop or something, but Peter and I have this competition where we do totally outlandish photos and find a way to connect them at the end of the month.”
Steve followed your pointed finger as you spoke, directing him into the middle of a vacant and mostly stomped down patch of grass. Meanwhile you rambled on, stepping up onto a bench across from him and fiddling with the buttons of your camera.
“Yesterday we had to find something pertaining to 'a noise’. Peter took a really dramatic Black and White of a dude smashing down on a piano and I got a shot of Mr. Lang’s muffler right when it started smoking.” You had one foot on the seat of the bench and the other supporting you from its wooden backing, camera already covering your face and snapping every few seconds, even though Steve hadn’t done anything interesting yet.
“What’s a muffler gotta do with noise?” Steve asked, picking up a pine cone from the half-dead grass and chucking it at the tree closest to him. You snorted behind the constant click of your shutter.
“Have you seen Scott’s truck? That thing was made like 30 years ago. I don’t know if you know this, but 'quiet’ was not a part of the dictionary back then. Even if it’s not on the edge of breaking down, that car sounds like it has a serious case of whooping cough.”
You caught a few seconds of Steve’s laugh and made a mental note to put them in your portfolio at some point, there really was nothing like Steve’s unguarded smile.
“Look, all I’m saying is it would save both of us a lot of trouble if you’d just go on one measly date with me. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy, I’m cool with a noodle cup and some Netflix.” Bucky badgered on, either oblivious or ignoring the fact that Natasha had officially filtered his voice out of her head and continued her walk as if she were alone.
The only time Natasha didn’t look like the world was dead to her was when the art building was in view. Coincidentally, it was also the moment Bucky saw Steve, who was maintaining a very unconventional stance for just waiting around. No one Bucky knew would stand in the middle of an empty field holding a piece of paper in front of them like someone was around to read it. He cupped his hands over his mouth and yelled across the courtyard.
“Steve-o!” Nat groaned again beside him and the short blonde head whipped around to wave at his friend. If Bucky’s nearly-perfect eyesight could be trusted, it looked like the sign Steve held had a cheesy love poem scrawled in girlish writing, and the second Steve realized Bucky was reading it he threw it on the ground and attempted to cough up his manliness again.
“Hold on, I’m not the only one who read that am I? Nat? What came after 'roses are red’?” There was no way in hell that Bucky 'still-teasing-you-about-your-fourth-grade-birthday-party’ Barnes would just let this opportunity slip through his fingers. Steve was Romeo-ing a huge oak tree with the most cliche poem out there, this was going into the books.
“How should I know? I didn’t read it.” She rolled her eyes and scanned the rest of the courtyard, no doubt in search of you, the whole reason she trekked such a distance with such an idiot on such a day.
“What kind of journalist-in-training are you? You’re supposed to read everything, that’s like, rule number one. I’ll tell you what, you come over one night and I’ll help you reme-”
Now, there was one thing Bucky never thought he would understand. Sure he made fun of people when they got all mushy, he wasn’t particularly against a little romance every now and then, and yeah, he flirted like he breathed. But Bucky could not, and would not, condone cliches. The whole 'butterflies when they look at you’, 'so in love you can’t breathe’ garbage you found in any chick flick, it didn’t exist, and he hated how such propaganda spread through everyday culture like some sort of disease. The last time an idea got this popular, six million people were murdered.
And Bucky would’ve loved to say it wasn’t exactly like the movies, that his breath didn’t fall short the second his eyes landed on you and his heart didn’t skip a beat when you lowered the camera from your face and spared him a friendly smile. But it was like that, and he found that he didn’t really give a damn.
“-Who?” Because he was momentarily struck dumb. Nat found him being speechless the most entertaining part of her day, which would explain why she was nearly buckled over laughing.
“Aha! I called it!” You hopped off the bench and picked up the poem Steve was holding a minute ago, folding it up and tossing it into your bag.
“Still, I didn’t think they’d come together.” Steve was just sour that his pencil was still lost to him, even after making a bet for its safe return if Bucky showed up last.
“Oh, don’t be a sore loser. You’ll get your pencil back when you’ve learned your lesson.” And you ruffled his hair. This, mostly, was what made Bucky’s stomach flip.
He’d finally found a girl that made him dizzy, and she was dating his best friend. That’s what all of the evidence pointed to, right? The stupid poem, the embarrassment written all over Steve’s face, the fact that he let her muss up his hair, when if anyone else tried he’d protest and complain.
“Hey, ready to go?” Natasha’s voice snapped him out of his probably overly dramatic thoughts. You and Steve were right in front of him now, and you were even prettier up close.
“Yup, are we grabbing Wanda for lunch too?” You tucked your hair behind your ear and scrolled through your camera, only paying enough attention to Nat so that it wasn’t rude.
“Nope, I think she’s doing something with her brother.” You nodded and looked up at Bucky, which definitely shocked him more than it should have. Had his mouth been hanging open? How was his posture? Were his clothes even clean?
“I think I caught you in the background of a few photos, do you mind if I keep them?” It didn’t even make sense why his heart was beating as fast as it was, but suddenly Bucky was aware of every wrinkle in his shirt, every strand of hair he didn’t gel into place that morning, and how very dry his mouth had become.
“Uh,” Words, Bucky, use your words. “yeah, yeah go ahead.”
He sounded so unlike Bucky that Nat smirked and Steve raised an eyebrow, but as a first time viewer you had no idea it was unusual for the first thing out of his mouth to be anything other than a pickup line.
“Great. I’m Y/N by the way!” You grinned and stuck out your hand for him to shake. He noticed this, but thinking about moving his hand and actually moving his hand were two separate things right then.
“Bucky.” He was probably still slack jawed and doe-eyed, and when he shook your hand it was jerky and absent, but you didn’t seem to mind. And oh, if you kept smiling at him like that he might not live to see sunset.
“Alright, let’s go. I only have an hour before my next class.” Nat nodded to Steve and started towards the food court.
“Polite as ever.” You laughed to yourself. “Thanks for letting me shoot you Steve, remind me to repay the favour, okay? And nice meeting you Bucky!” You shouted over your shoulder ad you raced after Natasha.
Not to sound sappy, but your laugh was the prettiest thing Bucky had ever heard.
It was a stupid thought, but it wouldn’t leave his head until Steve nudged his side, grinning wide. He had a feeling you had that kind of effect on a person.
“You didn’t tell me you got a girl.” He kept his tone light, because at least Steve had someone who was good to him.
“Huh? Oh, no it’s not like that. I mean,” He took a second to think about it and almost came out with 'I wish it was’ but Steve wasn’t great at speaking about these things, so instead he said, “no. We’re not dating.”
Bucky, on the other hand, looked very pleased with that answer.
“So she’s fair game?” Steve didn’t really want to agree with him, but he wasn’t about to lie to his best friend just so that he had a better shot at a girl.
“Yeah, I guess.” At least he wasn’t going to lose without a fight; if Bucky wanted to date you, he’d have to kick Steve out of the running first, fair and square.
Summary: Ever hear of a love pyramid? It’s when the history major, a fine arts undergrad, and a culinary student all have a crush on you. So in your second year of university, who’s gonna steal your heart first? (A Bucky x Steve x Pietro x Reader story)
A/N: I really took my time with this one, wow. Anywho, I’m trying my hand at NaNoWriMo this year, so hopefully that means more updates? Ya’ll should check it out if you don’t know what that is btw, it’s a lot of fun ^^ ((ALSO, huge shoutout to @tchallawalla for helping me make this entire series more-or-less accurate))
“What do you mean you’re staying? When did you sign up? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” Wanda was goes 90 miles a minute as you walked back into your shared dorm room, like there weren’t enough words in the world for her to express her panic in Pietro going to the same university.
After Pietro had assumed, incorrectly, that Wanda would be thrilled at the news and stop yelling at him, resident management swooped in and dubbed the bell a false alarm. Students filed back into their rooms by the hundreds, and Wanda took an entire three minutes before going off on another rant.
After getting settled on the couch beside your roommate and your soon-to-be roommate, you decided to intervene.
“Wanda, relax.” Which had her puff out her cheeks like she was swallowing down the swelling argument in her throat. “I don’t see why you’re so upset about this, don’t you want to see your brother as much as possible?”
Pietro, inside his head at least, was cheering you on. No one had ever braved the storm that was Wanda to defend him, especially not someone he’d only known for half an hour. If you could silence his sister with a couple words then you were clearly a force to be reckoned with.
“I do! I just wish he had told me about it when he was thinking about applying.” She grumbled, frowning and glaring at her feet.
“It was a surprise.” Pietro commented listlessly, like she should’ve expected it of him. You considered that he did things like this all the time, and thought of how much trouble Wanda would go through because of it.
“I don’t like surprises.” Again with the moping.
“That’s because you’re a grumpy old lady.” Pietro threw back, accompanied by your laugh. Pietro felt his chest swell, with pride or admiration he couldn’t tell. He wondered if there was even a difference.
“Well he’s not wrong, you are the one who guilt trips Nat and I into cleaning.” You smirk when her glare shoots over to you, but you know she doesn’t mean it. Behind those cold, unforgiving eyes, she’s smirking back.
“I still would’ve liked to know that he was coming to America.” She sighed, but seemed to have given up on the reprimanding.
“Hey, I’m twelve minutes older than you, I don’t have to tell you everything!” Pietro jokes and you’re laughing again, which means Pietro is feeling lightheaded again, and Wanda’s lips are curled up at the the corners as she realizes her “big” brother might be getting along with you a little too well. That is, if the way his shoulders rolled back and his eyes shined were anything to go by, and being right beside Pietro for 20-odd years meant she was never wrong about these things.
When Natasha came home it was with Sam’s arms wrapped around her waist and him smiling smugly from over her shoulder. The three of you were still on the couch, watching something on Netflix that drew your attention much more than the others.
It was easy to see this as Pietro was so finely focussed on sitting closer to you, and putting his arm on the couch behind your head, simply because putting it around your shoulders was too forward but keeping it at his side was too difficult. Wanda was mentally listing off all of the past relationships both you and her brother had had, going through the process of whether you were good enough for each other, and then imagining what life would be like with you dating Pietro. All the while you were watching this show like your life depended on it - as a photography student you were finely tuned to notice all the the cinematographic liberties the director took, and this director had taken plenty. You could appreciate all of the effort and consideration they used to get the perfect angles for each frame. It wasn’t an easy process, and by no means was it a fast one either.
“What’s up losers?” Nat asks fondly, hopping onto the empty end and dragging Sam with her. He mock salutes everyone in the room before wrapping his arm around Nat’s waist again, cuddling her into his chest. Everyone nods back, except for Pietro, who awkwardly waves at the two newcomers.
“This is the infamous twin we heard about.” You grin and gesture to Pietro, who is much closer now than he had been twenty minutes ago, though it was possible you just hadn’t noticed the distance - or lack thereof - before you had mentioned his name. Nat looks at you smugly.
“Not quite Darcy’s type.” So as to say he was actually rather good-looking, though it was little surprise because Wanda was gorgeous.
“Definitely not, though the hair’s similar.” You jokingly twist to look Pietro up and down, like you’re checking to see if he’s an egg with a crack in it. Or maybe like you’re trying to make toast with bread that expired a week ago and now you’re looking for mold to see if you’re safe to make it anyways. At this thought, Pietro realized he was a culinary student for a reason, and if he was the type to get embarrassed by his own thoughts, he’d be blushing.
Instead, he was blushing because a very pretty girl was blatantly checking him out, and though whatever you were saying might as well have been in Aramaic, he had a feeling you weren’t disappointed with what you saw. It was a pleasant thought, to say the least.
“It’s not long enough.” Nat was eyeing him too, which might’ve been a big deal if: 1. He didn’t care so much about your opinion of him, and 2. Her boyfriend wasn’t sitting right beside her, watching the conversation unfold.
“Nothing’s ever ‘long enough’ for Darcy, she’d crush on Gandalf if he went to our school.” Natasha snorted and Wanda shook her head with a smile.
“Hey now, if Gandalf went to this school and you didn’t have a crush on him you’d need to get your priorities straight.” Sam cut in, making everyone laugh a little.
“Are you saying you would dump me to date a grumpy old wizard?” Nat turned around to smile deviously at her man.
“Are you saying you wouldn’t dump me to date a grumpy old wizard? Not even for the fireworks? The cool hats?” At this point you and Wanda were both stifling giggles behind your hands, and Pietro was dangerously close to a laugh attack. Nat and Sam, however, were well versed in making drop dead serious faces during the most ridiculous of times, so neither of them were so much as smiling yet.
“Fair enough. I guess we’ll just have to fight over him until he realizes I’m the better option.” She shrugged, turning back towards the half-shed laughs across from her and leaning into Sam’s chest again.
“In your dreams sweetheart.” He kissed the top of her head and relaxed into the couch as well. The completely calm air surrounding them is what made you three bust out laughing, and before Pietro could realize it was probably a bad idea, he was laughing into your shoulder.
Not that you minded much, but it was strange for Wanda to see her brother so comfortable around someone after so little time. Pietro liked his space until he knew who he was around, and the familiarity of him doing exactly what he was doing wouldn’t normally belong in a timespan this short. She guessed it was just something about you that made everyone feel comfortable, and Pietro was partial to girls with big smiles and bigger hearts - much like his own personality.
Wanda decided that you two would be perfect together, and that if her brother ever asked her for help in winning your heart, she’d do it without question. Maybe, she thought, she’d do it without him even asking.
Meanwhile, Steve and Bucky were both thinking about you. Steve because, well, he needed someone to think of when he sketched, and Bucky because he was a sucker who wanted to see you as often as humanly possible.
“Do you know her favourite place to eat?” Bucky asked from his place on the floor, lying down and tossing up the stress ball his mom bought him when he decided his major; it was painted like a globe, which was, for whatever reason, the symbol for history.
“She likes the gelato place a couple blocks down, invited me to try it a few times.” Doodling in his secondhand chair, Steve regretted not taking you up on all those offers, but what was a guy to do? He was usually too nervous to talk to you, which was the reason behind adding to your art projects so often. If you started the conversation, he could deal with it better.
“What does she major in?” Another toss, another question. Bucky had been asking questions about you like some sort of lovestruck teenager who couldn’t get you out of their head. Which, despite his best efforts, wasn’t a far cry from accurate. He couldn’t get you out of his head, and he hated it because he hadn’t even seen you for more than two minutes and now he’d been fixating on you for at least 4 hours.
“Look, Buck, wouldn’t you rather hear all of this from Y/N’s mouth? Why don’t you ask her all of these things. That way you won’t freak her out when you’ve never said a word to her and yet know everything there is to know about her.” Steve had a point.
“Sorry. I just wanna know everything about her, you know? I don’t have her number or anything so I can’t exactly ask her myself.” Bucky put down the ball and sighed, thinking it would be a bad idea to ask Steve if he could have your number. Or even asking Steve to ask you if he could have your number. Normal people don’t fall in love with someone after two seconds of interaction. Bucky would be forever sour at how cliche and utterly dramatic that sounded, as it stood against everything he valued.
Then again, plenty of people in the world were overly dramatic, he could list at least twenty historical figures who fit that exact description, though he didn’t think it was fair to align himself with men who had started entire wars because of a single person. He liked to think he was of a different calibre.
Then again, he’d never felt like this about someone before.
“So get it, you’re friends with Natasha, aren’t you? They live in res together. And you know that she has Mixed Media with me, so swing by after class and maybe make some cue cards with things to say so you don’t make yourself look like an idiot again.” You’d have to be Bucky to know that Steve didn’t mean it to sound harsh, but you’d also have to be Bucky to hear Steve speak bluntly in the first place.
Steve had a hard work, hang in, hold on mentality. If you worked hard, you got something, and if you got something, it meant you deserved it. Nothing was free, and nothing was ever handed to you, but if you created the opportunity, you could hunt down your reward. Sort of like a treasure hunt; Indiana Jones wouldn’t have any benefits to reap if he never left his desk.
And yeah, he kinda hated himself for helping Bucky get closer to you, but if his friend was willing to put in the effort to see you, maybe he deserved that time. Steve didn’t like the idea of containing you like some firefly he caught in a jar, though would it really be so bad if he wanted one thing to himself? He was always the sharer - sharing a place with Bucky, sharing friends and crushes (apparently) with others, he shared his time and his opinion when Bucky needed an editor for his papers, or when you needed someone to shoot on the off chance that neither of you were too busy with other classes. Steve had very little to himself, aside from his job and his art, which, after he met you, was more of you than anything.
Was it selfish to want these two parts of his life kept separate? He didn’t say anything because he thought it might be, however much he believed he had worked hard enough to earn a thing of his own. Philosophically, Steve believed that things would happen the way they happened, and he had gotten good at adapting to that. He just had to swallow down whatever this disgruntled feeling was and accept it.
It was entirely possible that he’d just have to work harder to earn your affections, because he knew deep down you and Bucky would never fit together the way you and Steve could.