Summary: A series of firsts for Bucky lead him to fall in love.
Word count: 3604
Warnings: mentions of blood, reader injury
Prompt: Love: a feeling of strong emotion.
Synonyms: fondness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, yearning, infatuation, adoration, devotion
All Bucky could think as he walked into that building was that he didn’t belong here, here where all the good in the world was concentrated and where people fought relentlessly for the side he wasn’t on. He was evil. He’d committed more atrocities in half a lifetime than probably anyone in the country, the world even would ever consider doing. He was roused from his thoughts when his best friend Steve placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. ‘Wait until you meet (Y/N)’ he’d said. ‘You’ll love her’. He was doubtful. He wasn’t even sure if he still had a heart and if he had no heart how could he hope to feel anything but fear and hatred? How could he feel love? When he thought about his heart, about whether it was still there or not, he always envisioned a shrivelled lump of charred muscle, beating but only just. Sometimes he didn’t even see this, sometimes it was just a vacuum, a dark void, a pathway to hell. He was forced to look up when Steve introduced her and when he did he was sure he’d died in Siberia. She was an angel, a goddess and for some reason he couldn’t fathom she was smiling at him. When he first saw her he was an empty shell of darkness. When he first touched her, when she bound up to him and embraced him as though she made known him her whole life, the shell began to crack and a single beam of light was projected onto his soul. When she left his arms she took his broken heart with her, holding it in her delicate hands and preparing to nurture it with such a powerful love that it would soon resemble that of a heart belonging to a human.
Bucky had been sat, staring at her empty chair and frowning the first time he’d felt anything close to human emotion. A meeting for the whole team surely included (Y/N) and yet she wasn’t here. The man with the eyepatch started without her, only making him frown more.
She was still in her bedroom, hopping around and hastily trying to tug a sock onto her foot. Cursing repeatedly as she had done since she woke up, checked the time and realised that she had way over slept and would definitely be late for the meeting, she picked up a rogue hair tie and on her way to running to the conference room pulled her hair into a loose ponytail. When she burst in everyone had looked at her, instantly grinning despite her interruption and as she mumbled apologies even the Director Fury had been unable to hide an affectionate smile. Bucky had watched with bated breath as she rushed over to her seat and sat down heavily next to him, huffing as she took out a notebook and a pen and only when he felt her arm pressed against his did he allow himself to exhale. His eyes didn’t leave her as she leant over to him to copy his notes on what she’d missed and could not help but smile with a great fondness for her. It had seemed so natural then that he didn’t register that this had been the first time he’d smiled since he got here.
After this he smiled every time he saw her, powerless against her beautiful grin and bubbly personality and each day his own smile grew ever brighter. It had almost become a knee jerk reaction to seeing her.
The first time he’d not felt like a monster was also because of her. Against his will Steve had made him come down and join the others for a movie night, saying it would help him bond with the team and when he entered the common area he threw himself down on one of the couches and stretched his legs out across the full length of it. When she walked in, cocooned in a blanket his eyes lit up and he grinned. Her eyes met his with the same expression and she shuffled over to him. When he went to move his legs so she could sit down she had shook her head and pulled them silently back to where they were before. ‘Can I lay on top of you Buck?’ she had whispered and the whole room fell silent as if bracing themselves for his answer. He nodded and held his breath, his pulse accelerating as she climbed onto him, resting her head gently on his chest and intertwining her legs with his. When his arms reached around her waist and his hands joined at the bottom of her back she hummed contentedly and a burning warmth exploded inside of him, illuminating even the darkest corners of his soul. He smiled softly as she fell asleep on his chest.
The first time he saw her cry was one of the most painful experiences of his life. The way she had looked up at him, her eyes filled with sorrow as he entered the kitchen to escape from another nightmare made his chest ache and he felt the need to comfort her. When he’d asked her if she was ok it was like he’d ripped down the flood barrier and she wept, her shoulders shaking, her hands tightening around the glass of water she gripped. He instantly went to her and held her close to his body and when he felt the sobbing subside he pulled her away and looked into her watery eyes. ‘What’s wrong?’ he inquired, wanting desperately to help her.
‘It’s back home’ she rasped between shaky breaths. ‘My mom, she’s been in an accident, they don’t know if she’ll make it’. At these words she released a heart wrenching sob and collapsed back into fitful weeping. He simply took her by the hand and led her to her own room, got a bag out and began packing all her essential items while she stood watching, unsure of what he was doing. He handed her the bag and once again took the lead down to the hangar, to Tony Stark’s private jet and told her to get on it, go visit her mother and leave Stark to him. ‘Buck you’re the best’ she’d whispered in his ear as she pulled him in for a hug and he felt a new intimacy with her that made his heart swell and beat harder than it ever had before.
The first time she went on a mission without him felt like he had lost some part of himself that he wasn’t going to get back until she returned. One day. One day she’d been gone and already he missed her gorgeous (Y/E/C) irises, lit up by a wide grin. He missed how she made him feel normal and now that she wasn’t there he began to notice the way the others looked at him, either with pity or disgust, and he hated it. The previous night he’d had the worst nightmares he’d ever experienced. Despite knowing that she was brilliantly trained and could look after herself with ease he tortured himself with mental images of her in danger, her perfect face twisted with fright and pain and he woke, screaming and soaked with sweat.
She’d be gone for a month. A whole month. If this was what it was like after a day he dreaded to think of himself in a month, of how much of a wreck he’d be. To distract himself he took Steve’s advice, to jot down or think of all the things that drew him to her. He’d decided against writing them down, he wouldn’t have enough paper to accurately put into words all the enchanting and unique things he liked about her. She had such a high affinity for love that no one could go near her without gravitating to her, people wanted to be near her and to love her as she loved everything. So many of us struggle with defining this one abstract word and yet if only the whole world were to meet her it would all become clear. She was love personified, a living embodiment of the purest emotion. When he thought about her too much it was like he was being stabbed repeatedly in the chest so he tried to limit the amount he did.
He knew when he felt that hollow pain constantly present in his chest after a few days that he had developed an unparalleled attachment to her that he didn’t, couldn’t, feel with anyone else.
The first time she’d been injured on a mission hit him like a ton of bricks. He’d been chatting to her through the comms, talking about what movie they were gonna watch together when they got back when her voice was replaced by a sharp gasp and whimpers of choked back tears. ‘Buck’ she whispered. ‘I’ve been hit’. At these four words his blood ran cold. Overcome by a fit of rage he was given a new strength and, knocking out and probably killing several HYDRA agents he made a beeline for where she was all the while trying his hardest to convince her, himself, that she’d be ok. When he saw her body, a crumpled heap in a pool of blood, his heart stopped and he ran to her, crouching at her head and cradling it in his hands. ‘Bucky I’m scared’ she said, almost guiltily and, looking down at the bullet wound in her lower abdomen she winced and looked into his panic stricken eyes.
‘You’ll be alright doll, I promise’ he assured, sliding one arm under the back of her knees, the other under her neck and lifting her gently off of the concrete. ‘I’ll take you back to the jet, Banner will fix you and you’ll be fine’ she looked up at him and offered a small smile which he was unable to reciprocate. When she felt the darkness fast approaching, she let her eyelids droop, not having the energy to fight it. ‘No, (Y/N) you’ve got to keep your eyes open, look at me, dammit!’ he had yelled as he picked up his pace to a flat out sprint to get to the jet. She tried to keep her eyes open with all her might but soon it became too much and she gave it, letting her eyelids fall. The last thing she heard was Bucky screaming ‘No!’ at the top of his lungs.
‘She’ll be ok Sergeant Barnes, she’ll wake up any day now’ Bruce reassured him but his eyes never left her next to lifeless body on the hospital bed, the only thing he could hear being the steady beeping of the heart rate monitor. While she was out his subconscious had found a new way to make him suffer, filling his sleepless nights with the replaying scene of him looking into her fear filled eyes from a sea of her own blood.
Despite his knowledge that she’d be back soon, he felt a yearning for her gentle smile, her bright eyes and her radiant glow all of which seemed to have been extinguished as she lay there completely helpless.
The first time he’d felt needed was just after she’d recovered. Of course she couldn’t go on the next mission but the rest of the team, apart from Bucky, had had to leave for it. When she felt she could stand he’d been at her bedside, one arm firmly around her waist, and she’d leant on him, putting her entire weight on his side. She’d thrown her arm over his shoulders and was gripping his flesh one tightly, refusing to let go as he’d acted as her crutch, getting her safely to the common area where she could sit down and rest. He lowered her with great care onto one of the plush couches and looked worriedly into her eyes to see if she was comfortable. ‘I’m fine Buck, relax’ she’d said lightly, giggling at him when his face softened.
'I got you this’ he’d said in a gruff voice, obviously embarrassed as he handed her a box and sat down next to her. When she lifted the lid his eyes never left her face as he gauged her reaction to his gift and her eyes widened as she dropped the lid to the floor. 'What’s wrong? Don’t you like it!?’ he asked, panicked by her silence.
'Bucky I love it’ she’d whispered as she rifled through the contents of the box, several of her favourite DVD’s, box after box of chocolates, her favourite perfume. It was easily the most thoughtful gift anyone had ever given her. 'How’d you remember I loved all this stuff?’ she asked in disbelief, looking back into his eyes.
'How could I forget?’ he replied with such intensity that she’d flushed and looked away. 'Anyway I figured you’d be bored sitting here until you’re better on your own’ he said.
'I won’t be on my own, I have you Bucky’ she smiled at him before reaching into the box and pulling out one of the many boxes of chocolates and, taking the lid off, she offered one to him which he took without complaint. From then on she not only captured his attention when she was in the room, not only did his eyes follow her wherever she went but his thoughts too now never left her. Because of this infatuation he was unable to think of anything but her, to do anything for anyone but her. She was his priority and the importance of everything else fell away.
The first time he’d felt the full strength of his heart had arrived when he’d least expected it. The team were all up early so they could catch a flight to a democratic mission and were not at all awake yet. Most were up, still in their pyjamas but up nonetheless. Clint and Natasha were huddled together with bowls of cereal in their laps and there was a queue to get to the coffee grinder. (Y/N) was propped up against the counter, staring past the mug of coffee in her hands, her eyes blank as sleep still cast a shroud of fog over her mind. Bucky had just woken up, later than the others as he’d gotten less sleep than them what with his regular nightmares. Shuffling through the doors, the team ignored him, still far too tired to be prepared to exert any effort in acknowledging him. He didn’t care that no one saw him, his eyes moved immediately to the one person who he held any interest for. She had a blanket draped around her hunched shoulders and her hair was piled up on top of her head in a messy bun, strands coming loose and falling onto her face.
As he watched her, slouched over a mug of coffee his eyes were filled with a look of immense adoration and his chest heaved with emotion as her heavy eyelids lifted to gift him with the perfect smile. Despite his little sleep he couldn’t possibly suppress the warm grin that lit up his face in response.
The first time he’d kissed her had been an experience like no other. She was sick and had been in bed all day, keeping her door locked and insisting that no one come in to see her saying she didn’t want to infect everyone else. Bucky had of course protested earnestly against this but her stubborn nature meant he was never going to get anywhere with her. He stood in front of his mirror, trying to ignore the guilty twang in his heart as he adjusted his tie in preparation for one of Tony’s parties. He wasn’t sure how he was going to survive the whole thing without her by his side but he pushed these thoughts aside when FRIDAY announced that the party was in full swing. Upon his entrance several women, obviously already intoxicated, approached him and, as he made his way to the bar to meet Steve, he shrugged them off. Politely declining when each asked him to dance he was relieved when he saw Steve, drink in hand and chatting flirtatiously to Sharon. As much as he tried he couldn’t take his mind off of (Y/N), still laying in bed without company so as soon as he got to the bar he excused himself. 'Sorry Steve, I’ve got to go’ he’d said and when he asked him why he replied simply, 'I need to see (Y/N)’. Steve understood immediately, fully aware of his best friends feelings for her and nodded at him. He had felt wrong being at that party without her and, pushing through all the women in little clothing throwing themselves at him, he made his way to see her, his devotion for her overpowering all else. He arrived at her door and knocked softly, entering before she could reply, knowing full well she’d have FRIDAY lock the door if he waited.
'Buck get out, you’ll get sick’ he heard her voice before he saw her and he smiled to himself at how she knew it was him even before he’d spoken. He smiled even wider when he saw her face peeking out from the covers of her bed, the tip of her nose pink and her cheeks flushed. 'Don’t smile at me like that, I’m not joking’ she said, her blocked nose making her voice sound nasally. He came and sat on the side of her bed, aiding her as she struggled to sit. 'Buck I swear to god-’
’(Y/N) I like you. Like I really, really like you’ he cut her off. After this he paused and she interjected again, complaining that in such close proximity he was bound to get sick. 'I’m a super soldier, I’ll be fine. Anyway (Y/N) I think you’re so beautiful and kind and funny and sweet. You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met’ he said all this in a rush and before she had chance to reply, he leant forwards and captured her luscious lips in his own. He regretted this immediately and was about to pull away when he felt her kiss back, feeling one of her hands find its way to his hair and, using the other hand to prop herself up she couldn’t find it in herself to break away as she knew she probably should. When she finally did she was breathless, staring deeply into his darkened eyes.
'I like you too Bucky’ she whispered. 'But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m ill’.
'Doll I think if there was any chance that I’d get what you’ve got, I’ll have caught it by now’ he said, smirking. 'Besides I couldn’t stay at that party without you’. He couldn’t believe that someone like her could even entertain the notion of liking him back and yet she did. It was like all his dreams had come true and he couldn’t possibly contain the grin that made his cheeks ache.
The first time he’d said he loved her was his new most terrifying experience of his life. Calming his nerves by regulating his breathing and squeezing his eyes shut he anticipated her return with great fear. He was waiting in the hangar for her return from a mission and was planning on telling her the moment she got off. When she saw him she’d sprinted off of the jet and ran straight into his arms, jumping up and wrapped her legs around his waist. They’d been dating now for just two months but he’d never been more sure as to how he’d felt about her. 'I love you (Y/N)’ he whispered, so quietly that he worried that she didn’t hear when she didn’t reply. She took a deep breath.
'I love you too Bucky’ she said in the same hushed tone and he laughed in disbelief, holding her closer to his body and burying his face in her hair.
'I love you, I love you, I love you’ she chanted, with each repetition planting a kiss on his face. She beamed at him as he slid the beautiful ring in her finger and he looked into her eyes before sweeping her off of her feet and pressing a passionate kiss to her puckered lips.
'I love you more, doll’ he growled against her lips as she grinned delightedly.
His eyes widened and tears pooled in his eyes as he watched her walk up the aisle, her flowing white dress illuminating her already bright features. 'I love you, beautiful’ he whispered as she met him at the alter.
'I love you Buck’ she’d replied, taking both his hands in hers as they turned to look at the minister.
When he stood with her then at the end of the aisle it all became clear. Love is defined as a strong feeling of affection but to him it was so much more. He felt for her a fondness and warmth he could not even hope to replicate, an intimacy he had with no other, an attachment to her that meant even an hour without her had him yearning for her soft touch, an infatuation that meant he gazed at her like she had hung the moon, an adoration with which everything she did pulled on his heart and made him fall for her that little bit more and a devotion so strong that he rarely even talked to another woman, unless of cause for a mission, as his heart belonged entirely to her.