Royally Yours: Part Three
Bucky Barnes x reader
Summary: You’re unwillingly engaged to the Crown Prince of another kingdom, whom you had known as a child but then lost contact with. Time, deceit, and politics brings you two back together, but it’s a dramatic stretch to the ascension of the throne.
Characters: Bucky Barnes, Grant Ward, Steve Rogers, Natasha Romanoff, Pepper Pots, Peggy Carter, Bruce Banner, Lincoln Campbell, Betty Ross (more to be added)
Word Count: 2.6k
A/N: Grant…wyd babe (;
“Your Majesty,” the maid says, taking a step back from you and allowing your dress to fall at your sides. “Your dress is gorgeous.”
You bring yourself to smile at her compliment, running your hands over the laced fabric of the red and gold dress. “Thank you.”
She bows to you, and exits your chambers, leaving you to the silence you’d woken to. Your mother had visited your room moments before you’d returned from the fort’s look out, leaving Prince James and his lover to their privacy, and you had managed to evade her when the guards had sent her on her way in your direction.
Grant had not visited you since he’d left you in the evening before, which was not usual of him to do, but you had refrained from asking Bruce or Lincoln if they had seen him. Even you had to respect his distance if he was making it.
“Your Grace,” Bruce says, stepping into your room. “Princess Rebecca.”
The young, long haired brunette girl walks into your room, thanking Bruce and approaching you. She smiles as she looks around the room.
“I remember playing hide and seek with my brother when we were young in here,” she begins to say, and motions to the sofa parallel to your bed. You give her permission, and she sits.
“What can I assist you with, Princess?” you ask her, folding your hands together as you sit across from her.
“Nothing, really,” Princess Rebecca replies, hands grasping each other in her own lap as well, “but I wish to know if you would join me to eat breakfast.”
Your stomach clenches at the invitation, and she seems to notice your displeasure because she adds, “I will be your only company, Your Majesty. Our parents have already eaten and my brother is hunting.”
“Hunting?” you ask.
“He’s an excellent marksman,” Rebecca tells you. “The best in the kingdom.”
“Really?” you respond, slightly interested in this discovery. You can recall the temper tantrums Prince James had once exhibited as a child for not being able to aim rocks correctly to hit the crows that had perched in your favorite climbing trees.
“Yes,” Rebecca nods, starting to grin. “Bucky can shoot arrows and hit targets like no other.”
You smile to yourself. “Bucky?”
Rebecca blushes. “That’s what I call him, Steve too. James is too formal for us.”
You chuckle, and rise to your feet. “I would enjoy being your company for breakfast.”
“Wonderful,” Princess Rebecca grins, and takes you by the hand, pulling you out of your chamber doors, laughing.
You run to keep up with her, feeling a certain sense of childishness in your chest as her giggles and youthful gleam engulfs you in her wake, making you smile again, the only reason you have smiled truly this morning.
The princess brings a feeling of escape from the real world as she takes you away from the halls that lead you away from the throne room and instead deeper into the castle.
“Where are we going?” you ask when she slows to look around.
“The kitchens,” she replies, and then tugs you by the connection in your linked hands to the right. You come upon a servant, who yelps at the sight of you both.
“Your Highnesses,” the young woman gapes. “What are you doing down here? This is no place for royalty!”
“Relax Betty,” Rebecca shushes her. “We’re here to find Pepper.”
Rebecca winks at you, and pulls you past Betty, nearly tripping you on the stone floor as you struggle to keep up with her.
“Why are we going to the kitchens?” you question, and Rebecca doesn’t respond until she’s stopped in front of an open doorway, the kitchen staff working beyond the small threshold.
“Pepper always makes pastries in the morning,” Rebecca explains, “and she always saves a few for me in case I miss breakfast, like today. So, I decided I would share my special secret with you in turn for your friendship.”
Your words have been stolen from you as Rebecca guides you through the workplace smiling at every person you pass together, until she’s finally stopping near the back of the giant room, the grassy yard beyond the back entrance to the kitchens.
“’ello Pepper,” she says to an older woman, and the blonde haired lady whirls around, flour all over her frock and a shrewd expression on her face.
“Rebecca, what have I told you about coming down here?” the woman questions, and you raise an eyebrow at the way she speaks to the princess.
“Not to,” Rebecca shrugs, “but I missed breakfast today and so did (Y/N), so it’s an exception.”
Pepper glances at you, her pursed lips and analytical gaze unwavering. “Your Majesty.”
You nod to her, and she turns around, handing Rebecca a small carrier covered in a white napkin that looked more like it belonged on the table of the king rather than covering the contents of a wicker basket.
“Now get out of here, you little pest,” Pepper says, waving Rebecca along and you try not to chuckle at the woman’s negligence to address the princess with her title.
“She is something,” you say to Rebecca once you’ve both exited the kitchen from the back entrance.
“She’s glorious,” Rebecca responds, smiling as she sits in the grass under a willow tree. You sit beside her as she removes the napkin from the basket, and offers you a pasty. You take it gratefully, not realizing how hungry you were until Rebecca had revealed the treats, and nibble at it.
“I think they’re blueberry,” Rebecca comments, chewing a large bite of the pastry.
You chuckle, and bite your own, savoring the food as the flakes melt in your mouth.
“So is it true?” Rebecca asks after a moment.
You glance over at her, seeing her delicate expression as she fiddles with the sugar stripes on the top of her pastry.
“That you’re married to my brother.”
You let out a long breath, and set the rest of your breakfast on the napkin Rebecca had thrown aside. “Yes, I suppose it is.”
“But Bucky doesn’t love you,” Rebecca responds.
“And I don’t love him,” you reply.
“Then why did you marry?” Rebecca questions, becoming defensive.
“Our parents forced us to,” you tell her, not seeing a reason to lie to her. “My mother had sent word to James about me requesting his hand in marriage, which I did not authorize.”
“Why would she do that?” Rebecca asks, brow creasing.
You let out a puff of breath before bitterly saying, “The former queen believes that in order for me to rule Sokovia powerfully, I must have a man at my side, and she chose Prince James for me, not listening to me or respecting my choices.”
“But, you are the Queen, and she is not,” Rebecca says slowly. “Why can she still have that kind of control over you?”
“My mother forged my signature on a marriage document that our parents brought before a priest earlier yesterday evening,” you inform her. “The king, I assume, did the same for James’ own name.”
“They literally signed away your freedom of choice,” Rebecca murmurs, looking at you with a deadening amount of pity. “I am so sorry.”
“It’s already happened,” you breathe. “There’s nothing we can do now, except keep living.”
“Our parents are already planning a wedding,” Rebecca reveals. “I overheard them this morning speaking on their way to the dining hall. They plan to have you and Bucky publicly wed in three weeks’ time.”
“Fantastic,” you mutter, picking at the grass near your feet.
“How are you not more displeased?” Rebecca asks you. “Don’t you love anyone enough to fight for?”
You chuckle. “Rebecca, I was taught from a young age that I would marry someone I may or may not love, but time would change how I feel for that man.”
The princess stares at you. “And you believe you could ever love Bucky?”
“I do not know.”
When you find Grant, he hugs you closely, mumbling apologies for his temper into your hair and holding you so tightly you fear he’s afraid you will be ripped out of his grasp.
“Grant,” you say, pulling away from his closeness and creating space between your bodies. “Your behavior was not out of line.”
“It was,” he shakes his head. “I should never have acted like that in front of you.”
“You speak as if I have never seen you angry,” you chuckle, holding the sides of his face. “I know what is happening irritates you, but what is, is. This is out of our control now and we can all only follow along with it.”
“You will be unhappy,” Grant argues, not backing down. “You don’t love James nor this kingdom. To be happily wed, you must know the person you are marrying and be in love with more than just their beauty.”
“I have faith James and I will reconnect and be able to join our kingdoms willingly,” you respond, hardly a truth as you become wary of Grant’s rage yet again. “In our minds, at least.”
Grant scowls, and backs away from you. “I am not speaking to you as your advisor, (Y/N). I’m speaking as your best friend that loves you. Dearly.”
You stop, your mother’s words resurfacing in your memory: And you believe Grant has those best interests in his head alongside you, as your advisor? He is blinded-
Grant waits for you to speak, but when you don’t, eyes only remaining on his face, his shoulders lower.
“You being married to another man behind all of our backs pains me,” he admits quietly. “I have loved you for so long, (Y/N), and I have waited for you to tell me that you love me in return, but if least of all I can’t have you, then I want you to be with someone you do love, even if that isn’t me.”
Your lips part and you inhale sharply. “Grant-”
“Don’t say anything,” he cuts you off, grasping your shoulders and squeezing them. “Please, I beg of you (Y/N), do not say anything.”
You still try to speak, but you can’t find the words to use.
“Let me escort you to the dinner,” he says, taking your arm. “Let me escort you at least once while you know I love you before everything changes.”
Your body is not in your control as he guides you through the too long halls and turns, back into the dining hall. You do not meet his eyes when you feel his gaze on your face, and you release him as soon as you are close enough to your seat across the grand table from Prince James.
Grant dismisses himself as you stare in utter shock at the silverware before you, still not able to be certain that the conversation you’d just had was actual. Your mother is in the seat beside you, and the king and queen on opposite ends of the table, their children sitting where you and your mother are not. There is food in front of you, but your plate remains empty as the royals around you begin to eat.
“(Y/N),” your mother says, and you look at her for the first time since you’d left the conference chambers. “Are you feeling ill?”
You swallow, and realize you do feel unwell, but instead of answering her, you stand. Your chair makes a loud grating noise on the stone floor, and you manage to find your voice as you say, “Excuse me, your Majesties.”
You informally dismiss yourself from the hall, rushing down the corridors and towards the fort.
You stumble as you reach the courtyard, grabbing the wall of the castle before you push yourself out the exit doors, running to the fort like wolves were on your heels as you climbed the stairs to the watch tower, holding your skirts as your chest tightened with oncoming tears.
A sob rips through your lips as you burst out onto the top of the fort, the ocean’s spray dampening your face to hide the tears that begun to spill from your eyes.
“O-Oh my-y God,” you tremble, body shaking. Grant loves you, he loves you and it terrifies you more than anything. Only last night you’d admitted to yourself Grant was the only man you would ever willingly take as your king, as your husband, but now, knowing the truth of his feelings, this realization was thrust into your face, forcing you to think of your own feelings.
Just this morning, Rebecca asked you if you loved anyone, and you had told her no, but now, with your thoughts so disarrayed and your heart pounding with something other than fear, you couldn’t be sure.
“(Y/N)!” You hear your name called over the wind from the sea, and look back with blurry vision at the approaching figure of the Crown Prince.
“James,” you breathe, and pick up your skirts to get away from him, but he catches your arm, having run the rest of the distance between you two.
“Are you mad, coming out here while it’s storming?”
You didn’t realize rain had begun to fall, thinking it was the spray of the ocean, and you curse yourself for being so stupid.
“He loves me,” you blurt, and James stops, looking at you.
“Who loves you?” he questions.
“Grant loves me,” you tell him, and he gives you an estranged look.
“Who the hell is Grant?”
“My advisor,” you tell him, pulling your arm away and running your hands through your hair. “My closest friend.”
“You didn’t know?” James asks over the wind, head tilted. “I thought it was pretty obvious.”
“Obvious?” you repeat, eyes wide. “I didn’t know!”
“You always were pretty naïve,” James mutters, his voice carried to you by the wind, and you glare at him.
“This is not a joking matter!” you shout.
“You’re married to me, (Y/N),” James replies loudly, “There is nothing that can happen between you two anyways.”
You take a step back from him. “Really? Nothing can happen between Grant and I, but you can have a red haired lover?”
James’ face goes hostile, and he straightens his back. “She is not my lover.”
“I don’t care who she is, James!” you cry over the gusts.
“Then why did you bring her up?” James demands, confronting you. “Why did you tell me about Grant? I don’t care about him the way you don’t care for Natasha.”
You grab James’ arms, finding it hard to stand on your own. “We are married, whether we like it or not, and whether it be our choice or not. We do not love each other, and we do not know each other the way we used to, but we are trapped together now.”
“I know,” James snaps, holding one of your elbows as the winds become stronger. “We cannot annul our marriage, but that does not mean we have to consummate it.”
You stare at him, rain beating down on you both, until you look away.
“What do I do about Grant?” you ask him, finally.
“Why are you confiding in me about this?” he questions, and you laugh bitterly.
“Because are my husband, and we are meant to share our thoughts with each other,” you respond, “and you were also once my dearest friend, and I wish to reanimate that friendship, if I must remain at your side for the rest of my life.”
“Do you love him?” James asks, accepting your response.
“I don’t know,” you respond, gripping the Crown Prince’s arms.
“If you don’t love him, then tell him, but if you do, tell him you don’t,” James advises you. “Loving someone outside of our marriage is dangerous.”
“Is it a risk you are willing to take?” you ask him in return.
“I love Natasha,” he responds seriously, “with everything I am.”
“Is that why you met with her last night?” you question him, and he stares at you for the longest time before nodding his head.
“I wanted to elope with her,” James admits. “Before I got your mother’s message.”
“I’m sorry,” you say to him, holding onto his shirt. “James, I am so sorry.”
He shakes his head, and pulls you towards him as the wind pushes you closer to the edge of the fort, and shields you from the intensity around him. As he leads you back in the direction of the stairs down from the watchtower you hear him say,
“It’s not your fault.”