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Need Some TLC

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The elevator was quiet, blissfully quiet. Completely devoid of the talking, typing, clicking, clacking, cart-rolling, pill-passing noise of the general medicine floor of the hospital you worked at. The bright fluorescent lights were the only thing keeping you awake. If your state of being was to be considered awake, you leaned heavily on the back wall of the elevator using it to keep upright. Swaying, your blinks were long and frequent, pushing off the fatigue until the last possible minute. You were almost home, after your fourth 16-hour shift in a row, you had your fist day off in ten or twelve days. The money from working so much overtime was nice but it left you tired down to your mitochondria.

Finally, the elevator dinged, and the doors opened. You stumbled out and onto your floor paying no attention to anything other than the floor in front of your feet, keeping ahold of all your belonging and finding your key. Your shuffling gait was in a direct collision course with one of the occupants from the other room on the floor. You shuffled on, not aware of him at all.

“Jeez, Y/N, are you okay?” Sargent James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes asked as he side-stepped your swaying shuffle.
“I’m fine. Jus’ tire’ is all.” You slurred. You came to a rough halt, not wanting to lose a moment with you floormate. You didn’t dare turn around knowing that you would see stars.

“Did you work all night again? Do you need some help getting to your room?” Bucky looked at you back, noticed your light trembling and swaying. “Never mind, I am helping you to your room. Give me your keys please, Y/N.”

“No. I can’t let my patients suffer.” You fisted the keys to your apartment, which was across from the one Bucky shared with the one and only Steve Grant Rogers-or as most knew him, Captain America-and lurched away from him. You tried to put more effort into speaking so the slurring wouldn’t be too heavy, a day nurse had told you that you were practically unintelligible. Your suddenly clear speech did not distract him from the fact it took you three tries to fit you key in the lock.

“What am I going to do with you?” Bucky sighed. You figured it was rhetorical and even if not, it was getting harder to stay awake. Bucky nudged you out of the way, unlocking your door for you and guided you in. You inelegantly threw your stuff on the counter, heaving a deep sigh.

“James, thank you for helping me get home. I should be fine from now. I am going to sleep a bit and get a shower. I am off today. I hope.” You faced James totally, wanting to convey your thanks properly. “I don’t mean to be such a burden to you. Let me know how I can repay you.” You flashed him a bright grin.

Bucky felt his breath catch. Even run down as you were, even dressed in wrinkly and smelly and sweaty and stained scrubs, your hair a greasy pile on your head and speech almost undecipherable. You were beautiful.

“Repay me? Y/N, there is no need. You are my friend. You are Steve’s friend. I am doing what anyone should do, being a nurse is hard and demanding on a full-time schedule, let alone the insane one you have.” Bucky said. You just shook your head and smiled.

“Fine, you win, mister. Now, if you don’t mind, I need a shower and to clean up my apartment and a nap. So, go do your ‘Avengers’ thing.” You made a shooing motion with your hands. Bucky held his up and walked backwards out the door laughing lightly.

“You shouldn’t lie to your elders. That isn’t polite. If you need me just knock. We just got back from a mission. Steve is still at the compound, but I came straight here” Bucky said. “Do you want anything to eat? I can whip up some eggs for you. You are looking a little thin.”

“I’m not ‘ungry. Have a few chores. Then sleep. Later?” You were slurring again. Bucky took your answer as a question. From sharing your floor, the last few months, he knew you were prone to skipping meals too often.

He and Steve used their heightened senses to keep track of you. Left to your own devices you slacked in the self-care department. He had learned that you worked 3pm-11pm most days but some days it was 7pm-7 am or even 3pm-7am, and the latter seemed to be happening more and more frequently. He knew you didn’t have much family or friends to alleviate the workaholic tendencies you displayed.

“Okay, Y/N. Why don’t you come over for dinner? We can watch Blue Planet. If you need us, we are across the hall.” Bucky offered.

“Thank you again, Sargant Barnes. Without your help I would still be sitting in the hall asleep.” You focused on his face once more. He peered closely at you and seeming to believe that you weren’t in danger of passing out, He ruffled your messy hair and left. He closed and locked the door behind himself.

The second the door shut it felt as if he took all the liveliness with him. You sagged where you stood, exhaustion catching up with you. You looked around and sighed, your place looked like a goblin had been living here for a month. The last two and half weeks especially had been rough on your floor at the hospital, being a general medicine floor, you took anyone eighteen years or older for anything at all. You could have a 20-year-old with the flu or an 89-year-old with a fresh hip replacement. You had the beds for any patient the hospital had to admit that didn’t need a specialty room (unless overflow happened). The floor had 60 beds for usually 6 nurses and 8 nurse aides, however, there was a low supply and high demand for healthcare workers. Recently, you have been the nurse for 30 patients and having to help the aides since there are only four or five of them a night. And even shorter staff on the overnight shift, leading to you picking up or needing to stay over because no one was there to relieve you. You also picked up shifts as a nursing assistant or patient care tech, believe that no nurse is above their aides and you understand you patients better. 

“Okay, let’s get changed and then shower. We can clean up after that.” You nodded firmly, pulling from the almost empty energy stores to get moving.

You pulled off your filthy scrubs, not even beginning to identify the mysterious stains and added them to the dirty laundry. After a quick shower you pulled on sweatpants and a shirt, feeling like a functioning member of society and not a dirty trash goblin. You gathered all your dirty clothes and began on of the many loads of laundry, while that went you did dishes and cleaned out the fridge, took out the trash, changed sheets, swapped the throw blankets on the chair and couch. You even wrote a grocery list for the next week or two. After doing a second load of laundry you called it quits. It was 9:30 in the morning and you needed some sleep before tackling the rest of your chores.

“Two melatonin and two-night ibuprofen should do the trick. I can sleep. I can sleep and not have to get up for work until tomorrow.” You said to yourself. You took the medication and curled up on the couch with David Attenborough lulling you to sleep.

“Some arteries of the blue whale of big enough for adult humans to swim through.” Was the last thing you heard.

Chapter Text

Bucky smiled to himself as he closed your door. No matter when or where, you cheered him up. Made him want to learn about this brave new world he found himself in. You were the one to show him how to use Netflix to watch documentaries or use YouTube to find how-to videos. You showed him that not all was lost, you treated him like a human person and not a ticking time bomb.

He walked down to his door and entered to the sound and smell of bacon cooking.

“Hey, punk. Y/N is home. She looks like she hasn’t been home in a week. FRIDAY said her floor was short but to be this short? That can’t be safe for her or her patients. So, I thought we could make her some lunch, inviter her over for Blue Planet or something? She wasn’t hungry for breakfast. She can’t skip too many meals-she’s losing weight as is.” Bucky shed his shoes at the door. 

“Of course, I worry about her too. Come on, breakfast is ready, and we can watch some TV or something.” Steve said handing over a plate full of food.
Bucky accepted with a thanks but couldn’t help but focus on the wall shared between your and his apartment. He could hear you muttering under your breath as you went around and cleaned up a little. You were dead on your feet and still you were active. He heard you start your shower and stopped listening.

“Buck, for the love of all that is holy, please please please please talk to Y/N. All your pining is driving me crazy. Ask her out on a real date. Kiss her spontaneously. Do something. Do anything.” Steve said frustration evident.

“Steve! I can’t do that. Y/N is a nurse. She is full of compassion and warmth and goodness. 

I am dark and cold and jaded. I live in this apartment to help re-acclimate myself to the world and myself after Shuri fixed my brain. I can’t do anything, yet. I need to be better.” Bucky said.

“Bucky, there is no milestone that says you are healthy. You work at it every day; it isn’t something that just is or isn’t. mental health is a constant fight, but as long as you are here? You are winning. You are healthy.” Steve said. He had put his plate down, in a show of seriousness.

“Okay, punk, no need to get all righteous. I have a therapist for that.” Bucky swatted at his best friend.

“Yeah? So do I. it is my job as your friend and as Captain America to shove my righteousness into everyone’s face, isn’t?” Steve picked up is plate once more. Bucky laughed and turned his attention to the television. It was showing some sort of museum show.

There was a moment of quiet as one program ended, and another began. In that moment, your shower had turned off, catching Bucky’s attention once more. You stepped safely out of the shower and he could hear you search through your medicine cabinet.

“Two melatonin and 2 ibuprofen-pm. That should be enough to take the edge off and get me to sleep. Here’s hoping they don’t call me in tonight.” You voice was accompanied by the sink running.

“Steve, did you hear her?” Bucky asked.

“She must still be wound up. Give her like 6 hours or so, and we will go knock. Do a late lunch/early supper. She will be fine. She needs her sleep. Medicated or not.” Steve rationed.

“Door’s locked and so are the windows. Laundry is running so is the dishwasher. I am clean. I am dressed. Everything is off. I am going to bed.” You pulled your curtains. Bucky listened to you settle into bed before your breaths evened out.

“Good night, Y/N, sleep tight.” Bucky said to the wall. Steve just rolled his eyes. Hard.

Bucky and Steve had watched some TV and did a small work out in their gym Tony Stark had installed for them. Steve had also done some paperwork that wasn’t due for another week at least. And you had been asleep for three hours. Bucky and Steve were getting ready to start another movie when a loud blaring noise cut through the apartment.

“ER. ER. ER. ER. ER.”

Bucky and Steve jumped and covered their ears, the noise harsher for them. The raced out of the door knowing that FRIDAY’s security system would prevent any fire damage. They paused at your door, waiting for you to come out. Then you didn’t. Bucky and Steve waited another minute and you stilled didn’t come out. The super-soldiers looked at each other then your door and back at each other.

“Do it. I can afford a new one. We need to get her out. It may be a real fire.” Steve agreed with Bucky silent thought. Bucky didn’t even wait before taking one step back and slamming his heel into your door near the doorknob. Your now useless door crashed open, Bucky rushed in heading straight for the closed door down the short hallway. He threw it open and hesitated for a half second to take in the image of you in your bed.

Your chest rose and fell evenly. Your H/C was laying on the pillow and your covers were pulled up to you chin, tucked in around your legs. Bucky blinked and remembered why he was even looking at you.

“Y/N! Come on, get up! The fire alarm is going off.” Bucky shook you a few times, but you didn’t even twitch. “Fuck it.” Bucky gathered you securely in all your blankets and hurried out of the apartment.

Steve was at the stairwell holding the door open as Bucky came through. They sprinted down the stairs and a few minutes later reached ground level.  The duo looked around at the other tenants and emergencies crews waiting for the all clear. Bucky stood holding you tightly a little way from the others.  A paramedic from the hospital you worked at scurried over with their medical bag in hand.

‘Sargent Barnes. Captain Rogers. Are you alright? You need anything? Is Y/N okay?” The paramedic seemed unbothered by everything going on.
“No, Ma’am. We are all just fine. We had to get out floor mate out of her room. She is a floor nurse at the nearby hospital. She was sleeping and didn’t hear the alarm ringing.” Steve explained. 

The paramedic nodded and glanced at you wrapped in blankets, in the Winter Soldier’s arms. 

“Y/N. I see her occasionally at the hospital. Glad she has two super-soldiers to look out for her. She needs some affection.” The paramedic waved as they continued to check over the tenants. 

After about an hour, the fire marshal came out of the building.

“Everyone is safe to return inside. The was a small kitchen fire on the first floor. There is no structural damage and only slight cosmetic damage to be repaired. I am confident there will be no rekindling considering this was a small grease fire. Thank you for your cooperation. Have a safe day.” The Emergencies Services left the premise, and everyone returned to their residence.

Bucky carried you up the stairs they had hurried down little over an hour ago. He had held you the entire hour they waited for permission to return, not even slightly uncomfortable. He gently placed you on the couch with a blanket and pillow.

“Steve, I think it would be best to do dinner in here. We can feed her and keep an eye on her and she won’t be alone with no door. I am going to get the stuff to make dinner and then be back. Once I get back you can go get a door. Make it a nice one and get an extra key or two.” Bucky said.

He looked up from tucking you in and saw the disapproving look on Steve’s face. Bucky rubbed the back of his neck guilty.

“I know it is a major breach in privacy. I know. But I can’t go through that again. I was really scared. And besides, we need to give her a key to our place and hide a spare as well. So, make two of ours as well. I have a plan.” Bucky said.

“Fine. If you have a plan, then I guess it is okay. I will clean up the door. Go raid our pantry to feed your girl.” Steve smiled at his best friend. Bucky scoffed in exasperation but left to get the stuff needed while Steve cleaned up the door.

‘What would have happened if he wasn’t home? What if the fire had started in your apartment?’ Bucky shook those thoughts away. You were safe and that is all that mattered. He began focusing on what to make for dinner not wanting to harp on the what-if’s.

He quickly gathered everything up and got back to your apartment where Steve was finishing measuring the door frame. “Bucky, everything is fine. Stop worrying. If you want, I can talk to Tony about outfitting her place with FRIDAY or something.”

Bucky looked towards his best friend, his closest friend. He was leaning against the counter as sure and strong as ever. “Buck, nothing happened. You did good today. Don’t go overthinking. I love her because you love her. She is family since she leaves us cookies on your bad days. She makes you happy Buck, I’d do anything for her.” Steve was steady from his eyes to his toes, certain in his declaration. Bucky trusted his words but trusted his body language even more (Captain America had loud tells, who knew?). The heart he was able to taste since the fire alarm went off began to settle and his shoulders lost their tension.

“Do anything for who, Captain Rogers? Are you cooking in my apartment, Sargent Barnes? Wait. This is my apartment, right?” You rose to a sitting position, blinking in disbelief at the scene in front of you.

Chapter Text

Captain Rogers leaned against your counter like he did it everyday, a small smile and baby blue eyes twinkling in amusement. Sargent Barnes was bent of the stove and counter frozen-as if expecting a reprimand-holding a wooden spoon in limp fingers. The kitchen was covered in food and scraps and cooking paraphernalia.

"Yes. This is your apartment. We didn't abduct you. And Buck here is making you breakfast...or lunch as it rather." The Captain explained. You stood up straightening the pajamas you were wearing.

"Oh. Well then. Thank you very much Sargent Barnes. I was just going to get something delivered. But-um-how did you-or rather-why here? I feel lock picking is a skill you shouldn't be using on civilians." You focused your gaze on Sargent Barnes raising your brow in accusation.

"Hey! You shouldn't be making wild accusations and throwing them about all willy-nilly. Especially about the person who is making your lunch. a lesser person would be offended." Sargent Barnes said with a laugh.

"Don't let him fool you. The Lunch is part apology for breaking down your door and part Buck's doting mother hen instinct. And with that I am now leaving. I have a door to go buy." Captain Rogers pushed away from the counter and stopped in front of you. "Glad to see you. Even better to see you safe and home. I also am going to speak to a man about a security system." Rogers pulled you into a tight breath-stealing hug; which you happily returned.

"Good to see you Captain. I won't lie, I am still pretty tired." You replied.

"Bucky, keep you phone on." Rogers left, stepping through the open doorway.

"Sargent Barnes, What did Captain Rogers mean just now?" You asked. You stretched in the entryway to the kitchen, full extension of the spine, fingertips hitting the frame. You took a deep breath, taking in the scent you were craving. "Coffee!" You cheered. your grabbed an oversized mug. you began affectionately mumbling sweet nothing to your coffee pot and sugar and creamer. Bucky watched from the corner of his eye, pretending to focus on lunch, he could feel his affection for you grow. He couldn't help but smile at the stir fry he was working on. "Sargent Barnes, What did the good captain mean earlier? Why do I need a new door? What happened?" You tried to ask again.

"I-may-have-broken-your-door-by-kicking-it-down-when-I-rightly-panicked-because-you-were-sleeping-though-the-not-fire-alarm-we-had-about-two-hours-after-you-went-to-sleep." Bucky rushed out in one breath. You gasped loudly. Bucky looked up to see you blanche in terror.

"I'm sorry. I must still be semi-asleep. You are saying that I was so tired, I slept through a fire? A real fire? I think I'm gonna be sick." You tightened the grip on your mug, looking for reassurance.

"Steve and I waited a bit to see if you were going to get up. and when you didn't I freaked out a bit and kicked your door down. I carried you down the stairs then waited for all clear. It was a small kitchen fire on the first floor, stovetop only. I didn't want to have you wake up alone with a busted door. So I made lunch and Steve offered to go get you a door." Bucky turned off the stove and plated the food.

"Oh. Holy shit. I you hadn't been here. I know that we are friends. I mean, right? Sargent Barnes, you and Captain Rogers are very important to me. but this is a whole different level. I can't thank you enough. You saved my life. I work such crazy hours and have no one to know my schedule. If you hadn't been next door, no one would have even known I was here. I could've died?" You breathing became quicker and shorter near hyperventilating.

"Y/N, don't think like that. Of course you are our friend. You keep us in god spirits when we are down. Or company when we are lonely. I am beyond ecstatic that I was here for you. The basic fact is I was here and you are safe, I and Steve are taking measures to avoid this in the future. I will always be here." Bucky promised. He held both your hands in his large ones, squeezing gently. His slate grey-blue eyes bore into yours full of sincerity and honesty.

You could not resist any man looking at you with as much intent as his eyes did, let alone the gorgeous Sargent Barnes.

"Thank you again, Sargent Barnes. How may I repay you?" you squeezed his hands, eager to please, eyes crinkled in happiness.

"I will accept payment for saving your life with two things. One, I want cookies. Tw, I want you to call me Bucky, Buck, or even James. No more of this Sargent Barnes stuff. That goes for Steve too. Those are my terms. On unrelated news; I will take no negations. Also, we are swapping keys. Steve is making copies of your key for us and copies of our key to give to you. The AI running our security from Stark already knows your identification." Bucky handed you a plate of the best smelling and looking stir-fry you had ever seen.

"Very well, you drive a hard bargain. Looks like I will have to accept, Bucky. Now, let's eat, I am going to repress this morning's incident. I will just freak out." You stuck out your hand and shook his metal hand, not even flinching. You shook on the terms before digging into lunch.

"Also, Steve is asking Tony Stark if he can install FRIDAY, kinda like our place. That way someone always knows where you are." Bucky squeezed in as you stuffed your face indelicately.

"MM-HMM" You shook your head vigorously. After chewing and swallowing-you washed it all down with your coffee. "No. I am a nurse. Nothing super, even if I am friends with two super-soldiers. I don't need that kind of security. If I work this hard again, I either tell you I am home or do what I need to do and then crash over on your couch. FRIDAY can alert you to if I need saving." You offer instead.

Bucky chewed slowly, staring at you thoughtfully. You ate in silence wanting to give him time to think over your idea. and to enjoy your first home cooked meal in days maybe a week.

"Very well. I agree with that. I'll text Steve to let him know the change in plans. Finish your food, you still have laundry to do." Bucky did exactly that and texted Steve. You sat at the table, full and relaxed and comforted by the presence of another human being nearby. Your blinks grew longer and slower. You swayed slightly in your chair, hands lightly trembling and Bucky could se you weren't able to track him in the kitchen. "Laundry, Y/N. Come on, up you get." You lurched upright out of the chair and stumbled to your laundry room. You threw your clothes in the dryer without caution. only pulling out your scrub shirts and hanging them on hangers in the bathroom to dry. you shuffled back to the living room were a cool bottle of water sat in front of the couch and a documentary waited for you.

"I am going to stay if that is okay with you. I will clean up the kitchen and help put on your new door. Also it will help my peace of mind, with you probably going to sleep again with no door." Bucky suggested.

"Go 'head. Like da com'any. Nigh' Sarge." You slurred you grabbed you blanket and twisted as you laid down, becoming a burrito. you fell asleep soothed by Buck's presence, leaving him alone in your apartment.

Bucky felt a surge of manly pride. He had made you food. He had kept you safe in a crisis. Your were comforted by himself being here to sleep. He had provided for you in the most basic senses and you were happy. His mama would be proud of him. Bucky reached down and ran his fingers through your hair releasing any lingering tension. You sighed shifting deeper into the couch. Bucky could only grin.

Chapter Text

The documentary was just about over by the time Steve sent a warning text to Bucky. Less than five minutes later, Steve came through the not-door.

"Hey, jerk. I found a nice heavy door. I also got bigger and longer screws to better fasten her door to the frame. It has a matching deadbolt too. I got three keys; one for you and me and one to hide somewhere. I made two copies of ours; one for her and one to hide. Can you help me with this door?" Steve propped up the door against the wall and emptied his bags on the counter.

"Thanks, Steve. You had the same idea I did. I want us and her to always be able to access each other's places. I do feel bad for breaking down her door. Y/N was very agreeable to everything. Except having F.R.I.D.A.Y. installed. She said she wasn't that important. As such she came up with the idea to come to our place if she gets this bad again. F.R.I.D.A.Y. can put up the safety wall until we or someone gets here." Bucky gently extracted himself from your grip and walked towards Steve.

"Buck, I told you, I'll do anything for the person who makes you smile again. To tell you the truth, I did a quick search on her. She's all clean, and all alone. The only child of only children, who live states away." Steve said. He had all the packages open and was getting everything set up. "No, I won't give you details. If you want to know more, talk to her yourself. We work just as weird hours, start small. Get to know her, even a friend will do you some good. Now, come on. I want to get this done before she wakes back up."

Bucky grabbed a screwdriver ad began removing the hinges and things. Steve put the hinges on the door. Half an hour later you had a perfectly functional and well fastened brand-new door shut and locked in place and deadbolt secured.

"Captain Rogers? Sargent Barnes? You're still here?" You furrowed you brows and pursed your lips. You must of woken up when the door shut.

" Of course. We told you that we'd replace your door. we just finished a few minutes ago. We discussed swapping keys. We printed them for you. We added your to each of our keychains and then we will hide them somewhere for emergencies. We won't abandon you. We promised." Bucky said.

"Sorry, Y/N. You made me cookies, that means you are one of mine. I don't let mine suffer or let them down or go back on my word. Sorry, sweetheart, you're stuck with us." Steve explained while testing your door and locks again.

"Oh, dear. To be considered a friend of the White Wolf and Captain America? What's a gal to do? Hey, do you think if I give Mr. Odinson and Ms. Romanoff cookies they'd consider me a friend? I could always do with more bragging rights." You teased. You threw a wink and laughed at the men's stunned and betrayed faces. "Kidding! I'm kidding! Sort of. I would love to met them, but I only share my baked goods with the neighbors. So you sweet tooth is safe."

"whew! Good. I was worried. They're our nighttime snack. and bargaining chip. What little bit we bring to the compound, get us many things." Steve said. His tone was light but his eyes were serious.

"And out of others." Bucky added.

"Well, I am glad you like them. And give you sway over others, because it is nice to know that The Star-Spangled Man with a Plan will resort to bribery if needed. If you ever have enough self-control, my cookies freeze well too." you said. "Anyhow, are you guys done fixing my door? Cause I'd really like a door." You got off the couch and rubbed your eyes hard enough to see neurons flashing.

"Yes, it is finished and done. the locks work fine with all three keys so we are good to go. Honestly though? You could do with some more sleep." Steve said.

"I know. but I can't. I have to sleep tonight or it will be terrible. I will be terrible. I have to clean up and do laundry. It would have been nice to get a few more hours this morning, but..." You trailed off with a shrug. "Being awake is fine too. I have to look at what I will need for food-stuffs. I don't know when I will be off again.'

"Is that really a good idea? Shouldn't sleep be more important? especially over cleaning." Bucky asked. He and Steve were in the kitchen cleaning up from lunch and the impromptu home repair. you came up next to them and pulled out scent spray refills and cleaning wipes and spray.

" I need to stay awake to get sleep tonight. I need to recharge for the next few days. I work 16 hour days the next four days. If I don't clean now, it won't get done. My apartment won't be clean, my food will spoil and laundry will pile up. Which ends up adding to my stress levels. I need to have my scrubs clean and sheets washed. I need things to be clean now so I can neglect it later." You said. You were very busy, yes; but not too busy to let filth turn to squalor.

"You have a point, several actually. But Y/N, four 16 hour days? Isn't that biting off more than you can chew?" Steve asked. He had packed up the stuff for the door and began trying the dishes that Bucky was washing.

"Probably. But no one wants to pick up General Care shifts. Our patients turn over is high and very drastically. Anyone over 18 can technically be on my floor as long as they don't need a specific unit like cardio, neuro or burn or children or psych. But even then, if they overflow and need a bed and I have one, can't turn them away. I am also desperate for money. I like to have extra for anything. I like having all my bills paid and in all honesty? My mental health is not great so I sometimes work a lot to work through my depressive episodes." You said. you pretended to focus on a stain on you coffee table to avoid the worried looks you knew the two super-soldiers were giving you.

"Y/N,, we gave you a key to our personal apartment today. Only three people have one and you are looking at two of them. You help us everyday. We will be there for you too." Buck said from the sink. You still couldn't look at him but you could hear the promise in his voice.

" I know. But before you I was alone and after you I will be alone. I always will and do appreciate the two of you. Never ever forget that, no matter what. I just know how things work in real life. I know that I haven't seen my family in 5 years because I didn't want to go into business with my dad or be a lawyer like my mom. I know that no matter how hard you try, people lose contact, you drift apart due to life." You shifted away from the very clean coffee table and moved around to change the automatic scent sprays. "How about I clean my place up and when I am done we look at getting pizza and watching Disney or a documentary?" You're attempt at a subject change was not subtle but the men got the hint. Bucky narrowed his eyes and his jaw ticked. You knew this conversation was not over. You smiled softly to ease his tension.

"Very well, Y/N. Mark my words, you are one of mine and one of Steve's. There is no 'after us. Bucky said, firm and steady. "Now, can we help you clean?" Bucky lightened his tone to alleviate the awkwardness.

"No, Sargent Barnes, and Captain Rogers, that is incredibly outside your duties. I cannot allow you to help clean my apartment. You made me lunch and fixed my door, that you broke down saving me. I can handle my own tiding up." You waved your hands in a shoo-ing motion and shook you head.

"Y/N. Let me speak plainly. You are missing something here." Steve said, he could see Bucky getting frustrated with you obliviousness. "You are family. You take care of us when we have bad nights and are home. You bake for us when you can to cheer us up. You help acclimate us to the here and now, you don't mind when we get confused even if we should know it. You let us tell you stories of our childhoods. You are there for us through the rough spots. You make time for us no matter what. We want to be there for you too. We want to be you family as much as you are ours." Steve said. He was leaning against the counter, arms crossed, jaw clenched and eyes laser focused on you.

"We care for you immensely. We worry about you and want topo help. We know that working odd hours affects everything else. You may think that you are alone but you are not. We have your back even if you don't think we do. There is no such thing as outside our duties, no request too big or too small." y continued. He seemed sad that this needed explained.

You paused in the midst of your cleaning to really look at the two men out of time in you living room.

Steve stood with his hands on his hips. He looked at you with concern etched in the lines of his face, lines that you don't remember being there before. Bucky was twisting his fingers avoiding you gaze. His jaw was clenched, like he was swallowing his words.

These two amazing men had only each other. The team, yeah but they had no one who let them relax. No matter where they went, they were always Captain America and The Winter Soldier. They are worry-ers. they worried about you and had before you said hello the first time and would if you had denied them your friendship. Captain Rogers and Sargent Barnes had lost their friends and family and even though the team and work helped fill that void the non-avenger aspects needed nurturing just as well.

If you were being honest with yourself, you need to nurture. A partial reason for being a nurse, you wanted to comfort people, help them heal. You also needed people in your life to help you remember that work and sleep and food weren't everything.

Captain? Sargent? I am honored that you consider me family. I consider you family as well. I am glad the two of you have my back cause I forget to watch it." You confess to the super-soldiers. You firmly met their gazes, squared you shoulders and lifted you chin. You exuded confidence and sincerity.

"Thank you, for being family and trusting us." Steve grinned, eyes and teeth twinkling with boyish charm.

"As long as you don't break another door of mine, we'll be fine. Now, I do need to clean up, so either settle or scat." you flapped you hands at them toward the door.

"We'll scat. We will be seeing you later." Steve came over to you and pulled you into a hug. He wrapped his arms around your shoulders and squeezed tight. You returned the hug with everything in you. he pulled away, lingering.

"You give great hugs., Or it has been too long since I had one." You teased.

"Ha-ha, I happen to know that I give amazing hugs. Also I may have added all the Avengers to you phone while you slept and gave them your number. Also I labeled me, Sam Wilson and Bucky as you In Case of Emergency contacts." Steve smiled sheepishly and quickly darted through the door to avoid retaliation.

"Steven, have you no boundaries?" You yelled at his back with a laugh.

"I didn't know he did that. Sorry." Bucky apologized from the kitchen.

"I don't mind. Just strange. I'll have to update my med kit here and my car and at work." You shrug with eyes bright.

"No one has really cared this much but that maybe stories for another time. Good night, Sargent Barnes. Tell Captain Rogers the same." You walked up and pulled him close for a quick hug. A fast squeeze around his shoulder helped release the last of the tension.

"Good night, Y/N. See you later." Bucky then headed out the way Steve did throwing one last smile at you before pulling the door shut and locking it with his key.