Your ability to remove emotional energy was what got you an invitation to the Avengers initiative.
At first you kept to yourself, overwhelmed by the high emotions in the tower. Bucky was the same way when he first returned from Wakanda. The two of you often bumped into each other at odd hours of the day and night. You usually respected each other’s space, just offering a nod of acknowledgment or a mumbled hello. Over time, you began to wait for one another late at night. On good nights you would retire to your room or his and watch movies or listen to music or talk until you fell asleep.
But some nights when the nightmares flooded his sleep and you found him gripping the kitchen counter, you would sit to his left and place your hand gently on his metal arm, siphoning the anxious energy that radiated off of him. Despite the anxiety and sorrow that sometimes rolled off of him, you enjoyed being with Bucky. He grounded you, at least when he wasn’t giving your stomach butterflies.
Sam was a totally different story. He immediately took a liking to you and did everything he could to get you to hang out with him. Most of the time, you were okay one on one. Sam had a lightness to him despite everything he had seen. You slowly became inseparable. After months of him plying you with your favorite foods and movies, you agreed to come down for a team movie night.
When you arrived, Sam was already situated in the recliner with a big bowl of popcorn. There was another sitting on the coffee table, and the popcorn machine was still hard at work.
“You finally made it,” he grinned, tossing you a beer from the cooler beside him.
“Hey, Sam. Thanks. So what are we watching tonight?”
“It’s Widow’s turn to pick.”
Right on cue, Natasha walked in with Steve and Clint. Wanda and Pietro followed directly behind. Steve grinned at you and you felt your stomach flutter. Anyone who said that Captain America’s smile didn’t make them swoon was a damn liar. But it was nothing compared to what you felt when Bucky cracked a smile, even if it wasn’t directed towards you.
“I’m glad you came, Y/N,” Steve said, patting the spot next to him on the couch.
Feeling more at ease, you smiled genuinely. “Me too.”
“So, Nat, what did you pick?” Wanda asked curiously.
“It’s this random B grade movie I found online one day. I haven’t seen it, but the reviews were pretty good.”
“What’s it called?”
You tried to hold back the nervous giggle that escaped you, but you couldn’t help it. It bubbled past your lips and you ducked your head, mortified.
“Something you want to share with the class, y/n?” Sam asked in a lilting voice.
You glared at him.
“Nope, nothing at all. What’s the movie about, Nat?” You tried to sound casual but knew you were failing.
“Why don’t you tell me?” Nat challenged clearly enjoying herself. “You’ve clearly seen it.”
“It’s about these four guys who have magic powers and a fifth one who wants their power.”
“Is it any good?” Wanda asked, intrigued by the premise.
“It’s okay. I’ve only seen it once or twice,” you couldn’t hold back another embarrassed giggle as you lied.
“Riiight,” Sam drew out the word.
He wasn’t the only one who didn’t believe you, and you buried your head in your arms, occasionally letting out a giggle.
“Why does y/n sound like she’s a fourteen year old girl talking about her first crush?” Tony asked as he walked in with Bruce and Bucky.
Vision followed through the wall to her right.
“Miss y/l/n’s heart rate is elevated and her body is flushed. She seems to be experiencing both embarrassment and infatuation.”
“Vis, not helpful,” Wanda said sharply.
“My apologies,” the android remarked taking a seat next to Wanda.
You threw her a grateful smile anyways.
Sam and Nat seemed to put together what your reactions meant at the same time.
“Which one of them is it, y/n?” Sam asked, sitting up in the recliner.
You felt the couch dip next to you and looked over to Bucky who was watching everyone, but especially you in confusion.
“Which one of whom is what?” he asked.
“Which one of the four guys in the movie was y/n’s first crush?”
“None of them,” you answered honestly.
“Which one of the four guys in the movie is the reason you’ve seen it fifty-two times?” Nat asked pointedly.
It was only then that you realized that the battered DVD case she had brought down was yours. Nat had probably heard it playing on repeat in your room. Busted.
“Why don’t we just start the movie?” Cap suggested firmly.
You shot him a grateful smile and he rubbed soothing circles into your back. You thought you heard a low vibration from beside you, but decided to ignore it. Pulling on Steve’s calm, you focused on not giving yourself away.
Nat obliged and popped the DVD in and hit the lights.
The opening credits played and you really hoped no one else would notice which avenger one of the actors oh so closely resembled.
Your hope lasted all of four minutes. Surprisingly, it was Cap who realized it first. Well not so surprising in retrospect. He choked on his beer when Chase Collins came onto the screen.
“You okay, Cap?” you asked hitting him on the back a little more forcefully than necessary.
“I’m fine. Just went down the wrong pipe.”
Once everyone turned back to the movie, Cap looked at you with wide eyes, arching an eyebrow curiously. You sent him a pleading look that was met with an understanding nod and a mischievous smile.
You pulled your knees up to your chest and wrapped your arms tightly around them, leaning your head on your forearms. You still didn’t feel small enough to avoid scrutiny. Steve lounged gracefully next to you, arm outstretched along the back of the couch. Bucky on the other hand sat with his elbows resting on his knees, watching intently.
Occasionally, the other team members would sneak a peek at you to gauge your reaction, but lucky for you never when he was on screen. An hour into the movie, Steve tugged you closer and wrapped an arm around your waist as he whispered in your ear.
You barely contained a squeak in surprise at his comment. Bucky was the only one who noticed the sound and turned, teasing smile in place, but it faded when he saw Steve’s hand on your waist. You felt the tension build in him next to you. Instinctively, you moved away from Steve towards Bucky, sliding your hand into his metal one and pulling away the feelings that plagued him. You could also feel Steve’s triumphant gloating beside you, but did your best to tune it out.
Bucky looked at you confused but content. You looked back at the television at the exact wrong moment. Chase was waiting by the pool to race, shirtless and you gulped audibly. Bucky turned to you with a shit eating grin, finally putting it together. He glanced at Steve who nodded, amused. You started to pull away, but he held your hand tighter.
Just before the movie ended, Bucky let go of your hand, stretching widely as the lights came on.
“That was actually not that bad,” Sam admitted, eyeing you.
“So, shall we vote on which of the four gets y/n’s motor running?” Tony teased.
Rolling your eyes, you unfurled yourself.
“All those in favor of the main tall brooding but sensitive archetype?”
Bruce and Vision raised their hands.
“All those in favor of the immediately adjacent, surprisingly even more brooding, but macho sidekick?”
Tony, Clint, and Pietro raised their hands.
“All those in favor of the sneaky, brooding, not as bad as he wants to be supporting character?”
No votes for that one, and you actually chuckled.
“And finally all those in favor of the generically attractive, only there so there could be four main guys supporting character?”
Sam raised his hand, surprised to be the only one.
“Oh come on,” Tony pouted, “You guys have to vote,” he whined at Natasha, Wanda, Steve, and Bucky.
“But you didn’t say our choice,” Natasha explained calmly.
You shot her and Wanda a betrayed look. Wanda just shrugged.
“Who? The blonde chick? I didn’t know you swung that way, y/n.”
“I was actually talking about the real bad boy.”
“That little dork on a power trip?” Tony asked in disbelief.
“Yup. All those in favor?”
You groaned as the four holdouts raised their hands.
“They were right? Really, y/n?” Sam asked incredulously.
All of them were smirking at each other.
“What do you all know that we don’t?” Clint asked Nat.
“F.R.I.D.A.Y., give me a profile on the actor who played Chase Collins in the Covenant,” Tony ordered the A.I.
“Of course, boss. Chase Collins was played by actor Sebastian Stan. Known for his role in the TV shows Gossip Girl and Once Upon a Time. He was most recently in the news for being mistaken for…”
Sometimes you didn’t think the A.I. knew boundaries, but when she stopped reporting you realized you had been wrong.
“Mistaken for who, F.R.I.D.A.Y.?” Tony pressed.
“Bucky Barnes,” the A.I. reported.
You could almost sense the remorse in its tone.
“So that’s it,” Tony finally got it. “You’ve got a thing for the Winter Soldier.”
“And so what if I do?” You challenged, hoping your bravado would throw them off.
Luckily it did, mostly.
“Well, that would be okay,” Tony continued. “But I would be very curious about how the winter soldier feels.”
You felt panic, but you weren’t sure if it was yours or Bucky’s. You glanced over at Bucky who was glaring at Stark. You considered running away, but decided to stand your ground. Steve whether he knew it or not was lending you strength.
“How I feel about y/n, is between me and her,” Bucky stated sharply. “So butt out.”
Tony for once had the common sense to shut up.
“Well this is awkward,” Sam muttered a few moments later, “Movie night over.”
The team quickly disbanded after that. Bucky was the first to leave followed quickly by Steve. You stayed behind to clean up, despite Tony telling you his robot would do it. Once the room was back in order, you heaved a trash bag over your shoulder and headed for the trash shoot.
Still calming down about having your crush outed in front of everyone, you went to the kitchen to make some hot chocolate. You most definitely were not expecting to find Bucky there with a steaming mug waiting for you.
“Hey, y/n,” he cracked that smile that made your knees go weak.
“I thought you could use some hot chocolate.”
You couldn’t help but smile, settling onto the stool next to him.
“Thank you. I was just coming to make a mug.”
He let you sip your drink in comfortable silence, keeping his own mug of tea in hand.
“So, you must think this Sebastian Stan guy is pretty hot considering how much of a giggling mess you were earlier.”
His tone was light, teasing, and you decided to go with it rather than get upset.
“What can I say? The smile, the body, swoon.”
You swore you heard him mutter something about being buffer than him.
“What was that?”
“So the smile? That’s what does it for you?” He was no longer teasing. You felt sadness and uncertainty wash over him.
Throwing caution to the wind you decide on the truth.
“Yeah. Sebastian Stan’s smile reminds me of yours. That’s why I like him so much.”
Whatever the super soldier had been prepared to hear, it wasn’t that. His eyes flew open and he stared at you.
“So you like him because he reminds you of me?” he asked to clarify.
“Well, yeah. What did you think?”
Scratching the back of his neck nervously, he chuckled.
“Well, I kind of thought that you liked me because I reminded you of him… I know I don’t smile much.”
You couldn’t help but laugh, but you stopped short when you saw his face. Turning so you could fully face him you took both of his hands in yours.
“Bucky, I like you. And yes, I love your smile. But I know right now that it takes a lot for that smile to come out, but that just makes it even more special to me. Every time I see you smile, everything around me feels lighter. And even when you aren’t smiling, being around you grounds me.”
“I feel the same way. I know sometimes you have to use your powers on me, but most of the time I feel better the second I’m with you. And I love your smile.”
He gently kissed one hand and then the other.
“And the way you blush.”
He leaned in closer, and suddenly you knew the butterflies weren’t just yours. He stopped millimeters away from your mouth.
“May I?” he whispered.
He closed the distance and for the first time you were kissing Bucky Barnes, and nothing else mattered. When he pulled back, there was a flood of emotions, both yours and his and it was enough to make you light headed. Noticing you swaying, Bucky swept you off the stool and carried you to the couch, settling you so your head was in his lap.
“I guess I haven’t lost my touch,” He commented with a smirk.
“Swoon,” you snarked back, though the effect was ruined by your panting.
Bucky smiled down at you, brighter than you’d ever seen and the buzzing, thrumming cacophony in your soul quieted. He stroked your hair gently as you stared up at him. You noticed when a flicker of curiosity passed over his gaze.
“What did Steve say to you earlier?”
You laughed a little, but still blushed embarrassedly.
“He said that I had good taste in guys, but he didn’t think you’d cut your hair that short any time soon.”
“Do you want me to cut my hair, y/n?”
“I don’t think so. It be a lot harder to do this…” You grinned, sitting up and tangling your hands in his dark hair and tugging his mouth closer.
You stopped a hair’s breadth away from his lips.
“Anytime you want,” he whispered, before closing the distance. His hands settling in on your hips.
As his lips moved to your neck and you tugged on his hair, you made a mental note to never let him cut hair shorter than this.