Sarah Wilson was a clever, bright, and quick-witted woman. Also, according to pretty much everyone, it was undeniable and clear that the mother of two noticed a lot of things and paid close attention to minor details, straight away.
Listen. Look. Learn. That was her motto.
She was proud of this and considered herself to be a perceptive person, even though she sometimes wished she was not. Not that Sarah was uncomfortable or complaining, but it turned out to be... What was it called? Oh, yes: a blessing and a curse. It was one thing to observe, but quite another to feel like intruding, in particular when it affected her family.
She never thought that, someday, she was going to witness this significant phenomenon right in front of her. Here. Now. Of course, she has watched films and has read books with this kind of, um, trope. (What? She liked romantic stuff.)
But this? This was palpable. Tangible. Real. There.
Bucky was playing outside with her kids, and he looked so carefree, relaxed, a burst of genuine laughter resonating through the air. That suited him, she thought. James Buchanan Barnes was beaming, in contrast to his usual frown. To say this man was an enigma was an understatement. Sarah got acquainted with him, and yet she knew little. Still, she wanted to think that at this very moment, he was happy. Free.
She couldn’t help but glance at her brother, who was standing next to her.
Sam was looking at him. Like that. As if he couldn’t breathe otherwise. Sarah could practically hear his pounding heart, and she never caught sight of this expression on her brother’s face before. That was the first time he looked so… complete.
Sure, her sibling always showed his emotions, and he was a warm and friendly guy… But this right now was different, so much more. He kept a steady gaze. He looked... gentle. Tender. Cautious, almost. He appeared young. So young. Vulnerable. Not taking his eyes off of Bucky, afraid of losing him if he dared to look away, even just for a second.
Her brother was in love with Bucky. That was obvious.
She saw. The soft touches, the increasing intimacy, the way they seemed to understand one another, the fire from within, the need. While actions speak louder, their silences also meant more than a thousand words.
“He looks good.” Sarah finally remarked.
“He’s beautiful.” Sam said, and his voice, Sarah had to close her eyes for a fleeting moment.
It’s not even a whisper. It’s a breath.
Sarah simply stared at him and she felt like crying; Sam has forgotten how to live until Bucky. He was aching for Bucky.
“Hm, is there any reason for you to keep looking at me like that, Samuel?”
Bucky was no longer playing with the boys and was now watching them, waiting, the hint of a self-satisfied smirk playing across his lips.
There was a wonder in his voice that she was certain tugged something deep in Sam’s chest.
No answer. Instead, Sam’s face breaks into a grin, then a bright laugh. The twinkling eyes, the joy spreading. He didn’t look vulnerable anymore - he looked whole again. Alive.
They were alive.
The two men looked at each other and nothing else mattered for both of them. Bucky was looking at Sam the way Sam was looking at Bucky. Something happened, she knew. Their eyes were full of feeling and soul, and of something she could not explain even if she tried. It belonged to them - and them alone. A promise. Then Bucky smiles, for real. Bucky smiles like a sailor sighting home harbour. Like he found something. At last.