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Laughter Lines

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Bucky’s phone ringing shrill in his ear was what woke him up. Frantically he snatched it off of the side table and answered the call.

“Your order at the florist is all set, and you can pick it up anytime after ten,” Nat’s soft voice filtered through the phone. Bucky cleared his throat, and blinked sleep heavy eyes.

“Thanks, Nat,” he murmured softly.

“You’re welcome, James,” she said, and then promptly hung up. Bucky sighed and put his phone back on his bed side table. Rolling onto his back he stared at the cold, empty side of his bed. A leather sketchbook the only object on the opposite table.

With heavy limbs, Bucky set about getting ready for his day. He showered and made a cup of coffee. He dressed in a pair of black jeans with a red t shirt and his leather jacket over it. After checking the apartment one last time, he grabbed his keys and made his way out into the drizzling June day.

It was chilly for summer, at least below sixty, and Bucky felt his heart thumping uncomfortably in his chest as he made his way down the sidewalk. He walked to the florist that Nat had ordered from and picked up a large bouquet of forget me nots and white lilies. Bucky tried not to dwell on the color for too long as he walked back onto the street and hailed a cab from the curb.

“Where to, son?” the man in the front seat asked.

“770 Riverside Drive,” Bucky replied.

“The Trinity Graveyard?” the man confirmed.

Bucky sighed and stared out the window at the rain. The world moving past him, completely unaware of what day it was.

“Yeah, that’s it,” Bucky said as the cab pulled away from the curb.


The drive was long and quiet, and Bucky paid the cabby with cash before getting out into the rain. Thankfully it wasn’t falling too hard, and there was no threat of it freezing over anymore. Eyeing the gates to the cemetery, Bucky took a deep calming breath before walking through the entrance.

He’d never thought that cemeteries were creepy. On the contrary, Bucky had always thought that they were peaceful places. A place to rest, and be content. He trudged along the muddy paths through the light rain, uncaring that his hair would most likely frizz since he hadn’t bothered to pull it up. After a few minutes of walking leisurely through the silent stone monuments and grave stones, Bucky found the one that he was looking for.

Light, white marble, shining and clean.

Bucky felt his throat tighten as he stared down at it, and held the flowers close to his chest. He was about to start crying, when a soft hand wrapped around his own flesh and blood hand.

He’d know that touch anywhere, and wasn’t surprised when a pair of baby blues peered up at him sadly.

“You alright, Buck?” Steve asked quietly. The boy’s short blonde hair barely covering his once bald head. But Bucky was sure that he’d never seen anything more beautiful than his baby standing next to him.

Bucky huffed and tried to clear his throat.

“I’ll be okay,” he said, turning his attention back to the gravestone. It was quiet for a long time between the two boys, but Steve never let go of his hand.

“They would have loved you, yah know,” Bucky murmured, jerking his head at the grave. Steve answered the comment with a small smile and a blush.

“You think so?” he asked.

“I know so. Who wouldn’t love a punk like you?” Bucky asked, attempting to make light of the situation. Staring down at the three names of his mother, father and sister on the grave, he knew that his words were the truth. They would have loved Steve because Bucky loved Steve.

Bucky leaned down to place the flowers he’d bought on the ground in front of the grave and Steve put down his own smaller bouquet of daisies. Bucky had mentioned once that those had been his sister’s favorites.

Standing back up, Bucky breathed in deeply a few times and tried to untangle the knot in his chest. Steve just stood beside him, squeezing his hand and offering him the support that he needed. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed before he looked over at his tiny boyfriend, and leaned down to brush his lips against Steve’s. The smaller boy hummed happily into the kiss, pushing one hand into Bucky’s unkempt hair and cupping his cheek with the other.

When Bucky pulled back with a soft grin, Steve returned it. The brunette slung his arm around the blonde’s waist and slowly turned them.

“Ready to go home?” Bucky asked.

“Yes,” Steve smiled blissfully. They walked back out of the graveyard in content silence, and once they were on the street, Steve suggested they walk for a bit.

“How was class?” Bucky asked.

“Miserable! You know I hate waking up that early. It’s no fun when I have to get out of bed before you,” Steve muttered unhappily. Bucky bit his lip to hide a smile.

“Me either baby, but you aren’t going to be a world famous comic book illustrator with that kind of attitude,” he smiled.

“It’s a good thing I enjoy what I’m doing, otherwise I’d just lay around in bed with you all day,” Steve huffed. Bucky only laughed and pulled his boyfriend closer, kissing the side of his head, and nuzzling the soft short hair on top.

It had been six months since Steve had been the test subject of Project Rebirth. At first Bucky had been adamantly against it. It was a governmental test therapy. A serum that had been designed to eradicate any cancer within the body, and repair it to it’s original state. He hadn’t been sure of the consequences, and no one could give him a straight answer that it would work. Of course, leave it to Steve to go behind Bucky’s back while he was at home showering and agreeing to the entire thing.

However, once he’d gotten done with the first three treatments over the course of three weeks, Steve’s doctors, (and Bucky), had been amazed to see that his cancer was receding entirely. The entire project ended with a final dose of the serum directly into Steve’s nervous system. Bucky had nearly been beside himself with worry while waiting for him to get out of surgery. But when he finally saw Steve laying on the recovery bed, talking to Dr. Erskine about the serum, he had a fleeting realization that everything would truly be okay.

A month later, and what Doctors across the country were now calling a medical miracle, Steve was entirely cancer free. Not to mention several of his other ailments had either diminished or disappeared entirely. Still, Bucky carried around several cases of Steve’s medication with him at all times, much to the annoyance of his boyfriend.

After two months of monitoring, Steve had been let out of the hospital entirely, and there had been no argument that he would be coming to live with Bucky in his apartment. He’d settled in perfectly, and had applied to Art School for some summer classes.

It was the happiest that Bucky had ever been.

He got to wake up with Steve in his arms. He got to see him laugh. He watched his hair grow back in. He saw him concentrate on a sketch as he sat on their couch all curled up. He got to spend every day with his best friend, comfortable with the knowledge that nothing would ever take him away. He would get to watch Steve grow old at his side, and make him smile everyday, until his face was full of laughter lines.

“Did you know I love you?” Bucky asked suddenly, stopping on the sidewalk and looking into Steve’s baby blues. The blonde boy merely laughed, and the sound made Bucky’s heart pound happily in his chest.

“Of course I know that, you jerk,” Steve said, the twinkle in his eye belaying any heat that could have been taken from the insult. Bucky merely rolled his eyes and leaned his forehead against Steve’s. Laying a gentle kiss on his warm, pink lips.

“Til’ the end of the line, punk,” he muttered against them.

“Always,” Steve replied.

And Bucky knew he was right.

The End.