'till death blooms us art
Summary: You’d rather die loving him than never getting to see the sun ever again.
(“Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system. This number is not available. At the tone, please record your message.”)
Characters: Sam Wilson/Plus-sized Reader
Warnings: 18+ (no smut), strong language, Hanahaki AU, angst, weight insecurity, allusions to eating disorders, talk about death, blood, past domestic abuse and trauma, gun violence, original male character, book quotes, anxiety
Word Count: 12796
A/N: Thank you for reading! This fic won the vote during my 500 follower celebration and it's finally out now! This story has a lot of meaning for me, due to it being a bit of a metaphor for disorderly eating. I know that will make some people uncomfortable, but as someone who has struggled for a long time, I want to talk more openly about this kind of thing. Anyway, thanks so much for sticking with me and I hope you enjoy!
main masterlist | AO3 | playlist by @tripleyeeet
They are everywhere—covering the space of the sitting room like an overgrown garden made of glass and paint, canvas and pages torn from old waterlogged books, stained mugs filled with decaying brushes. Wanda walks through your room like it’s a maze, her fingers trailing over the air but never touching the art. She’s pretending she’s in a museum, or a gallery, or something fancier than what you could ever appear in, but a twinge of something akin to warmth stabs through your heart at the thought.
“These are incredible,” she says, not looking at you. “How do you do it?”
With a shrug, you bend down and pick up one of the canvasses from the floor, holding it out to look at it.
“I don’t know,” you lie.
White space in the shape of flowers, uneven and missing petals here and there, is outlined in streaks of paint that go every direction, in every different shade, hard edges and soft, blurred lines and covering the entirety of the canvas except for those spaces where flowers once sat, pinned to the medium.
“They are beautiful,” Wanda says.
Your nail sneaks under one of the dried chunks of acrylic and you chip it—a fleck of ultramarine blue falls from the painting.
When you turn, Wanda studies a different piece in careful hands. It’s a glass case, trimmed with shitty, shaky lines of gold you painted on a whim. But inside, between the thick panes, dried flowers painted over are encased in eternity, arranged to match their exact placements on the canvas where your brushes stroked life onto them, around them, through them. Two perfect pieces that once belonged together, separated like an act of Adam against his God.
Maybe they were meant to be together, but no one will ever know their story.
“They’re amateur,” you tell her, laughing. “I’m not much of an artist. It’s just for fun.”
She smiles at you, placing the glass piece down. “You have a talent.”
Wanda takes another turn about the room, another circuit, another spin. She looks at every piece in such focus, taking in every single detail, fingers stretching and curling as if she wants to caress the dried flowers, the dried paint, and feel their meaning. You wonder what she would say if she could read their minds—the art you’ve made. Would your pieces tell her the true meaning behind their existence? Or maybe they would laugh, or cry, or howl in pain.
But Wanda only stares, at the paintings and at you, a small smile on her face like she knows something you don’t. Like she’s keeping a secret. Is she keeping the secrets that the flowers have whispered to her when you weren’t looking?
“What inspired them?” she asks, the very tip of her nail tracing a different glass box filled with dyed petals reconstructed into a larger artificial flower, protected by its own display.
You wring your hands together. “I like flowers.”
She laughs. “That’s obvious. But what makes them special enough to paint? To—To make such lovely art out of?”
Chewing on the inside of your cheek, you place the small canvas you’d been holding back on the side table, crossing the room to your bookshelf. Your fingertip finds the spine of a hardcover book you’re too familiar with, pulling it out and into your awaiting hands. Sheets of paper, a little bent and crooked, stick out of the pages.
You crack it open, the dulling white petals of a daisy pressed flat between the crackling spine fluttering from between the black inked words, then fall to the floor at your feet.
“The Devil’s hand directs our every move,” you read. “The things we loathed become the things we love.”
Wanda stares at you as you fiddle with the book, tracing the words of the cover.
“Les Fleurs du Mal,” you say. “The Flowers of Evil.”
Gently and without word, she bows at your feet and picks up the drying daisy, cradling it in her pale hands, but you don’t have the strength to take it from her.
(“Hey there darlin’, it’s just me. I had to run some errands this morning, y’know how it is, so I’m out of the Tower right now. I was just wondering if you needed anything while I was out. Anything—really, anything at all. Even breakfast, or maybe a latte? Just a little pick-me-up. Well, give me a call back if you need anything. If not, I’ll be back soon. See ya.”)
“Steven Grant,” you say his name like a curse, shaking your head. “This is why you spend three hours a day in the gym.”
Too busy shoving the first bite of his first hoagie into his mouth, Steve doesn’t reply. You roll your eyes, but the smile on your lips gives you away. When he’s finally swallowed, wiping crumbs from his mouth, he looks a little indignant.
“Are you calling me fat?”
“Well, you would be if you didn’t have that serum running through you.”
He frowns, brows furrowed, a little confusion on his face. “I thought it was because I work out three hours a day. And I’ll have you know—”
“—you work out six hours a day between your morning runs and training, I know, I know. I’ve heard it all before Steve.” You groan at the thought. “It’s like it’s your job.”
“It is my job. Saving the world and all that.”
“Okay, you really need to let America know that it’s giving you a complex, ‘cause if I hear one more thing about you saving the world, I think I’m going to scream.”
He shrugs, taking another gigantic bite out of his sandwich. Scraps of shredded lettuce fall out from between the buns and litter his plate. You pick at your own, pulling uneven pieces of sliced onion and stray pickles from the hoagie, content to sit and stare at it instead of eating.
Food is good. You brush the grainy crumbs of bread from your fingers. Food is good, but you just aren’t hungry. And you don’t work out three hours a day. Maybe you should start. Your body feels like a balloon with all your insides threatening to come up in a retch and choke you. Food is good. Food is good. You just have to pick up the sandwich and eat it.
Fingers shaking, you take the sub in your hand and stare at the corner where you mean to take the first bite.
Steve, still chewing, looks at you with concern clear in his crystal blues and it makes you put your food back down on the plate. Instead, you busy yourself with another sip of your water, nodding at him.
“Yeah. We can’t all be Steve Rogers, demolishing two hoagies in less than two seconds, y’know.” You throw in a snort, trying to sound nonchalant. “Wipe your mouth, Captain. You’ve got mayo on your cheek.”
He doesn’t, but him grabbing a napkin to embarrassedly wipe a nonexistent condiment from his face gives you enough time to pick your sandwich back up and contemplate taking the first bite. You’ve just gotta start with the first bite and the rest will go down.
But you aren’t hungry. How can you be hungry when you’re already so full? Stuffed, even. There isn’t room in your insides. All your organs are bursting. It’s so painful sometimes, the expanding of your skin to accommodate. Waves of sickness roll through you, spreading. Your stomach is stretched, bloated, filled with all the swallowed—
“What are you doin’ to my girl, huh Steve?”
The sound of his voice alone makes the ache inside of you dissipate, the nausea escapes from your throat, the anxiety twitching through your hands steadies. Your head perks up, shoulders rolling back as your entire body relaxes, and you look behind you.
And there, dressed in a tight blue polo and a pair of pants clinging to his legs like they were made for him, the very angel who blessed you, the devil who cursed you, the god of the fucking sun and everything it could ever touch, stands before you with a smile saved just for you.
His dark eyes are piercing, like he’s trying to peel back the layers of your skin to see underneath, as he shoves his hands in his pockets and grins with all his teeth.
“Hey honey,” he says—simply and easily and not serious. Never serious.
Your lungs burn. Your mouth feels too dry to answer him.
“Oh, your girl?” Steve asks him, brows a little too furrowed to be joking. “When did she become your girl?”
Sam shrugs, walking toward the empty seat next to you, placing his hand on the back of your chair so dangerously close to your body that it makes you pull in a deep breath. His thumb could brush against the fabric of your shirt, run along the seam of your spine. And, goddamn, it should be illegal for him to look so casual and so unbothered while still looking that handsome.
Like this, you can smell the spice in his cologne, a powerful mix of something you’re sure is designed to drive you crazy.
He looks down at you, still hovering over where you sit, and throws a wink your way that brings heat to the surface of your cheeks.
“Aw, she’s always been my girl, ain’t that right? Tell him, darlin’.”
You stare at Sam for one second too long, breaking away to gaze down at your uneaten sandwich again. With every flutter that Sam sends down your stomach, the heaviness inside it seems to fade away. Your fullness is replaced by a familiar hunger—the rawness of your throat waning as a burning itch takes over. A cough is threatening to bubble up. You choke it back, smiling instead.
“He’s right, Stevie,” you say all bright and cheery again.
Steve meets your eyes with a stony gaze, unreadable, his blue eyes looking gray in the light. Beside you, Sam throws himself down in one of the chairs and pulls up to the table, hand still sitting on the back of your seat. His knees are spread a little wide, thigh resting against yours.
It’s so innocent but your brain thinks it’s so intimate. A lie. A lie.
In the end, Steve relaxes back, his eyebrows lifting as he watches the scene unfold in front of him. He tosses one of the sticky plastic menus toward Sam, nodding at it.
“Order up, man,” Steve says, his tone more neutral than you think you’ve ever heard it in regards to Sam. “But I’m not paying for yours. You’re on your own.”
At that, Sam laughs, full and robust with his face up to the ceiling. He rocks back in his chair, shaking his head, and he looks so beautiful even in the shitty sub shop that Steve drags you to for lunch every other week that it makes you ache and your lungs contract in an attempt to cough.
You swallow it back again, trying to even out your breathing. The itch in your throat is so bad that you almost pick up your sandwich to eat again, but your hand passes it up to take another few sips of your water. It’s cool, clear, refreshing—but it can’t make the tickle of the cough go away.
“So,” Sam starts once he’s finished ordering his own hoagie, “how’s that apartment hunting going? Found anything good yet?”
A frown forms, heavy, on your lips. You pick off a flaking piece of bread from your sandwich, watching it turn to crumbs underneath your fingers.
“It’s going,” you say, but anyone who ever responds to a question of how’s it going with it’s going is absolutely lying and it is absolutely not going—and maybe Sam knows that, or maybe Steve does, or hell, maybe they both do but it makes you look weak to admit that things aren’t going so well out loud.
And you—you can’t admit the truth, so it’s just better to lie about it.
You don’t want to leave the Tower.
“It’s going, huh?” Sam asks, his tone proving that he can see right through you. “You need help looking at some places or something?”
“You know,” he barrels through your words as if they are nothing, “I think I actually know a realtor around here. Maybe he can get you some leads on rentals or something. I could make some calls for you, honey.”
It’s not supposed to—Sam only means well, he always does, always trying to do so much for people—but it hurts to hear. Because you don’t hear him saying that he’s trying to help you out. You hear him saying he doesn’t want you around the Tower anymore.
Because, well, why would he want you there?
To him, you’re just an outsider. A girl who doesn’t belong. Someone who daydreams and doodles flowers on every surface as soon as she thinks of him. And you always think of him.
Before you can think about it, your hand flies to your mouth reflexively to hold back a cough. Instantly, Sam’s leaning closer and that damned hand of his falls soft against your back.
There’s barely a moment for you to nod, signaling that you’re fine, before Steve’s got on his game face, all hard lines and furrowed brows and thin lips pressed tightly together.
“Hey,” he says, grabbing Sam’s attention. “She’s allowed to stay as long as she wants, alright? The Tower is her home now, too. So there isn’t a rush for her to find a place unless she wants to leave.”
The passion and care in Steve’s voice is strong, almost so overpowering it’s oppressive, and something rises up from within you and threatens to send salty tears careening down your cheeks if you don’t blink them away.
Sam raises his hands in front of him dramatically. “Okay, okay, I get it. I wasn’t trying to run her off or anything, just wanted to lend a hand if I could. Damn, Steve.”
Something changes at the table, then. It’s like a fog, thick and cloying, falls over the three of you and keeps you lethargic—so much so that the only words spoken in the next few awkward minutes are Sam’s thanks when the waiter brings his sandwich by.
You still haven’t even touched yours, and you hope it seems like you’re just waiting for Sam to get his, because Steve’s tearing into his second and by the looks of the mustard dripping down his fingers messily, he’ll be done any minute now.
But as you prop your head up on the table, leaning on your elbow boredly, Sam nudges his leg into yours to grab your attention. When you turn to look at him, he’s got that grin again, all pearly and white with the little crooked gap you think you could stare at forever as long as it meant he was smiling and laughing and happy.
“You gonna eat, girl?” Sam picks his sub up in his hand and gestures at you to do the same. God, he makes you dizzy just by talking. The butterflies in your belly are fighting tooth and nail against your organs, trying to take up all the space, but they aren’t really butterflies. The soft monsters in your stomach leave a taste on your tongue you can’t explain.
“Oh.” You mimic his movement and then Sam toasts his hoagie against yours with a chuckle.
“First bite,” he says, and there’s no thought in your head or balloon in your stomach and no bloated skin to make you second guess yourself.
You follow Sam, sinking your teeth into the bread of your sandwich, and its flavor explodes over your tongue just enough to take away all the bitter, floral, fragrant taste of the daisies that are building up in your stomach, their petals choking you out, downy fluttering things inside you.
(“Hey girl, it’s me. I couldn’t find you anywhere—where you at? I was coming to see if you wanted to grab a bite with me for lunch, maybe at that little Italian place you like to go to around the corner? Or maybe sushi or something? Been a while since I got to go out for lunch, so I thought I’d ask, but I guess you’re busy right now. I’ll catch you later, darlin’. Enjoy your lunch.”)
You’ve got to call him. You have to. You have no choice anymore.
Danny is on the other side of the locked door, his fist pounding on the wood and threatening to cave it in from the repeated force. The sound is louder than it should be, really, echoing off the tile of the bathroom you’ve barricaded yourself inside. He’s shouting above the sound.
“You fucking bitch. I’m gonna kill you. I’m gonna fucking kill you. You lied to me? What else are you lying about, huh? You fucking whore. I took you in, I gave you a home, I gave you everything. Fucking fat slut—how many other guys are you sleeping with, huh?”
None, you had answered earlier when he was questioning you in your shared bedroom, his fist tight around your soft arm and squeezing so hard it made you want to scream. None.
But that wasn’t the answer Danny was looking for. And, well, once he threw you onto the ground and stomped to the dresser, clothes strewn around the room as he furiously ripped through it until he found the shiny black firearm you didn’t know he had, you were gone.
But there was only one place to go and that was the bathroom.
Now, trapped inside, you know you have no choice. You have to call him—the man from the coffee shop you’ve been going to regularly for a few months. The man who noticed the bruises Danny always left on you after a rough night. The man who pressed and pried and tried to do anything to get you to open up to him even as you refused over and over again. The man who put his number in your phone because he wanted you to call him if you ever needed him, not because he was a hero, but because he was worried about you.
You press the number two on speed dial. The phone rings.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“Steve?” Your voice is nothing but a sob. “Steve, you were right.”
He doesn’t miss a beat, but you hear the rustle of clothes and a jingle of keys on the other side beyond the static, a sound that makes you almost cry with relief or hope or maybe just stress.
“Hold on,” he tells you. “FRIDAY is pulling up your address. I’ll be there as quick as I can. Are you safe?”
“Bathroom,” you’re able to mumble out from behind the waterfall of tears rushing down your face. “He’s locked out but—but I’m scared.”
“I’m on my way. He’s not going to hurt you. I promise you.”
And then Steve hangs up, and you wish he hadn’t because now you’re left all alone with just a flimsy wooden door, painted fucking white so the blood will show up real pretty when Danny kills you, between you and your boyfriend.
Well, ex-boyfriend if you get out of here alive.
“Four fucking years!” he shouts from outside. “I gave you four fucking years of my life, you stupid bitch. I put up with your dumb fat ass for four years and this is what you do? Is this love? Do you think this is love?”
You figure anything is love as long as it doesn’t look like this. The ring of bruises around your upper arm from Danny’s grasp is already turning black and blue, a sight that makes you flinch.
Honestly, if it’s anyone’s fault, it’s yours. All the cash you were stashing should’ve been hidden better. You knew better. A shoebox up on the top shelf of the closet? Amateur. You should’ve cut a section out of one of your prized books or something. Danny never fucking reads. He probably doesn’t know how. He would’ve never found all the money if you’d stashed it there.
“Six thousand dollars!” he roars, punching the center of the door. The wood bends slightly. “How long’ve you been fucking stealing from me, huh? Fucking bitch. Stupid fucking bitch.”
And then it happens.
Danny’s fist breaks through the first layer of the door with a curse of pain falling from his lips. Then, a laugh. He’s laughing.
“I’m gonna kill you.”
He punches the door again and then his hand is through, wood splinters shattering and flying toward you, and with a scream you shield your face with your arms and duck down. You’re sitting beside the bathtub, squished against the toilet, and you scoot back as far as you can trying to wedge yourself to safety.
But there is no safety here. Danny’s bloodied fingers find the doorknob and unlock it with a click, and it’s over. It’s over. It’s fucking over.
With a kick, the door comes flying open and you’re screaming again at the top of your lungs, throat tearing itself raw. Danny’s broad frame possesses the entire room as he shoulders his way inside, his lips pulled back to show all of his teeth in a feral grin, the overhead lights catching the shine of the sleek gun he’s carrying.
You can’t even look at him. All you can do is stare at his back in the bathroom mirror hanging over the counter, your mind completely devoid of thought.
“Fuckin’ dead,” Danny says, and you don’t see him aim the gun at you. You stare in the mirror, right in the mirror and memorize the pattern of the plaid jacket he’s wearing, how the colored stripes form new colors, how the fabric all blends. It’s a pretty shirt. You bought it for him two Christmasses ago. He looks good in it.
You are going to die.
Then, suddenly, you can’t see the plaid anymore. Instead it’s a gray shirt on a much bigger body blocking out the mirror, and when you turn your head to look, Steve’s there.
He’s got Danny in a chokehold, grappling for the pistol in your boyfriend’s hand. Ex-boyfriend. Despite Steve being completely unarmed—he’s Captain America for christ’s sake, a goddamn super soldier, he doesn’t need a fucking weapon—he easily brings Danny down to his knees and onto the floor, kicking the gun away from their bodies and out of the bathroom completely.
“Fucking whore,” Danny manages to spit out, the sound strangled as Steve’s arm buckles over his neck. “You’re fucking him too, huh? I’m gonna kill you.”
“Shut up,” Steve grits through his clenched teeth, pulling Danny toward the destroyed door. “You’re done.”
They disappear from the bathroom in a tangle and thrashing of limbs. Danny curses the whole way down the stairs, struggling to break out of Steve’s grasp you presume. He’s a fighter—that’s what he always said. Dog meets dog eats dog world, he would tell you. You can’t ever trust anyone.
And, well, he certainly proved his beliefs. You had the bruises to show for it. The scars as evidence.
Sitting alone in your wrecked bathroom, still sprawled out on the tile, you stare down at your hands. The lines run deep in your palms, fingers stubby and chubby and not at all feminine. Too small to grab Danny the way he always grabbed you. Too soft with fat to deliver a good punch.
You don’t know how much time passes before a much larger hand enters your vision, slowly, like approaching a kicked mutt on the street, and when you don’t flinch, Steve lays his fingers across your palms. Apprehensively, you grab onto his hand, and he squeezes back.
Looking up, he’s crouched in front of you, the beginnings of a bruise forming on his left temple. With your free hand, you reach out and let your fingers brush over it, but Steve just smiles at you.
“Let’s go,” he murmurs.
“Anywhere but here,” he says, gently tugging on your hand. You hold onto him a little tighter and let him help you up off the ground, his arm immediately sliding around your waist to steady your shaky legs.
“I don’t have anywhere else to go,” you say. “The money I saved…”
You don’t even know what happened to it. For all you know, Danny burned the cash. Or stashed it somewhere else.
“It’s alright, sweetheart,” Steve says in a soft voice. “I’m taking you back to the Tower. The police are dealing with Danny right now. Can you help me pack some clothes for you?”
And so you sat on the bed among your wrecked bedroom as Steve picked through the messy drawers that had been pulled from their dresser, some articles of clothing crumpled on the floor where Danny flung them in his mad search for your secret money stash. And the gun. You almost forgot about the gun.
Steve helps you pack, his face only a little pinker than normal when you’re shoving your intimates into the black duffle bag he fished out of his car, and then he’s helping you slip on your sneakers and guiding you out of your house.
You don’t say goodbye to it, though. That house. Even after four years, you don’t call it home. In a lot of ways, you’re happy to watch it disappear from Steve’s rearview mirror, hoping you’ll never be back.
“They’re going to love you there,” he says quietly in the silence of the car, both hands tight around the steering wheel. He glances over at you, then back at the road. “You’ll fit right in. You’ll be safe. Right at home.”
But you think Steve is a bit of an optimist. Homes, you think, are for people who are loved.
(“Hey honey, just me here. Look, I remembered you saying something about how you wanted those, what were they called, the fairy lights for your room? The ones that look like Christmas lights? I thought we could go pick some up and I’ll hang ‘em up. You’re too short to do it yourself, girl, you know that. Anyway, give me a call if you want to, or just come down to my room and get me, anytime. I’ll be waiting. Talk soon, honey.”)
Wanda hums a tune under her breath. “I just can’t wait to get out of this place! It’s been too long. Mission after mission after bloody mission.” She sighs and starts to apply a thick coat of mascara, eyes wide as she stares in the mirror.
“Agreed,” Natasha says from somewhere behind you. The sound of her bare feet on the bathroom tile is the only warning you have before she sidles up beside you, gracefully lifting herself up onto the counter and sweeping various cosmetics aside to make room.
You’re still undressed, standing in your panties and an old t-shirt with a stretched out neck, just finishing up your eyeshadow when Nat taps a black bottle on the marble top near your fingers.
“Want me to do your eyeliner?” she asks.
A few months ago, you would have seen it as an insult—a beautiful, dangerous woman telling you in less words that your makeup looked like shit. Now you know it’s an expression of Natasha’s unending love for you. A willing act of service. A small thing she can do for you.
Natasha motions you forward, between her legs, and when she takes your face in her hand you close your eyes.
“Pretty colors,” she says, probably about your eyeshadow.
“Thanks,” you reply, and then you feel the cool wetness of liquid liner right on your lash line as she begins to paint a wing on your lid. “You always look pretty.”
“So do you.” She blows softly on your left eye. “It’s like you never need makeup, I swear. Are you even wearing foundation?”
A smile works its way onto your face. “Nope.”
From beside you, Wanda giggles.
“Slut. You’re so perfect it makes me want to scream sometimes,” Natasha says, tongue clicking her teeth as she finishes off your right eye.
All the breath seems to leave you in that moment. Like someone punched you straight in your gut, your bones like the gel shock-absorbing layer protecting your organs. Your eyes want nothing more than to shoot open, but Nat is blowing cool air over the newly formed wing and you force yourself to relax so you don’t mess everything up.
“I’m not perfect,” you tell her. “Have you looked in a mirror lately?”
“Don’t deflect.” You hear her cap the eye liner and set it down on the counter, then her palms engulf your cheeks. Slowly, you let your eyes open, blinking gently.
She’s staring at you, eyes narrowed.
“Just because I’m beautiful doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful,” she says, simply, as if it’s just easy for her to not compare herself to anyone else. “If you’re perfect, you’re perfect. Doesn’t matter if I’m perfect, too. And that Wanda is perfect. Or that anyone is perfect.”
Natasha takes your chin in her fingers and grabs a tube of lipstick—the one she and Wanda always tell you to wear because it looks so damn good on you.
“Your beauty and your worth doesn’t come from other people.” She runs the silken rouge over your lips. “It comes from who you are, not comparisons to other people.”
And, god, you want to scream at her. You want to shout and tell her that she isn’t allowed to say that to you when she looks the way she does—slim and picturesque and every human being’s wet dream. She doesn’t get to say that you shouldn’t compare yourself, with your heavy chest and your wide hips and all your soft pockets of skin, to someone like her. To someone like Wanda. To anyone else that doesn’t need liposuction with a side of diet pills, please.
You can’t be perfect, because if you were perfect, if you were enough, you wouldn’t be dying in agony every night over someone that doesn’t look twice at your too-large stomach and your too-large thighs.
They’re just trying to make you feel better, but all it does is make you feel worse.
“Look,” you say when she’s done with your lipstick, “I get what—”
In a split second, your chest is wracked with hard coughs, lungs struggling for air. It’s choking you, your own insides, and you’re hacking and wheezing and grasping at the bathroom counter and Natasha’s hands are on your shoulders and Wanda is slapping your back in hope that it will help and someone, somewhere, is saying the word heimlich and you can taste it on your tongue like old wallpaper from the 70s, floral and disgusting and toxic and ugly.
You throw your arm over your mouth, smearing your lipstick. It doesn’t help. Natasha is looking at you, eyes wild. You’re coughing and coughing and you think you taste blood underneath the overwhelming velvet on your tongue.
They’re saying your name. Shredded petals are between your teeth.
And then you break, pushing past them to the toilet, skidding on your knees until you’re doubled over and retching. It’s all burning acid and fresh flowers. Rot and fester and earth and greenery. A pair of cool hands—Wanda’s, you think—rest upon your forehead and move your hair away from your face.
Vomit and daisies leak from your mouth until your stomach is done contracting and your insides are empty. All that’s left is your sputtering coughs that taste caustic and beautiful.
It’s getting bad.
When you finally pull away from the toilet, slumped back and wiping your mouth, the toilet is full of an explosion of crisp white and bright yellow, tinged with the faint pink of blood. Wanda is glancing back and forth between you and the unflushed toilet, horror stitched on her face.
Before Natasha approaches, a glass of tap water in hand, you lean over and flush the petals down the drain. The look you shoot Wanda is pleading, but you don’t even know what you’re asking for.
Everything on the inside hurts, burning like a pit of snakes in your belly, hissing and spitting venom and biting into you like they mean to kill you. Perhaps the daisies have grown fangs. Your lungs feel chewed.
Nat places the glass in your shaking hands, her fingers holding your own as if she knows you can’t do it yourself. She helps raise the glass to your soiled lips and you gulp the water down like it’ll flood the valley unfolding in you.
“Who is it?” she asks, her voice calm but her eyes uneasy. You nearly choke, a hand pressing against the middle of your chest as if you need to feel your lungs as they work to assure yourself of your own survival.
“What?” you barely eke out, throat thick and scratchy. One of Wanda’s hands strokes down your back and she doesn’t speak, only shakes her head.
“Who is it?” Natasha repeats.
You look away.
“God.” Wanda sniffles behind you. “How could we not have realized?”
“Because it doesn’t happen,” Nat says, shifting from crouching in front of you to sitting on her knees on the floor, a hand resting on your thigh. “I’ve never known a single person—until now, I guess—who had it. I thought it wasn’t real.”
“They tell it like a fairytale in Sokovia,” Wanda says, her words just as watery as her eyes. “A story you lull children to sleep with! But I should have seen it. We should have seen it.”
A new abundance of petals tickle the back of your throat.
“All that art,” Natasha hisses, but she isn’t looking at you. She’s glaring down at her lap.
“All the daisies,” Wanda cries. Her head drops against your shoulder. You feel the wetness of her tears.
“It’s okay,” you tell them, but your voice is too small. “It’s okay,” you say, louder this time, tasting the flowers like they are the blood of your bitten tongue.
“Who is it?” Natasha asks again, a begging in her voice you don’t think you’ve ever heard before.
“It’s okay,” you say again.
And with this, Nat’s face changes from one of concern to something of realization—like she’s been struck with a thought she never considered, like she’s seen the future.
“It’s him.” Her jaw is slack, staring at you even as Wanda looks at her with confusion etched on her visage. “You have to tell him.”
“No,” you say simply.
“This is bad,” Nat snaps, as if you don’t know it already. “This is getting bad. You need to tell him or you’re—you’re going to die.”
A laugh breaks through the bathroom, echoing. “How can I tell him? How could I ever tell him that I love him when the simple fucking fact that these flowers are growing—rooting—in my goddamn lungs is proof that he doesn’t love me the way that I love him?”
You lean back against the wall, staring up at the ceiling.
“Sam Wilson doesn’t love me the way I love him,” you whisper.
The tips of Natasha’s fingers catch the tears you don’t feel streaking down your cheeks like the screaming of shooting stars, hot and bright and dying.
“It’s sort of beautiful, don’t you think?” Your nails dig into the fat flesh of your thighs, trying to puncture skin. “To make art of your own death. To make something lovely out of something so tragic.”
You can’t swallow it back this time. A cough wracks through you, jostling your bones, and you fold yourself in half as soft white petals emerge from your esophagus and choke you. You grind them against the backs of your teeth with your tongue, trying to mash them into nonexistence, but it’s not enough. You retch another wave of daisies into your awaiting hands.
Wanda calls your name and it sounds broken.
“Death like this,” you rasp, catching your breath, “is the most beautiful way to go.”
Your finger drags over one of the downy petals, a bead of blood catching on your skin and smearing across it like a brushstroke of paint, ruining it.
“Death like this is the only way I want to go.”
(“Hey beautiful, it’s me again. I heard you were going out with the girls tonight—I hope you have fun. I just wanted you to know that if you need a ride back home, or you get into trouble and need a hero, or anything, really, I’m just a phone call away. You need me and I’ll be there, ‘kay honey? I’ll be up if you need anything, at least ‘till you get home. Have fun, girl.”)
You’re beginning to ask yourself if the mirror lies.
It doesn’t. You know that. You’ve been trying to find the lies in it for years at this point, pinching and pulling at all the places you find are thicker than the women you see on TV, the women you see floating around the Tower, the women you’ve seen on the arms of Sam Wilson. Chubby hands caress down your soft belly, poking and prodding the skin you wish you could make disappear. The mirror never lies.
But you wish it did when you stare at yourself and all you see are the bruises beneath your eyes, the hollows in your cheeks, the drained look in your gaze. The longer you stand there, the less you recognize yourself.
You aren’t hungry anymore. You never get hungry—the flowers filling up all the space in your stomach, coughed up from your lungs and swallowed back in pieces. Perfume is what your mouth tastes like now. Perfume and iron. The vomiting hasn’t stopped since the night your secret was revealed to Natasha and Wanda.
And you’ve never looked better.
That’s the part you hate. The part where when you look in the mirror and you can see the places where those daisies have shaved you thinner. It almost makes you laugh. People say you pack on the pounds when you find love. Maybe they should try having toxic flowers take root inside of them and slowly steal their lifeforce while they watch the person they love never love them back.
It’s a slow process, this death. You wonder which will kill you first—the starvation or the suffocation.
The walk down to the gala is as equally exciting as it is dreadful. You’ve never been to a Tony Stark gala before and you’re eager to dance the night away with your friends. But you’re also exhausted.
Oh well. The makeup helps you look less like a corpse and more like a dancing queen. The dress, which you’re sure someone paid far too much money for, is part of the solution. It’s all flowy and gorgeous as if you are a Greek goddess meant to be worshipped and highlights your figure while hiding all the imperfections the mirror seemed to find.
And when you finally enter the room, classical music playing from the live band and people laughing loudly and champagne twirling about the floor for people to take, the first thing you see is him.
Grin taking up his entire face, lighting up the entire ballroom, dressed beautifully in a navy suit that makes him look utterly dashing, is Sam Wilson.
He’s surrounded by people—women who are better dressed than you are—so with a shaky breath and a pain in your lungs, you quickly turn on your heel and head toward the next familiar face.
“Woah there, doll, where you hurryin’ off to?” Bucky, hair neatly pulled back and wearing a black suit, grabs you by your waist.
“Nowhere,” you blurt. “The bar. I just got here.”
He raises a thick brow at you, a silent question, but when you choose not to answer he shrugs.
“Well I can’t refuse to escort a pretty lady, can I?” With a charming smile, he holds his elbow out to you and gestures for you to grab on. You slip your hand around his arm and grasp him tightly, shooting him a grateful smile.
But as the two of you start dodging through the crowd of excited party-goers, on your way to the bar in the back, Bucky stops short and gets a look on his face that you’re not quite sure you can describe as mischievous, but it’s close enough to make you frown.
“Y’know what,” he says, glancing over at you with that boyish grin, “I think we should take a spin on the dance floor instead.”
“Oh no,” you tell him, eyes wide. “I can’t dance—”
He snorts. “I’ve seen you dance around the kitchen, doll.”
“I can’t dance in front of all these people.”
“Can’t is a word for losers.” Bucky closes his hand over yours, locking you to his elbow. “Don’t wanna be a loser like Stevie, do ya? Oh Buck, I can’t stop fighting, gotta teach ‘em a lesson. Oh Buck, I can’t rinse out my cereal bowl, I gotta go for a run.”
It makes you laugh, maybe a little too loud, but it eases you just enough for Bucky to pull you into the menagerie of dancing couples, and then he’s moving your hand from his arm and onto his shoulder and clasping your other in his fingers.
“There we go.” His eyes shine like the ocean sparkles under the Tower lights.
Bucky has something magic in him, you decide, after two songs of him swinging you along the floor. He has something magic that makes everything so easy, which is something so admirable after all he’s been through. He has you laughing and smiling and spinning across the room with so little effort you forget all your worries in an instant.
“See?” Bucky dips you in his arms, making you squeal with glee, collecting the stares of the people peppered around the room. “Knew you could dance, doll.”
Panting, you rest a hand on his chest, still giggling. “Only ‘cause you’re so good.”
“Song’s over, Buck,” a new, familiar voice cuts in. When you look up, Steve is standing there, eyes crinkling with his own smile. “I can’t wait for another.”
At that, Bucky rolls his eyes with such drama it has you laughing yet again.
“See? I told you. It’s all can’t this, can’t thatwith Stevie. But fine.” Bucky guides you by the waist over to Steve, passing your hand over, and then gives you one last grin with all his teeth. “I had fun, doll. Thanks for dancin’ with me.”
“Anytime,” you tell him, and then Steve’s adjusting your grip on him. The song changes from the upbeat tune Bucky was twirling you to down to a slower classical piece.
“You doing okay, sweetheart?” Steve asks, his eyes roaming over your face.
“Yeah,” you hum. “Bucky and I had a lot of fun.”
Steve’s grip at your waist tightens a little. “No, I mean in general. Are you doing alright?”
There’s worry there—in the wrinkles on his brow, the blue skies of his eyes, the curve of his lips. You know he’s staring at you and seeing everything the mirror told you. All the gaunt places. The hollow, haunted look you’re parading around. The weight you’ve been steadily losing. You know he sees it.
“I’m okay,” you tell him, and you wonder yet again if the mirror ever lies. You know you do.
Steve sways you gently, more carefully than Bucky had. Steve dances with you like you’re made of something fragile. You still don’t understand why. You don’t know why he ever looked at you and saw something important, someone to protect. Maybe it’s just how he was born to be.
“You can tell me anything,” he says, so seriously that your heart breaks a little.
You move your hand from his shoulder and up to cradle his cheek, smiling.
“I know, Steve. I know.”
And if he pulls you into him, crushes you against his chest, and holds you like that for the rest of the song, no one mentions it. Steve lets you rest your head on his shoulder and, not for the first time, you think this must be how it feels to have a family.
But then the lights in the ballroom brighten a little and a spark finds its way into the music, changing into something jazzy and fun, and someone slaps Steve on the shoulder.
“Alright Rogers, she’s ours now.”
There, dressed like she could kill a man with her heels alone, Natasha has her arms crossed over her black satin gown. Beside her, in a red, flowy dress, Wanda has her hands on Nat’s shoulders, giggling from all the bubbly you’re sure she’s consumed.
Steve pulls away from you with a chuckle, holding his hands up in surrender.
“Alright, alright—she’s all yours, ladies.”
With that, Natasha pounces on you, and the three of you start to shimmy the night away together.
You lose count of the songs you spend dancing with them, sweaty and out of breath and having the time of your life, before you wave them off and step out onto the outside patio where hardly anyone is loitering. You pass up a couple sitting on a bench, cuddled up in the cool air of New York, and leave a man smoking a cigarette to himself.
Instead, you find a lonely bench far away enough from the gala that you can hardly hear anything but the bass strings resounding through the building. There, you sit, and turn your head up to the stars you can’t really see anymore.
“You okay, girl?”
Startled, you whirl around to face the object of your affections, standing behind you with his hands shoved casually in his pockets. He isn’t wearing his usual smile. Just staring.
And then you taste dirt. Freshly upturned soil coated in congealing blood. You cough into your hands and hear him approach, laying a warm palm on your back as you choke the daisies down and down and down, swallowing as many as you can, the pungent taste still ripe in your mouth.
“Honey,” he calls out all smooth and sharp like whiskey. “Honey, are you okay?”
You lick the blood from your lips. Sam crouches before you, gathering your cold hands in his, looking up at you with such a fucking expression that you want to kiss him so solidly he can taste the vines growing up your throat. You want his tongue to taste the soil of your suffering—the flowers of your own doom.
“I’m worried about you,” Sam says, his dark eyes searching your face for something.
“I’m okay,” you tell him, just as you’ve been telling everyone.
“You’re not looking so good these days,” he murmurs, and you recoil.
“Wow.” The hurt in your voice is so palpable it makes you cringe. “Thanks, Samuel.”
You move to get up from the bench, heart twisting, but Sam grabs your arms and cages you there.
“I didn’t mean it like that, darlin’, you know better than that.” He gives your arms—too soft too wide too fleshy too—a squeeze of reassurance. “You’re not painting much anymore either. You think I wouldn’t notice?”
Sam holds your gaze until it’s too much and you have to break away.
“C’mon, girl. Are you even sleeping?” Sam shakes you a little. “Eating?”
The flowers of evil root in your chest. See, you know how this book ends. You don’t need to read the last page to find out. It’s just as Baudelaire wrote, you know: “My heart is lost; the beasts have eaten it.”
Your organs have been replaced by daisies. Sam Wilson won’t love you—not tonight, not tomorrow, and not in time.
So you shrug, forcing your lips to curl into what you think might be a smile.
“I can’t paint. I’ve got too many flowers to press,” you tell him. Sam’s visage morphs into confusion, and he shakes his head slightly. He doesn’t understand. He won’t understand.
You take his arms from your body, holding his hands for a split second, long enough to steal their warmth and imagine what it would be like to hold them every single day, and then you pick yourself up off the bench and give him a wave.
“See you inside, Sam.”
And you leave him there, confusion still frozen on his face, the gritty blood ripping shreds in your damaged throat as you swallow it again and again and again in an attempt not to taste it anymore.
(“Hey, uh, it’s Sam. I was just calling to, uh, y’know, remind you about the gala. You have a date yet? I didn't ask anyone. I, uh, I wanted to ask this girl, but uh, I ended up waiting too long and I’m a little late so… I’ll see you there, honey. Try not to kill me with your good looks tonight, you hear? Save a dance for me, baby.”)
—THE SUN AND ALL ITS STARS—
Dishware rattles into your room, signaling Nat’s arrival. By the time you gather the energy to sit up in bed, she’s already entering, a tray of food in her hands and an icy look on her face.
“Breakfast in bed,” she says monotonously.
You shift and pull your duvet up as she fits the tray over your lap. There’s not much—a sweating glass of cold water beside an amber glass of apple juice, two slices of buttered toast, and some melon she cut up.
“Thanks,” you say, voice strained and weak.
Natasha doesn’t leave, but you wish she would. She seats herself on the edge of your bed, staring you down as you sip on your water. You purse your lips in frustration, but pick up the fork and begin to poke at the fruit.
“Eat,” she says.
“I’m trying,” you grumble back. “Stop staring at me.”
Natasha throws her hands up on the air. “Well if I don’t watch you, you’ll just sit here and waste away,” she snaps. “You’re not eating, you’re not sleeping, hell, you aren’t even coming out of your room anymore. You go to work, you come home, you don’t talk to any of us. Steve says—”
“Steve doesn’t know anything!” you shout, interrupting her. As soon as you do, her eyes narrow into slits and you shut your mouth, gulping. That wasn’t what you wanted to do.
Natasha takes a deep breath. “Steve says you’re still looking for a place.” It’s eerie how calm she keeps her tone. “Leaving isn’t going to stop them, you know.”
Even now, not doing anything but staring at the food in your lap, you can taste them like a funeral home, saccharinely floral, covering the smell of death.
“I can’t stay here,” you say.
“You’re dying,” Natasha stresses. “Please. Please, I am begging, krasavitsa. I’ve not begged for much in this life. But I am begging you to please, please tell him. Tell him or consider the other option.”
Two options in the scale, tipping weights. To die or to have the roots of true love carved out of your lungs, peeled away from where they wrap around your heart.
You stab your fork into the tender flesh of the melon. It gives way so easily, letting the tines puncture it. Natasha stares at you, her gaze heavy. Your fingers fumble with the fork and it falls, clattering, to the tray of dishes.
The blood is too hard to swallow anymore—it builds up in your mouth and stains your teeth red, the petals colored pink when they fall from your lips.
“Okay,” you whisper. Maybe you don’t even say it aloud.
“Okay?” Natasha asks. You nod your head, not looking at her.
“I’ll tell him.”
It takes you hours, it feels like, to gather the courage. With all the energy you have left in your bones, muscles only satiated a little by Natasha’s breakfast, you drag yourself out of bed and to your bookshelf. It’s memorized, the place where your book sits, and you pull it out with a gentle tug of your finger.
The Flowers of Evil, its pages nearly chock-full of pressed daisies that have ejected themselves from your body, eager to find the man you love and spill all your desires to him. You thumb through it, gaze flitting over all the damn flowers that have dried in this damn book, and you close your eyes in order not to cry this time.
You press the book tight to your chest, feeling the desperate beating of your heart echo through it, and you head to Sam’s room.
The walk is long and lonely—the Tower feels empty. Devoid of people. You’re a little glad because you’re sure that anyone could see the sickness painted on your body, the illness from inside you that’s staining your outsides. It’s not anyone’s fault but your own, really. The flowers are too beautiful to supplant.
And now, you’re in front of his door, a fist raised to knock, a loud buzzing in your head that keeps saying no, no, no. But your heart, traitorous thing still hammering away in your chest, it just keeps saying yes, yes, yes, finally.
Sam Wilson doesn’t love you.
But do you have any other choice except to take a garden spade to your lungs and dig them out of your chest cavity, to destroy your ribcage and break through the mulch that makes up your nervous system? Is the only option left to die at the hands of Sam or to wither away until your decomposition will feed the very things that killed you off?
You shudder a breath and knock on the door. And you wait. And wait. And wait.
He doesn’t come. He isn’t there. He doesn’t love you.
The tears come suddenly—unexpectedly. They are hot and stricken and fast. They drip off your chin and careen down your neck and dampen the collar of your shirt and your hands are trembling, grasping your book too tightly, to even begin to wipe them away.
You don’t know why you’re crying. You already know this. Sam Wilson could never love you the way that you love him. Sam Wilson is perfection, you know. He possesses the strength of gods, he radiates love, he’s passionate about every fucking thing he does. He’s beautiful. He’s everything and you are nothing when standing next to him, but you love him. You love him.
Sam Wilson doesn’t fucking love you.
“Well,” you laugh to yourself, “I can either die a fool or live a life without you.”
I can either die in love or live my life not knowing what it feels like to be in love with you.
Something tickles your tongue. You reach between your lips and pluck it from your mouth, letting it sit upon the center of your palm. Blood drips down your arm like a river, violent and sooth.
The daisy covers your entire hand, white petals tinged with pink reaching toward your fingers. The center, all yellow florets seeming to seek out warmth, are so bright and full and so big—these are too big, they could choke anyone, anyone, they are choking you.
And like them—god, just like them, just like these daisies that grow from your lungs and destroy you from inside out—you are heliotropic. Everywhere you go, you’re focused on the sun, looking for the sun, stretching toward the sun.
You need the sun.
So you crumble the daisy in your hand, fist tight, blood still easing from between your fingers. You back away from his door, then turn and break away to head back to your room in silence.
You’d rather die loving him than never getting to see the sun ever again.
(“Hey girl, it’s me. Just calling to let you know that Steve and I got called for a mission. It looks like an emergency, wheels up in ten and all that. I wanted to catch you before we gotta go, in case you wanted to say goodbye. To Steve, I mean. Just in case. Take care of yourself while I’m gone, sweetness.”)
It happens faster than you think it will. You swear you have weeks, or a month at least. You swear you have time.
Four days later, your knees buckle and slam into the wooden floor beneath you, stomach contorting and contracting, balloon finally bursting. Someone is shouting your name from the common room, something is knocked over, scrambling. You barely hear it over the sound of your own vomiting.
On your hands and knees, you stare down at the lump of flowers you couldn’t swallow back. They’re coated in a mixture of soil and blood and stomach acid, but the sweet perfume scent breaks through the rest and makes you retch again. It smells so sweet. So sickly sweet. Dead people and churches.
Did churches always smell so much like blood?
There’s a hand on your shoulder. It’s pulling your hair from your face. Someone is saying something—something—something you can’t make out over the blood rushing between your ears.
You’re dying. This is it.
You collapse upon the ground, rolling onto your side, arm thrown over your mouth as if that will stop the flowers from pouring out of your body. And when you blink, trying to see through the dizziness, it’s him again.
The god of the fucking sun, your sun, mouth moving frantically as he says things you can’t hear and the little gap in his teeth that makes you feel at home when he smiles at you and his eyes, oh, Sam Wilson has eyes that set you on fire and burn you alive and you’d be happy to die like this, you’re so happy you get to die like this, so thankful that the daisies chose you, so thankful you chose him.
You were right. Death is so beautiful like this.
“It might be too late.”
Helen Cho’s heels clack on the tile of the medbay’s room as she shoos the nurse out with a wave of her hands, shaking her head. He shoots to his feet, fingers already curled into fists, and he shoves them in the pockets of his jacket to hide them.
“Too late?” It’s impossible for him to keep his voice low. “How can it be too late? What even—What’s wrong with her?”
She frowns at Sam, folding her hands together in front of her.
“It’s… rare,” she says. “Some of us didn’t think it was real, to be frank with you.”
His brow furrows. “What is it?”
“A disease caused by unrequited love,” Helen says plainly, staring straight at him. “Typically, the patient finds themselves in what is regarded to be true love, but the feelings are not returned, so they build up. It’s theorized that the stress of that creates the problem.”
Sam swallows and it tastes like vomit. “Unrequited love?”
She ignores him, continuing, “The part that is normally so hard to believe is that flowers begin to grow inside the patient, the roots puncturing their lungs and creating masses that eventually will suffocate their host.”
It’s a bag of bricks to his stomach. A super soldier punch to the gut. A bomb blown up in his face. Sam doubles over, clutching his middle, trying to breathe again. He can’t breathe at all. The flowers. The flowers.
“It seems she was swallowing them in an attempt to save herself,” Helen explains. “It’s what kept her alive much longer than she should have been. But now, I don’t know. It may be too late to save her. If she’d just said something earlier, than the surgery might have been able to stop it, but—”
“Surgery?” Sam asks, still gasping for breath. “What surgery?”
“You can extract the roots,” she tells him, glancing at the sleeping woman in the sickbed. “It’s a difficult procedure but it would have saved her. But, from the very little research we have on it, removing the roots also removes the feelings entirely. The love that the patient has disappears. They aren’t able to ever feel anything for that person ever again.”
He falls back into the plastic chair, his limbs numb. Or, at least that’s what he wants to do. But Sam doesn’t. He steadies himself, crosses his arms over his chest, plants himself so firmly there in the hospital room that he doesn’t think an earthquake can move him, and looks at her.
She’s sleeping, but she doesn’t look at peace. Her eyes, lovely things, are sunken in and it makes him so mad. Her collarbones have shadows beneath them and he feels fury wracking his own bones. And how long has it been since he’s seen her smile?
“Do the surgery,” he demands.
“You know I can’t do that without her consent,” Helen says, sighing.
“Then I’ll wait until she wakes up and get her consent,” he seethes through a locked jaw.
Helen’s face doesn’t change. “She might not wake up.”
Sam doesn’t get it. He understands—in a way—but he doesn’t really get it. He knows why she wouldn’t want to get a surgery like that. But he loves—he loves just as fiercely as she does, and that’s why he understands. Why he knows.
So why did the flowers pick her? Why would they pick her and not him?
Helen glances down at her feet, says nothing, and turns to exit the room. He’s left there in the silence, with the crowing of the machine keeping her alive to punctuate all his thoughts. If there is one thing he hates in the world, it’s feeling helpless.
He lowers himself in the plastic seat, leans his head back against the wall, and closes his eyes.
“You’ll wake up,” he says to her, but he can’t look at her.
Or maybe he’ll wake up and it’ll all be a dream.
There’s a soft rapping of knuckles on the door, and it opens slowly and quietly, and Sam has to lock his fingers around the arms of his chair to keep from jumping up and sending a right hook right at Steve’s face.
“How’s she doing?” Steve has the audacity to ask, has the audacity to look worried, has the audacity to pull up another plastic seat next to Sam.
“Wouldn’t you like to know,” he mutters under his breath, spite burning his tongue.
Steve glares at him. “Yeah, that’s why I asked. What’s your problem?”
“My problem is you, Rogers.” Now, Sam can’t help but stand, towering over the super soldier. He immediately grabs Steve’s arm and hauls him out of his chair, through the door, and out into the hallway. Steve stumbles, a hand on the wall, and Sam’s nostrils flare.
“How could you do this to her?”
“Me?” Steve sounds genuinely taken aback, but Sam doesn’t buy it. “What are you talking about? Helen told me—”
“I thought you loved her, too!”
He really did. That’s why Steve brought her to the Tower, didn’t he? That’s why they go out for lunch every other week and why Sam never gets a chance to take her out himself. Why he always makes sure to say goodbye to her before a mission, like he doesn’t want to leave her behind. He really thought Steve loved her too. If he had thought for one second that Steve didn’t love her...
“What?” Steve’s jaw slackens. “Not like that! She doesn’t—She’s not in love with me, Sam!”
He pants, unable to catch the breath that’s leaving him like a slow leak.
“Then who the hell is she in love with?”
Steve stares at him, a look that Sam can’t recognize, can’t name, in his eyes. Steve stares at him and smooths his hand down his beard, shaking his head.
“She’s in love with you,” he says, and Sam chokes.
Because all the pretty things in his world lead back to her and man, if she loved him, it would all be so perfect that he would never want to leave it. He would never want to say goodbye. He’d ask god and anyone else who would listen to grant him a deathless life so he could look at her forever, with no end in sight, because he would. He would. Sam would love her forever.
“No,” he says, a dry chuckle escaping his lips. “That can’t be true.”
“It’s true,” Steve says.
“That’s impossible.” He backs up, against the wall, holding his head in his hands and staring at the floor. “It’s impossible.”
“It’s true,” Steve repeats, staring past Sam and through the window of the medbay’s room to look at her, lying so still in her bed. “I know it is.”
“Steve, I’m in love with her,” Sam confesses, an ache in his chest. “It can’t be me. I’m in love with her. I’m so fucking in love with her.”
A heavy hand clasps his shoulder, and when Sam looks up, his breathing unsteady, Steve has a look of regret smeared all over his face.
“But does she know that?”
And, for the first time in years, Sam cries.
(“It’s me. I need to tell you something. Even if it will hurt, even if it will destroy—destroy what we have, I don’t know. But I need to tell you, baby. I need to.”)
Sam Wilson thinks she’s starlight.
When she first arrives she’s a collection of stars and their ashes, explosions and deaths, supernovas and black holes and earthbound meteorites.
What he means by that is she’s covered in bruises but she’s so beautiful, and he wants to gather her in his arms and tell her it’s going to be okay.
Steve introduces her, and Sam tries to bite his tongue, but all his words pour out of him anyway as she holds out a hand to him and he takes it, soft and trembling, and he knows she’s special somehow. She’s special.
“You’re the prettiest thing I think I’ve ever seen,” he says, and he means it, but she ducks her head and tries to hide the little smile on her face.
Sam Wilson thinks the world of you. But even when the bruises fade, you’re still left with all the land and the water and the galaxies hidden in your eyes when he catches your gaze, and he looks at you and he swears that you’re reaching into his chest and taking his heart in your small hands and squeezing him dry. You have realms inside of you, he’s sure, all the worlds and all their wonders. But you—you look at Steve like that sometimes, and then Sam is just grateful that you even let him breathe in your general atmosphere.
He can fly, sure, but he certainly isn’t an astronaut, so this is about the closest he can get to you.
(“Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice messaging system. This number is not available. At the tone, please record your message.”)
The first thing you see is the ceiling, hazy and sleep-filtered, but it looks just like the ceiling in that bathroom, back in Danny’s apartment, back when you thought the pain of love was bone crushing, before you knew the pain of love was slow suffocation.
It makes you stutter back to life and that sends you into a coughing fit. You can still taste them—the daisies. They taste like the rawness of sunlight.
Hand pressed against your chest, your eyes dart around the room, trying to catch your bearings. There’s an IV in your arm, the bed railings are plastic, Sam is sitting in the corner, the lights are dimmed.
Sam Wilson is sitting in the corner.
You gasp, looking at him, and he’s staring right back at you, a familiar book in his hands.
Sam Wilson is sitting beside your bed, holding The Flowers of Evil, and the look on his face is far from happy to see you. It’s not anger. And it’s not sadness. It just… is. And Sam is never “just” anything.
Even if he thinks that sometimes, like the times when he calls you and says, “It’s just me,” as if he isn’t something special, so important you can’t live without him in your life.
Well, you can’t live with him, either.
After a solid minute, Sam looks down at the book between his dark hands, and he begins to sift through the pages. He stops sometimes, lingers on the sheets of dried daisies that have been pressed, their color leaking onto the text only slightly. But then he moves forward, searching for something. You don’t know what.
“How long have you been here?” you ask, throat sore when you speak.
“How long have you been in love with me?”
Your teeth gnash together, bite into your bottom lip, worry a sore there as he doesn’t look at you. He just keeps flipping through the book as if he didn’t just thrust a dagger straight through your heart, as if it isn’t beating so fast and hard like it’s trying to stay alive. You feel like you can’t breathe and you don’t know if it’s the flowers crawling out of your lungs and trying to get to him or if it’s the fact that he knows.
You can’t answer him.
Sam stops on a page, his finger trailing over the script, and then he begins to read.
to wine, to opium even, I prefer
the elixir of your lips on which love flaunts itself;
and in the wasteland of desire
your eyes afford the wells to slake my thirst.”
“Les Fleurs du Mal,” he says, shutting the book with a thump and striking his palm with it. “Baudelaire sure had a lot to say, didn’t he?”
Your mouth is suddenly so dry. There’s a pink pitcher of water next to the bed, just like a hospital would have, and you reach weakly for it. Sam grabs it immediately, pouring you a cup, and passing it gently to you. You gulp what you can down through the straw, hardly breathing.
When you finally feel like you aren’t going to cough your lungs up into your hands again, Sam takes the cup back from you, and embarrassment is a cold shiver down your spine.
He sits back down beside you, looking straight at you. “Do you want to get the surgery?”
Your lips part to speak, but he interrupts.
Chewing your lip, you take a deep breath. “No. And I never planned on it, either.” From the corner of your eye, you see his jaw tighten.
“Because what is a life without the fucking sun, Sam?” The words are spat from your mouth. “A life spent not loving you—not knowing you, not feeling you anymore—it wasn’t worth it. Because I love you, Samuel Wilson. I have loved you since the day I met you and you told me—told me I was pretty for some goddamn reason. And I’ve loved you every day since. I love everything about you and there is not a single iteration of life that I would want to live if it meant not loving you.”
This time, nothing tastes like blood. It’s all just daisies, like they’re populating your mouth, changing the way your tongue works, turning to paste in your teeth. It’s so strong that it hurts. Like you’re eating paper valentines and crying too many tears as you say goodbye to a body in a casket.
But it’s beautiful and lovely and gorgeous because you swear that, somewhere beneath it, you can taste what you think love might taste like.
Sam doesn’t speak and it hurts, but it tosses your book down on the side table and reaches into his pocket and it still hurts. He pulls out his phone. You swallow down the rising earth in your chest.
He pulls out his phone—no, it’s your phone. He turns the screen toward you and punches in your password. You furrow your brows. When did he learn your password? But it doesn’t matter, really, because he just swipes to your call log and pulls up your voicemails. And then he begins to play them.
“Hey there darlin’, it’s just me. I couldn’t find you anywhere—where you at? I thought we could go pick some up and I’ll hang ‘em up. You need me and I’ll be there, ‘kay honey? I, uh, I wanted to ask this girl, but uh, I ended up waiting too long and I’m a little late so… I’ll see you there, honey. I wanted to catch you before we gotta go, in case you wanted to say goodbye. I need to tell you something. Even if it will hurt, even if it will destroy—destroy what we have, I don’t know. I’ll catch you later, darlin’. Have fun, girl. Save a dance for me, baby. Take care of yourself while I’m gone, sweetness. But I need to tell you, baby. I need to.”
The sobs fall from the broken seal of your lips, loud and crashing, like a waterfall. Your hand, shaking and weak, comes up to try to cover your mouth, but Sam lunges forward and catches your wrist in gentle fingers.
He’s looking at you like you’re everything—and you know, you know now that you are—to him.
“You’ve been saying that this whole time?” you ask, a laugh bubbling up from your lungs. No flowers retch up your throat.
Sam smiles, lips pulling back to reveal that gap in his front teeth.
“You haven’t been listening, baby girl. I’ve been tryin’ to tell you I love you for months.”
He rests his forehead upon yours, and as close as he is, all you can smell now is the spice of his cologne. Nothing smells floral.
“I never would have thought,” you whisper. “I was sure—so sure—that you didn’t love me. I thought because of the flowers, I thought that meant for sure that you didn’t love me. I mean, why would you? Why would you ever love someone like me?”
“Honey,” he says, so softly, “you’re starlight.”
Tears flood your cheeks and Sam cups your face in his large hands, wiping them away with gentle thumbs.
Sam Wilson is sunlight. You never considered that you could be starlight.
“Why wouldn’t I love you, darlin’? You’re so good, so gorgeous, so perfect.” He laughs and it makes you laugh too, but it comes out like a sob. Your heart feels lighter. “But you’ve never considered yourself worthy of love before, have you?”
“I’m sorry,” you cry. “I’m so sorry, Sam.”
He hushes you, soothes you, smooths his palms over the planes of your face and over your hair,
“You don’t have to be sorry, baby. It’s okay. You’re okay.” He presses a warm kiss to your forehead and the memory of every single time he’s kissed your forehead like this flashes through your mind, an electric current, and you wonder how you never saw it before now.
“I love you,” you say, and this time, your lungs don’t feel as though they will burst from the pressure, the roots, the vines twined around them. You don’t feel choked by petals. You don’t taste blood in the back of your mouth.
“I know,” he says, “and if you let me, I will spend the rest of my days with you convincing you that you are worthy of love, honey. Because I’m in love with you. I’m so in love with you.”
When he presses his lips to yours, he doesn’t taste like flowers. Not like the daisies that wrote your death sentence. He tastes like golden pools of sunlight, warm and wanting. This is your heliotropism. You are a magnet for him, Sam Wilson, god of the fucking sun.
And maybe he’s phototropic, always drawn to you, moving toward your starlight.
(“Hey, it’s me. Sorry I missed your call! I’m on my way home now, and guess what? I have a surprise for you. It’s a bit ironic, but I think you’ll like it. What do you think of the name Daisy for a baby girl?”)
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Light of Love: Chapter 3
Fire Captain/Single dad Steve Rogers still mourns the death of his wife, Peggy. Their 5 year old son, James, a constant reminder of what once was. A chance encounter with former girlfriend Y/N might just change everything- now married to Detective Brock Rumlow, and desperately unhappy, can the two mend each others broken pieces, or will their fractured past tear them apart once more?
Title taken by the song of the same name by Florence + the Machine
Swearing, Violence, themes of domestic violence, themes of sexual assault, mentions of a miscarriage, cheating, smut in later parts, fluff, hurt & comfort, angst @ its finest, slow burn with a fractured past, so some past fluff?? steve is kind of a dickhead, but peggy is worse. nat is a good friend, and bucky the best. oh, and brock is DEFINITELY the worst
Chapter Warnings; minor character death, swearing and a sprinkling of angst.
WE HAVE NEARLY REACHED THE REUNION STAGE!!
Light streamed in through the small gap in the curtain, casting a golden hue of light that delicately danced over Steve; small particles of dust collectively swirling in front of him as he awoke with a sudden start- the alarm on the bedside table blaring with a persistent screaming.
Steve glanced towards the alarm clock; red block numbers staring back at him, 8:00am.
“Shit,” he groaned; a hand coming down to push the stop button; throwing the covers off of him in a haste, scrambling to find clothes and shoving them on in his wake.
Just as he was done buttoning his jeans, his phone blared loudly, Thunderstruck by AC/DC almost screaming through the speakers. Steve smiled, knowing that the ringtone could only mean that one person was calling,
“Hey Buck, listen- I gotta get James up for school-“
“Steve? She’s- she’s dead. She’s dead, Steve.” Bucky whispered, his voice thick with emotion,
Steve furrowed his brow in worry, hugging the phone tighter to his ear with his shoulder as he spoke, “Who is, Buck?”
Bucky took in a staggering breath, his heart constricting as he spoke, “My mom. Shit Steve, she’s dead.”
Steve swallowed, a hand coming up to rub over his face as his eyes began to swim with emotion; “I’m coming over, Buck. Shit man, I’m so sorry, Pal. Just- just let me drop James off at school and I’ll be right over- the report can wait. Just hold tight Pal, okay?”
Bucky nodded on the other end of the phone, releasing a breath before realising Steve couldn’t see him, “Okay.”
The phone call ended with that; Steve sighed, eyes screwing shut as he sucked in a deep breath- shoulders shaking ever so slightly as he released it. He thought he’d come accustomed to loss; he’d lost his parents whilst in college- he’d seen friends die; he’d watched as people died on the job- he couldn’t save everybody, Nat would always remind him; and he’d lost Peggy.
But perhaps the greatest loss of all was the one that didn’t end with grief; at least not in the traditional sense- there was no real closure, no real goodbye; she was always there, until one day she wasn’t.
Y/N. He’d been thinking a lot about her over the last two days- his mind a constant cesspool of memories; Bucky’s words from two days ago still lingering at the back of his mind, ‘the amount of hurt she went through? Five years ain’t gonna have done much to heal her.’
Steve stood lost in thought as he watched dust swirl in front of him- the light of day now casting a vibrant hue through his room. Lost in thought, Steve didn’t notice as James crept in; the same brown teddy he’d held since birth cuddled protectively under his right arm; a small fist coming to rub the sleep from his eyes before he spoke,
“Daddy? Is it school time?”
Steve jumped slightly; smiling as he turned around to face his son, padding over to the doorway where he stood before crouching down in front of him, “Nearly, buddy. Gotta get you some breakfast first” Steve smiled.
James noted the way his fathers eyes seemed reddened; the tracks of tears still present on his face. James reached out towards his father, small hands coming up to grab at his bearded face, “Sad?” he questioned; his head cocking to one side as he spoke.
Steve nodded lightly, grasping James’ hands in his own as he spoke, “Sad.” He confirmed, reaching out to pick James up and rest him at his hip as he continued, “Uncle Bucky is too. Grandma Winnie- she uh, she went to sleep pal, and she’s not waking back up.”
James stared intently at his father; studying his face before scrunching his nose in thought; “like Mama did? Like when Mama went to sleep, and now she won’t wake up again?” James whispered.
Steve only nodded; humming as a confirmation before placing a kiss to the side of James’ head; squeezing him just a little bit tighter before sighing,
“Come on buddy, let’s get you ready for school.”
“Do I have to go Daddy?” James implored; wrapping his arms around Steve’s neck so he could look at him. Steve sighed once more, eyes closing briefly before he spoke,
“No. How about we spend the day with Uncle Bucky? Help cheer him up- I know you’re good at that.” Steve smiled, an eyebrow raised as James laughed,
“That’s cos we got the same name and cos I’m his favourite person!”
Steve chuckled; the sound vibrating in his chest as he nodded, “That’s right, pal. Let’s go brush your teeth, hmm?”
“I can brush them myself. I’m nearly five, daddy.” James relented, wiggling his way out of his fathers grip before bolting to the bathroom.
Steve watched in amusement as he did, sighing lightly once more before grabbing his phone, sending a quick text message to Bucky- the phone blaring with a new call stopping his movements; his phone lit up with an incoming call, ‘Nat’ he sighed before swiping to accept it,
“Bucky just rang. Shit Steve, we all knew it was coming, but I didn’t- I didn’t think-“
“I know, Nat. How did he seem when you spoke with him? That’s a stupid fucking question, but I’m just-“
“He’s holding up, Steve. Just like he’s always done. Me and Clint are gonna swing by later- Bucky asked if you could meet him at his Mom’s place. Bec has already started clearing it out- keeps saying it’s what she would have wanted, and I know that’s the case, but god Steve. It’s all a bit soon, isn’t it?” Natasha relented, her breath uneven as she uncharacteristically panicked. The hurt she felt for one of her best friends deep rooted at the core; her chest tight with emotion.
“People grieve in different ways, Nat. It’s just Becca’s way of coping.” Steve mused, head turning to peek around the corner of the door once more as he spotted James leave the bathroom,
“Nat- I gotta go get James dressed. I’ll see you later, okay? And hey, stop panicking. We’ll all get through this- together. Just like always.”
Natasha remained silent on the end of the phone, a few seconds passing by before she spoke; the call ended seconds later, “There’s one person missing this time, Steve.”
Steve sucked in a breath; one name echoing in the depths of his mind, and it felt as if his chest was caving in, Y/N.
Harsh winds push the car to no avail as Steve drives; the tires hissing monotonously over the rain-washed tarmac. Fields stretch ahead; small droplets of rain travelling in streams over the windows; the persistent screech of the wipers working away to clear the panes of glass.
Steve steals a glance towards the back seat; watching as James kicks his legs to the sounds of the radio, smiling as he mumbles over words to the song that plays; “Nearly there, Bud.” Steve smiles
“Just down the hill, and then we’re there!” James declares, a toothy smile spreading over his face as Steve nods, “you know it, pal.”
Steve focuses on the road ahead; the last few minutes of the car journey lay outstretched . He watches as the scenery changes, noting the way the familiarity of it all seems to unsettle him. A sudden change of atmosphere almost; his heart beginning to beat just a little bit faster than before- the blood now pulsing through his veins.
The large house that made up the Barnes’ family home came into view. Large arched windows encased in red clay brick; Steve can just about picture the light as it streams through the windows, a shadow cast upon the sweet-chocolate browns of the oak wooden floors. Memories of him and Bucky as children playing hide and seek filtered through his mind; memories of him, Bucky, Nat & Y/N doing the same. His smile dropped slightly; the once happy memories now darkening- filtered images of a tortured past clouded his vision. Fights and upset entangled amongst tender touches and stolen glances.
A knock on the drivers side window of the car tore him from his thoughts, Bucky stood someone expectantly, a small, sad smile tugging at his lips as he peered towards the back seat where James was now sleeping. Steve sighed, turning off the ignition before opening the car door; Bucky stepped back, hands shoved into his pockets before Steve engulfed him in a hug; arms wrapping tightly around one of his oldest friends in a somber embrace.
Bucky returned the hug, patting Steve’s back before pulling away; a hand coming up to rub at the onset of tears, sucking in a breath before speaking, “Thanks for coming over. Becca’s gone- said she needed air. We’re just sorting through Mom’s things-“
“I’ll help. I’ll help, Buck. I’m sure James will find those old college photos amusing.” Steve laughed, the smile that came with it not quite reaching his eyes. Bucky did the same as he nodded, body turning to shuffle towards the back door of the car, “I’ll grab him.” He relented, pulling open the door to unbuckle a sleeping James from the car seat.
James roused slightly from sleep, aware of the arms that now encased him, sighing before his eyes fluttered closed once again. Bucky laughed lightly; pulling him from the car before shutting the door behind him, “Sleeps like a dead weight. Sounds like his dad.”
“Ain’t nothing wrong in a deep sleep, pal.” Steve snorted, turning before leading the way up the steps to the house. The pang he felt in his chest earlier returning as he entered the house.
Steve stood in the hallway of the home he knew well; eyes gazing up at the tall ceilings, the paintwork a brilliant shade of white, a long hallway stretched the length of the house; double oak doors strewn in different places down the hallway. A large staircase stood at the foot, a red carpet embedded in thick strips of oak wood, a small slither of light illuminating the top of the landing- exactly as he remembered it, although now he was older, it didn’t seem as grand.
Bucky shuffled in behind him, James still fast asleep in his arms, he nodded towards the back room, eyes gazing over to Steve as he spoke, “I’ll put him on the couch. Becca was sorting through boxes in the kitchen- Ma kept going on about them just a week ago. Kept saying that there was something in there, something that you should see. You know how it was in the end, nothing made sense. But I thought-“
“We’ll take a look, pal.” Steve confirmed, smiling, turning to walk towards the kitchen at the back of the hall.
Alzheimer’s had taken Winifred Barnes. A long road travelled; a roadblock of sorts- a screen that reached from the ground right the way up the sky; she was aware she was forgetting, something close yet hidden, but she couldn’t quite remember just what she was forgetting. It had gotten a lot worse in the last five years- Steve had pinpointed the worse of it starting right after Natasha and Clint’s wedding. A lot went wrong after that, he thought.
“You ready, punk?” Bucky mused, coming to lean against the kitchen door as he nodded towards the numerous boxes scattered on the kitchen counters, as well as the kitchen island.
Steve nodded, eyes raking over the large amount of boxes before speaking, “Where do you wanna start?”
Bucky shrugged, nodding towards the box right in front of Steve, “that one I guess.”
Steve hummed, ripping open the box, eyes skimming over the contents before chuckling, “Oh boy. There’s some good ones in here,” He nodded, pulling out a photograph of both him and Bucky, taken back when they were nothing but mere toddlers. Bucky laughed in response, body shuffling to sit at the kitchen island; body slumping into the brown leather stool,
“She kept everything, Steve.” He sighed, eyes swimming with emotion once more. Steve said nothing, eyes remaining focused on the contents of the box; fingers delicately skimming through the assorted photographs before landing on something solid. Eyes scrunching in confusion as he pulled out a wooden box; breath hitching as he looked at it.
Bucky noted the way his friend stilled; his head lolling up to meet Steve’s gaze, eyes wide as he looked at what he was holding,
“Steve, I swear- I didn’t know she still had it, she said that she gave it back.”
“Guess you should have believed her when she said there was something I needed to see, huh?” Steve joked; although Bucky could tell it hurt.
“You gonna open it?” Bucky mused; not answering the jarring comment Steve had just made.
Steve sighed, looking back up to Bucky before opening the box; the contents of it just as he remembered. Flashes of memories engulfed him; photographs from every moment spent with her- Y/N; every aspect of their past captured in photographs, movie tickets, concert tickets, old mixed tapes- everything that made up them.
Steve trifled through the box; hands shaking and eyes scrunched in silent confusion, “there’s something missing- where is it, everything else is in here- I don’t-“
“Hey, Steve. Stop, come on man, stop it. Not now.” Bucky pleaded; a hand reaching out to stop his friends movements. Steve sighed, eyes closing before he breathed out a barely audible “sorry, punk”
Bucky nodded, eyes beginning to skim over the assortment of photographs that had fallen from the box; a hand gingerly reaching out for one, smiling as he laughed,
“Hey, remember this? Can’t have been long after we met her- what were you? 9?”
Steve chuckled, eyes solemnly looking at the photograph Bucky held. It was a photograph of him, Y/N, Bucky and Nat; all lined up to pose for a photo, arms linked and smiling; he could recall his Mom telling them all to say cheese for the camera,
“We were eight.” Steve responded; his mind casting back to the first time he met Y/N.
Then, September 1994
Steve was eight when he first laid eyes
Y/N; the first time he saw her was on the corner of Bucky’s street when her and her parents unloaded the moving truck containing all of their lives belongings into their new home. Steve was running from Bucky, smile bright and eyes twinkling in light mischief as Bucky hurtled after him; the older of the two shouting after him to slow down.
Steve turned, too preoccupied with trying to put as much distance from himself and his friend to notice that he was hurtling towards Y/N; only realising as his body crashed into hers, the force of it sending her flying backwards with a loud cry.
Steve looked mortified as he saw the young girl bring her hands up to her face; dark crimson liquid coating the palms of her hands- her face scrunched up in shock, lower lip trembling ever so slightly before a grin broke out across her face; eyes coated in light tears but amusement all the same. Steve watched on in a mixture of concern and confusion watching as the girl burst out laughing. Steve’s mouth opened and closed in shock before he started rambling an apology,
“I’m sorry! I didn’t see you ‘cos I was running, I didn’t mean to knock you over, I swear!”
Before the young girl could explain, her parents came bounding towards her- eyes glancing between the two children. Her father was the first to speak,
“What’s going on, huh?”
Y/N glanced towards Steve before her eyes travelled up towards her father; a toothy grin breaking out on her face as she spoke,
“He fell into me and I fell over, but I didn’t cry or nothin’, I was brave. LOOK!” she exclaimed, bringing her bloody palms up to show her parents.
Her father looked towards her mother and they both laughed lightly,
“You were so brave, sweetheart,” her mother cooed, placing a light kiss to her forehead.
Steve sat still; eyes admiring the scene before him, a soft smile on his face before he spoke up quietly,
“I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to hurt her, I was just running from-“
“STEVE?” a loud voice boomed behind him before Bucky appeared next to him,
“What’s happened now, punk?” he enquired.
Y/N’s mother smiled over at him, hand outstretched for him to shake as she spoke,
“It’s a pleasure to meet you! They had a little fall, nothing to worry about- perhaps you’ll all be seeing a lot more of each other-“
“James Buchanan Barnes, Ma’am. But everyone calls me Bucky,” Bucky smiled, taking her hand and shaking it before doing the same to her husband,
“Ames,” she finished; laughing lightly at the charm Bucky seemed to radiate.
“Are you okay?” he asked Y/N, “Steve here isn’t always the brightest when it comes to looking where he’s going,” Bucky ventured
“I’m okay! LOOK!” Y/N smiled at the older boy, showing Bucky her hands where the now dried blood coated her skin
Bucky chuckled before taking one, “Ay, proper war wound! You’ll be off fighting for the country one day!” he exclaimed,
Y/N laughed before tutting, “Noooo. Don’t be silly!”
Bucky smiled again, eyes travelling over to Steve before he spoke,
“Stevie, why don’t we help these nice folks unload the rest of their things? I’ll tell my Mom they’ve moved in!” Bucky implored,
Steve nodded, a shy smile directed at Y/N as she laughed and grabbed his hand, leading him to the back of the wagon and reaching up to get a box. Bucky flashing a smile towards Y/N’s parents as he followed.
Her parents watched on amused at the three young children. Their gazes turning towards the woman who had suddenly appeared,
“Winifred Barnes- it’s a pleasure. I saw all the commotion, my son, James- quite the charmer isn’t he? Steve’s parents are at work right now, I’m sure they’d love to meet you!” Winifred spoke, dusting her hands off on her apron before reaching a hand out for Y/N’s parents to shake.
Y/N’s mother smiled; taking her hand before speaking, “it’s a pleasure. I’m sure we’ll all be spending time together- I’ve got a feeling those three will be inseparable!” She laughed,
Winifred nodded, laughing too before she spoke once more, “Just wait until little Natasha returns from her holiday, we’ll have difficulty separating the four of them.”
And oh how Winifred Barnes was right.
@frickin-bats @chrisevansgirl34 @living-that-best-life @sarbear94@alexrodriguez1269 @lharrietg @lou-la-lou @pspice639
We are getting SO close to the reunion chapter! It's coming up next, I promise! What are we all thinking? We finally got see how Y/N and Steve met- there's plenty of flashbacks in this series, and I am so excited to share them with you! If you want to be added to the taglist, don't hesitate to ask. WHAT IS MISSING FROM THE BOX??!!! WHY DID BUCKY’S MA STILL HAVE IT???? I would LOVE to know your thoughts!!🥰
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