Home is Where the Heart Is
Chapter Seven: I Won’t Say I’m in Love
Fandom: The Falcon and the Winter Soldier
Ship: James “Bucky” Barnes x Original Female Character (OFC)
Summary: Hestia, the goddess of the hearth and home, has been tasked with returning Olympus’ missing Heart to its rightful place. Things are made more interesting when she bumps into one James “Bucky” Barnes—a man more in need of a home than anyone she’s ever met.
But despite being uniquely qualified to guide him home after decades of fighting, it’s hard to do that with the eventual destruction of her home hanging over her head. Will the Heart be returned? Or will Olympus fall?
Rating: E (eventual smut)
Warnings: one (1) punch to the face
Word Count: 7,686
Hestia had visited GRC camps before. She witnessed firsthand the amount of effort it took for these people to make whatever food and water they had last. It was through these struggles that created a tight-knit community that was understandably wary of others. If only because outsiders, whether with good intentions or not, would make promises that ultimately weren’t kept.
Or in my case, try to exchange necessary goods for nonessential information. Hestia started to question if she’d really thought her plan through.
They’d left Zemo’s apartment as soon as Hestia was certain that she could transport the large pot of stew she’d made safely. Once they got to the camp, the boys decided to split up to see if anyone knew about Donya Madani.
While the boys went about their mission, she wandered around and asked who to speak to about the supplies she’d brought. She didn’t ask about Donya. She assumed it would be best to do so after her car was emptied. The mention of supplies caused people to look at her with mistrust and suspicion. Eventually, someone pointed her to a man by the name of Emilio.
She found him in a classroom, speaking quietly to a handful of children there. It was sparse, with very few items for the children to use. It made her heartache. She smiled softly at one of the boys when he glanced up from his drawing. At the sight of her, Emilio instantly stood up. “What do you want?” His voice was tired, but there was a clear edge of wariness there.
Hestia shifted her weight to her other foot. There was something deeper in his tone. As if he’d asked this question before and didn’t get a satisfying answer. I wonder if Sam’s run into him… She brushed it off for now. Hestia gestured to the doorway she came through. “I was told to speak to you about the supplies I have in my car.”
Emilio crossed his arms and pressed his lips flat. “You brought supplies?”
“Yes,” Hestia answered without hesitation. “It’s in my car downstairs.”
“We haven’t been able to get anything in months, and yet you come to me now, offering up valuable supplies.” Emilio was calm when he pointed it out, but the sharpness was still there. His arms tightened across his chest.
Hestia glanced around the room. The children were watching her carefully with frowns on their faces. Hestia realized what this must look like. That’s why so many people were suspicious before. “You believe I’m fooling you,” Hestia guessed.
Emilio’s shoulders were tense, but he eventually dropped his arms. “People have never come here just for the sake of being kind.” His tone was wiser than it should be. Hestia couldn’t imagine the experience that led to it. “People aren’t like that.”
It was at that moment that Hestia realized her grave mistake. These people had been taken advantage of time and time again. They’d been mistreated by everyone, including the people whose job it was to take care of them. They had no reason to trust anyone who walked into their camp, and they certainly had no reason to trust a single woman who came claiming to bear supplies.
Hestia had the compass that could direct her to the two remaining pieces of the Heart. She didn’t need to ask for information about Karli. However, she had planned to do so anyway, if only to help Sam and Bucky with their quest. But if it means tainting the goods I’m giving them, I know what I need to do. She sighed softly. I’m sorry, Sam. Though, something told her if anyone would understand it would be Sam Wilson. “There’s no catch,” Hestia finally said.
Emilio narrowed his eyes and shook his head. “No one is that kind.”
Hestia shrugged. She repeated, slowly but surely, “there is no catch.” Whatever reason he believed she was doing this for was up to him.
Emilio took a deep breath. “I can’t trust you,” he said firmly.
Though Hestia could admire his unwavering beliefs, they were in dire need of the supplies she had. “Please,” Hestia took a step forward, face earnest. “I have supplies.” Her tone was sincere. “I understand that you have no reason to trust me. I have nothing to offer you other than my word.”
“And promises are often broken,” Emilio pointed out sharply.
“Yes, they are,” Hestia agreed easily. “But does it matter?” Emilio’s lips tightened. “I have supplies that you desperately need.” She gestured to the sparse room and the children watching the exchange carefully. “I am telling you that I want nothing in return. The supplies are yours to do with whatever you wish.”
Emilio watched her carefully. Hestia stood tall. She had nothing to hide. Suddenly, a small hand tugged on Hestia’s pants. Glancing down, a girl stood next to her, no more than six years old. She blinked up at Hestia with wide, innocent eyes. “Do you have any new toys?” She asked quietly as if it was a big secret.
Hestia blinked and then smiled. Kneeling to her level, Hestia leaned in to whisper in her ear. “I’ve got lots of toys. Pencils and markers too. I even have…” she paused for great effect. The little girl’s eyebrows raised high. She leaned in, curious. Hestia giggled and said empathically, “ play-doh .”
“Play-doh?!” The little girl screeched in delight. She started clapping in excitement. “She’s got play-doh! The nice lady brought play-doh!”
At that, the other children started clamoring out of their seats. Emilio sighed, and then turned back to Hestia. She rose to her feet, smiling, rather unapologetically to Emilio. “Does everyone want to go on a short field trip?” she asked the students. They cheered. She laughed. “Alright, we’re gonna go downstairs to my car.” As the students started filing out of the room, she turned back to Emilio. “I’d say I’m sorry, but I’m not,” she threw out offhandedly.
Emilio shook his head, but he followed his students. They all clamored around her car, chattering excitedly until Hestia opened the trunk door. “ Whoa!” The students exclaimed in unison. Hestia eyed the truck. I might have gone a bit overboard. Not that she could muster up regret over it.
Emilio stood there, slack-jawed. Probably believes me now, Hestia thought with a smile. She handed a few bags to the children. Only, they didn’t know where to put everything. “Emilio,” Hestia called, with just a hint of teasing in her voice. Emilio tore his eyes away from her car. His mouth was still hanging open. Hestia did her best not to laugh. She nodded her head to the kids in front of him. “Mind helping?” she asked good-natured.
“Oh, uh… of course…” Emilio shook his head as if waking himself from a dream. Then, he started organizing where all the supplies were to go. “Let’s start with the classroom, for now, kids.” They echoed their acknowledgment.
Hestia turned back to the car. Eventually, the same little girl was standing behind Hestia, eyeing the bags with an intense, hawk-like gaze. Hestia slowly followed the line of sight. She laughed at what caught the little girl’s eye. Hestia leaned in and pulled out the pink little bunny with a white bow tied around its neck. She turned back to the little girl, and whispered, “I think this little bunny needs a friend.”
Her face lit up like it was Christmas. Without hesitation, she snatched the bunny up and hugged it tightly. Immediately, she was already in a deep conversation with the stuffed animal as she wandered off to play. Hestia giggled. She caught a few of the adults wandering over to investigate the large crowd. Eyebrows shot up and mouths dropped at the stuffed car.
It gave her just as much joy as Emilio’s expression did.
It was made even better when an older gentleman started fingering through the books she had. One of them caught his attention. He pulled it out and gasped when he caught sight of the title. “Oh,” he murmured gently. “This is my granddaughter’s favorite…” He ran shaky fingers reverently across the smooth cover. “We’d lost it after…” he trailed off, eyes glassy.
Hestia’s chest warmed. She reached over and placed a hand on his shoulder. “Well then, I’m so glad I found another copy for you,” she said, equally soft. “I can only imagine how happy your granddaughter is going to be when you show her.”
The smile he gave her in return was priceless.
Once most of the bags were given away, Hestia pulled out the pot of stew. She was pleased that it was still hot to the touch. “Oh, let me,” an Italian woman rushed over and took the pot from Hestia’s hands.
“Thank you,” Hestia smiled.
The Italian woman returned the gesture. She took a deep whiff of the stew. “Oh, smells delicious,” she cooed.
Hestia chuckled. She waved it off. Then, before she forgot, she gestured to the front of the pot where a small card was tapped on. “I listed all the ingredients just in case someone was allergic.” She’d learned her lesson from last time. Never going to let it happen again. Hestia shuddered.
Once all the supplies were gone, Hestia slammed the trunk door closed. Just as she turned around, Emilio stood before her. She blinked, rocking back on her feet. His expression was stern. Oh boy… “What do you want?” he asked again.
Hestia sighed, upset that he was asking again. I’ve just given you thousands of dollars of supplies out of my pocket, and you still don’t trust me. She knew the GRC camps had a close community, but this was a bit extreme. “I told you,” Hestia repeated patiently, “there’s no catch. I don’t want anything.”
Emilio shook his head in defiance. “I know that you came with those two.” He gestured to Bucky and Sam standing side by side. They watched Zemo carefully farther down the courtyard. Hestia frowned. That same spike of regret hit her. She knew they needed information. This was important to them. But… I can’t … Given all she knew about them both, she hoped they would understand. She turned her eyes back to Emilio. “You want to find Karli,” Emilio continued, gesturing sharply at her.
“I don’t want anything, Emilio,” Hestia repeated, this time firmer. How many times do I have to say this?
Emilio scoffed. “No one is that nice.” He glanced around and deflated. His posture hunched over, his hands hung loosely by his side. Hestia’s brow furrowed. “Take back your supplies,” Emilio finally said. Hestia’s head jerked back. “We don’t want anything to do with you.”
The fact that Emilio was stopping his community from enjoying the free supplies that they needed out of pride was the final straw for Hestia. “Are you serious?” Hestia hissed. She took a step closer until she was nose to nose with him. “You’re going to deny everything I’ve given you, that you need, out of what? Pride? Spite?”
Hestia cut him off. “It doesn’t matter if you can’t trust me,” Hestia growled. “I bought those supplies with my own money and have given them to you without any questions about Donya or Karli. Yes,” Hestia gestured sharply to Bucky and Sam, “I did come with those two. But it shouldn’t matter ! You have taken the supplies from my car,” she slapped a hand on the door, “They are yours.”
“I’m not going to accept what is clearly a carrot on a stick,” Emilio rebutted. “If anything you’re worse than those two.” Hestia took a deep breath to keep her cool at the accusation. “They at least are honest about what they want.” Bucky’s head turned minutely at their heated argument. “You offer us supplies we need in exchange for giving up information on the one person who’s trying to help us.”
Hestia threw her hands up. “I haven’t asked anything .”
“ Yet,” Emilio snapped. “So you can take your supplies back because I will not allow you to use us for your own devious purposes.”
Hestia snapped. Her lip curled and her eyes narrowed. “I won’t accept them,” Hestia growled. “Those supplies are yours to do with whatever you wish. You want to throw them away because you can’t accept any goodness, fine. It doesn’t matter. The moment you took the supplies out of this car is the moment they are no longer mine. I knew you needed supplies and I gave them to you.” Hestia pointed at him firmly. “That’s it, Emilio.”
Emilio scoffed. “Nothing is ever that simple.”
“Now,” Hestia continued, ignoring him. “Do you want to know the whole truth, Emilio?” She didn’t let him answer. “Since you’re so eager to place judgment, I’ll tell you. There is a reason why I came to this camp with them,” she gestured to Bucky and Sam. Distantly, she noted that Bucky was now eyeing them out of the corner of his eye. “I came because I have reason to believe that Karli Morgenthau has a relic that belongs to my family.”
“I knew it,” Emilio muttered, shaking his head as if this was all the proof he needed.
Hestia scoffed, knuckles turned white from her grip. “I’m not finished,” she said sharply. “Because once I talked to you, I understood the situation you’ve been put into. I can’t imagine how many times this exact situation has happened before, of people offering you things you need in exchange for things they need. Now, my intent with these supplies has been completely genuine. So,” Hestia continued, widened her stance as she glared at him. “I decided not to ask for any information in return. I didn’t want these supplies to be tainted with whatever devious thought you believe I have.”
“So you’re just giving them to us?” Emilio scoffed, and it was clear that he didn’t believe her.
Hestia didn’t care. “Yes,” Hestia answered so surely that it made Emilio pause. “Now that you have them, you can do whatever you want with them. You can throw them out a damn window for all I care. But,” Hestia added firmly, “I will not take them back.”
She took a deep breath, and with her piece being said, she walked past him without hesitation. She walked over to Bucky and Sam and took deep breaths to cool off. She crossed her arms over her chest and dug her nails into her skin so hard she left marks. Her jaw was clenched so hard she was getting a headache. “That sounded rough,” Bucky finally said.
Hestia blinked. Tilting her head, she frowned at him. “What are you talking about?”
“That speech,” he jerked his head behind them, “sounded rough.”
Hestia stared at Bucky. “You… heard that?”
Bucky stared at her for a moment, and then slowly nodded. “Yeah, doll, it’s called being a super-soldier.”
Just like that, all the tension in her body melted away. She lit up. “You can hear that well?” She squealed in delight. “That’s incredible, James!” Bucky glanced away with a blush. She stared at him for a while, and then muttered, more to herself, “you never cease to amaze me.”
His eyes snapped towards her. Their gazes locked. Am I in love with him? She pondered, even as she kept her eyes on him. She did like him, she knew that, and she flirted with him without any shame. Yet, could she say she was in love with him?
It’s been so long, she thought to herself nostalgic. Yet no matter how many years it’s been, she still remembered perfectly what the buildup was like. It’s happening all over again. Her heart fluttered at the thought. Bucky’s eyes were entirely blue, with shades of green, and Hestia never wanted to look away. A warmth grew in her chest. Oh, my pretty James.
“Can you two just kiss already?” Sam asked flatly. “‘Cause at this point, this tension between the two of you will kill me.”
The world restarted. Hestia and Bucky snapped out of it. Hestia’s heart skipped a beat when she noticed that they’d been closer than they were before. Had we been leaning in? A blush grew across her cheeks and nose. She giggled, even though it wasn’t funny. “Sorry,” she said to Sam. She was a bit guilty of letting that grow when Sam was right there.
Bucky’s was so red it was past his shirt. He turned and growled at Sam, “we’re not going to kiss.” There was a hint of an emotion there that Hestia picked up on. It took her a moment to decipher it. It was like Bucky wanted to say as if Hestia would want to kiss me instead. It reminded her of what Sam told her back at Zemo’s apartment.
“Bucky’s probably thinking he’s not good enough for a woman like you.”
That same righteous fury filled her veins. “James,” she called before she could overthink it. He turned back to her. In one smooth move, she reached up so she could kiss his cheek.
His eyes were blank when she pulled back. She laughed softly, and then, just because she wanted to, leaned up to place a quick peck on the tip of his nose. Bucky still didn’t move. Even as she straightened herself, Bucky continued to stare forward with wide unseeing eyes.
Sam rolled his eyes and gave Bucky a hefty smack across his back. “Wake up, Buck,” he drolled, his eyes filled with mirth. “Being a little too obvious around her.”
Hestia leaned forward to stare at Sam. “Obvious?” she asked, confused. “Obvious about what?”
Bucky came to life instantly. “Nothing,” he said before Sam could. He threw another glare at Sam. “It’s nothing. I’m not being obvious about anything.”
Hestia stared at Bucky. “You’re kind of being obvious now,” she pointed out slowly.
Bucky’s head snapped back to her. He shoved his hands into his pockets, as his Adam’s apple bobbed. He was trying to steer the conversation away from him. He then glanced out to the courtyard and something caught his attention. “What the hell is he doing?”
Both Sam and Hestia turned to see what Bucky was referring to. A few feet away, Zemo was speaking to a young girl in hushed tones. Then, he held out a handful of Turkish delights and walked away as the children clamored around the treats. “Cute kids,” Zemo said flippantly as he walked by them.
Well that’s a red flag, Hestia thought and judging from the expression of her boys, they knew it too.
Getting back to the apartment wasn’t any better. Sam made good points about why people at the GRC camp would trust Karli, the only person who was doing something to help them. “Well,” Bucky threw out his hands in frustration. “What about you, Hestia?” he asked. “You must’ve got something from them.”
“I got nothing,” Hestia answered with a hint of hesitation. Both stared at her. She shrugged. “I quickly realized that if I gave them all the supplies that I’d bought, and then asked about Donya, it would’ve been a carrot on a stick.” Hestia frowned when she remembered Emilio’s phrasing. “As much as I realized you must find Karli, giving them the supplies was more important.”
Bucky sighed heavily. As Zemo walked up with a tea set, Bucky’s eyes narrowed. “That little girl,” Bucky said slowly, watching Zemo critically. “What’d she tell you?”
“The funeral is this afternoon,” Zemo answered.
Hestia’s eyes shot up. “How did you find out?” she asked. Zemo pursued his lips. Hestia put the pieces together on her own. “Candy,” she breathed out once the puzzle came together. She blinked and then tilted her head. “Really? That’s all it took?”
“Well,” Zemo threw out, “that and I was more approachable than either of these two.” He gestured to Sam and Bucky.
Hestia paused, eyed both of them, and then shrugged. “Fair point.”
“Point?” Bucky gave her a funny look.
Hestia smiled sheepishly. “With the way you scowl, dear, it’s not exactly inviting.” Sam snickered.
Bucky snorted but turned his attention back to Zemo. “Ya know the Dora’s comin’ for you any minute.” A familiar shudder ran down Hestia’s spine at the mention that Wakadans were involved. “In fact, they’re probably lurkin’ outside right now.”
“Don’t remind me,” Hestia muttered to herself as she glanced over her shoulder on instinct.
“Keep talking,” Bucky demanded, pretending he didn’t hear her.
“Leaving you to turn on me once we get to Karli,” Zemo pointed out smoothly. He shook his head with a hum. “I prefer to keep my leverage.”
Bucky stood up abruptly. Hestia didn’t like the stance he was taking, setting her on edge. She watched carefully as he walked over to Zemo. Then, without warning, he grabbed the glass in Zemo’s hands and ripped it from him. He sent it flying past Zemo, shattering against the wall. “You wanna see what someone can do with leverage?” Bucky breathed harshly at Zemo.
Hestia immediately stepped in. Walking over to them, she reached out and tugged on Bucky’s arm. “James, dear,” she called to him softly. “Let’s all cool off.”
“Hestia’s right,” Sam said, as he stood next to Zemo. His eyes were on Bucky. “Don’t engage him. He’s just going to extort you and do that stupid head tilt thing.”
Hestia stepped close enough that their bodies brushed against each other. She pressed her other hand to his back. “Walk away, dear.” She ran her fingers across his spine, trying to distract him and loosen the tension in his muscles.
“Let me make a call,” Sam said. As he walked past them, he leaned closer to Hestia. “Keep an eye on him.”
Hestia nodded but didn’t take her eyes off her pretty soldier. She grasped his arm with both hands and tugged again. “Come with me, darling,” she cooed.
Bucky didn’t put up much of a fuss and followed her as she led him away from Zemo. She got him into a separate room and closed the door quietly behind them. Bucky huffed. “You should’ve let me at him,” he growled, pacing the room.
“No,” Hestia said, as she turned and walked towards her belongings. She lifted the compass she had and eyed it carefully. The second needle was still swinging sharply back and forth. It has to mean that the piece is with Karli. If Karli had just stashed it somewhere, then the needle wouldn’t be moving so erratically.
Except… Hestia realized the flaw in her thinking. Karli might not be the one who has it. One of her other followers may have it. They might not even realize what it is that they have in their possession. Hestia chewed on her lip. Well, considering that she didn’t ask any questions at the camp, the only way to find this piece of the Heart was to use the compass.
Bucky stood next to her, examining the compass over her shoulder. “Isn’t that the same one you had when we first met?”
Hestia’s head snapped up and over to him. It took her a minute to realize he asked a question. She took a deep breath, inhaling the pine trees and the freshness of a winter breeze. Hestia’s eyes glanced down at his pink lips. Just as pretty as the rest of him. Stars above, now that Sam had asked her if she was in love, suddenly she couldn’t stop thinking about it.
“Hestia?” Bucky called.
She snapped out of it. Glancing away, she cleared her throat. “Uh… yes,” she said when she remembered his question. “It is.”
“If all you were looking for was the cube, then why does it have three needles?” Bucky asked, watching her expression curiously.
Hestia stared at Bucky, thinking this through. Before, she hadn’t told them anything more than what she believed was necessary because she didn’t know them or trust them. Information like this in the wrong hands could be dangerous to both Olympians and humans. But now…? She took a deep breath, but before she could say anything else, Sam walked in. “I called Sharon,” he said. He glanced around and once he was certain Zemo wasn’t around he continued. “She’s gonna gather up some of her resources and give me a call if anything pops up.”
Both of them nodded. Hestia knew that now was the time to explain. “I might be able to help as well.” Sam walked towards them. Bucky crossed his arms, tilting his head. “If I’m right,” she hesitated then muttered, “and stars above I hope I am,” she cleared her throat, and continued, “I can find out where Karli is.”
“How so?” Bucky asked.
“You’re going to want to sit down,” Hestia said, gesturing to the couch in the room. “It might take a few minutes.” Both blinked surprised, but after sharing a look, they turned and walked over to settle in. Hestia wrung her hands together but knew this was the right decision. I trust them. She followed them but kept standing so she could watch their expressions carefully.
Then, she told them everything. She told them why they even met her in the first place with the trucks in Germany. She explained to them why she was there, and what happened afterward when she found out that the cube was empty. It was sweet that Bucky and Sam immediately grew concerned when she explained the dangers of the Heart missing, but she assured them that, at the very least, this danger was very slow to come. She held nothing back and told them everything, including that Eris was the one responsible for the Heart missing.
The only thing, perhaps, that she left out, was that Eris believed that Hestia would end up throwing her lot in with Eris. A part of her hoped that if she didn’t admit it out loud, then, as irrational as it was, the problem would go away.
Finally, as she sat between them, she opened up the compass to show it to them. “Each needle represents a piece of the Heart,” she explained. “Now, I’ve got one in my possession,” she gestured to the top needle. “Now, this one,” she pointed to the one at the bottom. “That one’s not moving, which in my experience says that it’s probably somewhere far away.” Which was curious, Hestia had to admit, but it wasn’t her main concern right now. “But this one,” she finally pointed to the one that kept moving sporadically.
“I take it that means it’s close,” Sam guessed as he leaned over her shoulder to examine the compass closely.
“Yes.” Hestia nodded.
“And you think Karli has it,” Bucky added.
“I do,” Hestia confirmed. “Given all the facts I told you, I believe that since Karli had the cube on hand, it probably wasn’t the only thing that she had that day.”
“Why didn’t you realize that when she gave up the cube?” Sam asked curiously.
Hestia shrugged. “At the time, even the idea that the Heart could be in pieces was…” Hestia paused, licking her lips as she shook her head in disbelief. “It was so far out of the realm of possibility.”
“Except…” Bucky turned his eyes to her. “You don’t sound too confident that Karli has it.”
“I’m not,” Hestia sighed. She leaned against the couch. She rubbed her eyes. “The problem is this only tells me where the piece is. There’s no guarantee that it’ll lead me to Karli.” There’s a whole host of reasons why it wouldn’t be with her. “A part of me even hopes that it’s not with her.”
“Why not?” Sam asked.
Hestia knew that Sam worried about Karli, and wasn’t sure how encouraging this would be. But he deserves the truth. “This entire situation is unprecedented. The Heart has never been outside of Olympus before, let alone in mortal hands. I have no idea what will happen or what could happen if Karli holds onto the Heart for a long period of time.”
“It might affect her somehow?” Sam guessed, and the concern was loud and clear.
“I don’t know,” Hestia shrugged, hating the words coming out of her mouth. “I really don’t. I wish I did, I do,” she insisted when Sam’s face fell. “But this has never happened before.”
“So, we need to get that piece away from Karli,” Bucky said firmly.
Hestia nodded. “It would be best for everyone if I took it away. That way we won’t have to guess about what effects it may cause mortals.”
Sam nodded. “Given what I know of Karli, I think she has it on her,” he said confidently.
“What makes you so certain?” Hestia asked curiously.
“She wouldn’t trust it to anyone else,” Sam explained. “Think about it, you said it yourself, Hestia, she doesn’t trust gods and she cares a lot about the people she’s fighting for.”
“So she wouldn’t give them an unknown artifact,” Hestia hummed, following the train of thought. “She’d keep it for herself in case there were any side effects they didn’t know about.”
“Exactly.” Sam grinned.
Bucky scoffed. “Why doesn’t she just throw it away or stash it somewhere?”
Sam and Hestia shared a look. “Because she’s too proud to let it go,” Hestia answered. Sam nodded to show he had the same thoughts.
“Plus a goddess came down and told her it's important,” Sam added. “She’s the type of teenager who will always do what authorities tell her not to do out of spite.” That too … If it was any other situation, she would’ve laughed at it.
Bucky hummed. Hestia held up the compass. “So, at the very least, I can tell you if Zemo’s just leading us around in circles.”
“That’s a nice safety net to have,” Bucky said dryly.
Sam caught her eye. “When we get to Karli, let me talk to her.”
“Okay,” Hestia said, without issue. Sam paused, and Hestia had to laugh at his surprise. “What?” she teased. “Did you think I was going to object or something?”
Sam shrugged. “I mean, I guess. Figured as a Greek goddess, you’d want to talk to her.”
Hestia shrugged. “Look, Sam, as long as I get the piece back from Karli, you can do whatever you want.” She paused, then added as an afterthought. “Plus, you know how I feel about conflict. If you can get Karli to back down without a fight, you know I’m always happy with that.”
Sam smiled. “Knew there was a reason I liked you.”
Bucky snorted and rolled his eyes. Hestia couldn’t help but tease, “it’s alright darling,” she cooed, “you’re my favorite.”
Bucky grumbled as red brightened his cheeks. “Every goddamn time,” he growled.
“You look cute, Bucky,” Sam teased.
“More than that, you’re pretty,” Hestia added.
“I hate you both so much,” Bucky grumbled as he shot up and out of the room to hide his reddening ears. Sam and Hestia glanced at each other and laughed.
Bucky hated John Walker. On the way to Donya’s funeral, they ran into him and Lemar. He wasn’t exactly thrilled and even threw a few snarky comments just to see Walker’s face mottle.
The most enjoyable part was the fact that Hestia was holding her tongue the entire time. If he was honest, he mostly enjoyed it because she kept her hand in his. It was clearly just a way to help her hold her tongue, but it made the small hair at the back of his neck stand on end. Especially when she started playing with his fingers.
Though, he had fun imagining all the snarky comments Hestia could throw Walker’s way.
What can I say? I adore strong women, he thought as he watched her keep her cool with amusement, maybe a little bit of adoration too. It didn’t help that no matter how many times he told himself off, his eyes still dipped down to her mouth.
Lips that are as soft as her hands. The same ones that have been across his skin before. Every time he recalled the times she’s pressed a pretty little kiss to his cheeks, chills run through him. He couldn’t think of anything else on their way to the funeral.
Which, of course, was bad.
Ten minutes was longer than most people think. It was certainly long enough for Bucky to be completely consumed by his thoughts. He had a crush. Despite the same bolt of irritation over how juvenile it is, he knew there was no point in denying it—at least to himself. He just… really didn’t know what to do with that. The idea of cutting it off with Hestia almost brought him physical pain.
Not to mention, he didn’t have anywhere near the amount of strength needed to keep himself away from Hestia.
At this point, he figured the best he could do was nip this crush in the bud before it got too bad. It was a hopeful thought. It was also perhaps the worst lie in history. The longer he spent with her, the stronger this crush got. He’d give her a piece of the moon if she asked for it. Though, she wouldn’t, because she was so fucking kind and she’d never give him a task that she knew he couldn’t complete.
Am I even really trying not to be in love? Bucky swallowed around a tight throat. The idea of being in love scared the absolute shit out of him. There were a shit ton of reasons why this was bad. For one, he was the Winter Soldier. For another, he had ninety fucking years of baggage that he’d just recently started unpacking. On top of it all, he had to reacclimate himself to today’s society. Not to mention, he was a super-soldier with a metal arm. With the slightest effort and careless thinking, he could seriously hurt someone.
He froze when it occurred to him. Fuck, I could hurt Hestia… The thought left him ill. He licked his lips and swallowed past a dry mouth. “James…?” His head snapped up. Hestia had stopped pacing and walked over to him. “Is everything alright?”
The fact that she could read him so easily should scare him. Instead, it gave him comfort. Even if it is awkward at times. “I’m fine,” he said gruffly, glancing away in shame for lying to such a beautiful woman.
“Okay,” she answered, though her tone made it clear she knew he wasn’t telling the truth. Of course, she does. He was half convinced she could see into his soul. When he turned his gaze back to her, her eyes were warm honey. How can she see my black soul and still look at me like that? He couldn’t wrap his head around it.
Hestia opened her mouth, and Bucky unconsciously leaned forward, enthralled with whatever words would come out of her mouth, but Walker—of fucking course—ruined it. “This is a bad idea.”
Bucky snorted softly. He wasn’t even surprised. Walker wanted things to go exactly his way. Steve wasn’t like that, Bucky thought confidently. Steve would’ve trusted Sam to do this. Just another reason why Walker wasn’t Captain America. “It hasn’t been ten minutes, John. Just sit tight.” He didn’t bother to listen to Walker’s reply. He turned back to Hestia. “Were you going to say something, doll?”
Hestia’s eyes always lit up every time he called her that. His chest warmed under her smile. She glanced over at Walker. “You really should learn to trust other people,” Hestia commented lightly, though there was a slight sting of an insult somewhere in her tone. That’s my girl, he thought, and then almost smashed his head against the wall for the thought. What is wrong with me? “Sam knows what he’s doing. And if anyone can convince Karli, I know it’s him.”
Walker wasn’t listening at this point. He started marching to the stairs. It was exactly why Bucky put himself there. He knew Walker wouldn’t be able to handle five minutes, let alone ten. “I’m goin’ in,” Walker announced with false authority.
The stand-off between them wasn’t unexpected, but there was no way in hell he was letting Walker ruin this for Sam. He and Sam may bicker a lot and they were not friends, but he trusted Sam. And if it helps save Karli from going down this path, then we need to take it. The road Karli was determined to go down wasn’t one someone could retreat from. He knew that from personal experience.
Except, it was because of his past that Walker knew exactly what to say. “Barnes, your partner needs backup in there.” Just as Bucky was about to correct him—seriously, not my partner, idiot—Walker continued, “do you really want his blood on your hands?”
Bucky shouldn’t have taken the bait. He knew what Walker was doing. Yet, so many lives had been taken because of him, that the mere idea of Sam’s death also being on his conscience was too much. They weren’t friends, but it didn’t mean he wanted Sam to die. Bucky’s eyes lowered. “You bdelyrós,” Hestia growled, metaphorical hackles raised.
Walker threw a glare at Hestia but shoved past Bucky to get to Karli. Hestia sneered at his back and then softened her face. She cupped his face in her hands. “Sam will understand,” she said softly.
Bucky closed his eyes tight. The words hit harder than anything else she could’ve said. In a moment of pure weakness, he leaned forward and pressed his forehead to hers. He took a deep breath, letting the warm milk and honey sit heavy in his lungs. He was in such dangerous waters. He wasn’t even trying to stop it at this point. She was too intoxicating.
She’ll ruin me. Bucky was certain about that. Yet, when he opened his eyes and looked into her pretty brown eyes, he knew that he was so close to handing over all his broken pieces. Though he didn’t want to admit it, he knew— from deep within his damaged soul—that this was becoming more than just a little crush.
But I won’t say it. I won’t say I’m in love.
Hestia had so many insults lined up for what Walker did. Picking the one comment that he knew would hit Bucky low just sent her into a rage. The ancient Greek word slipped out without any conscious thought. It didn’t matter, because the sentiment was still the same. Once that piece of shit walked off, Hestia’s first concern was making sure Bucky was okay.
Pressing his forehead to hers made her heart slam against her ribcage so hard it hurt. Oh, my pretty soldier, she thought as she held his face in her hands. I’ll do anything for you, just tell me. I’ll give you the moon if it’ll make you smile.
When he pulled away, he ran the tips of his fingers down her cheek. He left behind a trail of pins and needles. Hestia did everything she could not to shudder. Then, Bucky blinked, and it was like he woke himself from a dream. He was already turning away from her. “We need to make sure Sam is okay,” Bucky called over his shoulder.
She didn’t hesitate to follow after him. It was truly unfortunate when they did finally find Karli with Sam. From the brief-expression on Karli’s face, it was clear that Sam had been getting through to her. Curses, Hestia thought emphatically. If they’d just given Sam the time he needed, then all of this might’ve been avoided. She was throwing every swear word and curse she knew at Walker.
It was no surprise that Karli ran. Hestia went after her without hesitation. She had to get the piece back before Walker could mess that up too. So, urgently pulling out her compass, she followed the needle until she caught a gunshot. Head snapping up, she paused, and when a few more went off, she ran towards the noise.
Only it was farther away than she first thought. As she slid around a corner she came face to face with Karli, who leaned heavily on Emilio’s side. Everyone froze. Hestia caught the flash of red and realized that Karli was bleeding. Well shit. She knew how mortals got when they were wounded. If only I’d gotten to her sooner. “Karli…” she started, holding up her hands in a sign of peace. “I’m not here to fight you.”
“I don’t believe you,” Karli snarled, like a vicious animal backed in a corner. Hestia’s mind spun quickly, trying to figure out how to defuse this situation. “You came in with that Nazi bastard.”
Hestia rolled her eyes. “If you accuse me of working for that, then you need to remember who you’re talking to.” She walked forward slowly. Emilio stood in front of Karli. Hestia stopped. “Emilio,” she said calmly, “Karli,” she stared at both of them to try and convey the honesty of her message. “I really am not here to fight.” She was getting tired of how many times she had to repeat herself. Given how frightened and betrayed Karli must be, Hestia was willing to say it one last time. “All I want is the piece of the Heart that you stole.”
“I don’t have a piece,” Karli spat as she shuffled around Emilio to glare viciously at her.
Hestia stayed peaceful. Her hands still held up. “Yes you do, Karli,” she stated calmly but firmly. “Don’t bother lying to me, okay? I know you have a piece. All you have to do is give it back and I’ll walk away.”
Karli scoffed. “Liar.” Karli pulled something out of her pocket. The Heart glowed brightly in her clenched fist, peaking through the gaps between her fingers. Ice ran through Hestia’s veins. “How does it feel to be scared now, goddess?” Karli mocked. Hestia’s chest tightened, irritation snapped at her nerves. Does she even know what she’s got in her hand?
“Karli,” Hestia took another step forward. Emilio stood aside, watching Karli curiously. Hestia refused to take her eyes off Karli’s hand. So close, Hestia thought, holding her breath. “You don’t know what you’re messing with.”
“Maybe not,” Karli admitted too easily. Her eyes were harder than steel. They burned into Hestia. “But I know it’s powerful enough for gods to come off their thrones. So, why should I give it up when all you’re going to do is put yourselves back in power?”
Hestia had a vivid flashback of speaking to Eris in Madripoor. “They sit up there in their goddamn golden palace and look down on the rest of us.”
It seemed Eris and Karli had a lot of beliefs about gods in common. Except I know how to calm down my niece. I don’t even know where to begin with Karli. “Karli,” Hestia tried again. She took a few steps closer. Karli was wounded, and the guilt would undoubtedly come later, but if she had to, she’d yank that piece out of Karli’s hand if she got the chance. “Please,” she asked, softly, “please just give it to me. Let me take it away. It’s never been in mortal hands before. None of us, you nor I, know what’ll happen if you misuse it.”
“Oh, that’s so rich,” Karli snapped, waving the piece around erratically. “Of course a high and mighty bitch like you would think I’d misuse it just because you’re a goddess and I’m not.” Hestia was almost close enough to reach Karli’s hand. “I’m fighting for something bigger than myself. And I will use everything I have in my possession to change this world. And I don’t care what you say!”
Hestia was so focused on the piece in Karli’s hand that she noticed it immediately. Without warning, the light flickered briefly. Hestia’s brow furrowed. Why is it doing that?
Then, Karli punched Hestia.
The force knocked Hestia’s vision sideways and almost drove her into the wall beside her. Stumbling back, gaze spinning and now entirely confused for another reason, it took her a minute to even understand what happened.
Karli hit me. That much was clear. As her vision finally cleared, Karli and Emilio were gone. The silence was deafening. What? Her mind spun for an entirely different reason. Karli had thrown punches before and Hestia shrugged them off without any problems. She’s never struggled before. Mortals, even super-powered ones like Karli, couldn’t injure her.
She blinked and finally straightened herself. Maybe it was just because she caught me off guard…? That must’ve been the answer. It wasn’t until she finally caught up with Sam and Bucky that it became clear. “Hestia…?” Sam asked incredulously.
Hestia tilted her head. “What’s wrong, Sam?” Bucky walked up to her, frowning at her face. She almost pouted. “You know I only like it when you smile at me, darling.”
Bucky didn’t seem to hear her. “Did you run into another one of your family members or something, Hestia?” Sam crossed his arms. “‘Cause if so, I think we need to discuss abuse. Even Greek gods should be aware of it.”
“What are you talking about?” Hestia asked, glancing between the two of them. “No, I…” Hestia gestured behind her. “I tried to get the piece of the Heart that Karli has back.” She frowned. “It… well, it didn’t go as I would’ve hoped.”
Sam and Bucky continued to stare at her intently. It was putting her on edge. “I’ll say,” Sam muttered to himself.
“What?” Hestia asked again. “Why are you both looking at me like that?”
Bucky reached up and with very gentle fingers brushed across her cheek. Instantly, Hestia jerked her head back, hissing, pain crackling through her entire head like a wildfire. It took a long minute before the pain finally faded. Then, the realization struck her. Her wide eyes snapped to Bucky. “Oh no…” Her eyes flickered across his face. “Am I…?”
Bucky slowly nodded. “You’re already bruising, doll.”
Oh, fuck, Hestia thought in disbelief.
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“Can I hold your hand?”
a/n: so... hello again? i know, i went out for some days, forgive me guys. Well, im not only back, but i am with this brand new one shot? - i still dont know the corect name of this type of content. Anyways, i have a brand new set of ideas (most of them about bucky, steve and his friends 'cuz im love again with that man and his friends) and prompts to write for you guys, and i'll try to maintain a continous posting routine, again, i'll try. Also, maybe i'll do a part two of this one... im looking forward for it. Lastly, you all can beat me up a tad, i'm sorry for being away.
fandom:marvel/captain america/the falcon and the winter soldier too(?)
words: 2.021 words/11.303 characters
warnings: fluff, a itsy bitsy of angst close to the end, mention of sex? idk that was so superficial lol
Bucky Barnes x M!Reader
"Can I hold your hand?"
"Three rooms, one night," you repeated this, sounded automated and tired, "We'll pay in cash."
The woman on the counter stared at the money you handed over, "You'll need a bit more if you want to stay, honey." then she stared at you.
No genius is needed to knew what she wanted, a grunt escaped out while you handed her some more money, noticing that a grin is now stamped on her.
"Oh, I'm sorry," she started after looked under the counter, "I'm afraid that we just have two rooms for you."
"Yo-," whatever you were about to say, you decided to hold back, "Just... gimme them."
You were so exhausted and weary, honestly, no matter how many rooms they had, you could sleep on a chair if you could. The mission you were designed to do was not that complicated, just secretly gather some info, but you were not set to do it alone, your old and good friends - Samuel and James - were also set to go with you. And God, if the mission itself was not a problem, walk for hours straight searching for a motel with two soldiers arguing incessantly about something that you don't give a damn about drained all your energy.
You head to the sofas where those two were waiting for you.
"You did it?" Wilson got up immediately after seeing you approaching.
You lift the two keys on your finger, only to receive frowns of both, "Only two rooms, and you two will refun-" you couldn't finish, the tallest one abruptly took one key, interrupting you, "I'll not share with anyone."
Another grunt of yours escaped, "Whatever, Sam. Meet with us at nine outside, don't be late or I'll kill you myself." The other starts to walk away, ignoring whatever you are saying, he pronounces a "Wanna see ya try" before getting out of your vision, taking another mumble of you.
"C'mon Buck, our room it's this way." you exasperated said.
"Lead the way." He replied, hiding a smile.
While walking aside with Barnes, you start to think about sharing a room with him. You two are friends for ages now, but your friendship just got more closer after Steve's death, which happened two years ago, and still, you two never talked about that nor other deep and personal things, like his insecurities towards himself and his past... and everything got worse when you have a crush on him. Anyways, even if you one day had an opportunity to confess for him, there's a chance of mess with your friendship and/or be rejected, so you will hold your cards for now.
"...You sure?" Barnes' voice invaded your thoughts, bringing you back to reality.
"Oh... I-I'm sorry, what did you say?" you rubbed your neck, giving him a shy smile, "I wasn't paying attention."
"I-" the other didn't say anything for a second, seemed barely embarrassed, "I asked if you are sure about sharing the room. I mean, you probably want to rest... you must be more tired than me and Sam either way." he sounded kind, a tone that he doesn't use with everyone.
"Buck, I don't mind sharing if it's with you. And being honest, you two would try to kill each other rather than simply sleeping." the brunette let a chuckle out, "Yeah, you are completely right."
Didn't take much time to arrive at a door with the same number as the one on the key, "Here we are!" you exclaimed, Barnes playfully rolled his eyes, a smile on his face. He entered first, turning on the light. When you entered the room, you noticed that were a neat place, comfortable to the eyes, even though the decoration not matched with anything, not that you were caring at this point.
However, Barnes noticed an important detail, "Oh damn..."
His grunt was sufficiently audible, "'Oh damn'?" you repeated, suspending your analysis and putting your backpack on a wardrobe.
"Oh damn... there's only one bed." he declared.
You followed his gaze, which ended at the single bed in the middle of the room.
Would this be a smile of a god or a trap of the devil?
Whatever that was, you couldn't feel more pathetic for not be concerned about that beforehand, "I can't believe I didn't ask about this..." you murmured, pressing your temples.
"Hey, don't worry," the taller began, "You take the bed. I'll sleep on the bathtub."
"Wha- Hell no!" your screech surprised the other. You take a step back, noticing that you overreacted a tad, "I-I mean, you don't need to sleep on the bathtub, that's ridiculous."
"So... what do you suggest?" he raised an eyebrow for you.
"Are you serious?" Barnes turned his head in confusion. You couldn't believe that he didn't think on that, "Buck, c'mon, we can... just... I mean... you know... sleep ... together?" you slowly said, and maybe you blushed a little, putting that idea in words was more embarrassing than you thought.
The brunette was caught off guard on that, he never considered sleeping with you in the same bed, instead of only in the same room. He was ready to say something, but you started first, "Look, g-go thinking about it. I-," you took a towel and headed over to the bathroom, "I-I'll take a shower by now, okay? I'll be the next."
"So idiot..." another of your mutters came out after ending your bath. It is obvious that share a bed would be way more comfortable than sleeping in the bathtub, you are not with the second intentions, indeed, you are just... being kind.
The night was hot yet humid, so you clothed sweatpants and a regatta. As you were brushing your teeth, you saw some popped-up messages on your phone that belongs to Wilson:
"tiny, the white panther already snatched your ass up??"
"i did the favor to let you two on the same room"
"for your own sake do something tonight or i'll abandon you two and head back alone"
You almost choke with your toothbrush reading that first sentence. Wilson knows that sex is not a thing that you are really into, but he stills teases you with these types of comments. However, truth be told, Barnes is a handsome guy, and somewhat gentle and caring with you... No! He's just a good friend. You two couldn't happen... right? Come on! James Buchanan Barnes and... you? What a great joke... or great dream.
"no one will snatch anything"
"and you call that a favor?"
"for your own sake, it's better not even try that >:)"
"also im not tiny okay? you two that are too tall :p"
You sent those messages to him, putting the towel on your shoulder before going out of the bathroom.
The first thing you saw after getting out was Barnes, he was seated on the bed, looking through the window, at some moment he took off his jacket and t-shirt, staying only with his jeans. His expression was so serene and the moonlight reflecting on his eyes, on his vibranium arm, on his body, everything on him was so... attractive... you couldn't help but feel yourself redden hard. That idea of sharing the same bed came to your mind again, worsening your blush.
When James noticed that you already finished your bath and turned to see you, he also went from white to wine, completely rubberized. Although he sees you almost every day, seeing you that way, casual clothes, hair weaty, face red for something he does not acknowledge about - himself, ironic no? - brought up that strange feeling he feels sometimes when he's with you.
"A-ah... s-so..." you tried your best to keep your heart inside your chest, "Yo-you gonna sleep with these jeans?"
"I don't have other pants to wear." He stated, yet flushed, breaking that eye contact.
A sigh came, "You should come prepared next time." you responded to him, smiling, recovering your composure while giving him one of the sweatpants you had on your backpack. He took it, whispering a "Thank you."
As you sat down on the bed, you thought that at this stage, nothing more could happen. Bold of you to assume something like that. James headed to the bathroom, he stayed a time there, taking his shower, brushing his teeth, questioning if he deserves to be forgotten, and all the things he does constantly. Meanwhile, you just lie on the bed, thinking about how coward you are, how you can't rush on him and say that he's trying his best and that's what matters, that he deserves way more than just being forgiven. You shook your head, throwing those thoughts away...
When the brunette comes out of the bathroom, shirtless and wearing your sweatpants, you were already sleeping. He didn't say anything, and before lying by your side, he looked at you, your soft expression, your small form to not occupy much space, your hair yet weaty, that put a grin on his face, what brought that strange feeling again, he doesn't know its name, still, he knew that was something strong. In the end, Barnes just lied on your side, if you weren't sleeping, you would feel his naked back touching on yours, a warming and comforting sensation.
Groans and grunts. You woke up with Barnes trembling at your side. You sit on the bed, worried, that was not the first time you saw him in that state. "Another nightmare..." you whispered for yourself. You wanted to touch him. Comfort him, but you hold that impulse, you couldn't... shouldn't do that. You just stayed observing him for a while.
"No... no... please... stop... STOP!!" the brunette woke in desperation. Body sweating and shivering, that vision broke your heart.
"Hey, Bucky, Bucky, calm down," you said in the softest tone you could, pressing your hand on his shoulder, "Nightmares again?"
Barnes didn't answered you, he turned his face to you, completely frightened, "You should... have slept... with Sam." the words almost fainting.
A sigh came of you, "Bucky, remember what I said earlier?" you asked, being replied by a shook, "I said that I don't mind sharing, as long as it's with you." you shaped a soft smile, trying to comfort him.
The brunette trembled again. He bit his lip, turning his face to the other side.
That continued for a long time, sometimes he turned to you, opened his mouth, but no words come out, and then the cycle restarted. You patiently stayed there, waiting for him.
"I", he commenced finally, "had... another nightmare." a bit of pain could be felt in his voice.
"And you are better now?" no answer, he simply turned again to you, he tried to say something, he wanted to, though again, he couldn't say anything, and tears were ready to slip from his eyes.
That was the last straw. You couldn't hold back anymore. You gently put your hand on the top of his, "Bucky, I.. I am here with you. I will let nothing happen to you," this made his tears run down, and you too would cry, your eyes were already filled with tears, but you stood strong, "no matter what, even if that costs my life." your thumb was squeezing the back of his hand, and your other hand was on his face, drying his tears
He softly settled his hand on that in his face, which made a shiver run down your back, "Can I... sleep... holding.... your hand?" he blushed while requesting that.
James Buchanan Barnes, asking for something like that, on that way... again you couldn't do anything but being a mess of red while you nod to him.
Both of you lied again, this time, your hands were interlaced. You closed the space between you two, sufficiently to let his head reposing on your chest. Your other hand caressing his hair.
"Thank you." Barnes susurrated.
"Whenever you need, I'll be there for you." you whispered for him.
Both of you smiled one last time before fall asleep.
You would be more than glad if Samuel wakes up late tomorrow.
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