Hello! I'm not dead!
It's been...wow it's been over four months *wince* sorry! No, I didn't forget or anything, I just procrastinated. And my personal life as been a struggle. But, now it's summer, so in theory I should have more time to write.
This chapter is corny, but in my defense Infinity War destroyed my heart to the point of being forced to write something to make myself feel better. So, you can cringe, I did too, but I laughed a lot writing this.
Also, a little aside, that line Steve says about "leaning on you"? Yeah, that's something my friend said over two years ago that I still remember, and somehow inspired this entire fanfiction. Don't even ask me how, I don't know.
Anyways, enjoy! And leave a review if you can, I'm curious to see who's still around. :)
"Well, I told Nat I would meet up with her for lunch," Sharon said, standing and pushing her chair under the lip of the desk. "If you need anything, let me know."
"Okay." Steve smiled at her. "You're a doll."
Sharon crinkled her nose, smiling back. "Don't get all '40s on me, now. And don't you dare try getting out of bed while I'm gone. I know you were thinking it."
Steve moaned. "Have a little faith."
She shook her head as she walked out. "You're one to talk."
Bucky walked silently down the empty hallway. His muscles tightened with every step, his mind spewing insecurities at him as he drew closer and closer to the moment he dreaded. He was overwhelmed with more frightening and lonely thoughts and feelings than any man should ever have to face.
Get it together, Barnes. I'm going to talk to him. Whatever it takes. I won't make him come to me, not again.
He should have felt more peaceful knowing exactly when the conversation would start, being in control, but he didn't. Power, even in small amounts, was two faced. One minute he was fighting desperately for it, the next begging to throw it away. Bucky glanced up as he heard the click of someone's shoes and saw that it was Sharon. She slowed her pace until she was close enough to talk to him.
"Hello, Bucky." Her voice was quiet, but not because she was afraid. It wasn't pity; something deeper. Empathy, maybe. A reaction Bucky wasn't used to, something he didn't think he deserved.
"Hi, Sharon." The gruffness of his own voice shocked him. He cleared his throat and tried to relax. Embarrassment he didn't understand flushed his cheeks as he improved his posture and averted his gaze. Bucky didn't know her very well yet, he hadn't had a chance to, but from what he knew he liked her, and he could see that she was good for Steve.
"You don't need to hide that you're afraid."
His eyes flicked up at her and her calmness hushed the anxiety bubbling in his throat. "I guess I just don't want to mess things up again."
Sharon took in a deep breath. "None of us do. We've all lost so much."
Bucky blinked, looking down again. "But I'm the one who-"
"You and Steve are both bearing burdens too heavy for one man alone. You need to start letting some things go or you'll crumble under the load."
Bucky felt the gentlest reassuring touch on his shoulder, and surprising himself, didn't shy away.
"Steve feels just as awful about what happened to you as you do about what happened to him. Neither of you can change the past, but you can take away the sting." Sharon gave him a small, reassuring smile. "Talking to him is the best thing you can do, Bucky."
Her hand left his shoulder as she passed him and continued down the hall.
Maybe it's not so bad, Bucky thought, standing still for a moments and trying to focus on the encouragement. There's no reason for me to be scared. He tried to convince himself as he began walking again, but his rapid heart was beating a different rhythm.
"Hey." Steve gave Bucky half a smile as his friend froze in the doorway, visibly upset by the amount of medical equipment Steve was still surrounded with. "It could've been a lot worse."
"It should've never happened at all," Bucky said, voice trembling. He averted his eyes quickly, blinking back tears that were turning his vision blurry.
"It's okay, Buck." Steve watched him sadly, wishing he could get out of bed and give him a hug. "It's not your fault."
Bucky shook his head. "But it is, Steve. I'm the reason you almost died."
"And I'm the reason you were taken by HYDRA in the first place. We can't play the blame game, not when we both refuse to give up the fault."
Bucky ran his hand through his hair nervously, still avoiding eye contact. Neither of them spoke for a few moments.
"You can actually come in, you know," Steve said, breaking the silence gently. He smirked as Bucky walked in. "I remember when the nurses' biggest problem was keeping you out."
Bucky managed a small smile and pulled the chair from Sharon's desk to Steve's bedside. "They never had much luck with that, did they?" He shook his head, swallowing the lump in his throat. "I've missed you, punk."
"You too, jerk."
"C'mon, Buck, we gotta try it. Imagine her face."
Sam crossed his arms as he leaned against the wall of Steve's room. "She'll beat your as-"
"Language!" Bucky scolded.
Steve groaned. "Not you, too."
"Personally I'd like to stay on Sharon's good side, she looks like she could mess a man up," Sam said. "But if you two grandpas wanna risk it, I'll gladly call Life Alert when it's over."
Steve struggled to his feet in response, leaning heavily on Bucky. One of his knees gave in and the soldier struggled to catch him in time.
"This was a terrible idea, Steve," he breathed, pulling his friend up again.
"He's heavier than he looks, isn't he," Sam interjected.
Steve sighed, exasperated. "We just started. It might take a little time."
After several minutes, Steve was finally able to walk a few steps and support himself on his own. Only to have Bucky trip on the monitor cord moments later and end up on the floor, looking extremely annoyed.
Steve couldn't contain a chuckle as Sam chimed, "Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!"
"If you keep talking you won't be able to get up either," he muttered, glaring at Sam.
"Y'know," Steve added, "I was leaning on you. I didn't expect you to fall when I finally stood up."
Bucky got to his feet, hiding his amusement in a scowl. "Shut up, you overdramatic idiot."
All of a sudden a fourth person cleared her throat. Steve froze where he stood as Sharon put her hands on her hips, her eyes narrowed in on him. "What the hell is going on here?"
"Language," Sam coughed under his breath, sending Bucky into a fit of silent giggles.
"Steve," Sharon said seriously, "we talked about this. Now sit down, you could fall."
"Hey," Steve said, opening his arms, pulling the most charming expression he could manage without breaking into a grin. "The only falling I'm doing is for you."
Whispers of "oohh" and "damn, that was smooth," came from the two wingmen in the room, and Sharon couldn't hold her angry look for long.
"That was awful, Steve," she said, shaking her head as she wrapped her arms around him and kissed him.
Bucky and Sam backed out slowly, winking and giving him thumbs ups. The door softly closed and the couple stared at each other for a moment before bursting into laughter.
"So, I assume everything's fine now," Sharon laughed, catching her breath.
Steve kissed her again. "At least for now."