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Small Gods: Spring Thaw – 9

Spring Thaw:  A Bucky Barnes Fanfic

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Character Pairing:  Bucky Barnes x F!Reader

Rating: E

Word Count:  1826

Warnings: nothing really

Synopsis: Bucky Barnes hates winter.  He always looks for the first signs of the ice thawing and new life growing.  When that desire for the end of winter brings to him the god of the spring thaw, he discovers a brand new reason to get through winter.

Chapter 9

As the years passed, Bucky worked hard.  Not just in the hero role he’d taken on, but at himself.  Both things began meshing together, so that his jobs weren’t about revenge or getting even, but helping people and making the world a better place.  He started to work with kids who had been put in situations like him.  Ones with powers that people thought they could use or manipulate, and kids that had suffered trauma and abuse and were so full of rage they didn’t know how to deal with.  He went to therapy and he took cooking classes.  He visited Sam and Sarah and hung out like a normal guy who hadn’t been tortured and used as a weapon for over sixty years.  And the more he pretended that that was true, the closer to feeling like it was true he got.

He knew he was always going to have to carry around what had happened to him and what he had done.  Those things don’t just go away even when you do work at them.  But as the years passed, it felt like it was easier to carry, and more than that, it began to feel like something he carried rather than something he was.  It stopped defining him and taking up most of what made him.  First, the other things started to push them back.  Bucky Barnes – the superhero.  Bucky Barnes – friend.  Bucky Barnes – wannabe chef.  Bucky Barnes – cat owner.  Bucky Barnes – grumpy big brother and mentor.  Then after that, it was torture survivor and programmed assassin.  With each new thing he gave himself, it made less room to be the things that he hated.

There were still moments.  Nightmares happened even to the happiest of people and there were always little things that could set him off and he’d end up in that dark place where he wondered why he still had to persist when all he wanted was peace.  He knew that would always be true too.  What happened –  happened, and no amount of therapy would make it go away.

Winter was still as awful as it always was.  It still made him think of his lungs filling with ice when he took a breath and the cold damp of the Siberian HYDRA facility.  Yet now when the temperature started to drop, and the first morning frosts started to form he felt hopeful too.  Winter would be a struggle to get through, but when the ice began to thaw you would be here and he’d get a chance to be Bucky Barnes – worthy of the love of a god.

He never lost that hope and excitement when he saw you and each time he felt both more in love and more capable of it.  As he figured out who this new version of Bucky was, he figured out what that new Bucky was like in a relationship.

Not that being with you didn’t have its challenges.

Well, that wasn’t right – being with you was perfect.  He loved every second of the time you were together.  Even the hours trapped in a car on the inevitable Northern trek to drag out winter.

It was not being with you that was the problem.  Each year you said to him that you wanted him to be happy whatever that meant and that if that meant you had to see him with someone else, then you could live with that.

He did try it once.  He let Sharon set him up with someone and for a couple of months it was nice, but they weren’t you and it didn’t take.

So for the last six years, he’d waited for spring and each time he saw you it felt more and more like coming home.  The more it felt like coming home, the more he wondered what parts of a normal life he could have with you, and whether the parts he couldn’t have were ones he could completely live without.

“Can you get pregnant?”  Bucky asked.

The two of you lay in bed together in a hotel a little north of Calgary.  It was cold outside but warm in the hotel room, so you were both naked and stretched out.  You had your head on his stomach as he played with your hair.

“I don’t know,” you said, turning your head and looking up at him.  “Worried or hopeful?”

“Not worried,” he said.

“Bucky,” you said running your palm over his chest.  “I am not the woman you settle down with.”

“I know,” Bucky said.  “But…”

“But?”  You asked sitting up.  “How would we?  We can’t even stay in one place when I am here and I’m here for such a short time.”

“I know… but I keep thinking, we could get married.  We could plan it this year and when you get here next year, we can do it,” Bucky said.

You smiled and caressed his jaw.  “Are you proposing?”

Bucky sat up and grabbed your hands.  “So what if I am?  What would you say.”

The expression on your face was unreadable.  Sad and happy all at once.  Your eyes glistened like you’re about to cry, but the way your lips trembled it was unclear if it’s out of joy or sorry.  “And then what?”

Bucky shook his head, unsure of what you mean.  “What?”

“If we get married, then what happens?  What do you want from our lives as husband and wife?”

Bucky frowned and played with your fingers.  “This I suppose.  But that’s why I asked about the pregnancy.  I just… I want you.  But I want to try and make what I have with you normal.”

“There are no soul mates, you know?”  You said, changing the subject abruptly.

“What?”  Bucky said.

“Soul mates.  They aren’t real,” you explained.  “Two people can find each other, be completely happy and in love then lose each other and find that again with two completely different people.  Love is an emotion.  It’s felt – not destined.”

“My friend Steve…”

“Your friend Steve met someone he loved and lost her and then managed to get back to her again.  It’s beautiful, but it’s not fate,” you said.

Bucky pulled his hands away from you and folded them over his chest.  “What are you trying to say?”

“I love you,” you said, and touched your chest.  “I feel it right to the depths of me and I hate that I could be hurting you or keeping you from the things you want.  If you want to get married and have children, and get the home with the white picket fence – if you leave me, you will love again and that person can give you all of that.  You deserve all of that.”

“Stop saying that!”  Bucky shouted.  “Stop telling me you’ll be happy if I’m with someone else!  I don’t want someone else!”  He stopped and looked back at you with pleading in his eyes.  When he spoke again it was barely at a whisper.  “I want you.  I love you.  And if that means that all I get with you is chasing the thaw for a few months a year, I’ll do it, because those are my favorite months of the whole year.”

You straddled his lap and cradled his jaw.  “Bucky Barnes you stupid, beautiful, impossible man.  What did I do to deserve ever meeting you?”

You leaned in and kissed him deeply.  It was soft and warm and tender and Bucky could feel every ounce of the love you felt for him in it.  Every time you had said if he’d move on you’d be happy for him there was that small, self-loathing part of him that said you were only saying that to let him down easy, but as he kissed you now he knew it wasn’t true.  You loved him and you wanted only what was best for him.  He hoped that you could feel that love being poured back into you too.

You pulled back slowly – reluctantly even – and looked down into his eyes.  “Bucky…”

“Please don’t say it again,” he said.

“I won’t,” you agreed, caressing his jaw.  “But I worry that I’m hurting you – keeping you from a life you really want.”

He shook his head.  “I want a life with you.  I’m just trying to figure out what that can or might end up including.”  He took a deep breath and nuzzled at your neck for a moment before looking back up at you.  “I know why I don’t think I deserve you, why do you think you don’t deserve me?”

A look of gradual understanding seemed to cross your features – your eyes first narrowing in concentration and then widening.  “I don’t – I don’t know.”

“That’s it isn’t it?  That’s why you keep telling me you’ll be okay?  You don’t think you’re allowed to keep me.”

You climbed off his lap and lay down with your head on his stomach again.  He gently caressed your scalp as you seemed to think about what he’d said.

“I guess … I guess I’ve had thousands and thousands of years where I’ve just lost people,” you said.  “I have to protect my heart.”

“I want you,” Bucky said.

“Other people have said it.  Either they’ve changed their mind or they’ve died,” you said.  “I bring the spring and then I leave and life goes on without me.”

“I understand that,” Bucky said.  “But can’t we at least make plans for the future?”

“What if we do?”  You asked, rolling over so you were looking up at him.  “What if I do and in the time I’m gone things are different for you.”

“They won’t be,” Bucky said.

“You don’t know that, Bucky,” you said.  “Anything could happen.  You could meet someone.  You could die.  I just appear and have to figure out what’s different every time and it could be anything.  Kingdoms rise and fall while I’m not around.”

“Did you forget that I know exactly how that feels?”  Bucky asked.  “I lost decades.  When I came back I didn’t even know who I was.  I think I know who that is now, and part of that is yours.”

You ran your fingers from his neck down to his chest.  Despite the warmth of your hand, it made him shiver.  “I don’t think I can have children,” you said.  “I have no idea how it would work if I could.  And I don’t think adoption is an option.  I’d never really be a mother.  Just a person they’d see for vacation once a year.”

Bucky nodded.  “It was a stupid question.”

You sat up and again looked down at him.  “I love you, Bucky.  I’ll have more faith.”

Bucky smiled and caressed your jaw.  “I’ll keep reminding you,” he said.

You leaned in and kissed him and as your lips moved against his, a plan started to form in Bucky’s mind for the next time you would both be together.


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