What If?

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Bucky's bed was painfully empty without you

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Bucky's bed was painfully empty without you. Only two nights with you in his bed and now that you were gone it was worse, worse than normal, like instead of returning to baseline he was pushed into the negatives. He flitted in and out of a restless sleep and was already lying awake and open-eyed when the sun came up. He listened to your breaths, the steady sighs of you sleeping deeply. You just needed to sleep in a little, get through your inevitable hangover. It was fine.

Bucky went out to the kitchen and started a pot of coffee, then pulled two mugs from the cabinet. He didn't pour you a cup, didn't know when you would want it, but he got it ready— he brought over the container of sugar, set a spoon on the counter next to the mug. He nursed his coffee at the kitchen island, waiting to hear some kind of motion from you. Sure, you were alive, breathing. But were you okay?

The events of the previous night had played through Bucky's mind dozens of times, leaving him with more questions than answers. He watched the scene over and over, and he knew all of his 'what if's were purely rhetorical— it's not like he could've changed his mind, gone back to your room and found a different outcome. He did what he had to do in that situation, but he wished the situation hadn't occurred at all. He wished he hadn't drank so much, hadn't let you drink so much. Wished he had kept an eye on you, wished he had kept count. With how you looked at him when you danced, maybe the night could've ended differently. Maybe his bed wouldn't have been so empty.

He couldn't take it anymore. He poured your coffee, fixed it how you liked it— an overflowing spoonful sugar and just a bit of cream. As an afterthought, he filled a glass of water for you, too, and he walked slowly down the hall with a cup in each hand, his nerves feeling more frazzled with every step. He paused at the thermostat to take a breath, pretended to adjust it while he listened.

Your breathing was shallower than before, less steady. You were awake. There was a rustle when he knocked on your unlatched door, and he pushed it open cautiously. You were curled up, your head on the pillow, your eyes squeezed shut. Pretending to sleep. Trying to avoid him. Bucky set the drinks on your nightstand slowly, quietly, and retreated to the kitchen, desperately trying to hold himself together.

He listened to your soft movements as you crept out of bed and snuck down the hall. Heard the shower start, listened as you took your time under the hot spray. When you finally appeared in the kitchen mid-morning, Bucky was on his fourth cup of coffee. He was a jittery, nervous wreck, and he couldn't even blame it on the caffeine.

Bucky's heart dropped a little when he saw that you had changed out of his shirt— you were wearing a striped long sleeve shirt, loose enough that it hung away from your body, and a pair of drawstring shorts. Your eyes were down, either to avoid the bright daylight filtering in through the window or to avoid Bucky's stare. A wave of guilt washed over him, and suddenly he was drowning in the reality of what he had done. Of course you wouldn't look at him. He couldn't blame you.

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