Just a Taste

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Three days, Steve had said. They would be gone for three days.

Bucky was ecstatic when he got the phone call, even though he tried to hide it. His face lit up when he told you, his hurried words tumbling from his mouth when he explained. The team needed his help, he said. They were coming to get him.

Intelligence had discovered a small Hydra sleeper cell in Argentina, and it posed enough of a threat that it needed to be dealt with immediately. Steve was tasked with leading the mission, and he was going to take his usual squad and skip the next tour date. They'd fly down to squash the cell and meet back up with the rest of the team at the next event. Easy peasy.

But, as it turned out, they needed Bucky. He was the one most familiar with the Hydra bases, their layouts and security, and with him and Steve taking the offense and Natasha and Sam following behind, they would be able to handle the threat quickly.

So, three days.

You sat on the edge of the bed and watched as Bucky packed his bag, dressed in his tac gear and dug his combat boots out of the closet. You couldn't help but smile a bit; he looked good. He looked... excited. Happy. Of course he was happy to get out, happy to be useful. He didn't mind missing publicity stunts, but actual missions, actual work, were another story. You didn't blame him.

Bucky set his duffle bag by the door and turned back to you. You had trailed behind him when he left the bedroom, your arms crossed in front of you, picking at your sleeves absentmindedly. When Bucky turned to face you, you forced your hands apart, but you weren't quick enough— Bucky noticed.

He wrapped his arms around you and pulled you close to his chest. "You gonna be okay?" he asked softly. You nodded against his shirt— it was only three days. You had some movies to work through, those silly self-indulgent romances that Bucky would never want to watch. You could play your music as loud as you wanted. You'd come up with some ways to kill time— anything to keep you from thinking about how lonely the building would feel when it was just you.

You said your goodbyes in the apartment. "Be good," you told him as you ran your fingers through his hair. "Make good choices." You thumbed across his cheekbone and planted a chaste kiss on his lips. "Don't do anything I wouldn't do." Even though Bucky winced, he was smiling when you pinched his clean-shaven cheek.

It was a quick reunion; the quinjet only landed long enough for Bucky to walk up the ramp and, to your surprise, for Dr. Banner to walk down. In his own words, he was in desperate need of a break from the chaos, and who could blame him? Steve did him a favor and added him to the roster so he could get away from Tony, enjoy some peace and quiet in his own apartment while the others went on their mission.

"I don't mean any offense," he told you. He wanted to be alone, and you understood, you really did. It was still comforting to have someone else in the building, to know you weren't completely alone.

Bucky waved to you as he boarded the quinjet, and when Steve raised his hand, too, you gave him a curt nod. To be polite. For Bucky. The jet taxied away, Dr. Banner retreated to his quarters, and you returned to your silent apartment.

You were hesitant to look at your phone after the photo fiasco from the other day. Peter's comments were innocent, really, if taken at face value, but they were vague enough to be left up to interpretation— and oh, boy, were people interpreting. You'd always been a shitty liar, so you did what was easiest— your blocked numbers list had grown exponentially, and you nearly deleted your account before deciding to just turn off notifications. Whatever people were saying, you wouldn't see it now, but just holding your phone still made you feel uneasy.

But now you had a good reason to check your phone, because for two days, you received texts. Just goodnights and good mornings, an emoji here and there to check in— nothing too serious, nothing that would jeopardize the mission, nothing that would be incriminating if anyone else saw. It was enough.

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