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whatever may come; your heart i will choose

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One look at you; my whole life falls in line.

I prayed for you; before I called you mine.

I can’t believe it’s true, sometimes.

I can’t believe it’s true.

 

He’s unbelievable, Bucky marvels.

Fire licks at his bones. His lungs ache and wheeze with every breath. Steve steels his hold on him. He doesn’t have time to be gentle, the grip steadfast and unwavering—just short of desperate—but Bucky can still feel the way Steve’s heart is beating solidly in his chest. It’s soft enough, Bucky thinks. No, not the beat itself. Steve’s improved heart thuds firmly on and on and on, without skip, or murmur, or stutter, every beat a lifeline to which Bucky’s own heart clings. But Bucky cannot forget the pattern of it: the measures written into his soul like sheet music. Those will always be soft, he thinks, mind clouding for a moment with memories of nights with his head pressed to Steve’s chest, terrified his boy wouldn’t last through the night. Steve’s resolute arms around him now, supporting his weight unfathomably in the midst of this crumbling hell, are unbelievable. And yet, even in his delirious shock, unable to fully comprehend Steve’s inhuman strength, he knows this is no dream. Even dreams of angels could never capture the force of Steve’s bright eyes.

Steve is never unbelievable, he realizes. Bucky believes in nothing but him.

 

I get to love you, it’s the best thing that I’ll ever do.

I get to love you, it’s a promise I’m making to you.

Whatever may come; your heart I will choose.

Forever I’m yours, forever I do.

I get to love you, I get to love you.

 

“Even when I had nothing, I had Bucky.”

Steve knows the weight of what he says is undeniable. It blooms in his chest familiarly, a bone deep truth he has carried for so long he cannot remember how it ever felt to be without it. The spaces between the words are filled with infinities. An infinite yearning, an infinite commitment, an infinite security.

Bucky is alive.

even when i had nothing

when i had nothing

i had nothing

had nothing

nothing

An emptiness that once held nothing begins to waver in Steve’s soul. He feels hope catching onto his extremities, its first step tentative, hesitant in its astonishment. Eternity and ephemerality contrast the stretch between it and the second step, gathering momentum despite sensible caution. Steve knows what will happen before it does: the moment when resistance fades into oblivion, gives way to urgent conviction. Nothing creaks on its last legs, letting go without sound, without sight. The third step sees Bucky fill this space, bleed into him unobstructed, bolstered by the fervor of memories Steve has etched into the walls of his very heart. I have Bucky , his soul elates. That dormant piece of him—left grieving and frozen, hope for revival lost—is alight with faith again. It stretches past what it once knew, as though it holds a key to something formerly locked, a path freshly paved now free to traverse. Steve once wondered if there was a limit to emotion, a limit to what he could hold in his own chest, but he knows now, as it glows and glows and glows beyond what it has ever set light upon before, that this, too, is an infinite. Another infinite of their own.

An infinite love.

 

The way you love, it changes who I am.

I am undone and I thank God once again.

I can’t believe it’s true, sometimes.

I can’t believe it’s true.

 

“You’re my friend.”

He.

There is no space for this, how can there be space for this, what is this? The soldier stumbles at the sound of the target’s voice, filled with something he feels somewhere deep inside him but cannot place by name.

Friend.

Something forces its way through his spine, a strike leaving him stunned. Confused. For a split second the soldier thinks he has been struck by lightning, but a distant voice tells him this is intangible. An experience to be felt alone, not physical, not something he can fight.

He dares not acknowledge it by name. The distant voice might be correct. It calls it recognition.

No.

“YOU.” He cannot. “ARE.” He will not. “MY.” He shall not. “MISSION.”

Blood spatters his fist.

“Then finish it.” He can’t breathe. The distant voice is crowding closer, terrifyingly bright.

“’Cause I’m with you ’til the end of the line.” Steve?

S T E V E

 

I get to love you, it’s the best thing that I’ll ever do.

I get to love you, it’s a promise I’m making to you.

Whatever may come; your heart I will choose.

Forever I’m yours, forever I do.

I get to love you, I get to love you.

I get to love you, I get to love you.

 

“Do you know me?”

Bucky wonders if Fate herself is laughing uproariously at him from Above. Does Bucky know Steve? Is water wet? A part of him sarcastically thinks ejecting himself into the void would be kinder than this.

The rest of him tenderly watches Steve and wills him to understand. Wills him to feel what every cell in Bucky’s body is screaming.

I know only you.

“You’re Steve. I read about you at the museum.” Best friends since childhood, Bucky Barnes and Steven Rogers were inseparable on both schoolyard and battlefield . Inseparable, Bucky thinks. Were inseparable. There is a cruelty in hearing it aloud. He knows, logically, the past tense is true. An objective description of events. His heart, however, grips tightly onto everything they have, everything they are, and demands it rewritten. In what universe could separation be true?

“I know you're nervous. And you have plenty of reason to be. But you're lying.” He could cry right now, fall to his knees at Steve’s feet and let the racking sobs devour him whole. That’s his boy.

What can he say? They’ve been given a thousand second chances, unimaginable chances. Bucky can’t put into words how desperately he needs everything to settle, to give them just a little more time. Time to close their eyes and breathe. He looks at his boy and all he can do is think of how he deserves more. Bucky would bottle the stars for Steve.

If only he knew how.

“You pulled me from the river. Why?” I love you, Steve’s eyes say. Come back to me.

“I don't know.” I love you, too. I’m here.

“Yes, you do.” And I always will.

 

They say love is a journey, I promise that I’ll never leave.

 

“NO! NOT WITHOUT YOU!”

Steve could have said he was surprised, but he really wasn't. He wasn't then as he heard Bucky scream the truth they both knew in the depths of their souls, and he isn't now, sitting in the dim light of this bar with Bucky at his side.

“That little guy from Brooklyn who was too dumb not to run away from a fight.” Steve can hear entire universes packed into the spaces between each word. “I'm following him.”

Bucky looks up, meets Steve's eyes with everything he can't say.

I'm here. I will always be here.

You are mine and there is no place I would choose over your side.

 

When it’s too heavy to carry, remember this moment with me.

 

Fact: Steve is eighteen years old. Fact: he has four dollars to his name. Fact: his favourite colour is baby blue.

These things will change with time.

The one irrevocable truth: he is in love with his best friend.

This will never change.

Yesterday, that was a terrifying truth, something he had never imagined saying aloud. Speaking it into existence was unthinkable.

But today?

Today, Bucky does the unfathomable.

And Steve?

Steve clasps Bucky’s hand in his own, hears his heart hammering in time with Bucky’s, elated and changed forever.

“You're everything I got,” Steve says. Bucky squeezes his fingers even tighter. “Loving you is the one thing I’ll always know.”

Steve’s eyes are so bright. Bucky can't speak.

“I'm in love with you.” He leans in closer, his eyelashes close enough to brush Bucky’s cheek. “Now I've said it, Buck. I'll never stop.” Steve's grin is sunshine after rain. “I'm so in love with you.”

 

I get to love you, I get to love you,

I get to love you.

 

His boy is there when he wakes up. A tiny part of Bucky smiles and says, Where else would he be? Steve’s eyes crinkle like he’s thinking the same thing.

“You're here.” His voice croaks with disuse.

Steve’s hand settles warmly against the side of Bucky’s face. “Oh, you know.” He sounds like spring. “Had some free time.”

Bucky takes the glass of water Steve offers him, decides not to tease him for resting his thumb on Bucky’s cheekbone even as he drinks. It would be a bit hypocritical considering how Bucky’s own fingers are happily looped through Steve’s jeans. They are logistically ridiculous and don't give a rat’s ass.

Steve kisses a drop of water from the corner of his mouth and whispers, “Love you.”

Bucky’s heart flutters. He laces his other hand into the hair at the back of Steve’s neck, fingers carding through the longer strands. “I love you.”