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Clean Up On Aisle Seven

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Clint hangs off the back of the cart like a seven year old, tossing random items into the basket every time something catches his attention, unaware that Bucky is having trouble pushing his heavy ass down the aisles. He's too busy talking about some redheaded woman he met at the bus stop yesterday and how he's thinking about asking her out if he sees her again and how upset he is that he hadn't thought to at least try to get her number...

"...and seriously Barnes are you even listening to me?"

Bucky looks up and says, "Fascinating, do we need milk?"

"You're not listening to me."

"Uh, no, no I am not." Bucky walks away from the cart, heading towards the milk cooler. "Seriously, do we need milk? I think I remember you leaving an empty carton in the fridge, but that could just be the reoccurring nightmare I've been having lately where you eat all the food in the house and leave me locked inside with nothing but empty cartons and the lingering smell of burnt toast."

"You burn toast one time," Clint mutters, carefully stepping off the cart. He grabs a jug of 2% milk, waving it defiantly in Bucky's face, and carries it back to the cart.

"Funny," Bucky retorts returning to the cart, not even bothering to switch out the milk. If Clint wants to be a child then he'll have to live with the consequences of his actions, and if living off 2% for a week is what Bucky has to do well... he's done worse things (like letting Becca borrow his car so she wouldn't tell their mother when she caught him coming home past curfew).

Clint silently sulks for all of six seconds before he sullenly says, "I drank all the coffee this morning."

What else is new, Bucky thinks fighting the urge to roll his eyes, instead handing the grocery list to his roommate. "Go get the rest of that, I'll get the coffee, and I'll meet you at the checkout, okay?"

"Okay." Clint snatches the list from Bucky's fingers, takes hold of the cart, and pushes it away. Bucky waits until he sees the other man disappear around the corner before heading towards the coffee aisle. He has half a mind to grab some off brand, just because Clint doesn't like it, but, like with the 2%, he reminds himself that he, too, has to drink it and decides against it.

Bucky's trying to decide which canister of coffee to get when he realizes that he left Clint alone with the shopping list and resigns himself to the possibility that nothing on the list will make it in the cart. It's his own fault, but what can he do now? Clint is a mature adult (usually), and Bucky figures he can trust him with the simple task of getting eggs, bananas, and olives, and if Barton does come back with none of those things then Bucky can always stop by the grocery store tomorrow on his way home from work. Again. It's fine.

Something cracks him in the side of the head, knocking him back to reality, his ears ringing as he collapses to his knees, and for a moment everything goes gray. When he comes to two blurry, human shaped blobs hover over him. He blinks twice, the blobs snapping into focus and revealing two men who he is pretty certain he has never met before. The shorter of the two is biting his lip, worry etched on his face, while the taller one's mouth is moving, no doubt talking to Bucky, but his ears are still ringing and he can't hear anything.

It takes another minute, but his hearing finally returns, the ringing dying down, and he hears a worried, "...okay, man? Hey, can you hear me?"

"W-what?" Bucky eyelids flutter open again, unaware he had closed his eyes, and he squints up at the two hovering men. "What happened?"

"I am so sorry," the blond gushes his hands poised over Bucky's body. "I was trying to reach the rice and I must have nudged the shelf too hard." He's still talking, Bucky can see his lips moving, but he's too busy watching the lights hovering above the smaller man; they almost look like a halo. A tiny little angel man is apologizing to him when Bucky should be the one apologizing. He's upset the blond... somehow.

"I'm calling an ambulance," the blond's friend says, shoving himself to his feet, his phone already to his ear.

"Do you think he has a concussion?" the blond angel man asks, still looking down at Bucky, his eyebrows furrowed in concern.

"Possibly," the other man says just as someone picks up. "Yeah, hi, I need an ambulance..."

"Hey, what's going on?" a new voice asks and Clint appears above Bucky, his hands on his hips, a worried expression on his face. "Dude, what happened?"

"I knocked some cans off the shelf, one must have hit him." The tiny blond says and Bucky wonders if he could put him in his pocket. "What?" The blond gives him a curious look, amusement flickering in his eyes, and asks, "Um, you want to what?"

"Would you fit in my pocket? You'd be safer in my pocket," Bucky slurs poking the blond in the face. "Too small to be wandering around alone."

"Sam, ETA on that ambulance," the blond says glancing over at his friend.

"Ten, fifteen minutes," the other man, Sam, replies, kneeling down next to Bucky. "Hey, do you know your name?"

Fingers snap near Bucky's ear and he lets his eyes settle on Sam. "What?"

"Can you tell me your name?" Sam repeats slowly, his hands pressing into Bucky's hair. It feels good all of two seconds before fingers brush his wound and Bucky hisses, trying to curl in on himself. "You okay?"

"Don't do that again," Bucky mumbles squeezing his eyes shut.

"You're going to need stitches." Sam returns his attention to Bucky's face and says, "You still haven't told me your name."

"His name..." Clint starts but Sam waves his hand, cutting the other guy off.

"I'm..." he blanks for a second, nearly panics, but his name slips out a second later, "I'm Bucky."

"Alright, good," Sam replies with a kind smile. "Can you tell me the year?"

"Uh... 2014?"

Before Sam can respond, Clint adds, "For the record, he barely remembers the year when he's not concussed."

"Okay, what about your birthday? Can you tell me that?"

Sam continues to ask these questions until the EMTs show up. He explains what happened, with a little help from the blond, while one of the EMTs shines a penlight in Bucky's eyes. He hisses again, trying to turn his head away, agitated by the sudden blinding light, but he feels a hand grip his shoulder tightly, the tiny blond angel hovering over him, and he calms down a little.

He must pass out at some point because the next thing he knows he's lying in a hospital bed, with an IV in his arm, a blanket covering his legs, wearing one of those thin hospital gowns. He tilts his head a little, furrowing his eyebrows when he spots a blond man sleeping in a chair next to his bed. He clears his throat, startling the blond, and he sits up quickly. He rubs at his eyes, giving Bucky a relieved look, and asks, "You feeling any better?"

"What happened?" Bucky looks around the room, trying to recall what happened, but the last thing he remembers is giving Clint the grocery list. He's going to have to stop at the grocery store after work tomorrow. Again. Figures.

"I accidentally hit you with a can," the blond replies guilt flickering in his eyes.

"A can?" Bucky lifts his arm, letting his hands brush his head, his fingers gliding over a fresh bandage. "Did you throw it?"

"I dropped it. I am so sorry."

Bucky wants to say something, but the only thing he can do is laugh. It hurts, god it hurts so bad, his head giving a nasty throb, but he laughs until he can't breathe. He can feel the blond's concern drilling into the side of his head, and Bucky coughs, managing to  choke out, "I-I'm sorry. I, I just..." he hiccups, gaining control of himself, wiping the tears from his eyes. He returns his attention to the blond, noting, for the first time, just how blue his eyes are, and he forgets what he's about to say. "Sorry," he repeats softly, coughing again.

"I'm glad you're okay." The blond looks down, clasping his hands together in his lap. "I kinda thought I killed you when I first found you."

"Nah, I got a hard head."

The blond gives Bucky a small smile, shaking his head.

"Have you been here the whole time?"

"Sam and your friend Clint were here for a bit, but yeah." The blond nods, biting his lip. "Figured someone should keep an eye on you." He looks up, meeting Bucky's eyes, and says, "I'm Steve."

"What?" It takes a moment to click, the fact that the guy just told Bucky his name, and he nods. "Good to know."

"Figured you probably wanted to know the name of the man who landed you here."

The two fall silent, neither one looking at each other. Twice, Bucky opens his mouth to break the silence, but his words die on his lips, and the quiet drags on for way too long. Finally Steve stands, nodding towards the door. "Should probably head home, visiting hours will be over soon."

Bucky really doesn't want him to leave, but he can't exactly ask him to stay either, so he says, "Alright."

Steve hovers over him for a few seconds before asking, "Do you need me to call Clint or anyone else?"

"Nah." Bucky shakes his head, rubbing the back of his neck. "But, uh, thanks."


Steve lingers a moment longer before walking towards the door. His hand is on the knob when Bucky calls, "Hey, Steve." He stops, turning back to Bucky, something unreadable in his eyes. "Wanna, I don't know, stick around for a bit?"

"Okay." Steve returns to his chair, sinking down into it.

Another silence settles over the room, this one a lot less awkward, but Bucky's the first to break it this time. "I didn't do anything embarrassing, did I?"

"No," Steve answers quickly, far too quickly, and Bucky can't help groaning. "Well, I mean, it wasn't too embarrassing. You probably can never shop at that store again, but it could have been worse."

Bucky covers his face with his hand and mutters, "I'm gonna have to leave the country."

"Nah, but definitely the state," Steve jokes and grins when Bucky glares at him.

After that, they spent the rest of the time talking about stupid stuff, but eventually the nurse turns up and tells Steve he has to go. He stands, lingering by Bucky's bed again, and he says, "So, you sure you're okay?"

"I'm fine, Steve."


Steve stands there a moment longer before nodding and heading towards the door. Much like before, Bucky calls his name and he stops, turning back curiously. "You wanna get something to eat when I get sprung from here?"



Steve crosses the room again, using the notepad by Bucky's bed to write his cell number down, and hands the pad to Bucky when he's finished. "Give me a call."

Bucky waves the pad in the air. "I will."

"See you around, Bucky."

"You too, Steve."

After the door closes behind Steve, Bucky silently wonders if thirty seconds is too soon to call somebody.