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Ain’t Gotta Hide This Heart of Mine

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“You need to get laid,” Steve stopped dead in his tracks upon entering the living room in Avengers Tower. Tony, the one who had spoken, was looking at him intently, waiting for a response. The rest of the Avengers were seated around the living room.

“What?” Steve finally says.

“Come on, Cap,” Tony says, “It’s been like, a hundred years!”

“That would imply that he’s still a virgin, Tony,” Sam points out.

“Exactly,” Tony responds, “Which is why he needs to get laid.” Steve doesn’t say anything about the fact that he did get laid. Last night.

“I’ve already tried setting him up with people,” Natasha says, looking up from where she’s sharpening two of her knives, “He always says no,” she makes it seem like she’s uninterested, but she secretly agrees with Tony.

“I really don’t need you guys setting me up with people,” Steve says, “I’m fine-”

“Nonsense,” Tony says, “What kind of women do you like?” he takes his tablet and prepares to take notes, “Nice girls, definitely,” Tony writes with a stylus, “Polite,” he adds, “Cap?”

“Tony, that’s really unnecessary,” Steve tries to say, but to no avail

“No! We’re doing this,” Tony says, “So, blond? Brunette? Redhead?” The rest of the Avengers seem interested in the conversation now too. To Steve’s relief, Sam saves him.

“Hey Steve, didn’t you tell my mother you would stop by for dinner again?” Sam says, already standing up to leave.

“Yeah, I think I did.”

...

Steve is so, so grateful for Sam Wilson. They ride the elevator down to the main level and walk out of the tower. Sam is the only one who knows about Bucky, Steve’s boyfriend of over a year. That’s probably why Sam had been having trouble keeping in his laughter earlier.

“Thanks, Sam,” Steve says once they’re a good distance from the tower.

“No problem, man,” Sam says, “But you shouldn’t you just… tell them?”

“I don’t know,” Steve says, “The more people that know, the higher the chance is that somebody bad will find out.”

“I’m sure Bucky can take care of himself, you know,” Sam says.

“I know he can, but we fight things that are way stronger than anything normal. I mean, robots? Aliens?”

“I get your point, but it wouldn’t hurt to get their nagging off your back,” Sam tells him, “Even if it’s really funny when you know the truth!”

“Yeah, ha ha,” Steve says, unimpressed, “They’re also assuming I’m straight,” he tells Sam.

“Uh huh. Guess it’ll be all the funnier when you do tell them,” they stop at the bottom of an apartment building, “You are planning on telling them eventually, right?”

“Eventually,” Steve turns to enter the building, “Thanks again.”

“Anytime,” Sam says, “I’ll go eat dinner with my mom and bring you some leftovers, yeah?” Steve smiles. All food these days is better than Great Depression food, but Mrs. Wilson always makes the best food.

“Please do. See you,” Steve waves goodbye to Sam before heading up a set of stairs.

...

“They wanted to set you up on a date?” Bucky laughs.

“Yeah,” Steve says, “Sam saved my ass, though.”

They’re sitting on Bucky’s couch, a TV playing the news in the background. Bucky’s in his nursing scrubs. He has a night shift tonight, which starts in half an hour. He wasn’t supposed to have one tonight, but he had to cover for another nurse who somehow managed to get the flu. He was glad he got to see Steve before his shift, though.

“Thank god for Sam,” Bucky says. He snuggles into Steve a little. He doesn’t want to leave, but he knows if he doesn’t go now, he’ll be late. Which is pretty dangerous when you work in the emergency room. Especially on a Saturday night.

“I have to go,” Bucky sighs, sitting up.

“Alright, I’ll see you tomorrow?” Steve says.

“Yeah, lunch date?” Which will probably lead to a dinner date and sleepover, but hey.

“Definitely.”

...

“Come on, why not?” Tony pesters, “She’s fucking perfect!” It’s not even a week later and Tony is trying to set Steve up with a girl (“she’s a lawyer, Steve! Justice and all that!”) again.

“Language,” Clint says. Steve groans.

“I really don’t want to go on a date, Tony,” Steve says, wishing Sam was here to help him. Unfortunately, he’s at his sister’s college graduation. And to top off his shitty luck, Bucky has a night shift again, which had already started, meaning Steve can’t visit him right now. This one is actually his night shift, though, and not somebody else’s. He always has them on Thursday nights, with a day off on Friday.

“I would go just to get Stark off your back,” Bruce says as he walks by, just quiet enough that Tony doesn’t hear. Bruce might actually be on to something.

“Fine, I’ll go,” Steve says. He can go and hopefully let the girl down gently. Tony leaps with glee and Natasha raises an eyebrow.

“Never thought I’d see the day in which you actually agreed to a date, Rogers,” she says. Before he can respond, he’s being told to shower and get changed because oh. This date is tonight . Bucky will understand.

He somehow ends up in a car, Tony leaning into the window to tell him her name is Rebecca before telling the driver to go. Steve sits in silence, shooting a text off to Bucky to explain the situation. He’s sure Bucky will get a kick out of whatever Steve’s gotten himself into.

...

The restaurant isn’t overly fancy, definitely not something Steve thought Tony would go for, but it’s still really nice. Rebecca is apparently there already, so the waiter leads Steve over to where she’s sitting. The booth is secluded in the corner of the restaurant, and a girl with light brown, almost blonde hair is sitting, facing away from Steve as he walks up. When he gets to the table, she stands up to greet him.

“Hello, you must be Rebecca,” Steve says. Steve feels like he might have met her, or at least seen her, before. She just seems, familiar.

“And you must be Steve,” the woman responds, her eyes widening slightly when she realizes who Steve actually is.

“Tony didn’t tell you, did he?”

“Um, no. He just said I should go out with his friend Steve,” Rebecca says, “I guess I should have put two and two together, though,” she chuckles slightly and they both sit down. The waiter takes their drink orders (Rebecca had only just arrived moments before) and leaves them be.

“No, no. Tony can be cryptic and he talks fast sometimes,” Steve says. Rebecca laughs.

“Yeah, he sort of took me by surprise and I didn’t really know what to say,” she says. She seems sweet, and Steve starts to feel bad, since this will never become anything more than one date that Steve isn’t really invested in anyway. Her smile is genuine and her blue eyes remind him of Bucky’s. In fact, they look eerily similar to Bucky’s. Steve studies Rebecca’s features again. His eyes widen as he comes to a realization. There’s a reason why he thought she looked so familiar. He has seen her before, in a photo in Bucky’s apartment. Before Steve can say anything, though, the waiter comes back with their drinks and they quickly order their meals.

“Uh, so listen, Steve,” Rebecca says. She seems nervous now and she’s biting her lip, “I don’t want to, uh, come across as rude or anything, but I don’t think a relationship between us would work out,” Rebecca fiddles with the straw wrapper from her cranberry juice, “Mr. Stark sort of sprung this on me and I agreed because I was sort of startled,” she makes eye contact with him, “but I’m actually pretty gay, so…”

Steve can’t stop the sigh of relief that makes its way out of his mouth. Rebecca looks confused and possibly more nervous than before.

“Sorry,” Steve says, “It’s just, I only agreed to this date so Stark would stop nagging me about getting laid,” Steve explains.

“Oh, well, that’s good then,” Rebecca says, surprised, “But wouldn’t it be good to let Tony Stark help you, considering how much experience he has with this kind of thing?”

“I don’t actually need his help with-” Steve sighs, “I’m dating your brother, Bucky,” Rebecca’s eyes widen significantly before she bursts out laughing.

“You’re kidding!” Rebecca says, “That’s the best thing I’ve heard all week! I knew Bucky was hiding something!”

For a second, Steve wonders if maybe he’s just outed Bucky, but realizes that no, Bucky’s told the story of how he came out to his family before. The rest of the night they exchange stories about Bucky and Rebecca talks about a woman, another lawyer that she works with, that she wants to ask out.

...

“So, how’d it go?” Tony wiggles his eyebrows when Steve returns to the tower at 11:00 the next morning. He’d gone to wait for Bucky at his place after the ‘date’ with Rebecca Barnes so he could tell Bucky everything that had happened. Bucky had nearly died from laughing because ‘Tony Stark set my boyfriend up with my lesbian sister!’

“Well,” Steve says. The rest of the Avengers are listening, all just as eager as Tony is to hear how the night went.

“What did you talk about?” Natasha asks, cutting off Clint who was about to ask something rather inappropriate.

“This and that,” Steve says, “We talked about her brother and our jobs.”

“She’s a lawyer, right?” Natasha asks.

“Yeah. We also talked about ways she could ask one of her coworkers out on a date,” Steve says. He tries not to laugh at the looks on his friends’ faces.

“You did what?”

“She’s lesbian, Tony,” Steve says bluntly, making Tony sputter and Clint almost choke on the waffle he was eating.

“Of course she is,” Natasha says, “Really Tony?”

“I, wha- huh?”

“You took her by surprise and she was too polite to say anything,” Steve says.

“Oh,” Tony says, “Well, second time’s a charm!”

“I think it’s actually ‘third time’s a charm,” Bruce says. Tony waves him off.

“No, Tony,” Steve says, “I really don’t want to-”

“Oh come on, Steve,” Natasha says, “Live a little.”

“She’s right, Cap,” Tony says, “Now, if she wasn’t gay, would you have gone out with her? Cause I can find you somebody like her. Or maybe not. Do you care if they’re short or tall? Hair colour? Eyes?”

“You have to give him time to answer,” Natasha says, rolling her eyes. Everyone turns to Steve expectantly.

“Well? What kind of women do you like?” Tony pushes.

“Why does it have to be a woman?” Steve says, somewhat irritated. He’d only come back because Bucky needed to rest a little and Steve had too much energy to stay in bed with him. He’d really only wanted to change into his running clothes, go for a run, then go back to Bucky’s place. He storms out of the room, leaving Tony gaping, Natasha coming to an understanding, Bruce sighing, and Clint laughing at Tony’s face.

..

“Thor, head two blocks to the right,” Steve orders over the coms, “Clint, cover me and Stark, turn that damned music down. Nat, there are-”

“Way ahead of you, Captain,” Natasha says, already helping some civilians flee from the robots that are wreaking havoc on New York. Well, a small portion of New York. And the robots aren’t even that well made. In fact, despite the destruction, so far no civilians have been killed, though many are injured. There aren’t many robots left, either, and soon enough the ‘battle’ is over, the husband and wife that made the robots have been apprehended, and there were no robots left. At least, it seemed like there were no robots left. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.

“Oh shit!” The Avengers heard Clint shout before seeing his body begin plummeting to the ground. A robot was standing in his place at the top of the building Hawkeye had just been on. Tony immediately flew off, trying to catch Clint before he hit the ground. He wasn’t going to make it on time, though. Clint had managed to pull a grappling arrow out of his quiver, thank god, and had shot it up. It caught on the ledge of a window and stopped his fall one story above the ground. There was a loud snap, followed by a thump as the line on Clint’s arrow broke and he hit the ground.

“Clint!” Natasha shouted, horrified. The Avengers made their ways to where Clint had landed as quickly as they could. They found him lying in a heap of rubble, a piece of rebar protruding from his side. There wasn’t a lot of blood, as the rebar was mostly blocking any from coming out, but Clint was unconscious and likely had a concussion.

“We have to get him medical attention, now!” Natasha shouts.

“We need to bring him back to the tower-” Tony begins to suggest. Sam lands beside Steve once he’s finished killing the robot that did this to Clint.

“No! You don’t have time for that. By the time you get here, he’ll bleed out,” Bruce says. The Hulk hadn’t been needed in the fight, so Bruce had stayed at the tower to help his teammates over the coms.

“There’s a hospital near here,” Steve says, “we can take him there,” He realizes in the back of his mind that the only reason why he knows that is because it’s the hospital that Bucky works at. Bucky’s on duty right now, too.

“Where is it, Captain?” Thor asks.

“Follow me.”

The emergency room is loud, crowded, and chaotic when the Avengers arrive. There are tons of people injured from the attack that are waiting to be treated. Nurses and doctors are running everywhere and crying family members take up many seats in a series of waiting rooms. The Avengers are instructed to sit in a waiting room while nurses rush Clint into surgery. Sam was also sent to get checked out by a doctor because despite flying , he managed to twist his ankle and had possibly broken it.

An hour later, the Avengers are finally allowed to see Clint. Bruce got to the hospital twenty minutes after his teammates had first arrived.

Clint had his own room, despite the hospital being rather crowded. It was probably due to the fact that there were so many people waiting to see him and the nurses didn’t want the Avengers to bother their other patients.

Clint came too a half hour after the Avengers got to his room. They were all there, Sam in a chair next to Clint’s bed (he’d sprained his ankle, according to the doctor), Natasha perched on the end of his bed, and the rest of the Avengers standing around the room.

“Good to see you’re alive, birdbrain,” Tony said.

When Bucky got to his afternoon shift in the emergency room, he was in a pretty good mood. He and Steve had cuddled almost all morning. He even said hello to Ethan, his least favourite coworker (Ethan didn’t think that women were qualified to be nurses, and definitely not doctors). His mood was ruined exactly ten minutes after he arrived. It was ruined by robots. More specifically, his mood was ruined by the people who created the robots.

Now, the emergency room was filled with injured people, and crying friends and family. It broke Bucky’s heart. He got a text from Steve, asking if he was alright. He texted back quickly and got to work. By the end of his shift, he was exhausted, but he’d saved a bunch of people’s lives, so it was worth it.

“Did you hear?” Two other nurses, Anna and Darius, were gossiping in the locker room when he arrived to get changed. There was some blood on his scrubs from a patient who had been bleeding profusely out of their leg. The blood meant that he would probably have to throw away this pair of scrubs, leaving him down to two pairs. There had been a few other incidents that led to the unfortunate demise of his previously vast number of scrubs.

“Did I hear what?” Darius asks as Bucky makes his way to his locker.

“There’s an Avenger in one of the rooms. Room 18 I think,” Anna’s words make Bucky stop moving and his heart starts beating faster. He’s glad he’s hidden behind a row of lockers so that Anna and Darius can’t see his worry.

“Which one?” Darius questions.

“The blond, handsome one I think. He-”

Bucky rushes out of the room as fast as he can. Steve hasn’t contacted him since his “are you okay” text, and Bucky didn’t even stop to think that there were at least three blond Avengers. Steve always texted after a fight. But this time he hadn’t, and Bucky was scared.

“Birdbrain? Really?” Clint gives Tony a look. Tony just shrugs.

“Be careful on rooftops from now on, please,” Natasha tells Clint sternly.

“This is the first time that’s ever happened,” Clint says. His words slur together a bit, probably the mix of the concussion with the anesthetic from surgery.

“You fall off of buildings all the time!” Tony says.

“But this time it wasn’t on purpose,” Clint says, “I usually jump off of buildings for a reason.”

Natasha swats at Clint’s knee- it’s as close to his head as she can reach from where she’s sitting. Clint laughs, but the laughter dies rather quickly when the door to the room is unceremoniously thrown open. It hits the wall with a bang loud enough to startle the all of the superheroes in the room.

A tall man with longish hair and vibrant blue eyes enters the room. His hair is a disheveled mess and he seems to be in a panic. He’s wearing blood-stained nurse scrubs and he looks sort of terrifying. His eyes immediately locked on Steve. His panic slowly morphed into anger as he marched into the room and shoved Steve. This random guy shoved Captain America.

Natasha jumped between the two while Tony grabbed the man’s arms. Thor helps Tony hold the man away from Steve, who looks bewildered. Tony glances at Sam, expecting the man to have been the first to come to Steve’s defense, even with a sprained ankle. For some reason, though, the Falcon hasn’t even moved.

The man thrashes against Thor and Tony for a second before stilling completely. The anger leaves his body and the man who had previously been yelling “you asshole” at Steve Rogers begins to,

“Oh my god, are you crying?” Tony lets go of the man’s arm. Thor does too, taking a small step back. The man isn’t crying a lot, but he sure as hell looks like he’s about to start bawling. Clint is watching the whole exchange with mild amusement, mainly because he thinks it’s all happening in his mind because of the drugs the doctors had given him. Steve pushes around Natasha and hugs the guy who’d just pushed him.

“Stevie,” the guy mutters quietly.

“It’s alright, Buck, I’m alright,” Steve hugs the man tightly. ‘Buck’ stands up a little straighter and wipes the few tears that were running down his cheeks.

“You didn’t text or call,” he finally says, his tone much more calm than before.

“Oh god, Bucky, I’m so sorry,” Steve realizes the mistake with chagrin.

“And then I heard Anna and Darius talking about how the handsome blond Avenger got hurt,” the others notice that Steve must recognize these names, “And I panicked.” Steve does recognize those names. Bucky always complains about how they’re constantly gossiping about patients.

“I can’t believe I didn’t call,” Steve says, “I always call,” he sounds disappointed in himself.

“Exactly, you ass,” Bucky says.

The other Avengers watch this exchange in various states of confusion. Natasha is piecing things together (and also going to close the door because privacy) , Clint still thinks he’s high on anesthetic (which he sort of is), Bruce doesn’t really care, Tony is so confused he can’t even think straight, Thor is less confused but still pretty lost, and Sam… well, Sam is frankly done with Steve and Bucky’s shit. Honestly, they’re so in love it hurts. And it’s not like the Avengers are gonna care (after the initial shock).

“Who the hell are you?” Tony says once he’s gotten his voice back.

“James Barnes, or Bucky,” the man offers his hand, “I’m an ER nurse.”

“How do you know Cap?” Tony says, shaking Bucky’s hand. Tony still seems confused, so the handshake is a little awkward.

Bucky doesn’t answer Tony’s question. His eyes widen as he realizes what he’s just done. He’s just outed Steve to his friends. His Avenger friends. Shit. Unless Steve says they’re just friends, which he isn’t likely to do because it’s Steve we’re talking about here.

“Oh my god!” The door has been thrown open once again. Standing in the doorway is a young woman with light brown, almost blonde hair. Her blue eyes match Barnes’ almost perfectly. “There you are!” the woman shouts.

“Rebecca?” Steve, Bucky, and Tony all shout simultaneously. The woman in question steps through the doorway, more into the light. Bucky remembers faintly that he was supposed to go to dinner with his sister today. She was going to pick him up, which explains why she’s here.

“Uh, hi. Yeah,” Rebecca says. She takes in the room, but manages to school her features so she doesn’t seem starstruck. “Hey Sam,” she finally says. They’d met a little while after her and Steve’s ‘date’. They’d hit it off once Harry Potter had been brought up.

“Hey Becca,” Sam waves, smiling.

“What’s going on?” Bruce asks.

“Ha! You were lying, weren’t you!” Tony finally shouts at Steve, “The date actually went well and you were just trying to keep it from us!”

“No,” Rebecca says, “The date was great and all but I’m definitely lesbian.”

“But then…” Tony says, “Why are you here?”

“For my brother,” she says, nodding her head in Bucky’s direction.

“Which brings us back to my other question,” Tony says, “How do you know Steve?”

Natasha sighs, clearly exasperated, “Why does it have to be a woman?” she quotes what Steve had said before. Tony looks from Steve to Bucky to Steve again.

“Guys,” Steve says, “Meet my boyfriend of over a year,” he tugs Bucky, who had drifted away from him slightly, against himself, wrapping his arm around his boyfriend’s waist. They share a quick kiss before turning to the Avengers, waiting for reactions.

“If you had a boyfriend, why did you agree do go on a date?” Clint says, sounding slightly delirious. Those must be some strong ass drugs.

“To get Tony off of his case,” Bruce answers. It had been his suggestion after all. The awed silence that’s filling the room is interrupted by Sam’s laughter. Bucky follows in soon after, along with Natasha and Thor. Steve is chuckling a little too.

“What?” Tony asks, “What am I missing?”

“Tony,” Steve says, “You set me up with my boyfriend’s lesbian sister.”