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Portrait, Part 2

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Before, Steve had always mocked those couples who celebrated either their first month, second month, or three month anniversary. But last month, when he and Bucky kissed on New Year’s, and then a week later had asked Steve to be his boyfriend, Steve wanted to celebrate every single landmark that he and Bucky went through. Their first date as official boyfriends. Their first weekend getaway together. Their first time sleeping together—though that one he didn’t share with everyone he knew.

So when Steve snuggled up to Bucky in their Math 101 class at the beginning of February, Steve said, “We’ve been together for a month now.”

Bucky beamed at Steve and kissed the top of his head. “You aren’t going to turn into one of those sappy romantic guys are you?”

“You love everything I do and you know it.”

Bucky sighed, but the light in his eyes told Steve enough. “Just so long as you didn’t get me something to celebrate this anniversary.”

A grin spread across Steve’s face. “Actually, I did get you something special for tonight.” He leaned up and whispered into Bucky’s ear. “Here’s your hint: I’m wearing it right now, but if I showed it to you, I would get charged with indecent exposure.”

Bucky went a bright red at that. But he managed to get out. “Careful, or I might just rip your clothes off right here.”

Steve laughed and rolled his eyes, snuggling closer to his boyfriend. “I love you,” he said.

Bucky kissed the top of Steve’s head. “I love you too.”

* * *

Due to Steve’s excitement, Steve forgot about Valentine’s Day. And only remembered it at noon on February fourteenth.

And was reminded because when he met Bucky for lunch, Bucky asked, “So what did you get me for Valentine’s Day?”

The smile on Bucky’s lips told Steve that he wasn’t really expecting a poor art student to go out of his way to get something nice for Bucky. But Bucky was Steve’s first boyfriend, and this was their first Valentine’s Day together.

“It’s a surprise!” Steve said. He hoped that Bucky couldn’t see through the mask of Steve’s smile. “One that I’m sure you’re going to love!” Steve inwardly cringed. As long as he didn’t say anything else. “I’ve been planning this surprise ever since we started dating!”

The only reason why Steve didn’t want to die in that moment was we wouldn’t get to live a life with Bucky.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Bucky said.

“As you should,” Steve replied. Under the table he frantically texted Natasha, “I NEED YOUR HELP ASAP!!!!!!”

An hour later, Natasha barged into Steve’s dorm room. “Let me guess,” she said, “forgot it was Valentine’s Day after celebrating your first month anniversary?”

Steve glared at Natasha. “No, I didn’t forget because of our first month anniversary. I forgot because Valentine's Day has always been Single’s Awareness Day before.”

“Sure.” Natasha flopped down onto Steve’s bed. “And you want to do something amazing and grand for Bucky?”

Steve sighed and sat down next to Natasha. “Yes. I just have no idea what to do. I barely even know how to be in a relationship, much less making grand sweeping gestures of my love.”

“Well, it can be something simple.”

“I told him I’ve been planning this ever since we started dating.”

“So something not so simple.” Natasha huffed out a breath. “How about a candlelit dinner?”

“I’ve haven’t been able to buy food for a week.”

Natasha glanced over at Steve, unsure if she wanted to know what he’s been eating this past week.

“Are there any ice skating rinks nearby?” Steve asked. “Maybe a studio where we could learn some ballroom dancing?”

“Do you have a car?”

Steve shook his head.

“No, nothing close enough.”

Steve groaned and fell back onto his bed. “Relationships are hard.”

“Weren’t you over the moon because you just celebrated your first month together?”

“You’re not helping Natasha.”

“Don’t you have class in fifteen minutes?”

Steve groaned. He really regretted taking afternoon and evening classes this semester.

Natasha shrugged as she stood up. “At least it gives you a few hours to think about what to do.”

“Natasha, I’ll be in class during those ‘few hours.’”

Natasha rolled her eyes. “Like you pay attention in earth science and politics.”

* * *

At seven that night, after Steve’s final class ended, he still had no ideas. It was made worse when he got a text from Bucky that said, “Can’t wait to see my surprise. ;).”

“Your surprise,” Steve said to himself, “is me moving to Alaska where I never have to deal with anyone ever again.”

“Why move all the way to Alaska?” someone behind him asked. “If you really want to avoid people, just walk straight into the forest. It’s cheaper, and can get you the same results.”

Steve turned around and saw his art teacher from the previous semester, Professor Peggy Carter. Which surprised him, since this building was as far away from the fine arts building as one could get.

“What are you—” Steve asked, but Peggy answered before he finished. “Dropping dinner to my husband.” A smile graced her lips. “He decided to teach a three hour, once a week World War Two class this semester, which means we won’t be celebrating Valentine’s together.” She scoffed, which turned into a laugh. “How terrible that we won’t be celebrating the day that’s about buying expensive gifts instead of just being with loved ones.”

Steve nodded, not completely sure how to respond. Peggy smiled at him and said, “How are you doing?”

Steve sighed. “Fine, just … “

“Valentine’s Day troubles?” When Steve nodded slowly, a little weirded out by Peggy reading his mind twice. “Let me guess,” she continued, “with that boy you did the portrait of?”

Steve blushed, and Peggy let out a chuckle. “Let me tell you something, you really shouldn’t worry too much about Valentine’s Day. You should let him know that you love him every day. And honestly, time speaks volumes more than an overpriced box of chocolates or bouquet.”

Steve let out a short laugh. “Thank you.”

“But,” Peggy continued, “if you still need ideas, I might have just the thing.”

“Go on.”

* * *

An hour later, Bucky walked into Steve’s dorm. He slipped his arms and Steve and kissed him. “Your surprise is perfect,” Bucky said when they pulled away.

“Bucky you haven’t even seen it!”

“You planned it. I know that it’s going to be perfect.”

Steve rolled his eyes and moved away from Bucky. “Alright, close your eyes.”

Bucky did but raised one eyebrow. “I certainly won’t complain if you’re removing all your clothing right now.”

“I could also do that if you want.”

Bucky laughed. “I mean, is there ever a time I don’t want that?”

“Just open your eyes Buck.”

He wasn’t disappointed when he saw that Steve was still dressed. His eyes then moved to the paper that Steve held. “Is this … ?”

Steve nodded. “It’s the same portrait I drew of you that first day.” He didn’t tell Bucky that he got it back from his professor less than an hour ago.

Bucky took the portrait from Steve. For a few seconds, Bucky didn’t say anything as he looked at it. “Thank you,” Bucky said, not for the actual image, but for what it meant to both of them.

“Didn’t I tell you that you’d love it?”

With a laugh, Bucky slid closer to Steve and wrapped his arms around him. “You really did.” He leaned down for another kiss, and when they pulled apart, Bucky said, “You know what we should do now Steve? You should draw me like one of your French girls.”

Steve laughed. “You know what, I think that sounds like a great idea.”

He didn’t finish the drawing that night.