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Shaping Up

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Most people can’t handle graveyard shifts. There is something so uniquely grotesque about working when most of the world is asleep around you. Of course, Bucky Barnes’ nights were never quiet. On this normal, Thursday morning, Bucky was walking home with deep circles under his eyes, hair pulled up in a messy bun, wearing cartoon dinosaur scrubs. 

He groans to himself, the street busier than normal for five in the morning. He doesn’t want to deal with any more people. It had been a particularly stressful night at the hospital. He had been working in the emergency room again, and that was its own special kind of horror show. 

His phone buzzes in his pocket, and he lifts it to his ear. 

“James, Bagels,” Natasha’s clear, slow words coming through the receiver. He rolls his eyes. 

“Natasha, sleep ,” he argues, smiling to himself at the thought of his fluffy down comforter. 

“No, James. You, me, and clint need to go to the bagel shop. I want a bagel,” she argues, and he frowns to himself. 

“Natasha, I just want to go to sleep. You and Clint can go without me. I don’t understand why I’m involved,” he counters. 

“Clint makes fun of me for getting lox on my bagels because he’s uncultured. I need you to back me up,” 

“You could level him with a single glare, Nat. I don’t think you need me to defend your honor,” 

He sighs dramatically on the other end while he crosses the street, breathing in the (marginally cleaner) air of central park. The leaves are beginning to change, the beautiful pink flowers having recently fallen from the trees.

James . It is a bagel day. I don’t have rehearsal until tonight, Clint has the day off, and you just got off work. It is the perfect time for bagels,” 

“What is with you. Is this supposed to be an intervention or something? Have you invited all of my friends to intervene over bagels because I’m being anti-social or something?” 

“Clint and I are your only friends,” Natasha says casually, and Bucky makes an indignant squawking noise. 

“That is not true,” he argues, speeding up his steps in his annoyance. There’s a gaggle of rich-looking white women jogging together. Bucky Barnes hates how uniform they all look. 

“It is true. There’s no intervention, but I will put widow on your pillow while you’re sleeping if you don’t join me for breakfast,” 

“I swear to fucking god, Natasha. If I wake up with your pet spider on my face, I’m killing her and then you and then myself,” 

“You’d have to catch me first,” she says, and Bucky can hear her smirk. 

Bucky huffs, eyes narrowing, “I’m not joking, Natasha. If I wake up with those furry fucking legs anywhere within ten feet of me, I will not hesitate to kill her. She has too many eyes and legs. Why do they have so many eyes? It’s dis-”

And then someone collides with Bucky, sending him toppling over, phone flying from his hand. He doesn’t move, lying there on the sidewalk, accepting defeat. This day was shaping up to be one of the worst in a long time. 

“Oh my god, I am so sorry ,” Bucky hears. He doesn’t look up, blinking once slowly. He hears the man shuffle around, kneeling down to pick up Bucky’s phone, inspecting it for damage before turning to try and catch the brunette’s eyes, “Here, this is yours. God, I’m sorry. I wasn’t paying attention,” 

Bucky’s head snaps over then, and he’s met with the most stunning, adonis, greek-godlike man he’s ever seen. 

He has short blonde hair and earnest, bright blue eyes. Bucky sucks in a breath before moving to sit up, crossing his legs. 

“It’s all good,” he says slowly before pulling his eyes from the stunning man kneeling in front of him to inspect himself, checking for any injuries. 

“It isn’t. Shit, I really need to start paying better attention,” Bucky doesn’t say anything, noting that the man is speaking more to himself than to Bucky. 

Once he decides that his wrists are fine, he reaches over, grabbing his phone. 

“Nat, I gotta call you back,” he says before ending the call. 

Mr. tall, blonde, and perfect is still staring at Bucky, concern written across his features. Bucky yawns, shaking his head before moving to stand, hissing at the feel of his skinned knees against the pavement. Of course, adonis is offering his hands; bucky takes them, welcoming the help. 

“I’m so sorry,” he tries again, and Bucky sighs. 

“Dude, it’s fine. Someone projectile vomited on me like two hours ago, some skinned knees are nothing,” he says, shoving his phone in his pocket. The guy raises his eyebrows then. 

“Vomited on?” 

“I’m a nurse,” he says by way of an explanation. 

“That explains the dinosaurs,” he says, and his smile is blinding in its sincerity. Bucky laughs, nodding, “Do you work in peds? I love kids,” 

“Not usually. The dinosaurs are borrowed… because of the vomit. It was actually some too-drunk college kid,” he says, shivering dramatically, “Disgusting. I hate graveyard. It’s when we get all the crazies,” he says, and the blonde nods solemnly. 

“Well, I’m sorry I ruined your morning,” he says, cheeks flushed. 

“Trust me, pal, it isn’t the first time I’ve fallen, and it won’t be the last,” he said, shrugging. 

“I’m Steve, by the way,” he says, offering a hand. Bucky blinks once before taking it, lips quirking up. 

“Bucky,” he says, chuckling. 

“With a name like that, how could you not be in peds?” Steve demands, and Bucky scoffs, rolling his eyes. 

“No one asked you, Steve,” he counters, and Steve raises both of his hands in the air as if to concede. Bucky’s cheeks tinge pink. 

“Well, I’ll let you get on with your morning,” Steve says, looking down at his shoes. Bucky nods slowly, moving to walk away before pausing. 

“Hey, uh… some friends and I are going to get bagels for breakfast. If you’re done with your run, you could tag along? Apologize by buying me breakfast?” he says, surprised by his own words. 

The two men stare at each other for a few moments before Steve nods. 

“Yeah. Sure. Sounds good. I’m kind of disgusting though,” he says, and Bucky laughs, shaking his head. 

“Steve, There’s dried vomit in my hair. You couldn’t dream of being more disgusting than I am,” he counters, and Steve laughs, nodding. 

“That’s probably true,” he says, moving to walk beside bucky in the direction Bucky had originally been headed. 

Bucky Barnes smiles to himself. The day was shaping up to be one of the best in a long time.