Have tissues ready, I tried making this a tearjerker.
"Steve, I can't," Bucky protested. The Maryland sunshine starkly contrasted the tumultuous atmosphere of the kitchen, and the orioles mocked them in song. "She hates me. Just the way she looks at me; she's terrified."
"You have to do it." Steve shook his head. "Quinn is your daughter-"
"This isn't the forties anymore! Families aren't the same!" The statement broke the air like a lightning bolt in a summer storm.
Steve stared at Bucky in silence for a long time before sighing and sinking into a chair. "No, they're not the same." At that moment, Sam came into the kitchen, glared at Bucky and left just as quickly as he'd come. Tensions in the apartment had been high over the past two weeks, and though Quinn's health had improved greatly, she still refused to speak to her father. Even Nat's sympathetic coaxing couldn't bring Quinn to speak.
"I know families have changed," Steve began. "But you don't have to be like all the others." Now he chose his words as carefully as he could in hopes to get across exactly what he meant. "She may be afraid of you now, but getting past that and having a father for the rest of her life is better than letting her suffer without you."
"She could find someone else to call her father. Someone she doesn't shy away from; someone who doesn't make her want to bolt from the room; someone who has never hurt her or been the cause of her nightmares. Someone who isn't afraid of her being hunted because of who she calls 'father'" He paused before continuing. "She'd be better off. I want the best for her and if that means having to walk away, then I will. I won't torture her more than I already have. Every time I see her, and she gives me that...that look, it kills part of me. And Steve, there's not much of me left. I'd never hurt her willingly, never. But every time I say something, it's like whatever I say slaps her across the face." His voice broke and he fell silent.
Steve stared down at the table, hands resting on his knees. "After my parents died, you became my family, you know that."
Bucky nodded, brushing his hair out of his face.
"And after my mother's funeral, when you followed me back to the house, what did you tell me?"
Steve waited while his friend's grey eyes searched the cloudless sky for answers. "Til the end of the line," he mumbled.
"I don't remember," he said, shaking his head in frustration. "I don't remember."
"You told me I was family, that I could be a son to your parents and a brother to you. You said you'd be there if I ever needed anything and you were."
"Steve, what are you getting at?"
"That now, I need one more thing, just one more time to keep your word."
Bucky's expression was broken and torn, but asked him to finish his speech.
"You said you're my brother and you always have been, and every time I needed you, you were there; well, now my niece needs you. And if you won't do it for her, then do it for me."
It took him a moment to catch onto what Steve was saying, but when he did, he nodded and hung his head. "Alright." He inhaled deeply and let it out as slowly as he could, lifting his eyes to meet Steve's. "Alright, I'll do it. I'll talk to her."
Steve smiled and stood, offering Bucky a hand up. "You already have."
The look of confusion on his face was replaced with surprise when Quinn appeared in the doorway, silent tears dripping off her chin and into the corners of her mouth.