Bucky Barnes loves women. He loves their soft curves, the velvet feel of the swell of a breast under his hands. He loves their smooth skin, to press his lips to a neck or chest, feel the roughness of his skin against theirs, breathe deep and try and work out what they smell like under their perfume.
—he loves the planes of a flat chest under his hands, a sharp jawline under his mouth, to kiss and mouth where yesterday’s stubble is already rough, to feel how they match like that at least. He loves how under the smell of soap he can smell Steve, that he could identify that anywhere; it’s home and it’s warmth and it’s fear and it’s everything—
He can read dames. Before he’s talked five minutes with them, he knows which ones will spread their legs for him before he even asks, which ones he’ll have to charm, which ones who’ll never say yes. He takes them down back alleys, distracts them from the garbage and the stink with his tongue in their mouth and his fingers in their cooch. Fucks them against piss-streaked walls, and forgets all about the filth around them because his prick is enveloped in that hot wet (he wants it without the rubber, but he’s not callous enough to knock a girl up, and not stupid enough to think that the girl who’ll spread for him won’t have spread for the last five guys who asked).
—no women are allowed in their bed, their room, though he knows that Steve would clear out if he asked; he’s never going to ask. Steve opens everything to Bucky and he pays him back with lips and tongue and body and soul, until Steve arches and bites his lip, until Steve almost fights to breathe but still begs him not to stop. He’s naked with Steve, not just physically, but every raw nerve ending, every unsaid thought is laid out and when they fuck there’s nothing between them—
He tries to find a girl for Steve. It’s what best friends are for.
—he makes sure that any girl who might love Steve is kept well away from him, makes sure that any girl who he finds for him is shallow and will drop him at the first excuse. Steve is his and no girl is going to give Steve what Bucky gives him, and he’ll make sure that Steve always needs him—
Of course he enlists. He’s strong and fit and it’s the best paying job he’s ever likely to get. Through Basic, Bucky finds that he’s good at it too, a natural at sniping, picked out as NCO material. He walks the walk when he’s off-base, the little extra swagger that the uniform brings, especially with the stripes on his arm. He can still turn girls’ heads in towns where every other guy is a soldier, and he can’t help picking up more girls than he probably should. It makes the other guys sore if he’s too successful, but they drop into his lap, and he’s never one to question a good thing.
—the only good thing is that Steve will never, ever pass the physical, and he holds on to that. Steve will stay safe and Bucky will fight someone else’s stupid war, and if he dies, he dies. He’s never had much reason to think much beyond the next week’s rent, beyond keeping Steve alive the next winter. The army pay will see to that, which is why he puts Steve as his half-brother, his next of kin—
He’s picked out of a living death by a vision that claims to be Steve, tall and muscular and everything a guy could want to be. Bucky promises to follow him, because what else has he spent his life doing but following Steve into fights? He sees the way Agent Carter looks at him and realises that Steve has finally found his match, and makes a joke about being invisible—
—it sits in his stomach like a stone, Steve doesn’t need him, not for anything. So he goes back with Steve to his private room, takes him apart with everything he has, tests that super-soldier stamina with mouth and hands. Fucks him so he’ll remember who they are. When Steve gets hard again he rides him, desperate and wild. When they’re done he holds Steve tight, too tight, clinging to him, but it’s okay; Steve is holding him tight too.
He’s lost Steve. Not that it matters. He doesn’t much rate either of their chances of walking out of this war. But if Steve makes it, Steve is walking out with Peggy. And Bucky, Bucky is nothing but empty swagger, a shell of fear and scars and nightmares in a big world that Steve is made for—
He’s a damn good sniper. He’s a decent sergeant. He gets recommendations for bravery, for throwing himself into the middle of firefights, for saving Captain America’s life.
—he doesn’t know if he’s trying to save Steve or get himself killed anymore. He’s a dead man. He has been since Hydra strapped him to that table. It’s just a matter of time—