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“Hey Cap! Can I get a picture?”

Steve turns and hefts his shield, flashing the camera-ready smile that’s second nature by now. His head is sweating under the cowl and he’s cursing himself for not including better ventilation--like Nat told him to, she will undoubtedly point out--but this is the most photo requests he’s ever gotten at a con, and it’s just the first day. Of course, Captain America is the best-known character he’s ever cosplayed.

The girl behind the phone nods her thanks and starts to turn away, only to whip back toward Steve, her eyes fixed on something over his shoulder. He twists around, looking behind him to see what’s caught her interest.

For a moment he wonders if he’s somehow slipped sideways into an alternate dimension, one where Captain America comics are real and the events of the show actually happen. Because the Winter Soldier is stalking toward him, all long hair and attractive menace, looking like he stepped directly off of the TV screen and into the crowded exhibit hall.

As he gets closer, Steve starts to notice the little details that tell him this is just--just!--a very impressive cosplay. The red star is right, and so is the hair and the makeup. But this guy’s mechanical arm is actually cooler than the bullshit CGI they worked up for the show, because it’s clearly functional, and the knives strapped into his sheaths have the con weapons-check tags discreetly attached.

“Ohmygod,” the girl says, the words running together into one breathless squeal. “Can I get a picture of you two together? Please?”

The Soldier cosplayer grins at her. “Sure.” He whips out one of his rubber knives and falls easily into an attack stance, facing Steve.

Steve mirrors him, lifting the shield and his fist. He hears the fake-shutter sound, not only from the girl’s camera, but from others around them; they’re starting to draw a crowd.

At the urging of the gathered fans, they strike a few more poses, ending up almost chest to chest, as the Soldier pretends to be trying to drive a knife down at Steve, both of them fake-straining against the other for several seconds before they step back, putting a little space between them.

“Kiss him!” someone shouts from the circle that formed around them.

The Soldier blinks for a minute, looking as startled as Steve feels, but then he grins, transforming his face from blank intimidation into something so open and attractive that it feels like a gut-punch. “Seems kinda rude to plant one on somebody I just met,” he says with a wink toward Steve.

“Yeah, he hasn’t even bought me a drink yet,” Steve jokes, doing his best to hide his sudden, visceral awareness of the other man’s attractiveness. For once he’s grateful for the way the cowl obscures his facial expressions.

There are a few disappointed mutters, but most of the onlookers disperse without comment. One girl pauses long enough to say “Ishipit,” in a rush, blushing furiously and refusing to meet their eyes before she darts away.

The Soldier shoots Steve a two-fingered salute, his eyes crinkled at the corners, and wanders off, disappearing quickly in the crowded exhibition hall.

Steve stares blankly after him for a few minutes before collecting himself and moving back in the direction of the vendor he’d been trying to find in the first place. He has things to do, and that list doesn’t include chasing around the con trying to find a glimpse of a cosplayer he’s only seen once.

Even if the man does have a truly spectacular ass.


“Steve!” Darcy flings herself at him as soon as as he’s close enough. Despite her tiny stature, she knocks him back a couple of paces before he finds his balance again.

“Hey, Darcy,” he says, looking over her shoulder to where Sam stands in the shade, holding a large camera and looking amused. “Sam.”

“‘Sup,” Sam says, putting the camera on a tripod. “Looking good, Cap.”

Darcy disentangles herself, bouncing back over to supervise. “I have a surprise for you,” she tosses over her shoulder. “This is going to be the best photoshoot ever. We might just break the internet.”

Before Steve can ask what she means, although he has a sinking feeling that it’s a trap, she turns back, her eyes brightening as they track up over Steve’s shoulder. “You made it!” she says brightly. “Steve, meet Bucky.”

Steve turns. Some part of him is unsurprised to see the Winter Soldier cosplayer from earlier. “Hi,” he says, holding out a hand. “I’m Steve.”

“I got that,” the Soldier--Bucky says, his eyes crinkling again. Steve can’t tell what color they are, hints of gray and green and blue. He realizes he’s staring, but Bucky doesn’t seem to mind...he hasn’t let go of Steve’s hand.

“This is so good,” Darcy crows, the shutter on her camera clicking. “I figured I’d have to warm you guys up with some action shots before we’d get to the soulful staring into each other’s eyes. Tumblr is going to lose its shit.

They both turn to look at her, and Steve tries not to mind the fact that Bucky isn’t holding onto his hand any longer. Neither of their glares seem to phase her, and Sam isn’t even bothering to hide his smirk.

“All right!” Darcy says briskly. “We’ve only got so much light today, boys. Let’s get to work.”

“Is she always like this?” Bucky mutters under his breath as Darcy directs them through a number of poses.”

Steve waits to reply until Darcy finishes fluffing his hair, sweat-slicked from being flattened under the cowl, and moves back to the camera. “She’s actually mellowed a lot recently. Sam’s a good influence on her.”

Bucky lets out a low whistle, but submits to Darcy’s directions with good grace as she moves them through a series of action shots, each more complicated than the last.

“Okay!” she says at last, literally rubbing her hands together gleefully. “Now it’s time for the good stuff.”

“Be afraid,” Steve says to Bucky.

“Be very afraid,” Sam affirms. “If you get a head start now, you might be able to outrun her.”

Darcy snorts dismissively, fixing Bucky with her Patented Death Glare. “Please. There’s no escape. Besides, I brought my taser.”

“She’s joking, right?” Bucky asks plaintively.

Steve and Sam shake their heads in unison. It’s everything Steve can do not to give in to the smile threatening to break across his face.

“Just do what I say and nobody gets hurt,” Darcy says briskly. “Got it?”

“Yes, ma’am,” Bucky says, throwing her a much crisper salute than he’d given Steve earlier.

She pats him on the head, even though she has to stand on tiptoe to reach. “Okay, boys. The armor’s coming off.”


“Good work today, everyone,” Darcy says, flipping through the pictures on the screen of her camera. “Hit the showers. Damn, I’m good. We are definitely going to break the internet. I hope Tumblr and Twitter stress-tested their servers recently.”

Steve gathers up the discarded pieces of his costume, debating whether to put his chest armor back on or to carry it back to the hotel in just his uniform pants and the sleeveless undershirt he wears underneath.

Bucky has apparently given up on his armored vest, slinging it over one shoulder. He seems blissfully unconcerned by the way his own undershirt--black, of course--clings to the muscles of his chest and stomach, or the way it exposes the scars where his metal arm, which Steve is increasingly sure is an actual prosthetic, attaches to his body.

He waits around while Steve says his goodbyes--mostly to Sam, since Darcy is still engrossed in announcing her greatness to the world at large--and falls into step as Steve starts walking back toward the hotel.

“So,” Bucky says once the hotel is in sight. “Can I buy you that drink now?”

Steve nearly trips on air, but manages to cover it up. Sure, Bucky had submitted with surprisingly good grace to a series of increasingly intimate poses, from a number of torrid-looking clinches, staring into each other’s eyes from inches apart, to actually kissing for the camera--“You know you don’t actually have to do this, right?” Darcy had said. “I mean, consent is important, and you can nope out at any time.” “Not exactly a hardship,” Bucky had replied--but Steve had spent that same amount of time telling himself that it was a photoshoot, it didn’t mean anything. They were acting.

“I mean, you did already kiss me,” he jokes, trying to keep it light.

“Exactly,” Bucky returns, one corner of his mouth curled up in a pleased smirk. “I owe ya one.”

Steve drags his eyes away from Bucky’s lips. The sidewalks are getting crowded as they get closer to the hotel and the convention center, and the last thing he needs is to run someone down in his lust-addled state. “Well, if you’re offering,” he says. “I could go for a beer. Just need to drop these off in my room first.”

“Me, too,” Bucky says, hefting his vest as they walk through the sliding doors into the lobby. “Meet you in the hotel bar in fifteen?”

“Sounds good,” Steve agrees.

They ride the elevator up in companionable silence, anticipation heavy in the air. Steve is surprised for a moment when they get off on the same floor, but it makes sense on second thought that they’d both be in the block of rooms reserved for the convention.

“Hey, Steve?” Bucky asks as Steve stops in front of his door and starts digging around for his key card.

“Yeah?” Steve asks, propping the door open with his foot as he turns back around.

Bucky leans in, lowering his voice conspiratorially. “You’re keeping the pants on, right?”

Steve can’t stop the smile that spreads over his face. “They’re kinda growing on me.”


Bucky makes it down to the bar before Steve does. The nice thing about staying in a con hotel is that nobody looks twice at the man with the metal hand. Not when there’s a couple of Harley Quinns, a Deadpool, three Batmans, four Jedi, and no fewer than six Doctors of various varieties sprinkled throughout the bar like nerdy garnishes on the scene. Even the mundanely dressed guests are almost all sporting some kind of nonconformist sign somewhere, t-shirts and buttons and jewelry.

He stakes out a spot at the bar and waits patiently to get the bartender’s attention, making a game out of “spot the subtle nerdery.” He’s still waiting to order a drink when he catches a glimpse of someone out of the corner of his eye and looks up in time to watch Steve walk across the room.

It’s a hell of a sight; all of the Harleys, one of the Batmans, and a couple of Jedi and Doctors seem to agree, judging by the way heads turn across the room. The pants look almost as good from the front as the back, clinging to Steve’s thighs just perfectly. He’s not wearing the thin white tank anymore, sadly, but he’s replaced it with a black henley that molds itself lovingly to his arms and chest, the sleeve hems straining a little around his biceps.

“Hey,” he says when he reaches Bucky, his voice a little breathless. His ears are a little pink, with a matching pink across the top of his cheekbones. Somehow, despite being six-feet-plus and built like a brick shithouse, he manages to give the impression of an adorable, slightly awkward puppy.

“Hey,” Bucky says in return, trying for casual and not at all sure he’s pulling it off. “Beer?”

“Sure,” Steve says, leaning against the bar, his shoulder brushing against Bucky’s.

Miraculously, the bartender does appear at that moment to take their orders. It’s only when he comes back with their beers that Bucky realizes his strategic mistake. It’s bad enough standing there, close enough to feel the warmth radiating between their bodies. Watching Steve wrap those ridiculous lips around the neck of a beer bottle, seeing the line of his throat as he swallows, is more than any male-attracted person should be expected to endure in public.

“Are you okay?” Steve asks, glancing over.

Bucky realizes that he’s been standing there, holding his beer and staring like a creeper. “Uh, yeah, just thinking.”

Steve bites his lip, white teeth digging into the wet lower curve, and look, Bucky’s only human. He can’t be expected to deal with this. “Thinking about anything in particular?”

For a second, Bucky thinks about playing it safe. But that’s never exactly been his style. He leans in until his lips brush the shell of Steve’s ear, darkly satisfied with the shiver that runs through Steve’s body. “It’s a toss-up between the way your ass looks in those pants and the way your mouth looks wrapped around that bottle.”

He’s not sure what reaction he expects, but it’s definitely not for Steve to arch an eyebrow and say quietly, “Well, finish that beer and you can come back to my room and see what my ass looks like out of them.”

“Fuck the beer,” Bucky says hoarsely. He pulls his wallet out, tosses some money onto the bar, and grabs Steve’s hand, towing him out of the bar area and toward the elevator.


Steve finds himself pushed up against the elevator wall before the doors are all the way closed, and an instant later Bucky’s mouth is hot and hungry on his. Steve gives as good as he gets, dragging Bucky closer with hands on his hips and licking into Bucky’s mouth.

All he can think is Finally. This is what he’s needed, ever since that first look at Bucky sent attraction and awareness sizzling through his body. The photo shoot had just ratcheted it up, all the contact, the touching, the kissing, stoking the flames higher without satisfying it.

But now. Now he has the weight of Bucky’s body pinning him to the wall, Bucky’s cock hard against his, the taste of Bucky’s mouth mingling with the flavor of his beer. Not for an audience or a camera; just for them. It’s not enough, not yet, but it helps.

The ding of the elevator doors opening seeps dimly into Steve’s conscious awareness, and he reluctantly tears his mouth away. “My room,” he gasps, breathless from the slow, filthy grind of Bucky’s hips against his. “It’s closer.”

“Yeah,” Bucky breathes, stepping back and sticking his hand between the elevator doors to keep them from closing. “Okay.”

Steve busies himself digging his key card out of his pocket because he doesn’t know that he can trust himself to keep his hands off Bucky if they aren’t otherwise occupied. Fortunately, the pants are just tight enough that he has to concentrate on wriggling the card out of his pocket and not on how Bucky is prowling along beside of him looking like sex on legs.

Bucky presses up behind him as he goes to unlock the door, his cock hard against Steve’s ass, even through the layers of both of their clothes. Steve considers it a testament to his concentration that he doesn’t drop the fucking key card entirely, but it does take like three tries to get the door unlocked.

Finally they’re inside, blissfully alone. Bucky’s hands curl in the hem of Steve’s shirt, pulling it up until it bunches up under his armpits, waiting until he takes the hint and lifts his arms so Bucky can pull it all the way off.

“Jesus Christ,” Bucky mutters. His hands are everywhere, running over Steve’s shoulders and arms and chest. The metal hand is slightly cooler at first, but it quickly warms to skin temperature. “I bet you could break me in half. How many hours a day do you work out, anyway?”

Steve flushes. “Not that many,” he mutters, ducking his head.

He reaches for Bucky’s shirt to return the favor and drags him in for another long, filthy kiss, even better with Bucky’s bare chest pressed against his, the slight drag of chest hair against his nipples making him shake. Bucky clearly has an endgame in mind, though, walking Steve backward without breaking the kiss until his legs hit the bed.

“I really do like the pants,” Bucky murmurs, pressing a kiss under Steve’s ear. His fingers deftly undo the button on Steve’s pants, tug the zipper down. “But you know what would be really hot?”

His breath ghosts over sensitive skin, his fingertips skim lightly over Steve’s cock, tenting the fabric of his boxers as it juts out from the open front of his pants. “What?” Steve asks breathlessly, shivering from that feather-light touch.

“You in just that shield harness.” Bucky looks up at him from under his lashes. “Been thinking about that ever since I first saw you downstairs.”

Steve goes hot all over at the mental image. He sits down a little abruptly on the foot of the bed, but it’s either that or fall down. He leans down to untie his boots, but his fingers are clumsy on the laces. “Really?” he asks.

Bucky brushes Steve’s hands aside and kneels gracefully at his feet, untying his boots and pulling them off. He sets them aside and runs his hands up Steve’s legs, nudging his thighs apart and settling between them. “Really,” he answers with another one of those devastating looks.

“Okay,” Steve says before he can talk himself out of it.

The smile that breaks across Bucky’s face is nearly blinding. Steve has the fleeting thought that he would probably do a ridiculous number of things if that smile was his reward. But then Bucky’s hands are pushing his pants and boxers down, urging him to lift his hips so Bucky can peel them down his legs and push them to the side.

And then Steve is sitting on the foot of his hotel bed, stark naked, with a man he only met today holding out a set of leather straps with an eager, hungry look on his face. Steve can feel his face flushing hotter, the blush moving down his neck and spreading across his chest as he slips his arms through the straps, settling them over his shoulders with the little shrug that’s half-instinctive at this point.

Ridiculously, he feels more naked than he did a minute before. The soft leather and cold metal against his skin is a reminder that there’s nothing else covering him. He looks up to tell Bucky that he can’t do it, that this isn’t going to work, but the look in Bucky’s eyes steals his breath and stops the words on his tongue.

“Fuck,” Bucky breathes, reaching out to run reverent fingers over one of the straps, brushing against the space where it meets Steve’s skin. “Just...fuck.” He lifts imploring eyes to meet Steve’s gaze. “I really wanna fuck you. If that’s okay?”

And seriously, Steve is starting to wonder if he hallucinated Bucky out of sheer sexual frustration. It’s not that he minds topping, but every guy he’s been with has assumed that it’s all he wants to do, even when Steve did his best to convince them otherwise.

“Yeah,” he says hoarsely, hooking his fingers in Bucky’s belt-loops and tugging him closer. He’s too far away. “Yeah, please.”

Bucky goes willingly, straddling his lap and kissing him again, like he can’t be this close to Steve without kissing him. The fabric of his pants is rough against Steve’s bare, sensitized skin. His hands are everywhere, sliding down Steve’s back, coming back up to fist in the longer strands of hair at the top of his head. He rolls his hips, grinding down against Steve’s cock, making Steve moan helplessly into the kiss.

FInally he pulls back with one last nip at Steve’s lower lip, both of them breathing like they just ran a marathon. “God,” Bucky growls, tugging at Steve’s hair. “You’re so fucking responsive. I almost want to see if I can get you off like this.”

Steve whimpers a little. He’s not sure if it’s from the tugs on his scalp, like little sparks dancing across his skin, or the half-threat, half-promise in Bucky’s voice. A part of him wants nothing more than that, to come with Bucky’s weight on top of him, the slow, inexorable grind of Bucky’s ass against his cock. But they only have a limited time. This is probably their only chance, and he wants what Bucky promised him.

“Yeah,” Bucky says, like he’s reading Steve’s mind. “But I really want to fuck you.” He shifts backward, kicking his boots off and peeling out of those ridiculous pants, fishing a foil packet out of one of the pockets before tossing them aside.

He should look ridiculous, prowling toward the bed with his hard cock bobbing in midair as he moves. But Steve is mesmerized by the movement of his muscles under his skin, the heat in his eyes.

“Got lube?” Bucky asks, dropping the condom packet on the bed.

“Huh?” Steve tears his eyes away from the drop of liquid beading on the tip of Bucky’s cock. “Oh, yeah, uh, in the bathroom. I’ll get it.”

He makes short work of retrieving the pink tube, grabbing one of the towels as an afterthought, and rushes back to the bedroom, where Bucky accepts the lube with a smirk and a quick, hard kiss.

“Hands and knees,” Bucky says, pushing him firmly toward the bed.

Steve goes obediently, little frissons of anticipation vibrating through him. He nearly jumps out of his skin when the mattress shifts behind him, but manages to hold still when Bucky’s metal hand lands on his hip.

Then a lube-slick finger is ghosting over his ass and Steve has to force himself to relax. It’s been a while since he’s had anyone else do this to him, but he still remembers how it goes, how to breathe and bear down.

Almost before he knows it, Bucky has three fingers working in and out of his ass. The wet, filthy noise is the only sound louder than the little whimpers and moans coming out of Steve’s mouth. His hips are rolling against the air, searching desperately for some friction. When Bucky tucks his little finger in next to the others, sliding it in with relative ease, Steve groans loudly enough that they can probably hear it two floors down, but he doesn’t care.

“I’m ready,” he says, his voice rough and desperate. “Come on, Buck, fuck me already.”

“Well, since you ask so nicely,” Bucky says, his voice tight under the amusement, his metal hand flexing on Steve’s hip, his other fingers thrusting deep one last time before he pulls them out.

Steve whines at the emptiness, but the sound of the condom packet ripping open comes almost instantly, followed by the telltale noise of lube slicking over latex. And then Bucky’s hand is back on his hip, a blunt pressure against his ass. Steve drops his forehead to the mattress, breathing deep as Bucky presses slowly, slickly inside.

All he can think is that he’d forgotten how overwhelming this is, how intense. And then even that thought is gone, lost in sensation. Bucky’s cock is thick and hard inside him, Bucky’s hipbones sharp where they press against the curve of his ass.

“Okay?” Bucky asks, his voice hoarse and breathless. His hands are tight on Steve’s hips, tight enough that they’re probably going to leave marks, but Steve doesn’t care.

“Not gonna break,” he pants. “Thought you were gonna fuck me.”

Bucky chuckles darkly. It’s all the warning Steve gets before he pulls back, fucking back into Steve with a snap of his hips. “That what you want, baby?”

“Fuck,” Steve groans. Shivers roll through his body as Bucky does it again. “Yes, fuck, like that.”

“I got you,” Bucky promises. He doesn’t stop, setting a pace just the right side of brutal. “God, Steve, you feel so fucking good. Tell me you’re close.”

Steve’s breath sobs out with the next thrust, the little grind at the end like Bucky’s trying to get as deep inside as he can. “I’m close,” he gasps, reaching for his cock, but Bucky bats his hand away.

Before he can muster up the brainpower to complain, Bucky’s hand wraps around the shield harness, hauling Steve up until his back is braced against Bucky’s chest. Bucky’s metal arm wraps around him, holding him in place, and Bucky’s other hand circles Steve’s cock. Steve flails around for a second, reaching up to wrap a hand around the back of Bucky’s neck, the other hand reaching down to cling to Bucky’s wrist.

Every thrust of Bucky’s hips pushes Steve up, fucking his cock into Bucky’s fist. “Come on,” Bucky breathes in his ear, shifting his angle just slightly until his cock is sliding over Steve’s prostate with every stroke. It feels like lightning shooting up his spine; Steve can’t stop shaking. “Come on, baby, come for me…”

Steve isn’t sure what does it, if it’s Bucky’s hand or his cock or his low, rough voice in Steve’s ear, but he’s coming, spilling over Bucky’s fist. Bucky groans, thrusting roughly once, twice and then going still, his body shuddering under Steve’s.

When Bucky’s grip relaxes, Steve collapses forward onto the bed, unable to bring himself to care about the puddle of semen squishing underneath him, about Bucky’s weight pressing him into the mattress. He feels absolutely boneless in the way that only a good orgasm can achieve, limp and wrecked.

“Fuck,” Bucky groans, shuddering again before carefully pulling out and collapsing on the pillow next to Steve.

Steve winces a little, shifting gingerly so he can see Bucky. The view is well worth the effort; Bucky looks--well, the only adjective that really fits is “well-fucked.” His face is flushed, dark lashes fanning out over his cheekbones, those sinful lips falling slightly apart. His chest is still heaving, covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and when Steve rests a tentative hand there, he can feel Bucky’s heart pounding under the skin and muscle and bone.

Those ice-blue eyes flutter open before Steve is ready, freezing him in place. “Well,” Bucky says, his hand coming up to cover Steve’s. “I gotta say, that is not what I was expecting to happen this weekend when I bought the tickets. But I’m sure as hell not gonna complain.”

“Yeah, me either,” Steve admits. “That was…”

He trails off, unable to scrape together enough brainpower to come up with a suitable descriptor.

After a few minutes of silence, Bucky takes pity on him. “Yeah, it was,” he agrees easily, swinging himself up to a sitting position. “I should probably get outta your hair, let you get some rest.”

Steve wants to protest, but he can’t figure out a reason to. They were both pretty clear about what this was. So what if he wants to wait a couple of hours and try again? Bucky’s under no obligation to stay, now that he got what he came for. “Okay,” he says.

Bucky dresses with impressive efficiency, while Steve tortures himself watching that gorgeous body slowly disappear under clothing. “Hey,” Bucky says, amused, and Steve jerks his eyes guiltily to the other man’s face.

“Yeah?”

Fishing a phone out of the pants hugging those ridiculous thighs, Bucky grins. “What’s your number? I was thinking we could meet up for the Cap screening tomorrow, unless you’re going home early?”

“Oh, no, I’m staying,” Steve says, the words falling out of his mouth without thought. He sits up, taking the phone, and sees that Bucky has already put his name in for a new contact--with the eggplant emoji after it. Shaking his head, he adds his number and saves the contact, sending himself a text so he has Bucky’s number, too, before handing the phone back.

“Okay,” Bucky says, tucking the phone away and looking uncharacteristically hesitant. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow, then.”

Steve debates with himself for a minute, but something about Bucky makes him want to be bold. “What, no goodnight kiss?”

Bucky’s grin is positively wicked. “You gonna turn into a pumpkin, Steve?” he murmurs, moving forward until he’s standing between Steve’s spread legs.

“Maybe,” Steve says, getting a good hold on that dark hair and pulling Bucky down for a long, luxurious kiss. It’s less urgent than before, with both of them still in the refractory period--although Steve’s cock makes a valiant effort to be interested anyway--more of a thing to be savored, lingered over.

“Gonna tempt me to stay,” Bucky says huskily when he finally raises his head. He runs his tongue over his lips, like he’s trying to capture every bit of Steve’s taste. “I’ll see you around, Steve.”

He disappears out of the room while Steve is still trying to figure out the words to get him to stay.

Steve falls back against the pillows, licking his own lips. He’s pretty sure he’s going to be seeing that flash of tongue in his dreams.

Chapter Text

“Hey, soldier,” Bucky whispers in Steve’s ear as he slips into the seat next to him. “Come here often?”

Steve fixes him with a look that’s clearly trying to be unamused, but his eyes widen when he takes in Bucky’s costume. “Shouldn’t that be my line?” he murmurs. “Great minds obviously think alike.”

Bucky is grateful for the darkened room, lit only by the show on the projection screen at the front. He and Steve are both in World War II-Era costumes for Captain America and the Winter Soldier; if the lights were up, they’d probably be getting just as swarmed for pictures as they had been on Saturday.

Or maybe not; whether because most of the people at the convention have already left, trying to get home in time to start another workweek on Monday, or because Captain America is less popular than it had been in the past, the room is barely half-full. The people who are there are sitting near the front, watching intently, even though they’ve all probably seen this episode as many times as Bucky has. There’s no one else in the back row where he and Steve are sitting, or in the two rows in front of them.

It’s enough to give a guy ideas.

Unfortunately, even in the darkened room, someone would probably notice him on his knees, so Bucky reluctantly scraps that plan in favor of something more subtle. He can totally be subtle, no matter what Nat says.

The episode on screen is one Bucky’s seen probably a million times even before he had to do costume research; the first Howlies mission against Hydra. He keeps his eyes on the screen, but lets his hand rest lightly on Steve’s thigh, ignoring Steve’s sideways look.

The khaki of Steve’s uniform costume is smooth and slightly cool against his fingertips, warming quickly from the heat of his skin. Bucky rubs circles with his thumb, mock-absently, enjoying the slight quiver of Steve’s muscles under his hand, then starts moving his hand up and down, ending up closer to Steve’s crotch after every stroke.

“Bucky!” Steve hisses under his breath when Bucky’s little finger brushes the noticeable bulge of his half-hard cock.

Bucky gives him his best innocent look, cupping his hand over Steve’s cock. He can feel the twitch even through the layers of fabric, how it grows harder under his touch. “What?” he whispers.

“We’re in public. ” Steve’s eyes dart around the room, but Bucky already knows nobody is paying attention.

He leans in to whisper directly in Steve’s ear. “It’s a dark room, we’re in the very last row. Nobody’ll notice if you’re quiet. But if you really don’t wanna, I can stop--”

He starts to pull back but Steve’s hand comes up to wrap around his wrist, an iron grip holding his hand in place. “No,” Steve breathes, his eyes fixed straight ahead. “Don’t stop.”

Bucky settles back into his chair, his face turned toward the screen. He watches out of the corner of his eye as he maneuvers the button on Steve’s trousers through it’s buttonhole--and he thought all that one-handed practice before getting his prosthetic was wasted.

He eases the zipper down slowly, silently, no one in the room any the wiser. Steve’s breath is coming faster, but he doesn’t make a sound when Bucky indulges himself by teasing his fingertips over Steve’s stomach, just to feel those ridiculous muscles flexing under his touch.

But soon he gets tired of teasing, sliding his hand down into Steve’s boxers to curl around his cock. It’s fully hard now, hot and thick in his hand, and for a second Bucky thinks it might be worth it to get discovered if it means he gets to suck Steve off.

But he does the smart--well, smarter--thing, spreading the precome beading on the head with his thumb. It’s still a little too dry, though. Bucky pulls his hand free and makes sure Steve is watching as he licks his palm, wetting it with lingering strokes of his tongue before reaching back down into Steve’s pants.

Steve’s breath huffs out through his parted lips as Bucky gets a good grip and starts to stroke. Despite his confident words, he’s well aware that they could be discovered at any time, so he goes all out, watching Steve’s face to figure out what he likes.

Within a flatteringly short amount of time, Steve’s hips are hitching helplessly up, fucking his cock into Bucky’s fist. Bucky watches, waiting for his moment, then slides to his knees, closing his mouth over the head of Steve’s cock just in time to catch the first salty spurts across his tongue.

He wants to linger, to savor Steve’s taste, licking him clean until his cock goes fully soft, but they’re still in public. So he lets go with one last suck, slipping casually back into his chair and tucking Steve’s cock carefully back into his boxers, rezipping and rebuttoning until everything is as neat and tidy as Bucky can make it. As far as he can tell, no one noticed a thing.

Steve eyes flutter open, still a little dazed, and Bucky feels almost smug enough to ignore the way his own cock is begging for attention. At least, he thinks he is--until Steve’s big hand cups the bulge of his erection, squeezing lightly, and Bucky has to think very hard about the way the Dodgers just up and fucked off to California to avoid coming in his pants like a teenager.

He bites back a whimper when Steve stands, taking that delicious, almost-enough pressure with him, but then Steve’s hand is in his, pulling him out of his chair, and Bucky follows without protest, not even asking where they’re going.

As it happens, they aren’t going far; the meeting room next door doesn’t seem to have anything scheduled in this timeslot. Steve opens the door and strides inside, Bucky in tow, and pushes him into the nearest chair before the door even closes behind them.

All Bucky can do is blink as Steve sinks to his knees, nudging Bucky’s legs apart and freeing his trapped erection with deft hands. The cool air of the room is a shock against the hot skin of his cock, but the next second Steve has sucked him down, taking half of Bucky’s length in one slick, wet, movement.

“Fuck,” Bucky groans, his hips bucking up involuntarily. Steve rides it out, pressing Bucky’s hips down onto the chair with those big, capable hands, then slides back down almost to the root, those plump, red lips stretched wide around Bucky’s cock. “Fuck, Steve--”

He was already hard as a fucking rock from jerking Steve off in public--from Steve letting him. Add in the hot, wet suction of Steve’s mouth, the fucking visual of Steve’s mouth on him, and Bucky’s dimly amazed he hasn’t come already.

“So good,” he babbles. Something about Steve has words spilling out of his mouth without checking in with his brain on the way. “So fucking good, Steve, I’m so close, come on--”

Steve redoubles his efforts, swirling his tongue around Bucky’s shaft with each stroke, working the sensitive spot under the head. “Fuck,” Bucky grits out again. “Steve, I’m gonna--”

Instead of pulling off, Steve takes him deeper, swallowing when the head of Bucky’s cock hits the back of his throat, and that’s it, Bucky’s done. It’s all he can do not to shout as he comes, his whole body trying to arch up off the chair.

Steve works him through it, coaxing every last shudder and whimper out of him until Bucky’s fairly sure his brains have literally been sucked out of his cock. Finally, finally Steve sits back on his heels, licking his lips with an incredibly smug expression. If Bucky wasn’t so wrung out he would have flipped him off just on principle. As it is, he’s still pretty focused on remembering the correct order for breathing and waiting for his heartbeat to calm down to something like a resting rate.

“Come on,” Steve says, tucking Bucky’s spent, sensitive cock carefully back inside his pants and looking as innocent as if he’d never even heard the word ‘blowjob.’ “If we hurry, we can make it back in time for the next episode.”

“Sure,” Bucky says faintly, allowing himself to be pulled to his feet. “Why not.”


Steve makes his way onto the train, wincing a little when his elbow bumps into a seat back. He hoists his suitcases up into the overhead bin with a grunt, cursing himself for not shipping the costume pieces back instead. There’s a big of a traffic jam behind him, so he sinks into the seat as fast as he can to let the people behind him pass, pulling his book out before tucking his backpack safely under his seat.

The book is so engrossing that he doesn’t even look up when someone sits down next to him, just scrunches his shoulders in a little bit and keeps reading until a familiar, amused voice says, “Come here often?”

Steve’s head jerks up so fast he nearly hits it on the window frame. He half expects to find that he’s hallucinating, that the voice was a product of his wishful thinking, but no. Bucky is lounging in the seat next to him, smirking like the cat who ate the canary. He looks different out of costume. Softer, in his t-shirt and hoodie, his hair pulled back into a rough ponytail. He’s not the Winter Soldier anymore, or Jake. This is Bucky.

“Of all the trains in all the world,” Bucky intones, smirk still firmly in place. “Heading home, gorgeous?”

Warmth spreads over Steve’s face until he can feel it in his ears, but he does his best to ignore it. “Yeah. You?”

“Brooklyn bound,” Bucky confirms.

Steve just gapes at him for a minute, because this is too ridiculous. “Brooklyn?”

Bucky’s eyes widen. “You too?”

“What are the odds?” Steve marvels.

“I don’t know,” Bucky says, looking for all the world like he’s trying to calculate them. “But at least we have good company on the trip home. Unless you don’t want--”

He falters, looking uncertain for the first time since Steve’s met him. It’s adorable. “Sounds like a plan to me,” Steve says, putting his bookmark in place and setting the book down on his lap. “So what do you do in Brooklyn?”


The train slows down as it nears the station, and Bucky realizes that they’re almost out of time. Talking with Steve, first on the train from Philly, then as the subway wound its way into Brooklyn, was so easy it had seemed like no time at all had passed. But they’re going to get off the train and go their separate ways, maybe run into each other at another convention if they’re lucky. Bucky’s surprised by how much that idea bothers him.

“Hey,” Steve says, breaking into his reverie. “I was thinking--”

“Musta been painful,” Bucky jokes automatically.

Steve rolls his eyes. “I was thinking, ” he hesitates again. “It--I had a lot of fun. With you. I was thinking maybe you could text me sometime. If you wanted to, uh, do it again?”

Bucky realizes his mouth is hanging open unattractively and snaps it closed. “Uh, yeah, I--” he clears his throat as his voice tries to crack. “I’d like that.”

His cheeks pink, Steve ducks his head, rubbing his hand over the back of his neck. “Cool. That’s--yeah. Cool.”

Before Bucky can despair too much over their mutual awkwardness, the train slides to a stop at their station. They’re able to busy themselves gathering their bags and exiting the train, heading up to street level.

Once they get there, it’s awkward again for a minute. Bucky debates going for the handshake, but, fuck it. He uses Steve’s offered hand to pull him into a hug, breathing him in  for a second before stepping back again.

“Text me,” he says, turning away before he can give in and suggest Steve just come home with him. This whole thing just happened basically at the speed of light; a little space will probably be good for both of them.

But not too much space. He pulls his phone out of his pocket as he rounds the corner, tapping out a one-handed text as he tows his suitcase behind him with the other.

Bucky: Send nudes ;)

He waits for a minute before putting his phone away, just in case Steve responded immediately. But after a couple of blocks, he forces himself to tuck the phone back into his pocket until he’s up the steps to his brownstone and inside his apartment.

The door closes behind him and he spins the lock, shoving his suitcase in the general direction of the closet. He’s suddenly weary, now that he’s in his own space and not traveling, incredibly tempted to just stretch out on the couch and sleep forever.

He forces himself to head into the bedroom, stripping his clothes off and throwing them into the hamper. His jeans hit the pile of dirty clothes with a soft jingle -thud and he forces himself to fish his keys and phone out of the pockets before he forgets and washes them. Not that that’s ever happened. Often.

He’s about to toss his phone onto his bedside table when he sees the text notification from Steve on his lockscreen. He unlocks his phone hastily, almost dropping it in his eagerness, and then again in surprise when he sees the screen.

Instead of replying with a text, Steve has taken him at his word and sent a picture.

It must have been taken that first night in the hotel after Bucky left, because there’s Steve, spread out across the rumpled sheets, completely naked except for that fucking shield harness. The screen is too small to be sure, but Bucky is pretty sure he can see the imprint of his hands on Steve’s hips, pink against the pale skin.

As he stares at the screen, another text notification pops up.

Steve: How’s that ;)

Bucky can’t help but laugh. “How’s that,” he asks, as if he doesn’t know the effect that picture would have on Bucky. As if he thinks Bucky would be anything other than suddenly, achingly hard.

His fingers feel big and clumsy on the screen as he texts back.

Bucky: quit fishing for compliments, punk
Bucky: You know exactly how that is

Steve: c’mon, tell me

Bucky: you want me to tell you how fucking hot you look
Bucky: how hard I am remembering fucking you into the mattress?
Bucky: how it felt, the noises you made

Steve: fuck
Steve: show me

Bucky’s mind goes blank for a minute. He looks down at the obscene tent of his cock in his boxer briefs and starts to snap a picture, but then thinks better of it. Steve deserves more than a hasty dick pic, considering that photo of him in the harness is going to stay in Bucky’s personal spank bank for-fucking-ever.

Then he remembers the giant wall mirror Nat had insisted he buy for the living room--”it opens up the space,” she’d insisted. He strips off his underwear, tossing them in the general direction of the laundry hamper on his way to the living room.

He grabs his computer desk chair and rolls it in front of the mirror, flopping down into it. He feels dumb and self-conscious, but Steve is waiting. His phone buzzes--

Steve: I wanna see you, Buck, I’m so close

“Fuck,” Bucky grits out into the empty room. When he looks up at the mirror, it’s not too bad. His balls look a little squished, so he spreads his legs; his free arm looks dumb hanging by his side, but tucking the hand behind his head makes his biceps flex nicely. He snaps the picture and sends it before he can second-guess himself any further.

Bucky: that what you want?

The response is almost instantaneous, flashing onscreen as Bucky starts to stroke himself.

Steve: fuck. Yes.
Steve: i wanna ride you in that chair. fuck myself open on your cock until i come

Bucky’s hand speeds up, his whole body shaking. He can imagine it so clearly, Steve’s hands digging into Bucky’s shoulders as he moves. Watching their reflections in the mirror, every bunching, flexing muscle on display in the light streaming in through the windows--

He taps out another text, one-handed, grateful the metal hand works on his phone.

Bucky: wanna watch you in this big-ass mirror. bet u look so good riding my cock
Bucky: i’m so fucking close
Bucky: you gonna come for me, Stevie

Steve’s response isn’t words, but all disappointment flees Bucky’s mind when he sees it’s a short video clip. It takes two tries to make it play, but when it does, he’s rewarded with a shot of Steve’s abs and upper thighs, Steve’s big hand stroking over his gorgeous cock. After two quick, hard strokes, Steve’s voice groans, “Buck--” and he comes, messily, thick spurts landing on his stomach.

Bucky isn’t fast enough to switch over to the camera and capture his own money shot, but after his brain comes back online, he snaps a quick close-up of his still-hard cock and texts it back to Steve.

Steve: yum
Steve: next time I want video

Bucky: or next time you could see it in person

Steve: works for me

Chapter Text

“Someone’s in a good mood,” Nat observes dryly.

Bucky kisses her cheek and slides into the chair next to her. “I’m having lunch with you. Why wouldn’t I be in a good mood?”

She arches an eyebrow at him. “Last time you went to a con you were dead on your feet for three days. The time before that you caught some kind of plague and swore you were never going to another one again.

“Well, this was a better experience,” Bucky says, flipping the menu open.

Fortunately the waiter arrives just then to take their drink orders, derailing the conversation before Nat can probe any further.

Of course, this just means that when the waiter leaves, she looks him up and down critically and says, “You had sex.”

Bucky sputters for a minute, but he knows better than to deny it. The last time he actually lied to Nat and got away with it, they both still thought peanut butter and jelly was gourmet cuisine. And for all it should be awkward to talk to her about this, given their brief but disastrous attempt at dating in their early twenties, Nat is his best friend. He wants to tell her.

“I met a guy,” he admits, picking up his pint glass and nodding his thanks to the waiter.

“Finally,” Nat sighs, licking delicately at the salt rim around her margarita glass before taking a drink. “I was about ready to make you a Grindr profile and set you up with the first guy who sent a dick pic. Or enter you in a bachelor auction or something.”

Bucky rolls his eyes. “I haven’t been that bad.”

“Oh no?” she counters. “Do you have any idea how many times you’ve drunk-texted me that your dick was going to fall off and you were going to die alone? Because I do.”

“Anyway.” Bucky decides that the better part of valor is not thinking about Nat and his dick in any sort of combination. “I met a guy. And yes, I had sex.”

The waiter returns to take their order, fortunately a little too late to hear the end of that sentence. Bucky hopes. Bucky orders a salad--he’s pretty sure the grease from the convention center food is still coating his stomach--and Nat orders the biggest burger on the menu. The waiter whisks their menus away, leaving Bucky once again alone with his interrogator.

The eyebrow arches again. “And?”

“Why does there have to be ‘and’?” Bucky asks. “Can’t that be the end? I met a guy. I had awesome sex. The end.”

“So you admit that it was awesome.” Nat’s mouth curls up at the corners. “Not a word that I’ve heard applied to your hookups recently.”

Bucky groans, taking another drink of his beer. “Yes, thank you for reminding me.”

She eyeballs him carefully for another few minutes. “It’s not the end. You’re still seeing him.”

“How the fuck do you do that?” Bucky hisses.

Nat shrugs minutely, but she doesn’t meet his eyes. Shit, he really hurt her feelings. “I notice you’re not denying it.”

“It’s not a big deal,” he protests. “We’re just sexting. Friends with bennies. Not like we’re dating.”

Another long, searching look pins him like a bug under a microscope. After a small eternity, though, Nat settles back in her seat and reaches for her glass again. “Just take care of yourself. I’d hate to have to beat this guy up if he breaks your heart.”

“It’s not like that,” Bucky says, although he knows better than to try and convince Nat of something once her mind is made up. “He’s a really nice guy. You’d like him.”

“Oh!” she says, pulling her phone out. “You guys hooked up last weekend, right?”

“Yeess,” he says slowly. “Why?”

Nat groans. “Sharon is never going to let me hear the end of this. You couldn’t have waited three more days so I could win the pool for once?”

Bucky smirks. “I really couldn’t.”


Steve’s phone buzzes, dangerously close to the edge of his desk. He just barely catches it before it drops on the floor, his heart racing from the near miss, then faster when he sees the name on the lock screen.

Bucky: Want to come over tonight? I’m feeling kind of like a season 1 rewatch

Steve: are you literally inviting me over to Netflix and chill?

Bucky: mayyybe
Bucky: we can just watch the show if you want

Steve: I mean
Steve: it’s a good show
Steve: I haven’t watched s1 in awhile

Bucky: i stg steve if i get cockblocked by captain fucking america

Steve: oh, so you don’t want me to wear the costume?
Steve: I made some adjustments I think you’ll like

Steve can’t stop smiling as he sends the picture he’d impulsively taken earlier, shirtless, but wearing the cowl and shield harness from his costume, the pants unzipped and falling off enough to show a pair of satin panties, also pulled teasingly low. He hadn’t been sure, at the time, if he was going to send it, but something about Bucky made him want to be bold.

Bucky: jseus fuck
Bucky: steve i am at work

Steve: so that’s a yes on the costume?

Bucky: …

Steve: I thought you might want to roleplay?

Bucky: ...
Bucky: so i’ll see you at 7

Steve: I’ll be there

He sets his phone aside and picks up his tablet again, whistling under his breath as the illustration comes to life on his computer screen.


Bucky is going to play it cool. Really he is. He’s going to invite Steve in, offer him a beer, and start up the show. Hell, they may just watch a couple of episodes, compare meta theories and talk about their favorite moments like they did on the train home.

“Sure,” he says out loud, trying to ignore the inherent ridiculousness of stashing lube and condoms in the cushions of his own couch and chair. “Just bros being bros.”

Despite the fact that he wants to be prepared--at least some part of that long-ago Boy Scout training stuck--it is with the best of intentions that Bucky opens the door to Steve’s knock, ushering him inside and closing the door behind him--

--only to find himself with his back against the opposite wall, being kissed within an inch of his life. Steve devours him with lips and teeth and tongue; it’s all Bucky can do to kiss back, to run his hands up Steve’s arms.

“So,” he says, a little breathlessly, when Steve finally lifts his head. “I guess you don’t actually want to watch anything?”

Steve grins wickedly as he steps back, leaving Bucky slumped against the wall. “Thought you wanted to watch Captain America?”

Bucky isn’t entirely certain his legs will support him. “You’re a punk.”

“Takes one to know one, jerk,” Steve retorts, wandering off in the direction of the living room. “Nice place. I like the mirror.”

What little blood was left in Bucky’s brain drains down into his cock. All he can think about is the last time they sexted, the things he had said. The things Steve had said. His mind is full of Steve riding him, on display for the mirror. For Bucky.

“I’ll show you what I want to watch,” Bucky says. It’s not the most sensible statement he’s ever made, but honestly, he’s kind of proud of himself for getting out more than a couple of words.

He stalks toward the living room, closing the distance between them and grabbing Steve’s t-shirt in both hands. Steve makes no objection when Bucky drags the shirt up over his head and tosses it to the floor, just pulls him in for another long, hungry kiss when Bucky gets distracted by getting his hands all over that smooth, freckled skin. Steve’s chest hair is crisp against his palms, and he moans into the kiss when Bucky’s fingers brush across his nipples.

“C’mere,” Bucky says roughly, tearing their mouths apart.

“Not the chair from the picture?” Steve asks archly as Bucky leads him toward the armchair next to the fireplace.

Bucky sinks down into the chair, leaning back with his legs spread. “Nah, that one rolls. I want a nice, solid base for when you ride me.”

Steve flushes all the way down to his chest, but he raises an eyebrow as he unbuttons his jeans, shoving them and his boxers down until they fall on the floor. “Aren’t you a little overdressed for this party?”

Bucky strips his shirt off and drops it on the floor. “Better?”

“Much,” Steve says, licking his lips.

“Good.” Bucky fishes the lube and condoms out of the chair--sue him, he’s prepared. “Now get over here.”

Steve’s other eyebrow joins the first, but he complies, climbing onto Bucky’s lap and leaning in to to kiss him again. His cock is hard and hot between them, the head sticky against Bucky’s stomach. He slides his hands up Steve’s rib cage, brushes his thumbs over Steve’s nipples, just to feel the shiver that runs through his body, the twitch of his cock between them.

He doesn’t want to stop kissing Steve, but he also doesn’t want to miss this, so he presses a line of kisses down Steve’s neck as he fumbles open the lube. He watches in the mirror as his right hand slides down, finger slipping between Steve’s cheeks to rub gently over his hole.

“Hold yourself open for me,” he says. He wants--he needs to see.

“Bossy,” Steve says, but he doesn’t seem to mind, reaching back to spread himself open.

Bucky watches in fascination as he works his finger inside Steve. It’s different from seeing it close-up; he’s there, in the moment, smelling Steve’s skin and the smell of sex and the vaguely chemical scent of the lube, feeling the heat and weight of his body.

But he’s also watching, seeing the picture they make together in the evening light that streams through the windows. The twist in Steve’s spine as he cranes his neck to see, too, the flex in his arms and the way his fingers dig into his ass as he holds himself open. The way his body moves as Bucky’s finger slides in and out, the little, helpless movements that match the noises falling out of his mouth.

“Fuck,” Bucky rasps, adding more lube and another finger, then stroking his free hand up and down Steve’s back. “Fuck, Stevie, you look so fuckin’ good like this. Look at you. Like a fuckin’ wet dream.”

Steve whimpers, burying his face in Bucky’s neck. His whole body shakes as he takes deep, even breaths, as Bucky murmurs soothing nonsense into his ear.

It’s a strange, suspended time, it could be minutes or hours or days for all he knows, as Bucky holds Steve close and coaxes his body open. The outside world ceases to exist for Bucky. Nothing else matters but Steve in his arms, slick and hot around his fingers, not even the aching hardness of his cock where it strains against his jeans.

“Please,” Steve finally gasps, his cock twitching against Bucky’s stomach. “Please, Bucky, I need--”

“Shhh, I got you,” Bucky soothes, pumping his fingers slowly in and out one more time.

He rips the condom packet open with his teeth, but he has to pull his fingers free to free his erection and get the condom on. It’s not easy, with Steve wrapped around him, but he manages somehow.

“Hey,” he says, when he’s pretty sure he won’t come just from lubing himself up. “Turn around for me, baby, okay?”

It takes a little bit of coaxing and a little adjusting as Bucky shifts a bit further forward on the chair, but soon Steve is sinking slowly down onto his cock.

Bucky can’t decide where to look, his eyes darting back and forth from Steve’s face in the mirror, to the muscles in his arms and chest and legs flexing as he slowly lowers himself, his hands braced on the arm of the chair, to his cock disappearing inside Steve’s body, inch by glorious, agonizing inch.

“So good, baby,” Bucky breathes, running his hands up and down Steve’s sides, doing his best to keep from fucking up into that tight, welcoming heat. “You feel so good, fuck--”

Steve groans his assent, sliding down that last little bit, his ass cradled against Bucky’s hips. “So good,” he pants. His face in the mirror looks almost pained, wet, red lips falling open as he pants for breath, his cock red and leaking against his thigh. “I gotta move, Buck, I gotta--”

“Do it,” Bucky urges, stroking down Steve’s legs a little then back up. “C’mon, baby, wanna see  you.”

“Fuck,” Steve grits out as he lifts up a few inches and back down. His cock slaps against his leg with a wet noise that would be funny under different circumstances. He does it again, moving further this time, wincing at the impact when his cock slaps back down harder.

Before he can say anything, Bucky slides a hand down to wrap around it. “I got you, baby,” he says, pressing his mouth to Steve’s neck. “I got you.”

Steve starts to move in earnest, and it’s all Bucky can do to hold on for the ride. Every time Steve lifts up, it thrusts his cock into the circle of Bucky’s hand, and it feels like every time he drops down, he’s trying to get Bucky’s cock deeper into his ass.

The image of them in the mirror is downright pornographic in the twilight; it doesn’t take long before Bucky is on the edge, desperate to come. He pulls out every trick his lust-addled brain can think of, twisting his hand around the head of Steve’s cock, licking and sucking love bites down the side of his neck. “C’mon,” he groans in between kisses, sliding his free hand up to tease over Steve’s nipple. “I’m so close, Stevie, you’re so good, come for me, baby--”

Steve’s body goes taut above him, shaking and shuddering as he comes in big, messy spurts. His ass clenches down around Bucky’s cock, hot and tight even through the latex, and Bucky is gone, lost in his own orgasm.

When he blinks his eyes open again, the last of the evening light is gone, the apartment lit only by the dim lights from outside. Steve’s body is a comforting weight on top of him, but it does make it a bit difficult to breathe.

“Hey,” Bucky says, his voice a little raspy in his through. “Let’s go get cleaned up, huh?”

Steve makes a protesting grumble, but pushes himself slowly to his feet, shuddering a little when Bucky’s softening cock slips free. “Yeah,” he replies, his voice also gratifyingly rough. “You got a shower?”

Bucky shoves himself out of the chair and slips the condom off, tying it in a knot and tossing it in his trash can. “Yeah, c’mon. I’ll give you the nickel tour and then maybe we can get pizza or something. I’m starving.”

“You’re starving?” Steve shoots back, slinging his arm over Bucky’s shoulders. “I was doing all the fucking work.”

The snorting giggle that escapes Bucky startles both of them. “Yeah, pal, you sure fucking were,” he snickers, opening the bathroom door.

Steve rolls his eyes as he steps into the shower. “Whatever. As long as you don’t want vegetables on the pizza. That shit is disgusting.”

“What’ve you got against vegetables?” Bucky demands, turning on the water. “They’re good for you.”

“There’s a time and a place for vegetables--fuck, that’s cold!” Steve shrieks, rushing back out of the spray. “But that place is not on my fucking pizza.”

Bucky sticks his hand under the shower head to test the temperature before he steps in, pulling the shower curtain closed behind him. “Fine, but I get to pick the first episode we watch.”

Steve huffs out an annoyed breath, but his eyes twinkle when he pulls Bucky in for a kiss, soft and sweet. “Fine.”

Bucky closes his eyes, tilts his head back under the spray, and tells himself that the feeling in his stomach is hunger. If he doesn’t look at Steve, he can almost believe it.

Chapter Text

“Excuse me?”

Steve looks up from his sketchbook to find a young woman standing next to his table, shifting from foot to foot. “Can I help you?” he asks.

“I’m sorry to bother you, I just wanted to ask…” she bites her lip. “Could you sign this?”

He blinks and looks down at the binder she placed on the table in front of him. Inside the clear plastic cover is...a high-resolution photo of him and Bucky, in their costumes from the con, staring longingly into each other’s eyes.

He opens his mouth to ask where she got it, but the discreet watermark in the lower left corner removes all doubt. “Sure,” he says, realizing belatedly that he’s been staring in silence for a few minutes. “What’s your name?”

“Oh, uh, Taylor?” She flushes. “If you don’t mind.”

It feels weird to do it out of costume, but Steve flashes his cosplay smile at her as he digs a Sharpie out of his bag. “No problem.”

He signs the photo, hesitating for a moment before signing as Captain America. “Do you mind if I take a picture of this?” he asks, pulling out his phone. “I think my friend would get a kick out of it.”

“Sure!” Taylor beams at him. “Tell him I love his costume, okay?”

“Will do.” Steve snaps a picture, then hands the binder back.

Taylor thanks him effusively again before weaving her way back to her table. Nat slides gracefully aside to avoid a collision before continuing over and slipping into the booth opposite Steve.

“Do I want to know?” she asks, picking up her menu.

He shakes his head, setting his phone back down on the table. He can text Bucky later. And Darcy, of course. “Probably not.”

“Am I late?” Nat doesn’t look up from the menu as she speaks, probably because she already knows the answer.

“No, I’m early. The apartment was too quiet, so I thought I’d people-watch.” Steve tucks his sketchbook away in his bag. When he looks up, Nat is smirking at him. “What?”

Her smirk just widens as she looks pointedly at his neck. “Somebody got lucky.”

His face heats as he claps his hand over the side of his neck. He’d almost managed to forget about the string of hickeys Bucky had left on his skin, some barely visible, some still lividly purple. There’s no point in denying it, though. Nat always sees right through him.

“Good,” she says firmly before he can open his mouth. “The guy I keep trying to set you up with is off the market, so I was going to have to really dig deep to find somebody.”

Steve does his best to hide a shudder, even though he’s pretty sure it’s a lost cause. “No, no, I’m good,” he says hastily.

“So it’s serious then?” Nat asks.

The waitress’s arrival diverts Nat’s attention and temporarily saves Steve from having to decide on the spot whether or not to try and lie. But as soon as the waitress steps away with their drink order, those green eyes are laser-focused on him again.

“It’s casual,” he says, because he can’t lie to Nat. Not and get away with it. “But I’m not interested in seeing anyone else right now.”

She eyes him for several more endless moments. He’s about to cave and admit that he enjoyed eating mediocre pizza and  watching Captain America on Bucky’s couch just as much as, if not more than, the frankly spectacular sex, when she nods slightly and sits back in her seat. “Okay.”

“Okay?” he echoes, not entirely sure he can trust his ears.

The look she shoots him conveys Did I fucking stutter? more clearly than words.

Steve scrambles for a change of subject. “So what’s the occasion?” he asks. “Not that I don’t enjoy having lunch with you.”

“The occasion is you’re buying my lunch,” she says with a sly smile. “After you sign the very nice contract I have in my bag.”

“For?” he prompts. It’s not like Nat to play coy with the details of a contract.

She casually examines her nail polish, which is, of course, flawless. “For a series of 10th-anniversary illustrated editions of the Simon Snow books.”

He blinks at her for a moment, trying to make her words make sense. “Me?”

“You,” she confirms, pulling the contract out of her bag and sliding it across the table. “So read that, sign it, and then buy your hardworking agent a drink and a steak, huh?”

“Nat, I…” Steve looks down at the paper, then back up at Nat. “I don’t--”

She rolls her eyes. “Don’t get all mushy on my just because you’re getting laid on the regular, Rogers. Read the damn contract.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he says, obediently turning his attention to the contract.


Steve: care to explain this?
Steve: photo948.jpg

Darcy: picture of you and Bucky from the photoshoot
Darcy: told you we were gonna break the internet
Darcy: tumblr thought they were getting ddosed

Steve: i remember the shoot, since i was there
Steve: what i was asking about was why some girl who looked barely old enough to drink had a copy she asked me to sign

Darcy: probably bought it from my online store
Darcy: i sent you an email
Darcy: as the models, you and Bucky get 10% each, paid quarterly

Steve: …

Darcy: we talked about this before the shoot
Darcy: that’s why i had you sign a release

Steve: it’s just weird
Steve: getting asked for my autograph
Steve: i’m not a ducking celebrity

Darcy: you are now
Darcy: you adn Bucky both

Steve: fuck
Steve: does Bucky know?

Darcy: he signed a release, too
Darcy: he hasn’t texted me about getting asked for autographs, yet, so maybe he might not be aware of the extent of your fame

Steve: gtg
Steve: ttyl

Darcy: tell him hi for me


Steve: something weird happened today
Steve: actually, it’s a long story
Steve: wanna come over? I’m grabbing Chinese on the way home

Bucky: sure
Bucky: get lots of crab rangoon

Steve: will do

Bucky: i’ll pay you back

Steve: nah, i got it
Steve: i got a very big contract today

Bucky: didn’t say i was gonna pay you back with money, punk
Bucky: i have some thoughts
Bucky: some roleplaying thoughts

Steve: fuck, Bucky
Steve: i am on the subway
Steve: there are two little old ladies in front of me
Steve: i am not doing this with you right now

Bucky: aww, c’mon, Stevie, don’t b shy...for me?

Steve: I’m putting my phone away until i get home


You are a fucking menace,” Steve says, opening the door and ushering Bucky into his apartment.

“Yeah, but you love it,” Bucky says with a smirk, looking around as they walk down the long hall toward the living room.

Steve watches, trying to see the space through Bucky’s eyes. It’s not as put-together as Bucky’s place but colorful art pieces brighten the white walls and the couch and chairs are comfortable, if not especially new.

“Wasn’t sure what to expect after downstairs,” Bucky says, turning to grin at Steve over his shoulder. “All that marble everywhere; felt like a fucking mausoleum. Who even needs that much marble?”

“Hey,” Steve says, a little affronted on behalf of his building even though he secretly agrees. “Those are classic architectural details, man.”

Bucky snorts. “Classically ugly,” he says cheerfully, which, he’s not wrong.

“Food?” Steve asks, gesturing toward the take-out containers on the coffee table.

“Don’t mind if I do.” Bucky accepts the change of subject with just a smirk that says he noticed.

After they’re settled on the couch, passing the various containers back and forth, Bucky says “So what did you want to talk about?”

Steve goes blank for a minute before he remembers. “Oh, yeah.” He fishes his phone out of his pocket, unlocks it and swipes to the photo while somehow managing not to get sweet and sour sauce on the screen. “Here.”

“Damn,” Bucky says mildly after a minute. “We look good. This from Darcy?”

“Yeah.” Steve concentrates on his lo mein. “Some girl came up to my table at lunch and asked me to autograph it. She wanted me to tell you she loves your costume.”

Bucky laughs. “Huh. Gotta say I wasn’t expecting that.”

“Me either,” Steve says feelingly. When he dares to look over again, Bucky is staring at the phone screen with an indecipherable look on his face. “Anyway, I just wanted to let you know. In case, you know, people start askin’ you for autographs. I’d forgotten Darcy said she was gonna sell ‘em, to be honest.”

“Same here.” Bucky passes the phone back over. “Gotta say, though, she does good work.”

Looking at the picture again, Steve can’t help but agree. Anybody who didn’t know them better would think there were real feelings there.

He locks the phone hastily and sets it on the couch next to him. “You wanna actually watch something?” he asks.

“Sure,” Bucky mumbles around a mouthful of food. “Pick up where we left off?”

Steve shudders, reaching for the remote. “You’re disgusting.”

Bucky waits until Steve has started the next episode in their rewatch and taken a drink of his soda to lean over and purr in his ear, “That’s not what you said when my cock was inside you.”

Soda doesn’t quite snort out of Steve’s nose, but it’s a near thing; he’s going to be feeling that carbonated burn for hours.

“Why are you like this?” he asks once he can speak without choking.

Bucky shrugs. “Why do you like me like this?”

Steve rolls his eyes. “Shut up and watch, jerk.”

It’s a good thing Steve has seen every episode of Captain America at least four times, because it is impossible to concentrate on the show under these circumstances. Bucky is pressed up against Steve’s side from shoulder to knee, warm and solid. And, to top things off, it seems like Steve has developed some kind of Pavlovian reaction to Bucky’s cologne, because he’s so hard it’s obvious even through the thick denim of his jeans.

Or it would be, if Bucky ever took his eyes off the television.

Steve nearly jumps out of his skin when Bucky’s hand lands on his knee, but it doesn’t mean anything. Bucky is still watching the show. Or so Steve thinks, right up until Bucky’s hand slides unerringly up to cup his erection.

“You always get this hard watching Captain America ?” Bucky murmurs, squeezing gently.

“Nope,” Steve answers. He’s trying for casual, but his voice comes out half-strangled instead. “Must be the company.”

Bucky moves his hand, up and down, and Steve rolls his hips, thrusting up into that teasing pressure. It’s gone in the next second, but before Steve has time to regret the loss, Bucky is straddling his lap, kissing him hungrily.

Even with all their clothes on, the weight of Bucky on top of him is delicious, Bucky’s ass grinding down against his cock in slow, deliberate movements. Steve moans into the kiss, then again when Bucky’s hands slide into his hair, tugging just enough to send sparks of sensation dancing across his skin.

Tearing their mouths apart, Bucky leans back just enough to start unbuttoning his shirt, his hips still moving the entire time. Steve watches in fascination as each undone button reveals more smooth skin, more flexing muscle. More Bucky.

An instant, an eternity later, Bucky’s shirt is on the floor. He gets a grip on Steve’s t-shirt and, between the two of them, they manage to remove it as well without dislodging Bucky from his perch.

Kissing is so much better like this, skin on skin, warm and just a little slick with sweat as their chests press together. Always before, Steve thinks vaguely, it’s been hard, fast, frantic. Nothing like this slow, lazy exploration, kissing like there’s nothing else they’d rather be doing. Like there are a thousand, a million ways to kiss and they need to try them all.

Steve slides his hands down Bucky’s back, his fingertips dipping under the waistband of Bucky’s slacks. It’s Bucky’s turn to moan, catching Steve’s lower lip in his teeth and grinding down harder.

“Yeah,” he breathes, his lips only inches from Steve’s. “Want you to fuck me, too, sometime. If, y’know, you wanna.”

“Oh, I want,” Steve groans, sliding his hands down over the slacks to get a good grip on Bucky’s ass, pulling him even closer. “Fuck, Bucky--”

Bucky shudders all over, his hands clenching on Steve’s shoulders. He releases his grip after a few seconds, sliding his hands down to unbutton his slacks and carefully pull down the zipper. His cock is so hard that the head is already peeking out of the waistband of his boxer briefs, so it only takes a quick tug to free it.

“You like that idea?” Bucky licks his palm and reaches down, his hand stroking over his cock in the same rhythm he grinds down against Steve. It’s mesmerizing, the slow, hypnotic motion, the way the flushed skin of his cock disappears and reappears with each deliberate pump of his fist. The way he twists his wrist at the top of each stroke, the backdrop of his muscular torso rippling as he moves, the firm muscle of his ass grinding down against Steve’s cock.

All Steve can do is nod dumbly and hold on. Yes, he likes that idea. He likes any idea that involves him and Bucky, in any configuration or situation. He likes this, the slow, torturous sensation, muffled through layers of fabric, but still so fucking good.

“Yeah,” Bucky sighs, his eyes fluttering closed for a minute before opening again, the clear blue laser-focused on Steve’s face. “Next time, want you to bend me over the bed and fuck my brains off. But right now--” he licks his lips “--I wanna see if you can come like this. Can you?”

Steve nods frantically, his fingers digging into Bucky’s ass, his brain nearly shorting out at the mental image. “Close,” he chokes out. “Bucky---”

“I got you,” Bucky breathes, his metal hand sliding up to curl around the back of Steve’s neck. He speeds up the roll of his hips, the strokes of his hand. “Come on, baby. You can do it. Wanna watch you, always so--fucking--gorgeous when you come--”

The rest of Bucky’s words fade into oblivion when Steve comes, his head falling back against the couch as his hips arch up. The hot splash against his chest when Bucky comes barely registers, just one more sensation in a wash of them.

Awareness comes back to Steve in pieces. First Bucky’s breath, warm and humid against his neck, then the tickle of Bucky’s hair where his head rests on Steve’s shoulder. The way their hearts pound where their chests press together, until Steve can’t tell which is which. Bucky’s shudder when Steve slides a hand up his back.

It’s surprisingly comfortable, just sitting like that, bodies curled together, as their breathing slows and returns to normal. But all too soon one of them moves and Steve grimaces at the unpleasant squelch in his pants and the tacky sensation of semen drying on his chest and belly.

“Up,” he says, urging Bucky gently but firmly off his lap. “I need to shower before these jeans are glued to me forever.”

Bucky grumbles, but follows him down the hall toward the bathroom, his arm around Steve’s waist. He doesn’t let go even when Steve starts up the water, unbuttoning Steve’s jeans and peeling them and his boxers off, so Steve returns the favor, slipping Bucky’s slacks loose from where they’re just barely hanging on his hips, letting them fall to the floor with his boxer briefs. It’s the most natural thing in the world to lean in for a kiss, just a soft, almost chaste press of lips that has Steve’s heart aching in his chest.

Neither of them speaks as they step into the bathtub; it’s a tight fit for two full-grown men, and the shower curtain dims the light from the bathroom fixture, creating a quiet, shadowed space. Bucky lathers his hands and runs them down Steve’s chest, soaping every inch of skin he can reach before nudging Steve to turn around and repeating the process on his back.

Steve turns back and returns the favor, hesitating a little before gentling his touch even further on the skin around Bucky’s prosthetic. Somehow, despite everything, this moment feels like the most intimate thing they’ve ever done. They maneuver carefully around each other to let Bucky under the spray; he sets his hands on Steve’s waist and pulls him in for a soft, sweet kiss.

The shower spray turns cold long before Steve is ready to leave, to let the moment end. He turns the water off reluctantly, pulling the curtain back and stepping out to retrieve towels from the rack.

“So what episode were we even on?” he asks as he passes one towel to Bucky and starts drying himself off with the other.

“Hell if I know,” Bucky replies, smirking. “Someone distracted me.”

Steve snorts. “Hey, my cock was minding it’s own business until you came along.”

“Whatever you say, baby.” Bucky hangs his towel back on the rack and picks up his underwear, pulling them back on. “You wanna watch more before I head out?”

“Yeah, sure,” Steve says, kicking his jeans and messy boxers to the side. “Let me grab some clean clothes and I’ll be right out.”

Bucky follows him back down the hall and through the door into Steve’s bedroom/studio. He lets out a low whistle, either at the canvases in various stages of completion or the size of the room.

“Damn, Steve,” he says softly, crossing the room to look at one painting more closely, tucking his hands behind his back like he’s afraid he’ll touch without noticing. “You did all these?”

Steve can feel the heat creeping up the back of his neck as he fishes a pair of clean boxers and a t-shirt out of his dresser. “Yeah. These are for a picture book I got hired to illustrate. They’re almost done, but my agent just got me a new contract, so I’ll be starting with that pretty soon.”

When he turns back, pulling the t-shirt over his head, Bucky has moved on to stand in front of Steve’s favorite of his current work, a watercolor painting of a small, purple-gray dragon curled up on top of a hoard of household detritus, tiny puffs of smoke snorting out of her nostrils.

“What’s the story?” Bucky asks, as softly as if the dragon is there in the room with them and could be awakened by his voice.

“It’s called ‘The Littlest Dragon,’” Steve replies, just as quietly. “Her name is Idris.”

Bucky stares for a few minutes longer before looking back at Steve, his eyes wide and wondering. “I know you said you were an artist, Steve, but these...these are incredible.”

Steve rubs his hand over the back of his neck. “I just...I’m really lucky. How many people get to make a living doing art? I still feel like it’s a dream sometimes.”

“Yeah, I get that,” Bucky says, smiling softly. “C’mon, I’m starving. Let’s go get into those leftovers.”

“Dibs on the crab rangoon,” Steve says, just to lighten the mood.

He’s not expecting Bucky to shove him aside and sprint toward the door, yelling “Not if I get there first!” over his shoulder, but he’s pretty sure he doesn’t mind at all.

And if the smile on Bucky’s face when Steve strolls into the kitchen brings back the persistent little ache under his breastbone, well, that’s something to think about tomorrow.

Chapter Text

Bucky curses under his breath when the 3D printer beeps plaintively, lurching to a halt mid-build for the second time that day. He pulls the half-extruded prosthetic finger off the build plate, swears again when he sees the broken internal structure and tosses it into the reclaimer.

He’s tried everything except clearing the nozzle, so he’s in the middle of disassembling it, using his metal hand as much as possible to avoid burning himself, when his phone rings. He swipes the screen impatiently, tucking it between his shoulder and ear and barking, “What?”

“Is that any way to talk to your best friend in the whole world? Or the person who got you tickets to Tony Stark’s TED Talk?” Nat asks, her voice saccharine-sweet.

Bucky nearly drops the phone and the piece of nozzle. The nozzle does its level best to crack against his phone screen, but he finally manages to save both, although it’s a near thing. He sets the nozzle down carefully on the workbench and lifts the phone back to his ear. “Really?”

“Yup,” Nat sounds delightfully smug. “I got two in case you wanted to ask your ‘friend.’”

“I--he--” Bucky stops, clears his throat, and tries again. “I don’t know if that’s his kind of thing.”

He can practically hear the eyeroll through the phone, which is probably some sort of special Nat magic. “Well, then, you should probably ask him,” she says, as patiently as if she’s speaking to a small child.

“Yeah, okay,” he says, doing his best not to sound petulant. “I guess I will.”

“Good,” she says briskly. “Sharon and I can’t wait to meet him.”

The line goes dead before he can do more than sputter. For a moment he contemplates calling back, but Nat is perfectly capable of not picking up just so she can have the last word. Instead, he taps out a text to Steve.

Bucky: Got tix 2 Stark’s TED Talk on Sat. Wanna go?

Steve: sure
Steve: the man is an egomaniac, but he’s entertaining

Bucky: food first?
Bucky: not in Williamsburg, obvs
Bucky: theres a taqueria i wanted to try

Steve: sounds good
Steve: what time?

“Shit.” Bucky pulls up the TEDxBrooklyn website and checks the schedule.

Bucky: looks like his talk isn’t til 5, so we could meet there and do dinner after?

Steve: :thumbsup:
Steve: it’s a date

Bucky stares down at the message until his screen goes black.


Steve: I’m here
Steve: north side of the doors

Bucky: be right there

Steve leans back against the wall, but within a few minutes he spots Bucky forging through the crowd. It’s a strange contrast to the first time they met. People still move out of Bucky’s way without seeming to notice that they’re doing it, even with his hair pulled back into a stubby ponytail and him dressed in a green button-down and slacks instead of his Winter Soldier outfit.

“Hey,” Steve says once he’s within earshot.

“Hey.”

Bucky looks just as awkward as Steve feels, and Steve curses himself for the millionth time for sending that text. He’d tapped it out and sent it without thinking, or maybe without letting himself think about it. And they’d talked since then, texting back and forth about things in their day and sharing speculation about season 3 of Captain America. Everything had been fine. But now here’s Bucky, shifting from foot to foot in front of him, shoving his hands in his pockets and pulling them back out again.

Fuck it, Steve decides. He wants this to be a date; maybe Bucky doesn’t, but there’s only one way to find out. The next time Bucky’s hands come out of his pockets, Steve reaches for one, pulling him into a hug that definitely crosses the line from bro-land into date territory when Bucky leans in. Something about having Bucky pressed against him, his arms wrapping instinctively around Steve’s waist, makes all the nerves and anxiety dissipate. It feels right.

“Hey,” he says again, kissing Bucky’s cheek before releasing him. “You ready?”

“Yeah,” Bucky replies. His smile is a little more certain, his eyes a little brighter. “Let’s get in there before all the good seats are gone.”

They join the flow of humanity moving inside the building; Steve does a mental fist-pump when Bucky hooks a finger through the belt loop of Steve’s khaki pants to keep them from getting separated.

Bucky hands their tickets to the usher and they step inside the auditorium, their feet slowing as their eyes adjust to the dimmer light. Before they can do much more than look around, a familiar voice purrs, “Hello, boys,” and both of their heads snap around.

“Nat!” Bucky lets go of Steve to scoop the petite redhead into a hug. “You didn’t say you were coming.”

“Wait,” Steve blurts. “You know Nat?”

Bucky sets the woman in question back down, his eyes darting from her to Steve. “Best friends since kindergarten. How do you know Nat?”

“He’s my client,” Nat supplies, smoothing her hair back and reaching out to the blonde woman standing next to her with an amused smile on her face. “Steve, I don’t think you’ve met my wife, Sharon?”

Steve extends his hand, his mind racing. “No, I don’t believe I have. A pleasure, ma’am.”

Sharon laughs as she takes his hand. “Oh, you were right, Nat. I like him.”

“See what I mean?” Nat eyes him appraisingly, her gaze searing into him until he’s sure that everything he and Bucky have done together is written all over his face. “But Bucky didn’t mention that you were the friend he was bringing tonight.”

“I didn’t know you knew Steve,” Bucky complains, sliding an arm around Steve’s waist. Steve isn’t sure whether the gesture is supposed to be possessive or protective, but he leans into the touch just the same, wrapping his own arm around Bucky’s shoulders

Nat snorts. “Well, I didn’t know you knew Steve, either. I guess this saves me the trouble of trying to set you two up again, though.”

“That was Steve?” Bucky says.

“Wait, you were trying to set me up with Bucky?” Steve says at the exact same time.

The two women smile unnervingly similar smiles at them. “Clearly meant to be,” Nat says, turning away and pulling Sharon with her. “Enjoy the show, you two.”

Steve and Bucky are left standing in shell-shocked silence until the flow of people around them nudges them back into motion.

“Well,” Bucky says eventually, looking sideways at Steve from under his lashes when the pressure of the crowd forces them to separate. “I guess if we both weren’t so stubborn we could have met up a lot sooner.”

“Maybe,” Steve allows, steering them toward two open seats he’d just spotted. “But then we wouldn’t have our awesome meeting story.”

Bucky laughs, his shoulders relaxing. “True. ‘How did you meet?’ ‘Well he was Captain America and I was the Winter Soldier and a bunch of people at a con tried to get us to kiss.’”

“See?” Steve grins at Bucky, reaching for his hand as they settle into their seats. “Awesome.”

“Yeah.” Bucky grins back. “It is.”


Steve: season premiere in 2 nights
Steve: wanna watch it at mine?

Bucky: sure
Bucky: grab dinner before or takeout

Steve: i think dinner. I need to get out

Bucky: Song? I haven’t had Thai in awhile
Bucky: we can sit on the patio

Steve: yeah, let’s do it

Bucky: it’s a date

Steve: does that mean I’m getting lucky?

Bucky: what kind of guy do you think I am Steve?

Steve: The kind who let me bend him over the kitchen counter and fuck his brains out the other night?

Bucky: yeah, so you’re definitely getting lucky
Bucky: after the show’s over

Steve: I have a DVR

Bucky: ....
Bucky: probably after the show’s over


They’re almost finished with their Pla Muk Kraprow and Kang Koong, trading bites across each other’s plates and squabbling amiably over the last spare rib and spring roll, when Bucky realizes that they have an audience. A group of teens at a nearby table keep looking over at Steve and Bucky, whispering to each other, and giggling.

“Don’t look now, but we have a fan club,” he says softly, twirling noodles around his fork.

“The kids by the railing?” Steve asks equally softly, glancing over without moving his head.

Bucky swallows the noodles. “Yup.”

“I still don’t understand how people are this invested in us,” Steve says, his forehead furrowing.

“What, you’ve never run into shippers before?” Bucky laughs.

Steve starts to make a rude gesture, visibly remembers their audience, and oh-so-subtly rubs the bridge of his nose with his middle finger. “I’m on the internet; of course I’ve run into shippers. I’m a shipper for some things. But we’re not fictional characters. We’re real people!”

“Baby, promise me something.” Bucky captures Steve’s hand in his and looks imploringly into his eyes, pausing for emphasis. “Never, ever, ever look up RPF.”

“Fuck you,” Steve says amiably, but he leaves his hand where it is.

Bucky tells himself Steve is only being cooperative because he doesn’t want to throw off their watchers, but that doesn’t stop him from wishing. It’s actually a little embarrassing how much he wants to hold Steve’s hand and gaze into his eyes for real. But that’s not what this is, and he knows it. They flirt and they fuck and they joke about dates, but at the end of the day, they go home alone.

Steve is starting to get that look in his eyes that says he’s thinking about something, though, so Bucky goes with distract and deflect, which has always been one of his strengths. Dragging his thumb slowly down Steve’s palm, he looks up from under his lashes and says, “Okay.”

If his heart gives a little pang when Steve takes the bait, well, no one has to know.


Steve sits on his couch, scrolling listlessly through Netflix. His apartment feels too big, somehow, even though it’s the same cramped city space it’s always been. He tells himself firmly that it’s ridiculous to miss Bucky when he’s only on an overnight work trip. Knowing that’s true doesn’t change the annoying, lonely feeling one bit.

He’s just picking up his phone to text someone--okay, probably Bucky--when a message notification lights up the screen.

Bucky: hey handsome

Steve feels the smile and the blush spreading across his face.

Steve: what’s up, dollface?

Bucky: i got your present…

Steve’s entire body flushes hot with the next message.

In the picture, Bucky is posed artfully across rumpled sheets. Even though he’s completely naked, the sheets hide his cock from view. If it weren’t for the clearly sexual pose and the lube and vibrating butt plug laid out next to him, the image could almost be a tasteful art piece.

Steve: oh, yeah, that little thing

Bucky: not as big as you, that’s for sure
Bucky: but since you’re not here…

Steve: show me
Steve: i wanna watch

His phone chimes after a few seconds with a video call request. It takes a little while to connect, but soon he’s treated to the sight of Bucky Barnes, completely naked, sprawled on his back as he works a finger into his ass.

“Hey, baby,” he drawls, his voice already carrying that familiar roughness that gets Steve from half-hard to all the way there. “Wish you were here.”

“Me, too,” Steve admits, wishing he’d connected on his laptop so he could see in more detail. His imagination is happy to fill in anything that’s missing, but it’s not the same.

Bucky’s body rolls like liquid when he adds another finger, a tiny groan escaping his lips. “How’d you sneak it into my suitcase, anyway?” he asks breathlessly.

“Put it in there last night while you were in the bathroom,” Steve admits, shoving his shorts down so he can get his hand on his cock. “If you hadn’t found it I was gonna text you.”

“Yeah?” Bucky whines in the back of his throat as he twists his hand, his hips jerking up, his cock bobbing with the motion. “You wanna tell me--fuck--what to do?”

Steve swallows, hard, his hand clenching down on his cock. “Is that what you want?”

Bucky licks his lips, his eyes seeming to bore into Steve’s through the screen. “As long as you don’t come until after I do. I wanna watch.”

“Oh--” Steve’s voice cracks and he has to clear his throat and try again. “Okay.”

The smugness of Bucky’s smirk should probably bother Steve, but he’s got more pressing matters to think about, especially when Bucky says, “All right, Captain, let’s hear those orders.”

“How are you feeling?” Steve asks. He kicks his shorts all the way off, thankful it was too warm to bother with a shirt. “Ready for another finger?”

Bucky moans, scissoring his fingers apart. “Yeah, baby, I want another one.”

“Not yet,” Steve orders, hands on his thighs. He’s not going to last if he starts touching himself this soon. “Get the plug nice and lubed up.”

Steeeve, ” Bucky whines, but he pulls his fingers out and reaches for the lube. “That thing is huge.”

“Gonna stretch you out just like you like,” Steve murmurs. “I remember what you told me the other night, how much you like the way that feels. Go on, sweetheart. Let me see.”

He watches intently, his eyes glued to the screen, as Bucky slowly presses the plug inside. The phone might be small, but he can hear Bucky gasping and whimpering, see him writhing around on the bed as the toy stretches him wider and wider. Steve wants to be there, to hear those sounds in person, to touch the place where the plug disappears inside Bucky’s body.

“How does that feel?” he asks once only the flared base of the toy is visible.

“Fuck,” Bucky gasps, still moving restlessly. “So fucking full, Steve.”

Steve allows himself one long, agonizing stroke of his hand that does nothing to relieve the ache in his cock. “Turn it on.”

Bucky blinks wildly at the camera, like he’d forgotten the plug even had a vibrate function. “Oh, fuck.” His hand slides slowly down to find the switch, almost hesitantly. “Wish you were here,” he says hoarsely.

“Next time,” Steve promises both of them, then sharpens his voice into a command. “Do it, Buck.”

The vibration is a barely audible hum, almost impossible to hear through their connection, but the impact on Bucky is unmistakable. He throws his head back, his hips rolling like he doesn’t know if he he’s trying to get closer or move away from the sensation.”Oh, fuck,” he moans. “Fuck, Steve, Steve, I’m not gonna last, I have to--I need--”

“Touch yourself,” Steve orders, trying desperately to keep his promise, to hold on until after Bucky comes. “Come on, sweetheart, let me see you. You look so fucking good right now, wish you could see yourself.”

Bucky fuckes up into his fist with fast, desperate strokes, the noises falling from his mouth blending into one continuous moan. His whole body moves with each stroke, muscles clenching and releasing; it’s one of the most erotic things Steve has ever seen.

“Steve,” he chants, his eyes closed tight. “Steve, Steve, I’m gonna--I’m gonna--” He holds his breath for one second, two, and comes with a shudder, his body arching up off the bed.

“That’s it,” Steve breathes. He has no idea if Bucky can hear him right now but he couldn’t have stopped himself from responding either way. “That’s it, sweetheart, so fucking gorgeous when you come for me.”

After a few minutes Bucky fumbles around, eyes still closed, until he finds the switch to turn off the vibration. It takes a few minutes longer before his eyes blink open again, seeking out Steve’s.

“Fuck,” he says, letting out a long exhale. “That was--fuck.”

“You were amazing,” Steve says hoarsely, his hand gripping firmly at the base of his cock. If he moves it at all, he thinks he might come on the spot. “Wish you were here right now.”

Bucky shivers, wincing a little as he reaches down to ease the plug out. “Me too, baby. Gonna come for me now?”

It’s Steve’s turn to shiver, drawing one leg up and taking one more torturous stroke of his hand over his cock. “Fuck, sweetheart, I’m so close. Could’ve come just from watching you.”

“But you waited. For me.” Bucky leans forward on the edge of the bed, his eyes dark and intent. “Come on, Steve, let me see you.”

Steve lets his head fall back, his eyes still on Bucky’s as his hand finally starts to move. It doesn’t take more than a couple of strokes for him to be at the edge. “Bucky,” he groans, fighting to keep his eyes focused.

“Come for me, baby,” Bucky breathes.

The orgasm sweeps over Steve like a wave, like Bucky pulled it out of him with his voice alone. When it finally recedes, he’s left gasping for breath and trying to remember how to move his limbs.

“There you are,” Bucky murmurs from the phone that Steve is still somehow holding onto. “Back with me now, baby?”

Steve has to clear his throat a couple of times before he can speak, lifting the phone back up so he can see Bucky again. “Yeah, I think so.”

“Good.” They sit in silence for awhile, but eventually Bucky says, “I really do miss you. How pathetic is that?”

“Exactly as pathetic as I am for feeling the same way,” Steve shoots back. “You get back tomorrow, right?”

Bucky nods. “Yeah, my flight’s supposed to land at 8.”

“Come over when you get here?” The words escape Steve’s mouth before he can call them back, too much, too needy. “I mean, if you want--”

“Yeah,” Bucky agrees, his eyes glinting wickedly. “Wanna get my hands on that gorgeous cock again. Skype’s good, but it’s not the same.”

Steve swallows down the disappointment, hoping none of it shows on his face. “It misses you, too.”

Bucky snorts as he laughs, and Steve tells himself that it’s enough.

Chapter Text

Steve jolts awake at the knock. His neck aches from falling asleep on the couch, and he rubs his eyes as he makes his way over to the door. When he unlocks the door and opens it, Bucky is standing there, swaying on his feet.

“Sorry,” Bucky says, his jaw cracking on a yawn. “I should’ve just gone home. I can go home.”

“Nope,” Steve says firmly, pulling him inside and taking the bag out of his hand. “You’re here now. Let’s get you in bed before you fall asleep on your feet.”

Bucky allows himself to be guided down the hall and into Steve’s bedroom, where he blinks at the bed for a couple of seconds until Steve’s gentle shove in that direction gets him moving again. He sits down heavily on the side of the bed and, between the two of them, they manage to get him down to his underwear and under the covers, his arm set carefully on the bedside table.

He’s snoring almost as soon as his head hits the pillow, and Steve isn’t far behind, Bucky’s now-familiar warmth beside him lulling him to sleep.


Steve wakes slowly, drifting gradually up from the depths of sleep like he always does when Bucky’s there in the morning. It’s almost too warm in the bed, with sunlight streaming in through the windows. Steve’s head is pillowed on Bucky’s shoulder, his arm thrown across Bucky’s stomach, and he has an overwhelming need to piss, but mostly he just doesn’t want to move. Bucky is here and everything is awesome.

After Bucky wakes up, he thinks idly, they can grab breakfast burritos and coffee. Maybe he can talk Bucky into heading to MOMA before the Emissaries exhibition closes, but probably not tonight. Bucky always wants an early night after he’s been traveling--

Like a photo coming into focus, the pieces click together in Steve’s mind, forming an indisputable picture. If not for Bucky’s arm wrapped around his shoulders, he’s pretty sure he would be sitting bolt upright in the bed whispering, “oh, shit” over and over. Instead he lies there, his mind racing in circles as he tries to organize his thoughts.

Start at the beginning. He takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly.

Looking back over the past few weeks, anyone but a complete idiot can see the pattern. Sure, they’ve been hooking up pretty regularly, but they’ve also been doing things that are indisputably dates; the TED Talk, meeting up for lunches and dinners. They sleep over more often than not after their hookups, so much so that Steve knows not to even try for conversation until after Bucky’s first cup of coffee and Bucky’s started stocking the cappuccino K-cups Steve likes, even though he claims that it’s so weak it barely counts as coffee.

And all of this would be great, except.

Except that Steve had been too cowardly to establish what he wanted from the beginning. Except that Nat had referred to him as Bucky’s friend when she’d put the pieces together. Except that the most romantic experience they’d had was when Bucky was hamming it up for a table full of giggling teenagers.

It’s not enough. Not even close. Steve is in love with Bucky Barnes and these scraps of affection to go along with good sex--okay, really, mind-blowingly excellent sex--aren’t going to be enough to make it through.

His chest feels tight, like he can’t get enough air. Steve worms his way cautiously out of Bucky’s grip, fighting the urge to just go, get out, get free. But if he flings off Bucky’s arm and throws himself out of the bed like he wants to, Bucky will wake up, and Steve’s pretty sure he couldn’t act normal enough fool even pre-coffee Bucky.

So he wriggles free like he’s belly-crawling into enemy territory, grabbing the first clothes that come to hand and slipping out of the room on silent feet. He uses the bathroom stealthily, leaves a note on the coffee-maker, since Bucky won’t look anywhere else, and exits the apartment as silently as possible, wincing at every creak and groan.

Maybe if he grabs breakfast on his way back he won’t feel so guilty for leaving. Steve rubs his hands over his face, but that doesn’t clear anything up.

Fuck.


Bucky wakes up reluctantly, clinging to sleep like a drowning man to a life-preserver. But eventually the pressure on his bladder and the sunlight streaming through the windows force him out of his pleasant doze and back into--ugh--reality.

He’s still in a pre-coffee daze, so it doesn’t sink in until he’s taken a piss and staggered to the coffeemaker, pushing the button and sagging against the counter to wait. He blinks slowly, trying to make sense of what his brain is trying to tell him. Someone is missing. Someone--Steve. This is Steve’s apartment, with his stupid old-fashioned coffee maker instead of Bucky’s Keurig. So where is Steve?

Summoning all two of his mental faculties, Bucky notices the sticky note on the coffee maker. Further intense effort resolves Steve’s terrible handwriting into words.

Went to grab breakfast. Back soon.

The coffee maker beeps cheerfully to announce completion and Bucky fumbles with a mug, grumbling once again about the fact that Steve won’t let him drink directly out of the carafe, something something second-degree burns something something. If he’d remembered to put his arm back on, he might have risked it.

One cup of coffee later, he’s something like coherent. Not fully awake, no, but more aware. Enough to actually think about the fact that he slept over at Steve’s, in the most chaste sense of the phrase, which has unease swirling in the pit of his stomach.

Because this isn’t something that they do. They fuck and they sext and they ham it up for the shippers when they’re out in public but they don’t--they don’t show up at each other’s place and sleep cuddled together, wrapped around each other. Not without fucking beforehand. And Bucky can’t tell what’s freaking him out more, the fact that they did, or the fact that he wants to do it again.

The sound of the door opening cuts through his frantically swirling thoughts. Bucky pours himself another mug of coffee, mostly to have something to do with his hand so he doesn’t do something stupid when Steve walks in.

“Morning,” Steve says as he breezes into the kitchen, not quite meeting Bucky’s eyes. Shit . “Went and got breakfast burritos; thought you could use more sleep. You were dead on your feet last night.”

“Yeah,” Bucky agrees. He takes the burrito Steve hands him; it’s his favorite, of course, eggs and chorizo with mango salsa. Because Steve remembers shit like that, because Steve would be the perfect boyfriend. If that was what they were doing. But they’re not.

They eat their burritos in the most awkward silence there’s ever been between them. Bucky makes his excuses as soon as possible, barely remembering to put his arm back on before getting dressed, and tries to tell himself it isn’t running away when he escapes back to his own apartment. His apartment which feels too big and too empty without Steve dropping in, with the memories of Steve scattered through it.

Fuck.


Steve sets his paintbrush down slowly and carefully, doing his best to restrain the urge to shred the canvas in front of him. It’s not the perfectly serviceable painting that has him on edge. It’s the mental clock ticking mercilessly along in his head. The itch in his fingers to pick up his phone and text Bucky to complain about the painting.

Because he’s a little bit of a masochist, Steve does pick up his phone and unlock it, even though he knows what it says. The timestamp on Bucky’s last text before he boarded his plane was six days ago.

They haven’t texted, haven’t talked, haven’t seen each other since Bucky left his apartment that morning. Steve knows he was awkward, hyper-aware of every movement and action, but he’s pretty sure he wasn’t imagining Bucky’s matching awkwardness, especially given the current state of radio silence between them.

“Fuck.” Steve leaves the room. He has to think, but first he needs to get out of his apartment, which has somehow become filled with memories of Bucky. Bucky laughing in the kitchen, straddling Steve on the couch, soapy hands sliding over Steve in the shower. Bucky everywhere--but just the ghost of him.

His phone is still in his hands, so Steve unlocks it and shoots off a text.

Steve: wanna grab lunch?

Sam: wow, you ready to come out of your cave? Sure
Sam: the food truck with the burgers you like is parked by the VA

Steve: I’ll be there in thirty


“We’re having lunch,” Nat says from behind him.

Bucky controls his reaction to a full-body flinch instead of jumping three feet and screaming like someone in a horror movie. “Jesus, Nat, are you trying to kill me?”

She sweeps an accusatory eye over his workspace, lingering on the teetering stack of takeout containers and coffee cups. “Clearly you have that well in hand. Come on. You need actual sunlight and food that isn’t delivered in styrofoam and plastic.”

Despite Bucky’s best attempts to protest, he finds himself trailing in her wake as she turns and walks out the door. Honestly, he knows better than to argue with Nat.

“There,” she says when they’re tucked into a booth at their favorite diner, the waitress bringing their coffee without having to be asked. “Isn’t this better?”

“Yeah,” he admits, rubbing his hands over his face and wincing at the drag of stubble against his palms. “I needed to get out.”

She smiles and the feeling of impending dread in his gut solidifies. “Good. Now let’s talk about why you’re acting like some kind of heartsick idiot.”

“I--I’m not--it’s not--” he sputters to a stop in the face of her steady gaze, sucks in a deep breath, and tries again. “I slept with Steve.”

Nat looks unamused. “Yes. I believe we were all aware of this fact.”

“No, I--” He slumps back against the booth. “I’d come back from a trip and I just autopiloted to his place? I was asleep on my feet. We just slept. All night.”

“Ah.” The tiny wrinkle between Nat’s eyebrows smooths out and she relaxes into her own seat. “And now you’re panicking because this isn’t just sex anymore. Did he make you have a feeling?”

Bucky practically growls. “It’s not funny!”

“It’s extremely funny,” she counters, the corners of her mouth quirking up like it always does when she’s being a little shit, and lowers her voice to an uncannily accurate imitation of his. “‘We’re just sexting. Friends with bennies. Not like we’re dating.’”

“You know I hate it when you do that,” he complains, reaching for his coffee.

She sips her own coffee, her face inscrutable. “I know.”

They sit in silence for a few moments. Finally, Bucky breaks. “I have to cut it off.”

Nat blinks slowly at him.

“I have to. I can’t keep going like this.” He rakes his hands through his hair. “I can’t keep fucking him with all these--all these--”

“Feelings?” she offers sweetly.

Bucky flips her off with both hands. “Yeah. Those,” he says sourly. “Nothing else to do. I’ve already stopped texting him. I’ll just kinda slow-fade out.”

The food arrives, but not soon enough to keep him from noticing the skeptical look Nat was giving him.

“It’ll work,” he insists, cutting off a bite of his patty melt. “I just have to get over it.”

Nat hums noncommittally around her corned beef hash, her expression clearly conveying the fact that she thinks he’s a dumbass.

Bucky ignores her, devoting himself to his own food. This is a solid plan. It’s totally going to work.


“So what’s going on with you?” Sam asks once they’ve found a place to sit and eat. “Haven’t seen you in awhile. Been doing your caveman imitation again?”

“Kind of,” Steve says hesitantly. “You know that guy from the photo shoot at the con? Bucky?”

Sam rolls his eyes. “Aww, hell, I owe Darcy 20 bucks. Really, Steve? You hooked up with the murder hobo?”

“Hey, that’s just a costume,” Steve protests, trying not to drop all his burger toppings in his lap. “He cleans up really nice.”

“Whatever you say, man.” Sam takes a bite out of his burger, chewing with disgustingly enthusiastic relish. “So you found yourself a nice boy. Congrats. When’s the wedding?”

Steve groans. “It’s not like that. Or, well…”

“Steve!” Sam presses his free hand to his chest, his eyes twinkling. “Did you find yourself a friend with some benefits?”

“That was the idea.” Steve stares forlornly at his burger. “But…”

He can hear the grin in Sam’s voice, even though he doesn’t look up. “But you liiiike him.”

“I think I love him,” Steve admits to the burger. “But that’s dumb. It’s so fast; we’ve barely known each other a month.”

“A month is enough if you do it right,” Sam says, the teasing gone from his voice. “Sometimes you just know. So you love him. What are you gonna do about it?”

Steve shrugs. “He hasn’t texted me in almost a week. There might not be anything to do about it.”

“Have you texted him?” Sam asked. “Communication is a two-way street.”

“No,” Steve admits, ducking his head.

Sam shakes his head. “I’m not saying chase after him and try to force him into something he doesn’t want. But what if he’s assuming that you don’t want a relationship? What if you two idiots lose out on a great relationship because you’re too dumb to actually fucking talk to each other?”

The very idea has Steve’s chest aching, his stomach twisting in fear. “You’re right,” he says slowly.

“I know,” Sam replies amiably. He stuffs the last of his burger in his mouth.

They eat in companionable silence for a few minutes. Steve’s mind races, examining the problem from all angles. When he thinks about it, it’s really pretty simple.

Fact: He’s probably--okay, definitely--in love with Bucky

Fact: He doesn’t want to lose Bucky.

By the time they’re finished eating, Steve is calm again. Focused. He knows what he wants. He has a plan. He just needs to get home so he can get started.

“Thanks, Sam,” he says, shoving himself to his feet, tossing his trash into the nearby can. He almost opens the Lyft app, but there’s no sense in rushing. Bucky’s at work all day; he has time.

“Anytime you need help getting your head out of your ass, let me know,” Sam says, gathering his own trash before standing. “You know I’m always here for that.”

Steve smiles, pulling Sam into a hug. “I know,” he says. “That’s why you’re one of my best friends.”

“Shut up and get out of here before you make me cry,” Sam says, but he hugs back for a second longer before letting go. “Go on, go get your man.”

“That’s the plan.” Steve can’t stop grinning as he turns away.

This is going to work.


Bucky climbs wearily up the steps from the subway station to the street, trudging past the Duane Reade. His feet carry him down Park Place to turn on 6th, walking past the pretty brownstones without paying much notice.

It’s been almost a week since he last talked to Steve; the absence aches like a pulled tooth, sore and throbbing. Sometimes he’ll find himself in the middle of typing a text before he remembers. Every time it gets harder to delete the unsent message. To wonder if maybe Steve is there, watching the three little dots dance on the screen, but never seeing anything come through.

He rubs his hand absently over his chest; he’ll need to recheck the calibration on his arm, figure out why it’s weighing on his pecs enough to cause this intermittent ache. This is for the best, he reminds himself. He just needs to get over these lingering feelings and it’ll be fine. Maybe he should install Grindr. There are a lot of hopeful actors in the city; a few good fucks might be just what he needs to clear Steve out of his brain for good.

Bucky quickens his steps coming around the corner. This is good. This is what he needs. A solid plan to move forward--

He stops in his tracks when he sees the man perched on the steps outside his brownstone, drawing furiously away on a smallish sketchpad. His first thought is that he’s hallucinating, but he’s never seen Steve draw before, so how would he know to imagine this? Bucky is mesmerized by the curve of Steve’s fingers around the pencil, the press of teeth into his lower lip, digging dents that Bucky wants to lick and suck away.

Blinking doesn’t dispel the Steve-mirage. He’s still sitting there, pencil flying over the paper, humming quietly to himself as he works.

Bucky takes a step closer, then another. Steve doesn’t vanish. “Steve?” he says quietly.

Steve’s head snaps up, his eyes laser-focusing on Bucky’s face. “Bucky,” he breathes, his hands going still.

That steady regard sends a volatile mixture of emotions welling up inside Bucky’s chest. Guilt for having even thought about replacing Steve with some nameless, faceless person. Irritation, because now he just knows it’s going to take him even longer to get over these feelings. Near-overwhelming arousal at the sight of Steve, his face and his hands and his whole unfairly attractive self. But above all, happiness. Steve is here, sitting on Bucky’s stoop. Steve is here.

I am so fucked.

“Hey,” Steve says, closing his sketchbook and standing, brushing leaves off his jeans, and picks up a plastic bag that Bucky hadn’t noticed before. “I brought Chinese. Lots of crab rangoon,” he adds when Bucky hesitates.

“Okay,” Bucky says, as much to himself as to Steve. No point in having this conversation out on the stoop.

They walk up the stairs in silence; it’s the first time since that stupid breakfast that silence has been awkward with Steve. Bucky hates it; it crawls over his skin like a million tiny ants. The door closes behind them, Bucky barely remembering to turn the lock.

Steve sets the bag on the counter--Bucky forcibly restrains memories of being bent over that same counter, gasping for breath as Steve thrusts into him--turns to Bucky, and says, “I think we need to talk.”

“I think I need a beer,” Bucky retorts. He really wants something stronger, but he also doesn’t want to hate life in the morning any more than he already does, and he’s not as young as he once was. He shoulders his way past Steve to the fridge. Despite all of these fucking feelings, he can’t quite bring himself to be completely rude, so he grabs two, pops them open, and hands one to Steve, who looks surprised, but accepts it.

They should probably take this to the living room, but there are even more memories in there, so Bucky leans against the counter and says, “Okay, so talk.”

Steve takes a breath, twirling the beer bottle absently between his hands. “So we haven’t talked in a few days, and part of that is on me. Things got weird, and I think we both know why.”

Bucky nods, prying up the corner of the bottle label with his thumbnail. He’s not going to say it, but Steve’s not stupid. Clearly they both noticed the growing lack of casualness.

“And I think it’s pretty clear there’s only one thing to do,” Steve continues mercilessly.

Even though Bucky had already reached this conclusion on his own, it still hurts so much more than he’d expected. Standing there, waiting to hear Steve say that they shouldn’t see each other anymore, feels like a physical pain. He’s so focused on the ache, that he almost misses what Steve says next.

“It’s going to take a little getting used to, but I think it’s for the best--Bucky? Are you--what’s wrong?”

“Not a damn thing.” Bucky says flatly. “Don’t know why the fuck you think you have to go through the whole break-up thing. We weren’t dating, Rogers.”

Steve sucks in a breath. “I--Bucky--I’m not breaking up with you.”

Bucky snorts. “Coulda fooled me.”

“No, I--” A soft clink as Steve sets his beer on the counter is the only warning before he’s right there, moving into Bucky’s space like nothing has changed. “Bucky, no. I’m sorry, I’m fucking this up. I’m trying to say--I want to date you.”

An inarticulate sound is the only response Bucky can manage before Steve’s hands are gently cupping his face, tilting it upwards. Steve is right there, gorgeous and familiar, his eyes soft and--Bucky lets himself admit it--caring.

“Also,” Steve adds, because he is, not so deep down, a little shit, “we were totally dating.”

“Fine,” Bucky grumbles, pretending he isn’t light-headed with relief. “We were kind of dating. Sort of.”

Steve laughs, deep and rich. “Whatever you say, sweetheart.”

Any response Bucky might have made is cut off because Steve is kissing him, soft and sweet and almost careful. Like it’s important. Like Bucky is important.

It’s familiar, the press of Steve’s lips on his, Steve’s hands on his face, but it’s different, too. Not a fast, frantic rush to orgasm; a silent promise. Bucky curls his hands around Steve’s waist and does his best to give that promise back without words.

When they finally--reluctantly--stop kissing, Steve doesn’t go far, pressing his forehead against Bucky’s. “I missed you,” he says quietly, breathing the words into the tiny space between them. “God, Bucky, I missed you so much.”

“Me, too,” Bucky admits. “I kept seeing things I wanted to tell you about and I couldn’t. Thought I couldn’t. I’m surprised Nat didn’t smack me around until I came to my senses.”

“I’m just glad you did.” Steve drops another kiss on Bucky’s lips before slowly pulling away. “We should probably eat.”

Bucky reels him back in before he can get far. “Or….” he says, waggling his eyebrows.

“You got a better idea, Barnes?” Steve challenges, lifting an eyebrow.

“Oh, I have a lot of ideas.” Bucky lowers his voice to a seductive purr, sliding his hands up under Steve’s t-shirt, savoring the familiar sensations. Warm skin, flexing muscles. Steve . “The food’s already cold. We can reheat it after.”

Steve follows willingly enough when Bucky pulls him out of the kitchen. “After?”

“Want you in my bed,” Bucky says, towing Steve through his bedroom door. “I want--” He stops, the sheer weight of everything he wants enough to nearly choke him.

“Hey.” Steve wraps himself around Bucky from behind, solid and real. “Whatever you want, sweetheart.”

Bucky twists around in his arms, suddenly desperate to be kissing Steve, licking hungrily into his mouth, hands sliding down to grab his ass and pull him closer until there’s no space between their bodies, until he can feel the hard line of Steve’s cock pressed against his. It’s good, it’s so good, but it’s not enough, the warmth of their bodies muted through their clothes.

“Naked.” He tears his mouth away from Steve’s to gasp out the word. “Need you naked.” He suits actions to words by tugging Steve’s t-shirt up and over his head, flinging it heedlessly aside before unbuttoning and unzipping his jeans with quick, efficient movements.

Steve’s hands close over his, slowing him down. “Whatever you want, Bucky,” he repeats, leaning in for a long, sumptuous kiss that somehow alchemizes the frantic need racing through Bucky’s veins, turns it into something sweet and rich. Something to be savored.

Their hands work together to push Steve’s jeans and boxers to the floor, to pull off Bucky’s polo and unbutton his slacks. When they’re finally naked, Bucky pushes Steve back toward the bed between kisses, his hands roaming over Steve’s body.

“Tell me what you want,” Steve says, then immediately makes that impossible when he gets his hands in Bucky’s hair and pulls him back in for another kiss.

“I want--” Bucky gets derailed, because Steve’s mouth is right there , wet and red and irresistibly kissable. A part of him just wants this, just kisses and touches and skin on skin. But the greedy part, the part that is screaming about how he hasn’t seen Steve in a week--that part has him reluctantly breaking the kiss.

“On the bed,” he says, giving Steve a gentle push in that direction. “Go sit, I’ll be right there.”

After he retrieves the lube and condom from his bedside table, Bucky turns back toward the bed. He stops in his tracks at the sight of Steve, lounging back against his headboard, one big hand stroking lazily over his cock.

“What?” Steve asks with that faux-innocent smile that Bucky already knows better than to believe.

A week ago, two weeks ago, Bucky would have answered with something flippant. As it is, it’s an effort of will to step out on that limb, to skip over the obvious “starting without me?” jokes and reply honestly.

“I like you in my bed,” he says quietly.

The smile that blooms over Steve’s face is reward enough for any amount of effort, even before Steve says, “I like being here.”

Bucky surges up onto the bed to kiss him again, dropping the condom and lube in his haste. Because he needs to. Because being this far away feels cold and wrong, nothing like the warm rightness of being wrapped in Steve’s arms, exchanging kisses almost lazily.

Eventually, though, his aching cock makes its demands known. Bucky pulls back reluctantly, reaching for the lube and slicking his fingers up before reaching behind himself to work a finger into his ass.

“Bucky?” Steve asks. His eyes sharpen when he realizes what Bucky’s doing. “Are you--”

“Like this,” Bucky says, his eyes fluttering shut as he presses his finger in deeper. “Want you to fuck me, just like this.”

Steve strokes his hands down Bucky’s back, curving them over his ass, spreading him wider. “Yeah, sweetheart, I--I want--can I--?”

“You know where the lube is,” Bucky says with his very best attempt at insouciance.

Before he expects it, there’s another lube-slick finger teasing at his entrance, pushing slowly, inexorably inside as Bucky bears down. He drops his forehead onto Steve’s shoulder, breathing deeply at the feeling of Steve’s finger pushing inside, deeper than he can reach for himself, stretching him open.

Bucky does his best, but he finally has to just hold on as Steve works first one, then two more fingers inside, with only the barest teasing brushes across his prostate. It’s probably for the best, considering that Bucky feels like he could go off at the slightest touch, hell, just from rubbing up against Steve’s abs. But he wants--he needs more.

“You ready, sweetheart?” Steve finally asks, his voice strained, his fingers pumping slowly in and out of Bucky’s ass.

“Fuck,” Bucky breathes, clinging to the last shreds of his self-control. “I’ve been ready, baby, come on…”

Steve’s free hand rubs soothing circles on Bucky’s back as he pulls his fingers free. “I got you,” he murmurs, reaching for the condom. But Bucky gets there first, tearing it open and rolling the latex down Steve’s cock with brutal efficiency before lubing him up.

“Slow?” Steve asks, stopping Bucky with hands on his waist as he starts to sink down onto Steve’s cock. “I wanna feel you.”

“Slow,” Bucky agrees, leaning in for a long, deep kiss as he slowly lowers himself. His thighs burn just a little with the strain, and Steve’s cock is always a stretch no matter the prep. But this, this face-to-face intimacy, so unlike their normal fast, frantic fucks, is perfect in a way that transcends small physical discomforts.

One eternity of slow, slow descent later, Bucky sighs into Steve’s mouth as he sinks down the last fraction of an inch. One of Steve’s hands is on his hip, the other one gently cradles his face. Keeping me close , Bucky finds himself thinking whimsically.

He lifts up experimentally, just a little, and slides back down again, punching matching groans out of their mouths. “Fuck,” Steve groans, his hands tightening, fingertips digging into the muscle of Bucky’s ass. “I’m not gonna last long, sweetheart, you feel so fucking good--”

Bucky does it again, just to feel Steve moving hot and slick inside of him. “Me either,” he breathes, adding a little roll of his hips to the next stroke that has Steve’s cock pressing against his prostate. “That’s okay, though--fuck--we can--oh, God--do it again. Whenever--we fucking--want--”

“Yes,” Steve hisses, getting his hand between them and wrapping it around Bucky’s cock. “God, Buck. Want this. Want you. Always want you--”

His words cut off as he comes, thrusting helplessly up into Bucky once, twice more before going still. Bucky wraps a hand over Steve’s on his cock, and it just takes a few more strokes before he’s coming, too, his forehead pressed against Steve’s.

He has no idea how long they sit like that, just breathing each other’s air, but eventually Steve manages to bring their mouths together for a quiet, lazy kiss.

“Love you,” he mumbles, clearly too come-drunk to pay much attention to what he’s saying.

Bucky’s heart flips over in his fucking chest. He waits for he panic, but it doesn’t come. There’s nothing there but a feeling of rightness. Belonging. Hell, he might as well admit it.

“Yeah,” he whispers, resting his head on Steve’s shoulder. “Love you, too.”