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Trust Fall

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“Okay, man,” Sam said, the day the new wings arrived. “Let’s go.”

“Go where?” Steve said. He was reading the scrawled note that had come in the box: Rogers, you don’t call, you don’t write, I’m starting to think you only love me for my tech. Dinner, Stark Tower, next Saturday. Bring the new playmate. He can fly you in now.

“Whiteoak Canyon,” Sam said. “Next time you throw your ass off a plane into my arms, I want more than a fifty percent chance of catching you.”

Steve folded up the note and tucked it away half-smiling, wry. “I never doubted you for a second, Sam.”

“That’s only cause they don’t teach you Army boys enough math,” Sam said.

Sam’s insurance was giving him a hard time about his car — they wanted to call the Winter Soldier an act of God, which sounded about as far from the truth as you could get to Steve, and SHIELD wasn’t around to pick up the tab anymore. So they took the bike up to Shenandoah Park. The drive wasn’t a lot more than an hour in nice weather, and as the highway stretched out Steve felt all his muscles starting to loosen up, little by little. It was a funny thing. He’d always been a city kid through and through; a bush had been cover that a Nazi was probably about to jump out from behind to shoot him. But now, the further they got from the city, the easier it got to forget everything behind him. Everything except Sam, a solid bulwark at his back, hands resting easy on his waist.

They hiked up to the top of a nice clean ridge with a good grassy hill and lots of shrub vegetation at the bottom. Sam did half a dozen trial runs on his own, then sketched him a series of jumps. They started with the easy ones where Steve climbed onto Sam’s back and Sam got them to the ground, and worked up to the deadweight ones: Steve just closing his eyes and letting himself fall right off the edge, limp and tumbling free, trusting Sam to catch him.

Air whistling by his ears, feeling the world turning over and over around him, and then the shock of impact: Sam’s arms coming around him, locking them chest to chest, and the acceleration pressing them together. Steve’s eyes started to sting, the third or fourth time, helplessly. After the fifth time Sam put him down on the ground, on his feet, Sam said, gently, “Hey, you all right?” Steve had to turn away and sit down and wipe tears from his face.

He heard Sam ease off the wings and put them down. Sam sat down next to him on the grass, shoulder to shoulder. Steve took a deep breath, and another.

“Trust falls can get pretty intense,” Sam said.

“Yeah.” Steve swallowed. “It’s been a while.”

Sam’s hand came up and settled on the back of his neck, fingers cradling the base of his skull, and Steve closed his eyes and let his head tip back into Sam’s grip. For a moment he was still hanging there, mid-air, and then Sam was kissing him, sweet and slow and careful, easing him down into the grass.