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Two weeks after the Winter Soldier surrendered himself to SHIELD custody, after Bucky had undergone five dozen psychological tests and Steve had likely used all of his childhood hero points with Coulson, Bucky was released into Steve’s custody.

“We’re going to Sam’s place?” Bucky asked.

Steve had been sleeping in Sam’s guest room since Bucky had shot Fury in Steve’s apartment. Not exactly something Steve wanted to bring up.

“Uh, yeah, it’s, um, complicated. But Sam is really happy to have you there.”

“Okay,” Bucky said, seeming to be confused by the evasion, but adding, “Let’s get something to eat first. I’m sick of SHIELD rations, and apparently I’ve been eating them for decades.” He said it with a light tone, but Steve didn’t worry; even before the war, Bucky would joke through the pain.

“There are a lot more choices for food these days,” Sam said, walking into the room.

Steve made a face and gave a slight shake of the head to Bucky.

“Today’s food isn’t good?” Bucky asked.

“A lot of it is. Like, nobody eats the cheap parts of meat any more – the feet, the tails, the cheeks, the kidneys,” Steve said.

“That sounds like improvement,” Bucky said.

Steve added, “Except at the really fancy restaurants, where that’s all they serve.”

“The future is stupid,” Bucky said, and he and Steve both looked at Sam like he had something to do with food trends of the 21st Century.

Steve added, “And everything has 10 extra ingredients. Like if you order chicken, it comes with lemon and parsley and cilantro and a maple-kumquat-fennel-pine nut-paprika glaze or something. But the diners are still good, and they give big portions.”

“I’m pretty sure you made that maple kumquat example up,” Sam said. “But I get it. Old school food. Ben’s Chili Bowl?”

“That’s the place that Coulson guy keeps talking about,” Bucky noted.

“Sounds good,” Steve said, and they started the walk out to Sam’s car. It felt strange, the normalcy of it, planning to go to dinner and spend the evening hanging out with Bucky.

Steve knew it wasn’t completely normal of course – it had been made clear that if Steve couldn’t keep Bucky on a good, controllable path, the newly re-formed SHIELD would take steps to make sure the Winter Soldier wouldn’t hurt anyone again. And though Bucky at times seemed so much like his old self it almost knocked Steve’s breath out, there were other times when Bucky just stared into the distance, nobody able to tell where his mind was, though of course they all had suspicions.

Steve was distracted from his thoughts as Sam gave him a warm pat on the back, a warm rub between the shoulders, reminding him once again that he wasn’t in this alone. Steve smiled at him as he got in the front seat, as Bucky slid into the seat behind him.

--

“Okay, this chili is really good,” Steve said, hunched over his bowl.

“Mmhmm,” Bucky agreed.

Sam had to point out, “You know that chili has more than 10 ingredients, right? And I know for a fact that chili wasn’t a common food in New York in the 40’s.”

“It’s okay when it tastes like this,” Steve said.

Bucky narrowed his eyes at Sam, amused. “How do you know that for a fact?”

“Um…”

“Did you look up the foods we ate as kids?” Bucky said.

Steve looked at Sam questioningly.

Sam said, “I, uh, thought it might be sensible to know a few cultural things about that time. You know, to see what I might or might not want to cover when explaining… new stuff….”

Steve smiled at him sweetly, and Bucky seemed to smirk.

Sam cleared his throat. “Anyway, dessert here is good too.”

“We’re having cake,” Bucky said. “I’m like 99% sure I used to love cake.”

Steve grinned. “You definitely did. And they put way more sugar in it now.”

“Awesome,” Bucky grinned.

--

At Sam’s apartment, they showed Bucky the guest room. Steve had told Sam at SHIELD HQ that it only made sense that Bucky would stay there and that Steve would sleep on the couch; Bucky definitely needed a fair amount of alone time still.

Bucky thanked them both for their hospitality, and closed the door to think for a couple of hours.

He came out into the living room then to see Steve and Sam sitting on the couch. Steve had been talking to Sam about his worries – that he wouldn’t be able to give Bucky the help he needed, and especially that he was putting too much pressure on Bucky to get ‘better’ when none of them even knew what better would look like on him. Sam had placed a hand on Steve’s knee and reminded him that he and Bucky both were just doing the best they could, and they could get as much help from professional psychologists as they needed too, and that just this once Steve shouldn’t hold himself to impossible standards and just give himself and Bucky both some time to adjust before worrying.

When Bucky walked in the room, Steve immediately moved away from Sam. The last thing Bucky needed was to think that he was a burden.

“So, what do people do for fun now?” Bucky said, “I asked around at SHIELD if people still go to movie theaters and got very mixed responses.”

“How about we look for stuff on the Internet?” Sam suggested.

“The Internet is great,” Steve enthused.

“I want to learn about life, not the Internet,” Bucky said, plopping down next to them on the couch.

“Once you learn how to use the Internet, you can look up anything. Really, Buck, anything,” Steve said.

Sam pulled out his laptop and set it on the coffee table in front of Bucky.

“The little arrow is what you move with this, which is called a mouse,” Steve explained, “And that circle with the colors is what you click on. It’s called an Internet browser, it helps you browse the information on the Internet. And there’s a lot of information on the Internet.”

“Name a person,” Bucky said.

“What?” Steve said.

“One of you. Name a living person. Someone well known who likes their privacy.”

“The Queen of England,” Sam said.

Bucky typed quickly for 15 seconds, dozens of screens popping up and disappearing as he worked. Then the Queen of England appeared on the screen of Sam’s laptop. She appeared to have fallen asleep in front of the television on an extremely elegant chair. A reverse angle revealed her to be watching DVD’s of True Blood.

“Did… you just hack into the security cameras at Buckingham Palace? With my computer?” Sam asked.

“It would be highly illegal, yes, if they were capable of detecting my presence,” Bucky said.

Sam and Steve stared at him.

Bucky said dryly, “I was literally the best assassin in the world. I know how to use the Internet.”

“Okay. No Internet 101,” Sam agreed.

“Well, you guys could show me how to find the best pornography,” Bucky said. “Agent Barton said that there’s a lot of it, and I never really looked at it while I was… you know.”

“I can’t believe Clint told you about Internet porn,” Steve grumbled. “Now you’ll just spend the next year jerking off instead of adjusting to society. I mean, not that you should feel pressure to adjust to society – I wasn’t implying--”

“You just said I’m going to spend a year jerking off and think that I’m offended by the second part?” Bucky said.

Sam couldn’t help but laugh.

“It’s not like it hasn’t happened before,” Steve grouched. “Remember 10th grade?”

Bucky rolled his eyes. “Steve is still mad we got kicked out of the altar boys for sneaking in a ladies’ magazine to look at during rehearsals.”

“YOU brought the magazine!” Steve said, laughing despite himself.

“You were looking at it too,” Bucky said.

Sam started cracking up. “Please, please, tell me they’re going to add this story to the exhibit at the Smithsonian.”

“Where’d you even find this guy?” Bucky asked Steve jokingly.

Steve grinned at Sam. “Pretty sure he found me.”

Sam smiled back.

“Okay, Buck,” Steve said. “No Internet tonight. What do you want to hear about? Music? Movies? Politics?”

“Not politics.”

“Sports?” Sam suggested.

“Sounds like a plan,” Bucky said. “Start with baseball.”

“Guess how much a pro ballplayer makes,” Steve said.

“Let’s not start with that,” Sam said warily.

“Um, with inflation, I guess that’d be … $500,000 for the top players?” Bucky guessed.

“Try 20 million,” Steve said.

“Let’s talk about music,” Bucky said.

“I told you not to start with that,” Sam grumbled at Steve.

Bucky just smiled at them both.

--

Later that night, Bucky was getting ready for bed. He didn’t have extra civilian clothes – whatever clothes he used to use to blend in were somewhere else – so he was wearing one of Steve’s T-shirts and sweatpants to go to bed. Sam was in the kitchen calling SHIELD to check in and confirm that their first evening with Bucky had gone fine.

“Hey, buddy,” Bucky said as he sat on the bed. “I know this whole thing is tough for you. You know I appreciate it.”

“Tough for me? I mean, you’ve…” Steve didn’t really feel like listing all the ways that Bucky had been traumatized, so he trailed off.

“And I’m really glad about Sam. He’s great.”

“Yeah. He’s really a good guy,” Steve said.

“You know I don’t have a problem with it, right? I mean I always knew you liked men, you know I never cared.”

“Um…” True, Steve had definitely started to have some … leanings toward Sam. But it’s not like he had any reason to believe that Sam felt the same way.

“And I’m glad things have changed. I just want to make sure you know, I’m really happy you two are married,” Bucky said.

“Um –what?”

Bucky smiled a bit condescendingly. “You can’t think that I wouldn’t figure it out. I mean, I know you’ve been trying to hide it from me. But you don’t have to. I totally support you two. And it’s obvious that he’s completely head over heels for you.”

“But – wait, really?”

“Clear as day. So you don’t have to hide it, okay? I mean, I should have figured it out right away. All those times you were looking for me, I spotted him with you. And the way you two are around each other. And you’re living with him – I should have figured Steve Rogers wouldn’t live in sin.” Bucky smirked at him.

“Um, here’s the thing, Buck--”

“You have no idea how much it means to me.”

“…What?”

“I mean, part of it’s dealing with the things I’ve done.”

“It wasn’t your--”

“Yes. Not my fault. I’ve heard the speech. But it’s also, you know. Being here.”

“In the wrong time,” Steve said.

“Yeah. Everyone we knew is….”

“Yeah.”

“And I’ve kept up with things. In a highly specialized, very narrow way. I don’t feel part of this world.”

“It gets a lot better with time,” Steve said, hoping he sounded convincing.

Bucky smiled. “I can see that. Look at you. Happily married and a soldier. It’s exactly what you dreamed about when we were kids.”

“The thing is, it’s not exactly--”

“It makes me believe I can still have… something. You know? I think seeing you happy, not alone, living the life you’ve always wanted, even after losing everything…. It gives me hope, Steve. Right now, I think it’s the only thing that does.”

Steve swallowed. “Don’t worry, Buck. You’re going to build a life that makes you happy.”

Bucky smiled wanly. “If I don’t revert to a mindless killer in the next few weeks, I’ll be plenty happy.”

“Don’t even joke about it.”

Bucky gave him a clear not joking look, but let it go.

“Seriously, Steve. Seeing you and Sam together is one of the very few things that genuinely makes me feel… something other than what I’ve been feeling.”

Steve said nothing for a long moment. Finally, he said, “We just want to help.”

--

“This is not a good idea,” Sam said.

“It’s just that he really needs this. The things he said…” Steve said.

“I heard you. I see why you want to. But how’s he going to trust us if we lie to him?”

“We just have to for a little while. Until he’s a little more settled in. Then we’ll tell him.”

Sam put his head in his hands. “I have to pretend to be married to Captain America.”

Steve felt a little disappointed for some reason that Sam seemed to be so turned off by the idea.

“It won’t be that bad.”

“He’s a smart guy. We’re not going to fool him long,” Sam pointed out. “I mean, you sleep on the couch.”

“I was thinking… maybe I could sleep on your bedroom floor? Just for a little?” Steve asked. He let a little plead creep into his voice.

Sam sighed. “Fine. But I want it noted that I think this is a bad idea.”

Steve grinned his thanks. “Noted.”

--

Sam and Steve continued to report that Bucky Barnes was doing fine. It was true: Bucky showed no signs of reverting and regularly attended SHIELD-mandated therapy sessions. He woke up screaming in the middle of the night sometimes, but it’s not like someone couldn’t say the same about Sam or Steve.

Of course there were times when Bucky would just seem barely in control of his anger – not the coldness of a compassionless killer, but a deeper rage, one that belonged only to Bucky and not to the Winter Soldier. They didn’t blame him for that either.

It was technically possible that at a stoplight, after being rudely cut off in traffic, Bucky had reached out the backseat door, grabbed a sharp stone, and then threw it 50 feet to slice the tire of the car that had almost hit them. Steve had looked over at Sam, eyes pleading for Sam not to report the incident.

Sam had just mumbled, “I didn’t see anything. And if I did, it definitely wasn’t hilarious.”

Going to the VA and listening to the support group meetings seemed to help a little. Bucky, like Steve, would only stand in the hallway listening and never participate. Sam joked that the stereotypes were true: men of their generation didn’t know how to talk about their feelings. Steve and Bucky didn’t seem to think it was funny.

After a while, though, Bucky refused to go. Steve seemed to take this as a step backward and kept asking why, but eventually Sam realized that Bucky’s behavior the last time he came was quite a bit like something he had seen before: soldiers who had accidentally killed someone with friendly fire often found it hard to hear the pain of others when they hadn’t yet come to grips with feeling responsible for causing that pain.

Sam asked Steve to let it go, and so Bucky started taking long walks when Steve and Sam went to meetings.

Steve and Sam showed Bucky the city, took short trips to the beach or the mountains, got him up to speed on the parts of pop culture that neither Steve nor Sam deemed a complete waste of time, and generally just tried to make things as easy for Bucky as possible. They went shopping, which Bucky seemed to enjoy, amassing a civilian-appropriate wardrobe and several knickknacks that involved pictures of household pets involved in scenes from famous works of art, his favorite being a Cat Mona Lisa coffee mug.

Steve and Sam also did a passable job acting like a married couple. Neither of them had lovey dovey personalities, so they mostly just had to pretend to sleep in the same bed.

Of course, after the first week, Sam had felt sorry for Steve, sprawled out on the hard wooden floor, and said, “We’re both adults. We’ll share the bed. So I don’t have to trip on you on my way to the bathroom any more.”

Steve had hesitated and then nodded, “Thanks.”

They slept next to each other after that, each staying carefully on his own side of the bed.

(Okay, a couple of times there may have been sleep cuddling, but they both pretended to forget soon after).

But besides the awkward mornings after accidental cuddling, Steve and Sam were growing closer and closer as they both helped Bucky, and as they both realized how much helping Bucky was also helping them deal with their own scars, their own wartime weight.

Steve was incredibly grateful to Sam. There were times, of course, when he felt more than gratitude, but the last thing he wanted to do was to mess their friendship up, or disrespect Sam in any way.

Not to mention that there’s no way Steve would have managed without Sam there during the tough times with Bucky. Like when Bucky pushed a fist through a wall for no reason, and Steve jumped to reassuring Bucky that it was fine, which seemed to piss Bucky off even more. Sam had walked in the room, took one look, and said, “Hope you guys are good at fixing drywall, because I’m awful at it.” Bucky had just started laughing, and then that was that.

Of course, as time passed, the hard moments became rarer as they settled into a domestic kind of stability. This feeling seemed familiar to Sam but was rather new to Steve. Bucky, whose childhood was relatively normal for the time, actually seemed to recognize this normalcy routine that people did better than Steve did. But they all managed to struggle through, and there were a lot of fun times too. Eventually, it started to feel like Bucky’s boredom might be a bigger threat than any of their other problems.

One day, after watching golf on TV, Bucky convinced them to go to the local range. He also managed to convince Steve to see who could hit the golf ball farther.

Neither Bucky’s nor Steve’s golf ball were anywhere to be found, and for a moment Sam was worried that someone might get killed. But a full minute later, both golf balls dropped right near the sixth hole, since both men had apparently hit the balls almost straight up into the atmosphere.

“Dudes with superpowers are jackasses,” Sam mumbled.

“Mine is closer,” Bucky said.

“You’re a sniper, I’d hope so.”

Another time, Bucky convinced them to do Karaoke. That turned out to be a truly, truly, terrible idea.

One morning, over breakfast, Bucky announced, “Hey, guys, not that I don’t like what we’re doing, but it’s getting old being the third wheel.”

“No, it’s not--”

“I think I’m ready to ready to carouse a little.”

Steve sighed.

“Let’s go somewhere where there’s dancing. Where I can meet girls and you two can have a nice date night. Where you focus on each other instead of hovering over little old me.”

Steve and Sam looked at each other.

“We have been a little…overly….” Sam admitted.

“And I’m grateful,” Bucky said. “I’ve liked it. But I need a night on the town.”

“We could… go to a club. People dance there,” Steve said reluctantly, knowing full well Bucky would love the modern clubs as much as Steve hated them. “If you want to call it dancing.”

“I’ve seen the way people dance today, it’s way easier to learn than all the moves we had to,” Bucky said.

“And pointless. The way people dance today is pointless.”

“Don’t be such a fuddy duddy, Steve,” Bucky said.

“Only fuddy duddies still use the term ‘fuddy duddy’,” Steve replied.

“And don’t you think your husband deserves a night out dancing?” Bucky added.

Steve looked at Sam uncomfortably.

Sam paused, then looked up at Bucky. “You’re right, he does. Between you and me, we should be able to forcibly drag him onto the dance floor and teach him some moves.”

“Great, I’ll get dressed,” Bucky said.

Steve glared at Sam.

“Don’t look at me,” Sam said, “This was your idea. And you better let me help pick out your clothes tonight, because I’m not going to the club with a husband who looks like he doesn’t care.”

Steve sighed. “Hilarious,” he mumbled, while wondering to himself why everyone always assumed he needed help getting dressed.

--

“I forgot how loud the music is in these places,” Bucky shouted over the noise.

“When did you go to a club before?” Steve asked, wincing right after he said it as he realized it must have been while Bucky was an assassin.

“Hey, I’m going to talk to those ladies over there,” Bucky said, thankfully ignoring him, then leaning in to whisper in Steve’s ear, “I think Sam is really happy to have a night out. You should make the most of it.” He waggled his eyebrows as he walked toward the bar.

“What was that?” Sam said.

“Nothing.”

“Are you blushing, Steve?”

“No. Um. Let’s look around.”

“I think it’ll be suspicious if we just lurk and don’t dance.”

Steve frowned. “Okay.”

Sam smirked and pulled him onto the floor, and they started dancing. Steve’s rhythm was good, but he was a little reserved, until Sam started cracking jokes and Steve relaxed enough to loosen up his motions. Steve was actually starting to think clubbing was sort of kind of fun, when Bucky came back over quickly.

Bucky strode up to them, acting like he was drunk and silly, and gave them both a big hug at the same time, appearing to be just a guy out with his buds, but surreptitiously whispering to them, “Eyes on us, three o’clock.”

Both Sam and Steve knew better than to look in that direction, so they acted casual until they could sneak a glance.

“How did we not notice?” Steve said, shaking his head.

“Good thing he did,” Sam added, nodding at Bucky.

“They’re on the move,” Bucky said.

“How can you tell?” Steve said.

Bucky gave a former-best-assassin-in-the-world eyeroll and said, “I’ll take center, you two get the roof exit,” and ran off.

A minute later, they were face to face with the spy who, thankfully, was not HYDRA but a SHIELD agent keeping an eye on Bucky for the protection of Steve, Sam, and the general public.

“Nice to see you again, Agent Romanov,” Bucky said.

“Nice to see you looking well, Bucky,” Natasha replied.

“SHIELD shouldn’t--” Steve started.

“Of course SHIELD’s going to keep tabs,” Bucky said. “I’m just glad they didn’t insult me by sending some level two idiot. You’ve been following us for months, haven’t you?”

“Only sometimes. When there aren’t more… substantial matters,” she answered, tilting her head.

“Impressive,” Bucky nodded approvingly.

“Glad we all appreciate one another, then,” Sam said, none too subtly pressing them all to stay calm (though they all seemed pretty calm on the surface, except for Steve).

“Don’t worry, I think Natasha likes me a lot better now that we’re even,” Bucky said, lifting up his shirt to reveal the scar on his side where Natasha had shot him. It had been during the year when Bucky was living halfway between remembering his old self and not, and Bucky was about to torch a HYDRA facility without regard for the civilian building next door. But they all knew that the Widow could have made it a lethal shot if she had wanted to, and they all knew she didn’t because of Steve.

“Much, much better,” she answered with a smirk, and Bucky laughed.

“You know, if you’re going to spy on us, you’d gather better intel by coming down and dancing with us,” Bucky said with a smirk.

Steve rolled his eyes.

Natasha smiled, amused. “Okay. I guess I could teach you boys how to dance.”

“I know how to dance,” Bucky said.

“So do I,” Sam said.

Steve said nothing.

“Sure you do,” she answered and gestured for Bucky to lead the way.

She still didn’t trust Bucky enough to walk in front of him. But she trusted enough to dance with him.

“Did that really just happen?” Sam whispered to Steve.

“Bucky has, in the modern terminology, a lot of game.”

“Game doesn’t work on Romanov. So is she really trying to keep a closer eye on us?”

“Probably,” Steve said. “But that’s okay. She deserves a night on the town as much as we do.”

--

“So we don’t need to be worried?” Sam said as Steve hung up the phone.

“Nope. He’s with Natasha.”

“They’re not fighting, are they?” Sam asked.

Steve gave him a look.

“Seriously?” Sam said. “Bucky and Natasha?”

“And Lillian. With the piercings.”

“Wait, the first time Bucky goes out dancing in 70 years, and he ends up having a threesome. With two gorgeous smart women. In our business. Seriously?” he repeated.

“Doesn’t surprise me,” Steve said, shaking his head with a smile.

“I find it hard to believe even he could talk Natasha into it.”

“Inviting Lillian was her idea, apparently. She thought that with a neutral third party in the room, they would both be on their best behavior.”

“Their best non-stabby behavior,” Sam said.

“Let’s assume.”

“I guess our boy’s growing up,” Sam said.

“Don’t even joke about that. Bucky’s mother was a saint for putting up with his shenanigans. Our shenanigans, too. All the stupid pranks we pulled.”

“I’d like to hear about those.”

“Nah, they’re just silly kid stuff.”

“So they’re embarrassing? Okay, I’ll ask Bucky to tell me. You know he will,” Sam said.

“I hate being married to you,” joked Steve.

Sam looked annoyed for a second.

“What?” Steve asked.

“I think we need to tell Bucky.”

“But… he’s doing so good,” Steve said.

“He went dancing, saw a threat, reacted proportionally and calmly, and is spending the night with two women. He’s adjusted to this century. Better than most of us, in some senses.”

“… Yeah. I see your point.”

Sam looked at him discerningly. “I mean, it was fun. Being fake married to you. Couldn’t ask for a more polite fake husband.”

Steve rolled his eyes. “Mockery. Great. Keep it up, and I’ll ‘forget’ our anniversary.”

Sam laughed. “No, really.”

“So… I guess I’ll sleep on the couch again then.”

“Oh. Yeah, I forgot about sleeping.”

“And we don’t always have to sit so close on the couch anymore,” Steve said.

“Wait, is that why you always say close to me?” Sam said.

“Um.” No, that was my excuse. “You did it too.”

Sam frowned. “Steve. Are you – are you trying to… tell me something?”

Steve swallowed thickly. “Um. You know. No. Just. Um.”

“Steve, are you nervous?”

“No, not at all.”

Sam started laughing.

Humiliated, Steve started to stand up, but Sam grabbed his arm and pulled at it so Steve would sit.

“I’m not laughing at you, Steve.”

“Sounds a lot like laughing, Sam.”

“No. I mean, I’ve been feeling like such an idiot. For enjoying being married to you. I mean, not really married, you know. But I’m laughing because it’s a relief. That you felt it too. I mean… you did, right?”

Sam was looking at him, a little nervous now.

Steve smiled. “Yeah. It was… nice.” It had been nice. Back massages and cuddling on cold nights and dinner at the table every evening, “Honey I’m home”s when one of them arrived.

“I think… maybe we should talk about this,” Sam said, again nervous.

“I always assumed that you didn’t feel anything like… that.”

Sam let out a breath, half laugh. “And I was thinking that about you.”

“Really?”

“Really. I mean sometimes I would notice you… acting a certain way. But then I would assume it’s because we’re friends. Or that I was just reading into things, seeing things that weren’t there just because I really, really wanted them to be.”

“Oh.” Steve was staring at him, a little lost.

“So… is this good news?” Sam prodded.

“It sure as hell is to me.”

Sam grinned. “So. What’s next?”

“I think we should go on our first real non-pretend date?” Steve asked.

“I think that would be good. I promise I won’t make you dance.”

“I like this date already,” Steve said, and Sam laughed.

“So, I know you’re old-fashioned, but I think maybe you won’t think less of me if I kiss you before our first date,” Sam said, hint of teasing.

“Don’t believe the nostalgia. There are some things I was never old-fashioned about,” Steve answered with a raised eyebrow.

Sam leaned forward then and kissed him, softly, a light touch. They parted and looked at each other.

They kissed again quickly, eager, Steve’s hand moving to Sam’s jaw to cup it softly. They kept kissing, almost frantic, until Sam had to come up for air.

“So. I guess it’s good we have the place to ourselves tonight?” Steve said, then added, at the sight of Sam’s amused look, “Pretty please?”

Sam smiled. “I think we should take this to our bedroom.”

--

In the morning, Bucky strode in during breakfast and sat down and helped himself to a piece of toast.

“Good morning,” he said cheerfully.

“Morning,” they said, trying to act casually.

“Wait – why do you both look so… pleased?” Bucky said, smirking. “Was I not the only one to get lucky?”

“Um,” Steve said eloquently.

“Please, it’s so obvious,” Bucky said, reaching for the eggs.

“We also have something to tell you,” Sam said.

“Yes,” Steve said. “We. Um. Sam and I are not married. We actually… just got together. Like, just last night.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh. Wow. I don’t know what to say,” Bucky said, staring down at his breakfast.

“We just didn’t want to make you lose hope,” Steve said.

Bucky looked up and nodded sadly. “Well, you could have told me the truth. I mean, this is a big surprise to spring on a guy.”

Steve stared at him for a moment. “You bastard.”

“What?” Sam said.

Steve continued talking to Bucky. “You no-good lying bastard.”

Bucky just smirked and shrugged as he grabbed an apple and took a bite.

“You knew we weren’t married?” Sam asked, confused.

“Why would you do that!?” Steve yelled. “Why would you say all those… things you said?”

“Because you’ve needed my help to get laid since 1937. And I’m not about to let you down now,” Bucky said happily.

“You have got to be kidding me,” Steve said.

“Look, you two were obviously in love with each other, and neither of you were doing a damn thing about it.” Bucky turned to Sam, “I don’t blame you. It’s obviously this guy’s problem. Steve’s the bravest guy I know, until it comes to matters of the heart and the groin, and then it’s like the Cowardly Lion.”

“Please don’t say the word groin again,” Sam said.

“I cannot believe you, Buck,” Steve said, throwing down his napkin.

Bucky shrugged again. “Results don’t lie. And it’s pretty obvious that last night there were… results,” he said with a lascivious smirk.

“You’re such a punk!” Steve said, storming out of the room.

“You’re welcome!” Bucky called after him.

He looked over at Sam. “I take it you’re mad, too.”

Sam frowned. “We were obvious?”

“Excruciatingly obvious. In fact, when I told Romanov that I was pretty sure you two might get together, she said ‘About fucking time.’”

“Great.”

“Look, Sam. I think you’re a great guy. And you’re obviously great for Steve. And he’s my best friend and I just want him to be happy.”

Sam sighed. “Okay. I get it. I guess I see why you thought you were helping.”

Bucky raised a skeptical eyebrow.

“Fine,” Sam said, “You did help, all right? In a completely sociopathic way, but you helped.”

“No problem. But as the best friend, you know I have to warn you that I’ll totally cut you if you hurt or disrespect Steve in any way.”

“Sure. And you know I have to warn you that if you try to kill Steve again, I’m going to fly you up a thousand feet and drop you.”

Bucky grinned. “See, I knew I liked you.”

Sam smiled despite himself. “I’m going to go see if Steve is willing to sit at the table with you again.”

“Great, thanks,” Bucky said, helping himself to two more pieces of toast.

Sam stood up to go find Steve. “Yeah…. You too. Thanks.”