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Sex, Drugs, & Needles

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Bucky wants to fuck the shit out of the skinny little blond the second he first lays his eyes on him.

He’s finishing up with a client when he hears Peter call out from the front desk, “Barnes, you’re two-thirty consultation’s here!”

He’s rubbing down the guy’s back with green soap to get the rest of the excess ink off his skin, examining the final product carefully to make sure it lives up to his standards. He’s nothing short of a perfectionist when it comes to his work (which is why he works at a place as well-reputed as Stark’s Art and has the long line of clientele that he does). All of the lines look crisp and straight; all the curves are flawless and the colour is vibrant with the right amount of blending into the shading, just like the client asked for. He feels good about it, but he always feels better when they get to see it for the first time in the mirror and get excited about it. That’s how Bucky knows he really did a great job.

“Yeah, I’ll be there in five!” he calls back before looking back to his client – Wade, he thinks his name was? “Alright, man, all finished. Take a look at it and then I’ll bandage it up for you,” Bucky says.

Wade swings his leg from off the chair he’d been straddling and checks out his fresh ink. To Bucky’s delight, he gets a gigantic grin across his face and exclaims, “Fucking right, dude, this is sick. That’s exactly what I wanted – I fucking love it.”

“Awesome, I’m glad. Now, the colours will look a little less vibrant once it heals but it shouldn’t be that much different from how it looks now. If you find anything about it you don’t like within the first thirty days, touch-ups are free. After that, it’s half-price per session.”

Wade keeps staring at his tattoo from different angles as he asks, “You ever get many people coming back for touch-ups?”

“Not really, no,” Bucky answers honestly. He explains the aftercare steps to the customer so that the tattoo won’t become infected, but it’s really just a formality at this point, since the guy’s already decently covered in them and undoubtedly must know the drill by now. After applying a thin coat of Bacitracin to the tattooed area and bandaging it up, he sees Wade to the front desk so he can pay.

Peter takes it from there. Bucky gives Wade a courteous parting goodbye and then leans on the desk, asking, “My next appointment still here?”

“Yeah,” Peter replies, pointing his pen in the direction behind Bucky. “He’s sitting on the couch with his buddy.”

“Thanks, dude.”

Bucky turns and sees two guys who can’t be any older than their early twenties at most, lounging on the sofa and chatting with each other. The one who catches his attention immediately is the smaller of the duo; thin and blond, with shaggy bangs sweeping across his forehead; the rest hidden under a black beanie. He looks like he’s practically swimming in his loose-fitting red v-neck t-shirt, but he seems to make up for that with how tight his black jeans are. He’s got a pair of black and white Vans on and about six thick bracelets on each wrist, along with an older-looking watch that looks like it has no business complimenting the overall look.

Bucky almost falters in his step when he takes the sight of him in because goddamn. Everyone in the shop is a tight-knit bunch, so they know what his sexual preference is like. Bucky’s not what you would ever call ‘high strung’ – he’s always been more of the carefree spirit, living life one day at a time and never letting himself get too stressed out about the unimportant little things. He basically lives by the phrase carpe diem, which is why he has it inked in cursive down the top of his spine.

How this translates into his sex life is that Bucky likes to have sex. A lot. He’s not a dick about it; he doesn’t go promising anybody the world when all he wants is something with no strings attached. Though lately, he’s been starting to get a little tired of living the bachelor life with no signs of it changing, because he’s three years shy of thirty and yeah, eventually he’d like to settle down and have a family. But it’s looking at people like this guy that makes him think, ‘Okay, just one more night of hot, sweaty, emotionless sex and then I’ll try and get my act together.’

He’ll have to have a talk with the gang later – about them being bad influences on him; how Natasha and Pete can’t keep giving him the talk about when are you going to find a girlfriend? Or a boyfriend? and then go sending him gorgeous twinks for clients. They know he has a soft spot for twinks – they know. It’s his goddamn kryptonite.

He isn’t sure which one of them is the client (though fuck, he hopes it’s the blond one, c’mon god, be a bro), so he walks up and claps his hands together, saying, “What’s up, guys? I’m Bucky; I think I have a consultation with one of you…?”

They both glance to him, and that’s when Bucky notices the best goddamn thing in the universe: Blondie’s friend looks to his face and gives a friendly smile while Blondie himself seems to visibly gape for a second. Baby blues of the most amazing shade sweep down Bucky’s body and then back up – that’s checking someone out if Bucky’s ever seen it, and he’s definitely picking up a certain vibe that this kid might be gay. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on his dick’s behalf.

Speaking of his dick, it would give a goddamn leap for joy if a boner wouldn’t be completely unprofessional, when the smaller guy seems to snap back to himself, raising his hand and replying quickly, “That’d be me.”

“Yeah, I’m just here for moral support,” Blondie’s friend adds.

Bucky forces his eyes off of his client’s face so he can conversationally ask, “You got any ink?”

“Nah, man,” he answers with a small smile and a shake of the head. “Not my thing, but I like them on others.”

“More of an ‘appreciation from afar’ sort of a thing?” Bucky guesses.

“Basically,” the other guy chuckles.

Blondie looks between them and then offers, “This is my friend, Sam.”

Bucky quickly holds out his left hand for Sam to shake. He’s got his shirt sleeves rolled up to the elbows, exposing the sleeves of his tattoos that extend to the very edges of his wrists. They shake and exchange another polite (but unnecessary) hey, and that’s when he notices the blond looking to his left arm curiously. When he meets Bucky’s gaze, his cheeks turn a little pink (fuck…) and he says, “I like your sleeve.”

“Thanks. It goes up a bit past my shoulder; ever think of getting something that elaborate?”

Blondie quickly shakes his head, chuckling with wide eyes, as though the idea alone is too much for him. “No way in hell,” he answers. “Just the one will be fine for me.”

“Ah, so I guess that’s what we’re here to discuss,” Bucky says, things making a whole lot more sense. He gives Sam a polite smile and then says to the client, “Consultations are usually done in private; did you want that, or did you want to have your friend there?” He glances between the two, secretly hoping that Blondie will opt for the privacy, even though he thinks Sam is a chill dude from first impression.

The two friends exchange a quick look, and Sam shrugs. “I don’t mind waiting out here,” he says. “If I get bored, I’ll go grab a coffee or something and just come back.”

“You sure you don’t mind?” Blondie asks.

“Yeah, consultations on average take anywhere from fifteen minutes to forty-five, depending on what’s being asked for,” Bucky clarifies for their benefit. He gestures to his client and adds, “Since it’s his first tattoo, it’ll probably be closer to the half-hour mark at least. I like to get thorough so I know that they’re aware of what they’re getting into.”

Even though he really wants a half hour alone with this kid – even just to talk, since he has no unrealistic fantasies of banging the guy right there in the shop a mere ten minutes after meeting him (though it wouldn’t be the first time he had a little fun with a stranger so fast) – he also wants to be fair to his friend. He’s giving him another opportunity to come join in, but Sam just shakes his head and gets to his feet.

“Nah, it’s cool; we passed a Starbucks on the corner of the street so I’ll just go chill there until you’re done,” he tells Steve. “Just text me when you’re finished? Then we can go grab a bite to eat – I’m starving.”

“Yeah, sure. Thanks, Sam.”

“No problem. Nice to meet you, Bucky.”

“Yeah, you too,” Bucky says, now trying to hide his frown. ‘Then we can go grab a bite to eat’? What if he’d completely misread the situation? This guy could actually be Blondie’s boyfriend for all he knew, and there was no way he was about to ask – not when they were complete strangers. Damn. Can’t win ‘em all, he supposes.

Sam leaves and Blondie looks back up at Bucky with a shy smile. He still hasn’t gotten up yet, which unfortunately has him almost at eye-level with Bucky’s belt. Fuuuuuck. Why does this kid have to be so gorgeous? And Bucky gets to tattoo him? He’s both elated and frustrated at this idea.

He always keeps his job strictly professional once he’s actually pressing a needle to someone’s skin, but Bucky would be lying if he said that there isn’t something he finds arousing about marking his art on another person’s flesh. On a personal level, it's a deeper eroticism than that when he gets it done himself. Bucky’s body is covered in tattoos (some even self-done), but he prefers when others do it for him, because the pain feels so much fucking better that way.

He’s a bit of a masochist in that sense – needles and the buzz of a tattoo gun have always turned him on. He usually only elects to let Tasha or Clint mark him up now because they’re the only ones who don’t get weird about it if he starts moaning halfway into the session.

It’s even worse that this client is what they call a ‘needle virgin’. Doesn’t appear to have a piercing anywhere on him (although Bucky could still be surprised; you never know what people have hiding under their clothes), and he’s already made it clear that he has no prior ink. Bucky’s always found something inherently sexy about being the first person to introduce another to that experience. Not all people like it; some can only handle the one tattoo and then they’re done for good, never seen again.

Others have the tendency to come back, and Bucky always feels a small sense of pride when he watches those select clients getting more and more added to their bodies – now in love with the art form. And if they happen to be getting tattooed by Clint, or Natasha, or Logan, there’s always that feeling of, But my art went on you first.

He has absolutely no problem popping this guy's needle cherry.

He forces himself to avert his eyes before he starts staring, and clears his throat. Lifting a hand, he gestures further into the shop where there are small, private rooms for consultations, and says, “Alright, well, if you want to follow me…”

Blondie jumps up as though startled out of his thoughts and replies, “Okay, cool.”

Bucky notices him looking around the shop in fascination as he leads him to the back. When they walk past Clint, Bucky spares a second to bump his friend’s fist and ask him how his current tattoo is going. He’s got a redheaded girl getting a simple black design on her ankle; Clint backs off so Bucky can get a look at it.

“Looking good,” Bucky hums, eyeing the line work. He doesn’t say his opinions out loud but he’s definitely a stickler for the fine details. It’s a rarity that he ever has constructive criticism for any of his coworkers, though; they’re definitely the best of the best in the city. You have to be tattooing for years or be really fucking good before their owner, Tony, would even consider you for hire.

“Thanks, it’s almost done. Luckily this girl here is a trooper,” Clint says with a smile, referring to the redhead. She grins, and Bucky returns it. Clint’s always offering praise to his clients, which is part of the reason people like to go to him so much. His social skills transfer well into his execution methods.

“Hey, any clue where Tasha is?” Bucky asks, glancing around. He has a twenty minute window after his meeting with Blondie and he’s hoping he can duck out for a smoke. Usually he likes a bit of company, and Tasha is usually his first go-to.

Clint makes a motion with his head to one of the piercing rooms. “Yeah, she’s pretty backed up today. I think she’s got a Prince Albert scheduled at four.”

Bucky barks out a laugh. Though she did the odd tattoo as well, Natasha was the shop’s main piercer. She prefers it that way, although sometimes it gets her saddled with the less charming jobs, such as sticking a needle through some guy’s junk. Bucky never lets her live those down. He realizes that, though only for a short period, he’s sort of forgotten that Blondie is standing right there beside him; watching the exchange and shifting on his feet awkwardly.

Blinking, he quickly opens himself up and puts a hand on the guy’s shoulder before he can consider whether or not something like that is too fast. “Anyways, I’m about to have a consultation with a new client,” he explains to Clint. His friend gives Blondie the once-over and produces a friendly smile.

“First time?”

“Uh, yeah,” he responds with that same hint of shyness he’d given Bucky. “How’d you know?”

Clint shrugs. “You learn to be able to tell. You kept looking around like this was sort of a new environment for you, so I took a guess. I’m Clint, by the way.”

“Oh - Steve,” Blondie – no, Steve (damn, even his name sounds as nice as he looks, or maybe Bucky’s just reaching at this point) – responds, hastily holding out his hand.

Clint blinks and glances down at his hands; one holding the gun and the other, the paper towel he’d used to wipe the client’s ankle down with. Exhaling a tiny chuckle, he shoots Steve an apologetic look and explains, “I can’t touch anything that hasn’t been properly sanitized or I’ll have to change my gloves.”

It’s actually adorable how quickly Steve yanks his hand back, like he’d just made the dumbest mistake he could’ve possibly made (like he should’ve known better or something). His cheeks are even redder now, but he covers it up with a casual smile and stammers out, “Oh! Yeah, I – sorry, obviously – should’ve known.”

Clint glances at Bucky with an amused look, and Bucky knows what Clint is thinking – knows what a twink this cute must be doing to Bucky’s libido right now - and if he was a telepath, he would be threatening, Say a single word about it and I will end you. Despite not saying anything at all, his friend seems to get the message. Bucky jumps in a little too loudly with, “Alright, we gotta get a move on – see you shortly.”

“Cool. Steve, it was nice to meet you.”

“You too.”

There’s a couple of stools and one of the tattoo tables, like the ones they have out on the floor. No actual tattooing gets done in the consultation rooms but sometimes, clients like to sit there or lie down on it while showing where they want to have their piece done. Once inside, Bucky offers for Steve to sit there if he wants to but Steve says he’s fine with a stool. Bucky pulls out the necessary paperwork and sits down, too.

“Alright, so, don’t get offended or anything but there are a few questions I have to ask everyone who first comes in here, for legal purposes,” Bucky begins. Steve gives him a weird look, but it’s paired with a smile, and Bucky can’t help but grin back.

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Okay, so… First off, are you over the age of eighteen?”

Steve chuckles to himself, and Bucky imagines he probably gets asked things like that a lot. “Yeah,” he answers.

“Do you mind if I see two pieces ID with your birthday on them?” he then asks. He feels a little like an asshole for having to check, because he feels he can probably take Steve’s word for it and he doesn’t want the guy to feel like his jailbait looks are getting rubbed in his face. But rules are rules, and Tony’s very strict on them. The law takes the tattooing of minors seriously in the state of New York, and no one there felt like spending up to three months in jail for the class B misdemeanour. Though there has never been an incident like that at Stark’s Art, it’s been known to occur in other shops. Tony puts a lot of importance on his business’s reputation, and as well he should.

Steve nods, pulling out his wallet (somehow) from the back pocket of his jeans. How the hell it somehow fit in those things, Bucky doesn’t know, but what matters is that the blond pulls out his driver’s license and his student card and hands them over. Bucky does the usual check; makes sure the identification isn’t a fake, double-checks the birth year and makes sure it corresponds on both pieces of ID, etc. Everything checks out. Steve, as it is, is twenty-three.

“Birthday on the fourth of July, huh?” he murmurs, handing them back over. “You must have some really bitchin’ parties.”

Steve laughs, shrugging as he slides the cards back into his wallet and then stuffs it into his back pocket again. “They’re not bad. My parents usually throw a fireworks show in our backyard, and it can get pretty packed every year, so that’s always fun, I guess.”

“Ah, still live at home then,” Bucky finds himself teasing. Teasing is a bit of a slippery slope because it’s so damn close to flirting, which Bucky hopes is okay. Steve doesn’t seem to mind – or perhaps he doesn’t see the two as pages from the same book. He just gives a small, self-deprecating roll of his baby blues and answers, “Yeah, well, they’re paying my way through school, so… for now, yes. But I’m almost done my degree and then I hope to get a place of my own.”

“What’re you taking?”

“Political Science,” Steve answers, but his tone is weirdly robotic in the way he says that; like it’s nothing more than a rehearsed answer. There’s no feeling behind it, no passion. Bucky wants to ask more about it but they really don’t know each other well enough at all to justify him showing such an interest in this guy’s life.

So he settles on making an awkward humming sound in his throat, and then they’re just sort of staring at each other, suddenly unsure of what to say. Shit. Maybe he should’ve said something. Bucky’s usually better at flirting than this.

“Uh,” he begins to say, just as Steve opens his mouth to talk again. “Huh?”


“Sorry, you were about to – go ahead.”

“No, no, I wasn’t about to say anything.”



And then they’re silent again and Bucky thinks, Well this is awkward as fuck. So maybe it’s time they get back to business, since that seems to be the only thing he’s going to get out of this interaction, since Steve doesn’t seem to be remotely interested from the vibe he’s getting. Taking a breath, he says, “Alright, well, there’s some information I should start off by giving you about getting tattoos – you know, aftercare, tips for maintaining it in the future, what to avoid so it doesn’t get infected, general info; that sort of thing.”

“Okay,” Steve nods. He seems to be relieved that they’re onto a different topic now.

Bucky talks him through the simple mechanics of what he does as a tattoo artist; the tools he uses, how they work, how the ink penetrates past the first layer of skin and down into the dermis layer, which is why it can only be removed by a laser. To cover all of his bases, he explains the colours of ink that can easily be taken care of with laser tattoo removals, versus which ones are more difficult and the odd colours that can’t be removed at all. He tells Steve about the two different types of needles – tracing versus colouring and shading – and how the pain level tends to be a little more intense for the former than with the latter.

Steve nods as he listens attentively. He seems to be hanging onto every word. But as Bucky starts discussing the proper aftercare and common things that Steve should be mindful of within the first seventy-two hours of getting the piece done, he can’t help but notice that Steve’s eyes have trailed down from his and seem to be stuck on Bucky’s mouth. It’s such a sudden discovery that Bucky almost stops talking right in the middle of his sentence. But if he trips over his words, it’s only for a fraction of a second. He forces himself to continue, namely out of curiosity; to see if Steve’s gaze will continue to rest on his lips.

Testing his theory, he drags his tongue from one corner of his mouth to the other between sentences – a subtle movement made to look like he’s merely wetting his lips before continuing to talk. Sure enough, he watches Steve’s baby blues follow the path his tongue takes.

Son of a fucking bitch, this kid is so hot.

But he has to remain professional. So when he’s finished saying everything he needs to say, he asks Steve if he has any questions about all the information he’s been given.

“I know that might’ve been a lot to process,” Bucky says, choosing his words deliberately. He’s not entirely talking about the info.

The moment’s gone though, because the blond is taking the paperwork being handed out to him and scanning everything over quickly. He nods. “Yeah, I think I’m good. It’s all in here, though, just in case I forget somethin’?”

“Yeah, everything I’ve told you is basically all in there.”

“Alright. Do I sign now?”

Bucky smiles. This kid seems really eager; he likes seeing new clients feel relaxed and excited, because he feels it is something to get excited about. “Well, you can now if you want, but usually we hold off on that until you tell me what it is you want to get done.”

“Why?” Steve looks to him, confusion making him scrunch up his nose. Seriously, he isn’t just gorgeous – he’s actually adorable, too. When it comes to twinks, which already get Bucky weak in the knees, this is the worst possible combination because it’s Bucky’s kryptonite multiplied by about a million.

“Well, you might describe what it is you’re lookin’ for and the more we talk about it, you may not feel confident that I can give you what you want,” Bucky explains. “Or, on the other hand, you could ask me for something that I don’t feel morally comfortable giving you, like a racist symbol, you know what I mean?”

“You ever been asked to do something like that before?” Steve asks, looking surprised. Ah, Christ, he’s so precious; if only he knew.

“We’ve had to kick more than a few people out because they’ve asked for some creepy Nazi swastika shit on their heads or crap like that. We’re all for personal creativity but we don’t condone that sort of thing here,” Bucky tells him.

Steve laughs. “Well, I can assure you that that isn’t the sort of thing I want – or would ever want, actually. I just want the word ‘análaigh’in cursive.”

Bucky’s not familiar with that word – is it even English? – but he perks up and goes, “Oh, well that sounds very simple then. Where do you want it?”

Steve hops to his feet and shows him, although he could’ve easily just told Bucky. He isn’t complaining though, not at all, because Steve lifts his shirt three quarters of the way up his body – revealing smooth, pale skin and one tiny pink nipple. He doesn’t seem to have a single body hair on his torso and oh my fuck, Bucky wants to lick every single inch of that skin. The blond looks down and points to his top left rib, right below his nipple.

“Right there,” he answers.

Bucky swallows, trying to reel his thoughts back in. This is a sweet kid, and he seems to be incredibly innocent in so many ways, from the looks of it. He realizes that Steve probably deserves someone a little less gritty than Bucky is; someone who can give him flowers and romance and make love to him with Sting or something playing in the background.

Everything Bucky doesn’t think he’s capable of giving yet.

He’s probably getting way ahead of himself. But he nods and clears his throat, forcing himself to look away and up at Steve’s face. He can play the cool, calm, and the collected; he’s perfected that face for years.

“How big?” he asks.

“Uh… Not too big, I don’t think. Maybe like… this big?” He holds out his index finger and thumb a few inches apart as the source of measurement. Bucky hums and replies, “Okay, that shouldn’t take very long; maybe five, ten minutes at most. Just be aware that the rib is one of the more painful places to get it done.”

Steve pulls his shirt back down and looks off, chuckling dryly beneath his breath. “I’ve been through worse,” he promises. “Pain doesn’t bother me.”

Bucky’s sick - he’s a sick, twisted fuck, because that declaration sends an interested little jolt of excitement to his cock. He mentally berates himself, wills it back down, and then stands up. Smiling, he says, “Okay, well, it seems like we have everything figured out. I’ll bring you back to Peter up at the front and he can help you set up an appointment to get this thing done.”

Steve’s eyes are on his face. Bucky can’t really make out the expression in his eyes. But then suddenly, weirdly, Steve’s asking, “But he’ll make sure you’re the one who does it for me, right?”

“Yeah, you don’t gotta worry about that. Your consultation was with me – he wouldn’t go sticking you with someone else.”

“Okay, cool,” the blond replies with relief. Giving Bucky a tiny smile, he says, “I’m confident that you can give me what I want.”

And then the kid glances down Bucky’s body as he bites his lip just the slightest bit, before meeting his eyes again.

No way. That did not just fucking happen; Bucky must’ve imagined it. He doesn’t have time to ponder it because Steve’s smile goes completely innocent and harmless again as he grabs his paperwork and heads out of the room. Bucky trails behind. When he passes Clint, who’s alone now and cleaning up his station to prepare for his next appointment, Clint shoots the back of Steve another once-over and then gives Bucky a thumbs up with a stupid, open-mouthed grin. Bucky hastily waves him off with his hand and then gives him the finger.

Their goodbye is sort of awkward, namely because if Bucky spends too much time purposely making it a goodbye, it’s going to be evident that something’s up. So he just walks Steve over to Pete, summarizes what Pete’s going to do for his client, and then makes a throwaway comment with an overly-polite smile about seeing Steve whenever he decides to come take the plunge. Steve’s all little smiles and averting his eyes and Bucky doesn’t know what to do with that, but he wishes he was at home so he could lock himself in his room and whack off.

Instead, he has to settle for walking away and having a smoke out back, while he listens to Natasha complain about that upcoming Prince Albert at four.

Steve’s appointment is schedule for the following week, and it seems no time at all before the day finally arrives. Bucky most definitely hasn’t been talking Tasha’s and Clint’s ears off in the days leading up to it about Steve, and he most definitely hasn’t jerked off to the thought him every night before bed. Of course not, absolutely no. He has absolutely zero idea why that skinny blond stood out to him so much at their consultation, but he makes himself feel better by telling himself that it probably has ninety percent to do with being excited about tattooing him for the first time, and only ten percent to do with wanting to sleep with him. 

He doesn’t put extra consideration into his appearance on the day of, no way. But he does realize the second Steve walks into the shop that… Fuck. Maybe it’s fifty-fifty.

Steve looks a little nervous. New clients tend to when it’s go time. Bucky goes over the basics with him one last time and gives him an out, in case he wants one. Usually there’d be a charge if someone cancels the day of the appointment, but Bucky would be willing to wave it in this particular case. He’d probably just cover the amount himself so Stark wouldn’t have to find out that his employee gave a freebie. Bucky doesn’t usually find himself willing to take the bullet for a client under those kinds of circumstances – unless there’s a legitimately good excuse – but for whatever reason, he really doesn’t want Steve to have to go through any grievances.

But Steve doesn’t need it; he lets loose a large exhale and then shakes his head definitively, insisting that he wants this and he won’t back out. He gives Bucky a sheet of paper with the word he wants tattooed, written in small black cursive. Bucky goes and draws up the stencil while Steve goes to the station and gets ready. When he pulls his beanie off his head, Bucky can see the mop of messy golden hair for the first time, and his stomach flops. He has to look away and put his focus into getting his tools ready so he doesn’t give into the urge to ask if he can touch it. Because that wouldn’t be fucking weird at all.

He pulls on his latex gloves as Steve pulls his shirt off and then folds it neatly. After placing it off to the side, he stands ramrod still while Bucky meticulously presses the wetted stencil to his skin so he can make sure it lines up properly. Steve’s holding his breath, and Bucky’s incredibly aware of how close his face is to this guy’s chest. Glancing up at the blond, he instructs, “Don’t hold your breath. It’s fine, just breathe normally, k?”

“Sorry,” Steve mumbles fast, letting out the air in his lungs and then trying hard to inhale and exhale like a normal person would.

Bucky peels the stencil paper back and regards the placement. It looks good to him – and he’s already ridiculously excited to see what it’ll look like once it’s finished – so he tells Steve to take a look in the mirror in case he wants him to change anything. He can’t help but grin when Steve sees it and gets the biggest smile on his face. “Yeah, this is perfect,” he says, nodding.

Steve gets onto the table and lies down on his back. In this position, his ribs jut out a little from under his skin. From a professional standpoint, that’ll make Bucky’s job easier. From a personal standpoint, Bucky wants to tell Steve to put his shirt back on so he isn’t faced with the desire to trace the bony lines with his tongue and feel how prominent they are.

Talking to his clients while he works tends to help them. Sometimes, Bucky gets the odd few who bear the pain better in silence, and then he has no problem shutting up and simply listening to the music playing in the shop while he works away. This job won’t even take that long anyways, so he’s glad when he starts chatting up Steve that Steve responds.

“So what does ‘análaigh’ mean?” he asks, turning the tattoo gun on. Steve flinches at the sudden noise, and Bucky’s eyes snap to his face as he casts him an apologetic look. “You sure you want to do this?” he presses.

Steve nods vehemently. “Yes. Just a little nervous is all; I’ll be fine, just do it.”

“Okay,” Bucky says with only a little reluctance. Hunching forward, he presses one hand to Steve’s lower ribs so he can stretch the skin out a bit, and then brings the needle down.

“It means – ah, Christ!” Steve hisses when the needle penetrates his skin for the first time. Squeezing his eyes shut, his face pinches together. But then Bucky feels his chest force out as steady of breaths as he can manage. Before Bucky can say anything, Steve continues in a slightly shaky voice, “Sorry. Yeah, that stings; wasn’t expecting it. Um… What was I…? Yeah, right, uh… It means ‘breathe’ in Gaelic.”

Bucky’s hand works smoothly to tattoo the lines of the first letter into Steve’s skin. He’s trying to be mindful of being gentle, while also at the same time working diligently so he can get Steve through it as fast as he can. In his jeans, he’s rock hard as he watches that needle running along this kid’s alabaster flesh, leaving behind that beautiful black ink. His face remains intent with concentration, luckily, so his brain doesn’t even have the focus necessary to send the signals to his body needed to flush his cheeks or dilate his pupils.

“What does it mean?”

It takes a few seconds for Steve to realize Bucky’s talking to him again. He shakes his head a bit, staring upwards, and asks, “What – breathe?”

“No, punk,” Bucky says sarcastically with a chuckle. “What does it mean to you?”

“Oh… I, well…” He hisses again when Bucky moves on to the second a. His breathing’s becoming a little more erratic. Again, this happens sometimes with new customers, but then he’s talking again, so Bucky just keeps working. “I have asthma… And I was really sick growing up… So it’s sort of literal but also meant to… like… motivate me… F-Fuck…”

His tone sounds too breathless and surprised now; it’s enough to concern Bucky and make him pull the gun from off his skin and raise his grey eyes to Steve’s face to ask if he needs a break. Some people can tough it out the entire way through without stopping; some need pauses every few minutes while others need to stop a lot more frequently. His eyes widen when he takes in the sight of Steve’s face.

He’s gaping up at the ceiling and his pupils are fucked; lips, parted, and pushing out shallow breaths. Bucky doesn’t need to look down – and it would be totally out of line to do so – to know that Steve’s most likely sporting an erection in his pants. Bucky knows how that feels, he completely gets it. This also happens sometimes with new clients; when they discover they have a bit of a fetish or an appeal to pain that they never knew they had before. Sometimes, it’s not even about that – there’s a huge rush of endorphins and adrenaline when you get something like a tattoo done. Bucky’s had people pass out on him before, and he’s even had one or two that accidentally climaxed while he was working on them. What he needs to assure Steve is that whatever he’s feeling right now is okay.

“You still with me, buddy?” he asks. Steve’s eyes stay stuck on the ceiling but he nods. His cheeks are so flushed. Bucky looks back to what’s already been done and assures him, “We’re pretty much halfway there. Another couple minutes and you’ll be all done.”


When he turns the gun back on and punctures Steve’s skin again, the body beneath him gives a tiny jolt and Steve moans – just the softest, most strained little sound. Steve sounds like he’s surprised by it. Bucky smiles to himself and assures the blond (if Steve’s even listening at this point), “I get the same way when I have this done to me.”

“How does it feel this good when it fuckin’ hurts?” Steve asks breathlessly but with genuine curiosity. He really has no idea why he’s enjoying this.

“Hard to say for sure; it’s subjective, y’know?”

“Makes me wish I’d chosen something bigger,” Steve confesses, forcing a struggled laugh. It’s halfway out when he’s groaning again under his breath and covering his face with his hand furthest from Bucky. And sonofabitch… Bucky almost wishes for the same thing – because it’s only a minute and a half later that he’s sitting back and turning the gun off.

That had to have been easily one of the hottest things he’s ever witnessed, and yet it’d only lasted five minutes at most. His body is screaming for this kid but he knows it’s not right. Yet he can’t shake the disappointment that now it’s finished, and Steve had said he only wanted the one, so… Bucky might not get to see him again.

“There,” he announces, putting the machine down. The disappointment hasn’t transferred into his voice, thank god. It takes Steve a few seconds to realize the buzzing in his ribs and the burning sting has already stopped. His brows furrow and he slowly turns his head to the side, meeting Bucky’s gaze. He looks like the equivalent of someone who’s fucked out, just from a few short minutes or getting tattooed. His body is so fucking receptive. It puts the worst thoughts into Bucky’s head.

Steve starts to sit up, but Bucky stops him. “Whoah, easy, tiger,” he jokes, gently palming his shoulder and directing him back down. “I gotta clean you up first. And with the way you reacted, you might get a head rush if you try and get up too soon.” He grabs a fresh strip of paper towel and pours some green soap onto it.

As he wipes away the leftover smudged ink from Steve’s skin, the blond seems to realize the way he’d just behaved. Embarrassed, he covers his face and croaks, “Oh god. M’sorry.”

“Don’t be,” Bucky says casually, “it happens.” He tosses out the paper towel and grabs the small jar of Bacitracin. Steve lets out a tiny hum of appreciation when he smoothes the thin layer of antibacterial ointment over the fresh tattoo, which is raised a little from the skin and specked with the tiniest little pinpricks of blood. Steve bleeds so nicely; he fucking takes ink so nicely.

He wishes he’d be able to see what the finished, healed product would look like. It’s almost a crying shame.

“Alright, I have to put a bandage over it, but why don’t you go take a look at it before I do?”

“It’s okay for me to get up now?”

No, I’d rather you lie there all day so I can keep touching you. Or just talk to you…

Bucky wants to know everything this kid is willing to tell him.

Instead, he smiles and says, “Yeah, I think you’re in the clear now. Get your ass off my table.”

Beaming, the blond sits up – pausing to make sure he really doesn’t get a head rush – and then gets off. When he goes to the mirror and sees his new tattoo, he looks about the happiest Bucky’s ever seen a new client get. And he keeps repeating how fucking awesome it looks, and yeah, Bucky doesn’t want to brag but he can’t help but agree.

A lot of that has to do with Steve, though. 

Because there’s something unfathomably sexy about a guy who looks the way Steve does and has those innocent-looking eyes… that smile that could outshine a solar flare… and that overall good boy demeanour to him – now hiding a tattoo beneath his clothes. And not just anyone’s art – Bucky’s art. He will always be wearing it on his body. That turns Bucky on so much more than it probably should.

Steve’s actually disappointed that they have to cover it up, but Bucky tells him he can remove the bandages in three hours, and then gives him a fact sheet with the aftercare instructions (just in case he lost the one he’d been given the previous week).

“I know it sounds kind of sketchy, but we sell this product called ‘Tattoo Goo’, and it’s what he recommend you purchase in terms of antibacterial ointment,” he explains when he’s walking Steve to the front desk. Peter’s on break so Bucky has to ring him through himself. He opens up the display beneath the desk and pulls out a small tin. Popping it into Steve’s open palm, he clarifies, “It’s got the same ingredients as the stuff I used before I bandaged you up. Clean the tattoo gently with lukewarm water and unscented soap every few hours, and then apply a thin layer. It might make your shirt stick to your skin sometimes, but this is the best stuff to ensure you don’t catch an infection.”

Steve regards the tin and then smiles at Bucky. “Thanks. How much it is?”

“About forty bucks.”

“For this thing?” Steve exclaims. “It’s the size of an apricot!”

“Yeah, well, you’re not supposed to use a whole lot of it so it can last you for months,” Bucky shoots back. “I’ve had those last me upwards of a year sometimes.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Steve mutters, pulling out his wallet. But he places it on the top of the counter anyways, so Bucky knows he’s convinced him. “I bet you’re tellin’ me this now, but then it’ll only last me a week and I’ll be forced to come back and get more,” he huffs with an over-dramatic display of disappointment. 

Is that… Is… Is Steve flirting right now? Is he opening up the door to flirt? Bucky isn’t certain.

“Trust me, if I wanted an excuse to keep bringing you back, I’d have just given you half a tattoo,” he answers.

“Ah,” the blond says, trying to play it cool and jokingly adding, “Guess that means you don’t want me comin’ back then.”

Bucky’s watching his face. This is definitely flirting, he’s sure of it. It has to be. And it’s making him excited all over again. He decides to tease right back. “Why else do you think I’d charge you forty bucks for a tin of ointment?”

“I knew it,” Steve deadpans, shaking his head and tsking as Bucky hands him the debit machine. He inserts his chip and then punches in the pin. “Just trying to make sure I never come back here again - you’re completely ripping me off. M’paying forty bucks for something that should only cost me twenty.”

Bucky chuckles, taking the machine back and ripping off the receipt; holding it out for Steve to take, he goes for broke and tries, “How can I make it up to you?”

The blond presses his lips together and hums in thought. With a coy little gleam in his baby blues, he plucks the receipt from Bucky’s fingers and then grabs one of the pens lying around on the counter top. He scribbles something down and then pauses the pen, looking up at Bucky from under his impossibly long lashes. Bucky almost gulps. For a second, it’s like a staring contest to see which of them will crack first. But they both hold their ground in this playful façade.

Straightening, Steve puts his wallet away and then slides the receipt back across the counter to Bucky.

“If you ever feel like not being a jerk and making up for that jilted twenty dollars, you can take me to dinner.”

And then he turns and walks out of the shop without even a second glance at Bucky. He’s just left standing there, wondering what just happened and feeling impressed as hell. Clearly he’d underestimated this gorgeous fucking guy; maybe Bucky’s finally met his match. The receipt is face-down. Smirking to himself, he flips it over and lifts it up to take a look.

Steve gave him his number. The blond may have walked out with the victory, but Bucky feels like he’s the one who really got the win.

Bucky purposely avoids contacting Steve at first. He tells himself he has to wait at least one week – any sooner and he could come across desperate, and Bucky never lets himself look that way. (And he is most certainly not feeling desperate to see Steve again, absolutely not.) But he also tells himself he can’t push it off any longer than two weeks (that seems like a good amount of time) otherwise it may come off as him not actually being interested. Maybe Steve will have forgotten all about him by then, even with the tattoo now on his rib as a permanent reminder? 

Bucky makes the mistake of talking his thoughts out with Natasha. She tells him it’s adorable how much he’s overanalyzing everything, which must mean he’s got a bit of a crush. Bucky tells her to fuck off.

It turns out that Bucky doesn’t actually have to text him because the next time they run into each other, it’s a little less than a week later and it’s by complete accident. He and a few of the others from work go down to the Marquee for the evening – a night club more expensive than necessary, but they work hard and like to party harder. Bucky’s got a pair of grey skinnies on, a well-fitting deep blue dress shirt (sleeves rolled to the elbows, as usual), and his black leather jacket. People stare a lot when they go places together. Bucky’s not necessarily conceited, but he knows they’re an attractive bunch. When they all get dressed up like this, Bucky can’t even deny that Clint and Tasha look mouth-watering. If they weren’t like siblings to him, even Bucky would be trying to get a piece of that.

The dance floor is completely packed already, and most of them aren’t overly the dancing type, so they opt to grab a booth off to the side. It’s tough to hear anything over the loud blaring of the music and its heavy bass. What that usually means is that Brock Rumlow has to lean in extra close so he can talk directly into Bucky’s ear.

Now, Bucky’s been thinking of Steve constantly since their last encounter, but he doesn’t have any unrealistic fantasies of riding off into the sunset with the kid. He looks forward to seeing him again – and admittedly, he kind of wants to see him more than anyone else these days – but they’re still just strangers. But he and Brock, they have history, as well as obvious chemistry. There’s never been anything romantic between them; they’ve been friends for far too long and it was just never like that. But once in a blue moon, if they’re both single at the same time (and that mostly is dependent on whether Brock’s single or not, since Bucky almost always is), they rely on each other for a good, casual fuck. Brock’s come out with them tonight because he and Bucky haven’t caught up in a while. His arm is slung against the back of the booth’s cushion, sort of around Bucky’s shoulder but not quite so snug. It’s still chill between them at this point. Bucky likes flirting with Brock and Brock likes flirting back – and if it leads to sex by the end of the night, it leads to sex. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. That’s just sort of how it is between them.

They’re all about an hour into the night and six rounds of shots downed. Bucky hadn’t had the chance to grab a decent meal beforehand so he’d been filling his stomach up with liquor and basically nothing else. He has a really good buzz going, and in the middle of listening to Logan and Stark bouncing back and forth, trying to collaborate on telling a joke that has the rest of the guys tossing their heads back with laughter – when Tasha leans over and rests her chin on Bucky’s shoulder.

“Hey Jamie, isn’t that your boy on the dance floor?” she asks over the music.

Bucky immediately perks, eyes snapping over to the mass of dancing people, and his brows shooting to his hair line. “What, where?” he asks. Natasha points; trying to direct Bucky’s gaze to who she’s seeing and answering, “Right there.”

It takes a few seconds of searching, and then Bucky spots him. His mouth immediately drops and he mutters, “Holy shit.” (It gets lost in the noise.) That’s Steve alright, though for some reason, a night club like this (or a night club at all) was the last place Bucky ever thought he’d see him. He’s got those tight black jeans on again, but this time, what looks like a white and black t-shirt underneath a checkered button-up (conveniently opened and dangling loosely on either side of his stomach). He’s got that beanie on again, but this time, he also has on a pair of thick, black-rimmed glasses. From what Bucky can make out from where he’s sitting, those bracelets (and that watch) are still adorning his wrists, as well as a few loose chains hanging around his neck. He looks sexy as fucking sin.

He’s also, unfortunately, got his back pressed to some dude’s front and is grinding his ass against him to the music.

“You planning on staring all night or are you going to go say hi?” Tasha teases.

“You think I should?” Bucky calls back, unable to take his eyes off of the blond. “What if that’s his boyfriend?”

“Then he’s a dick for giving you his number and you’re better off knowing that now,” Brock cuts in, having overheard the conversation. He pulls his arm out from behind Bucky and gives him a supportive grin. “Only one way to find out, though.”

Bucky looks from him to Natasha, biting his lip; they sure do have a great way of talking him into stuff without really having to say much. Sighing overdramatically, he shouts over the beat, “Fine! But if he turns me down, you both owe me a round of fireballs.”

“Deal,” Brock chuckles.

“Meh, we’ll see,” Natasha replies at the same time.

Bucky squeezes his way out of the booth and advances towards the dance floor before he can pussy out of it. He shimmies and shoves through the over-packed crowd, keeping his sights on Steve as he works his way closer. The blond doesn’t even notice until Bucky’s practically wedged up in front of him. But then he’s glancing up and getting a surprised grin on his face.

“HEY!” he shouts over the music. It’s even louder on the dance floor, so every exchange has to be a screaming match. Bucky can see how glassy his eyes are, even in the darkness of the club and the flashing lights. He’s drunk – but then again, so is Bucky, pretty much. So of course, Bucky’s shouting back, “HEY!”

Steve doesn’t stop the swaying of his hips in tandem with whoever the hell is pressed up behind him. But his focus is entirely on Bucky now as he says, “BUCKY, RIGHT?”




Steve grins and then suddenly gets a look of mock offense. He points at Bucky, pressing the tip of his finger to the brunet’s chest, and shouts, “YOU NEVER TEXTED ME!”

“I’M SORRY,” Bucky responds genuinely. Drinking makes him brutally honest. “I WAS SORT OF WAITING!”

“FOR WHAT?” Steve asks, grinning like he already knows the answer.


“OH, OKAY,” Steve shouts. He looks Bucky up and down and then asks, “YOU WANNA DANCE?”

Bucky’s eyes trail over to the tall brunet already behind Steve. Well yeah, he supposes he could turn this into a twink sandwich by just pressing on up against Steve and joining in. But frankly, he sort of just wants the other guy to buzz off and give Bucky a chance to have Steve to himself. Keeping things casual, he playfully yells, “SORT OF LOOKS LIKE YOU ALREADY HAVE A PARTNER!”

Steve blinks, mouthing the word, What? Then he glances down at the hands on his still-swaying hips before looking over his shoulder at the other brunet, and widening his eyes with a surprised grin.

“OH!” he replies. “YEAH, HOLD ON!”

Bucky can’t hear what Steve says, but he leans his head back against buddy’s shoulder and talks in his ear. The guy looks to Bucky and then back at Steve and nods, laughing, before swatting Steve’s hip lightly and backing off. He gives Bucky a polite little nod, an awkward smile, and then starts squirming his way through the crowd, in the direction of one of the bars. Steve waves drunkenly in buddy’s direction, even though his friend has his back to him. Then he’s focusing back on Bucky and stepping in with a grin. Within seconds, he’s getting in close and throwing his arms around Bucky’s neck, pressing his hips to Bucky’s and starting to move them, trying to get the older boy to follow suit.

“BETTER?” Steve asks loudly - though now that they’re closer he doesn’t shout quite as much.

“WHAT?” Bucky replies, furrowing his brows and leaning his face in closer, because he still didn’t manage to catch that.

Steve brings his lips to Bucky’s ear. “I SAID, IS THAT BETTER?”

“OH, YEAH!” Bucky answers. His hands go to Steve’s hips and now they’re grinding against each other in time to the beat. Bucky motions his head in the direction where his friend went. “THAT YOUR BOYFRIEND?”

“WHO - SCOTT?” Steve frowns, looking away and then laughing back at Bucky. “NO, HE’S JUST – NO, HE’S NOT; JUST A FRIEND!”

Steve feels so good pressed to him like this. He finds himself tightening his grip on the blond’s skinny hips; digging his fingertips into the small of Steve’s back where they can reach. This continues any longer and Bucky’s going to find himself getting hard for this kid all over again. Only this time he’ll have absolutely nowhere to hide the evidence. He’s looking into Steve’s eyes – fuck, his face is so close; he could just lean in and… And then he figures he might as well go for broke.


Steve shakes his head, eyes bright and twinkling and a coy smirk on his face. “NOPE, YOU?”

“NO,” Bucky answers. Steve doesn’t hear him over the beat, so when the blond leans the side of his face back Bucky’s way for clarification, it’s Bucky’s turn to bring his lips to Steve’s ear and repeat what he’d just said.

“IT’S LOUD AS FUCK IN HERE!” Steve laughs.


“IN A BIT,” Steve answers. He purposely grinds himself harder to Bucky’s pelvis, making Bucky bite his lip as his eyes grow just the tiniest bit darker. Steve’s smirk expands. “YOU FEEL PRETTY GOOD JUST THE WAY WE ARE!”

Getting a lusty grin, Bucky hunches down so he can bring his face closer to Steve’s. They get nice and snug and for a while, just continue to dance together; surrounded by darkness and strobe lights and other sweaty bodies. The entire time, their gazes are locked, and Bucky wants to fuck him right there on the dance floor for everyone to see. Steve seems to be a master at rocking his hips just right, and it makes Bucky wonder how well he could do that with Bucky’s cock buried inside of him. Within minutes, he is erect, but Steve doesn’t seem to mind because so is he. Bucky’s glad that the music swallows his low groans whenever the friction between them sends licks of pleasure to his balls. Steve’s pupils are massive.

Eventually, breaking the silence, Bucky loudly asks in his ear, “HOW’S THE TATTOO LOOKIN’?”





Steve’s baby blues flicker down to Bucky’s mouth when the brunet pulls away, and then the blond licks his lips, because apparently he’s trying to kill Bucky. Steve has one hand holding the back of Bucky’s neck, with the other threading his slim fingers through his hair. His breathing gets heavier when he feels Steve tighten his grip by the roots.

“I’LL HAVE TO SHOW YOU SOMETIME,” Steve suggests, looking very deliberately back into Bucky’s eyes and in no way meaning that just casually.

Bucky gulps and gives an eager nod. Yeah, you bet your ass he fucking wants that. He’s drunk and trying to remember all the things he’d worried about when they’d first met - about only wanting something casual and easy, and not being able to give this guy what Bucky assumes he wants – but with Steve dancing with him this way, it’s impossible for him to remembers those reasons in the moment.

“I WANT TO GET MORE,” Steve then says.

Bucky’s heart slams hard in his chest, but it’s in his cock that he feels the pulse.



Ohhhh, this kid is good. He knows exactly how he’s making this sound. “I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU ONLY WANTED THE ONE,” he teases.

Steve looks away coyly, feigning consideration, before shrugging with a little, playful sneer. “CHANGED MY MIND; YOU MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO RESIST. YOU GOT ME HOOKED, BUCKY.”

Fuck. Yes. Even if he’s just talking about the ink and nothing more, that’s an easy way to go straight to Bucky’s head. He leans in and takes a bit of a risk – bringing his mouth so close to the blond’s as though he were about to kiss him. But then he presses his cheek to Steve’s temple and replies in his ear, “JUST NAME THE TIME AND PLACE AND I’M ALL YOURS.”

He expects Steve to have some clever double-entendre in response, but he’s surprised when Steve asks, “CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET?”

Curious, Bucky leans away so he can look at the blond’s face again and nods. Steve bites his lip, smiling, and then confesses, “I CAME TO YOU ON PURPOSE. I SORT OF PLANNED IT THAT WAY.”

“REALLY?” Bucky replies, surprised.


And that’s it, that’s completely fucking it. Bucky dives in quickly and crushes his lips to Steve’s, who seems both a little thrown off but completely okay with the action. He kisses back just as eagerly, clenching his fist in Bucky’s hair and tugging with need. The kid tastes fucking delicious. It only lasts a few short seconds, though, because when Bucky bites Steve’s bottom lip, Steve’s suddenly yanking his mouth away.

“LET’S GET OUT OF HERE - NOW,” he all but growls loudly into the brunet’s ear. Bucky nods and pulls away enough for Steve to turn around. Grabbing Bucky’s hand, they move through the crowd as quick as possible. Bucky’s too fixated to spare a glance behind him to make sure his friends know that he’s leaving. Oh well - he’s a grown man.

It’s Steve idea that they wind up outside, behind the club, in a dank little alleyway. They’re basically alone, which seems to be all the motivation the blond needs to back himself up to the wall and yank Bucky in towards him. They’re a graceless blur of tongues and teeth. Steve kisses him and bites at his mouth feverishly as he tries to figure out what to do with his hands. Bucky isn’t used to this – isn’t used to blindly following while someone else takes the lead. All he can do is allow his body to guide him, and right now – as it’s been since the moment they met – all his body wants is Steve.

He feels Steve’s hands fly around aimlessly, like the blond wants to feel every inch of him just as badly as the last but can’t settle on a place that’s good enough. One second they’re shoving their way up his shirt so they can press to his abs; run along the muscles and memorize every curve. The next, they’re in his hair, but that doesn’t last long until they’re wrapped around his neck or grabbing at the sides of his face. And yet, Bucky can’t even get used to that because before he knows it, Steve’s grabbing Bucky’s ass in his hands and squeezing with a surprising amount of strength.

Bucky groans against his mouth. His hands feel like they’re having just as hard of a time deciding where they want to touch Steve’s body – because Jesus Christ, they want to touch fucking everywhere – but he’s able to ground himself a bit more steadily when he settles on having one cupping the side of Steve’s face and the other gripping roughly onto his hip. A startled little sound gets caught in his throat when he hears rather than feels his belt suddenly fumbling to come undone.

“Whoah, Steve, hey,” he says between kisses. Steve makes a frustrated noise – not even listening – as his fingers struggle in their drunken state to successfully get the buckle to cooperate. Bucky doesn’t even bother opening his eyes, nor does he stop his mouth from reconnecting back with the blond’s time and time again. But he does have mind to continue and ask, “What exactly do you think you’re doin’?”

Trying to get these fucking things down a bit,” Steve huffs, “but so far, failing miserably.”

“Steve, slow down,” Bucky breathes, but then he’s moaning softly when Steve nudges his face to the side so he can start frantically kissing down the side of his neck; burying his face into it and taking a big bite before sucking roughly, trying to mark Bucky up. Bucky struggles to remember what his train of thought had just been. “I’m not goin’ to fuck you out here,” he pushes out reluctantly.

“Why not?” the blond asks, genuinely not understanding, and continues to work his lips against the skin of Bucky’s throat.

Well…” Bucky frowns, glancing off to the side. Making a face, he says, “First of all, there’s a homeless person passed out, like, ten feet away from us. And there are about six used condoms on the ground – seriously, Steve, this place is probably riddled with diseases, m’not about to fuck you out here.”

At first, it feels like Steve’s trying to put up a stubborn fight. But then his fingers gradually come to a halt on his belt, and Bucky feels the smaller body release a large sigh. Steve drops his forehead to Bucky’s shoulder, panting softly, and then chuckles.

“Yeah… I guess you’re probably right,” he concedes. “Damn.” Pulling away, his head thunks back lightly against the concrete wall. He stares up at Bucky and his pupils are still dilated; mouth hanging ajar as he tries to catch his breath. Bucky still has that stirring in the pit of his stomach; is about to suggest that they go back to his place, when Steve continues, “Probably wouldn’t have been the best idea – to fuck when m’drunk like this. I might not even have remembered it in the morning.”

Something about that sort of stings, but Bucky knows it isn’t personal. He’s had far too many drunken one night stands that had him regretting his actions the next morning to go judging Steve for not wanting the same thing. Still, he hopes beyond hope that what just happened between them wasn’t just a sporadic, intoxicated mistake. Or at least, that Steve won’t think of it that way whenever he wakes up the next day.

Bucky offers to walk him home. “Don’t you have friends inside waiting for you?” the blond asks, but they’re already heading away from the club. Bucky assures him that he’d already texted one of them after they left the alleyway, and let them know that he was heading out for the night. They walk for a while, until Steve tells him that his house is a decent distance away and he didn’t want Bucky having to walk all the way there, only to have to trek all the way back to the other side of town. With only a little reluctance – Bucky swears it – he hails down a cab for Steve. He isn’t sure what he’s supposed to do when he opens up the back door for the blond and for a moment, they’re just standing there, looking at each other. But then Steve gets onto his tippy toes and places a firm, chaste kiss on Bucky’s mouth. All the brunet can do is smile pleasantly into it and close his eyes for the brief amount of time that it lasts.

He opens his eyes before Steve does. Even when the younger man pulls back, he’s still got one hand fisting Bucky’s shirt and he has this little smile tugging up the corners of his lips. Bucky watches his face and can’t help but acknowledge that, whatever this is, and though he hasn’t known Steve for all that long, he’s definitely infatuated with him – because he’s way too fucking adorable for Bucky not to be.

“I meant it about the tattoos,” Steve says when he finally gets into the back of the taxi. The door’s still open and he has one scrawny leg still sticking out, as if to literally force the driver from taking off before Steve says what he wants to say. Looking up at Bucky with a bit more of a sober gaze, he specifies: “I’ll be calling the shop soon to book an appointment. Make sure you can fit me in somewhere.”

“Okay,” Bucky murmurs with a lopsided grin.

Steve goes to bring his leg into the car and then stops. “Oh! And I almost forgot – don’t think any of this makes up for you rippin’ me off the last time we met. I still expect dinner one day.”

“Wouldn’t dare think of doing otherwise,” Bucky quips smoothly. Steve grins and says goodnight. When he’s fully in the car, Bucky closes the door and then bangs his palm lightly on the roof a couple of times. Steve gives a little wave as the cab drives off.

Bucky lives much closer, so he decides to just get home by foot. The fresh air helps sober him up considerably by the time he’s walking into the front door of his apartment. Despite the fact that he usually relishes in the nights where he doesn’t have to go into work the next day, he’s too tired to stay up any later. All he does is fill up a glass of water and bring it into his room. Setting it on the side table next to his bed, he sheds his close until he’s down to his underwear, plugs in his phone, turns off the lights, and then flops face-down onto his bed. He’s just about to fall asleep when the screen of his iPhone flashes to life with a heavy buzz and an incoming text.

Popping one eye open, he reaches out and holds it up to see. It’s from Natasha.

I expect details whenever you’re up.

He turns off the screen and lets his head fall back against his pillow, figuring that he doesn’t need to reply until he wakes up later. But then he’s groaning with annoyance when his phone vibrates again – a second text from Natasha.

Remember: don’t be silly, wrap your willy ;) xo

Bucky rolls his eyes. He’s about to toss his phone aside when he notices he has a few other missed messages. Checking them out, he sees that he has two missed from Brock (good luck tonight, brother, and shoot me a text tomorrow if you’re not with lover boy :P) and one from Steve. It’s a little sad how that puts the quickest smile on Bucky’s face. He’ll reply to Tasha and Brock later, but Steve’s a different story.

Just wanted to let you know I got home okay. Thx for tonight, I had a lot of fun. Hope to see you soon :)

Bucky tries to think of a flirtatious reply he could send; maybe flat out ask him if he wants to get together again in the next few days. Hell, he could even make some sort of comment about how good Steve’s lips had tasted, or how he also hopes they’ll hang out soon because he wants to get his hand on Steve’s cock. His answer could be insinuating or it can be as dirty as he wants it to be – and he has a sneaking suspicion that if he did make it the latter, Steve would have no problem producing some sort of equally sexy reply.

Instead, he types before he thinks about it, and replies with a simple: sweet dreams xo

He waits a few minutes but doesn’t get anything in return. He tries not to over-think it – wonder if that was the wrong thing to say – as he puts his phone back down and forces his eyes to shut until he’s drifted off to sleep. While his breathing evens out and he gets pulled into a world filled with golden hair and blue eyes and wicked little smiles, a text shows up on his phone, waiting there for Bucky to wake up to. It’s of a smiley face and a heart.

The next day, Steve texts Bucky again: So, I definitely remember what happened last night. Bucky’s in the middle of making himself a late lunch, and multitasks, replying with one hand a casual, oh do u now? It’s less than thirty seconds later when his phone vibrates again. 

I do, and I’m still disappointed you made us stop. Too forward?

not at all, Bucky texts back. He grins when he sees the reply: Good, ‘cause that was the censored version.

Jesus, he’d really made a shot in the dark when he’d first made his assessment of Steve – and had clearly missed. This wasn’t at all the kind of straightforward, flirty behaviour he’d originally thought the kid incapable of. It’s not even that Bucky had made a shot in the dark and had missed; it was more like, he’d been so far off the mark that his shot landed all the way over in the next State. Steve’s busy with school assignments for the remainder of the weekend, but they make a plan to get together on the upcoming Monday, after Bucky’s shift is done and Steve’s is finished over at the comic book store (where he tells Bucky he works part-time) 

Now, when Monday finally arrives, Bucky has every intention of making good on his promise and taking Steve out to dinner. And that would have happened – if they’d made it that far.

Here’s what happens instead: Bucky drives out to Steve’s place, with weirdly specific instructions – don’t come any sooner than 8:45, park down the street from my place, etc. Steve must’ve told Bucky about six separate times that he lives in the place above the garage, not the actual house, don’t go knocking at the house. It gets to the point where Bucky has to reply, ok steve I GET it, above the garage, will do.

When he actually sees Steve’s house, Bucky mouth falls open. The place isn’t so much a house as it’s a goddamn fucking mansion – it could probably fit a good ten of his apartments inside of it and still have room. And that’s just what he can see from the front. He’s shocked for a minute or so; just sort of standing there like a moron, gaping up at it. Then he remembers, ‘Yeah, well, they’re paying my way through school’.

Steve’s parents must be rich. Steve is a rich boy. A rich boy who wants more tattoos and likes to get drunk and grind against strangers, or beg to get fucked in back alleys. Fuck, Bucky can’t get over how hot this punk is. He wonders how Steve’s parents must feel about his behaviour.

“Hey!” he hears a deep voice hiss impatiently. Bucky looks to the (also rather large) apartment over top of the six-car garage – fucking Christ – to see Steve with his head popped out of a window. “You plan on making camp there and ogling my place all night? Get the hell up here!”

There’s something in Steve’s tone that seems to imply, --before anyone sees you. Bucky frowns and looks back to the house before turning and heading up the stairs to Steve’s apartment. When he gets inside, Steve’s pulling a boiling kettle off of a stove element in the kitchen. He beams at Bucky as though he hadn’t just snapped at him a moment before.

“Hey, Buck. You can put your shoes by the door. Want me to take your coat?” he asks.

Bucky stands there like an idiot for a second and then kneels down to undo his boots. “Nah, I got it,” he replies. “I’m sure I’ll find a place for it.”

He strides into the kitchen as Steve starts pouring a cup of tea. The blond asks if he wants one, to which Bucky accepts, and within a couple of minutes they’re walking out of the kitchen with a cup of Earl Grey in their hands. Steve gives him a tour of his place, and it’s so clean and yet such a weird combination of the guy Bucky had initially expected, mixed with someone who seems to be stifled beneath the surface. There’s as much fancy art on the walls as there are posters of punk bands and movies. His place is still a lot bigger than Bucky’s; enough so that he’s taking everything in with just as wide of eyes as he’d given the mansion right next to it a few minutes before.

Steve seems to decide that they’re going to settle and hang out in his bedroom. As he gets onto the bed and sits with his back to the wall, Bucky’s still on his feet and watching him a bit wearily. Steve swallows a sip of his tea and then knits his brows together. “What? What is it?” he asks.

“Are we goin’ to pretend that you didn’t want your parents to see me, or…?” he asks, trying not to make things weird but definitely feeling weirded out by it. He gets that Steve’s only twenty-three and things are different for him – Bucky had already moved out on his own long before he’d been that age – but he’s twenty-seven, and the idea of having to sneak around parentals is definitely something he’s outgrown. 

Steve’s eyes get big for a second and then he’s sighing, placing his cup on the night stand. “Sorry,” he says, giving Bucky a genuinely apologetic look. He pats the space on his bed next to him and it’s such a cute little gesture - paired with that adorable look on his face - that Bucky’s unable to resist. He settles down beside him, leaning against the wall and then turning his head so he can look back to Steve.

Steve’s staring off, frowning and biting his lip. He thinks on it for a bit and then admits, “Remember how I told you I used to be really sick growin’ up?” Bucky nods. Steve meets his gaze and then says, “Well, my dad was in the army; died when I was just a kid. This is the only real thing of his I own,” he adds, lifting his right wrist and talking about the beat up old watch Bucky had been wondering about.

“After my dad died, my mom had to look after me all by herself for a few years, until she met my stepdad,” Steve explains. “She’d always been protective of me because it seemed I was practically living in hospitals more times than I was out of ‘em, but after my birth dad was killed, she got even more protective because, I mean, she’d already lost her husband, right? Her heart’s in the right place, she just… never really stopped being that overprotective.”

Steve continues to talk, and the more he does, the more sense it makes to Bucky. His mom, ‘Sarah’ as it turns out her name is, doesn’t mean to be overbearing, but unfortunately she is. Steve recognizes that it’s only ever done with the best intentions, but that doesn’t make it any less stifling sometimes for her son. There was a lot from the sounds of it that Steve could never do growing up because his mother was too worried that he’d get hurt, so he’d sort of lived a bit of a sheltered childhood, even if it had been privileged financially.

And, as Steve reveals, his mom doesn’t know about the tattoo. Or the drinking. Or his apparent interest in fucking guys like Bucky. Bucky asks if she even knows that Steve’s gay, and he quickly replies, “Oh yeah! I’ve had boyfriends in the past; it’s not like my mom’s against that or anythin’. Really, she’s the sweetest woman in the whole world, I’m not trying to make her sound like she isn’t. She’s just… really invested in making sure nothing bad happens to me. Unfortunately, that includes sometimes making too quick of judgements about the people I hang out with.”

What he means by that, as he explains, is that though he’s able to be perfectly open about things like his sexuality with his mom and stepdad, the only people he’s ever been able to have been open about dating to them were the cookie-cutter kind that Bucky had assumed Steve had been when they’d first met. Only worse, because from the sounds of it, they were the high-class, country club kind of guys. The ones who wore polo shirts and had uncomfortably symmetrical pink sweaters draped over their shoulders and tied in front of their chests. With the way Steve looks, it’s hard for Bucky to imagine him with guys like that. Personally, he feels like Steve looks much better with someone like him, even just aesthetically – but he’s also biased.

“It really has nothin’ to do with you,” Steve insists, taking his mug in hand again and nursing his tea. “And what I do in the privacy of my own life isn’t meant to be rebelling or anything against my parents, either. I just--”

“You don’t want to worry them,” Bucky finishes.

“Exactly. That, and – I mean, I also don’t feel like always getting lectured, as much as I love ‘em.”

Bucky hums to himself, nodding. He can understand that. Gulping down the last of his tea, he puts his cup off to the side and then gives Steve a reassuring smile. “In that case, apology accepted,” he jokes. For a second, all they do is smile at each other, and then Bucky pats his thigh and says, “Alright, enough of that. I actually do have plans for us tonight.”


“Yeah, dinner – y’know, so I can get you off my back.”

Steve grins. “Okay. You must’ve read my mind cause I’m starved.”

“Cool,” Bucky starts to make to get off the bed. “Is there somewhere I can sneak a quick smoke before we go? Like, where you won’t be worried your parents will see me?”

Steve waves his hand quick, making a short ‘mm’ sound as he swallows more tea. Then he’s gesturing for Bucky to sit back down as he says, “Oh, my parents aren’t actually home tonight; dad’s gone on a business trip and mom’s working a late shift over at the hospital. It was our butler I didn’t wanna risk seeing you.”

“Your--? Jesus,” Bucky shakes his head, but he gets comfy again. He certainly hadn’t grown up rich, nor had he ever known anyone who did. The idea of this sort of luxurious life was still a bit hard for his mind to process. Steve’s twisted away from him now, reaching around in the drawer next to his bed.

“You can smoke in here, it’s fine,” Bucky hears Steve suggesting. Then Steve pulls out incense and lights some up, placing it on the nightstand before pushing open the window above his bed.

“You sure?” Bucky asks, hand halfway into his pocket for his pack.

“Yeah, I do it all the time.”

“You smoke?” Bucky asks, maybe with more surprise than he should.

Steve laughs, back to pulling items out of his drawer. Crossing his legs, he dumps a goddamn bag of marijuana and a beautiful glass pipe down in front of him. Lighter in hand, he opens up the bag and starts pulling out a few buds, replying, “Not cigarettes, no.” He starts plucking the buds apart, building up a tiny mountain of pot on the now-closed Ziploc bag. Looking over his shoulder at Bucky, he asks, “You get high?”

“Yeah,” Bucky replies. “Didn’t peg you as the stoner type, though.”

Steve chuckles to himself – another thing he must be used to hearing a lot of. “Yeah, well… I had a long day at school and I could use the relaxer before we go out,” he admits.

He grinds down the weed with his bud buster and then starts pinching it into the bowl. Bucky doesn’t know why, because he’s seen people do this thousands of times before, but watching Steve bring the pipe to his lips and then light the pot… Watching the stream of thick, white smoke travel up the body of glass and disappear into Steve as his lungs expand… Watching Steve pull his head back and hold onto it for a surprising amount of time for someone who has asthma, and then exhale a long, thin stream of smoke… It’s weirdly sexy to Bucky.

Steve feels Bucky’s eyes on him and then gets a weirded-out smile. Holding the pipe out to him, he asks, “You want a hit?”

Bucky hadn’t even lit his smoke yet, but this is even better. The cigarette can wait for when he’s done; he always finds having a smoke after he gets high only makes the head rush better. Nodding, he thanks Steve and takes it from him. They take turns passing it back and forth. And thanks to Steve’s parents always giving him whatever money he needs, his supply of pot is very generous. They refill the bowl two more times.

Bucky can’t take his eyes off of Steve whenever the blond takes his turn to smoke. They challenge each other to see who can hold their breath the longest without coughing, and for his apparently shitty lungs, Steve’s a pro at holding a hit. He also entertains Bucky by blowing out impressive smoke rings, making Bucky chuckle. As the minutes pass, Bucky’s mouth starts to get as dry as a bone, and his eyes slowly become bloodshot. He can feel his heart in his ears, it’s beating so fast, and he feels blissfully light. Steve sort of looks like he’s glowing, just a bit.

They chat while they do it. Steve tells him more about Sam, his friend that Bucky had met at Steve’s initial consultation; how long they’ve been friends, how Sam helped Steve with his coming out when he was in high school. When he explains to Bucky about how much Sam loves his parents, but he knows better than anyone else in Steve’s life how overprotective they can be, Steve describes it as, ‘Sam gets along with them so well because, I mean, he don’t got no tattoos, he’s going to an Ivy League school as well; he knows exactly how to act in front of them to make my life easier. But behind closed doors, Sam seems to have Steve’s back in every sense of the word – and that includes covering for him and not hesitating to help him live a little. Bucky feels confident that he likes Sam; that he was right about him being a good guy.

Steve further surprises Bucky when he casually drops a bit more information about his friend from the club, that Scott guy – namely because Bucky had asked about him (trying to go for blasé about the whole thing). Turns out, Steve’s a lot more similar to Bucky than the brunet would’ve ever guessed in a million years, because apparently Scott is not Steve’s boyfriend, just a friend – that Steve fucks sometimes, ‘no big deal’.

Steve hides his things back in his drawer when they agree that they’ve smoked enough for a while. Bucky’s now sucking lazily on his cigarette, staring at a poster on Steve’s wall with glazed eyes, though not really looking at it. He imagines Steve fucking Scott and feels strangely divided about it – on the one hand, it makes him feel a bit territorial (mostly because it’s something this guy gets to experience that Bucky has not and really fucking wants to), but it’s also a gigantic turn on to know that Steve’s as uninhibited as him, sexually. He’d just naturally thought that with his initial shyness and doe-eyes at their consultation that Steve was some sort of sexual prude, or that that automatically made him the relationship-type.

But it turns out that Steve doesn’t want anything more complicated than Bucky does. Suddenly, everything seems a lot more effortless – just as effortless as Steve suddenly sighing happily, high off his tree, as he settles into a lying position and tugs Bucky down so he is, too. The blond puts his head where Bucky’s arm meets his torso, so Bucky lifts his arm so Steve can get more comfortable before wrapping it around him, resting his hand on Steve’s arm.

He tells Steve about Brock; about how he gets it, the thing with Scott, because he has a friend like that, too. He tells Steve mainly because it’s the best way his foggy brain can think of to let Steve know that he’s not looking for anything serious, either. Steve just hums and nods sluggishly against his chest. Bucky can only see the top of his head, so he doesn’t know what Steve’s face looks like right now.

He’s in the middle of taking a deep drag from his smoke when Steve asks with absolutely no hesitation, “D’you like to bottom or top?”

Bucky coughs out the smoke, not having expected that question. At that, Steve twists against him so he can comfortably tilt his face up and stare at Bucky with a dopey grin. God, Steve looks high as fuck; about as high as Bucky feels. Chuckling with only a little embarrassment, Bucky tries again with the smoke, inhaling properly and blowing out a tiny smoke ring of his own.

“I’ve done both,” he admits. “I usually bottom with Brock. But I like to top, generally.”

“Hmm,” Steve replies, deep and languid in his throat. He’s staring at Bucky’s mouth again. “Good.”

“Oh yeah?” Bucky flirts, feeling that familiar heat starting to travel south to his crotch. He feels like every movement he makes it slow, like the way it feels when you move in a dream. Everything he’s looking at seems both a little fuzzy and a whole lot more vibrant than usual – and that includes Steve. Bucky likes the way Steve’s looking at him right now. He realizes that the blond is slowly tracing a figure eight pattern on his chest, over his shirt with the tip of his index finger. Steve’s gaze is darkening for the better.

“What about you?” Bucky asks.

Steve licks his lips and then quickly crawls up, bringing his mouth up to Bucky’s. “Me?” he breathes innocently, stopping just a couple inches shy of Bucky’s lips. Turning his head, he plucks the burning cigarette from the brunet’s fingers. Bucky watches him stub it out in the ashtray on the night table. Then suddenly nimble fingers are turning his face back to Steve’s, and his baby blues – bloodshot and all – are burning holes into Bucky’s own eyes.

“I like to get fucked into the bed,” Steve husks. He leans in. “I like it when people make me scream.”

And then he’s kissing Bucky, hard and needy and insatiable. Bucky moans into it and grabs the side of Steve’s face; bucks his hips up for friction the second he feels Steve throw a thin leg over his waist and straddle him. The blond is grabbing either side of Bucky’s face and completely controlling the kiss. Their mouths are dry and it’s always a different sensation, making out with someone with you’re baked. There isn’t the usual exchange of saliva - not with how badly they’ve currently got the pasties - and both of their breaths taste like pot. The last time they’d kissed, Steve had tasted of alcohol. Bucky finds himself hoping that eventually, he can discover what Steve tastes like – just Steve.

Still, one of the things Bucky’s always liked about fooling around while stoned is that, to him, every touch tingles more; everything is slightly amplified. Fucking around while sober is still just as amazing, and it isn’t like Bucky has a preference for it while intoxicated, per say. They just both have their perks. Right now, the biggest perk is that he’s buzzing everywhere; his pulse is quick and light and he can feel it all over, just as acutely as he can feel Steve… Feel every minute movement of his lips, or his tongue, or his teeth on and in his mouth… Feel every sensation from where the blond’s hands touch… Feel… Feel… The way he grinds himself down and rocks against him so sweetly.

He moans again. They’re both completely hard against each other. Steve gasps little breaths with every moment. He sounds fucking beautiful.

Bucky’s hands slides up Steve’s smooth back, rucking his shirt up. He can feel Steve’s spine jutting out from beneath his skin, and he follows its arch; feels every notch and counts somewhere in the back of his mind, wanting to circle each one with his tongue. Steve does that thing again where he nudges Bucky’s face up so he can latch his lips along Bucky’s neck and alternate between sucking, kissing, and biting. Apparently he likes giving people hickeys; he must.

Bucky just lets his head fall back as he exhales soft sighs. He continues to run his palms along Steve’s back before sliding one around to Steve’s front so he can start taking in the feel of those spots, too. The blond’s belly is smooth and soft, but what he’s really after is the feel of one of his tiny pink nipples beneath the pad of his thumb. The first time he brushes it, Steve’s breath catches and he stutters against him just a bit. He gives Bucky’s throat a particularly rough bite and then licks a stripe up to Bucky’s ear.

“I like having them played with,” he whispers into it.

Bucky moans in response, his head spinning fast, and so he gives it a pinch. Steve jolts and whimpers – a fucking mind-blowing sound, if Bucky’s ever heard one – before grinding even harder against Bucky’s clothed erection.

Fuck…” Bucky breathes, and he wants to get his mouth on Steve’s nipples, and he wants to do it now. So he guides Steve so he’s sitting up straight and then helps tug his t-shirt off of him. Steve isn’t wearing glasses today – he’s opted for contacts – so those luckily aren’t there to get in the way. His beanie does, though, and falls somewhere off to the side. Now Bucky can clutch onto his hair – there’s nothing holding him back anymore – so he throws one hand up and buries his fingers into it. The strands feel like silk; that could just be the pot talking, but Bucky’s willing to bet everything he owns that it’s not. It’s just Steve.

The next thing his focus goes to is the healing tattoo on Steve’s rib. It looks even more incredible than it had when he’d finished doing it. He fights the urge to run his thumb over it, but the sight of that one simple word - a loop of cursive letters in ink as black and as dark as the things Bucky wants to do to Steve – has Bucky even harder, beginning to wet the inside of his boxer briefs with precome.

“When this is healed, I’m tracing every line of it with my tongue,” he promises, voice low.

Steve lets his head fall back, closing his eyes and moaning needily, as if Bucky had actually just done it. His train of thought is just as jumbled as Bucky’s currently is, because he chooses not to respond to that comment, but instead swoop back down and slam their mouths together again, only to beg between kisses, “I wanna suck your cock.”

“Yeah?” Bucky husks.

Steve nods, making a little ‘mhm’ sound in the back of his throat. Bucky catches his lips again and growls as they kiss. This time, when Steve reaches between them and starts to undo his belt, Bucky doesn’t stop him. When the buckle is undone and Steve slides the leather through the loop of it so he can start next on the button of Bucky’s black jeans, he gives the hem of Bucky’s shirt a hasty flick. “Can you take this off?” he asks, but it sounds a lot more like a demand than a question.

Bucky answers him by merely rising up enough and breaking the kiss only to grab his shirt and pull it over his head. When he tosses it aside, Steve’s eyes tear away from Bucky’s pants so he can take in the side of Bucky’s bare upper body. His fingers pause, halfway through pulling the zipper down Bucky’s pants, as his eyes widen and he groans very loudly.

A lot of Bucky’s upper body is inked - both arms, sleeved from the shoulders down to his wrists; his chest above his pecks is almost entirely filled up as well, stretching all the way up the neck that Steve had just been busy sucking on like a fucking vacuum cleaner. He has several different literary pieces tattooed around his stomach – lines from songs, poems he’s always liked, quotes. Steve’s eyes take in all of it. They trail from his right arm to the left – and he really seems to have a bit of a fascination with the left arm sleeve (made to look like a metal arm, with a red star outlined in black on his deltoid). Then Steve’s baby blues scale down his chest and to each tattoo littering around his stomach. He inhales shallowly and licks his lips when he sees the black tattoo of the quill feather running in a diagonal down Bucky’s right hip bone.

But then Steve takes a proper looks at Bucky’s chest – and none of those things seem to get to him the way the sight of Bucky’s nipple piercing does.

“Holy fuck,” the blond whispers. He presses his palm to the center of Bucky’s stomach and slides it up before cupping underneath Bucky’s well-defined peck and brushing the erect nipple (thanks to the tiny horseshoe ring, it’s always erect) with his thumb. Bucky bites his lip and watches Steve’s fingers play with it.

“You like it?” he asks, tone light but strained. He fucking loves having his nipple ring played with.

“I wanna bite it,” Steve all but moans.

“You can if you want to,” Bucky offers. “I’ll like it if you do.”

Steve swipes his tongue over his mouth again. He gives it an experimental pinch – eyes never leaving where he’s touching – and a small jolt of the best kind of pain tweaks through Bucky’s nipple, making his eyes flutter closed with a groan.

“Did it hurt to get done?” Steve asks curiously.

“Yes,” Bucky breathes. Steve pinches it harder before rubbing his thumb back over it, and the older man gasps and grabs Steve’s hips tightly. “It… hurt like hell… Felt so fucking good…”

Steve moans, just a tiny thing in the back of his throat, and then he’s bending down so he can close his mouth over it. Bucky can feel Steve’s tongue darting against it; the suction when he hollows his cheeks. It makes the whole thing a tiny bit more physically agitating when they’re high, because there isn’t that same hot saliva making the tongue rub over him smoothly. It’s a bit scratchier this way and it irritates his already perky nipple. Bucky loves it.

“God, Steve,” he groans, holding onto the back of the blond’s head and grabbing a nice handful of his ass with the other. It’s surprisingly firm for how thin and soft he seems to be everywhere else. He starts to talk without giving his words much thought; just goes with it. “Jesus fucking Christ, you have a nice ass – feels so good, can’t wait to see you out of those pants of yours. Fuck, I wanna fuck you until you’re feeling me everywhere, god… You like having your little ass eaten out, baby?”

Around his nipple, he feels a vibration as Steve whines and then moans hotly with the tiniest nod of his head. Finally breaking away, Steve kisses feverishly back up to Bucky’s neck and then works his way to the brunet’s mouth. “Yeah,” he breathes, going back to rocking against Bucky and flicking his tongue against Bucky’s lips. “Want you to open me up that way,” he contributes. “God, want you to make me come just from licking into me, Buck.”

“You able to do that?” Bucky asks with genuine curiosity. He’s never been able to climax just from having someone's tongue in his ass, nor has he been able to make anyone else before either. But Steve’s nodding, pressing his forehead to Bucky’s so he can pant and look down into his eyes as he continues to roll his hips.

“There are four things you need to know about me,” he whispers. His voice is breathless and completely fucked. He lets out a little moan – they both do – when Steve rocks himself perfectly, and then he says, “One: I love to suck cock, and I wanna suck yours right now. I bet yours is gorgeous as fuck…”


“Two… I love to come, a lot. Be good to me and I can come for you at least a half dozen times in one fucking if you asked me to.”

Holy fucking fucking FUCK and SHIT, Bucky feels like his head’s about to explode.

“Eat my ass out long enough and I will come for you,” Steve continues, even over Bucky’s sudden groaning when Steve braces himself with one hand on the headboard so he can start grinding against Bucky faster. “Three: it’s never too hard. I want to get fucked, and I will beg for more, so you’d better give it to me when I do.”

Bucky grins, eyes closed and mouth open. They’re both panting loudly, and Bucky jokes, “So many demands; you’re so fuckin’ pushy.”

“And four,” Steve continues, as though uninterrupted. “I love dirty talk. You have a… fuck, mm… You have a gorgeous mouth, Bucky; hot as fuck… Use it on me – call me whatever you want, I want it…”

“That’s five things,” Bucky points out, though he’s looking up at Steve now and fisting the back of Steve’s hair while his other hand is popping open the button on Steve’s skinny jeans.

“That’s four.”

“Having your ass eaten out was three. Altogether, you listed five things.”

Steve straightens up so it’s easier for Bucky to undo his pants. He gives Bucky one of those deceivingly innocent and angelic smiles, though his eyelids are halfway drooped, he’s high as shit, and there’s nothing innocent or angelic about the very obvious bulge in his jeans.

“Then you’d better not forget any of ‘em,” he says.

Bucky yanks his zipper down and then surges up, grabbing Steve’s sides and smirking as he replies, “Aye, aye, Captain,” before flipping them over so he can lay Steve out on his back. Steve laughs – maybe because he actually finds the nickname amusing, or maybe just because Bucky’s funnier to him when he’s stoned, but for a second, it sounds like actual music to Bucky’s ears. Giddily, he bends down so he can plaster his mouth to Steve’s again, and for a few drawn-out seconds, all they do is make out with smiles on their faces.

Meanwhile, the brunet’s hands start sliding Steve’s jeans down his thighs. He breaks away and sits back so he can get a better grip on them and tug them the rest of the way down and Jesus Christ, these things are tight.

“How the shit do you get these babies on every morning?” he grunts, having a bit of difficulty because he’s trying to tug this way and that, but the skinnies don’t seem to want to budge past the spot right above the blond’s kneecaps and he doesn’t want to yank the wrong way and hurt Steve. Steve, all the while, is watching with a look of pure amusement on his face.

“More to the point,” Bucky asks, “how the fuck do you get them off?

Steve bats his hands away, rolling his eyes. “Stop before you hurt yourself,” he retorts, deciding he’ll just have to do the work himself. Planting his feet to the mattress, he lifts his hips off the bed and tilts his pelvis from side to side as his hands make the undressing look effortless. When they’re fully off his legs, Steve bundles them up into a ball and then tosses it over Bucky’s head. The brunet watches them soar to the ground and then raises an eyebrow at Steve.

“Show off.”

“You’ll get the hang of it.”

“Oh, will I now?”

Steve grins; top teeth biting into his bottom lip coyly. “I dunno,” he replies, “you plannin’ on getting me naked often, Mr. Barnes?”

Now Bucky’s gaze is traveling up Steve’s chicken legs to his black pair of briefs. Steve’s all bones and knobby knees and a fragility that belies his ballsy personality - and Bucky’s into twinks, but Steve is really something else. The kid’s practically the King of all twinks.

King of the Twinks. Someday, when they’re not three seconds away from fooling around, Bucky will tell Steve that joke and hopefully the blond will find him just as funny sober.

When his eyes land on the silhouette of Steve’s concealed erection, he sucks in a breath through his nose. Bringing his hands to the waistline of the smaller man’s underwear, Bucky murmurs, “That depends…”

Steve’s watching Bucky’s fingers as they curl into his briefs and start slowly pulling them down. His smile’s gone but he’s still biting his bottom lip. “On?” he breathes.

Bucky uncovers the very tip of Steve’s cockhead. It’s red and already so messy with precome and Bucky wants to lick it all up. He releases another heavy breath and starts leaning down. “You want my hands on you?”


Bucky’s breath ghosts over Steve’s tip – still the only thing he’s undressed at this point – and Bucky can’t take his eyes off of it. “You want my mouth on you?”

“Fuck, yes…

Bucky uses the very tip of his tongue to caress just the outline of that tip, and Steve’s holding his breath.

“You want me in you, Steve?”

The blond tilts his hips up, trying to get more – of anything, by this point. “Oh god… Yes, please…” he moans.

Grey eyes finally slide up and look into baby blues. Both of their eyes are only half opened beneath heavy lids, and if it were possible, Bucky would eat the look on Steve’s face right up. He drags his tongue over the tiny, leaking slit and then darts at it, just a few quick, teasing times. Steve grunts and jolts a bit. He releases another breath he’d been holding, and then he’s inhaling and exhaling through parted lips.

“Then yeah,” Bucky agrees, “I plan on doin’ this to you a lot.”

Steve threads the fingers of one hand into the back of Bucky’s hair. He looks about ready to shatter apart and Bucky’s barely even done anything to him yet. He really wasn’t kidding about being able to come so many times, because he seems like if Bucky lets him, he will any second now – probably before Bucky even fully gets his mouth on him.

Ohhhhhh yes. Bucky is going to have some fun with this gorgeous boy.

Bucky continues to peel down the briefs. When his cock is fully uncovered, Bucky glances back down at it and then hums. “You’re cut,” he notices. Steve doesn’t flush or nothing – just nods and replies, “You mind?”

“Not at all – I sort of prefer ‘em that way, if we’re being honest here,” Bucky admits. He likes uncircumcised dicks, too; this is just what he likes more. “What about you – you like ‘em cut?”

Now Steve blushes a bit. Bucky hasn’t seen that tinge in his cheeks since Steve got his tattoo; he’s missed it. Steve turns red because Bucky knows he sort of unintentionally put him into an awkward position – without seeing Bucky’s dick in return, Steve could give the wrong answer. Although to Bucky, there really is no wrong answer here; if Steve prefers the opposite of what he has, he’ll just have to work harder to show him why the things Bucky can do with his cock are fucking awesome. And he has absolutely no problem accepting that challenge.

“Uhh…” Steve laughs, looking up at the ceiling now. “Maybe it’s ‘cause I don’t have it, but I get stupidly turned on by foreskin.”

A rush of excitement travels simultaneously to Bucky’s erection and to his brain. He decides to be a bit of a bastard. He masks the grin that wants to sprout on his face and just simply replies, “Oh, okay.”

Steve looks down at him, a little horrified. “You’re cut, too, aren’t you?” he groans, throwing his hands over his face. “M’sorry, I still like ‘em like that, I just--”

Bucky shrugs and licks a stripe from the base of Steve’s cock back to the tip, shutting the blond up with a small gasp. “I didn’t say anything, really,” Bucky teases. “You’re just going to have to find out.”

He doesn’t remove the blond’s underwear; right now, he only needs them low enough to have own to his balls exposed. Then they remain snugly stretched across his thighs, right below his sac, so Steve can’t go spreading his legs. Bucky waits until Steve’s looking back down to him before he draws him into his mouth and starts sucking.

Steve may love to suck cock, but Bucky’s always been a fan of it, too. Steve’s average and fits between his lips perfectly – a dizzying weight on his tongue and enough length-wise that he needs to readjust just a bit to deep-throat him, but not enough that it poses any sort of great difficulty to Bucky.  What he quickly learns is that Steve’s very enthusiastic, vocally; not much of a talker, but loves to moan and cry out sharply when Bucky does something he particularly enjoys.

He also makes these little, tiny sounds that Bucky also discovers drive him insane… Small, pitchy gasps and whimpers that could get lost in the air if Bucky wasn’t listening so closely. Those are the more vulnerable sounds, and those are the ones that let Bucky know when he’s really doing something phenomenal. He’s holding himself up by the palms of his hands and keeps turning his face from side to side with every few sucks, since Steve seems to like feeling Bucky’s bottom teeth scrape lightly against the different sides of his dick.

It’s less than four minutes in when Steve comes for the first time. The blond is so adorable, because he feels he actually needs to verbally warn Bucky when it’s about to happen – as if his increased breaths and rises in pitch weren’t already a dead giveaway. Bucky just looks up at him with a devilish expression – mouth full and all – and winks at him before closing his eyes and hollowing his cheeks out to drive him over the edge.

Steve’s come tastes just as delicious as Steve’s skin, and the blond cries out Bucky’s name when he falls apart. Bucky doesn’t know why he hadn’t anticipated that but it gets to him so abruptly that he finds himself moaning in response around his cock, still spurting semen into the back of his throat and giving the inside of his mouth some much-needed lubrication.

Bucky likes watching Steve come. Even after he softens and it passes, he’s still writhing gently against the bed; arching his back up and down with little exhales for moans. His mouth is tipped open and he stares down at Bucky in a daze, until he gets a goofy smile. Bucky can’t help but return it.

Steve reaches a hand out. Bucky assumes it’s to hold his own, so he tangles their fingers together. Steve blinks to their hands and then gets a weird expression before barking out a small laugh. “No, stupid,” he says playfully, shaking his hand and subsequently Bucky’s. “I wanna sit; help me up.”

“Oh!” Bucky squeezes Steve’s hand and leans down to grab his shoulder with the other. He pulls Steve upwards, where the younger man takes the side of Bucky’s face and immediately kisses him. Bucky hums deep in his chest at the contact and pushes his tongue into Steve’s mouth, rubbing it along his.

“I can taste myself,” Steve whispers, tilting his face to the other side and kissing Bucky harder.

“How do you taste?” Bucky whispers back, clutching Steve in his hands tightly and groaning when he feels Steve’s left palm press to his lower stomach and then slink its way into his boxer briefs, quickly finding the tip of his own hard-on.

“Much better on you… Sit back a bit.”

Bucky does; so far back, in fact, that he has to plant his hands on the bed behind him to keep himself upright. Steve’s still got his own underwear halfway down his thighs, but he doesn’t even seem to think about taking them off. It’s almost haphazard – like he’s so intent right now on getting Bucky naked that he’s forgotten he even has them still on. Bucky’s fixated on Steve’s face, but every other second, he can’t help but take in the sight of the rest of him. He’s gangly and his joints seem to protrude everywhere – and he’s the hottest thing Bucky’s ever seen.

Steve gets Bucky’s pants and underwear down to his knees before grabbing the brunet’s cock in his hand and then realizing something. He blinks with surprise, stammering out the first syllable of a sentence he chooses to abort, and Bucky grins. Steve glares up at him with a flat look and snaps, “You fuckin’ asshole; you are uncut.”

“In my defense, I never said I wasn’t.”

“But you let me think you were and that I’d gone and offended you.”

“I literally sucked you off right afterwards; how sore with ya could I have been?”

A good point. Steve just keeps glaring at him stubbornly and grumbles, “You’re a shithead.”

“Hey, no one’s forcing you to suck anyone’s – oh, fuck!

And Jesus Christ, Steve really does love sucking cock, it seems, because he bends down quickly and practically inhales it. He makes it into a bit of a show, actually; one that Bucky can just lean back on his hands and gawk at with blown pupils and an expression that straddles bewildered and jesusfuckingchristhewantstofuckthiskidintothefloorthisissosexy. Steve easily is the best cocksucker Bucky’s ever experienced. He does it like it’s his goddamn job; pulls back so Bucky can watch him tongue the foreskin, which gets Steve moaning needily while Bucky just tries to remember how to make his lungs function properly, much less use them to produce sound. Their high has ebbed enough that they’ve got a bit of saliva coming back into their mouths, so the shoving of Steve’s mouth on his length isn’t rough and dry. Bucky is far bigger than Steve and yet Steve takes it all as though he was looking to win the gold medal for doing so.

He gets a hand on himself and starts stroking his soft cock as he stuffs his throat over and over with Bucky’s dick, breathing roughly through his nose. Even though he’d only just came, he doesn’t stop touching himself – drawing out sensitive little determined whimpers that make vibrations and sparks go off in Bucky’s swollen balls – until he begins to get hard again. Amazingly, this only takes a few short minutes, and when Bucky notices Steve’s renewed erection, Steve sees the baffled expression on Bucky’s face and just gives him this smug look, like, Told you.

Eventually, it becomes so good that Bucky just lets his head fall back so he can close his eyes and focus on the sensations – what the inside of Steve’s cheeks feel like… The hard roof of his mouth, the spongy tissue of his tongue, the odd little scrape of perfectly straight teeth... His lips part when he starts panting, and then the panting gets replaced with breathy groans and uttered curses. Bucky’s usually quite the talker during sex, but when he gets blowjobs, the only words he can usually manage are ‘fuck’ and ‘god’. Sometimes the words ‘oh my’ come before either or both of those.

Steve’s muffled moans and whimpers start to join his as the minutes pass and the blond is now hot and hard in his own hand and fucking his fist over himself faster. Something about touching himself while he’s sucking dick seems to turn Steve into this whole other level of super slut – so fucking needy to get more. Because when he feels the blond pulling his mouth off his cock, Bucky drops his head forward to take a look at him… just in time to watch Steve jerk him off quick and half-distractedly as his lips close tightly and he starts making weird chewing motions. At first, Bucky isn’t sure what he’s doing.

And then Steve, never taking his eyes off of Bucky’s cock, spits the little amount of saliva he was able to gather up onto Bucky’s cockhead, before leaning right back in and deep-throating him right to the base.

“Oh my fucking god, Stevie, fuck!” Bucky practically shouts, eyes bulging from his head. He’s actually never seen anyone do that except for in porn, and while he might not request to make a habit of that, he certainly won’t protest to having Steve do it – not when it’s one of the most obscene and sexiest things anyone’s ever fucking done to him. He grabs the back of Steve’s head, clutching at the roots of golden hair, and closes his eyes as he starts to pant frantically, “M’gonna come, m’gonna come, let me fuck your mouth, oh fuck, please, let me fuck your pretty mouth…”

All Steve does is jerk himself off faster and make a loud whining sound, which Bucky assumes is a yes when Steve drops his other hand from Bucky’s waist and grounds himself to the bed for anchorage. He leans back when Bucky straightens himself up, and then he’s holding either side of Steve’s face and tossing his head back as he starts thrusting back and forth, in and out from between Steve’s red and swollen lips… fucking deep into the back of Steve’s throat while the blond gags softly and moans loudly.

Fuck… Fuck… Baby… Fuck…” Bucky chants, quicker and through clenched teeth until he snaps his hips forwards and feels himself start to blow his load. Gasping raggedly, his eyes open and he stares up at the ceiling as he continues to make shallows thrusts into Steve’s mouth while the blond drinks up every drop. About halfway through his orgasm – and only between his own unsteady breaths – does he realize he hears Steve whining high and brokenly in his throat as his mouth is still being used. Looking down, Bucky’s mouth falls further slack when he sees Steve’s eyes squeezed shut and his little body shuddering as streaks of come shoot from his own erection.

Steve’s coming again. While Bucky’s coming down his throat.

Bucky doesn’t think he’ll ever get enough of this kid.

Steve doesn’t open his eyes at first and he doesn’t seem to realize it when Bucky’s finally finished climaxing because he keeps trying to suckle on Bucky, even when he begins to soften. It’s a little too much for his over-stimulated sex, so Bucky has to breathlessly chuckle and gently force Steve back. Only then does Steve blink his baby blues open and look from Bucky’s dick to the brunet’s face. Laughing, he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and then takes his hand off his own dick.

“I should probably clean this up,” he says, referring to the mess he’s made on his comforter. “Not that our hired help has never cleaned suspicious stains off my bedding before, but it’s usually less awkward when they don’t have to.”

Chuckling, Bucky gets off the bed and pulls his pants back up. He’d really wanted to fuck Steve, but now that he’s come, it’ll take him a little while to get the stamina for it again. Damn. At least there will (hopefully) be other opportunities; Steve did seem willing. They make conversation while Bucky helps him wet a couple cloths and then scrub the semen from off the thick blanket. When it’s all cleaned up, Steve grins and pulls Bucky back on top of him and they wile away the better portion of a half hour making out – sometimes slow and deep, sometimes fast and hungry.

But Steve’s stomach keeps growling. At first, they ignore it. Then it seems to become a force to be reckoned with when it gets so noisy that Bucky’s actually pulling back and asking, “Wow, really?” and Steve’s covering his eyes and laughing with embarrassment. Even still, Steve tries to convince Bucky to fool around with him again, and Bucky would, if not for the very obvious fact that Steve’s body is desperate to get some food into it. It’s only when he makes some cheesy, completely lame comment about knowing that Steve’s body is starving, but he doesn’t think his cock is what it’s looking for right now, that the blond rolls his eyes and shoves him off.

“Alright, fine,” he concedes, hopping off the bed to grab a jacket from his closet. “For the record, you’re a total buzz kill.”

“For the record, your ass looks so cute in those jeans – anyone ever tell you that?” Bucky retaliates, lying on his side and propped up on his forearm.

Steve gives him a look from over his shoulder; a thing that says both shut the fuck up and please keep going. “You keep talkin’ like that and I’m not gonna give you much of a choice,” he threatens, sliding one arm into the coat sleeve and then the other.

Bucky smirks, pushing himself up and finding his footing. “Rain check,” he promises, stealing a quick kiss from Steve’s lips before striding out of the room to put on his boots.

They don’t wind up sleeping together that night, nor any night for a while after. But that doesn’t mean nothing happens at all. 

What they casually establish over dinner that night is that neither of them is looking for a relationship – just some fun, casual sex. They’re still allowed to fool around with other people if they want to, so long as they’re safe about it and honest with the other if either contracts anything. Bucky, because he’s actually a bit obsessive compulsive like that, gets checked at the end of every month, even if he’s only slept with one or two people. So he assures Steve that that won’t be a problem.

And he always wears a condom or has the person he’s fucking put one on. He doesn’t bother to hide his relief when Steve shares that he’s always the same way, though Bucky isn’t surprised; with all the ailments and sickness that boy had to grow up with, Bucky supposes it’s to be expected that he’d be a little extra health conscious when fooling around in the sheets.

They talk and laugh and learn a lot about each other that night, and then it just sort of feels right to end it there once dinner’s done. At that point, it’s already pretty late and Steve has school the next day, so Bucky drives him back home (parking just down the street from his house) and they part with a promise to get together again and a lingering kiss.

They become nearly inseparable not long after that.

If Bucky’s not busy at work, he’s either with Steve or texting him, and the same goes for when Steve’s not in class. The blond starts inviting him to group hangouts with his circle of friends, and Bucky gets along quite well with Sam, this awesome chick named Maggie (who’d originally gone by ‘Peggy’ when they’d first met but apparently she outgrew that pretty fast), and even Scott. Scott’s such an easygoing, laid-back dude that Bucky can’t even find it in himself to get all that jealous about the fact that he’s still banging Steve from time to time, too.

And if he did get jealous, Bucky knows it would make him a total hypocrite. He is, after all, still sleeping with Brock here and there – though Brock knows all about Steve, and doesn’t necessarily mind being bailed on if Steve randomly texts Bucky and asks him if he wants to get together. Brock’s considerably older than either of them, so he understands what it’s like to be ‘young and in love’, as he teases.

Except Bucky isn’t in love, and he knows Steve isn’t either. Admittedly, it’s impossible not to have a raging crush on the guy, because Steve’s basically awesome personified in every way (even when he’s being an annoying little dick, which he can sometimes be). They bicker as much as they laugh together, and they’re practically glued to each other’s hip, and maybe sometimes stares begin to linger a lot longer than they should – on both of their parts – but it isn’t love.

It’s simply the case that over the following months, their friendship solidifies, deepens, and they become each other’s best friend, so to say. Steve could never take Tasha’s place in Bucky’s life, and he knows that he could never (and would never want to) take over Sam’s – but what they are to each other sort of has its own ranking. Steve becomes Bucky’s best friend in a way that could never be like Natasha, but also in a way that Natasha could never provide. Bucky would take a bullet for any of his loved ones, but he’d take a whole army on for Steve.

Steve starts crashing at Bucky’s apartment here and there (always telling his parents that he’s sleeping at one of his other friend’s places), and whenever Bucky goes to his place, he’s still always just as mindful at sneaking in without getting caught. Eventually, in a totally casual way, Steve gets a copy of his key made so Bucky can just come right in without having to ever knock.

They don’t have sex for the first while, not because it’s a conscious decision – it just doesn’t happen. But they do plenty of other stuff, and they do it a lot. Bucky wonders if it’s healthy to pine after someone as frequently or as strongly as he does for Steve, because the kid is literally always on his mind. Whenever they get each other alone and they can get away with it, they’re making each other come. Hands, mouth – it doesn’t matter. They’ll find a way and they’ll do it. Bucky doesn’t know if you can physically become addicted to another person’s body, but on more than a few occasions does he find himself thinking that he craves Steve like some sort of drug addict.

It’s never a problem, though, because that addiction seems to be just another thing they have in common. Steve is insatiable, and though they make a point not to talk about anyone else they may be sleeping with (if they happen to be at the time), it’s never enough for Steve. He could be getting railed left, right, and center while not with Bucky, and that still would never stop him from pouncing on him the moment they have some privacy.

Even though he’s not getting laid at first, Bucky’s never gotten more consistent action in his life. They’re out at dinner? They’re trying to sneak subtle handjobs. They get high together? Game over. If they’re out at the movies, they’re tongue-fucking each other’s mouths and miss the entire plot. They try to watch a movie at one of their places? They’re lucky if they get five minutes in before Steve’s straddling him and grinding down against him. And Bucky’s no better – they learn that them trying to make dinner at home is a process that needs at least a two hour window, because it always tends to culminate in Bucky hoisting Steve up onto the counter so they can fuck around some more.

Showers are literally the most dangerous place for them. Honestly, Bucky doesn’t even think they use them to clean themselves up when they’re together. If they do, that goal never stays the goal for long. Soaping each other up only ever tends to lead to either Steve being bent over so Bucky can lick and suck on his asshole until Steve’s shooting all over the place (he can indeed come just from being eaten out), or the blond being on his knees so Bucky can fuck his mouth.

If Bucky can’t say for certain that he’s grown addicted to Steve overall, he can certainly say without hesitation that he’s grown addicted to Steve’s blowjobs. It sounds awful, but he’d probably commit mass murder for them if he had to. They’re just that great. And the thing is – as most things seem to be with this kid – it’s not so much the oral itself that makes it so earth-shattering.

It’s Steve. It’s the way he does it.

Every time Steve goes down on him, Bucky swears he can see the face of God, but he does this thing when he sucks him off in the shower that he knows is Bucky’s favourite. He’ll be on his knees but leaning back so his back is pressed to the wet shower wall. Bucky will be holding his head in place – the back of Steve’s skull pressed to the flat surface as well – and staring down at the blond’s face while his thick cock slides in and out from between Steve’s lips.

It’s the way Steve looks at him.

Hair soaking wet; bangs matted to his forehead… The stream of the shower landing on his shoulder and continuing to wet the lower half of his body… He’ll look up at Bucky and it’s like he’ll forget how to blink, even as drops of water trickle dangerously close to his eyes. (And his eyelashes, fuck him, they’re long enough as it is, but when they’re in the shower, they clump together and look even darker than they already do.)

He stares up into Bucky’s eyes so goddamn adoringly, so willingly. All he wants in that moment is to give Bucky everything he needs and to make him feel so good. Steve’s sneaky, in that he’s aware of his youthful appearance – and thanks to many conversations (that usually lead to fucking around), he knows full-well by now how hard his twink looks get Bucky’s cock.

But he also understands how innocent he can come across to the world. So he knows that it always sets Bucky off when he uses that to his advantage when Bucky’s touching him, or using that pair of sinfully gorgeous lips until he’s dirtying up the inside of the blond’s mouth with his release. Whenever Bucky has him in the shower like this, doing nothing but being pressed to the wall and staring up at Bucky while his mouth gets fucked, he purposely gives the brunet his best doe-eyes – big and wide and deceivingly inexperienced. Like he’s some fucking piece of jailbait that Bucky’s turning over to the dark side by showing Steve just how much he loves to suck a good dick.

Bucky’s awful, because it works every time; riles him up and makes him come harder and harder than he ever thought possible.

And Steve was also honest about another thing, too. It’s never too rough, or too much. Though they haven’t actually fucked yet, he’s always begging for more if Bucky’s working three, sometimes four fingers into him, of stuffing his mouth to the back of his throat until Steve is gagging. He likes being wrecked, and in turn, Bucky get hot by it, too.

So when Bucky thrusts in and out of his mouth when they’re in the shower, for example, and Steve’s looking up at him with glossy, fucked-out doe-eyes that still somehow stay intently on Bucky’s face, never straying… all he’ll do is let out these tiny, breathy moans, every single time Bucky pushes back in. The hottest part is when his body shudders a bit and he produces the softest of gagging sounds – but still doesn’t look away from Bucky or squeeze his eyes shut. Then he’s right back to moaning again. He’ll do this every time until Bucky’s grunting out a curse and spilling into him.

Steve keeps getting more ink, too – always by Bucky, never anyone else. The second piece is what looks like a sort of shield symbol between his shoulder blades; rings of red, white, and blue, with a white star in the center. Bucky teases him about never knowing he was so patriotic, but it turns out that for personal reasons, it reminds him of his biological father. Bucky instantly feels bad, though Steve assures him there’s nothing to worry about. When Bucky inks it into his skin – which takes just over an hour – he puts even more focus into making it perfect, just to make up for his careless comment.

That entire hour, Steve’s gripping the chair he’s straddling so tightly that it’s amazing the metal doesn’t just bend beneath his hands. By the end, he’s biting so hard into his arm to keep from moaning filthily that it starts to bleed. Neither of them notice until Bucky’s leaping up, pulling the gun away, and exclaiming, “Jesus, Steve!” and then running for paper towels. They clean him up, but then at Steve’s insistence, Bucky finishes it. Steve’s so goddamn turned on by the time it’s done that he crowds Bucky into one of the consultation rooms and gives him a handjob.

When he gets the line, ‘Not a perfect soldier, but a good man’ (something Steve explains his old doctor had said with reference to Steve’s body’s constant struggle to remain in good health, but how his spirit was good and strong enough to always pull him through), tattooed across the top of his foot, nothing is able to stop him from gasping and making little choked grunting sounds. Bucky had warned him that the foot is considered by many to be the most painful place to get inked, but Steve had wanted it anyways.

For a while after that, everyone in the shop lightheartedly pokes fun at Steve every time he comes back – whether it’s for more tattoos or just to give Bucky some extra company on his breaks. But Steve doesn’t mind, because just as Bucky had grown to be accepted into his circle of friends, so too is it apparent that everyone in the shop likes having Steve around – even Logan, who doesn’t like most people on a good day.

And Bucky certainly doesn’t mind because every time he tattoos Steve, it’s more of his art he’s imprinting onto his friend’s skin. And by the time he’s finished, he’s just as turned on as the blond is, and whenever they find the first opportunity to get away with it, they get their hands on each other until they come, always.

Within the first three months, Steve gets himself nine tattoos, varying in size. The only two constants are that they’re always in a place where he can easily hide them with his every day clothing – and of course, that he gets his mouth on Bucky and his hands on Bucky’s body the very second Bucky allows him to.

It’s not always about the fooling around – it’s just about that more often than not. But they still do their fair share of talking, continuing to learn about each other. They can hang out without making things dirty. They just simply don’t want to. It’s like they’re in a relationship, just minus the messy, complicated ‘relationship’ part.

It’s the happiest Bucky’s been in a while.

Though of course, it eventually leads to sex – because, come on.

They really can’t keep their hands off of each other.

Funny enough, it starts innocently. They’re hanging out in Steve’s bedroom one night, lazing on his bed. Steve’s sitting against the headboard of his bed. He’s got one ear bud in, listening to some Motley Crüe while he keeps looking back and forth between his textbook and the homework he’s working on in his lap. Bucky, belly-down, is flipping through Steve’s sketch book.

Probably one of Bucky’s favourite things that he’s learned about Steve over the months that they’ve known each other is that he’s a closet artist, and a damn good one at that. Bucky, of course, not only appreciates it but also on a deeper level than most people. Steve had revealed to him one night - after they’d been lounging around naked and still grazing their fingers along each other’s skin – that what he really wanted to be was an illustrator for graphic novels. Though whenever Bucky tries to talk to him about potentially dropping his current Major and pursuing art school instead – since he has absolutely no interest in Political Science anyways – Steve always asks if they can change the subject.

He loves gazing upon Steve’s sketches. He really does have a broad spectrum of talent in this medium; his drawings range from lifelike portraits, to graffiti designs, to comic-style cartoons, to landscape, and beyond. Bucky’s favourites are the graphic-style ones, because it’s evident with the care and detail that goes into them that those are where Steve’s true passion lies.

“I still don’t get why you won’t consider art school,” he hums with mock disappointment, breaking the comfortable silence that they’ve been sitting in for the past twenty minutes or so.

Steve sighs and tugs the bud out of his ear with exasperation. “Are we really goin’ to do this again?” he asks curtly. It’s definitely one of those topics that gets them arguing – even if they can never stay annoyed at each other for long, or if the frustration makes for the steamiest groping sessions.

Bucky flips to the next page in the sketchbook. “Get pissy with me all you want, but you know I’m right,” he replies. “Like, look at these, Stevie. You’re really fucking good. This kind of talent shouldn’t be wasted and that’s exactly what you’re doing.”

“What are you – my mother?” Steve mutters, closing his notebook and shoving it off to the side.

Bucky glances over his shoulder at him. “Look me in the eye and tell me that I’m not right.”

For a moment, they just stare at each other, and Bucky sees how Steve’s chewing the inside of his cheek. Eventually, he sighs again and casts his eyes downward, shaking his head. “My parents already put so much money into my schooling,” he admits reluctantly. “My stepdad works fucking hard, and my ma’s always worked even harder. A degree in PoliSci isn’t ideal but it could open up more doors for me than art school. After everything they’ve done to give me the life I have, I owe it to them to do something stable and reliable with my life – make the sacrifices they’ve made for me and the money they’ve invested worth it.”

Bucky pushes himself up and crosses his legs. He takes Steve’s chin in his hand and tilts it up so the blond is looking back at him. Then he points his finger down onto the sketch on the opened page. “‘Worth it’? Worth it to who? By whose standards is what you do with your life considered meaningful or not? Look at this, Steve. This? This art? That’s who you are; that’s when you really come alive.”

“The statistics for how many people are ever successful when it comes to the arts is over a million to one, Buck,” Steve argues. “I don’t need passion projects – I need financial security and results.”

Bucky drops his hand, letting his arm thunk off his thigh. “You just saying that because you think that’s what your parents expect of you, or because the idea of not being rich for a change scares you to death?”

Now Steve glares at him. “That’s a low fuckin’ blow, asshole,” he says angrily.

“Maybe,” Bucky admits. Sighing, he brings his hands to Steve’s face and is relieved when the blond doesn’t recoil out of the touch, like he sometimes does if he’s annoyed. He just lets Bucky cup his cheeks and lean in. “I’m sorry,” Bucky says before giving him a light kiss. “I just felt it was worth asking. There’d be nothing wrong with it if you’d said yes, you know – to either of those things.”

Steve presses his lips back lightly to Bucky’s and then finds himself admitting, “I mean… I guess I’m used to not having to worry about money. But that’s not it… It’s honestly about my parents. I know it’s not that they want me to be unhappy or stuck with some job that I hate for the rest of my life… I just… I know that my mom always worries that I won’t ever have to worry about nothin’, and… I want to make things easier for her; show her that everything she ever did for me was worth it.”

Bucky thinks about it, looking back down at the sketchbook. He knows, from everything he’s heard, that Steve and his mother are really close. And he knows that she’s seen Steve’s sketches before, and always compliments him for them. But Steve’s never so much as expressed what his true dream career is, and if he never tells her, how can he know for sure what it is she’d want for him?

Bucky thinks he has an idea of that, though.

Picking up the book, he hands it over to Steve. “You know, I may not have met your mom, but from everything you’ve told me, I think she just wants you to be happy,” he says. “And I don’t think she’d be happy knowing that you lived a miserable life, not doin’ what it is you really want to do, because of her. Because you would be making it because of her, and then it’d inadvertently be her fault. And say she would’ve wanted the opposite from you? Well, then you’ve just forced a lot of guilt onto her that she didn’t deserve. In fact, I’m willing to bet you ten bucks that if you told her how you feel and then told her what you assume it is would make her happy, she’d probably bitch slap you upside the back of the head.”

Steve chuckles to himself, and his eyes are on his drawings, but he doesn’t seem thoroughly convinced. Still, it’s progress when he gives Bucky a shy side glance and relents, “I’ll think about it.”

Bucky beams, feeling somewhat accomplished - okay, really accomplished. He nudges Steve’s shoulder when he gets an idea. “In the meantime, what about tattooing? This is the kind of shit people would pay to get inked on their bodies. What about having a side career of that, if you decide that art school’s a no-go?”

Steve’s eyebrows shoot to his hairline and he practically shouts back, “Oh no! Not happening, nuh-uh – you put any sort of gun in my hands and I’ll accidentally kill someone with it.”

“A tattoo gun isn’t a real gun, Steve.”

“I know that, but I’d find a way to kill somebody with it anyways.”

“I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit,” Bucky says warmly, closing the sketchbook and setting it aside so he can gather Steve up under one arm and pull the smaller boy to him. He looks down at Steve’s face and smiles. “What if I taught you how? We could take it slow. M’not saying you’re gonna go and start working in shops or anything; just that, I dunno, you let me teach you some things and if you like it, I’ll teach you more, and more, and so on.”

“What would I even practice on?” Steve asks, scrunching his nose.

“Fruit, typically, like bananas,” Bucky explains. Then his smile becomes lopsided. “But if I see that you’re getting the hang of it, I’ll let you try it on me.”

Steve shakes his head against Bucky’s shoulder vehemently. “I don’t wanna hurt you,” he insists, terrified at the idea of all the things he thinks could possibly go wrong.

Bucky laughs. “You wouldn’t hurt me, punk – I wouldn’t let you even try until I felt confident that you could pull it off. And if you really didn’t feel comfortable doing it, I wouldn’t make you. Just humour me; say you’ll let me try and teach you a few things. Please?”

Steve holds his gaze and then shakes his head, looking away. But he also buries his face further in, on Bucky’s chest. “Why do I do these things for you?” he asks, sighing overdramatically.

Bucky shrugs, tilting Steve’s chin up so he can get another kiss. “Whatever your excuse it, don’t forget it,” he says, and he begins to lean in--

When they hear a knock at Steve’s front door.

Now, Steve’s room is adjacent to where the entrance to the apartment is. So when Sarah Rogers calls out, “Steve? Hunny, you home?” they can hear it almost clear as day. Bucky immediately leaps off the bed and looks to Steve for answers. Steve’s gaping at the wall and then jumps off and grabs Bucky’s wrist.

“Shit! I thought she was at work this evening!” he hisses, running into his closet and dragging Bucky behind him. At first, Bucky thinks Steve’s just going to ditch him in there and go cover the situation with his mom. But then Steve’s closing the closet door at the same time that they hear Steve’s front door opening and his mom coming in. Bucky can hear her footsteps out in the front entrance, then disappearing where she’s probably checking the living room. Steve’s backed up against the wall and has his hands fisted in Bucky’s shirt, keeping their bodies pressed to each other – as if he’s afraid that if he lets go, Bucky will go blowing everything. It’s pitch black in there but Bucky can sense how close Steve is from the small, desperate-to-be-silent exhales against his neck.

“I left a note in the house saying I went to study at Maggie’s, in case my stepdad came home early,” he whispers, almost inaudibly. “She probably hasn’t seen it yet… Just gotta stay quiet until she leaves…”

“You’re gonna lie to your mom like that?” Bucky whispers back.

“I plan to tell her about you eventually,” Steve snaps back quietly. “But this ain’t exactly the circumstances to make a good first impression.”

That makes sense; he tries to imagine how it would look for Mrs. Rogers to meet her son’s completely tattooed friend who looks as though he walked to Steve’s straight from the center of a mosh pit – lying on his bed, making out with her little boy, no less. Yeah, under different circumstances would definitely be better.

The footsteps return and before they know it, they’re coming into Steve’s bedroom. “Shh!” Steve whispers fast, at the same time that Mrs. Rogers calls out her son’s name again, and presses his hand over Bucky’s mouth. As if he needs it. Bucky rolls his eyes and knocks Steve’s hand away but remains perfectly silent. It’s completely ridiculous because they’re both grown men for fuck’s sake, but the fact that they’re holed up in a closet of all places, hiding from Steve’s mom like their friendship is some scandalous little secret feels so high school that it has Bucky giddy all over again. His pulse is quick and fluttering in his neck, and he’s almost shaking from adrenaline – at the fear of being found out.

Steve seems to be feeling it, too. And with every passing second, as Mrs. Rogers footsteps go through his room, to the adjoining guest room, and then back in, Bucky can feel how Steve’s face tilts up. Even though they can’t see a thing, Steve’s gaze is still somehow on Bucky’s face, because he can feel those breaths on his chin now. Steve’s starting to tug him closer so their hips are pressed together.

Steve’s rock hard, and so is Bucky.

Other than staring into the darkness at what they assume is each other’s eyes, they remain stock still so as not to make a sound. It feels like forever but it only a few more seconds before Steve’s mother turns and leaves the room. When they hear the front door of the apartment close and then the easily-audible sound of her heading back down the stairs to ground level, they know they’re alone. Still, they give it another minute – just to be sure.

Steve’s the one who decides when they’ve waited long enough. He lets out this loud rush of air and grabs the back of Bucky’s head. Surging up, he brings his mouth up and it only takes one quick adjustment for their lips to be colliding together. It’s like a dam collapsing; Steve’s making these loud, needy, whimpering sounds into Bucky’s mouth, while Bucky breathes roughly into his. At first, Bucky’s only thought process is to feel Steve closer, closer, everywhere, so he pins the blond to the closet wall.

But then Steve’s reaching out and fumbling for the door knob, shoving the door open and pushing Bucky back so they stumble out of the small space – never breaking the kiss. They’re hectic in their movements as they strip each other in record time, throwing their clothes behind them and strewing them everywhere. Everything’s a hot, feverish blur; something that, looking back on it, Bucky would be able to remember every individual detail without being able to recall how each moment happened. All he could tell you was that he burned for Steve, he was absolutely ignited for Steve, and the only way to stoke the flames was to have him.

So they put their hands everywhere on each other and refuse to stop kissing for as long as they can help it. Then Bucky alternates between sucking Steve off and lapping at his tight little asshole while it’s stretched around two of his fingers. He crooks them and scissors and opens him up while sucking Steve’s balls and massaging his prostate, and when Steve comes all over his belly with a silent scream, Bucky licks all the evidence up.

The entire time, they say nothing to each other. They don’t have time for words; they just need for Bucky to be inside of Steve. The blond doesn’t even get to put his mouth on Bucky’s cock, because the older man grabs the lube and condoms from where he knows they’re stashed away next to Steve’s bed; rolls one on and slicks himself up before Steve can even get a taste. But then he’s on Steve and pushing into him, and he’s so fucking tiny, Bucky doesn’t know at first how all of him will fit. Jesus Christ, it’s such a tight squeeze and Bucky keeps thinking he’s going to lose it, or Steve won’t be able to take it, but then next thing he knows, he’s bottoming out, and Steve’s clinging to him, and the heat between their bodies is unbearable and Bucky can’t think.

Then he starts thrusting, and once he starts he doesn’t even know how to stop, because Steve’s body is so wet and hot and constricts around him so perfectly and Steve won’t stop kissing him and panting into his mouth… And then Bucky’s flipping them over and Steve’s riding him, and he’s fucking pro at that, Bucky should’ve known he would be… Goes back and forth between bouncing himself up and down, taking all of Bucky’s cock into him because he’s so fucking good, god, he’s perfect at this, and then seating himself and rocking his hips back and forth quickly – stirring Bucky inside of him and making sure his prostate doesn’t go untouched – before bouncing again.

They touch everywhere they can, and nowhere seems to be enough. Nowhere even somewhat eases the burning need inside of Bucky, nor does it seem to for Steve. They kiss feverishly; licking into each other’s mouths and biting at lips and just trying to not scream because they could still get caught at any second if they were too loud and someone heard. Steve almost breaks when Bucky grabs his ass and holds Steve still so he can piston his hips off the mattress and fuck up into Steve hard and fast.

The smacking sounds fill the room and Steve’s eyes squeeze tightly shut as he backs off from Bucky’s mouth and seems to struggle to breathe. Then he’s burying his face into Bucky’s neck and whimpering muffled, hoarse cries into the skin – something that might’ve been one continuous whine if Bucky’s thrusting wasn’t breaking up the sound into broken little beats that were perfectly timed to every shove of Bucky’s cock into his hole. For the second time that evening, Steve goes rigid and then shakes violently in Bucky’s grip as he starts to come again, splattering hot and sticky between their bellies.

Steve sucks at Bucky’s neck to try and keep from crying out, but the way his ass spasms around the brunet’s cock is nothing short of mind-blowing. When Bucky finally settles his hips back down and Steve can stand it, the blond goes back to taking over, and then it’s Bucky’s turn to have to keep silent when Steve’s not only back to fucking himself on his dick just right, but is also now sucking on his pierced nipple and tugging on it with his teeth.

It doesn’t last much longer than that – not with how worked up they both are. Steve is the one to flip them back over this time, and then Bucky’s holding himself up by his hands and really giving it to him. He pulls out once – really brief and really quick – so he can swoop down and lick right over Steve’s first tattoo, análaigh, before dragging his tongue to Steve’s tiny nipple and biting it back. Just as Steve arches and gasps, Bucky’s plunging back into him and then fucking him with fervor.

Steve has a hard time not putting his hand on himself whenever he and Bucky fool around, and even if he doesn’t start off hard when he first does it, he’s always able to provoke it back to full mast within an impressively short period of time. Bucky’s getting sweat in his eyes and panting so quick and raggedly that he’s starting to feel like he might pass out as he drills Steve into the mattress.

Then Steve comes before him for a third time; tossing his head back and eyes rolling back into his head, and Bucky’s fucking done. It’s not even two thrusts from the time he watches Steve come again that he’s stuttering out a choked auh sound and then dropping down so he can bury his face into the pillow next to Steve’s head and yank on it with his teeth to keep from shouting Steve’s name. He pumps his release into the condom until he has nothing left to give, and then the fire inside of them finally feels contained – and all that’s left is them trying to catch their breath and staring at each other with Bucky still on top of him.

They’re not sure who breaks out into a grin first, but it feels like they do it the exact same time. Steve pulls him down and hums into the kiss, and neither of them knows how to stop smiling.

Whoever said that sex always changes things was right. 

Namely, it shifts the dynamic of their friendship in two fundamental ways: once they actually had slept together, the sexual tension between them only got worse. Bucky’s pretty fucking sure that two people should not be engaging in as much sex as he and Steve do. It’s actually safe to say that there isn’t a surface in his apartment anymore that they haven’t christened, and the same is pretty accurate for Steve’s place.

They don’t just limit themselves to their apartments, either. They’ve fucked in and on Bucky’s car, Steve’s car, behind buildings, in forests, in Sam’s pool (they’re still apologizing for that one)… Even in the tattoo shop.

Or maybe he should say, especially in the tattoo shop.

It’s never while the place is open, because an unexpected, hasty handjob in a consultation room is one thing (and even then, it’d only happened the one time), but Bucky takes his job too professionally to have allowed something like that. After hours is a different story, though, and since the number of employees is small and everyone trusts each other, they all have a copy of the shop’s key.

There’ve been more than a couple dozen times that Bucky has snuck Steve after the place was closed – way into the hours of the night – and fucked him on one of the tattoo tables, or on the front desk, or on the goddamn floor. They both get off on the smells of the workplace, still wafting through the air; of ink and sterilized needles and art. Bucky debates a couple times on assembling his tattoo gun and using it while he thrusts into Steve – not on his skin, just… letting it buzz to life and bringing it close enough that Steve can get off on the pain it implies.

But once you put your equipment together and take a needle out of its proper packaging, it doesn’t matter whether you use it or not – in the end, you have to throw it away because it’s no longer sanitary to keep it. And Bucky isn’t at all about wasting the shop’s money or supplies, so it only ever remains a fantasy.

Everyone there basically knows, but they’ve sort of stopped saying anything about it – seriously anyways. There are still plenty of times where Pete will come into work and go to write on the desk, only to stop and (if Bucky’s nearby) throw his hands up, jokingly exclaiming, “Is this safe? Is this safe?”

Or Clint, who will point to random surfaces and – even though it’s total bullshit because Bucky’s always on top of getting rid of any and all evidence – flatly mutter, “I see a butt print.” Tasha’s way of joking about it is a little more vulgar; her humour’s always been like that. She gets the entire group of them laughing one time when she’s putting together her station for her first tattoo client of the day – before the shop’s opened to the public – and adopts this convincing act that she’s all out of white ink, only to turn and smirk at Bucky and go, “Hey Jamie, think I can call up Steve and borrow him for a second?”

Their boss even knows, though how, Bucky can’t say because he always shuts off the shop’s cameras while he and Steve fool around. The only thing Stark really had to input was a side comment to Bucky that he'd better be sanitizing every single place he and Steve touch. Which is actually a joke with real merit because that’s exactly what Bucky does; he wouldn’t fool around with someone in his work without properly cleaning the shop up afterwards and making sure everything’s thoroughly sterilized.

It would also be complete horseshit for Stark to have lectured Bucky for doing those things with Steve in the shop, because he’s brought his girlfriend there after hours more than once, and everyone totally knows it (even if he’ll never come right out and admit it). But a smirk and a wink whenever it’s insinuated is basically proof enough.

The point is: Steve and Bucky fuck. Like rabbits. And that would be fine if it wasn’t for the other thing that conveniently happens as well. Because fuck his life right up the ass if things couldn’t just remain simple for Bucky - that certainly would’ve made everything light-years easier. But sex does either one of two things, generally speaking. It complicates the situation and then it falls apart, or – in their case – only brings them closer.

And it’s ironic, really, that something that has always usually meant absolutely nothing to Bucky is the very thing that makes him realize that he’s fallen in love with Steve.

It’s not like he means to. Actually, he’d very adamantly been trying for the exact opposite. Because they have a really great thing going between them, and once real emotions get involved, that’s when things become messy. And Bucky doesn’t want it to be messy – what they have is comforting and reliable, and by the time they’re almost seven months in (five of which, they’ve been properly sleeping together), it’s the happiest seven months Bucky thinks he’s ever had in his life.

It’s actually a day when he doesn’t see Steve that he realizes it, and he only realizes it thanks to Natasha. Steve’s supposed to come by on Bucky’s lunch so they can hang out for a half hour, but then he texts that morning to say that he came down with a cold and has to stay home because he doesn’t want to get his germs everywhere. Disappointed, Bucky assures him that he understands and then sends another text saying he’ll sneak in later that night and make Steve some soup. They’ve been in the middle of marathoning Sons of Anarchy, and with Steve being too ill to actually fool around, they can get some legitimate watching done.

Steve doesn’t reply at first. Bucky assumes he’s passed out in bed and trying to sleep it off - and then the comments start being made. It’s Peter who makes the first one; just a small, random comment about how it’s going to be so weird to have a day without Steve coming in when he’s supposed to. So Bucky explains that Steve’s sick. Then Clint’s asking about it, and even Logan does, too – and though they play it off casually, they’ve heard enough from Bucky about how Steve grew up with constant sickness… So when he sees the very real concern on their faces, it warms his heart.

When Stark shows up that afternoon, somehow he already knows (someone must’ve told him casually through text or something because how does this guy always know everything that’s going on??) and he hands Bucky a container with peanut butter cookies, sprinkled with icing sugar. “Pepper made a batch last night and we thought a few might cheer Miley up,” he explains (he also had taken to calling Steve “Miley Cyrus”, which Steve found less than amusing but put up with it anyways). “You tell him we all expect him to get better soon.”

Bucky takes the container with a stunned look on his face and then replies, “Thank you…”

He realizes that these guys – his family – all really like Steve; are used to having him constantly in their hair nowadays. They miss him, even though they only saw him the day before. And it’s just a cold for god’s sake, but… Still… Bucky isn’t overly sentimental like that, but the outpour of concern and affection towards Steve makes him feel a little choked up.

He gets a text later in the day, while he’s on his smoke break. Steve’s finally woken back up, and had sent Bucky a picture of him lying in bed; golden hair sticking up everywhere and his entire face flushed and sickly looking. He’s jutting out his bottom lip and giving his best puppy dog eyes to the camera – which is even sadder and more adorable given that the tip of his nose is an angry red and probably very congested. The message accompanying the photo reads: Feel like death. Come cuddle me? :(

Bucky smiles to himself and replies, wish I could babe. ill be done in a few hours. just give me the go ahead when its safe for me to come by and then ill make u that lipton shit u like and cuddle u until ur telling me to fuck off :P

That won’t happen, Steve texts back. You’re comfy and I have every intention of taking advantage of you until I feel better.

haw haw ur hilarious. knew u were just using me for my body

Just hurry the hell up and be done so I can see you.

Bucky’s smile expands into a grin as his thumbs type back, have i told u before that ur bossy? cuz ur bossy and ur even worse when ur sick. if ur gonna be barking orders at me all night i wont bring SOA

He watches the little ‘typing’ icon and then rolls his eyes with a smile when Steve answers, I DO have Netflix, genius. Nice try.

Bucky takes a moment to light up another cigarette. When he holds his phone back up to reply, he notices Steve’s already sent another text. It’s a second picture, this time of him holding the phone out to show the very empty spot next to him on his bed – the side closest to the wall, where Bucky always sleeps whenever he crashes the night. There’s no text with this picture, but the exaggeratedly precious, heartbroken look on the blond’s face says it all.

Bucky doesn’t realize the dopey way he’s grinning – and he’s completely forgotten that Tasha was out there with him. He jumps about a foot out of his skin when she suddenly drops her chin onto his shoulder and stares down at his screen, cooing out, “Is that Steeeeeeeve?”

“Jesus fucking Christ!” Bucky jolts, eyes wide, and then presses his hand to his chest. “You scared the shit out of me!”

“You and I were literally having a full-on discussion no more than five minutes ago,” she says. Then she sees the second picture and teases, “D’awwww, he misses you. He actually looks adorable when he’s sick. I tend to look like one of the cast of The Walking Dead.

“Yeah, he doesn’t know how to look bad,” Bucky murmurs, smiling at the picture, before he realizes what he’s saying. Clearing his throat, he turns his screen off and pockets it so he can have his cigarette and put an end to that conversation. He’ll text Steve once Natasha isn’t staring over his shoulder. Putting on his best ‘casual’ expression, he leans back against the wall and takes a drag.

Natasha’s staring at him now with that little gleam in her eyes and that pursed half-smirk. “What?” Bucky asks, feigning obliviousness. She just keeps staring at him like that, so he blows the smoke in his lungs at her, making her laugh and finally lean out of his personal space. “Really, what?” he pushes, because whether she’s pressed to his side or standing a foot away, it hasn’t erased the look she’s giving him. She raises an eyebrow, like Bucky’s a puzzle and she working to figure out how to solve him – when suddenly she appears as though she’s having an epiphany.

God, you’re totally in love with him, aren’t you?” she muses rhetorically, having finally figured it all out.

Bucky frowns – feels his heart start to pound faster, like when you’ve been busted – but keeps his cool. “I’m not in love with him, Natasha, it’s not like that,” he insists.

“Really,” she says flatly, not convinced in the slightest.

“Yes, really.”

She regards him and then looks away, giving a small nod. “Alright, if you say so,” she replies, condescension dripping in her tone. Shaking her head now, she turns to head in to wash her hands before stopping and looking back to Bucky. “Word of advice?”

Bucky rolls his eyes. “Sure.”

“If you aren’t in love with him, try a little harder not to get that lovesick smile on your face whenever he so much as texts you,” she suggests. She nods to the iPhone in Bucky’s pocket. “It’s sort of a dead giveaway.”

She leaves, and Bucky’s left standing there, still frowning. After a few seconds, he pulls his phone back out of his pocket to look at the photo again. There’s a new text waiting underneath it; Miss you. And the second he reads that, his heart screams, I miss you too… And he knows without second guessing it that the first place he’d ever be if given a choice would always be right at Steve’s side. His eyes roam back up to Steve’s mop of bedhead, his stupid expression, his beautiful face, sick and all. And he gulps.


The thing about Bucky, though, is that he doesn’t lie to himself. He realized in that moment that Natasha was absolutely right: he had fallen in love with Steve, somewhere along the way. And what he’s becoming more and more convinced of is that Steve loves him, too. 

Bucky isn’t sure if Steve’s still sleeping with Scott or anyone else on the side, but if he is, that’s impressive as fuck, because Steve is almost always with Bucky these days. If he isn’t, he’s at school or with Sam or Maggie. Bucky gets together with Brock one night and, over a few beers, tells him that they have to stop fucking around, even though it’s been months since they last did. Brock just smiles (maybe only a little sadly) to himself; he already knows it’s because of Steve. Bucky isn’t sure when the rest of the world realized his feelings for Steve before he even did, but apparently that’s been a thing for a while.

It has to be love; it has to be… because gradually, things stop becoming all about sex. Granted, they still have it all the time, but they start sharing other moments between them, too. Things that people who don’t care about each other wouldn’t do, like… like lying next to each other in the dark; the only light coming in from the window as they stare at the ceiling and get lost in the chords of the slow music filling the room, while Bucky runs his thumb over Steve’s knuckles and they share unspoken words and the sense of peace they’re both feeling.

Or… the way Steve draws Bucky when Steve thinks he isn’t looking. Bucky always knows, but he pretends he doesn’t so he won’t ruin the artist’s concentration. Their smiles grow too adoring and they start to have nights where the sex is still just as sweaty and rough, but then they lie together afterwards - staring into each other’s eyes and grinning every few seconds as Bucky runs the fingers of one hand through golden hair.

Bucky’s never felt for anybody the way he feels for Steve. Once he accepts that he’s in love, he wonders how he hadn’t seen it before.

The only wrench in the whole thing is: none of these are things they actually talk about. Bucky doesn’t reveal to Steve that he’s now the only person Bucky’s sleeping with, nor does he ever ask Steve if it’s the same way for him. He doesn’t confess his feelings; doesn’t even hint at having that conversation. Because though Bucky feels all of these things so strongly, and he’s willing to bet that Steve feels them all, too, they had still agreed… They’d agreed in the beginning that they weren’t looking for anything serious – and what if Bucky’s wrong? What if Steve doesn’t love him back? By telling him, then Bucky really would be ruining things.

And he doesn’t want to ruin anything with Steve. If he has to love him in silence just so he can keep what it is they have now intact, then so be it.

Steve makes that really fucking hard sometimes, though. It’s like the kid doesn’t know how not to be adorable. Whether he’s reading, or getting frustrated with an assignment, or drawing, or laughing at one of Bucky’s awful jokes, or even arguing with him – there’s not a single thing about him that Bucky doesn’t like. He always looks beautiful, and it’s a little dizzying sometimes.

Steve does wind up letting Bucky start teaching him how to properly tattoo; how to trace a design onto stencil paper and how to assemble the equipment. At first, the blond is incredibly hesitant and it takes him a few tries to put the gun together, what with how badly his hands are shaking. Eventually, he gets the hang of it. Steve has the patience of a Saint when it comes to other people, but when it has to do with himself, he’s easily rattled. The first time he tries to execute a tattoo onto a banana, it’s a disaster. He gets downtrodden and frustrated; puts the gun down and stomps away, saying fuck it; that he’s never doing that again.

Of course, they smoke a bowl together and then Bucky fucks him, and that’s usually always enough to alleviate Steve’s tension. When he sobers up enough to function safely, he tries again. It only goes a little better than the first attempt but it’s still pretty bad. Yet no matter how many times the blond insists that he’s giving up, he’ll always come back to try again. Bucky can’t help but smile when he starts coming over and notices that Steve has a comically large number of bananas on the counter in his kitchen – all covered in tattoo attempts. He’s trying so hard, and unfortunately, it only makes Bucky fall for him even more.

Sometimes, Bucky almost has his slip-ups. He always catches himself in time though, thank fucking god. 

Steve decides he wants to get his tongue pierced. Bucky thinks he’s forgotten how to feel his legs when Steve tells him the news. He helps Steve set up an appointment, and the next day, the blond comes in to go sit down with Natasha. She reiterates all of the possible complications that can come from getting your tongue pierced, same as what Bucky had already explained to him. Steve just nods with a polite smile – he always gets extra smiley and a little shy around Tasha – and tells her, “I understand. 

He still wants it, and Bucky is more that alright with that. He sticks his tongue out so Natasha can mark where she’ll pierce the needle through. Steve’s brows furrow when she asks, “More to the front, or more to the back?”

Steve glances out of the corner of his eye at Bucky, looking for clarification, so Bucky explains, “It’s a total myth, but some people think that where you get your tongue pierced tells other why you got it done. Closer to the front apparently means it’s just for show, and for oral. Further back means it’s meant to be an actual piercing and something you don’t need everyone knowing about. Like I said, it’s completely bullshit, but some people think like that, so, it’s your call, buddy.”

Steve tilts his head away to get the use of his tongue back and quickly says, “Definitely don’t want my ma to have a heart attack, so further back, please.”

Natasha winks at Bucky and playfully mocks, “Too bad for you.”

Bucky gives her shoulder a loving shove and they begin to banter back and forth while Steve watches Bucky with one of those warm smiles again. Finally, she marks up the blond’s tongue and clamps it. Steve’s holding Bucky’s hand, clutching tightly.

They both watch the needle get closer and closer to Steve’s tongue, and when Natasha finally pushes it through, Steve makes a small ‘ah’ sound and squeezes his eyes shut in pain. Bucky’s pupils are dilated, and he knows that Steve’s struggling between trying to ignore the pain and trying not to come from it. So he gently rubs a small circle on Steve’s lower back and murmurs, “Almost done, baby; worst part’s over. You did great! Tasha just has to put the barbell in and then you’ll be good to go.”

“Now, I’m sure you already know this, but your tongue’s going to swell pretty nicely for the next little while, so don’t do anything to agitate it,” the redhead explains once everything’s done and Bucky and Steve are following her to the front desk. “Oral hygiene is incredibly important during the healing stage, and trust me, you don’t want that thing getting infected. Unfortunately, with all that swelling, that also means you’re not going to be able to hide it from anyone – not unless you can say that you had your wisdom teeth removed."

“I already had ‘dem ‘remoothed,” Steve sighs, speaking with the cutest little impediment now, thanks to the jewelry in his mouth and the swelling that’s already starting. Looking at Bucky, he says, “Gueth m’gonna have to tell my mom about the pierthing. By the way, does thith lithp thing latht forever? ‘Cause I don’t like it.”

Bucky laughs. “Most of that will be gone once the swelling eventually goes down. You may have a tiny bit of a speech impediment for the first little while, while you get used to the piercing. But for most people, it goes away eventually.”

While Steve’s paying, Bucky notices him shifting on the balls of his feet and making little faces of discomfort. He knows that Steve’s still in pain and also still frustratingly aroused. “How you doing?” he asks gently, leaning against the front desk and brushing Steve’s bangs out of his face.

Steve frowns and mumbles, “I mean, it hurthts, but m’mothtly jutht thinking ‘bout having to tell my ma. I’ll think of a way though.” Then he gets a tiny smile and adds, “Not looking forward to not bein’ able to kith you for a while, though.”

“At least two weeks,” Bucky reminds him, leaning in to peck his lips to Steve’s temple. “Not just no kissing, remember. No oral nothing, not until you’re healed.”

Steve pretends to pout while Peter rolls his eyes and jokingly interjects, “Sitting right here, guys.”

“Sorry,” Bucky smiles over at his friend, reaching out and slapping a hand on his shoulder before straightening and going to open the door for Steve. He has the day off, so they’re heading out together. “See you bright n’ early tomorrow, yeah?”

“Sounds good, you two have a good day.”

“Thanks, Parker – see ya, guys!” Bucky shouts over his shoulder. The rest of them shout back parting words to him and Steve, and then they head to Bucky’s place. Steve strategically arranged the piercing to take place on a Friday so he could say he was staying at Sam’s all weekend, and crash at Bucky’s instead – namely because he knows the swelling will be at its worse the second and third days, and he doesn’t want his parents to see him like that.

Bucky has to go into work on Saturday and Sunday, but he always heads straight back to his apartment the second he’s done. He’ll give Steve all the proper foods to soothe his aching, ballooned tongue, while also keeping him away from anything that’s not recommended during the healing process. Steve’s face gets the tiniest bit swollen, too, and he becomes a bit of a baby when he’s not feeling well. He pouts and gets easily agitated, so Bucky just takes extra care to lavish affection on him. And Steve, when he’s feeling any sort of under the weather, eats that shit up; it completely melts him down.

So they spend the weekend curled up in Bucky’s bed, watching TV shows and movies. Bucky will make him food, and sometimes they’ll just lie there and listen to music or talk while Steve’s bundled up in a blanket and Bucky’s spooning him, wrapping the blond in his arms. He can’t help but laugh hysterically at Steve’s very heavy speech impediment by the end of the second day, and only keels over harder when Steve glares at him for it.

He also runs Steve a hot bath every night and they soak in it together; Steve resting his head against Bucky’s shoulder and sighing softly as the temperature helps soothe him and distract his mind from the annoying throbbing going on with his tongue. It always leads to Bucky slowly stroking him to hardness, and they’ll either fuck right there in the water, or move it back to the bedroom, where Bucky will get Steve off. Steve’s in pain but he isn’t dead, and just because he can’t use his mouth in return doesn’t mean he likes it any less when Bucky’s going down on him, or thrusting into him.

On the Saturday evening, Steve’s feeling particularly grumpy because he wants more than just popsicles and broth and Gatorade, so Bucky tries making him something else, before wiling away the rest of the evening eating Steve out slow and steady while the blond whimpers and gasps for the better part of three hours. By the time Bucky stops and Steve’s come a grand total of seven times over that span, he’s so satiated that he’s practically boneless, and he can’t stop smiling, higher than what any drug could do to him. And Bucky feels pretty damn good for being able to give him that.

They just have to be very mindful not to kiss, which is surprisingly much harder than either of them would have guessed. At least five or six times that weekend, Bucky almost forgets his filter and tells Steve that he loves him. But every time, he stops himself.

Bucky almost fucks up and confesses it when, later that week, Steve shows up unexpectedly at his doorstep, angry and pacing and ranting about how he’d showed his mom and she’d completely overreacted – said stuff about how those sorts of places aren’t clean and safe and what if he’d gotten sick from it? etc. Bucky knows that Mrs. Rogers was coming from a good place and Steve knows that too; it just doesn’t make it any less frustrating. So Bucky gathers him up and holds him until the blond calms down, and then Bucky decides enough is enough. He tells Steve that Steve needs to go have a mature discussion with his mother, because storming off isn’t going to help anybody.

He drives a very defiant Steve back home and then – much to Steve’s protests – marches straight to the front door and knocks on it. Mrs. Rogers opens the door and, wow, she’s even prettier in person than in the pictures Steve’s shown her, and Bucky holds out his hand and says, “Good evening, ma’am. My name’s James Barnes, I’m a friend of Steve’s. I know you’re concerned about Steve recently getting his tongue pierced, but I actually work in that industry and if you had any concerns or questions regarding our health regulations or practices, I’d be more than happy to tell you anything you wanted to know.”

Imagine how dumfounded Steve is when Mrs. Rogers narrows her eyes at him, looks Bucky up and down, and then shakes his hand before opening up the door and inviting him in. Bucky smiles graciously and goes into the house – trying not to gape at how fucking monstrously massive it is on the inside – and politely removes his shoes. He may not have ever known anybody rich growing up, but Bucky is a man who knows his manners.

Steve stays mostly silent while they all take a seat, and then, unsurprisingly, Mrs. Rogers has questions. It actually branches out into a very long and pleasant conversation. Bucky explains who he is and lies, saying he met Steve in a coffee shop near Steve’s campus (because it isn’t his place to out Steve for his tattoos, and he doesn’t want to make things worse). He answers all of the questions that Steve’s mother has, and when she gets into detail about how Steve was always sick growing up and how she worries about him, Bucky doesn’t tell her that he already knows all of this. He just nods, says he understands, and that she has every right to worry about her son.

By the end of the hour, they’re talking about other stuff. Steve had been both right and wrong about how his mother would react to Bucky. At first, yes, she seems to regard him wearily – probably under the impression that this boy might be a bad influence for Steve. But then the more they chat, and somehow get into discussing philosophical issues and their opinions on current social situations going on around the world, she laxes and starts smiling when she’s talking to the brunet. He shows her that he’s more than just his appearance, and when he asks if Mrs. Rogers would perhaps like to see some of his portfolio from his phone, she surprises him by saying yes. Swiping through his photos, she admits that Bucky’s incredibly talented, and though she doesn’t personally like the idea of tattoos, she thinks what Bucky does is very tasteful and beautiful.

Steve’s a little dazed when he finally sees Bucky out later that evening and walks him to his car. He’s frowning like he just can’t believe it. Bucky chuckles and says, “Look at that; you’ve been worrying all this time for nothing.”

“I really didn’t think thee wath going to like you,” Steve lisps, giving him an apologetic look.

Bucky hums and then gives him a small smile. “I think you worry about protecting your mom’s feelings just as much as she worries about protecting yours, that’s all.”

Steve surprises him by glancing quickly over his shoulder and then leaning up on his tippy toes and giving Bucky the quickest of pecks on his cheek. “You’re amathing,” he says with a smile now in his voice.

I love you, Bucky thinks – and it almost tumbles from between his lips. Instead, he rolls his eyes and jokingly retorts, “You’re only just realizing this now?” before they say their goodbyes and Bucky heads back home.

He almost blurts it out again when Steve finally gets his mouth on him a couple weeks later – the second Bucky examines his tongue and deems him healed enough for oral activities – and reminds Bucky why blowjobs with a tongue ring is one of the single greatest goddamn things on the planet. But a blowjob with a tongue ring from Steve – who’s already the fucking master at it? It’s embarrassing how quick Bucky climaxes, but he can’t help it; the second he felt that round little ball press against his tip and then flick right over his slit, his balls were like, Nope.

It’s only thanks to a split second of thinking that when Bucky comes and shouts, “Steve!” it wasn’t preceded by, “I love you.”

It takes a couple more months, but Steve eventually gets consistent enough on the bananas that Bucky suggests Steve try doing something on his skin. It takes almost another week for Steve to finally give in and agree to do it. Bucky gets all of his personal equipment and sets up a sanitized work station in the living room of his apartment.

The brunet picks something not too large but not too small either, because the thought of Steve being the one to inflict his favourite kind of pain on him has had Bucky horny as fuck for weeks. Selfishly, he doesn’t want the moment to be too short-lived. In the end, he decides on something inspired by one of Steve’s designs – a character the artist had done, inspired by Bucky, of a man with long brown hair, adorning full tactical gear and a left metal arm. ‘The Winter Soldier’, Steve had titled it. That’s what Bucky wants on his skin; ‘The Winter Soldier’, in Steve’s handwriting.

He considers doing the stencil himself – since Steve’s got the name already written out - but that’d be taking away from Steve’s learning process, so he lets the blond do it. Bucky suggests that if it goes well, maybe that they work their way up to Steve one day tattooing the actual design of the character on him. Steve just replies, “Yeah, let me not kill you first, and then we’ll talk.”

Bucky decides he wants it on his left hipbone so it’s parallel to the quill feather on the other. He talks Steve through applying the stencil and then peeling it off, and admittedly, it takes a bit of a time and a few tries. Eventually, the placement is perfect, so Bucky walks Steve through how to set the gun up again while Bucky sets aside the right amount of black ink, green soap, and paper towels. Steve sterilizes everything during the process and then pulls on a pair of latex gloves – and his hands are already shaking.

Bucky takes Steve’s wrists in his hands and leans in close, whispering, “Hey, it’s going to be alright. I trust you. Just take deep breaths – we got your inhaler in your bag if you need to take any breaks – and everything will be fine. If at any point, you change your mind, I can finish it myself.”

“I just don’t want to mess this up,” Steve says, already looking as though he has.

Bucky kisses him. “You’re not going to. You’re gonna rock it, babe.”

It feels like it takes an eternity of having to reassure him, but finally, Steve gathers the nerve to start. Bucky lies back, his heart fluttering with anticipation, and gently eases Steve into it by reminding him how deep to press and how to properly stretch the skin with his other hand. The gun turns on and Bucky’s cock give a twitch in his pants, though he isn’t hard yet. It seems to buzz forever without actually making contact with his skin. Just when Bucky’s about to tilt his chin down and ask if Steve’s planning on starting soon, he feels the burning sting of the needle puncturing the tight flesh on his hipbone.

He arches his head back and cries out softly with surprise, and yeah, he’s instantly hardening now. Steve pauses and nervously asks, “Was that bad? Should I stop?”

“No,” Bucky breathes, opening his eyes and staring up at the ceiling; pupils already fucked. “That’s good, you’re doing good. Keep going.”

So Steve continues. He has to stop more frequently than Bucky would for a piece that simple, but it’s his first one after all and that’s to be expected. Bucky tries to remember when to talk him through it and remind him of all the steps, and Steve listens carefully and executes them in silence. Bucky, meanwhile, is thrumming from the vibrations of the needle in his skin. When he gets inked, he moans in a way reserved for no other experience, sexual or otherwise. It’s a thing in and of itself. It feels so fucking good, and it’s Steve giving this to him. Bucky doesn’t think he’s ever been more turned on in his life.

Whenever he glances down to check in and see how the blond is holding up, he grits his teeth and makes a small strangled sound, because Steve is so focused on what he’s doing, but his cheeks are completely flushed and he keeps licking his lips. He’s getting off on it, too, and this time, when the needle is digging in and tattooing over the bone, he’s hit with a particularly sharp jolt of pain, and Bucky moans out, just above a whisper, “I love you…”

He only gets away with it because Steve can’t hear him over the buzzing of the equipment. Bucky tests his luck and repeats the soft declaration twice more. He’s both relieved and disappointed that Steve doesn’t catch it either of those times, either.

When it’s finally finished, Steve cleans him up and then works through the steps of taking everything apart, putting everything away, and cleaning up. Bucky’s been holding off on blowing his load for the last five minutes, but he can wait just a little longer. He sits up and takes a look at the finished product. The line work is a little wobbly; definitely not as crisp as someone with more experience would do. Even still, it’s very good for Steve’s first time, and Bucky thinks that it’s now his new favourite piece.

He grabs the Bacitracin and goes to squeeze a bit onto his finger when Steve holds out a hand and says, “Hey, that’s my job.”

“Just thought I’d help,” Bucky smiles, handing it over.

Steve’s biting his lip and eyeing the tattoo and then Bucky’s face. He’s breathing a little rougher as he puts some on the tip of his finger and then smoothes it over the fresh ink. They both stare down, watching Steve’s finger slide across that sensitive flesh, half of that defined V that disappears down into Bucky’s underwear, and then slowly look up at each other.

They surge forward at the same time, mouths crashing into each other. They kiss fast and hot for a few seconds, before Steve backs away to quickly grab a small bandage and tape it up over Bucky’s hip. Yanking the gloves off of his hands and ditching them on the side table, they grab for each other and shove their way into Bucky’s bedroom.

Steve’s on his hands and knees on the edge of the bed while Bucky stands; fingertips digging into alabaster skin as he plummets in and out of Steve’s body… Listening to the blond’s cries, his moans, the way he begs for more by repeating Bucky’s name… Looking down and watching where he slides into Steve effortlessly… With a part of Steve forever brandished onto his skin, right there in plain sight… And all Bucky can think but not say out loud is, I love you, I love you, I love you…

It’s a chilly night in October, and they’re holed up at Steve’s, watching A Nightmare on Elm Street and discussing what they plan to do for Halloween. It’s funny, how they’re not even dating – they’re supposed to just be friends who fuck, that’s all – and yet it’s just sort of assumed that they’ll be spending that night together. Steve had been the one to suggest that they maybe go to the party that Maggie’s throwing. Bucky tells him that Natasha always throws a killer bash every year, too. Frowning, they try to work through a compromise – which leads to several phone calls and some meshing together of plans. 

Because their friends rock, they’re truly lucky to have these people in their lives, and they agree that they’ll all party together at Maggie’s until midnight, and then move the party over to Natasha’s for the remainder of it. Bucky tells Steve he’s been planning some stuff and he thinks he’s going to dress up as The Winter Soldier. Steve’s thrilled but points out that no one will know who the hell that is. Bucky, of course, doesn’t care. Steve says he couldn’t think of a costume so he’s going to go as Miley Cyrus, just because Stark will be there. Bucky can’t breathe for a few minutes because he’s laughing so hard.

When they’re in the middle of working their way through Friday the 13th, Steve’s reaching into his side table to pull out his pipe when Bucky stops him with an idea.

“You ever done Molly before?” he asks.

Steve regards him and then puts his things away. “No,” he admits, sitting back against his headboard. “But I’ve always wanted to. Why, you got some?”

“Just a couple; one of our regulars, Wade, he’s been coming back more – I think he’s trying to get on Stark’s good side to maybe apply for a job with us. Anyways, he joined me out back for a smoke yesterday and gave me a couple as a sort of ‘extra thanks’ for the last piece I did for him,” Bucky explains. He reaches into his pocket and pulls out the small baggy. Instead are two tiny circles; one blue and one pink. Glancing back to Steve, he arches a brow and says, “But only if you’re sure. I’m not tryin’ to, like, pressure you into anything or nothin’.”

Steve laughs and makes a grabby motion for the bag. Taking it, he pops it open and then plucks the little blue pill out. He hands the baggy back over and then holds it in the palm of his hand, looking it over. “I wanna do it,” he assures Bucky. “You sure this guy’s stuff is good, though?”

“Oh yeah,” Bucky nods. “He’s on the level; doesn’t lace his shit or do crap like that. Clint buys his weed off him all the time, and I’ve gotten this stuff off of him once or twice at parties. I wouldn’t give you anything I wasn’t sure about.”

“Didn’t peg you as a drug addict, Mr. Barnes,” Steve teases, raises a mischievous eyebrow at him.

Bucky rolls his eyes and takes out his own pill. “I’m not, smartass. Nothin’ heavier than Molly for me, and that’s only once in a blue moon. I’m fine with just pot.”

“So what’s the occasion?” Steve asks, holding his back up between his fingers and then looking over to Bucky’s. He points and murmurs, “There’s a smiley face on yours.”

“What does yours have?”

“A star.”

“How fitting,” Bucky says, one corner of his mouth turning up. “And no occasion, really; thought maybe you’d wanna do it on Halloween, but since we’re doing fuck all now…” He notices how intently Steve’s eyeing the little blue drug, and so Bucky reaches over and touches Steve’s wrist reassuringly. “Babe, we don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. If you don’t even want me doin’ it, I can go flush ‘em or something. It was just a suggestion.”

Steve shakes his head, closing his eyes and giving Bucky a shy smile. “No, I want to, m’just nervous. Once it’s actually in me, I’ll be fine. It’s just taking that first leap that’s always the toughest.” Meeting Bucky’s eyes, he asks, “Help me out?”

“Sure, okay…” Bucky palms his own pill and then takes the blue one from Steve’s fingers. Locking eyes with Steve again, he opens his mouth and places the drug on his tongue. Steve’s baby blues look down to it and he gets that little bashful smile again. Bucky returns it, reaching up and pulling Steve towards him by the back of his head. Their lips meet, mouths opened, and Bucky slides his tongue into Steve’s mouth. For a second, they just push their tongues together and sigh softly into the kiss. Then Steve pulls away – the Molly now transferred into his mouth – and sticks out his tongue with a dopey grin. The blue pill is starting to dissolve on the middle of his tongue, right in front of the piercing.

Bucky pops his own pill and then grabs his bottle of water from the side table. He takes a swig to swallow it easier and then hands the bottle over to Steve, who does the same. While they wait for it to kick in, Bucky lights up a smoke and they go back to watching the movie. Every other minute, Steve’s asking, “How much longer?” and Bucky’s replying, “Just wait; Jesus, watch the movie."

It’s somewhere around the twenty minute mark when Bucky feels the sudden intense rushing sensation, and his heart rate drastically increases. He’s suddenly very aware of where Steve’s head is resting on his chest because the added weight feels so acute, and it’s one of those, zero to high as balls in seconds. He doesn’t say anything at first because he wants to wait until Steve’s in that same zone, too.

Bucky’s running his fingertips up and down Steve’s arm, staring down at where he’s touching, and his fingers feel like they’re tingling, warming up from Steve’s skin. Suddenly, the blond jolts and lets out this absolutely filthy moan. Bucky starts laughing. Steve snaps his face up to look at Bucky and, yep, his pupils are all sorts of fucked up, and he looks shocked.

“You like that?” Bucky grins, tickling along the blond’s arm with barely a feather’s pressure.

Steve’s eyes flutter up and he closes them, letting out this surprised little ‘unh’ through his opened mouth as his skin erupts into goosebumps. “Fuck,” he breathes. “That feels… Like…”

“Yeah, that’s the drug talking,” Bucky chuckles. But it feels amazing for him, too - just touching Steve that innocently.

Steve crawls over him quickly and grabs his face to kiss him. They swallow each other’s moans as the blond starts to rock against him; having to pull away every few seconds to blurt out, “Holy fuck, this feels insane… Fuck… Like, what the fuck?

“Take your clothes off,” Bucky growls, leaning forward so he can suck along Steve’s neck. The blond arches and drops his head back, moaning languidly at the sensation, before helping Bucky strip him of his shirt. Once his upper body is bare, he flops down onto his back so his pants can be tugged off. (Bucky can do that now without any assistance, for he has indeed gotten the hang of removing Steve’s skinnies.)

Steve usually doesn’t talk much during this sort of thing, but on Molly, he’s a chatterbox; keeps breathing out, rambling, “Fuck, that feels so fucking good – ah! Yeah, touch my nipples, please, please… Buck, you’re so sexy, god, you’re so sexy, I can’t even believe it, fuck…”

It’s a bit of a blur, but then Bucky’s just as naked as Steve, and they force themselves to slow down so that they can draw out touching each other; making the other feel fantastic. Steve’s lips feel like they’re burning every place they touch Bucky’s flesh, and MDMA gets Bucky moaning as loud as Steve usually does… Every touch, every nip, every suck has him feeling like he wants to come, even though he knows he’s not there yet.

They go back and forth. Steve uses his tongue to play with Bucky’s nipple ring, making the older man arch his back tautly off the mattress when the feeling of Steve’s tongue ring bearing down on his own piercing sets off fireworks in Bucky’s balls. Steve cries out like a goddamn whore when Bucky sucks him off and works four of his fingers into the blond’s asshole, pumping them in and out mercilessly. By the time Steve’s using that fucking phenomenal mouth on Bucky’s cock, Steve’s abdomen is already dripping with come from where he’s spilled all over himself twice.

Because everything’s feeling even more incredible than usual – which is saying a lot – they decide to switch things up a bit. Steve lubes up some fingers and fucks Bucky with them while he bobs his mouth along his erection. By the time the blond’s slim, perfect artist’s fingers are curling in a constant rhythm against Bucky’s prostate - making Bucky gasp and wheeze so violently that he actually feels he can’t breathe - he’s the one begging to be fucked.

For a guy who pretty much exclusively loves to bottom, Steve gives it to him good. Great. Sensationally. Bucky’s on his hands and knees and staring into the mirror across the room so he can watch Steve’s tiny little body pound into him, just as hard and just as powerfully as a man twice his size. Steve gets quieter when he’s giving rather than receiving, but he does all these little things that make Bucky lose his mind – like staring at Bucky as though Bucky was his goddamn bitch, Steve’s to claim and possess. He’ll circle his hips and mimic all the things Bucky does with him that work, until his cock is striking against Bucky’s sweet spot, making Bucky bury his face into the mattress and nearly shriek as he claws at the covers.

When Bucky feels like Steve’s going to make him come, he squeezes his cock at the base and begs for Steve to drill him until Steve finishes. Because it’s Steve, that doesn’t take overly long, and the blond slams into him and holds still less than a minute later, whining high in his throat in that delicious way he always does when his orgasm hits as he fills up the condom.

But they aren’t done yet, because Bucky still hasn’t finished. So Bucky spins back around – his ass feeling looser and mourning the loss of Steve inside of him – and Steve lies down on his back. Bucky shuffles up the bed so Steve can go back to sucking him off for a bit, while Bucky pets his hair and whimpers deep in his throat at how fucking amazing this all feels. When he’s got his own condom on and finally pushes into Steve, that’s when the air around them shifts.

Bucky always has the tendency to push in slowly when he first slides into Steve, because the blond needs the moment’s grace to adjust to the notable size difference between them. This forces them to abruptly slow down; a different pace than what they’d established so far. As Bucky slowly keeps tilting his hips and pushing into that welcoming, slick hole, Steve’s clutching onto his back and staring up at him.

Then Bucky bottoms out, and Steve pulls Bucky down into a surprisingly gentle kiss. That sets the tone, as Bucky first thrusts shallowly, but slowly. Then he pushes himself in deeper, but for some reason, as much as his body is shouting at him to fuck Steve into an oblivion, because it’s all too much, the sensations are too intense, he needs more… he doesn’t want to do anything other than take his time.

Strung out on Molly and each other, Bucky finds himself staring into Steve’s baby blues almost the entire time, as he fucks him slowly, tenderly, and watches how every movement resonates in the blond’s facial features. Steve doesn’t look away, either.

“Bucky…” he suddenly breathes. Bucky answers him with a kiss. He grazes Steve’s prostate and he feels the skinny legs wrap around his waist and tighten their grip. He continues moving, until eventually Steve’s rolling his hips as well, trying to help.

The room is filled with nothing but the sounds of the bed creaking softly and their heavy breaths. Occasionally, a small moan or a gasp will join in, but it’s hard to tell who it comes from. The only real way to know for sure is if one of them whispers, “Steve…” or whimpers the name, “Bucky…

Bucky feels too much for this kid. He feels too much, and he’d already been feeling too much, and now there’s just no way he can contain it. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel like such a great idea to be holding that in. In his drugged state, the only thing that makes sense is telling him.

So he does.

“Steve…” he pants, pushing Steve’s sweaty bangs off his face and resisting the urge to lick the perspiration off his forehead. “Steve…” Steve keeps gazing back up, glazed and in some sort of awe as he pushes out every breath through his parted lips. Bucky hesitates for a moment before swallowing hard and exhaling, “I love you.”

Steve stays glazed-over for a second, like he hasn’t heard correctly. Already, Bucky’s mind is starting to panic and back-track, desperate to figure out how to undo what he just said. But then he feels a plush mouth over his, and Steve’s kissing him… Kissing him and touching his tongue to Bucky’s and moaning back, “I love you, too… I love you, Buck…”

Bucky doesn’t think he’s ever heard anything sweeter. It snaps the resolve inside of him and he starts rocking his hips just a bit faster, just a bit deeper… Listens to Steve start crying out louder again as Bucky helps steer him back closer and closer to the edge… They press their foreheads together, and Steve has his eyes squeezed shut but Bucky looks down at him anyways… Thrusting in, pulling back, rocking forward again… They pant, they moan, Bucky goes to gasp Steve’s name but he winds up telling him he loves him again… He can feel Steve’s hand stroking over his own cock between their bellies…

Sure enough, Steve comes again, but this time, Bucky’s right there with him. Steve’s back rises off the bed, pushing his come-covered skin to Bucky’s as he makes a shaky, broken noise in his throat, and Bucky… Bucky lets out a breathless auh as his own eyes finally close and he loses his grip inside of Steve’s body, unraveling at the seams. And his heart feels full; like everything that might have and had taken it apart over the years has suddenly been stitched back together.

In this moment, there’s not a single thing more that matters.

Then it goes straight to hell, because Bucky was right – he shouldn’t have said a goddamn thing. This is why he doesn’t do the emotional, complicated shit 

After their high had finally given out, they’d watched a bit more TV together, snuggling and kissing and exchanging small talk. Then they fell asleep. Bucky wakes up the next morning, on his belly and half of his face buried into the pillow. His right arm is slung across Steve’s naked belly; the blond, sprawled out on his back, snoring softly with his mouth tipped open.

Bucky smiles and gets out of bed to pad to the bathroom and relieve himself. He knows where everything is in the kitchen by now – they’d long since stopped acting like Bucky didn’t practically live there half the time – so he makes them both a cup of coffee and heads back towards the bedroom. His shift starts in a little over two hours, so he has to grab a quick shower and then head home to change into a clean pair of clothes.

When he walks back into the blond’s room, Steve’s sitting up and stretching. He’d clearly slept funny, because one side of his hair is smooshed down to his skull while the other is sticking straight out. He gets a sleepy smile upon seeing Bucky and then hums in his throat. Too lazy to get out of bed and put in his contacts, the blond grabs his glasses from the side table and puts them on.

“Coffee, yes,” he says, reaching out one hand while the other still works at rubbing the sleep out of his right eye from under the thick, black frames. “You’re my hero.”

Bucky hands it over and then takes a seat in front of Steve. “Good morning,” he says, leaning in and kissing the blond’s forehead.

“Mm… Morning to you, too,” Steve replies, eyes soft and the corners of his mouth upturned as he cradles his mug and takes a long sip. “You gotta work today?”

“Yeah,” Bucky says reluctantly, taking a small sip from his own cup and then getting back up to put on his clothes. “Only ‘till six, though.”

“You wanna grab a bite to eat afterwards or something?” he hears Steve ask behind him as he pulls his pants back up his legs.

“Sure. Any ideas?”

“Mm… I’m feeling Mexican. Maybe tacos?”

“You’re always feeling in the mood for tacos,” Bucky teases, now pulling his shirt over his head. “Did you wanna see if Sam or any of them wanted to join us?”

Steve grabs his phone and is already starting to text. “Sure, I’ll let you know the plan once I know.”

Everything seems to be going perfectly. Bucky’s feeling on top of the world. After the previous night, he isn’t sure how to bring up the subject of whether or not they’re now considered dating, but he has all day to think of something. He has every intention of striking up that conversation that very night, in fact.

The moment everything goes wrong is when Bucky’s getting ready to head out. Steve’s got a pair of pajama pants on now, since his class isn’t until one-thirty so he can afford to laze around a little bit, and he’s half paying attention to what’s on TV, and half reading from his textbook. Bucky strides back into the room to give him a kiss and say bye. Steve’s smiling into the kiss, and Bucky can feel that he’s still smiling when Bucky’s kisses the top of his head – but then Bucky says lightly, “I meant it, you know… What I said last night. Maybe we can talk about it later, yeah?”

And then Steve’s not smiling anymore.

Steve, in fact, looks confused. When Bucky pulls back to look at him, Steve’s brows are knit together like he doesn’t understand. The blond shakes his head slightly and then gets this weird half-smile; a smile Bucky’s never seen him make before.

“Buck…” he says, as if trying to force his tone to remain easygoing. “C’mon, that… What we said…? We were high; that was sex talk…”

He’s saying that to Bucky as if not only should that clarify things, but that Bucky should’ve known all along.

And boy, isn’t that a punch to Bucky’s chest – because, no, that hadn’t been what he’d meant by it, and it wasn’t simply ‘high, sex talk.’ But apparently it was when Steve had said it. He stares at Steve, face blank, and then straightens up and runs a hand through his hair, no longer sure of what to do with himself. Steve seems to be watching him nervously. He says nothing.

There are a million ways Bucky wants to respond to that, but as he shakes his head, his expression changes to one of flat, bitter disbelief. He can’t believe he let himself open up and be so stupid.

“Sex talk,” he repeats slowly, pressing his lips into a tight line. He looks down at Steve and then away, nodding. “Wow.”

“I don’t get why you’re so mad all of a sudden,” Steve says quietly, tucking up his knees to his chest and keeping his eyes downward.

“Oh, you don’t, huh? I – I can’t – Jesus, Steve, seriously? After all this time, you think me tellin’ you I love you was just ‘cause I had my dick in you!?”

“Well, I don’t know!” Steve snaps back, eyes wide but his face looking frustrated. “We said what this was when we started – you knew I wasn’t looking for anything serious!”

“Yeah, well, neither was I!” Bucky shouts, throwing his hands to his sides. “But guess what – shit changes! How many times have we gotten stoned together, huh? How many times have we fucked? You think if I was gonna go off and say shit that heavy, I wouldn’t have said it before?”

Steve starts to look panicked now. He moves onto his knees so he’s straightened up and makes to reach out and touch Bucky’s shoulders. The brunet steps away abruptly.

“Bucky, wait, I’m sorry!” Steve quickly exclaims. He gets off the bed and crosses over to him. Bucky can’t back up any further because he’s pressed to the wall, and he deflates; shoulders slouching as he lets the blond approach him and cup the side of his face. Steve’s looking at him so worriedly, and Bucky just wants now to be the moment where Steve takes back what he said… Assures him that what’d happened between them actually meant something.

Bucky’s gaze is hard, his expression serious and guarded. He searches Steve’s eyes and then says in a low voice, “I love you. I love you, Steve, and I’ve been in love with you for months. You can’t go excusing this shit now – I’m not high, and we’re not fucking, and look at that – I’m still standing here telling you how I feel.”

Steve shakes his head uselessly. “I…”

“Do you love me, too?” Bucky asks. “No more bullshit, Steve; I want your answer. Look at me and tell me whether or not you love me.”

Steve’s struggling. His face is pained, but when he opens his mouth to answer – he just closes it again. Nothing comes out. Bucky’s eyes get sad, angry… He clenches his jaw to keep from crying and look away, giving one firm nod. Knocking Steve’s hand from off his face, he looks down at him and says, “That’s your answer,” before moving past him and heading out of the bedroom.

Steve follows. “Bucky, wait!”

Bucky opens up the front door and then turns to look back at him. Just the night before and his heart, for the briefest, shiniest of moments, had felt mended for the first time in years. Now, it had never been broken quite as badly. Because he’d never been more than a fuck to Steve – and maybe Bucky shouldn’t have fallen so hard, but Steve had left him with no other choice. He sees that skinny blond punk standing there, and Bucky both loves him so much it hurts and hates him for what he’s done to him.

“Don’t fuckin’ talk to me again,” he mutters, low and shaky, before turning and leaving. If he doesn’t get out of there, Steve might try and talk him into staying.

The worst part is that Steve Rogers could stomp on his heart a hundred times over, and Bucky thinks he’d always go back if Steve just asked him to.

“You sure you don’t want to talk about it?” Natasha asks, frowning.

Bucky’s barely spoken a word during his shift so far, and that’s just not like him. He’s prepping his station for his next appointment; doesn’t lift his head or look to the redhead as he mumbles, “I said I’m fine.”

“Which is bullshit. Steve texted me earlier – asked me to ask you if you could ‘please call him’? You know anything about this, Jamie?” she asks, rhetorically once again, because Natasha Romanoff seems to be incapable of posing a question any other way.

“It’s none of your business,” he huffs.

He turns to go when Tasha grabs his arm. “Hey,” she says sternly. Bucky sighs; can’t meet her eyes because he knows he’s being an unnecessary dick to her when all she’s trying to do is help. Sure enough, she uses her go-to: “I’ve known you since preschool, James. If you’re hurting, it’s my business.”

But he can still feel the tears threatening to push to the surface, and Bucky hasn’t let himself cry since he was fucking nineteen and his baby sister was killed in that car accident. He doesn’t do it; he doesn’t do emotions. And yet he had, and now he’s remembering all over again why he’d stopped.

“It’s over with Steve,” he chooses to say. “No, I don’t want to talk about it; not right now anyways. Just… whatever, fuck, it’s done.”

It takes a lot to surprise Tasha, but this seems to do the trick. She doesn’t overreact; doesn’t baby Bucky, because she knows him better than that. He doesn’t respond well to being made to feel like the world’s ending when he’s probably already doing a good enough job of feeling that way inside as it is. So she keeps her facial features contained – even if there’s that small pinch between her brows and that familiar protective look in her eyes.

“What happened?” she asks.

Bucky shrugs hastily. “Too good to be true; weren’t looking for the same things. Whatever, I’m over it anyways.” He hates the way Natasha raises an eyebrow at that, so he snaps, “What? I am.”

“Okay,” she says, choosing not to tug on that thread.

Bucky scowls at first her and then at the wall, before muttering, “I gotta finish getting this shit ready, excuse me.”

As he’s walking away, she says after him, “I’m not so sure the feeling’s mutual.”

“What?” Bucky asks with exasperation – as if she’s still carrying on this conversation when he so clearly wants it to be over.

“The way Steve sounded when he texted me,” she clarifies. “Whatever happened, whatever he did… It didn’t sound like he was over it. But I guess that doesn’t matter anymore,” she adds casually, turning away and fiddling with one of the bottle of antibacterial soap that Bucky had put on the table. “He eventually stopped texting me. Maybe he got your message.”

She glances back to him, in that way where she thinks she knows so much more about things than Bucky does.

Bucky hates that it’s absolutely true, too – she does. So he turns away and leaves the room before she notices.

Bucky deliberately chooses not to look at his phone; not since about three p.m., when he’d gotten another text from Steve that he didn’t reply to. That made eleven texts, four missed calls, and two voicemails - both of which Bucky had deleted before listening to them. 

He hates mind games, which he knows the silent treatment is. And it’s not that he takes any joy in ignoring Steve. The truth is, every single part of him wants to call him right now, say that he didn’t mean any of what he said earlier, and that he just wants them to go back to the way they were.

Except he can’t do that, because that would be nothing but a lie. Bucky’s head over heels for Steve, and Steve evidently doesn’t feel the same way. Bucky can’t go back to what they were because it’ll never be good enough for him. He doesn’t want to be out fucking someone else who doesn’t matter when he can be making love to Steve, who’s become his world. And he definitely wouldn’t be able to handle knowing that Steve was still going out and sleeping with other people.

Steve was never really his… But he’d been so convinced that the way he felt was mutual that part of him had clearly started to forget that.

He’s technically finished his shift now, but he doesn’t really have anywhere he needs to be. Leaving will only remind him of the dinner plans he’d had, before everything had fallen apart. Going home will just be walking straight into a place with Steve’s name practically written all over it. So for now, he stays behind the shop, leaning against the wall and burning through his pack of smokes. 

Logan comes out and joins him. The older man doesn’t smoke cigarettes, but he always seems to have a cigar burning out of the corner of his mouth whenever he’s not indoors. Out of everyone he works with, Logan’s the one person who Bucky’s never really spoken of Steve that much to. So he’s a tad surprised when the Canadian gruffs out, “Heard you were having marital problems; sorry to hear that.”

“It’s fine,” Bucky mutters. The answer’s been repeated so many times that day that it feels like autopilot. “Knew it wouldn’t have lasted anyways.”

“Oh yeah?” Logan cocks his head at him, a tiny, amused sneer on his scruffy face. “Why’s that?”

Bucky stares down at the ground, trying not to glare again. “I dunno. We never wanted the same shit? What do you care?”

“Well, aside from the fact that we work together and I don’t want your sad life’s story bringing the place down – you are also my friend,” Logan answers. “Maybe it’s time you stopped focusing on all the people you think don’t love you and pay attention to the ones who do. You’ve got a whole family of people in there who can help you through any tough time, kid.”

“I know… Thanks,” Bucky mumbles.

Logan takes a couple of puffs off of his cigar and then stares at it, pretending to ponder. “I will miss having that kid around, though,” he admits. “You seemed a lot happier when he was around.”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“Well, were you, though?”

“Fine, yes, I was – y’happy?” he snaps, feeling exhausted.

“Brock said you called it quits with him a few months back.”

“Yeah, so?”

“You ever tell Steve that?”

“There wouldn’t have been no point,” Bucky insists dejectedly.

Logan raises an eyebrow and shrugs one shoulder. “How can you assume you know what the guy wants if you weren’t completely honest with him?” Bucky shoots him a look, so the older man just shakes his head and says, “I swear to fucking god, you kids make shit so complicated these days when it’s simple. It’s fucking simple, Barnes – you and Steve are playing a card game, got it? You both got full hands, but then you take some of his cards away from him before he got to see what he was holding. How can you expect him to make the next play if he doesn’t know what his options could’ve been?”

He’s looking at Bucky like he’s been forced into babysitting him. Logan doesn’t really offer pep talks all that – well, ever. A card game analogy seems to be the best he can do, and yet it makes a whole lot of sense to Bucky. Still… he’s hurting, and wallowing in it. And there’s no way he’s going to go back to Steve, just to pour his heart out at the risk that he’ll get turned down again.

“You should’ve told Steve about you and Brock calling it quits,” Logan says simply.

Bucky shoves his hands in his pockets and stares at his feet. “Maybe I should’ve,” he says stubbornly. “But it’s too late for that now.”

“Maybe,” Logan agrees, stubbing out his cigar on the brick wall. He nods in the direction past Bucky. “Or you can tell him right now.”

“What?” Bucky says with confusion, turning his head to the side. Steve’s standing a half dozen feet away, and Bucky doesn’t know how he’d walked all the way over without Bucky noticing. Logan huffs something under his breath about being too old for this shit, and then heads inside, leaving them alone.

Steve’s holding a bouquet of roses in his hands, but he’s staring at Bucky as though he were lost. Bucky isn’t sure how long Steve’s been standing there until the blond says, “You’d ended things with Brock?”

“Yeah,” Bucky admits after a few seconds. He’s still too guarded to give Steve more than a calculated nonchalance.

“A few months ago?”


“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Was there a point? I wasn’t about to go asking you to stop seeing Scott, or whoever hell else you were seeing,” Bucky answers, rubbing his eyes. “And I didn’t think you felt the same way at first, so I didn’t want to fuck things up between us. ‘Course, then I thought you did, which is the only reason I told you I loved you. Believe me, if I’d expected the reaction I got this morning, I would’ve kept my mouth shut.”

The blond is frowning at the pavement, chewing the inside of his cheek like he always does when he’s thinking or stressed. He starts walking towards Bucky and only stops when he’s an arm’s width away. Looking up at him, he seems to have difficulty pushing out the words, “I haven’t fucked Scott since you and I first slept together.”

What? That’d been months ago – a fucking long time, actually. He knows that this is Steve’s way of saying, I haven’t fucked anybody since we first slept together. Confused, Bucky shakes his head and asks, “Well why didn’t you tell me that?”

“I’m sorry,” Steve sighs, speaking quickly. “I was just scared – I’m still scared, I… This is the best thing I’ve ever had goin’ on in my life, and I was worried that once the whole ‘I love you’ thing came out, everything would change. I didn’t want it to change! People always fall in love and then the second they acknowledge it, things start to fall apart, and I… I guess I just… I never wanted that to happen with us.”

Bucky’s expression softens and his heart starts to thump wildly in his chest all over again. “Is that your way of saying you actually do love me?” he asks slowly.

Steve’s shoulders sag when he exhales, and he nods. “I shouldn’t have said nothing when you asked me this morning,” he admits. “I should’ve grown a pair and told you right there. I’m so, so sorry, Bucky.” He holds up the roses as a peace offering. “I know these are your favourite. You don’t have to take ‘em if you don’t want to – or if you want them but then tell me to fuck off, I will. I mean – I’ll understand. I just needed to come here and tell you that I was wrong, I fucked up, and I’m really, really sorry; I do love you, I’m fucking crazy about you – I have been since the second I first saw you, I just--”

“Steve, Steve,” Bucky chuckles, his eyes shining. He takes the blond’s face in his hands and leans in. “Stop before you hurt yourself.”

He presses his lips to Steve’s, and it’s honestly like coming home. Or maybe… maybe it’s more accurate to say… that as Bucky Barnes kissed Steve Rogers, in that moment he understands, completely and entirely, that home isn’t always in the places you look for it - and it’s something you really can’t give up so easily. Sometimes, home is the group of people inside that building who would take on a mob for Bucky if they had to. Sometimes, it’s having that tattoo gun in his hands and making artwork. And sometimes, home is hiding in the lips of a scrawny, annoying little punk who happened to walk into that tattoo shop – and subsequently, Bucky’s life.

As Steve kisses him back, Bucky realizes he’s got tears running down his cheeks. But he isn’t sad – he’s happy. He can’t remember the last time he’s been so happy.

And maybe that’s a good a reason as any for him to remember why it was worth it, doing this emotions thing.

 . . .

Bucky wakes up first, as he usually does. The first thing he sees is Steve’s sleeping face. The second thing he sees are his boyfriend’s textbooks behind him – An Atlas of Anatomy for Artists, How Art Made the World, The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques… 

Bucky smiles to himself. They’ve been read from cover to cover, even though Steve doesn’t need the majority of them finished until at least halfway through the semester. Steve just can’t help it; he’s finally in a world - a path - where he can indulge in all the things he loves. And his mother had understood – of course she’d understood. Steve grumbled and gave Bucky the ten bucks he owed him when Mrs. Rogers actually had smacked her son (lightly) upside the head for thinking so little of her. Then, of course, she’d hugged him and told him that all she ever wanted was for him to be happy.

And almost two years later, she also knew that Steve being so happy had the world to do with Bucky. He was practically a son to her and Steve’s stepdad by that point anyways, so there was only a little reluctance when Steve finally told them that he and Bucky were going to find a place together. They’d offered to help give them some money to start them off, and once Steve had been accepted into the art program at his University, to pay for his tuition, too.

Steve, to Bucky’s surprise, had basically said thanks but no thanks.

“This is my chance to do things on my own,” he’d explained to Bucky as they’d sat on the floor of their new, empty apartment; eating bowls of ramen noodles while surrounded by their boxes that still needed to be unpacked. He’d told Bucky that he wanted to do things right, in every aspect of his life - and somehow, even eating cheap food and sitting on the floor, it was one of the most romantic nights together they’d shared in a while.

“Steve,” Bucky whispers softly now, leaning in and brushing their noses together.

“Mm,” Steve hums, shaking his head. “I don’t wanna wake up.”

“Well tough shit, ‘cause you have to,” Bucky replies.

Steve slowly opens his eyes at the same time that he curls tighter under the covers. They look at each other, and Steve stares at him so damn adoringly. Bucky knows he must look the same way… and that that’ll never change.

Steve has class in an hour. Bucky will get up and make them both some breakfast so Steve has something in his belly before heading out for the day. Then Bucky will go into work, where his schedule is filled with clientele until his shift’s done, as it always is. He and Steve will text each other whenever they can, and then maybe they’ll go out for drinks with their expanded group of friends. Maybe they’ll go for dinner with Peter and Maggie, who’ve been seeing each other for almost ten months – thanks to Steve and Bucky, the Matchmakers. Or maybe they’ll just go home, smoke a bowl between them and then hold each other, chatting excitedly about Steve’s new internship at Stark’s Art.

But first, before they do any of that, they have to shower.

Some things never change – because, come on.

They never have been able to keep their hands off of each other.