"You're here with the big bloke, aren't you?" the barman asks, when Bucky comes back for a new pint.
"Don't know about with," Bucky says ruefully, more to himself than anything. He is, of course, here with Steve in the loose sense of keeping an eye on him while he recruits the others, but that means he's mostly on the sidelines, watching. Watching him charm the men -- Steve's always been persuasive, and now his looks have finally caught up with the rest of him, it's hard for anyone to resist him at his most determined. Watching him charm Agent Carter too, just by smiling, eyes brighter and speaking more than Bucky's flirting could have, because Carter was looking for those.
Watching Steve come into his own. Satisfying, yes, but also...he feels angry and unhappy and he doesn't know why.
"What do they feed you fellows over there, anyway?" the barman continues, refilling his glass. "He's two of me in every direction."
"Steve's a special case," Bucky says.
"Wish I was," the man says enviously, and something in his tone makes Bucky's attention drift back to him. He raises an eyebrow at the man, who shrugs. "Too small, and a bum heart. No khaki for me," he says regretfully.
He looks like Steve used to, a little: the same slight build and sharp jaw, a hungry air to him. Hair's a little darker, eyes a little paler blue, but he has the same clever-looking hands, too. Bucky never had a feeling for Steve, or at least he didn't think he did, but then there was this new, tall, broad-shouldered Steve, and Bucky loves him, he does, but he -- he misses -- he misses being able to protect him. Being able to encompass him if he chose, not that he ever did back then.
"Count your blessings," Bucky says. "Combat's not exactly a picnic. Besides, we'll ship out soon enough, and then all this is yours," he adds, gesturing to the women clustered at the end of the room, most of them casting appraising glances at the soldiers.
"Not really my field," the barman says. Bucky's head snaps around. "Not yours either, is it?" he adds casually. He's speaking softly, at least, but...
"What makes you say that?" Bucky drawls, just as casual, like he doesn't care about this any more than the barman does.
"Am I wrong?"
"No offense, buddy, but I don't even know your name," Bucky says.
The man smiles and holds out his hand. "Jeremy," he says.
"Parents didn't like you?"
"It's a nickname."
"Very rakish," Jeremy says, wiping down a glass. "My shift ends at ten. If you're willing to give a little bloke a try."
"Where?" Bucky asks in an undertone.
"Loading dock in the alley. I don't live far."
Bucky nods. "Well, maybe I'll see you there."
He leans off the bar then, abandoning his drink, and dawdles down to ask a few pretty girls to dance. Steve, still coaxing the men around to his way of doing things, catches his eye every now and then and smiles indulgently, which is at least better than the anxious envy he used to see in Steve's face when he danced with a pretty girl.
Bucky is waiting in the alley, smoking a cigarette to pass the time, when Jeremy emerges from the loading dock door. He offers the barman a smoke from his pack, then lights it for him; Jeremy smiles around the cigarette and rakes his eyes over Bucky, from his hair to his shoes.
"You know what they call you Yankee soldiers, don't you?" he says, eyes dancing.
"Overpaid, oversexed, and over here," Bucky replies, grinning.
"Don't suppose you've any black-market nylons on you," Jeremy teases, leaning back against the brickwork. Bucky steps forward, into the spread of his legs, not quite touching, but too close to deny if someone caught them now.
"I could bring you a can of pineapple," Bucky offers.
"I'll take you up on that sometime," Jeremy answers. His eyes are on Bucky's mouth. "So you've seen some action?"
"Some. Don't really want to talk about it," Bucky tells him, leaning in, and Jeremy takes his cigarette out of his mouth to kiss him, wet and warm and eager. This close, you can't tell that his hair's too dark and his eyes are too light. His tongue is hot in Bucky's mouth, and his free hand clutches Bucky's ass, less desperate than appreciative.
"You said you're not far?" Bucky prompts, leaning back. Jeremy takes a last drag, tosses the cigarette away, and nods, straightening.
"You'll need to be gone by morning," he says. "My landlady's up at nine, and she's a nosy-parker."
"My pass ends at seven," Bucky says, grateful. He doesn't want to cuddle and eat breakfast with the guy. He just wants a quick roll, wants to get something out of his system he didn't even know was in it until now.
They stroll quietly down the road, hands in pockets, not particularly hurried but not dawdling. London is beautiful in the moonlight, and maybe someday Bucky will get to appreciate that without the blackout curtains, without having to be back on base at any particular time.
Jeremy is more confident than Steve ever would have been, but then Steve wouldn't have ever done this with another man, at least Bucky thinks. When he unlocks his front door and shows Bucky up to a shoebox of a third-floor apartment, he's smiling, confident. He's unsurprised when Bucky kicks the door shut behind them and grabs him by his tie and pulls their bodies together.
"I do like a direct sort of man," Jeremy says, sliding his hands under Bucky's shirt. "What would you like, Yankee Buck? Bit of a blow? You like taking it or giving it? I'm easy, as you may have guessed."
Bucky tugs the ridiculous tie off, then goes for his own belt buckle, because he very much likes the idea of a bit of a blow.
"Lemme suck you," Jeremy rasps in his ear, hands bumping Bucky's as he helps him get his pants open. "You're so beautiful, I want a taste. I want you to hold me down."
Bucky thumps his head back against the door, then pushes away from it and walks them into the room proper, heading for the neatly made bed in the corner, shedding his clothes as he goes. Jeremy hops around briefly, pulling his shoes and socks off, endearingly clumsy (like Steve -- Bucky shuts the thought down as soon as it rises). Bucky settles on the edge of the bed, skinning out of his underwear, and is about to pull his dog tags off when Jeremy says "No -- leave 'em on" and sinks to his knees.
He's so slight, his neck so thin and delicate, hair fine like a bird's down, but his lips are plump and wet and his mouth is tight, working down Bucky's dick until he nearly chokes. Bucky leans back, sifting fingers through that not-quite-gold hair, and talks like he'd like to talk to -- like he thinks Jeremy will enjoy. "Yeah. Christ, you're -- so tight, you look perfect like that, are you -- are you touching -- fuck, fuck, baby, you're so good."
Jeremy eats it up, he loves it, Bucky can tell, and when he pushes gently against his chin he leans back, eyes bright behind a haze of lust. He kneels up and Bucky leans down to kiss him again, Jeremy's thin shoulders under his hands, skin smooth over the faint, wiry muscle.
"You want me to take care of you, baby?" he asks in a whisper, and Jeremy nods, mouthing at his neck. "Yeah, okay, come on. I'll give you what you want."
Jeremy sprawls on the bed and throws an arm over his eyes, whimpering when Bucky works a bit of oil into him. He's flushed, thin chest heaving, but his cock is thick and hard against his stomach, so pretty in the half-light of the room. Bucky rubs his thumb up and down it while he works the fingers of his other hand into him, and Jeremy's hips rise in a slow, sensuous rhythm.
"Please, Bucky," he manages, obviously torn between pulling away and taking him deeper. "Please -- "
"Shh, sweetheart, I gotcha," Bucky croons, pulling his fingers out and crawling up the bed. He fixes one hand around Jeremy's wrist, tugging it above his head, and cups his hip with the other to get the right angle, easing in slowly, loving the way the other man's voice rises from a groan to a high, desperate whine. He raises his hand, pinning Jeremy's wrists completely, and feels the clench of Jeremy's thighs around his hips, heels digging into his back.
"Got you," Bucky repeats, beginning to move, well-aware that he's not going to last long, not looking down at the slim, pale chest, the waist he could almost span with his hands, the angular jaw and the hollows of his cheeks. The delicate body writhing underneath him, at his mercy and happy for it, something for him to surround and protect and penetrate into --
"Yes, like that, like -- " Jeremy begins, and Bucky kisses him to keep him quiet, or at least keep him wordless. He snaps his hips forward sharply, picking up the pace, and very carefully keeps his grip loose so that he won't cause any bruises.
"You feel so good," he murmurs into thin skin over bone, half-lifting the body beneath him off the bed. "Gonna come, come with me, I'm gonna -- fuck -- " he manages, and reaches down to stroke the other man's dick, tight and fast. Jeremy wails and rises up off the bed as he comes, Bucky panting and jerking to his own completion inside him. He freezes at the far edge of his pleasure, until Steve -- until Jeremy goes lax beneath him, and then tumbles down next to him, burying his face in one bony shoulder.
A hand comes up to smooth his hair, and Jeremy kisses his forehead, breath still coming fast.
"So," he says after a while, as Bucky lies there and hates himself a little for what he's just done. "Did that get him out of your head for a bit?"
"What?" Bucky askes, pushing himself up.
Jeremy smiles. "That was brilliant, and you are a god of eroticism," he says, as if reassuring an amateur. "No complaints, Yankee Buck. But you weren't fucking me. Whoever he was -- did this help?"
Bucky sighs. "Maybe. He and I never...and it's too late now."
"Is he dead?"
"Unless he's dead, it's not too late," Jeremy says. "But if you've anything else you'd like to work out on me, well. I won't mind, and you know where to find me."
"It was great," Bucky offers.
"Oh, I know it was great," Jeremy says, and Bucky laughs. "Repeat business is welcome. But I have to say -- you should lavish your delights on someone you love."
Bucky eases down again. "Maybe. But -- just for tonight -- "
"Stay. As long as you're out before my landlady wakes up," Jeremy reminds him. "And I want that can of pineapple, the next time you and yours roll through."
"I'll see what I can do," Bucky says, amused and pleased. He closes his eyes, more than ready to catch a few minutes' sleep before he has to head back out into the cold of London's midnight.
"What'd you get up to last night?" Steve asks the next morning, when Bucky troops into the mess just before seven. "Showing the locals a good time?"
"Something like that," Bucky says, smiling at him. He does miss how Steve used to be -- how they both used to be -- but Steve is so happy like this, so pleased to be of use and so at peace with himself -- it's hard to regret it as much as he had before Jeremy had taken him home. "New mission?"
"Soon enough. Glad you're onboard -- I'd be at sea without you, Buck," Steve says, and Bucky bumps their shoulders together as he sits down.
"I know the feeling, big guy," Bucky replies, and sets to his beans and toast with a light heart.