Actions

Work Header

Tête-à-tête

Work Text:

The worst thing was, he wasn’t even getting laid.

No, the worst thing were the rumors.

Screw that. The worst was the homesickness. Or the food. Or the godawful uncomfortable groundsheets to sleep on. Or missing Steve so bad it felt like he was being punched in the chest if he let himself think about it.

There were a helluva lot of worst things.

But the fact that the entire 107th seemed to have heard the rumor that Sergeant Barnes was a queer? That had to be near the top of the list.

He’d lived for years with the guy he loved, slept in the same bed as him, fucked like goddamn rabbits and shared goodnight kisses every night, and everyone in the neighborhood gossiped about the girls he danced with and thought that he was some straight, red-blooded Don Juan. He left his guy behind, he stopped fucking a guy, and everyone in the army had him pegged as queer. It wasn’t fucking fair.

When he’d left Steve in New York they’d had a little talk, said that it wasn’t like they were dames, they weren’t going to break each other’s heart if they found someone to keep their bed warm while they were apart. And while he missed Steve something awful, he missed getting laid too. But, hell, he knew what the army did to a guy when it found out that one of their own was a queer, and perhaps he could have risked it if he thought he wasn’t going to get caught, but not when every guy in the unit looked at him like they were wondering if he’d gone out and gotten fucked the night before.

Far too fucking risky. So he was not getting laid, keeping his nose clean, being the best damn sergeant in the whole of the 107th, flirting with every pretty girl that came walking past him, and doing everything in his power to prove those damn rumors wrong.

It didn’t make a blind bit of difference.

He wasn’t deaf. He knew what they said about him. “Hey, if you’re good Sarge might suck you off”.

The least he could do was make it so they couldn’t prove anything. Couldn’t send him home. ‘Cause there were things that were worth fighting for. He was fighting for his Stevie, for Mom and dad and his sisters, and for his friends here.

If he got sent home, who’d listen to Dum Dum’s boring as hell stories? Who’d keep his unit in line well enough that they might have half a chance of getting through this alive? Because it sure as hell wasn’t their Lieutenant, a nail-biting bag of nerves who could just about manage to get an order out if he took a good run at it.

He’d just had to live with the fact that he apparently had some neon sign over his head telling everyone in the army he was a queer.

“Morning, Princess.”

“Go fuck yourself, Dum Dum.” Same exchange every morning. It didn’t need saying that if anyone other than Dum Dum tried to call him Princess they’d get something a lot worse than some cussing. There had been a day, a week ago, where the Lieutenant had called him Princess, realized what he’d done, tripped over his tongue, gone beet red and hadn’t been able to talk to Bucky for the rest of the day. At least it had made the guys laugh. They knew they were heading to the front real soon, and the tension was building like before a thunderstorm. A little laughter didn’t hurt, even if it was at his expense.

Then there was a mug of coffee at his elbow. At the other end of the coffee was Private Novak, a man who seemed to be made entirely of knees and elbows, topped off with a face only a mother could love.

Bucky took the coffee and grunted something that could be interpreted as thanks. Novak beamed like he’d just found fifty dollars, and just stood there.

“Ain’t you got work you should be doing?”

Novak snapped to attention. He blurted out a “Yes, sir!” and scurried off.

Fuck, anyone who wasn’t blind or dumb could see that Novak had a crush on him. What the hell was he supposed to do about that? Novak never did anything that could end up with him being put on report, and while he was ugly as sin, the guy was so damn nice that being nasty to him would be like kicking a puppy.

Dum Dum grinned at Bucky.

“Shut up, Dum Dum.”

“Didn’t say anything.”

“You were thinking too damn loud.”

Dum Dum leaned in closer, though people were busy enough not to be listening to them. “Kid might be ugly, but if you closed your eyes–”

 “Yeah, and if you closed your eyes you could pretend he had tits.”

“You know what I think?”

“I know you’re gonna tell me.”

“I think you got a boy back home. Someone you’re real sweet on. So sweet that you’re the only man in this entire army that can ignore the chance of a lay throwing itself at your feet.”

Bucky looked sidelong at Dum Dum. “I’m dating Lana Turner, but she says I gotta make Captain before we can go public.”

“We’ll make it a double wedding when I marry Rita Hayworth.”

---

The unit moved out that morning, and wasn’t Italy supposed to be warm and dry? Not damp and muddy and miserable.

Some trucks would have been nice too, but nope, they were marching.

Keep ‘em walking, mostly in the right direction, keep ‘em going when they want to stop, ignore all the grouching, make sure they had food and water…

Now he knew why his mom always looked so tired.

Finally they were through marching, and able to set up camp for the night, which of course meant that Bucky had to run around sorting out a hundred and one things before he could come back and find someone to pitch a pup tent with.

“Dum Dum? Where’s your tent gear?”

“Already pitched in with Kemp. Everyone’s pitched. ‘Cept one.” Dum Dum nodded to where Novak had started to lay out a groundsheet.

Bucky was aware that a number of the men were gathered around, on the verge of snickering. He glared at Dum Dum, who was grinning. “Hope you’re happy in your tent, Corporal, ‘cause it sure would be a shame if someone took all your bourbon and cigars in the night.” He glanced over at Kemp. “And you, sharing a tent with him is punishment enough. Snores like a B-17.”

Dum Dum’s grin didn’t fade at all.

Bucky turned on his heel. It wasn’t like Novak was going to try anything, and this setup was because they thought it was funny, not because they were trying to catch him out. He was just going to have to make the best of it.

“Novak!”

“Sir!”

“New army reg – snoring, or waking up the sergeant you’re sharing a tent with is now a shooting offense. You got that?”

Novak grinned. “Yessir.”

Shit, when had he started feeling so old? Novak was nineteen, a couple of the others were eighteen, only six or so years younger than him, but he felt like a grandfather next to them.

He crawled into the tent that night after Novak, only dim lights at the edge of the camp so as not to give away their position, leaving the inside of the tent completely black. He was trying to get comfortable, when Novak whispered, “Sarge?”

He whispered back, “Sleep.”

There was a pause, and Novak shifted closer, even though the tent was barely big enough for two to start with, so that his breath was warm in Bucky’s ear. “I heard– I heard the guys– and I know they do, at night– it ain’t queer if there ain’t any women.”

Shit. If he told Novak to roll over and go to sleep, Novak would do it, never mention it again. But Novak had his own neon sign over his head, and his said “Queer” and “Virgin”. They were maybe two days from the front, from a very real possibility that he was going to die. And he could hear the tremor in Novak’s voice, how scared he was, but he was still risking it–

And all the guys knew what he thought about Novak, didn’t they? This had been set up as a joke, to annoy him, so the last thing they would be expecting would be...

He rolled over, put his arm around Novak, pulled him in close, until his mouth was next to Novak’s ear, and whispered, “Yeah, but when you want it all the time, when there’s beautiful women around, that’s queer, ain’t it?” He could feel Novak tense up, holding his breath. “Takes one to know one, kid. Now, I got a guy back home, and I’m real careful, and you gotta be careful too. Don’t be so damn obvious.”

He felt Novak’s breath hitch. “Sorry, Sarge.”

“You ain’t ever done anything about it, though, have you?”

Novak swallowed. “No.”

“Just tonight. Nothing more. This never happened.”

This dark, he couldn’t see Novak’s face, which was a blessing, but it meant he couldn’t tell what the guy was thinking. So he went slow, dragged his hand down Novak’s side, to the waistband of his shorts. He could feel the guy was already hard, but he gave any hint that he didn’t want this and Bucky would roll over, say goodnight and that would be that.

But as he slid his hand inside Novak’s shorts, Novak pressed forwards with a half-gasp, half-hiccup.

“Quiet.” Yeah, like hell he was going to be able to keep quiet. He put his hand over Novak’s mouth. And if he was going to do this, why not do it properly? They’d all showered yesterday. Keeping his hand over Novak’s mouth, he moved down, pushing his shorts down and feeling his way blindly in the dark until he found Novak’s dick. He traced the shape of it with his tongue, guy wasn’t even well-endowed in that area, but that meant that when Bucky took his dick into his mouth he could just suck him down. It took about ten seconds before Novak was shaking and coming, thankfully quietly.

Bucky swallowed, only because there was nowhere to spit, and took his hand away from Novak’s mouth as he stretched back out again.

Novak was still breathing hard when he whispered, “Do you want me to…?”

“Hand. Ain’t having an amateur's mouth near my dick.”

Hand was safe, guys practiced on themselves enough that even the most inexperienced wasn’t likely to screw it up. That was good, firm pressure around the base of his dick, thumb around the head, and he could focus on the darkness and think about someone else doing this. Someone who could be mouthy, stupid, woke him up in the night with snoring or sharp elbows in his chest, stubborn little asshole who Bucky missed like crazy. He came with an ache in his chest.

Still better than his own hand.

“Sleep. And ain’t nothing unusual happened tonight. And there ain’t gonna be nothing different tomorrow. Got it?”

“Yes, Sarge.”

---

He woke with a sinking feeling. That had been stupid. So stupid. There was no way that Novak wasn’t going to end up saying or doing something that would end up with the both of them in front of the brass, and – fuck. Novak wasn’t there, must have already gotten up, he couldn’t even say anything.

There wasn’t anything to do now but face the music.

He crawled out of the tent, into more sunlight than there had been yesterday, to see Dum Dum and Kemp looking grouchy. Not even a ‘morning, Princess’ from Dum Dum.

“Aww, bad night boys?”

“Private Kemp didn’t tell me that he thrashes around in his sleep like he’s got a hornet in his sleeping bag.”

“Corporal Dugan don’t just snore, he snores and then he wheezes and then he groans and I don’t know how in the hell you ever put up with him, Sarge. More than a man can take.”

“And?” He looked meaningfully at Dum Dum.

Dum Dum sighed deeply. “Sergeant, I would be honored if you would pitch tent with me tonight.”

“Hmmm. I guess since you asked so nicely.”

 “No funny business, Princess.”

“Go fuck yourself, Dum Dum.”

Then there was a mug of coffee at his elbow, and Novak smiling at him. The same smile as yesterday, the same coffee as yesterday, fuck, they might just get away with this.

He took the coffee and said, “Novak, Dum Dum has pulled rank. You’re pitching in with Kemp tonight.”

Novak made a face. “He kicks in his sleep, Sarge.”

Bucky sighed. As soon as he had a moment, he was going to write to his mom, and apologize for every single argument she’d had to settle between him and his sisters.

---

He’d failed.

So maybe there wasn’t much that he could have done better with them facing down weapons like that. But it didn’t change the fact that he wanted to get as many of his men home as possible, and only him and Dum Dum were still standing.

And now they were in cages, along with the rag ends of units from every other Allied force operating in Europe, being made to work for the bastards that had killed almost all of his men.

They were settling in for the night, well as you could do in a cage, when Dum Dum said, “You doing ok there, Princess?”

He couldn’t even bring himself to tell Dum Dum to go fuck himself. His chest was rattling, he felt terrible, but a place like this, you didn’t want to draw attention to that. “Doing just swell. You want me to take some of your work tomorrow?”

Dum Dum lowered his voice, “No, but I’ll cover for you if you need it. I ain’t as dumb as I look. Your chest–”

“I know. I’ll be ok.”

They were quiet for a moment, before Falsworth, one of the bunch they’d been put in with, said quietly, “One doesn’t mean to pry, but I do feel I have to ask – are you two… an item?”

Bucky caught Dum Dum’s eye, and then burst out laughing, which was a mistake, because Bucky started coughing and didn’t stop until he’d coughed up something rotten which he spat between the bars of the cell before leaning back on the bars to try and get his breath.

“Terribly sorry. I know the question was a little impertinent, but it wasn’t meant to be life-threatening.”

“Well, you see here, our Bucky don't have enough breasts for my liking. And Bucky’s got himself a sweetheart back home.”

“You do act like an old married couple,” said Jones.

“That’s ‘cause Dum Dum has prematurely aged me.”

Dum Dum sniffed. “You’ve taken all the magic out of this relationship.”

---

Steve had been taken off by the Colonel for some debrief, and all the rest of them were being organized, some to the medics, the rest of them in lines for showers or food or new clothes or paperwork.

Truth was, he was still in a daze, following Dum Dum and Gabe, giving answers and doing things on automatic.

It was all real. The camp hadn’t grayed out into the ceiling of a lab, he hadn’t woken up. Steve was Captain America, and Bucky was alive. He was satting on a crate, with Dum Dum to one side, Gabe on the other, and a few others they’d picked up along the way - Falsworth, Dernier, Morita.

“Bucky?”

He looked up, and Steve was standing in the door of the tent, still huge.

“Yeah?”

“Can I have a word? Uh, in private?”

“Sure.” He stood up, and followed Steve.

“You got something to eat?”

“Yeah.”

“You been to the medics?”

“Don’t need it.”

“Bucky–” 

“Don’t you dare try and mother me.”

“Sorry.” Steve ducked into a tent, and Bucky followed; it was full of stage gear and costumes. At the back there was a small curtained off area with a bed in it. Steve went in there, and pulled the curtain behind them.

“Bucky, I…” Steve seemed lost for words, then grabbed Bucky, and pulled him into a hug.

Jesus, he’d never been hugged by anyone this size before, it felt like Steve could crush him if he wanted to. He wrapped his arms around Steve and pressed his face into Steve’s neck, and under the smell of dirt and leather, that smell, that was him.

It took him a moment to realize that Steve was crying, suppressed sobs shuddered into Bucky’s shoulder.

“Steve, it’s ok–”

“They said you were dead.”

“Sure felt like it was going that way.” Steve squeezed him even tighter. “Hey, I need to breathe.”

“Sorry.” Steve’s breath was still hitching.

“You oughta let go of me.”

“Feel like I don’t ever want to let go of you.”

“Steve–” he pushed away, and Steve looked hurt, hell, a man that size shouldn’t be able to look like a kicked puppy. He took a deep breath. “Every damn man in the 107th says I’m a queer, then you go and run some harebrained rescue for me, and that means they’re gonna start saying Captain America’s a queer–”

“But–”

“What the hell do you think they’d do to you Steve? Pat you on the back and give you a medal?”

“It’s not right–”

“No, it ain’t.” He cupped Steve’s face with his hand. “You were the one who said that lying to the army was ok because fighting was the right thing to do.”

“I thought– I thought that fighting against bullies, whatever size they came in, was most important thing I could do. Now–” He took Bucky’s hand and kissed the palm. “Guess other things are just as important. But I still want to fight. What Hydra did... They need to be stopped.”

“And you ain’t gonna do that from the wrong side of a dishonorable discharge.”

“There are guys that get away with it–”

“Guys who ain’t Captain America.”

Steve took Bucky’s face in his hands. “I went twenty miles into enemy territory for you, and you’re not going to stand there and tell me that just because they made me Captain America I should start being ashamed of you. Or ashamed of who I am.”

Bucky couldn’t help but smile. “And that’s how I know you’re real, ‘cause if I was imagining this right now, I’d be imagining you less of an idiot.”

“Jerk.” Steve leaned forward and kissed him, and this… this was how he remembered it.

Bucky rested his forehead against Steve’s. “That’s gonna have to last you until we’re somewhere there’s more than canvas between you and a whole bunch of people who want a piece of Captain America, ok? And that ain’t because I’m ashamed, because I could never be ashamed of you, ever. It’s just… being careful. Please?”

Steve smiled. “I can wait.”

“Yeah, we’ll see.”

“So… those your friends?”

“Dum Dum is. The others. Maybe. Probably.”

“C’mon then. You should be talking to them.”

They walked back together, Bucky feeling more than ever the eyes on Steve. As they ducked into the tent, Dum Dum beamed at him. “Everything straightened out between you two, Princess?”

Steve looked at Bucky. “Princess?

“Steve, shut the fuck up. Dum Dum, go fuck yourself. The rest of you assholes don’t even think of saying that word.”

The men in front of him failed to suppress their grins.

He sat down grumpily next to Dum Dum, who beamed at him. “I’d’a thought that getting your boy back would have made you less grumpy–”

Dum Dum–” But Dum Dum wasn’t going to be stopped.

“– I knew you had a sweetheart, but Captain America–”

“Dum Dum stop talking right now you asshole or I will stop you talking for good.”

“Bucky–” Steve sat on the duckboards by Bucky’s feet and looked up at him, “it’s ok.”

Bucky pouted. “It ain’t you he’s calling Princess.”

Steve suppressed a smile. “Sure. Sorry.” He rested his chin on Bucky’s thigh and looked up at him, and shit, Bucky had never been able to resist that look.

“I hate you.” But he found that his hand had already curled around the back of Steve’s neck.

“See,” said Dum Dum to the other men, “Like a fairytale romance.”

“Fairy being the word,” said Morita.

“That any way to talk about the guy who saved your life, Morita?” asked Dum Dum.

“If they don’t stop looking at each other like that I think my teeth shall rot,” said Falsworth.

Dernier said something in French, and Gabe laughed, said something back in French, and there was a rapid-fire exchange between them.

“Translation?” asked Falsworth.

“I was explaining that this wasn’t exactly usual for the US Army.” said Gabe.

“Depends what part of the army.” said Dum Dum.

“And we’re not even going to start talking about the navy,” said Falsworth.

“None of this goes beyond this tent. Ain’t having people gossiping about Captain America,” said Bucky.

“We look stupid?” asked Morita.

“Yeah, you do,” said Bucky.

---

Turned out they were all stupid. Stupid enough to follow Steve back into the field. But then, he was stupid too, so they were even.

Was this going to work? Not whether Steve was going to do half the work of winning this damn war, Bucky didn’t have any doubts about that. But him following Steve, and their little squad… knowing. About the two of them.

There’d never been anyone who knew about them. Sure, there’d been the rumors before, but people hadn’t known.

It was a helluva risk. Any one of them decided that they didn’t like the way this squad was run, and they could turn them in. Not that he thought that they would, but they could.

And then there was Agent Carter. Oh, Steve could be as reassuring as he liked that he respected her as an agent, she was competent in the field, she had believed in him when other people didn’t, but he thought of her as a friend.

But that only counted from Steve’s side. That wasn’t how she looked at Steve at all.

She was too damn clever as well. And used to seeing through people lying to her. What happened when she worked it out? Agent Carter could take the both of them down, ruin them completely, he knew it, even from only meeting her a couple of times. He just didn’t know whether or not she would do it.

Not that he said any of this to Steve. There was a helluva lot he wasn’t saying to Steve these days, from the big things like what had happened in that Hydra base, to little things like the fact that their squad was being well-supplied with alcohol only because of a complex ruse thought up by Gabe. Steve was up there planning things with the military brass, he didn’t need Bucky’s worries, or NCO level worries on top of that.

And those worries seemed one hell of a lot less pressing when (after he eventually persuaded Steve that even if he didn’t need much sleep he still needed some) he could curl up for the night in Steve’s arms, press his face into Steve’s neck and feel like he was home.

---

So maybe being with a bunch of guys who knew about him and Steve gave them more leeway, but it didn’t give them much more privacy.

There was an odd number of them, so the first mission they set out with tents for six, because one of them was going to be on watch, and they’d switch around.

The second mission Steve carried the extra gear, and Dum Dum got a tent to himself.

That meant that, whenever it was safe enough for them to pitch tents at least, Bucky got to curl up with Steve every time they were both going to sleep at the same time, and maybe perhaps a lot of those times they ended up kissing, and some of the time with their hands in each others’ pants.

He should have been satisfied with that. It was better than he had any right to expect the army ever to be.

But he was a greedy bastard, and he wanted all of Steve.

So when, a few missions in, they found themselves in an abandoned farm, the farmhouse burnt out but the barns and outbuildings still intact, he had plans about what he was going to do with a wall and a door between him and Steve and the outside world. He’d never organized people so fast in his damn life, never mind that the bastards kept giving him meaningful looks and snickering.

“Falsworth, you got first watch. Come find us if there’s Nazis or Hydra.”

“Don’t worry, I have no desire to disturb your tête-à-tête with anything less pressing.”

Jim looked at Gabe. “Is tête-à-tête as bad as I think it is?”

Gabe grinned. “Just means a conversation between two people.”

“Conversation. Sure.” said Dum Dum.

Steve smiled blandly, said, “Important tactical discussion,” and pulled Bucky by the hand through a door into what must have been a hay store.

Bucky shut and barred the door behind him, then kicked the piles of hay. Just in case. But they were just hay, not even any rats disturbed. So he dropped onto the largest pile, and reached out to Steve, who chuckled and dropped into the hay next to him.

They pulled each other close and kissed, and this was not as comfortable as the movies made it out to be. But he was easily distracted, grinding his groin against Steve’s leg.

Bucky felt for the straps of Steve’s top, starting to unbuckle them, but Steve caught his hand. “Buck, I want you out of that so bad, but we can’t. We’ve got to be able to move out at a moment’s notice–”

Bucky groaned, but he knew Steve was right.

Steve grinned, “But we can still have some fun.” And with that he was opening Bucky’s fly and bending his head.

Steve started by just nuzzling into Bucky’s groin. He could feel Steve’s breath hot on his dick, his stubble gently scraping across his balls. Bucky shivered at the sensation, and he was hard and wanted Steve to touch him, but Steve kept up with the ghosts of touches and hot puffs of breath.

Bucky put a hand into Steve’s hair, a gentle tug to try and get him to get to it. But Steve wasn’t going to be hurried. The little touches turned to little kisses along the shaft of his dick, teasing, keeping Bucky hard and wanting.

Steve finally kissed the head of Bucky’s dick, then opened his mouth slowly to take the head inside. Damn, a hand had nothing on this, and Bucky jerked his hips up, almost without intending to, but Steve held his hips down as he slowly, so fucking slowly, took Bucky’s dick fully into his mouth.

Then Steve sucked and Bucky’s hand flexed in his hair. “Steve… Steve. I wanna suck you.”

That heat was gone, and Steve was looking up at him, all cocky smile. “Suck me while I suck you?”

He should have a comeback for that, but he just said, “Yeah. Please.”

Steve moved round, and his fly was already open, must have been jerking himself off as he sucked Bucky. Fuck.

Bucky put his mouth loosely around Steve’s dick, as the beautiful hot wet of Steve’s mouth fastened round his own dick. As Steve sucked, Bucky sucked, when Steve licked, Bucky licked, like they were in time with each other, fucking to a rhythm.

This was fucking wonderful, but it had been too long and he wasn’t going to last. He came, sparks from toes to the top of his head, hands flexing around Steve’s thighs. Steve sucked him gently through it.

Bucky’s technique had gone to hell as he came, just his mouth loose around Steve’s dick, but as he came back to himself he sucked Steve, took him as deep as he could, relaxing a little to stroke his tongue along the underside of Steve’s dick, then playing around the head. He sucked Steve down again, and Steve was coming, Bucky swallowing it down.

Steve turned round, and pulled Bucky into a hug. He kissed Bucky on the jaw, then snuggled into him. “That was nice.”

“Not as nice as getting naked.”

“Not on straw this scratchy.”

Bucky chuckled. “You got a point.”

---

Now, Bucky knew women could fight: he had three sisters, and they could fight meaner and nastier than any guy. But just because they could, it didn’t mean they should. There were things that they were trying to protect, and surely that meant protecting women from being on the front line?

But as Steve said, Agent Carter was the best codebreaker they had, and he was right. Getting the job done was what counted.

This position was crappy as well. He was watching the comings and goings at the main gate while Carter was listening in on their radio transmissions – which meant that he wasn’t able to watch Steve’s back as he and the rest of the guys came round the other side of the base. But they had intel that there was something here that Hydra might try and run with, so they needed people watching the front gate to stop anything leaving from this end.

He glanced at his watch. Thirty minutes to zero hour. He looked back at Carter. “Anything?”

“Routine signals only, so far.”

He turned his attention back to the gate.

“Sergeant?”

He didn’t turn round. “Uhuh.”

“I believe that I should tell you that I know. That the relationship between you and Captain Rogers is… less than platonic.”

Bucky stiffened. This may have been coming for a while, but hell, in the middle of a mission? He kept his eyes fixed on the base. “What are you talking about?”

“I don’t expect you to confirm it. I just wanted you to know that I knew. I have absolutely no intention of acting on this. He needs you.”

Bucky licked his lips, still not looking at her. “You told Steve this?”

“Not yet. I haven’t had a moment alone with him since I became sure.”

“Don’t tell him.”

“He doesn’t like being lied to.”

“Ain’t asking you to lie. Just not tell him.”

“Why not?”

That was good question. He watched the sentries walk along the perimeter for a couple more minutes, thinking. “I– He–” Bucky smiled ruefully to himself. “Because he thinks he’s a much better liar than he is.”

He could hear the smile in Carter’s voice as she said, “So I shouldn’t tell him so he can think he’s still pulling the wool over the eyes of an intelligence agent.”

Bucky grinned. “You ever seen his kicked puppy look? He’ll give you that look. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of that.”

“I still think he deserves some honesty, so I believe I will risk it.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

They were quiet for a few moments. The base continued quiet, routine movements of sentries only. Bucky took a deep breath, still not quite daring to look at Carter. “What about you?”

“What about me?”

“You… like him.”

“He’s quite something. And I suspect he always has been. But he’s never promised me anything, and as they say, there are other fish in the sea." She paused. "And being Captain America's girl is... less than appealing. But, since everyone is convinced I am, and there seems to be nothing I can do to stop them - well, there are plenty of sharks in the sea as well, and the idea that I’m Captain America's girl  is enough to discourage some of them, which reduces the number I have to… discourage.”

Bucky grinned. “Can be hell on the knuckles, all that discouraging.”

“Precisely. So it seems to me that without ever quite discussing it, we have come to a mutually beneficial relationship.”

“Uh… thank you.”

There was a pause, before Carter said, “Is this why Dum Dum calls you ‘mom’?”

Bucky sighed wearily. “He calls me mom because I told him to stop calling me Princess.”

---

The ashes blown around from the bonfires of all the papers almost looked like snow. The Nazis (not Hydra for once) had left in a hurry, doors open, bags left, even mugs of moldering coffee – but it looked like they’d manage to burn anything that might be useful, in bonfires in the courtyard of what must have been some rich guy’s country place.

“We’re going to stop here until tomorrow anyway,” said Steve, “We need to rendezvous with our transport.”

“And this looks like the sort of place that will have beds upstairs.” said Monty, “Hopefully nice ones.”

“Nazi bedbugs,” said Jim. “Nazi lice. Nazi crabs.”

“If you get Nazi lice is that harboring the enemy?” said Gabe.

He’d already put Dum Dum and Jaques on first watch, so he didn’t even bother to get involved in the conversation, just followed Steve up the stairs. The first rooms were more offices, cabinets open and empty; then rooms with army beds in them, all made up neatly.

Gabe pulled back the covers. “I think they actually have shittier bedding than we do.”

Steve opened a door in the corridor (carefully – this looked like they’d gone in too much of a hurry to booby trap anything, but it wasn’t clever to get sloppy), and stopped. Bucky was beside him in an instant, gun drawn, but it wasn’t a trap that had made Steve stop.

“Guess we found the Commandant’s room.”

A huge four-poster bed dominated the middle of the room; the sides that didn’t have windows were covered in huge mirrors, surrounded by so much gold and flowery decoration (that he was sure Steve would know the proper name for) that it almost made his head hurt.

Monty, Jim and Gabe appeared behind them.

“Well, I think we’ll take it as read that our officers have bagsied this particular bed,” said Monty.

“Not like any of the rest of us are going to make real full use of it,” said Gabe.

“Don’t know. I could do some quality sleeping in that bed,” said Jim.

“What we are going to do,” said Steve, “is search the room. The commander might have forgotten something important when he left.”

The commander had. Three bottles of very old, very expensive-looking brandy. No useful paperwork though. The same went for all the other rooms; personal odds and ends forgotten, but nothing strategic.

But, no booby traps, no nasty surprises, a working stove in the kitchen and a bed for everyone. And it was barely lunchtime, they didn’t have anything they needed to do until the morning, and that bed…

Now Steve was all professionalism, checking every last outbuilding and possible hiding place, but Bucky had long practice in reading him, and he could see that he was thinking the same thing. Finally, Steve seemed to be satisfied. When all the watches had been organized he turned to the men sitting around the table and smiled brightly, “If you’ll excuse us–”

“Important tactical discussion,” filled in Gabe, grinning.

“Yeah,” said Bucky, “and you’re gonna need to give us some notice if you need us–”

Jim made a face, “Just go away and stop making me think about how long it’s been since I even saw a woman.”

They took the stairs three at a time, because fuck dignity and subtlety. As soon as the door was shut behind them Steve tackled him, pitching both of them onto the bed as Bucky laughed. Then Steve’s lips were on his jaw, his neck, unbuttoning his jacket as Bucky arched his neck back.

Bucky reached for the buckles of Steve’s jacket, fumbled, swore, and Steve chuckled, rolling off him. They undressed as fast as possible, clothes tossed onto the floor, though not so fast that Bucky forgot to find the tub of vaseline, and throw it onto the nightstand.

Steve pulled back the covers of the bed and lay down pulling Bucky close again and kissed him. Jesus, he’d missed this, the feeling of skin against skin, so close he could convince himself he could feel Steve’s heartbeat (that strong, slow, thud, rather than the skittering jazz rhythm he used to know). As they kissed he ran his free hand down Steve’s back, and he still didn’t know this body yet; oh, he knew Steve and whatever shape he was he still had ticklish feet, still loved being held, but he didn’t know every one of these new muscles. But he was learning, and he was going to know this new body as well as the old one.

Bucky rolled them so he was on top of Steve, then turned his head and nodded at the mirror that ran the length of the bed. “See, that’s what they should have on the propaganda posters.” He looked down at Steve again, “Sexier than anything the Reich can come up with.”

Steve smiled, looked at the mirror, then back at Bucky, “Might not be that many guys who’d be inspired.”

“You’re hot enough to turn more guys than you think.”

“And I thought I was spoken for–”

Bucky kissed him, “Damn right.” He kissed him again, punctuated his words with kisses, “I got you while those assholes were too stupid to see how great you were, and too blind to see how pretty you were–”

Even though Bucky was kissing down his neck when Steve said it, he could hear the fact that Steve was rolling his eyes when he said, “Pretty.

“Uhuh, and you’re still the prettiest hunk of muscle in the whole army.”

Steve rolled them over, “Are you sweet talking me?”

“Right into a Nazi’s bed, honey.”

Steve laughed, and kissed him again, now with more intent, harder and deeper, before moving down, kissing down Bucky’s neck, down the center of his chest, across his stomach, before slowly sucking down his dick, all the way. Bucky had his fingers in Steve’s hair as Steve sucked and licked, before pulling off as slowly as he’d sucked him down.

“You want–”

Bucky had already grabbed the vaseline and passed it to Steve. Steve slicked up his fingers and pressed them inside Bucky, and fuck, this was something that was different with the new body, those fingers were just as long, but so much thicker, so much more for Bucky to push back against.

Steve kissed him again as he stretched him out with his fingers, and fuck, Steve knew Bucky’s body too damn well, could push all his buttons and take him apart.

“C’mon Steve, please–”

Steve nudged Bucky’s legs further apart, then pulled his fingers out. Then he slid his dick inside Bucky, slowly, so slowly, fuck, how could anyone have patience like that?

He started slow, barely rocking inside Bucky, gradually getting faster, really fucking him, hitting that spot every fucking time until Bucky was digging his fingernails into Steve’s back and biting his tongue to stop himself from moaning out loud.

Then Bucky caught the movement in the mirror and turned his head and… fuck. This was fucking poetry, fucking art, the way Steve’s back moved as he fucked him, the angles of their bodies, the way they fit…

And Steve wrapped his hand around Bucky’s dick and it was all too much, he closed his eyes as he came, legs tensing around Steve’s waist. Steve kept going as Bucky shivered through the aftershocks, rhythm becoming erratic, before finally thrusting one last time and burying his face in Bucky’s neck as he came.

Steve pulled out of him, rolled off, always considerate, and they lay together, arms loosely around each other.

After a while, Bucky said, “We could dismantle the bed. Take it with us. You could carry it, no problem.”

“Might have trouble getting it into a tent.”

“You’re the man with the plan. You’ll think of something.”

Steve kissed him, short and gentle, and smiled. “I’m thinking that we have plenty of time before we’re needed, so we could make some more use of this bed–”

“Give me fifteen minutes, superman.”

Steve looked very seriously at his watch. “Fifteen minutes, check.”

“Jerk.”

Steve might have patience in the field, but in bed, he had none, so Bucky reckoned he got five minutes of peaceful and blissful lying in Steve’s arms before the kisses and the touches started again. And Bucky knew that Steve would stop if he asked, but the thing was, he didn’t want this to stop.

They were kissing again, and Bucky was wondering when parts of his anatomy would catch up with the schedule, when there was a furious knocking on the door.

“Who is it?” said Steve, in his best I’m-a-damn-Captain-this-better-be-important voice.

The door opened and Monty’s head appeared around the edge of it, one hand over his eyes. “Terribly sorry to disturb you, but there appears to be a US Army film crew coming up the drive, and I thought you might want to be dressed when they arrived.”

“Keep ‘em talking–” started Bucky.

“Dum Dum is already en route to intercept them with a store of his most meandering anecdotes.”

Monty disappeared again, shutting the door behind him, and Steve and Bucky were grabbing for their clothes. Dum Dum could talk for America, but stall people too long and they got suspicious. As soon as they were dressed (Bucky thought about putting his jacket back on, but it was a warm enough day, he didn’t need it), Bucky made Steve stop and looked him over critically.

“Looking like a credit to the nation.” He leaned in for a quick kiss. “No stains or hickeys to be seen.”

They walked out, to find the film crew standing around with the same glazed expression that everyone who got on the wrong end of one of Dum Dum’s anecdotes ended up with. As soon as they saw Steve they perked up (or possibly woke up), and they were all over Steve wanting to shake hands with him.

A guy with lieutenant’s stripes introduced himself as the director. “It’s been a long time since you boys were in any newsreels, so the army wanted to catch up to you. And nothing better as a backdrop than a French chateau that the Nazis have just run out of.”

“As long as this doesn’t take too long,” said Steve. “I need my men well rested for the morning.”

“We’ll have to stop when the light goes anyway. Joe? DId you want to start with an interview?”

“Yeah, uh, Captain, we’d like to do an interview with you and the Sergeant. You know the sort of thing, childhood buddies fighting side by side.” The guy half-smiled. “It won’t win the Pulitzer, but it’s something nice to play for the families back home.”

The lieutenant said, “And then some shots of the whole squad of you posing with the chateau, and with some of the things the Nazis left behind.”

They got Bucky and Steve lined up, camera rolling, and Joe said, “It must be strange for a couple of boys from Brooklyn to end up sleeping in a French chateau.”

And fuck, it wasn’t fair, it was less than half an hour since Steve had been fucking him through the mattress of the biggest bed he’d been in in his life, and this was all too fucking ridiculous. He couldn’t help his smile, and then made the mistake of turning to Steve as he started to try and answer, and saw Steve’s bright, shining grin. That was when he lost it, and started to laugh and couldn’t stop.

The sun was shining, the air smelled of honeysuckle, he was in love, they were outside a fucking country palace, and now some guy was filming him to be on the newsreels that everyone on their block back home was going to watch.

Every time the guy tried to ask a question, he just cracked up again, until eventually the director said, “You know, we’ll overdub it with something about childhood friends sharing a joke. At least you look actually happy, not like some of the miserable bastards we’ve got to film. Right, let’s get some shots of the bunch of you looking impressed at architecture.”

As they were rounded up, Steve whispered in Bucky’s ear, “Never been so glad I didn’t give you a hickey.”

---

Coda

The man in the baseball cap has moved around the exhibition slowly, methodically. Cataloging. Things he remembers. Things he does not. Things which seem familiar, though they are not memories. Things which a part of him is certain are wrong, though exactly why they are wrong he does not know.

He lingers longest at the newsreel footage, where the man who he thinks was him, laughs with Ca– with Steve. He feels… he feels a warmth in the center of his chest, and just for a moment, he imagines he smells honeysuckle.