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There are things - small things - Steve seems mildly determined to rehabilitate, and one of them is the shower. Bucky's not entirely sure why, except that maybe the part where Steve resents the normal things that throw him off almost as much as Bucky does, or maybe he just that he thinks he can fix this at least, but Bucky can't actually argue it's not working.

Actually, he probably started it. Back on the day he let Stark and Elizabeth look at his arm. He hadn't been thinking like that, had barely been thinking beyond need and want and the pit of distance and fucking crazy he was trying not to fall into, and being pretty fucking sure that the best way not to was Steve's hands on him, Steve's body against his, in his, Steve's mouth on his and all right now.

And he'd been right. But Steve stores these things away. Like if he can get enough pieces he can work them into a mosaic of Less Fucking Awful. And there's only so much of Steve being unhappy about something Bucky can take, so when Steve gets these things into his head, mostly he lets Steve try.

Here, this, maybe, is small enough, simple enough to work. Not in bright colours, not in broad strokes, but it . . .takes a pretty God damned bad day before Steve's trying-to-be-casual-but-completely-fucking-isn't invitation to shower with him doesn't seem worth the violent twitch or skip in Bucky's head when the water first hits his skin. It'll get drowned out fast enough. And is.

Right now Steve's kissing his jaw, licking water off the side of his neck and then sucking up a mark over his carotid. The water falls straight down on him, on them, enough like rain to edge everything closer to easy, closer to safe. Steve presses teeth into his collar-bone and Bucky leans more weight against the cool tile against his back; his left hand rests on the back of Steve's neck and his right hand slides over Steve's shoulder and down his arm.

And in the back of Bucky's head is the the little desperate clutching echo and of the thought - of knowing (purely, absolutely) that he will always, always take anything Steve's willing to give him. And shock, and gratitude, and desperate relief, that it's this. That Steve wants him, after everything, in spite of everything, through everything. That he wants to be here, one hand against the wall to lean on and the other stroking down Bucky's waist, rib to thigh, while Steve mouths down Bucky's chest.

For a moment Steve presses his tongue against Bucky's left nipple, circling Bucky's right with his fingers, until he drags his mouth to the scar where it runs down Bucky's left ribs and licks and sucks different points up along it. And it's white, bright, runs up every single fucking nerve and twists Bucky's brain up and then shoots down his spine to coil at the base and by now Steve's down on his knees so the hand he's been leaning on slides up Bucky's cock instead, and Christ, God, Steve.

(That part comes out in words, barely. At least, in the shape of words with breath behind them. He wants more, wishes there were more, but silence isn't letting go that easy yet and he can't. He tries; he can't.)

And Steve has no idea what he looks like right now. No God-damn idea what he looks like on his knees and looking up, face flushed, the top of his chest flushed, mouth red and lips parted. He's as unconcerned and unaffected as if this were the God-damn Garden and more than once Bucky's managed to think (with different levels of coherence) that it's a good fucking thing it turned out to be the Norse pantheon that were a super-powered alien empire, because if it'd been the Greeks Bucky would already've had to break Zeus' neck.

But mostly he thinks God, Steve and once he could, he remembers he could put praise into words, all of them - tell Steve how fucking amazing he is, how good he is, how incredible his mouth feels. Now sound gets trapped somewhere in his chest and all he has is breath and his hands, to stroke Steve's face and watch him close his eyes as his cheeks hollow and one hand drops to his own cock to stroke.

Bucky watches him, watches the flush over his cheeks and the rest of his face deepen, spread over his shoulders and down his chest. Traces the line of Steve's jaw back to his throat and rest where Bucky's right hand can feel the jumping of Steve's heart-beat, when Steve opens his eyes and looks up at Bucky through his lashes and then closes them again as he slides his mouth back down Bucky's cock, lips and tongue and heat and wet and Bucky runs his left fingers through Steve's hair. Rubs circles with his right thumb over Steve's fluttering pulse-point.

His head is one glorious mess of Steve, Steve and praise and only the catches of his breath pull it out and he's sorry about that, like so many other things but here, like this, any regret is just a point in glorious noise and it's gone, gone so fucking fast because his skin is alive and his body is alive and Steve will give him this - God, loving Christ, Steve.

When he comes Bucky's head falls back against the wall and his breath scrapes in his chest and against the back of his throat. And for a second, everything is okay, for a second, everything makes sense, for a second something can be good. And if moments had a shape he'd dig his fingers in and try not to let go, because God, thank God, you son of a bitch -

With the hand at his throat Bucky pulls Steve up, up to standing and leaning against Bucky so he can kiss Steve hard and deep, wrap his right hand around Steve's cock to stroke until Steve's leaning his head against Bucky's shoulder, moaning into his mouth, and then the shower's washing Steve's come off Bucky's skin.

He kisses Steve again, and for a while, Steve obligingly pliant when Bucky pulls him close and holds him there, right hand on the back of his neck and fingers of the left digging into the skin of his ass and then, eventually, dragging up Steve's spine the way that makes Steve shiver and press closer still.

Bucky kisses Steve's face and his jaw and says, "Nothing important today," and it's not really a question: Steve's halfway through a tiny shake of his head and the word No when Bucky moves his grip so that his right thumb can circle the spot just below the point of Steve's jaw, so that the word turns into a groan against Bucky's temple.

"Then the Hell with today," Bucky murmurs, and kisses Steve's throat, "we're going back to bed."

He doesn't expect any argument, and he doesn't get any either.