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There was no past or future, only the present. The slow crawl of time, measured with breaths, explosions and bullets. Bucky's heart thrummed loud, hurting his chest, his mind chasing a rat in a maze. The futility and despair soaking into his bones. He was going to die in this war, maybe not this minute or hour, but it was going to happen. His only hope was to stay focused. There was a limit that a man reached, a finite number of days clinically arrived at, before combat exhaustion sets in. The endless, hopeless, useless feelings. The sorrow, terror and anger dragging you down into the dirt. To bury you.

Sgt. Bucky Barnes wasn't sure how close he was to that invisible line, but he felt the continuous pull, and --Jesus, Fuck, how much worse or better would it be to reach the finish line? The marathon of his life. What the sad part was, what did he have to show for it? What could be worth all this? Was there an end? Would he see home again?

Shells split trees. The ground heaved and rumbled as if to disgorge itself. The artillery moaned and roared around Bucky. The pungent smoke burning his eyes and throat. And there was nothing to be done, but cover his head, and shiver, sweat and be terrified in his foxhole he shared with Cpl. Timothy "Dum Dum" Dugan.

The 88s finally quieted down and they both lit up a smoke, staring at a dud shell not more then a few yards outside their foxhole.

"Fuck," Bucky ran a hand down his face. That shell unnerved him. Just a few more feet to the right..."I need Falsworth's rum--right now."

Dugan pulled a flask from his front pocket and grinned. "Got my supply here."

"God! Christ! Gimme some. That's an order." Bucky's fingers wiggling toward the flask.

Dugan chuckled and let Bucky have a long pull off it, but only after he taunted him first with a huge swallow of his own. Bastard.

A few weeks later...

Cautiously, Bucky and two other Howling Commandos moved toward the ruined house. All the windows were shattered, the walls crumbling, and there was a large hole ripped out of the roof. There were conflicting reports of Germans moving in the area. One was they were staying on the north side of the river, content in lobbing "Moaning minnies" from their Nebelwerfers. The other was that they were starting to occupy this side of the river. The buildings had to be checked and cleared, because their was also another report that Hydra had a base near the Morder River. This river.

The sun just set and the sky was casted a dark gray. The moon yet to rise high in the sky. They walked through a garden, once cultivated with blooming scrubs and fresh vegetables, now trampled and muddy. It was quiet, but for the chilly wind through the trees and the distance 'fireworks show' of a bombing run twenty miles away. The air carried the damp scent of the river nearby.

Bucky caught some movement near a tree and motioned Pvt. Gabe Jones and Cpl. Jacques Dernier to get down low and stop. He sent Jones to check it out. Crouching low, Gabe circled his way around the tree. Minutes later, he was back. It turned out to be lone sentry on patrol which he took care of.

All three worked their way up to the house. Bucky took out his .45 and instructed the two to flank the building.

Bucky pointed to Dernier's grenades. "Attendez cinq minutes et lober une grenade dans la fenêtre cave."

Jones's smirked at Bucky's poor French. "I'm sure he gets it. The cellar blown in five."

"Fuck you, Jones," Bucky said in a strained whisper, giving him the middle finger.

They moved off and Bucky crept to the front door, staying in the shadows. Licking his dry lips, a tension hummed through his body. He briefly thought of Steve and the others. They were down the road checking other buildings. He silently counted down the minutes to when Jones and Dernier were in position.

Ignoring the door for now, he peered through a broken window. His eyes had adjusted to the dark, and he could make out the broken furniture, along with a table that had little damage, a stove and a some not shattered unlit kerosene lamps.

He took a cleansing breath and let it out. Readying his pistol, he tried the front door. No lock. And pulled it open to a slow scrap that rattled his nerves. The hinges rasped like grinding gears in an automobile. Entering, he stealthily stepped over the strewn debris on the floor. He found the stairs going down to the cellar, and drew in a sharp breath when he moved closer. He could hear the faint rumble of voices drifting up from downstairs. He walked to the cellar door holstering his pistol and pulled a grenade off his belt. After a count of ten, he yanked the door open, pulled the pin and pitched the grenade down the stairs. The explosion, make that explosions, shook the house. Dernier was right on time. And Jones was in position to pick off the Krauts that fled.

Bucky pulled out his .45 and took the stairs down, two at a time. His heart was racing. The hazy smoke hindered his vision, but he was hoping for the same for the Germans. A report from a gun had him rolling to the left. The weight of someone jumping on his back startled him. He dropped to one knee, throwing the man over his shoulder. He bowled into two soldiers in front of him as Bucky's pistol fell to the floor.

Everything slowed down, becoming crystal clear as his breath steadied and his heart rate spiked then slowed. He unsheathed his newly requisitioned V-42. A double edged stiletto, razor sharp. And leaped for the nearest man. All three were still staggered and confused. Left to right and the man dropped, choking on his own blood, throat cut. Bucky grabbed another in a vise-like grip, a one armed choke-hold, twisting him around with his left forearm, using the momentum, he swung his own body up, wrapping his legs around the third soldier's neck. Spinning down with all his weight and leverage, the neck snapped like dry wood. Simultaneously, he drove his dagger under the ribs of the man he had in the choke-hold. Bucky crashed on the floor on his side as both men collapsed. He wrenched the man's head back, and it flopped at an odd angle, the man's eyes wide open and glassy.

Bucky sensed someone else in the settling smoke--just outside his peripheral vision. He tugged the embedded knife, but it was held fast, stuck in bone. Bucky cursed and dodged as bullets sprayed at him, catching his right jacket sleeve, slicing through to the flesh. His fingers fumbled and grabbed the KA-BAR from his boot. And threw it so hard it pierced the man's throat, burying the blade halfway. The man coughed spewing blood, hands flailing toward the knife's hilt. Bucky's gun was out of reach, instead he unholstered a Luger from one of the dead soldiers and squeezed off two head shots to finish him off.

Bucky's breath was pushing out of him in loud gasps, as he broke out in a clammy sweat. He was on his knees, dropping the Luger, resting his hands on the floor in front of him. And now he glanced down and saw a dark patch growing on his left thigh. He clamped his hand over it, applying pressure, and saw the blood slowly seeping between his fingers. His body was coming down from the adrenaline surge--crashing.

Shaking his head, he couldn't believe everything happened so fast. He curled up his right hand in a fist and pressed it to the floor, hanging his head down. There was a strength and speed buried inside him that completely scared him spitless. What the fuck? What was happening? Ever since escaping Zola's table, his body didn't seem his own. He couldn't dwell on it now. He needed to radio into Gabe. Pushing it back in his mind, he got his radio.

"Baker to George. Cellar clear, over."

"George to Baker. Any prisoners? Over."

Bucky looked around at the carnage. And swallowed hard. What he didn't do, the grenades did the rest. "No prisoners. Need medical. Meet upstairs. Over."

"Wilco. Out."

Bucky put away his radio. He wasn't sure how he felt. Maybe a little numb, correction very numb. He found some cloth to wrap his leg wound, tight. Grimacing as he did so. He added dizziness and his mouth being dry as sand to the list. After that, he went over and retrieved his knives which were still buried in the men he killed and picked up his Colt .45, checking it over before holstering it. Oddly, he was immune to the cloying scent of blood and dying flesh. When did that happen? Searching the pockets of the bodies, which was a total of six, he found just miscellaneous things, standard issue. He did find a nude picture of a woman in one and in another a pretty woman and child. He fingered it gently, trying not to get blood on it and carefully placed it back. At that moment, Brooklyn seemed so faraway. His body was ice inside, as he couldn't feel anything. On the last one he killed, he found a map.

Gathering all the side arms, he placed them on a small wooden table against the wall, that somehow wasn't destroyed. There was cards and chips scattered on it. He picked up a face down card. It was an Ace of hearts.

"Aces are wild." Bucky mouthed the words quietly. He wanted to smirk. But his lips wouldn't cooperate.

The room was just too still. The moon was rising and a silver light casted an eerie glow in the room. He righted a lamp and extinguished it. It was all strange and peaceful and the world tilted more on its axis. And he had the sensation of falling...falling. He had to get out of here. Limping, he made his way up the stairs.

Dernier fussed and Jones just shook his head and slit Bucky's pants with a knife after removing the makeshift bandage. Applying sulfa and bandages, Dernier tended both wounds. The more serious leg one and the minor arm one.

"That bullet is going to have to come out." Gabe looked concerned at Bucky.

Bucky nodded. "Sure, first thing when we get back to the aid station."

"Morita is going to take one look at that leg and shit..." Gabe clapped his hand on Bucky's left shoulder, the uninjured arm. "I don't want to be in your boots. He is going to swear a blue streak and send you straight to Evac.

"Son of a motherless ass!"

Jones was right. Cpl. Jim Morita language was inventive as he cleaned and re-wrapped the leg. Surgery? Morita demanded that he go to Maastricht first available truck.

"Come on, it's not that bad." Bucky rolled his eyes as he leaned back on the cot. His left leg stretched out in front of him.

"You want to risk your leg?" Morita was looking for something in his medical supplies.

"You're fuckin' with me." Bucky shifted his leg and winced. And okay that hurt.

"No, I am not, you pigheaded noncon. You want that leg--you go to Evac." Morita looked dead serious.

Bucky paled at that and agreed. He chewed at his bottom lip. Morita never minced words. But facing Morita was easy compared to Steve. That was going to be torture.

Morita approached with a large needle. Bucky's world stopped, and he felt instantly nauseous.

"What the hell is that!" He inched up the cot, away from the needle, wild eyed.

"Morphine, Ace. What did you think it was?"

Bucky shoulders sagged and looked away. "Nothing."

110th American General Hospital in England

After surgery at the 105th Evacuation Hospital in Maastricht, Holland, Bucky was sent to recuperate at the 110th American General Hospital in England just outside of Oxford.The rest of the Howling Commandos and the 107th arrived in Aldbourne, England.

"Damn, I can't get rid of you guys." Bucky grinned as he propped himself using a pillow. His leg wound was healing in record time, and he was hoping to be out in two weeks. It was good to see everyone again. He was getting antsy staring at the ceiling and walls all day.

"Oh, Nurse Cookie." His hand pointed to the pitcher of ice water on the nightstand by his bed. And then zeroed in on Dugan. "I need a drink."

"Get your own damn water, Barnes," Dum Dum huffed and pulled a chair to sit down.

"Why do you have to bust my chops. I am an injured man here." Bucky spread his arms out wide. "Rogers, help me out here." He turned to Cap. Steve Rogers. Also known as Captain America or asshole.

"Well... I could make it an order," Steve said, giving a slow grin. "But that would be an abuse of my position in the military."

Bucky just blinked at him. "You're just making that shit up." Bucky was right with his latter assessment of Steve--asshole.

Morita finally came to his rescue and poured him a glass of water. The caring medic. Or maybe Bucky dared to do it himself, and Morita nearly birthed a Goddamn cow when he imagined the stitches coming out.

Stories were swapped and jokes told, until some of the Howling Commandos forgot they were in a hospital ward and not a local pub and broke out in a rousing chorus of "The White Cliffs of Dover."

There'll be love and laughter, and peace ever after. Tomorrow, when the world is free. The shepherd will tend his sheep. The valley will bloom again. And Jimmy will go to sleep. In his own little room again. There'll be bluebirds over, the White Cliffs of Dover, Tomorrow, just you wait and see...

Which promptly got them all kicked out, but Bucky because he was the patient.

"And little Jimmy will go to sleep," Gabe crooned again leaning on Bucky's hospital bed railings.

"Jones don't make me get out of this bed and knock you on your ass with a bed pan." Bucky crossed his arms, glaring at him.

The nurse was trying to herd them out, but they were lingering with the goodbyes.

"Actually, we have four 'Jimmy's' in our Commandos," Dum Dum said as he adjusted his bowler on his head.

"Four?" Steve looking around at all of them. "Really?"

Gabe looked at Dernier."Jacques sometimes translates to James."

Dernier figured out what they were talking about and threw up his hands.

"Non. Il n'est pas vrai..." He shook his head. Dernier protested, but it fell on deaf ears.

"And you wonder why I don't use James. I think when I was born that was the only name they allowed boys to have that year. I'd also like to add I never seen a bluebird over Dover." Bucky took a sip of his water. The ice all melted, but it was nice and cool.

"Well, I am very sorry to say there are no bluebirds in England. For that matter, all of Europe." Lt. James Montgomery Falsworth piped into the conversation with that shocking revelation.

"Jesus! Fuck! I'm gonna sue that songwriter!" Bucky choked on his water. Damnit, he actually was disappointed. It was like a little kid wishing on a shooting star. And then you found out they were fucking meteorites and not stars at all. "I keep looking for them over here. I've seen them in New York before. Central Park when I was a kid. I am so disappointed." Bucky sucked on his bottom lip, crossing one arm over his chest, pouting.

Steve glanced over to him with an odd look, like he forget his homework look. But it looked a little different on a man over 6 feet tall and not in high school anymore. So Bucky wasn't sure what Steve was thinking. Which bothered him.

"Very well, then. Hurry up now lad and get better so us mates can all go to London together." Falsworth gave a warm smile before he turned to go. "Cheers," he called over his shoulder as he was the first to get to the exit.

The nurse shooed the rest of them out of the ward; Steve stopped and bended down to whisper in her ear. And she nodded, blushed and left. Fine, no Bucky wasn't jealous that nurse was flirting with Steve, not one bit. He scowled down at his leg and punched at his pillow, before flopping down in a huff, face first, then flipped over to be on his back. He was making a mess of his sheets, but he didn't care.

Steve came closer and his heat and presence was keenly felt now that all the others were gone. It casted a shadow over him and Bucky averted his eyes to look out the window.

"Bucky?" Steve pulled up a chair to sitting on his right.

"Steve." Bucky flicked his eyes over to him and away again. He couldn't help the slight edge that crept in his voice. It bordered on scorn. Sometimes, recently, the perfect blinding glow of Steven Grant Rogers was too much even for him, especially when he felt he didn't deserve him.

Steve scooted his chair closer so he could place his hand light on the mattress, but Bucky felt the movement just the same.

"How are you holding up?" Steve asked.

Bucky shrugged. "Not bad. The food's good. Today was veal, potatoes and Goddamn fruit cocktail. Best damn thing I've tasted in a long time." He didn't tell him he threw it all up. His stomach wasn't use to the rich food after surviving on C-rations for so long.

"Bucky, why won't you look at me?"

And Buck's head fell back on the pillow to see the blue eyes clouded in hurt. A frown pulling at Steve's handsome face.

"Okay, I'm looking at you." Steve didn't seem pleased, his features pinched in worry. Bucky wanted to reach out and rub away that little brow wrinkle. But something was stopping him. He didn't want Steve to feel anxious about him. That was his department. But the reality of it, he wasn't even doing that well lately. He just couldn't keep his head screwed on straight. All the energy to just do that wasn't leaving him much time to fall into their old familar roles. Steve getting into trouble and him protecting him from a world that doesn't understand that Steve Rogers is the best thing to happen to it.

Steve's hand found his and covered it. And Bucky's heart rate sped up, despite the schooled neutral expression he plastered on his face.

"How did you do it? When you got sick. I'm going crazy in this damn ward and I only been here a week. Nothing to do." And too much time to think.

Steve gave Bucky's hand a little squeeze. "Is that what's bothering you?"

"Mostly, partly--I don't know." He bit his lower lip and rolled his eyes. "I can't explain it."

"Try." That small smile of Steve's did something funny to his heart. Leave it to Steve to realize Bucky wasn't unsettled just because of his injuries. They both knew each other so well.

"I'm mad at you," Bucky huffed out, smoothing back a lock of hair that fell out of place. His hair was getting long, another thing to be cross about.

"Why's that?"

"Because you lied." He curled his left hand in a tight fist.

"About what?" And Steve's eyes grew wary and heistant. And Bucky hated putting that look in his eyes.

"About Project Rebirth. I wrote to you and you never said anything. For months. Worse, you didn't reply. I thought you were going to try to get that job at the illustrator. But I'm glad too cause you never will be sick again." God! Bucky was a mess. He wasn't making sense even to himself.

"Buck." Steve's fingers laced in his. "I never got those letters. Yes, I got the ones you sent when you just arrived in England, but then they stopped."

"Huh?" Bucky knew he had a stupid look on his face right now, cause his eyebrows shot up and mouth hung open.

"I'm sorry I never got them. I mean, okay, I got one when I was in Basic, but that was before the Project." Steve gave a sheepish look just then. His eyes all soft, eyelashes swept down. What a terrible lair.

Bucky frowned. "You never told me you were in Basic."

"I did, but..." His voice trailed off unhappy. "I guess you didn't get it."

Glacing down at his hand that was still intertwined with Steve's, it felt so natural, even though he could feel his temper rising. The stupid little shit. "I would have been mad at you--you dumb ass!" His eyes flashed up into Steve's. Drilling him with a fierce stare.

"But I didn't lie about joining the army. You knew I always wanted to join the army after Pearl Harbor. I always wanted to serve!" And now Steve's Irish temper flaired hot. His eyes bright and his jaw set. And holy fuck, why did Bucky find that fire and stubborn pride so appealing?

"Guess five times was the ticket." Bucky could match that fire and raise it. But he held back to a slow shimmering rage. "And don't get me wrong, I am Goddamn glad you are healthy and saved all those men, but I wish you didn't have to fight in this Godforsaken war." He reached over with his left hand and grabbed onto Steve's forearm. Gripping fast to the wool of his uniform. "But what I think doesn't matter, because you always did your own thing."

"Damn, right," Steve breathed out a short laugh.

"Goddamn you, Rogers!" And Bucky pushed Steve hard, nearly knocking him off his chair. "What am I going to do with you?" And Bucky didn't know if you wanted to yell at him some more or laugh. He shook his head. Running his left hand over his face, he collapsed back onto the bed. "You are driving me crazy." He let out a laugh. The first real laugh he had in along while. And he had Steve to thank for it. The punk was a fuckin' menace. He wanted to wrap Steve up in soft cotton and place him out of harm's way. Protect him. Always. But Steve made it so hard. But it wouldn't be Steve if they didn't give each other a heart attack.

"What brought this all up?" Steve had that worried look again, but was hiding it behind a smile. His impeccably combed hair, finally letting a lock fall across his forehead. So much like how he wore it back in Brooklyn.

And Bucky shut down. The smile gone. "Too much time to think."

His mind was wandering down paths the didn't want to go--the time he was a POW, the time with the weird little Swiss scientist, Zola. The time when he was strapped down. The needles and scalpels. The burn and freeze. The water and heat. And the buzzing drone of static until his mind just wanted to quit, to fucking stop. And through it all what tumbled out of his mouth was, Barnes, James Buchanan, 32557038. Over and over, until it was a mantra. The only thing that held meaning. He was James Buchanan Barnes, and he never was going to forget that--ever.


"What?" He blinked up at Steve. Did he fall asleep?

"You drifted off there." He squeezed his good arm, the left one.

" 'S tired is all. I took some pills with all that water I was drinking. Suppose to make me sleep."

"I'll let you sleep then."

"See you, jerk."

"Asshole." Steve's smile was pure sunlight and Bucky now looked up not afraid of the burn now, because it was a good burn. His heart flipped and pulse quicken and he watched Steve leave.

And he lied. He never took those pills, because he didn't want to sleep. Because the nightmares would start up again.

one month later....


It was two weeks since he got out of the hospital, and Bucky still couldn't get drunk. And he tried. London was a bust. Nope. He should have drank the whole bottle of bourbon. He felt like it. Again he wasn't jealous when Steve talked to pretty dames. Even if they were named Peggy. And were just the doll that was perfect for Steve. He should have drank the bourbon.

So here he was trying to get properly drunk. If there was a proper way. The German Schnapps he was swigging straight from the bottle was 80 proof, maybe more. Obstwasser. Bucky squinted at the label. It tasted vaugely of apples and pears, before it burned a trail down his throat. He took another large swallow. He gritted his teeth. The clear liquior felt warm going down and he felt the tingle in his blood, but that was it. He polished one off and started another.

They liberated a case of the stuff from the Germans...make that Hydra, last mission. And now he liberated a couple bottles and went up to the roost he favored since arriving at this small town of Uden. He sat in the belfry of the church steeple. There was enough room for him to be comfortable with the bell and all. The vantage point was good. He could see the road and the surrounding area. A perfect sniper's lookout. But he came up here to be alone, get drunk and smoke. The weather was cool and crisp, the perfect time to have booze warm you up.

He smoked the cheap Wings now. They really were bad as the English cigarettes. All straw, bitters and little tobacco. Little of that rich favor he remembered. He drew the smoke in deep, letting it settle, before a slow exhale. Jesus, he'd give his left nut for a full pack of Lucky Strikes or Chesterfields. But in a odd way he was growing fond of this brand. Fishing in one of his pockets, he pulled out his Wings trading cards he was collecting. He had 27 so far and a few duplications. Modern American Airplanes, 50 in a series. He spread them out in front of him like he was going to play solitare. And added the new one he just got to the pile.

He picked up one--lucky number seven. U.S. Army Standard Bomber, the Douglas B-18A. It was just something small to look forward to whenever he opened a new pack. It remind him of school science fairs and going down to the airport to see the planes take off. And he was always fascinated with the whole science of avionics. He smiled as he remember that flying car that didn't work at the last fair he went to. And he hoped he would be able to go back home one day soon. But right now that seemed like some far off fantasy he read in Amazing Stories.

Time past and a second bottle was drained and a third one half gone before Bucky started to feel loose and buzzed. Head thrown back as he sat with one knee up, the other one straight one. His leg was fully healed, a miracle of modern medicine. It was a mixed blessing. The war was dragging on, and he kind of was looking forward to a little Christmas miracle. That they'll be home by Christmas. Still he was feeling relaxed. More relaxed then he could remember when. It was kind of peaceful too.

And that was when Steve found him. He was like some Godsakes homing pigeon, that he always found his hiding places. Just like when they were kids. But to be fair, he knew all of Roger's too. When he poked his head up, Steve was wearing his helmet, strap loose, and that short waisted Eisenhower jacket that was tailor made for him. It fit like a dream and it made him look like a movie star. Which he supposed he Well, Captain America was the movie star. This was just plain old Steve. That just happened to look like one.

"Hey! Whattup?" Bucky plastered on a silly grin, because why not?

"Hey, yourself." He climbed up the rest of the way and sat next to him.

"Want some? 'S good." He gave a pull off the bottle and pushed it toward Steve.

He shook his head. "It doesn't work on me."

"Your loss." Taking another deep pull of the bottle, he set it down. And fumbled a cigarette to his lips and still managed to blow a pretty smoke ring.

"Fuck, will you look at that." He was all proud of that little smoke ring. It's the little things that were best.

"You use to be small." Bucky leaned on Steve's now wide shoulders and broad chest.

Steve just snorted.

"And pretty." And Bucky looked mortified. His eyes bugout."Not that you are not pretty now. There he corrected it. And patted Steve's cheek to prove the point.

Steve shook his head. "I think you had enough--the tap runs dry." And reached for the bottle.

Bucky hugged it close to his chest. "No." And took a quick swig, before Steve wrestled it away from his grasp.

"I said you could have some," Bucky pouted and he drew both his knees up, one arm hugging them, taking another drag off his cigarette.

Steve noticed the trading cards spread out on the floor. And motioned to them. "May I?" As he picked up number five. The Brewster F2A-1 fighter.

"Collecting." A lazy smile played on his lips.

"You got a lot here." Steve had a deep repectful tone in his voice.

"There are 50. Unless they start another series and they always do." Bucky flicked some ash off. "So there will be more."

Bucky watched Steve go over his collection. While he started leaning closer to Steve. Because it seemed like a good idea. He shifted his legs so he could lean closer yet, while they looked at the cards. Steve was like a magnet and Bucky couldn't resist. He soon was breathing the same air, and warmed to the heat radiating off him.

"Christ, Bucky. You smell like a distillery." And Steve turned his head and they were so close they bumped noses. Steve's eyes widen in surprise and pulled back. But he wanted none of that and clasped his free hand to the back of Steve's neck and rested his forehead against Steve's.

"Bucky?" His voice was low and soft--a whisper.

And Bucky lowered his lips to Steve's lips and brushed them light, licking his own lips wet. Blood was rushing in his ears, his pulse a sluggish thud. He flushed all over and his eyes fluttered closed. The ice cracking and melting inside. His other hand that still dangled the last of his cigarette, palmed Steve's cheek and chin. The smooth shaved skin felt hot to his fingers.

"Tell me you want this." And Bucky's lips sealed over Steve's and pressed. Tongue teasing, growing bolder. He wanted Steve to gasp, so he gave out a low chuckle. And Steve laughed with him and Bucky's tongue entered his mouth and Steve wasn't laughing anymore. The kiss grew more intense. He wanted to taste Steve. Get drunk, drunker with Steve. He tasted like mint and coffee and damn it all to hell; he knew he would remember that forever. He caressed Steve's cheek and rubbed his neck. And Steve was responding, placing both hands on his shoulders. Welcoming the kiss, tongues touching, experimenting and Bucky wanted to grind into Steve.

Christ sakes! His balls drew tight and cock went heavy, pressing into his zipper. Bucky nipped and sucked, the kiss becoming sloppy and wet and maybe a little bit desperate. "Steve..." He moaned into his lips.

And Steve gave out a little whimper, and fuck he got harder to the point of pain. Steve was gold and light and he had this--this--whatever this was. Which he wanted--needed--for so long. Bucky pulled back to stab out his cigarette, then reached up to pull off Steve's helmet, tossing it aside. And buried his fingers and hands in Steve's hair. Drawing him in for a deeper kiss, he wanted to rut, wanted to grind into something. Steve's hands rubbed up and down his back, rubbing the notchs of his spine through his jacket and he arched into the sensation.

Bucky reached down his hand and palmed Steve's crotch. Because he had to know, and stroked him through his khakis. He could feel the hard line of his dick. "Fuck, Steve. Christ. Is this for me?" And Bucky's hand was greedy. And just like that he undid the zipper and slid his fingers inside and circled around Steve's hardening cock.

"Buck...Oh God..." He gasped pulling back from the kiss. One of Steve's hands glided a little lower and gripped Bucky's ass.

Bucky pulled slow and twisted his hand around Steve's cock, then faster, until Steve gulped for air and held onto Bucky's shoulders. And he watched. Watched Steve come undone. Pale and flush, wet lips, panting breaths, silted eyes, long lashes. Steve convulsed, his voice lost until he gave a hoarse shout, before he came in violent jerky jets. His pants soaked, Bucky's hand spattered with cum. Time finally slowed and Steve came down from the natural high. Bucky rubbed his hands up and down Steve's arms. After he wiped his hand off the best he could. "Steve." He gently kissed his lips.

Steve rested his head on Bucky's shoulder. Pulling Bucky closer. "We shouldn't have done that."

Bucky looked at him, still touching his arms. "Why not?" He wanted to know what he was thinking.

Steve drew a deep breath, "Cause you were...are drunk."

"You didn't try too hard to stop me." Bucky sat back. His dick was still hard. And he knew he was in for a case of blue balls. "Did you like it?"

Steve just looked away.

"Oh swell! Just fucking swell!" Bucky palmed his face, then scrubbed his hand in his hair. His chest was tightening, his heart feeling like a lead lump sinking to his stomach.

" I liked it." Steve's voice was small and unsure again.

"Jesus, Steve! We were just fooling around. It's not like we are going steady. It's not like you're my doll."

Steve stood up and threw his hands up, looking frustrated, face flushed. "Buck, just shut the hell up!"

And Bucky did cause that was Steve's, 'I'm getting angry tone'. Buck just lit another cigarette and rubbed his balls, waiting for the speech. Which didn't come because Steve wouldn't stop pacing.

"Steve." He patted the space next to him. "Come sit down you're making me dizzy." He wasn't really that drunk anymore, but that didn't mean he wasn't going to have any after effects.

Steve sat down, knees drawn up, and rested his head in his hands, covering his face. "Buck, I really don't know what to say."

"It doesn't have to be that complex. You're my best pal. I have known you like forever. I don't think I'm queer, cause I like dames too. But here's the point, I'm only queer for you. You are it." Bucky was quiet for a few minutes after he said that. Silently smoking.

Steve was still curled up, hugging his knees, and he ached to rub his back to soothe him. Just like back in Brooklyn when Steve was sick. Because when did this become something more, or maybe it was always there? And all he had to do was reach out. Brooklyn had never been closer than that moment. Because with Steve, everything was just little bit brighter, a little more hopeful.

Bucky took a deep breath and let it out. "Okay, I going to tell you some things I never told anyone before." His voice came out shaky at first then steadied. He watched Steve uncurl himself to listen.

"I can't sleep, Steve. Every since you got me out of that fuckin' hell hole, I haven't been right. Sometimes, I think I am going nuts. I have nightmares. Really bad ones. I can function for the most part, but I'm damaged goods. And I am not sure what I need to do, to be the man I was before the war. But I don't think I can. But I can move forward from this point and try to be the man that can survive this war. But..." He reached out and took Steve's hand, squeezing it. "But...I'd like to do it with you. Anyway you want. But I really need a friend. And your the best man I know for the job. And I don't need rainbows, or bluebirds or shooting stars. I just need you there by my side, to the end of the line."

Steve reached over and hugged Bucky, like the world would end tomorrow. He could feel he was shaking. "Bucky, whatever you need, whenever you want it, I will always be there. I'll have your back. Always."

Bucky looked at Steve and smiled, hugging him back just as tight, because he really was all those things to him--rainbows, bluebirds and shooting stars. "Always."