The dry, dusty heat finally breaks with a low roll of thunder. They keep the bedroom window flung wide open, a soft breeze disturbing the thin curtains for the first time in weeks. Peggy made them from material she rescued from the charity shop down the street; they act as her imprint on a room that’s pure Bucky, from the messy dark sheets to the battered guitar leaning in a corner and the peeling band posters lining the walls.
Steve likes it, how the room hints at the both of them. He was with Peggy when she bought that material; he knows exactly which posters are from shows Bucky’s been to and which have been belatedly liberated from dressing rooms and club walls. Another rumble of thunder echoes around the apartment, and Peggy sighs. She’s stretched out across Bucky’s bed in a neat dress with her hair pinned up in perfect curls. Her red lips curve up, and as she smiles, Steve thinks she looks as though she stepped straight out of the 40s to find herself in this strange world she’s made her own.
“Thank god,” she murmurs. Her eyes flick across to the window for a moment, but she holds the pose.
“Want me to close it?” Steve asks. He pauses, pencil hovering over his pad, his basic rough outline almost sketched out.
“Not unless it really rains. It’s a nice break from the heat. I don’t know how you boys stand it year after year.”
“Take the heat like a man, Carter,” Bucky drawls, shouldering his bedroom door open, a bottle of beer in each hand. As he hands one to Steve, Peggy swears lazily at him and rolls her eyes.
The cold beer is refreshing as Steve drinks deeply before setting the bottle down on the threadbare carpet by his stool, but as the bed dips under Bucky’s weight, Bucky settling next to Peggy with a heavy-lidded grin, there’s no escaping the heat. It’s deep in his veins, the pit of his stomach, as Bucky mutters something low Steve doesn’t catch and nuzzles the pale, delicate skin of Peggy’s neck.
“You’ll ruin Steve’s drawing,” Peggy warns, but there’s a thread of amusement running through her voice; she laughs even as she struggles to hold still.
“I can think of more interesting things for Steve to draw,” Bucky murmurs. He flashes Steve a smirk and Steve swallows hard, fingers tightening around his pencil.
“Bucky Barnes,” Peggy says sharply, her voice prim and proper despite her own grin, “you’re embarrassing him.”
He’s blushing, then, Steve guesses, but he’s not embarrassed. It’s the low flush of pleasure that sinks through him whenever he remembers how lucky he is that they let him in like this, how he could go through lifetime after lifetime and never find another friend like Bucky, another girl like Peggy. It warms him all over, a different intensity to the pressure of the weather.
“He’s not as innocent as he makes out he is, you know.” Bucky’s lips are on Peggy’s neck again, the words muffled.
Peggy laughs, and there’s something dirty curling around the edges of the sound like smoke. “Oh, I know.”
“I am here,” Steve points out midlly, looking down at the sketchpad in his lap. "I can hear you." He’s got enough of an outline of Peggy that he can fill in the details later; she makes such a striking sight against Bucky’s sheets that he’s not likely to forget anything.
He flips over to a new, blank page and looks back up at the two of them, waiting.