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In winter I get up at night and dress by yellow candle light

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Steve wakes with a start, cold and faintly unsettled. The clock on the nightstand tells him it's just after 3am.

He squeezes his eyes shut, trying to hang onto the last fragments of the dream, but it has already started to fade and he lies on his back and just breathes.

The curtains are open and the street lights cast gloomy shadows about the room, the distant 'beep beep beep' of a truck reversing piercing the quiet.

Bucky has stolen all the covers again. That's why he's cold.

Steve rolls over and tugs on the comforter. Bucky mutters in his sleep, shifting around as Steve pulls the covers his way. He shifts again as Steve settles the covers around himself and he feels a hand flailing at his side, the fingers flexing blindly before they settle on his hip.

Steve closes his eyes and before long he's asleep again.




Steve wakes again at 6am, jolted out of sleep by the alarm clock blaring music in his ear and Bucky half on top of him as he tries to shut it down.

"It's our day off, goddamn it," Bucky growls.

The music dies and Bucky collapses onto Steve's chest with a gentle 'oof', a warm, solid lump of flesh and metal and quiet, gusty breaths. Steve brings his hand up to card it though Bucky's hair, tugging at the tufts that tickle his chin.

"You need a haircut, sergeant."

"Mmmph," Bucky agrees.




They wake together, sometime after ten. It's snowing outside but the apartment is warm and in the cocoon of their bed Steve pulls Bucky close and kisses him. Bucky hums into his mouth, pushing against Steve and slinging a leg over his hip as Steve slides a hand down his back to smooth curve of his ass.

Bucky is pliant and sharp, all soft sighs and stinging nips to his mouth and neck, and for a while there Steve is lost. Lost in a hazy world of long kisses and gathering heat and the slow thrust of Bucky's cock into the cradle of his hip.

He closes his eyes and loses himself and when Bucky whispers his name he is truly lost.




Bucky pokes him in the side.

"Come on, we have to get up."

Steve swats his hand away and buries his face in Bucky's shoulder. Bucky pokes him again.

"Steve, we really need to get up. We're gonna end up stuck together if we don't."

But Steve doesn't want to get up, not yet at any rate, and he likes the idea of sticking to Bucky. It's a concept he can totally get on board with.

Bucky pokes him for a third time, jabbing at the sensitive sport near his kidneys, so Steve retaliates by pressing him into the mattress and kissing him breathless.

"We really gonna do this again?" Bucky asks weakly.

Steve kisses him again as he pushes his budding erection into Bucky's hip.

"Oh, okay. Fine…"




When Steve finally comes back to himself, he opens his eyes to find Bucky looking at him; his eyes alight with something Steve can't put his finger on.

"Morning," Bucky says and kisses him.

"Hey there," Steve replies, kissing him back.


"Yeah, okay. Unless…?"

"Shower," Bucky says firmly and gets out of bed.

They stand together under the spray, Bucky pressed into Steve's back, his arm draped loosely around his chest. It makes washing hard, but Steve doesn't particularly care. They stay there for a long time, not really talking, just being together.

After a while Bucky presses a kiss to Steve's shoulder pulls away to wash his hair. Steve looks at his hands, at his pink and wrinkled fingers, and decides that he's had enough.

"Coffee?" he asks as he steps out of the shower.

"Coffee," Bucky confirms he sticks his head under the water to rinse the suds.

Steve towels off and wanders into the kitchen, grabbing an apple to crunch on before he refills the coffee machine with fresh beans and water. It's a whiz-bang contraption, this coffee machine, all red and shiny with a lot of buttons that do this and that and a special nozzle to steam the milk. It freshly grinds the beans for each cup made and emits perfectly temperature controlled coffee at the press of a button. Tony and Pepper gave it to them and Steve will never tell anyone, not even Bucky, but he was actually kind of afraid of it when it first arrived in their kitchen. Who wouldn't be scared of a coffee machine that ground its own beans?

He takes a bite of apple and leans against the counter, his mind roaming back in time as wonders what became of the battered enamel coffee pot he Bucky used to use when they were living in that rat-infested, cold-water dump near Canal street. Probably got thrown away, he realizes.




Bucky is sprawled on the bed reading when Steve returns with the coffee. He flashes a smile as Steve sets one cup down on Bucky's side of the bed then wanders over to his own side and plonks down onto the mattress.

Steve takes a sip of coffee and stares at the wall opposite the bed, at the dresser resting up against it and the chair off to the side with yesterday's pants thrown casually over the back.

He takes another sip of coffee, sets his mug on the nightstand and goes to retrieve the files that are resting on the dresser.

"It's our day off," Bucky mutters, not looking up from his book.

"I know that."

"They can wait until Monday."


Steve sits on the bed and opens one of the files anyway. After a few minutes of reading he fetches a yellow legal pad and a pencil from the living room and starts taking notes, the pad balanced on his right knee and the file spread out before him on the bed.

Bucky snorts at something he's read and turns a page. He uncrosses then crosses his legs and wiggles his toes. He hasn't bothered with clothes either.




"I'm hungry," Bucky announces and bounces of the bed.

Steve says, "Turkey on rye with lettuce and mayo," as he reorders the pages that went flying when Bucky left on his quest for food.

Several minutes later a plate is shoved in front of his nose and Bucky is back on the bed beside him, his own ham and cheese on whole wheat already half eaten.

"Whatcha lookin' at, captain my captain?" Bucky asks with a droll twist to his lips. Steve gives him a sideways glace.

"Intel on the Medina Group," Steve tells him. "They've been ramping things up and Fury's about ready to send in the big guns, but their strikes are so random it's hard to work out where they're going to turn up next."

Bucky 'hmms' and squints at the map. Steve sits back and takes a bite of his sandwich as Bucky studies the map and goes over the first few pages of Steve's notes.

"It looks random," he finally says. "But it's really not."


"Not at all. See this?" he points to a spot on the map.

"What about it?"

"Everything radiates out from that point," Bucky tells him as he takes up the pencil and starts to make a note of the date of each incident against its location on the map. "It's not random, even though it's supposed to look like it is, but if you go by the dates and location of the hits, you can see how the pattern works."

It takes Steve a couple of minutes to work out what Bucky means, but once he does he wants to kick himself not seeing it sooner.

"Makes sense, doesn't it?"

"It's insane, but yeah. Yes, it does."

Bucky preens a little and reaches for another folder. "Show me what else we've got on them."




By late afternoon Steve has set aside the files in favor of his sketchbook and a stick of charcoal. He's not drawing anything in particular, just random objects around the room and studies of his own his hands and feet to practice fingers and toes. Bucky is stretched out beside him, his back to Steve and his nose buried in his book again.

There's a stillness to Bucky these days that he often finds hard to fathom. A quiet containment that was never there before. Back before the war, before the ice and the Red Room and everything in between, the Bucky of then could barely stay in one place long enough to read the sports pages let alone an entire book.

That Bucky had to be out and about on Friday night, picking up dames and dancing until dawn, while this Bucky is content to stay at home with beer and a pizza. The old Bucky ran off at the mouth on any and all subjects while the new Bucky is more reserved, more restrained. He takes a moment to consider his response and only uses as many words as necessary and no more.

The old Bucky never read books, but this new one does. Steve's not sure which one he loves more.

Steve turns to a fresh page in his sketchbook and starts to draw, swiftly outlining Bucky's shoulders, the sweeping lines of his back and the smooth curve of his butt; leanly muscled thighs tapering down to hairy calves, surprisingly delicate ankles and large, bony feet.

Bucky twitches and turns a page. Steve adds in a few details and wonders if this new incarnation might even sit still long enough for a portrait. He'd love to see Bucky mapped out in oils, to spend time building up layers of color to try and capture the texture of his skin and the golden highlights in his hair.

The old Bucky would never have stood for it. This new Bucky just might think it’s okay.




The phone rings, startling Steve out of his reverie. It's Bucky's cell and he snatches it up, muttering a low "Hello," as he pushes himself out of bed and moves into the living room to take the call.

Steve sets the sketchbook aside and stretches, lifting his arms above his head as he is engulfed in a huge yawn. He's tired all of a sudden - weary from a day of doing nothing much at all - and outside dusk is starting to gather, bathing the room in deep shadows and a soft, muted light.

He settles back on the pillows closing his eyes and letting the low rumble of Bucky's voice wash over him as he carries on his one sided conversation in the living room. He smiles when Bucky laughs, frowns when his tone turns serious and it always astounds him just how entwined they are with each other.


Steve opens his eyes to find Bucky looking down at him.

"Hey, who was on the phone?"

"Nat," Bucky says, tossing the cell phone onto the nightstand and climbing onto the bed.

"I thought she was in the field."

"Just got back. She needed to vent a little about her new handler."

"Not working out?"

"Not at the moment, no," Bucky confides and there's a slight jiggling as he crawls across to straddle Steve's hips. He leans in and gives Steve a swift kiss on the lips. "You realise that we have spent the entire day naked and in bed?"

"I had noticed that, yes."

"I like it. It's good."

"It does have its advantages," Steve agrees and he cups his hand over the back of Bucky's head, drawing him down into a soft, sweet kiss.

Bucky leans in and deepens the kiss, his arms curling on either side of Steve's head, fingers tangling in his hair and if Steve could spend the rest of his life like this he would die a happy man. The whimper he emits when Bucky suddenly pulls away is petulant and almost painful to his own ears.

"Let's go out," Bucky says out of the blue, but Steve doesn’t want to go out. He wants to stay in bed and do this. "No, seriously," Bucky laughs as Steve tightens his hold on him and tries to flip him onto his back. He pushes at Steve's shoulders. "Let go of me, you oaf!"

Bucky tries to pull away, but Steve just reels him back in, pulling him down for a bruising kiss that lasts only until Bucky goes for his weak spot, his fingers dancing over the ticklish skin under Steve's ribs, making him yelp and loosen his hold on him so Bucky can finally wriggle free.

"I want steak and potatoes," Bucky proclaims, kneeling beside Steve and looking down his nose at him.

"And where, pray tell, are we going to find them?"

Bucky shrugs. "I don't know. We'll find a place. Let's go for a walk."

Steve looks up at Bucky, at his bright eyes and the hopeful openness of his expression, and for a few moments it could be 1940 again and the old Bucky is poking and prodding and cajoling him into going to some dance hall to try and pick up girls. It's wonderful and it's heartbreaking. Steve can't decide which is better.

"Okay," he says, and finally he gets out of bed.