It wasn't his first kill. It wasn't even his second.
By now, killing the enemy was something that Bucky knew how to do well and without hesitation. He was good at it, better than even the army could have ever imagined when they gave him the job.
But not all missions were the same. Not all missions required him to slit the throat of a guy while he was writing a letter to his kid.
It was easier, when they were letters to wives. Bucky'd never been married. But he had been an orphan, and he still remembered the day he'd found out that his father was never coming home, clear as ever.
Which was why he slid into the tent next to Steve, feeling every bit like the ridiculous and incompetent sidekick that the newsreels portrayed him as.
If Namor could see him now, he'd be scornful and probably make some asshole comment about war being no place for children.
If Toro could see him, he'd be full of pity.
Bucky was glad - for more than one reason - that Steve was the only person in the tent. Because Steve gave only understanding, never pity or scorn.
"Everyone else is asleep," Steve murmured softly. "The way the battle went, they'll probably be sleeping soundly for hours."
"Which means we could. You know. Do something besides talk."
"If you want," Steve agreed, and someday, Bucky hoped he got to tell somebody just how eager Captain America could sound at the prospect of having sex.
But in the meantime, it was their secret to share.
If Steve noticed that Bucky clung a little tighter afterwards, he didn't mention it, and Bucky was grateful.