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“What do you mean, you only have a reservation for one double room?” Tony demands, furious. Bucky lifts a hand and splays it over his face, rubs his forehead, like it would make the situation any less bizarre. It’s futile, as he had known even before he’d done it – Tony is a force to be reckoned with at the best of times, and when he isn’t getting his way: doubly so. “I thought this was a civilized country now. I thought that when I had my man make a reservation, I was going to get what I requested.”

The man at the check-in desk makes the mistake of saying something. His voice is much softer than Tony’s, and it doesn’t reach all the way across the foyer, to the nest of plush armchairs where Bucky is sprawling with his head slumped back onto the cushion and his legs stretched before him, waiting for this to be over.

Soon enough, he knows what the man was trying to say without straining himself. “What did you just say to me?” Tony demands, in full flow as the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist that he likes to pretend is all there is to him. Usually, it’s actually ridiculously endearing, because Tony only goes in full flow like that when one of his friends is threatened in any way. Now? Now, they have travelled for most of a day to get here, stuck deep in the Russian wastelands (yeah, okay, so it’s a perfectly functional city, but Bucky is tired and cranky and exhausted, he is allowed to exaggerate). Moreover, Peggy is exhausted, too, though she hides it better. He can see it in the slope of her back, the way she holds herself too rigid, like she only does when she’s afraid she’ll fold up outright if she lets herself relax.

It looks like his wife has reached quite the end of her tether, now, and she cuts off Tony’s furious defence of Jarvis’ competency just as it is gathering steam.

“Mr Michailov,” she says in her most cut-glass tones. Moments like these, Bucky wants her so much he aches with it, wants to go to her and pull her back against him and wants her to spread his legs and sink inside him, claim him for her own all over again, her sovereign territory. Her voice had been the first thing that had ensnared him, way back when, this little mop of a girl who held herself like the queen of her realm.

“Am I correct in assuming that you do have at least one of our reservations, and that it is available tonight?” she continues while at her left shoulder, Tony continues to glare, a silent, implacable back-up that will never budge.

“Yes, madam,” the receptionist says, all but bowing, soft Russian accent making the words even more deferential. Yep, that’s his Peggy in action.

“What is the size of the bed in that suite?”

“It is a king-sized bed, madam, as Mr Jarvis requested. A-and, if I may say, the guests of the suite next to it are checking out tomorrow morning, and it will be reserved for your companions for the duration of their stay.”

Peggy sighs, and Bucky sees Tony look at her in concern. Something warm and fond curls up inside his chest and purrs at the sight, as it always does at moments like these. The four of them, sometimes Bucky wonders how it is that they are not one single unit already. Then again, they act like they are, and in some ways, that is enough.

“Very well,” Peggy says now, like she is agreeing to a huge concession. “We will take the room for tonight, and tomorrow Messrs. Stark and Rogers will be checked into the other suite. You may take our bags up.”

Tony tries to protest, but Peggy turns to him, lets herself slump a little. “Tony, I’m tired. We’ve been training like hell for this, and Jarvis and Pepper only took James this morning, and neither Bucky nor I have had a proper night’s sleep for months. It won’t be a problem for one night, will it?”

And really, what can Tony say? He and the receptionist both fall over themselves to assure her everything is just as she needs it. Bucky can’t quite hold back the smug smirk on his face, knowing what she just did, and why, and unable to stop thinking that she is his. He won her, somehow, and he is the luckiest man alive.

“Magnificent, isn’t she?” Steve says, from the armchair to his left. Bucky startles a little; he hadn’t heard him sit at all, too focused on the performance their significant others were engaged in for the benefit of the local crowd.

“That she is,” he agrees, sending Steve a side-eyed grin. Steve looks relaxed, at ease, the tired lines on his face the only thing signifying his own lowered defences after the long trip to get here. “They both are.”

Steve snorts. He is more than familiar with Tony’s particular brand of spoiled heir that he showcases at the slightest opportunity.

“Bed,” Steve groans, when they finally make it to their level, the elevator slow like it was operating several centuries after its time. The bed is admittedly enormous, and Bucky does not want to think about why Tony thought it necessary to book rooms with beds this size in them.

Or, rather, he does not want to think about it now, when he has to share a room with all three of the people playing havoc with his desires. Yes, the bed is huge, and it will easily sleep the four of them, even though neither of them are particularly small people, bodies tall and broad with their swimmers’ built. Still, they will manage, and sleeping in a big puppy pile for one night, with the three people in the world whom he loves and trusts unreservedly – it’s no hardship.

Steve lets himself fall into the soft mattress, which bounces to keep up. He takes up a lot of space on his best day, does Steve, and doing a starfish impression does nothing to make him seem any smaller. Tony tips the guy who brought up their bags and follows suit, falling into the bed and snuggling up to Steve’s side, who curls around him immediately. They look—good, like this. So good. Too good. Bucky can’t afford to be thinking the things he’s thinking right now.

Peggy passes by him; he can feel her shrewd eyes on his face for a second, before her slim fingers snag a belt loop on his jeans and she tugs him after her in the direction of the bathroom. He follows easily, because there’s no reason not to; he would go anywhere she chooses to lead him.

“Are you okay?” she says quietly when the door closes. The bathroom is bigger than some rooms in their apartment, opulent with black marble and gilt fixings. Bucky hardly sees any of it. If Peggy is asking, it’s because she’s doing him the courtesy of allowing him to answer for himself, voice the things she has already noticed. He shrugs. There is a strange liberty in being known that well, and accepted for it unequivocally. He can tell this woman anything, and she will merely shrug and say, ‘I know, darling. Now what do you propose we do about it?’ It is intoxicating.

“I…” he tries, but he still lacks the words to explain what he feels, when he looks at Steve and Tony together. A fierce affection, true enough, for both of them, and a strange sort of desire, one that does not aim to possess, does not covet, merely wants – a connection between them, wants them close, wants the two of them with him and Peggy. And if that means enjoying thinking about what they do together, all the ways in which they love each other, well. Bucky will not be ashamed of this. It’s just another form of love, and he is all about the love these days, after being starved of it for so long.

Peggy reaches for him, lays a comforting hand on his cheek, angles his jaw so she can kiss him. “I know, my love,” she says when their lips separate again. “Now, what do you need? Do you want me to suck you off? Do you want to come inside me? Or do you need me to take you?”

Every word drives a spike of fierce need through his gut, but at the last, Bucky physically cannot restrain the way his body reacts, the way he sways closer to Peggy, pulls her in until she comes to rest between his thighs and he is sitting on the edge of the truly ostentatious bathtub, legs falling open to cradle her hips.

“God, yes,” he chokes, lust thick in his throat. “Where, though? We can hardly—I don’t think—we can’t do it in the bedroom, can we?”

Peggy gives him a long, considering look, and Bucky lets her think, knowing she is using him as a focus point while she does. “We could,” she muses, drawing out the last word. “We can’t shock Stark, bless his soul, and Steve… I don’t think Steve will deny you this, not if he knows how much you need it.”

The thought of doing this, of being taken, fucked, in the bed with them right next to him, of maybe watching them fuck, of maybe holding Tony’s hand throughout—Bucky jerks helplessly, throat aching as he starts to pant, trying to get enough air in his lungs through the tightness of yearning in his chest. He has never been more scared in his life. What if—god, they would do it, they would, because he needs it, but what if it drives a wedge between them? What if they look at him differently because of it, what if they are disgusted by how perverted he is, what if they stop being the best friends Bucky has, and turn into strangers? Bucky can take many things, but this—he buries his face in Peggy’s chest, holds her close, like he could hide from the horror of the thought in her arms. He can push this back. He doesn’t—he can function without it, he can learn to—he can get through one fucking night without it, even if he won’t sleep much. It’s preferable to the horrible, soul-destroying thought of them turning away from him.

Peggy holds him, doesn’t say a word while he shakes in her arms. “Hush, darling,” she croons when he starts to calm, little by little. “Come back to me. Whatever is going on in your head, you know it isn’t true. You know it will never happen. They love you as much as you love them, as much as I love them, too. We won’t do it if you’re uncomfortable with it, but if it’s fear holding you back – then I think you need to give them the benefit of the doubt.”

He knows she’s right. He knows it, but knowing and acting are two different things. They have had years together now, he and she, the four of them, too; and Bucky knows, he knows he isn’t alone any longer, knows that he is worth more to them than what his body can do for them, but he still has trouble believing it. When you have grown up as he did, fighting for every mouthful, then fighting for respect, for a space for himself in the world, it is difficult to understand, to believe, that he doesn’t have to fight any longer.

They stay like that for a little longer, holding tightly to each other, before Peggy pulls back to look down at him. “Ready to give this a try?” she asks gently. “You don’t have to. This isn’t something we, you need to do if you don’t want to. You know that, don’t you?”

Bucky nods gratefully, looking up into her soft brown eyes. He has never trusted anyone like he trusts her, with his body, his heart, his mind. He knows she will kill before she lets anything break him.

When they walk back out to the bedroom, Steve and Tony haven’t moved much from the spot where they left them, limbs still tangled up in each other, Steve’s arm heavy across Tony’s side, holding him to his chest. They aren’t asleep, though, just resting. Bucky can tell the difference – mostly because when he’s asleep, Tony has this habit of folding into himself, as if he’s making as small a target of himself as possible. It breaks Bucky’s heart, and that’s the real reason why he took to sleeping in Tony’s bed from the start, to take up that space behind him, to have his back covered even when Tony didn’t know it. Now that Steve fills that place, holding onto Tony tight, refusing to let him be alone, Bucky can at last stop picking at the thought like a bad tooth.

They stir when Bucky and Peggy come back into the room, Tony cracking one eye open while Steve raises his head and fixes them with a look that he rarely lets people see, the one that gives out a clue of just how smart Steve really is.

“You guys didn’t get up to anything naughty where we couldn’t see, did you?” Tony drawls, so relaxed he sounds half-asleep. “I’d hate to have missed the show.”

Bucky—he can’t help it. He blushes, bright red. He hates it when his face betrays him like that, when he can’t bluff his way out of it. Tony notices, because of course he does. It’s too much to hope someone as sharp as him wouldn’t.

“Oh my god,” he crows, half-surprised, half-delighted. “You did, didn’t you. Oh, man, I can’t believe you, you cheeky little bastards.”

Bucky flushes some more, wanting this so badly, wanting to have Tony’s voice in his ear as Peggy pushes a finger inside him, two, something bigger, wants Tony narrating and swearing and teasing and panting, so turned on he can’t stop the words falling from his mouth. Wants to know Tony is there, with Steve, with them.

“Actually,” Peggy says, and oh god, oh help, that voice, she had to break it out, the dark purr that never fails to get Bucky so hard he could drill through steel. “We were hoping you wouldn’t mind if we put our half of the bed to good use.”

Tony honest-to-god whimpers. His eyes are dark, dilated, and his mouth has fallen open, lips slick when he wets them. “Oh, Jesus,” he croaks. “Are you—in him—oh my god I.” He swallows dryly. Behind him, Steve bites his lip and shifts forward minutely, from the hips, and when Bucky works out what that must mean, from the way Tony jerks back into him…

“Oh, good,” Peggy says, smug contentment curling around every word. “I was hoping that was the case.”

It’s Bucky’s turn to swallow, heat exploding in his gut when Peggy steps behind him and draws a covetous hand down his chest, and then flicks the button of his slacks open when she reaches it.

“Are you—sure you don’t mind us—“ Steve tries, and Bucky can’t hold back the groan when he hears how deep and rough his voice has gotten, his bedroom voice, the one that he must use to murmur into Tony’s ear and turn him to jelly beneath him.

“Oh, we’re very sure,” Peggy drawls. All Bucky can do is nod, and bite back a moan when she pulls him in flush against her, one thigh worming between his to press snugly against his balls.

“Holy god,” Tony yelps, thin and high when Bucky lets his head hang back, baring his throat to Peggy, the room, them, and pushes into her hand cupping the length of his cock. Bucky opens one eye from where he’d squeezed them shut around the sensation, and sees Steve’s hand creeping over Tony’s groin, mirroring Peggy’s movements. Steve’s mouth closes on Tony’s throat, and it looks like he sets his teeth into the skin. Tony jerks hard, whining, wordlessly asking for more.

“Tell me you’re going to fuck him, oh god, please, tell me that,” Tony begs, and then, “Thank you, every deity out there that I still haven’t pissed off,” when Peggy just smiles. Bucky can’t see it, but he can feel it against his skin, a whisper of a caress that sends him reeling into that place where nothing else exists but Peggy’s touch, her need burning as bright as his, where all Bucky wants to do is lie back and let her take him.

“Take your clothes off, and lie on your back on the bed,” Peggy directs, and Bucky hurries to obey, listening to the way everyone’s breathing speeds up when he strips his shirt, kicks off his pants. His hands hesitate when he gets to his boxer-briefs, but when he looks up, all he can see is the naked desire in Tony’s eyes, the flushed red of his mouth where he has been biting it, the pink spots high on Steve’s cheeks, chest rising and falling rapidly. He sticks his thumbs under the elastic and pulls it over the jutting line of his cock, the heavy weight of his balls aching to be touched. The shocked inhale from the bed gives him the courage to look up at the two of them, staring at him with their mouths hanging open and a glazed look in their eyes. Bucky drops the scrap of fabric over the rest of his already discarded clothes and walks to the bed, drops on his knees onto the mattress, crawls up its imposing length to reach the pillows and drops onto his back, stretching, making a good show, like he’d learned a long time ago and is only recently beginning to let himself own.

The bed is truly impressive; even sprawled full-length, and with Steve at Tony’s back, there is still space between Tony and Bucky’s side, his arm. Space that Tony reaches hesitantly across, and at Bucky’s nod, lets his hand rest on Bucky’s arm, trails his palm up his bicep, over his shoulder, the top of his chest, his collarbone. There is nothing sexual about the touch, which Bucky thinks is the only reason he isn’t running like hell in the other direction; there is nothing in it but affection, the pleasure of touching a loved one, a connection between the two of them that goes deeper than mere skin. Bucky lets his doubts go and relaxes under it, lets Tony stroke his skin, lets himself bask in the knowledge that someone other than just Peggy wants to touch him without ugly expectations marring the pureness of it.

The bed shifts, and Bucky turns his head away from Tony’s kind, understanding eyes, turns to see Peggy crawling between his legs, and just like that the desire that had been reduced to a quiet simmer bursts into flames again. His spine bows when Peggy leans in and places a kiss on the taut skin of his lower belly, just to the side of his happy trail, easy and fond and possessive all at once. He bites his lips to stifle the groan, but the hitching of his breath gives him away, as does the way his cock jumps when she trails her fingers up his inner thigh.

When he turns to look at Tony again, Tony has lost his shirt, and Steve’s greedy hands trail over the muscled expanse of his chest, lightly dusted with dark hair. As Bucky watches, Steve’s fingers find a nipple and pinch, and Tony arches off the bed, moaning like an absolute slut. The sound goes right to Bucky’s cock; he doesn’t know where to look, Tony’s slack face, Steve’s burning eyes, or Peggy’s nimble fingers as they flick open the cap of the small tube of lube and tip a generous dollop in her palm, using it to coat her fingers.

A rustle at his side, and Tony is stark naked now, pun fully intended. He is beautiful, Bucky can’t deny it, but the strange thing is that, while he can certainly appreciate the view, it does nothing for him – until Steve’s hands drift over the peaks and valleys of Tony’s body, soothing, caressing, pressing just so to make Tony gasp – that’s what makes Bucky feel like his lungs are on fire, makes his gut clench with want.

“Steve,” Tony begs, and a wave of heat threatens to swallow Bucky whole when he sees Peggy passing Steve the lube, easy like it’s the salt shaker at the dinner table. Steve is naked, too, now, wow, Bucky never suspected he was such a ninja in the bedroom, although he wonders why not – Steve is one of the sneakiest fellas Bucky knows. His hand disappears out of sight, and a second later Tony’s whole body jerks, and he lets out a strangled groan. Bucky wants to see so badly he can barely breathe.

“Lift up your leg,” Peggy says, and it takes Bucky a moment to realize that she isn’t talking to him. Tony doesn’t seem to realize it, either, until Steve’s hand closes on his hip, slick trails of lube wetting Tony’s skin, and he tugs until Tony’s leg is curled backwards over Steve’s hip. Then the fingers are back, and Bucky cannot for the life of him hold the noises back now, when he watches Steve’s thick fingers sink inside Tony, when he watches Tony’s body take them like it was made for it.

“Oh, god,” he whimpers, and tries not to scream when Peggy’s fingers follow suit and dip inside him, pushing his ass open around them, claiming him like they always do. “Oh god, Peggy, yes, please.”

Tony groans, and shakes as Steve pushes more fingers inside him. His eyes find Bucky’s and cling, burning fierce and strong, strengthening the connection that always existed between them, forging the four of them into an even tighter unit.

“Look at them,” Peggy whispers, and Bucky turns his head to find Steve’s eyes boring into him, too, Steve’s love always so plain for anyone with eyes to see.

“Tell him, Tony,” Steve instructs, voice dark. “Tell him what it feels like.”

“It feels amazing,” Tony slurs, sounding drunk on pleasure. Steve’s fingers twist, and Tony’s mouth falls open, gulping for air. “Fuck, your fingers, I feel so full, even when it’s nothing like your cock, god, I love the way you spread me open just to fill me...”

Bucky watches Peggy watch Steve’s fingers, and feels hers slide out of him, rearrange, and then her thumb teases his rim, pulls it open to fit her fore- and middle finger inside. She pushes in, and in, until her knuckles hold Bucky open and he can do nothing but try to fuck himself on them and beg for more; and then her fingers widen, spreading him out, and Bucky thinks he’s going to lose his goddamn mind.

“Jesus,” he rasps, voice gone.

“I know,” Tony groans. “It feels so good, right? It feels like you can’t breathe, and at the same time you can’t wait to be filled with more, with their cocks, god, Steve, please.”

Steve surges up, then, and kisses Tony, bites at his mouth, looks like he wants to eat him up alive, and Bucky is helpless to look away, couldn’t if his life depended on it. Tony’s hands let go of the sheets they were clinging to, and come up to bury themselves in Steve’s hair, clutch at his neck, one massive shoulder. The way they kiss each other, like they would die without it – this is what holds Bucky entranced, this is what makes him feel hot and messed-up and yearning, makes his gut feel empty, needful.

Peggy makes a quiet noise of her own, and Bucky’s eyes can suddenly move, can do little else than to fix on her, take in every expression, watch her gorgeous eyes, brown like Tony’s but lighter, dancing when his burn with the fires of hell itself, skip now over Steve’s shoulders where Tony’s fingers dig in, over Tony’s stomach twitching with every press of Steve’s fingers inside him, the tip of Tony’s cock weeping in desperation to be touched. Her cheeks are flushed, and her breath is coming out in pants, and there is a damp spot in the soft lilac of her panties, right between the folds of her cunt, where Bucky knows for a fact she is dripping wet, begging to be touched.

“They’re ready,” she says, voice rough with need. “Let’s fuck them, Steve.”

Tony stares at her, eyes wide open, whites a ring around his pupil. “I can’t decide whether I want to come on the spot or wait until I see this and then come all over myself.”

Peggy grins, something sharp, predatory. “Bet you fifty quid you can’t hold back,” she teases, ignoring Bucky’s whine of protest and cruelly removing her fingers from where they were so sweetly employed. Then she pulls out her new and improved strap-on, shucks her panties and steps inside the leather straps, becoming abruptly the focus of all three men in the room.

“Holy fucking hell,” Tony gasps, hand quickly wrapping around the base of his own cock and squeezing firmly. “I don’t know if I can handle this, to be honest.”

“You can,” Steve tells him, and there’s nothing to conceal the order in his voice. Tony will hold back from coming, or Steve will be pissed, there is no need for an interpreter to understand this.

“Well then, you’d better fuck me soon, or it’s going to be all over in the next five minutes whether you want it or not,” Tony suggests, complete lack of exaggeration in his voice. He knows his body, and he clearly knows it’s only a matter of time before he loses whatever is left of his control. Knowing this, knowing that he is the one causing Tony to swear and twist and have to warn Steve about his imminent climax, it does something to Bucky, fans the flames to something even hotter, more violent, liable to set them all on fire. Knowing that he gets to watch Steve fucking Tony, sinking inside him, pressing his knees up, folding him in two before fucking the living shit out of him – the thought alone is enough that Bucky, too, is in danger of losing it too soon.

“Hurry, darlin’,” he drawls, biting at his bottom lip, knowing it drives Peggy insane to see it. “I need you, I need you so bad, I feel so empty without you.”

Steve chokes a moan, on the other side of Tony, and when Bucky looks at him, he is chewing his own lip raw, looking like he’s hanging on by his fingertips.

“Just fuck me,” Tony whispers, “I’m ready, you know I can take you. Just give it to me, Steve, come on, baby, come on.”

Steve sounds destroyed when he looks at Peggy and grits out, “Ready?”

Peggy holds his eyes, says, “Yes, I’m ready. Together.”

“Yeah,” Steve breathes out, positioning himself behind Tony, holding the thick line of his cock in his hand, aiming it for where it desperately wants to be. At the same time, Bucky feels the edge of Peggy’s cock at his entrance, nudging just a touch inside, the lightest of pressures.

Then, Bucky gets to both watch Steve press inside Tony, Tony catch his breath and choke on it a little, and feels it happening to himself, too, feels Peggy’s cock sink inside him, stretching him, impaling him, almost splitting him open. He will never get used to the feel of this, to letting another person invade his body, welcome them in. To watch Tony fight to accommodate the girth of Steve’s cock at the same time, it’s nothing like the porn he and Peggy sometimes watch while they do this, because he can smell the fresh sweat breaking out all over Tony’s body, feel the heat of Tony’s skin so close to his, hear the way four breaths stutter and halt, as Bucky and Tony fight to take the intrusion.

“Steve, Steve,” Tony whispers, and he looks gone, looks like he doesn’t even know he’s doing it.

“Yeah, Tony, god, yeah,” Steve groans, pushing in and in and in, until the base of his cock comes to rest against Tony’s ass, with nowhere else to go. Steve is thick as well as long, and the way it holds Tony open, rim red and stretched around him, Bucky honestly doesn’t think he could stand it a moment longer. Peggy fills him up, too, all the way; he feels taken, possessed, wanted, like he always does when they do this, when he cedes control to her.

“Look at you,” Steve whispers. Bucky forces open eyes that had drifted shut in bliss; Steve is staring at the space where he and Peggy join, the shiny black of the strap-on disappearing inside him. Bucky doesn’t know what he looks like, but going by Steve’s face, hot is the least of it.

Then Peggy shifts, and so does Steve; they start moving in unison, thrusting out, then back in, and again Bucky sees Steve’s cock disappearing inside Tony’s body at the same time as feeling it happen to him, the give and take, the smooth movements of the two of them, like the athletes they are. Bucky’s brain breaks a little, knowing how long both of them can keep going, can torture him and Tony.

“Oh my god,” Tony babbles, lips slick with his own saliva, cock flushed and jutting between his legs. “Oh my god, that is quite possibly the hottest thing I have ever done, no offence, Steve, but you, and them, and this, this is just, it’s—“

“Shut up, Tony,” Steve growls, punctuating it with a thrust that makes Tony’s eyes roll back in his head. It’s fond, though, less chiding and more like Steve is doing him a favor, giving him instructions he can follow. Tony whimpers, and does, biting at his lower lip, looking like he is at the edge of his tether.

“Fuck, baby, I’m sorry, I can’t hold out much longer,” he rasps now, as if he’d read Bucky’s mind, and Bucky realizes with a startled lurch that he is so close to coming himself he is skirting the edge of oblivion, needing one last push.

Then Tony’s arm falls in the space between him and Bucky, and his hand comes to rest, palm-up, right next to Bucky’s cheek. It’s an invitation, but there’s a look in Tony’s eyes, almost like he doesn’t expect Bucky to take it, like he is waiting to be told ‘no’ yet again, and god, god, what does Bucky, what do all of them have to do for Tony to understand that he is a part of them now, part of their family; he was Bucky’s best man, for fuck’s sake, he and Steve are godfathers to their child, how much more—Bucky wants to grab him and shake him, make that look disappear from his eyes; he wants to go back in time and find Howard and fucking strangle the man, for making Tony feel like this, like he isn’t enough, that nothing he ever does will be enough for him to be loved.

And really, Bucky has no choice, nothing else he could possibly do, no other way for this to end. He looks back at Peggy, turns his head, shows her what he wants to do, and watches her eyes darken further still, watches her bite her lip and nod. He shifts onto his side, and she pushes his leg over, comes to lie behind him, cock never leaving him, and fuck, being married to an athlete is never not going to be awesome.

He’s lying on his side now, mirroring Tony’s position, leg up over Peggy’s hip, and he lifts his arm, places his hand squarely over Tony’s, feels Tony’s fingers squeeze his fitfully, holds on as tight as he can.

“I love you, god, I love you,” he moans, and he doesn’t, he doesn’t think he can specify which one of them he’s talking to right now, because it’s true for all of them; he loves these people so much, so fucking much, for doing this for him, for being there, for closing ranks around him, for giving him a place to belong. He loves them all so fiercely, and there are many kinds of love, and he doesn’t have to fuck them all to know he’d die for them, to know they would die for him, too. Steve’s hand lets go of Tony’s leg and reaches over, folds itself around his around Tony’s, and then Peggy’s grip shifts, too, and her hand wraps around the other three, and Bucky feels like his heart is going to burst, like this is too much joy for one heart to contain, almost like he felt at his wedding, with Tony and Steve’s arms around him, Peggy’s hand clasped safely in his. Home.

Tony gasps – at Bucky’s words, at the touch, Bucky doesn’t know, but he shakes like a fucking leaf, hand spasming around Bucky’s, holding on so tight that Bucky thinks it will bruise; thinks, too, ‘good.’

“Oh, god, I can’t,” Tony chokes, and comes without a hand on him, comes so hard his whole body curls forward from the force of it, comes until Steve is shouting from behind him and stilling, hips pumping lightly, filling Tony up. Bucky, well, how is he supposed to react to this?

“Let go,” Peggy says, choked-up, too. “I’ve got you.”

Safe in their arms, Bucky falls.

Much, much later, Tony says, “I don’t know what just happened, but I vote that this doesn’t stay a one-time occasion,” because of course he does, of course he is the one brave enough to tackle this head-on, for all that he thinks he is the emotionally stunted one. Peggy giggles, sprawled between Bucky and Tony, Steve’s meter-long arms around the three of them.

“Definitely,” Steve says, with feeling, and Bucky nods, because he honestly doesn’t remember a time when he has felt this relaxed, this content. It is all too rare, and life is all too short to deny themselves this.

“The ayes have it,” Peggy concludes, and Tony sighs happily, goes boneless under Bucky’s arm.

“I meant it, you know,” Bucky whispers into Peggy’s neck, for her, and for the other two, too. “You guys, I—“ he can’t find the words to explain, to make them understand how fucking much—

“We know, Buck,” Steve murmurs, always Steve, with his steady arms and steady heart, the rock around which the other three can center themselves. “Us, too.”

“Yeah,” Tony grunts, which is apparently the way Tony declares his affections. Bucky snorts, tries to stifle it, but then Peggy lets out a startled giggle, and it comes bursting out, grows to an all-out guffaw. Steve catches up and carries it forward, the entire bed shaking from his laughter, tears springing in his eyes. Even Tony laughs, after a moment, free, sweetly unselfconscious. Bucky wonders vaguely what their neighbors must have made of the noises coming out of this room tonight, and swiftly decides he doesn’t give a single fuck. They can think whatever they damn well like.

This is his life now, and Bucky is never letting go.