Bucky was in his undershirt and pants, shaving, half his face still covered in cream and a towel hanging around his neck. I sat on the toilet lid, looking at him go:
"What are you gonna do today champ? You look like you've got some color back on!
-I'm feeling pretty good, so I might get some fresh air, go do some drawing on the docks.
-Good idea– OUCH! Son of a b–
-Language!” He gave me a dark look as, against the white of the shaving cream, started appearing a patch of red, from which a droplet of blood dripped and stained his undershirt.
-Are you ok? See, that's what you get for using a cut-throat while talking!
-Well then it's your fault, you're the one who came here to talk, punk!
-Yeah yeah, blame it on the lil' guy! Stop talking and give me that, jerk”
My being the little guy came in handy in certain situation, like when I shaved Bucky's throat for him. I had done it so many times before, it was second nature. And I saw it as a training for when I'd finally have even the tiniest facial hair... one day. First put a tiny bit of toilet paper on the cut.
Rinse blade, wipe it, start at the bottom, at the right angle. Repeat. Two, three, four times. Holding his chin to tilt his head up a bit...
“All done! Now rinse then take your shirt off, it's stained.
-Yes ma'am!" I rolled my eyes at him. In our tiny wardrobe I grabbed a change then went back while I heard Bucky running water in the sink.
"You still have some here...let me" I said, taking the towel from around his neck, gently wiping his jawline. Again, being smaller than him gave me an advantage as I had a better view of his throat and could take a better look at the cut just above his Adam's apple after peeling the toilet paper off.
He took off his shirt and, using the towel, I applied pressure to the nick:
"Here, press right here, I'm gonna grab disinfectant and a band aid.
-What would I do without you huh?
-You'd die of blood-loss, you're not on the right spot numbskull" I answered, my tone mocking. I grabbed his hand to guide it to where he should apply pressure, and something... weird happened.
It might have been nothing, totally unnoticeable by an outsider, but I was no stranger. I knew Buck, I knew his looks and his hands and his behaviors.
When I put his hand on the towel, he kept mine there, maybe just two seconds more than necessary. I told you, it was nothing. But it was enough for a feeling, like a jolt of electricity, to go through my whole body.
And he knew it was enough as he looked me in the eyes, our hands still touching:
-You... You're welcome." He let got of my hand, and just like that, the moment had passed.
But it was a good one. It's part of my good memories from "before". Nowadays I don't have to pretend anymore. We don't have to be hesitant, our feelings hidden in shadows with only fleeting moments in the light. Of course we stay cautious when in public, but in the safety of our hotel room we can be ourselves. What we were meant to be before we even knew it.
“Well, that's another memory to add to my notebook.” Bucky says as I finish telling him the story.
“And I do think I was trying to make it special. Just saying..." I have to smile at this, finally knowing it wasn't just wishful thinking.
"Good thing is, I won't cut myself today: I've got an electric razor now!” he says, all proud of himself.
Today is kind of a special day: the American Embassy somehow “heard” I was in Bangkok (Thanks a lot Tony...), and so I got invited to dinner with the Ambassador.
Fortunately July 4th has already passed, or I'm pretty sure they would have made a huge deal, which would have been way too embarrassing. But all that dinner fuss still means Bucky's stubble and my now full-grown beard have to go, one to look less like the Winter Soldier, the other to look more like Captain America.
“Oh no. No no no Bucky, we're doing this the old fashioned way!” I say as I get my new cut-throat razor out of the bag.
-But, Steve, come oooon! First, where the hell did you find this? And second, you know I'm crap at using a straight razor, always have been!
-First, in China Town, there's a little hair supply shop. Second, who said you were gonna do it? And third... I don't think we can call anything “straight” anymore” I say, chuckling a little.
He gives me his “annoyed but amused” look before going on complaining:
-True...But! Loook, I've got a totally safe and cut-free razor right here!
-Bucky, stop being a child! I thought you were a dangerous and merciless assassin?
-I... I am! Well part of me is. I'm so dangerous, and you should fear me!” he says with grandiose gestures and what should be a scary look, which actually makes me laugh.
Having regained some composure I ask one last time:
“Bucky, please. I've missed doing that, I really have. And now I can, we can both fully enjoy it, without hiding behind "moments", cause we're not in 1931or stuck in Brooklyn anymore.
-Ugh... ok, fine!” He takes his shirt off, which is always a distraction... Focus Rogers! I prepare the shaving cream, and razor:
“Come on, sit here.” I make him sit on the counter next to the bathroom sink that I fill with hot water. Using a shaving brush, I start applying cream on his face until he can't keep a straight face anymore.
-It kinda tickles!
-Oh dear... are you serious? I mean, I know you were ticklish, but your cheeks? Really?
-Apparently so. Just... give me a second. I promise I won't laugh anymore.
-You better not if you don't want to have your throat slit.
-Is that a threat Rogers? Cause don't forget, I'm dangerous!” I simply chuckle before turning serious again when he does.
“Ok, here we go.” Just like all those decades ago, the same reflexes kick in: Tilt his head up. Start at the bottom, at the right angle. Rinse blade, wipe it. Repeat until the throat is done, and start again on the face.
“I always thought you were really cute when you concentrate” Bucky says distractingly, smiling, while I rinse the blade. I'm a bit taken aback:
-Well... yeah... I mean, I can't recall every single moment of... “before”, but I remember much more now, including how I felt. So yes, always. When you were drawing, or day-dreaming, when you tried to learn how to da–“ My lips won't let him finish.
Not giving a care in the world about the shaving cream smeared all over our faces, or the razor I just dropped.
My arms around his neck, I simply needed to kiss him, with his ticklish cheeks and his weird memories and his unintentionally cute remarks.
“Shit Steve, you could have waited! You look like Santa now!” he jokes. I wipe my own face, pick up the razor and finish what I started.
“When have I ever been patient Buck?” But of course he can't answer as I am shaving the last bit of his face.
“And frankly, you're one to talk!” I say as he hops down the counter and rinses away the left over cream.
Then, his hands and face still dripping, he grabs me by my shirt:
“Who said I was patient?” and brings me to him in a passionate kiss, his lips and face still wet, his hands dampening my hair but, like he would say, no fuck was given.
He's pushing me backward, through the opened bathroom door, then against the wall facing it. I pull away just enough to have some breathing room, though it doesn't stop him as he keeps kissing me, along my neck now. Which has a slight tendency of turning me into a brainless... “thing”
“Bu...Bucky, I... ugh... I really need to... to shave, or... we'll be... late at the emba–
-Steve, honey. Fuck the ambassador.“ he answers before closing in on my lips again.
It definitely wasn't the ambassador who got, well...
I grab Bucky's electric razor to shave in the taxi. And we're still late.