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Glitter on the Sea

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Though the two had been best friends since age ten, when Bucky had jumped in to protect tiny Steve from a horde of bullies, their relationship had never progressed beyond comforting words and touches in the worst of times.
And when Bucky presented as an alpha at age 16, no one was surprised, least of all Steve.

“I always said you could growl your way through a war, pal” was one of Steve’s favorite taunts, always said in jest but with a hint of truth attested to Bucky’s powerful bearing.

Whenever Steve needed saving (no matter how much he protested that no, in fact, he was not a damsel in distress), Bucky tended to speak towards his assailants with a rough, gravelly voice of warning that never failed to send bullies running home to their mamas. Unbeknownst to Bucky, this “growl” often did a number on Steve as well. The weak-kneed feeling that followed these moments were always shaken off as exhaustion from the fight, but Steve continued to daydream about it being directed at him.

In the confines of his bedroom on hot, sticky, summer nights, Steve would lay on the bed, hand lazily working its way down to his cock, imagining. Imagining Bucky, his lips, his eyes, his hair flopping down in his face, sticking to his forehead.

Was it wrong? Bucky was a young, healthy male alpha. He had to find a mate sometime, and Steve hadn’t even presented yet. Wasn’t expected to. And if his constant illnesses didn’t prevent him from presenting and he somehow turned out an omega like everyone expected? Well then Steve would be bogged down by the fact that he was much too small to ever become pregnant safely. Probably couldn’t even go into a proper heat; it would almost certainly be too much for his body to handle.

So Steve kept his fantasies about Bucky well hidden for years. They weren’t going to happen anyway, and there was a war coming. Everyone knew it, and Bucky was very likely to be drafted if he didn’t enlist first. The thought of sending a mate away (not that they were mated, of course) was too much for Steve to contemplate. Steve worried about him in more ways than he knew.

For one, Bucky worked himself much too hard to provide for them ever since they got their own place in Brooklyn (out of necessity and drastic financial problems for them both, especially after Sara Rogers’ death). Steve did what he could, finding a little work at corner stores and markets, but constantly being fired for his inability to do any strenuous tasks. That didn’t mean he hadn’t tried, though, and the frustration often sent Steve into moods that could only be cured by a gentle hug from Bucky and a night in, drawing the cityscape from behind the windows. So what Steve couldn’t do, Bucky made up for in long hours down at the docks, returning exhausted and dirty (and most decidedly gorgeous). Still, Steve worried that he put himself through too much, and felt guilty at the effort on his own behalf.

On the occasion when Bucky would return early from work, he’d suggest a night out. Steve would shake his head, claiming he had a headache or was really close to finishing a drawing.

“Sorry, Buck, but I think I’ll just stay home tonight,” he’d apologize.

“Alright, but if you need somethin, you know where to find me,” Bucky would answer.

Bucky would always go to Jive, a dance hall a block away from their apartment. Steve had been there exactly once, on a double date that Bucky claimed would be fantastic for him.

It wasn’t.

Jeannie, the girl Bucky had found for Steve, was a flaming redhead bent on getting Bucky to notice her and firmly ignored Steve the entire night. Bucky and his date, Anne, were fiery on the dance floor and though Bucky tried his hardest to get Steve to join them, he wouldn’t budge from his seat. No way was he about to embarrass himself in front of everyone- a skinny, weak-looking, pale Irish kid who couldn’t walk without tripping over his feet and who exclusively saved his dancing for the apartment in the company of Bucky alone. The night was a disaster, to say the least, and Jeannie had departed with a handshake and a dirty look thrown over her shoulder. Steve was a failure, and that evening had just confirmed it for him.

While Steve steered clear of social gatherings after that incident, Bucky thrived at them- always the life of the party and an attractive, joyous ball of energy that could only be satisfied with the best music and prettiest girls, or so Steve thought. Whatever qualities Steve lacked in his social endeavors, Bucky seemed to own with ease. Steve had seen him in action, flitting around the room that fateful night at Jive, charming the room with his smile and grace on the dance floor. Bucky radiated confidence, and no matter how much Steve tried, he couldn’t replicate it.

So Steve’s stubbornness kept him home and let Bucky have his fun without having to be dragged down by him. And he watched him go, fully aware that he might pick up a girl to fuck that night, to get his fix that Steve could never provide.
Besides, Steve was undesirable in every way. He knew that and had accepted it. It wasn’t possible for him to go into a heat. Countless doctors had told him that, when they were still able to afford one.

“Your body is not ready. It may well never be ready.”

“Maybe you should start looking at alpha support centers. There are willing alphas who would house you and take care of you.”

“You can’t live on your own. You would be too vulnerable, too susceptible to prowling alphas who would take anything they could find.”

Bucky, always present at these sessions, would say, “That won’t be necessary, Doctor. Steve can stay with me as long as he likes,” to which the doctors would raise their eyebrows and shake their heads, clearly disapproving of such a relationship.

Bucky took care of him. He would tell Steve time and time again that he should just concede, let him help. Steve would shake his head in the middle of asthma attacks and coughing fits, trying to speak in protest and failing.

“N-(cough)n-(cough)n-(cough) no, Buck, I’m fi-(cough) fine.”

Bucky would shush him quietly, tuck Steve’s nose into the crook of his neck, near his scent glands, and tell him to just breathe, Stevie. He’d rub his back like he’s seen his ma do to Steve when they were younger with the knowledge that it would calm him down immediately. Soon Steve’s breathing would taper off into a sleep-like hush, and Bucky would begin to lower him down onto their bed. But Steve would cling to his neck and sleepily refuse to let go, so Bucky would position them both on the bed and they’d just fall asleep like that: chest to chest, heartbeat to heartbeat. Bucky still needed to check to hear Steve’s continue to beat steadily. Steve still needed to hear Bucky’s to make him feel less alone. Their arrangement worked.

His ma had always said he was too stubborn. He had always known he was too stubborn. But when he would feel his breath hitch on a chilly autumn evening, or fight down the urge to suck in huge breaths after a tussle in an alley, he’d long for some comfort. Steve knew he was being unreasonable when he refused Bucky’s help. He knew Bucky was just taking care of him because his ma wasn’t there to do it anymore. But every time Bucky gathered him up, so small, so light, so paper-thin, he couldn’t help but melt into his embrace and let himself be dragged down by his smell, his touch, his voice. Sometimes, it felt like it was all that he had. He could indulge himself, right?

Steve knew he was a burden, knew Bucky would eventually find a mate and move away, leaving Steve to his own devices. It was in his nature. It was imminent. It was terrifying. And Steve dreaded that day. But for now, he did his best to show Bucky that he would be just as much there for him as Bucky was for Steve, even if he didn’t always notice.

When Bucky would go into rut, Steve would be there. Bucky would be frenzied, obviously conflicted over whether to let instinct take over and pounce on Steve or find his release elsewhere in his daze. He always chose to leave the apartment and race down to the girl he’d been seeing that week. Which was fine with Steve. He understood. Bucky wasn’t in his right mind; to fuck Steve instead would be a misjudgement and regrettable. But he was always there when Bucky would return home after a few days, worn out and sated. He’d stay up late every night, hopeful that Bucky would find his way home, safe where Steve could make sure he wasn’t making any rash decisions. Safe. Home. His. Please don’t let him knot anyone, Steve would pray. Please let him come home soon.

Of course Bucky did. He’d fold Steve in his arms and apologize profusely for leaving him alone, how could he have left him? What if something had happened while he was gone and decidedly not in his right mind? To which Steve would reply, “I can handle myself, it’s not your fault, it’s the rut’s, I know you’d never mean to leave me.” Just giving him assurance. He needed it at times like these. Bucky would beam down at Steve then, the sun shining down through the windows onto the two of them; it was one of many moments that made Steve long to close the gap between them and brush his lips, just softly, over Bucky’s.

Those nights, Bucky would need a little extra comfort, and Steve was happy to give it. He had to cherish every moment he had with Bucky, just the two of them. They’d fall asleep in their shared bed, Steve held tightly to Bucky’s chest. Steve could do this, he could be a rock for Bucky in his insecure moments, too, with the full knowledge that it wasn’t going to last forever.

He knew Bucky meant it when he said he wouldn’t leave, but it was only a matter of time. And Steve couldn’t keep that ugly thought from creeping into his mind at times: What if the day came when Bucky did have to leave, either to the war or to be with a mate?

Which is exactly what Steve was thinking of when he fell asleep on a humid night in July, just a week after his 22nd birthday and worrying over Bucky, who hadn’t returned from Jive yet. He rolled over and looked at their tiny clock, seeing the hands point out 2:38 clearly on its face. Sleep was coming on fast, but Steve wanted to make sure Bucky got home safely. He waited a good hour more before finally succumbing to the comforting lull of unconsciousness.

When Steve woke in the morning, his body was on fire. He began to panic, thinking he had possibly contracted another debilitating illness. Frantically reaching over to Bucky’s side of the bed, his hand patted and searched blindly to find empty space. Work, Steve thought, he must have already left. He glanced at the clock, seeing the small hand just past 2 and the big hand right after the 9. He had woken up late, almost missed the entire day.

Stumbling out of bed, he clumsily made his way to the kitchen, seeing a bowl and a glass drying next to the sink. Bucky must have made it home last night; he certainly ate this morning before leaving for the docks. Steve was determined that he could handle himself at home. He didn’t want to bother Bucky at work, and wasn’t entirely sure he could make it down there anyway, judging by the violent shaking of his limbs. Steve was content with a glass of water from the sink and a puff of his inhaler and made a promise to himself that if anything got worse, he would ask a neighbor to fetch Bucky from work.

Steve wasn’t sure what was happening to him.

His hands shook, his face was clammy, every pore of his skin was leaking sweat, he could barely breath and he felt his heart beating at a surely unhealthy pace. It wasn’t anything he hadn’t dealt with before.

Except for the burning. He’d never felt that before. His skin felt like it was on fire, like he had to take a cold bath. Dribbling water from the sink onto his skin, he tried to fix his problem, but to no avail. What the hell? he thought. His skin still burned.

Oh, and the aching. His groin ached, but Steve couldn’t pinpoint why or coordinate himself enough to reach or look down and see what was going on.

Committing himself to the bed once more, he concluded that what he needed was sleep. “More sleep” was what his ma and the doctors and Bucky had always told him was essential to beat an illness, so for once he decided to listen. He was scared this time. Real scared. Why was his skin burning?

He plopped down again, only to find that the bed was wet. What the actual hell?? Steve hadn’t wet the bed since he was a kid. He hesitantly touched the wet spot, discovering that the substance was drying in some places, sticky in others. Steve’s breath caught in his throat. If he didn’t know better, he’d say it was…

But it couldn’t be! He wasn’t an omega…

Steve tentatively reached around himself, fingering his shorts. Yup, they were definitely soaked through. How had he not noticed before? He must have been too focused on the fire in his skin. He shucked his shorts and his t-shirt, desperate to get more comfortable on the bed, rolling over to Bucky’s side in the process and tossing his garments over the edge. Now flat on his back, Steve looked down at himself and gasped.
He had the biggest hard-on he’d ever seen.

His cock was laying flat on his stomach, leaking precome in large globs that stuck to Steve’s thin, pasty skin. So that was the aching. Huh.

Shit. He was definitely in heat, alone and vulnerable, without Bucky there to help, not that he’d want to anyway. He felt dizzy with arousal, now that he had realized his erection. He needed to get off, and quickly, before he passed out or something stupid.

What would Bucky say when he returned home? Would he take one look at Steve and leave? Would he take him to a doctor to get a professional solution or hand him off to an alpha who’d want to fuck him? Who would?

Steve felt his sanity starting to slip. His mind began to get hazy, like something was taking over and telling him to quiet down, to just focus on what he needed. What he needed…

Steve’s hand curled around his cock and began to move at an almost angry pace, quick and urgent. His breathing sped up as his mind began to unravel, his eyes becoming unfocused and not quite comprehending anything other than this moment. A small whimper escaped his lips, chased by a high-pitched whine that in any other circumstance would embarrass Steve, usually able to quietly get off to spare the neighbors. He faintly registered the sound of a click and his name being called, but he couldn’t bring himself to care enough to wonder about it.

Another whine flew from Steve’s throat, and he was beginning to lose track of where he was. He was still burning, still aching, still moving his hand at an almost superhuman pace. In no way was he coherent enough to hear Bucky’s calls from the living room, getting closer and closer each second. He only realized anyone was there with him when he was hit with a wall of pure alpha. He smelled it, inhaled it, needed to get closer to it. Arching his back and moaning loudly, he came almost immediately, eyes rolling back into his head and seeing white, everywhere white.

He barely felt Bucky’s arms lifting him up and enveloping him, didn’t hear Bucky’s small gasp when he felt the bed under Steve’s naked body, had no idea that Bucky brushed his hair out of his face and was calling his name.

He was unaware of everything until he felt Bucky’s rough hand grabbing his chin and tilting his head up. Steve slowly and groggily opened his eyes, lazily rolling them to where he knew Bucky’s must be waiting. He gained a little bit more coherency once he saw Bucky staring at him. He strained up toward his face, grasping his old, ratty shirt.

“No, Steve, listen to me.”

“Uhhhhhhhh.”

“Stevie, you’re in heat.”

“I know that, smartass.” Steve was surprised at how many words he was able to string together at the present moment.

“Steve, I want to help you, okay?”

“No ya don’t.”

“I do, Steve, really. Is that okay?”

At this point, Steve was certain he was hallucinating. This couldn’t be real. Bucky, esteemed ladies’ man of the neighborhood, was asking Steve if he could fuck him. A million jumbled thoughts spiraled around in Steve’s head like puzzle pieces, trying to fit into a rational explanation for Bucky’s interest in him. He could find none. A small, but very small, part of his brain was screaming at him that maybe there was a possibility Bucky could like him back the same way Steve did him.

In a moment of brilliance, Steve decided to harbor his next action on this sliver of hope that leapt up from the shadows of his mind.

Steve looked directly into Bucky’s worried eyes, having never felt more confident in his life. He conjured up all his remaining strength and pushed it out into one word:

“Please.”

Chapter Text

Bucky didn’t want to know.

The other alphas at the docks were snickering behind his back again, sneaking looks out of the corner of their eyes at him as they did. Bucky stuck his chin out proudly and stalked away with crisp movements that sent his arms swinging quickly at his sides. No way was he going to let them get to him.

It began when he and Steve moved in together. Anyone who knew the pair was aware of their relationship, however undefined it was. But down here, near the salt of the sea and the weight of the cargo, men were men and alphas were alphas. Steve wasn’t considered either of those things by the guys at the docks, and Bucky knew they whispered rumors about them, commenting on Steve’s physique and making crude remarks about how “his bones must break every time you fuck him, how do you pay for a doctor?” Every look, every sneer, every joke made Bucky smolder, but he wasn’t about to argue with them. The last time he had, he almost lost his job.

A punch to the jaw and a mean kick to the groin were all it took for Bucky to be put on temporary probation. Bucky could never remember the guy’s name, Fred or Frank or something like that, but he knew he didn’t like him. When he lashed out after a week of particularly heinous taunting, it was the result of months of anger all bubbling to the surface at once. Bucky wasn’t even sorry. The guy deserved it for speaking about things he didn’t know jack shit about.

So Bucky took the probation in stride, keeping his head held high and working fastidiously for the next month or so, blocking out the sound of constant chatter that followed him around. He knew one thing for sure: if he lost this job, Steve wouldn’t survive. The little punk would insist that he would be fine, that he could find a steady job for himself and help wherever he could, but the truth was that Bucky knew his downfall wouldn’t come of his own accord. Steve was small and perfect for big alphas who were hell bent on fucking the nearest thing in sight. Bucky couldn’t subject him to that, couldn’t live with himself if he knew it was his fault to begin with. And Bucky could never admit that he couldn’t live without Steve either.

The jokes at work were tough to deal with, but Steve’s self-deprecating ones were even harder for Bucky to bear. He’d mope around the house, grumbling about how Bucky should “just get outta here already, there’s no use in stayin with a gimp like me” and how he was “the last thing on any gal’s mind.” Bucky’s heart would break at every word Steve would utter, cracking under the pressure of the absolute lies coming out of his mouth. He’d try to tell him:

“Steve, don’t say that. I’m not going anywhere.” Or:

“God, Steve, just let a dame get to know ya and she’ll fall in love!”

"Just like I did" was always omitted.

But every time Bucky protested Steve’s comments, Steve would grunt and pick up his sketchbook, angrily scratching at the paper with his pencil.

Bucky knew Steve was depressed. The doctors had all told him he would never present and would stay in a beta-like limbo his entire life. If, by some miracle, he did present as omega, he would never be able to have pups. And if he was an alpha? The doctor only shook his head and laughed at the possibility.

What made Bucky angrier was Steve’s insistence at his own ugliness. Didn’t Steve know how beautiful he was? Golden hair like the sun through the trees on crisp autumn evenings, blue eyes like the sea, glittering with radiance when he smiled. And Jesus, his smile. Steve’s smile could raise a ruined city in an instant, Bucky was sure of it. His body emitted pure sunshine in his happiest moments, pulsing and shaping into a dream of light. But these moments became rarer with each passing year without presenting. For each year gone by, it was like a candle had been snuffed out in Steve’s eyes, smoking in the absence of a flame. He had drawn into himself, crumbling from the inside out, and Bucky witnessed it all.

He couldn’t decide if he wanted Steve to finally prove he was healthy and present as omega, or if he wanted him to stay in this purgatory, safe where Bucky could take care of him. It was sickeningly selfish, Bucky knew, but he couldn’t help the thought that maybe one day he would have to leave Steve, and he couldn't live with that. The pressure of the times was chasing him, pushing him further towards a nice, happy, marriage with a gal he could tolerate and innumerable pups to feed. Though same sex marriages were sometimes conducted and legal, the general consensus was that it was just as odd as two alphas marrying. People liked to think that the only same sex relationships that were acceptable were of a needy alpha in rut and the closest available omega in the most desperate circumstances, but Bucky liked to dream.

Steve was alone now. His ma had gone, and his only friend was Bucky. No matter what, Bucky was determined not to lose his tie with Steve, and if it meant concealing his feelings, it was a small sacrifice in order to be able to spend more years with him. If taking girls out was what he had to do to keep Steve safe and protected, he would do it just to make sure Steve would be asleep in a bed with a roof over his head. He couldn’t afford to fuck up, couldn’t afford to let his emotions slip in front of Steve, had to assure him that he would never leave his side.

So Bucky took girls out. He was confident, strapping, and attractive and found that girls liked him- a lot, in fact. They’d flock to him- pretty slips of things who were recently omega and desperate to try out an alpha. Even some alpha and beta girls would give Bucky longing looks and approach him, deciding to try their luck. No matter what, Bucky wanted to make sure that these girls didn’t feel used, despite his lingering feelings for Steve that were always present in the back of his mind. He treated his dates the way he thought they deserved to be treated, with the utmost respect and sincerity. He’d take them out to the nicest places he could with what little dough he had and try to convince himself that this was what he should be doing, but nothing felt right.

Getting to know his date was a priority for him. Bucky wouldn’t push any uncomfortable topics, but he would gently prod to get a girl to open up to him, tell him about herself. What songs she liked, what dreams she had, and even what problems she was facing- they were all offered and genuinely received by Bucky. If nothing else, Bucky liked to socialize and often stayed friends with some of the girls he took out. Besides, discussing personal lives was a two-way street, and Bucky often wound up mentioning Steve. His date would blink and frown as they listened to Bucky speak so passionately about his roommate. Soon, they would soften, seeming to realize how much the guy meant to him. Something like empathy would take the place of mild jealousy and they would begin to piece together the story, reflecting it plainly on their faces. When Bucky would finish speaking, eyes alight, his date would often unexpectedly wrap him up in a hug and whisper in his ear something akin to "I hope you find happiness." They understood. The ones who didn’t would harden and stalk away from Bucky with a polite “Thank you for dinner” thrown over their shoulder. It was hard, but Bucky knew he had real friends to count on.

Bucky would try to get Steve out of the apartment and into the world more often. The gaunt look on Steve’s face during slow, rainy days alone went straight to his heart, like a waterfall of knives plunging simultaneously into the muscle. Painfully, Bucky would offer to take Steve on a double date with the nicest girls he knew, desperate to show that they could find normal lives outside of each other if they just found the right person, though each promise was a lie to himself. After months of pleading, Bucky finally convinced Steve to join him, and the event was disastrous. It seemed even the nicest of girls were capable of disgust towards Steve, and damn if it didn’t wound Bucky almost as much as it did Steve. He promised Steve they would try again some other time, with hopefully much better results, but the blonde wouldn’t budge on the matter. Bucky himself had little faith in the idea and absolutely dreaded the possibility of seeing Steve’s hurt face again, but if they were going to convince themselves they could lead normal lives, they had to start somewhere.

Steve didn’t know it, but Bucky had never fucked anyone. Ever. He never walked his dates home with anything more than a peck on the cheek and a firm hug at the door, and never regretted that decision. Nice people didn’t deserve him. He was a dock worker, for Chrissakes, and was practically broke, with another man attached to the deal if he were to propose to anyone. Jesus, Steve didn’t deserve him. He was never home, working long hours plus overtime just to pay rent, a grade A asshole who didn’t have the time to spend with Steve at home. No matter how much he dreaded another day at the docks and longed to curl up with Steve in a pseudo-domestic and surely secretive bliss, he dressed and washed and lived his life in a kind of frantic plea with the world, that someday, if he was ever good enough, Steve could maybe deserve a jerk like him. He tried to be a damn gentleman with every dame he courted, tried to do right by Steve every waking moment, but found himself failing with each step, drowning in a pit of worthlessness he felt growing deeper by the day and spurred on by the inverse relationship of his feelings for Steve. Why couldn’t he be better for him? Steve deserved the best, and Bucky was insufficient. When faced with a moral decision he even asked himself what Steve Rogers would do in the situation, and the answer was almost always to simply do the right thing and stand up for personal beliefs. He wished he could find the same strength Steve had to do these things. Instead he let himself be bothered by coworkers and was punished for the one time he attempted to do the “Steve Rogers” thing. The world refused to grant him anything, he was convinced of that.

When Bucky did go into a rut, he would hesitate foolishly, always hoping that Steve would offer himself up, however selfish that made him. Disgusted with himself and blinded by the rut, he’d escape to a girl’s home, one that he trusted and liked. She would hide him in her room, perfuming the air to get rid of his scent, then leave the house and let him jerk off in desperation. Though his ruts would last for a few days, the girl would never fail to allow him to use her room for as long as he liked. He’d finish after days of aching, never being completely fulfilled but unable to subject anyone else to his lowliness, especially Steve. He’d apologize over and over to the girl, who would insist that it was no big deal, that she understood and would help however she could. Bucky would return home to Steve and apologize to him as well, sorry for leaving him and absolutely inconsolable as a result of his own self-hatred. Steve would care for him in those moments, and Bucky got a glimpse of what a happy life with him could be. He cherished those moments while he could, sure that they couldn’t last.

Days passed with no sign of Steve’s biology changing significantly, and Bucky watched as Steve degenerated into a wisp of a thing, smaller than ever before and hellbent on giving up. On trying, on eating, on doing anything. He was convinced he was the worthless one, which shocked Bucky right down to his bones. If anyone was lacking in worth, it was himself and not the creature that used to be full of light and promise and a dogged hope for the future and faith in the good of humanity. How could Steve ever believe the mumbled words he dropped in such a self-degrading manner? How could he fail to see the beautiful soul he harbored within him? Bucky was determined to make him see it, and he tried his hardest to make it known.

One day, he hung up Steve’s drawings on the walls of their apartment when Steve had gone to bed, praising their beauty in the morning to Steve’s astonished face.

“I thought I’d show you just how great these are, even if you don’t believe it.”

“Thanks, Buck, really, but I don’t think they’re all that great.”

“Sure they are! I can’t tell your Brooklyn Bridge from the real one outside!”

But when Bucky came home that night, each sketch was torn down and shoved into the trash bin in the corner, sticking out brightly as casualties of Steve’s disappointment in himself. As for Steve, he was already asleep, tossing and turning like he couldn’t shake off the memory of what he had done. Bucky knew he took pride in his work even if he didn’t believe it was any good, and knew it must have pained him to throw them away. So he retrieved them from the garbage and flattened them out between the pages of their big old untouched Bible, safe from Steve’s eyes. For Steve’s birthday that year, he bound them up and gave them back to Steve, to his amazement. Steve had obviously regret his decision that long-ago night, because tears began to prickle at the edges of his eyes.

“Thank you, Buck,” he managed to strain out.
Bucky just took him into his arms and crushed him in an embrace, whispering a soft “You’re always welcome, Stevie” into his ear. And he meant it. Steve was always welcome, in their home, in their bed, in Bucky’s heart. Say the word and he’d give the world to Steve. He wanted nothing more. He just wasn’t so sure anything could work for them, or that Steve even reciprocated the feeling. All he could do was lose himself in work and fruitless dates, biding his time in wait for something that may not ever come.

So when he returned one day as he always did from work, bruised and dirty and tired of being broken down by idiots at the dock, he was expecting the same Steve he always walked in to see nowadays: a picture of true sadness laid out on the worn secondhand couch, nose buried in a book or concentrated on a sketch. A glance would be thrown in his direction, small and slightly furtive and always despairing. The glittering eyes shifted towards gray coldness, and Bucky knew it was directed inwards and not at Bucky- Steve knew and appreciated all Bucky did for them but struggled to live with himself for being practically of no help despite his attempts.

When Bucky turned down the hallway today, though, the first thing he noticed was the smell. He couldn’t help but scent the air, confused as to which omega in their hallway was in heat. Most of the people in their building were families and older couples and most of the omegas took crude suppressants since they felt they couldn’t be bothered with a heat in lieu of the children they were trying to raise in such hard times. So why was Bucky still smelling the overpowering and unmistakable scent of omega? It began to make him dizzy. He had, unbelievably, never seen an omega in heat before, but knew in theory that it was as, if not more, desperate than any rut he could ever have. Worry took the place of confusion as he raced down the hallway, until he picked up one specific scent he would know anywhere.

“Steve,” he whispered under his breath, picking up the pace as he flew past neighbor’s doors. Shit. Steve had finally gone into heat and Bucky hadn’t been there to help him. Goddammit! He really couldn’t get anything right. Sweating now and praying that Steve’s little body could handle a heat, he fumbled for the key as he reached their door and with shaking hands, pushed the handle down and flung the door aside, calling Steve’s name as he went.
Scrabbling for purchase on the floor, he followed the scent to the bedroom where he finally saw Steve, trembling and jerking off, gasping for air and seemingly incoherent. As soon as he entered the room, Steve’s back snapped taut like he was suddenly electrocuted and he moaned out a long, low sound as his eyes rolled back in his head. His tiny cock spurted out ropes of come, some making their way all the way up to Steve’s neck. Steve didn’t seem to realize he had already come, though, because his hand kept trying to move up and down his shaft as his body went limp beneath him. Bucky rushed to his side and gently took Steve’s hand in his, collecting his body close to him. He felt the spot where Steve had been lying, finding it drenched in the liquid he knew was furiously prepping his hole with every passing moment. He let out a small gasp before returning his gaze to Steve’s face, amazed by the entire thing. He brushed Steve’s floppy hair out of his eyes and tried to get his attention, but Steve couldn’t seem to focus on one thing for too long. A bit more roughly, Bucky grasped Steve’s chin in his hand and called his name, mind working a million miles a second, processing what was happening and wanting so badly to help Steve.

His best friend was in heat, and he was in love with his best friend. What the hell was a guy supposed to do? Steve was stretching up into Bucky, trying to get closer and closer to his scent glands. Bucky knew Steve wasn’t capable of anything more than this right now, and sure as hell didn’t want to take advantage of him. Could the whimpering mess before him actually want to be knotted by him, or was that just the heat talking? Though the latter was more likely, Bucky could still hope. He quickly decided to ask Steve, hoping to get a polysyllabic answer to prove that Steve’s brain hadn’t completely shut off yet.

Steve finally met his eye after searching for what seemed like minutes. Stupidly, Bucky proclaimed that Steve was in heat, as if Steve wasn’t already aware. Steve miraculously managed to pull a full sentence out in response, calling Bucky a smartass in the process. Okay, so he could function a little better than Bucky initially thought. But his eyes looked so desperate, so pretty, so loving, even. Could he really want Bucky? Bucky took a leap of faith and told Steve he wanted to help him, and was graced with a very Steve-like answer:

“No ya don’t.”

Wait. Steve thought Bucky didn’t want him? If that wasn’t some backwards shit…

Jesus. This was worse than he thought. Bucky wanted nothing but Steve, every day of his life. Here Steve was, holding off on an offer because he didn’t think Bucky wanted him. God no. Bucky would prove to Steve that he was his everything, no matter what. And his moment was staring him in the face.

This time, he phrased it as a question. He asked if it was okay for him to help Steve. The response was sweeter than anything Bucky had ever heard, and it seemed that it took all the mind still left in Steve’s body to give it to him, but it was like wrapping up in a warm blanket on a cold night:

“Please.”

Chapter Text

If Steve’s mind hadn’t shorted out by the time Bucky asked to fuck him, it sure had now.

Bucky’s lips descended on his like a prayer, a whisper to God. He’d take care of him. He’d know how to make things better.

So Steve placed all of his trust in that kiss. The press of his lips against Bucky’s was nothing like he had imagined, but so much more than he ever could. Bucky’s lips felt a bit chapped and rough, something that was surprisingly yet undeniably Bucky. It was all Steve could do to hang on and let Bucky take over. Shit, he had no experience on the matter and didn’t know the first thing about how to kiss someone, let alone his best friend. He was trying his best to follow Bucky’s lead, but his lips just hung there underneath Bucky’s advance.

“Come on, Rogers, move!” his mind yelled, but Steve didn’t know what to do, so he stayed put. He heard a short laugh above him and felt air against his lips. Looking up to see Bucky hovering over him, Steve lurched up to chase his mouth, only to be gently pushed back down onto the bed.

“Shh, Steve, it’s alright. Let me show you.” Bucky lowered himself down until his mouth was right over Steve’s, not quite touching but so, so close.

“You’ve gotta let me in, baby,” he whispered, eyes flicking up to Steve’s. Fuck. Steve actually fucking whimpered at that.

Bucky softly mouthed at the area around Steve’s lips, never coming closer until he touched the corner of Steve’s mouth. Then, with a smile that Steve felt more than saw, he bit at the tiniest sliver of flesh on Steve’s lips.

“Open up, Stevie. It’s just me.”

Steve was more than willing to comply.

Slightly opening his mouth, Steve gasped when he felt Bucky’s lips slot in between his own, quickly shuttering his eyes closed at the feeling. This was too much, way too much for him to handle right now. How was he still alive? Did Bucky know what the hell he was doing to Steve?

And holy shit, when Bucky started to move. Those lips drew back for less than a second before coming back down to meet Steve, sliding and catching on different parts of his mouth and drawing little noises from him that he knew he would be embarrassed about if he cared enough to be. Steve felt like he could stay here forever, in this position, curled up in Bucky’s arms with their lips connected for all of eternity. But Bucky must have not been satisfied, because Steve soon felt added pressure to his mouth, something warm and wet and new.

Bucky’s tongue began lapping at Steve’s lips, begging for entrance while clutching on to Steve’s still shuddering body. Slowly and tentatively, Steve opened his mouth a tad wider, allowing Bucky to lick around the inside of his mouth. Steve was clinging to sanity, feeling everything going far away, the entire world fixed on where Bucky was sloppily trying to get more of Steve with every thrust of his tongue. Whatever inhibitions Steve held had fled long ago, and he lifted his tongue to try and give back to Bucky. He was graced with a wide open mouth that closed on top of Steve’s tongue. The steamy inside of Bucky’s mouth was soft and smooth, and Steve couldn’t get enough. After launching himself into the act for a few seconds, he was pulled back by Bucky once more, and looked at with glimmering eyes.

“Steve, it’s more gentle than that. Don’t attack, explore.” Bucky was trying to instruct him, help him, but Steve was barely paying attention. Some part of his brain registered it, though, and when Bucky came back to Steve’s tongue, he made sure to be much gentler this time around. While searching Bucky’s mouth, the brunette began to strip his clothes, shucking pants and underwear but staying locked to Steve’s lips. He pulled away for a short moment to rid himself of his shirt but returned to Steve like he had never left. Steve felt every inch of his skin against his.

Bucky’s hands began to move up his sides, dragging his fingertips every so slightly against his flesh. The touches felt like sparks, smaller iterations of the fire sweeping across his body. Bucky pulled away again and looked at Steve through hooded eyes. “I’ve wanted to do this my entire life.”

Steve let out a whimper and nodded feverishly, eyes locked on Bucky’s and trying to articulate his response. The words wouldn’t come out, though, and he probably looked like a blubbering mess. Bucky gave him that look again, a soft look that seemed so kind and loving that Steve wanted to see it every day for the rest of his life. Bucky gathered Steve’s face in his hands and guided it to his shoulder. A whisper in his ear said, “I know, Stevie. I know,” and Steve couldn’t hold on. He let out a sob, the tears finally coming in waves, a deluge of drops numbered for every year, every time, every thought of Bucky he had ever known, a relentless, beautiful flood of memory and relief.

Steve was shaking and Bucky was shaking, and it was the two of them, clutched to each other, hands squeezing too hard, flesh brushing and sticking, faces pressed together in a mess of tears and salt and words unsaid, lips slipping from each other and sliding across every open inch of skin, all the while trying to get closer, closer, closer, always, forever.

Nothing more needed to be said.

Bucky gazed at Steve to get a good look at him, that small, feisty trouble-seeker who didn’t know how to give up, to quit, to declare defeat. So strong and so much braver than he was. The best person he knew, his best friend, his...mate. The revelation hit him hard and fast, and he pushed Steve down onto the bed, pressing his lips to his face and neck, feeling Steve squirm under him, skirting around the perfect spot where Steve could be bonded to him. He stopped just around the area and looked up, catching Steve’s eye. Steve’s eyes burned, if water could, and the blue seemed to darken, to beg, to cry out for Bucky. Steve nodded, curt and slight, and Bucky saw a single tear drop from the corner of his eye, on its way to join the remnants of its cousins as it streaked down his face to his chin, where it dripped down. Bucky flicked his tongue out to catch it and Steve moaned, long and low.

Bucky ducked his head back down, saltiness spreading around his mouth, and slowly, softly kissed the place on Steve’s neck where he intended to be his forever. Steve’s hand flew to the back of Bucky’s head, pressing down to keep him there as he arched his back and flung his head into the pillow, a high pitched whine strangling its way out of his throat.

God, Bucky thought, so beautiful.

Quickly, Bucky jerked out from under Steve’s grip and strung a line of kisses down his chest to his nipples, mouthing at their peaked tips, watching Steve react so prettily as his breathing sped up and he let out the smallest of sounds in rapid succession. Bucky reminded himself that he had to go slow, that Steve couldn’t handle too much stress before he could be hit with an asthma attack or worse.

Pulling off his nipple, Bucky made his way down, down, down, following the faintest of hairs to where Steve was sporting an erection that curved his dick up onto his belly. Bucky kissed the tip, just the tip, and Steve went wild, thrashing in pleasure that sent heat directly to Bucky’s own dick. Bucky reached his hand up to brush his hands across Steve’s pelvis, the soft, sweaty skin pressing up into his hand, wanting more. What else could Bucky do but comply?

He took Steve’s cock in hand with a kind of reverence, and began to move his hand as he always did with his own. He leaned over to kiss Steve again, licking up the moans that Steve was uttering in a constant stream now. Steve’s eyes were closed, but after only a few seconds of Bucky moving against him, he opened them wide and said, on an inhale of deep, ragged breath, “Fuck me.”

Bucky groaned loudly at the sound of Steve cursing. He never cursed. Thought it was dirty, though he supposed their current situation warranted it.

Looking Steve in the eye once again, Bucky promised, “Okay, Steve. I will, baby, but I’ve gotta get you ready.” Steve nodded furiously, again shuttering his eyes closed and dropping his head back onto the pillow.

Bucky carefully pressed his lips to Steve’s hip, the skin where it joined with his thigh. He pushed Steve’s legs up, bending them at the knee and holding them, bent, up in the air. Avoiding Steve’s dripping cock, he mouthed over the puckered hole just below it. If he thought that Steve could handle just that simple movement, he was sorely mistaken. Steve keened, high and long and loud at the top of his lungs, jerking up to grab onto Bucky’s hair in a firm grip. Bucky didn’t cease his movements, just slid his tongue out so that it was pressing firmly at the hole. Steve absolutely tugged at his hair in response, jerking his hips up helplessly. Bucky moved his hand to push his hips back down, swirling his tongue around in the pools of slick that had gathered there.

Steve tasted like a dream, but Bucky expected nothing less. Steve was a dream, and in the back of his mind, it occurred to Bucky that in this case Steve wasn’t just a dream. He was a WET dream.

He let his tongue slip past the ring of muscle and felt it flutter against him, trying to suck him in. Steve was so wet that he was basically ready for Bucky’s dick. Bucky was addicted to his taste, though, and spent a few more precious seconds licking at the hole like it was a last meal.

Finally, Bucky pulled his head away, his hair a complete mess, Steve not looking much better. Steve was utterly wrecked. His chest was flushed, nipples pert and standing at attention. Debauchery has weaseled its way into his features, sending red into his cheeks and darkness into his eyes, which had taken on the color of the East River at midnight. Their darkness gazed out at Bucky, a connection that tethered him to his body, every second threatening to slip away into the sky. The trust they conveyed displayed everything Steve had ever wanted to say, and as Bucky caught his eye, a slow smile sweeping across his face, Steve whispered the only thing left to say.

“I love you.”

It was whispered, little more than an exhale of air, but Bucky heard every syllable. Tears sprang up in both men’s eyes again, simultaneously. Bucky repeated the phrase back to him, scared as hell but also the most confident he’d been in his life, which was saying something. Neither of them knew anything for certain past what was happening right now, but then again, no one did. Bucky knew he had to take care of Steve now, and let Steve do the same for him.

So Bucky reached two fingers down to replace his tongue and slipped their pads in, to Steve’s absolute pleasure. Pulling his fingers back, he took a second to scoop some slick onto his fingers and then took hold of his cock, slowly moving them along its length. He again locked eyes with Steve and asked, “Are you ready?” to which Steve again nodded, the only movement he was left capable of.

“Okay,” was all Bucky could say, and guided his cock down to Steve’s fluttering hole.

Steve wanted to hang on longer, but the second Bucky’s dick entered his hole, he melted. Utterly and completely. With a long, low whine, he sank down, down, down into the recesses of his mind. Nothing burnt his skin anymore, nothing ached, and his mind was let free. Like a balloon drifting up to the sky, the cogs in his brain were loosened until he couldn’t even hear his own thoughts. He was certain that he was making noise, but it was probably incoherent. He wasn’t worried anymore, letting Bucky take the reins. He felt complete in every way, and let his mind drift around in this perfect universe he had found above the clouds.

Above Steve, Bucky watched as the omega finally let go. His body went limp and his eyelids drooped to half-mast. Bucky had only ever heard of this kind of thing. Steve was in such a state of ecstasy that his mind disconnected from his body, aware yet away. It was up to Bucky to make sure he didn’t get hurt and help him come down afterwards. So Bucky finished sliding his dick into Steve, watching as it disappeared from view inside his body in complete awe. They were finally as they were meant to be, together like this forever.

The tight heat of Steve’s hole was stifling, and Bucky knew he wouldn’t last long. He began to move, holding Steve’s sides tenderly. He needed to be closer to Steve, though, so he pulled Steve up from his back to his own chest, cradling the back of his head to his scent glands along his jaw yet managing to stay inside him. A few more thrusts and Bucky was done for, cock spurting inside Steve for what seemed like eons. White sparks exploded behind his eyes in an array of beauty. He couldn’t see anything, but he could feel every point where he touched Steve’s skin. He felt his knot catch and swell inside Steve, a new pressure against the walls of Steve’s hole. He felt a wetness between their bodies and heard a low moan from Steve, and figured Steve had just come again, maybe unawares of it.

Bucky kept Steve clutched to his body for a few more minutes, still sheathed inside him and not wanting to let go despite his knot’s deflation. Eventually, he began to remove himself from Steve, but heard a small sound of protest muffled against his neck. He chuckled and said, “Okay, Stevie. You coming back to me?”

“Mhmm,” was the response, coupled with a tiny nod.

Bucky gave him a few more minutes before pulling back to look at his face. Steve’s eyes were still a bit glazed over, but he seemed more alert.

“Mate me.”

Bucky just blinked in response. “Steve, I… Are you ready for that?”

Steve smiled, “Have been my whole life.”

Bucky reached up to cradle Steve’s jaw, moving it slightly to the side and ghosting his fingers over his neck. “Right here?” he asked, answered with another nod. Steve’s eyes began to glaze over and get that faraway look again.
“Okay.”

Bucky leaned forward to mouth over the spot and bit down with all that he had.

It was like coming all over again. The white spots changed to a full rainbow and shot like fireworks all through his brain. Steve surged upwards and absolutely screamed. It sounded like he was letting out everything he wanted and needed in that one strain of vocal cords. They were mates, bonded for the rest of their lives, completing a promise they had made and fulfilled just tonight, together, finally.

Bucky suckled on the mark he’d made for a long time while Steve drifted. Both seemed to come back at the same time, picking their heads up to connect with their eyes only, the only means of communication that seemed to work for them. They knew they belonged to each other, and that everything would be okay.

Both were complete, and they sealed it with a kiss.