Steve cursed and waved his phone around impatiently, glaring at the screen. He glanced around and blinked in surprise a few times. Fuck. When did it get so dark?
“God shit fucking dammit fuck,” he muttered.
Well, he was out here already. May as well keep going.
He was gonna find this fucking Charizard if it killed him.
Steve peered into the mouth of the alleyway he was standing in front of. Charizard had to be somewhere in there. He clambered up onto the dumpster in the back of the alley, trying to get a better signal, and that’s when he heard the voice.
“The fuck are you doing here?” a guy asked, his head popping up from behind the dumpster, eyes narrowed.
Steve gave a very dignified yelp and stumbled backwards, losing his balance and unceremoniously falling off the dumpster onto his ass on the gross alley ground. He glared at the guy, trying to remain dignified. The stranger was glaring at him in return, only the top half of his face visible from where he was hiding behind the dumpster.
“The fuck are you doing here?” Steve spat.
The guy narrowed his eyes even further. “I was here first, so you answer first.”
Steve wrinkled his nose but conceded to himself that the stranger did have a point. He sat up and tried not to look embarrassed as he muttered, “Fucking Charizard is around here somewhere.”
The guy’s eyes lit up, and he suddenly launched himself over the dumpster, dropping to his feet on Steve’s side. “I can’t find him anywhere,” the stranger said, raking a frustrated hand through his hair.
Steve stared blankly at the stranger from his spot on the grimy floor. Because even though it was dark out, he could still make out the gloriously chiseled features of the guy’s face, the light layer of scruff on his cheeks only doing wonders to accentuate his fucking beauty. The guy shook his head slightly, and Steve stared at the way his hair rippled like a fucking L’Oreal model.
He cleared his throat and scrambled to his feet, looking up at the stranger and crossing his arms. “Same here,” he sighed, trying not to fixate on the way the guy was looking down at him with sharp, curious eyes. Steve couldn’t make out the color of his eyes in the gloom, and he shook himself for wanting to know what it was.
“I literally went through all the surrounding alleys on this street,” the guy was saying. “And the game just said Charizard was getting further away, except by this dumpster.”
Steve looked up at the apartment building at the end of the alley. “Are... are you thinking what I’m thinking?”
“The game fucked up,” the stranger said sadly, retrieving his phone from his pocket and glancing at it with such a dismayed expression that Steve felt instantly like covering him with blankets.
“Not exactly,” Steve said, wandering over to the dumpster. He could feel the guy’s eyes on him as he climbed on top of it again, and Steve eyed the window that was slightly above eye level.
“Oh no,” the guy said, drawing the words out. “No, no, no, no, no.”
Steve gripped the windowsill. “Oh, yes.”
“Shit, are you crazy?” the guy hissed, walking over to the dumpster. “It’s reasons like this that one guy got stabbed while playing this game.”
“Do I look like I give a flying fuck?” Steve snapped, peeking inside the window. It was dark. Looked like nobody was home. Steve glanced at his game. “Charizard’s really close, dude.”
The guy cursed and climbed up onto the dumpster. “You’re fucking crazy.”
“Gimme a boost,” Steve said, propping his hands up on the windowsill.
“I am not helping you break into an apartment!”
Steve turned around to glare at the guy. “Not even for a Charizard?” he demanded.
“No, there’s gotta be another way,” he muttered, chewing on his lip like he was really stressed out about it.
Steve sighed. “You’re no fun. Come on, I bet this’ll work.” Steve took a few steps back before launching himself at the windowsill, and he somehow got enough traction to pull himself up. He slowly got to his feet, then tried not to think about what he was doing as he leapt across the wall.
He collided with the edge of the fire escape with a clang, breathing heavily. Damn. He may need his inhaler soon, but he’d left it at home. Oh well. Gritting his teeth, he heaved himself the rest of the way over and rolled onto the grated ground, staring up at the ladder.
“Jesus fuck, you’re crazy,” the guy hissed, and then proceeded to follow Steve until he was lying next to him.
Steve checked his phone. “No Charizard yet. Let’s go.”
“Where?” the guy asked, his head lolling to the side and, wow, okay, he was really close. Steve blinked a few times and sat up, yanking down the ladder.
Steve was kind of helplessly amazed that the guy actually followed him all the way to the rooftop.
Steve waited impatiently at the top, glaring down at the guy. “We don’t have all day.”
“Wait,” the guy snapped. “I can’t climb as fast as you. I only have one fucking arm.”
Steve blinked, eyes flicking to the empty sleeve that he actually hadn’t noticed until this moment. “Oh,” he said, feeling like an idiot.
The guy climbed to the top to stand in front of Steve. He ran his hand through his hair before pulling his phone out of the pouch in his hoodie. “It’s still close.”
They hunted around the roof, splitting up to cover more ground, until the guy hooted kind of loudly. Steve ran over to him, and his phone buzzed. He looked down and, lo and behold, there was Charizard.
After they’d both captured the Pokémon, they exchanged an awkward but ecstatic high five.
“All done without breaking the law,” the guy said smugly.
“What’re you naming yours?”
“Hot Dog,” the guy said.
The guy shrugged. “I dunno. You?”
The guy laughed, throwing his head back, and his hair did the soft L’Oreal model thing again. Steve ducked his head. The guy grinned at Steve, shoved his phone in his pocket, and stuck out his hand. “I’m Bucky.”
“Steve.” They shook, and Bucky’s hand was warm and rough and nice.
“This has been the craziest thing I’ve done all year,” Bucky said. He nodded at Steve’s phone. “Lemme give you my number. None of my other friends play Pokémon Go, and I could really use a pal to inform me when a cool Pokémon shows up where.”
Steve felt himself blush, but he knew it wasn’t like Bucky was asking him out. He just wanted to catch some fucking Pokémon. Still, Steve couldn’t quite shove down the blush as they quickly exchanged numbers.
They got down from the roof in companionable silence.
“Alright. You’re crazy, but I have a Charizard now, so I should thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” Steve said, rocking up on his tiptoes absentmindedly as they walked towards the mouth of the alley.
Bucky smiled. “I’ll see you around.”
Steve watched him go. “See ya,” he whispered, several seconds too late.
BUCKY: listn liste n i need help
BUCKY: what would u name a bellsprout
BUCKY: jfc u r no help
STEVE: Ugh fine I named mine Big Daddy
BUCKY: holy fcukin shit wHY
STEVE: These things just come to me. I’m a professional don’t question me
BUCKY: k dude u da boss
Steve prayed Natasha wouldn’t walk into his classroom as he tapped on the Pokémon Go app.
He didn’t have a problem. His obsession with this game was purely based on nostalgia, and the novelty of it would fade in time. He was 100% cool.
Natasha did pop her head into his classroom. “You coming to lunch?”
“I’ve got projects to grade,” Steve said apologetically.
“You’re playing the game with the weird monsters,” Natasha said, and it wasn’t a question.
Steve frowned. “You know very well they’re called Pokémon, Nat.”
“Uhuh,” Natasha said, completely unapologetic. “Don’t nerd too hard.” She made a peace sign and ducked away.
Steve scowled and didn’t find anyone during his lunch break, and he was distracted tapping at the nearest PokéStops, so he didn’t notice when the first couple’a students filed in.
“Who’re you texting, Mr. Rogers?” Kate asked with a wink, dropping her backpack unceremoniously.
“Your face,” Steve said, pocketing his phone.”
“He wasn’t texting. He was playing a game,” David said, sitting next to Kate. Kate frowned at him in question. “He was swiping, not tapping.”
Steve shot David a glare that had no heat.
“Sorry,” David said.
“What game?” Kate asked.
Steve scrubbed a hand through his hair, figuring he had absolutely no cool points left with these kids. “Pokémon Go.”
“Holy shit, really? We’ve been playing that game non-stop!” Kate shrieked, clapping her hands together while David winced. “That’s cool as shit.”
“Language,” Steve said.
“Mr. Rogers, no offense, but you literally curse the most out of any of the teachers here,” Kate said breezily.
Steve rubbed his temples. “Fair enough.”
“What’s the coolest Pokémon you got? I found Snorlax,” Kate said while David visibly pretended to ignore them.
Steve shrugged. “Got Charizard the other day.”
Steve shook his head rapidly. “Lunch break’s over, Kate. Go... set yourself to art mode.”
Kate groaned but pulled out her sketchbook.
Steve was walking to the subway, eating a sandwich with one hand and pulling up Pokémon Go with the other.
He tapped on the nearby Pokémon icon and paused.
He wanted a fucking Gengar.
Steve quickly finished his sandwich and didn’t think about it too much when he pulled up his messages app.
STEVE: Gengar nearby!!
BUCKY: where omg
Steve quickly fired off an address and started walking in the direction he thought Gengar was supposed to be. He backtracked when it appeared that he was going the wrong way and started to turn right instead when someone bumped into him.
Steve looked at the guy and was about to snap something Aggressively Angry Brooklynite at him, but then he realized that it was Bucky.
Even prettier than he had the last time Steve had seen him.
(His eyes were blue-gray and very bright, just FYI @past-Steve.)
“Steve!” Bucky exclaimed, eyes lighting up, and Steve’s heart stuttered a little bit. “There’s a Gengar nearby,” he whispered excitedly.
“Try this way with me,” Steve said, grabbing Bucky’s bicep to tow him along for a few steps.
Bucky blinked down at Steve but was quick to follow.
“How did you get here so quickly?” Steve asked distractedly.
“Oh. I live close by.”
“No shit? Me too.”
“DUMBO is the shit,” Bucky said with a nod. “I got a buddy who lives in Bed-Stuy, and he keeps insisting it’s better, but he’s wrong.”
“He’s wrong,” Steve agreed, fiercely proud of his dirty corner of Brooklyn.
Bucky nodded vehemently. He then paused to buy a soft pretzel. “You want one?” he asked Steve.
“How’re you gonna play and eat at the same time?” Steve asked, then thought that that probably sounded insensitive. He opened his mouth to apologize, but Bucky smiled.
“Watch,” he said. He stuffed the pretzel into his mouth and then pulled out his phone, chewing absentmindedly and nudging the pretzel so that it wouldn’t fall every now and then.
“Impressive,” Steve said.
“I know how to do so much shit one-handed,” Bucky bragged through his mouthful of pretzel, squaring his shoulders. “I’m an expert.”
“Well, if I ever need one-handed advice.”
They found the Gengar a few blocks away and considered the day successful. Steve pocketed his phone for now and glanced at Bucky. “So, what were you planning to do today?” he asked, falling back on small talk for fear that the walk would become awkward.
Bucky’s expression darkened a little bit. “I’ve got PT at 2:00,” he said.
Steve winced in sympathy. “I have to meet with my allergist.”
“You late?” Bucky asked, quirking a brow.
“Yeah. But I’m always late and she knows it.”
Bucky shuddered. “How can you be late and not freak out about it?”
“I don’t know,” Steve said, frowning. “I get distracted.”
“You’re crazy,” Bucky said, shaking his head. Jesus fuck his hair looked so fucking soft.
Steve knocked his shoulder into Bucky’s side. Bucky knocked his shoulder back into Steve’s side. It devolved pretty quickly from there into a shoving match, and only the offended shouts from nearby pedestrians made them stop.
“Alright,” Bucky sighed. “I’m gonna go back to my apartment and soak in my own misery until I have to go to PT. Have fun with allergies.”
Steve nodded. “Thanks. Don’t die at PT.”
Bucky offered him a sloppy salute, and they parted ways: Steve for the subway, and Bucky for his couch.
“I just don’t get it,” Natasha was saying, chin resting on Steve’s shoulder as they both looked down at his phone.
“What’s not to get?”
“Is there even any reward for catching these things?”
Steve shot her a look. “The knowledge that you’re the best there ever was.”
Natasha closed her eyes, as if calling on the universe for strength. “My students have not been able to shut up about it,” she said, scowling, leaning more heavily into Steve’s side.
“Kate caught a Snorlax,” Steve sighed. “I want a Snorlax. Where the fuck did she get a Snorlax?”
“The fuck is a Snorlax?”
“Why are we even friends?” Steve groaned.
“Shut up, Rogers. You love me.”
Steve rolled his eyes. “Only a little.”
Natasha had dragged Steve to Central Park on Sunday morning.
Steve glared at his surroundings, his hood up, hands shoved in his pockets.
“How are you not dying of overheating?” Natasha asked mildly.
Steve wrinkled his nose. “I’m a reptile. I’m always cold.”
“Dragon Steve,” Natasha whispered.
“Yes.” Steve fished out his phone and tried to figure out if Natasha would castrate him if he opened up Pokémon Go. “Why are we even here? You hate tourists.”
“I was once a tourist myself, you know,” Natasha said.
Steve rolled his eyes. “Nat.”
She shot Steve a look. “Fine. I met this guy—“
“Shut up. I met this guy, and he said he goes to Central Park every Sunday. We’re just. Doing a little bit of recon.”
“Uhuh,” Steve deadpanned. “Why do you need me?”
“You’re my bait. I can’t just be wandering around here by myself. That’d look suspicious.”
Steve rolled his eyes. “Alright. Here’s what we’re gonna do. You’re gonna download Pokémon Go—“
“—and that’s our excuse for being here. We gotta catch ‘em all.”
Natasha glared at him fiercely before relenting and pulling out her phone. “Any free wifi?”
“We can loiter by the Starbucks.”
Steve pulled up the app while Natasha stared sullenly at her own phone. “Shit. There’s a Ponyta here. I need one of those so I can get a Rapidash. Also an Arbok. Score.”
Natasha sighed. “I don’t know what that means.”
“Come on. I’ll teach you.”
“You’re not even a real teacher,” Natasha complained. “Who teaches art?”
“I teach art. Kids like it a lot better than fucking calculus.”
“Calculus is fun. And practical,” Natasha said as they fell into the most familiar argument they had. It had actually been their first conversation.
“Calculus is not practical.”
“It so is. It makes sense.”
“Art is practical. People use art every day.”
“You use calculus concepts every day.”
“Nat, I really don’t.”
“Yeah,” Natasha said, nodding a few times. “You look at the direction you’re walking and think about the shortest distance to where you’re going, which involves the slope of the line of the path you’re going, which—“
“Stop,” Steve complained, but he was smiling. “I haven’t taken calculus since, like, seven years ago.”
“I’m not even using technical terms,” Natasha huffed.
Steve glanced at Natasha’s phone. “It downloaded.”
Natasha groaned and tapped on the app.
“Sign in with your email.”
“Sign in with your email,” Natasha mimicked in a bad falsetto.
“Now create your character,” Steve said, ignoring her.
Natasha pretended to still be grumpy as she personalized her avatar.
“Gotta give her a username.”
“Why can’t I just say ‘Natasha’?”
“That’s probably already taken by someone.”
Natasha rolled her eyes and made up a user name.
“And now you get to choose your first Pokémon.”
“There’s three,” Natasha observed.
“Yes,” Steve agreed. “Pick one.”
“Which one did you pick?”
“Charmander,” Steve said, pointing.
Natasha nodded. “I like the green thing with the cabbage.”
“Hah,” Natasha said.
“Click on it.”
“Oh,” Natasha said, squinting at the Bulbasaur on her screen.
“Then you swipe to throw a PokéBall at it.”
Natasha caught it after her first try.
“You’re a natural,” Steve said, trying not to think about the fact that it took him three tries to get Charmander.
“How do I get more,” Natasha said, bringing her screen closer to her face.
“You walk around and try to run into them.”
“There’s an Arbok nearby,” Steve said, already fidgeting.
“Like a cobra but cooler.”
Natasha sighed, trying to sound aggrieved. “Alright. Let’s go. But remember to keep an eye out for a guy with extraordinary biceps.”
“I’m always keeping an eye out for extraordinary biceps.”
“See. This is why I can always count on you.”
Natasha caught a few Zubats on their way to find Arbok. “Those guys are everywhere,” Steve told her after the fourth time she stopped.
“I like them,” Natasha said stubbornly. “They don’t have any eyes.”
“You are the antichrist,” Steve said, having flashbacks to being stuck in Rock Tunnel, surrounded by Zubats forever and ever. It took him weeks to figure out how to get out of there, and by the time he did, he could never run into a Zubat without shuddering at the memory.
Steve was busy hunting for the Arbok. They were going in the right direction, because the steps thing had decreased to two, but Steve was still staring down at his phone. Natasha grabbed the collar of his shirt to stop him from running into someone.
“Watch it,” a guy said, lifting his chin in Steve’s direction as he pushed his sunglasses up his nose.
“You watch it,” Steve snapped.
The guy frowned but held up his hands. “Don’t get all Chihuahua on me, dude.”
Steve blinked and then started to stalk forward, “I am not—“ but Natasha grabbed both of his shoulders to keep him in place.
Sunglasses Guy ignored him. “You looking for Arbok?”
Steve paused. “Yeah.”
“Wanna join me?”
“Yep,” Natasha said.
“I think it’s this way. I’m Tony.”
“Tony Stark,” Natasha finished. “You own that big building.”
“Yeah,” Tony Stark said while Steve blinked at him, unimpressed. “But the only Pokémon in my building is... like... Zubat.”
“I like Zubat,” Natasha said defensively.
Tony grimaced. “Are you Satan?”
Steve eyed Tony, reevaluating his initial assessment.
“Well. Come on. Bring your Chihuahua.”
Steve growled. “I’ll fuck you up, man.”
“I have no doubt,” Tony said, sounding very unthreatened.
Steve glared at Natasha. “I thought we were looking for Biceps.”
“Yeah, but I want a snake first,” Natasha said breezily.
“I told you so,” Steve muttered under his breath.
“What was that?”
They were still hunting for Arbok when Steve happened to glance up and almost dropped his phone.
There was a guy standing by the running trail, and the guy was Bucky, and—
He was... like... wearing these really tight sweatpants and bending down to stretch some muscle or something, and Steve just stopped in his tracks, his brain function screeching to a halt.
And then Bucky straightened, grabbing the bottom of his shirt and lifting it up to wipe some sweat or something from his face, and Steve grabbed Natasha’s arm and tried not to actually whimper aloud because that would be embarrassing.
And then Bucky smiled at some guy he was talking to, letting his shirt drop back down, and Steve’s eyes flicked over to the guy, who was giving Bucky a very unimpressed look.
“Steve,” Natasha said. “You found Biceps.”
“What,” Steve said dazedly, still staring at the way Bucky’s shirt clung to his skin.
Natasha pointed. “Biceps.”
Steve wrenched his eyes to follow the line of Natasha’s pointer finger. “Biceps is friends with Bucky?”
“Guy I met at a dumpster,” Steve said distractedly as Bucky grabbed his own ankle and stretched his quad. “Jesus fuck.”
“Let’s go talk to them,” Natasha said, eyeing Biceps like she wanted to eat him alive.
“What about Arbok?” Tony demanded from behind them. “You’re going to abandon Arbok for a couple’a hot guys?”
“Arbok may be over there,” Steve said.
Tony huffed. “Fine.”
Natasha grabbed Steve’s arm and started to physically drag him over to Biceps and Bucky. “Wait,” Steve said. “This is creepy. We should just. Go.”
“Oh my god,” Tony said. “No, keep going. I have to see this.”
“You would like that, huh?” Steve snapped, somewhat nonsensically.
“Yes,” Tony said shamelessly.
Biceps spotted them first, and his eyes went comically round when he saw Natasha. Bucky followed Biceps’ gaze, and his eyes lit up in surprise when he saw Steve.
“Hey,” Natasha said when they got closer.
“Hey,” Biceps said. “What are you doing here?”
“Pokémon Go,” Natasha said with a shrug.
Bucky shot Steve a look. “You’re supposed to tell me when you see cool ones.”
“Arbok,” Steve said, trying not to sound strangled.
“I want an Arbok.”
“Join the club, pal,” Tony muttered, sulking somewhere behind them.
“This is Clint,” Bucky said, gesturing to Biceps. “He’s my friend from Bed-Stuy.”
Steve glanced at Biceps—Clint—who was staring at Natasha like he’d thank her if she punched him in the balls. “DUMBO is better.”
Clint looked over at Steve. “I—no, it isn’t.”
“You guys run?” Steve asked.
“Every Sunday,” Bucky said. “Because we love to suffer.”
“Same. The suffer thing, not the running thing,” Steve said, trying to be as subtle as possible as he dragged his eyes over Bucky’s torso, up-close now. Tony coughed loudly, and Steve guessed he probably wasn’t being as subtle as he wanted to be. “You guys want to take a break from suffering to catch Arbok?”
“Sure,” Bucky said, smiling. He reached into a little backpack at his feet to pull out his phone, and Steve made a small, pathetic noise in the back of his throat when Bucky bent over and offered him an excellent view of his ass.
Clint shot Steve a look and snorted a little bit, mouthing, Good luck. Steve glared. Tony clapped Steve on the back, grinning like this was the best day of his life.
Bucky finally straightened, holding his phone.
He tapped at his screen, and then his face fell. “Servers down,” he said, distraught.
Steve had the powerful urge to cover him in blankets, once again. “Oh,” was all he could say, though.
“Are you guys all obsessed with this game?” Clint asked. “Bucky hasn’t shut up about it.”
Bucky pouted, and Steve wanted to go lie down somewhere because, holy shit. “Don’t sound so annoyed, Clinty.”
“Stop calling me that.”
“Aw, don’t be like that, Clinty-Baby.”
Clint looked like he wanted to wither Bucky to nothing with his gaze alone.
“Steve decided to drag me down with him. I don’t even know anything about Pokémon,” Natasha said.
“I played one game and got frustrated, so I vowed to never play again,” Clint said to her.
“Wanna see my Zubats?” Natasha asked after a pause.
Tony gagged. Steve couldn’t help but agree. “Yeah,” Clint said, stepping closer to her.
Bucky rolled his eyes at Steve, and Steve nodded with his best, I know, right? expression.
“And I named this one Dolores,” Natasha was saying, Clint looking at her like she was the best thing ever, and Steve sighed and turned more fully towards Bucky. Tony edged his way between them to include himself in the conversation.
Bucky wedged his phone in his shirt collar to retie his hair in a tiny ponytail, his hair doing that L’Oreal model thing again, except with more sweat this time. “So. Arbok.”
“Yeah. Sorry I didn’t text you. I was trying to teach Nat how to play.”
“Yeah, I get that,” Bucky said. “I’ve been trying to get Clint to play, but he won’t do it.” He nodded in the direction of Clint and Natasha. “Maybe he will now.”
Steve laughed, and Tony looked between them gleefully. “How’d you two meet?” he asked with this really exaggeratedly sweet expression.
“We were looking for Charizard by a dumpster,” Bucky said, not looking at Tony.
“Aw,” Tony cooed, and Bucky shot him a look.
“Who’re you again?”
“Tony,” Tony said, mildly offended. “I’m Steve’s sugar daddy.”
Steve squawked in offense. “I don’t do labels until the third date,” he snapped, scowling at Tony fiercely.
Tony laughed. “Uhuh.”
Bucky eyed them suspiciously. “How did you two meet?”
“Steve here swept me off my feet with his angry Chihuahua routine, like, fifteen minutes ago.”
“Tony,” Steve warned.
“Steve isn’t a Chihuahua,” Bucky pointed out, sounding oddly calm. “He’s definitely more of a Golden Retriever. I thought that was obvious.”
Tony eyed Bucky speculatively. “You’ve got a good eye, dude.”
Steve looked down at his phone. “Servers are up for me,” he said, looking at Bucky apologetically, and Bucky’s expression drooped some more. “Wanna tag along anyway?”
Bucky shuffled his feet. “Sure. Maybe my servers’ll come up.”
Bucky leaned down to pick up his backpack, and while he wasn’t looking, Tony made a kissy face at Steve, batting his eyelashes. Steve swatted irritably at him, and Tony punched him in the arm, and Steve jabbed him in the ribs, and then Bucky straightened, and they smoothed out their expressions.
Bucky eyed them for a moment. “Shall we?”
Steve nodded. “Nat. We’re still looking for Arbok.”
Natasha nodded, briefly winking at Steve, and then towed Clint along as the two of them trailed behind Steve, Bucky, and Tony.
Steve eyed his screen and saw the little swish of grass by the duck pond. “I’m going in,” he informed the group.
“Steve,” Bucky complained.
“Steve is so right,” Tony said, offering Steve a fist bump, which he returned reflexively.
Bucky groaned. “Alright, alright.”
Steve almost fell in the pond before he finally caught the Arbok. He, Tony, and Natasha exchanged excited high fives, while Bucky looked on tragically.
Steve walked over to him and laid his hand on Bucky’s shoulder, but he was looking at Bucky’s face, so he miscalculated the angle and ended up with his hand on Bucky’s chest. Steve swallowed and pretended not to notice as he said, voice almost a whisper, “I’ll help you find Arbok someday, okay?”
Bucky dropped his head forwards, and some loose curls of his hair hung in his face. “Okay,” he mumbled. He picked his head up a little bit to look at Steve. “Joke’s on you, though. I caught a Snorlax without your help last night.”
Steve frowned. “Why does everyone besides me keep running into Snorlaxes?”
Bucky laughed a little bit. “Jealous?” he teased.
Steve reluctantly let his hand drop from Bucky’s (very muscular) chest. “A little.”
Tony popped up out of nowhere, slinging his arms around either of their shoulders. “We’re all going out to lunch. My treat.”
“Who decided this?” Bucky asked, although he looked vaguely amused.
“I did. Just now. Weren’t you listening? Keep up, Block-Buckster.”
“Clever one,” Bucky deadpanned as Steve hid an inelegant snort behind his hand.
They had lunch at a sushi place, and Steve got to sit across from Bucky, and he kept accidentally kicking Steve under the table, but he also wouldn’t apologize for it, so maybe it wasn’t an accident.
Bucky wasn’t just hot.
He was also a completely charming dork.
He waved around his chopsticks, looking at Natasha. “I’m just saying. It’s ignorant to think we’re the only intelligent life forms in the universe.”
“I know,” Natasha said, rolling her eyes. “But it’s improbable that multiple intelligent life forms would exist at the same time in a universe with a history of 13.7 billion years.”
“That’s a guess.”
“So is the existence of aliens.”
“Wait, aliens can include non-intelligent life forms. Which is it?”
“Enough,” Tony said, rolling his eyes as he finished off his sushi roll. “Bucky’s right.”
“Nope,” Natasha said.
“I’ve met an alien.”
“Sure you have,” Natasha drawled while Bucky visibly perked up even more.
The point was: Steve was half in love by the time lunch was over.
“Sam,” Steve said into the Skype screen. “I’ve met the love of my life.”
Sam blinked at him, looking unimpressed even through the grainy connection. “Have you, now?”
“Yes. He’s a really hot nerd,” Steve said, aware that his tone was kinda dreamy.
“Oh, jeez,” Sam muttered.
“I’m gonna marry him someday,” Steve said. “It’s gonna happen.”
“Dude, are you even dating him?”
Steve’s face fell. “Well, no, not exactly.”
“Oh my god. Ask him out.”
“I can’t just ‘ask him out’,” Steve said, complete with sarcastic air quotes.
“Sure it is.”
“I don’t need this shit from you.”
Steve rubbed his temples. “How’s DC?”
“As dandy as ever,” Sam said, rubbing a hand across his jaw. “I’m thinking of visiting you soon. How’s a next-next weekend sound?”
“Good. We can go do Pokémon Go together.”
Sam grinned. “Hell yeah we can. I wanna check out NYC’s PokéStops.”
“They’re pretty great.”
“And I’ll be able to meet your boyfriend.”
“He will be by the time I visit. Or you owe me twenty bucks.”
Steve huffed a laugh. “Or I get one Buck.”
STEVE: Buck it’s like 3:00 in the morning
BUCKY: need i repeat???
STEVE: Ugh fine where you at?
BUCKY: hlod up lemme find address
When Steve got to the address Bucky had texted him, he was still bleary with sleep, wearing his flannel pajama pants and a Brooklyn College shirt that was way too big.
“Steve,” Bucky said from somewhere behind him, and Steve turned around.
And blinked a few times.
And then started to laugh.
“You’re wearing a Pikachu onesie,” Steve gasped.
In answer, Bucky just pulled up the hood of the onesie.
“You are unbelievable,” Steve said, hoping that Bucky wouldn’t see the literal stars in his eyes.
“You’re not too bad yourself.”
They stared at each other a beat too long. “Why are you up this early?”
“I get nightmares,” Bucky said, deliberately nonchalant. “Checked Pokémon Go when I woke up, and there was a Gyarados nearby.”
Steve checked his phone. “Any luck?”
“I think he’s in the fountain down the street. Was waiting for you.”
“Thanks,” Steve said, kind of disproportionately touched.
“So. Question. Has Tony been texting you non-stop?”
“Yeah,” Steve said, relieved. “I thought I was the only one.”
“I think he’s lonely. I like him.”
“He’s alright,” Steve said reluctantly.
Bucky bumped their shoulders together. “You like him too.”
“He called me a Chihuahua.”
“’Cause you’re feisty.”
“Ugh,” Steve said, pretending that he wasn’t blushing.
“Another question,” Bucky said after a minute. “Would you actually break into an apartment to catch a Pokémon?”
Steve flushed. “Um.”
“Oh my god. You already did.”
“In my defense, it was Nat’s apartment.”
“You’re a bad influence. My mom would yell at me if she knew I was hanging out with you.”
“Probably,” Steve conceded.
“I feel like I’m not even qualified to hang out with you. I go to science fairs for fun. I don’t break into people’s apartments.”
“One time,” Steve huffed.
“Would’ve been two if I hadn’t been behind that dumpster.”
They stopped at the fountain, staring down at their phones. “Gyarados isn’t here. He fuckin’ left the whole nearby tab,” Steve huffed.
Bucky frowned. “Oh,” he said, dejected. He glanced at Steve. “Have you been to a gym yet?”
“We’re talking about Pokémon gyms, right?”
“What team are you?”
“Team Valor,” Steve said, squaring his shoulders.
“Oh, no way. I’m Team Instinct.” He put his hand on Steve’s shoulder, looking apologetic. “I’m sorry, Stevie. I don’t think this relationship’s going to work out.”
Steve laughed. “Nerd.”
“I’m serious,” Bucky said, obviously not serious at all. “We’re too different.”
“Uhuh,” Steve said, nodding with exaggeratedly wide eyes. “Sure.”
Bucky cracked a smile, and then they were both laughing again. “Seriously, though,” Bucky said when they calmed down. “I’ll kick your ass.”
“I’ll kick your ass first.”
“Shut up. I will fight.”
“You’ll win too,” Bucky said, grinning. “I’m a pushover.”
Steve punched Bucky lightly on the arm.
“Hey, since Gyarados bailed, do you want to grab a midnight snack?” Bucky blurted out, looking kind of nervous. “I know a good 24-hour diner.”
“Yeah,” Steve said, stretching his arms over his head. Bucky’s eyes flicked down and back up rapidly. “I’m awake, so may as well.”
Bucky brought him to a café down the street that honestly didn’t look like anything special.
“Heyya, Barnes,” the waitress said when they walked inside. “Haven’t seen you since last Friday.”
Bucky smiled at her. “Had a good week. How’ve you been, Angie?”
“Oh, I’ve been good. Peggy came home from her business trip, and we went to go see that new movie we were talking about.”
“How was it?”
“Real cute.” Angie’s eyes slid over to Steve, and her smile broadened. “Who’s this?”
“This is Steve,” Bucky said, sounding almost... shy?
“You’re cute,” Angie said.
“You’re married. And very homosexual,” Bucky shot back.
Angie held up both hands. “Details. C’mon. I’ll getcha some menus.”
They sat down in a booth, and Steve looked for something that he could eat with his dietary restrictions. “Does she see you in a Pikachu onesie often?”
Bucky smiled at him. “Not all the time, but probably too often.”
“Good to know.”
“I’ve got a Squirtle onesie too.”
Steve laughed. “Oh my god. You’re the best thing to ever happen to me.”
Bucky ducked his head.
Angie walked over and delivered some coffee, leaning down to whisper, “By the way, there’s a Gyarados in here.”
Bucky’s eyes lit up, and they both fished out their phones.
As they stood to start wandering the diner, a scruffy, buff, insanely grumpy-looking guy stalked out of the kitchen. “I hope you’re ordering something and not just using my diner as a Pokémon hotspot.”
“Hey, Logan,” Bucky said with a distracted nod. “We’re ordering.”
Logan gave a semi-approving grunt. “Martinelli,” he barked. “Were you playing that game on duty?”
“No, sir!” Angie shouted, snapping off a sharp salute.
Logan glared at her. “Good.” And then he disappeared into the kitchen.
“He seems charming,” Steve muttered sarcastically.
“Logan’s a sweetheart.”
Steve’s phone buzzed. “Got him!” he shouted, and Bucky scurried over.
“It keeps getting away,” Bucky complained after a few minutes. Steve caught his Gyarados and danced a little bit in victory before standing on his tiptoes behind Bucky.
“You’re not throwing the PokéBall hard enough.”
“I’ll show you hard enough,” Bucky grumbled, and Steve flushed.
“Throw it harder.”
Bucky shot him a look, his pupils dark. “Harder?” he asked, pretending to sound innocent.
Steve cleared his throat. “Yeah.”
Bucky smirked and flicked the PokéBall harder. “Finally!” he shouted. “The beast of the sea is mine!”
“Great,” Logan snapped, evidently out of the kitchen again, armed with plates this time. “Now shut up and eat.”
“Sir, yes, sir.”
They sat down and ate in silence for a while before Steve propped an elbow on the table and said, “So. You come here often?”
Bucky laughed softly. “Yeah. It’s kinda my safe spot,” he said, watching Steve in a way that was carefully casual, but underneath that, his gaze was intense.
“I like it,” Steve said, and Bucky’s shoulders relaxed a little bit. “It suits you.”
Bucky smiled, and his eyes had gone all soft. “Thanks.” Bucky shoveled some eggs into his mouth, took a sip of coffee, cleared his throat, and said, “So, like. What do you do? For work?”
Steve blinked and wondered if this was a date before quickly dismissing the idea. “I’m an art teacher. At the high school.”
“Wow, that’s so cool,” Bucky said. “Shaping young minds?”
“With shapes,” Steve said, and Bucky snorted. “It’s a pretty good gig. Natasha teaches calculus there.”
“Wow,” Bucky whistled. “That’s badass.”
“Clint’s a goner.”
“You ever heard of the thing where lady spiders eat their fella spiders after they do the dirty?” Bucky asked, and Steve started to laugh, almost choking on his oatmeal. “That’s them.”
“Oh my god. You’re so right.”
Bucky grinned at him in triumph.
“But what about you? What d’you do? For work?”
Bucky chewed thoughtfully on a piece of waffle. “I’m not anything yet. I’m in college.”
Steve nodded a few times. “What’s your major?”
“I’m looking at aeronautics and astronautics. Maybe I could design planes or space ships or some shit.”
“Yeah, but I’m a smart cookie.”
“Sounds like it.”
Bucky smiled. “I’m a little late to the education party.”
“That’s okay,” Steve said softly.
Bucky looked at him, and his smile shifted a little bit to something more genuine. “Yeah.”
Steve cleared his throat and looked back at his food.
Later, Bucky insisted on walking him home, still wearing the ridiculous (adorable) Pikachu onesie.
And, of course, they both had Pokémon Go open, but for once, it was more of a secondary thought.
“Rebecca was actually the one who convinced me to go back to school,” Bucky was saying.
“She sounds like a great sister.”
Bucky tried to scowl. “She’s a pain.”
Bucky glanced at him. “You got any siblings?”
“Nah. Just my ma. But—uh—she passed away a few years ago.”
“Shit, I’m so sorry,” Bucky said, and for some reason, Steve didn’t bristle like he normally did when someone offered their condolences.
“Not your fault.”
“My parents died in a car crash,” Bucky said after a pause.
“Yeah. It sucks.”
Thankfully, Steve’s phone vibrated, and he took the distraction readily, even though it was another fucking Zubat. “I hate these things.”
“Rock Tunnel flashbacks?” Bucky asked knowingly.
“God, yes.” Bucky looked over Steve’s shoulder as he named the Zubat “Poop,” because he was a mature adult who was entrusted with shaping the minds of Brooklyn youth. Bucky laughed.
A few minutes later, they arrived at his apartment building. “Well. Here I am,” Steve said.
Bucky tugged on his Pikachu ears absently. “Text me if you see any cool ones.”
Bucky took a step back. “Night, Steve.”
Here was the thing, though.
Nobody in Steve’s life had been able to seriously complain about Pokémon Go.
Because the thing was, Steve wasn’t very easy to drag out of his apartment. He had some not-so-fun issues.
But the game got him out of his apartment, for some inexplicable reason.
Nobody could very seriously complain about it.
BUCKY: u awake?
BUCKY: why do u play the game so much
STEVE: Idk it’s fun
BUCKY: yeah i knwo but
BUCKY: idk it’s more than that for me
STEVE: What do you mean?
BUCKY: i’m not agoraphobic but i don’t like crowds
STEVE: It’s more than that for me too
Steve got to school and realized that he’d forgotten his wallet.
STEVE: Do you have classes today?
BUCKY: yeah but not til noon
STEVE: Can you break into my apartment and bring me my wallet I forgot it and I need it for lunch
BUCKY: what the fuck steve no
BUCKY: fuck that honestly i’ll just bring you lunch nbd
BUCKY: lmao i’ll swing by @ 10ish to drop it off for u
STEVE: I’ll be in class
BUCKY: what like students have nvr seen someone visit their teacher during class??
BUCKY: i’ll b there
At 10:03, Steve’s students were fighting over whether or not they wanted to do a watercolor project or a paper mache project.
Bucky knocked on the door, and everyone fell quiet. “Come in,” Steve said, knowing it was Bucky, his heart thrumming in anticipation despite himself.
Bucky stepped inside, with a little VISITOR sticker taped to his shirt, holding a bag from Logan’s café. “I got your lunch,” he said sheepishly, pretending a room full of twenty students wasn’t staring at him.
“Thanks,” Steve said, stepping over to collect his lunch. “I’ll buy next time.”
Bucky’s expression went all soft. “Alright.”
“Alright. Get outta here, I’ve got a job to do.”
“Sure thing, Rogers.”
Bucky left after clapping Steve on the shoulder once. Steve turned to face his students, and they were all staring at him. Miles had this knowing look in his eyes, but most of them just looked curious. “Watercolor,” Steve decided, and half the room groaned while the other half cheered.
Steve’s phone started to buzz while he was watching Mr. Robot, and he reluctantly paused to pick up. “’Lo?”
“Steve, you have to help me break into Clint’s apartment building.”
Steve frowned. “Why?”
“I swear I’m not shitting you, but there is a goddamn fucking Ho-Oh in that motherfucker’s building.”
“Holy fuck. I’m on my way.”
Steve found Bucky sitting dejectedly on the steps to Clint’s alleged building.
“Why won’t he let you in?”
“He’s not here,” Bucky sighed. “He’s on a date.”
“Don’t you know anybody else in the building?”
“Yeah, but Kate hates me.”
Steve squared his shoulders. “Then let’s do this.”
Steve rang the buzzer marked for someone named Grills. “Hello?” a guy said.
“Yeah, I forgot something at Kate’s place, but she’s not picking up,” Steve said.
“Alright, dude, I gotchu,” Grills said.
The door buzzed open.
“Oh my god, Steve. You evil genius,” Bucky breathed.
Steve shrugged. “Wasn’t that hard.”
Bucky just smiled that beautifully soft smile at him, and they both pulled out their phones.
“Shit, you weren’t bullshitting. That’s a Ho-Oh,” Steve breathed, looking at the silhouette.
“I never lie,” Bucky said magnanimously.
Steve started climbing the stairs, and his phone buzzed.
He almost dropped it in his haste to click on Ho-Oh. “Here! It’s over here, Buck!”
Bucky scrambled over himself to get to Steve’s side.
But none of Steve’s PokéBalls would catch it, and Steve became increasingly frustrated, even after Bucky had cheered for two minutes straight once he’d caught Ho-Oh.
“I got this.”
Steve flung another PokéBall. It missed.
“C’mon, Stevie, you got this. You got this.”
Steve flung another PokéBall, distracted this time. “Shut up, Buck, I can’t concentrate.”
“Steve!” Bucky shouted, pointing at the screen.
He’d caught it.
“Holy shit!” Steve shouted.
“Holy shit!” Bucky shouted back. He grabbed Steve’s hand and spun him around like a fucking dance or something, and Steve laughed, swaying forward with a loss in balance and stumbling into Bucky’s chest.
“Oh,” Steve mumbled, placing his hands flat on Bucky’s chest, ready to push off. “Sorry, I—“
Bucky was looking down at him with that soft expression again, and something in Steve’s head clicked.
“Oh,” he whispered again.
“Oh,” Bucky agreed. He wound his arm around Steve’s back and leaned down a little bit so that their noses were touching. “Steve.”
“Yeah?” Steve said, his voice a little bit breathy.
“You put the cool in Tentacool.”
Steve blinked, and then dropped his forehead onto Bucky’s shoulder, laughing. “Oh my god. You ruined it.”
“I ruined nothing.”
“C’mon, Steve. What did you expect? For me to Raichu a love song?”
“Noooooo.” Steve slowly picked his head up, trying to glare.
Bucky’s eyes were still soft. “Did I ruin it?”
“Yes,” Steve sighed, rocking up on his toes to kiss him.
Bucky smiled against his mouth.
When they finally pulled away, Bucky rested their foreheads together. “Good?” he whispered.
Steve smiled a slow smile, eyes still closed. “Onix-ceptable.”
Bucky laughed and kissed him again.
“How did you guys get in here?” Clint asked, literally bumping into them on the staircase where they were still kind of making out.
Steve and Bucky pulled away from each other in surprise. “Steve did it,” Bucky said immediately.
Natasha gave him a thumbs up from where she was standing behind Clint.
Bucky glanced between them and buried his face in his hand. “Fuck. What’ve I gotten myself into?”
“Steve’s pants, it seems,” Clint coughed, and Natasha laughed.
“What did I do to deserve this?” Steve asked, looking at the ceiling in feigned exasperation.
Bucky scoffed. “Stevie, honey, you signed up Furret.”
Steve groaned while Bucky laughed.