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Peggy is decoding a transmission at her desk when a flash of colour catches her eye. She looks up, reflexively, even though the Howling Commandos are still in France. Not everything red, white, and blue is Steve, she reminds herself.

But this time it is.

He’s striding through headquarters, iron-jawed and purposeful, flanked by Lieutenant Falsworth and Sergeant Barnes. His face is covered in grime, as if he hasn’t even stopped long enough to wash it since coming from the front, and it makes his eyes look even more startlingly blue. He looks healthy, unhurt. Vibrant.

Her heart thumps.

She doesn’t stand; she doesn’t follow him; she doesn’t yank him into a convenient storeroom to unzip his trousers and —

He makes eye contact with her. His expression shifts briefly to something hot and wanting and full of promise. She tries to look unaffected, but the corner of his mouth twitches, so she must not be very successful.

Christ, she wants him.

For a brief moment, as he passes, she lets her face show her open desire. Steve’s eyes widen; she smiles; and then he’s past and the moment is over.

She shifts in her chair and refocuses on the transmission.

 

***

 

For the rest of the day, she sticks around HQ. She lingers at her desk or in the map room, always doing her job but making herself easy to find. She dispatches WACs on errands that she would usually run herself as an excuse to get away from her horrid little desk.

She’s being ridiculous, and she reaps the rewards of her behaviour: Steve doesn’t come by at all.

She tries not to be disappointed. It’s not as if they can be public with their relationship, anyway, heated looks aside. But usually Steve can’t quite resist tracking her down on some pretext so that they can at least talk to each other and he can slip her his hotel and room number. She was looking forward to telling him that she’s moved out of her boarding-house and thus escaped the landlady’s eagle-eyed attention.

Fifteen hundred hours. Sixteen hundred. Seventeen. She continues working at her desk until her presence would become remarkable. Then she goes to the pub that the Commandos prefer. She lets them buy her a pint, but Steve and Barnes are still absent.

‘Another?’ Falsworth asks.

‘No, thank you,’ she says, draining what’s left of her stout.

‘Headed home?’ His eyes are knowing, but kind.

‘Yes, I think I’ll call it a night,’ she says.

‘Not much to keep you here tonight,’ he agrees. ‘Besides, doesn’t your landlady have a curfew?’

‘She does,’ Peggy says, ‘but I moved into my own flat a couple of weeks ago.’

‘That must be nice,’ Falsworth says. ‘No more shared facilities?’

‘My SSR salary isn’t quite that good,’ she replies, wry. ‘Shared baths and lavatories. But I’ve got my own bedroom and sitting room and kitchen, which feels luxurious enough.’

He leans back and considers her for a moment, then smiles. ‘Listen, let me walk you home. I know you can take care of yourself, but it will make me feel better if you don’t have to. And that way if someone needs to get hold of you urgently, at least one of the Commandos knows where you live.’

Peggy eyes him. He gazes back, the picture of innocence, but frankly if he’s willing to be her discreet accomplice in getting Steve to her flat later — as this whole conversation suggests he is — there’s only one answer possible. ‘Very well, Lieutenant,’ she says. ‘Thank you for your assistance.’

 

***

 

Peggy has already changed into her nightclothes when she hears voices at her door. One is pitched so low that all she can hear is a rumble, but the other sounds like…

‘Peggy!’

It’s definitely Steve.

She hastily pinches colour into her cheeks, tightens the belt of her dressing gown, and opens the door.

Steve lurches into her flat, uninvited and ungainly, despite the efforts of Sergeant Barnes, who is pulling on his waist.

‘Steve,’ Barnes says, ‘come on, you’re being rude, you can’t just barge into a lady’s apartment like this — Christ, it’s like trying to hold back a tank —’

Steve looks drunk, his smile wide and pleased, his eyes shining. ‘Peggy,’ he breathes when he sees her. Then he just stands there, looking at her.

She darts a glance at Barnes, who is closing the door behind them, his face resigned. He shrugs at her. ‘He was acting normal till we got here.’

‘Hello, Steve,’ she says. He sighs and somehow smiles more, like she’s done something wonderful simply by knowing his name. ‘What are you two doing here?’ she asks, perplexed but smiling.

His eyes are starry. He looks at her, licks his lips, and says urgently, ‘Peggy, I need to fuck you.’

Peggy sucks in a sharp breath, stunned. Of the two of them, she’s the one with the dirty mouth. She’s never heard him say ‘fuck’ before.

Steve!’ Barnes cries, his voice strangled, and he actually leaps onto Steve’s back and wrestles him to the ground.

Steve ends up face down with his arms twisted behind him and Barnes sitting on top of him. His eyebrows are drawn together in apparent confusion as to how it happened. ‘I wanna fuck you, too, Bucky,’ he says, ‘wanna suck you off while Peggy —’

Barnes claps a hand over Steve’s mouth and looks desperately up at Peggy, his cheeks pink. ‘Agent Carter,’ he says, ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t know this is what he was gonna do, he’s not normally like this.’

Peggy raises her eyebrows. ‘I’m aware of that, Sergeant,’ she says crisply. She steps closer and realises that Steve’s eyes are so starry because the pupils are hugely dilated. ‘He’s been drugged, I think.’

Barnes nods. ‘I wasn’t there. Something happened in Stark’s lab, and now Stark is out cold in the infirmary. Steve wanted us to find you because you’re the only other person around here who knows anything about the serum.’

Her eyebrows go even higher. ‘And what do you know about a serum, Sergeant Barnes, considering you lack a security clearance?’ she asks.

He rolls his eyes at her. ‘Please, lady. Don’t pull rank with me right now. You know I know Steve was half this size a year ago, and —’

He swallows down whatever he was going to say next, but Peggy knows about Azzano, knows that Steve found Barnes strapped down in some laboratory of Arnim Zola’s. She nods once.

‘Steve?’ she says.

Steve rolls his eyes up at her, managing to look besotted even with Barnes’s hand covering half his face.

‘If Sergeant Barnes takes his hand away and lets you go, can you be still and quiet?’

Steve nods fervently. Barnes gingerly takes his hand away first, then — when Steve remains silent — releases him from the wrestler’s hold.

‘Very good, Steve,’ Peggy says.

Steve buries his head in his arms and whimpers.

Oh. She reaches out her toe and pokes Barnes in the leg. ‘Isn’t he being good for us, Sergeant?’

Barnes raises an eyebrow at her, but says, ‘Yeah, I guess he can follow orders when he wants to.’

‘I can be good,’ Steve says breathlessly. ‘I’ll be so good for you, Bucky, you’ll be proud of me, you will.’

‘Oh, what, now you listen to what I’m saying?’ Barnes says. He touches Steve’s hair tenderly, though. ‘I know you’ll be good, pal. You’re always good, even when you’re stupid.’

Steve moans at that. He has started wriggling underneath Barnes, but he’s not trying to get free, he’s just — rolling his hips —

Peggy knows that roll. A hot blush washes in a prickly wave from her cheeks down to her chest. ‘Right. Tell me everything you know about this drug.’

It boils down to this: Howard was trying to create a truth serum, but as often happened with his chemical inventions, he fouled it up. What he ended up with was something that lowered inhibitions, all right — lowered Stark’s inhibitions all the way into unconsciousness, and turned Steve into this biddable mess.

The drug also had a clearly aphrodisiac effect, in that Steve is still humping the floor.

Barnes shushes Steve’s desperate little moans. He slides his fingers into Steve’s hair, and then he frowns and moves his hand down, feeling Steve’s forehead, the back of his neck. He looks up at Peggy in alarm. ‘He’s burning up, Carter. We gotta get this fever down.’

‘Ain’t a fever,’ Steve mumbles. ‘Just want you, wanna push my dick —’

‘Shut up, Steve,’ Barnes snaps, and Steve groans a protest but thankfully stops talking.

Peggy turns on her heel to go wet some towels in the sink. ‘He’s going to be mortified about this once it wears off, poor thing,’ she says as she returns with several cold, dripping cloths in a bowl.

Barnes takes one and drapes it across the back of Steve’s neck. ‘Last time he got himself experimented on by Howard Stark it never did wear off,’ he says, rueful. His hand lingers on the cloth, thumb stroking up and down, and the corner of his mouth tucks into a wistful little quirk.

Peggy straightens and takes them in: Barnes still perched on Steve’s back, arched over him, trying to arrange a second wet cloth on Steve’s forehead. Eventually he gives up and just lays it over the whole exposed left side of Steve’s face, folding it back to leave Steve’s nose and mouth unencumbered.

‘Do us both a favour and keep that over your ugly mug until that fever breaks,’ Barnes says, touching Steve’s full lower lip briefly, as if he can’t resist. He looks inexpressibly fond and worried.

He loves Steve, she realises, beyond brotherhood or friendship, and an involuntary ‘Oh’ falls out of her mouth.

Barnes looks up, questioning, and she rushes to cover: ‘We should get him down to his undershirt and shorts to cool him off.’

Steve starts laughing. ‘Finally,’ he says, with a long, filthy roll of his hips. ‘Been wanting to get naked for ages now.’

‘I don’t think you’re in any state to tell us what you want,’ she replies.

‘Don’t see why not,’ Steve says. He rolls over, sending Barnes tumbling, and pulls at his regulation necktie. The cloth at the back of his neck plops to the floor, though the one on his face sticks. He gets rid of the tie.

Peggy tries not to look at the obvious line of his erection in his trousers. She’s seen him naked, taken him inside her, but it feels different now, with Barnes there bleeding his longing all over.

‘What I want right now ain’t any different from what I always want,’ Steve continues as he unbuttons his shirt. He rolls his head to look up at her. ‘You want it, too, Peggy; you love it, and I love that you’re always the one leading me there.’ Her flush returns, hot on her face and neck. Steve reaches out and clasps her ankle, his hand big and warm and gentle, and he smiles sweetly up at her from under the wet towel. Then his smile fades. ‘Bucky doesn’t want it, though. I thought maybe now — now I’m not so scrawny — but he still doesn’t.’

Barnes has gone scarlet. ‘You got no idea what you’re saying,’ he says quietly. His fists are clenched.

‘I do, though,’ Steve says. He pulls the towel off his face and sits up to remove his shirt and undershirt, which are both damp with sweat. He’s flushed and gleaming, and Peggy’s body reacts predictably, that sweet pull deep inside. ‘You like ’em all, Bucky, dames and fellas. You fucked me once, when we were drunk, and then the next day you didn’t even seem to remember, and I thought maybe it was just the once with me because you didn’t have a girl that night. But I saw you later in an alley sucking off some other guy.’

Peggy doesn’t gasp, but it’s a near thing. Barnes’s head jerks back. Then he cuts his eyes at Peggy, smirks wickedly, and drawls, ‘Which guy, though?’

He’s clearly trying to brazen it out because of her, but he’s gone too far. Stricken, Steve says, ‘Yeah, exactly, any of ’em but me,’ and droops sadly back to the floor. ‘I’m not feeling so good. And it hurts.’

Peggy and Barnes look at each other, alarmed. ‘What hurts?’ Peggy asks.

‘Everything,’ Steve says.

Barnes leans forward. ‘How long has everything hurt?’ he demands.

‘Little while,’ Steve says vaguely, and then, ‘Shit.’ He hooks the bowl of wet rags with his arm, dumps out the rags, and vomits tidily into it. Then, shivering, he curls up on his side. Barnes strokes his hair.

‘Shit,’ Peggy echoes, with feeling. She watches Steve as he is wracked with tremors. If the choices are for Steve to go through this ordeal or for her to get involved in some bizarre sexual encounter while he’s half out of his mind — well, both of those options are insupportable.

Once Steve’s shivering subsides a bit, Barnes whisks the bowl away. ‘Just jerk him off, Carter,’ he says as he walks towards the sink. ‘He’s been hard like this for ages, and sittin’ on our asses sure ain’t helping him.’

‘Please,’ Steve whispers. His hand slides down and he squeezes his cock through his trousers. ‘Please touch me, Peggy.’

She looks up. Barnes is washing out the bowl, carefully ignoring everything in this corner of the flat.

‘Please,’ Steve repeats. ‘It hurts, and your hands are so soft, and I want you to. Please.’

‘All right,’ she says at last, and Steve groans in relief. ‘Shh. I’ll take care of you. Here, roll onto your back.’

He’s still radiating heat, so she spreads the wet towels over his throat and forehead. Then she unbuckles his belt and opens his trousers. ‘Lift,’ she says, tapping his hip, and when he does, she pulls down his trousers and underwear, freeing his cock. It’s flushed deep red, much darker than he usually gets. He’s so hard that it even looks painful.

Steve is watching her, licking his lips.

She reaches out, then stops. ‘What do you want, darling?’

‘Want it all, want your mouth, want to slide my dick between your breasts, want to stick it in your smooth, wet cunt,’ he says dreamily, giving her a visceral shock. She’s starting to like it when Steve uses vulgar language. ‘Always so wet for me,’ he continues, ‘so sweet and hot, and it feels so good when you come while I’m inside you.’ His cock twitches; a big drop of liquid wells up and drips slowly onto his belly. ‘I want to come inside you, want to fill you up, three or four times in a row and then take a nap and do it all over again. Want to make love to you all day and all night.’

Hearing him talk like this shouldn’t excite her, given how embarrassed he’d be if he were in his right mind, but it does. Steve’s always so tongue-tied in bed. He’s generous and creative and observant, so she doesn’t mind that he seems to lose most of his vocabulary the second she puts her hands on him. But apparently he doesn’t lose his ability to think. He’s just still too shy to share those thoughts.

‘I’d love that, Steve,’ she says softly. She scoops up the little puddle of fluid that he’s left on his abdomen and strokes down his cock, spreading it around.

He gives a little sigh, pushing into her hand. ‘Would you? Really?’

The uncertainty in his voice astonishes her. ‘Do you imagine, after all this time, that I don’t long for uninterrupted days to spend with you?’

The expression on his face is hilarious: open-mouthed, but frowning, confused and surprised all at once.

She worries that she hasn’t been clear enough, so she lowers her voice. ‘I bring myself off nearly every night thinking about making love with you.’

‘Do you?’ he asks, thrusting into her fist again as he stares at her with wide, wondering eyes. He licks his lips. ‘I’d like — you could — you could show me. Please. How you touch yourself.’

A thrill runs through her. ‘Later,’ she promises. She can’t do anything that requires her to undress, not with Barnes in the next room. ‘For now, what if I show you something else I’ve been thinking about?’

She’s only had him in her mouth once before, and suddenly she wants to try it again, properly this time. She releases him, then ducks down and brushes kisses across his hip.

‘Oh, god,’ he says. She kisses him just where his sandy blond pubic hair begins, his cock a hot line against her cheek. It twitches violently. ‘Oh, Peggy. Are you really going to —’ He gasps as her mouth gets closer.

‘I am,’ she says, smiling. ‘As long as that’s acceptable to you.’

She expects him to make a dry little joke in response. Instead, he says, ‘Please, I want you to, I want you so much,’ and touches her cheek gently.

He’s so earnest that it cracks her heart wide open. She grabs the base of his dick and licks the clear fluid from the head. He makes a low, sweet noise. He’s long and thick and silky-hard in her hand, the head slick and velvety under her tongue, and she opens her mouth wide and sucks him in.

Peggy,’ he says as she starts to bob up and down. ‘You feel so good, you’re so beautiful, oh god do that again with your tongue — please — thank you...’

Even drugged, he uses his manners, her dear, darling Steve. She remembers his speechless awe the first time they slept together. She should have done this then, before he got bigger. He was beautifully suckable then. Now it’s a real stretch, though not entirely unpleasant.

He keeps talking, a litany of praise for her mouth and her lips and her ability to move her tongue. She’s just settling into a rhythm, cupping his full, round balls in her hand, when his breath catches: ‘I’m going to come,’ he says, his voice urgent, and then, ‘Peggy Peggy Peggy I love you Peggy.’

His cock flexes and her mouth is suddenly flooded with his familiar salty, bitter taste. She swallows as much as she can, but he’s still coming, and coming, and coming. She manages not to choke, just keeps swallowing and tries not to worry about the overflow.

By the time he pushes her away, they’re both a mess. He’s breathing hard and covered in his own come. She’s got it all over her chin and hand, and, somehow, smeared in a cooling stripe across her cheek. He’s staring at her.

She takes one of the rags from the floor and tidies them both up as best she can, her hands gentle as she cleans his softening cock and then nudges it aside to get to his balls. ‘Do you feel any better?’ she asks, wiping off her face. Her voice is rough.

‘I feel amazing,’ he replies, dopey.

‘Well, good.’ She drops the rag and crawls up to put a hand on his face. He doesn’t feel quite as fevered as before, but she can’t be sure. Time to cast dignity aside. ‘Barnes?’ she calls. ‘Come here and tell me whether Steve feels cooler to you.’

She sits back on her heels and just remembers to twitch her dressing gown closed over her knees and at her neck. If Barnes watched any of that, he’d have seen her breasts on full display, thanks to the open neckline of her nightgown. But she rather thinks he wouldn’t have watched. It must have been torture enough for him to listen to.

Barnes rounds the corner from where he must have been sitting out of sight at the kitchen table. His face is pink, and there’s a telltale bulge in his trousers. She ignores it. He’s carrying a glass of water and has found her tooth powder in the sponge-bag next to the sink; he hands them to her and gestures for her to give them to Steve. She does so, feeling like she’s just been passed the torch in the Olympic Games of Taking Care of Steve Rogers. Steve sits up and drinks half the glass in one go, then uses his finger to clean his teeth, and then drinks it all down with the rest of the water. She hopes he doesn’t make a habit of that.

Barnes touches the back of his hand to Steve’s forehead, and then to his neck and his armpit. ‘Feels cooler,’ Barnes says gruffly. ‘You got a thermometer?’

She shakes her head. ‘I’m afraid not. Mine got broken when I moved house, and I haven’t had a chance to replace it yet.’ She runs her thumb along Steve’s cheekbone. He still looks dazed. ‘Steve, are you still in pain?’

He ignores her question. ‘Bucky?’ he says.

Barnes moves closer to Peggy so that he’ll be in Steve’s sightline. ‘Yeah, I’m here,’ he says.

Steve smiles that angelic smile. ‘Bucky.’ He reaches a hand out, then lets it drop. ‘Hey, Bucky, I know it’s a lot to ask,’ he says. ‘But I’m gonna need you to — I need you to do me like you did that one time.’

This time Peggy’s the intruder. She gathers up the rags and beats a strategic retreat to the kitchen.

‘Steve, cut it out,’ she hears Bucky say. ‘You’re not queer.’

‘Shows what you know,’ Steve replies, sounding more like himself, but the next tumble of words demonstrates how affected he still is by the drug. ‘Been in love with you since we were thirteen. Been jerking off thinking about you since maybe even before that. Listen. The pain’s gonna come back soon, when I start getting hard again, and I need you to fuck me, please. I think that’ll help. You don’t have to do it to me ever again,’ he adds, his voice going strained and urgent. ‘I know you don’t want me. I won’t ever ask — we don’t ever have to talk about it after this. Just this one time, though, please, Bucky.’

Peggy drops into the chair that’s pulled away from the little table, the one that Barnes must have been sitting in. She feels unmoored, suddenly, like a barrage balloon with its cable cut, and has several thoughts simultaneously:

  1. Steve, you idiot, he’s loved you for just as long; it’s written all over his face.
  2. But you said you loved me.
  3. Her friend Mary’s voice: Never trust anything a man says just before he comes.

In the sitting room, Barnes says, ‘You dumbass. You — you lunkhead. I’ve wanted you since before I knew what wanting was.’

‘Oh,’ Steve says, and then for a while there’s silence except for the soft, wet sounds of kissing.

Peggy sits there, staring at the empty bud vase at the centre of the table until her vision blurs. She deserves this, after making Barnes sit through her sucking Steve, with no way for him to avoid listening. Frankly, she’d been so caught up in making Steve feel good that she’d forgotten to consider Barnes’s feelings at all. Careless and cruel.

She can’t blame Barnes for doing the same thing; Steve is very distracting. She hears clothes rustling, the thunk of four boots on the floor, the jingle of belts, more rustling. Then one of them moans long and low — Barnes, she thinks, since there’s no dreamy commentary coming from Steve. His mouth must be otherwise occupied.

A picture pops into her head: Steve kneeling between Barnes’s legs, his red mouth stretched wide around Barnes’s cock. It sends such a hot stab of desire through her that she has to shift in her seat.

Why didn’t she go into the bedroom instead of the kitchen? Then she could have crawled out the window and down the fire escape. As it is, she’s stuck here, unless she wants to go back through the sitting room, where Steve is doing something that makes Barnes swear.

She shifts again.

‘Hey, Agent Carter,’ Barnes calls.

Peggy starts guiltily. ‘Yes, Sergeant?’

‘You got any Vaseline?’

Her jaw drops. She feels, unfairly, that he should have been prepared for this, and opens her mouth to tell him to figure something out himself. Just then, though, Steve lets out such a heartfelt, longing noise that she can’t bring herself to disappoint him. She’s quite sure he wouldn’t let Barnes out of his sight long enough for a visit to the chemist, even if one were open at this hour. And besides, perhaps she can use this chance to escape.

So she pushes herself up, marches through the sitting room without looking at them, and fetches the Vaseline from her nightstand.

When she hands it over, she tries not to look at Barnes. Steve is kneeling in front of the settee with his arms folded on the cushion. His face, turned towards her, has desire written over it so openly that it breaks her heart a little.

‘Peggy,’ he says. ‘Come sit here, Peggy, I want you to stay. I want you to watch, want you to —’ He cuts off as Barnes shushes him.

Arousal washes over her. She should be horrified by this, should be jealous and offended, but instead she’s glad. If he wants both Barnes and her, the tactical landscape is totally different than she’d assumed.

She makes eye contact with Barnes, her eyebrows raised in inquiry.

He laughs, apparently having come to a similar conclusion, and says, ‘It’s Steve’s show. Whatever he wants.’

Steve smiles and sits up. ‘Come sit here,’ he tells her. His eyes linger at her breasts. ‘I want — would you take off your clothes?’

‘It's only fair,’ Barnes chimes in.

She lets her gaze wander down Barnes’s body. He’s lean, lightly muscled like an athlete, with dark hair on his chest leading in a definite line down to his beautifully erect cock, which arches up from a nest of even darker hair.

‘Like what you see?’ he asks with a cheeky wink. ‘’Cause I know I will.’

She wants to give him grief about the obvious line, except that, embarrassingly, it’s working on her. Still, being naked feels too vulnerable. She takes off her dressing gown, laying it over the arm of the settee, but leaves her ancient white muslin nightgown on. It’s worn so thin that they’ll be able to see —

Barnes whistles quietly. ‘No underwear at all, Carter, this whole time? Scandalous.’

Steve groans. ‘I can’t believe you let us in when you weren’t wearing underwear. I could have just pulled up your nightgown and gone down on my knees and —’

‘Shh,’ Barnes says, stroking down Steve’s spine. Steve shudders and subsides.

Peggy touches his hair. ‘Darling, where do you want me?’

He looks up at her, swallowing hard, and for a blinding moment she wants to wrap him up in her arms and take him inside her body and hold him there, safe with her, forever. It’s silly to feel that way; a Steve who would be willing to stay safe isn’t her Steve. And she’s aware of her own hypocrisy, too: she’d punch anyone demanding that she stay safe. But that doesn’t stop her wanting it in this instant.

He pushes himself upright. ‘Come sit here,’ he says, patting the settee in front of him.

So she does. He leans forward and gives her a kiss — her first since he’s arrived here. She makes an approving noise into his mouth. He moves closer, deepening the kiss into something long and slow and filthy.

And then he jolts and bites her lip a little too hard and moans all at once.

‘Ow,’ she says, and he’s apologising, and she looks up and Barnes smirks at her and continues to — well, she assumes he’s opening Steve up. She’s never considered the various steps of this process before.

Steve’s eyes are closed, his mouth open. As Barnes’s hand moves, Steve drops face down into Peggy’s lap and spreads his legs wider. The motion makes her mouth go dry. He turns his head to the side, his breath hot on her thigh, and wraps his arms around her, his fingers kneading her bottom. ‘God,’ he says, ‘Bucky, yes, more.’

Barnes has stopped smirking. He’s concentrating now, utterly focused on Steve, who has started thrusting back, trying to speed up the process.

‘Come on, Buck, I’m not gonna break. I need you. Give me another finger, hurry up, wanna feel your dick in me before I die,’ and that little joke stumbles and falls on the worrying heat of Steve’s body burning through an unknown drug.

Barnes’s mouth tightens. ‘You’re not gonna die, Rogers, you can’t,’ he says. And then he barks out a laugh. ‘Gonna save your life with my dick.’

Peggy laughs helplessly. Steve says, ‘Not if you don’t get it inside me already. Jesus, Bucky, you want me to beg?’

Peggy and Barnes both let out gasps at that, at the thought of proud, reserved, admit-no-weakness Steve Rogers begging for anything. They make eye contact, and she knows that her cheeks must be just as flushed as his, her pupils just as wide and dark.

Steve’s smiling in her lap. ‘I’ll do it, I’ll beg. If I’d’ve known I would’ve begged years ago.’ His voice is getting lazier, dreamier again, as the drug ramps back up. ‘Would’ve been waiting for you when you got home from work, would’ve opened myself up so I’d be ready for you. Would’ve told you how bad I want you, how much I want to feel your dick inside me. Still remember how it felt that time, so big and hot, like you were splitting me open and I was just for you.’

Barnes whimpers at that. His hand is moving faster now.

‘You felt so good,’ Steve continues. ‘Need to feel you inside me again. Please, Bucky, I need it, the only thing I’ve wanted to do this much is —’ He stops, lifts his head, and fixes Peggy with a look of such intense heat that it takes her breath away for a moment. ‘Peggy. Peggy, let me lick you while he fucks me.’

Barnes moans. ‘Christ, Rogers,’ he says.

Peggy doesn’t know how to respond. She suspects that Steve thinks of her as somehow sexually omniscient, but the truth is that she’s not got that much more experience than he does, and she’s certainly never had anyone do that to her before.

‘If you want,’ she says, with an attempt at nonchalance that seems to work on Steve but definitely not on Barnes, whose eyes are a little too knowing.

‘Hey, lover-boy,’ Barnes says. ‘You know what you’re doing? It’s a little more complicated than —’

‘Yeah, I know, Bucky,’ Steve says. He’s gone scarlet. ‘I’ve — there was — I know what I’m doing.’

‘Chorus girls,’ Peggy says to Barnes with a sage nod, trying not to act as irrationally jealous as she feels.

‘No, it wasn’t like that,’ Steve says earnestly, lifting his head, and she just knows he’s about to launch into an explanation of his sweet tour romance and how he never would’ve looked at another girl if he’d known he’d meet Peggy again. In this state, though, he might start giving a little more detail than she wants to know. So she slides her bottom forward to the edge of the settee, hitches her nightgown up to her waist, and spreads her legs.

The stunned reaction from both of them is extremely gratifying.

Barnes’s mouth opens and closes. He licks his lips. ‘You’re incredibly beautiful,’ he tells her. His eyes dart back down. ‘And so wet I can see it from here. Look at that, Steve.’

‘I’m looking,’ Steve says, his voice very low. He slides his arms out from underneath her and rests his forearms along her spread thighs. ‘Can I?’ he asks. ‘Can I hold myself up like this? It won’t hurt you?’

She shakes her head. ‘I like it.’

The position puts his hands right at the crease of her thighs, his thumbs stroking her skin, moving closer and closer to the centre, where she’s already slick and swollen and ready. Being on display draws Peggy’s breath tight, makes her stomach knot. No one has ever looked at her like this, so closely, in such a bright room, and her muscles tense. She wants simultaneously to push Steve away and to pull him in closer. She wants Barnes to stop looking; she wants Barnes never to stop looking; she wants them both to drink her in with their eyes and with their tongues. They both have such lush, delicious mouths — Steve’s sweet, Barnes’s wicked — and she wants both of them.

Then Steve bends forward and starts caressing her. She sighs, pleased. He’s using his thumbs to stroke upwards and outwards from the centre, dipping into her folds just a little, like he needs to spread her slickness around. Then she realises: he’s smoothing her wet pubic hair back out of the way. She feels hot all over, watching him. He’s not talking. Is that good? Is it bad? Is she what Steve expected?

Then he pulls her folds open a little bit more and starts kissing her there like he kisses her mouth: sweet and gentle at first, slowly adding more and more tongue.

She’s never felt anything so exquisite in her life. Eventually he starts making long, deep, slow passes up the length of her, stopping just short of the top, his tongue broad and firm. She grabs his hair and pulls him closer and moans, much more loudly than she intended, and he keeps licking and she keeps saying ‘oh,’ even when she tries to stay quiet, and his mouth is making such obscenely wet noises that she can feel herself getting even wetter.

‘Holy shit, pal,’ Barnes says. For a moment Peggy forgot he was there. ‘I’m sorry I doubted you. It’s too bad you can’t see her, all sprawled out for you, blushing and gorgeous, but you get to have your tongue on that sweet clit of hers so I think you’re winning.’

Steve hasn’t even touched her clit yet. He keeps going around it. She tries to tug him up to it, but he resists; she can see the smirk in his eyes. ‘Stop teasing,’ she says.

‘Listen to that,’ Barnes murmurs, clearly feeling the need to pick up the slack in the dirty talk department now that Steve’s busy. There’s a crinkle: he’s tearing open a condom, putting it on. ‘She’s so wet. I bet she’s so open and plump and juicy, all ready for your cock to fill her.’

‘Oh, Christ, yes,’ she says, watching as Steve slides two fingers into her.

‘Yeah,’ Barnes says, with great satisfaction. ‘You’re doing so good, both of you.’ His hand starts moving faster in Steve’s arse, and Steve groans into her and matches his rhythm to Barnes’s. She closes her eyes. She’s going to come, she’s going to come and he’s still just licking all around her clit, he hasn’t even touched it at all, she’s going to come but she can’t come because he won’t touch her clit

And then Steve makes a shocked noise. His hand stops, and his tongue disappears.

‘No,’ she says, dismayed, as her eyes pop open. She sees first Steve’s face, damp and shiny, his mouth open in pained ecstasy, then, over the triangular expanse of Steve’s back, both Barnes’s hands on Steve’s hips as he pushes into Steve. She follows the taut lines of Barnes’s body up to his face. He’s watching himself disappear into Steve, brow furrowed in concentration, biting his lip.

‘Bucky,’ Steve breathes. His arms press harder into her thighs as he tries to tilt his hips, to take Barnes faster.

‘You feel just the same,’ Barnes says, sounding a little awestruck. ‘Narrow little hips, and so tight inside. And then I look up at those shoulders, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.’

Peggy knows exactly how he feels.

He presses in all the way, closing his eyes. Steve shudders out a sigh. ‘Feels like being eighteen and drunk and in love,’ he says, quietly. ‘I still love you. That never changes.’

‘That and your ass appear to be the two constants of my life,’ Barnes says, and Steve laughs.

Peggy’s beginning to feel like an intruder again, but at that moment Steve raises his eyes to her. ‘You, too,’ he says. ‘I love you —’ and then he cuts off with a gasp as Barnes starts thrusting.

Peggy slides her hands back into Steve’s hair and tugs him gently back into place. ‘Show me,’ she murmurs.

He does.

 

***

 

Afterwards, while they’re still cleaning up, there’s a knock at the door.

All three look at one another in a panic. Steve and Barnes are still naked; Steve’s in the middle of cleaning up the mess he left when he came all over the floor. Peggy dives into action first, gathering up their clothes and shoving them into Barnes’s arms while Steve frantically finishes wiping up. She snatches up all the boots and gives them to Steve.

‘Into the bedroom,’ she whispers. ‘Not a peep from you.’

They nod, wide-eyed, and dart into the bedroom, closing the door quietly behind them. Peggy throws on her dressing gown.

The knock sounds again. ‘Agent Carter?’

Peggy smoothes her hair, tugs her dressing gown tight, prays the scent of sex isn’t strong enough for the visitor to detect, and goes to the door.

She opens it just a crack. ‘Yes?’

The young man outside is wearing an SSR uniform. Peggy recognises him.

‘Agent Freeman,’ she says, drawing herself up tall. ‘How may I help you?’

‘Sorry to bother you at this late hour,’ Freeman says. He shifts back and forth, clearly nervous. ‘Have you seen Captain Rogers and Sergeant Barnes?’

She raises her eyebrows. ‘In general, or within a specific time frame?’ she asks as frostily as she possibly can.

‘Oh! Oh, sorry, ma’am, since eighteen hundred, ma’am.’

‘Well,’ she says slowly, ‘I went to the pub when I left headquarters, where I saw all the Howling Commandos except Captain Rogers and Sergeant Barnes. Lieutenant Falsworth walked me home at about nineteen hundred. And I haven’t left my flat since,’ she adds, with perfect truth.

Freeman fidgets again. ‘And — I’m sorry, forgive me for asking — does that mean that you have not seen them and do not know where they are?’

She gives him a grudging point for his persistence and opens the door wide so that he can see into her tiny flat. ‘Do you see any contraband GIs, Agent Freeman?’

He shakes his head.

‘Then, unless you believe that I have them both tucked away in my bedroom at this hour, maybe you’ll tell me what this is all about?’

‘Yes, ma’am,’ he says, blushing fiercely. ‘I mean, no ma’am, I don’t think —’

Christ, he’s almost as bad as Steve used to be. ‘It’s quite all right, Agent,’ she says. ‘Just doing your job. Now…?’

‘Captain Rogers was in the lab with Mr. Stark when a compound that Mr. Stark was working on erupted on both of them,’ Agent Freeman says. ‘Mr. Stark passed out and was taken to the infirmary unconscious. He has since regained consciousness and is exhibiting, uh, unusual effects.’

‘What kind of effects?’

‘He’s very suggestible. He’ll answer any question anyone asks him.’

He’s looking at her expectantly.

‘That’s it?’ Peggy says, before she can stop herself. Stupid, stupid. ‘I was afraid you were going to tell me his life was in danger.’

‘No, no, nothing like that,’ Agent Freeman reassures her. ‘But, you see, it’s a matter of security. We know Captain Rogers left HQ with Sergeant Barnes, but he never showed up for the medical exam. We’re worried about what he may be saying under the influence of this compound.’

‘And loose lips sink ships,’ Peggy says. ‘Yes, I understand the concern. Sergeant Barnes was not exposed, though?’

‘No, ma’am.’

‘Then I imagine he’s keeping Captain Rogers out of trouble,’ she says. ‘They’re on leave, so they’re not AWOL. If for some bizarre reason they show up here, what am I to do?’

‘If Captain Rogers is still affected by the compound but medically stable, Colonel Phillips asks that you keep him here under observation until it wears off,’ Freeman tells her. ‘Your security clearance is higher than his, so you can make sure he isn’t divulging confidential information. If he needs medical attention, bring him straight to the infirmary by HQ.’

‘In other words, follow common sense,’ she says dryly. ‘Anything else, Agent?’

‘No, ma’am. I’m sorry again to bother you.’

‘Very well. Thank you. Good night,’ she says, and closes the door, hopefully not too hastily. She waits there, listening to Agent Freeman clomping down the stairs. Then she goes to the window and pulls aside the blackout curtain a bit to watch him emerge from the front door of her building and make his way down the street towards headquarters and the setting sun.

It’s as if his visit has broken a spell. What madness has she descended into, that she would bare herself like she has in front of Barnes? Barnes, whom Steve has loved his whole life, and who has loved Steve for just as long — who gets to fight alongside Steve in every battle, while she has to fight to be allowed to use her talents at all.

Steve may want both of them, but she’s not sure either she or Barnes is willing to share over the long term.

With a sigh, she heads into the bedroom.

‘Oh, for pity’s sake,’ she says when she opens the door. Steve and Barnes are still naked, kissing lazily on the bed, oblivious to her entrance. She is forever stumbling upon Steve kissing people who aren’t her. For a moment she lets herself wallow, lets the jealousy and anger wash over her, as she grips the door jamb so tightly her knuckles turn white. Then she releases it and clears her throat. ‘Is it the drug again?’

Steve finally peels himself away from Barnes. ‘Not this time,’ he confesses, sheepish. ‘I just got carried away.’

‘I’ll leave you alone, then,’ Peggy says, turning, and pulls the door closed behind her. She’s been catapulted through rage to a kind of icy numbness. That’s new. Her anger is usually quick and explosive, not cold and self-sustaining.

She goes into the kitchen and fishes her precious whiskey out of the cabinet above the sink. She slides to the floor, her back against the cupboard door, unscrews the cap, and takes a swig straight from the bottle. She’s not sure what else she could possibly do while the man she loves fucks the man he loves in her bed.

Someone sits down next to her. ‘Steve,’ she begins, turning to him, but it’s not Steve.

Barnes leans his head back with a thunk. His eyes slant over at her, and then his long eyelashes drop and his Adam’s apple bobs as he swallows. ‘Look,’ Barnes says. ‘I’m sorry. I just —’ He stops and then lets out a bitter little laugh. ‘I’ve been jealous of you for so long now, since the first moment I saw the way Steve looked at you.’

Peggy takes another swig of whiskey.

‘And you… you took one look at me in that bar and you sized me up and clearly found me lacking,’ he continues. ‘I mean, I don’t blame you. Compared to Steve, everybody’s lacking, especially me. You’re the first girl that ever noticed that, though.’ He clears his throat. ‘Anyway. That’s not what I came out here to say. Look, Carter. No matter how he feels about me, whether he’ll still want me when the drug is completely out of his system, he’s gone for you.’

She rolls her head to look at him, incredulous. ‘Gone for me? He’s loved you for half your lives!’

‘And we could never do anything about it!’ Barnes exclaims. He rubs a hand down his face. ‘Even if him and me both get out of this war alive, which is a big ‘if’, what future is there for us? You think he’s going to choose me over you? He loves you. He could marry you. He could be happy with you.’

‘He loves you!’ she says. ‘How could he ever be happy without you? How can I compete —’ She stops short as Steve appears in the doorway, still splendidly naked, with his hands on his hips and his most disappointed frown.

She elbows Barnes. He straightens up and elbows her in return.

‘Who said it was a competition?’ Steve demands. ‘And why are you even out here talking about me like I’m a possession to be fought over?’

Peggy and Barnes exchange a guilty glance.

Steve shakes his head. ‘If I’d waited a few more minutes, would you have been flipping a coin to see who gets me?’

‘Of course not,’ Peggy retorts, drawing disdain around her like armour. ‘And I don’t —’

‘Does what I want matter?’ Steve cuts in, his voice sharp.

‘Actually, no,’ she says. She pushes herself to her feet, still holding the whiskey. ‘I already know what you want. You want both of us. But the world doesn’t work like that, Steve; you can’t have both of us. So I’m bowing out. You’d be more miserable without him than you would without me.’

Steve’s jaw is clenched, his face taking on that mulish look that tells her she’s in for a fight. ‘Never figured you for chicken,’ he says.

Peggy can’t shoot him now; she doesn’t have her gun in the kitchen, and he doesn’t have the shield. But she is sorely tempted by the thought. ‘You are missing the point quite spectacularly,’ she says through gritted teeth. She turns to Barnes. ‘You know I’m right. You know I am.’

Barnes is still seated, still naked, wholly unselfconscious. He looks up at her for a long moment. Then he replies, ‘No, I don’t think you are.’

‘What?’ she asks, incredulous.

‘I think,’ he says, enunciating clearly, ‘that your premise is flawed. I think Steve can have both of us. Or, rather, we all three can have one another.’

Flabbergasted, she glances at Steve. He looks hopeful.

‘Here’s the thing, Carter,’ Barnes continues. ‘I don’t know you that well, but I know enough. If I weren’t so damned jealous of you, I’d be half in love with you myself. I know you’ve only got eyes for Steve, but if you’d give me a chance, I think we’d get along swell.’

Peggy feels entirely at sea. Part of her is certain that she should immediately throw them out of her flat for suggesting such a thing. Part of her thinks punching Barnes in the face would make her feel considerably better.

Most of her, though, is preoccupied with the thought of being with both of them, of not needing to sacrifice, of taking advantage of this brief time that they have and savouring it. She could take them both into her bed, right now; they could seize this gift of a moment. Instead of jealousy, they could choose trust and joy and love.

Steve already loves both of them. She can’t make that go away. So the question is this: would she rather be with Steve, even with Barnes in the picture, or would she rather break things off now and make them both miserable?

She can’t imagine how it would work if they tried it.

Well, that’s not entirely true. The evidence of the past hour suggests that, physically at least, they could make it work very well indeed. But she doesn’t want to give up her stolen moments with Steve, just the two of them.

‘Would…’ She stops, touches her throat. ‘Would it always be all three of us? All the time?’

Steve looks down at Barnes, helpless at the prospect of getting what he wants. ‘I don’t think so?’

Barnes raises an eyebrow. ‘Seems like it would be unfair for me to insist on being there all the time, since Steve and I have a lot more opportunities to sneak off together than the two of you do.’

‘Yes,’ Peggy says, nodding. ‘That’s reasonable.’

‘I think so,’ Steve tells her earnestly.

She looks away from his hopeful eyes.

The real question is whether she can bear to deny Steve Rogers anything in her power when he wants it this badly. And the answer to that is clear, especially when, frankly, this arrangement excites her far more than it ought.

She sighs. ‘Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, I suppose,’ she says, like an idiot. To distract them from the fact that she’s just turned into her great-aunt Florence, she opens her dressing gown and lets it fall to the floor. She is rewarded with Steve’s openly worshipful expression — and, when she looks down, a matching one from Barnes. She didn’t know Barnes, who always seems so wicked, could look so reverent. ‘Look at your faces,’ she tells them both, but she’s smiling uncontrollably, too. ‘Good heavens, Barnes, you haven’t even seen me naked yet.’

She steps over Barnes’s legs, reaching out her hand behind her. He takes it, and she pulls him to his feet. In front of her, Steve is leaning against the door jamb, his cock swelling and lengthening. Peggy takes hold of it as she passes; he makes a quiet, hungry noise in response, so she uses it to lead him into the bedroom.

‘You can lead me by the cock if you want, too,’ Barnes says, his voice low.

She releases them both, lifts her nightgown over her head, then gives them a sultry glance over her shoulder. ‘Coming?’ she asks, climbing onto the bed. She doesn’t wait for them to follow before reaching into the far nightstand drawer to fetch the little case that holds her Dutch cap and some spermicide. She turns, sitting back on her heels, and finds them both gaping at her, their cocks bobbing as they continue to harden.

‘Suit yourselves,’ she says. ‘Barnes, have you slept with anyone besides Steve since your last medical exam?’

‘Do handjobs count?’ he says. When Steve raises his eyebrows, Barnes shrugs. ‘Not gonna kiss and tell when you’re my CO, buddy. Especially since you’re gonna be giving me the handjobs from now on.’

‘If that’s your only sexual contact, I think the Dutch cap will be sufficient.’ She hesitates for a moment. ‘Putting it in is not a particularly sexy process. Would you like me to do it in private?’

Answers to this question, she has found, reveal important information about a man. These men exchange a confused glance.

‘Putting on a condom isn’t a particularly sexy process either,’ Steve says, ‘but Bucky did it in front of you and you managed to enjoy yourself just fine.’

‘Also, and Steve’s too much of a gentleman to point this out, but he just had his whole face up in there,’ Barnes adds. He winks at her, outrageously charming in spite of the sentence that’s just emerged from his mouth. ‘I think we can handle it.’

Steve moves a little closer. ‘Actually,’ he says. ‘Actually, will you show me?’

Peggy stares at him. ‘Why?’

‘Well, you know how to put on a condom, right, so why shouldn’t I know how this works?’ He gives her a puzzled frown. ‘Why are you giving me that look?’

She’s never been with someone who has thought of it like that. ‘I love you,’ she blurts.

He smiles, slow and dazzling, and then steps forward to kiss her with that smiling mouth. ‘All this time and that’s what gets you?’ he teases gently. He kisses her again, like he can’t decide what to do with his mouth — smile or talk or kiss — so he’s doing his level best to try all three at once. ‘I’ll ask you to give me birth control demonstrations every day for the rest of our lives.’

‘Celibacy is —’ she begins primly, and Steve laughs and wraps his arm around her and really kisses her this time. He puts his back into it, pressing his cock hot and hard against her belly, his hand wandering down to grab her bottom and pull her tighter. Then he turns his head and she realises that his other arm is around Barnes, who is kissing along his neck. Steve moves to tilt Barnes’s chin up.

Barnes’s eyes go heavy-lidded. ‘Steve,’ he says, and then Steve’s mouth finds his. Peggy watches, transfixed, as the kiss grows deeper.

As soon as Barnes breaks away, panting, she lunges in to taste that lush, wicked mouth herself. Barnes is just as good as he seems: he kisses expertly, with just the right amount of tongue and wetness and pressure. Steve, on her right, nips at her earlobe and presses warm, open kisses to her throat until she whimpers into Barnes’s mouth.

She’d like to keep going, to pull them both down on top of her on the bed, to spread her legs and take them each inside her in turn. Instead, she pushes them both away. ‘I need to get the Dutch cap in,’ she says, breathless. ‘Come out here; I need to wash my hands.’

They follow her back out to the kitchen, docile, and watch with great interest as she shows them how to apply the spermicide and insert the cap. Once it’s firmly in place, she washes the remaining spermicide from her hands, feeling self-conscious. But they crowd up behind her, both so tall and warm, and for once she’s fervently grateful for blackout curtains, which give them total privacy to wander her flat naked. Barnes is on her left again, kissing her neck and jaw, cupping her breast, dragging his thumb across her nipple. On her right, Steve kisses her shoulder and runs his fingers down her spine all the way to the crack of her arse. His other hand strokes across her hip and belly to delve between her legs. When she tilts her head back and moans, Barnes nips gently at her exposed throat.

She reaches behind her and gropes them until she gets a hand on each cock. She gives them a slow pump, down and up again, savouring the hot smooth thickness of them, the wet velvety tips. They’re very similar in size and feel. A matched set, she thinks, and barely restrains herself from giggling. ‘Bed,’ she manages.

But once they get there, she doesn’t really know what to do with them. At the same time, she can’t admit weakness. So she lets them explore her body as they wish with their lips and tongues and hands. At one point Bucky catches one of her nipples in his mouth, and she suddenly realises that she has two breasts and two men, and that it’s a waste not to apply their talents in the most strategic way possible. So she pushes Steve’s head to her other breast until he gets the point. They kiss and flick her nipples with their tongues and suckle with deep, sweet pulls until she’s moaning. She slides her fingers up into their hair and holds them close.

Steve lifts his head. ‘Okay?’

She glares down at him and pushes his head back to her nipple. ‘This is adequate,’ she says haughtily.

Barnes stifles a laugh. They’re touching her between her legs, now, pushing up inside her, rubbing her clit. Their cocks are leaving sticky smears on her hips. She’s building towards orgasm, hot and urgent, her body gone all open and heavy and wanting. But she’ll never reach it while she’s standing, and she wants them inside her, so she starts leaning backwards.

‘Lay me down,’ she commands. ‘One of you is going to fuck me, and then the other one is, and I don’t care who goes first.’

They groan around her nipples but lay her down on the bed obediently. They remain standing, though, having a wordless conversation powered by mutual glares. ‘Come on, soldiers,’ she says, stretching out with a slow roll of her hips. ‘Make a decision.’

They stare at her. Barnes swallows hard.

‘You go first,’ Steve tells Barnes, still looking at her.

Barnes is already shaking his head. ‘She’s your girl,’ he says.

Peggy taps the side of his knee with her foot. ‘I’m no one’s girl,’ she says.

Barnes has the grace to look ashamed. ‘Sorry,’ he tells her. ‘That’s not what I meant. I meant, you and Steve, you’re together. I’m the outsider here.’

‘Dear lord, Barnes,’ she says impatiently. ‘Did you miss that awkward conversation in the kitchen? The whole point of this is that there are no outsiders anymore.’

He raises his eyebrows at her. ‘Then why’re you still calling me by my last name?’

‘Fine,’ she says. She pushes herself up on her elbows and spreads her legs. ‘Bucky. Get in here and fuck me, now.’

Barnes — Bucky’s mouth falls open, just a little, and he looks at Steve, wide-eyed and desperate.

‘I don’t know why you’re lookin' at me, pal,’ Steve says. ‘I think the lady was pretty clear.’

Bucky looks back at Peggy and nods. ‘Right,’ he says. ‘Right. I’m gonna…’ He crawls over her and kisses her, deep and hungry. ‘I’ll be good for you,’ he finishes, softly.

She cups his face in her hands and strokes the curve of his mouth with her thumbs. ‘I know,’ she says. She kisses him and shifts so that his dick presses along her wet folds, the head nudging her clit.

He says, ‘Oh,’ very quietly, and starts rocking his hips, dragging himself up and down slowly. She looks into his steady gray eyes and presses up against him.

Bucky smiles and then kisses her again at a languorous pace that matches the rhythm of their hips. His cock slides against her just right, hot and hard, bumping her clit with each thrust. Peggy runs her right hand down his spine and gets a good handful of his arse. He’s thicker than Steve is through the waist and hips, more like the other men she’s been with. But he’s better at this than all of them. Better even than Steve, though she doesn’t doubt that given time and practice, Steve will catch up.

She breaks the kiss. ‘You feel so good,’ she says, pressing kisses to his scratchy jaw, nipping gently at the hollow underneath, then a little less gently at the straining tendon at his throat. He gives a heartfelt moan. ‘And I’ve already come once tonight, and I’m more than ready.’

‘You sure?’ he says. ‘Don’t want to hurt you.’

Raising an eyebrow, Peggy rolls her hips again. ‘Are you having second thoughts?’

Bucky smirks down at her. ‘Not at all. Just considering strategy. You like being underneath like this?’

She bites her lip. ‘Not especially,’ she admits. ‘Sometimes it’s all right.’

‘Yeah,’ he says. He’s still rocking against her, and she’s getting wet enough that she can hear it. ‘I bet you like being on top, being in charge.’

‘Naturally.’ She wraps her legs around his hips and executes a neat flip, landing on her knees straddling him. She pushes his wrists above his head. Behind her, Steve makes a helpless little noise of arousal. ‘Like this.’

‘Nah,’ Bucky says, pulling his hands out from her grip, ‘I don’t like to be pinned.’ He gives her a cocky grin before she has time to feel gauche. ‘I bet Steve loves it, though.’

She glances over her shoulder at Steve, who is red down to his nipples. ‘If Steve keeps being this good, I’ll try it out,’ she says, and is gratified when he closes his eyes and groans, a spurt of clear liquid rolling down his twitching cock.

The mattress bounces as Bucky moves out from under her so he can lean back against the headboard.

‘I’ve got a compromise for you,’ he says, sitting tailor-wise and holding out his hand to help her move up towards him. ‘Come sit in my lap and we’ll do it like this.’

‘Oh,’ she says, surprised and pleased. She takes his hand and goes up on her knees to clamber over him. Her calves fit neatly under his folded legs. With a move that she hopes is graceful, she reaches down to hold his cock steady as she sinks onto it.

‘Christ,’ she gasps, as she takes him deep. He feels beautifully thick and hot. She leans in to kiss him and runs her hands up into his hair again as she lifts herself up and then falls back down again. ‘Oh, god, that’s good.’

This position is brilliant. When she’s got him buried as deep inside her as possible, filling and stretching her so perfectly, she can grind her clit against his body in a way that sets off sparks. And sitting up like this, both of them can use their hands. Hers caress his neck and shoulders, scratch lightly up his back, frame his face when she kisses him. His hands slide up her thighs; he wraps his arms around and cradles her bottom as he helps her rise and fall. He kisses the hollow beneath her jaw, her throat, the space between her collarbones, then moves back up to catch her earlobe briefly between his teeth. She starts riding him in earnest.

‘We just gonna make Steve watch from all the way over there?’ he murmurs in her ear.

She turns her head and does the same to his earlobe. ‘Have you got a better plan?’ she asks, just as softly. The question is only half in jest. She’d be willing to follow a plan of his; she thinks Bucky Barnes might be a genius at sex.

‘I can hear what you’re saying,’ Steve says, breathless.

‘Maybe we shouldn’t reward eavesdroppers,’ she whispers against Bucky’s ear. They’ve settled into a good rhythm, smooth and powerful as their hips move in counterpoint.

Bucky laughs. ‘You should see his big dumb face right now,’ he says, open adoration all over his own face as he watches Steve over her shoulder. ‘Come on, pal, you didn’t really think we were going to make you stay over there, did you?’

Peggy turns to look at Steve, who does indeed look lost, hunched in on himself like he’s still five feet tall. ‘Oh, darling,’ she says. She twists her body around and extends her hand to him, leaving Bucky to maintain the rhythm by thrusting up into her. ‘Come over here; we need you.’

The bed dips as Steve moves onto it. He’s hesitant, though; she has to grab his bicep and reel him in.

‘I hope you don’t think I’ve just been putting up with you all this time as a way of getting at his dubious charms,’ she says, jerking her chin towards Bucky.

‘Hey,’ Bucky says, punctuating it with a particularly deep thrust that makes her gasp.

‘I like you,’ she tells him regally, as if they’re not in the middle of sweaty and deeply satisfying sex, and then turns to Steve to finish: ‘But you’re the one I know. You’re the one I love.’

She leans over and kisses Steve. Below her, Bucky makes a whimpering sort of noise and starts moving faster. So she keeps it up, showily, until Steve breaks away.

‘But you can learn to love him, too, right?’ Steve asks.

Bucky’s rhythm falters for the first time. She looks down at him in concern as his hips still. His eyes are closed, and he’s biting his lip in a way that could mean arousal or anguish. ‘Of course,’ she says.

‘Doesn’t matter,’ Bucky says, his voice rough. ‘As long as you love him.’

‘It does matter,’ Steve insists.

Peggy cups Bucky’s jaw and ignores Steve. Steve doesn’t understand, could never understand, how strongly their love for him could bind Peggy and Bucky together. Bucky’s right: they don’t need to love each other for this to work. ‘Look at me,’ she says. When he does, she brushes his damp hair back from his forehead and searches his eyes. ‘You know I love him. And I trust you.’

Bucky nods, just a quick jerk of his chin. Then he slides one hand up her spine and into her hair, pulls her down, and kisses her. ‘We’ve got him, the two of us,’ he says, his voice urgent. ‘Promise me.’

She’s nodding even before he finishes. ‘Yes,’ she says. ‘I promise.’ She reaches out for Steve again, finds his hand, and kisses it while Bucky tilts his head up towards Steve.

‘You got that, pal?’ Bucky says. ‘We’re all in. For you.’

‘Yeah, I got it,’ Steve replies, his voice low and his eyes shining. He leans in and kisses Bucky, soft and sweet.

Peggy wiggles in Bucky’s lap. Since they’ve stopped moving, the intense conversation has diverted enough of his attention that he’s starting to soften inside her. She tightens her muscles around him. He groans into Steve’s mouth, so she does it again, and again, as he swells to full hardness and turns Steve’s kiss into something far more carnal.

‘Ready?’ she asks, aiming for teasing but ending up at breathless.

Please,’ Bucky says between kisses.

She lifts up to start riding him again and accidentally lets him slip out altogether. As she reaches down to guide him back into her, she catches sight of Steve’s neglected cock, deep pink and wet with a near-constant drip of liquid. He needs to come again, she can tell, and she knows that if he doesn’t, he won’t last long inside her.

‘I have an idea,’ she says, quickly guiding Bucky’s dick back into her. Once he’s settled there, she separates the two of them by gently pulling their hair. Steve’s eyes flutter closed and he moans; she files that information away for the future. She pushes Bucky further down on the pillows. ‘Suck him,’ she orders.

‘Yes, ma’am,’ Bucky says, his mouth curling wickedly. He licks his lips, looks up at Steve, and opens his mouth in clear invitation.

Steve’s cock twitches violently. ‘Oh, god,’ he says, his voice faint.

This is so much more like Steve’s normal behaviour in bed that the last bit of worried tension uncoils from Peggy’s spine. She waits for Bucky to close his mouth around the tip before she allows herself to start moving.

Now, at last, she can lose herself in sensation: the fat, perfect curve of Bucky’s cock; the intimate pressure against the deepest parts of her; the electric friction on her clit as she bottoms out. Only a few inches away, Bucky is sucking Steve off with intense focus. His lips are red and wet. Steve is cradling his head gently in those big hands, touching a thumb to the corner of Bucky’s mouth where it’s stretched around him. When she tears her eyes away and looks up at Steve’s face, she finds his expression open and wondering and so full of love that she has to close her eyes against its radiance.

She’s certain now, with Bucky inside her and Steve inside him, that they’ve done well here.

So she shuts out all worries and cares and instead focuses on her own building pleasure. Her breath is coming hard now, escaping her with small, wanting noises every time she grinds her clit against Bucky. Their bodies are slapping together, Bucky is slurping enthusiastically at Steve’s dick, and she’s starting to feel like a spring compressed as far as it can go, primed for release. And that means Steve needs to come, too, so that he can recover in time to fuck her before she falls asleep.

‘Are you ready to come, Steve?’ she asks, opening her eyes.

He’s so far gone that all he can do is moan.

‘I think that’s a yes,’ she says.

Bucky makes a muffled noise of assent and picks up the pace of his thrusts into her.

‘Oh, god,’ she says. ‘Bucky, are you ready, too?’

He shakes his head minutely and gives her a pleading look.

‘Steve first, then,’ she says. ‘Steve. Darling. Come for us.’

And he does, just like that, letting out little cries with each spasm of his body. Bucky’s hips stutter to a stop as he focuses on swallowing through Steve’s orgasm. He’s better at it than she was; when Steve finally pulls away and drops to the bed next to them, Bucky’s got just two trickles of come escaping his mouth, one at each corner, as he swallows the last of it. She reaches up and wipes them away with her thumb, then licks her thumb clean, making eye contact with Bucky while she does so.

‘Christ,’ he says, tugging her into a deep kiss and driving into her again. ‘You’re incredible.’

He’s got his arms wrapped around her, pulling her down onto him as he thrusts up into her in a perfect, pounding rhythm. Her thighs are starting to ache but she doesn’t care. ‘Oh,’ she says, lost in the familiar wave that’s about to crest. ‘Yes, just like that, you’re so good, keep going —’

‘You getting close, Peggy?’ Steve says.

‘Very,’ she gasps, and comes, loud and undignified as each surge crashes through her.

Bucky keeps the pressure on her clit and drags out the orgasm longer than she thought possible, and then he says, ‘Fuck,’ and he comes too, thrusting erratically until they both collapse.

For several long minutes, the only sound is their breathing as they twitch through aftershocks and their heart rates descend into the normal range again. Peggy feels boundless, tranquil and deeply satisfied, enjoying the involuntary ripples of her body around Bucky’s cock. She thinks dreamily that she’d like to keep him safe inside her, too. She wonders what it would be like to have them both inside her at the same time, just holding them close.

Probably rather painful, she thinks, as reality starts to reassert itself. She’s somewhat alarmed by her sudden protective impulses. Her mouth is dry. Her thighs feel shaky. When Bucky softens enough to slide out of her, she feels empty and sticky. She’s still splayed on top of him, her face mashed against his chest, rising and falling with his breath.

‘Nnng,’ he says, finally.

‘Mmm,’ she agrees.

Steve huffs out a laugh. She flops a hand in his direction, hoping he’ll take it. He does, and then he presses kisses to her knuckles.

‘That was excellent, but I need to move,’ she says after a few more minutes.

With heroic effort, Bucky rolls onto his left side, dumping Peggy on her right side between him and Steve, and then promptly falls asleep.

Steve angles himself towards her, kissing her left shoulder and running his hand down her side with enough pressure not to be ticklish, bless him.

‘You’re a good man, Steve Rogers,’ she informs him sleepily. ‘But I do not have the energy to hold you down today.’

He laughs and shifts closer, prodding her with his revived erection. ‘I thought that might be the case.’ He carefully brushes her hair back so that he can kiss her neck. ‘I could just…’ He slides his cock between her thighs. ‘Like this. If you’re sensitive.’

‘Oh, we can manage better than that,’ she replies. ‘Here, just hold my leg up so I don’t have to.’

He slides his hand along her inner thigh and lifts gently. The advantage of superstrength: he can easily handle the weight of her leg even if she doesn’t twitch a single muscle to help out. It takes some adjustment for him to find a position that works, but eventually they find a balance, with his left arm crooked around the bend of her knee holding her comfortably open.

‘Good?’ he asks.

‘Wonderful,’ she murmurs. She catches his right hand and twines her fingers with his, pulling his arm under her so she can rest her head on his bicep.

He tries to press into her three or four times before he gets the angle right, but eventually he slips inside. He huffs a little moan into her hair. ‘You’re so…’

He trails off, and she wonders what he was going to say. Wet? Open? She could feel Bucky’s come sliding out of her each time Steve moved her leg, trying to find the right position; he must have felt it, too, slicking the way for those first thrusts along the length of her. Does he like that? Is it too much for him?

He’s still pushing slowly into her. He finally gets as deep as he can go in this position and lets out a contented sigh. ‘You’re so perfect,’ he says at last. ‘What if I just stay here like this forever?’

A jolt runs through her to hear her own silly longing echoed back at her. She tightens her muscles around him, and he makes a deep, wanting noise in the back of his throat. ‘Let’s try it some other time,’ she says, ‘when my legs aren’t quite this shaky.’

‘I wish we could try everything,’ he says, his voice wistful, but he starts moving, thrusting long and languid into her.

‘We shall,’ she promises. She brings his hand to her lips so she can kiss it. ‘All of us, together.’

After the surreal few hours they’ve just been through, this tender, intimate lovemaking is just what she needs. This isn’t going to hurtle her into explosive intensity, like the sex she’d just had with Bucky. This is the kind that builds quietly until one has an orgasm like a cloud releasing a gentle summer rain. She closes her eyes and lets Steve move deeper and deeper into her, body and soul.

Or that’s the plan, at least, until Bucky wakes up.

She’s aware of it first when the movement of Bucky shifting further down the bed jars their smooth rhythm a little. She opens her eyes just in time to see him slide his finger out of his mouth and reach down to rub her clit with the perfect amount of pressure.

‘Oh, Christ,’ she says, louder than intended.

Behind her, Steve starts. He must have had his eyes closed, too, or have been looking elsewhere. Now he laughs. ‘Thanks for the helping hand, pal.’

‘Anytime,’ Bucky says. He looks up at her, winks, and leans forward to kiss her breast.

Peggy is startled by the fervour of her response. She’s been bracing herself on her left hand this whole time, but now, driven by some impulse surfacing from her subconscious, she reaches up to guide her nipple into Bucky’s mouth. ‘Please,’ she gasps, and he immediately starts sucking.

Their sweet, slow lovemaking has turned into something overwhelming. Steve inside her, Bucky at her breast and rubbing her clit… She’s never been the nurturing sort, but having them both so close — taking comfort from her body while devoting themselves to her physical bliss — makes her feel like the avatar of a protective goddess. She doesn’t have to keep them safe from everything; she would never want to. But as long as they’re here, sheltered and pleasured and pleasuring, she can enjoy the measure of safety they have.

She doesn’t realise she’s talking — ‘You’re safe, you’re mine,’ under her breath, over and over — until Steve responds.

‘Yours,’ he says with each thrust, ‘all yours, both of us, safe and here and yours…’

Peggy wraps her arm around Bucky, holding him close. He rolls her nipple against his teeth, and she comes, not a soft rain but a thunderstorm, swept away in the deluge and crying out helplessly.

She’s so caught up in her orgasm that she misses Steve’s. By the time she returns to herself, Steve has unhooked his arm from her leg and pulled it back down to ease the ache in her hip. Bucky has released her nipple but is pressing light kisses to her breasts. Steve’s come is spilling out of her in a slow rivulet down her thigh. He’s breathing hard. For a long time, they lie there, all the tension finally unspooling.

‘You made a mess,’ she says eventually, guiding Steve’s hand to it.

‘Mmm,’ he replies, kissing her ear. He smears his come across her inner thigh. ‘I’d apologise, but I happen to know that you like a little mess sometimes.’

‘She won’t like it in the morning, pal,’ Bucky says, and produces a handkerchief out of thin air.

‘Where have you been hiding that?’ Peggy demands, kissing him, as Steve takes it and wipes her clean.

‘A gentleman is always prepared,’ Bucky says snootily.

Steve discards the handkerchief and reaches over her to cradle Bucky’s jaw. ‘Doesn’t explain why you were prepared.’

‘Fuck off, Rogers,’ Bucky says. He kisses Steve’s palm.

‘Love you,’ Steve says through a cracking yawn. ‘Both of you.’

‘Love you,’ Peggy and Bucky reply in unison, watching each other.

Bucky nods at her. ‘Gonna work out okay,’ he tells her as he moves away to turn out the light.

‘I know,’ she says, smiling.

When he returns, she tugs his arm over her waist and settles in to sleep.

She’s got the two of them, and they’ve got each other. They’re all going to be just fine.