“I want to have a baby.”
Steve managed not to spit his coffee in Bucky’s face.
“Well, for that, you’d usually need a boyfriend.”
Bucky sighed, chewing his cheek and tapping his fingers nervously against the table. “You know that’s not an option.”
Steve softened. “Where’s this coming from all of a sudden, anyway? You’re twenty-six, Buck, bit young for a mid-life crisis.”
“That’s the thing, Steve.” Bucky said, tugging at a strand of hair, frustrated. “Becca’s twenty-two. She got married at twenty and just had Joseph. Clint and Natasha are getting married. Clint and Natasha, Steve!”
Steve frowned. “Wait – so you think you’re somehow inadequate?”
“Yes!” Bucky hissed. “I’ve got a shitty office job, PTSD and a failed modelling career. You’re a successful architect – you’re rolling in it, Tony’s a goddamn billionaire and married to Pepper!”
“Sam’s not married.” Steve said pointedly.
“Sam’s planning on asking Maria to marry him next month, remember?”
“Is in a committed relationship with his cat and therapy, Steve.”
“Do you read your texts? He and Jane adopted two dogs named Mjolnir and Loki. Not to mention they adopted Darcy.”
“Darcy’s twenty, Buck.”
“Tell me she’s not an angsty thirteen year old, I dare you.”
Steve was running out of people. ”Peggy?”
“Dating Angie. Also, she’s badass and scary. Come on, Steve, stop trying to talk me out of this.”
“It just seems so sudden, Bucky. Out of nowhere.”
Bucky licked his lips and turned to face the window, biting his lip. His nails clicked against the table as his fingers snapped against one another.
“It’s not,” he confided. “I’ve been thinking about this ever since…” Bucky cleared his throat and Steve swallowed. “But everyone I know is moving on with their lives. You and I both know I can’t… be with anyone else, not now. But I still need to feel like I’m doing something with my life.”
“And a baby is something to help with that?” He felt bad for being sceptical, but he only had Bucky’s best interests in mind. Ever since Rumlow, Steve had been with him for every step of the way.
“Yeah, yeah, I know, therapy recommends adopting a pet to get some responsibility, yada, yada. But I want to raise something. Someone. A puppy’s cute, sure, but I won’t be able to talk to it.”
“You can,” Steve chimed in. “It just won’t talk back.”
Bucky glared at him. “I need something with a lot more responsibility. Something mine. Something – someone I can be proud of.”
Steve softened once again.
“I’ve thought this through, Steve.” Bucky told him quietly. “I have. I’m serious about this. Even my therapist thinks it’s a good idea.”
“Okay,” Steve said.
“Yeah. I mean, it’s your life, obviously, but I support you. You know I’ll be there to help you through everything.”
Bucky sagged in relief. “Thank you. It means a lot.”
Steve smiled gently at him. “So when’re you gonna start trying to adopt?”
Bucky stilled. “…What?”
“Adopt…?” Steve’s smile drooped. “That is what you meant, right?”
“… No, Steve. It… No.”
“Okay… So, what are you going to do?” Steve was entirely certain he was missing something at this point.
“I… I looked into artificial insemination.” Bucky told him quietly, eyes boring into his coffee. “I talked to the doctor about it.”
“Oh, so you’re using a donor. Why didn’t you just say so?”
Steve blinked at him for a very long moment before giving a very frustrated sigh.
“I’m getting mixed signals here. You’re not adopting, you’re not using a donor, so how the hell are you going to have a baby?”
Bucky clicked his fingers together again.
“Okay, I… I talked to the doctor about it. She was really nice and we talked for about an hour about what it meant, and I… I realised I didn’t want that.”
“You didn’t want to have a baby?” Steve asked, unimpressed. Bucky growled in frustration.
“No, I didn’t want to have a stranger’s baby. Also why adoption is out. I got nothing against adoption – those kids deserve great families, and kudos to people who adopt, it’s just not for me. They probably wouldn’t even let a single vet with a shitty apartment adopt anyway. There’s other reasons I don’t like the IUI too, but…”
He took in a deep breath. “I’d need to take fertility drugs. And she said it could take up to six tries for any to take. It’d be expensive with the drugs too, which means I can’t afford it, and even if it does work eventually, there’s also a possibility of having twins. Or triplets.”
“Even if I could afford to pay for the treatments, I wouldn’t be able to raise one kid, let alone three with the money left over.”
Admittedly, he was right. Steve saw the logic there, and Bucky really had thought the IUI through, but there was still the pressing question of what he actually planned on doing.
“Alright, that’s true.” He acknowledged. “But what are you proposing you do instead? Go out to a bar and hook up without a condom, hopefully not getting an STD instead of a baby?”
“I told you, I don’t want to have a stranger’s baby.” Bucky muttered. Steve threw his hands up in the air, exasperated, getting a few strange looks while Bucky shrank back.
“Then I have no idea how you’re planning on getting knocked up, Bucky.”
Bucky fell silent for a very long while. Steve elected not to try and say anything more, shaking his head as he drank his coffee and sketched some designs on his tablet.
“I was kind of hoping that… that you’d…” Bucky cut in suddenly, quietly. Steve practically got whiplash from how quickly he snapped his head up to face Bucky.
The other man was nervously fiddling with a napkin on the table, biting at his lips.
Steve’s mouth bobbed open and closed like a fish, and when Bucky risked a glance he gave a nervous half chuckle.
“We should talk about this,” Steve said, voice strangled. He coughed, hoping to regain his sense. “In my apartment. Privately.”
Bucky’s eyes searched his for a moment, still biting his lips, before nodding. “Okay.”
The two rose in unison, and the walk to Steve’s apartment was uneventful and uncomfortably silent.
Steve closed the door to his apartment behind him, letting Bucky take a seat on the nearest couch, perched awkwardly with his hands tapping his knees.
“Okay, so…” Steve began, before realising he had no idea what to say. “Uh, you want to have a baby.” He said dumbly. Bucky nodded.
“You – you want to have my baby.” Again, Bucky nodded, swallowing. “Why?”
The other man blinked owlishly. “What?”
“Why me?” he clarified. Bucky furrowed his brows.
“What do you mean, ‘Why me’?” Bucky huffed. “You – you’re the only alpha I trust.”
Steve shook his head resolutely. “Thor’s an alpha.”
“And Thor’s mated to Jane.” Steve frowned in confusion.
“I really don’t think Thor would be against it. He’s a weird guy, but he’s got a heart made of gold. He’d… donate.”
“Steve, do you remember what I said about IUI?” Bucky asked, voice flat and unamused. That drew Steve up short.
“You – what?”
Bucky wrung his hands together. “I’m asking you because – I trust you. I’ve known you for years, and you’re single, so it’d be less of an issue.”
“I’m still getting over the bit where we have sex.” Steve said dumbly. Bucky turned away.
“It’s not like-” Bucky cut himself off.
“What? What were you going to say?”
Bucky sighed deeply, glancing at Steve out of the corner of his eyes. “It’s not like it would be the first time we had sex.” He admitted slowly.
Steve stiffened. “We were drunk.”
Bucky gave him an unimpressed look. “We were fuckbuddies for months.”
Steve knew he wasn’t counting that time when they were fifteen, rutting and in heat, horny and desperate before their mothers split them up.
“This is still different, Buck.”
“I – I’m not asking you to be involved,” Bucky said quietly, hurriedly. “You don’t have to even pay any support, you don’t have to have custody… Nothing. I’m just asking…”
“No!” Steve cut in, horrified. Bucky slumped. “I don’t mean – if I were to agree I’m not just going to – to leave you alone.”
Bucky’s eyes flickered up to his. “Really.” He said flatly. Steve swallowed.
“We’re best friends, Buck. We see each other almost every day, stay at each other’s apartments practically uninvited. I’m involved in your life as it is – if you were to have my – my baby, the only thing that would change would be that we had a kid.”
Bucky stared at him for a minute. “You do realise that contradicts what you said about ‘this being different,’ right?”
Steve froze. “Um.”
Bucky sighed, getting to his feet. “You’re both trying to talk yourself into this, and trying to talk yourself out of it. You should – just think about it. Call Sam, if you want.”
The door clicked shut, and not five minutes later, Steve did exactly that.
“You know, some people don’t have the luxury of working from home.”
“I very very very desperately need advice.”
“Can it wait until after four?”
“… I guess, but you owe me coffee.”
“Yeah, yeah, you goddamn hipster. See you later.”
Steve tried to watch the TV for a while but his mind was far too preoccupied, trying to wrap his head around Bucky’s request. By the time Sam turned up, he was glad that he was finally able to get some advice.
“Sam!” he groaned, relieved, as he opened the door. The other man raised an eyebrow and thrust a still-hot coffee cup in his face, plastic bag crinkling.
“I brought coffee and cookies. I assume this is one of those situations?” Sam sniped, closing the door and sitting on the couch, chuckling at the ‘Supernanny’ rerun that Steve hadn’t been paying attention to.
“Yes,” Steve assured him, dropping back onto the couch. “It definitely is.”
“Alright, Rogers, lay it on me, and I will grant you my effervescent wisdom.”
“I don’t think you used ‘effervescent’ right.”
“Do you want my wisdom or not?”
Steve slumped. “Uh… Okay… I – I legitimately have no idea how to say this aloud.”
Sam leaned forward, expression moulding into a more serious one. “Is everything okay?”
“Of course!” Steve hurried to reassure him. “Everything’s fine – I swear.”
“Okay,” Sam agreed slowly. “Then what’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong per se,” Steve said, trying to drag the conversation out a little longer. An unimpressed look from Sam shut that up fairly fast. Steve sighed. “I had coffee with Bucky earlier…”
“Traitor,” the other man muttered under his breath, though was otherwise silent.
“And he, uh, he was telling me about this… thing. That he wants to do. Have.”
Sam frowned. “What is it, a cat? A dog?”
“Yes!” Steve screeched, definitely too loud. “Yes, a dog.” He said again, a little less enthusiastic. Pets are a good analogy for babies, right?
Sam narrowed his eyes. “Okay… and what’s got you so worked up?”
“He – he kind of wants to… co-own the dog with me.” he thought up quickly. This plan was definitely not plausible, but he was in too deep now. Sam raised an eyebrow.
“Co-own a dog? Okay…” Steve huffed.
“He said – um, that he knew he was going through difficulty right now, but pets are great for – stress – and stuff.” He finished lamely. Sam seemed to at least be thinking about it.
“Sounds like a good idea, actually. But why would he want to share a dog with you? You don’t live together, and it would get confusing. I’ve never heard of anyone sharing a dog before.”
Steve froze. He really should have thought this through.
“It happened in Grey’s Anatomy!” he argued defensively. Sam raised an eyebrow, and Steve sagged. “He said he trusted me – and if he's having issues, then he wouldn’t have to worry about not being able to take care of it, and that I could instead.” He lied quickly. Sam nodded, deep in thought. He had a slight smile on his face.
“It sounds like a good idea to me,” Sam said approvingly. Steve sagged.
“Would it…” he hesitated for a second, before catching sight of Sam’s concerned expression. “Um, would it still sound like a good idea if it… wasn’t a dog?”
Sam stared at him for a very, very long moment. Or maybe it really was hours. He sighed very long and deep, before glaring at him.
“Did you seriously just use a dog as an analogy for – for what?”
In a small voice, he admitted, “A… baby?”
Sam stood up very suddenly, throwing his hands up in the air indignantly.
“You used a dog as an analogy for a fucking baby? Steven Grant Rogers, you are a goddamn fucking idiot – those are two completely different things! I knew it was weird that you wanted to co-own a dog! He wants to have your baby, and-” Sam stopped rather suddenly, turning concerned eyes onto Steve. “Wait. He wants to have your baby.”
Steve shrugged a little sheepishly. “Kinda?”
Sam sat down hard, rubbing his temples. “What the hell is going on here?”
Steve sighed. “He told me he felt – inadequate. Because you and Maria are a thing, Thor and Jane adopted a dog, Tony’s a billionaire with Pepper, I’m a relatively young, successful architect… and he’s a vet with a failed modelling career. He wants something to feel normal.”
Just like Steve had, Sam softened.
“I see the logic in that.” He admitted. “But – a baby? I’m not sure that’s a good idea.”
“He talked to his therapist?” Steve offered. “Apparently she thinks it’s a good idea. He went to doctors to talk about IUI and adoption and stuff, and he decided…”
“To use you as a donor.” Sam finished. He rubbed his eyes, not noticing the way Steve cringed.
Sam’s eyes snapped to him again. “What?”
“He, uh, doesn’t want me to be a donor? As in the… clinical kind.”
Sam rolled his eyes. “So he wants you to fuck him. Not like it’d be the first time.”
“What?!” Steve spluttered. “How did you-?”
The other man snorted. “How did you think anybody didn’t know? You always stunk of omega, and he reeked of alpha. Wasn’t hard to put together.”
Steve slumped. “I didn’t think we were that obvious.”
“You really, really were. Even Clint figured it out.”
“Clint figured it out?” he shrieked. “Ugh. Ugh. I hate everything.”
Sam gave him a sympathetic smile.
“What do you want to do?” Sam asked him quietly. Steve sighed.
“I don’t know, Sam. This… This is a baby. He said I don’t have be – involved, not if I don’t want to, but he’s my best friend.” He tugged at his hair in frustration. “He’s my best friend, wherever he goes, I go. We see each other all the time – if he had my baby, how would I not be involved?”
“Would you want to be involved, though?” Sam asked, an assessing look in his eyes. Steve didn’t even hesitate.
“Of course! It’s a kid, Sam.” He shook his head. “I was raised without a father – through nobody’s fault, just bad luck – but it made everything that much tighter for my ma. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody, let alone Bucky.”
“Do you want to do whatever it takes to get Bucky to be more comfortable in the world?” Sam pressed. Steve’s lips tightened.
“You know the answer to that question – of course I do.”
“Are you willing to do something that will require years of your lives, willing to take responsibility-?”
“Yes!” Steve snapped. “For fuck’s sake, Sam, why do you keep asking me shit like this?”
Sam leaned back, satisfied. “Because I think you have your answer.”
Steve opened his mouth to retort but stopped when he had nothing left to say.
Sam was right. Again.
“I hate you.” He settled on weakly. “A lot. I really, really do.”
“Shut up and eat your damn cookies.”