Maria didn’t even try to understand Steve’s insistence on driving to and from the airport, just shrugged and got on with it.
And yeah, Steve didn’t have to drive, Maria could send a Quinjet to their backyard and be done with it. No inconvenience, no hours of travelling. But in truth Steve needed that time, needed that distance between the life they have built and his old life in Washington.
So he kisses Bucky goodbye in the morning and drives his bike across the grassland to the ferry and makes his way to Old Forge, the private airfield where the jet is waiting to take him back to the world.
He’d thought Bucky had been joking when he’d first mentioned it.
A river flowing from the Adirondack Mountains down to the Black river at Naumberg. Mountains and lakes and reservoirs, accessible only by two days hiking or boat in summer, inaccessible in winter unless you really liked cross-country skiing.
He’d nodded and smiled when Bucky had insisted they take a look, amused and indulgent until he had come face to face with the log cabin on the waterfront, the discreet ‘For Sale’ sign tucked in the window.
Inside it had been small and cosy. A cedar log bed upstairs, a modern kitchen leading out to a living room with a glass-fronted wood burning stove, and wide open windows with a view of the rapids.
By the end of the day it was theirs. By the end of the week they were packing up their belonging and moving.
Bucky had blossomed in the quiet, the small cabin and the wide open spaces around it, and watching him fill the kitchen with cast iron pans and pots of herbs, or setting out peanuts on the veranda for the squirrels, Steve found the weight on his shoulders easing away until there was barely anything there.
The absence of the shield had been the strangest thing to get used to. No harness digging into his shoulders. No heavy weight at his back. They curled up on the couch in front of the fire and watched Sam on the news, resplendent in his role as the new Captain America, that kid Chavez flying rings around him.
He had invited himself over to dinner not long after they moved in, and caused a hell of a commotion amongst the kayakers and whitewater rafters on the nearby rapids. Who could blame them? Trying to take a vacation away from it all and Captain America flies over your head, trailing a map and asking for directions.
He left in the morning, having reassured himself that they hadn’t gone feral. He did make fun of Steve’s attempts to grow a beard, which was itchy as hell and ended up being shaved off a week later.
“Mr Rogers?” Steve looked up to see the pilot of the jet peering over at him. “We. Uh. We landed.”
The guy looked a little terrified. That still happened sometimes, people who knew who he… Used to be. Scared and in awe of the man out of time, the supersoldier who fought Nazi’s and Hydra and was lost under the ice, only to return 70 years later and pick up the shield again.
The few people that they saw in Beaver River just knew him as Steve. Bucky’s Steve.
It still caused a low thrum of joy in his chest when people would meet him and call him that. Not Cap, or Captain, or even Rogers. Steve. Bucky’s Steve.
“Thanks,” he murmurs to the terrified pilot, unbuckling his seatbelt and climbing out of the jet.
He walks down to the office and watches as the jet takes off again, turning ponderously in mid-air before jetting back to Washington.
The press conference hadn’t been bad, per se, just exhausting. Six months since he passed on the shield, and for some reason that meant having to stand in front of a bank of photographers and journalists and repeat, again, how much faith he had in Sam Wilson, how he was the only choice to take the shield when Steve had decided to retire.
Steve takes a moment to breathe, and heads out to the parking lot where his bike is propped up, waiting for him.
It’s a small ritual, little footsteps taking him away from the world, taking him home.
He drives along the quiet lanes to the ferry, parking his bike and making his way up to the deck. He leans over the railing and watches the prow of the ship cut through the water.
Ghosts can’t cross running water Bucky had said once, looking out over the river. And it had sounded like one of the superstitions his Ma had carried over from Ireland. Milk and honey for the fair folk. Cast salt over your left shoulder to blind the devil.
Steve doesn’t believe in ghosts, or the devil. He’s seen evil, and it was in the actions of men, not monsters.
Still, he thinks maybe Bucky has a point. As the ferry moves north across the expanse of water he feels the ghosts of his past slip away, and breathes freely.
He reaches the other side and goes down to fetch his bike, knocking the kickstand back and gunning the engine, following the hiking trails home.
With every mile that passes under his wheels he feels a little less Cap, a little more Steve.
It’s still light when he gets home, the late afternoon sun sparkling on the waters as he pulls up to the cabin and turns off the engine.
There’s no sign of Bucky outside. The swing seat on the veranda has a blanket draped across it, an empty cup of coffee resting on the wooden slats.
He’d been waiting. Sat on the bench and looking out at the river, waiting for Steve to come home to him.
He picks up the cup and pushes open the front door, setting it to one side as he eases off his boots and leaves them in a heap next to Bucky’s hiking boots. He shrugs off his brown leather jacket and hangs it up, taking a moment to stretch out the kinks in his back from the long day. He presses his fingers to the nape of his neck, digging at the knot of tension there and sighing.
“Buck? You there?” he calls out, picking up the coffee cup and padding quietly through the living room.
“In the kitchen,” Buck calls back, his voice low and amused.
The last lingering tension leaves Steve as that sound, and he follows it to the kitchen.
Steve freezes, and the mug slips from his fingers and bounces on the wooden floor.
The air is filled with the sweet smell of baking, and Bucky is in front of that faintly ridiculous pale pink cast iron stove that he insisted the kitchen needed, lost in thought, carefully decorating a cupcake. Chocolate, swirled with coconut, from the rich aroma and dark colour. He pipes a swirl of frosting on a cupcake in a decadent tower, almost doubling the height of the little cake. His hair falls across his face in loose tresses as he works, the bun that he’d tied it back in having long since fallen loose.
He is naked but for a small black barman apron around his waist, displaying his firm, tanned ass and the fading heart that Steve has drawn on there in sharpie before leaving, days before. He remembers the way Bucky had laughed when he had done it, kissing the skin just underneath the heart and promising to be back before it faded.
The apron is a tiny strip of cloth that barely covers his…
“Hey,” Bucky says, turning to look over his shoulder at Steve. There is a smear of frosting at the corner of his mouth that Steve wants so badly to lick away.
Bucky cocks his eyebrow and grins. “I made cupcakes.”
The noise Steve makes is just shy of embarrassing, a low whine in the back of his throat. Bucky’s smile turns sharper, and he licks a dab of frosting from the corner of his mouth.
The movement unfreezes Steve, and he takes a slow step forward.
“Yeah?” he murmurs, his voice barely above a whisper.
“Mm-hmm, chocolate coconut.” Bucky squeezes a smear of frosting onto his right fingertip and holds it out. “Wanna try?”
Steve takes a step closer, reaching out and cupping his hand around Bucky’s wrist. Bucky lowers his eyes and bites at his lip, sly and teasing. Steve brings the finger up to his mouth and flicks out his tongue, tasting sugar and chocolate, rich and thick. He swallows and pokes out his tongue again, curling it around Bucky’s finger and letting out a soft hum of pleasure. He draws Bucky’s finger into his mouth, letting the weight of it rest on his tongue as he sucks, hollowing his cheeks and slowly drawing the finger out of his mouth, tonguing at the last traces of frosting clinging to the nail.
Bucky lets out a barely audible gasp, on the edge of Steve’s hearing, and he smiles to himself, drawing the finger back into his mouth and sliding his tongue along the underside.
Bucky lets out a whimper and his metal hand spasms, squeezing the icing bag. It bursts, spraying frosting across the counter, the wall, and Bucky’s bares chest. He drops the bag and looks down at the spatter of chocolate across his stomach.
“Whoops,” he murmurs coyly, and brings his metal hand up to his mouth, licking at the frosting in the palm of his hand. “I made a mess.”
Bucky pulls his flesh and blood hand out of Steve’s grip, and turns to offer the metal one instead, looking up at Steve from under his long, dark lashes.
“Clean me up?”
The metal is cool to the touch as Steve wraps a hand around Bucky’s forearm, tracing his thumb along an interlocking seam and feeling the slight hum of machinery underneath. He cradles the back of Bucky’s hand in a cupped palm and brings it up to his chest, lowering his head and letting Bucky watch, pupils blown wide, as Steve laps up the spatters of frosting with slow, broad swipes of his tongue. He adjusts Bucky’s hand in his grip, turning it this way and that as he licks between the metal fingers, tonguing at the seams and grooves.
Steve lets out a soft sound as Bucky twists a metal finger into his mouth, sucking it in slowly, biting down when Bucky tries to pull away. Bucky pushes in a second finger, then a third, his breath catching as Steve slides his tongue between two fingers and sucks lazily. Steve smiles around the fingers in his mouth, and lets his jaw slacken enough for Bucky to slip his fingers free, trailing them across Steve’s full lower lip.
“Darlin’, the things you do to me,” Bucky’s voice is a low rasp that sends shiver down Steve’s spine.
Steve takes a step closer, eyes on Bucky’s bitten lips, on the trace of frosting on his jawline that he aches to put his teeth to. He leans forward and brushes his mouth to that smear, tasting sugar and the musky, salty tang of Bucky’s skin underneath.
He moves his way down, sucking marks in Bucky’s skin wherever he finds sweetness, grazing teeth across his hardened nipples and soothing the bites with kisses and caresses. Bucky tips back his head and moans, unsteady on his feet. Steve grips him by the waist, hooking his thumbs in the ties of the apron, anchoring Bucky in place while he licks and sucks and bites.
Steve drops to one knee, humming as Bucky threads fingers in Steve’s hair, massaging the knots the last traces of tension from the nape of his neck, moving down to stroke across his broad shoulders while Steve nuzzles at the black cotton waistband of the apron, mouthing at the thickness of Bucky’s cock straining against the fabric. Steve moans, open mouth soaking the cotton as he tongues at the length underneath, pulling a hand away from Bucky’s waist to press between his legs and bring some relief to his own cock, hard and straining against his khakis.
Bucky digs his fingers into Steve’s shoulders. “Come up here and say hello,” he rasps.
Steve whines a little, but straightens up, cupping Bucky’s jaw in the palm of his hand and kissing him. He starts slow, lazy little sips and presses of lips until Bucky loses patience, gripping him by the hips and rutting against him, biting his lip.
Steve chuckles, and Bucky takes advantage of his parted lips, licking into his mouth. As Steve wraps his hand around the nape of Bucky’s neck, he dislodges the dusting of coconut flakes caught in his hair. Bucky digs his mismatched fingers into Steve’s shoulder blades and tilts his head, slotting their mouths together and sucking on Steve’s tongue, coaxing it into his mouth.
Steve pulls his hands out of Bucky’s hair, coconut flakes falling in a sweet-scented shower like fat little snowflakes as he grabs Bucky but the ass and lifts him onto the counter. Bucky gasps into his mouth, wrapping his thighs around Steve’s hips and grinding up against him. Steve shudders, hands trailing across bare skin and losing himself in the sweet glide of tongues and scrape of teeth.
Bucky whines when Steve ends the kiss, dragging Bucky’s spit-slicked lip between his teeth and nibbling at it.
“Turn around, baby,” Steve rasps into his mouth.
Bucky’s smile turns sharp, and he slips down from the counter, turning to offer Steve the view of his broad, tanned back.
“Hands on the counter,” Steve runs his palms along Bucky’s biceps, smooth skin and warm metal, as he lays his hands flat on the counter, fingers splayed.
Steve strokes his hands up Bucky’s arms, littering skin and ridged metal with gentle kisses, working his way across the seam where metal meets flesh with teeth and tongue and lips. He grips Bucky by the waist and kisses the notches of his vertebrae one by one, slowly working his way down, dropping to one knee when he reaches the thin black cord of the apron, tied in a bow above the cleft of Bucky’s ass, pale with a dusting of icing sugar from the counter. He kisses the faded heart, pressing his teeth a little too hard, just enough for Bucky to let out a pleased gasp.
Steve swallows, cupping both cheeks in his hands and easing them apart. He breathes out slowly, feeling the muscles twitching under his palms as he leans in and runs his tongue up from taint to tailbone, feeling Bucky quiver but hold his position.
Steve breathes in the scent of him, sweet and earthy, and presses a line of kisses back down again. He presses his mouth to Bucky’s twitching hole, tasting him, flicking his tongue over the tight furl of muscle. Broad strokes alternating with light, kitten-like laps as Bucky shudders and sighs.
Steve points his tongue, easing it through the taut ring, pushing and withdrawing in a slow, steady rhythm.
Bucky grips the edge of the counter and moans, long and low, pushing back onto Steve’s tongue. He smooths his hands up Bucky’s hips, gripping the ties of the apron and holding Bucky still while he fastens his mouth over his loosening hole and sucks.
Bucky’s breath hitches, his head dropping down, hair falling over his eyes.
“Stevie, babydoll,” he sighs, arching his spine.
Steve licks into him, pushing deeper and deeper, his nose pressed to the base of Bucky’s spine, trying to draw out more of those soft, breathless gasps and low whines that Bucky lets out when Steve’s tongue curls just right.
Steve pulls back, running two fingers down Bucky’s cleft and blowing a soft breath over his hole, watching it twitch, feeling the fine tremors running down Bucky’s legs.
He glances up at Bucky, his head bowed, a fine sheen of sweat across his shoulders that Steve wants to lick away.
“Darlin’, you got any…”
Bucky shivers again. “Pocket. Apron,” he gasps.
Steve slides his hands up to Bucky’s waist, circling around and dipping down into the wide pocket at the front of the apron, rubbing his thumb over the damp fabric covering the head of Bucky's leaking cock just to hear him curse.
He finds several sachets of lube, closing his fingers around one and giving Bucky’s cock a last gentle squeeze before sitting back on his heels and tearing open the sachet.
A candy-sweet scent fills the air and he looks at the packet. Strawberry flavour. Steve chuckles and squeezes the contents onto his fingers, getting them slick. Bucky makes an impatient sound and Steve shushes him, smoothing a hand up his thigh and kissing the back of his knee. He spreads open Bucky’s cheeks and presses an open mouthed kiss to his hole, darting his tongue into the softening ring of muscle and slowly licking him open again, alternating deep thrusts of his tongue with gentle flicks over the hole. Bucky groans, pushing back onto Steve’s tongue and rolling his hips.
Steve takes the hint, withdrawing with one last flick of his tongue and sliding two slick fingers over Bucky’s hole, circling them slowly before dipping one in to the first knuckle.
It slides in, sweet and easy, and Bucky sighs as Steve pulls out, letting his fingertip catch on the rim before sinking it all the way in. He twists his wrist, pulling out and then sliding two fingers in, feeling Bucky clench around him. He pauses for a moment, giving Bucky a chance to get used to the stretch, waiting for the moment he starts to get twitch and impatient for more.
There it is, that slight tremble as Bucky fights the urge to push back. Steve kisses the heart, scissoring his fingers as he thrusts, slow and deep. Bucky’s head drops and he rolls his shoulders, panting softly as Steve crooks his fingers and pulls, drawing out low whines and curses as Bucky trembles with the effort of keeping still.
The third finger pushes in easily, and Steve only pauses for the briefest moment before he starts to thrust them in, cupping his palm over the cleft of Bucky’s ass and easing them in deep, only withdrawing them a scant inch before pushing them back in a relentless rhythm until Bucky's soft curses become broken sounds, rasped syllables that make up Steve’s name.
Steve spreads Bucky open, and leans in to breathe in the scent of him, musky and rich, and the sharp chemical tang of fruit. He slicks his tongue along the rim, stretched around his fingers, and Bucky makes a choked sound. Steve grins and flicks his tongue out again, tasting musk and strawberries, and curls his fingers.
“Ohh, fuck. Stevie,” Bucky whines, pushing back.
Steve gives one last lick before sitting back, easing his fingers free while Bucky makes a soft whimper of complaint.
“Shh, I got you,” he murmurs, kissing his way up Bucky’s spine, getting to his feet.
“I’m hearing a lot of talk,” Bucky huffs, pressing his ass against the thick length of Steve’s cock, trapped under his pants, and circling his hips painfully slowly.
Steve lets out a choked noise and quickly unbuttons his fly, pushing his pants and underwear down his hips. He reaches into the pocket of Buckys apron again, taking a moment to rub the palm of his hand over where the cloth covers the head of Bucky's cock, damp and sticky with precome. He tears open the new sachet with his teeth and slicks himself up, a sharp, sweet fragrance filling the air.
“Hmmm, cherries,” Bucky chuckles.
Steve kisses the nape of Bucky’s neck and figures he’s doing something wrong if he can string a sentence together.
“Hands on the counter,” Steve reminds him, lining up.
Whatever Bucky was going to say is lost in a low moan as Steve presses into him, slow and relentless, fingers curling around Bucky’s hip and tugging him back until their bodies are flush. He pulls out almost completely, a long slow drag across Bucky's prostate that makes him shudder, before thrusting back in, punching the breath out of him.
Bucky tips his head back, leaning against Steve’s broad chest and turning as he pumps his hips. He gives Steve a breathless grin, his sweat-dampened hair in his eyes, and offers up the long line of his neck. Steve grips Bucky’s waist tighter and sucks clumsy, passionate kisses along his jaw, licking up the sweat running down his throat. Bucky reaches back to press his metal hand, skin-warmed and tender, against the base of Steve’s spine, urging him on with gentle pressure and groaning blissfully as Steve takes the lobe of Bucky’s ear between his teeth and tugs.
Steve lifts up the slip of apron, wrapping his hand around Bucky’s cock as he increases the pace, the kitchen filling up with the sound of bitten off gasps and the slap of skin against skin. Bucky whines, torn between pushing back onto Steve’s cock or forward into the tight circle of his finger and thumb. He moans, desperate, until Steve finds a punishing rhythm, fucking into him on that sweet knife-edge of too much and not enough until Bucky arches his back and cries out, spilling over Steve’s clenched fist and spattering across the pale pink enamel of the stove.
He clenches around Steve, making him shiver and come, hips twitching. Bucky holds him in place, keeping their bodies tightly together until he has wrung every last drop of come from Steve.
“Stay,” Bucky murmurs as Steve slumps against him. “Just for a minute, okay?”
Steve wraps his arms around Bucky’s shoulders and kisses the side of his neck.
“I missed you,” he breathes into Bucky’s skin.
Bucky turns around enough to kiss the corner of Steve’s mouth. “Ain’t going nowhere, darlin’.”
Steve finally slips free, and Bucky gives him a gentle shove towards the bathroom.
“Go brush your teeth,” he laughs. “Ain’t kissing you with that mouth.”
Steve snorts and does as he’s told, coming out of the bathroom to watch Bucky gather up his hair and tie it into a messy bun with practiced ease. He pads across the floor to the bedroom, hands in his apron pocket and clearly up to no good.
“And bring the cupcakes,” Bucky calls over his shoulder before disappearing through the bedroom door.
Steve huffs and goes back to the bathroom to spit and rinse with mouthwash.
He goes into the kitchen and picks up the cakes. He looks down at the film of powdered sugar on the counter, two clear handprints, and a wide smudge where Bucky had been sitting.
He draws a heart in the sugar and licks his finger, smiling to himself as he follows Bucky to the bedroom.