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Bringing Bucky back had been a monumental task.

There’d been the finding him (the easiest part), the convincing everyone else that he was no longer a Hydra operative (harder), and the deconditioning him from all of his programming (hardest). But for a brief while, just after they’d received clearance to move Buck out of the prison-like lab that he’d been kept in for so long, it had seemed to Steve as if he and Bucky could move on with their lives. Maybe even shape a whole new great part of it together. Bucky moved his things into the Avengers’ tower and Steve expected that they’d grow back to where they’d once been, that Bucky would recover over time.

He was useful on what few missions he was invited out on. When a hostile Angolan encampment turned out to have double the number of perimeter scouts they’d anticipated, Bucky covered their sixes from the trees. When they were tasked with bringing down a Panamanian bioterrorist cell, Bucky infiltrated the target’s lab without tripping any of the complex alarms. When Natasha had been shot (twice) in a scuffle at a Chinese weapons factory and Steve was busy fighting off what remained of the staff, Bucky worked quickly and adeptly enough to remotely disarm a hydrogen bomb before it was too late. Bucky might not have worked for HYDRA anymore, but he was obviously still a soldier, and a very good one at that.

It was at home where the cracks showed. For the most part Bucky seemed appreciative of the living situation given to him. He shared a floor with Steve, and the closeness with someone familiar seemed to help. After a few weeks of solitary meals in his room he started venturing out for meals at the communal table. Not long after that he finally gave in and—quite tolerantly, in Steve’s opinion—allowed Tony to fiddle with his mechanical arm. He even occasionally came down and sat on the periphery of the living room during Wanda’s “Educate Steve on the Most Important Movies of the Last Century” movie nights.

But despite these small improvements there was still a separateness to him. A change. It wasn’t as if Steve had expected Bucky to be all well and good, let alone the same as he’d been seventy years ago. Hell, even Steve had changed. He knew that it was near-unavoidable. But unlike the friend he’d once known so well, this new Bucky was quiet, unsure of himself, and easily unnerved. He didn’t laugh at other people’s jokes and he NEVER turned his back to anyone. Loud noises, whether from the kitchen blender or Tony’s stereo system, seemed to put him on edge. He didn’t flirt with Natasha. He didn’t flirt with anyone. Steve, being the only one who’d known Bucky before, was the only one who really appreciated the extent of the difference in him.

For a while Steve let the matter go. They’d go on another mission, Bucky would prove himself again, and Steve would rationalize the behavior changes as par for the course when recovering from being frozen for so long. And though he’d occasionally been woken up, Bucky had had it worse than Steve (what with the brainwashing and the torture and all). So Bucky was slow coming out of his shell. That didn’t mean Steve had the right to interfere, to insist Bucky try feeling any other way than how he really felt. Steve forced himself to give Bucky space, even though it pained him to do so.

But then one night JARVIS woke Steve up at 3:00am and informed him that Mr. Barnes was in distress in his suite and required attention. It wasn’t until Steve barged in and found Bucky tangled in his sheets and writhing in the middle of a night terror, that he realized he hadn’t been summoned by Bucky himself. JARVIS had acted on his own. Steve knelt over the bed, grabbing Bucky by the shoulders to wake him up before he could use his metal arm to put a hole through anything. Soaked in sweat and embarrassed as all get-out, Bucky had quickly asked him to leave. After that Steve didn’t intervene again, but he did tell JARVIS to record the frequency of Bucky’s nightmares. Turns out Bucky had them most nights.

It was after this that Steve started to notice Bucky leaving the tower. With the exception of missions—during which the team used the helipad, everyone always left the building via elevator. There were stairs for emergencies of course, but no one used them. Steve caught Bucky sneaking out through the stairwell entrance near the kitchen. It was late, Bucky hadn’t seen him, and Steve just went back to bed with the glass of water he’d come out for. But then Steve fell asleep on the couch another night and caught Bucky sneaking out a second time—again late at night.

During one of their irregular sparring sessions in the gym, Natasha was in the mood to kick ass. Out on the mats, she pinned Clint, then she pinned Tony, then she pinned Sam. Then she fought for a while with Bucky (the general rule was that he wasn’t allowed to use his metal arm to its full strength). Natasha wound up pinning Bucky too, and that’s when it went to shit. She’d gotten on top of him, using his own body weight to trap one of his legs and his metal arm underneath him at an awkward angle while she kept steady pressure on his neck. “Give up,” she cajoled, sweaty and confident from already besting three others. “Come on you know you want to.”

Steve and Tony were laughing like they all did when Natasha kicked somebody’s ass during these competitions, but they stopped when Bucky roared, burst from the ground and threw Natasha half way across the room. She landed with a painful-sounding thud near the weights, whipped her head up in surprise, and Bucky just stood there looking shell shocked. Well, for a second or two at least. Breath coming heavy, he glanced around at all of them with a kind of panicked look. Steve must have been frowning or something in confusion, because when Bucky’s eyes landed on him his face crumpled in distress. He immediately turned and fled the room before even Tony could say a thing.

It was clear to Steve that Bucky was struggling. Sam had been the first one to explain PTSD to him, and Steve thought that Bucky probably had it. Hell, Steve probably had it. But the one time that Steve had hesitantly suggested to Bucky that he might want to see a therapist, they’d been browsing in the Apple store at the mall, and it hadn’t gone well. Specifically, Bucky had crushed two thousand dollars’ worth of merchandise before fleeing. Steve hadn’t blamed him. Back in their day mental illness hadn’t exactly been something people talked about, let alone admitted to. Steve had bashfully paid for the ruined laptop and not brought the idea of therapy up to Bucky again.

Bucky kept sneaking out though, and Steve started to worry that he might be doing something dangerous. So he snooped (and felt very guilty about it). There were little pieces of paper with dates in Bucky’s room, papers like the ones you’d pull out from fortune cookies. They had random words and dates scribbled on them: Wielding 3.11, Nickle 4.08 , and Ache 5.13.

Happenstance 6.10 was the most recently-dated one and Steve couldn’t resist pocketing it. If they were some of Bucky’s old trigger words, Steve didn’t know. If anyone else on the team saw those papers, if they found out about Bucky’s sneaking out, they might assume the worst—that Bucky had reverted to his programmed behaviors as HYDRA’s asset. Steve didn’t think this was the case, but he didn’t want to put Bucky through that. It was better if he handled it himself. It was just a matter of when, and how.

One night Steve was out for a jog because of insomnia and saw Bucky emerging from the stairwell’s street-level door. Steve was sweaty and out of breath and in no condition to trail him without getting caught, so he did the next best thing he could think of: he popped one of the magnetic GPS devices off the side of his wristband fitness tracker (last year’s Christmas present from Natasha) and flung it at Bucky’s left arm with a prayer that his aim would be anywhere near as accurate as Natasha’s was. It wasn’t, but the tiny disk did manage to land in the hood of Bucky’s sweatshirt and by some miracle Bucky didn’t notice it. Good enough. Steve ran upstairs to shower and change.

Steve didn’t know exactly where he’d be going as he followed Bucky’s trail, so he dressed similarly to what he’d seen Bucky wearing: dark jeans and a hoodie, sneakers. Nondescript. He considered bringing a weapon or two in case whatever Bucky had gotten involved with was dangerous, but in the end refrained. Out on the street, Steve pulled out his phone and took a look at where the GPS said Bucky had gone. Assuming that Bucky hadn’t discovered the tracker yet, the little red dot on Steve’s phone put him somewhere in Hell’s Kitchen. Steve frowned as he caught a cab. Avengers Tower was in midtown. Why would Bucky be going so far?

The cab left him off a couple of blocks from where Bucky’s tracker was. Steve walked quickly and silently. This wasn’t the best neighborhood and at this hour the few people who were around weren’t the people you wanted to engage with. When he finally arrived to where the GPS said Bucky should be, he was facing an old brick building that looked like it had once been a factory—maybe back in Steve’s time. There didn’t appear to be any lights on inside the building, but Steve could hear the faint sound of music coming from somewhere. He walked up the front steps and tried the door. Locked. He peered through one of the windows. Dark, no movement. Stepping back to the sidewalk, Steve double checked his phone to make sure he had the right place. He did. The little red dot that was the tracker indicated that Steve was within a few dozen meters of the target. Well, he thought, that was if Bucky hadn’t found the tracker and just dumped it there. Steve was beginning to believe that was the case, as it really didn’t seem like anyone was nearby.

Still, there was a faint hum of music. It could be felt more than heard. Steve wasn’t sure if a non-enhanced person would have noticed it as well as he. Maybe. He looked down the block in each direction. Most of the buildings nearby were either boarded up or else businesses that had closed for the night. Turning to head around the side of the building, Steve looked for another entrance. He didn’t find anything until he reached the alley behind. There were concrete stairs descending to a basement-level entrance. The door down there was heavily-reinforced steel. No doorknob. No window except for an eye-level slot that was firmly closed. Steve took the steps down and pressed his ear to the door. Sure enough, the base of the music was more noticeable now. Well, he supposed he’d found it. Whatever it was. Taking a breath, Steve knocked hard on the door. He only had to wait a few seconds before the slot was sliding open and a pair of heavily made up eyes peeked out at him. It was a woman’s eyes and they were narrowed with suspicion. “Password?” the woman asked. For a second, Steve was reminded of the time when he and Bucky had been teenagers and tried to sneak into a speakeasy. Now, Steve got the distinct feeling that he had stumbled upon something illicit. The woman asked for the password again.

Steve couldn’t help it, he laughed. “What is this?” The woman wasn’t amused. She began to slide the slot closed again, but before she could Steve said, “Wait! Sorry. I uh,” he shoved his hands in his pockets, trying to think quickly. Just when he thought he’d come up with nothing, his fingers brushed against something in his pocket. He pulled the piece of paper out and glanced down at it. It was one of the unexplained slips of paper from Bucky’s room. He’d forgotten that he’d pocketed it. “I…” he trailed off, wondering if it could really be so simple.

Happenstance 6.10.

That night was June tenth.

Steve didn’t waste time thinking about it. He read the word off of the paper and hoped. If he was wrong he’d know soon.

The eyes stared at him a second longer, then the iron slot slammed shut. Steve’s body buzzed with adrenaline, sure that he had just destroyed any chance he had at getting in. But then a metallic groan could be heard from the other side of the door, and the door was opening. Right away, the all-encompassing thrum of music burst through. On the other side of the entryway was the woman to whom the eyes belonged. She was short, especially compared to Steve. Her hair was brown and pulled up in a rather severe bun. She wore a crisply tailored suit. Expensive looking, but the jacket dipped low and didn’t appear to have a shirt beneath. There was a man next to her in a nice suit as well, and he was built like a brick wall (again, especially compared to Steve). Steve swallowed, then took a step inside.

The iron door was shut behind him without ceremony. They were in a small room. Black walls, black floor. There was another door leading somewhere else, and Steve itched to get through it. The suspicious woman instructed Steve to hold still while he was patted down by her counterpart. Steve allowed it, glad that he’d decided not to bring any weapons with him. The guard waved what appeared to be a metal detector over his body, and Steve had to wonder that if Bucky was here, how he could have gotten in with his metal arm. “Your phone please,” the woman demanded.

Steve tensed. “Why do you need my phone?” The guard was taking it from his back pocket before Steve even had a chance to hand it over.

“No recording devices allowed,” she said, looking even more unhappy that he’d had to ask. “What’s that on your wrist?”

“My fitness tracker,” Steve threw out as blithely as he could manage. It wouldn’t really be too big of a deal if they took it from him, except that it did have a few micro explosives in it. When the woman indicated that he should hand it over for inspection, Steve didn’t refuse. “It doesn’t take pictures,” Steve volunteered, hoping he’d be allowed to keep it. The guard grunted, apparently in Steve’s favor because he handed it back after a quick inspection. Steve wondered if he should say thank you, but in the end didn’t. Finally cleared by the huge bodyguard, Steve tried to relax. The woman asked him for the cover fee and Steve gulped. “Uh…” He reached back for his wallet. He didn’t usually carry too much cash around anymore (credit cards were one of the best inventions). “How much?”

“Two hundred.”

Jesus that was steep. It made Steve even more nervous about what the heck was going on beyond the next door. And of course he didn’t have that kind of money on him. Steve’s heart sped up as he tried to think of collateral. In a flash, he remembered that he was also wearing last year’s birthday gift from Tony. Removing it, he shoved it at the girl and said, “It’s a Rolex. Keep it.” Steve didn’t have any particular attachment to the thing, and he knew that if Tony had really known what he was sacrificing it for, he’d have understood.

The woman looked him up and down appraisingly. “Are you going in like that?” she asked. “If you want to take anything off we can hold it here.” She looked him up and down again and Steve felt judged, very judged. He glanced self-consciously down to what he was wearing.

“Um, no?”

Her eyebrows rose, but she didn’t say anything. She nodded at the guard and he stepped away, then she waved Steve forward towards the next door, the one through which the music could be heard. The one through which Steve was increasingly nervous that he’d find Bucky. “Thanks,” he couldn’t help saying. The woman ignored him and simply informed, “This is the only exit. You’ll be searched again before leaving.” Steve pushed through the door. It closed with a heavy weight behind him, but Steve never noticed because his attention was elsewhere.

The music, no longer dimmed through the walls, assaulted his ears. It was dark. The room smelled like liquor and sex. Steve felt frozen where he stood as he took it all in. There might have been a hundred people there or there might have been twice that. It was hard to tell. People were dressed in assortments of shiny, dangerous-looking outfits that either covered little or else nothing at all. There were bowls of condoms laying around and hand sanitizer dispensers on the walls. There were people tied up, chained up, to those same walls. Steve swallowed heavily at the sight of a woman being led around on a leash. He realized that he knew what this was.

Steve had discovered internet porn not long after Natasha had taught him about the internet. He’d been horrified for the split second before his brain had decided that it was exciting. No longer was sex or anything that went along with it so illicit as it had been before. Now it was everywhere, easily attainable and with more variety than Steve ever could’ve imagined. It hadn’t taken too long before he’d caught glimpses of the more… fringe sorts of porn. It hadn’t agreed with some of Steve’s more ingrained hesitancies, and mostly he managed to keep himself away. Mostly. Something in Steve though, something secret and shameful, really liked the dark rooms, the bossy dominant partners and the pliant, submissive partners of those certain types of porn.

What was going on before him now was like that, and more. Steve barely had the vocabulary for some of it, but he knew enough to figure out that what he had stumbled upon was some sort of fetish sex club.

The darkness was cut with flashes of lights coming from the ceiling in vivid blues and greens. They’d pulled rugs and chandeliers and new furniture in for people to lounge on but the room was still the brick and cement of an old factory’s basement. Pipes along the ceiling ran far back, indicating that the room was large but Steve couldn’t see how far back it went due to all of the people. Steve swallowed heavily. The music was very clear now. It was low and electronic, with a heavy pulse underneath indecipherable lyrics. It felt filthy.

A guy in short shorts and little else came up to Steve with a platter of drinks. There were several other servers just like him peppered throughout the room. “Shot Sir?” he offered. He didn’t make eye contact and Steve was taken aback by how young he looked.

“How old are you?” He couldn’t help it. It came out sounding like someone’s disapproving parent.

The guy—kid, Steve’s mind supplied—finally met his eye to give him a rueful look. He picked up one of the shots and pressed it into Steve’s chest and Steve kind of had to grasp it before the thing fell. “You must be new,” he said. “Drink it.” He walked away with his platter to serve other people, and Steve was left to blink down at the glass. In the end he downed it. Not because it would do anything for him, but because the familiar burn of the liquor going down felt nice.

He walked through a few groups of people, keeping his eyes peeled for any sign of Bucky. Everyone was either engaging in sex acts or else watching them. It was obvious that nobody was going to be judged for staring in this place, but Steve still knew he must be blushing. Under his sweatshirt he felt uncomfortably warm. Old-fashioned sensibilities aside, Steve was smart enough to know that openly performing sex acts in a place of business wasn’t legal. He supposed that was why he’d faced such scrutiny at the door.

A few people pushed past Steve—not rudely, it was just very crowded—when with very little warning, a woman sidled up alongside Steve and strung her arm through his. Steve glanced down, prepared to give as polite of a “No thank you” as he could manage, but he didn’t get there. Instead his jaw dropped in recognition. “Natasha?”

She smiled without looking at him. “Surprised to find you here Cap.”

She rarely called him that anymore outside of missions or teasing. Steve stopped walking, grabbing her shoulders and moving them to the nearest wall. Natasha leaned back against it like she’d been expecting this. “Nat what are you—” he’d been going to say “doing here,” but he eyed her up and down and what came out instead was, “…wearing?”

Natasha’s lips split then in a real grin. It wasn’t like Steve had really had to ask. It was plain as day what she was wearing: a shiny black and red, skin tight, rubbery version of what everyone else seemed to be wearing. She had a corset on, and that was the only piece of clothing that Steve knew the name for. “Do you like it?” she asked, and Steve made a sound of indignation.

“I’m not here for fun,” he said.

“Neither am I,” Natasha replied, all trace of teasing gone from her voice. “But you could’ve tried harder to blend in.” She eyed his outfit critically.

Steve let go of her shoulders with a huff. “I didn’t know…” Didn’t know. There was so much that he didn’t know. Still didn’t. “I didn’t know where I’d end up.”

That seemed to be answer enough for Natasha. “If you were suspicious of where he was slipping off to every night you should have done more reconnaissance.”

“Reconnaissance?” Oh.

Steve steeled his jaw. But of course Natasha would have figured it out before Steve himself did. For all he knew, she’d been following Bucky to this sex club for weeks, watching him tie people up and dominate them. Watching him use them as objects on which to vent his frustration and pain. Steve hated to assume that but it made immediate sense. He’d even been thinking it himself when he’d realized the sort of place he’d stumbled into. Bucky had been imprisoned, tortured and turned into a weapon. Steve had no idea if he’d ever been raped, but it was a distinct possibility. Regardless, it wasn’t exactly shocking that Bucky would be desperate for control; control that’d been robbed from him for so many years. And now it seemed that he’d found a way to get it back.

Steve eyed Natasha stiffly. “You haven’t told anyone else?” If Natasha had noticed Bucky’s activities, he wasn’t sure if she would have kept it to herself.

“No need. He kept coming here and all I had to do was watch the other people going in to know it wasn’t exactly a Hydra reunion. I knew it wasn’t serious.”

“NOT…!” Steve fought to keep his voice down. “Not serious?” He gestured around. “How can you say that? Look at this place.”

Natasha twisted her lips at him. “It’s a sex club.”

Steve made an abortive sound in his throat. “It can’t be legal.”

“Well it’s not safe. With all the liquor they’re serving they’re certainly not playing sane.”

“Sane?”

Natasha shook her head. “Never mind. What are you planning to do?”

Steve frowned. “Do?”

“When you see him.” She peered knowingly at him. “Are you planning on dragging him out of here?”

“I…” Steve faltered. He hadn’t thought of that. Hadn’t thought that far ahead. He’d halfway been expecting to find Bucky doing something dangerous, something covert, something different than… this. Natasha’s words suddenly hit him though, and his attention snapped back to her with new realization. “You’ve seen him.” It wasn’t a question and Natasha knew it. “Where is he?”

For the first time she looked hesitant. After a beat she tilted her head in indication. “All the way back. There’s a sort of… whipping post around the corner. It’s drawing a crowd. You can’t miss it.” Steve immediately made to move, but her hand caught his wrist and she warned him, “He might not want to know you’re here.”

“This place isn’t safe,” Steve replied stiffly. “You said so yourself.”

“He also came here willingly. Remember that,” she warned. But she let him pull away and didn’t follow after him.

Steve didn’t look back to see if she’d stay or leave. He suspected she’d leave now that she knew Bucky hadn’t defected back to Hydra, but it didn’t really matter. Steve only had one objective on his mind, and that was to retrieve Bucky. He weaved between the people in his way, doing his best not to draw attention to himself. In the very back of the basement there was a crowd of people that’d circled around to watch something. Steve pushed his way through until he had a spot in the circle.

He felt his breath catch, shock draining the blood from his head in one quick rush.

There was a thick pipe of some sort that went from floor to ceiling, and a man facing it. It was Bucky, Steve knew right away from his metal arm, his messy hair, the shape of his back, and the scars. There were different types of scars all over his back. Steve had seen them before, knew they were old. A holdover from Bucky’s days with HYDRA. It was surprising to Steve that Bucky would willingly bare them in a public place like this. The two of them shared a living space and Bucky had always turned away quickly if Steve caught him sleepy in the morning, making coffee in his pajama pants; or sweaty and having shed his tee in the gym. Steve had thought the scars were something Bucky preferred not to display.

But now all Bucky wore were his jeans. His top and sweatshirt and even his shoes had been taken from him. Steve’s mind automatically supplied the little detail of ‘taken’ because, based on present circumstances, there was no way that Bucky had come to this place to dominate anyone. He’d come here to be dominated.

He was kneeling on the floor facing the pipe. His arms were stretched overhead, making the muscles in his arms and back stand out. His wrists were held to the pipe by intricately-tied ropes. They definitely looked like something from which an enhanced person like Bucky could pull free if he wanted to, but he wasn’t struggling.

He wasn’t struggling at all actually.

From what Steve could see, Bucky was staring down in front of himself, perhaps at the floor. His breathing seemed to be measured and even, if the gentle movement of his back was anything to go by. But there was the faintest trace of a shine along the tops of his shoulders, sweat beginning to bead there. Steve didn’t like that he couldn’t see Bucky’s face from his angle, so he moved around the circle that’d gathered until he had a better vantage. From there, he could see that Bucky’s eyes were open.

Strange. He had expected them to be closed. Maybe squeezed shut. Steve remembered what Natasha had said, about Bucky having come there willingly.

Steve’s eyes flashed to the side where a number of implements designed for hurting another person hung from the wall. He swallowed nervously, not sure what was going to happen next but quite certain that he wouldn’t like it. There were knives on that wall.

A woman walked up to Bucky’s side and stroked a hand down the length of his flesh arm. She had curls pinned in her hair and painted lips and was actually very attractive. Her outfit was even a little more decent than most of the others around. She wore a high-waisted pencil skirt and ruffled top. Aside from Steve himself, she might have been the most thoroughly-dressed person in the room. And though her clothes were made of latex, something about the style of them, along with the way she wore her hair and her red lips, reminded Steve of the girls that used to fill the dance halls on Friday nights way back when.

She looked younger than Bucky, and even standing behind him while he was kneeling, she looked so much smaller than him—dainty next to his broad back, his stretched arms. But Bucky was the one tied up and she seemed very, very sure of herself. Steve didn’t get the feeling that this was the first time she’d done something like this. Her first touch to Bucky’s arm hadn’t seemed to elicit too much of a reaction from him, but when she brought a flogger down from the wall and trailed the ends of it softly over his back and shoulders, all the muscles in him corded a little tighter in anticipation. He shivered.

“Relax,” she told him, and Bucky obeyed, an unheard sigh parting his lips.

“Yes Mistress.”

Steve felt something hot and awful sweep through him at hearing Bucky call the woman that. He felt himself react, cock filling a little in his pants. He could see that Bucky was already hard within the confines of his own jeans, which rode low on his hips. Steve had to wonder if Bucky knew the woman. He wondered if she’d tied him up like this before, made him kneel in this same spot until he was hard with anticipation.

She looked out at the circle of people that’d gathered and gave them a saucy smile. “Hello lovelies. I’m Mistress Leda, to those of you who might somehow not already know.” A chorus of familiar murmurs and giggles went around the circle, with one or two people making catcalls. “Shhh. Oh stop it!” Leda laughed (and God, Steve hated how pretty she was when she laughed). She turned back to Bucky. “And this beautiful specimen I have right here, is my absolute favorite play thing.” She reached down to run her fingers through Bucky’s hair.

Steve’s eyes widened when he noticed that Bucky seemed to lean into the touch. Like a dog, eager for whatever its owner would give it. It did strange things to Steve’s stomach, seeing Bucky behave like that. Normally he was so closed off, so defensive. To see him making himself vulnerable like this… It wasn’t what Steve was used to.

Leda was still addressing them all. “Now I’m going to be doing a lot of things to him this evening. A lot of fun things. And you are all very welcome to watch and enjoy yourselves. That’s what we’re all here for, after all. I only have one rule for you.” Flogger slung over her shoulder, she slipped a hair tie off of her wrist. She took the elastic and drew Bucky’s hair back, securing it into a low bun. “And that one rule is that nobody gets to touch this man except for me.” She turned suddenly sharp eyes to them all. Steve swallowed at the threat in them. “We don’t use safewords here. You know that.” Leda said. “I am his safeword. So follow the damn rule and don’t. Touch. Him.” She stopped talking to them as if that was explanation enough. Maybe it was. The way she’d issued that last command to everyone—as if she would hurt them in ways that they wouldn’t like if they crossed her—reminded Steve a little bit of Natasha and how she could be at her most ruthless. Steve wished that Nat was still there so that he could ask her what a safeword was. It sounded important.

Leda had turned her attention back to Bucky. “You’ve been so patient for me James,” she praised him, and Steve was shocked to hear his real name coming from her lips. He hated it instantly, as if she shouldn’t be allowed to know it. Bucky however thanked her quietly and remained still. “Are you ready to show these people what it is that’s got you kneeling here like a needy whore?” she asked him, though the question sounded rhetorical. Bucky shivered again but didn’t answer. Leda went and knelt behind him, reaching around perfunctorily to undo his belt and pull open his pants. “Look at you,” she murmured at finding him already hard and straining against her hand. “Eager boy.” She shimmied the pants down along with his underwear until they rested on the thick swell of his thighs. Bucky showed absolutely no sign of resisting, and when Leda stood back up and kicked lazily to get him to spread his knees further apart, he did so obediently. She stood back up behind him and began tracing the planes of his back again with the soft tails of the flogger.

Steve felt mesmerized. The muscles near the side of Bucky’s butt clenched with the strain of holding still, of not thrusting his hips forward when he was this aroused. And being exposed the way he was, well... There was no way Steve could not look. Bucky’s cock was hard—harder than it should have been with so little stimulation. He was circumcised. Steve had known this of course, but the last time he’d seen Bucky exposed had been in 1944 when they’d been a few meters off from the rest of the Commandos, taking a piss in the freezing Austrian woods. It hadn’t exactly been in a sexual context, and Steve had never seen him hard.

Bucky’s cock stood out proudly from his belly, smooth and pink along the length of it. The tip—god—the tip was fat and flushed and wet. Steve watched the way Bucky’s breath made his lower stomach heave, and there was nothing Steve wanted more than to kiss him there, to run calming hands over Bucky’s stomach and to put his mouth on that beautiful, straining cockhead. The thought probably should have shocked him more than it did, but it was the next one that really caught Steve off guard.

Bucky was beautiful like this, he thought. Kneeling, aroused and bound. Submitting. The sight got Steve off. And god help him, Steve wanted to be the one standing behind Bucky with that flogger.

His eyes trailed back to between Bucky’s legs. It was all bare and smooth down there. Steve had seen this in porn of course, but the idea was still a newer concept to him. It did, however, afford him a clear view. There was some kind of ring around the base of Bucky, and Steve thought that whatever it was, it looked painful. Bucky didn’t seem to be in pain at all though.

His eyes had shifted from the ground a bit by now. He was staring ahead of where he knelt. Steve might have worried that Bucky would glance over and spot him, but Bucky didn’t seem to be seeing any of the people who had gathered round to watch. His gaze was a thousand yards long, his eyes already hazy with…

What was it? Steve wondered. Compliance? Need? Want?

Want. It was definitely want. Bucky was completely and undeniably undone by this, Steve realized like a punch to the gut. Not just that; he was entranced by it. Bucky’s prick was hard between his legs and his gaze a million miles away just because somebody had gone and tied him up and talked down to him. Hadn’t even done anything yet. Just the promise of being treated like a thing had Bucky slipping away.

Steve swallowed, not sure how to process that let alone understand it.

Leda went to the wall of instruments. Resting the flogger over her shoulder once more, she reached for the hand sanitizer dispenser, pumping some of its viscous liquid into her palm and holding it there. Addressing the crowd again, she said, “I don’t know how many of you all have met James before, but he has a reputation for being a very well-behaved little pain slut.”

The crowd of people murmured excitedly, pleased at that. Steve winced. Bucky had a reputation here?

“Oh yes,” she drawled. “James is very popular. The other Masters and Mistresses adore him. He’s become the new dungeon favorite. But,” she added, “he’s a little bit different from my other playthings. And I’m not talking about that arm of his. He doesn’t like being touched. Do you baby?” When no reply came she glanced sharply over her shoulder at Bucky. “I asked you a question James. You had better answer if you know what’s good for you.”

“No mistress. I don’t.”

“That’s right you don’t.” Leda smirked at him, though Bucky couldn’t see it. “Thought I wouldn’t figure that out, did you?”

Bucky’s fingers wrapped themselves a little bit tighter around the ropes, his lips quivering, but he kept quiet.

“You see folks, he only comes here for punishment. He doesn’t ever ask to have his cock touched, or sucked, or to be fucked. Doesn’t want to give that part of himself to us, I suppose. He holds back, tries not to come. Every time it’s the same. You see that cock ring he’s wearing? He put that there before he even arrived. I didn’t give him permission for that.” Leda pouted visibly. “It’s like he doesn’t want to surrender his pleasure to me. To anyone really. It’s as if he has the nerve to believe that his orgasms actually belong to him.” She sneered. “And I bet you anything he’s off jerking it in the first alleyway he finds on the way home. Now I don’t think that’s very acceptable behavior. Do you all?”

“No,” the crowd answered.

“I agree.” She was still perusing the wall of instruments. “So tonight I think we should switch things up on him. I think it’s high time this slave learns that he gets NO say here. Not in anything.” She turned her head minutely to the side. “What do you all think?”

“Yes!” It wasn’t just one person who said it. The word went around the circle in a staccato of agreement. There was a man directly to Steve’s right that laughed his response as if he was watching some grand comedy, as if Bucky was an animal instead of a person and they were all just assembled there to watch him be baited. Steve wanted to hit him.

“Good. Good,” Leda said. She was still facing the wall, considering her choices. After a moment she grabbed a condom from a bowl and something else that Steve couldn’t see but which made a few people who could see, chuckle. “This ought to make him squeal,” Leda murmured. “Little bitch is going to give it up tonight.”

Steve tensed. Bucky did too, though it was minute and Steve was sure that no one else noticed. Steve knew that no one else had been able to hear Leda speaking so quietly. She’d murmured that last part privately to herself, not knowing that both Steve and Bucky had enhanced hearing and could make it out over the music. Steve glanced back at Bucky’s face. He didn’t look upset. He looked resolute. And the woman—Leda—spared a moment to smirk back at Bucky as if to gauge a reaction from him. …Maybe this woman did know about Bucky, Steve thought with disappointment. Maybe she was in on how much he could do. How much he could take. Steve hoped not because if so, then whatever she was about to unleash on him was probably going to be so much worse.

It was only when she turned back around with that cupped hand of liquid, the condom, and a black sex toy that Steve realized his mistake in assuming that the dispensers on the walls contained hand sanitizer.

She walked back over to Bucky and got behind him once more, this time crouching. Her high heels looked sharp and mean where they rested next to the exposed bottoms of Bucky’s bare feet. Her lips held right next to Bucky’s ear, she asked him—again in a whisper meant for no one but him to hear, “So James, you think you can still hold your load in once I’ve stuffed something real buzzy and good up your ass?” Bucky looked tense at hearing those words simpered so sweetly to him. Steve didn’t miss the way his nostrils flared, his lips thinned. “Because that’s what you’re going to get,” she said, moving her hand—the one with the lube—to his backside.

Steve couldn’t see everything from his position, but he knew from watching Bucky’s face exactly when she’d penetrated him. It mustn’t have hurt too bad, or at all, because Bucky held still as she worked him open, little pants beginning to leave his lips once she got more than two fingers inside of his body and really pumped them.

Steve was flabbergasted. He couldn’t imagine what it must feel like to have someone degrade you and stick their fingers in your ass in front of a crowd of people. Even if he could’ve imagined it, he was sure that whatever he came up with, the experience was something else entirely for Bucky. Bucky didn’t fight it. He stayed still for her as she worked his body over. He looked aroused but extremely defiant, as if, had he been allowed to speak, he would’ve said, “Try your damned hardest but you won’t get that from me. Not that.”

Behind him, Leda ripped open the condom she’d grabbed and slid it over the toy. She ran her lubed hand down the length of it and held it to his entrance with a chuckle. “What do you think this is James?”

“I don’t know Mistress.” Bucky’s voice was still pitched low, aroused. He still had that far away stare. Apparently being threatened with something he didn’t want done to him wasn’t enough to break him out of whatever headspace he’d been enjoying.

“It’s a special vibrator that’s going to sit right on your prostate. Stimulate it from the inside and out. Think you can hold back from that?”

For the first time, Steve saw Bucky’s eyes slip shut. It was only for a second, but in that second Bucky looked crestfallen. The woman behind him couldn’t see. “I don’t know,” he said. “I… don’t think so.” He sounded almost sad at admitting it.

Leda seemed content to ignore Bucky’s slip in addressing her by her title, instead bumping the toy against Bucky’s hole. “Ready?”

She wasn’t really asking in consideration. She’d pushed the toy against and into Bucky before he ever would have had a real chance to say no. On his face, Bucky’s expression morphed from shock, to fear, to pleasure, to a very stubborn look of determination in the span of a few seconds. Leda used a remote to turn the vibrations of the toy on. Steve could see the immediate change in Bucky—how his muscles tightened, how his brow pinched and his lips parted. Leda reached down to the part of the toy that curved outside Bucky’s body and she pressed it firmly up against his perineum, and wiggled it.

A fast huff of breath left Bucky’s mouth, as if he’d only barely managed to hold back a louder moan. He was obviously struggling against the pleasure. It made Steve’s heart clench and his cock throb to see that just yards away poor Bucky was gritting his teeth as if he was already being whipped, as if this was the painful part. It was backwards.

Bucky whined unhappily, pulling his body away from Leda as if he could escape the vibrations inside of him. Of course it didn’t work, but it made Steve frown. With what was happening, Steve had to wonder if Bucky had known exactly what was going to be done to him before he’d let them tie him up that night. Steve hoped so, otherwise this was fucked already.

“There,” Leda crooned sweetly, small hands guiding Bucky’s hips back into his kneeling position. “See? You took that so well. Knew you would.” She patted the toy up against Bucky’s sensitive areas again, eliciting a grunt from him. This made her laugh as she stood back up and set the remote control aside. “Now we can get down to business,” she told him, wiping her hands off and pulling the flogger from her shoulder. It was a plain leather flogger. Long, thin strips with a handle. Steve had seen them used in porn—the fringe porn that he mostly kept himself away from.

She took the flogger and held it in both hands, her eyes on the ground and then Bucky’s back, the ground and then Bucky’s back, minutely adjusting where her feet were placed. Steve realized that she was taking time to properly space herself. She needed to be the proper distance from Bucky to hit him just right. Steve swallowed.

Without any more preamble, Leda held the flogger in front of herself, pulling the many loose ends back in her opposite hand until they were taut. She held perfectly still for the smallest moment, her eyes keen on the rise and fall of Bucky’s back as he took in breaths. Then she released her hold, allowing the many leather tails to swing forward and hit Bucky’s skin with a resounding thud.

For the second time that night, Bucky’s eyes closed. And when they opened again they looked totally blown. If his gaze had been far away before, it was in the stratosphere now. Steve’s gut clenched horribly at that first strike, and not for the reasons he would have wanted to admit to. Bucky’s face looked pleasured and Steve’s cock thickened further at the sight of it. For the first time, Steve really wanted to touch himself. For the first time, Steve hoped that Natasha had not stayed in the building.

The flogger came down again rapidly. And again, and again, and again with no break. They didn’t seem to be brutally hard hits, but Steve couldn’t imagine that it didn’t hurt somewhat. Leda hit Bucky in waves, with perhaps a half dozen swings at a time before pausing, stepping thoughtfully somewhere else, and raining down another series of blows in a new location. The heavy ‘thwak thwak’ sounds of the flogger filled Steve’s ears, making him nearly forget that there was music playing in the room at all. All Steve could focus on was the sound of the leather hitting Bucky’s back, the way that Bucky’s face bloomed in pinched ecstasy and his skin turned pink. The soft moans that, after the first five minutes or so, started easing past his lips in a low, continuous hum. The muscles in Bucky’s arms had relaxed somewhat. He’d allowed himself to let go of some of the rigid tension that had been locked in his body before. Steve realized with a drop in his stomach that this… this punishment, this pain, was giving Bucky some sort of release. Bucky’s face held an almost relieved expression on it and, God help him, Steve thought that it was beautiful.

For a second Steve forgot to be worried for his friend.

But then the vibrator that’d been inside of Bucky fell to the floor.

The flogging stopped almost immediately. Bucky was panting a little, but he didn’t seem aware of what he’d done. The woman behind him however, did. Leda was staring at Bucky as if he’d done something very disobedient. Tossing the flogger aside, she stalked angrily to where Bucky knelt, reaching down between his legs to where the vibrator buzzed quietly against the floor. She didn’t say anything to him, simply got up and retrieved another condom and more lube from the dispenser. Back behind Bucky, she prepped the toy and said roughly in Bucky’s ear, “You’re such a goddamn whore for it you can’t even follow simple directions, hmm? Is that it?”

Bucky froze, apparently just now realizing that this wasn’t a breather. He’d let the toy fall out of his body and to the ground. He’d disobeyed. With no prompting, he said, “I’m sorry Mistress.”

“No, you’re not sorry James. Not for that. You’re just sorry that you’re in trouble.” She reached around and slapped him on the face. Bucky made no sound. “You’re pathetic. Do you honestly think that you deserve anything stinging your backside if you can’t even follow your Mistress’s ONE direction?”

Bucky hung his head further. He looked pained, though she couldn’t see it. “Please Mistress. Let me try again. I can be good for you. I…” he swallowed, “I can keep it in.”

She leaned so close to him that Steve thought Bucky could probably feel her breath against the skin of his neck. “You’d fucking better,” she snapped, “or else I’m going to find some other slut who’s more appreciative of my attentions, tie you up against the fucking wall and make you watch them get what you’re aching for.” She shoved the toy back into him with no warning, eliciting a surprised grunt from Bucky. “Now as it stands,” Leda said, standing back up and brushing her hands over her skirt as if she’d dirtied it by being so close behind Bucky. “All of these nice people have been waiting for a show, so I’ll still work you over just the way you like. But only if you don’t push that thing out of your ass again.”

Bucky nodded desperately at the floor. “Yes, yes Mistress I won’t. I won’t I promise.”

She chuckled, but it was a mean chuckle. “We’ll see. But first…” She sauntered around in front of Bucky and crouched before him. Bucky had to lean back a bit from the pipe his arms were tied to so that she could fit in, but there was enough room. It was the first time that Steve had seen Bucky look at the woman, and the expression of pure lust and even neediness and familiarity that he saw there made Steve’s stomach curl in jealousy. They had definitely done this together before. Many times, if Steve had to guess. “First you’re losing this.” She reached for his prick unceremoniously, still-slick hand tugging at the cock ring he wore to get it to roll up and off of Bucky’s erection. Bucky’s hips jerked. He made a sound of protest; a panicked whine that was anything but dignified. It didn’t really make it past his throat, but Leda scolded him all the same. “None of that James. There’re consequences for bad behavior, and this is yours.” She smirked. “Well, one of them anyway.” She slapped lightly at his balls just to watch his face crumple. Standing, she tossed the cock ring aside as if she had no intention of ever returning it to Bucky. Without it, he’d have a much harder time holding himself back from orgasm. Steve hadn’t come into this knowing that, but based off of firsthand experience with his own anatomy, and the distressed look on Bucky’s face at his “consequence,” Steve could guess as much.

“Why don’t we make this a little more of a challenge for you, hmm?” Leda went over and retrieved the remote to the toy she’d put back inside of Bucky. She must have pressed the button on it to up the level of vibration, because Steve could instantly see the tension zip back through Bucky’s body. Now he was back to looking pained, like he was fighting something he really didn’t want.

Steve felt guilty that he was still hard in his pants. Harder even than he had been before. He knew he was out of his depth here. He didn’t understand all of what was going on, either physically or psychologically, but he wasn’t stupid. He knew that this was wrong—so wrong—and that he should do something, should be putting a stop to it now. Before it could go any farther, get any worse. But something held him back. Whether it was the ache in his cock or the fact that Bucky had yet to utter a single word or gesture of protest to what was being done to him, Steve couldn’t tell. Maybe it was a mixture of both.

Leda went back to the wall of items, touching some of them and moving on when she decided against one implement or another. Seemingly dissatisfied by the selection (Steve didn’t see how she could be; there seemed to be one of everything) she instead moved away and looked around the crowd of assembled viewers, surveying them. “Does anyone have a belt they’d like to donate?” she asked cheerfully. Poor Steve, naive as he was, had one blissful moment where he didn’t understand why on earth the woman would want someone’s belt.

But then of course it dawned on him. He physically felt the blush spread over his face and neck. And really, it was a bit hilarious that out of everything that’d happened thus far, that was what was bringing color to his face.

Leda was scanning the circle, eyes sharp. A few men who had actual pants on had already raised their hands like eager school children, ready to volunteer their own belts, but she passed them over as her eyes moved further down the circle. Steve didn’t feel the lump of apprehension lodge in his throat until her eyes settled on him. And held.

Shit.

Steve felt panic prickle along the edge of his hairline as she smiled sweetly and started walking towards him. Natasha was right, you idiot! he told himself. You stick out like a sore thumb! Leda was in front of him now, giving him her presumptive lipstick smile. Steve’s eyes shot over to Bucky, terrified that he’d be looking over. That he’d see him.

But Bucky wasn’t looking. His eyes were aimed straight ahead at the pipe in front of him, looking but not seeing. His gaze was far away again, his features tense from fighting the arousal that’d been forced on him. For a heartbeat Steve was distracted by that one, severe crease between Bucky’s brows. He thought of going over there, of dropping to his knees in front of Bucky and kissing that furrow away. Of holding Bucky’s cock in his hand and pulling on it. Of putting his lips to Bucky’s forehead and telling him sweet things. Telling him that he didn’t need all of that pain, that he could come from something that felt good, that it was okay, that Steve had him and he could just let go…

“Hello there.”

Steve blinked, pulled back from his thoughts. The woman, Leda, was right in front of him. She was looking up at him with a degree of amusement.

“He’s beautiful isn’t he?”

Steve frowned. She must have noticed him staring at Bucky. And so she thought that he was a just another drooling voyeur, like all the other people in the circle. Steve’s ego rallied against that thought, incensed. He knew Bucky. He wasn’t some pervert. He was there to protect his friend. He wasn’t like any of these people! But another part of Steve’s mind reminded that he was half hard underneath his clothes, that he was fantasizing about Bucky, and—perhaps worst of all—that he did like seeing him tied up and begging with his pants around his knees. Steve swallowed, his mouth feeling dry. He didn’t like that thought one bit.

“Is this your first time?” she asked him, not unkindly.

Steve’s jaw clenched. He didn’t want to answer her. Not verbally anyways. And not because he cared about being some sort of BDSM virgin, but because… He glanced nervously again to Bucky (who still wasn’t looking at them, thank god). …Because if Buck heard his voice (would he even hear it in the state he was in?) Steve would give himself away. And he didn’t know how Bucky would react to that. Negatively, he assumed. Because Bucky had been sneaking out. Sneaking. He obviously hadn’t wanted anyone to know where he was going or what he was getting up to. Natasha’s words from earlier came playing back to Steve, as if she were really there still whispering them in his ear.

He might not want to know you’re here.

Steve blinked, sealing his lips together to prevent anything verbal from coming out. Instead he nodded his head yes, figuring that enough of an answer for the woman.

It must have been because she smiled sweetly (and Steve hated it because her prim red lips reminded him of Peggy and Dear Jesus God Steve hoped Peggy couldn’t look down from heaven and see where he was right now) and she said, “Always exciting to see new faces.” Her hands moved forward, touching lightly at the waist of his jeans. Steve was too shocked at the forwardness of it to do anything about it. “You know… you’re wearing a belt,” she pointed out unnecessarily. Her fingertips lingered right by Steve’s belt buckle, and suddenly Steve was acutely aware of exactly how hard he was. He tried to fight the urge to glance down to his crotch to check to see how obvious his erection was, but when Leda began undoing the buckle, he lost that battle.

Steve saw the front of his pants. It was pretty obvious.

But she made no comment on that. Perhaps because she expected everyone in the room to be aroused to some degree. Feeling too stupid to do anything else, Steve could only watch as her dainty hands made quick work of his belt, unbuckling it and pulling it swiftly from the loops. She ran it through her hands as if testing the weight of it. A pleased hum came from her lips. “Wow. Good quality leather. Nice width. Nice weight. And well worn-in too. Supple.” She grinned at him conspiratorially. “It’s ideal for a good strapping. Do you mind if I use this on James?”

His Name Is BUCKY, flew through Steve’s head, and it was an angry thought. Probably because No, he didn’t want her to use it on him. He didn’t want this woman to hit Bucky with anything. Steve wanted to go up to that pipe that ran from floor to ceiling, remove the ropes binding Bucky’s arms, and march them both straight out of there.

The fact that the idea of Bucky being hit with Steve’s very own belt did things to him was beside the point.

But Leda already had it in her hands, Steve had resolved not to speak lest he alert Bucky to his presence, and instead of uttering or doing any of the myriad of things that occurred to him, Steve just nodded again. She smiled at him once more as she slowly walked backwards to where Bucky was. “Don’t worry,” she assured Steve, somehow realizing that he needed assurance. “I promise you he’ll love it.”

Steve had absolutely nothing to say to that. He just watched as she went up to Bucky and, just like she had with the flogger, ran the belt gently over the skin of his back and buttocks so that he could feel it. Steve felt his heart jump at the sight of his own belt resting against the swell of Bucky’s ass and he knew, he just knew, that he would have to draw that image. With pencils, or maybe charcoal. Something simple. He’d capture it on paper and probably jerk off to it a thousand times. Steve didn’t mean to think it so much, but he couldn’t help coming back to the same conclusion over and over again: that Bucky was beautiful like this.

“Tell me pet,” Leda was saying, addressing Bucky again. “How are you doing with that toy buzzing away against your private parts, hmm?” In the crowd, someone giggled, but Bucky answered as if he hadn’t heard.

“It’s difficult Mistress.”

“Aw. Poor baby. Is it?” She doubled Steve’s belt in her hand, winding the excess length around her fist. She went around to stand so that Bucky could see her from where he knelt. Reaching down, she stroked the side of his face with the belt. It was almost tender, the way that she touched him. Bucky’s eyes lit up at the sight of the impromptu strap and he practically purred as it slid along his cheek like a caress. “You have an admirer,” she told Bucky. “Isn’t that nice? And he’s so generous to offer his own belt so that I can make your ass all pretty and red. You want to be pretty and red for me, don’t you James?”

“Yes. Yes! Please Mistress. I want that, please,” Bucky said. Steve felt his stomach swirl at the breathless way that Bucky begged to be hurt.

“Aww. You do? You want that?” she cooed. She tapped the belt under Bucky’s chin to get him to look up at her. “Well you’re going to be the happiest little pain slut in the room baby, because I’m going to work you over so good you won’t remember your own name.” Bucky sunk his head down, looking so relieved to hear that. “But first we’re going to add a liiittle bit of extra… stimulation,” she added, going for the remote.

And that had Bucky’s gaze snapping right back up to her in apprehension. “Please,” he said weakly. “Please don’t. I can’t…”

“Because you ARE going to come for all of these nice people.”

“Mistress,” Bucky all but sobbed. “I don’t want to.”

“Hush,” she chided. “Really. I don’t know what I could’ve done to make you think I care about what you want. This isn’t about what you want, James. It’s about what you need. Mm, but a desperate thing like you can’t be expected to know the difference.” She took the remote that controlled the vibrations of the toy, held it right in front of Bucky’s face, and pushed the button on it.

Bucky’s body gave a pronounced jerk, and this time he couldn’t hold back the cry that emanated from his lips. “OH fuuck,” he whined, squeezing his eyes shut tight and panting for a moment. The woman chuckled at the display she’d gotten from him and pushed the button again. Bucky wasn’t expecting it this time and he choked on a sound. A rush of precum oozed out of his cock, shining on the head for a moment before falling, creating a lazy line to the floor. It broke when Bucky started mindlessly fucking his hips forward. “Mistress, pleeease.”

“Please what, James?” she asked. “Do you want more?”

“No.” It came out little more than a whisper, so Steve doubted that anyone but he and she heard it.

“Want me to stroke you? Or maybe smear my lipstick all over your desperate cock while I fuck that toy into your ass? Do you want to come so good for me?”

Bucky’s eyes stayed screwed shut. He’d had them shut for nearly a full minute now—the longest since this whole thing had started. “Please no,” he whispered (and it sounded to Steve like he really meant it). “Please no.”

Leda laughed, and it was a deep-throated, truly amused roll of laughter. And very clearly at Bucky’s expense. “Oh James. You know I don’t think I’ll ever fully wrap my head around you.” She reached to gently tuck a stray hair away from his sweaty forehead. “You are so fucked up baby.”

Bucky whimpered. He wet his lips, meeting her eyes and begging, “Leda, please.”

She physically jerked at his use of her name. Apparently he didn’t have permission to use it. “You stupid thing,” she said. “You don’t even know what you want. Look at you: you’re drooling.” She reached down far enough to catch the string of precum dripping from Bucky’s cock, then held it up in front of his face as if it were some sort of damning evidence. She smeared it roughly across his cheek. “You’re making a mess all over the floor—a mess that you WILL be cleaning up later mind you—and nobody’s even touched your cock yet.”

Steve felt a stinging pain in his hands, too busy being ready to jump in and STOP all of this to realize that the pain was coming from him digging his own nails into his palms. Bucky didn’t look like he was enjoying this anymore (not in the way that counted the most at least). Steve had to physically keep hurting himself to keep from stepping forward and doing something rash.

Bucky was still struggling with the onslaught of sensation that’d been forced on him when Leda went back to stand behind him. Steve didn’t think Bucky even noticed that she’d moved, so much was his struggle to keep his breathing even. So when Leda brought the belt down for the first time he yelped louder than he probably would have otherwise. He panted afterwards, not looking pained so much as surprised. Steve watched the way that Bucky’s hands—both flesh and metal—grappled at the ropes that bound them, grabbing on tighter. It made all of the muscles in his arms and shoulders stand out in beautiful relief.

“What do you say, James?” Leda asked him.

“Thank you Mistress,” Bucky said immediately, and he sounded like he really meant it. “Thank you so much.”

Leda hummed in approval and—perhaps as a reward—pressed the button on the remote control to decrease the level of the toy’s vibration. Bucky seemed relieved. She drew back and struck him again. The crack of the belt against Bucky’s skin sounded louder than Steve would have expected. Just as Steve caught sight of the red welt blooming across Bucky’s ass, Bucky let loose a low moan. “Yes,” he said, sounding like he’d just come (he hadn’t). “Thank you Mistress. Please, more.”

Leda laughed. “What good manners.” She looked out at the people watching, her gaze catching on Steve “You see?” she said, and Steve had the feeling that she was speaking directly to him. “He loves it, the pain. Gets off on it. He’s a slut for it actually. Aren’t you baby?” Leda tickled her fingers over the tender skin of Bucky’s ass, scraping lightly over the welts with her nails. Bucky hissed but didn’t move away from the touch. If anything, he relaxed into his enforced posture, presenting his body for whatever she wanted to do to it. “Good boy,” Leda murmured approvingly. “You want more? Want to go a little harder?”

Bucky sighed like more was everything he’d ever wanted. He nodded and pressed his forehead against the metal pipe in front of where he knelt, saying “Please,” so quietly that Steve didn’t even think Leda heard it. His knees shifted in impatience where he knelt, his toes curling up towards the naked bottoms of his feet. “Please,” he croaked a bit louder, sounding like he could use a drink of water.

She obliged him, starting right back up with hard, evenly-timed strikes. She wasn’t trying to surprise him with when the next blow would come. They’d moved past that. Now she was just hitting him, over and over like he’d begged her to. She was working him up to something, though Steve could only guess as to what that was.

Bucky didn’t moan every time that the leather kissed his skin, but he wasn’t exactly quiet either. He made enough pleasured noises, enough gasps and groans and stuttered “Oh f-fuucks” that nobody in the crowd could be left guessing whether he was enjoying himself now. Clearly, he was. And he wasn’t being hit gently. The way Leda lay into him was meant to hurt, but it was also deliberate. Careful. None of the horribly red lines that she struck into Bucky’s skin touched each other. Not until she’d simply run out of new skin to hit, at least. And it wasn’t until then—when the strikes started overlapping because there simply wasn’t anywhere else on his ass to put them—that Bucky started crying.

Steve felt his gut twist with too much emotion when he noticed the first few tears leaking out of Bucky’s eyes. At first Steve thought it was just sweat that’d fallen down from where it was beading along his hairline, but then Bucky cried out—really cried out—when the belt hit his skin again, and his shoulders slumped and his arms went completely lax in their bindings. Bucky was still on his knees, but now he’d lost his perfect posture and instead of moaning he was moaning and crying, the tears leaking steadily down his face as he continued to allow Leda to beat him.

This was enough to have Steve taking a nervous step forward, ready to do… something.

Maybe it was that one step forward, or maybe Leda noticed the change in Bucky, but either way she stopped swinging the belt. Slinging it over her shoulder much as she had done with the flogger, she went around to Bucky’s front again. Steve watched as she reached out almost tenderly and lifted Bucky’s face to look at her. “James?” she asked. Bucky just blinked at her, eyes red-rimmed and dazed. He didn’t say a thing, but whatever Leda had been looking for she must have found, because her mouth split in a proud smile. “You got there, didn’t you baby? Feeling high?”

Bucky’s face was still wet from his tears, but his lips turned up in a fatigued smile. Much like his backside, his lips looked red and wrecked. “Mm-hmm,” he told her. Steve didn’t know where Bucky was supposed to have “gotten” to, but he did look like he was floating on some sort of high.

Leda stroked his cheek tenderly before slapping it. Bucky moaned and smiled stupidly. She went back behind him and was soon back to work with the belt, this time venturing to land strikes on the backs of his thighs. Bucky didn’t seem to mind—like, at all—but Steve on the other hand… Seeing the strikes come so close to Bucky’s balls had Steve’s stomach tightening in an apprehensive knot. He wanted to yell out at the woman to fucking be careful. But she never missed, her strikes perfectly placed.

Steve had the bizarre thought that Clint could probably do this sort of thing with great accuracy.

After a while even Bucky’s thighs didn’t seem to have much to offer in the way of unabused skin, and once again the strikes doubled up with brutal efficiency. Steve’s thoughts drifted to the long quinjet rides home after missions. The team would patch up as best they could during flight, but Tony always had a med team standing ready to handle the more serious wounds when they landed. Bucky was the only one who consistently refused help. So Steve didn’t have too intimate a knowledge of exactly how much of a beating Bucky could take, or how fast certain types of wounds healed with his version of the serum, but when Leda gave up on the thighs and moved back to hitting him across the butt—harder than before, Steve had to imagine that Bucky would bruise something fierce.

It might have continued for one more minute or ten, there was no way to tell. At some point Leda just stopped. She went and got a water bottle and held it to Bucky’s mouth, ignoring his tear-stained face. He drank greedily until she drew the bottle back. “Ready to move on?” she asked. It sounded like an actual question that time, and when Bucky nodded silently, still with that fucking dazed, happy look in his eyes, Steve forced himself to stand still and not intervene. Seeing Bucky break down like that, seeing him cry like that, had torn at Steve’s heart. But now Bucky was smiling with tear stains on his face and telling the woman who’d been beating him to keep going, and Steve knew that he didn’t have the right to step in just yet.

He wondered when he would.

The woman left Bucky and brought Steve his belt back. “Thank you,” she told him quietly, placing it in his hand. “I hope you enjoyed that.”

Steve didn’t say anything, didn’t want to talk to her at all. He felt glad when she turned away. He held the belt as if it was something foreign to him, the weight of it suddenly unfamiliar in his hand. He didn’t really want to put it back on. Steve looked at it, imagining that he could still feel the heat from Bucky’s body in the leather. He glanced at Bucky, to where hot pink stripes now littered the backs of his thighs and absolutely covered his ass. The belt’s edges dug into Steve’s skin where he made a fist around it. He could not believe that it was his belt—and therefore by some illogical extension, him—that did that to Bucky.

And he was very conflicted, because while seeing his best friend be beaten like that had been jarring, upsetting even; seeing the resultant marks and knowing that without his belt, without him, they wouldn’t be there, well… there was some sort of proprietary satisfaction that came with that. And that was a feeling which Steve didn’t feel at all comfortable dwelling on.

By the time Steve was paying attention again to what was going on in front of him, Leda had already selected a long, thin stick from the wall of implements. Steve was surprised. After the belt he would’ve expected Leda’s version of “moving on” to consist of something even more brutal. But the stick thing she’d retrieved didn’t look so bad.

He didn’t realize how wrong he was until he she hit Bucky with it.

It was just one strike—again, deliberate and precisely-aimed. It got Bucky in the middle of his butt, both sides. The sound it made was sharp and vicious and loud, and Bucky immediately cried out. Steve could hear the tears in it but he could hear something that sounded like pleasure in it too, and he didn’t understand that, not one bit. Because when Leda pulled back the stick and Steve could actually see what was left behind, he nearly made a noise himself.

There was a long, angry red welt across Bucky’s ass. If Steve had thought the belt left bad marks, well… This thing had left an imprint and Steve half-expected blood to prick to the surface soon. Taken aback by the severity of what he thought had been a fairly light-looking instrument, Steve stared first at Leda, and then at Bucky. Bucky still had tears on his face and he was still crying new ones. His mouth was agape as he gasped breaths and tried to compose himself from the first blow of the stick-thing. He was trembling, just a little, and while Steve’s first instinct was to assume that it was from pain, he caught sight of Bucky’s erection and found himself having to second-guess that.

Because Bucky was still hard as a fucking rock.

His erection looked angry, the tip of it leaking and nearly dark enough to match Bucky’s ass in color. Steve felt the warmth of his arousal flare again at the sight. He didn’t enjoy seeing Bucky hurt, but he did enjoy seeing him feel pleasure. And as fucked up as this was definitely turning out to be, Bucky somehow seemed to be finding pleasure in everything that was going on. Masochist, Steve’s mind supplied. He knew what the word meant. Bucky must be a masochist.

Behind Bucky, Leda was thumbing the remote again, looking thoughtful. “Tell you what James,” she said, tapping the stick lightly against the bottoms of his feet. “We’re going to play a little game. I want to see if you can come in twenty strokes of this cane. If you can, then you win. I won’t force you to play the way I like. I won’t suck you, fuck you, I won’t touch you at all. I’ll just hurt you the way you like until you shoot all over the floor. But if you can’t come in twenty strokes, then I win.” Bending over at the waist, she spoke very near to Bucky’s ear. “Do you know what happens if I win?”

Bucky obviously had an idea, because he shuddered visibly before saying, “What?”

“I’ll touch you all I like,” she said. “I’ll put this cane right back where I got it from and I’ll pleasure you and make you come so good and sweet that it’ll be burned into all of these people’s memories the next dozen times they touch themselves.”

Bucky whimpered, shaking his head minutely as if trying to keep the idea from entering his mind. “No,” he said. “Please. No.”

Leda ignored him. Standing with the cane, she turned off the toy’s vibrations completely (“Just to make this fair,” she pointed out). Bucky looked like he didn’t know whether to be relieved or worried over that. “Keep it in,” she warned. She drew the cane back and told him, “You’re going to count them James. You miss more than one, or you drop that toy, and I win by default.”

Steve watched Bucky nod in understanding. “Yes Mistress.” His features were tense, resolute. Eyes a hardened grey. And if Steve knew anything, he knew what Bucky Barnes looked like when he was gearing up to win a fight.

After an almost intolerable wait, the cane came down with a sickening crack. Steve flinched at the sound of it. “One,” Bucky called out only seconds after the hit. Leda drew back and decided where her next strike would go. It landed on Bucky’s ass, just below the previous one. “Two,” Bucky said after catching his breath. A third strike met the meat of Bucky’s middle back, and Bucky groaned loudly at that one before he could offer, “Three.”

Steve was so tense at watching what was going on that it took him a minute to notice that several of the spectators had started touching themselves. Women had hands at the fronts of their skirts (or whatever scraps of fabric they were wearing). More than a few men had exposed themselves and were jerking off to the sight of Bucky being beaten. There was even a couple that’d taken a chair and started fucking in it while they watched. Steve felt disgust and contempt curl in his stomach at them.

But Steve was still hard in his pants, and he found that the contempt he felt had to extend to himself as well.

…“Seven!” Bucky cried out the count to a particularly vicious hit to his shoulder blades. Steve stopped paying attention to the people in the circle and refocused his attention on Bucky’s face, on his still-hard cock. The latter was the only reason why Steve hadn’t done something hasty by now. Bucky was aroused, Steve kept reminding himself, holding onto that fact like a lifeline. In his head, Natasha’s words from earlier were playing back to him on a loop:

He came here willingly. He wants this. He might not want to know you’re here. He came here willingly.

Steve had to keep repeating those things to himself as he stood there with gritted teeth and an aching cock. The man next to him was jerking off quite hastily, completely unabashed, though in a place like this Steve supposed that wasn’t unusual. Steve refused to palm his own erection through his jeans, however. Bucky’s body, sweaty and on full display, was hot as hell and his moans were delicious but Steve refused to allow himself to get off to it because it was so, so wrong.

The second Bucky’s erection started to lag, Steve was putting an end to this.

Eight through eleven were all on Bucky’s back. He called them out with near-shouts, but somewhere between his cries and heaving breaths he did manage to call them. Leda hummed in approval, moving back to Bucky’s thighs. The next three strikes came there in quick succession. Bucky jerked hard against his restraints. To everyone else watching it probably seemed as if Bucky—or James, as they knew him—was struggling against the ropes. In reality Steve knew that Bucky must’ve been exercising extreme self control as he hadn’t yet ripped straight through them. Steve knew that he could have.

“Twelve, Thirteen…” Bucky panted, licking his lips. “Fourteen.”

Steve’s heart was hammering. As incomprehensible as he found the possibility, he found himself actually hoping that Bucky would orgasm from the caning alone, that he’d come by twenty strikes. Steve didn’t want Bucky to have to face a consequence he didn’t want, didn’t want that woman’s hands and mouth on Bucky if it wasn’t what Bucky himself wanted. And Steve realized with a start that he was rooting for Bucky to get off on the pain. He was curious to see if it was even possible. Steve felt his guts roll, the disgust and arousal now warring in equal measure. Steve felt like he didn’t know up from down anymore.

Fifteen was on his ass again, and Bucky called it out as soon as the crack sounded. Sixteen and seventeen fell just below. Bucky had started moving his hips in the air again, little thrusts that he definitely wasn’t aware he was making. His cock was so big and red it looked painful, and even though Steve had never seen him like this he knew, he just knew that Bucky was close. “S’fifteen, sixteen,” Bucky slurred, messing up the count.

Leda sucked her teeth loudly in disapproval. “Wrong James. That’s seventeen. Pay attention.” She brought the cane down across his shoulder blades and Bucky made the neediest, most abjectly debased sound that Steve had ever heard.

“Eighteen,” he cried, sounding wrecked. “Oh please. Please.”

Leda repositioned herself and then hit him at the spot where his ass met his thighs. Bucky made a choking sound, unable to call the count before she hit him again. It was just as hard if not harder and in the exact same spot, and Bucky was done for. A massive sob left his throat and his hips jerked forward far enough that the tip of his cock touched the cool metal of the pipe in front of him. He came, body shaking uncontrollably where he knelt, his release shooting thickly onto the pipe and the floor below. Bucky sobbed in wordless relief. “Nineteen, twenty,” he said, gasping both numbers as if they’d been punches to his gut. Behind him, Leda looked proud.

Shudders continued to pass through Bucky’s body for a long time, even after he’d spent himself. He sagged in his bonds, sucking in huge, overwhelmed gulps of air. His face was a mess of tears but he didn’t seem to be aware of that. He just kept trying to catch his breath while Leda pulled the vibrator out of him. She went to put it and the cane away.

Steve vaguely noted that the spectator standing beside him was grunting, likely orgasming into his own fist, but Steve’s attention was taken up by Bucky. Bucky, who was now looking completely pliant in his bonds. He still panted, muscles gone lax from sheer exhaustion, forehead resting against the metal pipe in front of him. His reddened lips were moving the tiniest bit, opening and closing. It took Steve a moment to realize that he was repeating two words over and over again in the tiniest of voices:

“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”

Bucky just kept repeating it, eyes closed, mind far away. Steve wasn’t sure if Bucky knew who he was thanking or even what for. Buck looked like he was ready to pass out. Steve felt sort of glad for a heartbeat. Glad that Bucky had come. Glad that he’d gotten the release he’d wanted, how he’d wanted it. But that feeling of gladness, however small it had been to begin with, went away once Steve took another look at Bucky’s backside.

There were bruises forming already. Some of the welts were still pink or red but many of them—ones from the cane, Steve figured—were purple now. And a few, God, a few of them had blood pricked along the edges. The dread and anger returned full-force, causing Steve to grit his teeth. How could Bucky possibly get off on this? he wondered. After all he’d been through? It didn’t make any kind of sense. Steve had expected to find Bucky the one back here, picking torture instruments off the wall to use on someone else. Not the other way around.

Why? Steve wanted to ask his friend. Why was he allowing these things to be done to him? Still, a horrible thought wormed its way in, somehow finding space enough to exist in Steve’s brain amidst his dissipating arousal.

Bucky didn’t like any of this because it somehow felt good. This hadn’t been about mixing pleasure with pain or finding euphoria on new levels or anything like that. That’s not why Bucky had come to this place. No, Steve thought, heart sinking worse than it had at any other point that evening.

He liked it because it felt bad.

Bucky just wanted to hurt.

Chapter Text

Afterwards, it was like Steve and Natasha shared this big, daunting secret.

Only it didn’t seem to be that daunting to Nat, only to Steve. They’d both seen Bucky stripped and tied up in an illicit BDSM club, and yet when Bucky trudged sleepily past in his pajama pants to the coffee maker the next morning (no bruises to be seen, mind you), Steve was the only one at the breakfast bar who tensed up. When, on movie night, Wanda smacked Tony repeatedly on the ass with the remote control to get him to hurry up (“Steve’ll never get to experience E.T. if you keep taking so long!”), Steve was the only one who looked to see what Bucky’s reaction would be. And whenever Bucky ventured far enough out of his shell to engage in pleasant conversation with the room, Steve was the only one with nothing to say. All Steve had were his thoughts, and perhaps a sad sort of stare for Bucky to—hopefully—not notice. Nat pretty much went on existing as if she’d never followed Bucky out into the city at all. The only difference in her behavior being that she knew that Steve knew that she knew, and so every once in a while Steve would catch her throwing him a look—Shade Darcy would’ve called it—that was clearly meant to tell him to snap the fuck out of it. Or to get over it. Or some such unhelpful advice. Given their two very different perspectives on the issue, Steve took to ignoring her.

Bucky, none the wiser that either of them knew his secret, kept on as usual. His demeanor around the team was still cautious, still quiet and somewhat defensive, but at least it was the same old work in progress that it had always seemed to be.

Work in progress. Ha. The idea of Bucky being a “work in progress” now made Steve simultaneously want to laugh and cringe. Because how could a former torture victim who craved being publicly beaten and humiliated be considered as having experienced progress?

Steve asked his therapist (yes, he had one; had been strong-armed into seeing one right off the “you’ve-been-frozen-for-seventy-years” bat by Fury). He asked her in fairly transparent hypotheticals, in “What would you do’s?” and “What would it mean if’s?” and “Why’s?” There were more why’s than anything else. Dr. Sofen did her best to answer Steve’s questions honestly, telling him that, however shocking and upsetting Bucky’s needs might be to Steve, they were still Bucky’s needs, and they weren’t necessarily shockingor upsetting to Bucky. She told Steve that “progress” could look different for everyone. But that wasn’t what Steve was ready to hear, and after three weeks of Steve turning his therapy sessions into trauma/kink-navigation fests, she firmly recommended the internet as an alternative resource.

The internet was a tricky thing, Steve found.

When he’d first been defrosted the sheer idea of it had been difficult to grasp—endless information; invisible but instantly accessible. Then it had simply been overwhelming. Steve had taken a few introductory lessons with Natasha and then largely gone about learning to navigate the internet on his own. This had, of course, led to outcomes both good and bad. Steve had discovered internet porn in the privacy of his own room, without Natasha’s keen eyes peering over his shoulder. Pretty soon after that though, he’d also discovered porn-spurred computer viruses and embarrassingly unfixable pop-up windows. So yeah, the internet was a mixed-bag in Steve’s book.

Time had made him a more educated consumer though, and he set about researching all that he could on Bucky’s… Well, on just Bucky. Steve tried not to put a label on it. Not ‘What’s wrong with Bucky’, or ‘How to fix Bucky’. In the beginning he didn’t even confine it to ‘Trying to understand Bucky’. It was just Steve, and his laptop, and Google with the SafeSearch filters turned off. It certainly didn’t start out as ‘How to learn how to give Bucky what he needs’.

But that’s what it became.

Steve tried hard not to make it about what he desired, what he was curious about, or even what he wanted to know. He learned things that he could’ve gone his whole life without knowing. The club where Steve had discovered Bucky was not listed on the internet, or at least not any part of the internet that Steve knew how to access. But they’d been charging $200 to get in, and Quora confirmed that it was illegal for public sex to take place in any place of business in New York City.

The ropes that’d been used to bind Bucky were standard shibari ropes—most-likely made of nylon. The leather flogger that Leda had used on Bucky had been a fairly tame one compared to other selections. Steve’s belt had been a more weathered (and therefore a more painful) version of the straps that most fetish shops sold online. The cane was arguably the most painful instrument of impact play (that’s what they called it—impact play), but the one used on Bucky had been standard.

The degree of the bruises on Bucky’s ass that night weren’t too far off from what some other people on BDSM websites claimed to like having done to them. People who liked pain and humiliation the way that Bucky did were, as Steve had suspected, called masochists. The miles-away, floaty affect Bucky had displayed was called subspace; it was common for masochists to feel it during beatings. It was common for there to be feelings of shame and guilt. It was common for there to be feelings of arousal and relief. It was even common for there to be simultaneous tears and elation.

It was not common for a man to be able to sustain a full erection and orgasm from sheer pain alone.

And it was wrong that Bucky had not been given a safeword.

.oOo.

It took a long while. A month went by during which Steve first told himself he was learning, and then another two before he admitted to himself that what he was actually doing was preparing. They were summer months, where the heat in the city grew heavy and oppressive. Months where the team went on missions and returned alive. Months where Steve felt his relationship with Bucky stagnate. Months where Steve watched Bucky sneak out again and again, and didn’t stop him.

Until he did.

Steve had recognized the pattern by then: every other Saturday, approximately 1:30 am, the stairwell exit near the kitchen. So on September 9th, a full three months after he’d first found Bucky in that club, Steve finally had the courage and the confidence to sit in the living room after everyone else had gone to bed, and wait.

It didn’t take long. Bucky came walking into the main living area with steps as quick and quiet as any other time of day. He was dressed the same way as always; jeans, hoodie, socks on his feet and sneakers in his hand. Steve remained very still in his spot, watching as Bucky bent to pull on his shoes. For a master assassin, Steve thought that Bucky really should have had better situational awareness. But it was a small comfort to know that Bucky felt safe enough in the tower that he let his guard down enough to not notice Steve sitting there on the couch in the dark each time he snuck out.

Bucky reaching for the door handle to the stairwell was the last chance Steve had to make himself known and Steve felt his heart hammer in his chest. All he had was a piece of paper and a few memorized words of Russian. The rest would be improvised, tailored to Bucky’s reactions. Steve didn’t know if it would be enough to keep Bucky from bolting, but he had to try.

“Buck?”

Bucky, of course, froze. It was only for a second though. Then he was turning around to face Steve from across the room with a forced air of nonchalance. “Steve?” he asked. “What the heck are you doing up so late?” He tilted his head in a show of very convincing concern (Steve almost believed it). “You not sleeping either?”

Steve allowed a smile, but it wasn’t the happy sort. It was the sad sort that he’d been wearing around Bucky for months and hoping he didn’t see. “Sometimes,” he replied. “You going for a walk?”

“Thought I might.”

Steve nodded, sat back further in the couch and volunteered, “Whenever I can’t sleep I draw.” He held up the paper that he’d been loosely grasping. From Bucky’s direction the page was blank but Steve could see the image that’d been sketched on the other side. He let his eyes rake over it thoughtfully, knowing Bucky wouldn’t leave while he was telling him this. A secret. “It’s best to draw with good light, course,” he said. “Not in the dark like this.”

“…Yeah.” It was obvious Bucky didn’t know what to say. Though to his credit he did step closer to where Steve was sitting.

Steve was still staring at his drawing meaningfully, and it was only half-acting because every word and gesture came from hours of visualizing how he wanted this to go, of realizing what his thoughts were and how he felt. “It’s just that sometimes… certain things are so clear you know? So bright in my mind that I can pick up a pencil and find the lines, the shading, almost without having to look at the page. Do you ever feel that way?” he asked. “That some things in your head are just clearer than all the others?”

“Yes.”

It took Steve by surprise, how fast and sure Bucky’s answer was. He hadn’t been expecting that. It was in that moment—that precise moment that he’d done his best to engineer but still felt zero control over—that Steve looked up at Bucky. Bucky had come a little closer, and Steve twitched his head at the couch. “C’mere.” A gentle gesture. Friendly. Nothing to scare Bucky off. God, Steve was so scared of scaring Bucky off.

Bucky came over. Had to, Steve figured, if he wanted to throw Steve off his proverbial scent and eventually manage to sneak out. Except what Bucky didn’t know was that Steve had no intention of letting that happen. Bucky sat himself down on the sofa. Not as deep into the cushions as Steve was. More of a perch really. Steve accepted it, smiled warmer than he had before at Bucky. “I love ya Buck,” he said, not putting pressure on the words to be as multifaceted as he meant them. Not putting pressure on Bucky to hear the real depth of them.

And maybe Bucky didn’t, because he smiled back at Steve a little, his posture relaxed. “So can I see what you drew?” he asked. “See what it is that keeps you up at night?”

Steve nodded, handed the drawing over as time grew sticky and slow. Bucky took it, flesh fingers curling around the page before he looked down, his face still gentle and calm. There was no way he could have known how hard Steve’s heart was going in his chest, no way he could possibly know what would be on the other side of that paper until he flipped it over.

He froze. First from shock, but then perhaps also from terror. Steve could read it on his face. Bucky’s jaw tensed and his eyes got cold and all of a sudden he looked more like the nervous shadow of the asset again. Looked like he was gauging a threat; which, Steve supposed, he was. The only thing that even slightly helped temper the sour feeling in Steve’s gut was the fact that he’d imagined this moment a thousand times—and not once had this part happened with Bucky smiling.

Bucky was looking down at a picture of himself. Only he and Steve would know it though, as the sketch on the paper had no face. It was a sketch of an unidentified person’s marked-up backside, a leather belt resting against it. It was Bucky how Steve had seen him that night. Bucky’s lips parted where he sat but no words came out. His eyes, still terrified (or maybe horrified, Steve considered), shot up to Steve’s.

Steve had prepared for this moment, knew that it was very important that he speak before Bucky could get a word out. But it had to be concise. If it wasn’t, if he couldn’t make Bucky understand very, very quickly, then he’d bolt and Steve would lose him. “Не убегай.” Don’t run away.

Bucky blinked, taken aback.

“я понимаю.” I understand.

Since his captivity had ended, something about Russian had always seemed to get through to Bucky faster. So Steve had rehearsed the words until Natasha had deemed them legible. He repeated them now, in English, and when Bucky still didn’t move, didn’t run away, Steve added, “I didn’t, at first. But now I think I do.”

Bucky shut his mouth, breathing hard through his nose. He seemed unable to look away from Steve. “How long have you known?” he asked.

“Since June. But I couldn’t… I wasn’t ready to talk to you about it before.”

Something unhappy flashed in Bucky’s eyes. “And now?”

Steve swallowed. “And now I am. Buck… Don’t go. I don’t want you to go there again.”

Bucky immediately stood up, cursed in Russian words that Steve didn’t know and clenched his metal fist. “Then you’re a liar,” he finally bit out, “because you don’t understand. If you did you’d know I can’t stop.” His eyes were burning a hole through the carpet but he managed one second of a glance straight into Steve’s eyes before turning on his heel for the stairs again.

“I’m not asking you to stop!” Steve shouted, words strong and loud and maybe a little bit desperate. Bucky froze in the doorway. “…I’m only asking you to stay here.”

A beat, and then Bucky turned back around. Still the asset’s shadow. Still cautious. “‘Stay here,’” he repeated Steve’s words. “And… do what?”

Maybe he already knew. That was okay. Steve understood: Bucky needed to hear it. “And let me,” Steve filled in, daring to stand and walk over to Bucky. “Just… let me.” These words were also multifaceted, but this time he let Bucky hear their full meaning: Let me do this for you, they said. Let me be the person you trust. Let me hurt you. Let me help you. “I drew you Buck. Because I thought you were beautiful. And I couldn’t get it of my head.” Steve reached out, put a hand on Bucky’s shoulder. “You don’t have to be afraid.”

Bucky stared at Steve as if he were wonderful but potentially impossible. “Steve,” he said, voice low with dread and doubt and maybe shame. “Steve come on. You were there. You saw. The things that I want? The things you say you understand? I don’t even understand them. Not fully. It’s… There’s no way we can—”

“I love you Buck,” Steve cut him off. “And there is a way. And I’m asking you to trust me enough to stay here with me, and let me try with you.”

Bucky sagged. Physically seemed to become smaller. “I care about you Steve. More than anyone else, I care what you think.”

“You don’t have to worry abou—”

“I don’t want you to think bad things about me,” Bucky blurted, looking pained. "I can't deal with that."

“But I don’t. I don’t think bad things about you, okay? It’s like you said: I saw you in that club. I saw what she did to you.” Steve hated bringing up the woman who’d worked Bucky over that night, but Bucky didn’t seem affected by the mention of her. “I saw it all Buck. And I’m not thinking one bad thing about you right now, okay?”

Bucky chewed his lip. “Really?”

“Here.” Steve put an arm on Bucky’s shoulder and tried to guide him back towards the couch. “Let’s sit down and talk about this.” Bucky followed stiffly, still nervous as all get out but trusting Steve because he was Steve. They sat, Steve right next to Bucky and close enough to reach out and touch him if need be. “Thank you Bucky,” Steve said. “For not running.”

Bucky’s eyes slid away. “Yet,” he murmured, but the threat held little weight to it.

“It’s late,” Steve pointed out. “We don’t have to figure everything out right now. I just want to make sure you’re okay.” Bucky looked at him curiously, so Steve elaborated, “I sprung this on you suddenly Buck. That’s got to be hard. I figured you’d be scared or ashamed or angry.” Steve hesitated, said, “And maybe embarrassed. We’ve never exactly… done anything about our feelings for each other.”

Bucky’s eyes snapped to attention as if Steve had slapped him. “You…” he stopped himself from being cliché enough to ask what he meant; the answer was obvious in Steve’s expression. Bucky swallowed. “You love me? That way?”

“Yeah. I do.”

A rough breath left Bucky’s lips. “How long?”

Steve smiled at him. “A long time.”

“How long?”

“Jeez Buck I dunno,” Steve complained, finally blushing. He ran a hand through his hair. “Remember that summer it was so hot we fried eggs on the sidewalk?”

Bucky frowned before he realized that Steve was talking about back when they’d been kids. Back before. Those memories weren’t always the easiest for him to access. He thought hard for a moment though, then said, “I… yeah. I think so.”

“Two blocks down from your ma’s place? They came one day and unscrewed the fire hydrant?”

Bucky’s frown eased up, the light of something he actually could remember brightening his eyes and making his mouth slide sideways. “Yeah… Yeah they did. I remember that.” He smiled. “They blocked traffic so the kids could cool off.”

“I think we were the only ones over nine years old who were out there.”

“Didn’t care.” Bucky grinned again, and boy, did it make Steve’s heart feel like a helium balloon whenever Bucky looked like that. “You coulda’ passed for younger anyway. Man, I was running through it. Soaked.”

“You were. Straight through your shirt, pants on ya like a second skin. I remember looking at you and thinking I had a rough time cut out for me then because… because I was so goddamn queer for you.” Steve blushed for the first time. “Didn’t want to be queer. But I wanted you.”

Bucky stared, couldn’t look away now. Something about hearing Steve confess such a private memory gave him the courage to say, “I heard you. One night not long after your mom passed, after I moved into the apartment with you. You were jerking it and I couldn’t sleep.”

“Oh Christ,” Steve groaned.

“Naw Stevie. It was... was the best thing I’d ever heard. Was all I could think about for days. Every time I saw you. Didn’t matter what you were doing.” Bucky shook his head as if chiding himself for the memory. “‘Course I loved you before that. Just… that was when I figured out how I really felt.”

Steve thought he might float away from all the helium in his heart. He reached out and tried to take Bucky’s hand. “Can I?” he asked, fingers tickling the tops of Bucky’s knuckles. Bucky flipped his hand over in silent permission, and Steve’s heart leapt. “So we’re going to do something about it,” he ventured, not quite asking but not quite telling either. “We’ll talk about it later. About what you need.”

Bucky’s fingers got a little stiffer in Steve’s palm, but he didn’t let go. If anything his grip tightened. “It’s fucked up Steve,” he said. “You shouldn’t have to—”

“I want to,” Steve insisted.

Bucky shook his head, pulling his hand back. “You’re not going to like it.”

“Why don’t you let me decide what I do and don’t like?” Steve’s voice was stern and Bucky visibly responded to it. Gentling, Steve said, “I want you to sleep in my room tonight. No touching, just sleep. In my bed so you’re not alone.” Steve peered at Bucky, “Do you think that would make you feel better?”

Bucky shrugged, “I guess so. …Yes.”

Steve smiled, dared to pull their joined hands up and give Bucky’s fingers a kiss. “Okay. Come on. You go get ready for bed and then come on over to my room.”

Bucky stared at Steve for another moment, as if he was still trying to convince himself that this was real. But in the end he nodded and stood when Steve did, and he headed off to do as he’d been told.

.oOo.

Bucky was still sleeping when Steve woke. They’d bedded down on opposite sides of the mattress, Steve wanting to give Bucky his space. The night before hadn’t been about sex, or touching, or really even talking when it came down to it. They’d both been exhausted—emotionally and otherwise—and Steve had just wanted Bucky to feel safe and not alone after being confronted the way he had. Still, Steve was pleased upon waking to find that Bucky had moved closer to him in the night.

Bucky was scooted further towards the foot of the bed than Steve, his face pressed to Steve’s ribs and one hand resting on Steve’s stomach. Steve smiled down at him. Bucky’s face, all relaxed and innocent in sleep, was lovely. Steve had the sudden urge to trace Bucky’s lips with a finger, but held back. It wouldn’t do to have Bucky wake to unsolicited touches. Not at this point in the game.

Instead, Steve placed his hand gently on Bucky’s shoulder, massaging gently there to get him to wake up. “Buck?” he said softly. “Wake up. It’s morning.” He rubbed a moment longer before Bucky gave any sign of waking. His eyelids fluttered, nose scrunching in sleepy displeasure.

“Mm. What?” He squeezed his eyes tightly once, before blinking them open. Bucky looked confused for all of a second, and then his gaze cleared, focused on Steve lying next to him. “Oh,” he said. “Right.”

Steve smiled at him to try to show that everything was okay. “Hey. How’re you feeling?”

Bucky licked his lips. “Good I guess. I slept in here last night,” he said, and Steve could see memories of the night before being played out in his eyes. “You…” He looked up at Steve. “Did you really mean everything you said?”

“Yes,” Steve said without hesitation. “Yes of course.”

“You want to do those things to me?” Bucky sounded doubtful.

“I want to take care of you,” Steve corrected. “If you need those things. If you need to be… treated like that,” Steve was looking at Bucky. He could see Bucky waiting for Steve to stumble, to show any hint of hesitation. So Steve powered on, “Then I want to be the one who does it.”

Bucky lay there looking mortified. A hot blush was creeping over his neck and face. He looked away from Steve. “You think you can?” he asked quietly, trying to hide his face in the bedsheets. “God,” he moaned, “I never wanted you to know about this.”

Steve shushed him, rubbing a hand through Bucky’s hair. “I know about it now. And we’re going to talk about it.”

Bucky shook his head, eyes clenched in embarrassment. “I can’t. I can’t talk with you about this Steve. It’s… you have no idea how awful it is.”

Steve stared at him for a moment, considering. “Hang on,” he said. “I think I have something that’ll help.” He moved away from Bucky, climbing off the bed.

Bucky opened his eyes to watch, curious. “What are you doing?”

Steve had gone into his closet, but he quickly returned. He held out what he’d retrieved, showing them to Bucky. “If I tie you up with these,” he said, “I think it’ll be easier for you to talk about it.” Steve watched carefully as Bucky took the leather restraints and the blindfold and examined them. When Bucky didn’t immediately respond, Steve offered, “I’ve read it can be freeing. That if you feel forced physically then it’s easier to discuss difficult topics.”

Bucky looked at him shrewdly. “‘You’ve read’?”.

Now it was Steve’s turn to blush. “Um, yeah. I’ve read a lot these past few month, Buck.” He nodded at the restraints. “I want to help you.”

Bucky looked up at Steve as if seeing him in a new light. “You really mean it, don’t you? You really want to give me this?”

Steve nodded. “I want to understand. And I want to help you.” He sat back down on the mattress. “So is this okay?”

Bucky chewed his lip. “Yes,” he finally said, handing the restraints back to Steve. “Please.”

The ‘please’ made Steve smile. He made sure to move slowly as he reached to take Bucky’s right wrist in his hands. The leather cuff fit around his wrist easily, and Steve buckled it with the gentlest motions he could manage. He took Bucky’s metal arm next and secured a cuff around that wrist as well. It was the same size as his right wrist and fit just as easily, but Steve knew that if he wanted to Bucky could rip right out of it. Bucky’s ankles came next. Steve rolled the bottoms of Bucky’s pajama pants out of the way to buckle the cuffs shut. Each cuff had a strap which Steve used to tie Bucky to the bed, spread eagle. He left enough slack in the straps for Bucky to be comfortable. Lastly, Steve took the blindfold and secured it gently over Bucky’s eyes. The whole process of restraining Bucky took long minutes and was done in strangely intimate silence. When Steve had finished, he sat to the side of him and tried not to think too much about how pretty Bucky looked tied to Steve’s bed. “Does that feel okay?” he asked, sounding more breathless than he’d intended. “Are you comfortable?”

“Yes,” Bucky said quietly. “It feels good.”

Steve nodded even though he knew Bucky couldn’t see him. “You like being restrained?” he asked. “Tied up?”

Bucky scoffed. “You just figuring that out? Thought you were supposed to be the smart one.” Steve chided him with a sound, But Bucky was already admitting, “But yeah, you were right. It… helps.”

“How does it help?” Steve asked. “How does it make you feel?”

“Makes me feel safe. Out of control.”

“Being out of control makes you feel safe?” Steve didn’t understand that. Being in control was what he liked. “You like feeling powerless?”

Bucky nodded with the blindfold on. “Yes.”

“Explain.”

Bucky licked his lips. “If you’re powerless you don’t have choices. If you don’t have choices…” He stalled.

“Go on,” Steve encouraged.

“If you don’t have choices, there’s no point in resisting. You can just… accept it. It’s easier that way.”

Steve thought about that. He thought about asking what Bucky imagined he was going to have to “accept”, but thought better of it. “And you like the blindfold?”

Again, a nod. “Yeah.”

Steve filed that away for later. “We need to talk now, okay Buck? Can you do that with me?”

Bucky squirmed in the restraints, as if he had to reassure himself that they were there. When he’d settled again, he said, “Yeah. And you can…”

Steve waited. “Can what? What can I do Buck?”

“…You can make me.”

Steve felt heat roll through him. “Yeah? It helps if I make you?” he nearly whispered. He supposed that it made sense. It was kind of what he was doing anyway with the restraints. “Okay,” he agreed, firming up his voice. “Then I’ll ask you questions and you’ll be expected to answer. Got it?”

Bucky nodded blindly. “Okay.”

Steve sat for a moment and considered his words. “I need to know what it is you want. So you need to tell me why you went to that club in Hell’s Kitchen.”

Bucky wiggled in the restraints again, almost like he was trying to get away from the question. “I wanted someone to control me. And to hurt me,” he admitted, though he continued to squirm.

Steve reached to run a calming hand down Bucky’s arm, from his bound wrist all the way down to where the material of his tee shirt sleeve hugged his bicep. “Okay. In that place, she was hitting you with the flogger and the belt and the cane. You liked that?”

Bucky shivered as if he were remembering it. “Yeah.”

“You were hard,” Steve pointed out. “Aroused. Was it the pain that made you feel that way?” Underneath the blindfold, Bucky flushed. Steve could see it spread over his cheeks. “Don’t be embarrassed Buck. I’m not thinking anything bad about you, remember? Now answer me: was it the pain that got you off?”

“That and the tying up.” He bit at the inside of his cheek. “I like being tied up. Like being hit more.”

“She was hitting you really hard by the end,” Steve reminded, still running his hand up and down Bucky’s arm to calm him. “You like it that hard?”

Bucky scoffed. “That hard, yeah. Maybe harder. Sometimes.”

Steve frowned at the idea of Bucky being hit harder than what he’d seen in that place. He knew that he could never bring himself to hurt Bucky worse than that. He instantly hated anyone who had. “What about the vibrator she put in you?” he asked.

Even with the blindfold covering his eyes, Bucky’s expression hardened. “I didn’t know that was going to happen. I… didn’t really want that.”

“You didn’t have a way to stop her?” He knew Bucky hadn’t. The woman had flat out said that they weren’t using safewords, and Steve had since educated himself on what a safeword was. “Did she know? Did she know you didn’t want it?”

Bucky was still tense. “Yeah. But I’m not… I mean I wasn’t allowed to make choices,” he said. “Scenes aren’t negotiated in that place.”

Steve was quiet. He sat there looking at Bucky for a long minute. “Buck,” he said seriously. “You know that’s wrong, don’t you?”

Bucky shrugged, or tried to—it was a limited motion what with the restraints holding him the way they were. “Having no control is part of it Steve.”

“Yeah but a safeword could—”

Bucky’s head shook. “No you don’t get it. I didn’t want one. I don’t want one. When I say I don’t want control I mean I really don’t. I don’t want an out. They never gave me one. I… want to be violated.”

Steve felt mildly sick and he was glad that Bucky couldn’t see his face. “You could end up raped that way,” he said. He wondered to himself whether the woman using that vibrator on Bucky the way she had could’ve been considered rape. “You don’t really want that, do you?”

Bucky’s wince was clear even from beneath the blindfold. “I know it doesn’t make sense,” he whispered, chin tucked down. “I understand if it disgusts you.”

“So it’s not just about the pain,” Steve ventured, ignoring Bucky’s comment. “You like to feel out of control, humiliated?”

Bucky nodded. “Yes.”

“Why?” Steve couldn’t stop himself from asking, and it was a struggle to keep his voice steady. It hurt to hear that Bucky needed these things. It made him sad. “Why do you get off on it?”

“I don’t know,” Bucky said obstinately. He looked as if he was trying to suppress a shiver. “I don’t know.”

“You do,” Steve pressed. He put his hand on top of Bucky’s head, petting his hair as he forced himself to ask, “Is it because of what they did to you?”

He was obviously referring to Hydra, and Bucky knew it. A whine left Bucky’s lips and he turned his face into the touch of Steve’s hand. “Yes,” he whimpered. “God, I—yes.” His face scrunched up under the blindfold, a dry sob working its way out of his chest.

Steve soothed him. “It’s okay Buck. You need to tell me now. Tell me about it so I can understand.”

Bucky must’ve been crying a little because a tear had made its way from under the blindfold. Steve wiped it away. “I got used to it,” Bucky said. “They hurt me a lot. When they were doing the initial… when they were teaching me.”

“Brainwashing you,” Steve corrected sternly.

“Yeah.” Bucky was quiet. “But it was all the time, you know? And it went on for so long. There was nothing but pain for so long.”

Steve didn’t want to ask. He really didn’t. “How long?”

Bucky paused. “…A couple of years. I think.”

Christ.”

In the cuffs, Bucky clenched his fingers. “Occasionally they’d rape me, but it really depended who was on shift at the time. Mostly it was just torture. But the method didn’t matter as much as the pain. I didn’t get… horny, when I was there. Not once they’d had me long enough. I was the soldier. I didn’t think about that. Eventually I realized it’d gotten to the point where I’d get hard when they hurt me, but I didn’t think about that either. Didn’t do anything about it. And once I’d been conditioned to do what they wanted they stopped the torture. I was frozen most of the time after that. It wasn’t until you saved me that...”

He grimaced and Steve put a hand back on his arm to soothe him. “Tell me Buck.”

“It wasn’t until I was back here that I had a sex drive again,” Bucky bit out. “But it was mixed up. Wrong. I realized that I… That what they did to me… Well I’d somehow made it into something good, something I wanted. To get through the torture.”

Steve felt like he wasn’t breathing right. He felt suffocated by the awful thing that Bucky was telling him. He wanted to wrap Bucky in his arms to comfort him, but he held himself back. He used both hands and held Bucky’s face between them. “That’s good Buck. That’s real good that you told me that.”

Bucky seemed to calm at the praise, relaxing into Steve’s hold. “I told you it was fucked up,” he said, pretty lips curling up in a self-depreciating smirk.

“It’s not your fault.”

“You still think you can give it to me?” Bucky asked, and Steve could hear the doubt in Bucky’s voice, the self-loathing.

“I think we’ll work together to figure out a way to make you feel good,” Steve said. “Because you deserve to feel good Buck. I want you to.”

Bucky’s head turned towards Steve even though he couldn’t see him. “You do?”

“Bucky when I saw you tied up in that place. Saw your… saw how aroused you were. And the way you looked? Your face…” Steve swallowed. “I wanted to be the one behind you. I wanted to be the one making you feel good. I wanted to be the one to give you what you need.”

Bucky made a noise in his throat. “You assume they’re the same thing. They’re not.”

“What?” Steve didn’t understand. He thumbed coaxingly at Bucky’s temple. “What are you saying?”

“Do you want to fuck me Stevie? Or do you want to control me?” When Steve didn’t say anything—couldn’t say anything, really—his silence spoke volumes and Bucky seemed to get it. “Oh,” he said softly, head sinking back into the pillow. “Both, then.”

That was it. Steve had to pull his hands back from where he was touching Bucky. Had to breathe. Steve closed his eyes and tried to remind himself that he had Bucky tied up, that he was supposed to be in charge right now. He had to be firm, couldn’t waiver, couldn’t lose his shit because Bucky said things that made him thicken in his pants. “Yeah,” he said. “I’d like both. I’d like to touch you. I’d like to make you feel good instead of hitting you.” He opened his eyes, took in the sight of Bucky’s body tied to the bed. “But if you need the pain I’ll do that for you too.”

Bucky groaned. “Jesus Christ Rogers, are you for real?”

Steve smiled. That right there was a sliver of the old Bucky, the part even Hydra hadn’t been able to kill. “As long as I know it’s not hurting you Buck. Really hurting you. I’m willing to try. I just need to know that whatever I do to you isn’t dragging you back to a bad place.” Steve paused. “Does that make sense?”

“Yeah. You want to make sure you’re not psychologically damaging me. Worse than I already am, anyways.”

Steve ignored that last part, but his shoulders sagged in relief. “Yeah. Yes, exactly.” He reached to put a hand back on Bucky, re-establishing that contact. Bucky seemed to like it. “So we go slow,” Steve said. “You tell me what you like and why, and we go one step at a time. Does that sound like something you can do?” Steve waited, feeling very self-conscious despite the fact that Bucky was blindfolded and tied up. “Something you can do… with me?”

Bucky’s lips pressed together. “Yes,” he answered quietly. “I… yes. With you.”

Steve felt his heart soar. “I uh, I’ve done a lot of research.”

“Yeah you mentioned that. And?”

Steve reached down to wrap his hand around Bucky’s throat—not squeezing, just holding the weight of his palm there to let him feel it. Bucky moaned at the contact. “There’ll be rules,” Steve said, his voice gone serious and stern. Bucky responded to it instantly, shoulders softening and lips parting.

“What?” he asked.

Steve smiled, feeling hopeful. He used his other hand to pet the side of Bucky’s face. “You’ll see.”

.oOo.

Steve didn’t exactly have an arsenal of BDSM supplies laying around. So once Bucky hadn’t run for the hills, or the streets of New York City, or punched Steve straight in the face for even asking; once Bucky had actually agreed to try this thing (whatever it was) out with Steve, he’d known that he’d need to make a few purchases. And despite Steve’s previous assertions that the internet was a bit of a mixed bag, it did have the advantage of anonymous online shopping. Steve would never have to suffer the embarrassment of walking into a blue shop ever again.

He put Bucky in a chair at the breakfast bar with his coffee mug that said this is my first cup of the day so don’t say a fucking word, and sat himself down next to him with his laptop. Together they selected the items that Steve should buy (“at least for starters” Bucky told him, just to see Steve blanch). Steve didn’t worry so much about the ridiculous amount of money he was spending so much as the types of things Bucky kept wanting to add to their shopping cart. It was only after Bucky pointed enthusiastically to a whip that had metal studs on it that Steve made him a deal: Bucky could order the most horrendous-looking torture items he could find if Steve could have free reign selecting sex toys. Bucky’d blushed—blushed, of all things—but he had acquiesced. And that was how Steve ended up handing his credit card over to Bucky to purchase a couple hundred dollars’ worth of BDSM gear. (And besides, Steve reassured himself, he didn’t have to use any of the scarier stuff if he didn’t want to).

“We’re gonna have a dungeon,” Bucky amazed through a mouthful of eggs after they’d finished up and Steve was at the stove making pancakes.

“Not a dungeon,” Steve said with a point of the spatula back at Bucky. “S’just a room. With, you know… toys.” He poured out a few more pancakes on the griddle thoughtfully. “Like a playroom. For grownups.”

“Steve it’s a soundproofed room with whips and chains and...”

“Sex toys?”

Steve didn’t see, but Bucky winced a little into his eggs. “Yeah… you said we’d take that slow.”

Steve flipped the pancakes again with a heavy heart. Every time he heard Bucky speak that way about sex—with trepidation and discomfort in his voice—he felt so bad for his friend. “I love you Bucky.” Steve didn’t wait for Bucky to say it back. They’d only just admitted to it a few days ago and Bucky was the one who got rubber lips around it like he’d be punished if he dared say it back. “And I know you’ve loved me for almost as long.”

“Maybe longer,” Bucky mumbled quietly at the breakfast bar behind.

Steve smiled softly at that. “When you love someone you want to make time with ‘em. And I do, with you. Don’t be mad at me for that.”

“M’not mad,” Bucky said. “I just don’t know how to feel about being touched when it’s not like, you know, how they touched me. Pain, domination. That’s what I’m comfortable with.”

That hurt. Steve had to remind himself not to take it personally. “Okay but you can’t tell me that you never wanted to have sex with me. I mean before the war we lived together for years.” Steve chuckled privately to himself. “I know I was just a skinny punk back then but you’re the one who said it: it was ‘the greatest thing you ever heard’.”

“Fuckin memory of an elephant,” Bucky grumped into his eggs.

“And there was a lot of jerking off you could’ve watched on the sly between 1935 and when you shipped out,” Steve said over his shoulder. “You didn’t fantasize about what you’d do with me?”

Bucky was quiet for a moment. Steve didn’t look back but he heard Bucky set his fork down, heard him take a sip of his coffee. “I did,” Bucky said finally, voice quiet as if he were confessing. “I wanted regular things back then. Back when I was regular.” He sighed, and Steve was gripping the spatula tighter now, attention slipping away from the griddle in front of him. “But I’d never gone with a guy, Steve. And it’s not like anybody who did went around talking about it. Hell, I didn’t hardly know how I’d… go about it. I’d seen a few of the fellas who’d do for trade down at the docks but I didn’t, you know, watch.” He snorted. “I wouldn’t have known what to do with you. Knew how to please a dame though. I was good at bringing ‘em off.”

“I know,” Steve said wryly. “We shared a room remember? More than once I had to listen to it.”

Steve couldn’t see how Bucky stared at his back, how he chewed another few mouthfuls of egg before saying, “You know, I used to bring them home and imagine they were you.”

“Christ Buck.” Steve felt himself flush all over and it wasn’t from the heat of the stove. He pressed his crotch into the wood of the cabinets. “Wish you’d just told me then. I’m the creative one. We could have figured it out.”

“Wouldn’t that have been worse?” Bucky asked sadly. “I still would’ve gone off to war. Your stubborn ass still would’ve followed. And Hydra still would’ve fucked me up. Only difference is you’d have had a taste for it. We’d have fucked and it’d be that much worse for you not having it now.”

Steve couldn’t argue that one. Bucky was right. It would’ve been worse. He scratched his morning beard as he thought of what to say, pouring the last of the batter out onto the griddle and settling on, “We’ll take it slow, like we said we would. I said I’d take care of you and I meant it.”

“Even if I just wind up wanting the ‘whips and chains’ part of it?” Bucky asked, using Steve’s term for it.

“We’ll just… we’ll wait for the stuff we ordered to get here”—Steve had Amazon Prime, it shouldn’t take that long—“and then we’ll take it one step at a time. I promise we won’t… I won’t… Well we don’t have to do anything unless it’s in that room. The playroom.”

“Right.” Bucky slurped the dregs of his coffee. “In the dungeon.”

Steve wound up burning that last batch of pancakes as he argued with Bucky over the semantics of what constituted a dungeon.

.oOo.

Once Bucky realized that he wasn’t likely to scare Steve off, he became incredibly open to the idea of the two of them being together. Perhaps even more so than Steve himself was. When they went out into the city together he sometimes held Steve’s hand. If a stranger on the street told them they were “adorable” (it happened more than you’d think) he’d say thank you and smile. It was nice but not at all what Steve had expected.

When Steve had first woken from the ice and discovered how acceptable a queer—gay, he always had to remind himself—lifestyle was these days, well he’d had a very difficult time adapting to that. Despite the fact that he’d been wanting to kiss men since his balls had dropped, Steve still felt compelled to look away whenever he spotted two men out in public together. The urge to hiss at guys in the subway to have a little decency when all they were doing was holding hands or, god forbid, smooching, was ever present for the first year or so. In the end Steve had grown so embarrassed of being embarrassed over such things that, in an attempt at desensitization, he’d sat himself down and binge-watched every gay thing available on Netflix. And once he’d finished the entirety of The L Word, Queer as Folk, and Looking, he’d dove head first into gay porn.

In the end it was the porn that did him in. Steve learned to be comfortable with it all.

Bucky appeared to need no such acclimations. Steve made exactly one attempt to sit him down on the sofa and have a serious discussion about how it was “completely okay to be with other men now.” Bucky caught on to what he was doing and started cracking up. And then well… Steve was so happily distracted by the sight of Bucky laughing that he dropped the subject completely.

Bucky did agree to watch Queer as Folk though.

They were well into season three the evening that the rest of the team found out. Steve had forgotten that it was Wanda’s movie night (he would later suspect that Bucky hadn’t forgotten), the main characters of the show were smoking pot and vigorously fucking in an armchair, and that was when the lobby elevator dinged and seven people stepped off.

Steve had jumped from the couch as if he was the one who’d been caught fucking, scrabbling furiously with the remote to pause the show (that helped only marginally as the image stilled on Brian’s hands on Justin’s ass in Brian’s lap). Bucky remained seated, just turning his head coolly to say, “Hey guys.” Steve both envied and hated him in that moment.

“Are you watching gay porn?” Tony blurted.

The comment made Bruce pay attention and look over curiously to ask, “What?”

Natasha seemed to assess Steve’s predicament almost before Steve himself did. She pushed past Bruce and Clint, ordering them to make her extra popcorn, before sitting herself down in her usual spot. She looked ominously over to Bucky and Steve. “Sam finally won the draw. We’re watching Forrest Gump.” It’d been an ongoing debate between Natasha and Sam as to whether said film was a cinematic masterpiece or, as Natasha succinctly put it, “pointless.” Darcy had put it on the list anyway, and whomever’s name was drawn from Tony’s name-drawing app was the one who got to choose that week. “I just want everyone to please recognize that I have honored my obligation to be here,” she said loudly. “So when I pick Blade Runner you had all better show up.”

Bucky laughed, and Steve was unendingly grateful to Natasha for changing the subject.

Until Darcy changed it right back. She hurried into the room and curled into her papasan chair, motioning for Steve to start up the show again. “Unf, I love this show. So ahead of its time.”

Bucky looked at her funny. “You must’ve been five when it aired.”

Darcy just shrugged. “Reruns dude. Hot gay sex is a thing for the ages.”

Bucky chuckled but Steve was red as coals. Bucky noticed and placed a hand on top of Steve’s. It was his metal one, but the gesture was comforting all the same. “Come on,” he said lowly, “Just tell ‘em. Like pulling off a band aid.”

Steve may have winced at Bucky’s keen understanding of the level of his discomfort. He didn’t want Bucky to think that he was the band aid. “I’m not embarrassed of you,” Steve whispered into Bucky’s ear, right before he stood and announced, “Bucky and I are kind of… gay. Together. We’re gay together. We’re uh,” Oh, that had not come out right. “Yeah so… Yeah. We’re together.” He sat back down and Bucky rubbed his back to try and make him feel better: “That wasn’t so bad”.

Tony stopped whatever he was doing in the fridge and looked back with a shit-eating grin. “I knew it!” He pointed at Clint. “Pay up Barton.”

Clint scowled. “You’re already a goddamn billionaire.”

Aside from that squabble, and Darcy and Wanda having a moment of fascination over the fact that, as Darcy put it, “the two most attractive men in New York (Sam and Tony took offense to that) were in a relationship with one another,” the announcement wound up being uneventful. Steve’s mortification ebbed away and Sam eventually told everybody to shut up because the movie was starting. After that the lights got dimmed and Steve could relax with Bucky at his side.

Turns out Steve thought that Forrest Gump was a cinematic masterpiece.

.oOo.

Steve came up with the idea to watch porn together. He absolutely did not get the idea from what Tony had blurted out on movie night.

It was for learning purposes, he made sure to emphasize when Bucky raised an eyebrow at him from where he’d been reclining on his bed, listening to music. Steve walked into the room carrying his open laptop. Bucky sat up in his bed and removed his earphones, scooting up to sit near the headboard and moving some pillows aside so there was space next to him for Steve.

Steve took the unvoiced invitation and settled in. He nodded at the headphones now in Bucky’s lap. “What were you listening to?”

“Does it matter?” Bucky said. “We’re apparently about to look at porn.”

Steve felt himself blush. It’d taken a lot to talk himself up enough to where he could approach Bucky with this. Some of the stuff for their playroom had all come in the mail yesterday, but Steve hadn’t told Bucky yet. “I have this… playlist,” Steve ventured carefully.

“Of porn.”

Steve sighed. “Yes, of porn. It’s all whips and chains stuff.” Bucky smirked at Steve’s usual phrase for it. “I thought we could um, watch some of the scenes and you tell me what you like.”

“What I like,” Bucky repeated back to him. “But that night. You saw—”

“I know what I saw,” Steve interrupted. “And we’ll talk about that too. But there’s all kinds of styles of domming. All sorts of scenes. I want to get a sense of what you like. And you can see what I like.”

“‘What you like’?” Bucky looked at him. “You tellin’ me you’re into ‘whips and chains stuff’ Stevie?” There was a hint of teasing in his voice.

Steve smiled grimly. “Not strictly speaking.” Not like you are, he was thinking. “But yeah, to a degree. There are elements that I like.”

Bucky grinned wolfishly like the old Bucky would have. “You had this playlist before me, didn’t you?”

“No!” Steve blushed harder. He most certainly had not. Once Bucky saw the playlist he’d understand (many of the videos were, frankly, hardcore). Bucky looked like he’d shrunk back at Steve’s response, and Steve hurried to amend, “Sorry. I just meant, no: not this particular one. I made this one especially for you.”

Bucky frowned. “Okay then. If you went to all the trouble, let’s see it.” He reached to put his headphones and iPod on the bedside dresser and came back to settle close at Steve’s side.

All Bucky had on was track pants and a tank. Steve nearly matched but with the added layer of an old sweater. He felt the compunction to remove it so they’d be in the same state of undress. But he hadn’t said anything about this being sexual, had in fact told Bucky that it was for learning, so Steve remained the way he was. He placed the laptop on his thigh, mousing over to start the playlist.

“There’s sex stuff,” Steve warned before the first video could start playing.

“No shit.” Bucky’s eye roll was epic.

“Just, I know you aren’t sure about how much sexual touching you want us to do,” Steve said. He could’ve volunteered what amount of sexual touching he wanted, but didn’t. “And there isn’t much out there in the way of videos of just, well, people being straight up beaten.”

“I’m a big boy Steve,” Bucky said. “There’s sex, I get it. Besides,” he added carefully, “I never said no to it. Just made you promise to go slow.”

Bucky looked so vulnerable telling Steve that, and Steve instantly wanted to kiss him for it. He loved Bucky, he thought, the feeling ripping through him as real and fresh as it had back when they were kids. He loved him so much and he would do anything to make this work. “Okay,” he said, putting his right hand on Bucky’s left where it rested between them. Steve knew that Bucky couldn’t really feel it, but he had long-aimed to show Bucky that he wasn’t afraid of that part of him. Steve squeezed Bucky’s metal hand reassuringly as if it were his flesh one. It seemed that Steve’s whole existence these days was showing Bucky affection in smaller ways than he wanted to. Only for a little while longer though, Steve reminded himself. Soon he could have more. Soon he’d have what he should’ve aimed for all along. “You know it makes me happy to hear that you’re willing to try,” he told Bucky. “But I promised you I wouldn’t start anything outside our play room and I meant it. So don’t be nervous, okay?”

Bucky looked at Steve as if he were some promise that he wanted to believe in but was afraid would be yanked away. “No matter what I do I’m gonna be nervous about this for a while,” he said. “I’m so fucking scared you’re going to come to your senses. That you’ll see how fucked up I really am and you won’t want to…” he trailed off, looking down at himself. “…with me anymore.”

Steve nodded at the laptop. “Wait till you see my playlist. I’m not as easily shocked as you might think.”

The first video was fairly tame. Steve had tried to order the clips from least to most severe, and the less rough sorts of scenes came first. But it got rough pretty fast. Tickling led to spanking led to nipple clamps, and so on and so forth until they made it to the more extreme videos and there was caning and cages and clothespins on places that Steve never wanted to put them. Steve closed the browser window once the last clip had played. He looked over to Bucky to see how he was doing. Steve’s plan had kind of been to run through each video and discuss with Bucky what they thought about aspects of each one, but the early videos had been arousing to Steve and he’d forgotten to do that. The last videos were downright cruel and they dampened some of the interest Steve had been feeling earlier. But when he looked over he could see that that was not the case for Bucky.

“Buck?”

Steve had tried to be very inclusive when putting the playlist together. He’d known Bucky would get turned on by the rougher stuff—well, hadn’t known but at least had a strong case to think so. But they had just finished watching a video that’d seen a man bleeding and crying by the end and Steve had a hard time swallowing the fact that Bucky was visibly hard beneath his pants.

“Buck?” He said again, sliding his hand from Bucky’s metal arm to rest on the flat of his stomach. Like Steve, Bucky had abs of steel.
Bucky’s eyes shot over. “Yeah?” he croaked.

Steve could feel Bucky’s stomach move beneath his hand, and his eyes slid down to where Bucky was straining against his pants. God if that wasn’t pretty, didn’t bring back memories of Bucky’s dripping cock that night in the sex club. Steve had to force himself not to reach for it. “You’re hard,” he said stupidly, the words coming out quieter than he’d anticipated. What had been the point of this exercise again?

“You’re not,” Bucky said back.

That made Steve snap his gaze from Bucky’s crotch back to his face. “What? Um… Sorry I…”

Bucky took hold of the laptop and moved it aside. He put his hand over top of where Steve’s hand was on his stomach and for one crazy moment Steve thought Bucky was going to guide his hand further down, ask him to jerk him off. But he didn’t. He reached over and touched Steve, the metal of his fingers resting on the inside of Steve’s thigh. He rubbed him there, halfway down his thigh and back up all the way to the crotch of his sweatpants. The touch could not be mistaken for anything other than an intimate caress, and Bucky was staring Steve right in the eye. Christ, that look. Steve wanted to fuck Bucky right then and there.

“I don’t need to watch a bunch of videos Steve,” Bucky said softly, hand still moving, up and down, up and down. “You could do whatever you wanted to me and I’d take it.”

Heat rushed through Steve’s belly at those words. He parted his lips to tell Bucky to stop touching him but couldn’t say a word. It felt good, having Bucky touch him there, made his dick twitch with renewed interest. Steve couldn’t help but want more.

“So,” Bucky turned on the bed beside Steve and crawled over his legs, hands finding the waistband of his sweatpants. “Why don’t we save time and you tell me what you saw that you liked, hmm? Because I know you lost interest long before I did.” He inched the pants down enough to reveal Steve’s treasure trail.

Steve frowned, trying to pull his thoughts away from the sight of Bucky between his legs. It wasn’t easy. “Buck what are you doing?”

Bucky blinked up at him. “What’s it look like? I want you to tell me what gets you hot while I blow you.”

“But…” Steve watched as Bucky pulled his pants down farther. “You don’t like to be touched. Like that.”

Bucky had gotten the pants down past his hips and exposed him. Steve’s cock lay flaccid against his inner thigh, and Bucky didn’t ask permission before skimming his fingertips along its length. “You’re not touching me. I’m touching you,” he said, as if the distinction was obvious. He wiggled himself further in-between Steve’s legs, getting comfortable. His warm breath over Steve’s cock felt nice, and he bent his head to press kisses to it before looking back up to tell him, “I don’t mind doing this. You could fuck my face and I wouldn’t care. It’s not a problem for you to feel good Steve.”

“But it is for you to,” Steve said disapprovingly. Bucky was defiant though.

“Yes. It is. So,” he went down and took the head of Steve’s cock into his mouth, holding it there with the barest amount of pressure for only a moment, before letting go. “I’m going to suck you off while you tell me everything you’d like to do to me.”

Steve narrowed his eyes at him. “You still hard?”

“Yes.” Bucky went back to kissing Steve’s cock, which was thickening at the attention.

“What do you want me to do for you?”

Bucky lapped softly and repeatedly at the stiffening head. “What I said: tell me what you’re into.” He fingered Steve’s foreskin, kissed the tip of his dick that peeked through. “Talk dirty to me if you want to. I like that. Pull my hair, fuck my face. Make me gag.”

Buck,”

“And slap me on the face right when you come. Hard.”

Jesus Bucky. No.”

Bucky looked up at him, incensed. “You said you’d give me what I need.”

Steve held his breath. Bucky was right. He had promised. And Bucky wasn’t even asking that much of him right now. Just a little rough handling during a blow job. Steve could manage that, couldn’t he? Hadn’t he jerked off to porn like that before? Hadn’t he fantasized about Bucky down between his thighs, his pretty mouth wrapped around Steve’s cock as he worked to get him off? He eyed Bucky tensely for a moment before agreeing. “Fine.”

No sooner was the word out of his mouth before Bucky was wrapping his fingers around Steve’s cock to jack it lightly. Bucky suckled on the tip and Steve got hard enough for Bucky to go further without his hands, his mouth sinking down past the head and enveloping Steve in gentle warmth. “Ah, god,” Steve sighed, relishing the feeling. It’d been longer than he cared to admit since he’d had this done to him. He hoped Bucky wouldn’t ask.

Bucky pulled off and rested his cheek against Steve’s thigh, still using his fingers to explore. “Tell me Steve,” he said, and for someone so into submission it sounded an awful lot like a demand. “Tell me what you like. Tell me how you’d hurt me.”

Steve couldn’t help it, he closed his eyes when Bucky said that. “Don’t want to hurt you,” he managed as Bucky resumed stroking him. Beneath him he could hear Bucky sigh in frustration.

“Fine then I’ll rephrase: how you’d get me off. Because you know it gets me off.”

Yeah, Steve supposed they’d have to get past that. He kept his eyes closed and tried to enjoy the slow way Bucky explored him with his lips and tongue. “Okay,” he said, “I like control. I like taking care of the person I’m with. I like bondage, teasing.” He opened his eyes. “I’d like to do those things to you.”

Down by his balls, Bucky murmured agreement.

“I’d be stern with you,” Steve offered. “And expect you to listen.”

“Of course,” Bucky purred. “What else?”

“Want to spank you,” Steve admitted, feeling his face burn red. Ridiculous really, when he considered what Bucky was in to. “Over my lap with your hands tied. Want to tie you up and use a flogger on you too.” He’d only recently added that fantasy to his list, after seeing the woman with red lips do it to Bucky in the sex club. The admission seemed to please Bucky. He hummed happily, and the sound would’ve been nice enough but he also had Steve in his mouth at the time and so the feeling travelled straight down Steve’s dick to his balls and he moaned. “Christ Buck.” He dared to open his eyes again, heart nearly stopping at the sight of Bucky with his lips spread around his cock. “Oh god,” Steve said. “I’ve been imagining this since I was eleven.”

Bucky pulled off of his cock. “Stevie,” he drawled, “You little pervert. Early bloomer?”

Steve must have blushed down to his belly button. “Yeah well the fantasy never really included you dogging me about it. What do you want me to call you?” he asked, suddenly needing to know. What would Bucky call him?

Bucky fisted him and smiled coyly. “What do you want to call me?” He went back down.

“Shit,” Steve gasped. “I don’t know.” Oh but he did know.

Bucky paused in his ministrations, looking warningly up at Steve.

“Ugh, fine! I guess… Baby. Pet.” Steve closed his eyes again. “Things she called you.”

Bucky smiled against the side of his cock, Steve could feel it. “That’s nice but come on. I want to hear the bad stuff Steve. I know you want to call me other things. What if you’re feeling really kinky, huh? What if I’ve been bad; given you shit all day and I deserve to be treated like dirt?” Bucky let his teeth hold Steve’s cockhead without biting, pulled off. “What if you’re roughing me up real good?”

Steve groaned. “I wouldn’t—”

“How ‘bout Slut?”

“…Yes.”

“Whore?” he added. “Bitch? Cunt?”

God, hearing filth like that come out of Bucky’s mouth was too perfect. Steve glared down at him. “Maybe more like Brat with the way you’re being.”

Bucky hummed in satisfaction at that. “Wanna be your brat.” He grabbed Steve’s hand and put it on his head. “Pull my hair Stevie. Move your hips. Want you to fuck my face.”

Steve threaded his fingers through the dark strands of Bucky’s hair, for a while only petting him as he watched the gorgeous sight of Bucky swallowing him down. He’d sped up now, no longer lazily exploring. Steve was fully hard and Bucky took him to the back of his mouth, his hand pulling Steve’s balls gently away from his body and then releasing. It felt wonderful. “You want me to,” Steve said. Not really asking, just saying it out loud as an affirmation to himself. Steve wanted to, too. He wanted to be rough with Bucky and see how pretty Bucky looked when he struggled. Maybe when he cried. Not that he had any intention of making Bucky cry now. But the idea was nice.

God. Steve shuddered. What was Bucky doing to him?

Bucky was nodding his head between Steve’s thighs in encouragement. So Steve tightened the hold he had in Bucky’s hair until he could feel resistance. Bucky groaned immediately, the reverberations feeling fucking wonderful to Steve. Steve used his hold on Bucky’s hair to pull him all the way off his cock and hold him there, lips wet and face slack with want. “You look amazing,” Steve told him. “You should see yourself. Want you to look like this all the time.” He held the side of Bucky’s face in his palm. He ran his thumb down, hooking it at the corner of his mouth and drawing down until his thumb slipped out and Bucky’s lower lip popped back up. “Love your mouth,” he mused. “Shoulda let you suck me off that time you came into my tent in Azzano. You remember that Buck? How drunk you were?” Steve wasn’t even sure if Bucky remembered it, if it was one of the memories that’d come back to Bucky by now. “I should’ve taken so much advantage of you.”

Bucky’s eyes glazed over. “Fuuuck,” he groaned. “Yeah I remember. Wish you’d made me Steve. Stevie… slap me. Please.” His lips sought out Steve’s cock, kissing it. “Slap me with it.” Steve moaned and took hold of the base of his cock and hit it against Bucky’s cheek. That made Bucky flinch and then smile, so Steve did it again on the other cheek. Then he slapped him with his hand.

“Oh,” Bucky whimpered. He nuzzled his face into Steve’s hand—the one that’d slapped him—and outright thanked him. “Steve, Stevie,” he said, voice rough as rocks. “Thank you. Oh, feels soo good. Want you to slap me around. Wanna call you Sir. Want you to make me do everything.”

Bucky’s begging was dirty and beautiful and it got Steve hotter than anything he’d ever experienced. Seeing Bucky like this had Steve feeling downright inspired. He felt powerful, excited, and amazed at the man between his legs. He felt turned on as fuck, felt his inhibitions dropping away like icicles in the sun. Through the haze of his lust Steve realized that Bucky had been right when he’d said that Steve was overthinking things. Dominating Bucky didn’t have to be complicated because it didn’t have to be an act. It came so naturally.

He fisted Bucky’s hair and pushed him back down onto his cock, sitting up and bending down as far as he could to say in Bucky’s ear, “Here’s what’s going to happen. I’m going to fuck your face until I get close. Then I’m gonna lay back and you’re going to work it out of me with everything you have. And if I feel like you’re doing a good job—and by good I mean your absolute fucking best, then I’ll rough you up right when I come. Got it?”

Steve could imagine Bucky’s mind was a little bit blown at that pronouncement. Steve’s voice had changed, sounding more like how the men in the videos talked to their partners. Bucky made a desperate sound in his throat and shoved his face as far down Steve’s cock as he could. Steve supposed that was a yes please. Bucky swallowed around Steve’s cock, eliciting a powerful grunt from him, and pulled off. Looking up with blown pupils, he said, “Please.” As if he couldn’t wait another second for it.

Steve would’ve done anything for Bucky with a look like that. It helped that this was something Steve really wanted to do. He guided his cock back between Bucky’s parted lips, tangled his hands through Bucky’s hair and gripped tighter than before. Beneath him, Bucky moaned around his mouthful. Steve pushed him down until he could feel Bucky’s lips around the base of him, could feel his nose pressing against his pubic bone. Bucky gagged a little but held perfectly still for Steve. He used his real hand to push up Steve’s shirt and scratch at his stomach, and with the other he rolled Steve’s balls in his palm. Then he swallowed, throat convulsing delicious pressure around Steve’s cock.

It was too good. Too much. Steve cursed, head thwacking back against the headboard. “Shit!” He yanked on Bucky’s hair, pulling him away from his cock with a wet sound. Bucky’s lips looked swollen and spit-slicked and Steve gripped his hair hard enough to make him wince. “Look at me,” Steve practically growled, his dick throbbing when Bucky instantly obeyed, throat arched so prettily. “Put your hands on my hips,” he said sternly.

Bucky did so, flesh palm and metal one cradling him on each side. His thumbs rubbed absently over Steve’s hipbones.

“Don’t move them,” Steve ordered.

Bucky nodded, even though it must have hurt his scalp to do so. “Yes Sir.”

Steve groaned. He smashed Bucky’s head back down, forcing him to take him in deep once again. Bucky went without resistance, hands clamped obediently on Steve’s sides. Steve fucked his hips up into Bucky’s face, feeling his cock hit the back of Bucky’s throat once, twice, and then he held it there so that he could feel the squeeze of it, hear Bucky choking. After a long beat Steve let Bucky up, held him still with just the tip of his dick between his lips so he could catch his breath. Bucky kept his mouth and throat open—about the only thing he could do. Steve continued to fuck Bucky’s face, not bothering to be gentle. That wasn’t what Bucky wanted and if Steve was being perfectly honest it wasn’t what he wanted either. He wanted to hear the obscene noises of Bucky being forced down on his cock. He wanted to feel Bucky’s nails digging into his skin, see the drool smeared on his chin and his eyes squeezed closed. He wanted to… Oh, he wanted to come. And being allowed to hold Bucky’s head and fuck into his hot mouth however he wanted was getting Steve close. He let himself have a few more thrusts before releasing his grip from Bucky’s hair and settling back into the bed.

Bucky looked up at him, hands still in place where he’d been ordered to keep them but lips barely resting around the crown of Steve’s cock. He looked so fucked over, so used. It was beautiful. If Steve hadn’t been so close to coming he would’ve told him so. Instead, he panted, “Alright get me off. Hard. You can use your hands.”

Both of Bucky’s hands instantly left Steve’s hips. The metal one cupped his balls, its index finger applying firm pressure to Steve’s perineum. He used his other hand to stroke Steve—tight and fast like there was no tomorrow—while he kept his mouth on the tip and sucked hard. It was the perfect combination of stimulation, exactly how Steve needed it and it took an even shorter amount of time for him to come that he thought it would. As soon as Steve recognized that he was literally right there, he wrapped one hand through Bucky’s hair and slapped him across the face with the other. Bucky let forth the filthiest moan and the feeling of it pushed Steve over the edge. His hips snapped up into Bucky’s face and he grunted out his release, body held taught and eyes squeezed shut as Bucky wrung the pleasure from him. Bucky didn’t stop once he realized Steve was coming either. He kept him inside his mouth and used his hands to gentle him through his orgasm.

Steve moaned loudly, relaxing back into the sheets as the aftershocks zinged through him. “Fuck.” He opened his eyes to the sight of Bucky with his cock still in his mouth. “Oh my god,” Steve huffed with what felt like the last breath he had in him. He lay there and panted. That’d been a good one. Bucky stared at Steve, his lips pulling off the shiny tip of his spent cock with a wet ‘pop’. Steve couldn’t miss the bob of Bucky’s throat as he swallowed, and damn but it satisfying to watch the other man swallow his load. Bucky’s hands never left Steve as he softened, petting him behind his balls and at the juncture of his thigh. Steve let his head hit back against the headboard. “Your fucking lips,” he said, not bothering to finish the sentence. It was self-explanatory.

Between his legs, Bucky hummed. “Thank you.” He peeked up at Steve to see if he was looking at him and said, “You could’ve hit me harder.”

Steve snorted, too gone on the sight of Bucky’s messy face between his legs to get upset at that statement. “I’ll work on that.”

“Promise?” Bucky licked his lips and rolled out from between Steve’s legs with a smile, letting himself lay fully on the bed next to where Steve sat, still recovering. Bucky stretched his jaw out, cracking it. “Wow. Haven’t done that in a while.”

Steve couldn’t let that one go. “You been practicing?”

Bucky glanced up to meet his gaze. He paused, looking like he was trying to gauge whether Steve was jealous or just curious. “Here and there,” he told him quietly. “I any good?”

Steve barked out a laugh, assuming that to be a joke. When Bucky’s face shuttered in embarrassment however, Steve realized that Bucky was actually asking. “Jesus Bucky,” Steve said, “Thought you were kidding. You’re fucking amazing.” Bucky had his arms folded behind his head and Steve reached down to swipe one hand lazily across his bicep. “I’m jealous though,” he said. “If I’d have known you were practicing all this time I would’ve volunteered myself.”

Bucky smirked up at the room’s ceiling. “You would’ve gotten a couple of bad suck jobs then.”

Steve smiled, then noticed the erection that was still tenting Bucky’s track pants. He dug his fingers into the meat of Bucky’s arm, rubbing him there. “You’re still hard,” he said, the question evident in his voice.

Bucky looked down at himself, then back to the ceiling as if it didn’t matter. “Yeah.”

Steve hesitated, unsure of what to do. He knew what he’d like to do. But he didn’t know if Bucky would… “Can I touch you?” he asked.

“Naw.” Bucky was rolling over so that his erection was hidden from sight. He propped himself on his elbows and looked up at Steve, shaking his head. “Don’t need it. Don’t want it,” he said calmly.

“But you’re…” Steve floundered, feeling frustrated. “I want to make you feel good Bucky,” he said. “I don’t want this to just be about me.”

“It wasn’t,” Bucky told him.

“But—”

“Trust me, I just got exactly what I wanted.”

“A slap in the face and some hair pulling?” Steve said, sounding skeptical. “Even for someone who enjoys pain, doesn’t seem very satisfying.”

Bucky chuckled, looked down at the bedspread for a beat, looked back up. “That’s not all I got.” Steve must’ve looked confused, so Bucky said, “Steve I’ve wanted to suck you off since junior high, back when your dick was the only big thing about you. D’you know that?”

Steve blinked, his expression saying very clearly that no, he hadn’t thought of that. “Jesus Buck. Junior high?”

“Says the guy who was jerking it to me at eleven years old,” Bucky countered. He shook his head, folded the edges of the sheets idly between his fingers as he continued, “Yeah it was junior high. I saw you naked in the locker room. Saw your skinny ass. Saw you were uncut—like most of the boys really but yours was different. Better. God, it looked so swell. You looked so… soft. Wanted to know what you’d feel like in my hands, on my lips. Against my tongue. Wanted to see how much bigger you’d get when you were feelin’ good, what your face would look like when you shot.”

Steve groaned, slapping a hand down onto Bucky’s shoulder. “Is there a reason you’re telling me this? Cause as it stands now all you’ve accomplished is that I’m gonna to have to jerk off to the thought of you blowing me in the school locker room.”

Bucky smirked up at him. “I’m just saying Steve: don’t worry about me. Just because I didn’t come doesn’t mean I didn’t get what I wanted. I’ve wanted this—wanted you—for a long time.” He looked away sheepishly. “Kind of forgot though, what with the brainwashing and all that. Just had to remember, you know?”

Maybe it wasn’t all of what Steve wanted to hear, but he knew what Bucky meant. He pet Bucky’s hair to let him know that it was okay. “Yeah,” he said. “I know Buck.” Steve felt like he’d been waiting his whole life for he and Bucky to reach a point like this. He hadn’t known it until recently, but now it seemed so clear: Steve didn’t just love Bucky, he was in love with him. And yeah Bucky was still getting better and had a lot of twisted feelings about sex that Steve didn’t necessarily agree with. But Steve loved him and he’d been given permission to be the one in charge. So he would be. He decided it right then and there, with Bucky laying right next to him in the bed. Steve would be the one in charge, and he’d tell Bucky what to do because Bucky liked that. And they’d be fine.

They’d figure out the rest in time

Chapter Text

Two weeks later and Bucky was starting to get antsy, Steve could tell. The stuff they’d ordered had arrived but Steve was still waiting on the larger pieces of custom bondage furniture to come in before setting up the room. A few times since Bucky had sucked him off, he’d approached Steve and flat out asked him to dominate him. Steve had gently refused, reminding Bucky that they were waiting for their room. That when Steve had it ready they would play together, not before. That was the rule.

When forthright asking didn’t work, Bucky started trying other tactics. He’d sneak a hand between Steve’s legs when they were sitting together on the couch on movie night, or he’d try to slip into the shower with Steve after his workouts. Steve managed to refuse each time, painful as it was for him to do so. Then when Steve verbally forbade Bucky from trying to touch him that way, Bucky changed tactics again. He began doing things for Steve. The coffee was always made in the morning. The dishes were done. Steve’s paint brushes were cleaned, his tac suit laundered. Steve noticed, of course he did. But it wasn’t hurting anything so he didn’t say anything. He secretly liked it.

Then Bucky ramped it up. He started sitting on the floor quietly wherever Steve was, like some forlorn puppy. He’d slip to his knees on the floor next to where Steve was eating breakfast, or reading, or painting, and just… stare up at him. Steve found this the hardest of all. It tested his resolve more than the sexual advances had. He took up jogging around the city more than he ever had before. Bucky couldn’t sit and stare at him when he was doing that.

At first Steve felt proud of himself for the rule. Even though it frustrated Bucky, Steve imagined that he was being a good dom (god, that word bothered him) for Bucky by setting boundaries and sticking to them. And maybe he was. But the longer it took Steve to get the playroom situation sorted out, the more he had to wonder if he was using it as an excuse to delay the inevitable. Steve had too many feelings about the whole “I’m going to physically and sexually dominate my mentally-imbalanced best friend” thing. Too many questions ran through his thoughts at night (Was Steve being selfish? Was he only considering this whole arrangement to satisfy his own perverse desires?), keeping him up, making him doubt himself and everything he’d promised Bucky he’d do for him. Bucky was counting on him, Steve knew. And as adept as he usually was at taking the weight of the world on his shoulders, at fixing other peoples’ problems, this time the task at hand seemed more daunting. Ridiculous really, when Steve had managed to crash his own plane into the Atlantic to save millions, yet it was this that threw him. But this time it was Bucky. And when it really came down to it, Steve just didn’t want to fuck up.

In the midst of all this, of Steve worrying and Bucky waiting, the two of them took to eating lunch together in Central Park. It leant a sense of routine that was good for the both of them. Bucky liked it because Central Park was a big enough, open enough place that he could be out in public and not be noticed. Steve liked it because when they were both on the ground eating their picnics, Bucky couldn’t do the whole sitting-on-the-floor-submissively-and-staring-at-him thing. He didn’t tell Bucky that though.

“Where’d you meet Leda?” Steve dared to ask one afternoon. They’d grabbed Chinese for lunch that day. And Bucky had sprawled on the grass with his head in Steve’s lap while he ate lo mein straight from the container.

He looked up at Steve. “I’m surprised you remember her name.”

Steve rolled his eyes. “Leda? Like Leda and the Swan? How am I going to forget that? Nobody has that name.” That was how Steve was certain that it’d been made up. Mistress Leda. Yeah right.

“Nerd,” Bucky said, using his chopsticks to scoop up more noodles. He gestured with them in Steve’s face. “You’ll remember Greek mythology that you learned in fifth grade, eighty years ago, but you still can’t master chopsticks.”

Steve flicked Bucky’s forehead, though it didn’t slow down his eating (the two of them could eat crap like that and get away with it, much to Tony and Sam’s perpetual annoyance). “You’re avoiding the question,” he pointed out, though he did allow Bucky to deliver a lump of noodles to his mouth. It was while Steve was chewing that Bucky answered him.

“Yeah cause you’re not going to like the answer.” He looked at Steve warningly then said, “I was already there when I met her, in the basement” (Steve had since learned from Bucky that that was exactly what the illicit sex club in which he’d discovered Bucky was called, just the basement). “I’d been there before, for Hydra business,” Bucky said.

Steve stilled, forced himself to swallow down his mouthful of food. “As the asset,” he clarified. “Like for a hit?”

“No,” Bucky said. “With my handler. He wanted to go, brought me along.”

Bucky’s meaning was clear, and Steve immediately started thinking vengeful thoughts about Pierce, about Rumlow, Sitwell, about any number of men who’d been discovered to be Hydra operatives when Shield had fallen. Men who could have raped Bucky.

Bucky must’ve seen it on his face because he was quick to tell him, “It was a long time ago Steve. No one you ever met.”

“Sorry,” Steve blurted, not even sure what he was apologizing for. “I don’t want you to feel like you can’t tell me about that stuff. About what they did to you.”

Bucky smiled grimly, as if he was doing it just to keep from frowning. “It upsets you to hear it.”

“Doesn’t mean I shouldn’t know,” Steve insisted. “I mean it has everything to do with why we’re doing this, yeah? So I should know what they did to you.” He nodded to himself as if to reinforce the idea. “You’ll tell me about that stuff, yeah?”

Bucky shrugged, picked up a spring roll and handed one up to Steve—probably to stop the line of questioning, Steve thought. “Why’re you asking about Leda?” Bucky asked after a beat, changing the subject.

Steve ate his spring roll, using it as an excuse to think of what to say. The truth, he figured, was probably best. “I’ve just been thinking a lot about what I’m going to do to you,” he said. “How I want to… go about it.”

Bucky grinned almost immediately, excitement written on his face. “Yeah?”

“Curb your enthusiasm,” Steve drawled. “We’re not doing anything today.”

“Punk.”

Steve flicked Bucky on the ear, not unwise now to the fact that the other man liked such small reprimands (Steve liked them too, if he was being honest with himself.) “Shut up. We need to talk. I’ve been worrying about this.”

Bucky sobered. “Worrying?” he said, looking up at Steve with big eyes. Steve was petting a hand through his hair. “Stevie, what’re ya worrying about?”

Steve shrugged. He didn’t want to seem weak. That wasn’t part of this thing they had with one another, but… “Don’t worry,” he said. “I’m not changing my mind or anything. I do want to take care of you Buck. I want to give you what you need. But…”

Bucky turned over in his lap, propping himself up on his elbows. “But what?”

“But I can’t be like she was with you,” Steve forced out. “She was mean to you Buck. I don’t wanna do that. I don’t want to treat you like a thing.”

Buck didn’t say anything at first. He looked at Steve, thoughtful. “…When you say you want to ‘take care of me,’ that’s just your way of saying dominate, right?”

Steve blushed. “Jesus Bucky. Yes.”

Bucky laughed at him, though there was relief there too. “Only you’d be embarrassed of that word Steve. After all the things you’ve told me you want to do to me.”

Steve could feel the heat in his face, knew it wouldn’t be going away any time soon. “Doing it’ll be easier than talking about it I think.”

“You’re the one who started the conversation,” Bucky pointed out. “And you don’t have to be mean to me Steve. I know that’s not your style. You love me. She didn’t. It’ll be different with us and I’m okay with that.”

Steve didn’t try to hide the look of relief that slid over his face. “Oh. Okay.” Hearing Bucky say he knew that Steve loved him was still so new to Steve. It did things to Steve’s insides. Made them gooey and happy. Bucky should always know that he was loved. “Just weren’t sure what you were, you know, expecting,” he said.

“I’ve told you what I need and you said you could give it to me. As long as you do that we’ll be fine. I don’t want you to hate what we do you know.” Bucky spent a moment picking at the grass self-consciously. “I mean I know it’s not how it woulda been if we’d been together before.” Bucky didn’t elaborate on what ‘before’ was. They both knew. “But fucked up as what I want now is, it’s still going to be us, together. Intimate. I want you to like it too.”

Steve melted a little at hearing Bucky say that. “Oh Buck. I do. I will.”

Bucky seemed satisfied by that. He settled back into Steve’s lap. “You know I’ve wanted to ask you about the people you’ve been with,” he said, looking curiously up at Steve’s face. Maybe Steve’s expression got a little too tight or something because the next thing he knew Bucky was asking, “You’re not a virgin, are you?”

He said it so bluntly, but Steve still felt himself choke on his spit a little. “What? No!”

Bucky laughed, “Well how the hell am I supposed to know? You’re shy and you go red at the tiniest thing. For all I know that blow job I gave you was the first you’d ever had.” He paused, the smile sliding off his face. “It wasn’t, was it?”

Steve struggled to answer Bucky at first. “No,” he said finally. “I’ve had… a little experience.”

Bucky peered up at him. “Want to tell me about it?”

“If you’ll do the same in trade.”

Bucky nodded. “Sure.”

Steve knew that Bucky didn’t realize what he’d just agreed to, but he told him, “Back… before, I was with one or two of the USO girls.”

The speed with which Bucky’s face split into a grin made Steve regret saying anything at all. “Stevie,” he crooned. “You’re smarter than you look! Made time with the chorus girls after all. God bless ya.”

Steve pinched him, he had to. “Shut up. It wasn’t half as exciting as all that. I kissed ‘em is all. And…” Steve reddened at Bucky’s raised eyebrow, his impatient smirk. “Well the one was a little more adventurous. She got a kick outta blowing me right before performances.”

Bucky laughed, pleased beyond all get out. Steve couldn’t manage much more than a scowl for it though, seeing as how Bucky didn’t laugh enough anymore and he loved it whenever he did. “If people only knew,” Bucky was saying. “Captain America, serviced backstage.”

“Yeah yeah.” Steve ruffled Bucky’s hair. “Anyways other than that I got a few tame kisses in. Mostly the adoring masses. This one girl: Lorraine. …And Peggy.” Steve sobered a bit as he remembered the only kiss he’d ever gotten from her. Bucky must’ve noticed because he was quiet. Steve sighed. “And after I woke up it was lonely for a while. Kinda hard to meet anybody when you’re a spectacle like that. And nobody with shared life experience besides.”

“But?” Bucky ventured. Because of course he was smart enough to guess that there had been someone. “Who?”

“A systems analyst at the DoD,” Steve said. “Ex-marine. Met him at the VA.”

“Didn’t work out?”

“It’s not like we were dating. Hell, I’d barely gotten used to the whole ‘gay is okay’ thing when I met him, and he wasn’t out to his family or anything.” Steve reached up, scratched absently at his ear. “It was nice though. He had me over once in a while. I learned.” Steve didn’t elaborate on what he’d learned but he could tell that Bucky knew. “So,” Steve said. “That’s me. What about you?” He peered down at Bucky. “Sexual history, cough it up.”

Bucky shrugged. “First girl I ever fucked was Francis Goldman. She let me feel her up in the back of her dad’s deli and I was making it with her by sophomore year.”

“Course you were.” Steve rolled his eyes fondly. “I know all about your lady friends from before Buck. You had quite a few over at the apartment.”

“Yeah.” Bucky looked up at him. “And you liked listening to it, didn’t ya?”

Steve’s breath stuttered at the way Bucky looked up at him, the teasing in his voice. “Shit Buck,” he murmured. “You… you knew?”

Bucky chuckled, but his gaze remained heated as he admitted, “Course I did. I got off on it.”

“Oh my god.”

“Did you always just listen Stevie? Or did you maybe watch, too? Hmm? Let your hand slip under the sheets and play with yourself while you watched me giving it to some dame?”

Steve gaped. Bucky’s head was still in Steve’s lap and now it was becoming uncomfortable as Steve hardened. He was sure Bucky noticed. “Why didn’t you say anything?” Steve asked. “Confront me if you knew I was queer?”

“I knew no such thing.” Bucky said, completely honest. “For all I knew you were a sexually repressed runt getting off to my girls. I didn’t mind helping you out if that’s what got you going.”

Steve huffed, completely mortified. “I can’t believe you knew and you didn’t say anything.”

“You worry too much,” Bucky told him simply, closing his eyes against the noon sun. “Get too worked up. Did back then and you do now.”

Steve snorted, played with Bucky’s hair for a while again before asking, “And later? I know you were with a few French girls during the war.”

“Mmhm.” Bucky smiled with his eyes closed as if remembering. He reached blindly for one of the takeout containers, feeding himself more of the greasy food even once Steve refused any more. “Suit yourself,” Bucky told him, shoveling more in. “They hardly fed me anything good when they had me defrosted, so I’m making up for lost time.” Steve tensed, Bucky could feel it where his head rested against Steve’s thigh muscles. “Oh Steve,” he sighed. “Don’t do this. I was just joking...”

“They starved you?” Steve asked. He couldn’t help himself.

“No!” Bucky sounded mad—he usually did when Steve felt the need to pry into these topics. “What the hell sense would that’ve made? They needed me to be in peak physical condition. I just meant I didn’t exactly get my pick of delicious foods.” He scoffed, “Jesus. Thought we were comparing notches on our bedposts anyways?” He ate more noodles, peeved. “You don’t wanna know about the Italian guy I fucked?”

“I said: what about after?” Steve was trying to keep his voice level. “What about when you were in captivity?”

It was like a switch being thrown, how Bucky’s muscles tensed up. He tried to temper it somewhat, Steve could tell. But he still went from being relaxed and happy to… not. The food went forgotten. “Captivity,” he echoed Steve’s word. “Yeah, that.”

Steve tried to calm Bucky with fingers through his hair, but he could tell that it wasn’t working. “You said you’d tell me,” he said softly, tone nearly apologizing for needing to know, for souring the day’s mood by taking the conversation there. “It’s important for me to know. I don’t want to trigger something during a scene Buck.”

“How could you possibly?” Bucky asked, petulant. “S’not like we’re actually doing anything now anyways.”

“You think I want to hear it?” Steve defended. “I don’t. God, I don’t. Hearing it makes me sick. But I need to know. Because I don’t want to be like them Bucky. No matter what we play at, or how I control you. I can’t be like them.”

“God,” Bucky sneered. For a long time it seemed as if he wouldn’t say anything else. He stayed tense, kept his eyes closed despite the fact that he must’ve known Steve was staring down at him. In the end he wound up rolling off of Steve’s lap, lying next to him in the grass and staring up at the sky’s few clouds like they held his bad memories. He didn’t look at Steve. “You are so…naïve. You think you could be anything like they were?” he said, voice a shell of what it’d been a few minutes ago.

“I—”

“The Russians had me first,” Bucky snapped. “That’s when most of it happened. Sleep deprivation, shocks, hunger. …cold.” Bucky blinked rapidly, as if trying to clear something from his eyes. “Rape is an effective tool for bending someone to your will, so of course I was raped. By men, women, objects. Didn’t matter. They didn’t have to be careful either. I was enhanced. I wasn’t going to die from a little internal bleeding. They could tie me up, or inject me with something to paralyze me. Then they could touch me however they wanted for however long they wanted.” This was when he chose to look over at Steve, and Steve positively hated that cold, careless look in his eyes. “A couple years with the KGB and they could make me do anything they wanted to with the right words.” Bucky’s lip curled, but it wasn’t because anything he was saying was funny. “So Hydra made out pretty well. They hardly had to do a thing once they got their hands on me. I was a good soldier by then. And they were far more disciplined—when I wasn’t frozen only a few of my Hydra handlers ever really took advantage of their positions in that way.”

“Stop.”

“Thought you needed to know,” Bucky said bitterly.

Steve frowned. “I did. I do. But you’re not telling me this to help anything. You’re just baiting me.” Bucky tucked his lips in, refused to say any more. They both knew Steve was right. Steve leaned down, pulled himself to hover over where Bucky lay. “That’s real shitty Buck.”

“Yeah?” Bucky jibed. “Well so what?”

“And that’s backtalk,” Steve told him, voice quiet and hard. He leant even closer over Bucky, their noses nearly touching. “You’re being a royal fuck and you’re not listening. If I had you in the playroom do you have any idea what I’d do to you for behaving like this?”

“What you’d…” Bucky exhaled, eyes going hot and wanting at the threat, but only for a second. He hardened again and scowled up at Steve. “I actually have NO idea Steve. Because there is no playroom, is there?”

Steve frowned. “Huh?”

Bucky pushed up to his elbows in the grass, shrugging Steve’s looming form away and rolling to get up. “You’re never going to go through with this. You’re just going to talk about it until the cows come home.”

“Bucky, no. I,” Steve stuttered, “I do. There is. I mean I… I want to.”

Bucky was standing, had grabbed up his jacket from the ground and was shrugging it on. “Oh yeah. I have no doubt that you want to Steve. I know the thought of it gets you off. Imagining it. You’re just too chicken shit to actually follow through.”

“Bucky, no.”

“Well if you can’t do it that’s fine,” Bucky insisted. “But stop stalling. If you can’t give me what I need then let me go back there. To the basement.”

Steve felt his guts twist up at the request. “Bucky NO. That place… That is not what you need.”

“God!” Bucky shoved frustrated fingers through his hair. “That’s not how this works Steve! You don’t get to do that!”

Steve glanced around, for the first time considering that passersby in the park might hear them arguing. He stood up, stepped into Bucky’s space. “Lower your voice and calm down,” he commanded. Bucky glared at him but didn’t speak. “Now you listen to me and you listen good, Bucky Barnes,” Steve told him. “I absolutely forbid you from going back to that place.” When it looked like Bucky would argue Steve cut him off. “I know it’s hard for you to wait Buck. But you need to. I’m telling you to.” Steve reached out and took Bucky’s hand, stroking him gently along the inner wrist. With his other hand he gripped the back of Bucky’s neck, pulling him in close. “You’re mine,” he told him in his most commanding voice, not missing how it made Bucky’s eyes go half-lidded. “You’re mine, and I am going to give you everything you need. But you’re going to wait for it. You’re going to do what I say and you’re going to be good for a little while longer. Understand?” When Bucky took longer than a second to respond, Steve allowed his fingers to curl a little tighter at the back of Bucky’s neck. “Do you understand?” he repeated.

“Yes,” Bucky hissed.

Steve’s fingers gripped him harder and he glared at Bucky. “What was that?”

For a second it looked like Bucky would capitulate, that he’d bow his head and murmur an apology for his tone. But he jerked himself out of Steve’s hold and took a step back. “Do whatever you want Steve,” he said, shaking his head. “But when you finally get around to it—if you ever get around to it—don’t give me any control. I don’t want it. Not one fucking choice.”

Then he turned and walked away.

Chapter Text

Two more weeks later, and Steve was happy to note that the last touch to the playroom was in place.

Despite the fact that it’d been filled with all manner of furniture and items designed for the practice of BDSM, Steve had gone to great lengths to ensure that the room in which he and Bucky would ‘play’ resembled very little in way of a dungeon. The walls were painted a soft dove grey and had large windows to let in the light. The cabinets that he’d brought in to store the multitude of toys were a sandy chestnut color, as was the bedframe. An armchair for Steve was upholstered in darker grey, while the bed had soft cotton sheets and blankets in a pretty blue color. To top it all off, the floor was temperature-controlled so that Bucky would never have to feel a chill against his bare feet. The furniture to which human people were meant to be tied couldn’t help but look a little menacing, but at least Bucky had ordered the pieces finished in tan leather instead of black or-god forbid-red. Steve wanted Bucky to feel safe in this room, never trapped, and so the final soothing touch he added was a series of sheer drapes to lend some privacy to the corner where the bed was. Steve intended to spend a lot of time with Bucky in that bed.

He stood back once it was all in place, feeling proud of what he’d made for Bucky. It’d been a strangely meditative process for Steve, setting up the room. Arranging each item gave Steve the chance to contemplate how he’d handle Bucky, what he’d do to him, and strangely enough deciding where to put the minifridge stocked with water and other aftercare items sparked just as many intimate thoughts as deciding where to put the spanking bench had. It’d been good for Steve. Had helped clear his head in the face of how Bucky had been acting since the porn/blow job incident and since their disastrous conversation in the park and how Steve wanted to handle it.

To avoid being discovered and unnecessarily scrutinized, Steve had been using Bucky’s daily workout time as his “set up the whips and chains stuff in our dungeon” time. So when he finished with the drapes that afternoon he knew exactly where to go to find Bucky. There was music (of a sort) blasting when Steve entered the gym, though it was angry and made him wince (there were reasons why Bucky never shared his musical tastes with Steve).

Bucky was over by the triple-reinforced sandbags that Tony had had brought in especially for Steve, beating the ever-living shit out of them. His hair was tied back in a high bun, his right hand taped and his left hand not and his shoulders all sweaty. Steve spent a moment appreciating the sight of him before making his approach. Bucky had, of course, known the minute that Steve had entered the room, but even once Steve moved into his field of vision he didn’t say anything, just kept wailing on the punching bag that hung in front of him. Steve leant himself patiently against the wall, more than ready to wait out Bucky’s temperament. It took a few more minutes, but eventually Bucky sank back from his stance and sighed. “What?” he said, sounding none too happy for the interruption.

Steve shrugged and before Bucky could stop him, reached out to end the music coming from Bucky’s portable stereo. Bucky scowled at him. “I’m just checking in on you,” Steve told him calmly. “You’ve been in here awhile.”

Bucky snorted, walking over to grab his water bottle and take a swig from it. “I’m fine,” he said, sounding anything but. “Now do you mind? I’m training.” He moved back over to the bag, prepared apparently, to being again even without his angry music. Steve watched him calmly for another second before walking over and placing a hand on the canvas, effectively stopping Bucky from continuing. Bucky looked at him in surprise which quickly bled back to annoyance.

“And what are you training for, exactly?” Steve asked with a raised eyebrow. “Pummeling the face of the next ex-Hydra agent you corner?”

Bucky’s look soured. “Like that would be so bad,” he countered. “Besides, you’re one to criticize a little violent stress relief.”

Steve’s face remained infuriatingly calm. He only shrugged, refusing to let Bucky’s attitude get to him. “I suppose.”

Bucky stared at him. “Can you move please?” His tone was rude, didn’t match the ‘please’ in the request.

“No.”

“Excuse me?”

Steve nodded at Bucky where he stood and told him. “You don’t need any more of this. Upper body isn’t your weakness.”

Bucky scowled. “I think I’ll decide what I need, thanks.” Moving off to another bag that Steve wasn’t blocking, he took up a stance to start punching again. Only Steve moved right over and stood behind him and put his hands on Bucky’s hips. Bucky froze at the contact. “What’re you doing?”

“You want to tell me what’s got you so riled up?” Steve asked quietly. He knew damn well what it was, had watched Bucky’s behavior get worse and worse over the course of time where Steve had refused to touch him again, but he wanted to hear Bucky say it. “What’s going on that has you needing so much… stress relief?”

The sound Bucky made at that was deep enough in his throat as to almost be called a growl. “Jesus. Whaddaya think Steve? I haven’t been dommed in weeks. I’ve been waiting on you to get your shit together. I’ve been being good, waiting on you. Haven’t even gone out.” Steve knew what Bucky meant by that. “Haven’t had any fucking relief for weeks because I’m being so damned good and what is it getting me?” He gave the bag two jabs even though Steve was still holding his hips. “Nothing,” he finished. He tensed his shoulders to start laying into another round of punches, but Steve reached forward and took Bucky’s right hand in his, fingers uncurling Bucky’s fist and deftly beginning to undo the tape.

“I told you,” Steve said calmly, “You don’t need any more of this.” He kissed the back of Bucky’s neck, ignoring how disgustingly sweaty it was and throwing the tape from his hand to the floor once he had it off. Steve didn’t miss how Bucky’s metal fist tightened and he made sure to spin Bucky around to face him before he could be shrugged off. Steve met his stormy eyes with an amused look. “Lower body Buck,” he told him. “You always did have skinny legs.” Bucky groaned. He hated leg work. Stronger thighs courtesy of his days as the Winter Soldier hadn’t changed that. Steve nodded his head back towards the part of the gym where the weights were. “So let’s go,” he told him. When Bucky just stood there looking defiant, Steve let his countenance darken. “Leg press, now.”

Whatever nasty comment Bucky had ready to snap out at Steve visibly evaporated at the domineering look on Steve’s face, at the sound of his command. Because that’s all it could be called, was a command. Bucky’s eyes got a little wide and he seemed to calm considerably, almost deflating some as he moved to obey and do what Steve had told him to do. Steve followed right behind him as they moved across the floor, bringing Bucky’s water bottle along when Bucky himself forgot it. A sharp nod from Steve and Bucky got himself up on the forty-five-degree leg press machine with zero argument, and he waited with a weird look of consideration on his face as he let Steve decide how to adjust the weights.

The workout continued, every minute of it grueling. Bucky was an enhanced human being and Steve didn’t coddle him as he guided him through a long session. Perhaps Bucky would have gotten up and left once he was soaked in sweat and his muscles ached with the strain, but for his refusal to show weakness in front of Steve. But for how much he liked being bossed around by him.

It wasn’t until he’d been abruptly directed into the showers and they were under the spray together, Bucky’s back to Steve’s front, that he settled enough to realize what Steve was doing. “I know what you’re doing,” he told him, the noise of the water nearly drowning out his words. It was the first sentence he’d said to Steve without malice since Steve had stepped into the gym.

Steve’s hands paused where they were gathering up soap from the dispenser. He brought them up and landed them on Bucky’s shoulders, where he rubbed. “Yeah?” he said. He wasn’t going to apologize if that’s what Bucky wanted. Steve had made up his mind days ago how he was going to handle this. There’d be no backtracking now. He did want to know what Bucky’s reaction was though. “And?”

Bucky let his head drop, quiet. “Thank you,” he said.

Steve smiled a little where Bucky couldn’t see, affection rushing through him for the other man. He dug his fingers into the muscles at the base of Bucky’s neck. “You’re welcome Buck. I just want to take care of you,” he told him. “And I can do that in different ways. You know I can. I want to do it in different ways.” Steve paused, then asked. “Do you want that?” They hadn’t talked about this at all really, about how far Steve’s control would extend. But Bucky was nodding mutely in front of him, his face getting in the water a little bit each time he did. Steve guided Bucky’s head back to rest against his shoulder, and when Bucky allowed it Steve continued washing him, hands migrating around to his chest. “I know it’s been hard for you,” he said. “Waiting for me. I’m proud of you for doing it though. You were right when you said you’ve been good.” Steve brushed fingers over Bucky’s pecs, his thumbs over his nipples. He pinched them a little even though the soap made it slippery. “You’ve been so good Buck. So good for me."

Bucky shuddered, whether from Steve’s words or the intimate touches or both, it wasn’t quite clear. “Steve,” he groaned, sounding like he wasn’t sure he wanted to give himself over to this if it was just going to be taken away again. “Stevie. Please don’t stop. Please tell me this is it. That I don’t have to wait anymore.” He rubbed his ass back in a move that was half instinct, half calculated ploy to get Steve to do what he wanted.

Steve’s hand slapped the side of his ass, the sound echoing harsh and wet against the tile walls. The warning to behave was clear. “Bucky?” he said into Bucky’s ear after a beat. “…You don’t have to wait any more.” Bucky’s moan filled the shower stall, relief at hearing those words making his body sag back against Steve’s. Steve chuckled and ran his hands down Bucky’s sides, down to the v of muscle that framed his hips. He rubbed him there as he told him calmly, “Here’s what’s going to happen.” Bucky moaned again at those words but Steve shushed him. He laid kisses along the wet skin of his shoulder. “I’m going to finish washing you. Then you’re going to wash me—only wash me,” he added. “And then I’m going to take you to our play room.”

Bucky inhaled. Steve couldn’t hear it over the spray of the water but he felt it in the way Bucky’s body moved under his hands. “You finished it?” Bucky asked.

“Yep.”

“God damn,” Bucky said. “Finally.”

Steve drew back his lips and nipped the skin on Bucky’s shoulder. “Don’t sass.”

Bucky snorted in front of him and Steve couldn’t help but to smile a little too. He gave Bucky one more small, ineffectual bite. “I’m being serious though Buck. If you know we’re playing, if I’m taking care of you, then you watch how you speak to me. That’s going to be a rule I expect you to remember. Understand?”

That voice. Like the one he’d bossed Bucky around in the gym with. Steve got a rush out of using it and he knew Bucky got a rush out of hearing it. What little room there had been for mirth got sucked out of the room at Steve’s words. Suddenly the steam surrounding them felt ten times thicker. Bucky shuddered against Steve again and made a quiet noise in his throat. “…Yes Sir,” he managed after a moment, sounding like the air had been taken from him. “I understand.”

Sir

Steve’s breath caught at hearing Bucky call him that. It sounded good. It sounded right. Steve felt like he’d been waiting to hear Bucky speak to him like that for ages and hadn’t even known it. “Good Buck,” he said after he’d gotten over the initial shock of hearing Bucky call him that. “That’s real good.” He gathered more soap from the dispenser and let his hands move over Bucky’s belly and down to the crest of his legs. “You can call me that any time. I like it. You’re allowed to use my name too though. Okay?” Bucky nodded, and Steve pinched him on the skin of his inner thigh. “Answer out loud.”

“Yes,” Bucky said immediately. “Sir.”

Steve’s lips quirked. That wasn’t going to get old any time soon. “Good.” He let his hands feather near the edge of Bucky’s groin for a moment, teasing that he might touch him where he was already erect. But he didn’t. Instead Steve reached up and pulled the elastic from Bucky’s hair. He slipped it around his own wrist for safekeeping and took some shampoo into his palm. “Lean your head back,” he instructed softly. Bucky complied. Steve took time in washing Bucky’s hair, rubbing careful fingers into his scalp and relishing the pleasured sounds he could get out of him with such a simple touch. Bucky’s hair had grown longer in the last year. Steve worked it through his fingers as he built up a nice lather. “Like your hair long like this,” he told him. “Keep it like this for me, yeah?”

Such a simple thing to say, but Bucky groaned as if Steve had ordered him to get his name tattooed on his ass. “Okay,” he said obediently. “I will.”

When he brought Bucky’s head back into the spray to rinse out the suds and Bucky immediately relaxed into his guidance with closed eyes and serene features, Steve felt enamored by the utter trust Bucky placed in him. If Bucky trusting him to do something so simple as to not get soap in his eyes had Steve feeling this way, how would Bucky trusting him to tie him up and hurt him make him feel? Steve swallowed the lump in his throat and hugged Bucky’s wet body back against him. He’d soon find out.

.oOo.

“Holy shit Steve.”

That was the first thing Bucky said when they walked into the playroom together. But it was okay, because Steve could tell from the sound of the holy shit that he was impressed. Bucky had donned a robe after their shower. Steve had changed into sweatpants, foregoing a shirt. He shut the door behind them and went to sit in the armchair. Bucky glanced over, a question on his face. “I want you to look around,” Steve told him. “Touch anything you want, explore. Then when you’re done I want you to come over here and kneel on the floor in front of me. Can you do that for me?”

Bucky looked at Steve like he’d said something a lot dirtier than what he just did. “You talk to me like that, I’ll do whatever you want.”

Steve’s lips twitched. “You like it when I tell you what to do?”

“Fuck yeah.”

“Good.” Steve nodded at the room. “Go ahead. Look around.”

Bucky turned away. He didn’t seem to know what to do first. The room was dimly lit, but comforting. The walls were a soft blue-grey and the floors done in light wood. The bed sat back in the corner, tucked behind sheer curtains and mounded with the softest looking pillows and blankets. It almost could’ve been any person’s regular old bedroom, if not for the arsenal of BDSM gear that lined the walls. Bucky walked over to where Steve had installed shelving and cabinets to hold things. The whips and paddles and various restraints were all hung up neatly and Bucky reached out to trail his fingers across them. He spent a long moment admiring the things that he and Steve had picked out, making them sway slightly in the air as he touched them. From his seat across the room, Steve wondered if Bucky was imagining each one being used. Steve certainly was.

The furniture got Bucky’s attention next. The St. Andrew’s cross and a bondage horse, the shackles bolted to the wall and a suspension system that Steve had rigged to the ceiling. There was even a low cage that’s top doubled as a padded table. Bucky spent a moment pretending to examine said cage, when Steve knew what he was really doing was surreptitiously eyeing the collection of sex toys that sat organized next to it.

Once Bucky had seen everything he returned to Steve, folding his legs under him to kneel as he’d been instructed. He kept his eyes fixed on the carpet just in front of his knees. There was a hint of color in his cheeks, Steve noticed with satisfaction. “All done?” he asked quietly. Bucky gave a silent nod, his posture very straight. He still didn’t make eye contact, and he seemed tense. “Okay. Good.” Steve didn’t remove his eyes from Bucky. He felt a little worried at the reaction. The thought that perhaps Bucky didn’t like it at all snuck up on him, and Steve had to force himself to remain cool. “So what do you think?” he asked. When, after a beat, Bucky was still staring straight at the floor in front of himself, Steve commanded, “Look up at me Buck.” Bucky complied, and Steve instantly saw that it was desire that Bucky had been trying to hide from him, not displeasure. His brow was pinched with want, eyes blown and fairly shining up at Steve where he sat. Steve couldn’t help but to sink a little more into the back of his armchair, relieved. “I asked you a question,” he reminded.

Bucky wet his lips and nodded, said, “It’s perfect. All of it. S’exactly what I hoped.”

Steve smiled softly. “Good. I’m glad you like it. Now I’m going to explain the rules to you. The rules of this relationship and what’s going to be expected of you in this room. I want you to tell me if you don’t like anything you hear. Understand?”

Bucky nodded. “Yes Sir.”

“That’s good Buck. I like it when you call me that. Remember though I said you’re still allowed to call me by name, okay?”

“Okay.”

“But you’re always going to speak to me respectfully,” Steve reminded sternly. “That’s expected. If I ever feel like you’re being disrespectful or willfully disobedient, or if I don’t like your attitude, I’ll correct you.”

“Really don’t mind correction,” Bucky quipped, then paused. “Uh, sorry.” He smirked. “Was that disrespectful?”

“No Buck, course not. I know you were born with a smart mouth. Context counts.”

“Sorry to interrupt, Sir. Please, continue.”

Steve raised an eyebrow, but did. “I’m in charge of you when we’re in here. I’ll tell you what to do and I’ll expect you to listen. Outside of this room it’s different, but in here you’re mine.” Steve watched with a degree of satisfaction as Bucky’s eyes became hooded at hearing that. He’d returned to looking down at the floor, but he wasn’t actively avoiding eye contact this time and so Steve allowed it. “When we come in here I will always come over to this chair and sit. Your place is on the floor right there, just like you are now.” Steve leant forward a little, bracing his forearms on his knees and looking down at Bucky. “Are you comfortable there?”

“Yes.” Bucky looked up. “Yes Steve.”

Steve smiled, arousal swirling through him again at how good Bucky looked on his knees in front of him. “Good. I’ll always talk with you about what we’re going to be doing when we come in here. I’ll ask you if you’re okay with it and you need to always be open with me about how you’re feeling.”

“What if I want to be surprised?”

Steve shook his head, stern. “No Buck. We always discuss before a scene. During even. That is non-negotiable.”

Bucky bit back a frown. “I told you I don’t want control.”

“I haven’t forgotten,” Steve said, shutting him up. “I’m fine with taking the control for a little while Buck. That’s what we’re doing in here. But part of me being in control of you is that I expect my rules to be followed. Discussion is one of my rules. It’s mandatory. If you can’t do that then I can’t do this.” When Bucky remained silent again Steve prompted him with a firm, “Understand?”

“Yeah.”

“Good.” Steve sat back in the chair again. “Now I’m going to explain another rule to you. It has to do with you checking in with me as we play.” Steve eyed Bucky seriously. “I’ll prompt you to tell me how you’re doing and you’ll always be required to answer honestly. If you don’t answer me or if I think you’re lying, I’ll end the scene immediately. Alright?”

“Okay.”

“Do you know the traffic light system?”

Bucky smirked—it was small and obviously not intended as disrespect, but still there. “Of course I know it.”

“Good. I’ll ask for your color when I’m checking in.” Steve paused meaningfully. “What’s your color Buck?”

Bucky rolled his eyes. “Green. We’re not even doing anything.”

“Are you sassing me?” Steve asked warningly. “Hmm?”

“No sir.” Bucky replied quietly, but his eyes shone in delight at the warning in Steve’s tone. “Sorry.”

“One other thing now Buck. What I do with you in here is for both of us. I know you need to lose control, to be dominated and hurt. I’m going to do that for you. But I need things too.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah. This is about so much more than me beating you Bucky. I don’t ever plan on screaming at you in here. Or getting angry for the sake of it, for the sake of being mean. I want what we do in here to be sensual. The… the intimacy of it is incredibly important to me. Do you understand that?”

Bucky’s eyes softened. “Yes.”

“And aftercare. There will always be aftercare.” Steve noticed how Bucky looked frozen, and said, “You do know what aftercare is, right?”

Bucky swallowed, then nodded. “Yeah. It’s just that no one’s ever…”

“Well they should have,” Steve snapped, frowning. He didn’t say it, but it burned him up inside to think about the people who had used and abused Bucky, who’d flayed him bloody and left him to crawl away and lick his wounds alone when they should have been bathing him in milk and honey. Steve would never let that happen again. He told Bucky, “It’s not going to be like that with us. I won’t be done with you the second you get untied. I’m going to take care of you. In every way that you need. Even in ways you don’t think you do.”

“That sounds good.” For the first time since they’d come into the room, Bucky smiled. It was small, but it was there.

Steve smiled back and stood from the chair where he’d been sitting. “I’m going to put you under the suspension bar today, and I’m going to blindfold you. Then I’m going to feel you out. Try hitting you with a few things.” Steve stepped closer to Bucky and rested a hand on top of his head. Bucky’s eyes slipped closed immediately. “Does that sound like something you’d like to do?”

“Yes,” Bucky replied breathily. “Please.”

“Mm. Thought you’d say that.” Steve ran his fingers back through Bucky’s hair, still damp from the shower they’d taken together. “Are you okay with not knowing what I plan on hitting you with?”

“Yes.”

“No requests?”

“No. Whatever you want.”

Steve had expected that answer. He took Bucky’s chin between his fingers to make him look up, waiting until he had his attention. “It won’t always be like that you know. I’ll want to learn your preferences over time. I expect to hear your opinions when asked.”

“Yes Sir.”

Steve held him there for a moment longer, watching his earnest face for any twitch or indication that he wasn’t perfectly comfortable. None came. “All right,” he said softly. “Get to your feet.” Bucky did, and that put them eye to eye. Steve was reminded that, however submissive his role, Bucky was still physically the exact same size as him. And that made Steve all sorts of hot, made the thought of dominating him even more enticing. “Take your robe off,” he said, throat feeling tight. “Fold it and leave it on the floor.” Bucky immediately reached to untie the robe’s sash and do as he’d been told. It slid off his shoulders to reveal him, but Steve took far less time to appreciate Bucky’s naked body than he wanted to. “You’ll always be naked in here,” he told Bucky as he turned away and went to retrieve something. “I may or may not be.”

“I like you naked,” Bucky volunteered.

That made Steve snicker, but he refrained from replying. “The one thing I will have you wear, is this.” He came back with a plain leather collar in hand. He held it up to show it to Bucky. “What do you think?”

Bucky looked devastated. “Fuck. I want it.”

Steve chuckled, reaching to place it around Bucky’s neck. He fastened the buckles at the back and felt his stomach dip at the sight of the leather resting against the column of Bucky’s throat. For the first time, Steve had to fight back a groan. “That’s real pretty Buck,” he told him, reaching to cup his face. Bucky pressed into the touch, and that time Steve really did groan. “Go on and stand under the bar,” he ordered softly.

Bucky did. He went and stood in the middle of the floor, easy as you please. Steve brought over the cuffs he wanted to use and clipped them up to the bar. “There are all sorts of ways I can tie you up here,” he explained softly as he restrained Bucky’s arms to the bar above. “But for now we’ll do it like this.” Bucky nodded but remained silent. He let Steve manipulate him until he was the way he wanted. There were two bolts in the floor where Steve secured his ankles as well. Once that was done he stood up and spoke directly into Bucky’s ear. “How does that feel?”

“Make it tighter.”

Steve did. “And now?”

“Good,” Bucky answered immediately, voice a deep rumble. “Safe.”

“That’s good.” Steve reached around and touched Bucky’s back, enjoying the way that his muscles bunched and relaxed under his hand. “You’re always safe in here Buck. Want you to remember that. Now, the blindfold. You’re okay with that, yeah?”

Bucky groaned and looked at Steve with exasperation, and if they hadn’t been in their roles already Steve knew that he would have received a bratty quip for bothering to ask. “More than okay,” Bucky said.

They’d bought several styles of blindfolds when they’d gone online shopping. For now Steve chose the simplest, securing it around Bucky’s face so that his vision was fully obscured. Then he stood back and admired the scene that he’d created before him. Bucky, arms held taught above and legs spread, blindfolded, naked. His cock had thickened and was twitching every once in awhile against his inner thigh. He was gorgeous from top to bottom. Steve didn’t know if he wanted to stare at his face, or his ass, or even the vulnerable tops of his feet. “Baby,” he breathed. “You have no idea how good you look right now. You’re perfect.”

Bucky squirmed uncomfortably at the praise, a huff passing his lips. Steve didn’t miss the reaction. He took down a flogger from the wall. It was more substantial than the one Leda had used. It had shorter tails and more of them. Still, the leather was soft and supple in Steve’s hand and he felt excitement tear through him as he stood in front of Bucky with the thing in his hands. “Before we begin,” he said, careful to keep his voice calm, “I need for you to choose a safeword.”

Bucky tensed, his head turning in the direction of Steve’s voice even though he was blindfolded. “What? No.”

Steve frowned. He’d been expecting this fight. “Yes. Choose a safeword.”

“I told you I don’t want one,” Bucky growled, managing to sound surprisingly obstinate despite his current position. “‘Not one fucking choice’ Steve, that’s what I said!”

Steve got right up against Bucky’s backside, allowing his body to press fully against Bucky’s. Even with Steve still in his sweatpants, there was no way Bucky could have missed the feeling of his erection against his ass. He growled hotly into his ear, “My rules Buck. Either you pick a safeword right now or I’ll untie you and this is over.” Bucky grunted in frustration but said nothing, so Steve thrust his hips forward at the same time that he gave Bucky’s hair a warning yank. “I’m not going to ask you again.”

“Fine!” Bucky turned his head blindly towards Steve. “Leda. How about that?”

Steve thought about it, trying to figure out whether Bucky was being serious or not. When he realized that he was, he relaxed. “Okay. That’s fine. Leda then. You say that and we stop the scene. And Buck?” Once he was sure he had Bucky’s attention, Steve told him, “You WILL use it if you need to.”

Beneath the blindfold, Bucky’s features softened. “Yeah. I will.”

“Good boy.” Steve moved around Bucky in a circle, eyeing where he wanted to land the first Strike. “You ready?” he asked.

“Fuck yes.”

Steve swung out and hit the middle of Bucky’s back, just once. Just so he could know what Steve had chosen off the wall. The second the leather touched his skin, Bucky gasped. Then he exhaled in relief. “Oh… thank god. More Steve. Please. You’ve got no idea how long I’ve been waiting for this.”

Steve chuckled, tickling the ends of the flogger along his shoulder blades. “I know exactly how long you’ve been waiting for it, Buck.” He swung a few more times, letting the tails land in a series of thuds against Bucky’s back. It surprised Steve how easy it was to do. “But don’t rush me. You have to remember I’ve never done this before.”

“Harder the better,” Bucky urged. “I like it hard.”

Steve felt his cock jerk in his underwear. He reached down and ground the heel of his palm against it to settle himself. “I know you do. But this isn’t about hard or soft. It’s about me getting a feel for you. I want to learn your body. I want to see how you react to different things. So I need for you to be patient and let me play around with you a little bit. Okay? Can you do that for me?”

Bucky nodded. “Yeah. I can.”

“What’s your color right now?”

“Green.” Bucky actually laughed, his teeth a flash of white next to the dark fabric of the blindfold. “So green Stevie.”

“Good.” He began hitting Bucky more along his arms and shoulders, watching with keen interest as the skin pinked up. Steve had, of course, already practiced using most of the impact toys on himself. Though he figured it had to be quite different when someone else was wielding them, he was at least confident that he knew what each implement felt like. Steve had found that he liked the feeling of the flogger the best. It fell heavy on the skin, but the slap it gave was solid and not too painful. It almost warmed you, once you got a good enough number of hits in. That was why he’d chosen to start with it. Steve wanted to warm Bucky up. He moved around to Bucky’s front, pleased to see that his cock had taken interest. It stood out from his legs, looking vulnerable in the air, especially since Bucky had no hair down there. Steve had yet to ask him why. “Look at that,” Steve murmured. He wiggled his fingers right next to Bucky’s erection, knowing that Bucky could sense the heat of his hand. “You like being flogged, huh Buck?”

“Yes,” Bucky exhaled. He hips trembled in place. He knew right where Steve was holding his fingers.

“You’re holding very still,” Steve pointed out. “Don’t want me to touch you?”

Bucky didn’t answer for a moment. When he did, he circumvented the question by telling Steve, “I want you to do what you want, Sir.”

Steve grinned. “I know that.” He let his fingertips ghost over the tip of Bucky’s erection. Not a true touch, not really. But it was enough to get Bucky to jolt forward in surprise. Enough to get him to tense and relax his muscles compulsively as he tried to regain his bearings. Bucky twitched like a doll on strings and Steve decided that he very much liked the suspension bar. This way, he had easy access to every part of Bucky’s body. And he liked having Bucky blindfolded as well. It gave him the element of surprise. Steve stood up and backed away. He swapped the flogger out for a crop, careful not to make any sounds so that Bucky wouldn’t be aware of the change. Bucky seemed more on edge since Steve had touched his cock. Steve circled him several times in an attempt to keep him guessing. He stopped in front of him and held the crop at the tip of his cock, not allowing it to touch him enough for it to be identifiable. “What about here?” he whispered, his mouth right up against Bucky’s. “Can I hit you here?”

Bucky’s Adam’s apple bobbed in his throat. “If you want.”

Steve swatted him wasp-quick on the inner thigh, making him gasp. “Don't do that," he reprimanded quietly. "If you don’t want something you need to tell me. Is that understood?”

Bucky swallowed. “Yes Sir. Sorry.”

“Mm.” Steve glanced down to watch Bucky’s cock jump and twitch in the air. “But your reactions are fun to watch when you don’t know what’s coming,” he murmured. “We’ll have to play more with sensory deprivation sometime. Would you like that?” He swatted Bucky again, this time on the other thigh.

“Ah, yes,” Bucky said through a hiss.

Steve flicked his wrist and allowed the crop to hit Bucky on his abs, and then a few times on the underside of his right arm where he had it stretched overhead. They weren’t particularly viscous strikes, but each one elicited a gasp from the other man, a beautiful clenching and unclenching of muscles. “What’s the matter?” Steve teased after a while. “Can’t get settled? I’d have thought this was child’s play for you.” The edges of Bucky’s mouth curved down in frustration. “Not so easy when you don’t know where it’s coming from, huh?” Steve asked.

“No,” Bucky agreed breathlessly.

“You like it?”

“Yeah.”

“Color?”

“Green.”

“Good. Because I’ve just decided that I like watching you squirm.”

Bucky chuckled. “Prick.”

“Ah, ah.” Steve caught Bucky’s chin in his hand, holding it still as he reached around and laid a swift strike to one of his ass cheeks. “None of that.”

“Sorry Sir.”

Steve laughed, going over to put the crop back. “No you’re not.” He chose two items off the wall, one held in his right and one in his left. “But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Knew from the beginning what you were.”

Behind the blindfold, Bucky’s eyebrows rose. “What’s that?”

“A brat,” Steve told him fondly. “Now, let’s see if you’re as ticklish as you used to be.”

Bucky had no other warning before he was straining away from Steve in his bonds, stomach heaving with pained laughter. “No! Nononono no!”

Steve’s face was split in a grin, one hand wielding the feather tickler as he used his other arm to pull Bucky’s torso back in and hold it against his own body. “Where do you think you’re going, doll face?”

“Ugh, Steve stop!” Bucky cackled, unable to handle the feather tickling at his ribs. “No, no I can’t!”

Steve stopped for a second, enjoying the warm feeling of Bucky, helpless and trembling in his arms. He felt breathless with it, and could only imagine how much more breathless Bucky felt. “Thought you were going to be good for me, huh?” he teased, kissing at his shoulder and neck. “My good submissive. What happened to him?”

Bucky huffed. “I think he just shriveled up and died. Jesus Christ!”

Steve laughed, pressing one more kiss to Bucky’s cheek and using his hands on his hips to get him to stand straight again. “Stand still. That’s a command. What do you do in this room?”

Bucky licked his lips, “I listen to your commands.”

“Good boy Buck,” Steve praised. He switched the on button of the other item he’d grabbed. It was an electricity wand, and he intentionally zapped it against the skin of his own hand. “You know what that sound is?” he asked, tickling Bucky with the feather just slightly on his cheek.

Bucky groaned. “Electricity.”

“It’s called a violet wand,” Steve confirmed. “What’s your color?”

Bucky swallowed, Steve could see his throat bob as he did it. “…Green.”

Steve touched the tickler to Bucky’s ribs again, making him yip. “You wouldn’t be lying to me, would you baby?”

Bucky flushed, whether from the question, the feather or the pet name unclear. “No Sir. I’m not. I promise.”

“Good boy.” Steve walked around Bucky in a slow circle, keeping an eye on his posture. Bucky seemed on edge, but that was how Steve wanted him. Above his head, Bucky had his fists wrapped around the cords that connected his cuffs to the bar. Steve brought the wand’s electrode down and touched it just to the side of Bucky’s nipple. Bucky inhaled sharply, but was able to remain still. Steve grinned. “That’s the lowest setting,” he told him.

“It’s… prickly,” Bucky decided. “Almost good.”

“You sound surprised.”

Bucky shrugged as best he could in his position. “I’ve never been shocked with such low voltage before.”

Steve cringed, the unbidden image of Hydra operatives torturing Bucky with a car battery or some such horror forcing its way into his head. “Jesus Buck.” He went to reach for Bucky, intending to caress him some way, but then he realized that his hands were full. “You have to tell me if it gets too much,” he warned instead, making sure Bucky could hear from his voice how serious he was. “I don’t want to trigger anything.”

“Ugh, you won’t,” Bucky complained.

Steve zapped him right on the nipple for that. “I could practically hear you rolling your eyes,” he chided him. “Watch your attitude.” Bucky’s lips twitched but he said nothing. Steve continued circling Bucky, keeping him guessing about where he’d be touched, and with what. The tickler got the top of his foot and Bucky nearly pulled the ankle restraint out of the floor. Steve laughed and zapped him on the butt. “Settle down.”

“Sorry,” Bucky panted. “Can’t help it.”

Steve went back in. Bucky’s calf got the wand. His neck got the feather. His arm got the feather. His back got the wand. Steve turned the wand to the next setting and held it to Bucky’s stomach for a full two seconds, just to see the muscles there contract beautifully. Then it was a brief respite with the feather to his forehead, then the wand again to his butt. And so on and so forth, with Steve dialing the shock value up or down a few notches when he felt like it. Bucky’s grunts (from the wand) and yelps (tickler) told Steve about where he was most sensitive, and Steve logged each responsive sound away in his mind for future use. After a good while of this treatment, Bucky was panting and a light sheen of sweat had built up on his shoulders from having his body held taught in anticipation for so long. Steve flicked the wand off, putting both items back on the wall and returning before Bucky even realized he’d stepped away. Steve stroked his hands over the warm skin of Bucky’s chest, letting the other man feel that he no longer held anything.

“What?” Bucky panted, still regaining his breath. He lifted his chin. “S’it over?”

Steve smiled and kissed Bucky’s cheek sweetly. “That part is, yeah. You did so good baby.” Bucky hummed like a pleased cat. Steve was beginning to suspect that Bucky liked being called baby.

“Was there a point to that?” Bucky asked boldly, tacking on a “—Sir?” just in time.

“I told you,” Steve murmured, leaning in to take the lobe of Bucky’s ear into his mouth. He nipped it and pulled back, his breath hot against the wet skin he’d been sucking. “I like to watch you squirm.”

Bucky released a near-pained sounding whimper at that. “Fuck, Steve.” His hips thrust forward against his will.

Steve glanced down, excited to see that Bucky was still hard. Harder, really. Steve reached down and let his finger bounce off the tip of Bucky’s dick. “You clearly enjoyed that.”

“Yeah,” Bucky agreed.

Steve circled behind him. “You see?” he taunted. “Even lighter stimulation can feel intense.”

Bucky hummed noncommittally. “No one’s ever touched me like that.”

“What’d you think?” Steve honestly wanted to know. Plus, he needed a moment to quell his own arousal and pick a new toy off the wall.

“It was… confusing,” Bucky settled on. “But in a good way.”

“Hm.” Steve was debating between a cane or a single tail whip. He gave his own cock an indulgent squeeze through the fabric of his sweatpants as he touched each. Both instruments seemed unspeakably mean. Even hung on the wall as they were, they looked cruel to Steve. But he knew that Bucky craved the sort of sting that they could give, and that thought helped. He decided to give the choice to Bucky. “Decision time,” he said, taking both items down and carrying them over. Given that Bucky couldn’t see, he ran the whip and the cane each over Bucky’s face, letting him feel what he’d brought. “Can you tell what they are?” he asked, curious.

Bucky bit his lip, which was red and wet already, and guessed, “A cane?”

Steve rewarded him by smacking him lightly on the cheek with said item. “Smart boy. And the other?”

Again, Bucky chewed his lip. “Quirt?”

Steve frowned. “What the hell is a quirt?”

Bucky’s mouth split in a grin and Steve couldn’t even find it in himself to reprimand him when he said, “I forget you’re so new at this.”

“Mm,” Steve teased. “You forget huh? Should I remind you? Remind you who’s in charge?”

“No Sir,” Bucky said, sobering. “Well, yes actually, please. But I know. Trust me. I know.” He sighed, letting his head tip back. “The way you talk Stevie, it’s fucking perfect. You could give classes.”

Steve preened something terrible at being complimented on his Dom voice, but that was okay because Bucky was blindfolded and couldn’t see him. “So which is it? The cane or the whip?”

Bucky faltered, unable or unwilling to choose. “Whatever you want.” His lips quirked up. “Sir.”

“No.” Steve wasn’t having that. “You have to pick. I told you: I want to learn your body and your reactions. You’re a masochist. I want to see what types of pain are your favorites. Now pick.”

“Ugh,” Bucky moaned, petulant at being made to choose. “…Whip,” he said begrudgingly after a long moment.

“Jesus Christ,” Steve scolded, putting the cane away for another time. “You’d think I was making you choose a flavor of ice cream.”

“Well that’s easy. Mint.”

“Shut up.” Steve walked behind Bucky, figuring out where to place himself. He drew his arm back, feeling nearly lightheaded at what he was about to do. “You’re going to count them out, understand?”

From behind, Bucky’s buttocks visibly clenched. “Yes.”

Steve brought his arm forward, the short whip meeting Bucky’s flesh with a resounding ‘crack’. Red bloomed briefly on Bucky’s ass and he loosed a moan like Steve had sucked his cock right into his mouth. “Fuuuck, Stevie.” He’d swayed forward a bit on his toes but found his balance again. “ Thank you. Oh, one. One. Thank you.”

It wouldn’t have gone nearly so well for Steve if Bucky had acted any less pleased. But he did, and it made Steve’s confidence soar. He drew back and delivered another blow, for which Bucky thanked him and counted again. Dropping to his knees behind Bucky, Steve dug his fingers into the meat of Bucky’s ass cheeks and laved the flat of his tongue where the whip had struck. “You like that baby?” he asked against the skin.

“Yes,” Bucky told him. “Yes. Green. Please, green.”

Steve smiled against Bucky’s butt, pleased that he was checking in with a color without being prompted. He stood back up, kissing Bucky’s shoulder while he gripped his own erection through the fabric of his sweatpants. “Good boy,” he praised, standing back again. He swung the whip and it cracked once again on Bucky’s butt. The aim was okay—Steve thought that he’d need a little practice before becoming as good as Leda had been. But he forged ahead and any worry he had over his skills was assuaged by Bucky’s continuous sounds of pleasure. With each lash of the whip Bucky would moan or gasp and then he’d remember to thank Steve in that wrecked voice and god damn if that didn’t do it for Steve, didn’t give him the confidence that he needed to continue on with the whipping. Bucky’s arms and the muscles in his back strained, his hips thrusting forward minutely as his backside grew increasingly red from the beating. Finally, when Steve landed another strike and Bucky gasped out the call of ‘thirty six’, his body seized and he came, grunting and gasping as if he couldn’t get enough air.

Steve got one too many lashes in, realizing a second late that Bucky was coming. That extra strike only seemed to push Bucky further into his orgasm however, if his continued moans were anything to go by. Steve listened to Bucky’s breathing as he sized up the red expanse of his backside. It wasn’t as horrible as he’d thought, Steve realized. The welts that were crisscrossed over Bucky’s butt were deep pink and fading fast. He hadn’t hit him as hard as Leda had. A stubborn voice in Steve’s head maintained that this was a good thing. Bucky might crave pain but he didn’t need to bleed.

Bucky was still panting as Steve came around to stand in front of him. Steve pulled the blindfold free of Bucky’s face and tossed it aside. Bucky’s lashes rested beautifully against his cheeks, then slowly, he opened his eyes. He looked blissed, and his arms pulled somewhat limply at the restraints above his head, but he made clear eye contact with Steve and said, “Thank you.” The sound of relief in his voice was so great that it made Steve ache for how long he’d made Bucky wait for this.

He reached out and cupped Bucky’s face with his hand, while the other tossed the whip to the floor. “Color?”

Bucky laughed breathily. “Green Steve.” His eyes shone. “S’all green.”

“Good.” Steve stepped back, placing himself a good two feet away from Bucky. He reached for the waistband of his sweats, tucking his thumbs underneath and pulling down. He only bothered to pull them down to mid-thigh before spitting into the palm of his hand and reaching to stroke himself. Bucky inhaled sharply once he realized what Steve was doing, and his eyes went dark with arousal. This spurred Steve on. He tightened his grip, giving harsh, quick jerks near the end of his cock. He had no intention of taking this slow. Now that he’d watched Bucky, bound and whipped and falling apart, Steve was desperate to come. He worked his hand over the head of his cock, twisting and stroking himself to what was going to be a fast and hard climax. Arm moving furiously, he took a step forward, grabbing the back of Bucky’s head with his free arm and resting their foreheads together.

Bucky groaned at the closeness and pushed his hips forward, connecting their skin from chest to groin. “Come on,” he urged, voice nothing but a deep rumble. He kissed wetly at the juncture of Steve’s neck and shoulder. “Get it all over me.” And that was it for Steve. He came, breath puffing harshly in Bucky’s ear and a hand tangled in his damp hair.

Distantly, Steve might have registered Bucky moaning along with him at the moment of his orgasm, but if he did the memory would be lost, too hazy to recall. All Steve knew was that he was wrapped up in pleasure; in the throes of his own orgasm, wrung desperately from his own hand, and in the feel and smell and taste of Bucky, held impossibly close to him. He didn’t black out, but he spent a long moment with his eyes closed, chin hooked over Bucky’s shoulder, and his mind sunk somewhere deep in his chest—right about where his heart should be.

Chapter Text

.oOo.

Steve had Bucky on the bed, passed out. By the time he returned with the lotion, Bucky was awake and blinking hazy eyes up at him. “Hey,” Steve murmured, reaching to wipe sweat-damp hair off his forehead. “You fell asleep there for a minute.”

“Mmm.” Bucky nuzzled his face into Steve’s palm, a serene expression on his face. “That’s cause you wore me out.” Peeking one eye open, he asked, “What time is it?”

“A little after ten.”

Bucky’s breath left him in a laugh. “Jesus Christ babe. You’ve had me in here for six hours?!” He pressed his head back into the soft bedding as he stretched. “This our record? No wonder I’m sore.”

“Roll over,” Steve told him softly. Bucky did so, brokering no argument. They were done playing, but by now Bucky knew to always behave in this room. Steve took hold of the lotion bottle he’d brought over and squirted some out into his hands. He began to massage Bucky’s back, beginning at the shoulders.

Bucky didn’t bother to hold back his moan at the wonderful feeling of fingers digging into his muscles. “God Steve,” he moaned. “If I hadn’t already come twenty times I swear I’d get it up for you right now.”

Behind him, Steve chuckled. “You need to rest now.”

“Mmm.”

After a beat and more massaging, Steve asked, “Buck?”

“Hmm?”

“This has been everything you’ve wanted, right?”

Maybe he sounded hesitant in asking it, because Bucky opened his eyes and peeked back at him. “Yeah, of course. I love it,” he told Steve, looking concerned when he didn’t get an immediate response. “Why? Are you… Do you not like it anymore? Do you want to stop?” Bucky looked like it would break his heart if Steve said he wanted to stop, and Steve put an immediate end to that line of thought.

“No Buck, I don’t want to stop.”

“Oh.” Bucky sighed. “Good.”

Steve continued the massage for a few more minutes, while Bucky relaxed into it. “I’ve done okay, right?” Steve asked.

“You’re amazing,” Bucky confirmed, groaning at one particularly effective dig of Steve’s thumb. “You—ah!—you always hurt me so good Stevie. Just the way I like." Steve dug his hands in once more, before pulling away to lie down and take Bucky into his arms. “Ah, Steve! I’m all gross,” Bucky complained, making weak effort to escape. But Steve only kissed him and told him to be quiet. When he had, Steve said,

“Sometimes it’s not easy for me.”

Bucky stilled, but he was still relaxed in Steve’s arms. He reached down with meatal fingers to stroke along Steve's forearm where it held him. “I know.” The other day Steve had had to safeword out when Bucky had finally convinced him to try knifeplay. “Me neither.” Bucky had safeworded out the first time Steve tried to give him a blow job, among other things. “Why’s it bothering you now though?” Bucky asked. They’d just spent six hours together in the playroom, with Steve restraining and beating Bucky in various ways, and then fucking him in equally amazing ways. They’d come so far from where they’d once been.

“I just, I want you to be happy Buck.”

Bucky turned so that he could be facing Steve. He took the side of his face in his hand, staring at him. “I am.”

“I just can’t help thinking that if you were really okay…” Steve petered off, unable to finish. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t…”

“No,” Bucky urged quietly. “What were you going to say?”

Steve sighed. “You should be able to feel all of this without the pain. Why can’t you?”

Bucky stiffened in his arms, but he didn’t pull away. That was something. “I just… I can’t.” He shrugged. “I don’t know why. What? Are you afraid that I’m broken if I stay like this?” he asked.

“Of course not,” Steve insisted. “I just want for you to be happy is all. If there’s something I should be making better in you…” he looked down. They both knew what Steve meant. In the past few months he’d done nothing but make things better for Bucky. He’d hurt him plenty, but he’d also taught him how to accept praise, how to accept pleasure, and how to accept intimacy. “You know what I’ve been afraid of,” Steve told Bucky honestly. “If there’s something else I need to help you with,”

“Force me through, you mean,” Bucky muttered.

“Then I don’t want to be standing there hitting you when I should be touching you.”

Bucky made a noise of contempt, and once Steve was paying attention he told him, “I’m as fixed as I’m going to get Rogers.”

Steve gave him a warning look. “Don’t call me that in here Buck.”

“Right,” Bucky amended. “Well I’m telling you this Steve, and I hope it sticks: I am happy. I like everything we do together. Maybe I’m a masochist for life, maybe not, but I like it when you hurt me and I like it when you fuck me. That’s all the progress I need.” He nudged one of Steve’s feet with his own. “You can’t tell me you don’t get off on it. I know that you do.”

Steve looked away. “Yeah,” he murmured.

“I’m not an idiot Steve,” Bucky told him, pulling his chin back up so that Steve had to look at him. “I know you’re embarrassed for wanting that part of it. I know it bothers you sometimes, how much you can get into it.” When Steve couldn’t meet his eyes Bucky continued, “Maybe that’s what we should be working on, huh? Maybe I'm the one who should be therapizing you. You need some sexual healing Steve?" he teased.

Steve laughed. "No."

After a beat Bucky sobered and asked, "Do you think it makes you bad somehow?”

“…No.”

“Because it’s sexy as hell to me,” Bucky encouraged, kissing Steve’s neck. “When you get all mean? And then when you kiss it all better after? I love you Steve. Sadist or sentimental, I fucking love you.”

Steve looked up. “Wow Buck. You could write greeting cards with material like that.”

Bucky laughed, swatting lightly at Steve’s arm. “Punk. You know what I mean.”

Steve rolled them over, until he was half on top of Bucky, his chin resting atop Bucky’s chest. “Well,” he said, “If we’re both fine with where we are now then I guess I should stop worrying about you.”

“Yeah you should.” Bucky hugged him closer. “Now let’s get some sleep, how’s that sound?”

Steve smiled, didn’t bother commenting how he was supposed to be the one in charge. Instead he closed his eyes and settled in. “Sounds good Buck. Sounds real good.”

.oOo.