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Bucky is a surprisingly good correspondent.

The letters that Bucky sends are always thick, the envelopes fat and stuffed with carefully folded yellow legal paper, Bucky’s careless scrawl marching across three or four pages. Steve can hardly admit it, even to himself, but his heart starts to pound in his throat when he hears the mail slide through the slot each day. He remembers watching kids pass love notes in class when he was younger, the boys casually lobbing little folded scraps of paper across the room to the girls of their choice, girls who always erupted into giggles and blushing. At the time, it had made Steve scowl a little, ostensibly out of disdain and truthfully out of jealousy. Now, though, Steve thinks he knows, more or less, exactly how those girls felt when those little folded notes landed on their desks. It’s how he feels when one of Bucky’s letters lands on the door of his entryway with a soft little thump.

There’s a lot to appreciate about a letter from Bucky. He’s a generous correspondent, taking the time in his letters to build a little world for Steve, like snapshots of his new life upstate. For instance, Steve knows that it’s a ten-minute walk to the library from Bucky’s place. He knows that Bucky’s little apartment has persnickety baseboard heating in the winter and an insufficient window unit air conditioner in the summer. He knows that a big gray tomcat yowls outside of Bucky’s kitchen window every morning and that Bucky obligingly sets out a dish of scraps—chicken, tuna, milk, whatever he’s got lying around—on the window ledge. He knows that Bucky never tries to pet the cat.

Then there’s the fact that Bucky manages to make these things—quotidian, everyday things—entertaining. He might write a funny, rambling description about the family who lives below him, a single mom and her two young sons, and then lapse effortlessly into a depiction of pre-war Brooklyn, the smell and sound and heart of it, each sentence deceptively casual, almost lazy, as if he’s not practicing a nearly-forgotten art. It’s nothing like the letters Steve received from Bucky a lifetime ago, notes scrawled hurriedly from a war zone, more often than not half the words redacted.

Steve had asked, early on in their correspondence, if Bucky would rather email. His response had arrived, handwritten and clear: No, I don’t want to send a fucking email, Steve. I’m 100 goddamn years old. Steve knows, though, that Bucky uses the internet just fine; he mentions Netflix or Amazon from time to time, telling Steve about a series he’s watching or something he ordered. Once he even makes a casual reference to the seemingly limitless supply of porn available at the touch of a button. It had driven Steve crazy, that particular letter, and he’d written a lengthy response in return.

What kind of pornography? Where? Do you remember the calendar you had tacked next to the mirror in the bathroom at our old flat, the one with the pinup gals always leaning over, breasts about to fall out of their top? Is that what you liked, then? Is it what you like now?

It’s embarrassing, the way those questions had poured out onto the page once he gets started, and he had tormented himself by imagining Bucky bathed in the glow of his laptop, jerking off to the kind of 21st century porn Steve has seen on the occasions when he’s gone looking for it himself. Silky-haired, big-breasted women kneeling before men who are really just stand-ins for the audience, the camera providing the man’s viewpoint, so that you might imagine that woman on her knees is standing in front of you, that it’s your dick shoved into her mouth and pushed against her throat until her eyes water, that it’s your come splattered across her very round breasts. It hadn’t been particularly sexy—but then, neither had the men Steve had looked at, either, when he’d changed his search. TWINK SLUT TAKES IT HARD FROM DADDY, or STRAIGHT GUY GETS WHAT’S CUMMING TO HIM hadn’t seemed any more appealing than the women on their knees. The idea of Bucky looking at these things makes him sad, and aroused, and compulsively, frantically interested.

Steve had finally thrown away his response and started over, ignoring Bucky’s mention of the internet altogether.

Today’s letter is one of Steve’s favorite kinds, where Bucky seamlessly blends Before and After.

Do you remember that casserole my ma used to make, the one with the potatoes and ham and cheese? I’d bring it over to you sometimes, when Sarah was working late and you were doing that thing you did where you’d forget all about dinner and just sit there, drawing and wasting away? (I’ve never forgotten to eat a meal in my life, Steve. Every meal I’ve missed has been missed.) Anyway, that casserole. I’ve been trying to make it for awhile now, and it’s never as good as Ma’s, but I think I got it figured out. Butter, Steve. That’s the answer. I couldn’t figure out how she got the sauce so thick, and I’m pretty sure the answer is three sticks of butter. It’s a wonder you were so skinny, seeing as you were eating Ma’s cooking as much as anything else.

Now three sticks of butter is unthinkable. I look at recipes, they all tell you how to make pretend versions of food you want to eat. French fries made out of baked sweet potatoes, pasta made out of squash, mashed potatoes made out of cauliflower. Weirdest goddamn thing.

Even if no one recognizes me as the Winter Soldier, or as Captain America’s Best Friend, they’d know something’s wrong with me when they look in my cart at the grocery store. Butter and potatoes and whole milk, a pack of cigarettes at the counter. ($10 a pack, Stevie – what a fucking age we’re living in.) No one buys that stuff anymore. It’s a wonder any of us survived, isn’t it? And yet here we are.

The letter goes on, but Steve stops for a minute, thinking about Bucky, imagining him stalking through the grocery store in the little upstate town he’s living in, rebelliously tossing fat and carbs into his cart, smoking even though it’s 2017 and no one smokes, not even in bars. A rush of affection surges through his chest, makes his cheeks heat a little even though he’s sitting alone in his own living room, staring down at nothing more than words on paper.

Bucky’s letter is the highlight of his Tuesday.

*

The sunshine coming through Bucky’s kitchen window is brittle, that early-March sunshine that only looks warm at first glance, but it still feels good, and Bucky stretches like a cat, arms over his head, leaning back until his belly bumps against the edge of the table.

Fat, you’re getting so fat, he thinks, looking down at himself. It’s easy to ignore it most of the time, the way he has to pull his chair back farther and farther from the table before he sits down, the way he has to spread his thighs to make room for his gut. But then sometimes, like now, something will happen to viscerally remind him that he’s gained—and gained—and gained.

He looks at the half-written letter to Steve on the table before him, and imagines what Steve would think if he told him about his size, if he just dropped it casually into their correspondence. It’s been a nice week, I’m reading Stephen King’s entire back catalogue and The Stand is fucking terrifying, oh and by the way, I don’t fit in the booth at my favorite diner anymore, can you believe it? My scale maxed out at 350, and now it just says “ERR” when I step on it, which I only know because I held my phone out under my belly and took a picture. Crazy shit, huh Stevie?

But he can’t tell him that—doesn’t know how to tell him that—so he just doesn’t. Steve probably thinks he still looks like he did in Romania, thick and strong, heavy muscle with a little padding. Ha. Well that’s the magic of letter-writing, isn’t it? You only tell the parts you want to tell.

Bucky reaches out for another Oreo from the open package on the table. He’s starting on the third row, and he should, probably, put them away. He doesn’t, though, mindlessly plowing through them as he finishes Steve’s letter.

They’ve been writing steadily—two letters a week—for six months now, an ongoing conversation that feels both incredibly, wonderfully familiar and brand-new. Knowing Steve this way, as carefully selected words on a page, is a different version of Steve than Bucky has ever known. In this, he is neither childhood best friend nor adolescent object of desire, nor is he Captain America. It’s intoxicating and surprising, like meeting someone anew whom you’ve known all your life.

Before the war, Bucky had ached for Steve, had thought for certain that Steve had returned that sentiment. And he thinks, probably, that Steve still feels that way, the way that Steve’s letters will carefully detail things about their lives before the war—the way Bucky’s Lucky Strikes smelled, the cologne he wore, the way Steve had been frightened the first time Bucky came home with bloody knuckles from a boxing match at the Y. They’re intimate details that Steve recounts, the kinds of things that, probably, you don’t remember about a person if you hadn’t been half in love with them. Or at least wanted to fuck them. Or something. Bucky’s not sure Steve would have imagined anything quite so intimate as fucking, back then. He’d been a virgin, Bucky knows. He thinks, maybe, that swapping handjobs would have done the trick, the two of them huddled together on one mattress, Steve straddling his lap. That’s how he thinks it would have happened. Brash, brave Steve, finally climbing up onto him.

Bucky bets that Steve thinks about things like that, too. What it might have felt like. Steve never comes out and says it, of course. Why would he? Why would he take that risk, when Bucky has hightailed it back into hiding, more or less, and has refused all of Steve’s overtures toward a meeting, has confined their relationship to pen and paper. Still, Bucky thinks that someday, Steve might do it. Maybe Bucky’s even waiting for it, a little. Just like he’d been doing before the war—and god, that had turned out well, hadn’t it? Christ.

Before Bucky finishes his own letter, he re-reads the latest one that Steve sent, scanning through it.

Saturday Natasha insisted that we go out for drinks. I think she feels a little responsible for me, like a sister. I know she wanted me to dance with someone, meet someone, and you know, it would have been easy, I think – which is funny, isn’t it, when you remember me and girls back before the war? You always made it look easy, Buck, like every dame in the room was your best girl, and you could string along three or four of them at a time and none of them were ever even mad at you. I suppose if I’d tried a little harder, I probably could have picked up some of your overflow; there were always extra girls around, always two or three in tow. It felt like cheating, though, to take them out when they really wanted you.

Do you ever go out, see any gals now? You never talk about any, but I guess that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. I can’t imagine it’s any harder for you to get a girl now than it ever was.

Bucky scoffs, because if Steve could see him now, he’d definitely not make that assumption. Somewhere around 230 pounds or so, women’s gazes had stopped lingering so often on him, and by the time he hit 250 it had ceased all together. But Steve, of course, doesn’t know that. It makes Bucky’s stomach clench with guilt, like he’s somehow leading Steve on. He polishes off the last couple of Oreos without even thinking about it, crunching them down before he picks up his pen again.

Of course you could have had your own gals, if you’d really wanted them. It never really seemed like you were all that interested. You want to know something, pal? Sometimes I wasn’t that interested, either. That’s what made it so easy, you know? Easy come, easy go.

It would have felt like cheating, you taking out one of my gals? You know, sometimes it felt like cheating to me, too, the way I’d always have you along on dates. I think they felt like they were getting shorted. Hell, maybe you did, too. You remember the night I lost my virginity? Put it in Mary Margaret Sullivan for about 90 seconds before it was over, and she was just lying there, looking like she was having about as much fun as watching paint dry. Wonder whatever happened to her? She was so bored with all of us neighborhood boys. She used to tell me she was gonna go to Wall Street and meet a businessman and make him fall in love with her and then take him for all his money. I hope she did.

Anyway. You remember that night at all? You were out on the couch, and you had the radio turned up, probably trying to give us some privacy. Maybe just drown out the noise. God, Stevie, I still remember what you were listening to, even. One of those detective shows you liked, those cheap mysteries where the detective was always one step ahead of the murderer, and his gal had “legs up to here" and you knew she was fast because she smoked. I was having sex for the very first time, and I can’t remember hardly anything about how it felt, but I know what you were listening to, and where you were sitting on the couch, and how later, when I came back from walking Mary Margaret home, you were sitting up waiting for me. Do you remember what you said to me? I walked in, maybe thinking I’d show off a little, because I didn’t know what the hell else to do, and you beat me to the punch. I sat down next to you and you said, “You smell like cheap perfume, Bucky, go take a damn shower.”

All these years later, my brain scrambled up god knows how many times, and I still remember exactly what you said to me. Sometimes I think every memory I still have is somehow about you, even when it’s not. Just like Ma’s casserole. The thing I remember about it is bringing it over to you.

*

When Bucky goes to bed that night, he doesn’t really let himself think about what he’s doing as he stacks his pillows up against the headboard and crawls into bed, sprawling back half-reclined. He doesn’t think about why he wants to prop himself up this way, or why he has to prop himself up this way. He just does it.

He’d quit sleeping on his back when he hit around 300 pounds, when the enormity of his tummy started weighing too heavily on him. He sleeps mostly on his side now, his big swollen belly resting on the mattress beside him, like its own entity.

“Getting fat, Barnes,” he mumbles to himself now, looking down at his beach ball of a belly, the way it fills his entire lap, resting on his thighs even when he’s leaning back like this.

He lies there for a minute, flesh hand roaming over his wide gut, pinching a little, jiggling the extra flesh. He can feel his dick stirring, even if he can’t see it, and he draws it out a little bit, not bothering to reach down to stroke himself, just letting his erection build under his swollen tummy. He thinks, a little, about Steve.

When he finally touches himself, it’s a two-handed procedure. He lifts his gut with his metal hand, arm braced against the soft blubber of his underbelly to lift it out of the way. He slides his right hand down around his belly and wraps it around his dick.

He starts slow, palm slick with spit and precome, and lets his mind wander, conjuring up the same scene he’d flirted with a little earlier that afternoon, writing to Stevie. Imagines what it might have been like, swapping handjobs with Steve and holding Steve’s little pre-serum body in his lap.

But he’s not little like that, not now, Bucky thinks. Images of Steve’s new body—his new tits, particularly, because Jesus fucking Christ, Erskine had really outdone himself on that count—flash across his mental horizon. His hand picks up speed.

He looks down at himself, the way his lap full of fat is jiggling with every stroke. You don’t look the same as you did back then, either.

And then it’s all he can think about. About how Steve wouldn’t even fit on his lap now, probably, with Bucky’s enormous belly taking up so much of the available real estate on his fat thighs. Christ.

He can feel his cheeks heat up, burning with the shame of it, the brutally honest turn his fantasy has taken. But—fuck—it’s almost thrilling, too, imagining what it would feel like now. Steve would have to spread his legs so wide, just to straddle Bucky. He’d have to perch on Bucky’s knees, Bucky’s big belly separating them. He’d probably lean forward, push his cock into the soft roundness of Bucky’s gut. And—shit, oh, shit—Bucky wouldn’t even be able to lean up to kiss him, not if he was lying back like he is now. It’d be too hard to maneuver around his swollen belly, and he’d have to just reach up, pull Steve down until they were pressed together from chest to groin, Bucky’s broad soft chest and enormously fat belly pressed tight against Steve’s all-American tits and his stupidly taut six-pack.

And Steve would grind up on him, push against him, desperate, doing all the work while Bucky lazily directed him, and—Christ, Christ, oh, fuck—it’s too much to think about, too many sensations to imagine and respond to, too much thrillingly hot shame and arousal burning down his spine, and Bucky’s mouth opens in a silent little panting scream as he comes.

He breathes hard for a few minutes, struggling to catch his breath. Out of fucking shape, he thinks, and he should feel conflicted about it. He does feel conflicted about it, most of the time. But tonight he falls asleep easy after he cleans up, flopping down on his side, right hand resting on the side of his immense belly.

*

A week later, Steve knocks on his door.

Chapter Text

Steve knows that surprising Bucky, showing up on his doorstep out of the blue like this, probably isn’t entirely fair. He knows that the right thing to do is talk to Bucky, tell him he wants to see him, ask him if they can get together. He shouldn’t push. He should let Bucky be in control of his own life, operate at his own speed.

Steve knows all of these things, even thinks about them in the humming periphery of his mind. But knowing something and doing something are two different things. And the thing Steve keeps coming back to, over and over, is that all he really wants is Bucky back in his life again. After all the years he’d thought he’d lost Bucky forever, and then for the agonizing months after Romania, when he’d lost him again, it’s just not acceptable, these letters they’ve been writing. It’s not enough.

As he guides the Navigator out of the city and heads north, he tells himself that he’ll leave if Bucky doesn’t want to see him. That he’ll let Bucky make the call. And he will. He will.

*

Bucky’s apartment is the third floor of a Victorian mansion, a gorgeous old house judiciously cut up and turned into little apartments. Narrow flights of stairs have been attached to the back of the house, a zig-zag of white-washed steps leading up to what had once been a grand balcony, and is now apparently Bucky’s front porch. There’s a little charcoal grill and a snow shovel propped up beside the door, and it makes Steve’s heart clench with an absurd fondness. Look at Bucky’s house. Look at Bucky’s domesticity.

He’s nervous, when he knocks on the door. He doesn’t want Bucky to feel overwhelmed, or frustrated, or angry with him. He should have let him know he was coming. He has Bucky’s phone number. He could have called. Why didn’t he call?

There’s no answer for a few long minutes, even after Steve knocks a second time, and then again a third time.

Then, just slightly, the blinds in the window move.

“Hey, Buck,” Steve says, clearing his throat and feeling sort of stupid, speaking to a closed door. “I—I’m sorry to surprise you, man. But I’m freezing my ass off out here.”

There’s the sound of footsteps, and then nothing. Steve wonders, briefly, if he’s gotten the address wrong (although he’s mailed a hundred letters here, maybe more, and he’s looked it up on Google Earth so many times he has the place memorized, practically). Then he wonders if Bucky’s just going to ignore him, just refuse to open the fucking door.

He opens his mouth, not sure what he’s going to say but determined to say something, when Bucky’s voice, familiar and comforting as an old t-shirt, drifts through the door. “Goddamn it, Steve.”

“Good to see you too, pal,” Steve says automatically, because giving each other shit comes as naturally as breathing, even after all these years. “What a warm welcome. This feels great, standing on your fucking porch in front of a closed”—

The door swings open, and Steve immediately shuts his mouth. And then lets it fall open again. And shuts it again.

“Holy shit,” he blurts.

Bucky is—well. There’s no tactful way to say it, except that Bucky is fucking huge. And not like, “Oh, I see Hydra gave you some super soldier serum and you’re unnaturally muscle-y” huge. Like “Wow, I think you doubled in size” huge.

Bucky’s frozen in the doorway, neither telling Steve to leave nor inviting him in. He’s just standing there, very very still.

Steve thinks wildly that if Bucky hadn’t spoken before he’d opened the door, he’s not sure he would be recognizable. That’s how much weight he’s gained. His features are blurred, his high cheekbones buried under pouches of chub. His jawline, never razor-sharp even when they’d both been half-starved during the war, is completely gone now, invisible beneath a double chin that’s threatening to triple. He’s wide, filling the entire doorway. His belly is enormous, almost comical, and Steve feels absurdly, crazily guilty for dropping his eyes to Bucky’s swollen midsection, but he’s completely unable to keep from looking.

He inhales, forcing his gaze back up to Bucky’s face, looking him in the eye. And there, that’s something recognizable—Bucky’s eyes are the same as they’ve always been, wide and gray-blue, framed by long dark lashes. His hair, too, is familiar, overly long and shoved back behind his ears.

“Jesus, Bucky. I should have called, huh?” Steve says, because he’s not sure what else he’s supposed to say. What’s the protocol here? Dear Abby, the man I love and haven’t seen more than a few days in seventy years blew up like a fucking balloon. What should I do? It’s not like there’s a standard operating procedure for anything to do with Steve’s life.

“It would have been nice to have some warning,” Bucky says mildly, and before he can stop himself, Steve nods in agreement.

“Yeah, a heads up would have been useful,” he says, wishing he could swallow the words as soon as they fall out of his mouth.

Bucky just snorts, though. “Come in, I guess, you pushy shit.”

*

Bucky’s apartment is nice, nicer than the safe house in Romania. There’s a long, narrow living room, a little galley kitchen, and a pair of French doors that Steve assumes lead to a bedroom. The whole thing is airy and bright, tidy in a lived-in sort of way: there are books scattered on the little kitchen table, Bucky’s boots lined up by the door, dishes stacked neatly in the sink.

Steve can hardly pay attention to any of that, though, because all he can really see is Bucky.

He’d thought, when he’d first seen Bucky standing in the doorway, that nothing about him was recognizable except maybe his eyes, his hair. It’s not true, though. There are hints of Bucky everywhere under the layers and layers of fat he’s packed onto his frame. There’s his stride, a weird bastardization of the Winter Soldier’s cocky strut. There’s the way his hips still roll in a way that Steve can’t help but notice, even though now that’s overshadowed by his sheer size, by the way his belly sticks out so far that he has to lean back to balance it out, like he’s nine months pregnant instead of just fat.

Really fat.

There are other things, too, which are recognizably Bucky Barnes. His gestures, the way he shoves his hands through his hair. His little smirk, the way the left side of his mouth rises up just a little bit, like he’s too lazy to offer a full-blown smile. His dimples, which are still occasionally visible, even though his cheeks are fat and stubbled.

Steve tells himself that he’s watching Bucky so closely because he wants to find more of these things, these little trace reminders of the Bucky that he used to know. And it’s true, as far as it goes. He’s definitely looking for those things.

But he’s also looking for other things. New things. Like how, when Bucky offers Steve something to drink and then has to haul himself off the couch to get it, he braces his hand on the arm of the sofa and rocks forward to heave himself up, belly-first. Or how, when walks into his narrow kitchen, he has to carefully step to the side in order to open his refrigerator door. He’s too fat to stand in front of it when he opens it, Steve realizes. There’s not room for the door to swing open with Bucky’s immense girth in front of it.

“Here,” Bucky says, handing Steve a glass bottle of Coke that looks exactly like the ones they used to get when they were kids, the kind that could be returned for a nickel. Bucky gets one for himself, too, and Steve hears a million public service announcements about the dangers of sugary sodas ringing through his ears as he watches Bucky plunk back down on his end of the couch and rest the bottle on the crest of his enormous tummy.

He forces his eyes up from Bucky’s shelf of a belly, trying to focus.

“Umm. I probably should have called first,” he says again, because it seems like saying it once wasn’t enough.

“You mentioned that.”

“I missed you.”

Bucky shifts, looking over at Steve with his wide eyes, with that pretty gaze that Steve can’t stop looking at, can’t stop holding onto like a lifeline of recognition in this stranger’s face. “What, letters weren’t enough for you?” he says, his lip curling up in a gesture that might, possibly, count as a smile.

“You write really good letters,” Steve says honestly, scrubbing his hands over his cheeks. He’s nervous. Can’t figure out what to do with his hands. “Made me want to see you, is all.”

Bucky shrugs, lifting his Coke to his mouth and taking a long drink. The shoulders of his sweater pull tight. It’s a gray wool pullover, and it looks soft, although it’s also a little snug, clinging to Bucky’s expansive belly now that he’s sitting down. And Christ, there’s so much belly. He looks swollen, a little out of proportion—again, a little bit like he’s pregnant, except that Bucky’s belly looks wide and soft, like a ball of dough that hangs over his waistband and spills onto his lap, and—Christ. Where do you even buy sweaters that size? The internet. He must order his clothes on the internet.

Steve shakes his head, realizing Bucky’s been saying—something—and now he’s looking at Steve expectantly. “Well?”

“Uh—sorry, what?” Steve feels ridiculous suddenly, awkward and adolescent.

“I asked what you wanted to do, now that you’re here,” Bucky says. His voice is quiet, and Steve can’t quite read his expression. His assassin’s eyes are trained on Steve, but there’s a gentleness in his gaze.

Steve considers the question. What does he want? He wants to ask Bucky a million questions, starting with, “Why were you hiding in Romania, and why are you hiding now?” and then maybe seguing into, “How did you get so goddamned fat?”

None of those seem like appropriate opening conversational repartees.

“I don’t know, Buck,” he finally says, shrugging his shoulders. “I thought maybe we’d order a pizza or something.”

*

Bucky picks at his second piece of pizza, trying not to swallow it down in a few quick bites, trying to decide if he’s mad at Steve or not.

Well. He’s not really mad. This is, sort of, what he’s been waiting for—for Steve to grow weary of the letters, the innuendo, the carefully designed flirtation in each painstakingly crafted letter, and finally just come barging in.

Still. Now that it’s happened, Bucky doesn’t know how to feel about it.

There’s a lull in the conversation—Steve’s been talking about Sam, who is clearly his best friend when Bucky is in absentia, a fact that makes Bucky both pleased and a little jealous—and Bucky can’t figure out how to fill it. He can write page after page of chatter, crafting amusing stories about his life here, but now that Steve’s here, sitting in front of him, he can’t figure out how to string more than a few words together.

He peels off a glistening slice of pepperoni from his half-eaten slice of pizza and eats it slowly, sucking the grease into the back of his mouth before chewing carefully. He’s nervous, like a kid on his first fucking date.

Which is stupid, because this isn’t a date, no matter that Steve is wearing his fussy little button-up, the sleeves rolled up to the elbows, and has his hair slicked back like he’s going to church.

Steve might have thought it would be a date, when he was driving up here, but he can’t think that now. Bucky had seen his face when he opened the door. The way Steve’s jaw fell, the way his eyes widened. The way he hadn’t been able to stop staring at Bucky’s belly. The way he still can’t seem to stop darting glances at it, the way that it fills Bucky’s lap and dictates the way he moves.

It’s not a date.

He’s drumming his fingers on the side of his gut, a nervous, ingrained habit that he doesn’t even realize he’s doing, when Steve leans forward and shoves one of the two pizza boxes on the coffee table toward him. “Eat, Bucky.”

Bucky blinks, studying Steve’s face.

“Go ahead.” Steve shrugs his shoulders, ducking his head a little. He suddenly looks younger than he is, a little sheepish and painfully handsome. “Eat,” he repeats, and then drops his gaze very pointedly to Bucky’s belly. “It’s not like I’m gonna think you’ve been missing any meals if you turn up your nose at it. You obviously don’t.”

Bucky freezes for a half a second or so, and then chokes out a laugh. Steven Grant Rogers, biggest mouth in Brooklyn. Some things never change.

He leans forward, reaching for the box, but it’s hard to maneuver over his belly, the way it squishes against his thighs and fills his lap. Before he can scoot forward, Steve gracefully leans up and grabs the whole box. He sets it on the empty couch cushion between them, like a little offering.

“There,” Steve says. “Quit acting so damned twitchy, Bucky.” And just like that, the tension in the room is broken.

“When’d you get so fucking pushy?” Bucky replies, shoving a piece of pizza in his mouth.

“When’d you get so fucking fat?”

“Touché.”

*

Bucky,

I guess you were probably joking when you asked me if letters weren’t enough, but I kept thinking about it as I was driving back into the city yesterday. It’s not that letters aren’t enough. If that’s all you wanted from me for the rest of our lives, then I’d keep writing you letters. Of course I would. But it was good to see you, Buck. Really good.

There’s probably a lot of things I could say right now, or things I could ask you. Sometimes I think the things we don’t say could fill as many pages as the things we do say. Sam and Natasha both tell me that’s a generational thing. That we weren’t raised to talk about things. I don’t know if that’s true, necessarily. If we were 30 instead of 100, do you think it would be any easier to talk? I’m not sure.

Look—I’ll never show up on your doorstep uninvited again. But if you don’t care, if it would make you happy, I’d like to come up again. Maybe next weekend? Let me know.

Steve

Bucky doesn’t hesitate when he gets Steve’s letter, or even let himself take the time to think about it all. He just sits down at his kitchen table and scribbles out a response.

Steve,

I don’t know what you’re talking about, “all the things we don’t say.” You’ve got the biggest mouth I’ve ever seen. It’s the only thing that didn’t have to grow when Erskine got ahold of you. It was already super-sized.

Of course I don’t care if you want to come up again. Show up whenever you want. Lord knows we were always running in and out of each other’s places, before we moved in together. I guess I can’t be mad at you for wanting to do the same thing now—even if you are a pushy little shit.

Come up whenever. You can even say all those things you apparently feel like you haven’t had a chance to say.

Bucky

He sets his pen down, then picks it up again, his hand hovering over the page. He debates a postscript, something that might begin to explain why he looks so different—why he’s gotten so goddamned fat—but the truth is that Bucky doesn’t really know. What would he say? I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I got fat? Sometimes I eat until my stomach hurts so much I can barely stand it, and it shouldn’t feel good but it does? Sometimes I jerk off about it and have the most confusing, embarrassing orgasms I’ve ever had?

He sets down the pen.

*

Bucky glances over at Steve a few times as they amble down the sidewalk, only half-listening to what he’s saying—something about Wanda, the little Avenger that he seems to have half-adopted—in favor of just enjoying the sound of his voice. Steve sounds happy. He looks happy.

It’s been a month now, since Steve showed up uninvited on his doorstep. A month of weekly visits, occurring like clockwork every Saturday morning, with Steve showing up on his doorstep, still looking like a kid on a date, although Bucky tries to disavow himself of this notion. It’s hard, though, when Steve always has his hair slicked back and his eyes all earnest, and he usually has some little offering tucked under his elbow. A dozen donuts in a bakery box, a six pack of dark beer, fresh bagels and coffee.

At first, Bucky had hesitated every time Steve handed over whatever he’d brought with him, but Steve had always just waved off his concerns and shoved over whatever form of carbs he’d happened to have brought that day.

Today, though, is the first time they’ve done something besides sit in Bucky’s little apartment, locked away from the world. It’s just a walk, a short ambling stroll to and from the coffee shop a few blocks down from Bucky’s house, but it feels like it’s bigger than that, more significant. This is what normal people do. They go get coffee on weekend mornings, basking in spring sunshine.

Bucky hasn’t had enough normalcy in his life for this not to feel momentous.

It’s bright, the sky an endless sea of blue. It’s the kind of day that makes you squint, makes you want to tug your jacket off even though it’s still 50 degrees. It’s beautiful. And it feels good, walking up the sidewalk next to Steve, past all these pretty old mansions. They’re full of apartments now, quirky old buildings full of students and poor families, artists and young couples. Bucky likes it here. It’s nothing like Brooklyn—and that’s part of the appeal. It’s quiet. Safe.

Bucky adjusts his grip on his caramel mocha, watching the steam rise into the air. It’s sugary-sweet and rich, the exact opposite of the Americano Steve’s holding. He wonders if Steve thought about that contrast, if he noticed it the way Bucky had when they’d placed their orders. It’s such a classic Steve thing to do, to order the blackest, bitterest stuff on the menu, as if he’s doing penance for something. And, probably, it had been vintage Bucky to shamelessly order the richest, most egregiously sugary thing he could find, just because that’s what he wanted.

He wonders if Steve thinks about those things. If it’s always in the back of his mind, all the contrasts between them.

Maybe Steve’s right about them not always talking, because they haven’t said a word about how fat Bucky’s gotten, not since that first day. It’s just been the elephant in the room. The thing that Bucky can’t talk about. The thing that he also can’t stop thinking about.

Like now, as they’re climbing the three flights of stairs to Bucky’s apartment. He can’t stop thinking about the way his cheeks are probably flushed with the effort of it, the way his breath is a little short, the way his heavy belly touches his thighs with each step, turning his gait into something perilously close to a waddle, although Bucky studiously avoids even thinking that word. He doesn’t always feel as fat as he is—Bucky’s ability to compartmentalize and ignore is a finely honed skill—but climbing the stairs is always a swift reminder. It’s hard not to realize you’re fat when your belly’s brushing your thighs. Steve, meanwhile, is practically skipping beside him, like it’s taking all of his restraint to slow his steps and stay next to Bucky instead of bounding ahead.

When they get to his little balcony, Bucky pauses a minute to catch his breath, looking down at himself, the way his sweater clings to his tummy, the way his tummy sticks out between the two sides of his jacket that haven’t met since last fall. Steve, of course, looks like he could sprint another twenty flights without breaking a sweat, and his bomber jacket is neatly zipped to his chin. His eyes are glittery and bright, though, and his cheeks look as warm as Bucky’s feel.

*

When Bucky had volunteered to cook this evening, throwing it out casually on their way back from getting coffee, it had felt like a little bit of an offering. It had felt intimate, somehow, domestic in a way that made Steve’s heart skid pleasantly along in his chest. Sort of like how watching Bucky amble up the stairs to his apartment, heavy and slow and oddly graceful, had made his heart race, too. Sort of like how just being next to Bucky makes his heart pound. Sort of like how right now, watching Bucky casually chopping onions, is enough to have Steve practically beside himself.

Fuck.

He looks beautiful, standing there in his little galley kitchen, pieces of hair slipping free from the messy knot at his nape. He’s looking down at the counter, concentrating on chopping that damn onion like it’s his job, the knife in his flesh hand moving so quickly that Steve thinks vaguely that if Bucky’s other hand wasn’t metal, he’d be concerned he might lose a finger.

He’s looking down, and it makes his double chin look enormous, a soft ring of pudge that, combined with his very full cheeks, makes his handsome face a perfect circle. And his belly—Christ. His belly is resting heavily on the counter, several inches of t-shirt-covered tummy flab spilling onto the counter. He doesn’t have a choice; it just sort of flops there, filling up the available space.

Steve swallows hard and reminds himself not to stare. Why is he staring? Why?

Because it’s Bucky, his brain offers treacherously, opening the door to all kinds of thoughts that Steve absolutely does not need to entertain. Because you’ve always looked at him too long, cared about him too much, mentioned him too many times.

“What should I do?” he asks, coughing to hide the way his voice cracks a little, like he’s a goddamned teenager again.

Bucky peers up at him from under the little curtain of loose hair falling over his forehead. “Put some water on to boil?” He jerks his chin toward the cabinet beside him. “The pot is in there.”

Steve smiles. “All you trust me to do is boil water?”

“I ate your ma’s cooking. She boiled everything. You should have a natural aptitude.” Bucky’s looking back down at his work, but Steve can hear the smile in his voice.

Steve steps behind Bucky, moving around him to reach into the cabinet as instructed, and his chest brushes against Bucky’s broad back. It’s unavoidable—in Bucky’s narrow strip kitchen, Bucky takes up most of the available space—and it makes Steve inhale so hard he nearly chokes. Bucky feels soft, so fucking soft, and even in the .3 seconds it takes for Steve to slide past him, he can feel the way Bucky’s plush love handles wrap around his back, the extra weight he carries in his midsection marching all the way around his torso and forming rolls of soft, plush fat that ring his entire frame.

Jesus weeping Christ. Why does it matter so much? Why is it all he can think about? Why is it all he can feel?

He tries a few more times to offer his assistance, but Bucky mostly waves him off, and Steve finds himself standing in the corner of the kitchen, just watching Bucky work. He dices chicken thighs, his knife again moving with a fearful kind of quickness. He sautés onions and garlic, throwing them into a skillet with oil and butter and spices, while penne boils on the back burner. He grates cheese, measures cups of heavy cream, throws additional chunks of butter into the pan for no apparent reason that Steve can discern beyond whim.

It’s sort of mesmerizing, watching him cook, and Steve is struck by the quiet economical confidence of his movements. It’s weirdly reminiscent of the Winter Soldier, as much as Steve dislikes the association.

It’s not the Winter Soldier, though, who gently hands Steve a plate of buttery, indulgent-looking pasta, drenched in cream sauce and tossed with chicken and mushrooms. That’s all Bucky, shooting Steve a cocky smile. “Told you I could cook.”

“I didn’t think you couldn’t,” Steve says, his eyes darting down to Bucky’s belly before he can stop them.

Bucky raises an eyebrow but doesn’t say anything, just ambles out of the kitchen and past the little table by the window, flopping down in his customary corner of the couch and flipping on the tv, settling on a documentary about sharks. He rests his plate on the arm of the sofa, a perfectly reasonable thing to do, but Steve wonders perversely if he props it on his belly when he’s alone. He certainly could, if he wanted to. It’s big enough.

The conversation over dinner slips seamlessly from past to present, from reminiscing about the old neighborhood to harmless gossip about the Avengers, about Natasha, about the continued absence of Pepper Potts (“Who could blame her, having to put up with Tony?”). It feels easy, comfortable, between them, so much so that Steve doesn’t even hesitate when Bucky scrapes his plate clean. He just reaches out and grabs it, heading to the kitchen and refilling it without asking. He puts his own plate in the sink and grabs two beers on his way back.

When he holds the plate out for Bucky, there’s a slight hesitation, just long enough for Steve to hold his breath, but Bucky eventually reaches out and takes it. “Thanks,” he says quietly.

Steve shrugs it off, and this time he sits down a little closer to Bucky. Not quite next to him—still far enough away for propriety—but closer. When Bucky finishes his second plate, Steve reaches out again, wordlessly, and Bucky hands it over.

The fourth time it happens, Bucky shakes his head. “I’m good, man.”

“You sure?” Steve means for it to come out casually, but the words feel like they catch in his throat somehow, suddenly feeling weightier than they should be.

Bucky raises one wide shoulder a few inches. “Not exactly wasting away over here.”

“Thank god,” Steve mumbles, and then snatches Bucky’s plate and makes a procedure out of rinsing and stacking it in the sink, desperate for something to do with his hands.

*

They’re both six beers deep, the shark documentary long ended and given way to some truly horrifying special about arachnids, when Steve yawns enormously, sprawling back even further against the sofa cushions. He can’t get drunk—neither of them can—but the beers seem to have relaxed him a little, drained away some of the tension he usually carries in his broad, straight shoulders. He looks very young, Bucky thinks, watching him try to smother the yawn behind his hand.

“Wanna stay here tonight?” Bucky asks, the words falling out of his mouth without any consideration at all. He immediately wishes he could pull them back.

Steve stares straight at the tv, as if he’s never seen anything more engaging than the spider on the screen. “Depends. Do I have to sleep on the couch?”

Bucky flashes back to all the times Steve had crawled into his bed when they’d shared that flat, how they’d both write it off as insurance against the drafty New York winters. All the times they’d been sleeping rough in Europe, unrolling their packs next to one another without a second thought.

He swallows hard, thinking about his own bed, now, how much of the full-size mattress he takes up all on his own. How the bed sinks under his weight. How his tummy spreads out beside him on the mattress, undeniably and embarrassingly fat.

“What, you’re too good for the couch?” He’s staring at the spider, too, watching an unsuspecting fly buzz into her web. Trapped. Stuck fast.

Steve scoffs, glancing over at him. “I’m not sleeping on the damned couch. I won’t fit.”

Bucky inhales. He’s not so sure he and Steve will both fit in the bed, either. Christ. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

“Prima donna.”

“I don’t snore,” Steve offers, draining the last of his beer. Bucky watches his throat move with each swallow.

“Fine, fine. Always so goddamned pushy,” Bucky says, his delivery pleasantly blasé, as if his stupid, stupid heart isn’t thundering in his chest.

Chapter Text

The magnitude of what it means to stay overnight, to sleep in Bucky’s bed doesn’t hit him until it’s actually happening. He hadn’t really thought about it—about how frighteningly intimate it will be—until he’s sitting on the edge of Bucky’s bed, waiting for Bucky to emerge from behind the closed bathroom door, and he realizes he has no fucking idea what to do with himself. It had seemed as easy as breathing, asking to sleep over. They’d shared a bed so many times before, slept pressed up close together or flopped out, starfish style, casually sharing space. Then, even when Steve had thought his heart would ache out of his chest for wanting Bucky, he’d never felt anything like this. He’s half convinced he’ll break apart with nerves before Bucky walks back into the room.

When they’d done this before, a lifetime ago, Steve had never hesitated to slide out of his slacks and shirt, flopping down next to Bucky in his undershirt and briefs without a qualm. Now—when his body looks like it’s been carved from marble and he should, by all accounts, be supremely confident—Steve’s frozen.

Finally he just swallows hard and tugs his shirt over his head, kicks out of his chinos. Maybe Bucky will strip down, too, he thinks, and immediately feels guilty for it, for the rush of instant, white-hot arousal and curiosity and aching, torturous desire that flits down his spine at the thought of Bucky sliding out of his t-shirt, revealing his big, soft body, the outrageous rolls and curves of it. That big belly. Fuck. Every torturous jerk-off session he’s had in the last month, every moment he’s spent in agonizing contemplation of every additional pound packed onto Bucky’s strained frame, comes rushing back to him in shameful clarity.

Before Steve can really work himself into a proper fit of self-flagellation, Bucky ambles out of the bathroom in that weirdly seductive, rolling strut he has now. He walks like a cowboy, legs spread wide, gait sprawling and loose-limbed, his enormous belly and thick thighs dictating every step. He’s still fully clothed, to Steve’s perverse disappointment, but his hair is shiny and freshly brushed, and the minty-medicinal scent of toothpaste wafts in with him.

“Christ, Stevie, make yourself at home.” Bucky gives Steve a pointed up-and-down, his eyes lingering on Steve’s chest for just long enough to make Steve blush.

“Can’t sleep in clothes,” Steve says, resisting the urge to cross his arms over his bare chest.

“It’s a thought,” Bucky says, frowning.

Steve coughs. “You were never this shy before.”

Bucky blinks, looking at him for a second and then looking away. The “I was never this fat before,” goes unspoken.

“Shove over, that’s my side,” Bucky finally says.

Obligingly, Steve shifts back onto the bed and scoots to the opposite side, feeling painfully awkward and hating it, barely resisting the urge to pull the sheet up to his throat. This shouldn’t be so fucking hard. He’s slept next to Bucky a hundred times, probably, and he was—if he’s being honest with himself, which he does try to be—halfway in love with him every single time. So why should this be different?

Because Bucky’s different, he thinks, staring helplessly as Bucky pads across the room, his fat belly leading the way. He stops at the edge of the bed, legs spread wide to support himself, and he looks so fucking big, so wide and fat and plush that Steve doesn’t think he’ll ever get tired of looking at him. He doesn’t even understand, really, why he’s so fascinated, except that there’s just so goddamned much of Bucky now. It’s the complete opposite of the austerity of the Winter Soldier. It’s a repudiation of every missed meal, every hardship endured, and it’s so fucking sinfully excessive that it takes Steve’s breath away.

Bucky stands still, almost frozen, for so long that Steve opens his mouth to speak. Before any words can come out, though, Bucky seems to come to some kind of internal decision. He turns off the bedside lamp, leaving the room in shadow, and then shrugs the tiniest bit before he reaches down to his waistband.

Which means, of course, that he has to reach under his stomach. Which means that he has to lean forward, and tilt just a bit sideways, in order to get his hands beneath the dome of his enormous belly, where the audacious roundness of his gut gives way to buttery softness. Steve realizes, with something weirdly like awe, that it’s a chore, just maneuvering around his belly to get undressed. Christ. Jesus creeping Christ.

From Steve’s vantage point on the bed, he can see the way Bucky’s tummy spills over his waistband, hangs over his belt—and he can see the way Bucky has to heft it out of the way with one hand and flick open his belt buckle with the other. The way his soft, wide gut gets pushed up by his metal hand, all that soft, tender flesh against unyielding metal—fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Steve finally throws his arm over his eyes, leaning back against the headboard like he’s exhausted, just to keep from staring. Just to keep from popping the world’s most inappropriate boner.

If Bucky notices Steve’s avid interest, he doesn’t comment on it. He’s silent, and the only thing Steve can hear in the room is the jingle of Bucky’s belt buckle as his jeans drop to the floor, the slight hitch of his breath as he leans forward. Over his tummy, probably? Steve squeezes his eyes shut tighter beneath his arm, willing his own breathing to stay even. The images of Bucky he’s conjuring in his mind—Bucky leaning over his enormous tummy, Bucky slowly resting a hand on his swollen belly, Bucky short of breath from four plates of fattening, rich, creamy pasta and half a dozen beers and a few bottles of Coke thrown in for good measure—are probably even worse for his composure than actually watching Bucky in real life, when he’s just trying to get into bed like a normal fucking person.

Steve feels like the world’s biggest pervert.

Before Steve can even peek out from under his arm and sneak a look at Bucky, see if the reality of Bucky undressing is anywhere close to the earth-shatteringly sexy sight he’s imagining, the bed dips dangerously to the left. Bucky flops back against the headboard with a sigh, his soft side pressed against Steve’s bicep, his padded hip and fat thigh smashed into Steve’s. Bucky’s touching him everywhere, taking up all the available space and spilling over against Steve.

God god GOD.

This is more than Steve was bargaining for when he demanded to sleep in Bucky’s bed.

This is exactly what Steve was bargaining for when he demanded to sleep in Bucky’s bed.

“Scoot over,” Bucky says, tugging at the hem of his shirt, which Steve is disappointed to see that he’s still wearing. His belly, freed from the tyranny of his tightly belted pants, cascades over his boxers and out from under the cotton of his t-shirt, and no matter how Bucky pulls it down, several inches of soft flab are visible.

Steve looks to his right, where there is approximately one inch of available mattress space. “Scoot where?” he asks drily.

Bucky glances over at him and sighs. “This bed is small.”

Steve blinks. Bucky is big, more like. He smiles a little, elbowing Bucky and then choking back a gasp at the way Bucky’s side squishes and yields, his ribs buried under all those thick inches of pudge. “It’s like back before the war, that little mattress you had then,” he says when he’s able to speak. “Never had any room then, either.” The fact that this mattress is much wider—and so is Bucky—he leaves unstated.

“And yet you always insisted on sleeping there,” Bucky says, carefully pushing himself over onto his side, his back to Steve. It’s an entire little process, just like undoing his belt had been; he pushes himself up onto his elbow and then flips over onto his side, belly leading the way.

“Some things never change, I guess.” And some things change a lot.

Bucky snorts, but Steve can feel him relax, his plush, padded back pressed into Steve. Even through the thin cotton of his t-shirt, Steve can see—and feel—the way his love handles wrap around his body, the way another thick, soft roll forms under his arm and stacks on top of it, so much extra fat that it’s literally piling up. It’s all Steve can do to resist the urge to sit up and look over him, see what his tummy looks like when he’s on his side.

Big. It probably looks really big, all spread out and—

“Half the time when I’d come home from taking some gal out, I’d get back and find you in my bed,” Bucky says, interrupting Steve’s train of thought. “You’d crawl in there and fall asleep, and I’d find you curled up in a little ball.”

Steve shrugs, remembering those nights, the way Bucky’s bedsheets always smelled like him, the way it was lonely and comforting at once, to be in Bucky’s bed when he wasn’t there. “Your bed was more comfortable than mine.”

“That why you’re here now, Stevie?”

“I’m here because I’m sleepy,” Steve lies.

“Then go to sleep,” Bucky says, his voice a little rough, a little sweet, like he can’t quite decide which he wants to be.

*

Steve is quiet for five minutes.

Ten.

He’s frozen, completely aware of the heat of Bucky’s body, how warm and close he is, the way Steve’s shoulder is pressed gently against the aching softness of Bucky’s back.

Fifteen.

“Turn over, Buck,” Steve finally says.

Bucky clears his throat. “Why?”

“Because I know you’re awake.”

There’s a beat of silence that goes on so long that Steve isn’t sure Bucky’s going to do it, but then he starts to move. Steve holds his breath, watching in the dim glow of the streetlight through the window as Bucky heaves himself over, using his hands to push himself first onto his back, then rolling slowly onto his side so that he’s facing Steve. It’s not particularly graceful—a little like a turtle on its back—and when Bucky flops over to face Steve, his belly fills all the available space between them, squishing up against Steve’s arm and ribs and hip like a warm, heavy pillow.

“Not enough room this way,” Bucky grumbles, and Steve can see the blush stain his cheeks even in the dim light.

“Yes there is,” Steve says immediately, making absolutely no move to scoot over at all. There’s nowhere for him to go, anyway. “It’s fine.”

Steve shifts, turning so that he’s facing Bucky—so that Bucky’s fat, fat stomach is pushed up against him, from his chest all the way down to his dick, which he seriously hopes Bucky can’t feel.

Bucky’s body takes up so much room—spills into Steve’s space so much—that it almost doesn’t even feel like a big deal, when Steve places his hand very, very gently onto the side swell of Bucky’s enormous belly, where it’s spilling out from under his inadequate t-shirt.

It feels so soft, like butter beneath Steve’s hand, malleable and thick and warm, that Steve can barely breathe—and Bucky quits breathing altogether.

“So how did all this happen?” Steve asks, keeping his voice even through sheer force of will. They might as well be talking about the weather.

Bucky inhales harshly, and his tummy rises like dough under Steve’s hand. Steve’s grip tightens automatically. Suddenly he’s not just touching Bucky’s belly but pinching a generous handful of it.

If his dick wasn’t poking Bucky before, it is now.

*

The first thing Bucky does is try to get his brain back online. Breathe. You need to breathe.

His brain interprets this missive as “You should inhale once as deeply as you can and suck your gut in and maybe Steve won’t notice you’re fat.”

Even as he does it, he knows it’s ridiculous. For one things, Steve’s got a handful of his tummy flab in his stupid iron grip. And besides—you can suck in a little pooch, maybe, but a gut that fills your entire lap, that falls between your thighs and presses into table ledges and rests on counters? A belly so wide that your hands barely come together underneath it? Is not suck-in-able.

Still, his Winter Soldier abs must be somewhere, buried underneath all that fat, and when he sucks in, his tummy moves back a few inches. Embarrassingly, it’s still touching Steve, still pressed against his hard chest and flat stomach and the aching planes of his stupidly visible hipbones.

“Relax, Bucky,” Steve says, and he loosens his hold on Bucky’s tummy fat, giving it a gentle little pat instead. Bucky can feel his belly jiggle under Steve’s hand, and his whole body sparks with burning arousal and shame.

He exhales, and his gut flops forward again. If he could roll onto his tummy and bury his face in his pillow, he totally would. As it is, though, there’s no room to move—and he’s been too fat to lay on his tummy for the better part of a year, anyway.

Steve pats his belly again, a curious little tap that Bucky can’t quite read, and then looks Bucky directly in the face, his eyes sparkling even in the gloom of the bedroom. “Well?”

Seriously. So fucking pushy. “I don’t know, Stevie. It just…” Bucky trails off, not sure how to finish the sentence. “It just happened.”

Steve raises an eyebrow, and his mouth curves up into a little smile that makes him look so handsome it’s almost unfair. Stupidly beautiful Steve, staring up at Bucky with an expression that manages to be both cocky and utterly earnest. “It just happened that you gained a hundred pounds?” Steve glances down at Bucky’s belly doubtfully, and Bucky knows he’s thinking—rightly so—that it’s probably quite a bit more than one hundred, even.

Fucking Steve. Bane of Bucky’s existence. He should have never answered the goddamn door.

Bucky clears his throat. “I was hungry,” he finally says.

“Oh, well that explains it then,” Steve chirps, his little smile splitting into a grin. “Makes perfect sense.”

Bucky shrugs. What else could he say? He could try to explain that when he’d gotten back to the United States he’d been stressed, that leaving Romania had felt like having what little security he’d eked out snatched away. He could say that he was bored. He could say that he really liked learning to cook.

If he was feeling particularly confessional, he could even say that he’d always liked food, that even before the war and the serum and everything else, sometimes he’d eaten too much, just for the white-hot little thrill of it. That he can remember times when he would have pocket money as a kid and spend it all on candy bars, walking home and eating them one by one until his stomach hurt and not sharing them with anyone, not with Steve or his sisters or the neighborhood boys. He could say that once he was older, once he was a teenager and jerking off, he had sometimes still done that, and then locked himself in his bedroom and had the most shockingly intense orgasms of his life, surreptitiously jerking off and staring down at his distended belly, feeling his forearm bump it with every stroke. He could say that after Romania, something had shifted and he’d started doing that—that secret thing where he’d stuff himself until it hurt to move and then jerk off in painful, bloated misery and acute, mind-blowing pleasure—too often. Daily. Until it had become a habit, until he’d gained and gained and gained. Until he was fat, and fatter, and fatter.

But he doesn’t say any of that; he can’t say any of that.

“I—well.” Bucky pauses, shifting a little and laying his hand on Steve’s firm upper arm. It seems acceptable to touch him; after all, Steve’s still resting his own hand on Bucky’s gut. “I guess my serum didn’t work quite the same as yours.” He gives Steve’s perfect bicep a squeeze.

“I don’t eat as much as you, either,” Steve says, because he’s Steve and he has never, ever known how to tactfully keep his mouth shut.

Bucky rolls his eyes. “That too.”

Steve smiles. “Okay,” he says absurdly, as if that’s all that needs to be said on the subject, as if it’s that easy to dismiss. He slides his hand up, from the side swell of Bucky’s belly to where his ribs would be, if he weren’t so damned fat.

Bucky holds his breath again, and Steve slides his hand up further, further, until his cool, thin fingers are resting on Bucky’s cheek. “I missed you, Buck.”

Bucky grins, trying not to indicate that his heart is pounding out of his chest. “Shit, Steve, I missed you too.”

And then it’s just right there, the precipice of this thing they’ve been moving inexorably toward nearly all their lives, over decades and nations and continents.

In the end, it’s just another ledge to jump from in a lifetime of them, but Bucky doesn’t have the nerve. It’s Steve who moves those few inches forward and kisses Bucky, just like Bucky’s always known it would be. Steve’s always been the brave one.

His mouth is soft, and even though Bucky can tell Steve’s nervous—he’s practically vibrating with tension—Steve doesn’t hesitate. Of course he doesn’t. He never does. He kisses Bucky firmly, his lips just slightly parted, and before Bucky can even quite wrap his head around what’s happening, Steve’s sucking Bucky’s lower lip into his insistent mouth, tugging Bucky into the kiss with the same demanding nerve that had landed him on Bucky’s doorstep a month ago.

It doesn’t take Bucky long to get with the program, though. He slides his hand up to the nape of Steve’s neck first, pulls him closer and deepens the kiss a little, taking control just to see what Steve will do. It makes Bucky want to laugh, makes him want to shout with joy, when Steve promptly surrenders, letting Bucky lead without even a moment of hesitation. So Bucky does, sliding into the driver’s seat like they’ve done it a thousand times before, kissing Steve with a sprawling, lazy kind of intensity that makes Bucky absolutely mindless.

Unsurprisingly, Steve is pushy in bed, too—he pulls Bucky closer and closer, his hands gripping Bucky’s biceps and tugging, dragging him forward until more and more of Bucky’s weight is resting on Steve. Bucky lets him do it, lets Steve pull him closer and closer, shamelessly needy, until Bucky’s propped up by his own fat belly spilling onto Steve’s perfect torso, the weight of Bucky’s gut heavy between them.

It’s the first time Bucky’s fooled around since he got quite this big, and he isn’t really prepared for what it feels like to do this with so much fat in the way. It’s a little awkward. His big belly keeps him from being as close to Steve as he’d like, and the easy, graceful way he’d moved with old lovers, easily shifting against another person, is impossible now. It should be embarrassing—and it is, a little—but Christ, it’s sexy, too.

He can feel Steve’s dick through his briefs, hot and hard against Bucky’s bare lower belly, his t-shirt rucked halfway up his gut. And he can feel his own cock, too, pressed against the underneath side of his tummy. It’s weirdly, frantically sexy, the way his belly connects them and separates them at once.

Shit, shit, shit.

Steve moans underneath him and brings his hands back up to Bucky’s wide bicep, squeezing gently, the sensation reminding Bucky that even his arm has gotten fat.

“Roll over, Buck,” Steve whispers. “On your back.”

Bucky doesn’t move for a second, and Steve bites his bottom lip. “Please.”

Steve could ask Bucky to go to the moon right now and he’d do it.

So he does, pulling Stevie with him as he flops down onto his back. Steve rolls with him, as graceful as Bucky is ungainly, and then Steve’s straddling him, and Jesus, it’s just like Bucky had pictured it, Steve’s legs spread wide to accommodate Bucky’s fat belly, his cock pressed up against the fattest, softest part of Bucky’s gut.

Steve doesn’t move for a moment, just gazing down at Bucky in the darkness. “Take this off,” he says suddenly, tugging at the hem of Bucky’s t-shirt.

Fuck.

A million excuses spring to Bucky’s lips. I’m cold, or I don’t want to, or just plain no. But Steve’s looking down at him, earnest and sweet, blue eyes wide as saucers. “Please,” he whispers again, like he knows Bucky can’t say no to it.

“Okay.” Bucky pushes himself up on his elbows, considering. “Make yourself useful,” he mumbles, gesturing for Steve to tug his t-shirt up. The truth is that Bucky can’t quite pull himself into a sitting position without rolling onto his side. His tummy’s in the way—and Steve on his lap doesn’t help, either.

Steve grins at him, wide and sunny and just the slightest bit predatory—not a look Bucky had expected from Steve, although he probably should have. Steve’s always been like this, relentless in the pursuit of something he wants. He runs one hand over Bucky’s exposed lower belly, his touch so gentle that Bucky gasps with it, feeling like there must be a direct line between his belly and his cock. Then Steve smiles again, carefully pulling Bucky’s t-shirt up.

“Sit up a little more, Buck,” Steve says when he can’t tug Bucky’s shirt any higher because it’s pinned under his back.

Bucky feels his cheeks heat. “I can’t, not when you’re on top of me like this.”

“With this in the way, you mean,” Steve murmurs, his voice casual, almost off-hand, as he pats Bucky’s tummy. Bucky contemplates spontaneous orgasms or sudden death, and Steve leans forward, gripping Bucky’s elbow and tugging him up by an inch or two, freeing the back of his t-shirt and dragging it over Bucky’s head with absolutely zero finesse.

“There,” Steve says, tossing the offending shirt onto the floor and staring down at Bucky, his eyes glued to Bucky’s newly exposed midsection, his gaze so intense that Bucky feels a little like a bug pinned under glass. A very fat bug.

It goes on like this—Bucky frozen, Steve staring—so long that Bucky can hardly stand it, until Steve looks up at him and leans down, dropping his lean midsection against the bloated curve of Bucky’s belly, one hand coming up to cup the softness of his chest. “You feel good,” he mumbles against Bucky’s neck, gracelessly pushing his cock against Bucky’s belly again.

Bucky grins in the darkness, relief pounding in his heart, and brings his metal hand up to Steve’s hips, tugging him closer. “You too, pal.”

Later, when they’ve kissed until their lips are chapped, when they’ve ground their hips together until Bucky thinks his lower belly might actually be chafed raw from the friction of Steve’s soaked briefs rubbing against him, they swap handjobs like teenagers, exactly like Bucky thinks they might have done back then, if this had happened before the war.

Except it’s not exactly like it would have been before, because nothing can be. Because now, Bucky has to ask Steve if he wants him to touch Steve’s cock with his flesh hand or his metal one. Because now, Steve has to push Bucky’s fat tummy out of the way to touch his cock.

When it’s over, when Steve is sprawled across Bucky’s gut and they’re both sticky with come, panting and sweaty, it’s Steve who finds his tongue first. “This better than writing a letter?”

Bucky nods, trying to conjure up some words. “Yeah, Steve. Yeah, it’s better.”

Chapter Text

Bucky,

I had fun last night.

Waking up next to you this morning was the best feeling

I wish we had talked a little more last night

A small pile of crumpled papers litter the floor at Steve’s feet, and he’s crossed out every word on the page in front of him except for Bucky’s name. Christ.

It shouldn’t be this hard to talk to someone that he knows—and who knows him—best in all the world, and yet Steve no more knows how to tell Bucky how he feels this morning than he knows how to split an atom.

If it had just been normal, if it had just been that they’d cuddled together and fooled around, Steve thinks maybe he could figure out something to say. “Hey, that was wonderful, I’ve wanted to be your fella since the middle of the Great Depression.” How hard could it be?

When Steve had woken up this morning, slowly and by degrees, he and Bucky had been back-to-back, the way they’d slept together often enough before. Steve had rolled over, slow and careful, and fitted himself up against Bucky’s back—and Christ, even just the feel of Bucky’s thick thighs, the warm, agonizingly soft rolls wrapping around his back, had been enough to make Steve ache. When he’d lifted his arm over Bucky’s pudgy side to pull him closer, just to hold him, he’d realized that he couldn’t wrap his arm all the way around Bucky’s middle. No matter how closely he pressed himself against Bucky’s back, his hand wouldn’t reach all the way around Bucky’s gut. It landed a few inches shy of his belly button, in that soft, tender space where the bloated round curve of Bucky’s belly started to give way to the soft-as-cream hang of his lower gut.

Steve had to stop, had to force himself to breathe, had to remind himself that it was a truly terrible idea to wake up your brand-new-but-also-old lover to inform them they’re so fat you can’t wrap an arm around them.

And maybe that’s why now he can’t write the fucking letter, really. Because there’s what they’re doing on the surface—something that has felt, at least to Steve, both inevitable and right for most of their lives—and then the thing that lurks below it—the agonizing, sexy, dangerous game that Steve can’t quite tell if Bucky wants to play.

It’s hard to say, exactly, what Bucky thinks about the whole thing. He’d yawned and stretched like a cat when Steve had spooned him, practically purring, and Steve had thought he might die of aching, inexplicable desire when Bucky had shoved himself up onto his elbows and then eased back against the headboard, lazy and slow. The sheet had been tangled at their feet, and Bucky’s belly had rested on his thick thighs, filled up his lap, hidden the front of his boxer-briefs from view completely, so he might as well have been naked.

In the cool morning light streaming through the blinds, Bucky’s belly had been striped with stretchmarks that Steve hadn’t been able to see in the darkness the night before. Faded white lines snaked out from his navel. Newer marks, still red and almost painful-looking, ran up and down the length of his fat sides, as if that weight was more recent—as if he’d literally just been exploding outwards, faster than his body could keep up.

In the name of chivalry—and of something less honorable and more suspect—Steve had run out and picked up breakfast. Bucky’s expression had been a mix of alarm and bemusement, when Steve had shown back up in record time, balancing two large coffees on top of two even larger pastry boxes.

To Steve’s extreme disappointment, Bucky had gotten dressed in his absence—but he was painfully close to outgrowing his fresh white t-shirt, and his soft-looking gray sweatpants had been shoved low on his hips. The cotton of his t-shirt had clung to his thick side rolls like a second skin, and a few inches of butter-soft lower belly hung below the hem in the front. He looked soft, and fat, and so sleepy-sweet that Steve had thought his heart might pound out of his chest.

“Christ, Stevie, you buy out the shop?” Bucky had asked, Brooklyn creeping into his accent, as if he knew Steve was thinking about how sweet and gentle he looked, as if he needed to remind him that he wasn’t really soft, not entirely.

Steve’s cheeks had burned on cue. “No,” he’d said softly, handing Bucky a cup of coffee. “White chocolate mocha. And some donuts. And some cinnamon rolls.”

Bucky had accepted the coffee first, shuffling sleepily into his kitchen and opening his fridge—sliding to the side in order to swing the door past his gut, a maneuver that undid Steve as surely as any purposeful sex act could have—to fish out a carton of cream and dump an alarming amount in on top of the already-ridiculously-fattening drink.

“Thanks,” he’d said, taking a few long swallows, and Steve had recited the periodic table in his mind to keep from bursting into flame.

“Have a donut,” Steve had said, politely holding out both pastry boxes, because he was a pervert and a gentleman.

And Bucky had. First just a few glazed donuts, the simple little pastries looking small in his metal fingers, disappearing in a few quick bites. And then a couple of cinnamon rolls, which he unwound like a kid and ate in strips.

When Steve had held out two more cinnamon rolls, Bucky had taken them docilely and started the process over again.

It had continued until both boxes were empty, until half a dozen cinnamon rolls and twice that many donuts were gone—Bucky having eaten all but two of them, which Steve had swallowed without tasting. He might has well have been eating sawdust; every bit of his sensory energy had been trained completely on Bucky. On the way his cheeks rounded out even more when he chewed. On the way his big belly rested between his spread thighs and brushed against the edge of his little dinette table when he leaned forward. On the way he ate with a methodical kind of efficiency, on the way Steve wouldn’t even have known all that fat and flour and sugar was weighing heavily on him until he hiccuped and his belly bounced up against the table ledge and Bucky had winced, reaching down to pat the shelf of his gut.

Steve had wanted to ask so many questions. Does it hurt? Do you always eat like this? What would you have eaten if I weren’t here? Would you just keep going, if I’d brought more? Do you ever get full?

But then, like now, he hadn’t quite been able to find the words.

He picks up his pen for the twentieth time and tears off a new sheet of paper.

Bucky

He stares at the page.

When his phone buzzes in his pocket, making the little double-hum that signals a text, he pulls it out just for the distraction.

It’s from Bucky, which makes Steve nervous; Bucky doesn’t text. Quit driving yourself crazy, Steve. Everything is fine.

Steve stares at the message. Everything is fine. What does that even mean?

Without thinking about it, he taps out, I thought you didn’t like to text, and hits send.

The response is nearly immediate. I don’t, but I figured you’d spontaneously combust if you had to wait two days to get a damn letter.

Steve glares at his phone. Fucking Bucky, always so goddamned cocky. Who says I was even thinking about you?

Not even thirty seconds pass before Bucky responds. Were you?

Goddamnit. Bucky knows Steve probably won’t lie, when faced with a direct question. You were thinking about me, too, or you wouldn’t have sent this.

Bucky’s response is pure Bucky, and Steve can hear his voice as he reads the words, as clear as if he’s saying it to some gal at a dance hall a lifetime ago. Of course I was, honey.

That’s why women had liked him, Steve realizes in that moment. He’d never made any bones about the fact that he liked them. Even if it had just been love words, easy and casual and without significance beyond one date, one night, he’d offered them up sweetly and without strings.

Christ, Steve likes it just as much as every girl Bucky had ever danced with.

You cocky shit, Steve types back.

Bucky’s reply is immediate. You gonna come back up here?

Steve debates levels of truth-telling. I wish I’d never left, or Maybe I should wait until tomorrow,, or I’m getting in the truck now.

He moves his fingers restlessly over the screen and finally fires off, Yeah. Be there tonight.

*

“I owe you dinner,” Steve says when Bucky answers the door. He has several overflowing grocery sacks—the reusable canvas kind, of course, which is so relentlessly Steve that Bucky nearly chokes—tucked under one arm.

Bucky raises his eyebrows, peering into the closest bag. There’s a loaf of French bread sticking out, and a stick of expensive-looking garlic and herb butter, and a few butcher-wrapped packages. “I didn’t know you could cook.”

“I can cook,” Steve says grimly, and Bucky bites the inside of his lip to keep from smiling. Steve gets like this—utterly serious, sometimes—when he’s nervous. It’s entirely more charming than it should be.

Bucky offers to help, but Steve waves him off, shooing him over to the table. “Sit,” he says, and Bucky does. He needs a new kitchen table and chairs; the little dinette set is annoyingly small, and Bucky’s ass and hips hang over the edges of the chair, which creaks dangerously with his weight. Steve watches as he settles down, spreading his thighs wide to make him for the mound of his belly, which spills over his lap, halfway to his chubby knees.

When he looks up, Steve is holding a package of bacon and staring at him, like watching Bucky squirm in his chair is the most transfixing sight he’s ever seen.

“You sure you don’t need help?” Bucky asks, popping his dimples a little bit, just because he can tell Steve’s flustered.

“No!” Steve swallows, setting down the bacon and running a hand through his neatly combed hair, shoving the strands every which way. “I mean—no. I’ve got it.”

“What are you making?”

Steve turns back to the counter, putting water on to boil and getting out an enormous frying pan. “Lasagna.”

“So what’s the bacon for?”

“You crumble it over the top,” Steve says, sautéing garlic and onions in a pan full of butter and then dropping a pound of sausage in on top of it with a thunk. He’s fairly proficient in the kitchen, and it’s a skill Bucky hadn’t known Steve possessed. It’s not surprising, though. Steve, bless him, is one of those people who is good at everything he tries to do, mostly because he’ll simply grit his teeth and do it, even if it’s more force of will than talent.

“Bacon on top of lasagna, huh?” He watches as Steve adds a pound of ground beef into the pan with the sausage and then covers all of it with spices. “On top of all that?”

Steve takes a little breath, and Bucky watches as his shoulders tense minutely before he speaks. “Does it matter? You on a diet or something?”

Bucky feels his eyebrows fly up to his hairline. “I don’t know, Stevie, you sure bring a lot of food over here. If I was, you’d be fucking terrible for it.”

Steve’s eyes dart up, and his cheeks are pink. “You don’t need to.” He coughs. “You don’t need to be on a diet.”

It’s probably not exactly true—perhaps even patently false—but Steve’s conviction is gratifying. Bucky raises his beer bottle in a lazy salute.

*

It feels weirdly formal, sitting across from Bucky at his little kitchen table. Like a date, maybe—and it is a date, Steve reckons. Sort of. If you can date someone you’ve known for nearly a century. The last time Natasha had dated someone, Steve remembers her making a big fuss about how saying “my girlfriend” made her feel like “a kid going to the goddamned prom.” If Nat feels old saying girlfriend, well, Steve’s positively ancient to be going on a date.

Bucky eyes Steve over his plate, which is loaded with an enormous, frankly ridiculous slice of lasagna that was nearly a quarter of the pan, three buttery slices of French bread, and a little scoop of Caesar salad dumped along the edge as some sort of sop to balanced eating. It’s a ridiculous amount of food, thick with cheese and grease and carbs, and just the decadence of it alone is enough to make Steve short of breath. And then there’s Bucky himself, looking gorgeous and sinfully wide. It’s all almost more than Steve can handle.

Bucky smiles like he can read Steve’s mind. “Should I light some goddamn candles, put on a record or something, Rogers? Feel like you’re trying to get laid.”

Steve laughs, feeling some of the tension leave his shoulders. Bucky’s always been good at that—at putting people at ease. “You try to do something nice for a guy,” he says, shaking his head in faux regret.

“Oh, it’s appreciated, pal,” Bucky says around a mouthful of pasta. He’s making short work of his plate, and Steve can’t quite keep from staring as Bucky tucks forkful after forkful into his mouth with swift efficiency. “You did good.”

“Good,” Steve mumbles, shoving his own food around on his plate.

It really does feel an awfully lot like a date. Steve thinks, maybe, that even Bucky feels that way. He certainly looks the part; his hair is artfully disheveled and tucked behind his ears, the scruff on his cheeks and chin is freshly trimmed, and his shirt—a dark gray button-up—looks so good Steve can hardly contain himself. It makes Bucky’s eyes look like smoke, more gray than blue, and it’s tight. Not inappropriately so—Bucky could wear it out in public and it wouldn’t attract any more attention than a really fat, really good-looking guy with a metal arm ever attracts. But it’s just snug enough over Bucky’s middle to be painfully, engagingly interesting, the way it hugs the firmer top curve of Bucky’s belly and clings to the flabby softness of his tummy where it hangs over his belt. The way it pulls just a little too tight across the shoulders when Bucky moves. The way it doesn’t do a thing to hide the fat rolls stacked along his ribs.

Fuck.

The moment Bucky scoops up the last bite, Steve’s hand is on the spatula. “You want more?”

Bucky glances up at him, his bland expression at odds with his eyes, which are trained intently on Steve.

“Sure,” he says deliberately, sliding his plate an inch or two toward Steve. “Why not?”

Steve’s hand hovers over the pan for a second. Fuck it. He cuts another enormous slice, another quarter of the dish, and angles it onto Bucky’s plate. Bucky doesn’t protest, so Steve slathers more butter onto several already-buttered-and-toasted slices of French bread and shoves those onto Bucky’s plate, too. He blatantly ignores the salad bowl.

Bucky works a little more slowly through the second plate. He even sets his fork down occasionally, pausing to take a drink or wipe his mouth, answer some question Steve’s blurted out. But his progress is steady, and the second slab of lasagna disappears almost as easily as the first. Steve can’t help but wonder if it’s a struggle, eating so much.

The third serving goes down more slowly, and Bucky lags a little, occasionally leaning back in his chair, even dropping his hand down to the side of his belly a few times, pushing gently against the dome of his gut. A few times, Steve thinks he might quit, but he never does, even though the meal has to be sitting heavy in his gut. The lasagna had been an exercise in excess—a pound of sausage, another of ground beef, and an entire pound of bacon crumbled along the top, not to mention the huge quantities of cheese packed between each layer of pasta—and that didn’t even take into consideration the fact that Bucky had worked his way through most of the loaf of French bread.

He stifles a burp behind his fist when he finishes the last bite, sighing a little.

“You wanna just finish it?” Steve says, his voice a close approximation of nonchalance.

Bucky leans back in his chair, and his belly rises accordingly. It’s been pushing against the table all night, just kissing it a little, but Bucky’s lazy stretch backward shoves it forward more. Most of his big gut is hidden from Steve’s view, but a few inches of flab—concealed in his increasingly ill-fighting shirt that’s beginning to strain around the buttons—squish onto the tabletop.

“Getting full,” Bucky says, exhaling slowly.

Steve considers that for a moment. “You want to have dessert instead?” He’d bought ice cream, a fancy organic brand of French vanilla, yellow with egg yolk and fattening as sin.

Bucky looks up at Steve from under his lashes, his voice hard to read. “Do you want me to?”

Steve opens his mouth and then closes it, swallowing. “Yes—no—if you want,” he finally stammers.

“Bring it in the living room,” Bucky says. “I need to stretch out.”

True to his word, Bucky sprawls out across the sofa, his big belly rising up in front of him obscenely. He looks fat, full and sated, and Steve doesn’t know what to do with himself. He just stands in the doorway, holding the carton of ice cream and staring.

Bucky glances up at him, his eyes sleepy and warm, maybe a little cocky. “You brought the entire carton?”

Steve looks down stupidly at the carton in his hand and then back up at Bucky. “You ate most of a pan of lasagna. I figured you could handle it.”

Bucky raises one eyebrow, his eyes trained on Steve as he makes his way over to the couch. There’s really nowhere for Steve to sit—Bucky takes up all the available space and then some, his midsection practically hanging off the edge of the sofa—so Steve just drops gracefully to his knees and takes a seat on the floor next to Bucky.

“You sure do bring a lot of food over here,” Bucky says casually, eyes still locked on Steve. It’s a point he’d brought up earlier, too.

Steve busies himself prying the lid off of the ice cream. “Aren’t you supposed to feed someone, you take ‘em on a date?” He sticks the spoon experimentally into the ice cream. It’s pleasantly soft already.

Bucky snorts, and his gut bounces with the movement. “Was this a date?”

“You wore a dress shirt,” Steve says, carefully scooping up a spoonful of ice cream. “So it must be.”

Bucky runs a hand over the front of the shirt in question, plucking at a straining button. “Yeah, I did,” he agrees. “You look nice, by the way.”

Steve glances down at himself. He’s wearing a blue sweater Nat had given him for Christmas, one that she assured him would ‘make him look even prettier than he already was.’ “Thanks,” he says vaguely, his attention diverted by the dripping spoonful of ice cream in his hand. It had seemed so simple, when he’d grabbed the carton and single spoon in the kitchen. He’d wanted to feed Bucky, or at least to watch him eat. Now, sitting here on the floor with a spoon of melty ice cream in his hand, Steve has no idea what to do.

“What do you want to do with that?” Bucky asks, eyeing the spoonful of ice cream.

Steve feels his cheeks flush. “I—“ he trails off, feeling like a coward.

“Get up here off the floor, Steve,” Bucky interrupts, rolling his eyes.

Steve drops the spoon into the carton and looks at the sofa—and Bucky—doubtfully. “Where? You kind of—uh—fill it up.”

Bucky gestures to his lap—or, more accurately, he points vaguely past his gut. “Come here.”

Steve doesn’t need to be told twice, and he climbs awkwardly onto Bucky’s lap. It’s not easy—there’s no room on the couch, really, and he has to shove his left leg between Bucky’s fat thigh and the side of the couch, letting his right leg dangle onto the floor. Bucky’s belly rises up between them, and if Steve were to push his hips forward even an inch, he could grind his dick into Bucky’s gut again, just like he had last night, and--fuck, Jesus, god god god.

He needs to say something.

“Bucky, I—okay.” Steve stops, and then sets the carton of ice cream down on Bucky’s belly, just because it’s there and because he wants to see if it’s big enough to balance the ice cream. It is. With his hands free, he looks straight at Bucky. “I like—uh—doing this.”

Bucky smirks at him, and his double chin is threatening to triple, and Steve can barely resist the urge to lean over and bite it. Jesus fucking Christ.

“You like cooking dinner for me or sitting on my lap?” Bucky asks, looking devious.

“Umm. Yes,” Steve says weakly. “But I—um—“ He falters, trying to figure out exactly the right way to say, You got incredibly fat and I want to shove ice cream in your mouth until you can’t get off the couch. It’s a very specific desire, but Steve doesn’t think there’s any possible way to word it.

“Or you just like spending time with me in general?” Bucky continues, his eyes sparkling. “Or is it something else, honey?”

Steve swallows. “All those things. But also”—He pauses, looking at Bucky, hoping maybe he’ll interrupt again and rescue Steve from himself. Bucky, though, just watches him, his eyes smoky, his smile a little crooked.

“I like watching you eat,” Steve finally whispers, feeling like he’s jumping off the side of a building.

Bucky huffs out laughter, and the ice cream carton bounces dangerously on his belly. Steve catches it reflexively. “Yeah, I know, sweetheart.”

Steve scowls. “You knew?”

“Steve, you bring dozens of donuts when you come to see me. You just made me a lasagna that could have fed a family of ten. You are literally straddling me right now holding a goddamned container of ice cream.”

Well. When you put it like that, Steve does have to admit that the evidence is rather damning. He stirs the ice cream, which is continuing to melt. Bucky could practically drink it at this point—which is a possibility so sinfully erotic that Steve slams the door on the idea immediately, lest he just lose control and dry hump Bucky’s gut like a fucking teenager. A kinky, kinky teenager.

“Do you mind?” Steve asks, unable to look up. It’s his biggest fear, the thing that has been keeping him up at night—besides the excessive jerk-off sessions—since he saw Bucky again. The fear that Bucky would hate him for this, wouldn’t want anything to do with whatever inexplicable desire Steve harbors.

Bucky reaches out, his metal finger coming to rest under Steve’s chin and tipping it up until Steve can’t avoid looking Bucky in the eye. “No. I don’t mind.” His voice is hushed, his eyes darting back and forth over Steve’s face, like there might be more he wants to say, like maybe he can’t quite find the rest of the words.

It doesn’t matter. This is enough.

“Thank god,” Steve mumbles, too relieved to dissemble at all.

The tension in Bucky’s gaze slips away, and he grins. “Well, then...”

Steve looks down at the carton and then scoops up a fresh, drippy bite. He opens his mouth to ask if he can feed Bucky, but Bucky leans forward a little, parts his pretty pink lips, and Steve doesn’t even have to ask. He just pushes the spoon forward, and when Bucky wraps his mouth around it and sucks a little, Steve’s hips jerk forward irresistibly.

“That’s good,” Bucky says, his words blurry around a mouthful of ice cream.

“It’s organic,” Steve says inanely, holding up another spoonful.

Bucky wraps metal fingers around Steve’s wrist and tugs the spoon closer. “Quit making me reach for it, honey.”

Steve inhales hard. “Lazy,” he whispers, obediently guiding the next bite all the way into Bucky’s mouth.

“That’s kind of the point, isn’t it?”

“God, yes. You are, though. Have to be, to get so fat, Buck.” It feels like the most forbidden word he can say, like every taboo he’s ever known. He’s on fire.

“This is melting,” Bucky says calmly, tongue darting out to catch dripping ice cream from the corner of his mouth.

“Eat faster, then.”

Bucky looks pointedly at the spoon in Steve’s hand. “You’re the one running the show here, Stevie.”

Fuck. “Am I?” Steve asks lightly, shoving another dripping bite into Bucky’s mouth. He means to sound casual, but his heart is pounding.

Bucky shrugs, swallows a huge bite. “Sure, honey. What do you want?”

Steve stares. What does he want? It feels like the worst sort of greed to ask for anything more than this right now—Bucky full of lasagna and spread underneath him, fat and stuffed, eating ice cream from Steve’s hand, docile as a kitten.

He looks down at Bucky’s belly, straining the limits of his nice shirt even though he’s prone. “Does it hurt?” he asks curiously, tapping Bucky’s gut.

Bucky shrugs, squirming a little under Steve’s hand, like he’d move away from Steve’s prodding fingers if he wasn’t pinned to the sofa with his own gluttony—and with Steve on his lap. “I’m just full,” he says.

“You look it,” Steve says, tracing his hand over the curve of Bucky’s gut, the apex where it’s firmest, and then down to the soft, flabby overhang, over to his sides, where his shirt clings to the wide rolls of fat stacked above his belt.

He looks up, sees Bucky watching him intently. “Will you take this off?” he makes himself ask.

Bucky’s lips twitch. “That’s what you want?”

“Christ, yes.”

Bucky sighs. “Gimme that,” he says, reaching for the ice cream. It’s a quietly spoken order, but it’s clearly a directive. Steve doesn’t actually knows which one of them is in charge. He isn’t sure Bucky does, either. The power balance keeps shifting, and that in itself is almost as hot—almost—as what they’re actually doing.

He passes over the ice cream and reaches for the buttons on Bucky’s shirt.

“Good boy,” Bucky mumbles around the spoon in his mouth, his dimples showing. It’s a joke, sort of—but Steve can’t entirely hide his gasp.

Bucky has to struggle into a sitting position to finally squirm out of the shirt after Steve’s finally undone the buttons, and he looks truly, uncomfortably full for the first time. He grunts as he pushes himself up on his elbows, hiccupping twice, and a little sheen of sweat shows on his forehead. He has to set the ice cream carton down on the rug to shrug out of his shirt, and he moves in slow motion as he does it, wincing as his tummy jostles. Steve feels a hot stab of guilt, helping him pull off the shirt. It’s his fault Bucky is so full. It’s his fault Bucky’s eaten so much. It’s his fault Bucky’s so stuffed with lasagna and ice cream and that he looks almost nauseous.

But it’s not just your fault. He was fat when you got here, he was already so, so fat, Steve’s brain helpfully reminds him, conjuring up a few images of Bucky standing in the doorway, that very first day.

He might be even fatter now, Steve realizes. His belly is enormous, wide and swollen. The bloat from so much heavy food is noticeable, especially at the top where his gut rises like dough from Bucky’s broad, fat chest. And even now, lying on his back and as stuffed full as he is, Bucky’s belly sags over his belt buckle.

While Steve’s staring, tracing the stretch marks around Bucky’s deep belly button, Bucky plucks the carton of ice cream off the floor, hicupping and groaning as he does it.

“It’s all melted now,” he says, dragging the spoon through the runny mess left in the carton.

“Just drink it,” Steve blurts out, and Bucky jerks his head up, looking genuinely surprised for the first time.

“You want me to drink half a carton of ice cream?”

Steve blushes to the roots of his hair and tries to think of something to say for himself besides, Well you already ate half of it, so why stop now?

“I ate most of a pan of lasagna,” Bucky continues, his tone expansive. “Almost an entire loaf of French bread, which I’m pretty sure you melted an entire stick of butter on. Now you want me to finish this?” He shakes his head. “Not gonna be able to get up off the goddamn couch, Stevie.”

Steve shudders, and his hips snap forward of their own accord, so that he’s grinding up against the bottom of Bucky’s gut.

“That what you want?” Bucky asks, watching him closely. “Want me so full I can’t move?”

“Oh god, Buck, I’m sorry,” Steve stumbles. “It’s not—I just—“

“It’s okay,” Bucky says, cutting him off. He takes a deep breath, holding up the carton and shrugging. “What the hell?”

It must be thick, because he can’t swallow that many times before he stops, gasping for air. “Jesus,” he pants, rubbing the back of his hand across his mouth. Steve blatantly reaches down and adjusts his dick, which is so hard it hurts.

“Now does your belly hurt?”

“Fuck. Yes.” He tips the carton up again.

“You’re so big, look at you,” Steve mumbles, unable to have kept that thought to himself if he’d tried—which he hadn’t. “You’re so fucking big.”

Bucky pauses, catching his breath. He looks miserable, sweaty and flushed, and this time he drops the carton back to the floor. “You keep feeding me shit,” he says when he’s not entirely breathless.

“You keep eating it,” Steve shoots back, lapsing comfortably into the friendly antagonism they’ve always shared.

“Seriously not sure I could get up right now, honey.”

Steve bites his lip, running his hand gently over Bucky’s gut—and then, like his hand is controlled entirely by his libido and independent of his brain, he slaps Bucky right across the belly. Not hard, exactly, but a sharp little ringing slap that makes all that flesh under his hand wobble like J-ello.

Bucky hisses. “The hell was that for?” He’s grumbling, but he doesn’t make any attempt to move—maybe because he can’t—or push Steve’s hand away.

*

“You think you can make it to the bedroom?” Steve asks, gazing down at Bucky. He’s still fully dressed in his neat blue sweater and slacks, looking put together and beautiful. The frenetic flush of his cheekbones and his slightly disheveled hair are the only indicators that he’s less than perfectly calm.

Bucky, meanwhile, is shirtless and about to explode with ice cream. His stomach feels like a drum, dangerously tight, churning and audibly creaking. His belt buckle is digging painfully into the fat of his lower belly, and his chinos are so tight he feels like he’s being cut in half. He’s sweaty and miserable, and he’s sticky with ice cream.

He’s a goddamned mess.

“The bedroom, huh?” Bucky says between short little panting breaths. “What, you think you’re getting lucky or something?”

Steve’s little smile splits into a wide into a wide grin, so warm and easy that Bucky can’t help but grin back. Steve frames the widest part of Bucky’s belly with both of his hands and jostles it a little, makes Bucky’s entire midsection wobble in waves. “I think after all this it’s probably a safe bet that you’re putting out.”

“Maybe I eat like this all the time, got nothing to do with you,” Bucky teases.

“I think you eat like this a lot,” Steve says, grabbing two enormous handfuls of Bucky’s belly like they’re proof of his overindulgence. “But I think this time was for me.”

Bucky groans. His gut feels like an overinflated balloon, and he’s half afraid he’ll pop if Steve keeps manhandling his poor belly. “Maybe a little bit, you pervert.”

Steve smiles, his touch turning gentle, rubbing circles on Bucky’s distended belly. His hands sink into Bucky’s tummy like it’s dough; even at the top, where he’s most bloated and miserable, Bucky watches Steve’s hands sink in inches of flab. Christ. He’s getting so goddamned fat now, and Steve’s actually right—he’d already been fat before any of this started. Steve being here, shoving ice cream down his throat, is just going to blow him up even more.

Like his hands, Steve’s eyes are gentle now, a little uncertain. “Can you, though? Get up?”

It’s been like this all night—Steve vacillating between being ridiculously bossy and completely unsure of himself, a tyrant and a novice in turn. Like pretty much every goddamn thing Steve does, Bucky finds it unaccountably charming. “I could probably get up if there wasn’t a big blond lug humping my leg,” he says, grinning.

Steve pats Bucky’s tummy one last time and then carefully climbs off of him—and it’s weirdly sweet, the way he’s careful not to put pressure on Bucky’s gut as he does it. When he’s on his feet, he stares down at Bucky, eyes wide, and then holds out his hands. “Come on.”

Bucky obliging takes Steve’s hands, lets him tug him into a sitting position. It’s more difficult than it should be, with everything he’s eaten churning in his belly. Sitting up, it feels like his belly extends all the way to his fucking knees. He feels round.

Steve’s just standing there, watching him, the outline of his dick under his slacks clear from Bucky’s vantage point. Steve’s courteously tucked it up into the waistband of his slacks, which is so oddly well-mannered that Bucky thinks he might laugh, if it wouldn’t jar his guts.

Embarrassingly, it takes a couple of tries to get to his feet, a couple of times rocking back and pushing up to no avail, his tummy effectively pinning him. The third time, Steve just hauls him up by the elbow, and then they’re standing face-to-face, Bucky’s gut sandwiched between them like a giant water balloon.

Bucky, to his horror and subsequent arousal, is panting. Steve, looking like the world’s most perverse nursemaid, slides under Bucky’s right shoulder and wraps an arm around his lower back, lets Bucky lean on him like he’s injured instead of just stuffed to the gills as they make their way to the bedroom.

“I ate too much,” Bucky says once they’re in the bedroom. He’s leaning heavily against Steve, and Steve’s industriously lifting his gut out of the way and unfastening his belt.

“It was so goddamned sexy,” Steve says, sounding absolutely wrecked.

“I feel like I’m gonna pop.”

“Look like it, too,” Steve mutters agreeably, peeling Bucky’s chinos down, tugging his boxers off right along with them. “Lie down.”

A part of Bucky wants to protest, just on general principle, but he’s so miserably swollen that he doesn’t bother. Steve, bless his heart, props a couple of pillows up at the headboard, and Bucky sprawls out in a deep recline, belly rising like a gluttonous mountain in front of him.

Steve strips down, too, efficient and almost like he’s on autopilot, and crawls up next to Bucky.

“Come here, honey,” Bucky says, tugging Steve down until their lips meet. “You’re gonna have to do all the work, okay?” His words are muffled, their mouths pressed together.

“Of course,” Steve breathes.

Even kissing is sort of difficult, Bucky finds. It’s hard to breathe in more than panting little sips, and his stomach hurts. Apparently sensing that Bucky can’t do much but lie there, Steve alternates between kissing him and rubbing his gut, smoothing his hands up and down Bucky’s bloated belly, squeezing and reshaping the fat rolls at his sides, dropping kisses onto his double chin, the fat curves of his pecs, even the chubby folds under his armpits. Occasionally, he lets loose a little outburst of filthy praise: “You look so handsome, Bucky, so fucking big,” or, “You’re gonna get even fatter,” or, “You really do look like you’ll pop.” Some of them sound, sort of, like insults, except that Steve’s using his most reverent voice, the one he usually saves for Mass and talking about democracy.

When Bucky’s breathing approaches something a little closer to normal—when it doesn’t feel like he’s sucking air through a straw, his stomach packed so tightly his lungs won’t expand—Steve moseys his way up to Bucky’s mouth, dropping a few kisses on the corner of his lips and then pulling back, looking at him seriously. “How do we, uh”—he falters, gesturing down at Bucky’s gut—“how do we do it when you’re, ah, like this?”

Bucky snorts. Fucking Steve. Sarah raised him to be so polite, but somehow she never managed to instill in him a single iota of subtlety. “Afraid I’m too fat to fuck?”

Steve groans, his eyelids fluttering shut.

“Jesus Christ, do you want me to be too fat to fuck?” Who fucking knew that Stevie was such a goddamned pervert?

Steve’s eyes pop open. “No, no, of course not. It’s just—well.” He reaches down and gives Bucky’s tummy a squeeze. “There’s a lot of this to, um, work around.”

Bucky looks down at what he can see of his own midsection. Steve’s right, of course. Even just fooling around last night, everything had felt different with his wide, wide body, with his huge belly filling all the available space between them.

“How do you want it?” Bucky asks, a little delicately. He wants Steve any way he can have him, wants to explore every possible combination of their bodies.

“I want you to fuck me,” Steve says immediately, and for once he doesn’t blush a bit. Bucky gives him points for nerve.

Bucky nods, then gestures toward his nightstand. “Reach in there. Get some lube.”

Steve scrambles to do as he’s told, and Bucky lavishes attention on him. Metal fingers slick with Astroglide, he tells Steve just how to position himself so that Bucky can reach him, just how to move on Bucky’s hand, just how to glide down onto Bucky’s fingers—first one, then two—until Steve’s fucking himself on Bucky’s fingers, panting, finally looking as much a mess as Bucky. “Touch yourself,” Bucky finally says generously, and Steve clamps his free hand around his streaming cock.

“Please, Buck."

The truth is, Bucky’s not sure what the optimum position is. He’s fairly certain he could fuck Steve from behind—he’d just rest his gut on Steve’s strong back—but he can’t do it when he’s this full. The idea of putting that much effort into it makes his tummy ache just thinking about it. For similar reasons, he has zero interest in climbing on top of Steve—and he’s not sure that his gut would even allow it.

“You have to ride me,” he says, making it sound like an order instead of an only option.

Steve practically trips over himself, straddling Bucky. “Your tummy’s in the way,” he whispers.

Bucky reaches down the side of his belly and lifts, dragging as much of his belly up and out of the way as he can.

Fuck, he’s getting fat.

Steve gasps, looking like a kid on Christmas, and then disappears below Bucky’s gut, until all he can feel is Steve’s hot mouth on his cock, his forehead pressed against the sensitive roll of his underbelly. Christ, Christ, Christ.

By the time Steve’s actually riding his cock, one of his strong arms pushing Bucky’s belly out of the way, Bucky’s almost incapable of thought. He’s all sensation—the overwhelming perfection of being inside Steve, the aching exquisite misery of his swollen stomach, the almost-uncomfortable-but-entirely-addictive motion of Steve riding him, jostling his gut with each downward slide.

It’s the best, weirdest sex Bucky’s ever had, and Steve screams and clutches handfuls of Bucky’s blubbery sides when he comes, his eyes rolled back, looking completely undone. The feeling of it, the sight of it, jerks Bucky’s orgasm out of him, too, like Steve had conjured it into being with his own climax.

Afterward, after they’ve cleaned up, Steve brings Bucky water and offers him Tums and fusses over him like a nanny, snuggling up next to him and rubbing Bucky’s belly slowly. When Bucky rolls gingerly onto his side, hoping to get comfortable despite his aching belly, Steve slides up behind him like the world’s smallest big spoon.

“I can’t get my arm all the way around you,” Steve chirps in his ear, grabbing a handful of flab near Bucky’s belly button to prove the point.

Bucky’s dick lurches valiantly, his shame-arousal meter still on a hair trigger. “And you like that?” he asks, already knowing the answer.

“Jesus, so much.”

“You’re really weird,” Bucky says, because it’s true.

He feels Steve bury his face in Bucky’s shoulder. “Do you mind?”

Bucky considers the question. He doesn’t mind, of course—but it’s intense, this thing that’s happening between them, and it’s happened so fast. A month ago, Bucky was writing Steve letters and letting Steve assume he was skinny. Skinny-ish. Not really fucking fat, anyway. Now they’re doing—whatever this is.

“No, sweetheart,” he says, when he realizes his pause is making Steve tense up like a startled cat. “I don’t mind.”

*

After that, it’s like a tacit agreement that this is a thing they’ll do together. Steve shows up with food almost every day. Pierogis from the city, or meatball subs, or armloads of Chinese takeout boxes. Bucky teaches Steve to make cheesecake, explaining how to use a springform pan and everything, and then he lets Steve feed him the entire goddamn thing, one decadent bite at a time, until he’s groaning on the bed. They order half a dozen pizzas from Bucky’s favorite local place and eat most of them sitting on Bucky’s balcony one warm evening. They take the last one to Bucky’s bedroom and Steve shoves it in Bucky’s face piece by piece, messy and rough. That’s the night they discover, during cleanup, that they absolutely cannot both fit in Bucky’s bathtub at once. To Steve’s extreme and perverse delight, Bucky can barely sit down in it by himself. His fat sides squish against the porcelain edges, and his tummy rises up out of the sudsy water like an island.

Steve has never been so happy—so weirdly, blissfully happy—and he thinks that maybe this little third story apartment is their reward for a lifetime of arguable misery.

It’s early May, the weather getting warm enough that Bucky’s tubby cheeks get flushed just walking down the stairs, when Steve realizes that they probably cannot actually just hide in Bucky’s apartment forever, living on grease and agonizing, unstated love.

Steve gets a series of texts from Natasha and Sam in what are separate but clearly coordinated efforts.

Sam is charitable, beginning with a casual Long time no see and seguing into a couple of rather pointed questions about his absence.

Natasha, of course, is less politic. She lights up his phone with a series of sharp inquiries.

Where the fuck have you been, Steven? People are worried.

Are you getting laid? We can’t decide if you’re holed up somewhere having sex or having a century-life crisis. Which is it?

Whichever it is, you need to answer your goddamn messages. Do I need to come rescue you or meet your new girlfriend?

Boyfriend?

Whatever. Call me or we’ll come hunt you down. You know we can.

The thing is, of course, Nat can hunt him down. She’s perfectly capable of finding him, and Steve would much rather be in control of the situation than have her show up on Bucky’s doorstep unannounced, proverbial—or possibly literal—guns blazing.

He glances over at Bucky, who’s dozing in bed next to him, a book propped on his belly. He’d broken the spine on it, which makes Steve’s teeth grind, but he looks absolutely angelic, fluffy chin pillowed against his wide bare chest. So fucking domestic. So fucking sweet. So fucking big.

He picks up his phone and sends a group text back to Sam and Natasha, to simplify things. It’s a long story. I’ll call you soon. Promise.

Chapter Text

When Steve meets Sam for a beer the next weekend, it’s a weird sort of relief, being able to tell someone.

“We should’ve known it was Bucky,” Sam says after Steve’s big confession, elbowing him gently. “No other reason you’d go MIA like that.” He looks at Steve. “Are you happy, man?”

“Yes,” Steve says immediately. “Really, really happy.”

“Good. That’s good. Nat’s been worried.” Sam’s quiet for a second. “So what do you mean, he’s different now? You mean different like not prone to robotic fits of murderous rage? Or different like something else?”

“Definitely not murderous.” Steve picks up his cocktail napkin and begins to shred it meticulously into strips. “Just—a lot has changed—so.” He trails off, not sure where to go from there.

Sam leans forward, elbows on the bar. “Like what?” he asks, eyes clear and non-judgmental, like the trained mental health professional he is. Damn it.

Steve thinks back to the previous morning, to Bucky standing at the stove making pancakes. The bottom few inches of his tummy had been creeping out from under his t-shirt, and his sweats had been a little too tight, slung low on his hips to make room for his gut, clinging to his chunky thighs. He’d looked fat—even fatter than he’d been when Steve had knocked on his door, probably.

How much did Bucky weigh, anyway?

A lot. He had to weigh a lot. Well over 300. And he’d been gaining. He was starting to outgrow things, and— “Steve?”

Steve drops the remains of his napkin and refocuses. Fuck it. “He got fat,” he blurts out.

Sam’s eyebrows go up and his beer glass comes down. “Barnes got fat.”

“Yeah, kind of.” The understatement of the century.

Sam shrugs. “Well, he was a little thick last time we saw him. He’s retired. Good for him.” He gives Steve a slightly dirty look. “That’s okay with you, right?”

“Oh, no, yeah, it’s—it’s all right.” It’s very much all right. “Just, um, giving you a heads up.”

*

“How much do you weigh?”

Bucky looks up from his menu, which he’s been studying with a frankly adorable intensity. They’re at a little diner near his apartment, seated in a corner booth. Well—Steve is seated. Bucky is practically wedged in. Steve had actually held his breath for a second, when Bucky had sat down. Even with his thighs wide to accommodate his gut, his belly still presses up against the tabletop. Steve wonders if it hurts. He wonders if it's resting on the seat of the booth between Bucky's spread thighs, if it spills down that far when he wedges himself in like this.

“That’s a pretty personal question, pal,” Bucky says, sounding affronted. His eyes are a little too sparkly, though, for Steve to really believe he’s offended.

“Yeah, well, we get kinda personal sometimes,” Steve murmurs.

Bucky huffs out a little breath of laughter—an action that makes his tummy press even more tightly against the table, Steve can’t help but notice. “Smartass.”

“Yup. So?”

“Like a fucking terrier after a rat, Steve,” Bucky says fondly, like it’s a compliment. “Hell, I don’t know.”

“You have a scale. I saw it in the bathroom.”

Bucky gazes back down at his menu, placidly scanning through the specials. “It maxed out at 350, though.”

Steve jerks, nearly knocking over his water. Shit. He should never have brought this conversation up in public.

Bucky, damn him, is still looking at his menu like nothing’s amiss, even though Steve knows that Bucky knows exactly what he’s doing.

Steve gathers himself and tries to find some words. The ones that end up flying out are, “Oh my god, you’re too fat for the scale!”

“Apparently. You think I should get the burger or the fried chicken?”

“Both,” Steve says automatically. “So when was the last time you got on it?”

“Maybe a month before you showed up.”

Steve lets that sink in. Bucky had been over 350 months ago. By now—Jesus. He’s even fatter. He has to be.

*

When they get home that evening, Steve can’t quit thinking about the scale that Bucky can no longer use. He’s too fat for the scale. It’s mind-blowing.

It’s completely unsurprising.

It’s scandalously hot.

Steve tries not to obsess over it. Truly, he does. He doesn’t think about it while they stand side-by-side in Bucky’s bathroom to brush their teeth and Bucky’s gut rests on the sink. He doesn’t think about it when they go into Bucky’s bedroom and Bucky tugs his shirt over his head, revealing every agonizing curve and roll. He doesn’t think about it when Bucky drops his jeans to the floor and his thick thighs collide, not just touching but spilling against each other, excessive and soft.

Steve is doing an excellent job not thinking about how fat Bucky is.

Bucky brings his laptop to bed, propping it on the dome of his packed gut and flipping through Netflix to settle on Stranger Things. He likes it more than Steve does, cackling happily whenever El unleashes her supernatural mojo on someone. He claims his fondness for the show is because he was awake for part of the eighties and remembers wood paneling. Privately, Steve thinks it has less to do with any particular decade than it does Bucky’s clear identification with the little weaponized bald girl, which is at once alarming, endearing, and painfully on-the-nose.

At any rate, Steve does his best to pay attention to the screen instead of playing a rousing game of ‘Guess Bucky’s Weight’ in his head. He snuggles up close to Bucky, and it’s perfect, really. Bucky is full and fat and soft beside him, and everything feels good—safe and easy and warm. It makes Steve feel overwhelmingly lucky, to be here next to Bucky in this century. It feels, almost, like too much. Definitely enough that he doesn’t need to think about Bucky’s weight. It’s inconsequential. It doesn’t matter all.

Definitely.

“So what does the scale say if you get on it?”

Bucky presses pause and gives him an incredulous stare. “A demigorgon is on the loose and you want to ask me about my home appliances?”

“Yes.” There’s no way to be coy about this.

“It just says ‘E R R’ in big red letters.”

Steve’s heart and dick lurch as one. “Oh.”

“Yeah, oh.”

“You need a bigger scale.”

Bucky shrugs. “Not sure I wanna know, Steve.”

Steve rolls over, straddling one of Bucky’s heavy thighs and then setting his laptop aside.

He grasps Bucky’s tummy, his thumb in Bucky’s belly button and his fingers gripping a handful of lower belly flab, tugging like it’s a handle. He bounces his hand, and ripples move through Bucky’s entire midsection. His chubby pecs—resting atop his gut—jiggle, too.

“Just saying,” Steve says, using his free hand to give Bucky’s love handles a firm poke, “it might be nice to know how, uh, big you’re getting.”

“Would it?” Bucky asks, huffing as Steve shamelessly squeezes the thick rolls at his sides, sticks his questing fingers in the space between the solid heft of Bucky’s spare tire and the thick roll of chub under his armpit, the one that starts at his pecs and wraps around his ribs and makes Steve want to cry with desire.

I think it would be nice,” Steve says, sliding over until he’s between Bucky’s legs, surrounded by his thick thighs and enormous tummy.

“Pervert.”

Steve carefully hefts Bucky’s gut up, slithering his free hand under the waistband of Bucky’s boxers and shamelessly squishing the soft pad of fat at his groin. He’d realized early on that Bucky wasn’t especially fond of this particular development, but Steve fucking loves it, that sweet secret softness under his belly, a reminder that EVERY part of him is fat now.

When he slides his hand down further and grips Bucky’s cock—already hard—he grins. “Who’s a pervert now?”

“I have Captain goddamn America crawling all over me,” Bucky drawls, reaching out a lazy hand and brushing a strand of hair away from Steve’s forehead. “Who wouldn’t have a hard-on? You, on the other hand, are about to come in your pants because your boyfriend’s too fat to see over his own gut to weigh himself.”

Steve freezes, stuck on several pertinent points. Boyfriend? Too fat to see over his belly? That was significantly different than just being too heavy for the scale.

“You can’t see over your gut to read the scale?” he blurts out. “And you’re my boyfriend?”

Bucky throws his head back and laughs, and his whole body wobbles. Steve tries to remember to breathe.

“Well, what else would you call it, honey?”

“Boyfriend. Boyfriend is good.” Natasha is so wrong about that girlfriend thing. It doesn’t feel stupid, calling someone a boyfriend or girlfriend. It feels like the best thing Steve can think of.

Bucky grins, easy and wide, like it’s 1940 again, and Steve thinks his heart might stop.

*

“You know something?” Bucky says later that night, apropos of nothing at all. They’re curled in bed, Bucky on his side facing Steve, Steve wrapped as close to him as he can get with Bucky's tummy between them.

“Hm?” He doesn’t bother lifting his face from the curve between Bucky’s fat chest and his belly, so the words are muffled.

“My ma was afraid this would happen.”

Steve blinks, lifting his head. He’s sleepy, wrung out and sex-exhausted, but that wakes him right up. “Afraid what would happen? That you’d get fat?”

“Yes, Steve, that I’d get fat,” Bucky says sarcastically, his eye roll visible even in the dim glow of the streetlight through the window.

“You did eat a lot as a kid,” Steve deadpans.

“And you were looking even then,” Bucky says, and Steve thinks maybe it’s true. “Not that, you shit. Us.”

Steve considers. “You always had a herd of girls around you. Don’t know how she’d have figured this.”

“Ma didn’t worry much about the gals, except that I’d get ‘em in trouble. You know she bought condoms and planted them in my room with a little note about not wanting any grandchildren yet? God, she was a handful.” He grins, and Steve can see Bucky’s ma in his memory, clear as day. She’d been a bright-eyed brunette, scandalously curvy and in possession of what at the time had been referred to as ‘childbearing hips.’ Bucky and his four little sisters had been a testament to the accuracy of that adage.

“It was never the girls, Steve.” Bucky shrugs. “She was worried when we moved in together. Said you were gonna break my heart.”

Steve sits up. “She knew, you think?” Then before Bucky can answer, he adds, “It would have been the other way around, anyway. You were such a cocky little asshole.”

“And you were just an asshole.” Bucky shrugs again. “She never asked if I was queer. Just always said you were a handful, ten pounds of trouble in a five pound bag—and too pretty.”

Steve bristles, and Bucky smiles. “Still are, you know. And still trouble.”

It seems like as good a time as any, so Steve clears his throat. “You want to go to the city with me this weekend? Go to my place?”

Steve expects resistance, but Bucky just nods. “Sure, if you want.”

“And we can have Sam and Natasha over?” Steve tacks on innocently.

Silence.

“Just dinner. Nothing major.” Steve peers up at Bucky, drops a kiss on the soft flab of his lower jaw. “They’re my friends, you know?”

“Ma was right. Nothing but trouble.” He sighs. “Do they know I got fat?”

Steve inhales sharply. There’s the rub. “I mentioned that you had, uh, gained a little,” Steve stumbles.

“Oh, Christ. Trouble,” Bucky repeats. “That’s what you are.”

*

When Saturday night rolls around, Steve’s suddenly nervous. He hadn’t been, up until then. He’d just been HAPPY—happy to have Bucky in his home, as if being somewhere besides Bucky’s little apartment made everything more real. Less temporary. Happy to enjoy the simple pleasure of driving down to the city on a beautiful summer day, Bucky riding shotgun beside him. Happy to enjoy the equally simple, if more licentious, pleasure of watching Bucky heft his bulk into the Navigator and tug the seat belt underneath the huge swell of his belly. Happy to think about whether or not Bucky’s stomach might brush the steering wheel, if he were in the driver’s seat. (Steve thinks yes, it would, and has already decided that he’ll ask Bucky to drive next time they go somewhere. For reasons he can’t fully explain, he very much wants to see Bucky’s belly touch the steering wheel.) Just happy. Period.

Now Steve’s struck with a sudden, gut-wrenching anxiety. He doesn’t spend much time thinking about it, but the world he’s constructed for himself in this new, strange century is a relatively small one. There are the remnants of the Avengers—of whom Sam and Natasha are the most important—and there is Bucky. These people are friends, family, colleagues, lover. They’re everything.

The idea that they might not get along—or that Sam and Natasha might not understand his relationship with Bucky, which is a juggernaut that he himself can’t fully comprehend—is nauseating.

He wonders if Bucky is nervous. If he is, Steve can’t tell. He’s sitting on the couch, flipping through Steve’s two hundred satellite channels, occasionally landing on Telemundo and gazing at the melodrama with apparent interest and linguistic comprehension, and peacefully crunching his way through an enormous platter of nachos. Steve had ordered a ridiculous amount of carryout from the Mexican place down the street, fully intending that Bucky might dig in before company arrived. Which he had.

For a moment, Steve seriously considers calling Sam to cancel and just feeding Bucky the rest of the food intended for four. It’s tempting.

*

“Wow,” Natasha says when she walks in, her pretty lips curved up in an expression of gentle amusement. If she’s shocked—and she must be, Steve figures, because there’s really no way to take in Bucky’s new girth without some degree of shock—she disguises it well.

Bucky, raised a gentleman, rises to his feet from the couch in an oddly graceful motion, considering how awkwardly he has to maneuver around the ample rise of his gut. He smiles at her, the same charming smile he’s been aiming at women his entire life, and then echoes the same “wow” right back at her. It’s a wow that could indicate her appearance—even in vintage Levis and a raggedly cropped t-shirt, Natasha looks stunning—or the unexpectedness of spending an evening in each other’s company without trying to kill one another, or maybe just the absurdity of having doubled in size.

Whatever it is, it makes Natasha grin, and not the pointy grin that’s all teeth and no heart. The real one, wide and warm. Steve feels his heart unclench a tick or two.

He flicks his gaze over to Sam, who’s standing behind Natasha and surveying the scene with his arms crossed over his chest. Belatedly, Steve remembers just how well—or unwell—Sam and Bucky had gotten along the last time they’d all been together.

“A little weight?” he whispers when he pulls Steve in for a one-armed hug.

“A little,” Steve murmurs back without blinking. “Good to see you, man.”

After a few beers, Steve feels himself unwind a bit. Natasha’s perched on the floor, cross-legged and limber, balancing a plate of half-eaten tamales on her knee, saying something to Bucky in Russian. Whatever it is, Bucky breaks into a grin and replies in kind. To Steve’s shock, the interaction ends with Natasha lithely bounding up from the floor and handing her plate over to Bucky, who aims the full wattage of both of his dimples at her before settling in to eat her leftovers.

Steve is shocked.

Sam, apparently, is, too, because he sets down his third beer bottle (which Steve knows from experience is the one that tends to loosen Sam’s lips) and says to Steve, “Is that a thing, then? Everyone that comes into contact with him just hands over their food?”

Steve blushes. He’s been handing Bucky food all night, but he thought he’d been at least marginally more subtle than Nat about it. Perhaps not.

“No,” Bucky says, fixing Sam with a pointed gaze and swallowing an enormous mouthful of food, sort of like a python with a rat. It’s a wonder he doesn’t choke, Steve thinks dazedly. “Usually it’s just Steve. Romanoff’s an old friend.”

Before Steve can process any of that—the way that Bucky’s casually outed him as…well, as a weirdo who clearly overfeeds his already overfed lover, or Bucky’s equally nonchalant reference to his and Natasha’s shared time in the Red Room—Natasha’s laughter bubbles up.

“So Steve does feed you?” She’s smiling at Bucky, looking weirdly approving.

Bucky rattles off another string of Russian, and Steve blushes bright red even though he can’t understand a word.

*

“Well, are you happy?” Bucky asks later, reclining on the sofa and struggling to undo the button of his jeans. They’ve been getting steadily tighter, and he’s full of nachos and tacos and Natasha’s leftover tamales and more nachos and something called an enchilada platter. He hisses in relief when the tabs part and the zipper slides down under the pressure of his gut.

Steve materializes from the kitchen, where he’d been gathering up the empty carryout bags and beer bottles. A platter of brownies is in one hand and a carton of milk in the other. “Yes. Are you?”

Bucky eyes the brownies and milk. “Yes. I’m also really full.” It’s not entirely true—he IS full, but he’s not stuffed. Not packed tight and bloated like he can be, like Steve likes him to be. Little pervert.

Steve is deterred not one iota, and he sets the food on the coffee table and climbs right onto Bucky’s lap, straddling his thighs. “You don’t look that full,” he says, running cool, appraising fingers over Bucky’s belly. He taps his palm on the side of Bucky’s gut, not quite a slap but something more than a caress, and they both watch Bucky’s stomach wobble like jelly.

“No?”

“No.” Steve reaches over and picks up a brownie. “Here.” He doesn’t hesitate, just pushes it between Bucky’s lips, and Bucky marvels a little over just how fucking pushy Steve can be. When they’d started this, just a couple of months back, Steve had practically tripped over himself to apologize every time he’d held something up for Bucky to eat.

“Gonna make me fat,” Bucky mumbles between bites.

“You’re already fat,” Steve says, picking up a third brownie and shoving it gracelessly in Bucky’s mouth.

Fuck, fuck, fuck. On some level, Bucky knows those words should feel bad—should induce guilt, or shame, or something other than an erection that he’s fairly certain could drill diamonds. And they DO make him feel guilty, and ashamed, and dirty-hot-wrong in all the best ways. And it makes him want to do whatever Steve says, makes him want to give Steve free rein to be as bossy as he wants, let him get that commanding little glint in his eye that he always gets when he gives orders—and, Christ, it makes him want to wait until Steve’s absolutely drunk with that power and then suddenly take it back, make Steve beg for it.

Bucky reaches down and palms his gut, squeezes a handful of flab just because he knows Steve likes to see him do it. “It’s your fault,” he says around a mouthful of brownie.

Steve scoffs, grabbing the carton of milk and wordlessly handing it to Bucky, who obediently tips it to his mouth. “You were fat before this started,” Steve says, giving Bucky’s belly a firm shake that makes all that food and milk slosh in his gut, makes him stifle a few burps behind his hand. He hands the carton back to Steve, and Steve sets it aside and holds up another brownie, relentless. “You were fat when you were writing me those letters, Buck,” he continues, and Bucky would smile if his mouth weren’t so full. It’s usually Bucky who runs his mouth when they’re fooling around, but tonight Steve’s in a particularly good mood, feeling his oats. and Bucky’s happy to indulge him.

Steve pushes the rest of the brownie into Bucky’s mouth, and then gently wipes away stray crumbs and frosting—the tenderness of the gesture at odds with how forceful he’s being. “You were writing me those letters, and Jesus Christ, Bucky, they made me ache, made me jerk off over and over, reading them, but I was imagining you all wrong in my head, you know it?” He leans forward, his cock straining at his slacks and pressing into Bucky’s lower belly. He runs his hands across Bucky’s chest, cupping his pecs like they’re breasts, like he’s weighing them in is hands. “Didn’t know you’d have all this,” he says, jiggling Bucky’s tits obscenely. He slides one hand down over the curve of Bucky’s belly, then down his side, squeezing the rolls stacked there. “Or, god, all this.”

He pushes two more brownies past Bucky’s lips in quick succession.

“Well, I didn’t know how to bring it up in a letter,” Bucky says truthfully, when his mouth finally isn’t full.

There’s only one brownie left, and Steve picks it up without hesitating. “’Hey Steve, I got fat’ would have done the trick, baby.”

Bucky inhales. Steve, as a rule, doesn’t use pet names. Bucky does. Steve is honey or sweetheart, darling or baby or good boy—and once, late at night when Steve was splayed open and begging, he’d even been good girl.

This is the first time it’s gone the other direction, and Bucky doesn’t think Steve even notices it, but god, he does, and it takes him apart a little bit. Beautiful, bossy, Steve.

He lets Steve feed him the last brownie, bite by bite.

“It would have ruined the surprise, I’d written it to you,” Bucky finally says, groaning with the effort of swallowing the last piece. “Fuck.”

“You full now?”

“I was full before, punk.” Bucky sighs, letting his eyes flicker shut. “My belly hurts.” It’s just a little confession—and certainly not a surprising one—but it feels weirdly vulnerable.

“You eat too much,” Steve says primly, as if he hasn’t spent the last half an hour shoving desserts down Bucky’s throat. “Here,” he adds, handing the milk carton back to Bucky.

Bucky takes a few half-hearted swallows and then hands it back to Steve. “Too full,” he says. “Afraid I’ll pop.”

“You always say that,” Steve says good-naturedly, climbing smoothly off of Bucky’s thighs and holding his hands out, gesturing for Bucky to get up.

“Ugh, honey, give me a minute,” Bucky says, but Steve just waggles his fingers.

“No, baby.” That endearment again. Christ. Bucky would walk backward into hell for Steve, he’s using that voice. “C’mere. I want you to—do something.”

The little catch in Steve’s voice is suspect, and Bucky opens his eyes, peering up at Steve. “What?”

“C’mon and see.”

Bucky lets Steve tug him up, putting all that superstrength to good use hauling him up and over his belly.

“You look pregnant,” Steve says, tugging Bucky’s t-shirt down where it’s pulled up over his belly button.

“Huh, I think the way we do it most of the time means you’d be the one getting knocked up,” Bucky sasses, waddling down the hall behind Steve.

“I fuck you sometimes,” Steve defends himself, unperturbed. And it’s true, he most certainly does. Sometimes. But mostly by the time they’re done fooling around, it’s Steve that’s begging for Bucky to be inside him, Steve grinding his ass over Bucky’s cock, pretty and slutty and desperate.

Which is just as well. Usually Bucky’s so full by the time they fuck that he has little interest in being jostled that hard. Lying flat on his back and letting Steve ride him like a windup toy is vastly preferable to anything else, most of the time.

In fact, that’s where Bucky expects things to go right now—but instead, Steve tugs him into the bathroom, where a scale has miraculously appeared in the center of the room.

Steve looks expectant and completely proud of himself.

“What makes you think this one goes any higher than mine did?” Bucky asks, weirdly hesitant to climb on the little digital machine. It’s not like he doesn’t know he’s fat—he’s really fucking fat—but he’s not entirely sure he wants to attach a number to it.

“Because I just ordered it, and it goes up to 500,” Steve says.

“Jesus fucking Christ, Stevie, that’s overkill.”

Steve has the decency to blush and duck his head. “I know. It’s just what was available.” He clears his throat, his expression still bossy, still wanting to be in charge. “Let me see, Buck. Do it.”

Well, fuck it. Bucky steps on the scale, the plastic creaking under his feet.

He glances down, as if he’s been able to see past his gut for a year. “Well?”

The flush on Steve’s cheeks is spreading down his throat, creeping down the v-neck of his t-shirt in blotches that mar his pretty, perfect skin. He looks like he might vibrate apart.

“Guess.”

Bucky rolls his eyes. “Over 350.”

Steve swats him on the belly. “You already knew that.”

“The suspense is killing me, honey."

Steve looks up at him, his eyes wide as Bucky’s ever seen them. “384.”

384. He weighs three hundred and eighty-four pounds. “Jesus.” Bucky had known the number would be high. It’s still shocking.

It’s equally shocking how much of a thrill it is, that number echoing through his mind as Steve grasps his belly like a handle, leading him toward the bedroom.

*

“You got so fat,” Steve mumbles, rubbing Bucky’s belly as Bucky sits propped against the headboard, his thighs spread wide. He feels fattest like this, when he’s sitting up and his gut is spilling forward onto his spread legs. Like he’s unbelievably round. Even his ankles look thick, even his wrists are puffy.

Bucky pushes his belly forward even more, into Steve’s hands. “You’re the one cramming brownies down my throat.”

Steve’s fingers clinch, squeezing generous rolls of fat instead of rubbing. “You were already fat, baby. You were fat the day I knocked on your door.”

Bucky nods, a little affirmative, and Steve slides his hands down from Bucky’s gut to his thick thighs—much of which are covered by his gut. “Slide down,” Steve says, delivering a little swat to the side of Bucky’s belly, the way you might tap a horse on its flank to get it to move.

“Too full to move,” Bucky lies. Bucky’s eaten a lot tonight—but he always eats a lot.

“Your belly’s in the way, Buck,” Steve says matter-of-factly, pushing up the hang of Bucky’s gut. “You have to lie back.”

Bucky grumbles, shoving himself down the bed until he’s mostly lying on his back.

“That’s better,” Steve says, gazing at Bucky like he’s the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. Fucking weirdo. Bucky strongly suspects he looks a little like a beached whale—all he can see is his own tummy, rising like dough.

“Do you know how surprised I was when you answered your door?” Steve asks conversationally, sliding over Bucky’s thighs to straddle him.

Bucky quirks his lip. “As surprised as I was when I saw you after the serum?”

Steve looks surprised, like maybe he’s never thought about his own physical transformation in contrast to Bucky’s before. “Maybe,” he allows. “But Christ, Bucky, you were just so wide. You filled up your whole doorway.”

“You exaggerate.”

Steve gives Bucky’s belly a firm slap. “Not much, baby. You were so big.” He leans forward, until his abs are resting against the bloated swell of Bucky’s midsection. “And now you can barely button any of your jeans, and all your shirts ride up over your belly. You’re even fatter.”

Bucky inhales slowly, reminding himself to breathe. “What did you think?” he asks, because he wants the conversation to keep going, because it’s sending white-hot bolts of desire zinging through him. “That first day?”

“I thought you were huge,” Steve mumbles, grinding his cock against Bucky’s gut, squirming against Bucky’s thighs. “I was worried. I was—fuck, I was obsessed. I couldn’t stop looking at you. The way you moved, how you—Christ—waddle a little—god.”

“You wanted to do this?” Bucky prompts again, pulling Steve closer even though it crushes his full belly.

“God, yes.” Steve gazes down at Bucky. “Wanted to be pressed up against you just like this, wondered what all of this”—he palms Bucky’s gut—“would look like."

“What do you want right now?” It’s a leading question, and Bucky already has an idea of where he wants this to go.

Steve, sassy to a fault tonight, grinds his cock against Bucky’s gut one more time and then runs his mouth some more. “I want to ride you,” he says promptly, already bracing his arm under Bucky’s belly and lifting his hips. “Watch your belly bounce every time I move, so big and fat under me, and—“

Bucky loves Steve like this, he really does. He loves seeing him relax, say whatever he wants, boss Bucky around. He also wants, perversely, to put him in his place. Maybe it was the shock of seeing 384 on the scale—or of not seeing it over the swell of his belly, as it were. Maybe it’s that he needs to prove something to himself. Whatever the reasons, Bucky reaches up, grabs Steve by the hips, and flips him.

It’s not, of course, as graceful as it might have been when Bucky was thin. He has to heave himself, a little, to get enough momentum to roll over with his belly in the way—and pulling Steve with him just adds another 200 pounds to the equation. The surprise on Steve’s face, though, is worth the effort—he stops mid-sentence, looking almost comically shocked to suddenly be on his back, underneath Bucky.

Bucky grins, shoving Steve’s thighs apart with his knees and settling between them. It’s not entirely surprising—but still a little disconcerting—that his belly falls into the available space between them. Bucky’s gut rests on Steve’s abs, even though Bucky’s propping himself up, metal arm taking his weight. His belly just spills forward anyway, hangs down and lands on Steve’s midsection like a pillow, pinning him under all that weight.

“You’re so mouthy tonight, honey.”

Steve blinks, and his hips snap a couple of times, like he can’t keep them still.

“Surprised I can still throw you around?” Bucky drawls the words out, watching the effect they have.

“You get out of breath going up the stairs, Buck, and you let me feed you a whole pan of brownies tonight.” He reaches up and gently taps the dome of Bucky’s belly, the only part of his midsection that isn’t squished against Steve’s torso. “I didn’t think you had it in you.”

Bucky leans forward, catches Steve’s lips in a kiss. “Could still pick you up with one hand, Rogers. I just don’t bother much anymore.”

“Because you’re lazy.” Steve says it like it’s a compliment.

“Not lazy tonight,” Bucky counters.

Steve smiles, his lips quirking up against Bucky’s. “Can you fuck me like this?”

“Lift up.”

Steve wriggles underneath him, and for a moment Bucky worries about mechanics, but then Steve slithers up a little on the bed, wrapping his strong legs around Bucky’s hips.

It feels more intense than Bucky expected, when he rocks his hips forward and pushes into Steve. It’s a little rough, maybe—with his sloshy, swollen gut in the way, Bucky can’t finesse it as much as he might have otherwise—but Steve groans, clutching Bucky like a lifeline, and Bucky shoves himself in to the hilt, gasping at the sensation of being in Steve, on Steve, covering Steve. It’s almost too much.

“God, Bucky, god, god, god,” Steve pants, beautiful and desperate, and Bucky rocks gently for a few moments, letting Steve relax under him. Then he pulls back in a slow slide and shoves forward again, again, again, a heavy thudding rhythm that probably shouldn’t feel as good as it does.

It feels filthy, fucking Steve hard like this, feeling his own gut pinning Steve to the mattress, and it’s embarrassing how quickly Bucky can feel the tendrils of an orgasm shivering up his spine.

Before he can worry about it—before he can start reciting baseball statistics in his head to distract himself—Steve moans, whiny and undone, clutching at him. “Bucky, Bucky, Bucky, I—I’m—oh, god—”

“Come, sweetheart,” Bucky says, recognizing that for whatever reason, Steve seems to need permission.

Steve gasps obediently and promptly obeys, clenching around Bucky, grinding his cock up into Bucky’s gut. It’s that feeling—Steve’s dick pushing against his belly—that pushes Bucky over the edge.

He’s still feeling the aftershocks of his orgasm when he quits bothering to support his weight, letting himself slump forward onto Steve’s perfectly chiseled chest to catch his breath.

Seconds or minutes or hours pass and then Steve’s whispering in his ear. “384 pounds is awfully heavy to be laying on someone.”

Bucky snorts. “You’re so mouthy.”

“And you’re so big,” Steve says emphatically, pushing at Bucky’s shoulders until Bucky finally flops over onto his side, his belly still spilling onto Steve.

“Do you mind?” The question comes to his lips casually, but after he says it, he holds his breath. He knows, on one hand, that Steve likes what they’re doing. It’s hard not to notice when your lover pushes brownies into your face and practically comes untouched at the sight of you stepping on a scale. But still. There’s desire and then there’s reality.

Steve turns to face him, wriggling up against him like a Labrador puppy, squishing Bucky’s belly between them. “God, no.” He searches Bucky’s face for a moment, and Bucky wonders if he finds what he’s looking for. “Do you mind that I…don’t mind?”

Bucky laughs. They’re still not quite saying what they mean. Maybe Steve was right, when he wrote that letter about how their generation doesn’t know how to talk. “No,” he says. And he hopes it's enough, the things they do manage to say.

*

“I love you,” Steve mumbles into his chest later, when Bucky’s nearly asleep.

It surprises him, when he realizes they’ve never said it before—not since before the war. Not since all of this happened.

And it doesn’t surprise him, in the least, that it’s Steve who’s brave enough to say it again.

“Love you too,” he says, his voice barely a whisper in the dark.