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breathe a sigh or two

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They finish up with Live Free or Die Hard at around quarter to midnight. It's both the most ludicrously unrealistic and at the same time somehow the most satisfying of the lot. Not least because the Daddy? Now there are only five of them moment should probably go down in the history of brilliant cinematic Fuck Yous and if Steve ever had managed to have any kids, the girls would absolutely have been like that.

The kitten protests when Bucky moves to get up, and so does his neck and the side of his back. He winces, and rubs at the side of his neck with his left hand.

Inside his head feels less like sandpaper, or maybe he doesn't care as much about the sandpaper. The kitten crawls up on his shoulder and complains about . . . everything, presumably, who the fuck even knows what she's upset about right now. She bumps her head against his chin, and he sighs and rubs his right finger and thumb behind her ears.

That's where things stall out a second. His whole consciousness doesn't feel like it's trying to stab him, but there's nothing else to push him forward. Or backwards. Or anywhere.

Then Steve's stood up, and is offering a hand up that Bucky doesn't need and takes anyway, takes and lets Steve pull him to his feet. The kitten bleats and digs her claws into his shirt to stay on, and then bleats again in more emphatic protest when Steve scoops her up from Bucky's shoulder and puts her on the back of the arm-chair.

"Yeah, you'll live," Steve tells her, petting her a couple times.

It's still Christmas, and Bucky still doesn't give a fuck, and he still feels like he should.

Then Steve rests his hand on the back of Bucky's head, and Bucky rests his forehead against Steve's, and Steve says, "Christ was probably born in May anyway, Buck, so who cares?"

And the only thing Bucky's got is a kind of helpless, hysterical laughter, but it's not enough of it to actually . . . go anywhere. He manages to say, "Jesus Christ, Steve," and Steve just says, "Yeah that guy," in a solemn and innocent voice.

Then he kisses Bucky's forehead and they stay there and fuck maybe he should just fucking drop dead now, he might not have to take so much fucking extra shit with him to Hell. He doesn't say it aloud, because then he'll have another fucking not-an-argument with Steve about whether or not he's going to Hell and he doesn't really fucking care enough to want the fucking bother.

The idiot kitten takes the moment to leap from the couch to his arm and Steve laughs. Bucky sighs, boosts her up to his shoulder. "Romanova made it all the way into the sanctuary without bursting into flame?" he asks, because otherwise he's just going to fucking stand here forever like a fucking idiot trying to leech some kind of life back into himself. Or some stupid shit like that.

"She claims she actually enjoyed it," Steve says. "And Clara was right, not a bad service."

"I told you you should fucking go," Bucky tells him.

"Yeah and you continue your obnoxious habit of being right," Steve replies. "I figure you'll get bored eventually."

"Hasn't fucking happened yet," Bucky retorts. Realizes as he says it that his hand's gone to rest on Steve's forearm.

Steve's fingers move in his hair, and Steve says, "Thank fucking Christ," and Bucky can't answer because his throat closes up.

Then the stupid kitten mews and smushes her face into his chin.