Chapter 1: Is this a meet-ugly?
Bucky wasn’t sure he was pleased to be in the New York offices of Stark Architecture International or not. Stark was well-known to be an asshole to work with: a mad-genius visionary who tended to scrap his first three ideas way too late into building the project before somehow managing to create art.
Bucky didn’t give a fucking shit about art.
He cared about working with someone who was a dick to the people actually on the ground doing the work. He cared about the hassle of contracts, unions, overtime, and hazard pay that went into construction, and how it could be impacted by a man like Stark. He cared about his company, not the kind of modern atrocities Stark came up with.
He also cared about getting paid, and it was definitely a lucrative contract, rumors about Stark be dammed. And hell, if the quality of the pastries set out for the people attending the meeting were anything to go by, it would be a pay day.
He was staring at the danish in his hand, wondering if eating it would ruin his supper; he could always go to the gym later, but that didn’t really seem like the best compromise. Would the pastry even be worth it? Bucky looked up from this thought to make sure that he was still early enough that no one was sitting around the meeting room table yet. He didn’t want to be the last one in because he was contemplating having a snack.
No one yet. Bucky was still the awkward loner who was vaguely worried he was in the wrong spot despite the nice administrative assistant who walked him right to the door and promised him the meeting would be starting momentarily.
He started to shuffle aside so he could take out his phone and pretend he was answering important emails instead of checking his Facebook. No one would really be fooled, but it was a generally accepted ploy with professionals these days. Having a business page on Facebook: 75% to promote your business, 25% so you could have a reason to check your Facebook 3 times an hour even if there weren’t notifications.
Bucky took 2 steps to his left, already intent on reading a message from Clint, when he almost physically ran into someone also checking their phone as they walked into the corridor. Bucky looked up, knowing that he was about to meet someone who he’d be working with for the foreseeable future, a smile ready on his face –
“Oh. Hey,” Bucky blurted out in surprise, coming face to face with Steve Whats-his-face, the guy he had sex with once upon a few years ago in the bathroom of a small club in Brooklyn. It was one of the few times in his life he’d gone for the one night stand – or, the quick and dirty bathroom fuck, as it turned out being - and seeing Steve again reminded him exactly why he’d ended up with his pants around his thighs and a dick up his ass in a small enclosed space where touching the walls was probably more dangerous to his health than the actual sex was.
“Hi,” Steve answered, quirking an eyebrow at him with curiosity, lowering his phone so he could take Bucky in.
Oh. Bucky didn’t know that eyebrow quirk personally, but he could guess. Was it a faux-pas to acknowledge someone you fucked in a bathroom? Probably. Was that more or less of a faux-pas to do it right before the first project meeting for a planned sky scraper they were probably both working on? “We had sex once,” Bucky clarified and then winced internally.
Bucky: making awkward situations less awkward. In retrospect Steve was probably waiting for Bucky to introduce himself. Whelp. That ship had sailed.
“Oh,” Steve responded, actually smiling at that. “Well. Yes, that’s likely.”
“Likely?” he ended up echoing, even though his brain told him to shut up.
Steve looked him over. Bucky would think he was being checked out if: 1. He hadn’t been on the other end of Steve’s assessing gaze before, and it had led to sex in a bathroom; and 2. If Steve’s expression had been flirty rather than thoughtful. “It’s very likely.”
“Thank you?” Bucky asked. Likely did not mean the same thing as 'oh yeah we did'. Likely meant that Steve had no idea when he’d fucked Bucky in a toilet stall. Ouch. And yet at the same time it somehow made things less awkward, and he ended up laughing. “It’s ok, I get it. It wasn’t that good. Let’s just forget I acknowledged knowing you and we can move on.” He made a gesture towards the meeting room. After you. Please. Let’s leave this place behind us.
Steve shrugged. “Usually the faces that stick are the ones my brain has labelled NEVER AGAIN. Do you remember everyone you’ve had sex with?”
Bucky opened his mouth. Then he closed his mouth with a wince. At least he wasn’t the only one who was making things awkward.
“You do,” Steve filled in Bucky’s silence.
“I don’t really, uh…” oh god, just shoot him. Bucky was making this so much worse than it had to be. “Have sex with a lot of people I’m not dating or planning to date. It’s my thing.”
The eyebrow quirk was back and this time it looked concerned as Steve gestured between them. “You didn’t think we were going to… Because if so, I’m sorry. I do my best to be clear, but I’ve been told I’m not always successful.”
“No,” Bucky answered quickly to reassure both of them. “We fucked in a bathroom. I knew exactly what it was.” It wasn’t the best sex he ever had, fortunately (for his pride, at least), but it was unforgettable for him. In a filthy kind of way. He was really trying not to be bothered by the idea he was the only one who remembered it. He could have gone the rest of his life not knowing and being secretly proud of the fact he had a one night stand with a devastatingly hot man once.
And Steve? Just as devastatingly hot as Bucky remembered.
He should be proud. Wow.
Something about what Bucky said made realization dawn on Steve’s face. “Oh! Yeah… Brooklyn. Summer of 2012. Shake Shack.”
Bucky pursed his lips together awkwardly. This was worse. This was 100% worse. "Uh..."
“No?” Steve asked. Then he shrugged. “It’s probably better that it wasn’t.”
“You fucked someone in a Shake Shack bathroom? I was going to say I’m impressed, but I think I’m the opposite.” He ended up moderating his tone low, almost intimate, as a few people walked by and acknowledged Steve.
“I wasn’t that impressed either,” Steve answered with a rueful grin. "Oh, well it looks like the meeting is about to start. This was a lot more of an entertaining coffee break than I thought it would be. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Bucky found himself saying.
"Would you like to go for drinks once we're done here? I'm curious about what exactly it is I've forgotten." Steve raised his eyebrows in question without a hint of filth or innuendo to his tone.
Bucky blinked at him. "Smooth," he assessed.
"Yeah," Steve grinned.
"I've been working on nothing but this project for a month. It's starting to wear at me. Think about it!" Steve said, walking backwards into the board room. Bucky was left holding a pastry he hadn't even started to eat and he was definitely thinking about it.
“You offered to get drinks,” Bucky said, stalking up to stand at Steve’s elbow at the elevators. He was feeling residual anger for the way Steve’s supervisor had addressed him, and the idea of drinks and sex with Steve had gone from a temptation that he could probably resist to necessary.
Fuck Stark anyway. Bucky knew what renewable energy was, he didn’t need it explained in a flawed analogy using a pen and a laser pointer, and yet when he’d pointed out the flaw to Stark, he’d gotten a look like he was too stupid to exist.
Steve looked at his face. “Would this be a hate fuck?” he questioned.
So at least Bucky hadn’t been the only one who noticed. “Oh, I’d be real gentle with you, if that’s what you wanted. You’d remember it this time.” There was anger to his tone that he couldn’t really get rid of, even though Steve hadn’t done anything to cause it directly. Then he winced and closed his eyes, counting to three to rein in whatever part of his temper had him focusing that negativity on Steve.
“I think you could use the drink,” Steve said, his hand resting on Bucky’s elbow in a way that wasn’t a demand or a way to force him into moving. It was a show of support from someone Bucky didn’t know very well but had enjoyed talking to earlier. “Or some company to get you out of your own head.”
He deflated, relaxing just the slightest amount. “Yeah,” he said, pressing his fingers against his eye sockets. “Yeah, I could. Sorry.”
“There we go,” Steve said, smiling. “We’ll get a drink and let you have a breather, and then we’ll look at how to spend the rest of the night. Believe me, I know. Like I said, I’ve been on this project non-stop for a month.”
Bucky sighed deeply, and suddenly all he wanted was to go home and sleep for twelve hours. He thought about how long a project like this would take to complete. Projections were looking at eighteen months to three years, and it was Bucky’s first priority to narrow down that estimate. He’d aim for sixteen months just to get away from Stark if he thought the workers could handle the strain, but Bucky would always put them first and so it was looking like it would be a long two years (plus).
“The way I see it is we have two choices right now,” Steve said, sitting on the barstool in a way that made him seem shorter than he was with his legs hooked around the chair legs and a slouch to his posture. “A drink or two, just enough to take off the edge from the meeting, and then relaxing sex in a sensible place like a bed or a couch. Or we get blindly drunk and fuck in a bathroom again if both of us can get it up and still want to.”
Bucky scoffed. “Buddy, I’m not 20 anymore. That sounds like a surefire way to make work suck tomorrow. I have deliverables.”
“That is true,” Steve agreed, signaling to the bartender. “One drink, and those aren’t famous last words.”
Bucky rolled his eyes, but leaned back and observed Steve. His recollection of Steve from that night was both hazy and clear enough that Bucky had known him instantly. The bar they were in wasn’t as dimly lit as the club they’d met in, or with the harsh lights of the bathroom they’d ended up fucking in. Steve’s eyes were blue and kind, easily amused.
Steve let him look. He didn’t seem bashful or self-conscious. He also didn’t seem to be smug or cocky at being checked out. Bucky was completely aware that Steve was taking the time to look at him back, and he wasn’t sure that his face didn’t show each and every one of those things.
“I have it now,” Steve said, taking the first drink of his beer once it was placed in front of him. “Public library, February 2014. You fucked me against the sink.”
Bucky’s eyes went a little wide. “A library? Really? That’s… I think I actually am impressed this time.”
Steve just smiled at him, a little proud and self-satisfied around the edges. Bucky didn’t blame him.
“No,” Bucky continued. “Not even close to being me. Not a library. Not 2014. And I wasn’t the one doing the fucking.”
“Hmmm,” Steve responded, his eyes dropping to Bucky’s lap. That I-don’t-remember-but-I’m-assessing-you-again expression was back, and it didn’t look like Steve was liking what he was seeing this time. “I suppose I can work with that.”
“I’m going to regret asking this,” Bucky said in response. “But work with what?”
“There are 2 reasons I fuck a guy instead of the other way around: 1. Because he looks like he needs it more than I do, and 2. Because –“
“Yeah, I got it.”
“ – He’s got a tiny dick.”
Bucky nodded, not sure if he was amused, insulted, or a little into Steve’s level of pragmatism. “Yeah. I’d just broken up with my second girlfriend in two years and was really missing getting fucked, so hopefully I’m in the first category, but I don’t expect you to believe me until you see it. Who knows?” Bucky shrugged. “I don’t know what your definition of tiny is. You seem like the type who appreciates size.”
“See, we’re getting to know each other.” Steve lifted his glass to tap against Bucky’s. “I know you’re into girls and you know I like big dicks.”
“I’m openly into guys, too,” Bucky pointed out. “For clarification.”
“For clarification I like medium sized dicks too.”
Bucky snorted, laughing around a mouthful of beer he was desperately trying not to spit out or choke on.
“I got you on that one,” Steve said, smiling widely at Bucky’s dilemma. “You should swallow.”
If anything, that made it worse, and from the delighted way Steve was watching him, Bucky could tell that was the point. Finally, he managed to get the drink down, wrinkling his nose at the way his sinuses were burning and making a valiant – yet failing – attempt not to cough. “I haven’t needed to be prompted to do that one since I was a teenager.”
“You and I are going to get along fantastically,” Steve predicted.
Bucky looked at him and considered how the shape of that would go. Steve seemed like the type of person Bucky might enjoy being friends with. Steve seemed easy going about a lot of things, but with a backbone that Bucky could appreciate. “I’ve been told that my way of dating either leads to a relationship or a lasting friendship,” Bucky said, putting a finger up to stop Steve from responding yet. “I don’t see why we can’t fuck our way into being friends. Or – you know, not friends.”
“Not friends,” Steve said slowly.
“I mean we don’t have to come out the other side of this as meaning anything to each other. I’m not implying more than friends. You’ve hinted that you’re not the more-than-friends type.”
“I’ll find that with someone someday,” Steve answered with a frown. “I enjoy having sex but I don’t deny that love exists or that I want to find someone to share it with. I just don’t think I have to be celibate while doing it.”
“I didn’t mean…”
“You did mean, and I understand why. You were reassuring me that you wouldn’t get attached, which is a valid response for you to have, but it’s just as valid for me not to appreciate the implication I’m not someone to get attached to. Someday I’ll click with someone and know, but for right now there’s you and me and whether or not we’re heading towards sex tonight.”
Bucky hesitated. He was feeling a lot more relaxed now that he was half a beer in, and less like he needed physical activity with another person in order to work off the residual anger Stark had left him with.
But then… Steve.
"I won’t try to convince you," Steve told him. "Not aggressively. I would like it if we went back to your place tonight to fuck. It’s been a long week, and I’m interested in finding out if your mouth can do the type of things it looks like it can do. If you genuinely don't want to, or if this feels too much like a date for you to be able to spend the next two years sitting through monthly meetings with me, then we can walk away right now."
“I think I can manage for it to be less than a two,” Bucky pointed out, his mouth curling around the lip of his drink as he looked at Steve being all earnest about giving Bucky a way out. The word no was in Bucky’s vocabulary.
“Don’t,” Steve argued. “Pad in extra time. Stark will change his mind on everything at the last minute.”
“I had heard rumors about that.”
“Every one of them is understatement. Have I scared you off yet?”
It felt like he wasn’t talking about Stark or work. There was an unspoken dare in the tilt of his head or the slant of his eyes that spoke to Bucky on a base level.
"Let me kiss you before making a decision?" Bucky requested. "I'm not concerned with this feeling like a date, I can differentiate between the two, but last time we fucked I was looking to cut loose and make a bad decision and this time it would be for a different kind of fun. My requirements aren’t the same."
"Oh, absolutely," Steve agreed, his eyes on Bucky's mouth. Bucky wasn't entirely sure if Steve was agreeing with Bucky’s assessment of the situation or to the kiss, but he swayed into Steve's space anyway. He realized as he brushed his mouth against Steve’s that he’d been wondering about this all night. That time three years ago had been an adrenaline high of daring and the fast-paced press of bodies together in an enclosed space. Could Steve kiss him at a leisurely pace, one that was a precursor to a possibility rather than a sure bet?
In other words: could Steve even kiss when it wasn’t leading up to a dirty bathroom fuck with clothing still mostly on?
Bucky didn’t actually remember kissing Steve before, not in detail. He didn’t remember the slide of Steve’s bottom lip against his or the way Steve sighed into Bucky’s favourite move with his hand cradled against the nape of Steve’s neck. He liked that Steve was a playful kisser, easily letting Bucky continue to explore, seeking out whether or not kissing Steve made Bucky want more, capturing his interest in a different way than the pull of Steve’s body from across a bar had.
Bucky was breathing heavily once he pulled away, and he couldn’t help but watch Steve for his reaction. He enjoyed the way Steve’s eyes followed Bucky’s tongue as he licked his lips. It was flattering. “Yeah,” he said, leaning in to press a quick kiss against the corner of Steve’s reddened mouth. “Yeah.”
Steve hand moved from Bucky’s neck to his cheek, his thumb pressing against Bucky’s bottom lip. “Oh,” he said, pleased. “Even if your dick is tiny, we’re going to have fun.”
And Bucky laughed.
“This is me,” Bucky said, unlocking the door to his apartment. He wondered what the building looked like to an architect. It was probably an eyesore, so nondescript it was painful, but Bucky wasn’t looking for aesthetics in his housing, he was looking for practical, well-built, and spacious. The tiny size of some of the apartments in Manhattan made him itchy, and Brooklyn was starting to be the same. He wasn’t living in a tenement from 1920.
Steve took it in as Bucky hung up their coats. “I like the layout,” he said, his eyes lingering on exposed brick and the industrial look Bucky had cultivated. “You have an eye for details.”
Ok, maybe he was going for aesthetics. Just a little.
“Thanks,” Bucky said, and smiled because the only way to take that was as a compliment. He hooked his fingers into the belt loops of Steve’s pants, leaning his body into Steve’s space. “Would you like something to drink or a quick tour on the way to the bedroom.”
The corner of Steve’s eyes crinkled in amusement as they swayed together, Bucky moving in for a kiss.
“How quickly can you make the tour?” Steve questioned, his hand trailing down Bucky’s arm. Bucky let their fingers tangle together as he tugged Steve through his living room.
“Ten cent tour: Couch. Kitchen. Bathroom,” he said, continuing to lead a very willing Steve deeper into his apartment. “Bedroom.”
“Where does that door lead?” Steve questioned, pointing to the closet as Bucky moved into the bedroom. “I don’t think I got my money’s worth.”
Bucky paused to stare at him for a moment, taking Steve in from his blond hair, past the obviousness of his trim waist, down to his toes. He felt a bit startled faced with that level of perfect, arousing sass in a package that Bucky had to be dared into approaching the first time. It was like his usual type of guy was mixed with his jerk-off fantasy into one person, and that person was Steve.
Steve’s mouth turned up at his own joke, and the spell was broken because damn, that was cute. Bucky couldn’t put someone into a box of ‘sexy’ when they smiled at their own silly jokes. “I don’t think I owe you more than that for ten cents. Give me a quarter and I’ll show you around my bedroom.”
“Now I think you’re selling yourself short.”
Bucky laughed out loud, pulling Steve in through the doorway. He ignored the fact that his bed was unmade and there were three used coffee mugs on his nightstand because he had an awful habit of only remembering about them when he was about to put the dishwasher on. His bedroom looked lived in and like the bedroom of a man who was used to being the only person inhabited his own space. There wasn’t anything he could do about that or any shame in it.
It was exactly who Bucky was.
They kissed as their feet stumbled over the threshold, Bucky getting a good handful of Steve’s shirt as he went, pulling it over his head and taking a moment to appreciate the view. The last time he’d only managed to ruck Steve’s shirt up far enough to get the impression of his taut abdomen muscles and his chest, the body of someone athletic who made the effort to be impressive. It was a shame, then, that bathroom sex wasn’t the type of sex that led to being able to just look.
Steve smiled as Bucky was looking at him, in a patient and pleased sort of way that told Bucky that Steve sometimes liked to be appreciated. “Now you,” Steve said, tugging at the hem of Bucky’s shirt.
Bucky peeled it over his head and tossed it in the direction of his laundry basket, not giving Steve any grace period before Bucky trailed his hand down his stomach and unfastened his pants, pushing them down so that they pooled at his ankles and he was completely naked.
Bucky was also someone who liked to be appreciated, sometimes.
Steve’s eyes scanned down his body, pausing at Bucky’s cock. He made a thoughtful face, all raised eyebrows and downturned mouth with a small nod at the end. Bucky didn’t even know what that meant.
“Good enough,” Steve explained, his hand curling around Bucky’s dick and giving it a slow tug. “You can disappoint me in other ways.”
“You have thoroughly won me over with your charm and sensitivity,” Bucky retorted, leaning into the quickening press of Steve’s hand. He could feel Steve smile at that, mouth pressed against Bucky’s shoulder before he moved in for a kiss as Bucky took the opportunity of their closeness to open Steve’s pants.
When they fucked in the bathroom, Bucky could remember the bite of Steve’s jeans against the back of his thighs and the curve of his ass, and he considered what Steve’s slacks would feel like. The softer material would take longer to chafe, but probably would slide down Steve’s thighs easier, until they were both tripping over the material pooled at his ankles.
It was a thought. One to explore some other time.
“Come here,” Bucky said, hand curled around Steve’s wrist as he led him back towards the bed, pushing him so he landed on the tangle of Bucky’s bedsheets. Steve made a face and started pulling the bunched-up comforter out from under his back as Bucky searched his nightstand for lube and condoms. The lube was easy to find, tucked up against the corner of the drawer where he kept it for easy access, but the condoms had migrated to beneath the book he started reading in January, the owner’s manual for his sound system, and a box of Kleenex.
Steve had finally settled into a comfortable position and was watching as Bucky threw each one of those items on the floor. “I have one in my wallet,” he offered. “Usually I carry more than that, but you caught me at work. I don’t usually – or ever, actually – pull from that pool.”
“No, I just bought a box in November, it’s just a matter of... aha!” Bucky crowed, pulling it out. The box was a bit smooshed from the weight of the book being on top of it, but the condoms were fine.
“Expiry date?” Steve questioned, reaching for the box.
“Next year,” Bucky read, but tossed it to him so he could read it for himself. “Definitely safer than a wallet condom. If I couldn’t find these, we would have been sticking to handjobs.”
“Well, I do switch it out every week if I haven’t used it doesn’t have time to degrade from friction, but I appreciate that you take responsibility for your own safety. I like that in a person.”
It had seemed a lot simpler in the bathroom stall. He’d gone with Steve pulling a business card holder out of his pocket – hadn’t really thought beyond ‘yep that’s a condom’.
“My mom’s a nurse,” Steve supplied, taking one out of the box. “She’d murder me if I tested positive for something from my own negligence. She’d be able to see the truth on my face.” He looked up at Bucky with consideration. “If I haven’t completely killed the mood, why don’t you bring that bottle of lube over here?”
“Why would you kill the mood?” Bucky questioned, sliding a hand up Steve’s thigh. His skin was warm and touching him reminded Bucky of how long it had been since he touched someone with purpose. He never noticed he was touch-starved until the sensation of it felt like it’s own little thrill. “If I can’t accept condom talk, I probably shouldn’t be having sex.”
“We’re definitely going to get along,” Steve told him, spreading his legs encouragingly. They were so close that Bucky could feel the movement beneath his hands more than he could see it, and he almost lost his balance from where his hand was braced on Steve’s thigh. It seemed to be the effect Steve was going for because his steadying hand ran up Bucky’s side with emphasis. “But only if you start with the foreplay in the next thirty seconds.”
Bucky pulled back to pour some lube over his fingers, and no matter how practiced he was at the motion from a lifetime of use, it always seemed like too much or too little came out. It was cool and slick between his fingers as he observed Steve carefully and knelt beside the bed so he was closer to being on eye level to the way Steve was inviting his touch. Bucky took the time to pay attention to Steve’s dick, awkwardly holding his sticky hand close to himself as he mouthed over the tip, tasting latex and lube until Steve started making an effort in controlling his breathing, his arm tucked under his head as he watched Bucky.
Bucky was gentle but firm with his finger as he drew it down the line of Steve’s cock, over his balls and back towards his ass, circling and pressing until Steve’s body welcomed him in. There was always a moment no matter how many times he fingered someone that Bucky wondered at the marvel of the human body and the capacity to take a dick.
Steve smiled at him as he explored, which was even more encouraging than his body language had been. He looked like he knew what he wanted and what he could expect. It might be a common sort of trust, but if there was ever a time you were vulnerable, it was when you were having sex with someone you hardly knew. Bucky had never been good at hiding that frisson of anxiety.
All the tension seemed to drain from Steve’s body as Bucky inserted a second finger, and he separated them a little, exerting pressure against the walls of Steve’s hole while he moved his hand in and out. He paused to use more lube and then kept going, watching Steve’s face and keeping his left hand slowly moving over Steve’s dick to keep him lowkey aroused and interested in what they were doing.
Bucky had something to prove, after all.
“I’m ok for it,” Steve told him. “Keep doing this as long as you want, I like it, but I’m ready when you’re ready to fuck me.”
Bucky almost rolled his eyes and kept moving his fingers, sliding them in and out of Steve until he groaned and his thighs relaxed, going pliant and needy beneath him.
“There’s no rush,” Steve promised, looking at Bucky from beneath half-closed eyelids. It was a flirty expression that went with his red, teeth-bitten lips. “Whenever,” he breathed, the word hitching on the R as Bucky deliberately pressed his fingers up into Steve’s prostate. “Take your time,” was such a total lie. Steve was desperate for Bucky to put the condom on and fuck him.
It was heady.
“Maybe sometime I’ll string you along like this for up to an hour,” Bucky said, leaning close so he could say the words in Steve’s ear, knowing how effective a whispered confession felt when you were already writhing. “Maybe longer. But we’ll plan it ahead of time so you can really anticipate it as the main event.”
“Fuck,” Steve breathed, looking amused and winded, flushed and pretty as a bead of sweat ran down from the hair at his temple. Bucky used the shift in Steve’s attention as the opportunity to put the condom on, his own dick painfully aroused and anticipating sliding easily into the man laid out in front of him. Steve shifted, stretching his legs so he could accommodate Bucky settling between them.
Bucky slowly guided his cock into Steve, one hand braced on the mattress at Steve’s waist and the other moving from his cock to Steve's hip once he was lined up. He leaned forward, his nose bumping against Steve’s as his mouth sought out a kiss. Steve reacted to it, his eyes closed and his chin tilted back as he breathed.
“Yeah,” he said, shifting the tilt of his hips slightly as encouragement. Bucky took the word as more than encouragement, it was also agreement that Steve was ready and into it and wanting.
It was easy to give Steve what he wanted because it was what Bucky needed in that moment as well. He moved smoothly, aware of his body’s movements and how they would feel for Steve, at first aiming to take Steve apart and then each thrust became a little more erratic as his goals became more and more selfish, urged on by the mounting pleasured pressure of his own orgasm. Steve wasn’t helping by the way he was moving, using his thighs curled around Bucky’s waist for leverage to move into each thrust.
They stopped talking and just focused on feeling.
Bucky tried to control his breathing, his eyes almost crossing with the effort not to come before Steve did. It was definitely a competition at this point. He’d spent all that time fingering Steve, there was no way he wasn’t more on edge than Bucky was, especially since his hand was moving up and down his own dick. Bucky tangling their hands together to help spread some of the lube still tacky between his fingers.
Finally, Steve’s back arched in a way that would probably be seared into Bucky’s brain for years, as he came and whined, a high pitched sound of pleasure.
He’d probably remember that for years, too. As a reminder that Steve wasn’t perfect at everything.
And that was it. Bucky was gone.
“Not bad,” Steve decided, panting as he stared at the ceiling. “You’re pretty-ok at this.”
“Fuck off,” Bucky answered, laughing and throwing his arm over his eyes. Everything seemed bright, his skin sensitive and sharp as he resisted rolling into Steve. This wasn’t that kind of fuck but being in his own bed was throwing him off. He fought for his head to clear, leaning up on his elbow and opening his eyes. “I’ve had better than you too, you know.”
“I hope so,” Steve agreed. “But, you know, you’re solidly ok at this.”
“I’ll put that on my resume,” Bucky said in a dry tone, sitting up entirely so his sweaty skin was exposed to the cool air of his bedroom. “Competency at sex: solidly ok.”
Steve snorted and then sat up, leaning over to grab his underwear from the floor. "Thanks, it was good stress release."
Bucky smirked at him. "I'm sure you're not hard up for stress release, but you're right about us being forced together for the foreseeable future. So, any time."
"I'll think about it," Steve answered, pulling on his shirt. The material clung to his damp skin in places. It emphasized the way his skin was stilled flushed and his hair was damp and bedraggled, a sex-mussed mess that made it seem like anyone who looked at him would know how he’d spent the last hour.
"I'll let you out." Bucky rolled to his feet, feeling that post-orgasmic languidness to his limbs as Steve continued dressing. Bucky didn't bother putting anything on, just leaned against his dresser and watched Steve put his pants back on, watching for a quality to his movements that said he was freshly fucked with a sense of pride.
Steve looked at him and seemed to know the direction of Bucky’s thoughts, giving him that sly, knowing look as he finished dressing, his eyes roved from Bucky's face down to his dick. "How about next week?"
"That's the most flattering thing you've said to me yet," Bucky responded. Then he shrugged because why not? "Sure, may as well."
Chapter 2: Filler and sex
Barnes Brooklyn Contracting was more than just a family business. His grandfather had started the company more than sixty years before with a dream and a stubborn streak wider than the Hudson. Bucky’s mother hadn’t just dragged the company kicking and screaming into the digital age, she’d also been charming and ruthless and a fantastic negotiator. Bucky, as the affable and athletic eldest child, had been expected to take after his father and work on-site with his hands.
Then, his parents had gone on a cruise for their twenty-fifth anniversary and left Bucky in charge of the office because he’d been familiar with a majority of the accounts at the time, and he’d really enjoyed the business side of things more than anyone in the Barnes family would have expected from him. So he transitioned into working with his mother, got a college degree, and used his amicability as a tool.
It helped that he looked damned good in a button up and a pair of fitted slacks. When you had legs like Bucky did, you used them to advantage.
Bucky wasn’t particularly ruthless but he was good at making people feel relaxed enough to think the things Bucky wanted were their ideas. His mother liked to say that Bucky drew them in with a charming smile, made them complacent with an outgoing but pleasant demeanor, and then sharpshooted right past their defenses.
As it was, Barnes Brooklyn Contracting had gone from being a family business to being a Brooklyn-based contracting firm. There was a distinction, and that distinction was in starting to win contracts like Stark’s.
And that was Bucky’s current problem. Not all members of the Barnes family embraced change. But all of them were equal owners in the company. That was what led him to sitting outside on a cool spring evening getting sawdust and dirt all over his pretty fitted slacks and watching his sister build something she probably had no use for.
“I don’t know,” Becca told him as she hammered another nail into the shelf design she was building from the poorly explained Pinterest tutorial Bucky occasionally read instructions to her from. They were on one of the lots after the work day was over, a cooler of beer at Bucky’s feet. Technically they probably shouldn’t be, but no one had ever been able to say no Becca when she was holding a hammer. Up to and including the site foreman. “I could probably sell it? I mean. Mom and dad have the space in their garage for a workshop if we moved out grandpa’s old stuff.”
“Do you wanna?” Bucky asked, taking a swig of his beer. “Hobbies don’t have to make money.”
“Yeah, but I could. You know? Barnes Brooklyn Designs. Mostly my stuff, but there’d be room for some of those industrial things you do. People eat this shit up.” She looked up at him, sawdust on her hands and glitter on her shirt. “If I did well I could get a storefront.”
“Hell,” Bucky said, and found himself getting strangely into the idea. “We’re going to have to expand out of the offices soon anyway. You might have a storefront.”
“Yeah?” she asked, pausing to wipe at her brow and wave to one of the crew leaders coming out of the trailer at the end of day. She took a drink of her beer and squinted at him. “I want those damn light installations you did for dad and he thought were too fancy for a contracting business, then.”
So this was a negotiation. Bucky could work with that.
Bucky had downsized the lights to fit his own apartment and had scrapped the rest, but he was warmed by the idea even if the icy chill still in the air made him regret not wearing gloves. Barnes were made from sterner stuff than wearing gloves in early May. “I make you whatever you want. We’ll put some twinkle lights around them.”
“That’ll drive dad insane,” Becca said in a smug tone as she dusted off her hands. “If it was up to him the Barnes family would still be operating like it did in the 60s and we’d probably have gone under more than a decade ago. We all know it. When you make the pitch to expand we’ll back you.”
“We’ve already expanded,” Bucky explained, shutting the cooler and unlocking the storage space beneath the trailer so they could stow their stuff in it for the night. Bucky would return in the morning to pick everything up in the company truck. “He’ll just never see it. It was better that way.”
“Not when it holds us back,” she pointed out, an agreement to his unspoken issue. “Talk to mom. And plan me something spectacular,” she said with arms wide. “Something focal, but that compliments the merchandise instead of detracting from it.”
“I signed up for a college course on how to run a small business. Just the one for now. I’m serious about this. And I want the storefront if and when it comes available. It’s too small for what we are now, both in space and in… feel, you know? Get it for me.”
“I should have known you were pulling my own tricks on me by plying me with beer and a demonstration of skill,” he said with a grin, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek before grabbing his nice wool jacket off the handrail. “I’m gonna do my best.”
“You always do your best,” she pointed out. “Thing is, somehow, you’re really good at your best being more than enough.”
Bucky considered that as he walked the twelve blocks home. It was pressure, maybe earnestly meant, but it made him face some things he’d been putting off.
Sex with Steve was a lot of fun. They were working their way through Bucky’s box of condoms, but it wasn’t serious and not in a ‘lighthearted and jokey together’ way but in a way where Bucky wasn’t investing himself in getting to know Steve. It was happening naturally anyway with all the time they spent together, but he wasn’t asking Steve questions just to learn the answer about him the way he did with people he was dating.
It was casual. Bucky hadn’t been worried about whether or not he’d be able to do casual, but knowing the difference between the progression of his relationship with Steve and how invested Bucky usually got by this point made it obvious that once he and Steve were done having sex, it would be easy to transition into friendship.
“Get laid last night?” Bucky asked, breaking off a piece of Steve’s granola bar and shoving it in his mouth. Stark was no longer providing pastries, which was probably a good thing. Bucky could only hold out so long against the lure of sweets and this project was testing his willpower. Stark had looked concerned the day before when he noticed Bucky glaring at him with hostility while shoving an éclair in his mouth, though Bucky wasn't really sure how aggressive anyone could seem with a long cream-filled pastry. He'd been aiming to seduce Steve, not threaten Tony Stark, and failed on both accounts. “You look less pissed off than you should considering how yesterday went.”
“Yeah,” Steve answered, lounging back in the wheeled chair and looking around the room to see if anyone could overhear them. Bucky typically showed up fifteen minutes early to meetings due to the bus schedule, and Steve was the responsible person who respectfully showed up five minutes early. Still, his voice was low when he continued. “Decent dick but he liked overusing his tongue.”
Eugh. Gross. “And yet you’re smiling.”
“Well, it wasn’t so bad when it wasn’t my mouth he was kissing.”
Bucky looked at Steve and they shared an amused smile.
“You’re not weirded out by talking about it?”
Bucky made sure to lean close so Steve would be the only one who could hear him. A few more people had filed in but they didn't seem to care what the two of them were talking about. “Why would I be? We’re not exclusive. I don’t own your time or your ass, and you’re free to do whatever you want with both of them. You keep expecting me to be less than casual, but I’m glad that you got laid. You seem more relaxed than you did the last time I saw you.”
Steve looked over at him, their faces close, and then he leaned forward so he could grab a cup off the table and steal a sip of Bucky’s coffee. “Want to do something Friday night?”
“Hey!” Bucky said, so busy grabbing his coffee back from Steve he didn’t actually listen to what Steve had said. “You have your own.”
“Yeah, but you actually put sugar and cream in yours instead of hoping that somehow it’ll be better than the swill they served yesterday.”
“They say the definition of insanity is—“ Bucky was interrupted from his nice little snipe against Steve’s sanity by the meeting getting started. Steve might find sex relaxing, but oddly Bucky found this to be what relaxed him. Snarking at someone who had a similar sense of humor to his.
Friday? Steve wrote in the margin of his notepad.
Bucky drew a happy face under Steve’s question.
Steve looked at him out of the corner of his eye and then drew a dick beside the smiling mouth, both of them studiously avoiding looking at each other as they tried to maintain a thin veil of professionalism.
Before he and Steve had become reacquainted someone Bucky knew who had worked with Stark Architecture International before had described Steve as a consummate professional who was fair but expected your best. Bucky had no trouble believing that, but reconciling it with the man who drew dicks in the margins of his notes and then pressed his shoulder against Bucky’s to stop from giggling like a twelve year old about it was the same as reconciling the man who joked easily with Bucky about sex with the no-nonsense one everyone at the table treated as their project leader instead of Stark. Steve was different with him. There was a vague realization in the back of his mind that he was the only person in this room that Steve had slept with.
From what he observed Steve probably shouldn’t have been so open and blunt with him in the hallway before that first meeting. Maybe he’d caught Steve in a relaxed mood, but Bucky had a feeling that maybe he’d disarmed Steve just as much as Steve managed to disarm him.
And part of that was because Bucky looked at Steve and wanted him in a visceral way, reacting based completely in attraction that went beyond the typical acknowledgment that someone was hot. Every time Bucky had ever looked at Steve Rogers, he'd wanted him, right from the first moment he'd looked at him across the club.
Maybe Steve saw him the same way.
Working closely with Stark Architecture wasn’t the only thing on Bucky’s schedule, but it was the most important. There was a lot riding on the success of the project in a way he tried not to worry about often. Transition periods were frightening like that, Bucky kept trying to tell himself. It wasn’t a lie. But he did sigh dramatically and pout when he got a text from his mother reminding him that the documentary film on Brooklyn that Barnes Brooklyn Contracting had been interviewed for was holding its first and only viewing that Friday and one of the two of them needed to be there and she was nominating Bucky.
It was only fair since she was the one putting up with Bucky’s father’s reaction to the coup. Apparently, he’d taken up whittling. Bucky had gotten a Snapchat video from Becca of the moment she asked him whether he’d mind wood carving designs into the cabinet she was going to sell in her new store. It had been hilarious until Bucky had gone over for supper and got a splinter on the palm of his hand that he was sure had somehow been intentional.
Fine, he wrote back to his mother and then went to cancel his Friday Fuck session with Steve.
“Hey,” Bucky said once Steve answered the phone. The construction was loud in the background and Dum Dum was shouting across the lot, probably deliberately once he saw Bucky was on the phone, about his KFC-consequence shit in the Portapotty. Bucky gave him the finger. “So I know we have plans on Friday night but I forgot I have a commitment earlier. Starts at 8 and I should definitely be home by 11, so can we push meeting at my place back a few hours?”
Bucky could almost hear Steve shrug over the phone. “Sure. Want me to bring food?”
That was new. “Yeah, that sounds good. I’m not a picky eater.”
“Text me if that changes,” Steve said, and he sounded amused.
Oh god, the film was shit. It was absolute homegrown Nazi garbage. He’d spent half of it texting exclamation points to his mother in horror.
Bucky had expected to watch a documentary that he might not understand the art of, but there were artistic viewpoints and then there was this actual literal shit of a film taking a stance against immigration and immigrant workers in a way that definitely hadn’t been hinted at in the original interview questions. At least most of the things about Barnes Brooklyn Construction had been stripped from it. His father might have trouble adapting to a modern age, but the Barnes family had always been fair to their workers, worked with the unions, and hired based on skill. In his family it had never been seen as radical, just what was done. Bucky had learned three languages hanging around during lunch breaks on his summers in high school. He’d also learned a ton of swear words, how to use a blow torch, and how to blow someone without gagging.
Fun times with life lessons he still used today.
All in all, Bucky probably wouldn’t have willingly come to this film if he hadn’t been forced, and he would have left early in to it if he didn’t have the sinking feeling that he was going to have to stay for the Q&A just to make sure the company wasn’t misrepresented verbally as well.
So Bucky was surprised to see Steve across the room getting progressively more infuriated at what the filmmaker was saying. That was, he was surprised to see Steve but not all that surprised that Steve was as furious as Bucky was even though he didn’t have a personal stake in it. Bucky watched Steve listen just enough to be sure of how wrong the man was before standing to express his opinion.
Bucky was impressed. Steve was clearly passionate about what he believed in. He was well spoken and insightful, with just the right amount of his words being inciteful as well. He knew how to make his point and make it so that the people around him paused to consider rather than dismiss him.
Steve Rogers was a man who knew his own mind.
And he was creating the perfect opening for Bucky. Bucky hated public speaking with a passion because his best skill was in reading facial expressions and body language. It was harder to do that in a crowd, but at the same time there was only one person he was addressing, which made it easier than most meetings he’d had to lead.
“Actually,” Bucky said, standing after Steve had spoken his piece, leaving the filmmaker red in the face with fury but also speechless. Steve didn’t look surprised to see him, so he’d probably noticed Bucky already. “Bucky Barnes, from Barnes Brooklyn Construction. We’ve been a local bedrock of the community for the last 65 years? We met about a year ago when you interviewed me personally about what I thought the backbone of Brooklyn was?”
“I noticed that didn’t make it into your documentary. I also noticed that of the 7 hours’ worth of footage my family gave you in interviews and tours of our heritage headquarters that about 30 seconds made it in and that was a pan out of the storefront. Now I might not know a lot about film editing, but it seems to me that if we didn’t give you enough clips to support your argument that it’s pretty litigious to include a shot of our company. Now,” Bucky said, holding up a hand. “I agree that we signed waivers, but I also remember the phrase ‘an accurate representation of immigration workers in Brooklyn from the 50s to present day’ in it that in no way, shape or form implied this fascist bullshit I just watched.”
“I think you should leave.”
Bucky planted his ass back in his seat and continued speaking. “Professionally I wanted to alert you to the fact you’ll be hearing from our lawyer about obtaining the footage, and personally I wanted to remind you that the Barnes family are Irish-Italian, and maybe,” by this point he was speaking over the man, “the current socio-political climate has changed, but in terms of an accurate representation of immigration we’re very aware of our roots and the challenges that presented upon arriving in America 100 years ago.”
“I agree with Mr. Barnes’s point that you misrepresented yourself,” Steve said easily as he rose from his seat. “Your message is neither new nor innovative, and your voice doesn’t deserve to be heard, so I will take your invitation to leave gladly.”
And that was a fucking mic drop. The kind where Bucky then had to sit there and debate following him out or listening to the rest of the responses in case something important happened. A number of people got up and followed Steve out.
Bucky was pretty jealous to be honest. He’d been wanting to do that since he walked in.
Bucky: Sorry, BBC has a stake in this or else I’d follow
Bucky: I’ll see you later?
Steve: I got the impression if BBC didn’t have a stake in it you would have left hours ago.
See, Steve was getting to know him.
Steve was waiting for Bucky when he emerged from the theatre. Their eyes met across the sidewalk, Steve’s hands in his jean pockets. The evening spring chill was still in the air, so Bucky paused to zip his jacket up as he waited for Steve to make a move warily. He wasn’t sure what the etiquette was for accidentally meeting your fuck buddy in public, especially when they had plans directly afterwards. He wouldn’t have been surprised to find Steve had taken off just to avoid the awkward sidewalk linger. Bucky was starting to realize Steve never did things the easy way.
“So,” Steve finally said, taking a step towards Bucky with a gesture back towards the door. “Your plans tonight?”
“It would have been better if my mother had been the one to deal with that,” Bucky told him, still buzzing with anger. “She has this fiery eloquence to her that actually holds a threat. Like you do. I just,” he shrugged. “Can never really be as pointed.”
Steve took a step forward into Bucky’s space, his chest radiating warmth as his feet slotted around Bucky’s. “I think you do fine getting your point across,” Steve told him, face so close to Bucky it was obvious they were about to kiss. There was a point of pleasure in the anticipation of it, Steve’s breath warm against his face and the thrill of waiting. Bucky’s fingers closed around the open front of Steve’s coat.
“Do I?” he breathed and then closed the distance for his kiss. It was a simple brush of lips, a tad of friction, and did a lot to dispel some of the fury Bucky was holding on to. “Do you want to hear about my plans for the rest of the evening?” he asked, a smile in his tone.
They barely made it in the door before they were making out against it, Steve’s hands pressed against Bucky’s wrists and Bucky’s back against the unforgiving wood. It wasn’t a strong hold but it was a decisive one. Bucky loved the weight of Steve against him, the warmth of his skin seeping through the layers of clothing between them and the smell of his aftershave so close it was heady. Bucky parted his lips into the kiss, sighing and flicking his tongue against Steve’s top lip in a teasing move that had Steve pressing him harder against the door. The kiss went sharp as arousal spiked through Bucky and he moved into it, pressing his hips up against Steve’s and pushing against him.
It felt like they were moving at counterpoints against each other for a while, both of them scrabbling to get what they wanted without communicating in words. Bucky didn’t know Steve’s cues well enough yet to know if that was something he enjoyed or if it was frustrating him as much as it frustrated Bucky. Steve’s hands moved away from his wrists, and Bucky grabbed the back of Steve’s shirt with one while his other tried to grope his ass to egg him on. Steve gripped his hip, his hand curving around Bucky’s ass in a hold that seemed designed to still him if he exerted any pressure, but that didn’t seem to be Steve’s goal.
It was good, but it could be better if they could just…
Then they hit a rhythm where Steve’s hips grinded against Bucky’s at the same time he moved into it, the friction of their dicks rubbing together ran quicksilver through Bucky’s veins and he moaned, wrapping a leg up around Steve’s hips. Steve grabbed him then like he meant it, one of his large hands holding Bucky in place while the other slid into his hair, protecting his head from the door but also making it a challenge for Bucky to move in any way Steve didn’t move him. It was thrillingly simple and hot, the way their mouths kept sliding and nipping as they made out and grinded against each other. It was the kind of first-getting-to-know-each-other that Bucky enjoyed the most, and he was surprised Steve wasn’t getting impatient with it.
Bucky’s plans for the rest of the evening had been filthy promises that ranged from how he’d slowly blow Steve until he wept for release to how maybe he’d sit on his dick and ride it hard and fast. It had been enough of a range of dirty and seductive options that both of them were on edge anticipating it the entire bus ride back to Bucky’s place.
They stumbled backwards towards Bucky’s couch, Bucky fully intending to let go of Steve at some point and get to his knees in front of him. Steve’s knees hit the couch first and he fell backwards on it in a flop that would be ungracefully hilarious if Bucky was watching him instead of being dragged down with him. They landed with Steve sprawled against the cushions and Bucky draped over him. The change in angle felt so good all he could do was keep grinding against Steve as Steve’s hands encouraged him on.
It wasn’t exactly riding Steve, not the way he meant it anyway, not when they were both still fully clothed, but Bucky breathed into it and bit his lip as he moved, sinuously stretching over Steve to mouth at his neck. His hands were moving up Steve’s torso beneath his shirt, feeling the muscles contract as Steve moved up against him.
God, Bucky was so on edge. It felt so good to have someone beneath him like this, using each other to get off.
“Fuck,” Steve said, the first word either of them had spoken since they’d stumbled through the door. He reached for his pants and arched into Bucky with a gyrating motion. He was biting his lip, looking flushed and beautiful, and so intent on what he was doing that his eyebrows furrowed in concentration. “Yeah, like that.”
“Don’t, I’ll—” Bucky bit off as Steve’s knuckles pressed against his dick as Steve unbuttoned his own pants. Bucky could feel the movement of his hands working the zipper and feel the change in pressure as Steve’s cock came free of the confines of cloth. “Christ.”
“Yeah,” Steve agreed in a harsh, strained tone as both of them reached for Bucky’s pants at the same time. “Embrace it.”
Steve looked down at his stomach with a rueful grimace and then his eyes moved up to the ceiling as he exhaled a laugh. “Well, at least I didn’t come in my pants,” he decided, wincing as he pulled his t-shirt higher out of the splash zone until it was basically rucked up beneath his armpits. It was a funny image, but Bucky’s arms were in serious danger of giving out and he didn’t want to be the guy who fell into his own come puddle.
Bucky rolled off him and landed on the floor, laughing as he did his best to avoid touching Steve’s torso. “Hold on,” he said, tripping as he wriggled his pants higher over his hips, rounding the couch so he could lean across his bar stools to grab the paper towel.
“Do you do everything dry?” Steve asked him when Bucky moved to throw the roll at him, referencing the way Steve had asked lube? and Bucky had answered bedroom while proceeding to not move except to continue getting both of them off. Steve had groaned in agreement at the time.
“Well excuse me for trying to minimize the time it cools on your skin, your majesty,” Bucky said, breaking off a wad of it and running it under the tap. He then threw it at Steve. It hit the top of his leather couch with a splat, water droplets spraying in Steve’s face.
“Thanks,” Steve said in a dry tone, grabbing it before it could slide off down the back.
“No problem,’ Bucky told him, stretching and scratching at his stomach. His shirt probably had come on it, but Bucky didn’t really care. Of course, he wasn’t about to try to find his way home. After Steve left he was going to take a shower, eat something, and then call his mother to talk about whether or not they had to worry about douchebag filmmaker.
“I noticed you didn’t bring by food,” he said, just to be a shit by reminding Steve of his promise, with head in the freezer. “Want some fries?”
“I should go.”
“Yeah,” Bucky said, looking over his shoulder to see Steve was adjusting his shirt back down over his damp skin. “But do you want fries first?” he asked, taking a bag out of the freezer and shaking them at Steve.
Steve hesitated. “Sure, why not?”
Chapter 3: Doesn't.
Bucky started seeing Steve out around Brooklyn.
It was one of those things: not quite the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon because Bucky already would have recognized Steve Rogers in public before they were working on the same project together, but it was like now that they were reintroduced, the chances of seeing him were higher. It was irony and recognition all rolled into one.
Brooklyn was a large city with varied cultural communities in its own right. It wasn’t some small town where one might expect to walk out the door, take the subway for about 7 stops, walk 3 blocks to meet your friends in a bar, and see Steve Rogers across the dim, poorly lit ambiance trying to pull someone.
What were the chances?
Ok, so maybe it was more on Bucky than anyone else. Or maybe he could put the blame solely on Morita’s shoulders. Clearly if he’d stayed in his own neighborhood he probably wouldn’t have seen the way some guy looked across the room, met Steve’s eyes, and almost spilled his drink all over himself.
That had been him, once.
It was pretty amusing to watch, all things considered. Amusing and horrifying. Had he ever looked that surprised at the attention? That nervous? Christ, no wonder Steve thought he was shy.
Steve smiled, encouragingly, and Bucky turned his attention away in order to give him some privacy.
“Are you actually checking someone out?” Monty questioned, leaning back in his bar stool. He looked around and Bucky hoped that he didn’t spot Steve and recognize him from last time he asked that question. The last thing he needed was to be encouraged to walk over to him again.
“Someone I know from work, actually,” Bucky said, casually picking up a nacho. “He looks different dressed like a real person, is all.”
“Yeah, sometimes it shocks me seeing you dressed like a corporate dick,” Morita pointed out. They’d met back when Bucky was still working on site side by side with the men, back when putting on jeans and a paint-splattered t-shirt to drink some beer was a norm and not something that had the new workers assuming Bucky was slumming. “But then I got a raise last month so I figure I can put up with being seen in public with you.”
Bucky snorted and tapped his pint glass against Morita’s, completely putting Steve out of his mind. And that should have been that, but Bucky hadn’t considered what Steve would think about noticing him back.
“I saw you on Friday,” Steve said, sitting beside Bucky outside of the Stark building as he waited for the bus to cycle closer through its schedule before he headed down the stairs to the bus-stop. It was a nice spring day and he was enjoying the sun with his sunglasses on, about to put his earbuds in when Steve caught up with him. He’d treated himself to an iced coffee and was trying to relax his way out of the fury Stark inspired in him.
“I saw you too,” Bucky replied, tilting his face up towards the sun and stretching his legs out in front of him.
“Is it a problem now?” Steve asked, direct as always. “You didn’t come over to say hi.”
“I wasn’t sure I was welcome inserting myself on your evening when you were flirting with someone and clearly enjoying yourself,” Bucky pointed out, internally sighing. “You can say it was awkward that I didn’t, but by the time I noticed you, you’d already set your sights on someone and they were eyeing you back. How would it have looked if that was the moment I said hi?”
Steve hummed for a second. “I’m not really familiar with the etiquette here,” he said, waving his hand in a way that encompassed both of them as well as the Stark building. “You’re right. I would have seen something in that as well.”
Both of them were silent for a moment. “Can we try something?” Bucky offered.
“What did you have in mind?”
“Give me the benefit of the doubt that I know my own emotions and will tell you if I think we’re getting too close. I know you’re trying to be kind and take my feelings into consideration, but what you’re implying is that I’m not mature enough to understand when it’s going to be a problem. We’ve been honest with each other so far, so I think if you can’t do that, then we probably shouldn’t continue.”
“You’re right,” Steve said simply. “I have a tendency to try to protect people.”
“I can’t be expected to keep reassuring you.” He’d already made his point, he knew, but it was the one last thought he had on the subject. “And it can’t be fun for you if you’re always worried you’re going to break my heart.”
Steve blew out a breath between his teeth. “Yeah,” he agreed. “I’m sorry. I hadn’t thought of it that way.”
The thing about Steve was that Bucky didn’t actually know the man enough to anticipate his reaction going as well as it did. He could suspect all he wanted, but something tight in his muscles relaxed at Steve’s words. Getting attached to someone wasn’t a burden and he couldn’t be with someone who thought it was. “Ok, great,” Bucky said, and looked at the time on his phone. He had seven minutes to catch the bus.
“I could blow you in one of the bathrooms,” he offered, taking off his sunglasses and hooking them into the neck of his shirt. The weight pulled the neck down, stretching the material, and he was only vaguely aware of it as a look as he squinted at Steve.
“I don’t. Here,” Steve said as explanation, looking regretful.
“Too bad,” Bucky replied, taking a drink from his straw and watching Steve.
“Yeah,” Steve agreed, biting his lip in a thoughtful manner.
Bucky offered him a sip of his iced coffee.
“No,” Steve answered, getting to his feet, his fingers curling urgently around Bucky’s arm and tugging him to his feet. “Come on.”
Bucky found himself following Steve back into the building, getting into the elevator with him and going up. The entire time he was trying his best to keep his dumb smug smile off his dumb smug face.
“This floor is usually pretty quiet on Wednesdays,” Steve explained, pulling Bucky across the hallway and through the door to the men’s room. Bucky found himself pushed back against the sink as Steve took a moment to check to make sure the stalls were unoccupied before kissing him.
It wasn’t the kind of kiss that said ‘let’s take our time’.
“Do you think?” Bucky asked, gesturing towards a stall with an amused quirk of his eyebrow. The counter was a sharp point against his ass, not big enough for him to sit on without falling into the basin. Then, just in case Steve was about to balk on him, “Do you ever think about my mouth? I’ve been told it’s made for this,” he continued, moving away from the sink and towards the stall with a backwards glance. “Well?” he asked from the swinging door.
“Usually about how much of a menace it is,” Steve told him, and the words sounded fondly annoyed but the way he was walking towards Bucky with predatory anticipation said something else entirely.
“Yeah?” Bucky asked, flicking out his tongue to wet his lips and giving Steve his best Seductive Look, the corner of his mouth titled up and his eyes making direct contact with Steve’s.
“Yeah,” Steve agreed, stepping in close to him so Bucky’s legs were crowded between the toilet and the side of the stall. Steve closed the door behind him in a practiced move, locking it.
Bucky tried not to think about the floor. Public bathroom sex hadn’t even been easy when he’d been drunk let alone sober and mid-day.
Even while Steve was leading him to the bathroom Bucky hadn’t really expected anything to come of it until there he was in another bathroom stall with Steve Rogers, on his knees, fumbling with a condom as Steve looked down at him, somehow managing to stroke his dick and not hit Bucky in the face in the closed quarters.
That was a serious talent.
Steve’s cock was thick and long, not impossibly so, but enough that Bucky wondered if the seven months since the last time he did this would hamper his skills as he slid the condom on smoothly. He eyed Steve’s dick for an uncertain moment and Steve watched him with a smirk playing on his lips like he knew exactly what Bucky was thinking.
The tile was cool through the knees of Bucky’s pants as he worked his way down Steve’s dick, taking it deeper each time as he managed to remember how to relax his throat enough not to gag. The zipper of Steve’s pants pressed against his chin at first, then slowly worked their way down Steve’s thighs as Bucky adjusted his grip, allowing Steve more motion to thrust into his mouth as Bucky grew more confident he could take it.
And, well, if he couldn’t there was a handy toilet next to him.
This was one of Bucky’s skills at sex, the thing people told him he was good at and he actually believed them. Part of his mind had wondered if he did this to Steve the first time they were shut in a cramped bathroom stall if he would have remembered it.
Steve was breathing heavily, his hips moving in shallow thrusts and with one of his hands curved around the top of the stall above his head. His whole body was tensed, arched and shaking, as he panted into it.
“Fuck,” he said, the u a long, breathy sigh. “Fuck, it’s—”
“Mmm?” Bucky hummed the question deliberately as he had Steve pressed so deeply into his throat that his nose was pressed against Steve’s trimmed pubic hair.
“Christ,” Steve bit out and came.
Bucky eased off slowly, pausing to suck gently at the tip of Steve’s dick.
“Fucking—” Steve exclaimed, his arm grabbing at the top of the stall as his knees buckled. They stared at each other for a moment, Bucky wiping his mouth and Steve looking almost pained post-orgasm.
“My mouth is always a menace,” Bucky said in a smug tone as he used Steve to climb to his feet. Steve looked like he could barely support his own weight, let alone Bucky’s, but he was always full of surprises. Steve laughed in a breathless kind of way as Bucky crowded into him and pulled down the zipper of his pants.
Steve was breathing hard, his head braced against the door to the stall and his mouth open. His pupils were dark and wide as he took in Bucky as he fucked his own hand. Bucky couldn’t help but look at him back. One of Steve’s hands curled around the elbow of Bucky’s free arm.
“We can’t ever do this again. Here.” Steve said with gravity.
“Ok,” Bucky agreed, because he’d agree to anything at this point, turning so he was pressed back against Steve and aiming to come in the general vicinity of the toilet. Steve’s presence was a solid weight.
“Here,” Steve said, passing Bucky a wad of toilet paper. “You miss you’re cleaning it up.” Despite that, he moved his hand so that it was over Bucky’s. It was really too dry for this, but Steve never brought his handy little safe sex pack with him to work so there was no lube to work with. The friction was easier when he could control it and know when to ease off.
Bucky came in Steve’s arms and somehow it was more disarmingly intimate than coming inside him.
“I mean it,” Steve said, once Bucky had come and was using his shoulder as a pillow, trying to control his breathing so it didn’t echo off the tile, loud and harsh. For an absurd moment he thought Steve meant about the cleanup, though he didn’t doubt Steve meant that too. “Please don’t ask this from me again. You’re too tempting. I won’t say no.” He nuzzled his nose against Bucky’s neck, fingers still tight against his hips. “You’re so beautiful when you come.”
Huh. That was almost a non-sequitur. “You too,” Bucky answered. “But you make this high pitched whining sound that ruins the effect. Not this time,” he said as a reassurance. “You were quiet this time. In general.”
“You grunt,” Steve pointed out, pressing his fingers in harsh little points against Bucky’s hip bones in a way that would probably leave marks. “Like someone kicked you in the balls and you’re about to puke from the pain. Not this time. You were quiet this time.”
“Yeah,” Bucky agreed, trying not to laugh. Fuck, Steve was perfect. “I will do my best not to tempt you here, promise. I just… I really didn’t do anything but ask.”
Steve snorted, but it sounded more like it was aimed at himself. “I know. I know how stupid the request is. Can you just try? If both of us make an effort, then maybe…”
Seemed fake, but ok. “Maybe,” Bucky agreed. It wasn’t like he was promising Steve the world, but he could probably promise not to ask him for a quickie in the bathroom at Stark Architecture International at least.
Bucky turned in Steve’s arms, moving so Steve could wedge by him and they could open the door enough to slip through. Steve took the opportunity to press Bucky back against the wall and kiss him.
“Thank you,” Steve said, and Bucky wasn’t sure if it was for the promise or the blow job.
“Wedding reception last year. Hotel lobby,” Steve said as the two of them stepped into the elevator.
“No,” Bucky answered, and then looked at Steve’s face. “You just made that up,” he accused, suspicious.
“Yeah,” Steve admitted, still smiling. “I did.”
Steve was quickly on his way to becoming one of Bucky’s closest friends. He loved the way Steve responded to things, like their senses of humor were so in tune that he said the exact thing that Bucky needed to hear to go from being annoyed to laughing in seconds. Steve was open with himself in the same way he was open with his body, and Bucky appreciated that he seemed uncomplicated but was actually one of the most nuanced individuals he’d ever had the pleasure of knowing.
It wasn’t actually weird for them to spend time hanging out for tangentially work related things, though as Bucky got closer to expanding Barnes Brooklyn Contracting and planning out the pieces for Becca’s forthcoming store, it was harder to snatch even a few moments with Steve-the-coworker-slash-friend. It was easier to meet him for a quick fuck and for once in his life Bucky was finding ease in the casual relationship.
"So it's like this," Steve explained, using his spoon to etch a design in the air. They were sitting at a picnic bench in the park staring at the Brooklyn cityline. Steve was pointing towards where the Stark design was being built, casually swirling his spoon in the approximation of the outline. "I came here sometimes when designing it to look at it context-wise. The selling point for the bid was the larger picture of how it fit in with the Brooklyn skyline from the perspective of Brooklynites."
It was good to talk to someone born and raised and proud to be from Brooklyn sometimes.
"I can see it," Bucky told him, and he could. It wasn't necessarily part of his job but it wasn't a skill that went unused. Part of him itched to recreate the entire scene in metal and he wasn't a man who was usually inspired by art when he didn't have a specific purpose in mind. It wouldn't work as lights but maybe as a flat piece of wall art. "It's a lot warmer now than it was in March,” he observed and took a bite of his gelato. He was doing his best not to make it look come-hither but considering the way Steve paused with his spoon he probably wasn’t successful.
Steve laughed. "I started the initial planning in January. No, I wasn't grabbing frozen treats then, that's for sure. I wanted you to see where the plan is coming from."
"It's your design, I'm just following it."
"Still," Steve continued, ignoring his phone as it lit up on the table beside him. "It's also nice to have an afternoon away from the demands of the office."
"Yeah," Bucky agreed and tapped his plastic cup against Steve's, wondering how hard it would be to convince Steve to take more than just an extended lunch break with him. It probably wouldn’t be hard at all if Bucky could get away with playing hooky. They'd had to reschedule this meeting twice in the last three weeks and Bucky was on the verge of booking a vacation as far away from his family as possible and heading somewhere that wasn't Brooklyn for a week.
Bucky licked his spoon, only partially deliberately.
Steve ducked in for a kiss, fast and impulsive and all the more surprising for it. The most surprising part was that he just continued to talk and eat his gelato as though nothing happened.
Steve’s phone lit up again. “Sorry,” he said, leaning forward to check it. “It’s my mom.”
Bucky hid a smile at that.
“I mean it literally,” Steve continued, dropping the phone back on the table. “She’s standing over there by the pavilion and is trying to be subtle. And also remind me that I made plans to go to her place for supper tomorrow.” Steve raised his hand and waved.
“That’s nice,” Bucky admitted.
“Oh and now she’s coming over,” Steve continued with a resigned expression, but he didn’t look too put out about it, the corners of his mouth tilted up into something soft.
Bucky looked over his shoulder to see a blonde, slim woman heading in their direction.
“She said you’re cute, by the way,” Steve told him, before tilting his face up. “Ma. I’m busy.”
“I could tell,” she said, kissing his cheek. “I reserve the right to make things awkward for you when you acknowledge me first. I’m surprised to see you out in the light of day with someone – “
Bucky snorted, staring at Steve in amusement. Then he smiled up at Steve’s mother with his most charming grin. “I’m Bucky,” he said, offering his hand. “My contracting firm is working on a project with Stark International. I’m the stress release.”
Steve closed his eyes slightly as his mother looked delighted at this piece of news. “And you boys are safe?”
“Always, Mrs. Rogers,” Bucky promised. “Steve is very diligent. Not that I’m… not. He’s just very vocal about safe sex. It’s refreshing and obviously a testament to you.”
“Sarah,” she said in a firm tone. “When was the last time you got tested?”
“MA!” Steve interrupted, looking horrified. “Don’t—“
“Seven months ago after I broke up with this guy I’d been seeing, and then there was no one between him and Steve.” Bucky did his best not to blush, and there was something about her direct tone that made it easy. He could see her as a medical professional more than as a nosy mother.
Sarah nodded. “I always tell Steve not to bother with someone who can’t answer that question.”
Steve was shaking his head, but he looked amused. “Are you done?”
Sarah grinned at him, and they looked so much alike that Bucky could see the similarities in their features as well as their temperaments. “Don’t worry,” she tutted, patting Steve’s cheek condescendingly. “He’s not that embarrassed. He’s not going anywhere.”
Bucky didn’t really understand the point of her saying that when she knew the way Steve worked when it came to sex.
But Steve looked a little flustered and self-conscious.
“You acknowledged me,” she reminded him. “It was so nice to meet you, Bucky. I hope to see you in the future.”
“Oh, well, you know…” Bucky answered vaguely, waving his hand in a way that he hoped convey what he meant. “It was nice meeting you too, Sarah.”
Steve showing up at Bucky’s door on a Friday night was both a surprise and it wasn’t. The surprise was in the idea that Steve thought to just show up with nothing more than a 15 minute heads-up rather than making a plan to meet, or, more likely, not bothering with Bucky at all and trying his hand at meeting someone at a bar.
“You have no idea the day I’ve had,” Steve started with. “I’m going to need you to pound me into your mattress and use those thighs of yours for the power of good.”
“Do I use them for evil?” Bucky asked and his lip quirked up in amusement as Steve took off his shirt and tossed it over Bucky’s couch.
Steve’s eyes spanned down Bucky’s legs. “All the time, unless you mean for them to give people wicked thoughts. Maybe especially if you mean for them to give people wicked thoughts.”
“My thighs?” And if his tone sounded slightly incredulously, it was because he’d never actually heard that one before. He got compliments on his mouth all the time and how long his legs were as a whole, but never actually one focused on his thighs.
“Let’s not take the time for flirting bullshit,” Steve said, reaching for Bucky and tugging off his sweater, only to reveal a t-shirt under it. “Ok, both of those should have come off at the same time.”
“I defy physics,” Bucky said, meaning to sound glib, but it made Steve narrow his eyes at him and reach out, grabbing the front of Bucky’s shirt.
Steve practically dragged Bucky into his bedroom, confidently secure in knowing his way around Bucky’s apartment now. He was all hands, encouraging Bucky to move faster, to touch him harder. “Wrap up, slick up, and fuck me,” he said, pulling open the nightstand, climbing on Bucky’s bed, and arranging the pillows so he could basically lie there and get fucked without putting much effort into it.
Bucky took a moment to admire everything about Steve and how he got exactly what he wanted from his sex life.
“Bucky!” Steve said, his name the demand. “Can you do what I asked?”
Bucky was about to see if all those squats were worth it.
“Oh Christ,” Steve said after a full minute of staring up at the ceiling. Bucky didn't know what he had to stare at the ceiling for, Bucky had done all the work. “I don’t want to move. If I move it might ground me and this floaty feeling will go away. I'm so well-fucked I just want to keep the feel of it."
“You’re always so flattering after sex,” Bucky answered with an eye-roll. He’d basically fallen into Steve at the end and there was no way Steve hadn’t noticed.
“I’m trying to be. That was great.”
Oh. Steve was complimenting him. “Thanks," he replied with a small smile and a little shoulder shrug.
“Let’s do that again.”
“Oh gee, I left my Viagra prescription in my other apartment.” He wasn’t even sure he could. There might be very sensitive bruising.
“Don’t mock my enthusiasm for your dick, that’s self-defeatist. I didn’t mean right this second. Floaty feeling is gone,” Steve sighed and sat up, leaning over and kissing Bucky’s mouth before sliding out of bed. For someone who hadn’t wanted to move 30 seconds ago, he was awfully active. Bucky was the type of person who would rather not move after having an orgasm, but they only seemed to energize Steve. “I’m raiding your kitchen.”
“Are you going to cook for me as a reward for fucking you well enough that for a full minute and fifty seconds you didn’t have anything snarky to say to me?”
That made Steve pause and look at him. He was silent for so long Bucky was starting to become self conscious. More self-conscious than he was about falling into Steve’s ass. “What can I do better, then?” he finally asked.
“What?” Bucky asked, sitting up and squinting at Steve in concern.
“You didn’t stop snarking at me, so by your own rationale you didn’t enjoy it as much. What can I do better?”
Bucky sat on his knees. He wasn’t sure if it was better or worse to be having this conversation while being the naked one. “I’m more of a slow-boning-while-looking-deep-into-your-eyes kind of guy.”
“I’m not going to get weirded out by eye contact,” Steve huffed and crossed his very well-toned arms over his very well-toned chest. He looked ready for a diatribe.
“-Steve,” Bucky interrupted whatever he was going to say next. Yep. He’d rather be wearing clothing for this. “I meant to say that the sex I enjoy best has always been emotional, where it makes me feel fantastic to make someone I care about feel fantastic. You’re doing all you can.”
Steve frowned. “I see,” he answered, staring. Then he blinked and looked thoughtful. “Do you have any bacon?”
Chapter 4: Kink Negotiations
The week passed in a blur of exhausting workdays he’d probably never make up his sleep deficit over and a particularly grueling conversation with his father about spacing concerns. The old man was refusing to budge from his office and Bucky hadn’t helped matters by telling him he could stay and work for Becca instead, especially considering how Becca was pissed at him now too.
So when Steve called on Friday night, Bucky actually scrambled to answer it.
"A kindness begets a kindness,” Steve said when he picked up his phone.
"Ok..." No conversations ever started out well with an obscure idiom in Bucky’s opinion.
“I’ve been thinking about what you said about me doing all I can do for you sexually. I think we can negotiate this.”
Bucky wasn’t sure he liked where this was going. “Ok…” he hedged again, holding his phone between his ear and shoulder as he reached for the remote to pause the television. This conversation was going to demand all of his attention, he could tell. At least he was dressed this time.
“You’re wrong, I’m not doing all I could be. I could help set a more romantic mood. Candles. Eating at a table like it’s a date. We could fake it and see how that works.”
Bucky stared at the ceiling in disbelief. What? Seriously? He blew out a breath and that didn’t help him grasp exactly what Steve was offering. “You want to role play being in love with me?”
“I wouldn’t take it that far,” Steve answered in a sardonic tone. “But I can fake a romantic setting. I know how to woo. I have done relationships before.”
I know how to woo Bucky repeated in his head. He couldn’t believe this was a real conversation he was having. What the fuck? “Do you think that’s a good idea?” he hedged, tinged with disbelief.
“Look,” Steve said, impatient now that Bucky wasn’t jumping all over his not-particularly-well-thought-out but probably-well-meant offer. “You made my top ten the other night. I can return the favor.”
“Is it a competitive thing?” Bucky questioned. “You do realize that at the core of your suggestion is the idea of getting me emotionally invested in you, right? So I can enjoy our fuck buddy experience.”
“I thought you could separate the two. Are you going to come over or not?”
“Now?” Bucky looked at his paused television. As ill-advised as this seemed, it was probably better than Netflix. He’d never been to Steve’s place. It seemed like Steve was making an effort to commit to his idea, at least, and he could really use the stress release. “Text me your address.”
Bucky wasn’t sure what he expected. He didn’t see Steve getting domestic in a housewife-from-the-fifties way and opening the door in an apron, or anything like that, but if he really thought about it he could see most of Steve’s ideas coming from movies and television, so he didn’t not expect an apron either.
Steve’s apartment was closer to downtown Manhattan than his was on the F-line, so it was smaller in size and in a lovely pre-war building with a lot of the original details, which meant he probably paid een more for it. Bucky had to walk up to the fifth floor and he was enough of a nerd to appreciate the old hardwood railings. He wondered if the reason Steve didn’t invite people back to his place was because he liked his privacy (and the ability to walk out when he wanted) or if it was because once the person finished walking up his stairs they were ready to nap instead of a fuck.
He said as much to Steve when he opened the door. There wasn’t an apron in sight and Bucky was grateful about that. Walking through the door wasn’t the same as marching towards an execution squad, but there were expectations that weren’t usually in their hookups. Bucky’s palms were sweating and he wasn’t sure it was from the exercise. He was decently sure it wasn’t.
“You can sit on the couch for a few minutes,” Steve told him in a dry tone at Bucky’s complaint about the stairs. “But we’re eating at the table.”
“You know,” Bucky said, dropping on to the couch to watch and appreciate the view as Steve walked back towards his kitchen. The apartment was all open space and high ceilings, enough room for one person without feeling too cramped. Bucky was in love. “There’s a fine line between romantic and sounding like my mom.” Bucky smirked at him. “Is that really what you’re aiming for?”
“You’re a dick. Is your version of romance cutting back with a few beers, a Yankees game, and a plate of hot wings?”
“Why, do you have some?” Bucky questioned. “And don’t fucking put the Yankees on me, bud. I’d rather eat at the kind of high class restaurant Stark is accustomed to than watch a Yankees game.”
Steve looked up at him from the kitchen, amused.
“Would you like a hand?” Bucky asked, getting to his feet and wandering over to the small bistro-sized table Steve had set. There was a fresh flower in a vase and placemats with silverware already set on it. It was obvious Steve didn’t think of setting a table often, and Bucky wasn’t the kind of person to care. The effort mattered more than he thought it would after Steve had outlined the idea. He touched the tablecloth with the tips of his fingers and then made a fist so he wouldn’t do it again.
Bucky wasn’t fooled into thinking Steve was making the effort as an actual romantic overture, but he was looking at all of the work Steve put in, was looking at the fact Steve was even making an attempt in the first place, and was realizing that Steve might be the one person that Bucky wanted to see over a dinner table in a home-cooked-meal-when-both-their-schedules-could-manage-it-trading-off-on-cooking-duties-or-being-happy-to-eat-take-out-in-the-same-room-with-their-feet-brushing kind of way.
In a dating and on their way towards a relationship kind of way.
“No,” Steve said, coming up behind Bucky and resting his chin on Bucky’s shoulder. His arm curled around Bucky’s waist, resting over his diaphragm. Bucky brought his hand up to rest over Steve’s fingers as Steve pressed his mouth against Bucky’s neck. “I like having you in my home,” Steve told him. “I hadn’t considered what it would be like to have you here.”
“What’s it like?” Bucky asked, curious. He might pull away if Steve said something overly cheesy and obviously not sincere, but even before he had the thought, he knew that wasn’t Steve’s style.
“Easy,” Steve said, like that was an answer.
(It was. It was a hell of an answer)
Bucky smiled. He had half a dozen snarky and quick responses on the tip of his tongue. He couldn’t bring himself to say any of them.
He turned at the gentle prodding from Steve’s hands, moving in Steve’s arms until they were face to face. Steve’s hand came up to cup Bucky’s cheek, and he looked carefully at Bucky’s face in a way that made him feel nervous, heartbeat becoming rapid in anticipation.
Bucky moved first, and maybe that was a mistake. Maybe he should have waited to see what Steve was going to do, but he couldn’t take the uncertainty, needed to exert just a tiny bit of control to the situation by closing the last tiny bit of distance between them and kissing Steve.
Steve kissed him back. His fingers dug into Bucky’s hip in a familiar grip.
They bumped against the table and Steve’s hand shot out. For one delirious moment Bucky thought Steve might swipe everything off it so he could press Bucky back against it. Instead, he steadied it, distracted enough that the kiss ended.
Steve looked sheepish. “I only own the one set of matching dishes.”
Bucky laughed and looked at the table. “Ok then,” he said, moving away from Steve and sitting down. “Let’s eat.” It wasn’t that the mood was broken or that he wasn’t willing to demonstrate how little he cared about supper by swiping all of Steve’s dishes off the table, it was that Steve had put thought and effort into this, so working with him was the least Bucky could do in return.
Steve inhaled and then grabbed the empty plates and brought them into the kitchen, dishing out the food. Bucky watched him move, less at ease in his own kitchen than he was anywhere else Bucky had ever seen him, unable to find serving spoons in the drawers and swearing at a spill. It was kind of adorable, the great Steve Rogers, cool and collect in all circumstances, fumbling his way through his own kitchen.
There was no doubt in Bucky’s mind that Steve hadn’t actually cooked the meal he placed in front of Bucky.
“It looks great,” he said, and for some reason that more than anything was the weirdest part of this yet. It wasn’t strange for them to eat together. It wasn’t even strange for them to eat together before sex. Making the effort to lie to Steve about the food in an attempt to spare his feelings was. It wasn’t that the food didn’t look good, it was that… well, there were things people said, weren’t there? Certain polite expectations that had never existed between them.
Bucky smiled, not convinced it wasn’t a pained grimace, and took a bite.
Steve looked at him and put down his fork. His expression was the only warning Bucky got that he was going to say something direct, but then the more Bucky got to know Steve, the more that expression was enough of a warning. “I can’t give you what you need long-term, but I can pretend for a night if you’ll let me.”
It was jarring to hear the words said out loud, with his ankle pressed against Steve’s under the small table, and the next bite of his meal on his fork. “I don’t want you to pretend anything,” he responded, and there felt like a piece of pasta was lodged in his throat.
“I didn’t think you would,” Steve agreed, “which is why I felt I could offer it. Not,” he said, shaking his head, “because it’s easier to offer something when you expect the other person to say no, but because you’re the type of person not to consider having expectations from me.”
"We spoke about expectations,” Bucky reminded him. “You’re the one blurring the line here.”
“It’s just sex,” Steve said with a shrug, and those sounded like the final last words to Bucky. “And they’re our lines. We can re-draw them where we want to.”
“And where do you want to redraw the line?”
“Well,” Steve mused, that flirty tilt to his mouth. “We’ll go into my bedroom and I’ll light some candles to set the mood and then I expect you to fuck me slowly while looking into my eyes. Do you remember what you told me that first time? How you wanted to finger me open for hours?”
Bucky gave him a sarcastic look, an eyebrow raised and his mouth skewed in a funny expression.
Steve grinned at him quickly before biting his lip. “I thought about it last night while trying to sleep; jacked myself off really slowly while thinking of you.”
“I do know how to be romantic,” Steve answered, picking up his fork and taking his first bite of food.
“How about we do that instead?”
Bucky felt a little uncertain standing in the doorway to Steve’s bedroom watching him pick up a lighter and set the flame to a long taper candle, the kind Bucky hadn’t seen since Thanksgiving dinner at his grandma’s before she died. Steve turned back towards him, looking pleased with himself. He took a step towards Bucky, and Bucky could see the intent there.
But he was too busy watching as, in almost slow motion, the candle tipped over in the cheap candle holder and fell on Steve’s dresser. “Your dresser is on fire.”
“Fuck,” Steve cursed, grabbing an open water bottle from his nightstand and pouring it over the top of his dresser. “Jesus Fucking Christ,” he swore, even though the flame was out and had only left a small scorch mark as far as Bucky could tell. “I’m sorry,” Steve continued. “That wasn’t part of the plan. I just wanted the mood to be romantic.”
Bucky smiled, completely charmed and finally at ease. “I know,” Bucky said, crossing the room. “You mentioned.”
“Candles are supposed to be sexy.”
“Mood lighting is nice,” Bucky agreed, pulling Steve into his arms. Steve felt a little stiff, reluctant to admit he’d been defeated by a candle. “But so is knowing someone made the effort. So A+ for trying.”
“It hardly deserves that.”
“Well you get a C- for execution, and that’s because the food was good.”
“Didn’t even make the food,” Steve grumbled before kissing Bucky, and Bucky felt overwhelmingly fond of Steve as he moved into the kiss, his hands pressed against Steve’s back to pull him closer.
“I know,” Bucky said, losing time to kissing Steve. Steve was subtly moving them backwards towards his bed, tugging at Bucky’s shirt to get his hands against his bare skin. “I like the attention,” he admitted between kisses, tugging at the button on Steve’s jeans. “I like it better when you fail,” he said, and pushed Steve back onto his bed.
Steve looked up at him, aggrieved and opening his mouth to say something back. Bucky didn’t let him, half crawling over him and reclaiming his mouth in a kiss. It started bitingly sharp with Steve’s annoyance and Bucky patiently kept redirecting it into something more subtle and lingering until Steve was responding in his arms, pliantly offering himself to Bucky’s touch.
Bucky pushed himself up so he was kneeling and Steve followed him, braced on one elbow and watching as Bucky pulled off his own shirt and then moved backwards so he was standing again. “How do you want this?” he asked. “On your back or ass up?”
“Like this,” Steve told him, lifting himself up enough so he could pull his own shirt off. Then he dropped back on to the bed and gave Bucky a challenging look. “Lube’s on the nightstand.”
“I noticed it when you were extinguishing the fire,” Bucky said as he grabbed it, admiring the practical way Steve had laid out anything they might need.
He moved in to kiss Steve again instead of using it. If Steve wanted to issue a challenge to Bucky then Bucky was going to take him up on it. Steve thought that he was evening the playing field, but instead Bucky was going to wreck him so thoroughly he’d think twice before getting competitive about orgasms and just accept that in this instance, Bucky was better at it than Steve was.
That thought propelled him through the first fifteen minutes of fingering Steve open, getting him to the point between prep work and indulgence. He knew when he reached it when Steve’s thigh muscles relaxed with a quiver and his mouth went lax and open, chin tilted up so Bucky’s view was Steve’s cock, his chest and the tip of his chin.
Then Bucky eased off, just the slightest amount, no longer deliberately seeking out Steve’s prostate but working around it, moving his hand in slow circles. He kissed Steve’s thigh and ignored all the signs Steve was getting impatient, from the way he moved, to the annoyed sounds he made every time it seemed like Bucky was going to pick up speed but didn’t. The only direct pauses he made were the times he had to re-lube.
Steve lasted about twenty minutes before breaking. “Could you…?”
“No,” Bucky replied, laughing and standing so he could lean his weight into keeping Steve still on his fingers, legs spread. “You promised me an hour. You thought about it. You get to keep your promise.”
It was kind of funny to watch a grown man pout with two fingers up his ass, so Bucky berated him with a hard thrust that had Steve cursing at him and arching slightly off the bed.
Steve made it another ten minutes of aggrieved silence, his hand fisted in his duvet above his head, before speaking again in a breathless, haltering tone. “I’m going to come if you don’t stop and fuck me soon.”
“You’re not,” Bucky reassured him. He was painfully hard in his pants, but he wasn’t going to let Steve talk him out of eking every promised second out of this. “What is it, Steve? You gonna renege now? You can take a pounding with ease but you can’t take an hour of being fingered?”
Steve’s mouth closed with a click and his expression turned stubborn, all squared jaw and defiant expression. “I can take whatever you give me.”
“You sure?” Bucky gently mocked. “A minute ago you were asking for me to finish. Safeword out if you need to.” Then he gave Steve a triumphant expression as he shut up and adjusted the spread of his legs to ease the pressure on his thighs.
He was glaring when Bucky met his eyes and stilled his touch to something so deliberately soft Steve could probably barely feel movement. Within a minute Steve’s expression relaxed, but he kept his eyes on Bucky, whether out of remaining annoyance or because he remembered the part of his promise that was about prolonged eye contact.
If Steve wanted to play that game Bucky was more than willing to give it to him. He lost track of time watching Steve watch him, making sure that every movement was designed to keep Steve right on the edge he wanted him on without sending him over. Steve’s flushed, sweaty skin was something to admire, the way his hair was dark with it, and his body trembled. Steve bit his lip and writhed on the bed as Bucky leaned down to suck on the tip of his flushed, swollen cock while maintaining eye contact.
Both of them jumped at the sound of an alarm going off and broke the mood.
“What?” Bucky asked in confusion, taking a faltering step backwards.
Steve fumbled beneath his pillow for his phone.
“You set an alarm?” Bucky asked him in disbelief. No. Actually he fully believed it. Of course Steve set an alarm.
Steve laughed as he shut it off, kind of joyously, the dick, and then gave Bucky this look that said ‘time is up, now fuck me’.
“What if I wasn’t done?”
“No renegotiations,” Steve replied, looking smug and lax and prepared to take it for another hour. Bucky was totally going to aim for that, he decided as he slipped on a condom and lubed it up, in some kind of revenge.
But he knew the moment he slipped into Steve and Steve made a sound like he was already coming that he wasn’t going to make it. He managed a few good hard thrusts that seemed to wind Steve entirely before they became too much for him and he had to slow down.
Steve was looking up at him, urging him on. His cheeks were flushed beautifully and his pupils were dilated, and he wasn’t looking away from Bucky. He gasped for a particularly well-aimed thrust, mouth open as he continued to gape up at Bucky with his hand fisting into the corner of the pillow as his back arched.
Bucky shifted so he was pressing more of his weight against Steve, bringing their faces closer together. He pressed his fingers around Steve’s wrist, pulling his hand away from the pillow as he continued grinding into him, unable to thrust as deeply as he had been but enjoying the contact more as he brought their mouths together with very little finesse.
“You’re beautiful,” Steve told him, sincere and with eye contact, his eyelashes fluttering with pleasure and his red mouth open as he panted. Steve’s tongue flicked out to wet his lips before he arched, kissing Bucky like he was breathing.
“Oh. Fuck,” Steve shuddered as he came.
Oh fuck, Bucky thought, almost in surprise and followed.
Oh. Fuck. Bucky thought, watching Steve catch his breath with a smile on his face. He was staring at the ceiling, and it wasn’t that he was breathing hard, it was that it was peaceful and rhythmic and deep, the same way Bucky felt after one of his weekly yoga sessions with Nat. Bucky wanted to drag Steve across the few inches separating them and pull him into his arms, feeling those relaxed limbs curl around him easily.
Steve turned his head and looked at him. “Yeah?” he asked. “Better?”
Bucky immediately knew what he meant, and at the same time he didn’t know the depth of the question and it concerned him, because Bucky was staring at Steve like he was someone he wanted to pull into his arms and Steve had just put a lot of effort into faking that for him. “Yeah,” he repeated, trailing his hand up and down Steve’s forearm to prolong their contact.
Then Steve smiled, proud and sure of himself. “I’m glad,” he said, and then turned into Bucky, unknowingly giving him the contact he craved. Steve’s arm was cradled beneath the pillow and he blinked sleepily at Bucky. “Be here?” he asked.
Bucky nodded, not sure what he was agreeing to until Steve’s eyes drifted shut and he immediately fell asleep, leaving Bucky staring at him in wonderment.
Bucky woke up to Steve blinking at him, looking vaguely surprised to find Bucky’s face inches from his own, as though he wasn’t the one who’d invited him over in the first place. Steve smiled at him, slightly awkward, but not as pained as Bucky might expect from this situation.
“Morning,” he said, voice rough and croaking.
“Hi,” Steve answered, leaning across the length of the pillow in order to press a soft kiss on Bucky’s mouth. He then moved away from him, throwing back the sheets and standing, exposing the long, lean plains of his back.
Bucky watched Steve wander out the door towards the bathroom, enjoying the view. He listened to Steve get in the shower and wondered what he was supposed to do. What etiquette did Steve expect now? Bucky knew what the expectation was from fucking someone in a bathroom. He even knew what the expectation was from having a fuckbuddy, but what was he supposed to do when you and your fuckbuddy negotiated a date and sleepover as a kink?
Jesus. Fuck. That was exactly what just happened.
Bucky ended up getting dressed and wandering into Steve’s kitchen in search of coffee and maybe something to eat, considering their supper had been cut short by sex. It was still sitting on the table like a sad afterthought, and Bucky found Steve’s coffee maker before he could be tempted to clean off the dishes.
Coffee first. Coffee always first.
“Hey,” Steve said, his hair still damp. He brought the scent of shower gel with him, clinging to his skin despite the worn jeans and old t-shirt he had changed into. Bucky blinked. He’d never seen Steve look so casual. “I’m heading to the library, do you want to come?”
“Is that an indecent proposal?” Bucky questioned, his coffee paused half-way to his mouth as he watched Steve take down a travel mug from his cupboard and pour his own coffee.
“Do you read?” Steve asked.
Steve squinted at him. “I can’t tell if that’s sarcasm or not.”
“Well I can’t tell if you just offered to fuck me in the library, so I think we’re even on that account.”
Steve stared at him with his mouth open, about to speak and say something snarky, no doubt. Then his brow furrowed. “I meant read for fun, not if you’re capable of it. I’m not very coherent in mornings and I usually avoid talking with people until I’ve been awake for at least an hour.”
“You’re out of practice,” Bucky pointed out. “You don’t have people sleep over.” And that was when it dawned on him what Steve meant by ‘be here’. He’d said it after the sex, after he’d decided their experiment was a success. It was the most genuine thing he’d said the night before, and he’d said it because he didn’t want Bucky to leave in the middle of the night.
His eyebrows furrowed as he looked at Steve.
“No, I don’t.” Steve agreed to it like it wasn’t a big deal, bringing his travel mug over to the door and setting it on a hallway console table that looked like it was next to the entrance exactly for that reason. Bucky ended up following him out of politeness, because Steve was putting on his outdoor shoes and there was only one way to take that.
Steve’s skills: fucking and getting people out of his space without actively booting them out the door.
“I can tell this is your way of kicking me out,” Bucky told him, shoving his feet into his shoes. “I’m ok with that. I’d be ok if you just asked me to leave.”
“Yeah, I am,” Steve admitted. “But I also offered for you to come with me, so I don’t want to get rid of you entirely. I have just a routine.”
Maybe it was more like – Steve: awkward fuck.
“It’s alright, I have to go home to grab my stuff if I’m going to make it to yoga with my friend Nat.”
“Yoga,” Steve mused, locking the door behind them. “That explains a lot.”
“Oh yeah?” Bucky questioned, matching Steve’s flirtatious tone. “What about you? I don’t know a lot of people who can bend like that.”
“Me?” Steve grinned that dirty smile he had when he was about to say something sexual. “Oh, I just have a lot of practice.”
Well, Bucky had asked.
He thought it had been strange that he hadn’t heard from Steve in more than a week, but strange in that way that he just assumed that Steve was busy doing other things and other people. A paranoid part of him wondered if Steve was weirded out by their emotionally charged sex, but Steve had a brutal sort of honesty to him so if that was the case he would have been direct about it.
Bucky would have heard about it.
He didn’t think it was that strange after he walked into the board room for a meeting Stark called, taking in how uneasy half the people in the room looked, and watched as Stark grinned at the front of the room and said: “Ok, new idea! Steve’s been working on it all week. I had to send him home to sleep it off. You should have seen him an hour ago, he looked wrecked. Never seen anything like it.”
Bucky had a flash of what Steve had looked like on Friday night, but it was squashed by his extreme aggravation at Stark.
“What d’you think?” Stark questioned with pride as he unveiled whole new blueprints, Jesus Christ. A heads up would have been nice.
Bucky wasn’t sure if he was surprised when Steve called him that night or not. He’d had time to cool off and think about things rationally, including the fact that Stark had waved him off, unconcerned, when Bucky had reminded him of the cost.
And, well, Bucky liked being paid.
“This is a professional call,” Steve said right off the bat. “Now that I’m awake I wanted to know if you have any questions about the new lobby design or if you’re thinking of quitting.”
“It’s not that bad,” Bucky replied. “Most of the structure we’ve put in place is still the same and it’s still early enough that the changes we have to make will take a week at most, not push the schedule back months.”
“You’re surprisingly chill about this,” Steve pointed out. “Most people would be pulling out their hair by now.”
Bucky shrugged, even though Steve couldn’t see him over the phone. “While I don’t mind a bit of hair pulling, I’d prefer to keep it to the bedroom so I don’t go prematurely bald.”
“That’s unprofessional, Mr. Barnes.” Steve’s tone was dropping into that cheerfully flirty one he had when he was about to give Bucky a boner using just a few words.
“Well I’m sitting here on my couch, you’re intimately familiar with the one, only wearing a pair of pajama pants. It’s hard to think professionally when my work day ended three hours ago.”
“What are you doing tonight?”
“Watching a baseball game and thinking about what to eat. So, I don’t have glamorous plans for the evening. How about you?”
Steve hummed. “I’m planning to go out in an hour. I feel like I haven’t had sex in a month.” He then paused with a click of his tongue. “If I don’t see anyone I like at the bar, do you mind if I stop by later?”
“You can stop by later even if you do find someone to fuck you at the bar,” Bucky answered him, flipping through the channels casually. “Once isn’t going to undo a week of stress. I’ll even make you breakfast in the morning.”
Steve was silent.
“Ok, what did I say wrong?” Bucky questioned.
“Absolutely nothing,” Steve replied, and he sounded surprised and maybe a little shy. “I’d like that.”
“Ok, good. Whatever you’d like.”
“I’m not sure what I’d like – it’s like I have this vague idea but I can’t put my finger on what it is right this moment. I want to make someone take it, I think. I’ve been fucked enough metaphorically this week.”
“Well good luck to Brooklyn in taking your dick.”
“Yeah,” Steve agreed.
Bucky opened his door an hour later, not entirely surprised to see Steve on his doorstep, but it hadn’t been something he expected either. Somehow, for Steve, it was completely unpredictable. The idea of Steve wanting Bucky over all the other people in Brooklyn made him laugh, charmed and pleased, as Steve’s hand closed around the front of his shirt to pull him in for a kiss.
Steve paused and looked at him, his eyes wide enough that Bucky wondered what was going through his mind.
“Hi,” Bucky said, leaning forward those last few inches and kissing Steve instead. “I noticed you didn’t have time to go anywhere else.”
Steve’s mouth parted as he looked at Bucky and then he shook off whatever had startled him. “I’m expecting at least three times out of you before you make me breakfast.”
“Oh, at least,” Bucky agreed.
“October of 2014,” Steve said. He’d been looking at Bucky for a few minutes with one cheek pressed against the pillow. Bucky would have assumed he was taking a nap, but his eyes were open.
“Hmmm?” Bucky made a noise in the back of his throat as he rolled over to look at Steve.
“This isn’t a guess. You were wearing a black shirt, see-through and sexy. Your friends kept gesturing for you to approach me, and when you finally did I told you that you should have come over sooner, that being shy was a waste of time. You laughed, the same way you laughed last night when you saw me… warm and flirtatious and not at all shy… and then you kissed me and your nose bumped up against mine at first.”
“Oh,” Bucky said, stunned. That was it. That was exactly how Bucky remembered it. “That was definitely the start of it.”
“I don’t…” Steve cut himself off, impatient. “It’s not the sex that’s important. I just remembered you by the way you laughed.”
“That line was horrible, and I’m not that shy.” Bucky snorted. “Honestly. Just admit that I was mediocre bathroom sex. Not awful. Not good. Not memorable. I just kind of blend in. I’ve accepted it. I’ve given myself a mental participation trophy, and... you know... if you wanted to have one made for me I would probably display it on my shelf at this point."
“I hope you weren’t being placating when you said the bed sex was rocking your world recently, because if you actually came over for ok sex, then that’s kind of sad.”
“Bucky,” Steve interrupted him with a terrifying amount of sincerity, getting up on his elbow so they could make proper eye contact. “I want a relationship with you.”
Bucky stared at him in shock. “What?”
“You laughed at me three years ago and I can remember it. It might not mean anything to you, but it’s significant to me. I like the way you laugh, and I like making you laugh even more. I want that permanently more than I want anything or anyone else. It’s what I want.”
Bucky continued to look at him. He thought about the pleased way Steve responded to him. He thought about the way Steve did make him laugh, and how his brain seemed content just to be around him. He thought of Steve trying to seduce him with candles and a home cooked meal and how well it had worked. He thought of their friendship, and how he considered Steve to be fantastic friendship material, but how it always seemed like too small a role for Steve. “Ok,” Bucky responded. “Yes. Let’s try that.”