His soulmate’s name is Bucky. James Buchanan ‘Call me Bucky’ Barnes. He’s thirty-three. He’s a teacher. A kindergarten teacher. He drinks his coffee with almond milk, and looks really, really fucking good both in and out of his shirt.
Steve learns all this because it’s polite, and because it’s a ten-minute walk back to his apartment.
Once inside said apartment, talking is momentarily shelved in lieu of the single greatest makeout session Steve has ever participated in.
Two things to note:
One: Bucky is a phenomenal kisser.
Two: Making out with your soulmate is nothing at all like making out with anyone else. Rationally, there’s nothing different, but there’s just something in the knowing. Bucky is his and he is Bucky’s and they are, quite literally, made for each other.
It’s not entirely perfect. Heads bump and elbows knock and Steve gets tangled in his shirt in his excitement, but things he might normally be self-conscious about don’t seem to matter. Bucky is his soulmate. Steve’s waited his entire life for him.
And no matter how earnestly clumsy he is, Bucky meets him in the middle with an adoring smile and hands that touch Steve with a gentle kind of awe. Like he can’t believe Steve is here. Like he doesn’t believe he gets to have this.
Steve kisses the tips of his fingers. There’s ink smudged around his thumb and a constellation of freckles right below, where palm meets wrist. From there, Steve maps the mark on Bucky’s forearm. It takes up so much space, the text dark and defined and unlike Steve’s simple ‘Hi’, impossible to ignore.
For Steve’s whole life, he’s stared at his mark and known that he could belong to anyone. Bucky… Bucky must always have known. Hell of a first impression.
They stay like that for what feels like hours. The two of them, shirtless and comfortable, exploring all the tender places they like to be touched. There’s a spot below Bucky’s ear that makes him sigh, boneless and blissful. There's another right above his hip.
He says Steve’s name like the chorus of a song and Steve, feeling whole and complete for the first time, swears he has never, will never, love anyone the way he knows in his bones he loves Bucky.
They don’t fuck. Not yet. There’s time for that, and while they both crave contact, closeness, it’s too much, too fast. Dormant parts of their hearts and minds are waking from lifelong slumber. In time, Steve will be able to feel the things Bucky feels. He’ll know, always and forever, that Bucky is close, no matter how far apart they are. Soulbonds are magical, wondrous things, but they are private. To be shared and cherished only between the bonded.
After so long alone, Steve is both excited and a little terrified. Bucky is too. He can feel that much already. They’re in this together.
The sun sets and the spell pauses, unbroken but put on hold as the mundanities of life creep up on them both. They make calls. Steve’s parents are dead, so he phones Sam and blubbers down the line while Sam, who is with Clint and what sounds like the entire firehouse, shout and cheer and make loud and unsubtle comments on how often he and Bucky have fucked yet. Bucky calls his sister and finishes the conversation with “Don’t tell mom and dad. Not yet. I wanna talk to them first.”
Steve balks at that. At the idea Bucky is somehow reluctant to share this with his family. His face must fall. Bucky drops the phone and crawls into Steve’s lap. “I was three when I asked my mom how you fuck someone with a pineapple cactus,” he says mildly. “They’ve been terrified of who I was going to be bonded with ever since I was born.”
Steve’s gaze flicks to the mark on Bucky’s wrist. “I’m never living it down, am I?”
Bucky laughs. Kisses him, and laughs. “Probably not. Though I don’t think a Brooklyn firefighter was ever a consideration when they were making lists of people who might threaten to shove spiked plantlife into various orifices.”
“They had lists?” Steve whimpers. Oh god, his future in-laws hate him already and have done for thirty years and that’s officially a record because who manages to do that?!
Bucky hums and rests his head on Steve’s shoulder. His hair is a lot longer than any guy Steve’s ever been with. It’s dark and long enough to brush his shoulders and it’s so soft. He runs his fingers through it, presses them lightly to Bucky’s skull and delights at the way it makes Bucky moans happily.
“They got pretty elaborate. One theory was that you were an escaped convict on the run and you’d built yourself a secret hiding place in the fresh fruit section of Trader Joes.”
“That’s… oddly specific.”
“They’ve both got over active imaginations,” Bucky shrugs. “They’ll like you, though. You’re very respectable.”
“I climb into burning buildings for a living.” He’s not sure what Bucky really makes of that. He’s never had anyone he’s afraid of losing, not for years, and not outside the job.
In time, he’ll know without asking.
His hands wrap around Steve’s waist. Holds on tight. That probably says everything that needs to be said. “I said respectable, not sane. And that’s not all you do. You rescue cats from trees!”
“It’s usually the same cat,” Steve admits. “I’m sorry I’m not a pineapple loving criminal.”
“I know, it’s terribly disappointing,” Bucky smiles. He’s got a beautiful smile. Steve traces it with his fingers, commits it to memory. “I do own a cactus, though.”
The ring of Bucky’s laugh brings sunshine to Steve’s heart. He’s gone. One hundred percent Bucky’s, heart and soul.
This soulmate thing?
Pretty fucking awesome.