Some things are easier to say in the dark. To explain how you feel, for instance, or what you want. In the dark, you can assume you have the other person’s attention—you have to; there’s no way to tell otherwise. You don’t know what their eyes are really doing so you can pretend they’re always on you. There’s a reason confessionals are shadow boxes, that there’s a veil between you and the priest: it’s easier to believe that somebody’s listening when you can’t see their face.
It’s like that, sometimes, when they’re in bed together. It feels like a confessional space.
Because it’s easier to ask for what he wants there. He can say it plainly and without pretense. Eager, if he wants to; plaintive, if he’d rather. Bucky can beg to be fucked, can plead and whine and cut the air with his teeth until somebody’s hands are on him—Steve’s, usually; sometimes Tony’s—stringing him deep in the sheets and holding him open, sinking in, and feel not a flicker of shame. In the darkness, he wants, and that’s enough.
There are some things, though, that he wishes he could see. Like the grin on Tony’s face that he’s sure is there; one he can hear sometimes, can reach out and touch. Kissing Tony is a challenge when he gets like that, all smiley and dopey—and that’s before he gets off. After, when he’s lying between them, Steve nestled against his back and Bucky petting his chest, stroking the rough lines of his throat, he won’t stop chuckling, giving up these pleased little sounds that never fail to give Bucky’s cock the wrong idea.
“You’ll hurt him,” Steve whispers, his fingers snagging Bucky’s inside Tony’s thigh.
“I won’t. He’s still wet from before, aren’t you? Hmmm? Steve fucked you open real good, didn’t he?”
“Buck, you have to be careful, he—”
“Stop talking about him like he’s not here,” Tony hums. He spreads his legs and lies back, pressing his cheek to Steve’s and making room for their hands to join him somewhere more interesting. “And quit cockblocking me, Rogers. You had your turn. I’m down for somebody else’s.”
He wishes he could see Tony’s face when they have him like that, pinned between them, Steve mouthing soft words against his neck while Bucky lets him have it, Tony’s fists in his hair, his cock bouncing hot between them with every move Bucky makes.
“Oh fuck that’s good,” Tony hisses. “Fuck, that feels so fucking good.”
They can’t kiss like this, he and Steve; the angle’s wrong and he can’t get his head over Stark’s shoulder. But they can touch, clutch each other’s hands and wrap Tony in tighter, tight. Hold him still and just make him take.
“Bastards,” Tony spits, his hips trying like crazy to move faster, get Bucky in harder. “You giant cheating bastards. This is so not fucking fair.”
“You love it,” Steve says, his voice vinegar and spice. “You’re so hard you can’t see straight.”
“How would you know?”
The sound of a kiss, a second, a third. “Because you’re shaking,” Steve says. “All over, like your whole body’s an earthquake. Isn’t he, Buck?”
Bucky ducks his head and takes his turn, licks the taste of Steve from Tony’s mouth. “Yeah. From the inside out.”
“Be that as it may,” Tony says, “he would much prefer to come with a hand on his dick, thanks. You all have four. Surely one can be spared.”
“You’ve got two,” Bucky says. “Do your own dirty work.”
Oh, the look on Tony’s face then: peevish arousal, Bucky bets, mixed nicely with desperation. “I hate both of you,” he pants, “and as soon as I get off on your fucking gorgeous dick, Sergeant Barnes, and oh, fuck, on your hand, Steve, shit, yeah, a little faster, fuck, fuck, just like”—he sucks in a breath—“I am so gonna do something about that.”
Bucky wants to be able to see Steve’s eyes burning at him from over Tony’s shoulder because they do, they must at times like this, when Tony loses it between them and gives up the most delicious fucking sound, halfway between a groan and a gasp. He always feels Steve watching him, in moments like that, as the squeeze of Tony’s body drags another one out of him, too.
“You’re beautiful,” Steve says as they lie there in a slick, sweaty heap. “It kills me, you know, how beautiful the two of you are.”
“Hey, Captain Sap,” Tony says, “quit mooning and kiss your Bucky. He’s earned it.”
Outside this room, in the light of everyday, there’s still so much to be afraid of. There’s so much that Bucky doesn’t understand yet, that he’s got to learn. In some ways, the world’s changed a lot since he was free to move around it-a new world order that’s tenuous, fragile; old enemies now friends and vice versa. He can’t wrap his head around a lot of the tech and everybody in the compound wants to talk to him; nobody’s afraid. It was easier when they were. Quieter. Now, the whole place is sensory overload: too much information at once.
It’s only been three months since he got his brain back, though. It’s gonna take him some time.
He wants to see everything the future has to offer. The people, the places. The everyday crush of a crowd on the subway. He misses that. He wants to be able to pick up and go as he pleases, drive out to the beach if he wants to, drag Stevie and Tony behind. Watch them stand in water over their knees and kiss and kiss until they turn back towards the sand, their arms open, calling for him to come in.
Bucky wants all of it, every red cent, but for now, there are times when he needs to retreat from all of it everything and narrow the world to this bed, these men, this warm, familiar dark.
“Look,” Tony says, “if you don’t kiss him, Rogers, then I will.”
Steve laughs and scuttles across the bed, clambering over Tony and sliding around Bucky, settling big and warm against his far side.
“Hey, Stark,” Steve says, his breath suddenly hot beneath Bucky’s jaw. “C’mere. There’s no reason he can’t have both.”
“God, I love the way you think,” Tony says. “Have I mentioned that? Also the way you talk and the way you suck my cock, but right now, let’s go with think.”
Bucky reaches for them both and they sink into him, sighing, their mouths trading time against his.
“I love you,” he says. Or maybe he thinks it. Well. Someday, in the darkness, he’ll say it out loud.