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If Only He Knew

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One of the worst days of Bucky’s life was the day Steve’s ma died. A lot happened, emotions were realized, things were said. It was overall draining. It was a sad event, and he felt the pain almost as much as Steve. And they both needed each other to get through it.

One of the best days of Bucky’s life was the day of Steve’s ma’s funeral. Sure, that didn’t make much sense, but not much did anymore.

The worst day had to happen first, though. The two boys-not boys, men-were crowding Sarah Rogers’ hospital bed in some kind of desperation. The doctor had come and gone, allowing them all the time in the world to say goodbye. Bucky glanced around uneasily, practically daring with his eyes the other patients of the TB ward to infect Steve. He knew they couldn’t stay long, but they also couldn’t bear to leave.

“You be alright, Steve. I know you will.” Sarah assured, quiet but firm. “James won’t let you get into too much trouble, right?”

Turning his attention back to the bed, he grinned as charmingly as he could. “Believe me, tha’s all I been tryna do since I met the punk.”

“Ma. I don’t have a job, and I won’t be able to get one doin’ anything worthwhile.” The words came out strong and factual, but Bucky could hear just how panicked he really was. “Please, don’t leave me. Not alone, not yet.”

“Angel, do you think I have a choice? I wouldn’t be leaving this life yet if I could control it. And I’m not leaving you alone, the two of you have each other.” She gestured between Steve and Bucky slowly. “Always have.” Her voice started to get scratchy from overuse. She needed to stop before she coughed up blood again, or worse her whole lung. The doctor passed by, checking in, taking her temperature and feeling her pulse. It was important to keep her from overexertion.

Neither of the men moved from their places at her bedside, even as the doctor recommended they let her rest. Instead, they drew the curtains around her shut and cemented their asses on hard plastic chairs to wait it out. Bucky tried to feel bad for Sarah, and he did, but his attention kept floating over to Steve. Worrying about him. Fretting over how he was going to be able to live on his own, with just a small amount of savings from his mother. The man got sick every winter, for Christ’s sakes. Asthma medicine alone would knock him completely off his feet.

“Buck.” Steve called him back to attention, and it wasn’t immediately obvious why at first. Until he realized just how quiet Sarah had gotten. Her chest still rose and fell gently, but her eyes had fallen shut and she was otherwise perfectly still.

“You want to stay to the end?”

Steve nodded.

“Okay.” Bucky scraped his chair right over to Steve’s. Debating for a moment, then deciding to just go for it, he threw an arm over thin bony shoulders as casually as he could manage. Steve leaned into it, thank god. He found himself noticing things he’d never thought to look for before, even though they’d been right in front of him the whole time. They way his eyelashes curved down into his eyes, even when they were wide open. The little scar in between his eyebrows he’d gotten in god-knows-which fist fight. Little things he never had a reason to observe before.

And then, Steve was crying, silently. He leaned forward in his chair and pulled Sarah’s limp hand to his face and hid behind it. Tears streamed and plunked onto her skin. Bucky paused and checked- no more shaky rise and fall of her chest. It was quiet, given her ailment. She was gone. In her sleep.

He took a moment to murmur a prayer, mostly for Steve but also to honor Sarah. She had been a kind woman and he felt that he owed her for all that she’d done for Steve.

Once he finished reciting, he too leaned forward and wrapped both arms properly around Steve. They wouldn’t have another moment alone for a while, not once the doctors came back to take her away. It broke his heart, to feel his best friend’s pain radiating off him in waves. He weeped openly, and those tears causing a burning sensation to prick behind his own eyes. But Bucky remembered what Sarah had asked of him, knew it went much deeper than just keeping Steve out of fights and in good finances. Bucky needed to be the strong one, at least for the time it took to mourn and grieve. He couldn’t cry, not because of Steve and certainly not in front of him.

The doctor did come to check again, offering condolences when he discovered the two. Steve composed himself quickly, not comfortable crying in front of other people. Bucky tried to get Steve the hell out of there as quickly as possible, hating the isolated TB wing and everything about it. He wasn’t trying to get Steve sick too. They went to the offices, where the doctor already had papers and things for Steve to sign.

They walked home, Steve’s home. It was quiet for a long time.

“Gotta visit the funeral home,” Steve mumbled. “Get everything arranged.”

“Don’t worry about that today. We’ll go first thing tomorrow.” Bucky denied gently.

“We?”

“Yeah, we. Y’think I’m gonna let you go through this alone?”

Another long pause. And then-

“Ya gonna stay the night?”

Bucky forced himself to think about it before answering. “If you want me to. I get if you wanna be alone right now.” He couldn’t imagine Steve going home to his shell of an apartment, moving his stuff from the living room to the only bedroom because it’s previous inhabitant was dead. Steve, fixing a small dinner for himself, crying over it. Steve, waking up alone. He should never have to wake up alone, he should always be surrounded by someone who cared, someone who lo-

“Nah, Buck. I’ll be okay. You go home tonight.”

Well, okay then.

It took a lot for him not to argue, but if Steve thought that’s what he needed, he should respect it.

“Alright. Listen, if you really wanna be alone tonight, I gotta tell you somethin’ first.” They were on Steve’s block. Bucky grabbed Steve’s arm, facing him so they had no choice but to be practically nose-to-nose. Something in his chest tried to nudge him even closer, but he couldn’t in good conscience. He pushed it down, like he always did.

“What is it?” Steve sounded tired. Great.

“Just- don’t get too worried about the future and stuff. Cause, I mean, you heard your ma.” Bucky cringed at himself for bringing it up. “I’m here to look out for you, not just ‘cause she asked, or ‘cause you need it, but ‘cause I want to. Steve, ya gotta know that you’re not alone and that- well, y’know. I guess I gotta tell ya that...I love you, Steve.” He finished quietly.

There it was. Out there in the open, for the first time. They didn’t say that. It wasn’t something that best friends said. At least not out loud where anyone else could hear. But Steve needed to know that he was still loved. And maybe it was important that Bucky get it off his chest.

At first, there was no response. Steve just kind of stood there, all red rimmed eyes and mouth open in a pout he probably wasn’t even conscious of.

“Buck...don’t say stuff like that. People’ll think you’re a queer.” He turned away and started walking back down the street. Bucky didn’t let him get far before grabbing him again.

“Well, you don’t, do ya?”

Push it down.

“No, but you gotta be more careful. Listen, I’ll see you later. Tomorrow, yeah?”

And then he was gone, disappearing into his apartment building and leaving Bucky feeling like an idiot.

Chapter Text

The best day of Bucky’s life started with a funeral.

The burial was small, quiet on a grey day. Most days were pretty grey in Brooklyn, though. He was dressed in his Sunday best, which also wasn’t anything to write home about. His own family stood near him, but Bucky couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge them. Sarah’s small group of friends and fellow nurses swarmed up close to the casket and offered their last respects, crying openly.

Her son stood removed from the rest, disengaged and distracted. From another person’s perspective, he looked to be deep in mourning or prayer. But Bucky knew, it was probably much more than that. Even the disappointing, not-quite-raining weather dulled the shine of his blond hair. Or maybe it was everything else he was going through.

After the reception, Bucky’s folks offered to give Steve a ride in their old car, but Bucky insisted he was going to walk him home. It took a while to catch up, he ran outta there so fast. They exchanged a few words, Bucky offered to stay over again. Like when they were kids. He retrieved the spare key from its hiding place when Steve couldn’t find it, and he refused the offer yet again.

“Thank you, Buck. But I can get by on my own.”

Bucky breathed in, clapping a hand on the small curve between Steve’s neck and shoulder in what he hoped was a butch, friendly gesture.

“Thing is, you don’t have to. I’m with you till the end of the line, pal.”

Steve huffed out a small laugh through his nose, smiling a little.

“Alright, Buck. God, you’re such a sap. Get in here, we’ll throw the couch cushions down and talk for hours. Maybe if I’m lucky you can put varnish on my nails and we’ll gossip about the boys at school.”

“Shove it, punk.” Bucky grinned and pushed his way into the apartment, predictably dark with evidence of a bachelor inhabitant. It had been a week and a half since anyone else had even set foot inside- so it smelled like him, too. Bucky shoved that thought aside forever and plopped himself down on the familiar flat couch.

Steve murmured something about not having any spare clothes he could wear, which he waved off. Not like he had never come home the morning after in the same rags he’d been seen in before. Steve also reminded him about his job interview tomorrow, which he scoffed at and promised he’d just get up a little earlier.

“You tryna get me to leave, Rogers?”

He shook his head like a kid caught in a lie. “Just lookin’ out for you since you seem to be preoccupied with me.” Then he was sitting down in the small space between Bucky and the arm of the couch, still not even taking it up completely.

“You’re welcome.” Bucky responded simply and leaned slightly away.

Steve pulled his legs up and curled them onto Bucky’s thighs- something he would have been comfortable with five years ago, or at any point before then, but now…. Now he was fine with it, too. However close Steve wanted to get to him, Bucky would accept, but nothing more. He couldn’t want more, couldn’t ask for any affection beyond what Steve wanted.

Push it down.

“Ya hungry?” Bucky shoved Steve’s ankles off and strode into the kitchen area a few feet away from them. For a few moments, he just walked around opening and banging cabinet doors. There wasn’t much to work with, but maybe he could fix something with those beans and the potatoes he saw-

“Buck,” his voice sounded small and soft. Unbearably so.

He turned to look, immediately worried. “What is it?”

Steve hadn’t moved a muscle, but his eyes begged for Bucky to do something. What that was, he had no clue. Instead of standing there like a fool, he strode over next to the couch and sat on his ankles, on the floor, to look up at Steve.

Maybe it was the funeral, maybe he was upset. He probably missed his ma...but there wasn’t anything Bucky could do about that. Except maybe distract him.

“What’s wrong?” His hands automatically found their way to rest on Steve’s knees.

“Where do you go? I mean, whenever you aren’t talking it seems like you just disappear into your own little world. Ya been really distracted lately, Buck. What is it?”

The question surprised him. He wasn’t even aware that he’d been acting like that- but Steve had noticed. How was he supposed to explain that the only logical explanation for his behavior was sitting right in front of him, patiently awaiting an answer? Staring down at him between his legs, expectantly, almost like-

Push it down.

“See, even right there. Just now, you got this look in your eye like you’re tryna concentrate on somethin’. What is it?”

Bucky’s mouth opened and then closed again. He couldn’t be honest- he valued Steve’s prevalent presence in his life too much, and if he was honest, there’d be no way he would stick around. He glanced around, as if the right lie was just sitting next to him waiting to be discovered.

“Bucky,” god, he has to stop sayin’ my name like that , “what you said the other day… ‘bout lovin’ me and stuff…”

No no no no no-

“Were you just sayin’ it cause my mom had just died, and you were bein’ a good friend? Or was it somethin’ else?”

Lie.

“Whatcha accusin’ me of, Steve? You sayin’ I’m some kinda fairy?” He leaned away, putting his full weight on his crossed ankles and removed his hands from Steve’s legs. Of the two of them, who would ever think it’d be Bucky to fall for Steve, and not the other way around? Bucky didn’t look the part, didn’t talk the part; hell, with the way Steve kept lookin’ at him anyone else would assume it.

And he had the nerve to just shrug. “Not accusing you of anything. Just askin’ if that’s what’s on your mind.”

“Got nothin’ on my mind, ‘cept worry for you. Gettin’ too many ideas in that head ‘a yours.” And suddenly old Bucky was back, smiling and charming as easy as breathing. He bounced back up, ruffled Steve’s short hair up a little, and crossed back over to the kitchen. “Listen, if you’re not hungry you don’t gotta eat, but I’m starved so let’s go to the store ‘fore it closes and get some real food.”

And so they did, buying food with Bucky’s spare change and going right back home to cook it. On the way back, Bucky tried not to stare too wistfully at the bar next door, but he knew he failed. If there was any day to get sloppy and forget about life for a moment, it was that day. He knew Steve wouldn’t bat an eye if he went in, would follow and pretend to enjoy himself and take Bucky home when he lost all concept of limits. He knew Steve wouldn’t tell him outright that he didn’t want to go out, and that infuriated Bucky. Who gave him the right to be so selfless, and understanding, and tolerant?

“Found my keys.”

And then Bucky knew, when Steve was staring up at him from under those sinfully long lashes, ghost of a smirk on his lips and genuine friendly adoration radiating off him, that Steve didn’t need someone to give him any rights to be any of those things. The bastard was born with them, and Bucky’d just have to take him any way he presented himself.

“Y’gonna stand here making googly eyes at me, or y’gonna unlock the door with ‘em?” He rearranged his voice to sound like syrup and sugar, even through the rough exterior of his words.

His secret cracked open the metaphorical door a tiny bit, peeking out to see if the coast was clear. It never was, though, never would be, and Bucky’s conscious mind wrestled the door closed again.

“Yeah, yeah.” Steve rolled his eyes and turned towards the apartment to fiddle with the keys. “Just thought you’d be proud ‘a me. Told ya I could take care of myself.”  

“Well there’s not much to be proud of when you’re barely toein’ the line at responsible adult. Cross over and maybe then I’ll give you some praise.”

They continued bantering long after the subject had lost any significance, each trying to one up the other. Even at the dinner table they bickered, just like how Bucky’s parents had done the night before. And yet, they moved and coexisted in tandem, harmoniously, with years of experience together under their belts. It was easy to get dinner prepared, cooked, eaten, and cleared away whilst focusing primarily on teasing each other. Bucky imagined this was be what his life would be like if things were different- his best friend playing more than one role in the three act play of his life.

But he couldn’t even entertain that idea, for fear of ruining everything and realizing everything he was going to miss out on. That would just depress him.

Chapter Text

Once they got the dishes cleaned and cleared away, it was finally quiet. The music upstairs had stopped, the cars had been parked, the neighbor kids had gone to bed. Bucky felt like he could think again.

He had dragged the couch cushions over next to Steve’s small bed, where he was still sleeping. Why he didn’t just move into the empty bedroom- Bucky understood. It’d take time. The flat little mattress was only a couple inches higher and slightly more comfortable than the cushions were. Of course, the full size bed in the other room was big enough for both of them, and undoubtedly softer. Maybe Steve wouldn’t be so hesitant to sleep there if he didn’t have to be alone, if he had Bucky to make him laugh and keep him from remembering and hold him if he needed-

“What’re you thinking about?” Suddenly Steve turned to face him, nose just a few inches away from his own. His cheeks had a flush- hiding his freckles. Those addictive freckles he felt he could stare at all day.

“Nothin’. Tryna sleep.”

Liar. Dirty, filthy liar.

“C’mon, I wanna know. Way your eyebrows are all knotted up, ya gotta have somethin’ on your mind. Or someone. Buck, you know we aren’t s’posed to keep secrets from each other.”

“Well there are some things you don’t even tell your best mate.” Bucky kicked the too-small blanket back over his feet where it had slipped up. The moonlight illuminated the way Steve’s lips curled up in his snort of “yeah, right”.

“C’mon, where was that kinda thinking when we were younger and you couldn’t keep yourself from tellin’ me you finally shacked up with Elizabeth?”

He had a point- but this time, it wasn’t a girl, and it wasn’t his first time, and it wasn’t even anything to be excited about. Nevermind, Steve didn’t have a point.

“This is worse, Stevie. This isn’t somethin’ good. ‘S the kinda thing you only tell someone who you know is goin’ through the same thing.”

Steve knew. He had to- between what he said earlier and what he was trying to pry out of Bucky now, he had to know. Even his eyes said he knew, some kind of understanding deeply embedded in that line between his eyebrows and the fixation of their gaze on Bucky’s nose. So why wasn’t he saying anything outright?

“Y’never know. Maybe I am. Probably not, if it’s girl trouble.” He smiled sadly at his own expense. “But you know I’m not one to judge.”

And then Bucky’s mind supplied him with just about every memory he’d ever had of walking through DUMBO with Steve. He lived right on the edge of the community, the outskirts. Of course there were plenty of queens and crossdressers and fairies alike there. Every once in a while, once they gave Bucky a glance over and decided he was straight, they would turn to Steve. They’d call him sweet names and ask if he was doing anything, maybe he’d like to stop in for a drink or catch a show later. And Steve would always smile, polite as ever, make some excuse and promise to come in some other time. He never did, of course, but he was never rude or prejudiced. Even complimented some of the more convincing queens on their getups. He never returned their flirtations, but he wasn’t harsh or crude towards them.

Steve wasn’t one to judge. He treated strange men on the street with just as much respect as anyone else.

But how was he going to feel when he found out that about his best friend, whom he’d spent many hours in intimate situations with, who was currently laying six inches from him and whose breath was tickling his cheek? It was a betrayal, there was no other way he could describe it. He was sick, all the other people said it about people like him, and Steve was trying to get him to admit it like it was just a little secret. Bucky needed help, he needed to learn how to suppress it, just like he had for the past ten years.

“Don’t push it, Steve. Tellin’ you, you’ll be better off not knowin’. Nothin’ good can come from me tellin’ you.” And Bucky could practically feel the disappointment dragging Steve’s thin shoulders down. That was fine. As long as he didn’t say it out loud, they could still be friends and keep going how they were. Besides, it’s not like Steve didn’t already know- what, was he tryna be slick and ask just the right question so I’d accidentally spill the beans? C’mon, Rogers, you’re no interrogator- so there was no harm done in pushing it down.

“Ya don’t gotta go through it alone, Buck. It’s just like you said earlier. I’m with you till the end of the line,” Steve reached out and carefully placed his hand on Bucky’s bicep, like he was tentatively trying to pet a skittish stray cat.

It hurt. Everything about lying to Steve and the secret he kept hurt him to his very core. He closed his eyes and felt Steve's delicate palm float down over his ribs and come to rest at his hip. Bucky tried, really tried, to not lean up into that touch. And sure, he stiffened up like a piece of plywood, but at least he didn't show any signs of enjoyment from the gentle petting. 

"Steve, I know you can probably guess what it is...so just get on with it." Bucky's eyes trained on Steve's, attempting to read him.

"What do you mean? Get on with what?"

"You're gonna ask me to leave, right?" Hell, if he were Steve or any other guy, he'd have kicked him out long ago.

"Buck...you're an absolute idiot," Steve sighed and then leaned in close, so close Bucky could feel his breath tickling his cheek. "You really think I hate you or something just 'cause you like men?" 

It was the first time Bucky'd ever heard it said out loud, and it made him really wish Steve wasn't forcing him to confront the truth.

"Of course I do. Why wouldn't I?"

"Look at where I am, Buck."

Okay. Bucky suddenly remembered that Steve's hand was on his hip, and his face was mere inches from his own. Oh.

Bucky should have guessed. He really should, but he was just so terrified of what would happen when he was wrong. It was just easier to suppress it and pretend there was nothing going on. 

And it was wrong- everyone else said so. Bucky couldn't in good conscience let Steve ruin his life like this. 

"Don't, Steve." He licked his lips. "Don't do this to yourself." 

Steve groaned, breathed in deeply for a second, and then he was pressing his lips directly onto Bucky's. They burned the delicate skin on his mouth, Steve was like fire. A skinny, stubborn little fire that refused to burn out and it lit a similar one inside Bucky. He knew it was wrong, but that just made it so much better. Arousal flowed from deep in his core outward, flooding every nerve in his body. He needed to stop. He couldn't stop. 

Bucky reciprocated, sliding off the couch cushions and onto the mattress, pressing his entire length onto Steve's. Every insult and slur that he'd ever heard, even thrown out himself, was whispered back into his own ears. He was dirty, he was sick, he was disgusting, submitting to the devil.

Except he wasn't. They just thought that he was. No, what he was doing, it was good. It felt so good, to kiss someone and actually feel it. To have someone lick his mouth open and take it, like it was rightfully theirs- how could this be wrong? He had a right to love just like anybody else, and damn if he wasn't going to take it now. 

Bucky kissed right back, taking one of Steve's hands and sliding it up onto the pillow. It was beautiful, the way Steve stretched out underneath him and panted breathy little gasps onto his lips. They breathed each other in, suffocating in the sheer urgency of it all. Steve moaned a little, directly into Bucky's mouth and it sent blood rushing so far south he could feel his pulse in his groin. The sounds the two of them made in the otherwise silent night were a musical melody Bucky thought he'd never tire of hearing.

He pressed his hips down, coming up for air in a gasp of pleasure. The kissing was perfect, but he was crossing over into dangerous territory by doing this- by emulating sex in such a blatant way. Steve moaned out again, god, if I could be deaf to everything but that one sound, and threw his head back. 

"Buck-Bucky!" He gasped out and placed his free hand on his chest, pushing gently. "'S too much."

Everything paused. For a moment, Bucky just stared down at him, trying to figure out what he meant.

"Should I stop?" he murmured.

Steve was quiet for a moment, and then he nodded.

He didn't want this. He had changed his mind, he'd seen what it was really like and realized it wasn't right. 

"I can hear you overthinking, Bucky." Steve warned. "Don't. I still want you, I just didn't want to do too much all at once. We can't do that just yet."

Bucky sighed, resting his forehead against Steve's. "Okay..." He replayed Steve's words in his mind. "So if we're not going to do that just yet...does that mean we will eventually?"

Steve smirked in response. "Think we need to talk about this- figure out exactly what this is."

"You're right," Bucky slid off Steve and back onto his sad little couch cushions. "We should talk tomorrow. I just gotta tell you this now, though. I love you, Steve. Whatever you wanna do next, with us, I'll still love you."

Steve smiled fully, leaned down and pressed a kiss to Bucky's cheek. "I love you, too."

Chapter Text

Bucky let out a shaky exhale, snuffing out the cigarette on the concrete wall outside Steve’s door. The smoke clouded around him, suffocating his already occupied mind.

What if everything from last night was some kinda fucked up ruse? What if Steve hates me? What if I’m queer and he’s not and he tells people and I get-

“Whatcha doin’ just standin’ out here?” The door swung open and there he was.

Bucky swallowed and brushed a hand through his hair. “Sorry, I was- how’d you know I was here?”

“Saw you coming from the window. You comin’ in or what?”

Steve didn’t seem to be in a good mood. Bucky thought about leaving, having this talk later. But that might only lead Steve to do all those things he feared him doing- and thus, Bucky stepped inside.

Steve gestured to the couch, shoving a few papers and pencils away to make room for Bucky. The silence stretched out tensely while they both worked up the courage to say something.

“Bucky,” Steve leaned in, resting a hand delicately on Bucky’s knee. “Are we gonna talk about what happened last night?”

Here it comes.

“Yeah, Steve. Think we gotta,” he responded heavily.

“Okay...I want to be with you,” Steve stated carefully. “Even if it’s in secret and we have to hide it.”

What?

“What?”

“What’s confusing ‘bout that?”

“I just-” Bucky fumbled over his words. “I thought- I wasn’t sure that you’d feel the same way as you did last night…”

Steve’s eyebrows furrowed and he pouted, probably subconsciously.

“I know what I want, Buck. And I’m not gonna hide it from you anymore. You and I, we should be together. We are the same way, and we love each other.”

“Steve, sweetheart, we can’t. If someone finds out-”

“We’ll be careful and cross that bridge if we get to it.” Steve answered stubbornly.

Don’t do this to yourself.

“How are we gonna do this, Steve? People already suspect you-”

“Guess they were right, huh.” Steve spat out bitterly. “But I don’t care if they think I’m a fairy. It doesn’t matter unless they see proof and tell the cops or something, but we can hide it from them.”

Bucky still didn’t like it.

“You already get jumped from people just thinkin’ it, what do you think they’ll do if it comes out? They’ll kill us, Steve.”

“I’d rather live a short life with you than a long one without you.” Steve stated matter-of-factly. Damn him.

Bucky couldn’t really argue with that. He could say he didn’t feel the same way, but he’d be lying through his damn teeth. And he was tired of hiding how he really felt from Steve.

“We’ll have to keep up appearances. I’ll have to pretend I’m still interested in dames. Take ‘em on dates and go home with some of ‘em.”

Infuriatingly, Steve shrugged. “I understand. I don’t think you’ve ever been on a date where you actually liked the girl. Long as you still come home to me, I don’t care.”

Of course Steve would be understanding. He was Steve, he was perfect.

“Buck, I know you’re searching for any excuse to not accept this part of yourself. But you can’t deprive yourself of love forever. Whatever girl you marry to keep up appearances doesn’t deserve that, either. I’m tellin’ you that I love you and I wanna be with you. So cut out the bullshit.”

Steve rarely cursed. When he did, Bucky recognized it as a plea. Listen to me.

“Okay, Steve. If you’re sure this is what you want, then this is what we’ll do. Cause even though I been tryna talk you outta it, I sure do wanna be with you. We’ll just have to be careful.”

Steve’s face broke into a grin. Bucky returned one in kind, crawling over from his place on the couch to Steve’s. Carefully, so as not to crush the man, he laid his head on Steve’s chest and just held him for a while.

Eventually, Bucky felt a hand softly running through his hair. It was petting that he’d never received before, only ever given when he’d had girls lying in the same exact position he was in. He sighed with contentment and pressed a few lazy kisses to the hard plane of Steve’s sternum.

“You didn’t tell me how your interview was,” Steve’s voice rumbled against his ear as he spoke.

“Was a flop. Kept gettin’ all distracted, tryna think of what I was gonna say to you when I got back here.”

Steve hummed noncommittally.

“Your folks gonna be worried if you stay here tonight?”

Bucky smirked up at the blond. “No. You want me to?”  

“Can’t think of anythin’ I want more.”

“Well, I should probably at least let them know I’m with you.”

Steve hummed yet again. “You can do that later, doll.”

Bucky shuddered at the term of endearment. It was all so new, so taboo. And he loved it so much, being called a ‘doll’. No girl would ever call him that, or take care of him, or-

Or dominate him.

“What do you suggest we do now?” He leaned up and pressed a chaste kiss to Steve’s neck, hoping to insinuate something more in doing so.

“Whatever you feel like doin’. I don’t have any plans today.”

Bucky sucked in a nervous breath and moved up to press his lips against Steve’s. It was easier to open up his lips this time, with no worry of losing his best friend plaguing his confidence. He let Steve lick him open, let him explore and taste every inch of his mouth.

The kissing was something Bucky had never really enjoyed before- the girls were too soft, too gentle with him. Steve, though, Steve had no problem being a little rough with him. Bucky could take it, needed that to really get into it. With the dames, he’d had to spend time working himself up enough to be able to perform.

Based on the rush of blood southward and the tightening of the front of his trousers, he wouldn’t have that problem anymore. Just being with Steve got him going, even without his permission.

He let out an embarrassingly breathy moan at the realization. Steve broke the kiss and looked at him with something like pride.

“God, Buck...I could do this all day.”

Chapter Text

Bucky grinned into the mirror, slicking his hair back with cheap drugstore pomade. He ran over it with a towel- his secret to making it look soft and keep it from crunching up later. Admiring his handiwork, he nodded. It was perfect. It was gonna be a great day.

The coffee pot steamed and stopped dripping, silently telling him it was done. He grabbed the tin and gulped it down, gasping a little when a burning drop dripped down his chin and neck. It didn’t matter, nothing was going to bring him down today. Today was his and Steve’s first month anniversary, and damn if he wasn’t going to make it perfect. He wiped the coffee away before it stained his shirt collar.

After throwing on his suit jacket, he left to go pick up Steve. They were going to the bar and then a movie. Not just any sleazy bar, either, it was the nicest place to go for swing music and dancing. Bucky had a wad of dollar bills stuffed into his breast pocket, ready for spending on all the whiskey Steve could ever want. After dancing, they’d go to a movie, something relaxed and sweet to melt into a romantic mood. And then, Bucky’d drop him off at home, like a gentleman, with nothing more than a chaste kiss goodnight.

On the street, he grinned at the pretty girl running a flower cart. She smirked back and seemed taken aback when he waltzed up and picked out a bouquet of lilacs. Maybe she thought he was buying them for his own lady, which wasn’t exactly wrong. Grinning wider, he flicked a quarter at her and went on his way.

He climbed the stairs outside Steve’s apartment, considering using the spare key to let himself in, but deciding against it. He was a gentleman, at least for tonight. Bucky knocked and waited, holding the flowers behind his back. It only took Steve eight seconds to answer the door- he counted- but god, if he didn’t take Bucky’s breath away every time they saw each other.

Steve looked happy, all eyes sparkling and ghost of a smile on his lips. Those lips were red, which Bucky knew meant he had been biting at them- was he nervous? Probably.

Well, I’ll just have to put him at ease.

“Hello, darling.” He turned the charm on and brought the lilacs in front of him. “Brought these for ya.”

Steve’s cheeks blushed nearly as red as his lips, perfectly damasked like an English royal.

“Buck, thank you,” the name was drawn out in a whine. “But you don’t gotta do all this.” He accepted the flowers all the same, running back in to change the old dead ones out of the vase and throwing fresh water in.

Bucky leaned on the doorframe and watched, considering making some joke about Steve needing flowers anyway to hide the awful smell. That didn’t really fit with his theme for the night, though. He wasn’t Steve’s best friend, he was his date. And dates were charming. Plus, Steve kept his apartment clean and it didn’t smell bad at all.

“I do gotta. Wanna treat you just like any of these other upstanding fellas treat their ladies.”

“Who says I’m the lady?” Steve got mock offended, grinning all the same. They started walking, Bucky leading him to their destination.

Bucky laughed, “Alright, next time I’ll let you take me out and you can woo me.”  

Steve snorted, then immediately covered his mouth in regret. Adorable.

The bar was nicer than Bucky remembered, and definitely more crowded. It was easier to blend in, and people of all colors and genders dancing together and being as free as they could manage. It was a queer bar, but it passed so well as such that normals who were open minded and aware of the bar came as well. That really lent itself to the undercover part.

“Wow, Buck. How’d you find this place?” Steve followed Bucky over to the bar, where a barmaid took their drink orders.

“After we started seein’ each other, I was walkin’ through DUMBO and started talking to some of the queens- askin’ if they knew any good secret places. They all kept tellin’ me about it.” The barmaid came with their drinks, a gin for Steve and scotch neat for Bucky. They were blissfully alone at the bar, surrounded only by the sound of saxophone and cigar smoke. Steve was still looking around, drinking in all the reds and browns and purples in awe. The place looked like something their rich counterparts in upper Manhattan would frequent.

“Knock that back, Stevie. We gotta dance to this next song.” Bucky threw his drink into his mouth and opened a tab while Steve finished his drink. When the song changed, he dragged him onto the floor where everyone else was, and started to dance. It was a fast song, so Bucky guided Steve into the motions and moved easily enough that Steve could keep up.

It was incredible, the way Steve’s eyes lit up at the dancing. He kept bouncing around, looking at all the couples next to them in wonder and awe. Bucky smiled softly to himself, keeping his own eyes trained on Steve.

The song was too short, and so were all the songs after that, but at least it meant they could stop and fetch drinks constantly. Together, they knocked back cheap whiskey and caught their breath, Steve taking a little longer to accomplish that task. The bar was filling up with an excited crowd, all dancing as if their lives depended on it. Bucky checked his watch- ten minutes until they had to leave for the movie.

The band shifted its mood, just for one song, they promised. A slow, romantic melody started up. Bucky smirked. Perfect.

He grasped Steve by the small waist and tugged until they were back in the crowd of dancers. Steve grinned and set his drink down before Bucky had pulled him too far away.

There was no way Steve had danced like this before, he knew. That was okay, Bucky liked to just stand and sway more than the complicated footsteps of waltzes. He pressed himself close, closer than he would ever dare if they were anywhere but that particular bar, and ran both hands over Steve’s narrow hips. It wasn’t until that point that he realized how touch starved he’d been, how much relief he gleaned just from holding his flesh in hands. Granted, it was under a couple of layers of clothing, but it was reassuring all the same. Eventually, Steve got the idea and slid his own hands up to clasp around the back of Bucky’s neck.

God, it felt right. It felt like everything Bucky had been denying himself for his entire life, and now that he’d gotten a taste there was no way he’d ever give it up. And it was just dancing.

The music and their dance moved harmoniously, breathing and flowing with them. Everyone else in the room melted away, until it was just the two of them. Steve dropped his forehead onto Bucky’s chest, breathing him in. He had complete tunnel vision for the man in front of him, making his heart beat a little faster and his stomach fuzzy with excitement. Before, dancing had never felt this way. It had never made his heart jump in his ribs, or made him smile so uncontrollably. But now, he had found the right partner, and it worked. Finally, it worked.

Steve leaned back a little and stared up at him with a sweet, innocent smile. Bucky looked forward to ruining that innocence, taking him apart and slowly putting him back together. It couldn’t hurt to just get a taste of those lips.

He bent down and stopped the dance, right there in the middle of the floor. The muffled squeak Steve let out when he pressed their lips together indicated his surprise. Of course he was surprised, they’d only shared a handful of kisses; he wouldn’t know that a kiss was coming from a mile away. And he didn’t have to worry about someone seeing, this crowd was more than used to seeing two men kiss, and wouldn’t bat an eye. He could just focus on Steve, on making him feel beautiful and worshipped through the connection of their lips.

Bucky tried to keep it relatively short, knowing that if they didn’t stop soon people would push them out of the way for the next song. He ended the kiss slowly with the closing of his own lips, pausing only to breathe in Steve’s little gasps for air. The song ended, and Bucky took a step back. Steve looked so perfect, all red with embarrassment and hair mussed from where he’d run his hands through it.

“Love you, Stevie.” He murmured, so low that no one else could hear.

Another quick song started up, but Bucky didn’t feel like dancing anymore. He led Steve back to the bar to grab one for the road, paid off his tab, and then guided him out the door.

He’d had the timing planned out perfectly, and they made it just as the ticket box opened for the film. They bantered back and forth through the line, Bucky treating him like a dame and Steve calling him out for it. It wasn’t their usual dynamic at all, but that was fine. He wasn’t complaining, Bucky could tell he kind of liked it by the blush he got everytime Bucky called him “sweetheart” in a hushed whisper. And he certainly wasn’t complaining when Bucky told him to get as much popcorn and sweets as he wanted, because he was paying.

 

----------

“It was good!” Steve exclaimed, crossing to the other side of the sidewalk to deliberately bump into Bucky. What a punk.

“Sure, if you like all that sappy romance and kissing scenes,” he retorted.

“Buck,” Steve glared up at him. “ You love kissing scenes and you’re the biggest sap I know.”

Bucky grinned and threw an arm around Steve’s shoulder. “Alright, it wasn’t the worst movie in the world. It’s just that seein’ those two kissin’ made me jealous. Wanna be doin’ that with you,” he dropped his voice so no one on the deserted street would hear him.

He could practically hear Steve blush. “Well, ain’t that what we’re gonna go do?”

He groaned, thinking wistfully of all the things he’d wanna do with Steve if he thought he could get away with it. Once they started down that road, there was no stopping it. It was going to take a long time to get Steve used to everything. He didn’t want to overwhelm him or move to fast.

“Sorry, babydoll. You only get one tonight.” It was important to create a verbal contract so Steve might hold him accountable for it in case he changed his mind. “I’m a gentleman, remember?”

Steve rolled his eyes pointedly. “Not foolin’ anyone with that, Buck. ‘Sides, what makes me so special?”  

They were at Steve’s door. Bucky thought for a moment, then decided they needed to go inside, just in case anyone peeked out their window. He waited patiently until Steve got the message, and then was led into the apartment.

Immediately, he turned to Steve and took him into his arms. Steve let out a muffled ‘oof’ of surprise, but then sighed and melted into the embrace.

“Stevie, babydoll, you are special. ‘M treatin’ you right, because I don’t wanna mess this up. I’m new to this too.”

Steve snorted again, glaring up at him. “I know you’re not, Bucky.”

“There’ve been girls, sure. But no one I’ve actually cared about,” he murmured and moved his hands down Steve’s back. “Never been with someone and cared about how they felt. I love you, Stevie, only ever loved you.”

That was his opportunity, the perfect moment. He leaned down and kissed Steve, as softly as he could manage. Steve sighed into it, falling forward into Bucky’s arms, like this was what he’d been waiting for all night.

In the privacy of Steve’s home, they could breathe the same air for hours and no one could tell them off. No one could gasp in shock or throw out insults or beat the queer out of them. They could finally experience what everyone else could- the loving embrace and show of emotion from one person to another. It was just love, pure and simple- and what was so wrong about that?

Bucky indulged a little, licking Steve open with fervor. It was enough to satisfy Steve’s desire for something more- but not so much that he’d feel like less of a gentleman. And damn it, tonight he was. Which was exactly why he closed the kiss off, much to Steve’s disappointment.

“Buck-” Steve’s fingers hooked the belt loops of Bucky’s slacks and tugged them closer together. “Want you, doll.”

Bucky hummed. “Not tonight. Soon, I promise.”

Steve groaned out, much more dramatically than was probably necessary. He pulled Bucky down for a kiss on the cheek and then separated them entirely.

“Alright, schmuck. Go home ‘fore it gets too late.” Bucky couldn’t help but smile at the blissed look in Steve’s eyes, and the pink tint on his lips. He nodded and began to head for the door. “Oh, and Buck?” He turned back to see Steve grinning at him. “I had a real good time tonight. I love you.”

It took a lot of Bucky’s willpower to not march his ass right back inside and never leave Steve’s arms. But he prided himself of his self control. After all, he had spent the last ten years keeping himself from revealing his sexuality to any living soul.

“I love you too, Steve.” And then he set off on his walk back home.  

Chapter Text

“How would you like to work down at the docks?”

Bucky’s father slapped a piece of paper down in front of Bucky with a grin. The dining room table rattled a little with the force of it.

Bucky looked up from his dinner that his ma had left on the stove for him. Everyone else had gone to bed long ago. Bucky had stayed late at Steve’s, losing track of time easily.

“You said you needed a job- here ya go. Charlie was puttin’ up these flyers all over the east side, but I snagged this one for ya.”

Bucky nodded in appreciation to his father. His need for a job had gotten even more urgent since he’s started supporting Steve. He hadn’t had much in terms of savings since the money from his last job had all gone to his sister. Work was scarce enough that it’d been almost six months since he’d held anything steady.

“Thanks. I’ll go first thing in the mornin’.”

“Good boy. You still helpin’ out that Rogers kid?”

“You’ve known him since we were six. You can call ‘im Steve. And yeah I am. He’s havin’ an even harder time findin’ work than I am.”

“Lucky he’s got you to look after ‘im. Skinny guy like ‘at, he’s not gonna get much more ‘n a dame’s job. And he’s gettin’ sick all the time? Rough goin’.”

Bucky nodded, swallowing the unfairness of Steve’s situation.

“I’ll figure somethin’ out for him. For both of us.” He affirmed, mostly for his own benefit.

“Well, it’d be easier if he had a roommate of or someone to share the load on that apartment a his.”

Bucky’s eyes snapped up at the realization of what his father was suggesting.

“You think I should move in with Steve?”

“I don’t know what you should do, son. Only you know what’s best. I’m just throwin’ the idea out there. Plenty of single guys do it, doesn’t mean anythin’ more than saving money.”

Well, if only George Barnes knew that if his son moved in with his best friend, it’d mean a helluva lot more than that.

“I dunno, I’ll have to talk to Steve.”

“Alright. If he’s desperate enough, he probably won’t even think about what people might think.”

“What’s that?” Bucky had an idea, but he wanted to hear it.

George cocked his head, as though it were an obvious.

“Lil guy like Steve, they might think he’s a fag. I know better, course, but still. Doubt anyone’ll accuse you of anythin’, though. You’ve got one helluva reputation.” George clapped his son on the back and chuckled.  

Bucky tried to laugh along, but he was too shocked by the slur that fell so casually from his father’s mouth and too embarrassed by his fake sexuality. People thought he was a ladies man, which was good. They’d never suspect Bucky of being, as George had so eloquently put it, ‘a fag’.

“Yeah, I’ll talk to him.”

The next morning, Bucky was woken by his mother, who shoved the flyer from yesterday in his face and waved it around loudly.

He groaned and got dressed, deciding to skip breakfast. He didn’t want to hear any more of his father’s well meaning advice or ideas about his life.

The docks were on Steve’s side of town, meaning if he were to move in with him, he could be closer to the job he might get. It made a lot of begrudging sense, the plan his father had lined out for him. And there was the added bonus of seeing Steve a lot more often, and staying the night with him….

But he needed to get the job first.

Chapter Text

He walked to Steve’s apartment, his schedule written in a chicken scratch he had to squint to read. His first day was tomorrow; the manager had hired him on the spot. Steve would be proud.

The man himself was outside of his apartment, chatting with his new neighbor over a cigarette. The girl had moved in recently, even asked Bucky to help her move her armoire upstairs.

“Buck!” Steve noticed him walk up and instantly lit up. “Was wonderin’ if you’d be comin’ over today.”

“Yeah, I got good news too.” The neighbor smiled knowingly at the two of them.

“Y’all are cute.” She snuffed out her cigarette and disappeared into her apartment without another word.

Steve blushed a little and gestured to his own door. “Ya wanna go in?”

Bucky nodded and followed Steve inside. The place looked cleaner than it had when he had left it last night- there was a freshly laundered pile of his clothes sitting on the nightstand.

“What’s the good news?” As soon as they were in the door, Steve rounded on him with a question, quickly followed by a kiss. It made him sigh with contentment- like coming home to a wife. But Steve wasn’t very wifely, and he tended to treat Bucky like he might a dame.

“I got a job.” He murmured into Steve’s lips. The blond leaned back in surprise, searching his face for any indication that he was lying.

Bucky smiled, nodding to silently reaffirm his statement.

“Buck- that’s great. Where is it?”

“At the docks. It’s just carrying boxes and shit off the boats, but it’s good enough money.”

“That’s wonderful, hon. I didn’t know you were looking for work?”

“Well, I’m always looking, and my father came to me with this yesterday- kinda just fell into my lap. Innat somethin’?”

“That’s great.” Steve went for Bucky’s neck, pressing kisses to the highest point that he could reach while Bucky was standing up straight.

Bucky closed his eyes and let Steve go to town with the hot skin of his lips, but just for a moment.

“There’s somethin’ else I gotta run by ya.”

“Yeah, doll? What is it?”

“Well, since I’ll be havin’ some extra cash lyin’ around, I figured I might as well try ‘n move outta my folks place. And this job at the docks is really close to your place…” he trailed off, hoping to let Steve arrive to the point on his own. “And I know you are a bit low on your savings- maybe it’d be good for you to get a roommate. Maybe even someone who’s, I don’t know, your best friend.”

Steve’s lips turned up into a grin. “You askin’ if you can move in with me, Barnes?”

“Well, yeah.” Bucky smiled at the thought. “And I wanna help you out- we can help each other and no one’ll think anything weird of it.”

“I don’t need you to keep givin’ me money.” He frowned. “If you’re just tryna do this so you can help me-”

“No, baby. That’s not the reason.” Bucky brushed a hand through that floppy blond mop. “I wanna live with you- be with you all the time. Wanna pretend for a while that what we have- that our relationship is normal.”

Steve softened. “You wanna come home to me?”

“Mhm.” Bucky pulled Steve back into him. “Fall asleep every night to you in my arms, and wake up every morning in yours.”

Steve liked that idea, he could tell.

“Alright, but only ‘cause I love your ugly mug and wanna live with you. Not ‘cause I can’t take care of myself.”  

A memory flashed in Bucky’s mind- Sarah Rogers’ dying request. She had asked him to not let Steve get into trouble. Well, he was definitely doing that, just in a less direct way. Even if Steve was too proud to admit it, having Bucky to split the rent would definitely help him a lot. He wouldn’t need to find work quite so desperately anymore.

“I know you can take care of yourself, baby. Just thought it’d be nice to make things easier.”

“Yeah, easier for you ‘n’ me to be like a married couple.”

Bucky groaned at that, pressing his lips to Steve’s forehead. “‘S close as we’re gonna get.”

Steve hummed, then rolled his slim hips against Bucky’s. It was his signature move, Bucky knew- he wanted Bucky to get hard. They kissed for a while, as Steve kept up his ministrations. He found himself panting and moaning into Steve’s mouth.

“Real proud of you, Buck.” Steve whispered into his lips, dropping off of his tiptoes. He reached a hand down, cupping Bucky’s hardness and nodding, like he was satisfied by the progress he’d made.“Lemme try somethin’- show ya how proud I am.”

Bucky sucked in a shaky breath when Steve dropped to his knees, right there on the living room floor.

“What’re ya doin’?”

Steve carefully set about drawing his belt out of the loops of his pants.

“Steve, I don’t- seriously, baby, what’re you gonna do?”

“Shh,” his pants were unbuttoned, rustling around his ankles. “Don’t worry, Buck,” his briefs were pulled halfway down his thighs. “I know what I’m doin’.”

“Stevie, I- oh, fuck.” Bucky closed his eyes when Steve licked a wet stripe up his entire length.  

“Sh,” he repeated. “Lemme take care ‘a you.”

“God, you’re gonna- I don’t wanna choke you.”

Steve- innocent little virgin Steve, with his big baby blues and carefree smiles- actually winked up at him.

“Don’t worry. I been practicin’.”

“The hell do you mean you been-” Bucky broke off in a startled moan. That hot mouth had completely surrounded his cock. The heat of it, the pressure on all sides, the sloppy little wet noises on Steve’s lips- Bucky could have died.

Steve pulled off with a devious grin. “We got bananas, don’t we?”

And there was the image that would undoubtedly slip into Bucky’s fantasies from then until the day he died: Steve fellating a banana for practice so that he could take Bucky down his throat without choking on it. And it looked beautiful in Bucky’s mind, the pink of Steve’s open lips clashing with the yellow of the banana.

It wasn’t as pretty as the sight happening below him, though. He fought the urge to through his head back so he could watch as his cock disappeared into Steve’s mouth. He gave a particularly hard suck, right on the head- his tongue flicking at the underside. Bucky swore that he could feel a drop of his precum leak from the slit.

Steve pulled off, offering a pretty little smile. “Tastes good.”

“Mpf- Steve, please…”

“Please, what?” His slender fingers wrapped around Bucky’s length, stroking lightly.

Words failed Bucky. His entire brain was preoccupied with watching Steve, sitting pretty on his ankles and looking up with absolute sin lacing his gorgeous face.

“Want- your mouth...fuck, you look…”

And then Steve held his cock straight up, pushing it against the skin of his lower belly. He leaned in to give a tiny little lick to the skin of his balls, causing them to tighten up closer to Bucky’s body. Of course, Steve saw that as a sign to continue. He slowly increased the pressure until every lick brought one of Bucky’s balls fully into his mouth, ending it with a gentle suck and a popping noise.

Bucky stared, moans falling uncontrollably from his mouth. Now that it was unattended, the head of his cock was absolutely dripping with his desire for release.

“Stevie, please, baby- I gotta…”

He let out a groan, seeing the way Steve’s eyes flashed hungrily at the slick drooling from his cock. That soft tongue quickly lapped it all up, not bothering with giving Bucky any pleasure- Steve was just chasing the taste of him.

“God, Bucky-” he cut himself off by swallowing the most of the length in front of him. Bucky gasped out, straining his muscles to keep from thrusting into that sweet, wet heat. That familiar warmth of an impending orgasm bloomed in his groin.

“Please- don’t stop...god, don’t stop-”

Steve moaned his agreement, bobbing back and forth over Bucky’s cock. Spit and slick coated his length, helping the glide. He was breathing entirely through his nose- he wasn’t coming up for air, what if he can’t breathe oh god pull off you idiot-

“Steve, Steve, I’m gonna come-” Bucky warned with a whine of pleasure, hoping to give him enough time to pull away. “Steve- I’m-”

But Steve wasn’t pulling away, if anything, he pushed forward as much as he could bear and just held it while Bucky came. The pressure in his cock built to a breaking point, finally crashing over his body in his orgasm. He let out a few high pitched moans and rode it out, hips twitching and spasming with the force of it. And Steve just took it all. He placed a hand on Bucky’s stomach, to ground him, and waited until the cock in his mouth stopped spurting come.

Bucky watched, coming down from his momentary high, as Steve sat back on his ankles and slowly, without breaking eye contact, swallowed the load Bucky had just emptied into him. His cock twitched with interest, spent but still wanting more.

Steve stood up, pulling Bucky’s briefs back up onto his hips and helping him step out of his trousers. Bucky just let him, catching his breath. Arms tucked him into an embrace while he recovered.

“Love you, Bucky.” Steve sighed once he’d regained his own normal breathing. “‘M real proud of ya.”

Chapter Text

Bucky dragged from under his bed the old milk crate filled with his best kept secret- yes, even better kept than his romantic preferences. He made sure it was completely covered by a blanket he had wrapped around them and carried it out to the car. It was the last thing that he brought out from his room- he was completely packed.

“James, darling.” His mother called to him from the porch. “Is that everything from your room?”

“Everythin’ I’m takin’.” He shut the door of his father’s car and walked tiredly back up to meet her. “You’ll wanna keep the rest, right?”

She nodded, light brown hair bouncing around her face. Bucky hated the thought of leaving her, but it was necessary. It was time for him to be on his own, or at least as close to independent as he was going to get.

Winifred put both of her hands on Bucky’s cheeks, forcing him to look at her. “You be good, baby. Don’t get into trouble- and don’t give Steve any grief either.” At the mention of Steve, Bucky’s lips turned up in a grin. “You’re lucky to have each other. Never met two boys with as loyal a friendship as yours. You’re going to be just fine.”

Her reassurance seemed to be more for herself than for Bucky.

“I’ll miss you, Ma.” He hugged her tightly, his chin bumping against her forehead. “I’ll come visit you.”

“You’d better.” She warned. “Now go on, get outta here. Don’t keep Steve waiting. Bring the car back when you’re done.”

-----

“Hey, Buck?” Steve had started unpacking Bucky’s meager boxes and crates of possessions while he was driving the car back to his house and making the familiar walk back to Steve’s. “What’s in here?”

His hands went to unwrap the blanket. Bucky decided it was fine, as long as he didn’t open the notebooks inside. As long as he didn’t read any of what was inside…

“Just some old books. Nothin’ special.” He hated hiding it, but he just wasn’t ready to share something so personal. Steve frowned, clearly not believing him.

“If it’s nothin’, then why’d you bring it?” It wasn’t a genuine question. It was subtly accusatory- just like a few months before, when Steve asked what Bucky had meant by saying he loved him.

“Just old stuff from school- notes and assignments. Don’t worry, it won’t take up any space. You’ll hardly know it’s there.” Bucky stepped up calmly, taking one particularly incriminating book from Steve’s grip and throwing it back in the crate. Casually, like it was “nothing special”. He put his hands on Steve’s hips, pressing a hopefully distracting kiss to his forehead.

Steve’s blue eyes followed the book, then found Bucky’s own. “You’re lyin’. What’s such a big secret that ya can’t even tell me, of all people? You don’t trust me or somethin’?”

The idea was laughable.

“‘Course I trust you, ‘s just not something that I’ve ever told- or, I’ve never shared it with-” He fumbled over an explanation. “It’s personal.”

“We’re livin’ together. Think we’re gonna be gettin’ real up close and personal in a lot of ways.” Steve huffed a laugh. “If ya don’t wanna tell me, that’s okay. I won’t push it.”

It was a relief, Steve putting the matter to rest and sliding his arms around Bucky’s waist. But he didn’t feel better. There was still the weight of it on his shoulders, there was the guilt of keeping a secret, there was the realization that eventually he’d probably tell Steve anyways.

But it wasn’t something that fit the image of who he was. He was strong, he worked with all the other butch guys at the docks, he was a notorious ladies’ man- although that was a lie. This wasn’t the kind of thing that a man like him would be known for doing. But this was Steve asking to know about it, and he knew that Bucky was more than the masculine stereotype. Surely he’d be alright knowing that Bucky had a sensitive side?

“Alright, Stevie. It’s dumb,” he warned slowly, “but if ya wanna know what’s in there- you can go ahead and look.”

Steve didn't immediately move- trying to not seem too curious or interested. Bucky saw right through him. Gradually, he disentangled himself from their embrace and moved over to the couch.

Bucky sat at the dining room table, trying not to stare and wait for Steve’s reactions. He failed.

Steve’s eyebrows grew close together as he opened the notebook. Bucky had the pages memorized- he knew what he was reading. The first page was filled with words, random anguished musings about the inner turmoil that fifteen year old Bucky was going through. Steve’s name was in there- “what would he think? Would he hate me if he knew none of the girls I’ve kissed meant anything to me?”

More pages, each containing his thoughts and problems- stories of pretty girls and how he coped with not being attracted to them. Some poems, things he’d written after learning about poetry in English class. Some fictional stories, of what he imagined his life might be like if he ever did admit to being gay.  

He’d only admitted it to those journals and notebooks before Steve.

“Bucky,” he murmured softly, flipping through every single page and reading. Once he had seen every page, he closed it and looked to the crate full of them. “Are they all...like this?”

He nodded affirmatively. “The blue one is the last one I wrote in...couple’a months ago.”

He remembered it clearly- it was a poem, a sestina, that he’d written as soon as he’d gone home after their first kiss.

Steve leaned over to grab it, flipping from back to front until he found the last page with pen scratches on it. Bucky walked over to the couch on a whim, deciding he wanted to read it with Steve. He hadn’t looked at it since writing it- he hadn’t been frustrated enough to write anything since he was with Steve.

Silently, together, they read it.

 

“It started as wandering eyes.

I tried to keep it under control.

But the more I told myself no,

The further it all spiraled down.

It pains me to admit it

But I love you.

 

Because I love you,

I can barely look you in the eyes.

Don’t tell me if you notice it.

I’m slipping further out of control.

I just don’t want to let anyone down.

If you ask, I’ll always tell you no.

 

“Is something bothering you?” No.

It’s not like I’m in love with you.

Every time you ask, I’ll just keep pushing it down.

But you have such beautiful eyes-

And my secret is gaining more control.

I can’t begin to hope that you might be okay with it.

 

It’s not like you’d ever understand it,

But it’s harder to keep telling you no.

You keep battling me for control.

Just remember that I love you.

Please don’t look me in the eyes,

Not once I stop pushing it down.

 

“I’m sorry for letting you down.

If you want to leave, I get it.”

But I see that look in your eyes,

And it’s surprising to see you shake your head no.

I feel almost silly, for thinking the worst of you.

I’m finally giving up control.

 

So take it, please take control.

I couldn’t say no.

If you kiss me, I’ll kiss you.

Now that it’s in the open, I don’t think I regret it.

I’ll never tell you no.

When you lean in, I’m not afraid to close my eyes.

 

I think I’d regret not admitting it

More than I would

Just swallowing the nerves and saying that I love you.”

 

Bucky finished reading before the other, already knowing the gist of it and being able to skim. But Steve was reading every word carefully. He felt his cheeks flush with warmth, knowing his most raw reaction to their kiss was laid bare, completely exposed to Steve’s inquisitive gaze.

“Bucky,” there was that gentle softness again. “I never knew- you wrote this after the night we kissed?” He nodded in response. “I didn’t know that you were so… frustrated. Thought you were just keepin’ it secret ‘cause you didn’t wanna get sent to one of them ‘institutions’ or somethin’.” Steve set the book aside and rest one hand on Bucky’s face, cradling him delicately. “You been dealin’ with this so much more than I thought...for longer than I thought.”

Bucky shrugged, like it wasn’t that big of a deal.

“No, Buck, this is,” he swallowed. “This is a lot.”

Suddenly it felt like his stomach was filled with ice. He reached out to grab the books, needed to keep Steve from reading any more. Shouldn't have let him see it, he thinks I’m crazy, he doesn’t get it-

“I never knew how much you were struggling- but it’s okay now. You ‘n’ me, we have each other.” Steve let the notebook slip from his grasp without a thought. “Don’t worry, baby. I get it. Just wish I could have seen all this sooner, so we wouldn’t have had to wait.”

Bucky’s inner monologue of panic ceased with the reassurance that Steve had somehow known was needed.

“It’s okay, Bucky. I appreciate you showing me this, and I think you’re really good at it. That poem got me a little misty,” he smiled and pressed a kiss to the side of his neck.

“Ya don’t think it’s…” he searched for the right word.

“It’s what, Buck?” Steve frowned.

“...queer?”

And then he was laughing at Bucky, a full hearted chuckle. “Sweetheart, I think you and me are exactly that. And ain’t that the exact subject of all those words in those notebooks? How queer you are?”

“Not all of it,” Bucky defended. “Some of it’s about- y’know. Whatever inspired me at the time. ‘S just not somethin’ a guy like me-like what everyone thinks I am- would do. Girls write love poems and junk like that. All the guys say stuff like that.”

“Y’think this makes you less of a man?”

Bucky could only shrug.

“Darlin’, you care too much ‘bout what the assholes of the world think. Plenty of fellas out there do this sort of thing, doesn’t make ‘em fairies or dames for it. Least not according to anyone with any sense.” One of Steve’s hands, paint stained and slender, wrapped around Bucky’s hip and pulled him closer. “And don’t you let anyone tell ya otherwise. Don’t listen to any of ‘em, Buck, you’re perfect in everythin’ you do. I swear, the way you let people’s opinions get to ya…” Steve trailed off. “Makes me wanna kick every one of ‘em in their valuables for hurtin’ you like that.”

Bucky huffed out a laugh. “Easy, tiger.”

“I mean it,” Steve laughed stubbornly. “Someday, you ‘n’ me’ll be old ‘n’ grey and we’ll tell everyone that we been in love this whole time- and everyone who has somethin’ to say about it’ll get their ass kicked. By me.”

“Gonna be defendin’ my honor even when you need a cane to stay standin’ upright?”

“Exactly.”

“You’re insane.”

“Only ‘cause I’m so in love with you.” Steve kissed him on the cheek. “C’mon, we gotta move some stuff into the bedroom.” He stood up and left Bucky alone on the couch.

“Huh?” Bucky blurted eloquently.

“Bedroom,” Steve repeated as if that were a useful answer. “That’s where we’re sleepin’.”

As far as Bucky was aware, Steve hadn’t even unlocked the door since Sarah Rogers’  funeral. He’d just been sleeping in his childhood bed.

“You sure?”

Steve rolled his eyes. ”Yeah, Bucky. You and I aren’t gonna both fit on that thing-” he gestured to the cot tucked behind the kitchen. “-and I think it’s time anyways. Been two whole months and I gotta move on.”  

“Alright, baby, let’s go get everythin’ fixed up.”

Chapter Text

“You seein’ this, Buck?” Steve placed the newspaper flat on the dining room table. Bucky was busy fixing joes for the two of them, breakfast plans not yet decided just yet. It was a normal Monday, Bucky going to go off to docks and Steve preparing to leave to find a job of his own.

“Not yet, you been hogging the paper since I went and got it.” Bucky responded and placed the steaming cup of coffee in front of Steve, dropping a kiss to his blond bedhead.

“War in Europe’s gettin’ worse. Allied powers are talkin’ ‘bout tryna bring the US into it.”

Bucky frowned into the icebox, grabbing the eggs and milk. “Not happenin’. Roosevelt said we’re stayin’ out of it. What business do we have, messin’ around in Europe’s wars?”

Steve shrugged, finally looking up from that damn paper. “Could change. Never know.”

“Don’t start wishing for a war, Steve. Gonna jinx it, and then next thing you know they’ll be sending all the guys off to fight Europe’s war.” He was only half joking, throwing bread bitterly on the stove for it to toast.

Steve stood up, having drained his coffee. “Not wishin’ for it. ‘S just better to be prepared. Go on, sit down, lemme do that.” He pushed Bucky away from the little stovetop. “Go drink your joe.”

They finished breakfast, continuing the discussion of the war. It made Bucky uneasy, the way Steve talked about the unfair conditions everyone over there was going through. Not just because he felt bad for them, that was a whole other issue. No, it was the way Steve sounded almost responsible for it, like he personally needed to march over there and stop Hitler one handedly. It was ridiculous.

And it seemed Steve wasn’t the only one. Later at the docks, the guys were boasting and yammering about enlisting as soon as it was available.

“Gonna kiss my girl goodbye soon as Roosevelt makes that announcement.”

“Ain’t no way Hitler gonna keep doin’ that racist shit once we get over there!”

“My whole family’s Jewish- I’mma take ‘im down myself if I gotta!”

Bucky just shook his head and continued lugging crates off the ships. No way. I’m not goin’ to war- not leavin’ Steve.

He shoved the thoughts of war aside, promising to not bring them back out unless something actually happened that forced him to think about it.

The summer dragged on, months crawling along like sticky hot molasses. Bucky found himself writing often again, sitting out on the front porch, cigarette between his lips and pencil between his fingertips. It was too hot to do anything else when he wasn’t working.

He wrote about the war, about Steve’s fascination with it and about rumors of a peacetime draft coming up.

“What a joke. Peacetime draft? Why would that even be necessary if there wasn’t a war coming up? How am I supposed to protect Steve from all the crap in the world if I’m in Europe? Or dead?

I wish things were easier. I wish I had been born a dame, just so neither of us would have to deal with the war. We could actually be together and get married. God, I want to marry him. Where in the Bible does it say that loving someone is wrong? Why can’t I love him, why can’t that love be recognized, why is it so wrong?

I can’t help the way I love, but sometimes I crave to be normal. To not be the sick invert that everyone thinks I am. I love Steve with everything that I am, but everything would be easier if I had fallen in love with a girl.

My namesake, President James Buchanan, was a lifelong bachelor- was even rumored to be a faggot like me. I like to think it’s true. Helps me to feel like less of a failure in the eyes of God and everyone. Isn’t that funny, how we turned out to be the same in that respect.  

Even now, when I write this, Steve’s in the apartment we share, nagging on me through the open front door like a wife might. We’re just like any of these other couples I see walking down the street, except we’ve got two sets of junk between us. Our love feels the same, looks the same behind closed doors, hell, even our love is consummated the same sometimes after I’ve been really nice to Steve. It’s sweeter than any candy, it’s hotter than any flame, it’s more consuming than anything I could bear.

And I can’t bear it, being with him. But I can’t suppress it, like I used to.  He makes me happier than anyone else could, but tugs on my heartstrings like no other. Everyone knows that a man is supposed to provide for his girl, marry her, love her until the day they die. If I can’t give that to Steve, do I really deserve to be with him?”

A clump of ashes dropped from the stub of a cigarette hanging between his lips onto the paper. Bucky sighed, flicking it off and snuffing out the smoke on the concrete wall he was perched upon.

“Buck!” Steve appeared in the open doorway. “Asked you what you wanted for dinner.”

He snapped the notebook closed and stood up, spine cracking from being hunched over for the better part of an hour. Sweat stained his undershirt, making it cling to his body and feel uncomfortable.

And there was Steve, wearing the exact same thing, but looking good enough to eat in Bucky’s opinion. His slight frame made his shirt a little more loose, but Bucky could just imagine the sharp angles of those hip bones lying underneath. Even better, he could imagine how those hips might feel slamming against his-

“Earth to Bucky! Hello!” Steve scowled and waved his hands in front of his face. Bucky held back a grin, though not very successfully, and continued ignoring him.

“James Buchanan Barnes, I know you can hear me.”

“Whatcha full namin’ me for? Was just lookin’ at ya, how pretty ya look.”

Impossibly, Steve scowled further. “Ain’t pretty. You’re pretty. I’m just-”

“-beautiful.” Bucky interrupted and put a hand on the small of his back, guiding him back inside. Once they were away from prying eyes, he closed the door and tossed the notebook on the couch. His hands found their usual place on those hips. “Most beautiful thing I ever laid my eyes on.”

“Jerk.” Steve breathed, but his expression softened considerably. “Never answered my question. Whatcha want for dinner?”

Bucky bent a little, kissing the corner of Steve’s lips shyly. “‘S it bad if I say I want you?”

Steve groaned. “Insatiable, you are. Maybe if you’re good, later tonight.”

He considered it, thinking about what he and Steve might do. They hadn’t done anything besides lazy handjobs in the morning and the first suckjob after Bucky was hired at his job. Bucky wanted more, wanted to show Steve how good he could be. How much he loved him.  How good it could feel.

“Stevie,” He whispered. “Wanna fuck.”

Steve’s hands slid down his back suggestively. His eyebrows crept up his forehead, sending mixed signals.

“You sure, doll? I don’t wanna rush this with ya.”

“‘M sure. But whatever you choose to do, I’ll be happy with it.”

Steve considered that for a moment, pressing distracted kisses to Bucky’s neck.

“I love you- but not tonight.”

A whine escaped Bucky’s lips, but he still kissed Steve on the mouth just the same. That was okay, he didn't need sex to be happy. But there was this needy urge building in his groin to please Steve.

“Maybe if you behave and tell me what the hell you want for dinner I’ll give you something to tie you over.”

What exactly that something was, Bucky wasn’t sure. He did know that he wanted it, very much.

“We still got a couple cans of soup in the cupboard don’t we?”

Chapter Text

“Get over here, doll.” A familiar deep voice called out to Bucky through the darkness.

He sauntered over to their shared bed, already feeling warmth spreading through his veins. It was a queen size mattress, too big in Bucky’s opinion. The sheets had been changed and washed enough that over time, it had started to smell more and more like the two of them. The whole apartment had really, and it made Bucky feel so satisfied.

He crawled in on his side, immediately covered by the other man’s wandering hands. Steve grabbed unashamedly at him, taking what he knew was his. Their lips met on accident, but boy, was it a happy one. Bucky let him lick his mouth open, moaning in submission.

“Was I good?” He whispered.

It took a moment for Steve to realize the meaning of his question. All throughout dinner, he made sure that Bucky knew if he mentioned anything regarding his desires, he wouldn’t give him any release that night. It was doable enough that Bucky could do it, but had to bite his tongue whenever Steve made an “accidental” euphemism.

“Yeah, babydoll. You were good.” Bucky moaned into Steve’s lips at that, anticipation buzzing in his stomach. “Come on, get those shorts off. I’ll give ya what you need.”

The hands groping his bum plucked at the fabric of his tight briefs. Quickly, he rushed to fulfill the order and rolled over to yank them off. He didn’t know what was coming next, but that was part of the fun, he knew.

Completely naked, he pressed heated kisses to Steve’s neck while he awaited further instruction.

“C’mon. Up here, Buck.” Steve’s hands gripped him by the thighs and positioned him to straddle his lap. “There you go. Feel so nice like that- kiss me, will ya?”

Feeling his naked cock rub against Steve’s clothed lap made him shiver. He leaned down, letting his eyes close in their kiss. It wasn’t a perfect fit, seeing as Bucky was considerably taller than Steve, but he wriggled around to make it work. Steve held him in place like that with one hand, and with the other, he palmed at Bucky’s ass gently.

Once he knew that he wasn’t to sit up, Steve let both of his hands slide down Bucky’s backside. It was slow and careful enough to work Bucky up and get him wondering about what was next.

A fingertip prodded suddenly at the seam of Bucky’s lips. “Open up, doll. Get it nice ‘n’ wet. ‘M sorry we don’t have anythin’ better than spit right now, but I know you can take it.”

Bucky complied and accepted the finger into his mouth. It was slender enough that he didn’t even have to think about it. He sucked on it a little, just to get a little tease of his own in. Saliva gathered in his mouth and coated the digit thoroughly.

“Look so pretty, sweetheart. You’ll tell me if you wanna stop, right?”

Bucky nodded, shifting a little to spread himself wider over Steve. He felt himself be spread open, the stifling summer air still cold against the heat of his hole. Just the thought of what Steve was about to do- finger inside my ass, holy shit- made his balls clench and his cock twitch.

Steve rubbed his middle finger against the tight rim of muscles; not breaching, just rubbing. It didn’t feel as weird as Bucky had thought it would when he’d first heard about it. His heart thumped in his chest, knocking against Steve’s ribs hard enough that he must have felt it, too. Slowly, the pressure increased, forcing Bucky to focus on relaxing. Steve pressed down on a spot just below his hole- making his entire body clench with pleasure. A strangled moan escaped his lips.

Steve withdrew, eyebrows drawn together in the moonlight. “You okay?”

“Mhm,” he breathed. “Felt so good- please Stevie, I need to feel ya inside me-”

He broke Bucky’s desperate plea off with a kiss, finding the slippery rim again and pressing until there was some give. Bucky subconsciously held his breath, concentrating on keeping the muscle relaxed. The tip slid inside, giving him an uncomfortable feeling of being breached.

“Breathe, Bucky.” Steve whispered. “‘M not gonna keep goin’ ‘till I hear you take a deep breath.”

His first inhale was shaky, so he tried again. He drew in one smooth breath, letting it out slowly. The tightness of his hole relaxed so much easier with the action.

Steve began pushing in again, the angle of his finger making it difficult to get much depth, but that was okay. Just the repeated mantra running through his head was enough to keep him going.

Steve’s fingering me he’s fingering me he’s fingering me-

Slowly, Steve pulled out until just his fingertip rest inside, and without waiting at all he pushed it back inside. Bucky cried out at the stretch, relishing in the slight burn of it. His spit had done very little to ease the slide in, but in a way he was glad that he could feel it.

With each rock of Steve’s middle finger, back and forth and back again, he felt the muscle opening up wider and wider. It was a tease, being filled without being truly filled. The desire for more blossomed through his veins.

“Oh- Stevie, Steve-” He dissolved into more moaning when the pace increased.

“Yeah, babydoll?”

“Can I have another?” Bucky breathed into Steve’s ear. The clothed cock underneath his stomach twitched with his words.

Steve withdrew, bringing his hand back to Bucky’s mouth before he could worry about the reason why. Wordlessly, he accepted two fingers past his lips, slicking them up. The taste of himself bit his tongue- sharp and strong. It drove him wild, sampling something so forbidden.

Once he was pleased with the amount of saliva coating his digits, Steve wrapped his arm around Bucky’s back again. He felt himself be stretched again, twice as much this time. It hurt, but it was the kind of pain that was sure to give way to more pleasure. Steve hooked his fingers, trying to get as much length in as he could.

“You’re doing so good, Bucky, takin’ it so well-” He scissored his fingers inside just right, brushing against that spot he’d found from the outside earlier. Bucky sobbed, clenching and thrusting back to chase the sensation.

“There, baby? That where you need it?” Steve murmured and pressed kisses to his neck. Bucky couldn’t respond, just rocking back and forth on Steve’s lap, searching for that perfect shock again.

Silently, Steve pulled out, making Bucky groan- swear to God, Rogers. He was pushed back up right, then guided to lay on his back. A few moments of shuffling to bring his legs out from under himself and he was there, cock heavy between his spread thighs.

Steve crawled between his legs, immediately pressing back into Bucky’s loosened hole. The position made it easier for his fingertips to graze against that spot again, finally satiating Bucky’s need for it. His hips moved on their own, fucking himself on Steve’s fingers erratically. Steve just sat back on his haunches, face flushed and watching intently.

Bucky tentatively reached down to curl his own fingers around his cock, unsure whether or not he was allowed to. “Can I-?”

Steve looked pleasantly surprised at the request for permission. “‘Course you can, babydoll. Touch your cock while I’m takin’ care a’ ya down ‘ere.”

Eagerly, he began the familiar motion of stroking himself, relaxing into it’s familiarity. That, combined with the stretch and stimulation on the sensitive nerves hidden in his ass, led to his orgasm finally building to its peak. He jerked faster, hips still bucking into his and Steve’s hands.

“Steve- god, Stevie, please! ‘M gonna come- fuck fuck fuck-

It washed over his entire body, overwhelming shudders taking him over. His moans and whines continued- and as did the motion of Steve’s fingers inside him. His cock jerked and ropes of come covered his hand, dripping onto his stomach as well.

As the orgasm died down, Steve watched and withdrew. Bucky panted and shivered with the aftershocks, squeezing his shaft to milk himself of every drop.

Neither of them spoke: one because he couldn’t, the other because he was too enraptured by the sight below him. Still fully clothed and taking care to not get semen anywhere it’d stain, Steve lay down next to him. He dragged his lips over the the sweet spot on Bucky’s neck and laced their fingers together- the same fingers that were just inside of me.

Still dripping with his own release, Bucky sat up with surprising energy and set about his mission: returning the orgasmic favor. He practically ripped Steve’s belt from it’s loops and yanked the khakis from his pale legs. Staring down at the hard length hidden by white briefs, he realized that he didn’t have much of a plan, or any idea what he was doing really. That didn’t deter him, however, and he tugged the underwear down, too.

Steve groaned, “Babydoll...did I say you could do that?”

He looked up from Steve’s cock shyly. “I didn’t ask.” Looking down, he realized that he’d never seen Steve’s dick that close up before- and long story short, he fucking loved it. It was the same pink color as his nipples and his lips, curved wonderfully upwards, shining wet at the tip. Soft and hard at the same time- all velvet skin over heated hardness. Bucky wanted it, needed it inside him.

Steve gave him a stern look when they regained eye contact. “Ask.”

A command. Bucky curled his fingers around the length, loving it’s heavy weight in his grip.

“Can I suck your cock?” He whispered up at Steve.

It flexed in his hand as Steve let out a moan. His thin hips canted upwards, trying to get some friction going.

“Yeah, babydoll. Suck me,” he pleaded. Bucky smiled and lowered his lips to the pretty cock waiting for him. He’d learned from experience receiving what felt good and what didn’t, so at least he had some idea of what to do. His tongue flicked out slowly, dropping tiny kitten licks onto the head. A trace of precome burst onto his tongue, the taste sending shivers down his spine.

Gathering confidence, he allowed the head past his lips. Steve breathed out shakily at that, so he kept going. His length was significant enough that he knew he couldn’t take it all, but he sure as hell would try.

He had half of Steve’s cock shoved into his mouth when the tip nudged at the back of his throat. Instinctively, he choked- his throat trying to push the intrusive organ back out. For a moment, he panicked, knowing this wasn’t right but unsure how to make it stop.

Steve’s hand threaded into his hair and pulled him off, immediately concerned. Bucky took in deep breaths, tears springing to his eyes.

“Are you okay?”

Bucky nodded, immediately reaching back down to keep going. I can do it, it’s just a dick, just suck it-

“Don’t take more than you can handle, baby. And keep your throat relaxed.”

He nodded again, kissing at Steve’s shaft. “‘M sorry. I’ve never done this before- I don’t know-”

“Shhh, it’s okay. You don’t have to do this, sweetheart.”

In response to that, Bucky took the tip of his cock back into his mouth. Steve shuddered, flexing his hips under Bucky’s fingers. He bobbed carefully up and down, tightening the ring of his lips to make it more pleasurable. His cheeks hollowed out, like he had seen Steve’s do the first time.

“Shit-” Steve’s hand rest on Bucky’s head; not pushing, just resting comfortably. “God, babydoll. Feel so good…such a perfect baby for me...oh my lord-”

Bucky stroked his shaft, stimulating the parts that he couldn’t fit into his mouth. The praise melted his heart, making pride bubble up inside him. Instinctively, he started moving faster. He wanted more than anything to get Steve off- wanted to taste his release and know that he did that.

“Bucky- Bucky…” Steve started rambling, as he always did when he was getting close. “Baby, I’m not gonna last. Shit…’m sorry- gonna come. God, you’re so good...Bucky... Bucky… look at me, baby, please-

Bucky complied, forcing his eyes open to meet Steve’s while he had his mouth wrapped around that cock. Warmth flooded Bucky’s mouth as Steve finished- a sight Bucky thought he’d never tire of seeing. It was tight abdominal muscles making a rare appearance, bitten red lips open in a hushed moan, flushed chest heaving with the effort to breathe. The taste of come was bitter, but it was Steve, and so Bucky loved it. He caught as much as he could in his mouth, but even though he’d had ample warning, it still surprised him. Bucky pulled away, mouth still open, and felt the come dripping over his lips.

The rest of Steve’s load he swallowed, even knowing that only the filthiest kinds of girls did that. But that just increased the appeal for Bucky.

He crawled up Steve’s body, wanting to be held in his arms again. The man was panting, taking in deep breaths as slowly as he could manage in his recovery. The nebulizer was luckily within arms reach if he should need it, but it didn’t seem like he did.

“Goddamn, baby. Look at you,” he chuckled and wiped his own release from Bucky’s chin with his thumb. He lifted it to Bucky’s lips, silently telling him to clean it off. He suckled on it, getting another taste of that come. “So pretty like this.”

Bucky curled up into Steve’s side, feeling so wonderfully loved and proud of himself.

“I love ya, Stevie.”

“Love you too, babydoll.”

Chapter Text

A group of people were crowded around the electronics shop, all staring intently at the little collection of televisions on display, playing the news as often as it was on. Bucky trudged forward, curiosity forcing him to glance up on his way past.

“The draft is for all eligible men over the age of eighteen-”

“-encouraged to enlist beforehand-”

“-serve your country in case of impending wartime-”

The group watching the televisions were chattering amongst themselves.

“Guess Roosevelt's gonna join us up with the Allies, huh?”

“They ain’t say that on the news? And that ain’t even up to him-”

“Don’t haveta, sooner or later we’re gonna get dragged into it, and why else would there be a mandatory draft put up?”

Bucky kept walking, a cold feeling of dread spreading through his stomach. Of course, if push came to shove, he’d accept his fate and let himself be drafted. But there was no way he was going to enlist- that’d just cut his time at home short. He wanted every second he could get.

It was unfair, the US being involved in such a thing- but he knew that it was necessary. If they needed to go to Europe to finish the war before any more innocent people had to suffer, then that’s what Bucky would do. The sooner it was all over, the sooner he could get back home.

He rounded the corner of their street, a thought striking him suddenly. What do they mean, eligible men? Steve ain’t eligible, right? Sick with asthma and skinny and short- no, they won’t let him within two feet of a boot camp.

At least he’ll be safe at home.

Steve was sitting on the communal porch, the same concrete wall Bucky’d taken to writing at. He looked determined, all set jaw and newspaper clenched in his fist.

“Hey, Buck.”

“Hiya, sweetheart.” Bucky ignored what he knew was coming. “How ya doin’?”

Steve stood up, the top of his blond head barely reaching Bucky’s chin, but still imposing enough to appear confident. “Fine. Y’seen the papers yet?”

Bucky shook his head. “Saw the news ‘bout the draft on the televisions on my way home, though.” He paused, looked at the newspaper Steve was strangling. “‘M gonna sign up for it sometime this week.”

Noises from upstairs followed by the slamming of a front door made them both decide to continue the conversation privately. Bucky followed the other man inside, kicked off his shoes and took off his sweaty t-shirt. The couch seemed as good a place as any to keep talking, and besides, he was beat after a long day at the docks.

“Can’t hardly believe it. We’re really gonna go to war, aren’t we?” Steve threw down the paper next to him, the headline glaring obscenely at him.

PEACETIME DRAFT SIGNED

Bucky laid his head back, staring at the ceiling tiredly. “Looks like it. Dunno why this’d be happenin’ if we weren’t gettin’ ready for-”

“Don’t enlist.” Steve interrupted. “Please, don’t leave until you really hafta, I don’t want you to go yet, Buck-”

He snapped his head back up, hearing distress in his love’s voice. “I won’t, baby. Promise. Long as you don’t go signin’ up for the draft or anythin’ either.”

The moment of vulnerability in Steve vanished as quickly as it had come. He hardened visibly, squaring his sharp shoulders and forming a crease in between his eyebrows.

“Bucky-”

“No, Steve. Don’t you dare think about goin’ off to war, I don’t care how noble you think it is- it’s suicide,” he hissed. “They won’t take you, anyways, look at you.” He gestured to Steve’s skinny frame standing before him.

There was a long silence. Immediately, he realized that he’d said the entirely wrong thing, just based on Steve’s reaction. He sat on the rickety coffee table, not even making it creak like it did when Bucky did the same. His shoulders slumped, defeated. Steve couldn’t even meet Bucky’s quickly widening gaze.

“What do you mean, look at me?” He murmured quietly.

It took a while for words to form in Bucky’s guilty mouth. “I just meant- ‘cause you’re sick, and they won’t let you in the army if you’ve got asthma and ‘sides, you got a medical record,” the explanation tumbled past his lips.

“No, Buck. You said ‘look at you.’ Can’t see asthma, can’t see my medical record on my body. So what did you mean by that?”

“Nothin’.” He lied, leaning forward and taking Steve’s non reciprocating hand in his own. “Just talking ‘bout how sick you are.”

“You’re lyin’ to me. Thought you weren’t gonna do that anymore.”

Confusion settled over him. “What’re you on about? When’ve I lied to you?”

A pause. “Ya lied about bein’ queer, lied about all those journals you’ve filled up. Everytime you got a secret, you lie to cover it up ‘til you’re forced to give in. So what is it this time? You lyin’ to keep from tellin’ me how you really feel? Way you said it- sounded like the way I look is disgusting to you. That it? ‘M too short, too skinny, for the army? For you?”

Something in Bucky’s chest tightened with those words. He couldn’t believe Steve was lashing out like this- does he really think he’s not enough for me?

“I don’t- Steve, no.” His voice cracked and he hated it, hated how broken it sounded. “Y’know I don’t care ‘bout any of that, you look-”

Steve pulled his hand out of Bucky’s loose grasp.

“-you look beautiful,” he finished. “I don’t tell you that enough, do I? I think it, every day. Everytime I wake up in the mornin’, turn over and see you lyin’ next to me, I think that you’re beautiful. I dunno why you think your size is a problem for me, but it’s not. God, Stevie, I can’t believe you would think that I find you...disgusting. I didn’t mean it like that- I’m sorry.”

He put his hand on Steve’s knee, trying to get some kind of touch contact from the other.

“I’m sorry for lyin’ so much, too. Just sometimes whenever I’m thinking somethin’, I can’t bring myself to share it just yet. I know that’s no valid excuse, but I don’t mean to hurt ya. You don’t deserve to feel like this.”

The other didn’t respond, but he did lean forward into Bucky’s personal space.

“Steve?” The broken look on his face was causing a pricking sensation behind his eyes.

“‘S okay. Didn’t mean to lash out like that. I know the army probably won’t take me, but ‘s just- I wanna go. I need to do somethin’ worthwhile.”

Bucky sat on that for a moment. Even if Steve was perfectly healthy, there was no way Bucky wanted him to go to Europe. It was too dangerous, even for him. He was pessimistic at best about his own return home, with horror stories of the bloodshed floating from across the pond. If one of them were going to leave, he’d rather it be himself.

“You can do plenty of worthwhile things here- all the fellas in Brooklyn’ll be overseas, if we really do go to war. Somebody’s gotta do their jobs, right? You’ll be their first choice!”

Steve just shook his head, unbelieving.

“We don’t gotta talk about it anymore, do we? I’ve had a real shit day.” Bucky said with a whine. He slid both hands over Steve’s face, trying to get some kind of affectionate touch between them.

“No, babydoll. We don’t gotta.” The man slid from the coffee table to the couch, sitting up straight to hold the other in his arms. “I don’t wanna spend whatever time we got arguin’ with ya.” His lips found Bucky’s temple and firmly planted themselves there. “Y’know I love ya.”

Bucky settled in, letting himself be enfolded in the other’s embrace. Maybe if he made himself smaller, Steve would feel bigger, and he could help quell whatever self conscious episode he’d accidentally inspired earlier. Guilt still gnawed at his gut.

“Love you, too.” He ran his hands over the gangly arms holding him firmly in place. “Mean it, Stevie. Love every inch of ya.”

“You don’t gotta do this,” Steve murmured. Bucky ignored him and continued.

“Perfect for me,” he turned and kissed the words into the exposed skin of Steve’s chest. “Y’know you get me goin’ more than any other person on earth? Wouldn’t change the way you look if I could.”

Steve’s hands brushed through his hair, sending a tingling through his scalp.

“Might change how sick ya keep gettin’.” He joked, but it was too serious a thought to really come off properly. It was early September, and who knew when the war would call Bucky out? It’d be the first winter Steve’d face alone- completely alone. His heart broke, thinking of leaving him. He knew Steve needed him as much as he needed Steve.

“Yeah, I’d fix that, too. Hate bein’ a burden on you.”

Bucky thought about what Steve had said, about his secrets and his lies. He couldn’t believe himself, couldn’t believe he’d hurt the best person to ever glance twice at him. Before, he considered it impossible. But after hearing it…

“You’re not the burden, baby.”

Chapter Text

December 7, 1941.

This afternoon, I came home to news of an attack in Hawaii. Japan launched a military strike on Pearl Harbor, killing thousands of people. Civilians included. If we aren’t going to war now, I’d be surprised and a little pissed off. This is going too far, and everyone is talking about getting our revenge on the Axis powers.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t getting antsy for the same thing.

Leaving Brooklyn is even more inevitable now.

Steve’s even angrier than I am, a fire lit under his ass that keeps him from sitting still for more time than it takes for him to remember what just happened. I can’t bring myself to talk about it, so I just let him rant and rave and pace around me. I know it’s selfish, but I wish he’d shut up about it and take advantage of the limited time we have left together. Seems like it’s my fate to die soon, and I’d rather spend my last few days here just being in love- how we were just a few months ago.

I’m scared to leave, terrified to die. Soldiers die with honor, but I’d rather meet my demise dishonorably and with Steve than nobly and away from home.

Because that’s what Steve is: he’s my home. And damn this war for cutting our time short.

 

Bucky tossed the notebook onto the desk next to the bed, pencil following but rolling off and onto the floor. He rolled his eyes, turning over and settling into the nest of blankets he’d created. They could actually afford blankets, nice ones, made from wool and fleece. They’d had the windows lined with newspapers for weeks already, trying to keep the heat in. It certainly helped that Steve had Bucky’s body heat tucked up against his chest every night. As long as Bucky was around, no one was going to be catching a cold or anything worse.

Steve was in the other room, silently stewing and chewing his bottom lip. Bucky might have found the action sexy, had Steve not shoved him off when he tried to plant a kiss on him. Pouting, Bucky had retreated to the bedroom, turning in early to write and get some extra sleep. He tried to forgive the other for pushing him away so callously, but he couldn’t deny the sting it left in his heart.

They were supposed to be there for each other, at the end of the day. Not fighting, not giving each other shit. The two of them understood each other better than anyone else- petty things like this weren’t in their relationship’s dictionary.

Bucky squeezed his eyes shut, hearing the icebox open and the clink of bottles. Sleep wasn’t forthcoming, his mind was too full of distress and worry. He heard Steve roaming around, going to the bathroom, cleaning up any accumulated trash lying around. Eventually, the door opened.

“Buck? You sleepin’?” Steve’s voice floated over quietly. Bucky tugged a blanket up closer to partially cover his face, but didn’t respond. The other man sighed, trotted over to their laundry hamper and stripped. Bucky felt the covers behind him lift, exposing his bare back to the chill of the bedroom. Steve’s familiar weight settled in behind him, sliding in close enough that they were touching.

A hand rest on the curve of Bucky’s hip, that curve only brought out by his position on the bed. “‘M sorry, baby. ‘S not fair to push you away just ‘cause I’m thinkin’ ‘bout the war.”

“‘S fine.” He whispered, not really capable of bringing his voice out.

“No,” Steve slid up and wrapped around Bucky’s body, forcing eye contact despite the blue-grey of the evening lighting. “I love you, and I don’t wanna ever make ya feel like I don’t want ya. C’mere,” he pleaded, pressing almost desperate kisses to Bucky’s cheek. “Lemme make it up to ya.”

Bucky didn’t feel like it anymore. It felt forced, like the only reason Steve wanted to kiss him was because he felt bad. Not out of love, or care, or emotion extending beyond guilt.

But he still turned around and met Steve’s lips with his own, because who was he to deny that he wanted it?

Chapter Text

Bucky checked the mail every day, religiously at 4:15 PM sharp. The mailman was never late, and it took him exactly 15 minutes to get home after work. Steve often didn’t notice the passing of time or was out looking for a job. The first two rounds of draft lottery had already passed for their area, meaning it wasn’t completely hopeless for Steve to get interviews. Getting the mail was Bucky’s willing responsibility now.

Made sense, seeing as he was the one who would receive a draft letter.

He sighed with relief when all he saw were letters from his cousins in Indiana. But he knew the nervousness would only come back stronger tomorrow.

The apartment was empty, and Steve’s coat and scarf and gloves and hat (since Bucky had insisted on purchasing nicer, newer ones) were gone as well. January was kinder this year, but all precautions had to be taken. Bucky decided to take a shower before Steve got home, wanting to wash away the cold sweat and stink of the docks away.

5 o’clock rolled around. Might as well start dinner. He got out a small chicken to thaw, as well as carrots and peas to boil, and a half-loaf of fancy imported bread from France that he’d pocketed from work.

5:45. He sat down, leaning back lazily in his chair and started eating the finished meal, leaving a serving for Steve warm in the oven.

Finally, the front door opened. Chilly, dry air swept in and brushed Bucky’s bare feet. Steve was home, panting and red nosed and absolutely beautiful.

“‘Lo, babydoll.” The corner of Steve’s mouth turned up in a happy smirk when he saw Bucky. “Smells good in ‘ere.”

Standing up, Bucky met him in the living room to greet him. Steve took off his overthings, tossing them onto the couch to be dealt with later. They shared a kiss, Bucky’s warm lips meeting Steve’s cold ones.

“Saved ya some.” Bucky murmured huskily, sliding both arms around his best guy’s neck. Steve’s hands found his hips, latching on and pulling them possessively closer to him.

“So good t’ me,” Steve whispered, leaning up and kissing the column of Bucky’s neck. “God, baby, I missed ya today.”

Bucky nodded. “Know how ya feel. C’mon, getcha dinner and warm up.”  

And that was life for the two of them: avoiding drama, being loving and attentive and pretending like they weren’t both terrified of the weeks and months to some. Bucky worked longer and longer hours, due to most of the dock workers being shipped out. Steve continued coming home late, often giving a little shake of his head when he did. Silently communicating: “No, I didn’t find a job, let’s not talk about it.” They’d pretend everything was fine and go to bed happy, spending hours breathing the same air and moaning each other’s names. Didn’t matter that Bucky had to leave at five AM, he’d gladly be exhausted the next day if it meant he could show Steve his love while he still had the opportunity.

In his head, he related it to playing house like children. They went through the same motions and said the same words, but it was just pretend. Wasn’t quite perfect.

Of course, they were really in love. That wasn’t faked. But it didn’t feel like they were honest or true with each other.

The divide between them cracked even further when Bucky checked the mail on February 5th, 1942.

A letter from the State Armory, stamped too officially to be anything but bad news. He swallowed, ripping the envelope open and sat heavily on the front steps of the apartment. He read every word carefully, burning them into his brain so he would never have to read it again.

He was to leave for training in two weeks time.

Swallowing heavily so he didn’t choke on his own panic, he shoved the letter in his wallet. It could go ignored for another day- he just wanted one more day before announcing it to anyone else. Tomorrow, he’d go to the docks and regretfully quit his job, then go to his parent’s to break the news. He’d let Becca down gently, separately. And then he’d come home and wait for Steve to get back from his daily job search and tell him.

He would tell him.

Later, he scribbled into his notebook, on the final lines of the last page.

 

I’ve been drafted. “Pine Camp. Fort Drum. February 19th, 1942.” Boot camp for 12 weeks.

Still in New York, that’s good. Not home though.

After boot camp, who knows where I’ll go?

Can’t tell Steve yet. He deserves to know- I know I’m a shit person for not telling him yet- but I just can’t. As if saying it out loud will make it actually true.

Bucky shoved the filled notebook away, throwing it into the milk crate under the bed and immediately reaching for a new, blank one.

As usual, Steve comes home around six, shivering. This time, Bucky worries about him actually having caught something, and immediately rushes to take care of him. The letter in his wallet goes disregarded for the night. He holds Steve that night, instead of the other way around, concentrating on making sure his baby was comfortable.

The next morning, he rises a little later than usual, a solid weight on his chest keeping him from stirring himself awake earlier. Bucky blearily focuses on the sight of Steve’s sleeping face drooling all over his sleep shirt, a smile perking up his mouth. As he gains more awareness, he realizes that in his sleep, Steve had straddled his entire body and held on tight. Like a baby cuddling desperately close to its source of life.

Steve needed Bucky. That much was clear. And he was leaving.

Before he allowed them to, tears burned behind Bucky’s eyelids, managing to force their way out even though he squeezed them shut.

I’m leaving everyone I’ve ever known to go die.

A tiny sob bubbled up in his mouth and perished before he let it escape. Maybe he was being dramatic, maybe he wasn’t man enough to accept his fate- but he didn’t care. He was being ripped away from the best thing that had happened to him, and it hurt.

His chest shook, even as he tried to control it. Opening his eyes, he let more streams of tears fall- hot against his cheeks and cold when they reached his neck. Steve stirred at the movement, shifting and doubling down on his grip around Bucky’s body. A shuddering gasp for air from Bucky woke Steve completely.

“‘S wrong?” His Brooklyn drawl forced itself out in his tired state. He lifted his head to see Bucky’s tear streaked face. A frown fixed itself onto his face.  “Bucky- talk t’ me, why ya cryin’?”

He wanted to sob a little harder at being found out, but held his breath to shove it down. His hand reached up to his chest to run through that blond mop lovingly.

Bucky forced a tight, tear streaked smile, murmuring, “Just thinkin’ bout how much I love ya, Stevie.”


Chapter Text

“Steve.” Bucky picked up a stack of papers he’d found in Steve’s sock drawer. He read the titles, realized exactly what they were, but still asked sharply. “What are these?”

“Hm?” Steve turned around innocently, oblivious to the anger brewing under the other man’s skin. Once his eyes landed on the papers, his baby blues widened in surprise.

Enlistment forms.

Steve had been going to every county in the damn state, filling out fake information to try and enlist for the army. It was all in his handwriting, so Bucky could tell.

“Don’t- Buck, give me those.” Steve reached out to grab them, but Bucky pulled away.

“This what you’ve been doin’ every day? Goin’ ‘cross county lines ‘n’ lyin’ on these forms? Lyin’ to me?” He snarled with all the fury of a man scorned.

“‘M sorry- I just didn’t want you to get drafted ‘n’ leave me- wanted to go with you-”

“Ha!” Bucky flipped through the enlistment forms. “Doesn’t look like it’s workin’ out for ya, huh? 4F, 4F, 4F, 4F,” he listed. “Guess they saw right through your lies. I didn’t- actually believed it when ya said ya wouldn’t go about enlistin’, but lookie here.”

Steve didn’t respond, breathing heavily with panic.

“Seriously, what the hell were you thinkin’? Goin’ ‘n’ enlistin’- choosin’ to join the army. You think I wouldn’t kill to have a choice? You don’t think I wish I could stay here with you? You don’t think I’m terrified of leavin’ ‘n’ goin’ to Europe so I can die in some foreign country?”

“I know that, but I’ve gotta go. Can’t in good conscious stay here and do nothin’.”

Bucky shoved the papers at the smaller man’s chest. “That’s exactly what you’re gonna do,” his voice wavered with the effort to stay calm.

Steve’s eyebrows furrowed, his whole body seemed to grow taller with defiance. “What makes you think you’re gonna stop me?”

He laughed bitterly in response. “‘M not stoppin’ ya, but the law will. You really think they’re gonna letcha in?”

Infuriatingly, Steve shrugged. “Gonna try ‘till they do.”

Bucky shook his head. “What I wouldn’t give to be able to stay here.” He stared at his wallet on the dresser, thinking about the stupid folded up letter inside.

“‘S okay. Maybe you won’t get drafted.” Steve stepped up and touched his arms reassuringly.

Right. He doesn’t know still.

“Steve….” He sighed. Reaching behind himself, those damn tears pricking his eyes again, he blindly grabbed his wallet. He opened it, yanked the letter out, and handed it over.

The other scanned through it quickly; saw the sent date at the top. “You got this February 5th? You’ve kept this in your wallet for five days?

“That’s what you’ve got to say?!” Bucky yelled, openly crying now. “I’m leaving to go fight in a war I got no business fightin’ in and you’re mad that I didn’t tell you immediately?!”

At the notice of those tears, Steve threw down all the papers and tugged Bucky forcefully into a rough embrace. He let Bucky weep on his shoulder, and allowed him to show the emotion he’d carefully bottled up. The panic and fear of going to war punched him in the gut, forcing sobs to wrack his body.

Steve didn’t cry- probably trying to stay strong for his love. “Can’t believe they’re really takin’ you away from me….” he murmured into Bucky’s ear. “Why do they think they deserve to take my baby boy from me? ‘S not fair.”

Bucky let himself be held, needing to feel small and taken care of. He’d be expected to be the very definition of masculine, normal man once he left for Pine Camp. Until then, he needed to be Steve’s babydoll, inverted and cared for.

“Bucky?” Steve whispered. “I love you. ‘Nd ‘m sorry for lyin’. But y’know, now that you’re goin’, I’m gonna be tryna get over there even more, just in hopes ‘a findin’ you. ”

He wiped his tears away, hating that his eyes still burned and probably looked red. “Please, Steve. Please don’t.” He pleaded. “Stay here, where you’re safe and I actually have somethin’ to try ‘n’ come home to.”

Steve shook his head, looking square into Bucky’s eyes. Determined. “No. You are gonna go, and I’m gonna try to go, to do our duty to our country, ‘nd then come home.”

He rolled his eyes. Of course Steve would put his patriotic responsibilities before what Bucky wanted. He wasn’t really surprised either, so  it didn’t hurt as much.

“They won’t take ya.”

“I’ll still try.”

Bucky shoved the other away, collapsing onto the mattress in defeat. Getting dressed for the day was forgotten- he didn’t feel like leaving the house. A cold ache iced his chest with fear. The last thing he needed was to fight with the one person who was always in his corner, but it seemed inevitable. Steve was too stubborn and fiery to let Bucky’s feelings get in the way of his reckless patriotic rampage into Europe. Bucky was too damn emotional to just accept his fate and let Steve do what he needed to do.

“Bucky.” He crawled in behind, begging with his hands for Bucky to listen to him. “Hate to say it, but we don’t got a lot ‘a time left, ‘n’ I don’t wanna be talkin’ ‘bout this for all of it.”

Bucky turned around, allowing himself to be enfolded into Steve’s arms. He was still angry, still sad, still frustrated with their situation. But it wasn’t gonna change by arguing. The best thing to do- not the easiest, but the best- was to forget about it and be present with Steve.

“I love you,” he mumbled into the chest he was pressed against. “Can’t stand ya- hate ya a little. But it’s only cause I love you.”

“‘M sorry,” the ribcage by Bucky’s ear rumbled. “I love you.”  

Chapter Text

“Are you sure?”

Bucky nodded, drawing the bedroom curtains closed. He turned to face Steve, determination set into the lines of his face.

“Yeah, I am. I don’t wanna leave without doing this, at least once.”

It was February 18th- the night before Bucky was to leave for Pine Camp.

Steve stepped up to him, pushing Bucky’s hair out of his face. He looked concerned, almost like he didn’t want to follow through. For a moment, Bucky thought he would say no, but-

“You know I can’t deny my baby of what he wants.” Steve kissed him, hard and fully intending to distract Bucky from everything else in the world. “Lemme go get something first, okay? Take those off,” he plucked at the trousers Bucky was wearing, “and lay down for me.” He disappeared into the other room, leaving Bucky with orders to fulfill.

Almost shaking with nervousness, he took off his pants and briefs. The air was still cold, making that feeling of anticipation in the pit of his stomach even stronger. Completely nude, he climbed onto their bed and wrapped his upper body in the white cotton sheet.

Steve returned, a little pot of petroleum jelly in hand. When he saw Bucky, he frowned.

“Cold? Go on, get under the blankets. I’ll join you in a second.”

He nodded, but couldn’t move. Steve started undressing, throwing the jelly onto the bed.

What if this doesn’t go right what if it hurts what if he doesn’t want to do this oh god I’m going to leave tomorrow what if he doesn’t wait for me to come back-

“Buck?” Steve’s face appeared in front of his own. “Sweetheart, what’s wrong?”

He looked up, feeling his eyebrows come together in distress. The answer didn’t come to him immediately, and he still wasn’t fully satisfied with it, but he murmured: “‘M nervous.”

Steve climbed on top of him, folding his arms around Bucky protectively. “That’s okay, baby. ‘S understandable. We don’t hafta do this if ya don’t wanna-”

“- I do.” Bucky corrected, loving the warmth of Steve’s body against his. “Just nervous ‘bout it.”

Steve leaned down to kiss him carefully and gently on the lips. “You trust me, right?”

Bucky nodded immediately.

“Then you don’t have to be nervous. Not gonna hurt ya, or make you do anythin’ you don’t wanna do. Promise, baby.”

“Okay.” He kissed back, breathing in deep. “How’re we doin’ this?”

Steve climbed off Bucky’s lap, grabbing the abandoned petroleum jelly. “I gotta get you ready first. Maybe lay on your stomach?”

He did just that, rolling over and clutching his pillow in his arms. Steve grabbed his own pillow and tucked it under Bucky’s hips, making his back arch up nicely. The blanket was big enough that with a little bit of adjusting, it would fully cover both of them, like a tent. Instinctively, he spread his knees apart, knowing he was on display.

“God damn, babydoll. Got no idea how pretty ya look like this,” Steve’s hands ran smoothly up and down his thighs. “Such a perfect body.”

He felt kisses peppered across his legs and cheeks. The intimacy of it made him feel warm and red all over. The cold sensation dissipated, giving way to a feeling of comfort and care.

A clicking sound- the jar was opened. Bucky tensed up, knowing what was coming next. Steve was there in a heartbeat, whispering consolations.

“‘S okay...just breathe for me. Relax, sweetheart. This isn’t gonna work if you’re not relaxed.”

Bucky did as instructed, feeling the tension melt from his muscles. The petroleum jelly was cold against the heat of his hole, making him twitch, but he tried to stay relaxed. Steve wiped the lubricant around his rim, slowly working him up to the idea of penetration. The more he rubbed along the muscle, the more it opened up- Bucky could feel himself becoming more pliant.

The now familiar sensation of a fingertip being pressed inside of him finally arrived (he’d secretly tried it on himself a few times in the bath). Shuddering, he concentrated on how everything felt: the heat his and Steve’s body provided that filled up their little blanket tent, the pillow rubbing against his slowly hardening cock, the wonderful burn he felt in his hole while he was stretched.

Steve hooked his his fully submerged finger inside, nudging at that little bundle of nerves. It elicited an uncontrollable moan from Bucky’s lips, made him gasp and writhe back onto it.

A second, lubricated finger joined the first. Bucky was obsessed with being stretched like this. He loved the burn and the intrusion of it, loved how open he felt. Steve worked him quickly, obviously eager to get to the best part. He rolled his hips to urge him on, simultaneously getting some friction going on his cock.

“One more babydoll,” Steve murmured. “Ya feeling good?”

Bucky moaned in response, a vaguely “mhm” sound that ended in a whine. Steve’s fingers withdrew, scooped up more of the lubricant and then returned. The third addition made it easier for his prostate to be probed- he had no choice but to squeeze his eyes shut and whimper. He could come just from this, he knew. But Bucky wanted to come on Steve’s cock, wanted him to feel just as undone.

Those fingers slid easily in and out of him, sometimes catching whenever his hole tried to keep Steve inside.

“So greedy,” Steve murmured, making Bucky blush. “Think you’re ready for it, sweetheart? Still wantin’ to do this?”

Bucky thrust his hips back up, balancing on his elbows and arching his back until it hurt. Looking back, he finally caught a glimpse of Steve for the first time. His thin chest was rosy with a blush, lips shining and red with how hard he’d been biting them, hair mussed up and falling into his eyes from the top of the sheet rubbing it. And he’d never looked prettier.

“Yeah, please Steve,” he gasped out. “Give it to me, I wan’ it, I need it-”

“-Okay, okay.” Steve grinned and ran his hands over Bucky’s ass and back, through the sweat that had beaded up. “Don’t ya worry that pretty li’l head, I’ll take care a’ ya. Gonna fuck you,” he murmured, like he was finally realizing what all this had been leading up to. “‘M gonna fuck you.”

Bucky whined, wiggling his ass to gain Steve’s attention again. It must have worked, because he then felt Steve’s familiar weight resting between his spread legs, pressing carefully against his back. He’d had been worried about their position, since it didn’t really scream “intimate first time.” But once Bucky had actually felt it, he changed his mind. He was completely covered in Steve, felt his warm breath tickle at his ear and his heartbeat against his back. If he twisted a little, they could share a kiss.

The tip of Steve’s cock nudged against his hole, and he yelped out a “Wait!” Steve recoiled, probably thinking he’d done wrong or Bucky’d changed his mind before he continued. “Kiss me through it, wouldya?”

They fumbled around for a moment, but with enough stretching and curling of torsos they managed to meet in a kiss. Steve held him steady with his right arm around Bucky’s waist, and Bucky held onto Steve with his left hand tangled in his hair. Their lips joined sloppily, while Steve slowly lined himself back up. Bucky’s heart pounded in his chest with anticipation.

Finally, Steve pushed forward. His cock was so solid, so unyielding, that Bucky had no choice but to open up fully for him. He held his breath, knowing he shouldn’t but finding it too difficult to even focus on staying relaxed. All he could feel was the wonderful thickness of a cock breaching him, stretching him more than he’d ever experienced before. His whimpers and shaky exhales were lost against Steve’s lips.

“How ya doin’, doll?” Steve whispered. “Feelin’ alright?”

“Mmph-yes,” He breathed back. “Need more- ‘m I doin’ good?”

Steve thrust forward a fraction of an inch, allowing the head of his cock to rest inside of Bucky. “God, yes, baby. Swear, ya feel so wonderful- all hot ‘nd so fuckin’ tight around me. Ain’t gonna last long once we get goin’, babydoll, ‘m sorry ‘bout that.”

Bucky groaned at the realization that when Steve would come, he’d feel every single part of it. He’s not wearin’ a condom… He shuddered as a fresh wave of arousal pulsed through his cock. He’d never even considered blowing his own load inside any of the girls he’d been inside of, it was too dangerous.

But it was Steve. Steve was a virgin, they sure as hell weren’t gonna get pregnant, and he was gonna absolutely fill Bucky’s insides up with his release if Bucky had anything to say about it.

“Please, please fuck me Stevie.” He babbled. Immediately, Steve’s hips pushed in with shallow little thrusts, moving further each time. His cock was much thicker than his fingers; the stretch burned and he loved it. Bucky found himself pressing back to fuck himself a little on Steve’s cock. The petroleum jelly made the slide much easier, and soon enough Steve was fucking him properly. He pulled out just enough to keep the head inside, and then slammed back in to completely bottom out. Every thrust made Bucky cry out into the pillow.

“Oh my- Bucky- ” Steve whispered breathlessly into Bucky’s neck. Too breathlessly. Steve’s voice was strained, and he wasn’t taking in enough air.

Bucky reached back and held Steve’s hip in his hand, trying to make him pause. “Steve- ya breathin’? Take a breath for me.”

Stubborn as hell, Steve shakes his head and twitches his hips again. “‘S okay.” His words were scratchy.

“No, Steve.” Bucky dropped the sex from his voice, taking on concern and commandeering. “Breathe.”

Glaring at him the whole time, Steve begrudgingly drew a breath into his tiny lungs and let it out.

“D’you need to take a break? Maybe let me do the work?” Bucky tried to murmur huskily, to bring the mood back while Steve caught his breath. Steve shook his head, but carefully pulled his cock from Bucky’s hole.

“Turn over for me.”

While Bucky situated himself on the pillows to lay comfortably with his legs open, Steve refreshed the slick on his cock. He finished up and pushed his hips back between Bucky’s thighs, dropping a kiss onto his lips.

“‘M sorry.” Steve lined himself back up and let Bucky cross his ankles behind his back.

“‘S okay, just make sure you keep breathing, please. Fuck, I love you, god, Stevie, fuck me....” Steve reentered Bucky smoothly, making him shudder.

“Got the filthiest mouth, y’know that?” He blushed, and Bucky was elated at the realization that he could look Steve in the eyes while they fucked. He could see every reaction embedded in his facial expressions.

Smirking a little, he let out absolutely wanton moans while Steve’s thrusts picked up speed. “Please, Steve- need you to fuck me so bad, c’mon give it to me... harder , fuck yes! Goddamn, your cock feels so good… ” And Steve did fuck him harder, making his hips slap against Bucky’s ass, making his entire body bounce up and down with each thrust, and making the tip of his cock jab right up against that damn spot inside of him. He couldn’t help but throw his head back and whine.

“Go on babydoll, stroke yaself for me. You’re comin’ first.” Bucky hesitated, but Steve gave him that look that said he had better obey. He gripped his swollen length in hand and started jerking it. After just a few strokes, he felt himself rising closer and closer to the edge. The absolute assault on his prostate was too much, too fast.

He tucked his lower lip between his teeth and groaned, pulling Steve’s face to his own with his free hand. Their sweaty foreheads touched, and Steve’s eyes closed with pleasure. That familiar coil tightened up in his stomach and pure heat ran up his cock.

“F-fuck, Steve. ‘M gonna come- don’t stop, fuck, fuck, fuck-” And it finally crested and crashed over him, making him twitch and cry out. Come fell in thick ropes through his fingers and onto his belly, pooling there. The amount of come he released was greater than any other time he could remember. Steve fucked him diligently through it, extending the orgasm even further.

“God, you look so beautiful, baby,” Steve’s own orgasm was hot on his heels. “Feel so good, all tight like that.”

Bucky heard him panting, relieved. He mouthed along Steve’s neck, whimpering through his oversensitivity. Each thrust sent a jolt of discomfort through his body, but it was worth it to have Steve come inside of him.

“Stevie, please come in me, fuck, I need it. I love you, baby, come for me,” Bucky watched in awe as Steve came completely undone over him. His mouth was open in a long groan, his arms curled up under Bucky’s shoulders so their bodies were pressed flushed together, and his hips twitched in abortive little fucks. Bucky was so aware of the pulsating cock inside of him that he could feel the slick feeling of come filling him up.

“Bucky- I love you,” he panted out and finished coming, dropping his head onto Bucky’s chest. “God, babydoll, love ya so much….”

They lay there for the longest time, tangled up in the sheets and basking in each others company. Steve pulled out to clean them up, staring a little too long in awe as he cleaned Bucky’s fucked out hole. They giggled about it excitedly, high on the adrenaline of just having lost their queer virginities to each other. Eventually, time and exhaustion caught up to them and they both drifted off to a comforted sleep.



Chapter Text

“James Barnes?”

A sharp voice called out to Bucky from the hallway. He sat up in his bed, taking care to not smack his head on the top bunk.

“Yeah?” He stood up, unsure of who would know his full name. Am I already in trouble? Good goin’- barely even two hours here and I’m messin’ up.

“Where ya at?” A ginger boy- barely eighteen, with a permanent scowl and gangly limbs- whirled around until he caught eye contact with Bucky. Scowling further, he stomped up and threw his $24 of military “provided” belongings up on the bunk, narrowly missing Bucky’s head. “Guess you’re my bunkmate.”

Bucky sighed, in relief and also a little exasperation. “Name’s not James. ‘S Bucky.”

The kid snorted- a sound so much like one Steve would make when Bucky said something silly, that it hurt. “‘S what they said at the front. ‘Course, they also said there’d be some food in this pack, but that looks like a lie. Can’t believe I’m actually doin’ this.” He bit out.

Settling back into his lower bunk, Bucky sensed the boy’s attitude shift. “You get drafted, too?”

“Nah, my pa made me enlist. Soon as I became adult enough,” he said bitterly. “Told ‘im I didn’t wanna- so he beat me ‘till I did.” And then he was lifting his shirt, showing off a yellow, mostly healed bruise the size of Bucky’s fist on his pale ribcage. Then, he climbed up the rickety ladder to settle on his top bunk space.

Bucky wasn’t sure how to respond to that- his own father, thank god, had never laid hands on him. Said it wasn’t the kind of thing civilized men did. He tried to change the subject, “You at least got a girl back home waitin’ for ya?”

The boy- Bucky stll didn’t know his name- popped his head over the side of the bunk to frown upside-down in Bucky’s face.

“I look like the kinda fella girls’d look twice at?”

Admittedly, he didn’t. He was tall, but skinny. Pale, but extremely freckled. Pretty green eyes, but a constant menacing face. His straight red hair swung down comically from his head.

Bucky shrugged.

“Why, you got someone?”

At the thought of Steve, Bucky’s lips curved upwards. “Yeah. Best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

“She pretty?”

“The prettiest- got that warm blonde hair and eyes bluer ‘n the sea. Small li’l slip of a thing, but don’t let that fool ya. Got more bite than bark, y’know?”

The kid whistled. “Well, hope ya get home to her.”

Bucky sighed when he looked around to all the other slowly filling bunks of Pine Camp. He had never seen so many nervous, shaky men in one place- and he didn’t like it at all.

“Yeah, me too.”

The next few days, Bucky learned to stop thinking and start following orders. Thinking led to overthinking, which led to hesitation, which led to inaction, which led to valuable time being wasted in combat. His sergeant wasn’t as ruthless as he’d expected, but he still didn’t take too kindly to complaints. It was always, “20 more! 30 laps! What are ya, pansies? Give me 50 sit ups!”

A couple of times, Bucky wished he could say, “yes, yes I am a pansy.”

Over the next 12 weeks, Bucky bit his tongue, stopped thinking, and gained weight. He flirted his way into getting better portions of high protein slop from the ladies in the kitchen, submitted to grueling drills get his sargeant’s approval, and stopped thinking about home during the day. Every night, in the semi-privacy of his bunk, he stared at the mattress above him and gave in to thoughts about his family.

Bucky thought of Rebecca, who was unhappy at the news that he was leaving. But she was determined to make him come back, forcing him to swear on every deceased ancestor they had that he’d return.

He thought about Steve, waiting for him. Or, more likely, going all over New York to try and enlist. He remembered their last night together, his heart beating a little faster and his drawers feeling tighter. He remembered how sweetly Steve had whispered his name while they made love. He thought about their apartment, with all its yellowed walls and creaky hardwood. He remembered their last kiss, the morning that Bucky left.

In the early morning blue, he had awoken before Steve. For a while, he just stared at the ceiling, glancing over to Steve occasionally whenever he thought of him. The bedroom was cold with the morning chill, and so were Steve’s fingertips resting across his chest. He gathered the other in closer, accidentally waking him up with the movement.

Steve was conscious in a heartbeat, groaning and stretching. It probably wasn’t a good idea, but they hadn’t bothered to get dressed before falling asleep. Bucky felt every inch of Steve’s nudity huddle in closer to him for warmth.

“Don’t go,” Steve whispered into the sweet spot in the crook of Bucky’s neck. As though to convince him, he laid soft kisses over it. He felt himself shiver, but not from the cold.  “Just stay here.”

“I gotta go,” his voice came out all wrong, all husky from underuse. “You know I do- ya told me I do.”

“Changed my mind.” Steve slid over him, eyes  joking, but sadness lie underneath it. “I’ll go for ya. I could pass as a James, right?”

“Stevie,” Bucky had murmured. “Lemme get one more kiss, ‘fore I go. Won’t get a chance at the train station.”

Silence stretched out before them. The two of them just stared at each other- Bucky waiting expectantly for his guy to kiss him, Steve thinking god-knows-what. Those impossibly bright blue eyes blended in with the colors of a February dawn, but still demanded Bucky’s attention. And his lips were turned down in worry, but still so plush and firm against his own. Bucky even appreciated the weight of him, as obscure as it was- the firmness of Steve’s small body pinning him down. The way his words could ring out in the middle of the night and he’d follow whatever command was uttered, because it was Steve and he trusted him and wanted to make him happy and give him the world if that was what he wanted and he was so absolutely in love it hurts-

He felt the tears coming before they were visible. Lately, he’d become all too familiar with the sensation, so he could anticipate it. Steve looked at his lips, watched them twitch, realized what was about to happen, and finally gave in. He crashed their mouths together, threading his fingers into Bucky’s hair and taking his baby’s breath away. It seemed he was determined to distract him from whatever thoughts had been giving him grief, but it really had the opposite effect.

Bucky had never felt more adored in his entire life than he had in the last twenty four hours, and that’s what made it hurt. Steve licked questioningly at his bottom lip. He was leaving for twelve weeks, to come back for two more, to leave again indefinitely. Bucky opened willingly, panting into the shared space between their lips. He was loved, so painfully obviously loved, and Steve was showing it to him with their kiss, but he was leaving it behind. Steve tugged on his hair, making him groan quietly.

The skies outside faded to pink and then orange, bathing both of them in the sunrise. When Bucky finally opened his eyes to get a look at Steve, he realized that the sun had come up. His train left at eight. He needed to get up and get ready to leave-

Steve trailed kisses from his lips to his cheek, down to his jawline, scraping his teeth across the ridge. He left hot, open mouthed kisses along the column of his neck. Bucky extended his neck willingly, sighing.

“We have to get up soon.”

The other ignored him in favor of sucking a light bruise at his collarbone.

“Steve,” Bucky drawled out, finally letting a tear fall over his cheek and his lips.

Finally, he returned his attention to Bucky’s lips for one last, soft kiss. They disconnected, and didn’t exchange another kiss after that.

Chapter Text

The train left late. Bucky and about 50 other New York-based privates were leaving basic to go home, be with their families, and await their orders. Of course the train left late, why wouldn’t it?

Bucky was in a sour mood. Had been for a few days actually, because instead of going to basic training and hating it, he liked it there. He was good at being a soldier, his sergeants always praised him, and he enjoyed it.

No surprise that I like knowing I’ve been good.

And besides that, he’d missed the absolute shit out of his sweetheart.

He’d sent a letter to Steve, telling him without really telling him about how much he loved and missed his guy. Hopefully he’d gotten it alright and knew what time and which platform he’d arrive on. He’d sent a similar one to his family, not trusting either of them to communicate with the other to arrange meeting Bucky.

Finally, the train screeched into the station. Bucky grabbed his little military issued bag with the only belongings he’d known for 12 weeks, and hurried off the train. There was a crowd on the platform, and Bucky stood for a while, searching for a familiar face.

“Bucky!” A girl’s voice shrieked from several yards away- Rebecca’s. He turned, grin already fixed on his face, and waited for her to run up to him. She crashed into him, falling into his open arms.

“Hey, kid. D’ya miss me?” He let her embrace him tightly, speaking loudly over the din of everyone else’s families.

“No,” she lied into his shoulder. “And I’m not a kid anymore!”

It was true- she’d turned eighteen last August.

“You’ll always be a kid t’ me- where’s everybody else? Couldn’t bother t’ come pick me up?” He feigned outrage and broke Becca’s death grip around him.

She laughed. “C’mon, they’re all waitin’ on the end of the platform, didn’t wanna push all these other people outta the way. Steve showed up too, Ma and Dad are chattin’ his bad ear off.”

Bucky’s heart accelerated at the mention of Steve. It’d been three months since they’d seen each other- three months too long. Rebecca guided him through the throng of people to the less populated side of the platform. And there they were- George and Winifred, talking over a distracted Steve, who was staring into the crowd.

He looked good, all things considered. Still skinny as hell, still pale, but with a healthy blush going on his cheeks. His lower lip was swollen and red from where he’d obviously been chewing on it, and his face was stuck in a worried frown.

Bucky had never been more relieved to see someone as he was when he saw Steve.

“James, there you are!” His mother and father crowded into his space, eager to see their boy. Winifred hugged him and fixed his hair where a piece had fallen onto his brow. “Look at ya, must’ve gained twenty pounds! Oh, baby, you look good. George, aintcha proud of him?”

“‘Course I am, he’s doin’ everythin’ he oughta be. You’re doin’ good, son.” His father clapped a hand on his shoulder.

“Go on, sweetheart, say hi to Steve and then we’ll all head home.” His ma pushed him over before he could get a word in. “We’ve got so much to tell ya, and we wanna hear all about bein’ in the army!”

Bucky obeyed, walking purposefully over to where Steve was waiting patiently. He grinned, finally getting a chance to focus on his Stevie. The smaller man fidgeted, not seeming sure if showing any affection would be appropriate.

“Whatcha waiting for, pal? Get over here ‘fore I think ya didn’t miss me at all,” he joked, folding Steve up in his arms and craning his neck to murmur something more important. God, he smells like home. “‘M sorry, they want me to go home today. You’re comin’ too, ‘nd I’ll make some excuse to leave ‘n go to our place, alright?”

Steve smiled, clapped his guy on the back a couple of times and pulled away. “That sounds doable. And I did miss ya, jerk.”

The five of them piled into George’s car, Bucky squished firmly between Steve and Becca in the backseat. As the car sputtered to a start, Bucky leaned forward and noticed that Steve had a couple of inches of extra room between himself and the door. They shared a look, and Steve wiggled his ass closer to Bucky's own. What a punk.

Bucky stayed at his childhood home for as long as he could, divulging all the stories and information that his family wanted. Steve was interested too, occasionally asking questions about where the army was going to be deploying next. He didn’t know too much, but he knew his orders were coming sometime in the next two weeks. Presumably, he’d be sent to the latest war zone.

It wasn’t as scary a thought now as it was before, going to Europe. He was trained now; he knew how to survive in dangerous situations and how to succeed as a soldier. And he wasn’t likely to be on the front lines anyways- he’d proven to be more adept with the sniper rifles. He was proud of it, too. He bragged to the men about distances and headshots and iron sights shooting- at least until they told him to shove it.

Late at night, after dinner, he made some excuse about wanting to sleep in his own bed with plenty of privacy (which everyone assumed was the cot still set up in he and Steve’s living room, unused for months). His mother was disappointed, but still allowed him to leave with Steve.

They walked home in the ever-bustling city night. Bucky couldn’t stop the flood of questions and musings once they were alone: “Did ya get sick? Was my army pay enough for ya? God, I missed ya- did anybody come lookin’ for me? You still love me, Stevie?”

Steve humored him, answering questions as plainly as he could. He didn’t tease as much as he usually would’ve. “Yeah, I caught the flu for a while, went to the hospital and now I’m better. Had to dip into the savings jar a little at first, prices are goin’ up all over the board, but I’m doin’ alright now. I missed ya too, babydoll. A couple ‘a dames were wonderin’ where ya had been, so I told ‘em. Didn’t say when you were gettin’ back, though.” And finally, “Of course I still love ya, Buck.”

Their apartment didn’t look any different, still clean and simple. The only things missing were Bucky’s messes and his smells. The whole place was Steve, for the first time. Bucky hated that, hated him being well and truly alone. He promised himself that he’d thoroughly infect the place with himself, so much so Steve would be pulling his dirty clothes out of the couch cushions for months.

“Come give your guy a kiss,” Steve demanded from the kitchen. He was digging in the icebox for a cola. “Been waitin’ for it all damn day.”

Bucky shrugged his uncomfortable fatigues off, leaving himself in nothing but his drawers and undershirt right there in the living room. He waltzed in behind Steve and waited patiently for him to stand up right again. Steve turned with the bottle already to his lips, eyes widening when he saw the state of Bucky’s undress.

“Oh, wow. You really did get bigger, huh?” His free hand slid over Bucky’s hip and under his shirt, palming at the little ridges of his stomach.

Bucky shrugged, feeling shy suddenly. He didn’t want Steve to notice that, he wanted to be adored and kissed all over and taken care of.

“You look-” Words were lost in Steve’s throat. “Just, wow.”

“Good or bad?” He trained his eyes onto Steve’s, which were flitting over his widened shoulders and the curve of his thigh.

He murmured huskily, “Good...very good.” Steve pulled him in close, placing the bottle on the counter behind him. Their lips ghosted together, Steve’s lips softer in front of him than in his dreams. Bucky ducked his head in, mouth already open for a deep kiss. Together, they sighed, frustrated after the longest time without a kiss in the history of kisses. Steve tasted like sweetness and bubbles and syrup and everything I’ve ever wanted.

Steve couldn’t keep his hands off him, rubbing and floating fingertips over his skin. He seemed to particularly like the prominent line of his jaw that had sharpened with the loss of his baby fat. He kept reaching for it, tracing it reverently.

Bucky pulled away for a moment, happy to be back in Steve’s arms. “Love ya, Stevie.”

 

Chapter Text

After stopping at the enlistment center, Bucky hung the uniform carefully on top of the bedroom door. After staring at it for a moment, he shrugged off his civvies and tried it on. Everything fit alright, maybe a little loose around his calves. He turned to the mirror set up over the dresser and looked at himself. His brown bangs peeked out from under the hat. The tan color of the uniform made his skin look more pale than he is, but the monochromaticity of it made his eyes bluer than usual and his bitten red lips even brighter. Still, it didn’t look like the man smirking at him from under that cap was himself. Feeling immediately foolish, he stripped it off and decided to write more in his journal, to document everything.

 

May 23rd, 1942

I got my orders today. Sergeant James Barnes of the 107th. I tried on the uniform and everything- and I barely recognize myself. It seems so strange to think that just three months ago, I was just some guy that worked at the docks and barely knew the difference between an SMG and an AR. But now they expect me to be a sergeant?

Shipping out to England in four days. I already told Steve- he’s just glad it’s not Austria or Poland or someplace right in the thick of things. Of course, I’ll be moving around a lot soon enough, but not yet. Maybe I can actually survive this.

We’ve got a double date lined up the night before, so people stop whispering about us. Steve doesn’t know yet, otherwise I’d never get him to agree to go. They’re nice enough ladies, but I know Steve’s date isn’t going to take any interest in him at all. She doesn’t know what she’d missing out on. I’d really rather not go out with them, but it seems necessary. ‘Sides, there’s this science and technology expo going on, and I really want to see it. Stark Tech is hosting it, and they’re also involved in weapons technology for the war. Maybe I can learn something useful there.

I know going overseas is going to be much more intense than training- it’ll be real this time. The guns and grenades will be aimed at me, more than capable of killing me in two seconds flat. But I’m not half as scared as I was when I first found out. Now, I think I’m prepared enough to take on the fight.

I won’t ever forgive myself if I die and leave Steve alone. So as long as my country wants me to fight, I will; I’ll fight for them, but I’ll survive for him.

 

Feeling uninspired, he tossed the notebook back in its place under the bed. He wondered if Steve had read any of it in the time that he was at basic- and resolved to ask him whenever he got back from the store. Not that he minded, since he promised to not keep important secrets from Steve like that anymore. If he was an open book, his actual books might as well be, too.

Lazing around for a while, Bucky dozed off. Sleeping during the day wasn’t going to be an option on the battlefield, so when drowsiness tempted him to indulge, he took the opportunity. It wasn’t until he was vaguely aware of a weight pressing against his back that he made a mostly- conscious effort to wake up. Heavy with sleep, he shuffled around to curl into the body that embraced him.

“Hnn...Stevie.” He hummed gruffly. Blearily opening his eyes, he first noticed the darkness. He’d slept all evening.

“Hey, sweetheart.” Steve’s arms tucked him in closer, pulled Bucky’s face into his chest. “Ya wakin’ up?”

At first, Bucky wanted to say no, shove his face into the crook of Steve’s arm, and keep on sleeping. But he’d missed Steve all day.

“Guess so,” he yawned and stretched his legs out.

“Came home ‘nd ya were passed out. Looked so sweet, didn’t wanna wake ya. Saw ya uniform on the door…you’re gonna look real nice in it.” Kisses adorned his temple and forehead, punctuating Steve’s words.

“Thank you,” he remembered his manners sleepily. “Had somethin’ to ask ya...don’ rememba it.”

Steve huffed out a laugh. “Well, whenever ya do, just lemme know.”

They lay in silence for a moment, trading kisses every few minutes and moving closer and closer until Bucky was sprawled out on top of Steve’s body. He thought about that uniform’s presence on their bedroom door, contemplated what he’d written earlier. It sucked, not feeling inspired to write about anything but the war, since that wasn’t what he usually wrote. If anyone had read it, they’d think-

“My notebooks!” Bucky’s exclamation rang out in the otherwise silent night. His head popped up so fast his neck cracked. “That’s what I wanted t’ ask. Wanted to know if ya read any of them while I was gone.”

Steve stared at him, thinking through Bucky’s question. “I don’t- well, no. Seemed like an invasion of ya privacy, since ya weren’t there to give me permission. So I didn’t touch ‘em.”

“Oh.” Bucky settled his face back into the crook of Steve’s neck. “Well, ya can, y’know. I don’t mind. ‘Specially since a lot of it’s about you.”

Steve answered slowly, “Alright...maybe I will. After you leave for England, ‘nd I’m goin’ crazy with how much I miss ya, might be nice to read it. Can hear ya voice, even if it is on paper.”

Satisfied, Bucky stayed silent for a moment. He pressed kisses along Steve’s chest and collarbone, biting at it carefully to get a reaction. Steve inhaled sharply, so Bucky apologized with his lips over the injury.

“‘M gonna miss you too, y’know.” Bucky murmured. “Gonna be all alone with a bunch ‘a strange fellas, missin’ home. Missin’ you.”

Steve groaned, threaded his fingers into Bucky’s hair. “Don’t make me jealous of ‘em. ‘M already jealous ‘at ya get to go over there, and sergeant at that? Oughta be proud of yourself.”

Maybe Bucky was proud to be promoted so quickly. Sure, it wasn’t his ideal situation, but maybe if he rose higher in ranks, he’d have a better chance at surviving? And it was something Steve wanted for himself, Steve wished he could do-

“Are ya proud of me?” He asked, popping his head back up to look at Steve. The other man smiled.

“Of course I am, Buck. You’re handlin’ all this real well.”

Maybe all of this is gonna be okay.

 

Chapter Text

“C’mon, Buck. Let’s get to bed. Got an early mornin’ tomorrow.”

Bucky shrugged off his uniform, hanging it up neatly and brushing non-existent wrinkles out. Steve stood at the dresser, pulling out clean underwear to throw on.

“Don’t bother with those just yet.” Bucky smiled and turned to his love cheekily.

“Why’s that? Wanna get fucked six ways to Sunday?” Steve couldn’t hold back his own grin.

“Jesus, Steve.” Hearing that word from Steve’s mouth made heat rush through his stomach. “Never pegged ya for the kinda fella to say such things.”

Steve sauntered up to him, placing his hands on Bucky’s waist. “Well, I’d never do so in the company of a dame. You, on the other hand, are worse than I am, so I think ya can handle it.” He mouthed at the sweet spot on Bucky’s neck. “But after the double date nonsense you pulled on our last night together, I’m startin’ to think you don’t deserve to get come tonight.”

Bucky whimpered, actually whimpered, at the idea of his orgasm being delayed or denied. Steve using his body to get himself off, and not letting Bucky get any release from it. God, he wanted that. As awful as it sounded, he wanted to place his pleasure directly into Steve’s hands.

“What do ya think? Think ya deserve to come?” Steve kissed him, hot on the mouth.

Bucky pulled his best guilty face. “N-no.”

“Really?” Their little game was paused, and Steve pulled back to search Bucky’s face. “Y’sure?”

Bucky shrugged. “‘S long as ya wake me up tomorrow with a suckjob.” He grinned hopefully.

Steve laughed, “Deal.” He kissed Bucky again, wrapping his arms around his waist. Bucky reciprocated, throwing his own around Steve’s shoulders. Unhurried, they kissed and licked and nipped and moaned around each other, to get worked up. It worked embarrassingly quickly for Bucky- with just a few licks of Steve’s tongue against his own, his cock was firming up in his briefs.  

Without breaking free of each other, they stumbled backwards and fell onto the bed, Steve on top. Bucky was already panting, palming at Steve’s ass to get him to grind their hips together.

Not having it, Steve sat back and yanked Bucky’s briefs down his legs eagerly. Once Bucky was all spread out beneath him, warm and pliant, Steve paused. He smiled up at Bucky over his naked body wistfully.

“‘M gonna miss ya, babydoll.”

Damn it, Steve. Don’t get sappy yet.

“Y’know I’ll miss ya too. Won’t be that long, ‘nd we’ll be together again.”

Steve quirked an eyebrow, stared down at Bucky’s right leg, and murmured agreement.

“C’mon, don’t think ‘bout that right now. Just wanna make ya feel good,” He sat up and pulled Steve’s shirt up and off. No matter how many times they fooled around together, Bucky’s fingertips refused to leave Steve’s smooth skin. He was obsessed with leaving soft, barely-there touches over his ribs and the inward curve of his stomach, his crooked spine and pretty nipples. Everything about him was beautiful, and he told Steve so as often as he could get away with it.

This time was no different. He traced Steve’s skin with butterfly touches, inducing shivers.

“Get the stuff?” Bucky refused to say the words “petroleum jelly” while waiting to get fucked- it didn’t sound sexy. “Stuff” was much less clinical sounding.

Steve rolled his eyes and reached under the bed for the little jar. He got his fingers slicked up and pressed seemingly chaste kisses to Bucky’s cock.

“What do ya think, baby? On your back or your stomach?”

Bucky considered it for a moment. They’d tried both out a few times, but there was something he’d wanted to try for a while.

“Can I be on top?” He murmured shyly. Steve hummed out a surprised moan directly over the head of his cock.

“You mean like- ya wanna do all the work?”

“Mhm,” he got onto his knees. “Wanna make ya feel good, ‘nd let ya-” Bucky’s face flushed when he was face to face with Steve. “Let ya use me t’ get off.”

“Jesus,” Steve breathed out. He lay back against the pillows, freeing his stiffened cock of his underwear one handedly and trying to get comfortable. “Yeah, babydoll, please do that. C’mere so I can get ya ready.”

Bucky blushed harder. He reached behind himself, spread his cheeks open, and probed at his hole. As he suspected, he was still loose from earlier that morning.

“Don’t need it. Just put that on ya cock, please.” He nodded to the slick coating Steve’s fingers. Steve gave him a look. “‘M still open from where ya plowed into me this mornin’, ‘sides I wanna feel it.”

Steve bit at his bottom lip, grabbing at his dick and giving it a few thorough strokes to slick it up. Bucky watched shamelessly, feeling the urge to grab his own. But that wasn’t his goal; making Steve come was his priority.

He slid over onto Steve’s lap, situating his thighs to bracket the others and placing his hands on either side of his head. The brush of Steve’s cock against his own forced a shiver down his spine. Steve held Bucky’s ass open with one hand, and with the other, he guided his cock to the eager hole waiting for him.

“Mph-” Okay, maybe he was a little tight- but the look of surprised ecstasy on Steve’s face made it worth the sting. Every inch of Steve’s length slid into him with Bucky’s shuddering descent. When he completely bottomed out, he stilled. “Fuck, Steve-

“S’okay, sweetheart.” Both of those hands gripped his hips, digging into his flesh. “Take your time.”

Bucky leaned down for a kiss. They moved together- not fucking, not thrusting. Just moving; Bucky’s hips rolled to feel Steve twitch inside him, Steve’s hands slid over the curve of his ass and upwards to feel the muscles in his back. Bucky adjusted to the intrusion with nothing more than a few moans muffled by Steve’s lips.

Eventually, he was ready to lift his hips experimentally. The head of the cock inside of Bucky dragged over the sweet spot in him. He cried out, felt himself clench up. Instinctively, he shoved himself back down to chase that pleasure.

Steve guided him, even though Bucky was exerting himself and making good use of his new strength. Those hands pushed the joint of his hip down and pulled him back up by the flesh of his bottom. Every slow thrust in opened Bucky up more and more, until he was ready to really get going.

He bounced, actually bounced, on Steve’s cock. Steve gasped at the surprising movement, but recovered quickly and watched the beautiful scene below him unfold.

“God, Bucky, look at ya,” Steve reached up to palm at Bucky’s chest. “So pretty….”

Bucky whined, wishing that hand was wrapped around his cock. It bounced with his thrusts, slapping obscenely against his stomach. Hot, hard arousal pounded through his veins, and he knew it’d be difficult to keep from coming. The praise did it for him too, and he craved more.

“Te-ell me.” The thrusts broke his breathy words up. “‘M I good?”

Steve understood just what he needed. “Babydoll, you’re so good- perfect. Lookin’ like somethin’ outuva wet dream. Prettiest mouth I ever seen- beautiful cock-” he grabbed it with a smirk, making Bucky moan loudly in the briefest relief. “-and this ass is so gorgeous, I couldn’t even dream it up.” Both hands clapped over Bucky’s still working bum.

“F-fuck!” He stopped, feeling his face twist up in the wonderful beginnings of an orgasm. Bucky fought it off, clenching every muscle in his body to do so.

“Bucky,” Steve gasped. “Sweetheart, if ya wanna come, you can. Let go, lemme see ya come for me. Wanna see it, Bucky, c’mon.’

Steve’s hips thrusted up, his hand wrapped around Bucky’s cock, and he was a goner. Helpless to fight it, Bucky shuddered and came. His eyes scrunched up with unshed tears and his mouth dropped open in a long, filthy moan. It felt so good, so hot and tight in every cell of his body. He spilled sloppily over Steve’s stomach, cracking his eyes open to watch it drip over his sides.

Steve stopped fucking him to watch, making sure his baby was taken care of. He let Bucky recover against his chest, murmuring praise and stroking his hair.

“There ya go, babydoll. Beautiful, so fuckin’ beautiful.”

Bucky caught his breath and wiped the sweat from his forehead. Looking dreamily up at Steve, he whispered a little shyly.

“Didn’t wanna come. I wanted ya to be in control.”

“I was, baby. Remember? I let you come, cause I wanted to see it. Was in control the whole time.”

Satisfied enough with that reassurance, Bucky went to settle back onto Steve’s chest. But then he remembered, Steve didn’t come.

Like the trooper that he was, Bucky climbed off of Steve’s lap, wincing at the sensation of pulling out. Steve was still hard enough that it wouldn't get much to get him there at all- I can do this. He turned onto his side, all stretched out with his head in Steve’s lap.

They shared a look: Steve’s eyes silently telling him he didn’t have to do this, and Bucky’s little smile saying that he knew. He propped himself up on one arm, reaching with the other to stroke Steve’s length back to full mast. His legs fell open to give Bucky easier access, and he laid his head back against the pillows.

For all his talk about how pretty Bucky’s body was, Steve sure was modest about his own gorgeous attributes. Bucky watched that cock grow pinker and fuller, pretty little head peeking from under his foreskin. He’d always been fascinated with it, not having any of his own. Carefully, he rolled it back and licked at the head a little, just how Steve liked. And, good God; the familiar taste of Steve was hidden underneath not only the traces of slick, but also himself. Bucky felt filthy, licking and sucking his own flavor from the cock that had just been buried inside his ass.

He only put his mouth on the head, letting his hand stroke on his shaft. Bucky massaged his tongue on the sensitive underside while he sucked.

“Bucky...God, baby…” Steve laced his fingers into Bucky’s hair, not holding him there, just petting. He didn’t seem too close to coming, so Bucky pulled off to kiss his tip a little and get a few words in.

“Give it to me, Stevie. Lemme taste ya,” he begged, looking up at Steve with his lips just brushing the slit of his cock. Bucky kept stroking, pressing kisses to his cock.

“Fuck,” Steve breathed out a long curse, grabbed the sheets next to his hip, and came. The first three spurts landed on his cheek, surprising Bucky. Before any more could come out, he covered the head with his mouth and let it land on his tongue.

Steve lay there, blushing all over and eyes closed in exhaustion. Bucky let his cock fall from his mouth when he finished, staring up at Steve with the heat of his come on his face.

“Steve.” He scolded. “Look whatcha did.”

Lazily, the other lifted his head and focused on Bucky’s face. As he took in the sight of his semen coating Bucky’s face, his eyes widened.

“Shit,” he cursed again in awe. “Shit, ‘m sorry, here-” he grabbed someone’s abandoned briefs and started to wipe him clean.

Bucky laughed goodnaturedly, taking over cleaning himself up. “‘S fine, just give a guy some warnin’ next time, huh?”

Steve grinned wide. “Yeah. Next time. ‘Cept- ya got no idea how hot ya look, all marked up like that.”

“Easy, there. Next time.” He reminded him and got to his feet. Steve snatched up the dirtied underwear and started cleaning Bucky’s load from his stomach. “‘M gonna go rinse off ‘nd have a smoke. Wait up for me?”

Steve just rolled his eyes and sat up to kiss him, landing a light smack on his bum when he turned away.

He scrubbed his face clean and then grabbed his pack of cigarettes to go outside, smoking only half of one so he could get his fix without being away from Steve too long.

After going back into their bedroom, Bucky climbed into Steve’s waiting arms.

“By the way, you’re still gonna suck me off first thing in the morning.”

“I’d be honored too, babydoll.”

“I love ya.”

“Love you too.”

 

Chapter Text

Soft footsteps padded up behind him. Skinny arms slid around Bucky’s waist, hips pressed to his ass, a forehead to the space between his shoulder blades. Bucky melted into the embrace, tightening his tie and fidgeting with it. Finally, he plopped the hat onto his slicked back hair and stared into the mirror. He finally felt like less of the Brooklyn boy that he’d always been, and more of the military man he was expected to be.

“Damn babydoll, you look like the kinda guy I’d happily take orders from,” Steve peeked his head around to look into the mirror too.

“Well, you of all people should know that behind closed doors I’m the one takin’ orders.” He joked back, giving his best charming smile. “C’mere, I got some stuff to say ‘fore we get goin’.”

Bucky guided Steve over to their couch, holding his hand even after they were settled in. He wasn’t entirely sure what was going to come out of his mouth once he started, but that was okay. Generally, he was more honest when put on the spot.

“What is it, baby?” Steve turned to him, always attentive and caring when he asked for it.

Bucky took in a shuddering breath. “I just want ya to know some things. The first is that I love ya, so much. And ‘m so glad that you forced me to come to terms with who I am, even when I was lyin’ my ass off. ‘Cause now, we’re together and happy- ‘nd I don’t think anybody, no matter who they are, could ever do that for me like you do.” Steve smiled wistfully. “The second is- I want ya to wait for me. S’long as I’m alive, s’long as my parents haven’t received that letter declarin’ me dead. War’s gotta end at some point, and when I come home I don’t wanna find you with someone else,” he felt like crying again, knowing how selfish and scared he was.

“Don’t worry, I will. Wouldn’t want anyone but you,” Steve reassured soothingly, rubbing Bucky’s arm gently. “Not even after you’re gone.”

“No,” Bucky said firmly. “‘F I die, you had better move on. I don’t care who it is, jus’ as long as I ain’t around anymore. Promise me, you’ll wait for me unless I’m dead and you’ll move on if I am. Promise.”

“I promise, Bucky.” Steve agreed, realizing how stubborn Bucky was on this point.

“Okay,” he sighed. “One more thing- I know we’ve talked in circles about this and gotten nowhere. But please, don’t enlist. I dunno who would be daft enough to let you in, or how you’d pass even the damn colorblind test, but please, stop trying. ‘S like I told ya last night, they’ll catch you and you’ll land yourself in prison. So one more promise- tell me you won’t try to enlist anymore.”

Steve sat there for a moment, fidgeting. For a second, Bucky thought he would argue it, but then-

“Alright, Buck. I promise not to enlist anymore.” His voice was so soft, careful.

“Good. Thank you.” He pulled Steve into a hug, burying his face into his shirt, knocking his cap askew but not caring. “I love ya. Wish I didn’t haveta do this, but ‘s important. You understand.”

“I do.” Steve murmured. “I get it. ‘S gonna be okay. You’ll come home when the war’s over, ‘nd eveythin’ll be okay. I love ya, baby. ‘Course I’ll wait for ya, you’re not just my sweetheart, you’re my best friend. You’re my everything, Bucky. End of the line, babydoll.”

“End of the line,” he murmured into the skin of Steve’s neck. And without another word, they mutually decided that the conversation was over. Their lips found each other, passion and love and sadness radiating from the connection. Bucky let himself be pushed back, knowing it would mess up his uniform, but unable to care. He wrapped his legs around Steve’s waist, pulling them down together.

Steve checked the time- they had seventeen minutes before they had to go. And damn it if they weren’t going to take up every single one with kisses.

The room was filled with the sounds of their lips and the little noises Bucky tended to make- whimpers, gasps and moans. It was beautiful, really, the way only Steve was capable of taking him apart so easily and put him back together just as effortlessly. Bucky was blind and deaf to everything but Steve, pawing at him and holding him tight in between his legs.

It wasn’t sexual. There was nothing but intimacy about their position, a comfortable but necessary closeness. Steve’s familiar weight rested on his chest and groin, protectively. His tongue didn’t fuck into his mouth like usual, just explored and caressed. Like he was trying to memorize Bucky from the inside out.

“Stevie,” Bucky sighed out, not meaning anything by it, just saying his name. Steve swallowed the word, returning the kiss with more urgency. Their clothes rustled through the quiet of the room as they grabbed at each other.  

Steve roamed, kissing along Bucky’s neck and under his collar. Reaching up, he slid his fingers into Bucky’s hair, messing it up and knocking his cap to the floor- but neither of them could care. He pulled Bucky’s head to the side to expose his neck and went to town on it, marking it up so slightly that it’d be gone in hours. Bucky had started to think Steve had a thing for that area, since their kissing always inevitably ended up there. He didn’t mind, nothing made him feel more worshipped than Steve’s mouth on him.

Steve nipped at his skin, making him moan out loud. Even though he had come just hours before- yes, Steve did suck him off as soon as he woke up- his body was definitely becoming interested again. Bucky shoved that aside, just trying to focus on the beauty moving over his body.

Since his mouth was unoccupied, Bucky was free to murmur and moan out everything he was thinking. His filter slowly disintegrated, the words flowed freely.

“Steve...mmn, I love ya so much….God, ‘m gonna miss ya….Fuck, don’t forget me, please….Wait for me...I’ll come back t’ya, I always will, Steve.”

Steve looked up at him, that pretty mouth open from the kisses he was laying on Bucky’s skin.

“I know,” he choked out. “I know ya will. C’mon, gonna be late.”

Chapter Text

War wasn’t kind to Bucky. Even as a sergeant, he found himself on the front lines more often than he’d expected. But he was damn good at it, and that’s what mattered. The 107th admired him, respected him, and fought alongside him. The colonel promised a promotion soon enough, for all the bullets he’d taken and orders he’d followed and given. A year passed quickly on the battlefield and during his downtime, too.

It wasn’t easy, being away from his Stevie. He missed him like crazy, wishing on all his luckiest stars that he would be able to go home. His home was Steve first, Brooklyn second. Whenever he fought, he fought for him.

Everything was fine until Azzano.

They were on the outskirts of the town, fighting desperately to keep Hydra’s army at bay. Three hundred men against easily five hundred- they didn’t stand a chance. Bucky fired every bullet he had on his person, switching over to his pocketknife when the guns were rendered useless.

They were so overpowered- only a handful of the 107th managed to escape.

Bucky was not one of those lucky men. He was dragged, kicking and screaming, onto a train car filled with the other bound and gagged members of his infantry. A rag was yanked around his head and cuffs locked around his wrists, and then he was shoved to the floor to join his men.

No one was sure where the train was going to take them.

They came to a stop a few hours later. Hydra’s men pulled them off, none too gently. They formed a line, shuffling into the base with the “guidance” of Hydra soldiers. Waiting at the door of what was presumably their base was a small man, with glasses and a permanently scrunched up face. In his hand was a photograph, and he checked the face of every man that passed him.

When his eyes landed on Bucky, he grinned cruelly.

“Das hier.”

Bucky was grabbed, four men pulled him down a separate hallway from the others. Up several flights of stairs, and down another hallway. He fought the whole way, landing half kicks and restrained punches on the men. Incoherent screams of dissent left his mouth.They ignored his resistance and tied him to a table, leaving just one of the guards to watch over him. He continued to struggle against his bonds.

The man from the front entrance entered, a notebook in his hands and a satisfied smirk on his face. Bucky looked up at him, distaste in his wide eyes.

“Hello, James.” He had an accent that Bucky hated just from association. “I am Doctor Arnim Zola. I hope you will be compliant while we execute the plans we have laid for you.”

Tentatively, he released the gag from Bucky’s mouth.

Bucky glared up at him. “Fuck you.”

If Zola understood what he said, he made no indication of it. “We’ll start off easy, just a few experiments to see if your body will be capable of receiving the serum yet. Shall we get started?”

Serum? The fuck?

“We have big plans for you, James. You don’t need to concern yourself with those just yet, but Hydra has had you in our sights for a while. Don’t worry, we’ll be keeping you very much alive. This may sting-” Zola warned, grabbing and holding Bucky’s still writhing arm. He plunged a needle in, and it sure did sting, a lot more than any of the vaccinations from the doctor’s office he’d gotten. “Excellent. Now, we just have to wait and see how your body reacts.”

Bucky’s mind crashed. There’s no other way to describe it- he was fine until whatever was injected into him took effect and his brain felt like it was splattered against the wall. He lost all concept of time, space, and, hell, even his own body was out of his control.

When he came back around, he was screaming absolute nonsense and the restraints holding him down where snapping with the force of his writhing. He’d been in pain the whole time- such insufferable pain that it’d blanked his mind out.

Zola came up to him while he refocused his vision and came down from whatever the fuck that was.

“Hmm...we’ll have to introduce the completed serum in small doses. Until then, your body needs to get used to the idea of the injections.” There was that cruel smirk again. “Are you ready for another?”

Chapter Text

“Barnes, James Buchanan, Sergeant, 32557038 .”

There was the sting of the syringe again, but Bucky was used to it by then. Tired, he barely even noticed it, just kept on dozing and whispering to himself while his body was violated, poked, and prodded.  

Zola’s presence above him was familiar, so he no longer felt fear when he entered the room. It made the procedures easier, to be able to mindlessly “sleep” through it. The scientist never cared whether or not he was conscious.

Down the hall, Bucky heard a commotion. He’d never seen anyone except the scientists in his entire time being there- so whoever was making the noise remained a mystery to him. He turned his head and was dimly aware of Zola putting down the instruments and syringes.

Heavy footsteps ran by, stopped, then ran inside Bucky’s room. Bucky just listened, keeping his eyes closed to continue whispering his own name, rank, serial number. He heard Zola run, leaving him alone with the stranger.

“Bucky! Oh my god...” Steve’s voice- why was he hearing Steve’s voice? Maybe he’d been given hallucinogens, or opiates. ‘Cause there was no way in hell the stranger inside his room was his Stevie, no way.

“Is that...” He groaned out at the ache in his muscles.

Rough hands grabbed at him, pulling him up from the discomfort of his little procedure table. He groaned, limp with exhaustion and feeling a strange buzz in his veins. Good thing the stranger was strong, otherwise Bucky would have fallen to the floor. He finally cracked open his eyes and tried to focus on whoever was transporting him.

The man’s face was smeared with dirt, but strong and clearly attractive. He had pale skin, a strong jaw, fierce determination set into his eyes, and the clearest blue eyes Bucky had ever seen- and he’s seen Steve’s eyes a million times.

Wait.

“Steve?” He croaked out, knowing it couldn’t be true. Steve could never tower over him like this, he could never be this wide and strong and capable of holding Bucky’s entire weight in one arm. But looking into those eyes, he recognized someone he once knew.

“Come on,” Steve gripped him tighter, pulling him away from his table and towards the door.

“Steve,” He murmured weakly, still confused. How was his little Stevie carrying him out of here? Was he just some lookalike? But how would the stranger know his name was Bucky, then? It must have been Steve- but how?

“I thought you were dead,” Steve choked out, looking him up and down for signs of injuries.

Bucky stared, open mouthed, at the man before him. There were more muscles on Steve than Bucky would know what to do with, and he was so tall.

“I thought you were smaller.”

 

---

 

Later in the afternoon, Bucky finished setting himself up in his designated tent. It had been a long three days of walking from Austria back to Allied territory, but they made it. Scraped, exhausted, but alive. The 107th infantry had welcomed them back as heroes, Captain America being the leader of their little group of survivors.

Captain America.

Bucky snorted at the ridiculousness of the situation. His Steve, his boyfriend Steve, was an honorary Captain in the army. Had been for a while apparently, since he had apparently enlisted the night before Bucky shipped out.

He didn’t even tell me, our last night together….

Where before he might have gotten angry, he didn’t experience that this time. Sure, it bothered him, but after gaining perspective he realized there was a more important fight to win. Turning against Steve wasn’t in his best interest, and never had been. It was in the past, and it didn’t hurt anyone. Besides, if Steve had told him on their last night they might have spent the entire time arguing about whether or not Steve had made the right decision.

Turns out, he had.

He left this tent and started towards Steve’s, which was set up shortly after their return to camp. It was stationed about 40 yards away from everyone elses, and about twice the size of Bucky’s. Lucky bastard.

Glancing around to make sure no one was watching him too closely, he darted into the tent unannounced. Steve was sitting there like the biggest lump on a log, poring over maps and drawings he’d done up. He shifted awkwardly, like he wasn’t sure what to do with all his extra energy and size. It was kind of cute.

Bucky cleared his throat, tying the strings hanging from the flaps of the tent into knots so no one else could barge in like he did. He threw a smile over his shoulder whilst doing so, happy to see Steve look up from his work.

“Hey babydoll.” He smirked and tossed the papers onto an upended crate he was using as a table. “You sleep alright?”

“Not as well knowin’ you were just a few yards away ‘nd I couldn’t join ya.” Bucky flirted, loving the wide grin that broke out on Steve’s face. He strutted over to Steve’s bed, slid carefully onto his lap. Carefully only out of habit. They kept their voices relatively hushed, so anyone who might pass by unbeknownst to them couldn’t hear such incriminating words.

“God, Buck, ya got no idea how much I missed ya. Been a long year without ya.”

“Actually, ‘s been a year, five months and six days, but I’m not really countin’. ‘M just amazed we didn’t cross paths before now.” He traced the hard curve of Steve’s new shoulder, obsessed with touching him. Bucky was in awe of the body below him.

Steve stared at Bucky’s lips. “‘Tha’s a long time to go without a kiss.”

Bucky stopped at the statement, overthinking as usual. Surely the girls had been falling over themselves to get a chance to chat up the great Captain America, even if he didn’t know how to talk to them. Not only was he famous now, but that body. He wouldn’t have blamed Steve for letting some off some steam with a dame in Bucky’s absence. What if he had-

“Bucky? ‘S wrong?” Steve’s hands, big and manly now, cupped his face.

Bucky realized his eyebrows had knotted, his previous smug smirk turned into a frown. “Didya wait for me?”

“Huh?” Steve said stupidly. Bucky shook his head.

“Did you wait for me? Did you find someone else to- find someone whenever you got lonely?”

Steve pulled away a little, looking worried. “Of course not, baby. Never wanted anyone but you, ever. ‘Sides, I promised ya ‘for ya left. You’re the one for me, Buck. End of the line, remember?”

It still didn’t sit that well with Bucky. What would people think of the two best friends being lifelong bachelors? If they did survive the war, where would the end of the line be? And how were they supposed to pretend like their friendship was just platonic? People would ask questions, girls would proposition Steve- and he’d have to act interested in them.

“You waited for me too, right?”

The question shocked Bucky a little. Steve looked so unsure of himself, still so insecure even after flying out of his tiny cocoon as a huge, beautiful butterfly.

“‘Course I did, Stevie. Ain’t nobody good enough to sleep with me anymore, ‘cept you.”

Steve hummed. “Cocky.”

“Confident.” Bucky corrected.

“Smart ass.”

“Witty.”

They went back and forth for a while, until finally Steve kissed him hard on the lips, just to get him to not let his comeback out. Well, maybe it was for other reasons, like love or a long time apart. Bucky whined against Steve’s lips, having missed him so much. Four months of isolation tended to force those kinds of feelings from a person. At least those lips and eyes hadn’t changed, Bucky’s favorite physical features about Steve. His heart pounded against his rib cage, both with excitement and with the fear of getting caught.

They traded hasty kisses.The kind of kisses one might trade when under a time crunch, or when any of two hundred queer-hating men with rifles might pass by the tent at any minute. Bucky turned to full on straddle Steve’s lap, letting himself be grabbed and adored.

“God, Stevie. Muscles like this, ya might actually be able to manhandle me into bed,” he joked, but shrieked a little in surprise when Steve actually picked him up and tossed him onto the bed.

“Shhh,” he chastised, climbing back over Bucky. “Don’t want anybody t’ hear ya, do ya?”

“Don’t surprise me like that then, punk.”

Steve let the matter rest, preferring to reacquaint himself Bucky’s lips again. They were back together, in the slight chill of November, just as scared of getting caught together, but too desperate to stay apart.

Chapter Text

The drink in his stomach doesn’t seem to be working. Bucky had already downed three whiskeys, but was feeling none of the buzz he was used to having. Maybe Austrian whiskey was just worse than what he was accustomed to at home. Maybe it was watered down so they could sell more bottles without having to manufacture more, since the economy had gone to shit.

Maybe he was just too wound up from everything to get drunk.

The Howling Commandos were celebrating a win against Hydra in Austria, and getting prepared for a mission that would hopefully end all of this nonsense. At least that’s the gist that Bucky got from Steve during lazy pillow talk a few nights ago. He wasn’t sure what exactly the plan was, but he knew that he’d just have to follow Steve’s orders. Steve would take care of him, he always did.

Leadership suited him, military life suited both of them. It just sucked sometimes whenever Bucky got scraped and Steve couldn’t rush to his aid for fear of “caring too much” in front of everyone else. Or when they had to sneak Bucky back into his own tent without arousing suspicion. Or when Steve was busy chatting with Peggy Carter.

It’s not like Bucky was concerned about Steve cheating, he knew Steve didn’t swing that way. But she sure was normal, always looking at him with those deep, strong eyes like she saw something in him that no one else could.

I see it. I’ve always seen it.

Bucky watched them, threw back the terrible whiskey and pouted to himself. Steve was so oblivious to her affections- or maybe he wasn't? Maybe he liked the attention. The way her hand kept touching his arm whenever he said something funny was too frequent to be accidental.

Deciding to do something about his envy, he stalked over to their little table and plopped down in the empty chair next to Steve. The two of them smiled at him, Steve instantly brightening.

“Finally, I was wonderin’ when you’d come over here.” Bucky shrugged in response, grinning only at Steve. As if to claim his territory, he threw his arm over Steve’s shoulders and tugged the man closer.

Great, Barnes, you’re no better than a damn coyote. Why dontcha try peein’ on ‘im next?

“Figured I’d save the lady from only havin’ your ugly mug to look at,” he flirted, even though it’s pointless. She’d only ever paid attention to Steve.

“Spare me, Sergeant. I know you’re jealous.” Peggy cut right to the chase, her no-nonsense accent complimenting her words quite well.

Uh oh.

He laughed nervously. “Jealous ‘a what? Stevie here? Nah, dontcha worry, doll, you’re not my type.”

Steve stared at the pint in his hand, suddenly very interested in the rim of the glass.

“I know I’m not, Sarge. Steve’s more your type, isn’t he?” Peggy smirked when Bucky choked on his own saliva in shock. “And do not call me ‘doll.’”

She knew- how did she know? Was Bucky not as good at concealing his jealousy and affection for Steve as he thought? Did she catch them in the act one night, when they weren’t as careful as they’d thought? Did someone tell her?

Bucky whirled to Steve, who was staring guiltily into his lap.

“Steven.” He said, trying to keep his voice level. That was all it took.

“‘M sorry, she was talkin’ to me about how she was interested in me, ‘nd I panicked, so I told her I had someone else ‘nd we were goin’ steady, and she asked me ‘what’s her name?’, ‘nd like an absolute idiot, I said Bucky. Was ‘bout a year ago, but she don’t care ‘bout it, Buck. She ain’t told no one.” He kept his voice hushed even though most of the people were on the opposite end of the bar.

Bucky stared at him, rubbing the back of his neck soothingly, in a friendly way. There was a lot of information to unpack in that short amount of time. And then he started laughing.

“You accidentally told her ya got a dame named Bucky? ” He threw back his head and chuckled. “Jesus, Stevie, ‘s amazing no one else’s figured it out yet.”

Peggy sat back in her seat, smiling. “Don’t worry, Barnes. I don’t plan on revealing anything, but you might want to keep a closer eye on your captain here. He’s a little loose lipped.”

Steve groaned. “It was a year ago. ‘M better at lyin’ ‘bout that now.”

“Sure,” Bucky snorted. Maybe the alcohol was starting to do its job. “Well, listen, Agent, ‘ppreciate ya keepin’ this hushed up. ‘Specially for so long.”

“Don’t worry about it. As long as I don’t see anything, I have no obligation to report it. So don’t let me see anything.” She stood and managed to impose her presence over the two men. “Don’t drink too much, you’ve got a big mission to focus on tomorrow. Round up your men, too, before they make even greater fools of themselves.  Have a good evening.”

She left them alone. Steve chewed on his bottom lip.

“Ya mad at me?”

“What? ‘Course not.” Bucky grabbed Steve’s glass and stole some of his beer. “‘S long as she don’t say nothin’, I don’ care. I can just picture ya lettin’ that slip. ‘Sorry, ma’am, I’ve got a girl waitin’ for me at home,’” He imitated Steve’s deep voice. “‘Oh? What’s her name?’” He procured a poor English accent for Peggy. “‘ Bucky.’” He laughed. “You’re lucky you’re pretty.”

Steve hid his red face in his hands. “Alright, can we go now? ‘M embarrassed enough.”

“Sure, Stevie. The guys’ll probably be busy here for a li’l while. Might get some time to ourselves.” Bucky dropped his voice to a low purr. “I’ll slip out while you’re sayin’ your goodbyes, Captain.” He stood and saluted with a sultry grin, leaving to grab his coat.

They coordinated themselves so no one noticed Bucky’s exit, thus no one would see them leaving together. The icy chill of January bit at Bucky’s skin, but the excitement and warmth built up at the bar made him hardly care. He trudged back to the camp, a couple of miles away. Footsteps approached him, and when he turned back to see who it was, he laughed.

Steve was just jogging, and managed to have caught up to Bucky’s five minute head start.

“Love that serum.” He called out. Steve grinned and jogged a little faster, lapping Bucky.

“On your right.”

“Hey!”

Laughing, Bucky sprinted to catch up. He tried to keep pace, but fell a little short. When they arrived back at their deserted camp, Steve had been waiting for about thirty seconds for Bucky to fall in.

Panting, he entered Steve’s tent and found the other smirking at him, looking completely unbothered. “D’you even break a sweat? Just ran two straight miles in what, ten minutes?”

“Probably less than that.” Steve let an exhausted Bucky support himself on Steve’s strong torso. “You imagine what woulda happened if I tried that back in Brooklyn?”

“I’d be draggin’ your unconscious body to the hospital.” He murmured and walked over to fall onto Steve’s stiff bed. The other started lacing up the folds of the tent to try and keep the cold out. There was no source of heat, but thankfully Steve was a furnace all by himself. It was strange, how Bucky used to be the one to keep Steve warm in the winter, but now their roles were reversed. “C’mere, Stevie. Warm me up.”

“That what you’re callin’ it now?” Steve snorted, but padded over all the same. He shucked off his leather coat and covered Bucky’s body with his own. Instantly enveloped in weight and warmth, Bucky sighed contentedly.

“Hey, shove over a little bit. Can’t put all your weight on my chest anymore, can ya?” He drawled, wrapping a hand around half of Steve’s bicep. Jesus.

“Wasn’t plannin’ on just layin’ on ya, but fine ‘f ya gonna complain ‘bout it.” Steve shuffled so he was curled into Bucky’s side, covering him with one leg and one arm. Bucky smiled down at him even though he couldn’t see it and ran his fingers through his short hair.

“‘M not complainin’, just tryna breathe enough to live to see tomorrow. Ya got a lot goin’ on here,” he gestured to Steve’s considerable musculature. “Glad the outside finally matches what’s inside.”

“Well, ‘f ya don’t shut up, my outsides are never gonna get to see your insides.” Steve grabbed at his own groin with one hand and then clapped one over Bucky’s hip with the other, a smirk adorning his lips. Bucky laughed, louder than he had in weeks at the terrible joke. The kind of laugh that made his nose scrunch up and his eyes squeeze shut.

Steve laughed too, quietly. Like he was content to just watch Bucky giggle.

“I can’t believe ya just said that. Alright, fine, I’ll shut up. C’mon, Captain, I ain’t got all night.”

Chapter Text

“Fuck!” Bucky cried out. Steve’s hips pistoned back and forth furiously, creating a lewd slapping sound with each connection to Bucky’s ass. He pushed back as much as he could, mostly to chase the pleasure Steve’s cock was providing him, but also to avoid being fucked into the mattress. Steve shoved his shirt up, held on to him by the waist, and yanked Bucky back himself.

“There ya go, babydoll. That what ya need? Need me t’ fuck ya brains out?”

Ste-eve, ” Bucky moaned at the filth spilling from his mouth. He shoved his face into the pillow to muffle the sounds of pleasure destined to escape.

“No, no, no, baby.” Steve tugged on his hair and guided him back onto his hands and knees. “C’mon, wanna watch ya. Fuck yourself on me, take what ya want. I ain’t movin’, sweetheart.”

Bucky was already moving before the command was uttered. He thrust his ass back onto Steve’s cock, admittedly slower and less powerfully, but still fucking it like he needed it to survive.

“God, this ass,” Steve praised. “Looks so good, Buck, wish ya could see for yourself.”

His big hands cupped at the ass in question, kneading and spreading it wide. Bucky knew his hole was on full display, swallowing up Steve’s cock eagerly. Steve’s right hand smacked his cheek, not nearly enough to hurt. He felt his cock jerk and his ass jiggle with it the force of it.  

“Steve, please, fuck-” Bucky begged, needing to get pounded instead of the rocking back and forth that he was capable of.

“What is it, baby? Need somethin’?” Steve grinned through his words, obvious lust darkening his voice.

Bucky whined, “I can’t- ‘s not enough, Steve, gimme more….”

Wordlessly, he obliged, slamming his hips back into Bucky. A couple of grunts escaped while Steve panted over him. He set a ruthless pace, abandoning teasing for the moment. Every thrust sent a jolt through Bucky’s body- he’d never felt so overwhelmed by sensation. His hole was so completely stretched and full of Steve.

I don’t ever want to forget this feeling.

“Oh, fuck me, fuck, fuck, fuck-”

“I swear, the mouth on you, babydoll...gonna hafta think ‘a somethin’ to put in there, keep ya from talkin’ such filth.” Steve teased.

Instinctively, Bucky reached a hand back to grab Steve’s hip. “Don’t ya dare think about pullin’ out for that, Rogers.”

Steve laughed breathlessly, reinforcing his bruising grip on Bucky’s body. The sounds filling the little tent were so lewd and desperate, it just spurred the two of them on. The tip of Steve’s cock pummeled his prostate over and over again, sending shocks from his toes to the top of his head.

“Shit- Stevie, ‘m gonna,” He murmured breathlessly.

“Go on, baby, lemme feel ya. Come for me, Buck.”

Bucky bit his lip, closed his eyes and tried to just concentrate on the orgasm bubbling up inside of him. It crested and crashed over him in waves of pure heat, while Steve fucked him furiously through it. He couldn’t help the whimpers and moans that forced their way out of his mouth. His cock spasmed against his stomach, dirtying up the sheet underneath him with come.

He was so lost in his own pleasure that he didn’t register Steve’s hand clapping over his mouth, or the stillness of his hips.  

“Sh!” Steve hushed him, yanking his cock free and strangling it back into his pants. Bucky slumped forward, exhausted.

“‘S wrong?” He slurred while Steve yanked Bucky’s trousers back over his ass.

“Get up! They’re comin’ back. Listen,” he commanded. Bucky sat up, strained his ears for a moment- and sure enough, the sounds of a rowdy crew of drunk men was barely audible in the distance. He sprang up, unknotted the front of Steve’s tent and made to dart back into his own tent.

Steve stopped him, wrapping his almost forgotten coat around Bucky and forcing him into a quick kiss. It burned with Steve’s pent up sexual energy, while Bucky’s lips moved languidly with satisfaction.

“Ya didn’t finish.” He murmured.

“‘S fine. I’ll get mine tomorrow, after we finish the mission.” Steve smiled, pushing Bucky out of his tent with a strong hand against his chest. “Go on, babydoll. Goodnight.”

“G’night. I love ya,” he whispered into the cold. Through the tent, he heard Steve’s reply.

“I love you too.”

Bucky trudged back to his own tent just a few feet away, and lay awake to the sounds of his team stumbling and laughing themselves back into camp. His tent was so damn freezing, he didn’t want to fall asleep. One by one, Bucky’s comrades arrived and turned in for the night. He waited, staring at the top of his little tent and went back and forth with himself, contemplating what to do.

Go to sleep.

Steve’s tent’s warm.

Someone’ll hear me going in.

But Steve.

I’ll get caught.

Steve.

About a half an hour passed before he finally pushed himself off his cot- fuck it- and snuck out quietly. A nervous knot formed in his stomach. Unlike in their regiment, the unit’s tents were squished right up next to each other. Meaning he had to be quieter than silent if he was going to sneak into Steve’s tent undetected.

The knots were tied together again, but that didn’t stop Bucky. He reached into the space and blindly undid the bottom two, leaving enough space for him to slip inside. Steve slept through it soundly, making Bucky smile. If Steve, with his ridiculous new hearing, didn’t hear him, no one else would have.

He crossed the short distance to the cot, quietly slipping under Steve’s blanket to settle into the tiny amount of room left on it. An exhale of relief escaped his mouth- Steve was so wonderfully warm. He pulled one of Steve’s sleep-heavy arms over his waist and scooched in as close as he could get.

A few seconds passed before Bucky felt the loose grip around him tighten and a slow sigh of contentment brush against his neck.

“Baby,” Steve groaned sleepily.

“Shh,” he reminded him in barely even a whisper. “Gotta stay quiet.”

A few seconds passed while Steve woke up.

“Whatcha gonna tell the others in the morning’?” He breathed out.

“Somethin’ ‘bout wakin’ up early to go over plans for the mission, I dunno.” Bucky wriggled his ass against Steve’s hips to silently tell him to make more room. “Shove over, punk.”

He sucked in a breath. “Don’t do that.”

Oh.

“Still interested?” He smirked over his shoulder. “Wan’ me to…”

Rather than use his words, Steve dragged his hand over the curve of Bucky’s hip. The cock nestled against Bucky’s bottom plumped up minutely. He pushed back into it, coaxing his erection to make an appearance. After a second of thought, Bucky shuffled around to face Steve. They shared a quick kiss, a quiet one. Bucky reached into Steve’s trousers and pulled out his hardening length.

Wasting no time, he began stroking in earnest. He kept his eyes on Steve’s face, delighted in his little reactions. The cock in between his fingers grew hot, thick and drooled a little with the promise of an orgasm to come. Steve’s face blushed red, and his mouth dropped open in a hushed pant. Bucky shoved his shirt up, making room for his come to land.

Steve chewed on his bottom lip to keep from making noise. Taking pity on him, Bucky dropped his lips to mouth along Steve’s collarbone while rapidly jerking his cock. His own body was taking interest, strangely enough, despite having come so recently. He ignored it and focused on bringing Steve over the edge.

The heat grew even stronger. Steve’s hips reciprocated in the form of thrusts, while his face scrunched up in long overdue pleasure.

Bucky leaned in close to Steve’s ear, words tickling the sensitive skin there. “I love ya- come for me, Stevie-”

A choked off whimper left Steve’s lips as he erupted. Bucky covered the slit in his cock with his thumb, simultaneously keeping the come relatively contained while also providing enough stimulation to guide Steve through his completion. It still spilled all over his stomach. Panting and sweaty despite the cold, Steve slumped into Bucky’s chest while shudders echoed through his body.

Bucky listened for any signed that the others had heard anything. When none was forthcoming, he grabbed the rag that Steve had presumably already used to clean up after he left. After wiping him clean, he righted Steve’s clothes and tucked him back into his pants. Wordlessly, they settled back into a comfortable drowsiness that guided the two into a necessary sleep.

Chapter Text

They tentatively entered the train, keeping an eye out for Hydra’s men. Bucky slid the door closed, nodding to Steve to let him know which way to move. As a pair, they eased forward to the other cars in the locomotive.

Suddenly, they were separated. Bucky on one car, Steve on the other. Two of Hydra’s goons opened fire on them, Bucky could hear Steve shouting through the door. He turned and focused on the man in front of him, all dressed up in enough gear to make him barely recognizable as a human. Bucky dodged shots, turned and fired off rounds of his own. He made his way around the car, taking cover behind stacks of boxes and shelves. Gritting his teeth, he fired off shots until his mags were empty. And the thing still didn’t go down.

The door next to him opened, and there was Steve. He nodded at Bucky, tossed him a gun, and then slammed the shield into a stack of the boxes to force them towards the man. The man stepped out- directly into Bucky’s line of fire. He shot with deadly accuracy, hitting his mark.

Bucky turned to a panting Steve, “I had ‘im on the ropes.” Their usual dynamic was flipped on its head.

“I know ya did.”

The second, larger weapon- there was no other way to describe what was looming before them- aimed two cannons at he and Steve. The blue light whirred to life and shot towards them. Steve shoved Bucky out of the way and held up the shield to block them. It ricocheted, blasting open the entire wall of the train and exposing them to the outside wind and frigid cold.

Steve was down, on the opposite side of the car. Bucky was left to fend for himself.

The weapon loaded up a second shot, and Bucky reached forward and grabbed the shield. He fired shots from his pistol, knowing they weren’t going to do much damage. But he could at least distract from the thing’s apparent target: Steve.

It fired. Bucky held up the shield to block it, but it still knocked him back. Too far back. The wind sucked him out of the train and he flew along the side.

Instinctively, he reached out to grab something, anything . He grabbed a piece of railing, fighting gravity and the power of the wind to hold on. Bucky’s hair whipped around his head and his heart pounded in his chest. He looked hopefully up at the gaping hole in the side of the train, waiting, wishing for Steve to find him.

Steve’s head popped over the side, his mouth already open in a scream of Bucky’s name. The wind howled around them.

Steve.

His best friend climbed over the wrecked train walls, getting dangerously close.

“Grab my hand!”

The railing he clung to slid down.

Steve.

“No!”

The railing snapped, and Bucky had nothing to cling to.

“Steve!” He finally screamed, falling. Falling, and hearing only the wind whistling past his ears and the name that died on his lips as he crashed to the ground. The moment his body hit the ground, he was gone.

 

-----

 

The next few days, weeks, months, perhaps were a blur. He knew he was alive, somehow. He knew who he was and how he almost died.

Barnes, James Buchanan, Sergeant, 32557038.

He knows Steve reached out to grab him before he fell. He knows Steve was his best friend. He knows Steve was his lover.

These are the thoughts he held onto when lying on that table.

The first time he woke up, Bucky was already screaming in pain. His vision was unfocused, but he looked down at his body in horror. His left arm was severed off, leaving nothing but a bloody, poorly stitched stump in its place. The rest was covered in bruises. He passed out shortly after.

The next few times, he noticed his body healing quickly. His bruises were fading fast and he could see every single one. Whoever was hooking him up to these machines and giving him treatment hadn’t offered him clothes. What was the point, when they were just going to prod at him. The experience was vaguely familiar to being on Zola’s table. Except this time, he didn’t have his left arm, and he was constantly in a state of disorientation or unconsciousness.

But then, the scientists stopped messing around with his body and started imposing on his brain. Asking questions about who he was, torturing them out of him. Eventually, he didn’t know the answers. They seemed pleased with that, though. Said he was ready for a wipe, whatever that meant.

They shoved him into a chair, while he was too boneless to resist. The scientists locked him into restraints, placed something heavy and imposing onto his head.

The last thing he remembered was screaming.

 

Chapter Text

He opens his eyes, dim lights still too bright after what feels like days of heavy sleep. The first thing he feels is pain, a throbbing ache embedded in the bones of his left shoulder and stretching into his chest. He’s laying on a stretcher, restraints tied over his neck, wrists, and ankles.

Who am I?

The Asset tightens his fists, immediately sensing something...off about it. Lifting his head, he sees one metal fist, one flesh one. The metal clicks with the movement of his fingers, requires more effort to move. Somewhere in the back of his mind, someone’s screaming that this is wrong.

Why am I here?

A man comes up from behind him, coming in close to his face. The Asset takes in his appearance, but doesn’t recognize him. He’s short, pudgy, with light hair and glasses. He has a permanently worried looking face, even when smiling at the Asset.

“Welcome back, Soldat.

Instinctively, he shivers at the name. Like he’s heard it before.

“Let’s see if you can get it right this time.” This time? The man’s voice sounds like poison to his ears, he hates it immediately. “Answer each question honestly. Do you know who you are?”

The Asset shakes his head, fighting the urge to spit in the man’s face.

“Do you recognize the name James Buchanan Barnes?”

Who?

Confused, but ready to follow orders, he shakes his head again.

The ugly man leans in closer, so the Asset can clearly see every drop of sweat adorning his forehead. How about... Bucky?”

He jolted, his face twisting into an expression of pain. Bucky screamed in fear, having been conscious for all of the exchange, but completely out of control of his own body. Zola continued to stare at him, disappointed.

“You sonuva- lemme go, you sick freak!”  

While Bucky thrashed and attempted to break free of the bonds, Zola turned to the scientists stationed behind him.

“Again. Wipe him again!”

They shoved a rag into his mouth, double checked the strength of the restraints, and then placed sensors and a headpiece over him. Bucky resists, spits out the cloth, and screamed.

“STOP! Not again, no no no no! Lemme go! Steve, where are you?! STEVE!” The shrieks turn into incoherent screams as Bucky’s mind is shoved away into a little box in the corner of his brain, locked and forgotten. It leaves the rest free for manipulation. Ready for orders.

The Asset slumps, unconscious against the stretcher.

 

-----

 

The next seventy years are an unfortunate blur. The Asset isn’t even awake for most of it, slipped into an icy slumber when they don’t need him. Eventually the screaming in his head stops and submits to his handlers will. They don’t offer much more reward than letting him live and sleep.

He survives, floating through into a new century without much of an idea of anything besides his missions.

Until the bridge.

His failed mission. It clouds his thinking. Something in his body reacted to that man, but he hasn’t got a clue why. His handlers won’t answer. It’s hindering his performance; he failed his mission.

When they lower the headpiece back onto him, the Asset is grateful.

Chapter Text

The Asset is losing control. His mind keeps coming back to questions of the man from the bridge. He is confused, but deep down he knows that he’s known him. Not just seen him, but known him. Their last wipe didn’t work. Something in his brain continues to resist Hydra’s manipulation.

They fight on the flaming helicarriers. It feels wrong, like he’s punching the wrong person. His guilty conscious is screaming at him to stop. Why did the man unpin him? They were fighting….

The man insists that he- Bucky- knows him.

“No I don’t!” The Asset lies and punches him, again and again. Yes, I do.

The man stops resisting. He’s refusing to fight anymore. He’s failed one of his missions already, but his conscious tells him not to kill the man. He ignores it. He has orders to fill.

The man tries to talk to him.

“Bucky,” There’s that name again. “You’ve known me your whole life.”

The Asset knows that isn’t true, it can’t be true, and it pisses him off. He punches again, clutching at his side where he feels his ribs are cracked and digging into his lung.

“Your name,” He says through pants and gasps for air. “Is James Buchanan Barnes.”

I don’t have a name.

“Shut up!” He screams and flails his arm, not even caring where the hit lands.

The man gets up, somehow, tugging off his mask. The shield falls into the smoke billowing below them. “I’m not gonna fight ya.”

The Asset hesitates, knowing he shouldn’t do this. But he has orders.

He rushes with a yell, knocking the man over. He straddles the man, growls out a response.

“You’re my mission.”

The Asset brings his fist to that face over and over again. The sickening crunch of bones sounds under his knuckles. Inside, his heart is collapsing on itself. This is wrong.

He hesitates, can’t bring himself to finish the blows. Those eyes look weakly up at him, familiarly. Like even though the Asset is bashing his face in, he can do no wrong.

“Then finish it.” The man knows he won’t. “‘Cause I’m with ya…’till the end of the line.”

Those words...I’ve heard that before...Steve.

The Asset feels tears in his wide eyes. He doesn’t understand, can’t possibly begin to know, why the man lying so pliant underneath him is worth crying over. All he knows is his heart hurts, the inner turmoil inside of him hurts, and he doesn’t want to fight him.

Steve.

The wreckage shifts, the weight he’s resting on falls. The Asset grabs onto a piece of railing still attached, holds it tight. Steve falls, fading away into the clouds of grey billowing up from the explosion. And that’s all it took.

Bucky watched, horrified, as Steve fell from the remains of the helicarrier. He was painfully aware of how he got there, of what he was doing, of why Steve’s face was bashed in and his metal knuckles were covered in blood. The only thought that made any sense in his brain was: Steve’s falling, I have to save him. I can save him.

He jumped in after, just in time to escape the explosion. There was water below, reassuring. He knew they could both survive the fall. But Steve was unconscious, he would drown. Save him.

Bucky fell, not as scared as the last time he did. Somehow, he knew he was strong enough to do this. The water suddenly filled his vision and washed icily over every nerve in his body. He opened his eyes, searching for any sign of Steve. He turned, spotting him several feet away. Swimming towards Steve, he completely tunnel visioned on the task at hand: making sure he survived. The other questions didn’t matter, not as long as Steve was in danger.

Bucky grabbed him, holding him close with his left arm. Resurfacing was easy enough with all the adrenaline and that damn serum pumping through his veins. He dragged Steve out of the water-

He didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know why the man was so important to him. He stared down at him, his only weakness. Now with a name.

Steve.

Steve’s lips moved, water dripping from his open mouth. He coughed a little. He was alive. Worse for wear, but alive. That seemed to satisfy his guilty conscious.

Bucky didn’t know him. Recognized, yes, but he didn’t truly know him. He didn’t remember the extent of their relationship, how he knew that the Asset had a name. Bucky. He tested it out on his tongue, and it made sense. The name sounded familiar on Steve’s lips and he had responded to it. He had known the man’s name too, but maybe it wasn’t right. Maybe he just pulled the name out of his ass.

But something told him that he knew.

He was scared. The handlers would be looking for him, but his instinct told him to hide from them. Bucky knew how to hide in plain sight, he’d been doing it for years.

He turned away from Steve, promising to find him again once he was ready.

 

Chapter Text

The Smithsonian wasn’t what he was expecting. Bucky walked in, covered in as many layers as he could get away with in the early spring weather. He wore his hair down with a cap pulled low over his eyes, knowing it’d protect him from people recognizing him. Already, just on the banners outside, he’d seen his own face plastered proudly next to Captain America- Steve.

Turns out the name he’d remembered was correct.

He thought the exhibit would be nothing but the Captain’s accomplishments and his history- which it was. But it was also so much more than that.

Bucky walked around until he stood in front of a wall decorated with his own face, several paragraphs of text, and a title that made his face run hot.

“ROGERS AND BARNES: FRIENDS SINCE THE BEGINNING, LOVERS TO THE END.”

Shivering under his hoodie, he kept reading.

While the war waged on, the public and the army assumed that Steve Rogers and his best friend since childhood, Bucky Barnes, were nothing more than close comrades. Indeed, they had been. Barnes went to the same school as his friend, kept him from getting into too many back-alley fights, and they went everywhere with each other. After Rogers’ mother passed away of tuberculosis in 1941, the two moved in together and lived in Brooklyn until the war called Barnes and eventually Rogers away.

The Captain and his best friend were officially declared KIA in 1944, after Rogers’ brave actions ended the war. Barnes had fallen during an earlier mission, and Rogers, too distraught after his friend’s demise, sacrificed himself to save millions of lives and end his own.

Around the 1970s, when the acceptance of homosexuality was struggling to gain momentum, one of their superior officers stepped forward. Agent Margaret “Peggy” Carter announced that America’s World War II heroes had been romantically involved for several years before they died. She published several genuine notebooks, all belonging to Barnes, which Rogers had left in her possession after he died. They date from 1935-1944, and document not only Barnes’ struggle with his sexuality, but also his relationship with Rogers and the war’s effects on the two men.

For several decades, the publication of this collection of journals has been considered the “turning point” in American acceptance of homosexuality, due to the emotional and sympathetic invocation it provokes in readers. It has sold over one million copies over just the last ten years.

The original journals are currently being held in the Smithsonian’s archive.

Condensed copies of the journals may be purchased while exiting the exhibit.

Bucky finished reading, a scowl of concentration on his face. He went back and read through once more, to make absolutely sure of what he was seeing.

He and Steve had been in love? That was why Bucky couldn’t bring himself to kill him, that was why he had saved him from drowning in the Potomac? In a time where being gay was a crime, he and Steve were lovers?

But beyond that, he’d written something that millions of people had read- apparently extremely personal thoughts. His secret had been showcased and published and was popular. Whoever Bucky used to be would probably be furious at the invasion of his privacy, but the current Bucky didn’t remember. It didn’t matter that much.

Bucky resolved to find those journals before he left- they are his, apparently- and purchase them. His curiosity wasn’t satiated from his visit to the museum. If anything, he was more desperate to learn everything about the man he used to be.

The rest of the exhibit was a blur- details about things he doesn’t remember, and probably never will. He tried to soak it all in, but failed- he was too distracted by the revelation that he was apparently gay. Bucky hadn’t considered it. He hadn’t thought about sexuality or romantic relationships, he was too busy rebuilding himself from scratch. Hopefully reading some of his own words about it would fill in the gaps.

The gift shop clerk didn’t recognize him when she checked out the book, thank god. It was a thick, paperback novel- he must’ve been pretty wordy. On the back cover, there was a brief synopsis and a picture of him dressed in his sergeant’s uniform. Smiling. Innocent, light eyes with smile lines at the corners. Clean shaven, with short hair and bitten red lips.

Bucky wondered if that was what he still looked like, under the hair and scruff and eyes that had seen too much.

In the cab ride back to his motel, he cracked it open, skipped Margaret Carter’s preface for the moment, and started on the first excerpt.

I don’t know why I feel this way, but dating is disappointing. I went out with the prettiest dame in our class today- Angela. She’s got the softest curves and blondest curls, green eyes and her lipstick isn’t red like every other girl’s- it’s pink, like a rose. Every other guy our year wants her- and I think do too.

Except, when we went out, I didn’t feel any of that stuff the others talk about. I didn’t get butterflies in my stomach, or tingles when she touched my arm, or a faster heartbeat when I kissed her goodnight. She’s nice, much nicer than I was expecting- that’s why I asked her out. But my heart wasn’t really in it.  I wanted to know if there was a connection beyond the physical to be discovered. Now, I don’t even know if I think she is that pretty.

Steve told me not to worry about it. Says there’s plenty of other dames in the city, and one of ‘em is bound to be the right one for me. “You’re just not pickin’ the right ones, Buck.”

I don’t know. What if none of them are ‘right?’ I can’t imagine what people would think if I keep going out with girls and not feel anything for them….

Bucky stared at the page, searching for some kind of memory to resurface. There was nothing that stood out in his mind. He tried to picture this Angela girl, but it was like building something directly from imagination- he wasn’t sure if it was reflective of reality or not.

That night, sleep wasn’t very forthcoming, so he stayed awake for hours, poring over the book and trying to pull memories from the eviscerated remains of his brain.



Chapter Text

Bucky read the book, and then he read it again. There were too many questions raised during his reading- What was my father’s name? How many girls did I date to keep up the lie? When did Steve and I move in together? Did anyone else ever find out about us?

The condensed version wasn’t enough. He needed to get his hands on the originals.

Libraries were a beautiful thing. Ever since Bucky had partially-unsuccessfully attacked his old Hydra base and went into hiding, he had needed to figure out how to build his life from scratch. The motel check-in lady had offered a cigarette to him and mentioned the library just down the street-

“-got all the info you need ‘bout D.C., and they got computers there. Figure you might want to check it out. I can tell you’re not a local. Too scruffy.” She winked and lit the cig for him. He’d nodded and taken his only possessions to the room- the black clothes he wore under his leather tactical gear, which was wrapped around his smallest weapons to conceal them. Bucky took a drag from the cigarette, and nearly moaned at the taste. It was familiar- so familiar, but he couldn’t remember ever having one. He supposed that was a good thing, that he was gaining some kind of remembrance of who “Bucky” was supposed to be.

He hadn’t visited the library before going to the museum, but afterwards, it made sense to at least look. Maybe he could find the full versions online.

Bucky settled into a chair in front of a computer, unsure of how in the hell it was supposed to work. He observed the people around him, watching them navigate the bright screens with practiced ease. Imitation would have to do, until he could learn for himself how to use the computers.

Opening the Internet, he found the search bar blinking expectantly at him. Unsure of himself, he slowly typed out his name and let the results load. Millions of results popped up- he clicked on the first one and began reading.

Once he finished the first article, he moved on to the second. And then the third.

Let it be known that James Barnes doesn’t do anything half assed. He clicked through every single article until all the information he was reading became repetitive, at which point he sat back in his chair, closed his eyes, and tried to summarize “Bucky.”

My name is James Buchanan Barnes, born March 10, 1917. I grew up in Brooklyn and was a boxer during my school days. I met Steve when he was being bullied, and I pulled the bullies off him. We were friends until the day of his mother’s funeral, when we kissed and started a secret relationship. I was drafted into the army when we went to war in Europe, and Steve saved me after taking the supersoldier serum and becoming Captain America.

Bucky opened his eyes again, leaning back towards the computer and reaching to type something new in the search bar.

“Captain America.”

Images and words of praise popped up. There was Steve, that permanent worried brow scrunched up and dirt smudged across his face while the flames of destruction billowed up around him. His name was all over the news, featuring the work he had been doing with “the Avengers”. Frowning, Bucky floated the cursor over the names of each of Steve’s comrades, watching the little pictures that came up with each one. Tony Stark...Bruce Banner...Natasha Romanoff...Clint Barton...Thor. He recognized the woman- they’d fought on the bridge. He’d shot her...but it seemed that she’d made a full recovery. Good. The others were unfamiliar.

An article from a day ago caught his eye. “Captain America searches for the Winter Soldier, reason unknown.”

Bucky knew. Because they used to be in love. At least the public hadn’t made the connection between the Winter Soldier and Bucky Barnes yet.

He scowled at the computer, unsure of what to do. Steve stared back, dressed in his suit and throwing his shield on his back. Bucky wasn’t the same person Steve thought he was. He couldn’t be. Everything he’d read had seemed like a fictional story- there weren’t memories there. No, he was dangerous, a killer. No trace of the old Bucky in sight. Steve would be disappointed to find this was what his best friend, his lover, had become.

Bucky decided then, not to let Steve find him. He couldn't search forever, but Bucky certainly could hide for however long it took.

He continued to go to the library, searching about travel, ways to obtain money, and potential places to lay low.

In January 2015, he left D.C. for Europe, packing his meager belongings into one sad little backpack.

 

Chapter Text

June 17, 2015.

 

I remember Steve’s hands. They were slender, but too long to be considered girlish. He had swollen knuckles, and the fingernails were slightly purple from his poor circulation. They were cold, but I didn’t mind the feeling in the heat of summer. I remember seeing those hands holding pencils, forks, my own hand. I remember watching them run over my stomach and ribs, and laughing when it tickled.

 

June 20, 2015.

 

Our apartment smelled like lilacs. I was walking in the market today, and I smelled them. I saw our apartment in my mind’s eye, remembered entering it and smelling lilacs. They sat on the table next to the couch, right in front of the door when you walked in. I think I bought them, but Steve would set them up in the vase.

 

June 27, 2015.

 

Steve and I made love for the first time the night before I went to basic training.

 

July 2, 2015.

 

I became a boxer after Steve was in the hospital with a broken jaw. He started a fight with a group of four guys. I found him trying to fend them off, and came to his defense. They overpowered us, knocking me out and breaking Steve’s jaw. I was just seventeen (or sixteen) and joined at the local ring to learn how to properly fight for the first time then. I remember sitting at the hospital while a nurse reset his jaw and it made me sick to my stomach. I think that’s when I made the decision.

 

July 4, 2015.

 

Today is Steve’s birthday.

 

July 13, 2015.

 

Peggy Carter wore red lipstick. I hated how pretty she was, but I don’t know why. She was my superior, and I remember being rude to her a couple of times. She never tolerated it.

 

July 21, 2015

 

I remember Steve kissing my neck. I think he did it a lot. I remember feeling his hair tickling my chin and jaw, and the heat of his mouth. He was a lot smaller then, but he still covered me when we lay together. It isn’t much, but I remember it.

 

August 3, 2015.

 

I smoked before drinking coffee in the morning and at night after sex. They were Lucky Strikes. Sometimes when I was writing I would smoke. I always went outside, even in the winter, so as not to make Steve breathe that stuff. He was so sick all the time, and I was constantly worried about him.

 

October 21 2015.

 

Steve was the only person I ever loved. I don’t remember this, I read it in my old journals. But I’ve been thinking about it a lot more. I’m not sure that I’m the only one he’s loved.

He hasn’t found me still. There’s something going on with the Avengers right now, so I’ve seen him all over the news. I think that means he sent someone else to find me, if he’s even still looking. I’d probably give up. This person I’ve been for the last seventy years is not worth finding.

But if there’s anything I’ve learned about him, it’s that he’s stubborn to the core. That’s probably how we got together in the first place.

 

November 6, 2015

 

I remember sleeping with Steve during our tour with the Howling Commandos. I think...I’m not sure if it’s just my imagination. But I think I remember what he looks like under that uniform. I think he was hot- as in, he always felt like he had a temperature. It was cold where we were- I would curl up against him to stay warm. His weight was so heavy and hot against my backside. He would try to keep me quiet while we had sex, so we didn’t get caught.

 

November 18, 2015

 

Howard Stark was friends with Steve during the war. He designed his shield and old uniform. I killed him twenty four years ago.

 

December 12, 2015

 

Steve’s still looking for me. I had to move out of my apartment when my neighbor mentioned an American man “dropping by” and asking for me. It sucks. My old place had a better view.



Chapter Text

Bucky moved in to his new apartment in the early spring of 2016, right about the time when he was sick of living in the hostel he’d been in to shake Steve off his tail. He’d managed to create a new identity for himself, putting down a dead man’s name for his lease and bank cards. There was a small amount of money from what he’d stolen from Hydra’s old base. He invested a little, just enough that he could survive on the return. The internet had taught him the modern way to make money without a job.

Every day, he woke up and grabbed his notebook. Memories sometimes came in the form of dreams, and he was becoming better at discerning his imagination from things that had actually happened. A few entries that he’d jotted down had been crossed out, when he realized how ridiculous they were. But the more time passed, the easier the memories came to him.

After writing, he would find breakfast somewhere in his cabinets. His supply fluctuated. The stores were too busy for him to feel comfortable at most hours, so he’d wait until he absolutely needed to shop for food and go in at their least busy times.

There was a library across town. Bucky frequently went in, sometimes for a few minutes, or a few hours. He would check the news for whatever nonsense the Avengers were getting themselves caught up in- and maybe he was worried about Steve. It seemed like Bucky Barnes had cared an awful lot about him and his wellbeing, and the stunts he was pulling would probably make the old Bucky furious.

After checking the latest headlines, he would read. Some old war stories, some things about him, reports on mental health, and classics. He wasn’t sure how to assimilate himself into society, and reading seemed like the most harmless way to learn. Preferring to stay in his own privacy, Bucky would check out the books and take them immediately home.

After reading, he’d work through his old PT routine. It was familiar, and that’s why he liked it. 200 push ups (both arms, to keep both of his pectorals balanced), 100 jackknives, 500 bodyweight squats, and an hour of punching an abandoned bag he’d picked up off the street to get his blood pumping.

And then he would write more. Bucky was obsessed with the written word- it gave him freedom and he could leave certain things to the imagination. Nothing in writing was black and white; and he liked it that way. That was how his brain seemed nowadays- just a whole lot of grey area.

Sometimes sleep would come easily; other times, not so much. His mattress was thin and uncomfortable, making him toss and turn like mad. Nightmares plagued him just like the guilt that he carried- often they went hand in hand. He’d wake up on the other side of the room, shaking and clutching a knife or a gun to his own throat. After this happened several nights in a row, Bucky invested in a sleeping bag that he could tape down on the mattress- the closest thing to a straightjacket he could find.

But he was making progress- slowly but surely rebuilding himself and figuring out who he was. Of course, it wasn’t just his past that troubled him. His actions as the Winter Soldier gave him much more grief. Bucky was helpless to do anything but watch while he- the Asset - committed more murders and assassinations than he could remember. He wrote those down too, whenever he had nightmares reliving them. The guilt consumed him. It was why he sometimes woke up trying to take his own life.

I remember all of them.

Chapter Text

Bucky entered his apartment, mentally preparing for his upcoming journey. Almost all the items in his apartment were replaceable, except the notebooks and his book. Those he needed. He needed to get the hell out of Romania, after someone in the market had recognized him and the papers had already plastered his face everywhere.

There was a thud outside- right outside his door. Grabbing a knife, he hid in the bathroom off the hall so the intruder could walk past him. It was just one person- not the police yet.

He held his breath, knife clutched tight in his left hand. The intruder stepped into the apartment, heavy footfalls slow.

Captain America walked past him and into the main room of his apartment, dressed in his full uniform except for the helmet.

Immediately softening, he tucked the knife into his front pocket. It was Steve- the man he’d been thinking about, remembering, fantasizing about for the last two years was in his apartment. Of course he’d find him at the same time Bucky needed to leave.

Steve found the notebook on top of the fridge, where he’d jotted his dream from that morning hastily while making breakfast. Bucky stepped out tentatively, unsure of what to do. Too loudly. Steve stiffened, turned around, shield on his arm.

The look on his face was one of uncertainty. Bucky supposed that was to be expected, since their last encounter wasn’t exactly friendly.

“Ya know me?”

How could he not?

“You’re Steve. I read about you in a museum.” He lied, wanting to find out Steve’s intentions before admitting to the progress he had made.

Steve set the notebook down and walked cautiously forward. “I know you’re nervous, and you have plenty of reason to be. But you’re lying.”

Bucky swallowed. Distract him from the obvious tension.

“I wasn’t in Vienna. I don’t do that anymore.”

“I know ya don’t, Buck. I believe you.”

He must be about the only person who did. Bucky stepped forward. “I gotta go. They’re gonna find me.”

Steve dropped the shield on the kitchen table and walked right up to him, taking care not to touch. Urgency filled his voice.

“You pulled me from the river. Why?”

“I don’t know,” he lied obviously.

Their faces were mere inches apart.

“Yes, you do. Tell me why, Bucky.”

A command. He folded easily.

“Because...I knew you. I didn’t have a clue how I knew you, but I couldn’t follow through with my mission.”

Tentatively, Steve’s gloved hand brushed against his right shoulder.

“Do you know now?”

The memories flashed in his mind’s eye. His little Steve, yanking him down by the collar for a kiss. The feeling of heat in his stomach when their lips first touched. The larger, muscled Steve currently standing before him keeping him warm at night. The look on his face while he watched Bucky fall from the train. Of course he knew.

“We were in love.”

“Didya read that in a museum? Or in your journals?” He cringed. “Listen, I’m sorry for Peggy publishing them- she thought we were both dead, so what’s the harm, right? But-”

“No, ‘s fine. They were pretty useful actually. But to answer your question…”

Bucky thought of the memory that he’d discovered last night.

“The night before I fell...I found out that you had told Peggy about us. We went back to your tent while the rest of the guys were drinking their asses off.” It was enough to prove to Steve that he did really remember, and that he hadn’t just read about it.

Steve smiled, eyes glazing over with his own version of the memory.

“Come with me, babydoll.” His hand came up to tuck a strand of Bucky’s hair behind his ear. The term of endearment made him shudder. Hardly a ‘babydoll’ anymore. “Lemme take you back, so we can clear your name. Ya won’t have to run anymore, Buck.”

It sounded so tempting. But he didn’t deserve to go with Steve, didn’t deserve his help. What if it didn’t work? What if they couldn’t prove his innocence?

Running was easier.

“I can’t.”

“Bucky,” Steve’s voice was firm. “I want you. I want you to come out of hiding, and get help, and give you some kind of happiness in whatever way you need it. Please.”

If Steve was suggesting what he thought he was suggesting….There was no way.

“You don’t deserve this,” he murmured sadly. “I’m not the Bucky you used to know. Steve, I tried to kill you. I’m a mess. Nobody’s gonna believe that it wasn’t me in Vienna.”

Steve tangled his fingers in Bucky’s hair, knocking off his hat. “You are worth it. Even if you’re not exactly the same person, I don’t care. And you didn’t try to kill me, Hydra did. I been in love with ya, even after comin’ outta the ice. Even after I found out you were still alive- y’know how angry I was when I realized what really happened? Ya remember how I wouldn’t fight you even when you didn’t know who “Bucky” was? Why do you think I spent the last two years tryna find ya? ‘S cause I love you- I think I always will. Whoever you are now, I will learn to love. We aren’t at the end of the line yet, Buck.”

He swallowed thickly, at a loss for words. For a moment, he just stared into Steve’s eyes, trying to figure out some kind of response.

“Come with me,” Steve repeated. Bucky stared at his lips while they moved, wanting to press them against his own.

He leaned in slowly, leaving ample time for Steve to pull away if he didn’t want it. But he wasn’t pulling away. Steve just closed his eyes and let Bucky’s mouth fall gently on his own.

The kiss was so familiar. It was just like what he’d seen and felt in his dreams, his memories- but the real thing was better. Kissing Steve after all that time was like coming home. He pressed in harder, finally placing his hands on Steve’s shoulders to hold him.

Steve kissed back, so much care and concern in it. Like he was afraid of spooking Bucky. That was okay- he probably knew what he needed better than Bucky did. This was a long time coming. Their lips separated naturally.

“Anything you need, baby. Whatever it takes, I’ll do it.”

Bucky looked up at him, curious and fearful and uncertain. What Steve was offering seemed too good to be true. How did he have the power to fix the mess that was Bucky Barnes? Or the patience? Or the understanding?

Yet, here he was. Promising Bucky the world if he asked for it, settling for nothing less than his happiness.

“Okay.”

 

Chapter Text

After several long months of deliberating, meetings, evidence gathering, testimonies, and a sad, private prison cell, they were finally at the reading of Bucky’s verdict.

“On all of the various murder charges, the jury finds the defendant not guilty.”

Bucky breathed out a surprised noise. He expected maybe one or two counts to be cleared, but all of them? Steve looked at him with a happy little smile. Several people shifted in their seats with discomfort.

“On the charges of conspiracy against the United States, the jury finds the defendant not guilty.”

Damn right they do.

“Finally, on the charges of aggravated assault, the jury finds the defendant guilty.”

That was fair enough. Nobody ordered him to use violence to get people out of his way in some of those cases- he just did that as a byproduct of his need to complete the mission. Still, he hated the word all by itself. Guilty. Like he wasn’t fully responsible, but in the eyes of the court, he at least had a hand in it.

The judge looked over some papers, and then peered over his podium to look into Bucky’s eyes.

“For the assault charges, the defendant will be fined $80,000, due by this date next year, provided he recieve treatment for the tampering done to his mental state, and maintains pre-determined communication with an assigned parole officer. Should he fail to do so, the defendant will serve one year jail time in addition to the fine.” He stood up wearily. “Court is adjourned.”

With happiness visibly lighting up his face, Bucky turned to look at Steve to share his excitement. All he got was a fine- that had gone so much better than he’d hoped. The bailiff stepped up to release him of the cuffs restraining his wrists immediately.

I’m free.

Of course, there was the matter of the fine and getting his required treatment- but Steve was already working on setting him up with a therapist. He would figure something out- the fine wasn’t due for another year. It was a small price to pay for his pardoning and most importantly, his freedom.

They guided him back through the courthouse to obtain his release papers and let him change back into his civilian clothes. He wanted to leave straight away with Steve, but there were other important things to do first.

Once his affairs were set in order, Bucky was escorted out of the back entrance of the courthouse. Even though the jury and the law saw him as innocent of those crimes, not everyone in America did. They didn’t see the evidence, they didn’t know the full extent of what had happened. So, a wonderful little mob had formed around the courthouse for the duration of his trial.

Steve was waiting for him, a leather jacket thrown over his suit and a huge grin across his face. He was leaning against a nondescript black car, which was purring and ready to take Bucky home.

Home. Where was home? He supposed it was with Steve, wherever that was.

“Heya, babydoll.” Steve reached out a hand to him, which he accepted. “You ready to get outta here?”

“Hell yes,” he quipped and let Steve open the car door for him.

 

----

 

“This is where ya live?” Bucky stepped out of the car. “Thought ya were at the Avengers compound?”

Steve had been telling him about all the meetings and negotiations the Avengers had been doing to correct the mistakes made by the Sokovian Accords. No one on the team had fully supported the idea anyways, so they were reaching a compromise in what seemed like millions of UN meetings. And there was the small matter of Bucky’s trial in Vienna- clearing his name and finding the real perpetrator behind the bombing had taken so long. They still weren’t sure of the bastard’s motive or his means, but they had at least gotten a confession. Bucky was released from one prison and put into another at home. Until recently.

“Well, I was. Meetings get scheduled so quickly, I gotta be on site. But sometimes I like to come back here, ‘cause...well, it’s as close to home as I can get.”

It was true, Brooklyn had changed a lot, but it was still the same in a lot of ways. The accents, the rough around the edges way that people interacted, the respectful disregard for strangers passing by. Nothing really looked the same, and it was impossibly busier everywhere, but at least the feeling was still alive.  

Steve’s apartment was ground level, like it had been back then. It was pretty small, modest, but filled with books and little things dotted around. Bucky eyed the bookshelf with interest: he’d forgotten that he wasn’t the only one with a lot of catching up to society to work on.

“Ya like it?” Steve came up beside him, cautious.

“Love it. ‘S real nice.” He nodded and offered a little smile.

Steve shifted his weight back and forth, left and right. “Y’think...ya love it enough to wanna live here?” Bucky stared in response. “I mean, I know we didn’t talk about that...shit, you’re probably overwhelmed from the trial ‘nd all. Shoulda waited to ask that- forget about it. I just thought-”

“Where else ‘m I gonna go?” Bucky wondered out loud. Steve stopped blabbing to listen. “I mean, I ain’t got nobody else in my corner, ‘cept you. Can’t get a place ‘a my own, got that fine t’ pay off. So I guess, if you’ll let me, then I would wanna live with ya.”

Steve smiled. “Y’know your accent came back?”

“Huh?”

“When we first talked- when ya were still-” he gestured to indicate his meaning. “Ya didn’t talk with that Brooklyn accent.  Dunno where ya picked it up from,” he murmured sarcastically. “Or maybe it just came back naturally.”

Bucky thought about it for a moment- he hadn’t really noticed it. For some reason, it didn’t sit well with him. If Steve thought he was becoming more like the Bucky before all of the Hydra crap happened, would he be disappointed if he didn’t fully recover? Would he get tired of dealing with the hot mess that he was today?

“If we do this, I don’t want ya to think I’m gonna fully recover. ‘M not gonna be the guy ya fell for in 1941.”

“I know that. I don’t expect everything to go back to how it was, and whatever you can recover, that’s what I’ll accept. Whatever you’re willing to give me, babydoll.”

Bucky shook his head. “‘M not worth all this.”

Steve yanked him in close, folding him up in an embrace that made him feel small. “Y’know you’re more like ya used to be than you think. Bucky that I fell in love with, he was insecure as all hell, too. ‘M tellin’ ya, Buck. You are enough. Past few months, every phone call I got from ya ‘nd visit I came to made me sure. I still love ya, even after you were hurt for so long. I had to talk ya into a relationship back then too, ‘cause ya didn’t think you were worth “messin’ me up”. If that’s what it takes, I’ll do it all over again just to get you to accept the happiness that I know you deserve.”

Was he really that predictable? His head was still a jumbled mess- he needed to get started on that treatment.

“Can we- d’you mind if we go slow?”

Steve looked down while he responded, face firm but willing to hear Bucky’s worries.

“Of course we can. Wouldn’t expect anything less.”

Bucky finally returned the embrace, folding both arms around Steve’s neck and just resting them there.

The promises they’d made before Bucky left for Europe, all those years ago, were finally fulfilled. Bucky had come home from war, and Steve had waited for him. Even after he watched him die, he had waited for him. And they were finally reunited, nothing standing in the way of them becoming happy again.

 

Chapter Text

With much resistance from Bucky, Steve had paid off his fine all in one payment. Being an Avenger had its financial perks, and he was more than happy to pay it all off.

“Think about it this way- you paid off our old rent all by yourself more times than I can count. Back then, I owed ya hundreds of dollars. Today, thanks to inflation, I’d owe ya like tens of thousands of dollars. This is just me payin’ ya back.” Steve joked while Bucky pouted. That logic was so flawed. He still didn’t like it, but he let the matter rest.

His therapist was a recommendation from Tony Stark- who Bucky refused to look in the eyes. The reason for that, he only talked about in his therapy briefly. His willingness to share wasn’t forthcoming by any stretch of the imagination, but the more comfortable he became with her, the more he was able to share.

The parole officer checked in once every two weeks. He wasn’t exactly an easy going guy, but he seemed compassionate enough to understand Bucky’s recovery wasn’t going to be perfect.

Once he mentioned offhand that he’d wanted to get his hands on those original journals, or at least copies of them. The next evening, Steve showed up to their apartment with a box from the Smithsonian. Bucky realized what must be inside and groaned.

“Please tell me ya didn’t steal those.”

Steve had laughed and told him that he’d just asked for them. They were technically his property after all, and they weren’t doing anything except sitting in the archive. After some debate, Steve had gotten them returned to their owner. It only took Bucky two weeks to read all of them.

As far and as Bucky and Steve went- well, that was his favorite part. They stayed together for a lot of the day, separating only when Steve had to go to the compound or when Bucky had his various appointments. Bucky consistently slept in late and woke up still tired, all sloppy bun tied up and sweatpants slung low. He was comfortable with his body around Steve. Maybe that was because Steve had always been comfortable around him as the little guy, and because he knew about having huge changes made to his body. The arm wasn’t really a problem with Bucky’s self esteem- he was used to it, he could barely remember what it was like not having it. It was more that he didn’t want to be so easily identifiable when he went out. But with Steve, he didn’t care.

For the first nights, he was uneasy with sleeping in the same bed, even though it was large enough for two super soldiers. He was scared that he’d be overcome with nightmares and hurt Steve. Even though he wasn’t permitted to have weapons, his left arm sure as hell wasn’t made of puppies and rainbows. It could do serious damage, as it had done to Bucky during his particularly gruesome terrors.

So, by Steve’s insistence, he took the bed while Steve took the reclining chair in the corner. Far away enough that he could hear and anticipate a sleep-thrashing Bucky’s attack. There weren’t too many incidents, but a few times Steve had to implicate the restraints they’d bought, leave the room and let Bucky come out of it himself. They had the system worked out and negotiated over time.

Their renewed relationship was an awful lot like their friendship, with a few kisses mixed in. They moved at Bucky’s pace, Steve eagerly taking everything Bucky offered. Like a routine kiss in the morning made of dry lips, a cold hand against Steve’s cheek, and sleep heavy sighs of contentment. Or a lazy mid afternoon makeout while lunch lay forgotten on the coffee table and the TV blared fuzzily in the background. Or Bucky’s favorite, the goodnight kiss: toothpaste and body heat, settling into Steve’s lap for as long as he wanted before he was too tired to get up and go to bed. He loved Steve’s wandering hands, sliding up his thighs and over his shirtless sides. That kiss was the most bittersweet, but he knew it’d all be worth it in the morning.

It wasn’t until they’d been living together for five months that his nightmares became a rarity. As much as he hated to admit it, the counseling was working. He didn’t want to take any of the medications that had been offered to him, so he relied on his own calming techniques to work through a rough night. Once he went over a month without a nightmare, he had something to ask Steve.

“Stevie?” He plopped onto the arm of the recliner while Steve changed into his sweats.

“Yeah, babydoll?” They shared a little smile.

“D’you wanna sleep in the bed tonight?”

Steve grinned wider- he’d known about the progress Bucky was making, had seen it firsthand. He didn’t have to ask if Bucky was sure.

They climbed into bed together; Steve resting on the wall side, Bucky curled up in a cuddle. Their goodnight kiss wasn’t cut short at all. In fact, it only ended when Bucky nodded off with his lips pressed right up against Steve’s.

The next morning, Bucky woke slowly and unhurriedly. A hand was brushing his hair out of his face where it must have fallen out of it’s bun. His body was relaxed and heavy with sleep.

As he cracked open his eyes, he couldn’t help but smile. There was Steve, all blue eyes and long limbs stretched out on the cotton bedsheets. They exchanged a tiny kiss of reassurance. Everything was okay, and even though their journey was far from over, there was plenty of time to take things slow.

The best days of Bucky’s life begin with Steve Rogers.