"How did you forgive me?"
Steve had one hand in Bucky's hair and was idly playing with the strands. Bucky had decided to keep it long, that teamed with his heavily penciled eyes made him look like "an American Russell Brand" as Tony had commented (Steve hadn't understood who that was, so he decided to Google him, and if he was honest, he couldn't really see the resemblance).
It was a Sunday, and they'd chosen to just laze about- maybe clean their apartment a bit- they were relatively early in the relationship and after the week they'd had, they were both grateful for a break.
They were on the couch, Bucky had his head laid on Steve's lap who was quite content to do nothing.
"You shouldn't play dumb, Steve, it don't suit you," Bucky said seriously, looking up, his closed eyes now open and narrowed on the blonde-haired man.
Steve inhaled slowly, contemplating.
"It was easy," Steve said simply "I knew he wasn't you,"
Bucky was quiet for a second and considered Steve's answer.
"But how can it be that easy? I remember all the things I did, each target, I took them out as if they were just another bug on the windshield," he questioned, brows furrowed "those we're living people, actual people I killed, people who had families,"
"Bucky," Steve interrupted, understanding what his partner had been through on one level "I've killed people too, y'know,"
Bucky nodded "But those people deserved it, they actually did something wrong," he countered slowly "you've killed no one who don't deserve the punishment,"
Steve can't argue with that. It's the only way he's managed to sleep lately, knowing he's eliminated at least a small percentage of power-hungry, psychopathic bad guys.
"Buck, I forgave you because that was a whole other person. The Winter Soldier will never be YOU. You will always be the jerk from Indiana who was transferred to Brooklyn, who kept me warm in the orphanage during the dead of winter and looked after me when I was sick- which was most of the time back then. You'll always be the guy who has a million dollar smile and a heart of gold," Steve said, using his free hand to lace with Bucky's metal fingers "every part of you is special, Buck, every inch, don't believe anyone who tells you any different,"
Bucky blushed slightly, a smile widening on his face and his eyes crinkling at the corners. His smile died a bit when he looked at his robotic arm
"Even this thing?" He asked, gesturing to the replacement limb.
"Especially this," Steve added, kissing the back of Bucky's bionic hand and then up to the crook of his elbow "and soon Stark will have a replacement one, twice as strong but more inconspicuous."
"Stark? Inconspicuous?" Bucky snorted incredulously "I didn't think that word was in his vocabulary, to tell the truth,"
Steve smiled down at Bucky and unlaced their hands and laid his on Bucky's cheek, slowly stroking his face. Bucky closed his eyes and sighed, contented.
"You're so beautiful, Buck, I wish I'd told you earlier," he murmured "before all of this and before the war. I can't stand thinking of the wasted time that we spent not doing this, or it not being 'right' when it's as natural as the next couple,"
Bucky drank the words in and melted into Steve's touch. Feeling the sensation of inadequacy in Steve's presence.
"What did I do to deserve a babe like you?" He whispered softly, the light graze of warm skin on his face making him sleeping.
"You stayed with me, Buck," Steve said genuinely "and then you found me when you were lost,"
"After I tried to kill you," Bucky's eyes opened and there was a flirtatious glint.
Steve scoffed and raised his eyesbrows, they'd both managed to make topic of their showdown reasonably light-hearted, it was more of a masculinity competition now.
"See, from what I remember, you tried, but just couldn't bring yourself to do it," Steve joked, as he poked Bucky in the stomach.
"Ah, that's where you're wrong there, Rogers, I was going to, and don't you dare doubt that I couldn't. But then you just stared at me with those those big blues and I just couldn't do it," Bucky said, mocking Steve openly.
"Really, punk," Bucky said quickly "goddamit, get down here, you son of a bitch, I need that mouth," Bucky ordered, reaching up to the nape of Steve's neck and pulling him down for a kiss, grateful for Steve's super-soldier body and it's remarkable flexibility. It came in handy in all sorts of situations.
When they resurfaced to breathe, Steve was smiling stupidly down at his best friend.
"Dammit, Steve you look like a love-struck dame," Bucky ridiculed, a smirk wipes across his face.
"I can't believe it, Buck. I've got to the point where I don't think I can cope without you," Steve said, smitten.
"That's cos I'm irresistible, doll face," he said before chewing on his bottom lip, mischief twinkling in his stormy, grey eyes.