“Hey, Steve, give me a drag.”
Steve rolls his eyes at Bucky, but he passes the cigarette over. “They’re for my asthma. You could buy your own regular cigarettes.”
Bucky shrugs as he raises the cigarette. “I’m skint.” He wraps his lips around the cigarette and draws the smoke in. He’s not interested in the smoking itself. He only borrows cigarettes from Steve, and only after he’s lit one up.
He passes the cigarette back and lets the smoke out slowly.
They’re leaning against a brick wall in a small back alley. Steve has class in an hour, and Bucky should be searching for work. But Bucky’s not in a hurry to run off. He doesn’t get much time with Steve these days. Considering they grew up joined at the hip, it leaves him lonely.
Steve takes a drag on the cigarette, his lips that have always been a little too full and red a stark contrast against the white of the paper. Bucky catches himself staring at the way Steve’s chest expands as his lungs fill with smoke. But he can’t look away. Steve removes the cigarette and blows the smoke out, his lips puckering into a small circle. His tongue darts out to wet his lips, and then his eyes meet Bucky’s. He offers the cigarette without prompting.
“Thanks,” Bucky mutters. He savors the sleight weight of it against his lower lip. It’s a little damp, but Bucky loves that, too. He takes in a breath, and it’s like he’s taking a breath from Steve.
He feels a shiver go down his spine. It turns into a tingling warmth just below his navel. He breaths the smoke out of his nose and then takes another drag. He turns his head just enough so he can see Steve just beyond the lit end of the cigarette. Steve notices him looking and smiles.
“Think you’re real cool, huh?” Steve says.
Bucky blows the smoke out, handing the cigarette back. His fingers brush against Steve’s knuckles more than necessary. “I’m always cool.”
Steve rolls his eyes. “Of course you are.”
They pass the cigarette back and forth until it’s little more than a stub. Steve’s about to drop it to the ground, but Bucky reaches his hand out. “Come on, it’s still got a little life in it.”
Steve raises an eyebrow. There’s barely anything left to hold onto. “Be my guest,” he finally says, handing it over.
It’s vile at this point, like pure ash, but Bucky keeps smoking it for as long as he can, until the end burns his fingers. He drops it and stubs it out with the toe of his shoe.
He grins down at Steve and ruffles his hair. He licks his own lips briefly. He feels warm inside at the shared cigarette. It’s the closest he’ll ever have Steve’s lips on his own, and he’ll take it.
A couple of girls pass by; Steve’s gaze follows them, so Bucky sweeps back his hair and loops his arm around Steve’s shoulders. “Ladies,” he says, shepherding Steve forward, “my friend and I are new to town, and we were wondering if you had any suggestions for someplace fun to hang out tonight?”
Bucky smiles and laughs, and Steve stammers awkwardly next to him. But Bucky keeps his arm around Steve. Steve’s small, but warm. Bucky’s fingers and lips itch for another cigarette to share with him.
Through Bucky’s charm, he scores them dates for that evening. But Bucky is mostly looking forward to the moment that night when Steve lights another cigarette, and Bucky plucks it out of his hand with a cocky smirk.
It’s a public space, and Bucky places his lips on the butt of the cigarette where Steve held it between his.
There’s a jazz band to one side, couples are dancing, and Bucky and Steve lean against the bar with their dates. It’s in this atmosphere that Bucky enjoys an intimacy only he recognizes. He leans over to tell a joke in Steve’s ear as he passes over the cigarette. He blows a whisp of smoke over Steve’s ear as he speaks. Steve laughs, and Bucky leans back, waiting until Steve once again gives him the cigarette.
“So you still smoke?” Bucky says. They’re in a van, half an hour from the drop-off point to infiltrate a HYDRA base.
“Don’t have the need,” Steve says. “New set of lungs. You?”
Bucky smirks and rolls his eyes. “Like getting a good smoke out here is possible.”
Steve chuckles. Jim says something and jostles Bucky’s shoulder. Bucky, however, just grins without listening. He glances once at Steve’s lips as he replies, and then looks back out the window.
If he runs his fingers over his lips, it doesn’t mean anything, he tells himself. Not anymore.
He hears the hiss of a match. A moment later, Gabe offers him a drag, but Bucky smiles and refuses.
There’s a question in Steve’s eyes. “We’ve got enough smoke with the bombs,” Bucky says.
That seems to satisfy Steve, and the easy jokes and banter continue.
The smell of cigarette smoke fills the truck, leaving Bucky the taste of ash on his tongue.