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Yesterday and Forever Ago

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It had been 57 minutes since they’ve returned to the hotel room; 56 minutes since they had last exchanged any words, which was just Steve saying he was going to shower and Barnes nodding his acknowledgement.

“So, did you pick the short straw?”

Barnes looks up from his bag, a look of confusion on his face. “What?”

Steve smiles slightly, not taking his eyes off the sketchpad where he’s doodling random geometric patterns. “You know, having to share a room with the queer guy?” he asks, hoping he sounds nonchalant. He’s not that bothered about it, at least not anymore. He’s got no time to tend to the insecurities of fragile straight men.

Steve looks up just in time to see the look on Barnes’ face as he registers the question. His cheeks flood with colour and he looks back into his bag, pulling out a clean pair of underwear and a t-shirt. He seems flustered, and Steve feels a little bad.

“Sorry, I was joking. Trying to break the ice.”

“Oh-”

“Thought you’d have heard the rumour already,” Steve elaborates, apparently unable to keep his mouth shut. He’s got himself into a sticky situation by not knowing when to shut up. Again. “I know you’re new but I’m sure one of the guys must’ve warned you or something.”

“Warned me?”

Steve shrugs.

Barnes shakes his head, a hint of a smile curling the corners of his mouth. He turns his back to Steve and ditches his towel, pulls on his boxer briefs, tosses the t-shirt back into the bag, and climbs on his bed, sits cross-legged, and faces his teammate. “So, is it true?”

“Is what true?”

Barnes rolls his eyes and it makes Steve grin. “Does it matter?”

“No.” Barnes averts his gaze, glancing at the two small lamps between their twin beds. “I don’t mind.”

“Well, that’s mighty big of you.”

“Shut up,”

Steve laughs quietly. “My grandma told me to never ask questions I don’t want the answers to.”

“So it’s true.” Barnes is staring at him now. “Also, as a side note, you’re insufferable.”

Steve’s eyes widen, caught off guard. Barnes has made an impression as the quiet guy, kind of reserved - not the type of guy who sasses you with a cheeky smile on his face.

“I mean, that’s great advice. Your grandma is very wise. But I don’t care either way.”

Steve sighs. “I hope you’re not uncomfortable. I promise I’m not gonna try to hit on you. But if you are uncomfortable, you can say so. I’d really just rather you told me instead of-”

“Dude, it’s fine. Relax. You can unclench your butt cheeks now, or whatever.”

“Okay, okay,” Steve laughs, “Butt cheeks unclenched.”

Barnes stretches out on his bed, tucking an arm behind his head. “What’re you drawing?”

“Just shapes and stuff.”

“Like Picasso?

“Oh yeah, exactly like Picasso.” Steve deadpans, making the brunet laugh. A short moment of silence later, he adds, “For the record, I’m bisexual.”

“Good to know.” Barnes mumbles almost absent-mindedly, gaze glued to the ceiling.

Steve’s drawing is turning out terrible, possibly because of the nerves turning his gut upside down, making it impossible to focus on the task at hand. He had made things weird. Instead of behaving like a normal person, he just went and goofed up.

He sighs, puts his sketchpad aside, and lies down on the bed.

Why did he have to go and make that stupid joke? Especially since he’s pretty sure it wasn’t a joke. No one on the team wants to bunk with him except for his best friend Sam Wilson. Parker’s a good kid, he’s been friendly. And maybe Barton, who is perpetually unbothered about everything around him - but on the field, he’s a killer.

A long moment of silence passes before he speaks up again, unable to keep his thoughts to himself, as always. “So you’re not paranoid I might hit on you, or that, you know, I just won’t be able to control myself and grab your ass or something?”

Barnes snorts a laugh. “My ass is very grab-able, to be fair.”

“Yeah,” Steve breathes out without thinking.

“So you agree.”

“Don’t flatter yourself, Barnes,”

Barnes laughs, while Steve breathes a sigh of relief. Phew, that was close. He’s not about to go and reveal having felt any kind of attraction towards the brunet. Whatever it was, it was fleeting. Just about appreciating talent where he sees it.

Talent, and a gorgeous smile, and hair he wants to run his fingers through…

Steve didn’t realise he was staring until his teammate turned his head and met his gaze, the question, “Hey, can I ask something?” snapping him out of his thoughts.

“Uh, yeah, sure,”

“You ever-”

“Slept with a guy? Yes.” Steve huffs in annoyance. “These questions are getting predictable.”

“With someone on the team,” Barnes finishes his sentence, and then adds, “You presumptuous little shit.”

“Wow, okay,” Steve feels his cheeks heat up. “Um, no. And if I had, I wouldn’t tell you. I wouldn’t out someone else like that.”

“Yeah, you’re right. Sorry, bad question.” Barnes winces, rubbing his face with a hand. “Shit, sorry - that must’ve sucked. Who outed you?”

“No one,” Steve says. “I came out to my friends in first year. Word got around, I guess people consider that gossip-worthy.”

“And you don’t mind?”

Steve smiles; there’s genuine concern, he thinks. He shrugs. “Rather be mocked for being who I truly am than hide.”

“Good God, are you always this dramatic?” Barnes asks as he gets up to fetch his bottle of water.

Steve waits until he’s taking a sip before he picks up a pillow and throws it at him, aiming at his stomach. Barnes chokes a little and goes into a coughing fit. “No, no, I was wrong,” he clears his throat and takes another sip. “You’re very chill, obviously.”

“I’m super chill all the time.” Steve shoots him a glare, but there’s no real heat in it.

“Clearly.” Barnes throws his hands up in defeat.

Steve wouldn’t admit this out loud - but he’s enjoying the banter with his teammate. He gets on with most people on the team, except for the few assholes who are always making quips and comments knowing full well they’ll get away with it. Steve’s learned to fight the urge to sock them. He doesn’t want to get kicked off the team, after all. But if he befriended Barnes - well, it’d be nice to have another friend around when Wilson was selfishly stuck at home with mono.

Plus, Barnes had earned Steve’s respect as a player. He is all focus and determination on the pitch, eyes on the ball, cleverly slipping through the marks and sending the ball straight to the opposite team’s net.

“Anyway, if you’re really not gonna hit on me, I’m turning in,” Barnes climbs under the covers and turns his light off. “‘Night, weirdo.”

Steve laughs softly. “‘Night, jerk.”

 

~~

 

“Steve,” Bucky’s voice is muffled, given that he's pressing his face on Steve's back, between his shoulder blades. He can feel the warmth of Steve's skin through the thin cotton t-shirt he's wearing. Steve's warm. Bucky likes it.

It was a big win for their team, getting them through to the quarter finals, especially against one of their fiercest rivals, historically speaking. Barton’s first goal gave them the confidence to really kick into gear and work their asses off; Bucky had cinched the victory for them at the beginning of the second half. So naturally, the entire team was buying him drinks all night, and he got good and wasted.

The walk back to the hotel only sobered him up a little, but Bucky still felt confident enough to make a move. Steve was being so nice to him all night. He'd basically leaped at Bucky to congratulate him after he'd scored, the two of them joined by their entire team for a big celebration, which continued in the lockers, and at the adjacent bar afterwards.

He was being really nice. Bucky isn't sure if he noticed something that was actually there, or if it was wishful thinking, or maybe the alcohol clouding his judgment. But right now, pressed against Steve, he doesn't care.

Steve, who is busy trying to find the keycard to their hotel room, and given he's more than a little drunk, he's struggling. He pulls out a white card and presses it against the reader. Nothing happens.

“It's not working,”

Bucky doesn't hear him, or if he does, his brain doesn't register it, busy trying to ask the question that’s been in his mind all night. “Steve, were you flirting with me?”

Steve tries to open the door again. “It's not working. We're locked out.”

“What?” Bucky peers over his shoulder and giggles. “That's a library card.”

Steve brings the card up to his face and squints. “Oh,” he tosses it aside, before going through his wallet again. There's way too many cards in there. Stupid shops and their stupid loyalty programs and stupid Steve for not being able to say, “No, thanks.” He pulls out a card from a bookstore where he's shopped a grand total of one times, buying a gift for Mother's day last year. He tosses that one aside, too.

“We're gonna sleep on the street , Bucky!”

Bucky rests his head on Steve's back again, rubbing his cheek against it. “Long as you cuddle me and keep me warm, I don't care.”

That gets Steve's attention.

“Hey, get off,”

Bucky is startled and stumbles back. Steve looks annoyed. Why is Steve annoyed? Bucky stares at him with wide eyes, waiting. For what, he's not sure.

“You have it,” Steve pokes his chest. “You left our room last. Oh my God, Bucky, you have our key! Where is it?”

Bucky rolls on the heels of his feet while his brain is processing the question, trying to remember. “Oh! It's in my pocket.”

Steve looks at him expectantly.

“Hey,” Bucky takes a step closer, putting his hands on Steve's shoulders, sliding them slowly down to his chest.

Steve's looking at his mouth.

It's as good a sign as any.

Bucky closes the gap between them, slotting his lips against Steve's. The noise that he makes is entirely involuntary but God , Steve's lips are so soft, and his hands are so warm, where they've settled on Bucky’s hips. Bucky doesn't want to stop kissing him, but Steve's kissing him back so he figures it's all good.

They break apart with a sigh, eyes meeting again.

“The keycard, Bucky.”

“It's in my pocket. You wanna get it?” Bucky grins.

“You're a little shit,” Steve mumbles and puts his hand in the front pocket of Bucky’s jeans.

“Back pocket “

Steve tries again.

“Nope, other cheek.” Bucky giggles as Steve slides his hand in his back pocket and finally fishes out their keycard. He doesn't look very happy.

“Hey,” Bucky asks, voice soft and all humour having faded from it. “You okay?”

Steve turns his back to him and unlocks the door and walks in. He flips the lights on and tosses his wallet and phone on his bed. When he turns to face Bucky again, he looks even less happy.

Bucky feels his heart racing in his chest. Shit.

“Look,” Steve sighs, running a hand through his hair. “First, you're drunk, and - I'm flattered but I'm not doing this, okay?”

Bucky takes a step toward him. “Why not?”

Part of his brain is screaming WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING but Bucky is successfully ignoring it. Must be the liquid courage. Or the fact that he really, really wants to kiss Steve again and put his hands on Steve's body and his mouth on Steve's-

“I don't feel like being someone's experiment, okay? Not again.”

“Exp-” Bucky stutters. “No, I'm gay .”

Steve's eyes widen at the revelation. After the momentary shock, he closes his mouth, setting his jaw, and glares. “That’s not funny.”

Bucky blinks at him. “What the fuck,” he shakes his head. “I'm not joking, asshole, I'm really really super gay.”

Steve's staring at him. He doesn’t look convinced.

“I’m not joking,” Bucky approaches him and puts his hands on Steve’s shoulders again. “I really want to kiss you again.”

Steve nods slowly. “You’re serious? You’re gay?”

“Yeah, I’m fucking serious. Why would I be joking?

“You didn’t say anything when - you haven’t said anything -”

Bucky hides his face in the crook of Steve’s neck, his cheek rubbing against Steve’s jaw. Part of him is still expecting to be rejected. But it just feels better when he’s close to Steve. When he speaks, his voice is quiet, barely audible. “I don’t want people to know.”

Steve’s arms are around him in an instant. Bucky’s heart is doing backflips in his chest.

He’s not sure how long they stand like that, arms around each other, not saying a word, but Bucky’s content staying exactly where he is.

“We should get some sleep,” Steve says a long time later, voice merely above a whisper.

Bucky nods, but he doesn’t want to move.

Steve’s lips brush against his forehead. He unlocks Bucky’s arms from around his waist and takes his hand, bringing Bucky to his bed with him.

Bucky stops and stares as Steve strips down to his underwear and climbs into bed. Only when Steve urges him on with a nod and a ‘C’mon,’ does Bucky follow suit. He nestles close to the blonde, once again tucking his face between his shoulder and his jaw.  He falls asleep moments later.

 

~~

 

Steve is giddy.

He's never felt giddy before, but he's pretty sure this is what it feels like.

Bucky is wrapped around his entire body, as if clinging on for dear life. He's warm and barely clothed and 100% absolutely gay, and more than a little interested in Steve.

Unfortunately, the feeling doesn't last. Steve drifts off to sleep, and when he wakes up again, Bucky isn't there anymore - his bed is still made, and his bag is by the nightstand, but there’s no trace of him whatsoever.

In the weeks that follow, Steve sees him in Intro to Psychology and Elements of Philosophy, and Bucky smiles and greets him and doesn't say much else. At practice, he pairs up with Parker, keeps his gaze away from Steve, and doesn't speak to him much. Gone are the after-practice smoothies where they'd drag the douche squad (aka Rumlow & co.) and hype each other up for upcoming matches.

And then Steve sulks for a while. He can’t help it. Something inside him had sparked to life when Bucky had kissed him. Steve’s sometimes-there attraction for his teammate had suddenly blown into a crush which stirred butterflies in his stomach, and when he realised Bucky was avoiding him, it felt like a punch to his gut.

Sam notices the sulking, of course, finds out what's up, gets considerably angry at Barnes, and then drags Steve out to Grind and proceeds to be the best wingman ever.

Steve feels his spirits lift, despite seeing Bucky getting way too friendly with Tall Hot Blonde on the dancefloor. Steve still goes home with a ridiculously attractive guy, so it's all good, really.

“I kinda realised something,” Steve tells Sam the next morning, while they're waiting in line to order their coffee. “I was wrong, he wasn't lying. He just doesn't want to be outed. It makes sense.”

Sam hums, considering. “You feeling better though?”

“Yeah.”

“Then I was correct in suggesting that a good dicking is what you needed.” Sam flashes him a wide grin then turns to the barista. “Hi, two large Americanos, please.”

Steve tries to hide his embarrassment as he pays for the drinks.

Monday morning he picks up a mocha with whipped cream on his way to class, sits next to Bucky and slides the cup over to him.

“Thought you might need this,”

Bucky’s groan of satisfaction is everything. “Oh my God, you're an angel. Why the fuck did I decide to take an 8am class?”

“I know. We're in third year, we should know better by now.”

Bucky hums in agreement. Then he frowns at the cup in his hand. “This is for ‘Binky'”

“Oh, oops ,” Steve says, only pretending to hide his grin.

“Ha ha.” Bucky shoots him a glare but it’s only half-hearted, his amusement barely hidden. “Thank you.”

 

~~

 

SIX YEARS LATER

 

~~

 

It’s taken him hours to get ready, and he’s not proud.

He’s proud of the result of his hard work, but a little embarrassed about spending so much time making everything is perfect on the off chance things actually go well and he brings Steve home tonight.

Bucky drew himself a bath with a lush bubble bath bar, specifically to make himself calm the fuck down - not that it worked. The butterflies were still fluttering away in his stomach, making him unable to focus on anything. Then he spent a good half hour washing and grooming, accidentally turning himself on, having a solo session with his favourite toy, and then managed to nap a little. Good thing the event wasn’t for another two hours.

He wasn’t particularly interested in seeing his old friends from college, much less his teammates from the soccer team. The few people he’d have liked to see weren’t attending, according to the event page. Really, Bucky wasn’t even sure why there was a reunion in the first place. It had only been five years since they’d graduated. Five uneventful years.

But Steve would be there, and that’s all he was interested in.

Bucky arrived a little past eight o’clock, took the champagne flute he was offered, and made his way around the room, trying to spot familiar faces, and expertly dodging ones he definitely did not want to see again.

“Barnes!”

Bucky startled a little at the unexpected voice, turning around to see Maria Hill standing next to him, drink in hand and looking rather unamused.

“Hey, Maria,” Bucky smiles, genuinely glad to see her. He didn’t know her well but she was cool, if a little intimidating. She smiles back and goes for a quick hug.

“Enjoying yourself?”

“It’s alright,” Bucky says with a shrug. “Could’ve been worse.”

“It is worse.” Maria sighs. “My expectations weren’t low enough.”

Bucky laughs. “Where’s Sam?”

“D.C., which is why I’m here. He’s making me take pictures with everyone. Here,” she fishes out her phone out of her clutch bag and scoots closer to Bucky, smiling big and bright before she snaps a picture with the front-facing camera. She sends the picture to Sam with the caption ‘Look who I found!’

“Steve’s here though.” Maria discreetly gestures towards the blonde with her drink. “He’s talking to Aaron. If you go rescue him, he’ll be eternally grateful.”

She gives him a knowing look and finishes her drink. Bucky wants to ask how much she actually knows, but it doesn’t seem like a good idea.

“I should go rescue him then.”

“Attaboy,” Maria smiles at him, then glances across the room and immediately perks up. “Oh, Sharon’s here, thank fuck. See ya, Barnes.”

Steve sees him approaching, and his face lights up with a smile. He says something to his conversational partner and starts walking towards Bucky, surprising him with a hug.

“Hey, stranger,” Steve grins at him, his hand curled around Bucky’s arm. “You’re looking good.”

Bucky’s smiling so wide his cheeks are starting to hurt. “You too.”

“How’ve you been?”

“Not bad,” Bucky shrugs, trying to appear nonchalant, even though inside he’s freaking out just a little. He clears his throat and grabs another champagne flute from a passing waiter, and Steve gestures for Bucky to follow him to the bar where he orders himself a drink.

“I was hoping you’d turn up,” Steve tells him while he’s waiting to be served.

Bucky makes himself take a deep breath. He’s still nervous, even though being around Steve feels so familiar and easy. “I almost didn’t, to be honest.”

“How come you changed your mind?”

Bucky shrugs. “Thought it’d be nice to see some old friends.” he says, hoping Steve gets what he’s really trying to say, which is really, “I wanted to see you specifically.

Steve’s mouth curves into a slow smile, almost knowing. “Yeah, me too.”

Bucky’s heart is definitely going to go into overdrive and explode any minute now. He’s trying not to grin like a lunatic.

“So you seen any of these old friends you wanted to see?” Steve asks.

Bucky licks his lips, deciding to play along. “Maria Hill is here, but Sam isn’t, so she’s taking pictures of everyone for him.” he turns around, looking for her. “Last I saw her-”

Steve waves a hand dismissively. “Ah well, I see them all the time anyway. Besides, I already caught up with everyone I wanted to. Oh, by the way, Rumlow isn’t here.”

“Oh, thank God. I do not want to see his face again.”

“Yeah, apparently he had appendicitis.”

“Oh no,” Bucky says in a monotone voice. “Poor guy, why do bad things happen to good people, he was so young-”

Steve bursts out laughing, smacking Bucky on the arm.

“Too mean?” Bucky asks, but Steve’s shaking his head, still laughing. When he calms down, he nudges Bucky’s arm again, gentler this time. “I’ve missed you.”

Bucky’s floundering, at a loss for words.

“We had fun, I mean,” Steve adds. He looks away, trying to get the attention of the bartender and finally orders his drink.

“Yeah, we did.” Bucky nods. “A little too much fun.”

Steve chokes on his first sip. “Wow, thanks for that,” he mutters, making Bucky laugh. There’s a moment of silence before Steve speaks again. “I still thought you were maybe experimenting. That night.”

Bucky’s face falls. “What?” he asks, voice small and barely audible.

Steve shrugs, “Well, you pretended it never happened, right?” he takes a sip of his Old Fashioned and grimaces. “What the fuck did they put in this? God,” he sets the glass aside. “Either that, or you forgot it ever happened. But I woke up before you did, that morning... you wouldn't have forgotten that. You were wrapped around me like a koala.

“Was not!”

Steve grins, eyes shining. “Yeah, you were. I liked it.”

Bucky looks down at their shoes, feeling his cheeks heat up. It's amazing the effect this man has on him, even after all this time.

“But,” Steve continues, surprising Bucky, “Then a month later I saw you down at the Grind with someone, so I thought maybe not.”

“Oh,” Bucky nods. “Yeah. Used to go there sometimes. Sucks they shut it down.”

“Yeah,” Steve's still smiling, and Bucky's just about to combust from the embarrassment.

“Sorry,” he mumbles.

“What's that?”

Bucky swallows hard. He takes a deep breath and finally meets Steve in the eye. “I'm sorry I acted like nothing happened.”

“Ah, well,” Steve shrugs. “It was only a kiss.”

“I was mortified for coming onto you that way. All drunk and...clingy.” Bucky cringes at the memory of his past self, but it makes the blond burst out laughing.

It's like music to Bucky's ears. It takes him back all the way to the very first time he met Steve Rogers. First time he laid eyes on the man, when he was on the field, grey t-shirt stretched across his chest so tight fitting, leaving little to the imagination. Steve was laughing, his head thrown back, blonde hair caught in the sun's rays. Bucky was dumbstruck, staring at him. Then Sam Wilson came up to him and very rudely interrupted his ogling by introducing himself and welcoming him to the team. He took Bucky over and introduced him to Steve and it was like the clouds parted and an angel choir started singing in the distance, as Steve said, “Hi, Bucky, nice to meet you,” sliding his warm hand into Bucky's for a cursory handshake.

Present day Bucky admires Steve, the stubble on his cheeks, those ridiculous eyelashes of his and then, without meaning to, opens his mouth and says, “I had a ridiculous crush on you.”

Steve's head whips around to look at Bucky. “What?”

Bucky has turned a wonderful shade of scarlet, he’s sure. “I was embarrassed 'cause I had a crush on you.”

“Oh,” Steve is staring at him. Why is Steve staring at him?

Bucky looks away, still embarrassed. This wasn't exactly how he wanted to make his feelings known. He was hoping to do some drinking, some flirting, maybe some dancing and then, you know, one of those ‘one-thing-led-to-another’ type of things everyone is always talking about.

“Hey,” Steve inches closer to him. Bucky looks up and sees him smiling, then he's leaning in to speak close to his ear, “You wanna get out of here?”

“Yes,” Bucky's reply is too quick, too eager, but it makes Steve grin ear to ear.

The taxi ride to his apartment is a blur, because all he's thinking about is oh my god this is happening this is really happening, and next thing he registers is Steve crowding him, putting his hands on Bucky's hips and nudging him so his back is pressed against his front door and then his lips are on Bucky's.

They're as soft as he remembers them. Bucky's just about ready to die of happiness.

Steve's hands pull out his shirt and slip underneath, his thumbs caressing the crevices of his hips; his mouth's trailing kisses along Bucky's jaw, his breath hot on Bucky's neck. Bucky's dizzy with it.

“Steve,” he breathes out as his eyes flutter open.

Steve kisses him again, softer this time. “You want this?”

The way Steve is looking at him, it makes Bucky weak at the knees. The hunger in those baby blue eyes, yet the gentle hand on his cheek. “Yeah,” Bucky nods before he surges in for another kiss.

Once inside the apartment, clothes start coming off. Hands reach out for each other, mouths trailing across every inch of newly bared skin. Bucky’s conflicted between wanting to rush in and experience everything Steve has to offer, and slowing down to savour the taste, the feel of him, knowing this will probably the only night he gets with Steve. Round one is over pretty quickly - much quicker than either of them would have wanted - and then they’re lying in Bucky’s bed, naked and sweaty, staring at the ceiling while they catch their breaths.

Moments later Steve rolls over, flinging his arm and his leg over Bucky, burying his head in the crook of Bucky’s neck. “Oh my God,” he says, voice muffled.

Bucky breathes out a laugh. “That’s a good ‘Oh my God’, right? You’re not about to start crying?”

“Happy tears, maybe,” Steve lifts his head to meet him in the eye.

“Asshole,” Bucky shoves him away.

“No, come back,” Steve’s arms are reaching out for Bucky again. “Want you,” he whispers, and starts climbing over him, covering Bucky’s body with his own, trailing kisses along Bucky’s jaw and down his neck.

Bucky’s heart starts racing again. “Steve,” he breathes.

Steve acknowledges him with a murmured ‘Yeah?’ against his skin as his mouth travels down his torso.

Bucky’s rendered speechless. Steve’s mouth is magic . Making his way further down, tongue tracing the curve of his hip bones, closing his lips around the head of Bucky’s dick - which elicits a very loud moan from the man in question. Steve manages to smirk, dick in mouth and all. Bucky swears under his breath. Then Steve’s hands slip under his thighs, lifting them up and spreading them apart and ohhhhh -

“Buck,” Steve’s head peeks up from between his legs, a look of amusement on his face. “Your ass tastes like cherries.”

Surprised, Bucky laughs. “Is that a problem?”

“I’m not complaining,” Steve returns to the task at hand, but only for a few seconds before he pulls away to say, “Just makes me wonder-” and he goes in again, driving Bucky crazy with his mouth, and then pulling away, again, “-what have you been up to.”

“What-”

Steve bites his lip. His fingers slip in easily, two at once. “Think I have an idea.”

Bucky’s too far gone to form a coherent response, only a deep, wrecked moan escaping his mouth. He feels Steve’s breath ghosting over his mouth, and opens his eyes to meet his gaze.

“Been touching yourself?” Steve murmurs, lips grazing over Bucky’s jawline.

“Yeah,” Bucky breathes out.

“And fingering yourself?”

“Yeah.”

Steve is looking at him so intensely, hints of a smirk curving his mouth. “Did you plan for this, Barnes?”

“Not planned ,” Bucky mumbles, hands reaching up to Steve’s neck, pulling him close for a heated kiss. Really, he can’t focus on much else other than how much he wants Steve’s dick inside him right fucking now . “Hoped.”

Steve kisses him again. “Is that so?”

“Please,” Bucky lets his hands travel down Steve’s torso and curl around his dick, getting a small moan in response.

Steve doesn’t need to be told twice.

And when Steve gets going, he goes hard. He starts slow, but picks up his rhythm, and really just fucks Bucky’s brains out. Bucky can’t hold back the sounds that escape his mouth, especially when Steve flips him over and grabs his hips, fucking him even harder. It’s over sooner than he’d like, but God if he doesn’t enjoy every moment of it.

Bucky collapses face-first into his pillow, breathless, with Steve’s sweaty body falling right on top of him seconds later. All that can be heard in the moments that follow is the both of them trying to catch their breaths, until they fall silent. Bucky thinks Steve might’ve rolled over and fallen asleep but when he turns his head, he sees Steve looking at him.

“What?”

“Nothing,” Steve shrugs, a little smile on his face. “You’re a good lay.”

“Oh, thanks, yeah,” Bucky rolls his eyes, though he can’t help but smile.

“What, not a fan of pillow talk?”

“No,” Bucky rolls over and pulls the sheet over his shoulder. “Go to sleep.”

“I feel gross. Can I take a shower first?”

“No.”

Steve laughs softly and moves closer to Bucky, plastering himself against his back and pressing a kiss to Bucky’s shoulder. “Wow, you’re really grumpy after sex.”

Bucky bites his lip. “Come on,” he gets out of bed and motions for Steve to follow him to the bathroom.

Steve won’t stop touching him. He grabs the shower gel and lathers Bucky’s body, hands traveling over his shoulders and down his back. Bucky feels almost giddy. He never imagined Steve would be so… affectionate. He washes his face, trying to get the thoughts out of his head, but his stomach is flipping upside down, a mix of excitement and nervousness. Bucky turns around to face Steve and kisses him, snaking his arms around Steve’s neck, fingers threading through his short hair.

They break apart with a sigh, eyes meeting again.

Steve cups his cheek gently before he says, “Babe, I’d love to, but I don’t think I’m physically capable of getting it up again.”

Bucky laughs. “No, I just… I like kissing you.” he mumbles before he turns away, breaking eye contact.

Steve hums, his hands finding Bucky’s hips, again. “I like kissing you, too.”

Morning finds them tangled in each other, with Bucky’s leg thrown over Steve’s, and Steve’s arm around Bucky’s shoulders. Bucky blinks awake and smiles at the warmth and body contact of another person sleeping in his bed; the thought ‘I could get used to this’ floats into his mind and it startles him a little. He rolls away and slowly gets out of bed. That’s enough to awaken Steve, who hums and stretches before half-opening his eyes to peek at Bucky.

“Hey, you’re not sneaking out on me, are you?” he asks, then he blinks again and looks at his surroundings. “Wait, we’re at your place. I should be the one sneaking out.”

Bucky shoots him a brief smile while he gets busy pulling on a new pair of underwear. “Good morning.”

“Indeed it is.” Steve rolls onto his side, making himself comfortable. “You got somewhere to be?”

“Uh, not really.”

“You wanna come back to bed?”

Tempting.

Bucky shakes his head. “Want some coffee. And food.”

Steve nods and gets out of bed, starts getting dressed. He looks for his phone and his wallet, which have fallen out of his dress pants, at some point during the frantic undressing. Moments later, he’s ordering an Uber while making his way to the front door.

Bucky’s heart might be breaking just a little bit. He doesn’t want Steve to leave. He’s a lovesick puppy and he doesn’t want Steve to leave.

“So,” Steve says, turning around to face Bucky. “That was fun.”

“Yeah,” says Bucky.

“We should do this again sometime,” Steve's tone is as playful as his grin.

Bucky breathes out a soft laugh, averting his gaze downwards. “Definitely,” he says, making Steve’s grin even wider.

And then he’s gone, and Bucky’s standing alone in the middle of his living room, hating himself just a little.

 

~~

 

“So this is the guy you hooked up with in college?” Nat asks him casually, while continuing to wipe a set of tumblrs, setting them on a tray on the counter.

Steve’s eyes are focused on the amber liquid in his glass, the ice slowly melting, watering down his drink. He’s on his second glass, waiting for Sam, who is exceptionally late. “No, we just slept together. Like, in the same bed.”

“Right,” says Natasha, obviously unconvinced. “Platonically.”

“Yes. No.” Steve runs a hand over his face. “I don’t know. He kissed me.”

“So you kissed...and then didn’t hook up.”

“Well, yeah. He was drunk, I was drunk… I don’t know.”

Nat looks thoughtful as she wipes another wine glass and sets it on the counter. “Didn’t hook up in college, but did hook up at the college reunion.”

“Yup. Which I wasn’t expecting, at all ,” Steve says, a smile curling the corners of his mouth as he remembers the night, which wasn’t all that long ago - only two weeks. It feels like yesterday and forever ago at the same time.

“And now you’re pining.”

“I’m not pining!” Steve’s adamant about that. “I just...wanna see him again.”

Nat rolls her eyes, continuing her duties as the only bartender at the restaurant tonight. It’s a Tuesday night; they’re not expecting much of a crowd, especially since the restaurant’s clientele base has been declining rapidly in the last few months.

Steve goes on talking about Bucky, which Natasha doesn’t mind. “I don’t know, it didn’t really feel like a one night stand at the time. It was...” he trails off, a hint of wistfulness in his voice.

“Spare me the details, I beg of you.”

Steve blushes just a little. “I wasn’t gonna go into detail,” he mumbles. “Anyway, point is, it was pretty clear he wanted me out of there in the morning. God, why did I say ‘we should do this again sometime’, who does that?”

Nat sputters out a laugh. “You said that?”

Steve glares at her half-heartedly. “It was - like I was joking!”

“But you weren’t. Oh, thank God,” she says, waving at Sam and starts pouring him a drink. “Collect your boy. He’s pining.”

“I’m not pining.”

Sam laughs. “Bucky?”

“Yep.”

“You haven’t called him yet?” Sam asks the blonde, who is now pouting about the fact that his friends are ganging up on him.

“It’s 2018, no one calls people anymore.”

“Okay, then text him.” Sam reaches out for Steve’s phone and puts it in his hand. “Okay? There we go. Now, the adults need to talk.”

“We do?” Nat glances at Sam, confused.

“Nah,” Sam leans in to whisper, “I just said that so he’ll drop the Bucky subject.”

“I heard that.” Steve glares at him.

“Good, you were meant to. So, where are we off to?”

Natasha interjects, saying, “You know, you could eat here for once and maybe save our failing business.”

Sam wrinkles his nose. “Pass.”

“Sorry,” Steve adds, trying to look sympathetic.

Natasha sighs, hands on her hips. “Yeah, I don’t blame you. The new chef is a disaster. Come pick me up after, yeah?”

“You got it,” Steve leans over to give her a kiss on the cheek. “Thanks for listening.”

“Yeah, yeah, get out of here already.”

 

~~

 

What happened isn't exactly clear in Steve's mind. It may be the alcohol. Okay, it's definitely the alcohol.

Sam suggested going to their favourite burger joint, and Steve had another three beers during dinner. They were slightly tipsy, caught up in conversation, when he got a text message from Natasha saying Bucky was almost definitely at the restaurant. Steve hadn't even stopped to wonder how Nat recognised him - she later admitted to Facebook-stalking him.

“What?” she'd asked defensively. “I gotta run a background check, no? It's standard procedure.”

“Standard- never mind,” Steve had no intention of wasting any more time, so he'd grabbed himself a drink and went over to speak to Bucky.

Bucky’s whole face had lit up as soon as he saw Steve.

“What are you doing here?”

“I'm a regular here, but only at the bar.”

“Oh, yeah, the food sucked, but someone insisted on coming here for dinner.”

Bucky then introduced him to his sister, who defended her choice, recalling childhood family dinners at the establishment. And then they started talking, catching up. Becca had slipped away at some point, wishing them a good night and shooting Bucky a pointed look before she'd taken off.

When the restaurant closed, they moved to another bar, continued drinking. Steve remembers dancing. They'd been dancing at some point. Bucky, no doubt, would have convinced him to get on the dancefloor. And they'd started kissing while dancing. That must have been an embarrassment. Steve had been too drunk to care.

Next, he remembers punching a loudmouth who had been harassing them, right in his stupid, hateful mouth. Police showed up out of nowhere. There was a prison cell, and he was yelling at an officer about the unfairness of the situation, until Sam showed up to bail them out. Sam was not amused. But Bucky was laughing and pulling Steve close to him and kissing him.

And now, here he is again, in Bucky’s bed, naked, with a terrible throb in his head and a pleasant warmth in his stomach. Which may have something to do with Bucky’s arm around his middle, and his face pressed against Steve's shoulder.

Bucky rolls over on his back and slowly blinks awake. “What time is it?” he asks, voice hoarse.

“Almost noon.”

“Shit. Work.”

Steve thanks his lucky stars for his best friend, who messaged him early that morning to let him know he's covered for Steve at the gym, telling their supervisor that Steve is home with a bad case of food poisoning. It's not bad, as far as excuses go. So he doesn't have to worry about that. Now, he needs to worry about what he's going to say to Bucky, regarding their relationship - or lack thereof.

Bucky looks thoughtful for a while, eyes glued to the ceiling. Then he breathes out a long sigh and sits up in bed, turns to look at Steve.

“So, this keeps happening.”

“Yup,” says Steve, gathering every ounce of courage in his existence. He's just going to come out and say it. He’s going to ask Bucky out.

Except he doesn’t get the chance.

“I can’t keep doing this,” Bucky’s frowning, looking regretful.

The words feel like a punch to Steve’s gut, but he nods and gets up, with the intention to look for his clothes - wherever there may be. He’s staring at the floor, trying to gather his thoughts - oh God, did they fuck on the kitchen floor?!

Steve lets out a breath he didn’t realise he was holding. It was a mistake, he wants to say, he’s sorry, he’s -

Bucky’s hand around his wrist distracts him. “Steve,” he says, voice small. Steve turns to look at him, and only then sees the dejected look on Bucky’s face. Steve sits on the bed, facing him.

Bucky casts his gaze down at the only contact point between their bodies; he starts rubbing his thumb over the inside of Steve’s wrist, voice low when he says, “I like you.”

“What?” asks Steve, the question stumbling out of his mouth before he can stop it.

“I like you,” Bucky repeats, now looking at him. “I don’t want to keep doing this… or at least, not like this .”

Steve nods. “I...um. Do you wanna do this thing for real? I mean… dating.”

“Wow,” Bucky’s mouth curves into a slow smile. “That sentence was a trainwreck.”

“Shut up,” Steve laughs. “I wasn’t expecting that. I thought - last time, you all but kicked me out of bed.”

“No, no,” Bucky inches closer to him. “I thought you’d want to leave - you know, one night stand and all. I didn’t want you to leave, actually.”

“You want me to stay?”

“Yeah.”

Steve grins. “And you wanna go to dinner with me?”

“Yeah,” Bucky laughs softly. “Usually it's the other way around, you know. Dinner first, then… this.” says Bucky, gesturing vaguely between them.

“Hey, not my fault you're so easy.”

Bucky gasps and shoves him, making Steve laugh. “I am most definitely not. You just seduced me with your seductive ways.”

“I'm so very sorry.” Steve says, not looking sorry at all, if the grin on his face is anything to go by. But he pulls Bucky towards him, helping him settle on his lap. “Bucky?” he says, looking serious all of a sudden. “Do you want to be my boyfriend?”

Bucky rolls his eyes, but he cups Steve’s face in his hands and kisses him. “Let’s see how dinner goes.”