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A Long Fall

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“They’re getting like five dollars under their pillow.”

“Bucky,” Steve said in amusement. “You’re supposed to be admiring the view.”

“I’m just saying, Steve, inflation has gone too far.”

“The Tooth Fairy isn’t real, Buck.”

“It’s ridiculous, is what I’m saying.” Bucky rested his arms on the railing and looked over the edge, sounding completely serious. Steve didn’t know if he wanted to kiss him or shove him into the canyon. Both had their merits, and both would shut Bucky up. “Remember when you got your tooth knocked out and I put a dime under your pillow?”

“Yes, because I was 17 and it had happened in a fight and you made fun of me for weeks.”

“Whatever happened to that tooth?” He turned to face Steve. The sun reflected behind him, a halo around his head, and not for this first time Steve had the very embarrassing thought of how goddamn angelic he was.

“I think the serum grew it back,” he said with a shrug, standing beside Bucky and mirroring his stance. “I had completely forgotten, to be honest.”

“You owe me a dime then, jackass.”

“I owe you a lot more than that.”

Bucky bumped their shoulders. “Don’t be romantic, Steve, we’re talking about inflation.”

“This is a romantic getaway and I’m not allowed to be romantic?”

Bucky smiled out at the horizon. “I thought we were supposed to be enjoying the view.”

“I am enjoying the view,” Steve said, eyes still on Bucky, who mimed climbing over the railing.

“I can’t believe you said that. That’s too much for me.”

“And where are you planning on going?” Steve was laughing, arm wrapped around Bucky’s waist and hauling him back. “It’s a long fall.”

“Better than listening to you gush about my ugly mug.”

“Oh, so you’re allowed to talk about the economic practicality of the Tooth Fairy, but I’m not allowed to compliment you on our romantic getaway.”

Bucky turned a bit and pressed a brief kiss to Steve’s lips. “I’m just saying, how are these kids ever going to learn the value of a dollar if they keep getting fives shoved under their pillow whenever they lose a tooth? I woulda knocked out my own teeth for that money.”

“Five dollars ain’t that much anymore, Buck.” He pressed a kiss to the spot below Bucky’s ear. “How did we even get on this topic?”

“We passed that sign that was talking about the Easter egg hunt at the Grand Canyon, and you said that was sweet, and I said the Easter Bunny always freaked me out because what the fuck does he do? What is his purpose? Santa Claus leaves presents, the Tooth Fairy leaves money, and then we started talking about inflation.”

“Right,” Steve said dryly.

“We never did figure out what the purpose of the Easter Bunny is.”

“He… goes around and leaves eggs for children? I think?”

“Is he a real rabbit or one of those guys in costumes?”

“I don’t think it matters, much, given that he’s not real.”

“Don’t ruin the spirit of the season, Steve. Paint an egg with my face on it, would you?”

Steve laughed into Bucky’s hair, arms wrapping around his middle as he stood behind him, chin hooked over Bucky’s shoulder. “Whatever you want, Bucky.”

“Whatever I want? Really? That’s a dangerous promise.”

“I trust you,” Steve said simply. Bucky turned around so they were facing each other.

“You shouldn’t.” Steve waited to see where this was going, if Bucky was playing or if he was having another bad day, another day when he thought he wasn’t worth any of this, where his ghosts sat on his shoulder and whispered in his ear. “I could make you do something really stupid.”

“Like what?”

“What if I wanted you to replace your Captain America uniform with a pair of neon pink tights?”

Okay. Good day, then.

“That doesn’t match the colour scheme,” Steve said, as if that was a totally logical idea. “There’s no pink in the American flag.”

“Maybe there should be. I think you should be allowed to dictate the colour scheme, you’re literally Captain America.”

“I don’t think it works that way,” Steve said.

“I am willing to bet that if you wore neon pink tights with your uniform, within a month they would work it into the national anthem somehow.”

Steve laughed. “What are you willing to bet me?”

Bucky smiled, wide and warm, and Steve hugged him closer. Sometimes it was too much to take, too much to believe. Bucky here in front of him, a little bit rough, a little bit torn, maybe, but wasn’t Steve, too? Weren’t they all? Bucky had spent so many years patching Steve back together. Steve would spend the rest of his life returning the favour without a complaint.

“How about that dime you owe me?”

Steve laughed and kissed him. “Deal.”

“I mean, technically, if we’re talking about inflation, you would owe me more than –”

“Take my whole goddamn wallet, Bucky, it’s yours.”

“You’re being romantic again,” he muttered against Steve’s lips. “I can probably live with it.”

“You’re going to have to.”

Bucky smiled again.