Sam Wilson trudged back into the house, dripping with sweat, stumbling out of his running shoes and stripping his shirt off as he went. He made it to the kitchen and pulled a carton of orange juice out of the fridge, got the cap off, and almost wore it instead when Bucky Fucking Barnes smacked him upside the back of the head.
“Use a glass, the rest of us gotta drink that,” Barnes complained, sliding a tumbler across the counter at him. “I don’t want your germs.”
Sam looked Barnes in the eye, raised the OJ, and took a healthy swig.
“Gross, I’m gonna get bird flu.” Barnes fished around in the cupboards for the cereal. “Why are you sitting around in the dark drinking Steve’s juice? Are you still bro-pining? He’s only been in space for a week.”
“Am I still bro--” Sam started, then he glared. “Man, you just woke the fuck up and you haven’t taken a shower in four days, I’m not the one pining in this house.”
“I’m developing my own scent,” Barnes assured him, grinning. He pulled a bowl out of the sink, cleaned it with one half-hearted swirl of tap water like a frat house barbarian, and filled it with sugar bombs. “I’m going natural. Gonna just air it all out and hope for the best. I’m going for low energy usage, I’m vintage. I’m eco-neutral.”
“You’re disgusting is what you are.” Sam looked at the tumbler and decided the fight wasn’t worth it. He poured himself a glass of juice. “What if Steve comes back early? You’re never gonna get laid with hair like that.”
“Excuse me, I have been dry-shampooing the shit outta this, it is still fantastic.” Barnes flipped said hair and stole the juice carton, then chugged from the spout, that asshole. “The secret is the satin pillowcase.”
“I don’t care at all,” Sam said, snatching the carton back and giving it a look. After a moment he reluctantly passed it back, too grossed out to drink anymore. Barnes smiled in triumph and took another swig. Sam considered tossing his glass of juice in Barnes’ face, but he was thirsty, and Barnes would probably treat that as a cleansing face wash full of vitamin E anyway.
“Soooo,” Barnes called from the living room. Sam warily poked his head out of the kitchen where he was making a sandwich. “Who’s Captain America when Steve’s in space?”
“I’m pretty sure it’s still Steve,” Sam said, wiping his hands off on a tea towel.
“Well, let’s say hypothetically.” Barnes was doing that obnoxious thing where he tapped his metal fingertips on the glass-topped side table near the couch. You tell a guy to watch how hard he puts his metal elbows on the breakable furniture one time and he makes a point of getting handsy with it every chance he gets. “If a supervillain planted a bunch of bombs on a bridge and demanded a showdown with Captain America. Who--”
Sam sighed. “Us,” he muttered, coming into the living room.
“It’s not a very important bridge,” Barnes said doubtfully, not moving his ass off the couch. On the TV, someone with a cape and a god complex was pointing at the camera and shouting about the Man With A Plan.
Sam and Bucky watched the screen for a while.
“Well, goddamnit,” Sam said.
“Any way of contacting Steve?” Barnes asked, hopeful. “Space is… parts of space are close. Ish.”
“Nope,” Sam said, rubbing his face.
They stared at it in silence some more.
Barnes bit his lip thoughtfully. “You know anyone who looks like Steve?”
“Who wouldn’t get his ass handed to him, since he’s not a supersoldier with a deathwish and a masters in Moving Aircraft Parkour? No,” Sam said. And paused.
“What?” Barnes frowned, then comprehension dawned and he stood abruptly. “Uh, yeah, no.”
Sam just looked at him and grinned.
“I look nothing like Steve.” Barnes raised both hands and backed away. “Look at these cheekbones, Sam. They are a thing of beauty and they can’t be replicated. Look at my nose! This nose has been through seven wars and a presidential assassination and it’s still perfect. Steve’s looks like he walked face first into a Sherman tank tread and stayed there while it healed.”
“You don’t need to look like Steve,” Sam said, already going to the closet they kept their suits in. “You just need to be a white dude in a helmet who won’t get pasted in the face with a laser cannon when you show up. No one pays attention past the suit anyway, you know that. Steve is always complaining about that.”
“I’m not gonna fit the suit,” Barnes complained, but he followed Sam anyway.
“Well,” Sam said, looking Barnes over critically. “I guess you weren’t wrong.”
“Stevie is six foot four and a half,” Barnes muttered, looking mutinous. “I’m only five eleven.”
“Man, you are five nine wearing shoes, you don’t gotta lie to me,” Sam admonished, digging through the top drawer of his dresser. “This isn’t Grindr, you can be real. Here,” he said, pitching a few balled-up socks at Barnes.
Barnes caught them, because he was a super assassin, and gave them a suspicious look. “Do I wear layers to get taller?” he asked dubiously, turning the socks over in his hands.
“No, for your…” Sam gestured.
“For my…?” Barnes looked blank. “What?”
“For your. You know.” Sam gestured again, more extravagantly. “For this area.”
“For my--” Barnes face cleared. “Wow. No. I’m not gonna stuff my brassiere, Wilson. If I wanted to actually fit this right I’d wear a corset. Ugh,” he grunted, bending at the waist experimentally. “Where does Steve keep his intestines? How does he eat that much food with nowhere for it to go? I bet he keeps it in his ass, there’s room for a family of four in here.” He pulled at the seat of his pants, tenting them out and glaring.
Sam considered that, had the worst idea yet since Steve first showed up on his doorstep, and turned around.
“Whatever you’re about to do, no,” Barnes told him, but Sam was already on his way to the storage closet. Barnes just watched him go, but eventually jogged to catch up, sulkily stuffing socks down his shirt. “What, do you really have a corset just lying around? Sam. I never knew.”
“Shut up, it’s not a corset.” It took about ten minutes of shuffling cardboard in an enclosed space, but finally Sam found the box from his old college dorm that never got unpacked. It had tagged along for five moves and at this rate it would get passed down to Sam’s grandkids unopened save for this moment.
Considering what he was about to pull out of it, though, he should really go through it before that point. Sam paused by the open box and looked up. “I want to say before I give you anything that these do not belong to me.”
“Sure,” Barnes agreed, sensing weakness and perking up.
“No, man,” Sam said quellingly, digging around under the layer of outdated textbooks to get to the hidden shame beneath. “For real. My roommate from college left them when he moved out. They’re not mine.”
“Cool,” Barnes assured him, but then Sam pulled the Buns of Bliss Silicone Bubble Butt with RealWiggle technology out of its protective wrapper. Sam had forgotten how horrible they were. He risked a glance up.
Barnes looked like Santa had personally come down to DC to throw a special supersoldier Christmas just for him. “Sam,” he said, reverent and delighted, and Sam needed to cut that the fuck off right there. “Sam.”
“They were my roommate’s,” Sam stressed, shoving the bright pink globes at him so he didn’t have to touch them anymore. They bounced gently in a way that was an unsettlingly good match for the way Steve’s ass wiggled when he was blowing past hapless morning joggers at Mach 3. “Barnes. They’re not mine, they’re my roommate’s.”
“You kept them,” Barnes said gleefully, turning the padding this way and that in the light. The silicone shone through the mesh casing. “You haven’t had a roommate that can’t bench press your couch in years. They’re yours now. This ass is yours.”
Sam didn’t have anything to say to that, not really, so instead he just said, “Just stick them down your pants, Marilyn. We haven’t got all day. And do something about your socks, your chest is pointing in two different directions.”
“You taped the socks down?” Sam asked, incredulous.
“How else was I going to make them stay put?” Barnes asked, adjusting his chest a little with a hand cupped under each pec. “Shut up. Are my tits even?”
“I’m going to videotape you getting those socks back out,” Sam promised, grinning. “I’m gonna put it on YouTube. How many of them did you put in there, anyway? Did you just dump in the whole drawer and call it a day?”
“Steve Rogers,” Barnes said primly, “has a serious pair of superserumed knockers. I ran out of socks.”
“I shoulda said Steve had left him with me when he was getting on my case about the butt pads,” Sam muttered, putting new batteries in the com units and making sure Redwing was on his charging block. “Shoulda said that if we’re talking roommate leftovers, between the butt pads and him, I’d take the butt pads any day. Shoulda pointed out at least butt pads don’t steal my juice. Damn.”
“I have super hearing,” Barnes yelled at him from the bathroom. “I can hear you.”
The bad guy du jour was bigger on Redwing’s cameras than he looked on the TV.
“Shit, this guy is huge,” Barnes muttered into the comm unit, apparently agreeing. “I’m almost regretting telling you to stay home.”
“I don’t need babysitting, Wilson,” Sam mimicked in a squeaky voice. “I don’t need you hovering around to take care of one musclehead with a bridge.”
“I didn’t realize he was this big of a musclehead. Are you seeing this? Does he eat three square meals of steroids a day?”
“Big talk from a super steroid science experiment,” Sam pointed out, leaning back on the couch.
“Captain America!” the guy bellowed, and Sam realized he still didn’t know who the dude was. Another dumbass out to best Captain America. It’s not like they were rare. He knew for a fact Clint and Natasha had BINGO cards, and Clint was one “time-travelling space Nazis” and a free space away from winning. “I have called you here to answer for your….”
The villain trailed off as Bucky put his chin up and strode forward like an asshole. Villain squinted at him. “You’re...shorter than I expected,” the guy said after a moment.
“Fuck you,” Barnes said, putting his hands on his hips. “I’m five eleven! That’s plenty tall. You know how tall that was in the forties? I was dashing. I was towering.”
“You are lying,” Sam cut in.
“Anyway,” Bucky sniffed, crossing his arms. There was enough room for his shoulders, but his biceps were definitely straining the fabric, and it didn’t look very comfortable. “The camera adds five inches.”
“You’re five nine, Barnes!”
“Captain America! One press of this button,” Villain announced, clearly deciding the height issue wasn’t worth getting into. He was holding up what Sam swore looked like one of those dumb desk toys from 2005 that announced ‘That was easy!’ whenever you pressed it. “And this bridge is no more!” He smiled, triumphant, but Barnes still wasn’t reacting the way he expected. Villain tried waving the button at him.
“That’s the button that blows the bridge?” Barnes asked, interested but only barely, looking from the button and back up at Villain. “You press that and it’s rubble? Is that the only trigger?”
“It’s the only trigger,” the villain confirmed, standing tall. “And you can have it, Captain, if you can take it from me.”
Barnes made a ‘yeah sure I don’t mind that’ face and took a step forward, rolling out his shoulders. It wasn’t quite as fluid in Steve’s suit. Sam could see fabric getting caught in his left elbow plates, but it was on the side that was behind Villain, so hopefully he wouldn’t wonder why Captain America’s arm was suddenly segmented like an insect’s.
Then Villain smiled like he had an ace up his sleeve, the kind of smile that turned a straightforward fight into a fucking mess, and said, “But I don’t think you can without your pretty shield, Captain.”
Barnes looked incredulous. “Excuse me?”
“No,” Sam ordered, already shrugging into his wings because he could spot idiot supersoldier recklessness coming a mile off. “Don’t do it, man.”
Villain seemed damn sure of himself. “Do you think you can fight when you’re not hiding behind it? Are you a man, Captain, or a child?”
“Do not do it Barnes!” Sam shouted, yanking open the glass doors to the veranda. “Don’t you fucking do it!” He switched the controls on his goggles to show a transparent overlay of Redwing’s view so he didn’t run into anything watching Barnes give up his main weapon in a fight because someone called him a wuss. On screen, Barnes shrugged and popped the shield into its harness on his back. “You asshole. I said don’t do it!”
Villain looked delighted and tossed his cape over his shoulder with a flourish before pressing something on the wall. A moment later Barnes froze like someone had clocked him in the back of the head with something, looked like he was torn between indignation and hilarity, and turned around. Sam, heart in his mouth, took a second before takeoff to zoom in on his goggles and figure out what had happened.
There were three darts, red-plumed and cheerful, sticking out of the Bubble Butt like a globular dartboard.
“What,” Sam said, “the fuck.”
“Ah ah, Captain!” Villain shouted, puffing out his chest and flexing. “You think you can depend on your unfair advantage given to you by military scientists? These will strip you of your serum as we speak, making you…” He trailed off. “You’re not shrinking.”
Barnes had apparently decided on hilarity, and was twisted around giggling like a teenager to look at his own enhanced rear end. “Nope!” Barnes said brightly, poking at one bouncy ass cheek. It jiggled. “Nope. It’s, uh. One of my superpowers!”
“No, Barnes,” Sam warned, still on the veranda. “Steve is coming back and he will strangle you.”
“Ass cheeks of iron!” Barnes was almost crying with laughter now. He was hunched over, barely able to keep upright. “I’m… invulnerable there! I can...hah hahhhhhh… shake off anything you throw at me!”
“I swear to god, Barnes,” Sam said, trying massage away the encroaching headache, and climbed up the rose trellis to get some altitude for takeoff. On the goggle overlay Barnes was still a giggling mess, caught between total collapse and the opportunity to make dumb puns. Sam caught the occasional word like “impregnable” and “impenetrable” before he devolved into indistinct wheezing.
“Well,” Villain managed, thrown. He was apparently trying to wait it out, but Barnes wasn’t showing any sign of stopping. He was still slapping his knee and poking the seat of his own pants. After a while, looking put out at the delay, the guy pulled a dartgun out from under the cape and shot another dart at Barnes.
It sank deep into his left pec with a sad little poouffffff sound.
Barnes fucking lost it. At least he pulled out the darts before he fell on his ass, crying and snorting. “And my!” he managed through the hilarity. “And my tits! Are made of vibranium!”
Villain was at a loss, looking at his dart gun, then back at Barnes. Sam was still about two minutes out--if Villain shot Barnes in the face while he was giggling on the floor, Sam would be stuck trying to evac a de-serumed supersoldier whose own arm could be so heavy it would rip out of his shoulder. Sam was not looking forward to explaining that to Steve.
“Hey,” Villain finally said. “Hey, come on. This is kind of embarrassing.”
Barnes blinked up at him through the tears. “You think this is embarrassing,” he managed. “Wait till I shoot you.”
“What--” the guy spun around to look at the table behind him. The red button sat cheerily on it, bright red surface definitely not in reach. Sam swooped down just in time to get caught in the splatter zone when Barnes took the guy out at the kneecaps with his Desert Eagle.
The good news for Steve was that everyone seemed to think there was some sort of butt-joke pun-inducing psychotics in the blow darts, so everything he did while “drugged” was more or less disregarded.
The bad news was that now there was footage on every cable news program of Barnes in the Cap suit saying “Yarr, me booty!” in a horrible pirate voice and cracking himself up ad nauseum with fifteen pairs of socks rolling around inside his shirt.
Sam figured it was kind of a wash.
“I still can’t believe the dude thought I would toss my weapons if he made fun of the size of my dick,” Barnes was complaining, kicking back on the recliner and braiding his hair up and away from his face. “I mean, come on. I’m a fucking meat grinder. I’m built like a brick wall full of old-world Hollywood charm.”
“A short brick wall,” Sam told him, cool cloth over his eyes and feet up on the arm of the couch.
“Fuck you,” Barnes said without venom. “I’m a rock. I’m not insecure enough to go after someone twice my size with my bare hands.”
“You carry around a Desert Eagle as your concealed weapon,” Sam said. “Can you spell ‘overcompensation’?”
“I mean,” Bucky said thoughtfully. “Not that I probably couldn’t have kicked the guy’s ass with my bare hands. It’s just more work than it’s worth.”
“Sure,” Sam agreed easily.
“You trying to start something?” Barnes asked, sounding interested.
Sam pointed in what he hoped was Barnes’ direction. “I want you to know,” he warned, “that if you try to wrestle me I am absolutely bringing out the knives. My superpower is flying, and also my stunning good looks and killer smile. Not being full of meat. I will even this playing field any way I need to.”
“I got knives,” Barnes said.
“You can’t pull out the knives, you got a handicap. On account of being a supersoldier.”
“I leave for ten days,” Steve Rogers said from the doorway, “and you two are pulling knives on each other. What the hell guys?”
Sam rolled over. “Oh, hey Steve,” he said. “Just wait until you see the news.”
Barnes cracked up again. “Impenetrable booty,” he wheezed, curling up on the recliner.
Steve briefly closed his eyes. “I don’t want to know.”
Sam sighed. “Maybe ask Stark to reinforce your suit with extra Kevlar,” he said resignedly. “Like, all over.”
“But especially,” Barnes hiccuped, “in the tits and ass area,” and then he succumbed to his dumbass sense of humor again.
Steve frowned and looked hard at Barnes, then at Sam, then up at the ceiling. “Whatever you did,” he started, closed his eyes, and tried again. “Okay. Is there video?”
“No,” said Barnes.
“Yes,” admitted Sam.
“Do I want to know?” Steve asked, wincing.
“Yes,” Barnes said.
“No,” Sam assured him.
“I am going to deal with this when I don’t have space jetlag,” Steve decided, turned around, and walked back out to the car.
Image editing by Magdaliny