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Playing With Fire

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He’d made it a year.

365 days have passed since she showed back up on his doorstep, a box of trash bags in her hand, and a handful of boxes in the hands of the “old friend” standing behind her, an NFL linebacker twice his size. The sneer on the guy’s face said more than any words could, so Bucky stayed back and just watched as the future they’d been planning was carried out box by box.

Now, though …

A stack of mail on the counter had her name on the envelopes. There was a dusty tube of toothpaste in the bathroom that he refused to use or throw away. The Zeppelin III CD case—just the case, not the CD— seemed to taunt him from the coffee table.

So maybe he’d been drinking some tonight. And maybe he’d had a shitty week at work. And maybe that made him a bit more inclined to lean towards what some might call a “bad idea,” or even a “mistake.”

Bucky Barnes was far from a saint.

He was sitting on the couch, staring at the two-thirds empty bottle of Jim Beam, fingers tapping on the neck of the beer he’d gotten out of the fridge.

He shouldn’t do it.

There was no reason to do it.

No good could come from it.

He picked up his phone and dialed the number, letting muscle memory take over after that mistake of a weepy drunken night with Steve, when the bastard had taken his phone and deleted her number.

Bucky leaned back against the couch cushions and closed his eyes.

“Hey, you.”

He smiled.

“Hey back. You busy?”

Bucky listened for a minute, then spoke again.

“You’re not at home, are you?”
“What gave it away?”
“Bar sounds crowded tonight.”

She sighed, the sound of it through the phone driving a shiver down his spine.

“And somehow I feel like I’m the only one in here.”

Fuck, this was a bad idea. Bucky cleared his throat, still keeping his eyes closed.

“Listen, I uh…”
“Why are you calling me, Barnes?”

He sighed.

“Because it’s been a year.”
“I know. Why do you think I’m at this bar?”
“I’m a little drunk myself.”
“I know. You wouldn’t have called me otherwise.”

He blinked his eyes open, and that goddamn CD case stared back at him.

“You left some things.”
“That nasty-ass toothpaste you love so much.”
“That shit’s expensive.”
“I know. But you left some here. And there’s a stack of mail in the kitchen with your name on it.”

She didn’t say anything, so he went on.

“Did you take the Zeppelin CD?”
My Zeppelin CD?”
“We bought Zepp III together.”
“You lying bastard, I bought that!”

Bucky laughed, all but hearing her smile through the phone. They were both quiet for a minute, until she spoke again.

“So what … what you saying, Buck? I need to come get my stuff?”

He swallowed.

“If you want to.”
“Oh, Bucky.”
“Just don’t … just don’t, okay?”

He licked his lips, leaning back against the couch again. After a moment, he closed his eyes, then spoke.

“Pay your tab and I’ll pay for your cab.”

He heard her deep inhale, her ragged exhale. Could see her in his mind, at war with herself over what a bad idea this was. She was always the clearer thinker, listening to her brain where Bucky ran with his heart. She’d be able to see this for what it was, and would use it to gently break him apart one more time.


Blue eyes flew open as the call ended, and Bucky moved up to the edge of the couch. He ran a hand over his unshaven jaw, pushed his too-long hair out of his face.

He stood and walked to the kitchen, opening the fridge and taking out another beer. He leaned forward and rested his forehead against the cool metal, closing his eyes.

You sat in the back of the cab, shaking your head.

This was the textbook definition of a “bad idea.”

What good could possibly come from this? Absolutely nothing. Bucky was bad for you. You knew it, he knew it. The whole damn world knew it. You couldn’t make it work together. You’d tried — God knows you tried. And he did, too, but some things just aren’t meant to be.

You chewed on your bottom lip as you looked out the window, watching the familiar scenery pass by.

You could put a stop to it now. Tell the driver to turn around, to head to your address instead of … your old one.

Instead, you leaned back against the seat, closing your eyes and trying to block everything out of your mind, everything except the slow country song flowing through the car’s tinny speakers.

“Ma’am? This is the address you gave me.”

You knew it was, and you stubbornly held your eyes closed for one more moment. You finally sighed, acquiescing the fight, blinking your eyes open. You sucked in a breath when your door opened, at the same time that a low voice murmured to the driver.

“Keep the change.”
“Thank you, sir. Have a good night.”

You put your hand in Bucky’s warm one, shivering as he helped you from the car. You swallowed as his blue eyes took you in, keeping your hand in his as he turned and led you inside the house.

You set your purse down on the table just inside the door, slipping your shoes off and pushing them under the table with your foot. Bucky was walking around in bare feet, and you hated to wear shoes if you didn’t have to. You followed him into the kitchen, letting out a laugh when you saw the bottle he was pouring you a drink from. He raised an eyebrow, and you shook your head.

“You never struck me as a wine aficionado, Barnes.”
“I’m not. I know you like it, though. White, right?”

You nodded, and he handed you a glass. You took a sip, sighing when the crisp liquid slid over your tongue.

“Nice choice.”

The two of you stood there in an awkward silence, you sipping from your glass while Bucky traced patterns on the countertop with a finger. He finally huffed out a breath and went for the fridge, pulling it open and grabbing a beer from the door. He popped the top and tossed it onto the counter as he took a gulp, then turned back to you as the fridge almost slammed shut.

“Why is this so weird?”

You sighed, setting your now empty glass on the counter and reaching over to grab the bottle.

“Because it’s not like it used to be.”
“So … what, we can’t even talk to each other now?”

You shrugged your shoulders, foregoing the glass and putting the bottle to your lips. Bucky let out a quiet laugh at that, speaking under his breath.

“That’s my girl.”

The words stung, causing the next words to come out of your mouth to do the same.

“I’m not your girl, Barnes. Not anymore. You made damn sure of that.”
I did? You’re the one who left.”
“You didn’t give me a choice!”
“The hell I didn’t!”

You stopped, setting the bottle down on the counter. You let out a laugh, shaking your head as you brought your eyes to his.

“Look at us. We haven’t been together more than five minutes and we’re already fighting.”

Bucky closed his eyes, letting out a sigh as he set a hand on his hip.

“What else are we supposed to do? All we’re good at is fighting.”

You had a soft smile on your face, cheeks burning as you stared at the countertop. Bucky stepped closer, setting his beer bottle down near the wine bottle.  

“I know that look. That blush on your cheeks? You’re thinking of another ‘F’ word that we’re good at. One we are damn good at.”

You cleared your throat, shivering slightly at the deep chuckle that rumbled in Bucky’s throat. You turned your head, looking into those bright blue eyes, breath catching in your throat when his warm hand covered yours.

“Buck, this is a bad idea.”
“I know.”
“I just came to get the things you called me about.”
“I know.”

You swallowed, stepping closer to him. You turned your hand over, lacing your fingers with his. He never took his eyes from you, and you lifted a hand, brushing your fingers through his hair.

“You let it grow.”
“No one was here to remind me to get it cut.”

Your heart stuttered in your chest at that murmured statement, and you swallowed again.

“I like it.”

His blue eyes widened just a bit.


You nodded, moving your hand from his hair down to his stubbled cheek.

“Mixed with this scruff, it gives you an edgy look.”

You held your hand on his face, watching his eyes drift closed as your fingers slid over his skin. When his eyes opened again, you whimpered, causing him to wrap his arms around you.

“Fuck, Barnes. I missed you.”
“I miss you, too.”

Your ears barely registered the present tense he used. You were so close to him you could feel his breath, and he tugged you even closer.

“We shouldn’t do this.”
“I know.”
“It … it can’t change anything.”
“It won’t.”

He was leaning closer to you, while you were slowly going onto your tiptoes, moving closer to him. Bucky’s voice was barely audible when he spoke, but you heard him as if he screamed.

“If you want to go… I’ll let you.”

You lifted your eyes to his, moving to put your hands on his face again.

“There’s nowhere else I want to be.”

Whether he moved or you did, you may never know, but suddenly, Bucky’s lips were on yours and everything else faded away.

He was so strong, that fact made even more evident when he lifted you into his arms with minimal effort. You wrapped your legs around his waist, arms around his neck, lips locked onto his as he carried you from the kitchen, down to the bedroom.

You saw the candles he’d lit on the nightstand and his dresser, and you let out a laugh. You also somehow noticed that the sheets on the bed were ones that you’d left, dark blue ones with light blue stripes, because Bucky was “not about to sleep on any sissy-ass girly flower sheets.” You smiled at the memory, especially the one that followed when you had showed Bucky just how enticing flower-covered sheets could be.

You squealed when Bucky’s teeth gently pressed into your neck, and he smiled as he met your eyes. You pushed your hands through his hair, tugging it gently, causing a delicious moan to slip from his lips. You moved your palms under his jaw, pulling his mouth back to yours, whimpering when his hand went to work on the button and zipper of your jeans.

“God, I’ve missed this.”

You could only nod as the warmth from Bucky’s hand bled through your jeans, and you shivered and gasped when that warmth was pressed against your bare skin. His fingers danced over your stomach before sliding his hand beneath the lacy waistband of your panties.

Both of you groaned when his hand cupped you, one finger slowly moving up and down your slit. You tried to spread your legs a bit more, huffing in frustration when you couldn’t. Bucky chuckled as he moved back from you, taking hold of the jeans and tugging them down your legs.

You gasped, hands flying down as Bucky simply moved your panties aside and buried his face between your legs. You held handfuls of his hair as he used his mouth on you, steadily pushing you higher until you were flying over the edge.

You vaguely felt Bucky’s stubble against your cheek as he kissed you, hips sliding against yours as he groaned softly in your ear. You blinked, turning your head to see him lift his own, moving just enough to press his lips to yours. He sat up, taking hold of your shirt and lifting it up and over your head, sitting back and tugging his own shirt off.

“Holy crap, Buck.”

Bucky gave a shuddering exhale as you ran your fingers down his abs, feeling cuts of muscle that hadn’t been there before.


You blinked as you looked up, meeting his eyes. He reached out and took your face in his warm hands, leaning in and kissing you deeply. You rested back against the pillows, arching your back as Bucky’s hands slipped behind you, unfastening your strapless bra and dropping it beside the bed.

You moaned as he lowered his head, the stubble on his cheeks scratching your skin as he kissed and nipped at your breasts. He leaned back and you reached down, pushing at his sweatpants until he leaned back and pushed them off. He sat on the side of the bed and opened the drawer on the bedside table, chuckling when you draped yourself against his back, looping your arms over his shoulders and kissing his cheek. He turned his head and you kissed his lips, carding your fingers through his soft hair. After a few long kisses, you moved to lay back against the pillows, watching his back as he slid the condom on, then moved to hover over you.

When his eyes met yours, your breath caught in your throat. His eyes had always been so blue, shifting from the warmest cobalt to an intense ocean, depending on his mood. They were a dark blue now, focused solely on you.  

He leaned down to kiss you, keeping those eyes open as he pressed his lips to yours. He swallowed the gasp you gave as he began to push inside you, both of you groaning as he bottomed out.

Your heart was pounding in your chest as he continued to stare into your eyes, and you felt like you could barely breathe. He reached over, taking hold of your arm and lifting it beside your head, linking his fingers with yours.

You squeezed your eyes shut at the sudden onslaught of tears that welled up, releasing a shuddering breath as Bucky began moving his hips. He muttered a curse under his breath, bending to bury his head at your neck. You felt the scratch of his stubble and the warmth of his breath, moaning as his lips pressed kisses to your skin.

You moved your hand to grasp a handful of his hair, feeling his rhythm falter when you gave a gentle tug. He pulled you closer and you bit your lip to keep from crying out as he assaulted your senses in the best way. He reached down and took hold of one of your legs, pushing it up just a bit, making your eyes roll back in your head when he thrust harder.

You pulled your hand from his, wrapping your arms around him as tightly as you could, moaning his name. He lifted his head and met your lips with his own, kissing you fiercely as his hips never faltered. You shook your head and he nodded, pressing his lips to yours, hitting that spot deep inside you that caused fireworks to shoot off behind your eyes. You were vaguely aware of Bucky’s drawn-out groan of your name as he came almost simultaneously with you, his hand searching until his fingers linked with yours.

You sat on the edge of the bed, trying to ignore the way your mind was racing. “THIS WAS A BAD IDEA” seemed to be rolling through your head like a news ticker, and you closed your eyes, taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly. You glanced behind you, a smile coming to your face when Bucky murmured in his sleep and rolled onto his stomach, arms wrapping around his pillow.

You sighed, standing up and gathering your clothes, slipping them on as silently as you could. You noticed how the candles were burnt out now, and you sighed again before you walked back to the bed and gently touched the top of Bucky’s head, leaning down and feather-lightly kissing his cheek. He shifted just a bit, snuggling deeper into his pillow, and you slowly backed out of the room.

He always kept the bedroom door open when he was asleep, so you didn’t bother trying to shut it. You found your heels by the front door, but didn’t bother putting them on. You saw the stack of mail on the counter and when you picked up one of the letters and saw your name on it, you swallowed hard. Your name was on every letter in the stack, and you closed your eyes before you gathered the pile and slid it into your purse.

You walked back to the bathroom and found the tube of toothpaste that you’d left behind a year ago. You’d never use it now, but you couldn’t find the strength to throw it away. Bucky hadn’t. For an entire year, he’d stared at this one little thing of yours that you’d left behind when you left him.

You bit your lip, trying to hold back the sudden rush of tears. It was for the best, remember? You and Bucky aren’t good for each other. Fire and gasoline, that’s what your mom had called the two of you.

You straightened your shoulders and pulled out your dying phone. You managed to track down an Uber, sitting on Bucky’s couch to slide your shoes on. You glanced at the coffee table, hand falling from your heel to your side when you saw what was lying there.

Zeppelin III.

Not the CD, because that stayed in the player in your apartment, even if you barely listened to it.

But the case.

You glanced back towards Bucky’s bedroom, closing your eyes and sighing. You put your head in your hands and let out a long sigh, pushing your fingers through your tangled hair.

Bucky woke up with a pounding head, groaning as he pushed his face into his pillow. If he smothered himself, he wouldn’t have to deal with the hangover, right?

He lifted his head, blinking his eyes open, slowly looking around the room.

He was alone.

He rolled into his back and pushed his hands through his hair, rubbing one palm along his unshaven jaw. He sighed, staring up at the ceiling before shaking his head and cursing under his breath. He crawled out of bed and slid his sweatpants back on, scratching his chest as he walked to the kitchen, in search of coffee.

And maybe his dignity.

He didn’t know why he felt so cheap. He was no stranger to one night stands.

But that hadn’t been just a one night stand.

It was Y/N, and she was …

Bucky slammed the coffee into the maker, pouring the water in a little more forcefully than usual, shoving the pot in its place.

She was nothing. She’d turned into nothing the moment she walked out his door a year ago.

Bucky leaned over the counter, propping his elbows up and putting his face in his hands, groaning loudly.

She wasn’t nothing. She never would be. He shouldn’t have called her, but …

He lifted his head and looked out the window as the smell of coffee began to fill the kitchen.

He didn’t regret it. Even when they fought like it was their goddamn job, he didn’t regret being with her. He’d loved her, and that had scared him, and he’d pushed her until she broke. He’d suffered for an entire fucking year, and last night, he finally gave in.

He just hadn’t expected her to give in, too.

Bucky stood up and walked to the cabinet, pulling out a mug and filling it with the fresh coffee. He started to make his way to the living room, but stopped at the edge of the kitchen counter.

The stack of her mail was gone.

Bucky swallowed, closing his eyes. He had to keep himself from running to the bathroom, to see if she’d taken her fucking toothpaste, and how goddamn pathetic was that? He huffed out a breath and walked to the living room, pushing a hand through his hair again as he sat on the couch. He took a sip of the coffee, wincing at the bitter taste and the burn, going still when he looked at the coffee table.

The CD case was still there.

He frowned as he leaned forward, picking up the case and tapping it against his palm. She knew it was here, knew it was one of the things he’d made up as an excuse for her to come over. She’d taken the other two things, why hadn’t she taken this, too? He looked at the song list on the back, then flipped it over, a smile coming over his face.

A red lip print was positioned directly in the middle of the case.

Bucky lifted a hand to absentmindedly rub at his lips, smiling when he set the case back down. He closed his eyes and leaned back against the couch, glancing back at the one thing you’d left, which gave him another excuse to call you and have you swing back by.