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Mystery of Love

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Before Bucky even reaches the room, he can smell it in their air. That musky, damp, briny tingle passing through his nose and into his lungs manifests inside as a single spark, igniting the kindling of his nerves. As he steps into Steve’s room and locks the door with a click, the image in the darkness, illuminated by a single moonbeam from the window and a yellow glow from the bathroom light, turns the saliva in his mouth into ash. He tries to swallow the feeling away, but it catches in his throat at the sight.

You are straddling Steve’s thigh, sitting on your knees and moving against his thick limb in slow orbits. Bucky sees your bare back, blooming with spots of pink from exertion, your hair is swept to one side, the roots at the nape of your neck slightly damp with sweat. The cuff on your arm has been long discarded, his scrawling handwriting is peering back at him, and his chest swells with satisfaction. The underwear sitting against your hips is still there but does nothing to keep the slickness between your legs at bay. Steve’s thigh is moist from it, and it catches a shine in the light.

Bucky thinks about how he wouldn’t let a single drop go to waste, half out of his wild mind to lick it off Steve.

He’d watch you go earlier, subtly exiting from the far corner of the room, but he was in the middle of a conversation with Wanda and Pietro, brushing up on his Russian. The Twins noticed too and may have kept him longer on purpose. He was impatient, at first, but decided to wait it out, letting you and Steve get comfortable.

 

He undresses as he crosses to the bed, dropping shoes, jacket, shirt, belt, and pants off haphazardly. Each step feels like quicksand, but Bucky pushes against the heaviness of the room with his entire being. He’s already rock-hard in anticipation.

You turn to face him, features a mask of confused pleasure and elation, still churning as Steve traces your outline with his finger.

“Mmm... Hm. B-bucky.” His name comes out in a tumble from your kiss-bruised lips. There’s a split second when you seem to realize where you’re at and shift cover yourself, but Steve distracts your arm with a flurry of kisses, earning a thrilled giggle in response.

“Glad you’re here, pal.” He mumbles from in-between pecks to your wrist. You lose track of your thoughts in the fervor of his breath.

Bucky matches the two of you in attire; everything is completely shed save for the boxer-briefs already too tight on his groin. He crawls onto the bed, knees dipping with each movement until he’s sitting to your right, hand landing on your waist. He’s in awe as he watches you slow down, distracted with his presence, unsure of who to pay attention to.

“Don’t stop for me, kitten. Let me watch you come.”

His eyes trace over your breasts as they move to your rhythm. A trail of marks have already been placed in the valley between them, over Steve’s Words and under each swell and Bucky licks his lips at the thought of copying the path with his own tongue. He does so, tasting the soft bite of salt from your skin, leaving his own long stripe of saliva in the wake. You purr when Bucky clamps down on a nipple, tongue swirling whirlpool shapes round and round.

Steve grips your waist and moves you from his leg. A whimper escapes before it turns into a gasp as he turns you around to face Bucky, pressing your back to his chest, erection pinned against you.

“You call it, sweetheart.” Comes his husky voice in your ear. You know he means it completely. You are so small between them, but he’s putting all the power in your hands again. If you wanted to stop, they’d oblige, no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

So you turn to kiss him for the fiftieth time, probably. Any effort to keep track of your lips colliding have been lost long ago. His nose brushes yours, tongues licking patterns on each other. It’s an unspoken allowance.

Big hands spread open your thighs to Bucky, who hovers in front. You watch him descend, eyes closing as his dark head dips low and he inhales the scent of you in deeply. They move in unison, as if knowing each others’ limbs and desires.

“Taste her, Buck.”

Steve’s command makes your skin prickle with goosebumps and you heave a shudder from your chest. Bucky uses his entire tongue as he runs it up the wet piece of fabric separating your center from him. He rubs his nose against your inner thigh before biting the meat of your leg tenderly. Then he returns to his previous post and continues to lick and suck the taste of you from the fibers of your panties. The noise- you vaguely remember Natasha praising this part- the noise of his mouth is unraveling your mind. Smacking and soft grunts, appreciative, low, stifled in your flesh.

You’re groaning and whining, adding to the cacophony of sound, rolling your core into his mouth, hitting the wall of teeth, desperately needing more of it.

“Isn’t she sweet?”

“Mmm. The sweetest.”

His muffled reply is more than enough to send you careening into the abyss and you yank your underwear to the side in a frenzy. The swollen and slick little nub that’d been rubbing eagerly against Steve’s leg is hot and pink and slips back and forth against Bucky’s tongue one, two, three times before you come over his lips.

Steve fondles your breasts with his left hand, moving back and forth between the two, groping and twisting with sharp pinches. His other hand points south and smears the slippery fluids of your body all over your seam, sending shocks of electricity throughout you every time he catches your clit over a knuckle. Bucky devotes his attention to your knees with more kisses, trailing up and down your calf, hand massaging your foot. In tandem, they use their hands to peel the fabric off and Bucky sends it off over the bed without another sound.

 

Steve isn’t yet ready for you to come down. He’s watched his reflection in the absent gaze of your glassy eyes and knows just how good you feel. When you slipped out of that thin dress, he invoked a higher power to keep himself from jumping you on the spot. That ancient magic of being Bound had already gripped you tight in its fist as soon as you had let it 100 steps ago in the lobby. You’d given yourself over to only the movements of your flesh.

He remembers his first sexual experience as he slides his hand all around, sucking open-mouthed cries from your lips, grinding his body against yours. That dark night in his tent with a young lady named... he couldn’t even remember. A busty blonde girl from one of those USO tours. He’d spent weeks in this new body that was receiving more and more attention every day- way more than he’d ever dreamed of. He’d been raw and live ever since coming out of that capsule and when he reached climax with a hard yank of her hand, he thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Steve spent the last leg of the tour rutting into every nook and cranny of her body that she’d let him.

 

But this... this was different. This was coded into his DNA. Every hiss of air you exhaled lit him up. This was beyond space and time and reality. Way beyond the simple act of fucking. Steve is at worship, he thinks, and every inch of your body deserved more. His hard length is trapped between his thigh and your back in the velvety fabric of his boxer-briefs. Your hand travels absently to grip him, skimming up and down the ridges of the cloth, desperate to return his courtesy. Your other hand tangles itself in Bucky’s hair, who’s busy licking away the juices from your thighs. The three of you are a mess of sweaty limbs and ragged breaths. Steve smiles into the crook of your neck as excitement beats in his chest; it’s only the start of your night.

Another orgasm rips through you before the haze disperses and the boys allow you to catch your breath. You’re limp and throbbing on Steve’s palm and moan when he brings it to his lips. Bucky watches with a languid smile and continues kissing your hip.

“Doin’ okay, kitten?” the last word is muffled into your belly.

“Uh... I... Mmm...” You’re completely indecipherable, having to press a hand to your temple to regain your words, finally slurring out “I... feel... I feel crazy.” And you do. You feel completely overtaken by some animalistic yearning to touch and be touched. You’d never thought that sexual desire could be so consuming, so all-encompassing. It had never been a priority of yours outside of your own private bodily explorations, but you felt like you’d been swept under a current and were desperately trying to catch gasps of normalcy in your lungs. Maintaining this minimal conversation was certainly a task.

When you and Steve started, you felt on the precipice of uninhabited territory as your hands roamed the plains of his body. His kisses were sweet and soft, but they coursed through your body like they were your own blood. It didn’t take long for you to fall apart in his hands- those calloused edges of Steve Rogers that you’d been awaiting were finally yours to feel.

 

“It’s your first time, baby,” Bucky nips at a breast. “Normal to feel that way.”

“It’s the Binding, honey,” Steve offers as well, licking a bead of sweat from your neck, middle finger rubbing the Words on your chest. “First time, and Bound, no less.”

You shake your head dizzily and Steve rearranges your body so that you’re sandwiched between the two of them, head resting on his arm, your hand splayed over Bucky’s chest. You find enough clarity to gaze at him in the dark, all sinew and bursting muscle, sticky with his and your sweat and … your stomach clenches at the sudden realization. Yours. He is yours. Both of them are yours.

“Mmmm... sweetheart,” Bucky smiles, “If you keep looking at us like that, this little break of ours won’t last long.”

You hide your face in Steve’s chest, embarrassed. “I... ah I don’t know what’s going on with me; I feel so strange.” You admit, wrapping your arms around yourself, perplexed.

Steve rocks you gently and sends Bucky a silent warning with his eyes. The Sergeant complies and places his large hand on your shoulder, leaning his groin away from you. He kisses the nape of your neck and mutters a quiet apology.

“The first time can be intense for anybody,” Steve explains, “But it’s moreso with your Soulmate. It’s just... how it is. It’s biological, magical? Just as inexplicable as the Binding is.”

“Doesn’t help that you’ve got two of us.” Bucky kisses his Words on your arm tenderly, licking his lips when your sweat lingers. Even your fucking sweat tasted good to him. That was the depth of the Binding. His body doesn’t just hum next to yours- it howls.

Bucky can’t quite recall too much of his past time in Brooklyn, but he does remember the vague shapes of various women. From the stories, he was quite a ladykiller, with a new girl every few weeks, and meeting more during his time overseas. Steve said he’d write letters to starry-eyed girls all over Europe. Bucky knows none of them made him feel like this. From beside him, you sigh.

 

“I... I feel nervous. Like I’m being torn apart between the desire to let go... and wanting to stay in control.”

Hands stroke your form, sliding up your smooth side, rubbing a heat into your arms and shoulders, up your spine, down your chest. You let your eyes slip shut when Bucky’s mouth returns to your neck. “Let go, sweetheart,” Bucky croons into your ear.

Steve plants a kiss on the tip of your nose before nudging your legs apart with his knee. “We’re here. We’ve got you.”

 

Your next orgasm approaches quickly when you ride yourself home on Steve’s thigh, finishing the previously interrupted ritual. You’ve eagerly taken his words to heart, not that there was much convincing that was needed anyway.

Bucky’s propped up on his flesh hand, metal one guiding your hips to completion. Steve watches your mouth fall open and your hand grasping at his waistband to pull out his cock. Bucky sheds his article as well, and they both lie down, sandwiching you in the middle to rub themselves against you, leaving trails of precum on the back of your knees. Your senses are going into overdrive with the feel of them thrusting between your legs.

Steve begins grinding his shaft against your folds, pulling away slick and slimy before slipping back between your flesh, fucking your thighs. Bucky is a mere few inches lower, and you reach behind to grab his length in your hand, adding extra friction to his motion.

“Can I.. can I try t-to-" your words strangle in your mouth when Steve guides his head against your entrance, the tip of him pushing ever so slightly inside. You’re so wet that it wouldn’t take much to slip in. But he’s enormous, and you’ve never had anything that large. Your own two fingers combined was barely half his width. Bucky’s not much smaller, because your hand doesn’t fit around him, either. The idea of them- so large and painfully hard for you- makes your cunt squeeze, and your thighs clench in reflex, earning loud hisses from both.

It’s a miracle you’re able to find your willpower, because you honestly wouldn’t mind continuing more of this. They are so warm all around you.

“Can I... Um.” You flush and try again when Bucky encourages you with a grip to your ass, “I want to … see you... taste you. Both of you.”

 

They eagerly sit up against the headboard of the bed. Bucky stretches his neck as he scoots back, Steve grabs hold of himself and tugs slowly, waiting. You move to face them, eyes traveling from one body to the other, taking in their differences and similarities, unable to help as a smile blossoms across your face.

“Like what you see?” Steve Rogers is... (maybe not surprisingly) a tease. You pinch your lips together in playful defiance but nod along. He is milky-skinned, broad, a vast expanse of All-American muscle. He’s flushed yet calm and cool like the surface of a lake, in complete control of not just himself, but all three of you. In his right hand is that long and impressive cock of his, twitching and erect, tipped pink and slippery from rubbing against you.

You love the way it curves up toward him, you love the light blue veins beneath his skin.

Bucky reaches out to tuck a strand of your hair behind your ear and you catch his finger in your mouth with a fast bite, baring your teeth. He growls softly as he puts it back down, happy to receive the response. You lean toward him first, watching his lips part as yours do, dipping low and placing a kiss on his tip. It’s wet and pulsing, and your man smells like warm bread and nutmeg, a forest at twilight, a flickering candle wick extinguishing.

There’s been a lot of firsts for you tonight- the whole gamut of them. It’s almost unreal when you take Bucky into your mouth and feel him shakily smooth your hair. He praises you with whimpers and groans and restrained snaps of his hips. You tongue the ridge of his head, licking and sucking, pressing harder when it hits the back of your throat, moaning when he moans and only letting go when he asks you to stop by touching your jaw.

Your mouth feels raw when you release, thoroughly explored by Bucky’s cock. He is breathing heavily, head splayed back against the headboard, strands of hair matted over his cheeks.

A string of spit hangs from your lower lip, snapping off when you’ve pulled away too far. Steve grunts appreciatively and wipes your chin where saliva has gathered.

“Jesus, look at you....”

You’re not sure who says it and it doesn’t matter. When you lean left and take Steve the same way, he laughs. “Goodness, sweetheart. Aren’t you eager?” There’s an edge to his voice that makes the hairs on your neck stand on end, and one of your hands go between your legs. But Bucky is on the move, pushing it away and replacing it with his own digits, tapping a beat on your clit. Steve feels different in your mouth, now that you have something to compare it to, he’s more stiff and less pliable, longer, just a fraction slimmer than Bucky is. His body jerks more when you suck, flexes harder against your tongue, twitching when you pump what you can’t fit into your mouth.

Steve is the one who’s eager, you think.

Bucky slips a thick finger inside, pausing to gauge your reaction, kissing your waist and back lovingly when you grind into it. “More?” He mumbles and when you groan with your mouth around Steve’s cock, they both reply with strangled gasps. Another digit slips in.

“Honey, you’ll make me...” Steve tugs at your shoulder, but you continue, looking up at him in earnest. “I.. I want to last,” He pleads. You shake your head and pull with a loud pop.

“Steve,” You say, licking your lips, “I want to taste you.” Because you do. You really, really do. The idea of him coming undone and spilling into your mouth buzzes inside of you, and the wildfire in your chest burns away all reservations of being coy. Captain Rogers, the man in command, someone who you’ve never seen give any hints being anything but perfect and calculated… is a complete wreck as he tilts his head back onto the headboard of the bed, eyes slipping close, exhaling a shaky breath.

He’s deliberating, biting his lip in frustration. It makes you tighten around Bucky’s fingers. God, he looks so fucking good.

“Steve,” Bucky calls, pumping his fingers, “I’m knuckle deep and she’s clenching at the thought of it. Don’t make her wait.”

You bat your eyelashes, feeling powerful, “Stevie?” You croon, smiling as your right hand yanks him. He’s grunting, cock pulsing even harder in your hand if that was possible, “Stevie? Please let me have it... ?” You lick a route up his shaft. “I know you’ll taste so good.”

It’s a line you’ve lifted from one of Natasha’s videos, but it works. You’re starting to understand what dirty talk does to a person as you continue to bob up and down. Steve heaves a gasp and shudders as he comes, fingers deep in your hair, holding you in place.

Bucky takes full advantage of your pulsing walls, aroused by the taste and smell and look of Steve. He rubs against a tingling spot harder and faster, and you soon fold over onto the bed writhing around his fingers, savoring the taste in your mouth. And lord, it tastes so damn good- like nothing you’ve ever had before or are able to conjure up in your most debauched dreams. It’s still in your throat, smell lingering in your nose and you return to kiss Steve’s groin, smiling, puffing hot breaths on him.

He flushes. “I’ve... I’ve never--- that’s never...” He resigns and looks away, embarrassed to both admit and have experienced it. The young woman from his past never did that.

“How was it?” Bucky asks into the darkness of the room.

You and Steve answer in unison, “Great.” and it turns the peach of the Captain’s blush into fuschia. All three of you laugh and you move to sit down, nuzzling Steve and then Bucky, tracing both of their marks with your fingertips.

They’re so perfect, you think, so, so perfect. Your heart is full of so much love for them, and when tears start to prick at the corners of your eyes you hide behind your hands.

Kisses to your shoulder and ear draw you from your thoughts. They seem to already know that it was a moment of joy and work to bring you back to them. Hands run over your body, wiping away your tears, brushing against your lips, sneaking into your mouth. You could die right now, you think, in this warm embrace of your lovers.

“Doll,” Bucky starts, gazing into your eyes, “I’ll have to be honest with you, it might hurt.” He looks sad, worry marring his gorgeous brow. You kiss the wrinkles away and cling to his chest. Steve drags his hand up and down your spine. “It’s okay,” You say.

Bucky lays you down next to Steve, who’s slid onto his side and begins to kiss a pattern of dashes from your neck to your shoulder, dodging Bucky’s arm in the process. You watch his hair hang over your face and he watches you back, heart hammering, fearful of the inevitable pinch you’ll experience. You look so damn small, but fuck, you are the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. Bucky nearly whimpers- a sound he doesn’t often make, but you are bathed in moonlight and glowing with happiness.

He can hardly believe he’s only known you for only two months because he feels a connection of a lifetime- or in his case, many lifetimes. That blessed Soulmate entanglement brought him to your bright eyes, illuminating smile, your loving heart, happy to have, to love, and to keep him.

This is who he’s been waiting for his whole damn life. Through the street fights, the war, the frozen fall, the reattachment, the undoing. All the fucking assassinations and wipes, memory loss and re-memory. When he picks up the broken pieces of his brain he can hear music that sounds like nothing at all. But he’s always known what it was, even if he didn’t know who.

Bucky’s not sure if he believes in God now, or if he believed in God before, but he believes in this. He thinks if he had to choose, and if the only way he’d be able to have you is through his path with HYDRA, he’d take that path in an instant. Every time.

The teardrop that lands in your mouth breaks your heart. “Fuck,” he’s trembling as he hovers.

“Oh...” You whisper, wiping his cheeks, “Oh Bucky. I love you... I love you, I love you.” You say it like a prayer, clinging to every syllable. “I'm here, Bucky. Let go. I’ve got you.”

His eyes are rimmed with red as he slowly plunges in, covering your mouth with his as you gasp. He’s desperate and needy, body wracked with half-jerking motions. He’s so large inside of you and you feel every squeeze of your heart as it hammers. The stinging of your body stretching to accommodate him is jarring and uncomfortable, but it slowly slips away like a bad dream dying upon awakening.

And you are so, so awake.

Steve murmurs doting, gentle words in your ear. Bucky is so rigid above that you wrap your arms around him to make sure he’s still there. His lips are open, eyes assessing your comfort. When you lift your hips higher to his with a breathy ‘yes’, adjusting the angle of him, he finally lets out a pleased moan and begins to move. Every drag of his length is delicious and terrifying; you know he’s holding back for your sake.

It doesn’t take too many thrusts for you to reach the peak and lose all control of the way your body responds to your lover. Your slick muscle clenches and grips, and his own replies in kind, throbbing and pulsing. He grunts and groans, and the orchestra of your breaths fill the room. The snapping of his hips onto yours, the light thumping of the headboard, squeak of the bed, even Steve’s approving hums create the most incredible piece of music.

You’re barely aware of it as you exhale a joyful sound- cymbals crashing into your ears, all high- pitched ringing and percussive explosions. Your fourth orgasm leaves you sore and a complete mess on the bed, whimpering and gasping underneath Bucky, whose crooked smile press kisses to your collarbones one more time before he grunts and his hips briefly halt. When he picks up again the melody is slow, plucky notes of bliss before they finally end.

Bucky collapses on your right side and lies down, lopsided smile on his face. You kiss the moonlit curve of his lips before lying on your back again. He takes the back of his cool metal hand and the plates shift and whirr as he wipes beads of sweat off. To your right, Steve fumbles in the nightstand drawer before revealing two baby wipes in his hand and begins the task of dabbing at your flooded sex. The chill of it shocks you from your reverie.

“Thank Tony,” Steve laughs, “He prepped the room fully intending for this to happen.”

Before you ask what Steve means, you begin to realize there was… something… different.

“Wait… is the bed bigger?”

Both men chuckle deeply beside you. “Yeah, you’ve been busy but Tony tore down the walls on the other side of the bathroom and moved Bucky next to it. Both new beds. This wing’s practically ours— well, and Sam down the hallway.” Steve explains.

“I’ll give you the whole tour when you’re feelin’ up for it. Maybe we’ll christen Bucky’s room too.”

“Mm, s’only fair. We made a bit of a mess on Stevie’s new bed, didn’t we, doll?”

You pinch your thighs together, feeling the sticky pool underneath your bottom- the reminder of Bucky’s climax. Looking over to Steve, you notice he’s grown erect from watching the love-making and you warm up to his touches on your arm. He shakes his head when you reach for him, choosing to hold your hand instead.

“Later, sweetheart. Your body needs to rest, even if you don’t feel it yet.” He kisses you comfortingly, and you accept his words. “First thing tomorrow, honey. You’re mine.”

The promise makes your spine tingle in anticipation.

 

Forty-five minutes later, the three of you leave the shower grinning from ear-to-ear, scrubbed clean by each other under hot spray, thankful that the bathroom upgrade changed the space to accommodate more bodies. You’re excited to try out the large bathtub on the other side as well, eyeing the jet heads and multiple faucets. It looks more like an outdoor hot tub, to be honest. The boys are tinged pink from the heat. You can’t help but stare as they dry off. Bucky is dripping down his back, Steve is wiping the mirror, leg bent. He turns and wraps you in a towel before picking you up.

“God, I love you.”

The simple admission makes butterflies bloom in your chest.

Bucky watches the reflection with a smirk. He doesn’t need to hear you say it to know you feel the same way. He feels it too. Another round of silly smiles rises from the three of you and you duck your head onto Steve’s chest, kissing the Words. He’s laughing, too, as he squeezes your legs affectionately.

Dropping you back down, they lead you to the walk-in closet that shares all of your clothing. In the corner is a barren section, save for some neatly folded sleeping clothes. You pick out a soft patterned romper and panties and slip them on. Bucky glides a silky robe around your shoulders and ties it for you. They dress in their own choosing of fitted sweatpants and t-shirts.

“Tony wants us to come back out,” Steve announces as he checks his phone.

“Oh my god, I forgot all about that!” You cried, suddenly remembering the show, and the people, and the pictures, oh Christ, you dipped out right as the auction was happening! The time on the clock read 12:30. How did more than three hours pass by so quickly?

Steve shows Bucky the message and he shakes his head. You flush as you read it.

Hey fuckers (literal meaning of the word), come back out here before I blast your new living quarters to hell. I am not a patient man. You can’t keep her to yourselves! BRING MY DAUGHTER BACK.

“His daughter?” You shriek.

“He’s drunk, isn’t he?” Bucky groans.

Very drunk.” Steve confirms.

Wordlessly, the three of you shuffle out the door, trying to stifle the smiles that persistently find their way back onto your faces. Every step you take feels like you’re bouncing along on a cloud and you struggle to shove the feeling down before coming to face the rest of the team. Sam alone would give you the worst ribbing of your life… not to mention Natasha’s highly expressive eyebrows, or Thor’s booming voice, likely going to ask you for a play-by-play, in that completely innocent Thor manner.

“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” Bucky winks as Steve’s hand lands on the handle of the double doors leading to the lobby.

“We got ya.”

 

The team is still dressed in their evening attire when you enter. There are some stragglers from the party scattered about, making conversation and finishing off their drinks. Tony and Pepper paired off and swaying to a love song coming through the speakers. Pepper gives you a smile and mouth that Tony’s asleep on her shoulder, earning a giggle from you.

Everything’s been cleaned up and the lobby looks once again like its usual self, save for some decorations here and there. At least you know everything got sold.

Natasha is sitting on the bar, shoes kicked off long ago, Bruce by her knee, drawing circles on her leg as they share a bottle of wine together. They smile at you when you wave. Sam and Thor are arguing over something in jest, hands clutching glass goblets of wine. The Twins are dancing as well, Wanda sailing over the floor as if floating, and Pietro gazing at her as if she were an angel. You certainly know how he feels.

The three of you, dressed in soft clothes and hair still damp, are stark differences in comparison to everyone else’s’ still glitzy attire. Your face is make-up free and your hair is still mostly wet, droplets rolling off the back of your robe. You’re all barefoot and flushed, and anyone with half a brain can assume what you’ve been up to.

Nobody says anything, thought, as Bucky takes your hand and pulls you into his arms, rocking back and forth in the middle of the room. Steve winks at you before heading over to Sam and Thor.

Wise men say…

Elvis’ deep vibrato begins to warble through the speakers. Bucky links your fingers through his flesh one, vibranium arm coming to rest on the small of your back. He’s surprisingly confident as he leads, and you find yourself easily stepping after him. Of course, he would know how to dance, you remember his reputation as a Brooklyn playboy. The both of you start giggling like fools right there in the middle of the room, elated with joy; the song is so stupidly fitting.

But I can’t help… falling in love with you.

“I really can’t, sweetheart.” Bucky mumbles, squeezing you tighter. He slips his eyes close when you kiss him on the lips, breaking the step briefly to reply.

“Me neither.”

 

“Drink for you?” Sam asks, tilting his wine glass at Steve when he comes to sit down. Steve shakes his head with a smile. “You already drunk on somethin’ else, I’m guessing.”

“Ah. True love! Such a blessing.” Thor puffs out his chest as he takes another swig, “Captain Rogers, may your providential Binding bring you many years of happiness! I do love a good Binding, and I’m sad to have missed your moment.” He pats Steve on the back with enough force to get a light cough from him before turning his head to you and Bucky swaying.

A brief second of silence passes over the table.

“Don’t do it.” Steve immediately instructs.

“I just!” Thor and Sam are both sputtering, “I mean- you know- what’s it, how’s--” Thor is gesturing wildly, poking and pointing, drawing circles and then oblong shapes before wiggling his fingers around.

Sam barks, “Man, aren’t you a god? I know you Asgardians do all sorts of freaky shit.”

“Yes, actually, I’m well-versed in it.” Thor grins dazzlingly, “But that’s different, we’re born wild and it all happens very young and you know, but not like this, I’m not Rogers!” He’s gesturing all over the place again and Steve can only shake his head in amusement, unsure if the last bit was a compliment or an insult.

“Whatever you’re thinking…” Steve mumbles. His companions perk up in interest. Steve begins to chuckle as he snatches Sam’s glass and downs the entire cup. “The answer is yes.”

Thor howls with laughter and slams his fist on the table. Sam only raises an amused eyebrow because he thinks, Rogers can be such an asshole, but even more so, he’s never seen Bucky look so damn happy. As much as they might butt heads or proclaim to hate each other, Sam knows Bucky really needs this.

Two young women come by their table, stepping with slight wobbles. One of them saddles up next to Sam and slurs out a request of a story from the oh-so-famous Falcon, and he lights up like the Fourth of July. Thor leans forward on his fist, ready to pretend to be interested before his moment to kick Sam down a few pegs. His eye-roll to Steve says it all: God. Of. Thunder.

The other sits down between Thor and Steve, blinking a few times at the grey sweatpants and white tee-shirt.

“Where did you go, Captain Rogers?” she twitters, pressing a pointer onto his chest. He smiles politely, unfazed, and shrugs out an excuse. He was tired, the suit was stuffy, he needed a break. She begins to lean in awfully close, almost pitching out of her seat as she begins to tell him about her favorite Captain America PSA from those old late-night commercial reels, hand coming to rest on his knee. Steve gulps visibly, and the young girl takes it as an invitation to continue and her fingers begin their ascent up his thigh.

Thor is having the best night, he thinks, as he watches the interactions unfold around him. Mortals could be so funny.

 

“Uh,” Bucky’s not sure what to say. Behind you is Steve getting aggressively propositioned by one very inebriated guest, and you haven’t noticed it yet. He’s in a bit of a pickle because if he brings it up and you flip out, well that would be awkward for everyone involved. But if he doesn’t bring it up and you flip out anyway, it would still be awkward, but what if he’d get in trouble too. He thinks you’re probably not that kind of person, but the realization that he doesn’t know you like that yet is dawning on him.

Bucky takes a minute to shake his mind free from the panic, but it comes back as you start to turn the two of them. “Sweetheart… let me lead.”

“It’s the 21st century, Buck. I wanna lead.”

Two more steps and he feels you stiffen in his hold. Bucky grips your lower back tighter as he counts the seconds as if he’s failed a bomb diffusion. There’s a couple of sighs that puff against the soft material of his black Henley before you keep swaying to the music.

“That poor girl is blitzed, isn’t she?”

“Does that mean drunk? And you’re not upset?” Bucky asks, and you start to laugh.

“Yeah, Buck. And no, Buck, I’m not. If I got all messed up any time one of you receives attention from women, I’d go insane. Trust me, I absolutely know how handsome you two are. You’re also celebrities… Captain America and the Winter Soldier. It just comes with the territory.”

You catch Steve’s eye as he’s stepping away from the table, hands up defensively towards the woman and then towards you. You nudge with your head for him to come over and he does so, sneaking over with a guilty expression.

 

Steve trades places with his friend, who contentedly slinks away to make conversation with Natasha, actively avoiding Sam and Thor’s table. Steve’s steps are much clumsier but you’ve picked up the pattern and now you lead him across the tile. He gladly follows, nuzzling the top of your head, stopping to look into your eyes.

“You know I wasn’t t—”

“Shh…” You shush, “I know you’re good. My good man.”

He stills with a contented exhale and begins to dance, feeling satisfied and suddenly aroused by the fact that you just called him yours. Sinatra begins from the speakers and both of you snort knowingly at just who picked this playlist. Pepper was really in the mood. Steve’s getting there too.

 

Suddenly the two of you freeze at the sound of a shrill, “Oh my god!” from the bar. It’s not the woman from earlier- it’s her friend, you realize as you stare at her accusatory finger next to Bucky. She’s having that wide-eyed, clicking, lightbulb moment as she pieces the puzzle together. Lounge clothes. Wet hair. Three-hour disappearance. Dancing together.

Before you know it, she’s caught by the waist by Pepper and Tony- who is startlingly not asleep. He looks alarmingly roused and firm, quirking his finger across the room to signal escorts over. Pepper is whispering intently in the woman’s ear, whose expression begins to drop slowly to something that borders understanding. She’s still drunk, you can tell by her saunter as she steps away, but she doesn’t look back at you again.

Her friend follows her, propped up against another bodyguard, and they disappear out the door.

Tony walks over, patting Pepper’s arm and smiles at you. “Can’t end a party without shutting down some drama. Glad we planned for it, kid.”

Steve cocks his head in confusion.

“They were supposed to leave at midnight, but their driver was taking a while to come back and get them. Regardless, I reminded them of the NDA they signed upon arrival.” The thin smile on Pepper’s lips say it all: it’s covered.

You smirk at the memory. Tony and you, sitting in the conference room early this month, double-fisting ice coffees and running on a shared total of seven and a half hours of sleep (him, by choice, you by necessity). You outlined the harshest non-disclosure-agreement you could possibly imagine, all accompanied by his roguish background cackle at your punitive directive.

Because of the intimate nature of the show, no photographs were allowed, no tweets, no duplications of the art seen or purchased, and no discussion of it once the guests leave the compound. They were even checked at the door and scanned by Stark tech before and after. It was your sure-fire method to keep these images and your own life private, just as Byrne requested. You also recall that it ruffled him a bit, but in the end, he relented because his desire to peek behind the curtain was greater than his pride.

It was an agreement you impressed upon all the guests who were eager to come. It weeded out quite a few of them, but those who ventured to the compound tonight were made very aware of the legal power Tony Stark had. Even their deep pockets couldn’t weasel out of it. The NDA was ironclad.

Steve begins to chuckle as he grips your hand tighter in his.

You really did give them hell, didn’t you?

He’s not just proud of you – of all the hard work you’ve done in the last month- he’s in awe of you. This lover of his, not just beautiful and kind, but also headstrong, willful, and whip-smart. It’s enough to bowl him over. Good god, how did he get so lucky? It builds a new fire in his chest.

 

Steve thinks he must have been completely slack-jawed because Tony winks at him and waggles his eyebrows, “You got a good one, Rogers. Don’t muck it up or it’ll be me and Pep coming for your Star-Spangled ass. Better keep Barnes in line, too.”

Pepper tsks and pulls him out of the room. As he’s half a step away and begins to disappear down the hall, Tony calls a final reminder, “Take care o’ my girl!”

 

Steve picks you up on the spot, laughing at your surprised squeal as you wrap your arms around his waist reflexively. The kiss he plants on your mouth takes the air right out of you. It’s passionate, resonant, powerful, as if to say, I will take care of you. With all that I am, I will.

The lobby has cleared out at this point, everyone waving final goodbyes as they fade away back to their respective chambers. F.R.I.D.A.Y. locks the compound up, dimming all lights save for the illuminating path back to the living quarters and the muted spotlight in the middle of the dancefloor. Bucky takes your left hand, Steve holds onto your right.

 

Together the three of you walk down the hallway back to bed, lights clicking off behind each step, smiles blooming once more on your faces.