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A Scent to Fill the Lungs, A Soul(mate) to Fill the Bond

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Shivers wracked through Steve's body as the fever got a hold on him again. He was too hot. Too cold. Too hot. Cold. Hot. It was hell.

Being the middle of winter only made it worse. As a hot flash came on, he knew - he knew - it was stupid, but he cracked his window to let in some cold air as sweet relief, as well as to get rid of some of the sick smell that hung around the room.

He wished for the previous week when he thought that he only had a mild cold. He wanted to go back and tell himself to rest and to not push himself. To not go into the cold so late at night. To eat some soup. To see his doctor. Anything to prevent this.

He gazed down at the street below. He knew it was dumb. He was freezing. He was too hot. These hot flashes were going to kill him if this illness didn't first. Steve just pulled the blanket that was draped around his shoulders closer to himself, trying to protect his skin against the cold draft that drifted in through the window.

It was nearing dinner time, and some commuters were still walking around this evening. Steve people-watched as he cooled himself off - warmed himself up - and decided that he was probably bored from being cooped up for two days.

He hadn’t called his doctor yet. He should tell his neighbors to call on him. If Steve wasn’t better by the morning then he would knock on Alpha Kelly’s door across the hallway and ask the female alpha if he could borrow her phone. The elderly woman had a soft spot for Steve, and she might even take pity on him and give him some soup.

Steve hadn’t hardly eaten anything for the past two days. He threw up what he did, and the only thing he had been able to keep down were some stale crackers. He didn’t have the energy to make himself any food, and it wasn’t like he had met his soulmate yet. Or have anyone else that would be willing to take care of him.

A heaviness settled in Steve’s spirit. He still ached at the loss of his ma. He was alone in the world. If he died this winter – which very well might happen – no one would miss him.

Well, almost no one.

Steve looked down at his wrist and pressed fingers into the skin over his scent glands. It was the spot where an alpha’s soul bond would mar his skin when he met his destined. His ma had told him fairy tales of soulmates and romance, but Steve had learned the cruder versions from his classmates and, later on, coworkers.

When soulmates, also called true mates, caught the scent of their destined for the first time, a soul bond would appear on the omega’s wrist and on the alpha’s neck.

One time, when Steve was much younger, he had wondered aloud what happened to alphas and omegas that didn’t have arms, and Sarah had thumped him on the head so hard because he had said it when they were waiting in line behind a one-armed alpha at the grocery store. Luckily, she hadn’t been offended and just laughed it off. Then, she kneeled down to look Steve in the eye and told him that it would appear somewhere else. She flashed her stump and showed him her soul bond mark. Then, she explained that the soul bond would appear in the place that a person would mark their mate when the mating bond was formed. Could be thighs, stomach, hip, anywhere. Sarah was glad the alpha had been so kind, and that Steve had learned his lesson when he blushed bright scarlet at the pretty alpha explaining these things to him.

That was his first time hearing about soul bonds being the inverted version of mated bonds. Which made sense, as soul bonds appeared right before the scent of one’s soulmate would drive the alpha to enter into their first rut and the omega to enter into their first heat. Betas would enter into a rut or a heat depending on the secondary gender of their soulmate. He didn’t know what happened when two betas were soulmates for each other, but he could only guess one went into a heat and the other into a rut or something similar.

The point being, the first time Steve would experience his heat would be after he first scented his soulmate. Then, a biological need would drive them to cement a mated bond. That terrified Steve. He couldn’t imagine what it would be like, and he frankly didn’t want to find out. He knew it wouldn’t always end in a mating – and therefore a mated bond – but he still wasn’t jumping at the chance to be that vulnerable in public.

A strong gust of wind cut off Steve’s musings. He shivered and glanced around at the people on the streets below him. Maybe he should close the window. The wind was picking up. Steve sniffled and shocked the inside of his nose with the cold air.

Yeah, definitely time to shut the window.

Only, just before Steve managed to fully get it shut, another gust of wind blew straight into Steve’s apartment, carrying with it the most heavenly scent Steve could possibly have ever smelled.

A shock hit his system as he caught the undertones of pine, sandalwood, and cinnamon. It was an alpha scent, and Steve’s toes curled at just how good it smelled to him.

His eye lids fluttered, and a flash of gold appeared in his irises, but a round of coughing interrupted…whatever was going on with him, and he bent over in half as phlegm came up. He managed to grab some tissues to spit into. He was exhausted.

After he felt like he could straighten up without hurting himself, Steve locked the window and crawled back into bed. He wrapped all of the blankets around to form a nest and burrowed in. Time for some sleep.

When Steve awoke the next morning, it was to an overwhelming itch burning underneath his skin.

~B~*~S~

Bucky was running late. Sometimes, his job at the docks meant he would miss the normal time for dinner, but today wasn’t even that busy. He had gotten off early and went to the newer shops to buy his sisters some chocolate and his ma some baking supplies. He thought he would surprise them with a visit. Only, he took too long because some asshole of an alpha was throwing his scent around and scaring off all of the customers. The alpha was a customer himself, and Bucky couldn’t just let the asshole continue that kind of behavior.

After taking the alpha out back and getting in a couple of hits - which were returned in kind - Bucky left the schmuck with the local police, bought what he came for, and was now in a rush to make it to his childhood home before his parents turned in for the night.

He was in an unfamiliar part of the neighborhood, but he remembered one of the gals he had taken on a date the other week lived somewhere around here, and she showed him a shortcut that Bucky was trying to recall now. He really did hope it was a shortcut. He didn’t want to have to run all the way back to his place with a bunch of chocolate and baking supplies. He actually hoped to shack up at his parents’ house tonight because it was getting cold, and Bucky really didn’t want to be caught out in this weather.

The wind was biting through him, and even though he just punched a guy for doing this earlier, he thickened his scent to get his blood pumping. It warmed him up a little, and he was glad that the streets didn’t have a lot of people on them at the moment. He didn’t want to come off as aggressive. He was just trying to get warm.

He scanned the buildings around him, looking for the bluish-gray one that he had turned right at the last time he’d been through here and happened to see some guy with his window open. The hell? Didn’t that guy know he would catch his death if he didn’t shut it?

Only, just as Bucky had that thought, he saw the guy start wrestling with the window to slide it shut. Must be frozen or stuck, because it took him a moment. Just as he was about to push it shut, a gust of wind blew against Bucky, sweeping some of his scent away with it.

Right to the guy’s window.

Not that Bucky knew that. He had already turned away and was hurrying down the street back to his parents’ place. Just a few more blocks, and Bucky was home free.

~S~*~B~

The fog of inhibited cognition was screwing with Steve’s head. He was supposed to do something today, wasn’t he? But he couldn’t concentrate. Couldn’t think. Only could…

Well.

He was writhing on his bed with his hand on his engorged cock. Slick was leaking out of him, and Steve was trying his damnedest to reach orgasm. It was harder than it usually was, and he didn’t know why.

He slid his hand faster, tried a tighter grip, tried fucking into something, but nothing relieved him. In a fit of desperation, he slid a finger inside himself and - oh fuck finally - started rocking back on it. He swirled it and pulled, then worked a second finger inside himself. He was practically fucking himself on his fingers, but he couldn’t be embarrassed by it because the relief was too great.

His other hand continued its ministrations on his cock, and Steve felt an orgasm building. He sobbed as he came but found no relief. Why? What was going on?

The minimal haze of satisfaction was cut off when there was a knock at his door. Steve frowned. He couldn’t answer it like this. Even if he wanted to - which he didn’t - he didn’t know who it could be.

Until he heard Alpha Kelly’s voice.

“Steve, Omega beag, I can smell your heat from my apartment. Did you meet your leath eile?”

Steve shook his head as he got up from his bed and struggled to pull his nightgown on, then remembered Alpha Kelly wouldn’t be able to see him. “N…no. But I think I caught his scent last night.” Steve managed to pull the nightgown over his head and straightened it out before beginning a careful trot to the door, trying not to collapse.

“I see. That’s an unusual predicament. Did you get your soul bond?”

Steve blinked a couple of times before looking at his left, then his right hand. There wasn’t a soul bond on either of his wrists, and he was about to say as much when a silvery pattern in his periphery caught his attention. A ruin-like symbol swirled around his right bicep in a liquid silver. It was beautiful.

“I did.” He felt like he barely spoke, but Alpha Kelly must have heard him or assumed that he did.

“Well, I won’t bother you any longer. I wanted to make sure you were alright. While you’re up, eat and drink. You’ll need it. Also, I’m leaving some things for you by the door. Don’t worry, I just went out and bought them this morning when I first realized you were the one in heat. I thought you were sick, and couldn’t have possibly brought an alpha back, especially because I didn’t smell one…but I’m rambling. I’m going back into my apartment. Take the bag into your apartment and use it. Everything is new and cleaned. Before you use it, drink water and eat what you can. Do you understand, Steven?”

Being spoken to directly like that with soft notes of command helped clear Steve’s head a little. “Yes. Thank you, Alpha Kelly.”

A hum was his response before he heard the door shut to her apartment. Steve unlocked and opened his door, picked up the bag she had left for him, then shut and locked the door again. He didn’t look in it until after he had drunk two glasses of water and eaten more stale crackers.

After stripping and climbing back into bed, he stopped himself from writhing too much as he cracked open the bag. It held…well.

Steve was blushing. Inside were three different dildos, a plug, and what he assumed was a vibrator. He took out all of them and noticed another thing underneath all of that.

It was a collar.

The blush spread further. He knew Alpha Kelly didn’t mean anything by buying this for him. She was like a grandmother to him. He’d known her all of his life, and she had been the one to get him this apartment after his ma passed. His ma and Alpha Kelly had been thick as thieves, so it wasn’t like she was a stranger.

Still…

A collar was something alphas bought for their mates. Not exactly pseudo-grandchild appropriate.

Then, he picked it up out of the bag and noticed the tag attached. The collar was drenched in alpha hormones. Steve hadn’t noticed it earlier, but he wasn’t really focusing on scents because his own was very overwhelming. He had the brief thought that he should open his window, but he didn’t want to try his luck, just in case his scent was strong enough to reach the street.

So, he put the collar on, tried to sniff out the hormones but found they smelled unsatisfying compared to the memory of his al- Well, the scent he caught last night. He left it on because it made him feel grounded, no other reason.

Then, he picked up a dildo with bumps on it and laid back down on his bed. He had the passing thought that he should take the rest of the toys off of the bed, but he was small enough that he didn’t really need to. So, he got back to work on pleasuring himself and chasing orgasms that weren’t going to be satisfying without his soulmate’s cock inside of him.

~S~*~B~

The heat had lasted three days. Alpha Kelly told him to call a doctor. Steve did and was checked out by a friend of his ma’s. Well, someone who had been a friend of his ma’s.

Dr. Noah was a kindly beta who knew about Steve’s health history. After checking him over, he was declared to be in good health.

Steve mentioned his bout of illness before his heat, and Dr. Noah frowned at the description of his symptoms. “Stay out of the cold, Steven. I should think you’ll be fine otherwise.”

Steve nodded his compliance and thanked Dr. Noah for coming over to see him. Dr. Noah waved off Steve’s attempts to pay him and told Steve that he had it covered since it was Steve’s first heat. Steve thanked him again and made a mental note to send his office something nice for the free visit.

The doctor left shortly thereafter, and Steve found himself alone in his apartment. He would need to wash the sheets – he had already bathed and put on clothes before Dr. Noah arrived – and he needed to go grocery shopping. Drawing up the mental list that was in store, Steve got to work.

He went on living his life and tried to forget that he had already scented his soulmate. He didn’t know if he would ever be able to find him or her, but Steve did keep an eye out. He didn’t know if his soulmate had gone through a rut, or if they had scented Steve at all. He hoped that he would be able to find them before too much time passed.

Unfortunately, it is a decade later before Steve encounters his soulmate again.

~B~*~S~

“Sergeant Barnes. The procedure has already started. You are to be the new fist of HYDRA.”

If Bucky heard Zola’s voice in his head one more time, he was going to shoot himself.

Not really.

But really.

He was trying to heal. In the war, he had been captured, experimented on, and tortured. He barely survived that. Then, Azzano was overrun with Allies, and they were rescued and returned back to war. He had returned to fight the good fight, fell off a train, survived, lost his arm, and was captured. Again.

Encountered Dr. Zola. Again.

The sick fuck.

After being captured for nearly a year, Bucky broke through their conditioning on a mission. He wasn’t proud of what he had to do to escape, but he did it.

After, he found the nearest US embassy, ran into Howard goddamned Stark of all people who helped him out for a price.

Needless to say, letting Howard tinker with his new metal arm every few weeks was a small price to pay for coming back home.

He sorted out his capture with the Secretary of the Department of Defense, earned a few medals, and was recruited by Howard, Colonel Phillips, and Ms. Carter to work at the SSR. A few months later saw him discovering Zola’s infestation within the organization. He took the information to Peggy and Howard, and the three of them gathered more intel to show to Colonel Phillips. When they had sufficient proof of HYDRA’s infiltration, the four of them – Howard, Peggy, Phillips, and Bucky – made the necessary arrests. Operation Overcast, also known as Project Paperclip, was in the process of being disbanded.

The reason for Bucky’s nightmarish flashbacks? He was the one to arrest Zola. The foul doctor tried to trigger Bucky using the conditioning they had him under previously, but he wasn’t their puppet anymore. He was healed to the extent that nothing, and no one, could force him to do something he didn’t want to do.

Not anymore.

Sighing, Bucky checked his watch under the moon’s light and saw it was nearly four in the morning. Hanging his head, he decided he wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep anyway.

He stood up and turned on the lamps he had scattered around his room. He picked up the book his had been reading last night before bed. Time to get lost in the world of Hobbits and adventures. At least for a little while.

~B~*~S~

“I’m afraid we don’t have that information yet.” Peggy’s sharp, accented words cut right through Bucky’s optimism.

“Well, why not?”

Peggy frowned. “I’m unsure. Sousa was looking for more information, but he hasn’t found any yet.”

Bucky practically wilted at her words. “Oh. Alright.”

“What is it, dear?”

A sigh escaped his lips in answer. “Nothing. I just…I can’t help but feel a little useless at the moment.”

Peggy frowned. “It’s alright, you know. Howard said he was just making some updates on your arm, and that he would get it back to you by the end of the week. Throwing yourself into work might not be such a good idea at the moment. Maybe you need some more time to relax.”

Bucky nodded. “Yeah…I do feel off-balance but coming into work helps me keep my mind off of it.”

Peggy looked thoughtful for a moment. “Perhaps you can still focus on work.” She dug around in the stacks of paper behind her before pulling out a thin file. “I haven’t been able to start on this case yet because I need to go to the library for it. Would you like – “

Bucky cut her off before she could finish by grabbing the folder and standing up. “Of course! I’ll be at the public library if you need me. Tootaloo!” Bucky flapped the folder at her as he turned to go out of the room.

Her laugh followed him until the door shut.

At the public library, Bucky went to work on digging out relevant references to the one page – jeez, this would either take an hour or all day – document detailing the oddities of a mysterious mass suicide that occurred over in Ridgewood a week ago.

 

Date: March 25, 1948 
Occurrence: Apparent Mass Suicide
Request: Determine the cause of death

 

On the evening of March 24, 1948, a commotion broke out at approximately 10pm on the corner of Woodward Ave. and Linden St.

Authorities arrived on scene within thirty minutes, and it was contained. It is suspect that foul play was involved. Witness reports say that they heard a commotion similar to that of a fight breaking out, with glass shattering, and gun shots fired before it went eerily silent.

The case was brought to our attention due to the high amount of bodies inside the building that all appeared to have died within the thirty minutes it took authorities to arrive on the scene.

Cause of death is yet to be determined. Suggestions include poisoning, foul play, or some other type of inhalant that dissipated before authorities arrived on scene.

Further investigation is needed at this time.

 

Signed:            Agent Sousa               

 

Bucky sighed. Mass suicide?  No cause of death yet? A limited time frame for so many people dying? He usually had more information to go on during the war and even during his subsequent capture, but he supposed what was life without a challenge?

He started the process of elimination by researching into air-born poisons first. He made a mental note to contact Howard later and see if the resident genius had any clue on what could poison a human but not linger in the air.

He would leave re-interviewing witnesses for later. Another mental note was added to travel to Ridgewood and ask the eye witnesses exactly what they heard.

Onto the library, Bucky settled at a desk with a stack of books next to him. He had pulled almost every book on poisons and inhalants. Now to get to work.

Over the course of the next few hours, he compiled quite a list of ingested poisons but considering no food was found at the crime scene, and there was food in only some of the victim’s stomachs, the poisons he found couldn’t be the culprit. He couldn’t hardly find anything on a poison that would be widespread in only a building and then dissipate entirely before authorities showed up.

Frustrated, Bucky went back to the report and re-read the details at the end. What was he missing?

“This doesn’t make any sense! What could kill every human in the building unless it was in the air or water supply?” Bucky was running his finger over the pages in the reference book he was reading through. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

That was when a man’s voice replied to his question. “Well, it could be that carbon monoxide poisoning everyone is talking about.”

Bucky froze as the words registered. Well, that does make some sort of sense, but that’s not what Bucky is focusing on at the moment. Slowly, Bucky turns to look at the man who replied to him, and it was like looking at the sun. A flash of gold: his hair, his eyes, his skin. Bucky carefully draws more of this man’s scent into his lungs.

As soon as his brain registers the scent – almonds and vanilla and omega and mine – his eyes flash silver while his pupils dilate, almost as if he wants to drink in more of the omega. He’s blond with the most perfect facial features Bucky has ever seen. He’s dressed in the usual omega wear for someone who is working – a skirt and a button up shirt with a light sweater over the top.

The scent on this guy…

Shit.

Bucky feels the moment his cock hardens with a sick kind of clarity.

His soulmate.

His.

Mine. Bucky’s alpha hindbrain screams at him, but by now the guy is giving him an odd look.

Bucky slowly stands and takes a careful step toward the omega. Except, the omega backs up and looks put off.

“Hey, pal. Back off.”

Bucky opens his mouth to reply, when he feels a heavy hand land on his arm.

He snarls as he quickly about-faces and lunges into the alpha who dared to touch him. What he doesn’t expect are the two other alphas there with the first one.

Higher functioning is lost as Bucky struggles with the other alphas. His mate, he needs to get his mate away from these competitors. He’s not safe. Mate’s not safe. Not safe. No. No. No. No no no no no nononononono—

He feels a prick of something in his thigh before he’s passed out.

~S~*~B~

Steve pulled at his skirt on his way into the library. Honestly, he’s only working in the library to help out with groceries in between art commissions, and he wished that regulations for librarian wear weren’t so strict. He was humiliated the first time he had to wear this outfit in public, but it’s not like he isn’t used to being feminized just because he’s an omega. Still, skirts may be comfortable, but they became uncomfortable as soon as he gets too many leers from nearby alphas and betas. Bunch’a fuckin’ assholes if you ask Steve.

Which he told them as he flipped them off when they started catcalling him. That shit would normally get him into a fight, but he can’t be late to his shift again, so Steve had walked on by and into the public library before the alphas got any ideas in their heads of following him.

Cowards.

Walking up to the front desk, Steve greeted Julia and was about ready to switch shifts with her when he smelled it.

Well, more like him.

That smell, it was like someone on the cusp of rut. Delightfully delicious. As well as the only alpha scent Steve found even the slightest bit appealing after scenting his soulmate around ten years ago.

And Steve was smelling it.

In the library.

In the middle of the day.

“Shit. Hey, Julia, you smell that rutting alpha? Call in the handlers to come deal with this guy. I’ll go find him and make sure he’s not assaulting anyone.”

Julia’s eyes went wide, and she nodded. “Sure thing, Steve. Be careful. Especially if it’s a female alpha you assumer!”

Steve just flashed her a grin before heading back into the stacks and rows of books. He followed his nose when he came upon the source of the scent.

A handsome alpha was bent over a book, mumbling to himself about poison and death. After he asked a question, there was a heavy pause, and Steve thought, ‘Well, shit. This guy ain’t in rut, is he?’ He decided to answer the alpha’s question, which only led to Steve thinking, ‘Well, shit. This guy’s definitely in rut.’

Luckily, the handlers’ – or as Steve mentally deems them: the soulmate squad, because their job deals with handling alphas, betas, and omegas who go into ruts or heats unexpectedly in public and getting them away from the public and into a secure location where they can ride out their rut or heat safely – came quickly, even before the guy could approach Steve. Seriously, where was this guy’s mate?

Shaking his head, Steve watched as the guy was given a sedative and carted away to stay in a room where he could work off his rut alone or with his mate.

Jeez, that was a narrow miss. Steve couldn’t believe an alpha had gone into rut so quickly in such a public place. Usually bonded alphas can feel when their rut is coming on, and they get to their home as quickly as possible. That guy must have been hitting the books way too hard to recognize the signs though.

Still, Steve hadn’t reacted to a scent like that alpha’s in…well…ever. He hoped the guy was okay and was taken to his mate quickly. Even if he was kind of an asshole for putting other people in danger just because he wasn’t self-aware.

Steve shook his head to clear his thoughts of the guy. Time to get back to work.

~B~*~S~

When Bucky dragged his eyes open, it took him a while to realize exactly where he was. It wasn’t his room at his parent’s house, nor was it his apartment. He was somewhere…else.

Turning over, Bucky tracked his eyes around the room before they settled on a piece of paper next to his head. It read:

 

“Dear sir,

If it is not already obvious, you are in the throes of rut. You have been taken to a rut motel to ride out the duration of your rut. Please stay confined to your room and use the phone for room service to order food and drink. Don’t worry about cost, as you were brought in by the Soulmate Designation Agents (SDA).

Please, enjoy your stay.

~ABO Services Hotel"

 

Bucky groaned as he rolled back over away from the paper. He was stuck in this damn motel until his rut was over, but all he wanted to do was find his soulmate.

His soulmate…

Bucky had begun to think that he didn’t have one. It was nearly unheard of to not meet your soulmate by 20, and Bucky was passed 30 now by a few months.

Suddenly becoming aware of the burning underneath his skin, Bucky focused on his pleasure. He grabbed some lotion that was on the bedside table and grabbed a couple tissues. Normally, he wouldn’t worry about making a mess, but he wasn’t the one that was going to be cleaning up these sheets. So, tissues it was.

As soon as his hand wrapped around his cock, a groan escaped his lips. Holy fuck.

He started to move his hand up and down, and fuck, a pair of the prettiest blue eyes filled his mind. The memory of almonds and vanilla filled his nostrils, and it had him coming within seconds.

Satiated, but still hard, Bucky growled.

Is this what going into rut was always like?

Bucky scavenged around the bedroom and finally found what he was looking for in the drawers underneath the bed.

He pulled out condoms, lube, and a couple different toys to use for further into his rut.

He pulled on a condom first, then put a pillow on the bed underneath his hips.

As he started rutting into the softness below him, he pictured that blond hair, the strong jaw, the guy’s deep voice. Wondered what he would sound like under him. Bet his omega’s moans were the prettiest Bucky would ever hear – oh fuck – just like that.

His movements became more erratic the longer he thought about that pretty omega, hopefully his pretty omega. He thought about tracing his lips over his collarbone, along his neck, down over his nipples. If his breath would hitch. Would he moan?

Bucky did as he pictured himself suckling on the omega’s cock. Looking up at those pretty blue eyes while he took the other man apart. Thought about turning him over and teasing his hole until he was writhing.

Fuck!

For the second time in just under an hour, Bucky came picturing his omega underneath him.

And he was still hard.

This was going to be hell for the next few days.

~S~*~B~

When Steve arrived home that night, he felt overly warm. He undressed quickly after he locked his door and made for the tub to soak with some lukewarm water. By the end of it, he was flushed, and he knew it wasn’t from the warm spring day.

He was going into heat. It didn’t happen regularly, probably because he’s only scented his soulmate and never actually met them, but he did get his heat at least once in the winter and once in the late spring/early summer. Being the beginning of spring, Steve figured he shouldn’t be too surprised it started a little early. Especially after being around that alpha.

Stop. He can’t get himself worked up before he prepared his apartment for a heat.

With an aggrieved sigh, Steve made himself drink water and eat food and then laid out extras on the nightstand so he could reach it when he needed to. Then, he pulled out his toys and set them aside on the bed. He doubled back to check the locks on the doors and windows, then pulled the blinds and curtains shut. He was already naked, having not dressed after getting out of the tub, so he sat down on the bed and buckled his collar around his neck – the same one gifted to him from Alpha Kelly years ago.

As Steve laid back on his bed, he slowly skimmed his fingers across his skin, and his mind returned to that rutting alpha he encountered today.

He was very handsome, and his scent was absolutely divine.

Steve’s breathing hitched as he skimmed his fingers closer to his cock. It was thickening, pulling blood toward it, but Steve liked to be teased before giving himself some pleasure, so he continued dragging his fingertips over his torso, avoiding his nipples until it was too much.

He hitched another breath as he pulled at his nipples, picturing the alpha from today doing the same to him. He would stand behind him, practically loom over him as he cradled Steve’s chest. Trail his fingertips around his chest. Push up on his non-existent breasts before flicking a nipple. Chuckle in Steve’s ear when that makes Steve moan out loud.

Fuck!

Not able to wait any longer, Steve reaches down and starts stroking over his cock. He’s wet, slick leaking out of him, and he pumps a little faster, chasing down an empty orgasm while he can.

After shuddering through one, Steve grabs the toys he left on the bed and slowly teases one at his hole. Slipping it over, pushing in just the tip, teasing himself all over.

When enough slick has coated the dildo, Steve slowly works it into himself and pushes the breath out of his lungs.

A quiet sigh escapes next, and he kneels to start a new position. Lifting up and dropping back down on the toy until he’s shuddering around the dildo and inflating the knot at the base of the toy when he comes around it.

A flash of grey-silver-grey eyes crosses his mind, and he comes around the toy inside of him while still thinking of that alpha he met at the library.

This was going to be a long heat.

~B~*~S~

Bucky finally figured out why his orgasms were so fucking brutal during rut. He forgot about gripping his knot while he came. That realization had come to him somewhere around hour three after six empty orgasms, and it was such a fucking relief to finally come with some satisfaction that followed. Sure, he had to grip his knot for twenty fucking minutes before it had finally felt like he was done coming, but he enjoyed the rest of his rut.

Until he realized what day it was.

The room service guys at this place were a fucking miracle, always coming by with snacks and drinks. Their designations all betas to not cause any trouble. When he woke up this morning and asked the guy what day it was, he was shocked that days had gone by.

Three days to be exact. It had been three fucking days. Bucky wasted three fucking days rutting in a hotel while his omega was out on his own. Sighing, Bucky tried to calm down his warring alpha. Logically, he knew his omega had survived just fine for a long time without Bucky. It was just…Bucky was anxious to see his omega again. To meet and get to know him.

To earn his trust and give him a reason to call Bucky his soulmate.

So, as soon as possible, Bucky was back at the public library looking for the omega that had left him breathless.

He was still technically researching that building case, but he had let Peggy and Howard know that he would be preoccupied with other matters. When he had told them why, they congratulated him and wished him luck in finding his soulmate again.

Howard also informed him that he probably wouldn’t get his arm back for a couple weeks. Which was fine. Really.

Maybe not as fine as Bucky wanted it to be, but it was good.

He didn’t want to scare his omega away with some freaky metal appendage.

So, left armless, dressed to the nines, and with determination on his mind, Bucky went back to the library that he had met his omega at. He recognized the outfit the guy was wearing as the official dress of this place – that skirt had been a life safer during his rut – and he figured he would run into him soon.

Except, he didn’t.

He came every day almost all day for a week, and there was no sign of his omega.

Bucky was frustrated as all hell, but it wasn’t like he was going to give up.

So, he continued coming back every day until the staff members at the front desk started recognizing him. He would wave and be polite, and they would just smile at him all friendly.

It was well into the third week before he encountered a different front desk person from the others. No, that was wrong. Bucky recognized her. She was there that day he met his soulmate. He hadn’t seen her since then, and he decided to go chat her up a bit.

He had asked every librarian at the front desk if they knew a male omega who worked there with blond hair, but they all acted confused when Bucky asked.

This girl, though, was a little bit different.

“Why do you want to know?”

Bucky’s eyes widened. “You know him?”

The girl in front of him – her name badge read Julia – crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow at him. “I know him. Do you?”

The challenge in her voice made Bucky pause. “You remember me?”

“Course I do. Not every day an alpha goes to rut inside the library.”

Bucky grimaced. “I apologize for that. It’s just, that was my first rut. I met my soulmate. The blond omega, he’s my soulmate. That’s why I’m asking for him. I don’t know how to contact him. I don’t even know his name.” Bucky knew he sounded pitiful, and he was hoping Julia would take some pity on him.

Julia frowned even more at that. “You sayin’ that you just met your soulmate that day?”

“I don’t lie, ma’am.”

It must have been the sincerity in his voice, because Julia slowly relaxed. “Alright. Well, his name is Steve. That’s all you’re getting from me though! Aaaaand that he’s working today. Nothing else, though! You cause any more trouble, and I’m throwing you out!”

Bucky felt the inane urge to salute her and say, “Ma’am, yes, ma’am!” He held it back though and instead just beamed at her. “Thank you, Julia. So much.”

Julia waved him off, telling him Steve was most certainly not shelving books in the back of the library.

Bucky took the hint and went toward the back of the library. He didn’t find him on the first floor, so he ventured to the second. When he finally found him – Steve – Bucky’s breath caught in his throat.

He was just as beautiful as Bucky remembered. Bucky slowly approached him, not quite believing that he was finally meeting his soulmate.

“Steve?”

The omega turned around at the sound of his name and blinked a couple of times, taking Bucky in, which Bucky’s alpha absolutely preened at. “Yes?”

The deep voice of the omega just made Bucky hotter, and he tried to suppress the wave of scent he was throwing off in order to tantalize his soulmate. “Hi. I…uh…I was wondering if you wanted to go grab coffee sometime?” Smooth, Buck. Real smooth. Couldn’t have been smoother if you were in the trenches in German occupied Poland. Oh wait—

Internally groaning at how he could have pulled that off better, Bucky listened to Steve’s reply.

“Why would I want to do that?”

Oh shit. Did soulmates ever reject their soulmate? Bucky hadn’t ever heard of that happening…except… His eyes darted to Steve’s neck. No. No old bond bite. He couldn’t have had an alpha already and lost them. Was it just him? In general?

Then, Bucky remembered that the omega in front of him, Steve, didn’t seem to have gone into heat when Bucky went into rut.

Oh.

It was possible to have a one-sided soulmate bond.

A sinking sensation turned his gut, and Bucky started to backtrack. “Err. I guess you have no reason to want to go grab coffee with me. But I just thought…well…you…uh can’t think of any reason to grab coffee with me, huh?”

Hoping that maybe, just maybe, Steve was his soulmate, Bucky threw a bone.

Steve didn’t catch it.

“Can’t think of one, pal. Now, why don’t you get back on to your mate and quit harassing the staff here.” Abruptly, Steve turned on his heel and started walking away.

Bucky frowned. “I don’t have a mate.”

That made Steve pause. He turned around, and Bucky was hopeful until he saw the frown on Steve’s features.

“Listen, I know that you’ve been coming around here, asking after me. Or at least, after a blond male omega that works here. That’s stalking, pal. Can get you in trouble with the law real quick.”

Bucky’s eyes widened. “No, that’s not. I mean…I was trying to find you but not in a creepy way! I just want to get to know you!”

Steve’s eyes narrowed, and Bucky’s breath caught in his throat. He was so beautiful. “Why? You the kind of alpha that likes picking on omegas? Get your rocks off on causing trouble for someone you consider weaker than you? Think I’ll let you continue this behavior? ‘Cause you got another thing comin’, buddy.”

“Steve, no! That’s not what I’m tryn’ ta do here. I’m tryin’ to ask you on a date.”

Bucky knew he lost when Steve crossed his arms and took a step back. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but your advances are not welcome. Next time, try telling a guy what your name is first. Actually, no. Next time, don’t even try.”

As Steve turned to walk away again, all Bucky could do was call out, “My name is Bucky.”

~S~*~B~

Steve was fuming. When he had gotten back to work after having his heat for nearly a damned week, and then getting a bout of sickness so bad he couldn’t even move without wanting to cry, he found out that he was being stalked by some alpha who was coming back every. Single. Damned. Day. To ask after him.

As if society wasn’t bad enough at policing omega’s actions and rights. Every single damned librarian thought it was so cute that the alpha was asking after him, hanging around the library to try and get a glimpse of him.

He was fucking sick with rage.

He seemed to be the only one who remembered the omega who used to work here not even a year ago. Betty Carmen was a young, hopeful, beautiful female omega. She had dreams of going back to her home country – Ecuador – and teaching English, Math, and Science to the children there, that they may be provided with more opportunities to grow.

Steve and her had been fast friends, and one night she came by his apartment to tell him that she was leaving town. He asked her if she finally had enough money to go home, but she shook her head.

“I got mixed up with the wrong alpha, Steve.” A haunted look crossed her face, and Steve couldn’t understand why she looked so fearful.

“What’s wrong? Do you need help? I can help!”

She was already shaking her head no. “Sorry, Steve. I don’t want you mixed up in this either. Listen, I’m sorry, but I have to go.”

Steve had frowned, but he had fed her and walked her home. She had thanked him and given him a hug before going back into her apartment. As Steve was leaving the building, he had smelled something rotten to his senses – an alpha’s stench that Steve recognized as ill-intent. He had fought enough assholes to recognize it, but he hadn’t been able to find the alpha it belonged to.

The next week, Betty’s photo was printed in the newspaper. Murdered by an alpha. Police had caught him in the act, but Betty died due to complications before she reached the hospital. Steve had been livid when he realized that rotten alpha had been stalking her before he kidnapped her, done heaven-only-knows what else to her, and killed her. She had been leaving to get away from her stalker, and nobody else seemed to remember this.

Yes, Steve was intentionally hostile to this alpha who had been practically stalking him in the library for weeks while he was out of commission, but he remembered Betty. He didn’t want to be another crime statistic in the newspaper. He only had so much strength, and even though this alpha only had one arm, Steve had seen the dog tags that hung around his neck. It was likely he was more lethal than the average alpha Steve took on in bar fights.

After telling off that alpha – Bucky, as if Steve wanted to know his name – he hid in the back room with a lock on the door until he had to come out to relieve Julia for her lunch break. She was still new and learning the ropes, so Steve tried to help her out while he could.

So, when he got to the front and saw that alpha – Bucky – talking to her, he just. Kind of. Lost it.

“What the hell are you still doing here?! Didn’t I make myself clear? Get the hell out of here! I don’t want you here, and neither does anyone else! Now go, or you’ll regret it!”

The alpha’s face fell, and Steve’s omega couldn’t help but be distressed at the sight. Steve kindly told it to fuck off before crossing his arms over his chest and donning his best murderous, rage-fueled glare.

The alpha held up his hands in defeat. “Sorry, sorry. I’m going now.” He looked down and rubbed the back of his neck with his right arm. “Sorry. I’ll just…get out of your hair.”

Steve watched him leave then turned to Julia, only to see her sitting there with her mouth dropped open.

“What?”

“Don’t ya think that was a little harsh?” Julia asked.

Steve furrowed his brows. “No. He was…is harassing me. Why?”

Julia simply shook her head. “Well, yeah. Still, he was looking for you because you are his soulmate.”

Steve frowned hard at that. “No, he’s not. He’s probably just looking for an omega to push around, and because I was there that day he went into rut in public like an idiot, he decided to take it out on me.”

Julia rolled her eyes at that. “Yes, he is. Or…well. He might be. Look, whatever happened that day, he definitely met his soulmate here in the library. I greeted him when he first came in, and I always thoroughly check out…I mean oversee our patrons.”

Steve raised his eyebrows at that, and Julia just waved him off.

“Not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that he didn’t have a soul bond mark when he came in that day. I remembered thinking, ‘Wow, a fine piece of alpha like that doesn’t have his soul bond yet? What a shame!’ I noticed. Then, when the SDA guys carried him out of here, I noticed that he did get his soul bond. I was waiting for the omega to come through after him, but nobody did. Obviously, he met his soulmate. Either that soulmate had already scented his scent” – here, she gave a pointed look at Steve’s bicep, which he covered at the look – “or, his soulmate is a one-sided soul connection.”

Steve sat down. He couldn’t…that alpha couldn’t be his soulmate. He smelled different than Steve remembered! Of course, Steve had been in the middle of a bout of sickness when he had scented his mate, and that had been ten years ago, but…but. It couldn’t be possible!

Julia flashed him a smile and patted his shoulder. “Think it over. You might have met your match, Steve.”

So, he did.

The thing was, in the weeks that followed, he came to the realization that maybe Bucky was his soulmate. Even though the two scents weren’t identical, Steve definitely picked up on some undertones of pine, sandalwood, and cinnamon. It was possible that Bucky’s scent smelled off because Steve wasn’t sick when he scented him in the library.

Then, there was the fact that Steve had actually been attracted to his smell. He had thought that meant an alpha was rutting, because alpha’s in rut were the only alpha scents that Steve found even remotely tantalizing. If Bucky hadn’t been in rut when Steve scented him in the library, it was entirely possible that Steve liked Bucky’s natural scent. That Steve’s omega perked up and recognized Bucky as…as his.

Meaning that Bucky’s rut was triggered when he scented Steve. Which could be a possibility.

The last bit of evidence was that Steve’s soulmate bond wasn’t on his wrist. A slight blush tinted his cheeks as he remembered the thoughts he had during his heat. He wouldn’t be able to bite Bucky’s wrist if Bucky only had one arm. Realistically though, he could bite Bucky’s bicep if they were in the classic presentation position.

These three things swirled around in Steve’s head, and left Steve wanting to talk to Bucky. Ask him if they were soulmates.

Only, Steve never got to ask Bucky for the simple fact that, in the weeks that followed Steve’s revelations, Bucky never stepped foot in the library again.

~B~*~S~

What Bucky was doing wasn’t stalking…per se.

He was just making sure no harm came to Steve. Yeah, that was it.

He just…needed to see that Steve was doing well and that he was safe, and that he was eating, and that none of those other alphas catcalled him, and—

Okay. Maybe Bucky was acting more like a mated alpha than he wanted to admit.

It was just, Steve was so skinny, and he hardly bought anything to eat, so Bucky made sure to…help out.

It wasn’t breaking and entering.

It wasn’t!

He used the key that Steve left hidden under a brick near his door – and really, Steve? Anyone could break in! Don’t leave the brick so precariously over the key, sheesh! – and let himself in the door. So, what if he used a scent neutralizer on himself before walking into Steve’s apartment to make sure Steve wouldn’t notice an alpha’s scent in his apartment? So, what if he brought a little extra food with him and left it there for Steve? So, what if he only brought food Steve himself bought, so Steve wouldn’t realize there was food in the apartment that he didn’t buy?

It was all perfectly legal. Bucky was an SSR Agent. He would know.

In any case, Bucky wasn’t in Steve’s apartment at the moment. He had just left, leaving the key underneath the brick in a less precarious position – because seriously, Steve? It’s like you’re asking someone to knock the brick over, see your key, break into your apartment, and rob you blind – and getting out of there before Steve came back.

He waited on the roof of the building across the street. In moments like these, the waiting, the stillness, the relative quiet soothed Bucky’s alpha in a similar way that providing food for Steve did. It calmed him, helped him clear his head. It was why he didn’t notice exactly how late it was until the sun dipped below the horizon and the cold crept into his left shoulder, through his recently reacquired metal arm.

Steve still hadn’t returned home.

Bucky calmly stood. It was possible that Steve was just working late at the library. He did that sometimes. So, Bucky took Steve’s usual route to the library, making sure to scan the streets for the blond omega as he did so.

When he got to the library, however, he cursed himself for not tailing Steve that day. The library lights were on, and there were cops on the street outside.

Bucky walked up to them and flashed his SSR badge. They directed him to the lead on whatever they were investigating, and the lead pointed him to none other than Peggy.

“Oh, good. I was going to come find you, but I guess you found me. There’s been another incident. Do you remember that mass suicide in that building I had you check out?”

Bucky’s blood ran cold. “Is that what this is?” His alpha wanted to howl at the world, but Bucky waited for Peggy’s response.

“We think it may be connected. You see, there was a report called in from down the street that something unseemly was occurring at the library. Local police checked it out, only to find canisters of some type piled outside of the building.” Peggy pointed off to the side, and Bucky saw the canisters she mentioned. He recognized them and turned to tell Peggy that.

“Yes.” Peggy continued. “When the sergeant got to the scene, he knew to call me.” She frowned at the building in front of her. “The same canisters had been found in the trash bins near that building after the initial investigation. You probably remember the photographs that were taken of them.”

Bucky nodded. “So, the sergeant came and called you. Where are we now?”

“Well, a group of four police officers had approached the front of the library, but they stopped when a group of alphas came out holding hostages. The alphas released almost everyone inside, but now we’re at a standstill. There are un-mated omegas still in the building, and the alphas won’t come out until we leave. We can’t leave until those omegas are safe.”

Bucky nodded. “You, uh…remember how I told you I met my soulmate recently?”

Peggy frowned but nodded. “Yes. Does that have something to do with what’s going on currently?”

Bucky laughed. “Always straight to the point. Yeah, Pegs. It does. I met him at the library. He works here. As an unmated omega.”

Peggy’s eyes widened as she turned to look at him. “How are you still by my side and not storming inside right now?”

“Honestly, even my alpha side is a little afraid of you.”

Peggy laughed in turn. “Yes, well. I’m hoping that shiny arm Howard reattached to you is up for blocking some bullets. I was planning to call you in so you could be the scout. There’s a side entrance that isn’t on any blueprints, and one of the older librarians mentioned would lead into the basement. I’m sending you in there with Jarvis, Sousa, myself, and three task-force police officers. How do you feel about being bait?”

Bucky huffed a breath. “If you absolutely need me to.” Then, he flashed a grin at Peggy. “What are we waiting for?”

She nodded and signaled for Jarvis, Sousa, and the three officers to follow them.

Bucky led the way into the basement. He quietly climbed the stairs and poked his head out of the door. It was dumb luck and persistence that he remembered every inch of the library thanks to all of the days he had spent waiting in the library for Steve to emerge after Bucky realized they were soulmates. Good thing his omega was a stubborn little shit.

Not the point.

Bucky crept his way through the first floor and the second floor. When he returned to the basement, he relayed the information of where the captives were being kept to the rest of the group.

They devised a plan so that Bucky would draw the captors up to the second floor so that the captives would be able to flee to the basement and escape through this side door they just came through.

After the plan was solidified, Bucky nodded. “Meet you guys outside.”

He left again and made sure to keep quiet until he was in the back of the library on the first floor, where the omegas were being held.

He stepped up behind one captor and effectively dropped him. The omega called Julia saw and gasped loudly.

Bucky held a finger up to his lips, and his eyes scanned the omegas there. All were accounted for. Even – oh thank God – Steve.

Steve’s eyes were huge as he looked at Bucky and then at his metal arm. Bucky internally grimaced. He hadn’t thought what Steve would think of his arm, but he couldn’t get distracted by that now. He pointed where the omegas should run to then started making a lot of noise to draw the captors’ attention.

Almost immediately, three alphas were on him, but Bucky was fast. He drew them away. He thickened his scent, issued a challenge, and…well, no alpha could resist that.

They followed him through the library in pursuit, and Bucky made sure to dodge into tight spaces where he could.

By the end, he had a total of seven alphas on him before he was fleeing to the second floor. As soon as he was in the open area that was reserved for story time, he turned and growled.

It was time to take out his frustration on some knot-heads.

~S~*~B~

Steve couldn’t believe the day he was having. Not only was it week three of not seeing hide nor hair of Bucky, but now he had to deal with some alpha dunderheads trying to throw their weight around the library.

Steve had already thrown out two alphas, but these cads just weren’t getting the hint. He couldn’t physically remove them – though he would love to try – so he kept herding them toward the front doors.

Only, when the three bozos got to the front, three other guys and the two dunderheads from before were all stationed outside as if they belonged there.

Uh-oh.

Steve waved at Julia, hoping she would have learned their signals for ‘Call the police.’

Steve crossed his arms over his chest and planted his feet firmly.

“The hell is going on here?”

The alphas barely glanced at Steve, though. They were fiddling with some type of barrel-sized metal canister. There were three of the things lined up out front, and Steve was really getting worried.

His scent must have caught, because the alphas’ attention was suddenly on him.

“Poor little bitch. Scared of a metal can?” That was said by knot-head number 2.

Steve pursed his lips. He wasn’t suicidal – he still had to ask Bucky if they were soulmates – so he didn’t punch the guy like he was aching to do. Instead, he turned on his heel and tried to go inside and lock the front doors.

The thing with alphas though? They never took a fucking hint.

Least of all these dunderheads.

Instead of being able to lock the door, the alphas came inside. Steve got more worried when he saw the guns hidden underneath their suit coats.

Knot-head number 8 pulled his out and started waving it around. The other seven quickly ushered everyone to the back of the library, and Steve managed to wade his way over to Julia and asked her if she called the police.

Julia nodded. “They said they would be here soon. I just hope they get here before these twits get any birdbrained ideas to start killing us.”

Steve was quiet for a moment. “Yeah.”

“What’s turning in that big brain of yours, Steve?”

Steve shrugged, but he couldn’t help but think that maybe they should try to find a way to get at least some of these patrons out of here. They could save the children, hopefully. Maybe even prolong the lives of the two elderly omegas, and the three moms here with their kids. Steve just had to figure out how to do it.

When knot-head number 5 started threatening another alpha, Steve had an idea.

These alphas were getting antsy. The cop sirens alerted them that the police had arrived out front, and Steve bet these alphas were behind on schedule.

So, Steve stood up and made a bold suggestion. "Why don't you alphas bargain? Let the families and the elderly go. Otherwise, nobody, including you, are getting out of here alive."

It amazed Steve when knot-head numbers 3, 5, 6, and 7 began herding everyone except the un-bonded omegas outside. Now, as Steve looked around at the other librarians and the two patrons who were un-mated omegas, he felt relief and worry rush through him. Granted, they had the best possibility of survival because of their nature and the un-mated aspect to boot. It was just making sure these alphas didn’t do anything brazen before Steve could figure out another way to get the rest of them out of there.

His mind was racing a mile a minute, but it abruptly stopped when he caught sight of a familiar alpha. A friendly one.

His soulmate. His Bucky.

Bucky pressed a finger to his lips to quiet them, and his eyes locked onto Steve’s. Bucky pointed toward the basement, and Steve nodded his understanding. Get the omegas to the basement and out through that side entrance that nobody except Marleen used anymore.

Time to get the show on the road.

The alluring scent of Bucky thickened, and Steve was distinctly distracted. He didn’t let himself lose focus though. Bucky was distracting the alphas so they could get away. Time to go.

Steve led the other omegas to the basement door and ushered them all through it. Just as he was about to follow, a hand grasped his shoulder and pulled him back. A hand covered his mouth before he could make any noise, and he felt the first trickle of anger start to edge into his system.

“Little bitch.” It was knot-head number 2. Steve growled low in his throat. He wasn’t going to let this asshole push him around.

He kicked out behind him, making sure to aim as high as he could. He must have hit the mark, because the alpha dropped his hands from Steve. Steve spun around and socked him in the nose then took off away from the alpha.

Unfortunately, away from the alpha was also away from the basement. Steve could try going up front, but he would be trapped because they took the front door keys from him. He couldn’t get out that way.

He could try to climb out a window, but he needed the keys to open the window as well.

Looks like he would have to draw the alpha away from the basement and circle back around.

Knot-head number 2 was in pursuit, and Steve was fleeing up the second story stairs. He could take these ones up, circle around, and take the opposite ones down. Hopefully, the other alphas that Bucky herded up here wouldn’t spot Steve before Steve was back to safety.

Only, as Steve arrived to the story time area on the second floor, he was shocked to find all of the other alphas down for the count.

Bucky was just stepping over one of them when he realized he wasn’t alone anymore.

His head snapped up, and Steve saw the silver bleed away from his irises, turning them back into the gunmetal grey that has been haunting Steve almost every night.

“Steve.”

The word was barely breathed out before a growl ripped from Bucky’s throat. Silver bled back into his eyes, and he launched himself forward with an inhuman speed that Steve had never seen before.

The unnaturalness of it reminded Steve of tales where alphas would become much more wolf than man when they were protecting something that was theirs. Steve’s omega couldn’t help but point out that Bucky recognized Steve as his. Steve’s rational brain kindly told his omega to shove it and got Steve out of the way of the fight that broke out behind him.

Steve turned and watched as Bucky took on knot-head number 2. The fluidity of Bucky’s fighting style still seemed almost ‘other’ to Steve. The gracefulness that moved his body into different fighting stances, and then there was also that gleaming metal arm attached to his person.

Knot-head number 2 had done well to dodge any hits thrown by Bucky’s metal arm; but, in the end, Bucky was too skilled a fighter to not get the drop on the other alpha. He went down just as easily as the other seven, and soon Bucky was crowding into Steve’s space.

Steve allowed it, seeing as Bucky did sort of just save his ass.

The alpha gripped Steve’s biceps – lightly of course – and pressed his nose to Steve’s hair. Steve could just hear him snuffling, and Steve’s tensed muscles eased as he scented Bucky in return.

“Thought I was clear on you getting the omegas out of here.”

Steve chuckled, though it bordered on the edge of hysteria. “I did. Blame that good-for-nothing for dragging me away from the basement.”

Bucky just shook his head and clutched Steve a little closer. “I thought he was going to hurt you. I…couldn’t let that happen.”

Steve nodded and allowed himself to reach his arms up and around Bucky’s shoulders. Bucky slid his arms around Steve, and they embraced in a hug until someone cleared their throat behind Bucky.

Bucky turned around inhumanly fast again and tucked Steve behind him with his flesh arm. The growl that Bucky was releasing was sort of doing it for Steve. Holy shit.

“Bucky, put the alpha display away for five minutes. I just came to see if you needed any help. We have all but one omega accounted for, though I suppose that’s him you’re hiding behind your back.” The crisp British accent was female, and Steve poked his head around Bucky’s torso to take in one of the most gorgeous female alphas he had ever laid eyes on.

“Oh good.” The female alpha continued. “You already apprehended everyone. No matter what Zola says about you from his jail cell, you are quite efficient.”

That statement stopped the growl abruptly, and Bucky’s shoulders seemed to droop. “Sorry, Pegs. Uh…” Bucky stepped out from in front of Steve and pulled him under his arm. “Steve, this is Peggy. My coworker and sort of boss. Peggy, Steve.”

Surprise lit across Peggy’s features. “Steve? As in your soulmate, Steve?”

Steve felt Bucky stiffen, and Steve cut him off before Bucky could reply. “Uh, I was actually going to discuss that with Bucky. I think our previous meetings got off on the wrong foot.” Steve turned to Bucky and stepped away from him carefully, so he could look at his face. “I’ve been trying to find you, but you’ve been very hard to find. Thank you for coming to my, and the other omegas’, help today.”

Bucky eyed him dubiously, but he nodded amicably. Good enough.

“Yes, well. While you gentleman figure that out, we need to clear the library of these alphas and the canisters sitting outside. Please, feel free to take however long you need off of work, Bucky. Enjoy spending time with Steve.” Peggy turned to some policemen and agents to direct them to what needed to be done, so Steve turned back to Bucky.

~B~*~S~

Bucky was still doubtful about the sudden change in attitude Steve was showing to him. It could just be the end of the fight wearing on him, but Bucky was certain that Steve was almost…warm toward him. Sure, Bucky had sought reassurance that Steve was alright moments before Peggy showed up, and Steve didn’t push him away…but… That could have just been an omega looking out for the alpha that had protected them. Internally sighing, Bucky didn’t know what he was going to do. He didn’t know how they were going to sort this out if Steve didn’t want him.

So, when Steve took his hand and led him out of the library, Bucky’s heart started beating faster. When Steve took Bucky all the way back to his apartment, Bucky’s head was nearing cloud nine. Steve was willing to speak with Bucky after Bucky had massively screwed up his previous chance. He was ready to burst with happiness.

Steve had told him to sit down after getting into his apartment, so Bucky sat down on the couch and pretended like he hadn’t been there almost as often as Steve had in the past few weeks.

When Steve returned to the couch in comfy pants and a loose shirt, Bucky’s alpha mourned the loss of all that skin Steve had been showing, but Bucky kindly told his alpha brain to fuck off.

Deciding to get this show on the road before he ended up with an awkward boner problem, Bucky asked, “So, you’ve been thinking about us being soulmates?”

Steve nodded slowly. “My first heat occurred ten years ago.”

That made whatever Bucky was going to say next disappear from his brain. What?

Steve continued. “So, when you showed up at the library after the first time and assumed we were soulmates, I was mad. You couldn’t be my soulmate because I had never met my soulmate. I happened to get a whiff of his or her scent ten years ago when I was sick with my window open, and then I got my first heat. Then, I hadn’t scented the same scent in over ten years. Until that day in the library where you had gone into rut.”

Bucky nodded slowly. The pieces were starting to form a clearer picture.

“Imagine my thoughts when you showed up and started asking for a date and not even giving me your name, even though you knew mine.”

Bucky grimaced. “I’m sorry. The way you put it…it was worse than I saw it.”

Steve shrugs his shoulders and looks away from Bucky. “It’s expected that omegas just take whatever alphas say as truth. I’m not like that. I wasn’t raised like that. I’ve had friends who practiced that, and they only ended up hurt. So, I wasn’t exactly willing to listen to some alpha who came into my life after ten years of nothing who immediately started trying to put the moves on me.”

Bucky nodded, trying to show Steve that he understood where he was coming from. “I honestly didn’t think I had a soulmate until the library incident. I was so excited that I was meeting mine that I didn’t take into consideration how that would make you feel. I started having doubts after your less than enthusiastic reply, and I should have known that what I have is an un-reciprocated soul bond.”

That brought Steve’s head up. Confusion marred his face and he started shaking his head. “No. You don’t. I’m trying to say we are soulmates.”

“What?”

Steve huffed and then rolled up his shirt sleeve. On the inside of his right bicep, Bucky saw a silver pattern marring his skin. A soul bond. Almost exactly like the one on Bucky’s neck.

Bucky’s mouth dropped open, and he shook his head. “Well, what do ya know.” He turned around and pull his shirt collar down so that Steve could see Bucky’s soul bond.

“It’s like mine but in gold.”

Bucky nodded as he turned back around. “Your eyes flashed gold the first time I scented you in the library. Another reason I knew you were mine.”

“Yours flash silver. That’s…probably why mine is silver, huh?”

Bucky shrugged. “I’d guess so. I must admit, I didn’t pay much attention to soul bonds when I was younger because I wasn’t interested. Then, it just seemed like I would never meet my soulmate. So, I’m surprised I finally did.”

Steve smiles at him then, and it’s like looking into the sun all over again.

“How about we get to know each other better?” Steve’s the one to suggest it, and Bucky couldn’t help but smile back.

“I’d love that.”

~B~*~S~

Weeks passed, and Steve and Bucky soon became SteveandBucky. It was safe to say that where one was, the other was nearby. Bucky tried his damnedest to get Steve to go on dates with him as often as possible, and Steve made sure that Bucky still enjoyed his favorite activities as well.

Their first date was to The Museum of Modern Art – better known as MOMA. Steve had nearly vibrated out of his skin walking around and looking at all of the exhibits. He dragged Bucky to nearly all of them, and they spent the entire day within its walls. When it was 15 minutes to closing, Steve’s eyes had widened. He looked at Bucky with the most sheepish face and apologized profusely for using up all of their time in the museum.

Bucky had simply shrugged and suggested they grab some food before hopping on the subway back home. He couldn’t be annoyed at Steve, not when Bucky had enjoyed the day just as much as Steve had. It was incredible watching Steve come alive in different ways with each new exhibit. Bucky had learned a lot that day, and he knew that they would definitely be coming back to MOMA as often as possible.

Their second date was to one of the many dance halls on Swing Street. After Steve admitted to Bucky that he didn’t know a lick of dancing, Bucky found his new purpose in life: to teach Steve how to dance. They practiced in Steve’s and Bucky’s apartments until Steve was comfortable enough to go to a dance hall. Bucky realized that Steve was out of his element, but damn did he love that Steve would do this for him.

However, after their colossal success at MOMA, there was bound to be some bad luck, and it came when Steve wanted to leave the dance hall early after only a few songs. Bucky had relented and taken Steve home. When they got back to the apartment, Bucky found out that Steve actually had asthma and was having trouble breathing after the vigorous pace of the songs they had stayed for. Bucky found Steve his asthma cigarettes and promptly given him a tongue lashing for not telling him sooner. Steve had given back as good as he got, and they entered into their first fight as unmated soulmates.

Bucky had stormed out of Steve’s apartment, yelling something about, “If you don’t care enough about yourself to take care of yourself, then what the hell am I doing here?!”

The door had slammed shut before Bucky heard Steve’s reply, but he went home fuming regardless.

The next morning, the only thing Bucky wanted to do was rush over there and make sure Steve was okay. He didn’t, but only just barely.

In fact, he took up stalking Steve again, just watching his omega from a distance to make sure he was okay.

So, Bucky was surprised when approximately five days after their fight, Steve had shown up at Bucky’s apartment with a bottle of his favorite brandy and an apology at the ready.

“Look, Buck. I’m not used ta people caring about me. I would explain why, but I feel like I need to get to know you more first, so ask me about it later. I want this…us to work. Just…please don’t give up on me yet?”

Bucky had chuckled and shook his head before pulling Steve into a warm hug. “I forgive you for yelling at me. I just want you to know that you are important to me Steve. I worry about you because I don’t want you getting hurt, you punk.”

“Jerk.” But Steve had smiled after returning the hug. “Thank you.”

Bucky’s always considered that their third date. Sitting on Bucky’s worn-down couch while they held each other and talked the rest of the day away.

And so on and so forth the days passed. Fairly soon, months had flown by, and it felt like Steve and Bucky had known each other for their whole lives.

Steve had opened up one day about losing his mom and Alpha Kelly. Bucky had taken him to Coney Island, and they were having a great time until Steve ended up hurling, thereby cutting their date short. Bucky took him back home and took care of him, despite Steve’s protests. That was when Steve had pulled Bucky close and told him all about Sarah and then about Alpha Kelly. How they were the last ones to look out for him. Bucky had sworn to himself privately that he would take care of Steve when Steve needed him.

It was after this particular date that Bucky shared Steve with his family. His parents and sisters all adore Steve, and they demand to see him more than they demand to see Bucky. Steve teases him about it, but Bucky knows that Steve feels happy to be part of a family again. Bucky’s happy that he fits right in with the Barnes’ clan, and his alpha purred just a little at the thought of maybe starting their own one day.

As the days passed, Steve opened up to Bucky even more. He described to Bucky exactly what it was like being a male omega growing up in an alpha’s world. Bucky formed a new understanding of Steve after that, and he was grateful his soulmate trusted him enough to do so. In turn, Bucky opened up about what it was like being an alpha around other alphas that promoted an alpha-is-the-superior-sex mentality. Needless to say, Steve and Bucky agreed that any fights they got into were probably well-deserved by any alphas who decided to be knot-heads around them.

It was after one such fight that Steve had gotten himself in to, that the omega explained why he was so freaked out about Bucky in the beginning when he shared Betty’s story. Bucky had no idea how to react to that except to rage against the world. Steve brought him back from going out and finding every alpha that deserved a beating and giving it to them though. Steve reminded him that he was safe, and that he preferred Bucky to be safe as well.

That was also the night that Bucky had decided to lay it all on the table.

He told Steve everything that happened during the war and his subsequent capture. It had taken Steve nearly a day to respond, and Bucky had worried the entire 23 hours, 18 minutes, and 23 seconds. When Steve sat Bucky down and told him that he wasn’t going to stop loving him just because Bucky fought for their country and helped win the fight against the evil that had happened in Europe, Bucky had cried. That had been the first time they had expressed their love for each other out loud.

After that, it was easier to communicate. They weren’t hiding as many secrets, and they were learning to share more and more – even when it wasn’t easy.

So, Bucky naturally told Steve that he wanted Steve to move into his apartment with him because he worried about Steve’s eating habits (Bucky really wanted to stop sneaking into Steve’s apartment to add food to his cupboards). Surprisingly, Steve had agreed with almost no protest, and Bucky was thankful.

He has learned so much about his soulmate in the past few months, and even though he’d love to change some things about him, Bucky knew he would never actually want Steve to change.

Even when he came home on the cusp of heat a banged-up mess.

“Dammit, Steve, it’s like you like getting punched.”

The frown that marred Steve’s face just pulled on his split lip, and Bucky told him to quit it before he made it worse. Bucky gently wiped a wet cloth over Steve’s face to get the blood off so he could better clean the cuts, but Steve was making it damned harder than it needed to be to get done.

“He was trying to lift some poor girl’s skirt up. What was I supposed to do? Let him?”

“No. I’m not mad at you for that. I’m mad at you for getting beat up so bad.”

Steve made another face at him, and Bucky couldn’t help but sigh. “Might as well take a bath while you can, Rogers. This fight must’ve pushed your hormones into fight, flight, or fuck, because you’re on the cusp of heat, and I can’t take my semi any longer.”

Steve out right laughed at him, the asshole.

“Well, go on. Give me a show, sugar.” Steve’s voice had dropped into a low register, and Bucky nearly growled in response. He withheld himself, if only because he knew that Steve wouldn’t get a bath if they started anything right now.

Instead, Bucky – like the damn good boyfriend he was – drew up the bath for Steve. When it was ready, Bucky pointed at it while looking at Steve. “In you go. Get cleaned up. Your heat will be arriving soon, and if you don’t want me here for it, I’m going to need to leave soon.”

At that, Steve’s brow furrowed. “Who said I don’t want you here for it?”

That brought Bucky up short. “You don’t, do you?” There was genuine surprise and curiosity held within that question.

Steve shrugged before he started stripping out of his clothes. “Yeah. I do. Want you here, that is. I mean…we’ve been dating for almost nine months now. It’s actually about time my heat came on, and I think your rut will come on to match me whether you’re around me or not. And…I love you, Bucky. I know you’ll take care of me. I trust you to take care of me. I want your bond bite.”

Well, shit. Bucky had to sit down before his knees gave out. “Steve, you’re…you’re sure?”

Steve nodded as he sunk into the tub. “Sure as I’m a stubborn asshole.”

Bucky barked a laugh out at that. “You got that right at least.”

Steve just flashed a grin at him before looking worried. “But, uh…if you don’t want to be here, I won’t make you stay.”

It was Steve’s tone that brought Bucky’s eyes up to look at him. “Sugar, I want to be here as much as cereal wants to be in milk.”

Steve made a face at him for that, and Bucky couldn’t help but pull one back.

“Shut up. You know what I mean. I want you, Stevie. Wanted you for a long time. I’m just glad to know that feeling is mutual. I want your bond bite too. I love you, punk.”

“Jerk.” Steve was smiling, and Bucky returned the expression.

“Alright, I’ll get the apartment ready. You finish cleaning up.”

Steve saluted him before grabbing the washrag that Bucky left for him while Bucky got to work, gathering snacks and water and other necessary items.

~S~*~B~

Steve couldn’t be happier. Ever since getting to know Bucky over these past few months, it was like they were made for each other. Which he supposed was why they were called soulmates.

Bucky had half of his soul, and Steve wouldn’t mind giving him the other half as well. So, when his skin became flushed and their talk about bond bites turned his insides to butterflies, Steve was more than ready to get the show on the road.

He finished up his bath, climbed out, and went to look for Bucky.

He found him in the bedroom, stripping the covers onto the floor within arm’s reach for nesting when they were ready. When they were arranged as Bucky wanted them, he turned toward Steve, and Steve saw him visibly swallow at Steve’s state of dress – or lack thereof.

“Hey, handsome.”

Steve felt his lips pull into a smile. “Hey, ugly.”

Bucky rolled his eyes and then held out his hands. Steve walked into his embrace, and he shivered with anticipation.

“We really doing this?” Bucky breathed the question into Steve’s hair.

Steve kissed him in response, and Bucky kissed Steve back with a gentle ferocity that hadn’t been there before.

Steve’s omega cried out for Bucky’s alpha, and the alpha didn’t disappoint.

Before Steve knew it, he was laying on his back on the bed with a warm body draped over his. Bucky was bearing down on Steve but not in a bad way. In fact, Steve wanted him closer. He told him as much, and Bucky started stripping out of his clothing.

Steve helped – more like distracted – Bucky with his suspenders and button up. Bucky kicked his pants off, and Steve was soon too far gone to care about anything else except Bucky and kissing.

Bucky had the same idea, and he started nipping down Steve’s neck and collarbone. His tongue focused on Steve’s nipples, and Steve undulated underneath him, grasping at the back of Bucky’s neck as moans were pulled from his lips.

When Bucky pulled away to look up at Steve, Steve was reminded that Bucky had the reddest lips he’s ever seen on someone not wearing lipstick. “Always knew you’d have the prettiest moans.”

Steve blushed but rolled his eyes. The first time Bucky had told him that, it had nearly sent Steve into an asthma attack. Of course, a lot of their nightly activities had nearly induced Steve’s asthma, but they made do. Steve glanced at the bedside table to make sure his cigarettes were within reach. Glad that they were, he focused his attention back on Bucky. “I ain’t getting any younger, pal.”

Bucky breathed out a laugh and refocused himself on kissing down Steve’s body. He bypassed Steve’s cock – the bastard – and went straight to spreading Steve’s slick around his entrance. Steve’s breath hitched when Bucky inserted a finger, and his hips started moving to seek out more stimulation.

~B~*~S~

When Bucky determined that Steve was prepared enough – he was practically mewling above him – he licked a stripe up Steve’s cock and grabbed a condom lying on the bedside table. He rolled it on and spread Steve’s legs nice and wide, so he could fit between them.

“Omega.”

Steve’s eyes flashed gold, and Bucky’s breath hitched. He knew his own were probably silver in turn. “Such a good omega. My omega. You going to be good? Listen to your alpha?”

Steve nodded his head quickly, and Bucky kissed him nice and slow. Steve chased his lips as he pulled away, and it made Bucky smile down at his soulmate.

“Gonna start, okay?”

Steve nodded again, and Bucky took his time petting through Steve’s hair with his metal hand as his flesh hand steadied himself to push into Steve.

Fuck!

He was mewling underneath Bucky, and Bucky’s alpha couldn’t help but let out a purr at the sound. “That’s it, darling. Going to make you come so good. Want me stroking your cock like I’m stroking your hair?” Steve nodded again, and Bucky leaned forward on his metal arm so his flesh hand could grasp Steve’s cock.

“There we go. I love it when you moan for me, omega. Make the prettiest sounds. Makes me want to keep you like this all day and night. See how long you could last for me.” Bucky’s hips started up a steady rhythm, and his hand kept pace.

Steve was reduced to sounds, but his hands were grasping Bucky anywhere they could reach. Finally, he pulled Bucky down to him so they could kiss properly, and Bucky felt more of his soul go to his soulmate. This was perfect.

~S~*~B~

Steve was coming for the third time before Bucky even popped his knot, and he was ready to bear down on a knot. He stopped Bucky, flipped himself over into the presentation position, and looked back over his shoulder to meet Bucky’s eyes. “Alpha, please.”

He saw Bucky’s silver eyes widen moments before he had his alpha’s weight pressing against his back. Steve sighed happily as Bucky sunk into him again and started up a fulfilling pace.

When Bucky’s metal hand snuck around to grip Steve’s cock, Steve was coming in seconds, and that seemed to be all the stimulation that Bucky needed before he pushed his knot inside of Steve and began coming as well.

Steve felt Bucky’s breath over his neck, and his lips pressed down into a kiss.

“Bucky, alpha, please.”

That was all it took before teeth were sinking down into Steve’s neck: a mirror to Bucky’s soul bond.

Steve, in unison, had turned his head and bit into the meat of Bucky’s right bicep, mirroring his own soul bond on his arm.

Their mating was complete.

~S~*~B~

Steve groaned at the light shining in through the windows, and he curled up into his nest further to get away from the day.

A warmth grew in his chest as he heard Bucky chuckle, and Steve’s head popped up to look at him.

“I can feel you. You’re amused at something.”

Bucky nodded. “Yeah, you. I know you’re tired and irritated. Mind sharing why?”

“It’s day time. I want to sleep.”

Bucky laughed again, and he pulled Steve in close to his side. “Go to sleep. You had a long four days of heat. You deserve it. I can get breakfast started and come to get you when it’s ready?”

Steve nodded but wrapped his arms around Bucky tightly. “Don’t go until after I fall asleep.”

Bucky huffed another laugh. “Okay, darling. I’ll stay.”

Steve hummed. Life sure felt right, now that he is mated to his soulmate. It brought a smile to his lips before he found himself dropping back off to sleep.

~*~End~*~