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i can feel the sun (whenever you’re near)

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They get a place in Red Hook, after. Two-story row house with a tiny scrap of a concrete backyard, and just enough light in the back windows in case Steve ever gets around to drawing again.

The neighborhood’s not the same as it was, but Bucky’s getting real fucking sick of thinking that, saying that, about everything. He didn’t used to have a century’s worth of killing crammed into his skull, either, but he’s trying his best not to hold that against himself these days.

The thing about Brooklyn is, everything comes back around sooner or later. Poor neighborhoods become rich neighborhoods become poor neighborhoods all over again.

Time wraps around itself, he figures. Just like how it is with him and Steve. It’s the only way it makes any sense, that can explain how they came out the other side of the battle and the stones and the lost years from the Decimation that Bucky remembers like a faraway dream and Steve wears like a blanket of grief that he hasn’t realized he can throw off just yet.

The only fucking way to explain the lines starting to form in Steve’s face, the grey at Bucky’s temples, like the damn serum that made them both has finally realized that it wasn’t meant to withstand death and aliens and battles thousands of lightyears away from home.

So, it’s the year 2019. Bucky lives in Red Hook, with Steve, and he’s so in love with the miserable bastard that it aches, a little, when he’s least expecting it.

The more things change, huh.

.

 

“I hate that fucking building,” Steve calls out, for the tenth time this week, probably. Bucky pours himself a cup of coffee and drops an extra splash of cream in it, just how Steve likes it, before sticking his head out the kitchen window, leaning both arms against the sill.

“You can’t actually make the IKEA go away by cursing at it, Steve,” Bucky says, also for the tenth time this week, probably. “You’re the dumbass who decided to sit out on the fire escape in the first place.”

Steve’s got his back pressed up against the metal framework of the ladder and his feet propped up on the railing, a blank notebook in his lap.

He hasn’t started drawing again, not yet. He’s thinking about it, though. Seems like progress.

Steve shrugs. “You know me. Never met an idea that I’ve stop to think through all the way,” he says, letting loose a small, wry smile, and Bucky braces himself on the molding, trying his best not to get blindsided by the way the morning sun lights Steve’s face all the way up, by how that smile hasn’t changed a damn bit in a hundred years.

Something of what Bucky’s feeling must be showing on his face anyways, though, because Steve goes a little soft around the edges, and scoots over on the fire escape to press a kiss to the corner of Bucky’s mouth. Bucky breathes Steve in, takes in the smell of coffee and that new fancy detergent that Steve’s always buying these days, and murmurs, “I feel like you’re quoting me with that one, Rogers. I feel like I yelled that at you once, back in Holland.”

Steve huffs a laugh. “Holland and Italy and at least a dozen times over on Sands Street alone, I think.”

“Sounds right,” Bucky says, and it’s a little victory, still, when he remembers something like that all the way.

Shuri says that’ll stop happening, one day, that his brain will finally heal enough that it’ll stop surprising him.

But he kinda likes the surprise, these days. Likes the thrill that comes after it.

So, Bucky kisses Steve again, and again, as easy as anything, like they have all the time in the world to stay right here and neck like the teenagers that they used to be, Steve’s hand gripping tight into the collar of Bucky’s t-shirt, Bucky’s teeth nipping at Steve’s bottom lip, just the way he’s always liked it. It’s an awkward angle but they’ve had worse, and anyways. It’s their damn house. What’s the point of owning a house if you can’t kiss your best guy on every damn inch of it.

In a minute, Steve will steal Bucky’s coffee mug, and drink the last of it, just like Bucky always knew he would.

A couple of minutes after that, Steve will push Bucky backwards into the kitchen and follow him through the window, will kiss him again and crack a dumb joke about being old and retired, and Bucky will pause, and wonder when the right time will be to tell Steve that he might still have some fighting left to do, actually. That the Winter Soldier still has a ledger to wipe clean and maybe even some people left to save, that he wants to see what it’s like to do those things for his own reasons, and no one else’s.

But it’s too soon for any of that just yet.

For now, he’s 32 or 102, and he’s in love and he knows it, all the way down to his bones, and that’s it. That’s the only fucking thing in the world that matters.

.

“Hey Buck,” Steve says, head pillowed on Bucky’s bare chest, blonde hair tickling Bucky’s skin just enough to notice but not enough that he cares to make Steve move any time soon. Steve feels good like this, warm and close and steady, and breathing deep, the way he never used to be able to.

The sheets are somewhere, on the floor probably, and Bucky’s pretty sure that Steve threw the pillow into the bathroom at some point in the past hour.

Steve scrapes his teeth lightly against Bucky’s skin, like he knows Bucky isn’t paying attention all the way, and then smirks up at him. “You think I should grow back the beard?”

Bucky peers down at him, lifting a hand to drag through Steve’s hair. “Pal, I think you should do whatever the fuck you want to do.”

Steve ducks his head, presses his answering grin into Bucky’s chest. “You and me both.”

Bucky hums softly. “See, you can come up with good ideas, Rogers," he says, and maybe he deserves it when Steve pinches Bucky in the side, but Steve's laughing when he does it, that clear bright laugh that's starting to come a little easier lately.

It’s not the worst plan they’ve ever had, probably. He likes their chances, these days.