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Taking This One Step At A Time

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Steve took a sip of his whiskey and glanced around the bar. He'd ordered the expensive stuff, top-shelf. Alcohol didn't have any effect on him anymore, but that didn't mean he couldn't appreciate the taste of a good bourbon. What good was seventy years of back pay and an Avenger's salary if he couldn't treat himself to a nice drink now and then?

Since coming out of the ice three years ago, he'd spent nearly all his time on SHIELD work. If he wasn't actively on a mission then he was either briefing or debriefing for one. On the rare days that Fury legitimately had nothing for him, he visited Peggy. Most of that time was usually spent idly sketching while Peggy napped, but he treasured it all the same.

But tonight, though, he'd faced a conundrum. The mission debriefing had wrapped up earlier than usual, so that by the time he left the Triskelion, it was too late to visit Peggy but not late enough to justify going to bed. So he was left with a couple hours of dreaded spare time, and after wracking his brain for several minutes trying to remember how he used to kill time before, well, everything , he remembered the hours he used to spend at the bar two blocks from his old tenement apartment.

He'd never been particularly popular in his neighborhood — his runty appearance despite his alpha designation had cast him as a bit of an oddity — but the atmosphere at O'Malley's had always been friendly and whenever he went, it was one of the few times he felt like he really belonged.

So, here he was, trying to chase that same feeling. This place was a bit of a hole-in-the-wall, but he'd chosen it on purpose. He knew the fancy places wouldn't have the familiar, jovial atmosphere he sought.

And also, nobody would expect to find Captain America sipping whiskey in a place that had a drink named "Adios Motherfucker!" as the night's special.

All around him, people laughed and drank with easy, comfortable smiles. In one corner, a group of men were playing pool, their grins wide even as they traded insults. A few feet away from Steve, a woman seemed to be approaching the high score in pinball as a small crowd cheered her on.

All kinds of scents mingled in the air as alphas, betas, and omegas talked and laughed and flirted with each other. A lot had changed since 1943, but the warm, freeing feeling of sitting in a local bar was exactly the same. Even as Steve sat alone, that easy joy still took root inside him.

He was nearly finished with his whiskey when a man sat down at the bar beside him, and Steve looked up from his drink in an instant because, Oh God, his scent .

The man was an omega; Steve could tell that at once by the hint of sweetness that wafted from him. But beyond that, the aroma he gave off was like nothing Steve had ever encountered before. It was warm, smoky almost, like a summertime campfire, and it was absolutely intoxicating. And the omega's appearance certainly matched the attractiveness of his scent, with dark hair that fell to his shoulders and clear blue eyes. He had a thick, muscled build that some alphas might have found unattractive, but it only drove Steve even more wild.

He glanced at Steve, smirking a little, no doubt catching wind of Steve's obvious arousal. "Hey."

"Hi," Steve replied after the second it took for him to collect himself. He knew this happened to people sometimes, encountering someone whose scent was like a drug in how much it intoxicated them. But he never imagined it would be like this . He could hardly form a coherent thought beyond want want want.

"What are you having?" The man nodded at Steve's nearly empty glass, his smirk now turned to a broad grin.

"Uh, whiskey. High West."

The man gave a low, impressed whistle, signaled the bartender, and ordered a round for the both of them before Steve could utter another word.

"I've never seen you here before. You just move to DC?" the man said. His voice was casual, but now that the initial shock of the man's scent had worn off and Steve could string more than two thoughts together, he noticed a spike of arousal in the air that wasn't his.

"A couple years ago, actually," Steve replied. He felt a little more on solid ground now that he could see the attraction was mutual.

"Huh. Where were you living before?"

"New York," Steve said. It was technically true; he'd spent a few months in a SHIELD-issue apartment in the city before the Chitauri invasion had jarred him out of his post-defrost melancholic lull and into working for SHIELD full-time. The handsome stranger definitely didn't need to know his residence before that was somewhere under the Arctic ocean. The guy clearly didn’t recognize Steve as Captain America and he wanted to keep it that way. "I moved to DC for work."

The man huffed a little laugh. "You know what? Now that I'm looking for it, I can hear the New York accent."

"That bad, huh?"

The man smiled. "I like it."

Their drinks came then, and Steve couldn't help staring as the man took a long sip, his eyes widening a little as he took in the burning taste. He was so goddamned attractive, Steve couldn't stand it.

"Damn. You've got good taste," the man said, setting his glass down. "What's your name?"

"Steve." He probably should have come up with a fake, but he figured if the guy hadn’t recognized him by now he was never going to. "What's yours?"

"James, but everyone calls me by my nickname, Bucky."

"'Bucky,'" Steve repeated, disbelieving and teasing.

Bucky's mouth just twitched with a smile and he took another sip of his drink. When he set the glass down again, he leaned in closer to Steve. The proximity magnified his scent, and the little self-composure Steve had regained was quickly draining away again.

"Listen," Bucky said, in a low voice that was almost a whisper. "My apartment is just a couple blocks over. You wanna get out of here after you finish that drink?"

Steve picked up his glass, brought it to his lips, and drained it in one sip.

 

They barely made it three steps inside Bucky's apartment before they were on each other.

Steve couldn't even say who started it; it was like they moved at the exact same instant, leaning in to press their lips together, hands coming up to tug each other close. It didn't take long for them to part their lips for each other, tongues sliding in, desperate and exploring. If Steve thought Bucky's scent was overwhelming back at the bar, it was nothing compared to the headiness that filled the air as they kissed and groped with abandon.

When they parted for air, Bucky gripped the front of Steve's shirt and pulled him backwards, moving down the hall into his bedroom. When they reached the foot of the bed, Bucky took a step back and pulled his long-sleeved sweater over his head. And that's when Steve noticed the arm.

Bucky's entire left arm was made of sleek black metal, starting from where it looked to be grafted right into his shoulder and down to his fingertips. The prosthetic was amazingly lifelike; Steve knew that from the fact that he hadn't even noticed anything strange when Bucky's hands had been all over him, and even that aside, Steve could tell just by looking at the realistic-looking joints and digits and the fluid way they moved.

Bucky must have noticed Steve's staring because he gave a wry, slightly grimacing smile. "I was in Iraq. Got my arm blown off."

"Sorry to hear that," Steve said, completely sincere. One of the toughest things he'd had to grapple with since coming back was the fact that, just because his war ended, didn't mean others hadn't started.

Bucky waved a metal hand dismissively. "I was lucky, really. Got to be one of the first patients at the Wakandan outreach hospital."

Steve just nodded at that. He'd met T'Challa and his sister Shuri only a few times since Wakanda had offered its aid to the rest of the world in response to the Chitauri attack, but he had a lot of respect for the work they were doing, sacrificing their long-kept secret and sharing their knowledge and resources to make the world a better, safer place.

Saying nothing else on the matter, Bucky pulled off his pants and boxers, and fell back onto the bed. Steve quickly followed suit, stripping off his own clothes and joining Bucky on the bed, leaning over him and kissing him feverishly.

Bucky tilted his head up, baring his neck to Steve, and the smell of him — sweet and smoking and pure arousal — made Steve's head spin. He moved to kiss Bucky there too, sucking marks on his skin as Bucky made low, keening sounds. He could feel Bucky's cock against his stomach, on the smaller side like most omegas, but undoubtedly hard as Bucky arched up into Steve's touch. His own cock was hard and flushing red, and he could feel the maddening pleasure-pain of his knot beginning to swell.

"Want you in me," Bucky panted, broken and needy as he rolled his hips in frantic, ungainly motions. "Please."

Bucky's desperate pleas for Steve inside him went straight to his most basal instincts. It was like his body was moving on its own accord as he gripped Bucky's hips hard and flipped him onto his belly in one fluid motion. It was a rough, possessive sort of move that was pure alpha , and Steve normally liked to pride himself on having a good control over himself when it came to his more primal instincts. But right now, with Bucky so needy and pliant under him, he couldn't help the emergence of his rough side.

Bucky didn't seem to mind it at all. He let out a sharp gasp when Steve flipped him, and then as soon as he was on his belly, he canted his hips up and spread his knees apart. Presenting. The sight was downright obscene, slick glistening around his hole, running down his spread thighs. The scent was overwhelming, an intoxicating blend of omega arousal and Bucky's own irresistible musk.

Steve just barely had the presence of mind to ask, "Condom?"

Bucky glanced over his shoulder and shook his head. "Don't need one. I'm on birth control."

Well. All right then. The twenty-first century was a lonely, terrifying place, but it certainly wasn't without its perks.

Steve braced both hands on Bucky's sides, holding him tight, and then slid inside him. He couldn't help the low, guttural sound that escaped his lips as he pressed in. Bucky was so perfectly warm and tight around him, engulfing his cock in smooth heat. Beneath him, he could hear Bucky's choked-off cries, the volume of which increased remarkably when Steve's burgeoning knot breached him.

Steve let out a low " Fuuuuuck " when he was fully inside Bucky, and he only took a few seconds to relish the sensation of being fully sheathed before he pulled his hips back and drove into Bucky again. His pace turned furious almost at once, driving into Bucky again and again, seeking friction, chasing his pleasure.

Bucky let out a pleased whine at each thrust, rolling his own hips in time to meet each of Steve's movements. And Bucky's pleasure lit up something inside Steve, sparked up his alpha pride knowing he was making his omega feel good, and it only encouraged him even more, made him want to chase pleased sounds from Bucky's lips with the same drive that he chased his own pleasure.

"God, fuck, I'm gonna—" Bucky broke off with a gasp and Steve moved his hand to wrap around Bucky's cock, stroking him roughly as he spilled all over his belly and the sheets beneath them.

"Fuck, fuck, fuck ," Bucky's strained whines were hoarse, nearly inaudible, but the sound of Bucky so wrecked was enough to be Steve’s undoing, and he came inside Bucky in a sudden crescendo that made him cry out.

After taking a moment to catch his breath, he guided himself and Bucky to lie on their sides while they waited on his knot to go down. He wrapped his arms around Bucky's torso, drawing him in so his back was flush against Steve's chest. He could feel Bucky's heart thundering under his hands, could feel the rise and fall of his chest with each heavy breath.

The scent of sated omega hung in the air, a soft tangy sort of smell that melded with Bucky's already perfect aroma. Steve tucked his head in the crook of Bucky's neck, desperate for it.

"Christ," Bucky said, voice raw and bruised. He huffed out a disbelieving laugh and tilted his head back, letting Steve scent him.

Steve's head swam. He felt like he was drunk, high off the heady smells that clouded them, the aftershock feelings of his release. He didn't speak for a long while, incapable of doing anything besides lying there and languishing in the feeling of his post-orgasmic haze and the sensation of a warm, sated omega in his arms. Bucky seemed content to go without speaking for a while as well, relaxing in Steve's embrace. They didn't even let go of each other when it was clear Steve's knot had gone down.

Their tranquility was broken by the sharp trill of Steve's cell phone.

"Dammit!" He could count on one hand the number of people who had his number, and none of them would be calling just to say hello.

With great reluctance, he pulled out of Bucky and moved off the bed to fish his phone out of his jeans’ pocket from where he'd discarded them on the floor.

Natasha Romanoff: Stark's bots have gone rogue and are destroying the tower. Jet leaves in 30.

Steve looked up at the ceiling, suppressing a groan. It must be bad if Iron Man couldn't handle it on his own.

"Everything alright?"

Steve turned to see Bucky sitting up on the bed, naked and skin still flushed red from their recent exertion. He was looking warily at Steve.

Steve gave him a grimace and started hurrying to get dressed. "Work emergency. I'm sorry."

Bucky's mouth twisted into a slight frown, but he just shrugged and lay back down. "Guess I'll see you around then."

Steve barely heard Bucky's goodbye as he tugged his shirt on and crossed the room to the door, his movements fast and anxious. The post-sex daze was quickly dissipating in favor of pre-fight adrenaline. He paused before he opened the door and looked back at Bucky. "Uh, thanks, for… you know."

The humiliating awkwardness of it made Steve cringe internally, but Bucky cracked a tiny smile and snorted.

"Trust me, it was my pleasure."

And then Steve's phone made another insistent trill, and he threw Bucky one last apologetic look before he bolted out without another word.

***

Bucky woke the next morning with a dull, pleasant ache between his legs and the unmistakable scent of sex wafting from his sheets. He sat up gingerly, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and slowly remembering the night before.

He didn't do that kind of thing often, fucking random alphas. But with the current state of his life, a long-term relationship was something he neither wanted nor needed, so sometimes it was just nice to walk the couple blocks to Medusa’s and take home an alpha who caught his attention. And, God, had Steve caught his attention. His scent had been sharp and wild and fresh like mountain air, and Bucky couldn't resist it. And his gorgeous blue eyes and brick shithouse build hadn't hurt either.

And then the sex had been out of this world. Maybe the best Bucky had ever had. Which was crazy because they didn't even know each other. But there was something between them, something Bucky couldn't name or describe, some kind of spark that had flared up in their mutual desire and zeal for getting each other off.

Usually, in situations like last night, Bucky's only objective was his own pleasure, and same went for  his partner. But with Steve… they'd each wanted to get off, sure, but Bucky had found that he also wanted to chase Steve's pleasure too, wanted to make him feel good, wanted to watch him come apart. And, amazingly, Bucky could tell Steve had felt the same way.

"Fuck," Bucky said quietly to himself, taking in the faded scent of Steve that still clung to the sheets.

The buzz of arousal he got from the lingering scent carried on even as he got out of bed and headed to the bathroom to get ready for the day. When he stepped into the shower, he still hadn't shaken the phantom sensation of Steve driving into him, rough and determined even as he held him sure and steady in his arms, so it was practically without thinking that Bucky closed his eyes under the stream and took his cock in his hand and started stroking himself to the memories of last night. Steve's scent, so wonderfully suffocating when he'd reached the peak of his arousal. Steve's massive arms wrapped around his chest. Steve's cock inside him, huge and sliding in and out at a jolting pace that made him—

Bucky came right there in the shower with a gasping yelp. He stood trembling for a moment, hot water running over him, the evidence of his fantasizing dripping down the tiled wall.

Jesus Christ. He needed to get a fucking grip.

But by the time he finished his shower and was dressed and on his way out the door, his shame had worn off enough for him to consider, with the faintest bit of hope, that maybe he'd cross paths with Steve again.

 

Bucky arrived at the VA just before the morning amputee support group he led was scheduled to start. When he walked by the front desk, Sam took one look at him and wrinkled his nose.

"Dude."

"What?" Bucky asked innocently.

"Even I can smell the 'well-fucked' coming off of you."

Sam may have lost his mate Riley a few years back, but he still experienced the dampened sense of smell that came with becoming part of a mated pair, unable to find anyone appealing or feel much sexual drive for anyone but his mate. A similar kind of scent dampening often happened with pregnant omegas or assault victims, basically anyone for whom intimacy with a non-mate would be a bad idea. If Sam could smell the pleased, post-sex pheromones on him, Bucky knew it must be strong.

Bucky grimaced. "Sorry. Met a guy last night."

Sam snorted. "Yeah, well, the whole city doesn't need to know." He pushed a stack of pamphlets across the desk toward Bucky, the usual newsletters and VA reminders they gave out every week. "Make sure everyone takes one. And remind people there's still slots open for the Captain America Exhibit trip coming up."

Bucky nodded and took the stack of papers, heading down the hall to the meeting room. It wasn't a large room, just enough space for a dozen or so chairs to be arranged in a circle with a table off to the side for donuts and coffee. Bucky set the pamphlets down on the table while he got the refreshments ready.

The week's discussion topic — according to the brochure’s cover, which featured a photo of a smiling group of racially diverse amputees arm-in-arm on a soccer field — was about staying physically active after loss of limb. Bucky couldn't suppress his snort as he remembered what his own physical activity level had been like after losing his left arm, before the Wakandan outreach center had gotten in touch with him. He'd spent a lot of time cooped up in his apartment, alternating between lying in bed feeling sorry for himself or lying on his couch feeling sorry for himself.

But… that was why he was here. Because he'd been there. He'd been in that inactive, hazy slump, and he'd gotten himself out of it. And he hadn't done it by just getting a prosthetic. He knew better than anyone that the depressive haze he was in had infinitely more to do with his mental state than it had to do with his physical disability. He'd clawed his way back to normalcy the good old-fashioned way: hard work, honest self-evaluation, and a counselor who wouldn't give up on him and wouldn't let him give up on himself.

He hoped now he could be to others what Sam Wilson had been to him.

***

The mission had been a mess. Grueling and awful and leaving Steve bone-tired by the end of it. Just when he'd thought they'd gotten all the rogue bots, another wave would appear apparently out of nowhere, and it would start all over again. Thankfully, Tony had possessed enough sense to call for an evac as soon as he noticed something was up, so there weren't any civilian casualties. Just a tremendous amount of property damage, most of which was contained to the Tower.

Steve wasn't too worried about that. Tony had the means to pay for it, and maybe it was just his agitation after fighting killer robots for ten hours straight, but he thought Tony might deserve it, a little. Some consequences here were probably warranted.

Either way, Steve was immensely relieved when he finally made it back to his DC apartment and could strip out of his dirtied uniform and take a long, hot shower. When he stepped out of the bathroom some time later, reveling in the feeling of no longer being covered in burnt metal dustings and motor oil, he noticed the hall clock read quarter-past three in the afternoon. Just about the time he usually left to go visit Peggy.

He tried to see her as often as he could, but the past few days of missions, long debriefing meetings, and the accidental legion of Stark-bots had kept him busy. It would be good to see her, good to be in the presence of someone who was happy for the company of Steve Rogers rather than Captain America.

It wasn't until he was cruising through the city streets on his bike that Steve's thoughts wandered to the previous night. He'd nearly forgotten, amidst everything, but now he couldn't help the flush of arousal at the memory of Bucky moaning and shivering underneath him.

He'd never done anything like that before. Before the serum, no omega had looked at him twice, his diminutive stature and fragile health being the opposite of what an alpha "should" be. Even after the serum, he may have looked the perfect alpha, but he still didn't know a damn thing about flirting, hardly making it beyond awkward fumbling with the few omegas he met on the USO tour. And then there had been Peggy, and he hadn't wanted anyone else after that.

Except Bucky had smelled like a dream, and beyond that, going home with him had felt right . Something about Bucky's relaxed disposition and easy sense of humor had dispelled Steve's usual awkwardness when it came to that sort of thing. Bucky, so carefree and obvious in his desire, had made it easy for Steve to feel in touch with his more basal desires without having to overthink the situation. He hadn't needed to think at all when he was with Bucky; his instincts to claim and take care of his omega had been all he needed to rely on.

He thought about it the entire drive to the nursing home, and it was only when he found himself turning into the familiar parking lot that he shook himself out of his fantasizing.

When he got to Peggy's room and she greeted him with a tired smile, he knew right away what kind of day it was. It wasn't going to be one of those good days when she knew who he was and they chatted for hours about what Peggy had been up to in the last seventy years and what Steve had been doing with SHIELD. But neither was it going to be one of those bad days where she saw him and immediately panicked, thinking she was losing her mind and a nurse would have to sedate her. Today was somewhere in between. She recognized him, but he could tell by the exhausted look on her face that she wasn't up for much conversation.

"How are you, Peg?" Steve noticed the flowers on the nightstand he'd brought last week were wilting a little and made a note to bring another bunch next time.

She gave him a wan smile but didn't say anything, her eyes sliding closed a second later. Steve just let out a soft sigh, reaching over to take her withered hand and giving it a gentle squeeze before he settled back in the chair by the bed and pulled out his sketchbook.

At some point in the evening, his mindless doodling turned into a detailed drawing of a gilded vibranium hand.