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  1. All It Takes

Steve and Bucky live together.

 

Problems that come in the living-with-Bucky-Barnes package are minimal to none. He’s quiet, he cleans up after himself, he likes to keep the windows open when it’s warm outside, and he even cooks sometimes. Or, tries to. But Steve can’t care less about Bucky’s lacking culinary skills. What bothers him is that, despite the fact that there’s only one bed in the apartment, Steve often finds himself sleeping alone. He knows that it isn’t because Bucky doesn’t want to share a bed with him, he just has trouble sleeping sometimes. (A lot.) He knows that sometimes Bucky just forgets to go to bed.

Bucky at least tries to get some rest when he does remember, and that makes Steve feel better. He’ll get under the blankets with Steve and hold him from behind until he just can’t lie still awake anymore. Or sometimes until he does manage to fall asleep, usually with a hand over the middle of Steve’s chest or his fingers pressed to the inside of his wrist, right over his pulse.

But when it’s bad and Steve falls asleep alone and wakes up at three in the morning cold, he finds himself frowning, and when there’s something on his mind (in these cases, Bucky), sleep becomes impossible.

This time, he’s found himself tossing and turning for over an hour, staring at the digital clock on the bedside table and thinking about what Bucky is doing. Did he get caught up in his memories again? What if he fell asleep reading at his desk again? The last time that happened, he couldn’t turn his neck to the left until four hours had passed and Steve practically forced him into a hot bath.

Steve knows he shouldn’t worry about these things; he knows that Bucky is perfectly capable of taking care of himself. He tells Steve all the time that he doesn’t need to worry, but how can he not when he knows that his best friend is suffering on the other side of the wall?

Once again he finds himself rolling over to face the clock. It takes a few minutes for him to wiggle out of the twisted prison of sheets he’s gotten his legs stuck in, but he manages to stumble to his feet and grab a shirt off the floor. (He’s not as good with the whole cleaning-up-after-himself thing as Bucky is yet.) He drags a blanket off the bed for good measure, too, and throws it around his shoulders like a cape. It drags a bit on the ground while he walks, something that his mother used to scold him for when he was a kid.

Even though he’s been restless all night, fatigue is still crouched behind the windows of his eyes, weighing his body down to give sleepiness the opportunity to trip him over things and knock his feet and elbows into the door frame, even despite his enhanced reflexes, as he waddles his way out of the room.

The hallway is dark, having been left to slowly lose its navigability as the sun sank in the late afternoon. Steve follows the blinding glow that leaks around the corner from the living room, and he pauses in the open archway while his eyes adjust to the brightness of the lamp at one corner of the sofa. Bucky hasn’t noticed him yet, and continues to study the notepad he’s holding in front of his face. Steve thinks the paper is too close to his eyes. There’s a pencil––or is it a pen?––perched behind Bucky’s ear, and when Steve sees him reach up to grab it, he takes the few steps forward that close the distance between them and snatches it away before Bucky’s hand has even made it higher than his own shoulder. When Bucky turns around, his eyebrows are drawn together just enough for three tiny creases to fold in between them. Steve presses his index finger there to smooth them away, but it only makes Bucky raise an eyebrow and crease his forehead instead, confused.

“Hey, Buck.” Steve doesn’t mean for it to come out as a whisper, but he can barely hear himself speaking.

“What’re you doing?” Bucky asks.

Steve puts the pencil down on the table beside them, and rests his hand on Bucky’s cheek instead. “Do you know what time it is?”

Bucky seems to consider the question for a long time, before finally tilting his head and saying that no, he doesn’t know what time it is, because he hasn’t been paying attention to the clock. He raises his gaze to inspect Steve’s face. There are dusky smudges under his eyes, the color of dried lavender in the bright light of the lamp. Strands of fly-away hair rest against his forehead, some bits long enough to fall into his face, though not enough that Bucky can’t see his eyes. His eyes. Steve’s eyes, which seem to be struggling to keep focus on one thing, darting around to clear the fog that settles in every time he lets them linger too long in one direction.

“It’s some insane hour of the morning, isn’t it?” Bucky asks the question more like it’s an assumption. Steve nods and lifts his other hand so that he’s cupping Bucky’s face for a moment, brushing his thumb over his cheek before letting his hands fall to instead wrap his arms around his neck, hugging him from behind. He leans his head against the side of Bucky’s neck, and Bucky’s hand rises to rest in his hair.

“Just past three,” Steve answers.

Bucky laughs softly. “Could be worse,” he says. “But why aren’t you asleep?”

Steve blushes and straightens up, reaching down to grab Bucky’s hand and tug it lightly in his direction. “Cold.”

Bucky smiles at his answer. It’s so like Steve, in the best way possible, to be able to convey thousands of phrases and words by speaking just one aloud. Maybe it’s because of how much time he’s spent with him, but Bucky knows what Steve really means. He can see it when he turns his head again and stands up, flipping his notebook shut and tossing it onto the coffee table.

“And you think having the Winter Soldier in your bed will solve that problem?” he teases.

Steve just squints at him like he doesn’t get the joke, and Bucky sighs. “I’m sorry,” he says quietly, squeezing Steve’s hand as he’s pulled through the dim hallway (not before turning off the light) and guided into their room.

“Get changed and come sleep with me,” Steve says, letting himself fall backwards onto the bed, still wrapped up in his blanket.

“Steve, I thought you’d never ask,” Bucky says with a tired grin, making Steve groan and bury his face in a pillow.

“Actual sleeping,” he mumbles. “But that does remind me, brush your teeth, too.” He laughs when Bucky balls up the shirt he's just taken off an throws it at him.

“One time,” Bucky mutters as he makes his way to the bathroom. “ One time."

"That's all it takes," Steve calls after him.

 

 

  1. Nor’easter

Bucky dissociates while he’s alone in the apartment he shares with Steve.

 

The heater broke.

The heater broke and now Bucky’s hands are cold. His hands are so cold, and his fingernails feel thin like they could curl away and peel off like paper over the tips of his fingers.

But he doesn’t want his fingernails to fall apart. They’re important. They protect his fingers, that’s why they’re there. And anybody’s hands would look strange without fingernails. That’s just a fact. A hand without fingernails is a starfish with knuckles.

Rain turned to sleet turned to ice turned to snow. The freezing rain that carried the transition between sleet and ice weighed down the power lines and broke the heater. Well, broke everything electronic. But the heater’s malfunction is the most noticeable.

The weather people gave the storm a strange name that Bucky can’t remember. Why are people naming snowstorms like children now? Or was it just a winter storm? Apparently there’s a difference. It was a rainstorm, and then a sleetstorm, and now it’s a snowstorm. But it’s winter, so can all of those storms be combined into one? A winter storm?

Bucky thinks the word ‘storm’ is strange. It doesn’t have meaning anymore, not after he thought it in his head so many times.

But the storm doesn’t matter. He’s cold. He sits on his bed, propped up but two pillows and wrapped in a bedsheet, and blanket, and a comforter, but it’s not enough. He really misses actual warm air. And warm people.

He’s trying to distract himself by writing down memories. But he can’t even read the words he’s writing anymore his fingers are so cold. The pen is slowly dying, too, steadily with the feeling in his hand, the ink flows lighter and lighter until it stops and he stops trying to write words that he can’t read.

He misses his home. He misses his family and his dog and his room. But home is seventy years ago, and more than that he misses Steve. The difference is that he’s been away from home since he was drafted during World War II, while Steve has only been gone for a few hours. He guesses that’s what love does to people.

Or maybe he just gets lonely too fast.

Both? Probably both.

Bucky lets the pen fall out of his hand and closes the notebook in his lap. He curls further into the blankets around him and lets himself fall on his side, sliding down the pillows until his head is on the mattress and close enough to the window that he could press his nose against its glass.

It was eleven in the morning last he checked, which honestly could have been hours ago. Either way, it’s dark enough outside that it could be past dinner time now.

The wind blows the snow just so that it catches in the screen of the window, steadily building a rising wall up to block Bucky’s view of the street, far below him. Eight stories, to be exact.

When will Steve be back?

His hands curl into fists around themselves unconsciously and he nuzzles his nose so that it nestles in the sheets, head bent forward so that his chin is almost touching his chest. He closes his eyes and imagines that he’s outside, laying in the blankets of snow instead. It swirls all around him before gravity makes it land on his eyelashes and the tips of his toes, laying over him in more and more layers, more and more blankets until he can’t feel the cold anymore. Until the flakes stop melting when they touch his skin, because now his skin is even colder than they are, and he is ice, he’s becoming ice, turning into ice. He wants to stand up, because now that he is ice he can’t slip on other ice, right? Or would he slip more?

“Bucky.”

Something touches him and the ice around him shatters and he opens his eyes, which don’t have snow on them.

Did they before?

No. No, because he’s inside, on his bed, next to the window in their bedroom and he had let himself float away again.

But he can’t see. It’s strange, because usually his eyes work just fine. Not like his head, that has problems sometimes. Maybe there’s ice freezing his eyes shut. What if his eyes were made of ice, frozen and crystal but still perfect spheres. Maybe they were once, or several times.

“Bucky, it’s Steve. We’re at home in New York. It’s two-thousand-sixteen.”

Something touches him again and he blinks his eyelids over his eyes, which he notes are not made of ice anymore. No, they’re made of… what are eyes made of? Something less cold than ice.

Whatever’s touching him keeps touching him, and he realizes it is warm.

Where is he again?

On a bed.

His bed.

“Buck, please. Come back to me.”

Their bed.

He remembers that he has a nose, and he uses it. The stuff around him smells nice. It smells like the pine trees outside and cinnamon toast, but not the kind with raisins in it, because he hates those. Who hates raisins? Bucky doesn’t hate raisins. He thinks they’re just fine. Who hates raisins?

“Steve.”

Bucky rolls over and blinks a few times, then grins up at the man standing next to him with a hand on his shoulder. “Steve hates raisins.”

Steve instantly grimaces. “Raisins are gross, okay? Don’t––why are we talking about raisins?”

Instead of answering him, Bucky grabs Steve and pulls him onto the bed. He lifts the blankets he has wrapped around his body and wraps them around Steve, too.

Steve jumps when Bucky’s skin touches his own. “You’re freezing.” He immediately cups Bucky’s hands in his own. “Where did you go?” he asks softly, pulling Bucky closer so that they’re hugging.

Bucky pouts, even though Steve can’t see with his face pressed into his neck. “I wanted to watch the snow.” Which is weird, because he knows he’s seen enough snow to last a lifetime. He just can’t quite remember… when. Or where.

Steve sighs and Bucky shivers as his warm breath thaws his skin.

“Then let’s watch the snow.”

 

 

  1. Chronically Cold

A couple of guys with PTSD finding comfort in each other.

 

             Sometimes Bucky feels small. But it happens to everyone, he thinks. At least, that’s what Steve tells him whenever he sits down next to him on the couch and just sits and sits, because Steve can tell that he feels small when he looks over and Bucky is just looking at him with kind-of-sad eyes. And he believes Steve, because then he’ll pull Bucky into his arms so that he’s sitting on his lap facing him, legs on either side of Steve’s hips, and hold him against his chest so that his chin rests on his shoulder and his nose in his neck, and then he’ll hug him until he’s okay again, even if it means getting a few tears on the sleeves of his shirt.

Bucky even managed to get Steve to sing for him one time, when nothing else was working. They had stayed up for hours that night, just chest to chest, nose to nose, arm in arm with the curtains drawn tight.

It helps the most when Bucky can feel Steve’s heartbeat right up against his own, because then he can focus on breathing just right to make his match.

And sometimes it’s the opposite, and Steve will slide up against Bucky’s back when he thinks he’s sleeping, and he’ll rest his forehead in the curve of his shoulder with quick breaths. He’ll put a hand on the front of Bucky’s chest and the other on his shoulder blade to smooth up and down, back and forth, sometimes underneath his shirt, and Bucky thinks he does that because Bucky is often cold and Steve is sometimes too warm and he knows that it helps when he can feel Bucky’s skin because Bucky’s skin is so alive.

At first Bucky thought it was strange that Steve comforts himself by comforting others, but then it made sense after the first night it happened, when Bucky didn’t pretend to be asleep and instead turned around when he felt that hand on his shoulder. He opened his mouth but Steve shook his head and moved his hand up to his cheek when Bucky furrowed his eyebrows, saying just let me hold you. So he did and Steve was okay. He didn’t get it at first, but that morning when they woke up, Steve told him that bodies are grounding, and that Bucky’s was especially so, and he didn’t know why, just that he felt solid and he felt alive and he felt real and it’s what Steve needs to feel sometimes.

But today it’s Bucky who needs that; it’s Bucky who feels numb and leans his front against Steve’s where he’s sitting on the couch, whatever he was watching on the TV forgotten as he brings his palms up to Bucky’s back and pulls him closer so that Bucky can feel his heartbeat against his own because Steve knows that he needs to feel it right now. And Bucky exhales when he turns his head to nose at Steve’s neck, so that on the next, more even breath he can smell that scent that always makes the next breath a little slower, a little easier, especially when Steve’s hands curl over the backs of his shoulders so that the tips of his long fingers nearly brush where his collarbones are, and he does the same to Steve, slipping his hands behind him and against the couch, then over the tops of his shoulders, too. They fit together like pieces of a puzzle this way, just like Steve tells Bucky bodies should do.

Steve knows that Bucky doesn’t want to talk when he cries, so he just moves one of his hands down and rubs the small of his back, massaging around each notch of his spine. He can feel Bucky loosen up and relax against him slowly, and his hands eventually stop clenching so hard around his shoulders. It took some trial and error to figure out what worked best for Bucky, because Bucky doesn’t cry the same way he used to. He cries silently, he cries prettily and when Steve told him that once he just smiled back at him a little, then hugged him tighter. That was how Steve learned that Bucky was like him in a way, that he needed that same physical grounding. So instead of talking they just touch.

This time is easy; Steve’s hands work just like magic on his body, Bucky thinks, because he doesn’t feel as much nothing anymore. Instead he feels relaxed, because Steve is there too, he knows now, and he’s fixed his breathing so that they match. Steve can tell that he feels better, too, because Bucky moves his head to rest on his chest instead of his neck. Steve moves his hand to his hair, because he knows how much Bucky likes the feeling. He asks Bucky if he’s better and Bucky says yes, he is, because it’s true. Steve is the remedy that always works.

So Steve takes his jaw and pulls him up so that he can kiss him, and Bucky follows his hand and slides back up against Steve’s chest so that he can let him kiss him. He knows that kissing is Steve’s favorite kind of touch, because then their muscles and veins are touching even closer, and it’s even warmer, like a sweet dream.

They can feel the weight of each other keeping firm roots in reality and that’s good, that’s important because sometimes they have a hard time with that, and Bucky can feel Steve’s fingers moving over his face, tiptoeing around his ears and then down the side of his throat, where his nails scratch a little bit and then everything changes, everything returns to normal speed and they can both feel the relief and contentedness coming from each other, heads above the water again. So Bucky starts using his hands too, and he presses harder on Steve’s chest, but not on purpose, he just wants to feel the muscle moving while Steve breathes a little heavier, and he tries to keep up, as not to break the rhythm he has only just sewn between each other.

 

 

  1. Precious

Steve and Bucky cuddle domestically while staying at the Avengers tower in New York.

 

Bucky reaches across the couch and swiftly catches Steve’s empty hand.

Steve smiles and returns the affection, stroking his thumb over Bucky’s knuckles. He pays no mind to the fact that their woven hands are resting in someone else’s lap, that is, until Sam clears his throat and stands up abruptly, breaking the link with his thigh as he quickly evacuates the room.

As soon as he’s gone Bucky lets out a chuckle and scoots closer to Steve, caging him between the armrest and himself; not that Steve would oppose the position. There’s a quick peck on the lips, Bucky lingering for a second after with his forehead pressed to Steve’s, eyes downcast.

“I love you.”

“I know.”

“Stop quoting that damn movie and tell me you love me, punk.”

Steve grins. “I love you, Buck.”

 

Steve winces when Bucky stretches across the length of the couch, and adjusts the feet resting in his lap so that they don’t dig into his groin.

“Sorry,” Bucky apologizes, pushing his hair over his shoulder, a sleepy smile on his face.

“C’mere.” Steve wraps his hands around Bucky’s ankles and heaves his ass into his lap. Despite the fact that Bucky is just as big as Steve, he curls up in his lap like a kitten and lets out a tired sigh.

“You gonna shower or should we get you into bed and save it for the morning?”

“No.” Bucky’s voice is muffled by Steve’s bicep and he clings tightly to him.

“I’ll take that as a ‘let’s go to bed’,” Steve inferred. “But I am not carrying you.”

Steve carries him.

 

It’s a quiet morning. Somewhat unusual for them, yes, but never underappreciated. They had been called to the Avengers tower two days ago for government-related meetings and “stuff” as Bucky like to call it, and so far each morning had come with a rude awakening. There’s muffled commotion wafting up from the busy streets below them, but no one on their floor (Sam) has made a sound since they had dinner last night.

Steve woke up when Bucky rolled out of bed a minute ago, but he finds himself caught in that hazy, post-deep-slumber fog, and can’t seem to muster up the energy to clear his head. Not that he’d want to just yet. Sleep is so, so precious. He doesn’t start when he hears the sink running and then bathroom door opening up, eyes remaining half shut.

He barely flinches when he feels a chilly hand press against his shoulder, nor where he is pushed gently to the side to make room for another body on the right side of the too-large bed.

He doesn’t say a thing when a cold nose presses into the back of his neck, or when icy, bare feet find their home between his legs to rest atop his own socked toes.

Two arms wrap around his shoulders from behind and pull his back snugly against a warm, beating chest.

All of this Steve barely registers, and unconsciously he lets his mouth curve lazily into a peaceful, lopsided, half-smile. Without moving he sinks into Bucky, their bodies adjusting to the changes in temperature and finally settling on a comfortable average.

It’s nice.

 

 

  1. Pisces

Steve and Bucky are traveling, shenanigans ensue.

 

Bucky shivers as he leans back against the railing of the platform. He watches as the wind steals his warm breath: condensing and snatching it into the sky so that it flies away and out of sight.

Has February always been this cold? He isn’t even sure if he’s cold because of the weather or the memories that the snow and ice pull him into.

“Yes.”

Bucky’s eyes widen a little bit in surprise, and he turns to face Steve, who’s next to him, not shivering in the slightest.

“Did I––”

“Ask that out loud?” Steve smiles at him sweetly, his eyes crinkling as his cheeks lift and his nose scrunches up just a little bit. “Yes.”

Bucky laughs airily. “I’ve gotta stop doing that,” he says as he shoves his hands deeper into his pockets.

Steve laughs softly. “I like it.” He nudges Bucky with his elbow. “And we wouldn’t be together if you didn’t have that habit,” he adds with a wink.

“ That is a good point,” Bucky admits, adding a small blush to his cheeks. He tries not to think about that embarrassing day in attempt to minimize his cringe.

“I’ll never forget that day,” Steve looks out over the train tracks, and then back at Bucky, another smile on his lips as he removes his hands from his pockets and reaches for his boyfriend.

“How long ago was it now?” Bucky asks.

“I dunno. Gotta be at least fifty years,” Steve answers, turning to him with a grin.

Bucky doesn’t protest as Steve gathers him in his arms, and soon he’s sitting in front of Steve, whose knees are on either side of his own. He brings his hands up to where Steve has his arms wrapped around his chest to hold him back against his own and grabs his hands.

“We really need to invest in some gloves,” he says, turning his head to rest it on Steve’s chest and snuggling into the provided warmth. “Maybe just me, actually,” he corrects himself. “How are you so warm out here? You’re practically my personal radiator at this point.”

He feels more than hears the laugh as he turns to wrap his arms around Steve’s waist, trying to get as close to the source of warmth as possible.

“Glad to be of service,” Steve says. “But that doesn’t mean I’m immune to the cold.” He hugs Bucky closer and buries his nose in his hair, which he’s left down today, partially tucked into a knit hat.

They stay like that for a little while, until Steve checks his watch. “Wasn’t the train supposed to arrive earlier?”

“Think so,” Bucky murmurs from where he’s still snuggled into Steve’s chest. “Why? What time is it?”

“Only 1700. It’ll probably be here any minute.”

“We should probably get up then,” Bucky says.

“Yeah…”

Neither of them move until their ears pick up the distant chug of an engine.

Steve reaches for Bucky’s arms, unwrapping them from where they’re clutched around his waist. Bucky protests with a groan, but lets himself be pulled to his feet.

Most of the people on their platform are either grumbling about the apparent delay or shivering while tapping at their phones. One girl is even holding a small dog, which is all snuggled up in a thick blanket, and Bucky finds himself jealous of the animal as he leans back against Steve.

“You have both of our tickets?”

“In my pocket,” Steve confirms, smiling and pecking Bucky on the nose. “Now grab your stuff, it’s coming.”

 

It only takes the couple a few minutes to find their seats once they’re on board, and Steve is quick to stow their luggage in the compartment above them. He slides into the seat next to Bucky and pushes the armrest between them up and out of the way.

Seeing an opening, Bucky immediately shifts to lay his head in Steve’s lap just as he situates himself with his legs crisscrossed and his phone in hand. Steve makes a small noise of surprise, looking down at his boyfriend, but just shakes his head and rolls his eyes.

“It’s only a three hour ride, Buck,” he says, running his fingers through the soft, brown hair fanned over his thigh. “Are you planning to just nap through it?”

Bucky shrugs. “The first hour, at least. Then I’ll get off of you.” He gives Steve a cheesy smile.

“I don’t mind,” Steve responds. “But you’re very tempting.”

“Well, aren’t you just the sweetest,” Bucky teases. “Tempting how?” He jokingly wiggles his hips around as he asks.

Steve stifles a laugh and pushes Bucky’s hips back down, rolling his eyes again. “Stop, we’re in public,” he stage-whispers. “There are children around.”

“Oh, not the children.” Bucky responds, rolling his eyes and tucking his face into Steve’s stomach. “I’m a Pisces, Steve, I can’t help it.”

Steve has no idea what that means, but before he can ask there’s a small crackle over the loudspeaker system before a voice announces that the doors are closing. He sighs and rests his head against the back of the seat, instead.

 

About two hours into the train ride, Bucky begins to stir, slowly waking up. Steve closes and puts down the book he’s been reading, and pokes his boyfriend’s cheek a couple of times, until his eyes flutter open.

“You’re so pretty when you sleep,” Steve tells him.

Bucky smacks him in the chest weakly. “Not in front of the children, doll,” he says with a light smirk, sitting up and taking his spot next to Steve, only to lean his head down on his shoulder immediately.

It’s beginning to grow dark outside, the glow of the sun slowly diminishing, but the lights inside the cars haven’t been turned on yet, and Steve gets an idea when he sees that they’re approaching a tunnel.

 

Bucky is half asleep again by the time the train suddenly goes dark (not completely, there are a few floor lights on) as the remaining sunlight is cut off when they enter the tunnel. Bucky startles a little bit when he feels a hand rest on the back of his neck, another on top of his thigh, but relaxes a moment after when he recognizes those hands and remembers who it is that he’s sitting next to. Steve tilts his head slightly to slot their lips together sweetly. Bucky loves it when Steve kisses him like this; so gentle but so strong. There’s nothing more than simple love in the feeling, and Bucky smiles (or tries to against Steve’s mouth) as he returns the gesture thoroughly, only to jerk back in surprise when the train car is suddenly illuminated, the night lights coming on.

Steve laughs as Bucky looks around quickly, his face turning red, and he throws an arm around his shoulder, grabbing his discarded book.

Bucky meets the eyes of the child who’s sitting across from them and staring very openly with his mouth wide open. Quickly, Bucky brings a finger to his lips, signaling for the boy not to say anything, but the kid just keeps staring. Despite Steve’s “winter beard,” the kid probably recognizes him, and that honestly makes the whole situation a hell of a lot more hilarious to Bucky.

“ Steve–– 

“Shh, I’m reading,” his boyfriend shushes him and grabs his hand to thread their fingers together.

At the action, Bucky leans back in his seat with a sigh and a smile on his lips. He really hates traveling, but Steve somehow always makes the trips worthwhile.

After a quiet moment that consists of them both trying to act completely casual, Bucky says “but the children” through stifled laughter, and Steve quite nearly loses his shit.

 

 

  1. Traffic

Even after all their years together, Steve somehow manages to surprise Bucky every now and then.

 

Steve always loved springtime. The sun bends down to kiss his cheeks as he lifts his face to the sky, inhaling the sweet, post-rainshower air deeply and closing his eyes. A smile settles down comfortably on his lips, and he stops walking as he lets it slowly flicker into a soft grin.

“…and then we’ll need to stop by the––are you even listening? Steve?”

At the sound of his name, Steve lowers his head, and the grin on his face only grows when he looks at Bucky, who’s simply glowing in the sunshine. Steve’s eyes shine bright as they reflect the light and he blinks, smile not faltering as he takes a few steps to reach where Bucky has stopped walking upon realizing Steve was no longer beside him.

He grabs Bucky’s hands and stares at him; his soft brown hair is highlighted in sun rays, and his eyelashes part like butterfly wings as he blinks in confusion, but he doesn’t protest Steve’s actions.

Steve takes Bucky’s chin in his hand and lifts his face to look him in the eye.

Bucky’s eyes dart around, like he’s worried someone is watching them. “What are you doing?” he asks, but doesn’t pull away.

“You’re so beautiful,” Steve says, placing a hand on each of Bucky’s cheeks as they blossom in light pink. “Just like a dandelion.”

Bucky’s eyebrows furrow, and his nose scrunches up. “A weed? Thanks.” Now he’s even more confused.

Steve laughs and shakes his head. “You know that’s not what I mean,” he says. “Golden and soft. Everywhere I look, there you are.”

“So I’m an abundant invasive species. Wow, Steve, you really know how to make a guy feel special,” he teases. When did you get so poetic?” Bucky lowers his head in attempt to hide the blush on his cheeks.

“I’ve always been poetic, especially when I’m with someone as amazing as you.”

“Don’t exaggerate… and I’m not like that.”

“But you are, and then some,” Steve insists, tilting his head to look Bucky in the eyes. “I happen to love dandelions,” he says, touching his lips lightly to Bucky’s nose and then engulfing him in a tight hug.

“Why are you flirting with me? We live together, Steve.” Bucky relaxes into the warmth and returns the embrace. He’s certainly no dandelion, but Steve is for sure his sunflower, if he’s waxing poetry here. He smiles and nuzzles into Steve’s shoulder when feels him suddenly gasp. Bucky lifts his head to ask what has Steve so excited suddenly, but not before Steve is pointing across the street.

“Look!” He’s practically bouncing on his feet as Bucky pulls away from him to try and follow his finger.

“What?” He doesn’t see anything out of the ordinary. “What is it?”

But then, out of absolutely nowhere, Steve takes off, sprinting into the road and dodging his way through cars, angry honks filling the air.

“Oh my god!” Bucky’s mouth falls open. “Steve! What the hell are you doing!” He runs to the edge of the sidewalk, only to see Steve wave in the general direction of an infuriated driver and then turn, stepping past a parking meter on the other side of the street and kneeling down.

Bucky rushes down the sidewalk to where the actual cross walk is and waits for the light to turn, like a normal person with self-preservation in mind.

As soon as the light flashes Bucky takes off after Steve, running across the street and making a sharp right. And there Steve is, on his knees, gushing over a tiny chocolate dachshund.

“Steve! What is with you today? Christ!” He groans, but his heart is starting to slow back down to its normal pace.

“Bucky!” Steve turns around, one hand still on the dog––which seems just as enthused with Steve as he as with it––with a bright smile on his face as if he didn’t just run through a busy street and almost get hit by about six cars. “Look, it’s a wiener dog!”

Bucky looks down. The dog’s tail is wagging so quickly that it makes the its butt wiggle, and it jumps up on Steve’s knees.

The owner of the dog looks just as shocked as Bucky is, probably because Captain America just ran through the street to pet her dog, but she doesn’t stop him.

“Jesus, Steve…” Bucky runs a hand through his hair.

“Can I hold him?” Steve looks up at the girl from where he’s squatting on the ground, his eyes practically sparkling. “Please?”

“Sure.”

“No.”

She and Bucky speak at the same time, and Bucky pauses, making awkward eye contact with the girl as Steve turns to look at him.

“Steve, you just ran through a busy street!” Bucky waves his arms at him. “You could’ve been hit by a car!”

“He’s got a point,” the owner of the dog pipes up.

Steve just brushes it off. “I’ve been hit by cars before. C’mon Buck, remember when you used a grenade launcher to send me flying through the front window of a bus? I was fine!”

What?” the girl says.

“Now you’re trying to guilt me into it.”

“I just wanna hold the puppy.”

Bucky groans and brings a hand to his face. “Whatever, hold the dog. We’ll talk about your dangerous habits on the way home.”

But all of Bucky’s frustration disappears the second Steve’s face breaks out into another bright smile as he scoops up the tiny dog, nuzzling it to his face and pressing a kiss next to its ear.

“He’s so sweet,” Steve cooed. Suddenly his eyes widen, and Bucky stiffens. He knows what’s coming next.

“Don’t you dare even––”

“We should get a puppy!”

“Oh boy,” the girl mutters.

“We practically already have one,” Bucky grumbles, folding his arms over his chest.

“Can I take a picture with him? Is that okay?” Steve asks the girl, bouncing the dog in his arms.

She raises her eyebrows. “Sure… I guess.”

“Buck, can you grab my phone out of my pocket?”

Bucky sighs and reaches into Steve’s back pocket.

“Other one.”

Bucky fishes Steve’s phone out and puts in the passcode, then opens the camera app. “Alright,” he grumbles. “Say cheese or whatever.”

Steve’s already grinning, he has been for the past few minutes without pause, and Bucky discreetly texts the photo to himself. Yeah, that’s gonna be his new lock screen.

The girl asks if she can take one with Steve on her phone, and Bucky ends up taking that one, too.

“I should start charging for photos.” He hands the phone back.

Steve says goodbye and has a heartfelt parting with the dog, whose name turns out to be Frankie, which Steve gushes about because that’s perfect! Buck, like the hotdog? Get it?

Bucky does, in fact, get it. “I’ve been acquainted with hotdogs before, Steve,” he says, shoving his shoulder lightly.

 

 

  1. Intimacy

Bucky and Steve decide what to have for dinner together.

 

“God fucking dammit!” Bucky throws his controller to the floor and throws his head back against the couch. This stupid game is seriously going to drive him insane. How the hell had Sam gotten past the first battle stage?

Just as he was turning the TV off and shutting down the system, he notices someone standing in the hallway.

“Lose to the Amazons again?” Steve’s leaning against the doorframe, looking all too tauntingly at Bucky.

“I am not talking about this with you,” Bucky folds his arms across his chest and curls into his corner of the couch, pouting at Steve.

“Would you rather I get Sam on the phone for you?” Steve approaches the couch and puts his hands on his hips, smirking down at Bucky.

“You better not,” Bucky speaks softly and stands, wrapping his arms around Steve’s waist and pulling him down on top of him, falling backward onto the furniture and managing to sneak a glance at the clock that hangs on the wall.

  1. Almost time for dinner.

Steve yelps a little as he catches himself on his elbows, hovering just inches above Bucky’s body. Bucky smirks and pushes Steve’s arms out from under him, causing him to fall into his chest, and then tugs him upward so that he can reach his lips.

“Bucky!” Steve scolds with a laugh as he pulls back. But he decides it’s useless to argue, and that he doesn’t really want to, anyway, especially when one of Bucky's hands begins trailing up and down his spine, the other holding his jaw in place.

Steve throws an arm behind Bucky’s neck, and shifts his position so that he’s in his lap, straddling him. He ducks to the side to bite at one of Bucky’s collarbones.

Bucky hums and settles his hands on Steve’s hips, rubbing small circles into them with his thumbs. “Mm, Steve…”

“Hm?” Steve moves back up, trailing small, warm kisses along Bucky’s neck, ending with a peck to his lips.

Bucky leans forward, pushing Steve into the back of the couch and seating himself before him with a sly grin on his face. “It’s almost dinner time, Stevie,” he says as he leans into him.

Steve shivers. “It is, isn’t it?” He twists a little bit as Bucky tugs his collar out of the way and firmly bites into his shoulder, resting one hand on Steve's chest as he brings the other to his hair, lifting his head to capture his mouth in another long kiss, this one a little more heated than the last two.

“What do you think we should have?” Bucky mumbles, pulling away for a split second to ask the question, and dives in for another kiss, not giving Steve time to respond. They separate a moment later to breathe.

“What are you in the mood for?” Steve asks breathlessly as Bucky traces the veins along the side of his neck, staring at him deeply.

“Hmm, I don’t know…” Bucky trails off and leans in for another kiss, only to veer off course at the last second and land his mouth on Steve’s neck.

Steve shudders as Bucky’s breath brushes across the side of his face, and then he whispers into his ear.

“I was thinking maybe we could order Chinese.”

Bucky rises to his feet, sending Steve a wink before he leaves the room.

It takes Steve a minute to process what just happened, sitting in the same position, mouth hung open.

“You’re gonna regret that, you jerk!” Steve calls after Bucky, stumbling off the couch and nearly wiping out in the process. “Get back here and finish what you started!”