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Lighting a Candle

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“Hey, man,” Sam called, waving from the bench he was seated on. Steve grinned and nodded in response, heading in his direction.

“You ready?” he asked with a nod at Sam, remaining standing.

“Yeah, sure,” Sam responded, standing up and slipping his phone into his pocket. “Last night was…fun, right?” he began, glancing at Steve as they began to run.

“Good food, good movie,” Steve agreed, a slight grin beginning to form. “Super fun.”

“Look, man…” Sam trailed off awkwardly, sighing.

“Yeah?” Steve asked innocently. “What’s up?”

“Um…okay, so I think it’s best if I frame this in a certain way,” Sam hesitated. “You know we’re all your friends, right? We just want you to be happy,” he insisted, determinedly not looking at Steve.

“Aw, thanks, Sam,” Steve grinned, nudging Sam’s shoulder. “I want you to be happy, too.”

“No, that’s not…I mean, thank you, that’s nice, but I guess what I’m trying to say is…” he trailed off again, looking down at the ground.

“Is?” Steve asked, raising his eyebrows. “Is what?”

“Ok, no, let’s start with this,” Sam shook his head. “Look, man, a lot has changed since you went into the ice.”

“I know,” Steve protested, looking offended. “I learned how to use my phone and I’m watching that whole list of movies. C’mon, I’m working on it,” he laughed, elbowing Sam playfully.

“Not just technology,” Sam countered. “I’m talking about…cultural…attitudes. Regarding different…types of people,” he continued, furrowing his brow a bit.

“Sam, I hate to be the one to break it to you, but different types of people have always existed,” Steve snorted. “Just cause some folks don’t want that to be true doesn’t make it so,” he raised an eyebrow, giving Sam the ‘Captain America’ look he was so used to seeing from the old propaganda videos.

“I know, I know,” Sam huffed, “but attitudes change over time, and things that you maybe…kept hidden? You wouldn’t be judged for them nowadays. By the right people, anyway,” he amended. “And I guess what I mean is—”

“Bucky and I are married,” Steve interrupted lightly.

“I—what?!” Sam came to a stop, grabbing Steve by the arm.

“We’re married,” Steve repeated, amused. “I figured that’s what you were hinting at,” he laughed.

“I…what? No! No, that’s not what I was hinting at!” Sam said incredulously, still looking shellshocked. 

“I know, I know, you just thought we were dating or something,” Steve replied breezily, still looking unconcerned.

Also no!” Sam hissed back, gesturing a bit wildly by this point.

“Wait, what?” Steve was confused now, too. “What about that conversation we had about me and Bucky? And what on earth were you hinting at just now?”

“I thought you were in love with him!” Sam shot back. “You’re married? Since when?”

“1936,” Steve replied instantly. “And I am in love with him,” he insisted hotly.

“No, no,” Sam waved his arms, “I meant I thought you were secretly in love with him. I figured Tony’s plan would cause an issue, so I gave you a heads up so you could tell Barnes if you wanted to. Or just be more prepared,” he finished with a shrug. “1936?” he added as an afterthought.

“The first time, yeah,” Steve replied.

“The first time?!” Sam was back to incredulous.

“Oh, yeah, we actually got married twice,” Steve said casually. “The second time was in 1943.”

Sam took a deep breath. “Ok,” he said. “Ok. So, you’re not harboring a secret love because he knows about it. And you’re not dating because you got married. And you got married…twice?” he asked, trying to sort everything out.

“Yep,” Steve was trying not to grin, feeling slightly bad at this point. “I honestly thought you knew we were together,” he defended himself a bit, “and Buck and I figured we should tell you so you wouldn’t get too worked up on our behalf.”

“Worked up?” Sam asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Oh yeah, after you told us Tony’s plan, we came up with our own to mess with him,” Steve snorted. “But we didn’t want to mess with you, so…” he trailed off.

“You’re messing with Tony?” Sam said incredulously, before a grin took over his face. “Oh, I want in. What’s the plan?”

“Pretty simple,” Steve shrugged. “Just keep acting the same while he tries to get us together, then eventually drop the bomb somehow.”

“Amazing,” Sam agreed immediately. “It’s gonna drive him insane. You know how Tony gets,” he snorted, shaking his head.

“Thanks, man,” Steve laughed. They started jogging again, still laughing a little until Steve broke the silence.

“I can’t believe you didn’t actually know about us,” he groaned. “I mean, that was our only consolation. We thought everyone knew until you had that talk with me.”

“Really?” Sam asked, genuinely curious. “You don’t really act like a couple,” he pointed out.

“Of course we do!” Steve insisted. “We live together! We share a bed! Even when we’re all at Tony’s, we share a bed. We cuddle in front of you guys all the time. The first time you looked in my sketchbook, you pointed out that basically every page had Bucky on it,” Steve finished, exasperated.

“Oh my god,” Sam muttered, looking to the side. “Oh my god.

There was a beat of silence.

“Oh my god! That time I walked in on you two sparring?” Sam seemed afraid to ask.

Steve blushed in lieu of an answer.

“Oh my god!

This carried on for the duration of their run. Steve tried and succeeded to change the subject many times, but Sam inevitably would remember some other detail that the knowledge of their relationship had painted in a new light and turn the conversation back to Steve and Bucky. When Steve got back to the apartment, Bucky was stretched out on the sofa, eyes on the door. He sat up the moment Steve entered, only lying back down once Steve had closed and locked the door behind him. 

“How’d it go with Sam?” he questioned as Steve toed his shoes off and wandered over to the couch.

His only response was a groan and Steve collapsing onto the couch, on top of him. Bucky laughed and rearranged him a little.
“That good, huh?” he joked.

“Oh my god.”