“I should probably go.”
Bucky’s arm, wrapped firmly around Clint’s middle, pulls him somehow closer to his own chest. How does Clint, the taller and ganglier of the two, always end up as the little spoon?
“You don’t have to,” Bucky murmurs, the vibration of his lips on the back of Clint’s neck sending shivers down his spine.
Clint halfheartedly tries to pull away, but finds himself weakening. Every time they do this it gets harder to go, to get dressed and go to his own place. It’s not the distance--if he doesn’t feel like going to his apartment across town he can go to his floor here, and it’s only down a few flights of stairs. If he’s feeling lazy it’s only an elevator ride, although it’s hardly worth the wait for the car. It’s not comfort--yeah, Bucky’s bed is comfortable, and Clint is sometimes envious of his sheets, but his own bed is comfortable too. And the pillow is just the way he likes it.
No, it’s not inconvenience or comfort. It’s that he just doesn’t want to leave the warm bed with the hot as hell supersoldier in it.
But they’re just friends, right? This isn’t any kind of a relationship.
They fight bad guys together. They play video games and order pizza, and yeah, they often sit next to each other on movie nights, but that’s just because they usually come in together and oh fuck they are in a relationship.
He flips through the past few months in his mind. He’d introduced Bucky to some of his favorite movies of the 80s and 90s, sometimes with the team but sometimes at his place, or Bucky’s. They’d sit together and eat popcorn, critiquing acting abilities and writing and film styles. They’d spent countless hours of target practice together, seeing who could get the best score. It was comparing apples and oranges, of course, with them using different weapons, but they did it anyway. They’d sat in silence on slow, easy mornings, drinking coffee. Bucky sipped slowly, Clint downed his half a cup at a time, but it accomplished the same thing.
And then, after a particularly harrowing mission, they’d fallen into bed together.
Not that there’d been an actual bed involved. Not that time, at least. They’d both been riding high on adrenaline--saving the day will do that to a body. They were still on the scene, clean-up crews everywhere, when a damaged gargoyle gave up hanging on to the church it had been clinging to for decades--or possibly centuries--and crashed to the alley below. Clint and Bucky had been checking out the alley for stragglers and had walked directly into its path, but Bucky heard it falling at the last second and pulled Clint out of the way. They ended up with him against the wall and Clint pressed up against him, chest to chest, faces inches apart. They both could feel the charge from the contact, could see the blown pupils and pure want on the face of the other. Clint raised his eyebrows in a “are we really doing this?” look.
Bucky, accepting the challenge, grabbed Clint by the hair and mashed their mouths together.
There had been no finesse, that first time. How much subtlety, how much artistry, can there be in a rubble-strewn alley? It had been all hands and mouths, all tongues and teeth. Zippers pulled and fabric ripped. Neither one of them had lasted long, there was just too much.
And they didn’t talk about it after. Not that first time. But they kept going back to each other.
After the first time things were slower. Deeper. More...intimate. Still frantic with need, still fueled by that charge they got when they touched, but somehow more about the journey than the destination. (Well, okay. Maybe it became about the journey and the destination.)
But it was still just...sometimes. And Clint didn’t stay the night, because they were just friends.
All this runs through Clint’s mind within a few heartbeats, and before he can say anything Bucky’s pulling him, impossibly, even closer. He throws a leg over Clint’s legs, and begins ghosting his lips against Clint’s skin again.
“I won’t make you stay,” he says, and Clint can feel the heat of his breath, a sharp counterpoint to the chill of the air conditioned air on his sweat-sheened skin. “I’d never make you stay. Never. But I want you to stay. I want to fall asleep with you, to get kicked or elbowed or whatever when you thrash around while you’re sleeping; I want to hold you when you have a nightmare and to wake up with you in the morning.”
“I’m horrible in the morning,” Clint says without thinking. “Until I have coffee.”
Bucky laughs, and Clint can feel the rumble of it resonating from Bucky’s chest and into his back. “I have seen you in the morning before, you know. I know at least partially what I’m getting into. How often have I been the one to hand you that first cup of coffee?”
Staying within Bucky’s hold, Clint rolls over until they are face to face. He puts a hand against Bucky’s chest, the thump-thump thump-thump of Bucky’s heart under his palm, and says, “I thought...I always go away because I didn’t want you to think I was being clingy. That I’d...caught feelings.”
There’s laughter in Bucky’s eyes, but his voice stays even when he says, “And have you? Caught feelings, I mean?”
Clint knows the look on his face is ridiculous. “Yes.”
Bucky rolls him onto his back in the span of a heartbeat, and then he’s on top of him, kissing him so thoroughly that he can barely breathe. Not that he cares. This would be an excellent way to die.
“You’re an idiot,” Bucky says when he pulls back to take a breath. “We’re both probably idiots, but I think you get the prize. What did you think it meant that I kept making you coffee, asking you if you wanted to go to the range with me, sitting with you at movie nights. Have you ever seen me play Mario Kart with anyone else?”
“In my defense,” says Clint, grasping at straws, “you never...I don’t know, tried to hold my hand. Or put your arm around me at movie night.”
Bucky buries his face in Clint’s neck for a moment. The sound that comes from deep in his chest is somewhere between a growl and a groan. “I’ve never held hands with anyone. I’ve never really had...anyone.” He looks Clint in the eyes. “Before, when I was a kid...things were different. There were sometimes guys I met up with in dark places, but there was never anything special. It was too terrifying to be special. Everything was secret.”
“Oh, fuck. I didn’t...Bucky, I didn’t even think.” Now Clint wants to hide, but with Bucky on top of him there aren’t many options. “You’re right, I am an idiot. We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. Quiet is fine. Secret is fine. Whatever you--”
Bucky stops him with a kiss. Just a small one this time, but it’s effective enough.
“Sweetheart,” he says, and Clint warms at the nickname. “Stop babbling.”
“I don’t want to hide. If this, with us, is really a thing--”
“It is,” Clint interrupts.
Bucky’s smile is soft. “If it’s really a thing, then I want everyone to know. And I’ll hold your hand whenever I want, no matter who else is looking.” He raises his eyebrows questioningly. “Yeah?”
Clint quests around in the sheets until he finds Bucky’s hand, then laces their fingers together. “Yeah,” he says.
“And you’ll stay the night?” Clint can hear the hesitancy in Bucky’s voice.
“Whenever you want,” Clint says. After a beat he says, “I’m gonna take my aids out now, if we’re actually going to sleep.”
“I suppose I can let you sleep now,” Bucky says with a wink. “I make no promises for later.”
“You sure about this?” Clint asks. He pushes back the curtain of hair that’s keeping him from seeing Bucky’s eyes.
Bucky nods, his jaw set. Stubborn. Clint runs his thumb along that jaw, rough with stubble, and Bucky relaxes at the touch. Just a bit, but it’s enough.
“Okay then.” He tilts Bucky’s chin up enough to brush his lips across Bucky’s; a promise for things to come.
They lace their fingers together and push open the stairwell door, walking onto the common floor side by side.