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The Royal Wedding

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When Sam first heard the news, he thought someone was making a joke in bad taste. He thought it was some kind of nightmare that was brought on by his loneliness and heartbreak. But it wasn’t. When the invitations arrived for him and the rest of the Avengers, and he saw it written in script on the golden card, he knew it was real. He glanced down at the beautiful invitation once more and felt the tears well in his eyes. He felt sick. He felt weak. His sight was blurry as he read the words once again:

Under the Watchful Eye of Bast

You are Warmly Invited to the Wedding of

His Royal Highness King T’Challa Udaku of Wakanda

and

Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes

 

Sam closed his eyes and took another shaky breath. He knew some day it would happen, that they would both move on and find love again. He just did not think it would be so soon, and so resoundingly public for all the world to see. Sam let out a deep sigh. He was not going to be petty today. He would feel sorry for himself, and then move the fuck on. That would be easier to say, than to do. He peered down at the invitation again, before he ran his fingers gently over Bucky’s name and then tossed the card aside.

xXxXx

It was all anyone would be talking about. Sam knew this. It took him twenty minutes to leave his quarters and join the others for lunch. He knew what they would all be thinking: Poor, heartbroken Sam.

“I didn’t even realize they were dating,” said Rhodey, as he placed cold cuts onto his bread.

“They’re both so private,” said Wanda, while pouring herself a glass of water from a pitcher.

“But T’Challa’s in the public eye more than most of us,” Rhodey supplied.

“True, I didn’t even see them change their relationship status online,” Wanda said.

“Does Barnes even use social media?” asked Tony.

“Probably not,” said Rhodey. “He’s an old ass man.”

“He’s not that old,” Wanda proffered.

“Umm, dude is ancient,” Rhodey replied.

“I mean, he’s technically one-hundred-and-something, but with the body of a thirty-year-old is what I mean,” Wanda countered.

“She’s right. Barnes was on ice for a lot of those years,” Bruce explained. “So, it means his physiology is that of the thirty-something-year-old.”

“Whatever,” said Tony. “He’s still an old ass man.”

“So’s Steve,” Nat interjected.

“Well, T’Challa’s not that old,” said Tony. “How’s it gonna work?”

“Sure it works just fine,” said Rhodey with a laugh.

“You know what I mean,” Toney retorted. “The slow-aging thing. Does T’Challa have that, too? He’s enhanced, right?”

“I guess so,” Nat supplied.

“What the hell is T’Challa thinkin’?” Rhodey finally added. “I didn’t even realize they were close.”

“Was probably thinkin’ about his own happiness for once,” Sam muttered as he entered the kitchen and walked to the fridge.

The whole room went silent for a beat as the team members gave each other awkward stares.

“Happiness with Barnes?” said Tony, finally. “You of all people should know that’s a near impossible feat in itself.”

Sam did not turn to answer him.

“Tony,” said Nat as she shook her head in his direction.

What? he mouthed with a shrug as she rolled her eyes at him.

“You do know it’s most likely for a green card, right?” asked Wanda. “There’s probably no feelings there.”

“Exactly,” said Nat, trying to spare Sam’s feelings. “He’s just helping Barnes out. That’s what this marriage is. It’s a marriage of convenience.”

“Yeah, I mean, it’s the quickest way to make sure Barnes gets to stay in Wakanda,” Tony added.

“Oh, really? Then why didn’t they get some random Wakandan to marry him?” Sam asked. “Why arrange it so that the King has to be the one?”

The others could hear the bitterness laced through his cadence.

“It’s all about convenience,” said Bruce. “That’d be the quickest way to get him a green card.”

“Why didn’t T’Challa just sign it off for him?” asked Sam.

“That’s not how things work there,” said Bruce.

“Oh, really?” Sam asked, as he folded his arms over his chest.

“They’re a constitutional monarchy,” Bruce explained. “King T’Challa doesn’t have complete say over how they’re governed. He has a Tribal Council he has to answer to.”

“Well, someone’s been reading up on the Wakandan Wikipedia page,” said Tony.

“It’s all in the dossiers we were given,” Nat interjected.

“Well, he’s not wrong,” said Bruce, quite sheepishly. “I did check out Wikipedia.”

Nat rolled her eyes and Sam let out a sigh.

“But, getting back to what I was saying,” said Bruce. “It’s highly likely that Barnes applied for citizenship and was refused…”

Bruce looked tentatively at Sam before adding the next part.

“…and because he doesn’t want to return to the US, and can’t get refuge anywhere else, of course he’d go to the King for help.”

“And that’s the best T’Challa could come up with?” asked Tony. “An arranged marriage to please the Tribal Elders?”

“God, you really do sound xenophobic sometimes,” said Nat.

“It’s actually a good idea,” Bruce said. “Marrying for a green card. It means his citizenship will be expedited. Plus, he’s marrying into the Royal Family, so no one can do or say anything about it.”

“So, hold up, does that mean he will be a – prince?” asked Rhodey.

Sam felt a headache settling in his temple.

“No,” Bruce explained. “He won’t inherit a title; he’ll just be the King’s husband.”

“Does he take T’Challa’s last name? Surely, T’Challa wouldn’t take his name. I wonder if there’ll be a huge engagement party? It’s kind of exciting, come to think of it,” said Wanda with wide eyes.

“Yeah, if you like that kind of shit,” said Rhodey.

“It’s kind of romantic,” Wanda added. “If anyone deserves a fairy tale wedding, it’s Barnes. He’s been through a lot.”

“We all have,” said Rhodey, biting his sandwich.

“I don’t know about romantic, but I think this is the smartest thing Barnes has ever done,” said Tony. “He’s goin’ straight to the top. No one will be able to touch him ‘cause I’m sure Ross has his eye on him. This’ll work out okay for him. Plus, he’s marrying rich.”

Sam pressed his hands to his temple and then walked away. This was all too much. He felt like picking up the phone, calling Bucky, and asking him what the hell was going on. But, he had no right to ask Bucky about the upcoming nuptials; he had no right to ask him about anything. Sam was the one who called it off between them; Sam was the one who left him in Wakanda and returned to the States to become Captain America. Honestly, what did Sam expect Bucky to do? To wait for him? Sam sighed and then headed back to his room to get changed; a run would help clear his mind.

xXxXx

Three months ago

Bucky sat quietly atop the examination table as Shuri finished scanning his prosthesis with her Kimoyo Beads. The updates were installed, and their appointment had come to an end.

“All done,” she said with a smile as she filed the results of the scan for her own records.

“Thanks,” said Bucky with a grin as he pulled his jacket back over his arm.

“You okay, Buck?” she asked as she furrowed her brow.

“Yeah, just got a few things on my mind,” he answered.

“Oh, shit,” she said, suddenly remembering. “You’ll hear about your citizenship application today, won’t you?”

He nodded his head and tucked his hair behind his ear before saying, “Yeah. I don’t reckon it’s lookin’ good, Princess.”

“You don’t know that for certain,” Shuri replied.

“Maybe,” he offered. “I’m not really the best candidate to apply for citizenship. Your family’s been nothin’ but kind to me since I got here, but I don’t expect anyone else to be so welcoming. I don’t even know if I deserve anyone’s kindness.”

“Hey,” said Shuri, as she stepped forward and placed a gentle hand to Bucky’s shoulder. “You deserve kindness, Bucky. You deserve a second chance at a life here. My brother will do everything in his power to ensure that you’ve got a home here for as long as you need one.”

“Thank you, Doll,” he said with a smile as he stood and drew her into a warm embrace.

They drew apart just as someone entered the examination room; it was one of the Palace guards. They greeted the young royal with a Wakandan salute and nodded to Bucky, before saying, “Your Highness, King T’Challa requests the presence of the White Wolf.”

Shuri thanked them, looked at Bucky, and then said, “Let’s go get your citizenship.”

…..

Bucky sat looking and feeling despondent as T’Challa broke the news to him: His application was denied. The reason being, according to the Tribal Council, was that he did not provide enough evidence to prove that he would be a productive member of their society. His skill set was that of a soldier, and despite the troubles from a few years ago, war never really touched Wakandan soil. His covert missions with the Hatut Zeraze were not on public record, so he had nothing to offer to support his application besides a letter from the King, and his record as a war criminal. Any heroics were soon forgotten when the Council delved into his past as the Winter Soldier.

“Shit,” said Bucky, before apologizing for his language in the presence of the Princess.

“It’ll be okay, Buck,” Shuri whispered in a comforting manner. “We can appeal it, can’t we brother?”

“Yes,” said T’Challa. “In twelve months.”

“Twelve months?” Shuri repeated. “So, what is he to do in the meantime?”

“He’ll have to return to the United States,” said the King. “Not right away, but in a month or so.”

“I can’t do that,” said Bucky. “They’ll throw my ass behind bars. I can’t go back in a cage. I just can’t.”

Bucky stood up and began to pace; he was visibly distraught, and it pained the King and his sister to see their friend this way.

“Hey,” said Shuri as she approached, taking hold of Bucky’s hands and getting him to stand still. “We won’t let that happen. We won’t let them take you.”

Bucky’s glassy eyes found her determined stare, before he glanced over at the King. T’Challa stepped forward and placed his firm hand to Bucky’s shoulder.

“My sister is right,” said T’Challa. “We won’t let them take you.”

 Bucky stared into the King’s warm eyes and nodded his head. He felt better knowing someone was on his side.

…..

It was times like these that Bucky missed Sam the most; when he was on his own with his thoughts getting the better of him. When he felt as if he was facing the world alone. Sam always had this way of making him feel safe and secure; of showing him that things weren’t always as bad as they seemed. However, as he lay in the dark inside of his small hut, he knew things were bad. He would have to give up the peace he had found in Wakanda and return to a place that didn’t feel like home anymore; a place that was full of heartache and pain for him. He would have to trade the beautiful Wakandan countryside for a cell. Maybe that’s what he deserved.

…..

Two months ago

“This is ludicrous. You should not have to remain on active duty,” said the Princess to Bucky as they walked toward the King. “Brother, why does Sergeant Barnes have to go on missions with the Hatut Zeraze for our country when our country will not accept him?”

T’Challa looked up from his desk to see his sister and Barnes standing in front of him.

“Good morning to you, too, Shuri,” the King offered.

“Good morning,” said Bucky; Shuri raised her eyebrows and folded her arms over her chest as she waited for an explanation from her brother.

“His services are needed,” said T’Challa.

“Oh, really?” Shuri replied. “So, he is needed, but no one can know about it? This is bullshit, T’Challa and you know it.”

“Princess,” Bucky said gently. “It’s not the King’s fault. I don’t want you arguing with him over it. Your Highness, is it really necessary for me to go on this new mission? Can I request a leave of absence until my time is up? I’d rather spend my last days here in peace.”

T’Challa nodded his head in understanding.

“Sergeant Barnes,” he started. “I am certain this is possible. Let me speak with your unit chief first, but I am sure they can grant your request.”

“Thank you, Your Highness,” said Bucky with a soft smile and a nod of his head.

“While the rest of Wakanda is unaware of your important work, Sergeant, I appreciate everything that you have done for us,” said T’Challa in earnest. “Your work with the Hatut Zeraze has been invaluable. Thank you.”

“Thank you,” said Bucky. “For everything.”

He dipped his head and then turned to take his leave. Shuri remained standing in place, so he gave her a questioning look and said, “You comin’?”

“I’ll catch up with you later, Buck,” she replied to her friend. “I need to talk to my brother about something first.”

“Okay,” said Bucky. “I’ll wait for you at the lab.”

They shared an easy smile before Bucky left; Shuri took up a seat on T’Challa’s desk.

“What did you want to talk to me about?” T’Challa asked.

“I had an idea,” she said in a matter-of-fact manner.

“Yes, sister,” he said with a smile. “You are well-known for them.”

“Of course,” she replied. “But this one is to do with Bucky being allowed to stay.”

“Shuri, I know it’s upsetting since he has grown into a good friend to both of us, but we’ve been through this –”

“Hear me out, T’Challa,” she said, as she swatted at his arm. “Bucky could get married to a Wakandan citizen, and then he’ll be able to stay.”

“That’s an option,” said T’Challa as he leaned back in his chair. “But I don’t think he is seeing anyone at the moment. When would he find the time between his duties and farming? Besides, he spends all of his spare time with you.”

Just then, the realization of what his sister might be implying hit him.

“Shuri, you can’t mean that you should marry him?” asked T’Challa.

The Princess scrunched up her face and said, “Oh, Bast no! Gross. He’s an old man, T’Challa, and he’s gay. For goodness sake, I meant you should marry him.”

T’Challa almost choked on air. He recovered, raised his eyebrows, and said, “Me? Marry Barnes?”

“Yes,” said Shuri with a wide grin. “You would make a cute couple, plus he thinks you’re handsome.”

“I’m sorry, what?” T’Challa stammered. “He thinks I’m handsome? When did he say this? What did he say?”

“Oh my gosh,” said Shuri. “You already have a big head, Your Highness; I’m not going to flatter you any further.”

T’Challa felt warmth creep up to his face as he shook his head.

“Whose idea was this?”

“Mine.”

“Have you spoken to Barnes about it?”

“Not yet,” said Shuri. “I thought, if you agreed, you could talk to him about it. He respects you. He’d listen to you. What do you say?”

T’Challa thought about what his sister was proposing. She was right: Marrying a Wakandan would secure Bucky’s citizenship. Marrying T’Challa would ensure no one would question it. And T’Challa had to admit it, he could do a lot worse. Barnes was easy on the eyes and a nice person. He pushed that thought to the side and tried to find a reason to say no.

“He isn’t from a noble family.”

“Oh, please,” Shuri said with a snort. “You don’t believe in that tradition nonsense.”

“This is not something to be taken lightly, sister,” said T’Challa.

“You will get married, he will be granted citizenship, and then you will divorce.”

“A marriage and divorce all in my thirties?” said the King. “This will be sensationalized. It will be a scandal. People will talk.”

“People will always talk,” said Shuri. “But this is for a good cause. He is our friend, T’Challa.”

The King let out a sigh.

“He has been a good friend,” Shuri added. “As you might remember, before you became some big shot Avenger, being royalty is lonely. It’s not like we have a lot of real friends around us. It’s been nice having Bucky around. And being here has been great for him.”

T’Challa listened to his sister as she spoke with sincerity.

“All of the time he was in cryostasis, when my algorithm started to work, and I could see his memories,” she recalled. “Brother, it was awful. Everything I saw, it was horrible. The things that were done to him; the things he did to other people. All of it. I saw it all. He has been through more than you can even imagine. But here, in our homeland, he’s found peace; he’s found purpose. We cannot let that be taken away from him. Please, consider doing this for him.”

The King searched his sister’s eyes and saw that she was resolute. He placed a hand to her upper arm and gave her a soft smile.

“As you wish, my Princess,” he said. “If Barnes agrees to it, I’ll marry him.”

…..

Nat’s face was etched with concern as she spoke in hushed tones to Bucky while they each observed the other through their respective holo-monitors.

“You gotta promise you won’t tell anyone,” said Bucky, upon revealing to her that he was going to be deported and most likely arrested. “Especially not Sam.”

“I don’t get why you two just won’t work it out, Barnes,” she said. “You’re both so goddamn stubborn.”

Just then, Sam walked into the room and began searching one of the cupboards for some communications devices.

“Sorry, Nat,” he said, not noticing who she was on a call with. “Just gotta grab a couple of things and I’ll be outta your hair.”

“Hey, Sammy,” said Bucky, not being able to help himself when he saw him. Sam turned his head quickly and felt his stomach drop when he saw Bucky.

He wanted to reply sweetly, but the hopeful look on Bucky’s face hurt him; it hurt him because their break-up was still fresh, and nothing was going to change it. He didn’t want Bucky to think there was a chance of them reconciling.

So, in response to his warm, sweet greeting, Sam said, quite flatly, “What’s up, Barnes?”

Sam regretted it immediately. The blasé tone cut Bucky, so he tore his eyes away from Sam, and then said to Nat, “I gotta go. See ya.”

Then he ended the call and stayed sitting in the chair, with his hand covering his face. He did not hear T’Challa enter the room. When he placed a hand to his shoulder, he jumped a little.

“Sorry, Sergeant,” he said, taking a seat next to him. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“It’s okay,” he replied with a weak smile. “I was in my own head there for a minute. And I told you, Your Highness, it’s okay to call me Bucky.”

T’Challa returned the smile and said, “I will, when you begin to call me T’Challa.”

They held one another’s gaze for a moment, before the King gathered his wits and remembered why he was there. The somber expression on Bucky’s face worried him.

“Are you alright?” T’Challa asked with concern.

He was still heartbroken. He felt so sad and tired. He missed his Sammy. He was feeling lost.

“Yeah,” he lied. “I’m doin’ swell. Hey, thanks for sortin’ out the stuff with my unit chief.”

“No need to thank me,” he said with a little smile. “Your service here has been appreciated. Plus, my sister is quite convincing.”

He nodded his head and smiled, “She’s a real sweetheart. Sharp as a tack, too.”

“That she is,” said T’Challa. “She, uh, she actually spoke to me about an idea she had, which relates to you.”

Bucky raised an eyebrow, and said, “Oh, what idea?”

T’Challa cleared his throat and replied, “About your citizenship.”

Bucky shook his head and said, “There’s nothin’ either of you can do. Your family’s helped me out so much already. There’s nothing else left to do.”

 “No, Bucky. There is something,” said T’Challa; Bucky felt his stomach do something weird at the sound of his name on the King’s lips. “You can get married to a Wakandan citizen, and then you’ll be able to stay.”

He shook himself from the small distraction of T’Challa saying his name, and then realized what the young King had said.

“What, like a green card marriage?”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, okay,” said Bucky, as he considered what T’Challa was saying. He never thought he would see himself marrying anyone but Sam Wilson. He never thought he would walk down the aisle with anyone but Sam Wilson. He did not want anyone but Sam Wilson. But after the call he had just been on, it was pretty clear: His Sammy didn’t love him anymore. He didn’t love him anymore. He didn’t fucking love him any fucking more.

Bucky let out a plaintive, mournful sigh, and said, “Alright.”

“You’ll do it?”

Bucky took a deep breath and thought about how the special bond that he and Sam had was gone, before saying, “Yeah, I mean, it’s not forever, right?”

“Right.”

“And I’d be allowed to stay.”

“Yes.”

“Okay, well, let’s find someone who’ll wanna get hitched to a hundred-year-old guy so that I can get a green card,” he supplied.

T’Challa, ever the gentleman, smiled brightly, got up from his seat, then got down on one knee, and said, “James Buchanan Barnes, will you marry me?”

xXxXx

Present Day

Every single news station was reporting on the announcement of T’Challa and Bucky’s engagement. Their faces were plastered over every newspaper cover. They were a sensation, just as T’Challa said they would be.

Sam’s headache persisted as he and the other team members watched yet another report on the news. They were playing footage of the press conference at the Palace in Wakanda. It showed a spokesperson making the announcement, as the King and Bucky stood to the side.

T’Challa looked stunning in his black and purple suit, Sam thought. His hair seemed to have grown since the last time Sam had seen him. He looked the perfect picture of royalty, as he stood proudly and glanced out over the amassed crowds of well-wishers. Bucky looked great, too. He wore a black suit and a brightly patterned cloth draped over his shoulder where his arm used to be. He had his hair tied back and looked like royalty himself.

The King smiled widely, but Bucky seemed a little nervous in front of the cameras; nerves aside, he did look happy, Sam had to admit, as they stood there, hand-in-hand.

“This is so romantic,” said Wanda. “Look at how gorgeous they are together.”

“She bought all of the magazines with them on the cover,” said Tony to no one in particular.

“I’m obsessed,” Wanda proffered with a smile. “Royal weddings don’t happen all the time, so I’m lapping all of this up. It’s so romantic. Ooh! See the cloth Barnes is wearing, that’s T’Challa’s family’s design. Only men in his family are allowed to wear it. He’s going to be part of T’Challa’s family now.”

The thumping in Sam’s temple intensified as he recalled all of the times he and Bucky had spoken about retiring and starting a family of their own.

“And the beads he’s got on his wrist –”

“How can you even see the beads, kid?” asked Rhodey.

“She’s got the magazines, remember,” Tony offered.

“Exactly,” Wanda replied. “The official photoshoot is amazing. So lovely, especially with the kids from the village. Ugh. So romantic. But the beads, you guys, they’re T’Challa’s beads he was given at birth, specially made to gift to his future partner. It’s just so –”

“Romantic?” asked Tony.

“Yeah,” said Wanda with a smile. “Romantic.”

Sam got up to leave just as Nat came into the room. She stopped him before he could exit, noticing the sad look on his face.

“Hey, what’s going on?”

“Just sick of the twenty-four-seven coverage of the royal wedding,” said Sam.

“Wanna take a walk?” asked Nat.

“Sure,” said Sam.

…..

When they reached the far end of the grounds, Sam and Nat took a seat on the well-manicured lawn.

“Did you get your invite for the engagement party?” asked Nat as she plucked at a few blades of grass.

“Yeah,” said Sam. “I’m not goin’. Not really in the partying mood.”

“Me neither,” Nat replied.

“Really? You’re gonna pass up a chance to get all dressed up?” asked Sam, not fully believing his friend.

“Well, if you’re not goin’, then I won’t either.”

“Barnes is still your friend, Nat.”

“Yeah, and so are you, Sam,” she replied as she tossed some of the grass in his direction.

They shared a smile and then Sam reclined on the lawn, leaning on his elbow.

“Ya know, you could go to the party, and then go get your man back,” said Nat, as she mirrored him.

Sam laughed dryly, “Oh, so I just waltz up in there and beg Bucky to take me back after I wouldn’t move to Wakanda with him, and then dumped him because I wanted to be Captain America so badly? Yeah, that’s gonna work out real well. He’s an enhanced individual slash ex-assassin, Nat. And if he doesn’t kick my ass, T’Challa surely will for ruining his party.”

“I’m serious, Sam,” she said. “You should go and tell him you still love him. You do still love him, right?”

“Of course I do,” Sam answered; the sadness in his deep brown eyes grew more pronounced.

“Well, tell him,” said Nat. “Tell him before he makes a huge mistake.”

“It’s a green card marriage, Nat. They’ll be divorced in a year.”

“I don’t know,” she supplied. “I saw the photoshoot.”

“Wanda’s magazines?”

“Yeah, and while Barnes looks fucking happy, the King is another story.”

“What d’ya mean?”

“I’m not sayin’ he’s in love,” Nat explained. “But there’s something there. He’s definitely into him.”

…..

The corridor of the Palace was empty and quiet as Bucky made his way out of his newly assigned quarters. As he rounded a corner, he bumped into something solid: A very firm, muscular chest. The owner of the chest let out a mumbled apology as they each grabbed onto one another. When Bucky looked up and saw his betrothed staring at him, he felt unsteady on his feet.

“I’m sorry, Your Highness,” said Bucky quickly.

“I’m to be your husband,” said T’Challa. “I think we can forget the formalities.”

Bucky felt a blush creep up his neck and he realized the King’s hand was still holding his arm. He cleared his throat.

“Course,” he replied.

“Are you okay?” T’Challa asked, noticing how flushed he had become.

“Yeah, I was just on my way to see the Princess,” said Bucky.

“I see,” said T’Challa, letting go of his arm. “Did you want me to walk with you?”

Bucky smiled, “Sure, that’d be nice.”

T’Challa nodded and they set off to see Shuri. Upon finding her lab empty, the pair took a seat on two highchairs as T’Challa tried to call her, to no avail.

“She’s not answering,” he explained to Bucky. “What did you need her for? Perhaps I could help.”

“Oh, right,” Bucky said. “My Kimoyo Beads, I think something’s wrong with ‘em.”

“Show me,” said the King, and Bucky held out his wrist to him instead of removing the beads. T’Challa rested his wrist in his palm and activated them easily. “What seems to be the problem?”

“They’ve been making funny beeping sounds on and off all day,” he explained.

T’Challa pressed something on his own Beads, and it beeped, before he asked, “Like that?”

“Yeah,” Bucky said. “Just like that.”

T’Challa let out a little laugh that Bucky thought was cute.

“What?” Bucky said with a smile.

“Those are the engagement party RSVPs coming through,” he said. “I asked my sister to sync your Beads with mine so that we’ll both receive the notifications.”

“Really?” he laughed. “And you told me about this?”

“Yes,” he answered with a beam. “It was all in the email I sent out.”

“Sorry, sweetheart,” Bucky answered. “I didn’t read it.”

T’Challa feigned offense and then said, “I hope you’re going to be a much more attentive husband, Sergeant.”

“Oh, I’m gonna be the best husband you’ve ever seen, baby,” he replied with the most charming smile T’Challa had ever seen.

T’Challa, King of Wakanda, and the Black Panther, felt butterflies in his tummy. It actually felt like his stomach was doing somersaults. He stood up and shifted closer to Bucky, who continued to smile up at him, as he reached his hand out and brushed a stray lock of hair away from Bucky’s face. They stared at one another, until T’Challa leaned down and pressed a soft, chaste kiss to his lips.

Immediately, he pulled away and apologized.

“Shit,” T’Challa said. “I’m sorry Barnes. I didn’t mean to –”

Before he could finish, Bucky had gripped him by the waist and drew T’Challa back to him. His lips were on T’Challa’s before he could process what was happening; T’Challa was in his lap before either of them realized what they were doing.

T’Challa could not believe that he had kissed Bucky, and that Bucky had kissed him back. He had only ever thought about this in secrets moments he would not dare to share with anyone else. They were friends. They were friends and Bucky was in a vulnerable predicament, while T’Challa was in a place of power. They should not be doing this, no matter how much T’Challa wanted to, they should not – shit, he really did that with his tongue?

The King was in trouble.

This is a bad idea, thought Bucky as he drew T’Challa closer. He’s a friend; he is royalty. He’s the King of Wakanda and an Avenger. He is – so fucking good at that.

Despite his brain yelling at him, Bucky couldn’t stop now. It felt great to be feeling something, anything other than heartbreak and despair. He wanted this moment to last. He wanted a respite from his pain and confusion. He wanted this. He wanted him, even if it was a bad idea.

The only thing that broke them apart was the incessant beeping of both of their Beads.

“Damn it,” said T’Challa as he broke the kiss.

“Just ignore it,” said Bucky as peppered kisses along his neck.

“I have to check it,” T’Challa groaned. “Could be Shuri returning my call. Could be someone needing me for something.”  

“Tell whoever it is to get lost,” said Bucky in between kisses. “We’re busy.”

T’Challa laughed, and then opened the notification.

“It’s an RSVP for the party,” he said.

“I literally could not care less right now,” he said as he kissed down to T’Challa’s collarbone.

“From –”

“Hmm, don’t –”

“Natasha Romanoff –”

“Even care –”

“And Sam Wilson.”

“What?” said Bucky, as he stopped kissing T’Challa.

“Sam Wilson.”

“Sam? Is he – is he comin’ to the party?” asked Bucky, suddenly feeling his stomach drop.

“Umm, let me see,” said the King as he looked closer. “Yes, it looks like Sam Wilson is coming to our engagement party.”