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Auld Acquaintance

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Steve Rogers wakes up with his head pounding and his limbs shaking. That's not right, he thinks. Then Bucky's face, wreathed in long, scraggly hair, swims into view and Steve doesn't have time to think of anything else.

"Hey," Steve manages to force from his cracked lips. He coughs a few times, air hitting the wrong way in his pipes. That's not right either. "Buck—" he finally says, and reaches for him.

The hand that does the reaching is small and thin. Just like (Steve looks down at himself) the rest of him.

"The hell?" He tries to sit up, but Bucky's hands catch him by his shuddering shoulders. It's cold, where ever they are. Steve looks around, tries to get his bearings, but his head hurts along with everything else.

"Stay still," Bucky says. His voice is rough but quiet. "Took a fall. Hard." His left hand, the metal one, retreats away to curl around his own middle like he can't stand touching Steve with it.

"I did?" Steve tries to remember but his brain won't get into gear. He presses the heel of his hand to his forehead, which threatens to split open any second. "How did I get small again?" he asks when the wave of nausea passes.

Bucky's other hand falls from his shoulder, leaving Steve shivering with the cold. A noncommittal snort, then Bucky is gone altogether from Steve's side, loping across the room to examine a kalashnikov that's sitting in pieces on a temporary sawhorse table.

Steve can tell he won't get very far with Bucky. Even if this is the first time they've been face to face since DC; these past few months have been nothing but fleeting glimpses of the Winter Soldier. Bucky hadn't wanted to be found, so Steve couldn't find him. Except...except now.

The memories filter through his aching head. He'd been with Sam. And the others. Natasha's plan. Strangers in the mix, people Steve had never fought beside before. Tony had vouched for Richards, who had vouched for the magician—

Was Steve just dreaming this? No, there had been a magician. And they'd tracked Bucky here, to Detroit, to another old Hydra facility (empty, just like the last three Bucky had hit) using some sort of enchantment. They'd finally caught up to him, and Steve had told everyone to hold their fire. But the magician—Strange—conjured up some kind of dark, flickering cloud and sent it flying in Bucky's direction.

Steve hadn't known what it was; he just jumped in front of it, took the hit meant for Buck. Clearly it hadn't been a weapon after all. At least, not the kind of weapon he'd expected.

Steve wonders what the spell would've done had it found its rightful target. Maybe turn Bucky back into...into who he'd been before? But that's not how people work, Steve thinks. He examines his tiny, goosebumped arms. Well, nothing's working correctly today.

"Drink," Bucky says abruptly, dropping a bottle of water in Steve's lap before returning to his table. Steve picks it up, belatedly realizing how dry his mouth is. He gulps down swallows of water and takes stock of his surroundings. He's on the floor in a makeshift nest of threadbare blankets. The ground beneath is concrete, cold. The room is a shambles, walls half-formed and covered in plastic sheeting that's riddled with holes. A half-finished construction site, probably abandoned for years. So this is where Bucky has been hiding lately.

He finishes the water and sets the empty bottle on the floor beside his nest. His bangs—longer now that he hasn't had time for a trim, what with being on the road with Sam—fall into his eyes, and he sweeps the hair back in frustration. He checks under the blankets: he's still clothed, swimming in the too-large jeans and tee he'd been wearing earlier, though his belt's been hitched as tight as it will go. The thought of Bucky pausing in his escape to preserve that little bit of Steve's modesty—it makes him wonder.

"How long have I been out?" he asks.

Bucky grunts, not looking up from the work he's doing on his weapon. "Maybe ten hours." He checks his cheap-looking plastic wristwatch. "Eleven. Still the thirty-first."

Right. New Year's Eve. Steve had almost forgotten. He eyes the wristwatch but doesn't say anything about it. Bucky never wore a watch before, and neither had the Winter Soldier (that he can recall). Maybe time has become more important to Bucky these days. "My team?" Steve finally asks.

"I lost 'em." Bucky checks his sight.

Steve bites the inside of his cheek, frustration warring with worry. He's responsible for those people, and now look at the state he's in. "So you took me with you," Steve says. He looks up at Bucky, a dark shape sitting at his table, staring back at Steve from behind his curtain of unwashed hair.

Bucky places the sight back on the wooden board that serves as his workspace, won't meet Steve's eyes again. "Yeah," he says. "I fell for it hook, line, and sinker."

Steve blinks. "What do you mean?"

"I know it's a trap," Bucky say, still staring down. "No bugs or trackers on you, but it's got to be some kind of trick, the way they changed you back to the way you used to be."

Words won't come. The headache isn't helping.

Bucky smiles to himself, a cruel, secret curve of his lips. "But even knowing that, I couldn't leave you there. Got me good."

"This isn't a trick," Steve says. "It was an accident. That's all."

"Guess we'll see," Bucky says almost to himself. He stands, stalks over to a nondescript duffle bag and rummages around for another gun.

Steve kicks the blankets off his legs. He needs to contact his team, make sure everyone's all right. "Am I a prisoner here or am I free to leave?"

"You can try," Bucky drawls.

Ticked beyond reason, Steve stands. Or at least, attempts to stand. All the blood rushes to his head, making his vision fuzzy at the edges. His back aches, his head is still killing him, his muscles hurt from the cold and the hard bed. He sways on his feet.

"Easy." Bucky's there in a moment, keeping him upright. "You're going to crack your head open, fainting like that."

"'m not fainting," Steve says, and it sounds like an old argument reborn in a new century. "Give me a second. I'll be fine."

A warm palm descends on his forehead. "You're freezing," Bucky says. "Come on." He lays Steve back down, gently, so gently it makes Steve think of nights spent smothering coughs in mothball-scented sheets.

"Why did you bring me here?" Steve asks. He's tired, so, so tired, but he needs to know why, after all his running, Bucky has decided to let Steve get close. "Am I leverage? Insurance?"

"You're not well," is all Bucky says. He rearranges the thin blankets over Steve again, tucking the edges under him to cut down on drafts. It's autopilot, Steve realizes. It's just muscle memory, taking care of him like he used to. Bucky's glassy eyes focus on him for a few seconds before drifting off to stare at some invisible shadow.

Steve swallows. He's not the only one who's unwell.

"It'll be all right," Steve says carefully. "I just need to get back to Strange. He can—"

"That guy who did this to you?" Bucky asks sharply. "Yeah, that's a great plan."

And for a second—just a second—he sounds like his old self. But it's fleeting, gone in an eyeblink, and then Bucky is back to the stone-faced look and the thousand-yard stare. He balls up a blue-gray blanket and puts it beneath Steve's head.

"For now, just get some rest," he says, quieter but distant. He's about to pull away when Steve grabs him by the wrist.

It feels so pathetic, Steve's weak grip on Bucky's strong, flexing arm. But he's gone up against things that are stronger than him before, and that's not about to stop him now.

"Bucky, you've got to tell me—" The cold catches harsh in his throat.

Doesn't matter how brave you are when you can't breathe. It needles like ice, and Steve seizes up with the sensation of being choked. He folds over and tries to remember what he's supposed to do in this situation. It's been so long since he's had to worry about his lungs. The panic sets in before he can stop it.

Distantly, he can hear Bucky talking but his ears are ringing loudly. But he sees him move from the corner of his watery eye: a black shape taking position behind him, blocking the draft and providing some much-needed warmth.

"I'm trying to help," he finally hears Bucky say in his good ear, and he tries to relax even though every muscle in his body is clenched for a fight. Buck is a threat, a question mark. Steve still isn't sure how aware he is of his actions and his environment, or what drives him besides a single-minded purpose to destroy the remaining tendrils of Hydra while evading capture.

"Damn it, just let me," Bucky says, and Steve realizes he's been blocking Bucky's attempts to hold him upright. He drops his arms—as small and useless as they are, Bucky had been careful not to break them, which must mean something—and Bucky arranges him like a wooden doll: Steve's thin, heaving back to Bucky's solid chest. Bucky's hand, the flesh one, goes to Steve's chin and tips it back. Steve's head thrashes out of his sort of instinct—too vulnerable, he hates feeling so vulnerable—but Bucky just keeps at it until Steve's head is resting back onto Bucky's shoulder.

Opening airways. Right. Just like the old days, Steve thinks wildly.

The invisible weight on his chest and throat lift slightly. It takes a few minutes of sitting there in silence, but eventually Steve feels his body relax into something almost normal. His lungs kick back into gear, filling too fast with freezing air, great big gulps of it.

"Careful," Bucky warns, and fans his right hand over Steve's mouth. Not too close, just enough to keep the puffs of hot breath close by. "You'll set yourself off again. Take it slow."

When Steve can finally speak again, he dashes away the tears that have beaded in his eyes and says, "I did not miss this."

Bucky hums quietly but doesn't release his left arm's hold around Steve's waist.

Steve picks his head up from Bucky's shoulder and twists enough to look him in the eye. "You remembered what to do when my asthma gets bad?" he asks.

Bucky's gaze skates away. A shrug. "I get flashes sometimes. Not the whole picture."

Steve watches his face carefully. "Lucky for me you remember the important stuff, huh?"

"They might not've known," Bucky says, and Steve wonders if he means the other Avengers or what. Bucky keeps talking, so he can't ask. "Can't be yapping like this. You should lay down."

"Like I can sleep in this cold," Steve says.

"I'm here." Bucky's voice is empty, blank, though the words are setting off fires in Steve's chest. "'m like a furnace, right? Just like the old days."

Steve stares up at him, still twisted and aching with the strain on his spine. "Yeah," he finally says. He licks his cracked lips. "The old days."

Bucky is already guiding him down to the floor with him, curling into a loose tangle of limbs in the nest. He pulls a scratchy blue blanket over their heads and tucks Steve's face against his neck.

Steve lays there, rigid, and tries to breathe. It's darker under the blankets, the few lights from the street blocked out. The air is warmer and humid with their combined exhales. Bucky's chest falls up and down under Steve's hand, burning hot even through the layer of his clothes.

How much of the old days does Bucky really remember, Steve wonders. Does he remember how often they'd take nights like this and use the closeness as an excuse?

Bucky's hand curls around the back of his head, fingers playing in his hair. A small, frustrated sigh escapes Bucky and puffs against Steve's neck.

Yeah. He remembers.

"Buck," Steve says. He can't help the way his lips drag along Bucky's skin with that syllable.

Bucky shifts away an inch. "This is messing with my head," he says, quiet under their shelter. "Seeing you like this."

Thoughts of Hydra and all the ways they might've played with Bucky's brain, it makes Steve's mouth run dry. "I can imagine."

Bucky's throat produces a near-soundless hmph near Steve's ear. "I don't like being toyed with. Whatever your buddies in the capes have planned—"

"I told you, this wasn't planned. I only want to bring you in, to make sure you're safe." His thin hands seek a neutral spot on Bucky. One settles on his shoulder, the other still on his chest to gauge his heartbeat. Bucky's metal hand clamps over that one, yanks it away in a steely grip. Steve bites down on a yelp of pain.

"I—" His hand lets up just enough so that Steve's bones aren't grinding together anymore. "Sorry. This isn't easy for me."

"Not easy for you?" Steve gasps out. "You're not the one who's back to this." He gestures feebly with his free hand to his torso.

"Nothing wrong with a smaller model," Bucky grits out. It's an old line. God, it's ancient.

Steve tosses out the standard reply. "It's not the size or the shape that bothers me, it's the fact that it's not doing its damn job." He jerks his hand out of Bucky's slack fingers and rolls over on his side, giving Bucky his back. "You don't trust me? Fine." Even if it feels like being stabbed in his already-aching back. "Can't blame you for that, not these days. But if you think for a minute I asked for this, you can go to hell."

There's a tense silence where Steve is half-convinced Bucky is about to get up and leave him shivering alone on the floor. But slowly Bucky reaches for him, wraps his arms around Steve's small frame, and molds himself to Steve's spine. The hardness of his erection pressing up against Steve's tailbone is impossible to ignore.

"Bucky?" Steve wishes he could turn around and look him in the face, but he also doesn't want to break whatever spell that's making Bucky hold him again. He stares straight ahead into the nearness of the scratchy blanket. "What's going on?"

"I don't even care anymore," Bucky says into the jut of Steve's bony shoulder. "If this is some kind of trap, that's fine."

"It's not," Steve promises.

"Then that's fine too. I'm done. For tonight." His arms tighten. Whatever scraps of Bucky—the old Bucky—Steve has seen tonight, they're not here in this moment. His breath is ragged and desperate; he smears his face against Steve like an animal marking territory.

"Do you still want me?" Bucky asks. "The way you used to?"

It's a question Steve's been asking himself since he went on this crusade to find Bucky and bring him home. It could be this is just a matter of honor. But he's not that selfless; he knows that. And it eats at him.

"Oh, Buck." He wraps a paltry hand around Bucky's strong forearm. "What I want isn't important."

"That's not what I asked." It should sound like a threat, but Bucky's hands give him nothing but soothing touches, snaking under his oversized shirt to palm at his soft belly. His hands touch Steve lightly at first, then with more familiarity, running along old divinations between his ribs, his hipbone. "Look me in the eye and tell me you don't dream about this, because it's one of the only things I've been holding onto since DC."

Steve shakes his head, still can't turn around. This isn't the way he pictured this going. He thought Bucky would need him in other, more practical ways. But this is no broken man, no catatonic shell; he's solid and warm and he's not running anymore. He's not a hundred percent, but who is? Certainly not Steve, and certainly not now.

"I think about it," Steve chokes out, "all the time."

Warm fingers stray across the floor of his ribcage. "Stay with me?" Bucky asks.

He wants to, but what about his obligations to the team? To cleaning up the mess he left behind in SHIELD? "I can't," Steve says. "Come back with me?"

"I can't." Of course. Bucky has his own mission. He makes a dry sound, a near-laugh right in the shell of Steve's ear. "Listen to us. Two stubborn mules. No wonder we could never make a go of it."

Steve shuts his eyes tight against what might be tears. It's a side-effect of the spell, he tells himself. Must be making him weepy and sentimental.

Bucky draws away, putting cold air between them. "I better—" he begins to say.

"No, please." Steve rolls over to face him. He's always had a memory like a steel trap, and right now it helpfully provides him with a picture very similar to this one: a cold night, the two of them huddled together, Steve's chest burning for air, Bucky pulling away all slow and reluctant.

Steve had kissed him first then, too.

"Tonight, just tonight," he's saying into Bucky's open mouth when they part. "If you really need to keep running, I'll give you a headstart in the morning, just, please, for tonight—"

"Come here," Bucky says, and hauls him closer.

What a strange feeling, to be manhandled again after all this time. After years of being an immovable object, Steve is light as a feather, easy for Bucky to pick up and arrange to his liking. And he does, coaxing Steve's arms around his neck, guiding his leg to hike high on top of Bucky's hip. They twist together under the blankets, breath fogging.

It's hell on his back, but Steve doesn't mind it so much. Not if it means touching and smelling and tasting Bucky again.

A sudden boom and flash of light makes Steve gasp and pull away, reaching for a weapon that isn't there. Bucky, too, reacts just as quickly. They sit there in the dark, blankets thrown down to their waists, listening without breathing. Another boom and a shower of glittery light illuminates a half-covered hole where a window should be.

"Midnight," Bucky says, looking at his wristwatch. "Looks like we made it to another year."

"Oh. Right." Steve rubs at his own chest with the heel of his hand; his heart is hammering doubletime. It's 2016 and Bucky is alive. He has to remember that. It can keep him going, no matter what.

He grabs Buck by the hair, two fistfuls of it, and drags him back down to the floor with a kiss. Bucky, almost grinning against his lips, snorts.

"Didn't remember you being so bossy," he says.

"We should fill in those gaps," Steve answers, and climbs on top of him. He blankets Bucky as best he can with his small body; his shoulder sticks out of his shirt collar. The thing's too big and in the way, so he strips it over his head and tosses it aside.

Bucky sucks in a lungful of air through his teeth. "What happened?" he asks.

"What do you mean?" Steve looks down at himself, winces. Big yellow and brown bruises are blooming on his skin. He hadn't even noticed the pain, particularly, not with all the other hurts this body was telegraphing to him. He touches his bruised side gingerly; he'd taken a blow to those ribs during the chase. "Must've racked up some bumps before the spell hit me. This body doesn't heal like my other one," he says.

Bucky stares up at him, his hands perched on the points of Steve's hips. "I'm sorry," he says.

"Don't be," Steve says, trying for a smile with bravado but ultimately failing when his hair falls into his eyes. He sweeps it off his forehead. "Come on. I need you in me." He leans forward to swallow what looks like a protest forming on Bucky's tongue, and his thin fingers scrabble at Bucky's belt buckle.

"Steve—" He breaks off the kiss before it even starts. "I don't want to hurt you."

"You won't." Steve dives back down and gets a good kiss in before Bucky pulls away.

"I might," Bucky says.

"You never did before," Steve points out.

Bucky squints up at him as if trying to remember the truthfulness of that statement. "That was then," he finally says. He sighs, hands sliding down Steve's thighs. "Right now? I'm different. Functioning, kind of. But I slip sometimes and— If something happened to you—" His fingers are trembling. Steve reaches down, folds them in his.

"It's all right," he says. "Bucky, I trust you."

"I don't trust me," Bucky bites out, and it's clear he means it for more than this. He lets Steve squeeze his hands before squeezing back just a little. "I'm sorry," he repeats.

Steve's smile slips a little. "Okay," he says, "maybe you can sit back and let me do all the work?" His hands go to Bucky's loose belt buckle again, playing idly with the clasp. "Up to you." He hopes his eyes aren't growing wide and pleading because he really wants Buck to decide where this goes, and Buck never could resist his eyes.

"I have a better idea." Bucky lifts him, flips them, places Steve carefully on the bed of blankets and works his too-large jeans off his narrow hips. "Don't want you getting cramped up leaning over me all night," he says, and Steve's heart clenches. Buck remembers the nights they'd have to take breaks when the pain got too bad.

"I'm fine," he argues, but he's already shivering from all his exposed skin.

"Let me," Bucky says before he covers him up with his own warm, heavy body.

Steve allows it.

Bucky's hands are everywhere, one hot, one cool running up and down the planes of Steve's small torso. They travel lower, cup his balls, stroke over the small jut of his hard cock.

"God," Bucky says hot against his neck, "you're exactly the way you used to be." He thumbs the delicate head of Steve's little prick, making him gasp.

"Older though," Steve breathes. "Hopefully wiser."

Bucky seems to have nothing to say on the subject of hope. He just shimmies down the short length of Steve's body and fixes his mouth between Steve's legs.

Steve's breath huffs out of his rounded lips in an icy cloud. It's not like before, when they were young—just boys, really. Rowdy with their words and bodies but careful where it counted. Bucky used to keep up a steady stream of filthy whispers when he went to work on Steve with his tongue like this. Used to tell Steve all the things he was going to do to him. He even followed through on some of them.

Now, Bucky is silent. The only sounds he makes are light smacking noises, like kisses, and dirtier slurps. He takes both of Steve's balls in his mouth, moves them around on his tongue. Swallows up Steve's cock to its root and manages one ball at the same time. His saliva drips down Steve's skin, warm at first and then cooling sticky.

Steve curses and knocks his head back against the balled-up blankets. "Christ almighty." His fingers twine in Bucky's long hair without his say-so. He holds him there with what little strength he has, but Bucky doesn't balk. He even draws his mouth downwards when Steve tugs insistently in that direction, licks at his hole like Steve wants. Moves his tongue with flat, even laves and pointed stabs.

"More," Steve whispers. He raises his legs, one foot finding purchase on Bucky's muscled shoulder. Bucky slides his palms under Steve's ass to help him cant his hips in the air, the better to give Bucky's tongue access. And Bucky licks him with the single-minded purpose that he can't seem to shake in this new century.

"Ah, Buck, damn it." Steve squeezes his eyes shut and lets his hands dig further into Bucky's hair. He feels desperate to be filled the way Bucky used to fill him. "Put something in me."

Bucky gives his hole one more swipe of his tongue before picking up his head and saying, "Can't you just relax and let me handle this?" Then, at Steve's wildly cocked eyebrow, he sighs. "No. Of course you can't."

"Come on. Please?" Steve's prick bounces traitorously, trickling one drop of fluid after the other into his colorless pubic hair.

"Okay, but." Bucky examines his metallic hand for a moment before placing it back under Steve's hips. "Just keep breathing."

Steve does, big lungfuls that feel warmer now that his skin is tingling and Bucky is touching him. He watches as Bucky lifts his right hand, his flesh one, and pops his thumb in his mouth. Keeps eye contact over the panting wreck of Steve's body. Steve groans at the sight; he's always had a weakness for the construction of Bucky's hands.

"You're doing this on purpose," he says, and what he means is that Bucky remembers this—remembers what they were. And that means so much to Steve, he can barely keep back the tears.

Bucky drops his gaze then, silent once more, and works his slick thumb into Steve's worked-open hole. His other fingers flutter against the crack of his ass. In and out, slow. No words, no nervous laughter, no reverent light in his eyes. But his lips are red like they used to be, and they form Steve's name without sound, and that is enough.

Steve lets his eyes slip shut for a moment as his body moves along that path that Bucky's prepared for him. The aches and pains are still there, hovering, but there is also a soft pleasure covering them up like old furniture in an abandoned house. It occurs to Steve that he is alone in this moment because he is naked and touched while Bucky is still clothed, out of reach.

"Hey," Steve croaks, hands grasping. "At least let me see you. Touch yourself for me."

Bucky shakes his shaggy head. "I'm fine."

"Please, Buck." Steve stares down at him. His heart is pounding, but he isn't ready to be done. "Take it out. Show me."

He must be doing that big-eye thing because Bucky doesn't deny him. With his thumb still working in Steve's ass, he unbuttons his fly with his left hand. Pulls out his hard cock, all slick and purple-dusk with need. He holds it there for a second, and Steve watches him from between his spread legs.

"Oh Bucky," he says softly. "Look at you."

He opens his legs a little wider, lets Bucky's thumb press even deeper. His limbs shudder finely; he's almost ready. But Bucky isn't moving his left hand, just holds his cock almost protectively against his belly. Steve can only see little glimpses of it between those metal fingers.

Maybe he can't touch himself with all that cold steel. Steve chest hurts at the thought.

"You can switch hands," he suggests, wriggling a little on Bucky's thumb.

"Better not," Bucky says quietly. "The plating. It might...pinch you."

Oh. "Fair enough." Steve sits up to reach his hand down and grasp Bucky's wrist. "Take a break with me, then. I'm too close to the edge anyway."

Bucky's forehead creases in confusion. "Isn't that the point?"

The point is to make this last. At least until Bucky agrees to come in out of the cold. Steve bites at the inside of his cheek, tries to forget he has an ulterior motive sneaking around in his brain. But it's not like he can turn off the part of him that strategizes and plans all the little details; he's been this way even back when he was this size.

"Just do me a favor. Let me watch you." Steve waits for Bucky's slow, unsure nod before shifting his legs from their open V to a closed, tight line. Though it makes something pop in his spine, he lifts his hips even further and rests his slim feet on Bucky's left shoulder. Then he wonders if that's a mistake, if it still hurts, that fissure where the metal meets his skin. Buck hasn't even taken his shirt off, so Steve hasn't had a chance to see it. "Is this okay?" he asks.

"Yeah." Bucky removes his thumb from Steve's hole at a careful angle, allows his other hand to cup Steve's bare calf. He looks down the roller coaster track of Steve's legs, his face tight with some unreadable expression. "Like a mermaid," he says under his breath.

"A what?"

"That's how you looked with your legs together like this." Bucky's hand strokes up and down his shin bones, fingers running through the fine blond hairs. "I used to think that to myself." His eyes meet Steve's, and they're remembering the same series of nights when Steve would demand this closeness and Bucky would give and give and give.

Steve blinks and looks away first. "Just let me," he says at last, and hitches his thighs just a tad closer, opening them just an inch to allow Bucky's purpled cock to nestle snug between them.

Bucky groans, grabs the base of his dick with his right hand. Steve can feel his fingers squeezing in what must be a painful grip. If he's been thinking about this ever since DC, if it's been such a long time that he's lived in this gray area between his memories and his nightmares….

Steve can't move much in this position, but he doesn't need to. Bucky is the engine here. He holds Steve's ankles firm to his shoulder with his left hand, supports his lower back as best he can with his right, keeps Steve suspended there like some kind of strange musical instrument, and fucks into the sweaty, warm space between his clamped legs. Steve watches with his chin dipped all the way to his chest: the constant disappearance and reappearance of Bucky's flushed cockhead is hypnotic. It slides into view, brushing the underside of Steve's tight balls, then leaves again with a trail of wetness in its wake. Just the sight of it is enough to make Steve drip in sympathy.

He wishes Bucky would make a sound. But it's quiet, just their breathing and the slapping of skin on skin. He would talk except he doesn't know what to say. So Steve just rides with him, contains his gasps when Bucky's rhythm falters and presses his shaft along his hole; when Bucky's metal fingers curl cooly around the bird shape of his feet; when Bucky risks removing his hand from Steve's lower back to fist around his bouncing prick.

"Almost," Steve warns through his teeth.

Bucky doesn't say anything, just jerks him faster. Then his head dips to the side and—Steve's eyes grow wide—he presses a kiss to Steve's leg, just above his ankle. That's not muscle memory, that's not playing out an old scene in their shared bedroom. He is not the same boy Steve fell for all that time ago, but so what? Steve wants this one too.

He feels hot splashes of come on his skin and thinks dazedly that he hasn't released yet. Then his eyes focus and he realizes it's Bucky who has fucked between Steve's legs till he came. Fluid drips down into the crack of his ass to patter onto the blankets, and Steve moans. His orgasm is almost an extension of that victory, the sight of Bucky's face caught in a surprised, near-fearful reaction to his own pleasure.

Steve comes all over his soft, heaving stomach, flecks reaching even the pink points of his nipples. And still it's not enough. "Please, please," he says, and Bucky is already reaching down, gathering the come on his fingertips, pushing it around and into Steve's hungry little hole. That warmth spreads up through Steve's body, into his chest, making it easier to breathe.

"Oh god," he says. Bucky doesn't stop, not even when he lowers Steve's legs to fall open on either side of his still-clothed hips. He just keeps collecting come—his and Steve's—and pushing it into him with his warm, callused fingers.

"There's no bath or anything here," Bucky finally says when Steve's panting has calmed down and he's stretched out, languid and content, in their little nest. "Want me to clean you up?"

"Would you?" Steve asks, his eyes already fluttering shut. It took a lot out of him. All of this.

Bucky settles down in the V of Steve's legs and applies himself to licking his hole clean of all the spunk he'd just put in it. He's still hard; Steve can feel his erection brush his leg as he positions himself. Not a surprise. Steve suffers the same thing when he's in his soldier's body. Something to do with increased stamina, he supposes. He considers asking Bucky again to stick it in him, maybe come a second or third time inside, but he doesn't want to push him. And anyway, the body is willing but the flesh, etc.

He dozes, probably, because the next thing he remembers is Bucky curling up behind him and pulling the blankets up to their chins.

"In the morning?" Steve asks in a sleep-choked whisper.

"Get some rest," is all Bucky says, but Steve could swear he feels Bucky's lips in his hair before everything goes dark.

The morning is quiet. The first one of the year usually is, Steve thinks. He sits on an unfinished rooftop, shivering under a set of blankets that still smell like Bucky. A dot appears on the horizon and grows into the Quinjet.

"We've been looking all over for you," Tony says when he alights. "You okay?"

"Might be," Steve says. He looks past his teammate to the rooftop across the alley where a dark shape is standing in the shade of a watertower.

"Strange can fix this, promise. I'll take you to him."

"Fine." The shape darts along the rooftop and disappears over the edge. Steve closes his eyes.

"Hey." Tony's voice is concerned even with the metallic modulation of his helmet. "What the hell happened? Where's the Winter Soldier?"

"Gone." Steve turns back to the horizon, squinting his sore eyes at the sunrise. "But we'll find him. Just takes time."