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bent my knees 'cause I love you

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Steve is sure it was his imagination. He gets little sleep these days, what with being the unofficial leader of a band of superheroes, so it could be simply that - a moment of pure delusion, where his overtired and overworked brain showed him something that wasn’t.

It doesn’t stop him from pulling out his sketchbook one evening, settling himself on his bed, knees drawn up close to his chest and his back to the wall, eyeing the door every so often as he draws what his mind conjured up, something new, something wrong, somehow, something he’s not been brought up to accept. It doesn’t make it any less hot.

In his drawing, Bucky’s legs are bare but for the suspenders dangling from the garter belt he’s wearing. He’s still wearing a shirt, his dog tags resting low over his stomach, and his eyes are hooded. When Steve looks at his finished work, he feels his pulse quicken, the image seared behind his eyelids afterwards, making him sweat a little.

He wants to ask Bucky if he’s really imagined it, that morning where he inadvertently walked in on Bucky buttoning up after a shower, the flash of lace and black, but despite their friendship, he simply cannot bring himself to. It’d be weird, and Bucky would probably never let him live it down.

So Steve doesn’t say anything, and keeps on telling himself he’s just imagined it, and all is well. He jerks off to the images in his head, and he draws Bucky in all sorts of depraved positions and outfits, keeping that notebook well away from the one he knows Fury - and sometimes Tony - dig out from under his mattress to check his thoughts.

It’s not something that makes him feel violated anymore, not really; he gets it, he’s been sleeping for 70 years and now he’s adapting to a completely new world, the therapy sessions and the secrets he can’t keep, Steve understands them. But this particular secret? This, this thing that makes his blood thrum in his veins when he thinks about it, it’s not for sharing. This is sexual and special and intimate in a way most of his thoughts aren’t, so he keeps it to himself, satisfied.

---

It’s curiosity that drives Steve to walk inside Victoria’s Secret. He’s alone, his jacket collar lifted up in a futile attempt to keep the steady rain at bay; it’s a miserable day and at first he tells himself he’s just ducking inside the shop to avoid the heavy skies, but he knows it’s a lie. He jogs inside this very shop for specific reasons, even if he stands in the entrance, the sleeves of his jacket dripping water on the back of his hands, for a moment too long.

The saleswoman that walks to him is tall and blonde and pretty, her hair falling in loose curls around her face. Her eyes sparkle with amusement and Steve guesses he must look as lost as he feels, uncomfortable. The woman - Shelly, her nametag says - smiles indulgently at him.

“Can I help you?”

Steve feels like a fish out of water. He’s been a fish out of water since he woke up in 2011, the world as he knew it gone and replaced with something loud, crazy, ever-growing, too big for its own skin. He’s read as much as he could about what happened between the 40’s and now, discovered the wonder of computers and the Internet and Wikipedia, so it’s not like he’s ignorant, but there is so much, so much he still has no idea about. He still treats every dame he meets like he would have done in the 40’s, and he still speaks in a way that makes Tony laugh at how outdated it is. He’s learning, but not fast enough, and this whole situation he’s put himself in, he doesn’t feel prepared for it.

He doesn’t know what to say. He knows he’s blushing, and he feels like an idiot, so he straightens up, scratches his throat, and tries to go for a smile.

“I’m alright, thanks.”

Shelly raises an eyebrow, clearly not believing him, but Steve cannot wait for her to turn away; this is not what he’s here for.

“Are you sure? Are you looking to buy something for your girlfriend? Your wife? Do you know her size?”

He has no idea, because this is not what Shelly thinks, and he doesn’t really want to tell her that, no, it’s for a man, slightly smaller than Steve is himself. Again, Steve tries to smile.

“I know her size, yeah. Thank you, I’ll manage.”

Shelly nods once, taking a step back and finally admitting defeat. Steve lets out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding, and steps further inside the shop.There are so many, so many panties and bras and corsets and stockings and other various articles Steve has never ever seen before in his life, in all the colors of the rainbow and all the colors in between, in black and white and all shades of grey.

It’s overwhelming, but it’s also pretty, and Steve runs his hand over a row of satin panties, feeling the smoothness under his fingers. He observes the finest details of a black corset, unable to help himself and imagining it on Bucky. He stares for a long time at a display of stockings, taken by the small details - the criss-crossing on one, the small stars on another.

He leaves the shop an hour later, slightly embarrassed and with a small bag stuffed in his jacket pocket. Inside there’s a dark blue satin piece that he knows he won’t wear.

---

Steve keeps his idea that he just imagined Bucky in the garter belt.

He can’t any more, because Bucky comes out of the gym showers just as Steve walks into the changing room, and Bucky digs into his bag in front of Steve, and the red panties fall out from Bucky’s bag. He’s quick to grab them and ball them up in his fist, shoving them back in the bottom of the bag, but Steve has seen them.

To his credit, Bucky is not looking embarrassed, he’s not blushing, and when he pulls out a distressed looking pair of boxer-shorts, he grins at Steve, like nothing happened. The very core of Steve’s carefully built fantasy is shaken, because it wasn’t his imagination, not really.

“Hey, punk.” Bucky’s voice is quiet, but it brings Steve out of his mind before he can make a fool of himself, which Steve is grateful for. He grins, dropping his gym bag on the bench next to Bucky’s. He wants to go dig into that bag and find the panties Bucky shoved inside so quickly. Steve, in an embarrassing flash of heat coursing through his body, wonders if they’re clean. “What’s with you, Steve?”

“Huh? Oh, nothing.”

Bucky gives him a critical look, acting for all he’s worth like nothing actually happened a minute ago. He’s been awake in this world for longer than Steve has; maybe it’s not a big deal for him at all, and maybe Steve is building it all up in his head. Maybe nowadays, men wearing women’s underwear is a common thing. Steve doesn’t know who he could ask about stuff like that; probably the Internet again.

“You look tired, pal.”

“Yeah, well, try giving orders to Tony Stark, you’ll get tired too.”

Bucky pats Steve’s shoulder, his eyes full of sympathy. “Not always easy to be a leader, huh?”

Steve sits next to his bag, looking at his hands for a second, not sure how to explain it. “It used to be. You know, back in the day. You guys followed orders, and understood the need for plan A and plan B. Sure, sometimes we improvised, but now...” Steve takes a breath, shaking his head, a rueful smile on his lips. “Doesn’t matter.”

Bucky crouches in front of Steve, looking up, his face serious. “You don’t have to be the leader all the time.” Bucky remembers the scrawny kid from Brooklyn, the bullied little sneaky guy that couldn’t cut through a crowd but would slither his way through it. Steve tends to forget that, most days, it’s still the way Bucky sees him. Even now.

“Yeah. Maybe I just need a vacation.”

Maybe that’s why Bucky’s not bothered by the whole panties-dropping-out-of-his-bag affair. Because Steve is just Steve to him, and there’s nothing sexual about little, scrawny Steve Rogers. Or maybe it’s because these panties are Bucky’s latest flame. Maybe he’s waiting for Steve to say something about it, so he can pretend he’s a good liar when they both know he’s not.

Steve isn’t sure what he believes, right now, besides Bucky’s smirk and the sincerity in his eyes. “Maybe you do. You should ask Fury about that.”

Steve laughs.

---

Steve didn’t buy the dark blue panties for Bucky. He didn’t buy them for himself, either, but having them in his front pocket as he draws sort of makes it easier. He doesn’t really know why, but it does, a real element to his newfound fantasy. He’s not a fool, he knows it’s because of Bucky, and he probably wouldn’t react the same way if it was anyone else. But it’s also bigger than Bucky, something Steve cannot stop thinking about, something that makes him hard and hot under the collar and lustful like he’s never been. Every time he thinks about it, every time he looks at his drawings, Steve feels the heat and the want, making him feel more alive than he has since he woke up. Helping save the world is something he’s always wanted to do, and it makes him feel good, makes him feel selfless. But Bucky in lingerie makes Steve feel more, gives him a purely selfish reason to go on. This new secret obsession, so erotic Steve can barely stand it, gives him yet another reason to keep this world as brilliant and free as possible.

On the current page of his notebook, Bucky is sprawled on a nondescript bed, his chest bare and his dog tags lying on the sheets next to his head. His arms are over his head, his hips slightly off the mattress, hugged by red underwear and a line of lace at the waistband.

Steve spends hours on his drawings, trying to get the smallest detail right. The curve of Bucky’s mouth, the muscles in his arms, the apparent veins on his feet, things that Steve knows by heart, has spend hours looking at. But there’s also the details of things Steve can only imagine - the line of Bucky’s cock inside the panties, the way his ass would clench, the dark look of want in his eyes.

On paper, Steve has drawn Bucky wanton, needy, exactly the way he wants to see him someday. And it makes Steve hard just to think about it, to imagine Bucky on his bed, legs spread and cock aching. Steve wants it, so much, and he cannot possibly ask for it.

Turning the page, Steve stares at the blank canvas in front of him, images dancing in front of his eyes, populating the page. If only he could do something animated, make a movie of his thoughts, right there in his sketchpad, put the memories to paper so as to never forget them. It’s the last thing he wants, forgetting them and their delicate beauty, the way it wraps around Steve when he allows himself to jerk off to them in the middle of the night, a dirty secret that makes him smile when he comes.

He wants to see more of Bucky like this. He wants to know why, and he wants to know if it’s as hot in reality as it is in Steve’s head. He wants to stop jerking off to the idea and rut against Bucky’s hip instead. That’s not new, that is something he already wanted 70 years ago, and it’s not about to change, even less in this new free world where apparently, even soldiers are allowed to have the sexuality they want. It was one of these things that shook Steve through and through, like a bullet to his chest.

He wants this, and Steve is nothing if not determined to the point of single-mindedness sometimes. He’ll show Bucky just how much he wants this, and maybe he’ll get it.

---

This time, when he steps inside Victoria’s Secret, it’s with a goal in mind. His first purchase in the store is something he wants to keep for himself, a reminder that is not just about Bucky; also, Steve has kept the panties in his pockets, or in his bed, way too often for it to be a considerate gift.

The store is familiar, now, still overheated and a little oppressing, but not nearly as frightening as the first time had been. Steve ducks behind a display of bras to avoid saleswomen - he knows how much he doesn’t want to speak to any of them.

He also knows the width of Bucky’s hips, can conjure up an image in his head, precise. From that, it shouldn’t be too hard for him to get Bucky’s approximate size, and buy him something he’ll be able to wear.

Steve lingers around the silk for a moment, fingers skimming the smooth material for a long time as he browses. He should probably speak to a woman at some point about this, but he doesn’t know how to broach the subject to Pepper, or, God forbid, to Natasha. It feels way too intimate for Steve to be talking to anyone about it, even if he could probably use the help of a woman in the middle of such a store. Holding a neon yellow thong in his hand, Steve cocks his head to the side, pursing his lips. What would Bucky like?

Most probably not this. Something more subdued, more delicate, perhaps; definitely not something too bright and cocky. Steve puts the thong back, abandoning the rack of panties for another, focused on the task at hand.

“I see you’re back,” a female voice says to his right, making Steve jump. He turns, seeing Shelly, looking at him with a smile. He’s surprised she remembers him.

“Um, yeah.”

“Your girlfriend was pleased with your purchase last time, then?”

Steve ducks his head, scratching the back of his neck as a flush creeps up his cheeks. Shelly chuckles indulgently. “It’s okay. You’re here for another present?”

“Yes.”

“Right. Maybe I can help, this time. What are you looking for?”

Steve doesn’t have the heart to brush her off, she seems to earnest, too willing to help him out. Maybe she can, after all; she must know this store so much better than he does. “I’m looking for something comfortable. Understated, but still sexy.”

He’s been reading up a lot on lingerie and male and female perceptions of it on Wikipedia (that magic thing), and suddenly the words roll off his tongue easily, confidently. Shelly smiles.

“I think I have the perfect thing for you.”

Shelly leads Steve to the back of the store, stopping in front of a colorful display of random panties and bras. She pulls out a specific one from a rack, animal print with a trim of black lace. “We call them cheeky panties.”

Steve plucks the delicate panties off her hand, checking the cut. It seems to be midway between a bikini cut and a thong, which worries Steve a little. “Is that really comfortable?”

“Oh, I know it might not look like it, but it actually is! I wear them all the time, they’re some of my favorite.”

Steve tries not to blush at that, and fails miserably. Shelly laughs again, delighted. “We have them in different colors and patterns if animal print is not her thing.”

Steve looks down at the panties again, biting the inside of his lip. “Yeah, I’m not sure -” he goes digging in the rack of underwear, checking out different colors and patterns until he finds one he likes, and pulls it out. “This is better.”

The version he holds up is a creamy off-white, the black lace trim a stark contrast around the soft material. There’s a tiny bow at the very front, and Steve runs his thumb over it, nodding to himself.

“Yeah.”

“I’ll ring it up for you, shall I?”

Steve nods, following Shelly to the counter. He gets it gift wrapped, and leaves the store with the small box protected from prying eyes on the inside of his zipped-up jacket.

---

He leaves the present on Bucky’s bed the next morning, when he knows Bucky is off for some target practice with Clint. The lot of them living in such close quarters is sometimes a real chore, but it’s also got some advantages, namely easy access to each other’s rooms, if you know how to pick an easy lock, and Steve has learned a lot of not-so-commendable skills when he was in the Army. He doesn’t say the present is from him, either, just leaves the VS-branded box on Bucky’s bed and hopes he’ll be going back to his room alone.

Days go by, and Steve hears nothing about the present. He sees Bucky, he talks to Bucky, they have dinner with Clint and Natasha, they go training together, but every time Steve glances at Bucky, Bucky just smirks at him, or doesn’t look back. But he’s not blushing, and he doesn’t seem angry, and he doesn’t confront Steve, like he either hasn’t made the connection yet, or hasn’t opened the box, or he doesn’t care, which is the one explanation that hurts the most.

Steve tries not to let it get to him. Maybe he really did imagine it all.

Until Steve is reminded that, no, he did not dream it, because he’s walking past Bucky’s room, and the door is ajar - Steve halts and looks, finding himself unable not to. Bucky’s back is to the door, and he’s shirtless, pulling on pants, but what Steve’s eyes are drawn to is the lace trim and creamy ivory of the underwear that disappears under Bucky’s jeans after a second. Steve’s mouth goes instantly dry, the searing image of Bucky’s ass in the panties Steve bought for him sending his mind reeling.

Oh, he is so screwed. Steve turns on his heels and runs to his room, his cock achingly hard in his pants. He’s breathing hard, shallow, lying back on his bed and staring at the ceiling, trying to see something else than Bucky in the panties, even though Steve does realize this had been what he wanted. It seems like a stupid idea right now, when he doesn’t feel like he’ll ever be able to look into Bucky’s eyes again, but he’ll get over it. At least, the first part of his plan was successful.

Steve opens his pants and slips a hand inside his boxer-shorts, closing his eyes and fleshing out the flash of Bucky in those panties into a fully fledged fantasy, heady and filthy, making Steve lose control.

---

Steve is taking his gloves off when Agent Coulson intercepts him, just outside the training grounds. He’s not really in the mood for whatever lecture’s awaiting him, angry at himself and sort of humiliated to have let one of Tony’s drones get the better of him during training.

Steve knows exactly what the problem is. He’s had Natasha and Clint by his side one second, and then Barton had been swept by a solid blow from the drone, and it had all reminded Steve too much of Bucky falling off the train, 70 years ago, still as vivid in Steve’s mind as it had happened yesterday.

It’d been like an electric shock through Steve. All things considered, realizing Bucky was indeed just as alive as Steve himself was, in this day and age, had been easier to process than Steve thought it would be. But the reminder that Steve lost Bucky once, that he could lose him all over again makes fear and anger boil in Steve’s veins. He realizes that he panicked during training and he’s panicking still, but there’s nothing he can do to stop it, besides maybe going to find Bucky and just confirm that he is, indeed, alive and well.

“Distracted, Captain Rogers?”

Agent Coulson falls into step with Steve, adopting Steve’s rhythm effortlessly. “I’m fine.”

“Far from me to say you aren’t.”

“I’m going to see Clint.”

Coulson wraps a hand around Steve’s forearm, stopping him dead in his tracks. Steve throws him a look, before feeling all his anger deflate. It doesn’t have to be directed at anyone else but himself; he’s the one that fucked up, all these years ago with Bucky, and now with Barton.

“He’s fine, Steve. A little shook up, but he’s still snarking at everything and everyone around him, so, he’s fine. Are you still talking to your therapist?”

Steve blinks, surprised by the sudden change in subject. His therapist, Doctor Holly Juniper, has been a stable fixture in his life, every Thursday afternoon for an hour, sometimes an hour and a half. Steve, strangely, trusts her.

“Yes.”

Coulson nods and puts his hands in his pockets. “Good. Don’t let it go to waste, then.”

---

Steve goes online for his next purchase. In the dead of night he opens the laptop Tony taught him how to use, pulls out Google, and Google leads him to Victoria’s Secret. He doesn’t doubt there are a million other lingerie websites in the world, but he’s growing more confident surrounded by the cluttered design of the website, reminding him of the shop. He almost misses Shelly by his side.

He chooses lacy briefs, in a deep green, after spending a solid hour and a half on the website, carefully sifting through different styles and cuts and colors. It doesn’t make him feel hot, not unless he starts imagining them on Bucky, and that’s what leads Steve to Google again, typing why do you crossdress in the search box.

Steve gets lost, after that. He reads about men talking about it on forums, freely and without an ounce of shame, drawing Steve in with their tales and stories. All these men are remarkable, is what Steve keeps on thinking, reading on and on, understanding better with each comment why they all do this and why they enjoy it as they do. And Steve understands better why he is enjoying seeing it on Bucky, besides the obvious sexual desire. It’s something in the way Bucky walks, and in the way he smirks, and his confidence, the whole world of Bucky; Steve can just gravitate around him and end up helplessly tempted.

So maybe he finds the whole thing hot because he’s been in love with Bucky for as long as he can remember. Maybe it’s something completely detached from his feelings for Bucky, though, maybe it’s just something mindless and erotic and one-sided. In the end, Steve realizes, it doesn’t matter. Because it makes Bucky feel special, and maybe it makes him feel desirable, more confident, and it makes Steve feel a little more complete, a little more alive to think of Bucky that way.

---

It becomes a game three days after Steve leaves the new pair of panties on Bucky’s bed. Steve has, all things considered, been doing this fairly selflessly; he has hopes, yes, but a) he has no idea if Bucky actually realized who the gifts were from, and b) he’s grown fairly practical and realistic, living through a war. So, even though Steve wants, he knows better than to think he’ll get, and he’s happy trying to make Bucky happy.

But one evening, Steve steps into his room after a shower, ready to fall into bed right away, sore and aching, and here they are. Tucked between his pillow and the sheets, a square of red, shiny material is showing. The hairs on Steve’s arms rise as he walks closer and sits on the edge of the bed, his teeth worrying a patch of flesh on the inside of his lip. He reaches out tentatively, as if whatever’s hiding there is going to run away if he’s not careful, which is stupid, but he can’t quite help it.

The material is smooth under his fingers, and when Steve tugs, the whole pair of panties comes out, making him swallow hard. Maybe it’s retaliation, only Bucky is not one for pretty boxes, or - or it’s a game they’re playing, now, something less complicated than chess and more organic than poker.

The panties are satin, a deep, gorgeous crimson; French cut, from what Steve can assess. The idea that Bucky wore these, at any point, makes Steve grow hard in a second, in his hands the unspoken proof that his fantasy is real. His lips part in a silent breath, and Steve thinks, fuck it, and gives in to the images in his head and the soft panties under his fingertips. Using his free hand, he undoes the knot on his towel, letting it fall either side of him, and he shuffles himself around until he’s lying comfortably on the bed, the panties scrunched up in his hand, his eyes still trained on them. They are not new, the elastic threading here and there, the material sticky in places confirming these have been worn, and Steve’s heart thuds in his chest at what it all means, at what Bucky is doing to him. It’s an exquisite game to play, and Steve finds himself grinning, a sort of giddiness rushing through his veins; he’s not been alone in this, this is leading to an inevitable conclusion that Steve has been dreaming of for longer than he cares for to think about.

Elated, Steve wraps his free hand around his cock as he presses the panties to his face, done with trying to pretend this is not exactly what he’s been wanting to do from the second he saw the panties. Steve breathes in, and his eyes flutter close as he pushes his hips off of the mattress. The panties smell musky and dark, something private that sends images through Steve’s mind. He imagines Bucky wearing the panties, imagines himself touching them, where waistband meets skin, imagines muscles against satin, Bucky’s cock hard and leaking, the underwear straining to keep him in. Steve is stroking his cock slowly as his head goes through the mental images and the smells, a fine sheen of sweat covering his brow and upper arms, making the air around him heady, addictive.

His grip on his cock turns quickly more slippery, sweat and pre-come easing his frantic movements, and Steve gasps, bed springs creaking underneath him as he shifts his hips, completely lost in the secretive scent of Bucky in the panties pressed to his nose, to his mouth. Steve licks at the satin, his lips sticking to the material as he desperately tries to taste Bucky, a groan leaving his mouth, resounding in the empty room.

His hand is not enough. Steve’s eyes open for a second as he rolls over on his bed - way too small right now - effectively trapping between the pillow and his face as he grinds his hips down in the mattress, nowhere near as satisfying as it would be to do exactly this against Bucky’s naked, sweaty skin. Still, it’s something, and Steve is not far from coming all over his sheets. He bites into the panties, eyes forcefully closed, wondering about the noises Bucky would make if he was here right now, witnessing Steve wanton and needy, his body begging to touch Bucky’s.

Steve is almost surprised by his orgasm, a rush of hazy feelings making his limbs grow heavy as he spills over his bed, the panties still in his mouth as he tries to breathe through the material, sweat in his eyes making his vision blurry as he blinks them open.

Jerking off has always been something he did quickly and most often in the dark, something he needed to do, without ever finding the experience fulfilling in itself. This particular experience, however, definitely changes his mind.

---

Doctor Juniper crosses her legs, and Steve’s eyes flick down to them instinctively. She’s got lovely legs, the curve of her calves accentuated by the high heels she’s wearing, but Steve lets his eyes wander back up, to her heart-shaped face and sparkling brown eyes. She smiles at him and Steve relaxes in the ugly beige couch she keeps in her office.

For a long time, Dr. Juniper just looks at him, appraising whether to start the conversation or let Steve take his time, probably. Steve, this time, feels like starting.

“So, I’m not very good at the relationship thing.”

Dr. Juniper cocks her head to the side, her elbow in her hand, resting her chin on top of her fingers. “Oh?”

Steve smiles, looking down. “You know I’m not. We’ve had this discussion before.”

“We have. I’m just wondering why you’re bringing it up again?”

“Because we’re always talking about how this world is completely foreign to me, and I have to learn all new these cultural rules, but really, relationships are the same, aren’t they? We’re still all looking for that one person we can trust with our deepest secrets.”

“Amongst other things, I suppose we are, yes. Do you think you’ve found that person?”

When Steve grins, it feels like one of these deepest secrets he was talking about. “I have, a long time ago.” He speaks the second half softly to himself.

“Well, I think that’s great, Steve. Now, do you think you’ve done something wrong?”

She’s going back to the first question, and Steve shakes his head. “Not yet. But I will, won’t I?”

Dr. Juniper smiles indulgently. “Everybody does, that’s the way of life. Trial and error, Steve. You should enjoy what you have, without worrying about messing it up. We all mess up, but no relationship is perfect. Nobody is perfect. Not even Captain America.”

---

This time, Steve goes all out. He buys a proper set, not just panties but also a matching camisole that he’s not sure Bucky will ever want to wear; Steve likes the idea of giving him the choice and the opportunity. The idea of the soft cotton camisole over Bucky’s chest is also something Steve likes to think about, the fine straps over Bucky’s muscular shoulders and the contrast of the flimsy material against a firm, masculine chest.

It’s funny, how much Steve likes to think about Bucky in lingerie, how much it turns him on, and yet, he has no desire to try it for himself. It isn’t what he wants to think about, it’s not about his own confidence; it’s about Bucky, and about what Steve feels for Bucky, with or without lingerie. It’s about pleasing Bucky.

He gets the set with an express, next day delivery, and then sets himself to work, in his completely private sketchbook. Steve draws Bucky carefully, the way he sees Bucky in his head, like he remembers the flashes of satin on skin, biting the inside of his lip as he draws him with his jeans pooled around his ankles and the cheeky panties Steve himself bought for Bucky hugging his hips. Steve draws Bucky leaning against the edge of the page, only the back of his head and his shoulders touching it, the rest of his body a smooth arch away from the makeshift wall. Steve draws Bucky with one hand resting on his stomach, and another hand curled in the panties. He draws Bucky with his eyes closed and his lips parted, spending long minutes on tiny details, the length of Bucky’s eyelashes, the shadow of stubble over his cheek, the harsh cut of his jaw. He takes his time defining and shadowing muscles, over Bucky’s arms, stomach, thighs.

When he’s about done, he keeps at it, smudges lines on purpose, draws over the outline of Bucky’s body with a black ink pen, looks at it over and over again, adding a shadow here, a wrinkle in the fabric there, erasing an occasional line. It takes him hours, before he looks away and deems himself satisfied. It’s not perfect, but neither is Bucky. Steve carefully tears the page out of his sketchbook, and folds it in four before putting it back in the sketchbook, stashing it all back in its hiding place.

It’s his play in their new little game. He’ll put the drawing along with the next present he’ll leave in Bucky’s room tomorrow. It’s not as inventive or sexy, but Bucky always had him beat in these categories, and Steve wants the game to be over sooner than later.

More than that, more than any of that, Steve wants Bucky to see just exactly how Steve imagines him.

---

Steve looks up from his book when his door opens, startled by the lack of knock, but relaxes instantly when Bucky walks in and pushes the door closed carefully, fingers splayed over the metal. It’s the purpose in the movements that make Steve’s heart rate ratchet up suddenly, the knowledge that this is it, the end of the game. Bucky leans against the closed door, arms crossed over his chest, and Steve looks at the few feet between the two of them, trying not to bite the inside of his lip.

“I think we need to talk.”

Steve leans back on his hands, trying not to let the fear of rejection take hold of him. It’s an old friend, almost, but Bucky telling him to stop, that he’s not interested, would be just as devastating as being kept away from the Army for so long, if not more.

But Bucky smiles, his eyes dark, and takes a few steps towards Steve, still sitting at the edge of his bed. “First of all, thank you.”

Steve’s eyes open wide, watching Bucky walk closer and closer to him. “You don’t have to.”

“Maybe not, but I want to. I really appreciated the gifts, Steve.”

Steve smiles, looking up at Bucky, who’s almost close enough to be right between Steve’s knees. “I’m glad.”

When Bucky reaches out, Steve tries his best not to close his eyes and lean into the touch, feeling Bucky’s fingers carding lightly through his hair. “I thought I knew all there was to know about you, you know? But you keep on surprising me.”

Steve chuckles. “You’re one to talk.”

When he looks up, though, Bucky’s eyes are serious, searching. “How long?”

There are so many follow-ups to this question, but Steve knows there’s only one thing Bucky wants to know right now, how long have you loved me? Steve has never been a good liar, even less where Bucky was concerned. “Counting the 70 years sleeping?”

Bucky shrugs, fingers pressing a little harder against Steve’s scalp. Steve sighs. “Forever.”

“God, you’ve always been one for the cheesy lines.”

Steve would answer, probably something stupid again, but Bucky’s leaning down and kissing him before he has a chance to think about words, filling Steve’s mind right away with a world of yes, more, this. Bucky’s lips are chapped and full against Steve’s, and he answers the kiss in earnest, pushing himself up on the bed, his hand framing the side of Bucky’s face, fingers pressing against Bucky’s jaw, feeling its sharp edges. Steve lets out a sound that is almost foreign to him when Bucky opens his mouth to him, the kiss turning deeper, his free hand trailing over Bucky’s stomach, feeling muscles tense under the ripples of Bucky’s thin cotton shirt. Bucky breaks the kiss with a gasp, curling his fingers in Steve’s shoulder, looking like he’s trying to keep himself standing, and Steve leans forward, wrapping an arm around Bucky’s hips as he pushes his face into Bucky’s stomach, one of Bucky’s hand fisted in Steve’s hair.

“Are you,” Steve swallows hard, pushing back to be able to look up, Bucky looking back with dark eyes. Steve’s fingers loom over the waistband of Bucky’s jeans. “Are you wearing some?”

Bucky nods, and Steve licks his lips helplessly. “Can I?” His hands rest purposefully on each side of the button of Bucky’s jeans.

Fuck, yes.”

Steve only realizes he’s trembling a little when he tries to get the button to pop open, and it takes him a few moments to get there, the zipper of Bucky’s jeans loud in the otherwise silent room when Steve pulls it down. He slides his hands inside, his eyes trained on the hint of dark green as he peels Bucky’s jeans down, inhaling sharply as his stomach twists. Bucky is half-hard, his cock straining against the cotton panties, and Steve cannot look away, can hardly blink as he trails his fingers along the white lacy trim, feeling soft skin meeting soft material.

“Steve -” Bucky stops when Steve presses closer, mouthing at Bucky’s cock through his underwear, his hands sliding to Bucky’s ass, index fingers slipping under the elastic band of the panties. Bucky moans around Steve’s name, dragging it out, and Steve looks up, a shaky breath escaping him when Bucky pushes his thumb against his mouth, tracing its contours, his own lips looking bitten and red.

Steve twists his hand in Bucky’s shirt and pulls him down, their lips crashing together in a hard kiss, full of intent, no more room for mistakes and playing around. Bucky groans, forces his jeans off before sliding his knees around Steve’s thighs, straddling him and pushing his hips down, the lace of his panties scraping deliciously against the newly exposed skin of Steve’s lower stomach, Bucky’s hands pulling at Steve’s shirt like it’s personally offending him.

They break the kiss long enough to get rid of both their shirts and open Steve’s pants with fumbling hands, soft chuckles breaking some of the tension between them. Steve still can’t quite express how much he’s been wanting this, all of this, and how beautiful Bucky looks, a million times better than fantasies; instead, he kisses Bucky again, lets his fingers trail down Bucky’s back, dipping in the dimples just over the waistband of the panties. Bucky breaks the kiss, bites into Steve’s shoulder as he rolls his hips into Steve’s, his hands spread over Steve’s chest, thumbs brushing nipples.

“Oh, God, wait - wait -” Bucky pulls back like he’s been burned, looking at Steve, who’s already regretting the words. “No, no, just want to get rid of,” Steve gestures at his pants, open but uncomfortable, and Bucky lets out a broken, despertate sound, ending with a chuckle. He moves away from Steve, who pushes both pants and underwear down, trying his best not to feel self-conscious; he forgets about himself a second later, when he turns and sees Bucky lying down on the bed, hands under his head, one leg bent, looking back at Steve with hooded eyes. The panties are stretched by his cock, darkened in patches, and they look so filthy and perfect on Bucky that Steve’s arm threatens to give out from under him.

He reaches out, curling a hand around Bucky’s thigh, mesmerized by how Bucky just follows the movement, spreading his leg invitingly, his eyes never wavering. Steve licks his lips. “Can you keep them on?”

Bucky rises up on his elbows, a smirk on his face as his eyes roam over Steve’s body. “I really am learning all kinds of new things about you.”

Steve rolls his eyes, shuffling up the bed between Bucky’s legs, resting his forehead against Bucky’s sternum, his fingers once again brushing against the waistband of the panties. Bucky’s fingers tangle in Steve’s hair again. “I’ve just been thinking about it a lot.”

“You’ll have to tell me about that later. C’mere.” Bucky tugs Steve up, until they’re kissing again, Steve pressing Bucky into the mattress, their cocks sliding together as they rock, the cotton of the panties the only thing between them. Bucky reaches down, fumbling for a second before pushing his underwear down just enough to free his cock, taking it and Steve’s both in hand, and Steve breathes out a moan, thrusting into Bucky’s hand, his face buried in Bucky’s neck.

Bucky smells like sex and spice, like so many memories that Steve goes light-headed as he licks and kisses skin, biting into muscles under Bucky’s collarbones just to hear him moan, their hips working in sync now, their movements eased by sweat and precum. Steve feels hyper sensitive, his skin tearing up, unable to contain him and the rush of sensations as Bucky kisses him, moves against him, squeezes his hand around both their erections.

Steve closes his eyes forcefully as a particularly well-timed thrust on Bucky’s part makes the bunched-up panties brush against Steve’s balls, and he forgets about everything else, completely focused south. He grabs Bucky’s free hand in his own, their fingers tangling together in the sheets, and he pants against Bucky’s mouth, opening his eyes for a second, following the path of a drop of sweat down Bucky’s temple and into his hair. They kiss, more shared breath and bites than anything else, the two of them lost in sensations, skin slick with sweat as they move together.

Steve is lost when he trails his hand down along Bucky’s ribs, down to his hip and around to his ass, feeling the panties halfway up, damp with sweat and tight over Bucky’s clenched muscles. It takes one, two more thrusts before he’s coming, pushing back from Bucky as orgasm rolls over him, his arms trembling. Bucky laughs, open-hearted and breathless, leaning up to grab Steve and kiss his neck, jaw, chin, cheeks, the pace of his hand over his cock turning frantic when Steve looks down at it. Steve wraps his arm around Bucky’s shoulders, flipping them over in a surprisingly graceful move, and he hooks his fingers in Bucky’s panties as he watches Bucky jerk himself off, his body taut and tense, his head thrown back, neck a long line Steve wants to spend hours discovering.

When Bucky comes, it’s loudly and all over Steve’s chest; and Steve looks, completely enthralled, his lips dry and his whole body thrumming with want, with more. He gathers a spent Bucky in his arms, willing and pliant and so warm, and brushes his nose along Bucky’s forehead, the smile on his face a mix of giddy, protective and completely overwhelmed.

---

They don’t really get to talk before the early hours of the morning, Steve resting his head on Bucky’s chest, the panties discarded long ago. They’re dozing, between sleep and awareness, bodies humming, and Steve isn’t sure he’s ever going to be able to stop smiling.

“So, how does it make you feel?”

Bucky shrugs, his finger tracing some random pattern on Steve’s back. “It makes me feel, I don’t know, confident. Like I’m embracing the part of me that likes girly stuff, and it’s okay. This new world we live in, it’s so - so open, and I stumbled upon an article on the internet about it, and I don’t know why, I just wanted to try it. So, I did, and man, Steve, it’s hot. I feel hot in them.”

“You are hot in them.”

“See?” Bucky laughs. “Why do you like it?”

Steve finds himself without words to explain, how he’s been overwhelmed by seeing Bucky in panties, how he’s wanted to make Bucky feel somehow special by getting him the lingerie. It’s many things he wants to tell Bucky, but can’t quite manage it. “I don’t know. It’s something that makes you feel good. I...I kinda gathered a while ago that whatever makes you feel good, makes me feel good.”

“You really are one for cheesy lines.”

Steve pokes Bucky in the ribs, his stupid smile still in place. “I try.”