Sam rests a hand on Bucky’s back, lets it slide across. Sweeps a thumb along the sun-warm skin of Bucky’s neck, not faltering as the man slides in closer, tucking his body into Sam’s. For a second he worries that it’s too intimate, that the people packing up and heading home might toss them second glances, but then he remembers that Bucky literally drove his truck to the cookout. In Delacroix, that’s as much of a declaration as any, and the only people who pause are older folks, to tip knowing winks in Sam’s direction.
The reason Bucky drove his truck is because he’d offered to make potato salad and Sam, like an idiot, allowed him. The issue lay in that it was potato salad from the nineteen-fucking-forties, which meant there was a frankly offensive amount of mayonnaise and lunchmeat. Sam’d taken one look and gagged, and sent his dear, ancient husband to the store for a cake instead, choosing to ride with Sarah and leave the gloppy mess to congeal on the kitchen counter.
So yeah, they’re a little more open in Delacroix, a little more lax in their affections. Most of the people around have guessed they’re together, just by how familiar the boys are with Bucky. Still not as open as Sam would like, because sometimes it’s a real struggle not to kiss Bucky in the deli section of the grocery, or on the docks, or anywhere else the urge may arise. Shit, he can barely keep his hands to himself in other situations. Bucky’d patted the shield after his first fight as Cap, and it took all of his worldly strength to not give into his adrenaline-rush urges until the quinjet was safely en route home.
(They’d broken it in pretty thoroughly, though.)
He lets his hand steal down to Bucky’s waist as the dock clears out, the sun setting bright and fierce on the water. The other man lays his head on Sam’s shoulder, and god, does he love him. Loves him for never once taking advantage of Sam’s therapy training like so many others, loves him for the way he is with Sarah and Cass and A.J., loves him for leaving tinned tuna out for the stray cats in New York, loves him for him . Because shit, yeah, they’ve both got baggage on baggage, but never once has Bucky made him feel responsible for it, never made him carry weight that isn’t his. They’ve shouldered their burdens and yet when they’re together, the weight isn’t so pressing, the nightmares less insistent.
“What if we got married again? For real, this time.”
Sam exhales, takes a deep breath in and smells Bucky’s shampoo. There’s a lot to consider, logistically, with a real wedding. For starters, the world is somewhat more at rights than it was when they got married, and a wedding would only attract attention, especially with his new status. A Black Captain America’s gonna be a hard enough pill to swallow; put bisexual in front of that, not to mention the other name on the certificate, and heads will turn. And it’s not that he doesn’t want to, christ, he wants nothing more than a church wedding, gumbo and crab boils in the backyard after, getting to show the world that Bucky’s his . It’s just...tricky.
“Can we talk about it at home?”
And it’s a testament to them that Bucky isn’t angry, or even passive-aggressive. No, it’s just a statement, an agreement, nothing lurking beneath the surface, and Sam kisses him as the last rays of sun slip below the horizon.
They don’t end up talking about it at home. To be fair, they don’t do a lot of talking at all, because Bucky started kissing filthy on that dock, and then Sam had to watch him drive home because he wouldn’t take shotgun, and to say he was painfully hard by the time they rattled up the drive would be a severe understatement.
They leave a trail of clothes up the stairs, feet snagging on pant legs and getting tangled in each other’s tee shirts. The house is empty, which means the sex is loud, and thanks to Bucky’s, ah, enhancements , they can go as many rounds as Sam can physically handle.
So yeah, sex with Bucky is mind-blowingly incredible, but if he’s honest, it’s the comedown that Sam prefers. When he can feel Bucky’s heart hammering against his cheek, his chest, the weight of him reminding Sam that they’re alive, they’re okay. The way they stumble to the shower, Bucky pressing kisses on his neck as the water warms up, taking turns in the heat of the spray. Falling asleep in each other’s space, if not necessarily their arms, whispered I love you s stretching across the quiet darkness.
They don’t get a slow wake up, either, when they maybe could’ve discussed the whole wedding thing, because Cass and A.J. come thundering up the stairs at 8 AM sharp, chased by the sound of Sarah’s scolding. Sam shoots awake just in time to throw the duvet over himself and Bucky before there’s a bedfull of children, giggling as Bucky flails around and nearly falls out. They’re talking a mile a minute about the boat, the friends they stayed with, what they had for breakfast, and it’s all Sam can do to smile and nod and that’s awesome, buddy , at the right moments. Sarah pokes her head in and Sam grins, Bucky raising a hand from where he’s still lying flat on the bed. The boys scramble out, and she shuts the door with a mouthed sorry .
Sam flops back, leaning into the hand Bucky scratches along his scalp. God, he loves his nephews, but they haven’t quite grasped the importance of coffee. ‘Course, their little asses don’t need it, waking up fresh out of bed every morning with all the energy they need. Ugh . He rolls over, smashing his face into the pillow and groaning.
“They’re enough, right? We don’t ever gotta have those, right-”
“God, no. Love kids, never did want ‘em.”
Bucky sighs, and Sam hears the metal of his hand smack his forehead like he was aiming for dramatics and ended up-
“ Ow. ”
God, he loves his stupid husband.
They end up walking to a cafe for breakfast, a little old place that Sam grew up going to, one where he’s comfortable enough to rest his chin on Bucky’s shoulder while he orders and hold his hand across the table. Bucky, to his eternal surprise, takes his coffee black, with as much sugar as it’ll hold. Sam’s more a hazelnut latte kinda guy, heavy on the syrup. Basic training and the general proximity of Starbucks locations in D.C. gave him an appreciation for calories and sweet coffee, sue him.
Bucky nods, midway through a mouthful of banana muffin. He takes a second to chew, giving Sam a look that means questions?
“Run me through it?”
Bucky swallows, takes a second to sip his coffee.
“Simple. Classy. Tuxes, black if you want, but I think black suits are boring, personally. Small, maybe just the folks around here. Cass ‘n A.J. ‘n Mr. Jones’ little girl for flower-kids, maybe.”
It’s...well, if Sam planned his own wedding, which he’s doing right now, apparently, it’s what he’d choose. There’s a question looming, though, bigger than all the doubts he has.
“Doesn’t need to be there, or be informed.” Bucky answers swiftly, like he’s thought about it in detail.
“Listen, I want to marry you proper. Real nice church wedding, give the folks around here an occasion to dress nice and have some fun. I also don’t want to jeopardize you, or...compromise you, in any way. The media, they wouldn’t be nice about it, no matter how much celebrity status you have. And I...if you think it’s too risky, well shit, sweetheart, you’re already my husband. It’s about as much as a fella could ask for.”
Bucky’s Brooklyn accent drags its way out when he’s excited, and to Sam, it’s the sweetest sound in the whole damn world.
“Yeah,” he says, grinning like a damn idiot. “Yeah, okay.”
And while it might not be the best decision, it’s what he wants, damn it. And if news gets out, fuck it. He’ll ignore the clenching in his chest at the idea Bucky might be a target again, if only because he loves him and hey, little queer kids need superheroes, too.
Turns out there’s a damn sight more to wedding planning than either of them thought. Even “simple” weddings require booking the church, ordering flowers, ordering their suits, getting the kids’ suits and dresses tailored, getting Sarah’s best-woman tux fitted, and a myriad of other minutiae that make Sam’s head spin if he thinks about it for too long.
Thankfully, Bucky and Sarah seem to have things covered. He and Bucky go over plans every night, and he gets final say on whatever they’ve planned during the day. Money isn’t a problem, Bucky explains, grinning in a slightly crooked way that Sam understands as I’ve siphoned money from offshore Hydra accounts for years , which is precisely what Bucky whispers in his ear when Sam’s hedging over the price of gardenias. He’d rolled his eyes, but it certainly made choosing a little easier.
The reception wasn’t as much of a worry; their house has plenty of yard space, and Bucky more than readily agreed to a crab-boil-backyard-cookout style affair. He brings up the potato salad, and both Sarah and himself fix him with such a glare that he backs out of the room, muttering about Cass and A.J. having ties that match the flower girls’ dresses.
Bucky’s pulled the same scheme with their suits, too. Sam’d picked out a maroon velvet set, mildly reminiscent of the pimp suit he’d worn in Madripoor, but more his speed. Bucky, in turn, picks out a floral fabric, black background with maroon and burgundy flowers. Sam’s tie is in Bucky’s suit pattern, and Bucky’s tie is in Sam’s suit color. They’re both handmade, from some tailor in Romania that Bucky’d gotten close with years ago, and tailored so perfectly to them that his mouth waters a little just thinking about what Bucky’s gonna look like in his.
Because, obviously, Samuel , he’s not allowed to see Bucky in his suit until their wedding day. Which, y’know, is driving him a little nuts, but since he’s up to his tits in drafts of vows and finding silicone rings that aren’t horrifically ugly, he doesn’t have much time to complain. They land on traditional gold somewhere around his fifth draft, engraved to look like metal despite being flexible and plasticky. That way Bucky’s not scraping unyielding metal onto his hand, and Sam (hopefully) won’t have a freak accident and lose a finger. The gloves on his suit should hide the ring without any issue, but Bucky’s adamant that if it throws him even the slightest , Sam’s not to think about putting it on.
Which, he thinks, is bullshit. He’s already gotten used to a new shield, new suit, and new wings. A little bit of plastic under his gloves isn’t gonna throw him any further.
(Especially not when he’s been training with tape around his ring finger lately.)
The day of their wedding - god, the fact that he can even say that sends a little shiver down his spine - dawns bright and hot. And empty. At the insistence of Sarah and the older women, he and Bucky had been separated; he’d slept at home, while Bucky slept in the Jones’ spare room. They’re getting ready separately, too, and Sarah’s gone out of her way to organize a “first look.” Which, fine, okay, tradition and all that, but Sam’s pulse is already going a mile a minute, and all he wants is to smell Bucky’s stupid Old Spice as he’s getting ready.
He somehow manages to get ready, Cass and A.J. and his groomsmen swooping in as welcome distractions. They chat idly as Sam helps the boys with their cufflinks and bow ties, swapping high-school memories and dating horror stories and all the little mundane things Sam’s missed so much about being home. He can tell the boys feel big, too, sitting up straighter in their suits and casting wide eyes around at the group.
It’s 5 before he knows it, and then he’s being herded to the church, Cass and A.J. tugging at his hands.
“Whoa, whoa. Y’all more excited to see Bucky than me?”
“We already seen him, Uncle Sam. Momma sent us to you all ready, ‘member?”
Sam’s not jealous of a six-year-old for seeing his husband before he does on his wedding day. Nope, not even a little bit. He doesn’t have time to, really, because Pete’s slapping a blindfold on his face before they even get in the door, and he stumbles his way through into a very familiar, very mismatched pair of arms. There’s a shuffling sound as the wedding party files in, but Sam’s rapidly tuning that out in favor of the feeling of Bucky’s heart beating.
“Can I take this shit off now?”
Bucky laughs, and it’s all the go ahead he needs. The fabric falls from his eyes and oh, yeah, there he is. The man he’s already chosen to spend the rest of his life with, standing there in an impeccably tailored suit that does indeed make his mouth water. He’s not crying, didn’t expect to, but there’s a quaver in the air, and when Bucky pulls him in Sam could swear he sniffles.
“Aren’t we just technically renewing our vows? We’ve got the certificates, yeah? This is all just formality.”
Sam fixes his stupid, beautiful husband with the biggest glare he can muster.
“Barnes, this is your formality. ‘Let’s get married, Sam.’ ‘For real, Sam, tuxes and everything, Sam.’ You wanna do this thing or not?”
He’s mocking, but there’s no heat behind it, his hands pressed firmly to Bucky’s lapels, and the other man’s eyes crinkle in the corners even as he rolls them.
“Fine, sweetheart, you’ve convinced me. Let’s do this thing. ”
Sam sighs, fixes Bucky’s tie, and gives him a kiss.
“You’re the one walking down the aisle, dumbass. See you in 20.”
Bucky salutes, and he and his bridesmaids exit, already gossiping about the guest list. Sam huffs a laugh, Sarah already pulling up to his elbow. She’s in a bright red suit, with little gold accents.
“It was cute until y’all started bickering.”
“Nah, it was cute then, too.”
The actual wedding passes in a blur. He’d been told it would, but he’d kind of hoped it wouldn’t, since their first “wedding” had already been so rushed. They both end up crying, having spent more than ten minutes thinking of their vows, and they draw more than a few sniffles from the crowd. There’s a few familiar faces; Rhodey and Pepper came, along with Maria Hill and Torres, who gives Sam a big thumbs-up as Bucky sweeps down the aisle.
He’s not even sure how they get back to the house, only that they’re herded into his pickup, adorned with cans and grease-pencil graffiti that reads just married (again). Bucky drives, suit jacket cast aside and shirt rolled to the elbows.
(Since they get home first, Sam doesn’t feel bad about pouncing on him the moment they’re out of the car.)
It’s getting dark, now, the kids changed out of their fancy dress in favor of play-clothes, and lunging after the few lightning bugs that show their faces. The adults have gathered around the simmering gumbo pots and fire pits, sharing laughter and beer. Bucky’s among them, chatting to the Joneses as their little girl sleeps on his shoulder. Sam’s just stepped away to grab another beer when his phone rings, and he can feel his heart sink. He pulls it out to see No Caller ID , which is precisely what he expected.
“Sam! Hey, congratulations. I’m happy for the two of you.”
Sam can’t hold back the scoff that rips itself out of his throat. He’s so utterly, completely done with Steve’s bullshit. Here, Sam, take the shield, Sam, even though you want to get out of this, Sam.
“Was it worth it? This could’a been you, you know.”
Steve’s silent on the other end, the only sound the slight wheezing rattle that old people have. Sam’s not quite sure who’s place Steve would be taking, only that the sentiment rings true either way.
“I...yes. I loved Peggy. I love Bucky, too, and you, Sam-”
“Nah, no you don’t. Peggy? Sure. She could provide you stability, kids, whatever. Little bit fucked up for you to make it so she never met her real husband, though. Bucky? He was a figurehead for you, man. And when you realized that he wasn’t the way you’d idolized him, you ditched him the second you were sure he wasn’t gonna glitch out and kill someone. Ditched me, too, in the process. Dumped your heavy-ass legacy on my Black-ass shoulders and expected me to what? Just go for it? Really fucked up. So yeah, thanks for the congratulations. Keep the gift. Oh, and if you decide to leak this to the press in your senile old-man phase, I will personally move you to a nursing home.”
He hangs up, heaving like he’s either run a marathon or about to throw up. Which, on second thought, maybe he is. He spins around and smacks straight into Bucky, who’s got the embers of those fires smoldering in his eyes, and he folds Sam into a hug without saying a word.
“Called me too, sweetheart, trying to tell me he was sorry, that he loved me. Typical bullshit. I didn’t quite chew him out the way you did, though. That was hot. And probably good for you- sounded pretty built up.”
Bucky winces, tucks his face closer into Sam’s neck.
“Supersoldier hearing, sorry. You looked upset so I started paying attention. I’m sorry he called you, baby, I should’a told him not to.”
“‘S’okay. It felt good to finally tell him to stick it.”
“Yeah, I bet.”
“Barnes! Wilson! Stop fuckin’ canoodling in a corner!”
“We’re allowed to canoodle, it’s our fuckin’ wedding!” Bucky fires back, keeping Sam firmly in his arms. God, he’s fucking grateful. Grateful for this, grateful to be alive, for all of it. Yeah, his life’s fucking weird, so what. He’s Captain fucking America, and he’s married to the love of his life, and he couldn’t ask for more than that.
“Hey, since we’re married twice, does that make us both Mr. Mister? Are you my husband squared?”
“I’m divorcing you, Bucky.”