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(you make me feel) light as a feather

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Bucky is having a bad night. 

Which totally sucks, because he had a great day. 

He’s loving life in Delacroix. Aj and Cass are a riot. Sarah may just be the kindest person he’s ever met. Sam is… there.

That’s a joke. Sam is Bucky’s rock. Bucky would be lost without him. He doesn’t think he’s ever loved someone this much. He is the luckiest idiot in the world, to have that guy by his side.

Right now, though, in the middle of the night in Sarah’s living room, wearing boxers and a henley, Bucky is having a bad night. And he is alone. 

Until he isn’t.

Sam has this uncanny ability to always show up right when Bucky needs him. He stumbles into the kitchen, rubbing at his eyes and reaching blindly towards the fridge to chug some orange juice right out of the carton. He turns towards the couch, seemingly out of habit, and starts.

He meets Bucky’s eyes and grins.

“So what we’re not gonna do is tell my sister about this.”

Bucky manages a small, shaky smile. Sam’s demeanour changes instantly.

“Hey, hey,” Sam speaks softly, abandoning his orange juice on the counter and moving to sit next to Bucky. “What’s goin’ on in that cyborg brain, Buck? No reaction to my gross ass OJ habits?” 

Bucky looks down at his hands. Sighs, frustrated. Crosses his arms over his chest.

“I don’t know. I feel like shit, Sam, and I have no fucking clue why.” 

Usually, Bucky can tell what’s bothering him. Nightmares, or guilt, or needing to pee, his feelings are typically easily understood. 

“I don’t know if - it’s just - I can’t-” He cuts himself off with a huff. 

Sam smiles gently at him. “It’s really hard for you to put this into words, huh?” 

Bucky stands up and starts to pace back and forth. “I have the words for the feeling, Sam,” he says softly. “I just don’t know why I’m feeling it.” Sam stands up with him and halts his pacing, resting a hand on Bucky’s shoulder. 

“That’s okay, man, that’s fine,” he guides Bucky back to the couch and kneels between his legs, resting his hands gently on Bucky’s knees. “Can you tell me what you’re feeling? Gimme the words and we’ll see if I can help.”

Bucky smiles weakly. 

“It’s heavy. My head, my chest. My whole body just feels… heavy.” 

Surprisingly, Sam perks up, smiling brightly. “I’ve got the perfect cure. Take your shirt off.”

Despite his obvious shock, Bucky manages to smirk. “I mean if you wanted to get me naked, Sam, all you had to do was ask.” He chuckles as Sam shoves at his shoulder before leaning back to pull off his henley and place it off to the side. He looks down at Sam uncertainly. 

“What now?” 

Sam grins. 

“I’m gonna help you buck up, Buck.”

He gently takes hold of Bucky’s right hand with his own. His other hand runs slowly from Bucky’s wrist all the way up to the shoulder and back down to the elbow. He lightly scratches a fingernail from elbow to wrist, not hard enough to leave a mark but enough to send shivers down Bucky’s spine. 

“You’re all full up with rocks, man.” He chuckles lightly to himself, miming pulling something out of Bucky’s arm and dropping it on the floor. His fingertips brush Bucky’s arms, careful and gentle and so, so soft. “Gotta get ‘em all out, put some love in there instead.”

Bucky stares, entranced, as Sam leans down to brush soft kisses down the line of his forearm. He lingers on Bucky’s wrist for a little longer than anywhere else, feeling the super soldier’s racing pulse beneath his lips. He lifts his head up, meeting Bucky’s eyes for a moment and smiling softly at the starstruck expression on his face. He runs his index finger back and forth in a long, squiggly line down Bucky’s forearm, as if he were sewing it back up with the kisses safely stored inside. 

He moves to the other arm and Bucky is suddenly struck, once again, with how lucky he is to have this man in his life. Watching this man, this regular fucking guy drop kisses up and down the forearm of Bucky’s metal fucking arm without a single trace of fear or apprehension, is the closest thing to a religious experience that Bucky has had since the 1940s and ain’t that something.

Sam wiggles his finger down again, stitching up the vibranium arm, and reaches slowly forward to rest his hand over Bucky’s heart. 

“I think there might be a few more rocks stuck in here, big guy.” Sam’s left hand is resting on Bucky’s thigh, thumb gently brushing back and forth. “Okay with you if I give that big barrel chest the star treatment?” 

What the fuck, Bucky thinks, a startled laugh bursting out of him, a little too loud for the late hour on a school night. 

“By all means,” he chokes out, “go for it, ace.” 

Sam seems to realise the effect he is having on Bucky. He grins, big and wide and gap-toothed, and poises his index finger in the gap between Bucky’s collarbones. Bucky draws in a sharp breath, and as Sam drags his fingernail down the centre of his chest it feels like he’s actually being split open. As Sam begins to scoop out the rocks, fingertips brushing against Bucky’s skin slow and careful, Bucky feels more vulnerable than he ever has before and he is amazed to find that he isn’t afraid. 

Bucky would let Sam do anything, say anything, be anything to him right now because he holds eye contact as he moves his hands from Bucky’s chest to the small of his back and pulls them closer together. 

He looks down at Bucky’s chest and feels it heave as he leans in slowly and places a lingering kiss at the bottom of his neck. He barely lifts his mouth off of the skin as he moves down a little and drops another kiss and another and another and Bucky feels like he might just burst. Sam moves up and up and up, back to where he started. He pauses for a moment, hesitating for the first time since this whole thing started.

Sam pulls back and looks up into Bucky’s face. He takes a moment to just look. Bucky has his head thrown back against the couch cushions, breathing heavily and staring up at the ceiling in an attempt to keep some semblance of self control. 

Sam smiles and leans back in. Places a kiss just above Bucky’s collarbone. Another on the corner of his jaw. Bucky exhales heavily and looks down.

“Sam,” he breathes. 

“Hang on.” Sam places one last kiss back where he started and leans away from Bucky’s chest to meet his eyes once again. He languidly drags his fingertips down Bucky’s chest, stitching it up and tilting back into Bucky’s space. He stands up slowly and climbs into Bucky’s lap, straddling his thighs.

“You feelin’ better, Buck?” Their mouths are barely more than an inch apart, and each of them can feel the other’s breath on their face. 

All Bucky can manage is a weak ‘Sam’ before they both tilt forwards and their mouths finally meet. 

The kiss is as soft as Sam’s were earlier, and it feels like coming home. It is in this moment, kissing on the couch in Sam’s sister’s living room as the sky outside begins to lighten, that Bucky truly accepts that he is in love.

The second that thought enters his mind, he pulls away. Sam makes a very whiny noise, not understanding why they aren’t kissing anymore and wanting to get back to it immediately, thanks. He tries to lean back in but Bucky backs up again and moves his hands to frame Sam’s face.

“Bucky…” Sam whines.

“Sam,” Bucky whispers. “Sam, I’m in love with you.”

Sam’s answering smile is almost blinding. He cants forward for one more kiss, slow and lingering, before his smile becomes so big that they break apart. 

“Old man, I’m in love with you right back.”