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Finding Eternal

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Bucky looks around him and takes in the unfamiliar surroundings. He can’t quite believe he’s here, on board a spaceship, and headed into the heavens. He’s just a guy from Brooklyn, turned soldier, assassin, Hydra pawn, and Avenger. He’s nothing special, except maybe he is. Not only is he on a spaceship, he’s on the ship the Eternals use, and he’s been personally invited by Ikaris, one of the oldest beings in the universe. Bucky doesn’t see himself as anything extraordinary, but apparently someone else does.

 

“Bucky?” Ikaris calls as he steps into the common living area of their rooms. “I have to go down to the bridge for a while. Make yourself comfortable. You’ll be okay?”

 

Bucky smiles softly, pleased at the attention and preening at the courtesy Ikaris affords him. It’s been a long time since anyone’s checked on him the way Ikaris does, and that makes Bucky feel things he hasn’t felt in years and years. Not since Steve went back to Peggy and left Bucky alone. After that, he’d turned off his heart, but it isn’t dead now. In fact, it’s very much awake, alive, beating, and interested.

 

“I’ll be fine,” he assures Ikaris. “Thank you.”

 

Crossing the space between them, Ikaris drops a kiss on the top of his head. His fingers brush Bucky’s hair off his forehead, and then he’s turned and gone, leaving Bucky alone in the futuristic spacecraft, the place where he’ll live as the Eternals complete their next mission. Bucky’s always wanted to go to space, and now he’s finally going to achieve that goal.

 

It’s a boon. That’s the only way he can think about it. After defeating the Flag Smashers and spending time with Sam and Sarah and the kids in Louisiana, he’d gone back to Brooklyn to settle some things. The familiar pull of the city had swept him back in, and he’d settled there for good. Roaming the streets, helping out where he could, making amends, hoping for Yuri’s forgiveness and friendship, exploring whatever it was he and Leah had and realizing he’s just not into women anymore after all these years. Those things were what had filled his days until Ikaris had walked into his life.

 

He’d been having a bad day, holding down a barstool at a hole in the wall and nursing a drink, when Ikaris had shown up and taken a seat by him. For some reason, he’d turned to the other man and greeted him, exchanging pleasantries. To his surprise, they’d started talking and hadn’t stopped. Ikaris asked for his number, and they met up several times before he finally explained to Bucky that he was different, that he wasn’t human, and that he was leaving soon and wanted Bucky to come along—if he was ready for an adventure unlike any he’d ever experienced.

 

Breathing in through clenched teeth, Bucky slowly hisses out an exhale. He’s here, aboard the spacecraft, wondering how his life is going to change, and all he can really think about is what it means that Ikaris asked him to come on this journey. For a brief moment, he wonders if they’re just friends, but why are they sharing a living space if that’s the case? No, there’s something more between them, the ancient being and the 100 year-old man. Bucky’s not used to being younger or weaker or the lesser enhanced one, but he is now. Ikaris has been around since before civilization, and he can move mountains with no strain at all.

 

With a nervous wiggle, he stands and looks around the living quarters. There’s a small kitchen with drinks and snacks, a comfortable sitting area with a well-equipped entertainment center, a short bookcase filled with plenty of reading materials, and a small restroom off the main rooms. The hallway is short, turning slightly to the left and leading to two little bedrooms, one for each of them. Bucky’s belongings are unpacked and in drawers in one, but he wanders into the other.

 

Ikaris has spread his belongings over the bed, and Bucky rubs a piece of clothing between his fingers. Lifting it to his face, he inhales and breathes in the scent. It’s spicy and enticing, just like the man who wears the shirt. He has a sudden urge to bite into Ikaris’ neck and leave a bruise there the next time they’re together, although that wouldn’t be prudent since they haven’t even kissed. Yet, anyway. The mission’s supposed to take at least a few months. There’ll be plenty of time for that, and more if they want it. Bucky’s pretty sure he does.

 

Casting a longing look over his shoulder, he returns to his room. After taking a quick shower and changing into fresh clothing, he returns to the sitting room to pick out a book. It’s a novel about space, appropriate and also fascinating. He doesn’t even realize when Ikaris returns, not until he drops down next to Bucky on the couch and places his arm around Bucky’s shoulders.

 

“Looks like you found something to do.”

 

Smiling up at him, Bucky’s lips curve into a gentle bow as he leans into the other man’s embrace. He likes being close, feeling body heat when it’s slightly cooler than he likes on the ship. He’s never gotten used to the cold, not since falling to his apparent death in the Alps or being put in cryogenic sleep. Besides, his metal arm often malfunctions when it’s chilly, so it’s a pragmatic thing as much as it is a preference.

 

“I did find something to do,” he agrees. “How was the bridge? I assume you were planning? Strategizing? Did I miss take off?”

 

“Not yet. That’s why I’m here. You’ll want to see this, especially if it’s your first time in space.”

 

“Thank you,” he says softly. Ikaris is thoughtful, and it’s touching. Bucky hasn’t had that for a very long time.

 

Ikaris smiles at him and brushes his lips against Bucky’s temple before rising and offering his hand. When Bucky takes it, he’s pulled upright. Intertwining their fingers, Ikaris leads him out of their accommodations and to an open area where they entered the vessel earlier that day. Massive picture windows dominate the area, and there are seats that have restraints so whoever accesses them can see everything they fly past. They find two seats together and buckle in before a countdown begins. Before Bucky can say a word, the ship hurtles into the sky.

 

Bucky blinks twice and watches as his planet falls out from under him. Buildings and landmarks grow smaller, and soon enough he can’t see anything but the outline of land masses in water and then only clouds. When Ikaris squeezes his hand, Bucky clings to it. He’s the only thing familiar at this point. Now that Bucky’s left Earth behind, he’s completely unmoored. Nothing’s the same anymore.

 

Then the sky darkens completely, and they’re in space. Blue gives way to blackness, and stars shine brightly. Bucky can see the curvature of the earth and the bubble of atmosphere surrounding the planet. Mouth falling open, he gapes at the sight. It’s amazing, more spectacular than he could ever imagine, and Ikaris is the reason he’s seeing it.

 

They lock eyes, Bucky’s wide with wonder and Ikaris’ shining with affection. He wants to tell him thank you, but he’s speechless. Placing his metal hand over his mouth, he presses the cold vibranium against his lips.

 

“What do you think?” Ikaris asks softly. “Everything you dreamed it would be?”

 

“It’s better,” Bucky whispers. “Stunning. I’m in awe.”

 

“Just wait. Wait until we’re in deep space. Things you can’t imagine or explain. They’re gorgeous.”

 

Ikaris is gorgeous. What Bucky sees out the window is beyond description. Every sci-fi book he’s ever read and every movie he’s ever seen pales in comparison to reality. Wriggling with excitement and internally squealing at the sights, he struggles to not fall apart at the thrill. After everything he’s been through, his disappointments and failures and all the trauma, this experience makes him feel like he’s been forgiven for all his sins and rewarded with the heavens. It’s a lot to process.

 

“Ikaris, you’re needed.” A crew member appears behind them, and Ikaris tosses an apologetic glance at Bucky.

 

“You can find your way back okay?” he asks. When Bucky nods, he squeezes Bucky’s shoulder and leans down to whisper in his ear, “Enjoy yourself. I’ll find you later tonight. Stay here as long as you want.”

 

Remaining in his seat for hours, Bucky watches the galaxies pass and checks the controls embedded in the windows for information about what he’s seeing. Whoever designed the ship is brilliant. He learns more in a few hours about the universe than he knew during his entire time on Earth. It takes a long time for him to want to move, but eventually, he winds his way back to his quarters so he can find something to eat. His stomach’s been growling for the past half hour.

 

He’s not sure what he expected to find for options, but what’s available isn’t familiar to him. He should have known, he guesses. When the people consuming food are gods or god-like beings, they don’t have the same nutritional needs. As he pokes around for something he can digest, he’s moved when he finds a basket of his favorite snacks and a note from Ikaris telling him to eat well.

 

“I don’t deserve him,” he murmurs and opens a packet from the basket. “This is all too much. How did I get here?”

 

“I asked you to come.”

 

Bucky jumps a foot at the unexpected presence of his host. Someone sneaking up on him is rare with his training, so he doesn’t scare often. Sagging against the counter, he blinks as Ikaris crosses the room to stand before him.

 

“I didn’t hear you come in,” Bucky explains and wipes his hand nervously on his jeans.

 

“I’m sneaky,” Ikaris says with a grin. “Do you want a meal? I can order something.”

 

Bucky nods, but he wants more than that. He eyes Ikaris as he crowds into him. With a quiet moan, he sinks into the man’s chest and nestles into him. It feels good to be held in strong, competent, gentle arms. He misses physical contact, misses the slide of skin on skin, lips pressing together, groaning and writhing against someone. It’s been so, so long, but he’s nervous as hell. He’s not ready, and he doesn’t know how to admit that to the man who’s given him so much in such a short time for no reason at all.

 

“I can feel you tensing. Relax. I’m not expecting anything. I’m just glad you agreed to come with me. I get lonely, too, you know.”

 

“I’m sorry,” Bucky whispers into the broad chest on which his cheek is pillowed.

 

“No need for an apology,” Ikaris insists with a quick kiss to the top of Bucky’s head. “Sit. I’ll order dinner. I want to hear about everything you saw after I left you.”

 

Bucky lights up as he talks. Bursting with information and observations, he’s thrilled with everything he’s experienced. It’s been a long time since Steve and he attended the Stark Expo in Queens the night before he shipped out for England. He was so young and naïve then, sure he could help win the war and rid the world of Nazis. He’d been excited about the possibility of flying cars, and now he’s hurtling through space far beyond the known universe and the Nine Realms and into the worlds only the Eternals know.

 

Smiling indulgently, Ikaris touches him lightly in delight as Bucky shares his thoughts. A squeeze on his knee, a brush of knuckles against his jaw, light touching of fingers as they both rest their hands on the back of the couch. It’s nothing and everything, innocent and enticing, and Bucky loves it.

 

 

Eventually, he runs out of things to say, yawning behind his hand and desperately trying to keep his eyes open. It’s a losing battle as his body softens, and he finally lays his head down on Ikrais’ shoulder. No words pass between them, but something flows naturally. Maybe it’s sensory perception. Perhaps it’s something else. Either way, Bucky finally allows his eyes to close, and he falls into a dreamless slumber.

 

He wakes what must be hours later, tucked into his own bed and covered with soft blankets. With no memory of how he got here, he glances around him to find a note on the bedside table. Bucky swallows hard at the words, sweet as they are, because the feelings he’d been trying to push aside are awake and rearing. The heart he’s fought so hard to shield feels vulnerable, but it’s possible he’d deem everything an unfair advantage when an Eternal is a direct threat to his happiness. Ikaris has been nothing but kind, but, whether Bucky likes it or not, he has the potential to ruin Bucky for anyone else.

 

Spending the day alone, he wanders the ship, introducing himself to others and watching the universe expand outside the windows. After the multiverse madness, the heavens seem even more complex and mysterious to him, so there’s plenty to learn. He takes mental notes, asks questions when there’s someone who can answer him, and gains a greater appreciation for these creatures who’ve accumulated more knowledge than the entire human race. Bucky’s definitely out of his league on this spacecraft.

 

“Bucky! There you are,” Ikaris calls as he turns a corner and stumbles into the hallway outside the bridge. “Come. Join me. I’ll show you how we control the ship.”

 

Overwhelmed, Bucky accepts a hug as a greeting and wanders along behind Ikaris as he explains the gadgets and gizmos that blow Bucky’s twentieth century mind. The changes in technology since his birth in 1917 are astounding. How much more so must it be for someone ancient?

 

Ikaris answers a multitude of questions, patiently considering every small query Bucky has, before taking Bucky’s hand and walking him back to their rooms. That evening, they have a relaxing dinner and cuddle on the couch while watching TV. There’s no pressure, but Bucky’s still unsettled. Things are almost too good. He’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.

 

For days, their pattern continues. Ikaris spends his days working with the other Eternals, planning their mission, and addressing other issues that arise aboard the ship. He continues to treat Bucky with grace and compassion, respecting his distance while bridging the gap between with gentle kisses and plenty of touching. For his part, Bucky makes the most of his experience, watching through the windows as they pass wonders he could never have imagined and learning as much as he possibly can.

 

Three weeks into their journey, Bucky’s curled up on the sofa in their living quarters with a book about the mysteries of outer space when Ikaris returns with a disgruntled look on his face. Bucky pats the cushion next to him and squeezes his knee when Ikaris sits down. Curious, Bucky glances up at Ikaris and studies his expression. There’s something that looks remarkably like brooding in his eyes, which makes Bucky want to soothe the despondency. It must be difficult to be an Eternal, even more so than working as an Avenger. Ikaris should have only good things, as far as Bucky’s concerned.

 

“What’s wrong?” he asks gently.

 

“Nothing concerning you,” Ikaris replies. “You are everything right with this mission.”

 

The block of ice that’s been thawing for days finally cracks and falls apart. Unwilling to wait any longer, Bucky lifts his hand to Ikaris’ cheek and rubs his thumb over pronounced cheekbones.

 

“Bucky?”

 

“Ikaris,” he responds, his voice steady and sure.

 

Tilting his head and closing his eyes, Bucky waits for the press of lips to his. Seconds pass, and he almost opens his eyes in confusion when it finally happens. Ikaris’ lips are as smooth and soft as Bucky’s imagined, and a shot of lust rushes through him. A low grunt catches in the back of his throat, and he twists his left hand in soft, short strands of hair to tug Ikaris closer.

 

Their mouths fall open, hot breath mingling, tongues sliding together in a mating call older than even Ikaris. On fire, Bucky turns on the cushion and rises up on his knees to crawl onto the ready, waiting lap. Arms surround him, holding him close and allowing Bucky to take the lead, which he does with gusto. He straddles Ikaris, kissing him so eagerly that his head’s thrown back so that choked moans stick in his throat.

 

It’s been so, so long—too long for Bucky’s patience. He ruts into strong thighs, grinding and writhing against a hardening bulge he can’t wait to touch. Losing a little control, he tugs the shaft hard, ripping a groan from Ikaris, who grabs Bucky’s hips and slows him until he’s simply sitting on Ikaris’ lap. Chastened, Bucky breaks the kiss, eyes blazing and lips feeling bruised, as he tries to catch his breath.

 

“I’m sorry,” he mumbles, but Ikaris won’t let him hide.

 

“Don’t be sorry. Don’t ever be sorry for your enthusiasm. It’s wonderful, better than most things in all the universes.”

 

Wounded, Bucky tries to hide his disappointment and sits back. “Why did you stop me?”

 

“We’re rushing. We don’t need to,” Ikaris reminds him. “Time passes differently for those of us not mortal.”

 

Dropping his head, he gulps to cover his disappointment. “I’m mortal.”

 

“No,” Ikaris whispers. “No, you aren’t. The serum’s enhanced you. Your cells regenerate quicker than they deteriorate. You’re no longer mortal. You’re timeless like me.”

 

Bucky gapes, unsure how to handle the new information. After Steve left, Bucky stopped caring about living longer. Without his best friend, the only person familiar to him, he’d almost looked forward to his life coming to a natural conclusion. Now, he’s got to recalibrate.

 

“You weren’t aware of this, were you?”

 

Shaking his head, he slides off Ikaris’ lap and melts into the couch. His mind’s whirling with the information, but there’s a spark of excitement, as well. There’s more opportunity to attempt amends he might not need to make but feels as if he should all the same. What he’d done as the Winter Soldier isn’t his fault, but that doesn’t erase the damage that resulted from his actions.

 

“It’s part of why I asked you to come with me. I would never have expected you to leave everyone you know if your body was mortal. The trip would have been too much.”

 

Feeling silly, he nods in understanding. When Ikaris tugs him closer, Bucky falls into his arms eagerly. The physical touch grounds him, reminding him of the all too human emotions that drive and limit and wound him. There’s comfort in their touching, and soon enough, his blood cools, and his arousal lessens. One taste is all it takes for him to want more. Thankfully, it’s clear Ikaris feels the same.

 

With the realization that what’s between them is inevitable, Bucky spends the next few days trying to quell his nerves. Sitting in their living quarters does nothing but make him restless, so he wanders the ship, trying to stay out of the way while simultaneously learning as much as he possibly can. If there’s a change in the mission specs, he wants to be ready to contribute if he can in any way. Ikaris invites him to the bridge more than once, and the other Eternals seem to accept his presence. Everyone, that is, except maybe Thena, who surveys him with nothing but suspicion. The one time he finds himself alone with her, he turns on his heel and slinks away, but she catches him.

 

“You shouldn’t be here,” she tells him, eyes steely and shoulders held rigid. “Ikaris is too important. He shouldn’t be distracted.”

 

Cowed and attempting not to show it, Bucky stammers his reply. “H-he asked me to come.”

 

Blanching, she snorts in derision. “Of course, he did. You’d think he’d have learned his lesson after accusing me of treason.”

 

“I— I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“Oh, he didn’t tell you?” Her tone’s imperious, and he shakes his head and worries his bottom lip. “Come. Sit.”

 

Trailing behind, Bucky follows the intimidating figure as she enters the library and guides him to a corner that’s private and quiet.

 

“Ikaris is the Prime Eternal. Do you know what that means?” When Bucky shakes his head, she waves her hand and an image appears in front of him. As she speaks, he watches as her words play out in the air. “The Eternals are older than time and the protectors of humanity. For millennia, we’ve battled our enemies and upheld our duties. One thing that allows our success is the Uni-Mind, a shared consciousness that makes us stronger together when we are apart. The Prime Eternal is the chosen one, the leader of the Uni-Mind.

 

“Before Ikaris, I was the Prime Eternal, but I let love distract me. Consumed by my love for a Deviant, I wavered in my loyalty to our purpose. Ikaris knew that, challenged me for the role, and took on the mantle when I passed it on to him. He was right, you see. Love blinded me, distracted me. Now, it’s doing the same for him.”

 

Bucky gapes at her, so flabbergasted he isn’t sure where to start. If her warning wasn’t so ridiculous, he’d laugh in her face, although he doubts that’s a smart idea. Despite the horrible things he’s done, Bucky knows he’s not a threat anymore to anyone. He’s on board this ship at Ikaris’ invitation, not to undermine or distract or destroy. More importantly, Ikaris isn’t in love with him. Infatuated, maybe, but not love. Bucky’s not worthy of that.

 

With a strangled chuckle, Bucky waves off Thena’s concern. “You don’t have to worry about any of this. He’s not in love with me, and I’m not distracting him. I spend my days reading and geeking out about space.”

 

“But at night—”

 

Holding up his hand, he stands in a huff. “At night, we sleep in our own respective beds. Besides, my sex life is not your concern. I’m a guest here, not someone who needs to have my actions dictated to me. I’ve had enough of being controlled to last the rest of my life—er, my existence. Now, if you’ll excuse me.”

 

“If you hurt him—”

 

Furious, he rounds on her before regaining control. “I’m not going to hurt him. I’d never do that. He’s—”

 

He’s too special, Bucky realizes, and allows himself a second to remember their last kisses. He wants that, wants everything Thena’s just warned him against, but he can’t stop how he feels. After everything he’s been through, he wants some happiness, and he hasn’t found it with anyone but Ikaris since his time in Wakanda.

 

Even with Thena’s warning, the electricity between Ikaris and him grows during every second they spend together. With every shy glance and brush against each other, good morning kiss and good night hug, laugh and compliment, Bucky longs for a deeper connection, and he’s sure Ikaris feels the same. If only Bucky could have it without dragging the Prime Eternal down with him.

 

Two weeks later, Bucky’s lost his resolve. They’ve grown closer, spending every night talking, sharing their pasts, hopes, and dreams for the future. Working well together, they cook and work out, study and read, joke and laugh for hours each day. What they don’t do is fall in bed together, and Bucky wonders what’s stopping that from happening. He deliberates it so much that insecurity sets in and doubt follows, allowing Thena’s warnings to shake his already fragile confidence.

 

“Something’s troubling you.”

 

Bucky jumps at the spoken observation when he thought he was alone in the room. “I’m going to put a bell on you,” he teases. “I used to be the best tracker in the world. No one got a drop on me. It’s unnerving.”

 

“That’s not it,” Ikaris argues with a smile. “What’s got you worried?”

 

Shrugging, Bucky notes the page in his book, closes it, and tosses it onto the coffee table. “It’s nothing.”

 

“Tell me.”

 

Shaking his head, his cheeks burn as he tries to determine a strategy for convincing Ikaris he’s ready without feeling like he’s begging for sex. With all his charm, he’s felt like he’s the less desirable one, except maybe just after Steve took the serum. But an Eternal. A god-like being with bone structure and muscles that makes his own sculpted frame seem like mush in comparison. And not just an Eternal. The Eternal.

 

“None of that,” Ikaris chides, and Bucky wonders again if his semi-god—he’s proud of that pun—can read minds. If he can, there’s no point in posturing. Bucky might as well admit his concerns.

 

“We’re not rushing anymore,” he whispers. “In fact, we might be stalling, instead.”

 

Understanding dawns on Ikaris’ face, and he draws Bucky closer. “You’re ready.”

 

“No!” he yelps but backtracks immediately at the crest-fallen expression on Ikaris’ face. “No, I’m— I am ready, but we can’t. I can’t. You’re— and I’m— We— You— Right?”

 

Bursting into laughter, Ikaris crosses to him and brushes his fingers over Bucky’s lips. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. Please consider finishing a sentence.”

“You deserve better than me!” he cries, his heart breaking a little at the admission. Steve was worthy. Thor’s a god. Bucky’s nothing but a reformed killer trying desperately to balance the scales.

 

“Bucky, answer me this. Who am I?”

 

“You’re an Eternal.”

 

“And who are the Eternals?”

 

“Ancient beings.”

 

“What do the Eternals do?”

 

“Protect humanity.”

 

“And why do we do that?”

 

Bucky tries to answer, but he doesn’t have that information. One thing he’s never wondered is why humans have been protected, only that they are.

 

“We protect you because each of you are worthy, because no matter what, there is good in each of you. Even you, Bucky, who’s had horrible, terrible things done to you—even you have worked your hardest to overcome them. I couldn’t find better than you if I tried.”

 

Floored, Bucky blinks into Ikaris’ steady gaze as he tries to process what he’s just heard. A spark of hope glows in his gut, giving him confidence he’s had trouble finding since he was young and naïve and completely unaware of what life had in store for him.

 

“Now, let me repeat what I said,” Ikaris orders with a sweet, charming smile. “You’re ready.”

 

“Yes,” Bucky breathes. His answer is simple, soft, and honest. He’s waited long enough. They both have.

 

Rising, Ikrais smiles and extends his hand to pull Bucky to his feet. In a trance, Bucky follows, his feet practically floating as Ikaris leads him to his bed and rains kisses on his neck. Clothes fall, moans reverberate, and Bucky quivers as he’s petted and massaged and stroked until his knees go weak and he sinks onto the mattress.

 

When Ikaris palms him, Bucky can’t breathe, his chest tightening with every stroke. He’s touch-starved after so long without allowing anyone close to him, and every brush of fingers, teeth, lips, and tongue makes his head spin and his insides burn. The kisses are languid and passionate, open-mouthed with tangled tongues and breathy moans that are swallowed as soon as they’re uttered. It’s sensual and overwhelming, and Bucky wants all of it.

 

Unable to keep his hands to himself, he strokes warm skin, squeezing and groping blindly. Answering with barely controlled enthusiasm, Ikaris responds with touches that grow increasingly more intimate until they both can’t wait any longer.

 

“Let me inside you,” Ikaris murmurs, his words both a request and an order. Nodding, Bucky breathes his consent.

 

Like he does everything else, Ikaris takes great care as he circles Bucky’s hole, taking his cues from Bucky’s broken whimpers and agonized cries. Slick fingers plunder, probe, and stroke, relaxing muscle and pushing Bucky further than he’s sure he can handle.

 

“Get up on your knees,” Ikaris suggests when Bucky’s just starting to loosen. “Can you do that for me?”

 

Whining his answer, Bucky fights through the fog to obey. He’s already so relaxed that it’s difficult to get his limbs to move properly, but finally, he’s ready. Bared and presented to Ikaris, Bucky leans forward onto his elbows and drops his head.

 

“Oh, fuck,” he moans when Ikaris flattens his tongue over furled muscle, soaking the skin and plying the sensitive skin with constant attention. Bucky’s hips twitch, rearing back against the onslaught, as he screams into the mattress. He’s hard and leaking, balls heavy, and quivering in anticipation. Nothing’s felt this good for so, so long, and after all the torture and pain, something this exquisite is even harder to handle.

 

“I can’t—”

 

Ikaris answers by plunging his tongue inside, and Bucky arches his back and wails. His entire body is throbbing, frantic with need as every nerve lights up in anticipation. Fucking himself on the wet, curling muscle, Bucky thrashes against Ikaris’ face. He loses control, acting on base instincts and begging for more, pleading for Ikaris to end the torture and take him.

 

Suddenly, he’s on his back with Ikaris looming over him. Eyes blazing, Ikaris wraps his hand around his cock, smearing it with fluid and lining himself up. It’s long and hard, larger than Bucky’s had before, and he has a brief moment of panic that this is going to hurt.

 

“Look at me,” Ikaris growls, and Bucky’s eyes snap to his. “Tell me now if you want to stop.”

 

“Don’t stop,” he whimpers. “Please, don’t stop.”

 

With a groan, Ikaris closes his eyes and thrusts. Bucky cries out, calling into the darkened room and choking on the words in his throat. Eyes rolling, his yelps turn to whimpers as Ikaris seats himself, filling Bucky so full he’s afraid he’ll burst. No matter the amount of prep, Ikaris feels bigger than Bucky expected, and it burns. Tears prick the corners of his eyes, and he pants until the discomfort starts to ebb.

 

“Shhh,” Ikaris whispers, his mouth moving across Bucky’s face. “It’s okay. Everything’s all right. I’ve got you. I’m right here.”

 

Squeezing his eyes shut, Bucky throws back his head and tries to ease the pressure, but all that accomplishes is grinding himself against Ikaris’ pelvis. He squirms and gyrates, struggling against the penetration that he wants so badly but isn’t sure how to take, while Ikaris holds steady, allowing Bucky time to adjust and acclimate to being stretched and full. After a few seconds and to his intense relief, the movement actually feels good. Inhaling a shaky breath, Bucky stills and then rolls his hips. He’s rewarded with a broken groan from Ikaris.

 

“Fuck yes,” he hisses as pleasure rolls through him. “Oh, fuck yeah…”

 

“That feels better?”

 

Biting his lip, Bucky’s eyes fly open, and he locks his gaze with Ikaris’. The sight of him, eyes flaming, sweat beading on his forehead as he holds back, waiting for Bucky to be ready, valuing Bucky’s enjoyment over his own, does something to Bucky’s heart. Not only has it thawed, but it’s also burning, on fire for this immortal being who somehow picked him out of everyone in all the universes.

 

“God, yes,” he mewls, unable to keep his voice in the proper register. “I’m yours. I want— Ikaris.”

 

“What I have is yours, Bucky. Everything that I can offer, I’ll give freely. If it’s in my power…”

 

Overwhelmed, Bucky places his hands on Ikaris’ sides and pleads silently. Eyes hooded, Ikaris snaps his hips, and Bucky screams at the sensation. Eager lips seek his, opening over his own in a hot, open-mouthed kiss that swallows Bucky’s cry and grounds him as they soar. Legs splayed open to allow full access, Bucky grunts as Ikaris pounds into him with abandon. He’s bottomed before, but this is the first time it feels like he’s being properly fucked, totally at the mercy of his partner, yet still safe and valued and adored.

 

“You’re worth centuries of waiting. Worth millennia,” Ikaris grunts and gathers Bucky’s legs to wrap them around his waist. Holding him close, he ducks his head, rutting into Bucky for what feels like hours.

 

Overwhelmed, Bucky’s face falls lax, his mouth gaping and head lolling as he rides wave after wave of bliss. He’s never felt this, not to such an extent anyway, and he’s not sure how to handle it. He’s rock hard, his shaft caught between their bodies, flushed and wet from fluid pearling at the tip. His balls hang low and heavy as a rumble punches from him with every one of Ikaris’ strokes.

 

“Make me come. Wanna come. Gonna…”

 

Babbling, his words devolve into a deep, guttural, animalistic moan. Something’s happening inside him that he’s desperate to experience and terrified to undergo. It’s bigger than he’s used to, all-encompassing in its strength, and shared by someone ancient and more powerful than any other. The Prime Eternal, protector of the human race, wants him with all his history and all his wrongs.

 

Ikaris pants his name, eyes closed and lips parted as his hips buck faster and faster. It’s mind-boggling the sheer power of the two of them joined together. Strength balances with tenderness as they make love, driving the other higher than the deepest reaches of space. Whispering words in Bucky’s ear he never thought he’d hear again, Ikaris moans his confession as his body trembles.

 

Then, Bucky’s flying, his soul disconnected from his body as his insides burst into white light. Inconceivable before traveling in space, now he understands the birth of new stars, exploding with a force so powerful that something new and wonderful and perfect is born. There’s nothing but heat, his insides molten, his heart burning, his soul melting and melding with the man inside him, until it’s too much and he slips away.

 

“Come back to me. Bucky, come back.”

 

Blinking feels like a huge effort, but he answers the voice cutting through the darkness. Clawing his way to the surface, Bucky opens his eyes and grins lazily.

 

“I know you,” he slurs, tongue thick and limbs limp. Chuckling, Ikaris kisses him gently and then makes him squirm by nuzzling the spot behind Bucky’s ear that’s always tickled.

 

“How are you feeling?”

 

“Feel good,” he mumbles. “All floaty.”

 

“That’s nice,” Ikaris breathes into his skin. “That’s so, so wonderful.”

 

It’s hard to speak, but Bucky feels like maybe that’s what he’s supposed to be doing. Shaking his head, he tries to form coherent thoughts. The best he can do, though, is sadly lacking.

 

“So much good,” he adds with a giggle. “Stellar. Get it? Stellar. Stars. Space. You. Me. Yessss…”

 

With a chuckle, Ikaris shifts off him and rolls onto his back. Bucky follows, clinging to the warmth of smooth skin and hard muscle. Grimacing at the squelch of fluid between his legs, he sighs happily when he realizes what that means. All the worry that his humanity might make him a disappointment to Ikaris drains from him. If what he feels is any indication, both of them are completely satisfied.

 

“I’m glad you agreed to this,” Ikaris murmurs into Bucky’s hair. “I knew as soon as I saw you that you were the right choice, that the voyage would be better with you than without. Thank you.”

 

There are no words for what he feels, so he doesn’t try to find them. Instead, he simply enjoys what he’s wanted for so long. With Ikaris, the sins of the Winter Soldier don’t matter. He’s more than his past actions, more than an Avenger, not just Steve’s dead best friend reincarnated. In outer space, he’s enough on his own, and he’s found something that will last forever. With Ikaris, he’s found eternal.