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Swear Jar

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Steve has a fuckin’ swear jar. A swear jar.

It’s the most ludicrous thing Bucky's ever heard in his life. They never had a swear jar; they didn’t have enough money for a fuckin’ swear jar. Every damn dime they had wouldda gone into it.

So he is reasonably confused when he first sees it. It sits on one of the end tables, an old mason jar that’s been decorated in stickers and a lot of fuckin’ glitter. A lot of fucking glitter. One entire side is covered by a large piece of construction paper and in big, glittery block letters, it reads: STEVE’S SWEAR JAR. It’s half-full of crumpled dollar bills and assorted change.

The thing is a fuckin’ eyesore is what it is. He notices it in the Avengers’ common area immediately and yes, there is an important team meeting go on, but fuck. He can’t be held responsible for his actions in the face of that.

“Jesus fuckin’ Christ,” he says and the room goes quiet. “What the fuck is that?”

“Steve,” Tony says immediately, in the tone of a child tattling. He points an accusatory finger in Bucky’s direction. “Steve, he used the Lord’s name in vain! And he cursed! Twice!”

Bucky blinks, raising a single, unamused eyebrow as he turns to look at his best friend. There’s a thing happenin’ with Stevie’s face; a thing where he is trying very hard to look stern and unimpressed when he does not actually feel either of those things.

Towards anyone else, it might work. It doesn’t look like anyone else is noticing the thing going on with his face, anyways. But this is Bucky we’re talkin’ about here. Bucky’s known Steve since before they hit puberty and they’ve both been cussin’ nearly as long.

“Why, yes,” he drawls sarcastically. “Yes, I fuckin’ did.”

Steve,” Tony says again.

Steve shakes his head. “That doesn’t apply to Bucky right now,” he says.

“What the hell?” Clint exclaims, outraged. “That’s not fair!”

Without a word, Steve picks up the jar and holds it out to him. He frowns very disapprovingly at Clint and unlike when he looked at Bucky, it actually looks real. Clint holds out for an entire thirty seconds, glaring at Steve defiantly, before his shoulders finally slump and he reaches into his pocket. Two quarters are dropped into the mason jar and satisfied, Steve replaces it.

It is, by far, the oddest damn thing Bucky has ever witnessed.

“I’m so goddamn confused,” he says, just in case anyone’s wondering.

“This really isn’t fair,” Bruce tells Steve, calmly.

“This really doesn’t make sense,” Tony corrects him. “How is this guy the best friend of Captain America?”

“I’m not,” Bucky says, annoyed. “I’m the best friend of Steve Rogers.”

It’s an important distinction to him but apparently not to anyone else. He watches everyone in the room freeze for a moment, confused, and rolls his eyes in response.

“Stevie,” he says, because Steve’s never let him down. “What’s goin’ on here?”

“It’s really simple, Robocop,” Tony says before Steve can even open his mouth. “You swear in front of Cap, you have to put money in the jar. How much depends on what word you use. If things were fair, you’d be up to about ten dollars here.”

Bucky’s not even gonna go into what ten dollars was worth to them back in the day or how his heart still gives a little jump when he thinks about that much money goin’ to waste. He focuses on the important things here so he doesn’t get off track.

“But why?”

Everybody just kind of shrugs and glances at each other. “Steve doesn’t like swearing,” Clint says slowly. His tone makes it clear that they think Bucky should already know this but no one’s brave enough to say it outright ‘cause of his memory issues.

Which is a load of bullshit, really. Bucky may not remember everything but he knows Steve. He knows practically every damn thing about him even if there aren’t memories to go along with each fact like there used to be. And Bucky fuckin’ knows that Steve ain’t never had a problem with swearin’ so long as they weren’t in church.

He looks at them, each and every damn one of them, and they all look so earnest. Everyone except Natasha; her face is perfectly composed but Bucky can see the mirth in her eyes. She knows this is all wrong. Thank God. There’s at least one sane person on the team.

“Okay, then,” he says, because if Steve’s not correcting them and Natasha’s keeping her amusement to herself, there’s gotta be a reason. He’ll get it out of someone later. “As you were.”

*

First thing he does when they get back to their floor, just the two of them, is corner Steve.

“Swear jar?” He asks incredulously.

As soon as the words are outta his mouth, Steve cracks a grin. He looks mighty proud of himself, smug and sly, and the only reason Bucky ain’t kissin’ him right then and there is ‘cause he’s curious. It’s hard to resist, though. He’s always loved that look.

“When I first came outta the ice,” Steve says. “People made a lot of assumptions; about the way I talked, the way I dressed, about what kind of attitude I had towards certain things. It took me a week, but I realized people censored themselves around me, too. They didn’t want to say any cuss words in front of Captain America.”

Buck wrinkles his nose. That Captain America bullshit again. He didn’t always hate the guy, is the thing. But Bucky found out real quick in the war - and this is a lesson he relearned after joining Steve in the future - that people had a hard time differentiating the Captain America persona and Steve Rogers. The bullshit propaganda spouted in the States usin’ Captain America’s name became something that had the Steve Rogers seal of approval; not just the Cap’s.

Nobody in the future is any better. If anything, they’re worse. Captain America became a legend, a larger than life symbol, the poster boy for shit that Steve actually fuckin’ hates. Nobody seems to realize this; nobody gets that Steve may be the Cap but the Cap is not Steve.

“Fuckin’ idiots,” he grouses and that earns him a soft, besotted smile.

Steve really enjoys how much Bucky has come to hate Captain America.

“I may have taken advantage of it,” he admits. “They made assumptions. So I’m letting those assumptions keep me in a steady supply of motorcycles.”

Bucky’s eyes go wide. “You’re usin’ the swear jar money to buy motorcycles?” He asks.

“They get destroyed on missions!” Steve says defensively. “It’s only fair!”

And that’s just - Jesus.

It starts as a snort and then somehow morphs into shoulder-shaking, belly-aching, all-consuming laughter. God, he hasn’t laughed this hard in years; in a fucking lifetime. It feels weird but in a good way, especially when Steve, surprised but pleased, starts laughing with him. Like it’s infectious. And with them, it might as well be.

When he’s calmed down a bit, Bucky grabs onto Steve and hauls him close, pressing their foreheads together. They’re still grinning at each other, the occasional laughter makin’ it hard to focus.

“You devious little shit,” he says, affectionate. “I ever tell you how much I love that about you?”

“Don’t think you have,” Steve lies.

They’re still snickerin’ like a couple of immature schoolboys when their lips finally meet and then there’s suddenly nothing funny at all, the both of them much to busy reacquainting to be distracted like that. Or maybe this is the distraction. Bucky doesn’t know and he really doesn’t fucking care; it feels too good and he’s been waitin’ all damn day for this.

It’s not like that shit’s illegal anymore, he knows that, but old habits are old habits. Besides, he kind of likes having this all to himself; getting to keep Steve as just his instead of having the whole team watch them like they’re a particularly interesting reality show.

The kiss only lasts a few seconds before something apparently occurs to Steve, sending him into another bout of helpless laughter.

“What?” Bucky asks, huffing out another laugh. “What is it?”

Steve grins at him. “They still haven’t told me about gay marriage.”

“You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me.”

“Swear jar, Barnes,” he says but he can’t even say it with a straight face. They both know that’s never gonna happen.

Just in case, though.

“Rogers,” Bucky tells him, serious. “You ever want your dick sucked again, I better be exempt from that shit.”

Steve snorts. “Deal.”