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It was probably a bit of a cliche to say it at this point, but hell, Bucky had never claimed to be particularly original: war was hell. War was long periods of boredom interspersed with frantic moments of mind-numbing terror. War was mud and sleepless nights and blood and banal, everyday, exhausting evil.

All Bucky had really wanted to do for the last ten months was go home. But since he’d volunteered for the super soldier experiment, he knew that the only way that was happening was if either he or Hitler was dead, and all things being equal, he would really prefer it being Hitler. So, despite his utter exhaustion, he found himself once again back in an army camp on an overcast autumn afternoon, fresh from yet another mission behind enemy lines. At least this one hadn’t ended with them standing at the gates to a camp, far too late to do anything but say a prayer for the dead.

“Hey Sarge!” Bucky barely contained his eye roll at the sound of Dugan’s voice rising over the general chaos of the camp. He turned around to see the bulkier man strolling up to him, a large grin buoying his moustache. The soldier was trailed by the rest of Bucky’s team - a group of degenerates and misfits (as they would proudly and loudly describe themselves to other soldiers, whether they asked or not). The Howling Commandos, as they were either mockingly or reverently referred to as, were an “elite” team (and Bucky didn’t care what Philips said, he could fucking hear the air-quotes when the Colonel introduced them) put together to go behind enemy lines, infiltrate, and generally fuck up shit as much as possible (“Sabotage enemy operations Agent Carter, they are sabotaging enemy operations.” “Isn’t that what I said sir?”).

Bucky loved Peggy Carter, he really did.

He’d volunteered for the super soldier program because his ability with a rifle during basic training brought him to the attention of his superiors, who had introduced him to Erskine, who had changed… well, everything. He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting the serum to do, but shooting up a foot and a half and bulking out far more than his impoverished childhood had ever allowed for sure had been a shock. On the bright side, he could now bench press a car, which was pretty cool.

He’d met Agent Carter during the trial for the program, and the two quickly became fast friends (to the utter horror of Col. Philips, who Bucky had overheard telling Erskine, before his untimely death, that if the US army just shipped over the two of them, they could probably singlehandedly terrorize the Nazis into surrender. Bucky chose to take that as the complement it definitely wasn’t meant to be). The first time Bucky had met her he’d been quick to hit on her, which is when she’d punched him in the face. He’d grinned and said “fair enough” and that was that. Agent Carter was a spitfire of a woman, enjoyed a good drink and a rowdy ballad, and fought like there was nothing more important than dragging you down to hell. In more quiet moments Peggy would tell Bucky stories of her girl back home, Angie (the picture she kept tucked in the breast pocket of her uniform showed Carter standing next to a beautiful young woman with dark curly hair and sharply clever eyes) and Bucky would in turn tell her about his childhood in Brooklyn and the terrors that were his three younger siblings.

Bucky was abruptly brought back to the present, and the sad reminder that Carter was currently stuck back in London by the slap of Dugan’s palm against Bucky’s shoulder. He gave the other man a wary glance, that grin never boding well for either his liver or Philip’s ulcer.

“Have you heard Sarge?” Falsworth stepped up, voice bright with excitement, “there’s a USO show tonight.” Bucky blinked in surprise. The camp was usually buzzing with the news of USO shows long before they happened… he couldn’t believe he hadn’t heard the second he’d been back in camp, though he supposed he’d been pulled into the debriefing pretty sharply.

“It’s supposed to be a real good one too,” Morita added.

“Yeah?” Bucky asked, allowing a smirk to crawl across his face to the delight of his men, who laughed and clapped him on the back.

“There he is!” Jones shouted, and Bucky laughed. Yeah, tonight ought to be good.

————

“FUCK!” Steve’s voice carried across the cramped area that had been set up for him and the girls behind the makeshift stage and he was quickly surrounded by a group of women, fussing over him before they even knew what was wrong. Wordlessly, he held up his trousers, showing them the large tear in the leg he had just managed to make larger while trying to stitch it up. Ethel reached over Steve to grab the cloth from him, the tall black woman clicking her tongue sharply against her teeth as she turned it over in her hands.

“Wow Rogers,” Kitty’s high, sweet voice and heavy southern accent often hid her wickedly filthy sense of humour, “you didn’t even get someone else to do the ripping for you this time.” Steve glared up at his friends as they giggled. Let one soldier get a bit carried away and rip some buttons off and you never hear the end of it. Never mind that French pilot that had near torn Maya’s costume in half in her eagerness, or that American boy that had ripped up Mackie’s one good pair of stockings, no, it was Steve who got all the grief. He sighed, looking up at Ethel who was carefully examining the tear.

“It’s hopeless isn’t it?” Ethel lowered the trousers slowly, shooting Steve an apologetic look.

“Might not have been if they hadn’t already been repaired so many times before, but as it is…” she trailed off, shooting him another regretful look. Steve sighed again.

“It’s fine,” he said, turning to rummage through his kit, “I’ll just have to wear the other pair.” He scowled into the depth of his bag. The other pair were a bit too tight, which is why his current pair had been repaired until they were more mend than pant. It was Liddie who spoke up behind him, ever helpful.

“At least your arse looks fantastic in the other pair.” He turned his head slightly to glare at the tall red-haired Scot, who just grinned back at him, unrepentant.

“What ass?” he grumbled into his bag, annoyed at the flush he could feel creeping up the back of his neck, which only made Liddie laugh again.

“Awe, dinnae worry Stevie, I’m sure some of these soldier boys will be more than happy to show some appreciation to your skinny wee arse.” She gave him an exaggeratedly lascivious wink as he turned back around, alternate trousers clutched in his hand, and Steve couldn’t help but laugh.

“How about you show it some right now?” Steve shot back with a wink of his own, and Arie reached over to pinch him on the arm. He yelped and turned to her, but she just narrowed her eyes at him.

“Watch your tongue. That’s my girl you’re talking ‘bout.” Liddie laughed again as she moved over to the other woman, throwing her arm around the smaller women’s shoulders.

“Dinnae worry luv,” she said, pressing a kiss to her forehead, “I’m all yours.” The other girls began to drift off, going back to their own preparations. Liddie shot him a final wink before dragging Arie off to get ready, leaving Steve to his own devices. He sighed again, looking down at the trousers in his hands before standing and beginning the long and difficult process of hitching the pants over his skinny hips (there was a lot of hopping involved. It wasn’t pretty).

————

The shouts and catcalls of the audience had swelled around Bucky the longer they were made to wait, but the music was finally queuing up and the rowdy soldiers appeared to calm down at the sign that they were going to get their show. The curtains, roughly constructed from old sheets, were drawn back to reveal a line of girls dressed in tiny little dresses, swaying their hips in unison to the beat of the music, and Bucky leaned forward with a smile. Yeah, this was going to be fun.

The girls were lined up so that the shortest were in the middle, tallest on the outside edges, and all wore the same small red dress, hair curled and carefully piled on top of their heads, red lips parted in smiles as they looked over the crowd of dirty and tired soldiers. The music continued to build and finally the women began to dance in earnest, moving smoothly across the stage before parting neatly down the middle to reveal another figure on the stage. Bucky felt his mouth go dry as he took in the man dressed in a tight version of the Army uniform they all wore, though… damn, he’d never seen it look quite like this on any of his fellow soldiers. The man wearing the uniform was tiny - Bucky would be surprised if he made it up to Bucky’s chest - with mussed blond hair and a smirk that curled his mouth wickedly. He slowly looked up, scanning the crowd from beneath lowered lashes and fuck but Bucky wasn’t sure he’d ever seen something quite so hot.

And then he began to sing.

By the time the show ended the men were hoarse from good-naturedly shouting at the girls, and Bucky felt like he was slowly going insane, especially when, during the last song, the singer had caught Bucky’s eyes and held them for the entire song. He felt hot and too big for his skin and he quickly excused himself from his friends, heading back round the stage before pausing, suddenly uncertain. He had no doubt he was attractive; even before the serum, he’d had his fair share of lovers, but still, the man probably had tons of soldiers hitting on him, he was probably sick and tired of finding soldiers lingering outside his changing room doors. Just when he’d made the decision to head back to his tent, a tall woman who he recognized as one of the dancers, hair now pulled loose around her shoulders, appeared in the entrance, pulling up short when she caught sight of him.

“Yes?” She asked, voice thick with cautious politeness, “Were you waiting for someone?” Bucky swallowed.

“Um, yes? I mean, maybe?” The woman was now smiling slightly, as if she’d heard a similar version of Bucky’s stammering before, and Bucky made an effort to pull himself together, “The man, the singer?” he made it a question, and was happy to see the woman smile wider in response.

“Steve. Yeah, he’s almost done. I’ll send him right out to you.”

“Thank you,” Bucky raised an eyebrow as his voice trailed off.

“Ethel,” she responded with another smile, “just a moment.” She ducked back into the area behind the stage and Bucky was left alone once again.

Twilight was now settling over the camp, and a quick glance showed Bucky that he was one of the few soldiers left outside of the barack. There were a couple other soldiers loitering further down the building, most likely for the girls, but they seemed put-off by the sight of Bucky waiting by the entrance, instead pretending to be absorbed in smoking and chattering amongst themselves. Bucky grinned to himself. Sometimes it was really, really nice to be him.

The night was settling cool but clear on the field, and the moon shone large and heavy in the sky. If there was one thing Bucky could say for the war, it was that it had taken him out of the city, and he wasn’t sure he’d ever get use to the massive expanse of the universe laid out for him once outside of the bright lights of Brooklyn.

“Um, hello,” a masculine voice cut through the air and Bucky turned to see the singer looking up at him with a curious expression on his face. He was still dressed in his stage uniform, though his shirt was half-unbuttoned and Bucky found his graze drawn to the glimpse offered of the singer’s pale skin.

“Hey,” Bucky shot back with a grin, suddenly slightly nervous, “I just wanted to stop by, compliment you on your singing up there.” He let his eyes trail down the other man’s body before returning to his face. Bucky was delighted to see the other man smirking in return, having obviously tracked the direction of Bucky’s gaze.

“Oh really? Was that all you enjoyed of the show?” Bucky smiled wider at the trace of Brooklyn he caught in the other man’s voice, leaning against the wall as he settled into the flirtation.

“Well the view wasn’t half bad,” he conceded with a shrug. The corner of the other man’s mouth twitched upwards.

“Yeah, plenty of men and women are big fans of the girl’s costumes.”

“Wasn’t talking bout the girls,” Bucky shot back, and the man’s grin grew even wider as his eyes sparked with heat.

“Steve Rogers,” he returned, sticking out his small hand for Bucky to shake. Bucky placed his hand in the other man’s grip, surprised by the strength conveyed by the squeeze of his delicate fingers.

“Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes. But everyone calls me Bucky.”

“Bucky eh?” The smaller man tightened his grip on Bucky’s hand, “Well Bucky, why don’t you give me the nickel tour.” He pulled Bucky away from the wall, heading out into the camp but quickly conceding the lead to Bucky when it became clear that he had no idea where the officers quarters were.

————

Bucky led him across the field to a quickly and roughly constructed building, walking down the length of the building until they came to the last door before the buildings of the main camp gave way to the field of tents were the ordinary soldiers were bunking. Bucky pushed open the door, allowing Steve to duck under his arm and into the barren inside of the room (though, to be honest, Steve didn’t really have to duck down at all – damn but the sergeant was tall). Steve hadn’t been surprised when Ethel had appeared with a grin behind him in the dressing room mirror, announcing that he had a “gentleman caller”. It was a frequent enough occurrence, with both male and female soldiers seeking out Steve (and the girls) after performances, and was honestly one of Steve’s favourite parts of the job. Not that it was technically part of the job, but still. What might have caused a flurry of gossip and given Steve a very, very bad reputation back in Brooklyn was just another part of life on the road during wartime. Besides, the girls were just as bad. Or at least Kitty and Mackie were. Maya liked to tell him with a scoff in her lightly accented voice that the rest of them actually had some standards (Steve maintained that she was just half-gone on that French pilot and she’d still be just as bad as he was if she hadn’t met Gabrielle).

So Steve had been more than happy to leave the warmth of the dressing room and the happy, post-show chatter of the girls to go and see who had come seeking his company. He couldn’t believe his luck, however, when he stepped out to see a giant of a man, towering over him. Even through his uniform, Steve could tell that the soldier – Bucky, as he quickly learned (and what the hell kind of name was Bucky for a man that looked like that??) – was incredibly muscular, with a handsome face to match. Dark hair and blue eyes and a wicked smirk that Steve wanted to bite. Steve rather wanted to bite all of him to be honest.

The inside of the sergeant’s room in the hastily constructed barack was as rough as the rest of the camp, a small cot and table with a shaving kit spread across it the only adornments (though, Steve thought to himself, clearly Bucky wasn’t using the shaving kit given the rough layer of stubble decorating his chin). He turned, looking back up at the other man, reaching up to rub at the back of his neck, uncertain in a way he rarely was. Bucky was handsome and competent and very, very hot and Steve felt his old childhood insecurities rearing their ugly head; too small, to skinny, too frail… not good enough. He shook back his shoulders, trying to shove them back in the box they belonged in. People wanted him, he knew that. Bucky wanted him. This was going to be fun, and he wasn’t going to let any of his insecurities get in the way of that.

“So,” he started, but didn’t get any farther before Bucky was crowding him back against the wall, their breaths puffing hot between them as Bucky’s hands stroked up and down Steve’s sides. Steve craned his head back to meet the other man’s eyes, and Bucky huffed out a laugh, reaching down and firmly gripping Steve’s hips, hoisting him up in a single smooth movement. Steve gasped in surprise, his legs wrapping around Bucky’s waist on instinct and Bucky smiled as Steve’s eyes flicked back up to meet his, now that they were at the same height.

“That’s better,” Bucky said with a self-satisfied smirk, “wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself doll.” Steve couldn’t help the delighted grin that shot across his face. Not only was the sergeant hot like burning, but he was also Steve’s favourite kind of asshole.

“Oh it’s not me you have to worry about,” Steve quickly shot back, and when Bucky opened his mouth to reply, leaned forward to slot his mouth against the other man’s. The kiss started slow but quickly turned fast and dirty, Bucky nipping at the smaller man’s mouth, biting at the smirk Steve couldn’t help even as Bucky pressed Steve tighter against the wall. This close he could feel the other man’s muscles and the heat radiating from his body, warming Steve even as he was held against the cold wall, the contrast between the two leaving him arching his back into Bucky. He squirmed in his arms, dragging his erection against the other man and Bucky let out a low moan that sent electricity jumping down Steve’s spine.

His hands scrabbled at the back of Bucky’s uniform, attempting to bring the man even closer, licking into his mouth before breaking them apart, gasping for breath even as he began biting his way down Bucky’s jaw. The larger man let out a low moan, tilting his head back to allow Steve easier access as he bit down the side of Bucky’s neck, licking and nipping in turn, nuzzling behind his ear as he rolled his hips up against Bucky.

————

Fuck. Bucky had been delighted to see how thrown the smaller man had been when Bucky had picked him up, but he had quickly recovered and was now giving as good as he got. When Steve rolled his hips against Bucky he had to bite down on a whimper, his cock hardening further at the sensation. There was officially way too many clothes on, but to take anything off he was going to have to set Steve down, and he wasn’t willing to do that, not with the smaller man squirming against him and biting at the column of his throat. In the end, he didn’t have to make that call, as Steve broke away from him with a gasp.

“Down,” he said, patting distractidly at Bucky’s chest, “down. Clothes. Down.” Bucky laughed as he set down Steve, who immediately began pulling off his clothes with an eagerness that made Bucky laugh, though he was no less frantic in his fumbling attempts to undo his uniform’s various buttons and clasps. He only realized he was muttering a litany of “fuck, fucking fuck” under his breath when Steve suddenly appeared before him, pushing his hands away so that he could undo the uniform himself, peeling it back to reveal the tight muscles of Bucky’s chest.

“Damn,” he muttered, running his hands down Bucky’s chest and Bucky couldn’t help but grin at Steve’s reaction to his body. Yeah, he was hot. Steve glanced up in time to see the cocky smirk crossing Bucky’s face, and rolled his eyes in return. “Yeah, yeah,” he said with a grin, “but what’re you going to do with them?”

“Oh you’ll see,” Bucky responded, quickly toeing off his boots and pulling down his trousers as Steve did the same. Now fully nude, the two men took a moment to look at each other. Steve was as tiny outside of his uniform as he was in it, wiry muscle cording around his chest and shoulders without adding any bulk to his physique. His ribs were still clearly visible, but it didn’t make him any less beautiful. Bucky’s eyes were drawn downwards to Steve’s groin, where his cock curved up against his slightly concave stomach, leaving a slick smear across his pale skin as he panted desperately for breath.

Steve was staring at Bucky in turn, though his eyes had quickly focused on where Bucky’s dick was standing at attention, the trail of dark hair leading down his stomach having drawn the smaller man’s eyes down, where they stayed.

“Hellooo sailor,” Steve said with a curl of his lips, eyes not moving away from Bucky’s cock, and Bucky laughed as he moved forward, scooping him up in a smooth motion that had the smaller man squeaking and clinging to him, laughing as Bucky dumped him on the bed, before quickly following him down.

“Actually,” he murmured, his lips centimetres from Steve’s, “I’m a soldier.” Steve surged upwards, the kiss just as dirty and desperate as their last one, though this time Steve was quick to wrap his legs around Bucky’s waist, rolling his hips upwards to bring their groins together. Bucky moaned, low and hot into the smaller man’s mouth.

“Mmm,” Steve broke away with a gasp, “I want you to fuck me, please, please.”

“Yeah?” Bucky gasped back, feeling his dick twitch at the other man’s words, “I think that can be arranged.”

“Yes,” Steve moaned, arching his back and rubbing against Bucky, “yes, yes, yes, please, god, please.” Bucky smirked into their kiss, finding himself quickly becoming obsessed with finding ways to make the other man beg. He wanted to see Steve fall apart for him.

Unwilling to separate from the hot body squirming beneath his, Bucky reached over to fumble blindly in the bag he had dumped beside his bed when they had arrived back in camp. He hadn’t so much as had time to shave before debriefing, much less unpack, a fact he was bitterly regretting now as he was forced to dig through the various items that made up his field kit in his search for… yes! His fingers finally closed around a small glass jar, and he pulled back from Steve to unscrew the lid, taking a moment to savour the view of Steve spread out beneath him, flushed and sweating. The other man grinned up at him as Bucky dipped his fingers in the jar of slick, running them down from the tip of Steve’s dick to behind his balls, following the path down to the tight furl of his hole. He rubbed slow teasing circles around the outside of the other man’s hole, savouring the way that Steve tried to press down on his fingers.

“Come on,” Steve growled, glaring up at him and Bucky laughed before suddenly pressing in a single finger, grinning at Steve gasped, arching his back and forcing Bucky’s finger in faster than Bucky would have liked.

“Hey, hey,” he said, rubbing slow circles on Steve’s stomach, “easy.” The other man opened his eyes to shoot Bucky a fierce glare that left Bucky with little doubt that the smaller man always got his way.

“I can take it,” Steve shot back, and Bucky shook his head.

“I’m sure you can, but maybe I want to savour this.” The look Steve shot him clearly showed just how unimpressed he was with this plan, and when Bucky refused to speed up any further he growled again in annoyance, grabbing the jar of slick from where Bucky had tossed it onto the sheets beside them before quickly slicking up his own fingers. Before Bucky had the chance to react, he had smacked Bucky’s hand away and quickly slid two fingers into himself. Bucky drew in a sharp breath at the sight of the smaller man, flush crawling its way steadily down his chest as he arched into his own thrusting fingers. Bucky leaned back on his heels, more than happy to watch as the smaller man stretched himself open, his face twisting with pleasure as he added another finger.

“Okay, okay,” he said finally, drawing out his fingers and reaching for Bucky’s shoulder, “I’m ready.”

“Are you sure?” Bucky said, putting as much concern into his voice as he could manage while still choking down his laughter, “I don’t want to hurt you or-“ He broke off as Steve yanked him down by the back of his neck, growling at him from inches away.

“Get in me right the fuck now, soldier.”

“Yessir,” Bucky replied, his cheeky grin quickly replaced by a look of concentration as he reached down to take ahold of his cock, lining up and beginning to press forward. He leaned forward, resting his forehead against Steve’s as they both gasped into each other’s mouths, too focused on the sensation of Bucky slowly pressing forward to continue kissing. Bucky’s attention was torn between the feeling of the tight heat of Steve wrapped around him and the breathy noises being torn out of Steve’s mouth. Finally, he bottomed out, and they both rested there for a moment, Bucky pressing kisses around Steve’s mouth.

“Move,” Steve finally muttered, rolling his hips slightly to punctuate his words, “move, c’mon.” Bucky was more than happy to oblige, pulling back until only the tip remained inside that tight heat, before thrusting sharply back inside drawing a gasp from Steve, who threw his head back. Bucky grinned down at him as he began to move in earnest, thrusting fast and hard, grabbing firmly onto Steve’s hips as the smaller man began to slide under him. His hands spanned his hips, thumbs resting in the hollow of Steve’s hip as his fingers wrapped around to the back, digging sharply into the bone. Steve’s legs came up to wrap around Bucky once again, helping to hold himself in place as Bucky slid in and out of him.

————

Bucky’s cock fucked sharply in and out of Steve and he couldn’t help the breathy gasps that were being forced from his throat with every thrust. Despite his legs wrapped around Bucky and the other man’s hands wrapped securely around his hips, he was still jerking across the bed with the strength of the other man’s movements. Bucky growled his frustration with his inability to pin Steve down, a sound that sent a shock of arousal shooting down Steve’s spine, and in a single, smooth move, he hoisted Steve up, settling back on his knees without stopping or slowing his thrusts. Steve groaned as the new position forced Bucky deeper inside of him, hitting that spot that made his entire body come alight with pleasure, sending sparks spinning out from the centre of his body. He was barely aware of the sounds he was making as Bucky began kissing at his neck, a breathless litany of ‘uh, uh, uh’ forced from his throat as he was bounced up and down on Bucky’s lap. If he had a bit more concentration to spare, he would be very impressed by the strength displayed by the way the other man easily lifted him up and down, but as it was he was barely able to keep his eyes open.

Bucky began kissing him again, sloppy and off-centre and Steve did his best to return the other man’s attention even as he gasped into Bucky’s mouth. His cock was alternatively bouncing up and down and being pressed between Bucky’s abs and his stomach. Between the brief touches of pressure and Bucky’s relentless pounding on that spot deep inside of him Steve could feel the pleasure quickly building within him. When Bucky suddenly switched his grip to wrap one arm around him, pressing them closer together as he wrapped his newly freed hand around Steve’s cock, it was enough to abruptly push Steve over the edge, leaving him shouting into Bucky’s mouth as his cock pulsed all over Bucky’s stomach, come streaking up the sharp cut of his abs. Bucky didn’t slow as he tipped them back over, fucking sharp and shallow into Steve before quickly following after Steve, groaning long and low into the other man’s mouth, Steve gasping at the feel of Bucky’s slick release painting his insides.

Bucky collapsed to the side, breathing deeply and Steve lolled his head to the side to look at the other man. He was covered in sweat and come. It was utterly disgusting. He looked beautiful. As if he could feel Steve’s eyes on him, Bucky turned his head to look at him, smiling as he took in Steve’s equally disheveled appearance.

“Hey,” he muttered.

“Hey,” Steve returned with a helpless smile. Damn. Damn.

“That was fun,” Bucky grinned at him, and Steve felt his smile widen in response.

“Yeah,” he murmured, “we should do it again sometime.”

“I’m going to hold you to that,” Bucky leaned back over to him, kissing him gently but thoroughly. They lay like that for a long time, running their hands with each other as they slowly kissed. As the kissing slowly tapered off, Steve found himself asking Bucky about the Brooklyn drawl in the man’s voice, which lead to them sharing stories about their childhoods in Brooklyn, Steve’s dreams of becoming an artist, the (frankly, insane) story of how Bucky became the US army’s only super soldier, and the (much less insane) story of how Steve ended up on tour with the USO. Steve wasn’t sure when they stopped, or when he fell asleep, but when he woke up, he was alone in the room, no sign that anyone else that had ever been there. The shaving kit was gone off the table, as was the bag next to the bed. Steve lay in bed for a moment, slightly disappointed but more than used to waking up alone. Sighing, he pulled himself from the bed, enjoying the slight twinge in his lower back as he stretched, a wonderful soreness permeating his entire body. Pulling his clothes back on, he stumbled out into the sunshine, yawing largely and ignoring the looks being shot his way by the clusters of soldiers loitering outside the barracks. He was headed back to the dressing room when a young woman with long dreadlocks coiled tightly atop her head stopped him with a crisp salute.

“Um, yeah, I’m not…”

“Message for you sir, from Sergeant Barnes.” She interrupted before he could finish, and held out a piece of paper that Steve uncertainly took from her, still slightly puzzled. She saluted again before turning and striding away. The note was short, but Steve was grinning by the end of it.

Steve,
Got called out. Emergency. I’m still holding you to that promise.
See you in Paris.
B.