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The Care & Feeding of Steven G. Rogers

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Bucky hasn’t lived in the Tower for very long when the Avengers are called to assemble again.

It’s their first mission since he moved in and no one is particularly thrilled at the idea of leaving him unsupervised. They stand in a circle, glancing warily at one another, as if no one thought to think of a plan for this eventuality and they're all now regretting it.

Steve, too, is unhappy but for entirely different reasons. He looks upset at being called on and reluctant as hell to actually answer, distressed at the thought of leaving Bucky behind. Since reuniting, they haven’t been apart except to sleep; this is an entirely new and different obstacle for them.

“Go on,” Bucky says, pushing his shoulder playfully, because without the encouragement, Steve won't leave. “I’ll be here when you get back.”

Around them, several people tense at the shove. They still look for him to hurt Steve; still watch them together, ready to intervene at a second's notice. None of them having realized yet that Bucky would rather lose his other arm than do cause Steve harm again.

Oblivious to the rising tension in the room, Steve swallows nervously and leans closer than is strictly necessary. “Promise?”

“Promise.”

When they leave, Ms. Potts - who is, all things considered, the classiest lady he’s met since setting eyes on Margaret Carter - offers to cancel her meetings to keep him company. It's a kind and generous gesture but one that Bucky politely declines. There’s no reason for both of them to sit around with nothing to do and worry themselves to death about their reckless guys. Someone might as well keep busy, even if it isn’t him.

Instead, he heads back to Steve’s floor of Avengers Tower and manfully hides in his room, waiting out the hours until Steve returns.

*

It’s the crash - shattering glass like a gunshot in the silence - that brings Bucky out of his room.

Night has long since fallen outside, the bright lights of nighttime New York twinkling at him through the tinted glass walls, and the only light source in Steve's apartment is a soft glow coming from kitchen. He was sure that wasn't on when he was last out here.

Bucky sprints towards it quietly, knife in one hand and handgun in the other, his mind already quieting as the Soldier's instincts take over; promising to lead him to the other side of the battle. Technically, he isn’t supposed to have either weapon - Stark placed a no arsenal allowed for previously brainwashed assassins rule on the Tower and then amended it to add that aren’t Natasha Romanoff when she raised an eyebrow at him - but what Stark doesn’t know won’t hurt him.

When he rounds the corner to stand in the kitchen's archway, he definitely finds a battlefield. It just isn't the kind he expects.

An overturned container rolls on its side, spilling dried pasta everywhere, and half a loaf of bread spreads crumbs everywhere, dumped out of the package. The silverware drawer is pulled out so far that it’s sure to fall any second now, glinting faintly in the dim light. The refrigerator stands wide open, contents spilling out of it, and a broken jar of pickles - the source of the sound - makes a mess of the floor, juice spreading in all directions.

There is Steve in the middle of it all, slumped on the floor and allowing juice to soak into the fabric of his knees. His expression is just as shattered as the jar itself.

He still wears his Captain America uniform and it’s torn, covered in dirt and grime and blood. Only the cowl and gloves are missing to make the uniform complete and without them Bucky can see soot in Steve’s messy hair, his bloodied knuckles and torn nailbeds, cuts marring the pale skin of his face. His entire body is tensed and trembling, hunched shoulders drawn up around his ears like he’s trying to make himself smaller. He doesn’t move and he doesn’t look up.

Something deep inside Bucky aches to see him this way.

“Steve,” he says roughly but he doesn’t seem to be heard. “Stevie.”

Still nothing.

Stepping into the kitchen carefully, he closes the silverware drawer and then lays down his weaponry on the counter; blade and barrel aimed at the metallic gray walls. Sliding his hands under Steve’s armpits as gently as he can, Bucky hauls him up to his feet and away from the spreading mess. Steve’s knees give out twice before he finally gets his feet under him, as if he can’t take his own weight at the moment. Bucky keeps him close, allowing Steve to lean on him for support.

“Stevie,” he says again and grabs at Steve’s face with his flesh hand. On instinct, he adds, soft and sweet, “look at me, sweetheart.”

Bucky has no memory of ever using the endearment but the shape of it is familiar in his mouth. The change of cadence in his voice, the slight variation in accent; that, too, feels inexplicably right. It’s comfortable, like an old, threadbare t-shirt that still fits just right even though it hasn’t been worn in years.

So much of Bucky’s life now is made up of instinct rather than memory that he doesn’t even question it; the touches and the proximity, so much more intimate than anything they’ve shared so far.

He doesn’t remember but his body does and that, he thinks, is the important part.

Steve turns, his huge blue eyes reflecting the dim light behind Bucky as they unerringly find him, staring helplessly and a little panicked. He’s strong and broad and built like a tank but Bucky wonders if he’s ever seen anything more fragile.

“Bucky,” Steve breathes out, awed, like he completely forgot that Bucky was here waiting for him. He lurches, fingers scrambling for purchase as he tries to get closer. “Bucky.”

“Hey now,” Bucky says, getting an arm around his waist and keeping their bodies pressed close. “It’s okay. It’s okay, I’m here. I’m right here, Stevie.”

Steve’s eyes dart across his face and then over his shoulder, to the counter. He looks down around them, one side and then the other. To all the places where he’s made a mess. When he looks back at Bucky, he looks even more upset than before.

“I’m sorry,” he says fast, desperate. “I’m sorry, I -- I’m sorry --”

Bucky shushes him, soft as his touches. “Hush,” he says, gentle. “I ain’t mad.”

Steve’s jaw snaps shut with an audible click, he’s so quick to obey.

His reward is a caress along his jaw and fingers carding through his hair, a thumb pressing into that spot just behind his ear. Steve moans, eyelashes fluttering, and a deep, hard shudder runs right through him, down to his toes. He leans further into the touches.

Continuing his ministrations, Bucky asks, derisive, “They just left you like this?”

He doesn’t have words for what this is - won’t have them right up until the very moment he needs them - but he knows that Steve shouldn’t be alone. Knows that he’s far too meek and docile and needing to be on his own, without someone to take care of him. The idea that his teammates would make him do it himself pisses Bucky off like nothing else.

“They don’t know,” Steve confesses quietly. “I never -- I kept it a secret.”

Bucky raises an unimpressed eyebrow, watching as a shamed flush creeps into Steve’s cheeks.

“We’re gonna talk about that later, make no mistake,” he says but not unkindly. “Let’s get you cleaned up first, though, okay? Were you hungry?”

Steve nods, fast and too trusting, and it makes Bucky’s chest tighten painfully. He doesn’t deserve the faith that Steve Rogers has in him but that knowledge isn’t the pain of a fresh wound, brought on by his time as the Soldier. It is the phantom ache of a very old scar.

“Come on,” Bucky says, quiet, and leads him to the kitchen table. “JARVIS? Lights.”

The lights come on instantly, brighter and harsher than normal. Bucky winces, momentarily blinded. By the time the spots have left his vision, he has Steve in one of the kitchen chairs.

“Stay here,” Bucky tells him. “I’m gonna clean up and get you some food, okay?”

Steve stares at him for several seconds before nodding; as if it took him that long to process what he was being told. Bucky rests a hand on his cheek and then pulls away, turning around to take in the full scale of the disaster.

It doesn’t take very long for him to clean it all up but it feels that way and Bucky spends most of that time watching Steve out of the corner of his eye. When he’s done, he rifles through the cabinets and then the fridge to see what they have. It’s a whole lot of nothing, honestly, the shelves sparsely occupied with more condiments than anything.

Steve ruined any chance there was at sandwiches until they get more bread.

“Only thing edible in here is fruit,” Bucky says, looking over his shoulder. “That okay?”

Steve nods, watching him with wide, unblinking eyes.

Bucky pulls out what they have and sets about cutting them up in easy, bite-sized pieces; apples and oranges, some type of melon that Bucky doesn’t immediately recognize. He puts it all in a ceramic bowl and then takes out the grapes to add a few handfuls to the pile.

It’s more than enough of a meal for anyone else but for Steve, it’ll barely satisfy him until morning. Bucky silently vows to go grocery shopping first thing and make sure Steve has a hearty breakfast to make up for this sad excuse of a dinner.

Sitting down in the chair beside Steve’s, he puts the bowl on the table and slides it over. Curiously, Steve doesn’t immediately begin to eat. Instead, he looks up at the bowl and then looks at Bucky.

“Will you,” he starts but then says nothing else, ducking his head down; suddenly shy.

Bucky has no idea what Steve wants but the idea that he’s too scared to ask doesn’t sit well with him. He settles a hand on the back of Steve’s head, caressing gently. Steve shudders again, leaning into it; so starved for touch and affection.

Bucky wants to touch him until he’s high on it. Until Steve has forgotten its absence.

“Ask me,” he encourages. Whatever it is, he wants to give it to Steve and show him there’s no reason to be scared. “Go ahead.”

Drawing in a shaky breath, Steve whispers, “Feed me?”

It isn’t what Bucky is expecting. It’s so far out of the realm of what he was expecting, in fact, that he’s momentarily speechless.

Steve’s words spark something in his mind, though. Something nags at him, a feeling of familiarity and warmth that he’d forgotten until just this moment. This isn’t something new between them; it isn’t the first time Steve’s asked for it.

“Nevermind,” Steve says, fast and embarrassed; taking the silence as a no.

He reaches for the fruit but Bucky stops with a touch on his wrist. Leaning forward, he takes Steve's face between metal fingers, urging him to look. Steve’s gaze is hesitant on his.

“I did this for you,” Bucky says slowly; testing. His thumb caresses Steve’s cheek bone. “I took care of you.”

The words feel like a code, one that his mind is only beginning to unlock, word by word. He once took care of Steve and now Steve wants him to do it again. Bucky wants to do it, too. He can feel it the very marrow of his bones, how much he just wants to provide for Steve.

Steve exhales a shaky breath, nodding silently, watching him hopefully.

“Okay,” Bucky says, quiet, nodding back at him.

Before he can reach for the bowl, Steve leans forward.

“Can I,” he starts and then stops again, still so hesitant.

“Tell me what it is,” Bucky says. His tone is gentle but there’s an underlying note of steel. An order; he’s giving an order. He doesn’t know why, but he adds just as firmly, “ask for it and I’ll do my best to give it to you.”

A shiver runs through Steve and he stares at Bucky with wide, dilated eyes. Wordlessly, he slips out of his chair and kneels. Bucky spreads his legs on instinct alone, watching as Steve scoots closer between them until his shoulders brush against Bucky’s thighs.

“Like this?” He asks, pleading, and glances up through his lashes.

Heat zings down Bucky’s spine and his heart beats a little faster. It’s breathtaking, the sight of Steve on his knees in front of him, looking shy but much more at ease than he was less than a half hour ago when Bucky found him. Reaching forward, he sinks his right hand into Steve’s hair, petting him.

“You’re comfortable?” He asks because he has to know. When he gets a nod of affirmation, Bucky says, “good. You can stay there.”

Steve slumps to the side, resting his head against Bucky’s leg. “Thank you,” he murmurs.

Keeping his hand in Steve’s hair, Bucky reaches for a piece of fruit and presses it to his lips, making a noise of approval it's sucked from between his fingers. His fingers card through Steve’s hair, watching him closely as he eats. When he’s swallowed that slice, Steve tips his head back slightly, opening his mouth and waiting for more.

“Good boy,” Bucky praises, unthinking, and a wanton sound leaves Steve’s parted lips. He likes being called that. Bucky feeds him another piece of fruit and says again, “you’re such a good boy.”

Steve shivers and moans, looking up at Bucky with a desperate, worshipful gaze as he eats.

That’s the way it goes, piece by piece. Bucky feeds him and pets him and watches him closely, feeling powerful and protective in equal measure.

Steve watches him, too, eyes rapt on Bucky as if afraid he’ll disappear. The more he’s fed, the braver he seems to get. He licks at Bucky’s fingers when he’s fed another piece and sucks on his thumb at one point, moaning when Bucky doesn’t immediately pull it away.

Rather than calming down with the passing time, he seems to become more restless; squirming on his knees and biting at his lip as if to stop words or sound from coming through. Receiving Bucky’s touch and attention only makes him desperate for more.

When the bowl is empty, Steve pitches forward to bury his face in Bucky’s groin, mouthing at his hardened cock. He claws at Bucky’s clothes but he’s too shaky and uncoordinated to do any damage.

Steve,” Bucky says, gasping, hand tightening in his hair.

“Can I?” Steve asks, twisting his head to look up, his mouth open and waiting. “Please.”

Bucky can’t answer. Heat pulses through him, his cock twitching as he watches Steve’s lips rub against his clothed erection.

For a single moment, he entertains the idea of giving in; of taking his cock out and slipping it into Steve’s mouth, feeding it to him the way he was fed the fruit. Hand in Steve’s hair, guiding him, controlling him, praising him as he services Bucky. Listening to him moan and whine when Bucky starts to fuck his mouth - slow and so careful until Bucky knew he could take it.

With Steve mostly in his lap, though, Bucky can see the blood on his uniform more clearly. He looks down and remembers the grime in his hair, the dirt streaking his face. They both want it, this little fantasy, but it isn’t want Steve needs.

“No,” he says finally, careful to keep his voice gentle. Steve’s face crumples but Bucky pets him, soothes him. “You were so good, sweetheart. But you need to be cleaned up. You need a shower, understand?”

Reluctantly, Steve nods. He doesn’t look very placated but he allows himself to be pushed away and goes easily when Bucky pulls them both to their feet.

“Bathroom,” he says and guides Steve out of the kitchen.

*

The bathroom adjacent to Bucky's room is darkly-tiled and as minimalist as it is expansive. It’s done in different shades of green and accented by ceramic, bleach-white fixtures. At the other end of the room is the shower; separated only by frosted glass walls.

Bucky eases Steve down to sit on the closed toilet seat, kneeling between his splayed legs. Steve slouches forward until their foreheads touch, exhaling a quietly pleased noise when Bucky reaches up to cradle his face between his palms.

“I’m going to take care of you,” he promises. That code again but this time there isn’t any question about it. “Just like you need.”

Steve’s breath, loud in the quiet of the bathroom, hitches.

Please,” he begs, big hands pawing at Bucky, pulling him close despite the awkward position; afraid he might pull away.

Bucky shushes him, sweet. “I got ya, Stevie,” he promises. “I’m right here.”

Steve shudders again but the words have a calming effect, washing over him like a balm. He relaxes under Bucky’s hands.

Slowly, Bucky undresses him; strap by strap until there’s nothing left. He’s careful not to scrape against the cuts and bruises but Steve winces periodically, his body too sore for him to be without pain entirely.

When he’s done, Bucky leans back and stares, awed. Even dirty and bruised, Steve Rogers is a sight to behold. There isn’t another soul, living or dead, that can match him for beauty; not in the eyes of Bucky Barnes, at least.

Curled shyly around himself, Steve watches Bucky as he himself is watched, cock hardening under the prolonged scrutiny. He gives it no notice at all, instead soaking up the attention like Bucky, somehow, is the sun and Steve thrives on him and him alone. Underneath the dirt and grime, his pale skin flushes a gorgeous pink and only gets darker the longer Bucky looks.

Bucky frowns when he spots a wound below Steve’s ribcage, caked with drying blood.

“Let me see your side,” he says.

Steve lifts his arms immediately, twisting to give Bucky access, even as he protests, “it’s nothing.”

Nothing turns out to be a long, thin cut that starts at his back and curves around to just above his hipbone. It won't require stitches and is already mostly healed but it does look painful. Bucky presses his lips together, unhappy.

“Nothing, eh?” He says, gaze flickering up at Steve, who looks away. Bucky reaches up to make him look back. “Will you be alright to shower with this? It'll sting like hell.”

Steve blushes. “I'll be okay.”

They stare at each other for several more seconds as Bucky tries to decide if Steve's lying or not. In the end, he nods quick and terse and stands up, running his fingers through Steve's hair and smiling when his guy moans before he heads to the shower. Inside the glass walls, he fiddles with the knobs until he gets the temperature just right.

When he's satisfied, he comes back to Steve and helps him up.

“In you go.”

Steve winces at the first touch of the water on his wounds but he grows used to it and relaxes, standing motionless under the warm spray. He watches Bucky, fists clenched at his sides and eyes wide, starting to hold the edges of panic again. He wants something desperately but he's afraid he won't get it.

“Ask for it,” Bucky reminds him.

Steve bites his lip and lowers his gaze. “Wash me?” He asks softly. “Please?”

Bucky smiles. “Good.”

He strips right there in front of the shower, allowing Steve to watch him as he does. When he’s done, he steps inside and closes the door behind him. Steam has already begun to rise around them, fogging up the glass, and it feels like an entirely different world in here. A private world, just for the two of them.

Bucky opens his arms and Steve falls into his embrace immediately with a strangled noise, clutching him close and burying his face in Bucky’s neck. He trembles like he’ll shake right apart and it only gets worse when he’s touched again, fingers trailing over his arms and shoulders, down his back.

“Go ahead, sweetheart,” Bucky murmurs. “I got you; you don't need to be strong anymore. Let go.”

Fall apart, he thinks. I'll keep you whole.

“I can’t,” Steve tells him, pleading, mouth open against his shoulder. A ragged little noise escapes him and it sounds suspiciously like a sob. He wants to go down so badly but he's been holding on so long, he doesn't know how to properly give in anymore. “I can’t, Bucky, I --”

He gasps and melts right there in Bucky’s arms when a hand goes around the back of his neck and squeezes, hard. Mindful of the cut on his side, Bucky puts an arm around his waist, holding him securely, before his grip on Steve's neck tightens just a little bit more. He feels the very moment that Steve's knees give out and holds him tighter, keeping him upright.

They stand like that for a full minute before Steve finally moans, long and low, and the last of the tension drains out of him.

“Good,” Bucky murmurs, grip slackening enough to pet his hair.

He gets Steve's feet under him again and then pulls him back with that same hand, smiling proudly when Steve moves easily with him, completely docile. His eyes are bright and hazy, lips parted in pleasure as he leans into Bucky’s grip. With his metal hand, Bucky caresses his hip.

“Good,” he repeats and Steve shudders. “You’re good, Stevie, you’re okay. I’m right here. Gonna take care of you just like I promised. But you gotta be calm for me, just like this. Gotta stand still. Can you do that, sweetheart?”

Steve swallows and nods clumsily.

Bucky presses a kiss to his jaw before pulling away.

He washes Steve's hair first, digging his fingers in hard to massage his scalp and smiling when his guy moans. He does this twice, rinsing the shampoo out and repeating the process, to make sure all of the blood and dirt has been washed away. When he's done, Bucky lathers up a rag and then sets about scrubbing the rest of him clean.

It’s an act of worship, plain and simple. A show of his love for the man before him and Bucky treats it as such, keeping his touches as light and tender as possible. Steve leans into each one, humming and moaning, giving easily where pushed; so goddamn responsive that Bucky finds himself a little intoxicated by it.

No matter what he does - tilts Steve’s head back to expose his throat, washing under his chin; lifting his legs to wash underfoot; nudging him to turn around so that Bucky can get his back - Steve is malleable and obedient. No matter where he touches, Steve acts like it’s the best thing he’s ever known, breathing fast and shallow. He is Bucky's in that moment, totally and completely. His to touch and his to care for.

Bucky takes extra care with the obviously bruised places and the cut on his side but even the gentlest handling is too much at some points. Steve lets out pained little noises when it hurts too much and outright hisses when the soap gets into his cuts but his cock twitches, too, interested; pleasure and pain too easily mixed together when he's in this state.

He likes when it hurts, Bucky thinks. It is a fact, a forgotten reality reasserting itself in his mind. He remembers the way Steve blushed when asked if it would hurt too much to shower and files this away for later.

As the water washes away the last of the soap, he kisses each patch of newly cleaned skin; a benediction.

By the end of it all, Steve’s cock is curved up against his belly, thick and hard, the sweet red tip of it beading precome. He sways on his feet like he’ll collapse at any moment, head tipped back and mouth fallen open; eyes hazy and heavy-lidded, blissful. Finally, he’s relaxed and given himself over to Bucky’s care. Trusting that he will be taken care of.

“There you are,” Bucky whispers, letting the rag drop so he can get his hands on Steve properly again. “There’s my baby doll. You feelin’ good now?”

Steve nods, slow and lethargic, the corners of his lips turning up in a small, contented smile. “Bucky,” he murmurs, happy, and nuzzles closer.

Their hips press together and Steve makes a wanton little noise right into Bucky’s mouth, their lips a hair’s breadth away from touching. He begs for it without ever saying a word and Bucky, helpless, gives him what he wants.

The kiss is soft and slow and achingly sweet. They’ve been apart for so long and changed so much, in some ways that they’ve yet to realize, but this is still the same. This is still so familiar and good. The way their skin feels pressed together, Steve’s eager tongue in his mouth, the gorgeous noises he makes when Bucky treats him just right. He feels the kiss all the way down to his toes, his entire body humming from this thing building between them.

It doesn't stay slow for long. His guy gets clumsy in his neediness, moaning as his hips start moving in a low, dirty grind. The water rushing down around them makes everything slippery, their cocks sliding together easily.

“Fuck me,” Steve begs, pulling back just enough to get the words out. “Fuck me, fuck me --”

“Shhh,” Bucky murmurs into his mouth, pressing soft kisses there. “You need sleep, Stevie. Need to rest nice and good 'fore you go asking for things like that.”

He's tired as hell, Bucky can easily see it. There are shadows under his eyes and the corners are pinched from stress. He needs rest.

Please.” Steve's breath hitches, cutting off a needy sound. “God, please, I need it. I need you. I won't be able to – please, please.”

Bucky cuts him off with a kiss, his skin buzzing pleasantly from hearing his baby beg so prettily. He doesn’t mean to give in, even just a little, but his hand slides down Steve’s back of its own accord. His fingers slip between Steve’s cheeks, brushing over his hole; teasing.

“You're so goddamn greedy,” he whispers hotly into Steve's mouth. He’s running on autopilot, no idea where the words come from but they do something magical to Steve. “Got you feelin' nice and relaxed, took care of you so you didn’t hafta, and you're still not happy, are you? Not gonna be happy 'til I get you off?”

Steve makes a shocked, pleased noise when the finger teasing him finally presses in. He’s hot inside and so goddamn tight it makes Bucky a little dizzy with want. It’s as if Steve hasn’t touched himself here at all since they’ve been apart and that thought, well. It makes something dark and primal inside him purr with satisfaction.

Bucky pumps his finger twice and then adds a second, stretching him perhaps faster than he should, especially with only water to ease the way, but Steve gasps and arches into it, needy.

“Not – god, not your fingers,” he moans, wriggling. “Your cock, please. God, oh. In me, in me. Put in me, fuck.”

That can’t happen for a multitude of reasons, the biggest of which is their lack of proper slick, but Steve doesn’t seem to realize that. Maybe he doesn’t care. Maybe he wants it to hurt like that.

“Baby,” Bucky chides and slides his fingers deep, crooking them just right to make Steve shout.

“Just the tip,” Steve breathes and then licks at Bucky's mouth, wanting. “God, just the tip. Please, I'll be good, I'll be – just need to feel it in me. Please.”

Just the tip, Jesus.

He really hadn't planned on giving it to him, no matter how pretty his begging was, but God. There's something irresistible about the idea of that. His cock aches between his legs just from the thought of it.

Pulling out his fingers, Bucky grabs at his ass roughly and groans when Steve makes a plaintive little noise.

“Good. You’re good,” he murmurs. “Turn around for me, sweetheart. Show yourself off.”

Steve moans and goes, turning around to lean against the wall, his legs spread wide and ass pushed out for Bucky’s inspection. His skin is a warm pink from the water but it darkens, a flush creeping across his skin at standing this way; embarrassed and turned on at the same time. Embarrassed but still doing it because he was told to.

That thought gives Bucky pause.

He runs a hand down his back, soothing. “You okay?” He asks, soft. “You sure you want it?”

Please,” Steve whispers, barely audible over the rushing water. “God, please. Bucky --”

Bucky shushes him gently and puts a hand on the back of his neck again as he steps close and rubs his cock between Steve’s spread cheeks, right where they both want it. Steve moans and pushes against him, turning to hide his face in his arm.

They probably shouldn’t. Steve is too malleable like this, too obedient, when they haven’t talked about this otherwise. Bucky hadn’t even known it was a possibility until tonight.

But Steve asked for it, begged for it nice and proper, and every fiber of Bucky’s being says to reward him for it; give him exactly what he needs. It’s hard to remember why they shouldn’t when they’re together like this. Steve soft and yielding and Bucky providing for him, the way he was always meant to.

“Just the tip,” He whispers against Steve’s shoulder and grabs at his own cock.

He teases Steve, rubbing the head against his hole and making him whine so beautifully. God, those sounds of his. They’re enough to break anyone’s will.

It’s only when he hears Steve start another litany of “please, fuck, please, I’ll be good - I’ll - please, please,” that Bucky finally gives in and pushes in slow and easy until the head slips inside.

There’s no time to marvel at how fucking good it feels to be inside him, even just this little bit, because as soon as he’s there, Steve makes a loud, shocked sound and starts to come.

Shit, Bucky thinks, lightheaded, and lets go of himself to wrap his fingers around Steve’s cock.

“God,” he whispers as he jerks Steve off, rough and fast, bringing him through it. “Look at you, needin’ it so bad, coming without a fuckin’ touch. Just needed to be split open by a dick, didn’t you? Jesus, Stevie, that’s right. Louder, baby, let me hear you.”

Steve does.

It’s only when his moans turn mewling and kittenish, sensitive, that Bucky lets up and lets go. The water washes away most of the mess.

“Don’t,” Steve slurs, pleading. He’s got his head propped against one arm, back heaving with each breath. Clumsily, his other hand reaches back to curl around Bucky’s ass, keeping him close. In an impossibly small voice, he begs, “Please don’t leave me.”

“Hey,” Bucky says, soft, his heart aching. “Hey now. C’mere.”

He pulls Steve back to lean against him and it’s an awkward position for him, back arched so that his head can rest near Bucky’s shoulder, but he goes easily. A hand wraps loosely around the base of his cock, just holding him, and the other caresses up and down his damp chest, soothing. Bucky’s mouth brushes against Steve’s ear.

“You feel this?” He whispers and presses his hips closer, sliding in just past the head and groaning softly at how hot and tight Steve is inside; how amazing it feels on his aching cock. Steve makes a tiny, wounded noise but relaxes in Bucky’s hold. Calmed by the pain and what it means. “I’m right here inside you, baby doll; right where I belong. I’m not goin’ anywhere, okay? Not ‘til you can handle it.”

Steve turns to press his face into Bucky’s cheek. “Thank you,” he murmurs.

They stay like that. Bucky’s hands keep moving, touching everywhere, squeezing Steve’s thighs and and hips and arms. He cups Steve’s pecs, squeezing lightly and then rubbing at his hardened nipples. His guy moans loudly, the sound echoing over the rushing water.

He keeps it up until Steve’s calm and relaxed again, able to take the separation. Eventually, Bucky eases Steve forward to lean against the wall again.

“Stay just like this for me,” he says, soft, petting down his back. Steve nods, allowing his legs to be nudged apart a little more. “Good, baby. God, you’re so good.”

Bucky’s breathless and aching, already so goddamn close. There’s no finesse when he grabs his own cock and starts to fuck his fist roughly, chasing his release. His left hand grabs at Steve’s ass,  metal fingers digging into the soft flesh as he parts Steve’s cheeks to get a look at where they’re joined.

“Shit, baby,” he hisses, feeling lightheaded and a little out of control. “You got any idea what you look like, spread out on my cock? Wish you could see yourself. Ain’t ever seen anything so pretty.”

Steve moans, hiding his face.

Bucky pulls out of him slow, attention rapt on Steve’s pink hole, and then pushes back in just to watch it open up for him. He groans, hips bucking, and then does it again. Over and over, fucking Steve’s hole open but only ever sliding in as far as the head.

Giving him just the tip, as promised.

Steve makes the sweetest little noises - ah, ah sounds that echo off the walls every time Bucky’s cock pushes back inside him - and arches his ass into it, wanton.

“You were made for this,” Bucky says, low. Heat pools low in his hips, turning his spine to liquid. “Made for my cock, made for me. Christ, Stevie, I’m gonna come.”

“Inside me,” Steve begs. “Inside me, please, inside --”

Bucky groans, long and low, and comes; spurting against his hole and then pressing inside like Steve wants, allowing himself to finish there. As the last of the aftershocks shiver through him, he slumps forward, pressing his face between Steve’s shoulder-blades. Breathing in the scent of him as the water washes over them, somehow miraculously still warm.

The peaceful moment doesn’t last; it’s only a few seconds before he becomes aware of Steve’s hitching breaths. It sounds like he’s crying.

“Steve,” Bucky says urgently, ice flooding his veins.

He pulls out as carefully as he can and turns Steve around. There are, Bucky is distressed to notice, tear-tracks on his cheeks and more gathered in his eyes.

“Thank you,” Steve mumbles, oblivious to his distress, nuzzling into him. “Thank you.”

He doesn’t look upset. In fact, he looks comforted, at peace. But Bucky can’t focus on any of that; all he can see are the tears.

“Was it too much?” He asks, putting gentle hands on Steve’s face and making him focus. His thumb presses to the corner of Steve’s eye, gathering the moisture there and wiping it away. “Did I...Steve, did I hurt you?”

Steve shakes his head immediately and relief leaves Bucky a little weak in the knees. The idea that he’d hurt the person most precious to him again? It was too much to bear.

“No,” Steve slurs, shuffling close until their bodies are pressed together again. He’s half-hard but Bucky ignores it, focused on giving Steve the comfort he’s still looking for. “Doesn’t hurt.”

“What is it, then?” Bucky nudges their noses together and Steve looks shy again. “Tell me.”

“Just needed it,” he says, hesitant. He ducks down, burying his face in Bucky’s neck where his tears mix with the droplets of water from their shower. There, he feels safe enough to confess, “never thought I’d get to feel it again. Feel you. I just...I missed it.”

God, but that’s too much. Bucky has no choice but to kiss him again. It’s deep and slow, still solely controlled by him, and with that control he tries to pour every ounce of his love - every promise he could never make and every reassurance he can’t put words to - into it.

Steve whimpers, fingers digging into Bucky’s hips.

“We have to get out now,” Bucky says when he’s finally able to pull away. Steve looks dazed again but he nods.

Picking up the rag, he cleans his mess from Steve as best he can and then finally shuts off the water. It’s immediately colder, goosebumps prickling his skin, but he ignores his own discomfort in favor of stepping out of the shower and getting them both towels.

He dries Steve off first, chasing down every last drop of water on him, and tucks the towel around his waist.

“Wait for me on the bed,” he orders softly and Steve nods, his shoulders relaxing with the weight of a command he can obey.

Alone, Bucky dries himself off and then the floor, picking up their discarded clothes and stuffing them into clothes hamper by the door. In the bedroom, Steve is still in his towel and sitting on the bed just as he was ordered. Bucky smiles proudly at him and kisses his forehead before going to the dresser and pulling out clothes for them both to wear.

“Up,” Bucky says as he lays their clothing out on the bed and Steve does so immediately, standing motionless as he’s divested of his towel.

He only moves when Bucky directs him, as loose and malleable as he was in the shower. Perhaps even more so. When Bucky is done, he stands and takes Steve’s face in his hands, kissing him softly on the lips.

“You’re going to stay in here tonight,” Bucky tells him. “In my bed and in my clothes. You understand?”

Steve shivers, blue eyes alight with the reassurance Bucky is giving him. He nods and leans closer.

“Thank you,” he says, his voice small and shy.

Bucky kisses him again, just because he can, and then helps Steve into bed. Pulling on his own clothes, he climbs in after him, wrapping Steve up in his arms and feeling him relax into the embrace.

“Sleep now,” he commands and Steve nods again.

They’re both asleep within minutes.

*

A nightmare wakes Bucky near dawn, panic seizing his chest and making him surge up, dislodging Steve. By the time he’s upright, breath coming fast and shallow, he’s forgotten what he dreamed but the feeling stays with him.

“Bucky?” Steve says, confused, and then sits up with him, hovering just by his shoulder. He seems to understand what happened. “It’s alright, Buck, you’re alright. Can I touch you?”

The request loosens some of the panic - asking is good; asking means he cares, he sees Bucky as a person - and Bucky nods, slow. Tentative hands touch his arm and back, rubbing soothing circles through his clothes.

“You’re okay,” Steve says again, an echo of Bucky’s assurances for him hours before. “It was just a nightmare. You’re safe.”

Bucky swallows harshly, closing his eyes for just a moment to gather his wits before he nods again and looks to Steve.

In the faint morning light, he looks so much different than he did the night before. There’s something settled about him that wasn’t there before, a kind of peace came sometime during the night. His eyes are clear and focused and he’s more relaxed than Bucky’s seen him the entire time he’s been back.

The longer Bucky looks, cataloguing the differences between last night and this morning, the less panicked he feels. Putting his focus on Steve calms him, gives him something else to think about rather than the nightmare.

His heartbeat gradually slows, falling back into a normal rhythm.

“You look good,” he says finally, his voice low and rough. “Better. You feel better?”

Steve blushes a little but meets his gaze steadily. “A lot,” he answers gamely. Even his voice is stronger; firm and sure where it was small before. “Last night...it helped. What you did.”

“You ready to talk about it?”

Now?”

Bucky shrugs. “It helps,” he admits. “Focusing on you.”

“Okay,” Steve says. “We can, if it helps. Do you -- will it be alright if we lay down? Or do you want to get up?”

Bucky doesn’t want either. It takes him several seconds to figure out what he does want and then he scoots back to sit against the headboard, pillows propped up behind him; still upright but able to relax. He pulls Steve to lay in his lap, sinking the fingers of his right hand into Steve’s soft hair.

Touching is good, too. Before, he was never allowed to touch unless it was to hurt someone and no one touched him unless it was to hurt. Being able to pet Steve, run fingers through his hair and press gently into his skin, it reminds him where he is and who’s he with.

“This okay?” Bucky asks when they’re settled. Steve nods, snuggling into him with a contented sigh.

He doesn’t know where to begin, exactly. There are so many questions swimming in his head and it’s hard to put them in some semblance of order; figure out where to start.

“We were together,” he says finally. “Before.”

That gets him another nod but no explanation.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want to pressure you,” Steve says quietly. “I didn’t want you to feel obligated. You just being here, it’s more than I could ever hope for. It’s enough, if it’s all you wanted.”

“But you didn’t ask,” Bucky tells him, admonishing.

Steve shifts, his shoulders raising up; he’s upset. “I’m sorry,” he murmurs, pressing his face further into Bucky’s leg.

“I’m not mad.” He isn’t, not really. He feels too calm right now, Steve gathered against him, giving himself over to Bucky again. “Tell me about what happened last night.”

“Adrenaline crash.” Steve takes a deep breath, exhaling it slowly. “I’ve never been able to handle it very well but it’s been worse since I woke up. You used to help me through it, snap me out of it. Without you, it's been...difficult.”

Bucky looks down at him. “Why didn’t you tell anyone?” He asks. “Let them help you?”

Steve hasn’t exactly been idle since he woke up in the future. If last night is any indication of what he's like afterwards, Bucky can’t stand the idea of him going through it alone. Having to fend for himself when he’s so fragile.

Steve squirms, the blush on his cheeks becoming more pronounced, and he doesn’t answer right away. Bucky tugs at his hair, gentle as his words, and that finally gets him moving along.

“You always took care of me,” he says softly. “If it wasn’t you...I didn’t want anyone else. Telling them, letting them help? It was like admitting that you were gone. I couldn’t do that, Buck. I couldn’t stand the thought of it.”

The heartache in his voice is too much to bear. Bucky leans down, peppering his face with gentle kisses until Steve turns and Bucky can get at his lips.

“I’m here,” he says against Steve’s mouth. “I’m right here.”

Steve nods, arching up into him, and the conversation is derailed for several, kiss-stung minutes. When Bucky can finally stand to pull away, it’s to press more kisses to Steve’s face and cheeks.

“Buck,” Steve breathes out, desperate, and Bucky kisses him again.

“I took care of you,” he says finally, when he can bear to think about anything else but loving Steve. “Tell me about that.”

Steve looks dazed again but he nods.

“I was never very good at doing it myself,” he says, licking his lips. His voice is starting to get breathy again, soft like the night before. “Running half-assed into fights I couldn’t win. Lettin’ myself get sick all the time. Not slowing down and resting when I was sick. Been like that since we met but somewhere along the way, you got fed up with it. Don’t even remember how it started but you started doing it for me. Everything I needed, you gave it to me to make sure I had it.”

“The feeding?” Bucky asks. “And the bathing?”

In his lap, Steve shrugs awkwardly.

“Not always,” he says. “Sometimes it was just enough for you to watch me eat, know that I’d gotten enough. And we didn’t have our own bathroom, so it...it couldn’t be like that all the time. Sometimes you’d boil some water and fill up the sink, wash me off in the kitchen. But most of the time, you just made it an order. Put everything in my hands and told me what to do. When I came back, you’d make me strip and inspect me. Made sure I did it right.”

His breath hitches noticeably; he likes this memory. Bucky pets him, his chest warming with the idea that he could make Steve feel this way just talking about it.

“The orders?”

“Can’t remember when that started, either,” Steve admits. “It wasn’t all the time and you never gave one that you knew I couldn’t follow. But I needed - I need them. It makes everything easier, knowing I don’t have to decide. You’ll do it for me and I can be good; I can do what you said. Some days, it was the only thing that kept me going. Knowing I’d been good for you. That you’d...you’d be pleased with me when you got home.”

Bucky tilts his head, curious. “What happened if I wasn’t?”

“You’d punish me.” Steve’s breath hitches as he says it; he likes that, too. “You’d...spank me. Or you wouldn’t let me come and make me watch while you got yourself off. Sometimes, you’d let me see that you were hard but wouldn’t even let me watch you. I liked to please you. Liked to be the reason you got off. Denying me that...it was always the worst punishment.”

Neither of them speak for a while after that. Bucky keeps Steve where he is, petting him as he thinks; takes it all in.

Finally, he asks, “you still need it. All of it?”

Steve nods.

“I don’t remember it,” Bucky confesses. “But in some ways, I do. And I want it. I wanna give this to you.”

That's his true north; the only thing that matters. That Steve is safe and happy and taken care of.

“Please,” Steve whispers. His hand tightens where it’s wrapped around Bucky’s leg.

“I want you to write it all down,” he continues, firm. “Everything we did; everything you can remember. Explain it all. Then write down the stuff we never got around to. The stuff you wanna try. We’ll talk about it after. Look at me.”

Steve does so immediately, sitting up properly to meet his gaze; giving the situation the gravity it deserves. Bucky cups his cheek.

“I can’t hurt you,” he says. “Not ever again. We can try it all out again but I may not be able to do everything anymore. I want to give you as much as I can. If you want something, you gotta ask for it. I have to know you want it. Understand?”

Steve nods, fast. “Thank you,” he says and then surges forward for another kiss.

Groaning, Bucky rolls them until Steve’s on his back, legs spread open for him. He pulls away to get a look, admiring the sight of Steve laid out before him, his shirt riding up to show the patch of skin below his belly button. Steve stares up at him, waiting.

“You only get to come once until you get me what I asked for,” Bucky tells him. He watches Steve’s eyes focus, suddenly sharp; intent on obeying. “Do you want it now or later?”

Moaning, Steve squirms and presses up into Bucky. “You choose,” he begs. “Please, I want you to tell me.”

Bucky smiles proudly and reaches between them to cup Steve’s hardening cock, petting him there.

“Good boy,” he whispers.