Actions

Work Header

Everything I ever wanted (and I'm wearing tights)

Work Text:

The down side of the whole Captain America deal is that it’s very difficult to get any kind of privacy, to escape the watching eyes for five minutes, let alone long enough for a decent fuck. It’s one thing not to be getting any because you’re half a world away from your fella and you’re not the cheating kind, and an entirely different thing when he’s right there, and you can’t get your hands on him because everyone - everyone, from the generals to the canteen staff, are watching his every damn move.

Still, Bucky’d rather think about fucking than… just about any of his other options right now, even if it is damn frustrating when Steve’s right there, and he can’t do anything about it. (He steadfastly ignores that fact that, since the HYDRA lab, it hasn’t really mattered how willing the spirit might be. He’s heard whispers about it happening sometimes, and he’s got everything crossed that it’ll pass.)

It doesn’t help any that Steve swings wildly between making up for every time Bucky ever fussed over him all at once, and looking like he’s seriously contemplating seeing whether he can pick Bucky up and have him against a wall. Frankly, Bucky would like to find out, himself.

But so it goes, and so it goes, and so it goes, and it still beats the hell out of thinking about the tests they’re running on him and how they make him sick and dizzy with how much they’re like being back in the HYDRA lab, even though it’s nothing like being back in the HYDRA lab.

Eventually the entire 107th, plus Steve, and anyone else who got caught up with HYDRA, gets packed off to London for some R&R and more of the endless debriefings with the SSR brass, and Lord only knows who else.

Steve has a meeting with the higher ups, and Bucky has more tests – just standard fitness testing this time, to show that he’s perfectly fit to go throw himself at the enemy again. There’s nothing that throws him off his stride this time so he wanders into a pub with a couple of the boys when he’s done, for a few beers. (“It’s warm, Buck.” “It’s ale, Steve. It’s supposed to be served at room temperature.” “It’s just not right, that’s all. Beer should be cold.”)

He’s had a couple of pints when he heads back to his room, feeling more at peace with the world than he has… pretty much since he left New York, now that he knows Steve isn’t back there playing chicken with bullies’ fists, or flirting with diphtheria or any of a thousand other ways he could get himself killed without Bucky there to make sure he was okay.

The house he and Steve have been billeted at is unusually quiet, but he shrugs it off. It’s late afternoon, and he’s thinking about a nap before meeting up with Steve to go see what they can find by way of food for dinner. The sun comes in the window in the afternoon, and fills the room with a soft, safe warmth. He opens the door and stops dead.

“You might want to close that, Buck,” Steve says, and Bucky hears the words, but they don’t really mean anything, because his brain is too occupied with the fact that Steve is sprawled out on Bucky’s bed in the full Captain America stage outfit. The balaclava thing is off, but the rest… The room is warm and bright, and Steve is there on his bed - golden hair, and blue eyes, and sharp nose the same as ever, but his chest is about a mile wide, white star nestled between his pecs, and the slightly stained white sleeves cling lovingly to his biceps. And his thighs, dear Lord. His legs are long and strong and slightly spread in blue tights that curve with the bulge of muscle, leading up to tiny little shorts of the same color, belted at the waist. He’s even got the gloves and boots on, though he’s laid a towel over the end of the bed, so as not to get the spread dirty.

“Bucky? You planning on just looking? We don’t actually have all day, you know.”

He snaps back to himself and swallows, although his mouth’s so dry his throat clicks. He realizes he’s still holding the door wide open, so he closes it and leans back against it for a second. He’s had several very filthy fantasies that have started out a whole lot like this. Part of him wants to pinch himself to see if he’s dreaming, and the other part doesn’t care if he is, so long as he doesn’t wake up.

“Lock the damn door and get your ass over here, Barnes.” Steve’s exasperated tone suggests very strongly that this is really real. Steve’s never exasperated in his fantasies. Almost never.

He turns the latch, and all but throws himself across the room, crawling up between Steve’s blue-clad thighs and running a hand up the inside of one before lunging forward to kiss Steve enthusiastically.

When he pulls back a little, Steve’s breath is coming a little faster, although still steady and clear.

Steve picks something up off the pillow, and Bucky realizes he’s holding up the blue balaclava by one little wing. “Do you want me to…”

“No,” Bucky says. “Leave it off. I want to see you.” He’s not sure why Steve looks so pleased by that, but whatever. He tugs the red and white stripes free of the waistband and slips his hand up, over the ridges of Steve’s tight new abs. He rubs his thumb over a nipple and from Steve’s groan he guesses that Steve still likes that fine. He rucks the top up and runs his hands over Steve’s chest while he mouths gently at the sensitive underside of his jaw.

Steve rubs his hands over Bucky’s back, and they’re bigger than they were, but as gentle as ever.

“I, um,” Steve starts. “I don’t bruise much.”

“Huh?” Bucky mutters against his throat, not sure he heard right, because Steve bruises like a peach.

“The serum,” he says, like it’s an explanation, or anything Bucky can focus on when Steve’s unbuttoning his shirt, the gloves gone. “I heal fast.” He tips his head back and Bucky sucks a little on his adam’s apple, loving the feel of Steve’s little moan against his lips. “Bruises barely register.”

Eventually Bucky works out what he’s trying to say. He gives Steve a narrow look, because he’s heard a thousand lines before about how fine something was when it really wasn’t. Steve just rolls his eyes, but Bucky’s not taking any chances. He pushes the top up Steve’s chest, and tries not to get distracted by how broad and heavily-muscled and unfamiliar it is - reminds himself that it’s still Steve’s chest.

He leans in and Steve’s breath catches. When he looks up, Steve is staring down at him, and Bucky knows what anticipation looks like on him – it’s a whole lot like that right there. So he drags his teeth gently over the actually kind of ridiculous expanse of pectoral. Steve groans a little, but it’s mostly frustration. The slight trail of pink left by his teeth fades in seconds. He nips this time, enough to leave the shape of his teeth in Steve’s flesh, but only briefly, before it fades as well. Before, it would already have been purpling up. Still, once more for luck. He sets his teeth either side of Steve’s nipple and bites hard, and Steve jerks, head thrown back, and hand clutching Bucky’s hair. Flicking his tongue out over Steve’s nipple gets his name moaned and Steve thrusting his hips up against Bucky’s belly.

He rubs his hand soothingly down Steve’s side as he watches the sharp marks of his teeth fill back out.

“Buck, come on.” Steve tugs at his hair, and when he looks up, his eyes are dark in a way that’s familiar as a thousand nights together. “You don’t have to go gentle anymore.”

And Bucky wants to argue at that. He’s always been careful with Steve because he wanted to be, not because he thought Steve couldn’t take it. But if this is what Steve wants, he can have it, because Bucky has always given Steve what he wants, as best as he could. And it’s not like it’s some kind of sacrifice – the slight scrape of stubble and the give of flesh under his teeth while Steve moans and rolls his hips is – well, it’s something, all right.

Steve’s got one hand clenched in Bucky’s hair, and the other stroking up and down his back, up underneath the back of his shirt, and Bucky is (finally, thank God) hard as anything. He can’t remember the last time they did something as simple as rub against each other, almost fully dressed, till they came, but it feels so damn good that it’s real tempting. But he’s got Steve all dolled up in his tights and stripes, and it would be a real shame to waste it.

He slows down the pace to try and think, although it’s clearly not what Steve had in mind.

“Buck,” Steve protests, and Bucky leans up to kiss him quiet. Steve still kisses exactly the same, like he’s starving for it, like he can keep them together forever if he can just pour enough of himself into it, into Bucky. And Bucky loses himself for a while in kissing him back for all he’s worth. (Which was never much, and might be even less now, but it seems to be all Steve wants, so he gives himself over without a second thought.)

Steve pushes the shirt off Bucky’s shoulders as they kiss. It’s been long enough since the lab that most of the cuts and bruises have healed, so he pulls his hands off Steve for just as much time as it takes to get his cuffs undone, and throws his shirt and undershirt somewhere off to the side. Steve’s hands are gentle, if bigger than he remembers, as he strokes Bucky everywhere he can reach (which is a lot more of him than it used to be), like he’s checking that Bucky’s really still all there. It’s hilarious, really, because Bucky’s not the one who’s changed, and that’s when he knows what he wants. He’s going to take Steve apart, find all the ways he’s exactly the same, learn the ways he’s not.

He pulls back to kneel up, so he can get at his belt and fly. Steve’s initial complaint dies as his eyes go dark when Bucky wriggles out of his pants. Steve reaches for the bottom of his own top, until Bucky covers his hands with his own.

“No, leave it on,” he says, and watches a shiver run through Steve’s whole body. He pats Steve’s hip, and says, “Over.”

Steve gives him a sly look and lunges forward instead, pressing his mouth, hot and wet, against Bucky’s, because he’s a sneaky bastard, and always has been. While Bucky’s distracted, nipping at Steve’s full lower lip and sucking a little on his tongue when it ventures into his mouth, Steve gets his hand between them and wraps it around Bucky’s dick. His hips surge against Steve’s hand a couple of times before he can think about it, and then he pulls back.

“Hey, cut that out,” he pants, as he grabs Steve’s wrist and tugs it away. “I’ve got plans for that.”

Steve leans in and nuzzles against Bucky’s neck. “Want you,” he murmurs into his collarbone.

Bucky rubs his hand up from Steve’s wrist over the rough cotton of his sleeve to stroke his shoulder, while the other comes up to cradle Steve’s neck. He presses a kiss against Steve’s hair. “I know.” He tips Steve’s face up and leans down to press their foreheads together. “Hey, I’m okay. We’re okay, yeah?” They haven’t talked about… about anything, really. Not the lab or, well… the other lab, he supposes. There hasn’t been time, and he can’t speak for Steve, but he doesn’t really want to talk about it. He knows Steve well enough to have heard ’Little bit’ in response to ’Did it hurt’, and come up with a pretty good idea just what Steve put himself through.

Steve’s eyes slip closed and he sighs, “Yeah.”

“Good.”

They sit like that for a minute or two, just leaning on each other, breathing each other in, and then Bucky smacks Steve on the shoulder. “Now get on your hands and knees, soldier. I thought you said we don’t have all day.”

Steve startles, and gives him a narrow look like he’s going to argue, but a second later he smirks and does as he’s told. The look he throws back over his shoulder says that if there was any kind of competition, he’s won it, and he’s not wrong.

Bucky’s been a sucker for everything about Steve since he was about six years old, and that includes every pale bony inch of the body he used to have. He’s almost not even sure what to do with the enormous slab of beefcake that’s in front of him, and he has to remind himself that this is Steve, just a little different than he’s used to.

He crawls over Steve, chest pressed against Steve’s back, like a hundred asthma attacks, and twice as many fucks. Except he barely covers Steve’s back now, can’t get both hands to the mattress over the sheer size of this new body that doesn’t need protecting, and what the hell does he think he’s playing at really, anyway...

Steve drops to his elbows, presses his hips back, the blue fabric stretched over his ass rubbing against Bucky’s bare dick. “Want you,” he says again, and maybe that’s what it comes down to. It doesn’t matter whether Steve needs Bucky - he wants him, and maybe that’s all that counts.

So Bucky presses a kiss to the back of Steve’s neck, the closest he can get to his mouth like this now, presses his hand between Steve’s shoulderblades, and pushes himself up. Steve makes a sound deep in his throat, so Bucky does it again, puts his weight behind it, and Steve buries his face in the pillows.

He leans forward to get at the belt of Steve’s shorts, and once it’s undone and the zipper’s down, he tugs the shorts, the tights, and Steve’s underpants down just under his ass, leaving his dick trapped in the tangle of fabric. He runs his hands up over Steve’s back, drags them back down to rest them on his ass, and waits. Lets the anticipation build.

Face down, with his ass in the air, Steve’s breathing picks up. Bucky listens, but though it’s labored there’s no sign of the strained hitches of an imminent asthma attack. Steve’s ass is warm and firm beneath his hands. He squeezes, and Steve muffles a noise somewhere between a shout and whimper in the pillow. The flex of muscle beneath his hands is mesmerizing.

He slips his thumbs along the crease of Steve’s ass, holding it open.

“Bucky, please,” Steve whispers.

Steve hasn’t really changed at all. Besides being the size of a small mountain now, obviously, but the other things, the important things haven’t changed at all. Steve’s still the kind of guy who will disobey orders to run a suicidal rescue mission. He’s still sensitive in all the same places. He still loves Bucky touching him. That’s all Bucky really needs, the rest is just details.

He’s always wanted, always wondered, but been a little afraid – of himself, of what Steve would think - but it turns out nearly getting blown to hell and then being strapped down and tortured instead will re-arrange a man’s priorities. There are a lot of things that just don’t seem to be as important as they used to, so he leans in and presses his tongue firmly to the soft skin behind Steve’s balls.

Steve nearly jumps out of his skin, and makes a noise he’ll probably try and deny later. Bucky pulls back, hand still on Steve’s hip and waits for a response. He takes the slightly muffled noise and the backward rock of Steve’s hips as encouragement and goes for broke, trailing his tongue up the cleft of Steve’s ass. Steve lets out a startled shout which sounds muffled by a pillow, and his body jerks and quivers. His shoulders bunch up, and there’s something a little amazing about watching the shift of that much muscle, but there’s not an inch of unease in Steve’s body – he can still read Steve easier than a book, and every bit of strain he can see is eager.

He licks again, slower this time, and Steve clings to the pillow as he presses his ass back.

On the third slow lick he pauses at the pucker of Steve’s asshole and swirls his tongue around it. The taste is at once musky and sharp against his tongue. It’s not pleasant, but not terrible either, and the sounds that Steve makes are worth a helluva lot worse.

He licks, and swirls, presses in a little, and the tang on his tongue begins to fade and taste only of Steve’s skin, and he just closes his eyes and focuses on taking Steve to pieces with his mouth.

The soft, wanting noises falling from Steve’s mouth, the way he presses his hips back against Bucky’s hands are so familiar, but they’ve never done this before, and he feels lightheaded from the thrill.

By the time Steve’s loose enough that Bucky can push his tongue right into him, Steve’s noises are more like soft cries interspersed with Bucky’s name like it’s a curse or a prayer or both, and he can barely keep still for pressing his face and shoulders into the pillows.

Bucky pulls back, plants a kiss right on the cheek of Steve’s ass then sits back on his heels and wipes his forearm across mouth and chin.

Steve takes a great shuddering breath that comes back out on a sob. He’s actually shaking, and Bucky feels things slot into place in his head, in his chest, that had gotten shook loose before.

He gets up on his knees and pushes his dick along the slick space between Steve’s cheeks. Steve writhes and buries his face and his desperate moans in the pillows.

“Buck,” Steve says, and it’s just one word, just his name, but the pleading tone sets rockets going off in his brain. It wouldn’t take much right now, a few more slick thrusts and he’d just spill all over Steve’s ridiculous tight ass. “Come on, hard as you like, I can take it, I can-“

“Hey,” Bucky says, trying to get his brain working, and hell, his jaw too. Strokes Steve’s heaving back as he gulps in air with nary a wheeze to be heard. Something’s not right, but he’s damned if he knows what, just that there’s too much of the wrong kind of desperation in Steve’s voice. “Hey, come on,” he says, and leans down to trail kisses up Steve’s spine, the sharp knobs of it hidden away under layers of muscle, like a secret only he knows. “You know I’m going to take care of you.”

Steve takes one last deep breath and holds it before letting it out in a rush. Then looks back over his shoulder at Bucky, tilts his hips up, lowers his lashes. “Of course you are, Buck,” he says with a smile, but it’s a weird smile, and this, this is it, this is whatever worm’s gotten into Steve’s brain, if Bucky can just work it out.

It’s a show, and the smile’s a salesman’s smile that Steve never used in his life before– Oh. Before.

Trust Steve to get everything he ever wanted, then cut Bucky off in the middle of some of the best sex they’ve ever had for a goddamn identity crisis. God love the dumb bastard.

“You know this isn’t about this, right?” he says, poking at Steve’s bulging biceps.

“Sure,” Steve says, but the pause before he says it says otherwise.

“You’re an idiot. I thought you were supposed to be the brains of this outfit. How the hell are we gonna get anywhere if you’re this stupid?”

Steve’s blush tells Bucky he’s got it dead on. It’s the dull splotchy red of embarrassment, of being caught out, rather than fetching, turned-on pink.

Bucky flops himself over Steve’s curved back, buries his face between the warm, smooth blades of his shoulders, and tries to ignore how his dick feels rubbing lightly against the inside of Steve’s thighs. He takes a deep breath in, then sighs it out, listens to the firm steady beats of Steve’s strong new heart that’s apparently as tender as ever.

“Look, Steve, it’s nice and all, and it’s good to know you’re probably not going to drop dead of a heart attack on me any time soon, but–” He breaks off, trying to work out how to say what he’s trying to say. It would probably be easier if he weren’t pressed tight up against Steve, but letting go would take more will-power than he has right now. “No, you know what? What the hell kind of people have you been hanging around with, you dope? Of course I’m not only after your nice new muscles. I actually kind of missed you, even if you are a complete jackass.”

Wrapped around him as he is, he can feel Steve’s breath go out in a slightly shaky huff, feel the shift of Steve’s muscles as his head drops for a moment.

“Yeah,” Steve mumbles into the space between his body and the mattress. “Yeah, of course. Sorry.”

Bucky shakes his head a little without lifting it off Steve’s back. “Look pal, you want this hard and fast, I can do that.” Boy, can he. He feels ready to go off like a bottle rocket already. “But if you got some maggot in your brain that I been holding out on you all this time, I–” He sighs again. “I just ain’t, okay? I ain’t been.”

Steve slumps a little beneath him, then takes a deep breath that feels more like a tectonic shift than anything Steve should be able to do while lying with Bucky on top of him.

“Okay,” Steve says, quiet but more sure now, confident. “I’m sorry, I know you’re right, I just– I was being stupid, I’m sorry.” He pushes himself back up onto his hands, even with Bucky’s weight, and Bucky sits back on his haunches.

“Maybe we should do this another time,” he says, despite the part of him that’s crying out for the relief, both physical and mental, of letting himself and everything else go for a while in the heat of a hard fuck.

Steve turns his head sharply. “Hell no. I haven’t had you in months, and with the way everyone’s always staring and following me around, God knows when we’ll get another chance.” He wiggles his ass to get his knees spread as wide as they’ll go with his pants still around his thighs. “Get yourself back here on the double, mister.”

On the one hand, Bucky feels like they should talk this through. On the other hand, his balls almost hurt from how ready to go he is, and Steve’s getting impatient with how much he wants it, and it’s hell of a lot easier to find somewhere to talk without being overheard than it is to find somewhere to fuck without being caught and booted out of the army on a blue-ticket.

He looks around for some slick. Maybe Steve’s big new body can take a lot more than it used to, but there is no set of circumstances in which Bucky would deliberately cause Steve harm. “Is there–” he starts, and Steve wordlessly holds up a jar of Vaseline.

“Attaboy,” he says and drops a kiss on Steve’s butt as he reaches for the jar, because there is a time and a place for soul-searching, and this is not either of those.

He makes sure the slick is warm on his fingers, but apparently that takes too long for Steve.

“Are you planning to fu- uuuck,” Steve quits his complaining with a gasp when Bucky shoves two fingers straight into his ass.

“What was that you were sayin’?” Bucky asks, while twisting his fingers roughly inside Steve, earning him a pleased grunt.

Steve huffs a laugh. “I was just wondering if you were going to quit screwing around and start actually screwing anytime soon, but,” he says and clenches his ass tight around Bucky’s fingers in a way that might genuinely have Bucky losing his actual mind if he does it again. “I guess not.”

“You’re a real comedian, Rogers,” Bucky replies. “Quit flappin’ your gums.” Normally he had to take his time to make sure Steve was good and ready, but between the new body and Bucky’s efforts earlier – he licks his lips at the memory – Steve takes a third finger easy. It’s good enough for Bucky. Much more of this and he’s going to blow his load before he’s even halfway in.

There’s nothing at all of Captain America in the cocky, challenging tone Steve uses to say, “Make me.”

Bucky’s on a hair trigger anyway, and he never could resist a dare from Steve, so he pushes in rough and hard. Steve throws his head back with a cry as muffled as he can make it, and Bucky grips Steve’s hips hard enough to leave bruises while he tries to hang on to his control.

Steve’s breathing heavy, almost panting, but Bucky can make out the tiny curve of a smile just at the corners of his lips.

“That all ya got?” Steve asks once his breath evens out a bit, and Bucky ain’t taking that shit from Steve Rogers.

“Hard and fast, yeah?” he confirms.

The little smile on Steve’s face gets wild and a little reckless as he throws a look back over his shoulder at Bucky. “Yeah.”

Fuck, he’s beautiful,’ Bucky thinks. What he says is, “Whatever the lady wants.” He shoves his hips forward hard before Steve can smartmouth him any more.

It’s a little strange, what with Steve’s new body and all, but they quickly fall into rhythm. Steve braces himself against the headboard, and Bucky braces himself on Steve’s hips. He loses track of everything that’s not him and Steve, focused entirely on the hot slide of his dick into Steve’s ass, the sounds of their breathing getting quicker, heavier, the slight groan of the bed beneath them, the protesting creak of the seams of Steve’s USO outfit, that he’d worn just for Bucky, stretched tight around his tree-trunk thighs, and shit, there’s no way Bucky’s going to last much longer.

He pushes down the urge to just chase the finish line that’s building in the small of his back, in his balls, and concentrates on Steve. He can just make out the edges of the flush that washes over Steve’s chest and face and pinkens his ears. There’s a sheen of sweat on his broad back, and his breathing’s rough and punctuated with grunts. He’s close, thank God. Bucky reaches around Steve’s hip with one hand and gropes around in the tangle of fabric around Steve’s crotch and thighs. It takes a minute, but he manages to get his palm firmly over the solid length of Steve’s dick, making him let out a high-pitched whine and buck his hips.

Even through the layers of costume, a rub and a squeeze is all it takes to push Steve over the edge, and Bucky goes straight after, so hard his toes actually curl. Every single thought flies out of his head, and his vision whites out, narrowing down till he can’t see anything but the wings of Steve’s shoulderblades.

Bucky stays where he is for a couple of minutes, slumped over Steve’s heaving back, while his brain starts to work again. When it does he realizes that, new body or not, Steve must be damned uncomfortable crouched like that, with his particulars all squished up in his pants. He rolls to the side, sliding off Steve and letting his legs fall the length of the bed, then pushes Steve over onto his side, before Steve wriggles onto his back, stretching out with a groan.

Bucky pulls back and takes a minute to just look at Steve. His eyes are closed, and his cheeks are flushed, and he’s still breathing hard, which even breaking into a HYDRA base, liberating all the prisoners and running like hell when it blew up couldn’t do. His legs are sprawled awkwardly, caught up in the waistbands of the tights and shorts and his underwear.

“What?” Steve grunts, eyes firmly closed.

“I think this is how I like Captain America,” Bucky says.

“What, when he’s all fucked out?”

“Nah,” Bucky says. “Well, okay, yes, that too. But, nah.” He leans in to whisper, even though there’s no one here to hear him, runs his hand over Steve’s sweat-darkened hair. “I like him when he’s Steve.”

Steve snorts and reaches out, eyes still closed, to grab the back of Bucky’s neck and pull him down against his chest. “You been spending too much time in the forest, buddy? That’s a lot of sap.”

Bucky presses his nose against the curve of Steve’s shoulder and laughs. He tries to ignore how much it sounded like a sob. Steve is kind of giant now, and where he had perpetually cold nose and toes he’s now warm like a furnace, but he still smells like Steve, and Bucky was so sure, so absolutely certain when he was strapped to that table, or in the crate they kept him in between rounds… He doesn’t even know how long he was there, but he’d been so sure that he was going to die there – was going to die screaming and never see Steve again, and now they’re tangled up together in some poor lady’s spare bed, and his face is wet and there are awful gasping sounds that he thinks must be coming from him, and Bucky loved Steve exactly the way he was, but having Steve’s new body wrapped around him, huge arms pulling him tight and massive chest between him and the world feels like a blessing he could never have imagined needing.

He has no idea how long they spend like that, Steve with his shirt hiked up around his armpits and his pants pushed and pulled every which way, holding Bucky while he cries and clings and shakes himself to pieces, but by the time he can take a deep breath and a sniff, and swipe the back of his wrist across his face, the sun has shifted so it highlights Steve’s rumpled hair like the least appropriate halo ever known. He laughs and runs his fingers lightly through Steve’s hair.

“Sorry,” he says, face pressed against Steve’s now-soggy chest, and pretends that his voice is just muffled by fabric and muscle, and not stuffy from his own tears.

Steve just shrugs, which is kind of like a big warm avalanche these days, and when Bucky looks up Steve’s eyes are a little red around the edges as well. He looks a little abashed about it but says, “They said you were dead.”

Bucky leans up and kisses the pinched corners of his mouth. “I thought so, too. Guess you proved us all wrong, huh?”

“Guess so,” Steve echoes.

They lie quietly together on the bed for a while, just glad for the chance for some privacy, and to reclaim something they’d both feared was lost.

“Oh, damn,” Steve mutters into the peaceful silence. When Bucky looks up, Steve’s looking out the window which the sun is no longer hitting, frowning. “Pass my watch?”

Bucky reaches behind him to the bedside table and grabs the leather strap of a watch. It must be new, it’s certainly nicer than anything they could have afforded before the war.

Steve checks the time and sighs. “Time’s nearly up, pal. We need to clean up before Mrs Colton gets back.” He wraps his hand around the back of Bucky’s neck and leans in for a kiss. It’s soft, almost chaste, and Bucky would give a lot to be able to just lie in bed and kiss Steve for a few days, maybe weeks.

Steve, as ever, leads the way. He gets up off the bed and stretches - a full body, lean back, stand on tiptoes, reach above your head kind of stretch. He looks like something straight out of the figure drawing classes they managed to scratch up enough money for Steve to take once or twice, all long lines and taut muscle. He walks over to the washstand nude, the slightest hitch in his step, and Bucky notices the china bowl and pitcher that the landlady keeps for guests – real guests, not GIs needing a roof over their heads before shipping back to the front. He wonders whether Steve worked his ‘charming old ladies’ magic to get to use them today, or just took took them out of the china cabinet once she was gone.

The blue china looks fragile in Steve’s newly-giant paw, the glaze glowing rich against his pale skin. Bucky wishes he had an ounce of Steve’s artistic talent; wishes for a moment that they could keep the door locked and stay in this little room forever and let the world go rot. And if wishes were horses, beggars would defeat the Nazis next week and go home heroes.

He knows it’s all just pipe dreams though. They’re making some headway, squeezing the Jerries from the west while the Russkis push from the east, but it’s long slow work and he can’t walk away, not any more than Steve can. The Brass had even offered, and he already knows there are going to be days when he’ll just want to kick his own backside all the fucking way to Berlin for turning them down. Prisoner of war, medal for bravery, honorable discharge, the lot. A perfect opportunity to get out, offered up on the proverbial goddamn silver platter, and he turned it down. But Hitler’s still playing at Emperor Napoleon, and Zola and Schmidt are planning the Devil’s own mischief, and innocent people are being killed for sheer ego, and he can’t go home till it’s over.

He shies away from thinking too hard about the alternative.

Either way, he can’t leave Steve here alone in his giant new body. He probably thinks he’s indestructible or something. Bucky’s seen enough headshots – hell, he’s made enough headshots – to know that all the muscle in the world won’t save Steve if he doesn’t watch his back, and he never watches his back. That’s been Bucky’s job for pretty nearly as long as he can remember, and he’s not planning to let Steve blow off all his hard work now.

While Bucky’s been woolgathering, Steve has been washing and it’s a hell of a sight for sore eyes. Especially when he bends over to clean between his thighs. Dear Lord in Heaven.

When he’s done he pours the water from the bowl out the window, which faces the rear of the house, and Bucky just hopes the neighbors didn’t get an eyeful of America’s finest.

Steve pours fresh water into the bowl and brings it over to the bed. He freshens the cloth and when he slowly, almost reverentially, draws it across Bucky’s cheek and chin the water’s warm. He wonders if Steve heated it up on the hob before or after he put the outfit on. The image of Steve in full Captain America regalia stood over the hob boiling water’s pretty funny.

The thought flies out of his head as Steve works his way down Bucky’s chest and belly, and starts on his thighs. There ain’t no way he’ll be getting it up again any time soon (he’s heartily grateful he was able to get it up at all), but his dick gives an optimistic twitch against his thigh anyhow. Steve drops kisses on Bucky as he goes – the fading greyish-green patches of the worst of his bruises, the tender red patch just below his ribs where a deep, vicious cut is healing (faster than it probably should, but maybe it hadn’t been as bad as he’d thought, it isn’t as if he really remembers the individual wounds beyond the all-encompassing pain), and then his forehead as Steve gives his tackle an efficient but thorough wipe and drops the cloth in the basin.

A quick rub with a towel and they’re both dry enough to start getting their clothes back on. They don’t speak, but lean into each other, brush against each other as they pull on their uniforms, trade soft kisses and smiles as they put themselves back together, piece by piece, layer by layer, for the outside world.

Steve carefully bundles the stage costume up, fastidiously folding the fabric of the legs around the damp patch slowly soaking through the crotch before he shoves it into his rucksack.

Bucky sits on the end of the bed and pulls his socks on (brand new woolen socks, courtesy of some acquaintance of Mrs Colton’s) and wiggles his toes, taking a moment just to appreciate how warm and dry his feet are.

Neatly dressed and pressed in his uniform and the Captain’s bars he’s not supposed to have, looking like he doesn’t even know what sex is, Steve moves around Bucky to pull and tug at the bedding until it looks neatly made, and not at all like two grown men have fucked energetically on it. He’s close enough to touch, so Bucky does. Reaches out and pulls Steve in for a kiss with just a finger under his chin.

Steve goes, easy as ever. The kiss is ridiculously chaste for what they’ve spent the afternoon doing, but it feels like sealing a deal. They hold it for a minute, lips pressed softly together. In its own way it’s just as satisfying as the rest of it.

With a sigh and a pout, Steve checks his watch and opens the window again to pour out the second basin of water. “We gonna pass inspection?” he asks, carefully wiping the basin down.

Bucky gives the room and then Steve a once-over. They’re in pretty good order. The bed wouldn’t pass an in-quarters inspection, but it would still do Mrs Rogers proud, and no one’s likely to be looking all that closely.

“As long as no one actually comes in here before it airs out a bit, it should be fine,” Bucky replies. He feels kinda bad, letting Steve handle the clean-up but he also feels like he’s been put through a wringer. He’ll make it up to Steve another time, assuming they can manage to get out from under everyone’s beady eyes again.

“Damn lucky Mrs C. went out for the afternoon,” he says.

“Sure is,” Steve says, but he looks a little too pleased with himself.

Bucky narrows his eyes. “Steve.” It’s a hit and miss approach – sometimes Steve folds like a bad hand in poker, and sometimes his eyes go wide and innocent and he acts determinedly like the choirboy he never was.

“I might have… encouraged her to go visit her niece in Hammersmith this afternoon,” Steve says, and it’s perfectly reasonable, but Steve looks dead shifty, not meeting his eyes, and pulling the corner of his lip between his teeth. It takes Bucky a second to work it out.

“Steven Grant Rogers, did you bribe our landlady to disappear for the afternoon so we could fuck?” He tries to sound disapproving, but he loves it when Steve is less than the straight arrow he usually seems to the uninitiated, and the delight creeps into his voice.

“That’s… not exactly what she thinks happened,” Steve mumbles in reply.

Bucky pokes him in the side, then again, and again until Steve gives in.

“I might have implied that there was a girl,” Steve sighs. “But that I didn’t want to embarrass anyone…” The rest of his sentence is lost in Bucky’s laughter.

He grabs Steve’s hand and kisses the backs of his fingers in the courtliest manner he can. “Aww, Steve. Does that make you my pretty girl?”

Steve sighs deeply but he doesn’t pull his hand away. “You are such an ass. I try and do something nice for you…”

Bucky rubs his thumb over Steve’s knuckles. “It was real nice, Steve. Thank you.”

“You’re never going to let me live it down, are you?” Steve asks, heading for the door. He doesn’t let go of Bucky’s hand until it’s open.

“Not in a million years, bud. There are so any ways I can embarrass you with this for years to come,” Bucky replies as they head downstairs. “It’s a gift that’s just going to keep giving and giving.”

Mrs Colton is just coming in the front door as they reach the bottom of the stairs. She’s a tall, bony lady with a long neck and eyes as sharp as her tongue. Like so many of the soldiers of the Great War, Mr Colton exists only in the portrait hanging over the fireplace and Mrs Colton’s memories.

“Did you boys have a nice afternoon?” she asks. Her tone is pleasantly polite, but she’s raising a surprisingly suggestive eyebrow at Bucky, who’s powerless to prevent the blush he can feel rising up his face. Thankfully it’s not out of character for Steve’s story.

“Yes thank you, ma’am,” he mumbles, echoed by Steve.

She smirks in response, and for a moment he can see past the lines worn into her face by two wars to the gal she might have been once. Sharp, sure, but wicked too, with a knowing look in her eye. “You look a sight better, anyway,” she says. “Nothing like a good rest to put you right.”

Bucky manages to keep a straight face at her slight emphasis on ‘rest’, but Steve can’t play poker worth a damn – his hunched shoulders and bright blush scream ‘Guilty Conscience’.

“Now, are you sure I can’t offer you lads any dinner?” she asks.

She must have asked Steve earlier in the day, because Steve picks up the conversation straight away. “We were planning to go to a place a friend recommended,” he says, which is news to Bucky but it’s not like he’s going to argue. The good ol’ US Army is paying each of them more than they used to be able to scrape together between the pair of them, but the rationing the Brits are under reminds him uncomfortably of being a kid and watching his Ma trying to put together meals for a family of five from whatever his Da could make on the days he could find work. There’s no way either of them are going to ask their hostess to feed Steve’s new metabolism out of her weekly allowance, and if she’s getting more for hosting them, she can keep it for saving them from having to bed down with the rest of the boys at the Red Cross digs they’d been assigned.

“Thank you for offering, though,” Steve continues. “Is there anything we can get for you while we’re out?”

They’ve both overheard enough jokes that aren’t quite jokes – ‘Overfed, overpaid, and over here’ – to feel self-conscious that they’re a damn sight better off than the poor bastards who’ve been fighting this war for near on five years, even with both of them sending money home to Bucky’s family.

Of course, the Brits are proud as anything, even when they have to make their hats out of old carpet. Mrs Colton snorts.

“You boys take yourselves off and don’t worry about me,” she says. “Enjoy your dinner.”

Steve smiles with the air of a man who already has a gift, no matter what their hostess says about it. “Thanks, Mrs Colton, you too.” Bucky echoes Steve’s thanks, quieter but more emphatic. He has a gift for her as well, and she’s more than earned it, as far as he’s concerned.

They put their caps on and head out, and Steve leads them south, towards the City (which Monty swears is not the same as the city, which is where they are, or something, the Brits are all crazy and Bucky ain’t arguin’ with them anyhow), down the wide tree-lined street with its terraces of townhouses, all sharp brown brick and big windows.

They pass rows of houses all packed in together except for the jagged gaps, like broken teeth, in the neat facades where years of German bombing and even rocket missiles more recently have battered away at the city. London is… well, it’s something. It’s not the size that gets him, New York holds its own against any city in the world. It’s more the way you can be walking down a street in London and suddenly right in front of you is a crazy building made out of red brick and timber and tiny windows sprouting out further and further over the street below, and you’re slapped in the face by how old the place is. There are buildings in styles like the skyscrapers back home, and buildings like the older ones in New York, but there are also buildings that have stood since before New York was New York. There’s a weight to the place and a sense that the city’s weathered storms before and will weather this one, however bad it gets; that it’s changed, and has been changed, but it’s still standing and it’s going to keep right on standing through whatever comes.

Steve hasn’t said anything while they walk, seems content to just amble along with his hands in his pockets, bumping shoulders with Bucky every few steps but leaving him alone with his thoughts. Bucky’s pretty tired of his thoughts right now.

“You actually got any idea where we’re headed, or are you plannin’ to walk around and hope that dinner’s gonna fall from heaven?” he asks with a deliberate bump to Steve’s shoulder that would have had him stumbling into the street before, and now just puts a little stumble in his stride. He’s maybe starting to get a little used to the new shape of Steve.

Steve half-heartedly tries to trip him, but the happy little smile on his face and the fact that his hands are still in his pockets – not to mention the complete failure to do more than kick at Bucky’s feet – says his heart’s not in it, and they both settle down in time to tip their hats and politely step aside for an elderly lady walking slowly the other way.

“Naw, there’s a place Peggy recomme- uh…” Steve casts an awkward look toward Bucky and his shoulders hunch up. All of the ease is gone from his face.

Bucky wasn’t planning to have this conversation today, and not on Fleet Street ever, but it seems to be a day to take as it comes. “Well, we probably can’t go wrong taking orders from Agent Carter,” he says.

“You know I’m... I don’t... I mean, I wouldn’t...” Steve stammers, searching for the right words to say, that can be said in the street in the middle of London.

It’s a little funny, but Bucky decides to put him out of his misery quick. Maybe he’s supposed to be jealous, and maybe he is a little, but mostly he’s just deeply, fiercely glad that someone else really sees Steve. Sees him and loves him.

“Pal, one of us needs to marry that lady,” he says. “And I’m pretty sure I’m not her type.” He’d always known one of ‘em was going to have to marry a girl, and with the way Steve got himself overlooked all the time, it had seemed like it would have to be Bucky. Steve getting hitched to a gal he was genuinely head over heels for… it’d be hard, but not as hard as stringing some poor broad along and up the aisle. It’s a hook he honestly don’t mind being let off of, although he’d never put it that way to Steve.

“Although I gotta tell you, buddy,” he continues. “If you get your fool self killed, don’t think I won’t take another run at her. Offer some consolation,” he leers as dramatically as he can.

Steve guides him down a tiny side street by shoving him in the head, knocking his hat down his face. “You know,” Steve says, “I always thought there was a reason I liked you.”

Bucky knows well enough to wait for the other shoe to drop. He doesn’t have to wait long. The expression looks different on this new, broader face, but Bucky is only too familiar with the ‘butter wouldn’t melt in my mouth’ look Steve gets right before he says something terrible.

“I just… I can’t put my finger on it.”

There’s a bend in the little street just up ahead, and an oldie worldie type pub on the corner. It’s still light out so the place isn’t shrouded in blackout blinds. The windows – stained glass, with a boat riding along the top of rolling waves just above the sill – are open all the way, letting out enough ciggie smoke that Bucky worries for a moment before remembering that Steve’s asthma has gone the way of the dodo. Along with the smoke comes the chatter of patrons, almost cheerful and punctuated by the occasional burst of laughter. It looks nice. He hopes it’s where they’re going.

Sure enough, Steve heads toward the open door.

“Tell ya what,” Bucky says in a voice too low to be heard by a casual passer-by. “If you’re good, I’ll let you put your finger on it later.”

He winks, and Steve gapes at him, so scandalized he nearly walks face-first into the doorframe.

He knows Steve will get him back for it at some point when he least expects it, but he’s laughing like he hasn’t in ages as he walks past Steve and into the welcoming, beery, low-lit warmth of the pub.