Steve was awake and he wasn't sure why. He shifted slightly on the bed in an attempt to get more comfortable and an errant beam of early morning sunlight hit him right in the face. It felt like a thousand hot pokers were stabbing him in the brain and he realized this was the cause of his sudden wakefulness. Groaning loudly, he tried to roll away from the offending light but a heavy weight against his back prevented him from doing so. Groaning again, Steve threw his arm over his eyes instead and managed to block most of it out. He breathed out a sigh of relief and tried to fall back asleep. But of course it couldn't be that simple. The hot pokers in his brain had multiplied and were now joined by hundreds of hammers pounding right behind his eyes and across his temples. The longer he tried to ignore them, the more painful they became until they were so overwhelming, he started feeling nauseous. The second that thought had formed, Steve was on his feet and dashing toward the bathroom. Thankfully, luck seemed to be on his side and he made it to the toilet just in time to avoid making a mess of everything. As the final wave of nausea passed over him, he pressed his forehead to the cool porcelain of the toilet seat and vowed he would never drink that much again.
After a few minutes of not feeling like he was going to throw up his guts again, Steve lifted his head experimentally. When his stomach stayed settled, he cautiously got to his feet and filled a plastic cup with water, washing out the nasty taste in his mouth. After gulping down a couple glasses of water, he started feeling like an actual human being again and took a moment to survey his surroundings. He was in the bathroom of what he was pretty sure was his hotel. Good start. Glancing down at the counter, he saw his shaving kit and cologne. So he was in his own hotel room. Even better. He must not have done anything too crazy last night if he had made it back to his own room even if he couldn't actually remember much beyond his first few drinks. Maybe one of the other guys knew what had happened. Making up his mind to find out what everyone remembered, Steve trudged into the bedroom in search of his cell phone.
He had barely stepped out of the bathroom when the sound of a moan coming from the bed froze him in place. There was someone in his bed. Why was there someone in his bed? He couldn't have brought someone back with him. No matter how drunk he was, one-night stands weren't his thing. At least not when he had the stupidest crush on his best friend. Unless he had seen said best friend with someone else. Oh God. And the fact that he was wearing his boxers really didn't give him any clue because he could have easily put them back on after. Or he might not have even taken them all the way off in the first place. A pained whimper escaped his lips and he ran a hand down his face. Whatever the case, he needed to get this stranger out of his bed and out of his room ASAP. Taking a deep breath to steel himself, Steve took a couple tentative steps toward the bed. When the person didn't stir, he gathered his confidence and ripped the blankets away from the stranger's face.
“Ugh, what the fuck, Steve? I’m tryna sleep here.” The brunette in the bed grabbed the blankets out of Steve's hand without even opening his eyes and threw them back over his head.
A relieved sort of laugh ripped its way out of Steve's throat and he collapsed down on the bed.
“Sorry, Buck. I didn't realize it was you.” A slightly hysterical giggle threatened to escape Steve's mouth and he slapped a hand over it to keep himself quiet.
“Who the hell else would it have been?” Bucky groused, voice slightly muffled by the blankets he was huddled under.
Steve took a second to calm down and only moved his hand to answer when he was sure he wouldn't start laughing. “I honestly had no idea. I thought I had a stranger in my bed that I’d have to awkwardly kick out.”
Silence followed his confession and he momentarily thought Bucky had fallen back asleep only to be proven wrong when the brunette flung the blankets away from himself and fixed Steve with a critical stare.
“You thought you had had a one-night stand? You? The guy who's too shy to even ask a girl out on a date?”
“Yes?” Steve replied hesitantly. Bucky continued to stare at him with an eyebrow raised and Steve huffed out a breath. “I panicked, okay? I can't remember anything about last night and then there was someone in my bed and I’m in my boxers and -”
Steve's rambling was cut short by the sound of a snort and then Bucky was laughing uproariously, clutching his stomach and burying his face in Steve's shoulder. His heart skipped a beat as Bucky's breath ghosted along his bare skin and he had to fight the urge to run his fingers through the other man's hair. Luckily, the laughter he had suppressed earlier bubbled back up to the surface and he soon joined Bucky in laughing until he couldn't breathe.
After a few minutes, the two managed to calm down enough to hold a conversation without immediately breaking out into giggles again. Taking a final deep breath, Bucky rolled away from him and propped himself up against the headboard. Steve felt the cold seep into his shoulder where Bucky had been resting and he had to fight the urge to complain about the loss of contact. Instead, he forced himself to look away from Bucky's bare chest and sat against the headboard next to him.
“So, you were planning on kicking me out of your bed, were you Stevie?” Bucky asked with a smirk, easy teasing lacing his voice.
Steve's eyes flicked down to Bucky's mouth involuntarily. That expression should be illegal for how badly it drove him crazy with the desire to claim those lips with his own. He unconsciously slid his tongue along his bottom lip and then tore his gaze away from Bucky's face when he realized he was staring. God, he hoped Bucky hadn't noticed. The thought that Bucky might catch onto his ridiculous crush caused a blush to rise on his cheeks and spread down his chest. He needed to get a better handle on himself. “Shut up, jerk,” Steve finally muttered, elbowing Bucky in the ribs playfully.
“Punk,” Bucky shot back, smile still tracing his lips.
Steve chuckled again and then moaned and clutched at his head when the hot pokers made a reappearance. He really needed some painkillers. As if Bucky had read the blonde's mind, he turned and grabbed a bottle off the nightstand next to him and handed it to Steve without a word.
“Thanks,” Steve muttered, dry swallowing two of the tablets and then turning to Bucky with a frown. “How are you fine right now? I feel like my brain is trying to escape out my ears.”
“I'm obviously just better than you at drinking way too fuckin' much alcohol,” the older man said with another smirk before leaning his head against the headboard and closing his eyes.
“Whatever you say, Buck,” Steve said with a smile and an affectionate eye roll.
It probably was actually true since Bucky had been drinking for years before Steve's body had allowed him to. Being the scrawny, illness-prone child and teen he had been had meant that his body had a hard time processing alcohol and one drink was enough to get him completely smashed. Not only that, but it also gave him a hangover to rival all hangovers and he had reluctantly resigned himself to always being the designated driver. And then in his last year of high school, puberty finally hit, his immune system decided to join his side and actually fight off illnesses, and he was able to put on some fat and muscle for the first time ever. Now, he had an alcohol tolerance to rival Bucky's, although the brunette was usually slightly better off than the blonde at the end of the night. The fact that he had a pounding headache and had already thrown up while Bucky showed absolutely no signs of a hangover could only really mean that he had drank way more than Bucky had. He decided to leave the disturbing question of why he would have gotten so drunk behind for now and focus on the fact that Bucky probably remembered what they had gotten up to last night at Tony's party.
Steve took a few seconds to admire how peaceful his best friend looked – long eyelashes brushing against his cheeks and long bangs falling across his forehead – before nudging his shoulder and speaking softly.
“Hey, Buck?” Steve murmured.
“Yeah?” Bucky replied without opening his eyes.
“Do you remember what we did last night? I can't remember a thing past Tony making us do all those shots before we even left the hotel.”
Bucky rolled his head toward Steve and cracked an eye open. “Jeeze, Rogers. You really are a mess, aren'tcha?” he teased. A fond smile crossed his face and he opened his other eye so that Steve was staring into twin pools of steel blue. “I think there's a few pieces missing and it gets kind of shoddy near the end of the night but I’ve got most of it. Why? Worried you did something embarrassing?” The brunette's smile widened and he jostled Steve's shoulder with his hand.
“Well I wasn't until you -” The blonde cut himself off when he caught sight of something glinting on the other man's hand and his stomach instantly dropped. “Uh, Buck?”
The grin slipped off Bucky's face and was replaced with a frown at Steve's tone. “What? You look like you've seen a ghost.”
He grabbed the hand on his shoulder – Bucky's left – and wordlessly held it up so that Bucky could see the problem.
“What the fuck,” Bucky breathed, staring at the gold band around his ring finger in confusion. “I definitely don't remember that.”
“How do you not remember marrying someone?!” Steve asked incredulously. He dropped his hand away from Bucky's wrist and stared at his lap with a frown. If Bucky had drunkenly married someone last night, it would certainly explain why he had gotten as drunk as he did. They were in Vegas after all and Tony would encourage pretty much any bad idea he could. Steve getting absolutely shitfaced would have filled the birthday boy with a frightful amount of glee.
“Are you sure it's a wedding ring?” Bucky asked, eyes widening in panic.
“What else would it be?” Steve tried to keep his voice even, even though he could feel his heart squeezing in his chest. Was it possible for someone's heart to literally break? Because that's how he felt right now. His stomach rolled and he felt his throat tightening like he was going to throw up again.
“Shit.” Bucky shut his eyes again and slammed his head on the headboard a couple times. “Maybe one of the guys knows what happened? Maybe it's just Tony playing a joke?” Grey-blue eyes opened and stared at Steve imploringly, as if waiting for him to crack a smile and admit that it was, in fact, a joke and he hadn't married a complete stranger.
“Yeah, Buck. Maybe.” Steve nodded and lifted his lips into the best approximation of a smile that he could manage, trying to set his friend at ease. He didn't think he succeeded but Bucky gave him a weak smile nonetheless. “I was planning on sending them all a message anyway. Just gotta find my phone.”
Steve slid off the bed, shaky legs barely supporting him, and reached out a hand to steady himself against the mattress.
“Steve?” Bucky called his name, sounding strangled.
The blonde glanced at him inquisitively and frowned when he realized Bucky's gaze was on his hand on the bed and the brunette looked even worse than he had two seconds ago. What could possibly freak Bucky out more than – Oh. Huh. Steve raised his left hand and stared at the matching gold band on his ring finger. Well. That changed things.
Steve barely registered that he was sitting back on the bed as he stared at his hands in disbelief. The tiniest bit of hope was trying to worm its way into his heart and he forcefully stamped it out. There was no way in the universe that he and Bucky had married each other last night. He was being absurd. Childish. Wishful. Bucky was straight. 100%, totally into girls, never thought of a dick outside his own in his life, straight. And even if he wasn't, that didn't mean he'd pick Steve. No, the only explanation that made sense was that Bucky had found a gorgeous girl, somehow convinced her to marry him, and Steve – heartbroken and getting increasingly drunk – had found someone to marry him as well. It was absolutely idiotic. Why hadn't someone stopped him? Sam was his best friend outside of Bucky and he would never let Steve do something this life-alteringly stupid. Even Bruce – who he wasn't particularly close to – wouldn't let anyone do something like this. Was everyone just as bad off as they were? Or had they not been around for this part of the night? He supposed it was possible. A groan escaped him and he dropped his head into his hands. He sat there for a few seconds, only looking up when he felt Bucky move to sit next to him.
“Guess I’m not the only newlywed here now, hey?” The soft teasing in Bucky's voice and the smirk on his face were both more than a little forced but they somehow made him feel a little better. Things couldn't be that bad if Bucky was still joking about it.
“Guess not,” he chuckled weakly.
“Atta boy,” Bucky grinned, throwing his arm around Steve's shoulders and tugging him close. Steve's heart stuttered in his chest and his breath caught in his throat. No matter how many times Bucky did something like this – which was often, affection coming easy from him – he always reacted the same way. The line of Bucky's muscular body burned into his skin, even worse now that they were both shirtless, and he had to fight the urge to sigh and cuddle closer to the other man. He both loved and hated how easy contact between them was. “I wonder what they're like, Stevie,” Bucky mused, breaking through Steve's thoughts.
“What who are like?” Steve asked stupidly. He was still focused on how good it felt to be this close to Bucky.
“Our new spouses, dummy!” Bucky chastised with a laugh.
Oh. Right. Get your head in the game, Rogers. “Well, yours will probably be some leggy blonde with a gorgeous face and a short skirt. Seems to be your type lately.”
“Don't make assumptions, Stevie,” Bucky admonished with a grin. “Gay marriage is legal now after all. Maybe I married a big buff firefighter or something.”
Steve froze for the second time that morning and slowly turned his head to look at Bucky, eyes wide in disbelief. Surely it was just a joke. “You-you're bi?” he eventually managed to choke out.
“Yeah. Why? Is that going to be a problem?” Bucky removed his arm from Steve's shoulder and he seemed to curl in on himself, as if he could make his 5'10 frame smaller just by wishing it. The grin slipped off his face and he began biting his lower lip, which Steve knew he only did when he was nervous. His eyes widened to match Steve's but they were filled with fear instead of disbelief. Was Bucky scared that he was going to judge him for his sexuality? God, the thought felt like a punch to the stomach.
“No, no! Of course not. I’m bi too,” Steve said quickly, needing to reassure his friend. “I just didn't know that you were. I always thought you were straight.”
The moment the words were out of his mouth, Bucky's entire demeanour changed. His eyes cleared of fear and worry and he sat up straight again, slinging his arm across Steve's shoulders once more.
“You know what they say about assumptions, Steve,” Bucky tsked. His grin was back in full force and it felt like staring into the sun. If he could continue to be the cause of that smile, he would die a happy man.
“Yeah, yeah. I'm an ass. Nothing new there.” Steve could feel a matching smile forming on his face as he shook his head lightly. “So why have I only seen you with women then?”
“No reason,” Bucky responded a little too quickly. “I guess I’ve just been in the mood for boobs lately.” A lecherous grin appeared on Bucky's face but he couldn't fool Steve. A light blush was making its way across the brunette's face and the smile didn't quite reach his eyes. He was obviously lying. Curiosity bubbled up within Steve but he didn't want to pry in case it was something more serious than Bucky feeling shy about suddenly being out to him. Still, he couldn't pass up the opportunity to tease his friend a little.
“Boobs are pretty great,” Steve allowed, “but now that I know, I definitely see you being a chiseled jawline, six-pack abs kind of guy.”
Steve barely caught it as Bucky whispered, “Well, you're not wrong,” under his breath before taking his arm off Steve's shoulder and lightly punching him in the chest. “So what about you?” Bucky asked a little too loudly, clearly trying to move the focus off of himself. “Girl or guy?”
He had been so focused on the fact that his best friend and secret crush was also into men, he completely forgot about the fact that he was apparently married to a stranger. And really, who could blame him? Not that there was a chance that Bucky was interested in him at all but still. The idea seemed slightly more possible now that Bucky wasn't exclusively attracted to women. But it didn't matter, Steve reminded himself. They were both married now and although he was likely going to ask for a divorce (what had his life become?), that didn't mean Bucky was going to. What if he had really hit it off with the person and they decided to try it out? Steve couldn't stop his face from turning into a scowl. It would be just his luck.
“You okay, Steve?” Bucky placed a concerned hand on his shoulder and then immediately ruined the moment by adding, “I didn't think it was that hard of a question.” Bucky chuckled at his own wittiness and Steve groaned loudly.
“You're such a jerk, Barnes,” Steve remarked but there was no heat to his words. “I just haven't really thought about dating anyone lately and certainly not marrying anyone. I don't know who I would pick.” That was a total lie and he hoped it wouldn't show on his face. All he seemed to think about lately was dating Bucky. Cuddling with him on the couch during their weekly movie nights or brushing the hair out of his eyes when he emerged from his bedroom in the morning. Kissing his pink lips and finally finding out how soft they really were or kissing his way down Bucky's neck and behind his ear. He hadn't necessarily thought about marriage per se but he had always thought that if he and Bucky ever miraculously ended up together, it would be a forever kind of thing. The idea of marrying a stranger was still twisting his stomach in knots and he truly didn’t know who he would have picked. At least that part hadn’t been a lie.
“Well, let’s see if I can guess then!” Bucky exclaimed, eyes sparkling with mirth. He leaned back on his elbows and Steve had to use every ounce of his self-control to keep his eyes off the lean length of Bucky’s naked torso stretched out so enticingly in front of him. Instead, he shifted his body further onto the bed so he could lie down and then turned on his side, propping his head against his fist. There was a look of deep concentration on Bucky’s face that slowly cleared as Steve watched and he knew Bucky had thought of an answer. “First of all, no matter what gender you picked, they’d have to be hella smart and charming and willing to make the first move. They’d also have to have a strong personality. None of this ‘whatever you want’ bullshit; they’d have their own opinions on things.”
Steve’s eyebrow rose higher and higher up his forehead the longer Bucky talked until it couldn’t go any further and he snorted out a laugh. “I was drunk in Vegas, Bucky,” he interrupted. “I doubt I was that discerning.”
The other man let out a laugh of his own and ran a hand through his hair, pushing it off his face. “Yeah, alright. Then you got yourself a cute brunette who was the classiest dame in the place.”
He tried really hard not to read into the fact that Bucky had essentially described himself when talking about Steve's spouse. He didn't need to let his imagination run free with what that could mean (which was nothing, he chastised himself). Instead, he nodded in agreement, muttered a soft, “Maybe,” and forced himself to get off the bed to resume the search for his phone. “We really should find out if the others know what the hell happened. I mean, this could still be some sort of joke, right?”
“God, I hope so,” Bucky replied as he got off the bed and joined Steve in his search. “I don't wanna be stuck married to some stranger.” The amount of desperation in Bucky's voice reminded him that all his friend's false bravado had simply been there to stop him from freaking out. Bucky wanted this as little as he did. Somehow, that knowledge seemed to settle him and he looked for his phone with renewed confidence.
After completely stripping the bed of all the blankets and pillows, they found his cellphone on the floor by the foot of the bed. Picking it up, a sense of relief washed over him. He was one mass text message away from finally getting some answers.
Steve: What the fuck did we do last night???
Bruce: ugh. ur asking the wrong guy. Tony gave me 2 many shots. evrythng hrts.
Tony: Hopefully each other. ;)
Steve: Tony, wtf are you talking about?
Tony: You and Buckaroo. Hopefully you did each other? Never mind, you never appreciate my wit.
Clint: Tony took us to the strip for gambling & drinks. And then there were puppies!!!
Sam: Good morning, newlywed! How does it feel to be married? :)
Steve: Sam... are you serious? I really got married last night? D:
Sam: Just check your phone. There are pictures.
Steve could tell that the blood had drained from his face and his knees had grown so weak, he collapsed onto the chair next to the bed. Closing down his messaging app, he opened the photo gallery on his phone with shaking fingers. The first picture was a selfie of him and Bucky crowded close together in an attempt to fit both of them in the frame. They were holding a piece of paper between them and they both had gigantic smiles on their faces. He was too scared to zoom in and read what the paper said so he swiped to the next picture. This one had obviously been taken by someone else because he and Bucky were standing together under a sign – arms thrown around each other's shoulders – that proclaimed the building they were next to to be Las Vegas' premiere wedding ceremony location. In the next picture, he and Bucky were standing face-to-face in front of what looked like some sort of fancy arch with their hands intertwined. They were turned slightly away from the camera, smiling stupidly at each other, while a man in a nice suit stood behind them, facing the camera. Sam was off to the side, looking for all the world like he was trying not to break into tears. The fourth picture was blurry and a little hard to make out but it looked like whoever had taken the picture had zoomed in on Bucky sliding a ring onto Steve's finger. Picture five was nearly identical – shitty zoom and all – except that Steve was the one sliding a ring onto Bucky's finger. At this point, Steve felt like his brain had completely shut down and he swiped through the rest of the pictures without even thinking about it. A close up of him and Bucky kissing. Several pictures of Sam's tear-stained face. One of Tony – which was obviously a selfie – giving a thumbs up and grinning. Several more of him and Bucky kissing. He and Bucky walking back down the aisle, hand in hand. The final picture was another selfie, this time of him smiling and blushing like mad as Bucky kissed him softly on the cheek.
Finally, finally, after what felt like hours, he looked up. Bucky was sitting on the bed, nerves clearly evident on his face and the way he was barely perched on the edge of the bed as if he would have to make a run for it at any moment. He hadn't made a single noise the entire time Steve had been on his phone but the second they made eye contact, Bucky spoke up.
“So I guess it wasn't a joke, huh?” His tone was light and teasing but Steve could tell that it was forced, that there was an edge of tension under the words.
“There are pictures,” Steve responded, his voice flat and devoid of emotion. He tossed the phone toward Bucky and the brunette scrambled to catch it. Curiosity and trepidation crossed his features as he unlocked the phone and opened the gallery.
Steve sat in the chair, completely numb. He and Bucky hadn't married strangers last night. They had married each other. He knew he should feel something, anything, other than the flat nothingness that was running through his veins. He should be ecstatic at the chance to finally be with the person he had been pining over for years now. He should be terrified at the thought that Bucky might immediately demand a divorce and their years-long friendship would be ruined. He should be perplexed by the fact that not only was Sam aware of their marriage, he seemed whole-heartedly in support of it. He should at least be curious about how this entire thing happened in the first place. Instead, nothing felt real. It was like he was in a bubble, simply watching events unfold around him.
A soft, “Huh,” broke through his daze and he lifted his eyes from the carpet he had been unknowingly staring at for the past several minutes to meet Bucky's eyes. “Looks like we got married, punk.”
Steve blinked slowly, his eyelids feeling like they weighed a thousand pounds. Well, that wasn't quite the reaction he was expecting. He opened his mouth to respond but no sound came out. His throat was dry and his tongue was being uncooperative. He closed his mouth and swallowed roughly, trying to clear his throat. It took two more attempts before he was able to force the words out.
“Uh, yeah. Guess so,” he finally replied hoarsely.
“How d'ya think it happened? I mean, gettin' married probably wasn't somethin' we came up with on our own.” The thickening of Bucky's Brooklyn accent was a sure sign that he was extremely nervous and out of his depth. The fact that it was coupled with his teeth sinking into his plush bottom lip – now is not the time, Steve! - meant he was more unsure of himself than Steve had ever seen him.
“I dunno, Buck. Tony's the most likely culprit. Maybe he dared us to do it?” He truly hoped that wasn't the case. He could deal with them doing it because of some kind of drunken idea they had come up with together. At least that way it was possible that Bucky had wanted it too. But a drunken dare from Tony? He knew Bucky could never pass those up. He couldn't bear the thought that it only happened because Bucky was too competitive for his own good.
“Yeah, maybe. Still,” Bucky looked down at the phone still in his hand and bit his lip again, “we look pretty happy, don't we?”
Steve really hoped he wasn't just seeing what he wanted to but in that moment, Bucky actually looked...hopeful? Was it possible that Bucky wanted this too? The thought sent his heart racing in his chest and he suddenly felt like he couldn't take a deep enough breath. Bucky could be his. Actually his. He just needed to be brave enough.
“Yeah, Buck, we do.” He took a deep breath, forcing his lungs to expand and turned to look at his best friend. Bucky was looking at him with a slightly guarded expression, teeth pressed firmly into his lip but a tentative smile turning up the corners of his mouth. It was now or never. “D'you...” He dug his fingers into the arms of the chair to steel himself and continued. “D'you think this was something we both wanted? Because, uh, I know I wanted it.”
Steve could feel the blush all the way down to his navel and he suddenly wished he was wearing more than just his boxers. His heart was in his throat and he was starting to feel like he was going to throw up again. But he refused to look away from Bucky no matter how loudly his brain screamed at him to do so. He needed to see Bucky's reaction to what he said even if it was disgust. He needed to know if he had to move on or was even going to lose Bucky as a friend because of this. God, he hoped not.
Steve licked his lips nervously as the shocked expression on Bucky's face didn't change and the silence stretched between them. When nearly an entire minute had passed and Bucky still hadn't said anything, he started to panic. Oh God. He'd fucked up. Bucky didn't want this, didn't want him. He was such an idiot. He'd ruined their friendship. At least he knew now and could try to move on. His breath hitched and he fought against the sobs tightening his throat. He needed to leave.
“I-I'm sorry,” he stammered, finally looking away from Bucky. “I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable. I’ll just go.” Steve licked his lips again and got up from the chair, grabbing his discarded jeans from the floor as he did so.
He hadn't even gotten his foot in the first leg of his pants when a hand grabbed his arm tightly.
“Steve, wait.” Bucky's voice was pleading and he was staring up at him with a look of pure desperation on his face. No matter how badly his heart was breaking, he couldn't ignore Bucky when he looked like that.
“Yeah, okay. Just let me...” He gestured at the jeans still in his had. He couldn't have this conversation practically naked.
“Yeah, yes, of course.” Bucky nodded vigorously and let go of Steve's arm. The brunette shifted further onto the bed, leaning against the headboard and pulling a blanket from the floor onto his lap. Steve quickly tugged his jeans on and sat back in the chair he had vacated. “Did you mean it?” Bucky finally mumbled, voice shy and quiet like nothing Steve had ever heard from him before. His head was down and he stared at his hands where they fidgeted with a piece of thread from the blanket. Obviously, stopping him from leaving had used up all of Bucky's courage.
“Mean what?” He was pretty sure he knew what Bucky was talking about but he needed to hear him say it out loud.
“That you wanted this. Us...together. Married.” Bucky's voice was barely above a whisper and he refused to look up at Steve, still playing with the thread in his hands.
Steve could barely hear anything over the blood rushing in his ears. If he had already fucked things up, there was no point in holding back now. “Well, maybe not married exactly. But together, yes. I...I've wanted to be with you for a long time.”
Bucky looked up sharply. “How long?”
“Because I’ve wanted it for years. Practically since I first met you. When you were still that small, scrawny punk that got into too many fights and...”
Steve stopped listening to what Bucky was saying. It wasn't important. Instead, he surged out of his chair, placed his hand on the back of the brunette's neck, and bent down to press his lips against Bucky's. The other man went rigid and made a small sound of surprise before immediately melting into the kiss. It was gentle and sweet and everything he could have ever hoped for. Bucky's lips were even softer than he had imagined and the feel of them moving against his own was like heaven. Bucky placed a hand on his cheek and began gently rubbing his thumb against the skin there, eliciting a moan from the blonde. Bucky moaned in response and pulled him deeper into the kiss.
Steve got lost in the feeling of Bucky's soft lips against his and the taste of something so uniquely Bucky on his tongue. He could spend the rest of eternity just like this. Of course, his body had other ideas. The awkward angle he was leaning down in caused a twinge to run up his spine and he had to pull back. Bucky whined at the loss of contact and tried to use the hand he had on Steve's face to pull the blonde back to him.
“Hold on, Buck,” he chuckled. “I just need to readjust.”
He climbed over the brunette's legs and settled himself on the other side of the bed. Once he was laying comfortably with his head propped up on an abundance of pillows, he reached out and gently tugged on Bucky's arm. The other man lost no time in crawling into Steve's lap and propping himself up over the blonde on his hands.
There was a soft smile on Bucky's face and his eyes were crinkled up in the corners. Steve couldn't remember the last time he had seen his best friend so happy – and it was because of him. Everything felt utterly surreal. Only the solid weight of Bucky above him told him that this wasn't one of his many daydreams. God, the brunette looked so gorgeous like this. Sleep-mussed hair falling in his face, steel blue eyes filled with pure joy, lips pink and slightly kiss-swollen. The muscles in his chest and arms were taut and well-defined beneath his smooth skin. Steve wanted so badly to touch him. And then his brain caught up with the rest of him and he realized that he could. There was no need to rein in his desire to touch anymore.
He wrapped his left hand tentatively around Bucky's hip, fingers just brushing the bare skin above his boxers, and stopped. When Bucky closed his eyes and made an appreciative sound in his throat, Steve reached up with his free hand and brushed brown hair out of grey-blue eyes. He kept his hand there, splayed against the side of Bucky's face and fingers gently keeping his hair back until he opened his eyes again.
“Hey,” Bucky whispered with a smile.
“Hey yourself,” he whispered back. It wasn't the most eloquent response but he couldn't bring himself to care right now. He was too focused on the look of pure bliss on Bucky's face.
“So I know we should definitely talk about this but right now, all I want to do is kiss you. Is that okay?”
“God, yes,” Steve breathed.
He slid the hand in Bucky's hair around to the back of his head to tangle in the shorter hair there and tightened his grip on Bucky's hip. Before he could use either of those to bring Bucky down to him, the other man dropped down to his elbows and brought his face inches away from Steve's. They simply stared at each other for a moment until Bucky very deliberately drew his tongue across his bottom lip and it took all of Steve's self-control not to lose it right there. Instead, he used his grip in Bucky's hair to pull the shorter man the few inches until their lips met.
This kiss wasn't nearly as tentative or sweet as the first one had been. This one was all teeth and tongue and the desperate need to taste as much of each other as possible.
Steve was so lost in the kiss, he barely noticed when Bucky shifted and laid himself on top him, pressing their bare chests together. The only sign of his awareness was the tightening of his hand in Bucky's hair. The desperate whine this pulled from Bucky set his nerves on fire and his hips jerked involuntarily against Bucky's. A choked moan escaped from Steve's lips at the contact and he suddenly wished he hadn't put his pants on. He wanted to feel as much of Bucky's skin against his as he could, have the thinnest barrier possible between them. He untangled his hand from Bucky's hair and tried to slide it between their bodies to undo his jeans. Only the feeling of Bucky's hand on his wrist stopped him. The brunette pulled away, breaking the kiss and the contact between their chests. Steve was left feeling both cold and confused.
“Fuck, Steve. You make it so hard to be responsible.” The brunette let out a hoarse chuckle and ran a hand through his hair as he sat back in Steve's lap. “But we gotta talk about this.” Bucky's tone changed from something playful and light to something almost scared. “I need ta know what this means. I can't-” Bucky's words broke off as he faltered, breath hitching slightly. Steve rubbed comforting circles along the jut of Bucky's hips, arousal instantly forgotten in the wake of Bucky's uncertainty. “I can't do this if there's a chance you'll change your mind.”
Bucky was biting his lip again and the idea that Bucky thought that he would ever change his mind about him was killing him and Bucky was clearly on the verge of tears after being so happy just minutes ago and he couldn't stand seeing Bucky hurting, he needed to do something-
“I love you,” he blurted out.
Bucky's eyes widened and they snapped to Steve's face. “...What?” Bucky asked softly after a pause.
“I love you, Bucky. So much. Have for years.”
He was honestly a little surprised at how easily that came out. He had been holding it in for so long, he had expected to stumble over his words or lose his nerve halfway through. But in this moment, with Bucky nearly naked in his lap and his lips still tingling from Bucky's kisses, he knew it was the perfect time.
Bucky let out a slightly hysterical laugh and dropped down onto his hands so he was hovering over Steve again. The smile on his face was brighter than anything Steve had seen before and he knew he would tell Bucky he loved him every day if it would make him smile like that.
“I love you, too, you know,” Bucky whispered, leaning down to brush his nose against Steve's.
And Steve felt his heart swell in his chest at those words, so much and so suddenly, he felt like he might explode. A smile to rival Bucky's appeared on his face and he pulled the other man down on top of him again. He buried a hand in Bucky's hair and dropped light kisses along his neck, causing the smaller man to shiver.
“I want to take you out on dates,” he murmured against Bucky's skin.
“We're married now, Steve. You don't gotta impress me,” Bucky laughed, running his fingers along Steve's jaw and down his throat.
Steve let out a soft moan and pressed his forehead into Bucky's shoulder before letting his head drop back onto the pillow.
“It's not about impressing you, you jerk. I want the world to know that you're mine and I’m yours.”
“You're such a sap, Rogers,” Bucky teased, a fond smile pulling at his lips.
“And now you're stuck with me.”
Bucky lifted a shoulder in an approximation of a shrug. “Nothing new there. Although I do expect you to change your last name. Bucky Rogers just sounds awful.”
A surprised laugh forced its way out of Steve's throat. “Fine, but then you're moving into my apartment.”
“Not like I don't practically live there anyway,” Bucky countered smugly.
“Yeah, yeah. Now enough talking. We have a lot of years of kissing to make up.”
Bucky made a hum of approval and pressed his lips softly against Steve's own.
“Hey, Stevie?” the brunette mumbled between kisses.
“I love you.”
Warmth swelled through Steve's chest and he kissed Bucky firmly before whispering, “I love you, too.”