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How many Hail Marys is it gonna take?

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(1.)

The summer was the hottest in all of Bucky’s fifteen years, and he was stuck inside Steve’s sweltering apartment. The air in the room was so thick he could feel it in his lungs like broth, and it seemed to mute the happy screams from the kids playing in the fire hydrant out on the street. Bucky wished he could be in the fire hydrant - or better, in the East River - but less than an hour in the cold water had set off Steve’s cough something fierce, and even laying out on the roof or fire escape didn’t stop the rattling in his chest. Steve had tried getting Bucky to go outside and stay cool, but Bucky was no pill. Instead, they’d stripped down to their underwear, hauled out the largest stock pot in Mrs. Rogers’ kitchen, and Bucky had run half a dozen trips with a milk jug to fill it with cold water from the hydrant.

That had been two hours ago. They’d migrated from splashing the water at each other to sticking their hands and feet in it to Bucky soaking a rag and squeezing it out over each of them in turn. Twice he’d gone back down to refresh the water, but now it was past midday and the air and Bucky’s body was so heavy that it was an effort to even sit up to rinse Steve down.

“I swear to God, Steve,” he said, breaking their lethargic silence, “if you get stuck inside tomorrow, I’ll leaving you to it and hiking all the way to Manhattan to find a bathhouse.”

“Like you could afford it,” Steve said, though there was no strength behind his words.

“I’ll break into your money box. I’ll steal your drawings and sell them on the street corner.”

“Won’t get far with two cents, pal.”

Bucky’s brain was moving too slowly to come up with a retort, so he forced himself vertical again, wet the rag, and squeezed the water over his hair. It ran down his body in unsatisfying lukewarm trails, but he dutifully twisted another ragful of water over Steve’s thin chest as well.

“Quit wriggling,” he said when the water started Steve squirming. “You’re gonna set your cough off ag—”

His eyes travelled down Steve’s body, trying to be critical like Mrs. Rogers, but then his gaze got caught the very obvious tent in Steve’s underpants. His body lit up with a different kind of heat, and he was sure his face was as red as Steve’s when he quickly looked up at the ceiling.

“Come on, Steve!” he groaned.

“It’s not like I can help it!” Steve protested. “You keep touching me and it - the water feels nice.”

“Don’t be funny.”

You don’t be funny,” Steve mumbled, and then they fell into a silence was almost as heavy as the atmosphere.

Eventually, Bucky looked away from the ceiling, first a quick glance and then keeping his eyes down. Steve had rolled away and curled around himself, and Bucky realized he was contemplating his best friend’s back. Steve was flushed pink all over his ears and neck and halfway down his spine, and Bucky looked lower, at the shape of his ass through his underpants. It wasn’t anything special, kinda flat, but it set Bucky’s heart racing like none of the girls in their skirts had ever done. He didn’t understand what was going on, his chest tight and hands clammy and heart beating in his throat, but it felt dangerous. Forbidden. Exciting.

He licked his lips, though his mouth was all out of moisture, and said, “Have you ever…?”

“What?”

Steve didn’t turn around, but Bucky’d bet dime to dollar that he was pouting.

“Jerked it,” Bucky said, too loud. Steve covered his face and muttered under his breath, and Bucky grinned. It felt odd, like his face was made of dough and his lips were stretching it out of shape. He really had no idea what was going on. “Come on, Steve-o, you know you can tell me.”

“Alright-yes-a-few-times,” Steve said, all in one exhale, into his palms.

Something that felt important jolted and slipped loose in Bucky’s chest. It might have been his sanity, though he was pretty sure that was actually located in his head - because he knew he was gonna keep pushing even not being sure where he was gonna end up, and that could only mean he’d gone mad.

“Me too,” he admitted. His voice echoed oddly in his ears. He hoped he sounded normal to Steve, like his skin wasn’t too tight for his body and his johnson wasn’t harder than it had ever been on its own before. “Not much though, ‘cause I don’t want Ma or anyone to know.”

Steve’s voice was high-pitched when he said, “So - so why are you telling me, you lug?”

“Because you’re my best guy.” Steve made a noise of frustration. Bucky was pretty sure he’d lost control of his body; he had a peculiar feeling of watching himself from the outside as he continued, “You ever thought about - like Danny McCain said? A girl jerking you?”

A noise came out of Steve’s mouth like he was in pain, and Bucky spared a thought that it would be nice if Steve ever actually complained when he was hurt before he reached out with a shaking hand and gently tugged on Steve’s shoulder. At first, Steve refused budge, but Bucky persisted until he finally rolled over. Even then, Steve looked everywhere but at Bucky. At least, until Bucky spoke.

“Do you wanna know what it’s like?”

Steve’s eyes darted straight to Bucky’s face, caught between surprise and trepidation. Had they always been so blue?

“Ain’t no girls here, Buck.”

“No,” Bucky agreed with false casualness, clenching his far hand into a fist behind his back to try and keep his nerves from showing on his face. Steve probably saw them anyway - he was pretty good at knowing what was going on in Bucky’s head most of the time.

Steve glared at him, his default expression when he thought Bucky was making fun of him and he wasn’t sure how, but slowly realization dawned. Flushing even brighter than before, he glanced down at Bucky’s crotch with wide eyes.

“It wouldn’t be weird,” Bucky said in a rush. “Or a sin. It’s not even against His Word, if you think about it, ‘cause we’re not tryna make babies or be in love or anything, just to show you what it’s like. And, y’know, if you’re not doing it yourself you won’t go blind, or get hairy palms - and you don’t wanna pop straight off when you’re actually with a girl, right?”

Bucky held his breath. Steve could tear a hole right through Bucky’s argument, or shout at him, or kick him out and tell him he never wants to see him again. He could tell the whole neighborhood that Bucky’s a pervert, or even just tell Bucky’s parents, and there’d be nothing Bucky could do about it.

But then Steve closed his mouth, swallowed, and nodded. “Okay,” he breathed out. “But - how…?”

Bucky sucked his lower lip between his teeth, and then said in a low voice, “Close your eyes.”

After a moment, Steve did. Bucky considered leaning down and kissing him, his lips pink and shiny where Steve had been licking them, but he decided that was a step too far.

Maybe another day, he thought, releasing a shaky breath.

“You falling asleep over there, Buck?” Steve asked, a corner of his lips quirking up into a momentary smile.

Bucky huffed. “Just figuring out the best way to do it,” he said.

Steve peeked open his eyelids. Bucky frowned at him, but his face immediately went slack when Steve put his hands to the hem of his undershorts and gracelessly pulled them completely off.

“Steve,” Bucky choked out. Steve closed his eyes again but jutted his lower jaw out stubbornly. Even lying down and naked, he looked in charge of himself, the situation, the whole damn universe.

“You were taking too long,” he said.

“I’m sorry, who’s the one who’s done this before?”

“Starting to think it ain't you.”

Bucky grinned, even as his heart stuttered in his chest.

“Before I get gray hairs, Buck, if you please.”

“Maybe I don’t please. Maybe I’ve changed my mind about helping out a wise guy with a smart mouth.”

“Buck—”

Bucky cut him off by finally putting his hand around Steve’s prick. Steve sucked in air like the world was running out of oxygen, and Bucky got momentarily distracted by worry. But as it became clear that Steve’s lungs were just fine, he became suddenly aware of the weight of Steve’s dick in his hand. Like Bucky, Steve still had his foreskin, but the pink head poked out on its own even without Bucky moving his hand. It was bigger than Bucky had been expecting, too; he’d seen Steve’s johnson before, even just yesterday, and he was quite little when he was soft. Hard as he was now, he was bigger than Bucky, both long and around.

Bucky shuffled closer and readjusted his grip, so the angle was something closer to when he jerked himself off. Steve panted, body entirely tense, and Bucky started moving his hand. He watched enraptured as Steve’s foreskin wrapped over the head and then pulled down again with the movement of his hand. Even at the apex of Bucky’s stroke, the foreskin didn’t completely cover the head.

It sort of felt like stroking himself, Bucky mused, except for the size and the lack of sensation to his own prick. Which he suddenly became aware of, painfully constrained in his shorts. He desperately wanted to stick his free hand down them and jerk off in time to the hand moving on Steve. This feeling wasn’t normal, he knew - and, he realized, not new, either. But it was so overwhelming he didn’t care.

He bit his lip and looked at Steve’s face. His eyes were scrunched closed as tight as his fists at his sides, cheeks lit up like ruby rouge, and his head was tipped back. Bucky was struck by the realization that he wanted to kiss Steve’s neck, his jaw, his lips. The thought was nothing short of straight up queer, queerer than the excuse that he was just being a good pal helping out his friend, and panic burst in his chest.

His hand tightened involuntarily around Steve’s dick and, with a startled moan, Steve came. His come dribbled over Bucky’s fingers. Bucky was sickened by how much it turned him on and he quickly snatched his hand away and cleaned it off on the discarded rag.

“Girls have softer hands,” Bucky said before an awkward silence could grow. “So, you know, it won’t quite feel like that.”

“S’alright.” Steve finally opened his eyes and looked at Bucky. The color high on his cheeks and the brightness of his eyes almost made him look feverish, except Bucky knew what Steve looked like with a fever: eyes more glassy and unfocused, and the color was more blotchy.

Well, now he knew what Steve looked like after shooting out a load. His head span, nausea battling it out with still being turned the Hell on.

“Toss me that, would ya, Buck?” Steve said, gesturing to the cloth. He looked purposefully down at Bucky’s crotch where he was obviously pitching a tent and bit his lip. “Do you want me to, ah—”

Bucky cut him off. “Nah, I’m all good. This was just about preparing you for girls right?” The thought of a girl doing that with Steve turned his stomach and made his hard-on start to wilt. “No use returning the favor since they don’t have this same equipment.”

He dunked the cloth in the water, dropped it on Steve’s stomach and got to his feet, chattering away. Now that his lust was giving way to sense, he was full of a jittery, frenetic energy. He was sure Steve knew something was up, but that made getting away even more important.

“You clean up; I’ll go get us a refill,” he said, brandishing the milk jug at Steve almost like it was a weapon as he backed towards the door. “And there’s no hurry! I’ll even knock before I come in! I’ll, uh, be back in a bit!”

He pulled the door to behind him and walked stiffly but purposefully down the hall. He hunched over slightly, enough to hide the remaining pitch in his shorts but not so much his ma would've hit him for slouching, and made it to the end of the hall before his legs gave out.

He sat there in the unbearably stuffy hallway for a long time, looking mighty pathetic in nothing but his undershorts but too confused and scared to care. Because he’d just masturbated his best friend - his best guy, even, and he’d been five times harder than when Lissie Arnold had let him put his hand up her skirt. He hadn’t just liked fooling with another fella, he’d loved it. Even now, with terror beating in his breast, he was half hard.

Was he an invert, a pansy, like the kind who dressed up in women’s clothing and seduced God-fearing family men? Hell, Bucky was halfway there already. He didn’t fancy himself in women’s clothing but it might only be a matter of time.

Maybe this was just a fluke. The temperature making him half mad, the humidity clouding his thoughts, his like of making other people feel good leading him to overreact.

He clung to the possibility like a newborn to its mother, and finally managed to force himself back to his feet. He felt almost back to normal as he collected more water from the hydrant, smiling at and greeting his neighbors and playfully splashing water at some of the younger kids.

True to his word, he knocked when he got back up to the Rogers’ apartment.

“C’mon in, Buck,” Steve called.

He took a deep breath and, heart beating in his throat, he opened the door.

The room was empty.

For a long moment, Bucky stood in the doorway like a lemming, cradling the full jug in his arms. Then he saw Steve’s knobby knees poking up through the window and let out an irritable sigh.

“God’s sake, Steve, get back in here before you set off your allergies again,” he said, pouring the water into the pot.

“It’s too hot,” Steve whined. “Damn my allergies, there’s a breeze out here!”

“I’m not nursing you if you get sick again,” Bucky warned, even as he clambered through the window himself. Steve shifted over on the blanket he’d brought out to make room for Bucky, and he lay down with his head by Steve’s feet.

“A breeze,” Steve repeated as if that was all the argument he needed.

It kinda was, and Bucky wasn’t his mother anyway.

They exchanged the occasional idle chit chat, and eventually Bucky’s jittering insides calmed. Shortly thereafter, with the sun beating down through the higher levels of the fire escape, they fell asleep.

- - -

Bucky waited for Steve to mention it. He didn’t know what to expect - revulsion, most likely - but days passed, and then weeks, and then months, and there was no reaction at all.

In the weeks immediately after, he sometimes caught Steve looking at him with a crease in his brow, like he was trying to figure something out. But eventually, that stopped too, and it was like it never happened.


(2.)

Except it did happen, and Bucky couldn’t stop thinking about it. He took girls out on dates, made them feel special, kissed them at the end. He put on a real good show, one that he managed to even believe himself sometimes.

Then he’d catch himself looking at a guy in a way that he never looked at girls, in a way that meant something. At first, that made him date even more vigorously, and he set Steve up on a lot of dates in the hopes that if Steve were going steady with someone Bucky would be able to put that summer afternoon out of his mind for good.

But it became obvious that he wasn’t going to change, no matter how much he ignored it or prayed for it to go away. Maybe God was punishing him for having a bad soul, or maybe was testing his strength.

Well, if that was true then Bucky was failing miserably.

He went to a queer bar for the first time a few months after he turned seventeen. He’d heard of a few in Brooklyn, but the fear of being seen by someone he knew made him go out to the East Village. That neighborhood, the way some folk said it, was full of queers, and when he got there it didn’t take him long to find a bar. It took some time to stop walking past them, though eventually curiosity won out.

It was the way that two fellas would walk through the door hand-in-hand, or ladies flirt as they walked down the street. Inside, they sat on each other’s laps and necked in the middle of the room, and the singles were more brazen than Bucky had ever seen in a normal bar. Even more unusual was that he was one of the youngest by far, no matter which bar he was in, and that the young fellas didn’t really talk to each other. More than anyone, they disappeared for a while and came back with tweaked clothes and flat hair.

For weeks, all Bucky could do was order a drink, back into a corner and avoid everyone’s eye. Whether this was because he was disgusted or excited, he couldn’t tell. His stomach did acrobatics and his fingers clutched at his glass, and he watched out the corner of his eye at the unusual couples dancing to the music.

He couldn’t figure out exactly when, but eventually he was almost used to it, the queenies and the queers and the people in wrong clothing. He let himself be hit on, be kissed, be pulled into the back alley to exchange suckjobs. It was a lot different than being with a girl. When he was down on his knees with a guy’s prick on his mouth, or when a fella was returning the favor, he could even admit that it was better.

Maybe it was immoral, but maybe that didn’t matter. If he was a good person everywhere else, he could plea to get into Heaven anyway. He couldn’t stop himself from looking at Steve, from imagining what he looked like when he blew, what it would be like to kiss him, to suck him - but as long as he kept going to the bars, he could stop himself from wanting him too badly.

Then Mrs. Rogers died and Bucky moved in with Steve, and now they were around each other so much that Bucky’s thin lid on his temptation quickly loosened.

He and Steve hadn’t slept over for a few years, since before Bucky became abnormal. So it came as an unpleasant surprise how affected he was by Steve in the morning, pink from sleeping, hair in all directions, sleepwear thinner than any of his day clothes. If Steve wasn’t so slow in the morning, Bucky knew he’d have given himself away by the third day. He started staying in bed until he heard Steve finish washing up.

A couple of weeks after the funeral, Steve hadn’t been able to sleep so Bucky had broken out a bottle of whisky, and they were quickly drinking their way through it. The last of Mrs. Rogers’ belongings had been sold or stored away, and the only indication that she’d once lived in this apartment was the scent of her perfume on Bucky’s mattress and a handful of cheap trinkets on a shelf in Steve’s room.

“I really miss her, Buck,” Steve said. He was lying on the couch, his feet dangling over one end and staring at the ceiling. His eyes were red rimmed, but Bucky, who was sat on the floor with his legs spread in front of him, afforded him the dignity of looking away. With a slightly clumsy hand, he reached around and patted Steve’s stomach in a hopefully comforting way.

“I do too, pal.”

“Thank you.”

“No need for that, Steve-o” Bucky said. “You’re my best guy. There’s not a thing I wouldn’t do for you, you know that.”

“No one else knows what to say around me,” Steve continued, as if Bucky hadn’t spoken. “They keep talking about Mom, or giving me food. Ruthie Fisher said she’d, um, let me do her if it made me feel better.”

Bucky laughed, even as his stomach flipped over with jealousy. “What did you say?”

“No, of course!” Steve knocked Bucky’s head with his knee, and left it there even after Bucky stopped sniggering.

Then Steve said, in a much more somber tone, “She only offered ‘cause she pitied me, anyway. Don’t think she’s said two sentences to me before.”

Bucky lolled his head to the side to look at him, resting against Steve’s leg. Steve looked morose. He was so serious when he drank.

“Mighta helped, though,” he said. “A good crack always takes the edge off being sad for me.”

Steve’s brow creased. “Know a lot of good-time girls, do you, Buck?” he asked, sulking at the ceiling.

“Something like that.” No way in Hell was Bucky going to admit that it was Greenwich Village queens he made time with when the heavier spells of crushing on Steve bummed him out. Even if Steve thought Bucky was paying hookers, that was better than the truth.

So maybe he didn’t know any prostitutes, and maybe he wouldn’t tell Steve about the Village queers, but he at least lend a helping hand like he had a few years ago.

Or even – the thought came to him with a bolt of lustful excitement – he could go a step further, help Steve out a step more.

“But you know,” he said, “if you want, I could suck you off now.”

Steve bolted upright and stared at Bucky. “What?” he choked out.

“I said I’d do anything for you.” Bucky shrugged. His heart thudded against his ribs, but he was drunk enough that his seductive smile came easy. “What’s a little cocksuck between friends?”

And Steve must have been way more swacked than Bucky thought, because he just closed his mouth and nodded. “Okay.”

“Okay.” Bucky considered the best way to do it. Usually, the other guy was upright, standing by himself or else leaning against a wall, and Bucky knelt in front of him.

Well, he could still kneel, and Steve didn’t have to move a muscle. He could just lay there and let Bucky make him feel good.

“Okay,” Bucky repeated, turning around. “Lay down - wait, no, take these off first.” He tweaked Steve’s suspenders, and Steve scrabbled to undo them at the front and then tossed the ends back over his shoulders. He lay back down, but not all the way, balancing up on his elbows. He watched, a hard-on in his trousers, as Bucky reverently pulled his shirt out of the waistband, unbuttoned his pants, and tucked his undershorts beneath his balls.

Steve breathed out heavily. Bucky rested one hand on Steve’s stomach and the other around Steve’s dick, and wasted no time in swallowing it down.

“Oh!” Steve exclaimed. His hips jerked up but Bucky was prepared for it, pressing in Steve’s stomach. “Oh, God, Hell, Bucky, that feels so good.”

Bucky sucked lightly on the head of Steve’s dick, stroked the shaft with his hand, and Steve shot off in his mouth. It was unexpected on both ends: Steve gasped out a series of apologies, and Bucky had to pull off to cough.

“Sorry,” Steve kept saying as Bucky coughed. Bucky waved him off.

“I’m fine, Steve,” he said, voice a little rough. “Just surprised me, is all.” And come didn’t taste all that great, either, which was why Bucky usually didn’t like guys finishing in his mouth. But he wasn’t about to go say that and make Steve feel even worse.

“Are you sure?”

“Hell, Steve, yes, I’m sure. No harm, no foul. Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Steve said, and then paused. “Actually, I’m still really sad, and I’m tired, but I - I feel better. I’m not alone.”

“Damn right you’re not.” Bucky picked up their cheap booze and held it high. “To Mrs. Rogers,” he said, took a pull from the bottle, and then passed it to Steve.

“To good friends,” Steve said, and took a swig of his own. While Steve was looking away, Bucky turned back to his original position but arranged his clothes to disguise his hard-on. Not that Steve was looking close enough to notice.

The second half of the bottle didn’t last long between them, and soon after that, they fell asleep where they lay.

- - -

The world turned on. Bucky knew that Steve still missed his mom, but except for that night he didn’t like to talk about it. Bucky didn’t try to push him - he made sure Steve was eating and not pushing himself hard enough to end up in hospital. He tried not to leave Steve to his own devices too much either, because in the weeks following Mrs. Rogers’ funeral Steve was liable to go round looking for assholes to fight instead of just stumbling across them naturally. Bucky was getting real fed up of coming home to find Steve on the couch with bloody knuckles and a black eye.

That was when he started setting Steve up on dates again. Maybe if Steve settled down with a nice girl, it would settle down whatever was going on in his head too. Bucky tried to make them double dates whenever he could, so he could smooth things over when Steve stuck his foot in his mouth, but he set Steve up on solo dates too. He rarely got a second date but he never told Bucky to stop. Bucky didn’t understand why the girls couldn’t see that they were stepping out with the best guy in all of Brooklyn.

Between working overtime and the double dates, though, Bucky almost never got to go to the queer bars anymore, and he was still too afraid to try the ones closer to home. He tried making time with a couple of easy girls but struggled to keep his dick up. He was hard practically every night, like he was fourteen all over again, but if he jerked off as much as he wanted to he’d go blind.

It was driving him mad. Which would be his only excuse when Steve came home early from one of his rare second dates, red-faced and humiliated. The girl had been late, insulted his kissing, told him off for interfering with a couple of guys kicking at a stray dog, and spouted off a whole load of crap about Catholics and immigrants. He was spitting furious with Bucky, too, for setting him up with such an awful dame. Bucky hadn’t even met her himself - she was the friend of a friend - but Steve wasn’t listening.

So Bucky kissed him, which shut him up real fast. Bucky kept kissing him until Steve kissed back, and, God help him, it was the sweetest thing he’d ever done.

He pulled away sooner than he wanted to. He said, “Well, that girl didn’t know what she was talking about. I’ve macked girls with not even half what you gave me just now,” winked, and then strolled over to the stove to start dinner, leaving Steve confused behind him.

That was the start of… whatever it was their friendship became. Friendship with something extra. Sometimes after a bad date - even after the occasional good one - Bucky would kiss Steve, rub him through his trousers until he came or drop to his knees to suck him off right there inside the doorway.

The first time he let Steve masturbate him, a few months before he turned nineteen, Bucky came so hard that he almost blacked out. They added it to their game. They didn’t play it all that often anyway – they regularly went through months where nothing happened, and then a couple of weeks where they fooled around almost every night – but Bucky didn’t let Steve touch him like that if he didn’t have to. He mostly tried to jerk himself off before Steve finished, since he was probably running out of chances with St. Peter.

Bucky realized he was, by some standard, happy with their arrangement. He got this side of Steve that no one else did, not even the few girls who’d liked Steve, and it was a powerful feeling. He felt superior to those girls, because they’d never get what he got.

It was inappropriate, and one-sided, and unhealthy, he knew that. He and Steve were friends, and the extent of their bonuses was letting Steve use Bucky’s hands or mouth to relieve pressure or stress. They weren’t a couple and never could be.

With this realization, Bucky started finding time to go back to the Village. It didn’t really work out as he hoped.


(3.)

Sometime later, it struck Bucky that the only reason he got to have Steve like this was because Mrs. Rogers had died. He tried to remember the night they started, but couldn’t much besides drinking and the thrill of finally having Steve’s dick in his mouth.

He felt sick with the thought that he’d taken advantage of Steve’s grief to force his own perversion on him. What kind of a person was he, to do that to a friend? He knew a lot of decent queers, fellas and dames who could pass for normal, and he’d figured himself to be one of them. But it turned out he wasn’t.

So he backed off. He hung with Steve like he used to, kept his touches friendly, set Steve up with the kindest girls he could find and ran off to the Village.

And it was one night that he was in front of a guy on his knees, in an alley a bit down the way from the club, when a whole crowd of queens came running out the back door.

“Raid!” one of them shouted. The guy Bucky was sucking swore, shoved Bucky away, buttoned up his pants and legged it.

One of the queens grabbed Bucky under the arms and hauled him along. It was a good thing, too, because Bucky was frozen with fear. “Come on, sweetheart, come on. Don’t let ‘em catch a baby like you.”

The rush kicked in, and Bucky found his feet. He scattered with the rest of the queers, like pigeons flocking from a thrown stone.

By the time Bucky made it home, he had thrown up twice, almost fainted on the subway, and was shaking violently. The door was unlocked - which was good, because he wasn’t sure he’d be steady enough to fit the key in the hole, but also bad because it meant that Steve was home. And if Steve was home, that meant that Bucky would have to explain himself sooner or later.

“Hey, Buck,” Steve called distractedly. He was on the couch, hunched over a drawing pad, and after his greeting he started humming.

Bucky entered the apartment and shut the door behind him, but he was like a marionette with the strings cut because as soon as the door was closed he sagged against it.

Steve looked up, and Bucky must have looked as terrible as he felt because Steve’s face changed from cheer to alarm. He jumped off the couch, his pad and pencils falling to the floor, forgotten.

“Holy Hell, Bucky, are you okay? What happened?”

Bucky shook his head, and swallowed back tears.

“Come on, let’s get you to bed,” Steve said, pulling Bucky’s arm around his shoulders to support him. They almost fell over multiple times - Bucky was tall and solid, and Steve was kind of weedy - but Bucky managed to hold enough of his own weight that they made it. Bucky rolled over and Steve took off his shoes. He started to take off Bucky’s jacket, too, but he grabbed Steve’s suspenders and yanked him down into a kiss. Their lips crashed together painfully, and Bucky’s lip split on Steve’s tooth.

“Mmn - Bucky! Stop! What are you doing?”

“Steve, please.” Bucky’s voice was raw and desperate. Did he sound as delirious as he felt? “Please, I need you.”

“Need me for what?” Steve asked, his voice radiating steady calm even while his eyebrows pulled together.

“To feel good, happy, you make me so happy.” To his grim horror, he finally started to cry, but the words kept pouring out of him. “Don’t wanna be weak, you don’t make me feel like that.”

“‘Cause you’re not.” Steve was frowning, but he was still kneeling on the bed, still hovering over Bucky. “But you’ve gotta calm down because I don’t understand.”

Bucky manhandled Steve so that he was over Bucky’s legs. On any other day, Steve would have reamed him out for shoving him around. But he moved exactly where Bucky wanted him to, and that was when Bucky realized that Steve would probably let him do whatever he wanted. It was like the days after Mrs. Rogers’ funeral all over again, and Bucky was momentarily disgusted with himself for taking advantage, but the feeling was eclipsed by the need to feel Steve against him.

He scrabbled at Steve’s clothes, sobs still bubbling up, and Steve lay his hands over Bucky’s to still them.

“Bucky,” he said, “you’re not in your right mind.”

“Fuck my right mind,” Bucky spat. He hadn’t been in his right mind for five years. “Just kiss me.”

For once, Steve did what Bucky asked without an argument. He leaned down and tried to be gently, but Bucky was too desperate for gentle. He pulled Steve closer and closer, until his entire weight was on Bucky’s body, and kissed Steve with enough force that he knew Steve would meet the challenge.

The coppery tang of his blood mingled in their mouths, and the instinctive sense of danger racked up the animal responses in his head. He ground his hips up against Steve’s, swiveling in provocative circles until he felt Steve’s hardness even through both of their pants.

“Bucky,” Steve gasped. “What do you want?”

“Make you come,” Bucky said. He was sweating all over - he hadn’t even taken his jacket off - and barely hard at all, and he twisted his fingers into the back of Steve’s shirt. “Feel you come, just like this.”

Steve whimpered, and pressed his hips harder against Bucky’s. Bucky gasped into Steve’s mouth, trying to thrust up to encourage Steve to keep going - and then, a few moments later, he felt when Steve came. His body went still on top of Bucky, and even through the layers he felt Steve’s crotch dampen. He imagined he could fell Steve’s dick pulsing too, and he pulled Steve’s face down to kiss it all over, trying to relay his gratitude.

When Steve recovered from his orgasm, he reached between them to grasp Bucky’s dick. But he was still soft, and Steve looked surprised.

“Just wanted to make you come,” Bucky said, his voice slurring with exhaustion. But he was already starting to feel more settled in his brain.

Steve looked at him for a moment, and then smiled. It was a little worried, a little sad, and Bucky didn’t like it. He smiled back sweet as he could, and hoped it made Steve feel better.

“Let’s get you out of these clothes now,” Steve said. “Can you sit up?”

Together, they managed to strip Bucky down to his underwear, and Steve decided that that would do well enough to sleep in.

“Goodnight, Buck,” he said, briefly laying his hand over Bucky’s forehead like a mother soothing her child.

“Night, Steve.”

Bucky was asleep before Steve had even closed his door. He only managed a fitful sleep, but he remembered none of his dreams, and when he saw Steve in the morning, a curt, “I don’t wanna talk about it,” was enough for Steve to drop it.

- - -

Six months later, war broke out in Europe, and not long after that it came to America too. Bucky was called to duty and he went gladly, as much because he was proud to serve his country as he was glad to get some space from New York and have no time to think. He fell in with Steve almost every time he visited on leave anyway. He told himself it was just because he was lonely on base, he couldn’t even pretend to fancy a girl the right way anymore, and there was no way he was ever going back to a queer bar.

Bucky went to war. Steve eventually followed, except now he was taller, wider, stronger and healthier than Bucky, and everyone could see his greatness now. Sure (he thought in his most bitter moments), everyone wanted a piece of Steve now that he was healthy and famous, but who had been there for him when he was just Steve Rogers from Brooklyn, the little guy too dumb to run from a fight? Bucky, that was who. He was Steve’s backup then, and even though he wasn’t needed anymore there wasn’t a power in the universe that would stop him from being Steve’s backup now.

Not even when that role came with a front row seat to the way Steve and Agent Carter looked at each other.

Bucky tried to be good, he truly did - good, kind, moral, everything that both Steve and Captain America stood for. Except he hadn’t been any of those things in a long time, and it rocked his stomach with guilt that he was keeping Steve from having a normal life with Carter. Not enough guilt to quit this thing with Steve, because he was a desperate, selfish man and always had been. At every opportunity he could, every time he could grab even a quarter of an hour away from the Howling Commandos, Bucky lowered himself to his knees and took Steve’s prick in his mouth, and jerked himself off into the dirt. It was the only place he felt the divine connection anymore. If that wasn’t a sign he was going to Hell, he didn’t know what was.

So, in conclusion, he was a selfish, desperate sinner who had lost his dignity a long time ago. He might as well make himself a handbasket to take to Hell with him.


(4.)

On missions, more often than not, Bucky was in the safest position. He was the eyes in the sky - or at least the tree - while Steve and the rest of the Commandos did the breaking and entering and hand-to-hand combat. Most of the time, no one realized he was even there until he shot them.

He was up in a turret in one of Hydra’s bases. He thought he’d sorted out everyone who was up there, and was playing duck, duck, goose with the goons on the ground, when he was piled by four weaponless guards and dragged out the compound before any of his guys even noticed he was gone. He was bound and shoved into a truck, and over the next three hours he almost threw up multiple times for fear that he was being taken back to the scientist, that he was gonna be tortured and experimented on again, that he’d disappear and Steve wouldn’t be able to find him this time. If he saw that pig Zola’s face again, he’d kill himself first chance he got.

Luckily, three hours later, Bucky heard the window screen smash and the truck swerved to a stop, knocking Bucky and his two guards off balance. One of the guards driving swore in German, though he was quickly cut off by a wet gurgle. Then the curtain on the back of the truck was ripped open to reveal a determined, grimy Steve. Bucky’s entire body sagged in relief, even when the third and fourth guards who had been riding in the back tried to shoot him. But Steve had everything under control and he dispatched the guards before they’d even taken out their guns.

“Took you long enough,” Bucky said as Steve effortlessly tore the rope binding his hands and feet. His teeth were chattering despite the muggy air, but Steve was kind enough to ignore it.

“Yeah, well, I had to run all the way here.”

Bucky paused, halfway out the truck, and looked back at Steve. “Seriously?”

Steve shrugged in his new way that meant he was equal parts uncomfortable, baffled, and pleased with his new body’s apparent lack of limits. “Faster than finding a working vehicle.” Bucky laughed and shook his head, and finally clambered out the back of the goddamn truck. “But we’re half a day’s journey from the lines at least. I’m gonna see if there’s anything we can use in here; you keep an eye out for any hostiles.”

“Roger that.”

It was such a transparent excuse for Bucky to take it easy, but seeing as he didn’t want to get back in the truck or start rifling through the dead guards’ uniforms he was happy to take it.

Steve started looking through the containers in the truck, and Bucky just turned away, stretching out his shoulders and looking up at the sky. It was a nice night, all told. The stars were starting to come out, and even after everything that had happened he still marveled at how bright and numerous they were; the moon was clear enough that he could see a few craters on its face; the sky was free of clouds. The heat was nice, too, but he could’ve done without the humidity.

Steve came out the truck carrying a backpack and two canvas rolls. “There were a couple of boxes of food packets so I packed those, and I found some sheets we can lie on.”

“We’re sleeping in enemy territory?”

You’ll sleep.” At Bucky’s sharp look, Steve rolled his eyes. “Fine, we’ll take turns, but you know I don’t actually need to.”

“Yeah, sure. Gimme that, would you?” Bucky said, snatching the bag out of Steve’s hand. Miracle of miracles, Steve actually let him take it, and at Steve’s direction they moved out.

- - -

They’d barely been walking for an hour when Bucky almost fell asleep while he was walking. The only thing that stopped him from falling face first into the dirt was Steve’s quick reaction in grabbing him. Bucky shook him off and then shook himself awake. What he’d give for some coffee right now…

“We should set up camp now,” Steve said, “rest for a few hours so we can cover more ground before it starts getting light again.”

Except Steve grabbing his arms had lit something up inside him. Maybe his judgment was impaired - he was tired, and he’d had a long rollercoaster of a day preparing for a mission and then getting himself kidnapped - but there was a fire in his belly and he was suddenly so very aware that this was the first time he and Steve had been properly alone in a really, really long time.

His stomach fluttered at the thought of seducing Steve in enemy territory. If the brass found out, he’d be court martialed for sure. Then again, if they knew the kinds of things Bucky and Steve have done, the kinds of things Bucky wanted to do, court martial would be the least of his problems.

“Do I hear water?” he said. “Because it’s damned hot out here and I would really appreciate a bath.” He looked up at Steve through his eyelashes, a suggestive gesture that he knew even Steve would pick up, and he added, “You’ll keep watch, right?”

Steve’s mouth dropped open, but he quickly shut it again, swallowed, and nodded his head. “Yeah, of course,” he said, the words coming out with a forced professionalism. “Uh, this way.”

Less than ten minutes later, they found a shallow river. Bucky considered undressing slowly, drawing out the seduction, but his good sense won out and he stripped quickly, efficiently, and settled for positioning himself enticingly, stretching his muscles as he removed his shirt and bending over instead of just letting his trousers drop.

“I’ll go, uh, check the perimeter,” Steve said, a beat too slow, and Bucky chuckled to himself.

“Sure thing, Cap.”

Once Steve had moved off, Bucky relieved himself behind a bush and then cautiously entered the water. It was shallow, but he’d seen guys be dragged off by unexpected rapids before. One rescue a day was already one too many.

There were no rapids, though - hardly an movement in the current at all - and the water was a blissful balm against his burning skin. He washed away what felt like two lifetimes worth of dirt and sweat. He ducked underwater four times, until finally his scalp stopped itching, and when he stood upright again Steve was back, standing by the pile of Bucky’s clothes and gawking. Bucky grinned at him and pushed his hair back from his eyes.

“You coming in, Steve?”

“I shouldn’t,” Steve said, but didn’t come up with an actual argument even though there were plenty to pick from. Bucky watched Steve watching Bucky, and he felt lust stirring up in his gut again like breath reigniting embers.

“Perimeter clear?” he asked. Steve nodded. Bucky stretched out his arms to gesture to the river, and if it showed off his body, well, that was purely incidental. “Then I don’t see why you shouldn’t,” he said, his voice dropping deeper.

After a moment, Steve started taking off his gear. Bucky watched him without moving; the moonlight exaggerated Steve’s new - newish - muscles, ones that Bucky had hardly had the opportunity to see.

The moonlight also exposed Steve’s dick already starting to grow, and Bucky’s responded in kind. Steve had always been quick to rise, quick to pop; now, he was still quick to rise, but he could last for a real long time.

He wondered with a dizzying rush of excitement, how long Steve would last inside Bucky. He’d been in a girl once - it was nothing like wetting his dick in a mouth but he’d still come quicker than usual.

Steve waded into the water and started to wash himself with the fast, efficient movements of a man used to thirty seconds of lukewarm water. Bucky allowed him some privacy, but it was admittedly more for his own sake than Steve’s.

The thought of being fucked by Steve had tormented him since he’d first overheard some fellas talking about doing it to some bird, even though back then he thought the guys had been exaggerating. That had been the moment that Bucky had stopped trying to deny to himself that he was an invert. He’d tried doing it to himself and finding a willing john, though he’d never been able to bring himself to go all the way through with it. It was the one thing he’d never get to try with the paragon of morality that was his best friend.

But if he spun it right, maybe…

Steve’s back was turned. Watching the shadows of his muscles shift, Bucky reached behind himself and fingered at his asshole. The water eased the slide, although it was still too rough to be really comfortable, and by the time Steve finished washing Bucky had made sure he was really, thoroughly clean.

Steve turned around and Bucky sauntered over to him, his dick breaking the waterline. Steve’s front was highlighted in the moonlight, his own dick at half mast, but Bucky ignored it in favor of cupping Steve’s face and pulling him down into a kiss heated from the beginning. Steve clutched back at him, his hands locking around Bucky’s waist so hard that Bucky would swear that he could feel bruises forming.

“Bucky,” Steve sighed against his lips.

“Mm.”

Bucky moved his hands. One he wrapped around Steve’s neck, holding him close; the other he used to push one of Steve’s down to grab his ass. Steve sucked in a breath as Bucky manipulated his hand, and, not breaking them apart, Bucky murmured, “Let’s move this someplace else, hm? Where’d you put the stuff?”

“It was, uh…” Steve trailed off, and then turned his face away from Bucky’s with an amused huff. He rested his forehead against Bucky’s and, as much as Bucky wanted to press their lips together again, he was pleased that their kissing alone had disoriented Steve. That probably wasn’t such a good thing in enemy territory, but Bucky couldn’t bring himself to care. “Over there, other side of that tree.”

“Lead on, cowboy.”

Steve laughed, tilting his lips into Bucky’s again. After a moment, Bucky pushed him away with as roguish a grin as he knew how.

Steve rolled his eyes, but finally started moving away. Bucky followed silently, wrapping a hand around his dick to alleviate some of the pressure. Damn, but he was more than ready to get on with the fucking.

True to Steve’s word, their stolen gear was tucked behind a tree. Steve knelt down to lay out the blankets, and only then turned around to look at Bucky. His eyes widened and his gaze went straight down to Bucky’s dick, and even in the dappled moonlight Bucky could see his cheeks flush.

If they were different from how they were, if Steve felt how Bucky felt, Bucky would say, “Like what you see, Captain?” and put on a show, stroke himself slowly, maybe moan a little. Wasn’t often Bucky had been able to show off, especially in the last year.

That wasn’t how they were, though. They were about bodies only, practice for girls or comfort or needing to get off when there weren’t any better options. And this situation fell into the last category, at least as far as Steve was concerned. So Bucky knelt down beside Steve and released his own dick in favor of grabbing Steve’s.

“Got big plans for this,” he said, slowly rubbing up and down. Steve shuddered as the foreskin slipped over the head of his dick, grabbed Bucky’s biceps even though he could keep himself balanced perfectly well.

“What kinda plans?” he asked. Bucky ducked his head under Steve’s chin and nipped at his neck. He continued lightly squeezing just under the head of Steve’s prick in time with the slow journey of bites up to Steve’s earlobe.

“I’ll show you, huh?”

“Mn,” Steve agreed as Bucky briefly pulled his earlobe between his teeth. When he moved into the center of the blanket, Steve’s hands followed, lingered on his arms and skimmed across his back as he turned around. He lay facedown on the blanket, tucking his arms beneath his head as a pillow and spreading his legs.

“Buck?”

“You gotta trust me, Steve.”

“I do, Bucky, you know I do.” His hands fell off Bucky’s back. “I’m just… not sure…”

The air seemed to grow thick with uncertainty, and Bucky began to feel real embarrassed about waving his bare ass around, expecting Steve to be that kind of deviant. Was this gonna be the moment Steve finally dropped him like a hot potato? But it was too late to change the game now, so he said, “Fuck’s sake, Steve, stop pussyfooting around. Are you gonna stick me or what?”

“Stick – what?”

Bucky groaned and dropped his head into his arms, and then looked over his shoulder to glare at Steve. Steve’s blush deepened and he gestured hopelessly, but his dick was still hard and he kept glancing between Bucky’s face and his ass and Bucky knew he wasn’t as naive as he was pretending to be.

“I want you do put your prick in my ass.” He enunciated each word slowly, and it was Steve’s turn to glare. Bucky raised an eyebrow.

“I’d somehow figured that out,” Steve said dryly. Bucky’s embarrassment grew and his prick flagged some more, and then Steve continued, “But I don’t get how I’ll… fit,” and finally touched Bucky again, carefully reaching out his hands to Bucky’s ass cheeks. A shiver of anticipation ran up Bucky’s spine. Maybe this wasn’t too queer for Steve after all… “I’m, uh, not exactly small.”

“It’ll be fine. Just use the Vaseline to slick me up and you’re good to go.”

Steve started to move away, but hesitated. Bucky huffed. Lord, this guy was slower than his dead grandma, God rest her soul.

“I’m all clean,” he said, “why do you think I spent so long washing earlier? Get on with it, Steve.”

“No, that’s not…” Steve trailed off and shook his head. There was a crease forming in his brow like he was starting to overthink everything, and there was an unpleasant jolt in Bucky’s stomach. Was Steve finally realizing that this wasn’t all just about bodies feeling good to Bucky, that he was an invert?

Bucky swallowed hard, forcing down his panic. “Steve,” he said, begged, and whatever Steve saw in his face made his face relax into a suggestion of a smile.

“Alright, Buck.” He leant down to kiss Bucky’s shoulder blade, one hand on the ground and the other curled around Bucky’s waist. His body had a new presence to it, one that would have made Bucky completely relax into the ground if he weren’t so painfully aware that this didn’t actually mean anything to Steve. With his lips still hovering over Bucky’s skin, Steve added, “I’ll take good care of you.”

Bucky bit back a curse but couldn’t stop another anticipatory shiver, his prick starting to get interested again.

Steve moved away to root through his pack for the jelly, and shook off the rest of his clothes on his way back.

“It won’t hurt you?” he asked, settling himself between Bucky’s legs and opening the tin.

“Shouldn’t do.”

Steve coated a forefinger in the jelly, and looked up again at Bucky’s face. Bucky was about ready to grab Steve’s hand and start slicking himself up, but then Steve ran his finger down between Bucky’s cheeks and around his hole, feather light, and tingles burst underneath Bucky’s skin.

“Steve, come on,” he groaned.

“A guy can’t enjoy himself?” Steve said, amusement clear in his voice, but he finally slipped his finger inside. Breath caught in Bucky’s throat. He’d never done this before, hadn’t known what to expect, and it wasn’t anything special (wasn’t exciting like a hand round his dick was), but the feeling of Steve touching this most intimate part of him (his finger moving inside him, his hand cupping Bucky’s ass) was incredible.

Then Steve started twisting his wrist and moving his hand back, and Bucky couldn’t help but moan, sparks shooting down to the very tips of his toes and fingers and he curled both into the blanket. His head dropped and his eyes closed and he trembled for the entire drag of Steve’s finger against his rim.

“Do that again,” he said, forcing his eyes back open and turning round to look at Steve, who was looking back at him as if he was one of the most beautiful pieces in the Met. The expression didn’t sit well in Bucky’s stomach, so he turned back round to face the dirt. “Do it again, Steve.”

“Yeah, yeah, Buck.”

The words came out uneven and breathless. But he started moving his hand again, still thrusting slowly but twisting his wrist. Whenever he twisted and came out at the same time, small noises escaped Bucky’s throat.

“Want you to fuck - fuck me now,” Bucky said, turning his head to give Steve an unsteady grin. “Pretty sure I’m ready for ya.”

Steve looked up as if he’d been broken out of a spell. His eyes were wide and dark, and his face was slack and serious. When he spoke, his voice was low and steady. “Are you sure? I’m bigger than one finger. What if I…?” He trailed off, but another finger pressed suggestively against the edge of Bucky’s hole.

He added, voice even deeper, “How many do you think I can fit in?” and Bucky had a vision of all of Steve’s fingers - of Steve’s thumb, his entire hand - inside him, pressing against his rim and a sensation of too much, it was too much but so hot. His prick jerked against his thigh and he tried to find the words to challenge Steve to try, but his tongue was heavy in his mouth and all that came out was a garbled keen.

But Steve understood, because Steve knew all but one of Bucky’s disparate parts. He took out his finger to slick up the rest, and Bucky pressed his forehead against his arms and tried to get himself back under control.

And then Steve was pressing in, two fingers stretching Bucky’s rim. It burned, but it was the good kind of burn, like his muscles felt after he’d won a boxing match, and he gasped into his skin.

“Does it hurt?” Steve asked.

Bucky shook his head. “No, it, it feels—” Steve’s fingers brushed against a spot that made fire explode over his body and Bucky shouted, thrusting back hard against Steve’s hand and body shaking as he came over the blanket. Steve froze and Bucky kept grinding through the tremulous aftershocks, trying to use Steve’s immobile fingers to stimulate that spot again.

“Bucky,” Steve murmured, finally, caressing his free hand up and down Bucky’s side while slowly removing his other one. Bucky moaned a ‘no’, but Steve’s soothing strokes moved lower and lower, Bucky’s hip, his abdomen, until finally grasping Bucky’s prick in a loose hold. “It’s okay, Buck. I won’t stop.”

Bucky shook uncontrollably. His entire body was too sensitive: his sweating skin against the rough blanket, his prick in Steve’s hand, the backs of his fucking knees. Steve eased three fingers into Bucky, smoothly pushing in and twisting on the pull back out. And then, between the delicious aching stretch of his hole and the light touches against his dick and balls, the oversensitivity faded and was replaced by the feel of another orgasm building throughout his whole body.

Sloppily, Bucky threw back his hand and grasped at Steve’s wrist. His fingers slipped, brushing against the seam where Steve’s hand disappeared into his body, and another shudder wracked Bucky’s body. “Steve, Steve, please.”

“Yeah, sure.” Steve’s voice shook, and he slipped his pinky finger inside Bucky as well. Still holding onto Steve’s wrist, Bucky felt the bones and muscles of Steve’s hand move at the same time he felt the movement in his hole, and he held Steve’s hand tighter and arched his back with a gasp.

“Qu-quit teasing and start fu-fucking already!”

“Are you—”

“Yes, I’m one hundred goddamn percent sure that I want your dick in me before I shoot off again!” Bucky pulled back his hand and forced himself up off the ground. He balanced on his arms, spread his legs, shaking slightly at Steve’s fingers forming a firm block that shifted with his movements.

In the silence of the night, Steve’s shaky exhale seemed almost to echo. And then finally, finally, he replaced his fingers with his dick. The blunt head pressed against Bucky’s hole, and Bucky held his breath until all at once his rim relaxed and Steve’s dick sank halfway in. Steve moaned and fell forward, weight almost fully against Bucky’s back from groin to chest.

“Oh, God, Buck, Bucky.”

Steve’s breath was warm as it kissed Bucky’s sticky neck.

“Steve,” Bucky breathed. One of Steve’s hands tangled with Bucky’s against the blanket, and the other wormed its way under Bucky’s torso to hold their bodies together. His hand ended up over Bucky’s racing heart.

Steve’s hips continued their small thrusts, slowly driving deeper and deeper, until there wasn’t any room for air between them.

And as Bucky lay held in Steve’s arms, not just a warm body to fuck but like the most precious of lovers, he was struck with a sense that he had just made a terrible mistake.

How could he let Steve go after this? He’d run out of excuses long ago. The only one left now was new: that nothing counted in wartime, What did it matter if two guys found some physical comfort with each other when there wasn’t a woman for miles around? And maybe this was for Steve - he hadn’t seen Agent Carter for weeks, and fucking Bucky was just an old habit, like rubbing his neck when he got nervous.

But it had never been just a habit to Bucky. Even when he’d been denying his true feelings to himself, even when there was a pretty lady eager to let him under her skirt, even when he only narrowly avoided being arrested coming out of a queer bar, he’d turned back to Steve because that was where his gut and his head and his heart had wanted to go. Steve didn’t want Bucky the way Bucky wanted Steve - and that would be okay, he’d thought. That their trysts had an expiration date was something he’d always known and accepted. Steve would find a wife who would pop out a handful of healthy, hearty kids who Bucky would godfather, and Bucky would be his charming bachelor friend or else find a woman who wouldn’t mind pretending (he’d long since given up on the fantasy of being Steve’s friend without also loving him). It would be bearable, because Bucky could give up happiness for Steve to have it, and he’d have the memories of being the center of Steve’s focus to keep his spirits up.

Except then he had to go and suggest this, in a moment of weakness, because he’s been wanting it for over seven years and he’d finally had the chance. Steve’s dick in his hand or mouth or between his legs had been wonderful/awful enough. Knowing Steve’s expression when he came was a unique brand of maddening bliss, one that brought as much pain as delight, but Bucky’s only real regret there was dragging Steve down with him.

This knowledge, however, was too much. Being touched like he wasn’t something dirty, being held like he wasn’t unworthy, being stuffed full like he wasn’t selfish with Steve’s lips kissing his skin and whispering praise that felt like benediction… How could Bucky go back to a life where he could only touch Steve to throw an arm around his shoulder or patch him up after a fight?

“Bucky,” Steve sighed against his neck, his shoulder, his spine. “You’re incredible, Buck.”

Bucky gasped and tears slipped from his eyes, mingling with the sweat on his cheeks. With his free hand, he reached back and grabbed Steve’s face, pulled him close by his chin, and kissed him desperately. The angle was awkward, but it stopped Steve from talking, and from noticing Bucky’s tears.

They rocked against each other, alternately kissing and panting into each other’s mouths. Bucky bit at Steve’s lip, drawing out a whine and a harder thrust. Echoes of Steve’s strength shook through Bucky’s body, and the spot that set him on fire now seemed to have grown to everywhere inside him. He clutched at Steve’s hand tighter, trying to stave off another orgasm.

“Yes,” Bucky moaned, scraping his nails across Steve’s neck and pushing back his hips. “Oh hell, Steve, please.”

“Like this?” Steve’s movements grew sharper and harder, jerking Bucky forward. Bucky hid his face again, squeezing his eyes shut and gasping wetly into the ground. He urged Steve on, trying to get him to thrust harder and harder until he was hovering above Bucky’s back, driving into Bucky with small grunts. All that was left was the bruising slap of Steve’s hips against his ass, the vice of Steve’s fingers laced through his, and his orgasm rippling under his skin until, without any warning, it swelled up and washed over him. He sobbed out loud, hole clenching around the solid mass of Steve’s dick, and didn’t realize he’d blacked out until he came to again, Steve lazily kissing the small of his back and having replaced his dick with two fingers.

“Like - like that, yeah,” Bucky said, and Steve chuckled against his skin. “Did - did you come?”

“Yeah,” Steve said embarrassedly. He curled his fingers and Bucky felt something run down to his balls. Steve’s come, he realized, and the thought inexplicably made another sob rip from his throat.

“I’m fine,” he said before Steve had the chance to ask, even as he struggled to keep himself under control. “Was just intense.”

“Okay.” Slowly, as if giving Bucky the chance to stop him, Steve pulled his fingers out completely, and Bucky shuddered at the emptiness. There was a gaping hole in his chest, and his heart lay as dust at the bottom of his ribs. “Okay, Buck.”

Steve wiped them both off with some cloth and then coaxed Bucky over to the other bed roll to curl up with him. Bucky kept his face turned away until he regained his façade and stopped crying.

“Still hotter ‘an the Devil’s asscrack,” he muttered, and Steve’s startled laughter filled the tent. Bucky smiled to himself, reached out to hold Steve’s hand, and let his exhaustion finally drag him down.

The next morning, his ass ached something fierce. Habit kept his march regular, but lowering himself to the ground and picking himself back up when they took a break was a chore.

Steve turned red every time he caught Bucky limping, though, and that made it worth it. Almost.

Steve had never been his. Every orgasm and every intimate moment had been something that Bucky had stolen, always greedy for more, and he was damaging Steve with it, too. Their friendship would survive, but that was all it could be.

Nothing extra.

Nothing more.


(5.)

Bucky would have liked to say he kept his resolve for seventy years, but cumulatively it was really no more than four. He kept himself busy in the war, made sure there weren’t any opportunities for them to fool around, and everything after that was a mess. Hydra’s brainwashing had broken a while ago, and he’d only moved back in with Steve twenty-five days ago.

It wasn’t that he had no willpower. They had managed to live together for years without falling into bed together every day, or even every month. There had even been long stretches of time where Bucky moved on.

(He had always come back to Steve in the end.)

They were both different men than who they had been in 1939 – heroes, weapons, murderers - and the world they lived in was an alien planet for all it had in common with the one where they grew up. But Bucky came back, same as always, turning up on Steve’s doorstep like a stray dog.

They quickly fell into a new version of their old patterns. Steve got up first, going for a run with Sam instead of going across the hall to help old Mr. Finchley get dressed. While he was gone, Bucky put on a pot of joe; used to be that he’d take his time waking up, nowadays he didn’t sleep much so he stayed in bed for a while with a book. Breakfast was still spent reading the paper, but it was a digital paper now, and the breakfast itself was more glamorous than anything that had been available to them before, even if they were just having toast. He’d never have been able to imagine that so many jelly flavors could exist, or the variety of bread.

Finding things to fill their time was new. Before the war, they’d always been working, even when Steve was so sick that he should've gone to a hospital. Today, if there weren’t any missions to go on or supervillains trying to take over Milwaukee or wherever, they had nothing but time.

Bucky was starting to get the hang of this. He was even starting to like it.

- - -

Twenty-six days after moving in with Steve, Bucky had a nightmare. They didn’t happen often, and Bucky never remembered them, but he was categorically incapable of getting back to sleep. He woke up with a sense of claustrophobia, and left his room as quickly and quietly as he could. He opened all the doors except for the one leading to Steve’s bedroom, turned on every light, and unlocked all the windows, even though it was snowing outside and Bucky was only in a thin shirt and boxers. He switched on the television but kept the sound off, put on the most visually stunning movie they owned, and curled up underneath one of the windows with a blanket wrapped around his shoulders.

He noticed immediately when Steve came out into the apartment. His face was alert and concerned, but everything else about him was sleep-rumpled, from the fading pillow crease on his cheek to his pajama pants being twisted round his waist.

“Buck? Everything okay?”

His hips were directly at Bucky’s eye level, and his pants twisted low enough that Bucky could see he wasn’t wearing underwear. Defined muscles, pale skin, fine body hair, only covered by an old, thin pair of cotton pants. Fire rushed into Bucky’s insides and burnt away the last vestiges of his nightmare.

“Bucky?” Steve repeated. He stopped five feet away and shifted on his feet. Already, there was a bump beginning to grow in his pants, and Bucky licked his lips without even thinking.

“Steve,” he said, abandoning his blanket and shuffling forward on his knees. He grasped Steve’s hips as soon as he could reach, tucking his thumbs just under the waistband of Steve’s pants, and only then looked up to Steve’s eyes. There was a crease in his brow and a set to his jaw, and Bucky felt wild and reckless. “Tell me to stop,” he said, though he didn’t know if it was a order or a plea.

Steve didn’t; he only let out a shaky exhale when Bucky gently pulled down his thin cotton pants. He rolled the waistband over Steve’s crotch, and he didn’t even give Steve the chance to step out of the pants before he leant forward to press a kiss to his abdomen.

Steve sighed again. How loud they could be now? Their old apartment building had such thin walls you could hear people arguing two units over, so the only time they’d been able to make a noise was when they fucked in the war. They were both real good at keeping quiet.

They didn’t even have neighbors now; their apartment took up the whole floor.

What kind of noises could he draw from Steve, now that he had the chance? The thought alone made his prick swell in his boxers. He decided to draw out the suckjob, settling into a more comfortable position. The wood floor was unforgiving against his knees, but there was no need to make his thighs suffer too. He was hoping to be here for a while.

He kissed along the edge of the hair around Steve’s prick, followed it down to his hip joint where he sucked a love bite into the skin. He slowly stroked up and down the backs of Steve’s legs, occasionally scratching lightly over the delicate skin of his inner thighs with his right hand. Steve’s hand rested on top of his head, and he felt Steve’s fingers spasm every time he appeared to be finally moving towards his dick.

Eventually, Steve’s fingers tightened purposefully in Bucky’s hair, and he said, “Gonna make me wait for gray hairs, Buck?”

Bucky laughed. “Same old Steve.”

“Yeah,” Steve murmured. His hand left Bucky’s hair to cup his cheek. His thumb stroked across the curve of cheekbone, leaving a line of sparks under Bucky’s skin, and Bucky’s heart spasmed in a way that was complicated and scarily familiar in his chest.

In an attempt to distract Steve - to distract them both, really - Bucky finally put his mouth on Steve’s dick. He mouthed his way up to the tip, and then slowly sank his mouth down over it. He angled his head so that he could feel his cheek between Steve’s dick and his hand, and relished in the feeling of Steve’s prick growing harder and bigger between his lips. He loved sucking Steve into full hardness. It was a shame he hadn’t been able to do it more.

He pulled out all his old tricks and dialed them up to eleven, and tried out a few ideas he hadn’t had the opportunity to try out. He licked the tip, twisted his head round, sucked Steve all the way into his throat and swallowed around him, even though it blocked his airway and made his eyes water. He stroked Steve’s dick in time with the pulls of his mouth, squeezing at the root. When he pulled off to gently suck on Steve’s balls, he used his metal fingers to dance up and down the length of Steve’s cock.

If the loud moan wasn’t enough of an indicator of Steve’s enjoyment, his dick jerked against Bucky’s cheek.

“Alright?” Bucky asked. His voice came out rough.

“I wasn’t expecting it would be so cold,” Steve said, sounding surprised.

After a moment of contemplation, Bucky cautiously used the metal hand to cup Steve’s balls. Steve tightened his grip on Bucky’s hair.

“Still good?”

Yes.”

Bucky grinned, and put his mouth back around Steve’s dick. He slipped down past the blunt head and then sucked as hard as he could. Steve’s hips twitched forward, and Bucky let out an encouraging moan. When Steve didn’t pick up the message immediately, Bucky used both his hands to cup Steve’s ass and make him thrust forward, keeping his head still.

“Are you sure, Buck? Last time…”

Last time, Bucky had pushed himself too much and almost thrown up. But now his limit was much, much higher; as the Winter Soldier he’d been sexless, but the improvements to his general stamina and pain threshold had so far had a lot of unforeseen side effects; he didn’t doubt this would be one, too.

He made an impatient noise and tugged  Steve’s ass closer again. Steve breathed out, and then slowly started to thrust forward. He pulled back when he reached the back of Bucky’s throat, and when he thrust in again, Bucky let his hands drop. His metal one went back to Steve’s balls, which had the awesome development of making Steve’s thrusts harder and more erratic; his flesh one went to his own dick, squeezing himself to stave off his orgasm. He closed his eyes and let the sensations take over.

By the time Steve came, he was thrusting all the way into Bucky’s throat. His come tasted nicer than it used to, Bucky was surprised to realize. He swallowed, but some of it trickled down his chin. His jaw and knees and lungs burned, and he was so close to coming himself that he could barely tell which way was up anymore.

Steve sat heavily on the floor, panting deeply.

“I don’t… remember it being so… intense,” he said before he even fully got his breath back.

“Going senile, pal?”

Steve laughed. He held out a hand to Bucky. “Come here.”

Confused, Bucky took Steve’s hand and let himself be tugged forwards. He ended up Steve’s lap, being sweetly kissed as Steve’s other hand slipped beneath his boxers. He shivered.

“Lie down,” Steve murmured against his lips. Bucky didn’t move. “Come on, Buck, I want you to feel good too.”

Bucky pulled back completely out of Steve’s arms. Steve opened his eyes and frowned at him.

Bucky felt like his brain had stalled. Unsure of what he wanted to say – of whether he wanted to know what Steve meant – he stumbled over his words. “Do you mean - you—”

“Want to suck you off too? Yeah, I thought that was pretty obvious.”

“… Why?”

Steve straightened up, lifting his jaw and squaring his shoulders. Some part of Bucky’s brain recognized this as Steve gearing up for a fight, but the rest was spinning off into a panicked mess.

“Why what? Why do I wanna suck you?”

Bucky was on his feet and back by the window before he even finished registering the words. Had he actually done it? Had he corrupted his best friend? Except the queerest thing Steve had ever done was yank Bucky off, he’d made sure of it!

“You’re normal, Steve! You shouldn’t wanna—I’m the one who’s sick, not you—”

“No, you don’t get to decide the rules anymore!” Steve jumped to his feet too. He was outright glaring at Bucky. His anger made him seem eight feet tall, and Bucky felt his own shoulders draw up, instinctively preparing for a fight.

“I’m not gonna let you—”

“Let me? Fuck you, Barnes, you’re not my mother.”

Bucky snarled and leapt forward at Steve, knocking him to the floor. If Mrs. Rogers hadn’t died when she did, Bucky wouldn’t have moved in with Steve and maybe they both would’ve had a chance of being normal. At the very least, maybe Bucky could have managed to control himself better than when he was seventeen.

Steve grappled back. He punched Bucky in the kidney and rolled them over, and Bucky cracked him across the head with the TV remote; it shattered and Steve was unharmed, but it distracted him enough that Bucky could wriggle free.

“Just your good pal Bucky,” Bucky said, lips curling into a grimace. Steve lunged for him and they both went down again. Bucky continued, voice strained from having the breath knocked out of him, “Good pal Bucky you don’t mind fucking every now and then, right?” He kneed Steve in the groin, and with a wounded groan Steve rolled away. Bucky rolled to his feet, and ran for the open window. Coming back here was a mistake - it had always been a mistake, he knew that now. Steve was his weakness, and every time he came back he’d dragged Steve further and further down with him.

“Like it wasn’t your game all along,” Steve called after him. “Were you doing it ‘cause you pitied me? ‘Cause you were making fun of me?”

Bucky stopped. He was halfway out the window, one foot balanced on the pane. Snow bit fierce on his toes, even as it melted.

“Bucky.” Steve’s voice was tight with control, the way that meant he was trying desperately not to say the wrong thing. “You’re my closest friend. I’d like for you to be more, but I don’t know what you want from me.”

“I don’t want anything from you.”

“That’s crap and we both know it.”

Bucky shifted, took his foot off the windowsill but kept his hands on the frame. He didn’t want to be talked back by Steve; he needed to leave while he still had the strength.

But it turned out he didn’t have the strength to leave if Steve thought Bucky had been making fun of him all this time. He couldn’t.

“You remember when we were about nineteen? We met a couple of girls at a dancehall and took them to a movie. Shall We Dance, I think.”

The nonsequitor caught Bucky off guard, and he turned around before he could stop himself. Steve was standing again, all his fight replaced by fierce determination. If Bucky were in a better mood, it would have been funny, him standing there in only a T-shirt and socks.

He nodded his head and cleared his throat. “Yeah,” he said quietly. “You were in a mood for days after.”

“Yeah, it was a pretty awful date. Because I’d asked out you, and then you went and turned it into a double.” Steve shook his head, and Bucky could only stare at him. “I thought you were turning me down all gentle, except you tried teaching me to waltz after and then I didn’t know what to think.”

“Sorry,” Bucky whispered.

“So tell me what to think,” Steve prompted.

Bucky swallowed. His heart was vibrating so hard in his chest he could almost hear it, and white noise buzzed in his ears. Steve was over nine feet away - Bucky could still run, and there’d be nothing Steve could do about it. And if he ran, if he hid for long enough, eventually Steve would stop looking for him, and then Steve could finally get on with a normal life.

Except even in his head that sounded like a lie. And anyway, Bucky wasn’t that much of a jackass.

“I don’t know how to explain it,” he said.

“Quit stalling and try.”

“Alright, alright.” He turned back to the window. He rested his hands on the sill and leant on them, and then said to the falling snowflakes, “I feel about you the way I should feel about a woman.” He shook his head. “Any woman. My head was broken long before Hydra got a hold of me, pal, ’cause even when I haven’t been caught up with you, it was always fellas who turned my head.”

“Bucky—“

“And I’m sorry.” Tears started to build behind his eyes and he hunched over, directed the rest of his words to his hands. Finally saying all this, the world’s weight was lifting from his neck, and it felt so good even though he knew he was about to lose Steve. “I should’ve gone as soon as I knew I was sick. I didn’t want to pull you down with me.”

“I don’t think you’re sick, Buck.”

“How can you not? Fellas aren’t supposed to be with fellas, especially ones like you.”

“The nice thing about the future,” Steve said, “is that there are a lot less rules for what guys and girls are supposed to do. Bucky, it’s not just that men can date men and women can date women, but there are laws protecting them, they can get married, adopt kids, buy a house together.”

Bucky stood up, turned around and glared at Steve. “Don’t be bullshitting to make me feel better.”

“When have I ever done that to you?” Steve stepped closer, and, when Bucky didn’t run away, moved closer still, until he was only an arm’s length away. “I’m not gonna lie to you, Buck, there’s still a lot of hate out there. But how you feel - how I feel - it isn’t wrong.”

“But you were gonna marry Agent Carter,” Bucky burst out. His head was spinning, on the brink of madness. Could what Steve was saying be true? It seemed impossible.

“Men and women can like men and women too,” Steve said. “You don’t have to decide between one or the other. There’s names for all these things now, scientific ones, not just insults. It’s all on the Internet. Come on, I’ll show you.”

“No,” Bucky gasped. Steve frowned. Bucky shook his head. His whole body was trembling, and the only thing keeping him upright was the wall. Because how could this be true? That it was possible to love both men and women, that a man could marry a man, a woman marry a woman, was like something out of a dream or most unrealistic fantasy.

And if it were true…

Steve put his hand on Bucky’s shoulder and Bucky grasped it tightly. He realized after a moment that he was gripping Steve with his metal hand, but Steve didn’t even flinch. He just kept Bucky steady while the rest of the world flipped head over ass, and Bucky closed his eyes and held on.


(+1.)

Eventually, they moved to Steve’s bedroom. Steve loaded up some websites on his tablet for Bucky to read, put on a fresh pair of pants, and left the room. He stayed out there for a long time, way longer than it took to tidy up the small mess their scuffle had caused, but it gave Bucky plenty of time to read the pages Steve had found as well as follow a dozen more links.

Bucky devoured the information like a man starving for air. The encyclopedia website was the easiest to read, being presented in a scholarly way. The photographs were almost impossible for him to look at - he’d seen queers kiss for years, but it was always hidden, always disguised. These guys and ladies were kissing for everyone to see.

There were personal accounts, too, and some of them were close enough to Bucky’s experience that it knocked the breath out of him. There was a woman who’d grown up in a deeply religious community, got married, had three kids, and repressed her feelings for women until she was forty-seven. She was now happily committed to another woman. I regret that it took me so many miserable years to figure out who God made me to be, she wrote, but I thank God every day for giving me three beautiful children, and a partner whom I will love dearly until the end of my days.

Bucky might admit to crying at some of those stories, but only to Steve.

And all these websites used a whole new vocabulary set. The words floated around his head, whispering, teasing. They scared Bucky with their possibilities and implications, and there wasn’t a lot that scared Bucky nowadays. There was a word that described Bucky - there were a slew of words that described Bucky, in fact, and they were all just words, not jeers or attacks. He couldn’t frame himself in them, wasn’t sure if he’d ever be able to, but they were there.

Eventually, Steve knocked on the door. It was a little absurd - this was his bedroom, after all - but Bucky appreciated the thought.

“Yeah, come in,” he said, and Steve did. He lingered in the doorway until Bucky rolled his eyes and gestured to the bed. “I said ‘come in’, doofus. Not ‘hover in the hall and let out all the warm air.’”

Steve gave a self-deprecating smile, closed the door, and joined Bucky on the bed. “What did you think?” he asked, nodding at the tablet.

“No one told me different races could marry now, either,” Bucky said. He was… relieved, that much he could say, but the rest was still such a mess in his head it was like trying to figure out how to be a functional person all over again. He raised an eyebrow at Steve. “Someone’s been slacking on catching me up with social issues. What do you think I did to deserve such awful friends?”

“You should get new ones,” Steve agreed, nodding, “ones who’ll tell you about hippies and infomercials instead of reality TV and sushi.”

“What the hell is a hippie?”

Steve laughed, tipping his head back. It was more laughter than the joke warranted, which meant that Steve had probably been worrying himself half to death out in the apartment. Before he could talk himself out of it, Bucky put the tablet aside and turned directly to face Steve. Steve tilted his head.

Bucky forced himself to meet Steve’s eyes. “I love you,” he said, in a purposeful, measured tone.

Steve’s smile grew, and his eyes glistened with restrained tears. Bucky was about to do something to break the moment - start talking about interracial marriage again, probably - but Steve beat him to it. He leaned into Bucky’s space, lightly resting a hand on his waist, pausing a few inches from Bucky’s lips. Bucky closed the gap.

The kiss began tentative and light, both of them feeling out their new dynamic. It should hardly have rated as a kiss at all, except Bucky’s heart was thundering like gunfire on a battlefield, and the fact that he was downright giddy being free from the shackles of fear that he was gonna lose Steve over this. There was still a lot left he had to deal with, but he could say that with certainty.

“I love you,” he murmured against Steve’s lips. “I love you, I love you.”

The kiss grew more intense. Their bodies pressed closer and closer, their hands and heads and mouths constantly on the move. It was the best kiss Bucky had ever had, bar none, because he loved Steve and Steve knew, knew the full extent of what those words meant, and he hadn’t turned away in disgust.

“I want to try something,” Steve said. His lips were swollen with the force of their kisses, and Bucky’s felt equally, delightfully sore.

“Sure.”

“Lay down?”

Nerves curled in Bucky’s stomach, but tonight was all about moving forward. No way past that unless he pushed himself, so he shuffled down the bed until he was more or less lying down. Steve moved with him, expression nothing but stout determination, and he kissed Bucky hard once he stilled as if to thank him.

“I’ll stop whenever you tell me to,” Steve said. Bucky nodded wordlessly, and then closed his eyes as Steve started kissing and biting and stroking his way down Bucky’s body. His method was almost militaristic in its focus, creating a path that never crossed itself as Steve explored the uncharted territory of Bucky’s body. From his jaw and neck to his shoulders, a brief kiss to his metal one before laving attention across his collar and down his flesh arm; spiraling around his pecs with his nipples at the center, and teasing the sensitive spots on his stomach and sides.

It almost felt like worship, the way Steve lingered in each area. By the time he reached the waistband of Bucky’s boxers, Bucky was straining inside them, panting heavily, and light as a feather.

At Steve’s gesture, Bucky lifted up his hips and let Steve slide off his underwear. They had barely left his legs when Steve was back on him, this time starting from mid-thigh and working his way up. Bucky groaned with impatience, and again when Steve batted his hand away from trying to hold his dick.

“I’m getting there,” Steve said.

“So shut up and get there,” Bucky replied. His eyes were still closed, but he'd bet his entire childhood baseball card collection that Steve had just rolled his eyes.

But then he licked along Bucky’s prick anyway, and took it into his mouth and sucked. Bucky yelped and couldn’t stop his hips from jerking up or his hand from going to Steve’s hair. Steve moved back with the thrust, and then laid an arm over Bucky’s hips and went to town. He turned all of Bucky’s tricks back on him tenfold and then some, and within minutes, Bucky was a quivering, whimpering mess.

“Done - done this before?” he asked, looking down at Steve for the first time. Steve shrugged coyly, meeting Bucky’s eyes. Seeing Steve’s lips wrapped around his dick was hotter than Bucky had ever imagined, but then he was struck by an awful dread. He tugged at Steve’s shoulder, gasping “Steve, Steve, stop,” as he tried to pull him up.

Steve did, instantly and without question. Bucky’s dick fell back against his leg, but he ignored it, hauling Steve in for another deep kiss. He kept at it, barely giving them opportunity to breathe until the panic had abated.

“What happened there, Buck?” His voice was steady, and he was obviously making an effort not to look concerned, which Bucky appreciated. He was feeling more than a little frustrated, not to mention embarrassed.

“Too much, I guess.” Bucky shrugged, trying not to look too uncomfortable.

“How about we finish the old-fashioned way?” Steve suggested with a grin, wiggling his fingers provocatively. Bucky almost blushed.

“Go on then, old man,” he said. Steve leaned down to kiss Bucky, the shape of a smile still on his lips, as he wrapped his hand around Bucky’s johnson and pulling him off in quick, expert strokes. Bucky jerked his hips and held onto Steve’s back, panting, and came all over his stomach.

Steve licked his hand clean, and Bucky groaned out, “Holy shit, Steve.”

Steve shrugged. “I’ve tasted worse.”

Bucky panted out a laugh, and then said, “Want me to finish you off?”

“Nah, I’m okay,” Steve said. Bucky raised an eyebrow and then looked pointedly at Steve’s crotch, where there was a pole pitched in his pants, and Steve shook his head. “Really, Buck. This was about making you feel good.”

“Jerking you off makes me feel good,” Bucky grumbled. Steve ignored him in favor of pulling the bedcover over himself.

“Come to bed, Bucky.”

For a moment, Bucky lay on top of the blanket, looking at Steve and trying to figure out what in Hell he'd done to deserve this life. Then he shook the thought off and started to get under the cover himself.

“Actually,” Steve said, “turn the lights out first, would you? And put on some clothes.”

“Not even an hour and you’re already bossing me around?”

“Oh, Buck. I’ve been bossing you around for a lot longer than that.”

Bucky rolled his eyes, but got out of bed to turn off the lights and get some pants from Steve’s drawer anyway. “You’re a real wise guy.”

Once under the covers, Steve rolled over and wrapped his arms around Bucky. There was plenty of room in this bed for them both to stretch out if they wanted to, but Bucky turned and curled up around him.

The room was pitch black, except for the blue dot coming from one of Steve’s chargers on the dresser, and Bucky was almost asleep when Steve murmured, “In case it wasn’t obvious, I love you too.”

“Nope,” Bucky said, “wasn’t obvious at all. You need to work on that.”

Steve laughed quietly, shaking Bucky’s body. “In the morning.”

Bucky smiled.

 

FINIT