Chapter 1: Womb Me Over
"Can I ask you a favor?"
Bucky looked at Steve with raised eyebrows. "And how much trouble will I get in for this favor?" He asked.
"Do you really think so little of me? You won't get in trouble. I swear."
Settling back on his elbow, Bucky took a long swig of his beer. The two of them had met at the bar after work, like they did every Friday. Usually they had a few beers, waited for Sam, Clint, and some of the other guys to show up, then migrated to Steve's house and ordered a pizza or three. "Well, if you promise..."
"Okay." The way Steve had to steel himself to ask the question made Bucky a little wary. "Will you be my partner for a lamaze class?"
For a few long moments, Bucky just blinked at him, not knowing which question to ask first. Finally he went with the biggest question on his mind. "What?"
"Okay, so you know my friend Sharon, right? And how she was doing fertility treatments? So she finally got pregnant and she asked me to be her partner for this birthing class and I said sure, so we signed up but then, you know, she's still working and stuff, and the first class is Monday night and she has to go to Dallas for the next three weeks but she already paid for it and I'm gonna feel stupid going by myself--"
"Let me stop you right there," Bucky said, holding up his hand. "You agreed to be Sharon's 'birthing partner'? Why would you do that?"
"She's my friend!" Steve said.
"Okay, so why don't you ask one of your other 'girlfriends' to be your partner?"
Steve sighed. "She's just gonna try to set me up with someone in the class. And you know she's been trying to set me up with Sharon for ages." It was Steve's eternal struggle – coming up with excuses not to date the legions of available women Natasha suggested. Bucky wasn't sure why exactly his best friend wasn't interested in dating... then again, Bucky never felt the need to date, either.
"How about Maria?"
"Maria is very firmly anti-kids. Have you ever hung out with her? Anytime there's a child around, she's gone."
"But these are not-born children."
"I feel like she wouldn't be able to stop herself from saying something negative. I don't want all the other moms in the class to hate me."
"Okay, what about Wanda?"
"Seriously?" Bucky laughed. "You'd rather bring a dude to your birthing class than have Wanda be her usual weird self?"
Steve smiled at that. "I mean, who knows what the fuck would come out of her mouth, you know?"
"Okay, let me get this straight. I'm going to come with you to this birthing class and pretend to be pregnant and no one's going to give you the side-eye?"
"I just... I—I don't know. You're my best friend? And we can laugh about it later?"
"All right, all right. If you're going to invoke the 'best friends' clause, I'll do it. I'll be your surrogate pregnant woman." Bucky grinned as a few of the nearby bar patrons gave them strange looks. "Because you know, I'm with you--"
In unison they said, "Till the end of the line."
They clinked their beer bottles together and drank to themselves and the stupid thing they'd been saying ever since they were teenagers growing up in Brooklyn. Bucky's stop had been the one before Steve's, which was the absolute last stop on the line, but when Steve tried taking on a few bullies who also got off at that stop and landed in the hospital, Bucky started riding the train to the end of the line too.
"Don't mention this to Sam," Steve said.
"Aw, is Sam gonna be butt-hurt that you asked me instead of him?"
"You know he is."
"He's a diva," Bucky said, then added, "You could have just asked him to do it. I wouldn't have minded."
"Yeah, but... then you would've been butt-hurt."
"No way," Bucky swore. But it was kind of true. He and Steve did everything together. They both worked construction together, ate lunch together, and often grabbed dinner together too, and Bucky spent most weekends at Steve's house, helping him fix it up. He had already been a little bit jealous that Steve was going to be doing this thing with Sharon. “Okay, maybe a little.”
Steve slapped him on the shoulder. "Diva."
"Who's a diva now?"
They turned to see Sam behind them, with Clint in tow. Clint had on his rumpled business suit – what his job was, none of them knew – while Sam looked more polished in a black long-sleeve tee and jeans. He was also wearing his aviator sunglasses inside, hence the diva jokes.
"Clearly, you are," Bucky said. "Are you hoping someone will mistake you for a celebrity?"
"Oh, I see how it is."
"Can you see?"
"I don't know, Steve." Sam rested his elbow on the shoulder of Steve's flannel shirt. "Which makes more of a diva: me and my sunglasses, or Barnes and his luscious locks?"
Steve raised his eyebrows and said, "Well...."
"Did you tell them to put the fan up in the corner there?" Sam continued, gesturing. "Just gotta have the wind blowing through your hair."
Bucky shook his head, laughing, but his face had flushed a bit. The guys were always ripping on his hair, just because he used separate shampoo and conditioner instead of the 2-in-1 that Clint and Steve both used. And sometimes he used a little mousse.
"Hey, Barton, how was work?" Steve called. Clint had taken the seat on the other side of Bucky, even though Bucky's back was to him. He'd already somehow gotten a beer and was drinking it, looking devastated.
"Eh, one of those days."
"One of what days?" Steve pressed.
"You know. The kind where you should have just gone back to bed."
"But at least it's Friday," Sam said. He nodded at the bartender, who knew his regulars. A few seconds later, he had a beer in his hand. "Right? TGIF?"
"Yeah," said Clint glumly.
"We could play some darts," Bucky suggested cautiously.
That perked Clint up. "For money?"
Steve and Sam groaned. "What have you done?" Steve said.
"He's unleashed the beast, that's what he's done," Sam agreed.
After three rounds, Bucky had lost seventy-five dollars and called it quits. "Double or nothing!" Clint crowed.
"Come on, aren't you hungry?"
"Hungry for money! Pay up." Clint held out his hand and wiggled his fingers while Bucky hauled out his wallet.
"Okay, now can we get some freaking pizza already?" Bucky demanded.
They walked outside. The setting sun was bright after the dimness of the bar. Bucky followed Steve to his truck and climbed in, while Sam and Clint got in their respective vehicles. "Are you ready for it?" Steve said, starting the engine.
"I'm ready," Bucky said.
The opening strains of "Convoy" started up. Steve started tapping his fingers along with the drum beat, and Bucky nodded his head until all three vehicles had made their way onto the main road, which was when the chorus finally hit, and Steve and Bucky started singing.
Come on and join our convoy
Ain't nothin' gonna get in our way.
We gonna roll this truckin' convoy
'Cross the U-S-A.
Bucky liked hearing Steve's smooth, belting voice alongside his own gravelly baritone. He liked how Steve laughed when Bucky decided to sing in a falsetto. He couldn't even remember when they had discovered that this song was the exact length of the drive from the bar to Steve's house, but ever since then it had only added one more item to their long list of traditions.
He hated thinking of a day when all this might change.
For so long, the two of them had been staunch bachelors. They'd both dated but nothing had ever quite worked out. Recently, though, Steve had talked about "settling down."
"Don't you ever want to find someone?" Steve asked sometimes. "Someone to grow old with?"
This thing with Sharon had bothered Bucky. Steve and Sharon had never dated, despite all of Natasha's hints that he should ask her out. Or he had tried to ask her out once, and she had politely refused, saying she was busy with work that night, and Steve had never asked again. And that was fine with Bucky.
He liked hanging with his friends. Girlfriends just complicated that.
At least, that’s what he told himself.
Chapter 2: Baby When You Touch Me
“So… uh… this isn’t going to be awkward AT ALL,” Bucky whispered as they walked into the community center.
The other people coming in for the birthing class were all couples. Women sporting baby bumps and maternity clothes, and their significant others, most of whom were male and looked like office workers. Bucky wasn’t sure exactly how to describe what made them look like office workers. They weren’t all wearing suits and ties or anything. Just, somehow, Bucky and Steve’s customary flannel shirts over the company t-shirts everyone wore made him feel out of place. These were people who had maybe painted their nurseries and thought they were doing a big home improvement project, who had bought coordinating crib sheets and curtains. This past weekend, Steve and Bucky had demolished the wall that separated the kitchen and living room.
He and Steve looked like two hulking lumberjacks in a room full of office drones.
“It’ll be fine,” Steve said.
A line had formed to the room where the class was being held, or so Bucky assumed from the line of pregnant women. He and Steve settled in to wait for the woman with the clipboard to check them in.
“Couldn’t you have just taken notes or something,” Bucky whispered to Steve. He couldn’t believe he had only just thought of this now, after three days.
“You said you would come with me,” Steve hissed back. “You can’t back out now. Till the end of the line.”
“Till the end of the line,” Bucky muttered, glancing back at the two women joining the line behind them. Lesbians or friends? He wondered.
“I mean, there are, like, positions you have to learn,” Steve continued. “You can’t just learn by watching.”
“Jesus,” Bucky said. He felt like everyone in the line was turning to peek at the male couple entering a childbirthing class. Steve was so stupid sometimes.
They soon reached the front of the line. “Hi!” said a brunette with a huge smile and dark-rimmed glasses. She had a clipboard and a knit hat with a big flower on it, and the nametag on her sweater said HELLO MY NAME IS: Darcy! “Are you here for the childbirth class?”
Obviously, Bucky thought. He had already decided that he would let Steve handle all the questions.
“Yes,” said Steve. “I’m Steve Rogers?”
Darcy checked the list. “And I’m guessing you’re Sharon Carter?” she said to Bucky, then laughed. “Ha, ha, just kidding. And you are?”
Bucky glared. “He’s with me,” Steve said quickly, elbowing Bucky. “Uh, Sharon couldn’t make it, so Bucky’s going to be filling in.”
“Oh, sure, okay. That’s cool,” Darcy said. “Head on in.”
“See? No problem,” said Steve.
Inside, the room had ten pairs of chairs set up in a circle. Near each pair, there was a yoga mat, some pillows, and a stability ball.
“Oh, I didn’t realize we’d get to work out during this class,” said Bucky. He sat on the stability ball and bounced.
“Stop,” Steve whispered. “I don’t want us to get in trouble.”
“If anyone gets into trouble, it’ll be me. You’re safe,” Bucky said.
“Stop,” Steve hissed, and hauled him up by the arm. “Come on. We gotta behave like adults.”
“Alright, alright,” Bucky said, laughing.
Now sitting like “adults,” Bucky felt the looks of their classmates even more. He leaned over to Steve. “I bet they think we’re gay.”
“Stop it.” Steve had pulled out a little spiral bound notebook and a pen. He wrote at the top, “CHILDBIRTH CLASS – WEEK 1.”
“That everyone thinks we’re gay.”
“Stop it,” Steve said again.
Bucky met the eyes of the blonde woman sitting beside him. “Do you think we’re gay?” he asked her.
The woman’s mouth opened and closed a couple of times. “Um, no?”
“Told you,” Steve said indignantly. “Hi, I’m Steve. This is Bucky. Bucky’s just filling in for my friend Sharon. She’s the pregnant one.”
“He’s lying,” Bucky said. “I’m the first ever pregnant man.”
“You’re funny,” the blonde woman said. She reached out her hand. “I’m Pepper. This is my husband Tony.” She waved at the guy with the groomed facial hair beside her, who snapped to attention.
“Yes, dear,” he said.
“I think these two will be the class clowns,” Pepper told him.
“Well thank god for that. I thought I was going to have to be the class clown.”
Steve tugged on Bucky’s arm. “We are NOT going to be the class clowns.”
“Yes, dear,” Bucky drawled.
“Come on, Buck, please,” Steve said. The flush that had crept up on Steve’s cheeks warned Bucky that he was going too far. Or that he needed to push Steve a little further.
“Fine,” Bucky said. “But maybe you should consider offering a reward for if I’m good. Like ice cream or something.”
“How old are you, five?” Steve complained.
“You could come with me to see that new horror movie.”
“Aw, come on. You know I hate horror movies.”
“This is a reward for me, not for you.”
“But I hate horror movies…” Steve gave puppy dog eyes.
“That’s not gonna work. I’m here at a fucking Lamaze class for you, okay? The least you could do is take me to the movies.”
“Fine. But you can’t laugh at me when I scream.”
“Come on! That’s the fun of watching horror movies with you!”
Finally the last pair of chairs were filled and Darcy entered the room. She started the class by showing a short video of a live birth.
“Jesus Christ,” Bucky whispered to Steve. “Why the fuck do women want to have babies so bad?”
“This is worse than any horror movie you’ve ever dragged me to,” Steve agreed, hiding his eyes behind his hand. “Is it over yet?”
Bucky peeked. “Still going.”
Beside him, Pepper laughed. “Men are such babies,” she said. A few of the other women chuckled, while a couple of others, Bucky noted, looked terrified.
“That is what is called the miracle of life,” Darcy said, flicking the lights on. “And with the proper breathing techniques, massage, and birthing positions, you will experience the joys of childbirth with much less… uh… screaming. Yes? Okay! Let’s get started!”
Bucky almost fell asleep during the first half of the hour-long class, in which Darcy lectured them about early signs of labor. The only thing that kept him awake was coming up with funny things to whisper to Steve. Steve tried to ignore him and take careful notes for Sharon, which was hard when he was shaking from trying not to laugh.
“Okay, let’s all turn our chairs so we’re facing our partner,” said Darcy.
Steve and Bucky looked at each other, then did as instructed. “Come on, boys, closer together! Remember, we talked about how you’ll want to be face-to-face with your partner so she – or he! – can fully embrace your comforting presence.” The class tittered. Red-faced, Steve and Bucky inched their chairs closer. Darcy made a motion with her hands, and they moved until their knees were touching. “Perfect!” Darcy trilled.
Bucky could feel his face burning. The tips of Steve’s ears were red.
“Now we’re ready to try some of these breathing patterns together,” said Darcy. “First, we’ll do the slow, deep breathing you would use in the first stages of labor. I want all the birthing partners to do this, too. I’m going to count up, and during this you will inhale. Then I will count backwards, and you will exhale. Okay?”
Darcy slowly counted up to seven, at which point Bucky felt like his lungs were going to explode. When she started counting backwards, he exhaled in a great rush that had Steve coughing. “Dude!” Steve waved his hand in front of his face. “You need a breath mint!”
“Musta been the burritos from dinner,” Bucky said.
“Focus!” said Darcy, and they tried again, with slightly more success. “Moving onto the ‘pant-pant-blow’ breath, I would like each of you to reach out and place your hand on your partner’s diaphragm.”
“Um, isn’t that the thing for birth control?” Bucky whispered. “I don’t have a vagina, sorry.”
“Your diaphragm muscle, idiot,” Steve said. He put his hand on his own stomach. “It’s, like, under your sternum.”
“Sometimes I forget that your mom was a nurse,” Bucky said. He felt for his own diaphragm, then looked at Steve’s stomach. “Um. Okay. Here we go.” He reached out and gently pressed his fingers near where Steve still held them.
“Yeah,” Steve said, doing the same.
The pressure of Steve’s fingers against his stomach felt oddly intimate, and Bucky found that he couldn’t quite bring himself to make eye contact with his best friend. They were both leaning forward slightly to reach, and their knees had moved aside to bring them closer together. Bucky didn’t think he’d ever held his face this close to Steve’s. At least, not for quite so long a time. Sure, they had hugged before. They had given each other head locks and noogies and they had wrestled. A few times, when they were kids, they had even laid their sleeping bags out on the lawn with their heads side by side to look at constellations.
Steve’s breathing had quickened a little. Bucky could both feel Steve’s diaphragm working and the warm whoosh of breath against his neck, tickling the hair by his ear.
“So the rhythm for this breath is quick and staccato, a one-two-three-one-two-three pattern. It’s pretty easy to remember when you think the words pant-pant-blow.”
Bucky snorted a little.
“Get your mind outta the gutter,” Steve whispered. Bucky could feel Steve’s diaphragm stuttering as he tried to suppress his laughter.
“We’ll make a sound like ‘hee-hee-who’ while we perform this breath. And we want to think about the power of the breath coming from the diaphragm.”
On Darcy’s command, the whole class began panting and blowing.
“Are you laughing or panting?” Bucky said.
“Hee-hee-who,” Steve puffed. “Hee-hee-heeeee….” Steve devolved into laughter and Bucky cracked up.
They tried to keep their laughing under cover. “She’s coming,” Steve whispered. “Come on. Hee-hee-hheeeee….”
While the breathing exercises were fun, he was more than ready for the class to move on. He felt like he did back in high school, watching the minutes tick by on the clock until it was 2:10 and he could get the hell out of there.
“Since this is the first class,” began Darcy, and Bucky suddenly had a hope that they had finished early. “I’ll stick with techniques for early stages of labor. It’s time to introduce the birthing ball!”
“Here we go,” said Bucky.
“Let’s have our pregnant ladies kneel in front of the ball – the yoga mats are to protect your knees.”
Bucky looked at Steve. Steve looked at Bucky, then lifted his eyebrows and looked at the ball. Bucky gave him a tortured look.
“If you want me to go to any kind of horror movie with you,” Steve warned.
With a dramatic sigh, Bucky got down on his knees in front of the ball, along with nine pregnant women. Pepper, and a few of the others, looked like they wanted to laugh.
Darcy instructed them to spread their legs and rest their upper bodies, arms, and head on the ball. “This position helps take the pressure of your back and decreases pain. It’s also a great position,” Darcy added brightly, “to allow your partner to give you a massage!”
Bucky had settled into his position with his head facing away from Steve, so he couldn’t see Steve’s expression when Darcy made her announcement.
“So get in there, birthing partners! For the rest of class, you can explore the ways your partner enjoys a massage. Massaging can greatly help the birthing process.”
Bucky felt Steve’s body move behind him, and then Steve’s big hands were on his back. “Uh, I have no idea how to give a massage,” Steve said.
“Maybe we don’t have to do this part.”
“Nonsense!” Darcy chirped, and both of them jumped. “Here.” Steve’s hands pressed into Bucky’s lats with Darcy’s aid, and started to move in a rough circle. “Just make little circles, or big circles. My, you’ve got quite a set of muscles under here,” Darcy said with a giggle. “I guess I don’t get a lot of pregnant body builders in these classes.”
“So, like this?” Steve asked. Without the pressure of Darcy’s hands, Steve’s touch was feather-light. Bucky buried his face in his arms.
“You can put more pressure than that.” Darcy patted Bucky’s shoulder. “He’s not going to break. But yes, circles, or you can try pushing up alongside the spine. Good!”
“Okay,” said Steve faintly.
Bucky just tried not to breathe funny. He wasn’t sure where his fit of giggling had gone. Now he just felt awkward and oddly… aroused. The lightness of Steve’s hands made him want Steve to massage deeper. He couldn’t remember ever getting a massage. It was nice, to have someone touching him so gently.
But it was Steve.
He kept his face buried in his arms.
“Is that too hard?” Steve asked.
“Say what now?”
“Am I doing it too hard?”
Bucky swallowed. “No. You could, um, go harder, if you want.”
Yes. “Yeah, that’s okay,” Bucky said.
“You know,” Steve said, after class was over and they were walking out to Steve’s truck, “maybe that massage was enough of a reward?”
The night air had helped cool Bucky off a little. He was sure Steve had noticed his red face afterwards, though.
“No way,” Bucky said. “You’re going to that movie with me. I mean, a massage like that? I feel like you should’ve bought me dinner first.”
“I did buy you dinner!” Steve said.
“Burritos at Chipotle? What kind of girl do you take me for?”
Chapter 3: Labor Pains
All night Bucky tossed and turned. He kept feeling Steve's hands on his back.
He tried to tell himself it was stupid, it didn't mean anything. It had just been a long time since anyone had touched him like that. And maybe no one had ever really touched him like that.
He flopped onto his side. When was the last time he had even gone on a date? A few years ago, at least. Bucky had convinced Steve to do online dating with him. He had never had a problem finding girls willing to go on dates with him, but most of the time when he tried to call them for another date they never picked up or called back, which was fine by him. He was usually only calling them for a second date because they seemed nice, not because he had felt any kind of chemistry.
What was wrong with him? He felt like girls must have some kind of sense that he wasn't interested. Sam was a total ladies' man, and even Clint had girlfriends – trainwrecks, every one of them – but while Bucky sometimes had girls hitting on him at the bar, nothing ever came of it. Same with Steve.
It was so stupid. Obviously his body was telling him that he wasn't meant to be a celibate monk. Someone – didn't matter that it was Steve – had touched him and reminded his dick that it still worked. Hell, maybe it was Darcy.
Next week he could see if Darcy had a wedding ring. One would figure that someone teaching a childbirth class would have a kid or two of her own, but that didn't necessarily mean she was married. Look at Sharon – she was doing it all on her own.
Yes, that's what he would do. Ask Darcy out.
But it had been Steve's hands on his back. Steve's big man hands. Jesus Christ, he was getting a boner just thinking about it. Stop, he told himself.
Needless to say, he didn't sleep well, and when Steve swung by to pick him up the following morning for work Bucky knew Steve could tell. "Coffee?" Steve asked.
"Coffee," Bucky agreed.
Steve swung into the Starbucks drive-thru line. There were five cars ahead of them.
"Rough night?" Steve asked.
"You'd think, after that nice massage, you woulda slept like a baby."
"Ha, ha," Bucky said, still grumpy.
"I mean... I was thinking, maybe next week I can pretend to be the pregnant one," Steve said casually. "And you can massage me."
Why did Bucky suddenly have an image of himself straddling Steve's back and rubbing him down? Stop it, he growled to himself. He shifted in his seat and rubbed his eyes. "If you want."
"I do," Steve said, drawing out the words suggestively.
Bucky ground his fist into his eye.
Finally they reached the speaker to place the order. "I'll have a venti iced Café Americano with 2 sugars and a grande Hazelnut Macciato with whipped cream."
Despite how grumpy he was, he couldn't keep his mouth shut as Steve inched forward. In a British accent he said, "Oh, a hazelnut macci-a-to. And don't forget the whipped cream, I cannot have my fancy coffee without whipped cream."
"Fuck you," Steve laughed.
"Real men only drink black coffee and straight whiskey!" Bucky barked in the voice of their high school gym teacher. "And gasoline!"
"Diesel fuel!" Steve added. "Gasoline is for pansies!"
"Real men only eat animals we've killed ourselves!"
"With our bare hands!"
Bucky was already feeling better by the time they got to the window. He sucked down half of his drink before they got to the construction site five minutes later. "Slow down or you're gonna be running to the Porta potty in ten minutes," Steve warned.
"Says he of the world's tiniest bladder."
"Wanna bet who'll break the seal first?" Steve had a twinkle in his eye.
"You're on!" Immediately Bucky sensed the need to pee. I can do this, he told himself. Steve usually visited the bathroom three times before lunch.
"Twenty minutes late with a Starbucks," said Nick when they walked up. Nick was the foreman, and he wore an eyepatch as a warning to his employees to keep the site safe.
"We're not late!" Steve checked his watch just to make sure.
"Course you're not late. You're the most punctual motherfucker I ever met."
Despite knowing it wouldn't help his cause, Bucky downed the rest of his coffee while they strapped on their tool belts and waited for the other guys to show up. His eyes felt grainy and rough, and he kept finding himself watching Steve's hands.
At least a full bladder will distract me, Bucky told himself.
And distract him it did. By the time he finally admitted he couldn't hold it any longer, he had to run to the Porta potty so he didn't wet himself. While he was in there, he heard the bang of the door on the toilet beside his. "Steve?" He called out over the amplified sound of himself peeing.
"I still won the bet!" Steve called back.
"So, big winner, where are we having dinner tonight?" Bucky asked after waiting for Steve to come out of the Porta potty. "Joe's? Phil's? Happy Sam's? Dum Dum's?"
"I was thinking something more sit-down."
"You can sit down at all those places."
"You know what I mean."
"You mean you want a salad."
"What's wrong with a salad?"
"Real men don't eat salad!" Bucky barked.
"I just... want a salad." Steve shoved his hands in his pockets, then added, "A man salad."
"What's a man salad?"
"You know. A salad with some meat!"
"Meat!" Bucky made some manly growling sounds. "Okay, so, what about Jacques?"
"You could even get some fancy escargot if you want."
Gesturing to his clothes, he asked, "We goin' like this? Straight outta work?"
Steve looked down at himself. "Hmm."
"We could. Who gives a fuck, right?"
"Jacques is fancy. I guess we could go back and clean up a little."
"That's stupid. You're gonna drop me off at my place, then go back to your place, then pick me up again?"
"You could shower at my place," Steve said. "Borrow some clothes."
"O-kay," said Bucky, making it sound like a chore. "Guess I'll just have to deal with looking like a nerd all night."
"Real men don't wear collared shirts! Real men wear leather and metal!" Steve bellowed.
"I don't need to know what kinky shit you two get up to after work," Nick called over his shoulder. "What I need is for these frames to get done before the end of the week!"
Steve turned bright red, and Bucky nearly choked on his laughter. It helped hide the fact that his face was bright red, too.
Eventually Steve laughed at himself and they got to work. Bucky had nearly forgotten about that one time Steve basically told everyone that he and Bucky enjoyed the BDSM scene when, a half hour later, Steve whispered, "Real men like whips and chains."
After his initial shock wore off, Bucky coughed out a laugh. "No blindfolds and featherplay for manly men."
"So manly, only men are allowed in the sex dungeon," Steve added.
“You need to stop talking,” Bucky laughed. There were moments, like this one, where Bucky wondered if Steve truly understood every innuendo coming out of his mouth.
“That’s right,” Steve said. “Real men are silent. Stoic. Real men don’t need puny words to express their wants and needs.”
Thankful that the topic had gotten off the whole sex thing, Bucky chimed in. “Real men don’t want. Real men take!”
“Can you real men shut the hell up?” called one of the guys, much closer to where Steve and Bucky were working than they expected.
“No one appreciates our humor,” Bucky said sadly.
Chapter 4: You're Ovary-Acting
When Bucky got out of the shower, Steve was on the phone.
That was a good thing, that Steve was distracted. It meant he could throw on his underwear – he drew the line at borrowing underwear – and a clean pair of Steve's jeans and a button-down shirt without feeling self-conscious. Because he was self-conscious, all of a sudden. He and Steve had changed in front of each other tons of times, even taken showers together in gym class and gone skinny dipping that one summer when they were twelve, and he'd never thought twice about it. But now he was feeling shy.
"Hey, you mind if Nat joins us for dinner?" Steve asked.
"That's fine." Nat was another good distraction. Bucky had already been feeling nervous about dinner alone with Steve.
Stupid dreams. Stupid weird feelings. Stupid stupid stupid.
"Okay. She's gonna meet us here in fifteen. Gives me enough time to jump in the shower," Steve said, tossing his phone on the bed. "Hope there's some hot water left."
"Nope, used it all washing my hair."
"I bet you did."
Bucky looked around for a mirror after he'd finished buttoning his shirt, but there wasn't one. Every time he'd stayed over at Steve's, sleeping on the couch, he'd never had to worry about finding a mirror. He had just used the one in the bathroom. Waiting for Steve to get out of the shower, he began pacing and scrolling through Facebook on his phone. He needed to put mousse in his hair or it would look terrible.
The second Steve stepped out of the bathroom with his towel around his waist, Bucky was ready to bolt in there.
"Hair emergency?" Steve teased.
Nat arrived before Steve was ready, so Bucky went downstairs and let her in. "My, my," she said, looking him up and down. "You're dressed fancy tonight."
"It's not too much, is it?"
"No," said Natasha in that way she had, where she seemed to be assessing him somehow.
"Okay. Well, you look nice, too." Her jeans and black top hugged every curve. Why haven't I ever asked Natasha out? He wondered. She's single. Sometimes.
"Thanks." She hopped up on one of the barstools. The kitchen was far from finished, but Steve had the barstools from a previous apartment, and they worked well to turn the as-yet-permanent kitchen island into a dinner table. "I was kinda surprised when Steve said you guys were going out to dinner. I mean, it's Tuesday."
"We go out to dinner all the time," Bucky said.
"Not to Jacques."
"Oh, is that why you're going with us? Because we're going someplace nice?"
"You don't mind me going with you, do you? Steve said you said it was fine."
"It is fine," Bucky said, and thank god Steve came downstairs then because he could feel himself getting defensive. "I lost a bet and Steve wanted to get a salad."
"A manly salad," Steve clarified.
"Now salads have gender?" Natasha rolled her eyes. "I'm getting a steak."
"Do I look presentable?" Steve held out his arms.
"Very nice," Nat purred, and Bucky mumbled agreement. "Now let's go. I'm fucking starving."
Bucky moved to follow Nat out the door, but Steve stepped in front of him and reached for his face. Bucky stopped in his tracks. "What are you doing?"
With a touch that was altogether too intimate, Steve ran his fingers over Bucky's cheek, brushing away a long strand of hair.
"Sorry. Your hair was stuck in your scruff and it was bugging me," Steve said, shrugging. "You should shave more, like me." He closed his eyes and smiled, patting his freshly shaven cheeks.
"Shaving's too much work," Bucky grumbled. But he couldn’t help admiring that smooth skin on Steve’s face, and wondering what it would be like to run his fingers over it.
“You two lovebirds coming?” Natasha asked at the door.
“Ha, ha,” Steve said. He slapped Bucky on the arm. “Come on.”
Bucky could only blink and stare after his friend. What was that? He couldn't remember Steve ever doing anything like that before. And goddamn it, his pants felt tight.
“So boys,” Natasha said, once they had arrived at the restaurant and were seated. Bucky had been forced to choose between sitting on one side of the booth with Steve or on the other side with Nat. He had chosen Nat’s side. “How was Lamaze class?”
Steve laughed. “I’m pretty sure everyone thinks we’re gay.”
“It wasn’t that bad,” Bucky said.
“Says the guy who got a free massage out of the deal.”
“Massage?” Natasha raised an eyebrow. “What sort of birthing class is this?”
“Apparently it helps the mother to relax, and that eases labor pains,” Steve explained. “I don’t know, I can’t imagine it’ll help that much after that video she showed us.”
“So, you,” Nat pointed at Steve, “gave Bucky a massage?”
Steve’s cheeks turned pink. “Yeah.”
Natasha planted her elbow and turned to Bucky. “And how did you like that?”
Nervous laughter threatened to bubble out of his throat, but he coughed and said gruffly, “Maybe if he didn’t treat me like glass it would’ve been better.”
“Oh, ho!” Nat laughed and sat back. “That sound like a challenge.”
Steve started rolling up his sleeves. “Get over here. I’m gonna massage the life outta you right here, right now.”
He couldn’t hold back the nervous laughter anymore, as he looked around the restaurant. The place even had white tablecloths and little candles on each table. “Uh…”
“What? You don’t think you can handle this?”
“Look at him, his face is so red! James Buchanan Barnes, stop lying. You liked it. You loved it. You want Steve to massage you every night before bed—”
“I do not!”
This was a nightmare. His face was on fire. He covered it with his hands until his two idiot friends stopped teasing him. It went on for quite a while.
“That’ll teach you to criticize my massage skills,” Steve said.
“I will say, Steven, that I’ve been on the receiving end of your massages before, and I could massage both of you under the table.”
“Is that a challenge?”
“Wait, Steve gave you a massage?” Bucky said, finally ready to face the world again.
Nat waved her hand. “My back was sore.”
“When was this?”
“What’re you, jealous?” Nat said, at the same time Steve answered, “I don’t know, a few years ago?”
Thankfully, the food came out before things could get any more awkward. Bucky had copied Steve and gotten a salad, but it was a salad with steak and shrimp on it, although he still watched Natasha eating her steak and potatoes hungrily. As usual, Natasha turned the subject to Steve’s dating life.
“Any hot girls in your childbirth class?” she asked.
“Hot girls?” Steve said. “They’re all pregnant.”
“So? Pregnant women can still be hot.”
“I suppose. I don’t know, they were all couples.”
“There were those two women,” Bucky offered.
“Two women? One for each of you?” Nat said.
“Which ones?” Steve asked.
“I think they were lesbians,” Bucky said.
“Oh, them. Yeah, I think they were lesbians.”
“How do you know? Did you ask? Don’t you think it’s a little presumptuous to assume they were lesbians just because they were there together?”
Steve and Bucky mumbled agreement. Then Bucky remembered his plan from this morning. “What about Darcy?” Bucky said, picking at his salad like this wasn't any kind of big deal.
“Darcy?” Steve repeated.
“Who’s Darcy?” Nat asked.
“I mean, she’s kinda cute, right? Do you think she’s married?”
“You think she’s cute?” Steve asked, an edge in his voice.
“Who’s Darcy?” Nat demanded.
“She’s the instructor,” Bucky explained. His face was hot again. “I was thinking of asking her out.”
“You were?” Steve said. He sounded fully betrayed, and Bucky couldn't even look at him. “You never mentioned her today. At all.”
Bucky shrugged. If he could just curl up under the table and die right there, that would be fine by him. “I was just thinking about it.”
"Speaking of dates," said Natasha, and Steve kicked Bucky under the table. Hard. "When the hell are you going to ask Sharon out?"
"Uh...." Steve's body language suddenly mirrored Bucky's – sliding down in his seat, head lowered, suddenly his salad consuming all of his attention.
"You know that's why she asked you to do this," Nat said.
"Did she tell you that?" Steve asked.
"Use your brain, idiot," Nat said. "Why the hell else would a single-and-pregnant woman be asking a single dude to be her birthing partner?"
"Because I'm her friend," Steve said.
"Okay, here's what I don't get," Bucky said, recovering from his own interrogation. "If she's hoping that Steve here will ask her out, then why's she getting pregnant? Isn't that, like, the opposite of what you'd want to do?"
"Sharon's thirty-five. Maybe she was worried that Mr. Let's Take It Slow over here was never going to ask her out."
"I think she just wants to be friends," Steve said again.
"It doesn't make sense," Bucky said.
"Okay, fine. We'll pretend Sharon just wants to be 'friends.' There's this girl Kristen, in our Statistics department. Bucky can ask out this Darcy person and you two can double date."
Steve looked like he'd rather die. He looked to Bucky for help.
"There's this guy Nick, he's our foreman. Maybe you could come and make it a triple date."
"Really?" Natasha's bored expression indicated that she knew exactly what Bucky was up to. "What's he like?"
"Uh, well... He, um...."
"He has an eyepatch," Steve said.
"An eyepatch." Huge eye roll. "Is he a fucking pirate?"
"He's unique," Bucky tried.
"And he's bald."
"Steve, you're not helping!"
After dinner, Steve dropped Bucky off at his apartment, and Bucky watched him drive off with Natasha. He had hoped for a nice, relaxing dinner with Steve, but now his nerves were all jangled. Trudging up the stairs, he felt the exhaustion of the day hitting him, and he let himself into his crappy apartment and crashed on his bed.
Despite the exhaustion weighing down his body, he didn't fall asleep immediately. Finally he took off his boots and Steve's clothes and crawled between the covers.
For some reason, he kept imagining Natasha going home with Steve, and Steve giving her a massage. And then he'd find himself wondering when the hell that massage had happened. They had neatly avoided the question when he'd asked it. Maybe there'd been more than a massage. Had Steve ever gone on a date with Natasha?
They'd known her for years, ten years at least. She had been doing some IT work on a building they were renovating – Bucky had no idea exactly what her work entailed, something like re-configuring networks. Over the two months they'd worked on that building, Natasha had discovered that Steve was single and made it her mission to find him a date. Bucky had been doing the online dating thing then so she left him alone.
It was strange, remembering those times. Every time he'd find a girl whose profile he liked, he'd show it to Steve and Natasha. Steve always found some flaw. Natasha called it his "Seinfeld Complex." When Steve hadn't understood the reference (and neither had Bucky), Natasha roped them into binge-watching marathons, which led to big group hangouts with Sam and Clint and Maria and Wanda and Sharon. Sam once joked that they were like the cast of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. with an extra black guy, which led to more binge-watching, even though most of them had seen at least one episode.
Eventually, with real, adult lives, it became harder and harder to get together like that, though they were all friends. A wave of nostalgia hit him. Those were good times. He hadn't even noticed that things had changed so much.
His brain came back around to Steve and Natasha and the possibility that they had hooked up. Maybe during that time, they had been getting together on the side. Steve and Bucky had been sharing an apartment then. Those nights when Bucky had a date, usually Steve stayed home. There would have been plenty of opportunities for Natasha to come over and have some alone time with Steve. In fact, he distinctly remembered coming home a few times and Natasha was there, hanging out. He'd never even thought about the two of them dating. Steve always jumped on him the second he walked through the door, like an eager puppy, wanting to know the gory details of Bucky's dates.
He buried his face in his pillow. Why couldn't he just let this go?
Chapter 5: Baby Bump
On Thursday night all the guys and Maria were planning to meet at Bucky's place to watch the game, since the living room at Steve's was mostly torn up – they were going to put in new flooring this weekend – so it was Bucky and Steve trying to make enough food for five people in his tiny kitchen. Buffalo wings were a must, and they had big boxes of appetizer-type foods like potato skins and mini bagel pizzas.
"We need some vegetables," Steve said, surveying the trays of food ready to enter the pre-heating oven.
Bucky gestured at the potato skins. "Right here."
"What about celery? You can't have buffalo wings without celery and blue cheese." Steve cracked open the fridge. "What is this? You only have take-out containers."
"What's your big concern about eating healthy," Bucky complained.
"It would be nice not to get diabetes," Steve offered.
"I don't know, I feel like I'm getting a gut." He patted the flat plane of his stomach.
"Come on, Buck. We're in our thirties now. We can't live like we're twenty-five forever. And that includes eating things other than pizza and Chinese food."
Bucky couldn't stop staring at Steve's stomach. What the hell was Steve going on about? He looked down at his own stomach, then lifted up his shirt. "Do you think I'm getting a gut?"
"No, no, you're fine!" Steve said quickly. "It's just me, feeling insecure. Let me just text Sam and see if he can stop by the grocery store on the way over and pick up some celery."
It was too late. Now Bucky was insecure, too. He lowered his shirt and felt the muscles of his stomach. They weren’t quite as distinct as they used to be. He'd always thought they'd never have to worry about gaining weight since they worked such a labor-intensive job. Apparently he was wrong. Steve thought he was getting fat. He stared at all the food and started tallying up the calories.
"Don't get that look," Steve said, putting down his phone. "Seriously. I just... remember how I used to get sick so much when I was a kid? I was thinking about how bad my diet is, and I want to stay healthy, you know?"
"Sure," said Bucky.
"Stop!" Steve reached out and snatched Bucky's hand away from where he had been rubbing his stomach in slow circles. "I don't think you're fat, okay?"
He was hanging onto Bucky's wrist. Bucky stared at the contact, afraid to move. When Steve noticed, he let go and started popping trays into the oven.
"Seriously. You're fine. You've got the best abs of all our friends. Maybe even better than me."
Now Bucky flushed a little and had to look away. "Okay, sure." He didn't sound convinced, not even to his own ears. He moved into the living room and turned on the television. Some background noise would help. Then he busied himself putting out bowls of chips and Smartfood popcorn – Guess I know what I'll be eating tonight, if I eat at all, Bucky thought glumly – and pulling out the paper plates he often used instead of real dishes because he didn't want to wash them after. Seeing that Steve had the kitchen under control, he flopped on the couch and channel surfed. The others wouldn't arrive for maybe half an hour, enough time to watch House Hunters.
A cold, wet hardness pressed against his face, and he startled, realizing he had nearly fallen asleep. "Oh!" He said, then accepted the beer Steve held out for him. "Thanks."
"What's up with you lately?" Steve settled in on the couch beside him. "You're tired all the time. And grumpy." He smiled a little. "Did you get your period?"
"No," Bucky said, then sighed. Steve was his best friend. It felt weird keeping anything from Steve. “I guess I’ve just been thinking about… you know, life.”
“Deep,” said Steve.
“Smart ass. I mean, I feel like everyone our age is getting married and having kids, and I’m not, and I’m just looking around and wondering what else is there?”
“Not everyone is getting married. Sam’s not, Natasha’s not, Maria’s not, Clint’s not—”
“Clint was married before,” Bucky said suddenly.
“Oh, yeah! I always forget about that. It’s so weird to think he’s divorced.”
“Well, the marriage only lasted – what, three months?”
“Can you imagine being a divorcee right now?”
Steve laughed. “I’m pretty sure the word ‘divorcee’ is only for women.”
“Is this about the birthing class? All those couples and stuff? Because, I mean, most of our friends are still single. And no kids.”
“Except Sharon,” Steve agreed.
“I guess it just made me think about where I’m at.” Bucky picked at the label on his beer with a thumbnail. “I have a job and a place to live, but is that all life is?”
Steve was quiet for a minute. “Damn, everything I can think of to say is so cliché. Life is what you make of it. Life is a journey, not a destination.”
“Do you ever think stuff like that? Like, what is your purpose?”
“I think about it sometimes,” Steve said.
He opened his mouth to keep talking, but a loud banging on the door had them both jumping. “Open up! Police!”
They weren’t fooled, it was Sam’s voice. Bucky got up to get the door, while Steve headed back to the kitchen to get the food.
They never got back to the conversation that night, but a movie trailer during the commercials reminded Bucky about the horror movie Steve had promised him. “We can go tomorrow night, after a few drinks at the bar?” Bucky suggested.
“But… what about Convoy?” Steve whined.
“Convoy!” sang Sam and Clint. Maria looked on, shaking her head.
“Wait!” Sam said. “How about you two go on your date—”
“Not a date,” Bucky interjected.
“—and Saturday night, we get some karaoke action!”
Sam held his face in a huge, excited smile and looked at each person in the room, all of whom grimaced and looked elsewhere.
“Come on, guys! We never do karaoke! It’ll be super fun. Bucky—Bucky, buddy, come on. You and me, a little Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Steve-O, my man, I know you wanna sing. We can do Convoy! All of us!”
“I’m in,” said Maria, who then death-stared each of the others until they broke down.
“Okay, fine,” Bucky grumbled good-naturedly. Karaoke wasn’t that bad. They always ended up having fun, even though he had to drink way more than usual before he’d actually get up there.
“Awesome! Let’s get Nat and Wanda too!” Sam was already on his phone, texting them. “Too bad Sharon’s away… and preggers. Damn, what’s this all gonna be like when she’s got a kid?”
“She could get a baby-sitter,” Steve said.
“It’s gonna be weird. Like one of us is a real adult.”
Sam’s comment reminded Bucky of the earlier conversation. That was it exactly: without the things society told him made him an adult (a spouse and kids) he didn’t feel like one. Unless he was paying his bills.
But he was an adult. There were people adulting without spouses and kids all over the place. He didn’t especially feel the need to have kids. And he didn’t especially feel the need to have a spouse. A girlfriend, he told himself. He didn’t really want a girlfriend.
Steve nudged him. “Want another beer?”
Steve took the empty from Bucky’s head and got up.
Bucky watched Steve head into the kitchen, then forced his eyes back to the TV. He barely knew what was going on in the game.
“Seriously,” Steve whispered when he returned. “I don’t think you’re fat.”
“What?” Bucky asked.
“You’ve barely eaten anything.”
The food didn’t even appeal to him, and it had nothing to do with feeling fat. “Maybe I’m getting sick or something,” Bucky said. “I haven’t been sleeping very well this week.”
“If you happen to need to go to bed early instead of going to that movie tomorrow night…” Steve hinted.
“Not a chance!” Bucky said. He reached over and helped himself to some buffalo wings. And celery. “I’ll make sure I sleep good tonight. Just so I can watch you scream.”
Chapter 6: Deliverance
“Stop bouncing. Jesus, you’re like a kid at DisneyWorld. Who’s had too much sugar.”
Bucky stopped wriggling in his seat. “This movie’s gonna be so freaky. I hope there are some good previews.”
Groaning, Steve slumped down in his seat. “All the previews are gonna be for horror movies.”
Horror movies were just about the only thing that Bucky and Steve disagreed on. Bucky loved them. He loved being scared - Steve always had to tell him to stop grinning during the murder scenes because he looked like a psycho. Steve, on the other hand, usually watched the movies through his fingers.
“Is this one of the ones that’s gonna have a lot of jump scares? I hate jump scares.”
“The first one did, so yeah, probably.”
“Great. I get to make a fool of myself. Again.”
“Well, if you could just stop yourself from screaming when you jump…”
Steve reached over and punched Bucky in the arm.
“Ow! Good thing you’re on my zombie apocalypse team,” Bucky said. “With an arm like that, you could totally punch your way out of a zombie horde.”
“Was there ever a situation where I wasn’t a part of your zombie apocalypse team?”
“Not really. I mean, unless you were already bitten. Which is likely, since you’d just shriek like a little girl if you ever saw a zombie.”
“Not that I wouldn’t do that,” Steve said. “And what exactly are your zombie fighting skills?”
“I have deadly aim with a nail gun,” Bucky said.
“Oh, so you’re just going to nail zombies in the head, is that it?”
“Gotta get ‘em in the head, or else they don’t stay dead.” Reaching over the armrest, Bucky snagged a handful of popcorn from the bucket in Steve’s lap. “I’m also a pretty good shot with a real gun, if you’ll recall.”
“A BB gun isn’t a real gun. And it’s hard to forget with you reminding me all the time.”
Bucky shrugged, and the lights dimmed them. He crammed the popcorn into his mouth and hurried to make himself comfortable. “This is gonna be great.”
Two hours later, Bucky and Steve walked out into the darkness. Bucky’s arm still felt warm from where Steve had huddled against him during the last half hour or so of the movie. Steve did this to him every time, and usually Bucky liked to poke or otherwise instigate him. This time he had found himself not wanting Steve to move away. “I can’t believe you actually screamed that loud,” Bucky said, trying to shake off the weirdness that still clung to him, ever since that stupid Lamaze class. You’ll be getting another massage on Monday, said a voice inside his head.
“That zombie came out of nowhere!” Steve complained. He glanced around behind them. “And now I have to go home and try to sleep in a big empty creaky house all by myself.” With a sigh, he muttered, “Sometimes I wish I’d never moved out of our apartment.”
This was a topic that they’d never really discussed. As they got in Steve’s truck and waited a minute for the engine to warm up, Bucky recalled how Steve had simply decided one day that he wanted to buy a house and fix it up. “I mean, there’s so much work to get done. We could have stayed roommates while you finished it.”
In the dim glow of the dashboard lights, Steve traced his hands around the steering wheel. “I can’t afford to pay for an apartment and a mortgage.”
“Come on, Steve. You know I would let you live with me for free.” Before Steve moved out, they had talked about money. Mostly, it was Steve making sure that Bucky could afford the rent without his half, and Bucky reassuring him that he made just as much money as Steve did and he could definitely afford the rent, although he had ended up moving into a one-bedroom apartment shortly after Steve had moved out.
“I know.” Long moments passed. Bucky knew the engine didn’t need to warm up for this long; it was April, not the dead of winter. “Guess I’ve got an independent streak. Besides, I’d worry about people breaking in and stealing stuff.”
“And what are you gonna do, being there?” Bucky asked, laughing a little. “I can just picture you, hearing a sound downstairs and screaming like you did back there.”
“I have a baseball bat,” Steve informed him. “With nails stuck in it.”
“Whoa-ho! Double glad you’re on my zombie apocalypse team.”
Finally, Steve put the truck into drive and started the short ride home. “I’ll brain those fucking zombies. Who else is on your team?”
“Clint, obviously. He’s a sharpshooter. And Maria.”
“Miss NRA herself.”
“Yup. And Nat. Sam. Everybody, pretty much.”
“Well, glad I made the cut.”
After a short silence, Bucky asked, “Do you want me to stay at your place tonight?”
“I’ll be okay,” Steve said.
“Because I will.”
“No, I was just being a baby before. I’ll be fine.”
“You suuure?” Bucky didn’t know why he was pushing this. He’d be staying over at Steve’s tomorrow night, anyway. “I mean, we’re gonna start that floor tomorrow morning. If I sleep over, we could start earlier.”
Steve rolled to a stop at an intersection. The way was clear, but he didn’t go, or turn on his blinker. Left turn would take them to Bucky’s place, right turn would take them to Steve’s.
“But if you sleep over, who’s going to bring me breakfast in the morning?”
“You’re a spoiled brat,” Bucky laughed. “We can go out and get breakfast together, idiot.”
“Ugh, I’d have to go out?”
Bucky punched him – payback for earlier. “Which is it? You wanna be scared all night or do you want breakfast served to you tomorrow morning?”
Steve tapped the wheel. “Decisions, decisions. Thinking about breakfast is making me forget how scared I was.”
“Fine, then! I’ll bring you your breakfast in the morning, my liege.”
But Steve flipped the right blinker on and headed to his house. Oddly enough, that made Bucky feel warm inside his chest.
The pull-out couch was where Bucky usually slept when he stayed at Steve’s. Normally, it sat in the living room, but it had been relocated due to the flooring prep work. The couch was now in the unfinished “den” at the back of the house, along with a bunch of other furniture. “It’s fine,” Bucky said, edging between a couple of end tables. “I mean, it doesn’t have to pull out for me to sleep on it.”
“Bucky,” said Steve from the doorway, his arms crossed over his chest.
“No, look, see?” He stepped over the coffee table, then fell onto the cushions. “I’m cool.”
“Well, where else am I gonna sleep?”
Steve just looked at him.
“What if I put these cushions on the floor in the spare bedroom upstairs?”
“Bucky, I have a king size bed. It’s plenty big enough for two grown people to share.”
With his heart beating in his chest, Bucky looked around the crowded room, knowing full well that sleeping in here was impossible. If he had to get up to piss in the middle of the night, he’d trip over something and kill himself. “It’s a little weird for two men to share a bed,” he said finally, not looking at Steve.
“Dude, come on. Why is wrong for two guy friends to share a bed? I know Nat and Wanda share a bed whenever all the girls go on one of their vacations. Do you think that’s weird?”
“No,” Bucky admitted.
“Then stop it. We always used to share your bed when we did sleepovers.”
“We were twelve!” Bucky sighed. “Fine.”
He followed Steve up to the one fully finished room in the house. Normally Steve’s bed looked huge, but right now it didn’t seem much bigger than the full-size bed he’d had as a teenager. “And we had pajamas,” Bucky added, as Steve started peeling off his shirt.
“You want pajamas?” Steve dug around in one of his drawers and chucked a balled up article of dark clothing at him. “Here you go.”
Bucky unfurled the fabric. After a moment he started laughing. “Why the fuck do you have footie pajamas?”
“Don’t you remember? You bought me those.”
“I did not.” After a second, Bucky amended this. “I bought you a onesie, but it was red and white striped. Like Where’s Waldo.”
Steve looked back in his drawer. “Oh, yeah.”
“Good, so now we both wear onesies.” Bucky shook his head. “God, we are fucking nerds.”
The striped footie pajamas looked fucking ridiculous on Steve. The one Bucky wore was a dark gray with black cuffs, but there was a hood and Steve insisted that he wear the hood and then tied the drawstring tight under Bucky’s chin while Bucky glared at him.
“Ha! Good thinking, Buck, I’m definitely not going to be scared of zombies tonight!”
Bucky grumbled a few choice swear words as he crawled into bed.
“No, wait! I gotta get a picture of this.” Steve hopped into bed with his phone.
“No! Don’t!” Bucky threw his hands up over his face as the flash went off. “This better not go on Facebook.”
“Not with you covering your face like that,” Steve said. He tried to pry Bucky’s hands away. “Come on! Everyone will think it’s funny!”
“Everyone will think it’s fucking gay!” Bucky yelled back.
The fight was on. Steve started using his legs to keep Bucky from squirming away and hauled back on one of Bucky’s arms with one hand, while trying to take a picture with the other. Keeping his hands clasped around his head and over his face, Bucky felt like he was in a pretty good position, but then the hood started slipping and messing it up.
With Steve’s full-body method of attack, soon Bucky had lost one arm and had it trapped between Steve’s thighs, and at that point Bucky started thinking more about how close Steve’s private parts were than about winning. All the wrestling and rubbing had certainly awoken something and Bucky struggled to maintain his last bit of dignity. “Stop!” His voice sounded strangled.
“Then. Just. Let. Me. Take. The goddamned. Picture!” Steve said through clenched teeth, finally ripping Bucky’s other hand away from his face and pinning it down. He held up the camera and got a pic of a sweaty, grumpy Bucky.
“Okay, you got your stupid picture.” Bucky tugged at his trapped limbs. A panic swept over him. He could distinctly feel that he had a hard on. He tugged again. “Now let me go!”
“Can’t we just do one nice picture?” Steve asked. “If I let you go, will you just do one nice selfie with me?”
Sweat was dripping down his neck and sides. All he could think about was the fucking tent in his pajamas, how Steve was wearing just a pair of briefs under his onesie, how Steve’s thighs were clamped around his waist, way too close to that tent for comfort.
“Fine, fine! Just – let – me – go!”
Steve released him and Bucky jerked away, turning so that hopefully Steve wouldn’t see, and pulling up the covers to make sure.
“Okay,” Steve said, and Bucky felt him huddle into his back. “Okay, come on. Don’t be a sore loser.”
“I’m not,” Bucky complained. Once he had attempted to push his dick back to where it should be (flaccid, he said to himself. This was the most un-erotic word he knew. Flaccid flaccid flaccid) and had covered himself to the chest with the blankets, he rolled over. “I hope you’re not expecting me to smile for this.”
Steve grinned and hooked his arm around Bucky’s neck and held up the camera. Bucky glared at himself. “Nope.” The camera flashed. “Oh, this is priceless.”
“Okay, great, can we just go to sleep now?”
By the time they woke up in the morning, the picture already had thirty likes and seven comments on Facebook.
Chapter 7: Womb There It Is
Nine o'clock on a Saturday, and Wanda was singing for her third turn that night yet another Enya classic.
"Good thing hardly anyone's here," said Bucky. "This'll scare 'em all away. The DJ looks nervous."
"Hey, it just means we get more turns!" Sam had already put his name in twice. He was also on his fourth drink of the night. "Natasha, why don't you get up there?"
"I'm busy," said Natasha. She refocused on Steve. "What about that girl from Accounting, Laura..."
"Lillian. Lip piercing, right?" Bucky knew who they were talking about. He shook his head. Natasha really had no clue what Steve's type was.
"Yeah, she's cute."
"Yeah. I'm not ready for that." Tipping back his beer, Steve nudged Bucky's leg under the table. When Bucky turned to look at him, Steve mouthed the word Help.
"You gonna get up there?" Bucky asked. He wished he had more energy. All these sleepless nights were getting to him. Last night was pretty terrible. He had remained curled up on his side of the bed, afraid to move. The worst part was he couldn't even jerk off to get rid of his fucking boner. He just had to lay there, miserable, while Steve snored and flailed around and ended up flinging an arm over Bucky's hip. That definitely hadn't helped matters.
"I will if you will," Steve said. "Let's do that song from Dirty Dancing. Time of Your Life? I'll do the girl part."
"No," said Bucky.
"Okay, how about Endless Love?"
"Come on! Friends can listen to Endless Love in the dark!"
Bucky mustered up a tired smile. "Still no."
Even as Nat was saying, "What about that girl over there? She's looking over here," Steve leaned forward and said to Bucky, "Are you sure you're okay? You could go home if you're tired."
"No, I'm okay." As tired as he was, he still wanted to hang out with his friends. He didn't want to miss anything important. And, as much as he hated to admit it to himself, he wanted to be here, elbow to elbow with Steve, having Steve make sure he was okay.
"Seriously, Rogers, that girl is checking you out." Natasha gave Bucky a look that told him to stop distracting Steve. "Go talk to her. Buy her a drink."
"Girls don't want to talk to me," Steve said, sitting back. "She might be looking, but once she finds out how boring I am, she'll find someone else to talk to."
"What kinda attitude is that?" Sam asked, looking up from the songbook.
"It's not... I'm not being pessimistic. That's just how it is."
The disapproving looks of both Natasha and Sam made Bucky want to jump in. "It's the same way for me," said Bucky.
"We're just too boring," Steve said.
Sam slapped his palm down on the table. "You're not boring. You know what the problem is?" Sam looked up, waved Clint over. "You two. That's the problem."
Steve and Bucky looked at each other, then back at Sam. Is Sam saying we're into each other? Bucky thought, and braced himself for Sam to say exactly that.
"You gotta be each other's wingman. You gotta help your buddy get the girl. Instead, you two..." Sam tried to come up with the right word.
"You guys cockblock each other," Natasha said.
Bucky felt his cheeks burning.
"Whoa!" Clint had just arrived at the table. "What kind of conversation did I just step into? And is Wanda singing Enya?"
"I'm just saying, you gotta be a wingman, like Clint and me," Sam said. "You two..." He shook his head. "When a girl starts flirting with you," he pointed at Steve, "You got this pissed-off lookin' bastard glaring over your shoulder."
"Grumpy cat," Clint agreed.
"No," Bucky protested, but he was drowned out by a chorus of yeses and laughter.
"And when a girl starts talking to you," Sam pointed at Bucky, "This one here is all..." Sam propped his head up on his hands and puffed out his lower lip.
"That is exactly what he looks like!" Clint crowed.
"No way," said Steve. Finally Bucky peeked over at him – he hadn't been able to look since this whole stupid conversation started. Steve's face was tomato-red, about as red as Bucky's own face felt.
"And that's only if a girl's got enough guts to come over and talk to either of you. Most of the time, they're off in the corner, wondering if you two are a couple."
"No!" Bucky and Steve said at the same time.
"Come on," Bucky said. "It's obvious we're just friends."
"Yeah, just friends," Steve said.
"Me doth thinks you protest too much!" Clint said, laughing.
"No one's saying you aren't just friends," Natasha said.
"Well, I don't want Steve to be dating some skank," Bucky said.
This only made everyone laugh harder.
"And I thank you for that," Steve declared. He lifted up his beer and Bucky clinked his against it. Even if everyone else thought they were gay, or a joke, at least Steve was in it with him. The two of them against the world.
Clint shoved at Bucky. "You two need to get a room already. And I need to get a drink already. Sam, why aren't you hooking me up?"
"Why I gotta hook you up? You're a grown man."
"Anyone wanna share a scorpion bowl?" Clint asked.
"I will." That was Wanda, finally finished singing. "Where's Maria?"
"Over there." Steve jabbed with his thumb. Maria was practically sitting on the lap of a guy with a shaved head and heavily tattooed arms.
"It doesn't seem like she's interested in singing," Wanda mused.
"Right?" Sam said. "Come on. Who else is getting up there? Who's not afraid?"
The possibility of being called a coward had them all scrambling for the songbook. Nat covered her paper while she wrote; Clint wanted to do a duet with Wanda (after Nat refused him) but ended up in a philosophical argument about what made a good karaoke song; Sam added three more songs; and Bucky and Steve tried to find a non-gay song they could duet, finally settling on the Tag Team classic, "Whomp (There It Is)" which they had known all the lyrics to when they were twelve.
All the joking and drinking got Bucky feeling less tired and more like things were the way they always were. These were his friends, and they weren’t going to stop being his friends just because he might get an accidental boner or question himself. It had just been a long time since he’d dated anyone, that was all.
When Natasha got up to sing her mysterious number (a country song, of all things), Steve leaned over and whispered in his ear, “Our song’s gonna be the best,” and Bucky’s stomach fluttered, and all those things he’d been telling himself evaporated. Steve’s breath tickling his neck gave him butterflies and in that moment Bucky knew. He knew.
He had a crush on Steve.
A smile, then Steve settled back to cheer on Natasha. In relation to the stage, Steve was sitting in front of Bucky. Bucky stared at Steve’s profile, desperately wishing it wasn’t true. But it was. And now he could sit here and stare at his best friend, see a face as familiar as his own, as something totally new.
He had a crush on Steve.
How could this happen? How could he decide after so many years that he was attracted to his best friend, his former roommate, his coworker, so many different relationships they’d had over the years and none of them had been romantic, how could it all change so suddenly?
There was only one thing to do now: order another drink, because he was fucked.
Chapter 8: Squeeze Me, Baby
Harsh sunlight. Bucky groaned and rolled over, throwing one arm up to block out the light. His mouth was dry and his head was pounding and his eyes itched to sleep, but in rolling over he discovered he wasn't in his own bed.
Nope, he was in Steve's bed.
And he was naked.
Slowly, he turned his head and peeked through cracked eyelids. Steve was asleep beside him. Shit. How had he even gotten here? The previous night replayed through his mind: drinking, getting up to sing, leaning on Steve to keep himself upright, more drinking, then an awful blankness. He vaguely recalled being in a car, but he wasn't sure if it had been Steve's truck or a cab or someone else's vehicle.
Must have been Steve's truck. How else would he have gotten to Steve's house?
Then he had a sudden thought: he hadn't slept with Steve, had he?
He could have said anything when he was drunk. What if he had told Steve something really embarrassing, like I think have a crush on you? Or, I really liked that massage you gave me. Or maybe he had even tried to kiss Steve. Who the fuck knew.
It didn't feel like he'd had sex. Not that he knew what the aftermath of gay sex would feel like. He assumed he'd be sore, at least if he was on the receiving end... Shifting his weight, he determined that he was not, in fact, sore.
Why'd he have to go and think about being sore? Now he was curious. He'd never thought about what sex with a man even entailed. He'd always figured he was straight. It would have been, well, gay to wonder about anything like that. And clearly he was gay if he liked Steve.
Just the thought of it made his whole body flush.
Part of him still wanted to deny this was happening. Things were so much simpler before. He and Steve were friends and that was the end of it. But now... now he had to question his entire life. Did he really get jealous when girls flirted with Steve?
He rolled out of bed, then stood there swaying. His clothes lay in a pile on the floor, and he started pulling them on as fast as he could.
"Hey." Steve's voice came out as a croak. "Nice ass."
Bucky yanked his boxers and pants – deposited on the floor in one piece – up to his waist. "Why the fuck am I naked?" he asked, not turning around.
"I dunno. I put you in bed with all your clothes on, except your shoes, and then at some point I woke up and you were flailing around saying you were hot, then you got up and took off all your clothes."
"Jesus Christ," Bucky muttered.
"To be fair, it was really hot in here. I opened a window."
"I'm never drinking again." It was the only way to insure that drunk Bucky didn't make a pass at Steve.
Steve laughed, then grimaced. "Me, neither. What was in those scorpion bowls?"
Bucky didn't even remember having a scorpion bowl. “Whatever it was, my head fucking hurts.”
“We need a hangover breakfast.”
His original plan had been to get dressed and get out, but the thought of breakfast made his stomach rumble. “Like what kind of hangover breakfast?”
“The greasy kind from the diner.”
“I thought you wanted to eat more vegetables.”
The bed creaked as Steve sat up. “Vegetables can wait until I feel human again.”
By Monday, Bucky felt better about things. It had helped to sleep in his own bed, alone. He was so tired from not sleeping and from the weekend of putting in flooring that he slept like a rock. Sleep put things in perspective.
Until Steve reminded him about the Lamaze class. “Dinner at my place tonight, before class?” Steve asked. “I thawed out some chicken, figured it was nice enough out to open up the grill.”
“Class?” Bucky hammered a nail into some boards. “Oh, right. Sure. Chicken sounds good.”
Later, as they ate barbeque chicken and baked potatoes off paper plates, Steve said, “Remember, if there’s any massaging going on tonight, I’m the receiver.”
Bucky thought about what he might say in response to that, and ended up nodding because all he could think about was Steve being on the receiving end of gay sex.
He couldn’t quite bring himself to think about that topic. Not when his senses were in overdrive, noticing how blue Steve’s eyes were and how tight his t-shirt was, underneath the flannel. He’d never really noticed before, but Steve had a distinct smell. Some aftershave that he used, which Bucky had to find in the medicine cabinet of Steve’s bathroom and sniff. That was Steve’s smell. How Steve’s face was always smooth and freshly shaven.
And the way Bucky had become almost afraid to look at Steve. Afraid to do anything around him without feeling self-conscious. Even now, he hesitated in licking barbeque sauce off his fingers, because he didn’t want Steve to think he was being sexual about it.
Oh, god. Now he was thinking about Steve’s cock in his mouth.
“What’s that look for? You don’t want to return the favor?” Steve asked.
“Sorry,” Bucky said quickly. “I just spaced out for a second. Don’t worry, you’ll get your massage.”
“Okay.” Steve sucked some sauce off his finger. Bucky couldn’t make himself look away as Steve’s tongue worked to get every bit of it. Then Steve removed his finger and smiled. “Good. My back is killing me.”
This time, walking into the birthing class, Bucky didn’t feel quite so awkward. “You’re really getting big,” said Tony, when Bucky and Steve sat down. He reached out and placed his hand on Bucky’s stomach. “I swear, I can feel him kicking!”
“That’s just gas,” Bucky informed him, and received an elbow to the ribs from Steve.
“Don’t talk about gas in front of the ladies,” Steve hissed.
“Oh, please,” Pepper said. “Being pregnant means constant gas.”
“She’s not kidding,” said Tony. “There’s been a lot of Dutch oven-ing going on. I think it’s a revenge thing.”
Bucky laughed. He remembered when he and Steve had done that to each other during their sleepovers, to the point where they’d had to call a truce because neither of them would fall asleep for fear that they’d be suffocated. It got him thinking: did people who liked each other that way do shit like that? Then he realized that he had literally just been talking to a married couple who did.
“Hey,” Steve whispered, because Darcy had just walked in to start class, “are you really gonna ask her out?”
“Who?” Bucky whispered back. Then he realized who Steve meant. He glanced at Steve’s worried face… looking a lot like the puppy face their friends had described Saturday night. “Oh, uh, no. Probably not.”
Steve looked like he was trying to do something with his facial expression, though Bucky couldn’t tell what. Maybe like he was trying to smile or something? “She’s nice, and she’s not wearing a ring.”
“You don’t have to do this,” Bucky said.
But Darcy started class, and after practicing their breathing exercises (this time without touching each other’s abdomens), she started talking about birthing positions.
“The position we learned last week is a great position for the very beginning stages of labor. Labor can take hours, and it’s nice to have some comfort while waiting for full dilation. But, obviously, you can’t give birth while you’re sitting on the floor. Okay, I’d like our baby mamas to stand up.”
The awkwardness returned as Bucky stood along with the other women.
“Now, I’d like our support partners to spread ‘em.” Darcy grinned. “Spread your legs open, I mean. Ha ha.”
Bucky glanced over at Steve, who returned the deer-in-the-headlights look Bucky gave him with one of his own. Then, smirking, Steve spread his legs open and raised an eyebrow. Then he winked.
Biting his lip, Bucky barely caught a huge laugh from escaping, and he had to look away or else explode with it.
“Squatting is an excellent birthing position. It helps to open up the pelvis, and it allows gravity to help you during the delivery. So now the baby mamas are going to step between your partner’s legs, facing away, and use their knees to help you maintain the position.”
“What?” Bucky said in a choked whisper. He looked around and watched Pepper ease herself to squat between Tony’s legs.
“Come on, baby,” Steve said in a low voice. “Come to daddy.”
Tony and Pepper laughed, as did half the class.
“Jesus Christ,” Bucky muttered. He backed up, all too aware of how Steve might be looking at his ass. He exhaled. “You ready?”
“Always,” Steve said.
Bucky reached back and put his hands on Steve’s knees. This required a bit of stretch since he wasn’t actually between Steve’s knees yet. At least he was facing away, so Steve couldn’t see his face as he squatted down, trying to keep his butt in as much as possible.
Letting his hair hang in front of his face, he tried to smile back at the amused faces looking their way, but mostly he was thinking that he should have played along. He should have got right in between Steve’s legs and stuck his butt out.
Darcy came over. “Come on, now. You can get in there tighter than that.” She motioned with her hands until Bucky inched back. “Good! Now, Steve, you can pull your knees in tight to his sides, to give him more support.”
Dear God, would the humiliation never end? Finally Darcy moved on to correct or modify the others.
“Is this tight enough for you?” Steve asked.
“That’s what she said!” Tony’s automatic response was met with a withering glare from his wife. “Come on, I had to.”
“Yes, Steve, it is plenty tight,” Bucky snapped.
“How about… now!” Steve squeezed his legs together and Bucky found his ribs in a vice grip.
“Ah! Goddammit, Steve!”
He pushed at Steve’s knees with his hands, which worked until Steve grabbed Bucky’s arms, so Bucky punched Steve in the thigh and said, “Charley horse!”
“Ow…” Steve whispered, laughing. “Oops, pay attention!”
Darcy was giving the two of them a stern look. “This is a wonderful position for birthing. Your partner can give you lots of support, and if you don’t need the help of their arms, they can give you a nice shoulder or scalp massage.”
Steve tapped Bucky’s shoulder. “Time to trade. I get the massage this time.”
“No trading!” Darcy sang out, even as Bucky had moved to stand up.
“This is so not fair,” Steve said.
“I’m waiting for my shoulder rub,” Bucky announced happily.
He didn’t feel nervous or awkward this time, which was weird. Maybe just admitting his crush made it easier. He knew he was going to like it. Steve’s calloused fingers pressed into his neck. “Ow!”
“Oops, sorry,” Steve said.
“If you really want a massage I’ll give you one later.”
“Hmm.” Steve’s fingers stopped pinching and gently worked along Bucky’s shoulder muscles. “I might hold you to that.”
The thought of being alone with Steve and giving him a massage… that did it. Bucky felt himself grow warm. If Steve really liked how Bucky massaged him, maybe Steve would start to feel the same way about Bucky…
Dear God, was there no end to the weirdness? He hadn’t even considered that anything might actually happen between them until now. He had just assumed Steve was straight, too. First, it was just a little crush, and now he was thinking about gay sex and Steve liking him back and making out with him in front of the fireplace after a massage.
“Is this good?” Steve asked, using his thumbs in Bucky’s trapezius muscle.
“Yeah,” Bucky sighed.
Chapter 9: Maternal Instinct
Bucky stared down at the nape of Steve’s neck, where the longer hairs were shaved closer until the skin became smooth and disappeared under the soft, faded collar of Steve’s flannel shirt. His hands clenched and unclenched at his sides.
Here they were, back at Steve’s place. Steve had stoked up a nice fire in the fireplace and he and Bucky had carried up one of the kitchen chairs from storage. Steve sat on it backwards, with his arms resting on the back, facing the fire. They had done all this because Bucky had told Steve he’d do this stupid massage thing tonight.
Why did he have to insist on tonight?
Part of him had wanted to just get it over with. But now, faced with the prospect, Bucky sensed another reason. As evidenced by his hesitation.
He wanted to touch Steve. And not in the way they were always touching each other. Not slapping a shoulder, or high fiving, or wrestling or headlocks or punches or noogies or even manly hugs.
No, he wanted to touch Steve gently. As in a massage. To see what it felt like to do that. Steve had done it for him – twice – but he hadn’t touched Steve that way.
“My hair’s turning gray over here,” Steve said. He shifted a little, making the chair creak loudly in the near-empty house.
“Right,” said Bucky. He lifted his hands, hesitated.
Maybe, if he massaged Steve the way Steve had massaged him, maybe he might awaken in Steve the same feelings he’d been dealing with for the past week.
Was that what he really wanted?
The feelings coursing through him told him yes. Steve’s bare neck was turning him on. He could imagine his lips pressing down right there, on that soft, smooth skin. Or so he imagined the skin would feel soft and smooth. He hadn’t touched it yet.
“Seriously,” Steve said. “You’re gonna have to start looking at nursing homes for us, if you don’t get a move on.”
Bucky wiped his hands on his pants in lieu of a snarky comeback (his brain didn’t seem to be working at the moment) and lowered them onto Steve’s shoulders. Through the worn shirt, Steve’s skin felt immediate, almost as if he were naked.
As familiar as Bucky was with his own anatomy, and as often as he had seen Steve with no shirt on – working construction in the summers meant a lot of shirtless days – his hands were in uncharted territory when it came to this. He squeezed experimentally. Steve’s shoulders were muscled and hard, and Bucky quickly realized that he could apply more pressure. He wouldn’t make Steve’s initial mistake by being too gentle. And once he’d moved his hands a bit, feeling out the edges of those muscles, he had a sense of what to do.
After all, Steve had massaged this same place less than an hour ago. And Steve had apparently listened when Bucky had complained about him not massaging hard enough. This time, Steve had pressed his thumbs in and made big circles.
It didn’t escape Bucky’s notice when Steve dropped his head a little. He pushed his thumbs up on either side of Steve’s vertebrae. He had always thought of Steve as having a thick neck, but beneath Bucky’s hands, his neck felt small. Delicate. And it was smooth and soft, like he had thought.
When they were kids, Steve’s mom gave him a buzz cut every summer, and Bucky always liked running his hand over it. The short hairs on Steve’s neck tempted Bucky until he couldn’t stop himself: he pushed up with his thumbs again, and kept going, lightening the pressure, so that his thumbs ran over that hair.
Steve inhaled sharply, almost inaudibly. In another time, Bucky might not have noticed, but Bucky’s own body felt painfully sensitive, from the onslaught of information being transmitted through his fingertips to the stirring in his pants - an itch he wanted to scratch – and the dimness and quiet of the room. That little gasp brought Bucky to hardness so fast he had to stop with his hands resting against Steve’s neck, and swallow hard.
He moved his hands back down to a safer zone. “Where does your back hurt?” Bucky asked, when he could speak without sounding strangled.
“Oh. Um….” Steve shifted in the chair again, and he moved one arm to gesture to a spot midway down the right side of his back. “Here-ish. You know how I have scoliosis? It’s always right here that hurts. I don’t know if you can tell how the muscle is bigger on that side.”
Bucky slid his hands down, feeling both sides of Steve’s back. “A little bit. So like right here?”
“Yeah,” Steve said, and rested his forehead down against his arms.
This part of Steve’s back was at a weird angle to massage standing up. He prodded the area with his fingers, until he finally said, “It might be easier to get this part of your back if you were laying down.”
Steve’s head lifted, and he looked around. “Just on the floor?”
“Hold on, I’ll get the couch cushions.”
Bucky hurried into the spare room and grabbed a couple, then adjusted himself so his hard-on wasn’t so obvious. By the time he got back to the living room, Steve had moved the chair aside and stood in front of the fireplace. The firelight danced over his profile as he stared into the flames, one hand on his neck.
“Here you go.” Bucky tossed the cushions on the floor. “Did I hurt your neck?” he asked while Steve knelt down and positioned the cushions under his upper body. “Or do you want me to go harder?”
“Uh, no, it was good,” Steve said. “Really good. You might have missed your calling.”
“Ha, ha,” Bucky said, even though Steve didn’t sound like he was joking. “Um, okay, are you ready?” He looked at Steve’s body laid out like a puzzle.
Bucky couldn’t see a good way to do this without straddling Steve, sitting on Steve’s butt. “Okay, I’m gonna sit on you.”
“I’m sure this is exactly how a professional masseuse would do it.”
“Smart ass,” Bucky said, lowering himself down. Oddly, he felt Steve’s ass muscles move beneath his own. He bit his lip.
“Seriously, though, thanks for this.” Steve’s voice was muffled by the cushion. “I can’t believe Darcy wouldn’t let us switch.”
“I think she wanted to torture us for disrupting her class,” Bucky said. He put the heels of his hands on the thick muscles that ran alongside Steve’s spine and pushed up.
Steve gave a guttural groan, and now it was Bucky sucking in a breath. His brain had shorted out – that sound was a straight-up sex sound, his brain refused to believe otherwise. He was making Steve make sex sounds. And that sound, like the little gasp that had come earlier, had triggered a reaction. Please don’t let Steve feel my boner. Bucky struggled to focus and keep moving his hands.
“Yeah, right there,” Steve moaned.
His breath came heavy. His dick was throbbing against the stiffness of his jeans. Steve might be saying the words you want to hear, he told himself, but he’s just joking around. He doesn’t mean it in the way you want him to.
He had to calm himself down. It was ridiculous, getting this worked up while giving someone a massage. There had to be something to take his mind of this weird fantasy… the fantasy he’d had while Steve had given him a massage. But how was Bucky to know Steve would read his mind? To start a fire and everything?
Steve’s my friend and he doesn’t feel the same way I do, Bucky told himself. Stop being creepy. He has a sore back, and you’re helping him. That’s all.
He felt himself calm down a little at that. His hands focused on that area Steve had pointed out, pushing out all the muscle tension. That side did seem more tense than the other side, and with his heightened senses, he could actually feel that all ease away under his fingers.
It wasn’t until he heard Steve’s light snoring that he realized why the muscles had gone so relaxed. “Seriously?” Bucky whispered, sitting upright.
He sat there for a minute, just to be sure. Yup. Steve was asleep. Talk about the opposite of turned on.
As gently as he could, he eased himself off of Steve’s ass. The snoring continued its regular rhythm. Bucky looked down at Steve. He was going to have to walk home now, not really a big deal, but he felt strange just leaving Steve lying here on the floor in the middle of his living room.
Bucky grabbed an afghan from the spare room and returned to Steve’s side. Not that Steve would be very cold, here by the fire, although once it burned down he might be. Bucky covered him with the blanket anyway, pulling it up over his shoulders before noticing Steve still had his boots on. He crawled down to Steve’s feet and started unlacing. He maneuvered the boots off, holding his breath after each foot to listen for that regular snoring.
After he had neatly placed the boots near Steve’s feet, he pulled the afghan down to cover them. With that taken care of, he allowed himself to leave, turning off the lights and locking the door behind him. Steve would be okay. And the ten-minute walk home would help him cool off before a long night alone.
Chapter 10: Be-Labor the Point
Sorry this chapter took so long, I was on vacation and it took some time to get back into it...
"Sorry about last night, man," Steve said when he arrived to pick Bucky up for work the next morning.
"It's no problem," Bucky said.
"Geez, I can't believe I fell asleep. You have magic fingers."
Bucky flushed a little at the compliment, but at least it didn't make him pop a boner. There was good reason for that. He'd taken care of himself in the shower this morning, when he woke up from a dream – he didn't exactly remember what had been going on, he remembered Steve's bare skin in the firelight and a strong hand around his cock. He'd been hard as a rock and leaking and he'd bolted to the bathroom, at first thinking he'd take a cold shower.
Then he had taken a decidedly different approach.
Gay sex. This was a topic that had come up repeatedly in his mind over the past twenty-four hours. If he really had a crush on Steve, then he shouldn’t be grossed out by gay sex. But he had never watched any gay porn, so he just tried to imagine it. And in the shower he had experimented a little, exploring his asshole with his finger. He couldn’t imagine anything as big as a dick fitting in there. But the thought didn’t turn him off.
In fact, it had turned him on. He wasn't sure exactly why, because it didn't feel like the sex he'd had with women. Well, that one girl in high school when he was drunk. He and Steve had both gotten drunk and decided to lose their virginity before graduation. Funny how they'd never really talked much about that. Sex with a girl had felt good, but somehow, imagining a dick up his ass was a wholly different sensation. One that really turned him on instead of feeling like something he should do.
Rather quickly, he had concluded that he would be on the receiving end of any sex. He had worked his finger in and out and gripped himself as tight as he remembered from his dream and his vision blacked out for a few seconds while he came. While he washed himself off, he thought about how good it would be when Steve was the one doing these things to him.
The release made him feel a lot less jangled, looking over at his best friend. "Coffee?" he asked.
"Coffee," Steve agreed, and pulled into the Starbucks.
Before they had inched up to the speaker, Bucky said, “I think today I’ll try one of your fancy drinks.”
“You want a Hazelnut Macchiato? With whipped cream?”
“Yeah, right. Come on. Say it.”
“I don’t need to say it. Just tell them you want two of them.”
“Vampire!” Bucky said, earning a laugh from Steve. Then very slowly, enunciating each word, “Hazel-nut Macch-ia-to.”
“Maybe I should try your Americano thing.”
“You wouldn’t like it.”
“How do you know? It’s not like you ever had a macchiato.”
“It’s not macchiAto, it’s macchiat-O.”
Steve laughed again. “Sure.”
“So you really think I have magic fingers, huh?” Bucky asked after Steve had ordered.
As soon as the words left his mouth he wanted to pull them back. Why had he brought that up again? So what if Steve said he had magic fingers, Steve had fucking fallen asleep. Clearly, Steve hadn’t been feeling the same level of arousal as Bucky had. Last night Bucky had gone to bed thinking about that, wondering if it meant there was no chance Steve felt the same Bucky was feeling now, and then he’d had that dream and woken up ready to go and he’d forgotten. He’d forgotten that he had insisted on giving Steve a massage last night precisely for the reason of determining whether Steve could conceivably be interested in Bucky sexually. So many ifs. And Steve falling asleep seemed to be a solid no.
“All I know is, I have zero back pain today,” Steve said. “Maybe your talents are going to waste as a construction worker. Maybe you should have gone to school for massage therapy.”
“Yeah, right,” said Bucky. “I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that good.”
Steve laughed. “It was pretty fucking good. Think about how much money you could make if you offered massages to the guys on the site.”
Now Bucky had to laugh. “None of those guys want a dude massaging them. A hot girl, yes, but definitely not me.”
Steve smiled and shrugged a little in response, and that was all Bucky had to work with for the rest of the day. What exactly did Steve’s knowing little smile mean? Was Steve saying he’d rather have Bucky massage him than some hot girl? Was he saying some other guy on the crew liked him?
Bucky had to know.
Whenever Bucky noticed Steve’s head turned in his direction throughout the work day, he gave Steve something to look at. He spent a lot of time stretching his arms and sticking his ass out. He combed his fingers through his hair and adjusted his tool belt and lifted his foot up onto a sawhorse to untie and retie his boot.
Despite all this, every time he checked to see if Steve was still looking, he found Steve looking the other way.
That’s it, then, he thought glumly as they clocked out. Steve’s not interested.
But when they got into the truck, Bucky found himself asking, “You wanna come over my place for a bit? We could get pizza or salads or whatever.”
“Sure,” said Steve.
And that was how Bucky ended up on the couch with Steve asking him if he had ever thought about gay sex.
To be fair, they had decided to watch a few episodes of “Orange Is the New Black.” Natasha and Maria both had been talking up the show after they had binge watched two seasons the month before. “Do you think Nat and Maria are lesbians?” Steve asked after the first episode, during which he had cringed through a lesbian sex scene.
“So what if they are?” Bucky said. “You can’t tell me that if you were in prison for a long, long time you wouldn’t consider some same sex action.”
“I would never be in prison. I am a law-abiding citizen.”
“Okay, so you were falsely accused and convicted of murder. You’re in prison for life. You wouldn’t at least consider it?”
“I don’t think men’s prisons are like this prison. Women’s prisons are different. I’d end up some guy’s bitch.”
Bucky told himself he should shut his mouth. He didn’t want to be that pathetic person who kept chasing after someone who was clearly not into him. But then, Steve’s answers weren’t exactly definitive.
“Okay, what if this was like some super minimal security prison and you were the big tough guy everyone was afraid of. Would you consider it then?”
“Why would anyone be afraid of me?”
“Steve, we’ve been in bar fights together.”
“But I’m a friendly guy!”
“Until someone says something racist. Or sexist. Or mean.”
Steve sighed. “Okay.”
“Okay what? You’d consider sex with another guy?”
“Would you?” Steve asked. He looked directly at Bucky, something he hadn’t been doing through this entire conversation. “Would you have sex with a dude in prison?”
Bucky wasn’t quite sure how to answer that. If he said yes, then Steve would think he was gay. Which wasn’t exactly wrong… but he wanted Steve to know that he didn’t want to have sex with just any guy. He wanted to have sex with Steve.
He swallowed. “Maybe…”
“Okay, what if it was me and you? What if we were cellmates? Yeah. We’re cellmates, we’ve been in prison for like ten years, and you’re feeling lonely. Would you have sex with me?”
A little wrinkle appeared in Steve’s forehead, but otherwise his facial expression didn’t change. He just stared at Bucky with his mouth slightly open.
“I mean, okay, maybe this isn’t coming out the way I mean,” Bucky said quickly, backpedaling. “Like, if you had a guy, like me, as your cellmate, and you had become good friends with him and cared about him,” Bucky heard himself talking faster and faster, but he couldn’t stop now, “you know, and also he was super muscular with awesome hair, you know, really good-looking like I am—”
There it was. Steve guffawed and clutched at his chest. Through gales of laughter he said, “Okay, okay, fine, yes. Yes. I would have prison sex with you.”
“Or this other guy who is equally or maybe a little less hot than me.”
Steve bent over, laughing so hard he could barely breathe. “You’re jealous of a prison inmate you just made up!”
“I am not!” Bucky said. “I just… don’t want you to have prison sex with someone hotter than me.”
His face was red, but he was sure Steve couldn’t tell through the tears of laughter in his eyes. “You’re jealous!”
“Well, if you’re gonna have gay sex you could at least ask me first,” Bucky huffed. “I’m sure they would allow a conjugal visit.”
“Bucky!” Steve gasped, finally calming down a bit. “Is there any scenario where you and I wouldn’t end up in prison together?”
He had a point. “No.”
“Okay, then.” Wiping his eyes, Steve picked up the remote. “Next episode, then?”
“Of course. It’s only eight o’clock. We can watch, like, three more episodes.”
And that was how they ended up falling asleep on the couch, each with their head on one end and their feet tangled up somewhere in the middle.
Chapter 11: Pregnant Pause
With no definitive answer to how Steve felt, and unwilling to directly tell Steve how he felt and risk losing his best friend should Steve not feel the same way, Bucky began to brainstorm ways he could accidentally-on-purpose kiss Steve.
Just one kiss would be all it would take to get Steve to fall in love with him. He was sure of it. Bucky didn't have any assurances that he was a great kisser, but he wanted to kiss Steve so badly (once even kissing his own arm while he had his cock in his fist in the shower) that he was willing to hang all of his hopes on this one event.
Some of the scenarios he considered:
- A game of Spin the Bottle. (Ultimately he figured he would never be able to convince his friends that it wasn’t something super immature, and also he might end up having to kiss a bunch of other people unless he rigged the bottle).
- Faking a workplace accident where Steve would have to give him mouth-to-mouth. (While he wasn’t ruling this one out entirely, he didn’t especially want his and Steve’s first kiss to be in front of their coworkers.)
- Paying a random stranger at the bar to dare Steve to kiss Bucky. (Bucky wasn’t sure he could admit his feelings to a total stranger, and he also didn’t think he could get away from Steve long enough for this to happen.)
- Waiting until Steve fell asleep. (This he scrapped when he realized he did actually want Steve to be awake during the kiss, and also so he didn’t come across like a total creeper).
- Getting Steve really really drunk and kissing him. (See above).
- Wait until midnight on New Year’s Eve. (Bucky also wasn’t ruling this one out entirely, but New Year's Eve was a long way off).
- Ask Steve to smell his breath, and then kiss him. (At this point Bucky was just grasping at straws, really).
By Friday night he had run out of ideas. He drank his beer and tried to “act normal,” a thing he wasn’t sure he was capable of anymore. “Boy am I glad this week is over,” Steve said beside him.
Bucky looked over at Steve, saw how tired he looked. “You feeling okay?”
“Yeah, just tired.”
“Maybe you should take some vacation time,” Bucky suggested. “You know you shouldn’t work too hard. I mean, you’re healthy now but if you let yourself get too tired…”
Bucky didn’t even have to finish the sentence. They both remembered the long days when Steve was too sick to go to school, and Bucky would run to his apartment and climb into bed with him and they would look at comic books for hours, or until Mrs. Rogers kicked him out. She never liked to kick him out.
“I don’t think I’m getting sick or anything,” Steve said to his beer, of which he’d taken only a couple of sips. “Or maybe I am. I don’t know.”
This alarmed Bucky a little. He’d been so busy plotting how he could kiss Steve and not noticing that Steve wasn’t feeling well.
“Maybe we should take this weekend off,” Bucky said. “The house can wait, right? You know, we were just going to start the windows this week. That can wait. You sleep in and relax, okay?”
“I’m fine, Buck,” Steve said.
“Come on, you’re tired. You need to take care of yourself. When was the last time you took a day off, huh?”
“When was the time you took a day off?” Steve countered, albeit half-heartedly.
“Okay, fine. We’ll take a day off together. We can lay around and watch movies all day. We can…” Bucky looked around for ideas, saw the baseball game on the television mounted over the bar. “We can go to a game! Come on, that would be fun, right?”
Steve tried to smile, at least.
“We haven’t gone to a game in forever!”
“Not since last season, anyway,” Steve said.
“Exactly! I’m already craving a stadium hot dog. And a big pretzel. I’ll get us tickets. Not for tomorrow or anything. You’re gonna rest up this weekend,” Bucky warned, pointing his finger at Steve. “And then next week we’ll take a day off and then go to the game.”
“All right,” Steve said quietly.
Bucky couldn’t help himself. He slung one arm around Steve’s big shoulders and squeezed. “It’s gonna be fun. Don’t worry.”
“You don’t have to take care of me, you know.” Steve’s voice was so quiet Bucky might not have heard it if he hadn’t been half-hugging him.
“What d’ya mean?” Bucky said, pulling back.
“I’m not that sick kid anymore,” Steve said. “You don’t have to take care of me.”
“I know,” Bucky said. “I’m just… I’m just being your friend. Till the end of the line, right?” When Steve didn’t answer right away, Bucky said, more forcefully, “Right?”
"I can take care of myself," Steve said.
Bucky threw up his hands. "Here we go."
"I know that, idiot. But I'm allowed to care about you, aren't I? Can't I try to make you feel better? Isn't that what friends do?"
"Yeah. But I don't need you to tell me what to do."
"I'm not telling you to do anything! They were suggestions. God, you can be so fucking stubborn sometimes."
"Whoa, did I just walk in on a lover's quarrel?" Sam said from behind them.
"No!" Steve and Bucky snapped at the same time.
"Okay, then..." Sam backed up with his hands raised.
Bucky tried to smooth things over. "Steve's not feeling well and he's being pig-headed about taking a day off," Bucky said.
To his surprise, Steve stood up and pulled out his wallet and placed a five on the counter.
"Where are you going?" Bucky asked.
"I'm going home," Steve said.
Sam backed up even more to allow Steve to edge away from the bar.
"But... but... what about Convoy?" Bucky asked, trying not to pout.
"I'm too tired, remember?" Steve snapped.
"Hey, guys," said Clint, arriving.
"Steve's bailing," Sam informed him.
"Aw, but I just got here!" Clint said.
"Do you want me to drive you home?" Bucky asked.
"I can take care of myself!" Steve almost yelled, and then he was storming out of the bar.
Bucky blinked and looked down at his beer, unsure of what to do. He and Steve rarely fought. But every time they had fought it was about this exact thing. Steve thought Bucky was overprotective and treated him like he was always going to be sickly; Bucky thought he was just being a friend. Steve had never walked out like this before.
He felt a hand on his shoulder. "Hey, man, you know this is just his usual thing," Sam said. "He'll get over it."
Standing up, Bucky didn't bother taking the time to pay for his beer. He just headed for the door and hurried over to Steve's truck, which to his relief was still there, idling. He jogged over and tapped on the window.
"Steve," he said.
The look Steve gave him when he looked up might as well have been a knife through his gut. Steve was crying.
Bucky tried the door handle; it opened, and he climbed into the truck. For a minute he just sat there, trying to read the combination of despair and hope on Steve's face.
"Steve, I'm sorry," Bucky said, hanging back, not sure if Steve wanted to forgive him or not. "I didn't mean to do that overprotective thing, I know you hate that. I just – I don't want you to get sick, you know, sometimes I just remember those times at the hospital, all the times I thought you might not wake up even though it was stupid--" Bucky wiped at the snot coming out of his nose, suddenly realizing he was crying, too, "I mean, half the time it was just an asthma attack or whatever but you don't know how worried I would get, and I'm sorry, is what I'm trying to say. I'm sorry, I don't want you to be mad at me. You can go home and sleep if you want but please don't leave because you're mad at me."
Steve laughed a little and rubbed his eyes. "And for a second there I thought I was being the idiot."
"Jerk," said Bucky, and punched Steve in the shoulder. Or tapped, more like, because he didn't want to hurt him.
"I'm not made of glass," Steve said, and slugged Bucky in the shoulder so hard Bucky's arm went numb.
"Gah!" He clutched his shoulder. "Geez, that's what I get for fucking apologizing!"
"Get in here," said Steve, and Bucky felt Steve's strong arms pulling him over and squeezing him so that his face was pressed up against the buttons of Steve's flannel shirt. He supposed he could fight to get his arms around Steve, too, but there was something nice about Steve's arms wrapped around him so tight. "Guess it's better to have an overprotective friend than friends who don't care." His breath tickled the hair on top of Bucky's head. "Since neither of us have moms to worry about us."
"You worry about me too," Bucky said, his voice muffled.
"I know, I know."
Steve released him, and though it was nice to breathe again, Bucky missed the feeling almost immediately. Had this been his moment to kiss Steve?
No, Bucky corrected himself. That's something one of those "friendzoned" losers might think. He wasn't friendzoned. Not yet, anyway.
Chapter 12: You're Lamazing
From his perch atop the birthing ball, Bucky surveyed the classroom and thought, I'm gonna miss this.
It wasn't so much that he was going to miss Darcy's lectures. He was going to miss the excuse for Steve to give him a massage. For Steve to touch him. Next week, Steve would be here with Sharon, and Bucky was going to be sitting at home by himself.
"So, tell me," said Pepper, who was looking more distinctly pregnant than she had on the first week, or maybe that was just her maternity top. "There is actually a pregnant woman who is supposed to be here with you, right?"
"Yeah, my friend Sharon." Steve sat in a normal chair like a normal adult. Bucky bounced, liking his chair much better. "She'll be here next week. I swear."
"Your friend, huh?"
Bucky looked at Pepper, realizing only after she glanced at him and smiled, that he was making the grumpy cat face all his friends told him he made.
"Yeah, yeah. We're just friends," Steve said.
After Darcy walked in and started the class, Bucky's mind wandered to how he might tell Steve how he felt. All weekend he had tried to convince himself that this was what needed to happen, but given how tired Steve looked and their fight on Friday night, Bucky hadn't wanted to rock the boat. He did, however, watch Steve a little more, especially when Steve wasn't looking. There was a good moment on Saturday morning, after Bucky had slept over (on the couch, but he had felt weird about bugging Steve to share the bed again, after all the fuss he'd made), when Steve had wandered down from the bedroom wearing just his boxers. Bucky had pretended to be asleep, so he had a nice view while Steve padded into the kitchen and started brewing coffee and cooking bacon.
Steve had a really nice back, despite all his concerns about scoliosis. A nice ass, too. What Bucky really liked, though, was knowing that Steve was making coffee and cooking bacon because he knew it would get Bucky out of bed.
Bucky had gotten up, and when he went into the kitchen he had said, "Steve, I have something I want to tell you."
Steve wiped his hands off on a dish towel and turned toward Bucky. "Yeah?"
And Bucky hadn't been able to get the words out, not the way he had imagined. "I love you, man," he said.
Why. Why did he do this to himself.
"I love you, too," Steve had said, slapping him on the shoulder and bringing him in for a hug. "Sorry about last night. Sometimes I'm just too sensitive, I guess."
"All right, everyone, time to get on all fours!" Darcy called out. After she giggled, she added, "Just the moms, I mean. And our mom stand-in."
Bucky felt all eyes on him as he stood up from the birthing ball and got down on the yoga mat. His face was burning even though he was trying to smile and pretend like it was no big deal, to be here on all fours like Steve was about to mount him and fuck him up the ass. What the hell does this have to do with giving birth? he wondered, looking around at the other moms, who were all a little red-faced and giggling themselves. Okay, so I'm not the only one who thinks this is a little perverted.
He glanced back at Steve. Steve's face was tomato-red and he looked like he was trying to smile and having a hard time of it. Steve wasn't even making eye contact with Bucky. He was staring down at his notebook like there was nothing else in the world, especially not Bucky's ass right in front of him.
"This is a great position if you are experiencing a lot of back pain during labor. Generally back pain comes from the baby's head pressing against your lower back, but there are other factors. Some of you might even be feeling some benefits right now. In this position the pressure against your spine lessens, relieving the pain."
The only thing Bucky was feeling was an acute awareness of his ass. He had a feeling he was wearing one of his more faded pairs of jeans and there might be a hole somewhere near the pockets that was exposing his underwear.
Stupid. Steve's seen your underwear before. Who cares.
"You can do some pelvic tilts if simply being in his position doesn't do the trick. Try it. Tilt your pelvis up, and back."
Bucky wasn't going to do anything, but then he felt someone slap his ass. "Come on, let's see you work it."
It wasn't Steve's voice. When Bucky turned around, he saw that it was Tony, frozen with his hand outstretched. "Uh, sorry, man," Tony said to Steve. "Was that too much? I never know when to stop."
"No, he doesn't," Pepper said dryly.
"Sorry," Tony said again, and looked at Bucky. "Sorry."
But Bucky was too busy looking at Steve's face. The red had faded, and Steve was smiling like he was okay with this joking around, but Bucky swore he had seen fire in Steve's eyes at the fact that Tony had touched Bucky's ass.
Like, maybe, just maybe, he had been jealous.
Jealous because Steve wanted to touch Bucky's ass himself, but was afraid to?
Smirking, Bucky started doing the pelvic tilts, looking over his shoulder at Steve the whole time. "Oh, yeah," he said, getting into it. He channeled his best Austin Powers. "Do I turn you on, baby?"
The red had returned to Steve's face with a vengeance. "Bucky," Steve whispered, laughing nervously. "Stop."
"Before we get out of hand," Darcy called out. "This is also a great position for our partners to give a nice massage, or apply some counterpressure. Counterpressure is similar to a massage, but slightly different, so birthing partners, kneel down beside your baby-mama... or baby-daddy? Oh, forget it," Darcy said, waving a hand at Bucky and Steve. "You're a baby-mama too."
"I've been dreaming about this day since I was a little girl," Bucky said, making the whole class crack up. He, however, was more concerned with Steve kneeling down beside him, so their hips were touching.
"Another massage," Steve complained.
Bucky looked back. "I can give you a massage when we get home, like last week." He had lost all trace of joking from his voice. He wanted Steve to agree to this. He wanted another chance to massage Steve into a kissing session, since none of his other plots to kiss Steve had worked out.
"Maybe," Steve said, not looking at him.
"Okay, so birthing partners! Place the heels of your hands on your baby-mama's low back." Bucky turned back and felt the hot center of Steve's hands through his shirt, just above the waist of his pants. "For this to work, your hands actually have to be very low on the back. All of you are too high. Go at least a palm's width lower than you are now." Bucky stared at the floor as Steve cautiously moved his hands a tiny bit further down. The heat was now muted by the double layer of fabric, but that didn't temper how close Steve's hands were to his actual ass. "Okay, good. Even lower, Steve." Bucky's face burned as Steve inched down further. "Here, let me show you."
The warmth of Steve's palms disappeared for a second, and Bucky was expecting Darcy's smaller and presumably cooler hands to take their place. Instead, Steve's hot hands slammed back down, each squarely cupping one of Bucky's ass cheeks.
"O-oh," Steve stammered.
"Yep, you need to be really low for this," Darcy said cheerily as the class tittered.
Bucky couldn't even pretend to smile. He just tried to breathe. Steve was touching his ass.
"Now you just want to push up to apply the counterpressure," Darcy continued.
But Steve didn't do anything. His hands quivered like he was afraid to do anything else.
"Come on," Bucky said, wiggling his hips just slightly. "Push it. Push it real good."
Even while the class was finding this hilarious, Steve didn't move.
"Hold on, I got this!" Bucky said. He pulled his phone out and after a few swipes, had Salt 'n' Pepa blasting out of the little speakers. "Ah, push it," he sang, tilting his pelvis in time to the beat.
"Oh, my god," Steve said, removing one hand to cover his face.
"Ooh, baby baby," sang Tony in a falsetto. "Baby, baby."
"Get up on this!" Bucky said.
He looked around. Some of the other baby-mamas were grooving, and their partners were enjoying themselves, pushing along to the music. "This is great!" Darcy said, her voice barely audible over the music and the laughter. "Music does wonders for finding a good rhythm and easing stress!" More than one couple was singing along now.
The verse hit, and suddenly it was Pepper's voice he heard, snapping out, "Salt and Pepa's here, and we're in effect - Want you to push it, babe - Coolin' by day then at night, working up a sweat - Come on girls, let's go show the guys that we know - How to become number one in a hot party show!"
Everyone knew the last line of the verse, and sang out, "Now push it!"
"Get in there, Steve!" Darcy said before the next set of "Ah, push its" came along.
"Push it real good!" Bucky pushed back until his ass was squarely in Steve's remaining hand – the one he wasn't using to cover up his face had remained there this whole time. Once he had some good pressure against it, Bucky squeezed his glutes in time to the music. "Ah, push it, push it real good."
Then Steve's other hand slapped down, and Steve was pushing. "P-Push it real good," he sang as he grabbed Bucky's ass and pushed. Good thing Bucky had a solid position with his hands braced on the yoga mat or he might have gone face-first. He was so surprised that he forgot to sing the next part, which didn't matter, because everyone else in the class covered for him.
He laughed and looked back at Steve, who gave little pulsing squeezes with his hands, to which Bucky squeezed his ass muscles. Steve's face was still red but he was laughing. "I can't even believe I'm grabbing your ass right now," Steve gasped.
"Get up on this," Bucky sang again.
"Boy, you really got me going," Steve belted out suddenly. "You got me soooooo, I don't know what I'm doin'!"
The class was done. Anyone who was still doing any semblance of counterpressure or birthing techniques had collapsed with laughter on their yoga mats, while the rest were standing up and dancing.
"What are we going to do without you two next week?" Tony asked after class.
"Well, I'll still be here," Steve said.
"But it won't be the same without the both of you," Pepper added. "You'd better let this Sharon person know she has a lot to live up to!"
"Maybe I could make a guest appearance," suggested Bucky, to which Steve elbowed him. He barely felt it though. All he could feel were the heat imprints of Steve's hands on his ass. He hadn't been able to stop smiling.
Chapter 13: Knocked Up
“This was such a good idea,” Steve said as they settled into their seats. They were up in the stadium seats, the cheap seats, where they’d sat every time they’d come to Yankee Stadium. While they’d love to sit in the box seats, or behind the dugout, Steve and Bucky preferred to pretend it was un-American to sit anywhere but the stadium seats. This was where you could catch a homerun ball. This was where the real fans sat.
Bucky took a swallow of his beer. “There’s the pretzel guy,” he said, pointing.
“We need dogs first,” Steve said.
What Bucky suddenly found himself liking most about the stadium seats was the fact that they were so small. He and Steve would be rubbing elbows all night.
Steve waved at the hotdog guy. The guy nodded, but he was busy handing out dogs to a family of fifty, apparently, so Steve and Bucky sat back to wait. “So Sharon’s back,” Steve said.
“Did you give her your notes from class?” Bucky asked with a laugh.
Steve chuckled. “I don’t know if I can do half that stuff with her,” he said. “Like… like…”
“The ass thing?”
Burying his face in his hand, Steve moaned, “Yes. The ass thing.”
“Just pretend it’s me,” Bucky said. Not that he wanted Steve touching Sharon’s ass, but he could bear it if he thought Steve was thinking about him.
“She looks really pregnant now. You should see her. It’s so weird.”
“Oh, you saw her?” Bucky asked. “When?”
“You didn’t tell me you were seeing her,” Bucky accused.
“Sorry,” said Steve. “I was just going to go home after work, like I told you, but then she texted me at like seven saying she was back and could I come over, so I did.”
Bucky wasn’t sure what to say about that. “Steve, you could have just told her you were tired.”
“I’m fine,” said Steve, a little testily. “I don’t know. I guess I felt a little guilty that I haven’t been texting her this whole time. She was really anxious about missing all those classes.”
“Sharon? Anxious?” The two words didn’t go together.
“Yeah, I guess that’s why I went right over. She ended up crying… I mean, she said it was the hormones and stuff but it was all really weird. I don’t know how I’m gonna be her birth partner.”
“Geez.” The hotdog guy headed their way. “I guess we could both be her birth partner. Two is better than one, right?”
Steve looked dubious.
Armed with two hotdogs each –
“I thought we were into salads now?”
“Salads at a baseball game? Blasphemy!”
--and the beer guy tipped enough to keep his eye out for their empty cups, they settled in to watch the game. Early on, however, Bucky found himself distracted by something so amazingly obvious he couldn’t believe he hadn’t thought of it before.
The Kiss Cam.
“Kiss meeee, beneath the milky twilight,” blasted over the speakers. On the Jumbotron some poor couple found themselves looking up at themselves. Dude in a baseball cap, his girlfriend in a pink Yankees t-shirt. They laughed a little, and the crowd cheered when they leaned in for a little kiss.
Bucky slugged back his beer, a technique meant to allow him to lean back and observe Steve’s reaction to this event, and to keep any reaction off his own face.
This would be perfect. But how did the Kiss Cam people decide who to zoom in on? Who were the Kiss Cam people? Would they zoom in on two guys? Could Bucky perhaps pay these people to zoom in on him and Steve?
“I have to go to the bathroom,” Bucky said suddenly, standing up.
“Already? It’s only the first inning.”
“I forgot to go before,” Bucky said. “I’ll be right back.”
Once in the bowels of the stadium, Bucky looked around frantically for any indication of someone who might know something.
“Hey,” he said, hurrying up to one of the ushers. “Hey, do you know where the Kiss Cam people are?”
“Uh, probably up in the sound room,” the usher said. She looked pretty bored. He’d probably be pretty bored as well, being stuck down here instead of watching the game.
“Okay, where’s that?”
She looked him up and down and harrumphed. “Guests aren’t allowed up there.”
“Well, do you know where I can request to be put on the Kiss Cam thingie?”
“Try customer service.”
Bucky glanced around. Shit, he was by Gate 2! He started fast-walking. What were all these people doing out here? Didn’t they know the game had started? He wanted to scream at everyone to get the fuck out of his way.
Somehow he managed to restrain himself until he got to the Guest Services area. “Hi,” he panted at the guy sitting at the desk. “I need to talk to whoever runs the Kiss Cam thing?”
“Why?” the guy asked.
“Because,” Bucky said, taking a deep breath, “I need to kiss… someone.”
“Do you need to pay for a special request?” Bucky pulled out his wallet and took out a twenty. “Please?”
“They don’t do requests,” the guy said. “Unless you’re planning to propose or something. But in that case, you might have wanted to, I don’t know, not wait until the last minute?”
“I’m not proposing,” Bucky said, thrusting the money at the guy. “Come on! Can’t you just slip them my seat number or something?”
The guy looked at the twenty and with a huge sigh, took it from Bucky’s fingers. “What’s your seat number?”
“Uh, uh, shit,” Bucky said. Now he had to search his pockets until he found the crumpled ticket and read the numbers out loud. “So you can do that? Give them my seat number?”
“Sure,” the guy drawled.
“Thank you!” Bucky shouted. If the counter hadn’t been so big, he might have lunged across and kissed this random dude. “Thank you thank you thank you!!”
“Great. Is there anything else I can help you with?”
“No. Just… thank you! Thank you!”
And Bucky did run this time, because there was no way a trip to the bathroom would have taken this long.
“Everything come out okay?” Steve asked when Bucky got back to his seat.
“Uh, yeah. Everything’s good. We still winning?”
For a few minutes Bucky found himself staring at the Jumbotron, hoping his request would be processed immediately. Then he realized that was crazy, it would obviously be a while, since the Kiss Cam only operated during breaks. With that realization, he hunkered down with his remaining hot dog and beer and focused on the game.
“Welp, it’s about time for my turn in the little boys’ room,” Steve said at the end of the second inning. He pushed himself up by the arm rests.
“Wait!” Bucky said.
Steve looked down at him. “Why?”
“Uh…” Bucky looked up at the Jumbotron. “Never mind.” Just hurry, he mentally told Steve, who was looking at him like he was a crazy person.
The whole five minutes Steve was gone, Bucky stared at the Jumbotron, his leg bouncing wildly. What if he showed up on the screen next to an empty seat? He would look like a complete loser on TV. Or would he have to kiss the person on his other side? Casually, he leaned back and peeked to his right. It was a woman in her fifties next to who Bucky assumed was her husband.
The Kiss Cam didn’t happen during Steve’s absence, nor during the break between second and third innings. It didn’t happen between third and fourth innings.
By that time, Bucky and Steve had each downed several more beers and eaten pretzels. The Yankees were winning by a large lead. Bucky’s heart had stopped leaping everytime something new popped up on the giant screen, so of course that was when the chorus of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” interrupted the song that was currently playing, and a wave of hearts cascaded across the Jumbotron.
Bucky sat up. This was it! He stared at the screen, his whole body tense, waiting for him and Steve to be revealed.
But it wasn’t him and Steve. It was some older couple with white hair, holding hands while they watched the game. Shoulders slumping, Bucky drooped back into his seat. As Steve cheered for the kissing couple, Bucky drained his beer and signaled for another. “That’s so nice,” Steve said. “You know, when couples are still in love after being married for fifty years.”
“Yeah,” Bucky said. “I’m gonna hit the john.”
“You’d better watch out or I’m gonna have to start making fun of your tiny bladder,” Steve said, standing so Bucky could get by him.
This time Bucky did actually go to the bathroom – although he considered heading down to Guest Services and demanding his money back. There’s still plenty of time in the game, he told himself.
By the time the eighth inning rolled around, however, Bucky was slightly less calm. There was only one more inning break. One more chance for the Kiss Cam. If this didn’t happen, he might as well give up on ever kissing Steve.
So when “All You Need is Love” started playing, Bucky could have jumped up and sung along. He glanced at Steve, who was busy sucking down his beer. The camera finally zoomed in on a couple and Bucky could have sworn it was them. Two guys in baseball hats. “This is us!” he said.
“Huh?” said Steve.
Then Bucky realized it wasn’t them. It was some random guy and girl somewhere else in the stadium. Everyone cheered. Not Bucky, he didn’t cheer. He slammed back in his seat. “Well, I’m out twenty bucks,” he muttered.
“What are you talking about?” Steve asked.
“Uh, oh. Nothing. Just… stupid bet… Clint,” Bucky mumbled, hoping he was being vague enough. Luckily, the final inning started and Steve didn’t press the issue.
Feeling pretty bummed, Bucky could barely enjoy the rest of the game. The Yankees were winning by such a large margin they had basically won the game already. Everything seemed pointless.
Suddenly Steve was hitting his arm. “Get your glove!” Steve was saying, yanking his own glove on.
Slowly Bucky looked up to see a baseball hurtling at his face.
The beer had really affected his reaction time. He could barely register what was happening as Steve stuck his glove in Bucky’s face, because there were other gloves and elbows and something bounced off the top of his skull, hard, and there was darkness and muffled noise for a minute before he blinked and there was light again.
Only now he was lying half off his seat and half on the concrete floor. “Wha—”
“I gotcha, buddy,” Steve said, and hauled Bucky back up to his seat. “You okay? I think you blacked out for a second there.”
“Yeah.” He reached up to touch the top of his head and winced.
“Let’s get some ice, huh? I had that ball, man. I had it and it bounced out of my glove and hit you and then some kid got it.”
Bucky let Steve help him to his feet. “Damn.”
Steve handed Bucky both of their gloves so he could get his hand more securely under Bucky’s armpit. I’m all sweaty, Bucky thought, and mumbled, “I hope you don’t think I’m gross.”
“We shoulda brought our hard hats,” Steve joked. “Hope yours will fit tomorrow. I think you’re gonna have a goose egg.”
“Will you sleep over tonight, Stevie?” Bucky asked, letting his head droop onto Steve’s shoulder. “Please?”
Steve laughed. “Sure.” He reached up at patted Bucky’s hair, carefully, so he didn’t hit the pounding spot. “No problem, buddy.”
The next morning Bucky awoke with a splitting headache and his face pressed into something that was not his pillow. The thing that was not his pillow was breathing. And it smelled like Steve.
He sucked in a few breaths, trying to orient himself. He remembered the baseball hitting him. Then his memory skipped to walking out of the stadium hanging off Steve, and some jerk saying, “Whoa, looks like somebody’s had a few too many,” and Steve yelling, “Shut up! He has a head injury!”
The car ride was a blur. And so was how he’d gotten to where he was now, which he was pretty sure from the smell of sawdust was Steve’s house. He vaguely remembered waking up without opening his eyes, and feeling fingers sifting through his hair. It felt so good he didn’t want to move, and eventually he fell asleep again.
Now his head was throbbing. He moaned a little, and touched the top of his head. His fingers bumped into something that by the sound he knew was an ice pack, a melted ice pack, held in place by Steve’s hand.
“Don’t get up too fast,” Steve said. His voice sounded funny to Bucky’s ear that was pressed against Steve’s chest. “You fell asleep too fast for me to give you aspirin.”
“Fuckin’ hurts,” Bucky moaned. He wanted aspirin, but he didn’t want to get up.
“Here.” Some movement, and Steve’s hand appeared in front of Bucky’s face. Two white pills sat in his palm. Bucky reached up and took them, clumsily. Once he had them in his mouth Steve’s hand reappeared with a glass of water.
Bucky struggled to sit up. The pain sliced through his brain like an ice pick. “Oh, Jesus fuck.”
“Faster you swallow those down, faster it doesn’t hurt so much.”
After doing what he was told, he flopped back against Steve. “What time is it?”
“We gotta get ready for work.” He couldn’t make himself move.
“Maybe you should stay home today.”
“I guess.” A long silence passed. Long enough that Bucky felt Steve’s fingers combing through his hair again. “Will you stay home with me?” he asked.
At the sound of Bucky’s voice, Steve’s hand had stopped. Keep going, Bucky thought desperately. But Steve didn’t. “Yeah,” Steve said finally. “I’ll stay home with you. Someone’s gotta take care of your big baby ass.”
“You like my ass,” Bucky mumbled.
Just before he slipped into sleep again, he heard Steve whisper, “I do.”
Chapter 14: Can't Help Fallopian In Love With You
“Okay, I’m beginning to think you’re milking this a bit.”
Bucky looked up with a smirk from his position on the couch. Steve was folding laundry on the armchair. “Whatever do you mean?”
“Buck, you went to work today! You don’t need to be hogging my couch and demanding I bring you ice cream.”
“But, Stevie…” Bucky touched his hair gingerly. “My head…”
“Plus, you know Sharon’s coming over tonight.”
“What, you think my being here will make it weird? I think it might help to have someone to demonstrate with.”
“You’re just hoping for a massage.”
Bucky shrugged a little.
“I mean, I don’t care if you’re here. But I’m not going to wait on you hand and foot. You can get your own damn ice cream.”
But it had been so nice when Steve would bring him ice cream, then sit right beside him rather than on the other end of the couch while they watched TV. He kept hoping Steve might put his arm around him, or something. He needed a super obvious sign, because when he woke up he couldn’t be sure if half the stuff he heard or felt was real or just an awesome dream.
No, an awesome dream would have been Steve kissing him. Bucky sighed.
“Are we gonna have dinner first?”
“Well, Sharon requested pizza so I was gonna order some.”
“Pepperoni,” Bucky said.
“Sharon said she was craving Hawaiian.”
“Okay, half Hawaiian, half pepperoni.”
“What about me?”
“It’s not my fault you’re boring.”
“Cheese pizza is not ‘boring.’ It’s the standard. You can’t have any other kind of pizza without cheese pizza.”
While Steve’s words weren’t serious, Bucky realized he was being a bit unfair. He had taken over Steve’s couch for two days in hopes that somehow he’d find the magical opportunity for a kiss. Meanwhile, Steve had been waiting on him and stressing out about Sharon.
“Cheese is fine,” Bucky said quickly. “Do you really want me to go? I’m sorry.”
“You can stay,” Steve conceded. He smiled down at the folded clothes. “You know don’t mind you being here. It’s probably better, actually. I won’t have to worry about Sharon making a move.”
Bucky sat up. “Does she do that a lot?”
“No,” Steve laughed. “She never does. I guess that’s why we’re still friends even after Nat tried to set me up with her. It’s all me. I get weird about it. I feel like she’s just waiting for me to make a move, and then I get awkward.”
Settling back down, Bucky said, “Okay, you’ve convinced me to stay.”
“I was super worried you were going to leave,” Steve laughed.
When Sharon did show up, however, she had Natasha in tow. “Oh, hey, Nat,” Steve said. “You guys think I should order another pizza? Bucky’s here, too.”
“Pepperoni,” Bucky called from the couch.
“Pepperoni’s good,” Nat agreed. She jumped over the back of the couch with the grace of a cat and landed beside Bucky. “How’s your head? Do you remember me? How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Just one.” Bucky swiped at the middle finger Natasha had presented, but she was too quick.
“Wow, your reflexes have gotten sloooow,” she said.
“Shut up,” Bucky said.
“So apparently,” Nat called into the kitchen, where Steve was dialing the number of the pizza place and Sharon was raiding the fridge, “this Lamaze class involves a lot of massaging.”
“What?” Sharon said, her head popping up. “I get a massage?”
“Ha ha, yeah, I guess,” Steve said. He put the phone to his ear and wandered away so he could talk without interruptions.
“Yeah,” said Nat. “Bucky here was the lucky recipient of several massages.”
“Just, like, three,” Bucky said. There was something in the way Natasha was phrasing her commentary that made him think she was saying something else underneath. Like some kind of girl code. “And the last one wasn’t really a massage. It was more like, um…” What had Steve told them? Had he mentioned the ass-grabbing?
“I bet Steve gives a good massage,” Sharon said, coming into the living room. “Those big, strong hands…”
“Actually, Bucky told Steve he needed to be a little more aggressive,” Nat told her.
“Reeeaaally.” Sharon hadn’t stopped looking at Bucky this whole time. He wasn’t sure how he was supposed to act.
“I just need a little more pressure,” he said gruffly. “I’m not as sensitive as you girls.”
“Because you’re a big, manly man?” asked Natasha.
This reminded Bucky of all the Man Jokes he and Steve made, only now his mind went blank and he couldn’t think of any that wouldn’t be totally offensive and sexist. “Well, I mean, I weigh more, so I need more pressure,” he said. God, he sounded lame.
“I wonder if Steve will be able to give my poor sensitive girl muscles enough pressure,” said Sharon.
“That’s not what I meant,” Bucky said, just as Steve walked back into the room. “Besides, I gave him some pointers so now he’s much better at it.”
“I’m sure he is,” Natasha said with a smirk.
“Pizza’s on its way,” Steve announced. “What are we talking about it?”
“Bucky says your massages have improved,” Natasha said. “And I think Sharon should be the judge of that.”
“What, you want me to give you a massage right now?” Steve asked. “Um, all right. I mean, we don’t have a birthing ball or anything…”
“She could just kneel in front of a chair,” Bucky suggested. “Remember, Darcy said that was a good substitute.”
“Wow, you guys actually learned something in this class,” Natasha said.
“I can’t believe you were actually paying attention,” Sharon said.
“Of course we were.” Bucky tossed his head. “Steve here even took notes.”
“Ohhh. Really,” said Natasha.
“Why don’t you think we would take this seriously?” Bucky asked. “Of course we took it seriously. Giving birth is a serious thing.” He had a flashback to the video Darcy had showed them on the first day of class and shuddered.
Steve brought in a kitchen chair. Bucky hoisted himself out of the couch and placed a pillow on the floor for Sharon to kneel on, and another pillow on the wooden seat of the chair.
“This is amazing,” said Natasha. She was fully reclined now that Bucky had abandoned his spot.
Sharon laughed, but watched with a bit more attention to detail. “So you think I should get a birthing ball or whatever that is?” she asked.
“It’s basically just a yoga ball,” Steve said. “I think you have one of those, right?”
“Yeah,” Sharon answered, nodding. “Okay.”
Bucky held out a hand to help Sharon up.
“I’m not that pregnant,” she said. But she did struggle a bit heaving herself off the chair, and accepted Bucky’s hand when she went to kneel down. “Like this?” she asked.
“Yeah,” said Bucky. “You want your legs a little apart so your hips open up. Then you rest your upper body on the chair. And now…. Steve’s magic hands!”
“You guys are seriously going to sit here and watch me give Sharon a massage?” Steve asked, cracking his knuckles.
“Is there popcorn?” was Natasha’s reply.
“It’s not like I haven’t been on the receiving end of this,” Bucky added.
Sharon and Natasha both giggled. For a second Bucky wondered if he’d said something really gay. But the girls didn’t know how he felt about Steve. He hadn’t told anyone. He gave Natasha the side-eye before sitting down in the armchair.
“Oh, that feels good,” Sharon moaned into her arms about two seconds after Steve started.
Bucky frowned a little.
“Oh, my god,” Sharon said. “Oh, Bucky was right. You do have magic hands.”
Natasha leaned forward. “What do you think, Sharon, do you think Steve needs to apply a little more pressure? Or is this just right for your girly weak muscles?”
“He’s improved a lot since the first time,” Bucky said defensively.
“I’ll bet he has,” Sharon said. “Damn, I wish I hadn’t missed three weeks of this!”
Bucky stood and went into the kitchen. “I doubt it’s that good,” he muttered, grabbing a beer from the fridge.
“What was that?” Nat asked from directly behind him.
Bucky jumped. “Jesus, I always forget how you like to do that.”
“If you think you can do better, maybe you should step in. Show us how it’s done.”
“It’s not… I’m sure Steve is plenty good. I know Steve is plenty good.” Bucky popped off the bottle cap. “Besides, he’s the one who’s Sharon’s birthing partner.”
“So this isn’t a competition thing, between you and Steve,” Natasha said, leaning against the counter. Bucky suddenly felt like an insect under a magnifying glass. She tilted her head. “You’re jealous.”
“Of what? I don’t need to be jealous of Steve. I know I can massage him under the table.”
“Not Steve.” Natasha gave him a knowing smile. “Sharon.”
It was all he could do not to look over at the two of them right now and feel that growing resentment at how much Sharon was enjoying Steve’s massage. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Bucky said. “I mean, everyone likes a massage, right? I’m not jealous.”
Natasha stepped in close and said in a low voice, “You are jealous.”
Bucky swallowed nervously.
But then Natasha stepped back, smirked at him, and said, "How about we go make Steve jealous, and get me a back rub in the meantime?"
He watched flounce into the living room. She had said, Make Steve jealous. She knew. She knew exactly how he felt.
"Who's making who jealous?" Steve asked as Bucky walked in and sat down on the couch. Natasha had folded herself over the coffee table with one of the throw pillows.
"Ummm," Sharon moaned. "You're not gonna make me jealous. This is heaven."
The second Bucky laid hands on Natasha's back, she let out a comically loud, orgasmic sound. "Oh, oh my god," Nat cried.
"Come on," Bucky said. "I barely touched you."
Her back felt so narrow compared to Steve's. Not so much at the waist – Steve had a narrow waist and hips that made his shoulders look much broader in comparison. She was wearing a tank top, and that meant skin on skin contact, which was messing up his massage style. "It would be better if you were wearing more clothes," Bucky said.
Sharon started giggling and couldn't seem to stop. While Natasha was silent, the shaking of her shoulders gave away the fact that she was also laughing.
"What?" he said. "It's better when my hands can slide over the fabric."
"Generally dudes want the girl to be wearing fewer clothes during a massage?" Natasha said.
"Well, I'm not trying to get you into bed. Geez," he snapped.
Sharon's giggles turned into a full-out belly laugh. She had one of those laughs that made everyone around her want to laugh too, if only to be enjoying life as much as she was. "Oh, my god," she gasped. "Thank you, you guys don't know how much I needed this."
"You're welcome?" said Steve. He looked at Bucky helplessly. He didn't seem to understand what was so funny.
"I mean, oh my god. I just needed to laugh," Sharon said. She sat up and wiped her eyes, still laughing a little. "Wow. You guys are hilarious."
Bucky took that as a signal that he didn't have to massage Natasha anymore, and he let his hands drop. She whipped around. "Hey, I've got some serious shoulder stiffness here."
"Fine," said Bucky. "Is this too hard?"
"Nope." She settled her head back into her arms. "Mmm, that's just right."
With a little bit of jealousy, Bucky looked over at Steve. He had settled back on the armchair after Sharon had waved him away. "Traveling sucks," Sharon said, leaning back on Steve's legs. Her blonde hair fanned back over Steve's thigh and Steve started combing it with his fingers.
Bucky narrowed his eyes. "Okay, you can ease up a little," Nat complained.
"Sorry." He released his grip. So Steve just liked to play with everyone's hair, was that it? He straightened up, got himself in a better position. He would make Steve jealous.
Sharon was still talking. "I mean, the whole time I was away I felt like I was by myself. It never really bothered me before. But there I was, pregnant, and everytime I felt anything I was wondering, Is that normal? Is it normal to crave olives and orange soda? At the same time? I hate olives. But I ate a whole jar one night."
"I guess that's just about as strange as pickles and ice cream," Steve said.
"And when I decided to do this whole thing, you know, have a baby, I told myself I wasn't going to be one of those girls who calls her mom all the time. You know how often I called my mom while I was in Houston? Every day. Every fucking day."
"Hope you have a nationwide plan," said Nat. "Oh, right there. Yes. Yes!"
"I'll have what she's having," Sharon laughed.
"You want me to massage you again?" Steve asked.
"Hmm," she said. "Maybe I need to see if Bucky's the one with the magic hands."
Steve looked at Bucky. "I don't know if I should be offended or not."
"You have experienced the Bucky special," Natasha said to Steve. "Was it magical?"
"He fell asleep," Bucky said, digging his thumbs into the meat of Nat's muscles. "So I guess not."
"You what?" Nat sat up, outraged. "You fell asleep while this man touched you?"
Bucky couldn't help trying to defend Steve. He seemed to be hard-wired to do it. "I'm sure he was just tired."
"No," Natasha said. "No way." She pushed herself to her feet so she could yell at Steve properly from a height higher than where Steve was sitting. "I cannot believe this beautiful man had his hands on you, making you feel the most pleasure you've probably ever felt in your life of not dating anyone I ever try to fix you up with, and you fucking FELL ASLEEP?"
Curled up on the chair, practically cowering, Steve said, "I'm... sorry?"
"No!" Natasha was on a roll now. "You are going to come over here RIGHT NOW and appreciate these magic hands PROPERLY!" Steve actually flinched at that last word hurled at him.
"It's fine," Bucky said quickly. "I don't care."
"You shut up," Natasha hissed, whirling on him. "You're gonna give this idiot the massage of his life, and Sharon and I will bear witness!"
By now, Sharon had collapsed into hysterics, cackling and holding her belly. "Do it!" she shrieked at Bucky, slapping at his knees. "You gotta! You gotta give him a massage!"
"You don't have to," Steve said to Bucky. Two bright spots of red burned on his cheeks. "It's okay."
"You don't get to decide if it's okay!" Natasha was up in Steve's face now. "Your best friend here, the person who knows you the best out of everyone in the world, this guy, who is basically your soulmate, went to all the effort of giving you a massage out of the kindness of his own heart, and you! How did you thank him? You fell asleep!"
Natasha slapped Steve on the shoulder.
"Ow!" Steve said. "Fine, fine! Okay! I'll do it!"
"Good." Nat stepped aside so Steve could get up, even though once he did, he didn't seem to know where to go. "Well? Where were you sitting last time? You weren't at the table here, like we were?"
"No," Steve whispered. His face was deep red now, and when he swallowed it stuck.
"He was on the floor," Bucky supplied. "In front of the fireplace."
The way both girls looked at him told him that yes, this was super gay. He tried to play it off like it wasn't. "There wasn't any furniture in here when we did it," he explained. "We just finished the new floor."
"It does look really nice," Sharon said, admiring the woodwork. "But it doesn't look very comfortable to lay on, for a massage."
"Well, we brought in some cushions and Steve had a fire going," Bucky said.
Sharon and Natasha looked at each other.
"What?" Bucky said.
The doorbell rang then. "Pizza!" Sharon roared in a guttural voice Bucky barely recognized.
Steve hurried to the door like he was glad to have something to distract from the situation at hand. Bucky was relieved as well. Those moments massaging Steve had felt so private, so intimate, he couldn't imagine having an audience. None of the magic – albeit magic that had made Steve fall asleep – would have carried over. It would have tainted the whole memory. Bucky wasn't sure he'd ever have the same opportunity again, now that the birthing class was over.
Luckily, everyone was so ravenous that they fell upon the pizza like wolves and forgot all about the massage shit and Steve's face finally returned to its natural color. Soon they were watching TV and laughing and Bucky thought he had escaped, until later, when he got up to get a beer. "Grab me one?" Steve said, heading into the bathroom.
"Sure." Bucky was popping off the caps when Steve emerged.
"Hey, just to let you know," Steve said, his voice low and his eyes flicking toward the living room, "I didn't fall asleep."
"What?" Bucky's hand, holding out Steve's beer, hovered in mid-air.
"During that massage." Taking the beer with a little shrug, Steve added, not looking at Bucky, "Just so you know."
Bucky stared after Steve.
He couldn't breathe.
Chapter 15: Birth, Wind, and Fire
In the wake of Steve's confession, Bucky didn't know what to do. How to react. He ended up reacting by not reacting, if that made any sense. He was too stunned. He finished his beer, finished the episode of the show they were watching, and when Nat and Sharon left, he bummed a ride back to his place.
Of course, in retrospect, as Bucky lay in bed alone staring at his ceiling at three in the morning, he knew he should have stayed at Steve's. Steve told him he hadn't fallen asleep during the massage for a reason. While that reason could have been that Steve had felt so awkward about the whole thing he had pretended to fall asleep so Bucky would stop (and this thought kept crawling into the forefront of Bucky's mind), the way Steve had said it made Bucky think he meant something else entirely. Natasha had accused him of not appreciating Bucky's massage, so Steve's confession was more an apology. He wanted Bucky know he had liked it.
Bucky clamped his hand between his legs, where he'd been idly stroking himself, and rolled to bury his face in his pillow. Goddamn it, Steve. And of course he just had to tell Bucky that vital information at a time when Bucky couldn't do a fucking thing about it, not if he didn't want Sharon and Natasha as an audience.
In his mind he kept seeing Steve's hand combing through Sharon's hair, and then he could feel Steve's hand combing through his hair. His thighs couldn't keep his hand from moving. He thought about a hot fire and a darkened room, and Steve's muscles under his hands, imagining both his hand touching Steve's cock for the first time and Steve's hand touching him, and from there on it got more frenzied and the one thing he knew for sure after he had cried out, coming all over himself, was that he couldn't wait for any sign from Steve, or from the universe. He couldn't sit around and keep hoping that some outside force was going to push them into a kiss. He needed to tell Steve how he felt.
This was what he thought in the middle of the night. In the morning, when he went out to get in Steve's truck to go to work, he was feeling a lot less confident.
"Coffee?" Steve asked.
"Coffee," Bucky agreed.
And just like that they fell back into their normal rhythm – a routine so strong Bucky couldn't imagine any kind of opening where he might tell Steve how he felt. He tortured himself with it all day. Should he just blurt it out: "Steve, I think I'm in love with you." Or should he be more cautious? Something like, "Steve, we've been friends for a long time, and I don't want that to change if you don't feel the same way I do, but..."
That was it right there. He didn't want anything to change about his friendship with Steve. He still wanted Manly Man jokes and Convoy and morning coffee and watching Friends and hanging out without things being weird. But he also wanted to maybe make out sometimes and see if spooning was something that could work between two guys and massage each other and at some point have sex, but he needed the other stuff to happen first.
It was during lunch, when they were sitting at the picnic tables by the taco truck that Bucky got up the nerve to say something. “So how come you pretended to be asleep?” Bucky asked.
“Huh? Oh, uh…” Steve looked down at his taco. Then he looked at Bucky.
His expression mirrored the way Bucky had been looking at Steve all day: wanting to say something and not feeling like he could.
“I mean, if you didn’t like the massage, you could have just told me,” Bucky said. He didn’t know why he said it. He didn’t want to give Steve an out. “I just… I wanted you to like it.”
“I did,” Steve said quickly. “I really did.”
“Okay,” said Bucky, even though okay did not begin to describe how he felt, which was a combination of thrilled that Steve did like and betrayal that he would pretend to be asleep. “So, why… I don’t understand why. Still.” He struggled not to let his shoulders collapse. “I don’t know, maybe I’m just stupid.”
“You’re not stupid, I’m just…”
“Hey, losers,” called one of their coworkers. “We gotta head back!”
“Fuck,” Steve said softly.
Bucky stood up, feeling very unhappy. He didn’t even want to finish his taco. Steve still had half a taco in his hand as well.
They worked in near silence for the rest of the afternoon. Bucky couldn’t even look at Steve. He didn’t know what Steve’s reasons were. The scales tipped wildly in his head. On the one side, he didn’t understand why Steve would pretend to not like something he claimed to like, unless he didn’t like the fact that it was Bucky giving him the massage. He didn’t want to hurt Bucky’s feelings and say he didn’t feel the same way Bucky felt. Then again, Bucky hadn’t exactly told Steve how he felt. And if Steve had felt the same way, he had most certainly been getting turned on, and if Steve wasn’t sure if Bucky felt the same way he would have wanted to hide that.
There were too many ifs in the second scenario.
When five o’clock rolled around, and everyone started packing up, Steve slapped Bucky on the back and he nearly jumped out of his skin. “You ready for a drink?” Steve asked.
“Yeah,” said Bucky.
In the car, the silence became deafening, and Bucky couldn’t take it anymore. “Steve,” he said, his voice strangled. “I—” His voice caught.
“Don’t say it,” Steve said, staring at the steering wheel. “Not right now. Think about it. Really think about it. Okay?”
Bucky blinked through a misty film at his best friend. Steve looked to be blinking back tears as well.
“Because this… this will change… everything. Everything.”
As if he couldn’t bear to think about it anymore, Steve jabbed his key into the ignition and started the engine.
“How do you know what I was gonna—”
“Because I’ve thought about it too. A lot more than you have, I can guarantee it.” Exhaling, Steve shifted into drive, but didn’t release the brake just yet. “We’re gonna go get a few drinks, and hang out with our friends, and everything’s going to be just like it always has been.”
This last part seemed to be spoken to himself. A reassurance of sorts. But a reassurance of what?
A sudden cold flowed through Bucky – was this going to ruin their friendship? Was Steve afraid of that, like Bucky was? Unless… Steve didn’t feel the same way. And if Bucky told him how he felt, and Steve rejected him, that was how their friendship wouldn’t be the same.
Bucky rubbed his eye and, with his elbow resting on the window, pushed his face into his hand. He had wanted to get it out, get it over with. Maybe start making out already. Only now he was again completely unsure if Steve felt the same way.
Clint was already at the bar when Steve and Bucky arrived. They ordered drinks, and Steve asked Clint about his dog. “What dog?” Bucky asked.
“Just a stray,” Clint said, then proceeded to talk about this dog for the next twenty minutes, when Sam arrived. But by then, Bucky had started watching the game on the television, because he couldn’t just pretend. He couldn’t, not anymore.
“What’s wrong with you?” Sam said.
Bucky lifted his head from his beer. “Nothing,” he said, pasting a fake smile on his face. He couldn’t help but glance over at Steve, who was looking at his phone.
“Then let’s go. Convoy, man!”
Like a prisoner walking to his execution, Bucky followed Steve out to the truck. He waited for Steve to ask him if he was okay. Instead, he put on the song and they listened to it. It all felt so empty. And that was what it would feel like if he never told Steve how he felt.
He wanted to say it now. He felt like he might explode if he didn’t. But Steve didn’t think this was the right time. Steve wanted him to think about it. Bucky had been thinking about it for almost three weeks now.
Too agitated to drink, too frustrated to eat, Bucky spent a lot of time on his phone, flipping between different apps and not really doing anything. He claimed the armchair so he didn’t have to be right next to Steve, because if their legs or elbows touched Bucky didn’t know what he would do.
It got to where he couldn’t be in that room anymore. He went to the bathroom, hoping he could talk himself out of wanting to leave. But when he came out of the bathroom, he took a left turn and went out the back door and just stood on the back porch. The sun had set, and streaks of deep purple and blue filled the sky over the tree line.
Why did everything have to be so complicated? He wished it were simpler, to tell someone how you felt and know they would feel the same way, and nothing would change and everything would change at the same time.
Bucky heard him coming. “Hey,” said Steve from behind him.
“Hey,” said Bucky.
Bucky didn’t say anything for a few seconds. Then, before he could second guess himself or let Steve get a word in edgewise, he turned to face Steve and opened his mouth.
“No, I’m not okay. I need to tell you how I feel and you’re my best friend and this might ruin everything but I need to tell you how I feel because I’m not being your best friend if I can’t tell you how I feel. And you just shut up,” he said suddenly, when he saw Steve about to open his mouth. “I’m not done. I love you, okay? I love you as more than a friend. Maybe I’m not ‘in love’ with you but it’s something more than just being pals or friendship or whatever.”
He stopped, partly because he’d run out of breath and partly because he didn’t know what else to say.
“Look, I know I’m an idiot that it took me this long to figure it out. I never heard of anyone taking this long to figure out if they’re gay or bi or whatever. I guess… I guess it’s because it’s just you. Maybe I’ve always felt this way about you and I just couldn’t see it past you always being there for me. Because we’re more than just friends, Stevie. And I think you know that, too.”
“I do, Buck.” Steve’s voice was soft.
“So why did you pretend to fall asleep?” Bucky demanded. “Why didn’t you want me to tell you all this earlier?”
“I know… it wasn’t fair to you.” Steve looked down at his hands. “I’ve had feelings for you for a long time. A really long time.” He sighed. “I guess the first time I realized it, it was right after your parents died, and I just couldn’t tell you then. And then I could never find the right time to say something, and it never seemed like you felt the same way, so I never said anything. I kind of… locked it away.”
Impulsively, Bucky reached out and grabbed Steve’s hands. “I wish you had told me.”
“I just couldn’t. I didn’t want to lose you on top of everyone else in my life. I didn’t want you to see my fucking boner from when you were massaging me.” Steve smiled a little then, and Bucky smiled too, and squeezed Steve’s hands because Steve still wasn’t quite looking at him. “And when you looked like you were going to say something in the truck earlier – well, that was just me being kind of selfish. I mean, isn’t it better to do this here than in a pickup truck in the parking lot at work?”
Bucky followed Steve’s gaze to the overgrown backyard, where crickets were singing and the moon glowed overhead.
“Yeah,” Bucky agreed. He looked down at their hands. He’d never held Steve’s hand like this before. It was such a big step, but it felt so natural to be running his thumb over Steve’s knuckles.
They looked at each other.
“So,” Bucky whispered. He cleared his throat. “Are, um, Sam and Clint still inside?”
“Okay. Um.” Bucky knew what he wanted to do. He just wanted a little privacy. Then again, he didn’t think he could wait any longer. On the count of three, he told himself. One, two—
He leaned forward and his face smashed into Steve’s face, which was much closer than it had been two seconds ago.
They pulled back a little, laughing. “Guess we had the same idea at the same time,” Steve said, rubbing his nose.
“Yeah,” Bucky laughed, then, keeping his eyes open this time, leaned in again.
It wasn’t fireworks, or like in a movie with the music swelling and all that, and yet, compared to every other kiss Bucky had ever given or received, this one, this soft meeting of their lips, this felt the most right. When Bucky pulled away, mostly because he had forgotten to breathe, he couldn’t believe he had ever considered kissing anyone else as an option.
“That felt…” Steve’s whisper trailed off.
“Like…” Bucky was having a hard time thinking. He could only smile and blink at Steve and think about his lips.
“Yeah. Like that.”
Chapter 16: U + Me = UterUS
As promised, now will commence the chapters of pure cuddly fluff.
“Everything okay, man?” Sam asked when Bucky returned to the living room. He had his leather jacket on, which was a good sign.
Steve had gone inside first, because Bucky couldn’t stop smiling. “You keep smiling like that and they’re gonna know something’s up,” Steve had said.
“Okay, okay. I can do this. Just give me a minute.”
He had rubbed his cheeks and stared out at the trees and tried to rearrange this event into what he knew of his life so that it seemed more real.
Finally he managed to pull himself together. He knew his face was still a little red, but he hoped that maybe he’d look feverish or something.
“Yeah,” Bucky said, trying to sound tired. “I’m just not feeling all that great.”
“You want a ride home?”
“Nah, I’ll just crash here. Steve’ll take care of me.” Bucky hoped, anyway.
“Sure,” said Sam. “All right, Barton. Let’s go.”
Steve and Bucky stood there, across the living room from each other, listening to the sounds of car doors closing, watching the headlights sweeping across the windows, and waiting for the roar of the engines to fade into silence.
Then they looked at each other.
Bucky felt suddenly shy. What he wanted to do was run and throw himself at Steve, push his friend up against the wall and kiss him – hard. Instead, he took a deep breath, and sat down on the couch. Steve sat down next to him. They looked down at each other’s limbs and tried to arrange them like a human puzzle. Whose arm should be around the other’s shoulder? Would crossing his legs make it easier for Steve to get closer? Should his arm go around Steve’s waist? Or maybe he should put it on Steve’s thigh?
Then Steve snickered, and Bucky felt Steve’s arm tighten around his neck.
“Oh, no you don’t,” Bucky growled.
Now they were wrestling on the couch. Bucky had both hands pulling at Steve’s forearm, but he was also arching back to pin Steve down on the couch.
“Just – let – me – hold you!” Steve laughed.
Bucky spun out of the headlock, then fell when Steve grabbed at his knees.
“I prefer to play hard to get!” Bucky said, landing on top of Steve’s torso.
After some more tussling, he ended up back in a headlock, which he fought until he felt lips on his temple. He laughed and relaxed. He snaked one arm around back and touched Steve’s ass. Squeezed it a little, and felt Steve’s dick – which was pressed up against the small of his back – jump a little. The rest of Steve responded by hugging him tightly.
“You don’t even know,” Steve whispered. “You don’t even know how long I’ve wanted to be able to do this.”
Bucky let him have a moment, then he sat up and rolled over so he was lying on top of Steve. It was much better to be looking at Steve’s face rather than the ceiling. Steve’s face, which looked so different from this angle and proximity.
“Well, aside from the kissing… it’s not like we never wrestled before.” This he said as he lowered his face to kiss Steve again.
Arms wrapped tightly around his waist, then legs, until Bucky couldn’t have stopped kissing Steve if he’d wanted to. (He didn’t). It was a little more frantic now, like Steve was afraid Bucky might change his mind. Bucky himself felt afraid that none of this was actually happening. Like maybe he just had a really good imagination.
“We,” Steve gasped, when Bucky decided to take a break and try kissing Steve’s neck - he liked how smooth the skin was there, even after a whole day, “never wrestled like this.”
Bucky stopped kissing Steve so he could lift his head. “Do you remember, last week, with the pajamas?”
Steve laughed. “You wanna do that again?”
“I got a boner last time.”
Steve’s arm flailed a bit as he spasmed, laughing. “Are you fucking kidding me. We could have been fucking each other in onesies.”
Now that Bucky remembered what Steve looked like in the onesie, he wanted it. “We could be at least making out in the onesies right now,” he suggested.
That made Steve stop laughing. “We could.”
“But then I’d have to get off you,” Bucky said, lowering his face.
He didn’t know how long they lay there making out. The way Steve would sometimes suck on his bottom lip was nothing he’d ever experienced before. It felt so good, especially when combined with Steve’s hand on his lower back and his other hand pushing up under Bucky’s hair. Bucky’s hands mostly stayed near Steve’s face. He wanted his fingers to memorize Steve’s skin, his jaw, his ears. At least, until he had a sudden thought.
“Have you ever kissed a guy before?” Bucky asked.
“No.” Steve blinked up at him. God, his eyelashes were so long. After a moment, Steve asked, “Have you?”
“I would have told you about it if I had!”
“I would have, too.”
“Yeah! Why? You think I wouldn’t?”
“No, I mean, you’re just…” Bucky looked down at Steve’s chin and kissed it. “You’re a really good kisser.”
Steve laughed. “I don’t think most of the girls I’ve kissed would agree with you.”
“How many girls have you kissed? Wait, no. You’ve told me about them all, right? Let’s see…” Bucky mentally counted off the ones he knew about. “Five?”
“Six?” Bucky pushed himself up. “Who was the sixth? Was it Natasha?”
“Natasha? God, no. No, no, no.”
“Oh, my god. Stop it. Who are you counting?” They ran through the list, counting on fingers. “You’re forgetting Maria.”
“Maria? When the fuck did you kiss Maria?”
“Remember? At my birthday last year.”
“She kissed you on the cheek!”
“Hmmm. Okay.” Bucky didn’t want to talk about girls. While he had kissed his fair share of girls – more than six, for sure – he’d never really had a good make-out session with any of them. Not like this. He wanted this to last all night.
A few minutes later: “You really think I’m a good kisser?”
They kissed until they started having to change position. First, Bucky’s neck started to hurt, so he slid over to Steve’s side. Then Steve rolled on top of Bucky for a while. Then they sat up, but their legs kept getting in the way. Eventually Steve looked at the clock. “Wow. It’s almost midnight.”
“We’ve been making out for three hours.” Bucky couldn’t help but grin like an idiot when he said this. Then he looked over at Steve. Steve startled a bit when Bucky’s fingers touched his lips. “Your lips are all red and puffy.”
“That’s because you’re so fucking scruffy,” Steve said, swiping at Bucky’s stubble. Like a dog, Bucky stretched his chin out so Steve could scratch it with his fingers. “God, I love you.”
As soon as the words popped out, they both froze.
“I mean,” Steve croaked, “I love you, like a friend—”
The pure fear in Steve’s eyes made Bucky’s chest tighten. “I love you too,” Bucky said, and crushed Steve to his chest. “God, you’re a fucking idiot sometimes.”
He couldn’t tell if Steve was laughing or crying against him. “Okay, come on. We’re going upstairs and we’re cuddling until we fall asleep. Got it?”
“Okay,” said Steve’s muffled voice. “Are we… are we gonna wear the footie pajamas?”
“Only if you want to. But I can’t guarantee that I won’t get too hot in the middle of the night and start stripping.”
“Well, then, I guess we’d better.”
But once they got upstairs, and they stripped down to their boxers, Bucky gestured to Steve’s naked torso. “It’d be a shame to cover that up.”
“I have to say, I was thinking along those same lines.”
So they climbed into bed in just their boxers, and at least this time when Bucky had a boner half the night, he wasn’t too hot. And he had Steve’s boner to keep him company.
Chapter 17: Do Me Baby
So, part of what took me so long to write this chapter was the lack of plot... it's pretty much just fluffy sexy times all the way. Sorry/Enjoy?
Bucky woke up with a hand in his face and no covers. He yanked at the scrap of sheet that lay over his legs. "Hey, stop hogging all the covers!" he said, yanking on the fabric.
Steve grunted mid-snore. "Wha?" He asked, not opening his eyes.
It was only then that Bucky remembered last night and everything that had suddenly happened. Still, he pulled at the sheet until it came out from under Steve's legs, then covered himself up a little before rolling onto his side and propping his head up on his elbow.
Just looking at Steve was turning him on. How could Steve just lay there, sleeping, like they had nothing better to do? Wouldn't it better to be making out right now?
He considered the morning breath thing. Meh. He poked Steve's bicep. "Hey, wake up," he said.
"Don't wanna," Steve moaned.
Bucky inched closer. He liked being able to look at Steve's face like this. Steve had such long eyelashes. Such nice lips. Bucky touched Steve's nose with his index finger and one of Steve's hands waved him away. Bucky just moved his finger lower, tracing over Steve's lips and chin and down along the front of his throat. Over the bump of his Adam's apple, at which point Steve turned his head and attempted to wave Bucky off again.
Instead of leaving Steve alone, he continued his path down along Steve's smooth chest. As far as he knew, Steve had never waxed his chest or anything, but his pecs were smooth like he did. Of course, Steve didn't have to shave as much as Bucky did.
Now that he had reached Steve's chest, he flattened his hand out so he could feel more, and started making circles. Of course he wanted to continue lower, but he liked seeing how just this was getting things moving in Steve's boxer shorts. And then Steve put his hand on top of Bucky's, and opened his eyes.
"Good morning." Bucky could help it, he was already smiling.
"Morning." Steve's voice was raspy. "Mmm. You wanna make out some more?"
Bucky looked down at his hand. Even with Steve's hand immobilizing it, he could move his thumb, which tickled the edges of Steve's nipple. "Maybe," he said. As he watched, Steve's nipple hardened. It was mesmerizing.
That seemed to wake Steve up. "You got something else in mind?" He asked, lifting his head and curling his other arm under it to prop it up.
"Maybe," Bucky said.
"I'm a man of action."
Steve snickered. "Men don't talk about their feelings! Men take action!"
Bucky laughed. "I would take action, but somebody just want to hold hands all day."
"Men don't hold hands! Men—" Steve stopped. "I can't think of anything. Men can hold hands!" He gripped Bucky's hand now, and smiled shyly at him. "I like holding your hand."
Well, Bucky couldn't not smile at that. "Okay, we can just hold hands then. And gaze into each others' eyes." He batted his eyelashes at Steve, who laughed and let go of Bucky's hand, only to grab his arm and pull him down on top so their mouths met.
Unlike last night, Steve kissed him hard and eager. Never mind the fact that Bucky could feel all of Steve's nearly naked body pressed up against his own nearly naked body, the way Steve pushed his tongue into Bucky's mouth sent a hot rush through him. He responded back in kind. The result was frenzied making out, with a dim awareness that he was grinding all up on Steve and also pinching Steve's nipple, which caused Steve to make little high-pitched sounds in his throat.
He could feel the heat of Steve's dick hot against his lower abdomen, right on top of his hard-as-fuck dick, and the grinding felt so good that he was almost disappointed when Steve grabbed him by the upper arms and rolled over on top of him. His hips kept moving and his mouth kept searching for Steve's. But Steve hovered over him, with his parted mouth smiling and panting. One of Steve's hands was pinning down one of Bucky's. He couldn't see the other.
Then he felt it, the knuckles just grazing the trail of hair under his navel, before Steve plunged his hand down the front of Bucky's boxers. Bucky could only make a grunting sound of approval and try to move his legs so Steve had better access. He couldn't articulate anything, he vaguely heard himself muttering, "Fuck, yeah," and groaning – all that he felt was that strong fist wrapped around the shaft, not even moving, just pulsing little tiny squeezes.
Steve unpinned his arm, finally, and Bucky flung it up until it curled around Steve's neck. What was his other hand doing? He realized he was gripping the pillow behind his head. He had no idea what Steve was doing with his free hand, all that mattered was the hand on that most sensitive part of him.
"Come on, it's not that good, is it?" Steve asked. He was moving around, doing something – not anything in Bucky's pants but holding on.
"It's good," Bucky wheezed out. He tried to pull Steve's face closer to his.
"Stop, hang on," Steve laughed. He pulled back, and that was when Bucky felt something bump into his arm, something Steve had been getting from his nightstand. "This will make it better, I think."
Steve sat up, and Bucky practically yanked the lotion out of Steve's hands. "Yes," he said. With his two hands, he helped squeeze some lotion into Steve's palm, which quickly disappeared to join Steve's other hand Bucky's underwear. "Oh, fuck, Steve," Bucky gasped, and lotioned up his own hands. "Wait, we can do this together."
With a devilish grin, Steve squeezed Bucky's cock with both hands and moved them all the way up the shaft. The lotion bottle dropped and Bucky couldn't seem to find the coordination to hold his head up. "Oh, fuck."
"Language," Steve said sternly.
"Fuck you!" laughed Bucky. "Let's see how good you think when someone's jerking you off!"
“Gladly!” With one finger, Steve pulled the elastic of his boxers away from his hips to let Bucky fumble his way inside.
As soon as Bucky grabbed hold of him, Steve’s smile dropped away. “O-oh,” he said.
Bucky laughed, curling up his knees a little, and his toes. Fuck, it felt so good. Better than masturbating in the shower. Better than any sex he’d ever had, that he could remember – his memory of anything but this moment was a little fuzzy. Now it was just every nerve ending on fire and Steve and someone doing to him what he usually did to himself, and smelling Steve’s morning breath in his face but he didn’t care, because it was Steve and his cock in Steve’s hand and he was holding onto Steve’s cock and it didn’t take very long before they were both just panting and grunting.
Bucky felt himself release, and Steve started to come at very nearly the same time, only Steve kept going for long seconds after Bucky had spent himself. It gave Bucky the opportunity to see the moment of ecstasy on Steve’s face.
Then Steve flopped down at Bucky’s side. He looked down at the stickiness that now clung to them. “Well, we maybe should have taken off our underwear.”
“And for a second there I thought you were going to want to take it slow or something.”
“Slow? I’ve been waiting almost twenty years!”
Bucky suddenly felt his chest tighten, and he blurted out, “Steve, I don’t know if I’m ready for… for…” He couldn’t even make himself say it. His face flushed, and he glanced at Steve, hoping his best friend would know exactly what he meant.
“That’s okay,” Steve said, curling his arm around Bucky’s neck, kissing his temple. “This is good. Really good. And… I mean, even though I’ve wanted this since, like, forever, it’s a little overwhelming.”
“Yeah,” Bucky exhaled.
“And maybe this is moving too fast, but do you want to take a shower with me?”
“No,” said Bucky.
“No?” Steve said, looking wounded.
“I tried that once. One of us will end up in the corner, cold and miserable, while the other person gets all the hot water.”
“Okay…” Steve nodded, like that made sense. “How about a bath?”
“Steve, two grown men aren’t going to fit in your bathtub.”
“I’ll put in extra bubbles?”
Bucky laughed. “Steve…”
“Please? I want you to wash my hair." Steve blushed and gave Bucky a little shy smile. "And my dick.”
“Well, if you put it that way…”
No, the bathtub wasn’t quite big enough for them, unless they sat spooning and the little spoon had his knees pulled up to his chest. True to his word, Steve had dumped in extra bubble bath, which Bucky eyed suspiciously. “Do you take baths often?” he had asked.
"It's a nice way to relax after a long day," Steve said defensively.
Bucky was the little spoon first, and he willingly submitted to Steve soaping up his hair and giving him a mohawk. He gave himself a bubble beard, then scooped up bubble and made himself a bubble bikini top, turning to show Steve proudly.
"This isn't quite as erotic as I thought it would be," Steve laughed.
"Well, you could try touching my dick." Bucky leaned back, smushing Steve, and opened his legs as wide as he could, which was about three inches.
"Or," said Steve, and Bucky felt Steve's hand snake down his back and between his ass cheeks. He wasn't laughing by the time Steve's finger started stroking down there.
Bucky found himself gripping the edges of the bathtub and gasping for breath. "Oh, that's... hmmm," he found himself babbling, with Steve's lips sucking on his neck. "Hmmm."
"Good, I hope?" Steve laughed when Bucky never managed to finish that sentence. He extracted his hand and wrapped both arms around Bucky's waist, pulling him in tight.
"Yeah," Bucky exhaled.
For a while they just sat like that. Bucky had never imagined he could feel this comfortable in someone's arms. Of course, until a few weeks ago, he'd never imagined himself in anyone's arms. But this was Steve. He didn't have to date Steve to know if they were compatible. He already knew pretty much everything about his best friend, and Steve already knew everything about him. That was what made it comfortable. He didn't have to worry about whether Steve would think he was attractive, or had too much body hair, or had bad breath (Steve had suggested they brush their teeth before their bath - "Good call," Bucky had said). They had already burped, passed gas, and peed in front of each other. What else was there to be uncomfortable about? Maybe taking a dump, Bucky thought. That might be the line.
Water sloshed over the side of the tub as Steve suddenly moved. "My turn," he announced.
"I think we need more hot water," Bucky said, even as he found himself between Steve's legs. He wriggled back, and then Steve's ass was in his face as he sat down.
A sucking sound as Steve let out some of the cold water, and splashing as he turned the knob to add more hot.
Bucky grabbed the loofa and started rubbing it on Steve's back. It brought him back to that first time he had massaged Steve, only now there was no shirt in the way. This is mine now, he thought, feeling giddy. Impulsively, he kissed Steve right between his shoulder blades. All mine.
"It's weird that I'm not going to that Lamaze class with you tonight," Steve said over their lunch of roast beef sandwiches. They had gone grocery shopping together on Sunday afternoon, which was not in itself abnormal, but this time they had planned out what they were going to buy for both of them.
Almost like Bucky was going to move in with Steve.
He'd gone back to his apartment yesterday to pack up some clothes, but really, he had most of the stuff he needed at Steve's already, and if he didn't they could share. They both used the same kind of deodorant, and they were about the same size, so Bucky could borrow Steve's clothes. Bucky had looked around his apartment, almost glad he wouldn't be back.
Dinner had been steak, a little celebration even though neither of them would admit it. It had felt almost like a date, which included playing footsies under the table. And another make out session on the couch for dessert.
"I know. I won't be getting a massage," Bucky said, sighing dramatically.
Steve bumped him with his shoulder. "Maybe you will.... later."
"Oh, am I sleeping over again?"
Steve gave him a sad look. "Why wouldn't you?"
"Well, I mean, I don't usually. But I can," Bucky said quickly. "Obviously, I want to."
"It would be okay if you... needed space or whatever," Steve said, just as quickly.
"I want to sleep over!"
"You don't have to, though."
Bucky and Steve looked at each other for a long moment.
"Is this our first fight?" Bucky said, grinning.
Steve laughed. "You know we've already had fights," he said. "But yeah, this is our first fight as boyfriends."
"Boyfriends," Bucky said. "You're my boyfriend now."
Smiling, Steve bumped Bucky with his shoulder again.
"I can be waiting for you when you come home from the Lamaze class," Bucky suggested slowly, watching Steve's face.
Steve looked back, eyes hungry. "Yeah?"
"I'll just, you know, make myself comfortable. In your bed." This was said with a smirk.
Bucky didn't even need to hear Steve's answer. His eyes said YES. His mouth said, "Our bed."
They had never discussed whether or not they would be out at work, but Bucky couldn't help it. He had to kiss Steve. Who cared what the other guys thought?
And that was how Bucky ended up lying naked in Steve's bed, waiting for him to come home.
He had gone to some lengths to prepare the room. He'd cleaned – Steve was a neat guy, but Bucky was not, and he had left some dirty clothes on the floor. And towels. He cleaned that up, ran a load of laundry, then showered, forgetting he had started the laundry. Still, he shaved and made sure he was clean down there. He was ready. He knew Steve would be home by 8:10, but maybe the class would end early. So he made sure he was ready by eight. He could watch TV while he was waiting, anyway.
His phone dinged at 8:02. The message from Steve simply said "ABORT."
What? Was Sharon getting an abortion? She had looked a bit far along for that, and besides, she had chosen to get pregnant. Then he got another text from Steve: Sharon and some people from class are coming over.
Bucky jumped out of the bed. Shit. They would be here in minutes. He grabbed his pants and yanked them on before realizing he hadn't put his underwear on first. Shit. Forget the underwear, he could go commando. He pulled on his t-shirt and was putting on his socks when he heard a car pull into the driveway. Shit shit shit.
He nearly wiped out running down the stairs in just his socks, and skidded to a stop in the front hallway just as the front door swung open.
Steve gave him a tortured look.
"Heeey," Bucky said, glimpsing the troops of people behind Steve. "Wow, I wasn't expecting, uh, you know, Steve and I were just gonna watch American Pickers, I didn't think it'd be a party."
"Everyone in class missed you," Sharon said from immediately behind Steve. "I figured, it'd be fun to get together with everyone."
"Yeah," said Steve tightly. It was clear that he had been looking forward to their romantic evening. His eyes flicked down to Bucky's freshly shaven cheeks, and he sighed.
With Pepper and Tony and the others clomping up the front stairs, Steve leaned in and whispered, "Sorry."
"It's fine," Bucky said, feeling anything but fine with the fabric of his jeans rough against his unprotected nether regions. "Uh, I'll get some snacks?"
Steve smiled, and turned Bruce, who had just walked in the door. "Anyone want a drink?"
As Bucky set out a bowl of chips and some napkins, he saw Natasha come in. "What are you doing here?" He asked, as a few more from the birthing class drifted in.
"Sharon said Steve was having a party," Nat said. "She texted all of us."
"Is that what she said." Bucky gave Sharon a sour look.
"Oh, calm down. She hasn't seen hardly anyone since she got back."
"I just think it's kind of rude of her to throw a party at Steve's place with no notice. Did Steve agree to this?"
Nat shrugged and grabbed some chips.
Sure enough, Sam and Clint rolled in, and so did Wanda and Maria. What was going on? Bucky would have had a whispered discussion with Steve in the kitchen, if there weren't so many people trying to be so goddamned helpful.
Finally the living room was packed to capacity, and Bucky had the chance to grab Steve. "What is going on?" He hissed. "Did Sharon bully you into this?"
Steve looked a little like he had been bullied. "I don't know what happened. Sharon suggested we all go out after class, and obviously we can't go to a bar, but then Sharon said I had a nice big living room and here we are. I don't know why Sam and Clint are here, though."
"Nat said Sharon texted everyone," Bucky said.
Suddenly both of them noticed that the other room had quieted considerably, and Steve swallowed. "Guess we'd better go host this thing."
Bucky rolled his eyes. He followed Steve into the living room. "Does anyone need anything to drink?" Steve asked, when everyone stopped talking.
"We're fine," said Sharon. "But Steve, and Bucky, we need you guys to have a seat here."
"What is this, an intervention?" Bucky grumbled when he saw the two stools from the kitchen empty and waiting.
"Kind of," Sharon said, at the same time that Natasha said, "Yes."
Bucky's head whipped up.
"What?" Steve said. "An intervention? What for?" He looked around. "I'm not an alcoholic or anything."
"Yeah," Bucky agreed. He wasn't quite sure what else to say, only that he wanted to back Steve up.
“Well,” said Natasha, looking at Sharon, then around at everyone in the room. “Here’s the deal. We are here, as your friends, and we all think that perhaps you two are not being honest with yourselves.”
Bucky glanced at Steve, whose brow had furrowed in confusion.
“Honest… about what?” Bucky asked carefully.
“You’re gay!” Clint said, standing up and gesturing wildly with his hands. “You two are gay for each other!”
In the following moment, Bucky had to press his lips together to keep from laughing. He couldn’t look at Steve or he would start howling and wouldn’t be able to stop.
“Clint, that’s not how we discussed this,” Natasha said sternly.
“Oh, come on,” Sam said. “Might as well be blunt.”
“You can’t just tell them they’re gay, they need to discover it for themselves,” said Wanda. “Like I said before.”
“No one here hasn’t seen the way they look at each other,” said Maria. “And you got all these new people who have seen it too.”
“I’ve seen it,” Tony said, raising a hand.
“Who hasn’t?” Clint said. “The way they look at each other, all the jokes…”
“You guys do realize that almost everything you say to each other is an innuendo, right?” Natasha said to them.
“We like to play a drinking game sometimes,” said Sam.
“Sharon and I had to leave the other night, the sexual tension was so thick,” Natasha said.
“Hold up, you guys have been sitting around talking about us?” Steve asked, sounding offended. “For how long?”
“Years,” said Clint drily.
“Not seriously,” Sharon said. “I mean, we all kind of thought you guys were, you know, but we didn’t really know for sure until recently.”
“How could you know for sure how I feel about Bucky?” Steve demanded, standing.
Bucky wasn’t holding back laughter now. When Steve got self-righteous, you didn’t laugh.
“How do any of you know what my sexuality is?” Steve continued. “How about you let me figure things out on my own? Make my own decisions about things that affect me?
Bucky found himself listening in confusion. Why didn’t Steve just tell them they were dating already?
“Steve, that’s not—” Sharon started to say, but Steve interrupted her.
“This isn’t an intervention, this is a bunch of jerks meddling in my life,” Steve snapped.
Then he walked out of the room.
Bucky found himself the sole center of attention, and he didn’t like it, even if no one was really paying attention to him so much as they were wondering if Bucky was going to get mad, too. “Maybe you guys should leave,” he said. “I’ll go talk to him.”
As he went to go, Tony grabbed his arm. “I didn’t mean to offend either of you,” he said. “When Sharon told us you and Steve weren’t actually a couple we were all surprised.”
Not sure of what to say, Bucky muttered, “Yeah,” which didn’t really make sense, but his focus was on Steve. He didn’t understand why Steve was so upset by this whole thing, when Bucky had thought it would be a great way to tell everyone. He approached the screen door to the back porch cautiously, then let himself out.
“It’s just me,” he said to Steve’s back.
“Are you really mad?” Bucky asked. “I don’t think they were trying to be mean or anything.”
“They made us sound like a joke,” Steve said. “They’ve been laughing at us behind our backs – no, in front of our faces – for years.”
“Yes,” Steve interrupted. “They were mocking us. I feel like such an idiot.”
Bucky chewed on the inside of his cheek, looking back toward the house. “I can see your point, I really can,” Bucky said. “But, also, I kinda want to jump your bones, so the idea of going back out there and making out in front of them seems like a good idea to me.”
Steve’s shoulders slumped, and his head dropped, but in the faint light of the evening Bucky could see the smile on his face.
“I’m going commando right now,” Bucky added for good measure.
“I suppose it would serve them right that their intervention was not necessary,” Steve said, giving Bucky a sly look.
They reentered the house, where no one had actually left. They were all just standing around awkwardly, and looked ashamed of themselves at the sight of Steve.
“I just want to say that you guys didn’t have to do this,” Steve said. He looked at Bucky. “And I mean you seriously didn’t have to do this.”
“I’m sorr—” Natasha started to say.
That was when Steve grabbed Bucky and kissed him, big and sloppy with lots of tongue.
“Whaaat?” Clint said.
“How long has this nonsense been going on?” Sam demanded.
But behind their comments, there was another sound: applause. When Steve and Bucky pulled away, they saw everyone in the room on their feet, clapping. “I knew it!” Pepper was saying to Tony. Wanda was the only one not clapping, and that was because she had her hands clasped together under her chin. She looked ready to squeal in happiness.
“Is this for real?” Clint asked.
“Yes,” Bucky said. Steve had his arm around him, and Bucky leaned in. “It’s pretty new, so we hadn’t figured out how to tell all of you yet.”
“New, as in Friday night?” Sam said with a raised eyebrow.
“How’d you know?” Steve asked.
“Never mind that. You owe me ten bucks, Barton!”
Clint pulled out his wallet. “Damnit!
After that, everyone wanted to offer their congratulations. Steve made Sam give Clint his money back, but otherwise, he seemed to be handling it well, given his earlier speech. “You sure you’re okay?” Bucky asked when things had died down a bit, and most everyone had begun to leave.
“Yeah,” Steve said. “I guess… if you hadn’t come around, this intervention might have actually been necessary.”
“I’m gonna come around on you later,” Bucky said as sexily as he could. Immediately he added, “That came out a lot grosser sounding than I meant.”
Out of the corner of his eye, Bucky saw Clint hand Sam another ten. No need to tell Steve about that one.
One chapter left, and also, I FINALLY SAW CIVIL WAR! If you want to talk spoilery things with me you can message me on Tumblr, but I'll just let you all know: I'm already plotting a Parallels 2 to fix the ending. Stay tuned!
Chapter 19: It's a Parent (That They're in Love)
The second the door closed behind the last guest, Steve shoved Bucky up against the refrigerator. His tongue was in Bucky's mouth and his hands up the back of Bucky's shirt before Bucky knew what was happening. Not that he minded. He wrapped his arms around Steve's neck so the kissing wouldn't stop.
"Your face," Steve said without stopping the kissing somehow, "so smooth."
Bucky couldn't even respond until Steve decided to attack his neck. "So smooth," Steve growled.
Wrapping his arms tighter so that Steve's hips could grind against his, Bucky sighed, "Figured you'd like it, after all your complaining."
"I like your scruff too," Steve said, and kissed Bucky on the lips lightly before returning to Bucky's neck. His teeth bit at Bucky's skin, which interestingly made Bucky's dick go from half-mast to rock hard. He lifted a leg and wrapped it around Steve's thigh for more contact. "You like that?" Steve asked.
"Yeah," Bucky gasped. He tried to grab hold of Steve's hair, but it was too short. It certainly gave Steve some ideas.
"You like this?" Steve asked, as he reached his hand up into Bucky's long hair and pulled Bucky's head back so he could go for the base of Bucky's throat.
Bucky's dick told him he liked it very much indeed.
It wasn't long before he could feel Steve's dick hard and ready. "I got... everything set up... upstairs," Bucky panted.
Suddenly Steve bent down and hefted Bucky over his shoulder, very nearly clocking his head on the fridge. With one hand on Bucky's ass to keep him there, he started for the door.
"Steve!" Bucky yelped. "Come on! We're the same size!"
"Me want Bucky," Steve growled. "Me take Bucky back to lair!"
"Wow," Bucky laughed. "You are taking the Manly Man thing to a whole new level." He kept laughing as Steve started to struggle at the top of the stairs – he knew he was no lightweight.
Steve hurled Bucky down on the bed and he almost bounced off. "What the fuck!" Bucky scrambled to grab hold of the sheets so he didn't fall. By the time he had righted himself, Steve was pulling his own clothes off, so Bucky undid the fly of his jeans and started to shimmy out of them while lying down.
Impatiently, Steve stopped, having only removed his shirt and belt, and grabbed Bucky's jeans at the ankle. In one moment, he whipped those jeans right off, so Bucky found himself naked from the waist down, except for his socks.
Then it was a scramble to remove the rest of their clothes, and to grab the lube. Once they were there, however, they stopped and looked at each other.
“Are you sure you’re ready for this?” Steve asked.
“I told you I was ready,” Bucky replied, eyeing the lube.
“I’m torn,” Steve said, “between doing this nice and slow, and doing this super fast and hard.”
Bucky gestured to his erection. “I’m up for either.”
And so he got a little bit of both. Steve took it slow at first, mostly because they started making out while he was stretching out Bucky’s asshole and they got carried away. But once they were finally actually having sex,
(“Whoa, you’re big,” Bucky said upon Steve’s entry, to which Steve responded by pulling out, to which Bucky responded by yelling, “I’m never complimenting your dick again!”)
and Steve had made sure that Bucky was doing okay,
(“I’m fine, geez! Let’s just get on with it!” Bucky had said, even though secretly he liked how Steve was stroking his hair and kissing him softly and asking every thirty seconds, “You okay?”)
Steve really went to town with the hard and fast, which Bucky also liked. A lot.
Nine Months Later
"Aw, he's so cute," said Clint.
"I know," Bucky replied, using the opportunity to step closer to Steve and grab his ass.
"He was talking about the baby!" Steve laughed. Sharon's son Harrison, who was now six months old, laughed too.
Clint crossed his arms. "You guys are gross."
"I mean, for real," Sam said. "It's way past the honeymoon period. You should be sick of each other by now."
Bucky looked at Steve. He was never going to get sick of Steve. By the way Steve was grinning back at him, he knew Steve would never get sick of him, either.
They’d had sex every day since that first time. Every day. And it never got old. They’d had sex in every room, on every surface, in Steve’s house. Same for Bucky’s apartment, before he officially moved out two months after they got together. They had sex while watching TV. While cooking. Once, in the Porta Potty at work (they agreed never to do that again).
Usually at night they spooned, but they often woke up in strange positions: Bucky’s head at the end of the bed and his feet in Steve’s face, Steve draped over Bucky’s hip. They liked to kiss each other when they woke up and complain about who had the worst morning breath.
Sharon came back from the bathroom then. “He likes you,” she said to Steve. “You’d make a good father.”
Bucky knew not to take offense, because Sharon winked at him after.
“You wanna be our surrogate?” Steve asked, handing the baby back to Sharon.
“I think one is enough for me,” Sharon said. “For some reason I thought you were supposed to forget all the pain of childbirth after or something. Nope. Not me.”
“When’s everyone getting here?” Bucky popped a baby carrot in his mouth. Yes, Steve was still on a salad kick. Alongside the bowls of chips and cheese curls was a platter of veggies and hummus.
“Well, Wanda said she’d pick up the pizza, and Maria was coming with her,” Steve said.
“Oh, great. That means we’ll get some weird shit like taco pizza or, I don’t know, something with curry,” said Sam.
“Mmmm, taco pizza,” said Clint.
“And Nat was coming right after work,” Steve continued. He turned and opened the oven to check on the buffalo wings. Bucky took the opportunity to grab his ass again.
“Oh my god, I’d rather be watching the pre-game show,” Sam said, throwing up his hands. He grabbed the cheese curls. “I’m taking these with me.”
Everyone was settled in well before the game started. Harrison was even wearing a little New York Giants onesie. Bucky was playing peek-a-boo with Harrison, wondering how he’d ever thought adding a baby to this equation would have changed everything. Things were different now, but not because of the baby. They were different because he was with Steve.
“Okay, guys, we have to do this now before the game starts,” Natasha said, standing. Sharon handed Harrison over to Bucky and stood as well.
“What’s going on?” Steve asked.
“Look, you two.” Natasha folded her arms and gave Steve and Bucky each a stern look. “We need to have another intervention.”
“What for?” Steve asked.
“Yeah, what for?” Bucky seconded.
“I think it’s all Barnes,” Clint said. “This intervention is for Barnes only.”
Bucky looked at Steve, then back at his friends. “What are you talking about?”
With a laugh, Natasha said, “Clint, we discussed this.”
“You, my friend, are grabbing Steve’s ass waaaay too much,” Clint said, ignoring her. “Frankly, we are growing concerned about this abuse of Steve’s derriere.”
After a stunned moment, Bucky smiled, and started laughing. Everyone else had already cracked up. He decided to plead his case. “Come on, look at it! If you were dating this ass, wouldn’t you be grabbing it all the time?”
Steve stood up and turned around. “Exhibit A,” he said, pointing.
“But you have to respect the ass,” Sam said.
A few more ass jokes, and a cautious test of the ass grab by Clint (with Bucky’s permission), and everyone decided that they would let Bucky’s trespasses slide, if he could perhaps rein it in a bit. Steve leaned in during this discussion and whispered, “I hereby grant you permission to grab my ass as often as you would like, in public or in private.”
The ensuing kiss had the group loudly discussing if another intervention was necessary for the excessive making out.
Neither Steve nor Bucky cared. Their friends would just have to get used to it.