Steve starts sculpting “it” when he gets back from his last & final tour. Sam, his best friend and literal wingman says that even ‘Captain America’ needs an outlet (Steve has always hated that nickname, but after the death of most of the Howling Commandos at the hands of a HYDRA ambush he bears the mantle proudly and heavily).
“Seriously man. You need yourself a hobby. You’re starting to depress all the VAs at the clinic, and that’s saying something.”
Steve sighs. He left the army with four medals and a firm handshake from General Fury, but most days all he feels like he took away was a truckload of emotional baggage. Sam’s right though. Even Darcy at the front desk is starting to call him Debbie Downer. When she’s not making grabby hands at his biceps.
Luckily for Steve, his artwork has always sold. Mostly thanks to Natasha, the fierce and calculating director of Stark Galleries. One click of Natasha’s 4 inch stilettos and Steve is the hottest ticket around, paintings going for fees that actually made Steve blush at his first check.
“Get over it, Rogers. Even if you weren’t an exceptional talent, little old ladies would practically fling their coin purses at your bouncing pecs. But you’re an exceptional talent. And as such, I will make it my personal mission to have you succeed in this cut-throat industry.”
Steve had raised his eyebrows, and Natasha had raised her immaculately waxed ones back.
“You may have been to war, but you have not had to deal with art critics.”
Steve had laughed for the first time in what felt like ages. His face didn’t quite remember how to do it.
So with Sam’s prodding and a blessing from Natasha, Steve packs up his pick-up truck and goes to the remote farmhouse that he inherited from his father. He had bought it shortly before he passed, wanting to move Sarah and Steve up to the country where the fresh air might help his son’s lungs. Sarah had never sold it, no matter how hard times got. She sold her wedding band before she gave this place up.
“That place is the better life he wanted for us, Steve. I’m not giving up on his dream.”
And she hadn’t. After she retired from nursing, Sarah had moved up to the small cottage next to the farmhouse and spent her remaining days planting flowers, tending to her apple trees, and talking to the solid oak tree by the front porch. Steve’s father was buried under that tree.
Steve gets out of the truck, slamming the door and hoisting his bags out of the tailgate. He’s unpacked in 30 minutes. The rest of his day is spent going to the small mini mart in town, where an old woman named Peggy checks him out (she sells him his groceries too). He makes a quiet dinner for one of eggs and toast. He sits outside on his mother’s chair, summer breeze ghosting over the porch and watches the lightning bugs blink out over the apple trees.
He doesn’t talk to the oak tree over his parents. He wakes up screaming in terror that night.
He buys the block of marble the next day. Two twins sell it to him, speaking a strange language that sounds almost like Russian. They remind Steve of gypsies, and the girl pats the stone before giving Steve a knowing look. It’s one of his stranger encounters.
Steve schleps the marble back to the broken-down farmhouse a half-mile into his mother’s land, and sets it down in the center of the barn. He buys a chisel, hammer, and various other supplies from Peggy that night. She is delighted that he is thinking of doing some sculpting.
“It will be good for you. To create.” She says kindly, and Steve looks at her in surprise. Most people don’t see the veteran in him, the man who flinches at loud sounds and feels the breaths of ghosts on his neck.
“Thank you, ma’am. I hope so.” He whispers, and she reaches to pat his hand. He backs away hastily, and knocks over a candy display. He blushes and apologizes profusely, and is beyond grateful when Peggy simply orders him to clean it up.
An old man on a brace comes out of the back office to see what the commotion was. He has the same eyes Steve sees on every veteran, and Steve gives him a respectful nod. The man smiles gently back at Steve and waves, gold band glinting on his hand. Steve recognizes its twin on Peggy’s finger, and his heart aches unbearably. They briefly glance at each other, but the amount of history, understanding and affection in that gaze floors Steve with sheer want.
“Name’s Daniel Sousa. I see you’ve met my other half. You ever need a job, you come see us. You clearly know how to stock a shelf.”
Steve nods and thanks them, then skeedaddles. He feels almost accomplished when he makes dinner that night.
He wakes up screaming. The Howling Commandos faces flash before his eyes, torn and bloody.
He chisels the basic form first. It’s just a choppy, basic humanoid structure, but it gives Steve the pose he wants after hours of consideration. The man will be standing, left foot slightly forward. His arms will be open, in a pose ready to embrace or fight. It will be up to the viewer. Steve can’t quite see the man’s face yet, but he figures he’ll get there eventually.
That night, he dreams he is back on the front lines. There are bullets flying everywhere, and suddenly the rock that was covering him turns into the humanoid figure. It hovers above him, silent and unmoving, a protective force that shields him from the bullets and crushing sense of failure.
Steve doesn’t wake up screaming, but he still wakes up in a sweat. It’s something.
Steve is surprised when he attacks the face first. He’s pretty sure that’s going against sculpting procedure, but he can’t help it. He needs this man to have a face.
He needs somebody to talk to.
So the first thing he does is sculpt lips. Luscious, soft things that are sensuous and slightly puckered, open just enough that Steve can almost hear the breath that would escape them. The sigh that would part them when awakened in the morning, the moans and words of a voice capable of such love and affection.
Steve finds himself tracing them, staring at them in wonder. He can almost hear the voice that would come from these lips- higher than one would imagine, like Steve’s. But full of warmth, full of grit and understanding. Steve strokes the lips and, in a moment of pure insanity, presses his own to them.
They are cold and unmoving beneath his own, but Steve will swear to his dying day that he feels something surge from the marble and arch up to meet him. Steve will swear that he heard, beneath closed eyelids and a booming heart, a sweet sigh followed by a puff of breath onto his own lips.
Steve’s eyes open in shock, but he is alone in the barn. Save for his unfinished sculpture and a few barn mice, he’s all alone.
Steve sighs and swipes a hand across his face, staring at his unfinished masterpiece. Then he shakes himself and leaves the barn, walking down the road to his empty house and his dinner for one.
He dreams that night that he is trapped in a coffin. He begins to panic, but then he feels lips touching his neck, kissing his cheeks and closed eyelids, kissing his tears away. The lips whisper sweet nothings to him, tell him how strong he is and how wonderful he is. How this isn’t his fault.
When Steve begins to argue back, they growl at him and bite his earlobe. Steve wakes up with a yelp and his hand flies to his ear, which is throbbing. The mirror shows bite marks, and Steve is dumbfounded. But he also smiles at the indents on his earlobe.
“Jerk,” he mutters. He almost giggles, then checks the alarm and sees that it’s time for his morning jog.
He doesn’t feel like a shell of himself this morning.
Steve only means to do the chin next, but he ends up staying up for 2 days straight without realizing. Once he starts on the sculpture’s face, to abandon it halfway through seems to be a betrayal. By the time he’s done, the sun is rising on the third day. Steve is shirtless, sweaty and almost panting, but he feels a cathartic release that he has not experienced in a long time.
The face is… gorgeous. The cheekbones are prominent, the jawline is strong. The eyes are soulful, and the forehead is surprisingly longer than Steve originally expected. The statue also has longer hair. Hair Steve could run his fingers through, hair Steve could yank and caress and sink his palm into while those lips kiss down his own chest…
Steve looks down, startled, when he realizes he’s hard for the first time in recent memory. He looks back up at the statue, face apologetic and accusatory. He’s struck for the first time by the statue’s expression:
It’s a manifestation of love. Steve’s breath leaves his body, and he once again approaches the statue and brushes his lips to the statue’s cold ones. Then he blushes and pulls away, hand scratching the back of his neck in a nervous tell he has never quite gotten rid of.
“Sorry, that was forward. Er, sorry,” Steve stammers. “That was inappropriate,” he concludes. Then he finds his shirt, covered in dusk and dirt, and decides to get some sleep for the night.
He pauses before he goes, then goes over and brushes a kiss to the statue’s cheek.
“Goodnight,” he whispers.
That night, he stares into the statue’s eyes as he takes Steve in, eyes roaming over Steve’s body. Steve can’t move, and the face seems to be coming from the darkness. But the statue talks to him, praising his body and his face.
“Gorgeous, darling, you’re a real doll. Look at those baby blues- a guy could drown in them.”
Steve laughs and asks where the statue learned such cheesy lines. The statue smiles and brushes a kiss to Steve’s hipbone, and Steve shudders.
“Not all of us have great lines like ‘goodnight’. As if I’d let your gorgeous ass go anywhere. Do you know what you look like walkin’ away? Damn, Rogers. Could bounce a quarter off that thing.”
Steve rolls over in a fit of giggles, and the face laughs with him and blows a raspberry on his tummy.
“I mean seriously, you’re gonna give little old ladies a heart attack, walkin’ the way you do. Don’t know how the preacher lets you into church on Sunday.”
Steve wakes up laughing, stomach sore from exercising those muscles for the first time in months. As he quiets down, however, he remembers the last time he laughed that hard- Duggan had lit a firecracker under the Frenchman’s chair, and the Frenchman had yelled “Secre BLEU!” in a manner so stereotypically French that Steve had lost it.
Steve realizes his giggles have turned to sobs, and he suddenly wishes the statue had arms to hold him in his dreams. But the statue isn’t real, and no one is coming to bed to comfort him.
Steve doesn’t sleep again that night.
Steve moves his mattress to the barn. He also starts talking to the statue while he’s awake. Little things- his frustrations over how the marble is crumbling, his vision for what he wants the statue to look like.
“You know, I haven’t even given you a name. What do you think about… Galateo?”
The silence in the barn is deafening.
“Fine fine. Stupid idea anyway. Stuff like that doesn’t happen in real life.”
Steve sighs and goes back to chiseling. He wants the statue’s neck done by the time he settles in for the night. He wants to bury his face into it and sob.
“And if it did, I could have used a miracle like that back in the war. Maybe then…”
Steve sighs and continues chipping. Slowly, so slowly, and lovingly. Because as ridiculous as this might sound, he doesn’t want to cause the statue any undue pain.
“Living’s hard enough. Can’t imagine coming into this world cracked out of stone.”
The statue’s face doesn’t move, but Steve likes to think he appreciates the gesture.
As Steve crawls into his mattress that night, he stares at the statue’s fully formed head and neck. It’s a thick, strong neck. The tendons stand out on the left side, giving the statue the illusion that he is straining, trying to break free and get closer to the viewer. Steve blows the statue a kiss and murmurs a quiet “Goodnight”.
In his dream that night, he cannot move. Once again he is surrounded by darkness, but it does not threaten to consume him as usual. Instead, it is a comforting blanket as he nuzzles at the statue’s neck, presses kisses and nibbles on earlobes. The statue returns in kind, kissing around Steve’s face. The statue peppers his face, kisses his eyelids and his cheekbones and chin.
“Bucky,” the statue whispers, the first thing he’s said all night.
“Hmm?” Steve murmurs, lost in the taste of Bucky’s sweat that runs down his neck. He licks it up, and tastes stone.
“That’s my name. So you know what to scream later.”
Steve chuckles and bites down,
“What kind of ridiculous name is ‘Bucky’?”
The statue rears back, frowning. It…. No, he, pins Steve with his gaze. It’s serious and concerned and a touch of pissed off as well.
Steve swallows as he feels himself harden impossibly more.
“You may be giving me form, Steven Grant Rogers, but I am my own man. I will name myself.”
Steve nods slowly, reaches out and cups Bucky’s cheek.
“I know, I know Buck. “
The statue… Bucky…. smirks back at Steve, and Steve’s chest lights up with sunlight. It’s such a friendly, wicked gaze that promises sex and love and compassion. Steve can’t look away.
“You would give me a name of your own. Don’t worry sugar, I like it.”
Then the statue leans down and presses his lips to Steve’s hungry and full of fire.
“Now say it again.”
Steve moans and complies, over and over and over again.
Steve brings Peggy apples from his mother’s trees. She beams at him, and Steve feels relieved that he finally did a social interaction correctly.
“They’ll fetch a nice price. Dan will be thrilled, he loves the good crunch of an apple.”
Steve nods and murmurs that it was no trouble. Peggy just beams further.
“Nonsense. Your mother used to bring her apples by all the time, and the locals loved them. Dan is not the only one who will be pleased.”
Then Peggy nods at Steve’s stained shirt, covered in marble dust.
“How goes the art project? Your mother always said you were incredibly talented.”
Steve blushes, as he does with any sort of praise. Peggy’s grin turns wry, and she goes to poke Steve before she remembers herself. Steve is grateful, but still feels a flush of shame running down his back. He coughs and stammers,
“It’s going really well. Always helps to have something to do with my hands.”
Peggy nods, then asks,
“How are the nightmares?”
Steve gapes at her, startled. Peggy just shrugs and answers,
“Dan dreams his leg is being taken from him over and over. Still does, but it happens less now. I dream about the people I lost overseas- the ones that stopped reporting back.”
Steve feels his eyebrows climb impossibly high on his forehead.
Peggy nods, briskly. “Agent Carter, SOE & later SSR. At your service. I lost too many good agents out there, so I started doing the field missions myself. Met Daniel in the SSR- just two wounded soldiers, coming together.”
Steve knows he is gaping. There is nothing about Peggy that says ‘Agent’, and that is saying something. Steve has a killer instinct for that kind of thing, so Peggy must be really good.
Peggy leans forward onto the table between them, beside the basket of apples. “My point is, I don’t believe I started healing until I talked to someone. Until I had someone. It doesn’t have to be romantic. But you should find someone to talk to, find people to be around. It’s not healthy to shut yourself away from the world- it’s there, whether you want to face it or not.”
Steve gives a curt nod. It’s nothing he hasn’t heard before, but the words have greater weight coming from someone who has come out better on the other side.
“I’ll try. Thank you, ma’am.”
Steve high-tails it out of the store. He collapses into Bucky’s newly formed arms, face tucked into Bucky’s neck and beautifully wide shoulders. Steve hugs onto Bucky’s arms, embraces the statue that cannot embrace him back. They’re perfect arms as well, ending in perfect hands that have wide palms and thick fingers, still elegant and reaching forward, yearning to grasp the artist that created them.
“I talk to you, I have you. I’ll have you forever, won’t I Buck?” Steve sobs, clinging desperately to Bucky’s half-made form and wishing desperately that the statue could hold him, just once. Only once.
That night, Steve has his worst dream yet, and that is saying something. They have Bucky, HYDRA has him strapped to a table. He’s the perfect torso and he’s afraid, he’s so afraid and he begs for Steve to help him but Steve can’t, Steve’s trapped in chains and he watches in terror as HYDRA tears Bucky’s beautiful arm off. His left one, the one Steve just gave him. Bucky makes the sound of a dying animal, and stares at Steve. Not in anger, but in disbelief.
Steve wakes up, screaming himself hoarse. He stumbles for the flashlight, already moving towards-
Bucky. Still there, still in one piece. Steve traces Bucky’s arm again and again, murmuring “You’re safe, you’re OK, it’s not real, it was just a dream, you’re safe-“
Steve’s not really sure who he’s talking to. He doesn’t stop holding Bucky until the sun comes up.
Steve doesn’t work on Bucky that day. They’ve both had enough trauma. Instead, he drapes a blank over Bucky’s shoulders and sits across from him on the mattress, staring and rocking himself eventually to sleep.
In his dream, Bucky is facing away from him. Giving Steve the cold shoulder for once, and Steve aches as he reaches for him. Bucky flinches away.
“Don’t.” Bucky says, his voice cold and unyielding. Steve curls his fingers into a fist, helpless once again. He begins beating his face, over and over, punishing himself for once again fucking everything up.
“STOP. THAT.” Bucky’s voice is hard and unyielding. Steve stops, but cannot bring himself to look at Bucky.
“You want me to be with you?” Bucky hisses. Steve nods furiously, helplessly.
“Then make. Me. Stronger. ‘Cause I’m not watching you die slowly.”
And with that Bucky disappears into the darkness. Steve wakes with a pounding heart, throws back the covers and grabs his chisel.
Steve works day and night, like a mad man. His hands are bleeding by the time he has finished, and it gets onto Bucky’s neck and torso and Bucky looks so beautiful with it. But it’s done, it’s finished finally. Bucky will never be that helpless again.
The arm looks as though it could be real metal. If Steve were the type, he’d be impressed with his own work. He’s truly outdone himself.
“You’re gonna be able to protect both of us now, Buck. That’ll never happen again, I swear. One last touch though, so everybody knows you’re mine.”
Steve etches his star onto Bucky’s arm. He’d worn it with pride when he led his unit. Lately, all it’s done is remind him of who he lost. Now, all it fills him with pride. That something so beautiful, so strong, could wear his mark with pride.
Bucky kisses Steve awake in his dream that night, strokes his face with tenderness. Steve shivers at the coolness of the metal.
“Most guys buy flowers,” Bucky drawls, and Steve wonders yet again where he got that accent from.
“You’re special, Buck.” Steve fires back, and Bucky gives him a soft smile that has only a tinge of sadness.
“So are you, Stevie. So are you.”
It’s been a few months, and Steve is almost done with Bucky. There’s one last pinky toe left, and then Bucky will be…finished.
“C’mon Steve, I’m ready! Just finish me up already,” Bucky will plead, but Steve will shake his head and go back to mapping out Bucky’s perfect abs with his tongue. Salt and stone, his favorite flavor.
“You’ll leave me. They all do.” Steve whispers back one night, and Bucky crushes Steve to his chest.
“You gotta trust me, doll. I ain’t going anywhere.”
Steve finishes Bucky on a chilly fall night.
He sets the chisel down and stares at the most beautiful creation on the planet. Bucky’s abs are etched not too deeply, but prominently nonetheless. There’s a fantastic ‘V’ that goes down to his flaccid cock (“Aw, c’mon Steve, can’t you let a guy have a little fun?”), which Steve knows firms up nice and thick. Slightly smaller than his own, but fits comfortably in his hand and twitches deliciously when Steve pays it any kind of attention, dripping down his fingers and forearms. His ass is an actual work of art, firm and dimpled. Steve has sunk his fingers into it greedily many a night, plumping and kneading the flesh.
He and Bucky have never made love though. Steve won’t- he can’t. He can’t be reminded again that he won’t be waking up with Bucky in the morning.
Steve gets up and walks away, out of the barn and to his house. The one he hasn’t used in months. He makes a quiet meal, alone, and sits outside on the porch, looking at the last of the lightning bugs.
He talks quietly to his mother and father under the big oak tree. He tells them about his Bucky.
He goes to bed alone. He doesn’t dream of anything or anyone. He is utterly alone.
Steve wakes to soft lips pressing to his own. His eyelids flutter open, and if he weren’t warm and comfy he’d be shocked that he isn’t on high alert. All the blood in his body rushes to his cock, however, when he sees the sight in his bed.
Bucky. Beautiful, sly, smirking, real Bucky. Bucky of flesh and metal, not stone. Bucky who grins down at him and kisses Steve breathless once again. Steve finally gets with the program, and grasps Bucky’s flesh in his arms as he rolls them over, pressing his own naked body against Bucky’s warm one.
“For the record,” Bucky gasps when Steve leans down to suck bruises into Bucky’s neck and shoulders that will stay, “it is extremely poor manners to leave a guy alone in a barn to bust out of his own marble shell. Sarah would be ashamed, I had to strut home in naked as a jay bird.”
Steve laughs into Bucky’s throat, heart warmed at the sound of “home”. Their home. Bucky and Steve’s, where they’ll be safe forever. Together.
“I’ll make it up to you,” Steve promises against Bucky’s skin, slick with sweat and salt. Flesh and salt, his favorite flavor. “For the rest of our lives, I promise, Bucky. My sweet, sweet Bucky.” Steve etches his promise into Bucky’s skin with his tongue this time.
“Damn right you will, Rogers. Now if you don’t mind, the rest of our lives begins now. Open me up and fuck me, Stevie.” Bucky groans, and Steve whimpers in response.
He doesn’t know how much time passes. It’s all a blur of flesh and skin and lube, but Steve remembers every gasp and moan and yelp that comes out of Bucky’s perfect, sensuous lips as he opens him up. Steve eventually lines himself up, and kisses Bucky tenderly as he pushes in past the rim of Bucky’s perfect, winking hole (he doesn’t know who gets the credit for that- he definitely didn’t sculpt it).
“ ‘Til the end of the line, my love” Steve promises, and he means it. Bucky nods back, choking on his spit and feelings.
“ ‘Til the very end, I promise. Please, Stevie…”
Bucky is so hot inside Steve thinks he’s gonna burn alive. He’s sweet and wet around Steve’s cock, gripping him like he’ll never let go. Steve nibbles onto Bucky’s neck, trying desperately not to cum instantly but knowing this won’t last long.
“For FUCK’S sake Rogers, if you don’t pound into me I’m gonna find someone who will and-“
That’s as far as Bucky gets. Steve growls and begins pistoning his hips, mouth latched onto Bucky’s shoulder as Bucky laughs and moans and whispers filth into Steve’s ear.
“Yeah, yeah just like that, fuck Stevie you’re so good to me. So good, so beautiful. Was torture in there, feeling your big paws all over me. I swear I almost came like 10 times when you made my cock and ass, could feel them pulsing for you.”
Steve groans and hitches Bucky’s leg further up his body, practically folding the man in half. “Wanted all of you, Buck. Did you see me-“
“Jerk yourself off on me, like the pervert you are? Fuck yeah, Stevie- you’re gonna do that again, I’m gonna pose for you nice and pretty. God baby, that cock of yours is the real masterpiece, God-“
Steve howls and renews the fervor of his thrusts. The guest bed is shaking underneath them, and Steve knows they’ll break it to splinters eventually. He looks forward to it.
“Yeah, baby? You think of it splitting you open, think of it feeding that hungry hole of yours? I swear I didn’t make you this way Buck, you’re just goddamn perfect is what you are.”
Bucky screams, going tight and rigid as his back bows and he cums, cums like he’s alive and real and Steve cums with him, moaning Bucky’s name as his own cock pulses inside of Bucky.
They stay tangled together, stick and sweaty and alive. Steve cries, tears of happiness, when he hears their matching heartbeats. Bucky smoothes his hair and whispers pretty nothings, pretty everythings, into his ear.
“Got the same heart, babydoll. Don’t worry, sugar, I ain’t going anywhere.”
Steve and Bucky enter Peggy’s shop hands held, beaming and giggling like schoolboys. Peggy’s eyebrows go up, and she runs to the back of the store to get Dan.
“I told you it would be alright, Peg.” He says when they see the two, shopping for groceries like they’ve been married for years. He frowns at Bucky a bit- the man acts like he’s never seen Cinnamon Toast Crunch before.
“I’m just relieved he found someone. I promised his mother that I’d look after him.”
Dan loops an arm around Peggy’s arms and kisses her forehead. The gesture is intimate and familiar, and Peggy relishes it every time.
“We might need to give Bucky a job. He looks pretty lost when he’s not looking in Steve’s eyes.” Peggy muses, and Dan nods.
Bucky is ecstatic. Steve is a bit jealous that the world gets to have even a second of Bucky’s time, but Peggy laughs and promises to keep her hands to herself. Bucky waggles his eyebrows and says,
“I make no such promises.”
Steve fucks him hard into the mattress that night, then draws Bucky a bath and washes him from head to toe, until he’s a warm and happy Bucky burrito, wrapped in a towel on their bed. Steve climbs in next to him and snuggles up, kissing Bucky’s lips lightly but not chastely. Bucky sighs and kisses back, content and warm. After so long in the marble, it’s hard to feel warm.
“Don’t worry, doll. We got all night.” Bucky whispers, and Steve grins back.
“Got the rest of our lives, Buck. I intend to make the most of it.”