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What We're Not

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Bucky loves making Steve come.

He's very good at servicing both men and women sexually with all his various orifices and remaining appendages. The recovered memories of 70 years of post-mission "downtime" in HYDRA bases has made him quite the expert at pleasuring one or more partners. He doesn't even need the "enhancements" one of the Siberian techs had made to his prosthetic arm in the late 1970's, although Steve never complains when Bucky uses them.

Bucky takes pride in it. This is something he's good at. And, it's twisted, he knows, but those memories are the only ones where he feels a sense of control. The HYDRA operatives desired him, and that gave him power over them, at least in those moments. He took their pleasure from them, but they could never take his pleasure from him in return. Even if they'd wanted to.

Except, now Steve wants to.

"C'mon, man, you make me feel so good. Lemme just- "

"No."

Steve's a saint. He never pushes once Bucky's said no. He never tries to touch Bucky without express consent first. Bucky's so damn grateful, he loves this man so damn much.

But Steve can't take his pleasure from him. Even if Bucky wanted him to- and, oh, sometimes he feels like he wants to, like some half-forgotten memory that he'll never retrieve- but even if Bucky wanted him to, he can't, thanks to HYDRA.

So, he'll give Steve, as Steve puts it, the best damn blowjobs I've ever had, to which Bucky will smirk and say yeah, I'm sure you've had a lot to compare them with, and Steve will make a face at him and ruffle his hair. He’ll give Steve blowjobs, and hand jobs, and rimmings. He'll stick the fingers of his right hand up Steve's ass to make him come apart. He'll stick the fingers of his left hand up Steve's ass and turn the vibrations on to completely wreck him. It all makes him smile like nothing else does anymore.

And in return, he'll let Steve touch him above the waist. His nipples are very sensitive now, and while it doesn't arouse him, it feels good, so he'll lie on his back with his shirt off and let Steve stroke and suck on them. Sometimes, when Bucky's thinking about it, he'll make exaggerated noises of pleasure for Steve's benefit. He's not sure if Steve believes them, but he doesn't say anything about it, and the way Bucky's moans send the blood surging into Steve's cock lets Bucky know that Steve likes them.

Steve also likes to kiss him, press their mouths together like he's been poisoned and the only antidote is Bucky's tongue. It's nice to be wanted like that, even if kissing does nothing for Bucky. Maybe it’s less about the kissing, and more about Steve’s frantic groping of his shoulders, back, and hips while they kiss. Steve’s frenzy scares Bucky, even if Steve’s always respected his nothing-below-the-waist boundaries.

They’ve been making it work like this for six months, but Bucky knows it’s a temporary solution, and he dreads the inevitable day when Steve finds out. The day his hand accidentally brushes just a little too low, or the baggy pants Bucky always wears fail to hide his lack. When Steve realizes the reason Bucky wears those baggy clothes that he won’t change in front of Steve. When he realizes why they still have separate bedrooms in the Avengers Compound. When he realizes why Bucky won’t fuck Steve or let Steve fuck him.

When he realizes, once and for all, how much of a thing HYDRA truly made him.

*

Bucky had barely healed from his injuries from the train, his fall, and the loss of his arm, when he'd woken to discover that the doctors had wheeled him away in the night and done some "preventive maintenance" on his genitals.

As in, they'd cut them off. Everything. Cock, balls, gone. He hadn't been able to even wrap his brain around the mutilation at first, just groped at the flat white bandages on his crotch in abject horror, ignoring the sharp stabs of agony the action produced. The med techs had restrained his only arm- they'd wisely waited to supply him with the metal replacement until he was firmly under their control- to prevent him from hurting himself further, and they'd laughed at him while they were doing it. He hadn't understood everything they were saying, but he'd understood enough.

That had been the beginning of his destruction. Or, more accurately, his deconstruction, from Bucky Barnes into the Winter Soldier. Once everything had healed to their liking, the doctors had taken off the bandages and held up a mirror for him to see. He had no body hair anymore, they'd shaved it all off, and they’d told him it wouldn't grow back. There would never be anything to hide the smoothness between his legs. It hadn't even scarred, there was just- nothing.

He'd cried. He hadn't been able to help himself as he’d stared at the empty expanse of skin where his cock and balls should have been. He’d never have sex again, never feel those desires, never be a father, he wasn’t even a man anymore- the tears had poured from his eyes with his thoughts, snot bubbling from his nose as he gulped for air, and they'd laughed at him some more. He’d sobbed himself to exhaustion, his IV’s working overtime to replenish his fluids.

He'd cried one more time before his mind had been stolen from him, the day all the tubes and needles had come out and he'd been taken from the med bay back to his cell. The day he'd found out he had to sit to pee, though he'd known he should have realized that sooner. The HYDRA doctors had rerouted his urethra and made him a new little opening in front of his anus. All very hygienic, and it’s never leaked or given him any trouble.

He sometimes feels grateful for that, and he hates that he does. Hey, HYDRA, you know what would have been even more hygienic and functional? Letting me keep my fucking cock!

He’s very careful to move the toilet seat up once he’s done using any bathroom. So much so that Wanda and Natasha always give him a hard time about it. Bucky will force a rakish grin at them, give them a little half-shrug, pretending like he’s still a man.

There’s a strange war in his brain about that thought. Part of him consciously knows that the measure of a man isn’t in his genitals. For Christ’s sake, he lives with a robot- synthetic humanoid, whatever- that was created by machines and an alien rock last year, has no genitalia, and staunchly identifies himself as male. But the other part of him, the part that wins, knows that while that’s all well and good for other men, it’s not applicable to him. He knows what he is. He knows what he’s not.

But he doesn’t want anyone else to know. Especially not Steve. He’s not sure how Steve will react. With pity? With disgust? With false encouragement? Bucky’s not sure which reaction is worse. It’s better not to think about it. It’s better not to let it happen.

*

The day it happens, Bucky isn’t expecting it. They’re not doing anything remotely sexual, just sitting in Bucky’s room watching a Dodgers vs. Yankees game- and don’t ask Bucky how he’s supposed to feel about that- on the gigantic TV Tony had installed for him, since Steve refuses to put a TV in his room.

“Hey,” Steve turns to him during a commercial break in the eighth inning, wide-eyed and serious. “We need to talk.”

Alarm bells start going off in Bucky’s head. If Steve “Stoically Taciturn” Rogers is initiating this conversation, it’s been weighing on him for a while. Bucky knows that nothing good can come of sharing their feelings.

“I know,” Bucky’s been told his voice is usually flat, so he attempts to regulate his inflections. “I’m conflicted, too, but personally I’m glad the Yankees are winning. The Dodgers sold out Brooklyn, man, fuck ‘em.”

He cracks a fake smile that he knows Steve can see right through.

“You’re so good to me, Buck,” Steve doesn’t acknowledge Bucky’s deflection at all. “You give me so much, but you won’t let me give you anything, and I want to. I want to so badly.”

A cold to rival the Siberian winter creeps up Bucky’s spine. He looks at his hands, clutched on his lap where he sits. When he speaks, he’s quiet and he can tell he’s gone back to his monotone.

“I know.”

“And it- it feels like- like you don’t trust me. And that hurts, Buck. That hurts so fucking much.”

Oh, it hurts, does it? How much does it hurt, Steve? On a scale of 1-to-having-your-fucking-cock-and-balls-cut-off, how bad does it fucking hurt?

“I know,” Bucky says again. He pauses for a long moment before adding, “I’m sorry.”

The game’s back on, but neither of them are watching it. Steve’s watching Bucky, and Bucky’s watching his hands. He rotates his left thumb with a whir and a click, letting the silver metal catch the light.

“Bucky?”

“I can’t, Steve.”

“Why not?”

“Because.”

“It’s understandable, after what HYDRA did to you. I don’t know every detail, and I won’t pry it out of you, it’s none of my business unless you want me to know. I understand.”

You don’t understand shit, Steve. You never will. And you should get on your knees and thank God that you never will.

“But I can’t- ”

Steve gulps, and Bucky looks up automatically to see tears in Steve’s eyes. Another cold shiver clutches at his heart.

“I can’t be with you like this, if you can’t trust me. I can’t. I love you, Buck, and I’ll always be your friend, but I can’t do this anymore. I’m sorry.”

Bucky gapes at him, emotions whirring through his brain like the components of his left arm. He’s heartbroken; Steve’s one of the only good things in his life, he can’t let him go, not like this. He’s also afraid; what if Steve isn’t the good man he seems to be, what if he only ever cared about sex, about using Bucky’s body the way HYDRA did? It terrifies Bucky, how much that would hurt, but also how much he doesn’t want to lose Steve, how much he loves Steve, even if that was true. But, above all, Bucky’s angry. How dare Steve project like that onto him? As if he knows what’s going on in Bucky’s head. As if all of their problems could be solved if Steve could just stick his dick in Bucky. As if Bucky doesn’t trust Steve, doesn’t love him, more than he’s ever loved or trusted anyone in his life, but sometimes that isn’t enough.

As if this is all about Steve.

The anger wins.

“I don’t trust you, huh?”

Bucky’s standing before he realizes it, his hands fumbling with the button and zipper of his oversized jeans. He’s a big guy, it’s hard to find jeans that are big on him, but he manages.

“Is that it, Steve?”

His voice cracks out of its flatness. He’s so angry, and he’s so afraid, and he knows that this is going to destroy their relationship, as lovers, friends, all of it, but he can’t stop himself. He steps out of his jeans, his fingers sliding underneath the elastic waistband of his flimsy cotton boxers. Steve’s looking up at him sadly from where he sits, but there’s a spark of curiosity in his beautiful blue eyes. Bucky pauses before he takes this last, irreversible step.

“Fine, I’ll let you fuck me Steve. I’ll let you fuck me the way half of HYDRA’s fucked me over the last seventy years. Will that convince you that I trust you?”

“Bucky, that’s not- ” Horror flits over Steve’s face. “If you want to make love to me, I’d want that too. I just want you. Please, just let me have you.”

Bucky laughs humorlessly.

“That’s not really an option, Stevie, sorry. See?”

He pulls down his boxers and throws them aside. There’s cheering on the TV. Hopefully the Yankees won.

“Oh, God.”

Steve doesn’t seem to be able to control his face. The horror that had briefly flickered over it returns, and stays. He gapes at Bucky’s mutilated crotch like Bucky himself had the first time the doctors had showed it to him back in 1945. Bucky’s still angry, still afraid, still heartbroken, but now all of that takes a backseat to the shame. He feels his cheeks burning, and he drops his head, hiding in his hair as he stares down at the ruination Steve is so appalled by. It’s a fair reaction, Bucky thinks, and he also thinks how Steve definitely won’t want him anymore. How could Steve look at Bucky, make love to him, with that lack overshadowing everything they do or say? He’s lost Steve. There was never any way that he could have kept him.

Steve finally looks up at Bucky’s face, horror and heartbreak to rival Bucky’s dancing in his eyes.

“Bucky, oh God, what did they do to you?”

What does it fucking look like they did to me, Steve?

It’s not his fault you deficient little punk, anyone would react the same way. You’re just lucky he hasn’t run screaming from the room yet.

“It’s not so bad,” Bucky hears himself say, like he’s somewhere far away. “I mean, I haven’t been hit in the balls in seventy years, that’s pretty nice.”

He can barely remember that awful, gut-punched feeling, but he knows he’d take it back. It was part of being a man for him, and he wants it all back.

“Bucky,” Steve stands, keeping a respectful distance between them, making a visible effort not to look anywhere below Bucky’s nose. “Please-”

“And, like I said, you can still fuck me. I don’t need a cock for that. It was pretty enjoyable for- for those other guys, never had any complaints.”

“Bucky, stop!”

Bucky’s selfishly glad that it’s Steve who’s having to hold back tears in this encounter. One less humiliation for Bucky, whose eyes are completely dry. He’s blushing like a fucking schoolgirl, but at least he’s not crying like one.

“Why?” Bucky hates how vindictive his tone is. “It’s all true. Isn’t Captain America all about the truth? You wanna hear how I piss now? It’s kind of interesting, actually- ”

Apparently, tears aren’t the only thing Steve’s been holding back. Before Bucky can finish his spiteful explanation, Steve’s pushing past him, rushing to Bucky’s ensuite bathroom. Bucky can hear him throwing up into his toilet, and one more piece of him shrivels and dies. At least he didn’t have to pause to lift the toilet seat first, it’s really very considerate of Bucky. Really.

God, he wants to die.

The toilet flushes, the water runs in the sink, and Steve comes out. His face is as red as Bucky’s must be, and his eyes are streaming from retching so hard. Bucky’s so disgusting to Steve that he made him vomit.

That’s fair.

“Sorry.”

Bucky apologizes automatically. He should have let Steve break up with him, none-the-wiser for the real reasons behind Bucky’s reticence towards intimacy. He shouldn’t have let his anger, or any of his emotions, get the better of him. He is sorry.

“No,” it’s Steve’s turn to be angry. “Don’t you apologize to me, Bucky. I’m the one who’s sorry. I’m sorry I pressured you into- this. I’m sorry I reacted like that when you shared this with me. I just- I didn’t expect- fuck, I’m so sorry Bucky. Please forgive me.”

Bucky detects pity. He’s not sure if it’s a fair assessment, since he’s expecting it, but he hears it in Steve’s supplication.

“I don’t want your fucking pity, Rogers.”

He’s still standing with only a green henley on, naked below the waist. He hasn’t been this exposed in over a year, not even in private. Not since he woke up from HYDRA’s control. Not since Steve woke him up.

“I don’t pity you.”

Steve’s eyes are sincere, his voice unwavering. Bucky almost believes him.

“Good. ‘Cause I’m fine. We’re fine, or we were. I don’t know, you still want to fuck me now? You could do it from behind, so you don’t have to look at me.”

“Stop.”

Steve’s using his Captain America voice on Bucky. He’d find it infuriating if he didn’t so desperately want to stop himself.

You need someone to tell you what to do. You’re a good little soldier. A good little weapon.

“Can I- ?” Steve takes a small step toward Bucky, but stops when Bucky flinches away. “Sorry, can I- can I touch you?”

“What? Why?”

Steve looks mournful at Bucky’s genuine confusion.

“Because I love you. Because you’re beautiful. Because I want to give you pleasure, like you deserve.”

“But I can’t- ”

“Yeah, I heard your theory. I wanna test it. Will you let me?”

Steve looks so vulnerable, yet so adamant and strong. Bucky knows it won’t work, but he wants to let Steve try. He’ll even pretend it’s worked, for Steve.

“Yes.”

It slips out as a whisper, and Bucky feels heat rushing to his cheeks for different reasons.

Fucking schoolgirl.

Steve turns off the TV before they start. The game’s long over, with the Yankees winning, and now it’s just some talking heads telling the viewers how they’re supposed to feel about the game. God, Bucky hates that.

He also hates how fast his heart is beating when Steve slowly embraces him. Full contact for the first time, Bucky’s flat, naked groin flush with Steve’s full, clothed one. Steve’s not hard, but Bucky feels Steve’s cock twitch against the void between his legs, and he’s afraid.

He’s afraid, so naturally his mouth starts running.

“Feeling a little exposed here, Steve. I showed you mine, how about you show me yours?”

Steve chuckles gently and lets Bucky go, shedding his sweatpants, boxer-briefs, and T-shirt. Bucky pulls off his henley and undershirt, because fair’s fair, and it’s not like Steve hasn’t seen this part of him yet. They’re both naked in the room’s soft light, and Steve’s cock is slowly filling with blood. Because you’re beautiful, Steve had told him, but Bucky doesn’t believe it. Steve’s the beautiful one, all rippling muscle dusted with light hair on his chest and abdomen, that strong jaw, those lips. And, of course, his thick cock and heavy balls hanging between his legs, covered in dense bronze curls. “Yeah,” Steve had confirmed with a wicked grin at the beginning of their relationship. “The serum enhanced everything.”

Steve’s beautiful. He’s always been beautiful, even before the serum, but both of them had been too repressed to do anything about their mutual lust for each other, and then there’d been the war, and then Bucky had fallen from the train-

And now, Bucky’s definitely not beautiful. He’s so damaged. Scarred, and mutilated, and Steve’s still as gorgeous as ever, and what the hell is he doing with Bucky? He deserves so much better.

“Can I kiss you?”

Steve’s an idiot for thinking Bucky’s worth this, but, hey, it’s been working out in Bucky’s favor so far. Six wonderful months of Steve getting off and Bucky getting Steve. He’ll miss that simplicity. Pretending is exhausting, and that was just noises, faking orgasms is going to be harder. Fooling Steve is going to be harder, and he’ll feel guilty about it, but it can’t be helped. It’s Steve’s fault for wanting this, really. All Steve’s fault-

“Bucky?”

“Uh,” Bucky shakes his head, grounding himself. “Yeah, sure. If you want to.”

“Do you want me to?”

Bucky looks at him for a long moment, thinking.

“Yeah,” he decides. “I do.”

Because it’s nice to be wanted the way Steve wants Bucky, so different from the way the faceless members of HYDRA had wanted him, and he does like the frenzied passion Steve will go into while he bites Bucky’s lips, and grabs at the back of Bucky’s head, fingers tangling in Bucky’s long hair. Bucky can even pretend to get into it fully now, grind his useless crotch against Steve’s thigh and moan into Steve’s mouth. He’ll be able to drive Steve absolutely wild.

Maybe if you distract him well enough, he’ll forget about trying to get you off.

Yeah, fat chance. When Steve sets his mind on something, Bucky would have better luck at bringing the Dodgers back to Brooklyn than distracting him from his goal. And when it comes to Bucky, well, Steve’s already proven how much he loves Bucky, how far he’s willing to go for him.

Goddamn, Bucky loves this man. He loves him, and it’s a selfish love, because Steve deserves better and Bucky can’t give him what he needs, not really, but he’s going to try so hard to make this good for Steve. He’s going to try so fucking hard to fool him.

Steve wraps his arms carefully around Bucky’s shoulders, drawing him in. Bucky resists the urge to shy away, because he’s naked, and he’s exposed, and he’s afraid- why is he so afraid?

“I’m not made of glass, Steve,” he growls against Steve’s neck. “You’re not gonna break me.”

That ship has long sailed.

Steve laughs and clutches Bucky tighter. His smiling lips find Bucky’s, and Bucky can’t help returning the smile. Bucky’s stubble scrapes against Steve’s smooth chin. Steve sometimes teases him about the state of his hair, on his face and on top of his head, so unruly, but Bucky stubbornly clings to the last of the hair he’s able to grow. Steve’s tongue parts Bucky’s lips, and Bucky tries to match his energy. He lets out a little moan, not because he feels it, but because he thinks it’s a good time for one. To really get Steve going.

“You’re definitely not made of glass,” Steve pulls his mouth from Bucky’s and speaks low in the shell of his ear. “You’re the strongest man I know, and you’re made of much better things.”

He bites softly at Bucky’s earlobe, his hands rubbing down both his biceps, squeezing the hard muscle and the harder metal. Bucky flexes both arms without thinking about it, the plates of his left arm clacking together when he does.

“Yeah, right.”

Bucky speaks scornfully. He’s confused as to what game Steve’s playing, and his mouth keeps running ahead of his brain. He feels Steve tense briefly, and Bucky bites his lip to keep himself in check.

“Yeah, you are,” Steve coaxes easily, after a moment. “And you’re made of things like this.”

He brings his lips to Bucky’s cheek, nuzzling his nose against the bristly hair. He kisses Bucky’s cheek, his chin, his bottom lip, then down his throat.

“And this,” Steve says against Bucky’s clavicle, sucking the skin where his collarbone is visible. “And this.”

He kisses his way down Bucky’s right shoulder and arm, biting the bicep gently, bending down and running his tongue down the smooth, hairless skin until he reaches Bucky’s hand. He kneels at Bucky’s feet, and Bucky feels profoundly uncomfortable, but he can tell that Steve wants this so he tries to relax into his lover’s tender display. Steve kisses each knuckle from pinky to thumb, sucks on each of Bucky’s long fingers, back from thumb to pinky, and Bucky shivers at the utter adoration Steve is displaying. Some part of him, deep and dark and long neglected because he’d thought it lost forever, begins to claw its way to the surface, and he’s beyond afraid.

He’s fucking terrified.

“Stop.”

It’s barely audible, but Steve stops immediately, popping Bucky’s ring finger out of his mouth and clambering to his feet with remarkable grace and speed. He puts his hand on Bucky’s right shoulder, and Bucky resists the urge to shrug him off. His hand is wet from Steve’s mouth, and Bucky wonders if it would offend Steve if he wiped it off.

“You okay?”

“No,” Bucky snipes, awkwardly wiping his fingers on his thigh. “What the fuck are you doing, Steve?”

Steve gives him a little half-smile. The beautiful fucker looks downright bashful, and it’s adorable, and Bucky is not going to fall for it.

“I don’t know, showing you how much I love you?”

Goddamn everything, Bucky’s not going to fall for it.

“Well, it’s weird, quit it.”

“Okay,” Steve sighs. “If that’s what you want. But I still have your left arm to go.”

Bucky brings the prosthetic up against his chest protectively, dislodging Steve’s hand from his shoulder.

“Why?”

“Because I love you. All of you.”

Fuck. No.

“It’s not me, though. Not really.”

“Is that what you think about it? If you don’t like it, you can ask Tony and Helen to make you a new one.”

Bucky thinks about it. He has a love-hate relationship with the arm. It’s an amazing piece of technology, but Tony and Dr. Cho could probably make him something even more amazing. Just look at Sam’s new wings. Or Vision’s entire body.

But, the arm’s a part of him now. He thinks of it as his as much as his remaining flesh-and-blood arm. It’s been with him through years of horror, and it weathered them all alongside him. Not to mention the star. He feels guilty for how comforting he sometimes finds that star, and it would be awkward to ask Tony or Dr. Cho to repaint the Communist symbol on something new they’d made for him.

“No, that’s okay. It’s fine. It’s mine.”

It is mine. Fuck you, HYDRA, but thanks for the souvenir.

“Yeah?”

Steve’s eyes are so dark with lust, Bucky can barely see the blue, and his cock is straining towards his firm abdomen. All of that, just from sucking on his fingers and talking about his prosthetic arm. Steve reaches out his hand toward the arm, leaves it hovering a few inches from making contact with the metal. There’s a silent question in his eyes. Bucky restrains himself from rolling his own eyes in response.

Oh, fine.

Steve is weird. So very weird, and Bucky adores him. He nods, sighs, and puts his left hand in Steve’s outstretched right. Steve grins at him, and starts laving the silver fingers with his tongue. Bucky can’t feel the sensations like he can on his skin, but the affection is so foreign he finds it intriguing as he tries to stay still so as not to pinch Steve’s mouth with any shifting metal plates. Steve remains standing this time, stretching Bucky’s arm up to his mouth to lick each finger, suck each gleaming knuckle, and kiss his way up to the shoulder. He pays extra attention to the star when he reaches it, tracing the red outline with his tongue, kissing the center before he moves further up to where metal melds to flesh in a hideous filigree of burn-like scars. Bucky twitches when Steve starts kissing the scars, his hands balling into fists. Steve raises his lust-blown eyes to him, looking downright obscene with his lips all wet and swollen. So obscene that Bucky quickly glances at the door, even though he knows it’s been closed the entire time.

“Do you want me to stop?”

Yes!

No.

He’s immobilized by the war in his head.

“You’re beautiful, Buck, and I love you,” Steve continues when it becomes clear that Bucky isn’t going to say anything. “All of you.”

Bucky reminds himself that this is for Steve. Maybe a little for himself, too, he admits. It’s nice to hear the words, even if he doesn’t fully believe them. He knows Steve believes them, and that’s enough.

“No, don’t stop,” Bucky rumbles out. “I’ll tell you if- when- I want you to.”

“Good. Here, you should sit down.”

Bucky lets Steve guide him backwards to sit on the bed. He perches on the edge, unfamiliar with feeling the soft comforter against his bare skin. He only sits naked on the toilet now. Panic rises in his chest, but then Steve’s sitting next to him, on his left side, his right thigh pressing against Bucky’s. Steve’s right arm goes over Bucky’s shoulders, rubbing up and down the right shoulder blade while he brings his lips back to the shit-show top of the left. He kisses and sucks, alternating between metal and skin, and Bucky’s breathing slows. If this idiot wants to love him, touch him, pretend he’s not disgusted by this hateful body, well, it’s Steve’s loss and Bucky’s gain. His selfish, selfish gain-

“Steve.”

The tone of Bucky’s voice says stop, and Steve does.

“Bucky?”

“You don’t have to do this.”

Bucky feels like he’s sabotaging himself, but he doesn’t care. He doesn’t want Steve to feel obligated to pretend. Bucky doesn’t deserve that.

“I want to,” Steve’s got that stubborn glint in his eyes. “Tell me ‘no,’ and I won’t. But I want to do this.”

Bucky catches a glimpse of that skinny little boy from Brooklyn, in oversized clothes and shoes stuffed with newspapers to keep them from falling off his small feet. That skinny little boy yelling out some impassioned speech about the right thing, throwing wild, ineffectual punches at some bully in a back alley while Bucky sprints to his rescue, simultaneously infuriated and enamored by Steve’s passion-

He feels something, deep in his gut, and it almost feels like how he remembers arousal. It’s gone quickly, overshadowed by his fear of it.

“Fine,” Bucky gives in. “But you’re an idiot.”

“And you’re a jerk,” Steve kisses him full on the lips with a loud smack. “A stupid, fucking jerk. And I love you.”

“Which is why you’re an idiot.”

Bucky tries to make it a joke, but Steve’s eyes cloud. He kisses Bucky again, slower, and Bucky closes his eyes and tries out another moan. It doesn’t have the desired effect, however, as Steve pulls away and glares at him.

“Cut that out, Buck.”

“What?”

“The fake noises. I let you get away with them before, ‘cause I wasn’t sure exactly why you thought you had to fake them with me, but now I know. I don’t want that.”

Bucky’s annoyed. With Steve, and his self-righteous certainty, but mostly with himself for thinking he was fooling Steve.

“And what if I do?”

Steve’s eyes narrow further.

“Do you?”

Bucky gives up. He never could fight Steve.

“No.”

“Then stop. Please. I don’t ever want you to fake anything with me again. I want to make you feel good for real.”

Bucky smiles forlornly, gesturing down at the emptiness between his legs.

“And if I can’t?”

“Then I’ll keep trying, until you can.”

Idiot.

Bucky’s not sure at which of them the thought is directed. Probably both of them. A pair of idiots, always. They deserve each other.

“Fine. No promises, though, Steve. Pretty sure I haven’t- felt good since 1944.”

Steve looks at him with a mixture of sadness and defiance. It feels too much like pity, and Bucky looks away before he says something regretful.

“Then this is long overdue,” Steve says in his ear. “Someone as gorgeous as you should be beating off admirers with a stick.”

It’s an inopportune time, and Bucky doesn’t mean to, but he remembers something. It would have been in the late 1950’s, after he’d been sent to kill a Chinese diplomat in Hungary. “Look at its gorgeous lips,” one of the backup HYDRA mercenaries had said to him, stroking his lips with the pad of his rough thumb. “Can’t wait to have ‘em wrapped around my cock.” He, and his entire squad, had eventually made good on that desire.

“No.”

“Bucky?”

He takes pleasure- desire- from others. He doesn’t have it taken from him. He can’t, he can’t, because if he does he’ll be broken completely and HYDRA will have won. If he feels this, if he gets off, HYDRA wins-

“Buck? You still with me?”

For the first time Bucky understands with disturbing clarity just how fucked-up his reasoning is, and he’s angry. Not at himself, like he usually is, and not at Steve, but at HYDRA. At Zola, at Karpov, and at Pierce. At every doctor, every scientist, every operative, from the bottom to the top. At everyone who ever laid a finger on him, in any capacity, and at any HYDRA sympathizer who never even saw the famous Winter Soldier. His entire body vibrates with his rage, and he realizes that he wants this. He wants it, if only because HYDRA didn’t want him to have it.

“Yes,” he whispers. “I- I- ”

But he can’t continue.

“Bucky?”

Thank God for Steve. Sitting strong and solid against him. Captain-goddamn-America, always at his back.

“I- I want it.”

“What?”

Bucky knows Steve heard him, but the smug bastard makes him repeat himself with more confidence. As soon as he says the words again, Steve is kissing him, wild, and Bucky matches him. He doesn’t feel it, but he wants to feel it, and that’s just as motivating. He clutches at Steve’s broad shoulders while Steve clutches at his, and he lets Steve push him supine on the bed, squirming his way up to the pillow with Steve on top of him so their legs aren’t hanging off the end. Steve’s lips leave Bucky’s, and Bucky growls and tries to chase them, but Steve’s already making his way down Bucky’s body. He kisses his Adam’s apple and clavicle again, then he kisses down to his enlarged nipples, paying special attention to them, flicking them with his tongue and biting at them softly.

Bucky resists the feeling at first, knowing that his nipples are so sensitive only because he’s had his balls cut off, but then he lets the bitterness go. It feels nice. No, better than nice. It feels amazing, and he lets the feeling wash over him, ebbing and flowing, sparking what he can now acknowledge as lust in his abdomen and in the unquenchable muscle memory in his disfigured groin. He bites back a moan, because he doesn’t feel it, but he lets out a contented little sigh because he does, and he feels Steve’s cock spasm in response, more than it ever had when Bucky had been faking.

“Yeah,” Steve whispers, his mouth popping off Bucky’s left pec. “You like that?”

“What do you think, asshole?” Bucky growls. “Fuck, yes!”

Steve smirks and gets back to it. He spends several minutes on Bucky’s chest, Bucky eventually relaxing completely into the sensations, closing his eyes and thrusting his hips pointlessly against Steve’s belly. When he’s been reduced to a continuous writhing mess underneath Steve, Steve resumes his progression down Bucky’s body. He licks Bucky’s abs, bites at the softer skin of his stomach, and presses kisses into his hipbones. It’s only when he gets farther down, to the unblemished space where Bucky’s cock and balls should be, that Bucky’s fear and self-loathing overwhelms him again.

“Stop,” Bucky hates how weak his voice sounds as he props himself up on his elbows, shame coloring his face despite his best efforts. “Not there. Not yet.”

Steve stops, looks up Bucky’s body with wistful understanding.

“Okay, Buck,” he concedes. “Not yet.”

Not yet.

Steve crawls over Bucky, back up to the head of the bed. He curls over Bucky’s right side, pushing Bucky on his back and tucking his chin into the crook of Bucky’s neck.

“I love you so much, you know that?”

“Yeah,” Bucky chuckles weakly. “I’m getting that.”

Steve’s cock is hard against his thigh, and Bucky gently presses his leg against it. Steve ruts instinctively with a grunt of longing.

“Here,” Bucky reaches his right hand down, encircles Steve’s length. “Let me help you with this.”

Steve groans, thrusts once into Bucky’s hand, then stops himself.

“No.”

“No?”

Bucky lets go, confused. Afraid.

“This isn’t about me,” Steve explains, panting with lust but resolute. “This is about you. You’ve already given me so much. I’m six months behind, gotta make it up to you.”

“It’s not a competition, Steve.”

“Oh, it isn’t?”

Bucky rolls his eyes, but he returns Steve’s grin.

“Excuse me, forgot who I was talking to.”

“Damn right. Now- ”

Steve lets his eyes drift from Bucky’s, down to his crotch, and Bucky’s fear returns once more.

“Now?”

“How do you want to do this?”

Bucky tries not to let the fear consume him. He tries so hard. He reminds himself how much Steve wants this, the stubborn bastard. Steve will love coming in Bucky’s ass.

“Uh, I got the lube in the drawer,” Bucky gestures with his head to his right, at his bedside table. “You know, for when we- ”

He lifts his left arm, wiggles the metal fingers while smirking at Steve.

“So,” Steve returns the smile. “My fingers in you this time?”

“Oh,” Bucky tries to swallow his fear. “But I thought- ”

He lets his eyes drift down to Steve’s cock, then back.

“Is that what you want?”

Bucky thinks. He thinks about all the people who’ve had their cocks inside him. He thinks about how much he wants Steve to eclipse all of them, but he also thinks about how devastated he’ll be if Steve can’t. God, he’s selfish. He knows how much Steve will love fucking him, but he won’t let him.

“No.”

But it’s Steve’s fault. He doesn’t want Bucky to pretend, even though Bucky’s more than willing to.

“So?”

Steve mimics the finger wiggle back at Bucky.

“Sure, I guess.”

No one at HYDRA had ever put their fingers inside him. No one at HYDRA had ever cared whether he got off or not, and the part of the Winter Soldier that had remained Bucky, no matter how much they’d tried to wipe him out, had clung to that. But he doesn’t need to cling to it anymore. HYDRA’s power is gone, its remnants on the run, and the only person Bucky’s hurting now is himself. Himself, and Steve.

“You guess?”

“Yes,” Bucky twists his head to look at Steve directly. Obstinately. “Do it, Rogers.”

“That’s more like it.”

Steve gets off the bed, letting Bucky sit up against the headboard as he pulls out the drawer in the bedside table and retrieves the lube. He and Bucky switch positions, Steve’s back against the headboard and Bucky straddling him. He hates the shame he feels as Steve’s hard cock presses against his emptiness, but then it’s obliterated by Steve’s slick fingers snaking behind him and finding his hole. He remembers other blunt, slick objects being pressed into him-

But, no, this is different. Totally different. He needs to stop thinking about this as Steve taking from him, like HYDRA, and more like Steve giving something to him. Steve’s giving this to him, and he’s giving this to Steve-

He gasps as Steve’s right index finger easily slips inside him.

“You like that, Buck?”

Bucky murmurs his assent. It’s not arousal, not the way he used to feel it, so long ago, but it feels good, and that may have to be enough. Steve adds his middle finger, twisting both inside Bucky, searching for that spot that always makes Steve come undone in Bucky’s arms. For a few minutes, Bucky’s terrified that Steve won’t find it. Maybe it’s not even there anymore. Maybe it’s withered from seventy years without his balls, or maybe HYDRA removed it, too, and didn’t tell him.

He’s terrified that Steve won’t find it, but he’s also terrified that Steve will.

When Steve does find the gland, Bucky jolts up in surprise, nearly dislodging Steve’s fingers. He desperately wants to grind the space where his nonexistent cock should be against something, and that’s frustrating, but it feels so incredible he can’t focus on the loss. For the first time in more than seventy years, he wants to come, and he’s not sure how that will work, but he can feel the need, so it has to work. It has to.

“Oh!”

He lets out an involuntary groan, and he feels Steve’s cock surge between his legs. Steve’s ring finger joins his other two inside Bucky, all of them twisting against his prostate, and Bucky throws his head back and wails.

“Steve! Oh, Steve, fuck!”

His pleasure crests, sending him over the edge. He can’t remember what it was like before, but this is the best he’s felt in years, and it billows from between his legs despite his lack. Something warm and wet drips from the opening HYDRA gave him to pee in lieu of a cock, and he pants it out, pounding himself on Steve’s fingers until he starts to feel sore.

“Bucky. God, Buck, it’s okay. It’s okay.”

Steve removes his fingers, encircling Bucky’s shoulders with both arms as Bucky collapses against him. Bucky’s suddenly aware that he’s crying, and he doesn’t know when he’d started. Those schoolgirl tears he’d been holding back, finally betraying him, but he’s too tired, too content, to really give a damn. He came. He fucking came.

Take that, HYDRA.

Oh, and fuck you.

He buries his face in Steve’s shoulder and sobs. Steve holds him, strong and steady as Bucky shakes in his arms, coming down from his orgasm, processing it through his tears.

“I want it, Steve,” he confesses, gulping. “I want all of it.”

“Good,” Steve says in his ear, deep, like tires on gravel. “I want to give all of it to you. Every good thing, Buck. Everything you want. Everything you deserve.”

Bucky’s tears are drying, his emotions stabilizing. He bites back his habitual responses. He wants what Steve’s offering. He wants to believe he deserves it.

“You sure you don’t want me to- ?”

Bucky reaches down to Steve’s softening cock, stroking it.

“Not now.”

“But- ”

“No, Buck.”

Bucky lets go of Steve’s cock. He wants to give Steve pleasure, but he’ll respect Steve’s wishes. They have so much time together, here in the future. So much time to love and pleasure each other, despite everything that’s happened to them. They’re soldiers, survivors. They’ll endure. They’ll thrive.

“You know how long I’ve wanted to do that?” Steve admits quietly. “Too long. Too fucking long. Thank you.”

“You’re thanking me for getting me off? Really?”

“I love you,” Steve murmurs as if he hasn’t heard Bucky. “I love you so much.”

“Yeah, I love you, too,” Bucky sighs peacefully against Steve’s shoulder. “You idiot.”

“So, you ready to start sharing a room?”

Steve’s still pretending not to hear Bucky’s snide remarks.

“Maybe,” Bucky concedes, lifting his head to look at Steve. “But only if you let us keep the TV.”

Steve laughs. It’s beautiful.

“You drive a hard bargain, Barnes. But, fine. I accept.”

“Good, Rogers.”

They look at each other for a second, then they laugh. They laugh far longer than their ridiculous repartee merits. They laugh and laugh, and Bucky imagines years of pain and horror disintegrating with the sound. He’s not a thing. He’s not. He’s a human being. He’s a man, even without his cock and balls. That’s not what makes a man, and he’s always known that, but right at this moment he believes it.

Next time, he wants to let Steve try and fuck him. Make love to him, whatever. He wants Steve to replace every awful memory of HYDRA using him. He wants Steve to love him, make him come, over and over again, until HYDRA is a barely memorable occurrence of his past. He wants to return the favor, make Steve groan and writhe in ways he’d never cared that the HYDRA operatives did.

He wants this. He wants this so badly.

Bucky kisses Steve. He initiates the kiss for the first time, grasping at the back of Steve’s head as Steve grasps at his. He loves this man. He loves him so fucking much.

And he wants Steve to love him back. He wants that more than anything.