Bucky's standing outside his door when Sam steps out at 8:00 in the morning. Not unusual for a Friday, actually. It's a therapy day - physical, not mental - and instead of walking to the medical center by himself, he waits for Sam to join him. Sam likes to get up early anyway, get out of his room that seems to get smaller and more confined every day. It's sure as hell better than that prison cell, but the concept is similar - he's not really free. Bucky seems to understand that, and so, he waits.
Sam watches Bucky nod his head to the music coming out of his bluetooth headphones for a moment before asking, "Running or walking?"
Bucky points to his shoes. Nikes.
"Okay," Sam shrugs. "Scenic or Dora Milaje route?"
Bucky pulls the hoodie of his sweatshirt over his head, hiding his ridiculously tiny ponytail, and grins.
Rolling his eyes, Sam does the same and heads toward the back door of their little compound. "Don't even act like you don't go a mile out of your way to avoid them. I know you're scared."
"I like the scenic route," Bucky says, breaking his silence. "There's animals and shit."
Sam clears his throat obnoxiously. "And?"
Bucky shoves him out the front door with his left hand, the new one. It's warmer and lighter than the old one, and the quiet noises it makes don't make Sam shudder like the old one did. And because Bucky is basically a one hundred year old child, he sticks his tongue out at Sam. "Okay yeah, they scare the shit out of me."
Look, he's not sucking wind hard enough to draw attention to himself when slumps against the wooden door frame of the biochemistry lab, but these damn Wakandans have crazy sensitive hearing that rivals actual super-soldiers.
"I do not understand why you insist on racing him."
Sam scowls at Akeja, one of the few people he's met during his extended stay in Wakanda that he'd actually classify as a true friend. Probably because he's usually giving Sam shit and Sam's obviously a masochist. Shit, look at some his life choices. Pure masochism. He grunts at the back of his friend's head, so perfectly bald that the overhead lights reflect off it. "Not a race, it's called exercise. It's good for you, you should look into it."
Akeja shrugs his broad shoulders, not looking up from his work. "I am perfectly healthy."
"Yeah, sure." Akeja's clothes are rumpled, there's shit strewn across the benchtops in the lab, and a plate of cookies on his desk. Extremely healthy. Sam grabs a cookie and shoves the whole thing in his mouth, because it's early and he just ran two miles trying to outpace Bucky. "Did you even sleep last night?" Sam asks with his mouth full. Hmm, coconut.
Just as he's about to down another cookie, a giant hand slaps it away before he can put it in his mouth. "What the hell, man?"
Akeja's got the wild eyes going on, looking like, well. A mad scientist. "Did you eat a cookie?"
Sam makes a face. "Uh. Yeah. Didn't know you weren't the sharing kind, my bad."
"Why did you eat a cookie?" Akeja asks, grabbing Sam by the arms and shaking him. "Can you not read?"
"The sign!" Akeja points to the multiple warning signs on the door of the lab. "No food or drink in the laboratory!"
Sam growls. "It's in. Wakandan!"
"I am fairly certain a circle with a line through it is universal, Sam!"
"Okay, but the food was on your desk!" Sam argues. This is usually why he likes Akeja so much, because he's freer with his thoughts than the king or his many advisors and protectors. But right now Sam could use a little of that stoic speak he usually doesn't care for. "What the fuck kinda cookie is this?"
"Shit, shit, shit." Akeja's pacing and muttering under his breath. "It hasn't been trialed yet, shit."
"It was a little dry but otherwise tasty," Sam snaps. "Spit it out, what did I eat?"
"It is not dangerous. Or, shouldn't be. Like, I said, it hasn't..."
Sam interrupts, "Yeah, yeah, trial, got it."
"The king has expressed his desire to keep peace in our land and with other countries as well. This includes reconnaissance missions, of course. So we have been creating new ways to debilitate those we wish to encounter. Peacefully."
Sam blinks. "Uh, 're these pot cookies?"
Akeja twists his lips. "Pheromone enhancing. Copulin, specifically, among a few other things. It's believed to attract men in small quantities, so in a larger concentration..."
Fucking fuck. "There's hormones in these cookies?!"
"It's not permanent," Akeja answers, his brow furrowed. "It's possible nothing will happen. You might want to fuck yourself, however."
Sam wonders what the punishment for murder is in Wakanda. Probably not worth it. He sighs. And mentally prepares himself for what may or may not be about to happen to his body. "Seriously though, seduction cookies? What the fuck?"
Akeja shrugs. "Okoye likes coconut."
"Okoye likes coconut," Sam mutters. "Anything else I should know? Otherwise I'm gonna go hide in my room and try not to fuck myself for the rest of the day."
"Just...check in later. Please? And be mindful of the reactions of other people to you.”
And the guy seems apologetic, maybe even a little worried, but Sam is still pissed. He nods yes anyway, 'cause that's just the kind of guy Sam is.
Then comes the ordeal of getting back to their living quarters. He usually waits at the medical complex until Bucky is done, then they eat lunch and head back. Buckboi’s just gonna have to find his way home on his own today though, hopefully without turning into a cranky little shit.
The Dora Milaje route, as they call it, is much faster but doesn't allow for any secrecy. That should be fine, since so far Sam doesn't feel any different from normal. Not horny in the slightest. He's still hungry, though. Damn.
A regal voice that he's come to know pretty well calls to him as he scurries through a tree covered path. "Sam!"
Sam slows down to a walk but doesn't turn around until T'Challa repeats his name. Shit. Fuck . "Your highness," he greets the king, facing him with a forced smile.
"Such formalities." T'Challa grins, clapping Sam on the shoulder. Maybe his hand lingers a little bit, or maybe Sam is just paranoid. "We are friends. Walk with me?"
"Yeah. Sure." Funny, "walk with me" sounded more like an order than a friendly request, but it's cool. They're "friends," so to speak.
"I like to take a few minutes of reflection in the mornings," T'Challa says, strolling along the path. "Time to myself, to gather my senses before dealing with the, ah..."
Sam raises an eyebrow. "Bullshit?"
"Apt description." T'Challa laughs. "This morning I saw a golden crowned crane. A glorious bird." He winks at Sam. "Made me think of you."
"No," T'Challa corrects him. "Beautiful."
Wait. What? Surely Sam heard that wrong. "Say what now?"
"It was a beautiful creature. He did not trust me, though. Flitted away before I could get too close." T'Challa stops, raising a hand way too easily to cup Sam's jaw. "They all do."
Fuck. Fuck fuck what the fuck . "Um. Who is they ?"
"Everyone. Everything." T'Challa's face glows under the streams of sunlight breaking through the trees. His fingers stretch again Sam's skin, like a cat readying itself before attacking its prey. And there's an odd sound, a humming resonating from deep in T'Challa's core. Almost like...
"Are you..." Sam gulps. "Purring?"
Kings shouldn't laugh the way this one does, full of life and mischief and yet this leader is giggling like a goddamn schoolgirl at Sam's expense. "Oh, Sam. You are not a bird, and I am not a cat desiring to eat you."
Sam laughs nervously. "You, yeah, you could've fooled me."
And the King of Wakanda is a pretty scary dude, especially when he looks like he wants to eat you. Which is kinda fucked up, because Sam has to admit, T'Challa is hot as fuck. But obviously he isn't himself right now. Not at all. "You know," T'Challa says, "that would be a rather fun game to play."
"Okay, wow, look at that," Sam stammers, stepping quickly away from the hand caressing his face. "I have really got to get going, sorry, thanks for the cat. Chat. Something."
T'Challa is crestfallen, with sad kitten eyes as Sam runs away.
Okay, so that cookie he ate...that's some fucked up shit.
Luckily Sam makes it back to his living quarters without encountering any other purring beasts, feline or otherwise. He's rummaging for leftover bacon or sausage or any sort of breakfast protein when his phone chirps with a text message.
bald head: still alive?
Sam grunts, types back, "I haven't fucked myself yet but I know someone who should."
bald head: i will blame these insults on your hormonal fluctuations
bald head: call if you fear you might be dying
Sam has great friends, obviously. Mentioning the T'Challa incident might be a tad uncouth considering, ya know, he's the King.
He finds some already cooked turkey bacon - which is not the same thing as real bacon but will have to work for now - and is scarfing it down when Steve stumbles into the kitchen, spiky hair askew and pajama pants slung low on his hips.
See, to some, Steve has taken well to retirement. To others, like Sam, he sees that his friend sleeps just a little too much and cares about things not quite enough. Sam and Bucky have analyzed his behavior for weeks, neither one willing to tell the Captain that they're here for him if he just wants to talk about the things people don't like to talk about.
"Morning," Steve greets him, yawning. He scratches his belly over his white undershirt. "Did you cook breakfast?"
Sam answers with his mouth full of not real bacon. "Fnah. Wan wiff Sbucky."
Steve can speak Sam with mouth full of food fluently. "That's...nice. I'm really glad you two are so close now. Considering all the, ya know." He mimics Bucky hurling Sam across the room.
"We're not that close," Sam says. "More like frenemies. Don't make that face, that's a real word."
"I believe you." Steve laughs. "You're a really good friend, Sam. I don't know what I'd do without you."
"Listen to bad music?"
Steve is still laughing, and his cheeks are cute and rosy, like the first day that Sam met Captain America and foolishly thought the American icon was flirting with him. It turns out that Steve Rogers can only successfully flirt when he has no idea he's doing it. When he actually tries, it's awkward as hell.
"I feel like I don't show it enough," Steve says. "What you mean to me."
Oh no. Not again.
And then Steve is hugging him, and Sam is stuck in between the kitchen counter and a six foot wall of snuggling muscle man. It's only slightly awkward. "Um. Yeah, Steve. You mean a lot to me, too."
"So brave, and smart, and pretty," Steve murmurs. He nuzzles against Sam's cheek. "You smell like heaven, too, what is that?"
"Eau de I am so fucked," Sam groans. He lets Steve pet and love on him just a little longer before bursting his bubble. "Steve?"
"I just love the way you say my name."
"Steve! Snap out of it! It's not real." And this sucks more than T'Challa hitting on him, because it’s Steve. Steve . He would follow him to their deaths and also has had one or two fantasies about stealth suits in the past. But again. He's not himself. "I've been drugged, man."
"Are you okay?!" Steve pulls away, searching Sam's eyes for anything troubling. "Who did this? I will fight them, swear to Jesus."
Sam sighs. "I did it. Accidentally. It's not permanent but apparently everyone might want to fuck me for a little while."
"Oh." Steve blushes. He fidgets with the hem of his shirt. Looks everywhere but Sam's eyes. "I. I think I'm going to go back to my room. To bed."
"If you want, you could come-"
Sam holds a finger up. "Don't finish that sentence."
Sam: i'm a dick magnet
bald head: this both troubles and excites me
bald head: in the science way
Hiding in his room is good. Good plan. He's pretty sure Clint stopped outside his door, sniffed, and whimpered, but other than that everything is fine.
Until pounding on his door wakes him from a nap full of strange dreams. Running, swimming, driving, everything but flying. He still doesn't have that back. And what the hell, when did he fall asleep? Maybe his body shut down as a defense mechanism, though that would be a shitty line of defense against heat seeking boners. The pounding continues so he snaps, "What?"
"Can I come in?"
"Yeah, it's unlocked."
"You ditched me," Bucky says before even crossing the threshold. He plops down on the foot of Sam's bed as if him being in this room is a normal, comfortable thing. Maybe it is? "What the hell?"
Sam scoots back a few inches, bracing himself for yet another goddamn Bucky Barnes transformation. He's not sure how well he could handle horny!Bucky. "Sorry. There was an incident at Akeja's lab. Thought it was best to just head back."
Bucky narrows his eyes, concerned. "You hurt?"
"No," Sam answers quickly. "Just...different."
"Like, Bruce Banner different or about to die from the Plague different?"
"Like," Sam pauses. Bucky's not changing his demeanor at all. He still has the same surly twist of his lips and tiny glint of naughtiness in his steel eyes. "You don't feel weird right now?"
Bucky gives him a Look. "I have a new metal appendage and am undergoing intense psychological therapy. I always feel weird."
Maybe this shit has worn off already. Thank God. Sam clears his throat. "I'm not emitting a particular scent or anything?"
"I don't smell anything?" Bucky shrugs, then inches closer on the bed, sniffing loudly. He takes Sam's hand, bringing his wrist to his nose. Then, because he's an asshole, he raises Sam's arm and smells his armpit, trailing his nose from there up his neck to the little dimple behind his ear. It's ridiculous, and a little arousing, so yeah, maybe this shit is still inside him. "You smell just as bad as you usually do," he says with a smirk.
Ugh, he thinks he's so funny. Sam scowls, trying a more direct approach. "So what you're saying is, you don't want to fuck me right now."
Bucky's eyes double in size, frozen wide open. It's a little freaky to be honest, seeing as how Sam's actually been witness to a frozen Bucksicle. Bucky blinks, finally, and frowns. "Maybe we should get you back to the med center. Just to have a look-see over ya."
"You think I'm imagining this, but I'm not," Sam argues. "Steve nuzzled me, T'Challa fucking purred , and Clint keeps whimpering because my door's been closed."
"Okay." Bucky humors him for a minute, then calls out, "Wanda! Can you come to Sam's room?"
"I can!" A deep voice shouts.
"Not you, Steve!" Sam answers, and nope, he's still a dick magnet.
Wanda appears in the doorway. Her makeup is only halfway applied and clearly she's not happy about being interrupted. "What?"
Bucky points to Sam. "Do you have an uncontrollable urge to fuck one Samuel Wilson right now? Think about it for a minute, don't make a rash decision."
Her lip curls, and mascara-free eyes dart back and forth between Sam and Bucky. Then she grunts, "You two are very strange," and leaves as quietly as she arrived.
Sam frowns. "Maybe it's only guys? Although you are clearly male and aren't affected. I swear it's real, you heard Steve just a second ago!"
"Steve is essentially an eager to please Golden Retriever, that meant nothing." Still not convinced, Bucky sighs and exits the room. Less than a minute later he returns with a very confused Scott Lang in tow, new metal hand twisted up in a ratty NSYNC tee shirt. He makes no apologies for his clothing choices.
"Hey guys, what's up?" Scott asks excitedly. "Got some plans, some kinda covert shit?"
"No plans." Sam shakes his head. He crosses his arms over his chest, showing off his bulk proudly while he waits to prove to Bucky that he's not losing his mind. "How're you feeling, huh? You good?"
"Eh, I'm alright." Scott shrugs. "I just realized that it's been a really long time since I had sex. Wow. Do you wanna do that? We should do that, but not in front of, you know," he cuts his eyes towards Bucky.
"See?" Sam says smugly.
Bucky looks ill. "Wow. So, that just happened."
"This is what I'm saying!"
"I mean," Scott butts in. "A really, really long time."
"Back to your room, Bug Guy." Bucky shoves Scott into the hallway, then points a finger in Sam's face. "You, me, Medical. Dora Milaje route."
Of course Bucky immediately reaches for a cookie as soon as they walk into Akeja's lab. Sam slaps his hand away and points to the signs on the door as if he himself hadn't just made the same mistake earlier that day.
Akeja turns to greet them but Sam cuts him off. "Your cookies are shit. And he ," he thumbs in Bucky's direction, "is fucking immune to them."
"Why do you sound offended by that?" Bucky asks.
Sam ignores him. "Your little experiment works, and I'm sure Okoye wouldn't mind maybe a few white chocolate chips thrown in there for added flavor. Raisins? Something. But I need an antidote. I got every dick in a three mile radius pointed straight at me, man. Captain fucking America 'bout humped my leg and the king of this great nation wanted to eat me."
Akeja smiles. "Can you blame them? It's not easy to ignore that you are quite a handsome man."
"No," Sam scolds Akeja, securing himself behind a long bench with a slate topped table. "Stay your bald ass on that side of the room."
"Akeja," Bucky says calmly, stepping towards the scientist. The distraction works, and Akeja is able to tear his eyes away from Sam.
"There's no antidote," he says. "The reaction is self-limiting, but I don't know how long it takes yet. We are still in the early stages of development."
"So what do I have that protects me against it?" Bucky asks. "Also, Wanda didn't react, either. We were both experimented on, could it have something to do with that?"
Akeja glances at Sam but diverts his eyes quickly. "It is possible. Or it could be simpler than that. The base ingredient of the concoction is found in vaginal secretions, so if that is something that doesn't arouse you, it could explain why the two of you are unaffected."
Three of us , Sam thinks. He was told he might want to fuck himself, but yeah. No. Makes sense.
"Makes sense," Bucky replies. "That's probably it."
"So just keep him away from Captain Boner, Bad Kitty, and every other hetero or bisexual male for like, what, a day?"
Akeja nods. “That would be my guess, yes.”
"It's okay, Sammy." Oblivious to Sam's state of confusion, Bucky slings an arm over his shoulder. "I'll be your penis protection squad."
Sam hisses once they enter the privacy of the hallway. "Why have you failed to mention you apparently have zero interest in pussy?" Crass, but that's the simplified version of what Akeja said.
Bucky drops his arm. "Did you ask ?"
No. No, he didn't.
"How long?" Sam asks. He's staring at his ceiling, really wishing he had a television in his room.
He feels Bucky shrug in the dark next to him. "I don't remember, actually."
"Hmm. Yeah. That."
The hits - more like, hit ons - kept coming throughout the day but Bucky managed to play interference like a champ. He only threatened bodily harm twice, and really, Bucky threatening Steve isn't all that uncommon anyway.
Sam doesn't think he necessarily needs protection at night, in his own room, but now that Bucky's here with him, it's okay. He thinks maybe they should talk, anyway. “You attracted to anybody?”
"I was in high school," Sam shares. "Realized that funny feeling I got around my best friend wasn't quite brotherly love, know what I mean."
"Relatable," Bucky hums. "My life just hasn't afforded me much free time to think about that sort of stuff, really. Things like wars and being an amnesiac assassin kinda took precedence."
"Relatable," Sam echoes. There's always a goddamn war of some sort, like he just can’t escape it forever. "The first part, anyway. Not much assassin experience."
"Zero out of ten, would not recommend."
Sam smiles, closes his eyes. He’s so tired. "Thanks for being the level-headed one today, with minimal mockery. I appreciate it."
Bucky tilts his head to the side. Sam can feel his gaze, even in the dark. It's a little intense but not off-putting. Bucky is himself, after all, unlike the others right now. "Anytime," he murmurs.
Four pairs of eyes are staring at Sam's bedroom door the next morning when they exit. The bed sharing was completely innocent but Sam still feels a little bit like he's making a walk of shame.
"I told you," Wanda says to the others. "Bucky wins."
"We're sorry," the other three say in unison.
Sam exhales in relief. "Oh, thank God."
Clint nods to two cards on the kitchen counter. "T'Challa sent those. I'd probably only read the top one if I were you."
"Wait." Bucky runs a hand through his messy hair. "What do you mean I win?"
Wanda waves him off. "Nothing."
"I was protecting him from these horny bastards," Bucky retorts.
"Of course you were," Wanda says. "All night protection."
Before Bucky can argue, Sam holds his hand up to stop him. Wanda can fucking get into people's heads, you just don't fight with somebody like that. "I accept your apologies. Hopefully this never happens again."
"Everybody loves Sam." Steve grins sheepishly. "Guess we just had to be put under his spell to realize it."
Scott coughs loudly. "Some people don't."
Bucky growls. Sam laughs at him and thinks, oh fuck, he's giving heart eyes to this asshole now, and Bucky gives them right back. Is this normal for them? It feels normal.
Huh. Guess everyone else had to fall under Sam's spell to make him realize it.