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He tells his secretary to always book this hotel for his meetings in New York because he likes their beds.

He does like their beds.

He likes their receptionist a whole lot more.

He could blame it on the fact that he first laid eyes on the guy just after Peggy finally walked out on him. He knows that Peggy leaving is all his fault. He’d known when they got together that she was ambitious, and she told him that she wouldn’t compromise her career for him. He’d ended up making her do it anyway, not intentionally, but he hadn’t fought hard enough for her, had let his own work take priority. She saw that. She’d given him plenty of chances to make amends, and he’d blown every one. So she’d gone back to London, and was currently flying high in international finance, and he was carrying on as he did before.

It was the guy’s eyes. Or his smile. Or the pull of his uniform shirt across his shoulders. But the first time Steve saw him, his stomach had done a flip, and he’d felt like a dumb teenager. He thought he might even have blushed when the guy had said, “Can I help you, sir?”

He has a run of meetings in New York after that, and his heart beats faster as he get to the hotel each time. If it’s someone else on the desk he tries to hide his disappointment.

He knows he flirts with the guy. He can’t help it.

The guy flirts back. After the third time Steve stays, he says, “It’s just the name badge that says James. You can call me Bucky.”

“Bucky?”

“James Buchanan Barnes, because my parents couldn’t think of a more obscure president. So Bucky.”

Steve is well aware that flirting with customers who are flirting with you is good business sense. He doesn’t try fooling himself that Bucky (what a name, a name out of time, it skips off the tongue and he wants to say it over and over into Bucky’s skin) sees him as anything other than a customer.

Steve tips well as a matter of principle. He tips Bucky even better.

He wonders what sort of person that makes him. If he’s trying to buy Bucky’s flirtations.

He takes any excuse to go to New York, attending meetings in person that he could easily video conference. He tells everyone that it’s because he grew up there, and he’s found he misses the place. He doesn’t tell anyone that he’s got the stupidest crush he’s had since he was a teenager.

He realises that he’s being completely unsubtle when he arrives at the hotel to find that Bucky is not on reception, and the receptionist (one of the regulars, one who knows him) says, “Bucky’s shift starts at nine.”

“Sorry?”

She smiles brightly at him. “Just thought you’d be interested, sir. Here’s your key. Have a great evening!”

He feels like he’s been punched in the gut. It must be obvious to everyone in the hotel that he’s crushing on Bucky.

He feels like a creep.

It doesn’t stop him deciding to go out for dinner rather than ordering room service, because then when he comes back Bucky will be on reception.

He stays out later than he intends, trying to think, to clear his head. He makes a half-hearted attempt to pick up a guy in a bar, but it’s too obvious that he isn’t really interested.

When he walks through the front door of the hotel he sees Bucky put a book down before smiling at him.

“Good book?”

“Anna Karenina. Pretty good, but I’m reading it for class. Sorta spoils it, you know?”

“You’re in college?”

“I know, I’m kinda old for it.”

Steve smiles. He’s leaning on the front desk, and Bucky is leaning in too, and he’s so close he imagines he can smell him, wants to touch, wants to kiss. “Not what I meant at all. Where are you studying?”

“NYU. This pays the bills, as long as I can stay awake in class.”

Bucky is in college and is reading Anna Karenina, and he is just about perfect.

When Steve gets home from New York he buys a copy of Anna Karenina. He knows he’s being stupid, acting like a teenage girl, but he can’t help himself.

He reads it, and thinks that he should probably learn some lessons from it about doomed love affairs. But he knows he won’t.

He’s in Paris a few days later. He’s lying on his bed, watching some late-night shopping channel (he doesn’t speak much French, but they’re the same wherever you are), thinking vaguely about the ways that money makes life easier. Like not having to work a night shift and then go to class in the morning, for example.

From there his thoughts seem to slide naturally to the fact that he has enough money to easily pay Bucky’s tuition, and that it’s still mid-afternoon in New York.

He picks up the phone, gets through to NYU. His hunch that James Buchanan Barnes is an unusual enough name for there only to be one of them enrolled is correct. He pays Bucky’s tuition for the rest of the year.

He puts the phone down and wonders what the hell he thinks he’s doing. That amount of money would be pretty serious even if they were dating. Bucky’s basically a stranger to him. But it’s done now.

It’s a few weeks before he’s back in New York. Bucky is on the desk, and instead of smiling he looks at him with icy coldness. There is a piece of paper wrapped around his key when Bucky gives it to him. Steve waits until he’s in his room to read it.

It just says “You can’t buy me”.

He tries to remember what he’d said when he’d spoken to NYU, whether he’d remembered to ask to be anonymous. It had been late, he probably hadn’t.

He thinks of what his reaction would be if their situations were reversed. Probably exactly the same. That some sleazebag was trying to buy his way into his pants.

Perhaps it’s best this way. It was always going to end badly. At least this way Bucky’s got something out of it.

But he still wants to try and make his intentions clear. He writes on the note, “It was a gift. I don’t want anything from you.” He wraps it around the key again, gives it to Bucky when he leaves to go out for dinner.

There’s no note round the key when he comes back. He thinks Bucky is less icy, but that might be just wishful thinking.

It’s a couple of hours later and he is already in bed when there is a knock on the door. He expects it to be someone knocking on the wrong door, and is surprised to see Bucky.

“We need to talk.”

He stands aside to let him into the room, closes the door behind them and says, “I’m sorry.”

“What do you want from me?”

“Nothing.”

“You don’t get anything for nothing, especially not a year’s tuition. You have to want something in return.”

“It was an impulse. It was late at night, if I hadn’t been in Europe I’d probably have slept on it and not done it, but the time difference meant that the NYU finance office was open. That’s it.”

Bucky stares at him for a moment. “Where do you hide the bodies?”

“What?”

“There has got to be something wrong with you. You tip well, you’re always polite even when you look exhausted, you never mess up your room, you even take the sheets off the bed before you leave, you’re hot, you’re rich. So you gotta be a serial killer or something.”

“I’m not. But I suppose a serial killer would say that too.”

Bucky smiles, and he hadn’t realised how much he wanted to see that smile again. But then Bucky looks serious. “I still don’t like owing someone.”

“Go be nice to someone then. Help some old ladies with their groceries or something. Pay me back by paying it forward.”

“You cannot be real.”

“Don’t tell the finance office that.”

That gets him another smile. Then Bucky looks at him speculatively. “I could blow you.”

“Then I really would have bought you. So no.” Just the idea of Bucky getting down on his knees for him is making him hard, and he’s wearing thin sweats to sleep in, so it’s probably pretty obvious.

Bucky doesn’t say anything for a few moments, and they’re just stood there staring at each other. Eventually he says, “Right, so I’ll go and be nice to old ladies, yeah?”

“Or old guys. I’m not fussy.”

Bucky grins at him. “Got it. Uh, thanks. It’s- you’ve made my life a helluva lot easier. Um, goodnight.”

He’s darted out of the room before Steve can reply.

If Steve was a stronger person he would just go to sleep. Instead he jerks off thinking of Bucky blowing him.

He checks out the next morning. Bucky is never on reception in the morning, so he can’t gauge his reaction. But he thinks that after their conversation Bucky probably thinks that he’s a weirdo, rather than a sleazebag. He can live with that.

It’s a couple of months before he’s back in New York. Bucky isn’t on reception, but Sandi, one of the other regular receptionists is. “It’s his birthday, so Bucky’s off tonight.”

Steve hopes he isn’t too awkward when he says, “Oh, well, wish him happy birthday from me if you see him.”

Her smile is just a little too broad for Steve’s liking. “I will, sir. Your key. Have a great evening!”

He is woken in the night by a knock on the door. He looks at the clock and sees that it’s just past two. Probably someone drunk looking for their room. He gets up, thinking that if he can steer them in the right direction he can minimise the number of other people woken up.

He opens the door and Bucky is standing there, leaning on the doorframe. He’s very obviously drunk. He’s also wearing tight pants, a tight t-shirt with a leather jacket over it, and looks so good that Steve’s mouth goes dry.

Bucky smiles sloppily at him. “‘S my birthday.”

“I know. Come in before you wake the whole corridor.”

Bucky walks into the room, and he’s not so drunk he’s staggering. Steve shuts the door behind them. Before he knows what’s happening, Bucky is kissing him. It’s instinct to kiss him back, to wrap his arms around him and pull him close, and Jesus, even drunk Bucky is one hell of a kisser.

But Bucky is drunk, and Steve is not going to take advantage of that. He pulls back, ignores the unhappy noise that Bucky makes, and says, “You’ll regret this in the morning.”

Bucky giggles. “Why? Are you really bad in bed?”

“You’re drunk. You thought I was trying to buy you.”

“But you weren’t. ‘N you’re hot. And it’s my birthday.”

“I know it’s your birthday-”

“So you need to fuck me.” Bucky gives him an over-exaggerated puppydog expression. “Don’t you like me?”

“You know I like you.”

Bucky giggles again. “Everyone knows.” Steve blushes, still not liking to be reminded of that fact. “You are gorgeous when you blush, you know that?”

Bucky presses himself closer, grinds himself against Steve’s crotch. Steve was already hard and you’d have to have the self-control of a saint not to do anything. Steve is no saint, and he cups Bucky’s face in his hand and kisses him.

As Bucky kisses him back, he slides his hands inside Steve’s pants, squeezes his ass, rubs their clothed erections together. Steve thinks he could just keep doing this, rub himself off against Bucky pressed against the wall. But Bucky is walking him backwards until he hits the bed, and they both fall onto it in an ungainly heap.

Bucky is kneeling up, stripping out of his jacket and t-shirt, and he has just the right amount of muscles, a light scatter of chest hair. Bucky grins at the way Steve is staring at him, and pops the buttons on his pants with exaggerated slowness. Steve pulls off his own t-shirt and pounces on Bucky, pinning him to the bed and kissing him. He works a hand into Bucky’s pants, closes his fingers around his erection, revels in the low moan Bucky gives as he pushes up.

He works Bucky’s pants down his hips, and that’s tougher than it might be, the guy has chosen some very tight pants. Eventually Bucky laughs and pushes him off, pulls his own pants off as Steve takes his sweats off.

“Just knew you were big all over under those suits.” Bucky pushes him back onto the bed and licks down his body, finally closing his lips around the head of his dick.

Fuck, if he’d thought Bucky was a good kisser that was nothing on the way he gave head. He’s got one hand around the base of Steve’s dick, squeezing and stroking, the other hand gripping his hip. And his mouth, fuck, his tongue seems to be everywhere at once.

Bucky pulls off with a wet noise, and looks up at him, still with the tip of Steve’s dick resting at the corner of his mouth and, god, Steve wants to come all over that perfect face. Bucky smirks, darts his tongue out to flick at the shaft of Steve’s dick, then says, “Fuck me.”

“I don’t have any-”

“Oh, I come prepared.” With that Bucky is leaning off the bed to get into the pockets of his jacket, pulling out condoms and packets of lube.

“Uh, it’s been a while since I did this-”

“How long?” It’s not accusatory, just curious.

“Uh, seven years.”

“Please tell me you’ve had sex in the last seven years.”

“Yeah, I have, jerk, just not with a guy.”

Bucky’s back on top of him, kissing him. He pulls back and says, “You called me a jerk.”

“You were being one.”

“I like it. A little fracture in Mr. Perfect.”

“I’m not perfect.”

Bucky grins and says, “Good, means you ain’t a serial killer.”

He pulls Bucky down for another kiss, and slides his hands down his back until they’re cupping his ass. Bucky pulls back one of his hands and presses a packet of lube into it. Steve slicks up his fingers and presses one inside Bucky. It may have been a while since he’s done this, but he knows the territory, twists his finger to press Bucky’s prostate and is rewarded with, “Fuck, Steve, more, c’mon.”

Bucky is rolling a condom on to him as Steve slides a second finger inside him. Steve is going to add a third finger in when Bucky pulls his hand away. Steve is about to say something when Bucky lines himself up and slides onto Steve’s dick in a smooth motion. He groans, it’s too good, too hot and tight and Jesus, Bucky over him, thighs spread and dick hard against his stomach.

Bucky starts slowly fucking himself on Steve’s dick and says, “Bet I’m better than seven years of girls.”

Steve thinks, god, yes, yes, but says, “Modest as well.”

“Fuck, you get rude and sarcastic in bed, this is better than I expected.”

He wraps his hand around Bucky’s dick, doesn’t do much except squeeze it a little, but it’s enough to get another moan from Bucky, and he wants to hear more of that. Bucky speeds up, and Steve is pushing his hips up from the bed to meet each downward stroke.

Bucky’s now into a half-meaningless stream of dirty talk, “Fuck, like that, I can take everything you give me Steve, c’mon, let me feel all of that big dick of yours, fuck, fuck you feel good-”

Steve moves his hand on Bucky’s dick, because he’s close, there hasn’t been anyone since Peggy, and Bucky is beautiful and covered in a sheen of sweat and hot and tight and Steve is coming-

“Fuck, Bucky!”

“You can swear too?” And Bucky looks such a cocky bastard that Steve has to pull him down to kiss the smirk off his face, hearing him whimper as his dick slides out of Bucky’s ass. Bucky’s rutting against Steve’s hip as they kiss, and Steve flips them over, dives down the bed and takes his dick in his mouth.

It feels like he’s barely got his mouth around him when Bucky’s coming, and Steve swallows it all. He comes up the bed to lie next to Bucky, and kisses him again. “Happy Birthday.”

Bucky already looks half asleep. “You give the best presents.”

“You got anywhere to be in the morning?”

“Hmm, nope.” The way Bucky says it makes Steve suspect he’s skipping class.

He should shower. They should shower. Instead he rolls the condom off, knots it and throws it in the general direction of the trash and tucks the covers around them both. He goes to sleep curled around Bucky.

The alarm goes off far too early in the morning. He kisses Bucky on the shoulder and says, “You want the bathroom before I shower?”

Bucky turns over and grins at him. “It’s a big shower.”

“How are you not hungover?”

“Still drunk.” And Steve reckons he is, from the slight looseness in his limbs to the brightness in his eyes.

If he skips breakfast, they have time to shower together. It’s not a difficult decision. He presses Bucky against the wall of the shower stall, one hand wrapped around both their soap-slick dicks and sucks at the base of his neck as Bucky spills out a litany of curses and demands.

He knows the mark is low enough that Bucky’s work shirt will hide it, but it will be obvious when he’s wearing a t-shirt, and knowing Bucky will be walking around with his mark on him is enough to make him come. He works Bucky’s dick until he comes as well, with a curse that echoes around the bathroom.

Bucky looks at the bruise on his neck in the mirror, and Steve thinks that he’s going to object to being marked, but instead he grins at Steve in the mirror and says, “You are better than I ever hoped for.”

Bucky leaves first, heading for the staff exit. As Steve hands his key over at reception he wonders if it’s written all over him that he’s just gotten laid.

He thinks he doesn’t give much away at the office. Or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.

It’s all he can do to keep his expression neutral when he sees Bucky on the desk when he gets back to the hotel in the evening. There are other people around, and he suspects there are strict rules about what Bucky can and cannot do on work time.

As he takes his key he says, “You got a long shift tonight?” Yeah, not subtle at all.

He sees Bucky suppress a grin, and say, “Only till eleven.”

“Eleven, that’s not too bad. Leaves you a little free time.”

“A little.” This time Bucky does grin at him.

There’s a knock on his door at ten past eleven, and Bucky’s there, out of uniform. Steve virtually drags him into the room, shuts the door, pins him against it and blows him right there.

Bucky gets his breath back and says, “You need to get laid more often.”

“Sorry.”

“That wasn’t a criticism, that was an offer.”

He asks Bucky to fuck him, and he’s surprised by how gentle Bucky is, almost tender. He’d thought from the enthusiasm that Bucky had shown the previous night he might be in for a rough ride. But he says, “You ain’t done this for seven years, I ain’t gonna rush it.”

Afterwards they’re lying tangled together when Steve says, “Can I have your number?”

His heart is in his mouth, and he’s expecting Bucky to say no, or even give him a fake one, but instead Bucky digs his phone out of his jacket and they swap numbers.

Bucky doesn’t stay the night. Steve understands why.

Steve doesn’t like leaving New York to go back home.

He wants to text Bucky, but for a few days he doesn’t dare. Then he doesn’t know what to say. Then he just wants to make contact so badly, he goes for it, texts him: Your course spoiling any more literature for you?

The message back comes only a few minutes later: I can tell you about class and gender analysis in Tolstoy if you’re having trouble sleeping.

Thanks, but I can read the quarterly accounts if I’ve got insomnia.

They text back and forth, about nothing in particular. Another set of meetings are scheduled for New York.

I’m in New York on the 23rd. Can I take you out for dinner?

Are you asking me out on a date?

Steve pretends to himself that he’s not nervous when he texts back: Yes.

In that case: yes, you can take me out for dinner. I can switch shifts to get the night off.

Then a moment after that: You should know, I put out on the first date.

Steve smiles to himself and makes reservations at a very high-class, romantic and highly recommended restaurant. If he was taking Bucky out on a date he was doing it properly. He texts him the time and name of the restaurant. Then he has a thought, and texts: I’m paying, by the way.

At those prices you are. You want to split the bill, I get to pick where we go.

Steve is most definitely not counting down the days to New York and there are most definitely not butterflies in his stomach as he walks to the restaurant. Bucky is there, hanging around outside, trying not to look nervous and failing almost as badly as Steve is. He’s in a suit, nothing too flashy, tie slightly loose, and he looks amazing.

He kisses Bucky without even thinking about it, just a gentle peck on the lips, and Bucky smiles at him.

“I would say something romantic, but I skipped lunch, can we eat?”

Steve laughs and they walk into the restaurant together. When they’re seated, Bucky looks at him over the top of the menu. “You meant it when you said you were paying, didn’t you?”

“Yes. And if that’s a way of asking whether you can order the most expensive thing on the menu, go for it.”

Bucky grins and does just that. The waiter gives the wine list to Steve. Bucky looks at him and says, “I don’t know a damn thing about wine.”

Steve leans over the table and says conspiratorially, “Neither do I.”

Bucky leans in too, says, “Think if we try and order a pitcher of the house red we get kicked out?”

Steve grins, “Probably.”

He orders a fairly cheap wine at random, if neither of them are going to appreciate it.

They talk. They find they grew up close by each other, just far enough away to end up at different schools and running with different crowds of people, but close enough that the geography is all familiar. But where Steve had headed to the Ivy League on a full scholarship, Bucky had only a part-funded place at college, “and I didn’t like the idea of the debt, so I didn’t go. Went round a bunch of jobs. Was thinking about joining the army, but mom told me she’d rather I was a bum than I got blown up in Afghanistan, so I didn’t. Then I realised I was heading fast for thirty, I should get myself together, so I went to college. Kinda dull.”

“Not as dull as ‘joined Stark Industries’ graduate program straight out of college, been there ever since’.”

“You ever met Stark?”

“Once. He’s just like he is on TV, but shorter.” Steve smiles. “But as a loyal Stark Industries employee, I never said that.”

The food’s good, but the company is better. He finds himself tangling fingers with Bucky across the table between courses, and feels like he’s capable of just about any stupid romantic gesture right now.

They walk out of the restaurant holding hands.

He looks sidelong at Bucky. “You said you put out on the first date.”

“Damn right I do. But, uh, I don’t- I’m not walking through the front door of that hotel with a customer, ok? Can I- can I take you home?”

It’s so hesitant that it sounds strange coming from Bucky, who is usually so confident.

“Yeah. Take me home.”

They walk towards the subway, and when they get there Bucky lets go of Steve’s hand. “Uh, not that sort of area, if you get my meaning.”

“Got it.” Steve puts his hands in his pockets, and looks at Bucky. “Avoiding temptation.”

Bucky laughs.

“Roommates?”

“Two, Clint and Natasha, but don’t worry, they’re still at work.”

Bucky’s apartment is small, crowded with possessions and furniture and drying clothes, but Steve has been in a lot worse (has lived in worse, a long time ago). Bucky’s room is just large enough to get a double bed into, but not much else.

They’re kissing and pulling each other out of their clothes as they get through the door, messy and uncoordinated. When they fall onto the bed they have to pull apart because they’re half knotted into each other’s clothes. They strip and then they’re on each other again.

Steve licks up Bucky’s neck and says into his ear, “Want to fuck you through the mattress.”

“You break it, you replace it.”

“Worth it.”

Bucky opens the nightstand drawer, gets out the lube and a condom. Steve reaches for the lube, but Bucky stops him, says, “You should watch.”

Steve kneels up and watches as Bucky lubes up his own fingers, slides first one then two fingers into his ass. Bucky fingerfucks himself slowly, never breaking eye contact with Steve, who doesn’t think he’s been this hard his whole life.

“Feels good, Steve. Gonna feel better when you fuck me. Put that condom on.”

Steve can stand to be bossed around by Bucky. He rolls the condom on and slicks some lube onto it, aware all the time of the hungry way Bucky is looking at him.

“C’mere.” Bucky’s voice is so husky, Steve wants to hear it like this all the time. Steve leans over him, kisses him, and Bucky has taken his fingers out of his ass, guides Steve to fuck him.

As they get into a rhythm Bucky starts talking again, “Fuck Steve, like that, harder, fuck, I can take it, please please harder dammit,-”

Steve can’t help but spare a thought that he’s glad Bucky’s roommates are out. Pretending that other guests at a hotel can’t hear you through the walls is one thing, having to actually talk to people who might have heard this is quite another. But Bucky’s filthy mouth does things to him, and he’s pounding into him so hard he thinks the head of the bed is going to crack the plaster

Bucky tips his hips to change the angle, and he gets even more incoherent, just a stream of curses as he wraps a hand around his own dick. Steve slows down, even though it’s a serious effort, and Bucky makes a little whine.

“Want you to come first.” He wraps his hand around Bucky’s jerks him off in time to his thrusts.

Bucky yells, “Jesus fuck Steve!” and comes all over his hand.

As Bucky tenses round him Steve comes, pushing in deep as he does so. He collapses on top of Bucky, and they lie like that for a while until Bucky says, “Heavy,” and pushes him off.

He lies back and Bucky pillows his head on Steve’s shoulder. He could get used to this.

“‘Kay, so, nothing this good happens to me, so I’m gonna work out what’s wrong with you Steve-”

“I’m not as good as you think I am.”

“Yeah, right. Why’d you split up with your girlfriend?”

“Too much time at work, not enough time for her. Asked her to make too many sacrifices for my job, didn’t make any sacrifices for hers.”

“Hmm.” Bucky sounds like he’s thinking. “I can work with that.”

“That your way of saying you’ll see me for a second date?”

Bucky chuckles into Steve’s chest. “Yeah, it is.”

“So if that’s what we’re talking about, what’s wrong with you then?”

“Seriously? I’m thirty, I’m still in college, working a dead-end job, the only kicks I get are the one night every couple of months when I have the time or money to get drunk, and flirting with this seriously hot guy who comes into my work sometimes.”

Steve smiles. “Flirting with some hot guy behind my back already?”

He can feel Bucky smile against his skin. “You’re such a jerk.”

“Two minutes ago you couldn’t work out that there was anything wrong with me.”

“Yeah, well, another thing that’s wrong with me, inconsistent.”

The mattress is old and tips them both into the center of the bed, so he wakes spooned around Bucky. He’s set his phone to wake him early enough to get back to the hotel for a shower, he doesn’t want to hog a shared bathroom when he has one of his own.

Before he leaves Bucky’s apartment he pisses and borrows Bucky’s toothbrush to clean his teeth. When he opens the bathroom door there’s a woman waiting outside.

“Sorry-”

“You’re Steve.” She has a very slight foreign accent, but he can’t quite place it.

“You must be Natasha, pleased to meet you.”

She steps into his personal space, and even though she’s petite, still in sleep shorts and a worn tank-top, and with serious bed hair, she is somehow very intimidating. “You are not going to hurt Bucky. He’s not some piece of rough for you to pick up and play with as you wish. He thinks you are some knight in shining armor, but all the rich men I’ve ever met think that people who aren’t rich are toys, to be played with and then thrown away.”

“It’s not like that-”

“Prove it.”

“I’ll do my best, ma’am.” He can’t remember the last time he called someone ma’am, but it comes out automatically. It seems to be the right thing to say. She backs down slightly.

“You do that.”

Bucky looks blearily at him from the bed as he comes back in to retrieve his phone and jacket. “You just meet Natasha?”

“Uh, yeah...”

“You’re cool, we’re 90% certain she isn’t a KGB assassin. She’s just- she’s had a tough life, makes her protective.”

“I think it’s nice that she’s looking out for you.”

“So you’re not about to run screaming?”

Steve sits on the bed and kisses Bucky. “She told me to prove to her that I wasn’t going to just use you and dump you, and there’s a 10% chance she is a KGB assassin, so I’d better not run for the hills, had I?”

Sandi is on reception when he gets to the hotel, and he thinks that if she grins any harder at him the top of her head will be in danger of falling off. He’s not going to start thinking of what Bucky might have said to her.

Bucky turns up at his room after his shift that night. Steve has filled the bath, and they fuck in the bath, slow and lazy, like they’ve all the time in the world and neither of them have to be up in the morning.

Steve has to have a lot of coffee to make it through the next day. But seeing Bucky at the end of it makes it all worthwhile.

Then he’s heading home again, and it feels even worse than it did last time.

He gets a text not long after his plane touches down. Next time you’re here, I’m taking you out for dinner. I pick the restaurant. I pay.

Steve knows he’s breaking out into the goofiest grin as he walks through the airport, but he can’t help it. He’s a little stupid and he’s a lot in love.

He texts back, Sounds fantastic. I kinda miss you already.

He gets two words back: Romantic idiot.

Then a couple of moments later: You ever used Skype for phone sex?

Steve bites his lip, and tries to think of something, anything, that’s going to not make him hard in the middle of the concourse. Bucky’s suggestion... well, it’s going to make waiting to get back to New York again a whole lot easier.