“He’s looking over here again.”
Peggy’s concerned voice pulled Steve out of his thoughts. He glanced over to her and saw that she was gazing over his shoulder, but as he turned around, he barely caught Bucky’s eyes before the other quickly looked away. “What do you mean, again?” Steve asked, facing Peggy again.
“He keeps looking over, and I don’t know why,” she said, looking back at him. “Do you have any idea?”
Steve shrugged, smiling a bit. “Maybe he’s just happy I finally got a girlfriend, after years of both of us trying?” He sighed. “I dunno. He could be jealous.”
Peggy shook her head, curls bouncing. “That’s not it. It seems a little lovestruck to me.” She glanced back at Bucky, who seemed to be forcing himself to look somewhere other than the couple.
“Lovestruck, huh? I can see why. He barely knows you, but you’ve already stolen his heart,” Steve said, then laughed. “He’s not the kind of guy to sabotage relationships, if that’s what you’re thinking. I just don’t know what to say to him…”
“Not in love with me, with you!” Peggy whispered. She forced Steve to look at her, grabbing his chin. “When he looks like that, it’s you he’s staring at! Have you ever thought of that?”
Steve blushed and looked down. “Didn’t think anyone would like it, to be honest,” he mumbled. “Me and Buck, dating? Same stuff with us? I didn’t want us to get in more trouble. Besides, he wasn’t interested.” He kept his eyes away as Peggy continued staring.
“Well, you seem to be wrong. You should go talk to him, see what’s really the problem, and we’ll figure something out. We always do.” Peggy reached up and gave him a quick kiss, then shoved him towards Bucky. “Now, go, before he gets the idea to leave.”
Chuckling, Steve nodded before walking to the corner table that Bucky sat at. He slid in the chair across from Bucky and rested his elbows on the table.
“Kissin’ her already, huh? You’ve only been dating for, what, two weeks?” Bucky said before Steve could say anything. His voice was sullen, devoid of its usual playfulness. Bucky refused to look up, his eyes trained on the wood.
“Umm, she kissed me first,” Steve answered awkwardly. “Actually, I need to talk to you about something.”
Gray eyes snapped up to meet blue ones as Bucky raised his head. A look of alarm flashed across his face, but he quickly schooled it into an impassive one. “What about?” he asked smoothly, quirking an eyebrow.
“Me and Peg. I mean, how you feel about us.” Steve grimaced. “I know, it’s a little weird, but-”
“But you need to know my thoughts. My question is, why?” Bucky drummed his fingers on the table, tilting his head a bit. “Doesn’t seem normal to ask.”
Steve sighed, shrugging again. “I just get the feeling something’s off with you. Ever since I told you about Peggy and me, you’ve been a little… distant.” He looked away, pulling his hands closer.
Bucky’s hand stopped moving. “Distant? I was trying to give you a little more time with your girlfriend .” He spat out the word, then caught Steve’s hurt face. “Oh, man, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that, I-”
“What did you mean, James? Why are you against this?” Steve narrowed his eyes, knowing damn well that throwing out Bucky’s first name would mean business. He crossed his arms and waited for Bucky to recover.
“I meant that I was letting you enjoy what I could never really have, okay? When you thought I was out on dates with girls, I was working my ass off. I’ve never gone past the first date with anybody , and I’m a little jealous. Doesn’t help that it’s you.” Bucky kept his eyes on Steve’s face, trying not to flee.
Steve’s eyes widened, betraying his shock. “You… What? But.... Why am I making this worse?” he asked, confusion lacing his words. He dropped his arms and leaned forward.
Bucky sighed and tipped back in his chair, balancing on the back legs. “It’s a long, complicated story, and one I shouldn’t be telling in a crowded bar where anyone can hear. Fuck it, Peggy can come too. She might as well, she’s part of it.” He stood, the chair toppling to the floor. He didn’t bother to pick it up, brushing past Steve and walking over to Peggy.
Quickly standing as well and following, Steve barely caught Bucky’s request to Peggy before the woman stood and smoothed out her dress. She nodded curtly and took Steve’s offered arm. “Where too?” she asked, noting the look of pain that crossed Bucky’s face at the sight.
“There’re meeting rooms around here somewhere, right? We can talk in there,” Bucky said, swiftly turning and striding to the hallway.
Peggy rushed to keep up, dragging Steve with her as she drew up next to Bucky. “You didn’t say what this was all about,” she said carefully, trying not to provoke anything.
Suddenly veering into a nearby room, Bucky didn’t answer her. He waited for Peggy and Steve to enter before shutting and locking the door. “Don’t want anyone walkin’ in on this,” he muttered at Steve’s confused noise.
“Bucky, whatever’s going on, I’m sure we can fix this-”
“I think I might be in love with both of you,” Bucky interrupted, leaning his forehead on the door. “Well, I know I’m in love with you , Steve, but Peggy… God, you just swooped in outta nowhere and I can’t help but to feel jealous that you two ended up together and left me back here, not knowing what the hell to do. I’m sorry, I just needed you both to hear it.” He dropped into one of the seats, folding his arms on the table and resting his head on them. “If you don’t like me anymore, go ahead and leave, I don’t give a shit. Nothin’ left for me.”
A warm shape settled on one of his sides, calloused fingers stroking his hair. “Buck, if I had known…”
Another presence leaned on his other side. “We won’t leave you. Besides, I’ve realized that as much as I love Steve, I love you as well, and I would welcome you into our relationship if Steve allows it.” A shift; Peggy must have looked up to stare at Steve in that way of hers that always convinced you of whatever she was selling.
“You can do that?” Steve asked. “Damn, I would allow it. Bucky, I love you as much as she does, if not more, so if you could sit up…”
Bucky felt Steve’s voice rumbling as much as he heard it, and sighed. He sensed Steve’s responding chuckle, and Peggy trying to lift him up. He finally sat straight, looking at both of them. “Sorry about that,” he laughed.
Steve reached forward and brushed something off of Bucky’s face. Belatedly, Bucky realized that he had been crying, but tried to focus on Steve’s words. “...hide it from the Army,” he was saying, and it snapped Bucky back to reality.
“Of course, they would never allow it, would they?” Peggy said, deep in thought. “I doubt they could barely tolerate Steve and I, much less add you in, Bucky.”
“They’ll have to deal with it,” Bucky declared. “If they ever find out, that is. And they won’t, promise you.” He scrubbed at his face, wiping away another tear that threatened to fall. “Anyway, I got somethin’ to ask you.”
Steve smirked and leaned forward, wrapping his arm around Bucky’s shoulder. “What’s that?”
Peggy leaned forward as well, resting her elbows on the table. “Yes, Sergeant Barnes, what would you like to know?”
“Can I kiss you? Both of you?” Bucky’s inquiries were answered when Steve smothered him, and Peggy followed after with a much softer kiss. Bucky had never felt happier, more right , in his entire life. He supposed this was his introduction to three-way relationships, and he was loving every minute of it.
~Three Weeks Later~
“Be careful out there,” Peggy said as she smoothed down Steve’s shirt. She turned and did the same to Bucky’s, then stepped back. “I can’t give you a proper good luck token, but know that I need you both to come back safely.”
Steve nodded and took her hand. “We’ll be fine. Just a quick trip to Siberia, to catch an evil scientist. Nothing we can’t handle.”
“Yeah, we’ll be back quicker than you can say ‘Captain America’,” Bucky said, smirking. “Don’t worry, we won’t get up to much trouble while we’re gone.”
“Not if I’m there,” Steve pointed out. “You know me. I’m a trouble-magnet.”
Peggy laughed at her boys’ banter, then hugged them both. “I wish you didn’t have to go,” she said, voice breaking.
Steve pulled her closer, doing the same to Bucky. “Duty calls. Like we said, we’ll be back soon, unharmed. Promise.” He heard Bucky echo it, and they pulled back and began their hike to the train that would help America gain a foothold over HYDRA.
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“I won’t stop until all of HYDRA is dead or captured.”
“It won’t bring him back. I know you have the same hole in your heart, but there’s no getting Bucky back to us, Steve. I’m sorry.”
“This thing’s moving too fast, and it’s headed to New York. I gotta put her in the water.”
“Please, don’t do this. We have time, we can work it out!”
“Right now I’m in the middle of nowhere. If I wait any longer, a lot of people are gonna die. Peggy, this is my choice.”
“I can’t lose you too!”
“I’m sorry….. I’m gonna need a raincheck on that dance.”
“Alright. A week, next Saturday, at the Stork Club.”
“I’d hate to step on your-”
“Steve? Steve, oh God, Steve?”
“He’s gone, Peggy.”
Sobs rang out, echoing around the room. No one knew what to say as the most esteemed agent of the British military broke down crying, burying her face in her hands and smearing her makeup. After all, no one but her knew that she had lost both of her boyfriends in less than a week, and that she hadn’t even gotten to spend much time with them.