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The Walls We See Around Ourselves

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Steve Rogers didn't know how to dance and apparently everyone knew it. One thing Steve had learned upon awaking up in this new century was that The Last Transmission (you could hear the capitalization when people spoke about it) he'd made - the one he'd had with Peggy when he'd been about to put the plane in the water - had not only been recorded, but that practically everyone had listened to it. Every word the two of them had said to each other had been analyzed and picked apart a hundred times over; apparently people even wrote entire dissertations about it. And what most people got out of it? Was that Steve Rogers couldn't dance.

In a way it was useful. Despite hating them, Steve found himself dragged to formal event after formal event and high society function after high society function and while schmoozing and working his way around the crowd was bad enough; the idea of being paired off with a person on the dance floor - being trapped, pressed up against someone who often wanted nothing more than to feel him up - was his idea of a nightmare. He'd discovered that he could avoid the situation completely by playing up his embarrassment about not knowing how to dance and it would take only a few minutes of small talk before he could excuse himself and be free of the whole, uncomfortable mess.

That was, until Bucky was back. Or, more accurately, until Bucky was back and he and Sam quit their snarking at each other to join forces and have their fun by ganging up on him.

It started innocently enough. Sam had tracked Steve down to ask if he'd be willing to attend a fundraiser for a veterans' group he supported (which of course Steve immediately agreed to, not only was it for Vets but it was Sam who was asking) and then added, as an aside, there'd be dancing and that he "expected to see that skinny ass of yours on the dance floor this time, Rogers."

Which, since they were all in Steve's kitchen getting coffee at the time, Bucky overheard.

And, because he was Bucky, he used Sam's comment as an opening to start giving Steve a hard time.

"It's been seventy years, and you still don't dance?"

"It's not that I don't dance," he began, only to have Sam finish for him by adding,

"It's just that he avoids it at all costs."

"You still haven't learned how, have you." It was a statement, not a question.

Knowing Steve as well as he did, Bucky didn't need any confirmation to his assumption but Steve crossed his arms, leaned against the counter, shooting Bucky his best glare as he provided one anyway, "I've been busy."

Bucky gestured to Sam. "So tell me, what excuse has he been using this time?"

"Buck," Steve protested. "Let it go."

"Oh, come on, that old 'dames don't want to dance with someone they can step on' routine of yours doesn't hold water anymore, Rogers, and it hasn't for years. They gotta be all over you wanting to be the one to drag Captain America out onto the dance floor." Bucky met Steve's eyes and there was a challenge there, a kind of spark that Steve hadn't seen in a long time. "Right, Sam?"

"Right," Sam said definitively, but the way he was looking at Steve, it was obvious he knew there had to be another reason behind Steve's reluctance to dance. Sam was always too observant for his own good.

"I swear, Steve, I will never understand why you just can't—" Buck started but stopped abruptly when Sam put his mug down with a decisive thunk and shook his head. "What?" he asked Sam.

"It's not the dancing, is it, Steve?" Sam asked in that 'I already know the answer, but I'm going to let you tell me anyway because you need to admit it to yourself' way of his.

Steve felt his face get hot. "It's not the dancing. Not just the dancing." He found a spot on the cabinet in between Bucky and Sam to stare at while rubbed the back of his neck. "And you're right, everyone wants to dance with Captain America." He tried to couch his tone, so he didn't sound bitter, but he was pretty sure he didn't succeed. "It's easier to just tell them I don't know how - everyone knows that anyway so they believe it - then. Well. It's just easier."

"Because they all want a dance with Captain America and Steve Rogers ain't Captain America," Bucky said with a knowing nod.

Sam sighed one of those deep sighs of his and stepped forward, sweeping Steve into a bone-crushing hug. "You're an idiot, you know that?"

Bucky reached around Sam to cuff Steve upside the head before wrapping his arms around them both. "Lucky for you you're our idiot. What do you say, Sam, ready to teach this big lug some moves?"

"Depends, what kind of moves you talking about, Barnes?"

"Guys," Steve whined.

"He's right, he'd already got those kind of moves covered." Bucky ruffled his hair as he pressed a kiss against Steve's temple.

"He does indeed. But dance moves?" Sam grinned. "Yeah, I think we can teach him a few of those."