Fanfic trope meme: (Oh lord, as if I didn’t have too many story ideas and not enough time as it was!)
After seeing CA:TFA - not by choice, because I am pretty much never in a movie theater by choice, honestly! - I went digging around the internet for Steve/Bucky stories, not knowing anything about them beyond what was in the film. There weren’t very many stories, and most of them - of course - were based on the comics, a story arc that I knew nothing about. And I found bent my knees ‘cause I love you, which (though I was confused by half the other people in the story at the time!) I loved and still love.
And at this point, there are so many other excellent cross-dressing fics - Steve dressing up before the serum so that he and Buck can go dancing, Bucky being forced to play the dame while they’re with the Commandos, and so on. Most of them - as long as they’re in character, and continue to be sardonic bastards - I thoroughly enjoy.
Probably wouldn’t write them, because crossdressing fics tend toward the lusting and the sex, and I am terrible at writing both of those. (I’m working on it, but it’s still very much the Rachel from Friends with the throbbing pens and the heaving beasts. :) )
Now, see, this depends on if you mean actual aphrodisiacs - like sex pollen or some Asgardian device (or Asgardian kittens - see Fluff) I’m occasionally happy to read it - that’s an excellent story, crack tied to healing. I don’t like the ones that veer too much toward the “forced shagging” bit, for the same reasons I’m against “shag or die” for those two.
But now that I think of it, what I would love to see is something like -
Steve spends a lot of time having coffee, after he and Bucky pick up and move to a shithole of a place in the Heights. The Mrs., as the women in their building call themselves, take a break from their washing and folding and sewing and scrubbing every morning and gather in someone’s apartment for coffee boiled on the stove, and fresh bread if someone’s baked it. Mrs. O’Neill decided, one morning two weeks in, when Steve was home recovering from his February cold, that they would have coffee in Steve and Bucky’s living room (okay, their only room, besides the closet they fit the bed into). The numbers vary, but there are never less than five women chatting about their husbands or the price of butter, what they think of the Garment Workers’ Union talking to the Communist Party, or their aching feet.
Steve learns a lot, over months of coffee and chatter. He learns how to measure the sugar into the the boiling water, how to bake bread so the smell of it calls everyone to his place around 10 am. He learns from Mrs. Mackenzie how to starch a collar, and sew a perfect buttonhole.
He learns, one spring morning where the flowers have left him sneezing and dizzy, that Mrs. Brennan caught her husband with oysters. “Works every time,” she said with a decisive nod. “My mother met me Da one day, fed him oysters the next.”
Steve’s too light-headed to point out that men sell oysters on every street, and he’s never seen anyone swoon over the oyster vendor.
The next day, after Bucky threw a fit about the open window and Steve going down to the market, Steve takes the ten handkerchiefs Bucky stuffed down his pockets and goes up to Mrs. Aherne’s for coffee and sticky buns.
“Chocolate,” Mrs. O’Neill says, exhaling crumbs down her apron. “My Bernie couldn’t resist anything chocolate. It’s still the best way to get him to come home early, and stick around for dessert.” She winks, and Steve chokes on his coffee, spattering it all over the handkerchief he’s been practicing his stitching on.
Mrs. Aherne said it was the rabbit’s foot she kept in the drawer with her undergarments. Mrs. O’Meara laughed, and twirled a carrot from the basket of vegetables she was slicing into the soup. “Carrots, me girls,” she said, and ran her hands over the vegetable in a way that made Steve’s face go the color of a beet. “No surer way to get a man into your bed, day or night.” Then she sliced off the tip, and Steve winced.
So, if he starts dropping by the garage for lunch and dragging Bucky to the oyster stands - it’s just because it’s summer and he’s bored, needs a break from Mr. O’Malley’s shop and his WPA commissions. If Bucky starts to frown at him when they have carrots four times for dinner in a week, well, carrots were cheap at the market and Bucky ain’t the one offering to cook, now is he?
It’s the chocolate that makes Bucky suspicious. Steve has never shared a chocolate bar in his life, and yesterday Bucky was digging for a fresh pair of boxers and grabbed some dead furry foot. Steve said he screamed like a girl, then blushed and ignored him when Bucky waved the fuzzy rabbit’s limb at him and asked why the hell Steve was dismembering animals and leaving them with Bucky’s skivvies.
But it’s the chocolate that makes Bucky lean back and start fitting the pieces together, watching Steve fidget through narrowed eyes, gaze pale blue and cool as the wind off the sea.
Several long, unbearable minutes go by, Bucky silent and barely breathing the way he always goes when he’s focused on something, like Steve is a puzzle to solve. Steve nearly goes running for the bedroom, but it’s not like Bucky doesn’t sleep there, too, and the room is stifling in the summer, bound to give him an asthma attack if he hides.
Then, finally, ages later, Bucky throws back his head and laughs, shoulders loose and legs sprawled away from the chair like it hasn’t broken twice already.
“You punk,” he wheezes, still chuckling at Steve’s splotchy blush. “Oysters. Carrots. That damn rabbit’s foot.” He tosses the chocolate bar at Steve’s head, laughs harder when Steve’s too slow to catch it and it bops him in the forehead - because Bucky may be the world to Steve, but it doesn’t make him any less an asshole. “Eat your chocolate, you little shit,” Bucky commands, clutching his stomach and wiping the tears leaking from his eyes. “And then stop trying to woo me like a woman and take me to bed, yeah?”
Bucky laughs for a year, after that, every time they pass someone selling oysters, or he comes home from the market loaded down with carrots to last the week. And Steve lets him, because Bucky’s laugh makes Steve’s chest swell like it never can when he tries to breathe, and Bucky’s smile is imprinted on the backs of his eyes and the hollow concavities of his ribs.
Bucky isn’t smiling when he comes into Steve’s room decades later, years to the day after Steve left the chocolate bar to melt on their wooden floor and took Bucky to bed. He’s carrying bags of chocolate, clutched in metal and human arms - baking chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate with nuts and sea salt, orange and pepper.
So many things are different, in the new century. Science and food and courting have all changed. But Mrs. O’Neill had known how to win a man over seventy years ago, how to lure him home and make him stay - Bucky filled Steve’s utility belt with rabbits’ feet, on one disastrous mission that Hawkeye labeled Budapest 2.0; but it had never been the oysters, or the carrots, or the furry limbs.
It was the chocolate, left to spill over the counter and onto the carpeted floor while Steve took Bucky to bed. It was the chocolate that made a man stay.