(I decided to write a sequel to this.)
“So wait,” Bucky says, stalling where Steve is kissing across his stomach. “You read,” he threads his metal hand through Steve’s hair. “You read fan fiction of us? Getting it on?” he asks.
“Not… not exclusively,” Steve defends, wishing Bucky would just lay back down and let Steve continue.
But Bucky apparently has no such plans, shifts restlessly, up onto his elbows to look down at the blonde. “Wait, you mean ‘not exclusively’ as in you read stories about other things in the interim, or, ‘not exclusively’ as in the stories you read about us were not merely about us getting it on?” Bucky asks.
Steve does have the decency to turn pink, hiding his face in the crook of Bucky’s hip. “Both?” he squeaks out. Captain America should not squeak. He wants this line of questioning to stop.
“Huh,” Bucky says. The silence goes on for a while and Steve knows he’s thinking, he’s about to ask another question—, “Wasn’t it weird, reading about yourself like that? Made up stories?”
Steve’s hand goes tight on Bucky’s hip and he doesn’t look up. “At, at first, yeah. I mean,” then he does look up. “Not as weird as the Tony stuff.”
“Wait a minute,” Bucky stalls again. “There are stories of you and Tony?” he asks incredulously and Steve knows he’s made a mistake telling him about this.
“Thats… neither here nor there,” Steve says, trying for his I’m Captain America voice but failing. Bucky grins wider. Steve knows he’s going to be getting terrible quotes of Stony fanfics in his text messages at the most inopportune moments for the next few months.
“To answer your original question,” Steve presses on in the hope it will derail Bucky’s plotting. “It was weird, and,” he absentmindedly traces patterns on Bucky’s skin. “And it hurt, a lot, more often than not, but it was… nice, also. To, to think of us like that. I wanted you back then and we never got a chance and I didn’t… God, Bucky, I didn’t know. That you did, that you were still alive. It was the closest I thought I’d ever get to this.”
He knows he sounds like he’s gonna cry, he feels like he’s gonna cry. Every day these past few months he’s woken up with this man inside his bed, sometimes even in his arms or even in him (what a birthday), but it still feels shiny new and dreamlike. Like he’s waiting for the ice to melt. He’s waiting for his alarm clock to sound and be right back there, right back there in an empty bed too soft for it’s own good and Bucky still dead and lost and gone in a dark world that constantly needs saving.
It’s too much to think about, Steve blinks against the moisture, his face now pink for an entirely different reason.
Bucky pulls him up so he’s flush over his body. “Hey,” he says, cupping Steve’s cheek with a metal palm. “You’re all right,” he says, smoothing his opposite hand down Steve’s back. “I’m here. I’m here, baby doll, I’m here. I’m real, now, okay?”
He sounds just like Steve did, the first few months Bucky was back and would wake gasping into the dark several times a night, disoriented and unable to ground himself. Steve got good at talking him down, soothing him.
This, right here, is why it was never anyone else. Even when they’re like this– even when they’re both lost and broken, they know what the other one needs, what to give each other in the moment to pull them back from the brink.
“I still can’t believe it,” Steve says, his breath fanning over Bucky’s cheek.
“Believe it,” Buck says and leans in for the kiss.
They quiet down for a while, Steve settling his body along Bucky’s. Their legs tangling, his head resting on Bucky’s flesh and blood shoulder. They breathe in sync, drifting and dozing till Bucky suddenly giggles and Steve knows he probably deserves whatever comes next.
“Hey Captain,” Bucky says with a smirk and a quirked eyebrow. “You ever write any?”