light a match and burn them down (5151 words) by defcontwo [AO3]

Chapters: 1/1
Rating: Mature
Relationships: Bucky Barnes/Peggy Carter/Steve Rogers, Peggy Carter/Angie Martinelli
Characters: Peggy Carter, Bucky Barnes, Steve Rogers, Angie Martinelli, Howard Stark, Dum Dum Dugan, Gabe Jones
Additional Tags: Jewish Bucky Barnes, Jewish Howard Stark, Non-Linear Narrative
Summary: “Captain Peggy Carter,” James says, slowly, as if trying out the sound of it on his tongue. “Cap. What’d you say, Pegs, do you think it suits you?”

Peggy turns her head and smiles, all soft and fond, pressing the curve of her lips into the warmth of Steve’s skin. “Save it for the next war, Barnes.”

Or: the one with Peggy Cap.

queercap replied to your post “I neeeeed to write something short and sweet, all my fics are in a…”

steve/bucky, tattoos, bc i’m on a roll w/ it. :)

“Think I could get a tattoo?” Bucky asks, one day as he and Steve are walking past a colorful shop called Ink Illustrations.

Steve bumps Bucky with his elbow and winces; sometimes he forgets about the metal arm. “Sure, you could,” Steve says, rubbing subtly at the dull ache. “But what would you get?”

Bucky huffs a breath, reaches out and circles Steve’s elbow with a warm hand, thumb soothing away the echo of a bruise.

“I dunno,” he says, looking at the window thoughtfully, thumb still resting on Steve’s skin. A shiver runs down Steve’s spine, a delicious trickle of heat at the closeness and ease of Bucky’s touch.

“We can go look,” Steve suggests, and it takes all he has not to take Bucky’s hand in his own, tug him into the shop. “Something right across your chest, maybe—Bucky Barnes, lady killer.”

Bucky arches an eyebrow at Steve, and releases Steve’s elbow. Steve doesn’t chase after the lost warmth, doesn’t give a breath that’s skirting the knife’s edge of needy. He doesn’t.

“Think you got me confused with you, Steve,” Bucky says dryly, folding his arm. “Pretty sure you had little girls walking into walls at that charity thing last week.” He grins, suddenly, bright and sly. “And a few little boys, too.”

Steve pushes at Bucky’s shoulder. “What can I say,” he says, swallowing around the sudden bravado in his throat. “I’m generally appealing.”

Bucky cocks his head, looks surprised. Then, his expression turns speculative; he traces his gaze from Steve’s head to his toes, slow and appraising. Another trickle of heat dances down Steve’s spine, floods his belly and cheeks. 

“You are that,” Bucky says, grin more lazy now, eyes dark.

Steve shoves his hands into his pocket to keep from swaying closer.

A bell jingles as the door to the store slams open and a gaggle of laughing teens tumble out. Bucky steps away from Steve to make room for the group, and the moment dissipates.

“Anyway,” Bucky says, after the teens have passed. “Just a thought. Don’t think my skin’ll take needle and ink. Superhealing..it’s why I don’t have any scars.” His hand ghosts up his metal bicep. “On the outside.”

He looks at the sign in front of the store, face cast in shadow and the wavering grey morning light. For an instant, he looks deeply wistful, Then, with a barely leashed sigh and a shake of his head, Bucky knocks his shoulder against Steve’s.

“Com'n,” he says. “There’s a joint up the street that does passable bagels. The kind you’d get at home.”

Just for that, for the mention of home, for memories of warm dough and a pile of coins on their shabby kitchen table, Steve lets himself follow Bucky along, instead of pushing the issue. But he stores away the look on Bucky’s face, tucks the yearning away in his heart, to reflect upon later.


“Look, it’s not a needle, and I’m no great artist, but." 

Steve squares his shoulders, pushes into Bucky’s bedroom, where he’s currently lounging on his bed, reading the newspaper.

It’s his nightly ritual, and it always makes something pump fiercely in Steve’s blood, body warmed by the sight of the waning light across Bucky’s face, the intense concentration of Bucky’s gaze. He remembers the keen intelligence, the quick wit of the boy he used to know. He remembers the tactical reasoning, the pragmatic and unrivaled common sense of the sergeant. It makes him happy to see Bucky emerge from the hole where he was buried so deep. It makes him happy to see Bucky pick the pieces of himself out again from the smoldering ruins, rebuilding himself into a statue of tempered glass and steel.


Steve jolts, ripping his eyes away from the amused line between Bucky’s brows. Instead, he focuses on the lush curve of Bucky’s mouth, the strong slash of his jaw, the throat working—


Right. Steve coughs, and looks at a point just to the right of Bucky’s ear. 

“I come bearing gifts,” Steve says. “Mainly this.”

He holds up the foil cone, watches as Bucky’s expression turns confused.

“What is that?” Bucky asks, and folds his newspaper aside, puts it on the bedside table. There’s something achingly domestic about the space left empty to the right of him, and Steve ignores the thump in his chest, as if in response to that emptiness.

“It’s henna,” Steve says. “I…did some research. About tattoos.” He waves the cone around, feeling a little foolish. “Thought, you know, if you can’t get something permanent, maybe you can at least get something that isn’t so transient.” He gives a toothy grin. “This stuff, it’s paste. You draw on someone with it, and it lasts about two to three weeks.”

Bucky looks stunned for a minute, glancing from Steve’s smile to the cone then back to Steve’s smile again.

“You…” he trails off, touches his chest. “Why?” he asks, and the fact that he looks so bewildered, that he looks touched and humbled but above all, incredulous, it kills Steve. How can Bucky not know?

(Well. Steve’s never been good with words, even before…everything. The serum, the war. Even back then, he and Bucky had a knack for avoiding the most important stuff.)

“Because this mattered to you,” Steve says, as clearly and simply as he can manage. “And you matter to me.” He shifts from foot to foot. “Dummy,” he adds.

Bucky snorts a quiet laugh, still looking disbelieving. “Aw, jeez,” he says. “Steve.” His gaze hits Steve straight in the gut, knocks the breath from him. “Thank you.”

“Welcome.” A beat, and Steve says, “So. Want to?” He holds up the cone, and Bucky’s eyes once again fall on the foil, this time less confused. More aware, and…hungry.

“Yeah,” he answers. “Sure. Will you?”

And there, though they never were good at communicating what mattered, they did have a shorthand, the two of them. Like falling into the ocean, sinking into the waves, they lapse back into short phrases, arched eyebrows, nods and noises of assent. Soon, Bucky is sprawled on the bed, chest bared, stomach rising and falling with each breath.

“What do you want?” Steve asks. Every sense is awake, it seems, the smell of Bucky’s cologne and shampoo, the feel of his skin, the sight of his stubble and the tight expanse of his muscles, the taste of heat and heady anticipation in the air.

Bucky looks up from under his lashes. “Whatever you want to give me,” he says, tongue flicking out to wet his lower lip.

Steve touches the line that bisects Bucky’s chest, the flat of his sternum. “Don’t know how to draw ‘everything,’” he says, and it should be cheesy, it is cheesy, but Christ. Bucky’s eyes flare and go electric blue at that, at the bare admission that circles in the air like a vulture, dark and honest and undeniable.

He grabs Steve’s arm, finger running down the blue tracery of the veins just under his skin. A brush of his thumb across Steve’s galloping pulse. The loose grasp around his wrist, possessive in such a casual, matter-of-fact way.

“Try,” Bucky suggests.

And with his hand braced over Bucky’s heart, his eyes never leaving Bucky’s face, the tip of the henna cone dotting its first green, swirling line…

Steve does.

queercap replied to your post “i want to write something small. short scenarios. small paragraphs….”

hmmm. steve/bucky, sharing clothing?

Steve looks at himself critically in the mirror. He turns, examining every angle of the black leather. Frowning, he tugs at the snug fit of the black cargo pants around his ass. Absently, he skims a hand over the straps across his chest.

“I dunno if this works,” he says to Bucky. He meets Bucky’s gaze in the mirror. Even in the reflection, it’s rapt. Dark, intense.

“It works,” Bucky says decisively. He grins, a little predatorily. “Believe me.”

Steve shakes his head. “I’m only doing this for you,” he says. “So I guess if it gets you going…”

Bucky leans forward, braces his elbows on his knees. He swipes his tongue over his lower lip, lets his gaze sweep from the broad expanse of Steve’s shoulders to the length of his legs. 

“It gets me going,” he confirms. He says again, less sleazy and more sincere, “Believe me.”

There’s something more—settled—about the slouch of Bucky’s form on the couch. When he looks at Steve in this old uniform, there should be bad memories. There should be discomfort. Instead, there’s…relief. Peace. 

Bucky’s given Steve a remnant of his past and trusted that in Steve’s hands, on his body, it will be remade into another thing altogether.

That trust is an honor. Even if it is kind of weird. 

Steve rakes a hand through his hair and turns around. “Well, then,” he says, downcast eyes, looking shy almost, though anyone who knows better can see that his expression is actually shit-eating. "So long as next time, you wear my uniform.“

Bucky leans further into the cushions, spreads his legs wider, cracks a bigger grin. He fiddles with the buttons of his shirt, and Steve catches a flash of ocean blue, the hard edge of a star. His mouth goes dry.

"Buddy,” Bucky says, “Why wait for next time?”

a Pal-entine’s gift for the AMAZING queercap …we always talk about steve drawing strength from bucky for once, and love not laying bucky low. here is a poem featuring MCU stucky the only way we’ve been able to talk about it of late, and i hope you enjoy. LOTS OF LOVE TO YOU, palentine <3


“you smile a lot,” steve comments, and it kills you 
that somedays he sounds almost confused
like happiness is some kind of foreign fucking concept
to the kid you once called your own ray of sunshine—
warm and bright and liable to linger 
long after you’d closed your eyes,
the heat of him a living thing that twisted through you

“sure i do,” you say easily
because you do, because what’s there not
to smile about? sure, it’s wartime
and people are dying, and
you smell like a goddamned cesspit
but you got cigarettes and a gun 
and a mission to keep your eyes on,
and you got friends, people who
die for ya, and kill for ya, and
well. you got him.

you figure: ain’t a bad life,
not so long as you got any life at all.

“mostly, i’m picturing you in those shorts,”
you tease, a shiteating smirk at the corners 
of your mouth, smoke circling your head
and that one piece of hair you can’t ever tame
falling over your brow.

steve rolls his eyes, and affection flickers 
across his own lips, turns them up sweetly,
a slow rise like the sun cresting the sea.
he doesn’t smile enough, not even
with his new body and his new girl, like
this whole new life will never quite see that old 
full-body laughter, the kind that shook his bones
and trembled in the pits of your own belly
whenever you heard it.

“there ya go,” you cajole gently
touching the back of his head, tucking 
his forehead against your shoulder
bringing him down like he’s five foot nothing again
lost and alone and unwilling to ask for help
from anyone but you.

because, yeah. you’re a gun,
sharp and deadly and ready to

but you’re also a shield,
like the one he’s got in the 
crook of his elbow. 

shooting ain’t the only skill you got;
protecting comes just as natural.

better than anyone, you know
that even the righteous get tired, and
even the brave get scared,
and longer than you’ve ever been a soldier
you’ve been his friend. you can see
the shadows in his eyes and
the uncertainty in his spine.

you’ll do what you can to infuse some
of your light into his dark,
to share strength with a man who
has always needed to be strong.

“c'mere, idiot,” you grumble
and you bring him closer even
as his grin crumbles, tousle his hair
and jostle him around, let him
feel untethered and secure
all at once.

he huffs, somewhere between a laugh
and an exhalation of air that just about
breaks your heart with the force of
its melancholy.

“it gets hard to smile, out here," 
he says, every word muffled in the skin
of your throat. "but you remind me
why i ought to.”

his mouth moves against
the curve of your jaw, then
and there’s a jump in your chest
like your very heart is jackrabbiting
out of the cage your ribs make.

“that’s me,” you joke, a raw catch
to your voice that you hope he doesn’t notice.
“better than all the USO girls. better than
captain america, even.”

steve huffs again, this time a little more amused,
breathes like he’s fortifying himself, like he’s
sucking in all the energy he can soak up from the
place where his hands curl under your jacket 
and his cheek rests against your chest.

“you’re a good man, bucky,” he says
quietly and fervently, the sincerity that throbs 
through his words so earnest that it almost
makes you blush.

“yeah, well, you ain’t so bad yourself,”
and even though he won’t ever ask for the
benediction or the balm, you can see
how every single one of steve’s muscles 
relaxes under the gentle gift
of your words.

the future might turn you both into monsters
but you’re not one yet, and neither is he.
here in the moment, with nothing but love and trust
winding between your bodies,
that’s all that matters.

you rest your chin on the crown of steve’s head,
and look down at the awkward jumble of his limbs
as he arranges himself around you,

and you smile.

Sometimes I laugh at myself that my all time favorite character is a blond white man who is so often invoked as a symbol of American patriotism. Considering I am, as an individual and ideologically, positioned as the opposite of how Cap is understood, I get that it can be weird to hear that he is the character—that his is the world—I find myself coming back to, again and again.

And then I think about how actually, the reason I love him is because as a character, as a person and a concept and in the way that fandom at large has taken him, he actually SUBVERTS all those attributes that people think he represents. And in his subversion, he becomes something truly amazing.

People assume Cap is simply a symbol, but we see over and over again that the compelling part of Cap’s story is the person behind the mythos, whether it’s Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, Sam Wilson, Isaiah Bradley, Josiah Bradley, even Eli, etc. The power of Cap lies in the core of being a PERSON, and all the accompanying complexities.

People assume Cap is all about patriotism or nationalism or even representing the ideals upon which America was founded, but really Cap is about humanity. Freedom and liberty come into it, sure, but so does honor and common decency. So does mentorship and friendship and wanting so desperately to be the best person you can. So does tenacity and perseverance and asking for or giving help when it’s needed.

People assume Cap is just for men, or for white people, or for Americans. But Cap isn’t a champion of the empowered—he’s an ally of the disenfranchised. He doesn’t do what’s easy—he does what he feels is right, and what he feels is right is so closely tied to what he feels will give all people the best fighting chance they have. Not only that, but Cap is my all time favorite character to imagine as someone OTHER than the super heteronormative dudebro that typifies how some people (even Marvel /writers/ sadly enough) want to misconceive him. Cap and his friends are the ones who MOST ought to be written as the true spectrum of what humanity has to offer, and I delight in seeing how in-character it is when it happens, in fanon and canon alike. More than anything, I love that his character ALLOWS and encOURAGes fanon to explore different ways of seeing him and his relationships w others and the world.

People assume Cap is arrogant, self righteous, short-sighted, etc. And perhaps they’re right. Sometimes. But those are very human flaws in what is supposed to be a superhuman creation. And his flaws are in service of becoming someone better, being someone better, making others better. Not “in his image” better. Not even his idea of better. Just better to each other and others. Those are flaws I’m willing to accept, and also, it helps me see myself–a flawed, constantly trying type of person, in someone who you wouldn’t automatically think is representing me.

And people assume Cap is boring. That he’s dated. That he has no appeal in a time as ~progressive and modern as now. They couldn’t be more wrong. In a world where atrocities and injustice happen regularly despite the illusion of progressive thinking, we need Cap more than ever. Someone to show us how to tell the other guy—“No, YOU move.“

(…also, someone to make funny dad jokes.)

queercap replied to your post “queercap replied to your post “what does make steve rogers happy?…”

sure we talk about bucky getting turned into a weapon but how is steve different? yeah he chose it. he chose the project, the serum, the war. did he choose the larger than life myth, a weapon in its own right? how does he reconcile that?

by training harder, faster, better. by becoming the weapon voluntarily. by acting as the arrow shot into the storm, guided by SHIELD, struggling to keep faith (a faith kindled by his trust in peggy) that the ones wielding him are fighting for the same principles, the same ideals. 

ughh and AND it just makes sam’s statement even sadder for me. when steve asks if he’s happy and sam says “the number of people giving me orders is down to zero, so yeah” because THAT’S NOT STEVE. STEVE IS A SOLDIER. HE FOLLOWS ORDERS. HE SERVES. but even by his own admission to peggy, that’s not enough. it’s not the same. because when he served before, he was serving alongside people he believed in, for something he believed in, and now. now that purpose is muddied. turned into something else by other people. and it’s making him lose his way. bringing into sharper relief that this place where he forcibly tried to belong, it’s not gonna fit him.


queercap replied to your post “what does make steve rogers happy? underdogs kicking bully butt (see:…”

gosh yes. i also think there’s an element of steve not knowing how to live for himself after waking up bc he was given this body, this tool, for the war but the war is long gone and accepting that and fully realizing that his life can be his is hard.

YES. that’s why i find it so fascinating to see that steve’s trained himself to use his body like a weapon in these two years since the Avengers movie. his fighting before was all very reactive–he was more about tactical advantage and agility and speed, using his shield, etc etc. but in this movie, he fights like a bludgeon. he is blunt force, and explosive moves, he is literally all or nothing. i think it’s so telling that faced with the confusion of who he is supposed to be now that the war is over, he chooses to slot himself as well as he can into the role he most recently played—soldier. it’s either that or the only other role he’s ever played—dead weight. i’m not 100 percent sure what makes him happy, but i think what makes him scared is the idea of being invisible, exerting no influence, watching the world rather than taking part in it. there’s so much that makes him mad, that moves him, can you imagine the fear of going back to that place where the force he exerts is negligible? so seemingly faced with only those two choices, belonging to nobody or belonging to everybody, of course he chooses the one where he is on the front lines, a good soldier and a good man. and even as he trains, and even as he fights, all in the service of this role, he loses himself in degrees all the while. once, he was just a kid from brooklyn. until he lays down his shield for bucky, proclaims him a friend, we don’t see that kid again for a long while after first avenger ends. i’d say steve’s entire fighting style changes once he finds out who bucky is. that connection back to who he was changes things. it becomes less about being a tool, or a weapon, and more defensive, tactical again. 

it’s so interesting, that even as bucky wrestles with autonomy, so too does steve. so too does natasha. there’s a whole ESSAY here about ownership of self, and its connection to personal peace and happiness. so maybe not only does steve need a place to belong and people to belong to, but he also needs to belong to himself.

so queercap and i were talking recently after her lovely steve/bucky reclist went around, and we were saying how nice it would be if we could get around to reading some of the “undiscovered” gems in the fandom. and i wondered, if we did a project where we, like, recruited a bunch of reader/reviewers, and we each picked 2-3 fics a week with, say, 200 kudoses or less, and we wrote a few lines about what we liked and linked it, would people be interested? like, in following the tumblr and also being a reader/reviewer? if so, let me know. i think this was born out of a desire to find stuff that can get buried, and also to help rec some more fic in a fandom where so much new stuff comes through everyday. if you’re interested, please inbox me with your interest and email addy, i guess? and once something with firmer guidelines is in place, i’ll contact you and we can go from there!!

Ok but look: “I had a date” and “The right partner” are JUST as romantic as “No not without you” and “Til the end of the line,” they even share the same parallels of speaking to loyalty and longing and sacrifice and LOOK Steve and Peggy shared a multitude of yearning, sexy, loving glances that are ripe for the dissection so I guess my question is WHERE is all my Steve/Peggy fic why are there less Steve/Peggy fics on Ao3 than Steve/Darcy where is queercap she is the reason I’m up at 11 pm angsting about this