cameras flash in blinding succession as devices are pushed in steve and buckys direction. it’s nearly overwhelming and steve is feeling clammy, nervous. he scratches the back of his neck, fingers dipling below the stiff collar of his crisp button up and suit.
at his side bucky handles nonstop questions with poise and a patience that steve knows doesn’t come naturally to him.
he’s wearing the same button up as steve (they share most clothing and steve finds it intimate; an obvious secret staring the world in the face) and his hair is pulled back into a small bun, he no longer hides the hand that was once a weapon.
it has been a solid month since the government had pardoned the two of them from actions that the judge saw as a desperate need to survive, to stay together. it has been a month that they’ve spent hiding out behind closed curtains and enough chinese food cartons to form a small tower.
a man with hair that rivaled van gogh in its shade and blue eyes that shined with excitement finally asked the question the whole world had been speculating about in articles with pie charts, in never ending tweets tagged ‘stucky’, in newspaper editorials and even as the topic of a heated debate on fox news.
“mr barnes, pardon the intrusion of your privacy but the world is dying to know. are you and captain america a couple? romantically that is, not just teammates and best friends though they’re all respectable.”
bucky flashes the man a charming grin that somehow managed to survive hell itself.
“no, ” he replies and the reporter gapes.
bucky continues - “not captain america, not that guy. steve rogers. ”
he reaches down and takes steves hand in his own and all at once steve feels calmer, safer, loved.
lights flash once more as grinning reporters snap photo’s and steve makes sure they capture his smile, they need to see how happy bucky makes him. even captain america needs to be loved, wanted. he is not made of steel.
the reporters face brightens - “may I ask how long? ”
bucky turns to catch steves gaze as he answers - “since the first punch I ever threw in his defense. ”
thing is… nothing official had happened yet. no heartfelt poetry, no sappy sketches no spooning or anything outside of hugs that were growing more frequent by the day & the silent note of hope. steve had convinced himself that despite everything, bucky would never love him in that way.
yet… somehow they’d always been something.
steve is speechless. when they ask him the same question he keeps his eyes on bucky and replies - “does always count? ”
the reporters take this to mean that they’d been an item in a time where such a love was illegal, dangerous, and neither bother correcting them.
bucky waves off the crowd and tugs steve toward the door of their brooklyn apartment.
once they’re free from prying eyes bucky spins steve around as he closes the door behind them and softly cups steves face in his palms, gently brushes his thumbs on pale skin.
steves skin tingles under buckys grasp.
“I meant that, you know,” bucky states.
“so did I.”
bucky grins and steps closer. “you could’ve told me that ages ago, punk.”
steve shrugs & smirks - “maybe I wanted you to work for it.”
bucky leans in until their noses brush against one anothers, hot breath promising something that began as a tiny seed as children and bloomed into something beautiful over time - love me. let me love you.
“is that right?,” he teases.
steve nodded and before bucky could formulate further ways to drive him mad he pressed a quick kiss to buckys lips but decided to have no mercy. with a tilt of his head and tongue teasing buckys, he turned it into just the right side of dirty.
bucky breaks away long enough to lock the front door and thinks to himself that there will never be a day where he’s not madly in love with steve rogers.
there are, however, some things that the public doesn’t need to know.
there’s nothing that gets my goat more than people (fandom and actual movie/comic characters alike) putting the blame for disastrous or catastrophic events that tony was involved in solely on tony’s shoulders it really GRINDS MY GEARS
ESPECIALLY because he is literally. LITERALLY. never solely responsible for anything that happens. but there’s always, always going to be someone that’s going to look around and then point at tony and say “you! this is your fault! you’re the reason all this happened!” (ie AoU which e v e r y o n e blames tony for despite wanda being a militating factor in Ultron’s creation and bruce ACTUALLY BEING A MAJOR FACTOR CONSIDERING HE ACTIVELY HELPED TONY CREATE HIM, ie steve in CW “You made this war! You birthed it into existence by sheer force of will!” despite the fact that tony straight up admitted he hated everything he had to do during the war and it! takes! two! to tango! steve!!!!!, ie all of Superior Iron Man where even though pepper outright acknowledged that tony’s mind had been fucked with “Because the nightmare scenario has happened. His mind has been taken.” at the end of that entire clusterfuck he’s still left on his own and considered a monster by everyone he knows like?????? fuck that entire arc tbh, ie miriam in CACW “My son is dead. And I blame you, Stark.” (or something to that affect i can’t remember the actual quote), ie steve in CACW via tony: “I’m trying to keep you from tearing the Avengers apart!” steve: “You did that when you signed.” LIKE FUCK YOU STEVE ONLY ONE PERSON THAT ENTIRE MOVIE WAS TRYING TO KEEP EVERYONE TOGETHER AT THE EXPENSE OF HIS PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH AND IT SURE AS SHIT WASN’T YOU) you get my point.
and every. single. time. he accepts the blame. he doesn’t even question it he 100% accepts all the accusations and the finger pointing as true and immutable and shoulders all of the guilt for it without a second thought. every. time. and then everybody and their dog accepts all of this as like….some kind of proof as to why tony is an awful person??? and ohhhh it just it really twists my toes it INFURIATES ME and it needs to stop because tony is, at his very core, a good person and a heroand he does. not. deserve. this. he does not deserve all of this vitriol and poisonous hate he just! is a sad smol child who wants to help everyone and does the best he can to protect people even at the cost of his own happiness and i just can’t believe how many people (INCLUDING SOME OF THE ACTUAL COMIC BOOK WRITERS) can’t see past the small outer parts of him made of iron (billionaire playboy philanthropist with an ego and arrogance to match) to the greater depth of his core that the iron protects in which lies a heart of gold (hopeful futurist who is brave and selfless enough to do what’s right)