Imagine Steve wasn't in love with Bucky Barnes before his big freeze, but now he's falling head over heels for the Winter Soldier
Steve wasn’t confused about his feelings. Not really. He’d been attracted to men just as much as he had been women. He might’ve had to keep his attraction to men fairly quiet until he woke up in the twenty-first century, but he’d never been confused about feeling how he did.
The confusing part was Bucky. Or, maybe the confusing part was that it wasn’t Bucky. He wasn’t sure what the difference was, exactly, and what it meant that he hadn’t been attracted to Bucky before he was the Winter Solider, but he was now that Bucky wasn’t the Bucky he used to know.
He wasn’t sure if it was the hair, or that shared life experience he’d mentioned to Natasha once, or if it was something else that Steve thought, somewhere deep down, that he should feel bad about because the change in Bucky had come at the expense of so much.
Bucky wasn’t the Bucky he remembered and that difference made all the difference. He was darker and haunted and as strong as –if not stronger- than Steve and there was something wily that shifted behind his eyes, sometimes, that made Steve’s stomach flip.
Bucky noticed. And made sure to bring it up when he knew he’d catch Steve off-kilter enough to talk about it (exhausted after sparring. Steve would be damned if Bucky hadn’t timed it perfectly because he knew how good Steve thought he looked exhausted and sweaty.)
“You wanna do something about it, or are you trying to see how frustrated you can make yourself?”
“What?” Steve sputtered. He wasn’t ready and didn’t know what to say and felt guilty that he was attracted to Bucky (the Winter Solider) now that he had seventy years of unspeakable horrors behind him. Steve wondered what that said about himself.
Bucky sighed. “I see the way you watch me. Did you always do that?”
“You mean did I do it when – Before?” Steve managed to keep his voice even. Mostly.
Let it never be said that Steve Rogers backed down from a confrontation. “No.”
Bucky nodded, watching Steve carefully, searching his face for. Something. When he finally spoke, it was much quieter, secret-sharing. “I was hoping you’d say that.”
“What?” Steve leaned back against his locker. He was pretty sure the wold was tilting on it’s axis.
“Steve, I – I’ve been wandering around thinking you’re mooning over someone I’m not anymore and – and it’s not true. You want me, not him. I mean – you know.”
Steve nodded. “Yeah, Buck. I do. But what does that say about—“
“-Stop. We’re both different. This might be the best excuse to finally forgive yourself for the fact that seventy years just happened to change us both.”
It was Steve’s turn to pick apart Bucky’s expression and when he’d done so to his satisfaction he reached out towards Bucky, who leaned in in kind.
JARVIS ensured the locker room was off-limits for the next week. (First for the privacy of Captain Rogers and Sargent Barnes, and second for the repairs necessary to the space once they were through with it).