A warmup ficlet, set in Wakanda, most likely pre-cryo, but could be post-cryo if you prefer to feel joy. Steve/Bucky, obviously.
The night is hot and still – no breeze, no glimmer of motion in the dark – but Steve can hear the sounds of jungle life all around the balcony. T’Challa’s people set him up in a beautiful suite next to the medical wing, which Steve had been ignoring in favor of a chair next to Bucky’s bed. This is, in fact, only Steve’s second time there.
Bucky is up and about, talking to the medical staff, and he has sent Steve away.
“You didn’t have to stay with me,” he said.
As if Steve could leave him alone, fading in and out of consciousness, injured and in an unfamiliar place. Healing factor works fast, but every time Bucky came to, he was in pain, disoriented. Steve didn’t miss the way Bucky’s eyes went wide with fear each time they opened, they way the monitor spiked until Bucky focused in on Steve’s face, on Steve’s hand holding his, and relaxed. Even that small gesture of intimacy had felt bold, like Steve might be overstepping, until the first time Bucky opened his eyes and squeezed, like he was holding on for dear life.