Bucky’s reluctantly downstairs on Friday night, a nature documentary on TV in front of him. It’s gentle and full of pictures of rain forest plants, but he still wants to run from it and hide under the blankets in bed. A storm pounds at the windows outside, and no matter how much Steve turns up the soft music and narration, he can still hear the rain beating against the windows. Just like his heart thuds in his empty chest.
Spending an evening at home with Steve shouldn’t make him nervous, but Bucky’s been on edge since the rising garage door woke him from his uneasy slumber at half past five. It’s seven now, and dark outside. Steve’s cooking in the kitchen, but the scents of bacon and french toast and the other fixings of breakfast for dinner don’t give any comfort to settle his mood.
“I’m almost done,” Steve calls toward the living room.
Bucky glances blankly in his direction as an answer, then pulls an afghan out from under the coffee table. Lightning strikes, and thunder follows not a second later. The hairs on the back of Bucky’s neck stand up, and he can’t swaddle himself up quickly enough.
“It’s ok.” Steve begins to loudly plate up the food. “D’you want orange juice or coffee? And butter or syr–?”
The television makes a sizzling sound, then abruptly cuts off. So does the lamp on the side table, and the overhead light in the kitchen. Steve swears as he’s plunged into darkness. The plates clatter as they return to the counter, and his footsteps scuttle across the floor until the other end of the couch depresses and he practically falls over reaching to put his arms around Bucky.
“I think it’s just–” Steve starts, but another flash of lightning and boom of thunder interrupt him. “Yeah.”
Bucky squeezes his eyes shut. He’s not scared. Not really. Just trying not to remember years overseas with the threat of an IED every time he started a vehicle. Trying not to relive the times the things did go off, sending sand and shrapnel and human body parts fanning out into the air…
“Where are you?” Steve asks, gently tipping Bucky’s chin so he’s facing away from the window.
“Home,” Bucky whispers. “Goddamn fucking storm.”
“That’s right.” Steve nods, his forehead brushing Bucky’s. “And is it going to last forever?”
They stay entwined for a moment, then Bucky slowly begins to sag against Steve’s chest.
“There you go.” Steve pats his back. “I got you.”
Steve settles him back on the sofa. “What do you want to do? Should I get out some candles?”
“You don’t have to agree with me. You can go back up to bed if you want to.”
“No, candles are… You want a, like…” Bucky trails off.
“Romantic dinner with you?” Steve finishes, grinning. “Yes.”
“Ok.” Bucky smiles back. “Yeah.”