Ghost Of You //Bucky Barnes
Summary: After Thanos did what he said he was going to do Bucky must live with the fact that you got dusted.
A/N Bucky didn’t get dusted in this! Is also inspired by the song ghost of you by 5SOS!
Warnings: Sadness and feelings of hopelessness
After the events of infinity war Bucky completely shut down. He wouldn’t come out of his hut for days even to fed his goats. When he watched you turn to dust it was like he was watching his world crash down around him.
It’s been exactly ten months since half of the world’s population turned to dust. During those ten months Bucky became colder and colder. He couldn’t come to terms with the fact that you were gone and it was seemingly impossible to get you back. Ramonda eventually sent some towns people to take Bucky’s goats as it was obvious he wasn’t going to take care of them anymore.
Waking up every morning was challenging for Bucky. Not only because you weren’t there anymore, but because he would dream about you and for the first time in a while everything seemed alright.
“Buck I need to get going.” You say pulling away from the kiss.
“But I’m going to miss you so much doll.” He says in the crook of your neck as the two of you hug outside of his hut with your luggage beside you.
“I’m going to miss you too, but you’re going to be okay, we’ll be okay.”
You back away from the embrace while looking into Bucky’s bright blue eyes. “I love you James.”
“I love you too.” With that being said you kiss Bucky on the cheek on last time, leaving a faint lipstick stain before picking up your bags and walking over to T’Challa and Shuri, who are going to take you back to the Avengers compound.
Bucky would wake up from these type of dreams and instantly look around his hut as his chest heaves up and down. “It felt so real.” He would say to himself before tearing up and potentially having a meltdown.
Most days Bucky would spend the day in bed watching shows he never knew existed and only getting up when he was hungry or to use the washroom. Despite, spending his days in bed he never thought of going on your side of it, he can’t even sleep on your side without having a panic attack.
The first few nights after the snap he would cuddle your pillow while crying himself to sleep because it smelt like your perfume, but as your smell started to fade away he got mad at himself. How could he be so stupid and selfish to use one of the last things that smells like you?
Some days are better than others, but Bucky always ends up finding something that reminds him of you. Like the white coffee cup on the counter that has your mauve lipstick stained to the rim that he can’t bring himself to move or wash. After all, it was one of the last things you touched before you both went into battle. Or he’ll hear a cheesy joke on the radio that he knows you’ll love and wants to tell you, but he can’t.
One day as he was eating plums while channel surfing when he found the shirt you were wearing the first time you two met. Bucky accidentally dropped his half eaten plum causing him to groan as it rolled underneath his bed. He gets up, bends down and pats underneath the mattress with his flesh arm until he found his favourite food. But instead of his hand landing on the fruit it landed on something soft. Bucky pulls it out and lifts it up. It was your black Led Zeppelin shirt.
“Y/N meet Bucky and Bucky meet Y/N.” Steve says introducing you two to each other.
“Hi it’s nice to meet you.” You say to the soldier with a bright smile.
“You too, but what’s a Led Zeppelin?” He asks while pointing at your shirt.
You let out a loud laugh at his comment, causing Bucky’s heart to flutter at the sound of your voice, but to his dismay you stop laughing when you realise he’s serious. “You don’t know the band Led Zeppelin?”
“Doll, I barley know anything.”
“Well it’s a good thing I’m on Cap’s team because we all know I like to sing while fighting so you should know half of their songs by the time it’s over.” You say with a smile.
When Bucky found your shirt from underneath his bed he brought it close to his face. He took a deep breath, inhaling your scent as he started to cry into the black cloth.
Today though was a good day. Bucky still missed you dearly and was still beyond depressed, but he could actually get out of bed within the first hour and a half of being awake. As Bucky made himself a bowl of cereal he turned on the radio and he instantly stops his movements when he realises what song is playing.
All my love by Led Zeppelin, your favourite song was playing. Every time you would play it you’d dance around Bucky’s hut and sing along as if you were performing for a crowd full of people.
“All of my love, all of my love, oh all of my love to you.” You’d sing while wearing one of Bucky’s shirts that came down to your thighs.
Bucky would watch in awe as you’d move your hips along to the beat of the song. He couldn’t help, but to laugh when you’d grab a spoon and pretend it’s a microphone.
You stood up on a chair while moving your hips from side to side while pointing at your boyfriend. “All of my love, all of my love, yes, all of my love to you.”
Even though he adored watching you pretend you were a rock star Bucky would occasionally get up and slow dance with you even though it wasn’t a slow song.
“I love you so much.” He says to you as he spins you into him, causing you to laugh and his heart to flutter.
Without even realising it, Bucky starts to dance around his medium sized hut. Not to the extent of how you would, but he still danced the way he would if you were there. And for the first time in a while he felt content.
He was dancing with the ghost of you.
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PLEASE WRITE IT. THE GOAT KNOWS 🤣
The goat knows, Sam knows, everyone but Steve and Bucky themselves know.
This is based off of this post that I mentioned in the tags I would love to write something about but wouldn't 'cause I didn't want to ruin in. That still stands- but here are some shitty half written half head-canon stuff for you because you ask and you shall receive:
Steve facetimes and calls and Skypes and uses every one of technologies newest assets to reach Bucky all of the time while himself and the rest of what's left of "team cap" are on the run. Logging into random motels free wifi, having Wanda show him how to connect to Sam's Hotspot, finding random peoples home wifi networks and connecting to the unlocked ones, hell, they even go into libraries to ask what their wifi password is and pretend to look around before leaving so Steve can stand outside and talk to Bucky. Just finding every opportunity posisble so he can to speak to Bucky. Both because he misses Bucky and because he wants to make sure he's still safe in Wakanda.
For once, they've gotten a few hotel rooms instead of one where they either all have to dog pile on the bed or people have to fight for the bed so other's sleep on the floor, the couch, in the tub, or wherever might be marginally comfortable.
But this time they've scored a couple of rooms and Steve is setting up in his own room because the others insist that as the captain he should get the single room and be alone for once. Sam promised to come and get him when they get dinner figured out anyway.
Figuring there's nothing better for him to do than to speak to Bucky right now, seeing as hes finished "unpacking"- Steve rings him.
And is instantly worried. Because Bucky always picks up on the second or third ring.
He's never even heard the full length of the little tune that plays as a ringtone with Skype. He has the sinking feeling that he's going to this time. That Bucky won't pick up.
And his mind is running faster than he, a very enhanced human, can.
Is Bucky being attacked? Has he been kidnapped? There are no dead spots in Wakanda so he's not out of range, right? Is Shuri over there and talking to him? Is he just not looking at his phone? Did he break his phone? Did he get hurt? Is he injured? Is he stuck doing something? What the fuck is happening?
The ringing stops.
Steve is expecting to see Bucky's pretty face or expecting to see that the call has ended, he is not expecting to see a very close goat. He can only see the goat's eye, some of it's face, and part of it's ear. He nearly jumps back, the goat is so close to the camera. The goat sniffs Bucky's phone and bleets at him. Then it's gone.
And Bucky is there.
Not in that he was, like, holding the goat to the camera for shits and giggles. The goat has just wandered away after answering his call apparently. And Bucky happens to be in the background of where the camera can see.
Bucky is bathing in the lake.
Steve's brain whites out for a solid 15 to 30 seconds. Filling with static and incoherent one word thoughts and random stuttered sounds. He hasn't seen Bucky naked since they were kids... well, not fully naked. He saw Bucky strip down when they were in the army because there was never any privacy and when after he thought his way out of his brain washing and allowed Steve to help wash and mend some of the injuries he just had he'd seen him but...
Steve's cheeks flush hot and his body starts to sweat. He feels the flush from his skin rush into the core of his being. Bucky's body is wet and glistening, fully bare. His hair is wet and sticking to his skin. He's facing away from the camera. Steve isn't sure he could bare to see his face or he'd die of embarrassment. He's pretty sure he's drooling. But-
He keeps looking. He can't not. He's never been able to not look at Bucky, to not be magnetized to him instantly.
His cheeks are on fire and what the fuck? his dick is hardening for the first time in a long time, trapped in his tac suit. But. He cannot make himself end the call. Not when Bucky looks like that.
The first coherant thought he has after thinking about nothing but Bucky is naked, Bucky is naked, Bucky is naked, Bucky is naked, Bucky is naked is strangely calm.
"Good. He must've put on some weight after getting out of cyro-"
But that's also not good because he's just staring at Bucky's ass and thighs, both of which are gloriously and fully bare. Full and round, soft and plush but also clearly strong. And he knows that Bucky has apparently been able to gain some weight because he's apparently stared at his ass for enough time to know the general shape and volume of it. Fuck.
What the fuck?
Steve groans like he's dying, biting down on his fist and when did he put his hand in his mouth? as Bucky bends over. Fuck. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Oh my God.
Steve cannot think straight.
Bucky bends over, his dick and balls are hidden by the full shape of his thighs but fuck. His ass is so pretty, so round. Steve's dick jumps at the thought of grabbing it, smacking it a little. His hips are perfect, wider with a little, fantastic fluff on top. They make him want to grab and get handsy. He wants to touch desperately. The sudden image of pulling Bucky back onto his lap with his hands on those hips makes him lightheaded.
Bucky straightens back up, his hair flying back to smack the top of his shoulders and back with the arch of his neck. He must've been washing his hair. Steve feels fainter.
"JESUS FUCK, STEVE!"
Steve jolts forward, knocking his own phone out of his hand. Locking it too with the way his hand contracts in full shock.
He spins fast enough that stars gather in front of his eyes. Sam is standing in the doorway of his room.
He realizes how heavy his breathing is in the awkward silence, he realizes how flushed his skin is, he realizes how hard he is, aching. He realizes how guilty he is.
Bucky is his friend.
Sam sighs, grumbles a little and shifts his weight. He taps the doorframe, "alright, I should've knocked but you should've locked the door, man." To illustrate his point he makes a show of turning the lock on the handle and says, "warn a guy, the next time you decide to have Skype sex with your man." And slams the door.
Steve flops back onto the bed. Mortified. The words "Skype sex" and "your man" bouncing around his skull along with the images of Bucky. . . maybe he would like Bucky to be "his man"
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A little gift for @crow-sizna as a thank you for creating such amazing art <33
Summary: Set in the two years between CA:CW and IW. I give you- eight times Steve visits Bucky in Wakanda.
Warnings- There is a scene (not graphic) where Steve and Bucky help one of Bucky’s goats give birth. If that might bother any readers, you can just skip section five.
AO3 Link (Bc I know tumblr messes with the layout sometimes): And After
Steve wonders if seeing Bucky will ever not take his breath away. It’s happened every time before, so he’s more prepared for it this time. Even still, crossing over the hill and nearly stumbling upon the sight of Bucky sitting cross legged by the river is jarring in a pleasant way.
Shuri and Bucky’s poses and closed eyes show them to be meditating together. They must both sense their new visitors, but neither of them seem ready to stop quite yet. Steve doesn’t mind to wait, it allows him to take in Bucky’s appearance without being interrupted.
He looks better than Steve has seen him in years. Even during the last missions with the Howling Commandos, Bucky had the strain of stress and exhaustion showing under every expression. The panicked grief in his eyes when Steve found him in his apartment in Bucharest was awful, but the blank stare of the Winter Soldier was worse.
Now though. Now his hair is clean, twisted half up, his eyes are clear of bags and his skin is smooth of wrinkles. Now his peaceful beauty is enhanced by the soft reds and blues of his robe.
“He’s been making spectacular progress with Shuri,” T’Challa speaks quietly beside him. “It’s better than even Shuri was expecting.”
“Buck’s always been the type to exceed expectations.”
Bucky looks over at them then, his eyes clutching at Steve’s heart and his barely there smile sending shockwaves of joy down to Steve’s finger tips.
“Took you long enough,” Bucky says with a soft playfulness. “I’ve been awake for nearly six months now.”
“I thought you might need some space.” From me, he doesn’t add. Steve didn’t want to slow Bucky’s recovery progress by reminding him too much of his past.
Bucky gives him a flat look. “I wouldn’t need space from a punk like you.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Steve says, unable to keep the smile off his face a moment longer.
T’Challa clears his throat. “Sister, if I may, I came down here to ask if you’d join me for dinner.”
“Don’t I already do enough for you, brother?” Shuri rolls her eyes but starts to stand. “We’ll continue this tomorrow, White Wolf.”
Bucky doesn’t speak again until the siblings are gone and Steve has moved to sit next to him.
“I missed you Stevie,” he says and presses his shoulder into Steve’s.
Steve presses back, overwhelmingly content because, now that he’s with Bucky again, he’s finally home. “I missed you too, Buck.”
Trying to sketch a moving target is always a little bit of a challenge for Steve, but trying to sketch Buck while he’s playing a sport is near impossible. Or it would be, if Steve hadn’t been able to sketch Bucky’s form entirely by memory. It’s a skill he’d acquired when they were young, thanks to Bucky’s patient posing while Steve was still learning how to draw.
It takes him a little longer to pick his favorite pose from Bucky’s move set. Watching him play soccer with a group of children was entertaining enough that Steve didn’t mind to take the extra time to study. He finally decides to draw the moment just before the game started, when Bucky was surrounded by attentive children as he taught them the rules of the game.
A young boy named Lifa sits beside Steve, more interested in making flower crowns than playing a sport with his friends. Steve already has a crown of his own made of white and yellow flowers, and now Lifa is working on a crown for Bucky using blue flowers he carefully picked out that look very close to the color of Bucky’s eyes.
He’s been teaching Steve about the meaning of Wakandan flowers as they both work. Neither of them are perfectly fluent in each other’s languages, but they know enough of both to be able to hold a conversation, even if it means sometimes switching from English to Xhosa or vice versa mid-sentence.
“And for the wedding ceremony I’ll help the two of you create the Necklace of Hearts,” Lifa says, tying a knot to finish off Bucky’s crown.
“The what?” Steve accidentally draws Bucky’s pants leg too long and begins to carefully erase it.
“The Necklace of Hearts,” Lifa explains patiently. “It’s a large necklace made mainly of Wakandan Panther-Lilies. During your vows to care for one another, the necklace is placed over the couple. Afterward you place it in a glass stasis case and keep it forever to remember your promises to each other.”
“You sure know an awful lot about weddings,” Steve says. He turns to give Lifa his full attention before he continues. “But I was actually wondering about who you thought was getting married.”
“You and the White Wolf. I know because I help with the decorations for most Wakandan weddings. I better be invited to yours. We’re friends now.” Lifa gestures between the crown on Steve’s head and the picture of Lifa Steve drew earlier to make his point.
“Oh Lifa, we’re not-” Steve swallows. “Me and Bucky...we’re just friends.”
“I don’t think so,” Lifa says. “But maybe you’re just not there yet.”
The weather is warm, with a gentle breeze cooling Steve’s skin, the canoe gently rocks with the current of the river, and Bucky sits across from him humming an old familiar melody while Steve works the paddles. It should be relaxing, but Steve can’t focus on anything other than the weight of the phone in his pocket.
It’s been a year since he’s last spoken to Tony. A year since he started feeling guilt at the mere thought of his ex teammate and what went down between them. There were so many things that went wrong, so many things that could have changed if they had just stopped to talk. But Steve had been filled with the frantic need to protect Bucky, and Tony with the deep rage of betrayal. It keeps Steve up at night, wondering what could have been.
Bucky’s soft voice snaps Steve out of his thoughts, making him realize he has stopped rowing at some point. Steve wonders what expression he must have been making to have Buck looking at him with such concern.
“Sorry I was just thinking,” Steve gives him a half hearted smile.
“I just…” Steve pauses, looking out at the river surrounding them. Normally he wouldn’t hesitate to dismiss the question, but with Bucky Steve is always safe to speak his mind freely. “I thought Tony would have called by now.”
Something pained flickers across Bucky’s face and Steve almost instantly regrets bringing it up. He knows Bucky still feels guilty about what happened with Tony’s parents, even though it wasn’t his fault. And Steve would never be sorry for what he had to do to protect Buck. He was just sorry that Tony had been caught in the crossfire.
“You love him.”
“Of course.” Although the admission sounds sad somehow.
“Like me or like Peggy?” Bucky’s soft observation sends a shock of warmth through Steve’s system. Maybe he figured out Steve’s feelings were a bit more complex than just platonic in more recent years, or maybe he had known the whole time.
“Neither,” Steve says. “It’s been different each time.” Different but not equal, he doesn’t say. He doubts he needs to. “Me and Tony, we weren’t going to work out anyway. That wasn’t on you. We just weren’t what each other needed...or really wanted.”
Bucky nods. “And what do you want, Stevie?”
Steve stares at Bucky, taking in his relaxed expression, the large trees with vibrant green leaves of the branches, and the clear river water around them. “This is perfect.”
“-up. Wake UP, punk!”
“Jerk,” Steve mumbles, swatting at the hands grabbing at his shoulders. Then he registers the urgency in Buck’s words and sits up in a panic, looking for his shield on instinct. “What is it?”
“It’s Zintle, she’s having her baby. I need your help.”
Remembering where he is-in a makeshift bed of blankets on the floor of Bucky’s hut- Steve gives up his search of the shield, and follows Bucky out of the hut and to the shelter Bucky had built for his goat Zintle and a few chickens.
Zintle bleats at them when they come in. She sounds distressed and Bucky quickly moves toward her. He situates himself next to Zintle’s head, running his hand up and down her neck and back while Steve sits on her opposite end.
The billy seems to be caught, not moving forward even after a weak push from Zintle.
“I think it’s stuck,” he tells Bucky, holding his hands out toward Zintle but not quite touching her. “It looks like he twisted sideways or something.”
“Well twist him back,” Bucky says, sounding forcefully calm. “I can’t do it with only one hand.”
“What if I hurt the baby?”
“Be careful about it.” Bucky gives him a tight smirk. “But it’s not made of glass. Don’t be a wuss.”
“I’m not.” Steve takes a calming breath and sets to work before he can think too much about it. As he gently grabs and twists, he replays the strike mission he just came back from with Nat and Sam, brainstorming ways for their next mission to go smoother. It helps distract him from the warm sticky flesh under his hands and the fear that he might hurt Zintle or her baby.
Zintle continues to push as Steve works, bleating occasionally to show her displeasure while Bucky does his best to comfort her. It takes time but, once the billy is positioned correctly, it only takes two pushes along with Steve pulling for Zintle’s baby to come free.
The baby, definitely a boy and only barely bigger than Steve’s hand, cries out immediately while it tries to stand on clumsy legs. Steve stares in awe as Zintle, with a new burst of energy, rises to begin cleaning her son off. After watching them for a moment, he meets Bucky’s gaze and matches his grin. Both relieved and happy.
“He’s name is Aviwe,” Bucky tells Shuri the next day when she comes down to visit the newest addition to Bucky’s little farm. For some reason this makes Shuri laugh loudly, and Aviwe bleats back at her.
Steve turns his attention from Shuri and Aviwe to Bucky. “Why’d you pick that name?”
Bucky grins at him. “It means one who is heard.”
As if on cue, Aviwe throws his head back to let out another little yell.
“T’Challa said you had a bad day. Do you want to talk about it?”
Bucky ignores him, standing on the edge of the skyscraper they are on. T’Challa informed Steve when he arrived today that Bucky liked to retreat to the highest place he could find during his bad days.
T’Challa also said that Bucky’s bad days were fewer and farther between although, looking at Bucky now, Steve knows that doesn’t make the bad days any easier to get through.
“We don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to. Let’s go get some food. I’m starving.” He knows better than to touch Bucky while he’s in this state, even if seeing him standing perilously close to the edge makes Steve tremble with the need to pull him to safety. “...Buck?”
“Just go away, Steve.”
Steve stares at him, opening his mouth to argue twice without saying anything before saying a quiet, “Alright.”
With nothing else to do, Steve heads down to Bucky’s hut and spends his evening with Zintle and Aviwe. In the night, when Bucky still hasn’t returned, Steve falls asleep under the stars next to the river, alone.
He has dreams of Bucky’s fall. Dreams of Peggy’s funeral. He dreams he’s drowning, suffocating all over again. Normally when he has this particular set of nightmares, Steve wakes up gasping for air, shivering with phantom chills.
This time he wakes up warm, breathing steady, like the usual terror has been diluted somehow. It doesn’t take him long to realize he’s back in the hut, with his head in Bucky’s lap and Bucky’s fingers in his hair, moving against his scalp in softly in circles, making it hard not to fall back to sleep.
Bucky’s fingers freeze when their eyes meet. “Bad dream?”
“Yeah,” Steve says. “Did you carry me here?”
“What, like you’re heavy?” Bucky uses a sarcastic tone that pulls a laugh from Steve’s lips.
“I’m glad you’re back,” Steve murmurs, his half asleep brain not knowing enough to filter his words yet. “Missed you.”
Bucky doesn’t speak for a long time, but Steve’s still hanging onto conscious enough to hear Bucky’s reply of, “Me too.”
Steve has never felt like a pessimistic person, he’s always tried to move forward through challenges without letting them slow him down. He does consider himself to be realistic though, and he knows realistically, that he hasn’t led the happiest life. From being a sickly outcast from birth to living through each of his loved ones from his past dying around him, Steve has had his fair share of rough memories.
He’s had plenty of happy memories too though, more than sad ones, both from his time before the ice and after with the people who have loved him and have been loved by him. But he’s pretty sure this moment that he’s in right now is his favorite by far.
This moment, sitting under the apple tree behind the hut, peeling an apple with a small pocket knife while Buck sits sideways in his lap, tops them all.
“You know I’m sure you could do this one-handed,” Steve says, carefully slicing his knife through the bright red skin of the apple. He has both his arms wrapped around Bucky, holding the apple over Buck’s lap. It was the only way he could reach the apple with both hands comfortably while Bucky was sitting on him. Or, that’s what he said when Buck had given him a sly side-eye. Buck had laughed then, and didn’t comment.
“What good are you if you can’t even peel an apple for me,” Bucky muses, resting his head on Steve’s chest. He seems as content here as Steve is.
“I don’t know. I have a pretty wide skill set,” Steve smiles. He’s flirting.
Flirting with Bucky.
And, judging by the way Bucky takes the apple slice from Steve’s fingers with his mouth and not his hand, Bucky likes it.
Shuri’s birthday turns out to be one of the largest celebrations of the year. It’s not because she asks for it, but because her brother wants the best for her and her people love her.
Bucky brings several baskets of fresh fruit and goat cheese for the celebration, which don’t last very long at all. Steve isn’t surprised, but Bucky seems to be. He becomes both flattered and slightly bashful everytime someone compliments his crops.
Sam and Natasha come along with Steve, each of them bringing Shuri separate gifts from different places they’ve traveled to over the past year and a half. In turn, Shuri saves a dance for each of them, her brother, Bucky, and Okoye. Several other young Wakadan males seem eager for a chance to dance with Shuri, but once they catch sight of the expression on T’Challa’s face-the one that looks quite similar to the expression he had when he was fighting Bucky and aimed to kill-they back off.
Bucky and Steve both have several requests for dances, both from friends and friendly strangers. They always end back with each other every few songs though. It’s the first time Steve and Bucky have ever danced together. It’s intense and addicting. Bucky leads of course, because he’s always been the more graceful of the two. He looks stunning with his happy smile and navy robes.
The celebration lasts over twelve hours, starting from the morning and lasting well into the night. As the party starts to wind down, Shuri ushers everyone outside the palace for a fireworks show with explosions she made herself.
The show is breathtaking. If Steve hadn’t already seen the wonders of Wakandan technology, he’d think he was dreaming. The fireworks light up the sky, drawing pleased noises out of the audience as each explosion outdoes the last.
Their first kiss is shared during the finale of the show, surrounded by people but seen by only a few. The kiss between them is a finale in itself, the end of a buildup of feelings nearly a century in the making. It’s also a beginning of sorts, a promise of something new and exciting between two souls that have been meant to thrive together for a very long time.
They kiss until they’re no longer illuminated in neon colors from the fireworks, then they head back to Bucky’s hut and kiss some more.
Steve is already awake when Bucky jerks in his sleep next to him. He tightens his arm around Bucky’s waist partly in comfort and partly in caution, in case whatever he’s dreaming has him waking up swinging. Instead Bucky opens his mouth wide in a yawn and burrows closer into Steve’s side.
“Hey,” Steve says quietly “Bad dream?”
“No. T’was good.” Bucky’s sleepy mumble and the soft brush of his bare legs as they tangle with Steve’s fill Steve with warmth. “M’ sore.”
Steve’s face heats. “Sorry.”
“Don’t be. I like it.” Bucky shifts his hips closer to Steve’s in a more provocative position. “I like what you did to make me sore.”
“I still shouldn’t have gotten so carried away. I’ll be more careful next time.”
“Next time?” Bucky gives him a look Steve recognizes as the one he used to use when he was flirting with dames. “Maybe I’ll get you good and sore next time.”
“Okay,” Steve agrees easily, frowning when Bucky’s expression turns serious after a moment. “What is it?”
Bucky stares at him through three breaths before replying. “I love you.”
The happy warmth inside Steve elevates, drifting all the way down to his toes and back to his chest, threatening to combust. “I love you too, Buck.”
And just like that the playfulness is back in Bucky’s eyes. “I know. Til the end of the line, right?”
Steve reaches up, tucking a stray strand of Bucky’s hair behind his ear. “And after.”
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