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Bucky gritted their teeth and snuck a glance at Steve. Fucking Steve. He was kneeling in the mud, nose still dripping blood from that car door he’d taken to the face, but there he was. Goddamn sticking his tongue out of his mouth as he rubbed a gross looking washcloth over Bucky’s arm.

“Steve, I still can’t move it. You’re gonna have to get all the gunk out,” Bucky grumbled, dragging their hand down their face. Gross, now the mud-blood-oil mess on their hand was mixing with the caked gore and grime on their face. Ew.

“Yeah, sorry Buck.” Steve’s face contorted, and goddamn it, Bucky was really getting to know his ‘I’m so sorry for something that isn’t even my fault’ face. It was the worst face.

They shook some of the gross off of their hand and reached over, wiping some of the blood away from Steve’s mouth. Their metal arm shuddered oddly, and Bucky struggled to stabilise their body so they wouldn’t jolt Steve too. Steve just smiled. That smile.

Bucky didn’t remember much about when they were kids, but they remembered that smile. Time for a joke.

“Y’know, back in my day, supervillains did actual bullshit, instead of- what even is this? Magic grit? Wilson said something sciency.” Bucky let their hand drop to Steve’s shoulder as he rummaged in all his silly pouches, and grinned when Steve laughed.

He sounded almost shocked that Bucky had made a joke, and if their chest hadn’t been hurting already, then it sure as hell was now. (Which it was, being hit by a bus was not a laughing matter.)

“Damn you, Bucky.” Steve grinned, shaking his head. “Even if it is just magic grit, you should be more careful. We can’t have you knocking your arm out of function all the time, now can we?”

Bucky smirked. “Sure, dad.”

They saw the urge to punch them in the shoulder flash through Steve, then get replaced by a chuckle and a beam.

“Right, stop making me laugh or this’ll be awful. Sorry.” Steve clenched his jaw, and Bucky forced their body to relax. Steve scooted closer to them, cradling their metal arm between his two flesh ones as he inspected it.

Bucky knew they should look away, but they weren’t quite in the business of doing the things they were fuckin supposed to. Steve was tracing all the joins of their arm with his fingers, looking for the jam. They snarled internally, for the billionth time, because of course this asshole had to be messing with small, wily junk as well as the big knocks that both them and the arm were used to taking with a shrug. The ones they’d been trained the most for.

Their entire body shivered for a second, so yep. Steve had found the start of the jam. Jolts of ice cold ran up their shoulder and through their spine, and Bucky hissed and leaned closer to Steve. “Fuck.”

It was totally fine. Yep. Steve had pulled out a pocketknife (seriously, why didn’t he have better knives? Steve deserved better knives.) and was working it gently into the new gap in their arm. Flashbacks teased at their vision, and the fingers of their metal arm tightened, mostly without their control.

Bucky shifted slightly in how they were perched on a bit of blown out car and bit down on their flesh hand. The sharp pain helped them not scream as their arm glitched out, but it also brought back memories of some of the Bad Times. Apparently if they wanted to they could just. Keep biting down on themself. 

That wasn't a fun thing to think about, so Bucky let their jaw relax and glanced up at Steve. Which was a good idea, because he was biting his lip in that way he did, and his fingers were working so intricately on their arm, and it was familiar to focus in on Steve.

His pocketknife had a plastic handle. Bucky was going to get Steve better knives when this whole mess was over.

Bucky blinked to clear their head, and realised Steve had started a gentle running commentary about what he was doing. Steve was griping about the asshole they’d fought, the existence of dirt, how he missed having small fingers, the whole thing.

Bucky’s flesh fist loosened and went lax against Steve’s bent knee. They were scanning his body for injuries, for weak points in his suit, for the pretty pretty lines of his thighs… Steve was fascinating. Something was happening to the arm, but Steve was crouching in front of them and Bucky could just zone into him and let him work.

Like, it wasn't that they weren't aware of the way their arm was hurting and the muscles in their back were screaming, but there was Steve. He was being Steve. Bucky knew he would handle this, and they could wait and watch Steve, play the game of 'did I forget this or is it from the serum or is it recent’ with the various scars and patches of skin revealed by the damage the flying shrapnel had done to his suit.

“I'm gonna buy you a coffee and we can watch a movie. And cuddle.” Bucky said, smiling slightly when Steve glanced up, his face wide and happy. Oh Steve.

Bucky was gonna cuddle the shit out of him.