"You've checked my pulse three times," Bucky drawled at the nurse pressing two fingers against his neck. She responded with nothing more than a slight glare, and a firmer press against his pulse point. She seemed to be in charge; an older woman who sent the younger nurses flitting off in a panic with only a look. Bucky would have rather gotten one of the younger dames, one he could have given a smile and a wink and a few well timed lines and been on his way back to his tent already.
He wondered, briefly, if Steve had warned them of exactly that possibility. It was something he would do. Or would have done, before he'd grown nearly a foot and become so bulky with muscle he made Bucky feel small. The new Steve seemed very much like the old one, but Steve had mentioned something about changes, on their long walk back. Honestly, Bucky hadn't paid much attention the first time Steve had explained it. He'd been halfway to sleeping on his feet as they walked.
Every time he shook himself awake as Steve talked, he'd expected to find he'd imagined the new Steve who'd rescued him, and instead there would be the same scrawny little kid he'd left behind. The one that wasn't going to be able to join the army, so he'd have been safe.
Cold fingers pressing into his shoulder jostled him out of his thoughts, and he turned to offer the nurse an irritated look, which she promptly returned as she examined a burn on his shoulder blade. More cold as she spread something sharp smelling (that stung like hell) over the tight skin, and taped gauze over it. "You can get dressed, Sergeant, but I'd rather you don't go running off for now. You need to rest."
To hell with that. Once Steve came back, he'd slip out while she wasn't looking. There was no reason he had to rest here, after all.
The light was dying outside as Steve waited a few yards from the med tent where they were keeping Bucky. He hadn't been the worst off injuries-wise, but considering where Steve had found him the higher-ups had wanted the medics to give Bucky more than just a once-over. Peggy meanwhile had escorted Steve back to the commanders' tent to be debriefed on his unexpected, but clearly valuable mission.
There wouldn't be any disciplinary action, Phillips had said; by the time he was finished with the mission debrief, though, it felt as if he'd gone through a court martial. Steve was thankful he had a good memory, or else it might've taken twice as long.
After what felt like hours, Steve managed to escape; he had to find Bucky and make sure he was okay. He'd looked like hell, and Steve had half-dragged him through the compound before they barely made it out. The long trek to base camp had helped some to bring the life back into Bucky's eyes, but Steve was still wound too tight with worry. He began pacing a little; started whenever someone walked by him that he hadn't seen coming; kept seeing Bucky, eyes glazed and staring at nothing, repeating his name, rank, and service number over and over...
Then there was a hand on his shoulder—Steve jumped back and knocked it away, but relaxed when he saw who it was. "Bucky!" he said. "Don't sneak up on a guy like that."
"Had to sneak, the nurse is after me. You put them up to that, didn't you?" It was so strange, having to reach up to rest his hand on Steve's shoulder. It had always been down before, and Steve's shoulder hadn't filled his hand, it had been thin, and sharp, and bony, like the rest of the poor kid.
Nothing at all like the man who stood next to him, who looked as though he hadn't spent months at a time sick in bed, hadn't gone weeks without enough food, hadn't burrowed closer to Bucky on cold nights when they stayed together as kids, because Steve had been too thin to keep himself warm.
"C'mon, would I do that?" Bucky managed a brief laugh and a smile in return, which eased at least a little bit of tension that had coiled in his chest. But out of the corner of his eye Steve could see the change in Bucky's expression when he looked at him. Half the time he could forget how much he changed—at least, until he broke a piece of a railing because he'd been gripping it too hard, or bent his metal fork in the mess if he wasn't careful. And now he had this reminder too, the reminder that he wasn't the same scrawny punk Bucky had known in New York. Now he was—what? Captain America? Bucky didn't know that guy. It made Steve wonder if they even registered as the same person for Bucky.
"You would, and you know it." Bucky gave Steve's shoulder a shove, and where he once would have stumbled back under the force, now Steve didn't budge. But he sounded the same, the boyish grin was the same, the way it felt to stand close to him was the same. Somewhere under this new surface (that wasn't exactly unappealing) and the walking flag, the kid Bucky had grown up with was there.
"So, does Captain America have a place a sergeant can sit down?" It was all he could think to say, and as much as he'd wanted to get away from the nurses, he was willing to- begrudgingly- admit that he would probably be better off not wandering around.
"Sure do—even got my own place." At least there were a few perks to the USO gig, even if the uniform—no, call it what it was, a costume—was at the bottom of the list. Thankfully all he still wore of it was the top half (the damn tights had been left...oh, who even knew where they were at that point).
He put an arm over Bucky's shoulders, suddenly thrown by the fact that he could do that now, and led him toward where Steve's own tent was. Even if they didn't talk much on the walk across camp, just the fact that Bucky was there, and that he was alive, was enough to make just about all of the last six months worthwhile.
Bucky couldn't help leaning against Steve as they walked. He was tired, and Steve was solid, and reassuring. His presence had always been that, and a comfort, but the rest of him matched that, now. It was still strange, but that didn't stop him letting Steve all but hold him up as they walked. It was nice, being able to do this, though some small part of him missed putting his arm over Steve's shoulders and tucking him close against Bucky's side, especially after a fight. He'd missed that since he left.
The tent Steve led him to was modest in size, but definitely better than what the rest of the enlisted men were sleeping in, crammed up to four in a tent. But knowing Steve, he'd have shared the space gladly. And knowing half the men out there, they would have refused on principle, if what Steve had said about how they reacted to his show was accurate.
"Didn't do bad for yourself, Steve. Not bad at all."
Steve shrugged. "I suppose so." His neck burned at the thought of how he'd ended up here in the first place (he didn't care what happened, he wasn't going back to that USO tour). He let the tent flap fall closed behind him and shoved his helmet and goggles under the bed before sitting down next to Bucky. "Almost feels a little like old times," he mused.
"... You take up a little more space than you used to," said Bucky, glancing quickly at Steve, then turning his eyes back to the ground. "So, what's it like? Being... Like this?"
Steve gave a sheepish laugh. "Uhh...well, it's nice being on eye level with most other guys. Don't have to worry about an asthma attack, either, that's always a good thing. I dunno, it's...it's hard to explain." Hard to explain how his senses all seemed two times more, or that sometimes he got the urge to run for ten miles and then some. Hard to explain how it was when you'd been shoved and beaten down all your life, and now you could defend yourself, could fight back. "It's good, though. It's real good."
Bucky leaned over to nudge Steve's shoulder with his own, and stayed there instead of pulling back. "Well, I'm glad you're happy with it." Bucky was happy for him, he was, and Steve's face looming over him had been the best sight Bucky thought he'd ever seen. But Steve had been meant to stay in New York, safe. Not breaking into Nazi strongholds and nearly getting himself killed on impossible rescue missions.
Steve rested his elbows on his thighs and looked at his friend. "C'mon, Bucky. I know there's something else on your mind." They'd been friends for too damn long at this point to hold back on one another. And he thought he had a pretty good idea about what was so troubling.
"You're an idiot," Bucky said, turning to look at Steve. "You came alone, with a goddamn flag on your back, with no practical experience, and no plan and you— you could have gotten yourself killed, you almost did at the end, and I—" Bucky stopped abruptly, gripping his own knee too tight. Even the thought made his gut twist and his chest feel too tight.
Steve was all he had. Parents in the ground, no girl waiting for him back home (he'd never wanted one waiting for him anyway), just Steve. Scrawny, skinny Steve who wasn't either anymore, who Bucky had spent their entire lives protecting. The brave little idiot he'd loved too much for a long time wasn't safe anymore, and out here Bucky couldn't protect him.
"You know what their 'rescue plan' had been?" said Steve. "'Winning the war.' You think I was just gonna let you rot to death in some HYDRA base for God knows how long? If you could have seen what I did when I found you in that place..." And he shuddered, clenched his fist, tried to shut out that image of Bucky strapped down on that slab, the restraints so tight Steve could still see some faint bruises on Bucky's forearm.
"Believe it or not, I figured that was their plan already," said Bucky. He hadn't expected to make it out at all, but he'd hoped maybe some of the others would. He sighed heavily and leaned further against Steve. Strange that he could do that without Steve toppling over, strange but almost sort of nice.
"Now I know that I did the right thing. When I said you were taking all the stupid with you I didn't mean that you should end up somewhere like...that." He shuddered a little.
"I didn't exactly end up there on purpose." Bucky lifted his head to look at Steve, taken aback for a moment at how close the movement put them. Closer than they should have been, closer than was safe, but not as close as Bucky sometimes wanted to be. "You're still an idiot. But thanks. You're right, I would have rotted in there, and so would everyone else."
"When I heard..." Steve took a deep breath and put his hand on Bucky's knee; it made him a little light-headed, and he braced himself for a moment against his friend's side. "All I could think about was that I knew I had to come find you. ...All of you," he added quickly, "since they said there were so many who hadn't come back..."
Bucky covered Steve's hand with his own and for a moment he made himself believe it was to pull his hand away. Yet he let both rest there, and traced his thumb over Steve's knuckles. He remembered gripping that railing tight as Steve told him to leave him behind. Not without you, never without you. His heart had nearly stopped when Steve jumped, and came so, so close to falling into the inferno below them.
They'd both come too close to losing each other. "Just promise you won't do something that stupid again."
The touch of Bucky's hand on his own almost made him start, but Steve didn't pull away. He probably ought to have done, though, but there was a part of him that was selfish and wanted to have this just a little longer. It'd been there for years, now, a small ache in his chest that hurt just a little whenever he saw Bucky with a good-looking dame, or when Bucky would hug him and pull him against his side after he'd rescued Steve from yet another back-alley fight.
"You know that's not a promise I can make."
Bucky knew. Steve couldn't promise to be safe anymore than Bucky could, but that didn't mean Bucky didn't want to hear it, for whatever superficial peace it might have granted him.
They were still too close when Bucky glanced back up, perhaps closer than they'd been before and Bucky's hands itched to reach up and tangle in Steve's hair, and close what distance there was. He'd almost lost him. If the next time, neither of them were so lucky, not doing something about that twisting in his gut would be high on his list of regrets.
But if it ruined everything, what then? Bucky had been through this struggle before, tell the truth and lose Steve, or bottle it up and be sure he was always close. It had always seemed an easy choice before. Things weren't so simple now...
"Bucky?" Steve said, his voice catching in his throat. Bucky was close, closer than he ought to be; and if Steve moved in even closer still...and he'd wanted to, for so long now...but they couldn't—and Bucky wasn't like that, anyway.
Bucky had always been a ladies' man, with a quick grin and a few smooth lines that never failed to make the girls swoon. And Steve—well, he liked dames well enough, all soft and pretty curves and long legs. But his gaze hadn't ever stopped there. No, Steve had to keep his looks quick and furtive when he saw a good-looking fella. Didn't want to give anyone any more reasons to take him out back and beat his face in, after all.
But there'd always been one who Steve couldn't help looking at, and he was sitting right here, staring right back...
Bucky watched Steve's mouth form his name, he could hardly hear it over the warring thoughts in his own head but he could see it. He shouldn't have been staring, watching Steve like that, he shouldn't have been that close. It made it much too easy for that one desperate thought to win out; he'd almost lost Steve and it would have been without taking the chance.
So he took it, closing that last little bit of distance between them until his mouth met Steve's and all he could think then was finally.
Steve inhaled sharply when Bucky's lips pressed against his own—surely it was nothing but a dream, a wild hallucination, but if it wasn't... He opened his mouth against Bucky's and moved so that he was better able to reach his free hand to the back of Bucky's neck and pull him closer. It had to be a dream, it had to be—but if it wasn't...
Steve's hand on the back of his neck, meant to pull him closer no doubt, made Bucky pull away with a sharp breath. "I- I- Steve-" he stammered, skin buzzing. He wanted to lean back in, and now he knew Steve would let him... But he wasn't supposed to. Neither of them were supposed to. "I shouldn't have-" but he found himself leaning closer again, regardless...
"Yeah, shouldn't," Steve murmured, moving close enough that his words were pressed against Bucky's lips. "But you did." He knew all too well what could happen if they got caught. Having Bucky here, like this, suddenly everything else seemed far away, and this was the only thing that mattered.
Bucky slipped his arm around Steve's shoulders and pulled himself as close as he could. He kissed Steve hard, like he'd wanted to do so many times, curled his fingers in the tattered leather of Steve's jacket and clung to it like a lifeline. "I did," he murmured when he pulled away just slightly. "And unless you do something about it, I'll keep doing it."
"D'you see me complaining?" Steve said, twisting the rough fabric of Bucky's shirt in his hand. There had been girls he'd kissed before, but he could count the number on one hand. Bucky was always strong, and now Steve could feel his body pressing up against his own. It made him ache inside, a twist in his stomach that moved quickly downwards. Steve made a small sound against Bucky's mouth and tried to adjust his position but it only made him notice how his trousers were growing tighter.
Bucky tugged hard at Steve's jacket, felt the beaten seams pop under the force of it, and he wouldn't have cared even if it hadn't been beyond repair. He pulled the buttons loose with another sharp tug and slid his hands under it to shove it down Steve's arms. This wasn't the time or the place but goddamn it he needed to feel skin, even if that was all he got. (Now, or ever). He didn't try to ignore the way the seam on his pants was suddenly digging into his cock, but he didn't move to relieve the pressure. Not yet, not until he knew how far this would go.
"How long?" he asked, on a harsh breath between hurried kisses. How long had they wasted when they could have been doing this? How long had they both been watching, and hoping when they just had to reach out and take what they wanted.
"I—too long," Steve said, moving his arms to yank his jacket the rest of the way off. "Years. I don't know." It didn't help that his head was full of nothing but Bucky and the heat he could feel so close, but not enough, not nearly enough-
He grasped at Bucky's dog tags hanging around his neck to drag him back in for another hard kiss. Probably not really needed, but he couldn't resist. "Bucky..." he said, voice hoarse from need and want and he couldn't keep his hands still. He moved them underneath Bucky's shirt, pushed the rough fabric up and moved away just long enough to try to get it off. He was suddenly, stiflingly hot, the fabric of the damn uniform top clinging to his skin. "Help me get this damn thing off-"
Bucky fisted his hands in the material of Steve's shirt, dragging it up, though it stuck where it was damp with sweat. "Shit, is this thing tight enough," he mumbled, struggling with the fabric for a moment before he was finally able to tug it over Steve's head. He threw it over his shoulder and caught Steve's mouth again, hands exploring unfamiliar skin and muscle. He scraped his blunt nails over Steve's ribs and tried to fall back and pull Steve with him, but Steve remained sitting where he was. He stayed even when Bucky tried to push him back. Barring that, Bucky tangled his fingers in Steve's hair, and pulled.
Steve bit his lip but a moan still made its way out; he had to move, had to find a way to get closer, needed to touch every inch of Bucky that he could. "Move, just a second," he said, before he lay back flat on the bed and pulled Bucky down on top of him. "Didn't—didn't wanna hit my head, that'd be-"
But his words were cut short when Bucky tugged his hair again. Steve's mouth was occupied, thankfully, with moving along the line of Bucky's shoulder. His hips jerked up against Bucky's, though, and he could feel—oh, God, and he might've said that out loud but he didn't care. All Steve cared about just then was feeling Bucky's cock hard against his own again, the fabric of their pants making it so much worse, but yet so much better all at once.
Bucky muffled a moan against Steve's chest, fingers curling tighter in his hair. The strangled 'Oh, God' that escaped Steve's lips made him shiver. God, his voice. But they had to be quiet... Bucky kissed Steve with bruising force as he reached between them and pressed his palm against Steve's cock, through his pants. He rolled his hips down, shoving his hand down harder and he groaned into Steve's mouth at the added pressure on his own dick. Quiet, quiet, they had to be quiet, but God did Bucky want to hear every singly noise he could pull from Steve...
Steve dug his fingers into Bucky's back, he gripped at him so hard. The way Bucky's hand and his cock were caught against him, shoved together by the movement of their hips...the few times he'd ever tried to get himself off had never been like this, never even close. But there hadn't been the weight of Bucky lying on top of him, the vibrations of muffled noises held between them every time their mouths met. It could hardly be called a kiss with the way they were only just breathing, harsh and shallow, teeth clacking together now and again.
Oh, and if only they didn't have to do this so quick and quiet, it'd probably be even better— though he couldn't possibly imagine how.
The sharp points of pain in his back where Steve dug his fingers in sent sparks of heat straight to his groin. There wasn't time to take this slow, there wasn't really time to do this at all, but no way in hell was Bucky stopping then. He mumbled something that might have been 'hold on a second'. He sat up and scooted back along Steve's legs so he could fumble with Steve's belt until he got it undone, and the button and the zipper followed. He moved again, and said in a rush, "Legs, up." as he tugged Steve's pants down his hips.
Steve did as he was told as head fell back on the pillow so that all he could see was the dark green tarp above him. His heartbeat was too fast, his breath was too shallow, his cock was too hard; he could barely stand it, to the point where he had to bite down on his lip to keep from making too much noise.
His pants were gone; and he shivered a little as the cool evening air hit his bare skin. Drawing his knees up halfway, all he could say was, "You gonna get back over here or are you gonna leave a fella waiting all night?" in a breathless voice.
Bucky let Steve wait a few moments longer as he took in the sight of him, spread out on the small bunk. How many times had he envisioned just that, or more? The Steve in his daydreaming had always been the scrawny little thing he'd know, of course, and instead... Well, it wasn't better, or not as good; it was Steve, and that meant more than appearances.
"Thought you were the patient one, Steve," Bucky said, the buckle on his belt jangling as he shoved his pants down around his ankles. He kicked them away, and for a moment the only sound was their breathing and the soft clink of Bucky's dog tags as they moved with his chest.
The cool air made him shiver, and that was all the incentive he needed to kneel on the bunk again and settle over Steve, between his raised knees, but not touching, not yet. His cock throbbed, hard enough now it almost hurt but he wanted one more moment to take in the sight of Steve under him... He let himself drop, grinding down hard against Steve, and muffled the shout that threatened to burst from his own mouth with a harsh, biting kiss.
A reply was on the tip of his tongue, but Bucky's mouth beat him to the punch, closing over Steve's own as he moved back on top and rolled his hips. Now there was nothing between them, just skin on skin; the only thing left were Bucky's dog tags around his neck and trapped between them.
It was better than anything he'd imagined for all these years; the way he could feel the hard muscles in Bucky's thighs as he rolled his hips down against Steve, again and again, his grip tight as he tugged—no, pulled at Steve's hair. Bucky was all heat, and the only time his lips weren't on Steve's own was when they had to breathe. They had to keep quiet, Steve knew, but he wanted to kiss Bucky all over, even wanted to bite at his skin until the only bruises there were the ones Steve had made.
Bucky's dogtags stung as a rough snag on them dug into his chest where he was pressed against Steve, but he didn't care to let go of Steve's hair long enough to try and get them off. The strangled, cut off noises Steve made with every tug on his hair and every rock of their hips... Bucky wished he could hear what Steve would sound like if they didn't have to hold back. Maybe eventually he'd find out. He wanted to find out, wanted to learn every single noise, know and taste every inch of skin...
He finally let go of Steve's hair with one hand to reach down and dig his fingers into Steve's thigh, drawing his leg further up, crushing them closer together. The guttural groan he failed to muffle entirely was likely too loud; he bit into Steve's shoulder to stifle the next. He couldn't breathe, all of him wound too tightly for even that, and God if he lasted much longer it would either be a miracle, or a curse, because he wasn't sure how much more of the pressure he could take.
Bucky was everywhere, it seemed, his teeth biting into Steve's shoulder, hand gripping at his leg to maneuver Steve exactly where he wanted him so that their cocks slid against one another just so. He was almost afraid he'd pass out. But he wasn't small and sickly and frail anymore, and he inhaled deeply before curling a hand around the back of Bucky's neck.
"Ngh-" he stuttered against Bucky's lips. "Not—not g'nna-" The heat had gone all the way down to his cock and he was getting light-headed, but not what he'd thought before. No, this was how it'd been the last time Steve had tried to get himself off. His rhythm became erratic as thrust his hips up against Bucky's faster than before. There it was, then, the sense of something building up inside him, and he knew he wouldn't last much longer...
Bucky dug his nails into Steve's thigh, struggling to keep his grip on sweat-slick skin. Steve moved against him, jerky and erratic, the rhythm from before lost, not that Bucky was much better off. He could feel the coiling heat and tension...
He reached between them, letting go of Steve's leg, and wrapped his hand around both their cocks, Steve jerking up against his palm at the touch. He pulled hard at Steve's hair and panted into his mouth as his hand worked them both just as fast and erratic as they were moving.
And then Steve's hips jerked up one last time, coming all over Bucky's hand and cock, all over them both...He had to hold onto Bucky as tight as he could, muffling what small, short sounds came out of his mouth. The only coherent thought that cut through the haze in his head was 'how the hell are we gonna clean this shit up', but then Bucky was thrusting against him still, and even in his dazed state Steve grabbed him by the hips and brought them down hard so that his already-softening cock rubbed against Bucky, who was still hard, and Steve knew he was almost there, just a little more...
Steve's hands probably dug bruises into Bucky's shoulders where he held on as he came, and the tight grip on his hips he would probably feel the next day, but none of that really mattered. Not when Bucky could feel Steve still moving against him, and he was being pulled down so hard it almost hurt, but the pain was good, it wound him tighter, and tighter...
Then Steve made a noise when Bucky accidentally squeezed his cock, and that was it; the wire had snapped, and Bucky came with a muffled cry that Steve swallowed, and Bucky could feel every muscle he had tensing and spasming as he fell in a heap against Steve's chest, breathing in rough, short gasps.
Their labored breathing was the only sound in the tent, then; to Steve it felt as though he'd just run ten miles and back again, both utterly exhausted and physically invigorated all at the same time. Bucky was a heavy weight on top of him but Steve didn't mind—he liked it, actually, how Bucky's hair was soft where it brushed against his cheek, how warm he still was, how familiar he was to Steve from sleeping side by side so often over the years.
"That was..." he murmured. "Wow."
Bucky let out a quiet, breathless chuckle. "That's a word for it." He turned his head to press slow, lazy kisses over Steve's chest. They really shouldn't have been indulging like that, Bucky ought to have been getting dressed and leaving as quick as he could before someone came to check on Steve and found them tangled together like this...
He didn't move from where he was laying. Steve was solid and warm, and familiar, and after what Bucky had gone through, with HYDRA, that was exactly what he needed. He chuckled again as a thought came to him, and he mumbled against Steve's skin, "Remember that dance I wanted you to go to? You said no girl would dance with you anyway, and I told you I'd do it, if I had to? Better late than never, I guess."
"Yeah, I remember." Steve turned his head toward Bucky as he closed his eyes. "Glad I waited long enough till..." He let the sentence hang in the air, not sure which of the dozen things he wanted to say was most important. Bucky's hands weren't shaking as much anymore and he seemed more relaxed than he had since they'd gotten out of that HYDRA compound. "How're you feeling?"
"Told you before, I'm fine, pal." It struck him as funny, for no particular reason, saying 'pal' in their current state, and Bucky had to stifle a sudden laugh against Steve's jaw. When he collected himself, he asked, "'Til what?" He could get used to the way it felt to have his lips drag over stubble when he spoke.
Steve let out a soft sigh. "Not sure. Guess that it took till now for everything to...click in place, if that makes sense. I probably never would've had the nerve to do anything about it, especially not...before."
"I wouldn't have." Bucky knew that, he would have let it lie, and gone on pining, if it hadn't been for being so very very afraid of losing Steve, of never having the guts to do something while he was still around. "But after everything that happened, I figured I had to do something about it. Even if it was just once." Because for all he'd known, Steve could have clocked him after that first kiss, and had Bucky thrown out on his ass. Not that he thought Steve would do that, but there'd been no guarantee his response would be favorable.
"Yeah...never pegged you for a...you know." Calling him a queer didn't seem right—he hated the word, hated how it nearly came out of his mouth so easily. Steve wouldn't consider himself to be either, but considering what they'd just done? Bucky liked girls too, though, and so did Steve; so what did that make them? "Since you've always been real popular with the gals."
Bucky nearly cringed at the unspoken 'queer' he could hear, there. How many times had he heard the other men muttering about 'them' amongst each other when they thought a pair was a little too friendly, or when inevitably, a handful of men wouldn't go out, when they had leave near civilization, and drown themselves in booze and whores (where that sort of company was available at least). It had made his gut twist every time, stinging little reminders of why he'd never said a word to Steve, and never could.
"They're popular with me, too," he said. Girls were great, and Bucky had even almost fancied himself in love a time or two, but it had never lasted, and none of them (not even the time or two he'd been brave enough to try for male partners) had ever been Steve. "Doesn't mean I have to only like them."
"Even if I wasn't like that, too," Steve said, "it wouldn't bother me. You know that. I don't...all I care about is what kind of a person someone is." Other folks might think it blasphemous and disgusting but Steve had never—God told them to love thy neighbor, after all.
He turned so that they were both lying on their sides, Steve's front against Bucky's back. Wasn't fair, he thought—you couldn't help loving who you loved, and how was it worse than the men who slept with working girls when they had wives back home? "All I know is that right now? This is...this is good. More than good." Words weren't his forte—that was drawing and painting and art—but he hoped Bucky understood what he really meant, all the same.
Bucky reached behind him to card his fingers through Steve's hair again, briefly. "Yeah, this is good. Dunno what we're gonna do now, but this is good." If this was a one time thing, Bucky would be disappointed, but not surprised. It was dangerous, after all, what they'd be getting into, and he wouldn't blame anyone for not wanting to risk everything, like that. Especially not Steve, when he'd finally gotten everything he wanted.
"So what happens now?" Steve murmured, resting his chin on Bucky's shoulder. It was so comfortable he was afraid he might fall asleep—bad, bad idea, he reminded himself. "Because...I don't want this to be a one-off thing, Buck. I don't think I could do that." It was a risk, a huge risk, for both of them, but Steve would take it for Bucky. He'd do anything for Bucky.
Bucky rolled over, dislodging Steve's chin from where it rested, and he kissed him, gentler than he had before. Kiss-bruised and swollen was a good look on Steve's lips... "I don't either. This is nuts, and stupid, and we're probably gonna get ourselves in trouble, but I don't wanna just leave it..." Maybe they could find a way; after all, plenty of the other men managed their affairs with the nurses or the women with the WAC without being caught. Most might have managed it in secret too, if they didn't feel the need to boast. While landing Captain America might have been reason to, Bucky would be keeping it to himself. "Think we can handle this?"
"We're smart guys, we'll figure it out." He paused. "Well. Reasonably smart, anyway." He ran his fingers through Bucky's short, soft hair. "But yeah. I think we can handle it." Maybe they were stupid after all for even thinking about trying, but Steve didn't want to let go of this, either.
They laid there for a while longer, curled together exchanging lazy, lingering touches and kisses, until sense got the better of Bucky. He sat up, slowly, reluctant to pull out of Steve's arms, and murmured, "Can't stay like this, someone could come looking for you..." he climbed over Steve, and started to dig under the bunk for his clothes, where he'd kicked them in his haste earlier. "Maybe when we get home, you'll take me up on that offer to move into my place."
Steve grabbed one of his shirts from his laundry bag and used the inside to wipe himself clean. Then he picked his pants from the floor and started getting himself dressed, making sure he didn't look as though he'd just, well, had sex. With his best friend. "Yeah, maybe," he replied, grinning at Bucky. "It'd make rent cheaper, at least."
Bucky left his pants hanging low on his hips, belt and button still undone as he turned back to Steve and bent over to kiss him, long and slow. "I gotta say I wasn't even thinking about the rent as one of the benefits." He nipped at Steve's bottom lip before he pulled away again, to find his shirt.
When he dug it out, he pulled it over his head, then tried to make his hair look less like someone had been pulling on it. He'd have to leave soon, go back to his own tent, but he fixed his appearance as slowly as he could.
"Oh, really? I had no idea. I just thought you wanted someone to split with." Steve gave Bucky's shoulder a small shove with his own before sitting down to put his boots back on. He didn't want Bucky to go, not yet, but there was no other option if they wanted to make this work.
Bucky finished the last of his straightening, and sighed. He was out of ways to waste time, and if he stayed, they could well end up pushing their luck. They couldn't afford that. "You know where I'll be," he said. He leaned down to kiss Steve one last time. Then once more. And once more again (and a fourth, fifth, and sixth time in rapid succession). "See you at dinner, Captain."
He gave Steve a crooked smile as he stood up straight and turned away. He squared his shoulders and pushed through the tent flaps to step back into reality. It'd have been nice to turn right back around and go back, but he couldn't. But there was always the next time, and now he knew there would be one, and that... Well that would be enough, for now.