Set after Civil War.
"Steve?" The blonde man snapped out of his thoughts at Bucky's call. Said man was dripping wet, hair tangled from the cheap motel shower. They'd just broken Sam, Wanda, Clint and Pym out, and the latter two men had gone home immediately; Clint to his wife and children and Hank to his daughter. Wanda had left with a promise to keep in touch, and Steve hadn't been about to stop her. They'd at least had the sense to withdraw a ridiculously huge amount of cash from Steve's bank account (he was still trying to understand where it all came from, all he understood was that it was his) before the government seized his assets or whatever they could do now, and Natasha was on the run too, since she technically betrayed the government. She’d contacted them, and Sam was right next door.
Steve grinned wryly. "Hey Buck," he greeted, scooting over on the bed to give his friend space. The other man took up the offer, silently waiting for Steve to explain himself. "One hell of a mess we've got ourselves into."
The slightly shorter man snorted. "Since when have we not?" Steve raised a brow, waiting for an elaboration. "Let's see," Bucky started sarcastically, letting the towel rest on his shoulders, dark hair tumbling haphazardly onto the white cloth. He lifted a finger. "You getting into fights you could never win as a kid, and me getting involved." As he listed, he stuck up another finger. "Us thinking that in the twentieth century we could be queers and still have a happily ever after. Joining the war. The Howlies. Me being brainwashed by Hydra and murdering left and right, and you trying to rescue me. Oh yes," Bucky growled as Steve squirmed a little, just like back when Bucky had just saved Steve from another of Brooklyn's back alleys. Bucky would've yelled, would've shouted, would've stormed out of the house and Steve would argue back, spine ramrod straight, but Bucky'd never hit him. "Stevie," Bucky said, jolting him back to the present, "I never shoulda let you go to war."
Steve bit his lip. "I woulda gone anyway, would've found some way to get there."
"And get killed?" Bucky's voice was brittle. "I'm only glad for the serum because it kept your idiot ass alive."
"Buck - "
"Shouldn't have enlisted. Shoulda just left you tied to the bed and fed you by hand, anything to keep you home." Steve had to pretend that didn’t turn him on.
"Home's gone anyway, Buck, bombed while we were deep in enemy territory."
"Still. I never wanted you on the front lines, let alone running off on one-man rescue missions and crashing bomb-filled planes into the Atlantic." Bucky turned away and picked up the towel to rub at his hair. Steve sighed and reached out slowly for the towel. Bucky relinquished it, leaning back onto Steve's shoulder as Steve gently towelled his hair dry. "It's not just the war, now. Captain America's a felon, you've broken up with your friends, your friends on our side have family who're now in danger, Natalia's back on the run. All this for me?" Before Steve could even open his mouth, Bucky continued. "You beat up one of your best friends for me. And he deserved to kill me, I killed his parents. His shot should've sheared off my right arm, not my left."
"No," Steve moaned, imagining Bucky armless. "No." He clutched Bucky's right hand and brought it to his mouth, kissing it. "We fought over the accords, first. I was just saving you from what you didn't deserve. And I wasn't about to let Tony kill you when it was the Winter Soldier who killed his parents." Steve stroked Bucky's left shoulder, stopping at the metal stump. "Don't start on the shield either. Howard made it, so Tony was right, it didn't belong to me." He kissed the join where metal and flesh met, relishing in the way Bucky shivered. "Captain America can't be a bi man who doesn't agree with the government and is in love with a Hydra assassin. So I won't be Captain America. I'll just be plain old Steve Rogers."
"How about Steve Buchanan?" Bucky joked weakly. "God, Steve, if it’d save you from all this I'd climb right back in that damn chair and strap myself in."
"And where would I be?" Steve asked, eyes blurring slightly with tears. "I'd be back to where I was after the train, lost without you."
Bucky stayed silent for a while. "I'd walk through hell for you."
"You already did," Steve replied instantly. "If being Hydra's dog wasn't hell enough I don't know what is."
There was comfortable silence as Bucky digested the information and Steve continued to diligently run the towel through his hair. Then Bucky scrambled up inelegantly and kissed Steve, who nearly fell backwards before kissing back. It wasn't until Steve tasted the salt that he pulled back and stared at his best friend. "I love you. So, so much." Bucky croaked, eyes damp and cheeks shining with tears.
”I love you too," Steve replied easily, pulling Bucky back into his arms. "And for the record, I'd love to be Steve Buchanan, since it is possible now."
"We'll be on the run," Bucky pointed out, head buried in the crook of Steve's shoulder. "How can we get married when the government is trying to hunt us down?"
"We'll do it somehow," Steve murmured absently, fingers carding through Bucky's hair. "Nothing can stand in our way. You and me, Buck, we can get through all this together."
"Hey, how bout me?" Sam protested from the doorway. "I didn't betray the feds to be abandoned by you, Steve."
"Boys," Bucky's head whipped up and Steve nearabout jumped to attention (women were terrifying, really) when Natasha strolled in, hair straight and blonde. "One night here and then we move."
"You're blonde," Steve pointed out dumbly.
"You're about to be bearded, Rogers, so you don't get to talk about me."
Natasha grinned at him, the I've got you smile she wore after a successful interrogation. "We need better disguises than the last time, so you and your sweetheart are about to have matching facial hair."
"Wait, Steve can grow a beard now?" Bucky asked, curiosity nearabout dripping from his voice. Steve sighed, resigned, and nodded. "Ooh."
"I bet ugly," Sam called from where he was sticking to the door frame. "Cap's just not a beard person."
"I bet hot," Bucky drawled, winking at Steve, who blushed hotly. "Stevie's my ruggedly handsome boy."
Natasha shook her head. “Vanya, you’re going to have to help me hide your…” she eyed the metal stump, with stray metal still poking out of it. “No arm. Lack of arm. Arm less.” Then she grinned again. “Unarmed.”
That got them all laughing.
It was so odd; Steve should have been terrified, with everyone hunting him down and threatening to kill Bucky, with Clint and Hank trying to protect their families, with Wanda all alone in the world when she was no more than a child, and yet here was Natasha, ready to go on the run with him again, and Sam, willing to risk his life for what was right, and Bucky – with Bucky he could take on the way, whether he was small and thin and asthmatic or big and strong and healthy, because Bucky always had his six, because he was Bucky’s rock in a storm, because they weren’t just Steve Rogers and James Buchanan, they were Steve and Bucky, Steve and his Bucky, Bucky and his Steve. And together they could fix it all and make it all right again.