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It's A Funny Story...

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Bucky sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled his sneakers on, still unable to believe what had just happened and tried not to grin too hard. Sam was right, he thought. There’s a first time for everything. Behind him, Grant was pulling on his sweatpants.

“Sorry to kick you out but I’ve got an appointment in the morning and it’s already 2am,” he said to Bucky apologetically.

“No worries, man,” Bucky said and stood, still a little light-headed. “So um, thanks for making my first ever Grindr experience a good one, I guess?”

Grant laughed softly. God, he was hot. Bucky still couldn’t believe his luck. He never did stuff like this and having a one-off night of much-needed sex (and cuddling - there had been a surprising amount of cuddling) with a six-foot-two stacked guy who looked like he’d just walked in off a shoot on Men’s Health Magazine was something he would have balked at a few months ago, purely because he never thought there was a chance in hell of it ever happening. He wasn’t looking forward to Sam’s I told you so but Bucky had spent the better part of three weeks agonizing over whether or not to just go on Grindr and have some random sex. It had been a while for him and he easily could have gone without but he missed just being close to someone. The deal had finally been cemented for him when he had found Grant’s profile. His picture had been of him bare-chested and smiling at the camera and while his abs had definitely been a factor in Bucky making up his mind, the smile had done it more. It was almost shy with just a hint of self-deprecating cringe and there had been a sense of relief that someone else found this whole thing almost as ridiculous as he did. Also, Grant hadn’t just been confident and amazing in bed, he seemed like a pretty decent guy too and oddly sweet in a lot of ways Bucky hadn’t expected. He wouldn’t have said no to seeing Grant again but it had been agreed that this was a one-time-thing for both of them.

“Do you think you’ll do this again?” Bucky asked any way. He couldn’t help it.

Grant ran a hand through his blond hair. “I think I’m going to be deleting my Grindr account. For a while at least.” He watched Bucky shyly as he picked up his bag. “I had a really great time.”

Bucky grinned. “Me too. Well, we might end up bumping into each other again seeing as how we both live in Brooklyn.”

Grant smiled back, his cheeks and neck still a delightful shade of fucked-out pink. “That wouldn’t be the worst thing.”

They walked through Grant’s apartment and hesitated at the door. Should Bucky kiss him again? There had been a lot of kissing but he didn’t want to make things awkward so he held out his hand instead.

“I have no idea how to say goodbye so how about a manly handshake?”

Grant laughed again and shook Bucky’s hand. “Take care, Bucky.”

Bucky left Grant’s apartment building and headed home. He was only six blocks away and it was a cool, clear night. He grinned to himself. It had been a heck of a night.

*

“Well, look what the cat dragged in,” Sam drawled from the kitchen table the next morning. “I’m assuming you had a good night from that dumb smile?”

Bucky looked a little worse for wear with his bed hair but he still couldn’t stop grinning. “It was incredible.” He sat down at the table and helped himself to some coffee from the press in front of Sam. “The guy was amazing and the sex was just...jeez, it was filthy.”

Sam scowled. “Yeah, I don’t need details. But I told you so.”

“It’s not like it’ll happen again but I needed that.” Bucky took a gulp of coffee. “And purely because you said I told you so I’m going to give you all of the details.”

“Buck, I will literally give you twenty dollars not to.” Sam took out his wallet and threw a twenty onto the table. “The guy was hot, you’re happy, I don’t need to know anything about his dick.”

“It was big,” Bucky said and swiped the twenty away before Sam could snatch it back. “That was hands down the best sex I’ve ever had.”

Sam took his mug to the sink. “And now you can shut up about it forever.” His phone pinged in his pocket and he read the text. “I’m meeting my friend Steve for brunch but he’s running late. Want to take a shower and come with? He just moved back to New York from Washington D.C and he’s like super shy. I promised to introduce him to some people.”

“Sure, now that I have some money.” Bucky waved the twenty and sauntered off to have a shower.

He hummed as he washed his hair, wondering whether or not to cut it short again. He grinned as he replayed some of the choice memories from last night but then cranked up the cold water before he could get carried away. The thing was though, as great as the sex with Grant had been, Bucky had received a much needed boost of confidence in himself too. He’d been in a bit of a rut for the last year or so, constantly questioning the direction his life was heading, feeling for all the world like he was hung up in the mud and spinning his wheels. Sex with a handsome stranger hadn’t solved that but he felt happier, if only for today at least. A man he’d met through an app had found him sexy and made him feel good about himself.

He got out of the shower and got dressed, his hair still a little damp. Sam was putting on his shoes in the living room.

“God, I feel so good,” Bucky said.

Sam sighed. “I think I prefer grouchy Bucky to sexed-up Bucky.”

Bucky pulled a face and rooted around for his Keds. Sam’s phone pinged again.

“Jeez, looks like I was only one not getting any last night,” he grumbled as he read the text. “TMI.”

“Who else is getting some?”

“Never mind but like you, they can’t keep their thoughts to themselves either. Come on, I’m starving.”

*

The diner was a place three blocks away that served, in Bucky’s humble opinion, the best bacon pancakes in the world. He had forgone manners and was already wolfing down a plate while Sam waited for his friend to arrive.

“You are disgusting,” Sam said.

“What can I say,” Bucky said, deliberately being more disgusting by talking with his mouth full. “Sex makes me ravenous.”

Sam grunted and held his menu up in front of his face.

Bucky had finished and was sipping his coffee when Sam smiled at the direction of the door and got up. “And here he is!” he proclaimed.

Bucky helped himself to a piece of toast from Sam’s plate and decided not to intrude on the hugs and backslaps and excited greetings going on behind him.

“Jeez, look at you!” Sam was cooing. “You look great! Hey, come meet my room mate.”

Bucky turned, his mouth full of toast as Sam stood with his friend. It was a good thing he wasn’t in the process of swallowing because he probably would have choked as soon as he looked up at the tall, stacked blond guy next to Sam.

“Steve, this is James.”

He knew Steve. And Steve knew him. They stared at each other for a beat before Steve – or rather Grant – turned bright red.

“Huhn,” Bucky said through his toast.

Steve looked as though he was about to dissolve and blow away. “Hello,” he said, his voice high.

“Hello.”

Sam watched the two of them, confused. “Okay, well, I ordered for you,” he said to Steve and slid back into the booth. “You still like that granola crap, right?”

Steve nodded and sat down slowly, occasionally glancing up at Bucky. Bucky tapped his mug. When he’d said they might see each other around, he hadn’t quite meant the very next day and in the presence of his room mate. This was...awkward.

“Steve just got to town,” Sam said, forking up his eggs and watching them again.

Bucky recalled seeing some boxes in the living room of Grant – no, no, Steve’s – apartment last night on the way to the bedroom. He made a humming noise.

Steve was still a shade of red that Bucky was sure he’d had in a Crayola set when he was a kid. “Yeah, uh. Yeah.”

Bucky just nodded and looked at his empty plate, jiggling his leg under the table.

Sam finally put his fork down. “Okay, what gives? Do you two know each other or something? The vibe here is really weird.”

Bucky cleared his throat. “Yeah, we kind of know each other.”

Sam looked to Steve for an explanation but Steve was determined not to meet Sam’s eyes. “But how would you two have...” Sam stopped and his eyes widened. “No. No!” He started to laugh hysterically.

A few people at other tables nearly looked over as Sam laughed. Bucky sunk lower in his seat.

Sam pointed at Steve. “Steve is the best sex you ever had?” he screeched at Bucky.

“Sam, for fuck’s sake,” Bucky said through his teeth.

Sam pointed at Bucky. “He’s the guy that made you come five times?” he brayed at Steve.

Steve put his hand over his eyes. “Sam…”

Sam continued to laugh as their server came over to the table with Steve’s order of granola and French Toast. “I’m sorry sir but could you keep things, you know, PG-13 please?”

Sam straightened up and managed to control himself a little. “I’m so sorry.”

The server left and Sam started to snigger again, quieter this time. “Grant. Grant! You used your middle name on Grindr? You used a fake name?” He started to giggle again.

Steve looked around helplessly. “I panicked, okay? I didn’t know whether to use my real or not or...or...he told me his name was Bucky!” He pointed at Bucky.

“My name is Bucky. People only call me James when they’re being assholes,” Bucky said and kicked Sam under the table.

“Oh,” Steve said.

“I couldn’t have written this,” Sam said, wiping the tears from his eyes. “This is literally the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

Bucky’s good mood evaporated. It was funny, deep down he knew that. It was the kind of situation that he should have found funny but he just didn’t. He’d had an incredible night for reasons more than just sex and now, looking at Steve and the mortified way he was eating his toast, it felt tainted and weird. Now Steve wasn’t Random Hot Guy Grant any more. He was Sam’s best friend and was now technically in Bucky’s life too. They wouldn’t be able to see each other without thinking about the time they fucked each other into next week. He stared miserably down into his coffee. He dug out the twenty Sam had given him out of his pocket and tossed it on the table.

“I’ve got stuff to do. Nice meeting you,” he said to Steve and Sam cackled again.

Bucky scowled and left the diner. He thought back to how Grant – no, shit, Steve – had said that bumping into him again wouldn’t be the worst thing ever.

Yeah, right.

*

Bucky was in his room when Sam came back later that afternoon. He huffed when Sam knocked on his door.

“Go away,” Bucky said.

“Oh, come on. Don’t be a grouchy asshole.” His door opened and sure enough, Sam still looked like he’d won the lottery. “What are the chances, man? It’s funny!”

“It’s not,” Bucky said. “We weren’t supposed to see each other again, at least not like this.”

“What do you mean?”

Bucky just shook his head and dropped the book he’d been pretending to read to the floor. “Nothing,” he mumbled. How was he supposed to even try to explain that a night of meaningless sex had been meaningful to him?

Sam followed him out into the kitchen.

“Look, I won’t poke fun any more, okay? Just what are the chances? This was totally out of character for Steve - he never does stuff like this. I mean never! I just found it funny that the one time he goes on Grindr for a random fuck, it’s with my room mate.”

Bucky winced at random fuck. “Can we drop it now, please?”

Sam held up his hands. “Done and done. But just so you know, he will be coming over here. He’s my best friend and I’m sure as hell not letting this get in the way of things, no matter how uncomfortable it makes either of you feel. You’re both big boys. You can deal with it.”

Bucky contemplated throwing a mug at Sam but decided it wouldn’t be fair to the mug. “I hate you. I just want you to know that.”

Sam smiled wide. “I love you, too.”

*

It was three weeks before Steve finally did come over to the apartment.

And of course it was when Sam had decided to run out to the grocery store for a few last minute things.

Of course.

Bucky opened the apartment door and Steve was standing there, as gorgeous as ever. He was clutching a bottle of wine and swallowed nervously before smiling.

“H-hi.”

The slight stutter hit Bucky right in the everything and he stepped aside to let Steve in. “Hey. Sam just went to get some beers.”

Steve walked into the apartment and watched as Bucky closed the door. “It’s nice to see you again.”

Bucky ran a hand through his hair. “Look, I’m sorry about the whole thing in the diner. I was just caught off-guard and then Sam pissed me off by making such a big of it...”

Steve shook his head. “No, it’s fine. I was stunned too but I guess I can see the funny side of it now.” Something in his voice didn’t ring quite true at that though but he smiled again. “I kind of have a track record of things happening like this when it comes to...” He stumbled slightly, trying to find the right word.

“Hook-ups?” Bucky said.

“Uh, no. Just...with people I...have relations with. I mean relationships. Not that we had a...I mean, I’m terrible with people. As you can probably see.” He clenched his jaw and Bucky almost laughed.

Dammit, why did he have to be so adorable?

“I can assure you that you aren’t,” Bucky said.

The front door opened and Sam walked in. “Ah, I thought it smelled awkward out in the hall.”

Steve sighed and Bucky glared and Sam laughed.

“Come on, I’m starving,” Sam said and walked over to the kitchen. “Let’s cook steaks and drink and you can both pretend that you aren’t thinking about each other’s dicks.”

Bucky took his sneaker off and threw it at Sam.

“Hey! Watch the beers!”

*

Dinner was good and Sam actually shut up about the whole Grindr thing and it was a very pleasant evening. Bucky was trying his very best not to think about how Steve looked without any clothes on.

“What do you do?” Bucky asked when Steve mentioned work.

“Ah, I’m a personal trainer.”

Bucky should have known. “Of course you are.”

Sam snorted. “Don’t let that fool you; Steve’s one of those lucky bastards that manages to get perfect abs just by sitting down.”

“No I don’t,” Steve grumbled. “I’m actually thinking about getting away from the whole personal trainer thing.”

“Oh yeah? What do you want to do instead?” Bucky asked.

Steve looked very lost for a moment. “I don’t know,” he said quietly.

Sam patted Steve on the shoulder. “Well, isn’t that one of the reasons you moved back to New York? To figure all of this out?”

“You lived here before?” Bucky asked.

Steve nodded. “Raised in Brooklyn. I lived in Bushwick until I was twenty-one.”

“No shit! I grew up in Crown Heights.”

Sam rolled his eyes. “Oh great. Now I get to hear constantly about how Brooklyn is the be-all and end-all from two people.”

Bucky smiled and glanced at Steve. “It is though.”

Steve smiled back. “It totally is.”

They chatted about sports and movies and Sam’s recent promotion and then Steve was leaving.

“Thanks for dinner,” he said at the door. “I had a nice evening. Bye, Bucky.”

Bucky was clearing the table and gave Steve a wave. “Don’t be a stranger,” he said without thinking but then thought he really meant it.

Sam and Steve hugged and then Steve was gone. Sam closed the door and started to help Bucky in the kitchen. “That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

“He seems like a good guy,” Bucky said, hoping that Sam wouldn’t make any more Grindr jokes.

“Steve’s the best. I’m so happy he decided to move back here.”

“It’s weird...” Bucky began.

“What?”

“He was so confident and sure of himself when we...you know. It doesn’t match the Steve I’ve met the last two times.”

Sam shook his head. “That’s what I’ve been telling you! The whole Grindr thing is so out of character for him. Maybe he was trying to re-invent himself or something and it backfired.” A look of realization crossed over Sam’s face as soon as he said it. “Ah, dammit. Now I feel bad for ribbing him so hard.”

“But not for me?” Bucky said with a glare in Sam’s direction.

Sam leaned against the sink. “One of the reasons Steve moved back here was because he had this one big relationship that ended like two years ago and staying in D.C wasn’t helping him move on. I guess you were his attempt to try and finally put all of that to rest in some small way.”

“Right. And he wasn’t my attempt to make me feel better about myself,” Bucky muttered as he shut the dishwasher and wiped down the counter top.

Sam was quiet for a moment. “I’m sorry. I honestly didn’t know it was a big thing for you.”

When Bucky saw how sincere he was, he couldn’t be mad any more. He sighed. “It doesn’t matter. The whole thing is done. Thanks for dinner and the beers.” He said goodnight and headed to bed.

As he was staring up at his ceiling and trying to will himself to sleep he kind of wished that he hadn’t met Steve. Grant had been a wonderful fantasy come to life and even if they had never met up ever again, the slight thrill of maybe would have been there. Bucky felt bad for thinking this, of course. Steve was a decent person and his room mate’s best friend; he wasn’t a toy.

“What a fucking mess,” Bucky muttered.

*

He didn’t see much of Steve over the next few weeks, just fleeting glances and greetings as he and Sam went out. Bucky was always invited but he begged off, purely because work was so busy and for once he was actually starting to feel useful there and enjoy his job.

“You can’t avoid him forever,” Sam said when Bucky turned down drinks and pool at their favorite bar one Friday night.

“I’m not avoiding him,” Bucky said. “I just got home from a ten hour shift. I want a shower and food and sleep.”

Sam wasn’t convinced. “Whatever you say.”

Bucky gave him the finger and went to stand under water as hot as he could stand for twenty minutes. He managed to eat some pasta and before unceremoniously falling asleep in front of Netflix. He woke up three and a half episodes into The Haunting Of Hill House with no idea what was going on and dragged himself to bed.

The next morning, he stopped dead on his way to the kitchen for some coffee because Steve was asleep on the couch. It was too small for him and his six-two, 240 pound bulk was squished into an uncomfortable-looking foetal position. Bucky grunted.

Sam’s bedroom door opened he wandered into the hall, rubbing one eye and groaning softly.

“Why is Steve here?” Bucky whispered.

“Sorry. He got wasted last night and it was easier to bring him back here than try and carry him back to his place. You made the right choice bowing out - it wasn’t pretty.”

They crept to the kitchen where Sam put on some coffee.

“What happened?” Bucky asked, keeping his voice down.

Sam sighed and spoke in a low voice. “He’s all over the place, he’s confused. He left his life behind in D.C and now he’s panicking. He needed to leave though and start fresh but you know how it is.”

“Poor guy,” Bucky muttered. He wondered how much of Grant Steve had really wanted to become and how that all got screwed up the minute they met that morning in the diner.

There was movement and a groan from the couch and they watched as a dishevelled blond head slowly rose into view. Steve looked around confused and then saw them both in the kitchen, watching him.

“Good morning, Sunshine,” Sam said.

“The sun died last night and now everything is black,” Steve croaked.

Bucky barked out a laugh and got an extra mug. “Do you take your coffee like you take your suns?”

“Yes please,” Steve said and sank back down out of view.

Bucky brought the mug into the living room and put it on the table in front of Steve and started to sing. “Black hole sun, won’t you come...”

Steve winced and closed his eyes. “I love that song but you’re too loud. My head...”

“Sorry,” Bucky said with a smirk and Sam sat down in the other arm chair.

“This is what wrecked Steve looks like. Aren’t you glad my room mate got to witness this, Rogers?”

Steve snorted. “Doesn’t matter. He’s seen everything else.”

Bucky laughed again. Okay, he liked Steve a lot more now. “I need to go and have a shower get into work for a fun Saturday shift, as much as I would love to stay. Feel better, Steve.”

Steve looked up at him and smiled, a soft, tired smile. “Thank you.”

Bucky hurried off to get ready. When he came back into the living room, Steve had left.

*

Suddenly, they were all busy with work and Bucky barely saw Sam over the next couple of weeks, let alone Steve. He would be lying if he said that every time he arrived home in the evenings, he hoped that Steve and Sam would be sitting in front of the TV or having dinner. He would also be lying if he said he hadn’t double double checked that Grant’s profile was no longer up on Grindr a few times.

Sam was working stupid hours at his job (and complaining constantly even though Bucky knew he really loved it) so when Bucky’s work eased off, he had a lot of free evenings to himself. He could have called up friends to go to dinner or out for drinks, but he secretly enjoyed being a hermit. He was contemplating what kind of take-out to order and queuing up some trash on Netflix one such evening when there was a knock on the door.

Steve was standing outside with a couple of plastic bags full of great smelling food. “Hey, your neighbour buzzed me in.”

Bucky blinked. “Oh. Okay. Um, Sam didn’t tell you he was working late?”

Steve groaned and put the bags down. He pulled his phone out of his pocket along with a charger lead. “My phone died about an hour ago. I thought I’d just bring it and charge it here. He probably either called or messaged me. Shit.”

Bucky shrugged as nonchalantly as he could, eyeing the food on the floor and resolutely not eyeing Steve. “Well, I’m starving and I was going to get take-out anyway. Want to watch some crap with me?”

Steve’s face lit up a little too much before it settled into an accepting smile. “Okay, why not?”

Bucky got some plates and cutlery from the kitchen while Steve spread the containers on the table. “Is Thai good?”

“Oh, hell yes,” Bucky said, tucking two beers into his armpit.

“Project Runway?” Steve said with a grin, nodding at the TV.

“Yes and I’m not apologizing for it.”

“No need. I love this show. I want to marry Tim Gunn.”

Bucky grinned and sat down next to Steve. “Me too! He totally looks like Steve Martin and Bryan Cranston’s lovechild.”

“Oh my god, yes,” Steve said, wide-eyed.

They ate and watched Project Runway and Bucky was liking Steve more and more. Some of the confidence that had been there on their Grindr Night (as Bucky had now christened it) seemed to be a lot more present and effortless, probably because Steve wasn’t overanalysing everything he was doing.

Bucky didn’t realize he had been staring until Steve flicked a chopstick wrapper at him.

“What? Have I got something on my face?”

Bucky shook his head. “No. Just your...face.” He winced.

Steve laughed. “Nothing on my face but my face?”

Bucky threw a balled-up napkin at him. “Thanks for dinner. I’ll grab you a twenty before you leave.”

“Nah, it’s on me. I really needed this tonight, just to have fun,” Steve said.

“How’s the whole job thing going?” Bucky asked.

Steve made a frustrated noise and waved a hand. “I don’t want to talk about jobs, let’s talk about something else.”

“Like what?” Bucky asked.

“Like how -” Steve stopped abruptly and turned pink.

“Like how what? Come on, spit it out.”

Steve rubbed the back of his neck. “Um, I was going to ask you how you got that scar on the inside of your thigh.”

Bucky could feel his own face flush a little too. “Oh. Okay.” Steve only knew about that scar because his face had been pretty close to it for a decent amount of time on Grindr Night. “When I was fifteen I tried to jump a wire fence and kind of impaled myself on it instead.”

Steve’s eyes went wide. “Oh god, really?”

“Yeah, it was pretty messy. Your turn: How did you get that scar on your stomach?” He raised an eyebrow at Steve.

Steve glanced at Bucky, amused, then at the floor. “For a very brief amount of time I wanted to be a skateboarder. The first time I attempted a ramp, I wiped out and landed on some broken glass.”

“Youch.”

They both sat silently for a moment, the memory of that night very palpable between them. Bucky wanted to say something funny about it but couldn’t think of anything clever enough. He looked up at Steve who was watching him intently.

Bucky would never be quite certain who made the first move but suddenly they were kissing and all of the awkwardness that had been hanging in the air around them was gone. Steve kissed exactly how he had that night – soft and sure and with just the right amount of tongue – but with more passion this time and Bucky happily reciprocated. He pushed Steve down onto the couch and sprawled on top of him, one foot braced on the floor because Sam’s shitty furniture was too small for the two of them.

“Oh god,” Steve gasped into Bucky’s mouth, “I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.”

Bucky ran one hand down Steve’s side, feeling the wonderful contours of his body, coming to rest on his hip. “Me too.”

They made quick work of taking each other’s shirts off and Bucky didn’t care about anything – their previous night together, the fact that Steve was Sam’s best friend and that this could go south really quickly – because all he wanted was Steve. Steve smiled up at him, hands roaming Bucky’s chest and then sat up to kiss him again, pulling Bucky fully into his lap.

“Wait,” Bucky said, pulling away and Steve looked momentarily devastated. Bucky smiled and kissed him again quickly. “No, I just mean let’s go to my room. As much as it would serve Sam right to catch us all naked and sweaty together, I don’t want any interruptions.”

Steve’s smile returned and was slightly more wicked than it had been. In one smooth move that Bucky couldn’t figure out, he was suddenly standing with Bucky’s legs hitched around his waist, holding him as if he weighed nothing.

“What the fuck? How did you...”

Steve grinned and gave Bucky’s lips a lick. “It’s my party trick.”

“You didn’t show me that before,” Bucky said, his voice low with want.

They kissed hotly as Steve manoeuvred his way to Bucky’s room only to misjudge the door frame, slamming Bucky’s arm into it. Bucky clenched his teeth in pain

“Oh god, I’m so sorry,” Steve said. “Are you alright?” He was still holding Bucky around him.

“Yeah, just my funny bone,” Bucky groaned. “Take my mind off of it.”

Steve entered Bucky’s bedroom and kicked the door closed behind him. He lay Bucky gently down on his bed, climbed on top of him and started to kiss him softly again. “Better?” he said softly.

Bucky stared up at him, the word smitten rolling around in his head. “Be much better if we both had our jeans off.”

Steve smiled and then brought one hand to Bucky face, stroking his cheek gently with his thumb. “I want this. I mean, I really want this. I just want to make sure that...”

Bucky shut him up with another searing kiss. “Let’s worry about that after, okay?”

Steve stood up, leaving Bucky sprawled on his back and started to unzip his jeans. “Okay.”

Bucky made a mewling sound that he knew he’d be embarrassed by later as Steve’s jeans dropped to the floor but he didn’t care because Steve was going commando and Bucky was happier than he’d ever been. Not just by the sight of Steve standing gorgeous and adorable and naked in front of him, but because he liked Steve. Grant had been a fantasy but Steve was real. Yeah, they didn’t know each other all that well yet but there was something here. Bucky could just feel it.

“Are you alright?” Steve asked, looking down at Bucky, his blue eyes full of concern.

Bucky smiled and quickly wiggled out of his jeans. “Yeah. Yeah I am.” He held out his hand. “Come here.”

*

Bucky didn’t care what the time was. He didn’t care about anything right now. He’d just had the second best (a very very close second) sex of his life and nothing felt awkward or tense or weird. He was on his back watching as Steve, next to him and propped up on one elbow, was dreamily running one finger along Bucky’s collarbone.

“I have to ask,” Bucky said, finally breaking the most comfortable silence of his life.

“Hmm?” Steve said, continuing to run his finger slowly up to the soft skin of Bucky’s neck.

“The whole Grant thing.”

Steve groaned and buried his face in Bucky’s neck.

Bucky laughed softly. “I’m not making fun, I swear. I guess if I’d really thought about it, I would have used a fake name too. Although Bucky already sounds like a fake name.”

Steve adjusted himself so that he was resting his head on Bucky’s chest and they could talk. “Yeah, how do you get from James to Bucky?”

Bucky poked one of Steve’s hard pecs. “Don’t change the subject.”

“I was too chicken to use my own name but I also...ugh, this sounds so stupid...”

Bucky stroked Steve’s soft blond hair. “I won’t laugh, I promise.”

“I wanted to be someone different. Just for one night and I was. And it was...incredible. Grant was the me I wished I was. And then I went into that diner and Grant ran away screaming.”

Bucky found Steve’s hand and intertwined their fingers. “I’ll be honest: Grant was amazing. But...”

Steve looked up at him with those blue eyes.

Bucky smiled softly and shifted so they were face to face. “But I like Steve a lot more.”

“You do?” Steve asked.

Bucky leaned in and kissed him. “Yeah. Steve is funny and sweet and just as hot as Grant.”

“We still don’t know each other all that well. Is this too fast or…?” He didn’t seem to want to finish his sentence and Bucky knew why. He didn’t want to break the spell. Well, Bucky was sure as hell going to make sure that wouldn’t happen.

He scrambled up and adjusted the pillows so they could both sit. “Up,” he said to Steve. “We’re going to get to know each other.”

Steve smiled. “Okay.”

“Give me the abridged version of Steve Rogers.” Bucky got comfy.

“Abridged? I was born in Brooklyn, never knew my dad, love my mom more than anything – she still lives in Bushwick – went to college in D.C, met Sam, stayed in D.C and became a personal trainer.”

Bucky snorted. “Okay that was super abridged but I’ll come back for more details. I was born here, I have a sister a year younger than me and two brothers who are four years younger. They’re twins and we play soccer every other week. My folks are divorced but are still friends, I work in tech, studied here in NY and we have a summer house in Maine that is my favorite place in the whole world.”

Steve grinned. “My favorite food is clam chowder.”

“My favorite movie is The Fugitive.”

“I hate twinkies.”

“My middle name is Buchanan, hence Bucky.”

“I don’t want to be a personal trainer again. I hate working out so much. It’s not fun any more.”

Bucky raised his eyebrows. “So do something different. Get some love-handles.”

Steve laughed. “I’m cutting down to running and I uh...”

Bucky nudged him. “What?”

“I took a job as a dog walker.”

“That’s amazing!”

Steve looked pleased. “It is. I...I had a bad break-up a couple of years back and I think I decided to ignore my feelings and throw myself into work and since moving back here, it’s like everything just suddenly came rushing out. I think that’s why I went on Grindr. I just needed out of my own head for a while. But...”

“But?” Bucky asked.

“You kind of got in there instead.”

Bucky grinned and leaned in for a lazy kiss. “This is kind of ass-backward, but would you like to go on a date with me?”

Out of everything they’d just done, that was the thing to make Steve blush. “I’d love to.”

They kissed for a while longer and then Bucky turned out the lamp, the two of them snuggling sleepily together. He heard the front door open and close; Sam must have gone out with his work buddies after his shift. Bucky’s phone bleeped out a text a moment later.

SAM: SERIOUSLY????

Bucky snorted. “I think Sam found our shirts.”

*

It took a month’s worth of steady dating to convince Sam that Steve and Bucky weren’t just in it for sex. He was only fully convinced they were actually in love with each other when Bucky moved out of his apartment and in with Steve eight months later.

They were all at a party being thrown by one of Sam’s work mates. Natasha was dry and funny and they all hit it off immediately. Clint, Natasha’s slightly scruffy but pleasant boyfriend nodded at Steve and Bucky.

“So how did you guys meet?”

Steve grinned at Bucky and kissed him on the cheek and now that Bucky could see that it actually was, he said: “It’s a funny story...”