The bombing of Dresden had been a violent affair. The American and British newspapers were delicately erasing any suggestion of the absolute needless slaughter of innocent German civilians, and instead creating fantastical headlines such as 'Successful Allied Forces Over Nazi Germany' and 'Justice From Above'. Regardless of this, the war would soon be over, and the true villains of Germany would be punished. The SSR were doing work that the standard American and British forces could only dream of. People like Steve, Peggy, and Bucky, were forging a future that would stand for progression, and never bow to fascism.
Steve could only sigh in disgust as Bucky slapped a newspaper with one of the misleading headlines onto the breakfast table. Valentine's Day of all days- to make violence instead of peace. They only bought the papers so Peggy and Steve could sit and do the crosswords together, with Bucky taking Steve's place for the Sudoku page afterwards. These moments of peaceful and innocent intimacy seemed so lacking in recent months. Berlin was nearer and nearer to being conquered, the Nazis and Hydra would soon be ousted from the world like the plague they were. But in their Fifth Avenue New York apartment, not only could the three find refuge from the violence of the outside world, they could also find a moment to be together. They could forget hate, and create love.
War didn't allow for that kind of intimacy. And America didn't yet allow for two men and a woman to walk outside hand in hand, telling the world who they really were. So in those four walls of their living room (or as Steve pointed out several times- six- because of the arrangement of the front door and stairwell) they could be honest about themselves. Honest to themselves. And honest to each-other.
Bucky had been in love with Steve for a while when the war had started. Defending and wanting to care for your friend could be platonic of course, and it had been at first. But then he realised how jealous he was of Peggy and Steve. That night in the club when the two danced together- he in uniform- and she in a scarlet dress- Bucky had gone green with envy. He had wanted to dance with them both. The situation was easily solved of course. And how happy he was now. For now he loved two people, and they loved him back. It had only taken an honest heart-to-heart in the back of a taxi to move the relationship into that of a throuple from a couple. Every time music played, they would dance together now. Bucky was just glad vinyls weren't rationed- every other damn thing was.
Peggy found the new arrangement easy and perfect- she was the most open-minded of the three from the very start. That's one of the reasons she'd agreed so readily to leave England for America, 'the land of the free'- and though that facade was shattered, by the realities of war, segregation, and ignorance, she still found herself more breathing space in New York than she had in her native Hampstead. She was also the most likely to punch a man (or woman) who judged their life choices through derogatory words square in the face. She had moxy, and wasn't afraid to be a strict force of justice. That cinema attendant in Manhattan would never forget that. Nor would Bucky and Steve, who found the moment exciting, and made sure to make her aware of how grateful they were of being defended later that night.
It was Steve who found the new arrangement hard occasionally. At first, he was nearly always worried that Bucky would get jealous of Peggy, or Peggy jealous of Bucky. His worries were unneeded, but they still reassured him from time to time, just to make sure his mind was firmly affirmed that he was doing his best as a partner for the two people he loved. Recently, his worries had grown again, he wanted to try and make the union between the three of them official. The first thought was marriage- but he didn't want Bucky left out- oh well- they'd have to talk about it properly when the war was over. Out of the three- he was definitely the one looking forward to the future- he wanted a family. He wanted to really make this work, for everyone now, and everyone that may come in the years ahead.
Sure, they all had their flaws. Steve cared in such an intense way that it could be intimidating, Bucky had a habit of being the homemaker who didn't give himself a break, and Peggy had the tendency to schedule dates and romantic nights in the apartment as if they were SSR operations. But it worked. Nobody could ever think Steve didn't care, nobody could ever think Bucky wasn't going to make sure they were well-fed and looked-after, and nor could the two men ever think Peggy didn't want to live every moment to the fullest. They showed their love in different ways, and with different mentalities. But love is love.
And one day, if they find the time and courage, they'll walk down Fifth Avenue, hand-in-hand, thinking of how much they love each-other, even if they have to fight for it first.