“This is ridiculous,” Sam mumbles.
“I concur,” Tony adds. “What a horrible idea.”
“It’s a great team building activity,” Steve snaps, folding his arms in a way which suggests that he’s not allowing any more dissent from his teammates. “Tell them, Buck.”
Bucky is currently in the process of pushing the final couch out of the way, creating a huge space in the centre of the room. He tries hard not to smirk as he glances over at Steve, pushing some of his hair out of his face. “It’s a weird idea, pal. But I’m on board purely because I think it’ll be hilarious.”
Steve rolls his eyes. Big or small, a tiny punk in Brooklyn or a national hero, he’s always been amazing at pulling that face in response to Bucky. “It’s my turn to choose our activity. This is what I choose.”
The loveable loser has even dressed up for the occasion; he’s wearing smart black trousers, shiny shoes and a black waistcoat over a crisp white shirt. He looks great, of course. The blue tie is the same shade as his eyes. Bucky knows Steve well enough to know that this was hardly deliberate, but it is a great look.
Standing in horror, staring at Steve, are the assembled Avengers he’s managed to persuade to join him: Tony, Sam, Natasha, Peter, Wanda and Clint. Tony and Sam both look furious. Clint looks amused, and he’s exchanging small smirks with Wanda. Natasha simply looks bored- no doubt she’s already an amazing dancer. Peter is blushing, because that’s what he usually does.
“How do you even propose we do this?” Tony asks.
“It’s just for fun,” Steve says. “Just pick a partner and we’ll get going.”
Bucky feels a stab of panic; he likes the people they spend time with, but he’s still not always great about being touched. He could trust Natasha. She gets it. She would touch him carefully, gently. Sam is gentle with him, too. Clint means well, but he’s an atrocious dancer- Bucky went with him to a club once- and he would no doubt trod on Bucky’s feet. Wanda is simply too mysterious, and Tony is too Tony. Peter’s hands are too sticky. What if they got stuck together? Bucky breathes in deeply, trying not to give into the creeping horror.
“I’ll dance with Bucky,” Steve says, simply.
Of course he will. Bucky doesn’t know what he was even worried about.
Steve presses a button on the wall and the familiar sounds of Glenn Miller start to echo around the enormous room. Tony scoffs, and Peter pulls a face. Steve grabs Bucky’s arm and twirls him into his arms effortlessly.
There’s always something comforting about dancing with Steve. They used to do it back in their tiny apartment in Brooklyn, Bucky attempting to be the woman as he tried to teach Stevie how to dance and woo a lady. It’s quite different now; Steve is bigger than Buck, his body enormous and powerful beneath Bucky’s hands. Bucky tries hard not to think that as he allows himself to be led by his friend.
“See, it’s not so difficult,” Steve tells the others, his hands on Bucky’s waist as they twist in time to the music.
He’s a little more coordinated than he used to be, but he’s still not a natural dancer. He’s too stiff and unyielding. Bucky was always the better dancer.
“You two are practically married,” Tony observes, and Bucky blushes despite himself. “It’s not as easy for the rest of us who don’t know each other as intimately as you two old men.”
Bucky opens his mouth to reply, but Wanda simply grabs Tony’s arm and tugs him out into the centre of the floor, placing his hands firmly on her waist and starting to dance with him. She moves with the sort of powerful grace she does everything with. Tony clearly isn’t a bad dancer himself. He twirls her confidently, and even starts to smile.
Natasha arches one eyebrow and turns to Sam, who rolls his eyes, but offers her his hand. There is something rather breathtaking about the way the pair of them move, fluid and perfectly synchronized. He holds her close, dipping her down low and leaning over her intimately. She laughs at him.
Clint and Peter look at each other and burst into fits of giggles. They’re as immature as each other, really, although Clint is two decades older than Peter. They dance together awkwardly, shuffling, not really touching. For two of the most agile men Bucky has ever met, they are truly dreadful dancers.
“Told you this was a good idea,” Steve says smugly, drawing Bucky’s attention back to him.
Bucky tries hard not to look into Steve’s charming eyes, which are currently creased at the edges with pleasure. He tries hard not to think about how huge and warm Steve’s hands on his hips are. “A good idea? Pal, have you seen Barton? He’s going to end up breaking Peter’s toes.”
Steve laughs. Natasha and Sam sway past them, hips gyrating energetically.
“Do you remember doing this when we were younger?” Steve asks, suddenly, his voice low.
This is something he’s taken to doing recently; checking that Bucky remembers everything from their shared past. Bucky does remember everything, or at least, he thinks he does. He can’t remember ever feeling quite the way he does about his best friend. He always adored Steve. Maybe he even had a bit of a crush on him.
But it’s not like this.
It’s pointless thinking about it. Steve loves Buck, he knows that, but it’s in a purely platonic way. He’s never seen Steve express interest in anyone other than women.
“I remember, punk,” Bucky replies, keeping his tone light. “I was tryin’ so hard to get you a girlfriend.”
Steve snorts. “I needed the help. Hell, I still do.”
“Is that really what you think?” Bucky asks.
The track ends, suddenly replaced by something far slower and more intimate. Almost imperceptibly, Steve draws Bucky closer, so that their chests are touching as they sway. Bucky swallows, then catches sight of Clint drawing Peter into a dramatic waltz over Steve’s shoulder. He smiles.
“Sure, I do,” Steve rumbles, and Bucky feels the words vibrate through his chest. “I’m still just that nerdy little guy from Brooklyn, Buck.”
“I know that,” Bucky tells him. “That’s why I think you’re such a catch.”
Steve blushes. “Shut up, Buck.”
“I’m serious. You’re gorgeous, sure, but you’re also kind and brave. A shitty dancer, but you can’t be good at everything, right?”
“I’m not a shitty dancer,” Steve retorts, and as though to prove it, he dips Bucky suddenly.
Bucky is bent down low, supported by Steve’s impossibly strong arms. Steve himself leans down over him, a cocky smirk on his face. Maybe it’s the smirk that makes Bucky do it. Maybe it’s the way that Steve smells. Maybe it’s the contrast of Steve’s golden skin to Bucky’s metal fingers when he raises them to cradle Steve’s face fondly.
Anyway, for whatever reason, Bucky Barnes reaches up and kisses Steve Rogers.
Steve’s mouth is soft and rather warm, and to Bucky’s intense surprise, he doesn’t pull his face away or drop Bucky. He kisses Bucky back, his lips brushing against Bucky’s with tenderness.
It’s Bucky who ends the kiss, realising about thirty seconds later what he’s doing, the fact that they have an audience and the fact that Steve knows how he feels.
“Oh, fuck,” Bucky mumbles, pushing Steve back. They stand facing each other.
Steve doesn’t look angry, or disgusted. His cheeks are pink. It almost looks like he’s smiling.
“Thank god,” Tony says. “Pepper owes me fifty bucks. I told her you guys were banging.”
“Shut up, Stark,” Bucky snaps, automatically, but his attention is very much on the pretty flush on Steve’s cheeks.
“Buck?” Steve asks, his voice quiet. “Is this what you want?”
“Is it what you want?” Bucky replies.
Wordlessly, Steve nods.
Bucky is on him then, hands on Steve’s shoulders, crashing their lips together. Steve lets out a soft yelp of surprise, but then his arms are around Bucky, and they’re kissing. It’s intense, almost furious. It feels good. Steve’s beard prickles Bucky’s chin pleasantly, and their lips are going to be bruised after this.
When they draw apart, Steve smiles. It’s the bright, joyful, dorky smile he never does on TV. Bucky returns it, and they turn to look at their friends.
Natasha has her arm around Sam’s shoulders, and they are both smirking. Tony is clearly trying hard not to smile. Wanda looks teary. Inexplicably, Clint and Peter are webbed to the ceiling, totally ignoring the scene beneath them as they try to wriggle free. Clint is swearing loudly.
Bucky is happy.