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Learn Me Hard Oh, Learn Me Right

Chapter Text

Your eyes, they tie me down so hard.

I'll never learn to put up a guard.

So keep my love, my candle bright.

Learn me hard oh, learn me right.

 

Week Four 2018 Fall Semester

On a bright Monday morning Steve found himself sitting outside Dr. Potts’ office staring gloomily at the ominous red D that glared back at him from atop his first assignment,  mocking his failure louder than a crowd of people ever could.

The crisp clip-clap of heels on the linoleum had a blush of shame riding high on his cheeks before he even looked into the cool eyes of his college calculus professor. “Mr. Rogers, to what do I owe the pleasure of seeing you at -” with a glance to her watch her brows rose, “seven thirty in the morning, aren’t you typically at football practice or did Coach Fury have an aneurysm?”

“Ahh,” Steve rubbed the back of his neck, “he’s the one who sent me after -” He trailed off, waving the paper as his evidence.

“Mmmm,” Potts unlocked her office and stood patiently within the frame, “well c’mon in then, take a seat.”

Steve fumbled his backpack onto his large shoulders, all the finesse from years of athletic training out the window as the hideous slide of anxiety slithered its way through his belly, before easing himself into the office and the chair across the large desk. He hated this part, hated the disappointment and the inevitable feeling of failure.

Every other class he aced. American Literature? He was basically a professional at giving detailed interpretations of the arching themes from the loss of innocence to the ideological American Dream. Political science? Ha. Steve was well known to live up to his title as Captain, not just on the football field, but also in his classes where he would regularly stand up and give speeches about the current state of affairs of a certain “presidential cheeto” who obstructed justice on a daily basis and how that obstruction of justice was simply an egotistical sociopath’s way of running the government, to which rounds of applause would meet him as he sat back in his chair.

Art? Really any art class was Steve’s foray into an escape to which he excelled. The moment he sculpted, picked up a brush, or held anything remotely close to a graphite pencil in his hand, he radiated pure joy; creating pieces that were hung anonymously throughout the art department with pride by his professors. Art was the secret he kept just for himself.

Getting lost in the blending of colors and melding of textures was his vacation that he dreamed of going on everyday for the rest of his life that only a handful of people knew about. But Math? Well. Math was the bane of his existence and he had avoided it like the plague...which is why he hadn’t touched it since the summer after he graduated high school three years prior.  

Taking the paper out of Steve’s hand primly she looked it over, flipping through the pages her graduate student had marked in a very aggressive red pen. “Steve, this is the first quarter of the semester and I have to say, I understand why Fury’s worried. When did you take college algebra?” Potts commented from her seat across from him.

“Um a summer course at NYCCC, in 2015.”

“Ah...and how’d that go?”

“Not terribly?”  Steve responded hesitantly, desperately hoping she wouldn’t delve into the mechanics of how he managed to pass the course with a very slim C. If she knew how many hours were spent studying with his eighty year old retired teacher neighbor who had the patience of a saint, she would definitely know that he didn’t have a chance in hell of making it through this course.

“Is this the only other math credit you need for your degree?”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Hmmm.” She pondered, flipping through the pages a few more times before looking at him, her expression softening just a touch. “Have you always struggled with math, Steve?”

The blush crept higher as the same shame he had felt since second grade when he realized that not everyone saw the numbers slipping and sliding around the page like he did “Um, yes ma’am.”

“It happens. You’re not the only one.” She assured, handing the papers back to him. “Luckily, we’re still in the beginning of the semester and you still have time to catch up. I’m going to highly suggest tutoring at the student center. You can get a one-on-one tutor there, or do group tutoring, and your tuition covers two sessions per week.”

“Thank you ma’am.” Steve accepted the paper and stood, sliding his backpack over his shoulders. Making his way out of her office he paused when she called his name. “Ma’am?”

“Ask for Bucky Barnes.” Her lips turned up at the name. “He’s one of the math majors that I oversee, haven’t had a student work with him who hasn’t passed.”

No pressure , Steve thought. “I’ll make sure to do that. Thank you Dr. Potts.”

“Good luck Steve.

He didn’t need luck, he needed a miracle.

*oOo*

Bucky Barnes was having a perfectly normal day, thank you very much. The sun was shining, the birds were chirping, and he was far away from all of it; hidden in the back corner of the library, tucked into his favorite hoodie, surrounded by old books with his music on blast, away from the rest of the student body who lounged about around campus. Just the thought made him shudder. Ew, people. Ew, sun. Ew, birds.

Turning the page, he delved deeper into the next chapter of ‘Modern Quantum Physics’, engrossed in Planck’s mathematical equation involving a figure to represent the individual units of energy. He let his chin rest in his palm, as Mumford & Sons blasted their fiddles and banjos through his ear buds, his mind drifted into the equation, letting it unravel in his head, taken apart exponent by exponent, the white board of his mind was covered in numbers and algorithms; a beautiful portrayal of what Bucky Barnes considered to be ‘peace’.

*oOo*

That’s how Steve found him, exactly where Natasha said he’d be. He’d run into Nat at the student center while signing up for tutoring and enquiring about said math tutor. Nat and Steve ran into each other often at the house. Typically he could find her sitting on Steve, Thor, Clint and Sam’s raggedy second hand couch with her feet up, head in Clint’s lap as they watched The Great British Baking Show. They were the type of friends that didn’t have need to have long drawn out conversations, but always seemed to know if the other was a in good mood or bad mood. Occasionally she’d help Clint and Sam organize the football parties that marked a win, or a loss... well really any reason to do a keg stand, that had Steve panicking among the giant crowd until his fifth shot in, that she’d serve with a smile and a wink as if she knew about his inherent need for liquid courage.

Finding Nat at the student center, manning the desk for tutors, was no surprise, as she was the queen of keeping everything organized and everybody on the right track.

“Rogers, whatcha need?” She asked, quirking a perfectly shaped eyebrow and popping her gum from behind the desk.

“Hey Nat.” Leaning his elbows on the desk he gave her his cocky half smile that he kept reserved for moments when confidence was lacking, it always worked in post game interviews when a camera was shoved in his face so surely it would work here. “Kinda fallin’ behind in Potts’ Calc 261 class, she recommended some guy named Bucky to uh, kinda help me as a -”

“Tutor.” Nat finished for him, grabbing from a stack of papers she slid it in front of him. “James is great, and lucky for you he doesn’t have anyone on his list for the semester yet. He’s aced every Math course Columbia has to offer, so I’m not going to be offended that you’re lookin’ for him and not me.”

“Oh no,” he hastened, filling out his name, preferred times, cell number, and checking the 2x a week box. “I’m didn’t, we never re- I just…Dr. Potts recommended him and I -”

“It’s fine Rogers. If you need any help while I’m at the house feel free to holler at me.” She took the paper and looked it over. “If you want to find Barnes and introduce yourself he’s typically in the library, pretty easy to spot - he’ll be in the back corner of the fourth floor, hidden under too many books and listening to his music too loud. Go easy on him, he’s jumpy around pretty boys.” She recommended shooting him a quick wink before turning to the next student; a helpless looking freshman who stared up at Steve in awe.

“You’re Steve Rogers, the quarterback.” He explained.

Steve gave the probably barely eighteen year old a nod. “I am.”

“That pass you threw in the fourth quarter against Ohio State last year was legendary, man.” The smaller guy said, beaming up at Steve with unmistakable admiration.

“Thanks.” Steve rubbed the back of his neck, fingers tightening along the corded muscle, praying for sweet release from the tension that always coiled in them around unfamiliar people. “Um, have a good day.”

He gave a small wave and turned, not missing the way the smaller man exclaimed, “he’s freakin’ huge!” and Nat’s snort in response.

Confined to the elevator within the library Steve finally allowed himself to blow out the breath he didn’t realize he’d been holding. Leaning his head back against the cool metal he let his mind drift for the short ride. Some days he hated being the quarterback, hated the attention, hated the underlying pressure that pulsed around him whenever he was anywhere remotely close to the student body.

He had found ways to avoid every crowded area of the school like the plague; taking short cuts around buildings and eating off campus with the money he made from being a TA for his art professors. Anything to avoid people staring at him in awe without any knowledge of who Steve actually was.

In Steve’s mind he wasn’t the star quarterback, he wasn’t that typical frat-boy partier that people saw when their eyes raked over his six foot three frame, and he wasn’t the guy who had cheerleaders hanging off his arm as displayed on March of 2019’s school calendar. With the doors opening to the fourth floor he had to wonder just who Steve Rogers would be if he hadn’t received that football scholarship senior year of high school.

Following Nat’s directions he allowed himself to amble among the aisles, finding solace among the books that probably hadn’t been touched in years. He let his fingertips run over the dusty spines as he worked his way back to the far corner, taking his time before yet another interaction with people.

He was exhausted and it was only 9 am. People were exhausting, he concluded to himself before stopping at the sound of muffled drums. Apparently some people were also determined to blow out their ear drums.

Rounding the corner of the last shelves he stopped short. Oh. His mind went wonderfully blank at the sight of the man sitting with his legs tucked under him in his chair, hair twisted messily into a haphazard bun, while drowning in an oversized light gray hoodie. The music was blaring so loud that Steve caught what he thought was a banjo solo.

As the man turned the page, examining what looked to be the longest mathematical equation ever written, his free hand scribbled notes messily on the notepad beside him. He saw the brief change in his shoulders, tensing the way one does with the sudden awareness of being watched, his head jerked up and the steel blue eyes pierced into Steve. Christ .

Yanking the buds out of his ears the man cocked his head to the side, eyes cool and disinterested. “You lost?” He asked.

Shit shit shit. Why, why did his voice have to sound like that? “Um no, was actually looking for you.” Steve managed.

He snorted in reply, the sarcastic half smirk sent a jolt through Steve’s system that he would have to decipher later. “Doubtful.”

“You’re uh... Bucky, err James Barnes?” Steve asked, biting his lip apprehensively - there were other corners of the fourth floor, who knows what those possibilities held, other hot burnetts in oversized hoodies with disheveled hair?

The man’s eyebrows shot up. “I am...and you are…?”

“Steve Rogers.” Steve moved automatically, stepping forward and leaning across the table with his hand outstretched, which Bucky took hesitantly, not bothering to move from his chair. As Steve’s palm enveloped Bucky’s he continued, “I’m kinda struggling with Potts’ Calc 261 class and she referred me to you for a tutor...if you do that kinda thing… which Nat, uh Natasha Romanov, said you did do that kinda thing so I ...umm...yeah” He hadn’t let go. He probably should let go. Dear God man, LET. G O.

Dropping his hand back to his side he watched as Bucky pulled out his phone. “Oh...guess you are. Just got Nat’s text and the confirmation email.” He looked back up at Steve skeptically. “Why are you taking freshman course as a…”

“Junior.” Steve filled in. “I um...kinda avoided math like the plague since I got here.” He answered honestly, giving Bucky a sheepish grin.

Bucky replied with a noncommittal hum. “Phone.” He held out his hand.

“What?”

“Give me your phone, you’re gonna need my number if I’m going to tutor you.”

“Right.” Steve clumsily dug out his phone from his back pocket and handed it over the table.

“Tuesday, Thursdays work for you?” Bucky asked, quickly typing in his info before calling himself from Steve’s phone.

“Can’t, I have practice.”

Bucky arched a brow questioningly before handing the phone back.

“Football…” Steve drew out, waiting for the inevitable ‘o h duh, that’s Columbia’s quarterback ,’ moment.

Bucky shrugged. “Okay? Can you do Fridays?”

“We have our games on Fridays or Saturdays.” Steve supplied. Didn’t everyone know that about college football?

“Can’t your team play on Monday’s like the other intramurals?” Bucky asked flippantly.

“Intramurals?” Steve laughed, not knowing whether to be annoyed or relieved at the lack of recognition. “No, we really can’t.” He scoffed.

With a sigh Bucky gave him a tight smile. “Fine, Mondays/Wednesdays then?”

Monday nights he tried to reserve for being in the Art hall, the live models always came on Monday’s for extra sitting practice and Steve hadn’t missed one yet. He blew out a breath. “I can make it work, what time?”

“I have classes until 6 that I have to TA for, so 6:30?”

Goodbye art, Steve thought begrudgingly, “Sure. Where?”

“I’ll text you.” Bucky added, already shoving his ear buds back in and turning back to his book. Steve starred for a solid five seconds before Bucky looked up again. “Anything else?” He asked expectantly.

“Uh...no, I guess not.” Steve answered, frowning at the blatant dismissal. “Nice to meet you too.” He rolled his eyes, and headed back to the elevators. A little pissed off for a reason he couldn’t quite pinpoint, and coming to the now science backed conclusion that all people were exhausting.

*oOo*

He made sure Steve was far far away before looking up from the mathematical equation that now seemed like it was written in Spanish since encountering the man... no man wasn’t the right word to describe what he just experienced ... Adonis? Adonis worked . Flexing his hand he stared at it slightly surprised by the remaining warmth, well he didn’t spontaneously combust from touching the man. Yet.  He plucked his head phones out and paused his music before opening the text screen to Nat.

Bucky Barnes: Could’ve warned me that the person coming my way was a hot blonde with the shoulder to hip ratio of a dorito.

The reply took seconds…

Natasha Romanoff: I see you’ve met Steve.

Bucky Barnes: YOU COULD HAVE WARNED ME.

Natasha Romanoff: Now where’s the fun in that?

Bucky Barnes: You’re an ass.

Natasha Romanoff: You two meeting at the house for tutoring?

Bucky Barnes: the house?? what house?

Natasha Romanoff: Clint’s house.

Bucky Barnes: Why the fuck would we meet at your boyfriend’s house for tutoring Nat?

Natasha Romanoff: Because dipshit, Clint and Steve are roommates, along with two other delectable men.

Natasha Romanoff:  Study there, stare at pretty men, maybe see me.

Natasha Romanoff:  It’s a win win.

Bucky Barnes: I’ll think about it.

Well well well, the plot just keeps thickening doesn’t it? Bucky thought to himself, stretching out his legs and rolling his neck. It wasn’t often that Bucky tutored anyone past their freshman or sophomore year, most of the lower level classes were on the difficult side, it being Columbia and all, but only people with some understanding of math had to take upper level classes and therefore rarely needed him to tutor.

Having a junior, who probably hadn’t touched math since some shitty community college or AP high school course three years prior, asking for help sounded like the makings of a nightmare. It would probably be back to the basics, jog the guys memory, and then he would catch on. Easy. And at least he would have something pretty ( and blatantly straight, the little voice in his head reminded him) to stare at while he worked.

Checking his watch he noted the time, ducked his head back into the book and made the equation burn the image of the very hot piece of straight ass out of his mind. Hot was hot, but he had three more classes and a session with a professor to review his Quantum field theory before he could even begin to think about staring at pretty boy’s ass…and what a delectable ass it was… FOCUS BARNES .

Chapter Text

This ain't no sham.

I am what I am.

*oOo*

Wednesday morning brought on a wave of anxiety as Steve sat at his rickety second-hand desk that was nestled along the edge of his window; a pencil in one hand, a steaming cup of coffee in the corner, and his sketchbook open, he stared out at the busy New York city street  that their cramped townhome sat against. Wedged between a bakery and a comic book store, Steve enjoyed the constant movement (and the bread) that always managed to give him something to draw. His classes didn’t start until ten, which gave him plenty of time to get some type of modern building stenciled onto his paper for his Principles of Design class. The tip of his pencil pressed and then came back up. Over and over again nothing appeared on the paper, and after thirty minutes and his coffee going cold Steve pushed back from the desk with a frustrated sigh. Walking down the hall he tapped his fingers against the door a few feet from  his, secretly hoping he wouldn’t get an answer.

“Yo!” The voice called and Steve knew that it was permission enough to let himself in. He opened the door to find Sam still in bed, laptop open, furiously typing while staring at Steve. “Good morning starshine, to what do I owe the pleasure of seeing your sad ass so early in the day?

“Hey. I’m not sad.” Steve refuted leaning against the door jam, sadly.

“You got that ‘woe is me golden retriever’ look goin’ on. You’re gonna wrinkle early if you keep frowning like that. What’s troubling you, my son?”  Sam asked, fingers stilling on the keys.

“I just…”  Steve sighed, staring up at the ceiling for a brief second, desperately willing away the anvil of anxiety that pressed against his chest.

“C’mon.” Sam threw back the covers and patted the spot next to him on the queen size bed, “Just like the olden days.”

There was something wonderfully nostalgic that came with crawling into Sam’s bed and settling himself next to the man he had grown up with. Bed meetings had taken place ever since he could remember. One of them would crawl in, they would talk, look at magazines, go into chat rooms on their busted-up old laptops, or complain about their life woes. This is just what they did.  Other people might have found it weird to find two guys, both broad and built from years of athletic training, sharing the same intimate space so easily, but being friends since birth had perks that were not limited to sharing a bed with the same comfort that biological brothers would have. “I’m stressed.”

“Per usual.” Sam commented, fingers continuing to type.

“I um...failed that first assignment from Potts’ class.” Steve murmured.

“That calc class?” Sam asked, fingers stilling again before he slowly closed the laptop.

“Yup.” Steve stared at his fingers.

“Man, you know you should get help. We’ve talked about this since elementary school. You need help, you ask for help. No one’s judging you for your struggle bro, and if they are, they’re dick heads.” Sam nudged Steve with his elbow as if to emphasize his point.

“I know,” Steve huffed, “and I did. Get help, that is.” He added. “This guy that Nat knows, Bucky Barnes, he’s a math major, and uh, Potts recommended him so I, uh, signed up and met him, supposed to get tutoring twice a week.”

“Good for you man, so what’s the problem?”

“Well, we’re supposed to have sessions Mondays and Wednesdays,”

“Ouch, goodbye still-lifes.” Sam interjected.

“That’s what I thought. But he hasn’t texted me yet to set up a place for the first session.”

Sam asked the blatantly obvious - “have you texted him?”

“Well no…I mean he’s the tutor. I’m the tutee.” Steve grimaced at Sam’s snorted response.

“Please walk around calling yourself that. Seriously, that’ll keep me from dying during practice if you call yourself that.”

“Shut up.” Steve nudged him. “I just - I’m nervous. We have a test in two weeks and I don’t understand shit about what’s going on. Just drowning in numbers and symbols and words. I have great notes. Have no fuckin’ clue what any of them mean, and if I fail this class I lose my scholarship and if I lose my scholarship I wont get my degree and I’ll fail and I-”

“Woah woah woah, stay away from that rabbit hole. Just text him, man.”

“…but I can’t text him first.” Steve replied.

“It’s not a date, Rogers. Just ask the man to come over.” Sam scoffed. When he was met with silence, he glanced up at Steve’s face, noting the telltale Rogers’ blush creeping up his neck.

“Ohhh, so it’s like that is it?”

“No no no.” Steve refuted quickly, shaking his head and damning his genetics. “Not at all.”

“You can’t lie worth a shit Steve. We both know it. So you’re hot for teacher huh?”

“Jesus Christ.” Steve let his head fall back against the wall. “I mean, he’s pretty is all. Also an asshole. A pretty, smart, asshole.”

“A pretty smart asshole. Who is gonna save your ass, man. ” Sam clapped him on the shoulder before shoving him not so gently out of the bed. “You know what you have to do. Text the man, learn from him, bang him. Whatever. Just move your bed away from the wall before y’all do it.”

Steve’s face flamed even brighter and he felt himself start to sweat. “Can you just...not with that.” He sighed. “Okay. I’m gonna text him. Right now. Gonna do it.” He clapped his hands together and gave Sam a helpless look. “What do I say?”

Sam opened his laptop before shooting Steve a look that screamed ‘are you kidding me right now?

“Fine, fine.” Steve threw up his hands. “I’ll figure it out on my own. Some best friend you are!” He called back.

“Hey! I thought I was your best friend!” A voice interjected from behind the bathroom door as Steve walked by.

“Don’t worry Clint. You’re on the list too!” Steve replied, flopping down on his bed.

“I BETTER BE NUMBER 1!” Steve heard Clint shout, followed by the squeaky sound of the shower turning on.

*oOo*

Bucky’s phone chimed in his pocket on his way out  the door of his and Natasha’s flat, glancing down he grimaced at the name. Shit shit shit.

Steve Rogers: Hey man, it’s Steve. Did you want to meet up tonight? Or start next Monday?

Double shit shit shit. He had meant to text him first. Admittedly he may have put said text off for a few hours...or days. But still. He really had meant to. He gripped his coffee like his life depended and called out, “I’m heading out. You gonna be here tonight?”

“Nah, probably gonna be at Clint’s.” Came the muffled reply.

“K!” He shouted back.

Bucky Barnes: Tonight works. Better to start early. Where?

Locking the door behind him, Bucky started the trek back to campus, stopping only to turn on his music and put in his ear buds. Letting the sweet sweet melody of Metallica start his mile-long trek to the school.

Steve Rogers: Library, my house, your house, coffee place?

Bucky Barnes: Library works. Fourth floor, back right corner - 6:30.

Steve Roger: I’ll be there. Thanks.

Bucky Barnes: NP.

Good. That went well. Bucky mentally patted himself on the back before making a checklist for the day: Handled the hot frat bro. Check. Go to class. Will handle tutoring. Catch the guy up in the class, not look at his ass, and GTFO as soon as possible. Should be easy .

*oOo*

Steve didn’t know what to expect, so he did what his anxiety told him to do; get to the library thirty minutes early, and take control of the situation. Finding the table he had previously met Bucky at, he dropped his bag, dug out his laptop, shuffled through his papers and textbooks, and got to work. By the time Bucky walked up to the table at 6:30 on the dot, Steve had read and reread the first chapter five times and felt close to tears, staring at the book with his hair  fisted in his hands he willed himself to memorize the words behind the theories.

“Hey,” Bucky said while pulling out the chair across from Steve’s, “how’s it going?”

“Awful. I haven’t taken math in three fuckin’ years and I might as well be reading Spanish. Which, surprise , I also haven’t taken in three fuckin’ years.” Steve spit back, running his hands through his hair further disheveling it.

“Alright, well let’s take a look.” Bucky peered over the page between the book and notes. “You take great notes.”

Steve snorted, “And look how much good it’s done.” When Bucky looked at him, eyebrows raised he shrugged before deflating. “Sorry. It’s just...there’s a lot riding on this class, and I just...don’t get it.” Steve looked at him helplessly, hating having those blue gray eyes stare back at him with the barest hint of pity. Yes the poor poor jock is bad at something . They practically screamed.

“Let’s start with the basics.” Bucky started. “Calculus is just a make up of algebra and trigonometry.” Bucky’s brows furrowed as he flipped through Steve’s notes. “It looks like she’s having you all learn the essentials of derivatives and antiderivatives. With those you’re going to need to understand algebraic expressions, like how to modify and transform the equation.” He glanced at Steve and surprised them both by covering Steve’s hand that was fisted on the table with his own. “Hey, it’ll be okay. This is what I’m here for. What do you remember about Math?” He asked, a small smile played at the corners of his lips, Steve found himself momentarily transfixed on it.

“Well….” And thus began the three hour long study session that neither of them had anticipated. Their conversation flowed as Bucky patiently listened to Steve discuss what he had a vague remembrance for and what he didn’t. The more Steve talked the more he felt like Bucky was slowly coming to the realization that he had taken on a bigger task than what the school was paying him for. Something whispered nastily in the back of his mind that this wouldn’t last, that Bucky wasn’t going to help him after all; the same voice that followed him ever since he was seven and told the teacher that it looked like the numbers were swimming on the page and teacher had scoffed and dismissed him.

Doing his best to shake the voice off he watched Bucky diligently, the way he came over and sat next to Steve, their knees pressed together under the table, drawing out different functions and explaining why the X and Y sets were dependent on ordered pairs. Bucky spoke with his hands, briefly touching Steve on his shoulder to draw his attention to a topic, along with letting their forearms brush when Bucky would correct his equation by pointing to certain details on the paper.

The two continued to work, Steve meticulously writing and erasing, rewriting with Bucky’s corrections over the basic equations and graphs Bucky supplied. By the time the library announced it’s closing in fifteen minutes, the two had covered a years worth of high school precalculus in three and a half hours.

“ - that’s why you need to make sure to remember that a function from X to Y refers to a function that may have a proper subset of X as domain.”  Bucky finished, after the announcement. Looking down at his watch he grimaced. “Damn, it’s already eleven.” The comfortable fog of math seemed to clear from the air as he glanced back up at Steve. “You look like shit.”

“Thanks. You’re pretty too.” Steve replied sarcastically before hastily gathering the mess of papers off the table and shoving it in his backpack. “I’ll see you Monday.” He stood, tossing his backpack over his shoulder, and started towards the elevators.

“Ah, that’s not what I- shit,” Bucky huffed, rolling his eyes while quickly gathering his own mess, then hurried to follow Steve. Dammit the guy had long legs . “Steve!” He called finally catching up to Steve in a cramped aisle, he tugged on his wrist.

“What?!” Steve turned, pressing into Bucky’s space. “Gonna make fun of me a little more? I’m already the idiot you have to coach on Math, might as well make fun of my looks while we’re at it, right?”

“I wasn- you’re not a-, Christ, that’s not what I meant it. Obviously you’re gorge- I mean ho- I mean, fuck. ” Bucky rubbed a tired hand over his face. “I meant you looked tired. Like you need a good night's sleep. And you’re not an idiot. I promise. Jesus. I’m- I’m sorry, okay? It came out completely wrong.”

Steve starred at him for a solid for a solid ten seconds of deafening silence. Gorgeous huh? The little voice in his brain perked up. C’mon Rogers quit thinking with your dick . “Thank you.” There that was easy enough. “For um, your help. I am honestly exhausted, and apparently a little bitchy. So your apology means a lot to me. I’m sorry for being so touchy.”

Bucky gave him a small smile before patting his shoulder. “It’s okay. C’mon, let’s go before we get locked in this place.”

The elevator ride down was filled with silence as both men leaned against the back wall. Bucky’s fingers drew out the tangled headphones from his pockets, battling the knots before plugging them into his phone and cueing up his playlist. As the two walked out of the elevators and through the lobby he popped one of the buds in and followed Steve out the main doors.

“Same time same place Monday?” Bucky asked, turning to face Steve.

Steve shoved his hands into his pockets and nodded. “Sure. That’ll work.”

“Get some sleep Steve.” Bucky said, giving him that crooked half smile, and pressing play as he turned and walked away, Florence and The Machine blaring, he turned and gave Steve a little wave.

Tipping his chin in acknowledgement Steve headed the opposite direction, back home, where sleep was a sound possibility, or so he hoped.

Chapter Text

 

Though I may speak, some tongue of old

Or even spit out some holy word.

I have no strength from which to speak

When you shoot me down and see I'm weak

*oOo*

Week six 2018 Fall Semester

On their final session before Steve’s exam, Bucky found himself standing outside of the shotty four-story brick house that looked as if it was squeezed into the New York City block by accident. Steve had mentioned the house would stick out like a sore thumb when he gave Bucky directions. Their usual spot of the library was nixed when he received the “emergency practice called, gonna be late, meet at my house at 7? It’s the ugly one on 107th and Columbia ave. LMK if that doesn’t work.” text. Maybe he rolled his eyes. Maybe he had the brief thought of sending the text “Really, football over your education? Neat.” But he was doing what he got paid to do, and apparently that meant traipsing across town for the lug who really did suck at anything remotely related to numbers. 

He took the stairs two at a time up to the porch, only briefly tripping over a pile of what looked to be muddy football cleats, before coming to stand in front of the door. A mixture of muffled shouts, clangs, and music greeted him as he knocked, the door finally opening to reveal-

“Nat!?”

“Well well well, look who finally took my advice.” Nat grinned, holding the door open.

“Who is it?” a voice yelled from somewhere upstairs.

“It’s Bucky!” Nat called back, tugging Bucky inside by his sleeve.

“Your roommate Bucky?” The disembodied voice called back.

Bucky’s eyes went wide as he scanned the layout of the house. The living room was ladened with an assortment of non-matching furniture. Skirting around a pile of mud-splattered garments that was left at the bottom of the stairs, they followed the space to the opening of a large kitchen that looked like it hadn’t been updated since the 1940’s judging by the stained countertop and antiqued four-door white gas oven.

Although, the strangest thing about the kitchen, that Bucky could tell, wasn’t what was in the kitchen but who was in the kitchen. Giant. Surely he was a giant. Bucky wasn’t small persay, he was a solid 5’10” or 5’11” depending on which convenience store he was leaving, but this guy made him feel like a child. Six feet and at least seven inches of pure blonde broad barbarian stood clothed in only a pair of mud-stained athletic leggings with running shorts over them. Flecks of mud splattered up his legs and into his hair which was tied into a low blonde ponytail against broad shoulders. He stood stirring a large pot filled with red sauce that smelled, in Bucky’s personal opinion, like a little slice of home.

“Yes my roommate Bucky!” Nat called back before catching Bucky’s eye and shooting him a wink. “Told you. Hot men. Everywhere.” She added in a hushed voice. “Thor this is Bucky, Bucky this is Thor, the only person who can cook a decent meal in this house, other than me.”

The giant, aptly named Thor, turned, giving Bucky a wonderfully full view of chiseled abs and pecs. Well that’s just not fair . He put on a smile and let the man’s broad hand engulf his own. “Ahh the man who knows the math and who lives with our fair Natasha.”

Bucky snorted. “Is that what she makes you guys call her?” It was worth the elbow in the ribs he received at the reply. “Ow! It’s nice to meet you, Thor. I’m actually here to work with Steve. Is um, he around?”

“Steve’s upstairs.” Another voice came from behind him, turning he was greeted with the familiar face he had seen strewn about Natasha’s facebook, trotting down the stairs. Closer to Bucky’s height, but still broad shouldered and covered in bits of mud blonde hair sticking up in all directions, purple hearing aids glinting in his ears.  “We’ve never met, I’m Clint. How’s it going man?”

“Hey! Good to finally meet you. I’m Bucky. We probably should’ve met sooner. Could've given you the shovel talk about dating this uh...what did he call you, Nat? Fair lady?” He grinned dodging Natasha’s half-hearted shin kick.  

Nat squinted at him even as she relaxed into Clint’s arm as it encircled her waist. “Shut it Barnes.”

“Aww our feisty fair lady, how about that.” Clint grinned, kissing Nat on the cheek with a loud smack. “You’re staying for dinner, right?” He asked.

“N-  I’m, uh, just here to help Steve with math, I don’t want to intr-”

“You must stay for dinner dear friend, it’s spaghetti bolognese night!” Thor clapped him on the shoulder and sent him tumbling forward a bit. “We’ll have more than enough.”

“I ju- tutori-” he stammered looking to Nat helplessly.  

“You’re staying.” Nat determined. “Go see Steve. Second floor, second door on the right.”

Bucky let out a breath of resignation, “Okay. Guess I will be staying then. Thanks for the invite, I’m just gonna go…” He pointed to the stairs before walking out.

“I like him.” Clint grinned at Nat before pressing a kiss into her hair. “Skinny little dude, makes you wanna put him in your pocket.”

--

Bucky made his way up the narrow ragged stairs, glancing down at the occasional ominous groan. Following Nat’s directions he skirted around another pile of dirty clothes in the hall, the hazards of a group of straight males congregating, he supposed. Living with Nat for the past two years had spoiled him in that department. Catching the sound of running water, he stopped short outside of the door to what he presumed was Steve’s room, he rapped his knuckles against the door and waited, tugging at the sleeves of his hoodie. When the door beside it opened instead, the man stepping out had a bemused knowing smirk on his notably handsome face as he spoke.  (Jesus, Nat wasn’t lying, there really were hot dudes everywhere.)

“Hey. He’s in the shower. You must be Bucky?” He stuck out his hand, and Bucky took it automatically. “Sam Wilson. Boy wonder’s best friend since childhood.”

“Oh. Hey. Bucky Barnes, Steve’s uh...math tutor…” he finished lamely.

“Yeah I gathered that. He was all stressed when coach called an emergency practice. Linebacker blew out his ACL, and with the game on Saturday, we gotta get second string ready. Steve can get a little panicky when it comes to schedules and inconveniencing people.” The water shut off and they both glanced briefly at the door before continuing.

“It’s really okay. Gave me some extra time to try and figure out a different way to come at a few concepts we’re gonna work on.”

“Good deal. Hey how’s he doin? He okay?”

“He’s…” Bucky trailed off when the bathroom door swung open, and was instead tasked with the process of remembering how to breathe. Fuck. Oh no no no. That shouldn’t be allowed. The three neurons left firing in his brain informed him, while his eyes trailed over the wet body haloed by the bathroom light. There wasn’t enough time, none in the world, to take in the expanse of broad shoulders that filled up the door frame dotted with sun-kissed freckles, that then tapered down to an impossibly small waist. Why the fuck did he have the waist of a Disney princess!?   Bucky lost all ability to speak when he witnessed the effects of the cold air hitting Steve’s wet skin. Goosebumps rising across his chest and making his nipples peak. Bucky bit his inner cheek to stop himself from groaning. Cursing whatever gods created the man before him for their irony, he gave Steve a small strained smile.

“St- Steve, hi. Um, I’m tutoring. Here .” He corrected quickly, voice abnormally squeaky. “I’m here.” He cast his eyes down, but what a mistake that turned out to be as they trailed over the towel that hung low on Steve’s waist to the hard lined V that ventured south. Oh to know what that happy trail led to...

“Hey Buck. Sorry for the change in schedule. Just,” he stepped out of the bathroom, filling up the small space of the hallway with those impossible shoulders before brushing past Bucky to his door, Bucky wanted to melt on the spot as the warmth of the contact saturated through his hoodie, “let me grab some clothes and we can get started. Give me two seconds.” Steve added, before shutting the door, and leaving Bucky staring at it, mouth agape.

“You okay champ?” Sam asked, the knowing smirk turned full fledged grin.

“I’m…” Bucky trailed off. What were words again?

“Yeeeeaaaah…if it helps, it happens to most people the first time they see him naked.”

“Does that occur often?” Bucky found himself asking before he could shut himself up.

“Around here it does. But typically it’s only when he’s saving children from burning buildings, and getting dressed after practice.” Sam quipped, clapping Bucky on the shoulder. “But really, you good?”

“I’m fine.” He squeaked. Was it possible to go through puberty, twice?

“Riiiigggghhht. Just remind Steve to move his bed away from the wall once you guys start studying will ya?”

“Huh?” Bucky asked absently, before looking up at Sam, confused.

“Alright,” Steve’s door swung open and he smiled out at them, hair spikey and wet, clothed in gray loose-fitting pants and a too-small shirt. Didn’t really help the distraction factor as Bucky was pretty sure he would pay money just to see what would happen if he bit the nipples that stuck out precariously through the fabric, “ready to work?” Steve asked, moving aside.

“Sure. Yup. 100%. Good to go.” Bucky answered hastily.

Sam snorted before going back into his room. “You kids have fun. Rogers, move your bed from the wall.”

“Fuck off, Sam!” Steve answered, his ears tingeing pink as he shut the door.

“Language, Cap!” Sam called.

Bucky dropped his bag onto the bed that took up a good portion of the space. “What’s wrong with your bed?” He asked, turning again and eyeing Steve.

“Sam’s just being an ass. Inside joke,” Steve rolled his eyes, “please feel free to ignore him, I always do.”

Bucky sat at the edge of the bed. “Okay.” He replied, taking in the space surrounding him. Despite the piles of clothes left around the house, Steve’s room was the definition of tidy. While the queen-size bed with its navy blue comforter sat in the middle of the room, he admired the way the desk sat right at the window, giving a good view of the busy street below. It reminded Bucky of his countless hours in the library on the fourth floor, right next to the window that looked out onto the campus. A well-loved gym bag sat in the corner with a pair of gloves tucked into the side pocket, but they fit the image he had designed in his head of Steve.

What didn’t quite fit, what he couldn’t wrap his head around, was the artwork strewn across the walls. Black and white buildings sketched so well they looked like photographs from afar hung above his bed, watercolors of various women in skirts turned into vibrant bouquets of flowers on another, hard lined charcoal faces stared back at Bucky with haunting beauty. Enraptured, he didn’t realize he had stood and begun to wander around the room until he heard Steve cough.

“S-sorry, these are just...” Bucky looked over his shoulder at Steve, “really good.”

“Thanks. I, um, a friend drew them.” Steve gave him a small smile, before gesturing to his books. “Ready to get to work?”

Bucky nodded, still staring at the portraits. “Your friend is ridiculously good. I don’t know shit about art, but I do know that these are beautiful.”

“I’ll um, let them know.” Steve grabbed his things and began to spread them across the bed. “Sorry there isn’t a hard surface up here. I would suggest the kitchen table, but with Thor cooking, that’s gonna be covered in food soon.” His eyes met Bucky’s. “Do you, uh, have dinner plans? If not, Thor makes a mean spaghetti and meatballs.”

“I’ve kinda already been invited to-”

“Oh of course you have.” Steve added quickly, “No worries, maybe next time.”

“No, I mean to dinner. Downstairs.” Bucky explained. “Thor, Clint, and Nat all kinda invited slash guilted me into it.”

“Oh.” Steve blinked at him for a second before grinning “Well, good. Glad they did. Don’t feel guilty, just consider it payment for you helping me out.”

“Your tuition pays for that Steve. No need for anything else.” Bucky gave him a small smile.

Steve shrugged and grinned. “Can’t a guy offer you dinner?”

Bucky hesitated. “I...well...thank you.” Clearing his throat he looked down at the stack of papers and did his best to remind himself straight guy, straight guy, straight guy. “So, let’s review roots and zeros of a polynomial.”

__

*oOo*

An hour and a half later Steve found himself propped up on his elbows, notebook in front of him, laying across the bed. Bucky’s knee was tucked firmly into his side absentmindedly as he leaned in next to Steve while he wrote. “So, f(x) = (x + 4)(x + 2)(x − 1) is a polynomial and the roots are −4, −2, and …1?” Steve asked looking up at him.

“Right, and what else do we know about the roots?”

“That’s where they are intercepting the…x…axis?” Steve asked hesitantly, biting the eraser of his pencil.

“Nailed it!” Bucky grinned, nudging the pencil out of his mouth. “That’s gross. You just gotta look at it a little backasswards to get it. Alright,” Bucky turned the page of the textbook, “now reviewing the y-intercept, it’s the value of y when x = 0.  So the y-intercept of a polynomial is the constant term, which is the product of the constant te-”

“OY, DINNER IS READY ASSHOLES!” Clint’s voice rang up the stairs.

“-terms of all the factors. Um,” Bucky looked up at the clock, “guess our time is done, unless you still feel uncomfortable, then I can stay after dinner, review the chapter one more time?”

“No no no, I think I’ve got it.” Steve murmured, staring at the page one last time before shutting the book. “I think I’ve got it.” He repeated.

“You trying to convince me or yourself?” Bucky smiled.

Looking up at Bucky he felt himself tense a little at the thought of the upcoming exam. Nerves danced across his skin as his stomach tightened at the thought of what tomorrow would bring. He snorted instead, doing his best to brush it away. “Myself? Both. Definitely both. C’mon, can’t send you off on an empty stomach.” Steve tugged at Bucky’s sleeve, his nerves amplifying when Bucky gave him a small lopsided grin that Steve hadn’t quite grown used to,  before gathering his papers and shoving them into his bag.

He followed Steve down stairs, eyes widening at the sight of the food piled upon the table. The giant pot that was simmering before was now moved to the middle of the table, a ladle adorning its side. Next to it sat a large salad with various colored leaves and croutons, followed by a giant mound of what looked to be french bread turned into buttery garlic toast, which sat next to an equally giant bowl of steaming noodles.

“Jesus,” Bucky commented, “you guys know how to eat…”  taking the chair that Nat pulled out beside her.

“We’re growing boys,” Clint chimed in, setting his beer down across from Nat with a wink, “Alright Buckyboo, it’s time for the most important question of the night…” Bucky’s eyes widened in anticipation as Steve groaned while taking the chair next to him. Ignoring the sound, Clint continued. “What do you prefer to drink with your pasta? There’s a long standing household debate that a good glass of 2% is the only thing you can drink with pasta, however in my humble opinion you can’t not drink an ice cold beer with your noods, and our sweet sweet Captain over there,” he said pointing to Steve, who sighed even deeper, “refuses to drink anything but water with his meals, ‘cause he’s gotta keep his titties all in shape. Speaking of, that’s an awfully tight shirt ya got on Cap.” He winked.

Steve let his forehead hit the table loudly; dying of embarrassment sure did seem like an awful way to go.

“So what’ll it be Buckybaby?” Clint continued hovering at the refrigerator. “Milk, beer, water, juice? Wanna be Russian and drink vodka? Nat, he can have some of your vodka, right?” Clint babbled on.

“Just water is fine…” Bucky added carefully, watching as Thor bustled over with a glass pyrex in tow. “Is...is tha- did you make apple cobbler?” He asked, looking at the dish as it was set in front of him.

“Just a little something sweet for our sweet guest.” Thor winked with a mischievous grin before going back for plates.

Steve thunked his head against the table again. “Oh...um, thank you…” Bucky murmured.

Grinning, Nat passed out the plates that Thor had sat on the table to the rest of the group. “If you’re not careful Steve, you’re gonna lose all the math that Bucky just pounded into your head.”

“Pretty quiet for a pounding.” Sam snickered, taking a sip of his milk. “Musta moved your bed.”

“Who’s pounding what?” Clint asked, handing Bucky a glass of ice water. “You can’t gossip while the hard of hearing guy has his back turned. Rude. But go on about this pounding.”  

“Math. We did math. Just math.” Steve admonished, face flaming as he scooped a pile of noodles onto his plate.

“Mmmm, well if Bucky would like do some math in my quarters tonight, he can find me on the top floor, last door on the right.” Thor winked, picking up four slices of the toast and biting furiously into one, grinning around the bread.

“Ughhhh” Steve groaned, dropping the ladle a little too hard in the sauce, and sending it splattering at Sam, who frowned back at him with a swift ‘hey watchit!’.

“No can do Thor,” Bucky, although pink, had a cheeky smile on his face, “I’m all mathed out for the night, gave Steve everything I had, plus some.”

Steve nudged his side. “Not you too. You’re just as bad as them.”

“You say that like you didn’t enjoy the hour-long pounding of math that I just gave you.” The look that Steve gave him was worth it, it was all worth it because even as Steve shot him a death glare Bucky’s nose was scrunching up as his eyes crinkled with mirth, and he let out a light hearted laugh that Steve had yet to hear. Steve watched Bucky, a little memorized, the strain from the previous conversation leaving Steve’s face. Steve didn’t notice Nat staring at Steve staring at Bucky, who was currently dissolving into a fit of giggles as he twirled a noodle onto his fork. 

“Ohhhh, I knew I liked you, can we keep him Stevie?” Clint begged, batting his eyes in Steve’s direction. Before Steve could answer Clint barreled on. “Oh OH!! I know! You have to come to our party Saturday after the game!”

“After what game?” Bucky asked, still grinning.

“The football game...Saturday…ya know...” Clint continued, as if this was information everyone should know. “You didn’t invite him to our party?” Clint looked at Steve, personally wounded by this.

“Well...I...we were...math! I was distracted by math.”

“I would be distracted by Bucky’s math too, if it was up to me we would just do math all night long.” Sam added smoothly, shooting Bucky a wink that turned into a wince when Steve’s foot collided into his shin under the table.

“Aaaaanywaaaaay, yes, we’re having a party after the game on Saturday. Probably around ten thirty, if you can make it.” Steve said, staring with more focus than probably needed at his noodles as he shoved them around his plate.

“Okay. Do I need to bring anything?” Bucky asked, looking at the rest of the table. “Are you going?” He eyed Nat.

“I have to go, if not Drunky McGee over here,” she pointed to Clint who waggled his fork in acknowledgment, mouth full, “would end up peeing in his closet like he did after the first game of the season.”

“Ew, you did not?!”

Struggling to gulp down the bite, Clint had the sense to look slightly ashamed. “Listen, it wouldn’t have happened if SOMEONE,” he shot Steve a death glare, “wouldn’t have cheated during beer pong FOUR GAMES IN A ROW.”

“BRO!” Steve laughed, going full-on jock, he smiled cockily. “I totally didn't cheat. You should know better than to go against the Q B when it comes to making shots. You know I always get it where it needs to go baby!”

Bucky nearly choked on the sip of water he was taking when Nat nudged his knee. The argument that broke out among the men about beer pong rules and regulations was one that seemed to have been hashed out many a times. Insults were thrown back and forth, loud enough to cover Nat’s voice as she pressed her lips close to Bucky’s ears.

“So you and Rogers, huh?” 

“What!?” He stared at her, flinching as her hand blocked a stray bit of toast that was flung across the table from Thor, nearly hitting Bucky in the face.

“You heard me,” she continued, “spill.”

“There’s nothing to spill.” He murmured back, wincing as the yelling intensified with a ‘YOU WANNA GO RIGHT NOW BRO, I WILL TOTALLY GO RIGHT NOW, GO GET THE CUPS’ covering his whispered response. “He’s straight, and not my type Nat. And not into me. Which goes back to my main point, he’s straight.” 

Nat just hummed under her breath, eyeing over his shoulder as Steve pressed closer to Bucky’s side as he made to chunk a noodle at Clint, where it smacked into his forehead. She grinned wickedly as if the action proved her point. “I’m not too sure about that. I’m thinking our dear Captain has some secrets.” She raised her eyebrows when Steve’s arm fell on the back of Bucky’s chair while he laughed hysterically at Sam pushing a piece of bread up Clint’s nose.

As the noise from the argument settled, Steve looked over at Bucky and sent him a sheepish grin, nudging him slightly before moving his arm to continue eating, causing Nat to nudge Bucky’s knee again.

“So Buckybug, what is it that you do at this fine institution when you’re not pounding math into boy wonders?” Sam asked while Clint and Steve picked up the dinner plates in exchange for small bowls.

Bucky shot Thor a smile as a giant scoop of cobbler was plopped into his bowl along with a equally large scoop of vanilla ice cream. “Thanks. How do you all not weigh 500lbs?” He asked, before grinning at Sam. “I’m a double major, mathematical engineering and astrophysics.” When the room stood still he glanced around at the silence, his spoon halfway to his mouth. “What?”

“Wow…you’re the smartest person to ever come into our home. Thor, give him more cobbler. He’s too skinny to be that smart.” Clint directed as Steve continued to stare.

“HEY!” Nat grumbled, crossing her arms over her chest with a pout. “ALSO a mathematical engineer over here.”

“Yeah, but he does space things, babe.” Clint commented, pecking her on the top of her head as he sat down with his own cobbler.

“I HAVE BOOBS.”

“Good point.” Clint grinned. “My favorite boobs, although Steve’s are a close second.”

Steve blushed furiously as he took his place at the table, digging into his dessert.

“Well, we’re honored for you to grace us with your presence, space cadet.” Thor announced.

“Um, thanks for letting me eat with you guys. This cobbler is really good, by the way.”

Thor turned a pink at the praise, “Oh, well. My mother’s recipe from Netherlands. I’ll let her know of your approval when we skype later.”

 __ 

After dinner and a small tussle over who would do the clean up (“C’mon, you freakin fed me, at least lemme help!” Bucky had demanded, as he stood up reaching for the empty bowls, only to have everyone at the table dismiss him, and Steve tug him back into his chair with a soft ‘oof’), Sam and Natasha made quick work of the leftovers, scooping out portioned sizes of them into labeled containers for each of the guys, and covering a plate with aluminum foil which Clint labeled “BuckyBabe” in permanent marker across the top. Bucky found himself enveloped in hugs from Nat, Thor and Sam as Steve walked him out. Clint blew him a kiss from where he stood at the sink, sending foam bubbles to the kitchen floor. “See you Saturday!” He called as Steve ushered him out the door, closing it behind them.

The busy sounds of the New York city street didn’t quite compare to the noise and energy left behind in the house. While Bucky arranged his bag across his body while holding the enormous plate of food in his other hand, Steve stood with his hands tucked in the pockets of his sweats.

“So thank-

“I apprec-”

Steve tampered down the urge to brush the stray hairs that had come loose from Bucky’s bun behind his ears. “Thank you, really, for coming by and for putting up with them. They can be a lot sometimes. They are a lot sometimes. All the time.” He amended with a small laugh.

“I had a great time.” Bucky replied honestly. Only mildly exhausted from the amount of human interaction that had occured. “Thanks for the food, and good luck on your test and the football game. Hopefully y’all don’t have one of those shitty freshman refs. Nat’s always complaining about how they screw over her softball games during the spring.”

Steve grinned, somewhere deep down told him he should correct him, but not wanting to tell him the truth of the matter just yet. It was nice to be “Steve Rogers fellow student who just happened to suck at math”, for a bit longer. “Fingers crossed. I’ll, um, let you know how the test goes.” They stood staring at each other for a second too long as they felt the tension draw tight.

“I... better be going.” Bucky nodded his head to the stairs. “Gotta early morning class.”

“Right!” Steve blurted. “You okay to get home?”

“It’s New York Steve, if I don’t get threatened with at least one mugging on my way I would be worried.”

Steve blanched. “Well shit, hold on let me go get some shoes on, I’ll walk you home.”

“Steve- that’s really not nece-” Bucky started but the door was already shutting, the sounds of Steve’s footfalls on the stairs reverberating through the house.

“What’s gotten into you?” Nat asked as Steve rushed back down the stairs, leather jacket and shoes in hand.

“Gonna walk Bucky home.”

“You’ve never walked me home before.” Nat pointed out as he hopped in place, putting on each shoe hurriedly.

“You carry a taser in your boot, I fear for the people who approach you. Plus you have a boyfriend.” Steve called over his shoulder before closing the front door behind him and joining Bucky on the porch. “Alright,” shrugging on his jacket he grinned, “ready?”

“This is ridiculous Steve. I can walk myself home.” Bucky frowned, although already side-stepping the cleats and heading down the stairs.

“Whatever. Maybe I just want some fresh air.”

“We’re in New York.”

“Maybe I just wanted some highly polluted air and a hooker sighting.” Steve amended with a grin.

“You’re ridiculous.”

The subjects varied over the mile long walk, from the classes of Potts’ Bucky had also taken, to their families.Steve grinned as he talked about his mom, Sarah, a labor and delivery nurse at a hospital in Queens, while Bucky glowed with pride over his own mother who worked in special education at a high school in Brooklyn.

“Explains your patience.” Steve admitted, elbowing Bucky lightly, realizing he had repeated the same move multiple times throughout the night. His brain wanted to worry, to overanalyze the fact that he couldn't seem to stop touching the other man. The strange urge to sling his arm over his shoulders or around his waist lurking somewhere in the background. He shoved his hands deeper into the pockets of his jacket instead.

“Nah, she’s a saint compared to me. I can tutor all day. She deals with parents and meetings, IEPs, FIEs, goals, ugh,” Bucky shuddered, “I could never do what she does.”

“Nah, you’re just a mathematical engineer slash astrophysicist, no big deal.” Steve added sardonically.

“I just read math and space shit non stop. That’s literally all it is.”

“Sounds terrifying.”

“Or fun.”

“Agree to disagree.”

“For now.”

“I’m sorry about the guys. Ya know, during dinner.” Steve commented, flourishing a hand in a noncommittal gesture.

Bucky frowned thinking back to the events. “What happened with the guys during dinner? You all throwing food at each other?”

“No with the,” he looked up at the little patch of sky searching for a better word that didn’t feel like he was in elementary school again, “flirting, I guess.”

“Oh that! Well,” Bucky nodded, looking up through his lashes he gave Steve a small shrug, “Seeing how I’m gay, I feel like I can handle straight dudes flirting with me for the sake of a good meal. Not the hardest thing I’ve done all week.” He winked.

“Oh. I...well,” Steve stammered.

“I MEANT TEACHING YOU MATH STEVE! Jeez. Mind in the gutter much?” Bucky teased, poking him in the side. “Trust me, your friends are all very nice and I felt nothing but welcome while they shoved way too much food at me. No apologies needed.”

Bucky stopped in front of a large brick building, a little less than kept up with. “This is me.” He gave Steve a small smile while grabbing his keys from his bag, blowing his hair out of his face in the process. “Thanks for walking me back, even though it was a complete waste of your time.”

“It’s my time to waste.” Steve smiled. Without a second thought he tucked the strand of loose hair behind Bucky’s ear. His hand froze on its way back. “Shit, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay.” Bucky breathed, cheeks tinged pink. “I’m just gonna...” He motioned towards the door.

“Right.”

“Good night Steve.”

“Night Bucky.”

__

“Are we gonna talk about how you came out of the bathroom in a towel on purpose?” Sam asked, the instant Steve got home, trailing behind him as Steve made his way up the stairs, picking up the dirty laundry that was strewn at the base.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Sam huffed, walking into the bathroom he came out with a pair of neatly folded pants and a t-shirt. “Well, look what we have here. A pair of sleep pants and a LARGE t-shirt belonging to none other than Steven Grant Rogers.” Tossing the clothes on the bed he raised his eyebrows. “Wanna try that again, or would you prefer to discuss why you’re wearing that smedium-ass t-shirt that you’ve had since freshman year of high school?” 

Steve turned, his blush blooming fiercely over the collar of said shirt. “Shut up, Sam.”

Unfazed Sam continued on, leaning against the doorway to Steve’s bedroom. “You wanted him to stare at them titties didn't you, Steve? “He laughed, shaking his head. “Boy wonder, you are shameless.”

“Who’s staring at whose titties?” Wondered Clint as he walked by with Nat, who sent a telltale smirk at Steve, that made the blush crawl all the way up his face.

“My titties Clint, we're all staring at my titties.” Sam grinned and Clint stopped in front of him, tugging him out of Steve’s doorway and leaning in close to stare at his chest, dramatically cupping them in his hands he squeezed lightly. 

"Ehhhh. Steve's are better." He decided after a pause.

“CAN WE ALL JUST STOP TALKING ABOUT MY TIT- CHEST, FUCK!” Steve groaned loudly, closing the door on the resounding maniacal laughter.

Flopping back on the bed he stripped the constricting shirt off and flung it across the room with a sigh. Maybe if Steve was a better student he would review his notes one more time. If he was a better athlete he would look at the play book that Coach Fury had emailed the team an hour ago and review it before Saturday’s game. If he was a better artist, he would pick up the charcoal hidden within his desk and draw the face that was ingrained into his mind. But tonight he chose to be none of those things. Instead he played on loop the small subtleties in the way Bucky’s face tilted when he listened to Thor talk, or the way he grinned freely when Clint kissed Nat on the head. He focused on the shockingly vulnerable expression that came specifically when Steve touched him before they parted ways. Wondering if that was something he would ever be willing to return.

Chapter Text

We will run and scream.

You will dance with me.

They'll fulfill our dreams

And we'll be free

Loud. Too loud . The blood pounded in Steve’s ears as the crowd roared. It was the bottom of the fourth quarter, and he had been playing like shit. Tied scores were proof of that. The huddle was brief, as he gave out the play, Clint, Thor, Sam, and the rest of the team looking at him with trust and determination in their eyes. Easy play. Fake the hand off, toss to Sam who would be be at the 45, Sam run it in, Thor give up coverage on Steve and instead block for Sam. They had practiced it a million times. God it was so fucking loud. Don’t fail Rogers, don’t fail. You’ve already failed too many times, don’t screw this up. Don’t let them down. It’s all on you Rogers. You have to do this right. For once do something right . Clint punted the ball back into Steve’s waiting hands. Wait for it, don’t rush it, wait for it don’t rush it. The sounds of bodies clashing like titans around him only grew louder as the defense threatened to come closer. Shit shit shit, where’s Sam. Not at the 45. Where’s Sam. Don’t screw it up Rogers. Don’t let them down. You’ve already failed too many times. SAM! Rearing his arm back he made the throw, the ball leaving his hand just before a giant linebacker slammed into Steve’s side, knocking the breath out of him and having him see stars for a brief period of time. Steve looked up as the sound of the game took a turn, excited screams turned into anguished groans. He saw the wrong color jersey running to the other side of the field. The small section of the visitors team screaming like crazy just as the buzzer sounded. Pass intercepted. Touchdown scored. You fucked this up Rogers. How much more can you fail?  

___

The scalding hot water did nothing for the cold dread that coiled in the pit of Steve’s stomach. It had been there since 6 o’clock in the morning when he had checked his grade. The 60 had laughed back at him .

“Give yourself a break, Steve.” Sam murmured from the other side of the short tiled wall that divided the shower stalls. “You can’t win ‘em all.”

Steve’s response to this was to grunt and lean his forehead against the cold tile, letting the water beat down on his shoulders.

“It’s all good, Stevie. When you get home we’ll have the three B’s ready for you: Booze and Beautiful women.” Clint smiled.

“That’s only two B’s.” Sam commented, turning off his water and toweling off.

“Well, Buckybear makes three. Perk up buttercup, and be prepared for fireball.” Clint called clapping Sam and Thor on their shoulders on his way out.

Even as the locker room cleared he stayed. Stayed until the water ran cold and goosebumps prickled across his skin. Stayed until his body began to shiver, numbing as his adrenaline drained and his dread spiked. Bucky . Another name to add to the list of people he would inevitably disappoint. When his teeth began to chatter he turned the water off, the air now warm in comparison. He dressed slowly and methodically, sliding into the snug-fitting black jeans and white polo shirt, slipping on the acid-washed jacket. He let his hair dry floppy and loose, forgoing combing it back. He walked toward the house at a slow pace, in no rush for the anticipated onslaught of people after the day he had.

The closer he walked to the house the more people he saw wandering around the street, smoking and greeting him with looks of sympathy at the night’s loss. The noise became louder and louder, displacing the quiet with booming bass and laughter as he opened the door to find Thor throwing his head back with his arm around a petite woman’s shoulder.

“STEVEN, YOU’VE MADE IT!” He boomed over the noise, grinning madly while taking a swig of his tankard of beer. “This is lady Jane. Our fair Natasha’s friend. She is like your Bucky, a space cadet and mathematical genius.”

“You know Bucky?!’ The girl shouted, and Steve had to lean in close.

“Yeah he’s my math tutor!” Steve shouted back, giving her a polite smile.

“He’s coming in a little bit! We spoke about it yesterday in class!!!” Her voice barely audible over the music.

“That’s great! I’m gonna go…” He motioned the international sign for ‘grab a drink’. She gave him a small wave, turning back to look at Thor.

Steve moved about, briefly stopping at various groups, giving his best convincing tight-lip smiles to the “no worries man, you’ll win the next one” he received on his way to the back of the kitchen.

“STEVE. MY MAN. MY MAIN GUY. MY SQUEEZE.” The smaller man with the ACDC shirt grinned up at him from behind the bar.

Oh shit, who invited Tony Stark? He groaned inwardly “Hey Stark! Watcha uh...doin’ back there?” He asked, pointing to the bottles strewn across the counter.

“Gonna get you nice and fucked up my friend. I call this The Head on Collision.” He held up a shot glass that was weirdly reddish-yellow.

“What’s in it?” Steve asked, taking the shot glass and peering at it.

“Drink first, then ask questions. You look like shit.”

“Not the first time I’ve heard that recently.” Steve pressed his lips together before sighing in resignation before downing the shot. Instant heat spread along his esophagus and down to his belly as his eyes threatened to water. “MOTHER FUCKER.” He coughed.

“Like it?!”

“WHAT THE FUCK IS IN IT?” Steve asked, cringing but oddly enjoying the way the alcohol seemed to fill in the cracks. “Give me another.”

“That’s my guy! Fireball, tequila sans worm, with a spot of peppermint schnapps, to warm you up. Here,” He poured two more and handed them both to Steve. “Enjoy the ride!”

“Steve no!” Sam dashed in off the back porch just as Steve downed the shots, the burn feeling just on the right side of wrong.

“Steve yes!!!!” Tony countered grinning at him as Steve cringed through it.

“PIZZA’S HERE ASSHOLES. PUT YOUR MONEY IN THE COOKIE JAR IF YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT GRABBING A SLICE!” Clint called as he walked through the front door, a stack of a dozen pizza boxes wobbling back and forth in his hands.

“Here.” Sam grabbed a hot slice of pepperoni and shoved it into Steve’s mouth, the hot cheese burning his palette but otherwise sinfully good. “Maybe it’ll soak up some of that jet fuel Tony poured down your throat.”

“I did nothing of the sort. I just offered a service that our dear friend requested.” Tony grinned, chomping on his own slice of pizza as Sam rolled his eyes. “Sooo, I hear you’ve been getting help from BabyBucky.”

“Does everyone know him?” Steve murmured.

“Aww you know our BuckyBlueWho too?” Clint asked

“Dude I’m triple majoring in all of this shit. We tend to run into each other. You know he’s coming by tonight right.”

“I need another shot.” Steve thought out loud.

“It’s okay, BuckyBuddy tends to have that effect on guys.” Tony commented with a shrug, pouring the alcohol even as Sam rolled his eyes.

“Not that much tequila Stark, you’ll knock him on his ass!” Sam moaned.

“Shut it grandma. Here, Rogers. A little liquid courage for later.” He winked.

“I don’t...it’s not...it’s not like that,” Steve stuttered lamely, taking the shot before finishing with “he helps me with math.”

“And what do you help him with Steviewevie?” Tony inquired before a shout at the front of the house drew their attention. A table was being brought in through the front door, long and thin, along with a huge stack of solo cups. Various people ran ahead to clear the way to the backyard to set up the table.

“Wanna rematch Barton?” Steve asked, desperate for a change of subject and an increase in consumption.

“OH, IT’S ON ROGERS!”

*oOo*

Bucky stood nervously at the open front door as the clock neared midnight, black skinny jeans clung to his legs, with his well loved but rarely seen leather jacket over a white v neck. Hair half up in a messy bun, a few strands had fallen during his walk. The music was loud enough to deafen anyone in the surrounding area, along with shouts of laughter and squeals that came from the girls running through the house already half clothed.

Jesus Mary and Joseph what have I gotten myself into? Bucky thought, feeling the floor under his feet quake as Thor performed off in the corner of the room, following the Dance Dance Revolution steps on the screen. Spotting Natasha’s deep red hair pulled back in to a bun he made a beeline to back of the house near the kitchen where she stood next to...

“Stark?”

“HEY Buckybee! You finally made it! I see you’ve traded out your signature hoodie, look out people we have a badass on our hands!”

“What the fuck are you doing here, Stark?” Bucky asked, baffled and distracted at what looked to be Jane Foster doing a keg stand near the stairs, Thor cheering loudly for her from his place in front of the T.V.

“I’m Tony Stark.” As if this was an explanation for his presence. “Hey want to try a Head on Collision?”

Nat shook her head fervently from behind him, eyes wide.

“I better not. Just a beer would be great.” Bucky gave him a smile as he handed one over.

“Sure you don’t want a shot?”

“Nah, probably best to keep my wits about me in this crowd.” Bucky declared.

“Got it. Your boy is out back.” Stark pointed over his shoulder to the door leading to the backyard.

“My boy? What boy?”

Nat simply cocked an eyebrow and pressed her lips together as Tony rolled his eyes. “Listen, if you don’t have heart eyes for Steve Rogers, Buckybean, then I’m Kobe Bryant.”

“Who?” Bucky asked, frowning.

“God you’re hopeless.” Tony sighed, taking his own shot with a wince. “Christ that’s bad. Good thing Steve had five of ‘em. Probably gave Clint the advantage for beer pong. He can thank me when he wins his title back.” He told Natasha who promptly rolled her eyes and took Bucky’s hand, leading him out the back door.

Nerves tingled up his spine. Tutor. You’re his tutor. Look at all the half naked girls for him to choose from. Go say hi, make an excuse, then leave . Bucky let Nat tug him down the steps, her warm hand grounding him as he took in the surprising expansive of the yard that was wedged between the buildings. More kegs, more people, more half naked women and frat bros littered the area. In the middle of the trees, Edison bulb lights were strung up in a square, lighting the area around the long beer pong table. Cheers erupted as Clint made another of his shots and Steve groaned, his back to Bucky.

“Not fuckin’ fair, your elbow passed over the table!” He complained, staggering.

“Bull shit Rogers. Take your drink like a man!” Clint grinned before his eyes shifted to behind Steve. “BUCKYBUNTCAKE” Clint shouted with a grin, coming around the table to engulf Bucky in a large hug. “We’ve missed you man, you’re late!” He picked Bucky up and swung him in a wobbly circle before setting him back down. “Rogers look, BUCKY MADE IT!” Clint shouted gleefully, and the whole party cheered in response.

“Jeez.” Bucky gave a small wave and downed half his beer. Peaking over the rim his eyes met Steve’s, who quickly looked away and went back to his game.

Nat scoffed before rounding on him, “what happened between you and Rogers?”

“Nothing.” Bucky answered quickly. “We haven’t talked since he walked me home. I dont- I don’t know.”

“God dammit Barton.” Steve groaned, as the final shot sunk into the cup. Bucky and Nat turned to stare, watching as Steve finished off the beer on his side and made his way to the other, a small wobble in his step as Clint happily handed over the four remaining cups of beer. Steve chugged them one after the other, barely stopping to breath.

“Has he been like this all night?” Bucky looked at Nat, concern written across his face.

“Yup. Fourth game he’s lost. Plus the shots. We lost the football game. He came to the party later than everyone else.” She explained.

“Oh.”

“Yeah.” Nat added. “C’mon Rogers, let’s get you some pizza and water, huh?”

“Nah.” Steve slurred. “Don’t need it. Gonna kick Clint’s ass.”

“Sure you are Steve, but Clint’s gonna take a break to get some pizza and water too, isn’t he Clint?” She aimed a glare over Steve’s shoulder.

“Wait- what? Oh yes. Pizza. Love it. Water. Good for...peeing. Cool.” Clint went to Steve’s side and tugged at his arm. “C’mon big guy. Let’s destroy some pizza.”

“He’s not okay, is he?” Bucky asked as they followed the pair inside.

“Nope. I’m trying to get Clint’s dumbass to stop accepting his challenges. Poor guy is sloshed.”

Bucky hung back in the kitchen, watching as Clint, Sam, Nat, and Tony all encouraged Steve to eat pizza. He nibbled carefully on his own slice, sipping another beer as Steve gave Natasha a grin that didn’t quite meet his eyes as she shoved another pepperoni in his mouth. “Wadda I gotta do to get you to leave this jerk?” He asked, pointing to Clint.

“Not gonna happen cutie. Open up.”  Nat smiled, tossing a bite she ripped off. “Chew.” She instructed, Steve complied happily.

“Don’t want water.” He frowned as Tony handed him a cup.

“It’s not, scouts honor. New vodka, barely any flavor.” Tony encouraged, crossing his fingers behind his back.

They ate and stood around, someone continuously feeding pizza to Steve, or giving him sips of water. The crowd around them pulsed and grew, people coming and going, dropping dollars into the cookie jar next to Bucky and stealing slices as they went. Thor came in smiling madly, sending Jane outside with a light kiss on her cheek before reaching around Bucky to the fridge

“Steve! Did you master the art of beer pong once again?!” he called.

“Nooooooooope.” Steve replied, the final “p” popping.

“Alas, we can’t win them all.”

“Ain’t that the truth.” Steve nodded, face blanching at the movement. “I think I need to lie down.”

“Shit.” Sam grumbled, following as Steve stumbled forward, moving towards the living room. “Hey, lemme help you big guy.”

“Nope. Can do it by myself.” Steve assured stubbornly, hip checking the table.

“I got him.” Bucky said, surprising even himself, as they all turned to look at him. He moved away from the counter and wedged under Steve’s arm, his hand wrapping around to grip Steve’s waist. “Hey Stevie,” he said softly, watching as the blond’s eyes struggled to focus, “gonna let me walk you to your room? I owe you ya know, for walkin’ me home.”

“Hiiiii Bucky!” Steve grinned leaning into the touch, letting Bucky guide him away from the group and over to the stairs. “We lost the game.” He said mournfully.

“I heard.”

“Mmmmm.” They stumbled up the steps, Steve’s weight growing heavier over Bucky’s frame as they went. Finally making it into Steve’s room, Bucky eased him onto the bed where Steve sat, head leaning into his hands.

“C’mon, let me take your shoes off Steve, no one enjoys sleeping in their shoes.” Bucky kneeled in front of him, working the laces he pulled Steve’s right shoe off as Steve lifted his face to stare down at Bucky.

“ ‘M sorry.”

“Everyone gets drunk. No judgement here, pal.” he replied, working off the left.

“Not about that. About failing my math test. You worked really hard. We mathed so hard.”

“Oh.” The pit in Bucky’s stomach dropped. He stayed kneeling as Steve stared at him mournfully. “Listen, we’ll figure it out. I promise. We’ll work harder. Let’s just get you to sleep, and we’ll worry about it in the morning.”

“ ‘Ts not gonna work.” Steve bit his lip. “It’s not gonna work and I’m gonna fail, and all of the guys are gonna be kicked out of college.”

“You’re not making any sense buddy.” Bucky murmured, frowning up at him, aghast when Steve fell back onto the bed.

“They’re all gonna be kicked out of college because I failed.”

“Steve, no one’s getting kicked out of college. You’re not gonna fail. You’re just drunk and sad.” Bucky added sternly.

“What the fuck do you know?” Steve asked standing up quickly, his hand catching on the desk for balance, knocking down a journal that had been set on the corner, pagers scattered at his feet. “Do you know how much those guys’ve depended on me for the past three years?” He pointed to the floor, indicating the people downstairs before plucking at the hem of his shirt. He struggled to get the shirt up and over his shoulders, and Bucky felt the weird need to look away as he worked the shirt up where it briefly was caught on his head. “I’ve failed them. All because of having some stupid learning disamathingy and my brain can’t keep numbers on the page.”  

“Steve you didn’t fai-...wait, what did you just say?” Bucky’s head whipped back around and stared incredulously

“I’ve failed them.” Steve pouted miserably, sitting back on the edge of the bed.

“Before that.”

“My brain makes the numbers fall off the page? It’s uhh ..dysxl...disec….”

“YOU HAVE DYSCALCULIA?!” Bucky shouted.

“Don’t yell at me!” Steve whined, glaring up at him. “My brain is broken.”

“That’s it though?! You have dyscalculia?”

“Jesus, are you deaf Barnes. Yes. I have the dysc….thingy. Since like second grade when they locked me in a room for three hours to test me.”

“Oh Steve. OH Steve you fuckin’ idiot, why didn’t you tell me.” Bucky kneeled down again, bracing his hands on Steve’s knees.

Steve shrugged, “Nobody knows.”

“But I can help with this Steve.” Bucky murmured, nudging Steve’s hands away from his eyes, aching when he found the lashes wet with tears.

“No one can help. No one ever has.” Steve’s voice was small as his eyes stayed downcast, and Bucky fought to hear the words. “You don’t understand. It...I can’t.”

“You can.” Bucky nudged his chin with his finger, bringing Steve’s eyes up to his own. “You can and you will if I have anything to say about it. Okay?”

“I’m just gonna let you down Buck.” Steve blinked up at him, the blue exaggerated by the now red rims.

“Nope. Not gonna happen Rogers.” Bucky stood, suddenly. “C’mon,” he pulled back the corner of Steve’s comforter and pointed to the sheets, “bed. You’re gonna hate yourself a little in the morning.”

Steve stood slowly, as if testing to see if gravity was still in his favor before surprising them both by wrapping his arms around Bucky’s waist. “Thank you.”

“Oh.” Bucky sighed into the touch, letting his arms loop around the massive shoulders as he was pulled up onto his toes. Poor drunk bastard, he thought letting his head rest against Steve’s chin. “Of course. I promise it’s gonna be okay, Steve. We’ll fix it.”

“Can’t tell anyone.”

“Then we won’t.” Bucky promised. No matter how stupid that was, Bucky understood. There were secrets in life that could be viewed as catastrophic, even to those who loved you. “Alrigh-”

“Hey man, I brought you some, oh…” Sam stood in the doorway holding a glass of water, advil, and a trash can. “Sorry to um...interrupt...I’ll just leave this here and I’ll g-”

“No no no. Perfect timing. He needs to sleep. I’ll just, er…” He looked helplessly at Sam before glancing down to where Steve’s hands were clasped firmly around his waist.

“Hey Stevie.”

“Mmm.” Steve looked at Sam, eyes blinking up at him sleepily.

“Let the pretty boy go so he can go home and you can sleep.”

“Don’t wanna.” Steve grumbled, nuzzling into Bucky’s neck, and causing Bucky’s whole body to feel like it was on fire as his lips pressed into his skin. Sam and Bucky exchanged equal looks of panic with a tinge of confusion, a blush blooming up Bucky’s face.

“I know buddy, he’s really nice but you gotta sleep and he’s gotta go home.” Sam eased a hand onto Steve’s arm before giving it a tug. Steve released Bucky and then looked at Sam seriously.

“You’ll walk him home?” He asked pointedly.

“I’ll walk him home.” Sam affirmed.

“That’s really not-”


“Promise me?” Steve asked as he lowered himself onto the bed.

“I promise, Steve.” Sam said quietly.

Bucky rolled his eyes, bending down to move Steve’s shoes out of the path of the bathroom and pick up the papers that had fallen. “Oh…” his eyes trailed over the portrait, Nat’s facing staring back at him with a wicked smile made out of soft pencil strokes. “Sam.” He turned holding the page.

“Shh.” Sam took the papers and tucked them into the journal before sliding it back onto Steve’s desk. Sam set the trashcan by Steve’s bed before tucking a pillow behind his back, forcing him to stay on his side, Steve already emitting soft snores shifted in his sleep.“C’mon.” Sam motioned to the door, shutting it softly behind them and blocking out some of the crazed noise from the party before he lead Bucky to the porch.

“Alright, which way is your house?” Sam asked, zipping up his jacket

Bucky huffed. “Is this really necessary? I walked here didn’t I?”

“I don’t break promises. Especially to Steve. Especially to drunk vulnerable Steve, and I imagine you have questions.” Sam countered, eyebrows raised.

“I...well...shit. Fine. It’s only a mile.” Bucky huffed.

As the crowd dispersed the farther they walked, Sam blew out a breath. “Soooo. Drunk post game Steve is pretty chatty. Any notes you want to review?”

“He thinks everyone is gonna get kicked out of school over this game, like, he said it more than once.”

“Understandable. He’s the quarterback, probably worried that if he fails out of school the team would be stuck with second string QB, and if we lose too much the team gets a lower national ranking, which can hurt some of the guys’ scholarships they came in with.”

“Woah, wait national rank-...scholarships?!” Bucky stopped walking. “HE’S COLUMBIA’S QUARTERBACK!?!” Bucky yelled, all the pieces suddenly falling into place, the practice times, Steve’s face when he mentioned freshman refs. “Oh fuck. Oh fuck. I let Columbia’s quarterback fail. Oh no no no.”

“Hey, no,” Sam, nudged Bucky, “calm down. God please don't start looking at him the way every other person on this campus does. Still just Steve. And it’s not your fault he failed. Steve’s always…” He pondered for a minute for the right word, “struggled...despised...been terrible at math.”

“Yeah...he uh, mentioned that. But I think...I really do think I can help him, Sam. He doesn't think so,” Bucky added, “but I…well, my mom is a teacher and I haven’t met a person she couldn’t help, so I feel like she can disperse some of that wisdom on me. I just, I hate seeing him like this. I knew we aren’t like...you guys, I mean barely even know each other.” Bucky shrugged. “It was just hard seeing him like he was tonight.”

“Don’t discount the time you two have spent together.” Sam smiled, “He’s opened up to you more than he has anyone else. I think that says a lot about the bond you guys are forming. If he was willing to get drunk-vulnerable with you, that says somethin’.”

Bucky blushed. “Jesus. You a psych major or something?”

Sam laughed. “I am actually. And well...Steve’s an Art Major. If you haven’t figured that out.”

“Figures.” Bucky scoffed. “So about...that.”

“Which that...the art?”

“No, not the art. The uh, vulnerable bond thing. Um…is he...do you know if he...like…how the fuck do I word this?” Bucky scrubbed a hand over his face. “Is he into women?” He blurted.

Sam snorted. “Annnddd there it is.”

“No no no! I wasn’t implying- I just don’t- the hugging thing happened, and he’s always touching me, and that just might be who he is as a person, I just don’t want to read into it as someone who isn’t into women, and I want to be sensitive to his feelings especially if he’s just a nice dude, and I don’t offen-”

“Woah, there.” Sam interrupted. “I think this is really something you’re gonna have to discuss with him since it’s his personal life and all...what I’m gonna say, and if you tell anyone I said this I’ll deny it ‘til my grave, is that Steve sometimes won’t let himself be happy due to his need to fulfill an image that the outside world presses upon him, aka the art thing. I do know of some times where he has experimented, but he’s never fully told me about those. I just know him, and his heart. So...in terms of...feelings, it might...take like magic or something, to get him to be honest with himself…” Sam paused, “woo, that was like walking through a minefield.”

“You did good.” Bucky assured. A small ounce of relief followed by a tidal-wave of complication erupted in his mind. Confused boys…well, confused with a chance of being bi boys were always complicated… dammit Steve, Bucky thought as he stopped in front of his building. “This is me.” He smiled. “Thank you, for listening and explaining. Will you check in on him when you get home?”

Sam snorted. “God you both got it bad. I’ll also tell him to text you in the morning.” He grinned and clapped Bucky on the shoulder before turning to walk away. “You’re a good guy Bucky Barnes."

Bucky grinned despite himself before turning the key and letting himself into the building. Who knew what tomorrow would bring?

Chapter Text

And we will be who we are

And they'll heal our scars.

Sadness will be far away.

*oOo*

The following morning

Turns out tomorrow brought a hangover. Steve moaned as his door banged open, peaking an eye open he glared at Sam.

“Go away.”

“Not happening.” Sam affirmed, climbing into the limited free space of Steve’s bed and holding out the water and advil in his hand. “C’mon. You know the drill: medicate, hydrate, discuss.”

“Don’t wanna.”

“Don’t care.” Sam snuck his foot under the covers, cold from the floor, and pressed it against Steve back, causing him to yelp and wince.

“You’re such an asshole.” Steve grumbled, sitting up in the bed and leaning his back against the wall. He took the offered advil and water and gulped them both down, handing the cup back to Sam with a sigh.

“Alright. Two down, one to go. Discuss.”

“Which part?”

“Which parts do you remember?” Sam asked.

“Umm…failed math test, lost game, terrible shots from Tony, God who let him near the bar…awful at beer pong, pizza... and…” His cheeks tinged pink, before looking at Sam guiltily. “I think I hugged Bucky...probably for too long.”

“You’re not wrong.” Was Sam’s only reply.

Burying his face in his hands he groaned. “Fuuuuuuuuck.” His head popped up. “Shit, did he stay here?”

“No. Homeboy had like two drinks. I walked him home.” Sam scoffed.

“Why did you walk him home?” Steve asked curiously.

“You made me swear, in front of him might I add, that I would walk him home. So I did.”

“Oh.”

“Mmmhmm.”

A beat of silence passed between the two before Steve asked the question they both knew he was dying to ask. “So um…did he say anything about me?”

“Jesus. Y’all got it bad.” Sam shook his head. “He said he thinks he has a way that he could help you with your math struggles. Had no idea you were the freakin’ QB for the school, so that was a bit of a shock. Found your art and now knows you’re an art major. AND,” Sam said loudly, not giving Steve a chance to respond to anything he had listed, “he asked if you were only interested in women.”

“Oh.” Steve repeated.

“Mmhmmm…”

“Well. Am I only interested in women?” Steve asked gruffly.

“That’s for you and your dick to figure out, my friend.” Sam slapped him on the back in a brotherly fashion. “Just know that if you’re not just interested in woman that I’m here for you, and I’ll love you no matter what. Who you date doesn’t change who you are, Steve.”

“Okay.” Steve said evenly, a frown line forming between his eyes.

“You might want to text him though, he was worried about you last night. He’s the reason I didn’t get any sleep checking in on your sorry ass.” Sam scooted off the bed and gave Steve’s knee a pat. “You good?”

“I...don’t know. Got a lot to think about.”

“Just remember, you’re not alone, Steve. And the only standard you have to live up to is your own.” Sam reminded him, making his way to the door.

“God, you’re wise.”

Sam grinned. “I know.”

When the door clicked shut Steve let his head thump against the wall, only turning to the buzz of his phone.

 

Bucky Barnes: You okay?

No. No I’m not okay. Not even remotely . He wanted to reply.

Steve Rogers: A little hungover. Head might fall off my shoulders.

Bucky Barnes: Would it feel better with coffee and donuts?

Steve’s stomach did that thing where it turned in excitement and dread all at once.

Steve Rogers: I don’t know. Depends on what kinda donuts.

Bucky Barnes: Chocolate sprinkled. Duh.

Steve Rogers: Done.

Bucky Barnes: Give me 20 mins.

*oOo*

15 minutes earlier

 

Bucky’s phone rang loudly on speaker as he rummaged through his closet, towel wrapped around his waist. He picked up a grey pair of jeans, wrinkling his nose and mumbling ‘mother fucker’ just as the line picked up.

“Oh there’s my pride and joy, starting my day with such lovely verbiage. And how are you, my love?” Winifred Barnes answered lightly.

“Hey Ma. Got a problem.”

“Of course you do. You only call me when you have a problem. No asking about how your poor old Ma is doing.”

“And how is my poor old Ma doing?” Bucky quipped.

“Just splendid honey. Becca got accepted into UCLA!”

“Oh, that’s awesome! Tell her to call me!”

“I will do just that. So what’s your problem love. No more stars to study or math equations to solve?”

“Ha. Real funny.” Bucky grinned, finally finding a clean pair of jeans and wiggling them on.

“I know dear. But really. What’s going on?”

“Alright so there’s this guy I’m tutoring,” Bucky started, picking a black short sleeved shirt out of his drawer.

“Ohhhh is he a cute guy?!”

“MA! Focus.” Bucky rolled his eyes, sliding on his shirt before beginning his search for his boots in the living space he and Nat shared. Nat opened her door suddenly and poked her head out. “AH! Fuck. I didn’t know you were here!”

“Of course I’m here. Why wouldn’t I be here?!” Nat answered. “Oh, is that your Mom?!”

“Hello Nat dear!

“Hiiii Ms.B!” Nat replied with a grin.

“I thought you stayed at Steve’s.” Bucky answered

“Wait, who’s Steve?!” Winifred asked.

“Ohhhh the hot guy Bucky is tutoring, also lives with Clint.” Nat answered, laughing as Bucky groaned.

“OH SO HE IS CUTE!” Winifred practically squealed.

“Totes adorbs Ms. B. I can send you a picture.” Nat added.

“Oh please do sweetheart.”

“No no n-”

“Sent!” Nat chimed. “He’s a sweetheart Ms. B. Think you’d like him.” She shot Bucky a wink as he flicked her off.

“Oh my. Well, he is something isn’t he?” Winifred commented, voice sounding a little farther away from the receiver.

“MA! FOCUS.”

“Are y’all being safe honey?”

“MA! JESUS CHRIST WE AREN’T HAVING SEX!” Bucky cringed, thunking his head against the fridge.

“Well why aren’t you?! You’re a good boy. Smart and handsome. My question is why isn’t he climbing you like a tree?”

“Because he’s straight.”

“He’s definitely not straight.” Nat commented, nudging Bucky out of the way of the fridge and grabbing the orange juice.

“He’s…we don’t know what he is.” Bucky shrugged. “Anyway, that’s beside the point. Hot, yes. Struggling with math because of a specific learning disability in dyscalculia, also yes.”

“Ohhhhhhhh.” Winifred drawled. “Poor sweet boy. Is he getting any accommodations in his classes? He probably needs someone to take notes for him so he can focus on the verbiage. Or permission to maybe record the lesson so he can go back and listen. Sometimes students with dyscalculia are really good with their hands and need to keep them busy while learning but that can hurt their focus on the auditory input. I bet his notes are impeccable.”

“THIS IS WHY I CALLED YOU!” Bucky thanked the heavens for his mother. “Ma, he’s bombing calc, a freshman course, and while I think I’m helping a little, he failed his first test and is in panic mode. Well, last night he was in black-out drinking mode.”

“Well, alcohol isn’t gonna fix his problems, sweety.”


“Tell him that.” Bucky rolled his eyes

“Well, give me his number and I will.” Winifred countered.

“Absolutely not. DON’T YOU DARE.” Bucky pointed a finger at Nat as she lifted up her phone, watching as she slowly placed it back on the table.

“Alright honey. Do you have paper? I can give you some advice on how to come about his instruction and what he needs to be focused on. Also have him contact the special services building on campus, if he has his last FIE from high school, he can apply for accommodation approval within the classroom. Make sure…”

Bucky’s smile grew as he wrote down his mother's suggestions. Heart racing at the ideas that were strewn along the paper, listed out by the exact need based on Steve’s learning preferences. Twenty minutes later he was grinning, his phone warm in his hand.

“You’re the best Ma, thank you so much. I think this is really gonna help.”

“It’s not a problem, honey. Do you mind if I ask why he matters so much? No offense, I’ve just never really heard you take this much of an interest into someone you’re helping.”

“I um…”

“Unrequited gay love!” Nat shouted from her bedroom.

“What was that dear?”

“Nothing Ma, Nat was just being an ASSHOLE.” Bucky called, tossing a pillow off the couch at Nat’s head while she sat on her bed, which she deflected without looking.

“Oh stop it. Well. Whatever the reason, just be careful, and know how loved you are and how loved you deserve to be, okay baby?” Winifred asked, voice going soft.

“I will Ma. Again, he’s most likely straight, so I’m just the friendly gay tutor. Nothing more. No feelings involved.”

“Now don’t lie to yourself honey.” Winifred scoffed.

“Hush you.” Bucky smiled. “I love you Ma, thanks for your help.”

“Love you too baby. Good luck! Keep me up to date. Can I friend request him on facebook?!”

“MA!”

“Fine, fine. Bye honey!”

Stopping in front of Nat’s door he started, “it goes without say-”

“Secret's safe with me, Barnes.”

“No telling Clint.”

“You really think I’d tell that idiot and have the whole world know?” She replied with a weird fondness surrounding the word ‘idiot’.

“You’re great, Nat.”


“I know.”

Pulling out his phone he sent Steve a text. “You okay?” Before grabbing his bag and heading out the door.

*oOo*

Steve didn’t know what to expect when he opened the door, but Bucky Barnes grinning from ear to ear, wearing tight blue jeans, black lace up boots, a black v neck, his arms long and lean and covered in tattoos fully exposed, while his hair was up in a messy bun on top of his head was certainly not it. Before Steve could even say hello, Bucky was shoving a large disposable travel mug full of warm coffee into his hands and breezing in.

“Alright. Fix your brain so we can go upstairs and math.” He said over his shoulder before plopping down at the table and pulling out two boxes of donuts from his bag.

“Good morning to you too.” Steve said, watching as Bucky took a giant bite of a chocolate sprinkled donut.

“Oh I’m sorry princess. Is someone hungover?” Bucky asked around the mouthful of donut, cocking his head to the side.

“Asshole. I’m surrounded by assholes.” Steve grumbled, digging into the fridge for the creamer.

They both looked up at the footsteps on the stairs. A sleepy Thor and Clint followed by a rather chipper Sam streamed into the kitchen.

“Oh. You brought sugar. Bless you my child.” Clint said, voice rough and scratchy, kissing Bucky on the top of his head as he walked by. “Coffee. Tell me you brought me coffee.”

“Sorry Clint. I only brought him coffee.” Bucky pointed to Steve who frowned at them all while holding his cup possessively.

“Next time bring me coffee and I’ll do whatever he does to you but ten times better.”

Steve choked on the hot liquid, thankfully close enough to the sink to not spill it down his shirt.

“That’s a lofty promise, Barton.” Bucky quipped.

“I’ll do it one hundred times better, and buy you flowers dear friend.” Thor’s voice grumbled, as he moaned around his donut.

“Sam any offers you want to throw out on the table?”

“Man I don’t drink that stuff. I’m high on life. No need to add caffeine…now if you promised to bring me a nice vanilla bean frappauccino, I might get a little slutty for you.” Sam added, rubbing his chin as if he was weighing his options.

“These are some high offers. Better be taking notes, Steve.” Bucky grinned at Steve who rolled his eyes.

“Well, you’re certainly in a good mood this morning, Bucky.” Clint smiled, snagging a second donut.

“Sugar high. I have a mad sweet tooth.”

“Mmmm, same. Anytime you need anything done, feel free to bribe me with donuts. I’ll be your best friend, handyman, sexual deviant.”

“Don’t think Nat would be too happy about that.”

“Eh, what she doesn't know.” Clint laughed. “But really. You’re here early, come to help with party clean up?”

“Nah, came to math up your friend a little more. Sorry."

“Damnit. Of course Rogers gets out of KP.” Sam sighed.

“Speaking of,” Steve interjected, snagging the unopened box of donuts and heading towards the stairs, “let’s get started before my brain decides I need to fall back into a coma to heal.”

Bucky stood, giving them all a small wave, before bounding up the stairs after Steve.

“If he doesn’t fuck him, I will.” Clint promised, shoving a whole donut in his mouth.

“Lord help us all.” Sam prayed to the ceiling.

*oOo*

“Alright, so,” Bucky shoved in behind Steve and propped himself in the middle of Steve’s bed. Digging further into his bag he pulled out the journal that held his notes from the conversation he had earlier with his mom. “I got a hold of my Mom, she says ‘Hi’ by the way, you don’t know her but that’s just how she is,” Bucky continued, “she’s an instructional specialist for special education and specializes in learning disabilities, works with kids who have them and all that, so she gave me some great advice on how to approach your dyscalculia. Also she wants me to make sure that you have your last evaluation you had done, from high school I’m assuming, so that you can take it to the Columbia’s special services building; because of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 you’re guaranteed accommodations within the classroom, you just gotta advocate for them. I looked up the number for that office that you can fax in your FIE and your accommodations request to.”

Bucky handed Steve a sticky note, numbers scrawled across it. “If you don’t have your last evaluation, all you have to do is contact the school district that you went to high school in, and they can fax it over. I don’t think they would have destroyed your records yet, cause most keep them for 5 plus years depending on that particular state’s law.” Bucky grinned up at him as Steve stared at the sticky note and then back at Bucky.

“You figured all of this out between two and nine o'clock this morning?” Steve enquired.

“My mom is basically the google of the special education world.”

“I…” Steve paused, biting his lip. “This...this is a lot. I don’t...wow…”

“It’s not a lot. It’s what’s going to help level the playing field for you. So to speak.”

“Did you just use a sports metaphor?”

“Listen, not all of us can be Columbia’s quarterback.” Bucky teased. “I’m just a lowly ol’ math tutor trying to help some guy figure this shit out.”

Steve gave him a small smile. “The secret’s out, huh?”

Bucky shrugged. “You could have told me.”

“It was nice just being Steve Rogers for a bit. I hope…that that doesn’t change anything?” He looked at Bucky questioningly.

“Don’t worry about it. You’re still the same guy you were before I knew about your celebrity status.”

“I’m gonna worry about it.”

“Anything I can do to ease your mind?” Bucky asked, rifling through his journal to a clean page to start reviewing Steve’s last exam and make corrections.

“I’ll keep being me and you keep being you?”

“I can do that.” Bucky affirmed, then pointed to the spot next to him on the bed. “You gonna join me or stay over there like I smell bad or something? I happen to know I smell wonderful, I showered this morning.”

“You sound real proud of that, is it a rare occurrence?” Steve joked, causing the bed to dip as he sat in front of Bucky, the papers separating them sliding towards him.

“Ass.” Bucky rolled his eyes, reaching to shuffle papers back into place.

“Mmm…” Steve stared down at the blank pages, wishing he could draw on it instead of write before his eyes came to linger on Bucky’s arms. “These are pretty, by the way.” He traced a finger over Bucky’s forearm, the galaxies intertwined with different mathematical formulas done in bright blues, pinks and purples, highlighted by open skin splayed out like bursting stars. Where his fingers touched, goosebumps followed.

“Oh. Um.” Bucky cheeks went pink. “Thanks. I got them a few years ago.”

“Why do you always cover them up?”  Steve enquired, studying the artistry, taking Bucky’s wrist without thinking and turning his arm to get a better look.

It took Bucky a second to register the question, the warmth of Steve’s hand around his wrist radiating up his arm distracting him. It wasn’t until Steve looked up at him, tiling his head to the side, the question lingering in his eyes, that he realized he needed to provide an answer. “I uh…sometimes people instantly judge you when they see that you’ve chosen a certain way of presenting yourself.” Bucky shrugged. “It’s easier to let them form a different view of me, and then reveal the defining features slowly. Would hate to scare anyone off.”

“Mmmm. That I can understand.” Steve nodded.

“How many people know that you’re an art major?”

“Well...all the other art majors, but we’re all kind of introverts.” He watched Bucky’s eyebrows shoot up. “Surprised?”

“A little.”

“I don’t actually like crowds. I kinda always panic a little before and after a game. Just people, talking, lots of noise. Makes me itchy.”

“And yet you still choose to be the head of a major university’s team?”

“Ironic, huh? I like being in charge, knowing how my guys work and strategizing with them, it gets me out of my head just as much as art does. It’s worth it to deal with the crowds if I get to do what I’m good at and enjoying doing.”

“Why isn’t it worth it for other people to know about your art?” Bucky asked. “Sorry, that was probably really invasive, your reasons are none of my business.” He added hurriedly.

“No no no. It’s a good question. One I’m working on figuring out…Sam has always known.” Steve explained. “We grew up together, basically since birth, so he’s been there since I was a scrawny little nobody who got shoved into lockers for carrying around a sketchbook.”

Bucky snorted. “You...scrawny?”

“I was!” Steve grinned, leaning to the side to get a picture off his bedside table. He handed it to Bucky. A pretty lady, tall and fair with strikingly green eyes and a side braid grinned proudly at the camera, her hand resting on a long legged whip-thin boy, a gapped tooth smile as he held a framed portrait, a blue 1st place ribbon attached. “My first art competition. I was eight.”

“You were adorable.”

“Were?” Steve asked without hesitation.

“I’m not here to inflate your ego, Rogers.”

“Well dammit, my ego could really use it right about now.” Steve said jokingly, but the irony of the words were not lost on Bucky..

“Hey. It’s gonna be okay! How much did you fail by?”

“Made a 60.”

“We can TOTALLY work with that, I thought you bombed…honestly a little surprised you didn’t, with having a disability and no accommodations at all.” Bucky smiled reassuringly. “We don’t have to make you a math wiz, there are too many of us in the world anyway, just gotta get you to pass the course.”

“And you have a plan for that?”

“I do, you just gotta trust me a bit...” Bucky affirmed with a soft smile.

“I do. Trust you, that is.” Steve said carefully.

“Good.” Bucky grabbed the pencil. “Then let’s start with what we missed in chapter one on that test, and then start on chapter two.”

*oOo*

Two hours later

Following Bucky down the stairs, Steve reviewed. “So the value of that slope when h is practically 0, the slope of the tangent line at P. That slope will be the rate of change of the function at P, right?”

“Yup.” Bucky said, turning off the stairs and looking around the house, now devoid of beer cans, cups, and liquor bottles. He found the house’s three other occupants sitting sprawled out on the couches and recliners, snuggled under mismatching quilts and throws, watching what looked to be The Aristocats. “Well this…wasn’t what I was expecting.”

“Saturday tradition. Recover from alcohol via Disney.” Steve explained.

“Shhh. It’s the best part.” Clint exclaimed, shooing them away as Scat Cat began to explain why everybody wanted to be a cat.

Bucky winced sympathetically as they moved out onto the porch, the bright light of the noon sun causing Steve to groan and squint. “Sorry to make you do math with a hangover.”

“It was worth it,” Steve grinned despite the pain the sun was inflicting on his head, “my brain might explode. But I’m already feeling a little better about the next chapter. Like maybe I might understand some of the Spanish Potts comes up with in class.”

Smiling, Bucky strapped his bag over his shoulder. “And don’t forget to have your school fax the records over to the Special Services office. I can meet you there sometime this week if you want, help figure out accommodations…”

“That would be great. I’ll text you when I head over there.”

“Alright.” Bucky smiled. “Still on for Monday’s session? I didn’t math you too hard this weekend did I?”

Steve blushed. “Not you too.”

“I couldn’t resist a good innuendo, it’s a sickness really.”

“Ugh. Yes Monday, you jerk.”

“Stop being such a punk, then.” Bucky gave Steve a playful push before going down the stairs. “See you Monday!”

“Monday.” Steve confirmed to himself, giving Bucky a wave before turning back and going inside.

“What, didn’t offer to walk the fair prince home?” Thor joked, shoving a giant four-decker sandwich into his mouth.

“Fuck off.” Was Steve’s only reply as he headed back up the stairs.

“Keep mathing him hard Stevie, I could get used to donuts in the morning!” Clint called.

“FUCK OFF!”

Chapter Text

So as we walked
Through fields of green,
It was the fairest sun I'd ever seen.

*oOo*

Week Nine 2018 Fall Semester

“Whatcha got behind your back Rogers?” Bucky asked suspiciously from his place on the wide window bench of the library. Steve smiled sheepishly, pulling the bag of sour gummy worms out from behind his back. “No no no. Not again.” Bucky pointed his pencil at him.

“Pleeeease.” Steve pleaded. “You’re the only person who sits still long enough for me to practice on and we study too late for me to make it to the other live models in the art lab.”

“It’s weird.”

“It’s not weird.” Steve scoffed, already digging in his bag and moving a chair perpendicular to the bench, letting the back of the chair rest against it.

“Steeeeeeeve.” Bucky groaned. “It’s weird. You stare at me.”

“I kinda have to in order to draw you. Why is that weird?!”

“I don’t know.” Bucky shrugged with a pout. “I get self conscious.”

“Shut up. You’re gorgeous and you know it. Stare at your damn astroglidemathematicwhatever, turn your music back on, and pretend like I’m not even here.”

Impossible . Bucky thought, putting his ears buds back in. “Hand over the goods.” He held out a hand, which was quickly filled with the weight of the worms. “Astroglidemathematics…real original,” he murmured, shoving a gummy worm between his teeth.

“Shuddup and eat your worms.” Steve chided, straddling the chair and leaning his sketchbook against the backrest.

Bucky hated to love this. Hated the way it made him feel special to be Steve’s focus for an hour. Loving how Steve’s eyes raked over Bucky’s face, as Bucky prayed for strength to focus on the damn equation laid out before him. He never could. The hour would be spent with Bucky fake looking at his book, desperate to not get lost in the sensation of Steve staring at him so intently that Bucky felt like Steve could see his thoughts. He knew if he made eye contact it would all be on the table. So he avoided it. Glancing out the window, at his phone, or back to the page instead. The past three weeks they had worked hard, meeting up three times a week for hours at a time, struggling through Steve’s brain’s aversion to math, in desperate hopes that his grade would improve on his next test…which was in t-minus three days.

Over the time spent together they had grown accustomed to each other's quirks. When Steve needed a favor he always brought Bucky candy…which turned into a bribing tool to make him sit for Steve to draw him. The first time, Bucky felt like he was on fire. Being studied so closely, Steve occasionally glancing up at him, and without a second thought tilting Bucky’s head with his finger under Bucky’s chin, back to where he needed to be. Steve would get lost and that was a marvelous sight to behold. When he was particularly concentrated on shading, or whatever it was that he was doing, Bucky would shift his eyes back over, watching the dwarfed pencil in Steve’s hand race across the page. His features smoothed out, the worry that came from math brushed away with every pencil stroke. Bucky had to actively resist the urge to run his finger on the smooth skin between Steve brows, the worry line temporarily gone. His mind would stutter, thoughts evaporating when Steve’s eyes would catch him staring, a small smirk on his face as Bucky’s eyes shifted away quickly.

“Done.” Steve declared, too soon as always. “You’re getting better at holding a pose.” He commented.

“You gonna let me see it this time?”

“Nope.”

“Well, that’s not even fair. I sit for an hour, looking my prettiest for you, and you don’t even have the courtesy to let me see my own face.”

“Go look in the mirror.” Steve shrugged, pulling out his calc textbook and replacing its slot in the bag with the sketchbook.

“We both know that’s not the same. I’ve seen your art before.” Bucky added.

“Not happening, Barnes.”

“Stick in the mud.” Bucky grumbled, but didn’t push it. “Alright,” he moved himself off the bench and to the table where Steve was setting up, “what’ve you got for me today?”

“Linearity of differentiation.” Steve said, settling into the seat next to him.

“Okay.” Bucky clapped his hands together. “So let’s work on some prior knowledge, we know the sum rule…”

“The derivative of the sum of two functions is the sum of the derivatives.” Steve quoted, surprising himself that his brain still understood the concept behind the defintion.

“Perfect, and the constant factor rule…”

“Umm…the derivative of a constant multiple of a function is the same constant multiple of the derivative?”

“Nailed it.” Bucky smiled. “So we’re gonna make those two rules have a baby.”

“Christ.”

“They are gonna math so hard it’s gonna blow your mind.”

“Buckyyyyyy.” Steve whined.

“It’ll help you remember it for the test.” Bucky winked.

*oOo*

2 hours later

“So an expression created from a set of terms by multiplying each term by a constant and adding the results in a linear combination.” Steve confirmed.

“That’s it.”

Steve stared down at his paper. “Oh.”

“Oh, what?”  Bucky asked, looking to see if he had screwed up what he had wrote.

“Just. It actually makes sense.” Steve looked at him in astonishment.

“That means what we’re doing is working, Steve.” Bucky patted his arm and stood. “Alright, I gotta go, got a study session with Jane and Nat at my place for some astroglidemathematics and whatnot."

“You’re coming over for game night tonight though, right?” Steve asked trying to keep the tinge of hope out of his voice while slinging his backpack over his shoulders.

“Wouldn’t miss it. By game night are we talking like, Cards Against Humanity or like…Candy Land? I can never tell with Clint.” Bucky asked as they neared the elevator.

“Probably something in between, I would imagine. I might suggest wearing an extra layer.”

“Layer of…clothes?”

Steve shrugged. “Strip poker has been known to happen.”

“Uhhhhhhhh what?!”

“Fair warning. You can always skip it, if you’re scared of a little nudity. But then you’ll miss Thor’s chicken pot pie, and that shit’s delicious.” Steve added, because it really was.

Bucky stared in disbelief for the extent of the elevator ride. As the door opened he found himself trailing along as Steve walked ahead, long legs eating up the space. “You can’t be serious.”

“I am. But as I said: IF you’re too scared, more food for me.” He grinned, turning and walking backwards while shooting him a wink. “You’re not scared, are you Barnes?”

“I...well…ugh. Fucking jerk.” Bucky rolled his eyes, walking the opposite direction. “I’ll be there!” He called, without turning.

Steve grinned to himself like a madman. “I know!”

*oOo*

“There’s no way that’s gonna work out, Nat.” Bucky threw out his arm as a rogue taxi ran through the red light. Him, Jane, and Nat all threw up their middle fingers as they crossed. “The law of perturbation theory wouldn’t jive with it.”

“Wouldn’t jive with it?! Is that how I’m going to defend that equation to Professor Sitwell?! Sorry professor, it didn’t jive.” Nat rolled her eyes.

“What about coming at it from whether the perturbed states are degenerate, which then would require singular perturbation. In the singular case the theory is slightly more elaborate, right?” Jane explained, as they stopped at the convenience store near the guys’ house.

“Ohhhh that might actually work.” Nat commented, sending Jane a smile, before considering the shitty vodka selection along the back wall. “Bucky, what kinda alcohol are you bringing?”

“I was thinking wine.” His head popped up over the aisle. “Does wine go with chicken pot pie and possible nudity?” He asked, when they both just stared at him he grimaced. “Too formal?”

“Waaaay too formal.” Jane added. “What about sangria? It’s like...white girl drunk juice. Tastes good, gets you drunk, not as bad of a hangover as wine, and it’ll keep your wits about you longer than hard liquor."

“Mmmm you sound like you’ve been experimenting with this as of late.” Bucky murmured, coming around to the other side of the aisle, sangria in hand. “And what, pray tell, would have our sweet Jane drinking, but needing to keep her wits about her, could it be…a particular blonde bombshell from the Netherlands?”

Jane snorted. “Yeesh. Don’t get me started on him right now.”

“Well, you’re gonna be around him pretty soon. Might as well get started on him now, so that we can have a vague idea of what’s going on.” Commented Nat, grabbing a handle of vodka and a twenty-four pack of cokes.

“I just…” Jane rolled her eyes, grabbing a fifth of whiskey.

“Goodbye wits.” Bucky sang, following merrily behind, heading towards the cashier.

“He just…” Jane started again, forking over her money, “we’ve hung out...a lot.”

“HEYOOOO!” Bucky called out, getting more than a few of the other patrons to glare at him.

“No. No heyo, that’s the thing. We haven’t heyo’d, not even once!” Jane rolled her eyes. “He’s kissed my cheek...like twice. Held my hand, which is so sweet. Introduced me to his mother via skype, which terrified me. But no heyo’ing as of yet.”

Walking outside, Nat shot Bucky a look as they took to either side of Jane. It was an exchange they had perfected over their three years living together, a look that held unspoken words of trust and determination within it. Slipping her arm through Jane’s, Nat smiled. “Let us take care of it.”

“What do you mean?” Jane asked suspiciously.

Bucky mirrored Nat’s actions, looping his right arm through Jane’s left. “By the end of the night, my dear, we’ll make sure you heyo’d...at least a little bit, with the Norse God.”

*oOo*

The energy that flowed through the house was lively and carefree. With the northeast fall finally setting in the day before, Sam had taken it upon himself to start a fire in the fireplace, while the others sat on the floor and various couches, finishing off the last of the chocolate cake Thor had made. They had been drinking and talking amicably for hours while munching on Thor’s chicken pot pie. The more they drank the more the topics ranged from classes to football, college drama to flirtatious innuendos exchanged between them all. No one was really safe.

Even as they moved on to their fourth and fifth drinks, their conversations began to get heated. Especially among the three sitting on the floor. The non-mathematically minded men stared as the trio went head to head. The argument only ending when Bucky asked for pen and paper, while rubbing the tip of his nose that he swore had gone numb, before delving into a fifteen minute long lecture that ended with Bucky standing, and drunkenly declaring, “PROOF that it was a revolutionary theoretical framework that’s based on a probabilistic interpretation of states, and evolution and measurements in terms of self-adjoint operators on an infinite dimensional vector space! SO SUCK IT!” There was a cricket of silence as he stood, cheeks a little flushed, looking around the at the shocked expressions. “What?”

“Raise your hand if you’re confused but slightly turned on.” Clint asked, putting his own hand in the air.

When everyone else in the room raised their hands Bucky laughed. “You people are ridiculous.”

“We didn’t just go all Einstein on the room, bro.” Sam added, snorting around his last bite of cake.”

“It was more Wolfgang Pauli than Einstein, but I get what you mean.” Bucky laughed.

“Stop it. We’re already hard. Now you’re just giving us blue balls.” Clint grinned from his place on the couch.

“Shut up and give me your plate. I would hate to edge-play you.” Bucky shook his head, collecting the dirty plates.

“Who knew our BabyBarnes was such a kinkster.” Clint joked as Bucky walked the plates into the kitchen. “He gets it from you, doesn’t he?” He asked Nat, tugging her ponytail from where he sat on the couch.

Nat shrugged, smiling into her vodka-coke. “Probably. I did raise him over the past three years. Poor soul.”

Steve followed Bucky into the kitchen, nudging him as Bucky loaded the dishes into the soapy water before reaching into the fridge to grab a beer. “I see you took my advice.”  

Bucky grinned looking over at Steve, cheeks warm and flushed from the sangria’s effects. “What do you mean?”

Steve twisted the top off his beer and took a long slow pull, letting his eyes roam over Bucky’s body, before swallowing down the cold drink and tugging the hem of Bucky’s sweater. “Layered up.”

“Ahh...well. I’m really bad at poker.” Bucky concluded.

“That’s a shame.” Steve pointed out, a cocky grin spread along his face.

“What is?” Bucky tilted his head to the side as he scrubbed the remaining bits of cake from one of the plates.

“You’re wearing layers.” Steve grinned as the plate dropped back into the water, sloshing suds onto Bucky’s hoody.

“I...umm...” Bucky sputtered, cheeks flaming red.

“ALRIGHT BITCHES!” Clint interrupted, before gently adding, “and Bucky, Jane, and Nat. IT’S TIME FOR SOME STRIPPPPPPP TRUTH OR DARREEEEEE.”

“You said poker.” Bucky grumbled, poking Steve in the side with a soapy finger, while trying to make his warm smooshy slightly tipsy brain work through what he had just said. Finally he gave up and settled back onto the living room floor with his drink.

“Who can honestly predict Clint?” Steve asked sitting next to him, only to roll his eyes when everyone pointed to Natasha. “She doesn't count! She’s like a super secret spy or something.”

“You’re not wrong.” Nat grinned slyly.

“ANYWHOOO!” Clint said loudly, drawing the attention back to himself. “Here’re the rules: obviously, you ask someone, Truth or Dare. If the person picks truth, then they have to answer ANY QUESTION given to them honestly, if you are suspected of lying you will have to drink, and strip off an article of clothing, OR be given an even worse dare. If you pick dare, you must complete the dare or drink and strip off an article of clothing. IF the person does answer the question or does the dare then the asker must then remove an article of clothing no matter what. It’s that simple.”

“Thank you, Clint, for complicating one of the simplest games on earth.” Jane said sweetly.

“AND JUST FOR THAT! You’re first. Truth or dare, missy?”

“Oh that’s how this is gonna go?” Jane asked. “Fine. Truth.”

“Chicken shit.” Bucky mumbled.

“Jane. Our fairest Jane. What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done in a relationship?”

Jane’s face went scarlet. “Oh you’re such an ass…fine. I once was in a text conversation with a boyfriend who was in another country for a few weeks. Things were getting...err…hot and heavy, if you will. So, I sent him naked selfie. Wellllllll...his name was David. And I accidentally sent it to the person above his name in my contact list…which just so happened to be my Dad.”

“Ohhhhhhh.” Everyone winced.

“Yeahhhh. Needless to say, he still can’t look me in the eye.” Jane nodded. “So, wait, now youuuuu,” she pointed at Clint, “lose an article of clothing, my friend.”

“Oh, everyone wants to see the goods, don’t they?!” Clint asked, standing on the table in his bare feet as various cat calls and loud ‘bow chicka wow wow’s were sung as he slowly slid his shirt off. He twirled it over his head a few times dramatically before flinging it into Nat’s face, who scowled up at him. “That’s for you, doll face.” He winked.

“Get down, you lug.” She slapped at his legs, suppressing a smile.

“Alright, Jane. Your turn to be the askee.”

“Natasha. Truth or dare.”

“Truth.”

“I’m surrounded by chicken shits.” Bucky rolled his eyes and leaned back against the couch next to Steve. Their shoulders brushed and they grinned at each other as Natasha whined.

“Do I really have to answer that!?”

“Yup. C’mon. Kinkiest thing you’ve ever done with Clint.”

“I...um…” Her face went red, a rarity.

“Don’t you say it!” Clint pointed at her.

“I have to!”

“Oh no you don’t!

“No one’s gonna judge you!” Nat cringed.

“THIS IS JUST PAY BACK FOR THE QUESTION I ASKED HER!”

“THAT’S HOW IT WORKS! OH GOD I’M SORRY!” She stared at Clint, eyes wide with impending doom. “I MADE CLINT WEAR MY UNDERWEAR DURING THE HOMECOMING FOOTBALL GAME LAST YEAR!” Nat shouted, covering her face with her hands.

“TRAITOR!” Clint screamed as fits of hysterical tipsy laughter filled the room.

The progression of the game only got worse. Three bouts of streaking from Clint, Sam and Thor lead to upping the ante. Steve lost a strip of leg hair to a rather long piece of duct tape. Sam had to let Nat do his makeup, to which he then had to send pictures of to his Ma (who only responded with "Aw my pretty boy is such a cute girl. Don't stay up too late.). Nat and Bucky were dared to a staring contest while holding each other’s chests to see who could go the longest without laughing. Bucky lost, and already a hoodie down, slid his shirt off. More wolf whistles filled the rooms as it was discovered that the tattoos were not limited to his arms. Steve’s gaze followed the quotes and intricate floral designs shifting over his shoulder, blended by the black, blue, and purples of the galaxies that graced his left arm, twisting and curling across his lower back to the opposite hip, disappearing below the line of this pants.

“Daaaaaaammmmmnnnn BuckyBlueBalls, SLAY!” Clint shouted as Bucky rolled his eyes and sat back down next to Steve with a small shiver. Steve shifted closer, cheeks red as he gnawed on his bottom lip.

“Thor!” Nat pointed a finger gun at him. “Truth or dare!?”

“Dare. Give me your best shot, fair lady.” Thor’s smile was wide and he chugged the rest of his beer in light of the challenge.

“Kiss the prettiest person in the room!” She mocked firing the finger gun. “And make it a good one!” Blowing the metaphorical gun out she stuffed it into her sports bra with an uncharacteristic giggle.

“Oh what a wasted dare Natasha! One would think you would know better.” Thor winked, standing and holding his hand out to Jane who looked up at him baffled. When her hand slipped into his he wasted no time yanking her off the floor and into his arms. He dipped her low and pressed his lips to hers for a solid twenty seconds as Nat and Bucky shouted “HEYOOOOOO!” Raising her back to her feet Thor pressed a kiss to Jane’s forehead as she stood slightly dazed, mouth hanging open.

“Excuse me! But HOW did we ignore this hot piece of ass as the prettiest person in the room?!” Clint asked, turning in a circle wearing nothing but his ducky boxers.

Thor let out a booming laugh before turning to Nat with a wide grin, shooting her back with his own fake gun. “I do believe that means you lose your pants, my lady.”

“Worth it.” She murmured into Clint’s ear as she shrugged out of her jeans, revealing a pair of tight-fitting boxer briefs.

“Are those…Clint’s?” Sam asked, as Nat turned pink. “Man, y’all are into some weird shit.”

“No kink shaming, Samuel. Alright, Space Cadet.” Thor turned his sights on Bucky. “Truth or Dare.”

“DON’T BE A PUSSY BARNES!” Nat shouted.

“Hey,” pointing back at her he declared, “pussies take poundings. I’ll be a pussy any day.”

“Christ.” Steve snorted.

“What? It’s true. And dare. Give it to me, big guy.”

“Alcohol makes him brave.” Nat explained to no one in particular.

Thor rubbed his chin, a mischievous twinkle in his eye before a slow sly smile played across his face. “I dare you, dear BuckyBoy, to kiss the person you find fairest in the room.”  

The room stilled, and a hushed “oooooooo” filled in the silence.

Bucky shrugged, the warm tinge of confidence backed by a fair amount of sangria had him laughing softly to himself. Coming up to his knees, he turned and looked at Steve, who stared back unmoving, fingers tightening around his beer bottle. It was inevitable, of course, maybe they both knew it. Had always known. Tendrils of want coiled into Bucky’s stomach as he bent down. Letting his hand brush lightly over Steve’s jaw, he kept his eyes on Steve’s when only a whisper away from his lips he asked, “okay?” Steve gave a small nod, their breath mingled between them. “Okay.” And as their lips finally brushed in a warm soft barely-there kiss, Bucky watched in fascination as Steve’s lashes fluttered closed, briefly fanning across his cheeks as their lips pressed together just once. He let his thumb graze along his jaw as he moved back, giving Steve a telltale smirk when he sat down.

“Lose the pants, He Man.” He laughed, as Nat, Jane, and Sam stared back at him in disbelief.

“Ohhhhhh you are a wicked one, Bucky Barnes.” Thor responded, drawing his pants down to reveal tight black boxer briefs.

“ARE WE ALL JUST GONNA IGNORE THAT FACT THAT I AM OBVIOUSLY THE FAIREST AND PRETTIEST PERSON IN THE ROOM?!” Clint yelled, standing up and pointing to his ass. “I HAVE BABY DUCKS ON MY ASS! DOESN’T GET MUCH CUTER THAN THAT!”

Bucky nudged Steve’s knee with his own; a wordless check in. Relief untied the knot that had formed as Steve nudged back, and Bucky could see from the corner of his eye a small smile spreading across his face.

When the clock chimed eleven Nat groaned. “Shit shit shit. Barnes, we gotta go.”

“What?! Why?” It was just getting good, he didn’t say.

“I HAVE TO DEFEND MY EQUATION IN NINE HOURS TO SITWELL! AND I MAY OR MAY NOT NEED SLEEP TO DO IT! ”

“Shit. Okay yeah, hold on let me find my damn shirt...and hoodie…and shoes...and socks…did I have on a belt?” Bucky looked around, collecting various articles strewn about, putting them on as Nat huffed, somehow already dressed. He was wholeheartedly aware of Steve’s gaze tracking his movements. Nat tugged him by the belt loop to the door, Bucky apologized profusely. “I promise I’ll help clean more next time. Goddammit Nat stop yanking me, shit you’re strong.” He hung on to the door frame grinning like crazy. “Steve, are you good for your test Friday?”

“What, oh.” Steve gulped. “Yeah, yeah I’m good, I think.”

“NAT YOU’RE GONNA RIP MY PANTS!” Bucky grimaced, kicking blindly behind him. “Don’t forget your strategies. Data dump all the shit you can as soon as you get the test, remember to make your graphic organizer on the back. Text me if you need me, okay?” Bucky bit his lip. “Bye.” He said first to Steve, then waved at everyone else. “Bye!!! FINE FUCK I’M COMING! YOU DIDN’T EVEN SAY GOODBYE TO YOUR OWN BOYFRIEND!” Bucky rolled his eyes, slamming the door behind him.

*oOo*

Steve sat at his desk staring aimlessly out the window at the still bustling street. Turning when Sam rapped his knuckles against his open door, his stomach clenched nervously, knowing the question before it was asked.

“I’m fine, Sam.”

“Alright.” Sam replied, sitting on the edge of Steve’s bed. “How’d it feel?”

“Like every single part of me was on fire.”

“Mmhm, sounds about right.” Sam grinned.

“I don’t…he’s just…it was just…” Steve fought for the words, anything to convince himself that it truly was what he thought it was. “That happened, right? He kissed me?” Steve looked at Sam, a little scared and a lot hopeful.

“Yeah, man. You’re the fairest of them all, or whatever. Don’t tell Clint. He seems a little butt-hurt.”

“Sam.” Everything welled up in him. All the feelings of the past five weeks; stress, need, hopelessness, desire, coiled around his heart and squeezed. “I don’t know how to do this.” He choked out.

“Sure you do. Take your test Friday. Play hard Saturday. Focus on what makes you happy. Do what feels right.”

“What if, the guys…” Steve started.

“The guys don’t give a shit. The sooner you realize that, the better off you’re gonna be. And their opinion shouldn’t matter anyway. Get that through your brain, and you’ll be a lot better off.”

“Should I text him?” Steve wondered as Sam stood up to leave.

“Oh no no no. I ain't being your gay dude guru. You do what you wanna do. Go with your gut, do what feels good, paint with all the colors of the wind.”

“Fine. You’re no help at all. Go away, Pocahontas.”

“Good luck!”  Sam called shutting the door behind him.

With a sigh of resignation, Steve picked up his phone. Opening the text screen he had with Bucky he typed. Then erased. Typed again, read it over. Erased. After nine futile attempts he finally got the wording right and pressed send.

*oOo*

“Are we gonna ignore the fact that you kissed Rogers in what was quite possibly the hottest kiss I’ve ever witnessed before in my life?” Nat asked leaning against his door frame.

Bucky laughed, shrugging off his shirt and chucking it into his closet. “It was barely even a kiss, Nat.”

“But a hot barely even a kiss. He looked ready to melt into your hands.”

“I think he looked a little shocked that a guy kissed him.”

“Mmmm. Nope, that definitely wasn’t it.” Nat shook her head just as Bucky’s phone buzzed. Watching him pick it up and taking in the dopey smile that Bucky sent her she rolled her eyes. “What’d he say?”

“He said, ‘Good Night, Bucky’.” He bit his lip, looking like he was on the verge of squealing.

“And what are you gonna say back?”

Bucky grinned, typing as he spoke, “Good night, Steve.”

Chapter Text

And I was broke,

I was on my knees.

*oOo*

Week Nine - Friday-  2018 Fall Semester

Steve approached Potts’ room with grim determination. A vague sense of confidence combined with absolute dread pressed into his chest. He knew his heart rate was elevated as he sat in his seat, his leg bounced up and down so hard it shook his chair. There were only two more tests after this for the class; the higher he scored the better chance he would have of scraping by and never having to relive this horrid dread. Dr. Potts breezed in, donned in a crisp white suit and bright blue pumps, with a bright smile for them all. “You know the drill. An hour and a half. Show your work. When you’re finished you can leave. Grades will be posted tomorrow morning, because my favorite thing to do is make my TA’s work on a Friday night. Best of luck.” She passed out the test and a flurry of pages filled the room as they started.

Steve took a deep breath, not even looking at the first question, flipping the test to the blank last page he dumped out every equation and strategy he and Bucky had worked to ingrain into his skull. Anything he could remember from the first two chapters ended up on the page, as he scribbled furiously for the first fifteen minutes of the test. When he felt like he had sufficiently replicated the notes he had memorized during their study sessions, he flipped it open to the first page, grinning at the first question:

State the Sum rule, and the Constant Factor rule, and the rule that is created when these two are combined. Be as detailed as possible:

Steve thought back to their conversation in the library; “So we’re gonna make those two rules have a baby. It’ll help you remember it for the test.” Bucky had winked. With a little more confidence Steve began to write, and solve, work, and flip his pages to look at his notes, scribbling furiously, so that just as Dr. Potts called time, he had added the last functional formula onto his paper. He took a deep breath to calm himself. His hand ached from how much he had written. Dropping the test onto Potts’ desk she gave him a small smile.

“Thank you Mr. Rogers. Good luck on tomorrow's game.”

With a nod he walked out, greeted with the bright sunlight and crisp ‘New York in the Fall’ air.  His breath puffed out a small cloud in front of him as he smiled, checking off “calc test” from his mental to-do list for the day. As tempting as it was to skip lunch with the guys (his second bullet on the list) in favor of a few hours spent in the art lab before his Masterpieces of Indian Art and Architecture class, he knew he was just looking for an escape route from the third thing on said list.

It’s fine. Everything was gonna be fine . Walking across campus he headed down a few blocks. Waving through the glass front of the small Thai restaurant where Clint, Sam, and Thor were all seated around a table, a chair left empty, with a giant plate of egg rolls steaming in the middle.

Sam tossed him a menu while he shoved his backpack under the table. “So how’d it go?”

“Not bad. A few I know I got wrong. But I think hopefully...maybe I at least passed?” He said with a shrug, not wanting to ponder on it for too long.

“When will you know?” Clint asked, a mouth full of eggroll.

“Tomorrow morning, 6am.”

“Fuck. Well, fingers crossed for you, man. Here, have some carbs." Clint shoved the plate towards him."Let the crunchy goodness take away your worries.” .

“Thanks, man.” Taking an egg roll he looked over the menu, even though he already knew what he was going to get: the chicken pad thai, he always got the pad thai.

“Anyway, you missed Thor’s big announcement.” Clint nudged his elbow, tilting his head towards Thor.

“Oh yeah,” Steve looked up at him, “what’s new, Thor?”

Thor went spectacularly pink, folding his hands underneath the table; he looked practically giddy. “Lady Jane and I are officially dating!”

Steve grinned. “That’s great bro!!! I mean...I thought you two kinda were already, but hey, officiality is great! When did that happen?”

“Ah, well, we went and ate the non-sweet donuts yesterday morning.”

“Bagels buddy, those are bagels.” Sam added.

“Right. Yesterday, we had the bagels, and I asked if she would like to be mine for as long as she’ll have me, and she said yes, and then we went home and consummated our relationship…twice.” He finished proudly, while Steve choked on his first bite of egg roll.

“Wow.” Steve’s eyes watered as Clint thumped him on the back. “That’s great buddy…was the announcement that you guys are official or that you banged twice?”

“Both!”

“Is this a thing that we’re gonna start doing? Announcing when we get laid?” Sam wondered, as the waitress came over.

“God, I hope so. I would one-up all you assholes since Nat and I do it on every possible surface of that house when you guys aren't there. Hi, can I get the orange chicken, please?” He finished politely to the wide-eyed waitress who nodded, a little tight lipped, before taking the rest of their orders.

“Soo uhh…that kinda brings up something important I wanted to talk to you about...” Steve murmured, tucking his hands under his thighs and staring at Sam, who looked back expectantly before his face distorted with sudden disgust as he nearly shoved Clint off his chair.

“WAIT...DID YOU…DID YOU FUCK ON MY BED?!”

“Maaaaaayyyyybbbbeeee.” Clint added with a snicker.

“WHAT THE ABSOLUTE FU- BOUNDARIES DUDE, LET'S TALK ABOUT BOUNDARIES.”

“Ahh see, Lady Jane and I only used the kitchen counter and my room. We know boundaries, Samuel. You have no need to worry.”

“The kitc- THE KITCHEN!? JESUS, WHAT ARE YOU, ANIMALS!? I MAKE FOOD THERE. I PROBABLY HAD AN ASS OMELETTE THIS MORNING.”

“Sounds delicious.” Clint added.

“YOU CAN'T JUST GO AROUND HAVING SE-”

“HAD WE KNOWN ABOUT YOUR QUALM-”

“SORRY ABOUT YOUR BATHROOM COUNTER T-”

“I’M BISEXUAL!” Steve shouted over them.

The silence that followed was slightly deafening, only filled by the pings of the restaurants music overhead.

Sam turned back to Thor. “YOU HAD SEX ON THE COUNTER - HOW DID THAT EVEN WORK?!”

“I meant you no offense Sam, we were just making the pancakes with the squares and well, you know...one thing led to the next.”

“Damnit Thor, you just had to go and one up my fuckin’ on Sam’s bed.” Clint pouted, crossing his arms.

“I’m sorry…did you not hear what I just said?” Steve asked, staring in disbelief.

“Yes yes, sad boy likes other boys and sucks at math and probably dick, blah blah blah.” Clint rolled his eyes before turning back to Sam. “What if I told you we used your lube and didn’t tell you...”

“MY KY WARMING?! YO...THAT SHIT IS EXPENSIVE.” Sam scowled just as the waitress came back to drop off their orders. “I can’t even right now. Can’t look at any of you. So Steve. My one and only true friend. You’re bi. And you’ve come out to a pair of heathens who bang on whatever surface they can reach. How nice.”

Steve snorted into his water. “Well, that’s not how I saw this conversation going at all.”

Thor shrugged. “What, did you think us so unobservant that we would not see you making big heart eyes at Bucky?”

“Or that one time you choked on your lo mein last year when Thor went streaking through the house and Sam had to give you the heimlich?” Clint said.

“Or that fact that Bucky straight up kissed you two days ago and you enjoyed the fuck out of it in front of God and everyone.” Sam added, grabbing a forkful of noodles off of Steve’s plate.

“Or how y-”

“Alright alright, Jesus. Apparently I’m more obvious than I thought.”

“Like an elephant in a room, my friend.” Thor patted his arm sympathetically.

“So you guys are um...okay with that?” Steve asked nervously, twirling his noodles onto his fork before looking up to see their shared exasperated expressions.

“Bro as long as you can throw the ball straight, I don’t care that you aren’t straight.” Sam quipped.

After a beat of silence filled with Steve smiling around his bite of noodles and Thor crunching into his fifth eggroll Clint pointed to his own face. “So have you, uhh, ever uhh…ya know.”

“Have I what?”

“Well, you know. Liked me?” Clint asked, giving him a grin and wink.

“No...dude...no.” Steve frowned at him. “Just...ew.”

“HEY, RUDE! I AM A SNACK!”

“You’re straight, Clint!” Sam shook his head. “What would be the point?”

Clint let his fork clatter on his plate, while crossing his arms over his chest. “I don’t know man, he never even tried to hit on me.”

Rubbing a hand over his eyes, Steve explained. “YOU’RE STRAIGHT AND YOU HAVE A GIRLFRIEND.”

“It’s the principle of the matter.” Clint pouted, but continued to eat. “I’m just saying. It would be nice to feel a little appreciated every once in a while.”

As the table collectively groaned and Thor tossed a spare bean sprout at Clint, Steve felt another knot loosen in his belly as he marked his second task off the list.

*oOo*

45 minutes, and too much Pad Thai later…

“Hey baby!” Sarah Rogers’ voice was bright over the phone, causing Steve to smile as walked back across campus towards the Art building.

“Hey Mom. You got time to talk?”

“Well, my patient is dilated to 10 centimeters with her contractions nine minutes apart, so I’m gonna say I maybe have ten minutes. What’s up baby boy, how’s school going, did you get that math tutor you were talking about at the beginning of the year?”

“Oh uh...well, that’s kinda why I was calling.” Steve sat on the fountain in front of the library, betting that if he walked in he’d find said tutor holed up in the corner, neck deep in equations and formulas. “Yeah, we’ve been working together for a few weeks now, he’s really helped out.”

“That’s great news! Does he know about your learning disability, please tell me you actually told him and didn’t get all weird about it.”

“Well...I didn’t so much as tell him as vodka mixed with fireball, tequila, and beer told him…”

“Oh. Well, that’s one way to get it out I guess.”

As Steve huffed out a sigh of resignation Sarah smiled and asked, "Is he a good tutor?”

“He is, he’s the best tutor. Um, we’ve actually been...he and I have, uhh…well…we’ve been hanging out a lot lately...” He said, hesitating for whatever was supposed to come out of his mouth next to explain...everything.

“Uhhhhh huuuuh…” Sarah drawled. “Let me ask you something Stevie…”

Steve winced. “Yeah?”

“If we were to facetime right now, would you be blushing?”

Steve sighed with a grin, almost relieved. “Yeah Mom, I would be.”

After a beat of silence Sarah let out a soft laugh. “Is he a good boy, Stevie?” she asked, a smile still in her voice.

“He’s the best, Mom. He’s so patient, and fucking brilliant. He’s a double major in math engineering and astrophysics, and sometimes he starts talking, and all of that shit goes over my head, but I just kinda nod because his face lights up, and then I’ll draw him, he’s got this face Mom, I swear, jawline that could cut glass, but he’ll sit for me before tutoring and -”

“Does he know that you’re half in love with him already?” Sarah cut in. Straight to the point huh?

“I…” His heart skipped in his chest and he gulped. “I don’t...think so.”

“Oh sweetheart.” Sarah murmured.

“No no no. I think he knows I’m interested, we just haven’t really... taken that step yet. If that makes sense. I’m still kinda trying to wrap my head around things, especially with us being in the middle the season right now."

In the background Sarah’s pager went off. “Shit, Stevie, I’m so sorry baby, I gotta go. Listen though, before I do, just remember, you deserve to be happy, okay? Don’t let football or people get in the way of that. If this boy…” She waited.

“Bucky, well James, but his nickname is Bucky.”

“Poor kid.” Sarah laughed. “If this Bucky makes you happy, then be kind to each other's hearts, alright?”

“Alright Mom.”

“That’s my guy. Alright baby, I love you. Good luck tomorrow, I’ll be watching the game, espn right?!”

“Yes ma’am, and I will. Love you too!”

“Bye!”

“Bye Mom.”

Third point, checked off. Pulling out his phone he typed out a text, hitting send before he could second guess himself.

Steve Rogers: You’re coming to the post game party tomorrow right?

Bucky Barnes: Wouldn’t miss it. Good luck on the game. Enjoy the scoring runs and what not.

Steve Rogers: Not even close, but good try. :)

Bucky Barnes: Shut it Rogers.

Fourth point, done.

*oOo*

Week Nine - Saturday -  2018 Fall Semester

“You’re going to the game.”

“I’m not. I’m going to the party after the game.” Bucky answered as he continued to scribble over his equation, ignoring Nat leaning against his door frame.

“You have to go to the game.”

“No, I have to defend my equation to Sitwell on Tuesday. Which means I have to work on it tonight.” Bucky continued scribbling, only looking up when his bed dipped and Nat put her hand across his paper. “Nat…”

“You need to go.” She insisted.

“Why?”

“If things between you and Rogers progress then you need to know that part of his life. It’s a big deal.”

Rolling his eyes he frowned up at her. “It’s just a game, Nat.”

“Not to him.” She countered before walking out of the room.

Bucky sat in brief silence, staring in her wake. Looking back at his equation he sighed. Dammit. Just as he was standing a shirt hit him in the chest. Unfolding it, he rolled his eyes at the “Columbia Football” emblem across it.

“We’re leaving in ten.” She called over her shoulder.

*oOo*

Bucky felt like a fish out of water as hordes of people pressed in around him while they made their way down the stairs that lead to their seats. He clung to the blue Slurpee he had made Nat buy him like a lifeline. (“Really Barnes, a Slurpee in forty degree weather?” She’d asked, to which he answered, “if you’re gonna put me in a stadium with a bunch of people I don’t like, watching a game I don’t know the rules to, you’re gonna have to at least feed me sugar.”) The stadium was packed, people were already chanting different sayings, as the crowd filed in.

“There’s Jane!” Nat pointed to where Jane sat, two empty seats to her right, close to the field and right on the fifty yard line behind Columbia’s benches. Bucky eyes tracked across the players as they took their seats. Various stretches happening on the sidelines, athletic trainers wearing their white shirts, khaki pants, and light-blue Columbia Lions coats held different members of the team in awkward poses in order to loosen up tightened muscles. His eyes glanced over each one, briefly looking at their faces before moving on. He didn’t realize he was looking for anyone in particular until Nat’s arm cut across his view. “He’s over there.” His gaze followed the direction of her finger, heart giving a weird lurch when they fell on Steve. Steve’s hands sat lightly on his hips, wearing tight white football pants that seemed to grip every single muscle on his lower half along with a short sleeved under armor shirt that stretched obscenely across his chest and torso. Bucky didn’t necessarily count his abs, but it wouldn’t have been hard to do with how the shirt fit like a second layer of skin. He watched as Steve frowned, listening with intent before bobbing his head. Only then did Bucky notice the woman with the microphone with the label “ESPN” boxed around the handle and the guy holding a camera standing before them.

“Oh.” Was all that Bucky could think to say.

“I told you it was important.” Nat murmured.

“He’s…that’s…” The panic wanted to claw at his throat. Steve would be on T.V. His head spun. Of course. Star Quarterback of a nationally ranked team, the realization hit. Bucky tugged the zipper of his jacket down away from his neck, finding the constriction around his throat to be too much.

Jane’s small hand was suddenly wrapping itself around his wrist. “Hey…are you okay?”

Pale and a little shaky, Bucky looked at them both, eyes wide. “I didn’t know. I didn't know he would be...this would be so big.”

Jane nodded. “It is big. What’s worrying you about the big?” Voice rising as the announcer began to call off team members’ jersey numbers and positions.

Bucky gulped, God he didn’t want to say the words or label the feelings. “He’s not out. Maybe doesn’t even know he’s gay. But if he’s not out to the world, and the whole country probably watches these things. And I don’t know what he would expect from me. I shouldn’t be here, I don’t think this was a good id-” He turned, only to find Nat tugging him back into his seat by his jacket.

“You will stay for him.” She said, eyes fierce and tone firm. “You will stay and watch him doing something he is good at doing, you’ll watch him so that you can better understand the magnitude of what’s on his shoulders, and then if anything goes further with you two, you can talk about it. You remember coming out, it’s a big deal and it took you awhile. Give him that chance. Don’t run from this...from him, James.”

Bucky gulped; he did remember. He remembered coming out, the terror, the way people in his high school looked at him afterwards, as if he was an enigma and they had no idea what to do with him. He wanted to run. He wouldn’t wish that feeling upon Steve, not with what felt like the whole world watching.

“It’s his choice to come out when he’s ready. It’s both of your choices to pursue one another. Who knows how it’ll go. Don’t make something bad out of it when there’s nothing bad yet.” Nat said, rubbing his arm.

“Bucky,” Jane gave him a small smile, “it’ll be okay.” Her head turned as the crowd cheered, apparently a coin had been tossed and people were happy about it. “Looks like it’s starting.”

He watched as Steve donned his helmet, standing with his legs slightly splayed as he bent down to listen to the coach as the kickoff was put into place. The other team in red jerseys caught it, and collided with the line of Columbia’s defense. The players switched out as the other teams throw was intercepted, and then Steve was moving, running out onto the field where the other plays exchanged places and surrounded him in the huddle. He could make out Thor, Clint and Sam as they nodded along while Steve talked animatedly, finally the huddle broke with a clap. They lined up parallel to the other side, Steve standing behind Sam, head swiveling left and right as he called out an array of numbers that Bucky could make out even from his place in the stands. His voice was full of power, demand and confidence.

Goosebumps erupted over Bucky as the ball was hiked back, he held his breath as Steve easily caught it, his long body gracefully moving back a few steps, searching for his target, he held the ball with ease, avoided a massive 220 lbs linebacker, before zeroing in on his target across the field and throwing the ball smoothly into Clint’s waiting arms before being tackled to the ground. Clint ran part way down the field before going out of bounds, but Bucky’s eyes watched as Steve lifted himself from the ground, straightened his helmet, determination in his posture as the process was repeated.

The first time the Lions scored it was Steve who found the pocket and ran the ball in, his thighs pushing at the ground as he ducked between near tackles. The crowd erupted so loudly around Bucky that he jolted in his chair, standing as Natasha tugged him up, screaming wildly, and forced him into a high five. Strangers all round them chanted and cheered; the crowd, for the three hours that they were together, became a family that worked, cheered, boo’d the refs, and sang together. Bucky was enamored for every minute of it. Steve was fierce and intense, breath puffing out in cold clouds even as sweat slicked his biceps and forearms. The camera trained in on his face, the light blue eyes a little cold with determination as he slapped other players on their backs and shoulders for encouragement. All of the players looked to him before making their next move. All of the players blocked him as he made the passes, taking the brunt of the hits for him so he could complete the play, all of the players smiled and cheered as Steve made the pass to Sam from the twenty-five yard line into Sam’s hands that would win the game. As Bucky watched Steve rip off his helmet, his golden blonde hair damp with sweat and mussed, a huge smile on his face as his team surrounded him, pride for the man overwhelmed him, and he realized that he would be whatever Steve Rogers needed him to be for however long he needed.

*oOo*

His face hurt from smiling. And soon, oh soon he would see Bucky. Maybe he’d steal him away from the party, ask him to go on a walk. He couldn’t wait to tell him everything. To just talk to him. Three days and a few texts during their busy schedules wasn’t enough. Feelings kept welling inside of him and he felt like he was going to burst. A constant flame that with every anticipated thought of seeing the man blew oxygen into the fire, making it all consuming. Test out of the way, game out of the way, one more thing to do.

“Rogers, you coming?” Sam called from the doorway as Steve bent down to put on his shoes, lacing them up.

“Yeah, just gotta get finished up here. You guys go ahead, don’t drink all the beer before I get there.”

“I’ll do my best but I make no promises.” Clint called. “WAY TO WIN, BABY!”

“WHOOP!” Steve shouted back, energy and adrenaline still coursing through his veins. He shoved his game cleats back into his locker, grabbed his phone, wallet, and keys, and slid them into his pockets before shrugging on his coat. On his way out of the locker room doors he dumped his jersey in the laundry. The door swung shut behind him and he momentarily lost all ability to think.

Bucky stood leaning against the outside wall of the locker room, knee bent and a foot pressed into the brick. His head turned at the sound of the door slamming shut behind Steve. Steve’s eyes traced over the tight black jeans, black boots, and black jacket zipped up halfway, where Steve could just make out the “OLUMB” of the schools logo underneath.

“You came to the game?” Steve blurted, as Bucky kicked off the wall, walking towards him.

He smirked. “I did. You scored all the runs.” He stopped in front of Steve, a challenge in his eyes.

“We really have to teach you football.” Steve replied, before his hand wrapped around Bucky’s waist and tugged him close. He watched Bucky’s eyes grow wide, and then close, accepting the inevitable as Steve’s hand cupped the back of his neck. Steve pressed a kiss to his forehead first, then traced the length of Bucky’s nose with his own, before sliding their mouths together, both falling into the warmth that the other was freely offering, as Bucky's hands came to grip tightly at Steve’s coat, standing on his toes so that their bodies aligned. Steve’s heart hammered in his chest as his thoughts swam into the languid wonder of kissing Bucky Barnes. Memorizing the small gasp as Steve nipped his bottom lip and the way Bucky willingly opened for Steve’s tongue to play lightly across his. This. This he wanted to do all day. He wanted nothing else but for Bucky Barnes to take him apart, kiss by kiss, while their bodies melded together.

Chapter Text

You said yes as I said please

*oOo*

Oh God this feels incredible ...like magic, like fire searing through his veins. Cold fingers danced under Bucky's jacket, barely touching the tender smooth flesh of his hips before skating around to the small of his back and drawing tantalizing circles around the dimples there. He wanted to get lost in the feeling of Steve Rogers' touch, Steve's kiss... to relax into it with no concerns of what was to come next. To not think about tonight, tomorrow, the future. But (damn his logic minded brain)..but but but... "Not that I wouldn’t mind doing this for the rest of my natural born days,” Bucky murmured against Steve’s lips, “but I seem to remember you inviting me to a party?” And needing to figure out what the hell this is, he didn't say.

“Mmmm.” Steve’s chest rumbled, his fingers threading through Bucky’s hair. “Do we have to?”

No. No let’s stay right here. “Pretty sure the host has to attend their own party.” Bucky sighed, letting Steve tug his head back and press kisses onto his neck. “It’s like a social rule.”

“I hate rules.” Steve murmured against the skin, nipping it lightly, causing Buck’s breath to hitch.

“I, oh Jesus, do too.” Bucky groaned as Steve sucked at the skin of his neck, but logic reared its ugly head. “I’m gonna regret this, but I feel like we should go. And that way we can…talk about some things.” Bucky ended, his voice tight and breathy.

Steve drew back. “I hate that you’re right.” Rubbing his thumb along Bucky’s jawline before taking a step back and shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket.

*oOo*

Their elbows bumped as they walked along the bustling streets towards Steve’s. Both catching each others eyes and grinning before looking away. Fighting the temptation to back Steve into one of the alleys between the buildings and press him against the bricks, Bucky actively worked to convince his mind to veer elsewhere.

“How’d your test go?” He asked.

“Better than last time. Squeaked by with a 72.”

“That’s awesome Steve!” At Steve’s bland look in return he laughed. “What!? It’s passing, AND it could’ve been another 60. If we can get you to make 80’s on the midterm and then the final, you’re home free.”

“I just. I think I got my hopes up for it to be higher. I really thought I had a grasp on things, and the data dumping thing and creating the graphic organizer helped so much, but the next test will involve even more conten-”

“So we’ll work harder. I have a feeling we’re gonna be spending more time together anyway.” Bucky grinned.

“I hope so.” Steve said back softly. “I, uh, told the guys and my mom.”

“That you passed?”

“That I’m bi.”

“Ohhhhh.” Bucky nodded, a little zing of nerves made its way through his system. “And how’d that go?”

“Well my mom I think kinda already knew. The guys… well they were in the middle of having a one-upping competition about who has banged on the most surfaces of the house, so they were like ‘cool, yeah we saw Bucky kiss you,’ and then kept yelling about having sex on Sam’s bed.”

“Bet we could beat ‘em.” Bucky said without thinking.

“I...oh...well...hmmm.” Steve sputtered out turning a bright shade of pink while biting his lip.

Bucky stopped and tugged Steve’s jacket, forcing him to turn. “Look at me.” When he finally got those baby blues on him he smiled. “We still got a lot to figure out. And I’m okay if we don’t. Okay? We take this at your pace.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to,” Steve’s blush creeped below his collar, “I just, never...have…”

“Had sex?”

“With a guy.” Steve finished, looking anywhere but at Bucky.

Bucky felt like he was about to tiptoe through a minefield. “Well. If you end up not wanting to go that far, that’s okay too.”

“No no no,” Steve said quickly, his ears burned. “I um, do want to, that’s the thing. Badly. With you. I just, have no idea where to even start, and I know we need to talk about a lot of other things. I don’t want you to think I just want sex from you, because you’re beautiful and just the sight of you does terrible things to my ability to concentrate, but you’re also really fun to hang out with and-”

“Wow. Steve Rogers is a romantic.” Bucky snorted. “Tell me Steve, ‘cause I’ve been wonderin’” he hooked a finger into the collar of Steve’s jacket and shirt and tugged lightly, letting his eyes trace from Steve’s face to his chest, “how far down does that blush go?”

He wasn’t really surprised to find himself pressed against the cool brick wall as passerbys grumbled in their typical New York fashion or completely ignored them. Bucky grinned into the kiss as it seared through his body. It was over as quickly as it started. Steve’s thumb traced Bucky’s full bottom lip once, eyes dark, before taking a deep breath and a few steps back.

“You’re such a pain in the ass.” He shook his head.

“I’m your pain in the ass now.” Bucky added as they began to walk again. “If you want me to be, that is.”

“I thought the whole kissing your brains out thing would’ve been a good indication. But yes - Bucky Barnes - I would really like it if you were my pain in the ass, in a boyfriendly fashion.”

Bucky’s heart gave a little leap. “Rogers, you poet.”

They turned onto Steve’s street and Bucky slowed his pace. “I do have to ask, what is this gonna look like? I don’t want to step over any invisible lines.” When Steve looked at him questioningly he explained. “I, um, saw you talking with the ESPN reporter, so I figured…better to know now than later.”

“Well.” Steve sighed. “The guys and my Mom know that I’m out, and that I kinda have a thing for you.”

“Aw, how sweet.” Bucky teased, secretly enjoying the hell out of the comment.

“I want you to know that I’m not…” Steve looked him dead in the eye, “I’m not ashamed of you, or this. But I’m also not ready for the world to know, because as soon as I tell people we aren’t close to, it’ll be front page news. They tore apart Michael Sam when he came out.”

“I don’t know who that is but keeping going…”

“Played for the Seahawks, first openly gay player to go pro.” Steve explained. “As soon as I come out to the world, then your name is gonna be right under mine and I just want…maybe to get used to this first,” he brushed his knuckles along the back of Bucky’s hand, “before the world has a chance to try and tarnish it, ya know?” Steve asked, face going soft as they neared the house, thankful for the apparent lack of hordes of people this time around.

Bucky fought the urge to tug Steve into him and mirror their previous closeness. “I understand. And if it helps,” he stopped on the porch and dropped his voice to barely a whisper, his words nearly getting lost in Thor’s booming laugh from inside, “I can’t wait to pop the quarterback’s cherry.” Giving him a wicked look over his shoulder he opened the door, waltzing in to a chorus of shouts.

“That didn’t help at all!” Steve groaned.

“WELL IT’S ABOUT FUCKIN TIME!” Clint called, from his place on the Twister mat, dressed in only a pair of hot-pink Hello Kitty boy short panties that were clearly not his. He was bent over a sprawled out Sam, whose arms shook with the effort to keep himself away from Clint’s body, as Tony Stark, sans shirt, had a leg in between Sam’s arms, his crotch dangerously close to Sam’s face.

“IT’S MY BEST BUDDY BUCKALICIOUS AND THE HOTTIE QB, HOW'S THE MATHING?!” Tony announced, his body swaying a little drunkenly, every movement pressing his crotch closer to Sam's face.

“Oh God.” Sam groaned, neck straining the opposite direction.

Grinning from her place on the couch, spinner board in hand, Nat snickered “Strip Twister.” She explained to Steve and Bucky's abashed looks.  

“Why does everything your friends do involve nudity?” Bucky asked Steve.

“I kinda like it. Maybe we should take a page out of their book tonight, huh?” Steve asked, drawing down the zipper of his coat slowly.

Bucky groaned, trailing the movement even though it only revealed Steve’s tight white t-shirt. “This is gonna be a long night, isn’t it?”

“If everything goes my way, then yeah.”

*oOo*

Steve  sat on the counter near the sink, watching his teammates and their friends crowd into the house and around the fire pit outside, the crowd significantly smaller than previous parties. That didn’t stop Tony Stark from trying to kill everyone with a new concoction called “The ARC reactor” (Apple whiskey, Rum, and some foreign liquor called Cachaca  that smelled expensive, along with a hint of peach schnapps ) which tasted deceptively delicious but was also the leading cause of the Twister game ending with a loud “CLINT NO!” as he claimed victory by taking off the panties, putting them on his head, and streaking through the house screaming “CLINT YESSSS" while stealing various slices of pizza from unsuspecting victims.

“How many of these did you give him, Tony?” Bucky asked, picking up his second shot and watching Clint streak by in all his glory, two slices of pizza dangling from his mouth, with one slice in each hand.

“Only like…five.” He admitted with a shrug, and Bucky promptly put it back down with a pointed click on the counter. “Spoilsport.”

Bucky leaned back against the counter, not quite touching Steve, but stealing his beer and taking a long pull. “Oh?” Stark asked as his eyes shifted between the two before they widened almost comically. “OOOOOOHHHHH! OHHH YOU... YOU TWO...YOU!!!!”

“Shut it Stark.” Bucky pointed.

“I wasn’t gonna say anything!!! Well, I mean...I was but….” Wiggling his eyebrows he held up Bucky’s abandoned shot in a toast. “Mazaltov.” Throwing it back he swallowed around the burning substance before smacking his lips. “Tasty!”

“If you run around naked with your underwear on your head, I’m locking you outside.” Bucky promised.

“You’re no fun.”

*oOo*

Around one in the morning the crowd started to thin, and Steve found that four beers gave him just the right amount of confidence to find any excuse to press himself against Bucky even as he  tried to help people avoid Clint pressing himself against… well everyone. The first time was...almost an accident. Bucky was standing at the counter talking to Nat, and Steve just happened to need to grab a cup from the cabinet directly behind him (whatsa guy to do?). Sliding between Bucky and Nat with a seemingly innocent “oops, excuse me,” he pressed his thigh between Bucky’s, reaching up to grab the glass on the top shelve. “Got it.” His breath coasted along Bucky’s lips as he slid back down and walked away with a smile.

Nat watched Steve’s retreating form, eyes wide. “Well…that was…”  

“Foul play.” Bucky finished, with a scowl. “The jerk didn’t even put anything in the cup for Christ’s sakes!”

*oOo*

As the clock neared one forty-five and the crowd was predominately their main group with just a few stragglers, Bucky found himself talking to Sam, who was damned determined to teach him the basics of football, using grapes and string cheese sticks from the fridge to make diagrams.

"Let me get this straight," Sam waggled a string cheese at him as he prepared to explain the process again, "you never played a sport in high school?"

"I was the captain of the Mathletes...does that count?" 

"No."

Sam placed the snacks in formation on the butcher block island and explained the process again. Bucky found himself listening intently to every word to the best his three beers and one (God awful) shot ability would allow, not drunk, but pleasantly fuzzy-buzzed.

“So the running back, which is you,” Bucky pointed to the grape, as Steve came in from the backyard, “you sometimes receive handoffs, or passes from Steve, who's the quarterback,” his finger shifted to the string cheese, “to run it to the end zone, but does it have to happen in the back field?” Bucky asked, staring down at the food with a frown. Astrophysics? Cake. Football? Not so much … he concluded.

“Or,” Steve interjected, slipping behind Bucky and letting his hands brush his sides before they came around to grip the string cheese in one hand and the grape in the other, his chin a comfortable weight on Bucky’s shoulder, “I can just run the ball into the end-zone for a touchdown,” he motioned, breath sliding along his ear, “and Sam does absolutely nothing.” He held the grape to Bucky’s lips and Bucky bit into it, watching as Steve walked away, peeling open the string cheese and whistling innocently.

“Well, I see you two figured out your shit.” Sam frowned. “I don’t appreciate him killing of my player like this is Game of Thrones. Disrespectful ass.”

*oOo*

The final straw that completely broke the metaphorical sex driven camel’s back came when everything had settled and the inevitable post-party-whoever-was-the-least-drunk-cleanup-crew began (which, for the record, did not include Tony or Clint who were snuggled together half naked on the Twister mat, both holding half eaten slices of pizza, while Nat snickered and took pictures with Clint's phone from different angles and promptly posting them on every social media account Clint had). Coming back inside from rounding up cans and cups and throwing them into the recycle bin, Bucky stood at the sink washing his hands while Steve moved about, putting the leftover pizza in the fridge and deconstructing the empty greasy boxes and shoving them into the recycle. Bucky felt Steve’s warmth as he came up behind him, continuing to work the soap into his hands. Steve’s hands joined his under the water, stealing some of the foamy suds. He rubbed his hands over Bucky’s as his chest pressed against Bucky’s back for the second time that night.

“Excuse me, sir, but you’re stealing my clean soap with your dirty hands.” Bucky pointed out, don’t get hard don’t get hard don’t get hard , he pleaded with himself.

“Ya know I heard this crazy rumor that soap is actually self cleansing.” Steve explained, his breath ghosting across Bucky’s ear, before placing a kiss under it. Red Alert! Red Alert!  Abort mission! Abort mission!

Bucky turned his head, soap forgotten and water still running, he let his lips slide over Steve’s, relishing the way Steve pressed him back into the counter, warm wet hands gripping Bucky’s sides, soaking through his shirt.

“Yo, global warming is a real thing jackasses." Sam admonished, making the pair jump apart like guilty teenagers. "No matter what President Dumb Fuck says, quit wasting water!”

“Right, forgot about global warming.” Shutting the water off Bucky turned, looking down at his wet shirt then back up at Steve “Well, damn. Looks like my shirt’s all wet now.” He shrugged nonchalantly, hoping he was reading the situation right  “guess I gotta go change it...” Without missing a beat he grabbed the hem and pulled it over his head. Brushing by Steve and Sam to walk up the stairs without glancing back, smirking at Steve’s muttered curse and the sound of heavy footsteps rushing up the stairs behind him.

Just as he was swinging into Steve’s room, a wonderful jolt of excitement fluttered over his skin. A unbridled laugh escaped him when Steve’s arm caught him around his bare waist, warm and strong. Steve kicked the door shut behind him just as Sam called, “MOVE YOUR BED AWAY FROM THE WALL, ROGERS!”

Warm lips pressed against the back of his neck, before cascading down to his shoulder. “Can we skip the shirt?” Steve asked, turning Bucky in his arms. He wondered if Bucky could feel his heart hammering.

Bucky let his hands slide up Steve’s arms, linking them behind his neck. He cocked his head to the side. “What shirt?” He asked with a nip to Steve’s bottom lip before sinking into the warm press of Steve’s lips against his. His whole body sang with need, Steve’s fingertips grazed down his spine in one long swift motion, dancing over his vertebrae, before resting his wide palm on Bucky’s lower back, pressing him even closer.

Pulling back from the kiss briefly, Bucky tugged at Steve’s shirt, a question in his eyes. Watching every movement of the lithe body being exposed in front of him as Steve tugged the shirt up and over his head, he bit his lip to stop from groaning. “Fuck.” His hands started their journey low on Steve’s adonis belt, letting his thumbs work small circles across his hips before grazing over the defined plains of Steve’s abs, wanting to touch, lick, and worship every single inch. “Are you even fuckin’ real?” Bucky murmured, partially to himself. The satisfaction rose as his fingers barely glided over Steve’s pecs, nails catching on his nipples as the full body blush made its way down Steve’s chest.

“There it is... God dammit Rogers, that blush is too much.” Bucky let his eyes meet Steve’s as he brought his mouth to Steve’s right pec, nipping at it and feeling gloriously satisfied when Steve’s head fell back on a sharp inhale, exposing the length of his throat. “You’re beautiful.” Bucky murmured, making his way to the other side, kissing along the curvatures between the muscles. “Do you even know how beautiful you are?” Bucky asked earnestly, backing Steve into the bed.

Almost surprised to remember they were in a room Steve glanced back at the bed, then back to Bucky, bashfully. “I um...no one’s ever called me that.” He said quietly. And oh, did it spur something immense inside of him to be the first for so many things.

Giving Steve another nudge, Steve sat, staring up at him, large chest expanding with quickened breaths, nipples peaked, and his pupils blown across his blue eyes. Bucky huffed out a small laugh while shaking his head. “Another first, all for me. Steve Rogers you’re beautiful.” Placing himself between Steve’s thighs, he let his fingertips trail over Steve’s biceps and collarbones before cupping Steve’s face. “So goddamn pretty,” he murmured again, before bending down to capture his lips.

An intense feeling of vulnerability rushed through Steve’s veins as the kiss depended. With Bucky’s fingers carding through his hair as he continued to arch over him. Bucky was taking charge, letting his tongue swipe along Steve’s lower lip until Steve opened for him with a low groan. Steve’s hands moved from the bed to Bucky’s legs, tracing the long slender muscles until he held him by the back of his thighs, tugging him forward until Bucky was falling backward with him on to the bed, the motion caused Bucky’s legs to straddle Steve’s waist and for the first time, they rolled their hips, erections rubbing in a long, agonizingly slow motion, that caused them both to moan.  

Bucky’s mouth left his, kissing up his jaw line, relishing the rough feeling of Steve’s prickling hair against his lips before they came to Steve’s ear. He rolled his hips again and the punched sound Steve made as the pleasure rolled low in his belly made Bucky laugh wickedly in his ear. “The things I want to do to you, baby.” He nipped the lobe, sucking it into his mouth and tugging gently, Steve’s fingers tightened around his waist.

“Please.” Steve murmured, a plea or a prayer, he couldn’t tell.

“God, you ask so sweetly.” Bucky chuckled in his ear. “Make me wanna give you the world on a silver platter.” Steve’s hips pistoned again, eager for touch. “I know, doll.” His hand raced between their bodies, cupping Steve’s thick length through his jeans. “So fuckin’ hard for me.” Thumb swiping over the head, immense satisfaction welled when Steve bucked in his hand.

“Bucky.” Steve whimpered, hand cupping Bucky’s ass, nails biting into the denim with urgency..

“Want my mouth on you.” Bucky murmured, kissing down along his collarbones, breath cool against Steve’s heated skin. “Please honey, tell me I can, tell me you want my mouth on your cock.” He punctuated the request by sucking Steve’s left nipple into his mouth, rolling it lightly between his teeth as Steve continued to thrust underneath him. “C’mon,” Bucky urged, releasing his nipple and flicking a tongue over the sensitive pink nub before blowing a cold steady stream of air over it, “consent sweetheart, I kinda need it.” He murmured, repeating the action and looking up, watching Steve’s eyes flutter closed at every sensation.

“Please,” Steve breathed, “fuck, please Bucky.”

“You’re so pretty when you beg.” Bucky added with a teasing grin before moving off the bed and standing. The grin spread into a full smile when Steve groaned at the loss, reaching out for him as Bucky worked the button of Steve’s pants open and drew the zipper down over the hardened length. “I know honey, I got you. Just need to get rid of these pesky things.” He assured, tugging the underwear and jeans down all at once, finally getting his first glance at Steve’s fully naked body. Pure want had him pressing a hand to his own cock, relishing in the brief relief as it throbbed within its confines. He worked his own button and zipper open as Steve watched his movement before he sunk back onto the bed between Steve’s legs.

“You should see yourself.” He kissed the inside of Steve’s thigh, nuzzling the soft hair, as his hand trailed up the other, raking his nails along his flesh. Steve’s cock jumped, landing with a small smack against his abs, thick and red, a small pearl of precum welling at the tip. “Bet you’re gonna taste so good...” Bucky continued, lips trailing along the underside of Steve’s length.

When the wet heat of Bucky’s mouth engulfed the head of Steve’s cock, one hand flew into Bucky’s hair as the other clenched into the bed spread, a loud moan was ripped from his lips and echoed off the walls of his room. Bucky sank all the way down, not giving Steve a second to breathe, and as his tongue worked the underside of Steve’s cock, he drew his head back up, relishing the taste. When Steve’s fingers clenched in his hair, he moaned at the sharp prickle of pleasure up his spine.

Yes baby, take, was all he could think, and as if Steve read his mind, he gave a small thrust of his hips. Relaxing his throat Bucky took as much as he could, enjoying Steve’s needy moans as his movements began to quicken. Pulling back Bucky worked his right hand around the base of Steve’s shaft as his left trailed down between his own legs, pumping in rhythm with Steve’s movements, his own breath coming out sharply from his nose as his pleasure swelled.

“Fuck fuck fuck. Gonna cum baby, oh fuck I’m gon-” Steve bowed off the bed as his orgasm rushed over him, and Bucky let his hand fall away. Please, he wanted to beg. Taking Steve deep into his throat, swallowing around his length as he released. The way Steve panted and then moaned his name as a desperate cry had his own orgasm closely following, warm cum spilling into his hand as he swallowed Steve’s.

He let Steve’s cock fall out of his mouth while he pressed his face into his hip; catching his breath, kissing and murmuring praises against the warm skin until Steve’s hand slipped to the back of his neck and tugged Bucky up for a kiss. Curious for his reaction, Bucky let Steve’s tongue lick into his mouth, tasting his own release, and oh if he only had super powers, he would be hard again at the sound of Steve moaning at the taste.

Pulling back Steve let out a sigh, head thumping back onto the bed. “Wow.”

“Uh huh.” Bucky agreed leaning over the bed, desperately searching the ground for a stray towel, shirt, sock...anything. “Um, do you have a…” he motioned to his hand, “towel or something?”

“Hmmm?” Steve asked, before it clicked in his post-orgasmic blissed out brain. “OH! Hold on!” He called, as he dashed out of the room, completely naked.

“AHH!” A shout pierced the air as Steve sprinted back, bright red with a damp towel in one hand, his other cupping his junk as he used his foot to kick his door shut.

“What...just happened?” Bucky asked cautiously.

Steve’s face flamed as he tossed the wash rag at Bucky. “I think I just scarred Sam for life.” He explained, rummaging through a drawer and wincing when Sam shouted.

“IT’S CALLED A FUCKIN BATHROBE ROGERS, AND YOU'RE GETTING ONE FOR CHRISTMAS!”

Bucky’s couldn’t help but laugh as he cleaned off the mess and tossed the rag into the laundry basket. Coming back to the bed, clad in pajamas and still blushing, Steve smiled up at him, a post-sex dopey smile that Bucky wanted to kiss for eternity. Leaning over, Steve reversed their earlier position, and captured Bucky’s mouth in a long lazy kiss. “Tell me you’re staying.”

Smiling into the kiss, “I’m staying,” he replied, and while Steve went to turn off the lights, Bucky shucked off his jeans before tucking himself under the covers. Turning on his side when the bed dipped under Steve’s weight, Bucky let himself be drawn tightly against Steve’s body. “Oh damn, you’re one of them cuddling types.” Bucky groaned, feeling his heart tip over in his chest.

“Shut up and let me hold my boyfriend.” Steve murmured, kissing the curve of Bucky’s neck and letting his eyes finally shut after the long but satisfying day.

*oOo*

Wrapped in warmth, light, and pleasure, his thoughts hummed into the enticing bliss of sleep along with the calloused hand wrapped around his cock. Lazily the hand made its way up in long slow strokes, turning slightly to collect the little bead of precum, gathering it on the thumb just to spread it teasingly under the sensitive head, before stroking back down. The sleep-addled portion of his brain painted portraits of sunlight, blonde hair and blue eyes smiling down at him, as the part that was slowly waking up to the devious touch had his hips rolling to meet it. He could feel his heart beating erratically as the pleasure nearly crested and the hand stilled at the base, pressing against the fabric of his boxers, while his breath hitched, eyes fluttering open, chasing the feeling of near release.

“Please.” Bucky murmured, voice full of sleepy want, lips pursing against the heated skin of Steve’s chest as he spoke.

“You wanna cum for me, sweetheart?” Steve asked, voice gravely from sleep and brushing a kiss across Bucky’s forehead.

Oh fuck, Steve’s hand was...and he was asking him...fuck, his eyes flicked up to Steve’s face, a little blurry with sleep but still able to capture the man watching him, pupils blown, a little cautious while his hand gave teasing little pumps to the base of Bucky’s cock, as if waiting for permission. “Steve. Please. Feels good.”

Steve’s lips captured his, his hand starting back up the slow steady rhythm meant to drive Bucky insane as the pleasure of it made his toes curl. Hips desperate to buck into the contact, needing it faster, craving what Steve’s hand promised. His own hand came up to wrap around the back of Steve’s neck, pulling him tighter into the kiss, hunger lacing every swipe of his tongue against Steve’s lips. Breaking away when Steve’s hand gave an experimental twist at the head that brought Bucky so close to the edge that he sobbed Steve’s name when it languidly slid down again. Pressing his forehead against Steve’s, his breath huffed out sharply, the rolling tide of pleasure built and built staying just on the edge of unobtainable. Steve’s hand teasingly made its way back to the base and Bucky buried his head into the curvature of Steve’s neck and shoulder, panting his name, begging. “Please, please baby, fucking need it. You’re so good baby, fuck, please let me cum, please please please…” He babbled against the hot skin,

“Mmmm, want you to cum,” Steve murmured back, chest rumbling with the words, “cum for me Bucky, c’mon baby give me your cum.” Steve demanded, hand moving faster, wrist flicking at just the right time as his fist encapsulated the head of Bucky’s dick.

“Oh oh oh,” Bucky panted, “fuck I’m gon-” the cry muffled into Steve’s neck. Finally, his brain had the distant thought as his toes curled into the sheets and he pressed himself further into the warmth next to him while Steve carried him through his orgasm.

He groaned when the bed dipped and cold air rushed under the covers, replacing Steve’s warmth. “I’ll be right back, baby.” Steve murmured, padding out of the room.

That had just happened . Leaving his eyes closed, he grinned to himself. Holy fuck .

“Don’t look too satisfied with yourself right now.” Steve laughed, finding Bucky stretched across the bed with a lazy smile across his face, he clicked the door shut behind him.

Bucky squinted one eye open, letting it roam the expanse of Steve’s body “I can’t help it. This really hot guy, who happens to be my boyfriend, just woke me up with the best handjob I’ve ever had. I’m allowed.”

A brilliant blush bloomed over Steve’s chest and up his neck, and Bucky laughed. “Jesus, Rogers. Compliments really do it for you, huh?”

“Shut up,” he grumbled, sitting on the edge of the bed.

“Come back to bed, and you can shut me up properly.” Bucky teased with a wink.

“Don’t tempt me, not when there's waffles and bacon down stairs.”

“There’s waffles?!” Bucky sat up, poking Steve in the ribs. “Why didn’t you say so, jerk?”

Throwing off the covers, Bucky untucked his body from the bed, leaning into Steve to give him a soft warm kiss before beginning the search for his jeans. Finding them under the disarray of clothes he tugged them on, hopping a little to fit his foot into the tight pant leg.

“You’re beautiful.” Steve blurted, face flushing again as Bucky stopped mid-hop, nearly toppling over until he leaned against the dresser for balance.

“I…” He wiggled the pants the rest of the way on, pulse doubling as Steve stood and encircled his waist. “You’re…what am I gonna do with you, Steve?” Bucky asked, wrapping his arms around Steve’s neck.

“Anything you want, hopefully.” Steve promised.

“Jesus.” Bucky huffed, desire rifling through him, images of Steve, ass up, begging for his cock, played through his mind before he physically shook his head to clear the thoughts away. “Don’t try to distract me from waffles.” Pressing up onto his toes he laid a light kiss on Steve’s lips, “You’re pretty too, by the way.” He murmured, before tugging Steve by his wrist out the door, “c’mon, food.”

*oOo*

Walking down the stairs to applause and wolf whistles was not how Bucky had imagined his day starting…well, neither was the handjob, to be perfectly honest. Bottom lip firmly bit and ears blushing pink, he sat at the table next to Natasha, looking up to see Steve lowering himself into the chair across from him, painfully red.

“Well well well.” Clint started, nudging Steve gleefully. “Happy orgasm day, bro.”

“Oh Jesus.” Steve buried his head into his hands as Thor cheered from over by the waffle iron.

“See you found some pants.” Sam stated, begrudgingly cutting his waffles into tiny pieces before drowning them in sugar.

Hunching his shoulders Steve at least had the audacity to look ashamed. “I’m so sorry Sam. I just had to…”

“You just had to what? Pee so badly that you ran out of the room naked?”

“Had to grab a washcloth.”

“Why would you need a wa-...oh... EW EW EWWWW.” Sam nudged his waffles away. “Don’t even want to think about anything sticky right now. Man, can’t you control your boyfriend?”

Bucky laughed sheepishly, smoothing butter across the waffle Nat put on his plate. “I mean...I kinda prefer him naked...sooooo, the answer’s ‘no’.”

“Well BuckyButt,” Clint looked at him fondly, “on behalf on everyone in this house who had to listen to Steve’s moans of passion-”

Steve’s head thunked onto the table.

“-last night.” Clint continued, “can I just say, that we are so happy you two finally mathed.”

“Motion seconded.” A voice came from the living room floor, causing Steve and Bucky to both jump and look over where a disheveled Tony Stark was sitting up, wrapped in the twister mat like a tortilla. “Heh. Mathed.” He giggled. “Take two people, add a bed, subtract the clothes, divide the legs and MULTIPLY!” He pointed a finger in the air, before frowning. “Well. Not necessarily multiply, due to the laws of human biology, but keep giving it the ol’ college try, you crazy kids!” He swayed.

Bucky winced. “Tony, buddy, you alright?”

“Think I’m still drunk.” Tony admitted before flopping over.

*oOo*

Leaning on the door frame and pouting slightly, Steve tugged at the hem of Bucky’s shirt. “You sure you have to leave?”

“I smell weird. Gotta shower and change.”

“I happen to have clothes and a shower.”

“You’re a giant, your clothes would dwarf me. Plus I gotta study for a test on Tuesday. Anybody in there happen to have the Data Science and Bayesian Inference Statistics for Physical Sciences textbook?” Bucky asked.

“Right on my bedside table. How do you think I get to sleep at night?” Steve grinned.

“Blow jobs from all the pretty boys you bring home?” Bucky asked inquisitively, laughing as a blush bloomed over Steve’s collar.

“You’re a menace.” Steve confirmed, leaning in and pressing a lingering kiss to Bucky’s lips.

Bucky pulled back, pressing his forehead to Steve’s. “I try…” He stayed like that, soaking in the last 24 hours. “Alright,” he confirmed, backing away, “gotta go learn, and do my own math.”

“You’re gonna math all by yourself?” Steve smirked from his place at the door.

“Shut it, Rogers. Breakfast tomorrow?”

“Can’t, got practice at 6 a.m. sharp.”

Bucky cringed. “Library it is. Bring something sweet for me.”

“I’m already bringing myself.”

“Wow. Just…wow. Text me, jerk.” He grinned before turning and starting the walk back to his apartment.

“WAIT FOR ME!” Nat came rocketing out of the house, wearing her jeans from last night and presumably one of Clint’s hoodies, as it went down to her knees. She shoved past Steve with a cry of “bye lover boy!” over her shoulder at him, who rolled his eyes while shutting the door. “Soooooo…” she grinned at Bucky, poking his arm, “y’all did the deed!”

“Christ Nat, you’re turning into Clint. And we did...some of the deed.” He added.

“Ohhhh details!”

“I gave him a blow job last night, he gave me a hand job this morning. We both reached climax.”

“Wow. Only you could make that sound sterile.”

“It was anything but, I promise.”

“Ohhhhh-la-la. Well, it’s about time, my friend.” Wrapping her arm around his waist she tugged him close as they continued to walk. “What a fun adventure this is gonna be.”

Chapter Text

This ain't no sham.

I am what I am.

I'll leave no time

For a cynic's mind.

Week Twelve -  2018 Fall Semester

“Sit still.” Steve demanded, finishing off the last of a shadow, tongue poking out between the corner of his lips in concentration.

“I’ve been sitting still for an hour.” Bucky grunted through gritted teeth. “I think I have a crick in my neck from having to look mournfully out this window.”

“Almost done.”

“I’ll show you almost done when I almost shove these twizzlers up your-”

“DONE!” Steve grinned at him, moving the sketchbook out of reach from Bucky’s swiping hand. “No.”

“C’mon.” He pouted, standing up and moving to Steve’s bed. “You never let me look.”

“You’ll look one day. Just not today.” Steve replied, pushing the sketchbook back into his backpack. “Speaking of...I uh…have a thing coming up.”

“How very vague of you.” Bucky quipped, settling at the top of Steve’s bed with his back against the wall and rummaging through his own bag to pull out the tutoring notes from their last session.

Moving back to the bed Steve nudged him, a habit he‘d fallen into since they first met. “Jerk.”

“Punk. Now tell me about your thing…”

“I...well.” Steve cleared his throat, wringing his hands he continued. “It’s, uh... An art show.”

Smiling, Bucky took Steve’s hand. “Alright. And…”

“It’s my art show.” He stalled, picking at a loose thread of his jeans. “Kinda like a junior dissertation for art students. I was thinking about inviting you, the guys, and Nat and Jane. It’s the only way I get credit for two of my classes this semester, and I have to have a certain amount of people there to view it, but the guys…”

“Don’t know that you do art.” Bucky finished, rubbing his thumb over Steve’s knuckles, now understanding the stem of his anxiety. “I’ll be there. Name the time and place. I’ll even put on my fancy slacks for you.”

The relief radiated off of Steve when he sighed and put his head on Bucky’s shoulder, scooting down a bit to make the position work. “Thank you.”

“Of course.”

“One tiny issue.” Steve added.

“Hmm?”

“It’s over Thanksgiving break. And my mom will be there.”

“And why is that an issue, Steven Rogers? Am I not mother-meeting material?” Bucky asked.

“NO NO NO!” Steve’s head jerked up, eyes wide with horror before he saw Bucky’s playful smile. “You ass. I just wanted to warn you. She’s a nurse, so she’s pretty straight to the point, and I...um...figured we could maybe go out to dinner. Maybe bring your mom, do the whole family meet-and-greet thing and get it over with in one fell swoop?”

“That’s…a slightly terrifying but genius idea…want her to bring Bec’s too? Get it all over with?”

Steve shrugged. “Sure. I’m not scared of your family if you’re not scared of mine.”

“I’m gotta admit, I’m a little scared of yours.” Bucky looked at Steve. “I’ve never met a boyfriend’s family before...and my Ma…” He hesitated, searching for the right word. “She’ kinda a force to be reckoned with."

“Alright. So we’ll both be scared. It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving by the way, at Agora Gallery, off of W 25th.”

“Have no idea where that is, but I’ll be there. Family in tow.” Bucky promised.

“Think we should invite the guys to dinner too?”

“Oh God. It’s gonna be mayhem.” Bucky groaned.

Steve nodded. “Pure mayhem.” Before pulling his book in front of them and digging in.

*oOo*

2 hours later

Steve caught himself looking up at Bucky, words coming out of his mouth, with zero comprehension to what he was actually saying. Which he had found himself doing quite often over the last few weeks of their budding relationship, if he was gonna be honest with himself. Now that he was allowed to readily stare at Bucky’s face, eyes taking in every feature, watching as he talked animatedly with his hands, Steve found himself enraptured. However, between football practice, both of them being TA’s for classes, two away games, and an overwhelming amount of coursework, they often found themselves huddled together in the back corner of the library, or in Steve’s room, getting Steve’s Calc work out of the way before delving into their other preferred subjects during their spare time. Bucky had become fascinated with Steve’s Art in Architecture class, marveling over the mock-up buildings Steve helped draw for the actual Architecture students also taking the course, while Steve would listen to Bucky run through his Astrophysical theories before a presentation. Their legs would always press together, a hand settling over a jumpy knee when one of them became anxious or stressed over a topic.

Steve knew he was falling hard and fast. It was a simple truth that he had come to accept, no matter how off guard it had caught him. Bucky was his first thought in the morning, and his last thought before going to sleep at night, especially when he fell asleep alone…which was often due to their schedules, much to Steve’s frustration.

He found himself thinking about him in times when he shouldn’t, like during football practice when he was supposed to be calling a play but instead was wondering if he should invite him to dinner, maybe take things a little further. His brain took him back to that morning's practice. Coach reaming him in front of God and everyone about missing two plays in a row that they had been running since the beginning of the year. Fury living up to his name and grabbing Steve by the helmet, pulling his face in close, with a “I don’t know what the fuck is going on in that pretty boy noggin’ of yours, but it better be outta there by Saturday’s game, got it Rogers?! If we’re aiming for the championship you gotta get your shit together! ” before shoving him back and calling the team to run the play again. Steve felt his chest tighten, heat flooding his cheeks as the past embarrassment rolled in all over again.

“Steve…Steve?” Bucky snapped his fingers in front of his face, watching the glaze clear from over his eyes with a few fluttered blinks, even as his ears pinked up. “You with me?”

“Yup.” Steve answered, giving him strained smile.

“Alright,” eyeing him, Bucky continued, “what is an equation called that hasn't been explicitly solved for one of the variables?”

“Ummmmm...an unsolved equation?” He replied pathetically, hands clenching at his jeans. Shit shit shit. What if he kept screwing up at practice? And then Coach found out about why he’s so distracted. Oh God, what if he benched him for it. What if someone found out and told Coach, and then Coach benched him, and his scholarship went down the drain because- No, fuck that. Coach wouldn’t bench him for being gay. Wait...would he? No, fuck him if he did. Fuck this. Steve’s thoughts ran rampant, Bucky’s voice a distant muffled sound that he couldn’t quite gain traction to.

“You’re not focusing. C’mon, we have so much left to cover. And like…a week to do it before midterms.”

“Sorry.” Steve balked. “Just, I’m just...I think I need to…I can’t.”

“You can’t what?" Bucky’s brows furrowed as Steve moved off the bed. “Hey, what’s going on?”

“I gotta- I need to talk to Coach.”

“Coach...of your football team?” Bucky asked, completely thrown off kilter.

“No, my yoga coach.” Steve bit back scathingly, ripping his coat off the chair as his heart hammered into his throat. “I have to talk to Coach.” He repeated.

“Steve wait- I-” The door slammed behind him without further explanation; Bucky was left staring, flinching as the front door slammed three seconds later. What the fuck just happened?

*oOo*

The door burst open, filling the empty locker room with the loud clang of metal on cinder block. Marching towards Fury’s desk, Steve’s breath came out harshly through his nose. Fuck this, he thought, defiance sending a hot wave of adrenaline through his system. Fists clenched he strode into Fury’s office. The man didn’t even turn, just continued drawing on the ipad in front of his giant computer, sketching out a play, and leaving Steve to fume at the shiny bald skin of the back of his head.

“I’m not getting benched for being gay.” Steve spat out, watching as Fury’s head cocked to the side as he placed the stylist down with measured ease onto his desk. The chair turned slowly, revealing Fury’s blank face.

“You’re right. You won’t.” Fury drawled. After a beat of silence Fury looked Rogers up and down, taking in the hands fisted at his sides and the shoulders tensed for a fight. “Somethin’ on your mind, Cap?” He asked.

“I…” Steve hesitated. This was not how he saw this conversation going.

“You…” Fury looked at him expectantly.

“I’m bisexual.”

Another beat of silence. “Alright. And I’m black. That a problem for you?”

“What?” Completely thrown off, Steve frowned at him. “No, why would it be?”

“Okay. So now that we’re done listing off facts about ourselves that we can’t change and that neither of us give a shit about, what can I do for you?” Fury asked, kicking his feet on to his desk. Steve stared while his mind worked through what Fury had said. “Dammit, Rogers. Take a seat.” Used to the tone, Steve’s butt followed orders, hitting the chair obediently. “Talk to me.”

“I…” Well, this was harder than he thought it’d be, even though he already said the biggest part...kind of. “I’m dating someone. A guy. My boyfriend.” He paused, watching Fury’s face. When he didn’t so much as blink, Steve continued. “It’s new. And I know I was distracted at practice the last few days, and I don’t want you to bench me for it. For him.”

“As long as you get your shit together, you won't be benched. But you play like a rookie, you get treated like a rookie, that has nothing to do with your preferences and everything to do with your skill.” Fury said. “You’re one of the best QB’s I’ve ever trained, so long as you play like it we won’t have a problem. Got it?”

Steve nodded. “Yes sir. Um, sir...About telling people…I don’t...I don’t know when I will.”

“That’d be your business, Rogers, not mine.”

“But sir, ESPN -”

“Can suck my ass if they have any issue with it. You tell people when you’re ready, and I’ll back your decision. Got it Cap?”

Steve’s shoulders finally released their tension as a breath rushed out. “Thank you, sir.”

“Get outta my sight Rogers.”

“Yes sir.” Steve stood, almost out of the office when Fury called him back. “Sir?”

“You ever kick my door in like that and give me a heart attack again, I’ll skin you.” Fury added.

“Yes sir.” Steve mumbled before hightailing it out of the locker room... did Fury really just say that ESPN could suck his ass?

*oOo*

This is Bucky. I honestly didn’t know people left voicemails anymore, so here’s to wondering if I’ll return your call. BEEEEEEEEP. “Hey Buck, I’m sorry I left in such a hurry. Where the fuck are you? Call me back. I really need to talk to you.”

Bucky listened to the voicemail once and promptly deleted it. It was petty. He knew it, the voicemail knew it, and Nat knew it.

“You gonna call him back?” Nat asked, looking at her phone

“Not yet.”

He’d come home straight home, confused and a little (a lot) pissed off. Studying to take his mind off it. Wanting to avoid anything that could possibly deemed as a “next step”.

Nat’s kept her head bent over her phone, her fingers typing deftly. “What happened?”

“Don’t want to talk about it.” Bucky turned the page in his textbook.

“Okay.” Nat replied. When her phone buzzed she scooped up her books. “Welp, on that note. I’m gonna go to Clint’s.”

“What, why?” Bucky asked, finally looking up at her.

“Aw honey. You’re too old to need the birds and the bees talk.” Nat patronized, just as a soft knock at their door caused Bucky to squint at her.

“What did you do?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Barnes.” Nat called over her shoulder, making her way to the living room while Bucky stayed on his bed, stomach clenching.

He heard the front door click open and then close again. He bent his head over the textbook, stubbornly refusing to look up at the figure currently standing in his door frame.

“Buck.” Steve said softly. Turning the page he picked up his pencil and began to scribble notes that he knew he would have to erase later. “Buck, please look at me.” The bed dipped as Steve maneuvered his body onto it - at least he had the decency to take his shoes off - before sitting directly in front him. “Bucky.”

“No.” Bucky’s head jerked up, stomach jolting at just how fucking beautiful the man in front of him was. Regardless, “you don’t get to snap at me and then leave me at YOUR house, and then come in here and softly say my name like a sad puppy two hours later.”

“I…” Steve looked at him cautiously. “I was looking for you for the past hour.”

“Well, congratulations on finding me at my place of residence.” Bucky scathed, watching the play of emotions on Steve’s face as his words fell over him, wanting to hurt him and hold him at the same time. “Feel free to leave. I have to study.”

“Bucky.”

Bucky took a breath and resolutely closed his book. Damn these fucking feelings and the man who gave them to him . “Steve.”

“I’m sorry.”

“For…”

“Being an asshole.”

“And…”

“And leaving without explaining.” Steve moved the textbook off the bed to the floor, a gentle slow movement. “Can I explain now?”

“Would hate for you to have wasted a trip.” Bucky bit back, wondering how Steve would handle it; at the returned frown Bucky cocked his head. “What, Rogers? Can’t take getting what you give?”

“I can.” Steve’s eyes had a bit of fire in them now, and he was leaning in too close. Bucky wanted to shift back, and shift closer. To play with the fire, get burned, to hate it, to love it. “I can get what I give. I understand.” Steve watched him up until their noses brushed, and their eyes fluttered closed. “I hurt you. I needed to talk to Fury. I freaked out, panicked, as I often do.” He let his forehead rest against Bucky’s, a gentle gesture, and Bucky’s breath shuddered out across Steve’s lips. “I came out to him. Seemed like a now-or-never thing at the time. Felt like I was gonna be off the team, and instead he supported me...us.” Steve added, lips so close to Bucky’s, a whisper between them. “And I screwed you and I up by not telling you how I was feeling. I’m so sorry, Buck. I have a habit of doing that. I’ll work on it. But I promise,” his finger nudged Bucky’s chin up, a barely there kiss brushing, testing the waters as Bucky’s eyes opened, pupils blown, a thin line of blueish gray staring back him, “I can take whatever you give me.”

Their lips crashed together and a hazardous moan ripped through Bucky’s soul as he shoved his hands under Steve’s shirt, every thought of hurt shifting away, replaced by pure need for skin to skin contact. His hands splayed across Steve’s abs, taking in the warmth and running over the ridges in a self indulgent exploration, before they tugged the t-shirt up and over Steve’s head, breaking their kiss briefly, while Bucky’s followed suit. A moment passed where they stared at each other; a dare of intimacy igniting their insides before they were yanking each other back in. Bucky’s hand cupped Steve’s neck, legs straddling his waist and forcing him to lie back across the bed. He gave in to his body’s need for friction, and with a nip to Steve’s bottom lip, he sat up. Steve’s hands gripping his waist tight, he looked Steve in the eyes and with a smirk rolled his hips. Watching the flush of pleasure ride up Steve’s neck as he gasped for air, Bucky’s name on his lips.

“Oh.”

Bucky rolled his hips again, torturously slow. The fingers biting into his hips were sure to leave bruises; he hoped they did. “You like that?”

Steve nodded wordlessly, hips grinding up to meet Bucky’s as Bucky watched the beautiful flush make its way down Steve’s chest. “Look at you. So pretty and pink.” Fingers trailing over Steve’s pecs until he brushed over his nipples, watching Steve catch his bottom lip between his teeth, stifling a groan. “Oh, no no baby.” Bucky bent over, lips hovering over Steve’s left nipple while his thumb brushed over the right. “I want to hear you. Let me hear you.” He encouraged, before closing his mouth over the nub and sucking hard.

“Oh, oh fuck...” Steve gasped, hands no longer on Bucky’s hips, but racing up his back and into his hair, pressing his mouth closer, and fuck if that didn’t do things to Bucky’s soul. He nibbled, rolling Steve’s nipple between his teeth before lavishing his tongue over it again. Sitting up he relished his work, how pink and hard they had become from the attention. “Bucky. Please.” Steve begged, hips grinding up in need.

“Please what, Steve?” Fingers replacing where his mouth had been, twisting and tugging just on the right side of painful, Steve’s mouth worked, wordlessly. Twinges of pain igniting him.

“Pl- oh, oh please, Bucky.” Bucky didn’t stop. Eyes trained on Steve’s chest, watching his nipples become dark and a little swollen against his pink skin. He didn’t think he could ever stop watching, that was...until the next words tumbled out of Steve’s mouth. “Please, fuck me.”

Bucky’s hands stilled and his eyes flew up to meet Steve’s. Oh. His brain stuttered. Oh . This they hadn’t done. Between busy schedules and Bucky wanting to take it at whatever pace Steve wanted, they had pretty much stuck with mouths and hands. This… oh . Bucky’s brain shorted out.

“Bucky?” Steve asked hesitantly

He blinked. “Are you sure?” He bent forward, pressing their chests together, brushing back Steve’s hair from his forehead and staring at him in slight disbelief. “We don’t have to right now, or you can fuck m-”

“Want you inside of me.” Steve interrupted, flushing crimson. “Been wanting you for weeks now.” He thrust his hips a little, as if to prove a point. “Been thinking about what it would feel like to be full of you.”

Bucky gulped wondering if someone could cum from words alone. “Y-you have?”

A coy smile graced his lips as he nodded. “Yeah. Even tried with my fingers.” Bucky groaned as the vision of Steve Rogers' giant body splayed out, working his fingers into himself, ran rampant through his mind.

“Fuck.” His hips gave an involuntary twitch and his fingers began to deftly work open the button of Steve’s jeans. “And how’d that feel, baby?”

“Good. Different.” Steve’s cock throbbed as he felt his zipper drawn down. “Wished it was you though.” He admitted.

“Did you fuck your fingers and think of me, honey?” Bucky asked, watching the giant man laying across his bed flush all the way down to his boxers while Bucky worked off Steve’s jeans, then his own.

“I did.” Steve admitted boldly, tilting his hips while Bucky tugged his boxers down, his cock lying flushed with need against his abs.

“How many fingers did you get in yourself, sweetheart?” Bucky pushed his own boxers down, watching as Steve’s hands came up to brush along his pecs, and by God, Bucky prayed that he would die with the vision of Steve playing with his own nipples while telling him about finger fucking himself burned into his head.

“Ah-” He gave his nipples a sharp tug before answering, “three.”

“Three?” Bucky’s eyes grew wide as he nudged Steve’s thighs apart, reaching back and bending his knees so that he was completely splayed open for him. “Bet you felt so full, didn’t you baby?” Tugging open his bedside table he snagged a condom and lube. Steve’s eyes opened at the sound, watching as Bucky laid himself between Steve’s legs, kissing down his thighs, breath brushing over Steve’s exposed tight pink hole.

“I- oh...” The warm wet of Bucky’s tongue circling had Steve’s legs drawing up and Bucky’s hands pushed at the back of his thighs, exposing him even more. “I did,” Steve continued, “felt..oh-” the flat of Bucky’s tongue did a marvelous thing, swirling and licking, “so full.”

Bucky blew cool air across Steve’s hole, pleased with Steve’s resounding little gasp as it tightened in response. “What was your other hand doing while you were fucking yourself, sweetheart?” Bucky teased, circling the tip of his tongue around the tight ring again, lapping and moaning as Steve’s hips shifted, aching for more. Letting his tongue dip into Steve’s hole, he worked lube onto his fingers.

“I, oh-” The pad of Bucky’s index finger replaced his tongue. “Oh, oh that...” Steve wiggled his hips, desperate for more as Bucky gently pushed in to his second knuckle, eyes flickering up to watch Steve’s reaction. Chest heaving, lip caught between his teeth, the most beautiful fucking thing he’d ever seen. Bucky’s heart pounded in his chest.

“C’mon baby, don’t stop now.” Please dear God don’t stop . “I gotta know what that other hand was doing.”

“It was- oh Bucky,” Steve sighed, Bucky’s finger fully inside of him, the sensation already so much different from when it was his own, “I was touching my cock.”

On cue, Bucky’s left hand gripped the base of Steve’s length feeling it twitch in his palm, while Steve’s hips struggled to simultaneously fuck himself into the fist and onto the finger. “Like this?” Bucky asked, peppering kisses to the inside of Steve’s thighs while watching him squirm.

“Ye- yeah.”

“Bet that didn’t last long, did it baby?” Bucky huffed a soft laugh, laying his head on Steve’s thigh, running his lips back and forth across the soft flesh while watching his finger disappear with ease before gently adding another.

“N-no, it didn’t.” Steve admitted, voice a little tight as he felt Bucky’s fingers begin to make small scissoring movements, working him open. “But it was nothing like this.”

“Mmmm.” Bucky was enraptured. He wanted to listen to Steve’s little gasps all day, to watch his hips thrust into Bucky’s grasp as Bucky gave long slow strokes to his cock. Not enough to get him off, not even close. Just warm lazy slides, capturing the precum that gathered, then gently easing back down his length. He could feel Steve throb in his hand and clench around his fingers, his warm wet heat so tight, but so accepting even with a third finger being added.

Giving into temptation he angled his fingers, eyes trained on Steve’s face as he barely curled the pads forward.

“FUCK!” Pleasure shot through Steve and Bucky had no hope of keeping the man pinned to the bed, not when every muscle in Steve’s thighs squeezed around him snuggly as he replayed the motion. “OH!” Steve mouth hung open, hips openly thrusting now, down on to his fingers, swiveling to search for the pleasure again, then up into Bucky’s grasp, wet with precum. “In me. Please, need you in me Bucky.” He begged, brows furrowed, lips pouty and swollen.

“Flip over for me.” Bucky commanded, voice rough. “C’mon baby, on your knees. Show me that pretty hole.” Steve complied with a whine of need, something tight in his chest finally releasing. The muscles in his back putting on an amazing display, shifting as he moved. Eyes marveling at the sight before him, Bucky stroked a hand down Steve’s flushed back. God what a sight . “You just blush everywhere, don’t you baby?”

He didn’t answer, just moaned, lashes fluttering, when Bucky’s fingers slid around his hole, gently easing in with ease, one, two, three more times, just in case.

Picking up the displaced condom, Bucky tore it open, watching as Steve waited, ass fully presented, hole fluttering around nothing, face pressing against his forearms as he looked back at Bucky, eyes a little glassy. Those eyes trained on his hands, watching as Bucky rolled the condom on, adding more lube. Bucky gave himself one slow pass over with his hand, stuttering out a breath as he spread the lube over himself, before lining up the head with Steve’s hole.

“Ohhhh, fuck.” Bucky bit out, jaw dropping as he watched the first few inches of his cock disappear into the tight wet heat. He stilled when the muscles of Steve’s shoulders drew in tight and his breath came out in sharp pants. “Shhh, gotta relax baby...” one hand on Steve’s hip, the other stroking up and down Steve’s spine, “I’ll take care of you Steve, I promise, gotta relax.” Steve thrust his hips back suddenly and let out a sharp hiss.

“Hey!” He swatted Steve’s thigh lightly. “None of that, Christ, for once let someone else be in control.” He urged, voice softening, “Let me take care of you, please Stevie.” He said gently, pulling out before giving a small thrust in, working his cock inside inch by inch, pulling back, slowly easing in more and more with each movement. Eyes trained on Steve’s face, he watched the frown line disappear between his brows, his bottom lip released from the confines of his teeth, and finally his shoulders went slack as he let out a long low moan.  “That’s it sweetheart, taking my cock so well.”

Finally, fucking finally, their thighs were flush, every inch of Bucky wrapped in Steve’s heat. He could feel the muscles work around him, clenching tightly. Begging for movement. He bit back an oath as he watch Steve’s flush run down his back to his tiny waist, turning white where Bucky’s fingers dug in. “You’re so tight, baby doll.” Pulling out to the head he pushed himself back in, long and slow, angling his hips to brush along Steve’s prostate. Steve’s head popped up off his arms, back bowing into a beautiful arch as he keened out Bucky’s name.

“Gonna fuck you so good, baby.” Bucky promised, pumping his hips in a lazy manner, using Steve’s hips as leverage.

“Please,” Steve begged breathlessly, peering over his shoulder, “please, harder, I can take it.” He promised.

Bucky’s heart clenched and his cock throbbed, of course he can . “Yeah?” He snapped his hips, and took enormous satisfaction in watching Steve’s eyes roll back into his head as grazed over his prostate again. “Wanna be fucked real hard, baby?”

Steve nodded into the mattress as the thrusts jolted his body forward, pleasure tingling up his spine. Spreading his knees wide, his heavy cock brushing along the sheets underneath he thrust back, aching to be filled deeper. Pistoning his hips, Bucky started a ruthless pace. “First time and you’re already so greedy for my dick, darling.” Without warning Bucky pulled out, driving himself to near madness just to hear Steve beg, letting his cock fall wet and obscene against Steve’s thighs, who whined so prettily for him, arching his back at the sudden loss.

“N-no, no no please. Please fuck me, please, need it. ‘M so close. Please, baby. M’ close. Don’t stop...” Steve groaned, pushing his ass back against Bucky’s body, searching.

Bucky watched in helpless wonder as Steve Rogers, fearless leader to so many, begged. His broad shoulders tightened in anticipation as the tip of his cock rubbed into the bed with every swing of his hips. Thumbs making gentle circles across Steve’s lower back, Bucky guided the tip back across the hole, barely letting it pop past the head before he slammed into him, cock punching right over Steve’s prostate with each thrust, until Steve screamed his name, vision whiting out as he came untouched. His hole a now clenched vice around Bucky’s cock caused Bucky to grunt with each thrust, toes curling until he finally leaned over, pressing his chest into Steve’s back, wrapping an arm around Steve’s heaving chest, he let the pleasure he’d been staving off wash over him, finally releasing with a shout of Steve’s name echoing through the apartment.

*oOo*

The weight of Bucky sprawled across his back, not so skinny as one would think , one arm snug between Steve’s chest and the mattress, was incentive enough to simply lay there. The thrumming of Bucky’s heart matched the stachato of his own as his forehead rested on the back of Steve’s neck, a little damp. Shifting, Bucky slowly pulled out, and a weird feeling of emptiness followed the movement, causing Steve to shiver.

“Oh.” Was all the could think to say as Bucky kneeled, removing his weight and warmth from Steve’s back, before tying off the condom and flinging it into the small trash can by the bed. He laid down next to Steve on his back and accepted the arm that Steve slung over his waist as his eyes, a little dazed, searched Steve’s.

“You okay?” He asked gently, running a finger along the outside of Steve’s bicep.

“Mmmm.” Okay wasn’t the right word…didn’t even come close. Steve considered the possibilities of how to describe what he felt and came up with exactly three: Warm. Safe. Complete. All of which would have been viable options, but he had trouble getting himself to voice them. Instead he turned on his side and pulled Bucky into him for a kiss so tender it made his heart ache a little. “Thank you.”

Bucky snorted into the kiss; doing his best not to ruin the moment, he cupped Steve’s jaw. “You don’t have to thank me for that.”

“I do.” Steve countered, voice soft. “After how I treated you earlier, and then you treated me with so much care,” and love, “I’m just…thankful.”

“What happened earlier...” Bucky rubbed his thumb absently along Steve’s jaw. “Well...you’re figuring things out and going through things that I had to do a long time ago, or what feels like it. I need to remember what it was like, the anxiety that goes with it. I know you’re under a lot of pressure Steve, and you can always come to me to talk about it. I want you to. But I don’t want to be another source of that pressure.” He admitted.

“You aren’t.” Frowning, Steve came up on his elbow. “I promise you aren’t. I just get into my own head sometimes and the only way to solve the problem is to face it head on. I bulldoze others in my path without realizing it. I don’t want to do that to you.” He punctuated the words with a kiss.

Bucky smiled. “Uh, excuse me, but I feel like it was I  who just bulldozed you.

“Are we gonna start using bulldozed as a euphemism for sex?”

Bucky grinned and shoved Steve onto his back, laying his warm body over Steve’s. “Mmm definitely”

Chapter Text

We will run and scream.

You will dance with me.

Fulfill our dreams

And we'll be free

*oOo*

Wednesday Midterm week Fall Semester 2018

If there was one thing Bucky hated during midterm week, it was the library. No longer was the place a sacred area of quiet learning where he could escape from the madness of everyday campus life. Instead, it was a mad house of irresponsible frat bros and freshman deliriously sobbing into their never before cracked open textbooks, due to their own misfortune of mismanaged time and procrastination. Also known as Bucky’s version of the seventh circle of hell.

He stayed far away from it. Declining all last minute tutoring propositions for the sake of dedicating time to his own studies while holeing up at Steve’s house, with the lesser mayhem that resided there, and helping Steve to find some semblance of calm. Clint was buried under a pile of kinesiology textbooks alongside Thor on the couch. Both exchanging flash cards and highlighters systematically. Sam sat in the recliner, eyes blurring with psychological processes, while Bucky and Steve took over the kitchen table. Looking up from his own textbook Bucky watched Steve pace the kitchen floor, bare feet shuffling over the scarred wood floor, murmuring to himself while flipping through his math notes.

“First order differential equation is an ordinary differential equation of order 1. Which means a differential equation in which the highest derivative is a first derivative. Such as y' + xy = 1 is a first order differential equation.” Steve murmured to himself before flipping the page back over to check if he had the definition right.

“How long has he been at it?” Sam asked, pouring more coffee into Bucky’s travel mug while Steve continued to pace.

“Since about five this morning. Went to class and practice, came back, did the same thing.”

Wincing, Sam set the coffee pot back on its warmer. “He’s gonna wear himself out. We still have two more practices this week. Now that we’re going to the championship, it’s only gonna get worse. What day’s his calc test?”

“Friday.”

“Shit.”

They both watched Steve continue to pace, even as Thor skirted around him to start prepping dinner.

“Steve…” Bucky called.

“An odd function adheres to the property of: f(-x) = -f(x) The standard sine function is an odd function.” He continued, flipping the page over and nodding before making another turn around the kitchen.

“Steve...” Bucky tried again.

“A vector length is one directed along one of the coordinate axes is a unit vector.” Flip, flip, nod. “The greatest permissible value of a functio-”

“STEVE!”

“WHAT?!” Steve growled before clearing his throat and looking vaguely ashamed of himself. “I mean, uhh...what?

Eyeing him cooly, Bucky rolled his eyes. “Yeahhhhhh, that’s it, you’re taking a break.” Walking up to Steve, palm outstretched. “C’mon, hand it over. Break until dinner is ready.”

“No.” Steve snatched the notebook out of Bucky’s reach, holding it over his head to which Bucky gave an exasperated eye roll, fisting his hands onto his hips he blew out a breath. “I have to study. I can’t fuck this up Bucky” he pleaded, “ we only have like 2 assignments after midterm and then the final, and if I get an 80 on this test, then I only need…HEY!” Steve turned as Thor snatched the book easily from his hand before handing it to Bucky, who quickly handed it off to Sam. Steve watched him toss it to Clint, who tucked it under his butt.

“Come at me Daddy, I dare you.” Clint said with a wink.

Steve was just about to consider the risks of diving below Clint’s ass when Thor put a hand on his shoulder, squeezing the bundled muscle before gently releasing it. “Take a break, Steven. Math will be here when you get back, along with dinner.” He assured, before nudging Steve towards Bucky. “Take Bucky to that bakery down the block and pick up some of the sticky buns you enjoy, we’ll have them for dessert.”

Steve looked helplessly between the three men, stress radiating off of him. “I can’t. Guys I- I really need to stay and study. You don’t-”

“GO!” Thor, Sam, and Clint hollered in unison.

“Fine. FINE! But only until after dinner.” He promised, walking to the door where Bucky was waiting, holding out his jacket and nudging his shoes and socks towards him smuggly. “I hate you right now.” With a grumble he donned the clothing, and walked out the front door.

“You’re allowed. You’ll thank me when you don’t have a stomach ulcer after this week.”

*oOo*

It took a few blocks of walking, Steve’s legs eating up the distance in long strides, shoving through the New York crowd in frustration before he felt his heart hammer into his constricting throat. His head was busy, buzzing full of equations and definitions un-matched to their words. He walked blindly, a distant knowledge that Bucky was beside him, silently following, not demanding anything more from him at the moment. The cold air whipped around, smelling like the promise of snow and making his ears a little numb. The prickles of the cold air over his face was what brought him out of the haze of thoughts of what's to come. A reminder of you’re still human, you’re still existing, get out of your head because other things are happening around you , was a harsh concept that slammed into him.

Stopping in the middle of the street, he felt the tightness in his chest contract, his stomach clenching as his throat worked around a sob. Every possible feeling of helplessness wrapping itself around his mind as it often did when he stayed in his head for too long. He didn’t realize he was zoning out, staring at nothing while subconsciously holding his breath, lost in too many thoughts of failure and premonitions that would probably never come to fruition, scrambling, vying for a front row seat in his brain, until Bucky’s face came into view. Words. He was talking. Well, his mouth was moving at least , a distant murmur over the buzzing in his head. Warm hands cupped his cheeks, thumbs rubbing heat into his skin as the crowd parted around them. Slowly the voice began to register as the warmth seeped back in.  

“Come back.” Bucky murmured, eyes shifting between Steve’s, waiting for the recognition. “C’mon.” The fog must have cleared because Bucky blew out a breath, while Steve blinked back at him. “There you are. Went away on me.”

He fought to keep his voice calm. “S-sorry.” Tight. God, his throat felt so tight.

“It’s okay. You panicking?” Bucky asked, tilting his head. “Cause it looked like you disassociated there for a second.”

“Yeah. I -” He sighed, leaning his face into Bucky’s hand while closing his eyes, he admitted. “Got too inside my own head.”

“Happens to the best of us. You wanna go home or keep walking?”

“Both?” Steve asked, giving Bucky what he knew was a pitiful smile. “Wanna go home and keep cramming, although I don’t know how much space is left for any more information. But also, it’s nice being out of the house for a bit, and...ya know...sticky buns.” That didn’t even need an explanation. “Guess you were right about the break.”

“Who, me? Right about something? Never.” Bucky scoffed, giving a quick glance to his surroundings before letting his lips press softly to Steve’s. “C’mon.” His fingers brushed over the back of Steve’s hand. “Let’s grab dessert, head back. Figure out a way to destress you a bit more so you’ll actually sleep tonight.”

“Is that a promise for sexual favors?”

“I was thinking sleepy-time tea, but your idea sounds like more fun for the both of us.”

With his mood lifting, Steve slung his arm around Bucky’s shoulders before kissing the top of his head. “Thank you for understanding.”

“You gotta quit thanking me for being a decent human being, Steve.”

“Fine. You’re awful and I hate you. Do you mind if we bang later?” Steve asked.

Christ, Rogers.” Bucky laughed shaking his head.

*oOo*

Dinner was a sad affair, to say the least. While Thor served up slices of home-cooked-comfort-food- heaven in the form of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes with gravy, and green bean bundles, a fair helping of misery was served on the side as every single person in the house had a textbook, notebook, or ipad full of notes sitting next to their plate. A silent understanding passed around the table as the group murmured, flipped pages, and wiped stray drips of gravy off their notes with muttered curses. Mentally exhausted, they cleared the table in silence, everyone putting their own plates away as they moved about the kitchen, briefly cleaning before tromping up the stairs to their respective rooms.

Bucky sent Steve a small smile as they fell into the familiar rhythm of the week; study, eat, shower, sleep. Bucky picked up the pajama pants Nat had dropped off when she had come for her brief lunch with Clint, choosing instead to utilize their empty apartment for her own midterms studying. “You wanna go first?” He asked, nodding towards the door (Monday they had learned that the 1940’s styled shower was barely big enough to hold Steve, let alone Steve and Bucky. A sharp elbow to the nose kept him from trying that move again.)  Steve waved him off, sitting on the bed while taking another glance through his notes.

Ten minutes later they switched out. Brushing past each other, Bucky towel dried his hair, knowing perfectly well that no matter what, going to sleep with it damp just meant it would look like a mussed up tumbleweed come the morning. Sliding under Steve’s covers, wrapping himself into the familiar smell, he let his eyes drift closed. Listening to the sounds of the shower running and the different movements across the house as Thor and Clint settled in upstairs, while Sam turned on his sound machine and the melodic sounds of ocean waves cresting came through the walls (since someone wouldn’t move their bed away from the wall ).

Bucky wondered when this had become his new normal. The four men that he now couldn’t imagine going a few days without being around (especially Thor, what in the world did he eat before Thor began to feed him?) had somehow became an integral part of his life in a very short amount of time.

The door opened, cutting a thin slice of light across the room before it closed with a barely audible click. Steve’s warmth radiated between them as he crawled into the bed, briefly pressing in close and placing a kiss on the back of Bucky’s neck before shifting to sit up. After a beat filled with a severe lack of spooning, Bucky rolled, frowning up at him. Steve held his phone up, the light just bright enough to illuminate the pages of his notebook.

“Oh hell no!” Bucky snatched the notebook, closing it before letting it fall with a sharp /smack/ to to the floor.

Steve was already reaching over him, a complaint on his lips, “Ten more minutes.” .

“No.” Bucky’s hands caught Steve’s face and brought it close. “What you need is to not think for a while.”

“Kinda impossible when my test is in two days and I have an art show in a week, and a championship football game that two-thirds of the nation is going to be watching in three weeks.” Steve grumbled, even while his fingers combed through Bucky’s damp hair, scratching lightly along his scalp as he laid back down.

“Mmmm,” Bucky leaned into the touch, scooting his body closer and nuzzling his face into the crook of Steve’s neck, “less talk, more getting your mind off things.”

“Oh yeah? ” Giving the strands a gentle tug, Steve used the hold he had on the locks to gently guide Bucky’s mouth towards his. “And what do you suggest I do for that?” He asked against Bucky’s lips.

“Me.”

Steve hummed into the kiss before pulling back. “Wait, what?” He blinked in the dim light like a baby owl, all innocent and wide eyed.

With a smirk, Bucky shifted, rolling over to straddle Steve’s hips, letting the sheets pool around them. “You heard me.” The not so subtle twitch of Steve’s dick against his ass confirmed it. “I want you...Mr. Rogers,” he bent, nipping at Steve’s bottom lip sharply before pressing a soft kiss to sooth, “to fuck me.” He finished. Capturing Steve’s gasp in a heady kiss, licking into his mouth, Steve’s hands came up to grip his hips, giving into temptation with a long slow grind.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” Steve cursed as Bucky gave a particularly slow circle of his ass, muscles coiling tight, “are you sure? I...um, oh God , don’t know exactly what to do…”

“Don’t worry sweetheart,” his fingers plucked at the drawstrings of Steve’s sleep pants, “I think you’ll find that I’m a fantastic tutor.” Drawing them down over his hips, letting them drop to the floor, he wiggled out of his own. “Sit up for me.” Steve scrambled up, broad shoulders hid the wall with a small thudl, gaze hungrily taking in Bucky’s naked form. Reaching out a hand to stroke up his thigh, right where the tattoo began in a conundrum of numbers and swirls, he hissed when Bucky slapped it away. “You’re not a very good student.” Bucky commented. “First rule: No touching, at least not yet.” Crawling over Steve he kept their bodies only inches apart, hard lengths barely brushing as he moved to grab a condom and lube from the bedside table.

“Rule number two. You gotta pay real close attention,” he murmured in his ear, nipping the lobe before moving backwards on the bed. “Can you do that for me? Will you watch me?” He asked, training his eyes on Steve’s, a delicious lick of satisfaction ran through him as he watched Steve’s pupils expand, eating up the icy blue while giving a little astonished nod. “Good sweetheart. "Bucky nabbed a pillow behind his head and laid back, butterflying his knees wantonly, letting Steve’s gaze coast all the way from Bucky’s lips, over his chest and finally down to where his left hand poured lube into his right. He shouldn’t be getting off on watching Steve struggle, adam's apple bobbing in his throat as his cheeks flushed crimson, watching as if the act was taboo, but God, the way Steve was looking at him made him feel alive. His whole body was on fire as his finger circled his hole.

“Watch me, baby.” His voice was so fucked already, Steve’s eyes flicked up his body, honing in on the way Bucky’s bottom lip was caught between his teeth, then flying back down when Bucky let out a heady moan as his finger breached his rim. Steve’s palm moved from the bed, slowly encasing his length, causing Bucky to roll his eyes and give a low rough laugh. “No.” He nudged him with his foot. “Remember the rules, sweetheart? No touching.”

“You said no touching you.” Steve panted, hand going still as he watched a second finger disappear into Bucky’s hole.

“Nuh uh Ste-oh God...” Bucky’s hips gave a stuttered involuntary thrust as he began to scissor his fingers and the familiar burn that he hadn’t felt in so long lanced through his body, “I -mmmm- I said no touching. Hand off that pretty cock baby, be a good boy and obey, huh?” He grinned, watching the little bead of precum that had formed slide slowly down Steve’s dick.

“God, you look so pretty right now. Watching me.” His fingers worked deftly, but that’s not where the warmth inside him was coming from. It was purely Steve. Steve with his hands fisted into the sheets, blush riding high on his neck, nipples peaked, struggling to breathe. Steve hungrily licking his lips as Bucky let out a steady moan, angling his wrist, searching for the tiny bundle of nerves while adding another finger. Steve groaning at the sight of Bucky’s left hand coming up to his chest, pinching and rubbing his nipples as he writhed against his fingers.

“ ‘M so full, Stevie.” He moaned, hips thrusting into the air, precum smearing along the smooth skin of his stomach as his cock bobbed.

“Buck.” Steve groaned watching Bucky’s fingers pick up their pace, fucking into himself so hard that he threw his head back, hair fanning out on the pillow, cheeks pink and thighs trembling. “Buck, I can’t wai- I gotta…” With ripe need coursing through him, Steve shifted along over Bucky, mouth seeking to devour as Bucky’s fingers slid out of his hole only to be replaced by Steve’s.

“Please. Please, baby.” Bucky begged against Steve’s lips. All thoughts of teasing romance vanishing at the onslaught of nerves firing inside his body. “Need you.” Always have . “Need you in me so fuckin’ bad.” Blindly searching for the condom with his free hand, Steve watched as his fingers slid with ease in and out of the clenching heat as Bucky rocked his hips, chasing the sensation and letting out desperate heady moans, head thrown back against the pillow with the feeling of ecstasy that came with finally having Steve in him.

The unfortunate task of condom opening left Bucky splayed across the bed, whining; his eyes dark and half lidded, tracking Steve’s movements. Maybe he saw Steve’s hands shake a little as he slid the condom on, maybe it made his heart leap into his throat as Steve’s massive body pressed into his, gently nudging the head of his cock into his hole. And maybe, just maybe, Bucky fully fell when Steve murmured his name into existence, soft as a prayer, as he pushed inside of him.

Pressing his lips to the curve of Bucky’s neck, Steve’s elbows came up to bracket his head. Easing back so that their eyes met as he pressed further in, letting the heat surrounding him draw ecstasy up his spine.

“This okay?” Steve asked hesitantly, voice tight but eyes watchful.

This wasn’t what Bucky had planned. His heart clenched as Steve began to move inside of him after he could only give a nod of assurance.  Slowly Steve cupped his jaw as if he were made of glass. This was . Oh, this was different, would always be different. Tears pricked at the corners of his eyes and he fought to will them away.

“Steve...” Bucky gasped, hands racing up the broad shoulders, chasing the divots of hard muscle, before linking them behind his neck. “Please I, oh God.” His voice was tight, a mix of ache and willingness. Steve stared into his eyes, lips parting with little huffs of breath, languidly watching as Bucky fell apart beneath him with every slow and steady stroke. “I...l-”

“Shhhh...” Steve soothed pressing their lips together. When Bucky’s words failed, Steve’s thrusts gave way to haste as he felt Bucky tighten around him. “I know sweetheart. C’mon baby, let go. I’ve got you, let go.” His lips rubbed along the length of Bucky’s jaw, nipping and biting, soothing over his rapidly thrumming pulse, Steve’s breath hot against Bucky’s skin as he spoke. “You’re so beautiful baby, so fucking perfect.” He murmured, his thrusts beginning to stutter. “Warm and open, you have no idea how perfect you are.” Steve continued, sliding a hand between them, wrapping his long fingers around Bucky’s cock. He gave a steady gentle stroke, timed perfectly with his thrusts and Bucky keened Steve’s name as his back bowed. “That’s it baby, let go for me.” Steve encouraged, voice soft and hips stuttering as he watched Bucky fall into the grips of his orgasm, jaw falling open in a silent cry. Warm cum spilled into Steve’s hand as he continued to rock into him, the sheer wonder of the sight below him causing his own release to follow as he buried his head into the crook of Bucky’s neck, body tensing as he murmured Bucky’s name over and over, finally letting the feeling of love devour him.

*oOo*

 

Thanksgiving Break Fall Semester 2018

With his knee bouncing against his subway seat, Bucky let his nerves work their way through him. What if Sarah Rogers absolutely hated him ? Glancing at the scrolls of tattoos littering his forearms, he grimaced. Maybe he should roll his sleeves down …his hand hesitated over the tucked white cuff of his shirt.. .no, no…it’d be fine, Steve probably told her about the tattoos. Better to not look like he was hiding something . Leaning his head back against the window he closed his eyes; a cool hand covering his had him peeking one open.

“She’s going to love you.” Wini commented, a soft smile playing across her lips.

Before Bucky really had time to monopolize on his anxiety, he was unloading from the train car and bustling up the steps to the sidewalk above with the rest of the crowd.

“So…” Becca drawled, tucking her arm into Bucky’s, “you and Steve, Steve and you…how’s the sex?”

“BECCA!” Bucky turned to Winifred, a look of horror etched across his face.

“I mean...she’s just saying what we’re all thinking…”

“No one, especially not my sister and mother, should be thinking about my sex life.”

Becca chatted through the short walk; filling Bucky in on the dramas of senior year, along with continuing her quest to learn more about his love life. They approached the glassed front of the small art gallery; his eyes raked over the crowd of random patrons already milling about, searching for Steve. “Can you really blame us when you’re banging that ?!” Becca pointed to the front corner of the room, where Steve stood looking (as Clint Barton would say) like a damn snack in black slacks that hugged his thighs with a deep blue button down tucked in neatly. The buttons on the shirt looked like they were having a hell of a time maintaining their dignity, especially when Steve laughed in sync with the tall blonde woman who stood in front of him. Steve’s eyes, still crinkled around the corners from an easy grin, glanced out the window and locked on his; the laser focus sent fire up Bucky’s spine.

“Yeahhhh, that’s what I thought.” Becca grinned.

“Ohhhh, oh he’s even cuter than his public facebook photos.” Wini commented as they opened the tall glass door. “Good to see that he got that broken nose from two years ago all straightened out.”

“MA!” Bucky groaned. “Can we pretend to be a normal family for like, two point five seconds?”

“Nope” , “Not gonna happen sweetheart” came their simultaneous replies.

“Of course not.” He grumbled, approaching Steve. The woman turned as Steve gestured towards them, a carbon copy of Steve with delicate features gave him a wide familiar smile.

“Hey you.” Steve leaned into him, letting his lips graze lightly across his cheek, and Bucky swore he heard his mother coo behind him before Steve moved back shooting a polite smile to his family. “I’m Steve, this is my Mom, Sarah. Thank you guys so much for coming.” He held out a hand to Becca first, earning him a wicked grin.

“And miss the chance to meet the guy my brother’s been prattling on about for weeks?” Becca snorted taking Steve’s offered hand. “Not a chance. Becca, nice to meet you.”

Steve gave her a warm smile before taking Winifred’s outstretched hand in his own. “Winifred, but call me Wini.” She aimed a mischievous look at Sarah. “Gotta say Sarah, you’ve raised quite a handsome young man.”

“Likewise Wini; speaking of…” Sarah grinned, taking Bucky’s hand and surprising the group by pulling him into a tight hug. “Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything.” She murmured in his ear, before pulling back and putting a friendly hand on Wini’s arm. “Can I show you ladies around, brag about my kid’s art, maybe give these two the moment alone that we all know they’re dyin’ for?” She asked, leading Wini and Becca around one of the many larger distressed brick pillars to the main portion of the gallery.

Turning, his eyes scanned the small crowd around them before Bucky plucked at one of the straining buttons of Steve’s shirt. “You do know the guys are gonna make fun of how much chest you have going on in that shirt, right?”

“I expect nothing less.” His voice dropped an octave as he tugged at the tail of Bucky’s tie. “A tie Barnes. You getting all dressed up for me now?”

“Can I tell you something?” Bucky ducked in close, hand coming up to his mouth as if to tell Steve a secret, letting it instead cover his lips as they brushed along the shell of Steve’s ear. “All I can think about is you taking it off.”

Steve’s blush was easy, and expected. Bucky had come to relish his ability at making it appear. “You’re shameless.” He shook his head, unable to hide his grin.

“You’re not wrong.”  

Steve checked his watch. “Nat texted saying that are gonna be here in twenty, if you umm…” his hand came up to wring the back of his neck, “maybe want to see everything, or do you want to wait for them, reveal it all at once, rip the bandaid so to speak?”

He watched the tension lace itself through Steve’s body, and  chose his next words carefully. “I want whatever you want.” He raised a single shoulder of nonchalance. “If you want me to wait for everyone else, then I will, it’s whatever you wanna do babe.”

Steve’s hand brushed warmly down his spine, before settling on his lower back, leading him around the same brick pillar their families had disappeared behind. “Okay. So I, um, well, it starts off here.”

Holding back a gasp Bucky’s fingers came up to rest against his lips while his eyes traced the various walls and sections, hungrily eating up the different sized rectangular canvases hung perfectly within the space. Each wall held five or so canvases dedicated to a primary subject, all done in dark charcoal starkly contrasting the bright white of the background canvas, with barely-there splashes of water color highlighting certain areas within each portrait. He wasn’t surprised to find the first wall fully dedicated to Sam. Bucky knew he was grinning like an idiot as he moved in closer, his heart full of pride. Sam sitting on his bed, smirking up at Steve with a light blue laptop in his lap. Another showed him running down field, arms outstretched and eyes sharp, depicting motion and focus all at once. A few of Sam from their previous years together, leaning back cockily in a high school desk with a wide grin - leaner but still handsome in his youth; and one of him (if Bucky had to guess) around seven years old, sitting on a New York city stoop, with his head thrown back laughing, a melting ice cream cone, bright pink, in hand.

Bucky continued to walk, Steve seemingly forgotten behind him as he moved to the next wall. Thor standing in the kitchen bare chested with a wide grin as a fluffy brown pancake flipped mid air over the pan. Thor nestled with Jane perched on his lap on the ratty patio swing in the back of the house, Jane’s sweater a soft pink, the rest completely devoid of color, their twin grins of affection mirroring each other. Thor’s wide body, golden tan and slick with sweat running in a lithe forward motion, face focused as he rushed down an indistinct surface, eyes laser focused on something unseen.

Moving to the next section Bucky snorted at the sight of Clint, sprawled half naked across the twister mat, each dot a lightly colored pastel underneath him, glaring up at Natasha who was bent over laughing, hair bright red covering half her face as she clutched the spinner. Clint in the huddle at practice, arms taunt with sweat and lined with muscle with his hands braced on his knees, eyes zeroed in on the indiscriminate lips of the person talking, everything else a blur except for his focus, and the light purple hearing aids glinting from his ears. A portrait of Nat holding up a slice of pizza aiming it towards Clint’s mouth while he grinned back at her from his place on top of the kitchen counter. Love and laughter filling him to the brim.

Bucky looked over his shoulder to where Steve stood, brows furrowed and bottom lip firmly caught between his teeth. “These are incredible.” He walked over to Steve, taking his hand he squeezed it reassuringly. What was he going to do with a man who saw everything and depicted it flawlessly? He thought even as he assured him. “They are going to love these, Steve.”

“Um.” Steve went bright red. “There’s uh…well...” When words failed him, he took Bucky by the shoulders and nudged him around the corner to the final wall.

“Oh.”

His own face stared back from different angles, sending a jolt through his system. The smaller ones were easy to place, he remembered sitting for those, however the look captured wasn’t the expression of him staring out the window of the library, or even him looking down while completing some assignment as he had expected them to be from the hours Steve had made him sit. Instead, they were what could only be described as the “in between” looks, captured within the smaller portraits. One of Bucky glancing up at Steve through long lashes, notes forgotten in his lap, a small smirk playing across his lips, Bucky threatening him with a teasing glare holding out one of the dozens of bright red twizzlers Steve had used to bribe him, and more littered the wall.

Tilting his head back he took in the three larger frames placed in the middle.There he was with his head leaning over his notes, hair messy and piled on top of his head, earbuds presumably blasting, legs tucked under him as he studied. Him standing with one leg perched on the brick wall of the locker room, the rare show of sheer want and confidence ingrained into his pose as he looked ready to kick off the wall at any moment and stalk forward. The final portrait showed him sitting, leaning back against the ratty old couch in Steve’s apartment, shirt off and piled to the left of him, the scrolls of his tattoos left black and white, the only color between the three larger portraits was the hint of pink riding high on his cheeks, as he stared back with a small smirk, lips just a little wet. He stared and stared, eyes glued to his own face.

So this was how Steve saw him? Not some weird skinny nerd who constantly felt off balance with the world and the too many people inside of it. But instead, a man who had the capacity to feel so incredibly loved by the most unexpected of people, freely offering himself to the artist . Did he know? He had to know. He couldn’t draw this without knowing. He captured the look in so many of the portraits. He had to know.

“So um. Do you like them?” Came Steve’s hesitant voice from behind him, bringing him back to the present.

Steve startled a little at the damp around Bucky’s eyes as he blinked furiously up at the ceiling.

“Shit shit shit!” Steve’s arms encircled his waist as he drew him close, Bucky’s forehead leaning against his chest. “I’ll have ‘em taken down, oh God baby, don’t cry.”

“No, it’s not that.” Oh God you absolute tit, stop crying, he willed. “I just - no one’s ever-” he hiccoughed. Warning bells about ugly crying began to sound in his head. “They are so good, and no one’s ever done something like this for me before.” His muffled voice explained.

“Oh.” Steve laughed, holding Bucky tight and forgetting completely that the world could see, he placed a kiss into his hair. “Well, if that’s all.” He joked.

They stayed like that for a few minutes, Bucky tucked neatly into Steve’s arms while his breath settled, Steve leaning his cheek against Bucky’s hair eyes closed to the rest of the world around them. I love you I love you I love you. The words formed on his lips and were pressed into the soft material of Steve’s shirt without a sound.

“YOU GUYS BETTER BACK UP AND MAKE WAY FOR THE NEW MONA FUCKIN’ LISA!!!”

“Aaaannnnd Clint’s here.” Bucky grumbled before pulling away, hastily wiping at his cheeks. “You’re gonna have to excuse the emotions. You gotta warn a guy before you draw him like one of your French girls.”

“I’ll have you know that the naked drawings are for private viewers only.” Steve mocked just as Nat, Clint, Sam, and Thor rounded the corner. Bucky watched as Steve had one brief moment of hesitation, barely taking a step forward, hands fisted at his sides, before all three men enveloped him into a quintessential bro hug (aka: repeated back slapping and laughing with loud proclamations of astonishment). Rolling her eyes Nat stood next to Bucky.

Looking over her shoulder she examined the wall. “So boy wonder’s an artist, huh?”

“He is.”

“You realize you’re falling for him right?”

“Yup.”

“How’s that going?”

“Scary as hell.”

Leaning her head on his shoulder, they both held small smiles as they watched Thor, Sam, and Clint talk excitedly about their portraits. “Sounds about right.”

*oOo*

Crammed shoulder to shoulder in the large circular booth tucked into the corner of the fancy Thai restaurant that Sarah had insisted upon, Steve found himself sitting next to Nat with Bucky pressed into his side, his long fingers resting absentmindedly across Steve’s thigh. He watched as nothing short of organized chaos ensued. Sam and Clint appeared to be in a heated debate with lots of hand gestures regarding why going off sides was a “pussy’s way out”, while Sarah Rogers had to continuously reach behind Wini to smack the back of Clint’s head in a motherly fashion with warnings of “language Clint” to which he sent back sheepish grins and “sorry Ms. Rogers” continuing the argument with other choice words. To Steve’s right Nat and Becca sat murmuring and shooting glances his way, before covering their mouths and snorting with laughter. Bucky’s free hand held his propped up chin, nodding along in time to one of Sarah’s labor “horror stories” that she animatedly told to any who were listening, wincing and scrunching his nose with laughter.

Sitting back Steve let himself get lost in the feeling. The booming laughter from Thor as he interjected into Sam and Clint’s argument, the giggles fraught with random snorts from Becca and Nat, and the warmth of Bucky’s palm pressing into his thigh, thumb drawing back and forth across his slacks. The comfort of family and friends gathering around, anticipating a meal, and talking shit. It was so easy. No nerves. No anxious thoughts. Just warmth and light. Steve let his body melt back into the seat, earning a small smile from Bucky as Steve’s arm draped across his shoulders.

“Having a good time?”

Steve nodded. “Just thinking about how easy this is.”

“Mmm. I think our Mom’s are becoming friends.” Bucky nodded to where Wini and Sarah had exchanged phones, each typing in their numbers. “I don’t know whether to be excited or scared.”

“Both. Definitely both.” Steve commented, pressing a kiss to Bucky’s temple.

“Oh, oh no, oh wait! Do that again!” Wini insisted, holding her phone towards them with a  hopeful grin.

“Maaaaaaa.” Bucky whined, hiding his face in Steve’s shoulder.

“Don’t sass me James Buchanan Barnes.” She pointed a finger at him before turning her charm towards Steve. “Steve, sweetheart, will you kiss my ridiculous son’s forehead just one more time for me?”

“Ohhhhhhh. She called you by your Christian naaaaaammmeee.” Clint teased.

“Of course Ms. B.” Steve complied, like the traitor he was, nudging Bucky’s chin up.

Becca laughed, as Bucky shot her a death glare. “Awwwwww look at how cute the wibble Bubby and Steeby are.”

“I hate yo-”

“Shuddup and let me kiss you.” Steve interrupted, his fingers gently teasing Bucky’s side, causing him to laugh and flinch away from the touch involuntarily as Steve pressed his lips to his head.

“Got it!” Wini proclaimed.

Sarah leaned over her shoulder looking down at the screen. “OH! Send me that! That’ll look good in a frame.”

“We’ve created monsters.” Steve murmured into Bucky’s ear.

Snickering, Bucky poked Steve in the ribs. “You. You created monsters.”

“Whatever. You came on to me.”

“I beg to differ…”

“OH! The how ‘we met story’. Tell me everything!” Winifred tucked her phone away and grinned up at them.

“Actually I’ll have you all knoooooow… “ Clint drawled dramatically, “ that it all started with Steve’s tits.”

“CLINT!” The whole table shouted in unison, even as Clint fell into a heap of hysterical giggles, wincing yet again when Sarah’s hand connected with the back of his head for the fifth time that evening.

*oOo*

Walking out of the restaurant with groans of “why did you let me eat so much” and hands on full bellies, they flocked to the busy street. Hugs were exchanged, and if Becca Barnes maybe squeezed Thor as tightly as she possibly could, and laid her head on his chest for a second too long, no one was gonna say anything about it (except for Bucky who “accidentally” found a way to step on her toe). Winifred and Sarah beamed, embracing as if they were long lost friends who didn’t just so happen to live three streets away from one another, and vowing to make time to get coffee together before the championship game.

“What day is that again?” Wini asked, pulling up the calendar on her phone.

Clint leaned over her shoulder and poked at the date on the app. “Next Saturday.”

“Oh good.” Adding it into her calendar she tucked the  phone away before walking around the group and embracing each one of Steve’s friends. Bucky watched in amusement as she hugged Sam and made him promise to message her about how he did on his “theory of childhood emotional evolution during the technology era” paper, before moving on to Thor who she patted softly on the hand and promised to email him her chicken marsala recipe as soon as she got home, before capturing Clint in a motherly hug while making him promise to go get his audiogram updated since he hadn’t gone in a year, and then moving on to Nat and taking her cheeks in her hands.

“Promise me you’ll make him go to the audiologist?” She asked sternly.

“Absolutely, Ms. B.”

“And you’re coming by Friday to pick up the skirt I tailored right?”

“Of course Ms. B, thanks again.”

Leaning in she gave Nat a fierce hug. “Give your parents my best.”

“Will do, Ms. B. Now if you don’t mind I’m going to steal these two hunks,” She pointed to Clint and Thor, “as they are both participating in their third annual Russian Romanov Thanksgiving.”

“That sounds...dangerous…” Sam murmured.

“Only to our livers.” Clint waved to the group. “See you guys Saturday at the house!”

“Farewell. It was wonderful meeting you Ms. Winifred and Miss Rebecca. Enjoy your holiday of Thanks! Goodbye Ms. Sarah” Thor grinned, before turning to follow Clint and Nat.

A long low whistled filled the silence that followed their departure. “That is one tall glassa water that I would not mind taking a gulp of, if you know what I mean.”

“Becca! Jesus, you’re just as bad as Clint.” Bucky rubbed a hand over his face before turning to Sarah and putting on a tired smile. “It was wonderful meeting you, Ms. Rogers.”

“You too Bucky.” Pulling him close she hugged him tight. “Now go take my boy on a walk so he doesn’t pine too much for the rest of the week.”

Steve scoffed even as Wini pulled him in for a remarkably tight hug for a woman of her stature. “I do not pine.”

“It’s romantic.” She patted his back, “Pine away, sweetheart. But you two have to come over for dessert tomorrow, I insist, we’ll have more than enough.” Wini commented, standing on her tips toes to peak over Steve’s shoulder at Sarah.

“We’ll be there.” Sarah confirmed.

“Any way we can get Thor to join?” Becca asked. “I wouldn’t mind having him for dessert.”

“You’re the literal worst and we’re leaving.” Bucky snatched Steve’s hand and began to tug him down the sidewalk.

“WRAP IT BEFORE YOU TAP IT!” Becca shouted.

Bucky winced and turned around just in time to see both Wini and Sarah wapping her on the back of the head.

“WORTH IT!” She called.

--

They walked in silence, fingers interlaced with a quiet understanding that sometimes words are not always needed. Instead, a thumb rubbing over one another’s knuckles, or a sly smile thrown over a shoulder as they raced across busy crosswalks, caused a simple understanding that time spent with one another was enough for that moment. Neither of them knew what the next two weeks would bring. Neither of them knew that a moment was working its way towards them, a moment that would change everything for them and for others like them. Neither of them had any idea that on that New York city street, as the strolled along listening to the various symphony of city sounds, one simple gesture would change their course.

Chapter Text

We will be who we are

And they'll heal our scars.

Sadness will be far away.

Week fourteen of the Fall 2018 Semester

Stepping out of the locker room, Clint put on his best ‘evil mastermind’ grin when he saw the smaller figure tucked into the corner of the bench, its oversized hoodie helping to shield the sharp late November wind. Breaking away from the group of guys with a quick “I’ll catch up,” he gave a short jog towards where Bucky was sitting. How the kid sat with his legs neatly folded under him in the tightest skinny jeans (probably belonging to Nat) known to man was beyond him. Bucky glanced up from his textbook just as Clint approached and shot him a sly smile.

“All clear?” Sliding the book back into his messenger bag, he clasped Clint’s hand with his own in a “bro-esk” fashion that had become a habit of theirs as of late. Bucky still wasn’t quite sure when it had started, but his fondness towards the ritual gave him a weird sense of kinship with the man.

“Should be good, Fury left after pulling Steve in for a post practice conference that ran long, and all the other guys are leaving with me, so you’re clear.”

“Thanks Clint.”

“Don’t thank me, if getting Steve laid two weeks out from the biggest game of our lives is what it takes to get him to chill the fuck out and quit going on 120 character twitter rants about Trump, then your dick is my command BuckyBae.”

Bucky smirked. “Glad I could help.”

“Have fun...and make sure to lock the door. Would hate for anyone else to be blinded by the glory of Cap’s wet titties.” Clint called over his shoulder.

Shaking his head he made his way to the locker room. Quietly he eased the door open before closing it with care. The typical locker room smell invaded his nose, but the sounds of the one shower still running distracted him. He made his way around the wall of lockers, only stopping to send up a silent prayer of thanks to whichever gay god in heaven was watching over him (let’s be honest it was probably Zeus). Bucky would never understand how dozens of self certified 'no-homo’ bros could shower communally, but he for sure wasn’t about to start to complaining about it now.

Sucking in a breath he let his eyes wander down the unobstructed view of Steve’s back as he stood immersed under the hot spray.  Tightly corded muscles rippled tantalizingly while Steve worked shampoo into his hair, suds falling in rivets between his shoulder blades before sliding down the long crevice of his spine. He fought back a whimper, choosing instead to focus on the task of stealth nudity.

Bucky worked his hoodie and boots off, tucking them onto a bench before undressing the rest of the way. A wild wiggle out of his skinny jeans ( dear God why are these so tight?!...he’d probably grabbed Nat’s ) nearly sent him careening into a wall of lockers, before he caught himself in a one legged pose that would make any yoga instructor proud. Snagging the condom and lube out of the back pocket he made his way to the open shower stall.

“Need help?” His voice called, watching Steve startle before giving him a devious smile when he whirled to face him.

“Howdidyou? Whendidyou? Oh Jesus.” Steve’s words jumbled together as his eyes raked over Bucky's naked form. Joining him under the hot spray, Bucky’s sly smirk spread into a grin of mischievousness as he placed the lube and condom on the ledge, and consequently within Steve’s line of sight.

“Clint and I.” He explained, coming up to his toes to trail his lips along Steve’s jaw while clasping his hands behind the taller man’s neck. Nudging Steve’s nose with his own he blinked, peering up through his lashes. “We thought maybe you could use some stress relief.”

That was the understatement of the century. Upon the return from break, Steve had found out that whilst he had passed his midterm…it was only with a 73. That along with the other tests and assignments had his average for his Calc class sitting at a precarious 65.75...not that anyone was counting. The news of needing to make at least an 87 on his final to pass the class had caused a rather severe panic attack (which Sam had absolved with a healthy dose of witch doctor essential oils, and making Steve “open up” therapeutically), made every night (post nightly football practices) a house-wide study night (with flash cards and a stolen chalk board from the math department [thanks Nat] included). Not to mention the twitter debates (twitter was now, on Thor’s ruling, banned throughout the house until after finals). Bucky had resigned himself to unofficially living with the crew, without any of the actual benefits of sharing space with one’s boyfriend, because let’s face it...banging like monkeys was hard when your super-extra-hot boyfriend was an anxious mess. Therefore he had taken matters into his own hands (and cringed the whole time) by approaching Clint on the subject in a state of desperate need…which had, to his surprise, led to a pretty foolproof plan.

“Mmm, remind me to thank him later.” Steve murmured, all thoughts of championship games, grades, and studying going by the wayside as Bucky’s soft lips captured his and their chests bumped together.

“And how’re you gonna thank me, Captain?” Bucky asked, nipping Steve’s bottom lip, before soothing it with a lick.

Hands capable of drawing the most beautiful faces while calloused from countless hours of labored practice, grazed over Bucky’s sides before running along the top of his ass cheeks.

“I think we can figure out something.” Steve murmured into the kiss, before dropping to his knees.

Bucky had the vague thought of fucking plot twist, as his head fell back against the tile. His mouth was supposed to be doing terrible things to Steve, but apparently Steve had other ideas. That gorgeous mouth coasted down the plane of Bucky’s slender form as he peered up at Bucky through wet lashes, watching each reaction as he nipped and sucked across his nipples, down to his ribs. His tongue dipped briefly into the divot of Bucky’s belly button, (which holy fucking shit balls that shouldn’t draw out his porn star moan, but it did) before he began to teasingly suck deep bruising marks onto Bucky’s hips.  

“Jesus, fuck...oh.” Bucky licked his lips, and his fingers tangled into Steve’s wet hair. “This...” he panted as the second mark was being placed, “this wasn’t the plan.”

Steve pulled back, grazing a kiss over the purpling hickey before looking up at Bucky innocently. “And what was the plan, sweetheart?”

Bucky blinked, eyes zeroing in on the bruise and his cock gave an embarrassing little jump at the mere idea of being marked up by Steve. “Just...it was gonna be me, ya know…” he paused searching for the word, brain mused from the feeling of Steve’s hands working their way up the back of his thighs before slowly sliding his fingers in-between his ass cheeks to coast over his hole, “giving you…oh dear fuck,” one damp finger gently circled the tight ring, and Bucky fucking ached for it to be inside of him, “pleasure.” He ended with a huff.

Steve’s laugh was practically sinful as he gently turned Bucky to face the shower wall, kissing along his lower back while gently spreading his cheeks apart. It felt so taboo, to be held open for someone's gaze. Bucky’s face heated as Steve let his warm breath and the pads of his fingers ghost over Bucky’s hole. A long pause had Bucky whining and Steve grinning, breath hitching with every second that passed.

“And what if I wanna be the one giving you pleasure, would you let me Sweetheart?” Steve asked before giving into temptation and teasing Bucky’s hole with light kitten licks.

“That’s -” A shiver of warmth ran up his spine as Steve continued, letting the licks grow wetter and more fervent as he flattened out his tongue, lapping insistently, “that’s fine too- oh-”

Bucky didn’t realize his hands were moving on their own accord until a low rumble vibrated practically inside of him. Peering over his shoulder he was met with an image that would forever be ingrained in his mind; Steve’s face was buried in his ass that was carefully being spread by his massive hands while his mouth licked furtively at his hole, and those big blue eyes kept meeting his briefly as he moaned in pleasure from Bucky’s fingers tangling and tugging at his wet hair. His head moved back and forth lavishing licks and kisses, tongue probing in every few seconds, his beard scratching the inside of Bucky’s cheeks to the point that Bucky knew he was going to be replaying this moment every time he sat down the next day.

Steve’s hand fumbled up to the ledge, wrapping around the little bottle of lube, pulling it down he coated his fingers. Licking again all the way up Bucky’s ass to the base of his spine, he peppered kisses along each vertebrae as he stood.

He nipped at the back of Bucky’s neck while his free hand braced against the tiles by the side of his head, pressing the wide expanse of his chest against Bucky’s back. His finger slid with ease into Bucky’s hole. “God, you have no idea what you do to me.” He said, voice rough with need.

Bucky groaned, shoving his ass back into the intrusion, grinding and wanting more. He turned his head, seeking out Steve’s lips while little huffs of breath spilled from his mouth with every thrust.

“Like it when I do that; taking you apart with my hands and my mouth?” Steve asked, lips barely leaving Bucky’s.

He groaned into Steve’s mouth. “Fu- fuck yes.”

“Want more?” Steve circled another finger until he felt Bucky’s nod, then pushed in slowly while watching the play of emotions flicker across Bucky’s face as he began to stretch him.

“Mmmm, look at you. All wet and needy. This ass,” Steve’s dick thrust against Bucky’s slick thigh for emphasis, and his free hand came down to grip his ass cheek firmly, squeezing and kneading, “I’ve been thinking about this ass all day. Wanting to be inside of you.” His fingers grazed over Bucky’s prostate and the resulting cry echoed off the tiled walls. “Fuck yes honey, let me hear you.” Steve grunted, nuzzling his nose into the crook of Bucky’s neck before adding another finger. Bucky’s head went from resting on the tile to falling back onto Steve’s chest. Each thrust and spread wringing out desperate moans as he was stretched further and further. His cock ached, jutting out and brushing the cold tiles, smearing precum across them with each thrust. Steve’s hand was moving everywhere and driving him absolutely crazy. His fingers kneading along his ass cheek, before moving over his ribs to graze his nails along the ridges and bumps. Trailing back up they pinched and pulled at his nipples ruthlessly, causing Bucky’s hips to thrust forward into the warm spray of water that gave zero fruition to his need for release.

When he couldn’t stand it any longer and his cock was so hard it ached for touch, Bucky reached down and let himself stroke a hand over his shaft before it was swiftly batted away.

“No.” Steve demanded. “You cum with my cock in you.” He growled into the skin of Bucky’s neck, biting and sucking, leaving marks along the tender skin.

Fuck . “Then get the fuck in me.” He groaned.

Steve let his fingers slip out, causing Bucky to curse and turn in his arms to press their bodies together. Giving into temptation, and fuck did it feel fantastic, he thrust his length against Steve’s while encircling his arms around his neck and pulling him into a tantalizing kiss. Tongues fucked into one another's mouths as Steve maneuvered Bucky back against the wall, working the condom package open before sliding it on. Never letting their lips part, he coated himself in lube, using the water behind him to mostly clean off his hands before sliding them under Bucky’s thighs to grip tightly.

Using the wall as leverage he pulled Bucky up and pressed him firmly against the cold tile, swallowing his hiss and maneuvering Bucky’s legs over his forearms with ease. Fuck fuck fuck. Steve was holding him like he weighed nothing, and Bucky wanted nothing more than to feel this fucking used for the rest of his natural born days.

Lining up the head of his cock with Bucky’s hole, the ridges of muscle along his chest and arms tensed as he slowly lowered him over the tip. He broke apart from the kiss to watch Bucky’s face as he filled him.

Bucky’s lashes fanned along his cheeks, his mouth fell open in a silent moan. “Fucking beautiful.” Steve murmured.  He could feel Bucky’s hands clench against the back of his neck. “The most goddamn gorgeous thing I’ve ever seen.”

Lip caught between his teeth, Bucky’s eyes fluttered open to meet Steve’s when he bottomed out. “Please.”

“Only ‘cause you asked so nicely.” Steve amended, leaning in to kiss him again, while lifting him off his cock, only to slide back down with ease. As little moans spilled from Bucky’s lips with each thrust, Steve lost himself. The sounds Bucky made echoed in his ears while pleasure rolled through his body. Even when his arms trembled he continued to hold tight, pressing Bucky into the wall and focusing every ounce of his being on the man in his arms.

Bucky’s mouth was going lax and Steve couldn’t help but bite at his plump bottom lip, nipping sharply as a helpless litany of “oh, oh, oh” echoed around them. Pulling back he watched Bucky’s cock rub along his stomach, trapped between Bucky’s body and the planes of his abs.

“Fuck- oh fuck, Steve!” Each word was punctuated by a thrust, and Steve couldn’t help but lean down and bite along Bucky’s neck as his head rolled to the side and Steve’s cock hammered into his prostate.

Moving his mouth to Bucky’s ear he asked, “gonna cum for me, pretty baby? Huh?”

Wordless, Bucky nodded, his hot passage clenching around Steve’s cock.

“Want your cum all over me. C’mon Buck,” Steve babbled, his own pleasure coiled in his stomach, continuing to piston into him even as Bucky tightened around him, “doin’ so good sweetheart, that’s it, look at me,” Bucky’s eyes struggled to blink open, and when they finally met Steve felt the world fall out from under him, “let me see you cum, baby.” At that Steve pressed him hard against the wall, hips pounding as Bucky gave a wild cry and ropes of hot cum painted his abs. Burying his head into the crook of Bucky’s shoulder Steve’s entire body tensed, his own release bowling through him as he groaned, the tension finally draining away.

With their chests heaving they stayed pressed together and trembling. Bucky’s fingers moved to thread lazily through Steve’s hair as Steve stayed tucked into the crevice of his neck, his breath hot against Bucky’s wet skin. It took a moment for him to realize that Steve’s breath was hitching, little wet sobs hidden against his skin and the sound of the water, barely breaking through.

“Hey hey hey.” Bucky tried to keep the panic out of his voice as he wiggled out of Steve’s grip, taking on the task of quickly discarding the condom before pulling Steve into his arms. “Stevie, Sweetheart…” Steve covered his face, a wrecked sob escaping his lips. Bucky gently nudged him under the hot water while bringing his hands up to draw Steve’s away. Red-rimmed blue eyes met his as he blinked down, tears cascading over his cheeks. “Stevie, what’s going on? Did I do something wrong? What happened.”

“I - I - I don’t… I don’t know...” Steve’s lip trembled, and Bucky’s arms wrapped around his neck, pulling him back into his hold.

“Okay, that’s okay. You don’t have to know.” Rubbing his back in long slow strokes he grimaced as he felt Steve shake beneath him. “You’re okay, I got you. Whatever it is. I got you.” He promised. His voice continued to sooth as Steve leaned into him. When the water grew cold, the hot water finally giving up, Bucky shut it off and coaxed Steve out of the shower to sit on the bench.

“I’m wet-” He began.

“Shush and sit.” Bucky commanded. Taking a white towel from the pile and wrapping it around his own waist, before grabbing a few more to begin patting Steve. He worked quickly, rubbing the cloth over Steve’s damp skin, chasing away the freshly formed goosebumps that came from the cold. Throughout the process he told Steve exactly what to do (lift your foot, stand up, put on your pants) and Steve complied, following each command in automatic robotic-like motions. When he was fully dressed, Bucky quickly donned his own discarded clothes before coming to stand behind him. Taking the last dry towel he rubbed it over Steve’s damp hair in slow methodical circles, pressing it gently into his scalp in what he hoped was a soothing manner. He felt Steve slump back against him, the full weight of his body pressing onto Bucky’s thighs, and it finally clicked.

Moving around to straddle the bench next to Steve he tossed the towel onto the growing pile and ran a hand along Steve’s clenched jaw. “Hey…”

“I don’t… I don’t know what happened.” He admitted, refusing to look at Bucky.

“I think I may have an idea.”

Steve stayed silent, hands wringing in-between his knees. Bucky sighed and covered them with one of his own.

“I think you’ve been on edge for a long time, Steve.” Steve nodded, capturing his bottom lip between his teeth. “And I think you have so much on your plate with your grades, and practices, and the stress of the game, and passing that damn class…”

Steve snorted.

“I think when you ...ya know...came.”

Steve flushed. “Oh God.”

“Hey.” Bucky poked Steve’s side. “Let’s be adults.” He cleared his throat to start again. “I think when you came, you had such a big release of...well, hopefully pleasure, but along with that came, like, the stress and panic that you’ve been holding onto this whole time, and that’s a lot for someone to deal with all at once.”

Keeping his hands on Steve’s he watched him work through the words and emotions. “I’m just so tired, Buck.”

“I know you are.” Bucky assured, scooting closer and laying his head on Steve’s shoulder.

“I don’t know what to do if I don’t pass or if we lose.”

“You retake the course, and you do your best after the game to continue to have confidence in your abilities.”

“It’s not that simple.” Steve countered.

“It is if you’ll let it be.”

*oOo*

Friday of Finals Week Fall 2018 Semester

The test was finished.

Turned in on Potts’ desk with the promise of grades being posted first thing Saturday morning.

There was nothing he could do about it now.

 

He thought he did okay.... He hoped he did well…

But it was done. Whatever happened, happened.

 

Resigning himself to the feeling of uncertainty he slung his backpack over his shoulders and headed to the field.

*oOo*

Saturday of Finals Week Fall 2018 Semester

Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the 2018 college national championship game. As you can see, the crowd at Columbia University is booming with excitement. This is their first national championship since 1993 and man are they taking on a doozy of a team. As many of our viewers at home know, Penn state has been one of the top five ranked teams over the past three consecutive years. To say that Columbia’s star head quarterback, junior Steve Rogers, has a tough game ahead of him is an understatement. Janet Brass is down on the field with Rogers now.  Janet...

“SARAH, HE’S ON!” Wini shouted, nearly vaulting over the back of the couch, her margarita in hand.

“Ahhh coming coming coming!!!!” Sarah skirted around the coffee table, plopping down next to her with a giant bowl of spicy nacho cheese Doritos in one hand, a salted margarita in the other.  When Steve’s face popped onto the screen, her own lit up. “There’s my guy.”

“Good Lord. He is just something else.”

Sarah admitted proudly, “I made him.”

“Yes dear, you most certainly did.” Wini patted her knee.

“So Steve, this is your second year as head quarterback, do you feel like there’s pressure to perform to higher standards than your predecessor, especially with this being your first year to take a team to the championship?” Steve ducked his head, listening to the question before looking up at the woman. “There’s always pressure to be the best you possibly can be, ma’am, especially when you’re part of such a great team. My focus today is trusting my guys, and playing a good game of football.” The woman brought the mic back towards her own body. “Thank you Steve, good luck out there. Back to you Greg.”

*oOo*

Bucky’s leg bounced a sharp staccato as he shoved a handful of bright blue cotton candy into his mouth. If he leaned forward he could touch the railing, just on the other side was Columbia’s endzone. Getting to the stadium early had paid off in three ways: 1. Great front row seats right behind the big yellow thing with arms, 2. Holy shit so much blue cotton candy was readily available, and 3. Hot. Men. Stretching.

The crowd flooded into the stadium around them, while Bucky watched the woman interview Steve across the field, his head ducking down and nodding along before speaking into the mic. When Bucky’s phone buzzed in his pocket he licked his fingers clean, bit his lip, and dug it out from the back of his pants.

Ma Barnes: HIIIIIIII (attached picture of Sarah and Wini with their faces pressed together, holding up margaritas)

Ma Barnes: your boy looks HOT

Ma Barnes: Are you okay?

Ma Barnes: OH MY GOSH LOOK AT HIM RUN

Ma Barnes: Tell him nice booty for me next time to you see him

Bucky: MA NO

Ma Barnes: MA YES!

“Christ. She’s just as bad as Clint.” Bucky sighed sliding the phone back into his jeans and eating another handful of the blue candy.

“You good?” Nat eye’d Bucky while talking a long sip of her coke.

“Why? Am I giving off the appearance that I’m not good?”

“Well...for one thing, your leg won't stop bouncing.” Jane commented from her place next to him, poking his jiggling thigh.

“And you haven’t stopped watching Rogers since we got here an hour ago.” Nat added.

“And you’ve eaten like...three bags of cotton candy. I’m actually surprised you’re not in a sugar coma yet.” Jane pointed out, reaching over to snatch the cotton candy out of his hands.

“HEY! I NEED IT!” Bucky held his hands out before crossing them in a pout when she smirked and started eating. “Sugar makes me feel better.”

“Focus on the pretty boys stretching…” Nat commented, reaching around Bucky’s back to Jane to grab a pinch of the candy.

“I can’t focus without sugar. Everyone knows tha- oh look, Thor’s helping Steve do the splits!”

“Shiny object.” Nat rolled her eyes.

“Squirrel.” Jane confirmed.

“Wet dream.” Bucky amended before leaning back in his seat. “Does anyone know how he did on his test? He left for practice before I even woke up.” When they both shrugged, he rolled his eyes. “Useless.”

“You’re the one who fell asleep literally right next to him.” Nat pointed out. “Couldn’t take the time to become conscious when he did?”

“If you knew how hard we mathed last night you would understand why I accidentally stayed asleep AT 5 O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING!”

Nat pursed her lips. “The whole house heard how hard you two went at it last night.”

“Then you shouldn’t be asking dumb questions.” Bucky added, face going bright pink as the opposing team rushed onto the field. “Oh shit, here we go.”

*oOo*

2nd Quarter Championship Game 2018

“Wow Greg this game…viewers are probably having heart palpitations right now, I know I am. The energy in this stadium is wild. So much tension. Close game so far. Both Columbia and Penn state seem to be matched with their defenses. The fact that it's still tied at three to three and we’re leading up to half time with twenty seconds on the clock, this is just a sign that these quarterbacks are both being given a run for their money.”

“Head in the game guys!” Steve’s voice rang out in the huddle, tugging on Clint’s mask he locked eyes. “You good? That last hit looked bad.”

Clint rotated his shoulder, only giving away a small wince. “I’m fine man, nothing Nat won’t rub out for me later anyway.” He added with a wink.

“Are we really gonna talk about your sex life in the middle of the most important game of our college careers?” Sam asked.

“Hey, not my fault you aren’t gettin’ lai-”

“Enough!” Steve commanded, knocking them on their helmets. “Sparrow back play on four. Thor, think you can get around 53 to give Clint a little bit of coverage? He’s good at evading the pocket and going around the side, need you to cut him off on his path.”

“On it, Captain.”

“Alright let’s go, break on the three…1…2...3…BREAK.” Clapping in unison they dispersed to their places on the field.

“Looks like they are trying a different line up. Switching out the Netherland's native Odinson’s position, I’m curious Janet if it is to try and go around the pocket to try and cut off Penn state’s linebacker Fredericks - there’s the snap. Rogers is backing up, looks like he’s trying to find the hole, there’s Fredricks, he cleared the pocket, evaded Odinson’s block and OH! Barton is down, Rogers going farther down field, there’s the pass back to Wilson...who gets taken down at the twenty by Smith. And there’s the time for the end of the first half  Janet...it looks like Barton is still down on the field...”

“Oh God, Clint!” Nat stood, pressing herself against the railing as her knuckles turned white from gripping the cold metal that separated them from the field.

Bucky stood, mirroring her position as they watched Steve’s sprint across the field to where Clint was laying, cleats digging into the dirt as he writhed.

“Clint man, hey hey hey!” Steve skidded to a halt, dropping to his knees and ripping off his helmet as the trainers rushed over. Clint’s eyes were wild with pain, locking on Steve’s face with a wince.

“Steve,” he groaned, eyes squeezing shut as his body twisted, “shitmotherfuckingfuck!”

“You’re okay man, it’ll be okay.” Steve reassured, gripping the hand Clint wasn’t cradling over his chest.

“Nah man, I’m out. Fuckin’ collarbone. Felt is snap as I hit, CHRIST!” He shouted as trainers rolled him to his side to fit the bright orange plastic board underneath his body. “Fuck fuck fuck, Nat’s gonna kill me. Cap, I’m so sorry.” He looked at Steve with unabashed tears in his eyes.

“I’ll let her know what’s going on, don’t apologize man, just get better and enjoy the happy drugs. Maybe you can get Nat to rub something else out later if you’re lucky.” Steve assured with a wink, feeling relieved as Clint grinned up from the stretcher.

“Di- Did you just make a sex joke Rogers? Man Barnes’ is really rubbing you off - IIIIIIIII mean rubbing off on you in so many ways. Tell my girl I’ll be okay? You know how she gets...”

“You got it, bro.” Steve assured, patting Clint once more on the shin before looking towards the endzone and zeroing in on the flaming red hair.

“Looks like Rogers isn’t going back to the locker rooms quite yet, Greg. He’s heading towards the endzone to…ohhhh a pretty lady.”

Steve felt the camera men tracking his movement, swarming around the endzone like flies. Pushing the thought aside he jogged up to where Nat was standing, her fingers laced and gripping Bucky’s hand. A swell of warmth for the man flooded his system. “He’s okay.” Steve covered Nat’s other hand with his own, locking eyes he watched her visabily relax. “Just a collarbone break. He also might’ve implied that it wasn’t anything you couldn’t rub out later for him...”

“Idiot.” Nat said, relief evident in her voice.

“That’s Clint. You good? I gotta get back for Fury to yell at us.”

“Go, go. Thank you Steve.” She said patting his hand.

Steve nodded, eyes shifting to Bucky and giving him a small smile and wink as he started to jog backwards. “Hey, doll face.”

Bucky’s mouth dropped open, before he could reply Steve had turned and was jogging back to the tunnel that lead out to the locker rooms.

Snorting, Nat shoved a handful of cotton candy in Bucky’s gaping mouth. “You’re a mess, Barnes.”

“Is he crazy? Pulling that shit with all these cameras?!” Bucky asked, looking back and forth between Nat and Jane as they took their seats.

“Well Janet, that’s certainly gonna cause a stir. Are we possibly seeing a budding romance between Rogers and the mysterious red haired beauty in the crowd? Seems like her boyfriend wasn’t all to happy for that exchange to go down. Looks a little flabbergasted doesn’t he Janet?”

“Greg. You’re an idiot.”

“Thanks Janet. Let’s go back to the field to watch Columbia’s marching band perform…”

“Steven, Steven, I’m so sorry.” Thor called, face stricken as Steve jogged into the locker room. “He turned about and evaded my grasp as I was going in for the tackle.”

Clapping Thor on the shoulder and taking his place on the bench, he shook his head. “It’s okay man, shit happens.” He assured, as Fury stormed in.

“So let me ask you this…” Fury started, coming to stand in front of the hushed group of men, legs splayed and arms crossed over his chest, “you planning on pulling your heads out of your asses at any point during this game?”

“Alright Greg, this game is shaping up to go into overtime if some serious plays aren’t made. We’re 3-3 since the first quarter folks and I’ve gotta say we’ve seen very little progression. Few turnovers between the teams show that these defensive lines are just too equally matched for one another. With only 30 seconds left in the game and Columbia missing one of their top offensive linemen, replaced with a 2nd string freshman Peter Parker...I’m a little nervous for Rogers right now.”

Shoulder to shoulder, waves of tension rolled from one man to the next as their breath fogged up the center of the huddle. Steve stood in the middle staring down at the scrawny kid  who looked just about ready to shit himself as he joined the huddle. Taking a breath he braced his hands on his knees.

“Here’s the deal. We got 30 seconds left, and that’s not a fuckton of time to make magic happen. But that’s what I’m gonna ask.” Looking up into the eyes of the kid who blinked back at him like a deer in the headlights, he grinned. “Parker, I’ve watched you from day one, you’ve got the stickiest fingers - catchen every damn thing that comes your way, only reason you ain’t out here all the time is because Clint Barton’s the best of the best, but he started out just where you are now. Can I trust you to get that ball down the field?”

“I think…” Peter blew out a breath, “yeah. Yeah, I think I can.”

“Gonna have to do better than that, Pete. I’ve seen your sprints before, you’re slippery. I’m gonna need you to avoid these beasts and get the fuck down field.”

Parkers eyes went wide. “How far down field, Cap?”

“All the fucking way.”

Sam’s gaze whipped over to Steve. “You wanna pull a Hail Mary?!”

“I wanna do a Hail Mary.” Steve confirmed. Eyes never leaving Peter’s.

“Man, you are out of your goddamn mind.” Sam grumbled. Peter’s eyes flickered down to his cleats.

“Hey kid, look at me,” Steve demanded, waiting until the his eyes focused back on his. “If you can get down field, I swear to make that ball end up in your hands. Fury said you were the best freshman he’s ever seen. You gonna prove him wrong?”

“No sir- Cap- sir. I…” His head gave a bob as grim determination finally settled in. “I can do this.”

“I know ya can, kid. Alright, the rest of you,” he turned to the defensive linemen, “whatever you have to do, block. Make sure the kid gets down field. Got it?”

“Got it.”

“Thor, I want you specifically tailing Pete. Take out everyone who comes close.”

“I won't let you down again, Steven.”

“Never have before. Alright on three, 1...2...3…BREAK.”

“Alright Janet it looks like both teams are lining up, with 30 seconds left on the clock.  The noise level in this stadium is incredible, looks like everyone is on their feet for this play. There’s Parker to Rogers’ right. Man that kid is tiny compared to the rest of ‘em. They’re counting down to the snap. ”

Steve took his place behind Sam, taking up the familiarity of the position, his helmet moved right then left as he shouted the play. “Finchwood 22, finchwood 22…HUT HUT!”

The release of the ball into Steve’s hands brought Bucky to his feet as the game began to play out in slow motion. Steve’s long fingers clasped along the seams, rotating it out subconsciously as he backed out of the mass chaos in front him, fingers finding the laces and he faked towards Sam before moving to the right and out of the hands of a defensive lineman.

Bucky felt his heart leap to his throat.

Sarah and Winifred stood in front of the TV, hands clasped together as Steve honed in on his target.

“By God that boy can run, Janet are you seeing this? Parker is at the 40….the 35...the 30, looks like Rogers is rearing back, they are - oh God they are going for a Hail Mary?!… Thor’s blocking Parker, but Smith is coming in on the right, it’s gonna be a close one Parker is almost to the endzone, can he make it, looks like Rogers has thrown the ball and…”

“OH MY GOD!” Nat gripped Bucky’s hand.

“GO GO GO!” Wini screamed at the TV.

“HOLY SHIT!” Clint sat up with a wince in hospital bed, his heart monitor beeping in protest.

TOUCH DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!! COLUMBIA’S 2ND STRING OUTSIDE LINEMAN PETER PARKER HAS MADE THE WINNING CATCH ON A LAST DITCH HAIL MARY EFFORT PLAY BY STEVE ROGERS! AND COLUMBIA CLINCHES THE TITLE AS THE  2018 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!”

Ripping his helmet off and letting it fall,  Steve ran towards the end zone, dodging Penn state's players as they sulked off the field. He grinned madly at the sight of the thirty 200 plus pound men that made up Columbia’s team rushing off the sidelines to surround Parker, who stood staring down at his hands in disbelief. Pride blooming in his chest as they hoisted the smaller man on to their shoulders, his whole body bobbing up and down above the crowded end zone as they roared in celebration. Steve skirted the throng of people, his heart pounding wildly in his ears, uncaring of the camera men’s lenses that followed his movements or the massive celebration happening behind him. Honing in his gaze on the man laughing in Nat’s celebratory embrace, he caught Jane’s eye with a wink and kept pushing forward. Approaching the railing, he saw Jane’s small shift to give him room, a sweet smile on her face. The crowd’s cheers grew even louder upon seeing quarterback brace his hands onto the railing and swinging his legs over.

Bucky turned to the movement behind him, coming chest to chest with Steve who stood grinning back at him. The sheer resolute freedom he felt bubbling from within had him framing Bucky’s face gently in his hands as Bucky starred back wide eyed, his smile still in place.

“Okay?” Steve asked, running his nose long Bucky’s, their breath already mingling.

Acutely aware of the camera lenses surrounding them Bucky gave a hesitant nod, his hands coming to grip Steve’s jersey at his hips, grounding him into the moment. His breath caught briefly in his throat before letting the word go, “okay.”

Everything inside of Steve lit up, the crowd roaring around them became a distant murmur in the back of his mind. Bucky’s lips pressed against his, soft sweet and familiar, the anxiety, the fear, the world, all melted away into the moment of joy that he knew he would never forget. Pulling back, he pressed his forehead against Bucky’s as he said the words that were bursting to break free, “I love you.”

He could feel Bucky’s head shaking back and forth as a small laugh bubbled out of him, “I love you too.”

“Oh, oh Wini look...” Sarah pulled Winifred’s attention back to the screen, as their sons pressed against one another in a warm embrace; the smaller man’s arms wrapping around the football players’ neck. They watched as the two exchanged another heated kiss and the crowd around them continued to celebrate.

“OH HELL YES!” Clint shouted highfiving the nurses that stood around his bed, all of whom rolled their eyes and obliged with faint exasperated huffs.

“Wait. So Rogers…is...and the redhead...isn’t?”

“Christ Greg, you really are an idiot.”

--

The day ended with the pair wrapped in each other arms, a little sideways on the mussed bed in the quiet comfort of Bucky’s loft, hidden from the raging party a mile away. Bucky’s head laid nestled on Steve’s chest, listening to the steady sound of his heart beat. He smiled softly as Steve’s fingers traced down the length of his spine, settling on the curve of his hip as he drifted off to sleep in the middle of his story about finding out he had passed his Calc course and the insanity of the last few minutes of the game, his sentences tapering off to soft breaths. Neither could hear their phones, forgotten in pants that were hastily removed near the front door, buzzing as article after article was sent via social media and text message, the headlines reading somewhere along the lines of: “Columbia’s Star Quarterback/NFL Hopeful, Steve Rogers, Gay?

Chapter Text

Do not let my fickle flesh go to waste

As it keeps my heart and soul in its place.

A warm hand drifted softly down his spine, trailing the curvature of each vertebrae until coming to cup the swell of his ass. The dream he was having was swiftly chased away by the feeling of a cool slick finger barely tracing around the tight ring of his hole. With a sleepy moan he arched his back, pushing into the feeling, only to hear a soft laugh above that reverberated through the muscled chest he was pressed against. The finger teased again, circling warm and slow, barely dipping in and pulling back when his attempt to chase the sensation followed.

“Mmmm... ’S not nice to tease, ya know…” Bucky grumbled, blinking his bleary eyes open and rolling onto his stomach to stretch underneath the comforting touch of Steve’s hands.

“Who said I was nice?” Contradictory to his words, Steve skimmed over the freckles on Bucky’s shoulders with damp open mouth kisses, moving to straddle the back of his thighs and letting the heavy weight of his erection nudge along the line they formed. Lips reaching the sensitive bit of flesh below Bucky’s earlobe, he let his finger dip in again, this time all the way to his last knuckle, humming to himself at the feeling of Bucky tightening around the digit, willingly and accepting. Curling it down into the wet heat, he watched Bucky with his cheek pressed into the pillow, mouth falling open to release a single sharp exhale as he teased the pad subtly over his prostate.

“ That feel good, baby?” Steve asked, already working a second finger into the tight space, keeping careful watch for any signs of discomfort. Pleased when Bucky only gave him a soft sleepy smile and a little moan, rutting his hips into the bed, and subsequently causing Steve’s cock to jostle along the back of his thighs, leaving slippery streaks of precum in its wake. Spreading his fingers into the warmth, Steve lapped up Bucky’s spine, tongue following the flowing designs decorated across it, before nipping along the words and stars up to Bucky’s shoulder. Each thrust of Steve’s fingers gave a wet slurp that coincided with Bucky’s whimpers. Looking down from his position between Bucky’s shoulder blades and watching in awe, Steve added a third slippery finger. “You’re takin’ it so well, your ass was made for me, wasn’t it sweetheart?” He asked.

Delight spread through Bucky’s system at the words, the implied claim within them. “Only for you, Stevie.” Bucky grunted, his leaking cock trapped between his sheets and his body, achingly hard. “God,” he continued, Steve’s fingers thrusting over his prostate only leaving him wanting more as tight heat continued to coil within, “only ever want you.”

“You have me, baby.” Steve murmured, gently slowing his thrusts to stretch his fingers apart while nuzzling his face into the soft warm skin of Bucky’s neck. “You’ll always have me.” He promised before adding a tender kiss.

With his emotions welling Bucky turned, neck straining as he sought out Steve’s lips. Awkward as it may be, Steve hurriedly met the kiss. The nip to his bottom lip had him smiling into it even as he knew what he said was true. There was no going back from this, no one else could fulfill him the way that Bucky Barnes did. Letting his fingers slowly slip out he laid his body next to Bucky’s bringing the man tight into his side.

Bucky couldn’t stop the sigh of contentment, to wake up and be so loved and wanted; it filled him to the brim was something he wasn’t sure he’d get used to. Steve’s mouth carefully glided along his jaw, teasing nips covered with kisses, followed by the wonderful scratch of his overnight growth, and need clawed its way into Bucky’s stomach as he crawled over Steve to straddle his hips and press in close.

The move brought their cocks together, brushing as Bucky moved up to brace his right hand on the pillow beside Steve’s head as his left worked deftly inside the bedside drawer, only retreating once it found what he was searching for. The foiled packet between his fingers, he rocked his lower half back until he felt Steve’s slick tip nudge under his balls to slide between his cheeks as he slowly sat up and rolled his hips back.

He couldn’t take his eyes off the man below him. Not when Steve was staring up at him with his eyes shining bright and his bottom lip caught between his teeth. Gazes locked, Bucky slid back, feeling the drag of Steve’s cock on his inner thigh until it popped between them, resting against the taut plane of Steve’s belly, red and weeping. Keeping his eyes locked on Steve’s he gave him a small smile before bending down and placing a kiss right at the base.

Steve’s hand, warm from rubbing over Bucky’s skin, cupped his jaw before he could do any more. “You’re beautiful.” He said, stroking his thumb over Bucky’s bottom lip. “I don’t know where I’d be without you.”

“I love you.” Was all Bucky could think to reply, kissing the thumb while adding a playful nip and watching a beautiful blush of pleasure work its way up Steve’s chest. Ripping the condom open, he pinched the top and rolled it down his length. “I love you, but you need lube.” He added, sitting up and breaking some of the warm tension surrounding the words.

Steve laughed. “I love you too, and yeah...yeah I do.” He tossed the bottle that was by his hand up to Bucky. “I mean, while you’re down there…” He added with a shrug and Bucky rolled his eyes.

“Already a bossy top, aren’t ya punk?” Bucky poured some of the slick into his palm before encircling his hand around the head of Steve’s cock. “Have I created a monster, Stevie?” He gave the rubber covered length a long slow stroke with his tight grip, and had the pleasure of watching Steve’s body arch into it. Repeating the gesture, Bucky took advantage of his free hand by fingering over one of Steve’s peaked nipples, thumbing and carefully pinching, while his other hand stroked firm playful tugs that left Steve panting. “My bossy top, just falling apart underneath me.” Bucky commented, giving a particularly sharp pinch to his nipple timed perfectly with an upward tight stroke of his palm.

With a slight growl of indignation, Steve’s hands captured Bucky’s hips and dragged him up so quickly that his lube covered hand slapped wetly against the pillow to keep his balance. Before he even had time to think of how hard it might be to get lube out of said pillow Steve was pressing a kiss to his mouth and his cock was sliding against his hole.

Feeling the head nudge right in when given the tiny push of Steve’s hips, Bucky grinned into the kiss. “I should goad you more often…”

Laughing, Steve pushed in another inch, keeping Bucky’s chest flush against his  with his feet planted on the bed, letting his hips do all the work, in and out, barely there movement rocking their bodies together. “Oh yeah, and why’s that sweetheart?”

“Cause,” Bucky nipped at his bottom lip and tried to press down into the movement but found Steve’s hold on his hips so tight that he couldn’t budge, “gets you in me faster.” Bucky wiggled his ass; with only Steve’s head breaching his hole he felt desperately empty. Groaning when Steve’s hands slowly lowered him, inch by inch, until their bodies were flush. When Bucky was fully seated on Steve’s lap a broken noise tripped from his lips. “I don’t think you know what fast means.” He added, voice thin and pitchy.  

Steve’s only answer was to give a small laugh along with  a slow roll of his hips. With his cock nestled into the tight heat he could feel every twitch and move of Bucky around him. His thumbs traced soft circles around the sensitive skin of Bucky’s hips as he rolled into him again, and Bucky let out a moan; his hands coming down to steady himself on Steve’s chest while his eyes fluttered shut.

The air charged around them, electric with need and want, every slow roll of Steve’s hips had them entranced. “You’re taking my dick so well. Let me look at you, baby, let me watch.” Steve murmured, leveraging Bucky up again a few inches before letting him slide back down, eyes focused on where their bodies met. Tight and slick, maddeningly perfect. With a thrill racing up his spine at the words, Bucky gave Steve a small smirk and tightened around him. Taking Steve’s hands in his own and bracing his body forward he began to fuck himself on Steve’s cock. Watching Steve’s eyes flutter with each drop of his body. Taking it slow, he rocked his hips, feeling powerful at the hungry look in Steve’s eyes as he watched himself slide in and out of Bucky’s hole.

“Fuck yes...” Steve grunted, hips arching up off the bed, angling just right so every drop led to his cock brushing over Bucky’s prostate.

Bucky gasped, “Steve!”  head falling back as they began to move with one another, Steve’s hips thrusting up just as Bucky brought himself down. With the sound of slapping flesh filling the air, and Bucky gasping into every move. His head stayed thrown back in pleasure and he bowed further into Steve’s touch as he felt a hand leave his hip to wrap firmly around his cock.

Steve took in the sight above him; Bucky riding his cock, hair falling out of the messy bun he had haphazardly thrown it in the night before, his lips parted as whimpers and sighs rolled off his tongue with each swipe of Steve’s thumb over the head of his cock. He watched his muscles begin to tense, pleasure working its way up his spine, and he increased his speed to meet the need. It was easy then to let go, to let every burden of the world fully wash away, to let the pleasure they had for each other fill to the brim and escape over the sides. A tidal wave of love rocking to and fro, freely offered and happily taken.

“Oh- oh God, I-”

“C’mon sweetheart,” he grunted, hand slippery and flying, hips thrusting erratically, “cum for me, cum all over me baby.” He growled.

“Fuck fuck fu-” Bucky’s body clenched all over as hot ropes of cum painted over Steve’s chest, even as Steve’s hips continued to pound up into him, before finally falling over the edge and spilling himself inside with one low grown of Bucky’s name tumbling from his lips.  

--

Warm, wet, and deliciously used, Bucky’s body draped over Steve’s without thought to the sticky mess in-between them. Their hearts pounded together in post orgasmic bliss, and he was just on the cusp of thinking ‘ it doesn’t get better than this’ when Steve’s fingers pressed under his chin, nudging his face up to capture his lips in a warm delicate kiss. Oh, oh it so does.

“Mmm…you’re all sticky…” Bucky grumbled, nuzzling back into the warm space between Steve’s neck and collar bone.

Running his fingers through Bucky’s hair and tugging the barely dangling ponytail the rest of the way out of it’s confines Steve’s laughed. “Uh, correction, you made me all sticky.”

“You made me make you sticky.” He pouted, nipping at Steve’s neck playfully before sitting up, wincing at the peal of their skin. “Oh God. Shower. Now.” He helped haul Steve off of the disheveled sheets towards his shower, where it took twenty more minutes of laughing under the spray and creating sud filled mohawks in each others hair before they both felt the grumbling need for food take charge.

Bucky left Steve in the steam of the shower to shave the overnight growth. Drawing on a pair of loose gray sleep pants he rubbed a towel over his hair on his way to the kitchen. Glancing down at the pile of clothes by the door he laughed to himself, could anything be hotter the looking at the evidence of want strewn across his own apartment? Leaving the towel draped over his shoulders he began the task of pulling out the ingredients for pancakes a la bisquick, with the strange wish that he could call up Thor and beg for post sex snacks instead.

When everything was mixed and the pancakes were bubbling in the pan he bent down to rummage through the pile of clothes on the floor. Pulling out his phone he leaned back against the counter, eyeing the cooking pancakes once more before glancing down at the home screen.

54 texts…Wow that’s a bit exce-

Oh.

Oh, fuck.

*oOo*

“Hey babe, do you know where my phon-” Steve  stopped short as he rounded the corner to find smoke billowing off the pan and Bucky nowhere in sight. “Shit shit shit!” Steve ran into the kitchen, grabbing a towel he turned off the the stove before moving the pan full of scorched breakfast off the burner. Turning he found Bucky crouched on the floor, face buried in his hands, his phone in his lap. “Hey, hey what happened? Did you get hurt?” Steve felt his knees hit the hard tile, hands automatically reaching to pull Bucky close, stopping when Bucky flinched away from the touch, his head coming up to reveal wide shocked gray eyes. “Bucky?”

His lip trembled, “Steve…I…” He started before biting his trembling lip and blinking furiously up at the ceiling.

Frantically Steve clenched his hands into fists, desperate to pull him in close. “Tell me what happened and we’ll fix it.”

“I -” He paused again, wincing as he picked up his phone. Unlocking it he shoved it into Steve’s chest, watching Steve’s brow furrow as he read the headline “Star QB & NFL Hopeful Dreams Dashed by New (Boy!) Fling?”  “They only get worse after that,” Bucky added grimly.

Steve sat back, letting his spine press into the kitchen island as he scrolled through headline after headline...The New York Times: “Columbia’s Star Quarterback/NFL Hopeful, Steve Rogers, Gay?”, The LA Post “Will the NFL Offer Gay Quarterback A Deal?”, USA Today “Young Future NFL Player, Gay, Proud, and Coupled.”, “James Barnes, Who is The Star QB’s Mystery Man? The Full Inside Story!”

What did I do?

Week 3 Spring Semester 2019

“Steve STEVE how’d your family take the news that you were gay!?” “How has coach Fury reacted!?” “James, when did you and Steve first meet!?” “Steve do you think this’ll affect your NFL draft prospects?” “James is it true that you came out in High School!?!”

Bucky winced, panic gripping his chest as he buried his head into the divot between Steve’s shoulders, following him into the library and only breathing a staccatoed sigh when the elevator doors were shutting behind them; the flashes from their cameras  reflecting off the metal doors. He kept his head down, even when Steve turned and enveloped him into his arms, a weary sigh falling from the lips that were pressed into Bucky’s hair.

Winter break had been a dream. Well…apart from the overwhelming headlines and chaos that ensued via their social media accounts. Both men received a barrage of friend requests from faces that had never seen before, private messages that were 70 percent praise and adoration and 25 percent homophobic slurs, and 5 percent death threats. Given the last one, both had decided it was worth it to deactivate their accounts for the time being. Their decision causing a whole other flurry of headlines to his the news just days before Christmas (“Winter Storm in Lover’s Paradise?”). They stayed out of the public eye, holing up at one another's houses where both of their mothers shot concerned glances their way as the binged on Netflix while cuddled into the corners of the couch. Wini and Sarah texted back and forth with status updates (ie: Steve is doing well, ate a great dinner; Bucky is staying the night, he slept a solid seven hours!) It was a wonderful bubble to be in until the bubble had to be popped.

(Flash back: Week 1 Spring Semester 2018)

The first week back also brought on the first wave of reporters. Camera crews, women with too much hair spray, and men with ill-fitting suits lined the street outside Steve’s house. Nat had sent a picture of Clint perched, squatting on the balls of his feet atop the rickety railing of their porch, paintball gun in hand and a scowl on his face. A video sent is succession showed Clint firing perfect pink splatters along the grass, so close to the reporters shoes that they squealed and stumbled away as he yelled “get off my lawn you mongrels!”. Afterwards she sent the text “whenever you’re ready, we’ll be ready” with an attached photo of her face covered in camo paint holding a gun identical to Clint’s.

“Be there in five” Steve had sent back, changing his rucksack to his other shoulder and gripping Bucky’s hand. As they turned the corner to their house he felt Bucky’s hand grow cold against his, fingers tightening in an almost painful way. 

Steve stopped and turned. “Fuck them. Okay? Don’t look at them, don’t talk to them, ignore whatever they say. What matters most?”

“You and me.” Bucky said, eyes continuously glancing over Steve’s shoulder at the horde of cameras.

“That’s right.” Steve confirmed, bringing their joined hands to his lips.

Bucky sighed. “Can’t we just go back to Netflix and our Mom’s cooking and worrying over us?”

“You didn’t bust your ass last semester to get me to pass just for us to drop out and become hermits; plus, Thor is making lasagna. Once we get home we’ll eat and go straight to bed. K?”

“You gonna do dirty dirty things to me, captain?” Bucky asked, feeling his shoulders relax a little at the reassurance of food and bed. Why was anxiety so fucking exhausting?

“Absolutely.” Steve promised, suppressing his smile.

Squaring his shoulders and with a determined expression furrowing his brow he nodded. “Alright…let’s do this.”

As they marched through the throng of lights, cameras, and reporters, Bucky felt the intense urge to punch someone in the face…which was strange as he had literally never punched anyone before (Becca didn’t count) in his life. Too lost in his own thoughts of kung fu fighting he missed Steve’s comment to FOX news of “isn’t there something fucking stupid your supreme leader is doing that you should be covering, like making deals with Russia?” or Clint’s yelling of “BETTER STAY BACK HEATHENS. I MEAN IT. I’M A MAN ON THE EDGE. DO NOT TEMPT ME TO PAINT YOUR ASSES PINK!” throughout the course of the mayhem.

With the door shutting behind Nat and Clint who had followed them in, Bucky was brought back to the present with the smell of lasagna and Thor’s booming laugh with Sam giggling next to him as he replayed the video he had snuck of Clint screaming at the reporters.

Kissing his gun Clint snuggled it close to his chest. “Oh my one true love, you did so good, you’re the best girl. You are. You’re the best, I love you so much. Daddy loves you, yes he does.”

“Uh, hello?” Nat said from his side, earning her a quick pat on the head and a teasing “oh yeah, you did good too babe.”

With a look mirroring their own mother’s concerns, Sam embraced them both, stretching his arms wide before pulling back and keeping his hands on their shoulders. “You guys okay?”

Bucky shrugged as Steve rolled his eyes, an angry red flush showing over his collar, working its way up his neck. “Isn’t there ANYTHING more important to cover than two gay dudes coming home? Like, I don’t know, maybe global fucking warming, or the fact that president dumb shit fucking orange ass hole can’t seem to follow the constitution to save his life? Why can’t a guy just come home with his boyfriend like a normal human being? It’s fucking absurd. The fact that they can’t get their heads out of their asses long enough to realize that we are just two human beings who literally just want to survive college is beyond me. Fucking ingrates.” He broke off, panting a little from his rant.

“Well, that answers that question.” Sam patted Steve’s shoulder. “Bucky?”

“What he said…and that all I want is carbs and sleep right about now.” He added wearily.

“Understandable, man.” Sam clapped him on the shoulder and took both of their bags. “You guys sit, I think food’s almost ready. I’ll take these up. Steve, some mail came for you, ‘ts on your bed.”

Steve gave him a grateful smile. Even through the chaos, he could always rely on Sam. “Thanks, man.”

“Come, warriors. Let us feast!” Thor boomed.

Later that night they didn’t even bother to turn on the lights. Exhaustion filled their bodies like heavy buckets of water had been settled across their shoulders. Barely making it out of their clothes, Steve maneuvered himself under the covers, paying no mind to the stack of mail that slid off the comforter to find a new home under his bed, instead curling his body around Bucky’s and enjoying the familiar comfort and warmth.

“Thought you were gonna do dirty dirty things to me?” Bucky mumbled, voice heavy with sleep.

Steve snorted pressing a kiss to the back of his head. “Maybe in the morning.”

“K.”

Even through chaos, he could always rely on home.  

Week 3 Spring Semester 2019

The elevator doors slid open and Bucky and Steve spilled out of them, going to the back corner on the topmost floor, ears prickling as they approached, Clint and Nat’s vehement whispers ricocheted off the dusty shelves.

“I think it’s a great idea.” Clint had his phone out and was texting furiously.

“You didn’t even ask them.”

“I don’t need to ask them. I’m gonna do what I wanna do to help my guys.”

“You don’t think it's slightly important to give them a heads up?”

“Nah, better to surprise them. Plus, the ball’s already rolling. People are already in the loop. T-minus three hours.”

Approaching the table, Bucky set his bag down. “What ball is rolling where?” He asked wearily.

“Don’t you worry bout a thing BuckyBonanza, I got a plan.”

Steve raised a brow. “What kind of plan?”

“A plan. A planny plan. A plan so planned that it’s gonna plan; just you wait and see.” Clint grinned at them over his Kinesiology book. “Now shut up. Some of us are trying to learn.”  

Steve looked to Nat who only shrugged in response. “Reporters still out there?”

“Yup. Think they’d get bored with us by now.” Bucky confirmed, settling in.

“You heard anything from the NFL yet?” She asked Steve.

“Nope.” Pulling out his sketchbook Steve leaned back in his chair, shoulder brushing Bucky’s. “Don’t really give a shit anymore.”

“Liar.” Bucky mumbled before diving into his own work.

2 hours and 58 minutes later

Bouncing on his toes, Clint rolled his eyes as Steve stopped in the midst of packing up to press his lips to Bucky’s. “Yeah yeah yeah, less smoochin’ more movin’.”

“Is me not kissing my boyfriend part of your plan?” Bucky asked as they started towards the elevators.

“I can neither confirm nor deny any parts of the plan at this time.” Clint said, checking his watch. “C’mon, we gotta hustle.”

“Why? We’re just gonna be bombarded by more camera men. You gonna live tweet it or something?” Steve asked as the elevator doors closed around their group.

“Or something.” Clint countered.

Steve’s hand froze on the way to the button. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Shuddup and trust me will ya?” Clint asked, pressing the button for him.

“Is there an option B?”

“Nope.”

“Shit...”

Bucky’s fingers slipped between Steve’s, filling in the spaces with a comforting squeeze. Looking down at their hands Steve gave Bucky a small smile. Sure it would be easier to not hold hands. To be the tall broad quarterback with everything to lose, shying away from contact from the (gorgeous) man in the leather jacket, his hair in a messy bun with his bottom lip worried between his teeth. But the one thing Steve Rogers promised himself and Bucky at the end of the previous semester was that wherever their relationship went, it wouldn’t be determined by the media. Whatever they did wouldn’t be chosen for them. Any choices they made would only be made with respect towards their own needs.

So Steve held Bucky’s hand as they walked out of the elevator in front of Clint and Natasha, his head held high even as the familiar onset of flashes from the cameras began to reflect across the glass. When Bucky’s chin ducked, Steve’s rose even higher, a daring look in eyes that were set to their destination; away from the throng of people wanting any bit of stupid news they could get their hands on. He didn’t see that within the throng stood familiar faces, each wearing bright blue Columbia football shirts and pushing their way closer to them. Not when questions were flying their way, shouted by the angry mouths of the small minded.  

“STEVE! What is response to the backlash for the events of the championship game?”

Really dude?

“Is it true that your mother is talking about conversion therapy Steve?”

Alright, that one stung. Although he could totally imagine Sarah Rogers punching the guy in the dick, which made it easier to ignore .

“James, JAMES what’s it like to know that you’ve possibly changed the course of Steve’s NFL career?!” He felt Bucky flinch into his side, the final straw breaking as he turned -

“HEY ASS HOLES!” Clint shouted from somewhere behind them, Steve’s head whipped around, ready to tell him to stand down until his eyes finally focused in on the mass of people that had joined Clint...

Almost every player from the team stood on the large steps of the library, clad in their blue Columbia football jerseys and staring defiantly at the mob of cameras, lights and microphones. Was that Fury and Coulson? What the fuck was Clint up to now? Steve thought even as Nat winked down at them, Jane suddenly at her side, their arms looped together.

“IS THIS WHAT YOU WANT?!” Clint yelled.

All of a sudden a rush of movement followed the words, and Clint was reaching up and gripping his hand into Thor’s ( THOR’S?! ) hair, and pulling him down, pressing their lips together as Thor’s thick arms laced around the smaller man’s waist, kissing back enthusiastically. Bucky’s jaw dropped and his eyes shifted to Nat grinning wildly as she pushed Jane back into a dramatic dip, their lips pressing together in a movie-esk fashion. All of the other football players (and one lone hyperactive Mathematical Engineer) followed suit, as little Peter Parker had his legs wrapped hilariously around a struggling Tony Starks’ body, their lips pressed together so hard they were turning white as Peter staved off a giggle at the feel of Stark’s fingers cupping his butt. Sam was rolling his eyes and pulling Rhodey, their second string linesman, in for a delicate peck. But the kicker…oh man…the one that had a disbelieving laugh falling off Steve’s lips even as his heart squeezed tight, was Nick Fury looking straight into the Fox News camera with a pointed glare and announcing “LISTEN HERE MOTHER FUCKERS - YOU GOTTA PROBLEM WITH STEVE ROGERS, YOU GOTTA PROBLEM WITH ME!” before dragging his assistant coach Coulson against him to press their lips together.

Applause broke out from the random students who happened to be walking by the demonstration. The celebration only escalated, with loud wolf whistles and angry New Yorker shouts following the news anchors’ departure as they skulked away. Clint finally released Thor, his ears a little pink and he smiled cheekily at Steve and Bucky as they strode over.

“Told you I had a pla-” Clint’s words were cut off due to the press of Steve’s lips against his own. Clint promptly pulled back from the embrace, officially as red as a tomato as he scoffed up at Steve. “You can’t just go around kissing dudes, man people might get the wrong idea.”

“Shuddup and take it.” Bucky commented from his side, pressing his lips to Clint’s rosey cheek.

“Thank you Clint, seriously.”

“Oh jeeeez it wasn’t that big of a -”

“HEY!” Fury shouted. “Will someone pull Parker off of that weird kid in the AC/DC shirt?! I think he’s turning blue…”

That Night

The music was so loud that he thought his eardrums might burst, looking over he could see Clint fiddling with the volume and grinning as Tony Stark kept trying to tell him something with animated hand gestures, to which Clint just kept pointing to his ears and shrugging while surreptitiously pressing the volume button further and further up. He finally stopped when Nat pinged him in the head with a nerf gun dart and the mad chase through the house commenced... at least Clint was clothed this time .

Bucky sat relaxed, grinning at Peter who was really trying his best to pay attention to their conversation...however every time the kid took a sip of his beer he ended up distractedly staring over the red brim at Stark. Stark was rolling his eyes and looking at the radio as if contemplating tearing it apart and putting it back together again...which wouldn’t really surprise Bucky in the least.

The weight of the past few weeks had fallen off his chest as soon as he and Steve had rounded the corner to see the house free of reporters and cameras. He didn’t know whose idea it was to have a party, or if it was just common knowledge that after you make world wide news ( Kiss This! How One Football Team Outfoxed FOX ) a party must be held. Either way, he sat watching a group of men who had all essentially made out with one another stand around eating pizza while laughing and drinking beer. He couldn’t help but notice that some stood a little closer, and gestures of hugging and back slapping seemed to come easier across the board.

Tony walked over to where he was sitting holding the ancient radio out, the extension cord stretched to capacity across the floor. “This thing is ten years older than God, think they’ll notice if I take it apart, see what makes it tick?”

Before Bucky could even answer Peter cut in. “Can you do that without stopping the music?” Tony turned, eyes wide and face going a little pink.

“Why? Ya wanna watch the master at work?” He asked, grinning broadly when Peter nodded and followed him out of the kitchen.

He couldn’t help but roll his eyes. Watching as the two ducked their heads together over the radio, Peter’s fingers purposefully brushing over Tony’s causing him to grin back sheepishly. Ahhh young love…speaking of...where the hell is Steve?

Hopping off the counter he wandered up the stairs, smiling at the random team members who slapped him on the back in their slightly tipsy daze. He pushed the door to Steve’s room open to find Steve sitting on the floor with his back against the mattress, frowning down at a piece of paper with blue edges. The paper trembled softly in his hand.

“Hey babe, we’re missing you down there…” He commented, easing himself down onto the floor next to Steve. “Watcha reading?”

Steve looked at him, tears brimming in his eyes even as he pushed the paper into Bucky’s hands. Instantly concerned, Bucky’s eyes traced the paper.

 

Dear Mr. Steven Grant Rogers,

On behalf of our coaching staff and esteemed organization, it is with great pride that I extend to you an offer of contract with the Indianapolis Colts for the 2019-2020 National Football League Season. The Colts would like to offer you a beginner’s contract of $4,000,000 a year for a three year term limit, with subsequent years to be added upon performance.

Steve, we want you to join our football family here in Indianapolis to help you continue your development as one of the best beginning quarterbacks in the country. We believe that we have all the resources you will need to achieve this goal, as well as a great team ready to welcome you with open arms. Please contact us as soon as possible with your reply. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

Best Wishes,

Frank Reich

Head Coach

12/22/2018 

 

“Oh, oh fuck.” . ..Indianapolis, four million dollars, three year contract, December 22… “Steve...STEVE THIS WAS AFTER THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME!” Bucky said excitedly.

“I know.”

“FOUR MILLION DOLLARS!?” Bucky grinned up at him

Steve nodded, eyes wide. “Yeah…”

“So…so, you’re gonna take it... right?”

“I…”

 

The End.

(But not really...obviously...DON’T THROW THINGS AT THE AUTHOR SHE’S A NICE LADY )

Chapter Text

And I will love with urgency

But not with haste.

5 Years Later

* Camera zooms in on a woman wearing a black pant-suit and high black heels, her platinum blonde hair cut in a short bob. Tilting her head she gives the camera a wide smile. *

“Hello, my name is Janet Brass, head reporter for ESPN. Welcome to our ‘Five Years Later’ segment, where once a month we take a look back and a look forward at your favorite elite athletes across the nation that have shaped our history. Today we’re taking you back to the year  2018 at Columbia State University to Mr. Steven Grant Rogers, the quarterback who changed the face of football.”

*cut to prerecorded video. A football field is shown. A whistle blows. Two rows of men in blue jerseys collide, a voice over begins*  “Steven Grant Rogers was born in Brooklyn, New York on July 4,1998. With his adolescent years filled with illness, Steve’s mother Sarah would work tirelessly to improve her son’s heath, however Steve accredits his mother with much more than that.”

* image cuts to a man sitting on a plush couch, broad shoulders taking up most of the frame, his hair is darker blonde and casually combed back with a dark beard precisely shaping his jaw line. He wears a bright blue shirt and dark gray pants that hug his thighs, his smile spreads as he hears the questio n*

“So Steve, would you say your mom helped you go from a sickly child to the man you are today?”

Steve snorts out a laugh. “Oh man she’s gonna love that. My Mom made me who I am today, for sure. Even when I was down for the count or getting some weird treatment she always encouraged me to be better, to not let it stop me, ya know? I said I wanted to play football one day and she went and found the treatment to make it possible. I asked her if I could enter an Art contest, she scraped up the money to get me in and bought the pencils. She’s the only reason I’m sitting on this couch.”

“Speaking of art...” With a pause for what he assumes is for dramatic effect, Steve smiles and nods, waiting for the question. “You were an Art major at Columbia University, correct?”

“Yeah yeah, loved every second of it.” He confirms head bobbing.

“Was it true that even your closest friends and roommates didn’t even know about this until you told them during your junior year?”

Steve scoffs playfully, “You been talkin’ to Barton huh? Guess he’s not as busy playing for Green Bay as he pretends to be.” Steve looks at the camera dead on. “I see you Barton. Next time we’re in the same city, it’s going down, bud.” He promises, before looking back at Janet. “Yeah, I uh...” With his hand ringing the back of his neck he pauses to give a small disbelieving laugh. “I didn’t tell anyone. Looking back I wish I had. It was nice once they knew, but at the same time it was nice having something that not every single person knew about me. Being quarterback for Columbia meant that most of my life was on blast...well, obviously, or we wouldn’t be sitting here. So I kept it to myself…”

“It’s not the only thing you were keeping to yourself…” Janet cues.

Steve snorts again even as pink tinges the top of his ears. “You’re not wrong.”

“Take us back to September of 2018. What was that semester like?”

Steve’s grin blossoms. “Best and worst semester of my life.” He pauses to look up at the ceiling. “I was in this like beginners Calculous class with Dr. Potts, who is still there by the way, she was awesome... but me not so much. I uh...have a, uh, specific learning disability in Math Calculation and Math Problem solving...dyscalculia. That class was kicking my ass.”

“Did the school offer you any help?”

“Oh absolutely. The school offers tutoring sessions two times a week for any course that you’re in. A lot of college campuses do that and it’s paid for with our tuition. There’s also a special services building for student who come to college with disabilities, they offer all kinds of accommodations. I had no idea. So it was a huge help in more ways than one.” Steve bit his bottom lip, hiding the cheesy grin.

“And what were the other ways?”

“Well...I mean I guess it’s no secret now, tutoring was where I met my husband Bu- James.”

“Bucky.” A voice off camera says.

* The camera zooms out from it’s view of just Steve, to a wide frame shot of the whole couch, revealing a dark haired man with a strong jawline and eyes so blue they can easily be called stormy grey. He’s wearing a white v-neck shirt, black slacks, and his chestnut brown hair is cropped into a messy pompadour. He’s grinning widely at the man beside him. Their hands link, Steve’s silver wedding band glints.

“Were you out when you met Bucky?”

Bucky snorts, even as Steve answers. “God no. I knew in my heart that I was bisexual, but I guess, well with the Trump administration at that time, and being head quarterback, and being in a major that many people viewed as ‘soft’, I hadn’t really let myself explore that side of me yet.”

“And how did Bucky change that for you?” Janet asks, smiling fondly at the pair as Steve turns his head to look at Bucky when he answers.

“He was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.” He laughs when Bucky rolls his eyes. “Really, that was my first thought! I could barely formulate a sentence when we first met. But looks aside, when he figured out that I have-”

“Correction, when you drunkenly let it slip that you have…” Bucky cut in, shooting Janet a wink.

Steve sighs, a little exasperated. “Fine. When I got a little inebriated after losing a game, I uh kinda panicked and told him I had dyscalculia. I hadn’t told him during our tutoring sessions… thinking I should be ashamed of it, you know? But his Ma is a special education teacher, and he came to my house the next day, and just -” Steve smiles softly at Bucky with pure adoration, memories of donuts, coffee and a beautiful tattooed man standing at his door flooding his thoughts, “he changed everything. He made me advocate for myself to get accommodations within the classroom. Started teaching me in a different way to help everything stick. And helped me just to handle my own emotions towards not being good at something, ya know?”

“So how did that lead to you and him being together?”

Laughing, Steve brings their joined hands up to his lips to brush a kiss over Bucky’s fingers. “There was a moment that everything just clicked. I had taken my first test since telling him about my disability, and he had worked so hard to help me.”

Bucky nudges him playfully. “I wasn’t doing all the heavy lifting, jerk.”

“Shuddup punk.” Steve continues. “I was sitting at my computer, about to leave to start getting warmed up for the game that day, and the grade comes through, and I passed. My first thought was “ I need to find him and tell him. He needs to know. I can’t fuc - excuse me - freakin’ wait to tell him and maybe he’ll give me one of those smiles …he has the best smile.”

“Oh jeez, you sap Rogers.” Bucky covers his face with his free hand, cheeks blazing red.

“After that I was a goner.”

“How did that lead to the next decisions you would make for your future?”

“The one where I kissed my boyfriend on live television when nobody knew I was gay, or the one where I turned down the offer to dropout of college and play pro football?”

“Mmm, how ‘bout both?”

“You drive a hard bargain lady.” Steve shifts, releasing Bucky’s hand, slinging his arm over the back of the couch instead, a gesture of ease with no anxiety painted into it at all. A man confident in who he was and with where he was in life. “The best thing I ever did with my life was deciding at that championship game that love never deserves to be hidden. Especially when the person on the receiving end was Bucky Barnes.” He shrugs looking at Bucky, at his whole world, “easiest decision I’ve ever made, hands down.”

“And turning down the Colts’ offer?”

Steve frowns a bit at that. “That was a little harder. It took a lot of time -”

“And panicking…” Bucky adds with a small smile, his hand coming to rest on Steve’s thigh.

“And panicking. Hey, it was a lot of money for a broke college kid!” Considering his words Steve shakes his head. “I think deep down I knew I didn’t want to play pro football. Sure the money would have been great. But, the life I got in return?” Steve scoffs like he can’t believe it’s even real. “Having a husband who I get to see every day who is working on his doctoral degree and partnering with NASA? Me getting to open my art studio and do what I love? Sure I liked  football. But it’s not a passion. Helping those guys win was my passion, being their leader was my passion. Football. That was just a vessel for it, ya know? Getting to come home everyday to this guy in the city we love?” Steve turns his head to look at Bucky. “ ‘Ts worth way more than any contract could ever pay.”

Caught up in the moment, Bucky smiles softly and they both lean in, as if an invisible chord tethering them together is tightened. Steve’s hand comes to rest on Bucky’s cheek, his eyes flickering up to Bucky’s before down to his lips when he asks, “okay?”

“Okay.” Bucky says, and their lips touch softly, only for a second.

Janet does her best not coo at the sweetness; she somehow manages to maintain her composure for the sake of the camera. “Did you have any idea that the next year would lead to the National Football League passing their first zero tolerance against LGTBQ discrimination act?”

Steve’s smile broadens, pride clearly mirrored in it. “None at all. But man, that day we were all so excited. Everyone deserves a chance to do what they love and what they are good at, no matter who they love.”

“Would you change any part of your story, Steve?”

He answers without a second thought. “Nah. I ended up right where I needed to be.” He looks at Bucky and nudges him, an old familiar gesture that makes them both grin. “I’m exactly where I need to be.”

--

Two men walk hand in hand out of the TV station and onto the hustle and bustle of the New York City street. Their bodies move together in synch in a fashion indicative of relaxed ease woven together by years of walking side by side. The thinner, with his leather jacket open in the breeze, says something witty and looks up to watch the taller man throw his head back laughing at the sky, his hand coming up to grip at his chest. He grins up in joy, taking in the sight as if he just can’t believe his luck. They get to their loft and head straight up. It's a comfortable place that is loved and lived in with an artistic flair of elegance that they both find comforting. A mixture of hand drawn sketches and astrological maps decorate the various walls of the place they’ve called home for the past three years. A song is playing in the background from their little radio in the kitchen; it preaches of loving with urgency but not with haste. As they close the door, the taller one presses the smaller up against its frame; kissing him as if it's both their first and last kiss, hands holding him firmly as if there was a chance he would float away. He kisses Bucky knowing that if redoing every minute of anxiety and stress and dread would lead him to this moment, he would do it all again. As long as he ended up here, right where he needed to be.

 

 

-The End...But for real this time-