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under the light of a thousand stars

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Bucky’s sitting on the riverbank, sun beginning to peek out behind the mountains when the Quinjet arrives. The jet whirs to a halt on the hilltop where just below, in a quiet little valley of his own, Bucky’s hut is situated.

While petting Vixen’s little head, he wonders who came for the fortnightly check-up this time. They can call it ‘visits’ all they want, these Avengers, but he knows they’re checking up on him to make sure he hasn’t lost his mind. Rogers has always been full of shit like that, now more than ever. But Bucky’s perfectly capable of keeping his head now that he’s not being subjected to… well, all those things he only speaks of in therapy.

“Who’s it gonna be, girl?” he murmurs to the sleepy goat in his lap. He’s not sure she’s really listening since she seems rendered entirely boneless by his thorough head scratches. “If it’s that big lug, I’ll send Donner after him. Thinks he’s smart on those video calls.”

Vixen huffs.

The Quinjet’s door slides open with a drawn-out wheezing noise but no one appears in the entrance. Bucky watches, anticipating, when a voice he knows all too well from way too many FaceTime chats and phone calls, breaks through the silence.

“Cap said you got one asshole goat out here, I ain’t about getting bit in the nuts by farm life Barnes, so you keep your pets on a leash alright??”

Bucky laughs, and Vixen startles awake in his lap giving him a betrayed glare. “Sorry, sorry girl—He’s taking a nap, Wilson! You’re safe!” he calls out to the jet.

Sam pokes his head around the door and looks around like he doesn’t really believe Bucky in the least, but he finds the path clear of goats and steps out.

Upon sight of Sam, Bucky knows this was a terrible idea on Steve’s part. Sam’s wearing light blue jeans, a plain white t-shirt, and a matching ball cap and still manages to look as though he’s been plucked straight from a photo shoot.

Sam smiles at him, relieved at Donner’s absence as he makes his way over and Bucky’s sways a little where he sits.

“Man, you got it made out here, huh! Look at this, baby!” Sam looks around, amazed at the yellow-peach light of early dawn, the glittering river that pebbles down toward the falls, mountains, and valleys overgrown with endless greenery.

Bucky supposes he’s gotten accustomed to this beauty having been here for so long. Sam, however, is a whole different story. “Yeah, gorgeous huh?” Bucky says, not talking about the sunrise at all.

Sam drops down beside him in the grass and wraps an arm around one bent knee, “Damn right.” He knocks his shoulder into Bucky’s still-attached one, smiles and asks, “How you doin’ Barnes?”

“Been good, bored I guess. How’d you end up coming out here, anyway? Draw the short straw this time?” Bucky replies and keeps his fingers busy in Vixens coat.

Sam looks at him, frankly says, “So, what? I need straws to visit you now??” Bucky huffs, tries not to giggle, and turns his eyes away. Sam continues, “How can you be bored up here though? Have you seen this place?”

He wonders if that means Sam came willingly, surely not? Right? “I mean I’ve explored about as much of this place as there is to explore. Been down to the valleys, even went to stay with the Jabari’s for a while.”

“Yeah? They nice dudes at least?” Sam questions. He has absentmindedly started tickling Vixen’s chin. Bucky’s totally not focusing on where Sam’s knuckles brush against his leg. He’s not.

“I mean they make a mean veg lasagne. Couldn’t complain.”

“Ah, yeah, brothers don’t eat meat.”

“Mhm.” Bucky gives a nod and after a few silent seconds tells Sam, “M’Baku is up here today if you wanna say hi.”

Looking out across the river where the sun has now risen in a half circle over the hilltop, Sam makes a thoughtful sound. They’re silent for a long while, not in any way uncomfortable, just appreciating the morning.

Sam finally shifts beside him, “So you haven’t been outside the Wakandan border like at all?”

“Don’t really wanna run around unsupervised you know.” Bucky says.

“And what if you’re supervised?”

They’re both still staring straight ahead.

“What’re you getting at, Wilson?”

Sam lies back, nearly swallowed by the long green grass. Bucky can’t really follow suit with only one arm and a goat in his lap, so he merely shifts to face Sam.

“Well.” starts Sam, and gets a look on his face that his cap only just hides, “I’m just sayin’… I’ve always wanted to travel down south, and you haven’t moved your white ass forever…”

Bucky considers what Sam is suggesting. If he’s honest with himself, he wouldn’t mind getting away for a while, a change of location, waking up to something other than the sound of bleating goats. He also considers being alone with Sam for extended periods of time and how that could be a potential catastrophe.

“We don’t have a car.” Bucky mumbles still not really sure of his answer, and Sam shoots up with a grin bright enough to rival the sunrise.

“Hear me out, hear me out.” Sam pulls out his phone and taps on some app that brings up a map of South Africa. “So,” and he smiles, “we take the Quin down to the Cape, park it, get a car from the airport, and then take this route all the way back ‘round again.”

“So, you’re just gonna abduct a Soviet assassin and haul him across country with you?” Bucky asks with a raised brow. Vixen is now thoroughly irritated with their moving around and prances off to nudge Dasher awake.

Sam pokes his knee, “Ex. Ex-Soviet assassin. And what are they gonna say? No? They can’t tell you no.”

“Well, they can’t if we don’t ask…”

Sam’s face does something hilarious like he can’t actually believe Bucky is suggesting they run away together. Sort of. “Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes White Wolf Sir! Are you saying what I think you’re saying?!” his grin is something breathtaking.

Bucky laughs, “Hey, I never was one for rules and all that jazz.”

Sam just about gleams, lifts his hand for a high-five, “Road trip??”

He’s ridiculous, Bucky thinks, and gorgeous. He meets Sam’s high five, “Road trip!!”

Everything is super stealthy, the packing, the loading of the Quinjet, the herding of goats which- makes Bucky laugh at Sam far more than what he’s helping him. Sam tries to corral Dancer and Blitzen into their pen while also shooing Donner, the little ball biter, with a broomstick.

He curses all sorts of profanities at the goat as it bleats at the stick. Bucky takes a snap of it and lets Steve know this visit is so totally fruitful.

Bucky finally steps out of his hut and helps to get Donner off Sam’s trail and into the pen as well.

“What the hell do you feed these things, Barnes?” there’s a light sweat breaking out on Sam’s forehead and chest and it makes his stupid white shirt stick to him in a way that has Bucky looking away real fast.

He shrugs and loads a small duffle bag onto the yet, “Nothing. I let ‘em out at night to hunt.”

Sam stares at him, hands on his hips, then back at the goats.

Bucky milks it, “You ever wonder why there aren’t any actual panthers in Wakanda? T’Challa hates competition.”

“Man.” says Sam, having cottoned on to the fuckery, waves Bucky off, “Shut up and get on before I change my mind.”


[Call to Avengers Tower: Secure Line to Capt. S. G Rogers]

“Captain Rogers.”

“Your Majesty?”

“It appears we have a situation.”

“Bucky...”

“Mr. Barnes and Mr. Wilson have... gone AWOL.”

“AWOL?!”

“They’ve left Wakanda in your jet, Captain. We contacted them over the comms and Mr. Wilson said—and I quote— “Yippee Ki Ye Mother…” well I’m sure you can construe the rest. They shut off location and any further radio communication.”

“Goddamnit, Bucky...”

“Would you like us to pursue?”

“Nhg, no. No, I’ll get hold of them. I apologize, Your Majesty… Is he, uh, is Bucky…”

“Mr. Barnes is stable, Captain. He is doing well. Improving.”

“Clearly.”


The ride in the Quinjet is quiet until Sam tells Bucky, “You gotta change out of your Jesus outfit man.” From the cockpit, he catches Bucky’s eye in the rear mirror panel.

Bucky looks down at his one-shouldered Kente dress and leather sandals, “Why? This is comfortable.”

“Barnes… Please.”

“Also, I don’t have other clothes.” He admits, he’s not truly bothered by it either. “Don’t need them over here.”

“What?”

“What? I got a pair of chinos, and a shirt… well it was a shirt.”

“What’s it now?” Sam asks carefully as his eyebrow arches in the little mirror.

Bucky narrows his eyes, challenges Sam’s judgy eyebrow, and finally tells him, “Made a hammock for Vixen.”

Sam shakes his head and the corners of his eyes crinkle up. Bucky likes making Sam laugh.

Sam lugs his own duffle bag from the seat beside him and slides it across the floor to Bucky, “I got some jeans in there and a shirt, it’s a Batman shirt so you just gotta deal with that.”

Bucky ruffles through the bag and starts pulling out items of clothing, holding up said Batman t-shirt, “Steve will feel so betrayed.”

He slips the material belt of his robe loose and turns around facing away from Sam.

Absently, Sam hums. “Uh huh.”

Now, Bucky Barnes was a sniper and an assassin which means his super sharp senses know exactly when there are eyes on him, even with his back turned. He is also a little shit of note—all hail Steven Rogers—so he strips off right there until he’s standing only in black boxers.

“Don’t go putting on my underwear too.”

Bucky snorts, “I prefer mine without Captain America’s shield on it, thanks, pal.”

“Got a mouth on you.” Sam mumbles but Bucky still hears him smile.

He sits down next to Sam in the co-pilot seat, now dressed in worn blue jeans, and Sam’s black Batman shirt, a pair of sneakers to boot. It feels strange having constrictive clothing on again, but in a good way. The only thing still bugging him is his hair. It’s gotten far too long, reaching almost below his shoulders and the bun the kids had done up for him with twigs have since come undone.

He pulls a rubber band from a file in the dash compartment and turns to Sam, “Do you mind? I can’t really…” Bucky motions to his amputated arm and the sleeve that hangs loose there.

Sam’s eyes go big, and he snaps into action, setting the jet to auto and moving to stand behind Bucky. He’s careful when he first touches him, his fingers cool against Bucky’s forehead when he begins raking his hair back.

“All up?” he asks.

“Yep.”

Sam collects all his hair, pulls it upward and wraps the band around it. Bucky wishes he would tug on it just a little harder, just…

“It’s gotten long.” Sam notes, quieter than before and mostly to himself, his hands slowly smoothing back stray strands.

Bucky’s kind of woozy with the feeling, his neck going somewhat boneless as Sam pulls and fiddles with the band to get it right, and it’s only when he no longer feels Sam’s touch that he realizes his body is now riddled with goosebumps.

Jesus.

He doesn’t think Sam has noticed and if he did, he has the decency not to say anything. It’s just that Bucky hasn’t been touched like that in a real long time, and by someone that he’s kind of sweet on, too.

During his medicals the touching is simple, it’s procedure and there’s nothing he desires in the form of lab coats and rubber gloves and sterile smelling metal slabs. But when it’s someone warm and nice and funny, hell of good looking too... Someone like Wilson… well then, it’s a little harder for his body not to react. He’s a hair trigger at best.

He leans back in the seat and crosses his arms in hopes of hiding the telltale signs on his skin, tries to act as unaffected as he possibly can.


[Crossing the Kenyan air border, four hours in: Call from Capt S. G Rogers, Private Line to Wilson.S.]

“First of all, Cap—”

“Sam. What the hell.”

“—I’m reminding you that you are on speaker, anything you say, can and will be held against you.”

“Like that outfit?”

“Buck! What are you thinking pal??”

“He’s not thinking. I am. Was totally my plan, I take all the responsibility, but we are going the fuck out. Had my boy cooped up in that place for way too long!”

“Sam, it’s a million acres of free, open, beautiful, majestic fuckin’ land.”

“Watch your mouth, Stevie!”

“Shut up jerk. The hell am I supposed to tell Ross, huh?”

“Nothing! We’ll be back before he knows about it.”

“Sam, come on, man. How long?”

“And with that we bid you farewell Captain! Sweet dreams.”

“Wait, Sa—”

[Call from Capt S.G Rogers, Private Line to Wilson.S disconnected.]

Sam shoots Bucky a horribly devious look, smiles too, Bucky can’t help but respond just the same.

And maybe he stares a little longer once Sam has looked away.


At the airport Sam calls in a favor with one of the pilots and he agrees to safe keep the Quinjet until they return. Bucky can’t imagine what kind of favor a South-African co-pilot could owe Sam Wilson, but he doesn’t question it.

Sam gets them a red Jeep from the rental agency while Bucky waits outside. He sends Steve a message to let him know that they’re safe, although Steve would be a fool if he ever questioned Bucky’s safety when he’s with Sam. Wilson, aside from Steve, is the one person he trusts most of all.

Sam’s wearing an excited grin when they finally get in the Jeep, making sex-like noises while roaming his hands all over the leather interior of the vehicle.

“You gonna get sexy with the mechanics now, Wilson? Want some privacy?” Bucky quips, steals a glance at Sam’s hands curling around the wheel and tries not to make that into something inappropriate.

“I’ve always wanted a Jeep man. This is like a wet dream!” Sam says as he starts the engine up.

Bucky snorts and sets his feet up on the dash.

“You hungry?”

“I can eat, I suppose.” yawns Bucky. They hit the highway and then that untroubled, vacation daze sets in. He shimmies lower in the seat and takes a deep, calming breath with the sun warm on his face and arm and neck, cool wind blowing through the open window.

Sam nudges Bucky with his elbow, “What’s that dreamy look for?”

Bucky rolls his head to Sam, “Just thinking ‘bout when we were young and my ma took the family to the coast for a weekend. If Steve wasn’t sick, he’d come too. And when she’d start driving you’d get that quiet, feeling like you’re almost high... Feels the same now. I remember.”

Sam gives him a heartfelt smile, “Yeah?”

“Yeah... It’s nice.”

They stop at McDonald’s about an hour later, in a small town with red-dust roads and rows of small houses alongside it with rickety fences that have seen better days. The sun blazes up above and they decide to eat their food on the hood of the Jeep while parked under a big Willow tree to cool down.

Sam sits very close to him, their shoulders pressed together and later on, their knees too. He’s not sure when it happened, only that neither move away.

“So,” says Sam, chewing, “there’s apparently an old ghost town up ahead.”

“A ghost town?”

“Yeah man, this site says a woman stands on the side of the road when you pass at night, and when you give her a ride, she gets in and…” he poofs with his free hand, “Vanishes!” Sam shows him the website and while Bucky lays the phone on his thigh to inspect the photos, Sam continues to feed him fries since his one hand is now occupied.

Bucky doesn’t realize this until maybe the fifth bite, he’s just been taking them from Sam, no questions. His cheeks flood hot and he hands the phone back, clearing his throat, “Wanna go see if it’s true?”

“Do I look crazy to you??” Sam squawks, and gives him a stupefied look, “Was thinking we should take the other fuckin’ route just to avoid it! What do you mean ‘see if it’s true’?!”

Bucky sits back and dangles a particularly long fry into his mouth. “Pussy.”

“I am not a pussy Barnes, I’m a perfectly level-headed man who does not wanna play with Satan and his minions in the middle of the night in a goddamn country that we don’t know .” says Sam, and takes two long, angry sips of his double thick vanilla shake.

Bucky chugs some of his own chocolate drink and pretends to be Steve, “Oh, hi Buck, what’d you do on your trip!”—then changes his voice back— “Oh, nothin’ Steve, Sam was too scared, so we just sat in the Jeep all day…”

“Okay!” Sam punches his thigh to shut him up, Bucky laughs instead, “Fine. Point made.” he leans back too so they’re both resting against the windshield. He points a finger at Bucky, “But you’re cuddling me if I’m scared and can’t sleep after all of that, and you won’t say shit about it to Cap.”

Bucky’s heart nearly gives out, be it not for the super serum. His stomach feels kind of flippy and stupid too, “I’m actually a great cuddler.”

“Yeah, I bet. Who’d you cuddle with, huh?” Sam takes another sip of his shake, one arm behind his head.

Without missing a beat, Bucky says, “Hydra sleeper agents of course.” and Sam snorts so hard milkshake comes out of his nose.

Four hours later, Bucky thinks Sam is about to vibrate out of his skin with nerves.

“I don’t know how you talked me into this shit, Barnes.” Sam whispers as they stare bug-eyed through the windshield down a long, dark road marked ‘Barandas-Willowmore’ on a scrappy metal sign, illuminated only by the Jeep’s headlights.

“Because there were talks of cuddles and you’re weak?” he whispers back, teasing, but he’s trembling a little too. Of all the shit he’s seen in his 100 years on this earth, a ghost ain’t one.

Sam doesn’t take his eyes off the road as he starts the car and it rolls forward at a snail’s pace. They don’t speak once the Jeep moves down the road. It’s intensely creepy, not another car in sight, no street lamps or cat eyes, only a stop sign coming into view a few meters ahead.

“Man, where she at?” Sam huffs, impatient, “They said at the stop—”

Sam gets cut off by a sharp knock on his window and the two of them lose any and all coherent thoughts. Bucky screams, Sam screams louder, whips the car into gear and floors it.

It’s embarrassing how long they yelled for before finally realizing it was just a cop. It’s a mutual decision to never speak of this again, specifically not to any one of the Avengers. Ever.

Later, Sam gets them booked into a small Bed and Breakfast, far out of Uniondale and its creepy cops and dark roads. Bucky hauls their duffle bags inside and notes the two, very separate, double beds and gives a little downhearted sigh when he puts the bags down.

Sam finds him having a shower when he returns with snacks from the vending machine out front. “Don’t use all the hot water, Barnes! I swear!”

Bucky’s so close to telling Sam to join him if he’s so worried about the freaking water when Sam lets out an undignified yelp and Bucky hears objects crash to the floor.

His ingrained, fight-ready reflexes take over and he’s out of the shower, smashes the mirror, grabs one of the shards as a weapon in the absence of anything else, and barges into the room. Naked as the day he was born.

“Jesus!?” Sam’s eyes are huge, mouth open and he’s crouched on the edge of the bed. Coke cans and packets of chips scattered about on the floor. But no intruders, no aliens, no threat. Just a terrified Sam who can’t keep his eyes up.

“What the hell??” Bucky asks, out of breath, placing the shard of glass down on the bedside table.

Sam swallows and looks at the spider instead, at which point Bucky cups his junk to cover himself. “Uh… Spider. Huge, massive fucking spider.” he sputters, and when Bucky looks to the floor, he sees it sitting there, but having lived in Africa for as long as he has, the thing is not nearly as intimidating to him as it must be to Sam.

“Oh.” he says airy and collected and kneels beside it, “It’s a Huntsman.”

“I don’t care what the fuck it calls itself, get it out of here!”

When the spider shifts so does Sam. Bucky can’t help but laugh quietly when he traps it in a paper bag to escort it outside and Sam gets visible chills when it scampers away.

Bucky’s mindful of covering his dick when he goes back inside, not so much his ass, and just like before, he feels Sam’s eyes on him when he struts back to the bathroom. Before he enters, he says over his shoulder to Sam, “No need to thank me. All in a day’s work.” and Sam’s face is something between amazed and still terrified and maybe a little turned on too. It’s totally possible that he is imagining that last one.

“Damn, Barnes! Daaamn!” is all he calls out when Bucky shuts the door behind him and finishes up. He’s grateful to be out of sight because his body breaks out in an instant, mortifying, flush at Sam’s appreciative tone of voice.

Bucky breathes fast, trying to settle whatever is happening inside him, he took care of a spider and impressed the hell out of Sam while completely naked, that’s all. No big deal. No reason for blush attacks. He looks down at his dick and finds it half-mast, he is so fucking ridiculous and embarrassing. He doesn’t even want to think of the next time he has sex and how fast it’ll be over and… oh fuck, that thought is not helping at all .

He whips on the cold water tap and jumps into the shower under freezing sprays with the intention to get rid of his boner but, he thinks, if he’s going to spend the night with Sam he’d better get rid of the need altogether. He turns the water a little hotter, leans back against the tile and dares to wrap a hand around himself. It’s a near shudder at the touch, and he’s too overcome to take it slow or breathe or wonder if Sam can hear anything from the other side of the door.

He takes care of himself with a few quick and squeezing tugs, and when he closes his eyes and comes all he sees is Sam’s smile. He’s screwed.

He’s dozy and loose when he enters the room again, finds Sam flipping through t.v channels chewing on a gummy snake. He gives the towel around Bucky’s hips, a quick glance. “Oh, so now you decide to make yourself decent, huh?” and his eyes swoop quickly over Bucky’s torso too.

Bucky knows he’s gone a little softer in some places, the cuts of his hips aren’t as defined as they once were, but with the absence of his left arm, his right one has gotten significantly more exercise to match the metal when he does wear it on the odd occasion. Sam seems to appreciate this, and Bucky wills himself not to blush.

“I saved your life, Wilson. Was willing to die naked for you.” he says, slipping on his tribal print pyjama pants underneath the towel before pulling it loose from his hips, then puts on his sleep shirt from his bag.

It catches Sam off guard and he blinks before he mumbles, “Uh, yeah, well… thanks.” and gets up to shower too. He is in there for about as long as Bucky was, but he’s not willing to let his mind wander to Sam all wet and steamy and what he might be doing in there, so he flops down on the bed, scurries in between the covers and flips around so his stump doesn’t hurt when he lies down.

“Hey… scoot up…” Sam whispers into his ear and he realizes he must have drifted off. The t.v is off, there’s an extra blanket over him and only the dim bedside lamp is on. The mattress dips behind him when Sam gets on and Bucky moves up to the edge, without a word. This is happening, oh God, this is… Sam is… oh Christ.

“It’s cold…” Sam explains, again in a whisper as if it would disturb the moment should he speak out loud.

“Hmm.” Bucky shifts back a little, into Sam’s warmth, until he feels him breathing into his neck, and if maybe he then sighs, pleased and content at the touch, he’ll blame it on being half asleep. “And scary,” he adds for further justification. His skin, however, is covered in goosebumps once again.

Sam settles behind him, curls his hands up against Bucky’s back, not around his middle—which is probably a really good thing since there’s no telling what his body will do with that contact even though his muscles ache for it—and exhales long and loud into Bucky’s hair. “Exactly.”

In the silence of the night, when their breathing slows, and Bucky can hear the calm thump-thump of Sam’s heart and they both assume the other is asleep, the words slip from Sam’s mouth in a sleepy whisper:

“Night sweetheart.”

The following morning isn’t quite as graceful. He wakes up plastered to Sam’s side, face in the curve of his armpit with an impressive puddle of drool forming on Sam’s t-shirt. But Sam is still and peaceful, unaware of their tangled limbs and proximity.

Bucky is in two minds, does he get up and act as if none of this happened or does he stay there and watch the slow rise and fall of Sam’s chest and soak up this nearness and warmth because who knows how long it’ll be before he gets to feel anything of this sort again.

He’s also acutely aware that if he stays here and his body responds to said nearness, things will get considerably more embarrassing than just a puddle of drool on a t-shirt... possible other puddles and... oh God he needs to get the hell up!

He tips his body to let Sam’s hand on his shoulder fall off; it makes a soft thump when it lands on the mattress. He’s free then to get up, and he lightly shakes Sam, “Hey… Hey Sam.” Sam squints at him and groans, “There’s a cafe up the road, I’m gonna get us some breakfast.”

Sam checks his phone, “It’s six... In the morning, Barnes. What the fuck, man?”

Bucky frowns at him, “So?”

A frustrated noise comes from under the covers where Sam has now buried his face. “We’re at a bed-and-breakfast. And I know you’re still grasping the 21st century and all, but this implies that they give you a bed and a breakfast.” Sam whips the covers open, almost smiles when he looks Bucky up and down were it not for him trying to act serious, “Plus… were you just gon’ go out in your Wakanda print jammies, huh?”

Bucky looks at him, then down at his colorful tribal pants and ‘Wakanda Forever’ t-shirt, then back at Sam, “N-no? I guess, I mean no! Christ, you’re not a morning person, are you?”

“Why don’t you get back in here and shut up, and when it’s not shit-o’clock in the morning we can get food?”

Bucky considers this carefully and decides to stay on top of the covers instead, ignoring the fleeting, disappointed droop of Sam’s features. Instead, Bucky watches a cooking show on the dingy little t.v with the volume set low enough for Sam to sleep.

Perhaps watching these guys grill fish over an open fire on the beach with steaming, foaming cups of coffee in their hands wasn’t the greatest of ideas. His stomach gives a desperate growl that has even Sam shifting and groaning in his sleep. Sam’s back is now pressed to Bucky’s thigh, and he’s so warm and looks so damn sweet.

Quietly, Bucky lifts his arm and places it on Sam’s side, and while he carries on watching the hunger-inducing show, he inattentively traces tiny circles onto the exposed bit of Sam’s hip. His skin is soft and smooth and impossible to stop touching and he thinks his heart feels like a big gooey mess.

He wonders if Sam’s heart is a big gooey mess too, as solid as it always seems to beat.

His stomach gives another impatient rumble just then.

“Okay!!” Sam shoots up, stomps off to the bathroom, “I’m up! I’m up. Jesus—fuckin’ super soldier stomachs...”

Big gooey mess indeed.


The town is small just like the one before, the golden and green grass planes stretch out endlessly before them, rugged mountain tops peak out in the distance as they drive. The little tourist booklet Bucky picked up at the gas station said there’s a market, a small funfair, and an ostrich farm they’ve agreed to spend the day at. Problem is that they can’t find this damn ostrich farm located in said town no matter which routes on the map they take.

Sam has made several furious roundabouts, up this gravel road then the next, Bucky doesn’t dare to tell him that he thinks he smells the ocean since he’s sure they’re not supposed to be anywhere near it.

Instead, he just hangs halfway out the window and breathes in the fresh air. Stray strands of hair whip across his face and out of the secure bun Sam had made for him the day before. He thinks it’s a perfect excuse to just have him do it again, so he sticks his head out further.

In the seat beside him Sam juggles the gearshift, his phone, and a coffee while cussing out the wobbly dirt road, arguing fervently with the GPS voice that ‘no, motherfucker this is a one way’

Bucky turns the radio up when Thunderclouds starts playing, “You could just stop and ask for directions, y’know.”

Sam glares at him, takes a sip of coffee, doesn’t turn the radio down, and says, “I’m the fucking Falcon. I can find a little two horse town, thanks.”

Bucky shrugs and closes his eyes, moves a little to the sound of the music when he turns it up, even more, wind in his hair and Sam’s sunglasses on. He can drive around like this all day.

He sends Steve a few pictures: The mountain ranges in the distance. Chickens on the roadside. Sam spilling coffee in his lap. A selfie of his middle finger and one of a road sign that says ‘wild bucks’ ahead. Steve replies with many, many smiling faces.

Finally, Sam admits that they can’t carry on this way as temperature climbs and the African sun beats down hard, making the leather seats hot and slippery and uncomfortable. He stops roadside where a few men are sitting on empty Coke crates around a small table, laughing while playing cards.

“Let me.” Bucky says and walks past Sam toward the men. Sam frowns at him but follows.

“Let you what? What are you—”

Bucky spent a significant amount of his time in Wakanda, in the library. There was so much to learn but it all seemed futile if he couldn’t connect with the local people in their native language. He is now fluent in five of the eleven official South African languages.

“<Morning>” Bucky greets them in Xhosa and they all swivel around to him. Beside him, Sam stares.

One of the men with a huge beer belly and a thick grey beard looks surprised but returns the greeting, “<Morning. Are you lost young man?>” and he gives Sam a frown too, “<Is he with you?>”

“Uh…” mumbles Sam, and Bucky smiles.

“<He’s American, baba>”

The man laughs, “<Ah, I see. But you speak this language like a man who was born of this country?>”

“<I have a unique skill set. I have been trained this way.>” Bucky tells him.

“<This one has no training then?>” They both chuckle, it’s not as much a question as a little poke at Sam. The man reaches out and shakes Sam’s hand, then Bucky’s too.

“Excuse me. What are you saying?” Sam whispers and taps him on the shoulder, offended. “What’s he saying?”

“<I’ll teach him.>” Bucky promises the man, winking at Sam who rolls his eyes.

“<Good. He is a child of this country, he should speak her language too.>”

Bucky kneels down beside the man, “<Baba, I don’t mean to bother, but we are looking for the Ostrich farm?>”

“<Oh, it is not far, young man. Get back on the highway, there’s a gravel road that leads down into the valley. You will find it there. Big gates.>”

“<Thank you. Have a good day.>”

Sam looks at Bucky then the man, and frowns, Bucky thinks it’s the cutest.

He leans into Sam and whispers, “Tell him, Sala kakuhle ” and tries not to chuckle about how Sam jangles up the vernacular but manages to sound completely adorable doing it, and he looks so proud of himself when the man smiles back at him and nods.

Sam gives him a ridiculous grin when they’re back in the Jeep and won’t look away until Bucky looks at him. His own mouth betrays him by grinning back at Sam, the idiot.

“What??”

“Nothing! I’m impressed!”

“Shut up. I know many languages. It’s no big deal.”

“It’s kinda hot, is what it is.” Sam mumbles and pulls away from the side of the road, leaving Bucky blushing feverishly. What’s he supposed to say to that? He’s sure whatever he tries to say right now will be something unintelligent or embarrassing, so he shuts up and tries focussing on the cool wind again.

That night—after spending half their day running from angry Ostriches, and the rest of it eating far too much during a tour of the town—they’re sticky and dirty and sweating.

They’ve parked the car beside a large dam. An old rusty windmill stands beside it, creaking as it turns with the dusk’s breeze. The sky is rusted orange and yellow and warm, getting darker by the minute.

Their legs dangle from the back of the Jeep where they sit and watch the sun go down, eating something called ‘Biltong’ which is Jerky but way better, when Sam gets a childish look on his face, “Let’s swim.” he says, gleaming at Bucky.

“You packed swimming trunks?”

Sam snorts like that’s the dumbest question he’s ever heard, “No?” and then he jumps from the Jeep and pulls his shirt off, tossing it inside.

“Who the hell needs swimming trunks?”

Bucky’s eyes go wide, cheek full while he stares at Sam. The socks and shoes go next, then his jeans, with each item he discards Bucky’s brows climb higher up his forehead. For what logical thoughts he can manage he thinks Sam is utterly gorgeous, and right now, when he’s all wild and seemingly carefree- he’s downright irresistible too.

“Come on Barnes!” he shouts and runs toward the water, drops his briefs on the way and Bucky goes squint, probably.

Fuck.

Slowly, Bucky gets out of the Jeep and puts the Jerky down. “Take it off!!” shouts Sam from the dam’s edge.

He might as well, right? What’s he got to lose? "Yeah okay."

There’s a splash up ahead and when he turns, Sam’s head breaks the water surface and a wide grin sits beautifully on his face. And if that doesn’t get Bucky to strip off his t-shirt and wrestle out of his shoes and pants…

He keeps his boxers on until he too is standing on the edge where Sam was. Sam watches him, attention undivided and deftly fixed on Bucky’s next move. Fuck it, he thinks when he yanks the boxers down, shimmies out of it and dives in head first. It’s nothing Sam hasn’t seen before.

When he comes back up, Sam’s laughing, “Thought you’d be too chicken!”

“Thought you’d be more modest!” He replies, getting rid of the hair in his face, “Does Captain America know his right-hand man skinny dips in his free time?”

Sam snorts, “Does he know his best friend is my partner in crime?”

“Touché, Wilson.”

And then they just kind of float in the cool water under a clear diamond sky. It’s pretty romantic until Bucky starts sinking.

“I can’t stay afloat like this for too long.” Bucky finally admits, kicking to stay up.

Sam seems to get it, pulls Bucky closer by the arm he uses to keep himself above water. With a quiet yelp he swings the arm around Sam’s shoulder and suddenly they are so close he can count every little droplet of water splattered on Sam’s face, he can see how his wet lashes separate and… how his eyes go dark and soft all at once.

“Got you.” Sam assures him and swims to a place closer to shore where their feet can touch the surface. Bucky, on the way, tries not to pay attention to where their naked skin touch, how, even in the cool water Sam’s body is hot. He tries extra hard not to think about what’s under the water or how good it feels to be held like this. He can’t.

But then they’re standing face to face in mushy river sludge and he’s never seen Sam in unfiltered moonlight before, and by the look on Sam’s face he kind of shares this sentiment. There’s just something about the way the half-light makes you see things anew.

“Man.” Sam breathes out, and Bucky feels it on is skin, “Your eyes…”

Bucky blinks slow, perhaps a little coy, and looks down so Sam won’t see the effect his words actually have on him. He laughs nervously and shakes his head but Sam tips his chin back up with his forefinger.

Sam’s serious now, “Hey, tell me—”

Bucky doesn’t think it through or hesitate, he leans forward and kisses Sam right there. It’s a little wonky and off center, awkward and unsure, and their lips are parted enough for Bucky to appreciate the warmth of Sam’s mouth against his own. His brain functions just enough to realize how good that feels.

Bucky takes a deep breath, and he pulls away, eyes clamped shut, “You were gonna…” He swallows hard, “You were gonna say 'tell me what you’re thinking ’ right? That’s what you were gonna say?” he asks, desperate and fearful that he read this all wrong since Sam hasn’t moved at all, hasn’t even shifted. “Because that’s all I’ve been thinkin’ of… I’ve been waiting so long…”

When he dares to open his eyes Sam still just stares at him, gaze darting from Bucky’s mouth, to his eyes, to his mouth again, coming up empty on words.

Bucky feels like a huge, cold rock has dropped right down to the bottom of his stomach. “Oh god… I’m sorry… I’m so sorry, Sam...” he sputters and whips around to get away.

He drags his body out of the water and sprints off to the Jeep. The fact that he’s entirely naked makes this so much worse. The fact that they’re both fucking naked makes this horrifying. Goddamnit. He deserves this for being an idiot. He’s still shaking when he gathers his t-shirt and uselessly tries to dry himself off with it, thinking of all the places he could possibly hide or, if he’s lucky, slither down into one of the holes in the ground.

“Is it a Soviet thing?” comes Sam’s voice from behind him.

When he answers, he snaps a little harder than he means to. It’s only his own fault, he can’t be mad at Sam but still, because he’s so embarrassed, what he says comes out far too harsh, “What?!”

“Kissing people and running away? That a Soviet thing or a Wakandan thing? I bet T’Challa’s into that shit. Did he—”

“Sam!” He spins around, covers his dick with the t-shirt. There’s no reason for that to be out in the open right now. “I shouldn’t have done that. It’s stupid, I was stupid and I’m—”

Sam makes a terribly exhausted sound and throws his hands up but before Bucky knows what’s happening, Sam kisses him. Once, twice and then properly and soft, until Bucky’s knees and mouth alike goes slack, and his world becomes a dizzy, dizzy place.

He makes sure he’s still holding the t-shirt tight to his crotch now that Sam’s hands are in his neck and his tongue comes out to meet Bucky’s lips. He bends Bucky’s head back just a little, just at the right angle, and then his fingers drag through Bucky’s hair, pulling like he had wanted him to all along.

“Oh…God,” Bucky sucks in a breath and backs away, “Uhm…”

“What?!” Sam’s got a worried look on his face, “Too far?”

Bucky shakes his head a few times fast, “Too good.” and nods down to his naked self. Doesn’t dare to look lower than Sam’s shoulders.

But, all that Sam says before kissing him again, is “Fuckin’ adorable.” Sam grabs the t-shirt and throws it aside, smirks at Bucky and stops to ask, “You good with this?”

This time Bucky nods quickly, and swallows, just about biting right through his lip, “Definitely.”

Sam cups the backs of his thighs and lifts him up into the back of the Jeep—bless whoever thought of putting a carpet back there—and crawls up so he’s hovering just above Bucky.

They’re naked, really naked and close and Sam’s on top of him and they’re touching... Christ.

“I’ve been waiting for you too, Barnes.” Sam whispers into Bucky’s neck, leaving wet kisses under his ear, Bucky rolls his head sideways to accommodate. The tips of his fingers are soft and careful along the raised scar tissue of Bucky’s left shoulder his other hand steadying himself on the floor of the Jeep, keeping their bodies apart just enough for it to be frustrating.

Bucky is so close to falling apart here he hasn’t had hands on him this way in a god awful long time, and he thinks he better warn Sam, “Sam… Sam, I… I’m very… I haven’t… in so long—”

Sam sweeps a hand down Bucky’s side and squeezes around his hip, mouth soft in his neck and his thick thighs in between Bucky’s, but nothing more touches, “It’s okay…” Sam whispers again, so soft and assuring, “Do what feels good…” then he kisses Bucky deep and a little filthy too.

What feels good right now is Sam’s body close to his own so, he draws Sam down on him by the back of his neck. Their dicks line up and rub, and at the touch, Bucky makes a helpless sound that has Sam squeezing his hip even harder. “Shit, you’re gorgeous,” Sam tells him, lips light against Bucky’s.

His cheeks heat up at Sam’s words and he comes without much friction at all, only the warmth of Sam’s hard dick pressed against him.

Sam shifts his hips up just to help Bucky through it, and holy shit, if he could just stop shaking he’d be able to kiss Sam back, maybe even meet his eyes, instead their lips just linger halfway through the kiss. But where Sam touches him he’s blazing, and he’s been cold for so damn long, so he delights in the heat that runs through him now.

Sam nudges into Bucky’s cheek with his nose, “You okay?”

It makes Bucky laugh; how could he not be okay after that? Sure, his limbs are tingly and won’t move just yet, but: “I’ve probably never been better.”

“Oh wow, you’re giving me the sleepy voice! Must be real good, huh?” Sam’s smiling at him when he finally opens his eyes.

He’s a little embarrassed about how fast he finished with barely any prompting. “Uhm, sorry about…”

Sam shakes his head, “Shh.” and he kisses Bucky’s nose then shifts sideways and off him. Bucky follows suit when Sam slips back into his pants and they lie down facing one another again, bare-chested.

“You didn’t get to...”

“Ain’t about that. Never has to be about that.” says Sam and places his hand on Bucky’s bare middle. The absence of his left arm, Bucky realizes, doesn’t faze Sam. Nor does the scars or the ever-present, raised redness or the stump. Sam called him gorgeous like he meant it, like it was the only true thing in the world. Sam likes his face and his stump and his mouth, apparently. Sam is fucking great.

He smiles and hooks his feet around Sam’s calves, “What’s it about then, Wilson?”

“Hm... It’s about me learning about this guy who’s been a prisoner most of his life, fighting to stay alive for half of it and still he manages to smile—so you know you gotta count yourself really lucky if he gives you one of those smiles—it’s about learning that he likes plums and animals and he’s so fucking smart, matches me snark for snark…”

Bucky is dumbstruck, big-eyed, touched deep in his heart. Sam pulls him near. “It’s about me not wanting to move my seat up because I wanted you close...

“And, also, you hate Peter Parker as much as I do.”

Bucky snorts and curls up with his head under Sam’s chin, enjoys the safety his body provides. His heart warm and glowing and heavy with happiness, beating with a newly ignited spark. “I wanna be close to you, too.”

Sam kisses his forehead.

“And you know we adore Parker.” Bucky grumbles.

“Yeah. That asshole.”


When Bucky wakes up, it’s to Sam snoring faintly into his hair, he realizes he’s pretty far gone when he thinks that’s the sweetest thing he’s ever experienced. For this very reason, he doesn’t move for about another half hour, lets Sam sleep in a little while he watches the sky go from pale blue to yellow, to soft orange and finally peachy when a fat beam of light shines through the Jeep’s back window.

The glare is enough to wake Sam. He mutters and groans and yawns, but his arms stay locked around Bucky like a harness.

“Hey sleepin’ beauty.” Bucky says and turns his face, so Sam can kiss him.

Sam’s beard is scratchy on Bucky’s cheek when his lips brush over his skin and he tells him, “I’m gonna use all the power vested in me and declare you the beauty between the two of us.”

“Let me have nice things, Wilson.” Bucky says and rolls them so Sam’s beneath him and he’s straddled over his lap.

Sam makes a pleased, sleepy sound and wraps his hands around the curves of Bucky’s hips. They fit so perfectly there, Bucky shifts just to feel Sam hold him, warm hands on warm skin.

“Barnes…” he squeezes, and Bucky lowers himself, hair falling in curly wisps in front of his eyes and lets his tongue slip over Sam’s lips before he kisses him in that slow, lazy no rush kind of way and Sam’s hands slide up his back, hooking over his shoulders to bring them even closer.

He sweeps Bucky’s hair away and tucks it behind his ear. It tumbles forward again, but it doesn’t matter, he does it again and holds Bucky’s face, looks at him like maybe in this light he’s some kind of angel Sam’s never seen before. He’d disagree but Sam seems pretty convinced.

Something he knows deep in the core of him is that he never wants Sam to stop looking at him like this, but he also knows they have to head back. And ‘back’ doesn’t necessarily mean Sam. Bucky would never ask him to stay, knows how important the Avengers and Steve are to Sam. They’re important to Bucky too, but to be of any use to them he needs to complete his treatment in Wakanda.

Sam notices the change, “What’s that look for?”

He sighs, “I just—”

Just then deafening shots clap through the air as Bucky opens his mouth to answer. There’s a brief moment that his brain goes straight into combat mode and his shoulder ghost-calibrates as he puts himself between the threat and Sam, turning around.

But, through the long golden, grass on the open expanse of farmland, an old man—possibly the farmer of said land—comes running toward them, shotgun aimed up in the air, shouting obscenities as another shot goes off.

“Oh shit man!” Sam laughs, “Let’s go!!” he yells, scurrying out from beneath Bucky.

Bucky catches sight of the “No Trespassing” sign beside the Jeep that they so blissfully ignored the night before and swam in this man’s dam downright naked. “Oh shit! Go go go!!”

Sam jumps over the seats, starts the car up and speeds off so fast there’s dust and dry leaves sputtering behind them where the man stands in the middle of the road waving his arms, flipping a bird and then kicking the dirt road.

Much too late, and succumbed to a fit of giggles, Bucky realizes they’ve left Sam’s Batman shirt behind in the grass back there. He should have picked it up the night before but there were other things, far better things, incredible things on his mind instead.

He slips on Sam’s sleep shirt and climbs over to join him up front. Sam puts a hand on Bucky’s thigh while he drives, and Bucky sits, turned toward him, and plays with Sam’s fingers. He thinks about how much he truly doesn’t want this to be over, how heavy his heart already feels and how much worse it’ll get once he says goodbye to Sam and watches him leave.

For a moment he wishes he hadn’t kissed him, but then, would he ever have? And would watching Sam leave feel any better had they not made out like wired teenagers in the back of a car? He thinks not. At least now he knows there’s something they can work with. He’s just not overly fond of the distance.

There’s a Roadhouse up ahead that Sam pulls into, bringing him out of his mopey reverie.

“Hungry?” asks Sam, slipping a shirt over his head, his ball cap follows.

Bucky just kind of stares stupidly because Sam is hot . Jesus. “Starving.” he says, under his breath and with enough innuendo to have Sam shift in his seat.

He laughs at Bucky, beautiful and hearty and his eyes crinkle in the corners, “Yeah smart mouth, what do I get you?”

Sam opens his door and gets out, putting on his shades. Bucky still grins at him like a dumbass with his head tipped to the side. This must be what Parker means when he talks about people having ‘heart eyes’. “Hmm... Chocolate shake. Double thick.” he says, making a point to look at Sam’s thighs.

“Can you stop!” Sam laughs again and looks away, shuts the door. “Fucking maniac.”

Through the open window, Bucky yells, “That sandwich with all the things! The bacon and eggs and pickles, even steak!!” Sam’s ass looks fantastic in those jeans, “Damn! Get me one of those!!”

By the shake of Sam’s head, he can tell the guy doesn’t know if Bucky’s talking about his ass or the sandwich anymore.

He’s going to fucking miss him. In truth he’s been missing him all along, he thinks.

Sam returns with arms full of food a while later, hands Bucky a box with a sandwich so big his mouth won’t fit over it, and a large, thick chocolate milkshake. He places them side by side in the cup holders. Sam’s, of course, is vanilla. Just like before.

On the side of the road they sit and eat inside the car, watching the small rural town come to life as vendors set up stalls along the sidewalk and unpack variants of fruits and vegetables. From some houses kids come jogging out, one with a bright orange ball under his arm, meeting up with another group of kids in the street.

They set up two stacks of bricks a few yards apart and centers the ball for the kick-off.

As a prisoner Bucky knew zero about soccer, he saw it on t.v a few times while on guard in some or other Hydra base, but he wasn’t permitted to learn about it, much less participate. But, in Wakanda there is an abundance of soccer. There, the kids taught him; they showed him how to manage even with his missing arm, how to balance out the uneven weight and play the game with them.

“Bet I can kick your ass.” he mumbles through a mouth full of Dagwood and nods at the starting match.

Sam raises an eyebrow, “Bet I can make you eat your words.”

They finish up eating and Sam pulls Bucky close in the front seat just as he’s about to get out. Sam kisses his mouth, the tip of his nose then his forehead, and pulls on his hair tie to let it all loose. His fingers press into Bucky’s scalp as he tilts his head just right to kiss him again, deeper. Sam tastes like his milkshake, sweet, and Bucky slumps forward into him for more and a soft, needy groan escapes him.

Sam draws all his hair back and ties it into a ponytail this time and leaves the kiss only to look at Bucky again like he’s never seen him. It makes Bucky’s cheeks heat up when Sam drags his thumb over Bucky’s lips and his eyes stay fixed there. Bucky is one hundred percent sure he had more game than this back in the day, he can’t remember blushing as easily as he does now.

Sam cups his face with both hands, and with a reverent blink and with the utmost sincerity whispers, “I’m gonna kick your super soldier ass in street soccer.”

“Oh my god!” Bucky laughs and shoves Sam away, “Way to spoil a moment Wilson.” He’s only half joking since he’s not sure how much time he has left with Sam and how many more of these moments they’ll get before it’s all a faint memory. For now, he wants to cherish them while they’re still plentiful.

They walk up to the kids and by the look of things they recognize The Falcon. Naturally, the lot of them want Sam on their team. The real warriors, as Bucky has identified his team, has faith in his abilities even if to them he’s just a regular guy, he much prefers it that way anyhow. He doesn’t disappoint them either. Bucky delivers a mean kick-off, and he’s much faster on his feet than Sam is, even when holding back.

He doesn’t miss the subtle slips of Sam’s hands under his shirt when he blocks him, on the way he keeps checking that Bucky is okay when they stop to breathe.

It’s when Bucky’s team finally scores the winning goal—with cheering, happy kids dancing around them, hot under the African sun, sweaty and out of breath—and Bucky’s watching Sam laugh, that he realizes how totally in love he has fallen.

Sam looks at him then, winks and grins so gratified and happy as if he knows what Bucky was just thinking, like maybe he feels it too. Bucky’s heart flips and sinks all at once. How’s he supposed to go without this now that he’s had a taste?

By the time they head back to the car, it is past midday and they’ve had lunch with the locals, bought Avocados the size of Steve’s hand from the vendors and a Pride flag t-shirt that says “Lekker” which the locals giggle about when they hand it to Bucky. He makes a note to Google what the hell it means.

If they plan on being back in Wakanda by the following day, they’d better get going. The trip back to the airport is quiet, and this time instead of facing Sam, Bucky leans his head against the window, tries to sleep but can’t. What lies ahead hangs thick between them, he doesn’t really know what to do about it, so he keeps quiet and tries not to think about Sam all that much. Which is pointless if he’s being honest.

They reach the foot of Table Mountain, with its flat top and boundless white clouds, just after four in the afternoon and Sam parks the car in a quiet little lot.

“Right. What is it?” he says and turns his body toward Bucky’s.

Bucky sucks in a breath and turns Sam but looks down, he tugs on a loose thread on Sam’s jean. “Don’t wanna go—”

“We have to go back—”

“—without you.” he shrugs, “Don’t wanna be there without you …”

“Man, that’s all??” Sam says bringing his hand up to pinch Bucky’s chin, “That’s what has you all stressed out you can’t even look at me?”

He looks at Sam now though, “You put it like that, it sounds kinda stupid now, Wilson.”

“Listen, Steve can get by without me for a little while. Nat’s there, and ‘Lll Tick-Tack. You think I wanna leave after all this?”

“I was hoping you wouldn’t, but Sam, I’d never ask that...”

Sam puts his palm flat on Bucky’s cheek and he leans into the softness, leaves a kiss there. Sam tells him, “I want to stay and figure out this thing we got going.” and then he slides his arm around Bucky’s back and pulls.

Bucky goes willingly and climbs into Sam’s lap like he belongs right there.

“Hmm,” Sam hums and squeezes his ass, “Figure out some other things too…”

“So, let’s get back to that fucking Quinjet. Put it on auto… The flight is what? Six hours?”

Sam nods slowly, and when he bites down on his lip, a dizzy wave of want runs through Bucky “Six hours baby…”

Totally on purpose he grinds his ass down and says, “Gonna ride you into next year once we board that thing.”

He smiles when Sam chokes and sputters happily, “Jesus Christ, Barnes, it’s only March.”

Bucky leans down right beside his ear, smiles, then whispers, “Exactly.”


In the Quinjet, they take a shower first, obviously together because who are they to waste resources?

So as Sam shoves him up against the shower wall and does things with his mouth that makes Bucky feel like thick, syrupy liquid inside, he caves totally and completely and lets Sam take him apart over and over.

Sam starts with his hands, all over Bucky, around him, inside him. Bucky listens to Sam hum and make such appreciative sounds at what he’s seeing. It’s all he wants to hear- that he’s good for something other than being a weapon, that he’s more than The Winter Soldier… maybe that he’s pretty too, and especially that his ass looks like ‘a goddamn Georgia peach holy shit, Barnes.

Sam doesn’t let him finish when he wants to, he keeps Bucky on the edge of it, teases, lets go and starts again, until all he can do is tremble in Sam’s hold and come all over himself when Sam tells him “Now.” Jesus help him.

Then it’s Bucky’s turn to work, and he does it so very eagerly on his knees, mouth full and stretched around Sam’s dick while Sam mumbles incoherently about how absolutely gorgeous he is like this, using Bucky’s hair to pull deeper into his mouth. Bucky closes his eyes, moans and comes again. So does Sam, and, as Bucky swallows, he thinks he’s never done anything hotter in his life, never seen anything hotter than Sam all sex-drunk.

They take a quick break, get clean, and eat with Sam standing between Bucky’s naked thighs while he sits on a countertop. Bucky licks some cream from Sam’s mouth corner and ends up on his back, Sam’s face between his legs, making sounds he didn’t know a wet tongue could bring him.

Sam sucks blue marks from his clavicle all the way down to the dip of his hip, says it looks like a string of stars, then gets sappy and tells Bucky he’s as beautiful as one too. They both laugh at that and it’s only funny until Sam slips two fingers into him and later, fucks him on the countertop to within an inch of his life.

Head hanging off the side, holding onto Sam’s biceps for grip, he cries out Sam’s name and loses count of how many times Sam has made him shoot out over himself today. Sam says, “One more time baby.” in this low, gruff voice and Bucky obliges almost embarrassingly quick.

For his revenge, Bucky flips them over like he so easily does, and sits down on Sam’s cock to make good on his promise of riding him into next year and does so unyielding. He tells Sam, “Fuck but you’re a sight like this.” tosses his head back and really puts his hips into it.

They grab at each other, unashamed noises coming from them both, Sam’s nails dig into Bucky’s straining thighs and he curses, watching in disbelief as Bucky moves his body, cranes his neck up to see how his dick slides in and out. Bucky grins at him and feels proper gleeful that Sam looks this wrecked because of him.

“Oh god… so good, You’re so-” Sam moans as Bucky softly twist his nipple and gives a gruff, breathy warning before he pulls Bucky’s hips down on him hard, arching up, looking at him like he’s entirely fucking magical, and comes. He yanks Bucky down on him, hugs him close and sputters breathlessly into his neck: “You’re amazing… you’re amazing… oh shit, I…”

And Bucky knows what he wants to say, Bucky feels it too. But it’s too early. Knowing is enough for now.

They’re pretty spent after that and sit side by side—pilot and co-pilot, no seats moved—fully dressed now. Bucky totally wears the “Lekker” shirt with his tribal print pajama bottoms, looking like a royal mess when they breach the Wakandan dome and the blinking night sky welcomes him home.

He doesn’t give a shit about said royal mess because this glowy, thoroughly fucked man is sitting beside him with a stupid grin on his face.

What he gives a shit about when they land is Steven Rogers waiting for them with a mighty, displeased look on his face. Beside him stands the King, Shuri and a little off to the right, chasing a goat… Peter Parker.

“Oh man. Here we go…” Sam says and lowering the Quin’s ramp. The palace lights shine bright and Bucky kind of feels like he’s on another planet.

Before they step out, Sam takes his hand and squeezes. Bucky nods and smiles at him.

Steve’s face does a complicated thing when he sees them holding hands, tripping through a range of emotions but ultimately settles on beaming happiness. Bucky likes that look on him.

He hugs Bucky and looks at his outfit but knows better than to say anything about it. “Hey Buck, how you been?”

“Pretty good for a one-armed MIA case.”

Steve laughs uncomfortably, Sam hysterically.

He gets a pat on the shoulder and Steve looks at him, a little exhausted, the way he did back in Brooklyn when he wouldn’t let Steve dupe on another army application, “Good to see you, Buck.”

“Mr. Barnes.” says King T’Challa. He doesn’t look too mad about the unauthorized impromptu road trip and only gives Bucky a quick quirked up eyebrow, “Trust you enjoyed yourselves then?”

Bucky nods and shakes T’Challa’s hand, “I apologize for any unease Your Majesty, the Princess did say I should start living again.” he winks at Shuri and is rewarded with her bright, proud smile.

“None of that. Your progress is important to us Mr. Barnes,” he winks and looks down at Bucky and Sam’s joined hands, “Whichever way you choose to progress.”

T’challa then turns to Sam, and Sam nods, “Kitty.”

“Tweety.” T’Challa says and walks back to the palace, beckoning them along.

“Hey what’s Parker doin’ here man?” Sam asks Steve and they turn to where Peter lies flat on his back surrounded by a pack of fluffy goats who lick his face and nibble at his clothes.

Steve pinches the skin between his eyes, shakes his head and groans, “I don’t know, I said ‘Africa’ and he was all “Jee, really Cap, I’ve never been.” with his eyes all big in his head and the next thing I know he’s showing me… mimes?”

“Memes.”

“Yeah, showing me those while I’m flying the jet up here.”

Sam nudges Steve in the ribs with an elbow and says, “You’re a softie, Cap.” and Steve fights a smile, the blush not so much. Sam wraps an arm around Bucky and kisses his temple.

“Alright, enough you two. Let’s get you cleaned up,” says Shuri and leads the way to the palace, “M’Baku invited us over for a late dinner.”

“Yeah. You two look—” Steve frowns, and gestures up and down between the two of them, “—disheveled. What were you doing?”

Sweet, sweet Steven Grant…

Without another beat spared, Shuri, the picture of nonchalance, says “Each other, obviously.”

Peter and Steve go all kinds of shades of embarrassed and cough-coughs to hide it.

And Bucky, watching Sam’s eyes crinkle in the corners with laughter, is the happiest he’s been in a hundred years.