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a summer swim

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“Rogers, you comin’ in, or what?”

Steve opens one eye and looks out in front of him. They’re on the far reaches of their property, behind their small house. There’s a pond back here, a small thing just big enough for swimming, but not much else. Scrubby barely-there grass surrounds them with a few flowery weeds peppering the area, but that’s not important. What is important is that Bucky’s buck-ass naked, floating on his back dead center in the water. After a summer of lazing around in the Wakandan sun, his skin is copper-colored all over. Compared to the pale, sick color he’d been last year, Steve loves the way he looks now.

Bucky’s relaxed, carefree, and finally, finally at peace.

“Why do I gotta come in?” Steve finally shouts back from his towel on the grass. There’s another towel wadded up behind his head, keeping him propped up enough that he can read without straining. Well, it would, if he were still reading. The book Steve had brought out here with him is lying forgotten next to Bucky’s long-abandoned trunks on the grass. Watching Bucky had been infinitely more interesting than reading about the affairs of the Cold War.

“Water’s real warm,” Bucky says, lifting his head just a little to peer over to the shore. He splashes a bit, as he floats around in a lazy circle. As Steve watches, he drops his feet down to the bottom of the pond, and stands, letting his hands just barely skim the top of the water. The pond’s deep enough that the water laps up against Bucky’s pecs, dripping down between them.

“Ain’t it always ‘round here?” Steve says, raising an eyebrow over the edge of his sunglasses.

“Pshht,” Bucky says, and Steve knows without looking that he’s rolled his eyes. His tone changes as he says, “C’mon, Stevie, come join me.” It’s real now, this request, not teasing. How could Steve deny him, when he asks so nice? How can Steve deny him anything, ever?

With a largely put-upon sigh, Steve rolls up to the balls of his feet and stretches his long arms towards the clouds. His back pops in several places as he slowly lowers them back down to his sides. It’s only about five steps to the edge of the pond, which Steve makes in record time. At the last second, before his feet touch the water, he turns to toss his sunglasses on the red terry cloth towel. They land with a small bounce.

Steve slides into the water with a soft exhale; it’s cool against his sun-cooked skin. He half-swims, half-walks towards his target, sinking low in the water so only his eyes are above it. Bucky’s watching him carefully, eyes narrowed. He stays where he is, one twitchy eyebrow the only thing giving him away as amused.

Steve swims closer, and ducks under the water completely just before reaching Bucky. Under the water, he moves around him, popping up with a loud splash behind Bucky. Bucky whirls, trying to duck out of the way. Steve reaches forward and wraps long arms around his neck, tugging him back and down into the water. His back hits with another loud explosion of a splash. It goes everywhere, flying out of the pond to land in soft patters against the dirt shore. Bucky struggles to get away from Steve with loud cackling laughter.

“Le’go, le’go!” he shouts, kicking out wildly with thick legs. One connects with Steve’s thigh, dangerously close to something else.

“Watch it!” Steve says, adjusting his grip to hug Bucky around the middle. Bucky keeps thrashing, twisting and turning in Steve’s grip like a caught fish. He manages to slip out from between Steve’s big meat-paddle hands, and swims a few steps away, breathing hard.

Bucky raises one dripping hand and points at Steve, with a lightly murderous expression. “You’re gonna regret that, Rogers,” he says in a low voice. His long hair is plastered to his skull, long thin strands of it stuck to his face and beard.  

Steve raises both eyebrows at him, and flashes a challenging look. “Oh yeah?” he says, barely holding back laughter.

“Yeah,” Bucky echoes, face splitting into a wide grin as he nods. He pushes his wet hair out of his face, frowning just slightly when some of the strands get caught in the plates of his metal hand. He picks them out quickly with precision, and then drops the hand back into the water with a small plop.  

“You gonna come closer, or didja just want me here to look at me?” Steve asks, this time actually laughing. He pushes off the bottom of the pond, and floats up onto his wide back. He paddles gently with his hands, slowly drifting closer to Bucky.

Bucky catches him on his shoulders, looking over him upside down to smile again. He leans down, and presses a soft kiss to Steve’s lips, a faint touch that barely counts as a kiss. “Is it so bad that I want to look at you?” he asks, blinking water away from his eyes.

“No,” Steve answers, smiling up at Bucky. No, it’s not bad, he thinks. He wants to look at Bucky for the rest of his life, for as long as he can. He wants to know him inside and out. He wants to know him like he knows himself, complete and without thinking.

Waking up in the 21st century without his best friend had been like living without half a body. It hurt, the loss, like a sharp stinging pain that he felt every waking moment. He’d known immediately upon waking that something had gone terribly wrong. Sure, waking up the wrong century was a big giveaway, but that wasn’t quite it. It was something more, something worse . It took him a few hours to realize exactly what it was causing that echoing gape in his chest.

Losing Bucky again in the Snap had been...had been -- Steve can’t even quantify the way that had felt. It had been like losing a major organ, like breaking every bone in his body, like falling from an incredible height, like drowning, like all of those all at the exact same time. Watching Bucky drift away like sand had stoked the roaring fire of rage inside him. How dare the universe pull them apart again? How dare it. Didn’t they deserve better than this?

But they’d fixed it, his team. It had taken years, but they did it. Through time travel, and interdimensional physics and something else that Steve didn’t quite understand, somehow they’d pulled everyone back from wherever they’d gone. Bucky didn’t like to talk about it, so Steve didn’t ask. Did it matter, really, in the grand scheme of things?

“Hey,” Bucky says, raising one hand out of the water to boop Steve on the nose. The water drips down and settles in his beard. “Where’d you go?”

“Hm?” Steve asked, blinking a bit to center himself again. He doesn’t want to go back to those dour thoughts. There’s no reason to -- Bucky’s here with him, right now. They’re in the water. It’s warm, and the sun is shining, hot and steamy on his skin.

“You went all far away in your eyes,” Bucky explains in a soft voice. “Stay with me.”

“I’m right here,” Steve says, shifting in Bucky’s grip. He pulls away after a moment, lowers his feet and stands up. The water barely reaches his chest. He bends his knees until it covers his pecs. “Not goin’ anywhere.”

“No, I mean,” Bucky starts and stops, a faint flush coloring his cheeks red. Steve watches, rapt. “I mean here with me,” Bucky motions back towards the house, then around them in general. He reaches out towards Steve, and settles both hands on his shoulders. He presses down just a little, the faintest of pressures. “ Stay .”

Steve looks at him, fond and sweet. He shakes his head. “Buck,” he starts, laughter coloring the nickname. “Buck, I built us -- I built us a house . Why do you think I’m leaving? Why -- why would I want to go anywhere without you?” He stutters over the words wanting to get them out as fast as he can to reassure Bucky. Where’d he even get the idea that Steve was leaving? Where the hell would he go?

He moves a little, and opens both his arms just a little, wide enough for one ex-brainwashed-assassin to fit in. He wants Buck to settle right up against him, wants to feel his bulk, his warmth. Bucky goes, falling into Steve’s grip to bury his face in the soft skin of his neck.

“Hey,” Steve says, wrapping his arms around Bucky’s middle. He twists his neck just enough that he can press a kiss to Bucky’s wet hair. “Hey, talk to me.”

“I thought,” Bucky says, voice muffled against Steve’s neck. He doesn’t pull away or move, and Steve’s honestly...fine with it. Bucky is close, and warm, and yeah, wet, but so is Steve. The water is warm, at least. “I thought maybe you’d wanna go back? Y’know, back home…”

“To Brooklyn?” Steve asks, a little unsure of what Bucky means. As if anywhere on earth would feel like home without Bucky around.

“Uh huh,” Bucky says, nodding his head a little. Steve feels the wet slide of his hair on his skin.

Steve pokes him right in his side, right in the exact spot that usually makes him shriek with laughter. Bucky squirms away, but refuses to budge out of Steve’s neck. “Hey, look at me a sec, will ya?”

Bucky begrudgingly pulls away, and looks up at Steve with big steel-blue eyes. Steve settles his hands on Bucky’s shoulders, copying his position from before, and stares directly at him. “I don’t want to go back to Brooklyn. I’m gonna repeat myself -- why would I go anywhere without you?”

“I dunno, I just thought maybe…”

Steve grabs him by the ears with a small splash of water, and kisses him full on the mouth. He pulls away after the slip-slide of their mouths starts to be too much. “I love you, jackass,” he says softly, grabbing Bucky and tugging him closer. “I’m not leaving. Not ever. Not unless you tell me to go.”

“Never,” Bucky says, squeezing him into a tight hug. He pulls away after a moment, and slides one hand up Steve’s chest to settle in the dark hair on his chest. He presses a metal finger against Steve’s full bottom lip. “You love me?”

“Yeah,” Steve says, with a laugh. “You know that. I’ve loved you since I was fourteen and you stripped off your shirt ‘cause of the heat to go sit on the fire escape.

Bucky presses another finger up to join the first. Steve dips his tongue out to touch the metal fingertips. They taste faintly of copper and pond water. The combination isn’t as gross as it could be. Bucky looks at him, tilting his head -- his eyes have gone dark, big black pupils surrounded by the faintest sliver of grey.  

“I love you,” he says, slowly and surely, pronouncing each syllable clearly. He moves his fingertips over the entirety of Steve’s lip, back and forth over the soft pink skin. He presses them back inside, the metal registering the heat of Steve’s mouth.

Steve smiles around Bucky’s fingers.

Bucky yanks his hand away, and smashes his lips into Steve’s. Steve makes a soft surprised noise, but quickly adjusts, opening his mouth to the onslaught of Bucky’s tongue. Bucky twists in his grip, slamming their chests together as he all but climbs Steve to get better access to his mouth. Steve laughs into their kisses, sliding a hand underneath Bucky’s soft thighs to haul him up further. The fact that he’s naked is achingly obvious as he grinds his rapidly growing erection up against Steve’s abs.

“I thought we were --” Steve starts, but Bucky kisses him again. Steve kisses back, laughing brightly, before he gets a chance to finish his sentence, “I thought we were swimming.”

“Wanna do this instead,” Bucky says, rapid-fire before sealing his mouth over Steve’s in a red-hot kiss.

“I’m not fuckin’ you in the pond, doll,” Steve breathes, tucking his face in the juncture of where Bucky’s neck meets his shoulder. He kisses him softly there, tasting the water and sweat that’s pooled against his skin.

A low whine comes from Bucky’s throat in response. He tightens his thighs around Steve’s middle, challenging him silently. “Why not?” He says, moving to nibble along the shell of Steve’s ear. Steve shivers, strangely ticklish there.

He could give him a specific list of reasons why they weren’t having sex in the pond, but he’s pretty sure Buck would hear about half of them before tuning him out. There’s no need to get that detailed, anyway. With a soft sigh, Steve says, “Because I’m not. We got a perfectly good house just there…” He nods back towards their home, a small white-sided structure on the crest of a hill. He’d built that. He’d done it just for them, for the future that they deserved. It was the only reason he’d gotten through those months when Bucky had gone back into cryo.

“Don’t wanna go that far…” Bucky whines, breath ghosting over Steve’s ear before returning to suck a deep mark into Steve’s shoulder.

Steve tugs him away with one hand, to look him dead in the eye. “You got slick out here?”

Bucky shakes his head, eyes wide and dark.

“That’s what I thought. One of us is gonna have to go back to the house…”

Bucky closes his eyes, and lets out a breath through his nose. “Fine, you go. I’ll stay.”

“How magnanimous of you, Buck,” Steve says, with a bubble of laughter at the end. He shakes his head at Bucky, and lowers his arms slowly so the other man can support himself on his own feet. Bucky goes, only after pressing another kiss to Steve’s lips. “Still not gonna happen in the pond, though.”

Another whine, and a stomp that only reminds Steve of eight-year old Bucky, frustrated with his mother. He rolls his eyes, and turns to walk back to the house. As he goes, Bucky calls out, “How ‘bout on the towels?”

Steve throws a thumbs-up in the air as he steps onto the concrete patio behind their house. Towels he can do, no problem. It takes him less than three minutes to locate a bottle of lube (stashed in the couch cushions), strip off his trunks, and high-tail it back outside.

By the time he’s back out in the summer heat, Bucky has stretched himself out on one of the towels. His arms are behind his head, stretching out and showing off the thick corded muscles in his right arm. In the year since Steve had gotten him back, Bucky’s gone a little soft ‘round the middle. He’s still strong, still built, but there’s a little less sharpness to his form these days. Steve loves it. They’re retired now. They don’t have to be like they were. They can relax.

Steve kicks at Bucky’s thigh with a toe. Bucky opens one eye, and grins up at him like the cat that got the cream. Smug motherfucker. Steve kneels by his hip, and leans over him to press his mouth to the corner of Bucky’s bright red kiss-bitten lips. “How do you want me?” he whispers, running the tip of his nose down the side of Bucky’s face.

Bucky hums in response, writhing on the towel while he decides. He grinds his right hand down his own chest to take himself in hand. Steve watches, rapt. Bucky strokes himself once, twice with fingers that barely curl around his shaft. “I want you,” Bucky says, like that’s in any way an answer to Steve’s question. There’s a pause, where the only sounds are of the soft breeze blowing through the scraggly grass, and the quiet skin-against-skin noise of Bucky’s hand moving on himself. “I want you from behind,” Bucky continues, voice rough with arousal. “Want you to fuck me into the ground.”

Steve swallows on a suddenly dry throat. He shifts, moving so he’s laying down next to Bucky. He runs a fingertip down his love’s side, taking care to skip over the ticklish spots near Bucky’s ribs. “I can do that,” Steve answers, leaning over him again to kiss him, sucking his bottom lip up in between his teeth. He nibbles on the plump flesh of it, before releasing it. “Turn over,” he instructs, tugging on Bucky’s hip.

Bucky lets go of himself, and with a soft grunt, flips onto his stomach. He twists his head enough to keep dark eyes on Steve, watching his every move. Steve shifts again, grabbing at the bottle of lube to flick open the top with a quiet snick noise. “You sure you don’t wanna go back inside?” Steve asks, knowing that it’s a futile question. If Buck wanted to be inside, they’d already be there.

“I’m sure,” Bucky says, chewing on his bottom lip until it turns bright red. Steve’s eyes zero in on the color, and he snags Bucky’s mouth in another biting kiss.

Bucky whimpers into the kiss, slipping a hand up Steve’s jaw to hold him where he is. They neck for a little while, sloppy wet noises filling the otherwise quiet atmosphere around them. Steve finally pulls away, gently removing Bucky’s hand from his head. “C’mon, don’t you want me, doll?” he asks, in a barely-there voice. “You asked for it, you don’t want it anymore?”

“No, no,” Bucky says immediately, shaking his head. Wet hair goes flying -- small droplets of water hit Steve in the chest. “C’mere, bun.” Bucky reaches up once more, and curls a hand around Steve’s bicep, and pulls. “C’mere, I want… I want.”

The air between them is hot, heavy, and sticky with humidity. Doubtless, they’d be more comfortable inside, but when have they had the chance to fuck outdoors without the possibility of anyone seeing? No one lives near them. No one’s going to pop by for an unexpected visit. This is their land, their home. They can get away with this, and no one’s going to be the wiser.

It’s only because Steve can see how badly Bucky does want, that he grabs at the lube again, and slicks up a few fingers. He runs the same fingertip down the crack of Bucky’s ass, moving slow enough to drag a winded breath out of Bucky. It’s a squeaky wheel sort of noise that sends a ghosting laugh out of Steve. He drags his fingertip down further, to the hot center of him and rubs it slowly over Bucky’s hole. Immediately, Bucky’s hips buck backwards, trying to get more pressure, trying to get Steve inside already.

With a gentle slap to the curve of his ass, Steve says, “Don’t move.”

Bucky whines again, tossing his head back. His hair hits his own back with a wet slap.

“Patience,” Steve says, leaning over enough to suck a mark onto Bucky’s shoulder. That gets another noise. Steve laughs again, but presses his finger further in, gentle enough that Bucky does as he’s told, for once, and stays still. Steve strokes him from the inside, gasping quietly at the heat of him. He’s like furnace, burning up. He adjusts his hand, and knowing Bucky as well as he does, slips another finger beside the first.

Bucky lets out a sigh, closing his eyes and trying not to rock back into it. His muscles are twitching underneath Steve’s palm with the effort. “You gonna move anytime soon?” he asks, impatience coloring each word vividly.

“Hush,” Steve chides, moving his fingers slowly in and out to a rhythm only he can hear. The drag gets easier every time. Bucky’s opening up to him, letting him inside. He’ll never get over how that feels, how much Bucky trusts him to do this. “You want another, or is this enough?”

Bucky opens his eyes to look at him, and wiggles his hips to test. He goes still after a second or two. “Wanna feel you,” Bucky admits, with yet another whine. “C’mon, get in me, sweetheart, wouldya?”

Steve huffs out a soft laugh, and pulls his fingers free. There’s a wet noise as they come loose. “You complain about bein’ sore later, and I ain’t ever fuckin’ you again,” he lies, slapping Bucky on the ass once more. He knee-walks himself between Bucky’s legs, grabbing Bucky’s hips to pull him up onto his knees.

“Uh huh,” Bucky says. If Steve was a betting man, he’d gamble that Bucky just rolled his eyes right up to the sky. “Yeah, and pigs’ll fly one day, too.”

“Shut up,” Steve says with a laugh. He slicks himself up, allowing his palm to glide over the head of his cock a few times. It feels good, in the scorching heat of the day, to touch himself like this. He can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like inside Bucky. Will he combust? Will he melt into a puddle, and stay inside him forever? It’s enough to make him pant with want.

Steve lines himself up against Bucky’s entrance, and slowly pushes his way inside. Bucky freezes underneath him, going stock still as Steve moves. A drop of water or sweat slowly rolls its way down his spine, pooling at the top of his ass. Steve wants to lick it off him, wants to trace that path with his tongue, but he can’t. Steve slams his eyes closed, and pushes in further. It’s like driving himself through open flame. Like taking a dive into a bonfire. It’s so hot inside him, it’s so hot and so tight, and why the hell haven’t they done this before?

“Jesus Christ,” Steve chokes as he bottoms out, Bucky’s ass pressed firmly up against his pelvis. He grabs at Bucky’s hip with one hand, holding it tight enough to leave bruises of each fingertip.

“Uh huh,” Bucky pants, nodding twice. His head hangs between his arms as he tentatively pushes his hips back against Steve.

“Hnngh,” Steve says. Sweat drips down his forehead, taking a dive off the end of his nose to drip onto Bucky’s sun-scorched skin. Steve trails the drop with his eyes, watching as it follows the path the other led downward to the pool growing at the base of his spine.

“Move,” Bucky demands, pulling forward and pushing back, wiggling his ass right up against Steve. “Move, dammit.”

Steve snaps back to himself, impossibly tightens his grip on Buck, and slams his hips forward. Skin smacks against skin in a noise that could never be mistaken for anything other than fucking. Bucky moans, long and loud and rough as Steve starts a violently harsh rhythm. He scrambles to get his hands underneath himself, to hold up his own weight. Bucky asked to be fucked into the ground, and goddammit, Steve is going to deliver even if he spontaneously combusts in the process.

“God, you’re tight, doll,” Steve pants, leaning forward enough to run his mouth over Bucky’s copper shoulders. His lips leave a wet trail there, ghosting over the barely-there freckles. Shifting his knees, Steve drives Bucky’s legs further apart as he thrusts. He shifts himself a little, changing the angle.

Bucky gasps at the change, throwing himself backward as Steve drives forward. Their hips meet as they move together against the rough cloth of the towel. His moans get higher and closer together, stuttering over one another until it becomes one long groan.

Steve’s not going to last much longer -- everything is too much. Bucky is like fire incarnate inside, he’s tight around him, he’s clenching down with each thrust. It’s too good. He plasters himself up against Bucky, dragging one arm around Bucky’s chest to pull him up. He yanks Bucky up into his lap, thrusting up shallowly into his heat. Sweat coats their skin, strengthening the glide as they move against one another.

Bucky yowls at the change of position, scratching at Steve’s arm. “S-Steve, Christ, Steve,” he says, thunking his head back to rest on Steve’s shoulder. The long line of his throat is exposed. Steve wants to sink his teeth into it, but instead drags his fingernails down, dragging over wet skin. “Touch me, touch me, touch me,” Bucky begs, tears forming at the edges of his eyes.

Steve curls his fist around Bucky’s cock, and jacks him in time with his thrusts. Bucky’s mouth falls open as he pants. Steve twists his wrist in the way he knows Bucky likes, and gets a cut-off shout as a reward. Bucky’s biting down on his bottom lip, threatening to chew through it entirely.

“C’mon, doll, you can be loud. There’s no one to hear but me,” Steve whispers, running his nose along the edge of Bucky’s ear.

Bucky lets his lip go, and on Steve’s next thrust, screams as his head falls forward. “J-jesus, baby, Jesus, you keep that up, and I’m gonna…”

Steve slams himself up and into Bucky, gripping him closer around the chest to hold him still. He quickens the pace of his other hand, tightening the circle of his fingers around Bucky’s cock. Bucky whines, shaking his head as tears streak down his face. Steve thrusts up hard once, twice, and Bucky comes with a shout of Steve’s name all over his hand. The shout echoes off their house, and disappears into the air.

Shifting positions once more, Steve shoves Bucky forward with the slap of hand between his shoulder blades. He bends him in half, and snaps his hips forward into the slick, hot tightness. He loses the rhythm almost as quick as he sets it, control all but gone as he rockets towards his release. Bucky writhes underneath him, panting as Steve chases his own pleasure. It’s growing fast in his belly, it’s heading towards him like a freight train, like headlights at the other end of a tunnel. Steve shoves himself forward again and again, and finally everything collides at once, tipping him over that great edge until he spills inside Bucky.

He collapses on top of him as his arms give up the ghost, and groans.

They breathe together thickly, for a moment. The air, if anything, feels hotter than it did before they started. Sweat coats his temples, dripping down his jaw. Steve’s breath sticks in his chest, a familiar feeling from his youth that he hates. The humidity is growing, he thinks, a threat of an oncoming storm. Its enough to make anyone feel asthmatic.

“Please get off me, bun. You weigh a million pounds,” Bucky whispers, reaching back to slap at the back of Steve’s thigh.

Steve pulls out of him with a hiss, and rolls off with a huff, laying flat on his back next to Bucky. He brings his hands up behind his head, and squints. The sky above them is still a cheery blue, but towards the south the sky is turning an ominous grey color. Maybe there really will be a storm to clean the air before bedtime. He hates sleeping in the humidity -- everything sticks to everything else.

Bucky rolls over slowly, as if every inch of him is sore with what they’d just done. A quick glance over, and Steve can’t help but giggle softly. Bucky’s hands are on his chest, mouth slightly open like he’s exhausted. They stay like that for awhile, enjoying the faint, barely-there breeze that blows from the south.

“You okay, Stevie?” Bucky asks, breaking the quiet. Steve smiles as he glances over -- Bucky’s hair has dried into a rat’s nest, sticking straight up in several places. Sex hair, Steve thinks faintly. There are spots of red high on Bucky’s cheeks, slowly disappearing into the tan skin of his faintly freckled face. He looks like a man well-fucked.

“I’m great, Buck,” he answers, still grinning. “You?”

“Oh, you know,” Bucky says, with a roll of his eyes and a shit-eating grin. “Could be better.”

Steve raises both his eyebrows and tackles him, grabbing Bucky’s wrists to yank them up above his head. Bucky descends into giggles, barely struggling against Steve’s hold on him. Steve pins him there, and playfully-glares down at the man he loves. “Could be better,” Steve echoes, cocking his head a little as he studies Bucky. He’s beautiful, always has been. Now, though, he looks more relaxed than Steve has ever seen him. Nothing is looming in the future to ruin what they have. They’re here, together, and always will be. “Could be better,” Steve repeats, barely able to keep from laughing.

Bucky, underneath him, nods his head a few times as he giggles. “Yeah, coulda lasted longer, y’know?”

Steve gapes at him. “Lasted longer? Lasted longer?” His voice cracks up an octave or two in outrage.

“Yeah, I mean, it wasn’t that long…”

Steve changes his grip on Bucky’s wrists, transferring both of them into one of his hands, and uses the free one to poke Bucky mercilessly right on his tickle spot.

“If we lasted any longer, we’d’a melted into the ground, Barnes,” Steve says as he pokes and pokes. Bucky is shrieking with laughter, trying to curl up on himself to protect his ticklish parts. It isn’t working, though, all he’s doing is thrashing his legs around. Steve’s grip on him is too good to break, a least like this, anyway. If Bucky truly wanted to get free, he could.

“Oh, but what a way to go, amirite?” Bucky manages to get out between breaths.

Steve laughs too, a grin tugging at his lips as he lets up on the tickling. He lets go of Bucky’s wrists, and gently lowers himself onto Bucky’s front. He keeps most of his weight on his legs to avoid crushing Bucky with his bulk. Steve smiles up at him, happier than anything in that moment. Sure, he’s coated in a fine sheen of sweat, there’s cum all over his hand, and he smells faintly of pond water, but he’s happy.

“Did you mean it, earlier?” Bucky asks, voice uncharacteristically quiet. His eyes are searching Steve’s face. They stop on his mouth, his nose, his eyes.

“Mean what, Buck?” Steve asks, a little confused.

“That you’d stay?”

Steve closes his eyes for a moment, and takes a breath. “Buck, I meant every goddamn word.” He takes another breath, and opens his eyes to look Bucky dead straight in his. Steve loves his eyes. They’re grey in some lights, and blue in others. “I don’t want to go anywhere without you. I’ve lived enough of my life without you. I want to spend the rest with you right by my side.”

Bucky’s eyes grow fond. “Yeah?”

“Yeah,” Steve echoes, with a nod. He rests his chin on Bucky’s stomach, and smiles.

Bucky smiles back.