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Fuel the pyre of your enemies

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Three weeks ago, Bucky and Steve were in a meeting with Nick Fury discussing their recently appointed mission. The two were shocked with the arrangement, quite frankly. But an assignment was an assignment.

“It’s a covert op,” Fury explained, handing over their files. “You’re following—”

“Excuse me, sir, I mean no disrespect… but isn’t the point of a covert operation to ensure that the sponsor of said mission isn’t discovered?” Bucky asked, crossing his arms over his chest. He didn’t even bother to open the folder he was given; it sat on the table in front of him. “Steve and I are pretty recognizable, and everyone knows who our associates are and who we work for.”

“As I was saying—”

He interrupted again, “I’m just wondering why you aren’t sending Nat and Clint. They love these kinds of missions.”

“Agents Barton and Romanoff would not be suitable,” Fury stated evenly. He wasn’t showing it outwardly, but Bucky knew he was irritated.

Bucky’s eyes narrowed. “Why not?”

“Maybe if you’d let me finish the debriefing, Sargeant, you wouldn’t have all these stupid ass questions.”

Steve barked a laugh; he couldn’t have helped it even if he tried. He went quiet when Bucky shot a glare at him. Returning his attention to their director, Bucky didn’t retaliate.

“On this assignment, you’ll be following Christopher Vitullo and Andrew Capshaw. Vitullo is a drug lord and Capshaw is an illegal arms dealer; their partnership, in all senses of the word, is dangerous, but we can’t dismantle their business because we’ve hit a sudden halt in surveillance. We have confirmation from a trusted source that they’ll be going on vacation; you’re going to be there as well to try and get information out of them.”

“Oh, Christ,” Bucky groaned. The missing pieces fell into place; he understood now. Of course, Clint and Nat couldn’t go on this mission.

Apparently, Steve didn’t. Brows furrowed, he asked, “What do you mean by ‘in all senses of the word?’”

“It means they’re sleeping together,” deadpanned Bucky. Sometimes Steve had the thickest skull.

The blush on his friend’s cheeks rose rapidly. Steve said quickly, “We’re not—Buck and I—we aren’t together… in that way….”

He cleared his throat, refusing to look at Bucky in the eyes. Sure, they were open about their sexualities. Everyone at the compound knew they were both bi, but they never had a relationship. Not with the hostility against gay people, with them being pathologized and all. Little did they know, both had been pining over each other since they were kids. It was pretty obvious to everyone except the two of them.

“That’s why it’s called ‘going undercover,’ Steven. We have to pretend,” Bucky said, attempting to hide the butterflies that erupted in his stomach. They were going to act like they were together, in love. It wouldn’t be a difficult thing for him to do, honestly. Bucky had been in love with Steve since they were teenagers, maybe even earlier than that. Even if he couldn’t have Steve, he would at least get to play make-believe for a bit. He cracked his neck and turned to Fury. “When do we start?”

Now, the two pulled up to their hotel in the rental car they had set up after they landed at the San Diego International Airport. Before either of them got out, they checked their reflections. The team behind the mission was wicked smart. Thinking to use some fancy tech that would change their facial features and voices (and more importantly, Bucky’s metal arm)? It was so simple, too: the technology was secured into the back of two sets of dog tags, with their fake identities, naturally. Neither of the men thought they’d live to see technology so advanced, but by some twist of fate, they did. It was almost surreal.

Once they stepped into the warm air, an attendant materialized out of nowhere and hauled their luggage off after asking for the name the reservation was under. Right before they entered the lobby, Bucky wrapped his arm around Steve’s waist and pulled him closer. The gesture made his friend go rigid. He leaned in to whisper in his ear, “Stevie, we have to start looking like a couple now. If you don’t relax, people will get suspicious.”

With a small nod and a light blush on his face, the tense muscles dissipated. They continued through the sliding doors, waltzing up to the front desk.

“Hi, there!” a cheery woman greeted them with a blinding smile. Bucky was near certain her breasts were fake. “How can I help you?”

“Hello, my fiancé and I have a reservation under Williams. First name James.”

They decided to keep their first names, but their middle and last names changed. The team didn’t think it necessary to change first names since their physical looks were being altered. (Plus, it eliminated the error of slipping up and calling someone the wrong name.) Well, Bucky had to go by James (which he was thoroughly unhappy about), since ‘Bucky’ was not a common name.

The lady typed on her computer briefly, then programmed their keycards and handed them over. “Are you here for the couple’s resort event?”

“We are,” Bucky replied, giving Steve a chaste kiss on the cheek. It made him flush even darker; Bucky thought it was adorable.

“Great!” the receptionist said. She picked up a few pamphlets and handed them to Bucky. “I’m sure you already know, but this is a special resort event for LGBTQ+ couples, so all attendees will be a part of the community. It’s meant to be relaxing and fun in a safe environment. We hope you enjoy your stay!”

“That sounds wonderful,” Bucky said, “thank you, have a nice day.”

With that, the “couple” walked to their room, practically attached at the hip (for show, of course, not because Bucky was selfish and wanted to be as close to Steve as he possibly could). Once they entered their room, they started unpacking their suitcases, being careful to keep their case files and advanced tech hidden.

Bucky turned to Steve, and said, “Well, here’s to the next two weeks.” He flopped onto their bed and sighed. He really wanted to take a nap, but his friend had other ideas.

“Buck, let’s go and check out the resort. Vitullo and Capshaw might already be here.”

His groan was muffled by the pillow he buried his face in. “But, Steve, I’m so tired.” He knew he had a job to do, so he only half listened to the other’s lecture. “Fine, but you owe me.”

Grinning, Steve said, “Okay, whatever you want, babe .”

Being called the pet name made Bucky’s heart constrict. Did he just teleport back to his teenage years? It certainly felt like it with how giddy he got from the word. They made sure to check their disguises another time and Steve grabbed one of the brochures the woman at the front desk handed them. As an extra precaution, they wired some comms into their ears in case they got separated.

Steve started flicking through the map and schedule of activities as they walked down the hall. Apparently, he already decided their first location because he grabbed Bucky’s hand and guided him in the direction he wanted to go.

“Wow,” said Bucky, tongue-tied. They stood at the edge of a beachfront, the water a crystal blue. He’d never seen anything like it before, not that he could remember. He was sure he’d remember a sight like that, though.

“Yeah,” Steve breathed out. “I wish I’d brought my sketchbook.”

Bucky didn’t reply, too mesmerized by the beauty in front of him. He wasn’t sure what came over him, but seeing something so amazing caused him to pull Steve into his side. Carpe diem, right? It felt natural, and so did resting his head on Steve’s shoulder. There was a soft press of lips to his crown and he blushed. He hoped his friend couldn't see how flustered he got.

“Let’s take a picture,” he blurted.

Steve blinked a few times, processing the abrupt outburst. “Oh—yeah, okay….”

He took out his phone, the one issued for the mission with tons of fake messages and photos to add dimension to their personas, and opened the camera app. He snapped a few pictures of the view, and was about to put it back in his pocket when Bucky interrupted him, “Can we take some of us, too?”

With their backs to the ocean, they smiled for a few pictures, pressed against each other. Steve held the phone a little awkwardly; neither of them had experience with taking pictures of themselves. Bucky vaguely remembered Tony calling it a ‘selfie.’

“Do you want us to take a few for you, so you can get more of you in it?” a man offered out of nowhere, stepping forward. Instantly, Bucky recognized him as Capshaw and noticed another man hovering behind him: Vitullo.

Thank God Steve didn’t choke up; he just nodded at Capshaw as he gave the phone over. It was a little odd; they were taken off guard by the sudden appearance of their suspects. In fact, it made Bucky uneasy; he didn’t think it could be a coincidence, but then again, he’d always been paranoid.

Concerned they weren’t proving as a couple, Bucky slid his hand down and gave Steve’s ass a quick squeeze. This made his partner squeak in surprise.

Steve’s cheeks turned a bright red. He gave Bucky a light shove as he gasped, “James!”

“Sorry, honey, I can’t help it,” drawled Bucky. He hated being called by his first name, but he tried not to think about how he’d learn to love it if Steve would say it like that as if he was almost moaning. “I love this ass.”

Steve rolled his eyes and leaned in to give a kiss. It lingered and Bucky was dizzy after they pulled apart. When Bucky turned to their suspects, they were looking at him and Steve fondly, definitely not like they were criminal masterminds. It made Bucky’s skin itch.

As he returned Steve’s phone, Capshaw said, “I took a lot, so you have some options. I know how shitty it is when someone takes your picture, and they only take a few and they’re all bad. I hope there’s at least a couple good ones in there.”

“Thank you, we really appreciate it,” said Bucky.

“You’re welcome.”

Vitullo spoke for the first time, “You here for the resort, too?”

“Yes, we are,” Steve said. “I’m Steve, and this is my fiancé, James.”

He extended his hand for a shake. First Capshaw, then Vitullo, accepted it and moved to Bucky to do the same. While doing so, Capshaw introduced himself and Vitullo, “Nice to meet you, my name’s Andy. This is my partner, Chris.”

“We were about to go play couple’s Jeopardy, would you like to join us?” Vitullo asked. Steve and Bucky agreed, following their suspects back to the hotel.

In the end, the two soldiers were thankful their friends back in DC had dogged them to get caught up in the years they weren’t around, otherwise they would have come in dead last. Surely, they didn’t do fantastic, but they were successful enough not to draw attention to their almost complete lack of knowledge about the late 20th and what of the 21st century that had occurred so far. They couldn’t afford to have their covers blown on the first day.

When the game finished, Bucky invited their new “friends” to get drinks at the bar.

“Only if you’re paying,” Capshaw joked with a lopsided grin.

“Andrew!” Vitullo said, scowling at him. “Don’t be ridiculous, we can pay for ourselves. Hotel bars are too expensive for people to be paying for your alcohol consumption.”

Capshaw scoffed, pretending to be offended. He couldn’t keep a straight face; once he saw the look on his partner’s face, he burst out laughing. The other three followed suit. It was too bad they were the suspects, Bucky thought they would be pretty awesome if they didn’t have an underground black market business.

A few days later, things were going smoothly; Steve and Bucky had managed to get closer with their targets. They also managed to get over some of their anxieties about their fake relationship dynamic; they still struggled to not feel a little weird. How could they not? They’d never done anything romantic together; they’d been best friends for their whole lives and now suddenly they have to act as though they’ve been dating for two years. But, it turned out their room was adjacent to Capshaw and Vitullo’s, and they ended up doing a lot of the activities as a group, and their suspects didn’t seem to notice or care.

Bucky wasn’t sure if he and Steve were acting enough like a couple; he was troubled. They weren’t as open with PDA as most couples when he observed; sometimes they felt a little tense and uncomfortable with each other, and he was worried the attendees and staff of the resort would pick up on it, too. Steve reassured him, told him they didn’t want to go overboard with it because that would make it look fake.

This changed when Steve was retrieving some ice for their room (Bucky needed it, apparently). He was about to cross over the threshold where the ice box was when he recognized Vitullo’s voice, “Andy, baby, I have a bad feeling about them.”

Steve halted and stepped back several times until he was close to a corner. His enhanced hearing helped to keep the conversation clear from such a distance, even if the two men were whispering.

“It’s fine, Chris. You’re always fucking paranoid, can you please let this go for once? Fucking hell, we’re on vacation!”

“I’m just saying… Steve and James don’t seem like they’re actually a couple.”

“Are you shitting me? Do you see the way Steve looks at him? Like, come on! I wish you’d look at me like that for once, damn.”

The last comment caused Steve to blush and he nearly dropped the bucket, which made him realize he needed to get out of there before he was discovered. He needed to tell Bucky this information, immediately. Swiftly, he returned to their room.

“What took you so long?” Bucky’s voice wasn’t annoyed at all, just teasing. Steve locked the door with both locks and set the bucket on the table. When Bucky peered in from his chair and saw it still empty, he said, “Steve, what the hell?”

“I overheard them talking,” came the reply. He ran a hand through his hair as he paced to lean against the doorframe to the bathroom, putting a lot of distance between the two of them. This had Bucky’s attention in an instant, didn’t need to know who ‘them’ was. As he listened to Steve, he nodded, calculating their options. “What’s the next step?”

“I have an idea,” Bucky said after some thought. The idea had the potential to make their friendship crumble; he didn’t have any better ones, though.

Steve didn’t say anything, patiently waiting for him to explain. With a sigh, he swallowed his heart, which had jumped up into his throat. Fuck it, here went nothing.

Bucky stood abruptly and strode across the room until he was only a few inches away from his friend. Cupping Steve’s face, he brought their mouths together. All of the kisses they’d shared on the trip so far were innocent, as they were in public whenever they did it, but this was completely devoid of innocence. Bucky pressed their lips together roughly, nipping at Steve’s bottom one hungrily. Quickly, he swiped his tongue across the bite to soothe it and simultaneously ask for entrance. Steve, barely keeping up, opened eagerly with a groan. His hands came up to rest on Bucky’s hips and gripped a little harder than what was probably necessary. Shoving him against the wall, Bucky pinned Steve with his hip and pulled away, earning a whine from his friend that made his lips twitch up.

“Why don’t we convince them we’re a couple then, yeah?” he panted.

Steve whimpered, “Fuck yes.”

“That’s a good boy,” hummed Bucky. He drank up how Steve looked blissed out without getting further than kissing, wondering what he was going to look once they actually started. Stepping away, he said, “Strip and get on the bed, doll.”

He marveled at how obedient Steve was. He tripped over his feet to get there quicker, wanting to be good for Bucky. It made Bucky’s heart and dick ache.

Not sure of the position he was supposed to be in, Steve laid on his back and spread his legs once his clothing was discarded.

Climbing up and caging Steve in, Bucky leaned in and whispered in his partner’s ear, “You ever done this before, baby?”

Steve nodded and blushed, biting his lip. This made Bucky groan.

“Good, because I’m gonna give it to you hard and rough.” It was Steve’s turn to moan. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Steve?”

The question was partially rhetorical, partially an actual check-in. The answer was an enthusiastic ‘yes.’

Bucky removed his clothing at a teasingly slow pace, making Steve let out a whine. As soon as he saw Bucky’s hard cock, he practically drooled.

“You wanna suck me off, doll?” Once again, Steve nodded. He watched his friend shift until his back was against the headboard. “Go ahead, baby.”

So he rolled over and got in between Bucky’s legs, taking the tip into his mouth. He licked a bead of pre-cum off, humming at the taste and going down further. Hot and heavy, the sensation of a dick on his tongue drove him wild. He felt it slide down until it hit the back of his throat. Taking a deep breath through his nose, he tried his best to relax his muscles so he could take all of Bucky’s dick. Hearing his lover curse once he reached the base, nose brushing against the wiry hairs, made his chest swell with pride. He loved that he could take Bucky’s impressive length, even if it was a little difficult to do.

He wasn’t sure how long he was sat there in between Bucky’s legs, sucking him off like it was the last thing he’d do, but soon enough, he felt a tugging on his hair. Looking up, he kept the tip in his mouth as his eyes met his partner’s.

“Fuckin’ Christ, Stevie,” came Bucky’s low and gravelly voice. “You keep doing that and I’ll blow my load and I don’t wanna do that yet. I have plans for you.”

He guided Steve’s willing body onto the mattress, his back resting on the fabric of the sheets. Automatically, Steve spread his legs apart when he saw Bucky rummage through one of his duffle bags and retrieve a bottle of lubricant.

“Why’d you bring that?” he asked, raising an amused eyebrow. He couldn’t help but grin at the scowl he received. It wasn’t very menacing due to Bucky’s face reddening.

“Must’ve forgotten to take it out.”

Before Steve could come up with a snarky remark, Bucky pushed a lubed finger against his partner’s puckered entrance. The gasp caught in Steve’s throat as Bucky’s finger pressed inside his channel. He didn’t realize his legs were trembling until a metal hand gently rested on his thigh, grounding him. His voice quivered as he said, “Oh, God—please, more….”

Bucky couldn’t have denied Steve, not when he asked so nicely. He slid in all the way and started a slow, deep pace. When his lover started squirming underneath him, he added another finger, leaning down to swallow the moan. By the time he added his third finger, Steve was a panting mess.

Bucky sat on his heels and examined the man beneath him. He was gorgeous, flushed pink and glowing from a thin sheen of sweat. He licked his lips, taking in Steve’s body. “I want you to be loud; I wanna hear you. Remember, we have an audience to impress.”

That shouldn’t have turned Steve on more, but it did. The noise he made was obscene, and the encouragement he received spurred him on.

Who knew Steve Rogers would have an exhibition kink?

Lining up, Bucky glanced at his partner through a curtain of hair. He wanted to eat Steve alive. “Ready, doll?”

Steve nodded.

“Fuck,” Bucky muttered once he was fully seated inside Steve. With one hand, he supported his weight and with the other, he held his lover’s hip as he initiated a slow pace. “You feel so fuckin’ good, baby.”

“Please,” Steve said. He felt so full and he needed more. “Please Bu-James.”

“What is it? Babe, what do you want?”

“Harder, please….” He rolled his hips and his prostate was rubbed. “Fuck!”

Bucky almost came in that instant. He stilled momentarily and Steve whimpered. “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.”

Bringing their lips together, Bucky picked up, going quicker and rougher. Steve groaned, throwing his head back and squeezing his eyes shut. When Bucky hooked an arm underneath his partner’s knee and lifted to get a better angle, Steve began chanting, “Yes yes yes….”

The bedframe slammed against the wall joining their room with their suspects’, but neither gave the time to care. Bucky shifted to continue fucking into Steve while also freeing his hand to wrap around his partner’s cock; he jerked his fist in sync with his thrusts. Steve wailed , clenching around Bucky’s member.

“Christ,” Bucky said, amazed. “That’s right, I want everyone to hear how well you’re taking my cock, baby. You love it when I fuck you, don’t you sweetheart?”

His lover couldn’t form coherent sentences, just wanton noises of approval.

Rationally, he knew he should have stopped himself from talking dirty to Steve. The words just kept coming out, though. It felt so natural.

“Yeah… you look so good, all spread out for me. God, you’re fucking beautiful. I could just fuck you all day.”

“I’m—I’m going to—oh!” Steve’s words were cut off by a particularly well-placed thrust.

Grunting and breathing heavily from his mouth, Bucky said, “C’mon, baby, make a pretty mess while I fuck you so good.”

And Steve listened, finishing with a shout. The vice-like grip on Bucky’s cock while Steve orgasmed sent him over the edge as well. He emptied himself, swearing more expletives than he could count on both hands. Shuddering, he pulled out and Steve let out a tiny whimper.

Bucky thought they were done, but when he went to stand and grab a cloth, Steve pushed him back onto the bed. “What’re you doin’?”

“I want to ride you,” said Steve, matter of fact. He hesitated at Bucky’s tone. “Can I?”

“Jesus—” Bucky swallowed. “Yes, of course, doll.”

He didn’t think he ever went soft. If he did, he certainly didn’t notice. He reveled in the way Steve’s muscles rippled as he sank down onto Bucky’s cock. Petting his partner’s large thighs, Bucky murmured praises while Steve experimentally rolled his hips forward.

The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. “Oh—fuck… I love it when you’re inside me… feel so full.” He blushed heavily and halted his movements altogether, embarrassed.

Bucky didn’t say anything, just lifted his hips so he could start thrusting up into Steve. He was relentless against his lover’s prostate, earning a litany of explicit noises that surely must have been heard throughout the entire hallway outside their hotel room. “That’s right, come for me as you sit on my cock.”

They finished almost in sync.

This time, Steve let Bucky off the bed. He returned with a damp wash rag and helped clean his satiated friend.

Without words, they both slipped under the covers to take a much-needed nap.

That evening, they ate dinner with Capshaw and Vitullo. It was one of the few times they hadn’t spent the whole day together, so they chatted about their separate activities.

“What’d you love birds do today?” Capshaw asked, looking up from his plate.

“Honestly, we spent most of the day relaxing,” Bucky said. He glanced at Steve with a fond smile. It was only partially forced, things had been a little awkward after they woke from their nap. Thankfully, Bucky thought they were covering it up well enough.

“I wouldn’t call it ‘relaxing’ from what I heard,” Capshaw said. He flinched when Vitullo pinched his arm with a scowl. “Ouch! Babe!”

Steve flushed a deep pink and it was the prettiest thing Bucky’s ever seen. He ducked his head and continued picking at his food, making Bucky bite his lip to stop himself from laughing.

“In all seriousness, James,” said Capshaw, “You’ll have to teach me some moves; I’ve never gotten Chris to make that much fucking noise, especially that quick.”

The horrified looks on both Steve and Vitullo’s faces were enough to get Bucky and Capshaw doubling over with laughter.

After he managed to get it under control, Bucky said, “I’d be glad to learn you a thing or two, Andy.”

“James!”

“What, sweetheart? It’s all fun and games, don’t worry.” When his eyes met Steve’s, he saw the way his friend’s jaw tightened and a flicker of sadness (or jealousy?) emerged. The way Vitullo pursed his lips indicated that he saw it, too. Ah, fuck , thought Bucky.

To make up for it, he leaned in and gave Steve a kiss, running his fingers over the knuckles of his “partner” in, hopefully, a reassuring gesture.

“Doll, you know I’d never actually do such a thing.” He licked his lips. “I love you too damn much to ruin what we have… it’s what people wish they had.”

Steve’s expression softened marginally. He pressed a kiss to Bucky’s hand and whispered an ‘I love you, too.’”

Things went back to normal for the rest of dinner, mostly. Bucky couldn’t help but notice Vitullo’s analytical stares; it made his stomach churn.

Two days later, his worry hadn’t dissipated. Vitullo seemed to be getting increasingly critical. Bucky wasn’t sure how much more he could endure. He poked his head into the bathroom where Steve was in the shower. “Hey, I’m gonna go for a walk.”

“Do you want me to come with? I’ll be done a minute.”

“No, that’s okay. I just need to clear my head,” Bucky said.

He heard Steve’s worried tone over the running water. “Yeah… you doing okay?”

“I’m feeling a little anxious, but I’ll be fine.” He thought it best not to lie; he could have easily gotten away with it nonetheless. “I’ll be back soon, though, sound good?”

“Sure thing, Buck,” Steve said, “let me know if you’re not feeling better. I want you to be okay, despite how you make me lose sleep because of your awful snoring.”

Bucky laughed. “Will do. See you later, punk.”

Steve muttered a ‘jerk’ underneath his breath as Bucky closed the door. He grabbed his wallet, phone, and keycard on his way out.

Walking past the storefronts in the strip mall he managed to wander into, Bucky’s attention was caught by a certain display in one of the windows. The display was littered with all sorts of artwork and supplies. He decided to check it out on a whim. The bell rang as he stepped inside, signaling his arrival to the attendants standing behind the counter.

“Welcome!” the short woman said to him as he approached them. “How can I help you today?”

“Oh—uhm…,” Bucky stuttered. Glancing around, he was suddenly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of supplies and barely-organized chaos of the shop. “I’m actually looking for something, but I don’t really know much about this kinda stuff.”

“Well, for starters, what are you looking for?” the woman maneuvered around the counter, strolling to Bucky. Her name tag read ‘Eleanor.’ “Then maybe I can point you in the right direction.”

“I’m looking for a sketchbook, I think?” Bucky’s never felt more incompetent in his life. It was embarrassing.

As Eleanor led him to the correct section of the store, she asked, “Are you an artist?”

“My fiancé, actually,” he said. He tried to ignore how satisfying it was to call Steve his partner, something that made him think it sounded fitting. He explained how Steve forgot his materials at home when they came on vacation.

She nodded, maintaining eye contact as she listened. The small gesture calmed Bucky’s nerves. She asked a few questions about Steve’s art style and what he normally drew. Doing his best to answer her honestly, Steve didn’t share his work with people often, he managed to articulate the most important points.

Apparently, his rambling was sufficient because she immediately turned around and pulled out a leather bound sketchbook. She handed it to him, then brought him to shelves stacked to the brim with different kinds of pencils, markers, and other materials Bucky couldn’t comfortably identify.

She pulled several box sets of pencils and presented each of them to Bucky with short explanations. “Do you think any of these will work for him?”

“Honestly,” Bucky said, “I’m not sure. I’m out of my element, here.”

“That’s okay!” Eleanor waved her hand with a soft smile. “All of these have different purposes for advanced artists, but any of them would work for general application as well. You’ll be safe with any of them.”

Bucky, not wanting to disappoint his friend, said, “You know? I’ll just take it all. He’s been complaining about needing new materials anyway.”

With that, Eleanor rang up his items and placed them in a plain paper bag.

Steve wasn’t in the hotel room when he got back. Panic filled his body and he was about to break down their suspect’s door when he received a text message from Steve. It said he was with Capshaw and Vitullo in the lounge playing games. Letting out a sigh of relief, he headed in their direction.

“Hey, darling,” Bucky said, embracing Steve warmly. “I have a surprise for you.”

“What is it?”

Instead of answering, Bucky sat down in the chair next to Steve and gave him the bag. He couldn’t help but smile when he saw the awestruck look on his friend’s face as he unpacked the art supplies. Tentatively, Steve brushed his fingers over the leather of the sketchbook and opened the sets of pencils, admiring them.

“I—baby, you didn’t—thank you,” Steve said, grinning from ear to ear. He grabbed Bucky by the collar of his shirt and kissed him, hard, passionate, and a little sloppy. It took Bucky’s breath away.

Earnestly, he replied, “Anything for my best guy.”

“That’s fucking adorable,” Capshaw said, “take notes, Chris.”

Vitullo rolled his eyes. “Okay, Andy, I’ll get right on it.”

Capshaw made a frustrated huffing noise but didn’t push further, rolling the dice so he could take his turn.

Later that night, Steve and Bucky were getting ready for bed when they were disrupted by Steve’s phone blaring, indicating he had an incoming call. Fumbling blindly, he picked up the device from the side table and answered.

“Hello?” After a few seconds, he sat up abruptly. “Yes, sir. We’ll advance immediately.”

He tossed the phone down as he flung off the sheets and began gathering things around their room. Bucky got up as well, watching Steve like a hawk. “What’s going on?”

“There’s been a tip that Vitullo and Capshaw are doing a huge deal and Fury thought it best if we just caught them red-handed. We’ve been ordered to follow them and we’ll have back up once we secure the location of the deal.”

“Right.” Bucky started assembling his gear. “Don’t they ever relax? They’re at a resort on vacation, for Christ’s sake!”

“I know, pal, I know….”

Bucky was always going to be amazed by the technology of the 21st century. Although Steve didn’t need his shield to be a good fighter, it certainly helped. If they weren’t given the nanotech that was similar to their disguise tech, then Steve would have been forced to keep his shield back in the hotel, or worse, in DC. He only needed the nanotech when traveling between the car and the hotel. It was disguised as a backpack.

In fact, it was Steve and his shield that ended up saving Bucky from acquiring a nasty injury—actually, fatal injury.

Everything was going great until one of Vitullo’s buyers spotted Steve and Bucky from their stake-out location (how he did, Bucky wasn’t sure). When brought to the attention of Vitullo and Capshaw, all hell broke loose. Steve and Bucky’s innocent-couple-on-vacation cover was blown out of the water.

So Bucky went out, guns blazing, and Steve followed suit. As soon as the criminals saw Steve’s shield, they knew exactly who they were up against. Some immediately surrendered, others took it as an opportunity to fight harder, trying to win a battle for the sole reason that they could later boast and say they outsmarted the Captain America.

While in hand-to-hand combat with Capshaw, Bucky was swinging with his knife with such focus and precision that he didn’t recognize a target pull out a gun. Aimed at his head, the man had his finger on the trigger when Steve’s shield connected with his arm, shattering the bones. Bucky would never admit it, but he was thankful Steve was watching his back, just like he was doing for Steve.

By the time backup had gotten to the deal-location, the two super soldiers had everyone either bound, unconscious or both. It was safe to say none of the men were going to be able to gloat about beating Captain America.

As they watched the SUVs and helicarriers appear, Steve pulled Bucky in and kissed him. It was hard, desperate and lacked finesse. He stepped back, watching his friend’s reaction.

To which, he said, “Mission’s over, Stevie. You don’t have to pretend anymore.”

“That wasn’t pretending,” Steve replied quietly. “I know I shouldn’t be putting this on you, especially now, but I’ve loved you since 1937… and after all this….” He waved his hand for emphasis. “I don’t think I can keep it to myself anymore.”

Bucky stood there, shocked. His brain short-circuited and the words his best friend said were slow to process, moving like molasses.

“I-I’m sorry, this is probably too much…. I’m sorry, Buck, I—” Steve was cut off by a kiss, equally desperate to the one he gave only seconds earlier.

“I love you, too,” said Bucky after he detached their lips, still holding Steve’s face.

He avoided looking at the shocked faces of some people and especially avoided the ones who had smug smiles as if they knew that was going to happen eventually.

“See, Chris! I fucking told you they weren’t faking it!” Capshaw yelled over his shoulder as he was shoved into a helicarrier. “They wouldn’t fuck if they weren’t in love.”

“Shut the fuck up, would you?” Vitullo scowled from his seated position, hands tied behind his back, surrounded by agents.

“Thought they were going to break the fucking bed and push it right into our room with the rate they were going at it!” Capshaw earnestly told the agent closest to him. “You shoulda heard it!”

This man seriously had no shame , thought Bucky.

He continued and shouted to his partner, “Told you Steve’s heart eyes weren’t fake! You can’t fake that shit!”

“I swear to God…. Now’s not the time, Andrew, we’re being detained!”

Before Capshaw could reply, the helicarrier door slammed shut.

Quirking an inquisitive eyebrow, Bucky turned his attention back to Steve. “So you took the liberty to leave that part of the conversation out when you came back to the room?”

Steve blushed and gave a small shrug of his shoulders. “It may have slipped my mind.”

Bucky laughed, shaking his head. Yeah, he knew he was a goner for Steve one hundred percent. “C’mon, sweetheart. Let’s go home.”