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Consciousness brings regret with it.

That in itself is not that unusual, given Bucky’s life choices for the last decade or so, but past that initial moment of disorientation, he becomes all too aware of everything about his position that is unusual.

He’s tied to a chair, for starters. Tied is the wrong word. Whoever’s got him didn’t go for some standard ropes or metal handcuffs, which would have been familiar and downright reassuring because any captors who used rope to tie up a man with a metal arm were incompetent fucks who deserved what was coming to them. But nope, Bucky’s arms are immobilized at the back of the chair with something that feels like a thick metal band around right wrist. On his left, there’s…nothing. He can’t feel anything from shoulder down. The entire arm’s numb.

That’s concerning.

There are restraints around his feet too, thick cuffs around his socked ankles. They took his boots. And his weapons. He’s been stripped down to his compression shirt, pants, and fucking socks.

His heart rate picks up, and it’s a struggle to keep his eyes closed and breathing calm to imitate unconsciousness. He’s not sure if he gave it away when he actually woke, but it’s silent around him, so he hopes not. He’ll have to stop eventually. The back of his eyes is bright in that strange, piercing way that comes from having light bear down on closed lids. He can’t hear shit, not even a person breathing, and all he can really tell about his situation is that he’s stuck to an uncomfortable chair and that whoever captured him know how to keep him contained. Bucky doesn’t want to dwell on all the unpleasant possibilities that brings to mind. His arm’s a hell of a weapon, and it rankles to have it neutralized. If he couldn’t feel the strain of having it forced back, he wouldn’t even be able to tell he still has it, which is not a state he’s willing to revisit.

Someone sighs. Loudly.

Bucky freezes in spite of himself.

“You can stop pretending.” The voice is deep and brimming with authority; the quiet confidence of someone who’s certain he’ll be obeyed. “You’re not very good at playing possum, Agent Barnes.”

“Hey, fuck you,” Bucky says easily, faking cheer as he opens his eyes. He has to squeeze them close the next second, too sensitive for the light that assaults him. “I’m the best damned possum you’ll see,” he forces through gritted teeth.

“Friday,” says his captor, which makes no goddamn sense, but then he can feel the lights dimming.

Bucky eases an eye open, and sure enough, it’s darker than before. He still has to blink tears from his eyes and flutter his lids a few times before he can focus. He sees the table first, then his own legs. His straightens his neck, wishing he could crack it a few times, and finally looks at his captor.

Hot damn, is his first thought.

Threat assessment follows close on its heels because Bucky’s a goddamn professional.

Military, definitely. Male, built like a goddamn mountain. He’s wearing some kind of suit that Bucky hopes isn’t a standard uniform. Deep blue with a damned silver star in the center and stripes to the side isn’t subtle no matter how you spin it, and unless the organization the guy’s with is allergic to subterfuge, they got to have a better design. Then again, he could be a vigilante or any sort of costumed pain-in-the-ass. Those seem to be multiplying by the week.

Bucky stares a bit more, because shoulders that broad should be illegal. It’s the face that really fucks him up though. Hair as silver as the star on his chest, swept back from a face that’s all hard angles and deep lines. There’s a beard too, covering a jaw that looks strong enough to sit on, and its white is peppered with bits of dark blond, which should look ridiculous but doesn’t.

Definitely older than the standard for field work. That shit chews up young, bright-eyed, able-bodied fools who then become older, cynical admin drones with aching muscles and creaking bones before they hit forty. But Bucky’s captor’s here looking like a damn fine snack who could kick the asses of twenty of the aforementioned young fools.

Why can’t guys like this work for S.H.I.E.D?

Bucky plasters on a smile and even makes it charming.

“You seem to know my name. Only polite to return the favor.”

“If you’re banking on politeness, you might be in the wrong business, son.”

Son. Jesus, Mary, and motherfucking Joseph, the lord is testing Bucky. This is how wet dreams and porn clips should start, not a goddamn interrogation.

The man speaks before Bucky can gather his last two brain cells together to form a response.

“But you know, it’s a nice day today, and you’re not our prisoner, so I’ll be polite for you. I’m Commander Steve Rogers. Pleasure to meet you, James Barnes.”

That’s – that’s a lot to unpack.

“Our?” Bucky prods carefully before jumping on the most significant part of that sentence. “I’m not your prisoner?”

Commander Rogers tilts his head, regarding Bucky with insanely bright blue eyes for a long moment.

“Well, no. You can’t leave, of course. But you’re not a prisoner.”

Bucky laughs. It doesn’t even sound all that hysterical.

“Jesus fuck, buddy, look up the definition of prisoner sometime. It’ll blow your mind.”

Rogers smiles, and Bucky valiantly doesn’t get distracted by a flash of teeth. Fuck, though, this isn’t like him, no matter how sex-deprived he is and how eerily similar his captor is to the man of his wet dreams.

“You gave me something,” Bucky says, snapping the words through a frown. He expects a denial or an evil cackle, some dramatic shit, not Rogers’s calm agreement.

“We tranqed you, yes. To minimize struggle. You’re dangerous, Barnes, especially with that arm of yours, and my team is no less destructive once they get into it. This was easier.” Rogers pauses when Bucky snots incredulously but continues calmly as if he’s chosen to magnanimously forgive the interruption. “But our doctor likes to homebrew most of our chemicals, including sedatives. This one tends to leave people a little too relaxed once they wake. It’ll wear off in an hour or so. You seem fine to me.”

I can’t stop thinking about jumping your bones so I’d fucking disagree, Bucky doesn’t say.

“If I’m not your prisoner, and I was tranqed to minimize damage–” Bucky wishes he had use of his arms if only to add air-quotes to those two words. “–then why am I tied to a chair and being politely told that I can’t leave? This how you treat all your guests? You that lonely, Rogers?”

Rogers smiles again, and Bucky spends a hot second being distracted by how his eyes crinkle and his severe face relaxes into something gentler. It changes him entirely, makes him seem less like the kind of man who’d slap your ass and fuck you stupid, and more like the silver fox gentleman who’d make sweet, sweet love to you in a bed of rose petals or something equally ridiculously romantic.

Bucky would like to turn his brain off now, thanks.

“I can’t say I’m hurting for company, no,” Rogers answers, and Bucky kind of hates how his voice remains deep and even and utterly in control. And by hate, he means he wants it murmuring in his ear while he’s getting bent over this damn metal table between them. “But you seem like a very charming young man, so maybe I’ll keep you after all.”

Bucky blanks.

He blames the tranq, of course he fucking blames the tranq, but the point is that those words make all sorts of images explode in the gutter that passes for his mind, and normally, Bucky would ignore it and keep fishing because that’s his damn job and he’s been trained to hell and back for this, but this time, all he can do is stare at Rogers and drool a little.

Rogers keeps smiling, but Bucky sees that glint in his eyes and knows that he hasn’t been subtle in thirsting after his motherfucking captor.

A moment later, the smiles vanishes, and Bucky can finally breathe, not that the serious expression that takes over Rogers’s face is at all conductive in stifling Bucky’s burgeoning hard-on.

“You are a guest, Barnes,” Rogers insists, but with a gravity that’s far from reassuring. “No harm will come to you. I deeply regret that you’re involved in this at all, but you are, and I have to work with what I’ve got. Fury has been informed of your predicament. I’m waiting to hear back from him.”

The damnest thing is that Rogers sounds so earnest as he tells Bucky he won’t be hurt, and Bucky wants to believe him, stupid as it is. But it’s the mention of Fury that really gets him.

“You work for Fu–” He cuts himself off before he can finish. He looks at Rogers, the straight back and hard eyes. He takes in the sheer power of his presence. This isn’t a man who works for anyone. Bucky amends his question to a slightly subdued, “You work with Fury?”

“I don’t, and I’m happy with that state of affairs. Nick isn’t. Which is why you’re here though you shouldn’t be.”

“He lets you call him Nick?” Bucky asks though he already knows the answer. Fury allows people to call him exactly one thing.

“He doesn’t,” Rogers replies with a shit-stirring glint in his eye. “Back to the topic at hand. You’re restrained because I didn’t want to risk you trying to turn this into a fight. You’ll lose, of course, but I like to avoid pointless battles these days. Getting soft in my old age.”

Bucky snorts again, and it turns into a genuine laugh when Rogers grins at him.

“Maybe I wouldn’t fight if you explained to me what the fuck is going on.”

“Language, son,” Rogers says mildly, and Bucky, god help him, has to squirm in his seat at the sudden flare of arousal. Keen blue eyes flick over him interestedly, not even trying to hide it. But all Rogers says is the answer Bucky demanded. “I have a team of people here, and we like to, in Nick’s words, meddle in his business. He doesn’t mind the meddling so much as the fact that we don’t do it on his behalf and in the way he wants. These days, we keep out of each other’s ways, but you know Nick. He can’t help himself sometimes. That’s where you come in, Barnes.”

Rogers pauses, staring placidly at Bucky. He somehow manages, without uttering a word, to convey both an invitation to speak and an offer to continue if Bucky would rather listen.

“It wasn’t a terrorist base I was infiltrating,” Bucky says flatly.

“Not even close. Nick’s not so far gone that he’ll label me a terrorist.”

“I hate to tell you, man, but he already kinda did.”

“No, what he did was lie to you. That’s different.”

Bucky smiles tightly, locking up his anger and shoving it down where he can deal with it later. This isn’t the first time he’s been given deliberately falsified information to work with. Won’t be the last, assuming he gets out of this. But funnily enough, it never ceases to piss him the fuck off.

Rogers is still staring, blatantly evaluating Bucky. Whatever he sees makes him return Bucky’s smile with a flat one of his own, something commiserating in the humorless twist of his mouth.

“I am sorry you got involved.”

“But not enough to let me go.”

“Not until Nick and I have a nice, long chat. You did some damage, Barnes. You’re good.” Bucky perks up in spite of himself, preening at the admiration in Rogers’s voice. It’s not even grudging, just honest praise from an unlikely source made all the more potent by how Bucky wants to fuck the speaker. “Nick’s interference got one of my teammates injured. I’m afraid I can’t let it go as I have in the past.”

Bucky takes a moment to chew over that.

“See, I get where you’re coming from. But how do I trust you? For all I know, you actually are a terrorist. And let’s say you are saying the truth. I still don’t know what it means for me.”

“All it means that you stay here, as our guest, until Nick Fury gets his head out of his ass. As for whether I’m being honest – you realize it doesn’t matter, Barnes. Whether you trust me or not, your situation doesn’t change.”

“And you wonder why I think I’m your prisoner.”

That, surprisingly, elicits laugher. Bucky was half-expecting anger, the sort of righteous rage unique to people who firmly believe they’re the ‘good guys’ and doing the ‘right thing’ and stick to that story even as the body count piles up. Rogers just laughs. Not at Bucky, not at himself either. It’s just a laugh, loud and genuinely amused. It’s a very nice sound, objectively speaking the way Bucky’s dick currently is.

“Alright, alright,” Rogers says once he has calmed down. “If you’re so insistent on being my prisoner–” Oh fuck, abort, abort. “–then that’s what you are. I’ll try to be the nicest jailor, you’ve had, how about that?”

“Sounds great,” Bucky says, choking a little.

Jesus Christ. He doesn’t think its leftover tranquilizer anymore.

Rogers grins, and dammit, the fucker knows exactly what he’s saying.

“Let’s start with escorting you to your room.”

“What, I get a room now? Putting a damper on the whole prisoner fantasy, Rogers. After having me wake up in this wonderfully drab interrogation room, the least you can do is throw me in a cell. Really commit to it.”

Rogers shakes his head and leans back on his chair, which looks as uncomfortable as Bucky’s.

“This place is used for interrogation, yes. Better to keep the bloodstains contained. You’d know all about that.” Touché. Bucky shrugs noncommittally. “But you’re not here for that. We just had to stash you somewhere while a room was prepared for you.”

Bucky doesn’t quite know how to respond. He’s only happy to forego the questioning and the torture, but at least that would have made more sense than whatever is currently happening.

“I’m going to let you go now,” Rogers says. “Don’t try to fight. Won’t end well for you.”

“Oh, good. For a second there, I thought you’d start advocating pacifism.”

Rogers quirks an unimpressed eyebrow at him. Bucky finds that more attractive than he should.

“Now, Friday.”

The restraints on his wrists and ankles release with a series of quiet clicks. Bucky brings his arms forward – or tries. The right one responds easily, if not painlessly, but the left one just drops limply to his side, slamming noisily into the chair. He doesn’t feel the pain, which is normal, but he doesn’t feel the pressure or force of impact either, which is decidedly not.

Like before, his entire left arm is numb from shoulder downwards.

Bucky swivels his head to glare at Rogers who meets his eyes calmly, utterly unrepentant.

“I don’t find it necessary to be needlessly cruel,” Rogers tells him. “That doesn’t mean I’m a fool, Barnes.”

“What the fuck did you do to my arm?”

“Nothing permanent. Look.”

Rogers nods at Bucky’s wrist, and Bucky does look. He scowls at the black band encircling his wrist. He grabs the arm with his right one and pulls it onto his lap, relived to find the joints working properly in spite of his inability to command them. The black band looks like a plain bracelet, not more than a couple of inches wide and half as thick. When he turns his arm, he finds blue dots lining the side of the band, glowing softly.

It's clear what it does, but that a device this inane and compact which can take out his arm so efficiently exists

It’s alarming, and not just because it significantly limits Bucky’s functionality. Fighting without an arm is one thing; fighting with a heavy metal limb as dead weight is another entirely. More than that, this kind of technology is better than what S.H.I.E.L.D has got. As far as Bucky knows, the only thing in their arsenal that can stop his arm are little metal disks that send electric shocks up his arm. Even they only work temporarily.

He returns his attention to Rogers, unsurprised to find that he’s been watching Bucky all along.

“You’re not a very good host,” Bucky says softly.

Rogers’s gaze could cut through steel.

“Then it’s just as well that I’m your jailor.”

 

-

 

The walk to his so-called room is, in a word, strange.

They make enough turns through identical corridors gleaming gunmetal grey that even Bucky would be hard-pressed to retrace his steps. It’s definitely deliberate for all that Steve’s calm and implacable as he leads Bucky through the building. They don’t see a single other person either, and it could be that the team Rogers keeps referring to isn’t even here, but Bucky’s more inclined towards the idea that they’re keeping out of sight. Wise and cautious, but it’s certainly inconvenient for him.

At least the person Steve keeps calling Friday is around somewhere. Probably a tech expert given their easy manipulation of the lights and Bucky’s restraints.

And that’s another thing, the tech here. S.H.I.E.L.D is pretty advanced in that regard, in terms of both cybersecurity and weapons development, but their buildings still look normal, for the most part. This place looks like someone took a page out of Stark Tower’s design and used it on a bunker. Everything’s unforgiving metal and sleek panels. There are no visible cameras but the lines of glowing red along parts of the ceiling makes Bucky’s hair stand on end.

Whoever these people are, they’re not to be underestimated.

That doesn’t bode well for Bucky. Fury’s not the kind to compromise or negotiate with the enemy. Rogers implied that he and Fury aren’t enemies, per se, but Bucky doesn’t trust the guy enough to bet his life on it.

Which still means he trusts the guy a little bit, and that’s surprising as hell. There’s just something about Rogers.

Bucky sneaks another glance at the man, not for the first time, as he dwells on that thought. They’re walking side-by-side like they’re friends out on a stroll and not captor and captive. The illusion’s kinda ruined, at least for Bucky, by his left arm dangling limply at his side. Rogers seems unbothered, confidently striding through the seemingly endless hallways. He’s got long legs and a brisk walk that eats up the ground with all the easy confidence of a man unused to being stopped and well-aware that he can’t be unless he damned well wants to be.

It reminds Bucky of Fury a little, but his all-black ensemble and flaring duster creates a wholly different impression than Rogers’s form-fitting suit with its stars and stripes.

Bucky can’t stop looking at that design, seized by a niggling sense of familiarity that’s compounded with each glance he steals of Rogers’s profile.

Blue eyes flick to him, catching Bucky staring for probably the fifth time. He’s quick to avert his eyes, just like the times before, but Rogers doesn’t play along for a change.

“Something on my face, son?”

Oh fucking-

Christ, it’s just not fair that he can short-circuit Bucky’s brain for a whole ten seconds with just one word.

He takes a deep breath in a vain attempt to shake it off. He needs to get laid if an enemy can get him this desperate with just a few, mostly innocent words. But then, it’s not everyday that Bucky’s taken hostage by men who walked straight out of his adolescent and adult fantasies.

No sooner than the thought passes though his head does Bucky come to a stop, right there in the middle of Generic Corridor #7.

Rogers doesn’t take more that two steps forward before he spins around, body relaxed and battle-ready even as he looks at Bucky with nothing more damning than polite curiosity.

“Barnes?”

The voice is unfamiliar, but then, it would be. Bucky’s only ever heard old recordings, and they’re never that faithful. But the face. The eyes. The goddamn star on the chest.

And the name.

“You’re Captain America,” Bucky breathes.

Rogers – Steve fucking Rogers, what the actual fuck is Bucky’s life – blinks.

Bucky holds his breath.

“Sam Wilson is Captain America,” is what he says, a corner of his mouth twisting up. “I think so, at least. I admit to losing track of who carried the shield for a time after Isiah. Now, he was a good kid.”

“Sam quit,” Bucky says automatically. “He’s good people but didn’t like how Fury–”

He swallows the rest of the sentence, but it’s too late. He’s given away the crux of it. Rogers looks contemplative, blue eyes intent on Bucky.

“Who’re the new candidates then?”

“I can’t just tell you that,” Bucky protests, but it’s half-hearted at best. It’s one thing when he thought he was dealing with a strangely charismatic leader of some rebel vigilante cell. Connecting Commander Rogers to Steven Grant Rogers changes things.

Rogers cocks his head.

“Why don’t you tell me who it is while we walk? Rude to block the way like this.”

“There’s literally not a soul in sight,” Bucky complains even as he obeys. It’s easy to fall in step with Rogers, only now, Bucky can’t summon the willpower to look away. “What the fuck though, you’re dead.”

“Now, who told you that?” Rogers asks.

“I–”

No one did. That’s the thing. Steve Rogers vanished in the 70s, not long after a highly publicized divorce from Director Carter, his wife of over twenty years. Well, publicized in the sense that the media hounded the duo like rabid dogs while Carter and Rogers avoided comment and made it very clear their private life wasn’t up for discussion. Not that it stopped the gossip, especially when Rogers up and disappeared towards the end of the decade.

Eventually, the general public assumed he died, though that birthed its own debates on the supersolider serum and what it would take to kill Rogers. Given that he looked like a man in his twenties even as Director Carter started sporting grey at the temples, it was a reasonable question.

He sure as fuck doesn’t look twenty-five now, in 2020, and sweet Jesus, Bucky’s all the more fucked up about it.

“Fury’s candidates,” Rogers prods gently, slanting a look at Bucky that has his insides squirming a little.

“Sharon Carter,” Bucky blurts out. “Fuck. Um. Melinda May. And, uh…”

“Go on, son,” Rogers says, clapping a hand on Bucky’s right shoulder and making his knees fucking tremble.

“Me,” Bucky adds, looking away, at one of those ominous red dots on the ceiling.

…did it just wink at him?

“Peggy’s niece,” Rogers says consideringly. “The Cavalry. And you.”

Bucky can’t pinpoint what it is, but something about the tone pokes at him. Makes him narrow his eyes at Rogers and damn near turn it into a squint when he’s given a cheeky smile.

“You fucker, you knew.”

“I admit to nothing,” he says cheerfully, the old bastard. “Look, we’re here.”

Bucky starts, gaping at the door that seems to have appeared out of nothing. It didn’t, probably. He was just too busy staring at Steve fucking Rogers to notice.

Then he looks at the aggressively plain walls surrounding them and has to wonder if distraction is all it is.

A press of Rogers’s palm to a panel on the door makes it slide open. He gestures for Bucky to step inside, and he does, hesitant but not as much as he was around ten minutes ago, which is stupid because for all he knows, the original Captain America has turned evil or some twisted shit. Wouldn’t be the strangest thing he’s seen in this line of work, not after aliens fell out of the sky in 2012 and fucking kept coming, in varying capacities of friendliness.

At least that’s what the public thinks. Bucky’s got enough clearance to know the unfortunate truth; aliens have been paying them visits for a damn sight longer than that.

The door slides shut. Bucky doesn’t turn around, but he can feel the heat of another body at his back, so close because Bucky hasn’t taken more than a couple of steps into the room. He considers moving and giving Rogers space but can’t bring himself to do it.

A palm comes to rest on the small of his back. It’s a light touch, but it burns through the fabric of his compression shirt. Bucky feels it like a brand on his skin.

Rogers pushes gently, and Bucky stumbles forward like a drunk man.

He gets a hold of himself and steps away, turning around and hoping his reaction is contained to the twitch in his pants and the race of his pulse. The warmth on his cheeks say otherwise, but a guy can pretend. Rogers’s gaze flickers down his body and does jackshit to improve Bucky’s self-restraint, but he mercifully doesn’t comment on it. He knows though. Bucky can see it in his eyes. Can see the interest too.

“I knew,” Rogers admits, and it’s testament to Bucky’s distraction that it takes him a whole minute to connect the dots.

“You backtracked fast,” Bucky says once he does, and fuck, why does he sound so breathless?

“Well, you were being so well-behaved, I thought you deserved a reward.”

“Jesus fucking Christ,” Bucky spits out, walking backward until his knees hit the bed there. He collapses gratefully. “I know what you’re doing.”

“What am I doing?” Rogers asks, smiling like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth. “Who would you suggest?”

“Huh?”

“The next Captain America. Who would you pick?”

“Why don’t you just assume I’d say me and let it be?”

“No fun in that. Answer, won’t you.”

Bucky almost says his own name, just to fuck with Rogers, maybe get a rise out of him. But those damnable blue eyes are watching him like a hawk, intent and intense, and Bucky’s got “so well-behaved” ringing in his mind when he answers honestly.

“Carter. I’d pick Carter.”

“Oh? And why’s that?”

“I – May wouldn’t like that kind of public role. She’d fucking hate it, really. She works better the way she does now, with Coulson and the rest. Carter’s good. Not as strong as May, but she’s a great agent and a good person. She’d do the title justice, and she’s used to S.H.I.E.L.D. She can work with them without wanting to bite Fury’s head off every other week the way Sam ended up wanting to.”

That was a hell of a thing to see though. Sam’s such a chill guy, genuinely kind and generally easy-going. Watching him lose his shit with the Director was as sad as it was hilarious. Bucky understands why he quit, and honestly, Sam’s happier now. He made an amazing Captain America, but he could have done more with it in some other world where S.H.I.E.L.D didn’t practically own the title and whoever bore it.

Rogers, who listened quietly to Bucky’s assessment, gives him a slow nod and another considering gaze.

“And you?”

Bucky just shrugs.

“I’m not that kind of soldier.”

“It’s not about the kind of soldier you are. Someone once told me that.”

Bucky’s well aware that he’s giving himself away, but he still looks at Rogers’s feet and says, “I’m not that kind of man either.”

A long silence follows.

He looks up and finds Rogers watching him with an expression of unguarded surprise. Bucky shrugs again, suddenly uncomfortable in that particularly piercing way that comes from wondering whether you’ve made someone else uncomfortable.

“I, um, read your autobiography. A few times.” More like ten, but who’s counting. “It was a phase.”

“A phase,” Rogers echoes dubiously.

“Listen, I was an edgy teenager with a dead army vet for a mom. Of course I had a Captain America phase.”

He expects laughter. What he gets is a look that’s too damn gentle and understanding to weather for long. Bucky looks away, heart in his throat for entirely different reasons than before.

“Unless you’re far older than you look, I wasn’t Captain America since before you were born.”

Bucky shrugs.

“You were the first. And you’re still the world’s only successful attempt at a supersoldier. Everyone else who bore the title lived in your shadow. Hell of a name to live up to.”

“I know. It’s not fair to them, but here we are.”

Bucky finds himself staring at Rogers again, unable to help himself.

“About that. How are you here? Leading a – a vigilante team and pissing off Fury. Didn’t you work for S.H.I.E.L.D, back in, um–”

He shuts up but not before his foot’s already shoved halfway down his throat. If Steve’s bothered, he doesn’t show it, and if he finds it impudent for someone who’s technically his captive to question him on personal details, he’s very gracious about it.

“Back when Peggy was the Director, yes. Only for some time. It was quickly clear that the kind of work S.H.I.E.L.D did wasn’t for me. I’m more soldier than spy, and subterfuge doesn’t come naturally to me.”

Bucky, even as he’s digesting that, makes a show of looking around the room. It’s nice and all, none of the unsettling futurity of the corridor outside. There’s enough space for Bucky to exist in without feeling suffocated, and the bed is surprisingly comfortable. There’s also a wardrobe and a desk. All of it’s very obviously attached to the floor.

“Right,” he drawls after a long pause. “Says the man who’s been playing the field from the shadows for the last four decades.”

“Touché,” Rogers says easily. The lines on his face become more pronounced the wider he smiles. It does things to Bucky. “I did eventually discover you can teach an old dog new tricks. But there’s this saying in, uh, the south of India, I think. It doesn’t translate well, but the gist of it’s something like – you can try to straighten a dog’s tail for a thousand years, but it won’t work. That’s what I am. A dog with a few new tricks but a tail that’s perpetually curved.”

Bucky spends a moment digesting that chimera of a metaphor.

In the end, all he says is, “You didn’t answer my question.”

“What makes you think I will?”

Bucky snorts, because yeah, fair enough, but then he lowers his head and peers up at Rogers from under his lashes, slapping on a sweet little smile to go with it.

“I’ll ask real nicely,” Bucky purrs. “I’ll even say pretty please.”

Rogers shakes his head, but his eyes are bright on Bucky.

“I bet you would,” Rogers murmurs, voice a decibel lower than before. It goes straight to Bucky’s dick. “Tell you what. Get some rest. Sleep off the tranqs. If you still have questions when you wake, ask me then.”

“You’re not saying you’ll answer.”

Rogers’s smile is more of a smirk, sharp with a predatory edge.

“That’s up to you, isn’t it? Sleep. Holler if you need me.”

Just like that, Rogers is sweeping out of the room, the door opening and closing behind him with whisper-soft sounds.

The exhaustion seems to hit Bucky all at once. The parts of him that were straining to be vigilant in the presence of a potential hostile, arousal and admiration be damned, simmer down in Rogers’s absence. Being alone in an alien environment with no fucking clue what’s gonna happen to him isn’t much more ideal, but a quick round of the room is all it takes to ascertain that escape isn’t likely or even possible, especially with his left arm neutralized. He fumbles around the door, barely even discernible from the wall, but can’t find any kind of opening mechanism. Rogers did open it from the inside, but he didn’t do anything. It just opened up for him.

Relatable, but not very helpful to Bucky at the moment.

Eventually, he collapses back on the bed, which is wider than a standard cot and lets Bucky sprawl out on it with a sound that’s more groan than sigh. Preoccupied with Rogers, it was easy to ignore the aches and pains littering his body. Stripping off his shirt is tricky with his left arm dead at his side, but he manages, swearing under his breath when the movements pull at the parts of him that took damage. He moans in relief once he’s topless, and maybe it’s not a very bright idea, but then, it’s not like the compression shirt provided much in the way of protection. Everything useful has been removed from him.

Most of the pain is on his torso. His shoulders and back burn something fierce from the way he was restrained and now from bearing the dead weight of his metal limb. In terms of injury, he doesn’t find more than some minor bruising along his left side that looks and feels like he got it from slamming against something hard rather than fighting a person. That’s in line with what he does remember, or rather, doesn’t remember. For all he knows, he went to bed at some unholy hour and woke up tied to a chair. If he tries, he does get vague flashes of unease and dark shapes, but it’s more feeling than image, lingering at the edges of his memory the way some dreams do once they fade.

He probs lightly at a sore spot on his neck and hisses through his teeth at the throbbing pain. They tranqed him there. One mystery solved, just a hundred to go.

Lying down helps, eases the strain on his muscles. In a pitifully short amount of time, it’s a struggle to keep his eyes open.

Bucky doesn’t even remember falling asleep.

 

-

 

There’s that moment of disorientation upon waking, followed by an assault of awareness.

Bucky jerks upright and regrets it the next moment when his head spins violently, sending him crashing right back into his pillow. He lies there until the vertigo passes, then attempts horizontality again, slower and more successfully. He sits and breathes slowly as the lightheadedness passes.

The room’s dark now, pitch black. Bucky doesn’t like it, but as he throws his legs over the side and prepares to tentatively grope through the darkness, dim lights come to life. Their intensity is low enough that he only flinches for a second, which is considerate and reminds Bucky of waking up the last time to a bright glare.

Rogers said something like–

“Is someone there? Friday?”

There’s no response, but the lights become a little brighter, still tolerable.

Bucky isn’t surprised that he’s being watched, but that doesn’t mean he likes it. Not like he has a choice though. He is, as he insisted to Rogers, a prisoner, albeit a relatively well-treated one.

The sleep helped. His head feels clearer and while the aches in his body haven’t vanished, they’ve weakened. His left arm is still deactivated, but lying down and letting the bed take its weight has eased the strain.

But he’s also starving and dehydrated and fucking filthy.

He takes an experimental whiff of his armpit and grimaces at the stench. He feels greasy all over, skin slimy and thick with that peculiarly disgusting blend of sweat, grime, and exhaustion. He also badly needs to piss.

“Ugh,” he mutters under his breath and promptly yelps.

Because just like that, a part of the wall is sliding open. Not the one he came in through but another, on the wall to his side.

Bucky gapes until it finishes opening and there’s a regular sized opening just casually there on the wall, with a brightly lit space on the other side. He gets up and makes his way over, ignoring the little voice in his head whispering that this is how people die in movies, Bucky Barnes, you fucking idiot.

His life’s been far more surreal than a movie for a damn long time, and anyway, this would be the wrong genre.

Probably.

He pauses at the doorway and lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding.

It’s a fucking bathroom. Everything’s white and sterile, but there’s a toilet and a shower and some bland looking toiletries stacked to one side. Bucky’s in love. But, for all that he wants to jump right in, he can’t.

“Are you watching me in here too?”

There’s no response, again, and Bucky doesn’t wait for one as he surveys the walls and the ceiling. And sure enough, there it is, tucked to a corner; three little red dots in a line. Bucky glares at it, and it blinks, once.

“Yeah, fuck you too.”

He takes a piss anyway because he works for an organization which unapologetically has cameras inside bathroom stalls, and Bucky’s been through enough that any sense of modesty that survived high school was stripped off him piece by piece in highly unconventional environments.

He takes a shower too, scrubbing every inch of his skin and cursing every other minute when he has to maneuver around his left arm. Not for the first time, he wishes it’s detachable, but the whole point of this prosthetic is that it’s welded into his goddamn bones. Sure, it’s only technically the shoulder cap that has to stay, but Bucky needs S.H.I.E.L.D techs to remove it properly or a host of power tools to remove it improperly. Neither’s an option at the moment.

“You’re an asshole, Rogers,” he yells when he drops the soap for the fifth time trying to scrub his back. He flips off the band on his left wrist for good measure, feeling only a little juvenile as he does.

Eventually, he’s pink-skinned and wrung-out but clean.

Whoever stocked the bathroom didn’t have the foresight to add a towel so he’s dripping all over, his long hair unsurprisingly being the worst of it. Bucky considers chopping it all off at least once every week, but if the unfortunate incident with Daisy’s chewing gum didn’t convince him, then a little thoughtlessness from his captors sure won’t.

The door panel, which slid closed once he whipped out his dick, opens for Bucky after he has squeezed most of the water out of his hair. He’s still going to track water all over the room, but what the hell, they can fucking deal.

It’s that flash of electric irritation that has him striding, buck naked, out of the bathroom, right into Steve Rogers’s mountainous chest.

The fucker doesn’t even stumble.

Those huge arms come around Bucky when he staggers back, sliding over bare, wet skin as they steady him. Bucky freezes with a faint noise fluttering in his throat, looking up all doe-eyed at Rogers. It’s a shock to find that there’s not much of a height difference between them, just a couple of inches. But the way Rogers holds himself, he might as well tower over Bucky. He’s got the kind of presence that makes Bucky want to drop to his knees and take one for the team.

A tense moment passes with the two of them in that one-sided embrace. Despite the hot shower Bucky just took, Rogers’s hands feel searing on his skin. Bucky’s heart is pounding in his throat, and when Rogers finally lets go and steps back, he feels the imprint of those palms burning the flesh of his back.

Rogers is out of uniform, clad in soft, loose clothes that does jackshit to hide his build. Bucky shuts his mouth before he starts drooling.

“I’m sorry,” Rogers says, politely averting his eyes. “I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”

Bucky huffs out an amused breath and looks down at his half-hard dick.

“Yeah, I’m uncomfortable alright.”

He sees the exact moment Rogers returns his gaze to Bucky and realizes what he’s talking about. He sees those blue eyes flicker down, and they don’t widen or narrow at what they find, but that, perversely, only makes Bucky harder.

He turns on his heels to save his dignity and makes for the bathroom, where his pants lie in a crumpled heap. He doesn’t make it more than two steps before something soft hits him in the back. He whips around and finds Rogers looking off to the side, face unreadable. At Bucky’s feet lies a pair of grey sweatpants.

He picks them up but doesn’t wear them, just holds them protectively in front of his dick as he asks, “Didn’t know mind-reading was part of the superserum package.”

That does make Rogers look at him, one brow quirked up.

“It’s not,” he says drolly. “I just have a functioning brain. Put on some pants, Barnes.”

And Bucky, because once a little shit, always a little shit, and now a horny little shit, can’t help but ask, “Yeah, you sure that’s what you want?”

The thing is that he’s sure he’s not imagining the way Rogers’s eyes flash at the challenge in his tone or the way his whole body leans a little towards Bucky in unhidden interest. But the only answer he gets is a curt nod and Rogers turning away to stride over to Bucky’s bed.

Bucky shrugs, more disappointed than he should be given how colossal a bad idea it would be to fuck Rogers, and commences the struggle of yanking the sweats on while hopping lopsidedly on one foot with the dead weight on his left. He manages without falling and bashing his head in.

“I’m done,” he says, walking over to Rogers who stares up at him from where he’s seated on Bucky’s bed. Silently, he holds out a shirt to him; not the one Bucky took off but another, in a shade of grey darker than the sweats.

Bucky shakes his head, half just to see what happens.

Nothing. Rogers just puts it away on Bucky’s pillow and pats the bed in a demand dressed up as invitation.

Bucky sits.

“How are you feeling?”

“Hungry and kidnapped.”

It’s lame as far as jokes go, but Rogers does quirk a smile.

“The first I can help with,” he says, nodding at the desk. Bucky follows his gaze and his stomach gives an audible rumble at the sight of a plate of actual, solid food set there, with a bottle of water next to it. “The second is up to Fury.”

Bucky grimaces at the reminder but is about to go grab the food when Rogers rests a hand on his thigh in a silent command to stay. Bucky’s about to protest when Rogers himself gets up and goes for the food. Bucky feels unreasonably flustered when Rogers brings the plate and the bottle to him, setting it on the bed near Bucky and sitting on the other side.

“Thanks,” Bucky mumbles, avoiding eye contact in favor of shoving a piece of chicken into his mouth.

“Least I could do.” Rogers is all gracious sincerity, and Bucky doesn’t need to look up to know he’s watching Bucky eat. “I did promise to be the best jailor you ever had.”

Bucky valiantly doesn’t choke on his meat.

A quick glance at Rogers confirms that he is indeed watching Bucky like it’s Olympic-level entertainment. His face is open, friendly, but it’s the eyes, so fucking blue and unspeakably intense no matter how calm a front Rogers puts up, that gets to Bucky. He looks like the world’s hottest fifty-year old, the one you want to bang you like a screen door in a hurricane.

“You don’t like the food?” Rogers asks, and Bucky realizes he’s paused in his eating. He also registers that Rogers does not sound like he really thinks Bucky doesn’t like the food.

Bucky opens the bottle and takes a good, long swallow.

Then another. His thirst fades, but he remains fucking thirsty.

He doesn’t look at Rogers again until he finishes his fucking food. When he’s done, he barely has time sit back with a sigh before Rogers is taking the plate and carrying it back to the table, setting it down with a gravitas that should ideally be reserved for handling much more important things. He rejoins Bucky in bed, after, and Bucky again busies himself with the bottle of water.

“You don’t have to keep doing that,” Bucky says, trying not to grimace at the huskiness in his voice. His throat feels too damn dry, never mind that he just downed almost a liter of water.

“I don’t mind,” Rogers says, predictably. Bucky wishes he’d stop sounding so deep and rumbling and sexy. “Feel better?”

Bucky chuckles at the borderline cheekiness in his tone.

“Yes, sir, thank you, sir.”

The ensuing silence is damning. When Bucky looks up, he doesn’t find Rogers looking surprised or scandalized, just deeply considering. Bucky lowers his lashes but doesn’t look away.

Two can play this game, as fucked up as it is.

“You’re welcome, James.”

Oh, motherfucker.

“If you’re going to be that presumptuous, you might as well call me Bucky.”

“Bucky?”

Rogers only sounds curious instead of laughing or making some quip about a grown man having a name more suited to a dog or some inane shit like that. It earns him some serious brownie points in Bucky’s book, which is kinda infuriating because the man sure as fuck doesn’t need it.

“Childhood nickname. It stuck. I hear James, and I think it’s someone else.”

“Fair enough, Bucky.” Rogers lingers unnecessarily on the name, and Bucky squirms a little, finally drawing his legs up and curling them into himself like he can hide behind them. It’s not a very battle-ready position, but well, if Rogers decides he wants a fight, Bucky’s fucked anyway. “Call me Steve then.”

Bucky laughs at that, short and incredulous.

“Yeah, no.”

Rogers frowns.

“Why not? It’s only fair.”

“Yes, because everything about this situation is very fair. We’re absolutely equals here, Commander Rogers, sir.”

For a moment, Rogers’s frown deepens. Bucky prepares himself for admonishment, for – for something, anything that will break the subtle, simmering tension that’s been brewing between them since before Bucky realized Rogers’s identity.

But then Rogers blinks, and the frown’s gone, replaced by a careful non-expression.

“You’re right.” Well, that was easier than expected and disappointingly straightforward. Bucky frowns, but then Rogers says, “You were very insistent on being my prisoner from the beginning, weren’t you, Bucky?”

Bucky blushes.

He can’t help it, not when Steve’s looking at him with that blank expression, utterly in control, and saying those things like he knows exactly the kind of gutter Bucky’s mind is. And hell, maybe he does, it’s not like Bucky’s at all subtle.

Steve – because fuck it, he’s calling him Steve in his head, kinda likes it now that he’s been given permission and oh boy, there’s another can of wriggly, insistent worms – studies the flush, not even bothering to be covert about it. He meets Bucky’s eyes a moment later and his smile is soft and secretive, going right to Bucky’s dick.

“Afraid you’ll remain that way for a little longer. Fury’s being difficult.”

Just like that, the heat in Bucky dies. Reality’s better than any cold shower, sometimes, though this is more like a fucking ice bath.

“You’re in contact with him?”

“Yes. Since last night.”

“Since – shit, which day is this? How long did I sleep? How long have I been here?”

Bucky barks out the questions. He’s not panicking, and he wouldn’t dare do this if his captor was of the normal, semi-evil kind, but Steve’s different. Alright, maybe Bucky’s basing his judgement on 1940s propaganda and a bestselling autobiography, but his Captain America phase was also accompanied by obsessively reading everything he could get his hands on about the life of Steve Rogers, military and political, personal and public, and everything in between. He was a good man. Genuinely, breathtakingly good. Guy like that, it’s hard to imagine him turning into the kind of people Bucky’s sent to stop.

Steve reaching out to put one bear-paw of a hand on Bucky’s shoulder, solid and grounding, only reinforces his opinion.

“It’s alright, Bucky. You haven’t lost much time. Today’s Sunday. Just barely, it’s around two in the morning. We took you on Friday, you were out for the rest of the day. When you woke up here, that was Saturday morning. You slept for over fourteen hours, and Fury got back to me during that.

“Christ.” Bucky briefly lets his head rest on his knees. “What’s Fury saying?”

“The same old shit,” Steve says, disdain coloring his words. “It’s a rehash of the same conversation we’ve had a hundred times since he became the Director. You, though. You’re new.”

“It won’t matter,” Bucky snaps, sharper than he meant to. “Fury won’t do what you want just to get me back. I’m only one agent. S.H.I.E.L.D’s got enough to spare.”

Steve’s hand, still on Bucky’s bare shoulder, tightens his grip. Bucky’s breath stutters in his throat.

“Former Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes. Codename Ghost. The sole survivor of the Winter Soldier Program. You’re not just any agent, Bucky. You’re one of S.H.I.E.L.D’s most valuable assets, and Fury can’t afford to lose you, least of all to his own hubris.”

Bucky’s gaping by the end of that speech, stiff as a board under Steve’s touch. The hand on his shoulder withdraws, but it hovers in the air for a second as if Steve’s considering – well, something.

“I suppose Bucky comes from Buchanan,” Steve says lightly, his tone at odds with the seriousness of his eyes.

“The Winter Soldier Program is classified to hell and back,” is all Bucky can find the breath to say.

Everything else, fine. His name and codename aren’t exactly easily available; he’s high up enough in the food chain to warrant enough aliases to tide over a Witness Protection program. That usually doesn’t stop people in their line of work and is only marginally useful against other alphabet soup agencies. But the Winter Soldiers – no one should know about them. Him.

Steve just looks at Bucky, impassive in that calm, open way he has, pleasant but untouchable.

“Shall I tell you a secret, Bucky?”

Bucky laughs, short and humorless. When he smiles at Steve, it’s more a baring of teeth.

“Dunno, you gonna kill me for it?”

“Now, would I do that?”

It’s a joke, or it should be, but then Steve reaches over and grasps Bucky’s chin between thumb and forefinger, tilting his head up and forward into a few seconds of intense, scorching eye contact.

“No,” Bucky gasps, blood rushing south despite the very real fear pounding against his ribs. “No, I don’t think you will.”

Steve lets go, and Bucky scrambles to sit with his back to the wall, which feels nice and safe but also puts him closer to Steve because that’s the direction he chose, operating more on harebrained instinct than sense.

There’s no comment from Steve. He watches Bucky and graciously waits for him to get his voice back.

“Tell me your secret,” Bucky manages to say after a few minutes.

“They wanted to use my blood for the Winter Soldier program. I told them to shove it.”

That – that’s not what Bucky was expecting. Not that he knows what he was expecting.

“What?”

“They thought they could reverse-engineer the serum from it. Not the first time someone has tried that trick, mind you. Do you know Arnim Zola?” He pauses but continues when Bucky shakes his head. “A Hydra turncoat. Brilliant scientist, scum of a man. He worked for S.H.I.E.L.D after his defection. He convinced my friend, Howard Stark, to get blood samples from me so they could work on creating the serum from it. They did succeed, partially. It wasn’t even half as effective as Erskine’s serum, but it would, in theory, make you stronger, faster. Accelerated healing. Most of what I have, but on a smaller scale.”

“Why do I get the feeling this story doesn’t end well?” Bucky interjects, prompted by the dark light in Steve’s eyes, the grim set of his mouth.

“It doesn’t,” Steve admits plainly. “Or it does, if you weren’t involved in it. The serum killed ninety-percent of the test subjects. The other ten percent lost their minds, turned violent. Madmen who could flip cars and punch through ribs. I had to put down innocent men and women whose only mistake was taking a chance on a man they shouldn’t trust.”

There’s little emotion in Steve’s voice, just a tightness that can be put down to anger or grief or anything in between. But his eyes are burning, like he’s there again, in the past, as the miracle in his veins was used to create monsters.

And Bucky – he’s not even surprised. That’s the worst part, he thinks absently. That this happened doesn’t surprise him at all. It’s another note of dull horror that joins its many, many predecessors.

“That why you quit S.H.I.E.L.D?”

“At that point, I was already out. After that, I had to run from S.H.I.E.L.D.”

“What – why?”

“I killed Zola. And broke Howard’s nose, but he deserved that and was the first to admit to it. Zola was going to get another slap on the wrist and be allowed to keep going because he was brilliant and a few fuck-ups didn’t diminish his use.” Steve’s voice turns scathing at that part, and his inflection changes like he’s quoting someone who ticks him off. “So I killed him. Destroyed my blood samples and what was left of the second serum. The brass wasn’t happy, so I ran.”

“But what about – um.”

“Ask,” Steve says, like he already knows what Bucky’s going to ask.

“Just – Director Carter?”

Steve doesn’t blink.

“Peggy and I had already finalized our divorce by then. She helped me escape. Howard too.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

Steve raises an eyebrow, a silent demand Bucky’s helpless to deny.

“No, just – that was private. I shouldn’t have asked, it was out of line. Was curious is all. Sorry.”

Steve braces a hand on the mattress and leans forward, and there’s still a generous amount of space between him and Bucky, but he still feels caged in, pinned against the wall by nothing but Steve’s sheer presence.

“You’re a good kid, aren’t you, Buck?”

Bucky shivers, almost vibrating on spot as Steve’s words echo around in his head. It takes a while for any coherent thoughts to form, and another few minutes to turn those into words.

“M’not a kid,” he mumbles, ducking his head because he can’t look at Steve like this, not without jumping him or doing something equally embarrassing. “Thirty-two, Jesus.”

Steve hums, and the sound seems to reverberate all the way through Bucky.

“I’m a hundred and three. You’re not even half my age.”

That hand, again, tipping Bucky’s face up like he’s some quivering damsel in a bodice ripper, and oh fucking damn it, he’s acting the part, isn’t he?

“Kid,” Steve says softly, and Bucky’s mouth parts in a shuddering exhale.

It’s hard to hold back a whine when Steve takes his hand away, harder still not to pout petulantly when he raises his gaze to Steve and finds him infuriatingly calm when Bucky’s a wreck from nothing but a touch on his face and a handful of words. But that’s half the appeal too, the way Steve’s so solid and serene, handling Bucky with easy confidence.

Bucky lightly slams his head into the wall and takes a few deep breaths, reaching deep for the self-control he knows he’s got stashed somewhere in him.

“Hundred and three, huh,” he says once he’s calmed down enough. “That reminds me. You never did answer that question I asked. I’m awake, Commander, and asking again. Gonna give me an answer this time?”

“Depends,” Steve says and even without looking at him, Bucky can perfectly imagine the amusement on his face. “What was the question again?”

“You forget?”

“Well, you know how we old men get.”

Bucky opens his eyes for the sole purpose of giving him an unimpressed glare. Steve smirks, the expression nothing but an insolent twist at one side of his mouth. It’s too fucking hot like everything else about him.

“How are you here?” Bucky asks dutifully, repeating himself verbatim. “Leading a vigilante team.”

“The serum,” Steve says, only to laugh when Bucky scowls at him. “That’s all I’ve got, kid.” Low blow, Jesus, but Steve barrels on, ignoring Bucky’s boner. “No one knows how the serum works. Best I’ve been told is that it’s the same principle as my accelerated healing. Dying cells are replaced by new ones. I’m not immortal. I do age. But it’s much slower than that of your average human, and wrinkles aside, I’m physically as strong as ever.

“I can see that,” Bucky blurts out because he can’t not, giving Steve a blatant once-over as he does.

Steve smiles, slow and knowing.

“That so? Well, none of it makes a lot of sense, but it is what it is. I satisfy your curiosity?”

Take off your pants, and we’ll see, Bucky doesn’t say because he’s got some decorum. Besides, he won’t be satisfied even then, that he’s sure of.

“You haven’t said anything about the vigilante team.”

“That’s classified,” Steve says, and Bucky doesn’t get how he can speak so lightly, even cheerfully, and give the impression of being unmovable, impenetrable.

Still, Bucky has to push.

“By who, exactly?”

“Me.”

That one word is uttered with such quiet authority that Bucky’s breath stutters in his throat. It’s not that he’s discovering kinks he didn’t know he had, more that he has discovered a man who hits every button firmly and at the same time.

“Cool,” Bucky squeaks out like the gay disaster he is. “Makes sense, yep.”

Steve slants him a look that would be more suitably directed at a small, silly animal. It makes Bucky’s insides squirm, again.

Silence falls. It should be awkward; they’re just sitting there and staring at each other, Bucky playing turtle against the wall and Steve perched on the side of the bed. There’s an unsettling amount of eye contact. Bucky spends what time he’s not drowning in pretty blue eyes wondering whether Steve’s wearing underwear. Steve’s expression gives nothing away, but he’s not shy about letting his eyes wander.

By all rights, they should either be fucking or scrambling to break the tension. Instead, it just…is.

It’s a soft beep that snaps them out of it. Bucky straightens out of his curl with a sharp inhale, and Steve goes very still. He relaxes just as fast, sliding a giant hand into his sweatpants’ pocket which bulges endearingly at the intrusion. He pulls out a small, black circular device and sighs at it before putting it back in his pocket.

“I have to go,” he says apologetically, turning to Bucky. “I didn’t mean to stay this long.”

“Not complaining. Could use the company.” Bucky bites his lips and, after a brief internal struggle, doesn’t add something provocative. He opts for practicality. “What happens now? To me?”

“Fury will get back to me soon. I’ll let you know.”

Bucky purses his lips, not hiding his irritation.

“Can’t you just beat me up and send me back, make it even for your friend getting hurt? It’s not like I learned much about you and your team before you caught me.”

“I’m not going to hurt you, Bucky,” Steve says very firmly. “This isn’t fair to you, I know, but I can’t let you go just yet.”

Bucky has to roll his eyes at that. He laboriously extends a leg to poke one of Steve’s thick thunder thighs with his toe.

“You are the nicest captor I’ve ever had. Doesn’t mean I like being cooped up here with a dead fucking arm. Figure out your shit with Fury. You know this whole situation is weird as fuck, right?”

“That mouth on you, kid. And I’ve been told I have unorthodox methods of operation, yes.”

“That’s one way to put it.”

Bucky expects Steve to leave, then, but instead, he leans into Bucky with a serious expression. Bucky readily admits that the proximity fucks with his head a little, makes him drag in a deep breath of that sharp scent Steve has, but he’s also a highly trained operative who’s not untrained in honeypot tactics. Not to say Steve’s pulling that on him, but the end result is that when one of those damn huge hands reaches for Bucky’s left arm, he throws out his sole functional arm to block it.

He doesn’t say anything, just holds Steve’s slightly surprised gaze. It softens the next moment into understanding.

“I won’t hurt you,” Steve says again, gently encircling Bucky’s right wrist. It feels tiny in his grasp even though it really, really isn’t. “I’m going to take off the cuff. Make your arm functional. That’s all.”

“Oh,” Bucky breathes. “You’re not worried I’ll try to escape?”

“You can’t.” It’s a simple statement, Steve’s voice sure and steady. There’s no malice in it, nor apology. “The room’s secure. I’m the only one cleared to make contact with you, and I can handle myself.”

Bucky huffs a breath that’s not quite a laugh. He feels hot and cold at the same time.

“Yeah, I can believe that.”

Steve says nothing, just lets go of Bucky’s right hand to reach for the left one. He pauses with his hand hovering near the metal, eyes boring into Bucky in a silent bid for permission that’s too damn distracting.

Bucky nods jerkily.

All it takes is Steve running a finger along the metal band. It breaks apart with a quiet snick, falling into Steve’s palm.

For a moment, nothing happens.

Then, pain.

Bucky arches off the wall with a howl that he bites through his lips stifling. He squeezes his eyes shut and writhes ineffectually, fisting his right hand on the sheets so he won’t try and dig out his left shoulder.

He did that, the first time, and they restrained him, and he learned not to do it again just to escape the sensation of being held down and forced to scream through the pain.

He’s not screaming now, but there’s an echo of it in his ragged, shuddering breaths. They ring loudly in his own ears, and for a long time, it’s all he can hear, until another voice makes itself heard. Bucky ignores it, tries and fails to ignore the pain, until it finally starts fading, changing from a hot stabbing sensation to rhythmic throbbing, still there but growing fainter by the second.

In the end, it’s an ache that will linger for a day or two, and Bucky’s slick all over with sweat, with blood dripping down his chin and tangy in his mouth.

“F-fuck,” he says, voice trembling, breaking.

“Bucky.”

Bucky blinks his eyes open, peering hazily at Steve. It’s not that he forgot his presence. Just didn’t have the attention to spare when his shoulder was on fire. He lets his head loll to the side and closes his eyes again.

“S’okay. Happens each time it reconnects. It’s wired into my brain, y’know?”

“Jesus,” Steve breathes, and Bucky distantly notes that he sounds horrified. So this is what it takes. “Is it this bad each time?”

Bucky has to think about that for a moment. Steve doesn’t help any with that, shorting out Bucky’s brain by reaching out and using his shirtsleeve to wipe away the blood on his chin. It stains the fabric, but Steve doesn’t stop and Bucky doesn’t ask him to, just lets him take care of it, closes his eyes and basks in it.

He thinks, idly, of Steve licking the blood off his chin and biting at the wound until Bucky’s keening for him.

“Bucky,” Steve prompts gently, no longer touching Bucky, and he brings his brain back on track.

“Worse, actually. They open it up. Maintenance. This was just it coming back, um, online, I guess. Not a full disconnect.”

“Bucky. Christ, kid, I’m sorry. We’d have given you something if we knew, put you under.”

“S’fine. M’used to it.”

“What do you mean – don’t they sedate you when they do this?”

Bucky shakes his head and pries his eyes open with effort. He gets the sinking feeling that he lost a bit of time working through the pain. Always does. Steve looks spooked and – and honestly concerned.

Good man.

“Nah. I’m the only Winter Soldier, remember? They gotta know if everything works the way it’s supposed to, and they need me awake for that.”

Steve’s the one who closes his eyes this time, and god, it’s something else, the way his expression goes from worried to enraged in one hot second. Bucky flexes his left hand; the plates shiver and realign, the fingers twitch.

He uses his right hand to cup Steve’s face. Blazing eyes flash open and his hand jumps to cover Bucky’s, less affection and more caution.

“You’re hot when you’re angry,” Bucky says, grinning. “It’s doing things to me.”

Steve frowns. Sam, the only Captain America Bucky knew with any level of intimacy, had this look they all called ‘Captain America is Disappointed in You’ and it was effective as fuck because Sam was such a good guy, who ribbed the hell out of you with a shit-eating grin but took care of you and had your back come hell or high water, and it fucking burned to feel like you let that guy down.

But Steve – Steve’s version of that look goes right to Bucky’s cock.

It’s arguably worse than Sam’s too, because Steve’s older and looks more severe, like he doesn’t have time for your shit and isn’t afraid of putting you over his knees to drive the point home.

Bucky licks is lips and is fiercely smug when Steve’s eyes follow the motion.

“Does your arm still hurt?” Steve asks, voice curt, almost cold.

“No, sir.”

“Fucking hell.” There’s a lot of emotion crammed into those two words, but Steve doesn’t give Bucky a chance. He lets him go and sidles back, and Bucky notices only then that at some point, Steve clambered fully onto the bed and was sitting on folded knees, watching Bucky. “Don’t lie to me, Bucky.”

“M’not.” He wriggles his metal fingers at Steve. “It’s fine. Aches a bit, it’s nothing. Will be gone by tomorrow, if you don’t put that thing back on me.”

Steve doesn’t look very happy with that answer, and it tempts Bucky into asking, “Why, do you plan to?”

“No,” Steve says sharply. Then he frowns and adds, “Not if you behave.”

Oh, now he’s just asking for it.

“You gonna make me, Commander?”

Steve narrows his eyes at Bucky.

“Barnes.”

Bucky smirks lazily at Steve and curls his left hand into a fist, tensing.

Steve’s on him before he can so much as twitch, one hand slamming down on top of Bucky’s left, pushing it down on the mattress. Bucky strains against it, instinctual and then deliberate, but Steve doesn’t budge, keeps the arm contained without any apparent strain.

He’s not touching Bucky anywhere except on his arm, but under the weight of his gaze, Bucky feels like a butterfly pinned on a page.

“Son, don’t.”

It’s said with deathly calm, the simplest of commands.

Bucky shudders, heat and lightning pooling in his gut, and obeys.

Steve withdraws slowly; Bucky’s left arm can’t sense temperature, but it feels like the metal’s burning everywhere Steve’s touch falls. It’s in his head, he knows that, but that doesn’t stop his whole hand from tingling pleasantly once Steve has let go of him.

Neither of them speaks as Steve collects Bucky’s empty plate and makes for the door panel. Bucky watches him intently, mesmerized by the contained power in his body.

The door opens for him, and Steve steps out. He turns around and holds Bucky’s gaze until the panel slides shut with a quiet hiss.

Bucky lets out a long, trembling breath.

He’s half-hard in his pants, and he knows damn well that all it would have taken was a long look from Steve to bring him up to full mast. Bucky absently slides a hand inside to cup himself, shivering at little at the touch. It’s a good distraction from the ache of his shoulder, or at least that’s what Bucky tells himself as he makes himself comfortable on the bed, pants shoved down and flesh hand wrapped loosely around his dick.

It’s a bad idea. He knows it’s a bad idea. He’s being watched, and Steve can probably access the feed, and fuck, that’s the wrong thing to think because all he can picture now is Steve in some shadowed room, watching Bucky jerk himself off, desperate and shameless because what else would he be, doing something like this when he’s captured and vulnerable, at the mercy of people he doesn’t know, at the mercy of Steve

A big, fat drop of precum drips down his length, and Bucky squeezes himself almost too tight before easing the grip, and he tries so hard not to imagine Steve there, wrapping one of those huge hands around Bucky, his callouses rough on Bucky’s cock, the prominent veins of his hand bulging appealingly as he works Bucky over, fast and firm and a little rough–

Fuck, fuck

Bucky yanks his hand off his cock and thrusts it down, gripping his balls and rolling them in his palm, tugging until he hisses out a breath that tries its damn best to turn into a name.

He’s too damn close to coming, and it’s only been a handful of minutes, never mind that he’s been hard or half-hard or low-key aroused ever since he came out of the bathroom and walked into Steve. It’s still strange, how quickly he gets Bucky going, allegiances and caution all be damned. It’s not that he’s Captain America – former Captain America, corrects a voice in his head that sounds eerily like Steve, all calm and commanding and still so pleasant, fucking–

It's not that. It’s Steve, with the laugh lines around his eyes and his damned silver hair and the way he’s aged like fine wine. It’s something straight out of the fantasies Bucky hasn’t bothered entertaining in a damn long time because his days as a cute twink are long over, and it’s hard, at thirty-two with a body that was all bulky muscle, to find men who’d dare to push him around by his hair and put him over their knee. Sure, they’re out there, and he can find them if he extends the effort, but effort is hard when his dating life is limited to lackluster blind dates Sharon blackmails him into and getting laid involves playing wallflower at the bar closest to his apartment until he finds someone who’ll blow him in the bathroom and let him return the favor and maybe, hopefully, tug on his hair as he does.

Sounds fucking pathetic when he puts it that way, but so is this, squirming on the bed and fucking up into his hand, chasing climax with a desperation not dissimilar to when he was a teenager humping the bed, watching porn titled TEEN TWINK CRIES WHILE BIG DADDY POUNDS HIM IN THE ASS or something equally ridiculous and unbearably appealing.

He thinks of it, being pressed face-down in the bed, right here, while Steve fucks into him from behind. Thinks, with a guilty thrill that has his ass clenching around nothing, of being helpless and bound in that interrogation room, and how easy it would have been for Steve to just–

Bucky comes all over himself with a muffled whine, and he doesn’t say Steve’s name but he wants to.

 

-

 

By his estimate, it’s around six hours later that Steve returns, and Bucky’s just pleased that he didn’t have to spend that time being bored out of his right mind.

He took another shower, got distracted towards the end by the thought of Steve’s heated hands on his wet skin, and ended up spending another fifteen minutes under the water. But jerking off only ate up so much time. He didn’t really expect muttering ‘Can I get a fucking book at least?’ to work, but it did. The benevolent Friday, he assumes, probably creepily watching Bucky on a camera somewhere. It got him a book, or rather, a whole damn library of books, all electronic, appearing on a wall panel close to the desk. Bucky would much prefer a tablet or kindle, but literal writing on the wall is better than nothing, and the selection is honestly impressive.

He’s a quarter of the way through the second book of a series when the door hisses open and Steve steps in.

Finding Bucky perched on the desk and squinting at the wall is clearly not the sight Steve expected. He doesn’t do anything as undignified as a double-take, but he doesn’t bother hiding his surprise either.

Bucky finds that he can look Steve in the eye without flushing despite the images from earlier still vivid in his mind. Then again, there’s a good reason for that.

“Friday’s real nice,” Bucky tells him, smiling. “Thank them for me.”

“She can hear you,” Steve says after a pause.

“Yeah, but thank her in person, y’know. I know you won’t let me. She’s contributed significantly to this being the best time I’ve spent in captivity.”

Steve just looks amused, which, hey, fair enough.

“I’m sure she appreciates the sentiment. I’m afraid I’m here to drag you away from your book though. But–” He nods at his hands, one bearing another plate of food and the other carrying two more bottles of water. “–I come bearing sustenance.”

“That’s why you’re my favorite,” Bucky says easily and is unreasonably pleased by the startled expression Steve doesn’t hide quickly enough.

He’s a cute old man, when he’s not being devastatingly hot.

They eat in silence. Or rather, Bucky does. Steve rejects his offer to share with a damn amused smile and the promise that he’s already eaten. Like before, he doesn’t take his eyes off Bucky and isn’t subtle about watching him eat. Unlike last time, Bucky doesn’t make it through more than half the plate before he’s full. He tries to stand and go put it away but is stopped by a hand on his elbow guiding him back to sit on the bed.

“Eat some more.”

“I’m full.”

Steve doesn’t budge, staring at Bucky expectantly. Bucky stares right back, mulish. And he doesn’t know what he thought would happen, but it’s not for Steve to just calmly reach down, take a piece of meat, and hold it up to Bucky’s mouth.

Bucky parts his lips out of sheer shock.

He barely tastes the morsel, but his lower lip twinges from the tips of Steve’s fingers.

He dazedly allows Steve to feed him a few more bites, opening his mouth for the press of his fingers and chewing mechanically. He swallows and doesn’t taste a damn thing, but he knows he wants Steve’s fingers deep in his mouth instead of teasing him open with whisper-sweet touches to his lips.

“Please,” Bucky whispers after a bite of some fruit. He’s talking about the food and not about it at all.

Steve relents this time, taking the plate away. Bucky takes a long gulp of water while watching him.

“I come bearing good news too,” Steve says once he returns.

It takes Bucky a couple of tries to force a sound past his painfully dry throat.

“Oh?”

“Fury and I have come to a compromise.”

Bucky blinks, shakes his head as if to clear it off cobwebs, and blinks again.

“I didn’t know that word was in Fury’s dictionary,” he says in the end, very carefully.

“He likes to whip it out for special occasions,” Steve replies, tone as dry as the Sahara.

“Huh. Guess if anyone counts for a special occasion, it’d be you. Does this mean you’ll let me go now?”

“Yes. Well, not precisely now. Both of us need time to arrange a drop place. Tomorrow morning. You’ll have to suffer my company until then.”

“However shall I survive,” Bucky drawls, triumph sparking in his chest when Steve chuckles lightly. “Just like that? We’re done?”

Steve’s smile widens, but this time, it doesn’t reach his eyes.

“Not quite. The compromise of ours involves you. But I’ll leave that to Fury. He’ll explain.”

“Hey!”

There’s not much heat to the protest. Steve’s got the look of a man who doesn’t plan to change his mind any time soon, and as much Bucky wants to stab Fury sometimes, he trusts the man in work-related matters. Mostly though, he’s distracted by a thread of thought whose potential grows and grows as he watches Steve smirk at Bucky’s affected consternation.

“It’s still Sunday morning,” Bucky says, and it’s more statement than question but Steve nods anyway. “I’ve got a whole day here. You gonna keep me company the whole time?”

Steve’s eyes widen, and Bucky decides then and there that he likes surprising this man, likes putting that startled, cautiously delighted light in those deep blue eyes.

“Would you like me to?”

“Depends. We finally gonna fuck, sir?”

Steve goes very, very still.

There’s a moment where Bucky worries he fucked up; he read it all wrong, he was imagining it, Steve saw him jerk off and was creeped out. It’s not all logical because Bucky has eyes and a job dependent on stellar observational skills, and Steve’s interest was visible, palpable. He didn’t even try to hide it all that much. But the brain is weird like that, and for a moment, his heart is slamming against his ribs and his muscles are tight with nervous tension.

Then Steve’s crowding him, right there on that tiny bed, and Bucky clutches his shoulders out of sheer self-preservation. Belatedly, he realizes that this is the first time he’s touching Steve with his left arm, and that the last time Steve touched it was when Bucky was considering throwing a metal-fisted punch just to get a rise out of him. He freezes, loosening his grip, but Steve doesn’t even seem to notice, all his razor-sharp focus narrowed down to Bucky’s face, blue eyes flickering over his features, looking for something Bucky can only imagine.

“That what you want?” Steve finally asks, and Bucky can’t help it, he laughs.

“Sorry, sorry – just, wasn’t I obvious enough for you? What’s a guy gotta do to get fucked around here, huh?”                                                                                                                                          

“Can’t speak for just any guy, but all you seem to need to do is look at me. That damn pretty face of yours, Buck.”

And damn if that doesn’t go right to Bucky’s head. His cheeks warm, and there’s a pleasant piercing sensation in his chest.

“Yeah?” Bucky asks, low and sly. “Walk your talk, Rogers.”

Steve raises an eyebrow, quiet and expectant, and Bucky almost swallows his tongue rushing to respond.

“I mean – Commander? Sir. Sorry, sir.”

Steve smiles like Bucky’s the cutest little disaster he’s ever seen, and it’s condescending as fuck and unsurprisingly goes to his dick, which is filling up just from being pinned by Steve’s eyes.

“I’ll let it pass this once, kid,” Steve says, all faux-graciousness, and Bucky damn near dies on the spot. “But you’ll watch your mouth now, won’t you?”

“Yes, sir,” Bucky breathes, dazed.

Steve pulls away, and Bucky actually whines, but then there are hands grabbing him and bodily hauling him onto Steve’s lap, arranging Bucky as they please with an ease that thrums through his skin. He’s as limp as a ragdoll and about as helpful, out of shock at first and then deliberately, delighted at being manhandled like he’s not nearly two-hundred pounds of half-cyborg.

When Steve’s done, Bucky’s straddling his lap, ass flush against his thighs and legs wrapped loosely around his waist. He cradles Bucky with one hand on the small of his back and another on his face, thumb stroking the curve of his cheek.

Bucky sneaks a glance downwards and bites his lip happily to find a telltale bulge in Steve’s pants.

“Look at me, Buck.”

Bucky already is, technically, but he does as asked instead of giving Steve lip, meeting his eyes and feeling terribly shy for some godforsaken reason. Except that even in his head, the bitching sounds fake, pleasure curling in his gut at how off-balance he feels, how Steve makes him feel.

“No one’s called me Buck before,” he says, almost without meaning to, but it’s been tugging at him, the way Steve made a nickname out of his nickname, turning it into something that’s just for him, the bossy bastard.

“You like it.”

There’s so much firm assurance in his voice that Bucky just about melts.

“Sweet Christ. Yes, sir, I do.”

Steve laughs, but it’s not mean or mocking, just playful. He nuzzles Bucky, running his nose up his throat and pressing closed lips to the shell of his ear. Just that little touch has Bucky stifling a gasp and squirming on Steve’s lap.

“Tell me you’re sure.”

“I – Jesus, of course, why do you even–”

A sharp bite to the lobe cuts him off, his words trailing into a high-pitched whine.

“Answer the question.”

“Yes, yes, I’m sure, I’m real fucking sure, please, sir.”

“Kids these days,” Steve sighs. “Always so dramatic.”

Bucky’s pouting and dangerously close to vibrating right out of his skin when Steve pulls back and looks at him. He thumbs the jut of Bucky’s lower lip, pressing none too gently against the still-raw cut from yesterday. The pain sizzles down Bucky’s spine.

“Been wanting you to fuck me since I woke up at that damn table.”

“Yeah? You always want to fuck men that abduct you?”

Bucky opens his mouth to answer, but then Steve’s hands are sliding under his shirt, fingers warm on the tensed muscles of his stomach. It’s distracting, clever fingers tracing the cut of his abs, and it takes a harsh pinch to the side to remind him that he’s been asked a question.

“No, just you,” he says quickly, getting an unimpressed frown in answer. “Seriously, just – you told me that tranq made me all relaxed, ‘course I thought about that. Wouldn’t actually have done it.”

Steve slides his hands up a little higher, tantalizingly close to Bucky’s sensitive nipples, and slants a glance at Bucky’s bunched up tee as if asking, well, what changed?

“Well, you’re not torturing me or planning to kill me, for one thing. You’re not even an enemy, technically speaking.”

“All of which you only have my word for.”

“Jesus fucking Christ, Steve, sir, what do you want me to say? I trust you, damned if I know why, and if your plan tomorrow is to take me out back and shoot me in the head, I’ll die feeling real fucking stupid and come back to haunt your pert ass, that good enough?”

The answer’s a hand on his chest, squeezing his pecs hard.

Bucky almost bites through his lips again.

“Prettiest pair of tits I’ve ever seen on a guy,” Steve says, a complete non sequitur but one that makes Bucky’s cock twitch happily. “Been itchin’ to get my hands on ‘em since you walked out all wet and naked. You don’t know what it took not to fuck you right there, you goddamned tease.”

“Why didn’t you?” Bucky asks around a moan when Steve squeezes them again, catching Bucky’s perked nipples between two long fingers. “God, I’d have fucking let you, you know I’d have.”

“Didn’t want to take advantage,” Steve says drily, and Bucky hates and loves how calm he sounds when he’s got Bucky all wrecked by just playing with his chest. “What with you being my prisoner and all.”

“Not taking advantage if I want it,” Bucky replies hotly, proud of his voice for staying steady even as he pushes his chest shamelessly into Steve’s ministrations. A nail scrapes the side of one nipple, and he has to swallow a moan. “And I fucking want it, didn’t exactly hide it.”

“Could always be Stockholm syndrome.”

The asshole sounds too damn amused for this. Bucky swats at one mountain of a shoulder with his metal hand and doesn’t even hold back. Steve doesn’t react beyond to chuckle and twist Bucky’s nipple sweet mother of god

Bucky does moan this time, loud and wanton, and again when Steve rubs the rough pad of his thumb over the little abused nub, soothing for a second before he presses in hard with the nail, tearing another noise out of Bucky.

“So sweet for me,” Steve sighs, nuzzling Bucky’s neck again, and his brain blanks for a second.

“More,” he rasps once he figures out how to use his voice again. “C’mon, you made me wait this long, gimme more.”

“Mm. Ask nicely, Buck.”

Please, sir, give me more, fuck me, come on, I want it, been fucking gagging for it, please?”

Bucky’s viciously satisfied to see Steve squeeze his eyes shut and groan. He squeezes Bucky’s tits again, hard like he wants to leave bruises, and fuck, yes, he wants it, wants to wake up in his own damn bed in a couple of days and touch the marks just to know it was all real.

His shirt is yanked off the next moment, torn right off his torso by Steve’s hands, and yeah, it’s unnecessary but fucking hot, and Bucky moans his appreciation, especially when Steve takes a moment to set his teeth to Bucky’s aching nipple. He bites lightly and Bucky’s cock pulses in need.

Steve pulls back and pats Bucky’s hip, pinching at the fabric covering it.

“Off.”

“Don’t wanna move,” Bucky complains, emphasizing his tragic predicament with a leisurely grope of the mountain range masquerading as Steve’s shoulders.

Steve shakes his head and plunges a hand right down the back of Bucky’s pants, palming his ass in a rough, possessive motion. Bucky rises off Steve’s lap a little to better push into the touch, panting a little. Steve massages the cheeks of his ass, that huge fucking hand everywhere and all at once, and Bucky damn near screams when a finger slips between his cheeks to prod at his hole, not going in but threatening to, tugging dry at the rim.

Sir.”

“Off,” Steve repeats, a command this time, and takes his hand away. Bucky whines but scrambles off Steve’s lap, standing on shaking legs and valiantly attempting not to fall over as he fights to get off the sweatpants. It should be easy but he’s lust-drunk and uncoordinated, highly sensitive to the weight of Steve’s watching, judging gaze, and the pants seem determined to fight him to the death.

It tears, in the end, when he yanks too hard with his left arm, but Bucky doesn’t give a fuck, and Steve better not give him shit about it with the torn tee still lying at the foot of the bed.

Steve doesn’t, only opens his arms for Bucky when he practically throws himself back into his lap and surges into a kiss. Steve meets him with a sharp exhale and unyielding lips, but then he’s huffing a laugh into Bucky’s mouth and nipping at his lip and easing the sting with his tongue. A flick at the seam has Bucky opening up, letting Steve stroke into his mouth and feeling a little drunk as his tongue sets about exploring the ways to get Bucky squirming in his lap.

Bucky happily lets himself be held and kissed, marveling a little at how he can do this, just open his mouth and let Steve have his way. He can let go.

Steve pulls back and his lips are shining wet, the sight alone making Bucky clench up needily. Steve immediately palms Bucky’s ass, again making wonder him if the serum actually does let you read minds. A stinging slap blanks out his head, and Bucky blindly pushes back for more, whimpering when Steve roughly kneads the abused flesh.

Another slap follows, harder this time, then another, and another, and that’s about when Bucky starts vocalizing like a cat in heat.

Steve spanks him until Bucky’s hot all over and mewling through clenched teeth, clinging to Steve as he shudders and gasps and tries to move into and away from the hand wreaking sweet havoc on his ass. It’s worse when Steve pauses every few hits to just knead the burning flesh, fingers digging and nails scraping as Bucky chokes out a few incoherent pleas.

It’s only when Steve taps him on the cheek a few times – light but firm enough for Bucky to groan at the thought of that hand slapping him hard across the face – that Bucky focuses enough to realize Steve said something that passed him right by.

“I – sir?”

“You’re a mess, Buck,” Steve says fondly.

“M’sorry.”

“I like it, kid. Could do this all day, just to have you like this.”

Bucky moans at that, shuddering in Steve’s grasp and gasping when another hit sends sparks up his spine.

“I asked if you can come like this, just from my hand?”

Oh god.”

Another slap, harsh on the inside of one cheek, and Steve grips the flesh right after, squeezing hard enough to bring tears to Bucky’s eyes.

“Answer me.”

“No, yes, I don’t know, I don’t, I swear.”

“Ssh, it’s alright,” Steve soothes, the goddamn bastard. “I believe you.”

And then he sets about trying to find out, and Bucky’s brain drowns in the pain and the pleasure, body lighting up like a Christmas tree.

They find out that he can’t, in fact, climax just from Steve’s hand railing on his ass, but also that a couple of rough pulls of his cock in time with the blows make him come so hard that he whites out for a second.

He’s a boneless puddle of man on Steve’s lap afterward, held up only by Steve’s strength. One giant paw cups his cheek and tilts his head up for a kiss that Bucky just pants into, well beyond reciprocation. Steve doesn’t seem to mind, lazily mapping out Bucky’s mouth with tongue and teeth, eventually pulling back and leaving him with swollen lips.

“That’s a good look on you,” Steve says, admiring his handiwork. “Got a mouth made for sucking dick, don’t ya, kid?”

Bucky shivers, licking his lips and imagining it, Steve’s cock in his mouth, hot and heavy on tongue.

“Let’s find out,” he says and makes an attempt to get off Steve’s knees and onto the floor, but Steve’s arms turn into a cage around him, keeping him contained without even really trying.

“Later. I’m going to fuck you now.”

“Jesus, yes, please.”

“So fucking polite,” Steve grins, nothing nice or friendly about the expression. He fists a hand in Bucky’s hair and pulls him into another kiss, and this time, Bucky tries to give as good as he gets, at least until two slick fingers slide between his bruised cheeks to rub at his hole.

Bucky stills at the sudden pressure and then relaxes into it, drawing back to ask, “You came here with lube?”

Steve shrugs, unrepentant.

“Goddamn, you evil asshole, the hell were you on about then, asking if I’m sure like you’d break me with a wrong–”

Fingers dig into his cheeks, bruisingly harsh, and Bucky shuts up with a ragged gasp. Steve keeps his hand locked around Bucky’s jaw, holding his head there and staring impassively into his eyes.

“Really got to do something about that mouth of yours,” he says almost absently, like he’s talking more to himself than Bucky. “Want me to gag you, son? I’d miss you mewling like an alley cat, but some lessons just need to be taught. Or are you going to behave?”

When Bucky doesn’t answer, Steve gives him a little shake, like he’s a disobedient puppy.

“Well?”

Bucky hovers in indecision, haplessly squirming under Steve’s eyes. He imagines it, Steve gagging him with toys, a hand, balled up underwear, god; imagines himself helpless to do anything but drool around a gag and whimper. He wants it, he does, but he likes this too, how vocal he gets for Steve, likes the freedom to whine and moan and fucking scream.

And, frankly, this is their first time together, and Bucky doesn’t quite want to risk not being able to speak.

Steve seems to read the decision off Bucky’s face.

“You’ll behave,” he says, quiet and decisive, and promptly shoves two fingers into Bucky.

Fuck!

He arches his back and pulls at Steve’s shirt so hard that the fabric tears under the metal grip. Steve doesn’t seem to give a shit and twists his fingers inside Bucky, pushing in until they’re buried all the way to the last knuckle.

Bucky swears up a storm and clenches around the intrusion. It burns something fierce, too much too fast. It’s been years since Bucky has had anyone or anything inside him, except his own damn fingers, and Steve’s are longer, thicker, and far crueler.

He fucking loves it.

“Too much?” Steve asks, but he’s watching Bucky’s face and smiling like he already knows the answer.

Bucky bares his teeth at him.

“Make it hurt, sir.”

Steve laughs, the airy sound utterly at odds with the way his fingers crook and spread and tug at Bucky, prying him open violently, like they’re giving his body no choice but to yield.

“Little shit,” Steve says fondly, bringing his free hand over to grab a handful of Bucky’s red, smarting ass.

It’s a maddening blend of sensations; the throb of his bruised ass, the sting of his rim being stretched open, the pleasure of being full, and the electrifying shock of Steve’s teasing assault on his sensitized prostate.

It all gets worse when Steve works in a third finger and rests a fourth idly at the rim, threatening to slip in and break Bucky open, and almost more potent for the possibility of it than the reality would be. He makes a wreck out of Bucky with a smiling face and clever fucking fingers, those gleaming eyes watching intently as Bucky’s body twists and writhes and his noises get louder and higher.

His cock, covered in come and utterly spent, twitches in a valiant attempt to harden. It makes him ache in sympathy for Steve, his own dick neglected under tented pants and an inviting wet spot. Bucky wants to press his mouth to it and suck wet and dirty, wants Steve to open him up just like this as he does.

Later, he thinks deliriously, before Steve’s fingers all shove in at just the right angle to make Bucky forget everything except how desperately he wants to be fucked full.

Steve pulls his fingers out with a last, brutal jab at Bucky’s prostate. He smacks Bucky’s ass as his hand withdraws and hums happily at his pained yelp. Bucky, reeling at the sudden emptiness and the renewed sting on an already aching ass, ducks to hide his face in Steve’s neck and whine.

“I know, I know,” Steve rumbles at him, literally, his monolith of a chest vibrating against Bucky. “Off, now, I’ve gotta strip.”

Should have done it earlier, Bucky almost says, before remembering Steve’s fingers digging into his jaw. He’d have mouthed off anyway, but Steve might put a pause to the fucking to decide how to make Bucky pay, and he’s too fucking desperate for that cock to mess around.

So he rolls onto the bed and idly slips a finger inside himself as Steve makes quick work of his clothes, not tearing anything for a change. Bucky moans at what’s revealed; an insanely ripped body and a monster of a dick that Bucky’s gonna feel for a whole fucking week if he has anything to say about it. Steve’s neatly trimmed pubic hair is white, with darker strands mixed in like on his beard, and Bucky has to wonder at himself for finding it so endearing.

Steve catches him watching and graces him with a smile, and then, predictably, his gaze narrows in on Bucky working himself. His mouth twists into a crooked smirk that doesn’t match the bright interest in his eyes.

“Desperate, aren’t you?”

“Damn right,” Bucky snaps, spreading his legs in as blatant as an invitation as he can manage. “Have you seen yourself, sir?”

Steve shakes his head but crawls back in bed, settling between Bucky’s splayed legs.

“Another,” he orders, and Bucky hisses out a breath and slides in a second finger, thrusting in hard to make up for the lingering hollow feeling. “That’s it, sweetheart. So tell me, hundred year old men always do it for you?”

“Hell and damnation, you wanna make conversation now?”

“Why not? We’ve got time.” Steve doesn’t even blink, and he doesn’t take his eyes off where Bucky’s fingering himself either. He finally touches Bucky, only to spread his legs wider, enough that he feels the strain in his thighs. Bucky bites his lip and arches up a little, giving Steve a better view. “Pretty as a peach.”

Bucky flushes hot, the praise curling tight in his gut. He wants to turn away and hide his face but can’t, arrested by the sight of Steve.

“You do it for me,” he mutters, squeaking when Steve slaps his inner thigh. “You do. God, you’re fucking hot, with that body and that hair and that goddamned beard, fuck, you have no idea how bad I want beard burn right now.”

Steve smiles, raising his eyes to meet Bucky’s, and it’s oddly soft, the expression, sending warmth through Bucky in a way that’s not wholly arousal.

“You really are something else, kid. C’mere.”

Steve then shuffles away, settling with his back to the wall. The bed isn’t small, but it’s not that big either, and its width isn’t enough to accommodate Steve’s mile-long legs. Bucky scrambles to his knees but loses some time watching the stretch of those thick, muscled thighs and shapely calves, pulled out of it by Steve’s hand closing in on his scruff and bodily hauling him into his lap.

“Question time. I’ve got condoms. But I can’t catch anything, can’t transmit either, so it’s up to you if you want them.”

Bucky takes just one second to decide, idiotic as it is.

“No. Want to feel it, feel you, want you coming in me.”

“Jesus Christ, Buck,” Steve grits out, hips jerking up and letting Bucky feel intimately what he’s asking for here.

“Fuck,” he whispers reverently, Steve kissing the word off his lips.

His hands aren’t idle as he sets about melting Bucky’s brain with his tongue, roaming all over his body, groping and pinching and sometimes just feeling, tugging him this way and that to arrange him on Steve’s lap. Bucky gasps when Steve lifts him by the hips and yanks him forward, keeping him poised right above his cock, the head gently probing Bucky’s ass.

“Stay like that,” he murmurs into the kiss before letting Bucky go, ignoring his plaintive whine in favor of rooting around the tussled sheets.

Bucky does stay in position, but he’s only human and helpless not to sway a little to feel Steve’s cock brushing his hole, the slick at the tip smearing filthily across his rim. It earns him a muffled curse and a hand swatting his tender ass, which only makes Bucky do it again and again, until Steve stops pawing at the sheets and grabs Bucky by the hair to give him a good shake.

“Impatient minx,” he berates, releasing Bucky’s hair to grip his throat, pressing in firmly, not enough to constrict breathing but enough that Bucky’s insides twist in on themselves from the steady pressure.

He gasps wordlessly. Steve keeps him there, just like that, as he works the lube open with one hand and slicks his cock up, knuckles accidentally brushing Bucky’s hole and making him whine.

“Alright then,” Steve says once he’s done. “You want it so bad, you can do the work.”

“I – what?”

“Fuck yourself on my cock, kid.”

“Oh, oh, shit,” Bucky babbles, uselessly trembling in Steve’s hand before a sharp slap to his rear makes him shout and move. Steve’s cock slides between his cheeks, hot against his hole and damn near burning against his bruised flesh.

Steve keeps one hand around Bucky’s neck and the other resting above the swell of his ass but doesn’t do anything else, just watches Bucky with a hard, expectant gaze. The look alone brings Bucky back to half-mast.

It’s another moment before he recovers enough to reach behind himself and take hold of Steve’s cock, holding it steady while he lowers himself onto it.

He keens when the head presses in, struggling against the heavy, blunt pressure. Steve’s big, goddamn huge, and Bucky can take it, he knows he can take it, knows he’s gonna like it, but it doesn’t feel like it when he’s bearing down on all that girth, hole clenching up red-hot.

“Relax,” Steve says, gently squeezing Bucky’s throat, and it makes him shudder, mouth falling open. “You can take it, Buck.”

“I know,” Bucky groans, need and frustration all tangled up.

Steve leans in to kiss him, and it’s one-sided as all hell, those soft lips moving sweetly against Bucky’s parted mouth, teasing at his lips and teeth.

“Breathe,” Steve whispers into Bucky’s mouth. “Let me in, sweetheart.”

Bucky breathes, closes his eyes and pulls in a heaving breath. Holds in and let it out slow, forces his body to unclench, relax the way it has so many times before, only with his finger on a trigger, his body sprawled flat across trees and roofs and gritty sand.

Steve slides into him, inch by inch, and Bucky sobs his name through the searing stretch.

It’s an eternity later that he’s seated on Steve’s cock, plugged up so full that he can feel it in his goddamn throat. Bucky’s a mess too, shaking and panting, but Steve seems to like it, his eyes wild and hungry as they rove over the sight Bucky makes, his hands equally busy stroking him all over. Bucky curls into him, basking in the touches, and gasps brokenly when Steve shifts inside him.

“Tell me it’s good,” he mouths desperately against Steve’s neck. “Tell me I’m good for you.”

“You are,” Steve responds immediately, holding Bucky close to himself. “So fucking good, Buck, all tight and sweet for me.”

Bucky shivers delicately but pulls back to look at Steve’s face, probing his expression for traces of a lie. He finds none, just barely bridled need and a shocking amount of fondness.

Steve kisses him, close-lipped and tender, like Bucky’s something precious.

Bucky lets himself be buoyed by that as he starts to move.

He whimpers at the drag of Steve’s cock along his walls, feeling simultaneously stuffed full and hollowed out. He stops halfway and sinks back down, shouting when his ass meets Steve’s thighs.

Fuck.”

It takes him a second to realize he’s not the one who swore. It’s Steve, head thrown back, the tendons of his throat in sharp relief as his chest heaves. Bucky raises a trembling hand to cup his jaw, loving how Steve’s beard scrapes the thin skin of his wrist. It’s a hell of a sight, seeing that veneer of control break, and Bucky’s suddenly hungry for it, for the sounds he can punch out of Steve.

He rises again, gritting his teeth as Steve’s cock slides out and out and out, until it’s only the head that’s in, keeping Bucky’s rim stretched wide. He gulps in a breath and slams his body down and screams.

There are hands on his hips, their grips bruising but not constraining, and Bucky’s glad for their grounding clutch as he pushes up and slides down again, and again, helpless to stop even as he screams and gasps and moans. It’s goddamn shameless, and he doesn’t give a fuck, willing to do just about anything as long as he gets this, Steve’s cock fucking him wide open and ruining him for anyone else.

He manages to pry his eyes open and makes another keening noise at the expression on Steve’s face, the almost violent hunger there as he watches Bucky bounce on his lap.

Bucky does it harder, faster, and his legs are burning, ass clenching, and he wants to fucking do it forever.

Steve wraps a hand around his cock, and Bucky loses his mind.

It’s all fast, frantic motion then, their bodies slick with sweat and spiraling towards the edge. Steve jerks him off roughly, his other hand bruising on Bucky’s thigh, and Bucky returns the favor with his hips moving violently on Steve’s cock and his metal arm tearing angry red groves down his chest. They lose any semblance of a rhythm all too soon, stroking and fucking wild and mad, until Steve’s hips piston off the bed, shoving his cock impossibly deep into Bucky as he comes with a growl.

Bucky shouts, clinging for dear life as Steve rides out his orgasm with short, grinding thrusts that Bucky can only grit his teeth and take. It’s the heat that sets him off, Steve’s come filling him up and slipping right out and tearing Bucky’s climax out of him.

He makes a mess out of them both, again, slumping against Steve as he shudders through the aftershocks. Steve holds him with both arms, tucking Bucky against himself as they both pant up a storm.

For a while, Bucky’s content to nestle up to Steve and bask in the afterglow, but eventually, his wrung-out body starts protesting the position. He shifts, whining a little when Steve slips out. It stings, but what Bucky hates worse is the sudden emptiness in him. He’s missed this, so fucking much, and for several seconds, he furiously debates the practicalities of making a former superhero/current vigilante his weekly booty call.

No, not weekly. Daily. Bucky needs it.

“Penny for your thoughts?” Steve asks, gently tipping them both into the bed so they’re lying down facing each other. He’s quick to pull Bucky back into his arms, and Bucky happily tries his best to burrow into his skin.

“No one says that anymore,” he grumbles, face mushed to Steve’s armpit. “And I was thinking of kidnapping you and keeping you locked up in my basement so you can fuck me like this forever.”

“Your place doesn’t have a basement,” is what Steve says.

The ensuing silence is very damning.

“Do I want to know why you know that?”

“Think you already do,” Steve says, sounding rather apologetic.

“Fuckin’ spies.”

“Mmhm. The worst.”

“Fuck you, sir.”

Steve flicks the back of his head, then makes up for it by sinking those fingers into Bucky’s hair, firmly massaging his scalp. Bucky promptly turns into a purring puddle.

“You might not have to go that far,” Steve says and graciously gives Bucky the two minutes it takes for him to reassemble most of his brain cells. “I’ll be seeing you, Buck.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Fury will explain.”

Bucky wants to pull back and frown at Steve, but those criminally skilled fingers are still doing obscene things to his scalp and have rendered Bucky’s facial features incapable of a frown. He does hope, distantly, that it’s not the same hand that was in his ass. There’s no sticky lube messing up his hair so he assumes not.

He squirms a little closer to Steve – and freezes.

“Uh…”

“What is it, kid?”

“You’re hard.”

Steve shrugs, an awkward motion that Bucky can feel in his own body.

“Serum. Short refractory period. It used to be non-existent, but you know what age does to you.”

“Yeah,” Bucky says breathlessly. “You’ve aged terribly.”

Steve laughs, but it cuts off into a groan when Bucky shifts forward deliberately, sliding his leg against Steve’s cock.

Bucky,” Steve hisses. “Don’t start something you can’t finish.”

Bucky says nothing and sets about proving that he knows exactly what he can finish, thank you very much, sir.