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Art Nouveau

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Captain America would not fit in at this bar.

As is, Steve Rogers in his least “Dad-like” jeans and white button down barely makes it through the door. Wanda had tried to talk him into a T-shirt, but Steve had stood his ground.  Times may have changed, but Steve isn’t going on a date without a proper shirt on. Even if it’s a date he’s not particularly excited about.

The Orchard is so deep in Brooklyn Steve had needed to Google the address. One of Tony’s cars had dropped him off outside a huge industrial space covered in graffiti, and he’d almost missed the small sign for what Wanda had promised was “a great date spot.”  If Steve were eighty years younger and possessed of more tattoos, he’d probably agree.

At least the stares he gets as he wades through the colorful, decidedly millennial crowd seem to be of the “what’s he doing here?” rather than “it’s the Sentinel of Liberty!” variety.  Without the stars and stripes, glances slide off Steve’s face. One girl with a nose ring and half her head shaved gives him an unimpressed sneer as he weaves through the crowd.  Steve smiles politely back and makes his way to the bar, marveling for the millionth time that being a six-foot-plus wall of muscle isn’t even noteworthy if he’s not in uniform.

People are a lot taller these days.

The music playing in the background barely registers over the din of voices.  The high ceilings and open duct-work don’t help with the acoustics, but there are heavy canvas paintings lining the walls and a sturdy wood bar.  The overall aesthetic is what Steve can best describe as “gothic Americana arboretum”, with vaguely menacing farm implements bracketed to the walls and a massive mural of a gnarled apple tree sprawling up behind the bar.  He immediately understands why Wanda loves this place.

Steve finds two empty stools at the bar and perches on the farther one.  The chalkboard menu on the wall proffers a dozen varieties of hard cider, with names like Mumble Core and Apple Jackoff.  Steve sighs and undoes his cuffs, rolling his sleeves up to reveal the only bare forearms in the place. The future was supposed to hold flying cars and friendly robots.  Steve never could have guessed everyone and their mother would have tattoos.

“Oh my God, it’s Captain America.”

Steve closes his eyes for a bare second before painting on his polite smile.  He’s used to this.

“Please, call me – Scott?”

Steve turns to face one of the most earnest, megawatt grins he’s ever seen, and this is from someone who’s spent decades whoring out his face for government propaganda.  Steve’s date looks just like his picture, which according to Wanda is noteworthy these days, although nothing on screen could have captured the sheer giddy energy radiating from this man.  Oh, God .  A fanboy.

“Scott Lang, hello, hi, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Cap.”

Steve accepts a handshake that would fell a smaller person with its enthusiasm. 

“Please, call me Steve.”  

Steve smiles and gestures to the open stool next to him.  Scott’s ass isn’t in the seat for more than a few seconds before he’s drumming his fingers against the bar and kicking his feet against the guard rail.  Steve is on a date with a ten-year-old.

“Have you been here before?” Scott asks, his head swiveling as he looks around the bar.  “A little off the beaten path. It’s cool, I mean, I like it, I like cool things.”

Scott grimaces.  At least he possesses some degree of self-awareness.

“I just meant, I’m new to New York, haven’t really spent much time in Brooklyn.  I’m a new-New Yorker!”

You are not a New Yorker , Steve thinks, but instead he grins brightly and asks, “What brings you here?”, happy for something to direct the conversation.

“My daughter.  Cassie. She’s starting her freshman year at NYU, and I figured, time for a change.  Sam told you I have a daughter, right?”

“He mentioned that, yeah.”

Sam had also implored Steve to give Scott a chance even if he “takes a little getting used to.”  Sam owes him a drink.

“I hope that’s not a problem.  I always say, I may be Ant-Man, but I’m a dad first.”

“I’m sure Cassie’s very lucky to have a dad like you,” Steve says honestly.  The sheer look of paternal pride on Scott’s face could eclipse a small galaxy.

“I try,” Scott shrugs, rolling his eyes with exaggerated modesty.  “You don’t have kids, right? Or do you?” He leans in, his eyes going wide.  “Do you have, like, secret kids?”

“No. No kids, secret or otherwise.  Although one of the young ladies I work with does make a lot of Dad jokes.”

“More like Daddy,” says a low voice from across the bar.

“Excuse --”

“What can I get for you boys?” 

Steve’s eyebrows are still up in surprise when he looks up at their bartender. Did this guy just call him Daddy or is he picking up static from someone else on a better date than his?  Any outraged surprise Steve may have lingering on his tongue is immediately silenced when the guy leans against his edge of the bar, with a smile that could melt every ice cube in this place.

There’s barely an inch of skin on him that isn’t covered in tattoos, from the steepled hold of his knuckles to the small fleur-de-lis printed on his cheekbone.  He’s got a gorgeous set of steely blue eyes that meet Steve’s without flinching. He’s strange and striking and it takes Steve a long second to pull his eyes away.

“Uh, what’s good?” Steve asks, trying not to stare at the dark lines that disappear into the V-neck of the bartender’s faded black t-shirt.  It’s so thin Steve needs no imagination to picture the muscular chest underneath, not with the way it’s stretched so tight Steve can see he’s got chest hair going all the way down and dear God, what is going on with his nipples?

“My eyes are up here,” Bartender whispers, grinning at the flush that spreads over Steve’s face.  God, Steve’s on a date .  He shouldn’t stare.  It’s not any easier to keep his eyes off the guy’s face, though, not when he’s got a fat bottom lip and two studs nestled in the deep curve of his cupid’s bow.  He’s inked all the way up to his jaw, solid black on the sides that fades into a swirling design of a woman embracing a swan twining down the front of his neck.

“Is that Leda?”  Steve had always loved mythology.

It’s the bartender’s turn to raise his eyebrows.

“Leda and the swan.  Yeah, it is.” He gives Steve a curious smile before he turns to point at the menu on the wall.  “Big Flight’s a good place to start. Little bit of everything, good to try together.”

Right.  Scott

“Does that sound good to you?”  Steve asks, turning to his date and thinking, strangely, how plain Scott’s face looks.

“Sure,” Scott nods, blinking as he looks back and forth between Steve and the bartender.  “Sounds great.”

“Coming right up,” bartender says, before winking at Steve without a trace of shame. 

“So, uh, do you like cider?” Scott asks once Bartender has left, offering a tempting glance of a broad back and the shaved undercut of his hair.  Does he have tattoos on his scalp? Steve blinks.

“I like it ok, what I’ve tried.  Wanda - that’s the woman I work with - she recommended this place.”

“Oh, the Scarlet Witch?”  Scott stage-whispers, although he could probably shout it at the top of his lungs and not get a reaction from anyone around them. 

“We don’t usually use code names with each other.”  Steve says it kindly, but Scott still slaps his forehead and starts babbling an apology.

“Of course not, of course, it’s not like I go around introducing myself as Ant Man.  Hi, folks, just your friendly neighborhood Ant Man reporting for date duty with Captain America, nothing to —”

“So that’s where I know you from.”

Steve leaves the train wreck that is Scott to glance over the bar at the bartender’s knowing smile.  He places two wooden boards on the bar, each one holding six small glasses full of various shades of amber liquid. 

“Steve Rogers, pleasure to meet you.”  He holds his hand out across the bar. Wanda always calls this his Business Handshake, but the bartender grabs his hand right back.

“Bucky, Bucky Barnes.”

That’s a handshake .  Steve licks his lips.

“I’m Ant Man.  I mean, Scott, I’m Scott Lang, pleasure to, yeah,” Scott says, making an awkward salute.

Bucky doesn’t even look at him.

“What the fuck is Captain America doing in my bar?” 

“Hoping you’ll tell him what the fuck he’s about to drink.”  Steve arches an eyebrow and picks up the first glass on his board.  Bucky’s eyes go wide.

“They let me curse when I’m off the clock.”  Steve can wink, too.

Bucky leans forward, far too cat-like in his elegant slouch.  Hunched forward like this, Steve can just make out the sparkle of something beneath the neckline of his shirt, like he has something stuck to his skin.  Steve looks away before he’s caught staring again.

“First up, we’ve got our Classic.  Not too sweet, not too dry, just enough acid to make you pucker up like it’s your first kiss.” 

Steve is suddenly aware of the purse of his lips as he swallows his first sip.  It’s good, refreshing and crisp, light enough that he could drink it all day. Steve sets his glass down as Bucky points to the second one in the line.

“Now this one is our —”

“Is that Mucha?”

Steve’s fingers stop just above the skin of Bucky’s forearm, where familiar swirls have caught Steve’s eye. “Sorry, I shouldn’t touch without asking first.”

Bucky arches an eyebrow and stretches his arms toward Steve.

“You can touch me.”

He turns his arm over so Steve can circle his fingers around one of Bucky’s wrists. Inked into his skin in delicate lines, a woman smiles sideways at him, her hair wreathed with leaves and her arms full of a cornucopia of apples and grapes.  Bucky flexes his arm, turning it over in Steve’s grip.

“And yeah, Mucha’s one of my favorites.  You recognize it?”

“Of course, it’s the Seasons.” 

Autumn with her inky black hair and Winter shrouded in her cloak occupy the top and underside of one arm, while Spring and Summer dance across the other. The work is beautiful, bold lines that capture the fluid outline of hair and garment, peppered with small details of each phase of the year. 

“Why aren’t they in color?”  Steve remembers poring over books at the public library, happily sketching the naturalized curves and wishing his watercolor skills were better.

“Honestly? I like the aesthetic of black and white better.  I’m all about lines and motion, not so much color. There’s this quote I’ve always liked, that Art Nouveau is the sudden, violent curves generated by the crack of a whip.”

Steve could listen to Bucky say that line on repeat.  He can see it, too, the whiplash simplicity where Bucky’s stripped away the saturated, dreamy colors of Mucha’s palette.  The flourished, decorative borders above the anthropomorphized Seasons cut a clear delineation between the art and the solid black that covers half of Bucky’s biceps. 

“I didn’t know people had Art Nouveau tattoos.”  Steve’s finger drags past the knob of bone on Bucky’s wrist.

“I didn’t know superheroes knew their art history.”

The backs of Bucky’s hands are lined with vines and strings of pearls, dripping down onto his knuckles to spell “Hopeless” in bold, embellished typeface.

“I went to the Jeff Koons show last year,” Scott pipes up, to Steve’s politely clenched jaw and Bucky’s outright look of distaste.  Bucky stands up straight, but not before letting his fingers slide along the inside of Steve’s wrist. Steve shivers.

“Those balloon animals sure are nuts, huh?”  Scott picks up another glass. “So, what’s in this one?”

“Yeah, that’s our Big Bone, named for its bone-dry finish.  No sugar, just heirloom apples from our orchard outside of New Paltz, including an old bitter varietal our owner single-handedly nursed from one of her grandmother’s apple trees.  An old-school American if there ever was one.”

Bucky’s eyes don’t leave Steve’s face as he brings his glass to his lips.

“Those are my favorite,” Bucky adds, just as Steve takes a delicious, bitter swallow. 

“That’s good,” Steve says, smacking his lips at the crisp finish.  He picks up the next glass and gives Bucky an expectant smile.

“Oh Baby I Like It Raw,” Bucky announces with a straight face, “is our third, an unpasteurized wild-yeast with heavy sediment and a cloudy finish.  It’s a nasty one. Not for the weak.”

Scott coughs around his glass just before Bucky finishes.

“That tastes like a barn,” Scott says, his face reminding Steve of those internet videos Sam likes of babies trying lemons for the first time. 

Bucky nods.  “That’s the yeast.  It mellows into hay as it ferments.  Like I said, it’s not for everyone.”

“I don’t mind it.”  Steve takes another sip, letting his tongue roll around in his mouth.  It’s funky and Scott’s not wrong about the barnyard character, but Steve’s never shied away from nasty things.  Bucky must be sweaty after a night of hauling kegs and slinging booze. Steve steals a glance at his neck, just to see if there are any tell-tale beads glistening on his skin. 

“Glad to hear it.”  Bucky’s palms press into the bar, the flex of his arms as he leans in sending ripples over the decorative floral motifs that gradually appear above his biceps.  They seem to go straight up to the back of his neck, although Steve can’t know for sure while his shirt’s still on.

“Named that one myself,” Bucky says, his eyes burning a challenge at Steve.

Steve’s been getting hit on since he was 91 pounds soaking wet and could only hear a pick-up line out of the one ear.  He toasts his glass to Bucky and drains the rest, keeping his head tilted back as he swallows. 

“I’m gonna head to the can,” Scott says, leaving his cloudy glass mostly full on the bar top.  Any empty space he may have left is immediately occupied as Bucky leans onto his elbows.

“You guess the next one,” he says, pointing at the fourth glass on Steve’s slab.

Steve picks it up, swirling his glass in his fingers and holding it up to the dim light in an affectation of Tony’s wine tastings.  Bucky laughs, a low, sweet sound that Steve wouldn’t mind feeling in his chest. This one’s clear, as light as the first one. Steve holds it under his nose and takes a deep inhale, using it as a barely-needed excuse to stare at any bare inch of Bucky available. 

Beneath rows of rings and little studs in parts of his ear Steve can’t even name, Bucky’s earlobes are stretched out around hollow tunnels the width of Steve’s thumb.  What had Wanda called them – gashed? Gouged? Why does Steve want to run his finger around them? Under a messy, lopsided bun, his hair is shaved in a neat line around the base of his head, and Steve’s suspicion about his tattoos going all the way up is confirmed.  They’re beautiful, the interlocking pattern of leaves and flowers such a far cry from the crude mermaids and pin-ups Steve used to catch on some of his “buddies” down by the docks. The curves of leaf and stem interlock to form patterns, an imposition of order over the wild exuberance of nature.  Steve sneaks his tongue onto the rim of his glass and takes a sip.

Steve’s mouth floods with the bright, sharp taste of a thousand summer fields.  Crisp, green, grassy, and sweet on his tongue, Steve hums at the unexpected taste.  The sense-memory shocks him, the vivid crunch of twigs under his feet, a blanket of grass under his back, the sheen of his own sweat as his legs slipped and slid around some handsome soldier’s waist.  It’s a happy one.

“Damn, that’s good.” Steve takes another sip and narrows his eyes.  “Basil?”

Bucky’s grin is huge, showing all his teeth and crinkling the tattoo under his eye.  


Bucky watches him take another pull from his glass.

“Something… fruity. Blueberry?”

“You’re good at this.”

With pleased confidence plastered across his face, Bucky lazily plucks Scott’s untouched fourth glass from his board and takes it for himself.  He clinks it against Steve’s and takes a healthy swallow.

“We call it The Ramble.  Tastes like candy but it’s one of my favorites.”

“Tastes like summertime.”  Like cruising , Steve doesn’t add, because he can’t get drunk enough to let shit like that slip anymore.

“Must have been hot back then, no air conditioning.”  Bucky’s eyes bore into him, as bright blue as the bottom of a swimming pool.

“We made do.”

Steve’s got about a hundred bucks in his wallet, and he’d be willing to bet all of it that Bucky’s picturing how sweaty Steve in a midtown heatwave would be.  Steve’s damn well doing the same.

“So these,” Steve says, drawing his finger across his own collarbone and up behind his ear, because he doesn’t trust himself to take his hand back if he touches Bucky.  “These aren’t Mucha.”

“William Morris.”


Steve had always liked figure drawing more than textile design, but Bucky’s sinuous, monochrome take on the pattern is as enticing as a naked body.  The negative space in the background makes the gradations of leaf and petal stand out, acanthus leaves and bluebells melding into the inky expanses of black that shade over the sides of Bucky’s neck.  Would you even be able to see a hickey on his skin?

Bucky pushes back from the bar and darts his eyes from side to side.  There are plenty of customers, but no one’s flagging him down, and there’s another bartender at the other end.  She looks like the kind of woman who’s made solely out of spite and deadpan jokes. Her hair’s an unnatural shade of red that’s still becoming on her.  She pushes it out of her face and glares at Bucky before giving him her middle finger. Bucky gives her a thumbs-up before turning back to Steve.

“Let’s see if you can guess this one.”

Steve slides forward on his barstool, suddenly aware of the narrow fit of his jeans.  Bucky’s right hand slides under the hem of his t-shirt, bunching the fabric to slowly peel it up his torso.  It takes an immense effort of will for Steve to tear his eyes away from the sharp cut of Bucky’s hips, where they V into the low-slung waistband of his jeans and fuck , there’s a lush little trail of hair diving down below his fly.  Steve blinks and follows the gentle curve of Bucky’s tattoos to the huge piece covering half his stomach and his entire right rib cage.

“Easy, Klimt.”

He’s half-offended Bucky might have thought he wouldn’t recognize it.  Rendered in black and white, the forward-facing stare and bare breast of the subject is even more striking.  Her hair disappears into a huge halo of stippled black, blurring into Bucky’s armpit and Christ, Steve wants to find out with his nose whether Bucky’s actual armpits are tattooed, too.  Her arm makes an elegant line down to Bucky’s stomach, where the image fades again, half a severed head bleeding into the dip of Bucky’s abs. 

“Judith and Holofernes.”

Steve has the absurd thought that he could take a brush and paint the gold onto it, gild Bucky all over until he’s gleaming.

“Well, shit, next drink’s on me,” Bucky says, letting his shirt fall back down.  Steve tries not to look too stricken and settles on finishing off his weirdly delightful cider.  Not like Steve has to watch himself with the booze. He should be watching himself with Bucky, but Steve spends so much time doing what he should do.  He bites his lip.

“It’s not my favorite Judith and Holofernes, though,” Steve says casually, shrugging his shoulders.

Bucky’s eyes widen.

“Captain America has a favorite Judith and Holofernes painting?”

“Hey, I thought I was going to be an artist growing up.  Didn’t know ‘weird science experiment’ was an option.”

“I’ll bite, what’s your favorite? Caravaggio?”

“Well, now I’m going to look like an asshole because I can’t remember her name, but it’s by a woman artist, early Baroque—”

“Artemisia Gentileschi.”  Bucky says each syllable softly, the whisper of it running over Steve’s skin until he has goosebumps.  Bucky’s staring at him, lips parted. Steve can just see the gleam of something metal in his mouth.

“Yeah.”  Steve runs a hand through his hair to scratch at the back of his neck.  “It’s scary, but it’s … it’s realistic, you know? It makes you believe these two women could really cut off this guy’s head.  Like she wasn’t afraid to paint real violence, not romanticize it.” Steve’s seen enough violence to know the difference.

Bucky’s head tilts to the side, leaving one stray bit of hair to fall against his cheek. 

“I love that painting.” Bucky presses his lips together, leaving them a deeper red when he opens his mouth again.  “You are not what I would have expected.”

“Let me guess, you thought I’d be taller?”

Bucky shakes his head in a silent No , looking Steve up and down.  His eyes slant up, lupine and gorgeous, looking at Steve with a hungry ease most people never give him.  Steve gets polite smiles and nervous glances, people awed by a uniform and a legacy. Bucky just looks like he wants to tear Steve’s clothes off with his teeth.

“You know, the last time someone looked at me like that, I got—”

“That bathroom sure is something!”  Oh, God. Scott .  Steve forces a smile onto his face and turns to Scott, hoping the flush on his cheeks isn’t too obvious.

“One of those communal sinks, crazy stuff,” Scott adds, his smile only faltering for a second as he stares down at the empty glass on his board.  His thumb flicks nervously over the screen of his phone.

“It’s a horse trough,” Bucky says through his teeth, frowning as he grabs a bar towel and busies himself serving two women sitting a few seats away from Steve.

“Neat,” Scott mumbles.  He’s staring at his phone like it’s going to detonate.  Steve’s half-way through forming some polite version of “think we should call it a night” when it rings.  Scott practically jumps off his stool, and the look of “surprise” on his face when he answers it makes Steve cringe a little inside.

“Hey, Cassie,” he says, holding up his finger for “one second” from Steve as he holds his phone to his ear.

“Hi Dad! Something terrible has happened and I need you to come get me immediately. Unless your date’s going well, then I’m fine and don’t worry about me.  Just say it’s the wrong number.”

A girl’s voice blares out from Scott’s phone.  Steve’s fielded his share of rescue calls from Sam and Wanda, and but he’s never been so nervous he put them on speaker by accident.  This poor bastard.

“Hey, Cassie, honey, what’s up?”

“Scott,” Steve says softly, as Scott nods furiously.

“Oh, no, it’s not going well?  It’s really loud in there, Dad,” Cassie says, so at least one member of the Lang family is somewhat perceptive.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.”  Scott mimes a worried face.

“Dad!  Did you act like a big nerd in front of him?  We talked about this!”


 “Oh, really?”  Scott says, his face a parody of exaggerated concern. 

“On a scale from one to ten, how much have you embarrassed yourself?” Cassie asks, and Steve has to hide his smile behind his glass.

“Um, I’m not sure, I think that meeting’s at 8.  Or maybe 8:30,” Scott sighs.


“Oh, Dad.  I told you that you weren’t ready to go on a date with Captain America.  I’ll come over with some ice cream, ok? You want to watch Die Hard?”

“Sure, Cassie, I’ll be there right away, just stay where you are.”  Scott holds his hand over the phone and turns to Steve.

“Sorry, Cap, it’s my daughter, she’s, uh, stuck in a tree, with a, uh, motorcycle gang and—”

“Scott, your phone’s on speaker.”

There’s a beat of horrified silence before Scott’s phone erupts. 

“Dad!” Cassie shrieks.  God bless Scott for maintaining some degree of composure. 

“Of course it is,” he mutters, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath through his nose.

“I’ll be home in half an hour.  Make sure it’s cookie dough,” Scott whispers before he hangs up.

“So,” Scott says, blowing a breath out through his pursed lips.  “You probably never want to see me again, totally get it.”

“Hey, Scott, no.  I’d love you to run point on a mission with me sometime.”


Sort of.  Scott’s got a sincerity that could be a nice change from his usual moody conversations with Wanda or snark-fests with Tony.  God, Tony would eat this guy alive.

“Absolutely.  And I meant it, before.  Cassie’s lucky to have a dad like you.”

“She’s never going to let me live this down.”

Scott makes his awkward goodbyes and leaves Steve alone with one last mystery glass of cider.  They couldn’t even make it through the flight. So much for Wanda’s theory that it’d be good for him to date another superhero. 

“Sorry about your date.”  Bucky tilts his head as he clears Scott’s glasses, saving the untouched last one for himself.

“No, you’re not,” Steve says, clinking his glass against Bucky’s.  Bucky grins around the rim of his glass.

“I feel sorry for him?”

“Hey, he gets to go home and have ice cream.  I’m the one sitting here all alone.”

Bucky licks his lips and leans on his elbow. 

“I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you about the final offering on your board, Steve,” Bucky says, rolling Steve’s name around on his tongue like it’s another craft brew he’s decided to drink.

“Salt Bae is a gose-style cider, taking a trick from the beer to ramp up the sour apple mash with some Himalayan salt.  It’s fermented with hibiscus leaves and rooibos tea, good for hot summer nights and long days at the beach.”

“Himalayan salt,” Steve mutters, taking a sip of the strange concoction.  It’s sour and indescribably weird, a marriage of flavors Steve couldn’t name with a gun to his head.  He’s never even heard of roy-boys tea. He and Bucky make the same puckery face as they set their glasses down.

“Back in my day we just had the one kind of salt.”

“It’s a salty new world.”

There’s a snort to Bucky’s right, so loud Steve can feel it.  The other bartender glares at them as she grabs two glasses from the bar and lines them up under the tap, pulling blindly with the practiced ease of someone who’s done this a million times.  

“Are you planning on doing any work tonight?”  She spits at Bucky, but Steve’s well-versed in friends who love you as much as they want to kill you.  She gives Steve a supremely unimpressed look as she tops up a pint glass.

“Nat, I was just going to go get a new keg of the gose, I swear,” Bucky says, holding his hands up innocently.

“If that tap’s spitting air at the end of your break I’m taking all your tips.”

“Of course, sestra ,” Bucky says, bringing his hands together in front of his chest and bowing to her.  She rolls her eyes and stalks off to her customers. Steve swallows what’s left in his glass and sets it down on the bar with a soft clink. 

“You know, those kegs are awfully heavy,” Bucky says, leaning across the bar.  The tuck of his arms does glorious things to his pecs, squeezing them together up under the V-neck of his shirt.  Steve’s hands flex. “I sure could use a big, strong fella to help me carry one back up.”

Steve runs the blunt edge of his fingernail down Bucky’s forearm, trailing past the curve of Summer’s pointed toe to drag it down Bucky’s middle finger. 

“Happy to lend a hand,” Steve says, locking his eyes on Bucky’s just to make sure he hasn’t lost his fluency with come-ons.  Bucky’s skin erupts into goosebumps under Steve’s hand, his eyes slanting up as he lets out a shaky sigh. 

“Hope you’re not always this gentlemanly.”

Bucky’s gone before Steve can reply, down the bar to flip up the hinged top at the end and let himself out.  He nods at a side door with a dim EXIT over it in red lights, smiling at Steve before he disappears through it. 

Steve waits a moment before sliding off his stool and making his way toward the back door.  No one pays him any mind.

The wave of cool air that hits him as he opens the door is a welcome relief compared to the close warmth of the bar.  Immediately, Bucky’s on him, backing him into the wall, his eyes the kind of pretty that should be drawn in charcoal and pastels.

Steve gets touched delicately so often.  Strapped into shiny new tactical suits by Tony’s indifferent hands, politely prodded by the team of physicians Fury insists he see regularly, gently hugged by Wanda when she thinks he needs it.  But Bucky slams into him like a force of nature, his palms sliding up Steve’s sides, taking the measure of him before finding the back of Steve’s neck and pulling him down for a kiss.

Steve hasn’t exactly been a choirboy since he came out of the ice, and he certainly wasn’t one before.  The first time he’d finally spent the night with another man in this brave new world, he’d been reassured to find that kissing, at least, hadn’t changed.  This in an old language – the press of lips to his, the warm thrill of someone’s teeth against his tongue, the wriggle and part of a soft mouth sighing open for him.  Bucky tastes sweet, warm, wet, all the things Steve had imagined. Steve licks into him, greedy for more, just to start with shock at the studded twine of Bucky’s tongue against his.

“What’s-- your tongue,” Steve asks dumbly, reluctant to pull away but too curious to resist.

Bucky smiles, impish, and slowly stretches his tongue out toward his chin.  Steve has seen some shit in his day but truly, never did he imagine he’d be gaping at a man with his tongue split down the middle.  Bucky twists the two ends back and forth, snaking them over each other. The metal studs through either side gleam in the dim light of the back street. 

The serpentine shock of it sends Steve reeling.  “That’s, um –”

“Gonna feel really good on your cock? Yeah.” 

Jesus .  Steve licks his lips with his own mundane tongue.  Bucky pauses, his head tilting into a challenge.

“You scared, old man?”

Scared’s not the word.  Steve’s been scared plenty, scared enough to see his life run past his eyes before his vision blacked out, scared enough to know that it’s the low-lit thrills that always top the charts of his best memories.  Steve’s not scared. He’s fucking thrilled.

Bucky huffs his surprise when Steve crushes their mouths together.  He dips his tongue against Bucky’s, finding the strange press of Bucky’s split tongue more pleasant than anything.  He sucks on it, an old trick that feels shiny-new as the studs of Bucky’s tongue dance against him. Steve hums, marveling that Bucky can challenge his fluency in even this.

He’s already hard.

“I’ll fuck out here if we need to, but I’d rather go somewhere a little more private,” Steve says between kisses, hungry for Bucky’s mouth but aware of his crumbling self-control.

Bucky pulls off his lips with an exaggerated pop.  “Afraid someone’ll see us, Cap?”

“You think anyone stumbling past two cocksuckers in an alley would recognize me?  No. I just want you all to myself.” Steve kisses him again, tugs him close until Bucky can feel the press of Steve’s cock. 

“Yeah,” Bucky mumbles against his lips. “Yeah, come here.”

Bucky tucks his hand into Steve’s belt, easy and possessive as he tugs Steve away from the door.  He follows Bucky to a narrow half-stair that leads down below the building. Steve has been in basements like this, cramped with supplies and teetering kegs of beer.  In the dim light from the half-windows, rows of galvanized shelves line the walls, stuffed with cases of alcohol and paper goods. The whole place is smaller than one of the closets in Stark tower, and it has that uniquely loamy basement smell, a distant reminder that they’re standing in the dirt.

Bucky flicks on the light.  It sputters to life and does its best to dispel the darkness, but it’s a meager effort.  Still, it’s enough for Steve to watch with his mouth hanging open while Bucky strips his shirt off.  Steve’s hands all over him block the view of his tattoos, but Steve’s not concerned with the dips and swirls of ink covering his skin right now.  He’s too busy tracing up the swell of Bucky’s pecs.

“You gonna ask if they hurt?”

Bucky glances down at the piercings decorating his chest.  The nipples Steve had expected, but the combination of vertical and horizontal bars making a compass rose behind Bucky’s bruised-peach nipples is new to him.  He drags his hand over Bucky’s chest, skirting past his nipples and over the soft curls of hair that bloom beneath his collarbone. He lays one finger over the glittering stud that’s nestled between his tits.  He can feel a bar beneath Bucky’s skin, buried treasure that rolls gently as Steve presses at it. That’s a new one.

“Of course they hurt.  I was gonna ask if you liked it,” Steve says, curling the tip of his finger through a soft apostrophe of dark hair.

Bucky looks up at him, lips parted and a strand of hair falling by his face.  His chest rises and falls with his breath, undulating the furls of leaf and stem that cover his skin all the way to his nipples. He takes Steve’s hand in his own and urges his fingers over one, a gentle squeeze pushing Steve to pinch until Bucky’s eyes flutter shut.

Fuck . I like that,” Bucky says, his long sigh lost in Steve’s mouth as he pulls Steve in for a kiss.

Steve does it again, rolling Bucky’s nipple between his thumb and forefinger, pinching as hard as he dares until Bucky arches into his hand.  Steve backs them up until Bucky hits a shelf, molding himself to Bucky’s front until he feels Bucky’s hardon through his jeans. Steve feels him up as their cocks grind together, kissing Bucky until the ache between his legs makes him groan.  Bucky grins into his mouth and grasps the front of Steve’s shirt and Steve’s happy to let Bucky manhandle him until he’s the one backed up against a case of seltzer.

“Showed you mine,” Bucky says, his fingers making quick work of Steve’s shirt buttons.  Steve shrugs it off and throws it over the nearest flat surface, a keg half a foot away.  Bucky rucks his undershirt up under his armpits, angling his hips to keep them rocking together even as he gazes down at Steve’s body.

“Shit,” Bucky says under his breath, his hand closing over Steve’s pec and squeezing.  “Hope you’re this big everywhere.”

He grins and slides his hand down Steve’s stomach, agonizingly slow.  The tattoos across his hands flex as he toys with Steve’s belt buckle.  Steve’s cock aches where it’s pressing against his fly.

“Only one way to find out,” Steve says, reaching down to cup Bucky’s hand over his dick.  He presses, letting Bucky feel how hard he is. “Gonna show me what these can do?” 

Steve cups Bucky’s chin and presses his thumb into Bucky’s mouth.  Bucky’s lips close around it, sucking softly as he wraps his tongue around either side of Steve’s finger.  The studs tickle against his skin. Steve shudders.

“You want to suck my cock, Bucky?  That what you want?”

Bucky nods, taking Steve’s finger along for the ride.  He smacks his lips together when he pulls off, his eyelashes fluttering down to his cheeks.  The soft stubble on Bucky’s jaw grazes against his skin as he leans in and kisses down Steve’s neck.

“Don’t be too gentle,” Bucky says.  He sucks along the hollow of Steve’s jaw, tickling enough to make Steve’s toes curl in his shoes.  He opens Steve’s fly without looking. Steve groans as Bucky drags his tongue along the offered curve of Steve’s neck and slides his hand down the front of Steve’s boxers. 

“And I like it when you pull my hair,” Bucky whispers into his ear, sucking Steve’s earlobe between his teeth as he slides Steve’s cock free.  Bucky’s breath ghosts over his skin as he strokes up the length of Steve’s cock, sighing out an open-mouthed sound of satisfaction.

“Good,” Steve says, letting his fingers run up the soft buzz of Bucky’s undercut to close into the longer strands of his hair.  He tugs Bucky’s hair loose from its bun and tosses the thin piece of elastic aside. He can just make out the floral swirls tattooed on his scalp.  “Been wanting to do that since I saw you.”

Bucky groans as Steve curls his fingers, just enough to let him feel some pressure.  Bucky’s hair is so soft. Steve kneads at it as he lets Bucky take the lead. He’s in good hands.  Bucky kisses his way across Steve’s bared chest before his mouth dips down the furrow of Steve’s abs.  He sinks to his knees and hooks his hands into Steve’s waistband. There’s nothing gentle about the way he tugs Steve’s pants down over his ass, sharp and just enough to give Bucky access. 

“Big everywhere,” Bucky murmurs, his hand curving to cup Steve’s balls and catch them over the elastic waistband of his underwear.  Steve knows they don’t have to be quiet down here, but he still bites his fist when Bucky sucks one of his balls into his mouth and strokes his cock up to the wet tip. 

Bucky’s either very experienced or he has a direct line on all of Steve’s sensitive spots.  Not an inch of Steve’s nuts go ignored as he licks and sucks his way over Steve’s skin, flicking his tongue and making wet noises every time Steve clenches his hand in Bucky’s hair.  Steve’s cock is aching and pearled at the tip by the time Bucky finally closes his mouth over it.

Steve doesn’t have enough digits on his body to count how many times he’s gotten his dick sucked.  Long, lazy blowjobs that last hours, barracks quickies that barely lasted the span of one breath – Steve’s no stranger to having another man’s mouth on him. 

He’s never felt anything like Bucky.  The warmth of his mouth, the pressure as he hollows out his cheeks and sucks, the tight grip of his lips over his teeth as he slides down – he’s seen that before, sure.  Then Bucky rolls his tongue along Steve’s shaft and Steve isn’t responsible for the gut-wrenched sound he makes. 

“Jesus, Bucky.”  He glances down to find Bucky looking far too satisfied for a man about to bury his nose in Steve’s pubes.  Bucky does something with his tongue, something infernal, something that should be memorialized on a statue, fuck .  Steve tugs at his hair more to steady himself than anything.  The twin studs in Bucky’s tongue undulate on either side of his cock in perfect concert, jerking him off into wet heat. 

“Not your first time, huh?” Steve says, his voice coming out ragged.

Bucky’s answering hum goes right to Steve’s balls.  He grabs Steve’s ass, kneading at muscle as he takes Steve down further, his eyes locked on Steve’s.  It’s not all the way – Steve is big everywhere – but it’s far enough that he can feel the hard-hit clench of Bucky’s throat as he knocks back against it. 

“Fuckin’ good at this, sweetheart.”  Steve hasn’t lost it this fast since the Dodgers still played for Brooklyn.  His head’s light and his balls are heavy in Bucky’s hand, where he’s rolling them and sneaking his middle finger to rub up against Steve’s perineum.  It’s so fucking good that Steve has to dig his hand into the shelf behind him until he hears the tell-tale squeal of metal just so he doesn’t pull Bucky’s hair hard enough to hurt him for real.  Bucky misses it entirely or doesn’t give a shit if the walls fall down around them, which is just fine with Steve. He’s fucking close.

“Bucky, oh, God, Buck,” Steve gasps, his hips pumping in time with Bucky’s mouth.  Bucky urges him on, one hand planted possessively on Steve’s ass and the other working his nuts like Bucky’s got extra joints in his fingers.  There’s no way he could miss how tight Steve’s balls are, how close he is, but that doesn’t stop him from swallowing Steve down just to spit him out and run the twin tips of his tongue over Steve’s throbbing-wet cockhead.  Steve’s head hits the shelf behind him with a thunk that would dizzy anyone else.

“Gonna come, fuck, I’m –”

Steve tugs on Bucky’s hair, earning him a groan that curls around his cock and does nothing to stave off the wave cresting at the base of Steve’s spine.  The harder Steve pulls on Bucky’s hair, the harder he goes on Steve, grabbing at his ass and drowning out Steve’s warning with the gorgeous, wet thwicks of his mouth.  He needs to pull off, fuck , Steve didn’t tell him--

“Wait, Bucky, I’m gonna, you can’t – fuck .”

Steve goes white, humming, every meager ounce of what focus he has left going into ensuring he doesn’t crush Bucky’s goddamn skull in his hand.  His body goes rigid, the cords of his neck straining as he comes. His hips snap forward, seeking out the warm heat of Bucky’s mouth as he spills over his tongue.  Bucky makes noises that should greet people at the pearly gates as he tries to swallow – wet, thick sounds that rise into a confused gasp as he pulls off for air just to find Steve still spurting warm over his face.  Bucky just looks at him, stunned, as Steve lands another volley of thick white stripes across Bucky’s open lips and his arthouse neck.

His dick isn’t the only thing that’s bigger than usual.

“Oh, God, I’m so sorry, I should’ve warned you,” Steve says shakily, sagging against the case of soda behind him.  He winces as another spurt of come hits the floor, narrowly missing Bucky’s knee.

Bucky stares up at him, eyes bright as he brings the back of his hand to his mouth.  He drags his knuckles over his bottom lip, catching a fat line of Steve’s jizz. Steve’s ready for him to flick it onto the floor or wipe it on his pants - anything other than the lazy cat-lick of his tongue. 

“That some super-soldier shit or were you always built like a fucking babymaker?”  Bucky licks at the corners of his mouth and swallows, showy, with the kind of bravado that Steve can applaud.  He needs this guy’s number.

“The serum had some … unexpected side effects.”  Steve says, his tongue mildly planted in his cheek, and shrugs while he tucks himself back into his underwear and hikes his pants back up a bit.

“I wish every surprise in my life were that good,” Bucky says.  He arches an eyebrow and staggers to his feet. His lips are fuller, glistening dark red against the metal set into his flesh.  There’s a streak of Steve’s come nestled between the studs. He tilts his head back, baring the graceful curve of a swan’s wing and the fat drip of Steve’s come down his skin.

“Clean me up.”

It’s a dare.  Like he expects Steve to balk at this.  Steve loves this shit, has since he was half Bucky’s size and twice the slattern he allows himself to be today.  He fists his hand into Bucky’s hair, tugs softly, smiles at the long moan Bucky gives him. He hums and drags his tongue up the column of Bucky’s neck, catching the salty, thick taste of himself before kissing it back into Bucky’s mouth. 

“Thought you didn’t want me to be a gentleman,” Steve says, smiling against the over-worked swell of Bucky’s lips.  Bucky’s hands skirt over his sides, brushing against Steve’s bunched-up shirt as Bucky drags his fingers along Steve’s back.

“Too late to start now,” Bucky says, moaning as Steve licks a stripe up the inked-out softness of his neck.

Bucky’s cock is a bulge in his tight jeans, too much temptation for men far greater than Steve Rogers to resist.  He slides his hand down, dragging over denim to grind the heel of his hand hard against it.

“Gets your dick hard? Sucking me off in some grimy basement?”

Bucky doesn’t answer, just rolls his hips forward to press the full weight of his hard-indeed dick against Steve’s hand.  His face is cocky, beautiful, his lips riding up in a half-sneer that makes Steve want to fuck his mouth all over again.

“Yeah, I get it,” Steve laughs, grinding his hand against Bucky’s dick.  He nuzzles into Bucky’s neck, tracing his tongue over the juncture of ink and skin that disappears into the close crop of his hair.  Steve drags his nose against the soft fuzz, smiling. He’s always liked rubbing his face against a high and tight. Bucky writhes against him, chasing Steve’s hand just to arch into his mouth.

“Want to get you off,” Steve mumbles, his tongue otherwise occupied with the search and rescue of the tacky streaks of himself lingering under Bucky’s jaw.  He drags his hand down Bucky’s chest, finding the soft invitation of his happy trail and tracing it down Bucky’s stomach. He pops the button of Bucky’s fly open.

“Let me,” Bucky says, gently moving Steve’s hands aside to slide his zipper down.  “Got to be a little careful.”

Steve can be careful.  He’s only mildly wounded that Bucky would think otherwise as he watches Bucky open his fly and slowly push his pants down.  The dripping flourishes of his Klimt tattoo disappear into the waistband of a pair of pale gray boxer-briefs. There’s a wet spot on the front that would barely disappear beneath Steve’s palm.  His mouth waters. 

Bucky slides his underwear down just as slowly as his pants, teasing, revealing inch by inch of tattooed skin and the soft curls of hair framing the base of his cock.  It’s the only patch of skin Steve can see without any embellishment. Well, until Bucky slides the waistband past the head of his cock and Steve’s heart stops for a full second.

“Holy shit,” Steve says, his mouth dropping open as Bucky’s cock smacks up against his stomach.  The half-ring pierced through the slit glints in the low light, shiny and fatter than Steve would have thought possible as Bucky strokes himself.  It’s shaped like a C and capped on either end with a rounded ball. Bucky’s thumb drags idly over it, sliding it back and forth. 

“Never seen a PA before?”

“Not … in person.”  The future might not have flying cars, but it has a stunning array of pornography.  Steve slides his thumb next to Bucky’s, pressing against the slit of his cock, right below the ring.  Bucky sucks a breath in through his teeth as a shiny drop of precome oozes out, flowing around the metal to slide onto Steve’s finger.

“You like getting this one done, too?”  Steve shifts his thumb, just enough to feel the heavy weight of the piercing. 

“Liked it better once I could get hard again.”

Bucky watches, eyes heavy, as Steve raises his glistening thumb to his mouth and sucks it between his lips.  He hums at the brackish taste of Bucky on his tongue.

“You taste good.”

Steve fists his hand over the head of Bucky’s dick, fully on board with getting his knees in the grit and seeing what all that metal feels like in his mouth.  Bucky arches into his grip and moans when Steve tucks his head to suck at the barbells running through his right nipple.

“Shame you blew your load already.  Wish you could fuck me,” he says, gasping as Steve’s teeth close around his other nipple.

Steve looks up, licking his lips to break the gossamer web of spit that trails from his mouth to Bucky’s tit.  “I can go again.”

“I’m just on break, big guy, I can’t take all night.”

“I can go again right now.”  Steve shrugs, knowing he looks a little smug but too far gone to give a shit.  “Side effects.”

He grabs Bucky’s hand and slides it down his open fly.  Steve’s been ready to go again since Bucky had started cat-creaming his jizz off his hand, but he is, in fact, too gentlemanly to expect most people to get him off twice. 

“Well fuck me,” Bucky whispers, pulling Steve’s dick out like he’s going to make a liar out of him. 

“Perk of the job,” Steve jokes, using the seconds of Bucky’s stunned silence to angle himself close enough to stroke their cocks together.  Bucky’s piercing bumps against him, cool against the ready heat of his body.

“No.  Fuck me,” Bucky says, his voice husky, his mouth finding Steve’s and kissing him tongue-first.  Steve does his best to keep their cocks lined up as Bucky tugs him a few feet across the room.  Bucky stops when his legs back up against one of the metal kegs.

“Fuck you right here?” Steve says, his hands groping for Bucky’s ass.  He squeezes at firm muscle, soft skin. Bucky’s the kind of thick that makes Steve glad for his big hands.

“You gonna come for me while I fuck you over a keg of beer?”

“It’s cider,” Bucky drawls into his mouth, reaching into his back pocket and fumbling for something.

“I don’t care if it’s fucking champagne, I want to see you bent over it with your pants around your ankles while you come on my dick.”  Steve grins wolfishly at the wet press of Bucky’s leaking-hard cock against his stomach. 

“You always talk like this, or is that a side effect of the serum too?  Not complaining,” Bucky says, pressing a small piece of plastic into Steve’s hand.  It’s a single-use packet of lube, aptly named Gun Oil.

“That’s all me,” Steve says, palming the lube and pressing a kiss to Bucky’s face, right over the lily on his cheekbone.  “You got a rubber?”

Bucky makes a face at him.  “I’m on Prep, grandpa. And you’ve got fucking super-jizz and shit, can you even catch a cold?”

Tony had reassured him that super-soldier immunity applied to even the most venal of concerns, and puts him through regular testing to confirm his statement.  Bucky leans back, his face as sardonic as possible for someone who already looks halfway to fucked.

“What’s wrong? Captain America’s never raw-dogged someone in the backroom of a bar before?”

Steve laughs.  “That’s the only way we did it in my day.”

“You were a little slut, weren’t you?”  Bucky’s eyebrows go up and his smile is all teeth.

“I was very little, yes,” Steve deadpans, before tearing open the lube with his teeth.

Bucky rolls his eyes, but he doesn’t miss a beat when Steve grabs his hip and turns him around to face the keg.  Bucky shimmies his pants down past his knees and braces himself with a hand on either side of the curved edge of the keg. 

Men are so groomed these days.  It’s almost a shock when Steve palms Bucky’s ass apart and finds more dark curls nestled against his skin, but it’s quickly overshadowed as Steve trails down below Bucky’s asshole.  Steve should be prepared for anything at this point, he really should, but his hard-won battle reflexes are the only thing that stops him from dropping the lube when he sees the shiny barbells pierced through Bucky’s perineum.  Steve’s darkest nights on Pornhub hadn’t shown him this.

“What the fuck?” Steve marvels, spreading Bucky wider to see three thin bars laddering up above the tight hang of his balls. 

“Cute, right?”  Bucky arches his back and spreads his legs wider.

“That’s … one word.”

Hot.  Insane.  Sit-on-my-fucking-face-right-now-please.  Steve’s got a lot of words, but Bucky’s only got so long before someone sends a search party.  Steve drizzles some lube over his fingers.

“When’s the last time you got fucked?” he asks, running his slick index finger over the warm furl of Bucky’s hole.

“None of your business,” Bucky says, scoffing like he’s not inching himself back against Steve’s hand.  Fucking brat.

“I don’t care who you give it up to, I just want to know how much prep you need.”

That’s a lie.  The thought of anyone’s hands on Bucky makes Steve want to break more than a metal shelf. 

“This morning,” Bucky says, hissing as Steve sinks one finger into him.  “With a toy,” he adds sheepishly.

“No one’s been taking care of you?”  Bizarrely, it makes Steve even angrier to imagine Bucky wandering around without someone fucking him constantly.  That’s just a goddamn waste.

“Says the guy who still isn’t inside me.”  Bucky looks over his shoulder, making the massive piece across his back dance.  Steve’s higher brain recognizes it dimly, but that’s not the one driving right now.  He kicks his knee in between Bucky’s legs, spreads him wider until Bucky’s jeans are stretched taut between his ankles. 

“More, come on,” Bucky says, fucking himself back against Steve’s hand.  Steve squeezes out another line of lube and works Bucky up to three fingers with ease. 

“So open,” Steve hums, twisting his wrist to stretch Bucky out as much as he can.  There’s only so much he can do with his fingers. “Need it bad, huh?”

Steve coats his cock with a generous smear of lube and drizzles the rest around his half-buried knuckles.  He fucks his wet fingers into Bucky, leaving him slick and leaking down over the horizontal bars of his piercings.  Bucky grunts with each pass of his fingers, a soft rumble under the wet give of his body. He’s so shiny – metal gleaming, curls of hair slicked down with lube, the needy red of his hole glinting around Steve’s fingers as he pulls them out.

“Yeah, I fucking need it,” Bucky says, his voice thick.

Steve grabs the head of his cock and drags it over the rungs of Bucky’s piercings, catching it against the bars buried in his skin and pressing until he grinds out a moan from Bucky.  Steve adds a drop of his own to the mess and smears it around, shifting the bars under the peach-fuzz mound of his taint and yeah, fine, it is sort of cute. Bucky whines.

“Do it, c’mon.”  Bucky’s back is arched as beautifully as the whiplash curves of his tattoos, no less gorgeous for the sheer animal want written in every inch of him.

Steve sinks inside him as slowly as he can, his own breath rasping out before he’s halfway in.  Bucky’s warm and tight and he makes a new noise at every inch of Steve’s cock. 

“Oh, fuck, fuck Steve, Jesus,” he moans, his knuckles going white against the keg rim.  Steve steadies a hand on his hip.

“Take my cock so fucking good, sweetheart,” Steve says, so intent on bottoming out he almost misses the pleased shudder Bucky gives at his praise.  “Open up so easy.”

He grinds his hips forward, fully seated and halfway to losing his mind at the tight clutch of Bucky around him. 

“Tight little hole feels so good, Buck,” Steve says, moving in tight circles that drag a chorus of hoarse sounds out of Bucky’s mouth.  He pulls out just to sink back in, testing until he finds the right drag of his cock that makes Bucky shudder in his hands. Steve hums and does it again, grinning.

“You like that dick, baby?”

“Yes, God, Steve,” Bucky moans, appealing to whatever deity might be listening and finding Steve a rapt audience. 

“You’re so good,” Steve says, petting down Bucky’s side and not missing the jump of muscle in his back.  Singing Bucky’s praise is sugar on his tongue, as easy as the slick give of Bucky’s body when Steve fucks into him faster.  He digs his hand into the inked curve of Bucky’s hip, slamming home and holding him there.

“Fucking gorgeous.  Take it from both ends and ask me for more, wouldn’t you?”

Bucky ekes out some broken version of his name and shudders again, gripping up around Steve. 

Steve presses himself tight against Bucky’s back, looping an arm around Bucky’s chest to make sure he stays there while Steve fucks up into that tight heat.  With his undershirt still shoved up over his pecs, Steve presses his skin to Bucky’s bare back, nosing at the spot where Bucky’s neck and shoulder meet, sighing at the slick heat of Bucky against him.  Steve’s sweat soaks into the ribbed cotton of his shirt as their bodies glide together.

He circles his other hand around, coasting through the sweat-damp curls on Bucky’s chest to toy with one of his nipples.  Bucky whines in his throat, his body going slack against Steve while his arms shake with the effort of staying mostly upright.

“Play with your tits while I fuck you, you like that?”

Steve rolls the bars of Bucky’s piercings between his thumb and forefinger, squeezing until Bucky shudders around him. 

“Harder, just-- fuck me harder,” Bucky says, panting and barely getting the last syllable out before Steve snaps his hips, happy to obey.  The keg squeaks against the floor, moving with each rough thrust of Steve’s body.

“Want you to come for me, Bucky.”

Steve gives his nipple one last rough tug before he reaches down to wrap his hand around Bucky’s cock.  Heat seeps into Steve’s palm, a pulse he can feel thrumming through Bucky’s body as he strokes up to the slick ring at the tip.

“All fucking wet for me, look at you.  Made to take my dick, weren’t you?”

Steve smears his thumb through the mess leaking around Bucky’s pierced cockhead, delighted.  He’s always liked demonstrative boys.

“Steve,” Bucky moans, his mouth hanging open as every thrust of Steve’s cock punches another breath out of him. Bucky finally lets go of the keg entirely, reaching up to grip the back of Steve’s neck with one hand, urging him on and trusting Steve to keep him from falling while the other dangles at his side. 

“I got you, baby, I got you,” Steve murmurs, his legs burning as he tightens his grip and fucks into Bucky hard enough to make them both groan.  He noses into Bucky’s hair, hungry for the sweaty scent of him, earthy and warm and as crisp as the autumn abstraction flexing over his forearm. 

“Give it to me,” Steve says, his hand stroking fast over Bucky’s cock.  He doesn’t need to see Bucky’s face to know that his eyes are rolled back, doesn’t need to feel the lax weight of Bucky in his arms to know that he’d collapse if Steve let him go.  Steve’s not letting go.

“Give it up, come on, let me feel you, baby,” Steve says, low in his throat.  His voice shakes, straining with the effort of holding Bucky close and fucking him hard and fast the way he needs.  Bucky’s as soft in his arms as he is hard in Steve’s hand, cradled against Steve’s body and shaking ragdoll-limp with each thrust.  It’s so good to work for it, to feel himself whetted to the sole purpose of fucking Bucky to pieces. He grunts through his teeth, nasty and earnest, narrowed down to getting Bucky off so hard he’ll forget everything but Steve’s name,

“Gonna, oh God, Steve, Steve-- Steve .”  Bucky’s hand slams back to the keg as he goes rigid in Steve’s arms.  Steve fucks him through it, gritting his teeth and fighting the siren-pull of Bucky’s body around him.  Bucky makes a high noise in his throat and spills over Steve’s tight knuckles.

“Jesus.”  Steve bites off a groan and drags his open mouth against Bucky’s neck.  Bucky’s gripping his cock so fucking tight Steve can barely see which way is up, not that he needs to go anywhere except deeper into the sweaty curve of Bucky’s blackout neck.  He closes his lips and sucks, rolling Bucky’s skin between his teeth as another warm rope of come drips down his knuckles.

“Steve.”  Bucky growls it, low and needy.  Steve hisses at the rolling clench of Bucky around him.

“Gonna make me come if you keep saying my name like that, Buck.”  He can’t keep this up much longer, not when Bucky smells so fucking good and keeps making those broken noises that fall like love-notes over Steve’s skin.

“Do it, fuck.”  Bucky’s panting, his back a bellows against Steve’s chest.  He’s warm everywhere, sweaty and slick and soft as Steve sinks his nose to the nape of his neck.  He curls his back, digs in to fuck Bucky in hard, tight strokes that fill the room with the slap of their bodies coming together. 

“Do it, Steve, do it, do it,” Bucky mumbles, his hand finding new purchase on the back of Steve’s neck and closing hard.  The bite of Bucky’s nails hits him, a soft spike of sweet pain that goes straight to his nuts. Steve’s hips stutter as he tries to fight the first wave of his orgasm.  He’s already made enough of a mess of Bucky, he shouldn’t add this.

“Wait, I’m gonna pull out, just –”

“I will fucking kill you.”  Bucky digs his hand into Steve’s neck and presses back against him, fucking himself back onto Steve’s cock like he means it.  Steve has ended wars with nothing but a shield but he can’t fight this, not with Bucky riding his dick and contorting himself to mouth at Steve’s neck like that. 

“Bucky,” Steve sighs, his eyes closing as he drowns himself in Bucky and comes.  He buries himself as deep as he can, instinct driving him to angle up inside Bucky until they’re both moaning at it.  Steve needs as much of Bucky’s skin as he can get at, greedy for it as he shudders and breaks Bucky’s name apart in his teeth. 

“Buck, Jesus, Bucky.”

It’s not exactly comfortable to collapse halfway over a keg but they manage.  Even at this awkward angle, Steve could stay here forever. Bucky’s warm and tight and sweet, his breath coming out in soft huffs as they hold the stillness together.  Steve knows the world will trickle back in, but for a few moments it’s just them, just the sound of their breathing and the embers of their bodies fading back to normal.

“Wish I could stay inside you all night,” Steve says, hoping it’s not too sappy and happy he managed to keep himself from saying “forever.” 

“You’d have to take, like, a few breaks to eat my ass, though.”  Bucky turns over his shoulder and smiles like Steve didn’t just melt in his mouth.

Steve laughs, a rough bark that breaks free from deep in his stomach. 

“Of course, yeah.  I’m a gentleman, right?”

It’s as good a time as any to let his cock slip out of Bucky.  Steve flushes with guilt at the fat line of come that snakes down over Bucky’s balls.

“You got a rag somewhere?”  Steve asks, hastily tucking his own cock back into his pants.  He’s not the one who needs to go back to work. Bucky points a shaky finger at a shelf to their right.  There’s a stack of bar towels that Steve doesn’t feel too bad about ruining. He grabs a towel with his come-streaked hand and runs it up the white traces oozing down Bucky’s thighs.  At least it had been Steve’s second go-round.

Bucky grabs the towel from Steve and stands up, swaying on his feet.  “Not too much. Maybe I want a little slice of American pie leaking out of me all night.”

Steve’s chest goes tight with all the other nasty shit he wants to do to Bucky.  It’s sick, the thrill he gets when Bucky tosses the towel aside and does his pants back up with Steve’s jizz still running out of him.  God, Steve wants to fuck him filthy.

“Aw, fuck, my hair,” Bucky says, running a hand through the sweat-damp birdsnest Steve’s made of Bucky’s hair.  Loose, dark curls fall to frame his face and glance against the nape of his neck. Steve sweeps it up into his hands, holding it up as he gazes down at Bucky’s back. 

“Salome,” Steve says, tracing over the beautifully gruesome drops of black-ink blood that disappear over Bucky’s sharp shoulder blades.  Bold, swooping lines form a woman holding a severed head on a platter. It takes up most of Bucky’s back, with huge swathes of black for the folds of her robe and decorative flourishes filling in the negative space.  Steve knows this one. There’d been a copy of Wilde’s Salome at his library, complete with all of Beardsley’s illustration plates. Steve had always found them as frightening as they were compelling. He presses one hand to the equally morbid Klimt piece on Bucky’s ribs.

“You got a thing for decapitated men?” Steve asks, expecting some smart-ass answer.

Bucky turns in his hands, shaking his hair free from Steve and looking up at him.

“Got a thing for Beardsley,” Bucky says.  He shrugs, his face shuttering up as he looks away.  “I need stories like that.” 

There’s something there that isn’t any of Steve’s business right now.  He hopes it might be, one day. Steve can be delicate when he wants, and it’s an eggshell touch when he cups Bucky’s face in his hand.

“You’re so beautiful.”

Steve kisses him, eyes closed, smiling at the answering press of Bucky’s strange tongue against his.  He could get used to that.

“You’re not too bad yourself,” Bucky says, pressing his hand over Steve’s chest.  Steve’s heart trips warm beneath it. Bucky smiles and smooths Steve’s undershirt back down his chest. 

Steve grabs his hands and presses Bucky’s knuckles to his lips.  He looks down at the “Hopeless” scrolling across them and frowns.  Before Steve can ask, Bucky smiles and folds his hands open, showing Steve his palms.  “Romantic” is etched across the bottom of his fingers. Something runs loose in Steve’s chest, opening wide.  He’s not even sure what he’s about to say when there’s a furious pounding at the door.

“James motherfucking Barnes! Tell me you aren’t fucking that hot dad from the bar in there!”  The redhead from the bar, Nat. Steve flushes straight to his ears.

“He’s not a dad!” Bucky hollers back.

Steve has to clamp a hand over his mouth to keep from laughing too loud. 

“We need ice, shithead.”  Nat pounds on the door again before stomping off, muttering “motherfucker” loud enough for them to hear.

Steve hasn’t laughed this hard in a long time, and he could watch Bucky smile like that until the sun comes up.  They find their shirts and get them on as quickly as possible. Bucky finds his hair-tie on the floor and throws his hair back into a snarled knot.  Neither of them looks respectable when they’re done, but Bucky certainly looks well-fucked. Steve’s not above a little pride. 

Bucky wrinkles his nose and holds up the ruined towel.  “So, is this technically government property?”

“I don’t belong to anyone,” Steve answers.  He keeps the Yet to himself.  He grabs the towel and chucks it in what he hopes is a trash can. 

“Guess neither of us is getting taken care of,” Bucky says, shrugging one shoulder up.  His eyes go wide as Steve crowds back into his space.

“I’ll take care of you again right now.”  Bucky’s lips are still warm and full. Steve kisses him, and fuck, Steve could kiss him all over, map every line and intersection pierced and painted onto his body.  Add a few marks of his own.

“I have to get back to work,” Bucky says weakly, pulling off Steve’s mouth just to stare mournfully down at his crotch.  “Bastard.”

“I want to see you again.”  It tumbles out of Steve, more desperate than he’d like but no less true.  Steve’s used to losing things, but the thought of Bucky walking out the door and never coming back makes his collar feel too tight around his neck.  “If that’s, you know-- if that’s something you’d want –”

“The Frick,” Bucky says, tapping his index finger on Steve’s chest and raising his eyebrows.

“Language,” Steve says reflexively, smirking.  Bucky rolls his eyes.

“The Frick Gallery.  Uptown. They’re having a Beardsley exhibit.  You’re gonna take me there. On a date.”

“A date,” Steve repeats, strangely nervous considering he’d just watched Bucky deep-throat him from both ends.  He’d barely hoped for a phone number.

“You’re gonna have to buy me dinner before I put out.  Or at least something from the gift shop.” Bucky licks his lips and slides his hand down to dig into Steve’s back pocket, copping a feel along the way.

“I’ll buy you one of the paintings,” Steve says, smiling as Bucky pulls Steve’s phone out and hands it to Steve to unlock.

“You can start with a burger.”  Bucky says when Steve’s hands it over, putting his number in with ease.   “You sure you know how to use this thing?”

He ignores Steve’s scowl and grabs an empty bucket from a stack next to the ice machine.  He fills it up with a big scoop while Steve - who totally knows how to use his phone - checks to make sure he can find Bucky’s number again.  He slides it back in his pocket and watches the flex of Bucky’s arm as he tops off the ice bucket.

“Still need me to bring that keg up?” Steve asks, hoping he can at least keep Bucky’s coworker from skinning him alive.  He needs Bucky intact. For their date .

Naturally, Bucky points to the one he’d just been gripping for dear life.  Steve’s strength should be something to bear, something to keep him humble in the face of so many who have less than he does.  Still, it’s nice to throw a keg of beer over his shoulder and see the look on Bucky’s face. 

“I can grab the ice, too.”  Steve grabs the bucket by the handle and smiles at the ravenous look Bucky gives him.

He follows Bucky out and up the stairs, dropping his cargo by the door leading back into the bar. Music and the hum of other people’s conversations seep through the door.  Bucky stops him as he grabs the handle. 

“I’d tell you to hang out and drink at the bar all night, but I’m not gonna get shit done knowing I could be sitting on your dick instead.”

Steve can’t think of anything better for Bucky to do, ever, but he just nods his head.  He’d have a hard time getting any work done with Bucky in a 50-foot radius, too.

“When can I see you?”  Now it’s Steve’s turn to back Bucky up against the door and kiss him.  He stinks like sex, just like Steve does. Knowing Bucky will have Steve’s scent on him for the rest of the night is a small consolation for losing him to the rest of his shift.

“I’m off day after tomorrow.”  Bucky kisses him, sucking Steve’s bottom lip between his teeth before he pulls off.  

“Good,” Steve says, licking over his lip.  “I don’t think I can wait longer than that.”

Bucky shakes his head.  “I’ll just have to make it up to you somehow.”

There’s that wink again.  He kisses Steve one last time, as soft and sweet as the tattooed petals that Steve traces over with his fingers.  

“See you, Steve.”

Steve calls for one of Tony’s cars, which Tony must have left waiting around the corner because a black sedan rolls up to the curb not three minutes later.  Steve slides in and gives the driver a polite “Hello,” aware suddenly that he looks like he just lost a battle with an oversexed raccoon. The privacy barrier goes up without him asking.  These people are used to Tony, after all.

“Hey, Jarvis.”

“Yes, Captain Rogers,” trills Jarvis, serene and robotically British over the car’s speaker system.

Steve leans back against the seat, spreading himself out and grinning at the sticky, sore ache of his body.  He can’t remember the last time he felt this good.

“Tell me more about Art Nouveau.”