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Now or Never

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Men are, by and large, a waste of Peggy’s time. Oh, certainly, there are a few who aren’t entirely useless, and some of them aren’t bad to look at. But she’s never been very interested in what they have to offer. She has more important things to do, like win the war.

That’s why it’s so frustrating that she can’t stop thinking about Steve. She should have better control over herself.

It wouldn’t be so terrible if she simply wanted to be taken out dancing and then kissed a few times and eventually married. Peggy has been made to understand that normal women are supposed to want things like that. And it’s not that she doesn’t want that sort of thing—well, marriage has never been of interest to her. But dancing and kissing have a certain appeal.

She wants more.

She keeps it to herself, of course, and pretends to be proper and normal and not entirely consumed with wondering what it would be like to push Steve down against her bed and straddle him. Peggy knows men well enough by now. The trouble isn’t getting a man to agree to such things; it’s knowing he’ll still respect you afterward, outside the bedroom.

Steve would. Wouldn’t he?

She liked him upon meeting him. She was interested in him even when he was twig-slender and smaller than her. He had heart, Steve Rogers. And he was clever and self-deprecating. All the women who couldn’t see his good qualities before the serum were fools. She would certainly have said yes to him if he had asked her out. But Peggy can admit to herself that her thoughts about Steve took a turn for the filthy after the serum. She could hardly help it. It was that big, powerful body. She liked the idea of him picking her up and having his way with her. She liked the idea of him letting her take control even better.

Peggy didn’t get to her position by lying to herself about what she wanted in life. Still, in this case, it seemed wise to tread carefully. She could pretend to be a girl who wanted kisses and caresses like all the other girls—and she did want those things. She wanted to be kissed gently in the cool dark of the street as they said goodnight to each other. She wanted to be swept off her feet every time he came back from a mission. She wanted to back him against the wall of her bedroom, grab him by the jaw, and kiss him so fiercely he’d offer her anything.

Steve is standing two feet away from her in the bar and oblivious to all this. She can hardly blame him for that. He’s never even courted a normal girl, let alone one who’s burning up with lust. Not that he knows that Peggy wants anything out of the ordinary from him. She didn’t even know it herself until he came out of Dr. Erskine’s machine rippling with muscle. She’d never had a stray sexual thought about any man before that.

Steve is the only man who has ever caused her such trouble.

That is, until James Buchanan Barnes opens his mouth.


Peggy leaves the bar immediately. She’s rather rude to James in the process, which is regrettable but necessary. It was just the both of them standing there, a little too close for the sake of propriety, and the glances they shared. It had given her ideas.

Peggy has been living among men too long not to know that men sometimes kiss and touch other men in the way that they might touch women. Women love each other, too, or so she’s heard. The thought never bothered her. Why should what other people do in their beds be any of her business? Peggy has seen real evil. She has aimed her gun right at the rotten core of it. The world could use a little more love.

If she’s being honest with herself, which she tries to do, it’s not merely that the thought doesn’t bother her. It intrigues her. She has not been able to stop thinking about Steve, about how sweet and funny and beautiful he is. James is handsome as well. In other circumstances, she might not have turned him down.

She stands outside in the darkness and breathes. She should return to her room. She should not think of what it would look like if Steve and James kissed each other. She should not wonder if in all that time they spent living together, they might have curled around each other in bed at night for warmth, or more. Had they kissed? Had they touched? Did they love each other? Steve had been so ready to throw himself into battle when he found out that James was in danger. None of that concerned her. She should let them be.

Peggy wants to smoke to calm her nerves, but cigarettes are as rare as sapphires these days. It’s ridiculous anyway. She doesn’t smoke. She shouldn’t need to calm her nerves in the first place.

She should not think of the way Steve had looked at her after she decked Private Hodge, or the way James had looked at her in the bar in her red dress tonight. She should not think of what it might mean if both of them want her and each other. She certainly should not think about what it might be like if both of them visited her bed. Who ever heard of such a thing?

Who ever heard of a female agent of the Special Air Service? Who ever heard of a serum to create super-soldiers?

There’s a war on. It’s now or never.

“Brave new world,” she murmurs, and pushes her way back into the bar.


Steve and James are still in the bar. Steve is patting James on the shoulder when she finds them. They look rather like they’ve just had an argument. They both halt when they see her.

“Gentlemen,” she says. She’s not really sure how to address two men to whom she’s about to make the most indecent of proposals. She forges ahead anyway. “Perhaps you two could accompany me back?”

“You want us to walk you home?” Steve asks. Peggy understands his hesitation. In other circumstances, she would be offended if he offered. She takes care of herself. “Did something happen?”

James eyes her with suspicion. She deserves that, she supposes. “Both of us?”

“Yes,” she tells James. She turns around and walks out of the pub before they can ask any more questions. She would prefer to discuss this in her room with some modicum of privacy. In the camp in Italy, as the only female agent, she had her own tent. Here, in London, she has her own room in the building above the underground war room. The windows are blacked out and it’s cold and shabby, but it has a bed and a door that locks. It’s practically Buckingham Palace after the tent.

As she suspected they would, both Steve and James follow her into the street. They both intuit her desire not to speak in public again. That saves her the trouble of explaining further until they get to her room, at which point she takes the bottle of Château Sorel pinot noir, 1938 vintage, out from its hiding place beneath her mattress. So she might have pilfered a wine cellar on her last mission in France. She knew it would come in handy at some point. It was an entirely practical decision. She holds the bottle up to them as an offering.

It’s James who smiles first. Peggy hasn’t seen him smile before—not counting his attempt to woo her in the bar, which had nothing to do with genuine happiness. She supposes being held prisoner and tortured doesn’t give one much reason to smile. She smiles back at him, because he’s handsome, and Steve likes him, and she’s just had the wild idea of trying to sleep with both of them at once. A little flirtation seems necessary. “If this is an apology for turning me down, you’re off to a good start, Miss Carter.”

“Agent,” she corrects. Her smile turns sly.

“My mistake, Agent Carter.”

She likes James, she decides. And either he likes her, or he made advances on her in the bar because of some complicated element of his relationship with Steve. Perhaps both. It doesn’t matter now. It’s James’s approval that she needs the most. Steve likes her, she’s sure of it. And given that Steve talked her and Howard into flying him into enemy territory alone so that he could rescue James, she’d take the bet that Steve likes—loves?—James, too.

James takes the bottle from her, deliberately letting his hand brush hers. He pulls out a pocket knife and deftly uncorks the bottle. Steve watches both of them. He still hasn’t said anything.

James passes the bottle back to her. She raises it up, says, “To not being dead yet,” and takes a drink right out of the bottle. It goes without saying that she doesn’t have wine glasses, so why apologize?

She plans to pass the bottle back to James, since he seems in support of the drinking-smuggled-wine part of her plan at the very least, but Steve surprises her by reaching for it. “To being alive,” he says, and she nods. That’s a better toast. Steve drinks, wrapping his lips around the neck of the wine bottle. Peggy doesn’t miss the way that James watches. She can’t have been wrong about them.

Steve passes the bottle to James, who raises it wordlessly and takes a long drink. He needs it the most of all of them, after what he’s been through. Peggy sits down on the end of her bed and slips off her shoes. She’d like to take off her stockings, too, as they’re the only good pair she has left and she doesn’t want to ruin them, but she waits. They’ve only just opened the bottle. She crosses her legs—as delicately, as sensually as she can manage—and smiles up at both of them. She’s got great legs. No use pretending otherwise.

James looks brazenly. Steve looks, too, but he makes an effort to be circumspect.

It’s a nice feeling, being wanted by two strapping young men. It makes her feel beautiful and powerful. She’s never been both at once before, always one or the other. She should wear this red dress more often.

“Sit down?” she offers. There’s no furniture in the room other than the bed and the rickety table holding her bedside lamp. She should have the lights off at this hour, but the windows are curtained and the lamp only produces a few watts of light anyway. Steve and James look around the room, then at her bed. Peggy helpfully scoots backward to make room for them. She bends her knees and tucks her stocking-feet underneath herself, newly aware of how short her dress is. After a moment, both of them sit on the edge of the bed, their feet still on the floor and pointed away from her and toward the bedroom door. It puts Peggy behind them, but they both turn to look at her when she speaks again.

“James, Steve has told me so much about you.”

“Only the good stuff,” Steve says, smiling at James in what has to be some private joke.

One corner of James’s mouth lifts. “But apparently not my name,” he says. “It’s ‘Bucky.’”

“I wasn’t sure I was allowed,” she demurs.

Bucky twists so that he can look her in the eyes. “You’re allowed if I’m allowed,” he says, and she can’t stop her gaze from sliding to Steve. It’s not like that, of course. They’re just talking about names. They can’t just share Steve like he’s a bottle of wine. He has to make his own choices.

“You’re allowed,” she says. “Bucky.”

“Peggy.” He raises the bottle in a salute and takes another drink, then passes the bottle to Steve.

Steve hands it to Peggy. “It’s wasted on me,” he says. Perhaps it’s her imagination, but he sounds a little glum. “Can’t tell fancy wine from grape juice, and I can’t get drunk anyway.”

“You think I became a wine snob in the army?” Bucky asks. “I’m just accepting what’s offered to me by our gracious hostess.” He grins and then wipes the back of his hand over his mouth. His lips are red from the wine. Peggy would bet he wasn’t exactly sober upon leaving the bar.

She takes another drink. She’s feeling pleasantly warm herself. “If you like the taste, you should have some,” she tells Steve. She drinks again, and as she finishes, she looks at Steve and traces the rim of the bottle over her bottom lip. His gaze is heated, trailing over her like a touch. She feels silly, and frivolous, and not at all like herself. She never acts like this around men.

When she offers the bottle to Steve, he takes a drink from it, still watching her. She could look at him forever. He’s that beautiful.

Bucky chooses that moment to bend over and unlace his boots. He leaves them on the floor and then scoots backward onto the bed, closer to Peggy. He shrugs out of his jacket and lets it drop onto the floor. The shirt he’s wearing underneath reveals his throat and collarbones. He leans back, both hands flat against the mattress, his legs straight in front of him but crossed at the ankles. It occurs to Peggy that she has rarely seen men behave like this: as though they know they are beautiful, desirable. It reminds her of her own ploy to cross her legs earlier. She is not a natural coquette, having spent too much of her life convincing men to ignore her femininity and take her seriously. Barnes, on the other hand, poses so easily that he might as well be artfully draped in silk and eating grapes in a Caravaggio painting.

He’s probably never looked at a Caravaggio. Not unless Steve copied one in art class. The charm is all his own.

Steve passes Bucky the wine. Steve is still perched on the edge of her bed, insofar as a man of his size can perch on anything. He looks like he’s trying not to intrude.

“Steve,” she says, patting the bed next to her. “There’s plenty of room.”

He shoots a doubtful look at her, at the bed, and then at Bucky. “I should go,” he says.

Peggy hadn’t thought she was being subtle. Perhaps a more straightforward approach is necessary. She leans forward and catches him by the shoulder before he stands. He sits back down. “Stay,” she says. “We’re only halfway done with the wine, after all.”

Bucky is lying on his side now, supporting himself with one arm. He’s almost close enough to Peggy to put his head in her lap. “Steve,” he says. “What do the two of us have in common except you? Stick around.”

“Please,” Peggy adds, and with that, Steve nods once. Barnes certainly understands why she invited them both back here, and she hopes Steve does as well. He unlaces his boots and swings his feet up onto the bed. He sits cross-legged on the mattress, the sharpness of his uniform at odds with the uncertain expression on his face.

“Loosen your tie, at least,” Bucky says. “Take off your jacket. Relax.”

Take one night off from this awful war, Peggy almost says, but doesn’t. She doesn’t even want to mention the war. It is the war that has brought the three of them together. It is the war that has made her bold enough to invite the two of them to her room. But she wants very badly to pretend otherwise. She doesn’t want them to be three people distracting themselves from all the pain and death surrounding them in any way they can. She just wants them to be Steve and Bucky and Peggy, young and happy and maybe the slightest bit drunk.

Steve’s hands go to the knot of his tie, and then he stops. “I don’t want to be in the way,” he says. “You two have your fun, I’ll just—,”

“And to think this boy once told me I was taking ‘all the stupid’ with me,” Bucky shakes his head and sighs theatrically. Then he puts his free hand on Peggy’s thigh near the top of her stocking. She does herself the credit of not looking down in surprise. In a different tone, Bucky adds, “Steve. We want you here. We both want you here. You got that?”

“You want—,” Steve starts, then looks from Bucky to Peggy, who nods. Steve’s eyes widen. “Oh.”

While Steve is collecting himself, Peggy takes the initiative and leans forward and begins unbuttoning his jacket and unknotting his tie. She feels his chest move as Steve takes a breath of relief.

“I didn’t know,” he says, and she glances up at his face and he looks happier than she’s ever seen him. “You’re both really willing to do this for me?”

“For you,” Peggy repeats, surprised.

“You’re a real charity case, Rogers,” Bucky says, swigging from the bottle. “Guess I’ll suffer through falling into bed with both of you. Gotta support the war effort and all.”

Steve smiles as she slides his tie out from under his collar. He lets her pull his jacket down his shoulders as well. It shouldn’t excite her so much, how easy and pliant he is beneath her hands. Impulsively, she grabs him by the shoulders with his jacket still halfway on so that she can pull him into a kiss. It surprises him, but he gets his bearings in a moment and leans into the kiss, angling himself so that their noses aren’t pressed together.

They break apart at the sound of Bucky booing. “Lousy technique, Rogers.”

Peggy thought he was picking it up quite fast for his first time, but she lets Bucky intervene anyway.

“I learned from watching you,” Steve replies.

“Perhaps he should show you,” Peggy says. Bucky sits up and puts a hand on her shoulder. “That is not,” she says crisply, glancing down at his hand, “what I meant.”

Steve and Bucky share a look. For a moment, she worries that they won’t. Perhaps she was wrong about them after all. Perhaps they thought they were two friends sharing a woman for the night and nothing more. Or perhaps what is between them has remained unspoken, and untouched, all this time. Somehow whatever is between them is worth risking life and limb but is still too big, too sacred, or too terrifying for them to kiss each other.

Is that it? Bucky had been shipped off to war without Steve, and they still hadn’t admitted anything to each other? That makes her heart hurt. They’re both bigger and older than her, but the way they’re looking at each other, aching and tender and unsure, makes them seem young, foolish, lost.

Luckily for them, Peggy excels at giving orders. “Well, boys,” she says. “I don’t have all night.”

She reaches over and plucks the wine bottle from Bucky’s slack grip before it spills everywhere.

She expects Bucky to move first, after all his heckling, but it’s Steve who reaches forward. Time slows for a moment, and she watches his arm move in a way that is both tentative and resolute at the same time. He must have wanted this for so long, she thinks.

And even that hardly compares to the way Bucky is looking at Steve, like he can’t quite believe this is real. He looks hopeful and fearful. Peggy wonders if he dreamed of this, strapped to Zola’s table and half-mad at the edge of death.

As soon as Steve’s fingertips brush Bucky’s shoulder, things speed up again. The way they come together is all urgency and no grace. But it is still beautiful. Bucky leans in and brings his hands up to Steve’s face, framing it and pushes his fingers back into Steve’s hair. He kisses Steve like a starving man brought to a banquet, like a man who fears he might never eat again.

Steve, for his part, has one hand on Bucky’s shoulder and another on his waist. She can see his fingers wrinkling the fabric of Bucky’s shirt with his grip. This moment is long-awaited and intensely private. She should not be watching.

Steve thought—absurdly—that he was the one who ought to go, but it is Peggy who is the unnecessary element of this equation. The two of them do not need her. She should slip out and find somewhere else to sleep. She gulps down some wine and then bends over and sets the bottle on the floor.

She can’t resist taking one last look as she sits back up. She wishes them every happiness. Happiness is as scarce as nylons and cigarettes these days, but no one deserves it more.

At that moment, without breaking the kiss, Steve releases his grip on Bucky’s shirt and reaches for her. His hand lands in her lap, then slides up her hip to settle in the curve of her waist. She smiles, unexpectedly moved at the little reminder that there is room in his heart for more than one person. Steve pulls her closer, and when there’s nowhere else for her to go, he pulls back from kissing Bucky and lifts Peggy into his lap with one hand.

“Show-off,” Bucky grumbles, but then he’s too busy kissing Peggy to complain. There’s barely any room for her between the two of them, and she ends up with her dress rucked up around her thighs and her knees bent and her feet on either side of Bucky, but she can think of worse places to be. Steve keeps his hands resting on her waist while she leans forward to kiss Bucky. She can feel Steve’s cock through his trousers. The hard line of it presses insistently against her bottom.

Acting on devilish impulse, she lifts her hips a little and rubs the curve of her ass against it. Steve groans.

“Agent Carter,” Bucky says. She can’t tell if he’s amused or impressed. “I would never have guessed.”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me, Sergeant Barnes,” she replies. She’s giddy. It could be the wine. It could be remarkable success of her wild plan. “Steve, darling, undo the back of my dress.”

Steve, never much for following orders, is quick to do what she wants. She feels the fabric fall away from her back as he undoes the zipper. The air is cool against her bare skin. She’s not wearing a slip, just a brassiere, underwear, garters and stockings.

“How come he gets to be ‘Steve, darling’ and I’m ‘Sergeant Barnes’?”

Peggy pulls her arms through the sleeves and lets the dress pool around her waist. “I’ll promote you when you earn it,” she tells Bucky.

Behind her, Steve laughs. “I’ll call you ‘darling’,” he says. It makes something in her chest go tight that they’re willing to flirt with each other in front of her. How much they must trust her, to share something so precious, so new.

“Your accent’s not as nice,” Bucky says.

“Flattery will get you nowhere,” Peggy says.

“I’ll work on it,” Steve promises.

“I don’t need flattery,” Bucky tells her. He reaches forward and rubs the first knuckle of his index finger down the front of her panties, all the way down the silky panel of fabric stretched between her thighs. He nudges her clit. Her gaze shoots upward and focuses on his face. He knows exactly what he’s doing. She’s still wearing her underwear, not to mention that while the top half of her dress might be pooled around her waist, the last few inches of skirt are still stretched over her thighs, obstructing his view. Peggy is forced to conclude that Barnes is an excellent marksman.

He does it again, more forcefully, and her breath hitches. “Again,” she says, and it comes out more like a plea than a demand. She falls back against Steve’s broad chest and he puts his hands on her waist to steady her. Steve is still hard. The poor boy must be aching by now. Peggy squints at Bucky’s lap and sees that the fabric of his trousers is stretched tight over a familiar shape.

Neither of them makes any move to touch themselves. They’re both totally focused on her. She sees them exchange a glance over her head, and then Steve lifts her by the hips while Bucky pulls her dress down her legs and drops it on the floor. It occurs to her that she’s the only one who is anywhere near naked, but she decides not to be bothered about it. She’ll get to see them later.

Bucky is expertly unhooking her stockings from their garters and baring her legs. She’s touched by the care he uses to roll her stockings down her legs, or she would be, if she weren’t beginning to feel impatient. Surely the point of having two men in her bed is that she needn’t wait.

“Steve,” she says. She turns her head a little to look up at him, and notices that his gaze is fixed on her breasts. He does have quite the view, she supposes. Other men would have done away with her brassiere long ago. Steve is probably still astonished that this experience is even happening to him. That, or he’s capable of monk-like restraint.

“They are quite nice, aren’t they?” she says.

Steve blinks. “Oh,” he says. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to stare.”

She laughs. “Steve. Staring is the least of what we’ll be doing. And I was about to remark on what a shame it is that no one is touching them.”

He slides his big hands up her sides, as though he simply must touch her as much as possible, then reaches behind her. The clasp gives him pause, but she feels the tight band go slack after a moment. She reaches up and pulls the straps down her arms and tosses the brassiere on the floor with her dress. The lace and underwire cups are immediately replaced by Steve’s hands.

Peggy wonders what it must be like to touch a pair of breasts for the first time—very satisfying, from the tiny little noise Steve makes—and feels strangely honored to be Steve’s first.

Bucky has finished with her stockings and garter belt and is now, at last, pulling off her panties. They’re obviously wet. Peggy can hardly be blamed for that. Bucky drops them on the floor with the rest of her clothes and then adjusts the position of her thighs. He’s being rather finicky about the whole thing, and she almost snaps “Just fucking finger me, Barnes,” but then she realizes that Bucky is directing Steve to move. She’s in Steve’s lap, and his legs are crossed, and Bucky wants him to sit with his legs out in a V-shape. Steve complies, and then Bucky strips his shirt over his head, tosses it away, and leans down to drop a kiss on the inside of her thigh.


Peggy has heard of men doing this, but never encountered one who was willing. She is not, in fact, very experienced. She’s just been faking her way through this whole thing because that’s how she operates. It’s important to project authority and experience around men. She has to be fearless. She has to be calmer, more collected—

Bucky slides the tip of his tongue down her lips and she gasps.

He looks up at her, and at Steve, clearly taking pleasure in this. “Watch and learn, Stevie.”

He calls him ‘Stevie,’ that’s actually quite sweet—oh God. Bucky is not sweet. Bucky is wicked. She hooks her legs over his shoulders and puts a hand in his hair to make damn sure he finishes what he started. His tongue is hot against her, pushing and circling and flicking. She can hardly tell what’s happening, except that Bucky is touching her in all the right places. She might be gasping.

And then he stops.

“Steve,” he says, with the air of a man who’s having an idea. His lips are glossy from licking her. “Why don’t you join me?”

She finds herself lifted up and set gently back down on the bed. She feels very naked without the heat of Steve’s body behind her. A ridiculous thought—she is naked, she cannot be more naked. Steve, on the other hand, is still almost fully clothed. She tsks, as if it will give her more authority in the situation, and immediately sets about unbuttoning his shirt. It takes a great deal longer than it should, since Bucky keeps touching and kissing both of them. He tastes different. Like her, she supposes.

She finally divests Steve of his button-down shirt, and he voluntarily strips off the thin white cotton undershirt beneath. There is his magnificent chest again. Unlike in Dr. Erskine’s lab, she does not have to shyly withdraw her hand. She runs both hands over Steve. She accidentally knocks hands with Bucky, who is doing the same thing.

“I guess this new body ain’t so bad,” Bucky says, and Peggy would have thought it a joke because of Barnes’s aw-shucks manner and incredible understatement, but for the shy way that Steve smiles. It’s gone in an instant, replaced the same teasing banter as usual, but if she saw it, Peggy is sure that Bucky saw it, too.

“If all it took was for me to get naked, all you had to do was ask,” Steve says.

“You’re not naked,” Peggy points out.

“But you are,” Bucky says, and then he scoops her up by sliding both hands under her ass and bringing her pussy right to his mouth. She falls back against her pillows. The sudden change in angle is surprising, but nothing is as shocking as his tongue inside her again. She sighs with happiness.

Bucky sets her down so that he can lay on his stomach between the V of her thighs. She hooks one leg over his shoulder, and then, when Steve squeezes in next to him, she hooks the other leg over Steve. They can’t be very comfortable, all squished together with their feet hanging off the end of her bed, but it’s impossible to tell from the way they’re grinning at each other, alternating elbowing each other in the ribs and kissing. They’re such boys.

It’s Steve who leans in and licks her first. He pauses afterward, as though he can’t quite believe he just did that. A second later, he returns with enthusiasm. Then Bucky is kissing Steve, and then kissing her, and soon she can’t tell whose tongue is sliding against her and she doesn’t care. She lays back, closes her eyes, and clenches a handful of the sheets in her fist. She hears Bucky saying softly, “She’s close. You do it, Steve.” That’s how she knows it’s Steve who drives her—shuddering, gasping, and utterly incoherent with bliss—to orgasm. When it comes, it breaks over her in waves. She calls his name.

Steve looks pleased with himself when she opens her eyes, but it’s nothing compared to how Bucky is beaming with pride.

She drags herself up so that she’s sitting against the pillows and the headboard. She bends her knees but leaves her thighs parted, not caring what she looks like. She feels warm and sleepy, almost boneless. She looks at the two of them with half-lidded eyes and says, “A job well done.” It doesn’t come in the tone of authority that she intends to use. They grin at her, so she lifts her chin and says: “Perhaps we could progress to the two of you disrobing.”

“‘Disrobing’,” Steve repeats, amused. He’s known her long enough to know she doesn’t usually speak this way.

Barnes loves it, sits up enough to take a mock-bow, touching one hand to his chest and spreading his other arm out to the side. “Let’s give the lady what she wants, Stevie.”

Steve stands up first. His hands hover over the fly of his own trousers for a moment, but then he thinks better of it and grabs Bucky by his upper arms and lifts him off the bed. Bucky looks alarmed, unaccustomed to being manhandled in such a way, but by the time Steve has put him down so that they’re standing near the end of the bed and facing each other, Bucky’s expression is entirely different. He looks at Steve, his blue eyes dark with interest, and licks his lips. He doesn’t say a word. He just reaches for the fly of Steve’s trousers. Steve reaches for Bucky’s fly, and they undress each other in short order. There’s a moment of mutual staring and nudity that makes Peggy smile. She might have thought they were past the point of being astonished with each other. Then again, the two of them are rather astonishing.

Barnes is not as muscular and broad-shouldered as Steve, but he’s still quite beautifully made, firm and lean and smooth-skinned except for a scattering of dark hair across his chest and the triangle of darker hair between his hips. He has a nice cock, too, thick and circumcised. Steve, of course, is sculpted and golden and radiantly beautiful. The perfect curve of his ass makes Peggy consider American citizenship, among other things.

But Steve holds himself as though he hasn’t even noticed that he’s naked or worth looking at. He hasn’t even spared a sheepish glance at his own erection, which is so impressive that Peggy and Bucky can hardly look away from it. Steve is looking at Bucky like there’s nothing more beautiful on Earth.

Then Bucky grabs Steve by the cock and pulls him forward, ending the moment. Steve laughs in surprise, and Bucky looks delighted, and Peggy almost hates to interrupt. Almost.

She clears her throat, and they both look at her. She straightens, levers herself up from the bed, and goes to her nightstand. There’s a little glass jar of Vaseline in the drawer. She had used up the rest of the first aid kit that it came with, but she’s been saving the jar. She didn’t know for what until know.

She bends over more than strictly necessary while opening the drawer. She feels very aware of her naked body as she walks over to the two of them. How could she not, with both of them staring? Steve reaches out and runs a hand down her side, following the dip of her waist and the curve of her hip. He gropes her ass and she smiles at him indulgently.

She hands the Vaseline to Barnes. It makes the most sense for Steve to be in the middle, she’s decided, based on a reasoning that she would be happy to explain if either of them questioned her. She’d say something like, it’s your first time or you’re our connection or we both love you. It’s all true, but neither of them questions her. What she ends up saying is “I’d like you to fuck Steve while he fucks me.”

“Jesus,” Bucky says, and then looks at Steve and says, “You didn’t tell me what it was like, takin’ orders from a dame.”

“Bucky,” Steve says, admonishing. He’s probably remembering the day that Peggy punched Private Hodge.

“I like it,” Bucky continues, giving her a rakish smile.

Steve smiles. “I like it, too,” he says softly.

“’Course you like it. You get to be in the middle.” At that, Peggy wonders if she should have offered them some other arrangement, but Bucky already has one palm flat between Steve’s shoulder blades, pushing him toward the bed. Steve lets himself be pushed—goes quite eagerly, really. He lies flat on his stomach and Bucky sits between his spread thighs and unscrews the lid of the jar.

Peggy watches, secretly glad that they seem to know what to do. She has an idea of what is necessary, but she would feel like a fraud giving them directions. Bucky, in particular, seems well-informed. She sits on the bed next to him, tucking her legs beneath herself, and learns how he slicks up his fingers and applies careful pressure to Steve’s hole. He moves in little circles, and it makes Steve squirm. Steve rolls his hips forward against the mattress and backward, toward Bucky’s hand.

Impulsively, Peggy swats Steve’s ass. “Be still.” Steve stops moving instantly, but Peggy rests her hand on the curve of his ass anyway. She’s wanted to for so long. She might as well indulge. She even helpfully spreads his cheeks apart to give Bucky better access. Bucky grins at her.

He pushes a finger into Steve and Steve sighs with it. Peggy can tell, from touching him, that he’s restraining himself from rutting up against the bed again. He’s taut with desire. She shifts and settles back into her position. Steve isn’t the only one.

“Have you done this before?” she asks.

Bucky nods. “With a dame,” he says.

Peggy had not even considered that. Just thinking about it sends a thrill through her. Perhaps—if they live long enough for a next time—but she promised herself she wouldn’t think of the war. Her gaze drifts back to Bucky, whose index and ring finger are now sliding forward into Steve. “If Steve were on his back, could you keep doing that?”

“’Course,” Bucky says. His one-shouldered shrug is almost elegant. He makes no move to act on her suggestion, and Steve is in no position to flip himself over. Peggy levels her gaze at Bucky. “And might there be some reason you want him on his back?” Bucky drags out the sentence, playing coy like he doesn’t know what she wants.

Peggy has already told him what she wants, and she’s perfectly happy to say it again, but she doesn’t have to. Steve speaks up. “You’ve been trying to set me up with a girl for years, Buck. What’re you waiting for now?”

“Just teasin’.” Bucky slides his fingers out, Steve flips over, and it takes all of Peggy’s restraint not to sit right down on his cock. But she’s a practical woman, so she gets up to look for a condom. “There’s some in my jacket pocket,” Bucky volunteers.

He sounds suspiciously cheerful about it. Peggy pulls out the small square package and quickly discovers why. “Captain America condoms,” she reads. “How appropriate.”

“I’m disappointed that Steve never made any ads for them,” Bucky says. “Maybe we should take some pictures tonight.”

Steve is rolling his eyes, but he doesn’t look embarrassed. “I think your collection of dirty pictures is big enough.”

“We’ll just have to remember,” Peggy informs them, getting back on the bed and promptly rolling the condom over Steve’s cock. That puts a temporary end to their joking, but it’s only temporary. She sits down on Steve, fitting herself over his erection and feeling the slow stretch and push of him entering her, and sighs with pleasure.

Bucky whistles appreciatively. “She’s facing me, Stevie, she thinks I’m prettier.”

“The view ain’t so bad from this side,” Steve says. He takes a deep breath before saying it, like he’s barely holding it together. Peggy loves it. She wants him panting and gasping. She lifts herself straight up and then down again, and Steve draws in a sharp breath. He puts both hands on her, right where her hips flare out from her waist, almost as if he’s silently asking her to keep still while he collects himself. A fat lot of good that will do you, she thinks, but humors him for a moment.

“Don’t be ridiculous,” Peggy tells Bucky. “I’m facing this way because I want to watch.”

He pouts. Theatrical but attractive, and surprisingly effective. “You don’t think I’m pretty?”

She lifts one hand and draws her fingertips along the underside of his jaw, forcing him to look up at her. His jaw is rough with stubble. He’s been out of sorts since he came back, dark circles under his eyes and his hair and clothes in disarray. He doesn’t quite flinch when she touches his face, but his comical little pout is replaced by something else. His stare wavers between defiant and vulnerable. Peggy hardly knows him, but it doesn’t matter. No one deserved to suffer the way he had suffered. And yet here he is, alive and fighting, grabbing hold of this opportunity for happiness—no matter how small, how temporary—with both hands.

Or two fingers, as it were.

“Of course I do,” she says, and lets him look away.

He has beautiful long lashes, Sergeant Barnes.

When he looks back at her, she kisses him. And then, together, they return to the business of absolutely wrecking Steve Rogers. The devious look on Bucky’s face when he slides his fingers into Steve again makes her smile, and she’s still smiling when she glances over her shoulder at Steve. He’s flushed. It looks good on him.

Their eyes meet, and Steve nods at her. It’s a spare movement, just a little raise of his chin, but it contains so much: an invitation, a challenge, a plea. Peggy turns back around to face Bucky again and plants both of her hands on his shoulders and levers herself up, lifting with her thighs and pressing down on Bucky to steady herself. She rises up and slides back down the thick, full length of Steve’s cock as slowly as she possibly can, and then she starts over.

She hears Steve’s breath catch in his throat. He’s holding up remarkably well, considering it’s his first time. Super stamina, she thinks to herself, and can’t help but press her lips together in a private smile.

Bucky’s gaze tracks her up and back down as she moves. “Christ,” he says. “I’m not even the one getting fucked.”

He clearly wishes he were, though. He’s kneeling between Steve’s spread thighs and Peggy has a clear view of the evidence. “You could be,” Peggy says, breathless despite her desire to appear in control. Steve’s cock inside her is marvelous. The eighth wonder of the world. She almost doesn’t want to come. She wants to stay here, rocking up and down and reveling in the little sounds Steve is making, forever.

“Yeah?” Bucky says, all out of cleverness for once.

Decision made, Peggy lifts herself all the way off Steve and sits down on the bed next to him for a moment. He lets out a shuddering, whining breath, half in protest and half in relief. “I think perhaps—against the wall,” she says, failing to explain herself coherently as the image becomes clearer in her mind. “If Steve holds me, and you stand behind him,” she adds.

“So you can gaze longingly into my eyes over his shoulder, you mean,” Bucky says.

“Naturally,” Peggy says, ignoring him in favor of checking on Steve. He’s been quiet. “If Steve is amenable, that is.”

Steve sits up so that he’s resting on his elbows. He tries to smile slyly at her, but it comes out dazed and dopey. “Amenable,” he repeats. He gives them both a real smile, dazzling, and then shakes his head and laughs softly. “I guess I could be persuaded.”

“Real cool, Stevie.”

It takes a bit of maneuvering to make it work out. They all stand up, then Steve picks up Peggy. She can’t help gasping as he enters her again, but it’s worth it, both for the delicious feeling of fucking him and the look of genuine delight on his face. Maybe he has no idea that most men pretend to be suave and experienced. Maybe he doesn’t care to pretend. Maybe he never thought he’d live long enough to make a woman make a sound like that. Whatever it is, it charms her. She wraps her legs around him happily.

Then he presses her back against the wall and holds her up with one hand spread wide under her ass and fucks into her so deep that her vision flickers. It’s not all sweetness and naïveté, then. “Fuck,” she breathes.

“That’s my cue,” Bucky says. Peggy supposes he’s been standing behind Steve this whole time, kissing him and touching him, but she’s been otherwise occupied. “You ready, Steve?”

“I’ve been ready for years.”

“I meant your asshole, you asshole.”

Peggy lets her head lean back against the wall and she closes her eyes while she tries not to laugh. She uncrosses her ankles to give Bucky easier access. She feels Steve move beneath her, spreading his legs and angling himself slightly forward so that Bucky can fuck him. Peggy ends up with her shoulders pressed against the wall and her hips pulled forward to accommodate the new position, but she has never cared less about comfort. Steve shifts when Bucky enters him and makes a little noise. He flattens the palm of his free hand against the wall above her head to steady himself. Lifting her and holding her up with one hand hasn’t troubled him at all, and Peggy’s not dainty, so she doubts that Steve’s sudden need to steady himself has anything to do with his strength.

She can hear Bucky breathing. His eyes are closed as though he can’t absorb the whole magnitude of the moment. He has to take it in one sense at a time. He moves slowly at first, rocking his hips into Steve, and then picks up speed. “Alright, Rogers, are we doing this? You never were much for dancing. Is it ‘cause you can’t keep time?”

“I can keep time,” Steve says, moving his hips in rhythm with Bucky’s thrusts. He smirks and turns his head just enough to glance at Bucky. “I bet Peggy comes before I do.”

“Always with something to prove,” Bucky grumbles.

“Ladies first,” Steve tells him.

“Please,” Peggy says to both of them. “I’m trying to enjoy the moment.” She loves their bickering, though. It feels like a secret glimpse into their friendship. “Besides, you’ll both have to do better if you want me to come.” That’s a lie as well. She’s already close. She wonders if there will be a red handprint on her ass from where Steve’s gripping her, pulling her closer to him at the end of every stroke.

“Is that so,” Bucky says, and he reaches around Steve’s waist and Peggy’s thigh and unerringly finds her clit. She sucks in a breath. He rubs the tip of his index finger over it, and Steve thrusts into her with a series of remarkably controlled long, deep strokes. It’s too much. It’s just right. Every slick stroke, every flick of her clit, it all makes her feel like she’s going to fall apart. When she does, it’s one perfect moment of blissful nothing. It echoes through her, leaving her shaking and soft. Maybe she cries out. Who knows.

When she opens her eyes again, Steve is staring. His pupils are huge and dark. She kisses him. As best she can in her position, she shimmies her hips, inviting him to keep going. He takes up the invitation eagerly. Peggy removes a hand from Steve’s shoulders and gropes behind him until she catches Bucky by the cheek and pulls him forward. She kisses him too, right over Steve’s shoulder.

“God, Peggy,” Steve says. “And Buck.”

She pulls away from the kiss to smile at Steve. She puts her other hand on his face, taking a moment to marvel that she doesn’t even feel unbalanced, perched on Steve’s hand as she is. Peggy kisses Steve again. Bucky is kissing the back of Steve’s neck and the juncture between his neck and shoulder. She can feel Bucky’s strokes get faster and shorter, more erratic.

“Do it,” she says, low and breathless. “Come.”

And it’s that simple. Steve jerks, exhales wordlessly, and his cock pulses with his orgasm. Bucky gasps “Fuck, Stevie,” and his hips push forward one last time. Bucky leans against Steve, and Steve leans his forehead against her shoulder.

“Well,” Peggy says into the stunned silence afterward. Steve laughs softly as Bucky pulls out of him, and then he pulls out of Peggy and sets her on her feet. They both strip off their condoms, and Bucky goes to the washbasin in the corner to wet a cloth to clean Steve off.

There’s an uncertain moment. They both look at their discarded clothes on the floor, and then at the door to her room. She has to stand on her toes to kiss both of them again, but she does it anyway. “Bed?”

Neither of them responds immediately, giving her time to walk to the bed and pull the covers down. She gets in and levels an expectant look at both of them.

“Come on, Buck, you aren’t really planning to walk back. Are you?”

Bucky’s throat works. He looks at Peggy and then at Steve. “I—,” he starts. “I’ll wake her up.”

Peggy had almost forgotten what kind of trauma he’d been through recently, with how confident and carefree he’d managed to act. It makes her heart hurt. She wishes he could forget it. She wishes he’d never been through it at all. “It’s fine,” she says. “I don’t mind.”

“You hear that, Buck? She doesn’t mind. And I don’t mind.” Steve has his hands on Bucky’s shoulders now. He’s guiding Bucky toward the bed. Pushing him, even. “If you wake up, I’ll be here. Like always.”

Like always. Peggy wonders what the last few nights have been like for the two of them, but it seems the wrong time to ask. “Please stay,” she says instead.

He nods and gets into bed with her. Steve follows immediately, pressing in close behind Bucky and curling into his side. Peggy moves closer to both of them, fitting herself against Bucky. His bare skin is warm against hers. Someone’s arm curves around her, and she can’t tell which of them it is until she realizes that it’s both of them. Their fingers are laced together.

She smiles. It’s been a nice night off from the war.