“You can’t banish me. This is my bed, too!” Bucky shouted, taking a t-shirt to the face and catching the jeans that quickly followed.
“It was your idea to volunteer us as groomsmen, so, yes, I can kick your ass out,” Sam spat, sinking down on the edge of the bed.
Bucky stared at him for a moment, trying to gauge if he was really mad.
Often, Sam would fume and rant for a bit and the longer he spoke, the more the corner of his mouth would quirk and it became clear he wasn’t actually mad. Sometimes Sam complained just to see how big of a deal he could make out of something outrageously unimportant. He’d once cracked ten minutes ranting about the lackluster selection of shower curtains at Target. It was damn near impressive.
Sometimes, Bucky thought Sam did that sort of thing just to make him laugh. Not that he’d ever tell Sam that.
Now, he watched as Sam laid back on the bed and crossed his arms. “You’re going to fix this,” he said firmly.
“Sam,” he began.
“You’re going to fix this.” He sat up, glaring at Bucky pointedly. It was a command and in no way a question and god help the part of Bucky south of the waist that took interest in that tone.
“You try looking at Scott and telling him you don’t want to come to his bachelor party. You know he doesn’t have very many guy friends.” At Sam’s face, he added, “A few of them left after the Snap. It was too much for them.”
Some of the tension started to seep out of Sam’s body and Bucky kept going. “Who else was he going to invite? Cassie? Peter? He doesn’t know anyone else. Sam,” he said coming in closer. “He’s one of us.”
Sam’s mouth twisted stubbornly as he thought this over. Cursing, “Fine. But you’re fixing this whole bed situation.”
“How exactly am I going to do that?” he asked.
He took a pillow to the face.
In truth, Luis had made the reservations.
He hadn’t known how many people were coming and had undershot to save money for the big events. Which meant Luis and Agent Jimmy Woo were sharing a room. Scott's ex wife Maggie and her husband Jim Paxton were sharing a room, both of whom Scott had invited strangely enough. Scott had his own room, which meant Sam and Bucky had to share one.
Of course, there was only one bed.
Bucky re-entered the room with a sigh. “There’s no more rooms left. They booked a comic book convention this same weekend.”
The bathroom door opened and Sam emerged from a cloud of steam, a fluffy white towel wrapped around his waist. It seemed a little too small, Sam’s toned thighs peeking out from underneath it. Bucky’s eyes helplessly followed a bead of water as it made its way down the center of his chest and disappeared into his happy trail.
Mouth dry, it took a moment for Bucky to realize Sam had said something. He was standing there staring at Bucky expectantly. “Well?”
“What?” Bucky rasped.
“You couldn’t at least get them to give us a cot?”
“No go, sorry,” he replied. Maybe it would’ve been if Bucky had thought to ask for one. Looking at the size of the room, he didn’t think one would fit in here anyway. “It’s just two nights.”
Sam bent over, reaching into his suitcase. Bucky pointedly focused on the nearby plastic plant, his face warming. When Sam straightened up, he was wearing briefs.
“I do not,” Bucky replied reflexively. How the hell would Bucky know?
“You do, too. We live together,” he replied.
Bucky watched as he threw on a t-shirt and slid beneath the covers. As if the bed needed anything else to look even more enticing. He watched as Sam laid back, a slight tension in his face. Was he really that put out at having to share with Bucky? He thought they’d become closer since they’d started working together months ago.
Maybe Sam wasn’t as comfortable with him as he thought.
“Stop staring at me,” Sam said, tapping away at his phone.
“I’m not. I’m just thinking.”
“Don’t hurt yourself.” At Bucky’s glare, he smiled a bit. “You’re not getting into bed with me until you shower.”
Bucky rolled his eyes and told himself his cock only perked up because he was excited to test out the water pressure.
Sam was reading a book on his phone when Bucky emerged.
Bucky normally slept in his boxers and nothing else. He hadn’t even packed any t-shirts to sleep in. He hoped Sam wouldn’t mind as he padded over to the free side of the bed and slid underneath.
“Took your sweet time, princess,” Sam muttered, the corner of his mouth turning up.
It was a relief, teasing was something Bucky understood. “All for you, sweetheart,” he drawled.
However, instead of the eye roll he’d expected, Sam sat up straighter, focused on his book. Frowning, Bucky turned his head and stared up at the ceiling. His eyes widened in horror.
“Is that a mirror?”
Bucky woke up with a warm weight in his arms.
He woke slowly, sleep giving way to a strange sense of calm. He was lying on something soft, the sheets silky and smooth over his thighs. There was a familiar scent in his nose and he chased it, his lips brushing something soft.
“Are you nuzzling me?” Sam asked, his voice rough with sleep.
Bucky jerked backwards so hard he nearly fell of the bed. Unfortunately, his arms tightened around Sam and nearly brought him down in the process. Sam sputtered, grabbing for the pillows as they rolled over the edge and landed on the plush carpet with a thud.
“Seriously?” Sam whined, his head falling back on Bucky’s chest.
“Sorry,” Bucky muttered, terrified to move. For one thing, there was so much of Sam’s skin for him to accidentally touch. For two, apparently his body had reacted quite well to the closeness. It was only a matter of time before Sam realized what was going on. “I’m sorry,” he said again, his face burning as he pushed Sam off of him.
Sam climbed into bed again, burying his head beneath the pillows. “It’s too early.”
“It’s nearly nine.”
“It’s a Saturday. I’m not supposed to be awake right now.” He stretched out on his stomach, his black briefs pulling tight across his ass as he shifted.
Swallowing, Bucky ignored the heat spreading throughout his center as he sat on the floor. “Yeah, well, Scott’s got a big breakfast planned. We’ve gotta get going.”
They spend the day at the beaches and on the boardwalk.
Sam gets them wrapped in taking Maggie to the shops. Bucky would never admit it, but they had a pretty great time. Maggie was funny and she and Sam really hit it off. Bucky hung back and was relegated to carrying bags and he didn’t really mind. When she disappeared to find her husband, Sam jerked his head toward the beach.
It was annoying, seeing as Bucky didn’t own a pair of sandals and he wasn’t going to start now. He trudged through the sand in combat boots and the loud, pink, yellow and orange board shorts Sam had bought for him hours ago. Sam pulled off his shoes and moved barefoot through the sand in a matching pair of shorts, his dark skin golden and listening in the hot sun. Mesmerized, Bucky quickly forced his eyes down to his boots.
“You know, sunlight won’t kill you?” Sam asked, shielding his eyes as he flashed a smile. They settled as far away from other people as they could.
“I’ve avoided it for the last hundred years. It just might.”
Sam rolled his eyes fondly, leaning back on his elbows. His stomach tensed, the sight making Bucky’s mouth water. He rested his arms on his knees, staring out at the waves. There was a cool breeze, enough to keep Bucky from drowning in sweat the way he’d expected. Still, he’d pulled his hair up just in case.
Sitting here beside Sam, just relaxing for a day, it was almost…
“Nice,” Sam said. His eyes were closed when Bucky looked to him. He peeked at him briefly, a glint in his eye. “Isn’t it? We don’t ever do this.”
“We don’t really have a beach.”
“You know what I mean.” He laid back, resting his head on his balled-up t-shirt. “We should take time off.”
“We’re not the only game in town. There’s Scott and Hope and, well, I wouldn’t exactly leave the kid to do it alone but if it’s a simple cat napping or a stolen bicycle, he can handle that, right?”
He was asking as though Bucky wasn’t aware he’d checked in on the kid more than once since they’d come out to the west coast. As though he hadn’t begged and pleaded with Danvers to keep an eye out.
Still, Bucky nodded. “Sure, we can take a day off.”
It warmed him to know Sam never once considered taking a break on his own. If asked, he’d probably make up some excuse about not trusting Bucky not to wreck the city on his own. But, Bucky knew it was because when Sam said he needed a break, he meant from the job – not Bucky.
They lived together, worked together, did just about every single thing together. It was only a matter of time before they got tired of each other. Except, Bucky had been waiting, he’d honestly been dreading getting to a point where he got tired of Sam being the first person he saw every morning and the last person he saw at night. Bucky didn’t really do people – he never really had. They were fine in small doses but, aside from Steve, no one had consistently stayed in his life since he’d been a teenager. When Sam and he had agreed to work together, Bucky thought it’d be temporary.
Now, a year and a half had passed and Bucky wasn’t sick of him yet. In fact, he just wanted more of him. He wanted to earn more of those helpless smiles and laughter, more of his time, more of his secrets. He wanted as much of Sam as he could have before some nice girl inevitably snatched him up and Bucky found himself back here celebrating Sam’s wedding.
To someone else.
“You ever think you’d be here?” Bucky asked, looking out at the water.
“A bachelor party.”
Sam huffed out a laugh. “Not exactly. When I joined the Air Force, I was stationed far from home. I made friends, sure, but I was only really close to one guy.” The corner of his mouth turned up, his eyes softening. “Riley. He was my best friend. For a while there, he was kind of my only friend.” He scratched at his brow, turning on his side as he looked at Bucky. “When I lost him, I stopped putting myself out there. Stopped letting anybody get too close. Then there was Steve and Nat.” He smiled sadly, “Kind of lost my only shot at being a groomsman.”
Bucky’s chest tightened. He couldn’t do anything except nod. He knew all too well what it felt like to lose just about everyone in your life. Sam brightened, forcing a joke, “And you’re hopeless, so.”
Bucky glared at him lightly, staring down at his boots. “Steve wasn’t exactly swimming in ladies.” Sam laughed, the sound warming Bucky and encouraging him to continue on. “He, uh, couldn’t seem to master breathing and being near them at the same time, so I thought for sure I’d never be a groomsman.” He smiled into the distance, remembering the look on Steve’s face when Peggy showed up at that bar. “I hope he was happy.”
Lunch was at a small dive a few miles from the beach.
The group squished into a small booth at a Mexican restaurant as Scott ordered for all of them. When the food came, Bucky grabbed a plate of chicken and piled on the hot sauce. Sam watched amusedly, hiding a smile.
“Buck, this is real Mexican food.”
“Yeah, I figured,” he said, picking up his fork.
“I mean that there’s actual spices in the food and that hot sauce hasn’t been watered down,” he said slowly. Bucky rolled his eyes and Sam sat back, holding up his hands in surrender.
The first bite was nothing. It was hot, spicy and perfect. He moved on to the next and the next and by the time he reached for his water, he realized he was sweating. All at once, his mouth was on fire and his eyes started to water. Sam was barely stifling laughter, calling for the waitress.
“I’m so sorry, can we get a glass of milk over here? Thanks.” Maggie passed over some napkins and Sam dabbed at Bucky’s temples and forehead.
“S’not funny,” he panted.
Sam nodded, clearly humoring him. “It’s really not. If only someone had warned you beforehand.”
“This reminds me of that time Scott decided to try curry for the first time,” Maggie began, drawing attention away from them momentarily.
And sure, it wasn’t fun waiting for the ice-cold milk to quell the fire burning his mouth. Still, it almost seemed worth it seeing that light in Sam’s eyes. Laughing at Bucky and taking care of him at the same time.
That night, Scott took them to a club.
Why, Bucky wasn’t exactly sure. They all appeared at least twenty years, give or take seventy for one of them, older than most of the crowd there. But Scott and Luis had wanted to dance and Maggie had bought a really cute dress, so they were going.
Bucky stood near the bar feeling out of place for several reasons. For one, it was loud and he hated loud. For two, didn’t recognize any of the songs, not even from the music Cassie and Kate downloaded on his phone. For three, there were guys in cut off t-shirts and ripped jeans. Bucky stood in the corner in his black skinny jeans and combat boots.
Perhaps, he wouldn’t have stood out all that much if Sam weren’t standing next to him in a crisp, form fitting t-shirt and jeans so tight Bucky had nearly swallowed his tongue when Sam entered the elevator.
Now, Bucky was trying to focus on flagging down the bartender and not the dozens of people checking Sam out in the club. Sam didn’t seem to notice that he was garnering a lot of attention, from women and a few interested men. Instead, he flashed a bright smile at the bartender and sipped his beer.
It was here that Bucky wondered if Sam had done the whole club scene before. He’d dressed the part and he didn’t’ seem uncomfortable. He bobbed his head as if he knew the song and he’d managed to get the bartender’s attention in a few seconds where it’d taken Bucky a few minutes.
“Are you going to dance?” Sam asked, his eyes gleaming.
“What?” he asked, a little dazed by the halo of lights casting a blue glow on Sam’s skin.
“Are you going to dance?” he repeated, leaning in closer. His lips brushed Bucky’s skin, sending a shiver down his spine. “You’re going to step on someone’s feet with those big ass boots.”
“Good thing I plan on staying right here,” he replied, breathing in Sam’s cologne.
Sam pulled back, studying for a moment. Then he shook his head, draining the last of his beer. He set the glass down on the bar and stepped back. “C’mon.”
Bucky blinked at him confusedly. Sam held out his hands, “C’mon,” he insisted. When Bucky didn’t move, Sam huffed and snagged his hand, pulling him towards the dancefloor.
“Sam! Sam!” he hissed, his voice getting lost in the crowd.
He could put his feet down and refuse to be moved, he was heavier than Sam, after all. But Sam’s hands were so warm in his, the smile he flashed over his shoulder drawing Bucky forward, even as he was certain this was a very, very bad idea.
Sam stopped in the center of the mass, several warm bodies surrounding them. A few people brushed Bucky’s back and arms, pushing him in closer to Sam. Sam tugged him even closer, grinning up at him. As if he didn’t realize what a terrible idea this was. Bucky hadn’t danced since 1945. He was pretty damn sure this song wasn’t meant for ballroom dancing.
His watched focusedly, staring down at Sam’s feet as he shuffled from side to side, moving in a pattern that seemed easy enough to follow. He did his best, maybe even had it down for a moment or two before he looked up. Sam was smiling at him, absolutely beaming, his eyes crinkled in the corners. Bucky’s breath caught, his hands tightening around Sam’s as he stared, his heart damn near beating out of his chest. The strobe lights overhead cast washes of reds, blues and purples across his skin.
He couldn’t hear the music anymore, just the sound of his heartbeat. Sam leaned in closer, his lips brushing Bucky’s ear as he spoke. “It’s not that bad, see?”
Closing his eyes, Bucky’s hands fell to Sam’s waist to steady him. He was warm, vibrant and alive in Bucky’s arms. It was easy enough to imagine touching him this way in another context. A fire ignited in his center and his eyes snapped open. A few of Sam’s admirers were watching them closely; one going so far as to give a nod before turning away. It was easy to see what an outsider might think about the two of them standing this close on the dancefloor. About the way Sam’s hips rolled against his to the music.
Bucky’s face burned and he forced himself back, his throat tight. At Sam’s confusion, he hiked a thumb over his shoulder, turning unseeingly. “I’ve gotta, yeah,” he stuttered out, slipping through the crowd.
“Bucky?” Sam called out, trying to follow as a bachelorette party swept by, holding tight to each other’s hands.
Before he left, Bucky saw a tall blond come up to stand beside Sam, leaning over to whisper something in his ear. It only served to add a little more ice to the chill in Bucky’s blood.
He walked back to the hotel in the dark.
When Sam returned, it felt like a year had passed since Bucky had last saw him. If he’d checked the time, he would’ve found it had been an hour. Maybe Clint was right and they really did spend too much time together.
Sam let the door slam closed and threw his shoes on the floor. Then he came to stand at the end of the bed and kicked it, a pointed stare directed at Bucky. He’d been pretending to be asleep but, well, it seemed pointless now.
He sat up, still dressed in his t-shirt and jeans. “You have a good time?”
Sam shook his head, hands resting on his hips. “Dunno. Seemed pretty great until my friend decided to ditch me without telling me why.” He watched as Bucky pulled his knees in, wrapping his arms around them silently. “Dude, what the hell is going on with you?”
“It’s just one night.”
“It’s not just one night. You’ve been moping all weekend.”
Bucky’s mouth fell open, finally meeting Sam’s eyes. “What are you talking about?”
“We’ll be talking and everything will be fine one minute and the next, it’s like you just remembered sadness exists.”
It seemed impossible, but Sam wouldn’t joke about something like this. He seemed really concerned. “You never said anything.”
“I didn’t think it would go on for this long. I don’t get why you’d force us to come on this trip if you were going through something. Clearly, you don’t want to spend time with me.”
It was amazing how someone so smart could be so wrong. But, if they were airing grievances, “You’re the one who complained every day since Scott invited us. You complained on the flight here, in the lobby, and then you threw a fit at the idea of having to share a bed with me.”
“If we’re such good friends and we’re so comfortable, why was it such a big deal?”
Sam’s eyes widened and then narrowed in seconds. “You’re trying to make this about me. Why can’t you just tell me why you left?”
“I did, Sam! I just needed one night!”
“You needed ‘one night’?” he repeated mutedly.
“Away from you!” Bucky shouted, gesturing helplessly.
Sam’s face fell instantly, the tension in his shoulders falling away. His eyes were too expressive – Bucky would never tell him that but half the time he gave in during arguments because seeing Sam disappointed was more than he could take. He’d put up with almond butter and almond milk in place of the good stuff and having to wear a bulky Kevlar vest in place of his gear if it meant seeing Sam smile instead.
Now, Bucky ran a hand through his messy hair, averting his gaze. “I just needed one night to myself.”
One night where he didn’t have to think about the way nothing put him at ease like the scent of Sam’s cologne. One night where he didn’t have to worry about the way Sam touching him put that nervous flutter in his stomach. One night where he didn’t have to force himself not to get too used to the way it felt like his hands were meant for Sam. One night where he didn’t have to think about the fact that Sam had stolen his heart and he’d never get it back.
Sam was quiet, but he hadn’t left. Not yet. When Bucky looked up, Sam was chewing on his lip, his eyes downcast. He nodded to himself, tugging at his shirt. “Okay. I’ll just… go take a shower.”
“Sam,” Bucky tried. Sam looked to him briefly, the pained look in his eyes tightening a vice grip around Bucky’s lungs. “You don’t – I’m just being stupid. Really.”
“No, you’re not.” He rubbed the back of his neck, adding, “We spend too much time together. We were bound to need a break, right?”
He slipped into the bathroom and Bucky’s eyes burned. Just that day he’d realized that, for Sam, taking a break didn’t mean time apart. Sam genuinely liked being around him.
God, Bucky had really fucked this up.
Nearly an hour passed before Sam emerged from the bathroom. Any other night, Bucky might’ve made a joke about Sam taking his sweet time and wasting all of the hot water. This night, they both knew it was to bide time away from Bucky.
He came out fully dressed and stopped at his side of the bed. “Should I stay here tonight?”
The words made Bucky’s blood run cold. The idea had never even occurred to him. “What?”
“You need a break from me.”
“Sam,” he sat up, turning the light on. Sam was staring at the bed, his arms crossed, his face unreadable. “Of course, you should sleep here.”
“I can ask Maggie,” he began and honestly, the thought of Sam being wedged between a married couple was too ridiculous to think about.
“No, no way. Even if I wasn’t okay with it, I’d be the one to find somewhere else to sleep. You didn’t do anything wrong.” Sam toed the carpet, his mouth twisted. “Sam, get in the bed. Please?” he asked softly.
Sam hesitated for another moment before he finally climbed in. He turned on his side, facing away from Bucky.
Bucky didn’t get much sleep.
He went to bed feeling like shit and woke up feeling even worse. His head hurt, his stomach twisted with nerves. When he closed his eyes, he saw that wounded look on Sam’s face. He couldn’t get it out of his head. He’d have to fix this, but he didn’t know how. How could he tell Sam his own insecurities had ruined things between them? That he hadn’t known how to deal with the fact that he was hopelessly in love with his best friend?
Steve would’ve known what to say.
He opened his eyes, breath catching as he found Sam’s face inches away. One hand resting beneath his head on the pillow, the other twisted and tangled in Bucky’s shirt. The sight pulled at his heart, something fragile turning over in his chest.
When Sam’s eyes opened, he seemed unsurprised to find Bucky’s face inches from his own. His hand tightened in Bucky’s shirt and he winced. “Sorry,” he muttered.
Bucky covered his hand as he started to release it. “Sam,” he let out a slow breath. “I’m sorry.”
Sam’s brow furrowed and Bucky barely managed to refrain from smoothing it out with his thumb. Being this close to Sam and not touching him was torture. He forced himself to continue, “Things between us have been weird lately and that’s my fault. Not yours.”
Sam seemed to consider for a moment. Then, “I didn’t think it was a good idea to share a bed.” He stared at Bucky’s hand covering his, his face softening. “I woke up yesterday and you were wrapped around me like an octopus.” Bucky laughed despite himself and Sam smiled, his lashes fluttering over his cheeks. “I’d been awake for about ten minutes before I said anything. It was nice,” he explained, meeting his gaze.
Swallowing nervously, Bucky whispered, “It was nice.”
Sam’s smile widened. “I’m sorry I was being selfish last night.”
Stiffening, “You weren’t—"
“I was. I think I was so sensitive to what you said because,” he let out a slow breath, steeling himself, “I don’t need a break from you. Ever. It’s really fucking weird, man.”
A soft and warm light bloomed in his chest, Bucky’s heart beating fast. “Really?”
Sam nodded, continuing on, “I don’t understand it either. I just never get tired of you. Even when you’re being a dick or eating us out of house and home. Even when you get on my nerves or talk to me in the field like it’s my first day on the job. I don’t ever want to be away from you. I just think about how I’m going to annoy you right back later. Because I will,” he said firmly, his eyes narrowed. “I’m pretty damn good at it.”
Joy bubbled up inside of him, the words came unbidden. “Sam, I don’t like being away from you either.” Sam’s brow furrowed in confusion. “I know what I said but… I didn’t mean it.”
“What did you mean?”
If Sam had been honest, Bucky could be, too. Right? He took a deep breath, squeezing his eyes shut. “It was too much. Being there in that club, touching you like that,” he opened his eyes, finishing, “it made it harder to remember that you weren’t mine.”
Sam’s eyes widened. “What do you mean?”
“We do everything together and people at the coffee shop and our neighbors and even the damn mailman thinks we’re dating. It didn’t bother me before but it started to because… I think I wanted it to be true.” Sam stared at him, blinking a few times silently. “This is why I don’t talk.”
It startled out a laugh and Sam’s hand tightened around his shirt. “It’s good, it’s good. Don’t make a habit of it,” he added, earning a fond eye roll. He quieted, focused on their hands. “I don’t let very many people in anymore. I haven’t had the best luck with keeping them.”
At the drawn look on Sam’s face, Bucky moved in closer gathering Sam into his arms. Breathing him in, he murmured, “I know.”
Sam held his gaze, his eyes firm. “So, you better plan on sticking around.”
He leaned in closer, uncertainty creeping in. Bucky cupped the back of his head, meeting him halfway. Their lips touched, soft enough that Bucky could almost pretend he’d imagined it. He deepened it, stroking his hand down Sam’s back and earning a slight shiver. Sam’s hand twisted in his shirt, the hem sliding upward as he pressed in closer. Letting out a soft gasp, his mouth fell open as Bucky slipped his tongue inside.
Sam’s leg slid between his thighs, the heat between them quickly spreading into wildfire. A little too much for an early morning before a flight. Even knowing that, it was near impossible to pull away. A hard suck on his tongue drew his hips forward in a rough snap, Sam’s moan stifled in their kiss.
Panting, he gripped Sam’s shirt, holding him in place. “We don’t have time.”
Cursing, Sam nodded, groaning as Bucky stole another kiss briefly.
They were fully packed, quite a feat considering they kept stealing kisses as they tried to pack up what little of their stuff had ended up spread across the room. Sam was pretty sure they’d left something behind but he couldn’t bring himself to regret sharing that shower. They had a long flight and it’d be hours before they’d get any more time alone.
They were loading up the trunk for their uber to the airport when Bucky tugged on his sleeve, pointing across the courtyard. Two teenagers were kissing, dressed head to toe in costume. It was definitely a little weird to see two cosplayers in pretty accurate Falcon and Winter Soldier costumes making out. Mostly, Sam thought it was sweet.
One of the boys turned towards him and waved. Out of costume, Sam rarely ever got recognized and it was rather baffling until he realized he knew that kid. He waved back, watching as David Alleyne and Tommy Shepherd disappeared into the costumed crowd.
Bucky snagged his hand. “Ready to go?”