Sam watched as the new group of enhanced humans, who called themselves the Fantastic Four unironically and he didn’t want to cast any judgments when he was part of a team calling themselves The Avengers but he had so many thoughts about that name choice, sat down to give their first interview. They’d helped save New York City from giant spiders from outer space while the Avengers were off dealing with ‘Norn Stones’ and being transported all over the Nine Realms, and were the new ‘It’ thing.
Sam had gotten the distinct impression that Tony was annoyed by the media circus surrounding the Fantastic Four. At least it seemed that way with how he kept grumbling about saving 9 worlds being much more impressive than saving one single city from a bunch of spiders.
“Morning doll.” A warm hand touched the back of his neck.
Sam didn’t drop his mug of coffee but it was a near thing. Instead he turned slightly, squinting up at the other man. “Hey.”
“Is that the interview with those new guys?” Bucky pulled his hand back and hopped over the back of the couch to settle in next to him, so close their shoulders were touching. Sam nodded while casting a sidelong look at the other man. He was fresh from the shower, shirtless, skin still flushed from heat, and his hair was damp and tousled.
Sam wasn’t above admitting it was distracting.
“They look young.” Steve said while sitting on Sam’s other side. He had a smoothie that was a strange muddled green color in his hand and dark smudges of ink on all of his fingertips.
Sam considered going for the easy joke, poking fun at how old Steve and Bucky were, but he liked to think he was too classy to go straight for the low hanging fruit. He liked to leave that kind of thing to Stark.
Sam watched the interview play out for a moment then turned his attention to his phone. If you’d heard one overly intense super genius who liked the sound of his own voice, and Mr. Fantastic, which again was not ironic and said with a completely straight face, was clearly that, ramble on you’d heard them all.
A glance at his twitter feed found ‘Fantastic Four’ trending. He sighed and tossed his phone on the table.
“Where’s my exclusive interview?”
Steve tilted his head to the side, looking so much like a confused puppy it was ridiculous. “What?”
“You heard me. These kids stomp some spiders and they’ve got Barbara Walters asking them about their traumatic childhoods. I help expose Hydra, save countless lives, and get beat up by this jerk-”
Bucky huffed. “I was brainwashed.”
“That’s what they all say. I’ve punched six brainwashed dudes this week.” Sam waved a hand at him dismissively. “I think maybe you were just tired of Steve’s shit and needed an extended break. I’m not judging, I get that. I only tried to keep him from killing himself for a year and I even had help sometimes and I was ready to jump off of a moving train by the end.”
Bucky’s lips twitched like he was struggling to not laugh. Steve made that confused/worried/hopeful face he always made when they made jokes about things that weren’t funny and laughed at things that shouldn’t be laughed at.
Bucky was, when people weren’t worrying over him, being completely well meaning, and treating him like damaged china, all bite, dark humor, and sass. He prefered laughing at his pain to dwelling on it or drowning in it and Sam respected that.
“It was very traumatic.” Bucky insisted.
Sam put on his best skeptical face. “You were asleep most of the time.”
That got him a laugh, a warm delighted sound that never stopped sounding amazing to Sam’s ears. Steve sighed, a mixture of fondness and exasperation, saying ‘I don’t know what to do with you two’ as clearly as if he’d actually used words. He smiled then shook his head; Bucky could derail a person from just about anything with just one of his slow pretty smiles and a quirk of his eyebrow.
“Anyway. I got beat up by Mr. I-was-brainwashed and the entire nation was aware but I never got an interview. I didn’t even get an invite to the cool kids club until Stark tried to retire.” He could see Steve’s sheepish look out of the corner of his eye. “No one ever asks what Falcon is up to. Natasha’s a confirmed Russian spy, Clint’s a fucking carnie--”
“Well now you’re just being mean.” Steve said.
“Who spends half his time pretending he’s Altaïr, but when I was at the mall do you know what I saw? Merchandise, Rogers, actual merchandise. Black Widow jackets and Hawkeye t-shirts. Ironman themed dresses. Captain America sailor dresses.”
Steve looked concerned. “But I was in the army.”
“Or how about those stupid bobble heads? You’ve got one for every fashion mistake you’ve made, this guy has one, metal arm and everything, and two versions of that bear-”
“Well,” Steve said reasonably. “Bucky Bear is pretty adorable. Have you tried being more cute?”
He stopped, squinting at the blond. Steve stared back, the picture of seriousness, as if he hadn’t just suggested the impossible. There was simply no way for Sam Wilson, amazing peice of ass that he was, to be more cute.
It would, he was pretty sure, cause the actual implosion of the universe. He’d have to run it by Bruce and Tony but they would probably back him up if he caught them at the right moment (which was to say while they were doing ‘science’ and didn’t want to be bothered, which he was pretty sure was code for ‘having sex in the lab’.)
“No, shut up. I’m just saying where’s my bobblehead? Where’s Falcon Bear?”
“Falcon Bear? Sounds stupid.”
“Your face is stupid.” He jabbed his finger at Bucky’s face to punctuate the statement.
Bucky’s eyes widened comically. Sam lowered his finger and stared at it as if he’d never seen it before. Bucky let out a small choked noise before dissolving into breathless laughter. Sam very deliberately turned away from him to fully face Steve who, as a true testament to the amazing hero he was, was wearing his most sympathetic face.
“I think Falcon Bear sounds wonderful.”
Sam didn’t believe him but he was willing to let it slide because at least Steve was willing to pretend to be on his side. Bucky, meanwhile, was laughing so hard he was actually wheezing.
“And. And what about this?” He made a vague all encompassing gesture to include the three of them, the couch, and the apartment.
Steve’s expression melted into something strangely nervous. “What about this?”
“You and Bucky get a headline in those trashy gossip mags my mom reads weekly all about are you or aren’t you. Epic romance, survived death, ice, his shit personality, and your complete lack of self-preservation and everyone and their mother is swooning about it.” Steve grimaced; he hated the press in general and especially when it was about his personal life or Bucky’s personal life. “But what about me? I’d talked to you all of twice before I decided to go jumping off of buildings and taking on nazis with you. I road tripped with you for a year looking for his freezer burnt ass, moved into this disgustingly tiny apartment with you, and I never go around telling people that I think Nomad is the stupidest codename ever-”
Which he did.
“But it’s never about how I’m might be sleeping with America’s favorite soldiers or all the filthy things I could be doing as part of my duty to this fine country. It’s like the thought has never occurred to anyone. It’s offensive.”
Bucky stopped laughing abruptly.
“That is a problem.” There was something to Steve’s voice, something that Sam couldn’t quite identify. “Since we’re clearly together.”
Sam opened his mouth. Then shut it to consider his words carefully because if he thought about it, really thought about it, he could see it. They did most things together, even some things that might have been considered dates if they were just between two people and not three people, two of whom were already in a relationship. And there might have been some very domestic aspects to things but they lived together so that was to be expected.
Though there was all that casual petting, nudging, and touching that went on. A whole lot of it, actually. Bucky couldn’t seem to sit on the couch or at the table or even manage to be around him without being plastered against his side and Steve couldn’t leave or enter a room without putting his hands on him.
And there had been some cuddling but platonic cuddling was a thing.
It wasn’t like they’d ever said anything.
He frowned. “Are you secretly dating me?”
“It’s not a secret.” Bucky sounded offended. “We’ve kissed.”
There might have, possibly, been an occasion last month where he’d taken a blow to head from a crazed life sized toy solider and in his concussed state he’d thought tasting Bucky’s mouth was a good idea.
And then after that when he’d been all hopped up on pain pills he’d extended that good idea to Steve’s mouth.
But it wasn’t like anyone had said anything about any of that either! Which he'd appreciated because making out with your best friends who happen to be dating each other was the kind of thing that just needed to go unmentioned in his humble opinion.
“And you’ve slept in our bed.” Steve added.
“The heat was out.” Sam muttered.
And bed sharing where he woke up with Bucky’s leg slung over him and his head pillowed on Steve’s shoulder could be platonic.
And maybe it had taken a week to get it fixed but it wasn’t like anyone had been complaining.
And maybe he'd started crashing in their bed after those bad days when he reaches for his phone to call Riley and then remembers or after seeing really ugly shit out there or when Bucky got that haunted look in his eyes or Steve did that thing where he sat by a window looking out on the city for hours without moving. That was just friends comforting friends.
“Stevie even brought you flowers.”
Okay, he’d thought that was kind of strange but Steve was a strange guy, so he’d thanked him, trimmed them up, put them on the kitchen table and made lasagna because it was Steve's favorite.
“We just thought you wanted to feel things out and take it slow.” Steve shrugged. “This is kind of unconventional and we think you’re worth waiting for.”
Sam had to take a minute to stare at the ceiling, order his thoughts very carefully (Because maybe he had known but he wasn't sure and he wasn't prepared to take that leap, however small, and lose what he already had) and swallow around the lump that had formed in his throat.
“I’ll give you the flowers. Which were very nice by the way.” Steve snorted. “However, I would contend that I’m not having enough sex for us to be dating.”
The smile that curved Steve’s lips was slow and just a little dark, something that would have been more at home on Bucky’s face but sent a tingle up Sam’s spine anyway. Or maybe because of that.
“Oh baby doll.” Bucky snaked an arm around his waist and moved closer so he was pressed against his back. Warm lips brushed over his skin as he spoke. “We can fix that.”