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told you that i'm on the way, i'm like an exit away

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i.

Bucky is coming home from therapy one day and Sam is just. There. Leaning up against the side of his hut, staring warily at a goat and gnawing on a mango. The navy duffle at his feet makes Bucky’s pulse hum.

“What the hell?” Bucky says, by way of greeting.

“You look like shit,” Sam says back, tossing his mango peel in the general direction of a goat. 

“Thanks.” Sam decidedly does not look like shit. He looks clean and soft and sun-soaked, the lines on his face void of anxiety. “What are you doing here?”

“T’Challa told Steve you thawed, but he’s too high profile for international travel. Wanted me to check in,” Sam shrugs, then gestures towards the door. “I need to pee.”

It’s strange, is what it is, the ease with which Sam has accepted the responsibility of babysitting Steve’s traumatized, slightly murder-y best friend. Bucky thinks he should say something to this effect, but the thought of Sam actually leaving afterward makes his stomach twist a little. Not a lot, but. His only friends are goats, right now, and his therapist says it’s not a great sign he’s so okay with that.

But, the tiny, contrary part of Bucky says fuck his therapist. What right has Wilson got, showing up here with his warm brown eyes and his dumb, disapproving mouth? Plus, he doesn't want the goats to get used to being fed mango peels. It sets the bar too high.

“You’re not staying with T’Challa?”

“No,” Sam says shortly, heaving his duffle over his shoulder as Bucky fiddles with the lock on his hut. “T’Challa doesn’t need any more people taking care of him. You on the other hand...” Sam wrinkles his nose. “When was the last time you showered?”

“I’ve been busy,” Bucky grumbles.

“Man, doing what? Growing out your hair?”

Bucky glowers at Sam for a moment before yanking the door open. A wave of air conditioning hits him square in the face, and Bucky looses a small, contented sigh. He’d asked T’Challa for a modest arrangement, but he learned very quickly there was no such thing in Wakanda.

“Jesus, Barnes,” Sam says as he steps inside, and, okay, yeah. Bucky knows. Despite the fact he has basically no possessions, he’s managed to make a mess of his room and a half. He’s, uh. Been procrastinating some pretty basic household chores.

“I wasn’t expecting company.”

“Clearly,” Sam snorts, nudging a pair of boxers out of his path with the toe of his sneaker.

“You should probably find a place in the city or something,” Bucky flicks on the little glowing orb Shuri gave him (he refuses to call it a night light). In any case, it illuminates his minuscule space a little better, so Sam can really soak up the kind of mess he’s taking on. “I’m sure T’Challa would set you up with something nice.” And then - ‘cause he couldn’t just leave it at that, could he? - he fixes Sam with a narrow-eyed stare, almost like he’s daring him to stay.

Sam rolls his eyes and drops his duffle on the bed, shoving his sleeves up to his elbows. His expression is a mixture of exasperation and resolve and maybe also a little bit of affection that makes Bucky want to tear his duffle in half. 

“Whatever, RoboCop. Where’s your fucking bathroom?”

ii.

It takes the better part of the evening to finish tidying the hut. Sam insists on helping organize Bucky’s designated Closet Corner, strong-arms Bucky into scrubbing down the floors, and then, when Bucky thinks they’re finally fucking done and he can throw a blanket over his face and contemplate death (as his typical Tuesday night routine dictates), Sam catches him around the arm. 

“Not so fast,” he says, an easy, wry smile shaping his mouth. 

“What?” Bucky all but snarls. Sam looks thoroughly unimpressed.
 
“Shower and a haircut before bed. You’re not getting all up in my newly cleaned sheets like...” Sam gestures at Bucky’s general person, which is very rude. 

Your sheets?”

“Shower, Barnes. With soap.”

Bucky really wants to resist, just as a matter of principle, but as far as commitment to pettiness goes, he is woefully ill-prepared against the persuasions of Sam Wilson. 

So Bucky showers and towels off and puts on clean clothes and... and yeah, maybe there is something to be said for the whole ordeal. He feels a little lighter. The smell of his own hair doesn’t trigger his gag reflex. It’s the little things. 

Sam makes him sit criss-cross applesauce in front of the bed, proceeding to drape a towel around his shoulders and snap a pair scissors by his ears. 

“Don’t cut off too much.”

Bucky doesn’t know how he can hear Sam roll his eyes, but that’s what happens. 

“Okay, Fabio,” Bucky doesn’t understand that reference, but Sam seems alright with that. The backs of his fingers brush gently across Bucky’s nape, and his whole spine stiffens. 

Sam cuts his hair in silence, periodically angling Bucky’s head with firm, gentle hands. Bucky just sits and tries not to think too hard about how Sam’s calf is pressing into his arm and how, while he mostly smells like off-brand Wakandan cleaning products, Bucky also detects a whiff of something really nice. Like cinnamon.

“Sam?” Bucky says quietly. 

Sam is brushing cut up hairs off Bucky’s neck, but his hand pauses when Bucky speaks. “Yeah?”

The words are stuck in Bucky’s throat, but he forces them out like he’s expelling some kind of poison. “Thank you.” He works his jaw. “I know this is - and we don’t really -... but, you know. Thank you.”

That didn’t make sense, that wasn’t even half of what he’d meant to say, but Bucky looks behind him to see Sam nod like he understands.

“Sure,” he says, and brushes a little hair away from Bucky’s temple with the pad of his thumb. Sam’s smile makes something warm bloom in Bucky’s chest.

They don’t really talk much after that. Bucky gets the sense they don’t have to.

iii.

Yeah, they share the bed. There’s honestly not really space to sleep on the floor and Bucky knows Sam has back issues, so that was never really an option anyways.

They try not to be weird about it but it’s basically impossible, especially ‘cause Bucky is so weird about any kind of physical contact whatsoever. On the one hand, he’s totally terrified of it, and the first night he tries his absolute best to make sure their only point of contact is localized somewhere around his knees. His strategy is ruined when one of them shifts and Sam’s bicep presses into the space between his shoulder blades and Bucky, like the contact-starved fool he is, audibly sighs in relief. Afterward, he contemplates texting T’Challa to stick him in the freezer again, ‘cause that’s the only way he’s ever gonna live this down.

“Barnes?” Sam asks, his voice unbearably kind. “Maybe we should just—“

“—Yeah, okay,” Bucky says, ‘cause he really doesn’t want whatever Sam’s about to say to hang in the air between them for the rest of the night.

And then Sam’s rolling onto his side, settling against the curve of Bucky’s back, his hips pushed ever-so-slightly against Bucky’s, his arm curled up against his chest. Bucky can feel the line of it along his spine.

It’s like he can breathe for the first time since coming off the ice. His whole body relaxes so suddenly, so easily, that it’s almost scary enough to make him tense up again. He knows Sam can feel all of this - they’re so close that Bucky can hear him breathing - and the knowledge has him burning with humiliation. Bucky could so easily make light of this, try and laugh it off in a way that skirts around the intimacy of the moment, but he doesn’t say anything. He just lets his eyes flutter closed and focuses on the feeling of Sam’s forehead tipped lightly against the back of his neck.

When Bucky blinks awake the next morning, for the first time since 1945, he remembers his dreams.

iv.

Since they’re both the kind of people who live on routines, it’s easy to fall into one in the next couple days. Sam wakes up earlier than Bucky, goes for a run, manages to charm two mugs of still-steaming coffee out of the neighbors. Bucky stumbles out of his room as he’s finishing the first cup, and they cut up some fruits for breakfast.

None of Bucky’s stuff is really made for two, so they eat out of the same green plastic bowl, mostly in silence. Sam steals all the mango pieces and leaves Bucky the papaya, which he damn well knows is the worst of the assortment. Bucky tolerates this and doesn’t strangle him, for some reason.

“Do the goats have names?” Sam asks him one morning, wiping fruit juice off his mouth with the back of his hand. 

Bucky swallows and looks away for a second. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Goats are stupid. They wouldn’t learn their own names, there’s no point.”

“So you just refer to them in your head as, like, Goat 1 and Goat 2? That’s cold, man.”

“I can’t tell them apart,” Bucky lies, stabbing at the mango piece Sam’s fork was drifting towards. 

They give each other death glares for a couple of seconds before Sam kicks him a little and refocuses his efforts on the kiwi. “You’re so rude. Anyways, that sounds like a lie. I think you should name the goats.”

“Yeah, well, you have a lot of crappy thoughts.”

Sam ignores him. “The one that’s all black? Her name is Eva now.”

“Eva is a boy.”

“Whatever. Eva still works,” Sam shrugs, and Bucky has this bizarre urge to smile. Just stare at Sam and smile and smile and smile until his mouth hurts and his goats start screaming about the state of the hay.

v.

Sam Wilson has flowers in his collar and Wakandan children hanging off his biceps. His skin is alight with the orangeish pink of sunset, and the heat seems to have drawn all the tension out of his face and shoulders. He spins in haphazard circles and the children attached to his person shriek in delight, the noise making the goats start a little. They’re used to quiet. So is Bucky. 

Sam is laughing. Bucky has spent the last three days cataloging all of Sam’s different laughs, but this one is particularly beautiful - his full body moves with it and his eyes squeeze shut. 

Bucky blushes. What the fuck. He actually blushes. He only vaguely remembers being Catholic but that doesn’t stop him from thinking this could be a divine punishment of some kind. Maybe for the several murders he committed. 

Sam deposits most of the children onto the ground, but a little girl clings steadfastly to him. He scoops her up in his arms and she kisses his nose, startling delight onto his expression. Bucky’s chest seizes. 

He looks away and grunts as he swings a hay bale off his cart with more aggression than absolutely necessary. Penance is a bitch.

vi.

Bucky uses the tablet Shuri gave him for two reasons and two reasons only: to look up facts about goat-related care and, in a more recent development, to search for the names of the songs Sam's always singing under his breath while he does chores.

Bucky discovers that he mostly sticks to Stevie Wonder, but sometimes it’s The Supremes or Sam Cooke or Otis Redding. It's the kind of thing Bucky thinks should annoy him, but it has the opposite effect. Sam’s voice, deep and rich, always makes Bucky want to quit whatever he’s doing and lie in the sun for hours like some kind of doped up cat. Sam doesn’t seem to notice his influence, doesn’t even seem to notice he’s singing half the time. He’s just absentminded and beautiful. Absentmindedly beautiful. 

One night, Bucky’s own screaming wakes him up at two in the morning. 

Spectres fade from his vision and he realizes he’s twisted up in his own threadbare blanket, his entire body damp with sweat. His throat feels raw and his chest feels empty, like always. He’s planning on just laying there, hollow and miserable, until he finds the energy to get up for some water, but he’s suddenly aware of someone saying something next to him. Jostling the bed in a vague panic.

Sam, his mind registers. Fuck. He’d forgotten.

He turns to find Sam looking over him with wide, concerned eyes. They’re so brown. Like all of Bucky’s favorite things, leather, coffee, chocolate. “Can I touch you?” Sam asks. 

“Yeah,” Bucky croaks. 

Sam helps him into a sitting position and, when he feels Bucky lean into him, he keeps his arm around his shoulders, applying gentle pressure. Bucky’s hand gropes for Sam’s in the darkness, the hollow of his chest starting to fill as he finds warm, calloused fingers. 

They stay like that for God knows how long until Bucky, who figures he can’t possibly come off as more pathetic, asks Sam “can you sing?”

Sam looks startled for a moment but complies without protest, his voice halting and awkward at first. Eventually, they both relax against the mattress, Bucky scooting a little closer to Sam so he can feel his chest hum with the song. Sam’s voice is smooth now, his fingers loose around Bucky’s. 

Bucky must fall asleep like that, ‘cause the next thing he knows there’s warmth on his skin and the smell of coffee on the air. Sam has tucked a second pillow under his head and thrown a fresh blanket over his body. 

They eat breakfast in silence that day, but Bucky wordlessly pushes all the mango pieces to Sam’s side of the bowl. 

vii.

“I want to go into the city.”

Bucky looks up from his book, skepticism already written plain across his face. He doesn’t like the implication in that sentence - you have to go with me - and he really doesn’t like the look of resolve that seems to come over Sam’s face.

“Why?”

“‘Cause it’s fun. You don’t keep good booze out here and I wanna get a souvenir for Steve.”

“A souvenir?” Bucky asks, a smile pushing at his mouth, “You wanna get Captain America a keychain?”

“I want to get Steve a tasteful gift,” Sam corrects. He plops down on the couch, close enough to Bucky that their thighs press together. “And you need human contact.”

“I have human contact,” Bucky says simply, pressing his leg pointedly against Sam’s. 

This close together, he can see the slight flush on Sam’s cheeks. It makes him nostalgic for something he can barely remember. 

“You need more human contact. To remember what other people look like, so you’ll realize that hair isn’t normal.”

Bucky scowls. “I’m not going.”

“Why not?”

“‘Cause I’ll freak people out!” he argues, gesturing to his general person. “People will see me and run away screaming.”

Sam rolls his eyes, “Bucky, they know what white people look like. They have Netflix. If my black ass survived rural Vermont for a month and a half, you can do one night in Wakanda.”

Sam gives him a look, and for one split second, Bucky thinks he must know. He must know that all he needs to do to make Bucky do anything is put a hand on his arm, bat his absurdly long eyelashes, and say ‘I’ll drag you kicking and screaming, asshole’. Bucky really, really doesn’t want him to know.

Sam’s eyes are almost amber in this kind of light.

“Whatever,” he says, finally, and presses down a smile when Sam lets out a quiet whoop in victory.

viii.

Bucky makes them an hour late trying to decide on Arm or No Arm. 

He technically has one, stashed in the corner of his closet. It’s not all scary and threatening like the metal one HYDRA gave him, it’s made of something smooth and dark and considerably more subtle. T’Challa had left it with him, just in case, and Bucky threw a sweater over it to avoid looking at it. 

“Barnes,” Sam calls from outside, where he’s waiting and probably spoiling Eva with cut-up fruit. Bucky hears a gentle knocking against the side of the hut. “Is everything okay? Do you need me to come in there?”

Bucky waits too long to say ‘no’, and that’s his mistake, really. Sam steps inside looking gorgeous and concerned, which is very confusing for The Sam-Related feelings rolling around in Bucky’s stomach. 

“What’s going on?” he asks, sitting next to Bucky on the bed. “You look nice, why aren’t we leaving?”

Bucky tries not to dwell on ‘you look nice’. God, he’s pathetic. “I’m trying to decide if... I think I’d look more normal, if I put on the arm.”

Sam is quiet for a long time. Bucky looks over at him, expecting to see pity or conflict or deep, heart-wrenching sadness, all the kinds of reactions he’d expect from Steve, but Sam is not Steve. He just looks pensive, his gaze shifting slowly between the arm and Bucky.

“But you don’t want to wear it?” he asks carefully.

“I…” Bucky isn’t sure, really. He looks helplessly at Sam. He wants to say something like ‘I’m sorry I’m such a mess’ or ‘you should leave without me’, but he knows that’s the kind of stuff that’d just make Sam feel worse.

“Why don’t you try it on?” Sam suggests. Before Bucky can say anything, he’s getting up and reaching behind the curtain that marks the closet, pulling the arm out from the corner like it’s nothing. Like it’s not weird as fuck. Like Bucky hasn’t tried to kill him with an attachable arm multiple times. “It’s pretty light.”

“Yeah,” Bucky says, his throat dry as he shrugs off his jacket. “I don’t know if you’ve met her, but T’Challa’s little sister made it - Shuri. She’s great.” He’s struck once again with the feeling that he owes that family, owes them more than he’ll ever be able to repay in this lifetime alone.

Bucky stares at the arm. He knows, theoretically, how to put it on, but he just - he doesn’t think he can -

“Sam?” he asks, jaw tight, “Can you…?”

“Yeah, of course,” Sam says, his movements relaxed and easy as he rolls up Bucky’s sleeve. Bucky’s breath catches in his throat when Sam’s fingers smooth over the silicon liner around the stump. He watches Sam’s face for a wince, for any tightness between his eyes, the slightest sense of discomfort, but there’s none. It’s on in a manner of moments, and Sam’s hand is sliding down his forearm, gentle and kind.

“How does it feel?” he asks, looking up at Bucky through those eyelashes.

“Uh,” Bucky says, unexpected heat curling in his stomach. He tears his eyes away from Sam and glances at the mirror sitting on top of the wardrobe. “Yeah, it. It feels fine. I could wear it.”

“Do you want to?” Sam presses.

Bucky blinks.

Sam takes off the arm, re-wraps it in the sweater, and plucks a button-down from Bucky’s closet that will apparently fit a little better. They head out of the hut a whole two hours later than planned, but Bucky finds with Sam’s arm around his shoulders, breath on the side of his neck, he doesn’t really care.

ix.

The next week and a half are nice; something gentle and soft and right at the edge of domestic, but neither of them would ever admit it. It’s so nice that Bucky’s brain does what it always does when presented with something like this: counts down the seconds until he loses it. In fact, Bucky hadn’t realized it, but from the second Sam arrived he’s been silently marking the days until he leaves with a dread that has only magnified over the duration of his visit.

Three days until Sam’s return to a life on the run with Steve, and Bucky has started gripping everything a little too tightly. Sam intervenes when he puts a dent in their steel forks.

“I wanna see a waterfall,” Sam says through a mouthful of fruit, gingerly pulling Bucky’s fork out from angry-red fingers.

“What?” Bucky’s voice comes out with an edge of a growl, but Sam seems unfazed by it.

“I wanna see a waterfall,” he repeats, like it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “A natural waterfall, I’ve never stood under one before and I know they gotta have plenty out here. You’re telling me you don’t know where any of them are?”

“I mean, no. It’s not like they have Google Maps out here.”

“Yeah,” Sam says shortly, waving his fork around, “just, like, assorted household technology that provides shockingly realistic 3D holograms of, you know, everywhere.”

“You wanna see a waterfall,” Bucky concedes, grim. A smile curves Sam’s mouth - a cloud-clearing, heart-stopping brilliant kind of smile - and Bucky knows he’s absolutely done for.

So they hike up to a waterfall. Bucky tries to be nice about it, but he is a super soldier, and while Sam has incredibly strong thighs and incredibly impressive stamina, he loses steam at a rapid pace in comparison. By the time they first catch sight of the falls, Sam is holding onto Bucky’s shoulder and heaving with exertion, and Bucky is caught between tucking his grin into his left shoulder and turning it on Sam, full force.

“I hate you,” Sam says, resting his full weight on Bucky’s side as they pause at the river-bank. Bucky wants - well. Wanting comes all at once, like he’s either stopped it up completely or he’s thrown the floodgates wide open. Right now, with Sam all sweaty and pressed up against his side, the full intensity of his want threatens to knock him over. Bucky wants to pick Sam up and wrap his legs around his waist and carry him like that until they’re standing under the waterfall. And then he wants to kiss him while there’s water pouring down both of their backs. And then he wants to strip off all their clothes and fuck him in the pond.

Instead, he looks over at him, expression somehow both cool and affectionate, and says, “this was your idea.”

Sam says he hates him again but he lets Bucky wrap his arm around Sam’s waist so that they can limp over to the waterfall together. They don’t kiss while they’re standing under it, but Sam tips his head back and laughs with his eyes closed and his arms spread, and that’s almost better. He’s still clutching Bucky’s forearm, but his fingers go loose as the water runs down his chest, into his shoes. The coolness of it feels amazing after the suffocating humidity of the hike, and Bucky would close his eyes if he could bear to stop looking at Sam for more than thirty seconds.

They go a little slower on the hike back, but somewhere around the 11th mile Sam trips over a root and falls and Bucky has to hold him down so he doesn’t try and walk the last stretch of the hike with a giant gash in his thigh.

“You’re so dumb,” Bucky grumbles, carefully rolling up the fabric of Sam’s running shorts to examine the source of the blood running down his leg. It’s not that bad, truthfully, but Bucky glares at Sam as he tears off a strip of his shirt anyways. “You should’ve just ridden on my back.”

Sam looks just as offended as the first time Bucky suggested this. “That’s - no. That’s so pathetic and you smell awful. I’d rather bleed out.”

“Dumb,” Bucky repeats, wrapping the strip of cloth around Sam’s thigh and tugging. Sam winces. “I’d ride on your back.”

“Like I’d let you.”

Bucky doesn’t say anything, just grins in a way that maybe says ‘like you could resist’ or, more possibly, says ‘I’m very out of practice with flirting but I’m still into this’. Emboldened by the responding glimmer in Sam’s eyes, the playful expression that flicks across his face, Bucky doesn’t bother suppressing the urge to slowly skate his hands down Sam’s thigh as he draws away.

“We should get back,” Sam says, his voice a low rumble.

Bucky nods, a short, aborted movement, and hauls Sam to his feet, resolutely ignoring the riot it incites in his stomach.

x.

“I can’t believe you’re making me do this.”

“It’s supposed to be fun.”

“I really hate you. I can’t wait until you go back to Vermont.”

Sam smirks at Bucky over the lip of his glass, like he knows that’s not true, and tosses back the rest of his drink with a small grimace, “Actually, we’re in Colorado now, so fuck you.”

Sam has dragged him out to what appears to be a singles bar, overflowing with people who do double takes at his skin, his arm, his stringy white boy hair, and, well, everything in-between. If Sam wasn’t here, the whole thing would set Bucky’s teeth on edge, and he’d be too busy reciting a list of escape routes in his head to pay attention to a single word anyone around him is saying. As it is, he’s extremely distracted by the way Sam’s rolled his sleeves up to his elbows, throwing the hard planes of his forearm on display in a way that is appealing to both Bucky and everyone else in the goddamn room. (Sam has gotten three separate propositions in the twenty minutes they’ve been there, and Bucky’s managed to scare them all into backing off with his vague snarling.)

“Explain it to me again,” Bucky grumbles, taking a sip of the drink that won’t get him drunk no matter how hard he tries.

“I just think you need to let off a little steam,” Sam explains, dropping his shoulder in a casual shrug, “I’m not suggesting you introduce anyone to the goats - that’s a fifth-date kinda thing - but it might do you some good to talk. Flirt. Steve says you used to be good at that kind of thing.”

There’s an edge of a challenge in Sam’s voice, and Bucky looks over at him, caught between intense affection and even more intense annoyance. If anyone should have intimate knowledge of Bucky’s flirting strategy, it was Sam, not Steve.

“So your suggestion is I just go up to someone and randomly proposition them?” Bucky asks, incredulous. Twenty-first-century dating norms were an absolute fucking mystery.

Sam rolls his eyes. “I mean, yeah, I’m sure certain people would be amenable to that approach if that’s what you’re after. Please hang a sock on the hut door. But I was actually thinking you could start slow. Practice talking to someone you think is attractive. It’ll get you out of your own head.”

Bucky thinks on it for a second. “Okay.”

“Okay?” Sam’s eyebrow is raised, “Okay like you’re gonna do it? You see someone you like?”

“Yeah. Wish me luck.”

Sam gives Bucky a lazy, two-fingered salute and a reassuring grin. Bucky rises out of his chair, walks three steps to the left, and takes a seat in the stool on the other side of Sam. Sam looks confused and opens his mouth to say something, but Bucky cuts him off -

“So,” he says, leaning against the bar and offering Sam the cheekiest smile he can muster, “you, uh, come here often?”

Realization dawns on Sam’s face. It’s like spilling a glass of water, watching happiness spread onto his features, sudden and captivating. Bucky wants to slow it down - to watch each individual movement, to document every crease that crinkles the corners of his eyes, replay the split second that dimple starts to sink into his cheek, run a leisurely hand along the forearm he’s been fixated on all night. He stays frozen, though, pulse pounding in his throat.

“Let's go home” is all Sam says, but he punctuates the words by sliding his palm into Bucky’s, lacing their fingers together, and squeezing tight.

xi.

The Sam Countdown Clock seems to be ticking by at warp speed now and it’s making Bucky want everything at once as quickly as possible. Between shifting hands, a hurried mouth, and a general loss of fine motor control, he starts to wonder - have I gotten bad at this?

“Hey,” Sam says, like he can sense Bucky’s getting in his own head again. Bucky can feel him laughing against his mouth, “Can I..?”

“Yeah,” Bucky should be embarrassed about how quickly that comes out, but he doesn’t need any more time to think about it. Yes, Sam, whatever you want, yes, yes, yes. He thinks Sam might laugh at him again, but instead he pulls back, keeps one hand on Bucky’s hip and slides the other down his arm, fingers looping gently around his wrist. He presses Bucky into the bed, the sudden weight and pressure of him so solid and warm and everywhere that it knocks the air out of Bucky’s lungs.

Sam’s face is hovering above his, his mouth pressed into a small, sated smile. His eyes flick to Bucky’s lips then back up again. Bucky feels a jolt of heat in his stomach. “I want it slow,” Sam says, then ducks down to press an open-mouthed kiss on Bucky’s neck.

“Oh.” Bucky feels the tension let out from his whole body and the bed isn’t soft at all but he swears he can feel his whole body sink into it.

“You alright with that,” Sam says, his breath hot against Bucky’s neck. It doesn’t sound like a question.

“Yeah,” Bucky says, trying valiantly not to shift his hips under Sam’s.

“Okay then,” Sam moves so his face is hovering over Bucky’s again, “Just, uh, lie back and think of Russia, I guess.”

“Asshole,” Bucky mumbles, but the sentiment is lost in a haze of arousal as Sam starts to press kisses down the length of his sternum, fingers toying with the button on Bucky’s pants.

xii.

Sam has to leave the next morning, but he shakes Bucky awake early to watch the sunrise. He brushes the softest kiss known to man on Bucky’s temple and Bucky is still filled with a murderous rage at being woken up early. He honestly hates Sam deeply and strongly for the five minutes it takes to tug some kind of clothing around his waist and shoulders, but once he’s stepped out of the hut and blinked the sleep away from his eyes, it starts to become worth it.

Everything is a little hazy, the air pleasantly cool on his skin. He runs a hand through his hair, closes his eyes, and breathes in. It feels good. It feels even better when Sam sidles up next to him, and Bucky can wrap his arm around Sam’s chest like the clingy asshole he is.

“This is corny,” he says against the shell of Sam’s ear, and Sam can’t see him, so he smiles as wide as he wants.

You’re corny. And your dick is small.”

Bucky makes an offended noise against Sam’s skin and Sam tucks his hand into the front pocket of Bucky’s sweats, familiar and affectionate.

I hate that you’re leaving, Bucky wants to say. He wants to hold Sam against his chest like this for hours, make him miss his flight, make him stay here stealing Bucky’s mangoes and naming Bucky’s goats for as long as the universe will let them.

Sam seems to notice the shift in Bucky’s mood because he turns around, sliding his hands over Bucky’s shoulders and looping them around the back of his neck. He looks unhurried, lazy, happy. “I’m not just gonna disappear, you know. There’s email.”

“You think I know how to work email?”

“It’s pretty intuitive,” Sam says, completely unbothered, “I have full faith you’ll figure it out.”

Bucky chews on his lip, holding Sam’s waist and staring at him pensively. He wants to ask - he wishes he could find a way to say -…

“Visit again,” he blurts out the words, shoves them into the space between them and violently represses the urge to pull away from Sam and run in the opposite direction. “Please visit again. If you can. …For the goats,” he adds, lamely.

Bucky doesn’t realize he’s anticipating a strain in Sam’s expression until he sees the exact opposite reaction. Sam crowds further into Bucky’s space until they’re pressed together, looking up at Bucky through slowly blinking lashes. He’s smiling at Bucky’s lame goat joke. He’s also not saying no. He leans forward to press a long, searing kiss against the seam of Bucky’s mouth, so insistent that Bucky’s certain he’ll feel it on his lips for days.

He pulls back a fraction of an inch, smile unrestrained, eyes alight with mirth. “Well. If it’s for the goats.”