"Aw shit!" Sam looks at Torres for some kind of answer he guesses, hands on his hips and absolutely at a loss. In the distance, Sam can see Sarah watching from the docks too. Great.
Bucky has disappeared down the road, and he runs way too fast for Sam to simply catch up by sprinting. He wants to, though. He wants to run after him and tackle his dumb ass to the ground, maybe beat some sense into him.
"Sam!" Torres laughs half incredulously, snapping him out of it, and Sam frowns at him for a moment. "Jesus," he says like he's exhausted, "Go after him!"
"Fuck. You're right!" Sam starts sprinting toward the porch where he left his wing pack, pulls on a shirt in the same haste Bucky had just seconds ago. He flings the gear onto his back, straps in, and runs toward the pier. The road curves just behind the trees near there; he'll be able to intercept Bucky on the way if he's quick about it.
Sarah shakes her head when he passes the restaurant, "Get it, mister superhero man!"
Sam lets out an honest to god growl as he runs, "Arg! Is this why you called me dumb before? You saw this coming, Sarah!"
She cackles out loud and snaps a photo. He can't believe this shit. He helped save the world multiple goddamn times; he doesn't deserve this.
As he takes flight, a nervous unease starts building up in his chest, a choking sensation that he doesn't care for at fucking all. What if he's too late and Bucky is gone? They both know how easily and quickly he can make himself vanish into thin air. He could be long gone by now, blended into society like a shadow.
And Sam would never get the chance to tell him… tell him what exactly? That he's been missing him like a goddamn heartbeat ever since he left, that nothing's been the same, and no one makes him laugh quite as hard as Bucky trying to make a card payment online.
That he had been sending message after message in the hopes of getting a call back instead—he knows that man's fingers are too big for those little keys—and maybe he hoped to hear that Brooklyn accent cuss him out from hundreds of miles away.
Maybe he'd tell him that he'd gotten used to his ruffled, sleep wrinkled ass being in the kitchen when he wakes up, gotten used to the comfort of falling asleep in his presence, knowing no harm would come to him as long as Bucky was near.
He'd tell him how he can't fall asleep properly anymore, not without hearing the soft whir of his vibranium arm. He'd tell him he misses strolling side by side down the street, going shopping for more black clothes, getting coffee on the way home. Most of all, he'd tell him that he wants it back more than anything.
Probably, he'd tell him that yeah, he hadn't realized it, but he fell in love too.
Finally, to his relief, he spots an angry speck below, stomping down the dirt road that leads to the highway.
Bucky looks up and sees Sam, throws his hands in the air, "No! Go away!"
Sam swoops down, cuts off the angry walking, and lands right in front of him.
"Nah, we gonna talk."
"I don't wanna talk about it."
He starts walking again. Sam falls into step with him and retracts the wings.
"So, what, you're just gonna walk back to Brooklyn?"
"Yes." He glares at Sam then looks ahead again.
"And then I'll go to therapy for twenty-four hours straight."
Sam laughs. He fiddles around in the wing pack's strap and pulls out an old burner phone, holds it to his ear.
"Yeah? Okay. What's your doctor's name?"
Amused but still kind of offish, he looks at Sam, eyebrow up. "Dr. Raynor—What are you doing?"
Sam bites back a smile, knowing they're both complete idiots, huge fucking fools. But this is what they do, what they've always done. This is who they are.
"Hello? Dr. Raynor?" He says, obviously faking hard, "Cool. Yeah, I'll let him know."
Bucky shakes his head, eyes up at the heavens.
"She said you gotta talk to me."
"She said that, huh?" he starts smiling, but it drops off quickly, "You don't want me to start talking, believe me."
Sam stops walking and grabs Bucky's wrist carefully. "Hey. For real man."
It seems to pain him physically to do it, but he stops, looks at Sam so completely, devastatingly sad, and sighs.
"Look, I shouldn't have said that stuff. That wasn't... I didn't want it—"
"That stuff?" Sam laughs, "That stuff, as in the stuff where you love me? That stuff?"
"God. Yeah." he makes a face, "Yeah, that stuff. I was just… with Torres, and you, I was just—"
"Jealous? Wait, wait, wait. Oh my god!" And now Sam's really goddamn laughing, his belly aches, "You serious?"
"Apparently not. Anyway, goodbye, Sam." He starts down the road again, faster now, and okay, maybe Sam shouldn't have laughed. This dude's just beginning to figure out his emotions, and Sam knows Dr. Raynor is probably at the 'expressing things' stage of counseling, but the idea that they've managed to miss the mark so epically is beyond him. Gotta fix it real quick, superhero man, he hears Sarah say.
"You didn't even let me reply, man!" he shouts at Bucky's back.
Bucky keeps walking. Over his shoulder, he gives an incredulous snort, "Reply with what, huh? What a big asshole I am? Nah—"
"That…" he pauses, inhales, "Me too."
That makes Bucky stop at least; his back is still to Sam, but his head tilts up to the sky. "What?"
"Look, Buck, with all that's been going on, with the shield and the world being what it is, I didn't think—can you look at me? Please?"
Bucky slowly turns then, shoves his hands in his pockets, hunches forward in the way he always does when the world gets too big around him. And there's that deep grove between his eyes again. Sam wants to ease it out with his thumb but doesn't.
"Never felt like the right time to say anything, you know," Sam tells him, "And that's on both of us."
Bucky's chin cants up a little, his lips twisting up, "Well, we said it now, didn't we?"
Sam goes closer to where Bucky is standing, close enough to curl his pinky around Bucky's vibranium one. The contact feels good, sweet, like relief.
"Yeah, we did," He says, smiles up at Bucky, and watches the frown melt away, his eyes carefully flicking over Sam's face. Sam knows that look. He felt this exact same way when Bucky showed up at the docks yesterday. That's the content look of a man reunited with what he had been missing.
Bucky exhales, shakes his head, and pulls Sam closer to wrap him up in a long-overdue hug. That feels even better. Sam breathes out into his neck and holds on tight, arms around his back.
They stay that way for a while under the baking sun, just standing close with no real rush to move, until Bucky softly, tentatively, presses his lips against Sam's temple and pulls away.
"They're uh, probably wondering," Sam says, cheeks a little warm now as he motions back to the docks.
Bucky lets out a rough laugh, nervously scratches his beard, "I, uh, don't think they're wondering about anything." He points to something behind Sam.
Redwing bleeps hysterically like he's malfunctioning when Sam turns around, swiveling from side to side, not really knowing where to flee to after being caught.
"Torres!" Sam shouts at his drone, "I'm about to kick your ass!"
Later, everyone's at the restaurant, and Sarah has some up-beat jazz playing through the speakers. A few folks are dancing inside, and Sam had just taken Mrs. Jones for a spin when he notices Bucky's nowhere to be found.
He spots him at the edge of the docks, beer in hand, peering out at the setting sun and rippling water. He hands Mrs. Jones over to Torres, who happily takes her hand and then does some acrobatic shit that probably ain't that great for her hips.
"You feeling jealous again?" he says, coming to stand beside Bucky, "Relax, she ain't really my type."
Bucky snorts, bumps his shoulder into Sam's, "I'm not jealous. Just, uh, tell that kid to keep his shirt on, okay?"
When Sam laughs embarrassingly loud, Bucky smiles too, watches him. Their eyes meet again when Sam has composed himself; he feels a fondness grow in his chest that makes his tummy feel fluttery and makes his heart pound right in his throat.
"I have a list," Bucky tells him, then takes a deep calm breath.
Sam leans his forearms on the wooden railing. They both look out at the water. "What kind of list?" He knows what kind of list.
"Names. Amends I need to make."
"Atonement," Sam says.
"I'm not putting Torres on the list," he says quickly, "But I will apologize, I guess, for being an asshole or whatever."
"I don't think he's too mad," Sam says smiling, "He knows two superheroes now. Dude's kind of a fan."
Bucky pulls a face again, "Yeah, it's unsettling."
Sam laughs when Bucky narrows his eyes and looks like he's about to square up, "I'm still sensitive, Sam." he mumbles.
And god, this is exactly what Sam had been missing. This easy bullshitting, the way everything is ten times funnier when Bucky says it, the way he always makes Sam laugh even when he's doing nothing at all.
Sam straightens up again, "Okay," he says quietly, shifting into Bucky's space, so they're standing close together now. "I'm sorry."
Bucky's breath pulls in sharp as he looks down at Sam, and carefully brings his right hand up to Sam's face. He traces over Sam's cheek and curls his fingers around the back of his neck.
"It's okay," he says absently, quietly, eyes on Sam's, and then he leans down and finally kisses him.
It's not like anything Sam ever imagined, kissing Bucky Barnes; it's definitely better. Bucky's careful and slow about it. His hands, even the vibranium, are warm on Sam's skin, and Sam leans into it eagerly.
Bucky's lips are red and bothered when he pulls away and blinks down at Sam, "That's," he starts laughing, cheeks flushing.
Sam can't help but laugh, too; it's no secret that they're absolute idiots.
"Yeah," he says. His fingers brush over the wetness on his lips where Bucky's had been a second ago.
And then they're just kind of staring at each other with delirious happiness on their faces, grinning so hard Sam thinks their faces will crack at any moment now. Sam doesn't give a single shit. He's just watching the way Bucky's biting his lip, basking under his steady gaze.
They'd stay there all night; they really would, but—
"Whoop whoop! Heart eyes for the win!" Torres yells from the restaurant.
"I'm really gonna have to kick his ass, huh?"
"In a minute," Bucky says, paying Torres no mind, then kisses Sam again.
Happily, Sam thinks he'd be an idiot with this guy any day.