Stucky getting themselves drunk - or rather Bucky, because Steve can't get drunk but he never told Bucky and he loves it when Bucky shamelessly flirts with him in public when he is drunk! ^_-
"Hey Steve, did you sit in a pile’a sugar? ‘Cos yooouu have a pretty SWEET ASS!”
Steve bites his lip and tries not to laugh as Bucky wavers in his seat, his beer sloshing over the rim of his glass and dripping down his wrist. They’ve been in the bar for nearly two hours, drinking excessively and enthusiastically. Steve knows that he can’t get drunk; well, he can but it takes a lot of effort and Asgardian mead, he’s learnt. The differences in the serum he and Bucky had been injected with meant that Bucky had a lower tolerance level than Steve; he pegged that onto the fact that Russians very much enjoyed vodka (a stereotype that Bucky has, in the space of two hours, confirmed).
"Y’know, I thought that happiness started with an ‘H’. So why’s mine start with ‘U’?" Bucky drawls, leaning over to rub his cheek against Steve’s. The blond laughs and moves him back slightly, so that he doesn’t collapse off his seat.
"Buck, you need to slow down," he says and the brunet waves him off.
"Pssshh! I’mma supersoldier. I can -" He pauses to hiccup. "I can hold ‘m liquor."
"That’s your eighth beer, you’ll get a belly," he counter and Bucky laughs.
"Good! I’ll be all wobbly and cuddly, like a teddy bear! Speakin’ of…" He shifts so that he’s propping his head up on his fist and his offering sloppy bedroom eyes at Steve. "I lost my teddy bear… can I sleep with you?"
Steve laughs at that one, an undignified guffaw that ends with a snort. Bucky grins and, before he know it, Steve finds himself kissing the brunet. He pulls back, eyes wide as he pants. Bucky, too, looks confused, as if he’s been startled into sobriety.
"Bucky…" the blond breathes.
"Steve," Bucky echoes. He leans forward, as if to stroke Steve’s face, before flopping off his chair and landing perfectly ungracefully onto the sticky floor.
Steve rolls his eyes and bends down to scoop Bucky into his arms, bridal style. The brunet whimpers and snuggles into the crook of Steve’s armpit. He kisses the top of his head gently and heads to the door. He hails a cab and hums as he waits.
The blond looks down at Bucky, who’s peering at him through bleary eyes.
“‘M not drunk. ‘M just intoxicated by you.”
Steve rolls his eyes and kisses the brunet as the cab rolls up. He should take Bucky drinking more often.
Bucky totally has an app on his phone that has 1000+ chat up lines on it and he memorises the cheesiest to use on Steve. Hope you like it sweetheart! <3 xox
He had been worrying. Stressing. Steve told him that if he kept on the way he was, he wasn’t going to remember anything. “It’ll come, Buck,” he’d assured him. “Just be patient.”
But patience wasn’t easy. It was programmed into him when it related to a mission. He could sit for days and wait for his target. This, however, wasn’t programmable and it frustrated him.
To help his irritation, Bucky had taken a corner of the bedroom and, late at night when he couldn’t sleep, he wrote things down. Tacked them up on the wall so he could stare at them. Bits and pieces of memories or people that had once been in his life. He tried to make sense of them all. Tried to connect everything.
He’d started with Steve’s name. Not even his own name. Steve’s. Because he knew Steve was the center of his world. His anchor. From that, he had branched out, putting his own name, his service number. 32557, Barnes, Sergeant. He drew connecting lines in black Sharpie marker, then crossed them out when he realized he couldn’t follow that thread because it was buried too deep and was lost.
He had written down Brooklyn and Coney Island,two places he knew he and Steve had frequented back in the day. He’d tried to remember the other Howling Commandos, but he couldn’t remember much more than Dum-Dum making crude remarks about how far Bucky was stuck up Steve’s ass. And vaguely, Bucky could recall a disagreement with Dernier. Remembered yelling at him in French, but he couldn’t remember what they’d argued about.
At one point, he’d written down Zola’s name and then scratched it out until the paper tore, the Sharpie went dry. The wall behind Zola’s name was also dented after a panic attack and a well-placed fist. The knuckles on his right hand were still sore and slightly bruised from the punch to the sheet rock.
That corner of the room was chaotic. Steve never said anything about it. He let Bucky try to work it out that way. Maybe it was some sort of therapy for him to write it all out. He admitted to no one that it was a little disconcerting when he would wake up during the night and find Bucky in the same exact spot as when Steve had gone to bed. Bucky would be staring at the corner, wearing an expression of bewilderment and frustration.
The night was humid, without a trace of a breeze coming from the open windows in the bedroom. The weather report had warned of oncoming storms, but there had been nothing more than heat lightning flaring up in the sky, illuminating the gathering clouds for milliseconds at a time. Steve woke up after thunder finally rumbled far off in the distance. He turned over in bed and found Bucky in his usual spot, staring at the corner.
“Buck,” he breathed. “You should try to sleep.”
He didn’t look away from the messy, jumbled corner. “I can’t.”
Sighing again, Steve sat up, swung his legs over the side of the bed, and looked into the corner with him. It was too dark for him to really see much of the confused chart, but he knew what was there by heart. Still sleepy, he rested his forehead against Bucky’s shoulder for just a moment. “You want to talk it out again?”
Bucky didn’t shake his head, didn’t mumble anything. He just stared into the darkness.
Steve was used to his questions going unanswered at times. On occasion, Bucky had a hard time processing things. Like giving a computer too many tasks at once, and the little hourglass just kept flipping over, and over, and over. Steve watched him for a moment. They wore relatively the same thing to bed, comfortable pajama pants and no shirt. They’d been sleeping in the same bed due to Bucky’s nightmares, so that Steve could get to him faster and avert any disaster. Steve didn’t tell him that they used to always sleep together. He’d hinted at it a few times, but Bucky had never asked any more about it, so he’d decided the explanation could wait.
“You know that’s my mind, right?” Bucky asked finally.
Steve looked at him, a little surprised. He glanced from Bucky to the chaos in the corner, then back again. “Why would you say that?”
“Because I’m a mess,” he said. “I have so many things that I can just start to see the path of. Then, it gets lost in this mad tangle of…stuff.”
Steve sighed, pressed up against Bucky’s side. “You’ll remember,” he assured him. “I know you will.”
Finally, Bucky turned towards him. He looked Steve in the eye for only a moment before turning back to the disjointed and confusing chart. “You don’t understand,” he said. “I remember everything. It’s all there. I just can’t connect any of it. Not even you.”
Steve watched Bucky lower his head, gaze falling to his hands as they remained folded in his lap. He looked down at them too, the metal hand reflecting the lightning in the distance. Looking away, Steve frowned and spied at the chart. “You will, Buck,” he nodded.
“I want to remember you,” Bucky said. “I think I loved you.”
Steve tried to pretend that those words didn’t affect him that much. But they did. “We were best friends,” he nodded.
Bucky shook his head and glanced over at him. “No,” he said. “I think I loved you.”
It was quiet for a moment, both of them just sitting in the darkness. Steve watched Bucky glance at him from the corner of his eye so that he didn’t fully meet his gaze. Steve nudged him with his shoulder, smiling. “Hey.”
Slowly, carefully, Bucky looked into Steve’s eyes.
“I promise we’ll figure this out.” He didn’t tell Bucky that it actually scared him to promise something like that. Bucky had been through so much, was so broken and torn to shreds that it was going to be more than just difficult. He loved him, though, and would go through hell for him.
Bucky didn’t gaze into Steve’s eyes for very long. He accepted what he said, but looked away, down to Steve’s mouth. When he noticed that Steve was inching closer to him, he didn’t pull away. He didn’t ask him what he was doing. If anything, he leaned in a little closer, too. Maybe out of curiosity, or maybe out of habit. Either way, he didn’t flinch when Steve kissed him. He watched him, noticing that Steve’s eyes were closed. He did the same thing, letting his eyes slowly drift closed, while his lips parted and he let Steve in.
Steve knew he shouldn’t kiss Bucky. It was too soon. But it felt like it had been forever since they’d shared such an embrace. And in a way, it had been. They’d been separated for over half a century. The feel of Bucky’s lips against his, the smell of his skin so close, made Steve lightheaded. It made him miss home, miss the old, dashing Bucky that regularly swooped in to save him from one disaster or another. Carefully, he let his tongue wander, pleased to find that, even after all this time – after everything that had changed – Bucky still tasted the same.
After just a moment, Bucky gasped and backed away slightly. Eyes wide, he gazed over at Steve in the darkness. Thunder rumbled in the distance, louder now. It reminded them of the oncoming storm, but neither of them moved to close the apartment windows.
Steve looked over at him, swallowing nervously and feeling a wave of guilt crash over him. “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I shouldn’t have done that.”
Bucky glanced across Steve’s face, as if he were someone new and different to him. His lips were still parted, his brow furrowed as he stared. “I remember you,” he whispered.
Steve had heard those words from him before, but this time the way they were said was so very different, the emphasis on different words and syllables. He looked into Bucky’s eyes, noticing that he was staring right back into his. Bucky didn’t look away, nervous or scared. He was seeing Steve.
“I remember you,” Bucky said again, this time with a slight smile upon his face. “Stevie.”
A feeling of total elation spread throughout Steve’s body. He smiled over at Bucky, wanting to wrap his arms around him and hold him tightly. “Yeah, Buck,” he said. “It’s me. It’s Steve.”
Just as he had so many years ago, Bucky looked down to Steve’s body, stunned. “What happened to you?”
And, just as he had so many years ago, Steve answered the same way. “I joined the Army?” He smiled and chuckled softly, even though Bucky didn’t get the joke.
His look of curiosity faded, leaving one of resignation and fear. “The Army,” he said. His eyes turned glassy as he stared through Steve. “I fell.”
Though most days it was played in a constant loop in his mind, Steve still hated reliving that moment. He lowered his head, his eyes drifting closed for a moment. “Yeah,” he nodded. “You did.”
Bucky waited for Steve to look back over at him. “Where were you?” he asked quietly.
Steve saw the tears gathered in Bucky’s eyes and felt like his heart was being ripped out.
“I waited for you,” he continued. Tears started to blur his own vision as he gazed over at him. “Even after they tortured me, beat me, spit on me,” he said, “I waited for you. We always found each other. We were supposed to be together forever.”
He nodded. “I know, Buck,” he said. “I’m so sorry. I thought you were dead. If I’d thought for one second that you were still alive, I would have jumped from that train and followed you into Hell.”
It was silent again as they stared at each other. Steve hoped the apology was readable upon his face, because Bucky’s betrayed expression was like a knife to the chest. After realizing, so many years later, that Bucky was alive, Steve was haunted by that fateful day on the train even more than he usually was. What if he had followed Bucky down? What if he had searched for him afterwards? What if he’d done something and failed to believe that he was dead?
In a rush of movement, Bucky jumped up from the bed and made his way to the messy corner of the room. He started tearing things down from the wall. He produced a knife from underneath his clothes and used his left hand to stab at the wall, shoving the blade into the sheet rock, all the way to the hilt.
Steve jumped up and went with him, standing behind Bucky and reaching for the knife to stop him. “Buck,” he said as calmly as he could.
Bucky spun around and, with clenched teeth, set the blade of the knife to Steve’s throat.
Instantly, Steve stopped. He raised his hands in the air to show Bucky that he yielded. He tried to back away, but Bucky moved with him, leading him to just halt his moves. He could feel the blade of the knife dimpling his skin, the sharp edge rasping against beard stubble. “Bucky,” he said gently. “You’ve gotta stop hiding knives on—”
“Where were you?” Bucky shouted in an angry, rumbling voice.
Steve wasn’t afraid that Bucky would hurt him. Quickly, he reached up and took hold of Bucky’s face, making sure that the man was looking directly into his eyes. No wavering. He wanted Bucky to hear him and understand.
Bucky fought him at first, but Steve was one of the few people that could overpower him. He finally gave in, still keeping the knife at Steve’s throat. With no other choice, he gazed into Steve’s eyes, across his face, down at his mouth as he spoke.
"You think I haven’t asked myself that same thing a thousand times already, Buck?” he asked. Steve frowned, his blue eyes sad and full of regret. “I’ve replayed that day over and over in my head, trying to figure out what I did wrong. What I could have done differently. I watched the love of my life fall to what I thought was his death. Because of me. It was my fault. All of this. It’s my fault.”
Maybe it was the admission of such a horrible thing, or maybe it was that Bucky disagreed with Steve and wanted him to know that. Either way, he took the knife blade away from Steve’s neck and instead maneuvered him into a very rough, almost brutal kiss. Immediately, Steve’s arms encircled him, pulling him in as close as he could. Bucky still kept hold of the knife, but let Steve push him backwards up against the bedroom wall. He tried to twist his fingers through Steve’s hair, to find some sort of purchase on the short locks, but was unsuccessful.
As Steve kissed him, he tried to convey to Bucky the passion they’d once held for each other. Back then, it had been taboo, something no one ever talked about. Something they’d had to hide. That hadn’t stopped them from learning each other, inside and out, and finding ways to make one another shiver. Ways to make the other lose all control. His hands were at either side of Bucky’s face, holding him in the embrace that threatened to bruise them both. Instantly, their breaths came in shorter gasps, chests heaving against each other.
With the hand that still clutched the knife, Bucky pushed against Steve’s shoulder. Not to shove him away, but instead to maneuver him lower. After just a few seconds, Steve gave in and dropped to his knees, taking Bucky’s pajama pants with him. For some reason, Bucky couldn’t make himself let go of the knife. He kept hold of it in his right hand, his left hand moving to rest atop Steve’s head. Metal fingers raked through Steve’s short blonde locks. He closed his eyes and tried to remember to breathe. He rested his bare back against the wall, hips flexing as Steve took him into his mouth.
* * *
He didn’t sleep very much anymore. When he did, he typically woke with a start. This day was no different. Instead of finding Steve beside him, he was alone when he awoke with a gasp. He looked around the room, but did not see Steve anywhere. The fact that it didn’t feel strange to remember what they’d shared, told Bucky a lot. Most importantly, it told him that they’d shared such intimacy before, that they were used to it. That was comforting to him and he was put at ease, regardless of how he’d awoken.
Turning over onto his back, he stretched and sat up, swinging his legs over the side of the mattress. He gathered his pajama pants up from the floor and threaded his feet through them. As he stood, he pulled them up, the elastic snapping gently against his stomach. He paused when his gaze landed on the messy corner of the room.
It had been cleaned up. There was damage to the wall from the previous night, but a cork-board had been hung to cover most of it. All of Bucky’s chicken-scratch words were gone. Steve’s name had been taken down. Brooklyn, Coney Island, the Howling Commandos, his service number. All of it was gone. Instead, there were pictures. Some of them were illustrations, some were photographs. Photos of Bucky in his Army and Howling Commando uniforms. Steve in his Army and Cap uniforms. A few pictures of the streets of Brooklyn, back from when they were kids. The theatre he and Steve used to sneak into on Sundays to watch all the newest motion pictures. Photographs of Steve before the serum, frail but still tough as nails in many ways.
Along with the photos, there were illustrations from Steve’s old drawing pad. The paper was worn and yellowed, but they were familiar. Bucky neared the corner, staring at the drawings and photographs. Instead of Steve being in the center of the circle, it was Bucky’s photograph there. Beside it, there was a picture of him that Steve had drawn. Red yarn was wound around the tack that held it against the wall. The red line was stretched taught over to Steve’s picture, and a miniature Captain America shield keychain. Beside Steve’s picture was another shot of them both, standing arm in arm, probably holding each other a little too closely. The corner of Bucky’s smile was pressed up against the side of Steve’s forehead, at his temple. They were both grinning, young, and happy.
Hanging from another thumbtack, near a photo of all the Howling Commandos, was a set of dog tags. Bucky reached out to them, turning them over in his hands. As well as the standard information, he also saw his full name was punched into the metal. He remembered wearing tags like these. His, however, had fallen with him, and were destroyed when Zola’s team got a hold of him. He wondered if Steve had had another set made, to keep for himself. Maybe he pretended that Bucky had worn them at one time. He smiled just slightly, and only for a second as he stared at the tags.
Near the dented corner was an old newspaper clipping of Arnim Zola. Bucky’s fond gaze turned harsh when his eyes landed upon the article. He didn’t have to read it to know what it said. He’d lived it. With his metal arm, he reached up to rip the paper down, but halted when he heard someone call to him.
“Don’t,” Steve said from the doorway.
Turning, Bucky looked at Steve for a moment. He watched him step into the room and push his hands away. He was dressed in his running outfit and had a mug of coffee in his hand, steam rolling up from the cup. Bucky then noticed he could smell bacon and toast, and realized how hungry he was.
“Don’t take him down,” Steve said. “He’s part of this.”
Bucky swallowed, glancing over at him. “Do you have any idea what he did to me?”
Steve turned to face him, shaking his head. “No,” he answered. “But come tell me about it.”
The memories were painful. He wasn’t sure if he could talk about it.
Steve reached out for Bucky, setting his palm against the man’s bare shoulder, cool metal warming under his touch. “The more you keep it bottled up and let it fuel you, the more he’s still a part of this. The more he wins.”
Bucky took a deep breath. He remained silent for a moment, realizing that Steve had a point. Looking rather apologetic, Bucky tried to look him in the eye. “I’m sorry about last night,” he said, eyes narrowing slightly in a wince.
Steve shook his head at him. “Water under the bridge,” he said, smiling gently.
Concentrating on the cork-board and all the pictures, Bucky took another deep breath. “Thank you for this,” he said.
“I hope it helps,” he returned. “Maybe you can remember a little more about us. About when we were kids, I mean.”
Turning, Bucky finally looked Steve in the eye. “I remember,” he said, nodding. “I remembered you because of that kiss.”
Steve shrugged, giving him another playful smile. “I guess I’m memorable that way,” he said. “At least, that’s what Romanov tells me.”
Bucky looked away from the wall, turning to face Steve. “Who?”
Steve took advantage of the fact that Bucky was looking directly into his eyes. He winked and grinned again, turning away from him. “Nothing,” he said.
Bucky thought for several moments. He knew who Natasha was, but he didn’t understand why Steve was kissing her. Brow furrowed, he looked around the bedroom, glancing across the new cork-board chart that Steve had made him. After a few more seconds, he followed him out into the kitchen, finding Steve pouring himself another cup of coffee. Bucky walked to him, quickly wedging himself between the coffee maker and Steve’s body.
Steve watched him. At first, Bucky wasn’t sure that he should do what he wanted to. Nervously, he wavered, leaning in to Steve, backing away, and then trying again. Finally, he found comfort in it when he closed his eyes and opened his mouth, pressing his lips against Steve’s.
Steve followed suit. He closed his eyes and let Bucky kiss him, his coffee momentarily forgotten about. The embrace didn’t last long. Just long enough to get Steve’s attention. He looked over at Bucky, staring into his blue-green eyes. “What was that for?” he asked.
“No more kissing Natasha,” Bucky said.
Steve smiled. Watching Bucky walk away, towards the bedroom so that he could stare at the cork-board again, he knew he would have to either bring food to Bucky, or force him out into the dining area to eat. He didn’t mind, though. He could tell, just by the course of events that had passed during the night and this morning, that it was going to be a good day.