Title: And All's Well
Word Count: 2694
Warnings/Tags: Post-Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Foursome - F/M/M/M, Post-Mission, Bathing/Washing, Naked Cuddling, POV Sam Wilson
Summary: "Are you drinking out of the carton again?"
Notes: Presupposes that some kind of pseudo-SHIELD has come into being after the events of CA:WS.
Sam is comfortable with himself, and that means he's comfortable with his limitations. In his experience, people spend a lot of time and effort avoiding self-awareness, but that's never been his hang-up. He likes to think that he's a happier man for it.
Granted, it was easier to be comfortable as a soldier and a fighter, then as one of the only FALCON graduates in DC, because hell yes he's proud of what he's done— what he can still do. He always has been. Riley used to laugh and call him Mr. Big Stuff in flight school, when they were both young and dumb enough to revel in that heady feeling you got when you knew you were the most badass person in the room.
Sam's been the least badass person in the room for a couple months now, and because he's comfortable with himself, he's okay with that. The barometer has shifted so drastically there's no point in comparing himself to these guys, anyway, but even if there were? To the normal, average Joe, Sam Wilson is still pretty goddamn badass.
"Are you drinking out of the carton again?"
Yeah, nerves of steel over here.
Sam looks pointedly down at the orange juice soaking into his shirt, and the sandwich he's just dropped on the counter, then up at Bucky. It's two in the fucking morning and the man's standing in front of Sam's open window, backlit by streetlight in eerie orange and black. The driving rain outside strikes the sill and drips down the wall. Bucky himself is drenched, and he's eyeing Sam with an amused twist to his mouth.
"Yeah, well," Sam drawls with a matching smirk. "We all got our little habits. At least mine isn't never using the goddamn door."
"It was locked," Bucky says with a shrug. There's a puddle growing under him, suspiciously opaque in the dim kitchen. "Window's faster."
"Sure it is. Climbing up the side of my house in the dark, in the rain, in the middle of the fucking night, that's nothing." Sam reaches for the bank of switches on the wall, smacking them on. "Easy as— shit."
Bucky squints in the sudden brightness, blood caked over one purpling eye and under his nose. There's leftover camo greasepaint smeared in stripes over his face and neck, and what look like cockleburrs in his hair. The water dripping off his chin and the tips of his fingers is pink, joining the rust-brown of the pool around his muddy boots.
"It's not as bad as it looks," he says defensively, when Sam just stares.
"Excuse me while I absolutely do not take your word for that," Sam says through his teeth, setting the carton aside. "When Nat and Cap get home, are they going to look like you?"
"I'm fine," Bucky insists, rocking back on his heels. His metal arm flexes, a lethargic roil of plates up from wrist to shoulder. "They just pulled the short straws. Have to deal with the paperwork."
"Honest," Bucky says with a tired grin. "Now, can I get a towel or something, sweetheart?"
Sam points at him. "Stay right there. No! Stay. You're filthy."
Bucky rolls his eyes, but he pulls himself into a mocking parade rest while Sam heads into the hallway. "Not a dog," he calls after him.
"Probably smell like one, though," Sam mutters, and smiles when he hears Bucky snort behind him.
Surprisingly, Bucky is exactly where he left him when Sam comes back, one of his good, plush guest towels draped over his hands. He's willing to make the sacrifice; Bucky looks pretty miserable. "Alright, c'mere."
He expects a raised eyebrow and maybe another joke, but Bucky just ducks his head and lets Sam rub the towel over his wet hair, streaks of dirt and crusted blood coming away under his hands. Sam takes his time, stroking hair back from his face and squeezing gently at the tips, because even if Bucky's climbing in through his window at ass o'clock, he's still so damn glad to see him. To know the three of them made it out, and they're coming home. Sam's tender as he urges Bucky to bend his head, as he kneads at the base of his skull with the terrycloth..
"You should get out of this armor, it's sopping wet," he says after a while, letting the towel fall around Bucky's shoulders. He rests a hand on his shoulder and picks a fragment of burr from his hairline. "You gotta be freezing, man."
"... yeah," Bucky says, low and indistinct. Sam frowns at his adverted face.
"Yeah? Okay, strip."
Sam steps back, and Bucky starts moving a full two seconds later. Sam's frown deepens as he tracks the slow, mechanical progress of his hands on buckles and buttons, the glassy sheen in his eyes.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Sam asks more quietly. "You're not gonna faint on me? Not bleeding out anywhere?"
Bucky shakes his head, sluggish and deliberate. He drops his kevlar in a sodden heap on the floor and his shirt and holsters follow, goosebumps rising across the bared skin of his arm. There's a new scratch along the metal one, long and shallow. Sam's surprised the man hasn't mentioned it, if just to bitch about having to buff it out.
Sam still isn't really worried until Bucky drops his pants and whatever underwear he was wearing and steps out of his boots, naked and bleeding from three places Sam can see. He steps aside from the pile of clothes, eases back to attention, and just… waits.
Sam blinks at him. Bucky stares back, face not quite blank as a doll's. Not yet.
"Oh," Sam says. "Okay, babe. Come here. Leave the clothes, I'll get those later."
Bucky comes, and Sam grabs the ends of the towel and goes over his hair again, firm but slow, moving on to his shoulders and back as Bucky's eyes drift closed. He starts to sag forward, until his forehead is brushing Sam's shoulder.
"Hey," Sam say softly, pausing to push the hair out of Bucky's eyes. "Hey, man. You with me?"
Bucky blinks, slowly. "Yeah?" he says, after a pause that's a little too long.
"You know where you are? When you are?"
"Yeah," Bucky says, a little more forcefully. "Stupid… question. Tired."
"I think you might be a little more than tired," Sam says tactfully, rubbing the towel up his flanks. "So you need to let me know what we're doing here. What you want. Okay?"
Barely visible out of the corner of Sam's eye, Bucky closes his eyes and scowls. "'M fine. I just..."
They're almost chest to chest, now. Bucky's voice drifts off, and Sam prompts, "Barnes. Bucky."
Bucky sighs. "I don't… know?"
"How about this," Sam says, lifting and wrapping the towel around Bucky's upper body. Bucky tips forward, and Sam lets himself be crushed into the counter, edge biting into his ass. "I've got ham and swiss with your name on it," he says, bringing up one arm to anchor Bucky against him and feeling across the counter for his untouched sandwich. "After that, we can play it by ear. But you definitely need a bath. And a bed."
Bucky makes an agreeable noise into his collarbone. Sam holds up the sandwich, and after a second feels him shift to take a bite.
Sam keeps expecting Steve or Natasha to pop through the window any second, because they all know what a bad mission can do to Bucky and Sam can't imagine either of them letting him go home on his own, just in case. But the clock above the planning table ticks over to three in the morning, and Sam gets the whole sandwich and some orange juice into Bucky, and there's still no sign of them. By the time Bucky chews and swallows the last bit of bread, he's gone completely pliable in a way that makes Sam feel a little nervous, and a lot affectionate.
"Okay?" he asks again, after Bucky's finished the glass of juice, too.
Bucky mumbles something into his neck, arms tightening around Sam's waist.
"Alright," he says with a helpless smile, and carefully pushes him back, ready to steady him when he stumbles. "Hold on to me. We're going upstairs now."
The man weighs a fucking ton, and he's less than light on his feet right now, but somehow Sam steers them up the stairs and into the bathroom without letting him crack his head open on any corners or doors. Bucky's clutching the soiled towel under his chin like a security blanket, and tugging it away earns Sam a muzzy glare. Sam chuckles as he tosses the towel into the hamper near the door, then goes to the shower stall to turns the knobs to hot. "This'll feel even better, trust me."
Steam begins to billow out of the open glass doors, Sam peels out of his own shirt and throws it on top of the towel, boxers following shortly. Bucky, swaying in place with his eyes half-closed, stands where Sam leaves him until Sam comes back to urge him into the stall, then climb in after him. Bucky wakes up enough to give his dick an interested look as Sam guides him down onto the built-in seat, and Sam has to laugh.
"No offense, man, but I don't think you're up for much tonight," Sam says, grabbing the first shampoo bottle he sees from the crowded caddy hanging from the showerhead. It's champagne-colored and smells like vanilla; probably Natasha's, though Sam can't rule out either of their endlessly-experimenting nonagenarians. "Keep your eyes closed, okay?"
Bucky's head droops until his face is in Sam's stomach, the beginnings of stubble rough against the skin under his navel. Sam sighs, adjusts his stance and keeps going, working the shampoo as gently as he can over various bumps and cuts, finger-combing the rest of the burrs out. There's a nasty gash hidden in Bucky's hairline, but thankfully that's the worst of it. Bucky doesn't react when Sam probes at it, brushing the strands back and letting the water drown the last of the suds. "Might need stitches on this one."
Sam doesn't notice the door opening at first. He's barely registered a cool breeze before Ice-cold fingers creep around his waist from behind, followed closely by the press of someone's chilly nose right between his shoulder blades. Sam might yelp a little. Natasha laughs at him.
"You know, James, I'm almost positive you said you were going to medical," she says, rubbing her face into Sam's skin in a mirror image of Bucky.
"Sam counts," Bucky sighs, the first coherent thing he's said in a half-hour. Natasha says something in Russian with a sly edge to it and they both laugh, Bucky's hands coming up to rest on the backs of Sam's knees, Natasha's arms wrapping all the way around him and squeezing before she lets go.
"My shower is not big enough for this," Sam grumbles, but he shifts to make more room for her and holds out a hand. "The washcloth, ma'am?"
She hands him her loofah and a bottle of something that smells like melting candy apples, but Bucky doesn't protest and Sam's got no objections. While he lathers up Bucky's arms and the man does his best impression of a cat in sunshine, Natasha briskly washes her own body— with all of Sam's stuff, he notes sourly, though it's hard to be all that sour when a wet, gorgeous woman catches him looking and grins over her shoulder, bubbles just barely coating the upturned rosy tips of her breasts. She looks damn good, and she knows it.
"Hey there, beautiful," Sam says with an answering grin. "You doing anything later?"
She raises a delicate eyebrow. "Let's get James to bed and we'll talk, flyboy."
"Sounds like a plan," Sam says, carefully tilting Bucky's head up. "Hey, Buck. Lean back for me?"
That lasts long enough for Sam to get his chest, stomach, and one leg before Bucky is falling forward again, cheekbone digging into the top of Sam's head, forearms on Sam's shoulders and his hands curling around the nape of Sam's neck. The metal hand is as warm as the water that pours over them, palm hot against his ear.
"You're a heavy sumbitch, you know that?" Sam grunts, washing around his calf with effort. "Can I get some help here?"
With Natasha's added coaxing, they wrangle Bucky back into a mostly-sitting position and Sam stands. He's trying to navigate his way around Bucky's outstretched legs and Natasha's slim body to turn off the water when the bathroom door bangs open, startling all three of them. The glass shower door slides back a second later, framing Steve as he hops on one foot, trying to get his underwear off his ankle.
"Sorry I'm late!" he says brightly. His entire face is a streak of soot, his chest mottled with bruises. Sam has a moment to wonder how the hell Natasha got here looking like she'd just had a spa day or someshit, and then Steve's trying to nudge his way inside.
"Oh hell no," Sam says, putting up an arm, "don't you dare—"
Steve's lucky he's so damn pretty, because Sam's shower really isn't big enough and the peak of human perfection manages to step on everyone's feet at least twice, until they're all pressed against the walls and each other. Sam's been crammed onto MILAIR flights that weren't this tight. Steve's almost straddling his leg, though, strong thighs and blush-pink cock nestled in close to his hip, and Sam is forced to concede that no flight ever had views this good.
"Things ran a little long," Steve says with a sheepish grin, one long arm reaching over Natasha's head for his disgusting discount Pert. "I had to deal with the debrief myself, after both my teammates disappeared on me."
"Thanks again, Cap," Natasha says sleekly, and prods at the loofah in Sam's hand. "Get him hosed down, then we can sleep."
"Not the Wash and Shine, here," Sam says, but he grabs the bottle of candy apples and starts where he knows Steve's most ticklish.
His bed isn't big enough either, but as soon as Sam makes for his room he's got a whole parade after him. Steve scoops Bucky into his arms, easy as anything, and follows him down the hall. Natasha saunters along behind them wearing Sam's bathrobe, turning off lights as she goes.
Sam pulls on a clean pair of boxers, but he's the only one who bothers. Steve waits until he's turned down the winter-weight sheets and scooted towards the center of the bed, then drops a sleepy-eyed Bucky almost directly on top of him and crawls in right behind him. "Ouch," Sam mutters as Bucky burrows into his side like the world's heaviest puppy. Natasha drapes herself over Sam's chest like he's her own personal mattress, well and truly pinning him in place. It's stifling and damp, considering all four of them are overwarm and wet from the shower, but it's… it's nice.
Really nice. Sam sighs and lets Steve and Bucky appropriate his arm as a pillow without complaint.
"Happy Valentine's," Steve says a while later, into the quiet dark.
Sam turns to squint in the direction of his voice. "Man, it's four in the morning. On February 21st."
"Still," Steve says stubbornly, shifting closer. "We got you something, but, ah—"
"Hill confiscated it," Natasha says into his chest, tucking her ankle under his calf.
"Might have been a little radioactive," Bucky yawns against his ribs. His arm's plating echos the movement, metal rippling against Sam's side and hip. "No pleasing some people."
"I didn't know that," Steve says, aghast. "Bucky!"
"That's sweet, guys. Really," Sam says. "It's the thought that counts."
"We'll find something else," Steve mumbles. "Something better."
"You do that," Sam says. "But for now, just sleep."
Natasha pokes him in the sternum, hard. "You're the one still talking."
Rather than answer, Sam just pats her back and closes his eyes.
Eh, being badass isn't everything.