His body was starting to ache, the position he was at the moment was really uncomfortable, but he didn't have an option; his hand was trapped in some kind of weird machine, so he couldn't move that much. He didn't know if the guy, the blond man that was appearing in his memories, in his dreams, was willing to help him or he had just come here to stop him. Then, the man spoke and his voice was so familiar to him, that Bucky didn't hesitate and answered all his questions.
"They're coming after you, Buck", the man, Steve, informed him. "And they're not planning on taking you alive."
He knew and well… he couldn't blame them; he had done so many horrible things that it was kind of obvious that many people would want him dead. Maybe, in other circumstances, if he hadn't experienced those flashes of memories, if he hadn't know that one time he was a decent person, that he was a man loved by someone, maybe then, and only then, he would let them.
"If you help out of here, I will lead them far away from you. They won't bother you again, you don't have to be part of this", he told them. But Steve didn't seem to like his idea. He even approached him and fell on his knees in front of him. And his eyes, his beautiful blue eyes looked in pain.
Bucky didn't like that.
"We can escape together", the blond offered him. A little smile appeared on his face. "I know you don't trust me, and maybe you don't like me that much, even if you are starting to remember, but I promise to you I won't hurt you. I can help you, I can protect you. I won't let anyone hurt you again." When he finished talking, he was breathing hard, like the force of his words had hit him hard.
"You don't have to do this", Bucky reminded him. "You don't owe me anything."
"I know", was the immediate answer. "But I want to, I really do. I can… I will help you; just promise me you won't run away from me again, please. I can't lose you, not this time."
One of the few things Bucky remembered at that moment was that his other half, the man that was buried in his memories and past, the man who died once; he hated when his Steve looked like that, desperate and hurt. But he didn't enjoy that also, he didn't like to see the blond man suffering like that.
"I won't", he promise then, despite of himself. "But, you should know, I'm not the same man I once was. I'm not the man you remember."
"Neither do I", Steve smiled. "We both have changed, Buck. But I still want to be with you. To me you are… you're still my friend."
And that was the first time Bucky noticed the hesitation; Steve leaned in, one of his hands was moving towards him, but stopped before it reached his face. He wanted to touch him, but he seemed to have changed his mind.
"Let's get out of here then", Bucky said with a grin on his face, an expression his body seemed really used to it. He saw Steve's eyes shine in return.
Bucky had started to realize how much Steve was willing to risk everything in order to protect him. And even though he had insisted him so many times to let him go, he told him it would be easier for them, but Steve refused every time. He also tried to talk to Sam (he looked like the most sane of the two), but the answer he gave him wasn't the one he was expecting.
"Listen, I don't wanna go to war either", he replied. "But he has his reasons and I trust him. And if you leave, if you go… he won't be the same anymore. I saw him before, without you, it was like looking at a shadow of a man and now he's complete again, he's happy because of you."
After that Bucky decided not to insist anymore. He didn't like to have to fight again, but he would do it if that meant to fight by Steve's side like he did once before.
That was the second time he noticed. He was sitting on a chair, waited for the nurse to finish putting the last bandage on his arm. There were actually some people that were willing to help them, that actually agreed with what they were fighting for.
"Are you okay? Is he alright?" Steve looked like an anxious parent, walking back and forth waiting for the woman to speak. The nurse actually looked amused by his behavior.
"He's fine", she answered.
"I told you, it was just a mere scratch", Bucky reminded him. Steve was suddenly in front of him, with a relieved smile on his face. He did that thing again; he leaned close and moved his arm like he was going to touch him but, once again, he didn't.
"Sorry… I was worried", he admitted.
It was Bucky's turn to smile.
"I thought that was my job; I used to be constantly worried about you."
"Yes, that's true. But now it's my turn to take care of you."
They were in a safe house. The night had fallen and Steve was looking through a window, he had taken the first watch and even though he insisted Bucky that he should sleep, Bucky couldn't even manage to close his eyes.
They were at war.
And then, Steve stared at him with that longing and sincere look on his face. Bucky couldn't believe that Steve still could smile after everything that had happened.
"You can do it, you know, if you want to", he said then.
"What do you mean?" Steve asked him, confused.
"Touch me, you can touch me", he managed to answer. "You look at me like you want to, but you always change your mind."
Steve smiled. A blush appeared all over his face, he looked a bit shy after that.
"I'm that obvious, huh?" He said. "It's just… I thought you might not like that and I promised myself would give you time to recover but… this is seems to be stronger than me. I can help it… sorry."
"And I'm telling you it's okay", Bucky took a step close to him. "Actually I would like you to touch me." He felt his face burning and that surprised him, he never thought he would feel like a teenager again.
Steve laughed but it looked like a vulnerable gesture; his face was shining with happiness and Bucky thought he could see tears forming in those beautiful eyes. Then he felt hands on his cheeks, caressing his chin and over his forehead, but it was only a brief and almost delicate touch that he thought, for a moment, he was imagining it.
"I'm not gonna brake, you know", he said, then, grinning at him.
"I know. I just… it had been so long since the last time I did that", he admitted. "Sometimes I think you're not here at all and I'm just dreaming or—"
But Bucky didn't let him finish. He closed the distance between them and kissed him. Steve reacted immediately and his arms were around him just in seconds.
"I'm here and I'm not going anywhere", he promised.
"Fine because I'm not planning on letting you go again", Steve replied before he kissed him again.
Maybe they were not the same men they once were, but they were together and that was all that mattered.