(A/N) Did this one for a prompt over on capkink.
Dance With Me
This time, Steve Rogers promised himself, he was absolutely, positively going to say 'no.' No matter what Bucky did to persuade him. No matter how much he begged, no matter how intense the puppy dog eyes were, he was not going to give in this time.
"Hey, Steve-o-" Bucky started as he strode into their apartment.
"No," Steve answered without even looking up from his sketchpad.
"I haven't even asked you anything yet."
"And you don't have to. I saw you talkin' to that new dame down the hall. I know exactly what you're goin' to ask me, and the answer's no. Unqualified no."
"C'mon, buddy. She's got a friend."
"They all do. These dames all travel in packs and every time you manage to get one in your crosshairs, she's always got a friend she can bum off on James Barnes' scrawny friend who can't get a date of his own. It's gettin' a little old, pal. None of 'em ever even stick around long enough for the first dance."
"Well, maybe you just gotta get 'em out on the dance floor first," Bucky suggested slyly.
"Gotta know how to dance for that."
For a moment, Bucky looked adorably frustrated…and the fact that Steve applied the word adorable to his best friend at all was yet another reason he would prefer to avoid these continued dancehall disasters. He had no particular desire to dance with a woman…any woman…but how was he supposed to explain that to Bucky without scaring him off? He couldn't, really…and Bucky was the only thing he had in this world. He wouldn't risk losing him just because he often fantasized about what it would be like to be one of those dolls Bucky always had draped over his arm.
Finally, Bucky seemed to come to a decision and he walked over to the couch where Steve was sitting, holding out his hand.
"C'mon, get up. I'm gonna show you how to dance."
"Don't argue with me, Steve. This had to happen sooner or later, and since we can't seem to find a willin' doll, I'm just gonna have to teach you myself."
"Buck, I…I don't know…" Steve said slowly as he glanced away, praying that the blush on his face would register in his friend's head as sickness and not butterflies in his stomach.
"It's not anything weird; I promise. What have you got to lose?"
"My arm's gettin' tired here, man."
"This is ridiculous," Steve nearly snarled.
"C'mon, Steve," Bucky said again, offering him a warm, inviting smile. "Dance with me."
Steve didn't know what it was about that smile that made him surrender so completely, but the next thing he knew, his hand was in Bucky's and his sketchpad was falling to the ground as Bucky pulled him to his feet.
"Now, obviously, there's no music, so we'll just have to kinda improvise on that. I'll be the dame for this one."
"Yeah, 'cuz that works so well," Steve sniped, his eyes only at chest level with Bucky. The man ignored his cynicism, though, continuing with his little lesson.
"Your hand goes on my back, just down here," he said, guiding Steve's hand down to the right spot. Almost immediately, Steve felt his palm begin to go clammy. "Then my hand goes up here," he continued, resting his hand on Steve's shoulder, "and we hold hands. Then you're supposed to lead."
"And how do I do that?" Steve asked, barely managing to keep his voice from squeaking.
"You just…sorta tell me where you wanna go…only you do it with your body. You just push against me."
God, he was going to die! It was really going to happen, right here in the God damn living room. Years of asthma and horrible sickness hadn't managed to do him in, but James fucking Barnes and his stupid dance lesson were going to single-handedly do what none of that other stuff had been able to.
Somehow, though, Steve managed to swallow his panic and started to move, awkwardly shuffling his feet as Bucky instructed him. Their feet got tangled up several times, but Bucky held onto him, still somehow managing to let him lead while he quietly hummed out the rhythm.
"One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three."
Bucky did try to spin once, but it just didn't work too well with the height difference. He was chuckling pretty good by the time they came back together.
"Okay, maybe you don't need that move."
"Finally somethin' we agree on," Steve said, unable to help smirking. They swayed like that a little longer to the gentle hum of Bucky's count before the taller man started to instruct again.
"I'd say you're gettin' it pretty well," Bucky said softly, his thumb rubbing a reassuring circle against Steve's shoulder. Steve could barely contain the gasp that wanted to escape his throat. "There are other parts to this whole wooing business, though."
"What…what do you mean?" Steve asked, feeling his mouth go dry and his cock twitch without his permission.
"You just gotta start off gentle-like with 'em," he said, leaning down close and pressing his lips right up against Steve's ear. "You tell her how pretty she is…then you just sorta…" Steve could have sworn he felt his heart stop when he felt Bucky's lips pressing against his neck, sucking gently as he kissed him.
"Hngh," he groaned quietly, his hand gripping tightly at the small of his friend's back. "Bucky, what…what are-"
"Shh," Bucky shushed against the now damp skin. The brush of warm air against the wet spot sent an electric current from Steve's neck right down to his groin, leaving him panting helplessly…and he was pressed so close against Bucky's body, there was no way in Hell he couldn't feel his erection. Then Bucky was kissing a fiery line from his neck up to his lips, and he was so caught up in everything he couldn't even think enough to pull himself away.
"Bucky…Bucky…" he moaned just before the other man covered his lips with his…and he was lost in the moist heat of it. His hands moved to clutch at Bucky's shoulders and he suddenly felt his back pressed up against the kitchen counter as Bucky pressed a knee between his thighs, rubbing sinfully against his clothed erection.
Then, just as suddenly as it had begun, it was over, and Bucky was standing several feet back from him, looking horrified at the ravished state he'd left him in.
"I…I'm sorry," he mumbled, his entire body seeming to tremble.
"I'm sorry!" he shouted, quickly turning and heading toward the door.
"James!" Steve all but screamed, forcing Bucky to freeze with his hand around the doorknob. Slowly, he turned to look at him, fear shining bright in his blue-grey eyes.
"I…I told you…I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-"
"Yes, you did," Steve whispered, his own body shaking badly. He didn't move from his place at the counter for fear he'd just fall to his knees.
Steve shook his head, then slowly held out his hand. There was only one way he could think to explain how he was feeling right now…when the words he wanted kept getting stuck in his throat.
"Dance with me?"
For a moment, Bucky looked stricken, but then he slowly started to move forward…like some small animal coming out of its cave. When he was finally close enough, he took Steve's hand and pulled him close against his body again.
"Maybe you'd better lead this time," Steve suggested weakly, leaning against his friend's body for support. Moving slow, they began to dance again.
"How long?" Bucky asked, still shaking as he pressed a gentle kiss to his temple.
"I don't know. Always? There's…never been anyone else," he answered, returning the gesture with a kiss to his friend's strong jaw. He couldn't deny the well of pleasure that began to pool in his stomach when he felt Bucky shudder against him.
"Me, neither. I just…kept runnin' away from it."
For a while, they just danced, pressed close together, holding each other, trading sweet kisses and heated whispers…until they'd worked themselves back up to the level of desire they'd scared themselves out of before. That was the moment the dancing couple collapsed onto the couch, with Steve pinned beneath Bucky.
"You know the steps to this one?" Steve teased as Bucky practically tore open his button down shirt. Bucky smirked up at him before taking a nipple in his mouth and swirling his tongue around it. Steve's head fell back against the couch cushion as he whined with need.
"No idea, Steve-o. Guess we'll just have to make it up as we go."
The pair didn't go out that night…nor for about three nights following that.
"Hey, Soldier," a woman's voice murmured in Bucky's ear. "Thought you were looking a bit lonesome over here. Dance with me?"
Bucky glanced up to see a shapely blonde dressed in blue standing beside him at the bar. She was very pretty and clearly very interested, although it confounded him some about him seeming lonely when he'd been sitting right here at the bar talking to Steve…or Captain America, as he was sometimes known these days. Briefly, Bucky glanced over at Steve, who was grinning at him.
"And here you were worried about being invisible," he joked, giving him a light bump on the shoulder. "You've still got it."
"You don't mind?" Bucky asked. Steve threw him a look that said very clearly, 'Of course I mind. No different from the way you minded Peggy just now…but there's nothin' to be done.'
What he said was, "Go on, have some fun. We'll be gettin' right back to work in the morning."
The blonde smiled as Bucky stood to join her. She took him by the hand and quickly led him onto the dance floor.
"Name's Natalie," she told him just as the pianist was starting up his next tune.
"James," he returned, taking her in his arms and quickly whirling her away with the music.
Even after he'd mostly stopped dancing with women, he'd never lost his skill with them. The way he spun Natalie in time to the music was almost effortless…almost.
He heard wolf whistles and cat calls from the other guys, but he didn't really pay much attention to anyone else until he noticed Steve had come in from the bar they'd been sitting at to watch. Normally, in instances like this one, he could practically smell the jealousy coming off his partner, but not tonight. No…tonight, Steve was just so relieved he was alive…that he'd been in time to save him…that Bucky could fuck every dame in this joint and Steve wouldn't even bat an eyelash.
They'd fucked just about the minute they'd been back in Allied territory, but they hadn't since and, even though he currently had a doll wrapped around him, Bucky suddenly found himself feeling extremely hot for his real lover. So every time he caught Steve's eye, he moved his body against Natalie's in a very subtle way, locking his gaze onto Steve's. Natalie was certainly enjoying herself, and if the two men just happened to be shamelessly eye-fucking each other just over her head, she certainly didn't notice.
I want you to fuck me, right here, right now, on this dance floor…and I want everyone to watch.
Steve could barely breathe for the way Bucky was looking at him. While he did play the game with him, he could also feel how turned on he already was, and that was a problem, so he sat down with the rest of the squad, the men who would soon be his commandoes, in the hope that no one would notice he had a problem.
Bucky, meanwhile, just continued to torture him, eyeing him with near malicious intent, licking his lips as he watched Steve over his dance partner's head. When the song finally came to an end, Bucky started to stumble away from Natalie, mumbling something about needing something stiffer. Natalie looked ready to protest, but then she saw Bucky pull Steve's chair away from the commandoes' table and plop himself down in the man's lap.
"Dance wi' me, Cap?" he asked, slurring his voice a lot more than he had earlier. For a moment, Steve looked horrified, but then he quickly caught on to the new game Bucky was playing. He knew he wasn't this drunk, so there was only one way this could be going…and his suspicions were confirmed when Bucky twitched his hips against his, brushing their erections together. The movement was small enough, nobody else could possibly notice it in Bucky's 'drunk' state, but Steve could certainly feel it and it was a struggle not to groan. Instead, Steve made himself laugh.
"You're drunk, Barnes," he said, his own hips twitching up slightly to meet Bucky's.
"Nah. I'm not drunk 'til ya gotta drag me back to the barracks. If you won't dance, order another round," he slurred heavily in Steve's ear, twitching his hips just a little harder. God, Steve was so close.
"Well, I would if your drunk ass wasn't currently rentin' space in my lap," he hissed, still trying to joke. God, just a little bit more…
"C'mon, Steve-o, you're supposed to be super strong now, ain't ya?" he teased, his hips just on the verge of being noticeable. "Let's see if you can get me up off your lap."
It was just then that Steve came, right there in his damn uniform pants. Throwing his head back, he managed to turn his cry into another laugh. "Haha! You're a real joker, Barnes. Gonna have to improve that attitude some, 'cuz we can't be havin' this kind of behavior in public. Your ass is mine when we get back to the barracks tonight."
"Sure, Cap…sure," he slurred again, giving his hips one final tiny thrust before coming between them and pretending to collapse against Steve, groaning into his neck as he 'passed out,' conveniently concealing any traces of their activities.
"Kid can't hold his liquor, can he?" Dugan teased, having a good laugh over the awkward position the captain appeared to be in.
"Never could," Steve said. "Would you mind orderin' the next round? I don't think this lug's goin' anywhere fast."
The world was different, and also not so different, when Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers found themselves back in a bar. They were different.
Steve had lost Bucky…then spent seventy years on ice before being woken up to a world he neither wanted nor cared about. While the same could be said of Bucky, he had been woken up several times over the course of those seventy years…woken to do the jobs that nobody else could do…but always to go back in the cold darkness…always covered in blood.
The struggle hadn't been easy, but Steve had won him back in the end…or at least, he thought he had. Bucky was currently on something of a trial run with S.H.I.E.L.D….a trial run to see if the Winter Soldier had truly been purged from his mind. It seemed to be going well, for the most part, save for the fact that Bucky went out bar-crawling most nights and Steve was never quite sure where he was, left to worry through the night until Bucky stumbled back to Stark Tower at fuck o'clock in the morning.
Bucky told Steve he remembered him, and this was probably true…what he wasn't certain of was whether or not Bucky could trust the memory of what they'd had, he'd been given so many false memories during his time as the Winter Soldier. Steve thought he knew what might help, but he'd been so afraid it wouldn't work that he hadn't had the guts to try it until tonight.
"Doin' all right?" Steve asked as he sat down at the bar beside Bucky, who was draining his third shot.
"Yeah," he muttered, not looking at his former lover. "Just…not sure if I wanna forget…or if I wanna remember."
"Well…I guess you can work that out on your own. I was just-"
"What're you doin' here, Steve?" Bucky asked him. The name sounded harsh in his throat…like he wasn't sure whether he should curse it or bless it.
"Buck, I…I wanna help you," he said, pleading, reaching out to touch the arm that was still flesh and blood, but Bucky recoiled from the touch, muttering in what Steve assumed was Russian.
"What do you think you can do? What's there to bring back? The memories already exist. You can't bring back the emotions that went with 'em. You just can't! Believe me, Cap, I want all of that back; I want to feel something, but I just…I can't," he hissed, his expression a mix of anger and desperation.
"I think I might know…what to do," Steve said slowly, laying his hand on Bucky's again. This time, he didn't pull back. "Natasha told me…about something that happened once when you were awake. She told me you'd been out on a training exercise with her when it went south. You barely got away," he recounted, his voice tightening with worry at the mere idea of such a thing happening.
"Yeah? So? That's not a whole lot different from what our job entailed on a daily basis," Bucky said, his hand tightening into a fist beneath Steve's, fighting not to pull away.
"Well…Natasha wanted to unwind after that, so the two of you went to a bar. She told me that…she asked you to dance. She held out her hand to you and asked, 'Dance with me?' She said…you just sort of stared at her hand for a minute…then went ballistic. You pretty much tore the bar apart, screaming the whole time…asking to be…forgiven," Steve said, his insides clenching horribly at the thought of Bucky in that much pain.
"I remember," Bucky said softly, his hand relaxing only slightly. "That was…the last time I was awake before…before I saw you again." He remembered the event, but whatever memories had been awakened as a result of it had been bled out in hypnosis before they'd put him back under. Had it been something to do with Steve? Probably…but if the memory caused him that much anguish, he wasn't sure he wanted it back.
"Muscle memory," Steve said, massaging Bucky's tightened fist until he finally relaxed it. "Even if the mind forgets…the body still remembers. Repeat an action enough…and you'll create muscle memory."
"So…what?" Bucky asked, suddenly feeling afraid as Steve stood up.
"I thought you were dead once…and it just about killed me. I hate seeing you like this…walking around like you're alive…but dying every day. I want you back…I want you alive again. I want to be alive again, so I'm prayin' to God this works," he said, slowly holding out his hand to him. "James…Bucky…dance with me?"
Bucky had been unmade…many times he had been unmade…so many…and this was just like that. Everything around him shattered and the light refracted upon itself until he couldn't see the world he'd known anymore. He could still remember it, but he couldn't see it, and it just stopped being important. Only this time, the Winter Soldier stopped being important…and Steve became important all over again…Steve and Bucky…two men…friends, brothers, soldiers, partners…lovers…lovers in a dangerous time. They had fought so hard to be together…and he had betrayed that.
Suddenly, Bucky was up out of his chair, filling Steve's arms and burying his face in his chest.
"How can you?!" he shouted, his voice muffled by Steve's strong chest. "How can you just forgive me?! I should be put down…like a fuckin' dog!"
"Don't say that," Steve hissed, feeling tears squeeze from his own eyes as Bucky soaked his chest with his own tears. "Don't you ever say that. It wasn't you; those bastards took you away from me…but I got you back," he said, swaying slightly on his feet to move them in a gentle circle.
"Steve…Steve…" he murmured against the taller man's chest, clinging to him as tight as he could. It had been bled out of him…how much he'd loved this man. How could he have ever forgotten? He had loved Steve before he'd even known what love was…and they'd been able to pluck it out of him that easily? He didn't deserve Steve.
"It wasn't your fault," Steve said, as if he'd read his thoughts. "I could have stopped it all…if I'd been fast enough to save you."
It was something they both knew they'd never agree on…who was to blame…but perhaps it was something they could live with. After all, Bucky and Steve could handle anything…so long as they had each other.
Almost before Bucky realized it, Steve had gotten them out onto the dance floor and a sort of old timey jazz piece was playing over the sound system. Several of the couples on the floor decided to sit the song out, but not Steve and Bucky.
"So," the super soldier began again, "dance with me?"
"Always," Bucky said as they fell into the familiar positions, only Steve took the lead this time around. They didn't do any of the spinning or other fancy moves they'd picked up on over the years. They just held each other close as they danced, not wanting to separate for even a minute.
They didn't realize it, but they had an audience. The other Avengers had come into the bar to see if Steve's plan had been successful or if they needed to smack a former Winter Soldier. It was happily proven to be the former, so Coulson ordered the first round of drinks for everyone.
There, in the sight of their friends, the two lovers were also able to do something they'd never before been able to do in public. They shared a tender kiss, fearing nothing and apologizing to no one.