trashmod: (Default)
garbage all the way down ([personal profile] trashmod) wrote in [community profile] hydratrashmeme2015-09-09 07:23 pm

Dumpster #3: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Holy shitballs, look at us go. Welcome to Captain America fandom's resident wretched hive of scum and villainy: ROUND THREE. AKA Bad Guys Do Dirtybadwrong Things To Your Faves, AKA the Hydra Trash Party kinkmeme. As usual, BLANKET NON-CON AND NSFW WARNINGS apply: just assume going in that everything in this landfill is unfit for human consumption.

Rules in brief: don't be a jerk except to fictional characters, warnings for particularly fucked-up garbage are nice but not required, thou shalt not judge the trashiness of thy neighbor's kinks unless thy neighbor is trying to pass off their rotting banana peels and half-eaten pizza crusts as a healthy romantic dinner for two, off-topic comments may be chucked out of the dumpster at management's discretion, management's discretion decrees that omegaverse, soulbond AUs, D/s-verse, non-superpowered AUs, and dark!good guys AUs are off-topic.

[Round 1] [Round 2] [Fill post] [Chatter post] [hydratrashmeme Pinboard archive (maintained by [personal profile] greenkirtle)] [Round 3 in flat view (comments in non-threaded chronological order, most recent last)]

Round 3 is closed; comments and fills in existing threads are still welcome, but all new prompts go to Round 4.

Bucky insists trash was consensual

(Anonymous) 2016-05-21 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
Bucky, for whatever reason (denial, conditioning, survivors guilt, pre-fall trauma, coping mechanism, etc), vehemently insists that most/all of the trash happened to him at the hands of Hydra was consensual.

It goes further than "I enjoyed it/I was aroused/I came therefore it wasn't rape"; he insists over and over again that he consented to and genuinely wanted everything. Maybe he speaks of it fondly, offhandedly, and doesn't understand why everyone around him/his current partner/a random stranger is horrified.

Cue patient attempts at explaining to Bucky that what happened was rape, only to have Bucky grow more and more upset by this insistence than the memories of the rape itself.

Maybe he's got a romantic/sexual thing going on with someone else (preferably Steve) as all of this is coming to light. Steve/whoever is obviously horrified and insistent that, you know, you can't really consent under mind control. But Bucky just takes this as an affront on his independence and ability to make choices for himself - "Who are you to tell me what I wanted/want; you promised you'd never do that to me; why are you trying to twist my memories like they did" etc etc

All of this also calls into question his current ability to consent with Steve/whoever. No matter how many times Bucky insists "I want you/I want this" to his partner, they don't know if they should take his word for it. And predictably, this pisses Bucky off because, what the fuck, said partner (and just about everyone in Buckys life) have spent months and months emphatically telling me that only *he* can know/determine what he wants.

+ Bucky thinking dissociation = arousal

+ Bucky thinking flashbacks = fantasies ("I must have wanted it, I can't stop thinking about it")

++ If the partner is Steve: Steve thinking that sex with Bucky is different than it was pre war, but not being able to put his finger on why until after the "truth" comes out

+++ Or, Steve knowing perfectly well that the sex is different now - maybe for example Bucky is submissive in the present whereas he was more dominant before - but going with it anyway (until the above happens)

++++ ORRRR alternatively maybe their prewar sex was quite similar; maybe they were always kind of kinky together so it's not *totally* out of left field that Bucky wants to be slapped around and restrained. And then the "oh my God what did I do" when the learn what's going on in Bucky's brain

+++++++ Bonus if part of the reason Bucky believes it was consensual is because some times were "worse"/more actively violent than others, or if he had one or two handlers in particular who were "nicer" to him

idk how (if at all) this gets resolved but yeah

Re: Bucky insists trash was consensual

(Anonymous) 2016-05-21 03:52 am (UTC)(link)
Oh god this is my trash catnip.

FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (1/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-04 02:54 am (UTC)(link)
Bucky's laughing. It's his mostly silent laugh, located all in his loose, open grin, the jerk of his shoulders, and jump of his abdominal muscles. Steve says, "What? What did I do? What, am I not intimidating anymore?" He pulls Bucky's head to one side by his hair, hard, and twists his nipple, less hard.

Bucky closes his mouth, but the laughter is still there, his tight-lipped smile squirming.

"Stop laughing at me." Steve tries to put a suitable amount of gravitas into his voice, but really, seeing Bucky laugh makes a bright warmth sing through his body. Even as he's kind of embarrassed, feeling like a kid again, like he’s touching Bucky, really touching, for the first time, pinning him to the floor and glowering at him for the first time at Bucky's request, a young and nervous Bucky whispering between kisses, “Hey, Steve, what would you do if I tried to mug someone on the street? What would you do to me?”
It is all new again. Steve is out of practice.

He lets go of Bucky's hair and shoves him back onto the mattress. Bucky's body flops, no tension in him, and he smiles up at Steve. "No," he says. "You're very intimidating. You have a very commanding presence."

"That's right. Don't you forget it."

"Been there. Done that," and Steve laughs, one loud, avian sound surprised out of him.

"So what's so funny?" he asks.

"Nothing. You just reminded me of something." There's a lot of precedent for Bucky’s memories causing complications, but right now he seems relaxed, which typically means he's been reminded of something he can share with Steve without getting guilty and ferrety for days, like he maybe ruined Steve's entire life by telling him about being operated on without anesthetic.

Often, when it's a nice memory, it's something Steve was there for. Something they can enjoy together.

He says, "Oh, yeah?"

"Yeah. Just, your hand on my face." Steve touches his hand to Bucky's cheek and slaps him softly, a pantomimed version of the more stinging slap he gave him right before the laughter started. Bucky says, "Yeah, that. It's nothing. It's not important right now."

Steve isn't sure what that could have reminded Bucky of--fucking him ages ago or fucking someone else or a scrap they got into, bleeding bony teenage messes. No moment distinct enough to be interesting, just good. A shot of light in the gloomy jumbled mess of Bucky’s brain. Still, to be a dick, he starts yanking on Bucky's hair again—pulling his pigtails--and says, "What? Come on, share the joke. I love jokes."

"No!" Bucky's still smiling even as he winces at the pain in his scalp. "We were in the middle of something. And besides--" he makes his face somber--"you're much too intimidating for me to be making jokes around you."

"You’re damn right I am." He kisses the hollow at the base of Bucky's throat, then slaps his face to set him off on a new wave of pleased silent laughter. It's okay that Steve can't make Bucky tell him what the hell memory he's laughing about, when there are so many more interesting things he can make him do. He forgets about it. They were in the middle of something.

Over breakfast one morning, tapping his spoon against the side of his bowl, Bucky says, “I want to learn HVAC maintenance. Can you believe these advancements in weather-controlled environments? It’s like, uh. The One Sane Man. Do you remember that book?”

“No.” Steve definitely didn’t read that book.

“Oh, well.” He shoves a spoonful of oatmeal into his mouth and makes Steve wait for more information. He swallows, and says, “It’s about a man who tries to control the whole world by controlling the weather. Have you expanded your literary horizons at all?”

“You know I hate expanding my horizons.” Bucky bobs his head from side to side in exasperated agreement as he eats more oatmeal. Steve says, “Wouldn’t the moral of that book have been not to control the weather? He sounds like the villain.”

“Nah.” Bucky’s mouth is full, and a bit of saliva-laden oatmeal lands on the tablecloth. “I think it was ambiguous. Not everything has a moral.”

So he looks through the HVAC courses on a nearby community college’s website, and writes down the information for all of them on a slip of paper and carries it around in his wallet for a week before deciding that he should take some other classes first. Training wheels before tackling his real interest.

“I haven’t exactly been in a classroom in the better part of a century,” he explains to Steve. “Unless you count—Nah. And I could still wait for hours to get a good kill shot if I had to, but god knows my attention span for constant flows of information ain’t so hot these days.”

He registers for Creative Nonfiction and Money Management. When he announces this, launching himself one-handed over the back of the sofa to land next to Steve, who’s watching the local news, Steve says, “Money Management? Since when can’t you manage money? You always helped me manage my money.” Steve complained about it relentlessly at the time, but it wasn’t like Bucky was ever wrong that he shouldn’t be blowing money on a new typewriter if he was barely gonna scrape together his next rent payment.

You can write your letters to the editor on my Dad’s, Steve. Come on. You can write them by hand. You have nice handwriting.

“'Since when?' Really?” Bucky nudges him with his metal shoulder. “Three guesses since when I can’t manage money, Steve. It starts with one…nine…four…”

Steve elbows him in the side. Bucky gets a feral grin and elbows him back, which hurts more than Steve probably hurt him on account of—“The fucking metal, Buck, Jesus.” He cuffs Bucky on the back of the head and Bucky grabs his hand and bites his thumb. Steve captures Bucky’s chin and smiles at him. Bucky leers like Bugs Bunny.

“Can I help you with something?” Steve asks.

They fuck on the floor, face-to-face, Steve’s hand around Bucky’s throat, barely pressing, but very present, threatening to pin him in place. It’s something Bucky only started wanting recently, but it makes sense that it takes more for him to let go now than it used to when he was smaller and had no concept of himself as a real threat. Steve can imagine what significantly more intense shit he’d want done to him if he were inclined that way.

Bucky’s asked recently for Steve to use a knife, but he’s waiting for the right time.

“It’s good. It’s good. It’s good,” Bucky’s chants, voice gone breathy.

“It—It is,” Steve says. He moves his hand up higher to force Bucky to show his throat more, and the chanting grows more insistent like Steve’s arguing with him about it instead of agreeing. “It’s good that you registered for those classes, Buck,” Steve says, close to finishing. “My smart fucking slut. Even the money management. You’re gonna do great.” Shuddering, he groans, “Especially with the writing.”

Bucky used to make fun of him for coming faster from talking about ordinary things during sex. He doesn’t this time. He takes Steve’s hand and holds it.

They both have beards now. Steve hates his. Bucky doesn’t. But between the beards and the change in location, they’ve been sliding by unnoticed. Sam flew to their house in the middle of the night once and got called a possible UFO on Twitter. Then the tweets showed up on the news. He drives when he wants to see them now. It’s only half an hour.

Still, Steve gets twitchy any time they meet people together. Even bearded, their faces side-by-side could spark recognition.

He goes to pick Bucky up after his nonfiction writing class. Bucky wants to take him to an art gallery; he said, “We should go on a date, you know. Everyone here thinks we’re a normal couple but we haven’t gone on a date, have we?”

“We are a normal couple,” was what came out of Steve’s mouth, only one of the many confused objections he had to this line of thinking. E.g. Do couples who live together still have to go on dates? Do they have to call it a date? Who are all these people who are maybe studying them and wondering why, if they’re a normal couple, do they not ever go on dates?

Bucky said, “We will be, after I take you on a date.”

Steve shows up in front of the college in sunglasses, jeans, and an ironed button-up. It wasn’t clear how ritzy an occasion Bucky thought a date to an art gallery was, but he sees that they’re dressed about the same, though Bucky’s shoes and braided hair both gleam in the afternoon sun.

Bucky’s lounging on the steps, faux-louche, leaned back on his elbows, smiling at the two women lounging similarly to his right. One looks really young to Steve, but Natasha often looks really young to him, so he’s learned to stop trusting himself on this. The other, with close-cropped hair and mauve lipstick, must be older than he and Bucky are. In one sense.

She’s saying someone as Steve approaches, and Bucky lets loose an enormous, bellowing laugh. He’s definitely been aware of Steve’s nearing presence for at least the past half block, but he looks absorbed. He widens his eyes like the woman is saying something unbelievably crazy that in reality is probably mundane, like maybe she lost her car keys or saw a stray cat.

At some point, Steve forgot that Bucky actually likes being around other people. It’s not that he used to have a lot of close friends, but he was likeable, and he liked being liked, and seemed to find the details of everyone’s lives fascinating, and would recount them to Steve as though Steve might also be invested in Brenda Who I Met on the G Train.

Those instincts must be compounded for him now by the sheer novelty of being told mundane stories about people’s lives. Stories with nothing utilitarian about them.

There’s a pause in the flow of conversation, and Bucky looks up, catching Steve’s eye as Steve jaywalks over. Steve smiles a little and raises his eyebrows. Bucky raises his eyebrows back. He makes a sweeping gesture with his arm, and says to the women, “Here’s my ride.”

“We’re walking,” Steve says, squeezing himself between two closely parked cars.

“Oh, I just assumed you were planning to carry me on your back.”

Steve snorts, but once he’s in front of the group, he isn’t sure how to proceed. Bucky is still sitting, smiling like maybe Steve’s invited to join them. Steve puts his hands in the pockets of his jeans.

The younger woman asks, “You’re Stewart?” and looks him up and down in the unabashed way that’s less common among people who have no reason to think of him as public property, but still not uncommon among people who know him as Stewart Roberts, who telecommutes and has an ugly beard.

“Yep,” he says. “That’s me.”

“Jake’s told us about you.”

“Oh, well. Jake’s a real talker.” She smiles and nods, looking over at Bucky with obvious fondness. He’s known this girl for a maximum of two weeks.

“Jake?” Steve says; a note of hysteria has crept into his voice. The thought of this interaction having no imminent endpoint makes him feel like his bones are all grinding together.

Bucky says, “Yeah, keep your shirt on,” and stands up, stretching, popping his joints, faking a yawn. He saunters the couple of feet to Steve. He throws an arm around Steve’s shoulders and kisses him on the cheek.

This is the most publicly affectionate Bucky’s been with him since before the war. Maybe these are the people who have been watching and wondering why they don’t go on real dates. That’s the main thing Steve hates about their relocation to somewhere smaller: the constant prickle of potential surveillance. Even if he isn’t being monitored nearly as closely as he was when SHIELD owned him. Owned them both.

Steve puts his hand to the small of Bucky’s back and says, “Yep. Well. We’re going now. It was very nice to meet you.” Bucky’s face is still close to Steve’s, but he submits to being steered around, cajoled into walking away. The women call out goodbyes.

When they’re out of earshot, Bucky slides his hand into Steve’s hair and ruffles away its styling. He says, “They’re classmates.”

“I figured.”

“They asked if I wanted to go for coffee. When I said I was waiting here for you, they said they’d wait too. That’s nice, isn’t it?”

“It is. I don’t know if I’d choose you over coffee.”

“Oh, shaddup.” He leans his head on Steve’s shoulder. They technically could walk that way; they could both walk a lot of more complex ways, but Steve takes it as a hint, and stops walking to put his arms around him, so that Bucky’s head burrows against the side of his neck. It’s a mostly empty street, parked cars and little houses and a bookshop. A woman sitting on her stoop smiles at them, then goes back to her tablet.

“All right there?” Steve asks, and Bucky sighs and pulls away, grinning.

“Yep. Just smelling your cologne.” He starts walking again, and Steve follows, more space between them now.

“I don’t wear cologne.”

“Exactly. You couldn’t wear cologne for our date? Steve.” He says the name in a lower voice, even if no one’s listening.

“I ironed a shirt!”

“I iron my shirts every day. Step your game up.”

Steve takes Bucky’s hand. “You looked happy, you know. You talk about anything fun?


“What, you consoling? Starting an advice column?”

Bucky laughs, and knocks their shoulders together, squeezes Steve’s hand tighter. “No, no one was consoling anyone. Why do you always gotta assume everything’s a tragedy?”

“Well, I have a melancholic temperament.”

“You’re mostly choleric. We were just sharing stories.”

“About their ex-boyfriends.” Bucky smiles and squints at him like Steve’s missing something obvious. “And. Your. You. Someone, uh. In Brooklyn. Who I didn’t.” He knew at the time that Bucky was sleeping with other people, but it never occurred to him that Bucky would still be able to remember their names. Let alone anything worthy of a story.

“God, no. I would never call any of those guys my boyfriend, Steve. This guy Andrews.”

“In the Army?”

“I was a little busy in the Army, you know. All that shooting and whatnot. He was a SHIELD agent.”

His first thought is that Bucky secretly met and shacked up with someone from SHIELD after the helecarriers fell. They nursed each other back to health. It was torrid, yet domestic. Bucky insisted they get joint custody of a hamster: something that would die quickly, but be adorable and beloved in the meantime.

He returns to reality. He stops walking. It’s sudden. Their hands break apart.

Bucky turns. He raises his eyebrows and his hands, palms-out. “Okay, fine, so I wouldn’t have called him my boyfriend either. He also wouldn’t have called me Jake. You have to meet your audience where they’re at.”

“Fuck, Bucky.”

“What? Wait.” A smile blooms on his face. “You jealous, honey?”

“What?” He thinks, for a moment, that Bucky is asking if Steve is jealous that no one in Hydra ever did that to him. Then his brain catches up. Bucky thinks he’s jealous because he's never raped Bucky. “Jesus Christ, Bucky, I don’t want to—No. Never. I would never be jealous of that, okay?”

“Really? Come on. I’m not judging you.” He shrugs. “I was jealous of Peggy. It’s all right to feel human emotions, Steve.”

“Peggy didn’t. That’s a completely different situation! How the hell can you compare them?”

Bucky sighs and knocks his shoulder into Steve’s again. He tries to take Steve’s hand, but it’s dead weight, so Bucky gives up and places a warm hand on his bicep. “Hey, it’s fine. We don’t have to talk about this right now. Let’s enjoy our date.”

“Buck, if you want to talk about this, we can.”

“What I want to talk about is this artist lady’s ‘use of scavenged decaying materials to create life-size embodiments of the many faces of pathos.’” He studied the program for the gallery closely last night. “What do you think that means? Do you think we’re gonna be allowed to touch them?”

They’re not allowed to touch them. Steve catches Bucky brushing his metal fingertips along a twisting scrap metal arm for a couple stolen seconds anyway.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (1/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-04 03:24 am (UTC)(link)
So um I haven't even finished this yet but I'm SCREAMING at the title. You are best

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (1/?)

(Anonymous) - 2016-08-06 23:03 (UTC) - Expand

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (1/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-04 07:31 am (UTC)(link)
I just read the first part now, and I have to say, I love your characterization (and I'll have to wait for part 2 until I get back, damn real life responsibilities!)

FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (2/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-04 03:12 am (UTC)(link)
Sam comes over on a Thursday night, in his Volkswagen, and doesn’t get mistaken for a UFO. Apparently, Bucky’s been sending him postcards with, “COME PLAY BOARD GAMES WITH US SIGNED YOUR WORST NIGHTMARE,” scribbled on the backs for weeks.

Sam mentions this as he’s handing Steve his denim jacket, and Steve turns to stare at Bucky, who shrugs from where he’s leaning against the wall. “What?” he says. “It was creative nonfiction.”

Sam fails to stifle his cackle.

At Sam’s insistence—and backpack full of ingredients—they’re having Bloody Marys. He explains, “So I know I don’t normally drink, but it’s only fair to give you two a fighting chance at beating me. Did they even have board games in the 1500s or whenever it is you hail from?”

Bucky shrugs. “We used to play Monopoly, but then Steve decided it was politically unforgivable.”

“It is,” Steve says, and takes the stuff for Bloody Marys into the kitchen. He’s never done this before, but it would be poor host behavior to not make Sam’s drink for him.

As he’s going, Bucky starts shoving Sam toward the couch, Sam laughing and saying, “What the hell, man? I can find my own way there. I don’t need Russian GPS.”

Steve thinks you probably don’t need a blender to make Bloody Marys. He uses the blender anyway, and stares, transfixed, at the red swirl. Over the noise, he can still hear Sam and Bucky talking in the next room, can picture them laid out languorously on opposite ends of the couch, facing one another. Their voices are muffled, but barely, for him.
He hears Bucky ask, “Is Steve acting weird to you?”

“Steve’s always acting weird to me. You’re both always acting weird to me. You have a painting of the Keebler elves hanging in here. There are fifteen different bottles of shampoo in your bathroom. You refuse to use your dishwasher.”

“Yeah, well, can’t see what’s going on in there. Why trust it?”

“Okay, so, one: that does not address the Keebler elves painting, which I’ve asked about every time I’ve been over to this house of cutesy horrors. Two: Is Steve acting weird to you?”

“He keeps asking how I’m doing. And his face is wrong.” Steve almost abandons the blender to go out and ask what that means, but he doesn’t believe in not holding the lid on firmly the whole time. Otherwise, who knows what could happen?

Anyway, Sam handles the question for him. “His face is wrong?”

“Something’s wrong about it. It’s hard to explain. He’s been like this since our date.”

“That art gallery date you were talking about? I’ve heard postmodern art can do that to people.”

“I thought he would like it. Well, who can say? Don’t worry about it. Worry about me kicking your ass at Apples to Apples.”

Steve turns the blender off. It all seems blended. I.e., it looks exactly the same as it did when he poured it in, because it’s all liquids. He braces himself on the counter with his hands and closes his eyes.

Is his face wrong?

No longer muffled by the whirring, Sam says, “You guys know this game doesn’t really work with only three people?”

“Don’t be so defeatist. If it can work with two people, it can work with three.”

“I mean, okay, but it also doesn’t—” This seems like a good moment for Steve to pop his head back in. To see. To know. Is Bucky’s face wrong? He clears his throat.

Sam and Bucky are positioned exactly as he imagined them, though Sam is also absentmindedly kicking Bucky’s shin. Bucky’s face looks like Bucky’s face.

“Are these celery sticks supposed to go in the blender too?”

Sam huffs and tilts his head forward, looking at Steve through beautiful, incredulous eyelashes. Instead of answering, he says, “Steve, what’s with the elf painting?”

“Bucky found it on the street.”

Sam lifts a fist to his mouth and looks determinedly at the wall like it might give him a better answer.

Bucky, helpful as always, says, “I found it on the street.”

Once Sam’s managed to win at Apples to Apples, purely because whose cards were whose was obvious from space and Bucky always purposefully chose Sam’s answer over Steve’s, it’s two a.m. and Sam is too drunk on Bloody Marys to be driving back home. He sacks out on the living room floor in an Army surplus sleeping bag from their supply closet, muttering in his half-dozing state, “I beat you. I beat everyone. Thanks, you guys, for, you know. Sucking at this.”

Bucky tenderly turns him onto his side even though Sam insists, “I’m not eighteen, you know. I can handle my Bloody Marys.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Bucky says. “We can all handle everything.”

After they switch off both bedside lights so that the room is lit only by the glugging blue lava lamp Bucky keeps on his desk, Bucky snuggles up to Steve’s side, wrapping around him, both arms and both legs clamping Steve in place. He kisses the underside of Steve’s jaw, rubs his nose along Steve’s cheek.

“Hey, there,” Steve says. He’s still looking up at the ceiling, but his voice is warm and friendly.

“Hey, there.” Bucky kisses him at the corner of his mouth.

“How’s it going?”

As an answer, Bucky peels his limbs away and sits up, cross-legged, tugging on Steve’s arm so he’ll sit up too. Steve makes a show of implacability for a moment, then goes easily and mirrors Bucky’s pretzeled legs. They face each other like that. It feels ritualistic, like they’re about to become blood brothers (again). He waits, curious to see if Bucky has a plan.

He does, at least kind of, scooting forward until he’s almost in Steve’s lap, and can wrap his arms around his shoulders and start kissing all over the side of Steve’s face. Steve captures his face with a hand at his jaw and kisses him on the mouth, soft and urgent. He ends it, and Bucky edges forward to whisper throatily in Steve’s ear, “I’m turned on.”

Steve snorts. “Oh, wow. Huh, you are learning to write creative nonfiction.”

“Shut up. I am. I’m turned on. I’m hot for you.”

And Steve, well. Steve isn’t not also turned on, as of a minute ago, but— “Sam’s here.” He puts a steadying hand on Bucky’s waist, nudging him back a couple inches.

Bucky frowns. “He’s asleep. And on the other side of the house. Don’t you want to get back at me for letting him win the game?”

“I knew it,” Steve hisses.

“So show me who’s boss. Show me who should have won.”

“I didn’t understand half the cards he put down. Who the hell is Danielle Steel? ”

“Of course you didn’t. I didn’t know either. That’s how I knew they were his.”

“That’s cheating, Buck! You can’t pick cards if you don’t know what they mean!”

“Tell me some more things I did wrong.” Bucky takes Steve’s hand and pulls it to his throat in a silent request, grinning and biting his own thumb.

Steve hasn’t meant to be acting weird, but he realizes, now, that of course he has been, and of course it’s been obvious. He’s been tiptoeing around the Andrews in the room, softening every smile, keeping his hands too much to himself. If Bucky can go to all the effort to speak about his abuse lightly, with strangers, with Steve’s hand in his, there’s no excuse for Steve to let it bog him down. Bog them both down. He can be normal.

He slides his hand further up Bucky’s throat to force his head up and back, raising himself on his knees so he towers over him. Bucky has to stare straight up at his face.

He says, “‘A Morgue’ is a fucked up card to put down for the word ‘delicious,” and Bucky snorts and gets taken over by giggling, enough that Steve pulls his hand away from his throat. He’s afraid Bucky’s going to manage to thrash at the exact right angle and intensity to cut off the blood to his brain with the hapless aid of Steve’s palm.

“Hey!” Bucky says, and tugs on Steve’s wrist. “Put it back. I’ll be quiet.”

Steve wraps some of Bucky’s hair around his fist and pulls so his neck bows to the side, so Steve can feel the vibrations of his now-silent giggling. “I’m more worried about ‘still’ than ‘quiet.’ I’m kind of trying not to harm you over here.”

Bucky allows himself one more dramatic guffaw before smoothing out into perfect stillness, frozen smiling up at Steve, serene, not even blinking.

Steve says, “Thank you,” and uses the fistful of hair to straighten Bucky back up, then releases him and puts his hand around Bucky’s throat again, though looser this time, nervous that he might think the next thing Steve says is also unbearably hilarious.

Trying his best to sound grave, he says, “And that’s another thing. It’s bad form to laugh at your own jokes.”

Bucky just pulls an amused face. “Anyone ever tell you that?”

“Yeah. Some asshole.” He propels Bucky down onto his back by the grip on his throat. “Maybe multiple assholes.”

He rubs his palm over Bucky’s cock through his pajama pants, and Bucky keens loudly, turning the sound into the words, "Your asshole."

Steve takes his hand off Bucky’s throat again and covers his mouth. “Now I’m worried about quiet. We have. A guest.”

Bucky smiles against his palm and murmurs into it, “Sorry.”

He removes his hand. “Can you be quiet without help?”

Bucky makes a lip-zipping motion and nods.

He palms Bucky’s cock again, watching his face, double-checking before doing anything else, and Bucky keeps his mouth shut, gazing at him so openly, so fondly, so doe-eyed that it hurts. So doe-eyed that Steve has to look away, and he ducks down and skates his teeth across Bucky’s clothed erection the exact right amount, and the muscles in Bucky’s thighs jump. His hands twitch. But he’s silent.

Steve puts his hand on Bucky’s waistband, intimating that he wants to tug his pants down, and looks back up at Bucky. He’s still gazing.
“This good?”

Bucky takes a shaky breath and nods. Steve tightens his hold on Bucky’s waistband, but doesn’t move beyond that.

“You just need to keep your voice down, you know. It’s okay to talk.”

Bucky shifts up onto his elbows. “Do I gotta?”

“Well, you do gotta tell me what you want, yeah.”

“I told you. Show me who’s boss.”

Steve pins him down by his hips, letting his waistband snap against his skin when he releases it. “I got that part.” He tilts his head to the side. He knows that Bucky gets thrown off, occasionally, by the question of what he wants; it doesn’t mean he doesn’t know, just that he needs a minute, and if it’s someone he trusts asking, he likes to be talked through it. “You want me to suck you off? I promise to be an asshole about it. ”

Bucky licks his lips, but doesn’t say anything.

“Buck? You want something different?”

“Yeah. Yes. I mean, no, not something different.” Bucky shakes his head like a wet dog, then grins. “Please. That would be good. That would be great. I want your teeth around me, all right?”

As Steve’s sucking a third bruise into Bucky’s inner thigh, high enough that his cheekbone makes contact with Bucky’s testicles, the fingers of his left hand pressing on the first two bruises and his right hand still holding down Bucky’s hip, thumb hard against bone, Bucky whispers, “Thank you. Thanks. Thank you.”

Steve lifts his mouth to say, “Well, yeah.”

Bucky’s metal hand brushes the top of Steve’s head, not even his skull, just the faintest rustling of his hair. Steve presses into the touch and Bucky jerks back. Steve looks up at him. Bucky’s face is frozen. He’s holding his wrist tight in his other hand like he thinks the arm might become sentient and repeat the crime of sweetly touching Steve’s hair.

Steve furrows his brow. He pets Bucky’s thigh in a spot away from the bites. “Hey, Buck. You can touch me. It’s okay.”

A little life floods back into Bucky’s face. He smiles. It’s shaky. “I know that, Steve.” He rolls his eyes. “Just a glitch.”

“You sure you want me to keep going?”

“Yes. And I want you to be an asshole about it, like you said. You’re being nice and shit. What's going on?”

He stares into Steve’s eyes. It isn’t clear if he’s trying to find something in there or if wants Steve to find something in his eyes, if he’s handing Steve a sliver of what’s going on in his head. But he looks sincere, and stable, and real, and his thigh is warm and solid under Steve’s palm, and Steve accepts that whatever’s going on in Bucky’s head, it isn’t bad.

He lowers himself back between Bucky’s legs, but before he does anything, he takes Bucky’s metal hand and places it against the top of his own skull.

“Pull on my hair if something’s bothering you and you can’t talk.”

Bucky says, “Yes,” and Steve bites him as hard as he can over an already dark bruise. Bucky squirms dramatically, but doesn’t pull on his hair, doesn’t pull on his hair at all that night.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (2/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (2/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (2/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (2/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (2/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (2/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (3/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-05 11:26 pm (UTC)(link)
“If you want, we can still talk about it. You know. What we were talking about the other day.” Steve stands next to the couch, feeling ungainly, one hand shoved into the pocket of his chinos. In front of him, Bucky is sitting with his knees drawn to his chest, a paperback in his left hand and the right hand tracing light circles on the side of his face. It’s mid-morning. Bucky doesn’t have class today.

They both slept in and they made out slowly and sweetly after waking up. Bucky whispered between kisses, “What awful things do you want to do to me, huh?” and Steve whispered back, “You said something about a knife—” and Bucky cut him off by kissing him more, with renewed fervor.

They had leftover pizza for breakfast. Bucky seems floppy and cheerful and sated. It’s a good time for getting emotional shit on the table.

“You mean being smothered to death by volcanic ash?” Bucky doesn’t look away from his book, but he does start smiling. “Steve. Sweetest. Darling. Steve. I think we exhausted that. I think you exhausted that.”

“Not the volcano. You know what I mean.”

Now he puts the book down, leaving it spread open on the couch’s back.

“I think I plainly don’t.”

“I mean Andrews, Buck.”

“I told you, we don’t have to. If it upsets you, that’s okay. We’ll leave it alone.” He holds his right hand out, inching the left backward so it’s almost hidden between him and the couch. Steve goes to him, taking his hand and sitting. One leg is bent up on the couch, knee knocking against Bucky’s knees, and the other remains on the floor.

“Does it upset you? That’s what matters.” He holds Bucky’s hand tighter.

“No? I don’t miss him, if that’s what you mean. We had fun, and he was nice enough, but.” Bucky shrugs. “He was certainly no you. None of them were.”

“You had fun.”

“No, Steve, I was fucking him because it was boring.” He rolls his eyes. “What’s boring is sitting in a safe house reading Reader’s Digest. You ever done that? You ever read a Reader’s Digest? That’s torture. I fooled around with a few different people over the years. It’s something to do.”

“Yes.” Steve hears his own voice as if from over a bad phone connection. The disembodied voice says, “I’ve read a Reader’s Digest.”

“So you get it. We have any eggs? I want to make French toast.”

Steve drops it. They do have eggs. Bucky hums as he goes to the kitchen, though his gait is strange, hesitant, like he’s literally walking on eggshells. Steve sits on the front steps and draws cityscapes in his sketchbook until he feels like he can go into the kitchen and say, “How’s the French toast going?” without interrupting himself halfway through to ask for the names and physical descriptions of these few different people.

Walking up behind a humming and apparently content Bucky, he comforts himself with the thought that at least some of them must already be dead.

One morning, he wakes up to two texts from Bucky. The first is a string of emoji: a girl in a crown, two boys holding hands, three cups of coffee, an alien, and a lipstick kiss. The second text is more articulate:

Hey S. katarina wants to go for coffee after class she asked if I could bring my “hunky gentle giant” so can I bring you? I didn’t tell her u aren’t gentle she can believe what she wants. Xoxo.

The hunky violent giant meets them for coffee. Apparently, Katarina is the older of the two women he met from Bucky’s class. She’s sitting on the same side of the table as Bucky when he walks in, like they’re a firing squad, with a chair opposite them already pushed out. Her lipstick is a vibrant peach today. Steve hastily recalls the facts Bucky’s passed on to him about her:

1. “You know, Katarina used to teach tap dance? Fucking tap dance. I told her I’ve always had the hots for Fred Astaire and she called me lovely.”

2. “Guess who’s been getting too many dick pics on Snapchat lately?”

3. “Katarina’s got that same sweater. Uncanny. You both look good in it, don’t get me wrong, but, uh, you, sweetheart—” Bucky’s tentative hands grasping at his hips—

She leans toward him and offers her hand. “Hi, Stewart. We met.”

Steve pumps her hand and says, “So, shop at Old Navy much?”

She makes the same face Bucky makes sometimes when he’s asked to give his opinion. Focused but glassy. Open-mouthed.

Steve wonders if he should just go for broke, knock her coffee into her lap, and run for it. Her coffee is iced; she’d be fine. But before he gets the chance, she smiles and meets his eyes. “Yes. Sometimes.”

“Oh.” Bucky looks flustered. “Sorry. He means the sweater—”

“Oh!” Her laugh is low and rough. “The sweater, right. Old Navy. Yep.”

“That’s great,” Steve says. “It’s always great to have something in common.” Bucky raises an eyebrow at him and pushes a large black coffee across the table. “Oh. Thank you, you didn’t have to—”

“It was a real hardship getting my husband his boring-ass coffee, you’re right.”

Steve flips him off and takes a long sip, burning the tip of his tongue.

Katarina passes him a small stack of napkins. “So how did you like the art gallery? I know Jake called it, uh, ‘the swellest date on Mother Earth,’ I think it was?”

Bucky makes a show of hiding his face in his hands, laughing as he says, “Jesus. Stop. Do I sound that embarrassing?”

She pokes him in the shoulder instead of answering. “But what about you, Stew?”

He’s always fretted about how Stewart Roberts would react to being called Stew. Apparently he doesn’t react at all. How disappointing.

“Well, there were some very nice photographs on the upper level. Right, honey?”

Bucky grins at him. “Yeah, they were nice.”

Katarina asks around her straw, “You weren’t into the statues?”

“They. Uh. No, not really. They were. Off-putting.”

“Well. Still not too far from the swellest date on Mother Earth, I hope. My worst date ever—“

And she’s off, explaining in agonizingly lustrous detail how a woman she was seeing in college took her on a “date” to break into a neighbor’s basement in the middle of the night and vandalize everything in sight. They had sex on top of a smashed-up model train.

“It was awful!” She and Bucky are falling into each other in hysterics. “And she kept calling me ‘sugar!’ in this fake Southern accent!”

“Dating is a terrible idea,” Steve says. Katarina smiles at him like he’s said something interesting instead of just said something for the first time in ten minutes. He rubs his hand over his beard. It’s always there.

Bucky has his forehead on Katarina’s shoulder, his body still wracked with a giggling fit. She pats him on the cheek and says, “You doing all right, Jake?” and he turns his head enough to look at Steve.

“Yeah. Sorry about that.” It’s not clear which of them he’s talking to. “It was a funny story.” He lifts his head, and slides further down in his chair. He stretches when he does, like a cat in a sunbeam. The pointy toe of his shoe kicks against Steve’s shin.

Steve kicks him back. “You look like you broke something laughing. Oh, no, that’s what your face already looked like. My mistake.”

Bucky snorts. He takes out the huge, toothy clip holding his twisted hair off his neck. Katarina starts eating a croissant she had somewhere, and says, “Dating is a terrible idea. Thank god for both of you that you’re out of the game.”

Bucky looks at the clip in his hand. He opens and closes its jaws a few times.

“Yeah,” Steve says. “I thank god every day.”

Bucky doesn’t react to the sentimentality. He just narrows his eyes, shakes his head a little, and sticks his hair back in the clip. Then he smiles, huge, so that his nose wrinkles up and one of his eyes squints, and he reaches across the table to place his left hand on Steve’s shoulder. He puts his right hand on Katarina’s shoulder. He swivels his head to smile at them both.

“This is nice,” he says, and Steve says, “Uh, yeah, it is…Jake,” and Katarina covers his right hand with hers and squeezes.

The moment doesn’t last as long as Steve fears it might. Bucky moves his hands to his lap, folding them there, still smiling at them both in turns.

“Where,” Katarina asks, aiming a tiny play punch at Bucky, “did you even find such a delightful guy, Stewart? Seriously.”

“Oh, well. Wandering the streets. Causing an array of mayhem.”

“No,” Bucky says. “He was my knight in shining armor.”

Steve is embarrassed. He kicks at Bucky’s shin again, but Bucky doesn’t kick back. “Sure. That’s me. Covered in armor.”

Katarina stuffs more croissant in her mouth. She turns to Bucky and says, “I bet your worst date was the one with the, uh, right—” She holds one hand flat in the air, then makes little legs out of the fingers on the other hand, and mimes jumping off of something. “The cliff.”

“Aw, no, Stewart hates this story.” But he’s already laughing, looking lovely and lively.

“No, I don’t. I don’t know this story.”

“How can he not know this story?” Her shocked mouth is cartoonish. “Jake!”

Bucky says, “Eh. It’s just so long.”

“It is. It’s long. But you don’t even need the rest of the story for the part, where Dorsey, you know—” She puts her hands on either side of her face and makes little exploding motions.

Bucky rolls his eyes. “I know, I know. What a loser. More than once, mind you. He had a habit.”

She makes a disgusted noise.

“Uh,” Steve says. “You going to tell the story or just dangle it above my head like table scraps?”

Bucky winces. “No, really, you wouldn’t like it. It’s fine.” He shakes his head at Katarina like Steve can’t see him, and she shrugs. Then he slaps his hands down on the table, almost knocking his own coffee over. “What’s everyone’s favorite building in this town? Because have I got a doozy of an answer.”

FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (4/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-05 11:53 pm (UTC)(link)
“You can tell me anything, Buck. You don’t have to put up a front.” They’ve been sitting quietly together on the couch for a couple hours, occasionally moving into each other’s space—Bucky’s head on Steve’s thigh, Steve’s ankle resting on Bucky’s knee—but mostly coexisting peacefully, like two potted plants with the ability to scribble in notebooks.

Now Steve’s blurted that out, and Bucky’s snapped his notebook shut. Seemingly without thinking about it, he shoves it deep in the couch cushions. He rubs his right hand with his left wrist, and takes a loud breath. “Okay, fine, I think Money Management is really boring. I’m sorry I told you it wasn’t so bad.” He swallows and flicks his gaze around the room. “I didn’t want you to think I was doing the wrong thing. Unfit to be educated.”

“Bucky.” For a moment, he forgets what he really wanted to talk about. The uncalled for excess of shame in Bucky’s voice makes his throat feel blocked up. He wants to hold his hand, so he does, and Bucky squeezes hard. “Money Management sounds boring. You’re going anyway, and I see you doing the homework anyway. I can’t imagine the fortitude that takes.”

Bucky snorts. He shifts closer, switching from a hand hold to hooking their arms together. “Oh my god. Oh my goodness gracious. Sweetheart.” He smiles at Steve like Steve is the most adorable and pitiful animal he’s ever seen in his life, so Steve sticks his tongue out at him.

Bucky rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “Sure. Okay. Going to a college class three times a week. That’s the most fortitudinous thing I’ve ever done in my whole long life.”

“It involves fortitude!” Bucky puts his face in Steve’s neck and inhales. On instinct, Steve leans in like he could be sucked up entirely by Bucky’s lungs, and not have to continue, “Oh, but um. That wasn’t what I meant.” A kiss to his jugular makes him shiver. And then makes him wince. The conversation he’s steering toward hasn’t exactly got him in the mood to get worked up.

“What wasn’t what you meant?” The words are hushed, said right up against the skin beneath his ear. “I’ve got the brain of a jellyfish. You need to give me clearer conversational cues.”

“No, I don’t. You’re just trying to shut me up with heavy petting.”

“'Heavy petting?' I’m barely touching you. Fine, fine.” He keeps their arms entwined, but backs up so he isn’t breathing all over Steve’s skin. “But actually: What wasn’t what you meant? I distracted myself.”

“About you putting up a front. I didn’t mean Money Management.”

“Oh. Okay, um.” He makes his mouth like he’s growling out one side of it, and closes his left eye. It’s the face he always has, these days, when he’s thinking hard about something. Or, more specifically, wants you to know that he is. “No, I’m sorry, Steve. I don’t think I’ve been lying about anything else. If I was, I didn’t mean to.”

“I don’t mean that you’ve been lying. Not exactly. I mean that you’ve been trying to spare me by acting cheerful about—You know.” He gestures at the whole room with his arm. That fails to make Bucky look less confused. “Things I don’t need you to act cheerful about.”

“I still honestly don’t know what you mean. But you look—” He puts the back of his metal hand to Steve’s forehead. It’s body temperature from how Bucky keeps it stuffed in his armpit so much of the time. “Oh, hang on. Can you get fevers now? You can’t, right?”

He shrugs. “I haven’t tried.”

“Brain of a jellyfish, told you.” The hand goes back under his armpit.

“Look, I’m not sick. I think, okay. Buck, because you don’t want to upset me, which is sweet, but. You’ve been acting like. Like you weren’t forced.”

“To kill people. We are not having—”

“No! No, not that.” Even though he does feel like Bucky should have that conversation again with someone. “I mean with Andrews. And the few other people over the years.”

“Excuse me?” He says it like he needs Steve to repeat a phone number. There’s the perfect crease between his brows that Steve always wants to touch in awe.

Steve’s face has been wrong; he’s been acting wrong; he needs to act like himself. Not tactful or subtle.
“Bucky, you were. I mean, it was rape, Buck. I know that. You don’t need to protect me from that.”

So maybe it was stupid to imagine that Bucky might break down now, or even weep softly while pretending to be stoic. Maybe it was repulsive of him to imagine those things. He isn’t sure. He certainly feels repulsive. But that doesn’t make it any less startling when Bucky laughs. It’s a laugh like falling down the stairs and breaking your arm at the bottom.

“Jesus, pal. That’s. Fuck. That’s taking the jealous thing a little far, don’t you think? I mean, fuck. That’s pretty callous toward people who have actually been raped, I think.”

His own voice stutters, laugh-like, when he says, “I’m not jealous. I’ve told you. I’m not jealous, and I don’t want to be callous toward you. I’m sorry.” He takes his arm out of Bucky’s. “I just don’t know how to talk to you about these things. And you obviously want to talk about them, because you were talking with your classmates.” Steve has tried to imagine wanting to share personal details with veritable strangers in public but not with Bucky in their own home. All of him recoiled at the thought.

“Not callous toward me, Steve. You’re not listening.”

Steve grits his teeth and purses his lips over them. Puts his hands on his knees and digs his nails in.

Bucky raises his hands like a crossing guard and looks at Steve sideways. “Hey, I’m not judging you!” He bobs his head to the side and sticks his tongue between his teeth. “Okay, I kind of am. You went too far. But I still love you and everything. Please don’t think I don’t.” His skin-and-bone placating palm wraps around Steve’s wrist. A loose grip. His thumb rubs at the underside. Bucky can get really weird and romantic about pulse points.

It always makes Steve want to keep him tight within his limbs and hold a glass of water to his lips and generally be careful and specific about him. About examining and protecting all his individual parts. His throat is blocking up again. He looks at Bucky’s hand and places his own hand over it. “Bucky.”

“Yeah, it’s me. I still love you. I’m sorry. Never mind.”

“Why would I think you don’t love me?”

“Hey, never mind. We don’t need to talk about this. It upsets you. It’s stupid.”

“Bucky. It’s not stupid. It’s not jealousy. You were raped, and that’s, well. Not ‘fine.’ But the fact that you apparently don’t think so is scaring me! Do you get that? I don’t want this to be about me. But you’re scaring me. You are.”

“I don’t get it. Even if you were right. You wouldn’t have to be scared. It’s over. Those guys are all dead.”

“I don’t know.” Unsure if it’s the right thing to do, Steve lifts his arm so he can kiss Bucky’s hand where it’s holding him. He looks into Bucky’s eyes. “But it’s true. I’m scared.” His brow wrinkles. “It’s not stupid.”

Bucky just looks at him. For too long. Big, worried eyes. Then he raises his metal hand and hovers it by Steve’s head, suggesting touch but not touching. “I’m sorry.” He licks his bottom lip. His eyes narrow more, lighting up. “Can I make you feel better?”

Steve knocks his head against the hovering hand and immediately regrets it when Bucky’s eyes get wide again. “I don’t know. No. Not right now.”

Now, when he looks at him, it’s impossible for Steve to see anything other than Bucky putting up a front. He’s all front, like a cardboard cut-out. He walks around delicately, but with a longer stride than he’s had in a while now. He tosses his hair a confusing amount, no longer keeping it in neat up-dos like a socialite. And he makes a lot of jokes. A lot more jokes than Steve thinks he made before, though he’s starting to not trust himself on the topic of remembering Bucky.

There’s the time before Steve said the word “raped” aloud, and there’s the time after. There was before he got zapped with vita rays and now there’s after he got zapped with vita rays, and the moment the chamber opened, before he could register his vertigo, or the clumsy, deadened feeling of his new body, he registered how bad his vision must have been before. And he’d never noticed. He’d been getting everything wrong and he’d had no idea.

At breakfast, Bucky wipes a milk mustache away with the sleeve of his flannel and says, “Hey, Steve, knock knock,” knocking on the table simultaneously, same as he did when they were kids.

Steve asks around his bacon, “Sure, who’s there?”

He says, “I’m Captain America.”

Steve says, “No. Nuh-uh. Not this”. But the truth is he’s waited so fucking long to hear Bucky make the most pointless joke in the world one more time.

“Come on! Say it.”

“Fine. Captain America who?”

“I’m Captain America!”

“This was never a good joke.”

“If it weren’t a good joke, it wouldn’t have gotten on your nerves so much.”

That doesn’t make any sense. A lot of things get on Steve’s nerves, and he doubts that they’re all good jokes.

When Bucky gets home from Money Management that afternoon, Steve is reorganizing the bookshelf. Previously, the books were alphabetized by author. A few hours ago, he alphabetized them by title. A little later, he walked by and decided that it looked awful and began sorting by color instead.

Bucky walks in on him sitting on the floor, surrounded by strewn volumes, staring at a stack of loose comic books, unsure how to place them on the color spectrum when they barely have spines.

“Hey,” Bucky says, and Steve looks up. At some point, Bucky took his flannel off and tied it around his waist, leaving him in an oversized white undershirt dotted with sweat. Humidity makes the hair by his ears curl. Steve wants to pull it straight to watch it spring back.


“Hey, listen to this. I forgot it completely. So these hunters meet an old hunter in the forest. They know him, and he’s almost blind, so to be safe, they shout, ‘We are not deer! We are not deer!’ The old man notices them. He takes aim at them and he mutters, ‘Shut up, deer.’” He sets himself off on a hysterical peal of laughter, covering his face with his right hand.

He drags the hand to the side, hard, like he’s wiping off mud. There’s no smile under there. “Remember that one?”

“I never knew that one, Buck. Where’s that from?”

“You think I know? I’m not a search engine.”

Usually when Bucky throws memories at Steve to see what sticks—what’s from before the war and what’s from the war and what’s from some time a few months ago, all the rest sliding down and off Steve’s confused face—he’s nice about it. Extra nice. If he misjudges, and Steve shows no sign of recognition, Bucky says, “Oops, I’m really sorry about that,” like he’s put his dirty shoes up on the dining room table or sneezed in Steve’s face.

Now, he stands over Steve and glares at him. His right hand flexes in and out of a fist by his side, left hand toying with an edge of his flannel the same way he does with the end of his ponytail when he can’t decide whether he really wants to go for a run or just thinks he should.

Steve is at a loss. “Okay, well, either way, I don’t know that one.”

“Do you think it’s funny?”

“Not really. So it’s probably Russian, right?”

Bucky huffs and looks away. “Who knows? Your sense of humor’s a piece of shit.” He stalks out of the room.

Later, all apparently forgotten, he says, “Hiawatha nice girl until I met you.”

He says, “Little Audrey laughed and laughed.”

He says, “The internet says that the goat ‘craves that mineral.’ And now everyone craves that mineral. I don’t get it, but I do think it’s funny.”

Steve says, “I never understand who you’re talking about when you say ‘the internet,’” and Bucky rolls his eyes.

“Do you talk to anyone on the internet or just read articles?”

Steve shrugs his shoulders up high around his ears. They’re in bed, and Bucky has his custom night guard held loosely in his metal hand, thumb running over the ridges. As far as Steve knows, he hasn’t even looked at it since wearing it the first night after it was made.

He’d removed it in the middle of the night, thrown it across the room in a daze. When he woke up and found the little ring of plasticky teeth sitting in front of their closed bedroom door, he said, “Ah, well. Ground-down teeth are ground-down teeth! How much more ground-down could my teeth even get, really. How much wood could a woodchuck, right?”

Steve said, “They don’t grow back, you know,” and Bucky said, “I know. Jeeze Lou-fucking-eeze, you sound just like the dentist when you say that.”

Steve’s in pajamas, but Bucky’s still got all his clothes on. He throws the night guard in the air and catches it.

“Hey.” Steve knee-walks across the bed to where Bucky’s perched on the side. “You could give me a tutorial on how to talk to people on the internet. If you wanted. That could be fun.” Bucky stares at him. Little wrinkles in his forehead. His mouth drawn tight. Then he works his jaw like he has something to say, and looks down at the night guard.

He kisses his metal fingers and presses them to Steve’s mouth. Steve kisses them in turn. He sucks on the middle finger for only a moment. Bucky looks up. He moves his hand so that he can knock on Steve’s shoulder at the same time that he says, “Knock knock.”

Steve sighs. “No knock-knock jokes in bed.”

Dramatically, like it’s somehow payback for not getting to make his joke, Bucky fits the night guard over his top row of teeth and bites down. With his distorted voice, he says, "I'm Captain America."

"Identity theft is a serious crime that affects millions of Americans," Steve says. He gets up to fetch Bucky pajamas from the closet. Just in case he changes his mind about wearing skinny jeans to bed.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (4/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (4/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (5/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-06 11:00 pm (UTC)(link)
Yes, it’s a lie that Stewart Roberts telecommutes. Steve Rogers, on the other hand, technically does. Whatever it is that telecommuting means precisely; when he asked, Natasha sent him a Dilbert strip, and he sent her back a drawing of himself vomiting on Dilbert. She texted him, “Crude :) It’s beautiful.”

But he does do projects from home that Natasha sends him, for herself, or for other people in her confusingly amorphous social and business network. “Visual espionage,” she calls it, and he likes that. Mostly it means drawing connections between the information in photographs, maps, handwritten notes. Things like that. He’s good at it. It’s also incredibly dull, so when Bucky walks into his office, which is a tiny room with a table, a chair, and a mostly empty filing cabinet, he’s overeager about slamming the laptop shut and shoving it into a filing drawer.

“Doin’ illicit business in here?” Bucky asks. “Should I step out so you can finish, uh—” He makes a jerking off motion. His sweater sleeve bulges; he’s got something shoved up there.

No. Stay. Please.” He turns his chair to face Bucky, and spreads his legs. Bucky steps between them, and leans in so they can kiss. His loose hair snakes between their faces, getting in Steve’s mouth. “Hang on.” He pulls it out—it’s already stuck in his teeth—and kisses Bucky again, more chastely.

Less chastely, Bucky straddles his thigh. His tongue darts out to lick the corner of Steve’s mouth, moving in a small circle, then across his parted lips. Steve groans in frustration and opens his mouth more to let Bucky's tongue in, sucking on it, moving his hands to Bucky’s waist, squeezing him there, scratching up his side; Bucky shivers in his grasp when Steve’s nails run slowly over his ribs. He rocks on Steve’s thigh, and Steve puts a hand on his hip and says, “No. Stay still.”

He does, holding very still as Steve scratches him again, and kisses him on the cheek. He looks at Bucky’s face; his eyes are wide, pupils big. Teeth buried in his lower lip. There’s a squirming sensation in the center of Steve’s torso, unidentifiable, but hard to ignore. Light touches, now, to Bucky’s hips.

He tries to sound light, too, when he says, “There something up your sleeve or you just get a dick transplanted on your arm?”

“Both, obviously.” Bucky shakes his head, a minute motion. Shakes the blatant arousal off his face. He reaches up his sleeve and pulls the object out. It’s a knife, and Bucky unfolds it smoothly. The handle and blade are about the same length, the blade slender and sharp, the handle sturdy. Both are highly polished.

He offers it to Steve, but Steve doesn’t take it. He stares at the tip, which faces him. Not the right way to hand a person a knife at all, but what do they ever do the right way? At all? He says, “Huh?”

“Uhhh. It’s a knife?”

“It’s a knife.”

“Yeah! For fucking.”

“You want me to fuck a knife? I don’t think that’ll end too well.”

“Shut up. You know what I’m talking about. You can gag me with the handle. You could threaten me with it with the flat on my skin. You could cut me a little.” He whispers in Steve’s ear, “You could even slice off some of my hair if you wanted. It’s really sharpened.”

Steve puts his hands on Bucky’s chest and pushes him back so that he can look him in the face. He tries to keep his own face somewhere from happy to neutral. A small smile. No tension. “I don’t know, Buck. You don’t think it’s a little much? It kind of feels like a little much.”

“Oh. But. We talked about this. A lot. I thought you’d be happy. It’s like a surprise party.”

“I’d hate to have a surprise party. Would you like a surprise party?” Bucky’s birthday is coming up. He has multiple friends now. It’s not a terrible idea.

But he doesn’t answer, which could mean anything. “Okay, fine. Like finding a penny in the gutter, Steve. Is that better?”

Steve looks at the corner of the ceiling with great intent. “People act like pennies are trash.”

“Yeah, and you’re acting like my knife is trash. Come on. Look at this. Look at that design on the handle. It made me think of you.” He holds it so it’s parallel with Steve’s body now, and closer to Steve’s face. The tip points at no one.

Steve looks. Tight silver curls. An intricate mess.

“Actually, it is a really beautiful knife, Buck. It’s.” He trails a finger down the flat of the blade. Cool and perfect. He imagines, in a flash of color and movement, making Bucky kiss it. Then he cringes and takes his finger away.

“Okay, so you’re acting like I’m trash. Glad that’s all settled.”

“No, I’m not!” Steve stuffs his hands in his pockets. It’s a difficult move, sitting down and with Bucky on him, his pants as tight-fitting as they are. He does feel feverish, feels like a skittish horse.

“Oh,” Bucky says, and sits the knife down on his thigh, pointed toward himself. “Sorry. Sorry, you’re not—That was stupid. I just thought you’d like it. That’s all. But I can use it for knife-throwing. It doesn’t have to be a sex knife. I’m sorry.”

“I don’t need you to be sorry.”

“Okay, but I am anyway, so you’ll have to deal with it.”

“That sounds awfully out of character. Deal with something? No thank you.”

“Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking. We don’t gotta use the knife. We could just, you know. Anything else. You can fuck my face if you want. You always want to fuck my face.”

“Of course I do. But, uh.” He rubs the back of his neck. Sometimes, when he does that, people will ask if he’s sunburned, and it makes him much more annoyed than it should. He can’t get sunburned anymore. Shouldn’t that be obvious?

“You don’t want to fuck my face. So you want to, uh, hmm. Okay. Are we playing Charades? Pictionary?”

“I don’t think Sam would like it if we played without him.”

“Aw. That’s true. Okay. We don’t have to do anything. You just, you know—”


Bucky looks at Steve’s crotch and gestures with both hands like he’s introducing someone famous. “Looking a little stiff there, pal. Thought I could help.”

Steve looks at his own crotch, as though he hasn’t been able to feel the arrival of his unwanted erection just fine for the past few minutes. “That’s barely anything. It’s the serum. My circulation’s too good.”

“You say like I don’t live with you and see you flaccid all the time. But fine. You’re not in the mood right now. Sorry I misread the situation.” He flips the knife closed. Steve puts his hand on his wrist, as lightly as he can.

“That’s not it. Entirely.”

“All right.”

“I just don’t know how to go from here, Buck.”

“Oh, that’s easy. You unzip your fly, and then I get on my knees.” He sticks his tongue between his teeth.

“No. Buck, I’m being serious.”

“I’m not joking. Fine, fine. Go from here. Go where?”

“I can’t tell what you’re thinking anymore.”

“I’m thinking about you carving your initials in my chest.”

“And what else are you thinking about?”

“I don’t know. What are you thinking about?”

“We’ve talked about that already.”

“What? Oh. This is about the rape thing. Jesus fucking Christ.” He gets up and stalks to the doorway, so suddenly that Steve’s left feeling like he blinked and missed an entire act of a play. “I thought we were done with that.” He grips the top of the archway in his metal hand, his other hand clutched tight around the knife.

“Based on what exactly?”

“Based on the fact that it didn’t fucking happen! Fuck. Fine. I’m too disgusting for you now. I get it.”

“Buck. Please. Come on. Let’s just—Uh. We’ll just watch TV. We can talk about this later.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Do you want to watch TV?”

Bucky shrugs. He says, “It’s late. We should eat dinner. Do we have TV dinners?”

“Yeah. You can use the knife to slit the plastic wrap.”

“No. That’s not what it’s for.”

Instead, he hands Steve the knife to slit the plastic wrap, and Steve obliges him, and tries to pretend that Bucky’s hand isn’t shaking.

Later, he’ll berate himself for letting his muscle control go, living the quiet civilian life, because when Bucky throws himself over the back of the sofa and lands next to him with a quiet, “Oof,” Steve flinches. Noticeably.

The way Bucky landed, his thigh brushes up against Steve’s; his head is at the right height to lean on Steve’s shoulder, but when Steve flinches, Bucky stiffens and then shuffles away. He looks like he’d stuff himself under the couch cushions if he could.

Steve says, “Hey, sorry, I was thinking about something else,” which is a lie, because he doesn’t think about much else lately, even if he was ostensibly reading a book about home foreclosures. He lifts an arm, expecting Bucky to drape it over his shoulders and cuddle up into Steve’s side, his usual reaction to that gesture, but Bucky just stays at the other end of the couch, glaring.

He says, “Don’t tell me,” and Steve says, “Okay,” without realizing that he’s interrupting.

Bucky forges ahead, “It was also rape every time a Hydra tech so much as sat next to me? You know, I figured you’d be happy some of them bothered to treat me like a person.”

His arm is still stupidly raised to make a Bucky-shaped space. The book is still open in his other hand. “Buck, they couldn’t have.”

“What, because I wasn’t a person?”

“That isn’t what I mean.”

“Oh, fuck you. That’s completely what you’re saying.”

Steve makes himself lower his arm, mark his page in the book and put it on the floor. “You’re a person. My problem isn’t that you’re not a person. My problem is—” and whenever he starts a sentence like that around Sam, he smirks and fills in the blank for him. “My problem. Is what did it remind you of when I hit you?”


“A few weeks ago. We were having sex and I hit you. It reminded you of something. You started laughing.” Steve’s guts feel cold. He’d been so charmed, at the time, by Bucky’s secretive delight.

“No. No, because you’re going to use it against me. You want to fucking weaponize my memories, you don’t get to have them anymore.”

“I’m not weaponizing anything, Buck.”

“Right. Sure. Sounds exactly like you.”

“Yeah, it does, actually.”

“Steve Rogers, the pacifist.”

“Yeah, actually! I don’t want to fight. Not with you. And not about this.”

Bucky gets up off the couch. He puts the side of it between himself and Steve, and crosses his arms over his chest. “Not about what, Steve? What don’t you want to fight about? My precious fragile trauma?”

“Yes! It shouldn’t be a fight. I just want us to communicate truthfully. I can’t have sex with you if you ask me to do things that make you think about being raped!”

“I never think about being raped, because I wasn’t raped, Steve. I don’t know how many times I have to say this. It’s getting disgusting. Why do you want me to have been raped? Why do you need my life to have been even worse than it was?”

“I don’t! That's the last thing I want, Buck. I swear to god.”

“Oh, okay. Funny. Sure. That’s really what I’m getting from this.”

“It should be. I just need to know you have a straight head on your shoulders.”

“Oh. Well that’s a bummer. Because I don’t. And neither do you. I’m allowed to be crazy and I’m allowed to not have been raped, so fucking let up.”

“Bucky.” He grinds his teeth. He said he doesn’t want to fight, and he can’t go back on that. If Bucky isn’t in a good place to talk about this for real right now, they won’t. So he says, “You can sit next to me. That’s fine. I’d like that.”

“Well, too bad. I’m going for a walk. I’ll see you soon.”

It’s weird; they still sleep in the same bed that night, even though Bucky’s walk lasted until after dinner, and when he got home, he did his homework at the table without talking or sparing Steve more than a cursory glance. But Steve is in bed, reading, with detachment, a water-logged thriller someone abandoned on the bus stop bench, and Bucky walks in and changes into pajamas like everything is normal.

When the light is off, they both curl into commas, Bucky’s back to Steve and a foot of space between them. Bucky edges backward, not closing the distance, but indicating what he wants. For Steve to wrap around him, to hold him like a teddy bear and nestle his face in Bucky’s hair.

And maybe, when they wake up, still groggy, grind on him and jerk him off and whisper mean things in his ear and scratch his chest up. Steve’s chest feels tight thinking about it. A mix of pleasant breathlessness and utter terror. He can touch Bucky. In theory. In reality, he’s afraid to move closer, to lay his hand on Bucky’s stomach and press their backs together, to hold him in place. To trap him there.

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (6/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-13 08:17 pm (UTC)(link)
He can’t talk to Bucky; journaling is useless; and he also can’t talk to anyone else. It’s private; it wouldn’t be fair to Bucky, not knowing that people are looking at him and knowing what happened. But if he asks Bucky for permission, he’ll flip his lid again. He’ll say, “You got an issue with me, tell me directly. What am I, a brick wall? Who is it that doesn’t see me as a person now?”

Since he was a kid, Bucky’s been distressed by the thought of being discussed behind his back. Thank god for him that Steve was the problem child.

It’s not like it’s unreasonable. Of course not. Steve could always handle being talked about up until the point where it was about him having trouble with something. Steve Rogers vandalized the school hallway with his amateur protest art? Say what you want. Steve Rogers got beat up by three boys larger than him but then he bit one on the arm and the kid bled all over Steve’s clothes? Such a good topic for conversation.

Steve Rogers is probably on his deathbed? Well.

But the thing is, he asks himself, How would Bucky handle this if he were me? And the answer is, He’d find a way to talk to someone. No matter the challenges that might come with that; he’d figure it out.

Steve doesn’t, he decides, have to be specific. There has to be a way to broach the topic with someone while making it sound like he’s the one carrying a lot of baggage. The one struggling to communicate his feelings—how to communicate them sincerely and how to know if he’s ready. He can sell that. It’s embarrassing, anticipating it, rehearsing his lines into a hand mirror. But Natasha loves poking at him about this kind of thing, and she might be so gleeful that his embarrassment will get swept under the rug.

After Bucky leaves for Money Management class, Steve sits down in the kitchen and calls her.

Before she can even say hi, he grits out, “I want to talk to you about sex.”

“Oh, this should be good. Is this a clinical issue, or are we about to have phone sex? Do you want to know what I’m wearing?”

“Depends. Is it interesting?” He picks up a salt shaker and rolls it around in his hand.

“It’s coveralls,” she says, voice low and husky and on the brink of laughter.

“You’re a fashion plate. Neither of those are why I’m calling.”

“I’m not giving you sex advice, Steve. Read the Kama Sutra. Go on some forums. The internet is very enlightening, you know.”

“Why coveralls?”

“I’m a janitor today. It’s a whole thing.”

“You’re not strikebreaking, are you?”

“Yes. As a highly trained, multilingual spy, combat expert, and computer hacker with dozens of extensive legitimate resumes under dozens of illegitimate names, I’m so hard up for work that I’ve resorted to strikebreaking. You got me.”

“Impressive qualifications, Nat. Just keeping you honest.”

“You need to see a therapist.”

“What, so they can hypnotize me and tell me I was emotionally crippled by having a single mother?”

“I don’t think you understand what therapy is.”

“Of course I do.”

“Sam goes to therapy, doesn’t he? You don’t think they’re hypnotizing him and saying he was emotionally crippled by having a single mother?”

“He didn’t have a single mother.”

“Don’t be obtuse, Steve.”

“And he isn’t emotionally crippled.”

“And that is a very intriguing can of worms that you just opened, but unfortunately, I have to get back to work. Talk to a professional, Steve. If they bring out the pocket watch and start asking you to count backward, you can always get up and leave.”

Steve makes a disgruntled noise that he knows she’ll interpret as agreement. “Is the janitor gig fun?”

“Oh, it will be in a second. Gotta go.” He hears a volley of shots. Natasha hangs up.

After some staring at the wall (red floral tile that Bucky took an immediate liking to when they first looked at the place, saying it was familiar), he decides to call Sam. With a different approach in mind, of course. Sam definitely has no interest in discussing his imaginary sexual hang-ups. If Steve tried, Sam would prop his phone up in front of the TV speakers and walk away.

Instead, when Sam picks up, with a, “Yeah, shoot,” Steve says, “Board games again?”

“What, your boyfriend’s too busy to invite me himself?”

“This wasn’t delegated. I want you to. We had fun.”

Sam starts laughing, and says, syllables jumping up and down, “You lost miserably. You can’t even stand to lose happily.”

“That game was rigged against me. Something else. Pictionary? I can play Pictionary.”

“Some of us can only draw half a stick figure but, sure, yeah. Wipe the floor with me. Does Bucky know you’re honing in on his territory here?”

“I’ll check with him when he gets back from class. I doubt he’ll mind.”

“That guy minds everything.”

“Yeah, well,” Steve says, not sure what Sam means, “that’s his charm.” He lifts a corner of the tablecloth and triples it up so he can sink his teeth into something for a few seconds. “You doing okay?”

“When aren’t I?”

It occurs to Steve for the first time that Sam might not also be sitting at home doing nothing in the middle of a weekday. He has a job where he goes out. Where he speaks to people. He maybe even speaks to people in other contexts (besides occasionally being Captain America), and just pretends to Steve that he doesn’t. That he’s lonely too.

Still, Steve says, “Haha. Seriously. If you show up and you’re wasting away, I’m mother henning you.”

“You can’t even make a Bloody Mary, Steve. It’s tomato juice. Good luck making me into a baby hen.” The sound of something rustling in the background. “But I’m fine. I’m actually fine right now. I took an early lunch break.”

“Shit. I don’t want to keep you from—”

“Shhh. Shhhhhh.” He sounds like a waterfall. “Text me the details of game night and I won’t hold it against you. Love you. Wilson out.”

How long does Steve stay in the kitchen? The front door groans open. How long has Steve been sitting here with the lights off? Even through the blinds and the barely parted curtains, the room was less gray when he first picked up the phone. At some point, he got himself a mug of orange juice. It sits by his aching elbow, half-finished.

The front door groans and clicks shut. And Bucky sighs in a contained, grumbling way, and kicks his shoes off, and mutters, “Ow.”

Can he tell Steve’s been in the kitchen since he left? No, of course not. Steve picks up the orange juice and downs it. It’s warm and too sour, but it’s not like it can hurt him. “Honey, you’re home,” he says, at a regular, talking-kind-of volume, and Bucky laughs and says much louder, “Honey, you are too!”

“You said ow. You all right?” They both gave up pretending long ago that they couldn’t hear each other’s every move and whisper.

“Finger plate caught on my hair, worrywart. No issue.” He’s got the same slick swagger in his voice that he gets when he tells a joke, and Steve braces himself, clenching the mug handle, not knowing if he’s going to get, Banana you glad I didn't say orange? or Stalin has the conductor shot. The train doesn’t move—

The mug is from Bucky’s favorite library. He donated money and he got a mug. What happens if Steve breaks the handle off? They’re out of Krazy Glue. He unbraces. He pushes it across the table.

When Bucky comes into the kitchen, he flips the light on without commenting on the darkness. Steve blinks more than he has to. Judging by the whorls and bumps still molded in by thickness and time, Bucky had his hair up in some kind of braided bun contraption today, but he’s taken it most of the way down. There are hair ties around his metal wrist, and bobby pins along his t-shirt’s collar.

Khrushchev rehabilitates the conductor. The train still doesn’t move—

Bucky plucks the mug off the table and sets about washing it at the sink, squeezing an absurd amount of dish soap onto their ratty sponge. He hums something Steve doesn’t recognize, high and boppy. Twitches his head from side to side.

“So,” Steve says, and for no real reason but maybe a performance of politeness, Bucky turns the sink off and turns to look at him. “I invited Sam over for Pictionary?”

“Oh.” He smiles a few seconds too late. “When?”

“Not sure. I called him this morning and said I’d check with you. But he’s in.”

“You’re s’posed to send a written invitation.” Bucky turns back to the sink. He rinses the mug out, but puts it in the sink instead of in the drying rack. “It’s not a proper party otherwise.”

“Not one of us is a proper anything.”

“You’re a proper sight for sore eyes.”

“You’re not even looking.”

Bucky looks. He leans with his elbows on the sink’s edge, body on a dramatic slope. “Yep. Just as I thought. Sore eyes.”

He doesn’t say it like he’s flirting, even though he’s used that line on Steve plenty of times, following it up with, “So why don’t you make the rest of me sore too?”

Almost always Steve has said, “I’d love nothing more,” and made him sore all over, fucking him harsh and fast, twisting his nipples until he screamed, biting purpling marks into his shoulders and hips and neck and twisting his arms behind his back, and trying to make him heart-sore too, to make him feel all bruised up on the inside in a warm, content way.

“You could close your eyes if it’s a problem,” Steve says, and Bucky says, “Nah,” and walks toward him, but falls short. He’s walking with a slick swagger too. Staring sore-eyed at Steve, he pushes his hair back off his face, with his metal hand, and from the wince on his face, the finger-plates catch again, but he won’t make any noise about it this time.

His finger-plates never catch on his hair. He has great control over when they flex open or closed, except sometimes when he’s all fucked-out, but he isn’t. He can’t be.

He doesn’t walk closer, but he does bend forward, face floating in front of Steve’s. “I’ve been thinking about something.”

There’s the faintest scent of gin on his breath, mixed with cinnamon gum.

“Yeah. Do you want to tell me about it?”

“Why in some of the Little Audrey jokes was she evil but in others she was just a stupid slut?”

“I’m not really comfortable with you saying that, Buck. It’s, uh. Unsavory?”

“It’s true, though. And don’t act like you don’t say those words.” His hair is still stuck in little bumpy shapes in places, and his eyes look close to unfocused. He licks his lips.

“It’s different than saying them about a woman. A young woman.”

“A fake young woman. Like me.”

Bucky breathes out a heavier gust of gin and cinnamon. He rolls his eyes. “Fine. I’ll think about it by myself.” Still bending over, he takes another step forward.

“Hey.” Steve raises his arm and hovers it by Bucky’s side, in the vicinity of his waist. He wants to pull him into his lap and hold him and smooth his hair out and maybe put it up for him again, if sloppier than before.

Bucky slips his metal hand into the hovering hand and then drops it like it bit him.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to do that.” He straightens up and backs away until he hits the lip of the sink.

“To do what, Buck? I reached for you.”

“To touch you. You don’t want that, right? You don’t like it. That’s fine.”

“I can touch you.” He pulls his arm back and crosses it over himself like a seatbelt, digging fingers into the flesh between shoulder and chest. “I just don’t know if we should be having sex.”

“Well, that’s a fucking arbitrary line to draw.” He should look angry as he says it, but he just looks worn out. He runs his hand through his hair again and the plates catch again and this time he says, “Ow,” ostentatiously as though daring Steve to make something of it before shaking his head like a wet dog and barreling forward.

“Why not admit you don’t want me anymore because you think it’s disgusting that I would fuck someone in Hydra? I’m not thrilled about it either, but it’s a hell of a lot less reprehensible than any of the other shit I was doing at the time. You’ve somehow forgiven me for all that.”

“I didn’t have to forgive you for being brainwashed and I don’t need to forgive you for being raped either, Buck.”

“Not when you put it like that, I guess. It’s real convenient that you get to choose what language we’re using.”

“I don’t understand. Do I hate you for it or don’t I, in this delusion?”

“You hate me and want to talk like you don’t, fuck. It isn’t complicated.” He turns away, toward the sink. He rinses the mug again and moves it to the drying rack this time.

“That sounds awful for me.”

“Yeah, well, it’s awful for me too, but you’re doing it anyway.”

“I’m not. I’m just worried. You’re drunk, Bucky. I didn’t know you could get drunk.”

“Of course I can get drunk. I’m a normal fucking person.” Steve doesn’t rise to the bait, even as an anvil sinks from his throat down through his chest and into his guts. Bucky never says that shit to him except in jest. Steve doesn’t say anything. Bucky stays staring into the sink. “When are you going to stop punishing me for not being sad?”

“I wouldn’t do that, Buck. I don’t want that.”

“Well, we don’t even own Pictionary.”

“We can buy it. What can it cost, five-hundred bucks?”

“I’ll get it out of the library.” Finally, he turns, and he grins. “Don’t touch my mug, please. You’re just going to break it.”

Brezhnev closes the curtains and says, “Now we’re moving.”

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (7/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-14 02:16 am (UTC)(link)
This time, Sam brings bottled White Russians. “No preparation needed, all right?”

Bucky says, “These are like two percent alcohol,” but accepts one anyway and pops the lid off with his teeth to take a long slug.

Sam squints at him and raises an eyebrow. “Isn’t that cannibalism?”

“The metal bit or the White Russian?” Bucky wipes his face with the back of his hand like he might have a milk mustache. His beard leaves a pink mark on his skin.

“Whichever you think is funnier.”

“Let me tell you later.”

They’re all still standing in the entrance. Bucky has Sam’s jacket draped over his metal shoulder. Sam is resting his head against the door, cradling the boxes of White Russians in his arms like they're a giant, pampered dog, watching as Bucky finishes his drink in under a minute and tucks the empty into the deep pocket of his jeans. Steve wonders if he should tell Sam that Bucky can get drunk after all. Unless Sam already knows. Unless Bucky sent him a postcard about it.

“We playing for real?” Steve asks. “Or are you both too yellow to get creamed by me?” His voice sounds hollow as a leg full of White Russians.

“Look.” Sam lifts his head from the door. “I know I’m not winning on this account, but I gotta say: Pictionary doesn’t work with three people either. You form into teams. You guys really gotta get another friend so we can do these nights correctly.”

Steve fakes a wounded look. “Natasha’s my friend!”

Bucky, however, looks genuinely wounded. “I have a lot of friends, douchebag. I just can’t bring them over because they’d recognize Captain America in the flesh.” He punches Sam softly on the arm.

“Fine, fine. Next time I’ll wear one of those rubber George W. Bush masks.”

“Those what?” Bucky takes one of the boxes of drinks from him and heads to the living room.

“I know you know who George W. Bush is. He was a popular Halloween costume for a little bit there. You both slept through some dark times.”

Steve takes another box. “We’ve lived through dark times too, you know.”

Sam rolls his eyes, but nods in commiseration. They both follow Bucky, who’s now camped out on the floor, knees pulled up and spread, Sam’s jacket still over his shoulder.

When Steve asked, before Sam arrived, if Bucky remembered to get the game out of the library, Bucky said, “Didn’t need to. Did you know it’s just words and drawing? You can get words off the internet and we already own pencils and paper.”

“Wouldn’t it be fun to do it the official way?”

“Well, that doesn’t sound like Steve Rogers. You all right in there?”

Bucky was lying on the couch with his head on the arm and one booted leg kicked up onto the back. He didn’t appear to be doing anything over there, but who knew. Steve was doing visual espionage on his laptop in a chair he’d dragged in from the kitchen.

He looked at the blurry panorama photograph he was supposed to be evaluating. He’d circled one spot in red and added a question mark.

“No, I’m fine, Buck. Just thought that’s how you’d want to do it.”

“This way’s fun. I chose the cards, so it’s like I’m cheating.” He rolls his head to the side and smiles at Steve. It’s tight, but wide, and the corners of his eyes do crinkle.

“Fine, I give. We can use my colored pencils too.”

“Don’t waste your nice pencils on my account. I bought crayons. It’s gonna be great.”

The crayons in question are lined up neatly on a coffee table Bucky found in the trash. One-hundred and twenty of them, ordered into a neat and accurate spectrum. There’s also a pile of face-down index cards, three pencils, three clipboards full of paper, and a little plastic hourglass.

Bucky points to where he wants Steve and Sam each to sit, so they’re in a triangular formation. Sam picks up a salmon-colored crayon from the row and rolls it between his fingers. “Awesome. Do you just own a jumbo pack of Crayola or what?”

“No.” Bucky flaps a hand at him until he’s supplied with another drink. “My friend Katarina used to do quality control for Crayola. She gave 'em to me.”
“What?” Steve picks up a cornflower blue, just to have something to hold. “You said you bought these.”

“Oh, sure, like that’s an interesting story. Come on, you’re ruining my façade.”

“Uh, I hate to also ruin your façade, but, ‘My friend gave me a box of crayons,’ isn’t much of a story either.”

“Yeah, fucking bitch and moan at me. Everyone’s a critic. Which! By the way, I did think of the three people problem, thank you very much.”

“Oh, my bad.”

“It doesn’t have to be teams. Both other people get to try to guess. Whoever guesses right’s allowed to take a drink.”

Steve puts his crayon down, careful to line it up with the others. “I assume we’re also tracking who wins in the end.”

“No. That’s no fun. I want to have fun, and that isn’t it. So come on. Whoever can beat me in arm wrestling gets to go first.” He rolls the sweater sleeve up on his left arm, and grins at them both.

Sam sighs, and passes him two White Russians, motioning to his own teeth to make it clear what he wants. Bucky bites them open and distributes them evenly. “No takers?”

Steve and Sam both shake their heads, and Bucky says, “Great! I go,” and pulls a card from the stack.

Pictionary seems to be a much more leisurely game than Apples to Apples, even if it involves a lot more frantic yelling. Sam draws a can of gasoline that looks like an elephant or a purse, or—and Bucky crumples his face up when he says this—phallic. Bucky draws Steve for the word, “husband,” but Sam, who knows it’s Steve, yells out insulting guesses, and Steve, embarrassingly, doesn’t recognize his own face.

Wedding cake. Extension cord. S’mores. Wooly mammoth. Mirror. Exercise. Et cetera. And then Bucky starts only drawing Steve or himself.

He draws Steve for “macho” and Steve throws a corn chip at him (Bucky was hiding a bag of corn chips under the couch as a surprise). He draws Steve for “pilot” and Sam says, “Kind of dark, man,” but Steve and Bucky both giggle, looking each other in the eye, and Sam’s tipsy and Bucky is something and both of them are infectious, and things feel normal. Little icicles hang off of Pilot Steve.

Bucky draws himself for “myth.” He draws himself for “sleep.” He draws himself all beat-up and gory for “bruise.” It’s when he draws himself for “puppet” that Steve says, “I thought you wanted to have fun.”

Bucky frowns at his drawing of a little Winter Soldier in the goggles and mask.

Sam says, “Yeah, moratorium on pictures of anyone in this room or I’m out.” Gently, he takes the paper from Bucky’s hands and stares at it.

“Though you are a better artist than I thought you’d be.”

“I’ve got a ton of talents.” Bucky stuffs a fistful of corn chips in his mouth. When he’s done chewing and swallowing, Steve’s in the middle of trying to illustrate “protestant.” Bucky says, “Sorry.”

“That’s fine,” Steve says, and Sam says, “Yeah, we’re good,” and it’s difficult to read whether Bucky believes either of them.

That’s fair. Steve can’t even read whether he himself believes Sam, toward whom he feels a rush of guilt and protectiveness. He definitely shouldn’t have invited him over when things were this tense. He was hoping to break the tension, not mire Sam in the thick of it.

Steve draws an outline of California and Bucky correctly guesses, “Drought. That’s drought. You won’t stop talking about it.”

Sam draws a cluster of bees and Bucky guesses, “Bees,” and Steve guesses, “Extinction,” and Bucky guesses, “Bumblebees,” and Steve guesses, “Threatening,” and it turns out that it was a swarm. It was a swarm of bees.

The game ends when they run out of drinks, which happens pretty quickly once they decide to abandon Bucky’s rule, due to the fact that almost no one’s guessing anything right and so almost no White Russians are getting consumed.

Part of Steve is surprised that Bucky doesn’t offer to sleep on the floor this time and let Sam share the bed. But it’s clear that he’s feeling ginger and self-conscious about the whole Calling Himself a Puppet Possibly as a Passive-Aggressive Dig at Steve and Steve’s Newfound Celibacy slip-up and wants to make everything look as normal as possible.

So Steve goes to get the sleeping bag and Sam follows him. Thank god. Once they’re out of view of Bucky, who’s slipping his crayons back into the box one-by-one, he grabs Sam’s arm, hustles him into the bedroom, shuts the door most of the way, and throws a blanket over both of their heads. There’s not a ton more he can do to muffle their conversation.

“This is not the right way to build a blanket fort,” Sam says, not in a paranoid whisper.

“Shhh. I need you to keep your voice down.”

He does this time. “Are we being bugged?”

“No, just. I don’t want Bucky to hear.”


“Does his face look wrong to you?”


“Does his face look wrong?”

Sam moves his jaw around. He closes his mouth and breathes out slowly through his nose. “Look, the guy drew himself for the word 'puppet' and didn’t seem to think it was kind of weird.”


“And he didn’t seem to be joking.”

“No, he didn’t. So his face looks wrong?”

“Why do you people think that’s a real phrase?”

“I know it’s not! But I’m just checking. Thank you. Did you have fun besides that?”

“Yeah. That’s not a question you need to ask under the blanket.”

“Oh. I guess not.”

They use teamwork to throw the blanket back onto the bed.

In the living room, Bucky’s still putting the crayons away, and shows no signs of having heard them. He’s working on the green crayons, and mouthing something to himself. He pauses, and looks up at Sam with half a smile. “Hey, I decided.”

“To do something about your ugly mug? That’s great man.”

“Shut up. Which one’s funnier. It’s White Russian. I like your Russian jokes better than your metal jokes.”

“I’ll keep that in mind next time I dedicate a stand-up routine to you.”

Bucky leans into Sam’s space and wraps an arm around one of his calves. Sam doesn’t startle. Bucky leans back. “Sorry. I’d hug you like a normal person if I weren’t on the floor.”

Steve unrolls the sleeping bag. He tucks Bucky’s “husband” drawing into his pocket when no one is looking.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (7/?)

(Anonymous) - 2016-08-14 03:35 (UTC) - Expand

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (7/?)

(Anonymous) - 2016-08-14 23:50 (UTC) - Expand

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (7/?)

(Anonymous) - 2016-08-14 03:56 (UTC) - Expand

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (7/?)

(Anonymous) - 2016-08-14 04:21 (UTC) - Expand

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (7/?)

(Anonymous) - 2016-08-16 21:15 (UTC) - Expand

FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (8/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-15 12:26 am (UTC)(link)
“So let’s say it was rape.”

This is how Steve wakes up: at three in the morning, cut loose from a nightmare about starring in a reality show, dry-throated, and looking at Bucky, who’s crouched on the floor by his head in pajama pants and no shirt. His first thought is that it’s been so long since he really looked at Bucky’s bare chest. Its strange smoothness, except around the edges of his arm, thick with scar tissue that Steve swears changes sometimes, like a river dammed up, freed, and then dammed again. His muscle mass, lessened since he became a civilian, but still present. Unavoidable, with how they are.

His second thought is that something must be wrong. Bucky’s eyes are wild and tired at the same time.

Finally, he processes what Bucky said, and all he feels is relief. Something hard and cold flowing out of him.

“Okay,” he says, not sure how delayed his response is and hoping it doesn’t matter. He wipes crust from the corners of his eyes. Bucky’s perfectly still. “Let’s say it was. I—What happened? Are you okay?”

“I’m not really saying it was. I just have a question.”

“Oh.” The hard and the cold begin seeping back in. “Okay.”

At that, Bucky’s eyes lose their wildness, and his mouth twitches. He moves out of his crouch to sit on the floor with his arms behind him. “What does it matter?”

“What does it matter?”


“You mean because they’re dead. Like you said before.”

“No. Not that. You didn’t say you couldn’t fuck me. Yet. When I said that. I didn’t know that was on the table.”

“Okay. So say what you mean.”

Bucky bites his lip and shuffles backward. “For the purposes of this conversation, we say it was rape. Okay? But what the fuck does that have to do with anything? Why does that mean you can’t fuck me anymore?”


“Why does it mean that? You haven’t said why it means that. You just think it’s obvious.” He should be yelling. Instead he sounds drugged, unsteady, empty.

“Isn’t it?”

“That’s not an answer. I want an answer.”

And Steve wants to give him an answer, except it feels so obvious that he doesn’t know how. This whole time, he assumed that Bucky knew the answer, that the problem was only that he didn’t agree. And now Steve is half-asleep and heavy-tongued and Bucky is sitting in front of him looking like he’s anywhere but here and Steve doesn’t know. The scar tissue keeps changing.

“I don’t. It’s too early, Buck. It’s too early for me to be able to do this.”


“Because it’s hard. It’s hard to talk about. Why did you wake me up in the middle of the night to do this?” He becomes aware that now he’s yelling, or close to it. Closer than he’d like to be in this situation. But he does feel angry, sort of. Ambushed. Like Bucky wanted him vulnerable and stupid for this so that he could prove a point.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t know when else to.”

“Any other time.”

“No. I don’t think I would have any other time.” He toys with the hem of a pajama leg. “I woke up and I wanted to ask. I thought if I wanted to ask, I should.”

“That’s not.” Steve sighs. “That’s not unreasonable. I’m sorry for snapping.”

“I know.”

“But I’m too tired, Bucky, okay? My thoughts just. Aren’t in the right order. Is it urgent?”

“No. Let’s talk tomorrow. Please. Please just. Tell me tomorrow.”

“I will.” Bucky’s still sitting there, fidgeting with his pajamas, looking lost. “Can I hold your hand?”

Bucky shrugs. “Which one?”

“Any. Either hand. I don’t care.”

“Yeah.” He holds out his left hand. He shuffles closer. “Can you fall asleep like this?”

“I think so.” If he can fall asleep at all. He closes his eyes. Bucky’s hand is warm. He’s afraid of returning to nightmares. He can hear Bucky breathing, even though Bucky is better at breathing silently than anyone else in the world.

Of course, the next time he wakes up, it’s after noon, and Bucky isn’t home. He can’t remember if he has class right now or not. Maybe he’s meeting friends. Maybe he’s having a coffee date or maybe he’s drinking. Maybe he’s just hiding, horrified at himself for what he did in the middle of the night. Cracking, a thin sliver like an egg that’s been barely tapped against the counter, but enough. Enough that another tap will do him in.

Steve thinks about what to text him while he robotically makes himself coffee. As he cracks eggs to poach. Makes some toast. Puts on pants.

In the end, as he stares at his eggs, all he texts is, Home any time soon? He waits a couple minutes to follow up with, I love you.

When he’s washing the dishes, he gets back, yeah later don’t worry.

So not in class, at least not anymore. Bucky would never text him from class.

It’s hours later when Bucky comes in, making a lot of noise in a particularly intentional way. Scraping the key against the lock and grunting as he removes his shoes and throwing his backpack onto the floor. Perhaps in case Steve is asleep again, to give him time to rouse himself before they jump back into it.

But Steve is awake, curled up on the couch and watching infomercials. Infomercials make him nauseous. Out of self-preservation, he’s forced to tune them out and prepare for talking to Bucky. Prepare for whichever Bucky came through that door.

“Hey, there,” he says, turning the TV off, and Bucky says, “Yeah, hey, there,” and walks into the living room, quieter now.

He doesn’t sit down. He stands with his elbows on the back of the couch. Keeping it between them. “You still want to talk?”

Steve tries to sound light when he says, “That was my line.”

“I still want to.” Now Bucky does sit, but leaves a wide space between their bodies. His hair is pulled back in a neat French braid, but his slacks are a drab olive, and he swims in his t-shirt. His facial expression is drab too.

Steve forces himself to put his feet on the floor. Mirroring Bucky’s uneasy position.

He says, “Can you ask me again?” Bucky’s eyes go wide. “No, you don’t have to. I know you said that, well. It would be hard. I’m just afraid that I dreamed it. Or got parts wrong. I’ll say what I think you asked. And you correct me. If I get anything wrong.”

“Sounds good enough.”

“You asked why it matters.”


“What does it being rape have to do with not having sex?”

“Bingo. No dreaming. A+ at being awake.” He smiles, and it looks genuine. Warm and liquid.

“And I thought that it was obvious, but you didn’t.”

“Well, I didn’t know that part for sure, but sure. Are you actually planning to answer, or draw this bit out forever?”

“I’m just checking.”

“Fine, sorry. Check to your heart’s content. How much check could a Steve check check?”

“A lot. He could check check a lot.” That makes Bucky smile again. “Because I think wires are still crossed here.”

“I mean. That’s obvious enough, right?”

“Maybe. But it isn’t because you were raped. That isn’t why we can’t fuck.”

“Uh, sorry, but that’s sorta what you’ve been saying. This entire time, you’ve been saying that. Don’t fucking act like you haven’t.”

“No, I haven’t.”

“Steve.” He grips the arm of the couch, hard. With his right hand, or they might need to go to Ikea instead of talking more. “I just said not to act like that. I’m not stupid.”

“Okay. Maybe I’ve been saying that. But it wasn’t what I meant to say. It’s not that you were raped. It’s that you think you weren’t.”


“What’s the ‘so?’ Buck, I don’t get why this is unclear.”

Bucky grunts and starts to get up. His teeth are clenched and bared, and he’s already pulling his hair tie out. Finally—and he didn’t know that he’d been waiting for this—Steve feels like his heart is breaking.

“Jesus, Bucky. Can you sit down and I’ll say it?”

Bucky drops back down. He’s still doing that thing with his teeth, and Steve starts to hear himself whirling apart.

“The problem is that you don’t realize that what they did was wrong. It was evil. So what if I do something wrong. What if I hurt you, and you don’t realize. And I keep doing it. And you’re trapped with me, not having any idea that there’s any reason to get away. I won’t let that happen to you again. I can’t let that happen to you again. I’d be a monster. All right?”

“What the fuck evil thing are you going to do? Hit me in the face because it makes us both happy? Oooh, you’re gonna choke me and I don’t even pass out?” He makes Nosferatu hands and says, “Oooh,” again.

“I don’t know, Bucky! And I don’t want to speculate. I don’t want to imagine that I might do any of it, but I’ve done a lot of things at this point that I’ve never imagined.”

“I know I never imagined you in pants that tight.”

“It isn’t funny. My being scared isn’t funny, okay?”

Bucky’s face goes slack. “I don’t think you being scared is funny,” he mumbles. His voice has a high, hoarse quality like he’s just finished a crying jag, but of course he hasn’t. Steve’s been looking at him a long time.

“Then what is so funny. Obviously something here is all a big joke to you.”

“It’s not a—Steve, come on.” He goes for a smile, but his mouth is too rectangular. He looks like a drunken mugshot of himself.

“Buck. I don’t get it.”

Bucky turns his head to the side. He’s sucking his cheeks in. He shrugs. “You’re not going to hurt me.”

“I hope not. But I don’t—I still get to be scared. I need you to talk to me if you want me to not be scared.”

“I don’t know what there is to talk about.”

It’s like they’re back at the beginning. Steve feels like he’s going crazy; he feels like he’s a child and Bucky’s abusers are an imaginary friend that his mother keeps forgetting to say goodnight to. He takes in a deep breath through his nose. Shuts his eyes.

When he opens them again, Bucky is standing, both arms limp by his sides. The only sign of life is in his eyes, which blink slightly faster than usual, look slightly squintier and redder than they should.

Steve tilts his head to the side. He says, “Can I,” and Bucky’s shoulders tense. “Can I hug you?”

“I don’t know, can you? Or are you scared of that too?”

Instead of answering, Steve stands and steps forward and puts his arms around him. For a moment, it’s like hugging a Stop sign. Then Bucky makes a small, weak noise in his throat and slips one arm under Steve’s armpit, the other over his shoulder, snaking around his neck. The metal one, sturdy and sure.

Still hugging him, Steve says, “Unless you need me here, I’m staying with Sam tonight.” He wasn’t sure if he would be or not; he texted Sam earlier to make a flexible plan. That text had started, Unless you need to be alone. He’d forgotten what it was like to live so conditionally.

“Oh, that’s what’s happening? You get Sam in the divorce?” Bucky snuffles and pulls back, putting his hands on Steve’s biceps. “That’s what modern people do, right, they split their friends up?”

“We aren’t getting a divorce.”

“I’m not stupid, Steve. I don’t mean literally. I know there’s nothing legal about us.”

“Not figuratively either. We’re not getting a divorce. You think we’re getting a divorce?”

“Oh, that isn’t what this feels like to you? Or, oh, are we getting a vow renewal and you want me to be a virgin again?” He lets go, but stays at arm’s length.


“I can’t. It doesn’t work like that. Those are all bullshit, Steve. You can’t get the dent out of this tin can. That’s why I’m in the clearance section.”

“Christ. Don’t be so melodramatic.”

“'Don’t be melodramatic.’” He laughs. “What’s it like to be such a hypocrite?”

“You know, that’s funny unless you mean just right now. I’m not being melodramatic right now.”

“No, I mean in general. I mean your whole life, melodrama queen.”

Steve buries his hands in his pockets to stop from pulling Bucky into another hug. Because he wants nothing more, except maybe to kiss Bucky’s slowly unraveling hair. Or, of course, even more, to get through to him. To uncross their wires.

All he can say is, “I would have kept working for SHIELD.”

“What? What does that have to do with anything?”

“I would have kept working for SHIELD.” He takes his hands out of his pockets and holds them a little ways in front of his thighs, wrists turned out. “If they’d never tried to kill us all. I could have worked for them for decades, not knowing they were HYDRA. Not knowing I was doing HYDRA’s dirty work. That I was being used. And manipulated. I never would have stopped. Do you see what I’m saying?”


“Well I don’t know how to say it differently.”

“Steve, I mean—No, I know what you mean, but no. You’re a person, stupid.”

“Okay. I’m a person.”

“You’re not an organization with another shady organization hiding inside of you. You’re not even a person who’s good at keeping secrets! And you’re not my whole life.”

A childish part of Steve is taken aback. When they were little, it was important to him that he was Bucky’s whole life, that Bucky was his whole life. That they were one tiny world together and nothing else was getting in or out. But when they got older, he was terrified of the idea that Bucky was his whole life, that he had nothing else going for him.

Ever since Bucky came back, he’s been terrified both ways. That Bucky’s his whole life. That he’s Bucky’s. It stings to hear, but it’s a good thing. A weight lifts from the pit of him.

But also—“What does that have to do with anything? I mean, it’s good that I’m not. Congratulations.” He sounds like an asshole. “Sorry. But.” He tips his head to the side.

“It has everything to do with everything. SHIELD was your whole life.” Steve hasn’t even started saying anything when Bucky cuts him off with a sharp noise and hand gesture. “Don’t fucking argue with me. It was your whole life. I’ve talked to the people who knew you then. I’ve talked to you. It was everything you had. Like HYDRA was for me.”

“Buck! That’s idiotic.”

“Oh, thanks. I feel real respected right now, y'know?”

“I mean it’s awful to compare the two. You couldn’t have gotten away from HYDRA. I could have left SHIELD. It was my choice to have nothing else.”

“Jesus Christ. If I don’t get to minimize my shitty life, you don’t either. Okay? Those are the terms. Our lives were shitty or they weren’t but you don’t get it both ways.”

“I don’t understand what we’re fighting about anymore.”

“We’re fighting about you not fucking me because you hate me!”

“We’re past that point in the fight!”

“Oh.” Bucky rubs his metal arm. “I don’t know. It’s just. We were both stuck with no other options. I’m not stuck with no other options with you. So it would be stupid for anyone to be afraid.”

“Why does it matter if it’s stupid? Why can’t my feelings be stupid?” All feelings are stupid, he doesn’t say.

“I guess they can be. But you think I just have to listen to your feelings in this and you don’t have to listen to mine. You have to listen to mine, Steve. This isn’t fair.”

Steve grips his hair at the roots and twists. Enough to keep himself real and awake. “Okay. I’ll listen to your feelings. We can talk more about your feelings. And I’ll listen to them. I promise.” Bucky looks dubious. “I do. Hold me to it. Right now?”

“No. I’m tired. Are you still staying at Sam’s?”

“He’s expecting me. He rented some movies On Demand and says he has a lot of his own feelings to complain about.”

“That sounds nice.” Bucky loves listening to Sam complain. Steve feels bad about keeping him from that, but the fact is, he does need out of here. Alone. He needs to breathe. But—

“Seriously, if you need me here—”

“No. I, um. I think we both need you not here, actually.”


“Is it okay if I have someone over?”

“I’m not your ma.”

“I know that, dumbass. I mean, do we have anything incriminating that I’m forgetting about?”

“Just look around for anything with our names. And any photos that aren’t recent.”

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

“You’re thinking of Sam. Sam Wilson.”

“We’re all always who we’ve been, Steve.”

“That doesn’t mean anything.” Even though it obviously does. Bucky rolls his eyes.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (8/?)

(Anonymous) - 2016-08-15 05:09 (UTC) - Expand

FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (9/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-16 04:25 am (UTC)(link)
The radio’s on when he wakes up feeling run over by a freight engine and not sure where he is. Talk radio. A soft blanket. All at once, the room and the night before settle into distinct shapes.

He’s in a recliner in front of Sam’s TV, where he must have passed out unexpectedly, because Sam has a proper guest room with clean, matching linens and a bowl of mints he keeps in there as a joke. The clock on the cable box says it’s 9:13 in the morning, and Sam must have already gone for a run and eaten breakfast.

Or— It’s a weekday. He must, actually, have already left for work and left the radio on to keep Steve company. It’s endearing that Sam listens to the radio on purpose. When he realized how many people in the future just thought of the radio as something you hear in a taxi, Steve felt more disgusted than he already had by how he woke up: with that carefully restored vintage radio by his head. All the better to pull a con on the carefully restored vintage man.

He finds his phone under his ass. It still has some charge, so he texts Bucky, Let me know when you’re good with me coming home, and adds the horse emoji. He got here on his motorcycle. About the only time he ever rides is going and back and forth to see Sam.

Waiting for Bucky’s all-clear, he plugs his phone in, and brushes his teeth, and makes himself breakfast, and keeps the radio company.

Bucky is sitting at the kitchen table when he gets home. He’s holding a photograph in his hands, and he holds it out to Steve once Steve is in the other chair. It’s small, clipped from a longer strip. Before they had their beards or their fake identification. When they were new again to touching each other at all. Hand to shoulder. Head to shoulder. They went to a movie just to have somewhere to be, and after, Bucky dragged him into the lobby’s stupid overpriced photo booth and said, “Fuckin’ smile more. You’re killing me.”

Steve runs his thumb over it, covering his own face so he can look at Bucky’s. How Bucky’s turning to him, mouth open happy and wide. Even though everything was so tense and terrifying and they didn’t have a plan for the future at all.

“You took this off the fridge for your friend?”

“Yeah. Only incriminating evidence I found. It’s a good one, right? You’re smiling?”

“Because someone bullied me into it.” Bucky shrugs and takes the picture back. He's smiling. Almost. Steve says, “You been sitting here staring at that photo all day?”

“So what if I have?”

“Not a problem. You want to talk about your feelings.”

“No, I want orange juice. Do you want orange juice?”

Not really. “Sure. I’d hate to get scurvy.”

“Yeah, the eleventh bout of scurvy is really the worst.”

They don’t talk while Bucky pours them each a tall glass of orange juice. Steve continues not talking once he’s handed his glass, taking a long gulp, but Bucky says, “It’s not that I want to talk about my feelings.”

Steve puts his glass down. “No?”

“No. Yes. The thing is, that my feelings are that I want you to listen to my feelings.”

“Straightforward enough.”

“Yeah, I don’t know. I just want to know that you will. That’s all there is to say about that.”

“Really? That’s all?”

“No.” Bucky closes his eyes and lets his head roll back. He takes a deep breath, chest lifting in his stripy sweater. He exhales and brings his head back to normal. He opens his eyes and stares at Steve hard. “Okay, so what if we do say it was rape.”

“Oh. Bucky. That’s—” He doesn’t know what that is. He feels proud of Bucky, but also like is heart is going to bite its way out of his chest, imagining him deciding that all along in the house. No. Not alone. With a friend. Who thinks his name is Jake. But who probably knows more than Steve. “You’re sure?”

“It’s not about sure about anything. Saying something doesn’t make it true. Okay? But. Maybe I could try saying it for a little while. To see what you’re getting out of it?”

“I’m not getting anything out of it.”

“That’s depressing. I’d hoped you were.” He looks at his lap. Steve pictures him at ten years old, sitting at the edge of the river and swinging his legs. “Nothing?”

“Nothing. I hate saying it. I hate that it’s true.”

Bucky screws his face up, biting his lip viciously. “God, your timing is brutal. Because I can’t disagree with you if I’m committing to this.”

“Oh, you started already? You didn’t even do a countdown.”

“You know, you’re right. Thank god. Okay. Are you ready? My last hurrah for now.”

“On the edge of my seat.”

“You mean you hate that it’s ‘true.’” He does air quotes. He exhales loudly. It’s almost cute.

“You want me to do the countdown with you now?”

“Yeah, yeah, fine.”

In unison, they say, “Three, two, one,” and Bucky adds, “Blast-off.”

He raises his glass of orange juice, and gestures at Steve to follow suit. “To being raped.”

Steve’s so shocked by his own laughter that he drops his glass, and it breaks open on the tabletop in three clean pieces. “Oh,” he says, watching the birth of what will one day be a huge orange stain interrupting the blue plaid.

“Aw, fuck, sorry. That’s my fault. I know that. I’ll clean it up.”

Unable to stop watching the stain, Steve says, “I didn’t have to drop it.”

“Of course you did. That was hilarious of me. Seriously.”

Bucky appears next to him with a paper grocery bag, and uses his metal hand to place the broken glass inside. Steve’s gaze switches from the stain to the hand. With a jolt, he returns to his body. He hadn’t realized that he’d been out of his body. He looks up at Bucky’s face, so close to his, as he tugs the tablecloth off the table before wadding it up. His furrowed brow. His chapping lips. Steve stretches up to press a kiss to the corner of his mouth.

Bucky makes a noise like a startled pigeon. He turns his head and smiles at Steve, then kisses him on the forehead. His beard is soft. “Back in a sec with a clean one,” and he heads off in the direction of the laundry room.

Over the course of the next few days, Bucky slips it into conversation more and more.

He lies down across the couch and puts his head on Steve’s thigh as Steve’s watching CNN. “Turn this racket off. Speaking as someone who’s been raped, I wanna watch Jeopardy.”

Head in the fridge as he puts away leftover ravioli, he yells, “You know ever since I was raped, I think pasta tastes better? And I thought it tasted great already!”

First thing in the morning, still squinting and his voice sleep-rounded, he says, “One of the times I was raped was in Tuscany. I think that’s interesting. Kinda funny.”

He gets home from class and sinks dramatically to the floor. “Jesus, it’s a hard life being a rape victim. You gotta learn to manage your money and everything.”

Then it’s a Sunday, and he says, “I miss your dick.”

They got back from church an hour ago. They don’t normally go to church, but Bucky remembered the night before that a classmate had invited them. Her name was Ella or Elizabeth or Enya. Bucky said, “She knows from my stuff from class that I’m not right with God. But maybe God and I can talk about all the rape.” For a second there, it didn’t sound like a joke.

At church, they were given bread as a welcoming gift. None of the hymns were familiar and no one kneeled for anything. Steve spent most of the service with his eyes closed, praying alone.

Now, they’re both lying Sunday-lazily on the living room carpet and Bucky misses his dick.

Steve raises his eyebrows. “Oh, you do? Okay. Go get the kitchen scissors.” He makes like he’s going to undo his fly. “The bleeding shouldn’t last that long, right?”

“Oh my god.”

“What? I just want you to have my dick.”

“I really, really hate you.” Bucky rolls over onto his stomach. He puts his elbows in the carpet and his chin in his hands.

“No, you don’t.”

“No. If I hated you, I wouldn’t miss your dick so much.”

“Buck.” He doesn’t have anything to say to that. Bucky’s bobby pins are silver, and they catch the light when he rocks his head from side to side like he’s listening to a song.

“You know I don’t just mean your dick. You know that’s metonymy. I miss getting fucked by you. I miss that part of you. I don’t want having been raped to mean I have to miss that part of you.”

“Is that why you’re doing this? You think that if you say it just enough times, I’ll fuck you?”

“No. I meant what I said. I want to see what it feels like. And I want to see what you fucking me feels like. Unrelated.”

“You already know what it feels like, wise guy.”

“I’ve got memory troubles. Remind me.”

Steve gets on his stomach too. Elbows and knees, he wiggles over to where Bucky is, so he can lay his head down on the back of Bucky’s thigh. “I don’t know if I’m still scared or not. I don’t know if anything’s different for me.”

“Well, how do you feel when you hear me say it?”

Steve kisses the inside of his knee, and Bucky hums. “Sad. And—fine, you are funny about it sometimes. Even if I feel like I should go back to church for saying that. But yeah, when you say it less like it’s a joke? I feel like I want to think you aren’t humoring me.”


“Same as before. I need to know that if I’m a bad person, you’ll be able to see me that way.”

Bucky makes a little thoughtful growling sound, and Steve kisses the outside of his thigh this time. Bucky says, “You don’t think what I’m doing helps that?”

“What, humoring me?”

“I’m not. It’s not like that. I told you, I wanted to see. And I don’t know. I’m not saying I mean it when I say it. But it makes me see them that way, right? Andy and Dorsey and, um. Et al.” Remembering that there are names Steve doesn’t know always makes his stomach feel molten. If he doesn’t know their names, he can’t find their records, and make sure they’re dead, and piss on their graves.

Molten at his core.

He tries to shove that feeling away. “Do you really see them that way when you say it?”

“Sure. I have to. You know I don’t do that kind of shit halfway.”

It’s true. Bucky’s always been a great actor; he had major roles in three different school plays. But he refused to turn it on at all, the times during the war that they were expected to film PSAs instead of just getting filmed as they were. He’d pretend to forget his lines and glower straight into the camera.

Steve’s quiet longer than he thinks he should be. Then his voice is smaller than he thinks it should be. “Is that okay for you?”

“I don’t know. You think it would be okay for me if I had to think you were evil? That you were hurting me and I had to leave? No. It wouldn't. But I can do all kinds of things that aren’t okay. The doing is what matters. And I think I could do it.” His voice gets smaller too. They match. “Even if it hurt. Maybe it would be even easier, the more it hurts. I don’t know, Steve.”

His front half collapses, arms flat at his sides, and he sighs, muffled by the floor. “Can you come up here? Can you kiss my knee again and then come up here?”

Steve kisses the back of his knee again. He pulls himself up parallel with Bucky’s exhausted body, rolling onto his side so he can get a good look at him. How his hair is a shambles, escaping from its pins. And there’s lint all over his nearest sweater sleeve. How his face is a little bit smooshed into the floor, but one eye peeks out, and a good amount of his mouth.

Steve says, “How’s it going up here? Weather’s nice.”

“Is it? Climate-controlled up here?”

“Oh yeah. Best climate control I’ve ever had.”

“Maybe I don’t need HVAC. Clearly my feelings make perfect weather on their own.”

“That what’s happening?”

“That’s what’s happening. Really, you ever gonna wanna fuck me again?”

“Of course I want to fuck you. I’ve always wanted to fuck you.”

“Aww, that’s romantic. You puttin’ that in your vows, honey?”

“Sure. James Buchanan Barnes. Darling. My beloved.” He shuffles closer until his lips are an inch from Bucky’s eyeball. “I want. And have always wanted. To pound your ass and call you a filthy slut for as long as we both shall live.”

Bucky laughs. It’s undignified. He sounds like he’s coughing up a hairball. It’s a series of bursts of hot breath against Steve’s neck.

“Yeah, that’s how you feel?”

“Of course.”

“But on a practical level? Is that how you feel?”

“Give me a week to think about it. I’m slow, Buck. You know that. I have to examine all my facts. All the facts of myself.”

“Sure, sure.” He moves his head so that he’s speaking straight at Steve’s mouth instead of Steve’s mouth speaking straight at his eyeball. “And I’ll keep talking about how I was raped.”

“You don’t have to do that. It’s not going to sway my decision.”

“Well, maybe I want to. Maybe I’m not done seeing how my better half lives.”

It’s Sunday. They take a nap on the floor. Steve’s face against Bucky’s neck. Bucky’s arm around his waist.

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (10/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-08-25 09:55 pm (UTC)(link)
As promised, Bucky gives him a week. He doesn’t mention Steve’s dick at all, not even in passing, not when he sees it while Steve’s changing for bed and not when he walks in to brush his teeth while Steve’s taking a piss. Minor miracles.

As if to compensate, he keeps up an even steadier patter of Rape Talk. Through a mouthful of toothpaste, after Steve flushes and shoulders Bucky out of the way so he can wash his hands, he says, “Now, where was a toothbrush when I’d just been raped? I tell you, rapists are downright inconsiderate,” and Steve is used to it enough by now that he just rolls his eyes and dries his hands on Bucky’s shirt, and Bucky shouts and spits toothpaste at him.

They’re sitting on the couch with Bucky’s legs sprawled most of the way over Steve’s lap, Steve slouched deep into the corner of the couch and dozing in and out, when Bucky says, “The fucking 3G in this house is reprehensible.”

Steve opens his eyes a sliver to take him in. Hair in a lopsided braid over his shoulder, skin a little dry around his nose, wearing a thick polka dot sweater and scowling at his phone as he uses it one-handed. He looks cute. Steve wants to stick his fingers in his braid and fuck it up.

Instead, he sighs dramatically. “You know, it used to be we had to walk twelve miles uphill in the snow to read e-books on our cell phones.”

Bucky glares at him. “Yeah, well, it used to be I had to get raped twelve miles uphill in the snow to—Wait, there’s no end to that sentence. I just had to get raped.”

And yes, he is used to it, and yes, Bucky’s mostly just being stupid, but every time he’s stupid in this particular way, Steve’s spine runs hot and cold in quick succession. He can’t say it makes him want to cry, because it’s not his business to want to cry about it if Bucky doesn’t want him to, and he clearly doesn’t.

He says, “Raped uphill?” and Bucky smirks at him and says, “Yeah, kind of. It’s hard to explain,” before going back to swiping at his phone.

And then there are things like that, which make it look more and more like Bucky’s not just being stupid, even if he still wants to pretend.

So there’s that, and there’s how much Steve wants to fuck up his braid, and exactly a week to the hour after Steve says, “Give me a week,” Bucky calls to him from the kitchen, “Steve? Yo, Steve, can you come here a sec?”

At the time, Steve’s in his office, though he isn’t getting any work done, playing minesweeper and scratching grounding fingers along the back of his neck. He’s known all along that Bucky would take the week thing seriously. He stands up fast enough to dump his laptop on the ground. Doesn’t even have the patience to make sure it’s fine; he curses and closes the lid with his foot before leaving the room.

Bucky’s sitting stiff-backed in his chair, a glass of water untouched in front of him. Steve’s place has a glass of water too, and his chair’s already been pulled out. He sits, feeling like a doll in a dollhouse.

Bucky’s sisters had a dollhouse made of wooden crates, nicely painted, and with little cloth curtains on the windows. Steve would play with them sometimes, because it was the only thing he could do with younger children without them pronouncing him odd or boring. It made him feel responsible, and like someone Bucky could imagine being a dad someday. Someone legitimate.

As though Bucky ever wanted him to be someone legitimate. What’s legitimacy compared to a retired superhero gagging you with your own knife?

“Is this a job interview?” He takes a sip of his water, and Bucky narrows his eyes and mirrors him, but keeps going after Steve puts his glass down, throat working furiously to gulp all the water away.

He wipes his mouth with the sleeve of his sweater, but a few beads still cling to his beard. His lips twist like he’s trying not to smile. “No. Or I don’t know. I know I’m not interviewing you. You interviewing me for the job of Guy You’ll Fuck?”

“I wasn’t really planning on it. Do you have to look so formal?”

“I’m always formal. I even got formally raped.”

“Well, that’s not how you answer a job interview question.” He drinks more water.

“Well, Mr. Manager, I’d say my greatest strength is my ability to look so formal on a shoestring and a smile. That better?”

“Stunning. You got the job. Of, uh.”

“Sword swallower?”

“Yeah. Exactly. Guy I’d Like to Fuck.”

“That’s your worst joke ever.” He runs a metal finger down the side of his glass, and makes himself flinch with the noise. Steve watches, waiting to see if Bucky feels any kind of way about it besides that. And he’s lying; it was a great joke.

Bucky pushes his chair back and goes to stand by the counter. He puts his elbows on it, then lowers his head. For an absurd moment, Steve thinks he’s offering himself up to get fucked right now. It isn’t the least appealing thought he’s ever had, but he’s far from ready to go, so it’s good that after a few seconds, he adjusts and recognizes this as one of the ways Bucky copes with overwhelming emotion. He presses himself into things. He hides without hiding, like a cat that doesn’t think it matters if its tail is sticking out from under the couch.

Steve says, “You good? Is this okay?”

And Bucky rises up, leaning on the counter with his palms instead, neck bent, legs giving the impression of trembling without trembling. He looks like a tree branch knocked over by a storm. He says, “Of course it’s fine. I’m the one who wanted it, wasn’t I?”

“I do too.” He strokes his own water glass, and it doesn’t make a noise worth flinching about. Bucky doesn’t respond, so Steve grimaces and goes to stand next to him, also leaning forward on his palms, so together they take up most of the counter space, and their faces almost touch.

“Hey, there, stranger,” Bucky says, turning his head to grin at him.

“Is it nice over here?”

“Yeah, it’s real peaceful.” Hummingbird-speedy, he kisses the side of Steve’s nose, beard scratching at Steve’s cheek, then about-faces to slouch his spine against the counter in a way that can’t be comfortable. Steve follows suit. It isn’t comfortable at all. Bucky says, “You’re nice over here, for sure.”

“I love it when you talk nonsense to me.”

“Same to you.” Bucky sighs and tugs at his hair with his metal hand. “You’re sure? You’re not saying you can fuck me and then tomorrow you say, ‘Never mind! I’m on my way to get the divorce papers notarized!’ is that the case?”

Steve says, “I don’t believe in notaries,” and then he says, “That’s not happening,” and then he groans and says, “You trust me?”

“I never didn’t. But do you trust me?”

“I never didn’t.”

He isn’t sure it’s true until Bucky says, “Is that right?” and he feels like he’s been goaded to the top of a diving board (a thought that confuses him; this never happened in his past; modern pop culture osmosis, maybe).

“Yes, really. Trust was never the issue.”

“Fine. You trust yourself then?”

“I.” Bucky raises an eyebrow at him. It’s infuriating. “I’d like to.”

“But you’ll fuck me anyway.” Steve opens his mouth, but just makes a scratchy sound. “It’s not a trick question. You’ll fuck me anyway?”

“I’d like to.”

Bucky doesn’t smile exactly, but creases feather out from the corners of his eyes. “Yeah, I heard your wedding vows. So you’re gonna call me a filthy slut?”

“Filthy slut.” He says it primly, and Bucky clutches at his heart.

“Stop, Steve. You’re turning me on.”

“I bet. But to be clear, I’m not fucking you here and now. Let me, uh.”

“Charge up. Like a bull. Like throwing a baseball.”

“What? All right. Charge up, if that works for you. And well.” This is the part that might ruin the whole thing. “I need you to let me be careful with you.”

“I’m not a fucking porcelain tea set, Steve.” He crosses his arms and digs his fingers into his biceps so hard Steve worries for the bones of
the right.

“That’s non-negotiable, Buck. You start complaining about it, we stop.” Bucky still radiates mutiny. He softens his voice. “It’s to protect me as much as you.”

Bucky spares him a smile, closing one eye at him and letting up on his death grip. “Oh, now he wants to protect himself.”

“My thing was a shield. That’s protection incarnate.” The “was” still feels clunky in his mouth.

“Knock knock,” Buck says, rotating planet-like into Steve’s space to knock on the side of his head.

“Who is it?” he calls, loud and carrying as if from the bowels of the house. Bucky snickers and clutches his ears.

“It’s me, a wooden prop shield, and an untrained idiot is carrying me into a warehouse full of Nazis with laser guns! Why, who are you, young man?”

“Shut up.” Steve wraps an arm around his shoulders and pulls him into his side to dig his knuckles into Bucky’s skull until he yelps and says, “Mercy! Mercy, Christ,” laughing his way through the words.

Steve tells Bucky before bed, “I do want the knife now. Since it reminded you of me,” and Bucky’s like a string of Christmas lights all turning on at once as he takes the knife out of the pocket of his pajama pants. Unlike the rest of his pants, they’re baggy enough to conceal that kind of thing, and it should have occurred to Steve that they might.

“Now I’m really glad I asked for it. Please no knives in the bed.”

“I thought knives in the bed was the point.” He crawls onto said bed to hand it over to Steve, who’s propped up against the headboard, hands flat and sweaty on his thighs even if all he intends to do is take the knife out of Bucky’s hand, blade still tucked away. And that is all he does, sweaty-handed. He appreciates its cool, solid weight for the first time.

“Why do you assume I wanna do it on a bed?”

“I can read your mind.”

“Sure, Edgar Cayce.”

He stashes the knife in his nightstand drawer, along with a small journal, his compass, and the Pictionary drawing of himself that he didn’t recognize. And still can’t.

He knows he can’t bring himself to smack Bucky in the face again, not in light of—Well, who would it have been? Andrews? Dorsey? Someone else? Dorsey was a ridiculous name, and Bucky and Katarina had discussed him mockingly, which could work either for or against the theory that he was the reason for Bucky’s laughter.

It doesn’t matter. The point is that he can’t ever do that again.

And he’s nervous, as ridiculous as he feels being so literal-minded, about the thought of holding Bucky down or tying him up or even fitting a hand around his throat. He has no evidence that those things bring back any memories, but he’ll be the one to freeze up, maybe. To look at Bucky and think, I’ve trapped him here. And worse, in some part of him he hates to examine, he might like that idea.

It would have been okay to like the idea before. Now, with the idea so close to his bones, he might throw up if he likes it.

The knife was something Bucky wanted exuberantly, and it’s small, and it’s beautiful, and he can be careful with it. He can be in control.

On Wednesdays, Bucky gets home from class while there’s still plenty of light out, making Steve feel unbelievably unproductive in comparison. Every day since Steve said he would fuck him, Bucky’s dressed like they’re going on a date. Polished shoes and tucked-in shirt. Today he’s even wearing a cardigan.

Steve has accomplished three things by the time Bucky’s home: He’s put on clothes, he’s ordered a party’s worth of hot wings, and he’s thought the knife through thoroughly. The first thing Bucky says after closing the door is, “Honey, you got wings!” and Steve says, “I also put on clothes,” and Bucky says, “Honey, you put on clothes! But I couldn’t smell those, so I wasn’t interested.”

“You can’t eat them either.” Steve takes Bucky’s backpack from him before he has a chance to dump it somewhere, and slings it over his shoulder. He has a vague notion that it would be incredibly heavy to anyone besides them.

“It’s impolite to tell me my limits.” He starts to slip his cardigan off, and Steve takes that from him too. Bucky steps gently on his foot, loafer on beat-up sneaker. “What else of mine you want, stud?”

“I got some things in mind.” Steve touches his temple, and Bucky’s eyelids flutter to half-mast. Some loose, short hairs are curled there, and Steve twirls his finger around them, pulls, lets them spring back. Bucky bites his lip.

“Your dick?”

“I want my dick of yours? That’s what you’re saying? What the hell are they teaching you in that writing class?”

“Spinning a good fable. Making it all sound true.”

“I thought it was the opposite. Make the truth sound like a fable.”

“You talk a lot about writing for someone who’s s'posed to be fucking me.”

“Supposed to?” He pulls Bucky’s tucked-in shirt out of his dark jeans for the fun of it, and Bucky glares at him and curls his right hand around his wrist before he can pull back. “Yeah, I want to fuck you, if that’s okay.”

“Where do the wings come into it?” Bucky sways into him, putting his arms around Steve’s shoulders loosely like they’re about to slow-dance, rubbing his beard on the ticklish skin of Steve’s neck, and Steve twists around a little at the sensation. He puts his hands on Bucky’s waist and kisses the top of his head.

“I wanna fuck you mid-air, obviously.”

“Sam invited?” He rubs his beard on him again, more insistently, and Steve giggles and then feels irritated at himself. He uses the hands on Bucky’s waist to set him upright, and traces a circle on his stomach with his thumb.

“That sounds a little advanced. Let’s just eat and then fuck by ourselves, I think.”

“What a crazy thought.” Bucky droops forward again and bites Steve on the chin. He licks him there, and Steve squeezes his hip. “I trust you,” Bucky says, and there’s no tone to it, really. It’s an unadorned statement, not made into a fable at all.

“I trust you,” Steve says, and hopes that Bucky won’t ask him, But do you trust yourself yet?

Bucky doesn’t ask. They eat the wings.

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (11a/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-09-02 10:28 pm (UTC)(link)
They’re on Steve’s side of the bed. Steve’s sitting with his back flat against the headboard, legs out in front of him, Bucky’s knees bracketing his thighs, his ass resting on Steve, his whole weight rooting Steve to the bed.

Bucky leans down to kiss him, pushy, licking into his mouth, and Steve kisses him back for a while. When the kiss ends, he says, “Mind getting the knife outta my nightstand?”

“Your knife stand.” Bucky reaches over and gets it, either polite enough or horny enough to not so much as glance at the drawer’s other contents. He passes it to Steve with a flourish.

“I thought you were my knife stand.” He wraps the folded knife in his fist, warming it up.

“Oh, that’s what we’re doing? I’m being your knife stand?” He kisses Steve’s chin. “Come on, what're we doin'?”

Steve kisses his chin back, and steels himself. Just because Bucky knows that getting mad at him for being careful won’t end well doesn’t mean he won’t do it. They’ve both done a lot of things they knew wouldn’t end well. And Steve doesn’t feel like fighting.

“Let’s get it out of the way that I’m not carving my initials into your chest. Not right now. But you had some other interesting ideas.”

He puts his hand over Bucky’s pec, not exerting enough force to shove him away, but holding him in place. He flicks the blade out and holds his breath as he flips the knife around his hand, spins it in his palm, then flips it back the other way, ultimately catching it in a sure grip with the tip pointed at Bucky’s heart.

All the cuts he got on his hands practicing that move were worth it for how the size of Bucky's smile.

“Since when the fuck do you know how to do that?”

“Natural talent.”


“Don’t peek behind the wizard's curtain.” He does it again, and Bucky looks as delighted as he did the first time.

Steve presses his thumb to the edge of the blade; it’s been sharpened within an inch of its life, and he comes away with blood welling through a slender slit in the skin. Keeping his eyes on Bucky’s mouth, he brings his thumb to his own mouth and sucks the pad between his teeth, pressing his tongue to where it tastes brightest. Bucky’s mouth parts and then grimaces, and he shoves Steve in the shoulder, harder than politely.

“Don’t cut yourself, stupid.”

Steve lets the thumb go and shoves Bucky back with that hand. “You, don’t shove me.”

Bucky says, “Well, that wasn’t very gentle of you,” and grabs Steve’s hand so he can suck on the cut too, even as the skin seals shut.

He wrinkles his nose at Bucky and thinks, James Draculanan Barnes? Sucky Barnesmilla?, but he nixes those both and pitches his voice low. “I never said ‘gentle.’ I said ‘careful.’ Keep up.”

Bucky stops sucking and moves Steve’s healed hand to his crotch, so Steve can feel where he’s already stiffening. Steve lifts his hand away. “Not yet.”

“You meant gentle.”

“Would I have the knife if I meant gentle?”

“Probably, you big freak.” And Bucky’s got his number, so Steve takes him by the ponytail and tugs his head back. Gently. Kisses the soft exposed underside of his jaw and works the hair elastic free. Bucky keeps his head where it is of his own accord.

“Good.” Bucky snorts, but still doesn’t move, waiting for Steve to palm the back of his skull and push so that his chin’s tucked down and his hair falls into his face. Steve pulls on a strand like the chain on a lamp. “You want me to cut some of this?

“You know already.” It comes out in a murmur, so Steve, covertly as he can—which can’t be that covertly, but it seems like they aren’t going to fight about this today—ducks his head to get a clearer look at Bucky’s expression through the long, loose hair. A slight smile, and a put-on of seductively lowered lids, his gaze, through his lashes, trained on Steve.

When he sees Steve checking on him, he rolls his eyes, but doesn’t outright object.

“Yeah, I know you do,” Steve says, still looking through the hair. “You want a lot of dirty things, right?”

“Oh, hair-cutting's dirty now?”

“I just said it is, didn’t I?”

“You’re incredibly weird.”

“You know, I think you are too.”

“Mmm.” Bucky touches their foreheads together, then returns to where he was.

Steve practiced this as well, on a wig Natasha gave him as a gag gift at the "Congratulations! You're Incognito!" party she threw. It was just her and him, sitting on the floor of her apartment with their backs to the wall, sharing a handle of whiskey until her smile got soft and sappy enough that she couldn’t hide that she was drunk.

He did butcher the wig some, before getting the hang of it, and he’s got a handful of livid purple clippings tucked away in his pocket. So he won't forget that this takes effort.

Now, he sticks his tongue out, touching it to the corner of his mouth, and slides a slender lock of Bucky’s hair between two fingers to size up where to start. “Okay,” he mutters, and Bucky shifts and says, “Sure is.”

“Don’t move around; I’m not interested in stabbing you with this thing.”

“That’s a fucking shame.” But he stays still.

Zeroing in on where he’ll slice, Steve switches to holding Bucky’s hair by the ends, pulling the strands taut. “Maybe I should go to cosmetology school,” he says, and brings the knife up and chops straight through. A fine dusting of dark hair falls over both their thighs. “I could open a little barber shop. Stewart’s Cuts. I could charge reasonable prices.”

“That’s an awful name. Come on.”

He selects another section of hair and sets about repeating the process, still slow and steady, feeling out Bucky’s mood and the movement of his own hand. Bucky sounds close to sleepy and content, but with his wits about him.

“Fine, what would you name my barber shop? Rape-Ready Hairstyles? Or, uh.” He bites the inside of his cheek, because he’s a fucking idiot. Reminding Bucky of his rapes during sex isn’t a good strategy for making sure that sex doesn’t remind him of his rapes.

But his voice is totally normal when he says, “Jesus, leave the jokes to me why don’t you. I like ‘Stew’s Styles.’ That’s catchy.”

“Don’t call me Stew.” He breathes out more dramatically then he means to with the realization that he didn’t fuck up. Bucky’s hair flutters, then settles.

“Your breath is nice. You pop a mint after we ate?”

“I’m a subtle man, yes. I popped five mints in fact.”

“Five makes it a damn bit less subtle, man.”

Steve continues choosing sections of Bucky’s hair, straightening them out, and slicing the tips. He’s ragged in places, dried out and uneven; he maybe doesn’t notice, having his hair up all the time. Steve’s helping him, neatening him, grooming him, and with that thought, he can finally feel himself growing hard, and his chest warming and lightening. He’d been so afraid, but this is okay. This is peaceful.

As he works, he talks. “Fine. ‘Stew’s Styles’ it is. Just for you, though. Anyone asks, ‘What’s with the name?’ I’ll tell them it was my dumbass husband’s idea and I’m just such a romantic softie I couldn’t help but give in.” Bucky laughs. “Yeah, my prices are cheap, but for you, it’s free. I’d do your hair however you wanted, all on the house. Help you look pretty.”

Bucky makes a small, high noise, and Steve pauses to raise his free hand to his own chest and swipe a thumb back and forth over his nipple. It stiffens to a point in no time and he shudders, moving his hips minutely beneath Bucky’s weight, and Bucky makes the noise again.

Steve’s gotten all the hair he can reach in this position, so he says, “I need you to turn around for me.”

Bucky raises his head, so Steve can finally see his face through all the hair, and his mouth is open and grinning, his eyes squinted. “Sure thing, Stew.”

“I have a knife.”

“Yeah, and you’re being gentle with it.”

Bucky stands, and repositions himself so he’s straddling Steve with his back to him. He takes a moment to lean his head on Steve’s shoulder, and Steve can see that his eyes are closed, and he’s grinning still. He holds the hand with the knife as far away from Bucky as he can, and wraps his other arm around his midsection and squeezes. Gently.

Bucky groans, “You’re so hot and weird.”

“You can’t see me.”

“Who cares? Still hot. Still weird.” He opens his eyes. “Yep. Hot with or without the gift of sight.”

“You too.” Steve does to Bucky’s nipple what he did to his own, and Bucky gasps and rolls his head to the side so his forehead and nose are against Steve’s neck, his lips brushing his clavicle. Steve lets his nipple be.

“Come on, you gotta straighten up if you want me to finish my work. I’ve got other customers waiting.”

“Don’t you always,” Bucky says, and he sits up like it’s the most grueling task he’s ever endured. He braces himself with his right hand on Steve’s knee. He asks, “This angle okay?”

Steve says, “It's perfect.”

Bucky’s head bows slightly forward, and his hair still swings into his face, so a swathe of his neck is left bared. Strong and solid, with a tan that dips down beneath his shirt collar but must end shortly after. He’s always loved when Bucky gets tan lines, swooping in strange shapes across his body, making him look pieced apart.

He takes hold of some of the hair he couldn’t access before, and resumes the helping, the neatening, the grooming. “I could give you streaks. Bangs. A Shirley Temple perm?”

“Please, no. None of that.” The hair must be falling into his shirt and itching now, but he doesn’t complain. Steve will make sure to brush it all away for him later. “I’m a stand-up, stylish guy with a reputation to maintain.”

“My mistake. A bowl cut?”

“I’ll take that knife right out of your hand.”

“You won’t.”

“I won’t. You got me.” He pauses. “I can feel you getting hard.”

“I can feel me getting hard too.”

“Do something about it? Please.”

“A good barber doesn’t rush.” He blows away some loose hairs that stay stuck to Bucky’s nape, and Bucky sighs and twitches.

“A good barber fucks me. That’s how it works.”

“I don’t know about you, but I’ve never gotten fucked in a barber shop.” He hadn’t even gone to the barber shop much, but when he did, the man working there was sixty and gruff and asked Steve a lot of finicky personal questions that made his mouth go dry to try to answer, like he’d be judged no matter what he said. No one fucked anyone.

These days, he goes to a salon and feels obnoxious the whole time.

“You must not be living, then. Steve, come on.”

“I’m almost done. Hold your horses.”

“Idiot. Horses are too big to hold.”

Steve laughs quietly and says, “Shut up,” but his enunciation sinks into the laugh. Bucky’s hair is done with, he thinks. He lets the bit he last cut drop and drape itself down the curve of Bucky’s skull, and he gathers all the rest up, pulling it to the back, and smooths it down with one hand, petting.

Bucky hums. “Am I done holding my horses then? Because a lot of us have raging erections.”

“Missed a few spots. Hang on.”

“Ever the most thorough.”

Steve cuts through remaining dangling long ends, and blows on Bucky’s neck again, and pets back down his head. “You’re all good. All settled up. Now get out of my goddamn barber chair.”

“Gladly,” Bucky says, and he stands up and throws himself onto the bed, diagonal, with his head right near Steve’s hip. He rolls onto his back. His legs hang over the side. He starts undoing his fly, metal hand scraping metal teeth, and Steve watches him, amused.

“What you up to there, Buck?”

“Getting fucked, what’s it look like?”

“That’s not how I’m going to fuck you.” He leaves the knife at the foot of the bed, close enough to grab when he needs it in a moment, but not so close that one of them will accidentally get stabbed.

He crawls on top of Bucky, hovering over him on hands and knees, careful to avoid doing anything that could really restrict his movements. They smile at each other, and Steve lifts one hand to toy with Bucky’s nice new hair. “You’re soft,” he says. He is, his hair silky and thick in a way Steve couldn’t appreciate when he was doing a job.

Bucky says, “Yeah, yeah. Tell me about how you’ll fuck me, huh? I want to know.” He keeps his metal hand on his crotch, thumb tucked into the waistband of his underwear and the other fingers splayed.

Steve stops touching his hair, laying his hand flat next to Bucky’s head. “I’m not sticking it in you.”

“Steve. Seriously?”

“You’ll like it anyway. I promise.” He circles Bucky’s ear with his fingertip. He’s soft there too. “Still involves that dick you miss so much. I know you need it in you, but it's not happening today, all right?”

“If you say so.” Bucky turns his head and takes Steve’s thumb into his mouth. He sucks slowly, his tongue and the roof of his mouth together a wet, hot pressure. Then he bites hard at the joint and Steve tugs himself free from his grasp.

“Hey. I’m the one who gets to bite you, right?”

“Then why aren’t you?”

“Roll onto your side like a good boy and I might.” He moves off of Bucky, down to the foot of the bed so he can grab the knife. Holding it in his palm, pointed at his chest, he realizes, belatedly, that he should have tucked the blade safely away. But they’re both still here, unharmed.

FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (11b/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-09-02 10:28 pm (UTC)(link)
Bucky’s on his right side, left arm swung behind his back, hand cupping his own ass. He digs metal fingers into his flesh through the tight denim, bucking his hips, mouth lax and open.

“Good, your mouth’s already ready,” Steve says, walking up to him on his knees. He stops in front of his face, and leans down and sweeps his middle finger beneath one of Bucky’s eyes. Some makeup smears away. His skin looks bruised beneath it.

Steve’s finger lingers on Bucky’s cheekbone. It’s not like it’s a black eye. It’s just sleepless shadow. Or from knuckling at his eyes too hard. But he didn’t know it was there. His stomach feels thick and acidic. It doesn’t matter. He shakes his head.

“Steve? You got plans for my mouth then?” Bucky looks so relaxed, so pleased, and Steve takes his hand away from his face to pinch his nipple through his shirt instead. Bucky says, “Ah!”

“If you remember, you had plans for your mouth.” He holds up the knife. “Something about gagging you with this.”

“Oh, yeah, I did plan that. I’m pretty smart, aren’t I?”

“Well, smarter than you look. I promise.” He kisses the shadow beneath Bucky’s eye, and feels the twitch of a blink. “You need to talk or something, just pull it right out, okay?”

“No shit. Or, no, actually—Bet I could spit it across the room.”

Steve bites him on the cheek. “Don’t. You’re gonna gouge the paint.”

Bucky says, “It’s always the paint with you.” Then he opens his mouth wide like a baby bird, and angles his head away from Steve so that he can properly side-eye him and look as impatient as he is. He makes an angry, honking noise when Steve tucks the blade away, but Steve glares and taps the closed knife against Bucky’s cheek, and his hand gets head-butted in apology.

“Grip it with your teeth.” Steve slides the knife into Bucky’s wide mouth. His closing teeth click against the handle, and he hangs on. “Perfect. Thank you.”

Bucky’s breathing slows around the knife. A new, brief pause between inhale and exhale. His eyelids lower, but he doesn’t blink, staring at Steve. Steve watches him, how his lips fidget, how he sucks on the knife for a couple seconds, and Steve has to put his hand to the side of Bucky’s face, stroking. The skin above his beard is smooth. And his beard, even, where it catches the pads of Steve’s fingers, is softer than Steve’s own.

“You look like you were raised in the woods,” he says, and Bucky hums, high and just short of plaintive.

He lies down on his side too, so they face each other, and switches to petting at Bucky’s thigh, spreading his hand to hold the front and back in his grasp. Sliding his palm up and down in short, firm motions, squeezing. Bucky’s so solid, such a sure presence here, like this, and humming again, more plaintive this time.

Steve makes the humming back at him, then grins, watching his hand on Bucky’s thigh, trailing down to the inside, wedging between his legs, squeezing there and making circles with his thumb. He says, "Just gonna make us shoot off together today. Just my hand. That good?"

Bucky lolls his head back. Steve takes his hands off him all together, but goes back to watching his face, mad at himself for looking away at all. But Bucky looks fine. He nods, then nods more quickly, and jerks his head toward Steve in a little arc, like long-distance nuzzling.

“Hang out there a minute for me,” Steve says, and Bucky throws his arm up, letting his metal hand land on his thigh with a loud crack. “A serious hardship for someone so needy, I know.”

He places his palm over his own crotch. These pants are soft and thin, and he twitches at the first touch, twitching dick and twitching hips and a hitch in his breath. He isn’t completely hard, but getting there, and he rubs the heel of his hand over his growing erection, biting his lip and looking at Bucky as he does.

Bucky’s starting to drool, the slightest wetness down his chin, and he looks beautiful that way, so Steve dips his head forward and licks the drool up, which only makes Bucky’s jaw more glistening wet. Bucky does something with his mouth that’s maybe supposed to be a smile under the circumstances. So Steve smiles back and mutters, “You’re messy,” shy about the words for no reason.

He’s feeling hotter, needier, and shuffles the hand under him forward to cradle his groin, fingertips brushing his balls, to keep his head in the game and wanting this (he does want this, but--). Then he sets about unbuttoning Bucky’s shirt, (white with purple polka-dots, the short sleeves cuffed like he might stuff a pack of cigarettes in there).

“You look like a delinquent,” he says, feeling Bucky’s smooth chest in quick touches as he moves from button to button, and Bucky’s shoulders raise and lower with a laugh. “What? I say something funny? I say something that made no sense and you want to make fun of me about it?” Bucky raises an eyebrow at him. “Sucks for you, I guess. You look like a giraffe, James Barnes. You look like a toy minivan. I can say whatever I want, can’t I?” Bucky makes the weird smile again, pointy and thin-lipped and charming.

With the shirt unbuttoned, he puts his hand flat on Bucky’s chest and feels his heart, beating steadily, his breath quickening but fine.

“Help me get this off you.” He tugs at the shirt, and Bucky sits up, shucking it off, and Steve takes it from him and tosses it onto the floor. Bucky slaps him on the arm with the back of his right hand. “Christ, I’ll wash and iron it. Calm the fuck and lie the fuck down.”

Bucky listens, settling onto his side again. He’s drooling more, dots of wet appearing on the bedspread. Steve follows him down and scoots into his space, licks lightly at Bucky’s nipple so that Bucky gasps and thrusts his chest closer. He drags his lips over it to get to Bucky’s sternum, and starts sucking bruises there, and nipping at the skin. Bucky is still pushing closer to him, and puts his right hand on Steve’s shoulder.

Steve bites him again, then kisses where he bit, and pulls back, and looks at Bucky, whose eyes are wide, who’s pawing at Steve’s shoulder.

“You all right there?” Steve asks, and makes an effort to sound teasing, and Bucky nods and taps him affectionately on the lips.

Which Steve takes as confirmation--though he says, "About to touch you more," first--that he’s good to slip his fingers into the front of Bucky’s waistband, over his boxers and then into them, nails against skin. And then to shuffle his hips closer and dip his hand down the back of Bucky’s jeans. He gropes him as best he can with the jeans as tight as they are, kneading the flesh of Bucky’s ass and finding the surety of muscle. Bucky issues a deep, stuttering moan, and Steve presses his finger over Bucky’s asshole, feels him clenching and twitching, then takes his hand totally away.

He smiles at Bucky, who glares back. “I think we should go on a date to the park,” he says, undoing his own fly, shoving his pants and underwear down enough to take out his dick, which is hard now from constant light pressure and the thrill of touching Bucky. He grazes a hand over his balls and closes his eyes briefly, but snaps them back open, and grabs the lube from where he stashed it under a pillow. He slicks himself up, and Bucky’s squirming, trying to get closer, drooling around the knife, and Steve laughs and nudges him away with a hand on the soft swell of his stomach. “You know, take a stroll. Feed some birds. See the statues.”

As he strokes himself with the hand underneath him, he stares at Bucky, at Bucky’s neatened hair draping back into his face as he squirms around. And he shudders at his own touch, and stretches his arm out to grip Bucky’s ass again, if through the jeans this time.

“We can see if the fountain’s on this time of year. It’s not that cold anymore, right?” He grips Bucky harder. “Maybe I should ask someone else. Since you’re always in heat.” He laughs at his own joke. “Rutting up against everything, needy and slutty and desperate. I’ll check the weather report instead.”

Bucky’s face is twisting up around the knife and he’s pushing his ass back into Steve’s hand, his eyes on Steve’s dick, where Steve’s still stroking the full length, pausing here and there to swipe his thumb over the wetness at the head and smear it down. Like he didn’t already use an absurd amount of lube.

Steve says, “You like the weather,” then takes pity on him. “Okay, squirm a little closer, wouldja?” But really, he can’t help himself from squirming closer to Bucky instead, wanting. And Bucky already did undo his fly, getting ready to get fucked, and it’s easy for Steve to shove the front of his boxers down and pull him out of his jeans. The head of his dick is drooling about as much as his mouth.

He kisses Bucky on the cheek, the cool handle of the knife a brief presence against his jaw. Bucky moans around it, and that turns into a soft succession of moaning as Steve wraps his hand around both of their dicks, getting the lube evenly distributed, spitting on Bucky too, unnecessarily, but Bucky’s hips respond. Steve shudders through jerking them both off. He hears himself whine, and he watches Bucky’s face, how Bucky’s watching the movement of his hand.

Steve says, “Give me a hand and take over here for me. I’m tired.” It’s a lie, but one Bucky loves indulging him in typically. Fuck yourself while I watch; I’m tired. Kiss me while I sit still and glare at you; I’m tired. Tell me what you want me to do to you right now; I’m too tired to think of anything.

Except Bucky doesn’t move. “Buck?” Bucky’s eyes move up to his slowly, and he blinks at him, but that’s it. Steve drops their dicks and takes the knife out of Bucky’s mouth, getting the handle slippery. He puts the knife on the bed between them, and cups Bucky’s chin loosely with his hand. “Bucky, you with me?” He gets thrown off sometimes, is probably all it is. He gets overwhelmed. “We good?”

Bucky shakes his head, but then nods, and grins. “Yeah, yeah. It’s really good. It’s good. Sorry I ignored you. I just—Yeah, sorry about that. Yeesh.” He sounds livelier the more he talks, and some saliva slides out of his mouth, but his lips and the rest of his face are animated.

“What, you too absorbed in my dick brushing up against yours? You like it that much?”

“Yeah. I do. I love it. You know I love it.” He grins again.

“Okay, but I’m not gagging you anymore. I want you to answer when I talk.”

Bucky says, “Sure, okay. The knife?”

Steve thinks about it, then pops the blade out, and reaches behind Bucky to hold the knife against his back. Bucky startles at the touch, but calms, and rolls his hips. For a minute, Steve just runs the flat of the blade up and down Bucky’s spine, like petting a cat in a vaguely threatening way.

“We could go lay in the grass," he says, managing not to stumble over the words. "Bring some books. Hell, we could have a picnic. How’s that for a real date, right?”

Bucky says, “Sounds real good,” and Steve says, “It does,” and twists so that the arm under him has a greater range of motion, and goes back to jerking them off.

Worrying dampened the mood, but between the jerk of his hand and Bucky’s cock rubbing against the underside of his, he’s feeling good again soon enough, warm all over, blinking blurrily at Bucky, who’s watching the action with sharp intent, eyelashes casting shadows on his cheekbones.

And Steve feels so good and floaty for a moment that it scares him, and he takes his hand away and says, “Yeah, definitely too tired. You take over like I said.”

It isn’t a power thing this time; it’ll give him the distance to focus better, and could be a way to keep Bucky in the moment. Bucky closes his eyes and licks his lips and says, “But it’s good. It was good. It's working.”

Steve brushes his fingers up Bucky’s dick and says, “Do what I said, Buck. Okay?” and Bucky opens his eyes, looking kind of spacey. He moves his metal hand, grabbing them both up, and something lurches inside of Steve watching him, and Bucky’s slow about jerking them off, his grip too unforgiving.

“Bucky?” Bucky whimpers, then narrows his eyes and keeps going slowly. “Bucky?”

Bucky says, “Um, yeah,” but nothing else, still stroking, and Steve panics and fumbles the knife before throwing it across the room, the quickest way to get the blade away from anyone vulnerable. It hits the wall. It maybe dents the paint.

Bucky comes. He whimpers again, and shoots onto Steve’s arm and his own chest. Steve pulls back, sliding out of Bucky’s fist, and Bucky, still shivering through the end of his orgasm, mutters, “Wait, I have to get you off.”

“You really don’t have to.”

Bucky glares at him. He’s breathing hard. He looks down at how Steve is still much harder than he’d like to be. He frowns. “Where’d the knife go?” His hand tremors. The metal hand.

“I threw it.”

“Why would you do that?”

“I got overwhelmed.”

Bucky looks at him like Steve is a crossword puzzle and he knows he’ll never know enough to solve him all the way. “You don’t want to come.” His voice is flat.

Steve says, “Um, I mean.” not sure what else to do in the face of much he’s confusing Bucky, and the fact that he is, physiologically, pretty close. He says, “You know, I, uh, well,” and rolls onto his back and starts stroking himself. He closes his eyes, picturing Bucky’s head bowed for the haircut, how happy he looked letting Steve take care of him with a knife so close to his face. He doesn’t picture anything that just happened.

He feels Bucky cuddle up to his side. A heavy, warm body curled there without making any specific contact. “You don’t want me to help?”

Steve opens his eyes and turns his head. Bucky looks concerned more than anything else, his lips parted and brow furrowed. Steve says, “No, I just want you to talk to me.”

“What, about how much more I want you to bite me? How I want you to see how long you can keep me bruised for, fighting against the serum to keep me marked? How I want you in my ass, rough and fast?”

“No, your day. I want to hear about your day.”

Bucky kisses his earlobe and says, “Fine, all right,” and Steve closes his eyes again. “I bought a large black coffee and a breakfast sandwich from the food truck outside school. The lady behind me in line had a shirt covered in cats. I told her I liked it, and she—”

He keeps talking, and Steve does picture the new bruises on his chest, watching them fade, the whole hypothetical process of writing down when exactly they fade and maybe doing illustrations to accompany the numbers, and soon enough, he comes, as Bucky’s saying, “whole thirty-seven cents in the gutter, can you believe it?” He feels cold, but it would be horrible to cry.

Instead, he slides a finger around in the come splattered on his shirt and says, “That’s crazy, Buck. You could buy a whole bag of chips.”

Bucky actually licks at the come, getting Steve’s finger in the process. “Yeah!” he says. “That’s exactly what I did.”

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (12/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-09-14 04:16 am (UTC)(link)
They lie still, Bucky sprawled on his front, head turned to the side, an ankle crossed over Steve’s and his hair starting to itch at Steve’s shoulder. The rest of his day—before arriving home, at least—was even less eventful than his morning, so his story’s over before long. But he ends with as much enthusiasm as he brimmed with the whole time, saying, “Did you know there’s a public trash can right down the block? I never noticed it! That puts an end to my littering career.”

Steve says, “Yeah, I know. It’s painted?”

“It is. You could do that. Paint trash cans, if you wanted.”

It’s a few minutes before Steve realizes that he hasn’t answered. “Oh, yeah. I mean. I guess? But I think they’re all already painted.”

Out of the corner of his eye, he can see Bucky studying him. Structure returning to his soft, sleepy face. Out of the rest of his eyes, he can see a wide spread of water damage staining the ceiling.

Bucky says, “You didn’t cut my hair how I thought you would.”

“No? I do it wrong?”

“Not wrong. I just figured you do it choppier, y’know? Less delicate.”

“What, and fuck it up?” Steve looks at him head-on. “You love your hair.”

He’s always loved his hair. First thing, when upset, he’s always touched his hair. Used it to ground himself. And he’s always loved being looked at like he’s something wonderfully made.

“I don’t know. I just—if you’d wanted to fuck it up, make it uneven and awful? I’d’ve let you.”

“You love your hair, Buck. Anyway, I liked how I did it. I like to—It’s nice, not overdoing it. Little things. Scratch you a little. Take a little of your hair.” And he likes that Bucky hadn't disappeared yet.

“Oh, yeah? Steve Rogers: King of Subtlety?”

“King of being delicate with you.”

“That’s dumb.”

“No, it’s not.”

“No. It’s not.” Soft and needy as an animal, he pushes himself into Steve’s arms.

“Hold up.” Steve rearranges to better accommodate him, slouching against the headboard, tipping a bit to one side. He ends up with his arm slung across Bucky’s back, Bucky’s head on his chest and one leg flung across both of Steve’s.

Bucky sighs, then goes heavy and still. Warm and real. Half-dried sweat clings to the curve of his neck, smelling of sweet milk and aluminum. Steve slides a hand under the wild mass of his loose hair, and flexes his fingers to comb through. He repeats the motion, hoping to soothe. He knows his heart must be fast and loud under Bucky’s body, so perceptible. Never permitting him to be a good liar.

On top of him, Bucky is making happy noises, small hums and sighs. His heartbeat is hard too, but he was aroused. That’s normal. Steve, on the other hand, was just having a body. A body that surged with blood even as his best friend was blinking in and out of existence under his hands. He wants to choke on something.

No, that’s stupid.

He wants to understand what’s going on. He’s never been content with not understanding things. Not when he knows that if you bang your head against a wall long enough, a crack’s gotta form somewhere. And he didn't lock Bucky in, or smack him in the face. He moved slowly. He was good.

“Hey, there, honey,” he says, and runs his thumb lightly up Bucky’s jaw. It must tickle, because he draws in his shoulders and smiles at the same time. Against all odds, he looks so small.

“Hey there, wildflower.”

Steve cough-laughs. “Can I—”

“No. It’s illegal.”

“Ask you a question?”

“All questions’ve been outlawed. You want me to pass the pasta sauce? Too fucking bad. That's sauceless pasta for you.” Steve doesn’t respond, watching the casual, sleepy droop of Bucky’s lips. Bucky lifts his head and bangs it back down on Steve’s sternum. “Ask me your question, Steve.”

“Thought it was illegal.”

“And here I forgot you were such a law-abiding goody two-shoes.”

“Shut up.” He sticks his fingers in Bucky’s hair again. It’s impossible to tell if Bucky has any idea that something is wrong. With either of them. “I wanted to know how the experiment was going.” He tries to say it how he’d ask how class went, or if they should order in tonight.

“You mean being raped or being a student?”

“The first one.”

“Oh, that one. I seem like I’m enjoying it, right?” He sneaks up and kisses Steve at the line where his skull joins the vulnerable flesh of his throat. Steve exhales a slow stream.

“Well. You are pursuing it with a certain amount of. Uh.”

Bucky scoots down to where he was before. “Yeah, of what? Glee? Delight? Entertainment?” He puts on a voice like he’s narrating a film trailer: “Stalin has the conductor raped. The train doesn’t move. Khrushchev tells the conductor it was rape. The train still doesn’t move.”

He cracks up at the unfinished joke. The sound is beautiful and makes Steve nauseous with the weight and warmth of Bucky on top of him, rolling back and forth with glee, delight, entertainment. He waits. When the sound and motion cut off, it’s abrupt. Like a hurricane downing a power line inside him.

Low-voiced, Bucky says, “I hate it, actually. It makes me feel sick. You said you don’t get anything out of it. But do you feel sick?”

“Yeah, I do.”

“Not thinking about it. Saying it. Does saying the word make you feel sicker than thinking about it?”

“No. I guess not.” There’s always a moment, when he hears himself say it, when he wants to cringe, to stuff the word back in his mouth, too hard and flat and blunt to be allowed out into the world. But that’s called feeling responsible, not feeling sick.

“It didn’t feel like rape when it was happening. I don’t know why it should have to feel that way now. I’m sick of how many things I’m supposed to feel now, Steve.” And he does look sick, pale and starved. He climbs off of Steve, getting to his knees on the other side of the bed. He looks like the world’s deadliest prairie dog.

“Being the Winter Soldier or. Whatever you want to call that. It felt bad. I knew that it felt bad. Other stuff—Everyone has to find something to like, right? I liked having sex. I don’t care if you think I shouldn’t have.”




“Oh my fucking god.”

“I don’t want to tell you how to feel. But do you think maybe—”

“Also tired of having to think so many things—”

“You do feel bad? I think you do feel like it wasn’t. Good. Buck. On some level.”

Bucky sits back on his heels, spreading his legs as he does. His dick still hangs limply out of his pants, and his left hand tremors. “You don’t want to tell me how to feel. You just want to tell me how I already feel like I’m too stupid to know. Thanks. It's much appreciated.”

“Not stupid, just, maybe. When we have sex—Your face is wrong. Sometimes.”

“That’s not a real phrase. You were eavesdropping on me and Sam.”

“Can’t help it. You know you knew I could hear you.”

“I know. I knew.” He buries his face in the crook of his metal elbow, then slides it back up and out. His lower lip catches on a plate, but he doesn’t make a noise. A thin cut appears. That’s all. Gone soon. “Wrong in the same way yours is? Was.”

“I don’t know. How was mine? I don’t spend all day staring in the mirror, you know.”

“You better not. It’s my job to stare at you.”

Steve warms with distracting affection, but soldiers on. “I wouldn’t dream of competing. How was my face wrong?”

“It was brittle, I suppose. You looked too, uh. I don’t know. Awake. Dangerously awake.”

“Then no. Not the same way as me.” Bucky flicks his head to the right, then back, in a little prompting gesture, like if he took any longer to ask Steve to go on, he’d change his mind and stalk away instead. “You disappear. It was like you shrank in to yourself and then you were gone.”

Bucky’s shoulders drop. He’s smiling. A thin smile with a thin cut on one lip. “Yeah? That’s how sex works, babe. That’s how it’s always been. Means it’s good, right? So you get overwhelmed.”

“Yeah, you—No. You always got overwhelmed. You never did that.”

“Of course I did. What the hell are you talking about?”

“No, Buck. What the hell are you—” He makes himself breathe, to think about his lungs filling up, but he’s supposed to focus on the exhalation too and honestly, who has the time? So he goes right into, “Yes, you’d get overwhelmed. But it looked different. You’d get exhausted, or weepy.” He hates that, because he’s only ever called Bucky “weepy” in a sweetly mocking way, and now it’s tainted. “Or you’d cling to me and babble some bullshit. But you were always you.”

The moments before Bucky responds drag out, harsh as grinding teeth.

And then, “I’m still always me. You’ve told me I’m always me. You’ve told me that a fucking thousand times, Steve!” His speech takes a turn for the imitative, high and cruel. “You’re Bucky. You’re Bucky. Hi, Bucky. I love you, Bucky.” He spits his own name like the shell of a sunflower seed. It clatters to the floor. Wet and discarded.

And Steve shouldn't be hurt, not when Bucky's clearly hurt, but he feels, in an instant like lightning, like he has the flat of a knife at his back. “That’s not what I mean, fuckhead.”

“Fuckface. Get it? Because I just exist for you to fuck my fucking face while I’m not Bucky and not here.”

“What?” He can’t remember the last time he fucked Bucky’s face.

“Get off me.” Bucky uses his soft hand to stuff his soft dick back in his jeans.

“I’m not touching you.”

“Yeah? Well. I don’t want you to anyway.” He practically throws himself off the bed. “I have homework.”

“Which class?”

“Creative Nonfiction.”

“Have fun.”

“More fun than this.”

He’s out the door and in the hallway when he pauses, puts his metal hand on the doorway light as a moth and turns so Steve can see his face. Now he does look the way he described: brittle and dangerously awake. Teeth held visibly open between his slack, open lips; eyes wide, and the muscles around them making little leaps, little indications that he would pull his eyes even farther back into his head if he could.

Steve says, “Buck. Stay.”

“Sorry. No.” Bucky shakes his head and swallows. He told Steve, a while ago, about string theory; he said the vibrations of the strings are too subtle for people to consciously be aware of, and that’s how Steve thinks Bucky is right now: vibrating powerfully enough to change the whole world, even if he appears perfectly still.

“Bucky. You don't look good."

“I’m sorry. I really. I don’t want to upset you, but I shouldn’t stay here. I need away for a second.”

“A second?”

“An hour. Two hours. Outside. Text me if you need me. I don’t want you to—I don’t want to run off on you. I did that before, I guess. I’ll see you later.”

“Yeah. Just, uh, if you’re going outside—” He forces a breathy laugh as he tugs on the front of his own t-shirt.

“Oh. Yeah.” A grin appears on Bucky’s tight face, looking carved there, like on a jack-o-lantern. He steps into the room. “Wouldn’t want to be indecent.” And he opens the closet and grabs a tee and a flannel in a flash, pulling both on as he stands there.

There’s nothing Steve can do but watch his back. There’s a pink line flicked across his skin, high up on his hips, where Steve must have gotten him with the knife in his sudden surprise. It’s most of the way healed, but Steve’s got good eyes. Hasn’t he?

“Yeah,” Steve says mechanically, “this isn’t a firemen’s calendar. It’s a modest and respectable neighborhood.”

“Not really.”

Dressed, the flannel not pulled all the way up his metal arm but held there by its girth anyway, Bucky comes and stands less than a foot away, diagonal to Steve’s right. “Look.” He comes closer, holding his pale right hand out, then changes his mind, slipping it in his back pocket. When he’s almost pressed up against Steve’s still, patient body, he leans in like for a kiss.

But he doesn’t kiss Steve’s mouth. He presses his forehead to Steve’s shoulder, close to where it meets his neck. His inhalation is deep, but shaky. He moves to press his lips there instead, and leaves a couple of gentle kisses. Then his mouth jumps almost imperceptibly, and he makes an abbreviated, high noise. Holding in a sob.

He stands up. He says, “See ya, honey,” without looking at Steve’s face. And he leaves. Brisk and businesslike. Leaves Steve sitting on the edge of the bed, unable to escape the sensation that the room is very far away, and on the other side of bulletproof glass, and he’s just waiting to be allowed back in.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (12/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (12/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (12/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (12/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (12/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (12/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (13a/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-09-29 08:47 pm (UTC)(link)
At breakfast, Bucky puts his head down on the table. One moment, he’s stuffing a blueberry Eggo in his mouth, syrup smeared across his chin. The next, his head slumps onto the wood with a thud, and he stretches his arms out in front of him. Syrup transfers from his chin to the checkered tablecloth, and Steve winces, knowing Bucky will be mad at himself about it later.

Then it occurs to him that something might be wrong. Bucky looks all hollowed out. No bones, no muscles, no jokes.

So he jokes, “You should chew and swallow before taking a nap.”

Bucky grunts and raises his head a couple inches in the air. He glares. Blurry through the Eggo, he says, “Naps are a scam. You wake up still dead inside.”

“I can’t argue with that.” Steve shuts his eyes tight to take a long sip of juice. Country music drifts in from the living room radio. Bucky listens to a lot of country music these days, and a lot of it is angry.

“What’s up, Buck?”

“I don’t know, Doc. What’s up with you?”

“Oh. Well. You know how it is. Enjoying some Cheerios. Supporting the weight of my own head instead of going to sleep at the table. Not much.”

Bucky makes a show of chewing and swallowing now, treating Steve to the sight of his jaw snapping open and shut, full of mashed-up food. He washes it all down with scalding coffee that makes his nose scrunch.

“I’m not asleep. I’m concerned.”

“Tell me.”

“Concerned about you.”

Steve pushes his Cheerios away. “So tell me. I can take it.”

Bucky grabs the bowl and steals a metal handful of Cheerios. He inspects them as he asks, “Are you still afraid?” Nimbly, he places two Cheerios on his tongue.

“I’m Captain America. I’m not afraid of anything.”

“You’re thinking of Sam. Sam Wilson. And he’s afraid of crawling bugs and, huh, the Loch Ness Monster, he said. Are you still afraid? And don’t fucking try to get out of it. I promise I know about getting out of things.”

“Yes, Bucky. I’m afraid. I’m afraid when you say that sex is supposed to involve looking like a ghost of yourself. That doesn’t fill me with confidence.”

“About me not leaving you if I need.” He stuffs the rest of the handful in his mouth; it’s not enough to make his cheeks bulge, but he bulges them anyway. For comic effect? He looks sweet that way.

“Yeah, well, I guess.” It doesn’t fit. Not quite right. But Steve hasn’t put a lot of thought into being afraid of anything else. It’s the same thing he’s always been afraid of in different ways. Trapping Bucky.

But when he thought Bucky wouldn’t dare leave him because he was small and sick and would maybe die alone, well. As much as people talked about him like he was still-twitching roadkill, he was actually plenty resilient and fine alone. But if he would die left to his own devices, that wasn’t something he could control at all. There’s so much more that he can control these days.

Not that being powerless has ever made him feel any less guilty. He tears a piece off of Bucky’s waffle and puts it on his own tongue. His fingers are covered in syrup now too.

Bucky looks at him for a long time. His chin is lifted as if in challenge, but his eyes are soft. Without looking anywhere else, he reaches up and pushes a bobby pin more securely into the mass of curls on his head. Then he puckers his mouth tight before smoothing it into a smile and asking, “Am I your whole life?”

“Excuse me?”

“Okay, so maybe that’s what you’re afraid of. And that’s your problem to fix, not mine.”

This would be easier if he looked smug. But he looks so tired. He looks like he means all of it and wishes he didn’t.

“What the hell are you talking about?”

“You afraid of me not leaving you, or of you not leaving me, huh, Steve?”

“Why the fuck would I need to leave you? I wouldn’t do that.”

“And why the hell would I need to leave you! Fuck. You think I have to have a contingency plan, but nothing could ever hurt you. So you let me be your whole life. Because how the hell could that go wrong?” He pokes at the tablecloth. “And does syrup stain?”

“I think things can hurt me.” He makes himself smile. “I could get stained by syrup.”

“Not funny.” He pokes the syrup again, then rubs his thumb and forefinger together, growling at the sensation. “I’ll wash it anyway.”

“It’s a little funny.”

Bucky flings a Cheerio at his forehead. It stings, and Steve rubs the spot it hit, frowning. He pulls the bowl back and hunkers down, holding it close to his chest. He wants to say something else funny, but he can’t. Bucky’s afraid, and that’s what he’s been trying to avoid.

He says, “Buck, please,” which is completely useless.

Bucky, always a more useful person, says, “Sorry, but please, sweetheart. Please just try to—Make a friend. Make more art. Talk to the people on the internet who like the fucking goat minerals.” He pauses and pokes his tongue into his cheek, looking like he wants to make a joke about goat-fucking but knows it isn’t appropriate.

Knock-knock. Who’s there? Baa, baa. Baa, baa who? Baa, baa, fuck-goat, give my dick a pull. Yes, sir, yes sir—

Slowly, like a mollusk, he slips his tongue down back where it belongs, flicking it out of his mouth for a second. “Hell, go play Ultimate Frisbee.” He breaks out into the most real smile Steve’s seen on him in ages, squinty and irrepressible. Then it’s gone. “I don’t understand what you do all day. And that’s terrifying.”

“Excuse me, I work. I have a job. And I eat. And I do draw things. Sometimes I go for walks. I go see Sam.” He imagines himself listing things forever, trying to make himself sound more and more legitimate. I inhale oxygen. I go to sleep most nights. I wear shoes.

Bucky stretches his mouth out to one side and squints. “You draw? You doodle, yeah. But you don’t get invested in any shit.”

“I’m invested in—” He stops, because it’s obvious how that sentence ends.

“Me. Yeah. No shit. I love you, and no shit.”

“I could paint a trash can.”

“You said they’re all painted.”

“So I’ll paint over one. Who’s gonna stop me?” No one would stop Steve Rogers, but possibly someone will stop Stewart Roberts. That’s okay. Getting fined for defacing public property would count as doing something with his life.

“I won’t. I don’t want to stop you. You want me to.”

“I want you to?”

“Yeah, you want me to, and I don’t want to. I want you to do things you’ll love. I love you.” For no clear reason, he picks up the waffle remaining on his plate and wipes it on his face, leaving a huge patch of syrup. He says, “Fuck.”

“I love you.” Steve wants to lick the syrup off Bucky’s face. Bucky probably wants him to lick the syrup off his face.

He doesn’t lick any syrup off of anything. Not even the tablecloth. Not even his own fingers (Bucky tries to do it for him, but Steve tenses up and kisses him stickily on the forehead and goes to wash his hands).

Is it crazy to lie awake until the middle of the night, then get up, gather some art supplies, and sneak out of the house? Yes. Is he crazy? Probably. His head always hurts with the weight and density of everything stuffed in there and buzzing around. Maybe Natasha’s right, and he should lie down on a couch and let himself get hypnotized. He can talk about sex, and terror, and his head, and how he has no life.

There’s a moment, as Steve’s exchanging his pajama bottoms for sweatpants with deep pockets, when Bucky seems to wake. He snuffles like a toddler getting a cold and rolls onto his side, and slits open his eyes. He says, “What’s it?”

And Steve jumps a couple inches off the ground and pulls the sweatpants all the way up. He whispers, “Hey, it’s okay,” and wipes his palms on his thighs only to learn that they aren’t sweating. “We’re okay. I’ll be back.”

“We’re okay?” Bucky frowns. His eyes are closing again. “It’s all good.” And he face-plants, stretching his arms in front of him in a sleep-heavy impression of Superman.


“Shhh. Sleepin’.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He waits until the bedroom door clicks shut behind him to add, “Sleep tight,” like a prayer.

As he’s in his office, transferring unopened paints and brushes to a canvas shopping tote, he contemplates going out the window instead of the front door. Solely to complete the ridiculous sensation of being a teenager sneaking out to meet his bad influence boyfriend. It’s something he never got to do, Bucky being the one with the bad influence boyfriend, and the one whose parents were always home at night.

But he’s only a certain amount stupid, and using a window as a point of egress is horrible for security. Bucky, if he found out, would pale and start hiding knives up his sleeves again for reasons having nothing to do with sex. So he steps out the front door, beneath a full moon bundled in clouds.

It never gets less disconcerting, the surplus of greenery in this town. Hedges delineate their property from the sidewalk, and the whole way up the street, he’s accompanied by overhanging trees. Rich shadows, the sounds of bugs, one hand death-gripping the handle of the tote over his shoulder, the other rubbing at his beard. Scratching, until he notices what he’s doing and makes himself stop.

He’s sneaking out to set his good influence boyfriend’s mind at ease. Bucky will call if he wakes up again and finds Steve gone. Maybe. Maybe he’ll just panic. Something rustles next to Steve and he puts his shoulders back, almost gets his fists up, but realizes in a second that it must be an animal of some kind. Only an animal. He stops to text Bucky, stepped out for fresh air, and hopes the sound on his phone is turned off.

The street lamp overhanging the trash can has a burned-out bulb. But between the moonlight’s effort and his night vision, it’s no problem at all.

The past few days, it’s been gnawing at him, the idea of painting over another artist’s work. And for selfish reasons, too. But not really selfish—after all, he hates how exposed he feels standing here. He’s doing it for Bucky, regardless of how crazy that might be.

And it isn’t a masterpiece, exactly, that he’s about to deface. Only swathes of green and purple, and some punctuation smiley faces here and there. He’s seen cans around town with intricate murals of landscapes and giraffes.

Should the difference matter? He thinks of Rothko, then snorts and says, too loud in the night, “Jesus. Way to minimize a genius, you enormous fuck-up.”

And he crouches down, and gets his materials out, and swallows his guilt, and starts working.

Later in the morning, Bucky rolls over and checks his phone. “‘Stepped out for fresh air,’” he reads aloud. “Oh yeah? Must be in two places at once then, ‘cause I see you in my bed, buddy.”

My bed.” Steve’s feeling dried-out and flattened. Like he just got back inside, though he knows it must have been hours of fitful sleep. He attempts to bury himself beneath his pillow.

“Oh, really? Arm wrestle for it.”

“No, I’ll pass. Take the bed. Take the kingdom.”

Bucky snuggles up to his side, jabbing his face into Steve’s shoulder and sighing and overlapping their legs. He says, “You doing okay?”

“Of course.”

“Steppin’ out for fresh air help?”

“Well, of course. It does wonders for my asthma.”

At first, he stands blocking the front door, arms straight out to his sides like he’s being made to hold up two stacks of Bibles. The doorknob prods at his ass and the wood is hard behind his head.

Bucky swaggers toward him. He’s smiling with one eye half-lidded. A pin-prick sensation marches its way up Steve’s neck, and he stops leering in an affectionate kind of way and drops his arms and steps smoothly to the side.

The door’s unguarded; they can both leave whenever they want.

But Bucky catches him around the waist, right arm pressing into what little soft flesh he has left and dragging him closer, so that their bodies are perpendicular, and bits of each of them knock up into the door. He puts his face against Steve’s neck. He says, “A tenth of a penny for your thoughts?”

“Not even a ha’penny?”

“Bargain with me, sure. You’ll get a piece of pocket lint for your thoughts and that’s the end of that story.”

“You drive a hard bargain there.”

“I drive a hard a lot of stuff.” His teeth graze Steve’s throat. He pokes at Steve’s clavicle with his tongue. Little, quick gestures, and Steve can’t help but put his arms around him and squeeze. He lowers the right, but leaves the left, sliding up and down Bucky’s ribs.

“Sure,” he says. “Uh, Hey. I want to tell you what route to take to class.”

Bucky licks at his clavicle more obnoxiously, and Steve smushes the heel of his hand into his face, though not hard enough to budge him. “Is this a sex thing?”

“Why would it be a sex thing?”

“I don’t know. I think it would make a good sex thing. Why else do you wanna do it?”

“Because I’m a control freak with zero sex appeal. Come on. Humor me a little.”

Bucky lets him go. He leans back against the door now, lounges there, an arm curving across the top of his head, the veins at his wrist green and pronounced. He says, “I’m always humoring you, honey. I’m a humorous man.”

“Knock-knock,” Steve says in a high voice. “Who’s there? Oh, it’s me! Captain America!”

Bucky bursts out laughing. “See? It’s a great joke.”

Steve kicks at his shin. “I want to tell you where to walk, and I want you to walk there. And I want you to send me a picture.”

“Of me walking?”

“No. You’ll know what. But I do want you in the picture too. If you want.”

“Nothing about this has zero sex appeal.”

“I don’t get you.” He puts his fingertips to Bucky’s jaw, to the dense curl of his beard. Watches as his eyelids flutter and his lips jerk apart.

“Of course you do. You get me. I get you. You get pocket lint. I get your thoughts.” He laughs. “Tell me, okay? But don’t make me late, I swear to god.”

Ten minutes after they kiss goodbye, Bucky texts him, what the fuck is this. Then, ???

Steve resumes the push-ups he’s been doing on the living room floor, working through the warmth gushing through his chest. Then he pauses, wishing he was out of breath. Can I help you?

He’s expecting a selfie, with the kind of careful angling that Bucky’s perfected. What he gets appears to have been taken by a stranger, a landscape shot with all of Bucky’s goofy, half-smiling face and his pressed-and-ironed body crouching, right hand making a V sign by his head. And beside him: the trash can, featuring a painting of two air conditioners getting united in holy matrimony. Both wearing the upper halves of tuxedos, a suggestion of stained glass in the background, and hovering between them, two golden rings.

It’s not his best work. It is more than a doodle.

Bucky texts him, What’s wrong with you? I love you. I do.

Steve texts back, I stepped out for some fresh air.

A printed version of the photo ends up on the refrigerator, held by a magnet from the farmers’ market.

FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (13b/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-09-29 08:49 pm (UTC)(link)
A couple times, Bucky tries using it as fuel for them to fuck. Not with any real effort, but stretching his head into Steve’s lap on the couch as they watch a nature documentary and saying, in a voice like he’s joking, “You be the air conditioner repairman and I’ll be the broken air conditioner and you bang on me and check out my insides until I’m good and operational again.”

Or, when he comes in the door after class and Steve greets him like a househusband, looping his arms around his neck and muttering, “One day, an air conditioner comes to life, and it’s really horny, but only for other air conditioners, and it sees me, an air conditioner who isn’t alive, just sitting around out there. Unprotected. Hmm?”

Both times, Steve chuckles and ruffles his hair, and Bucky looks affronted, and Steve freezes, and then they touch less. And they talk about killer whales or meteors.

They talk; they don’t fuck; they don’t talk about anything important; Steve sketches more designs to paint on trash cans, but doesn’t take his paints out of the canvas tote.

They both wake up late. It’s a Saturday, and rain shushes heavy outside, obscuring any light that might come through their bedroom blinds. They wake up both tangled in the blankets, both agreeing that their mouths taste like death, and untangling the blankets a little.

An hour passes, and they're still in bed. Steve stares at his book on the Comics Code without processing anything, while Bucky scrawls something in a notebook, curled into a protective ball around it. He writes with his left hand, and the snatch of handwriting Steve glimpses when Bucky stretches to yawn is smooth and delicate.

His heart feels like it’s made of clay. His mouth still tastes like death, and is still dry even after drinking the glass of water left on the nightstand. He looks at Bucky, and he says, “I don’t feel like I can talk to you.”

Bucky looks up. He dog-ears his page in the notebook and closes it, then hides it beneath the sure muscle of his thigh. He looks soft, unguarded, his hair a rat’s nest. “So talk. I’ll talk to you. With you.”

“I want to be clear.”

So be clear. Steve.” He grins.

“To be clear, I mean that I want to you talk about things that matter. I want to talk with you about important things.”

“You gonna read The Jungle to me again? I didn’t like it when I was sixteen and I don’t—”

“No. Bucky. Can we talk like friends? Like you do with your friends?”

“Talk, Steve. Go for it.” He takes the notebook out from under his thigh so he can use it like a pillow. “I’m listening.”

“Um.” Now that he’s planning to ask, he feels ridiculous, over-sized, an intrusion. He tries anyway. “What happened on the cliff?”

“The cliff.”

“With Dorsey. You and Katarina were laughing about it. Can you—Are you willing to tell me?”

“Why do you do that?” He sounds half-asleep and resigned, and shuts his eyes and breathes in deep.

“What? Do what, Buck?”

“Try to make me hurt you! Fucking cut it out. Please.” He opens his eyes.

“Oh, I try to make you hurt—” his voice get smaller as he thinks about what he’s saying—“me?”

He means really hurt him, re-traumatize him, pull him out of himself, but Bucky doesn’t think there’s trauma to relive, so of course that’s not what he’ll hear. Steve’s never in his life tried to make Bucky feel broken about liking when Steve hurts him, but now here they are. He doesn’t even want Bucky to feel broken about it, but here they are.

But Bucky takes it mostly in stride. “Yeah, a real hardship for you, having me squirming under you begging to get roughed up. I’m sure that’s been real hard for you all these years.”

“In a sense.”

“Yeah, in a sense. Dumbass.”

“So you’re not going to tell me.”

“No. I’m not.” He shrugs. “It’s okay that you asked. Do you want to wake up now?”

“Next to you?” He sets his hand down between them, close enough that Bucky can take it if he wants. “Always.”

Bucky doesn’t take his hand, but he does smile and says, “Jesus. I don’t know what to do with you. I can make breakfast. I can make breakfast sandwiches. Don’t ask me about Dorsey again.”

“But can I read you The Jungle?”

For all his smiling and offers of breakfast, as he stands, Bucky seems drawn in on himself and drawn tight. His hair falls in front of his eyes and he doesn't brush it back. He says, “You read me that book, I’m doing my own muckraking. Steve Rogers: pervert by night, pervert by day, and can’t make a Bloody Mary to save his life. It's gonna be a bestseller.”

After bacon and egg sandwiches, Steve opens the window in his office and sticks his head out into the downpour. He mutters to himself, “Stop asking shit,” and gets rain in his mouth.

He asks Bucky, “What do you want for your birthday?” because they both learned years ago that Steve has no idea how to guess.

“Your dick,” Bucky says, eyes glazed over, clutching his coffee mug with “Metropolitan Museum of Art” stamped across in cursive.

“No, you don’t. What do you want?”

“No, I don’t really,” and the honesty of that makes Steve wish he would accidentally drop his own coffee on the floor. There’s no other way to externalize anything. He settles for getting up from the table and staring in the fridge like he didn’t finish eating ten minutes ago.

Bucky says, “I don’t know.”

They both woke up late again, Steve’s throat foggy and tight, Bucky refusing to open his eyes in a hammed-up display of orneriness toward no one in particular. And pulled themselves into proper clothes while moaning and grunting. It felt familiar, like waking up hungover on the couch together with their suspenders still half-on and somebody outside yelling.

It’s conceivable that Bucky is hungover; Steve’s just tired down to his blood cells. He takes a jar of peanut butter out of the fridge. He puts it on the counter and stares.

Bucky clears his throat, and Steve returns to the table, aware that the peanut butter is now in his hand. When he’s settled, Bucky says, “I want you to know shit.”

“Yeah? What shit?”

“What happened with the cliff. Nicer things. Everything. You don’t get it. I keep trying to tell you and you don’t get it, and I need you to get it already. I love your thick skull, man, but it’s causing us an issue.” He slurps at his coffee. He grimaces, because their beans are stale and they’re out of cream, and because grimacing is a thing that people do to fill dead air.

Bucky’s always made the stupidest faces when they’re not-quite-fighting.

Steve settles the peanut butter in his lap. Resists the urge to pat its lid. “Isn’t that a gift for me?”

“No. It’s definitely not. And, huh. Buy me flowers. Nice flowers. And a cake.”

“What kind?”

Bucky glares at him. “You know what kind.”


“Fucking obviously. Chocolate icing or I’m locking all the doors and windows.”

“So I’ll come down the chimney.”

“I’ll light a fire. Try and cross me.” He sticks a fragile finger in the untouched bowl of oatmeal in front of him, scooping up a dollop. He leans across the table and smears it on the bulb of Steve’s nose. Steve jerks back at the wetness, but he’s startled into laughter, and Bucky’s laughing too, and says, “Mazel tov, douchebag.”

Steve swats at his hand without making contact.

Bucky's laughter cuts off. He says, "You know, though. You, uh. Don't have to get my name on the cake. It's okay with no decorations."

"I don't have to or you don't want me to?"

Bucky says, "Eh," and see-saws his hand in the air. "Do what feels good, okay? You don't have to." He puts more oatmeal on his finger.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (13b/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (14/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-10-13 09:12 pm (UTC)(link)
In two days, Bucky’s going to turn an imaginary, untouchable number of years. Steve is cross-legged on the living room floor, bent forward to use the laptop in front of him. He has one tab open for Binging local bakeries, one for Binging local florists, and three with image searches for different varieties of flower. Bucky loves Monet’s water lilies, but they don’t live in water, so he looks at tiger lilies, and at easter lilies, and—feeling gawky and dumb and young about it—roses.

Bucky enters the room through the window. Steve shouts, “Jesus fucking Christ, Bucky!” after he’s blindly thrown a couch cushion in a neat arc. Bucky catches it against his chest, hugs it to him. His cheeks are flushed, his hair coming out of the two buns twisted up high on his head. He’s wearing all black, like he planned this when he got dressed, how best to make the cat burglar joke land.

Steve says, “Why was that unlocked?” shuffling to make sure his body shields the computer screen from view.

“Wasn’t. That would be stupid. You think I’d leave it unlocked?”

“It’s not like the house was going to be empty at any point.”

Bucky shrugs. “Not necessarily, Steve. You could have gone anywhere. Australia. Texas.” He slinks over with exaggerated cartoon sneakiness, flattening himself to an invisible wall. He whispers, “I jimmied it. I’m pretty great at locks.”

Steve realizes he can just shut the laptop for now. “Yeah, I know that. You always were.”

Bucky gets on the floor and prowls like a cat to close the distance between them, all-fours and an arched spine. Then he flops down and puts his head on Steve’s thigh. Steve pats at his head.

Bucky says, “Hey, so an old crone had to wait two hours just to get on a bus.”

Steve starts to say, “Yeah, what’d she do that you’re calling her—” but Bucky speaks over him.

“Bus after bus came by, but they were full-up with passengers, and she couldn’t squeeze herself in as well. When she finally managed to clamber aboard, she wiped her forehead and exclaimed, ‘Finally, Glory to God!’ But the driver said, ‘Mother, you must not say that. You must say, ‘Glory to comrade Stalin!’” He squirms, and a hairclip digs into Steve’s leg.

The other visible clips are thick, oblong curves. A tortoiseshell pattern, catching the gold tones hidden in Bucky’s hair. Two clasp at the base of each bun. Steve thumbs at one’s smooth surface.

Bucky coughs into his elbow. “Anyway, so the woman said, ‘Excuse me, comrade. I’m just a backwards old woman. From now on, I’ll say what you told me to.’ Then after a while, she continued, ‘Excuse me, comrade, I am old and stupid. What shall I say if, God forbid, Stalin dies?’ ‘Well,’ the driver said, ‘then you may say, 'Glory to God!'’” He laughs in a series of small puffs, his chest bouncing. “That was my favorite, at one point.”

“It was?”

“Yeah. I don’t know why. Or when exactly. I remember knowing I shouldn’t tell anyone. I think that. Uh.”

He rolls so it’s his forehead digging into Steve’s thigh. Steve used to think that he could read Bucky’s feelings just fine from his voice or the set of his shoulders, or even the back of his neck. He could guess from a handwritten note what Bucky’s face had looked like when he wrote it. How could he possibly now?

But the shift in position has revealed the pale rivulet of skin where Bucky’s hair parts and heads up into the two buns. It’s crooked. Steve touches him there, and Bucky whines: one clear note.

He goes on, “It was fine—sometimes, I mean—for me to think things were funny. But I could never tell what made it fine or wrong. So I never acted like I did, but sometimes someone would say, ‘See the soldier thinks I’m funny.’ Or something like that. And I’d be terrified, but nothing’d happen. But someone told me that joke. Told me directly, when we were alone. So he couldn’t say, ‘See the soldier thinks I’m funny,’ and no one else could say, ‘See, the soldier doesn’t think you’re funny.’”

“But you think you thought it was funny?”

“I know I thought it was hilarious. But no one got to say I felt one way or the other. So I acted like I didn’t think anything. And for all anyone knew, I didn’t.” He drags himself forward so his head is more or less buried in Steve’s crotch. There’s something chaste about it. He says into the open space between Steve’s folded legs, “You tell me something now.”

“What am I telling you now?”

“Tell me something you haven’t before.” He flips onto his back, a vulnerable turtle. Bumps the back of his skull against Steve’s farther thigh. He looks like Steve should be cradling his body, clutching his entirety; he’s glowing and rough-hewn and damp around the eyes. “This goes both ways, okay? Tell me something important. That was important.”

The makeup beneath his right eye has grown faint over the course of the day, or maybe rubbed off in his squirming. Deep, sweet shadow; beautiful, difficult man.

“Sam said he’s coming by to drop off a gift for you later.”

“That’s important. But you know what I mean.”

“Mmm.” He cups one of the knobs of hair in his palm. Springy and soft. “You know that I was. Well. Really lonely. For a while. After I woke up.”

“Stands to reason.”

“And I tried not to be. But in a lot of ways, that was worse. I kinda think I should have let myself lie dormant.”

“Do you?”

No reaching his hand out to Sam. No cracking jokes with Natasha. No making small talk with any diner waitresses or grocery store cashiers. No touch at all that wasn't pure violence besides being squeezed body-to-body with others on the subway with everyone doing their best to pretend to be alone.

“No. God, sorry. I didn’t do anything wrong,, and nothing really bad happened.”

“Hey, stop plagiarizing my memoirs!”

Steve laughs, and brushes his hair off his forehead; it's been getting long.

“Fuck. It’s my turn now, and I’ll plagiarize what I like, asshole. It wasn’t anything bad. I don’t think. But I did, well, have sex with a few people. A woman who recognized me in a bar. Two SHIELD agents. Natasha tried to set me up with one of them once, uh, after, and it was hell keeping a straight face.” He shrugs. “Nothing bad. But I felt lonelier after. Every time.”

Bucky stares up at him with his damp eyes. “You don’t have to say anything else.”

“I should. I pushed you.”

“That’s not the point. Besides. I just told you some shit you didn’t ask about. But see? It ain’t exactly easy.”

“I haven’t been asking because I think it’s easy.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He shuts his eyes and turns onto his side, facing Steve, moving closer so he’s practically curled catlike around him. “You’re asking because you think it matters. You think so many things matter.”

The doorbell startles them both awake.

In Steve’s dream, he was about to buy a very small grapefruit. Bucky’s drooled a small very small puddle on his thigh. There’s only a very small amount of light in the living room now, the sun snuffed out. His throat is dry, and Bucky’s crouched next to him, still and ominous in his all-black. They wait.

Then Bucky whispers in his ear, “What are we waiting for here?”

Steve says, “Um,” and his phone starts buzzing from under the couch, in the pattern assigned to—“Sam, right.” He tries to get up, but Bucky shoves him down, and his teeth glint.

“It’s my birthday gift. I get the door.”

“Oh, perfect. I’ll keep sitting here in the dark.”

The open door lets in a punch of cold air. Sam says, “Why do I feel like I’m the one getting a surprise party?”

“Surprise!” Steve yells. Kind of yells. Says loudly.

Sam screams—quietly, not worrying the neighbors—and makes a series of choking noises. “You’ve surprised me,” he hisses out, “to death.”

Bucky says, “Wow, I can’t believe Steve hired me the world’s most melodramatic stripper.” Sam laughs, and then Bucky says, softer, “Hey,” and there’s a pause, and then Sam hissing in pain. Bucky tsks at him. “What the hell kind of ugly-ass tin men are you fighting out there? I hope you have all your tetanus shots.”

“Hey, run-of-the-mill supervillain. You don’t watch the news? It’s gotten a lot more attractive since I showed up.”

“That’s Steve’s gig. I like daytime TV.”

“What, like Ellen?”

“No, like soaps. I love soaps.”

“Well, that’s some info I could have used before getting your present. I hope you like it even if it doesn’t have a secret twin who’s also its grandma plotting to steal its liver or anything.”

Steve calls to them, “You can come in, you know! You’re letting the cold in.”

Appearing in the living room doorway as Bucky smacks the door shut, Sam says, “Stewart Graham Roberts, put on a sweater if you’re cold. And what, you guys’re out of candles?”

“Candles?” Steve snorts. “Come on, Buck and I are men of the future. We use lanterns.” But he stands, groaning at the stiffness in his knees that’ll be gone in a minute, and flicks on the lamp. “See? These nifty electric lanterns.”

Sam is resplendent. Steve laughs at himself for thinking that, but he is, as always. Something ineffably good in his eyes and the set of his shoulders. Even in the cuts and scratches Bucky must have been touching and worrying over in the doorway. One neat set of stitches on his cheek, a protruding scab above his eyebrow. He’s wearing a leather jacket that's too big, and sunglasses perched on the top of his head. Under his arm, he’s got a package wrapped in festive, multicolored paper, ready to be thrown away.

Bucky says, “The soaps have got a lot of amnesiacs in ’em. I’m learning a lot about how to be myself.”

Steve and Sam embrace, competing to hug the air out of each other, and Sam is so warm, and he asks over Steve’s shoulder, “Oh yeah? Like what?”

Maybe Steve can’t see Bucky, but he can tell that he’s grinning when he says, “Fake it all and your dreams will come true. Right, former Miss America 1942?”

Steve digs his chin into Sam’s shoulder, the dry stiff leather and sturdy muscle of him. Sam almost-giggles. Steve closes his eyes and mutters, “Open your gift or I’ll open your face,” and the hug ends.

Lounging on the floor, Bucky unwraps a Rubik’s cube, a package of bright hair elastics, and a copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray. He folds the wrapping paper, neat from how he slit through the tape with a metal finger. He touches each gift with the same finger, with the same kind of wonder he had in his eyes when he was ten and a rabbit came right up to him and Steve in the park like it had no fear.

Sam, sitting close to Bucky with his back against the couch, says, “It’s completely possible that I sent your friends postcards asking what you wanted.”

“Were they signed from their worst nightmares?”

“Y’know, somehow I didn’t see that going over so well. Normal, anonymous postcards from a normal, anonymous benefactor.”

Bucky looks up, and he’s smiling the smallest amount and his hair is in his eyes. He aims a soft punch to Sam’s arm.

“Yeah, Happy Birthday, man. You’re what, thirteen now?”

“Fifteen, Wilson. It’s like there’s no love.” He whaps Sam’s knee with the book. “You want a beer?”

“I gotta drive back. And you know I don’t drink if there aren’t any games involved.”

“It’s non-alcoholic. And it’s so sweet that you drove all this way. Steve, isn’t he just the cutest, most courteous gentleman?”

Steve says, “That’s right. There’s no competition.”

Sam glares at both of them. “Ugh. That’s to that comment and the non-alcoholic beer. Who’s responsible for that?”

Bucky points at Steve. Steve points at Bucky, who is, in fact responsible for it, because Steve didn’t know they had non-alcoholic beer in the house until this moment.

Sam says, “Uh-huh. Sure. You have coffee?”

Steve returns to the living room balancing three mugs of coffee and feeling proud of himself for it. Sam is staring at the Keebler elves painting from an inch away, like maybe the Da Vinci code is buried inside its clumsy brushstrokes.

Once Sam’s left, Bucky lies back down on the floor with his gifts and his wrapping paper. Steve stretches out on the couch and watches him. The bend in one of his knees. The curls escaping his buns. His hands toying with the Rubik’s cube like assembling a gun—But this is Bucky as he never got to see him, unused to any weapons besides his fists and the occasional baseball bat, clutching a gun for the first time, clumsy and his eyes bright, dark slashes as he learned how to work something new.

The Bucky he found in Italy held his gun close to his body with passionate familiarity, and treated it like his body too. The motions of disassembling, cleaning, assembling, shooting all came off as dull and instinctive as taking a piss. And unless they were keeping a low profile, he always whistled his way through both. Now, he hums.

Steve wants to tell him that he lied when he said he didn’t do anything wrong. That he’s never checked to make sure those two SHIELD agents weren’t Hydra. That he was maybe even more in bed with Hydra than he thought, and he doesn’t even have the decency to verify one way or the other. He can’t tell him that, because Bucky will say, “Fuck, I knew you thought I was disgusting for fucking someone in Hydra,” or maybe that won’t even bother him. Maybe he already finds himself disgusting, and he would think Steve was disgusting too, and that would be fair.

He’s divided on whether he should be mad at himself for the mere existence of the possibility that those people were Hydra; he should definitely be mad at himself for acting like he deserves to remember those encounters the same either way. And he is mad, but it’s woven in with everything else he can be mad at himself about. And he listens to Bucky humming, and the clicking of the cube.

He says, “Why Dorian Gray?”

Bucky tilts his head to look at him. “You know why.”

“What, feeling self-conscious about how old you’re getting?”

Bucky laughs. “Sure. Please. You know why. Come on, honey.”

Steve opens his mouth, closes it again, opens it and says, “Uh.”

Bucky frowns and squints at him. “Huh. All right. Yeah, it’s the immortality thing. I like to think about it. What it means for us.” He looks away. He hums more loudly. He’s got one side of the cube all red, one side all blue. Stewart Graham Roberts goes to put on a sweater.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (14/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (15a/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-11-13 03:07 am (UTC)(link)
Natasha calls while he’s at the supermarket bakery. He knows it's Natasha, because the number is spoofed to look like his own number. He picks up and she says, "How are your sex problems?"

There are a few other people milling around, bending over to investigate the decorations on a carrot cake or the overflowing guts of a cannoli. He takes a step back, trying to melt into the shadows. But there aren’t any shadows. He melts into the sickening fluorescent hum and a display of hummus.

He says, "Who is this?"

She says, “Amelia Earhart. Oh, hold on a moment. That’s you, isn’t it?”

“I am, aren’t I? I guess the rumors she’s still out there aren't all bunk.”

“Hmm. How are your sex problems?”

This morning, standing over a still-sleeping Bucky, who was sprawled on his back with both arms over his face and a pair of Steve’s boxers—printed all over with ball player silhouettes—riding down his hips, Steve thought, He’s so much older than I am.

Back when their ages were unambiguous, any reminder that Bucky was older felt like an ancient bruise waking up. Made him want to plunge his hands into his own body and straighten his spine out so he could stand taller, so his firmed-up shoulders would give him real gravitas instead of making him look like he was about to throw a temper tantrum.

On Bucky’s eighteenth birthday, he bought himself a bottle of London dry gin, proper and legal, not off someone who knew someone whose older brother worked in a speakeasy one time. And that fact shoved the heel of its hand into Steve’s bruise and sent the ache deep. Made him feel small and useless. He should have, he thought, been able to buy Bucky a drink, been able to go to a bar with him and drape an arm over his shoulders and order for him.

Steve, sixteen, and with his voice still cracking sometimes, offered, at least, to reimburse Bucky for the bottle, not that he could so much afford to. They were on their way to the train so they could recreate Bucky’s vision of sitting and drinking his birthday liquor at a particular spot by the water. Somewhere he claimed they’d both been once before, when they were little, though Steve had no idea what he was talking about. Sometimes Bucky had flights of fancy, and sometimes he remembered moments Steve didn’t think were worth remembering, and there was no real reason to worry about it.

He stopped walking and put a hand on each of Steve’s shoulders and stared at Steve like Steve had just whipped out his dick and pissed on Bucky’s shoes. He said, “What I want, stupid, is for you to drink this with me. Not for you to pay to drink with me. And it’s my birthday, so that’s my call.”

And Steve said, “Well, if you’re going to be this serious about it,” and shoved him off.

Bucky let himself be shoved, almost whacking into a pole with the force. “Yeah, I am gonna be. I’m your best friend, not a bar.”

Now Bucky’s lifetimes older than Steve, and Steve wishes he could plunge his hands into Bucky’s body and scoop them out. Hold some of them for him, even if only momentarily. That was the gift he deserved.

Steve says to Natasha, “Thought you didn’t want to hear about that.”

She draws out her, “No,” voice both lighter and deeper than it really is. “I said I wouldn’t give advice, not that I wouldn’t listen.”

“So you’re calling as a voyeur.”

“Mmm. ‘Sounding board,’ is so much less crass.”

“I’m in public, Nat. I’m at the supermarket.”

“Buying your weekly allotment of stale bread and water?”

“Buying a cake for Bu--Jake's birthday. It’s tomorrow.”

He’s been to two other bakeries today. Small, independent businesses, scattered about. He’s done a lot of walking, according to an app on his phone. He hadn’t even realized it was counting his steps until it chirped that he'd reached his goal, and standing in middle of the sidewalk, he felt embarrassed by that. By how few steps he takes most days. His phone’s been recording that, and finding him lacking.

In each of the smaller bakeries, he felt watched, tight-skinned, like he was in a play. Neighborhood bakery. Nice old couple. Here comes a nice young man to buy a cake. In the first one, he found himself staring, fuzzy and lost, at wedding cakes, and when he was asked, “Do you need help with anything?” he responded, “Uh. No. Just looking. I just came to look,” and booked it. The second one, he turned around immediately after walking in the door.

“Oh, I know,” Natasha says. “But Jacob Brown is a Gemini.”

“He is? Oh. We might have a problem. Sam might have. Asked Jake’s friends what he wanted?”

“He did, but he didn’t use the word ‘birthday.’ I hope you’re ready to throw a party come June.”

“I’m not.”

“I hope you’re ready to have some stunning celebratory sex with your dear husband.” Her voice trips over the words in a way he might be imagining.

“Still a janitor?” Yellow cake. Chocolate frosting. Sprinkles. The cake can say Congratulations, JBB in icing and everything will be fine.

“Historical reenactor at Colonial Williamsburg. I make wigs.”

“That sounds fitting."

As I was saying: your sex problems. I’m wearing a petticoat right now, dude. Give me something to live for.”

“Really? You’ve got nothing else?”

“This cigarette isn’t terrible.”

“You don’t smoke.”

She laughs at him, soft, and he thinks about every other time she’s ever laughed because he sounded So certain, Rogers. You want to put money down? “I do when I’m on break from making my wigs. Just like I call my buddy to chat and call him ‘dude.’”

“You pulled that off magnificently.”

“Whatever, dude. Seriously, I did mean it that I won’t give you advice, and you wouldn’t want to take it if I did. But I can still listen to you. We got cut short last time. I don’t want to leave you hanging.”

“That’s. Thank you.”

“What’s on your mind, soldier?”

“Right now? Buying this cake. You got enough time left on your break to wait a second?”

She sighs, “Fine. So focused. Put me away and I’ll listen in.”

“Very self-sacrificing.”

He slips the phone into his shirt pocket. Yellow cake. Chocolate frosting. Congratulations, JBB, and he asks the woman, “And could you draw, uh. A heart next to that?” Natasha listens, small and silent.

A strip of sidewalk separates the supermarket from the parking lot. He sits there, white cake box balanced on his thighs, and frees Natasha from his pocket. “How’s the cigarette?”

“Do you know about the kind where you can make it menthol or not? You just squeeze, and the menthol cracks open and bleeds everywhere. It's fun enough.”

“Yeah, I’ve tried that.”

“Nice touch with the icing heart.”

“I need to ask you something I hate myself for asking.”


“Am I a good person?” She laughs, caught off-guard, and he hides his face in one hand. “Look, I know it’s a horrible thing to ask.”

Her laughter cuts off, neat as slicing butter. “It’s not that, Steve. Of course you’re a good person. That’s your whole thing, isn’t it? A disgustingly good person and disgustingly aware of it.”

“No.” He shakes his head, sure that she can deduce the motion from his voice. “Disgustingly desperate to be, maybe.”

“Same thing. Look, you know who I trust with my life?”

“Sure. Clint.”

“You’re being difficult. Clint. And Sam. And you. Oh, and my chiropractor. She’s excellent. But that’s it. You’re in an exclusive club, dude.”

“That’s one way of looking at it.” A teenager in thick glasses and a store uniform passes, pushing a train of clattering carts one-handed. Her other hand clenches and unclenches at her side. He squeezes his eyes shut. Rubs his palm against the waxed-smooth cake box. A clatter of escaping carts; a car at the other end of the lot pulling out; a seagull.

Natasha says, “I don’t know a different way.” Louder than she needs to, she exhales her menthol smoke. “Was that everything on your mind?”

He says, “That’s the sum of it, I guess.” And it is. No giving away Bucky’s secrets. No taking on Bucky’s baggage as his own. How good is he? Good enough to be Natasha’s chiropractor.

She says, "And therapy?"

"Give me time. I'm old and stuck in my ways."

"Don't give me that shit, Steve."

"I'm thinkin' about it, all right?" And it's true. Not thinking as in planning, but studying it from out the corner of his eye, hoping it won’t notice he's there.

"Good enough. Hey, my break's almost over and I gotta get another knife out of my car. Look. If you stop being a good person, all your husband has to do is call me, and I can straighten you out."

He walks home holding the cake in his arms like an injured dog.

One of the tiger lilies won’t stop drooping, lazing its soft, damp head against the side of the pitcher. He’s tried to twine it with the other flowers just so, forcing them to support each other’s weight, but like especially stubborn clockwork, it flings itself from the crowd and down, making the breakfast table look a few shades sadder than it needs to. The stem maybe needs to be splinted; when Bucky walks in, Steve’s rifling through a drawer for tape to fasten a butter knife along its length.

Steve grabs the rubber band ball and knocks the drawer closed with his hip. He says, “Morning, old man.”

Bucky says, “Yeah, good morning to you too, young man.” His voice is hoarse, his lips chapped. He sidles up next to Steve and lays his forehead down on Steve’s shoulder.

Steve wraps his arm around Bucky’s back. “Sorry your flowers are having some problems.”

Bucky raises his head and swivels to look at them. The shifting muscles in his back are sturdy beneath Steve’s palm. “Aw, they’ll sort it out.”

“I was going to splint it with a butter knife.”

“Oh, good.” He presses his ear to Steve’s shoulder now. “Glad it’s just a butter knife. You know what happens when you start arming flowers with real knives.”

“Of course. They grow up to be man-eating trees.”

“Yep. They grow up to be man-eating trees. And then what are we gonna do? They’re beautiful. Let me splint it.”

Steve hands him the rubber band ball, and messes Bucky’s hair up in a one-handed rush as Bucky passes him to get to the cutlery. He gets a small smile, and swatted at.

As Bucky fastens the knife along the stem, Steve starts boiling water for oatmeal. Bucky’s metal hand is deft with the rubber bands, spreading them wide like a lion’s mouth to fit around the flower. His other hand holds the knife steady against the stem, and his head is ducked over his work, the tangle of his hair obscuring his face.

Steve says, “You know what? I think you should go into HFAC maintenance.”

Bucky says, “Yeah, that’s the plan.”

“No, HFAC. I’m saying it with an F.” He pauses long enough for Bucky to start saying something, then cuts him off. “Herbs, flowers, and uh.”

Bucky looks up at him. His hands stay perfectly still, a rubber band frozen stretched out. “Jesus Christ. Uh.” He looks like he wishes he had his hands free so he could count off on his fingers when he says, “Herbs. Flowers. Arboretum. And cacti. Maintenance and repair.” He grins, and bites at his bottom lip, and laughs in two loud breaths. Then he goes back to his work.

It’s like Steve’s being squeezed, like a gang of outsized hands are all smushing his body, making it too small to hold all the warmth and love he feels. He pinches himself, the skin on the back of his wrist. He says, “Don’t you think ‘arboretum’ is a reach?” and thank god that then Bucky finishes splinting the flower, and walks over to Steve, and kisses his mouth, open and wet, stale morning breath and a flesh-and-blood hand at Steve’s waist.

They stop kissing. Steve says, “Hey, happy birthday. I love you.” Over Bucky’s shoulder, he can see that the flower is successfully standing up straight.

As soon as he’s scooped the last bit of oatmeal from his bowl with a finger and sucked it clean, Bucky says, “Do you want my gift now?” His whole face and neck are tensed, almost vibrating. Spooked eyes like he’s waiting to be slaughtered.

Steve, who’s been done eating for at least ten minutes, puts a gentling hand on his bicep. Squeezes. “Do you want me to do, uh, the gift now? How exactly are we doing this?”

Bucky shrugs his hand off, then freezes. He grins at Steve. “Sorry.” He licks his lips. “I made a book. No, sorry, it’s not a real book. I don’t have that in me.” He rotates his left shoulder. A tiny whirr. “It’s a chapbook. With some things I wrote.”

“For class?”

“Some of it. Others—I go out with a handful of my classmates now and then, Steve. We write. And we read it to each other. It’s more personal.”

“Is that why you, uh—You know—”

“Reek of booze sometimes? Yeah, okay? We meet and we drink like normal people, okay?”

“I’m not trying to fight you, Buck. I’m just curious. That’s the point of this, right? No secrets?”

"Yeah." He pushes himself back from the table, and his chair screeches on the wood. “Oh, huh, is that it? No secrets? I like that. I thought it might be something like that." When he stands and stretches, his too-small purple t-shirt, stolen from Steve's closet, rides up his torso. His soft stomach--abs lurking beneath--and dark trail of hair are put on display.

It's still so hard to look at Bucky without want. To box up that hungry, blood-filled part of him and leave it to wait. Every spoonful of affection must be examined, everything salacious picked out like eggshell fragments, until it's safe. And he leans forward and pokes Bucky's exposed underbelly, and it's chaste.

Bucky, less than chaste, catches Steve's hand and bends down to bring it to his mouth, to bite his fingertip. Gnawing like a kitten.

He says, with Steve's finger released from his teeth, but his wrist still in Bucky's grasp. "Gift now. After I get ritzy and presentable. You--" He drops the hand, shuffling closer-- "just stay here and look pretty," and he kisses the crown of Steve's head.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (15a/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (15a/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (15b/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-11-13 03:08 am (UTC)(link)
"Ritzy and presentable," it turns out, means a black silk pajama shirt, and jeans, and the makeup under his eyes retouched. He looks awake, and his hair is braided, and he’s clutching something behind his back when he comes to stand next to Steve’s chair. His stiff posture and hidden hands and overall quality of being like a plucked wire make Steve feel awkward and important. Like he’s expected to officially reprimand Bucky somehow. For something. For whatever.

But quickly, like he’s afraid he’ll lose the nerve otherwise, Bucky whips the thing out from behind his back and forces it into Steve’s hands. The chapbook’s spine is sewn together with straight, small stitches; Steve thinks about sitting on Bucky’s bed cross-legged, leaned against the wall in a way that would hurt his neck later, watching him affix merit badges to his sash. Interrogating Bucky about what each badge was for, like they hadn’t been over this already, and Bucky patiently explaining.

In handwriting imitating a typewriter, the cover says, The Portrait of Dorian’s Rapes. Steve laughs like a cat getting stepped on.

He says, "Oh. Is that how this is?"

Bucky says, "Written by Oscar Defiled."

Steve says, “Of course,” and puts the book down on his lap. He runs his tongue along the edges of his teeth while he stares up at Bucky. He waits for his cue to actually read it.

But Bucky just drags a chair around to sit next to him, and clunks his elbows on the table. And stares back. “Look.” He taps the book cover. “I’m not embarrassed by what’s inside, Steve.”


Bucky continues tapping the cover, the metal making dull little thuds. His brow wrinkles. Steve stays quiet, waiting it out.

“I’m not embarrassed by the content, I mean. It’s just that I’m not a very good writer.”

“What? Of course you are. You've always been.”

Bucky takes his hand away. He slouches back and crosses his arms over his chest. “Come on, Steve. I was hackneyed. Imagine this: You take a copy of Brave New World and you put it in the middle of the street. You take a copy of War of the Worlds. You put in the street. Then—”

“That’s a lot of worlds.”

“Shut up. I’m describing. Then they get fuckin' run over by a little bumper car driven by Phillip Marlowe. Then he gets out of the bumper car. So he lies down on top of the books, and he tosses me the keys to the bumper car and he says, ‘Here you go, Buck. It’s all yours.’ And then I run him over. I murder him. Are you imagining?”

“Bumper cars have keys?”

Bucky kicks the leg of his chair. “They do in your imagination. I’ve got no talent. That’s fine with me.”

“Well. I’d get in that bumper car with you.”

“Oh yeah?”

“I’d take the fall. Lock me up for the murder of Phillip Marlowe, because I’m in love.”

“I—Jesus. Wait until you’ve read this to say things like that. Please. That’s what else I want for my birthday.”

“All right. Don’t lock me up yet.”

Before Bucky leaves him alone to read, going off to, “File my taxes. Embrace my civic duty,” he stops behind Steve’s chair and drapes his arms over his shoulders, drooping so that his whole head rests on the top of Steve’s. He says, “Yell when you’re finished,” and kisses the exposed skin above Steve’s ear.

Steve yells, “Buck?” Waits. Arches his back and twists. He’s been reading for close to an hour, according to the clock on the stove. He’s had to stop to press his thumb against words, phrases, Bucky’s interiority. And to let his stomach twist, to send cold pain up his center, as he thought it through. He keeps a finger slid between the pages of the closed book.

Bucky says, “I’m just in the living room,” so Steve shoves his chair back and goes to him.

He finds Bucky sitting on the couch, prim in how he holds himself, his mouth parted like he’s been halfway to interrupting this whole time. He pats the cushion next to him, then says, “Unless you don’t want to. You don’t have to.” Cocking his head to punctuate each sentence.

Steve sits next to him. He holds the book in his lap, and takes his finger out. "They all looked like me.” When he first noticed, it was like a static shock, startling him out of the story. As he pressed on, he began to feel self-conscious, vain, like maybe he was making things up about his own appearance. Like maybe he was dwelling on his own face too long.

And as if to confirm that, Bucky says, "No, they didn't."

"Bucky, come on." He opens the book. "‘The sun was the same blinding gold it turned his hair. Good thing for him he kept his eyes tucked away safely under thick dark eyebrows and thick eyelashes. For me, it all hurt to look at.'”

Bucky winces. "It's creative nonfiction. I took some liberties."

"So Andrews didn't look like, 'a telephone pole in in a trenchcoat, that tall and broad-shoulder and secretive about it, with dark blond hair like a fresh-tilled field'?"


"Dorsey didn't have ‘a frankly excessive face, half of it nose, and the other half trying to prove something?’ Excuse me, by the way."


“And this other guy didn’t—”

“No. Please stop. And I didn't have a bungee cord on me neither, in the cliff one, all right? And I wasn't drunk; I was just me. And I kind of edited out the broken legs. It was an incredibly bad date."

"But. Katarina's met me. She didn't notice that these are all just me?"

"She thinks I have a type. If it helps, I let her know you're the prettiest of 'em all."

Steve presses his lips together. He bites the bottom one inside his mouth where Bucky can't see. Not that he won't know, because he always knows everything going on inside of Steve, inside his mouth and inside his head and hammering away in his chest, trying to build something in there worthwhile. And that means Bucky knows Steve's going to hell, because in the midst of this, he does care that Bucky said he's the prettiest. Line him up next to a bunch of fascist rapists, and he's the one Bucky wants fucking him. Hooray.

He wants, ridiculously, to say, You too, but he says, "It can't be a bad date if it isn't a date."

"Yeah, exactly. But it was. He told me it was a date. He called me pet names and everything. It was a date. It was bad. When he fucked me with my arms behind my back and my dick grinding against the dirt, that was bad sex. And I can tell it to these people, and they laugh with me, and they commiserate, and they act like I'm normal."

"I don't understand why you gotta have a bunch of fantasies about having bad sex with guys who look like me."

"I don't want to think about having sex with anyone else. Good or bad. Even if it’s--I’m not thinking about you when I think about it. But it’s closer."

Steve puts the book beside him. He cups the side of Bucky’s face with his hand, and tries to look earnest, whatever that means. He needs Bucky, needs to crawl inside of him, to sleep there safely, and to let Bucky crawl inside of him later. Keeping Bucky warm and hidden is a good reason to have a body. Being a pair of matroyshka dolls taking turns with who’s the largest is a good reason.

Steve says, "You're a good writer."

"I'm still hackneyed."

"No. I liked the story at the end."

Bucky says, "Yeah, well,” and shifts to nuzzle at Steve’s palm, and Steve feels indulgent watching him.

"Not that--The other ones were good. They were really well-written, Buck, they were. Maybe my favorite genre's just the one where you don't get raped."

"That’s boring." He slowly lowers Steve’s hand with his own.

"I think that you're going to write some great HVAC repair manuals one day."

Bucky snorts and chortles his way through the words, "Oh, thanks. That’s what I’d hoped you’d say."

Steve bumps his nose against Bucky’s cheek. He doesn’t know how to ask what he needs to. That doesn’t mean he won’t. “So you know how to separate me from them, then. You know that’s just creative writing. Right?”

Bucky turns to look at him before rolling his eyes. “Yeah, I know you weren’t actually there. I know you were asleep.”

“Fine, you got me. But doesn’t it hurt to think about me doing those things?”

“No. It doesn’t. Maybe I’m a bad writer, but they are good stories. I know that much. They don’t bother me. I wrote them. What’s up, Steve?”

“Then why do you think this isn’t working?”

Bucky trails a metal finger up and down the center of Steve’s chest. A sharp and centering pressure through his sweater. “Fucking me?”

“Well. Yes. Why can’t we make this work?”

“I don’t know.” Bucky takes his hand away. He tucks both arms between his knees. “Just because it’s my brain doesn’t mean—For a long time, I barely knew anything about my own brain. And I still don’t know anywhere near everything. I mean. Steve. I don’t know why I get so many fucking nightmares about food. I don’t know why I won’t fucking shut up ever. And I don’t know why I zone out when I try to fuck the only person in the world who likes me.”

It’s the kind of thing that should come out in a burst of pent-up frustration. Something he can take back once he’s cooled down. But he says it evenly. Quietly. Hunching his shoulders. Indisputable fact: nobody likes him but Steve.

Steve says, “Buck.” A strand of hair’s escaped from a glinting bobby pin at Bucky’s temple, and he tucks it back in for him. “That’s not true, you know. Sam likes you. Your friends here like you.”

“Sam likes me because he likes you. He trusts your judgment, and fine, I do too, it turns out. Who can blame him on that? But people here like Jake. And Jake’s got nothin' to do with me.”

He slides off the couch, a set of solid thumps where his boots and ass and hands collide with the floor. He brings his knees to his chest. When they’re both silent too long, he reaches up, not looking, and takes Steve’s hand, and tugs him down to the floor too. Steve goes easily. He mirrors Bucky’s pose, but makes an effort to stay more sprawling and loose-limbed. Variations on a theme, the two of them.

“Can I tell you something Natasha told me once?” Bucky nods, eyes still locked on his own knees. Steve toys with the idea of doing a bad imitation of Natasha’s voice to make Bucky laugh, but ditches it. “She said that the truth isn’t all things to all people. At all times. And that neither is she.”

“The fuck does that mean.”

“Right now? I think it means that Jake is still you. You can compartmentalize and still be you.”

“Like you’ve ever done that a day in your life.” Now he looks over. His eyes are damp and reddening. Fleetingly, he grasps Steve’s chin between forefinger and thumb. “You’re always you. No fucking holds barred.”

“Oh yeah? What the fuck do you think Captain America was?”

“Oh, in the movies? In the USO shows? Sure.” Some tension exits his body. He cracks his knuckles and shifts into more of a slump. “That was some other blowhard, I know. But that was out of necessity. When you got off the stage and went to war? When we were really fighting, you were you. Just in a cowl.”

“Okay. Then right now you’re you. Just in a cowl.”

“Christ. So difficult all the time. You try to make me feel good just to give me a headache, don’tcha?”

“Well, of course. You think I’d have another reason?”

They go to a pond. They feed ducks stale bread. Bucky says, “Don’t you think we’re a little old for this?” like it wasn’t his idea, and cracks up, throwing his head back, rolling it on his neck to grin at Steve, his eyes a ghostly gray in the sunlight, all of him beautiful.

No one got raped in the story at the end of the book; no one was shoved off any cliffs. It was set, Steve assumed, in some ambiguous point in time between their murder-suicide pact over the Potomac and now. It went like this:

Bucky entered a cathedral, because he needed a moment to think, off the streets and out of the freezing rain. Someone off-screen was practicing the organ. He found himself lighting candles as if on autopilot. The next day, he bought a saint candle at a grocery store and began to carry it around in his backpack. He fell asleep holding it sometimes, rationalizing that it would be good for whacking an attacker over the head.

St. Nicholas, who, among other things, was the patron saint of the falsely accused.

Bucky laughed aloud when he read that on a computer in the library. He saw, “repentant thieves,” on the list too, and thought about how he had stolen himself. He was not meant to be his own property. And he was not repentant at all. He left the candle there by the keyboard. He checked out a mystery novel.

Unlike with the other stories, Bucky hadn’t made much of an attempt to make this one have a plot. He hadn’t tried to make it funny, either. And he didn’t seem to be obscuring any part of the truth. Steve pressed his thumb against the page, over the words “didn’t want to repent.”

The cake makes Bucky sigh. He says, "Fucking JBB."

They’re standing in the dark kitchen, lit by two striped, flickering candles. No one wants a cake that’s entirely candle, and anyway, it’s been about two years since Bucky stole himself. That’s a number that can be counted, held, and stuck in a yellow and chocolate cake.

Steve says, "Is there--Is there something wrong with it? Should I have gotten something else?"

"God, no. It’s perfect. I just. Why the hell did that crazy woman make my middle name Bumblebee?” Bucky’s firelit face looks harder and sharper than he normally does, but he’s smiling. “You got Graham! Graham's a name!"

"Doesn’t Nat deserves some fun now and then?"

“With my name? I got carded the other day buying smokes, and that’s funny in itself, but I had to show this kid a license saying Jacob Bumblebee Brown and hope he doesn’t laugh me out of the store.”

“I think it’s adorable.”

“You’re both awful. Do I blow this out or what?” He puts his blood-warm hand on the back of Steve’s neck.

“What are you gonna wish for?”

“A shiny new bicycle. World peace. I’m not telling you.”

He doesn’t tell him, but the cake is delicious.

“Something else Natasha told me,” Steve says as they’re falling asleep.


“She told me to tell you to tell her—Shut up!” Bucky’s making a mocking, talky mouth with his hand. He uses it to peck Steve on the forehead. “To tell her if I ever stop being a good person. You tell her that, she’ll come beat me up.”

“Yeah? What do I gotta do for her to come and beat me up?”

“Oh? You want to think about getting beat up by people other than me?”

Bucky smiles at him. His hair, released from its braid, is wavy and in his eyes. This time, he kisses him on the cheek with his mouth-hand.

“Jealous. Fine, no, I don’t. You saw through me.”

In another life, Steve would have said, When don’t I? But his track record these days has been less than stellar, and he settles for dipping his hand into the glass on his nightstand and flicking water at Bucky’s shirt. Bucky doesn’t yelp or retaliate. He smiles. That’s all, before he closes his eyes.

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (15b/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (16a/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-12-06 02:57 am (UTC)(link)
For the first time since they moved in, they’re out in the backyard. It’s not much of a yard, just a fenced-in slab of cement about the size of their bathroom. But it’s more of a yard than either of them’s ever had, and yesterday Steve stared at it through the window while he gripped his cooling coffee and thought, That doesn’t have to be grim, asshole. That’s space and we own it.

When Bucky got home that afternoon, Steve had decked out the yard with a white metal table, three white metal chairs, and a plastic flamingo.

Bucky entered the house through the window, gripping the flamingo by the neck. “What the hell is this thing?” he asked, and Steve said, “Oh, him? My new best friend.”

Bucky took it into the bedroom. Steve’s new best friend watched while they slept.

Hunched over the table, with its floral cutouts around the edges, Bucky’s working on decorating a series of index cards with crayons and a thick marker. Each time he chooses a new color, he seems to deliberate over the options painstakingly, and he’s got his arm wrapped around the cards like they’re his babies. Like Steve might try to eat them.

Steve has no interest in eating Bucky’s young. He has only slightly more interest in the work he’s doing on his laptop, watching security footage from Natasha. The outside of a gas station, seemingly located in the middle of nowhere, almost a year ago. He asked her, “What am I looking for?” and she said, “You tell me,” before the line went dead.

Bucky lies his head on the table. His hair is in a high ponytail and fans out to obscure the index cards. An indigo crayon stays clenched in his hand. He says, “Maybe the flamingo should come back out. Sun’s good for birds.”

Steve pauses the footage on an employee slumped against the wall and smoking. “I don’t know. I liked waking up to him watching us.”

“Of course you like fucking waking up to a dinosaur staring at you. I can’t believe that thing usurped my job.”

“It’s your own fault.”

Bucky rolls the crayon between his fingers. “True enough. Are you gonna ask what I’m doing?”

“You know, you’re kind of going out of your way to telegraph that it’s a secret.”

“Yeah, exactly, and I’m not doing that for my health. I know you can’t stand not to know something. And you don’t exactly got both eyes on that gas station.”

Steve nudges his laptop over to the side. Slides down in his chair and stretches his legs out and crosses his arms and ankles. Bucky’s still smushing his cheek against the table, smiling at Steve almost imperceptibly. There’s a black streak on his cheekbone where he got himself with the marker.

Steve says, “Okay, fine. What’re you working on, Buck?”

“Who wants to know?”

“The CIA. Come on.”

Bucky smiles at him full-on. He lifts his head and slides the index cards across the table. Each has a different stylized bird, all the white space filled in with vivid, clashing colors. There’s the flamingo, holding a beer. Steve’s grinning and squinting when he looks back at Bucky. “These are--Really striking. I like them.”

“Aren’t they? They’re for Sam. I’m mailing him one a week. Gotta keep the romance alive somehow.”

Steve snorts. “Right. This very romantic drawing of a duck with a cigar.”

“That’s me.” He gestures with his chin. “The angry pigeon is you.” Its human fists are raised, and it glares at the viewer.

“And I don’t get to keep this striking likeness?”

“I’ll make you a photocopy.” He drags them back toward himself one-by-one. Stacks them up. Focused on straightening the edges, he says, “Can you cut my hair again?”

“Oh. I can. Yes?”

Bucky shakes his head like dislodging a flea. “Not in an erotic way. You’re just good at it.” He shrugs his metal shoulder high, then takes a moment to brush his ear against the surface. Probably savoring how it’s warmed from the sun, and Steve wants to reach across and press his own face to Bucky’s shoulder. “You really should open a barber shop.”

“I don’t know. What if I’m only good at it when I’m turned on? That could make for some damning Yelp reviews.”

“What if you wore a chastity belt?”

Steve snickers. “Not happening. How short did you want it?”

“Not short. But it’s gonna be a bitch to deal with in the heat.” He turns so he’s in profile, and picks the ponytail up, waving it at Steve. “I’ve got enough hair for a family of five.”

“It’s rude not to save some for the rest of us.”

“I’m a rude guy. It's your bad influence.”

“I’ll cut your hair.” Steve makes a note of where he’s paused the footage and exits out of the program. Shuts his laptop and makes to stand up.

Bucky holds out his right hand to stop him. “Could you do it out here? It’s nice out here.”

“Sure. I can do that.” It is nice, so bright it’s almost sparkling. A crystal of a day, with loose leaves blowing in from the neighbors’ fruit trees. “Do you want to get something I can do it with?”

Instead of answering, Bucky gathers up his index cards and drawing supplies and retreats inside, this time using the door. With the laptop closed, all Steve can think to do is study his own hands. To lay them on the table and look at the backs. The nails, smooth and clean, the places where he still remembers scars. It occurs to him, too late, that “something,” was dangerously vague, and for all he knows, Bucky’s going to return with the knife.

But Bucky sets a comb and a pair of haircutting scissors on the table when he returns. He sits straight-spined in his chair and slips the rubber band out of his hair, leaving it to fall in his face and across his shoulders. He lays a gleaming finger against the notch where his throat meets his clavicle. “Just to here. Please.”

“I can try to manage that.” Steve grabs the comb and scissors and pulls the third chair up behind Bucky’s. At first, he finger-combs through a section, and Bucky’s soft there, but tangled up in layers and layers. He settles the comb perfectly straight in his hair, an inch from the ends, holding Bucky still with the teeth.

Before he can cut-- “You’re telling the truth?”

“About what? My thick hair? The drawings for Sam? My legendary skee-ball skills?”

“Your sub-par skee-ball skills, sure. No. You said this isn’t supposed to be erotic. That’s the truth?”

Bucky cranes his neck to look at him, and Steve manages to keep the comb in place. Bucky makes a face like he’s trying to scare off a mountain lion. “Really? I’m not gonna ask you to non-erotically cut my hair and then, ‘Surprise! Here’s my boner.’ Come on.”

“All right, I’m just. Verifying that we’re on the same page. I'll keep this boring.” He nudges Bucky’s head back to neutral. He starts to trim.

“Yeah,” Bucky says. “We’re on the same page.” All irritation or humor has been wrung out of his voice. Though he tries to muster some more up when he adds, “Besides, what’s arousing about scissors? They're no knife.”

Steve’s eyes zero in on the slender blades. There’s the swift shick of sound when they meet. How they’re the same silver as Bucky’s arm and would be much more efficient than a knife, really, at cutting anything off of him. He says, “Well, I think that depends who you ask.”

Lodging Bucky’s fingers in the handle’s holes would be a simple way to make him keep his hands to himself. One of them, at least.

Bucky’s tongue taps wetly against his top gums, more short and thoughtful than tutting. A breeze kicks up, scattering the glassy laughter of their neighbor’s windchimes, and scattering Bucky’s hair too. Like he’s a romantic heroine. Steve pauses his cutting, waits for everything to be still again.

Before he can start back up, Bucky says, “You noticed I’ve stopped, right?”

“Stopped what? Playing skee-ball?”

A long sigh. “No, I play skee-ball all the time. I play skee-ball in my sleep, Steve. You’re saying you haven’t noticed that? I’ve stopped bothering you about fucking me.”

“I did notice, actually.” He isn’t sure whether he should keep cutting. But it’s something to do, something they can both focus on if they have to, so he sets the comb’s teeth against Bucky’s nape and gives him a chance to say, What are you doing barbering me? This is a serious conversation. Nothing. Steve snips at his hair and says, “About the skee-ball. And that you’ve stopped. Talking about that.”

“Okay. Good.” An aborted movement ripples through his neck and shoulders. “And that was the right move?”

“Shutting up about it?”


Long and well-cared for, Bucky’s hair curls a little. It springs back into shape every time Steve moves on from a section. That makes it harder to know he’s cutting it all the same length, but it also means precision doesn’t matter as much.

“I don’t know,” Steve says. “I guess that depends. Can you tell me what ‘the right move’ means?”

“What do you mean, can I tell you what it means? It means--That’s what I was supposed to do, right?”

“There wasn’t a--” He cuts a thicker bunch, the trimmings skittering into a clump on Bucky’s shirt like a cockroach. “A supposed to.”

“I’m not tryna get you to spare my feelings, dumbass.”

“Great, because I’m not trying to spare them.”

He knows perfectly well that he won’t fuck Bucky’s hair up just because he’s suddenly tense. He can do a hell of a lot of precise and finicky and genuinely dangerous things under pressure. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t picturing his hand veering off, out of his control, and hacking away at Bucky’s hair until none remains. And if there’s no reason to have that image playing in his head, then he won’t let it play.

He goes around and sits in the chair still facing Bucky. Slips the scissors and comb each into a separate pocket. Bucky looks caught-off-balance. Soft and open as a skinned rabbit. Instead of asking why Steve stopped, he blinks more than he needs to.

Steve says, “Don’t worry. I’ll finish later.” The click of Bucky grinding his teeth. “I’m not trying to spare your feelings or your hair. But seriously, can you tell me what ‘the right move’ is? Tell me like you think I’m stupid.”

The moment he’s said it, he registers that he’s made a space for Bucky to respond, Well, don’t I? Normally, that would be fine. Those are spaces they’ve always made for each other, worn smooth with their knuckles and teeth. But if Bucky says it right now, with the sky sharp and white, hair trimmings on his shoulders, Steve gripping his own knees hard--it’s going to sound real.

Bucky doesn’t say, Well, don’t I? He closes his eyes and smirks and says, “If that’s what you need.” He opens them. His gaze locks over Steve’s shoulder.

“That’s all I’m asking. You said you were ‘supposed to.’” Steve shrugs. “Says who?”

“Says the fucking--law of being good to you. Of being a good friend to you.”

“A good friend.”

“Yeah, look, I. Fuck. Can you hand me the comb?” Steve does, pressing it into Bucky’s outstretched, pale palm. Now, Bucky looks at the ground as he combs through the bottom half of his hair. He’s pulling harshly, probably yanking on knots. But his face is placid. “Thanks. This helps.”

“I’m always happy to hand you a comb.”

“Right. And I felt confident about that. It’s why I asked.” His head sways into the comb’s motion. “The sex thing--That I kept asking you about for a long time. Too long, right? I bet I missed some cues there.”

“And you’re saying that now you’re--You’re not confident. That I’ll want to fuck you.”

“Nah, I am confident that you don’t. I didn’t get that before.”

Steve makes a noncommittal noise. Bucky pauses with the comb caught in his hair, holding it straight out from his head. “Steve. You’re looking at me like I’m a bird from another planet. Am I talking sense or not?”

“I think that you understand exactly what you’re saying. But I don’t.”

Back to the combing. Back to closing his eyes. “All right already. Fine. Like I think you’re stupid: First, I kind of thought that you hated me. For what happened to me. And I was mad about it. Then I thought, No, he’s being sweet. He’s talking like I had no choice. Which brought me to another problem: Thought you didn’t want to just 'cause you didn’t understand. So I tried explaining to you. But I maybe didn’t do a very good job. And I thought, the book. That’ll make it all clear. And you read it. And I know it explained things. But you still didn’t want to. So you really don’t want to, I guess.”

He pops an eye open. Steve says, “And now you’re done asking.”

“Yeah. Now I’m done asking. Can I comb your hair?”

Steve nods, not really looking at Bucky. Flexing his brow, trying to puzzle through it. Trying to dissect his own every move. Was the dividing line between husband and friend whether or not he put the book down on Bucky’s birthday and said, “Okay, sure, let’s fuck?”

Trailing the comb through Steve’s much finer hair, Bucky says, “Is that stupid enough?”

“It’s not stupid.”

“I mean did I talk like you’re stupid enough?”

Steve sighs. The motion of the comb is soothing. He feels like a pile of leaves getting raked into place. Consolidated. “Can you tell me what you think the book explained?”

“Well. That the--” There’s a pause between words like he’s just humoring Steve when he continues, “rapes aren’t a problem. I know everything that happened. I remember it. And I don’t think about it how you want me to. I know that. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t. Who the fuck knows. Processed. And thinking about you fucking me feels good. It always feels good. That’s what I want to think about.”

Steve is quiet.

Bucky’s tone gets artificially cheery. “Anyway, that didn’t change anything for you, so, y’know. I had it wrong, I guess. So I’ll just think about it and not bother you. It’s okay. Really.” He’s combed Steve’s hair down so that it swoops across his forehead. Steve brings his fingers to the flattened hair, and they’re met with the comb. After a moment, he tugs the comb free from Bucky’s grasp and twists to look at him.

Bucky’s face is blank. “Bucky.” Bucky nods. “All right, I’m not saying I don’t appreciate you respecting my wishes, but you’re kind of wrong about my wishes.”

“No, I’m not.”

“You didn’t tell me that the book was the end of the conversation. I assumed we were going to keep talking.”


Steve drags a hand down the side of his face. “Because that’s what you’re supposed to do. Not secretly break up with me based on a test that I didn’t know I was taking.”

“Oh, now there’s a supposed to?” Looking skittish about it, Bucky lifts his metal hand. He places the knuckles under Steve’s chin and lifts. Cocks his own head and stares. “I wasn’t breaking up with you, honey. I just thought we wouldn’t have sex anymore.”

“Oh.” Steve works hard to keep his eyes on Bucky’s face. The mess of his beard and the gentleness of his jaw underneath. “That’s not necessarily what I want. If we can, I want to figure out how to fuck you. And I thought I’d give you space after you basically gutted yourself on the page.”

Bucky frowns. “Huh. Fuck. It’s a shame we can’t hear each other’s thoughts, huh?”

The horror Steve feels when he imagines that must show, because Bucky throws his head back and barks with laughter, his hand still warm beneath Steve’s chin.

He finishes cutting Bucky’s hair in the bathroom. They watch themselves in the mirror, Steve’s head over Bucky’s shoulder, and the only time they talk is when Bucky smiles and says, “You really think I gutted myself on the page?” and Steve says, “It was impressively raw, Buck. You get a gold star.”

As Steve’s clearing the dishes after dinner, Bucky disappears. In the distance, Steve hears the printer in his office turn on and start chugging away. All the dishes are clean and in the drying rack by the time Bucky returns with an armful of papers. With precise motions, he sets about covering the table, lining up the edges of each sheet until he’s constructed an enormous map of Europe in black and white.

Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (16a/?)

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Re: FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (16a/?)

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (16b/?)

(Anonymous) 2016-12-06 02:57 am (UTC)(link)
Steve says, “Sure. Why not?”

Bucky sits at the table and clasps his hands in front of him. He makes his face very serious, but breaks into laughter in seconds. “Come on, you said you wanted to ‘figure out’ how to fuck me. Figured I’d get us in a strategic mood.”

“That's what this is?”

“Or I think nostalgia’s funny. Who can say for sure? You wanna sit down?”

Steve dries his hands on his khakis and sits across from Bucky. He traces the outline of Italy with his fingertip. Bucky’s in blue, with bruises under his eyes, and Steve does, it turns out, feel nostalgic. And it is, it turns out, funny, like a shadowy presence in his stomach, gobbling him up from the inside.

He says, “Shouldn’t we have game pieces here? To represent us?”

“Yeah, you wanna make the top hat and the wheelbarrow fuck on top of France?”

“Well, who wouldn’t?” The joke hangs limply in the air. Bucky frowns at the map. Maybe it was supposed to make everything clearer. But Steve finds it in him to start, “What if. What if we had tried having sex differently? Without me being an asshole.”

And Bucky looks back up at him. “But I don’t like that kind of sex. Do you?”

“I. Uh.”


“I mean. Maybe I could?”

“Not really relevant if I can’t.”

“No. It’s not.” Relief rushes into his whole body like a physical shock of bracing cold. Like waking up early in the winter for a run, trembling and exhausted and alive. Bucky knows that his own boundaries matter, and Steve didn’t even have to remind him.

Now Bucky’s cracked open, making minuscule tears in the edges of the map, rushing through his words. “I still want you. I still want you to—” He swallows. His cheeks sink in his face with the force of it, and Steve can hear his saliva moving. “To do those things to me. I want it, Steve. This isn’t something I was taught. It wasn’t tortured into me. It’s me.”

“I know that. Intellectually. I know. What kind of things we did.”

“Remember that time you Scotch-taped me to the floor?” Mirth seeps into Bucky’s voice. He rubs his thumb and forefinger together, an old, anxious habit in a new arm. “You got some of it on my hair and I bitched at you for days because eleven hairs got torn out.”

“Yeah.” Steve feels his mouth twist into one of his uglier—and therefore more real—smiles. “It was eleven exactly. You kept the tape in your jacket pocket to pull out and glare at whenever you got grouchy.”

Bucky doesn’t even complain about being called grouchy. “And while I was down there?"

While he was moaning and trying not to rip the tape up? Of course Steve remembers his tensed muscles. The shiver in his legs. His face turned to the side so Steve could see any tears. “Yeah. I hit you all over with a folded-up jump rope.”

“Didn’t even hurt enough.”

“Yeah, keep telling yourself that, crybaby.”

“Right. And you called me that. And small. And pretty.”

“Little and pretty and helpless.” It feels like reading from a script, but a script he’s seeing for the first time, bright-eyed and fast-hearted, excited to know how it ends. Not something taped to the back of a prop shield.

“Yeah. And then—” He cackles, pitching forward—“you started babbling about the price of groceries!”

“They were expensive that week! I was broke.” Really, Steve can’t remember if that’s true or not, but he has to defend his younger self’s embarrassingly clean-cut dirty talk.

“Probably because you bought a fucking oak bookcase or something against my advice.”

“Where the hell would I have put an oak bookcase? The moon?”

“Sure, exactly. The moon.” Bucky’s face grows serious and focused, like he’s trying to find the bookcase through a telescope. Then it clears, and he looks like he’s having fun again as he continues the story. “Anyways, then you jerked off on my back and smeared it on a welt.”

“Please. Buck. It didn’t hurt enough but I left welts? Someone needs to get his story straight.”

“It was just the one welt.” The left side of his mouth curves up and he looks over his shoulder. Right at the Keebler elves painting, framed by the living room doorway. “And you looked at that welt, and you said, ‘I know what to do with that. I’m gonna rub my goddamn come on that thing.’” He snorts.

“I’m sorry.”

“For what?”

“I don’t know.” It just flew out of him, like a sneeze. Not for the come on the welt, but maybe for everything else in the world.

“I wanted it.” Bucky stares him down. “I want it now.”

“I know you do.” It comes out more certain than he feels. “But it makes you slip away.”

“Is that all that bad?”

“Yeah, Buck. It is. It’s where I draw the line. I want to fuck you. Not your body.”

“What’s the difference?” He sounds like he’s joking, but barely. Like he realized at the last second that it would be better-received as a joke.

“Everything, Buck. It’s everything. You’re—” He can’t finish, but it’s obvious enough what he was going to say. He’s always been a repetitive person.

“And what’s my body, chopped human flesh?”

Steve laughs. “It’s okay too. A good head of hair. A nice nose.”

“Not like your monstrosity.”

“Fuck off. You’re the one who broke it!”

“Once!” Bucky holds up a finger and shoves it toward Steve’s face. “Only once. And it was an accident. I swear to god it was an accident.”

“I’ll bet you a quarter that’s the time that fucked it up worst.”

Bucky smiles and looks down. Pokes his tongue out between his front teeth, then reels it slowly back in. He says, “What happens now, then?”

“What do you want to happen?” Bucky raises his head. “Let’s talk hypotheticals. You thought we weren’t having sex anymore. What would have happened? In a universe where fucking’s off the table.”

Bucky knocks on the actual table, and Steve rolls his eyes at him. “What if. Fucking weren’t off the table.”

“Bucky, it’s hypothetical.”

“Hear me out, Steve, come on. If you don’t want to, we won’t, but I have an idea, all right? What if we just—were more exact about fucking.”

“Like what if we used a yardstick?”

“Let me finish. What if we did that again?”

“Did what?”

“You coming on a welt.”

“Oh, a disembodied welt?”

“Sure. I’d pay to see that.”


“Seems funny. But really, what if it were just. Stuff I can only associate with you. Because we’ve done it exactly the same before.” He directs his gaze to the painting again.

Ever since Bucky started down that particular block of memory lane, Steve’s been trying to ignore the blood headed to his dick. And now he’s imagining taping the Bucky in front of him to the floor, either using stronger tape or using the same tape so he’d have to say extra still, either laying the tape over a larger portion of hair or carefully fixing his hair in an up-do. And having to modulate his strength to leave exactly one welt, taunting Bucky with not enough pain on the rest of his skin.

He stops picturing it, and focuses on digging his fingernails into the bridge of his own nose. “That could be a colossally terrible idea.”

“It could be a tiny terrible idea, or a colossally amazing one.”

Steve purses his lips and glares at him around the fingers still pinching his nose. “Come on, now you know what it looks like when things go south, right? So we can just, you know, be on the lookout for those things.”

“You mean I can be on the lookout. You can’t be on the lookout for not being able to be on the lookout.”

“I sort of can. It’s not—It doesn’t happen all of a sudden, does it? It isn’t fucking falling from a—You know. It’s just like going down the slide at a playground.”


“No, dummy. Gravity’s not always—You can grab onto the sides, right? If you don’t want to slide down the slide, you just grab something. And now I know that it’s a bad thing, so I’ll do that.”

“What do you mean that now you know it’s a bad thing?”

“I mean what I said. I didn’t know it was a bad thing, but now you’ve explained it to me. I won’t go down the slide, Steve. Scout’s honor.”

Steve goes to a toy store and buys a jump rope. When he left the house, it seemed smarter than going to an athletics store—That kind of store might call attention to his body, which might call attention to his identity. But of course this is a terrible theory, because the toy store has a whole aisle of Avengers merchandise. Some of the Captain Americas are Sam, but some are him, and he tugs his knit cap further down his face and buys the jump rope in a rush and hits the road, feeling like his chest is too tight to be worth having.

That night, more relaxed, in the process of getting ready for bed, he shows Bucky the jump rope. It’s an electric blue striped with black, the plastic handles flecked with glitter. The kind of thing Bucky would find beautiful.

But Bucky, in the process of taking his pants off, stops with them halfway down his thighs and says, “What’s that supposed to be?”

“You know what it is, Buck. It’s a jump rope. For, you know.” He uses his free hand to mime cracking a whip.

Bucky giggles at him. “That’s not a jump rope. Maybe that’s the shit they call a jump rope nowadays, but look.” He twists his metal arm behind him to ruck his shirt up at the back until most of his skin is revealed. The scars around his arm are still changing with time. The line Steve cut into his hip has been gone for ages. “Smack me with it. Just a quick one. I’ll be fine.”

Steve frowns at the jump rope. He pulls off the plastic strips binding it into a tight loop, and reshapes it into a much larger loop. Then positions himself like he’s getting ready to hit a foul ball, and cracks the rope through the air as lightly as he can to land across Bucky’s shoulders.

Bucky shudders. He breathes in, out, loudly. He grunts and puts his shirt back down. When he turns, he looks fine, smiling and present. He says, “Yeah, see, that didn’t feel anything like last time. What the hell is that thing made of?”

“What? It’s rope, Bucky. They had some kind of rubber and some kind of rope, and I knew we didn’t want rubber.”

“We do want rope.” Bucky runs a flesh finger over the rope, then rubs it with his knuckle. “But this is some synthetic shit.”

“You love synthetic shit.”

“I do. And I love you for getting this, but we need the genuine artifact. Real-live rope. Let me handle it.”

Steve can’t help but feel that it’s not the material of the jump rope that disrupts the illusion, but the amount of thought they’re putting into the material of the jump rope. Before, he would have picked up the jump rope to hit Bucky because it was sitting around their apartment, because Bucky used it to keep limber for boxing.

“How into this are we getting? Roleplaying ourselves. Should we have you up on a platform so I seem shorter?”

“Can’t we just chop a couple feet out of there somewhere?”

“Less than one foot. I was less than one foot shorter.”

“Okay, so we’ll chop off less than one foot. Do you really use your calves for much of anything?”

“Kicking the ever-loving shit out of you.”

“Aw, no, that’s a different old-timey roleplay I want to do. Keep the calves; I don’t think your height’s important. Suspenders maybe. Pushed off your shoulders. Just hanging there. And a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up.”

“Are you getting turned on describing my clothes?”

“Of course. That was a good look on you. I always felt real small when you looked like that. Like you’d come to put me in my place.”

“That’s good. Because I had. And I’m going to a—again.” He rakes a hand through Bucky’s hair, and scratches very lightly at the exposed skin of a thigh. It doesn’t matter how much thought they put in. Maybe. He prays.

They were twenty and twenty-one and drinking on the fire escape. Some time deep into the night; some time warm, Steve thinks. Bucky said to him, “So what if I was tied to the railroad tracks?” and Steve said, “Well, I guess you’re getting run over.”

There would have been other voices out still, other people leaving bars and rattling around and living their lives. Other people’s cigarette smoke, and trash left out in the sun, and lights on in scattered apartment windows.

Bucky grunted and mussed Steve’s hair. “All right, try this on for size: what if I was tied to the railroad tracks and you were there?”

Steve shrugged. Gulped his shitty beer. “I hope I’d untie you, but you know how my joints are.” He dangled the bottle between his fingers and tried to smile, but his mouth puckered small instead.

Bucky jabbed him in the chest with one finger. His left leg was thrown across Steve’s lap, their bodies catty-corner. “Try this: what if I was tied to the railroad tracks, but the train was still a long way off. You’re gonna untie me just like that? Not gonna do anything else first?”

“Trains are unpredictable. I’d untie you immediately.”

Bucky looked away from him, training his eyes on a storefront across the street. Tight jaw and slumped shoulders, knowing Steve was being difficult on purpose but disappointed anyway. Steve bumped his forehead against Bucky’s shoulder and continued, “And then I’d take you home and teach you a lesson about letting yourself get kidnapped and tied to the railroad tracks in the first place.”

Bucky made a small, almost-giggling noise, then self-corrected and said, “Hmm.” Still not looking at Steve, which maybe meant it wasn’t the right answer or maybe meant Steve had sounded as casual and confident as he meant to and gotten Bucky flustered. It must have been that one, because then Bucky said, “Well, you better make the punishment fit the crime.”

They didn’t have railroad tracks, but they had enough tape, and enough floor, and they got the job done. Probably Steve did get off talking about the price of groceries, making this as ordinary as anything, as safe and stable and good to have: Bucky trapped on the floor for him, waiting for a train to mow them both down.

“Did I really leave a welt?” It seems harsher and harsher, the more he flips it around his head. The tape and the jump rope and making him feel small, sure, but the welt doesn’t gel with how he pictures himself having been.

Bucky’s bustling around their bedroom, putting away laundry through the circuitous process of first taking every article of clothing out of the closet and drawers so that it can all be folded and organized in the same fashion as the clean, warm new stuff. The room looks a mess at this point, clothes thrown into piles all over the floor, and Bucky pauses in the eye of the hurricane. Gives Steve, who’s leaning in the doorway, a skeptical once-over.

He says, “You ever had come rubbed on a welt? It’s memorable. I promise.”

“And you’re not—“

“Crazy? Delusional? Sure, but not about that.” He kicks at a pile of red cloth. Steve inches further into the room.

“I wasn’t going to say those. I just don’t remember.”

“Huh. That’s a fun change of pace.”

“I know. I’ve got the brains of two jellyfish, I guess.”

“So still zero.”

“Ha ha.” He looks hard at Bucky, who tilts his head to the side, face impassive. “You’re joking.” Bucky shakes his head. “They’re not plants.”

“It’s fucked up, right?” He makes a ring with his forefinger and thumb. “No brains at all. Like us.”

Steve comes further into the room and flops backward onto the bed. The small amount of already folded clothes bounce next to him. “I hate the ocean.”

“But honeypie, it’s the outer space of Earth.”

“Yeah, and I hate outer space. And the Earth.”

“Zero adventurous spirit, I tell ya.” Bucky comes and bends over him but doesn’t touch. Just peers.

“Of course. Zero adventurous spirit. Zero brains. I’m pretty much an all-around zero.”

So Bucky sticks his fleshy fingers in Steve’s mouth, prying it open and round. Steve smacks him on the back of the hand. His mouth is returned to him. “Stay out of there,” he says. The particular laugh that comes over Bucky reminds him of the Keebler elves. They kiss, sloppy-good.

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FILL: The True Repairman Will Repair Man (17/?)

(Anonymous) 2017-03-01 11:16 pm (UTC)(link)
The meteorologist is tracking a storm when Bucky plops down next to Steve on the couch and loops a rope around Steve’s neck. Loosely, more like a stole than a noose. Steve scrunches his eyebrows at Bucky and says, “Am I a farm animal today? Are we herding me somewhere?”

Bucky’s hair is in a high ponytail. His hands are clutching each end of the rope. “Yep. Come along, Steve sheep. We’ve got wool to shear.” He winks, then pulls on one of the ends so that the rope slithers off of Steve. Abrasive against his skin as it goes.

Warm temperatures tonight. Heavy rainfall tomorrow, and the humidity is already making the hair at Bucky’s temples curl.

Throwing his leg across Steve’s thighs, Bucky waves one of the rope’s handles in the air between them. It’s a light, polished wood, and the tapered shape--Steve’s gut clenches as he remembers how sometimes he'd slip one like that into Bucky, pinching and smacking Bucky’s ass so he’d tighten up around it.

Bucky bites the wood in a quick gnash and click of teeth, then takes his mouth from it and grins. “One jump rope, proper kind, delivered as guaranteed.”

Steve takes the handle from him, and the rest of the rope. Coils it on his lap and Bucky’s outstretched leg. “Where’d you get this? This is—” ancient, but he feels punched in the gut by the word. He and Bucky fucking happily is an ancient thing. His old body, handling this kind of jump rope, is ancient and gone. Not even allowed to return to dust.

“Old as fuck? Katarina loves antiquing at flea markets.” His body spreads out, practically oozing, his movements are so liquid. His other leg joins the first across Steve’s, his metal arm on the back of the couch behind Steve’s head. Steve’s shoulder becomes cozy with Bucky’s armpit, and the rope gets trapped between Bucky’s legs.

Steve asks, “Who the hell is this person?”

“Uh, she’s Katarina. From my class. You met.” Bucky flicks him on the cheek and rolls his eyes.

“No, I know that—You’re joking.”

“Yes. Come on. You’re you and I’m me and you think that her life story is over-the-top?”

“Well, sure. I’m me. You’re you. But everyone else is. Well.”


“Sure. Happy and regular.”

“Natasha’s not. Sam’s not.” Bucky pulls the rope from between his legs. He playfully thwacks Steve in the chest with the handle. It feels how a church bell sounds.

“That’s different.”


“Because. You know why! Bucky.” He’s embarrassed to have to explain, to have to put it out there how secretly close he holds the people he loves these days. How he squeezes them so hard they melt into him. How he doesn’t know a different, healthier, more contained way to feel.

“Because I’m me and you’re you and they’re both also me and you.”

“In a way, yeah.”

“The ego you’re dragging around there.”

“I’m not wrong.”

“You’re not. We’re all each other. I get it. I know.” And he sounds like he really does, like Steve doesn’t need to either explain more or walk around thinking Bucky’s got half the story. They’re all each other, and it’s a fragile, hard-to-look-at thing. Before all this, before ice or sleep, he and Bucky weren’t even the same. And now he’s got all these people, all stitched up with him. All wearing the same rubber masks.

He looks at the television. Then moving into Monday, if we turn to Virginia--He turns back to Bucky, who’s got the rope in his teeth like a dog with a chew toy. It makes Steve smile; it makes him want to pet Bucky’s shining hair and feed him and call him good, so good, perfect, even if that last one isn’t exactly true, because.

He’s right. No argument. They’re all each other.

He does stroke a thumb along the hair at the front of Bucky’s head. Soft and clean.

He says, “I bought suspenders. And. Well, the full outfit. I’m all in.” He got the pants and shirt secondhand, feeling stupid about it; he could afford them new. But they should have some wear in them, a lived-in quality. Beating them against a rock until they looked older than they were would have been cathartic, but not everything cathartic is a good idea. He knows that now.

Bucky shakes his head so the rope shakes, and gives a little growl, then drops it into his lap, the material damp with spit. “There’s the spirit. You get me clothes too?”

“Clothes? What do you need clothes for, huh? You’re there to be pretty and helpless and whipped, not to have any dignity.”

“You know, I love that answer.” Bucky snuggles in, kissing Steve on the cheek. Biting his earlobe. Kissing the whole opening of his ear with a loud pop, so Steve squeaks against his will and jerks his head to the side and away.

Bucky’s laughing, and says, “Hey, you wanna hear a joke,” no question mark.

“Oh, I do? That’s interesting.”

“Yep.” He nods at the television. “What’s the difference between weather and climate?”

“What would you do if I gave you the real answer?”

“Punch you in the mouth. And I don’t want to, so I’m talking over you--The difference is you can’t weather a tree, but you can climate!” He says, “Good wisdom for you, pal.” He lies his head on Steve’s shoulder and sighs. The meteorologist hands the camera's gaze off to the news anchors.

Steve says, “Deep, Buck. Thanks. Where do you get this shit?”

“The internet. I look for it. You’re missing out on a lot of good jokes.”

“Sure I’m not. I’ve got you here to pass on the best ones.”

“Oh, is that right?”

“It’s right. That’s your job. And you do it well.” It’s not good, so good, perfect, but it’s close.

Rain tomorrow, but the hurricane won’t reach them. It’ll fall to pieces halfway, becoming nothing but wetness and wind. As they watch the news, Steve’s fingers toy absentmindedly with the jump rope. Rough, spit-damp, ancient as being separate from other people instead of tangled up with their innards, grotesque and alive.

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