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Lighting a Candle

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Sam slipped his sweatshirt on over his head, grabbing his phone and keys as soon as he’d pulled it all the way down. He walked out the door and sent off a quick text to Steve to let him know he was leaving. 

“See you soon!” He got a response about two minutes later, shaking his head at the three thumbs-up emojis Steve had added at the end of the message. 

Predictably, Steve was already there waiting for him, dressed in almost the same workout clothes he wore for every run. “Hey, man,” Sam greeted him with a nod. “I hope you’re ready to taste my dust today,” he grinned. 

“Sure I am,” Steve said amicably, “I always do when I end up lapping you,” he added after a beat, making Sam snort and shake his head. 

“Whatever, man,” Sam rolled his eyes. “You wanna run or what?”

“Run? Is that what you call-” Steve started. 

“Jesus, Rogers, give it a rest,” Sam interrupted, laughing as they started  a brisk jog. 

Steve kept his pace even with Sam’s, clearly dialing it back as he always did until Sam rolled his eyes and told him to go on and actually try. 

He hadn’t said it yet, though, and Steve was clearly itching to take off running and probably lap him a couple times. “Hey, man,” Sam started, faltering after a few seconds. 

“Yeah?” Steve asked, raising an eyebrow.

“It’s just, you know....I’m really not trying to pry!” Sam interrupted himself, waving a hand in Steve’s general direction. 

“Okay...” Steve trailed off, clearly still confused. “So what are you not prying into?”

“Y’know, your...personal business. That’s, well, it’s...personal,” Sam rambled, “and I know it’s none of my business, anyway.”

“Sam, what are you talking about? What’s none of your business?” Steve asked, brow furrowed. 

“You. And Barnes. You and Barnes. Together. Or not together!” Sam added hastily, determinedly not looking at Steve. “Look, Stark’s got it in his head that he should set you up. I mean, he promised he’d drop it, but-“

“But he’s Tony, so he’s definitely not dropping it,” Steve finished for him. 

“Exactly,” Sam pressed on, “and I just figured you should know. In case there’s anything you need to tell people. Or not tell people! That’s up to you. And Barnes. You and Barnes.”

“Right,” Steve said slowly, now avoiding Sam’s gaze as well. 

“And I know he’s a private guy!” Sam added quickly. “And anything that isn’t my business is...well, not my business,” he gave Steve a meaningful look. “Just know that...I’m here for you, buddy. No matter what.”

“Thanks, Sam,” Steve said, clearly bemused. “That’s real sweet,” he continued, lightly elbowing Sam in the ribs and clearly holding back laughter. 

“Fuck off, Rogers,” Sam shot back, laughing and picking up the pace. 

“Language,” Steve responded absentmindedly, easily outpacing him without trying. 

Whatever,” Sam grumbled, pushing himself harder to try and catch up with Steve, which only worked for about ten seconds before Steve broke into a full run.

“See you in a minute or two!” Steve grinned, looking back over his shoulder at Sam.

“Fuck off!”