Bucky’s neighbour was an asshole.
He had never met this neighbour, but Bucky knew with every part of his struggling, gay, cat-loving soul that his new neighbour was an asshole.
There had lots of gossip about Asshole Neighbor within his apartment building. The gossip mill was always turning because Bucky, who is about to turn thirty, lives in an apartment building in Brooklyn with a bunch of grandmothers. He was the youngest in the building by about fifty years but enjoyed the company anyways. Alpine, Bucky’s white son of a bitch cat, had lots of friends due to the ladies in his building. And Bucky was always the centre of attention as a young, attractive single man with a tragic backstory and a missing left arm. He would always be invited over for tea whenever he bumped into any of his neighbours, with a sly smirk and hands brushing his biceps.
But those invites had slowed since Asshole Neighbour had moved in, and that was the First Reason they were a certified Asshole.
Elsa, an actual lesbian queen born in the late forties who resided in the apartment straight under Bucky, had told him that their new Asshole Neighbour was quite hot. She described him as a beefy man with golden hair and a shoulder to waist ratio that even made her feel dizzy.
“And he’s such a sweet boy, Jamie.” She said as Bucky tried not to barf. She placed a hand on his cheek and squeezed, a universal gesture of grandmothers all over the world. “Very handsome. Helped me with my grocery bags the other day. You should have sex with him.”
Bucky had rolled his eyes and quickly excused himself to his apartment. He glared at Reason Two why this handsome man had been dubbed Asshole Neighbour.
His fucking motorcycle.
This motorcycle, whilst Bucky admired it for its beauty and power, was a menace. In front of their apartment building, they had very limited parking spaces. Not many people in the actual apartment drove cars because of their age, except for Frank’s car that sat in its usual spot and only ever moved once a year at Thanksgiving. That left one car space for Bucky and his red Mini Cooper.
As a young man with a job and social life, which was dismal at best but fuck off at least he’s trying, he needed that car space. And ever since Asshole Neighbour arrived, he’s been parking his motorcycle right in Bucky’s spot.
Logically, Bucky knew that he didn’t have any legal claim over that car park but anyone within a mile radius who has walked past that car park for the last five years knows that the only car that is parked there is Bucky’s Mini Cooper. Not a fucking motorcycle.
What made matters worse was that Asshole Neighbour hadn’t even tried to leave any room for another car. He parked smack bang in the middle of the car space. Bucky argued with Alpine that there was plenty of pavement for the Asshole to part his motorcycle on, but nooo, he had to park in right where Bucky couldn’t fit his car.
He had had to start parking his car around the block, resulting in a three-minute walk back to his apartment. Whilst this to some people didn’t seem like a big deal, to Bucky it was the end of the world. After a long day at work, with an aching left shoulder, all he wanted to do when he got home was have a shower, binge Netflix and promptly fall asleep to repeat the cycle the next day. This three-minute walk only soured his mood even further, made him sweety and achy and overall just proved his theory that the world fucking sucks so much.
One day he woke up and looked out his bedroom window to find the motorcycle and not his beautiful red car and decided he had had enough. He woke with a vengeance and got ready for work. As he made himself his coffee and breakfast, he devised a plan with his evil sidekick.
“Late at night would be best,” Bucky thought out loud. “Let the darkness of the night fuel my evil deeds and blanket them. What do you think?”
Bucky smirked. “Indeed, my furry friend. He will pay.”
Bucky kissed Alpine on the head, grabbed his work stuff and walked the three-minute walk with a pep in his step.
He waited until it was nearly one am to enact his revenge plan.
He had dressed for the occasion too. Black skinny jeans, black long sleeve turtleneck sweater. Bucky decided to keep his hair out of its usual bun with the thought that the long dark brown strands would serve has a curtain and protector to his face. He tried to find gloves, because fingerprints, duh, but he could only find black fingerless gloves. Not practical, but very stylish. He wore them anyway.
He knelt in front of Alpine, who glared at him for waking her up from her sleep.
“I’m sorry, baby, but this asshole deserves to pay.” He scratched behind her ears in apology. “I’ll be back soon, okay? Wish me luck.”
She only fell back asleep in response. He huffed, went over to the window to check the motorcycle was there and once he saw it, he squared his shoulders, held his chin high and quickly and quietly slipped out of his apartment, down the stairs and out of the building.
Whilst New York never sleeps, Bucky found the revenge gods on his side as he looked up and down the street to find no people or cars in sight. That could change very quickly, so he darted out of the front door, down the steps and knelt in front of the menace itself.
Up close, he saw the beauty of the bike. It was sleek, black and Bucky could feel the sheer power radiating from it. If it didn’t belong to an Asshole, Bucky would have left it alone based on its pure looks. But alas, it belonged to an Asshole. Bucky still felt a pang of guilt as he brushed a hand over it.
“Alright, you menace.” He whispered. “This isn’t your fault but you’re owners, but the only way to get to a man that cruel is through his bike.”
He kissed the bike, whispered “I’m sorry honey” then raised his hand. The key he was holding glinted in the streetlight and he hesitated for only a second before placing the key to the bike and dragging it down the paint.
Bucky flinched as it made a high pitched noise, but soldiered through it enough to make a short straight line. He lent back, admired his work, smirked, and drew the rest of the letter.
He finished the A and was about to draw an S next to it when he hesitated. He cursed himself as he felt guilt and regret filling his stomach. He thought about his car, about how he would feel if someone wrote ‘asshole’ into the red paint. How much it would cost to get it replaced, let alone the crack in his heart at seeing his property destroyed. And really, was a three-minute walk the end of the world? He had lived through multiple alien invasions, survived war and the desert, lost an arm, and yet a three-minute walk had him tipping over the edge to grey morals.
He scooted further away from the bike, squatting as he assessed the damage he had done. “Fuck,” he cursed, wiping his hand over his face. “What the fuck are you doing, Barnes? You shouldn’t be doing this.”
“No, you shouldn’t be.” Said a voice behind him.
Bucky gasped his both shock and fright, falling back on his butt so hard pain shot through his legs. His eyes widened as he quickly stood up and spun around to find a tall, big man standing behind him, his arms crossed and his mouth set into a scowl.
Bucky’s heart was beating rapidly as he tried to process the situation. He had been caught keying his Asshole Neighbours motorcycle by a guy who could overpower him in a fight, not just based on the fact that he has two arms but the defined muscles Bucky could make out through the leather jacket he was wearing. The guy was only a few inches taller than Bucky, but the situation and Bucky’s overwhelming shame made him seem much taller. Due to the low lighting in the street, Bucky couldn't make out much more than the fact that this guy was jacked and extremely pissed.
“Holy shit,” Bucky said, keeping his hand behind his back to keep the key,the murder weapon, hidden. “You scared me.”
“What are you doing?” The man asked, not taking Bucky’s hint to keep the conversation away from possible illegal things.
“Just checking out this bike,” Bucky tried for nonchalance and probably failed spectacularly. “What are you doing?”
“I was about to take my bike for a late-night drive.”
“O-oh,” Bucky’s heart nearly gave out as his brain worked into overdrive and the adrenaline started pumping like crazy. “This is your-your bike?”
“Yes.” Said the man, who could now be identified as Asshole Neighbour.
Bucky couldn’t have said anything, didn’t have anything to say, so he stayed silent, waiting for Asshole Neighbours reaction. Shame pooled in his stomach. Bucky wanted to throw up.
He was surprised by his neighbour's actions, who growled and took a step forward, grabbing Bucky’s upper right arm and dragging him to the door of their apartment building where there was better light.
Bucky was pressed against the door now, light casting shadows on Asshole Neighbours face. Elsa was correct. He was hot. Very hot. Short blonde hair, clear ocean blue eyes that radiated anger and curiosity as they scanned and flickered over Bucky’s face. His nose was crooked, a result of perhaps too many fights, with freckles dotted across his cheeks. Strong jawline. Bucky may be murdered tonight by that jawline. Pink lips which would normally probably be very kissable, but for now they were stretched into a scowl.
“Why the hell were you keying my motorcycle?” He all but growled out.
Anger rose inside of Bucky like a tidal wave, two months worth, and he felt himself grow taller from it. Asshole Neighbour moved his head back as Bucky held his ground, releasing all of his pent up anger.
“Because, you asshole, you’ve been parking in my spot for the past two months and I’m fucking sick of it.”
“Yes, my spot.” Bucky spat. Asshole Neighbour’s eye widened in response and Bucky squashed all thoughts of how beautiful they were down into the deepest parts of his soul. “Frank has one spot because he’s ninety-one years old and I’m not a fucking monster. I have the spot because I’m the only one who has a vehicle that needs a car space.”
“And what’s that motorcycle to you, then? I need a space to park.”
“It’s a fucking motorcycle!” Bucky nearly yelled. “Park it on the sidewalk for god’s sake, it doesn’t need a whole spot to itself.” Bucky’s chest heaved with his anger. “Asshole,” he added on for good measure.
Bucky’s hot but still an Asshole Neighbour clenched his jaw in frustration, Bucky wanted to lick it. “I need it to be in an easily accessible spot. For my job.”
Bucky scoffed and rolled his eyes. “And what exactly is your job, then? Being an asshole?”
There was a beat before the man spat out, “Government.”
Bucky rolled his eyes again, leaning back against the door, folding his arm across his chest. “Right. Another righteous government asshole who thinks they’re top shit but have a desk job. What do you do? File taxes?”
Asshole Neighbour let out a strained laugh, laced with frustration. “Ever heard of the Avengers, you dickhead?”
Bucky squinted his eyes about to make a witty retort about how the Avengers could be righteous assholes sometimes too when recognition hit Bucky in the face like a brick. Time seemed to slow down as Bucky realised that the man who he had dubbed ‘Asshole Neighbour’, who had him pressed against the door to their apartment building, who looked like he wanted to punch something, who’s motorcycle Bucky had just keyed, was Steve Rogers, aka Captain fucking America.
“Fuck,” He cursed, all anger leaving his body as fear and regret and other ugly emotions reared their ugly heads.
Steve Rogers rolled his eyes and stepped back, taking his intimidating and warm presence with him. Bucky stayed leaning against the door, grateful for its support. Without it, he would have fallen to the ground by now.
“Fuck!” Bucky cursed again, his shaking hand coming up to try and rub some tension from his face. It failed. “I just keyed Captain America’s motorcycle and proceeded to yell at him about how much of an asshole he is.”
“Yeah, I know.” Steve Roger’s crossed his arms across his chest again. His eyes flickering to his destroyed motorcycle. From where Bucky was standing, he could make out the A carved into the paint. He winced. “I was there.”
Bucky’s head fell back against the door with a thud. “Fuck.” He said as all other words in the English dictionary left his brain.
“Was that seriously the reason you keyed my bike?” Steve asked. “Because it’s your spot?”
Bucky rolled his eyes again and straighten his posture, back on the defensive. And because he was also an asshole, he pulled the war veteran card. “Well, there is no reason to steal a car space from an amputee.” He gestured to the stub of flesh he called a shoulder, indicating the fact that there was no arm there.
Steve’s gaze flickered to it and a trace of sympathy washed over his face before it disappears and anger and exasperation replaced it. “I’m Captain America.” was his defence.
Bucky scoffed. "That's not a good enough reason."
Steve rolled his eyes. “Nazis, pal. Nazis, and aliens and gods and righteous asshole government workers who try and take over the world. So yeah, I need to be able to access my bike and the road quickly in case the world ends.”
Bucky tried to find a fault in that argument and couldn’t. Instead, he slumped against the door, hanging his head to try and clear his thoughts. He sighed, looking back up to see Steve was looking at him. Bucky blushed. “I’m sorry. I am. I regretted it as soon as I started and I was just getting so frustrated so I took my anger out stupidly.”
Steve’s face melted from the hard lines of Captain America to the soft lines of Steve Rogers. “Thank you for apologising. I’m sorry too. I didn’t realise another person would need this car park and you’re right. I could park it on the sidewalk, it would just take some more organisation on my part.”
Bucky’s lips twitch before his eyes found the damage he had caused and it turned into a frown. “I’ll pay for the damage-”
“What? No, it’s fine, really.”
“No, no fucking way, Captain-”
“-Steve.” Bucky corrected. “I caused the damage. I’ll pay for it to be fixed.”
Steve shook his head, uncrossing his arms and waving Bucky’s offer away. “No, it’s fine. Really. My friend, Tony, he’s a mechanic. This will give him an excuse to install the jet pack or whatever he’s been asking to do for months. Plus he won’t want money for it.”
Tony, as in Tony fucking Stark? Right. Because Asshole Neighbour was actually Captain America and was buddies with Iron Man. What a trip.
“I’m sorry,” Bucky said again. “It was a beautiful bike.”
Steve shrugged, looking down at his feet. “Yeah, she was. That’s okay, I guess. What I deserve for being an inconsiderate asshole, right?”
Bucky made a noise of protest. “I mean, yeah, but you're always saving the world from evil tax filer super villains so I should give you a pass this one time.”
Steve looked up and smiled at Bucky. Bucky felt the breath leave his lungs. Jesus Christ, Steve was beautiful when he smiled. His eyes crinkled at the corners, and his perfect row of straight teeth lit up his face. The shadows from the bad lighting in the street cast shadows across his face, making him even more beautiful.
Bucky realised he had been staring a little too long and blushed. He cast his eyes to the ground to regain his footing before making eye contact with Steve again. “Well, this has been an interesting night. I should probably get back to bed.”
Steve’s face morphed into surprise as he seemed to remember that it was past one am now. “Right. Yeah.”
Bucky turned around and used the key, the murder weapon, to unlock the door and they both stepped inside. Bucky let Steve go up the stairs before him because he was a gentleman and not because he wanted a perfect view of Steve’s ass.
He got a perfect view for three flights of stairs. Maybe late-night keying cars should be Bucky’s new job. Especially if it ends the way tonight did.
Steve stopped on the third floor, gesturing to the door next to Elsa's apartment. Oh, they were neighbours. Great. “This is me.”
“I’m sorry, again, Steve. Really. I hope you don’t think super badly of me.”
Steve shrugged. “I’ve met worse people before.”
Bucky huffed, shoving his hands into his pockets. “Yeah, of course. Nazis.”
Steve nodded, smiling. “Yeah. Nazis.”
There was a beat before Steve continued. “I’m sorry too. From now on I’ll park somewhere different and not steal your spot…”
“Bucky. Bucky Barnes.”
Bucky grinned, his face going red. “Goodnight, Steve.”
“Goodnight, Bucky.” Steve blushed.
Bucky left him there, walking the final flight of stairs to his apartment. He walked in and was greeted by a loud meow from Alpine. Bucky bent down and gave her a good scratch behind the ears. “Mission failure, Alpine. Turns out Asshole Neighbour is kind of my childhood crush and American saviour Captain America himself so I fucked up completely.”
If Alpine could talk, Bucky was sure she would have said ‘yeah no shit, sherlock’. Instead, she meowed about his stupidity and went back to sleep.
Bucky fell onto his mattress and quickly fell asleep, thoughts of Captain Steve Rogers’ smile floating in his head.
When Bucky woke up, any happiness at meeting Steve Rogers and seeing him smile quickly disappeared as he processed that we had truly fucked up. Very badly.
He couldn’t eat breakfast or even have his morning coffee, his stomach churning with guilt and shame and regret and self-loathing. What kind of person was he if he let his anger take over him like that? Why the fuck did he think that keying someone's motorcycle would fix his problems? He was such a terrible person.
He ended up calling his sister.
“What’s new, Bucky?”
“I fucked up, Becs.” He groaned falling onto the couch.
“I asked what was new.”
“I keyed Captain America’s motorcycle last night and he caught me in the act.”
“You did what now?” Becca shouted.
Bucky continued. “And he’s so unbelievably hot and cute-”
“Did you get his number?”
“What? No!” Bucky spluttered. “I keyed his fucking motorcycle, Becca. Not the appropriate time to get his number.”
He could feel Becca rolling her eyes at him. “Why the hell did you key his bike?”
“Because he was being an asshole neighbour. He’s the one that’s been parking in my spot.”
Becca sighed. “Why didn’t you just take my advice when I said to talk to Asshole Neighbour?”
“Because I’m a dumbass.”
Bucky sunk further into the couch, wanting it to swallow him whole and never spit him out. “I feel so bad, Becs.”
“Are you paying for it?”
“No. He said his friend, Tony, who I’m ninety per cent sure is Tony Stark, is a mechanic and he’ll look after it for free.”
“You’re a lucky bastard,” Becca mumbled. “You should bake him some of your snickerdoodle cookies as an apology.”
Bucky shot up so fast that Alpine, who had been sitting on his stomach, jumped and sprinted down the hallway to Bucky’s bedroom. “That’s a great idea. Thanks so much!”
“No problem, you idiot. Just promise me you’ll stop keying Avengers’ cars.”
“Promise!” Bucky chirped and hung up on his sister.
For the next few hours, Bucky spent his day off work baking four batches of snickerdoodle cookies. He would have continued but he ran out of eggs. When they all cooled, he put them into a Tupperware container and wrote Steve an apology card.
He carried the box of cookies down the flight of stairs and stared at Steve’s door. Butterflies filled his stomach. He had no way of knocking with only his one hand. Instead, he kicked the door with his foot a few times and stepped back to wait for Steve.
He didn’t need to wait long. Steve opened the door a few seconds later, a large smile overtaking his face once he saw it was Bucky. He was wearing a plain white t-shirt that stretched over his chest, Bucky wanted to melt. He was in grey tracksuit pants, with dried black and blue paint all over his hands. He must have been painting something.
“Hi, Steve,” Bucky said, blushing under Steve’s gaze. He had gotten out of his clothes that were covered in cookie batter and into a navy blue shirt and light jeans. He tried to make himself seem less like a petty criminal than the right before.
“Hey, Bucky. How are you doing?”
“Good,” Bucky lied automatically. He wasn’t actually good. He was probably going to faint from how hard his heart was beating right now. “I just wanted to apologise for your bike again. I'm such a terrible person and it’s totally okay for you to hold a grudge and hate me but I made four batches of snickerdoodle cookies for you as a peace offering.”
Somehow Steve’s smile could grow even more. He carefully took the box of cookies from Bucky’s hand and open the lid to smell the cookies. He licked his lips and Bucky felt himself following the movement with his eyes.
“You didn’t have to, Buck. Really. It’s okay.” Steve was saying. Bucky snapped back to attention and drew his eyes from Steve’s lips to his eyes which didn’t do anything good to his heart rate. And that nickname. Good god.
“No, no. I’ve gotta make it up to you.” Bucky felt his cheeks heat up with shame.
Steve was silent for a moment before he spoke up again, his voice much smaller and softer than Bucky had ever heard it. “Make it up to me by going out for coffee with me?”
Bucky’s eyes widened, his heart stuttering as his brain processed what Steve was saying. Was Steve Rogers asking him out on a date??
Steve seemed to take Bucky’s silence and shock as a negative response. “I am so sorry. You don’t have to say yes, please do not feel pressured to say yes because of the bike. You know what, it was a stupid idea in the first place, please forget I ever-”
Steve’s jaw dropped. “Yes?”
“Yes,” Bucky repeated, his face heating up even more under Steve’s insistent gaze. “Yes, I’d like to go out for coffee with you.”
“Are you sure?” Steve whispered.
Bucky took a step closer, nodding. “Yeah. It’s a date?”
Steve eyes flickered to Bucky’s lips and lingered there for a moment before returning to catch Bucky’s gaze. “Yeah, it’s a date.”
Now both of them weren’t looking at each other in the eye but were looking at the other's lips. Bucky so badly wanted to kiss Steve, but he wanted the other man to make the first move. It seemed weird that last night Bucky was keying his motorcycle, and he now he wanted to kiss him.
Steve, somehow, maybe it was his Captain America sense or something, got the memo. He took a step forward, closing the distance between Bucky and himself. Now their chests were touching and their breaths mingled in the air between them.
“Is it okay if I kiss you now before our date has started?” Steve whispered.
Bucky went weak at the knees, his tongue licking his lips out of pure habit. Steve watched it with a hungry glint to his eyes.
“It’s more than okay,” Bucky whispered back and then Steve closed the distance between them, their lips meeting each other.
It was a little awkward at first, their noses knocking each other but then Steve raised his hand and cupped Bucky’s jaw, tilting his head slightly and then bam, perfect. Bucky felt dizzy as Steve pressed his lips a little harder, perfectly sliding together in a way that took both their breaths away. Steve’s other hand rested lighting on Bucky’s waist and Bucky’s hand slipped around Steve’s neck to rest his fingers in the short hair. Steve tasted like vanilla lip balm and it drove Bucky crazy to think that Captain America wore lip balm.
Steve swiped at Bucky’s lower lip with his tongue, asking for entry. Bucky happily opened his mouth for Steve and they both moaned as the kiss deepened. Steve pulled away first, both men were breathing heavily as they rested their foreheads together. Bucky groaned unhappily, keeping his eyes closed to bask in the glow.
“You’re a punk.”
“Hmm,” Steve hummed, quickly kissing Bucky again before pulling away when Bucky leaned forward for more. “I thought I was an asshole?”
Bucky huffed and open his eyes to be met with Steve Rogers looking adorable with his wide blue eyes and pink freckle dotted cheeks. “You’re a punk now. You’ve been degraded. You’re too much of a good kisser to be an asshole.”
Steve grinned and placed a lingering kiss on Bucky’s lips. He pulled back slightly and mumbled against Bucky’s lips. “Want to come inside for that coffee date now?”
Bucky grinned and let himself be pulled into his Asshole Neighbours apartment.
Elsa was going to have a fit.