The walk was long and hard... at least for everyone else. Steve was walking in front, keeping an eye out for the small, abandoned town where they would be meeting a member of the French Resistance for information on the next Hydra base.
Eventually Steve saw the town behind a small stand of trees, and they began to explore. They might be waiting for a few days, so they needed a good place to sleep for a while. They split into groups of two to make sure that they were alone, only possible because Peggy was with them, to bring some of the info back to command while the Howlies went after the base.
The town had been bombed a while ago, many of the buildings broken down, and the small amount of food they found had rotted. The people that had lived there had probably all been killed, then others had buried them and taken some of the more useful things, because despite the large amount of things left behind, there were no bodies, and very little food or clothing.
They all met up at the church in the middle of the town, no one having seen anyone, much less an enemy. The church looked dilapidated, most of the windows shattered, a whole wall having fallen down, and ivy growing all over.
They agreed on the two houses nearest to the church, the biggest ones, and the ones with the least damage. They could all have their own room for once, but were still close just in case.
They gathered in the living room of the biggest house, bringing in all the wine they had found around the town. They started with poker, with Bucky on watch, and Peggy just watching. Since they didn’t have much to barter, they decided to take a drink after they lost, while also sipping as they played. Steve wasn’t very good at the game, but as the others got drunker, they began to play poorly, making bad decisions, and the alcohol wasn’t affecting him at all. So as the rest of the Howlies began to lose more, they drank even more, until Steve refused to play them anymore. They were giggling, singing explicit songs, and falling all over each other, so Bucky helped him put them to bed while Peggy took watch. Luckily they were all sleeping in this house, Peggy and Bucky with him in the other house.
The Howlies began to make fun of Bucky for his fussing, Morita saying, “you’re worse than my mother, at least for Steve.”
“They’re good together” Jacques slurred out in French.
“They should get married!” Gabe said.
“They should get married!” Dum Dum giggled. The rest of the Howlies agreed, giggling at the blush on Steve’s face.
“Come on guys,” Steve said, face hot. “We need to get you to bed.”
Bucky supported Gabe up the stairs, making sure they all drank some water before they passed out. They came back down the stairs, Bucky smirking at him, to see Peggy looking piercingly at them.
“Why don’t you two head to your room, I can hold down the fort,” she said.
“You sure?” Steve asked, concerned about the tension in her stance.
“You two can decide who has second and third watch,” she said. “Save everyone else from having to take watch with a hangover.”
“Ok,” Steve said, “stay warm!”
Bucky pulled him out of the house, hauling him up the stairs. When they had closed the door to their room and locked it, Bucky said, “you really don’t know.”
“Don’t know what?” Steve asked, “you’re gonna have to be more specific.”
Bucky sighed and said, “Peggy still likes you, she may have stopped chasing you, but she’s definitely jealous.”
“Wait, what?” Steve said, “she still likes me? But I’m taken, why wouldn’t she find someone else?”
“Oh Steve,” Bucky said affectionately, “if she really likes you, she won’t be getting over you anytime soon. You’re such an incredible person that I can’t imagine ever stopping having feelings for you. Steve... this may be out of line but... would you actually want to get married... I mean, if it was possible?”
“Really Bucky!” Steve choked out, a lump forming in his throat. “That was barely a proposal, you didn’t even give me a ring!”
“I can fix that,” Bucky said, getting down on one knee and pulling off his dog tags. “Steve, will you marry me?”
Steve felt tears well up in his eyes, but said, “where’s the ring you jerk.”
“Is that a yes?” Bucky asked, slowly getting up.
“Of course it is you idiot,” Steve said, tackling Bucky to the bed in a hug.
“I do want to give you a ring,” Bucky said. “For now we can exchange dog tags, but once we get home, I’ll buy the best ring I can find, I promise.”
Steve pulled his tags off, and slid one off, offering it to Bucky. He slid off one of his, and they slid the new tags on.
“There, now it’s official.”
Steve realized something, “you possessive bastard!” He said, laughing, “you were talking about how Peggy liked me, and then you proposed to me! Really?”
“Sorry,” Bucky said quietly. “Do... do you want me to take it back?”
“No way,” Steve said, curling his hand protectively around the newly mismatched dog tags. “You may be a possessive bastard, but you’re my possessive bastard. There’s no way I’m letting you get away that easily, I’m with you to the end of the line, remember?”
“We should get some sleep,” Bucky said with a grin. “If we’re going to have the next watch we should be rested up.”
Steve had started coffee in the bigger house’s kitchen the next morning, anticipating many grumpy, hungover soldiers. Bucky rested on the small couch, tired from having second watch.
He let everyone sleep in, they needed to meet the spy before they started off, so they may as well get all the rest they could get. They trickled into the kitchen slowly, making a beeline for the coffee before taking a place at the table. Peggy came in last, letting in a blast of chilly air.
While everyone had breakfast and became relatively coherent, a friendly debate sprung up on what to do while they waited for the spy.
Bucky interjected though, saying, “I’m not sure if this is something you guys would want to do but... last night when you were drunk... a couple of you suggested that me and Steve get married. We talked it out and agreed to do it.”
“You don’t have to participate,” Steve cut in. “But we figured that since you guys inspired us to do it, then you should get a chance to help us with it.”
“You’re actually getting married?” Morita asked, “that sounds like fun!”
“Well not legally,” Bucky said, “but as close as we can get.”
“Will there be a party?” Dum Dum asked.
“Will there be alcohol?” Jacques asked.
“Depends on what happens,” Bucky said. “We’ll need your help to plan it, if you’re willing.”
Everyone agreed, even Peggy. As Bucky grabbed some paper and a pencil to start planning, Steve pulled Peggy outside so they could talk in private.
“Peggy, are you ok with this, I know that you like me so...”
“I’m fine,” Peggy said briskly, then her voice softened and said, “I will be fine. This might even help me get over you a bit faster. I can’t do much about it anyway, I know that you two will be together for a long time coming, so I should get used to it if we’re going to stay friends.”
“You don’t have to help with the wedding though,” Steve said. “Or continue to pretend that you’re my girl if you feel uncomfortable.”
“Steve, it’s fine,” Peggy said firmly. “It’s your wedding, and you deserve to have your friends there. And our deal... well I’m still little known enough to take missions, and when I’m at command, I don’t have to deal with as much harassment, so I can actually get my job done. Besides,” she said with a quiet laugh, “what kind of friend would I be if I just left you to the girls at base, soon you’ll be a married man, someone needs to keep you from messing around while your husband isn’t there!”
Steve blushed furiously, remembering how he had frozen in place when the dame at the base had kissed him, and how angry Peggy had been.
“Part of the reason I was so angry,” Peggy said softly, “was because I was already starting to suspect that your friendship with Bucky was more than it seemed. I definitely wasn’t certain about it, but just the possibility had made me angry. However, as your friend, I know just how perfect you and Bucky are for each other. I’ve seen how well you two fit, how much you two love each other.
I want to make you happy, and if he makes you happy, then there’s no way that I’ll interfere. I guess that I’m just trying to say that I approve, I’ll help you with the wedding and I promise to not object.”
“Thank you,” Steve said with a lump in his throat, pulling her into a tight hug. He felt a surprising amount of relief at Peggy’s approval. “You’re an incredible friend,” Steve said, “let’s get back to everyone, make sure they didn’t go overboard.”
They went inside and found the Howlies huddled together over a piece of paper.
“Hey Steve,” Bucky said, looking up from the paper with an enormous grin on his face.
“Steve,” Monty said, “heads or tails.”
“Heads?” Steve said, confused. “For what?”
“Loser wears this,” Dum Dum said, holding up a large lace doily. “And walks down the aisle too, easier than arguing over it.”
“Are you ok with me officiating?” Gabe asked cautiously, “the others said I should because I have the most education.”
“Of course,” Steve said as Morita flipped a coin. “If we don’t have anyone that is officially qualified, then you’re the best choice.”
“Tails!” Morita crowed, “looks like you’re walking down the aisle Cap!”
“Who’s giving him away though?” Monty asked, “it’s usually the father of the bride.”
“I’ll do it,” Peggy said. “I’ve known him for longer than you lot anyway, so I’m the best person for the job.”
“When will it be though?” Steve asked.
“Tonight,” Bucky said, eyes alight. “We have no clue when the spy will be here, and... well, I don’t want to have to wait.”
“Me neither,” Steve said, pulling Bucky into a hug, and planting a kiss on his mouth. “Now what else needs to be planned?”
That night was surprisingly warm, the room he was in almost stifling as Steve fretted.
“What if something goes wrong?” He asked Peggy, who was pinning the doily to his hair. “What if the spy shows up in the middle and tells everyone? What if something happens to Bucky?”
“It’ll be fine,” Jacques said in French. “You’re ready, Bucky’s ready...”
“I still don’t know why you won’t let me see him,” Steve grumbled.
“It’s tradition,” Monty said. “And since we didn’t know that you two were getting married until this morning, we figured that we’d get as much good luck out of those traditions as we could.”
“It’s still stupid,” Steve said, annoyed.
“You agreed to this,” Peggy said, pulling away to look him in the eyes. “You two aren’t actually stuck at the hip, you can be apart for a few hours. Besides, it’s just a little while longer.”
Steve stood up and adjusted his gear, straightening it anxiously.
“Are you sure I look ok?” He asked, “do I look really stupid?”
“You look fine,” Peggy reassured him. “It looks a little silly maybe, but Bucky certainly won’t care. If he loves you even half as much as he seems to, all he’ll see is you.”
Steve blinked back tears, but then Morita walked into the room.
“We’re ready,” he said with a grin.
Steve took a deep breath, shaking a little. Jacques and Monty stepped in front of him, Peggy grabbing his arm to escort him, and together they walked out of the house and into the night.
The holes where the windows had been were glowing softly, lit up with the light of many scrounged up candles. The doors opened, and Jacques and Monty began to walk in, but once Steve had looked through the doors, he froze.
All he could see was Bucky, hair slicked back, sharp looking in his uniform, and the look on his face. God the look on his face... mouth open wide in awe, eyes glittering with un-shed tears, looking radiant as the sun in the flickering light of the candles.
Peggy had to tug on his arm to get him moving, and he walked forwards in a daze. He felt like he was floating forwards, the joy in his heart pulling him towards the sky, and the chilly breeze propelling him forwards. Once he made it to the altar, the others gently tugged him into place, and Gabe began to speak.
“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here together today to get these two married finally.”
There were a few chuckles, but Gabe continued. “Now the vows will be exchanged, Bucky do you want to start?”
“Yeah,” Bucky said softly, grinning at Steve, who giggled self-consciously.
“Steve,” Bucky continued, “I promise to love you forever. To stay with you no matter what happens, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, for bigger or for smaller. I promise to keep you from doing anything too stupidly self-sacrificing, and to love and care for you as long as we both shall live, till the end of the line.”
“Steve,” Gabe said, sounding a bit choked up, “your turn.”
Steve could feel his eyes welling up with tears, and a lump in his throat. He still managed to choke out, “mine won’t be as good as yours, but I’ll try my best. I swear to love you as long as we both live, to protect you with everything I have, and to not abandon you, no matter what kind of attention I might get as Captain America. I promise to stay with you till the end of the line.”
There was a short pause, where Steve looked at Bucky, tears streaming down both their cheeks.
Then Gabe said, “you’ve already exchanged dog tags, so we’ll get right on with it. If anyone objects, speak now or forever hold your peace.” There was a silence, then Gabe said, “by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and... husband. You may now kiss each other.”
Steve grabbed Bucky and hauled him into a deep kiss, giddy with excitement. The Howlies were cheering them on, Dum Dum even letting out a loud howl.
“Time for the party now right?” Morita cheered.
Steve and Bucky broke apart, laughing, “ok Morita,” Bucky said. “Let’s get in the big house then.”
As soon as everyone was distracted, they snuck away, giddy with anticipation. As soon as they were in their room, Bucky pushed Steve against the door, kissing Steve furiously. Then he pulled away to get some air, and began to laugh.
“Bucky?” Steve asked, “what’s so funny?”
“I just...” Bucky gasped out, “I just saw that doily on your head properly, it looks ridiculous!”
“It probably does,” Steve said. “Can you help me take it out? I can’t rip it out, because Peggy told me that she needs all six of the hairpins back.”
“Really,” Bucky said, sounding annoyed. “My only competition for your heart making me wait before I can ravish my new husband? That’s her plan, to delay me one last time!”
Steve giggled, “she is pretty good at strategizing... but I’m your husband now. You can’t get rid of me anymore.”
“Never wanted to get rid of you,” Bucky said, making Steve sit on the bed. “Didn’t you hear my vows? Till the end of the line.”
As Bucky began fiddling with the doily, Steve hugged Bucky’s hips. “I missed you.”
“For all of half a day?” Bucky asked jokingly, but added, “I missed you too. Felt like it took seventy years to be able to see you again.”
“Seventy years?” Steve laughed as Bucky put the last of the pins on the small table.
“Well maybe not seventy,” Bucky said, pulling Steve towards the bed. “Maybe just sixty-nine.”
“What are you gonna do to me husband” Steve asked, laying down on the bed. “Now that we’re not separated anymore.”
“Why don’t you find out husband,” Bucky said, leaning in for a deep kiss.