Bucky woke slowly to a cold bed and the white noise of a shower running. He closed his eyes tight in an effort to block the early morning light from his eyes. He probably could have accomplished this more easily by turning away from the window but the sudden weight of his body prevented him from that action. He curled close in upon himself and shifted his head in an effort to cover his eyes. This only kind of worked when his hair did fall in front of his face but stuck uncomfortably to the drool on his cheek. He gently reached down to pull the sheet up over his chest. He decided he would try to get in some more sleep before he had to make breakfast.
It was just then when he heard the rushing shower slow to a slight drip and the curtains pulled back. Water running again, this time from the sink. He listened to the almost silent sounds of Sam brushing shaving cream over his face and the quiet scrape of his razor. He heard The soft padding of a towel running over damp skin and then the almost deafening creak of the door opening as Sam stepped into the room. He brought with him warm moist air and the scent of orange blossom Bucky took it in appreciatively. He listened to the light sounds of footsteps around the bed and the squeak of the dresser drawer as Sam sifted through his and Bucky's clothes. Bucky heard the light ruffling of clothes and felt Sam approach the bed . He felt a smooth soft hand on his shoulder roughly push him up onto his back. He shut his eyes tighter as his skin adjusted to the new sensation of the position.
Bucky groaned loudly as frustration boiled in his chest. Sam did this most mornings but that didn’t mean Bucky had to like it “Listen just because you’re an early bird doesn’t mean I have to get up with you” Bucky’s voice was groggy and deep and the end of his sentence trailed off into a tired whisper.
“You and the fuckin’ bird jokes” Sam mumbled “I’m goin’ out for a run, thought I should let you know”
“So you can have breakfast waiting when you get home?” Bucky asked with a light smile.
“Man, Shut up!” Sam’s voice was annoyed Bucky felt his chapped lips crack slightly as his smile widened
His eyes opened a bit to take in Sam’s countenance. He was hard to make out at first as he stood in front of the window but when he came into view Bucky took in his outfit. Sam wore a plain yellow sweatshirt that was accented by the rays of sun coming through the shades. He had on gray leggings and bright red sneakers that Bucky remembered would squeak on the floor as Sam made his way out. Bucky opened his eyes wider and gave a cheshire grin.
“You know, Sammy, that ain’t very nice” he playfully scolded.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it,” Sam said, almost genuinely. Sam had been making an effort to be nicer to Bucky since they began their living arrangement. He had asked Bucky to catch him if he ever said anything too rude or negative and while Bucky was all too glad to do so, he learned to see when Sam needed to hear it.
“Thank you, now go for your run” He yawned and almost Laughed as he heard Sam’s shoes squeak across the bedroom floor.
Bucky stretched and twisted as he woke again, and swung his legs over the side of the bed. He trudged to the bathroom in his boxers. The room was still hot and it smelled of Sam. Bucky drooped over the sink, he unenthusiastically brushed his teeth and made a half-assed attempt at combing his hair. He pulled on a shirt and Lounge pants and made his way to the kitchen of their small safe house. When Bucky said small he meant Small the thing was really tiny but he and Sam managed well enough.
When Sam had received the shield from Steve, Fury and Hill had a hissy fit about public relations and legal issues. Bucky was still annoyed about how they sullied the occasion but he had to admit that they were right about how the public took it.
The reaction had by the majority of the american public was a feeling of shock and betrayal. Their great hero had left them for a woman they hardly knew existed beyond her wikipedia page. They ticked Bucky off the most of them all, because they could have no real idea of what that betrayal felt like. They didn’t hear him say it. They didn’t watch him go. They didn’t watch the only thing they knew slip from their fingers. They didn’t just regain a place in the world only to have it pulled out from under them. They didn’t feel the hurt of him leaving them. Him abandoning them. So Bucky ignored the majority of the public and focused on others. There was also the resistance from two completely opposite groups. The racist older conservatives who believed Sam didn't deserve the shield and then there were the blind protesters who thought “Captain America” itself was “nationalistic bullshit” who believed that Sam didn’t need the shield. There was an overwhelmingly positive response from the young. Particularly the young activists. The youthful leaders in Black Lives Matter movement had been exuberant. Sam was delighted and honored by their admiration. So he had invited them to walk beside him at the “ceremony” of receiving the shield. They were Bucky’s favorite. Sam kept in contact with one of them “Eli Bradley” who frequently invited him to appear at protests. Now of course he couldn’t go as he had to appear unbiased but he was always polite when declining.
Then there was Bucky. Bucky who realized that he had spent too much time introspecting and staring into space and that he had to get up and go to the fucking kitchen and make french toast before Sam got home.
Bucky flipped the soft bread on the pan with his metal hand. his new arm was nothing like the one Shuri had crafted for him, according to S.H.I.E.L.D. That advanced technology would draw attention to him. So they hooked him up with a standard prosthetic. It was thin and black and the joints were exposed, it took longer to do things. Bucky hated it, he frequently used long sleeved shirts and jackets to hide it from Sam even when the weather wouldn’t warrant such an outfit. He was positive that Sam noticed his insecurity around the new limb but Wilson had yet to say anything. He just watched Bucky as he meandered around the house, it made an odd feeling curl in his stomach but he chose not to think about that. Instead He thought about how he and Sam had made it into the tiny safe house. After Hill and Fury had their meltdown they told Sam and Bucky about their living arrangements.
Bucky remembered the conversation almost fondly. He and Sam had been seated side by side in the small meeting room. The air in there was freezing and while Bucky didn’t mind it, he felt Sam lean in to him for warmth. Bucky obliged and touched their legs under the table. Both of them remained stone faced as Fury and his planning team walked into the room.
Sam straightened his posture and Bucky followed. Fury hardly spared them a glance let alone a greeting before starting his spiel. Bucky listened with mild interest as he pushed his leg against Sam again. Sam gave him a questioning look and he halfheartedly shrugged with boredom.
“Barnes! Wilson! Are you two even listening?” Fury said with resignation in his tone.
Sam turned and sat up “Yes we were sir, you were talking about housing?”
Fury looked approvingly “Yes I was, Now like I was saying you two have garnered quite a bit of public attention in recent months, so now you have to stay mostly under the radar. Unless we say otherwise,”
Bucky, annoyed at the accusatory tone of the director, sat forward with hunched shoulders to show his aggression. “It’s not our fault everyone goes batshit when we so much as sneeze now! If anything they should be the ones to blame not us!”
Fury raised a brow which made Bucky feel smaller all of a sudden. Fury’s tone was cool when he spoke and Bucky slowly leaned back down with embarrassment. He liked to think it wasn’t visible. “We know it’s not your fault Barnes but we can’t exactly tell the public what they should believe about you. Motherfucker, we don’t know what we should believe about you. Our best option right now is to keep you two low profile with the exception of public meetings and charity events which will be highly publicized”
Bucky looked at Sam cautiously as if asking how to react. This whole time, Sam had been his guidance. Ever since he had entered the modern world for the second time Sam Wilson had been there with a gentle hand to help him adjust. He didn’t want to make too much of a scene without Sam’s go-ahead.
Sam nodded slightly “yeah I get it, anything else?”
Hill stepped forward and looked the two of them over. Her gaze was scrutinizing. Bucky uncomfortably shifted away from Sam. “We’re sending you two to two seprate safe houses, makes it harder for people to find you-”
At that both Sam and Bucky sat up and looked Hill in the eye. The movement was so sudden and alarmed that Hill’s eyes widened an infinitesimal amount and she slowly stepped back. “No, I-I think we should stay in the same uh-house, So that way we can uh make sure the other’s alright,” Sam’s voice was slightly insecure but forceful in it’s manner. In response Bucky reached to stroke his wrist under the table. He hoped this was calming to Sam. Ever since the un-snappening, He and Sam had been inseparable. One doesn’t just go through something like that with no change. After the fight and the funeral, when they had come back down from mania, they had simply gravitated towards one another. All of a sudden it was easy to be around Sam. They didn’t really talk much and they were by no means friends but somehow life was simpler when they had each other, even if it was just a comfortable silence. Bucky felt eased by physical contact with Sam. He's pretty sure they would have been sleeping in the same bed if they weren’t in the S.H.I.E.L.D. base with Hill and Fury to look at them weird.
“Are you sure?” Hill said with suspicion.
“I can’t tell you how much I advise against this,” Fury’s voice was warning but Sam didn’t let up
“Barnes is staying with me, if we’re separated it makes it easier for some nutjobs to take us out, divide and conquer and all that. I want him here for my protection in case some crazy motherfucker tries to get a hit at me and I’ll be there for him for the same reason” Sam’s gaze was unmoving and his sudden aggressive tone made Bucky’s lips twitch with satisfaction. Hill and Fury looked increasingly annoyed but were getting tired
“Um ok,” Hill sighed pausing, “I’m sure we can arrange that.” She and Fury looked at eachother and Bucky couldn’t quite place their expressions.
Within two weeks Bucky and Sam had been moved into a small house in a tiny town south of New York with strict orders not to draw any attention. There were two bedrooms but they only used one. It was an unspoken agreement that they both refused to acknowledge. It was nice and Bucky enjoyed it.They slept in the same bed and kept to a semi regular schedule. It was all so sickeningly domestic, particularly for two people who weren’t even really friends.
He was ripped out of his flashback by the sound of Sam opening the door. They made eye contact as he walked in. Sam sat down at the table and watched as Bucky silently plated the french toast and Sat next to him. He was still breathing hard and Bucky cringed when he reached for the kitchen towel and used it to wipe the sweat from his forehead. He chuckled when he saw Bucky’s scowl “what?” He asked cautiously.
Bucky quirked his mouth and said “You know I use that to clean the damn counter” his voice started off stern but he couldn’t hold it up and his sentence ended in a laugh.
Bucky glared at Sam and Sam glared back after about ten seconds Sam caved “fine! How about I do the laundry tonight?”
“Thank you” Bucky grinned
After that they ate silently for a moment then Sam’s lips thinned “aw fuck, we got that fuckin’ charity tonight”
Bucky pauses from his meal to groan. “You think we could blow it off?”
Sam shook his head ”No way, think we could call in sick?”
“No” Bucky said ”they would believe I was sick too, with the serum and all, I’d still have to go” He paused “Maybe there’s like a neighborhood drug ring we have to take care of”
Sam snorted “I don’t think so” and it went on like that for a good ten minutes of bouncing around ideas before Sam finally sighed with resignation and said “I’ll bring our suits to the dry cleaner”