Sam was out for a run with Steve (who had been slowing down to jog lightly next to him), when he noticed it. A ring. A simple gold band laying on a chain around Steve's neck, right next to were he held Bucky's dog tags. The chain had fallen out from where Steve kept it tucked away under his shirt, and Sam slowed to a stop.
"What? You getting tired Sammy?" Sam didn't respond, instead reaching out to touch the ring. Steve froze.
"How long?" Sam spoke softly, a smile tugging at his lips. Steve gave him a sheepish grin.
"A little while now, back in Wakanda."
5 Months Earlier
"Are you ready, Captain?" T'Challa asked the super soldier, the royalty in his constant state of calm.
"As ready as I'll ever be your highness." Steve smiled, T'Challa's soothing voice ever-so-slightly cooling his heightened nerves.
In the next tent over, things were not as... serene.
"Would you stop moving, you ape." Shuri kept trying to get Bucky to sit still, so she could try to do his hair, but in the moment Bucky felt less Winter Soldier, and more Spider-Man, seemly bouncing out of his seat.
"Forgive me for being antsy, I've only been waiting like 80 years for this!" She sighed.
"Just sit still for a moment, would you?" Bucky huffed, finally settling in his spot. "I fix a man's mind, and I get this attitude as thanks. Remind me to stop offering shelter to white boys." Shuri murmured to herself, a silent conversation between her and whatever nondenominational god was out there.
"I heard that." Soon enough, Shuri stepped away from Bucky's head, proud, looking at the two clean french braids going down the back of Bucky's head. She had woven in small wooden beads, as per Wakandan tradition. In each braid found one blue bead for soul, a yellow for mind, and a red for love. Bucky himself was in formal Wakandan robes, made up of a light yellow fabric, with white details flowing down the edges. Steve was wearing a suit, as any classic american hero (or war criminal) would, but Bucky had known what was right for him. Wakanda was his home now, it was only right he went by their traditions.
"You don't look a day over 99." Bucky, the 101 year old, stood up to face Shuri.
"Haha, very funny." Then, a genuine smile spread across his face. "Thanks, kid." She leaned in for a hug.
"Anytime." She took a breath out, pulling back out of Bucky's grasp. "Let's get moving, this is something you don't want to be late for." She didn't have to tell Bucky that twice. So, he linked their arms, and they made their way out to the open field.
The scene laid out in front of Bucky was truly beautiful. The path out of his tent led to an open field, filled with trees that had large, bushy leaves, brightly colored flowers, and birds chirping a song no one knew, but anyone would find enchanting. At the end of the pathway found a Wakandan priest, adorned in a tribal dress covered in small blue patterns flowing all across the gown, against a white tartan. To the priest's left stood T'Challa, his face the prefect mix of supportive and dignified, and to the priest's right stood Steve. Steve.
Steve, with his long eyelashes, and set jaw. Steve, with his kind heart and firm words. Steve with the smile that could (and did) melt the heart of a highly trained assassin.
Of course he had chosen a plain tux, but it seemed to move along his body in just the right ways, along with a light yellow cloth draped on his shoulder to match Bucky. (T'Challa had insisted he wear the ceremonial cloth if they were to partake in the traditional ceremony. Steve obliged.) His face lit up when he saw Bucky.
Bucky and Shuri made quickly down the short path, saving the time of that painstakingly slow walk down the aisle so many others do. Bucky had been waiting long enough.
Neither men could hide their smiles as Shuri let go of Bucky's arm to stand next to her brother. Why should they? They already had 80 years worth of hiding their love for each other, and there was no one here to stop them now. Nazis or otherwise.
"Til' the end of the line, punk." Steve let out the smallest laugh at Bucky's words.
"Til' the end of the line, jerk." Those words. They had been vows enough, for all those years. Now they were just making it official.
The priest said several lines, all in a language neither could understand, but could feel the emotion all the same. Who cared, anyways? They could tie the knot in a bar bathroom surrounded by rats, all speaking Russian and it would still be the best day of their lives.
The next thing the priest said, they understood. They stood hand in hand.
"James. Do you promise to love Steve, whether in sunshine or rain, depression or recession, terrible pain or blinding love? To care for him until your body no longer allows it? And once your body gives way, to be with him on the opposite end of life?" The priest's words were heavy weighing in the air like tar, but Bucky knew his answer.
"I do." Bucky looked Steve in the eyes. "A thousand times I do." Steve smiled back at him, thinking his body might collapse from sheer joy. Not on his watch.
"And Steve. Do you promise to love Bucky, whether in sunshine or rain, depression or recession, terrible pain or blinding love? To care for him until your body no longer allows it? And once your body gives way, to be with him on the opposite end of life?" Steve gripped onto Bucky's hands.
"I do." They were both smiling so hard their cheeks were sore.
"I now pronounce you bonded for life, may the bond never break." The priest spoke, a kind smile on their face.
"Now kiss!" Shuri added, almost exploding from being silent so long. Also her eyes totally were not misty. Nope. Not once soever.
Before T'Challa could say anything to his over excited sister, both super soldiers just laughed, Bucky reaching up to cup his hands on Steve's face, pulling him in for a kiss, just in time for Shuri to snap a photo.
Steve pulled his phone away, after Sam had gotten a good look at their wedding photo (singular, they were truly keeping it on the low).
"Well I'll be damned." Sam is silent for a moment, before his mouth split into a smile, and he pulled Steve in for a hug. "Steve Rogers, a married man! I'll say it, I wasn't sure it'd ever happen icicle, but you tied down the damn assassin!" Steve laughed, and Sam pulled away. "Let's celebrate!" They went out for drinks that night, Steve happily answering all of Sam's (many) questions. Both easy and difficult.
Exactly how long? Five months and seven days.
Why now? Why wait even longer.
How long have you been waiting? About eighty five years.
Why not put the ring on your finger? We switched dog tags back in the war, it only felt right to keep the rings next to each other's names. Besides, we didn't get the rings till' a week after the wedding. Wedding rings aren't really a thing in Wakanda.
That's sappy, icicle. I'm aware.
Does anyone else know? Besides you and a few Wakandan village kids, Nat was the only one who pried it out of me.
Why keep it a secret? I'm not hiding it, just not making a point of it either. We may as well have been married this whole time, only now it's on paper.
Are you happy? Unbelievably.
So how big is i- Aaaaand that's enough drinks for you.