The first time Bucky saw Abs Guy in the park, he stumbled over his feet and nearly fell flat on his face. He had to fake a totally pre-planned pause in his run, to stretch and drink some water, all while trying to be subtle about how blatantly he was staring.
In his defence, the last thing he’d expected to see on his jog around the park was a guy in a very small pair of shorts and not much else running easily back and forth over a rope slung between two trees.
And definitely not one that hot. Jesus Christ. His abs.
The guy actually did a somersault to dismount, spinning through the air in a way that dried Bucky’s mouth out so much that he had to take a desperate gulp of water, before landing with a solid thump on the grass.
Bucky took a very deep breath and forced his feet to start moving again. There was only so long he could stand there while hiding that he was blatantly ogling the guy, especially when the park was emptier than normal because of people starting to stay home over this virus thing.
He did take a shortcut as he went around the park though so he’d come back to the same point quicker. When he got there, the guy had started doing chin-ups on the bar of the swingset, biceps bulging as he pulled himself all the way up above the bar until his arms were locked straight and then, fucking hell, turned it into a roll around the bar like some kinda professional gymnast.
Bucky didn’t let himself stop, just kept his feet moving as he tried to come to terms with someone like that using a second-rate neighbourhood park to train in. Had the Olympic gymnastics facilities been closed or something? Were there even any around Brooklyn?
His feet took him all the way home on auto-pilot as his mind fixated on imprinting every last detail of the guy’s muscles firmly into his memory.
He stumbled up the stairs to the apartment he shared with Steve and Peggy, threw open the front door and finally came to a stop in the kitchen, where they were both drinking coffee.
“Shit, Bucky, did something happen?” asked Steve, jumping to his feet, which told Bucky all he needed to know about what he must look like.
Bucky just gaped at him for a moment, then turned his gaze to Peggy as the person most likely to understand. “There was a shirtless guy in the park doing tightrope.”
Steve blinked. “What?”
Peggy snorted out a laugh. “I see.”
“Seriously?” asked Steve. “That’s what’s got you freaking out?”
Bucky just shook his head. “His abs,” he said, because that was all he could think about right now.
“Jesus Christ,” muttered Steve, sitting down again. “I thought something bad had happened.”
“He was so hot,” managed Bucky, turning to look back at Peggy.
“He must have been,” she said, amusement lacing her voice, then she reached out and patted Steve's hand. “Don’t worry, I think he’s just having a religious experience.”
Bucky felt like they weren’t quite getting this. And how could they? They hadn’t seen, they didn’t know. Bucky just waved his hands at them weakly, wishing there was some way to get them to understand. “His shorts were tiny.” He pulled out the third chair around the kitchen table and slumped into it. “He did a somersault around the pole of the swing set,” he added weakly. “Who does that? In a public park?”
Peggy shrugged. “Someone whose gym is shut? Some businesses have already shut because of coronavirus, you know.”
Steve patted Bucky’s shoulder. “Keep it together, Buck, there are plenty of hot guys in the world.”
Bucky just let out a groan of frustration and dropped his head onto the table. “His abs,” he said again, with despair.
“It sounds as if you should have taken a photo,” said Peggy. “You know. Just to prove he existed, not for any other reason.”
Steve let out a sigh. “Do I need to show you my abs right now?”
“Oh sure, yours are very nice,” she said, “but there’s something to be said for variety, don’t you think?”
“No,” said Steve, sulkily. “If you’re losing interest, maybe I should be asking this guy for the name of his personal trainer.”
“Maybe he is a personal trainer,” said Peggy, thoughtfully. “Maybe Bucky should ask him for a session. You know, to help with his recovery from the operation.”
Bucky just let out a groan, shutting his eyes tight to concentrate on the memory of the easy way the guy had flung himself around. He didn’t want to forget a second of it.
“I’m not sure Bucky would survive that,” said Steve.
There was the drag of a chair moving and then the faucet turned on. Something cold nudged against Bucky’s hand and he took the glass of water automatically, sitting up to drink it.
“I definitely wouldn’t skip leg day if he were my trainer,” he said.
Peggy snorted. “You don’t skip leg day now. We’ve all seen your thighs.”
“Do you think he’ll be back there again tomorrow?” said Steve, and Bucky stared at him, because he hadn’t even considered that he might see Abs Guy again.
Oh god, what if he was there every day? What if Bucky got to see his abs every time he went out for a run?
He took another gulp of water, contemplating the thought, then stood up. “I need a shower.”
Peggy laughed. “I’m sure you do,” she said, giving him one of her very knowing looks.
“Don’t use up all the hot water,” added Steve with a smirk.
Bucky did his best to ignore them both and exit the room with dignity, but from the way they kept sniggering, he had a feeling he hadn’t quite managed it.
And yet, when he turned the corner of the park and found that the spot where the guy had been was empty, the disappointment felt like an actual physical blow.
He was being ridiculous. It wasn’t like he’d have spoken to Abs Guy anyway, not when he was clearly concentrating on other things and there was no sign he was into guys, or even single. And even if he was, Bucky was all too aware that he wasn’t the kind of guy who could easily pick up a stranger, not any more. Not since he’d come back from Afghanistan without his arm.
People tended to focus on the missing arm pretty heavily when they first met Bucky. Half the time in bars Bucky could see the exact moment the guy he was chatting up decided that it was too much to deal with for a one night stand, right before they made some excuse and disappeared.
That was one of the reasons he hadn’t done much hooking up since he’d got back. The other was that he hadn’t really had the energy for it, not with all the time spent in recovery, then all the hoops he’d had to jump through to be considered for the Stark Industries prosthetic trial, followed by more tests and preparations when he’d been accepted and then, finally, the surgery to get the prosthetic attached.
He was still in recovery for that, going to physio four times a week and running through a daily list of exercises for it that had seemed like a lot when he’d started, but now were just part of his routine. The arm felt like a part of him now in a way he hadn’t been expecting, and it kinda hurt to see the wary looks other people gave it, as if it were something weird and alien that they didn’t know how to react to.
The last thing Bucky wanted was to see that awkward look in the eyes of the hottest guy he’d ever seen. Nah, even if he had seen Abs Guy again, he wouldn’t have approached him, so it didn’t matter that he wasn’t there.
He was firmly telling himself that as he turned the next corner, and then nearly stopped dead in his tracks because, fuck, there he was.
This time Abs Guy had looped a pair of rings over the branch of a tree and was lifting himself up by them, balancing with his arms held straight out horizontally. He was shirtless again and, if anything, his shorts today were even smaller than yesterday’s.
Bucky forced himself to keep moving, jogging past to the next bench, then stopped for another unnecessary stretch, angling himself so he could see the guy. Oh shit, he really was as hot as Bucky had remembered. Christ.
He had to get a photo. He had to prove to Peggy and Steve that he wasn’t exaggerating, that this guy really was built like some kind of Greek god.
The guy didn’t seem to be paying any attention to Bucky, too caught up in his exercises, but Bucky still felt like a complete creep as he pulled his phone out, trying to angle it to look like a selfie while actually capturing Abs Guy over his shoulder. It wasn’t the easiest shot, and he took a few seconds to get it lined up.
A few seconds too long.
“Hey,” called Abs Guy, “You got a particular pose you want me to do for your photo?”
Bucky froze still, then turned to stare at him, shame sinking heavy into his stomach. “Uh, I wasn’t-” he tried, but they both knew it was weak.
“Something like this, maybe?” asked Abs Guy and did an actual fucking handstand on the rings, his body a taut straight line right up into the air and his biceps flexing with the effort.
Bucky heard himself whimper.
He still had his phone in his hand and even with the awkward shame of having been caught out being a creeper, he couldn’t stop himself from hitting the button to take a photo.
Abs Guy swung back down, landing on the grass with a grin. “How was that?”
“Really impressive,” said Bucky, his voice raw with honesty. “I, uh, I’m really sorry, I don’t usually take photos of strangers, I am aware this is fucked up. I kinda saw you on the tightrope yesterday and my friends didn’t believe me when I said there was a guy doing circus shit in the park. I just wanted to be able to show them.”
“Slack rope,” corrected Abs Guy, moving closer, “and I don’t mind.”
Most of Bucky’s brain cells were being knocked out by just how close the guy was, and the revelation that he had a smattering of freckles over his nose and shoulders. Oh god, he wanted to lick them so badly. “What?” he said, dumbly.
Abs Guy grinned at him. “It was a slack rope,” he said. “You can tell cuz it was slack rather than tight. I haven’t got it with me today, sorry, just the rings.”
“That’s okay,” said Bucky. He glanced down at the photo he’d taken. “More than okay.”
“I tell you what,” said Abs Guy, “I’ve got an Instagram, there’s photos of me doing loads of shit on there, you can show your friends that for now, and I’ll bring the slack rope with me tomorrow so you can get a few photos then.”
Bucky couldn’t seem to stop staring at him. “Oh, yeah,” he said. “Sounds good. I, uh. I run here pretty much every day.”
“Yeah, I know,” said the guy, grinning. “I’ve seen you.” He held out his hand. “Lemme find my Insta on your phone.”
“Sure,” said Bucky, opening his Instagram app and handing his phone over to a complete stranger without even thinking twice.
The guy grinned at him again and that was just so damn pretty, Bucky wasn’t sure he was going to ever recover from seeing it. “I’ll just follow myself,” he said, fingers darting over it. “You can always unfollow me once you’ve shown your friends.”
“Guess that depends on how boring your photos are,” said Bucky, trying out a smile of his own so he wasn’t just staring with blind lust.
The guy snorted. “It’s mostly just photos of me showing off, my dog, and pizza,” he said, handing the phone back.
“I like pizza,” said Bucky. “How cute’s the dog?”
“The cutest,” said the guy.
Bucky tried out a flirtier smirk. “Then maybe I’ll stick around for him.”
“Cool,” said the guy. “You won’t regret it. He’s really cute.” He took a step backwards, towards his rings. “Okay, I should get back to it and let you keep running. Guess I’ll see you tomorrow? Same time?”
“For the slack rope,” agreed Bucky. “Yeah, sounds great.”
It sounded better than great. It sounded almost like a date, or at least an arrangement that could maybe lead to a date. Straight guys didn’t add strangers on Instagram and agree to show off on a slack rope for them, right?
“Hey,” he called as the guy paused below the rings, “what’s your name?”
Abs Guy grinned at him. “Clint,” he called back.
Clint. Yeah, Bucky could maybe see himself screaming that out in bed.
“I’m Bucky,” he said, and raised a hand. “See you tomorrow!”
Bucky shoved his phone away and turned back to keep jogging, circling the park again so he could get another look at Clint as he did some crazy athletic shit with the rings, half hardcore work out and half some kind of gymnastics display. Clint grinned at him as he went by but didn’t stop for another chat, so Bucky turned to head home.
He was halfway back before he realised that Clint hadn’t looked at his arm at all.
The minute Bucky got inside the apartment, he pulled his phone back out. “Guys!” he called, heading into the lounge. “Guys!”
Peggy was curled up in a chair with a book, but she looked up as he came in. “Was he there?”
“Fuck yeah,” said Bucky, grinning at her. He pulled up the photo of Clint balanced on the rings, and shoved the phone at her. “Look!”
She took the phone and then just paused for a moment. “Oh my,” she said softly, tilting her head. “Okay, I see the cause for the excitement.”
“What’s that?” asked Steve, coming out of the bathroom with damp hair and a towel around his neck.
“It’s Bucky’s new obsession,” she said, not looking away from the photo. “He’s very athletic.”
Steve made a dismissive sound. “I’m athletic,” he muttered.
Peggy looked up at him with a raised eyebrow. “Not like this,” she said, and held the phone out to him.
Steve shook his head. “I’m not as interested in staring at some guy’s abs as you two are.”
“You’ll want to see these ones,” said Bucky, taking the phone and holding it out to Steve, because he knew there was no way Steve would be able to resist looking. “And I didn’t even get to the best bit. He talked to me.”
“Oh,” said Peggy as Steve gave in and took the phone. “Before or after you stalked him?”
Bucky winced. “Uh, kinda during. But that’s not the point, he gave me his Insta, said there are loads of photos of him doing athletic stuff on there, and we kinda made an arrangement to meet tomorrow. He’s gonna bring his rope again.”
“Okay,” said Steve, looking at the photo, “I guess I kinda get it. That is some impressive musculature.”
“Right?” asked Bucky, taking the phone back from him.
“A date,” said Peggy. “That’s good!” She was using the bright, encouraging tone that Bucky had heard more than enough of in the wake of his return from Afghanistan, back when he’d been spending pretty much all his time in his room and needed to be coaxed into doing stuff.
Bucky rolled his eyes at her, because he was mostly past that now. “Not a date,” he corrected.
“Wait, is he going to try and get you on the rope?” asked Steve, his eyes darting to Bucky’s prosthetic. “Is your balance good enough for that?”
Bucky rolled his eyes at him too. “Stop nannying me,” he said. “And no, I’m not planning to get on the rope. I’m just gonna watch.” He grinned and waggled his phone at them. “Maybe take some photos.”
“Ah, he’s given you permission to stalk him,” said Peggy. “Clearly not a date, how silly of me.”
“You can tease all you like, I’m the one meeting up with an insanely hot acrobat guy tomorrow,” said Bucky. “And now I’m gonna go stalk his Insta, like he invited me to do.”
He grinned at them both, glee bubbling up in his chest, because that really didn’t seem like something a straight guy did, not when he put it like that.
“Save any good ones for me,” said Peggy, and Bucky gave her a thumbs up, ignoring Steve’s irritated sigh.
He saved some of those to show Peggy later.
He’d been scrolling for longer than Clint had probably bargained for when a notification popped up that Clint had followed him back. He grinned to himself, feeling his toes curl in his shoes like a teenage girl with her first crush, and then had a sudden moment of panic when he tried to remember what he’d actually posted on there recently.
He went to check, scrolling back through it. The most recent photos had been of some muffins he’d baked that had come out particularly well and a photo Steve had taken of him testing out the new pull-up bar he’d put up in the closet doorway. Going back further was a chalkboard outside a coffeeshop that read ‘congratulations, you made it out of bed’; him and Steve at a baseball game in their matching Yankees caps; and finally a selfie he’d taken in the bathroom mirror the day he’d decided he needed the kind of ego boost that came with putting a shirtless pic on the internet. He let out a sigh of relief because there was nothing too damning there, and he couldn’t imagine Clint scrolling back much further.
He hoped Clint got back as far as the shirtless shot, though. It only seemed fair, somehow.
After a minute or two a smattering of notifications that Clint had liked some of his photos came through, and Bucky scrolled through to see which ones. The muffins, which made sense because who didn’t like baked goods? Then the coffeeshop sign, which got a comment added as well: This is a definite mood and a little emoji of a coffee cup. Bucky grinned at it, because the guy was engaging with him, not just hitting the like button without much thought behind it.
He also liked both the selfie on the pull up bar and the shirtless one, which made Bucky smirk with satisfaction, but Clint didn’t stop there. He kept going back, liking other baking experiments Bucky had engaged in while he was in recovery, a couple of other selfies that had marked particular milestones when he’d taken them. The first shot of his new arm after his shoulder had healed enough to not need to be bandaged up. The first time Bucky had gone out in a short-sleeved shirt with it on show. The first time he’d managed to write his name with his new hand without snapping the pencil in half.
Fuck, Bucky wasn’t sure how he felt about Clint seeing Bucky’s goofily proud grin as he held up his badly scrawled name like he was a first grader.
Clint even liked the terrible photo Steve had taken of Bucky not long after he’d woken up from the operation, grinning dazedly at the camera and giving it a thumbs up. Shit, he’d scrolled back through weeks of posts, how the hell was he that interested in Bucky?
There was a pause in the flow of notifications and Bucky took a deep breath. Okay, good, that was more than enough of his personal history to be laid out for a guy he’d just met today. He hadn’t realised just how much he’d documented on there.
He went back to Clint’s timeline, letting himself like some of the less recent ones now that Clint had paved the way. He stopped once he’d gone back a couple of weeks though, just kept scrolling and taking in just how little Clint seemed interested in wearing a shirt.
It was maybe ten minutes later that the final notification came through. Clint had left a comment on Bucky’s bathroom selfie.
Sweet robot arm. The rest is pretty to look at as well.
Bucky just stared at it. Clint had already looked at and liked the photo earlier, so he must have gone back to it for a second look, and then decided to leave a comment.
He could feel himself grinning down at the phone, a warm fuzz of emotions he didn’t want to look at too deeply settling into his stomach.
Straight guys didn’t call other guys pretty. He really did have a chance of turning tomorrow into a date.
He was in his room before dinner, running through his physio exercises and daydreaming about just exactly how meeting up with Clint might go, when Peggy came and tapped on his door.
“The President’s about to make an address,” she said. “You’ll want to watch.”
Bucky frowned at her. “What about?”
She just shook her head, which meant she’d probably already read the text of it, but wasn’t allowed to say. Peggy was always pretty vague about exactly what her job at the UN involved, but Bucky had caught enough hints over the years to have realised she had a pretty high security level.
“Smart money says it’s probably related to the global pandemic,” she said.
Bucky blinked. It wasn’t that he wasn’t aware of the virus, or how serious it was all getting, but it just all felt sort of distant. He didn’t really pay much attention to the news these days. He was too distracted by his own concerns.
“Steve’s on shift, isn’t he?” he asked, even though he already knew the answer. The regular pace of Steve’s shifts as a firefighter were one of the few patterns that their lives turned around, given that Bucky hadn’t had a regular job since the Army and Peggy’s work didn’t seem to stop for evenings or weekends.
Peggy nodded. “I expect they’ll be watching it at the fire station.”
“Okay,” said Bucky, suddenly feeling unaccountably nervous. He ran through the last update he’d heard about the virus and realised he really had had his head in the sand, because the last he remembered was from a few days ago. He’d thought it was still mostly a Chinese and European problem.
He followed Peggy out to the lounge and they sat together on the sofa as she flicked on the TV.
It was a short speech, but the president didn’t pull any punches. She laid out exactly what was happening and how bad it could get if they didn’t react right. She then set down a whole series of new rules that were being put into place to control it, including a full lockdown within all major cities.
“Holy shit,” said Bucky weakly, once the broadcast was over. “Is that… did you know this was coming?”
Peggy just gave a faint smile and shifted her shoulders, which meant she wasn’t going to tell him. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I know you were looking forward to going out tomorrow.”
Bucky hadn’t even got so far as to put together ‘stay in your home, only leave for essential reasons’ with his arrangement to meet up with Clint tomorrow.
“Oh fuck,” he said softly. “This couldn’t have waited another day?”
Peggy rolled her eyes at him. “Not everything is about your lovelife. It’s best to take action as soon as possible.”
“No, I know,” said Bucky. “I just...fuck.” A thought struck him. “They said to work from home if possible.”
Peggy nodded. “I will be working in Steve’s art room from now on,” she said. Steve’s art room was technically the third bedroom in the apartment. It was filled with Steve’s easels and paints, but there was also a desk in the corner that Peggy sometimes used at the weekends. “I brought home a secure laptop in case this happened.” She fixed him with a glare. “It’s very important you don’t ever touch it.”
“I won’t,” said Bucky. “I know about security clearances.” He let out a deep breath. “Guessing there won’t be any changes for Steve.”
“Well, I’ll be making him wash his hands before he hugs me after a shift,” said Peggy, “but no, not really.”
Bucky ran a hand over his face. “Right, okay,” he said, trying to get his mind around just how quickly everything could change. Fuck, he’d had plans to meet Nat for drinks on Friday, he guessed that was off as well. No more evenings out, no more baseball games.
No more runs through the park.
“I’m going to make dinner,” he said, because he needed to process this and cooking always settled his mind.
Peggy just nodded, focusing on the talking heads dissecting the president's announcement.
It was only when Bucky started opening cupboards that he realised that Peggy had gone to the grocery store at some point in the last couple of days and bought far more than they usually had on hand at any one time. She’d filled the cupboards with longlife essentials.
Just how long had she known this was going to happen while Bucky casually ignored it all and concentrated on the shirtless guy in the park?
Maybe Bucky should start watching the news every day, or follow a news feed on Twitter or something.
He made a lasagne, one large enough for them to freeze some of it, letting the familiar rhythm of cooking take over as he worked through his emotions as best he could. Anxiety was starting to fizzle along his spine, but it wasn’t until he started to think about his parents and how they were going to cope that he realised this was one of the reasons he hadn’t been paying attention. Part of him had been hoping that if he just ignored the virus, it would all go away without touching his life.
He took a deep breath, resting his weight on the counter and staring down at his mismatched hands. He’d been through hard times before and come out the other side. This was going to be no different.
Once the lasagne was in the oven he pulled his phone out, intending to call Becca, who lived a lot closer to his parents and probably already had a plan because she was that kind of organised.
There was a notification from Instagram waiting for him so he clicked on it before making the call.
Clint had tagged him in a post.
The photo was a selfie of him posed next to his dog, shirtless yet again. The dog was holding a toy in its mouth and peering, disgruntled, at where a dog bed was half-shoved into a bag.
Lucky’s not happy that his stuff’s being packed. Gotta be done though, we’re going to my brother’s farm until things settle down a bit. Sorry to anyone I made plans with, we’ll have to reschedule once I’m back and we’re allowed out in public again.
He’d tagged both Bucky and someone called HawkeyeKate whose icon was just a pair of purple sunglasses. It felt kinda impersonal, but looking at the mess of bags around Clint in the photo, Bucky felt like maybe he didn’t have a lot of time for more.
He opened the photo up as big as he could, telling himself he was interested in the details of Clint’s apartment, but mostly he just zoomed in on Clint’s chest, and then down to where his sweatpants had sagged pretty much all the way off his hip.
Damn, his muscles were just so impressive.
And now Bucky wasn’t going to get to see them in person for god knew how long. Fuck this fucking virus, seriously.
Bucky took a few minutes to be pissed, and then a few more minutes to think, then commented on Clint’s post.
I guess as long as I still get a photo of you on your slack rope, you’re forgiven.
It was less than a minute before he got a reply. Don’t worry, you’ll get your proof that someone this incredible actually exists.
Peggy came into the room while he was still grinning down at his phone, and raised an amused eyebrow that made him clear his throat and tuck the phone away.
“Want some garlic bread with the lasagne?” he asked.
“Sounds good,” she said and, yup, her voice was just as amused. Screw it, it wasn’t like there was much else to be happy about right now.
It wasn’t until after dinner that he realised he’d forgotten to call Becca. Clint’s abs really did push every other thought out of his head.
Clint was, of course, wearing nothing but shorts, shirtless and barefoot. The sun was shining down on him, highlighting the gold in his hair and bringing out the warm tones of his skin. His freckles had darkened and there was a faint pink blush over his nose that made Bucky think he’d spent a lot of time outside since he’d last seen him. He was halfway down the slack rope, one foot half-raised to step forward. His arms were up as well, juggling balls that arched over his head. His face was tipped upwards and lit up with a smug delight that Bucky desperately wanted to be able to kiss.
He was so hot. How was it that every time Bucky saw him he seemed to get hotter?
It took him a while to tear his eyes away to read the caption.
Fulfilling a promise, and hoping I get something similar in return. #SlackRope #ShowingOff #ADealsADeal #ShowMeWhatYouGot
He hadn’t tagged Bucky, but it was so clearly aimed at him that Bucky felt his face flush warm. Shit, this was definitely flirting. Right?
He might need to ask Peggy later just to be sure, because he didn’t think he could be impartial about this.
He hit like on the photo, then stared at it for a while before coming up with something to put as a comment. There were already a string of other comments, a lot of them focusing on how hot Clint was, although there were also a couple commenting on the skill of what he was doing. There was one asking if he could do archery on the rope, which Bucky was pretty intrigued by.
Promise definitely fulfilled, although I’m still not convinced that you’re real. Not sure I’ve got any skills that would be close to this impressive in return, but I’ll see about coming up with something.
He scrolled back up to the photo and spent a bit longer staring at it, probably crossing the line into mildly creepy yet again, but he couldn’t take his eyes off the lines of Clint’s smile.
He was still looking when a reply to his comment came through.
I bet you can. That shirtless pic definitely impressed me. And then there was a winky face.
Okay, maybe Bucky didn’t need to ask Peggy if Clint was flirting with him or not.
He’d probably need to ask her for ideas for his photo, though.
He didn’t let her get much further though, shoving his phone into her face before she’d even made it fully into the lounge. “Look,” he said, probably with more desperation than was justified.
She took it from him, letting out a quiet hum as she took in the photo. “I see,” she said, scrolling down to the comments. “Ah. This calls for some tea.”
The thing about Peggy was that, by rights, Bucky should have hated her, or at least felt a low-level surge of resentment towards her. He and Steve had been best friends for so long, just the two of them against the world: first as kids who couldn’t stop getting into trouble, then teenagers who couldn’t rely on their families so much, for different reasons, and then in the Army. Peggy had come out of nowhere and swept Steve off his feet, shifting around every part of his life so that even his friendship with Bucky had changed in her wake. It should have put Bucky off her completely, especially as he’d been injured not long after Steve had met her, which had heralded the slow collapse of everything he’d been hoping for his future.
Except that she was awesome. She wasn’t just smart and tough and so very over bothering with anyone’s bullshit, even Steve’s, but she’d also taken one look at Steve and Bucky together and immediately realised they were a package deal. She’d never once tried to wrangle with Bucky for Steve’s time or attention, and when Bucky had needed Steve, maybe more than he’d ever needed him before, she’d already had the spare room kitted out for him before Steve got around to asking if she’d mind Bucky staying for a while.
The first couple of months after Bucky had been discharged, he’d just holed up in the room, reeling from the twin losses of his arm and his career, and Peggy had been just as much of a rock for him as Steve had been. He wasn’t sure he’d have pulled himself out of that slump if she hadn’t been around, rolling her eyes whenever Steve got too much like a mother-hen and giving Bucky helpful, practical advice.
And now it was a couple of years later and Bucky was still there. Peggy and Steve had got married and even then there hadn’t been any talk of Bucky maybe finding his own place. There had been none of the awkwardness that he felt should have come with living with a married couple. Bucky had a feeling Peggy wouldn’t ever say a word even if he ended up living with Steve for the rest of his life.
He wasn’t going to do that, because at some point he had a feeling kids were going to come along, and he wasn’t going to make it that easy for them to guilt him into babysitting. Just, he wasn’t ready to move on yet. He still needed Steve’s support too much for that.
And Peggy’s as well, come to that, because there was no way that Steve would have been any use with helping Bucky how to figure out how to flirt with a guy over Instagram.
They sat together over cups of tea and a couple of slices of the apple cake Bucky had made once the boredom of lockdown had really started to kick in, and hashed it all out.
“The way I see it, we need to consider what your best assets are, and how to show them off best, and then find a way to do so that’s interesting and perhaps a little impressive,” she said, stirring the milk into her tea. “We want to bring an element of the wow factor.”
“Sure,” said Bucky. “But it’s not like I can juggle or anything fancy like that. And we can’t leave the apartment, how the hell is that going to bring the wow factor?”
Peggy ignored him, tapping her spoon against the edge of the mug before setting it down. “We also need to consider your boundaries,” she said. “What are you not comfortable putting on social media? Or showing to a man you don't know?”
Bucky hesitated, because he hadn't even thought to consider that, although he should have. His therapist was very keen on him setting boundaries.
He just wasn't sure what those were. In the past he'd been wary of showing his injury, but Clint had already seen his arm. Besides, now Bucky had the prosthetic, he didn't want to hide it away like he was ashamed of it. He'd worked hard to be eligible for Stark's trial. He'd had to have a certain level of strength in his shoulder and back muscles to go forward in the program, which had involved months of working out before the operation, and was now part of his daily routine to make sure he could continue handling the weight of it. The arm itself was custom-built, and was everything he could have wanted in a replacement limb, but it had taken a lot of time to get it to respond easily and smoothly. He didn't want to get involved in a flirtation with a guy who might have an issue with it.
He didn't have any particular problems with showing off the rest of his body either. The Army had killed off any shyness he might have had about nudity, and all the working out had kept it in a good condition. He was aware enough to know people might like looking at it, hopefully including Clint.
“I don’t want my room in it,” he said eventually, because that was very much his private space and he wanted to keep it that way. Even Peggy and Steve didn't come in unless he invited them, which didn’t happen very often.
“Okay,” said Peggy, nodding, “that's easy enough.” She gave him a careful, considering look. “I think if we can find some way to highlight your thighs, that would be best.”
Bucky glanced down at them, running a hand over the muscle. “Yeah, okay,” he said. “So, what? Yoga in the lounge?” He made a face. “Not exactly mind-blowing, not for Instagram.”
Peggy thought for a moment, then raised an eyebrow at him. “The roof.”
Technically they weren't meant to go up on the roof, but the lock was pretty loose and very easy to pick, if you knew how. Steve and Peggy tended to go up there on nice summer evenings when Steve wasn't on a shift and Peggy didn't have a call with someone in another time zone. They'd take a few beers and be gone for a couple of hours, coming back soft and smiley, affection etched into every move they made.
And then they'd disappear into their bedroom and Bucky would retreat to put some headphones on and blast music to cover whatever noises might be coming through the wall. It was a good system.
Bucky himself didn't go up there all that often, but there was a good view across to Governors Island and the Manhattan skyline. Peggy was right, it would make an excellent photo. “As the sun goes down,” he said, and she nodded.
“Your black shorts,” she said. “No shirt, of course.”
Bucky frowned. “My black shorts are kinda baggy,” he said. “Wouldn’t tighter ones be better?”
“Oh no,” she said, giving him a shark-like smile that Bucky had a feeling was usually aimed at work colleagues who were trying to outmaneuver her. “You’re going to do a handstand. Baggy means they’ll be a victim to gravity and reveal everything we want your man to admire.”
Bucky blinked, imagining that. “Oh, yeah,” he said. “Okay. Sounds good.”
Peggy nodded and drained the last of her tea, glancing out the window. “The sun is heading down now, go and get changed.”
Bucky nodded, standing up.
“Oh,” she added, “and leave your hair down.”
Bucky usually threw his hair into a bun when he was working out, but he trusted her judgement on that. “I didn’t realise you were so good at this,” he said as he headed for his room.
“Presentation is everything,” she said, and he guessed she was right.
Bucky was on his hands, caught mid-cartwheel with his legs spread into a Y-shape, stretched out with the skyline visible between them and the colours of the sunset blending over the sky. His thigh muscles were taut, standing out from where his shorts had slid down, and even he had to admit that he looked pretty good.
Especially as Peggy had been ordering him into increasingly flexible and difficult positions for nearly an hour, and he was aching all over and so ready to be done.
“Yes, that works,” said Peggy critically. “I would stop scrolling to give that a second look.”
“Thank fuck,” said Bucky, shoving his hair back with one hand. “That was worse than a PT session.”
His shoulder was aching from overuse, but other than that his arm had held up pretty well to being used to hold up the weight of his body in a variety of different ways. He couldn't help thinking about how many of those poses would have been out of reach for him if Stark hadn't picked him for his trial. These days it was just like having a real arm again, albeit one that needed a bit more maintenance than the other.
He took the phone back from Peggy and smiled at the photo. “Thanks,” he added, as an afterthought.
“Of course,” she said. “I always rather enjoyed this kind of new relationship flirtation,” she added. “Obviously I love Steve, but it's nice to get to be part of it again.”
“I’m not in a relationship with Clint,” Bucky pointed out.
“Not yet, no,” said Peggy and gave him another of her knowing smiles before turning to go back down to their apartment.
Bucky let out a long breath and told himself that he shouldn't be counting his chickens, even if Peggy was. Who knew what Clint thought this was? Or how many other people he was sending flirty photos to?
He collected up the yoga mat they'd been using, then followed Peggy back down.
It took another half an hour of cropping and comparing different filters before picking one, and then finally coming up with a caption, but he got the photo posted before dinner.
In the end, he went with something simple.
Enjoying getting to use both arms for this kind of thing again, even if my usual exercise regime isn’t quite as interesting as circus tricks. At least lockdown isn’t stopping me from having a good view when I work out. I love this city. #Exercise #Skyline #OperationRobotArm #NewYork
Hopefully that would be ambiguous enough that most of his followers wouldn't realise it was all aimed specifically at one guy, while Clint should know it was for him.
And now he should put the phone down and go concentrate on something else before he drove himself mad waiting for Clint to respond.
Just put the thing down, or at least use it to look at something else.
Instead, he just kept staring at the post, waiting for a response, which meant he started seeing the problems with the photo. His hair looked kinda weird hanging down like that, and he wasn't completely in the centre of the mat, which was irritating. He hadn’t bothered shaving since lockdown began and he had a weird length of stubble going on, which might be sexy or might just be scruffy, he couldn’t decide. One of his arms was bent at a weird angle, and was his knee meant to look like that?
God, knees were bizarre things, once you really started looking at them.
Luckily, his phone buzzed with a notification before he could get really obsessed with his imperfections, but it wasn’t a comment from Clint. It was one from Nat.
Ah. I see. was all it said, which made Bucky roll his eyes, because she loved being cryptic.
It was enough to force him to shove the phone away and get up though, and leave Instagram alone for the time it took to eat dinner and clear up afterwards.
By the time he looked again, he had a whole bunch of likes and comments, far more than most of his posts got. Apparently shirtless exercise shots were popular, go figure.
One of the comments was from Clint.
Oh, hello, you are pulling out the big guns. And those are some very big guns, wow. I'm impressed. Guess I'm going to have to step my game up.
Bucky wasn't sure how he could step his game up much higher than his last picture, but he was ready to find out.
“You okay, Bucky?” asked Steve.
Bucky couldn’t take his eyes away from his phone long enough to glance at him. Instead, he just nodded. “New photo from Clint,” he managed.
“Oh,” said Peggy, and Bucky heard her pulling out her own phone. There was a brief pause, then a little sigh. “Oh, very nice. Steve, why don’t you have an Instagram?”
Clint was, predictably, wearing only shorts in the photo. Bucky was beginning to suspect he didn’t actually own any shirts. He was at least wearing gloves, which made sense as he was hanging from the rusted-looking prongs on the front of a tractor, which had been raised up in the air high enough for there to be a good few feet between him and the ground. Bucky couldn’t begin to imagine how he’d got up there.
He wasn’t really applying too much brain power to it though, because in addition to the bulging muscles of Clint’s shoulders holding his whole body weight with what looked like ridiculous ease, Clint had stretched his legs out straight in front of him, as if he were sitting. Bucky couldn’t take his eyes off the flex of his stomach muscles, all his abs delineated like they’d been drawn on. Fuck, the strength he must have in his core muscles.
On the ground, looking up at Clint with a perplexed expression, was Clint’s dog. He looked as if Clint being up out of reach was a complete betrayal, and Bucky thought he could sympathise. God, he wanted to be close enough to get his hands on Clint so badly, or at least to sound him out on whether or not he’d allow Bucky to touch.
Fuck this lockdown, how was Bucky meant to flirt with a guy when he couldn’t even leave the apartment?
“You know,” said Steve, “a lot of people consider firefighters to be sexy.”
“I’m sure they do, dear,” said Peggy absently. Bucky glanced up to see she was still looking at her phone, but she had the amused tilt to her mouth that meant she was winding Steve up.
“Maybe you should try taking your shirt off and doing some pull ups, Steve,” said Bucky. “You’ve got to keep her attention somehow, right?”
Steve rolled his eyes. “She’s trapped in an apartment with only me and you,” he pointed out, “and you’re definitely not her type, even if you weren’t gay. You’d think this would be the one time I wouldn’t have to worry about constantly impressing her.”
Peggy let out a quiet sigh. “I didn’t think it would be such a chore for you to make your wife happy,” she said. “The romance really has gone.”
Steve’s eyes narrowed and he glared at them both. “Fucking assholes,” he muttered, then ripped his t-shirt off, slamming it to the floor. “Happy?”
“Oh yes,” said Peggy, immediately tucking away her phone and moving over to cuddle into Steve’s chest, running her hand over his pecs. “That’s what I wanted to see.”
Bucky huffed out a sigh. “Am I gonna have to retreat to my room?”
“No,” said Peggy, stroking Steve’s skin again as he wrapped an arm around her. “I’m just looking.”
Steve looked unbelievably smug as he looked down at her, then leaned down to kiss her forehead. Bucky rolled his eyes at their soppiness and turned his attention back to his phone.
Clint’s post had already received a stream of likes and comments, which made sense because Bucky couldn’t imagine there were any better photos on Instagram. He hit the like button himself, then stared at the empty comment box.
What the hell did he say that wasn’t an obvious outpouring of lust?
He looked at the photo again, then typed, Okay, I’ll admit I’m pretty impressed. Definitely more impressed than your dog, anyway.
Clint’s response came through almost immediately, and Bucky couldn’t help noticing that he hadn’t responded to any of the other comments yet. Almost like he’d been sitting there waiting for Bucky to say something, although that could be wishful thinking on Bucky’s part.
God, he hoped it wasn’t wishful thinking.
That works out, because Lucky wasn’t the one I was trying to impress.
Bucky grinned at his phone, feeling his fingers clutch tighter at it as if he could reach through and get hold of Clint.
A moment later another comment came through, like an afterthought.
I’m guessing being stuck indoors all day is pretty trying for you, you always seemed like an outdoors kinda guy when I saw you out running. All the media keeps saying it’s good to reach out online to other folks to stay sane while we’re in lockdown, so here’s hoping I’m helping.
You are definitely helping, Bucky sent back, because he’d been so distracted by this thing with Clint that he’d not really had time to sit around freaking out about the global pandemic going on around him. Mostly because your dog’s cute, he added, then hesitated and tacked on, and I guess his owner is something to look at as well.
It wasn’t until after he’d sent it that he reread Clint’s comment and he realised just what you always seemed like an outdoors kinda guy when I saw you out running meant. Clint had seen him before Bucky’s failed attempt to take a stealth photo of him, and he’d remembered him enough to form opinions about him.
It also meant Bucky had jogged right past him, probably more than once, and not even noticed him. That seemed wrong, how the hell would he have not immediately focused on someone as hot as Clint?
Oh, sure, replied Clint. Lucky’s always going to be cuter than me, and he doesn’t even need to try. Not that I’m trying, of course, this is a totally casual candid photo, not posed or worked out in advance or anything like that.
Bucky sniggered and both Peggy and Steve turned to look at him. He ducked his head and pretended not to notice.
Of course not. Guess I’ll see if I can find a casual candid to share as well, just of me going through my daily life.
Looking forward to it, said Clint, and Bucky wasn’t sure he’d ever be able to wipe the grin off his face.
“Is it sweet, or is it nauseating?” asked Peggy thoughtfully, and Bucky looked up to see that both her and Steve were still watching him.
“Nauseating,” said Steve. “Definitely nauseating.”
Bucky rolled his eyes at them and tucked his phone away, turning to pretend he was paying attention to the movie instead of thinking about Clint.
Peggy always took it fairly seriously, although Bucky could see the amusement hovering around her whenever he got into it a bit too much. Steve, on the other hand, made no bones about the fact that he thought the whole thing was hilarious. He usually took the best photos though, so Bucky was perfectly happy to put up with the jokes.
The latest photo Bucky had posted had been taken by Steve. It wasn’t the one they’d been trying for, but Bucky liked it more than the more posed ones they’d taken at the same time. Steve had caught him in a candid moment after he’d cracked some joke so that Bucky’s face was lit up with laughter, his head tilted back with his hair in disarray from the gymnastics pose he’d been trying for and falling out of for a good few minutes. His lockdown stubble had reached a stage that he was finally certain was sexy rather than scruffy. The photo was a close up, so most of Bucky’s careful shirtlessness and low-skimming pants were wasted, but he thought there was something about the way the light from the window hit his collarbones that made them look pretty good.
Besides, sometimes less was more, right?
Clint seemed to think so, if his comment once Bucky posted it to Instagram was anything to go by.
Can’t wait for this thing to be over so I can see you laugh like that in person. I bet you’ve got a great laugh.
Bucky beamed to himself, because every time he posted a photo and Clint liked it, it felt like he’d won a medal or something.
A moment later, another comment came through. I’m also loving watching the slow growth of your lockdown beard. I bet that would feel good on bare skin.
Bucky ran a hand over the rough stubble that was definitely heading more towards a beard now. Fuck, he wanted to get it all over Clint’s skin, scruff it along the inside of his thighs until they were flushed pink.
He took a deep breath and calmed himself down, because that wasn’t a helpful thought when Steve would be getting off shift soon and Bucky was meant to be making dinner before then.
Can’t help noticing you don’t seem to be managing to grow much more than hobo stubble, he sent back, because it felt safer than pursuing that topic on a public forum.
Maybe I’m just taking care to groom myself, came back Clint. Bucky just replied with a raised eyebrow emoji, because he’d zoomed in on Clint’s smiles often enough to know there was nothing groomed about his scattered facial hair.
Okay, fine, commented Clint. Maybe a sexy beard isn’t my thing, but I’m sure I could find some other body hair you might like a photo of.
And that was...shit. Bucky took a breath, reminded himself that they were still in the comments of his public Instagram account, and that his sister followed him, and very carefully did not ask Clint for a dick pic.
Not right now, anyway. Maybe that’s something you can show me when you’re back in NY, he sent, then made himself go into the kitchen and start cooking before things got really out of hand.
He put up an artsy photo of the NY skyline from the roof, so generic that he saw at least 3 others that were pretty much the same while scrolling. One weekend when Steve was off, Peggy ended up locked in the art room for fifteen hours a day trying to solve some international crisis, so Bucky and Steve built a blanket fort in the sitting room. It ended up larger and more impressive than Bucky would have expected, so he made sure to put a bunch of photos of it online. He experimented with taking photos of their poor, neglected plant when it finally managed to bloom, zooming in as close as he could to hide the browning leaves and dead stalks, and posted the best of those.
But mostly, he posted photos of his baking.
If he’d thought he’d been bored when he was in recovery after his surgery, that was nothing on how bored he was now, even with the thing with Clint to distract him. His physiotherapy sessions, which had been the only regular reason he’d had for leaving the house before the lockdown, went virtual and then cut down to twice a week. He couldn’t go out for a run, couldn’t meet up with Nat, couldn’t even pop out for coffee when he needed to be outside and moving.
So instead he threw himself into creating more and more ambitious patisserie treats. Peggy must have foreseen that, because when she’d stocked up on groceries she’d included several bags of flour and a whole tray of eggs that he set about slowly working his way through.
Bucky posted a photo of everything he baked on Instagram, no matter how well or badly it went, because who didn’t want to scroll down a timeline that was half cake and half shirtless selfies?
Clint certainly seemed to think so. He liked everything Bucky posted, cake or selfie or sad neglected plant, although he usually only commented on the selfies. Which was fair, because those were the ones Bucky had taken specifically for him.
The day after their conversation about facial hair, Bucky made a strawberry pie and topped it with a layer of meringue which he managed to get exactly right for the first time. Fuck yeah, he was becoming a culinary genius.
He took a photo and posted it before letting Steve and Peggy know it was ready, because he wasn’t making the mistake of waiting until after and then finding there was nothing left to photograph. Not again.
Pretty pleased with how this one came out! #StrawberryPie #PerfectMeringue #LockdownBaking
After most of it had disappeared and he’d had to fend Steve off with a spatula so he could put away at least a couple of slices for the next day, Bucky checked on the online reactions and found a comment from Clint.
Looks good, but you should try doing it with rhubarb as well. Strawberry rhubarb pie is my favourite. You gotta do it with a crumble top, then it’s perfect.
Apparently there was no pleasing some people.
Challenge accepted, he replied, and then went to google strawberry rhubarb pie recipes.
It didn’t take much research before he was able to put together a recipe from a variety of different ones and from his own pie-related experiences so far, but then he had to be patient about getting to try it. Steve was doing all the grocery shopping for them on his way home from work, so that he was the only one going outside, which meant Bucky had to wait a couple of days to get hold of some rhubarb. Why did firefighter shifts have to be so goddamn long?
Steve was still off at the station when Clint posted his next photo. Bucky took one look and burst into laughter loud enough for Peggy to glance over from the report she was half-reading while watching Married At First Sight.
It should have been just another in Clint’s series of farm-related work out photos. He was in a stable, hanging upside down from an old beam with his chest half-curled up towards his legs, as if he were doing an upside-down sit up. The effect on his abs was incredible, all of them perfectly defined as he engaged his core to lift himself, but for once they were not the highlight of the photo.
There was a horse in the stall behind the beam Clint was hanging from, and he was giving Clint a look of wide-eyed shock, complete with stuck out tongue, and appeared to be starting back away from Clint’s gymnastics. It was a look Bucky thought horses could only achieve when they were Disney cartoons.
Are there any animals on that farm who you haven’t freaked out with your exercise routine? he commented, before scrolling back up for another look at the horse’s face. Just magnificent.
Yeah, Amber wasn’t meant to be the focus of this photo at all, but after she stole the show there was no way I was going to reshoot. Guess I’ll have to find a way to highlight my happy trail on the next one instead.
Bucky immediately scrolled back up to the photo to look, taking a moment to appreciate the faint blond line of hair trailing down from Clint’s belly button.
I definitely wouldn’t complain about a close up on that, he replied, already thinking about trailing his fingers over it, and then down further, under the waistband off his shorts...
He cleared his throat and stood up. “I think I’m gonna head to bed for the night,” he said.
“Have fun,” said Peggy, giving him a tilted, amused smile. “Tell your acrobat that I said hi.”
Bucky didn’t bother denying that he’d been talking to Clint, he just sent her a glare that probably didn’t hide his embarrassment, then took himself off to his bedroom to engage in his current favourite pastime: scrolling back through everything Clint had posted and imagining what it would be like to actually get to touch his body and not just stare at photos.
“Oh yeah, that’ll do nicely,” he said, examining it.
“Hi to you too,” said Steve, amused, as he came in to wash his hands. “Yeah, I did have a good shift, thanks for asking.”
Bucky rolled his eyes at him. “Stop acting like you’re not going to eat half this pie once I’ve baked it.”
“Yeah, that’s true,” said Steve. “Have I mentioned how much I love this new baking thing of yours?”
Steve never seemed to shut up about it. He always seemed faintly proud about it as well, as if Bucky getting over-involved in creating the perfect pie crust was something to congratulate him on, rather than a sign Bucky needed to get out more.
“The prosthetic engineer wanted me to take up knitting,” Bucky pointed out. “He thought it would help my dexterity. You could be wearing a lopsided beginner’s hat right now.”
Steve put on one of his wide-eyed, earnest looks. “If that was what you needed me to do, you know I’d do it.”
Fucking Steve. He would have as well, he’d been nothing but 100% supportive during Bucky’s recovery. Bucky really appreciated it, but it was vaguely irritating as well. He wanted to get back to the place where Steve didn’t feel he had to be so obviously there for Bucky.
“And you’d make it look good,” said Peggy, coming into the room. “Hello, sweetheart. Did you have fun stopping things burning down?”
“Oh yeah,” said Steve, setting his hands on her waist and pulling her in for a kiss. “Did you have fun manipulating the international community into doing your bidding?”
“Always,” said Peggy, looping her arms around his neck.
Bucky concentrated on unpacking groceries for the two minutes he usually allowed them to be ridiculously soppy with each other, and then cleared his throat. “I’m going to be making pie in here,” he said, “so if you want to keep doing that, you’ll have to take it elsewhere.”
“The bedroom?” Peggy suggested to Steve with a raised eyebrow. He smirked and picked her up, and she wrapped her legs around his waist as they moved out of the room.
“You’ve been married too damn long to still be in the honeymoon phase!” Bucky called after them as they disappeared, and just got laughter in response.
One day Bucky was going to have a boyfriend who could come stay, and he’d definitely get his revenge for every single PDA and unnecessary exhibition he’d had to suffer through for the last two years.
And if he was really lucky, that boyfriend would be Clint, who Bucky had a feeling might just be strong enough to pick him up like that, although maybe not to carry him all the way to his room.
He pushed away the mental images that prompted and turned back to focus on his ingredients. Okay, he needed to make the best damn pie of his life, or at least the one that would look best on Instagram. He could do this.
Less clothes. A lot less clothes.
He washed the flour off his hands and stripped down to his underwear, which was a pair of tight black boxer briefs that he knew looked good clinging to his ass.
Baking in just his underwear was a bit weird though, and vaguely unhygienic. He opened the drawer where they kept tea towels and oven gloves and rummaged until he found Steve’s red Kiss The Cook apron and put it on, adjusting the neck strap so that it hung pretty low on his chest and showed off some skin. Yeah, that worked.
He pulled out his phone and looked around the kitchen, considering the angles. He’d have to use the timer to take the photo himself because there was no way in hell he was going to interrupt Steve and Peggy just now.
If he propped the phone on top of the fridge, then stood at a slight angle to the pastry he’d been mixing…
It took fifteen minutes and a myriad of tiny adjustments to either make himself look sexier or more casual, and by the end the pastry was almost certainly overworked and would need to be scrapped, but he ended up with a shot that was about as close to perfect as he thought he was going to get. The angle was enough behind him to take in the full length of his back and the curve of his ass, but he’d turned his right shoulder towards it so it was fully in view, along with the artful smears of flour he’d carefully applied to his bicep.
Okay, so maybe it didn’t look all that casual, but he’d kinda screwed that one up when he’d taken his pants off. This was pretty obviously the photo of a man trying to look hot rather than one trying to make a pie. Fuck it, he was taking it for Clint not anyone else, and Bucky had a feeling he’d like it.
He really hoped he’d like it.
He took one more look, double-checking all the details, then posted it to Instagram.
Trying out a new recipe today, strawberry rhubarb pie. I’ll let you know later how it tastes! #LockdownBaking #StrawberryRhubarbPie
And then he pulled on his clothes and got back to the actual baking, because if Steve and Peggy came back out before he’d finished because he’d been too caught up on posting sexy pics on Instagram, he’d never hear the end of it.
He finished the pie and got it in the oven, then made himself clear up the kitchen before he pulled his phone back out.
Clint had already replied.
Damn, I wouldn’t mind a taste of that. Is the apron a suggestion or an order? Because I take orders pretty well.
Bucky took a deep breath and told himself firmly that he couldn’t vanish to his room to take some time thinking about just what orders Clint might be good at taking because the pie would end up burning.
Instead, he just sent back, I was a sergeant in the Army so I’ve got some experience giving orders, and then added a winky face because, fuck it, they’d passed subtlety quite a while ago.
Sounds like a perfect match then, replied Clint.
Bucky was still contemplating that when a notification popped up that he’d been mentioned in a post. He clicked over to find a photo of Clint, looking far more laid back than he did in his usual photos, leaning against the cabinets in a kitchen and holding a plate with pie.
For the first time, he was wearing a shirt. Given it was sleeveless and had a ripped neck that showed his collarbones, it didn’t really do much to cover him up, but it was still more than Bucky was really interested in seeing him wear. He couldn’t help considering how easy it would be to tear it off him.
Even with that though, Bucky thought it was one of his favourite photos of Clint. Instead of being the insanely buff paragon of sexy like he was in the others, all posed and clearly putting on something of a smoulder, he looked like a normal guy. An insanely hot normal guy, sure, but he was relaxed and looking content, half smiling in a vaguely crooked way that didn’t look at all like it had been refined and practiced. His hair was a rumpled mess and Bucky’s fingers itched to smooth it down into place.
Been inspired by a friend to have my favourite. Is it still sharing a dessert if you’re miles apart from each other? #StrawberryRhubarbPie #LockdownLife
Bucky grinned to himself, cradling the phone in his hand. Fuck, was it normal to feel this much affection for someone you were just swapping shirtless pics with?
I guess we can’t share a spoon, but it’s as close as we’re gonna get right now, he commented, then hesitated and plucked up all his courage to add, Once everything’s back to normal I’ll take you out for dessert somewhere.
Clint’s immediate reply was just a beaming happy face, but a minute or two later he added, I will definitely hold you to that. I know a few places around the park that do excellent pie. And coffee, of course, always coffee.
Oh fuck. Did Bucky have a date? Holy shit.
The lockdown needed to end immediately. He needed Clint back in Brooklyn and all the coffee shops and restaurants open so he could take Clint out to them.
Patience. He’d spent two years having patience while he recovered from losing his arm and then got the prosthetic fitted, he could have patience for this as well. He just really didn’t want to.
Sounds perfect, he replied, then went to check on the pie.
Bucky wasn’t going to think about that any further.
“Clint said I could take him out for dessert once he gets back to New York and things are open again,” he told them while they were still cutting their first slices. “Peggy, I need you to do whatever it is you do and make that happen real quick.”
Peggy gave him an unimpressed look. “First of all, I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, I’m merely a paperpusher,” she said. Steve snorted with amusement, which she graciously ignored. “Second of all, if we end this lockdown too early, it could cause a public health calamity. Do you really want to risk that just so you can laid?”
Bucky scowled at her. “No,” he admitted grumpily, “but, Peggy, this guy is so hot.”
“I know, dear,” she said, and patted his shoulder. “I do know. I’m afraid you’ll just have to keep flirting via Instagram for the moment.”
Bucky felt his scowl grow deeper.
“I don’t think that was what Bucky wanted to hear,” said Steve, and fuck him for sounding so amused right now. “Still, if he keeps driving his frustration into baking pies, I’m all for it.”
“Fuck you,” said Bucky. “Don’t let’s start talking about frustration, not unless we want to talk about exactly how knotted up you got when we got deployed just after you’d met Peggy, because that was-”
“Okay!” interrupted Steve, clearing his throat. “No need to dig into ancient history.”
“No, no,” said Peggy, sitting forward with interest. “I think there might be a need, if it will help Bucky with his own situation.”
“Nope,” said Steve. “Both of you just be quiet and eat your damn pie.”
Bucky caught Peggy’s eye and shared a smirk, but let it go, because the truth was that Steve had been kinda pathetic.
God, he hoped he wasn’t that bad about Clint.
Speaking of, it had been a few minutes, maybe Clint had left a new comment.
Bucky pulled his phone back out to find Clint had gone one better than leaving a comment; he’d sent him a private message.
Seems silly to keep chatting in comments on here. I’m on WhatsApp if you want to add me. He’d put his phone number after and Bucky just stared at it, feeling his ears heat up.
“Oh dear,” said Peggy, “is there a new photo of your beau verging on indecent exposure?”
“He wants me to add him on WhatsApp,” said Bucky. God, Clint really did want this to be more than flirty photos, he wanted to have an actual conversation with Bucky rather than just a handful of comments.
There was a quiet pause and then Steve said, in a puzzled tone, “Wait, you guys haven’t already exchanged numbers?”
“Apparently they’re very loyal to Instagram,” said Peggy.
Bucky ignored both of them. “Enjoy the pie,” he said, standing up and heading for his room, so he could have some peace and quiet while he double-checked his WhatsApp profile wasn’t embarrassing in some way, then added Clint and tried to come up with some suave way to start a conversation with him.
He had a feeling that was going to take some time.
Bucky: So, most important things first: how’s your dog doing?
Clint responded almost immediately with a string of dog emojis, and then a photo of his dog, slumped in his bed and looking disgruntled at being disturbed.
Clint: Lucky is doing great! He’s loving having the whole farm to run around on, and kids to play with.
Bucky: There are kids there?
It turned out to be just that easy to fall into a proper conversation, with Clint telling him about his brother’s family, and Bucky explaining that he didn’t think he’d get nieces and nephews from his sister but he was pretty certain he would from Peggy and Steve. Which involved him having to explain his relationship with Peggy and Steve, which led to Clint telling him about his best friend, Tasha, and…
And somehow two hours passed without Bucky even noticing.
Oh man, Clint wasn’t just hot as hell and good for casual flirting, he was also interesting and funny and endearing in a faintly idiotic way, and Bucky really, really wanted to be able to take him out and get to actually see his smile rather than an emoji stand-in.
He really did have the worst possible timing when it came to meeting hot guys.
He had to go have dinner with Steve and Peggy, but afterwards he didn’t stick around to watch TV with them like he usually did. Instead, he told himself he’d let them have some couple time and went back to his room, put a movie on his laptop, and then entirely ignored it in favour of carrying on chatting to Clint.
Bucky: I should probably go to bed at some point, he sent, once the credits on the second move he’d put on ended.
Clint: Yeah, me too. Barney’s kids are kinda loud and excitable in the morning, and Uncle Clint is meant to take them out after breakfast and get them running around until they’re calm enough to do some online school stuff.
Bucky: Don’t act like it’s a chore, I bet you love it.
Clint: Well, maybe. Lila’s just about got doing a front somersault down, and Cooper’s juggling is good enough now for him to start learning the really showy tricks.
Bucky: They must love having an uncle with all these crazy skills. Bucky had been impressed enough when he’d been a kid by Uncle Henry’s shitty magic tricks.
Clint: Not so much, given Barney was in the circus as well. He’s just less patient at teaching them.
Bucky stared at that. Shit, Clint really had been in a circus? That explained so much about the crazy shit he got up to.
Bucky: You were in the circus? he sent, and then realised how stupid that sounded.
Clint: Still am. Six nights a week at Coney Island, the Amazing Hawkeye shocks and astounds!
Bucky was still staring at that a couple of seconds later when another message from Clint came through.
Clint: You didn’t know?
Bucky took a moment to Google ‘Hawkeye Coney Island’ and a whole series of links came up, along with some photos of Clint wearing a skintight purple outfit that probably didn’t need that much glitter and doing some of the stunts that had been in his photos.
The third link that came up was for Clint’s Instagram account.
Bucky: I guess I haven’t been to Coney Island in a while.
He felt like he was in a daze, because somehow flirting with an actual circus performer was different to just flirting with a guy who could do some tricks. Fuck, all he could think about was just how flexible Clint must be.
Clint: I’d say you should definitely rectify that, but it looks like it’s all gonna be shut down for at least another few months.
Bucky: I’ll come see you the night you guys reopen.
Bucky sent that before wondering if he was maybe promising too much. Clint was right after all, god only knew how long it would be before crowded entertainment spaces like circus tents were okay to reopen. Who knew if he and Clint would still be talking that far in the future? This was meant to be a casual flirtation, after all, not a long-term commitment.
He ruthlessly squashed the voice that pointed out how much he wanted it to be a long-term commitment.
Clint: I’ll make sure to save you a seat, replied Clint, which really didn’t help much with Bucky’s attempts not to get his hopes too far up. K, I really do need to sleep now. Talk to you tomorrow.
Bucky wished him good night, then just lay back on his bed for a while, carefully not thinking about going out to Coney Island to watch a circus, and then going backstage to kiss one of the performers and get purple glitter all over himself.
He shouldn’t get too far ahead of himself. They’d still only met in person once, after all.
No matter how much Bucky wanted to monopolise his time, he shouldn’t push. The last thing he wanted was for Clint to decide this was too much and back off.
So instead Bucky rolled out of bed and headed for the bathroom to start his day, resolving to wait for Clint to contact him next.
Clint didn’t get in contact all morning, which Bucky firmly told himself didn’t mean anything. He made pancakes for breakfast, did his daily exercises and played a few intense games of Mario Kart with Steve. They wagered who would make lunch on the outcome, so Steve ended up in the kitchen while Bucky allowed himself a few minutes to scroll Instagram, just in case he’d missed a post from Clint.
He hadn’t, but Bucky’s sister had posted her latest sewing project so he gave her a call, telling himself he wasn’t at all making her a substitute for the person he really wanted to talk to.
Peggy came out of the art room for lunch, bringing out a sketchbook for Steve and then telling them both she wasn’t to be disturbed for several hours. Steve watched her disappear again with a sad-eyed look that usually would have made Bucky roll his eyes, but right now he got exactly how it felt to be kept apart from someone when all you wanted was to be as close as possible.
“Are you going to draw this afternoon, then?” he asked as Steve picked up the sketchbook. Bucky started clearing up the plates from lunch, trying to work out what he was going to do. The bathroom could probably stand to be cleaned, as unexciting as that was.
“Yeah, for a bit,” said Steve, flicking back through it. “Might have another go at getting the view from the roof right.”
Steve had been drawing different versions of that view ever since they moved in. Bucky thought they’d all looked fine but Steve never seemed satisfied, which Bucky guessed was something to do with ‘artistic temperament’.
“Guess that’s me and the bathroom then,” said Bucky, and found himself wondering if Clint would be interested in a sexy cleaning shot of him.
Was it possible to look sexy whilst cleaning a bathroom? Maybe not.
Steve nodded. “I’m gonna put some laundry on before I head to the roof, if you’ve got anything.”
Bucky’s laundry basket was in his room. For a split-second, he contemplated just telling Steve to go in and grab it himself, then the instinctive rush of defensiveness flooded him. That was his space, he didn’t want anyone else inside it, touching his things.
“Let me grab it,” he said, and went to his room, wondering if he’d always need a fortress to retreat to. It would make bringing a boyfriend home kinda tricky.
That said, having Steve and Peggy living there would make that tricky anyway. Clint appeared to live in his apartment alone, other than Lucky; it would be easy to go back to his and-
Bucky cut the train of thought off, because he was getting way too far ahead of himself. Clint wasn’t even living in his apartment at the moment, he was in Iowa, and if having a hook-up when Steve and Peggy were around seemed tricky, Bucky was willing to bet it would be worse when Clint’s brother’s entire family was there.
He left Steve with the laundry and finished cleaning up lunch, then took a break to check his phone before starting on the bathroom.
Clint had posted a new photo.
Before he even looked at it, Bucky took himself off to his room, which turned out to be a very good plan.
It was very sunny in Iowa today. Clint was sprawled on his back on the grass, one arm spread out while the other held the phone up, taking in the whole of his bronzed torso, the smattering of freckles across his shoulders and arms, and his squinted smile.
The angle was such that the edge of the photo slanted across his body, including his hip closest to the camera and cutting very low across his belly. Low enough to make it clear that, in addition to his usual shirtlessness, he wasn’t wearing any other clothes either.
Bucky’s eyes traced down the soft trail of pale hair from his belly button, to where it started to thicken just at the edge of the frame. Holy shit, he hadn’t been kidding about highlighting his happy trail. Bucky wanted to lick all along his abs and down the cut of muscle across his hip, run his hands up Clint’s thighs and spread them apart to-
Jesus fuck. How the hell was Clint getting away with this kinda thing on Instagram? Surely there had to be a point where the powers that be stepped in and started deleting posts.
It was several long minutes before Bucky managed to tear his eyes away long enough to read the caption.
The best thing about having a whole farm to roam around is finding a private spot for some sunbathing. #NoTanLines #LivingThatSunshineLife #LockdownLife
There were a lot of comments already, and even more likes. Bucky scrolled down, noting how many were straight up thirst comments, which seemed fair. His eye caught on one that wasn’t.
HawkeyeKate: Jesus Christ, Clint, why the hell are you so set on posting softcore porn all over the internet recently?
Hawkeye. That was the same as Clint’s circus act name. Was she some kind of superfan? That seemed kinda unlikely, even for a circus act as hot as Clint’s must be, and the tone of her comments didn’t sound like a fan.
Bucky did another search for Hawkeye and this time he clicked on some of the links. The circus had its own website and a Youtube channel with some short clips of the acts. Bucky scrolled past fire eaters and acrobats until he found one that started with purple glitter, and pressed play.
It was only two minutes but it was more than enough to make Bucky’s jaw drop. Clint somersaulted around the ring with his bow, shooting targets at all angles and in all kinds of contorted positions, spinning and leaping with a bright grin on his face.
God, Bucky didn’t think he’d ever wanted anyone like this.
For the final trick, another archer came out, also dressed in purple but with less glitter. Somehow, while Clint’s outfit looked kinda dorky, she made it look like runway fashion.
She and Clint did a trick together that involved them each sending two arrows from their bows at the same time that crossed over in the middle of the ring and then thudded right in the bullseyes of four different targets. If Bucky hadn’t just watched it, he wouldn’t have thought it could be done.
“Thank you for watching!” announced Clint, grinning at the camera. “We’ve been Hawkeye!”
“And Hawkeye!” added the woman. “The best shots in the world!”
The video cut out to an ad for the circus.
HawkeyeKate must be the other archer, then. Clint’s work colleague.
No wonder she was wondering what the hell Clint was playing at. Bucky scrolled back up to the photo and lost a bit more time looking at it, then finally got around to hitting like and leaving a comment.
No confused animals, well done. Your happy trail is definitely the highlight of this one. Just, how exactly am I meant to one up this without getting a permanent ban from Instagram?
Clint replied while Bucky was once again tracing over the lines of his stomach with his eyes. God, one day he really wanted to be able to do the same with his fingers.
There’s always WhatsApp, if you felt like sending something a bit more private. Clint had added three winky faces.
Bucky stared at the words, then took a deep breath. Okay, so now he just had to decide how much nudity he was willing to share.
Well, no, he kinda already knew the answer to that one, especially if it would prompt Clint to return the favour. The real question was how he was going to get a perfectly framed shot of his naked body without either Peggy or Steve holding the camera for him.
There was a full-length mirror on the back of his closet door, but when he thought about framing a selfie in that, all he could think about was how much of his room would be visible behind him. He’d already decided that he didn’t want to take any photos in here, and that hadn’t changed.
So, where else in the apartment could he take a nude photo?
He jumped up and headed out to the bathroom, flicking the light on and looking at it as if for the first time. The light was a bit harsh but he thought he could make it work if he lit some of the candles they had on a shelf over the bath. The mirror wasn’t going to work though, because it was mounted too high to really show more than his chest, not unless he climbed on the edge of the bath, but he had no idea how to start making that look sexy. He’d probably lose his balance and then have to explain to Steve how he broke half his bones stark naked in the bathroom trying to take a photo.
His phone vibrated and he pulled it out to see a Whatsapp message from Clint.
Clint: Hey, ignore my Insta comment if you want, I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. I’m perfectly happy just looking at your pretty face, no pressure on ever sending anything more.
God, he was so sweet. Bucky glanced around the bathroom again, then went back out to the lounge, where he could catch the afternoon sun on his face as he sent a selfie of himself gazing off into the distance with a puzzled frown.
Bucky: This is me planning just how best to bare all my flesh in my next photo. Watch this space…
Clint’s response was a trail of heart-eyed emojis. Bucky grinned at them, then went to clean the bathroom because if he was using it as a photography studio, he wanted it to look spotless.
He set his phone up on the shelf above the bath, using a bit of string to get the angle right while making sure it wasn’t going to fall in. The last thing he needed while the lockdown was on was to break his phone.
He took several photos of himself in a variety of poses, showing off more or less of his body so he could decide what he was comfortable with. He was tempted by one of him lying on his front, ass right out of the water like it was the star attraction, while he glanced back at the camera. He’d tried out a sexy smoulder for it, but the more he looked at it, the more it just seemed confused, or maybe even constipated, so instead he sent a photo of himself on his back staring up at the camera, one knee drawn up to hide his cock but everything else on display.
The thing about WhatsApp that didn’t happen with Instagram was that Bucky knew the minute Clint saw the photo. The little ticks went blue and Bucky found himself holding still, barely breathing as he waited for a response, sat on the toilet because he hadn’t even had the patience to drain the bath and go back to his room before he’d sent the photo.
It seemed to take forever. WhatsApp kept telling him that Clint was typing, then he’d pause and Bucky would clench his jaw tighter, then Clint would start typing again.
Fuck, it was too much. Too much of Bucky on display, his arm and its join at the shoulder, not to mention the scars around it. And his lockdown hair was getting out of hand, even wet it looked like it was starting to take over his face, although some of that was the beard. And it was definitely a beard now, albeit a fairly thin one.
There was a tap at the door. “Bucky, are you okay in there? It’s been a while.”
Fucking Steve. “Fine!” called back Bucky, not taking his eyes off his phone as Clint started typing again. “Just having a bath!”
“Okay, try not to drown,” said Steve, and moved away just as a message finally came through from Clint.
All it said was Clint: Holy shit. That had to be a good thing, right?
A moment later, Clint added, Seriously, that’s maybe the hottest thing I’ve ever seen and, yeah, I know I say that to you a lot but God DAMN have you seen yourself?
Bucky grinned, letting the tension pour out of his shoulders. He hadn’t fucked this up.
Clint: Jesus Bucky, I just want to get my mouth all over you, why the fuck does there have to be a pandemic right now?
Bucky: It really sucks.
Clint: And not in the way I want it to. He added an eggplant emoji and a drooling face.
Bucky felt his face heat up at the implication and took a selfie almost without thinking, capturing the flush of pink on his cheeks and his pleased expression. He sent it to Clint with the caption Quit getting me riled up when there’s nothing you can do about it.
Clint: Maybe I like riling you up. He added a winky face after it.
Bucky took a deep breath, staring up at the ceiling for the pace of two slow breaths. God, the longer this whole thing went on, the more he felt like a teenager again.
Bucky: Well, no pressure then, but a really good way to rile me up would be a similar photo in return.
Clint: Oh, don’t worry, you’ll be getting one. Just need to make sure it’s perfect…
Bucky: If it’s of you, it’ll be perfect.
Bucky sent that without really thinking, then winced when he reread it. That seemed a bit full on, maybe he needed to dial it back.
He made himself put the phone down and set about blowing out the candles and draining the bath, then wrapped a towel around himself to head back to his room.
The moment he opened the bathroom door, Peggy appeared from the direction of the lounge.
“Thank god,” she muttered, pushing past him and shutting the door firmly behind her.
Bucky blinked after her, then over at Steve, who had appeared in the hall apparently just to give him a worried look.
“Is she okay?” Bucky asked, ignoring the look for now.
“She’s been waiting to go for a while,” said Steve. “Bucky, are you okay? I know things are hard at the moment, do you need to contact your therapist at all?”
Bucky stared at him. “What? No.” He glanced back at the door. “Why didn’t she just knock?”
The concerned-and-caring expression on Steve’s face deepened. “Bucky, you’ve been in there for two hours. Did you lose track of time?”
“Uh,” said Bucky, glancing at his phone and realising just what the time was. “Shit. Sorry.”
Two hours. Fuck, no wonder Steve was concerned. Back when Bucky had first got out of the hospital, he’d got in the habit of taking long baths so he could wallow in his misery both literally and figuratively. He’d lain there for hours, occasionally topping the hot water up but not moving beyond that, just running through all the things he couldn’t do without his arm, or trying to work out what his new lifeplan should be and just coming up against how useless he felt.
He was over all that now, but he could see why Steve was worried.
And why Peggy hadn’t wanted to interrupt him. Bucky had been pretty rude about people distracting him from his self-loathing.
“I’m fine, Steve,” he said. “I swear, I just lost track of time.” He hesitated, then added, “I was chatting with Clint.” He held up his phone as evidence.
Steve’s shoulders slumped with relief. “Right,” he said. “Clint. Of course you were.”
“Sorry,” said Bucky again, then shuffled off to his bedroom to get dressed.
Clint had sent him another message.
Clint: No need for the flattery, I’m already going to be sending you nudes.
Bucky didn’t want to try and explain that it wasn’t flattery to say that every single photo he’d seen of Clint had been perfect. Including, or perhaps especially, the one of him with the horse staring at him in horror.
Bucky: Maybe I’ll save the flattery for after I’ve seen them.
Clint: Awesome, I’ll look forward to you saying nice things about my cock then.
Bucky snorted to himself before heading back out of his room to join Steve and Peggy in the kitchen as they got dinner ready. He made a point of also watching a movie with them after they’d eaten, joining in with the chatter and jokes, and generally doing everything he could to broadcast ‘I’m fine, totally fine, no resurgence of any mental health issues here!’
It seemed to work, if the way Steve relaxed and then started teasing him for checking his phone every five minutes was anything to go by. Bucky wasn’t about to stop though, not when Clint was still happily chatting with him, and any moment could bring a nude photo.
Steve had gone back on shift and Peggy was shut up in her office, so there was no one to laugh at Bucky when he took one look and his knees went so weak he had to stumble to the couch to sit down.
Clint was sprawled on a haybale in what looked like a barnloft, relaxing back on his elbows with his legs slightly spread and one knee raised as if putting himself on display. Bucky hadn’t really realised that his #NoTanLines meant no tan lines quite so completely. Every inch of his skin was golden brown, making the paler blond of his body hair stand out. His pose really highlighted just how tall he was, long lines of his legs stretching out in a way that made Bucky think about how they’d feel wrapped around his waist.
Or, hell, draped over his shoulders. Clint was definitely flexible enough.
After Bucky had properly taken in the photo, it was the look on Clint’s face that really caught his attention. In all his other photos he’d been grinning with self-satisfaction at whatever trick or stunt he was pulling off, or occasionally clearly concentrating on it. This time he was looking at the camera with a half-smile that almost looked self-conscious, and Bucky thought he could see a faint flush to his cheeks.
And, fuck, as hot as his complete confidence in his skills usually was, Bucky really liked this look as well, and the idea that maybe Clint wasn’t as sure about this but was willing to try it anyway, for Bucky.
Bucky’s heart did a weird little clench in his chest at the thought and he found himself typing a response immediately, keen to make sure Clint wasn’t left hanging for too long.
Bucky: Nice cock.
Immediately after sending it, he actually read it and felt like crawling under the couch and just dying there. What the fuck kinda comment was that?
The ticks turned blue and it was too late to delete it, so Bucky just gritted his teeth and kept going.
Bucky: The rest is awesome to look at as well, of course. I think your abs are still my favourite.
Clint: Thanks, I put a lot of effort into them. BTW, if anyone ever suggests sex in a haystack, you should definitely say no, that shit is PAINFUL on your tender places.
Bucky snorted to himself.
Bucky: Noted. I think I’m okay though, you’re the only guy I know with access to a load of hay, so if you’re not up for it, I guess I’ll be sticking to beds, sofas, the occasional wall - all the normal places.
Clint: The backseats of cars, supply closets, the trapeze safety net….sure, I’m only really interested in normal places for sex as well.
Bucky: I can’t decide if the trapeze safety net is inspired or a disaster in the making.
Clint: Disaster in the making, trust me. Apart from anything else, it really pisses off the aerialists like you wouldn’t believe.
Bucky: Well that sounds like a story worth hearing.
That was all he said for a couple of minutes, although WhatsApp kept telling Bucky that he was typing. Bucky figured he was typing out some long story and went to make some coffee, but when the message finally came through, it wasn’t long enough to justify the time it had taken Clint to type it.
Clint: It’s better told in person, or at least out loud. I know we talked about meeting up when I get back to Brooklyn and things are normal again, but is there any chance you’d like to try going on a date sooner than that? Maybe over Zoom or something?
Bucky hadn’t even considered that they could have that kind of virtual date. He just stared at the words for a moment, imagining getting to actually talk to Clint, to see him smile in more than a photo, and maybe even hear him laugh.
Bucky: That’s a great idea, I’d definitely be up for that.
He hesitated, then decided to go ahead and really commit.
Bucky: How about tomorrow night we both have dinner at the same time on Zoom? As close as we’re going to get to a dinner date for now, right?
Clint: That sounds perfect.
Clint followed up with a string of smiley faces and Bucky found himself grinning down at his phone in response to them. Giddiness rose up in his chest because he had a date, holy shit, a date with a hot, funny circus performer.
His first date since he’d got out of the Army.
It had to be perfect.
“Oh, hey, can I just get the salt?” asked Steve, smirking as Bucky herded him out the door.
“Nope,” he said. “You’ve got food, you eat it as is, and you are not coming back in here. Just keep hold of the dirty plates.” He gave Steve’s chest a final push to get him out of the doorway, then started to shut the door on him.
“What if I need a drink?” asked Peggy, edging around it.
“There’s water in the bathroom,” said Bucky, and finally got the door shut against them both. Just to be certain, he wedged a chair under the handle, because he didn’t trust them not to wander in ‘by accident’ to get a look at Clint.
He turned back to the set up he’d arranged for himself. He’d laid his place at the table in front of his iPad, after half an hour spent working out the best angle for it, using a stack of books to prop it up. He’d got himself a beer, which seemed more casual than a glass of wine, and the food he cooked was just fancy enough to be impressive, but not so much so that it looked like he’d been trying. Hopefully Clint would just think he ate like that every night.
He took a deep breath and ran his hand over his hair, which he’d spent a while taming from its lockdown wildness. It was too long to really do much with right now, so he’d put it back in a bun, which Peggy had confirmed looked okay.
Well, she’d spent several seconds carefully looking him over, then nodded and just said, “Jawline,” which Bucky thought was approval.
He’d nearly put on a button down shirt but that had felt a bit too formal, so he’d gone for one of his nicer Henleys instead. He’d also put on the jeans he usually wore out when he was looking for a hookup, even though he didn’t think Clint was going to be in a position to admire how they clung to his ass. They made him feel more confident, anyway.
Satisfied that everything was as perfect as he could make it, he hit the link for the Zoom meeting Clint had set up.
Clint was already there, but he was turned away from the camera, talking to someone out of view.
“...your dinner without me, okay honey? I’m going to talk to a friend.”
“But I want to eat with you,” complained a child’s voice. “You’re more fun than Mommy and Daddy.”
Clint snorted. “Hear that, Barney? I’m more fun.”
“Shut up, Clint.” said another voice. “Come on, time to leave Uncle Clint alone now, Lila.”
“But I don’t want to!” protested the child, but a door shut and the rest of her tantrum was cut off.
“Ah, sorry, am I getting you into trouble with your family?” asked Bucky, and Clint’s head flicked around to stare at him.
“Bucky! Hi!” he said, grinning at him.
“Hi,” said Bucky. Damn, Clint was even hotter when he was more than a photo. His face was made to be animated with pleasure.
“Sorry, my niece is a bit possessive,” said Clint. “And not great at being told no.”
“No worries,” said Bucky. “Apologise to her for me for stealing away her favourite uncle.”
Clint snorted, leaning back in his chair. “Sure, but not until tomorrow. I’m hoping this goes on long past her bedtime.”
Bucky couldn’t help grinning back at that, because he was hoping the same thing.
They ate their meals, and drank their beer, and then had another, and the conversation flowed just as easily in person as it had on WhatsApp. Easier, maybe, without having to type things out and double-think them, or try and work out the tone something had been said with. Clint told him the story about having sex in a trapeze net, and then a couple of other stories about the circus, and Bucky dug out some of the funnier anecdotes he had from the Army. They passed the kids’ bedtimes, although Bucky overheard some fussing from outside Clint’s room when it came time for that. Clint just rolled his eyes and ignored it.
Eventually they hit Bucky’s usual bedtime, but he didn’t want to point that out because they’d just realised they were both fans of Dog Cops and were hashing out their favourite characters and moments.
It was nearly another hour before Clint glanced at his watch and made a face. “Okay, I probably need to head off now, sorry man.”
Bucky looked at the time and winced. “Yeah, same.” He hesitated, then added, “I had a really good time tonight. If you want to do it again…”
“Yeah, definitely,” said Clint. “Now I know you’re a Sergeant Whiskers fan, I’m even more up for hanging out again.” He shrugged one shoulder in a casual way. “And, you know, if this was a normal date, you’d be getting a goodnight kiss.”
Bucky felt his face flush. “Yeah?” he said, because, god, he could really imagine that. His arms around Clint’s waist, Clint bending down to press their lips together. “I’d definitely let you. Maybe even get a bit handsy.”
“Yeah, I’d like that,” said Clint in a breathy voice, and for a moment they just locked eyes, clearly both thinking about what they’d be doing if they weren’t hundreds of miles apart.
Bucky broke the moment, sitting back and clearing his throat. “Okay, well, let me know when you’re free to disappoint your niece again and I’ll put you in my packed social calendar.”
Clint laughed. “Yeah, I will do. Goodnight, Bucky.”
“Night, Clint,” said Bucky, and they disconnected.
Bucky sat back in his chair, letting out a long breath and grinning up at the ceiling, feeling the flutters of glee in his belly. Fuck, that had been his most succesful date in years, and he’d just been sat in his kitchen watching the guy on a screen.
He wondered how many more virtual dates they’d have before they could actually meet. Not too many, hopefully.
They sent more photos as well. More silly spur-of-the-moment selfies to make a point, or shots of Clint’s daily circus practice -Got to keep my skills up- and a lot more shots of them shirtless or naked. Bucky created a folder for photos of Clint, with a subfolder of the ones he wouldn’t want anyone else to see.
And if he took to skimming through them all late at night, after he’d gone to bed, well, that was his own business.
In addition to the hay bale photo, Clint sent a couple of others of him naked that had clearly been taken in his bedroom, including one that was just a close up of his cock, half-hard and lying against his thigh.
Thought you might want a closer look at your second favourite part of me.
Bucky really did. He took a good, long look, and then just replied with some emojis, because he really wasn’t sure what kind of reaction you were meant to have to something like that.
Clint’s dick was pretty attractive, though. Bucky found it all too easy to imagine doing a range of things with it that really, really weren’t going to happen while lockdown was happening. Getting his mouth around it, for example, fuck, Bucky really wanted that, wanted to get to feel it getting properly hard as he ran his tongue along the length of it, wanted to hear what noises Clint might make as he did so.
He took a deep breath, pressing his hand to his own cock as it started to harden. He was in his room after dinner, and although he’d been planning to go out to the lounge and watch some TV, there was nothing to say he couldn’t stay right where he was and maybe do something else.
But first… He opened his jeans up, pulling them and his boxers down until his cock was fully out, then spent a couple of minutes fussing to make sure it was perfectly framed by his open zipper, and moving the bedside lamp to get it all lit right. His erection went a bit soft while he was doing so, but it only took one look back at Clint’s photo and a couple of strokes to get himself hard again.
The photo he took was pretty good, he thought, for a first attempt at a dick pic. He sent it to Clint (after triple-checking he was in the right WhatsApp chat because god knew he didn’t want this going to anyone else) with the caption You’re getting me all riled up again.
Clint: Fuck, Bucky, I’m about to do storytime for my nephew, that’s not fair.
Bucky couldn’t help laughing at that.
Bucky: You started it, what did you think was going to happen? This whole thing has been escalation.
Clint: You make a good point but...Jesus. I’ll be back, just gonna go think calming, innocent thoughts for a bit.
Bucky: Sure. I’ll just be here, thinking the opposite kinds of thoughts.
Bucky couldn’t keep in a smile at that, even as his hand lazily traced over his erection again. Fuck it, if Clint had to go, there was no reason for Bucky not to indulge a bit. He scrolled back up to the photo of Clint’s cock, tracing over the lines of it with his eyes as his hand traced over his own cock.
God, one day he was hopefully going to get his hands on that for real. He was going to get to be in bed with Clint, which seemed like it would be hot and flexible and just fun, with how much Clint liked laughing and joking around. It would be easy and relaxed, and Bucky was willing to bet Clint was really good at sex, given how in control of his body he was.
Bucky tightened his hand around his cock and let his phone drop so he could push his shirt up and run his prosthetic hand over his stomach, shutting his eyes and letting himself imagine that it was Clint’s hand. He ran it up as far as his nipples, running the hard shape of his thumb over one of them at the same time as he pulled at his cock, and couldn’t keep in a quiet moan.
Clint seemed like he’d make a lot of noise in bed. He would make beautiful noises, and probably tell Bucky exactly what he was thinking and feeling, maybe even what he wanted Bucky to do to him, how he wanted him to touch him.
Bucky pulled harder at his cock, running a thumb over the head, and then ran his other hand back down his body to cup around his balls, spreading his legs as much as he could in his jeans. Clint had said he was good at taking orders, would he let Bucky tell him exactly how to do it if it were his hand around Bucky’s cock instead? Would he tug harder when Bucky told him to, and press into the skin behind Bucky’s balls just how he liked? Would he lower his mouth and suck Bucky down if Bucky used his sergeant’s voice to say, “Suck me”?
Bucky came with a grunt at that mental image, the orgasm shuddering out of him as he pictured Clint’s lips wrapped around his cock.
He took a deep breath and opened his eyes, looking up at the ceiling of his empty room.
Fuck, he wanted this lockdown to be over.
Instead, they just talked. It was easy and fun talking to Clint and as time went on, Bucky got a warm glow of affection in his chest whenever he opened up Zoom and saw Clint’s happy grin of greeting. That felt very different, though, to the electric thrill Bucky got when he received a photo of Clint’s abs with his cock hard enough to rest on his belly, or when he spent ten minutes working out how to get the best angle for a shot of his fingers tweaking his nipple without his camera being too close and losing focus. He wasn’t sure if it was some kind of weird exhibitionist/voyeur kink that he hadn’t realised he previously had, or if it was just Clint, but the whole thing turned him on more than he’d ever have expected.
And yet, neither of them really talked about it when they were having dinner together over Zoom, or Bucky had taken his iPad up to the roof so they were both watching the sunset together even if they were miles apart.
He was pretty sure, from some of the things Clint had hinted at, that he wasn’t the only one taking some private time with the photos they’d been exchanging and, if anything, that just made the whole thing hotter. A guy he’d met once, very briefly, was staring at photos of Bucky’s cock and getting himself off. Not just any guy: a hot, funny, sweet guy, who Bucky was going to get the chance to date properly, if this virus would just calm down and fuck off. Maybe then they’d match up the dating part of this with the ogling each other’s naked bodies part.
According to the news, all the numbers for the virus did seem to be on their way down, but Bucky had a feeling they’d need to dip significantly lower before things would open up again enough for Clint to decide to come back to New York. He couldn’t help feeling torn between supporting that the president clearly wanted to make sure they weren’t at risk of a second wave before easing the restrictions, and just getting to kiss the hot circus performer already.
Not that Bucky was doing so badly in lockdown apart from that. He lived with two of his closest friends, neither of whom had to worry about being furloughed or losing their jobs, and Bucky’s own benefits and stipend for being part of the Stark Industries medical trial weren’t in any danger of being cut off. The regulations had relaxed enough for people to go out once a day for exercise, so he was able to get his daily run in again, taking a couple of turns around the park where he’d met Clint. He was kinda worried about being able to get a job once everything got back to normal, now that he was at the end of the recovery period from his surgery, but he’d have been worried about that anyway. He’d not really had a job since he’d left the Army, and he had no idea what he wanted to do, or even what he was qualified for.
He was putting aside thinking about any of that, though. He just kept concentrating on finding new things to bake, chatting with Clint whenever he could, and planning dates for them once Clint came back to the city. And finding new and interesting ways to take photos of his dick, of course.
He was washing up and idly daydreaming about being able to save up for a motorbike modified for his arm so he could take Clint out on a ride and feel his arms holding on tight as they sped along the open road, when his phone started ringing.
He kept it on vibrate these days so that he’d know the moment Clint sent him a new message, but no one ever actually called him. He grabbed a teatowel to dry his hands and pulled the phone out, blinking when he saw it was an incoming WhatsApp video call from Clint. So far they’d kept WhatsApp for text and used Zoom for actual chats, and then only when they’d pre-arranged it.
He hit the button to pick up and a couple of seconds passed as it loaded the video connection.
When it came through, he very nearly dropped his phone.
It was a weird angle, but Bucky could tell that Clint was lying back against a couple of pillows, his head tipped back and his cheeks flushed red. He had his eyes shut and his mouth was hanging open as he took deep, shuddering breaths. His bare shoulder was visible in the corner of the frame and Bucky recognised the way his arm was moving in a familiar, rhythmic pattern.
“Uh, Clint?” he asked, clenching at the edge of the kitchen worktop.
Clint’s eyes flew open and he stared at the phone in shock. “Shit!” he said, then there was a sudden movement and the view whirled, skimming over his body before landing pointed straight up at the ceiling.
“Shit shit shit,” Clint was muttering while Bucky just blinked at the screen, because as the phone had fallen, he’d got a split-second glimpse not only of Clint’s bare chest, but of his cock, so hard that it was leaking against his stomach.
Oh fuck. Clint really was masturbating.
A wave of arousal washed over Bucky and he had to take a deep breath as his own cock twitched.
“Shit, sorry, sorry,” babbled Clint, picking the phone up. “Shit, Bucky, I’m so sorry, I did not mean to call you, I hit the wrong button. WhatsApp is way too eager to videocall people.”
And the thing was, Bucky kinda knew that, because he’d accidentally called people from WhatsApp before, but only ever when he was already looking at a chat from them, which meant…
“You’re jerking off while looking at the photos in our chat,” he realised.
Clint’s face went even pinker. “Ah,” he said, then gave a shrug. “Yeah, okay. But seriously, you musta known I do that. You’re so damn hot, how am I meant to think about anything else while I’m getting off?”
It turned out that assuming Clint was using photos of Bucky to jerk off to was only a fraction as hot as having actual proof of it, not to mention getting to see his face when he was as turned on as he clearly still was, even with the interruption.
“Oh god, Clint,” Bucky said. “I don’t- Fuck. I was doing the washing up and now I’m so horny, Jesus.” He was wearing a pair of shorts that he’d thought were pretty loose, but his erection was rapidly proving that wrong. He reached down to adjust himself.
“Christ,” said Clint. “Are you- Jesus, Bucky. Are you touching yourself?” His shoulder had started to move again, slower than before. “I don’t- Okay, you need to tell me right now if this is gonna make you uncomfortable, but you’re so hot, I can’t not-”
Bucky took a deep breath. Shit, this was it. The logical next step from the photos, and their dates and all of it.
And he was standing like a lemon in the damn kitchen, while Clint looked like he was only seconds away from finishing. Finishing before Bucky could even get his hand down his pants.
“Stop,” he said firmly, and Clint’s movement stopped short.
He stared at Bucky with wild eyes. “Oh shit, I’m sorry, don’t let me have ruined this,” he said with an edge of desperation.
“You haven’t,” said Bucky. “Just, you’ve got to give me a chance to catch up. Move your hand where I can see it and be sure you’re not getting any further ahead.”
“Oh god,” moaned Clint, and a moment later his hand appeared in view, lying on the pillow next to his head like he was surrendering. “Shit, Bucky, you have no idea how hot you sound when you’re telling me what to do.”
Bucky pressed his hand to his erection again because for all Clint thought that was hot, it had nothing on how hot it was to be able to just tell him what to do and watch him obey so immediately.
“Don’t worry, I’m gonna tell you exactly what to do,” he said. “You’ve just got to give me a minute, yeah?”
“Yeah, okay,” said Clint.
Bucky’s mind was moving fast. He couldn’t do this here in the kitchen, or any of the other public places in the apartment. For a moment he contemplated going to the bathroom, but that felt wrong. This thing with Clint deserved better than Bucky sat on on the toilet seat to jerk off, or crouched in the bottom of the bathtub. He wanted to be comfortable, he wanted to be able to take his time without worrying that someone would need to use the toilet.
He wanted to be stretched out on his bed while Clint was stretched out on his.
Fuck. He was going to have to go to his bedroom, and let Clint into the private place he’d set up for himself.
The idea of it didn’t terrify him as much as he’d thought it would, given how it had always felt before when he’d contemplated letting anyone in: like some kind of violation. Maybe it was that Clint was only going to be looking at it through a video call, maybe it was that they’d built up enough trust over the weeks they’d been chatting, maybe it was just that Bucky was too damn horny to think about much else right now, but the idea of being able to talk to Clint while on his bed, in his fortress of solitude, seemed right in a way he didn’t want to think about at the moment.
“Keep your hand up there,” he said to Clint, and started walking, abandoning the washing up behind him. “Tell me what you were thinking about before you called me.”
“Oh fuck,” muttered Clint, and his hand clenched briefly into a fist before relaxing. “I was, shit. I was thinking about how you always talk about my abs. I was thinking about you tying me down so you could get your hands all over them, and your mouth too. I was thinking about,” his voice hitched for a moment, and he pushed the next few words out in a rush, “I was thinking about you coming over them, marking me up.”
“Jesus, Clint,” said Bucky, pushing open his bedroom door without looking up from the screen. “That’s so hot. Fuck. We’re definitely going to do that one day, just as soon as we can.”
Clint let out a choked noise. “Oh god, Bucky, you can’t say that kinda thing, not when I- Please, let me touch myself, please, I need to.”
“You’ve just got to wait a bit longer, sweetheart,” said Bucky, toeing his shoes off. “I’m just getting undressed, then we’re gonna do this together, okay?”
“Oh shit, yeah. Please,” said Clint. “I want that so badly, Bucky, I want to be able to do more than just look at photos of you, you’ve got no idea.”
Bucky let out a snort. “I think I might,” he said. “Give me a minute, yeah? Don’t move.”
“I won’t,” promised Clint, and he sounded completely sincere, breathless and desperate but like he couldn’t even begin to imagine doing anything other than obeying Bucky’s orders.
Bucky dumped his phone on the bed for long enough to strip off his t-shirt and shorts, taking his boxers down with them, then piled up his pillows so he could sit up against them. He pulled open his nightstand drawer and got out the bottle of lube that had seen far too much use recently, then picked the phone up again, propping it against his lamp where he could see Clint clearly, and Clint could see him.
“You using lube?” he asked. “Or are you so desperate for me that you’re leaking enough not to need it?”
Clint let out a moan. “Fuck,” he muttered. “I’ve got- Shit, Bucky. I used a bit of lube, just to start me off.” He hesitated, and then added. “Last time I got out one of my toys. I opened myself up and fucked myself with it, thinking about how it would feel if you were doing it instead.”
“Oh fuck,” breathed Bucky, picturing that. “Fuck, Clint, next time you do that you gotta send me a photo.”
“Yeah, god, yeah,” said Clint, and his hand flexed again as if he were already thinking about it. He didn’t move it though, he kept it right in place like Bucky had told him to.
Bucky ran a hand down over his chest and curled his fingers around his cock for a moment, then let go to open up the lube. “Listen, Clint,” he said. “You said you like orders, yeah?”
“Fuck, yeah, I’ll take all your orders,” said Clint. “Tell me what to do and I’ll do it, anything.” He drew in a deep, ragged breath. “Just, please, let me touch myself again, I need-”
“Wait just a bit longer,” said Bucky, tipping some lube onto his hand. “Just a moment longer, you can do that for me, can’t you sweetheart?”
“Yeah,” said Clint, staring at his screen with eyes blown wide with lust. “Yeah, I can, I can do that.”
Bucky curled his hand around his cock again, giving a slow, smooth pump of his hand to spread the lube around and make everything slick and easy. “I want you to show me yourself,” he said. “Give me a view of your beautiful body, show me how hard you are for me.”
“Yeah,” breathed Clint, than the camera jerked before slowly angling down, skimming across Clint’s chest, showing how his throat was flushed with arousal. His abs were tensed and quivering with the effort of holding back and Bucky raked his eyes greedily over them, then stared at Clint’s erection, at the way his cock was still hard and red in a way that looked like it must ache. He could see the faint glimmer of slick on it, either from the lube or leaked precome, and he couldn’t keep himself from moving his own hand, jerking himself off as he wondered just how long Clint had been touching himself.
“You’re so pretty, sweetheart,” he said, and the camera wavered as if Clint had shuddered. “Fuck, this is- this is so hot, why is this so hot?”
Clint made a choked noise and the camera angled back as he tilted the phone to look at the screen. “Please, Bucky,” he said, “I need to touch myself, I’m so hard, fuck.”
“Yeah, okay,” said Bucky. “Touch yourself then. Nice and slow, I want to see you take your time.” Clint’s hand immediately wrapped around his cock and Bucky watched as he pulled on it a few times, slow and steady even though Bucky could tell he was desperate for more than that.
“That’s what I’d do if I was with you,” he said, staring at the way Clint’s cock twitched in his hand, at the drop of precome forming at the tip. “If I had you tied up like you said. I’d cover your abs in my come, then I’d take it nice and slow with you, get to touch all of you, trace my hands over your body, your thighs, touch all your skin before taking hold of your cock and teasing you, nice and slow until you were panting for it, just like you are now.”
“Oh god,” said Clint with a twist of desperation that made Bucky speed his own hand up. “I’m not gonna last long, Bucky, shit, I can’t- I want this too much, I can’t-”
He cut himself off with a frustrated groan, and Bucky could see the muscles of his thighs tensing up. His hand didn’t speed up at all though, he just kept at the same slow pace Bucky had set him, even though he must have been aching to take himself over the edge.
“You’re so hot like this,” Bucky said, pulling on his own cock harder and faster, thinking about all the things he’d do to Clint given half a chance. “God, Clint, I want to keep you like this for hours, want to make you beg for it, want to see just how long you can last.”
“Oh god,” sobbed Clint. “I don’t- I can’t, not now, not this time, please Bucky, let me come, I need to.”
The camera was shaking as if just holding it up was more than Clint could manage right then, and Bucky took pity on him. “Okay, sweetheart, you can go for it. Hard and fast as you like, I want to see you come.”
Clint’s hand immediately sped up, tugging hard on his cock. It only took a couple of strokes for him to come, letting out a cry that almost sounded pained as come sprayed across his abs.
Bucky stared at the view and thought about getting his own come covering Clint’s body, pulling fast and hard on his cock until he was coming as well, grunting Clint’s name.
“Oh shit,” said Clint after a moment of silence. “That was so hot.”
“Yeah,” agreed Bucky.
“Why the hell didn’t we do that earlier?” asked Clint.
Bucky snorted, because he’d just been wondering the same thing. “No idea, sweetheart.”
The view of Clint spun for a moment, then settled to show his face, giving Bucky a satisfied grin as he propped it up somewhere. “We’ll be doing it again, right?”
“Oh hell yes,” said Bucky, reaching to dig through his nightstand drawer for some tissues. “I think we just found the absolute best way to ride the rest of lockdown out.”
Clint snorted with amusement. “Sounds perfect.” He was slumped back against his pillows, with his hair a mess and his face still flushed, and Bucky ached to be able to take him in his arms and hold him close, press a couple of quiet kisses to his lips as they both enjoyed the afterglow.
Fuck, there was so much more to this than admiring a guy’s abs, or having a laugh with him over a video chat, or even wanting to go on a handful of dates with him. Bucky wanted to turn this into so much more.
He wanted to be in a proper relationship with Clint. He wanted to be able to hold him at night, and hang out with him all day and pull him in for easy kisses that just signalled affection rather than horniness.
How the hell had he got so deep in with this guy when he’d still only talked to him in person once?
Clint let out a quiet sigh, running his hand through his hair. “Okay, I should have a shower. You got me all sweaty and dishevelled.”
“Looks good on you,” said Bucky, winning himself another grin. “Hey, you want to do something after? Watch a movie together or something? There’s that Netflix Party thing?”
“Yeah, sounds great,” said Clint. “Give me ten minutes to shower and I’ll call you again.”
Bucky’s smile was probably too wide to properly hide how pleased he was about that but hopefully it was less obvious on the screen of Clint’s phone. “Looking forward to it.”
Clint grinned back and hung up, and Bucky lay back, letting out a long breath.
The rest of the washing up could wait until morning.
And yet it still didn’t seem like enough. More than anything he just wanted to be able to wrap his arms around Clint and press a kiss to his lips, but that was the one thing they couldn’t do over WhatsApp.
The President had been giving daily briefings on the situation with the virus since the lockdown had started, but Bucky didn’t bother watching most of them. He didn’t feel like he knew enough about the whole thing to judge the policies she was making, and it wasn’t like he didn’t trust her to make the right choices. Every so often Peggy would mention that perhaps he should watch a particular one, and those turned out to be the important ones anyway.
It had been a long few months since that first one Peggy had got him to sit down for, back when he thought he was going to be seeing Clint the next day and that coronavirus was going to wash over his life with as little impact as SARS or swine flu had. He was slumped on the sofa, half chatting to Clint on WhatsApp and half watching reruns of Mythbusters when Peggy came out of her office and sat down next to him. She picked up the controller and changed the channel to CNN.
“Hey,” protested Bucky, more for the principle than because he’d been actually interested in Mythbusters.
“You’ll want to watch this,” she said. Her eyes flicked to the phone in his hand. “Your chap will as well.”
Bucky gave her a narrow-eyed look, but she just smiled blandly back. “Fine,” he muttered.
Bucky: Hey, apparently the president’s briefing tonight is going to be worth watching. You should tune in.
Clint: Do I want to know how you know that?
Bucky just replied with a .gif of eyebrows being raised.
Bucky: Go watch it.
Clint: Jesus, fine.
Peggy prodded Bucky’s knee and he shoved his phone into a pocket and focused on the screen.
The President always spoke in a very clear and succinct manner, giving the data she was basing her decisions on before she got to laying them out. She talked about how effective the lockdown had been, how they’d got the R number right down, how they’d put in place a track-and-trace system that was working well and efficiently, and then she started to lay out the plans for the next few weeks.
The jist of it was that lockdown was ending. There was a timetable of different industries reopening, and comprehensive safety guidelines being published, and an emphatic section on the importance of everyone wearing masks in public, but all Bucky really paid attention to was that, from the weekend, most people would be able to move around the country again if they needed to.
Clint. Shit, Clint could come back, or, fuck, maybe Bucky could go see him, although he’d have to find transport for that.
The second the briefing was over, Bucky pulled his phone back out, but Clint had beaten him to it.
Clint: Holy shit
Clint: It was beginning to feel like this would never end.
Clint: I wonder where I can get a facemask with dogs on it.
Clint: It’s gonna be tricky to set the circus up for social distancing, I’m glad that’s management’s problem.
Clint: Or pizza, I bet I can get a pizza facemask somewhere.
Clint: ARROWS. I need arrows. Shit, how hard can it be to learn how to sew one?
Clint: I said that to my sister-in-law and she just started laughing and hasn’t stopped yet.
Clint: She thinks I’d sew my fingers together if she let me anywhere near her sewing machine, which is… fair, maybe, but still. Could do without the hysterical laughter, you know?
Bucky snorted to himself, and responded.
Bucky: If you sew your fingers together it’s going to make archery kinda tricky.
He hesitated before adding the next thing, but it was the only question in his mind right now, and he didn’t want to have to try and be subtle with it.
Bucky: Are you going to wait for the circus to reopen before coming back to NY?
Clint’s reply was almost immediate.
Clint: Fuck no.
Clint: I mean, I love my niece and nephews, and my sister-in-law is pretty cool, but this was way too long to spend under the same roof as my brother.
Clint: I’ll probably come home this weekend.
A warm rush of sheer happiness washed over Bucky, and he was aware that he probably looked like an idiot beaming down at his phone screen, but he couldn’t bring himself to care. Clint was going to be back in Brooklyn, back wherever he lived that was close enough to go to the same park as Bucky.
The park that they were allowed to go to now, where they could meet up and actually be in the same place at the same time. Where they could talk in person, without worrying about camera angles or being within range of the wifi or any of that rubbish. Bucky would be able to hear Clint’s laugh unfiltered by technology.
If Clint still wanted to meet up, of course. He might want to leave it a bit longer, until the virus had subsided even further, or until after he’d had a chance to settle back in to his apartment and sort out whatever he’d put on hold while he was at his brother’s.
Of course, there was only one way to find out what he wanted.
Bucky: Do you want to meet up next week then? Maybe in the park so you can finally show me your slack rope skills in person? It’d be easy to socially distance there.
“You realise that this announcement has more significance than that you’ll be able to get laid, don’t you?” asked Peggy as Bucky clutched at his phone, waiting for a response.
“Don’t act like this isn’t exactly why you wanted me to watch it,” said Bucky without looking up from the phone. “You’re hoping I’ll bring Clint over here and you’ll get to see his abs in person.”
She laughed. “Oh, darling. I'm married to the best set of abs in Brooklyn. I don't need to live vicariously through you.” She leaned over and pressed a kiss to Bucky's forehead. “I'm just pleased to see you happy.”
Bucky did look up at her at that, although he had no idea what to say. She just gave him a smile and a wink and got up.
“Clint's abs are better than Steve's,” Bucky said belatedly as she left the room. Her only response was laughter.
He was distracted from fighting his corner by a reply from Clint.
Clint: That would be amazing. Don’t think I haven’t forgotten that you owe me dessert, even if we have to get it to go.
Clint: I’ll probably be back by Monday, but I might have stuff to sort out, so shall we say Tuesday?
And just like that, Bucky had a date. A real, in-person date.
The Story started with a photo of Clint perched on the roof of a farm building, just as shirtless as always but this time wearing a leather cuff on one arm and a quiver slung over his shoulder. Sexy Robin Hood was an extremely good look for him. He was grinning at the camera with two arrows held up, exuding all the confidence that always made Bucky want to fuck him up.
The next part of the Story was a short video, filmed from the ground. Clint was balanced right on the apex of the roof, bow in hand.
“Okay!” he called, then sprinted the length of the roof, just as something white and circular was thrown up into the air. He pulled back his bow as he was running, then leapt off the edge of the roof, firing at the same time before throwing himself into a somersault as he fell.
Bucky watched it three times on repeat, jaw dropped open, before flicking to the next part of the Story. It was a photo of Clint caught in a safety net that had been strung between the edge of the farm building and a couple of trees. He was relaxed back in it, bow still in hand, and his face was lit up with success and laughter.
The final part of the Story was a photo of the target with an arrow buried right through the centre, and was captioned Last trick on the farm! Heading back home tomorrow, looking forward to seeing everyone there! #LockdownLife #Showing Off #ArcheryIsThe Best
Bucky flicked through it several times, but found himself coming back to the photo of Clint in the net. He looked so relaxed and happy, and all Bucky could think about was getting to see him like that in person, maybe while he was spread out in bed.
Only another few days until he got his first proper chance at that.
He left a comment on Clint’s story that he wouldn’t mind other people seeing, then went to their WhatsApp chat to give his true reaction.
Bucky: I was kinda planning to come see your show once it was back on, but given my reaction to seeing you do that trick, I’m not sure that’s a good idea. If I see you do anything like that in person I’m just going to want to drag you off somewhere I can kiss the grin off your face.
Clint: Not really seeing the down side there. Maybe I’ll give you a private show sometime. He added a winking emoji.
Bucky took a very deep breath. Only another few days, he reminded himself. Not long at all compared to the rest of lockdown.
Somehow it felt like an eternity.
Bucky felt his steps speed up as he headed towards him, no matter how much he tried to tell himself to slow down and act cool, until he was pretty much running.
He could tell the instant Clint saw him coming, because he jumped up from the bench he was on and took a few steps towards Bucky as if he were just as eager to see him.
“Hi!” he said as soon as Bucky was close enough. “Holy shit, dude, we’re in the same place!”
Bucky wanted to just keep going until he was close enough to wrap his arms around Clint and hold him close, but he made himself stop moving the approved six feet away from him.
“Yeah,” he agreed, a little dumbly, eyes roving over Clint and taking in all the tiny details that a photo didn’t show. Shit, the guy was so hot, how the hell had Bucky lucked out like this?
“Shit,” said Clint, and his hands twitched towards Bucky as if he wanted to reach out as desperately as Bucky did. “I was kinda expecting some last minute disaster that would mean another few months of unsatisfying cyber fucking.”
Bucky choked out a laugh, but he’d had the same feeling all morning, waiting for some reason that he wouldn’t be able to see Clint. “Good to know which bits of our relationship are most important to you,” he said, and then wondered if maybe relationship was too heavy a word for the tentative thing they had between them. He didn’t want to say friendship though, because this felt nothing like what he had with Steve or Peggy, or even Nat, for all that they’d fucked a few times back when they’d first met.
“Oh no, I mean, I like all of it,” said Clint. “All the bits of it, just…” He shrugged, shoving his hands in his pockets. “I really want to be able to touch you, you know?”
“Yeah,” agreed Bucky, because he couldn’t imagine anything he wanted more. He hesitated, and then added. “I washed my hands right before I left, and I’ve got sanitiser on me if you want, we could, uh…”
He reached out a hand without really thinking and Clint’s came out to take it, warm fingers closing around Bucky’s as tightly as Bucky wanted to grip back. A warm thrill ran all the way up Bucky’s arm and he almost shuddered with how good it felt.
He wanted to be able to feel more of Clint’s skin. He wanted to map it all out under his hands, his mouth, he wanted to touch all of it until Clint was moaning beneath him.
“I know we probably should be careful,” said Clint, staring down at their hands with a look that made Bucky think he was finding it just as hard to get his head around the fact that they were both there in person, solid and real and able to be touched. “And if you want to do all that stuff, distancing and sanitiser and just talking for now, we can but, god Bucky, I don’t want to wait any longer.”
Bucky swallowed down a dry throat. He’d thought he was perfectly prepared for a casual date, getting dessert and staying apart from each other like all the guidance said they should, but now he actually had Clint there, in front of him, all he could think about was getting up close and personal with him, no masks, no clothes, no barriers. God, he couldn’t even see Clint’s mouth with the mask in the way, couldn’t trace his eyes over his lips and think about how they would feel under his.
“Me neither,” he said.
“I haven’t seen anyone else,” said Clint, talking rapidly. “Just my brother’s family for months and months, and they haven’t gone anywhere else either, we’ve been as good as quarantined on the farm. And it’s just been me and Lucky since I got back here, no one’s touched anything in my apartment, and it’s just around the corner, we could go there right now, if you wanted, if you felt safe.” His hand tightened around Bucky’s. “If you want to,” he added in a low voice and, fuck, Bucky didn’t stand a chance against it.
Not that he wanted one. Having Clint and his muscles in front of him, realising all over again that he was taller than Bucky, that his legs really did go on forever, that his eyes were exactly that blue... It was all Bucky could do not to throw himself at him right there in the park.
“Yeah,” he said in a hoarse voice, then cleared his throat. “Yeah, show me your apartment.”
Clint’s eyes lit up and Bucky didn’t need to be able to see his mouth to know the exact grin it was curving up into. “Fuck yes,” he said, and tugged at Bucky to lead him toward the park gate. “Oh fuck, I’ve been wanting this for so long, you have no idea.”
Bucky snorted, changing the grip between their hands and speeding his steps so they were walking together rather than Clint pulling him along as if he were his dog. “I think I’ve got some idea,” he said. “Shit, I wanted this since the moment I saw you on that rope.”
Clint snorted. “I wanted you weeks before that,” he said. “I saw you jogging around the park every day, and it was all I could do not to fall to my knees and offer to worship your thighs, Jesus.”
“We can maybe make that happen,” said Bucky, because he really liked the idea of Clint on his knees.
“Fuck,” breathed Clint again, and his steps sped up even more.
Bucky was right there with him. They ended up going faster and faster as they left the park and got close to Clint’s apartment, until they were all but jogging down the street, hand-in-hand and attracting a few looks. Bucky didn’t give a shit about that though, didn’t give a shit about how Peggy and Steve were going to react when they found out that he’d lasted maybe two minutes in Clint’s presence before rushing off to fuck him, didn’t even give much of a shit about the virus regulations he was breaking. He just wanted to get Clint alone somewhere where they could both take off their masks and finally, finally kiss.
Clint had to drop Bucky’s hand to get into his apartment building, fumbling for his keys and throwing the door open as he jogged through. They sprinted up the stairs fast enough for Bucky to be glad he’d kept up with his cardio over the lockdown, so he wasn’t too breathless at the top as Clint unlocked his apartment door.
The moment they were both inside and the door was shut, Bucky pressed Clint up against the wall, feeling the full length of his body against his, solid and warm and perfect.
“If you want me to go wash my hands or something,” he said, staring up at Clint’s wide eyes and trying to tell himself he should step away so they could talk about this properly. It felt far too good to be this close to Clint though, and from the way Clint’s hands had clenched around the back of Bucky’s shirt, he didn’t seem like he minded.
“Fuck no,” said Clint, and he reached up to pull his mask off. It was secured around his head rather than over his ears, presumably to avoid it getting tangled with his hearing aids, and it seemed to take a bit of work to get it off, although that might also have been because his fingers were trembling as badly as Bucky’s were as he ripped his own mask off, chucking it to one side without really looking where it fell.
The minute Clint’s mask was off, he wrapped his arms back around Bucky, pulling him in close as his head dipped and then, maddeningly, he paused.
“Can I…?” he asked in a whisper, as if they were on one of their calls in the middle of the night and he was trying not to disturb his brother’s family.
“Fuck yeah,” replied Bucky, but he didn’t wait for Clint to close the distance. He put his hand on the back of Clint’s head, pulling him down that tiny fraction of an inch so that their mouths were finally pressed together and he could kiss him just as thoroughly as he’d been wanting to do since that first time he’d seen him.
It felt like he’d imagined every possible way that he could kiss Clint over the months he’d been dreaming about it. Slow and careful, hard and heavy, breathless as their bodies moved together, even soft and sweet, when he was half-asleep and letting himself imagine dangerous things like comfortable affection.
This was like none of them. Clint kissed him as if he wanted to devour Bucky, as if he were trying to work out the best way to meld the two of them into one person. Bucky pressed him even closer against the wall, one hand still tangled in Clint’s hair as his prosthetic closed around his waist, and lost himself in the way their mouths moved together as if they’d done this hundreds of times before. He pressed his thigh between Clint’s legs, trying to get as close as he could, and was gratified to feel the solid shape of Clint’s cock hardening in his pants. He wasn’t the only one already getting turned on.
“Ah, fuck,” panted Clint, pulling his head back to rest against the wall. “Fuck, Bucky.” He already sounded wrecked. Bucky had to take a deep breath before he could force himself to step back.
“Where’s the bedroom?”
Clint snorted and raised an eyebrow at him. “You don’t wanna have some coffee first? Maybe watch a movie?”
Bucky felt his jaw clench at the idea of waiting any longer, but he just raised an eyebrow at Clint, letting his eyes linger down over his body to where his erection was pressing against his jeans. “Sure, we could do that,” he said. “Or we could go to your room, and I could fuck you like we both know you want, and then we could do that stuff afterwards.”
All the amusement was wiped off Clint’s face and replaced by a breathless, dark-eyed look that Bucky knew he’d be thinking about every time he got himself off for years.
“Oh god,” said Clint. “Yeah, come on.” He grabbed Bucky’s hand, apparently not realising it was the prosthetic, or not caring, and dragged him through the apartment to a flight of stairs up to a mezzanine.
Bucky didn’t take much of it in, too busy focusing on Clint, but he caught a glimpse of archery targets on the walls and a purple throw over the couch, and a dog bed in the corner that Lucky was watching them from with a resigned look.
The bedroom upstairs was mostly filled with the bed. Clint made to drop down onto it immediately, but Bucky kept hold of his hand, keeping him upright.
“You like taking orders,” he said, sounding things out because the kinda things that a guy found hot when it was someone talking to him from a distance weren’t always the things he wanted when it was live and in person.
“Yeah,” breathed Clint, and he stepped back towards Bucky, pausing in front of him and holding still. “Give me an order.”
Bucky couldn’t hold in a smile that might have come out as more of a smirk. Clint’s breath caught in his throat and, god, Bucky wanted to fuck him up so badly, wanted to have him spread out beneath him, breathless and gasping for more.
And he was finally going to get it.
“You’ll tell me if there’s anything you don’t want to do.”
“Definitely,” said Clint, nodding a few too many times. “I can’t imagine that there will be, I really want this, Bucky, you’ve got no idea. Just leave my aids alone, and we’ll be all good.”
Bucky nodded, then forced himself to take another step back, so he could take in Clint properly. As much as he wanted to just grab him and touch him all over, he wanted to make sure this was everything they’d both been thinking about, wanted to make it worth all the build-up.
“Shirt off,” he said. “Lemme see those abs I’ve been thinking about since I first saw you.”
Clint drew in a breath and pulled his t-shirt off immediately, chucking it aside so violently that it fell over the edge of the balcony. He looked just as hot in person as he always had on Instagram, and Bucky couldn’t stop himself from stepping in closer to run his hand over his shoulders, his chest, down over the lines of his abs, feeling the way Clint’s stomach quivered as he drew in another breath.
He wasn’t wearing a belt and his jeans sagged low over his hips. Bucky ran his hand along the edge of his waistband, then brushed his fingers back up along his happy trail. “You were right,” he said. “This is worth highlighting.”
Clint was pulling in short, sharp breaths, trembling under Bucky’s touch, but he didn’t move, he just held still and let Bucky run his hands all over him, feeling Clint’s warm skin under his right one, and using the left to grasp a little too tightly at his waist, to flick over his nipples until they were hard and flushed with arousal.
“Oh shit,” said Clint. “Bucky, please, you’re gonna let me touch you too, right?”
It took all Bucky’s willpower to pull his hands away so he could take off his own shirt, dumping it on the floor. He felt the usual twitch of self-consciousness over putting his prosthetic on display like that, and all the scars that went with it, but it wasn’t as if Clint hadn’t seen it all before in photos. He definitely didn’t seem put off by it, if the greedy way his eyes roved over Bucky’s body was anything to go by.
“Oh fuck,” muttered Clint, then carefully put a hand out, running it down the centre of Bucky’s chest. “God, you’re so fucking hot. I can’t believe sexy thighs guy is in my bedroom, shit.”
Bucky snorted with amusement. “I can’t believe I’m in hot abs guy’s bedroom,” he returned, then curled his hand around Clint’s neck, pulling him in for a kiss, pressing their bare chests together and shuddering at how good it felt to have that much contact.
“Shit, Bucky,” moaned Clint as they pulled apart and Bucky pushed him down to sit on the edge of the bed.
“You want to get your hands on my thighs?” he asked and Clint just nodded a few too many times, staring up at him. “Guess you better take my pants off, then.”
Clint’s hands immediately went to Bucky’s fly, unzipping and pushing his pants down. Bucky toed off his shoes and stepped out of them, then stripped his socks off as well, so he was just in his boxer briefs.
He’d been telling himself that there was no reason in hell to pick his tightest black underwear when he’d got dressed this morning, because there was no way Clint was going to see them, but he hadn’t been able to stop himself anyway. He’d told himself it was for confidence, but deep down, he’d kinda known they’d end up here.
“Bucky,” said Clint, and ran his hands down the lines of Bucky’s thighs. “Fuck, how are you so fucking hot? I kept telling myself it was photoshop but, nope, you’re just this sexy.”
Bucky snorted. “I have absolutely no idea how to use photoshop,” he said. “I didn’t even understand filters until a couple of months ago.” He sank his fingers into Clint’s hair and pulled his head back so he could bend down and kiss him again, because now that he could do that, he didn’t want to go more than a minute or two without feeling Clint’s lips against his.
Clint held on to the back of his thighs, then ran his hands up to Bucky’s ass, clutching hold as they kissed. When Bucky pulled away his chest was heaving with heavy breaths and he looked almost as wrecked as Bucky wanted him to be.
“Hey, sweetheart,” he said, stroking his thumb over Clint’s cheekbone. “How about you take off the rest of your clothes?”
“Fuck, yes,” muttered Clint, and he tore off his jeans and sneakers with desperate, shaking hands. He was wearing purple boxers that Bucky realised, with amusement, were the same shade as his facemask. He hadn’t realised he should be coordinating with his underwear.
Clint set his hands on the waistband of his boxers, then gave Bucky a hesitant look.
“Come on, show me all of it,” Bucky said. “Show me how hard you are for me.”
Clint let out a breath and pushed his boxers off, leaving himself stripped bare beneath Bucky’s eyes.
Shit, this was so much hotter than any of the photos or video calls they’d shared. Clint’s body was even more incredible in person, all long lines and thick muscle. His cock was hard enough to be pointing up towards his navel, and Bucky’s mouth watered to get to taste it.
Not just yet, though. Bucky was going to take his time. He pushed Clint’s legs apart and knelt between them so he could run his finger over the join between his thigh and his hip.
“No tan lines,” he said softly.
Clint let out a laugh. “Nope,” he agreed. “Gotta think about those naked selfies, right?”
“Sure,” agreed Bucky, running his hands over Clint’s stomach and then around to his back, taking in the shift of muscle as Clint looped his own arms around Bucky’s shoulders. “Been sending those to many guys?”
Clint actually tipped his head back with laughter. “Are you kidding? What the hell other guy would I bother with while you were flirting with me?”
Bucky had no idea how to react to that, so he just pulled Clint into another kiss instead, pressing in close enough to feel his cock against his stomach, hot and hard.
“I want to get my mouth on you,” he said, when they’d pulled apart. “All over you. Do you want that, sweetheart?”
“Oh fuck,” said Clint, “Yeah, yes please. God, Bucky, please.”
Bucky rewarded his enthusiasm with a kiss, then sat back on his heels. “Lay yourself out on the bed then,” he said. “Let me see you.”
Clint stared at him for a dazed split-second, then pulled himself back into the middle of the bed. The covers were a mess, so he kicked them off onto the floor before spreading himself out on the sheet, staring at Bucky with a look of wide-eyed arousal that made Bucky want to just take him apart.
And he was going to. He had all afternoon, and probably the evening as well, unless Clint had been dumb enough to make other plans. Bucky was going to take his time with him, now that he finally had him here, in front of him.
He crawled onto the bed after Clint, in between his legs where he could look down and take in all the long, tanned spread of his body.
“Arms above your head,” he said, and Clint moved them immediately, crossing his wrists over in a way that looked practiced. Bucky rewarded him by leaning forward and pressing a kiss to his lips. “I want you to just hold still and let me explore, okay sweetheart?” he said. “I’ve been staring at photos of you for so long, I want to get to touch everything I’ve been looking at, okay?”
“Fuck,” breathed out Clint, “Yes, Bucky, that’s- Please touch me.”
“Hold still for me, then,” said Bucky, and settled in to enjoy this. He started by kissing his way down Clint’s neck, lips lingering over his pulse point to suck a faint red mark. Clint was still breathing heavily and his skin was flushing with arousal, and it was maybe the hottest thing Bucky had ever seen. He couldn’t keep his hands from tracing over the curve of Clint’s shoulders, up as far as his biceps, and then holding on as he moved his mouth lower down, to Clint’s chest and the smattering of blond hair over it. He turned his head just enough to run the rough edge of his beard over Clint’s skin and Clint let out a faint noise, like a moan had been caught in his throat.
Bucky wanted to hear it again, as often as possible, so he scruffed his beard over Clint’s skin again, pulling another noise out of Clint, then closed his mouth over Clint’s nipple, giving a gentle suck before running his tongue over it.
The noises that pulled out of Clint were even better, but still swallowed down. Bucky raised his head to look at Clint’s face. His head was tipped back and his mouth was hanging open as he drew in deep breaths.
“I want to hear you,” he said. “Don’t stifle your pretty noises.”
Clint let out a long breath, then nodded. “Okay, yeah,” he said. “Okay. Just, please, Bucky, don’t...”
“Don’t what?” asked Bucky, grinning at him as he ran his hands back down Clint’s arms, over the way the muscles bulged from how tightly he was holding them in place, his hands clenched against the sheet.
“Don’t stop,” said Clint, meeting his eyes with a look of such desperation that Bucky felt his cock twitch.
He rewarded Clint’s honesty by bending back down to press his mouth to his other nipple, smoothing his hands over Clint’s chest and down his sides. Clint was pulling in fast, heavy breaths now and his erection was heavy and flushed red. Bucky worked his way down Clint’s body just as slowly as he could, ignoring the way Clint’s noises grew more and more desperate. He’d spent too long staring at photos of this body from almost every angle to not take his time enjoying it now.
He nipped at Clint’s abs, feeling the hard cord of muscle under his tongue and the way it leapt when Clint let out a cry at the sensation. He smoothed his hands over Clint’s hips and across his thighs, bracketing his cock for a moment as he drank in the sight of it, hard and straining, with one bead of pre-come slowly leaking out.
“You’re so pretty,” he said. “Fuck, Clint, so goddamn pretty. I can’t believe I get to see you like this.”
Clint let out a moan. “You can see me any damn way you want,” he said. “Bucky, fuck. Whatever you want.”
“Yeah?” asked Bucky, grinning at him. “Anything?” He ran his hands up the inside of Clint’s thighs, pausing just before he reached his dick.
Clint’s hips twitched upwards, clearly looking for friction. “Anything,” he repeated. “Please, Bucky. Anything.”
He sounded like he was being tortured, so Bucky took pity on him and leaned in to run the flat of his tongue all up the length of Clint’s cock, tasting the salt of the precome at the tip. Clint let out a groan loud enough to make Bucky wonder how thick the walls were.
Fuck it, they weren’t his neighbours and Clint didn’t seem to care. Bucky gave the tip of his cock a gentle suck, then sat back, ignoring Clint’s groan of frustration. “Turn over for me, sweetheart.”
Clint just stared at him for a long few seconds, blinking as if he needed to bring his brain back together to understand the words, then he shuffled over, keeping his hands up above his head.
“That’s good, sweetheart,” said Bucky, and Clint actually shuddered. It took Bucky a moment to take that in, but once he had he smiled. “You like that, sweetheart? You like being told how good you’re being for me?”
Clint twitched again. “Fuck,” Bucky heard him gasp into the sheets, and his smile widened. God, was there anything about this guy that wasn’t perfect?
He feasted his eyes on the lines of Clint’s back, the broad width of his shoulders narrowing down to his waist, and the gorgeous curve of his ass below that, then followed his eyes with his fingers and mouth, sucking soft kisses into his skin as he travelled down. Clint moaned under him, turning his head to look back at Bucky.
“Bucky, dude, are you trying to drive me completely nuts?” He was breathless, but still able to string a sentence together, which made Bucky think he had to try harder. “Cos, I gotta tell you, the virus and the lockdown already sent me most of the way there.”
Bucky snorted with amusement, sitting back on his heels to look down at him, but keeping his hand on Clint’s ass, stroking his thumb over the curve of it. “I spent a lot of time thinking about this. There’s a lot I want to do to you, sweetheart.”
Clint’s ass twitched under his hand and Bucky felt his grin widen.
“Okay, sure, me too,” said Clint. “Don’t think I’m not still thinking about your thighs. You said you’d fuck me though, and I really, really want that, shit, Bucky, so much, can’t some of the other stuff wait until next time?”
Next time. Bucky hadn’t fully let himself realise that they’d be able to do this again, as often as they liked.
Clint must have caught something on his face because he propped himself up on his arm, looking back at Bucky with a frown. “There will be a next time, right? I mean, I’m up for it and, uh.” He hesitated then added in a rush, “Kinda feels like there’s more here than just the kinda horniness that can be resolved in one night, you know?”
He sounded unsure in a way Bucky couldn’t stand to hear. For all that he was very aware of just how long it had been since he’d been in a relationship, not to mention all the junk he was still working through from losing his arm, he couldn’t let Clint go thinking that he was anything less than completely in for whatever Clint was willing to give him.
“Yeah, I do know,” he said, running his hand over Clint’s ass again. “Shit, Clint, I’m looking forward to it so much, you’ve got no idea.”
Clint relaxed back down against the bed, his smile turning wide and smug. “Then you’ve got no call to go on teasing me.”
“Alright, fine,” said Bucky, because it wasn’t like Clint was the only one that was being teased by this. “Please tell me you’ve got lube and condoms.”
“Definitely,” said Clint, pulling himself up to his knees so he could reach the nightstand. “You think I’d invite you back here if I didn’t have supplies? I’m not a masochist.”
He pulled open the drawer and rummaged for a moment while Bucky let himself take in the long stretch of his body. He was about to fuck this beautiful man. Jesus, how had his life got this good?
Clint pulled away and chucked a couple of condoms and a large bottle of lube on the bed, then shut the drawer and turned to sit down, giving Bucky a grin. “How do you want to do this then?”
Bucky picked up the lube and considered Clint carefully, taking in the unselfconscious way he sprawled back, putting his body on display, and the way his cock was still hard and flushed red, shining with precome.
“Just about every way we can,” he admitted. “But for now, let’s see about using some of that flexibility you’ve been showing off all over Instagram so I can see your face.”
He moved forward to take hold of Clint’s face in both his hands, kissing him until they were both breathless again. When he pulled away, Clint made a quiet noise of protest in his chest and Bucky smiled at him. “Come on, sweetheart,” he said, “lay yourself out for me.”
He got Clint arranged just how he wanted him, on his back with his knees pulled up and spread. He made the position look easy, as if he could stay in it for hours, and Bucky thought about keeping him like this, teasing him with his fingers and maybe a toy or two until he was shaking and desperate.
Not today though. Today Bucky didn’t have the patience for that.
“You know, you talk a lot about my thighs, but yours are pretty excellent too,” he said, running his hand over the line of Clint’s thigh muscles and down to his ass.
“I don’t think you realise just how next level yours-” said Clint, then broke off into a swear word as Bucky leant forward to lick up his erection, then suck it down, feeling the weight of it on his tongue and shutting his eyes for a moment to really get to focus on just how good it felt to finally be able to get his mouth on Clint like this.
“Ah, fuck,” muttered Clint as Bucky pulled off with a pop, grinning at him.
He reached for the lube, so grateful to have two working hands so he could squirt some out.
“You ready for this, sweetheart?” he asked.
Clint let out a breathy half-laugh. “Been ready for a while,” he said. “Come on, I’ve been wanting to get that cock in me since you sent that photo of you in the bath. Jesus, Bucky, you looked like some kinda Hollywood star doing a Playgirl special.”
Bucky cupped his prosthetic hand around one of Clint’s ass cheeks, and ran the fingers of his other hand down his crack to rest over his hole, gently massaging them in a little circle around the furl of Clint’s muscle. “This from the guy who did a shirtless pull up in a stable and put it on Instagram,” he pointed out as Clint sucked in a sharp breath, tightening his grip on his knees as he spread his legs wider apart.
“That was-” started Clint, then broke off as Bucky started pressing one finger inside him. “Fuck,” he groaned. “Fuck, Bucky.”
“You were saying?” asked Bucky, feeling his smile grow smug again.
“That photo was mostly about the horse,” said Clint in a fast burst, then pushed back against Bucky’s finger. “Come on, don’t go slow again, please.”
Bucky had no intention of going slow, not now he could feel how tight and hot Clint was. He leaned forward to suck at his cock again, pressing his finger in and out of him as Clint moaned.
“Oh god,” he gasped out. “Fuck, Bucky, you’re gonna kill me.”
“Don’t worry, sweetheart,” said Bucky, pressing back inside Clint with two fingers, “my intentions are strictly honourable. I’m just gonna make you feel real good.”
He got his mouth back around Clint’s cock because he really liked the eager, gasping noises that pulled out of Clint when he ran his tongue over the head of it, and the way he could feel it twitch inside his mouth when he sucked as much of it down as he could fit.
He kept opening Clint’s ass up at the same time, doing his best to coordinate the two things as Clint started muttering curse words interspersed with Bucky’s name.
He sat back when it felt like Clint was loose enough for a third finger though, partly so he could concentrate on pressing them inside Clint and making sure he wasn’t moving too quickly, but also so he could watch Clint’s face. He was pressing his head back into the mattress and staring up at the ceiling with a flushed, awestruck expression. His chest was heaving with heavy breaths and his stomach was tensed enough to really highlight the lines of his abs.
“Shit, sweetheart, you look so fucking hot,” said Bucky. “Jesus, can’t believe we’re here like this, that you’re just holding still and letting me do what I want. You’re being so good for me.”
Clint’s eyes darted down to meet Bucky’s and Bucky could see his pupils were wide and dark. “Bucky,” he said, brokenly. “Please, Bucky. Don’t make me wait any longer. Been waiting so long for you, months and months, I can’t wait any longer. Please.”
How the hell was Bucky meant to deny him anything when he asked for it in that tone of voice?
He pulled his fingers free and wiped them off on his briefs, then knelt up to pull them off with over-eager hands. It wasn’t the most graceful thing he’d ever done, but he was too eager to get inside Clint to really care. Clint wasn’t the only one who’d been waiting months for this.
He grabbed one of the condoms and opened the packet then rolled it down his dick, then glanced up to see Clint’s eyes riveted on it.
“Oh fuck,” he breathed when he realised Bucky was watching. “Fuck, Bucky, you’re so hot. Please, you gotta get inside me.”
“Yeah,” agreed Bucky, because this had all got too much, and he’d lost most of his words in the face of what Clint looked like, holding himself open for Bucky.
He crawled between Clint’s legs, bracing himself over him and leaning in to kiss him, deep and a little sloppy, both of them moaning as their erections slid together.
“Fuck,” muttered Clint. “Come on, come on, do it.”
“Impatient,” muttered Bucky, and pressed another swift kiss to his lips before moving down so he could press his cock against Clint’s hole.
Clint let out a long gasp, “Fuck, yeah,” and Bucky felt him relax into it as Bucky pushed inside him.
God, he felt so good. Bucky couldn’t keep in a groan as he steadily pressed inside until he was as deep inside him as he could get.
Clint let go of his knees so he could wrap his legs around Bucky’s waist, pressing up into his hips. “Ah, fuck, that’s it,” he babbled. “That’s it, that’s what I wanted, fuck.”
“Glad to be of service,” forced out Bucky, dropping his forehead to press against Clint’s shoulder before he pulled back out and thrust into Clint, feeling the whole length of their bodies pressed together, warm and sticky with sweat. Clint was making more of those amazing noises, clinging on to Bucky’s shoulders and pushing up into the rhythm he set as they moved together.
“Oh fuck, so good,” said Bucky, and ordinarily he’d be embarrassed by how his voice cracked, but he was concentrating too hard on how Clint felt under him. “Clint, god, you feel so good. You’re so good.”
“Oh Jesus,” said Clint with desperation, and he clung on tighter to Bucky, lifting his shoulders off the mattress, muscles flexing as he curled in so he could kiss Bucky, messy and eager.
Bucky kissed him back as well as he could while keeping up the steady pace between them, fucking into Clint until they were both gasping too much to be able to keep up the kiss and Clint dropped back onto the mattress, pushing his hips up instead and grasping blindly at Bucky’s biceps.
“Shit, I’m close,” he gasped. “Bucky, shit, Bucky, I’m so close, I just need-”
It was taking everything Bucky had to keep himself balanced on his arms, given that his balance on his prosthetic was never going to be as good as it had been with his real arm. He wasn’t going to be able to spare one to help Clint out, no matter how much he wanted to.
“Touch yourself for me,” he said. “C’mon, sweetheart, I wanna see you come for me, I want to see how pretty you look when you come.”
Clint groaned and let go of Bucky so he could wrap his hand around his erection between them, his eyes squeezing shut as he pulled on it.
“God, you’re so beautiful, you’re something else,” said Bucky, letting his mouth run without thinking about it too much. “God, none of those photos prepared me for how hot you are like this, can’t believe you’re letting me see this, so hot, Clint, you have no idea.”
It didn’t take long for Clint to come, his jaw going slack as he groaned and shot come between the two of them. His muscles all clenched tight for a moment and Bucky had to pause to catch his breath, staring down at how Clint looked in this moment. Fuck, there had to be some way to get a photo of this to go with all his others.
He thrust into Clint a couple more times, and that was all it took for him to come as well, gasping out Clint’s name as the sensation rushed through him.
“Ah, fuck,” said Clint, and pressed a hand to Bucky’s face. “Fuck, that was just as good as I’d been hoping. Better, even.”
Bucky let himself collapse down onto him, pushing his face into Clint’s neck. “Yeah,” he agreed, once he had his breath back enough to manage it. Clint ran his hand over Bucky’s hair, and Bucky just wanted to stay like this forever, as close to Clint as he could get, clinging on to him and feeling so fucking amazing he could barely believe it.
“Man, I’m so glad we already decided that we’re gonna do that again,” said Clint and Bucky snorted out a laugh, then reluctantly made himself pull away, out of Clint, so he could take the condom off.
“There’s a trashcan there,” said Clint, waving vaguely at the side of the bed as if he couldn’t be bothered to move any more than that. “And tissues in the nightstand,” he added, glancing down at the come on his stomach.
Bucky quite liked what his abs looked like with the evidence of what they’d just done spilled across them, but he could appreciate Clint not wanting to have come drying onto his skin. He threw away the condom and cleaned them both up as much as he could be bothered then chucked the tissues away as well.
And then he collapsed right back down against Clint, because that had been more than enough effort. Clint didn’t seem to mind if the happy humming sound he made as he wrapped an arm around Bucky and pulled him in close was anything to go by.
“We can just stay here for a bit, yeah?” he said, pressing a soft kiss to Bucky’s cheek. “No need to go running off?”
Bucky snorted. “My calendar wasn’t packed even before lockdown, and now this is pretty much the only thing I’m doing until September.”
“Yeah, I know how that feels,” said Clint. “What’s in September?”
Bucky shrugged. “Nat’s birthday,” he said. “She’s organised a weekend away for a few of us, but I guess we’re gonna have to wait and see if we’ll actually be able to go.”
“Huh,” said Clint, very quietly. “Did she hire a house in Cape Cod?”
Bucky blinked and then propped himself up to look down at Clint’s face. “How the fuck did you know that?”
“Shit,” said Clint, blinking at him. “That’s- Bucky. Your Nat is my Tasha. Natasha Romanov.”
Bucky felt his eyes widen. “Oh shit,” he said. “No way. That’s- No way.” He turned to scrabble for his jeans, pulling out his phone and then scrolling until he found a photo of Nat. He held it up to Clint, who let out a laugh.
“Yep, that’s her,” he said. “Shit, how the hell are we friends with the same person and only just worked it out?”
Bucky dropped back down onto the bed so he could wrap an arm around Clint. “She musta known,” he said. “She’s on Instagram, and I talked about you to her a couple of times.”
“Oh yeah,” said Clint. “She completely knew, but of course she didn’t say anything. You know she loves secrets.”
“She really does,” agreed Bucky. “Shit, she’s probably hoping we won’t work it out until we both turn up in Cape Cod.”
“Yeah, that wouldn’t surprise me,” said Clint. He turned to look at Bucky, intertwining their legs and taking hold of Bucky’s hand between their bodies. “Hey, uh. Think we’ll be sharing a room when we get there?”
Bucky looked at the hopeful look on his face and couldn’t keep himself from leaning in to kiss him. “I hope so,” he said, as his chest filled with a burst of affection. “I don’t- Clint. This is a big deal to me, I really like you. Not just because you’re unbelievably hot, but the rest of it too. I’m really hoping this lasts.”
Clint‘s face lit up and he kissed Bucky again. “Me too,” he said. “Yeah, I want that. I want you.”
The smile he gave Bucky was warm and soft, and he was still holding tight to Bucky's hand while the other one stroked over Bucky's hair, tucking it back behind his ear. He looked like he was feeling exactly what Bucky was right now, so he opened his mouth and let the words on the tip of his tongue fall out.
“I think I could fall in love with you.”
Clint just blinked at him for a moment and Bucky found himself holding still, catching his breath at the realisation that that was almost certainly too much for right now, on what was technically a first date, even if it did feel like the truest thing he’d ever said.
“Yeah,” said Clint softly, squeezing tighter at Bucky’s hand, and Bucky felt the warm bubble of relief pop in his chest even before Clint added, “Me too.”
He was giving Bucky that wide grin again, this one a little softer around the edges, and Bucky thought again about getting a photo of how he looked right now so he could hoard it with his others.
He didn’t need to, though. He didn’t need to rely on photos and video calls any more, because he’d get to see him live and in person from now on, often enough to not need reminders.
The thought, combined with how it already felt to hear that Clint was feeling all the same things Bucky was, was enough to push Bucky’s emotions right over into elation, and he couldn’t keep himself from rolling over, pushing Clint down underneath him to where he could settle in and kiss him like he meant it. He put all his emotions into the kiss, running his hand over Clint’s shoulder and back, trying to make it clear to him just how happy he was to have this.
From the way Clint wrapped his arms around Bucky’s waist and kissed him back, he had a feeling he’d gotten his message across.
From the smirking sunshine smiles Clint kept giving him in return, he wasn’t the only one feeling like they were floating on a cloud.
“I have to take Lucky out,” said Clint, once he’d gone through two cups of coffee quicker than Bucky had thought anyone could. “Do you want to come with, or are you going to get a start on your walk of shame?”
“No shame to have spent the night with someone as pretty as you,” said Bucky, which earned him a snort and an eye roll, but also a faint flush. He considered for a moment, thinking about the state of his clothes. He’d had a shower that morning, and his clothes had spent most of the previous day on Clint’s bedroom floor rather than being worn. “I’ll come with you,” he said. “Then head home after.”
“Awesome,” said Clint with a grin.
They both put pants and shoes on, but when Bucky had pulled his shirt on, he realised that Clint was already attaching the leash to Lucky’s collar without bothering.
“Do you just go shirtless everywhere?” he asked.
Clint gave him a shrug, sending his shoulder muscles rippling in a really distracting way. “Got your attention, didn’t it?” he asked.
Bucky did his best to keep his eyes on Clint’s face and not his abs. “And are there other joggers you’re hoping to impress?”
“Nope,” said Clint, “but I wanna keep you interested.” He winked at Bucky as he opened the front door. “I’ve kinda got plans I’d like you to be around for.”
Bucky snorted as he followed him out. “Yeah, I think you can guarantee I’ll be around for them,” he said, putting on his facemask as Clint locked up behind them, then taking Lucky’s leash so that Clint could do the same.
The park was fairly busy with people exercising or just lying out in the sun. Clint let Lucky off his leash then reached out to take Bucky’s hand, his face lit up with what looked like a wide grin behind his facemask. Bucky squeezed his hand and thought about going back home later today and being able to announce to Peggy and Steve that Abs Guy was his boyfriend now.
They’d probably both give him unimpressed looks and make sarcastic comments, but he knew they’d be happy for him under that. Besides, he wanted to show off to everyone that he’d got someone like Clint.
“Hey,” he said, squeezing Clint’s hand. “You gonna object if I take a selfie of us and put it on Instagram? I kinda want to show off my hot boyfriend.”
“Definitely not,” said Clint. “Holy shit, I can’t believe we haven’t already plastered our smug shirtless asses all over both our Insta accounts. What kinda social media-obsessed millennials are we?”
He pulled out his phone and Bucky moved in closer to him, slinging an arm around his shoulders for a selfie. Clint held his phone up, framing their faces for a moment, then dropped it without taking a photo. “Nope, too dull. We’ve spent months posting ridiculously flexible poses, we can’t just do something normal now.” He stopped and looked around at the park with a considering eye, then looked back at Bucky. “How strong is that arm?”
Bucky glanced down at his prosthetic. “Stronger than my other one.”
“Perfect,” said Clint, and led them over to the park gate, which was a large structure commemorating something-or-other. The gates themselves were in brick archways about five foot across. “You’ll need to take your shirt off,” Clint said to Bucky, toeing off his own shoes.
Bucky let out a sigh, but he stripped off his shirt without any questions because it felt like Clint had an artistic vision, and who was he to get in the way of that?
They had to rope a random stranger in to actually take the photo, and it took more strength from Bucky than he had really been expecting, not to mention Clint’s unexpected ability to climb right up brickwork like a monkey, but it came out pretty fantastic.
Bucky stood in the centre of the arch, shirtless and with his metal arm raised straight up above his head, holding up Clint’s hip. Clint was balanced at an angle between the two sides of the arch, lounging on Bucky’s hand like it was taking no effort at all to keep himself up there, his bare feet resting against the bricks on one side and one hand stretched out to brace himself against the other. His other hand was casually resting on his hip.
They’d both taken their masks off for the picture, and they looked so happy and at ease that Bucky almost didn’t recognise himself. Shit, when had he got that relaxed?
Probably around the third orgasm last night.
They posted it to both their Instagrams right there in the park, sitting side-by-side on a bench, although it took Bucky a few minutes to get the caption right.
This is for those asking how the new arm is doing. It’s doing pretty much perfect, as you can tell from me being able to hold up all 6’3 of this idiot and his many, many abs. And yeah, that is a brag, my boyfriend’s hotter than yours, deal with it. #OperationRobotArm #LockdownBoyfriends
He tagged Clint in it, then went straight to his Instagram to see how he’d captioned it.
Clint had been a bit blunter than Bucky.
Got back to NY and immediately got laid. Someone remind me why I ever left? #ShowingOff #HottestBoyfriendEver #JustLookAtHisThighs #HolyShit
“Jesus, Clint,” he said, hitting ‘like’ on the photo.
“What?” said Clint. “I basically seduced you over Insta, did you really think I wasn’t going to brag about finally getting to fuck you on there as well?”
“I guess not,” said Bucky, smiling down at the photo one last time, then tucking his phone away so he could smile at the real version of Clint instead. “Just tell me you’re not going to post about it every single time we fuck.”
Clint just shrugged. “I’m not gonna go making false promises this early in the relationship.”
“Jesus,” muttered Bucky, then wrapped an arm around his shoulder so he could pull him in for a kiss.