He gave Tony a beat of warning and a smirk before throwing his genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist dance partner out and then spinning him back in. Tony laughed the entire way, even as it meant a crash landing back into his chest. He absorbed the blow and kept Tony pinned tight, continuing to sway in an approximation of a dance.
Tony turned his head just enough to peer up, his smile wide. “You’re being quite the charmer tonight.”
“Is it working?”
Relaxing back into him, Tony hummed. “You don’t have to try so hard.”
He brought his lips next to Tony’s ear, and it was habit and curiosity that had him surveying the crowd for anyone watching. It was a small party by Tony’s standards, Avengers and associated, but big enough by his. Private enough he was emboldened, but not too private everyone was looking. They’d gotten a few eyebrow raises when he’d led Tony out onto the dance floor, a few giggles with the spin, but now they were down to one person staring.
He met Steve’s gaze across the room and didn’t flinch. “I want to,” he whispered.
They stepped together, side to side, as the song continued. Some crooner he recognized only because Natasha had it on her playlist when she’d made him practice some steps, because she was always a step ahead.
It had been a long time since he danced, and he remembered why he liked it. Moving and music, where enjoyment made up for lack of skill and there were plenty of excuses to hold someone close.
Like Tony, pressed up along his front and showing no desire to move. The only partner he’d been interested in dancing with this century, at least that he remembered, even if that meant he’d catch a heartbroken lecture from Steve later.
It wasn’t his fault that Steve and Tony had broken up, but that didn’t mean he wouldn’t use the opportunity. He had the patience of a sniper but knew when to take his shot.
“Careful, Snowflake. There’s only so much of your seduction the world can take.”
“Only care how much you can take.”
He wished he could see Tony’s full smile, but he only caught a glimpse of the edge of it.
“Don’t worry about me. I can take it all, but really I’m a giver. You just worry about yourself.”
“I’ll take whatever you’ll give,” he whispered, too sincere for the proper tease.
But Tony only softened against him, head twisting to give him a warm and promising look. “You should have higher standards. Been around the block a few too many times. I’m sure you’ve heard the stories.”
He licked his lips. He knew Tony meant more than what he said. If this was about Steve, though, then he wasn’t about to back down. He meant what he’d said - he’d take whatever Tony was willing to give. He just hoped that meant more than friends.
“I don’t care about that.” And to prove it, he turned Tony in his arms and leaned down. Slow, slow enough for Tony to pull away or dodge or laugh, he asked for a kiss.
Tony gave it to him, soft and sweet and tentative. A first, in what he desperately hoped would be many, as he cupped Tony’s face and held on as his heart raced.
“Find me after,” Tony whispered as he pulled back, eyes dark and warm and a touch of worry. “If you want. No worries if you change your mind.”
Before he could assure Tony that he wouldn’t, Tony had slipped from his arms and was gone, reabsorbed back into the group that was Rhodey and Sam and Natasha.
He’d made it five steps before Steve found him.
He kept walking because that wasn’t him. Or at least not all of him. He was James and Bucky and Winter and Yasha, all of them at once. Or maybe only in a series, switching between them smoothly enough now that even he didn’t realize the change. He didn’t know, and he didn’t care. He was just him and everyone else met him as he was. He just tried not to speak Russian unless it was someone who couldn’t speak it back.
But Steve only saw Bucky, and only wanted Bucky, and he wasn’t only Bucky anymore.
“What was that?” Steve asked, dogging his footsteps.
“Dancing.” He headed for the drinks, because he thought he’d need one after this conversation was done.
“And the kiss?” Steve’s voice went soft and hurt. “Do you - are you really - you know that Tony and I -”
He stopped his stride and stared at Steve, waiting for him to finish.
“We were together,” Steve tossed out. “You can’t, or you shouldn’t -”
“But I am.” He smirked, just a little. Couldn’t help it as his lips twitched. “Tony is amazing. And irresistible. I want as much as he’ll let me have.”
“Bucky,” Steve said, scandalized. “Please, you know I’m trying to win him back.”
“Let me know how that works out for you,” he said and then he moved. Steve could be just as fast, but he was the one who knew how to use his speed to get out of the line of sight and disappear in a crowd.
He popped up at Tony’s elbow, who was surprised to see him. He’d seen Tony intentionally not watching him and Steve, which made him angry because Tony thought he’d let Steve talk him out of this. But now the blossoming hope on Tony’s face wiped that all away, and he drank in how Tony turned to him. Like Tony’s attention alone would feed him.
He hadn’t gotten that drink, but now he didn’t need it.
“Is this long enough after, or should I come back?” he murmured.
“Now is good. I’ve got a quiet corner with our names on it tucked around here somewhere, if you want to help me find it.” Tony’s promising smile was everything.
“My pleasure,” he purred.