“This is nice”, Bucky sighed, leaning back on the dock of the boat he and Sam and mostly Sarah had almost finished fixing up. Sam didn’t have time to hum in agreement before a bolt loosened and fell to the ground, with infuriatingly perfect comedic timing. “I still think it’s nice,” Bucky muttered, picking up the bolt and putting it in his pocket to be dealt with later. Right now he was drinking beer with Sam and watching the sunset and had no intention of interrupting that.
“Yeah, it is,” Sam agreed. He turned towards Bucky, stared at his profile, painted gold by the last rays of sun. “You know, you really didn’t have to help.”
Bucky rolled his eyes, taking a sip of his beer. “Samuel, you’re a smart man. You should have understood by now that I did this because I wanted to.”
Sam looked away from Bucky again. He couldn’t stare for too long or—well, he simply didn’t trust himself.
“To get with my sister?” he tried to joke, “Because I told you—”
“Quit that,” Bucky grumbled, “that’s not funny.”
“Lighten up, man.” Sam bumped his shoulder against Bucky’s and rolled his eyes when his… whatever-they-were’s frown didn’t falter. “I’m just sayin’, you were all flirty and smiley and shit.”
“I wasn’t flirting. I was smiling, yes,” Bucky admitted, “I was taught that makes you seem polite and likable.”
“So you wanted her to like you.” (Why did that sorta sting?)
“Of course I wanted her to like me.” Sam quirked an eyebrow. Bucky rolled his eyes again. “She’s your sister,” he added.
“Yeah, which is why you can’t date her,” Sam warned him again.
“I don’t—” Bucky sighed and took another sip of his beer, then mumbled something Sam could only barely make out.
“She’s not the Wilson sibling I like.”
Well, that couldn’t be right.
“What’d you say?”
“Buck, you just said something.”
“If I did then you heard it and there’s no need for me to repeat it.”
“Man, you’re like a kid!” Sam exclaimed in frustration, “No I didn’t hear it, you were fuckin’ whispering!”
“Okay, fine!” Bucky responded, the annoyance in his voice mirroring Sam’s own, “I said she is not the Wilson sibling I like. Not like that. You are.” He sighed, the hand he had been wagging dropping back into his lap, promptly followed by his gaze. “I like you, Sam,” he said, all the irritation in his voice gone—he was almost whispering now and he sounded… scared. Like Sam would get up and leave or something—which, okay, Sam could understand why Bucky would be afraid of that. But he wasn’t going to leave.
He moved—barely, but he moved, and Bucky flinched, as if bracing for the inevitable abandonment. Instead, Sam placed a hand on his thigh, squeezed it for a second, tried to think of the right words to say.
He didn’t find them.
“You like me?” he stammered instead.
“Sorry,” Bucky replied.
“That was a yes-or-no question, Buck,” Sam said, a weak attempt at cheering him up, at lightening the mood, at cutting this weird tension he’d inadvertently created.
“Yes,” Bucky replied, “sorry.”
“Stop apologizing.” Bucky bit the inside of his cheek, still staring at his own lap—man, he was holding back another sorry, wasn’t he? “And would you look at me?” Sam sighed, and pushed every harsh note out of his voice. “Please,” he said softly, “Buck, look at me.”
Bucky did. Slowly, he turned towards Sam and even more slowly, Bucky’s eyes found his.
“You don’t like Sarah like that,” he summarised, “but you wanted her to like you.” Bucky nodded. “Because you do like me. Like that.” Bucky nodded again. “As in… you know datey-sexy-coupley like that.”
“I hate the way you put it, but yes,” Bucky replied, starting to relax a little.
“Shut up. You sprung this shit on me, I wasn’t ready.” Bucky tensed up again. “But I mean—shit, Buck, why’d you think I was so against the idea of you dating my sister?”
“You don’t want a metal-armed assassin at your family dinners?” Bucky guessed.
“I prefer the term metal-armed hunk,” Sam corrected him, “and I would like him to be at my family dinners, just like he was last night.”
“Thought it was a one time thing,” Bucky muttered.
“Doesn’t have to be.”
Bucky’s eyes widened. “Wait, did you call me a hunk?”
Sam rolled his eyes. Damn, Bucky got him doing that a lot. “I think I also implied I wanted you to be a part of my family but fine, focus on that.”
Bucky grinned. “I think I will. Samuel Wilson, are you attracted to me?”
“You’re an asshole,” Sam laughed.
“That’s not an answer.”
“Yeah, man, I’m attracted to you.”
“Datey-sexy-coupley attracted?” Bucky asked, his grin growing bigger and bigger by the second.
“We don’t need to relive that sentence,” Sam grumbled, “but yes.”
“So y—” Sam put a hand over Bucky’s mouth. Bucky whined, but did nothing to remove it.
“Bucky. You are going to shut the hell up now,” Sam said, voice low and commanding, “and I am going to kiss you. Sound good?” Bucky nodded, perhaps a little too eager—no, who was he kidding? There was no such thing as too eager when Sam Wilson was asking to kiss you in the most attractive voice you’d heard in your century long lifetime.
“Good,” Sam smirked, and finally took his hand off Bucky’s mouth. They lunged forward at the same time, meeting in an almost desperately passionate kiss, Bucky’s hand hooked behind Sam’s neck, one of Sam’s hand tangling in Bucky’s hair and the other—Bucky’s breath hitched as Sam’s other hand found his vibranium one, tentatively threading their fingers together. He had to pull back then.
“Did I do something wrong?” Sam asked, as Bucky tried to catch his breath.
“No, I just—” he looked at their hands and Sam followed his gaze “—I don’t think I’ve been touched so… tenderly before. And not—you know.” Not there. Not on the worst part of me.
Sam smiled, he smiled so sweetly that Bucky thought he might die. He rested his forehead against Bucky’s and stroked his cheek gently, so gently that Bucky thought he definitely would.
“I think you’re gonna have to get used to it, Buck,” he whispered.
Bucky covered Sam’s hand with his own, and squeezed the other with his vibranium one, carefully, delicately.
“I think I can work with that,” he whispered back.