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i breathe in, i breathe out, i just breathe

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Bucky licked his lips as Sam approached him, seemingly finally done with his training for the day. He was wearing a tank top, his arms and neck glistening with sweat and those goddamn shorts showing off his thighs.

“Jesus Christ,” Bucky grunted in lieu of a greeting when Sam finally reached him.

“It’s Sam, actually,” the asshole playfully replied.

Bucky raised his hand towards Sam, but retracted it quickly. Sam frowned. “You make training look like a goddamn art,” he said instead, keeping his hands to himself.

“I know certain jocks who would argue that it is,” Sam replied. He grabbed Bucky’s hand—not his flesh one, his vibranium one. He always did that. No one else ever wanted to touch that. God, it drove Bucky insane, the way Sam—the way he loved him. Maybe. He wasn’t sure, he’d never said it, but that was what it felt like to Bucky.

“Yeah, it isn’t,” he countered, “it’s sweaty and gross. But when you do it it’s, you know, still sweaty but in a holy shit, I want to lick the sweat off his neck kinda way.”

Sam took a sharp breath in. “You’re not gonna lick me, Barnes.” Bucky pouted and Sam gestured wildly behind him. “My nephews are right there!”

Bucky glanced back at the boys sitting on the porch, raised his free hand to wave at them, then turned back to Sam. “I’m just letting you know,” he muttered with a shrug.

“Good to know,” Sam replied, “filed away for future reference.” He grinned. “So you like watching me work out, huh?”

“I can’t stand you,” Bucky grumbled.

“I know for a fact you like me,” Sam bit back, a stupid fucking smirk on his face. God, Bucky wanted to kiss it off.

“Yeah, well, you like me too, so…” Bucky mumbled. His gaze trailed from Sam’s glinting eyes to his mischievous smirk, to his neck, his arms—holy shit, was Bucky dating an actual god? Thor was a god and he didn’t even look this good. Wait was he dating him? They’d never said they were dating.

Sam snapped his fingers before Bucky’s eyes, interrupting his trainwreck of thoughts. “Buck? You with me, pretty boy?”

He blinked back to reality, slowly. The incredibly attractive and tender reality that was smiling at him, so caring and soft. “Yeah, I’m good, I was just—” he frowned “—wait, did you just call me pretty boy?”

Sam shrugged. “I call it like I see it, man.”

Bucky gasped and wagged his finger, trying to seem affronted. “Never in my it’s-impolite-to-ask-how-many years of life have I been so—”

“Incredibly turned on?” Sam asked with a wink.

Bucky dropped his hand with a sigh. “Actually, yes. But your nephews are right there so I, like a true gentleman, am going to—” he inhaled deeply and removed his hand from Sam’s grasp. Sam pouted a little. Adorable. “—reel it in and be extremely family friendly.”

“Good boy,” Sam crooned, shooting him another wink and patting him on the head like an obedient puppy before starting to walk towards the house.

“I hate you,” Bucky unconvincingly called after him, following closely behind.

God, he loved him.


***


They had lunch with the Wilson family and Bucky was all smiles and laughs and that undeniable charm even Sarah could barely resist. He helped clean up afterwards, until he was dragged away by Cass and AJ, so Sam and Sarah finished washing the dishes on their own, a fond smile on Sam’s face as he heard them play outside, a smug one on Sarah’s as she watched her brother.

She poured them mugs of coffee once they were done and they stepped outside too, watched as AJ and Cass stared at Bucky’s arm, fascinated as he told them about the wonders of Wakandan tech.

“He’s good,” Sarah commented, “they really like him.”

Sam silently nodded. So do I.

“What’s going on with you two?” she asked then, “Don’t think I haven’t seen all those soft looks and lip-bites.”

Sam sighed. They hadn’t been hiding it exactly, they’d just been avoiding any PDA in front of anyone else, almost subconsciously. They hadn’t given this… thing they had a name yet, for now it was just theirs, and it was beautiful. But Sarah was asking, and Sam had learned better than to lie to his sister.

“We kissed a couple weeks ago,” he replied, “on the boat. You know how it is, sunset, a little beer, a hundred-year-old, somehow irresistible man staring at you…”

“Mhm, sure, we’ve all had that same exact experience,” Sarah said with a chuckle.

Sam laughed, then continued, “We’ve been, y’know… together, I guess. We haven’t said it, but we’ve been… kissing, holding hands, doing—” he looked down at his feet, awkwardly cleared his throat “—other stuff.”

Sarah was silent for a moment too long, so he looked back up and saw her so obviously trying to stifle a laugh. “You’re such an ass,” he said, starting to laugh despite himself.

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” She raised her hands apologetically, now laughing freely, “God, you’re just so—you’re kind of an idiot.”

Sam took a long sip of his coffee and muttered, “Don’t I know that.”

Sarah looked at him for a moment, then threaded her arm through his and rested her head on his shoulder. “This is good, you know,” she said softly, “you’ve both been looking happier and… calmer. You’ve looked so tense for years, Sam, like, my damn back hurt just from looking at how tight your shoulders always were—” Sam laughed at that “—and now you look like you’re breathing a little easier, so… you know I gotta support that.”

Sam smiled. She was right, he had been breathing easier and he thought maybe Bucky had too.

“I love you, you know?” he said, pressing a kiss to the top of Sarah’s head, “I really love you.”

“I know,” she said smugly, “I love you right back, you dick.”

A loud yelp from Bucky interrupted their moment and both their heads shot up to look at where he’d just been playfully pushed to the ground by the boys.

“Alright, kids,” Sarah loudly caught their attention, “let Uncle Bucky rest, come bother your mama instead.”

Sam raised an eyebrow as the kids enthusiastically ran towards her. “Uncle Bucky?” he mouthed.

“I’m trying it out,” she said and mouthed it again, bringing a hand to her throat as if carefully studying the words. “Mh, feels good,” she concluded, then shot him a wink before heading back inside with the kids.

He shook his head with a quiet chuckle, then raised his eyes to see Bucky slowly walking towards him with a sheepish smile.

“Coffee?” he asked, pointing at the mug Sam was holding.

Sam nodded and handed it to him. “It’s black,” he warned him. Bucky quirked an eyebrow. “I know you like it with a little milk,” Sam clarified.

Bucky took a deep breath in, closing his eyes, and Sam worried he’d done something wrong. He was pretty certain that Bucky did take his coffee like that, man. Bucky set the mug down on the porch (carefully, he still didn’t want to upset Sarah) then hastily grabbed Sam’s face with both hands and pulled him into a kiss. Sam gasped, taking only a second to get with the program and put one hand on Bucky’s waist, the other in his hair, then he parted his lips slightly and happily (enthusiastically, even) allowed Bucky to deepen the kiss.

When they finally pulled apart, Sam didn’t even attempt to hide how breathless he was. “I’m not complaining,” he managed to get out, “but what was that for?”

Bucky bit his lip, cupped Sam’s cheek sweetly, and as Sam leaned into the touch he noticed Bucky looked slightly teary-eyed.

“You remember how I like my coffee,” he whispered, sounding even more breathless than Sam felt.

Oh.

Sam swallowed around a knot in his throat and pulled Bucky into a hug, fierce and loving. “Oh, baby,” he breathed, tangling his fingers in Bucky’s hair, stroking gently, earning a pleased sigh from him.

A sound came from inside the house, startling him, and he disentangled them (prompting a barely muted whine from Bucky) and quickly grabbed Bucky’s hand to lead him a little further down, in a more secluded spot. He guided Bucky to sit on that tree stump Sarah thought gave the backyard character and knelt down in front of him. He rested his forehead against Bucky’s, ran his hands over his arms a few times, finally settled on delicately cradling his head with one, holding his vibranium hand with the other.

“Of course I remember how you like your coffee,” he muttered. He pressed a kiss to Bucky’s lips. “I also know you like scrambled eggs a weird amount and sometimes put a little tomato sauce in them, which is just crazy.”

“It adds flavour,” Bucky said, with a sound somewhere between a chuckle and a sob.

“Yeah, whatever you say, weirdo,” Sam teased. He pecked Bucky’s lips again and, lowering his voice, continued, “I know your favorite beer is Peroni, which is not easy to find in the US, asshole.” Bucky chuckle-sobbed again. Sam gave him another kiss, this time on his cheek. “I know you say you don’t like tea, but you actually really like that orange and cinnamon one Sarah has.” A kiss on his other cheek. “I know a lot about you, Buck—” a kiss on his nose “—and what I don’t know I can’t wait to find out—” and back to his lips “—okay?”

“Okay,” Bucky repeated, quiet and trembling. “Fuck, Sam, you’re too good—”

“Finish that sentence and I’ll kick your ass,” Sam said sternly. He grabbed Bucky’s head with both hands, forcing him to look him in the eyes. “You deserve to be loved, you fucking idiot.”

“How can you be so sweet and so mean at the same time?” Bucky asked.

“It’s a talent,” Sam laughed. Bucky started to laugh too and then—their laughter stopped abruptly. Sam dropped his hands to his sides. His eyes widened. Bucky’s mouth fell open.

“Wait, did you—” he stammered, weakly poking Sam’s chest with his finger, “did you just—”

Sam sighed deeply and ran a hand over his face. “Yeah, I think I just told you I love you.”

“And did you—”

“I meant it. I didn’t mean to say it two weeks in, or like that, or you know, before we even had the whole—” he waved his hands vaguely “—what-are-we talk but yeah, Buck, I meant it.”

Bucky flung his arms around Sam’s neck and Sam held him tightly in return. “Say it again?” he pleaded, breathy and low, and fuck, how could Sam do anything but everything Bucky wanted him to?

He leaned back, but still held onto Bucky and stared into his eyes. “I love you,” he whispered.

Bucky tugged on Sam’s shirt and drew him into a messy kiss. “I love you too,” he said, lips still on Sam’s, never wanting to leave them. He kissed him more, until he started to laugh, happy, ecstatic, finally understanding the phrase walking on air. “I love you,” he repeated. His cheeks hurt from how big he was smiling. He loved it. He loved him.

Sam pulled him in again, and they kissed and laughed until they couldn’t breathe anymore. They rested their foreheads against each other, wide, lovesick grins on both their faces and Sam asked, “So what are we? Partners?”

“Coworkers,” Bucky teased, then placed a swift, gentle kiss to Sam’s lips.

“But—” Sam twirled a strand of Bucky’s hair with his fingers “—we’re also a couple of guys with a mutual feeling.” Bucky laughed, leant down to kiss Sam’s neck. “And that feeling is love,” Sam continued, now a little more breathless.

“So we’re a couple,” Bucky breathed. The words felt amazing on his tongue, the words felt amazing against Sam’s skin.

Sam grinned, using a finger to tilt Bucky’s head back up. He couldn’t help but place a quick kiss to his lips before saying, “Yeah, I can live with that.”

“Perfect.” Bucky pulled him into another kiss—tender, slow, like they had all the time in the world, together.

Maybe they did. He really hoped they did.

“Perfect,” he whispered again between kisses, “you’re perfect.”