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when tomorrow comes

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“I’m not flirting with your sister,” Bucky insists, yet again. Sam gives him a highly skeptical look. They’re down on the boat again, but not even pretending to work right then. Instead they’re sharing beers as evening turns into night. The docks are abandoned — it might be Sunday, but Bucky’s not really sure.  

It’s nothing like what Bucky can dimly remember from his youth, days he and Steve had stayed too long down near Coney Island, sun burnt and so goddamn young. The sky looks different, down here, and the water’s a different shade of blue, and the sticky moisture of the air doesn’t feel anything like the brick-baked heat of New York summers. 

And it doesn’t feel like ice, or the shivery heat of dethawing, or the dry, steady warmth of Wakanda. It’s something new, something he’s never felt before. 

Bucky didn’t know there could be new things, not after a hundred years of living. He glances at Sam out of the corner of his eyes, leaning back against the low wall of the boat, legs stretched out in front of him. He’s wearing a long sleeve shirt despite the sticky leftover heat, and it clings to his thick biceps and the little stomach that sits soft over his muscled frame. 

New things can be good, he thinks. New things can be sake instead of too warm beer, or waking up to bird song instead of the milk man’s noisy truck. 

But he doesn’t have patterns for new things, is the problem. So he just defaults to old patterns — bad patterns, clearly, ‘cause Sam isn’t Steve and he doesn’t know how to read it when Bucky talks to dames — women. 

No, Sam ain’t Steve, Bucky thinks with another peek out of the corner of his eyes. 

“Sure, sure. Look, man, you totally deserved to get laid, but not with my sister. There are some lines we don’t cross, huh?  Must have been the same back in the day, didn’t you have sisters? Would you have let Steve talk them up?”

Bucky rolls his eyes. No, Sam’s not Steve, but God, he’s nearly as stupid. Bucky’s doomed, clearly. He’s just gonna keep falling for idiots with shields. 

“Steve didn’t talk up my sisters,” he says because somewhere in between being frozen and tortured and brainwashed he clearly lost his ability to charm anyone who matters. He keeps the thought light as he can, managing it, containing it. 

But the truth leaks through: Bucky’s a goddamn wreck and Sam deserves better than him and as long as he knows that there’s no way to flirt with Sam. Sam deserves so much better than him. Bucky puts his beer down, listening to the clink of glass on old wood. 

“Of course he didn’t, man. Steve knew how it was. You’d have given him the beat down, huh?”

Bucky snorts. “Steve was queerer than a three dollar bill. That’s why he didn’t talk up my sisters.”

There’s an unexpected silence and when Bucky looks up Sam is staring at him. 

“What?” Bucky frowns, glancing behind him to see if there’s something deserving that look of shock on Sam’s face. 

“But — what — that whole thing with Peggy…?” 

Biting his lip, Bucky taps his metal thumb against his beer bottle. It doesn’t clink, because vibranium doesn’t allow for that sort of thing. “I mean, I don’t know how it works now, and it ain’t like Steve and I ever discussed it much, but she was pretty butch, y’know. I guess they both went both ways? Steve never much liked the rules, anyhow. But he sure wasn’t interested in any sort of typical dame — uh, lady, that’s for damn sure. Had plenty of boyfriends, though.”

There’s a thud as Sam lets his head thunk back against the edge of the boat. “Holy shit, how did I not know Captain America was queer.”

Shrugging at that, Bucky takes another long draw from his beer. He’s surprised Sam didn’t know. But then — Bucky hears things people say, even when there were people around who should have known better, and he wonders if anyone in this century really knew Steve Rogers at all. 

He thinks maybe that’s why Steve did what he did — 

But he doesn’t really know why and it doesn’t make any sort of sense to him and thinking about it only makes him hurt, so why bother thinking about it. 

“Shit,” Sam says into the evening, breath barely moving the soup-like air. It sounds a little wistful to Bucky, and he lifts an eyebrow. Another surprise for the night. 

He turns, looking at Sam properly. And yeah, there’s a sort of disappointed, regretful twist to his lips. 

“Wishing you’d made a move?” Bucky asks. 

“Well, hell, if I’d known it was an option, sure. But he knew I was bi, so he probably wasn’t interested.” 

Bucky thinks of the couple of times he’d seen them together and sincerely doubts that assertion. But he’s not sure what the point of saying so would be. Steve’s gone. There ain’t no point in dwelling on it, as far as Bucky can see. 

Sam sighs a little more gustily, dramatic and pointed. “So he and Peggy, huh…” he muses instead.

He shrugs again, looks away. Sam knocks his elbow against Bucky’s flesh arm. “Sorry,” he says, quick and easy, in that way he has. Bucky never known someone who apologized quite as easily as Sam. Most people Bucky knows are (were) stubborn as mules. 

“Still, it doesn’t give you an excuse to hit on my sister.”

Tired and a little mixed up from the meandering conversation, Bucky turns to face Sam head on. He thinks of Steve, dancing with men in secret bars while Bucky watched. He thinks of Steve, teasing Bucky til he was begging for it. 

He puts the thoughts aside. Steve’s not there anymore, but Bucky knows he’d want him to have this. Bucky had never begrudged Steve the other people he loved — Steve always had room in his heart for more. Bucky was more selfish than that, but he loved that Steve loved so freely. 

“Sam, I wasn’t hitting on your sister.” He says it clearly, meeting Sam’s eyes as steadily as he can manage, and hoping that Sam takes his meaning, because he really doesn’t know how else to get his point across. 

Sam’s eyes go slowly wide. He licks his lip where it’s beer damp, and sets his bottle down, thumb and index finger still loosely wrapped around the neck. 

“Oh?”

“I want her to like me,” Bucky says because he’s a chicken and if Steve were there he would say so, but Steve’s not there, and Bucky wants this. He’s allowed to have things that he wants. 

“That’s how it is, huh?” Sam muses, eyes dropping down to Bucky’s lips. 

Throat suddenly gone dry, Bucky struggles to find words, so he just nods. Sam hums, lets go of his beer. He gets up to his knees and moves a little closer. Bucky puts his beer down. His flesh hand is sweating and he tries to inconspicuously wipe it on his pants. 

Sam swings one leg over Bucky’s, straddling him. Bucky’s breath shudders out of him. 

“Goddamn, Sam. Your thighs.” Bucky puts his flesh hand on the side of one of them, thick and real beneath his palm. He squeezes a little and Sam grins. 

Sam’s got the kind of easy confidence that Bucky thinks he used to have — the kind of confidence that comes from knowing you’re good looking ‘cause you put some work into it, but not so much work you’re stressed about it. Bucky slides his hand up and back, grabbing a handful of Sam’s ass instead. It’s just as nice as his thighs — Bucky’s noticed that plenty, working on the boat. 

“I think we skipped a couple steps, man.”

Sam has really nice lips Bucky thinks from behind the buzz in his head as they kiss. He’s a good kisser too, using just the right amount of lip and tongue and tooth. Cautiously, because he’s not sure how Sam will react, he brings his metal hand into the mix. But Sam doesn’t react other than a pleased grunt and to shift a little closer, sliding those warm, broad hands under Bucky’s shirt. 

Bucky has not been touched like this in so goddamn long. He and Steve, a couple of times, but — 

It’s him and Sam now and Sam is heavy and real as he settles into Bucky’s lap, rucking his shirt up and kissing insistently. Bucky lets his hands drift up from Sam’s ass, sliding under his shirt and exploring all that smooth skin. 

“Mmm,” Sam says, by way of encouragement, and starts kissing down Bucky’s neck. 

Bucky vaguely loses track of time — if not spatial awareness and monitoring — in the pleasure of kissing and touching, and it’s not long before they’ve both lost their shirts. There’s a moment of insecurity, but the scars are better than they used to be, and Sam’s got his own scars — stories Bucky doesn’t know, and there’s a kind of thrill in that, that there’s so much they still have to learn about each other. 

Bucky rolls them over and Sam lets him, trusts Bucky enough to have him on top and in-control, doesn’t fight it at all, even though there’s hundreds of ways Bucky could hurt Sam like this and Sam must know that but Sam doesn’t care, just rolls his hips into Bucky’s. 

The hot, hard press of Sam’s erection awakens an urgency in Bucky and he starts kissing down Sam’s chest even as he unbuttons his pants and slides down the zipper. 

“You don’t waste any time, do you?” Sam teases. 

“Shut up,” Bucky grumps, because he really, really wants to get his mouth on Sam’s dick and he can’t think of a better come back. 

“Oh, very clever. Next you're going to start telling your momma jokes.”

“I have no idea why we’re talking about my momma when I could be sucking your dick, Wilson.”

That, at least, shuts Sam up for a couple moments while Bucky pushes his pants and underwear down. He leans into lick over the tip when Sam stops him with a gentle hand to the shoulder. 

“Condom?” he asks.

Bucky frowns. “I can’t catch anything. Can’t pass anything either.” 

“Always knew that serum had to be good for something,” and if the words catch at the end, like Sam’s just realizing what he’s saying, well, Bucky doesn’t say a goddamn thing about it. He puts his mouth to better use, sucking Sam like it’s his goddamn mission. 

Sam tastes salty and bitter on his tongue and Bucky feels ravenous for it, like he’s been wanting this for years, and hell, maybe he has been. Sam groans, sinking his fingers into Bucky’s hair. Not grabbing, not pushing, just there. 

Bucky pulls back. “C’mon, Sam, that all you got?”

“Oh hell no,” Sam bites back, but he’s smiling, and somewhere in the back of his mind, Bucky’s aware that he’s smiling too. He’s smiled a lot today. More than he has in a long time. Sam’s hands curl into his hair, tugging now, pulling Bucky back to his dick. 

Moaning with the pleasure of it, Bucky settles in, teasing lightly until the grip on his hair pulls so hard it smarts, and then sucking hard and fast. His hands find Sam’s hip, squeeze, then slide up his thick, muscled torso, taking pleasure in how real it all feels — Sam’s warm skin, the aborted movement of his hips, the slight pain where his hair is being pulled, the feeling of Sam’s dick, heavy and twitching on Bucky’s tongue. 

“Getting close,” Sam warns, because Sam’s an asshole, but he’s also a gentleman. Bucky kind of loves that about him. Bucky kind of loves a lot of things about Sam. 

He rubs a circle on Sam’s hip, realizes later Sam won’t know what it means, that it isn’t some universal thing that means come in my goddamn mouth, but it doesn’t seem to matter, because moments later, Sam’s breath is hitching, his hips are lifting in little jerks into Bucky’s mouth, and he’s spilling across Bucky’s tongue. 

Bucky swallows around him until Sam squirms underneath him and pushes him, saying, “Are you trying to suck my dick off, come on, man.”

So Bucky pulls away, licking his lips and breathless with pleasure. His dick presses painfully against his fly and he reaches down reflexively to adjust things. Sam doesn’t let him, batting his hand away and deftly undoing Bucky’s pants. Together they get Bucky’s pants shoved down to his knees and then Sam’s hand is on him, rough with calluses — familiar gun callus, unfamiliar texture elsewhere, from years of working on this boat and hauling fishing gear — and it feels so fucking good. 

“Fuck,” Bucky groans, moving into Sam’s grasp and reaching up for another kiss. “Faster.”

“Needy fucker aren’t you,” Sam teases again, but it’s friendly, and his kiss is welcoming and warm. Sam’s thumb sweeps over the tip of Bucky’s dick, collecting the pre-cum and spreading it down the shaft. 

“Shut up and —” the demand breaks off into a groan as Sam squeezes the base of his dick and his other hand finds his balls, rolling them gently. 

“Hmm? What was that?”

“Fuck you,” he swears as his hips thrust up into Sam’s grasp. “You talk way too much.”

“So do something about it.” And there’s no other response to that but to kiss Sam hard and fast, in time with the quick jerk of his hand. Sam’s voice falls into an incomprehensible groan and he jerks Bucky a little harder, a little faster, until Bucky’s spilling all over his hand. 

They roll away from each other in unison, lying on their backs. The planks of the boat are still warm, somehow, even though the sun’s well and truly set now. For a few minutes, they just lie there, panting. Bucky stares up at the star-speckled sky — not the same arrangements as Brooklyn, or Wakanda, or fucking Nazi Germany, but still the same goddamn stars. 

He stretches his hand out, letting his pinky rest against the naked skin of Sam’s thigh. Sam’s hand finds his, gives it a little squeeze, and neither of them say any of the shit they could say to make the moment a little lighter. 

They get a few more moments before Sam groans and heaves himself up, “C’mon man, we gotta get dressed and hose down the deck. Last time Sarah caught me having sex on this boat she made me take all the chores for a month.”

Bucky closes his eyes and laughs. He keeps laughing even as Sam nudges his foot into his ribs and starts calling him names. Doesn’t matter — he can hear the affection in Sam’s voice, knows tomorrow will bring new problems, but might bring more of this too and for the first time in a long time, tomorrow doesn’t feel so goddamn hopeless.