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If looks could kill, Joaquin would be dead by now because of the way Sergeant Barnes keeps throwing daggers his way with his eyes. He isn’t sure what he did to warrant that but he figures it might have something to do with Sam because every time Joaquin so much as looks his way, Sergeant Barnes’s hackles come out. Joaquin would rather not get clawed so he decides to set the record straight.

“Sergeant Barnes...” he says one day as the three of them have lunch. Joaquin sits on one side while the other two men sit on the other side, facing him.

The Sergeant looks up from his Chicken Katsu and narrows his eyes at him. “What?” He asks, a little harsher than necessary. He lets out a yelp not even a second later and sends a glare in Sam’s direction.

“Look... I’m just gonna come out and say it...” Joaquin sits up straight. Sam looks at him concerned while Sergeant Barnes just looks like he wants to hit him. “I know that the two of you are together so you don’t have to worry about me hitting on Sam.”

Sam all but chokes on his rice, letting out a loud cough that makes Joaquin quickly pick up the bottle of water and offer it to him.

Sergeant Barnes, on the other hand, looks at him with a deer caught in headlights look; something Joaquin never expected to see from him. “What—“ he clears his throat, “What are you talking about?”

Joaquin sighs. He wants to kick himself in the head for starting this conversation because now he would very much like to get out of it. “You two make a wonderful couple and I would never even think about coming in the middle of that so you can stop glaring at me every time Sam and I talk.”

“I don’t glare at you!”

“That’s the part you felt the need to correct him on,” Sam chimes in when he stops coughing.

Joaquin had no idea what they were on about.

“We’re not a couple, Joaquin,” Sam tells him.

Joaquin blinks at the two of them before he bursts out laughing. “You two are funny!”

“I’m not kidding. Bucky and I are not dating.”

The serious look on Sam’s face makes the laughter die down on Joaquin’s lips. “You’re really not dating?” Joaquin asks more to himself than the two of them. How could this be possible? The lingering touches between the two of them, the longing looks... they even fought like an old married couple. How were they not a couple? It didn’t make any sense.

“No!” Barnes replies, sounding grumpy.

There is something in his eyes and Joaquin knows exactly what that look is. He knows it’s probably not a good idea to poke the bear but he likes to live dangerously. “So... if you’re not dating then does that mean, Sam, you’re single?”

There is sudden shift in the air as Barnes’s hand tightens around his plastic fork and he narrows his eyes at Joaquin once again.

“Yes?” Sam answers unsurely

Joaquin should probably stop but he continues anyway. “So... can I ask you out?”

“You little shit!” Barnes lunges forward but Joaquin is quick on his feet and he is out of his seat before Barnes can grab him.

“Bucky! No!” Sam pulls at Barnes’s arm, forcing him to sit back down on his seat. “What is the matter with you, man?”

“You can’t date him!” Barnes replies

“Why the hell not?” Sam asks. “It’s none of your business who I date or don’t date.”

“It is my business because I want to date you!” Barnes practically shouts causing everyone around them to look at them.

“What?” Sam sounds shocked

“I want to date you, Sam,” Barnes repeats himself. “So you can’t date that little punk!”

Joaquin tries to not take offense at that.

“Well, I want to date you, too,” Sam admits

And just like that, Joaquin’s work here was done.