When the purple smoke cleared and he saw Sam stand in one piece against the backdrop of fading light and glittery rubble, when Bucky’s heart stopped trying to beat out of his eyes and ears and chest, he locked eyes with his boyfriend, and his eyes flickered down to log the damage done.
Bucky took a step forward, then fell to his knees when they failed to support him, as he laughed. And laughed and laughed and laughed.
Bucky couldn’t stop staring and grinning at Sam, who in contrast had a deep scowl on his face, arms crossed over his ches- breasts.
Earlier, as soon as they’d defeated the witch - who’d come from one of the Nine Realms (but, as Thor had loudly and defensively declared, “SHE IS NOT OF ASGARDIAN BLOOD.”) - and the smoke had faded and the light dimmed, Sam, who had been hit with the last spell as the witch had gone down in a blaze of self-righteous screams and vows for revenge, had emerged- a woman .
Oh, he was still Sam alright, with his cutting comments and no-bullshit-except-when-I’m-bullshitting-you attitude (and that glare, who could mistake that glare for anyone else's), but his facial features had softened and rounded out, his shoulders and waist had narrowed, and his hips had broadened.
Thor had consulted Loki, who had at first turned his nose up at their request for information, but Thor had frowned and quirked an eyebrow, and Loki had folded like a house of cards in the desert wind, and told them that the spell was temporary, but was unsure of how temporary. He’d also explained, to no one who asked, that the spell was probably a closing statement to Midgardians’ penchant for gender inequality.
So now that it had been ascertained Sam wouldn’t sustain any lasting harm - except to his ego , Bucky thought maniacally - Bucky was feeling like fate was finally in his favour for once.
Bucky tuned back in when he heard Steve nearing the end of the debrief. His best friend was shooting hesitant looks at Sam, who was still glaring straight ahead at a point above Fury’s shoulder.
“I went in to bring her down and her last spell ricocheted off my shield and hit Sam instead. Loki has checked and said the effects are not permanent, but couldn’t tell us when it’ll fade.”
Fury trained his single eye on Sam, who steadfastedly ignored the scrutiny. “Sam will be off missions until this thing goes away.”
At this, Sam blinked and finally spoke up. “What, no! I can still fight, I’m still me!”
Oh dear god, even his voice had tapered down into a light, lilting note. Bucky’s grin grew wider.
Fury put up a hand, then pressed it to the table to push himself up. “I need you at your optimum. The change in your body weight and mass will only compromise you. End of discussion.”
Sam pushed off his chair, ready to argue further, but Fury was already sweeping out of the room in a dramatic swirl of coat.
Everybody slowly made their way out of the room, giving Sam hesitant but sympathetic looks and pats on his back. Soon, it was just Sam, Bucky and Steve left in the room.
Steve stepped up to Sam, and the (wo)man looked up from glaring at the floor and grinding his teeth.
“I’m sorry, Sam. That shot was meant for me and I let you take it. I should have been more careful,” Steve started, raising an arm to grab Sam’s shoulder out of habit, but stopping halfway before letting his arm drop.
Sam frowned. “This is not on you, Steve. Besides, it’s not permanent, and I can finally learn how Nat does the shit she does, right?” Sam smiled reassuringly at Steve.
Steve stared at Sam, before Bucky saw red creeping up from his collar. Steve looked down and mumbled an excuse before bolting out of the room.
Sam could only blink in confusion. Bucky slinked up to press his chest against Sam’s slender back. His boyfriend had lost an inch or two in height, which was perfect. Sam had already threatened to smother Bucky in his sleep for his jokes about being a mere inch shorter than Bucky, and Bucky - who apparently had zero self-preservation - already had a whole new slew of jokes.
“What was that about?” Sam mumbled to Bucky.
“Oh, nothing,” Bucky said, bending forward and running his nose up Sam’s cooled skin. How the hell did he even manage to smell nice right now. “Just that he hasn’t had much luvin’ from a dame in a while.”
Sam sputtered, then turned in Bucky’s arms, indignantly pushing his stubbled face away.
“I. Am not. A girl,” he growled.
Bucky’s shit-eating grin felt permanently etched into his skin.
“Oh I can see that,” Bucky cooed, running a hand up Sam’s uniformed side from hip to chest, ending with his hand cupped around Sam’s left breast. “You are definitely not a girl.”
Sam just levelled Bucky with an unimpressed look.
Bucky’s grin didn’t diminish. He just leaned forward for a kiss, and Sam never was any good at denying Bucky in this. But when Bucky’s right hand trailed downward as his left hand slithered up to cup Sam’s right breast, he put both palms up - and holy shit did his new hands look small against the bulk of Bucky’s pecs - and pushed his boyfriend away.
“The fuck, Buck?”
Bucky’s eyes were twinkling. “Come on, babe, we could have fun with this while it lasts,” he leered, eyebrows wiggling. He stepped forward again to try and kiss Sam, but Sam turned his face away.
“Bucky- I am not a girl, and this is not my body!”
Bucky leaned back with a quirked eyebrow. “Yeah, I know, but you are still you. Right? And I will always want you.”
Sam paused, blinked twice at Bucky's words and matter-of-fact voice. That was... oddly sweet.
When Bucky sensed that Sam was caving in, he leaned forward to press another kiss to the underside of his jaw. Sam pushed him away again.
“At least bring me home, you bastard.”