“This is not music,” Steve Rogers announces. Not that anyone hears him; they’re all too busy going deaf from this godawful noise the lanky DJ is making. The tool doesn’t seem to have any idea what he’s doing, just pressing random buttons and bobbing his head to whatever screechy sound that comes from the speakers.
Steve looks over at his best friends, ready to beg to get the hell out of here if need be, but can immediately tell it’s not going to work.
Generally speaking, clubbing isn’t Sam, Natasha, or Steve’s idea of fun. But tonight, they're all making an exception. Sam because he's finally going to meet that guy he's been talking to online; Nat to conduct an experiment for her Gender Studies class; and Steve…
Yeah, Steve has no clue why he's here.
Be supportive, he chides himself. It's for science and true love.
Still, he can’t help but smile when he catches sight of Sam. The internet guy had shown up about five minutes ago, and… wow. Steve had wanted to give his friend a thumbs up, but Sam had been too busy making heart eyes at his date.
As for Nat…
He almost feels sorry for the guy she’s flirting with. With her coy smile, and her fluttering lashes, the dude bro doesn’t stand a chance. Seemingly on cue, frat boy asks Natasha if he can buy her a drink.
Hook, line, and sucker.
Shaking his head, Bucky tries to get the bartender’s attention but, lacking the requisite boobs, gets flat out ignored. The goateed twerp walks right by Steve, and over to some cute girl with glasses.
Just as Steve’s preparing to try again, he feels someone bumping into his elbow. He ignores it--this place is so friggin’ crowded, it’s damn near impossible not to knock into someone--but it happens a second time, and then a third.
It’s starting to piss him off.
The fourth time it happens, and Steve’s starting to see red. Looking over his shoulder to snap at whoever it is, Steve’s mouth abruptly goes dry. Instead of finding some muscled meathead demanding more space for his unnecessarily huge biceps, Steve’s confronted by a wide, friendly smile and sparkling eyes. Stubble shades the man’s jaw, and his long hair is pulled back in a ridiculous man bun.
He’s staring, and he doesn’t even care.
“Hi,” the guy says, still smiling.
“Uh, hi,” Steve says faintly. Then, unable to think of a reason for why this man’s talking to him, he raises his voice to be heard, “D’you want me to move?”
“What? No.” The stranger gives him a quizzical look, but he’s still smiling. It does something weird to Steve’s insides. “I wanted to ask you if I could get you a drink.”
Steve doesn’t know what the hell to say to that. Feeling tongue-tied and awkward, he manages a jerky little shrug that makes him want to bang his head against the bar top because really? He resists the urge, because while he may be socially stunted, he’s not a total moron.
Theoretically, at least.
“I--um… you don’t have to. I mean, the bartender--You don’t have boobs.”
Note to self: never speak again.
“What I mean i-i-is, he responds better to girls. He kinda ignores the guys,” Steve manages to stammer.
“Oh, don’t worry ‘bout that,” the guy says, waving off Steve’s concerns. Leaning over the bar, he waits for the bartender to come back in their direction before snagging him by the wrist. Steve can’t help but notice that he’s got really nice hands.
Steve’s too busy internally screaming to hear what his new friend is saying, just nodding in agreement to whatever he’s being asked. It’s dumb, he knows it’s dumb, and Steve just has to roll with it because he’s dumb.
“So, what’s your name?” the guy asks loudly, now leaning in close to be heard over the din.
He smells really good.
Shaking himself, Steve tries to keep his voice from shaking when he replies.
“Nice to meet ya, Steve.” The stranger pulls away to offer him a flirty smile, while extending his hand for Steve to shake. “Name’s Bucky.”
Electricity seems to surge from the point of contact. Steve can feel the hairs at the back of his neck standing on end. He can’t quite tear his gaze away from Bucky’s, and they stay like that for a long moment, their hands clasped, their eyes locked.
The bartender finally gets back, setting their drinks down in front of them.
Turns out, Bucky had ordered shots.
Not allowing himself to overthink it, Steve grabs a drink, and knocks it back.
“Salud,” he says cheerfully.
Where the fuck had that come from?
Who even knows.
But Bucky’s grinning at him, apparently not noticing that Steve’s a fucking weirdo. Could be the music’s temporarily deafened him.
Okay, so maybe clubbing isn’t that bad.
Man, clubbing is fucking great.
“What?” Bucky shouts. The music has gotten steadily louder. And also much worse. But, seriously, who the hell cares?
This is so much fun!
“You’re gonna need to speak up, I can’t hear you.”
“Oh. I said that out loud?”
Bucky-- that is his name, right? --laughs. Even though he can’t hear it, Steve knows it’s a great sound. Why is it so noisy in here? Scowling, he’s just about to ask Bucky-- yeah, I remember how his mouth looked when he said it --but Bucky’s attention has moved onto something else.
“I love this song,” he says, jumping to his feet.
“How can you tell?” Steve asks. This time Bucky hears him, and he laughs again. His nose scrunches up, and he’s got these really great laugh lines, and Steve wants to climb him like a tree.
“C’mon, let’s dance.”
Say what now?
“Yeah, I-I-I don’t dance,” Steve says apologetically. He’s not drunk enough for that.
“What? Why not?”
“You really don’t wanna see me dance.”
Bucky looks at him for a second, and his eyes glint wickedly. He closes the distance between them, ducking his head to make sure Steve can hear him.
“I mostly just wanna put my arms around you.”
Oh, this guy is good.
Apparently sensing that he's won this round, Bucky grabs Steve by the hand and tugs him off the barstool. Butterflies take wing in his stomach as Bucky leads him onto the dance floor; they come to an abrupt halt, and Steve ends up walking into him.
An apology is on the tip of his tongue, but Bucky doesn’t turn around. Instead, he reaches around him, and tugs Steve closer so that his front is to Bucky’s back. He starts to sway, even as the people around them bob and jerk and grind.
They must look so friggin’ ridiculous.
He doesn’t care.
Steve is barely aware of the time passing; he’s too wrapped up in Bucky to notice that the music just gets progressively worse and that he hasn’t seen Sam or Natasha for at least an hour.
I will never talk shit about clubbing again, Steve silently vows.
But the one thing he is aware of is that his feet are killing him. They’ve since turned so that they’re front to front as they dance, and it’s thisclose to perfect.
Going up on his tiptoes, Steve speaks close to Bucky’s ear.
“You wanna get outta here?”
Bucky pulls back, his eyes wide with surprise. He opens his mouth to answer… just as the fucking DJ decides to blast some new hellish noise from the goddamn speakers. Needless to say, Bucky’s words are lost in the din.
He’s just about to ask Bucky to repeat himself--or cuss out the DJ, Steve isn’t sure--when Bucky reaches up to disentangle himself from Steve’s hold. And then he’s disappearing into the crowd.
Crestfallen and alone, Steve just stands there for a moment.
That… was not how he’d seen tonight ending.
What did he do wrong?
One of the bump-and-grinders knocks into Steve then, jolting him out of his daze. Muttering an apology the scantily clad woman won’t hear, he hurries off the dance floor to find Sam or Natasha.
It takes a few minutes, but he finally spots Natasha standing a few feet away from the bathroom. Her face is illuminated by her cellphone screen as she taps away furiously at the keyboard.
“Hey,” she greets as he comes to a stop beside her. “You having fun?”
“I was. But what about you?” Steve asks quickly. “Get what you came for?”
“For the most part. I managed to get fifteen guys to buy me drinks, and I bailed on all of them. Eight of them called me a bitch, three tried to convince me to stay, and the last four were actually surprisingly cool with it. Better than I would have expected, if I’m honest.”
“Huh. That's not bad,” Steve says honestly. “Where's Sam?”
Nat finally lifts her head, and a genuine smile curves her lips.
“He and T’Challa have gone somewhere more quiet to talk.”
An answering grin brightens Steve’s expression, and for a moment he forgets the sting of his own rejection. They’re both glad for their friend; he’d been so lonely after Riley died. He deserves all the happiness life can give him.
“Look, I wanna get outta here. You want me to take you home?”
“Nah.” Nat glances back down at her phone, and the light’s too bad to tell, but Steve could swear she’s blushing. “I saw a friend of mine from class. He’s comin’ over here in a sec.”
“Oh, yeah?” Steve asks. “What’s his name?”
“Wow.” Steve raises his eyebrows, impressed. “You like him.”
“Dunno what you’re talking about,” Nat says breezily. She puts her phone in her purse now, and fluffs her hair. “How do I look?”
“Like a million bucks,” he replies. “You sure you don’t want me to stick around?”
“I’ll be fine. My parents had me take krav maga in my junior year.”
Taking Nat at her word, Steve makes his way towards the exit. Now that he’s away from her, he can feel the gloom settling over him again.
Steve’s just coming down the steps, trying to decide if he should call a cab or walk to the subway, when he catches sight of a tall figure standing in the dark. Surprise stops him dead.
“There you are. Jeez, what took you so long?”
“You’re still here,” Steve says, dumbstruck. “I… I thought you’d left.”
“What? No. I went to call us an Uber.” Bucky gestures behind them at a nice grey sedan that’s parked a couple of yards down. He looks uncertain now. “Unless… you don’t wanna--”
He doesn’t get to finish his sentence. Steve doesn’t stop to think about it; delight has him lurching forward, and in the space between one moment and the next, he’s got his lips pressed to Bucky’s.
Bucky kisses him back.
Waking up in his bed the next morning, Steve can’t remember the last time he felt this good. Sure, he could’ve done without the hangover headache and the feeling of cotton wool in his mouth, but… yeah, he doesn’t care.
A lazy grin spreading across his face, Steve stretches, automatically reaching for Bucky, only to find that the bed is empty.
Disappointment floods him.
Well, can’t be too surprised, I guess.
Only, he is. Call him naive, but he thought there’d been something there. Not enough for them to live happily ever after, or whatever, but at least enough for Bucky to say goodbye.
It’s then that Steve hears a faint clattering sound coming from the front of his apartment. Alarm spreads through him, but before he can really start freaking out, he hears a familiar voice.
“Hey, Stevie, d’you take sugar in your coffee?”
A soft laugh escapes him, giddiness that Bucky’s still here, making him kind of lightheaded. Finally, he finds his voice.
“Uh, yeah, just one.”
Another minute or two passes, and Steve can feel his grin widening. Finally, Bucky emerges from the kitchen, dressed in nothing but a pair of boxers, a chipped mug of coffee in each hand.
He’s the most beautiful person Steve’s ever seen.
“So,” Bucky begins as he carefully sets the coffee on the nightstand. “You wanna grab breakfast later?”
It’s almost too good to be true. Steve crawls forward to meet Bucky at the edge of the bed, reaching up to tangle his fingers in the long strands of Bucky’s hair.
“I’d love that,” he murmurs against Bucky’s lips.
They don't make it to breakfast. But they do manage to drag themselves out of bed for lunch.