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in the blue dark

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It’s half past seven when Bucky strolls through the empty Stark Tower lobby, making a beeline for the elevator. Darcy’s texted him her floor and apartment numbers, and he checks his phone to make sure he has them memorized.

He’s still waiting for the elevator when he’s joined by a statuesque strawberry-blonde he immediately recognizes.

He can feel her eyes on him, sizing him up, and it’s surprisingly intimidating. From the stiff way she’s standing next to him, it’s obvious that she’s a little suspicious of him, that his reputation has preceded him, and he straightens and takes his hands out of his pockets. He can look respectable. He can.

Bucky gives her a terse nod, “Ma’am.”

“You’re, um.” She waves her finger at him like she’s trying to place him.

He holds his hand out to her and she gives it a brusque shake, “James Barnes.”

“Pepper Potts. Are you…meeting someone?” she raises her eyebrows at him expectantly.

Bucky hesitates. ‘I’m here to fuck Agent Lewis’ brains out’ doesn’t seem like an appropriate response, so he clears his throat and tells her an almost-truth. “I’m teaching Agent Lewis to shoot. There’s a late-night range at S.H.I.E.L.D.”

She purses her lips into what he thinks is a smile.

The elevator doors finally open and they enter; Pepper presses the button for the tower’s residential floor, then the button for the top floor.

The rest of the ride takes place in an uncomfortable silence. Pepper keeps her eyes fixed on her phone, pointedly ignoring him until they reach Darcy’s floor. They exchange curt nods as he steps out into the hall.

***

As soon as Darcy opens her door, the minute he sees her, he’s already half hard and aching for her. He doesn’t care that the elevator doors behind him haven’t quite closed when she pulls him into her arms and through her door.

For a long moment, they just stand in her doorway, arms wrapped tight around each other. Darcy traces the lines of his shoulders through his leather jacket; her fingers comb through his hair.

When she pulls away from him, she’s laughing and glancing warily at the open door. “You can come in. You want something to drink?”

She’s a little more dolled up than she was in her office; she’s wearing the same blouse and pencil skirt, but she’s brushed her hair out and freshened her makeup. It hits him that he’s come here with the explicit intention of having sex with her, but he has yet to take her on a date. He cringes, because she deserves those kinds of real, normal things, and it only just now even crossed his mind.

He manages a nod, though, and steps in, closing the door behind him while she disappears into the kitchen. Darcy calls out to him, telling him to make himself comfortable, and he takes a seat on her sofa. But suddenly being comfortable seems utterly impossible.

Steve’s told him that he used to be a ladies’ man, but if Bucky Barnes had any lovers, he doesn’t remember them now. What he remembers is how the Winter Soldier would seduce, ravage, and use. It hits him hard that maybe there’s a reason he’s been delaying sex with Darcy: because it’s been too long since he’s done this, and maybe he’s never done this exactly, or been this person while doing it. Because maybe the only thing he’s good for is killing people and scowling about it.

Despite his anxieties, the defiant bulge in his jeans clearly isn’t going away anytime soon. The memory of how she held him when he walked in is still fresh in his mind: the way she clutched at his shoulders and sighed like he was all she had wanted all day. And something about her, her, wanting him turns him inside out.

While she’s gone, he adjusts the crotch of his pants and sits up straighter, trying to figure out how he’s going to conceal his overexcitement and how he’s going to explain everything he’s thinking when she gets back. He’s debating whether or not it would be completely, painfully obvious if he pulled one of her throw pillows onto his lap, when she returns, setting two lowball glasses of whisky and soda on her coffee table with a clink.

Before he can fully register what’s happening, she’s in his lap, her skirt rucked up around her waist, her thighs straddling his hips. Her hands fist his jacket, yanking him up to her. His hands move to her bare legs impulsively, running along the twin curves of her calves. Bucky steals a quick glance downward, his heart skipping a beat at a glimpse of lemon-yellow cotton panties peeking below the hem of her skirt, before she tugs him against her and kisses him.

“Darcy,” He pulls her back by the upper arms, “Maybe—I just—“ He can’t even bring himself to tell her that they shouldn’t, because it’s such an anathema to everything he wants. But he can’t kick his concern. “Maybe we should take this a little slower.”

Darcy could slap him for stopping them for the millionth time, but she can see how serious and defenseless he looks and takes a deep, grounding breath instead. She moves his hands from her arms to her waist, and he lets her.

She rests her hands on his chest, “How are we ever going to find out what this is if we don’t just jump in?”

“It’s just…things like this haven’t happened a lot, for me,” he gives her a plaintive look, “I keep feeling like I’m screwing it up.”

“What kinds of things haven’t happened to you?”

He winces and looks away, “Just…good things.”

Something inside Darcy freezes. What he’s saying is so damn familiar, so like things she’s thought about practically everything she’s ever tried. It’s something she’s refused to let herself think about this, though, about them, and she resolves to not let him think it either.

She presses her lips to his temple, tangling her fingers in his hair, “You’re not screwing this up. You’re not.”

Leaning back, her eyes meet his, and she smiles at him, placing one hand on either side of his face.

Bucky,” she starts, and the just the sound of that name is jarring in the best way, “Remember how everyone takes you too seriously? Maybe it’s because you worry too damn much. Just…let’s just let this happen.”

Darcy holds her breath while she watches him think through it, but when the corners of his mouth tic up, just slightly, she knows she’s in. She presses her lips against his, and he opens up to her easily, his tongue sliding along hers, his teeth nipping at her bottom lip. She opens his pants, pushing his boxers out of the way and taking him in hand.

“I got a clean bill of health. You?”

The feel of her fingers stroking his now-exposed hard-on makes his brain go numb; he gropes frantically for words. “What? Yeah. Yes.”

He watches intently as she pulls the crotch of her panties aside with one hand, wrapping the other around his shaft, running the sensitive head of his erection between her sodden, pink folds. He can hear her breathing grow ragged; she sucks her bottom lip between her teeth.

“What about—“ he starts, but she cuts him off.

“Got it. On the pill.”

He nods and groans as her hips roll, sliding against him.

“Darce—” he gasps, “Darcy."

Her name has barely left his lips when she lowers herself on to him, slowly inching down until he’s buried in her to the hilt, their hips fitted together snugly. For a long moment, they just look at each other, mouths open and panting, foreheads pressed together.

“This okay?”

She pushes down a hysterical laugh that bubbles in her chest, because this might be one of the most okay things that has ever happened to her. She had known already that Bucky was modestly well-endowed, but the sensation of him fully seated inside her, filling and stretching her, lights her up like a Christmas tree, makes her feel like she could lift a car.

“Jesus, yes,” she smiles and presses her face into the side of his neck, “Oh, Bucky.”

With her hands on his shoulders, she rocks her hips, moving up and down the length of him. The first feel of her, slick and tight and hot, knocked him senseless, but as she moves over him, he starts to come around again.

“Where’s your bedroom?”

She gapes at him breathlessly, her hips still riding him, “Are you seriously thinking of taking a break right now?”

He grins, “Don’t worry, kitten. We’ve only just begun.”

***

They leave a trail of clothes down her hall as Darcy leads him into her room. Naked, she climbs onto her bed (with magenta sheets, just like she promised), and he follows her.

Bucky makes his way over her, pressing his lips to her mons, her stomach, her breasts, her collarbone, her mouth. The cold metal of his right hand spreads across her lower back, shifting her hips until she’s under him, her legs spread wide. His mouth is still on hers when he slides into her, pushing his hips into hers until her ankles hook around his waist and her arms tighten around his shoulders.

Bucky’s warm and heavy over her, his hips churning against hers, working his hand between their bodies. He keeps his mouth near her ear, telling her all manner of obscene details about how good she feels, how much he loves this, and how she’s all he wants. For her part, all Darcy can do is whimper and dig her fingernails into his back, letting herself be taken over by the building pressure between her legs. When he finally tips her over the edge, all it takes is a hard thrust, a flick of his fingers across her clit, and her name on his lips.

Darcy doesn’t know how he manages it, especially considering how hard he is and how long they’ve waited for this, but he manages to make it last. She’s not complaining, though, because this is all she’s wanted for so long, and she’s not (may never be) ready for it to be over. With his fingers and his cock, he coaxes her into another sobbing, shuddering climax before rolling them over, letting her work herself on him until she’s scratched his chest raw, until she’s chanting his name, until she knows that this is everything.

His hips snap up as he comes, trembling and breathless under her, his hands squeezing her hips.

After he’s spent, she collapses next to him, and they lie together, panting. Bucky’s got his eyes closed; Darcy watches him recover, this man who treats her like a grown up, like an equal, who seems to live to make her laugh or come or both. She watches his chest rise and fall; he’s covered in a thin layer of sweat, glistening cock softening against his thigh. Seeing him like this, in the wake of what they’ve just done, makes a rush of feeling rise through her chest.

As much as she likes him, she’s still getting used to this: being this close to someone, letting someone this far in, past her sarcasm and goofiness. When he opens his eyes and turns to her, flashing a dazed smile and reaching out for her hand, it’s more than she can take. She presses a quick kiss to his cheek and heads to the bathroom to splash water on her face.

When she looks at her reflection in the mirror, she almost doesn’t recognize herself. She looks wild and primal, lips red and swollen, hair a mess, neck dotted with love bites. She wonders if Bucky’s changing her, or if she’s changing herself and he’s just with her. She realizes then that whatever it is, she’s not afraid of it.

She picks up their drinks from the coffee table on her way back, and dumps in new ice cubes to replace the ones that have melted while they were in the bedroom. She pads back down the hall. He’s pulled the sheets around his waist, leaning up against her pillows, metal arm curled up and under his head. She can’t help but notice how good he looks in her bed, how natural and homey it seems to find him there.

He smiles at her when she comes in, his eyes wandering over her still-naked body as she hands him a glass of watery whiskey. But the real focus of his gaze seems to be her room.

Her walls are covered from floor to ceiling: with concert posters for bands he’s never heard of, art prints and red-white-and-blue campaign posters. One wall’s covered with photographs: of her and Jane and Erik and Thor, of her and an assortment of relatives, and of her with a variety of recognizable politicians. When she lies down on the bed next to him, he asks her about them.

She shrugs and swallows half her drink in one gulp, “Once upon a time, I was a political science major.”

“Hm,” he muses, throwing an arm around her shoulders, pulling her into his chest, “College girl.”

Darcy curls against him, “You didn’t go to college?”

“Was a different time,” he smiles, a little wistfully, “I joined the Army.”

He takes a long sip of his drink. His chest moves under her head; she can feel him take a deep breath and clear his throat.

“Darcy—“ he starts, and hesitates before continuing, “I don’t really do this. Sex. I mean, I used to. A lot. But things are kind of different now.” Darcy frowns and shifts so she can see him, not sure where he’s headed with this, but he presses on. “I just…I don’t want it to not mean anything, like before. It doesn’t. It doesn’t not mean anything with you. It’s just—You didn’t know me when it – when I – was like that, but I’m just…I’m not like that anymore. That’s all.” By the end of his speech, he’s mumbling and staring intently at the ceiling.

Darcy sizes him up for a long moment, trying hard to piece together what he’s trying so desperately to say. Then, something clicks. She rolls her eyes. Hard.

“Christ on a cracker, Barnes,” she starts, “Are you trying to tell me you like me?”

“I—“ he looks at her like he’s going to launch into another rambling rant, but then her eyebrows raise and he thinks better of it, “Yes.”

Darcy shakes her head, “I can’t believe I met someone worse at this mushy stuff than I am.”

He smirks and pulls her back against him. Darcy presses her cheek to his shoulder, one arm wrapping around his waist.

“For the record, I like you too,” she smiles against his skin, “But next time you do that, try not to bring up how many chicks you’ve banged.”

“Only bangin’ you now.” He grins impishly, but there’s something serious in his eyes. She smiles back and nudges his shoulder.

They lie together for a long time, still and silent. Bucky’s arm is wrapped around her bare back; he can feel when her breaths start to grow deep and even. He cranes his neck and can see that her eyes are closed, the muscles in her face slack with sleep.

“Darcy?”

“Mmpf.”

“You want me to go?”

That wakes her up. She sits up on one elbow, her other hand spread wide on his chest, eyes still bleary.

“No. Sleep over,” she orders, because the thought of him leaving, of going to bed alone, is abhorrent. “I’m awake. We’ll order in and watch movies and stay up past our bedtimes.”

She gives him a lazy smile. She’s so absurdly, incredibly beautiful like this: satisfied and relaxed. Bucky downs the rest of his drink and moves over her, kissing her until she’s dazed and dreamy, until he’s hard and she tells him she wants him again.

And, at least for now, Bucky realizes that nothing can ruin this, not even him.