MCU Fragile

Apr. 9th, 2016 05:35 pm
grianchloch: (Bucky)
[personal profile] grianchloch
Title: Fragile
Relationship: Steve Rogers/Bucky Barnes
Fandom MCU
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 1790
Disclaimer: Sadly, the characters aren't mine, I'm just playing with them for a while.
Beta: Seleneheart
Notes: One shot. Sad Steve. Bucky makes it better.
Summary: Despite all the good things about living in a new century, Steve does miss something. As he grieves for the past, Bucky shows him that he hasn't left everything behind.

Steve’s strength is the stuff of legends. He is the perfect and idealistic representation of a hale and healthy American male. Superheroes and gods rally when he calls them, take his orders and save the world. Unless it’s by magic or poison, he cannot get sick. People want to be him, or be with him and he knows that it’s an enviable position to be in. He can protect his friends, and he has the respect, grudgingly or otherwise, of powerful men.

But it wasn’t always like that. Steve remembers what it felt like to be fragile. To live with a paper thin shell of skin and bone the only thing protecting organs that fought against failure on a regular basis.

It still amazes him that Dr. Erskine saw the man that Steve was before the serum, a man who wasn’t physically strong, or healthy and chose him anyway. The man he was back then had a good heart, but his body wasn’t strong enough to do what he wanted to do. To protect and serve.

That man once had a protector.

Steve looks down at Bucky, fast asleep beside him. He’s lying on his stomach, face mashed into a pillow, his right arm pressed against Steve’s side. He’s only been back with him for a few months and Steve still sometimes thinks he’s dreaming when he wakes up and Bucky’s right there.

Steve takes a deep breath, filling robust lungs with life-giving oxygen. He holds it in, his strong chest easily containing a volume of air that would have been impossible before the serum. Back then, he would have given everything to be able to breathe as freely as he does now. He lets out the breath, a long, controlled exhalation. Nothing about his lungs used to be controlled.

So many nights the only thing that got him through to morning, kept his fragile lungs breathing, was Bucky with his whispered pleas and promises. Bucky kept him alive, went out in the worst weather to buy medicine with the last of his hard earned money. He sat with him, rubbing his back, giving Steve something to cling onto while he shivered and fought to keep breathing.

And Bucky wonders why Steve can look past everything he did as the Winter Soldier. Steve knows the man lying in his bed better than he knows himself. It was Bucky who usually ended the fights Steve got himself into, doing just enough to warn Steve’s assailants off ever trying to hurt him again. And Bucky who dragged Steve off to see to his wounds.

Bucky snuffles in his sleep and presses himself closer against Steve’s side. Now his left arm lies across Steve’s chest, the supple metal fingers curled into a fist over Steve’s heart. Steve kisses the top of his tousled head and traces his fingertips over the warm metal.

For Steve, it’s only three years since he was the scrawny, sickly kid that Bucky was forever pulling out of trouble. In those three years, life has changed beyond all recognition and sometimes? Sometimes he’d give anything to go back. It’s not that he misses getting sick, or getting beaten up, never that, but he remembers so clearly what it was to be two punk assed kids against the world.

Steve moves Bucky’s hand and gets up to wander through to the kitchen. In the fridge there’s a double row of bottles filled with expensive water. He takes one out, unscrews the top and drinks it straight down.

He looks around the apartment. Their apartment, Tony insists, and Steve’s still amazed that Tony gave them a whole floor in the tower. The temperature is constantly comfortable and the furniture is new, solid, well made. The cushions on the couch and chairs are plump, the fabric clean and unworn.

When he and Bucky lived together in Brooklyn, they’d suffered through summer heat waves and freezing winters. What furniture they had in their tiny place was second, third or fourth hand, worn and well used before it became theirs and rug was verging on threadbare. Steve looks down and wiggles his toes on the tiles that Tony had offhandedly mentioned were imported from Italy. He throws the empty bottle into the recycling bin, and walks slowly across the living room, scuffing his feet over the carpet which stretches across the room from edge to edge. Steve doesn’t feel the cold much anymore, but Bucky sometimes has problems staying warm, so Steve’s given Jarvis instructions to keep the apartment at the right temperature for Bucky.

He stops, and looks out of the window. It’s too far up for him to be able to see down onto the street below. The city has changed, and Steve is glad that less people live in the poverty he and Bucky and their neighbors did, but he misses the sense of community that came with it. When he’d first tried to make a life after waking up from the ice, he’d rented an apartment in Brooklyn. But even after living there for six months, he hardly knew any of the other people in the building, even though he always said hello to anyone he met coming in and out. They all lived separate lives, locked in their clean, temperature controlled apartments full of new furniture. There was no watching out for each other, no helping neighbors get through the bad times, trading favors to get by. That he missed.

He’s lucky, he knows that, to be living like he expected movie stars to live, wanting for nothing. But he can’t help thinking about everyone he left behind, how they never got the chance he did. When he first woke up, he spent time digging through records for his neighbors and friends, but almost everyone he did manage to track down in the records had died before their time. Tuberculosis and flu took so many, and he’d shuddered at the thought that he could easily have been among them. He never told Nick, but getting him involved with the Avengers had pulled him out of a downward spiral.

Later, when he’d confessed to Bucky how bad it had been, living in a new century on his own, Bucky had shaken his head and reminded him that as much as he’d like to, Steve couldn’t save everyone, especially those who were already long gone. Bucky had helped him to see that constantly looking back was a waste of the new life he’d been given.

Back in the bedroom, Bucky’s lying on his back, arms spread wide. Appropriate given that his resurrection followed his crucifixion. Steve stands and watches his chest rise and fall.

He slips onto the bed, crawling up it quietly until he’s level with Bucky’s chest. He puts his head on Bucky’s shoulder and closes his eyes, letting out a long breath as he relaxes and puts his hand on Bucky’s hip. Bucky huffs softly and curls his flesh and blood arm around Steve’s shoulders, pulling him closer. Steve’s breath hitches, and he lets himself imagine that he’s small again, safe and protected from the world in Bucky’s arms.

“Steve? Y’okay?” Bucky asks sleepily

Steve nods, not trusting himself to speak. Beneath him, he can feel a momentary tension in Bucky, then it releases as his fingers thread through Steve’s hair and he curls towards him, just a little, giving Steve a haven to cling to.

“Stevie,” Bucky murmurs, and just like that, Steve breaks.

He’s quiet, his shaking shoulders the only outward sign of the grief that pours out of him. The knot of loss and loneliness that’s sat in his chest since Bucky fell from the train unravels and Steve lets it go. Bucky doesn’t say a word. He curls closer and nuzzles the top of Steve’s head, petting his shoulder. He knows Steve so well, so fucking well, that he knows exactly what he needs. To let it out, to not talk about it. Afterwards, wrecked, his chest sore but lighter, Steve falls asleep.

It’s still dark when he wakes up again, the merest hint of a sunrise peeking through the blinds. He tips his head back so he can look up at Bucky, something he’s missed being able to do. Bucky looks down at him, more awake than Steve is, and bends his head to kiss him. It’s soft, and he cradles Steve’s face as he sighs over his lips. Steve pushes into the kiss, but Bucky pulls back and looks down into Steve’s eyes.

“Let me, okay?”

Steve nods and Bucky kisses him as if he’s made of glass. As if he’s fragile. His hands, both hands, trace Steve’s body skimming over nipples and hips, gently pushing his thighs apart and kissing down his neck and chest with butterfly kisses.

“God, Buck …” Steve sighs.

“Patience,” Bucky smiles against his skin. “I’m gonna take care of you.”

The words add to the feeling of being safe, protected, wrapped up and saved.

“Shhh Stevie, can’t be making too much noise.” Bucky presses his fingers against Steve’s lips, not to gag, but to gently chide, to remind him that this has to be just between them. As if the wall are thin enough for even the smallest noise to carry.

Just like that, Steve’s back in their small apartment, the one that froze in the winter, keeping quiet in case Mrs Murphy next door hears them. Slicked fingers open him up as Bucky mouths and sucks the head of his dick, then he’s on his knees and pushing into Steve who arches his back and moans. Bucky fucks him, braced on his arms so as not to press down too hard on Steve’s fragile chest. He ducks his head to kiss him, and whispers against his neck.

“Love you.”

Steve comes so hard he whites out for a second. His dick stutters and pulses between them, and he cants his hips up to meet Bucky’s increasingly erratic thrusts. Then Bucky stops, holding still, silent as he comes, pulsing deep inside Steve as he lets out a ragged sigh.

Bucky cleans them up, then lets Steve curl against him again, head on Bucky’s shoulder.

“I miss that too, sometimes,” Bucky confesses. “Don’t get me wrong, you like this? Hot as hell, and Christ, Steve, you can pick me up and that’s new for me. But it’s not just that. You’re healthy, Stevie, no more sitting up awake all night when you’re sick, praying that you’ll make it through the night. Taking care of you? Watching your back? That I’ve missed. But I’m here now.”

Steve nods and presses closer. Superheroes and gods may answer his call, but the only man he needs is right here. Always.
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