Who: Bucky Barnes and Steve Rogers What: Discussion sore subjects When: Before this and just after this Rating: Yellow?
He didn’t like it. He didn’t like it one damn bit. He knew Bucky thought Rumlow was trying to change, but there was a big difference between not getting angry if Bucky helped the guy out with a fake ID, and having him along on a rescue mission that was already fraught with potential disaster.
On the other hand, though, they could use all the help they could get.
When he got back to the apartment, he knew he had to talk about this to Bucky. Since they’d confessed their true feelings, they’d barely had time to be alone, or even figure out how they were going to handle this relationship. Now they were heading into a confrontation they might not walk away from.
Bucky hated feeling like his loyalty was divided. He was 100% Team Steve all the way, of course, but that didn’t mean he had to just completely turn his back on someone who’d been, essentially, his life preserver when he was drowning.
“Hey,” he said when Steve arrived. He knew they had to talk about it, but he still wasn’t ready to explain his deal with Rumlow in full.
“Hi,” Steve said quietly. He stepped closer. Things were still new between them and he wasn’t sure about proper procedures. Especially after… well, they hadn’t argued, not really, but they did disagree. “I know the more people on this the better. But I just…” He shook his head.
Bucky hated making Steve unhappy. It was the worst possible feeling in the world. He would suffer everything he’d suffered a thousand times more to avoid that look on Steve’s face. “You know if he tried to hurt you I would tear him apart with my bare hands… so to speak. Isn’t it safer for everyone to drag him over to the right side of things than leave him prey to… something else?” In some small way, deep down where he didn’t want to shine a light on anything, Bucky felt that if Rumlow didn’t deserve a second chance… did he?
Steve sighed. “You’re right.” He knew he didn’t question Bucky’s loyalty like others did, because he knew him. Better than anyone else in the world. His faith in Bucky was unshakeable and he would, and had, defy anyone for him. Maybe it just bothered him that Bucky felt he knew Rumlow that well. “I trust your judgement. But I’m gonna have to justify Rumlow’s presence on this mission to others. That’s gonna be hard.”
“I know,” Bucky said quietly. “I’m sorry. I can tell him no if you want me to. He already figured he wouldn’t be welcomed with open arms.” Maybe Rumlow didn’t have any ‘special skills’ the way a lot of them did, but Bucky had been on plenty of missions with Rumlow, and he was very capable.
Steve closed his eyes. He knew most people would assume he didn’t trust Rumlow because he’d tried to kill him, and that was a lot of it, but it was his connection to Bucky that actually bothered him more. “I want to give him a chance. But I also don’t want to compromise the mission because people are distracted by his presence. Can you see the problem?” He knew the decision fell to him. Command was a heavy burden to bear sometimes but it was what he was meant for and he knew it.
“Who are you worried will be distracted? We should give them a heads up, and steer him clear of them,” he suggested. “I know it’ll be difficult. I don’t exactly want people to think of me as the HYDRA advocate.” Bucky knew there was a lot of difficulty in getting Rumlow involved, but he hoped it was worth it, ultimately.
Steve sighed. “I don’t know. But yes, we’ll have to tell everyone in advance. Tony will throw a fit of course. But I can’t refuse the help.” He knew he’d already made the decision. He was just going to have to keep an eye on Rumlow as well as everything else. He ran a hand through his hair, rotating his shoulders to release tension. “Come here?”
Bucky walked over to Steve. He hated feeling tentative around his best friend. It wasn’t like they’d never disagreed about anything before. He reached out to him and put his hands on Steve’s waist. “You can blame me?” he suggested hopefully. “Of course, then you might look whipped,” he added with a smirk.
Steve smiled. “I don’t care who thinks what about us. But I’m not blaming you. It’s my decision and I’ll take full responsibility for it.” He leaned in and brushed his lips against Bucky’s. He craved contact with the man he loved.
Bucky kissed him back, sliding a hand up Steve’s back. It was wonderful to be able to just have this. There were plenty of complications still looming, and they were about to embark on a mission that was surely fraught with unforeseen perils. But this made it all worthwhile. “Of course you do,” he purred. “My responsible little punk.”
Steve smiled and pulled Bucky closer, pressing their bodies gently together. “Who you calling little?” He was slightly taller than Bucky now and he wasn’t sure he would ever get used to it. He was concerned about the upcoming mission but he wanted just a few perfect moments with the man he loved.
Bucky smiled adoringly. “You’re always going to be a scrawny little punk to me. You got a problem with that?” he asked, arching a brow. He pressed up against him. Bucky didn’t regret that Steve was big now. He was grateful that he was healthy, even if he knew that only made his best friend take bigger risks. Sometimes he missed the little guy, though, and he regretted not telling Steve how he felt back when he was still small.
Steve shook his head. “Nope. No problem at all.” He was just so happy that Bucky felt the same as he did, and they had gotten past what was holding them back. He was sure they had many hurdles to surmount but they were meant to be together and he didn’t doubt that for a moment. He had to focus for a moment, though. “I want Rumlow on your team for this operation. I need you to keep an eye on him.” He couldn’t have that distraction.
Bucky nodded. It was a good idea. “Yeah. I’ll keep him in line.” He was sure Rumlow would be fine, though. He believed completely that Rumlow wanted to walk the straight and narrow now. He might still not like Steve, but he wanted salvation.
“I hope so.” There were so many variables in this equation. The raft would surely have new security, so any advantage from having been there before might be invalidated. He didn’t know a lot of the people who were going in. He didn’t know how they would react. He didn’t want to be responsible for a bloodbath. He sighed and kissed Bucky again. They didn’t have much time but since neither of them needed much sleep they had time for a few kisses.
“I hate not going in by your side, though,” he said. Bucky was getting used to being able to hold Steve like this, in private at least. They hadn’t discussed anything about telling anyone, but there was too much going on to worry about that. Between sharks falling from the sky, and then Stark being arrested for rescuing people… “You know… if he has to lay low after we get him out… the most logical place is here with us. We could share one bedroom and he could have the other. Not that… I’m trying to get you into bed or anything,” he added with a little leer.
Steve blinked. For a moment he thought Bucky was talking about Rumlow staying with them, and then he realized he meant Tony, which was almost as bad. “Tony… staying here?” They’d been sharing a bed, so it was no hardship, but Tony Stark was the very definition of a nightmare houseguest. “Why here?” He and Tony were working their way back to a semblance of the friendship they’d had but it was going to take work. Not proximity.
Bucky was surprised that Steve was resistant to the idea. “So we can both make sure he behaves and the government doesn’t find him? Also, he does own this place, and he gave it to us for free, so… kinda fair.” Bucky had a bit of a pathological need to pay Tony Stark back, despite their previously reached understanding. He just needed to be more stealthy about it, he’d decided.
Steve sighed. Bucky was right, of course, and he felt guilty for being resistant. He knew it was because he and Bucky were so new, and he wanted time alone with him. It would have to wait. “That’s true.” And though Steve wasn’t a doctor, he did have a great deal of medical knowledge stuffed into his enhanced brain, so he could actually help take care of Tony. “It makes sense.”
Bucky smiled. “Good.” He tried to convince himself that he didn’t want Stark there to put off any intense intimacy for a little while longer. He really did want to help the other man, and he still felt like he owed that pain in the ass a lot more.
Steve glanced at the time. “We’d better get going.”