No Longer Pretend (To Have My Hand on the Wheel)

Author's Note: Title from Savage Garden’s “Chained to You”. Because the working title of this was “Steve in chains”.


When Steve came to, he immediately knew what had happened.

“Bucky?” he called into the darkness while carefully testing the chains that bound him to a pillar. The Winter Soldier knew his stuff, however, and Steve was unsurprised to realize he was unable to get free or move much at all. He was kneeling on the concrete floor, his arms bent so far back that it was almost impossible to get any sort of leverage, and his head was throbbing from the impact of a metal fist. Sighing, Steve shifted, trying to settle himself a bit more comfortably while he waited for his captor to return. Waited for Bucky.

It gave him plenty of time to consider how he’d ended up in his current predicament. He’d been chasing leads all over the world for several months, only interrupted by the occasional fight against aliens, super-villains or Hydra, but it had quickly become obvious that his long-lost friend did not want to be found.

And then there’d been the latest attack from a self-styled Master of the Universe, Steve right in the thick of it, trying to subdue the villain while fending off several of his minions. Finally, an opening, and the guy had gone down with a satisfying thud. Catching the shield in mid-flight, Steve had lept across the chasm between two buildings separating him from his fallen opponent, only to have to dodge an unexpected shot from a goon popping up behind his master’s unconscious form. For a moment Steve had been dangling from the ledge, an easy target, all too aware he was a second away from catching a bullet, but it never came. When he’d pulled himself up, landing in a crouch behind his shield, the shooter had been face-down, felled by a clean head-shot.

“Sam, that you?” Steve had yelled into his comms, already knowing the answer before Sam’s negative reply, Falcon being well out of range on the other side of the Denver city block that had been the battleground. Without hesitating to think about it, Steve had turned away from his original target and raced towards the perch where he knew the saving shot had originated. Unsurprisingly the high-rise window had been deserted, but Steve had noticed a door at the far end of the hallway swinging gently shut and gave chase. His heart was thudding heavily in his chest, much harder than warranted by the minor exertion of the battle, and he’d come to a stop in the empty staircase, unable to refrain from calling out: “Buck, I know it’s you. Come…”

He hadn’t gotten any further, because that had been when the Winter Soldier had dropped from the ceiling and everything went black.

Really, Steve should have expected this. Despite being one of the best snipers Steve had ever seen, Bucky had never been one for hiding. However, it was at least an hour before he finally came to see his prisoner, Steve’s internal clock told him, although he of course didn’t know how long he’d been unconscious before that, the windowless room giving no indication as to time of day. Enough time had passed for the concussion Bucky had given him to start healing, leaving a dull ache and vague feeling of nausea. Still, the slice of bright light briefly cutting through the darkness when the door opened was a sharp pain behind his eyes, and Steve was almost grateful when Bucky closed it again, despite his desperate wish to see the face that had been haunting his dreams since the day on the train, only more so after that day on the bridge.

He felt more than saw the stiff figure leaning against the wall, barely more than an outline, eyes heavy on Steve, his silence somehow resonating loudly. Steve’s mouth was dry, and he had to cough and wet cracked lips before managing to ask, quietly: “What do you think you’re doing, Bucky?”

The voice that replied was both heartrendingly familiar and hollow, as if it was fighting its way through from a far distance: “I’m not Bucky. James Buchanan Barnes died in 1945. You… you are my mission.”

Although he knew he shouldn’t, Steve felt as if he’d been struck, but his reply came out steady and full of heart-deep conviction: “You don’t believe that. If you did, I’d be dead already. You saved me on that roof; you had my back, same as always.”

“It… I… I don’t know who I am anymore.” Bucky’s voice was shaking, weak, almost wistful, and Steve could clearly feel Bucky’s desperate struggle to make sense of it all during the ensuing silence. He ached with the desire to reach out, but all he could do was lean a few inches forward, his arms screaming in pain as he twisted them as far as the chains allowed. If he hadn’t, maybe he wouldn’t have been able to make out the whispered breath: “But I know you.”

“Yes. Yes, you do. You know me better than anyone. And I know you. I don’t care what they did, how they scrambled your brain, you are Bucky Barnes,” Steve said, fervent like a prayer, as if his faith could transfer to Bucky. “You do whatever you have to, Buck, take as long as you need, I don’t care. Just… believe in me.”

Another deafening silence greeted his words, but Steve stopped himself from saying anything more, aware he’d already pushed things as it was. The last thing he wanted was for Bucky to bolt again. He seemed to have gotten it right, however, because the next sound was a shaky exhale, the crunch of steel-toed boots on concrete, and then a bottle of water was pushed against his lips.

After choking at first, Steve managed to swallow, the cool liquid wonderfully refreshing, but not as invigorating as Bucky’s proximity, his fingertips brushing the side of Steve’s face as he let him drink. It was the first time Bucky had touched him that didn’t involve pain, and without thinking Steve moved his head, resting his forehead against a strong thigh. He could feel the muscles twitch through denim at the contact, but Bucky did not move away for a long moment, remaining stock-still, and Steve barely dared to breathe.

Then metal fingers dug into his hair, matted with dirt and sweat as it was, forcing Steve’s face upwards. Bucky’s face was a pale oval in the darkness, his eyes boring into Steve’s before he released his grip abruptly and stepped back. Steve willed him to say something, anything, but Bucky reached the door and was gone without another word, leaving Steve with nothing but a slightly burning scalp and the smallest bit of hope to keep him company.

It was a long time before Bucky came back, and Steve managed some uneasy cat-naps, resting against the pillar as best he could. The moment the lock was turned, however, he was wide awake and blinked into the artificial light from outside. Before the door was closed, however, he quickly asked: “Hey Buck. Any chance of leaving this open? I’m starting to feel like a bat or a mole or something.”

He carefully didn’t say how badly he wanted to see the other man more clearly, to see the changes the intervening decades had wrought. Decades! Even taking into account that he’d spent a lot of them in cryo, during the years Bucky had lived through while Steve was sleeping dreamlessly, his best friend had been endlessly tortured, twisted, used and discarded… The thought caused white-hot anger to wash through Steve, accompanied by bitter guilt and a shredding pain that made his grief over Bucky’s supposed death feel easy. He knew he had to tamp down those feelings, however, or risk overwhelming Bucky and pushing him away, so he settled for a carefully bland expression.

It seemed to pay off, or maybe Bucky wanted to see him as well, because the door stayed open, and Steve quickly got used to the light. He let his eyes travel up from scuffed black boots over the jeans-clad thighs he’d felt the last time, to a well-muscled torso broader than it had been in the War, forcing himself to really see the silver peeking out from where the grey hoodie Bucky wore had fallen open. It was the only visible sign of his missing arm, and Steve had to bite his tongue to keep himself from asking what it was like, how it felt, whether he was in pain.

Instead he looked further up, to the dark shadow of stubble against almost sickly-pale skin surrounding a mouth that used to smile so easily but was now drawn in a tight line, the unwashed dark hair, cut shorter now than it had ever been, exposing his skull, making him look strangely vulnerable. And finally, Steve found Bucky’s eyes, still the same shade of blue, but flat, without the spark he remembered so well.

Still, they were open, alive, and unblinkingly fixed on Steve, and Steve couldn’t help but smile as a weight he’d been carrying ever since the train finally lifted completely. They still had a long way to go, and it was likely nothing would ever be the same, but for the first time since he woke up Steve no longer felt alone, incomplete. It made him feel almost light-headed, triumphant, especially since emptiness disappeared from Bucky’s features as he studied Steve’s reaction in obvious confusion.

“I don’t understand you,” Bucky said, his voice raspy with disuse. Steve stayed still, hoping his eyes said more than words could, and indeed, Bucky pushed himself away from the wall he’d been leaning against and took a couple of hesitant steps forward. His hand once again came to rest on Steve’s head, and Steve unthinkingly leaned into the touch, ignoring the sharp pain of fingers digging into his scalp as he twisted his neck so he could keep looking at Bucky. Gone was the dead expression, instead a host of emotions flitted across the familiar face - confusion, rage, but most of all something like wonder as he kept studying Steve. He sounded almost hopeless when he repeated: “I don’t understand you. But you’re mine, aren’t you?”

The truth in those words, although he had never explicitly thought of it quite like that, almost undid Steve, and it was all he could do to keep tears from springing to his eyes. Mutely he nodded, not trusting his voice, and Bucky’s fingers moved over his head in what was almost a caress until he was cradling Steve’s face in his palm. Steve’s eyes slid shut involuntarily, and he took a deep, shaky breath, willing the moment to last forever. But of course it didn’t, Bucky pulling away so quickly that Steve would have fallen forward if it hadn’t been for his chains. Then the door swung shut, and Steve was left in the darkness, breathing hard, shoulders aching, his heart pounding as if he’d just gone three rounds with Natasha.

It wasn’t all that long, however, before Bucky returned, looking almost embarrassed offering Steve a bottle, saying quietly: “You must be thirsty. I will bring you food later.”

“Thank you, I appreciate it,” Steve replied before tilting his head and drinking, grateful for so much more than the water. When he’d finished, he once more gently pushed his head into Bucky’s palm and asked: “Any chance you’ll untie me, Bucky? You gotta know I’m not going to leave.” He met Bucky’s troubled eyes and repeated intently: “I’ll never leave you again.”

He wanted, needed, Bucky to believe him, but there was still too much doubt in his captor’s face, so Steve wasn’t surprised when his reply was a shake of Bucky’s head, even as gloved fingers traced Steve’s jaw line in what was almost a caress. At least he sounded genuinely apologetic: “No, I can’t. Not yet. Steve…”

He trailed off, when an involuntary sound escaped Steve, halfway between a gasp and a sob, and for a moment Steve feared he’d scared Bucky off again. Instead, for the first time Bucky crouched down until he was on Steve’s level, and Steve knew he could see the tears Steve was trying to hold back. He inquired, voice raw, tentative: “Steve, are you alright? What did I do?”

Steve shook his head quickly, urgently, ignoring the huskiness in his voice: “Nothing! You did nothing wrong, I’m fine. It’s stupid, but it’s just… you said my name.” The violence of his own reaction had caught Steve by surprise, too, but there was no denying it, and he didn’t bother trying, even as he got more choked up every second Bucky was looking at him with that softness, his hand gripping Steve’s shoulder almost painfully. “I guess I never really thought I’d hear that again.”

The moment between them stretched, and Steve held his breath, not sure what he was hoping for but hurt nevertheless when Bucky pulled back abruptly, the shutters behind his eyes closing, erasing all trace of emotion. Steve’s only consolation was that he did not withdraw his hand, and instinctively Steve lowered his head and rested it against Bucky’s arm, closing his eyes and making himself as small and unthreatening as possible, while maintaining the physical connection.

Bucky held himself completely still, and Steve could almost hear him think. Then his other hand, the metal one, came up and gripped Steve’s hair roughly, pulling his head back so hard his eyes watered. He didn’t protest, simply allowed himself to be manhandled, only looking up for a moment before lowering his gaze again. He could still feel Bucky’s stormy eyes resting heavily on him, though, and then a gloved thumb slid over his lip and pushed into his mouth.

Surprised, Steve inhaled shakily around the intrusion, but it only lasted a second before Bucky took a step back and backed out of the room. Alone in the dark again, Steve tried to compose himself, but all he could focus on was the taste of leather and the small harsh sound Bucky had made before leaving. He was also half-hard in his pants and realized with a start that this shocked him much less than he would have expected.

He’d never consciously thought about Bucky in a sexual way, but they’d shared rooms often enough for personal boundaries to become blurred, if not erased. Steve’s first daytime erection had happened while Bucky was giving him a sponge bath after his fever had broken one winter, and his friend had just raised an amused eyebrow and welcomed Steve to manhood. As they grew older, Steve had enjoyed watching dames - women - well enough, but seeing Bucky work the dance floor had given him equal pleasure, and he’d spent more time sketching Bucky than pretty much anyone else except maybe his mom.

Steve had never seen a problem with people loving whoever they wanted to, and there’d never been any doubt in his mind that Steve Rogers loved James Buchanan Barnes. So while he waited in the darkness that was becoming so familiar, Steve found it relatively easy to adapt his perspective on how he loved Bucky. It really wasn’t much of a change, the only problem being that he had no idea how Bucky would react to it, although he had been the one who’d touched Steve in a way that felt so intimate.

Sighing and shifting in a mostly futile attempt to find a more comfortable position, Steve figured he’d just continue doing what he’d been doing ever since he’d woken up in chains, namely follow Bucky’s lead and his own instincts. A strategy that so far seemed to be working, because every time his captor came by, Steve felt less like he was in the presence of the Winter Soldier.

He felt it again when Bucky returned, this time bringing the promised food, for which Steve was grateful. He did not speak, so Steve didn’t either, but he once more crouched down next to Steve, so close that Steve could feel the heat radiating from his body, and he fed Steve a sandwich. In the back of his mind, Steve was grateful for the food, his metabolism requiring regular sustenance, and warmed because the sandwich was ham and cheese, an old favorite, but mostly he was focused on the sensation of Bucky’s fingers.

He wasn’t wearing gloves this time, and with every bite Steve could feel the slightest brush of skin against his lips. His eyes slid shut and his entire perception seemed to narrow to his mouth, to the act of chewing, swallowing and opening again to allow Bucky to carefully feed him another bite, the tiny point of contact feeling disproportionally large and sending a tingling of pleasure through Steve’s body.

When two sandwiches had disappeared this way, much too quickly, Steve just caught himself before actually whining in protest, muzzily opening his eyes to look at Bucky, who was staring at him in fascinated contemplation, his pupils so wide it made his eyes appear almost black. Then, before Steve regained enough of his faculties to decide on a course of action, Bucky’s hand was back, cradling his chin, and without thinking Steve’s mouth fell open to allow the intrusion of a thumb.

The digit explored Steve’s mouth thoroughly, and Steve slowly slid his tongue around it, caressing it, his eyes never leaving Bucky’s in an attempt to divine whether this was taking things too far. Bucky’s attention, however, seemed captivated, and Steve carefully leaned forward as far as he could, ignoring the protest of his shoulders. It was just far enough for him to be able to slide his head along Bucky’s cheek, and Steve felt slightly ridiculous, like an overgrown cat.

His embarrassment disappeared instantly when Bucky started and, instead of pulling away, grabbed Steve by the hair with his prosthetic hand. He got to his feet in one smooth motion, sliding his thumb out of Steve’s mouth and quickly opening his zipper. Steve stared at Bucky’s steady sniper’s fingers trembling slightly as he took out his half-hard cock, and for a moment Steve’s world turned white except for the sensation of Bucky’s finger twisting in his hair. It felt almost like having a really bad asthma attack, except Steve was so aroused he feared he might burst out of his uniform pants.

When Bucky roughly pushed his erection into Steve’s mouth, Steve wasn’t ready and coughed, choking, but Bucky just rocked his hips forward. Steve quickly relaxed his mouth, careful to keep his teeth out of the way, which took up most of his mental capacities. For a moment his brain tried to continue processing what was happening, but it was overwhelmed by the feel and taste of Bucky on his tongue.

Steve had never done anything with another man, and not much more with women, but just the thought of being able to be so close to Bucky, to give him pleasure, was enough motivation. He didn’t have the chance to try anything resembling technique since Bucky kept a tight grip on his head, in complete control of the speed and rhythm of his thrusts. Steve choked a couple more times, but Bucky always pulled back before it became too much, and an upwards glance through his lashes allowed Steve to meet his gaze, transfixed on the place where his cock disappeared into Steve’s mouth. It was a beautiful sight, and, along with the small sighs escaping him, was enough that Steve almost came as well when Bucky’s semen filled his mouth.

He swallowed quickly, but some spilled out, and this Bucky wiped away with a gentleness that stood in complete contrast with the rough way he’d just handled Steve. His face was blank, however, and Steve tried to think of the right words, but found none through the haze of his own arousal. Dropping his hand from Steve’s face, Bucky backed away abruptly and left, darkness once again enveloping Steve. With a sigh, he leant back against the column, suddenly too exhausted to even attempt to process what had just happened.

Luckily, before Steve could convince himself that he’d somehow managed to mess everything up, Bucky returned, much quicker than he ever had before. He was carrying a pack of what turned out to be wet wipes and, kneeling down, began to wordlessly clean Steve’s face, grubby not just from the blow job. It felt wonderful to be clean, but not half as good as the quiet look of concentration on Bucky’s face and the soft touch of calloused fingertips against his skin.

Steve couldn’t suppress a small sound of contentment and froze, afraid to break this fragile gentleness between them. However, although he stopped his ministrations, Bucky didn’t move away, and his voice was hoarse in Steve’s ear: “I’m sorry, Steve, I didn’t mean to…”

Looking up, Steve’s eyes locked on Bucky’s, willing him not to look away as he tried to express the thoughts that had been going around his mind since their last encounter: “Nothing to be sorry for. It’s like you said, Buck - I’m yours, there’s nothing you can do that’s going to scare me away.” Aware he was blushing to the roots of his hair, he averted his eyes and continued quickly: “And, in case you didn’t notice, I didn’t exactly put up a fight. Fuck Bucky, I liked it!”

A soft snort made him look back up. The look on Bucky’s face was a strange mix of wonder and amusement, but when he spoke he sounded so much like the man Steve remembered it made his heart ache: “Language, Rogers. You kiss your mom with that mouth?”

A strangled laugh escaped Steve as he shot back: “I’d rather kiss you.”

For a moment he feared that he’d gone too far, but then Bucky’s mouth was on his and all doubts disappeared, at least for the length of time that the kiss lasted, which could have been minutes or hours. Steve lost himself in the feel of Bucky’s slightly chapped lips, the slick warmth of his tongue, the way he tasted slightly of coffee and the small sounds he made, way back in his throat. He had one hand on Steve’s shoulder, thumb tracing the skin just above his collar, the other one once again twisting in his hair, metal fingers digging into his scalp. Shivers ran down Steve’s spine and he suspected he might be developing a Pavlovian response to having his hair pulled. Not that he cared one bit, his whole body straining towards Bucky, frustrated by the chains that stopped him from touching him back.

The kiss wasn’t tender or sweet, and a small voice in the back of Steve’s mind whispered that the Winter Soldier probably had forgotten what kindness felt like, but it was hard to care when Bucky seemed to lay claim to him with every slide of lips and tongues. Then nimble fingers slid down Steve’s chest, and Steve exhaled a curse into Bucky’s mouth when his straining erection was cupped through the fabric of his combat pants.

“Please,” he managed to gasp, and begging seemed to be the right course of action, because he could feel Bucky grin, followed by the sound of a zipper opening and strong fingers wrapping themselves around his dick. Steve had to break away from their ongoing kiss, resting his head against Bucky’s shoulder while he shuddered and pushed his hips into the touch. He felt an arm come to rest around his shoulder hesitatingly, holding him, albeit uncertain and uncomfortable, and bittersweet joy at this gesture mixed into the hot pleasure of the just-right twists with which Bucky was jerking him off efficiently.

It didn’t last long, couldn’t, and Bucky gripped his chin tightly, forcing Steve’s face upwards and staring at him with unblinking eyes while Steve fell apart. When he regained his faculties, Steve blushed, suddenly embarrassed. But then he remembered who it was who’d just seen him like this, had given him this, and he stiffened his posture and met Bucky’s bemused gaze head on. After a moment he even managed a smile, which was returned by a small softening of Bucky’s features and the cool sensation of a wet wipe cleaning him up before he was tugged back into his pants. Steve figured the gentleness in this gesture was more than good enough for him, and he said quietly: “Thank you.”

His gratitude seemed to deeply confuse Bucky, but only for a moment before his face became blank, all emotions locked away, and Steve’s mind shied away from wondering what exactly had been done to his best friend. He was still feeling too open and raw to deal with the anguish and rage, so instead he gave Bucky another smile, hoping it said what he couldn’t. He wasn’t sure whether it was enough, whether he imagined the slight relaxation of Bucky’s jaw, when Bucky got to his feet, obviously set on ignoring the bulge clearly visible through his jeans, and grabbed a water bottle from a bag next to the door. He wordlessly offered it to Steve who drank gratefully, then rested his hand against Steve’s cheek for just a moment, his eyes thoughtful. When he spoke, his voice was gruff: “I still don’t understand who I’m supposed to be or what you want from me, Steve Rogers. But you’re mine.”

The possessive words left Steve smiling into the dark for a long while after Bucky had left as quickly as always. They gave him the courage to take the initiative for the first time when Bucky returned, although he was careful to keep his voice neutral, not too hopeful: “Is there anything you want to know, Bucky? Any details I can explain, help clarify?”

Bucky hesitated, but only for a moment before he approached Steve and offered him another sandwich, which Steve accepted gratefully. He seemed lost in his own head, feeding Steve absent-mindedly, and Steve told himself to be patient, that it was silly to miss an intimacy he’d never really known before. This was all about meeting Bucky on his own terms, after all. He’d stay here, chained and on his knees in the dark, forever, if that was what Bucky needed, even if a small voice in the back of Steve’s mind asked how healthy this was and what people would think if they saw him, saw Captain America like this. The thought made him furious, and he almost missed it when Bucky finally spoke.

“They fucked me up, and you can’t fix me, Steve. Nothing can,” he stated so matter-of-factly that it just about broke Steve’s heart. But the next moment he felt hope spring up, because Bucky dropped to his knees and took out a key. He opened Steve’s shackles without another word and then stepped back while Steve collapsed against the column, blood rushing painfully into limbs that had been restrained for days. His voice was as dark was his eyes: “I don’t remember - and a part of me is glad, because it means I also don’t remember the things I did for them.”

There was so much loathing in that one word, the hair in the back of Steve’s neck stood up, because he could tell at least part of it was directed at Bucky himself. It made him force himself onto his feet, ignoring the stabbing pains in his joints, although he still had to lean back for support. He said quietly: “But you remember me. And you just let me go. Why?”

For a moment he feared Bucky would bolt again, but he remained where he was, so utterly still it was unsettling. Finally, he replied uncertainly: “Because you’re mine. And I… I’m yours. Aren’t I?”

The bittersweet ache that started deep in Steve’s belly had nothing to do with his long confinement, although his legs protested as he slowly crossed the distance to where Bucky was hovering. Lifting a still-weakened hand, Steve carefully laid it against Bucky’s cheek, feeling the muscle twitch beneath his touch. He leaned forward until their foreheads touched and inhaled deeply: “Yes, Bucky. I’m yours and you’re mine, and we’ve got each other, no matter what. ‘Til the end of the line, remember?”

Bucky’s lips caught his in a clumsy, desperate kiss, and when they broke apart they were both breathing hard. Heat pooled in Steve’s belly when he realized he was free to actually touch Bucky now, nothing holding him back except Bucky’s boundaries. Of which there doubtlessly would be many, but now they had the chance to cross them together.

Carefully Steve slid a hand underneath Bucky’s shirt, feeling skin hot beneath his fingertips, circling nipples that tightened at his touch. Bucky let out a small growl and pushed his hips into Steve, who licked his way into Bucky’s mouth while sliding his other hand downwards. He fumbled with the zipper, but then Bucky’s cock was in his fist, hard and hot, and Steve swallowed a moan. He rubbed his thumb over the head, precum easing the slide, and Bucky broke their kiss to breathe hot and wet against Steve’s neck for a moment. Then he began to explore every bit of exposed skin he could reach, and Steve’s movements faltered. He wished the marks Bucky was undoubtedly leaving would stay, but all thought left his mind when Bucky slid his right hand into the back of Steve’s pants.

Anal sex was not something Steve had ever really considered, but suddenly he knew with absolute clarity that he wanted Bucky there, inside him with more than a dry finger. Not this time, though, this time he was more than happy to settle for Bucky palming his erection, providing Steve with just the right amount of friction to get him off. Bucky followed only moments later, spilling over Steve’s fist and making a mess of both their clothes.

They leaned against one another, and Bucky caught Steve’s lips in another kiss, so deep and passionate it made Steve’s cock already take notice again. But Steve ignored it, too aware of the mess in his pants and the need for a shower. It was enough to know that there would be a next time. Except that Bucky was stepping away, his whole posture changing, hunching in on himself as if trying to make himself smaller. His face was a careful mask, but Steve could hear tension in his empty voice: “Thanks for this, Steve. But you’re free, you can go now.”

White-hot rage shot through Steve, and the only reason he didn’t slam Bucky into a wall was that keeping himself in check was second nature. But he did grab Bucky by the shoulders, the first time he initiated contact, and laid a hard kiss on Bucky’s unresponsive lips. Sighing in frustration, Steve moved away but didn’t let go. He hardly recognized his own voice as he ground out through clenched teeth: “God help me, Bucky Barnes, your skull is obviously still as thick as ever! Don’t you get it - you’re mine. Mine. I don’t ever want to go, unless you tell me to.”

All of a sudden, all tension left Bucky’s body and he almost collapsed into Steve’s embrace. Bucky’s hum of agreement was barely more than a vibration against Steve’s mouth, and he opened it to let Bucky in. He might no longer be in chains, but Steve was bound nonetheless. He just hadn’t known it before.

Metal fingers buried themselves in his hair, and he shivered, feeling Bucky’s lips curve into a smile.

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