keep the cushions and the couch too, ok pal?
In sleep is the only time Bucky doesn’t have to look at Steve through his lashes; he does it anyway. Always has. There’s too much of him otherwise, he hurts to look at, he’s too bright for Bucky’s uncovered eyes and Bucky wonders, some days, if that isn’t why he’s always finding trouble. Moths are drawn to flame and Steve burns, in sleep and out of it, with passion on some days and fever on others but always, always, with hope — even now, grief etched along the defeated curl of his body, he sips in every breath like he believes wholly in what he’ll do with it. It makes Bucky struggle with his own inhalations because he’s the moth, he’s been the moth as long as he can remember and it’s all he wants: to be stupid, to be young, to spread his wings and burn alive in Steve’s fire.
Steve shudders, shifts; his arm escapes from where it’s been huddled trapped beneath his chest and drops down towards the floor. His fingers curl loose around the tender flesh beneath Bucky’s elbow and Bucky opens his eyes wide for once — to prove it to himself. To see. Maybe he’s less a moth than that guy from the stories Steve liked in school, wax wings and a dangerous flight pattern; Steve’s circulation is for shit and still Bucky can feel himself melting beneath his chill-fingered touch, dripping through the cracks in the floorboards. His eyes ache, and his chest, and his pulse speeds up because it’s harder labor than he’s ever done, to look at Steve here in the darkness. He lets slip a small sound and Steve’s face shifts just from that, a soft frown appearing in the lines along his forehead. The back of Bucky’s throat itches from him, from all the jagged want he’s swallowed.
Please, Bucky thinks. Bucky thinks: please.