He meets Steve on a cold night sometime in the early two-thousands.
(Bucky loses track of the individual years, but he’ll never forget the preponderance of boy bands and Juicy Couture.)
Originally, he thought that it would be an easy meal.
But then he sees the kid is crying.
“Hey kiddo,” Bucky says, internally wincing. He may nearing two hundred years old, but he’s still kind of a joke. “You lost?”
The kid looks up. “No,” he says.
“Are you… okay?” he asks. He also hasn’t spent much of those two hundred years with ten year-olds.
“I’m waiting for my mom,” he says, like that’s a real explanation.
“Do you need an adult?” Bucky asks.
The kid looks at him through his tears with a judgmental glare. There has been no moment in his two hundred years that Bucky has ever felt this low.
“How old do you think I am?” he asks.
The kid snorts. “I’m sixteen.”
“Oh, well…” Bucky says. He fidgets. “I just thought—”
“My mom’s in there getting chemo,” he says.
Bucky flops next to the kid on the bench. “Shit,” he says.
The kid nods. “Yeah,” he says, “Shit.”
“Do you have feelings you need to get out or somethin’? I don’t got anywhere to be.”
He looks up. “You’re not some kinda murderer, are you?” he asks.
Bucky shrugs. “Depends on how you look at things,” he says. The kid snorts. “I won’t murder you, if that’s a consolation.”
The kid smiles. “I’m Steve,” he says.
“Bucky,” Bucky says.
And that’s how it starts.
“Heya Buck,” Steve says, smiling out into the dark. “Been a while.”
“Had to go to the Vampire Council,” Buck says, floating onto Steve’s fire escape and plopping down next to Steve. He kind of snuggles in, because it’s a cold night and Steve’s warm. Steve pulls an arm around Bucky’s shoulders. Bucky shuts his eyes for a sec, just letting himself feel Steve next to him.
“You’re joking, right?”
“’Course I’m jokin’. There ain’t no Vampire Council, this ain’t Twilight.”
“Yeah, if it were you’d sparkle.”
“Yeah, you just gotta make due with my sparklin’ personality.”
Steve laughs and knocks into Bucky a bit. “Jeez, you’re so full of it.” He quiets down. “Speaking of which, you hungry, Buck?”
Bucky tenses. “No,” he lies.
“It’s just after sundown and you came straight here…”
“‘M not hungry,” Bucky mutters, wishing he could nuzzle in closer to Steve, shut him up.
“We’ve known each other ten years. I can tell when you’re—“
Bucky pulls away. “Why’re you so focused on this tonight?” he asks.
There’s a pregnant pause. “I just…” He swallows. Bucky watches the way his throat moves as he does so. “I was thinking of making a sandwich or something. I didn’t want you to feel left out,” Steve says quiet, level.
Bucky doesn’t care too much. “No offense, but your falafel sandwich won’t make me jealous, Steve.”
“Alright,” Steve says, then repeats, quieter, “alright.”
It sometimes amazes Bucky, the transformation Steve went through. How he was so small when they met, and now he’s so… well, big. Maybe it’s because he stopped changing so long ago, but every time something about Steve appears different, he longs to touch him, to trace each line, to feel every change.
But he can’t, and he won’t. So he just watches, and tries to be Steve’s friend.
“I thought you were an angel,” Steve says one night.
“Huh?” Bucky asks, looking up from his book and over at Steve.
“When I first met you. I thought you were an angel.”
Steve shrugs, a small smile. “I thought my mom must’ve died, and that you came to tell me.”
If Bucky’s heart could still beat, it would’ve broken. “Steve,” he whispers.
Steve closes the space between them. “I want you to,” he says.
Bucky raises an eyebrow. “What?”
“To turn me.”
Bucky snorts. “No,” he says.
Bucky smiles. “I have a nice one, you’re right.”
Steve smiles back. “I love you,” he says.
Bucky’s smile falls.
It takes him four seconds to fly out of the room, and by the sunrise he’s out of New York.
It takes a year before he can’t take it anymore and returns to Steve’s fire escape.
He walks the streets, hands in his pockets, trying not to think of what an eternity without Steve will be like.
And then he walks in front of the hospital and sees a man on a bench. “Hey kiddo,” he says, trying to keep his voice steady. “You lost?”
Steve looks at him, bags under his eyes, looking thin. He smiles. “No,” he says.
“Are you… okay?” Bucky asks.
Steve’s smile falls. “I’m getting out of chemo,” he says.
So does Bucky’s. “What?” he asks, voice hoarse, dropping onto the bench next to Steve.
“It’s not… looking good,” Steve says. He leans onto Bucky, and Bucky wraps an arm around him. “I missed you.”
“I hadn’t… I never realized…”
“They think I’m gonna die,” Steve says. He looks up, “Unless you wanna kill me first.”
Bucky takes a deep breath. “I am a murderer,” he says, trying to keep his voice nonchalant.
“An angel of death.”
“You realize that this would mean an eternity with me, right? No way out after this?”
Steve nods. “Exactly,” he says, taking Bucky’s hand. “That’s exactly what I want.”
Bucky nods, squeezing Steve’s hand. “Here, lemme…” he says, leaning down and kissing Steve’s chapped, dry lips. Steve smiles into the kiss.
Then he moves to his neck and takes a bite.
“Ow,” Steve says.
“Whimp,” Bucky mutters into Steve’s neck.
“Gimme a break, I’m dying here.”
“Haha,” Bucky says.
He gathers Steve into his arms and finishes draining his blood. Bucky lets Steve die in his arms.
And when Steve opens his eyes again, Bucky is the first thing he sees.
“Hi,” he says.
“Welcome to hell,” Bucky responds.
Steve smiles, raising himself up to press a gentle kiss on Bucky’s lips. “Seems more like heaven to me.”