Unrequited: A Bucky X Steve X Sam fanfic
Word Count: 1820
Warnings: Angst, mild suicidal ideation, dumb boys, smut (oral, frottage, anal)
Synopsis: A tale of three men who all love differently but deeply, and cannot see what is the obvious answer.
If Sam hadn’t already known he was attracted to men, he would have found out the morning that Steve Rogers was running the same circuit as him. It was something he’d struggled with his whole life really. Being a minister’s son, that was just not an acceptable outcome. Not that his parents ever made him explicitly feel that way. They were pretty open-minded really. But he heard the congregation. The things people said at school. What they said on the street. Being gay was a sin. It was disgusting. It was against God.
It wasn’t like he wasn’t attracted to women anyway. He was. So he buried the part of him down that said he was attracted to men and became what was right. What was expected. What wouldn’t bring his family shame. For a time it was almost like he forgot. Not really, but he was somehow able to convince himself that you were gay or you were straight and straight was the default.
That was until he met Riley. Riley changed everything. By then his parents were both dead. Good people that were murdered by the very people that denounce homosexuality as a sin. After that all he could see was the downward spiral his life was most likely about to take so he joined the airforce. The air force gave him direction. It also gave him Riley.
With all the things that would make the relationship with him a huge painted target for hate. Two men. In the military. Of different races. One a minister’s son. Not one of them was strong enough to keep them apart. Sam had loved Riley more than he has loved another person in his life. They had made huge promises about marriage and retirement and kids. Instead, all he got was heartbreak.
Moving on from the death of the love of your life is hard. In a lot of ways, Sam didn’t want to. He didn’t want anything after that. He retired from the force not long after and for a while, he just grieved. Someone from the VA would come to see him from time to time, and gradually he realized where his new place might be. He wasn’t the straight guy repressing his sexuality for the sake of how he would look to others. He wasn’t the soldier. Or the hero. He wasn’t the lover. Or the husband or the father. He was a new thing. He went on a course and joined in a group. And when he graduated he became a full counselor. He helped people who were struggling to know who they were anymore, and doing that helped him know who he was.
He never really expected to move on from Riley. Though he did try a few things. He went on a few blind dates. He had a few one-night stands.
And then Steve Rogers happened. Sam knew he was done as soon as that smart ass came tearing past him with is ‘on the left’.
It wasn’t just that he was gorgeous. Everyone with eyes could tell that. He recognized him immediately with his blond hair and shoulder to waist ratio that so closely mimicked a Dorito. The fact he was running at what must have been a million miles an hour helped too. He’d have to have been living in a cave to not have realized who it was.
All that was great. It was the sass that got him. Each and every ‘On your left’. The way he teased him for being slow, when no one, not a single person on the planet could possibly keep up with Captain America on foot. So Sam flirted. He hadn’t really done it for a while, at least not in any serious way. He teased him back. He mentioned beds for some reason. Cap was leaving and the only thing he could think about was beds. It worked, which was promising. He talked about the music he liked and the things they had in common. Invited him to visit the VA. Threw the thing in about the girl at the front desk, just in case. But it was going well.
Then that black corvette stingray pulled up and he felt all that bubbling hope of the potential for something new get smothered back down. Natasha Romanoff was just as beautiful and sassy as Steve was. Of course, they would be together. Of course the first person Sam was interested in since Riley was already in a relationship. Sam smiled at Natasha and played it cool. Friends would be fine, he told himself.
It was less than a week later that he was dragged into a whole new world. A world where his wings had been returned. Where he was drop-kicking helicopters out of the sky and soviet supersoldiers jumped onto the roof of your car and ripped the steering wheel out of your hand and through the windshield. A world where he wasn’t any of the things that had come before. He was The Falcon.
When all the dust had settled, and SHIELD had fallen, the rats inside scurrying off who knows where Sam knew this was it. He was following Steve Rogers anywhere. He was smart and sassy and his moral compass was set as true as anyone he’d ever met. Sam Wilson was done for and if Steve Rogers was just his friend that would be enough, because being near him was enough. Getting to talk to him. To help him find his friend. To save the world at his side. Those things would keep him going. His love could stay unrequited. It didn’t matter to Sam. As long as he could have it.
The day he and Steve were leaving DC he came to meet him at his old apartment. He parked out the front and went upstairs. They were going to meet Natasha and Nick at Nick’s grave before heading to New York to start the hunt for the Winter Soldier. Or Bucky Barnes, depending on who the guy was now.
As he walked down the hall he heard his name and turned to see the blonde woman approach him. She offered him her hand and he took it.
“Agent 13. I just wanted to thank you for the help.” She said.
Sam smiled. “Oh right? You were the one watching him. Kate? Nat was trying to set the two of you up.”
“It’s Sharon.” She said. “Nat means well, and don’t get me wrong, he’s cute. I wouldn’t turn him down if he asked. But, she doesn’t always see things that are right in front of her face.”
Sam looked her up and down before breaking out into a huge grin. “You and Nat?”
Sharon shrugged. “Little tough now, but who knows. Maybe one day.” She said. “You’ve got a thing for Steve, don’t you?”
Sam looked back over his shoulder in the direction of Steve’s apartment. “Is it that obvious?”
Sharon gave a sly half smile. “No. You’re fine. He has no idea. You should tell him though. You might be surprised.”
Sam shook his head. “I’m not sure that he’s meant for me. In any case, right now, he needs a friend. So that’s what I’m gonna be.”
Sharon nodded and gave his shoulder a squeeze. “Take care of him for me.”
Sam nodded and watched as Sharon left, heading down the stairs before turning back to Steve’s apartment. He let himself into Steve’s apartment without knocking and looked around. Steve was by his bed shoving the last of his clothes into a duffle bag.
Sam approached him and clapped him on the shoulder. “Let’s go find that friend of yours.”
For the next two years, that’s exactly what Sam did. He put his life on hold, moving to New York and helping the man he wanted but ultimately couldn’t have, find his brainwashed assassin best friend. He had thought it would be hard spending so much time with someone when you were trying to hide your feelings. It wasn’t hard at all. He could do unrequited. Being around Steve was like a drug. He had this way of building him up that made him feel like he could do anything. The amount of trust this man who had been let down by so many had in him, felt like a precious gift.
He had once said ‘I do what he does, just slower’. He meant it more every day they spent together looking for James Barnes. He would follow Steve wherever he wanted him to go because he knew Steve would never ask him to do something that Sam didn’t also believe in.
No one could quite understand how that translated to helping him find a guy who had torn off one of his wings and kicked him off a helicarrier. The truth was maybe if Steve hadn’t asked he wouldn’t have done it, but he was Steve’s friend was just as much a victim in this as anyone else. He’d saved Steve’s life. Maybe he couldn’t be gotten through to, but if he could, Sam was one of the best people for the job.
Two years later and he was standing on a roof listening to Steve talk his friend down from doing something stupid.
Watching Bucky Barnes trying to settle into the compound when he had people there who seemed to hate him almost as much as he hated himself was heartbreaking. He could see the way Bucky looked at Steve too. The look of quiet adoration mixed with slight desperation was one that mirrored the feelings he had too.
The way Steve was walking on eggshells around Bucky wasn’t helping with his healing and Sam started to see him pull away. The fact that Sharon came to the compound to help out and started something up with Steve didn’t help either.
So Sam stepped up. Every time Bucky said something Sam sassed him. A ‘can you pass me the milk?’ from Bucky would be met with an ‘I don’t know. Can I?’
He wanted Bucky to feel normal. For Bucky to know he wasn’t scared of him. From the first snarky comment, their relationship was set. Bucky took to it immediately. He was quiet. He didn’t say much but when he spoke to Sam it was always with a quick comeback. Slowly he started to smile more. He’d tug his hair down over his eyes when Sam was around. Sam began to realize that those feelings Bucky was carrying around him for Steve might be becoming mirrored towards him.
The worst part. The absolute worst and most unforgivable part was, he felt it too.
He hated himself. Bucky Barnes was not ready for that. He knew that. He was trained to know things like that. Even still, he was getting those little butterflies every time Bucky laughed softly at some pun Clint made. Or when he caught him looking over at him a small smile on his face.
Sharon caught him watching Bucky outside planting things in a garden they’d set up for him. “You not gonna tell him either?”
Sam shook his head. “Can’t. He’s still healing.”
Sharon sighed and patted his shoulder. “So you just gonna not ever chase after happiness.”
Sam scoffed. “You can talk. Who are you dating again? Wasn’t he the backup plan?”
“Alright. I deserved that. But you deserve better. Telling him you feel the same way doesn’t mean you have to jump right into something. You can go slow you know?” She said.
Sam sighed. “I can’t. I need to…” He trailed off, not even sure where he was going. He needed to do a lot of things. Figure out what he wanted. Help Bucky get better. Join in more. Have him stop hiding in his room all the time. Kiss him. Stop pining over Steve when he was now taken. The list was endless.
Sharon patted him on the shoulder. “Well, no one can say I didn’t try.”
Sam put his hand over Sharon’s and squeezed it. “I appreciate that you have.”
She smiled at him before pulling her hand away. “I’ll get through to you one day, Wilson.” She called back to him.