A symbol to the nation; a hero to the world.
Alisa. Thai. 17. Too many fandoms.
It’s all Thor’s fault. Steve’s pretty much forgotten what it feels like to be sick, but then Thor shows up to one of the Avengers picnics with the sniffles, and whatever Asgardian bug he’s brought takes Steve down.
He’s actually kind of okay with it, though, after getting over the initial shock of being sick after so long. It hurts like a motherfucker, honestly, but something happens to Bucky when he comes into the living room to find Steve staring listlessly at the TV in his favorite hoodie and the duvet off his bed.
Bucky spoonfeeds him chicken soup and it’s just like old times, except not, because instead of water Bucky makes him drink Gatorade—“Natalia says it replaces sweat better, and, pal, you’re pretty sweaty”—and the fever is so bad Steve wants to crawl out of his own skin. Everything aches, even the touch of his clothing against his skin, but still, when Bucky runs his hand through Steve’s damp hair, Steve leans into it.
Bucky kisses his forehead, still kneeling in front of the sofa, and says, “god, Stevie, you’re burning up,” and for no reason, or every reason, this is what makes Steve burst into tears.
Sobs claw their way from his throat, and Bucky just holds onto him, not speaking, his hand still in Steve’s hair. Bucky doesn’t even try to calm him down, and by the time Steve finally pulls himself together, his head is pounding and he can feel the edges of his mind slipping away into sleep.
But Bucky makes him sit up and take some ibuprofen to bring down his fever. Steve polishes off the last of the Gatorade while he’s at it, and when Bucky finally, finally tells Steve it’s time to get some sleep, Steve refuses to do it until Bucky spoons him, just to be contrary and also because Bucky’s always been great at it.
When he wakes, it’s to find that both of Bucky’s arms have snuck up under his hoodie, his right hand flat against Steve’s belly, his left splayed out across Steve’s heart. Behind him he can hear Bucky’s sleeping breath, and for a second he can trick himself into thinking he’s back in their apartment in Brooklyn, and today Steve’s got to head down to the recruitment office, and—
And then he breathes out without wheezing, and everything clicks back into place, and he thinks that maybe he can put up with being Captain America if that hand, that metal extension of Hydra, can be so tender as to feel for his heartbeat.