Characters/Pairings: Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, OCs; Steve/Bucky
Word Count: 2589
Summary: Steve wants to give Bucky one perfect day (or several) and orchestrates a surprise trip.
Warnings: Nothing, really. Some adult language. Sappiness?
Disclaimer: Named characters and certain plot elements in this story are © Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures. All content is fictional and for entertainment purposes only, not for profit.
Notes: Un-beta'd. Ran out of time, whoops~. Written for the Perfect Day Fest 2017.
Posted to avengers_2k.
This story also available on AO3.
~ ~ ~
“What’s this?” Bucky stopped in his tracks, his duffle slung easily over his shoulder. He raised an eloquent eyebrow at the excessively stylish, excessively engineered, excessively expensive-looking Stark Jet parked in front of him in the hangar. Hearing no immediate response, he pivoted on his heel to turn his eyebrow on Steve, who ducked his head and looked sheepish.
“I’m trying to picture the scene where you asked Stark for this plane,” Bucky continued. “The intensity of his glee must’ve given him an aneurism. How much does this plane cost?” Bucky shook his head in disbelief. “You hate this kind of thing. How did this even happen?”
Steve scratched his nose. “Technically, the plane cost a lot to build, yes, but it’s incredibly cheap to fly. Top of the curve in fuel efficiency. Naturally.”
Bucky gave him a flat look. “Seriously, I want to know how much it hurt you to ask for this thing.”
Steve huffed out an irritated gust of air. “Felt a little bit like being stabbed in the face, and yes, Tony was really annoying about the entire thing.” He shrugged. “I needed it. For the surprise. Flying commercial’s not gonna cut it. And we need to go, you know. Far.” He got a sheepish look again, but this time it came with a smile.
Bucky’s lip twitched, fighting an answering smile with little success, a warm, fluttery feeling bubbling up from his stomach. Steve and his damn surprise. Bucky had no idea what the punk had planned, but he’d planned it for Bucky, it was some kind of present and Steve was excited about it, pleased with himself, and the feeling that gave Bucky was so damn sweet it felt like his heart was being squeezed. And whatever it was Steve had planned was bound to be good. Just like old times. …Only with fancy jets and shit, because that was their life now.
Bucky put some effort into swallowing his feelings before he barfed them all over Steve’s shoes or whatever, grinning wide and fluttering his eyelashes. “Like being stabbed in the face, huh? And you did it anyway? Watch it, doll, I’m starting to think you might be sweet on me.”
Steve rolled his eyes. “Get on the damn plane, Buck.”
Grinning wider, Bucky turned and made for the plane with a skip in his step. He jogged up the stairs and ducked his head to get in the door, whistling low as he took in the interior. The front part of the plane was a lounge area, stylish but very comfortable-looking suede chairs arranged around tasteful mahogany tables. A Stark holoscreen was playing scenes of stunning tropical islands and reefs, but Bucky was quite sure it would provide them with internet access and a nearly endless supply of media on request. At the back of the room was a well-stocked bar and kitchen area. The carpet was immaculate and plush. Bucky was itching to dig his toes into it, it looked deliciously soft.
“I don’t even think this is Tony’s fanciest plane,” Steve murmured from close behind him. Bucky could practically hear the wry twist of his lips.
“Oh, I’m quite sure it isn’t. Which is disgusting. Stark is disgusting,” Bucky replied, thoroughly cheerful about it.
Steve poked Bucky in the kidney with one finger, prodding him into movement. “C’mon, let’s go drop our kit.”
Bucky made his way towards the back of the plane. Behind the kitchen, a narrow passageway led them past a couple of doors. Bucky slid one of them open, poking his head through the door; it was a restroom, a toilet and sink and dear God an actual shower and fluffy towels, everything in ebony and chrome and standing room for eight people even if they didn’t want to touch each other.
Steve had sidled past him and opened the second door, swinging his duffel into it—luggage storage, with shelves. Steve took Bucky’s duffel with a small smile and stowed it for him, because he was a fuckin’ gentleman that way, before leading him further aft.
The back of the plane was a bedroom: king-sized bed, vintage loveseat at the foot of it, facing another holoscreen showing scenes from space. Just as Bucky was taking this in, the screen pinged gently and went black, showing only text: ‘Message from cockpit; accept?’
“Go ahead,” Steve said.
The holoscreen bloomed into live video, showing a dark-eyed, middle-aged woman and a very young, dark-skinned man in pilot’s uniforms. “Captain Rogers, Sergeant Barnes,” the woman greeted, “welcome aboard. I’m Captain Jalili, this is First Officer Lowey. If there’s anything you need at any point, please let us know, otherwise make yourselves comfortable, take your seats when Saturday asks you to, and we’ll be on our way shortly.”
Steve glanced at Bucky briefly before turning back to the screen. “We’re fine for now, Captain. Thank you.”
Captain Jalili flashed a smile and gave a brisk nod before killing the feed. A few moments later Bucky could hear the whine of the engines warming up. “…Saturday?” he inquired.
“Soft AI installed in the jet. Friday’s less-complex baby sister.”
“…So, anyway, no fair opening any of the windows, all right?” Steve said.
Bucky blinked, glancing around in surprise. The lighting on the jet was cleverly designed, as warm and as bright as real sunlight; he hadn’t even noticed that all of the window shades were drawn. “Yeah, okay, I won’t touch the windows,” he promised. “Seems like there’s plenty enough to do on this plane that’s better than staring at the view.”
Steve smiled. “Sure is. Where should we start? The Stark Jet is our oyster.”
“You wanna tell me how long we’ll be in the air?”
“Ahh, not really, no.” Steve shoved his hands into his pockets, giving Bucky a ‘sorry, not sorry’ look.
Bucky rolled his eyes. “Ballpark it. Minutes? Couple hours? Several hours? I wanna know what I’m getting into, here.”
“All right. A few hours,” Steve admitted.
Bucky nodded thoughtfully, glancing around idly while he sorted through his options. “…Right,” he said, “thing one.” He lifted one foot and started yanking at his boot, hopping slightly to keep his balance.
“Um,” Steve said.
While Steve looked on in bemusement, Bucky made short work of his boots and socks. Tossing them aside, he curled his toes into the carpet, his eyelids going heavy with pleasure. “Mmmmmmm.~”
“…Wow,” Steve said.
“Steve, buddy. Pal. Lover. Put that judging face away, I’m not shitting you, you need to get your feet into this rug.”
There was a short pause, and then Steve sat down on the loveseat, tugging at his laces. Bucky grinned. “Atta boy~.” He wriggled his toes for a moment, luxuriating, then clapped his hands. “OK—thing two.”
“What’s that, then?” Steve asked.
Bucky started towards the front of the plane. “Drinking Stark’s booze!”
“Shoulda seen that coming,” Steve said, and then, “Holy wow, you’re so right about the carpet!”
Bucky grinned wider, tipping his head back to shout. “Never doubt me again!”
~ ~ ~
After an enjoyable few hours sampling the Stark Jet’s entire, very excellent, very expensive liquor collection and Bucky maybe only slightly losing his shit watching episodes of Planet Earth 2—(“Oh my God, oh my God, fuckin’ run little iguana, go little dude go go GO!”)—the feeling of changing pressure as the jet descended came almost as a surprise. By the time a slight bounce and the roar of the engines reversing thrust announced the plane’s return to solid ground, the heady feeling of nervous excitement had returned to Bucky, a fluttery feeling in his heart and champagne bubbles in his stomach. He jammed his boots on, shoving his laces into the cuffs rather than bothering to tie them, and retrieved his duffle, waiting impatiently for the door to open.
The hatch and stairs unfolded with a whir of hydraulics, revealing the interior of an air-conditioned hangar, white and so pristinely clean it seemed to glow. A black limousine was parked nearby, a woman in a smart suit waiting next to the open rear passenger door.
The hangar door was closed, offering no view to the outside
“Aww, come on!” complained Bucky as he stumped down the stairs.
“Just a little bit longer, promise,” Steve assured him, gently steering Bucky to the limo with a hand on his lower back.
Bucky eyed the New York license plate. It was pretty unlikely they were still in New York. No clues there. “Man, you’ve thought of everything.”
Their driver—‘Asifa,’ by her nametag—took their bags from them, and they slid into the back seat of the limo. It was as comfortable and luxuriously appointed as the plane had been: leather, wood, and chrome detailing, holoscreens, minibar. The limo started to move without even a whisper of sound—electric engine, then.
Steve pressed a button and the windows went opaque, letting light through but obscuring shapes and colors.
Bucky shook his head. “This is getting ridiculous.” He kicked his legs out, crossing them at the ankles, and shimmied lower in his seat, tipping his head back and closing his eyes. “Dunno what time zone we’re in, but I think it’s nap o’clock,” he said. “Wake me when we get there.”
“Sure thing, Buck,” Steve said agreeably. Bucky felt Steve’s knee come to rest comfortably against his thigh and he smiled, letting himself relax and spiral slowly down into sleep.
~ ~ ~
The faintest whisper of a laugh, then a feeling of pressure on his metal arm—Steve’s hand. Bucky could nearly imagine it felt warm. “Bucky, wake up. We’re here.”
“Mmmmmnnnnfffff.” Bucky stretched and opened his eyes, blinking sleepily and looking around. Steve smiled at him, fond and beautiful.
“Have a nice nap?”
“Glorious.” Bucky scratched at his jaw. “’M I allowed to look outside now?”
Steve’s smile turned wry, and he held up a blue silk handkerchief.
Bucky stared in confusion, then in disbelief. “A blindfold? Really?” Steve merely raised his eyebrows and shook the handkerchief a little, a silent ‘get a wiggle on, Buck.’ Bucky stared at him a moment longer, and then he grinned, long and slow and sly. “Kinky~,” he purred.
Steve blushed and rolled his eyes. “Buck.”
Bucky twisted in his seat, turning his back toward Steve. “Well go on then, Steve. I’m entirely at your mercy~.”
Steve sighed loudly, making sure to indicate as clearly as possible that he was unimpressed with Bucky’s shenanigans, but Bucky could hear the whisper of cloth as Steve quickly folded the handkerchief. He leaned forward, a wall of heat at Bucky’s back, curling his arms around Bucky’s shoulders and gently fitting the handkerchief against his eyes. “How’s that?” Bucky reached up to adjust the alignment slightly, then nodded. Steve tied the ends off. “Good?”
The handkerchief fit snugly but comfortably. The silk felt nice. “Yup.”
“Good.” Steve pressed a kiss to the side of Bucky’s neck. Bucky shivered.
Bucky heard the door open, felt the touch of warmer air. Steve curled a hand around Bucky’s forearm and Bucky followed his lead, sliding across the leather seat and stepping carefully out of the car. “Just a little ways,” Steve promised, moving his hand to the middle of Bucky’s back.
Steve walked and Bucky walked with him, trusting him to help Bucky navigate any obstacles or uneven ground. Reaching out with his remaining senses, Bucky took stock: the air was pleasantly warm, but not sticky and smothering with humidity. Warm and dry. Not a lot of noises. Natural sounds—a few birds, a few bugs—not traffic or people noises. The smell of warm vegetation, a fragrant mix, mostly exotic to his nose. But also… pine? And dust. A desert?
Steve brought them to a gentle stop. “Okay, Buck, I’m taking off the blindfold.” He tugged at the knot and the blindfold fell away—
Wide open space, incomprehensible vastness; the earth falling away before him, rent by unimaginable forces, cascading in ripples of red and orange and gray down and away from them, almost impossibly deep to a thin ribbon of blue. The Grand Canyon.
Bucky barked out a startled laugh, and then had to blink rapidly to clear eyes suddenly blurry with tears. He turned to Steve, who was looking sheepish and pleased. “You remembered.”
“’Course I did, Buck. You only talked about wanting to see the Grand Canyon about a thousand times, back when.”
“Yeah, but—” Overwhelmed and short of words, Bucky tugged Steve in and kissed him fiercely. Steve curled himself around Bucky, holding him in place, grounded; he kissed back, gently but inexorable, like the waves of the Atlantic.
Bucky pulled back a moment, hands fisted tightly in Steve’s shirt. “You fuckin’ dope, I can’t believe—” He ran out of words again, kissed Steve again.
Steve chuckled against his lips, leaned back to look into Bucky’s eyes, stroke his cheekbone with a thumb. “Seemed like a thing to do. As far as making lifelong dreams come true, this one’s pretty easy to accomplish. …These days, anyway, now that we’re gentlemen of means,” he drawled.
“Wash your mouth, I ain’t no gentleman,” Bucky said breathlessly, and gave Steve a final kiss, firm and lingering. He turned back to the canyon. “Jesus,” he breathed, “it’s even better than I thought it’d be.”
“Yeah, it’s… wow. I’ve never been here either. Pictures don’t do it justice.”
Bucky curled his hand around Steve’s and squeezed. “This is—thank you, Steve. Best day ever.”
“You’re welcome,” Steve said softly, and they stood that way for a time, staring out into the chasm and soaking in the silence, trying to wrap their minds around the size of it and not quite succeeding. After a bit Steve cleared his throat. “So the plan, if you want… I was thinking we’d do a bit of a backpack, get down in there for about a week, just you and me and the Colorado and the canyon. I’ve got all the gear in the car with Asifa, we’d just need to repack a little. What do you think?”
Bucky leaned his head on Steve’s shoulder. “Campfire, marshmallows, sleeping bags under the stars?”
“Whatever you want, Buck.”
Bucky grinned wide, the levees of his heart brimming to full and overflowing. “Best week ever,” he amended and, helpless, kissed Steve again.
~ ~ ~
Epilogue: one week later
~ ~ ~
Bucky lay stretched out on the Stark Jet’s bed, bare toes wiggling idly, eyes closed, enjoying the hum of the engine and the Glenn Miller playing softly on the sound system. He was bone tired and lightly sore, in a pleasant way, and a little bit sunburned in a pleasant way, and happy. Steve was lying next to him; he’d been drawing a little, earlier, but now he, too, was simply relaxing, waving one hand idly to the music.
It really had been the perfect getaway, just the two of them and the rocks and the river and the wild, clear sky. In a few hours they’d be home in New York, back to their comfy routines. As pleasant as the jet was, it was a little melancholy, and a little… boring. Bucky idly pondered their options.
After a moment, his toes stopped wiggling. “…I just thought of something Stark would hate.”
“Mmmm?” Steve was sleepy, only half paying attention, but he turned to look at Bucky questioningly.
Bucky rolled over, propping himself on his elbow so he could look down at Steve with a wicked grin.
“What do you think about joining the mile-high club, pal~?”
~ Fin. ~
((...Okay so perfect several days really, shush. BUCKY CANNOT POSSIBLY HAVE ENOUGH PERFECT DAYS, OKAY. HE DESERVES THEM. T_T Idea comes straight from comics canon, if you weren't already aware of the Grand Canyon thing.
The title is from the original lyrics of the song "All the Things You Are" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, which became a jazz standard, a number of versions of which borrowed a musical device from Ferde Grofe's Grand Canyon Suite DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE, HURRR~ Here have some lyrics, they actually kinda work.))