Old School Hollywood
Basically, Tyrone Power was the reason why a young, teenage Steve Rogers cottoned on to the fact that maybe, just maybe, he liked looking at fellas as much as he looked at dames.
Bucky would soon get sick of The Mark of Zorro but he’d never cotton on to this and for Steve’s sake, he sweet-talked the projectionist at their favorite movie theater to sneak them in sometimes for free. Her name was Betty Schaefer and she thought the two of them were adorable and maybe, just maybe Betty was Steve’s real first kiss from a dame.
And maybe, just maybe Betty pointed out the marked resemblance between good ol’ Ty and Bucky and Steve was absolutely mortified about it. But she’d been the one to gently pat his shoulder and tell him, “Chin up, babycakes. Don’t you buy into that hellfire and brimstone thing the preachers will feed you. Ain’t no harm in loving who you love.”
She told him she was stuck on her best friend Sally Jane too. Same boat. Pretty hard to carry a torch for someone that way, especially if you think it’s unrequited.
So Steve and Betty pined over their respective sweethearts together and it was to Betty that Steve confided his personal opinion that Bucky looked a hell of a lot better in his Army uniform than Ty did in his Marine get-up. She agreed.
It was a pity he’d lost touch with Betty after he joined the Army much later but Steve always hoped she’d gone on to lead a full, happy life. Betty was a survivor and a tough dame in her own way.
So of course, one of the first things Steve did when he woke up in the 21st century was get caught up on all of the other Tyrone Powers movies that he missed.
Nat would tease him mercilessly about his “Tyrone Power” thing. No, really, Steve, we got newer, more good-looking Hollywood actors for you to have a man-crush on. Have I ever shown you the Mad Hatter episodes for Once Upon a Time?
Steve stayed stubborn about it. My love for Ty Power is an eternal thing, okay, Nat?
And then there was later and later meant after the long struggle to bring the Winter Soldier home and while Bucky Barnes was never going to be the same man he’d been in the 1940’s, neither was Steve and he didn’t care - all he wanted was for his best friend and the love of his life to be safe and well - as much as any person can be “well” considering the kind of hell Bucky went through.
It shouldn’t have to be said but for the sake of clarity, Steve carefully kept the “love of his life” bit from Bucky, because that was the last thing his friend needed at that point in time. At the end of the day, he just wanted Bucky to be happy - Bucky didn’t need his best friend ‘fessing up to his hopeless love and making his life more difficult.
So of course, Bucky finds out that Steve still has a thing for Tyrone Power and he knows he has memories of being vaguely jealous of Steve’s ridiculous teenage crush that apparently persisted to this very day and he knows he used to deliberately mimic Ty’s style, if only to get Steve to look at him with stars in his eyes. And of course, because Bucky’s life in general sucks, he knows that beneath the Soldier’s mission of Protect Steve was the underlying foundation of hopelessly loving Steve and wanting him to be safe and happy.
Finally, Nat gets fed up with the mutual pining because really, come on and she tackles this with Bucky while they’re sparring. There’s not much a man can do when the Black Widow has his head trapped between her thighs and it’s a mark of how distracted Bucky was that he’d even let her get that close.
"You know the whole Tyrone Power man crush Steve has is just him projecting his feelings for you on somebody safer and obviously unattainable, right?"
Bucky blinks. “Wait. What?”
Nat rolls her eyes at him. “He’s pining for you. You’re pining back. He’s not going to make a move because he doesn’t want to ‘burden’ you. Please put Steve out of his misery and by extension, the rest of us.”
"Breathing…. would be nice…."
She lets him go.
"So, how much you got riding on this?" Because Bucky’s not an idiot and he didn’t make sergeant by not being aware of the scuttlebutt and the running pool. (Hell, he even knew about the cockroach betting scam Dum Dum and Morita used to run, back in the day. He never got to collect on that last race.)
Nat smiles angelically. “Enough for my retirement in Tahiti. With some change left over.”
So Bucky eventually gathers his courage and it was while the two of them were watching Tyrone Power in Prince of Foxes that Bucky makes his move.
He was relieved to find out that he hadn’t lost his touch.
Also, he was an idiot for missing out on kissing Steve for all these years because goddamn.
The popcorn spilled all over the floor but as Bucky currently had an armful of punk Super Soldier and had discovered that Steve’s ass was just as lovely to grope as it had been when he was tiny, well, he didn’t care.
- end -
Note: I may have spent the weekend watching Sunset Boulevard and this bunny came and perched on my head. Also the reason why Steve’s first kiss was a lovely lady named Betty Schaefer. :P