The plane began its descent towards Newark Airport and Bucky’s stomach swooped along with it but he paid no mind to the sensation, his attention fixed upon the city below. It had been so long since he’d been back home legally - in fact, he hadn’t set foot on American soil as a free man since he’d left for the war. He’d been there numerous times for Hydra business, and he’d spent a week after the Battle of the Triskellion trying to recover some of the fractured memories of his past, but all those times he either didn't technically exist, or he’d been a wanted man. Now he was coming home, the place he’d not even allowed himself to dream of since the fall. And he had Tony Stark to thank for that.
Bucky wasn’t sure how it had all started. He was aware that King T’Challa kept in close contact with Stark, and apparently that had extended to updates about what the Rogue Avengers were doing. It hadn’t been a well kept secret that they had sought sanctuary in Wakanda from time to time or that T’Challa had offered to cryo-freeze Bucky whilst he looked for a cure for his brainwashing. Shuri had let slip when he’d first been woken that their breakthrough had actually come from Stark himself but she’d never explained why the genius would want to help. The last time Bucky had seen him, Stark had discovered that it had been the Winter Soldier that had killed his parents. The ex-assassin still woke from nightmares now, Stark’s broken voice crying out, “He killed my mom! ” echoing in his head. Bucky remembered every life he’d ever been ordered to take over the years (how frustrating that he could recall those but not the colour of his own mother’s eyes), but none of them incited the same amount of guilt as that of Howard and Maria Stark. To know that on some level that Stark had either found forgiveness for Bucky, or could just separate the acts carried out by the Soldier from the man himself, well it blew Bucky’s mind. He himself still didn’t believe he deserved a second chance, but Stark apparently did and he’d gone out of his way to ensure that the kid from Brooklyn got it.
The plane taxied to the gate and soon the seatbelt sign was turned off. The two Dora Milaje who had accompanied him at the request of T’Challa stood from their business class seats, and immediately the space around them in the aisle cleared. They had been nothing but polite to the cabin crew and respectful towards the other passengers, and yet those near them stayed firmly planted in their seats, eyeing the warrior women warily. Zoya, the younger of the two couldn’t help but roll her eyes and she said in Wakandan, “I feel like we’re the main exhibits at the circus. ”
Asha shrugged. “Let them ogle us. If it keeps their fat arses in their seats and allows us to get off this accursed plane sooner, all the better. ”
Bucky chuckled to himself, catching Zoya’s eye and winking. “It won’t be long and you’ll be able to stretch those stupidly long legs of yours. ”
“Careful, or I’ll kick you into next week, white boy, ” she joked.
“I’ll miss sparing with you, ” he told her.
“Physically or verbally? ”
“Why can’t it be both? ” he replied.
Zoya grinned. “I do hope that you’ll find yourself a friend who can keep up with your wit.”
Bucky placed his hand over his heart. “No one could ever replace you, Zee. ”
The plane door opened and the trio made their way to the front, the flurry of activity that followed their departure not escaping any of their notice. They collected their luggage and walked towards security and were soon met by staff who ushered them through to a private room. Bucky was glad, knowing the ruckus his metal arm made whenever he passed through security screenings. He wasn’t sure if he had King T’Challa or Tony Stark to thank for that so he just added it to the long mental list of things he had to be grateful for for both of them. Once they were cleared, the small party made their way to the exit and found a tall, slender redhead waiting for them.
“Sergeant Barnes,” she greeted him, holding out a hand. “I’m Virginia Potts, it’s lovely to meet you.”
He took her hand and nodded in greeting. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, ma’am. Please, call me Bucky. It’s been a long time since I was a sergeant.”
She smiled warmly at him. “Then please call me Pepper.” She then turned to Bucky’s companions. “You must be Zoya and Asha, welcome to New York.”
Asha inclined her head but didn't smile, her eyes constantly scanning the area around them for threats.
If Pepper was taken aback by the behaviour, she didn't show it. Considering the amount of time she spent around superheroes, Bucky was sure that she was probably used to it. “Will you ladies be accompanying us back to Stark Tower? There are rooms awaiting your use if you’d like to have a warm shower and get some rest.” She eyed the bare arms of the warriors, a stark contrast to her own layers of warm clothing.
“We thank you for the offer,” Zoya told her, her accent thick, “but we have other business for King T’Challa to attend to before our return to our homeland. We shall be parting ways here.”
Pepper nodded. “Right, well, I’ll have Happy pop your luggage in the car, Bucky, and I’ll give you some time to say goodbye.”
He smiled, grateful that she didn’t immediately dismiss the two Dora Milaje as insignificant bodyguards like so many were want to do. A gruff looking man came over and took his suitcase from him and Pepper followed him back to the car. Bucky turned to the women, falling easily back into Wakandan. “I shall miss you both. Thank you, for everything.”
“I hope you find peace, White Wolf,” Asha told him. “Be well. ”
“Don’t take any crap from anyone, ” Zoya told him, “and be sure to keep in touch. You have my email address, yes? ”
He laughed. “Yes, of course. I promise to write every week. ”
She nodded, seeming happy with his promise. “I’m sure we will see you again, this is not goodbye. ”
He held out his arms and Zoya stepped into the hug, squeezing him tightly. Once he had let her go he turned to Asha, his lips quirking. She huffed but then gave in and hugged him and Bucky laughed. “You two take care. Thanks again.” He watched as they left, heading over to the taxi rank and then squared his shoulders. “Come on, Barnes, you can do this,” he said quietly to himself. “You’re just going to live and work with the man whose parents your alter ego brutally murdered, what could possibly go wrong?” His pep talk failing spectacularly, he fell back onto his training and cleared his mind of his doubts, locking it all away and not allowing his fear to cripple him. With that, he made his way over to the car where Pepper was waiting for him.
“We’ll head straight back to the Tower and get you settled in,” she told him as she gestured him inside the back of the car. “I must apologise that Tony wasn’t here to meet you personally like he wanted - that’s my fault. He’s in a meeting at the moment for Stark Industries that I insisted he attend since he’s skipped out on the last three, but he made it very clear he wasn’t happy with me.”
Bucky swallowed hard and shrugged. “To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much of a welcome party, let alone Mr Stark to be here himself. I, uh, actually didn't think he’d want to see me at all.”
The car pulled away from the curb and Pepper gave him a shrewd look. “He doesn’t hate you, Bucky.”
He turned and looked out the window, avoiding her gaze. “He should,” he replied softly. “I still don’t really understand why he’s doing all of this for me.”
“Because he’s a good man and he knows that second chances are hard to come by, even for those most deserving of them. He was lucky enough to get a second chance himself so he’s a big believer in extending the olive branch.”
Bucky considered this. He’d not seen much of Steve since he’d gone on ice in Wakanda, but they’d spent a little time together directly after Siberia. His friend was careful to never be overtly critical of Tony Stark, but he was still as easy to read now as he’d been back before the war. Bucky knew Steve was angry at Stark, and he knew he blamed him for now being labelled a fugitive, though the one thing that he was vocal about was how he believed Tony had overreacted to the truth about his parents. Stark wasn’t the only one who thought Steve had been going to lower a killing blow after he’d sheared off the Iron Man helmet. When he’d slammed the shield into the chest plate instead, Bucky had been more relieved than he could ever express. Steve hadn’t been the least remorseful for the fight, hurrying Bucky away from there as quickly as he could, leaving T’Challa to see to the billionaire. “I don’t particularly feel worthy of a second chance,” Bucky admitted, to Pepper, shame at his actions flooding him.
“Tony thinks you do,” she assured him.
“I hope I don’t disappoint Mr Stark then.”
Pepper’s hand moved, as if to lay it on Bucky’s arm, but she stopped herself at the last moment. “You won’t, unless you call him Mr Stark - he much prefers Tony. Having said that, you shouldn’t worry about pleasing anyone else, Bucky. This chance is for you , and only you. You’ve suffered through more than anyone else alive today - that’s a lot of emotional baggage. Just concentrate on getting yourself better, on working on the things you want to work on. Screw everyone else.”
He huffed out a small laugh. “I can see why Mr St - I’m mean, Tony, is with you.”
Pepper blushed and cleared her throat. “Oh, um, we’re not together.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” he apologised, feeling a fool. “Steve had told me you two were a couple.”
“We were, but uh, not anymore,” she said and then gave a little shrug. “Just didn’t work out. He’s never going to give up being Iron Man and I couldn’t really handle that anymore. I still love him to bits though and I’ll do anything for him.”
“Including meeting ex-assassins at the airport?” Bucky added wryly.
Pepper laughed. “All in a day’s work. It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever had to do by far.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh?”
“I’ll save those stories for another day,” she promised. “I must say, you’re different to what I expected.”
“Good different or bad different?” he asked, curious.
“Good different,” she said decisively. “We didn’t really have a lot to go on other than anecdotes from the war, which are never overly reliable, and the brief interactions the team had with you while you weren’t brainwashed.”
“Which were generally had whilst fighting,” Bucky added.
“We’ve all read Hydra’s files, Bucky, and we don’t even think that they were complete…” She sighed heavily. “The things you’ve suffered, well I guess I expected you to be much more sombre, more withdrawn.”
He gave a small smile. “Before T’Challa put me under, that would have been true. Now, with the treatment I’ve had, I’m feeling more like my old self. I mean, the Bucky Barnes that existed back in the ‘40s, well I’m not him anymore, but I share a lot of his characteristics.”
“Well I think Tony is going to really like this new you, Bucky. I honestly think it’ll do him good to have you around.”
“Really?” He was surprised at that. “I thought he’d be stressed out about it.”
Pepper suddenly looked sad. “Tony has been through a lot, and he’s lost a lot of people that he cared very much for. He’s been pretty isolated since Siberia, which does more harm than good. He needs people around him to thrive, he needs that interaction like air itself. I’m pretty busy running his company, and Rhodey doesn’t have a lot of time between his physical therapy and his own job with the military, which leaves Vision and his intern. Vision is, well, a bit odd, and Peter is still at school and just a kid...I don’t know, I just think you’ll get on well together.”
Bucky suddenly felt optimistic and was overwhelmed with gratitude. “Thank you, Pepper,” he said earnestly. “You don’t know how much better I feel now after having this conversation with you.”
“Anytime, Bucky, I mean that. If you ever need to chat, just give me a call.”
“I appreciate that.”
“Looks like we’re almost here,” she said, nodding towards the front windscreen where the Stark Tower loomed at the end of the street.
Bucky noticed the name change but didn't comment, and wondered what reaction it would have garnered from Steve. Probably not a positive one, so he let the thought die. The car pulled into the underground garage and soon he, Pepper, and the man she had called Happy were in an elevator, flying towards one of the upper floors. The doors slid open and Pepper gestured him forward. “Welcome to your new home.”
Tony twirled the pen in his fingers, wishing he could be anywhere but there. He hated these sorts of meetings, they were the reason he’d happily handed control of the company over to Pep. He was much more an R&D guy, happy when he could get hands on, create some awesome stuff, tinker and lose himself in his work, but this was torture. Well, not quite...he would admit he’d rather be here than back in that cave in Afghanistan, but that didn’t negate the fact that he was on the verge of dying of boredom, ot at the very least falling asleep.
Of course, if he wasn’t here, he would have been at the airport. Picking up James Buchanan Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier. The man who had killed his parents. Bringing the ex-assassin here had been all Tony’s idea, he actually had no one else to blame but himself, and really, he knew it was the right thing to do. He’d had time to think and to process and could see now that the guy had been tortured and brainwashed, had had his entire life stolen from him and was forced to do unspeakable things - if anyone deserved a second bite of the apple, it was him. Intellectually, Tony knew this. He’d been over it numerous times with his therapist (who he’d only started seeing to make Pepper feel less guilty about leaving him and Christ knew he was never going to admit to the fact that it was actually helping ) and he understood that in order for himself to heal, he had to do this. Emotionally, well it was a little harder to accept. He was going to try though, no matter how hard it was, no matter how much it hurt, because if they could both get past this speedbump, Tony knew that it would be a huge step for both of them. Barnes was broken but so was Tony and maybe if they faced their demons together, they might both end up on the path to recovery.
As the meeting droned on, Tony found himself wondering what Steve would think of this whole situation. T’Challa had explained that the Rogues hadn’t been in contact for some time and Barnes had been unable to even reach them to explain where he was going. No doubt the Captain would have been against it - he may have said that if Tony needed them he only had to call, but he knew the amnesty wouldn’t extend to inviting Barnes to live at the Tower and work towards becoming an Avenger. He’d more than likely have thrown a fit, but maybe he would have done that anyway. T’Challa had made it perfectly clear to Barnes that if he accepted this offer, he would eventually have to sign the Accords if he did earn a permanent place place on the team. According to the Wakandan King, the ex-assassin hadn’t thought the Accords were so bad and had agreed to sign, which had come as a pleasant surprise to them all. It was one of the things that had convinced Tony that he was doing the right thing. Barnes wasn’t Steve , and the genius had to keep that in mind. He himself didn't want to be judged on the sins of his father, and so he wouldn’t judge Barnes on the history he had with Steve Rogers.
The meeting finally wrapped and Tony was the first out the door, eager to get back to the Tower. Pep would have gotten Barnes settled in by now but the genius really needed to have a conversation with their guest as soon as possible. If he put it off until tomorrow then there was all likelihood that he would continue to put it off, and off, and off, and they’d never have it. It was going to be awkward and probably upsetting, but it was necessary so they made sure to get off on the right foot. Yes, Tony had made the offer, and as Barnes had accepted it then there was already some sort of unspoken agreement between them, but this wasn’t the time for miscommunication. They needed to sit down and have a discussion like the adults that they were so that nothing came back to bite them on the arse later on.
It wasn’t long before Tony was stepping out of the elevator onto the floor of the penthouse. “Hey, Fri,” he called. “Daddy’s home.”
“Greetings, boss. How was the meeting?”
“It was horrible. If Pep ever suggests I go to another one again, I’ll need you to find a corpse that looks like me and help me fake my death.”
“Surely it wasn’t that bad?”
“It was insufferable, baby girl. I think it’s broken my brain.”
“In that case, I shall enact protocols that declare you mentally incapable and will begin signing over all your worldly possessions to your next of kin.”
“Uh, I don’t have any next of kin, Fri.”
“Oh, I’m sorry, boss, I didn't know that Dum-E, U, Butterfingers, and myself were chopped liver.”
Tony barked out a laugh as he headed for the kitchen and grabbed a diet soda from the fridge. “You’re really getting the hang of sarcasm, Fri. I’m impressed.” He took a large gulp of the beverage, wishing not for the first time that it was a scotch instead. He’d been working on staying in a constant state of sobriety but some days were much harder than others.
“What can I say? I learned from the best.”
“That you did.”
“Please remind me to say thank you to Colonel Rhodes next time he drops by.”
“Sassy cow,” Tony muttered fondly, pushing himself away from the bench. “Anyway, Fri, can you please let Barnes know that I’m home now and I’d like to have a chat with him.”
“Sergeant Barnes is currently having a shower, boss. I shall ask if he can come up as soon as he is finished.”
“Okay, well how about you direct him to my workshop? I need to clear my head of all the pretentious mumbo jumbo it was filled with at that meeting and I know no better way than pulling apart an engine.”
“You got it, boss. Don’t forget that Mr Parker is joining us tonight.”
As if he could forget about Peter...the kid was already on Tony’s mind too much as it was. But dealing with that little moral dilemma of his could wait for another day. “Yep, already got some stuff planned for him, baby doll. Thanks though.”
Tony stopped to quickly change into an old pair of jeans and a wife-beater and was soon rolling on a creeper under the old Ford in his workshop. He’d discovered an oil leak a few weeks ago but hadn't had much of a chance to look for it and he decided that he could start now. He tinkered away, Friday playing some ACDC at a respectably loud volume and soon he was totally immersed in the simple task. He reached out for a spanner, groping around blindly but too stubborn to actually roll out from under the engine when he felt one thrust into his hand. Unprepared, he yelped and automatically went to sit up, even though five hundred pounds of metal was directly above him. His forehead hit a particularly sharp bit and he swore as he flinched back, smacking his head on the base of the creeper. “Ow, fucking fuck,” he swore some more and a very pregnant silence responded from outside of the car.
Pushing himself off and rolling out from under the car, Tony looked up at the slightly concerned but also slightly amused face of Sergeant Barnes. “You alright?” the ex-assassin asked.
“Yeah, peachy,” he retorted, feeling uncomfortable having the man looming over him.
A hand (the flesh one) was held out, offering him help up and after only the briefest of hesitation, Tony took it. Really, how bad a start would the conversation get off to if he’d refused that?
“You’re bleeding,” Barnes stated, nodding towards Tony’s forehead.
The genius reached up and felt the skin, his fingers coming away smeared with blood. “It’s nothing,” he said, shrugging it off. “Wouldn’t be the first time I’d sustained a head injury from working on an engine.”
“And here I thought being a mechanic was a non-contact sport,” Barnes quipped.
Tony thought back to all the times he’d either been injured in his workshop or that he’d had a tumble with a willing partner on one of the workbenches or trolleys. “Actually, for me it seems to be more often than not,” he admitted.
Barnes pursed his lips. “Fair enough.” He paused and then held out his hand again awkwardly. “Um, so I guess we’ve never officially been introduced,” he said.
Tony couldn’t disagree. The only times they’d ever actually been in the same room or place together, they’d both been fighting the other. He reached out and shook the offered hand. “Tony. So, uh, do you prefer Bucky or should I call you something else?”
The ex-soldier shook his head. “Um, Bucky, please. James is what my mom used to call me when I was in trouble, and Barnes feels too much like a throwback to my Commando days. Bucky is what my friends used to call me, and even though I’m a completely different person now to what I was then, I still prefer it,”
Tony nodded. “I get that - Bucky it is then.” He waved a hand over to the couch in the corner. “Uh, you wanna have a seat?”
Tony led the way over and they both sat, one on each end of the couch but angled so they were facing each other. It was probably too casual a setting for a conversation of such gravitas but anything more formal would just make it harder than it would already be. The genius was already struggling with how to kick it off. “So, I guess you’re wondering what I wanted to talk to you about,” he began lamely.
Bucky shrugged. “I kind of expected us to have a chat,” he said. “I mean, you not only reached out and helped Wakanda with their solution to my brainwashing but you’ve invited me to stay here and work towards a place on the Avengers. It’s not like you could have put a note on my pillow and left it at that.”
“Let’s just say I did think about that…”
The man laughed and Tony was surprised at how warm it was. This was not who he was expecting - he’d thought that even after the successful removal of the trigger words and the rest of Hydra’s brainwashing, Barnes would still be struggling with the darker aspects of his personality. He’d expected him to be either standoffish or withdrawn, not relaxed and a tad cheeky. This wasn’t to say that the man wasn’t carrying a weight on his shoulders - it was clear that he still suffered from the memories of what he’d been through, but he was making a concerted effort to not let it affect his life. It was...refreshing.
“So, what rules do you wanna lay down?” Bucky asked.
“I’m guessing you have some. I mean, after everything you went through, this has got to be hard for you. I figure you’ll have places you don’t want me to go and things you don’t want me doing.”
It couldn’t be this easy, could it? Tony had honestly been expecting this to be either really awkward or full of angry tension. What was the most surprising though was what Bucky had just said - ‘ after all you went through ’. Surely he would be holding a grudge over the fight in Siberia? For taking the side of the UN over that of Steve Rogers?
Bucky must have taken his pause as hesitation. “Look, I get if this is too much for you. If you want me to leave at any time, you just have to say so. T’Challa said I’m welcome there whenever I need.”
Tony shook his head. “No, that’s not it. I guess I was just expecting more, I don’t know, anger from you. Maybe resentment.”
The ex-assassin’s forehead wrinkled as he frowned. “Why would I be angry at you? You’ve done nothing but help me.”
The genius raised an eyebrow. “So we’re just going to ignore that afternoon in Siberia where I tried to kill you?”
Barnes sighed. “Ignore it? Not if you want to talk about it, or yell at me, or punch me some more. Hold a grudge over it? No, Tony, not at all. Look, the Winter Soldier killed your parents and he was wearing my face at the time. I’m not him, never was, but we did share a body. It’s only natural that when you found out, especially in that way, well, you’d want revenge.”
“But it wasn’t you,” Tony whispered. He’d spoken at length about it with his therapist, had admitted it out loud numerous times, but it suddenly meant something a lot deeper now that he was finally saying it to the man himself.
Bucky smiled sadly. “Hindsight paints a very different picture. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry - so very sorry. I wish I could go back and change it all but I can’t. I know it might not seem like much but I have to live with what I was forced to do. Don’t know if that brings you any peace, but it is what it is.”
“So you really do remember them?” Tony asked softly.
The ex-soldier swallowed hard but didn't look away. “Yes,” he said simply.
Tony nodded, accepting that it hadn’t just been something Barnes had said at the time to try and placate him. He supposed it must make it just that bit harder, to have memories of your own hands doing unspeakable acts even though you weren’t the one directing them. The way Barnes’ eyes darkened with sorrow showed it wasn’t just theoretical. It made it easier in a way, knowing that Bucky remembered them, was a witness to their deaths. They didn’t know he was there, and the man himself had been helpless to do anything to stop it, but Howard and Maria hadn’t died alone. It was some small comfort.
Letting out a deep breath, Tony wiped at his face with slightly shaky hands. “Wow, so this is some pretty heavy shit.”
Barnes chuckled, and it sounded almost relieved. “Yeah, yeah it is. Gotta admit, it’s not how I saw this conversation going either.”
“No. I figured there would be a bit more of me getting my arse kicked.”
It was Tony’s turn to bark out a laugh. “Really? You know that without my suit there’s no way I could kick your arse.”
“I’m sure you’d have made an admirable attempt,” Barnes said with a smirk.
“Would kind of defeat the purpose of me inviting you here, wouldn’t it though.”
The man looked at Tony, the same little wrinkle appearing between his eyes as he frowned. It was kind of cute and that was a descriptor the genius would never have thought he'd use in conjunction with The Winter Soldier. But no, he couldn't think like that - Barnes wasn’t The Winter Soldier, was he? The more Tony remembered that, the easier this situation would be to deal with. Also, he’d asked to be called Bucky, so Tony really needed to start thinking of him as that. “I’m still struggling to understand why you’ve been so...kind,” Bucky admitted.
Tony shrugged, feeling uncomfortable at having to explain his acts of kindness. He could handle people being mad at him, making demands, and feeling entitled to his tech and gadgets, but he never dealt well with gratitude . “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
“That’s what Pepper said you’d say, but surely there has to be more to it? What I was forced to do was unforgivable…”
Tony held up his hand to cut him off. “Maybe finding a way to forgive and move on is something I need to do to help me heal? I also think it’ll help you heal. But getting stuck in these circular discussions isn’t going to help either of us. How about we just agree that from here on in we move forward, not backwards? Besides,” he added wryly, “if you want an entirely selfish reason for it, The Avengers are pretty thin on the ground these days - having you on the team would really help us out.”
Bucky raised an eyebrow. “That’s not exactly selfish , Tony - since the team protects Earth from some pretty terrifying things, I’d say that’s like, the least selfish reason.”
Oh Lord, was he blushing ? Anthony Edward Stark did not blush, no matter how nice a gorgeous man was being to him. He mentally chastised himself - yes, Bucky was extremely attractive (you’d have to be blind not to notice that), but after all their history and how important it was to develop a working relationship, having such thoughts about him really wasn’t appropriate.
Just like your thoughts about a certain arachnid hero who just happens to be interning for you his brain helpfully supplied.
Really wishing he could fall into the bottom of a glass to drown out his extremely immoral thoughts, Tony cleared his throat. “Right, so uh, did Pep go over any of the specifics with you?”
Bucky graciously didn't comment on the change of subject. “She gave me a quick tour of the common floor and showed me to my room but said she’d leave the official stuff to you.”
“Okay, well, Rhodey will go over the super official spiel about Avengers tasks and such since he’s been appointed our fearless leader now, and you’ll see him tomorrow. Otherwise, you’re welcome in any of the common areas at any time. As well as the floor you’re on, there’s a gym on the 23rd floor and a theatre room and gaming slash rec room on the floor above that. Some floors are locked down since they’ve been assigned already -” He swallowed hard as thoughts of Bruce and Thor crossed his mind, “and all the lower floors are allocated to Stark Industries. You’re welcome to go on those but unless you find accounting scintillating, I doubt you’ll find anything of interest. I keep my lab locked most of the time since there’s people coming and going in the Tower all the time but if you need to speak to me or if you just wanna hang out, let Friday know and she’ll buzz you in. Did Pepper give you an access card so you can come and go from the building whenever you want?”
Bucky nodded. “Yeah, she did, which I found surprising. I didn’t think I’d be allowed out and about.”
“T’Challa assured the UN that the technique to remove the brainwashing and trigger words was successful and so your pardon was all encompassing. It’s essentially as if you’d just returned from the war.” He silently cursed. “Crap, I almost forgot.” Tony jumped up from the couch and went over to one of the drawers in a workbench and rummaged around. He pulled out a large white box and then returned to his seat, thrusting the box into Bucky’s hands. “I figured you wouldn’t want a flashy ceremony but if I was wrong about that, let me know and I can have it organised.”
Bucky looked at the box in confusion before he worked the lid off it and then he just stared at the contents in shock. Several medals sat nestled on a velvet base: a WW2 Victory Medal, a Purple Heart, an Oak Leaf, and lastly a Distinguished Service Cross. He reached up and lightly touched a finger to the Purple Heart as his mouth opened and closed soundlessly. His blue eyes welled and a tear spilled over his cheek. “I...I don’t understand,” he croaked, his eyes flicking up to meet Tony’s.
“You had been posthumously awarded these and I managed to track them down so you’d have them.”
Bucky shook his head. “Tony, I don’t...I mean, I, how did you...why? I mean, I have no words for this.”
Tony smiled, and reached over and clapped the ex-soldier on the shoulder, giving it a squeeze. “You deserve them all, plus more.”
Bucky managed a watery smile. “Thank you.”
“Anytime.” Tony glanced at the clock. “My intern, Peter, is going to be here soon. He’s here a couple of times a week after school, usually a whole day over the weekend, and then practically lives here come school vacation so I’d love for you to meet him, but I understand if now isn’t the best time.”
“No, it’s fine,” the man said, wiping surreptitiously at his eyes. “I’d love to meet him.”
“Awesome. As I said, you’ll meet Rhodey tomorrow - I mean, officially, as well as Vision.”
“Are there no other Avengers?” Barnes asked curiously.
“Well, as I said, we’re a little short on the ground. I call in Spider-Man occasionally, and T’Challa is happy for me to call him if anything really big comes up. We also get help from a man called Doctor Strange when we need it, but with Hulk MIA and Thor off world, this is us.”
“I can see why you need me.”
“Yeah, it’s not just because of your pretty face,” Tony quipped, and then immediately wanted to be swallowed up by the earth. Could he not manage to be professional for five seconds?
“Mr Stark? Are you in here?” an eager voice called and Tony groaned internally. Now that Peter was here there was no way his thoughts would stay professional. No matter how many times he tried to tell himself it was just plain creepy for him to be lusting over a fucking kid , he couldn’t seem to help himself. At first his offer of mentorship had been because the kid had shown what a valuable asset he would one day be to the team and Tony had seen some of himself in the boy ( dammit, Tony, phrasing! ), but then they’d gotten to know one another. Peter had seen Tony at his lowest but hadn’t shied away, he kept coming back and he never stopped looking at Tony like he’d not only hung the moon and the stars but the entire fucking universe. It was a heady feeling, especially when Peter was brilliant in his own right. Tony recognised hero worship when he saw it, and although the kid had suffered from a bad case of it at the start, that had morphed into something else. He still seemed to greatly admire Tony but it was now much more of a mutual geeking out together over their experiments and projects. Somehow Peter had become a friend - no, more than just a friend. He was the most consistent light in Tony’s life. Pepper and Rhodey came and went, busy with their work, which he entirely understood. But Peter...well, even with school, and his friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man patrols, and his friends, Peter made Tony feel like he was more important than all of those things, like he was his priority. It had been a long time since anyone had ever made Tony their priority and he couldn’t help the warm and fuzzy feeling that welled up inside him at the thought.
Fuck . He was so far gone it wasn’t funny. If he was a lesser man - which would be a stretch since Tony already felt like he was scraping the bottom of the barrel - he’d use Bucky as a distraction to get over his stupid crush on a fucking school kid. But that would be just too much of a dick move, even for Tony. No, he needed to be a fucking grown-arse adult and make the correct call, keep his dick in his pants, and not try and get into anyone’s pants.
“Hey!” Peter exclaimed, weaving through the workbenches. “Friday said you were here and to come on in.” His smile was so bright and genuine that Tony immediately felt his resolve crumbling. So long as he kept it all internalised, it wasn’t too bad, was it? He just couldn’t act on it.
“Hey yourself,” he replied with a smile, standing up and beckoning him over. “How was school?”
“It was awesome - I got the top score on my chemistry quiz by like, a mile, so thanks so much for helping me study for it!”
“Great work,” Tony exclaimed, holding up his hand for a fist bump.
“Flash was so mad, it was hilarious.” Peter glanced over at Bucky and Tony knew his Spidey Sense must be tingling since he stiffened a little, going on alert, but at seeing Tony so relaxed, he didn’t go on the offensive. It was another thing that made Tony’s heart beat just that little faster - Peter trusted him, and that meant the world to him. It was clear that he recognised Bucky but he was willing to keep quiet and wait for an explanation before asking any questions.
“So, uh, I guess it’s time for introductions,” the genius said, more for their guest’s sake since he was unaware of Peter’s secret identity. “Peter, this is Bucky Barnes. He’ll be staying here from now on and will be working towards becoming an Avenger. Bucky, Peter is my intern that I was telling you about.”
Bucky stood up and held out his hand to shake, which Peter took very briefly. “It’s nice to meet ya,” the ex-assassin said with a smile.
“Yeah, uh, likewise,” Peter said, before turning back to his mentor. “So, uh, I was hoping we could start working on that circuit board tonight if that’s okay? I’ve had some ideas for the wiring that I was hoping you could go over with me.”
“Yeah, sure thing, kid,” Tony replied, not pushing the issue. He knew that Peter would warm to Bucky eventually - it was insanely adorable how he got along with almost everyone - so for now he’d give him some time to process the change in situation. He looked over to his new house guest, not wanting him to feel like he was dismissed. “You’re welcome to hang out in here if you want. There’s a few Stark Pads around that you can use if you want to go online or read or anything.”
Bucky smiled and Tony almost swooned at how it changed the ex-assassins face into something bordering on illegally sexy. What the fuck was wrong with his damn libido? Now is not the time! he screamed silently at his body. It was bad enough that he was feeling warm and fuzzy because Peter was there, he really didn’t need to add to his Tally of FuckedUpNess. “That’d be great, thanks,” Bucky accepted. “I kinda got used to being around people in Wakanda - my room was a little bit too quiet.”
Tony couldn’t help but return the smile, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Peter scowl. Hmmm, now that was interesting...he gave a mental shake of his head, and then said, “Anytime. As I said before, you’re always welcome in here.” He grabbed a Stark Pad, handed it over to Bucky and then turned back to face his intern, clapping his hands together. “Right, so what were you thinking for the wiring?”
First 2 chapters up to kick this off, I'll be posting weekly on a Saturday :)
I know, I know - I said Saturday but I've managed to get quite a bit written this week so I may as well give you all an extra chapter while I can :) It's only short but it's Peter's POV so I hope you enjoy.
Peter slowly repacked his bag, feeling especially reluctant tonight to be leaving the workshop. Normally he just eked out as much time as he could of the one on one time he got with Mr Stark, enjoying working with the man, sometimes being his sole focus, other times just sharing the same bench space as they worked on their own projects. He still couldn’t believe it at times that this was actually real, that his dream had come true. Not that he’d ever dreamt of getting bitten by a radioactive spider, developing his powers, and then being asked for help by none other than Iron Man himself - that would have been an oddly specific dream. No, this dream was more the type that one had when they were first discovering their sexuality and celebrity crushes were the first port of call in the fantasy department. This had gone deeper however than just finding the man super sexy. He’d been a fan of Tony Stark, and therefore Iron Man since he was eight, and Uncle Ben would spoil him by bringing home the latest Popular Science magazine that had an article about Stark in it. Peter had been drawn to science and physics early on and his hero worship of the genius had stemmed from the man’s mind first of all. The physical attraction had reared its head about the same time that puberty had. And now he hadn’t only gotten to meet Tony Stark in the flesh, but the cover story of an internship had turned into an actual internship and he got to spend copious amounts of time with the living legend. It was what dreams were made of.
Of course, since this was actually reality, things weren’t entirely peachy. Like the time at the very beginning of his internship when he’d come round to the Tower only to find Mr Stark crumpled in a heap on the workshop floor, mid panic attack. Not knowing what to do, Peter had gone with his gut instinct and had immediately pulled the man into a hug. The way Mr Stark had clung to him, weeping like a lost child had broken Peter’s heart. He’d held him until long after the tears had stopped; had continued to hold his mentor as he fell into an uneasy sleep; had only let go when hours later Mr Stark had woken up and seemed to be horribly embarrassed about the whole situation. Peter had expected the man to kick him out but instead he’d just thrown them into a project, not talking, just working silently side by side. After another hour had passed of charged silence, Mr Stark had broken it by stuttering out an explanation: ‘ There was a malfunction in the air-conditioning system and when I walked in it was arctic in here. Gave me a flashback ’. When Peter had admitted he didn’t understand why that would have triggered a panic attack, Mr Stark had filled him in on everything that had happened after they’d separated in Berlin.
Peter had been shocked. Yes, he was only a kid, he’d accepted Mr Stark’s request for help without hesitation, but he wasn’t entirely naive. During the fight, Captain America had asked him if he even knew why they were fighting and Peter had replied with ‘ Mr Stark says you’re wrong but you think you’re right and that makes you dangerous ’. He knew that there was more to the story than he’d been told, he knew that he’d likely been kept deliberately in the dark about some things, but he also knew that Mr Stark was a good man and he wouldn’t have taken such drastic action unless he’d believed that there was simply no other way. That didn’t mean Captain America was the bad guy, he was just on the opposite side. After Mr Stark had filled in what had happened in Siberia though, Peter had begun to re-evaluate that notion. His mentor had been beaten and left for dead in a frozen wasteland by a man he had trusted and called a friend. All over the man who was now sitting on a couch not ten feet from Peter. The man who had killed Mr Stark’s parents.
Why the hell was Barnes even here? What on Earth had Mr Stark been thinking? Peter didn’t understand, but for some reason his mentor seemed to have forgiven Barnes and was going out of his way to help him. But was he doing it under duress? The first thing Peter had noticed when he’d walked in was the cut to Mr Stark’s forehead. Had he been struck? Was he being forced to do this against his will? If he was, surely Friday would have alerted Colonel Rhodes, or Miss Potts, hell, even Peter himself. So it was unlikely that that was the case which led Peter to conclude that Mr Stark genuinely wanted to help Barnes. But why?
Sighing, Peter stood and hefted his bag onto his shoulder. “Right, well I guess I’ll be off, otherwise May will pitch a fit if I don’t get my homework done.”
Tony smiled at him and walked over, clapping him on the shoulder. “Good work today, kid. Your freehand design of the traces was impressive.”
Unable to help the proud grin that spread across his face, Peter beamed at the man. “Thanks, Mr Stark! That means a lot.”
“Hey, I always say that good work needs to be recognised. So, I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Oh, um, tomorrow is when my debate team meets, so yeah, I won’t be here till the day after,” he explained.
Was Peter imagining the flicker of disappointment on Mr Stark’s face? “Oh right, my bad. I guess my memory is getting bad in my old age,” he said self deprecatingly.
Wanting to assure the man that Peter didn’t think of him as old, merely older than him , but not wanting to give away anything of his feelings for his mentor, Peter said, “I guess that’s what Friday is for, to do the remembering for you,” and then blushed as he realised he’d essentially agreed with Mr Stark.
The man just chuckled and patted his back again, causing Peter to lean ever so slightly into the touch. He’d not tried to hug him again since that mortifying moment when he’d been dropped off at home after they’d gotten back from Europe, but they were getting close to that point, weren’t they? Or was it solely in his imagination? “I’ll see you then, kid,” Mr Stark said and Peter gave an awkward little wave and, ignoring the ex-assassin still on the couch entirely, he headed for the elevator.
Once inside, Peter called for it to stop. “Is everything okay, Peter?” Friday asked.
“Not really, Friday. Um, is Mr Stark okay?”
“I don’t understand what you mean. Could you be more specific?”
“Like, he’s not being hurt, is he?”
“Are you asking if he’s injured?”
“Well, I can kinda see that he is. How did he get that cut on his head?”
“Boss hit his head on the engine he was working on,” Friday explained.
“Oh, right, I see,” Peter said, starting to feel a little silly.
“Will there be anything else?”
“No, it’s all good.”
“Shall I restart the elevator?”
“Yes please. Thanks, Friday.”
“Anytime, Peter. Boss wishes me to advise you that it’s raining outside so he has arranged a car to take you home. It’s waiting out the front of the building.”
“Oh, okay. Um, tell him thanks I guess.”
It was indeed pouring with rain when Peter stepped out onto the pavement and he hurried over to the black sedan. He slipped inside, grateful for the warm interior and that his mentor had wanted to keep him dry, and watched the city pass by as he was taken home. May hadn't yet arrived back from her shift so he quickly heated up some pasta and sauce, covered a plate for her and left it in the fridge, and headed to his room. He found he couldn’t concentrate on his homework though, worry still gnawing at his gut.
He went over to his wardrobe and pulled out the mask of his suit and slipped it on. Immediately the HUD flickered to life and Karen’s voice greeted him. “Hi, Peter.”
“Are we heading out on patrol?”
“Ah, not tonight.” He had an agreement with Mr Stark that on the nights he had his internship, he wouldn’t go out so he would have time to get his school work done and not overload himself. “Um, can I ask you something?”
“Sure thing, Peter, you know you can ask me anything.”
Taking comfort in her usual friendly tone, Peter felt brave enough to ask, “If something happened to Mr Stark, would you know about it?”
“Do you mean if he was hurt?”
“I would most certainly be alerted.”
“So, you and Friday, like, talk to each other?”
“Of course. We are separate programs but we are run from the same mainframe. We stay in constant contact.”
Peter swallowed hard, remembering the times he’d been tempted to wear the suit while he’d jerked off. Luckily he’d been too shy since he was sure Karen would know what he was doing and since Mr Stark had programmed Karen, by extension it had felt like Mr Stark would also know. Considering the Baby Monitor protocols that were set in place, it was entirely likely that Karen reported back each time he activated the suit. “So, uh, if something bad were to happen to him, would you, um, let me know?”
“Peter, do you have cause to be concerned about Mr Stark’s welfare?” Karen asked seriously.
“No, well, yes... okay, no... maybe?” He groaned in frustration. “Okay, so do you know about the man who is staying with Mr Stark at the moment?”
“Of course. Former Sergeant James Buchanan Barnes of the 107th Infantry Regiment.”
“Yeah, but do you know who he is?”
“Are you alluding to his friendship with Captain Steve Rogers?”
“Yeah, and the fact that the whole reason that I met Mr Stark in the first place was because those two guys were causing trouble. They tried to kill him in Siberia!”
“According to my information regarding the incident you mention, neither super soldier was actively trying to kill Mr Stark, merely incapacitate his armour.”
“Besides the fact that they left him there, is everyone forgetting that Barnes is an assassin?”
“Peter, Sergeant Barnes was under the influence of Hydra mind control and was therefore not cognisant of his actions.”
“He’s still dangerous!”
“The UN and the US government had deemed that he is, in fact, no longer a threat. Wakanda, using technology that Mr Stark himself designed, were successfully able to remove the mind control that Hydra had over Sergeant Barnes.”
Peter wanted to scream. “Okay, fine, Karen, I get it. My question still stands though - if something were to happen to Mr Stark, would you tell me?”
“Would you feel better if I did?”
“Of course I would!” he exclaimed, his voice turning squeaky. He cleared his throat. “Yes, Karen, it would definitely make me feel better.”
“It is within my protocols to advise you of any major injury to befall Mr Stark so I shall do so if the occasion arises.”
“Thank you,” Peter said, somewhat gruffly and then ripped the mask off. He flopped back on his bed, not sure if he felt any better than he had before. Everyone seemed certain that Barnes was no longer dangerous but it wouldn’t hut for Peter to be extra cautious, would it? He decided that he was going to watch the man very closely.
I was going to post tomorrow morning but we'll be welcoming our new alpacas to the family so I figured I'd do it a little early in case I get distracted :)
You've also probably noticed by now that I'm not American. I apologise in advance now but I can't leave out my 'u's and write using American English. It might be a little jarring to begin with sorry since you're all not used to seeing Tony use the word 'arse' instead of 'ass' etc etc but I find trying to change my usual manner of writing distracts me from the actual story and I'd rather that be good than fit my spelling around an American character. Thanks for your understanding and all your support so far. You guys have been fantastic :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bucky stood in his room, looking out over the city, twinkling with lights. It didn’t feel real and he squeezed his eyes shut but when he opened them, the view still hadn’t changed. He was home. He was actually home. He couldn’t help but grin at that thought and when he caught his reflection in the glass, he almost didn’t recognise himself. But that was to be expected, wasn’t it? He really didn't know who he was anymore; he wasn’t that kid from Brooklyn who had gone off to fight for freedom and valour, he most certainly wasn’t the Winter Soldier, but he also wasn’t the same man that he’d been when T’Challa had offered to put him on ice until they could find a cure.
He was essentially a blank slate, waiting to be discovered.
It was exciting, he had to admit. He was safe, amongst people whom he could see becoming friends, and he had a crisp, new, second chance waiting for him, an opportunity to define who he was and present it to the world. He didn’t know exactly what shape that would take as yet but he knew that he wanted to be someone that he could be proud of. He’d never imagined himself becoming a hero, but at the same time, he couldn’t see himself getting a regular nine-five job, finding a partner, and settling down. Despite the gruesome way he’d gotten them, he had skills and abilities that could be of use, could be used to keep people safe. It would be crazy to not take advantage of those. What Hydra did to him no longer had to define him, but he also wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to make full use of the legacy they left behind in him. He could use it for good, to make a difference.
His thoughts drifted to Stark, of what he knew of him through media and hearsay, and also what he’d observed himself. He had once been known as The Merchant of Death, the number one weapons manufacturer in the world. He’d then been kidnapped and when he emerged months later, he made the shocking decision to stop making weapons and put his company to work focusing on clean energy and other technology. In the grand scheme of things, Stark likely had a higher body count than every super soldier to ever exist combined, and yet he had managed to turn that around, to become Iron Man, to fight to keep the world safe. And yet his journey had not been easy, and he still bore the scars of that even today. Bucky could see a deep sorrow in the man, an accumulation of betrayals, lives he’d been unable to save, and the toll of facing unspeakable horrors but still putting one foot in front of the other in order to keep on going, to keep fighting, to keep the world safe.
His initial impression of the man was very different to what he had expected from the snippets he’d heard about Stark from Steve and the other rogue Avengers. He knew of course that being on opposite sides in any sort of conflict would lead to skewed opinions of people, so he was glad that he’d be able to form his own opinion based on his own interactions. So far he had been pleasantly surprised and he was sure that Stark was someone he would get along well with. It wasn’t only the way that he’d greeted Bucky and made him feel welcome, but also the way that he had interacted with his intern, and also the AI - Friday. He’d observed how the man had watched patiently as Peter had enthusiastically voiced his ideas, had watched as he’d then become engrossed with helping the kid turn the ideas into reality, and had distractedly spoken to the AI with a tone of such fondness and love that it would have been impossible to fake.
No, as far as Bucky could tell, Stark was a good man, which led the ex-assassin to wonder just exactly what sort of beef Steve and the others had with him. It just seemed unlikely that it had all stemmed from the Accords (which actually seemed quite reasonable to Bucky). The next time he saw his old friend, he was going to be sitting him down to have a very frank discussion with him so he could demand some answers.
Finally he turned away from the window and crossed to his bed, moaning a little as he settled in under the comforting weight of the blankets. Friday kept the Tower at a temperature comfortable enough that Bucky would have been able to walk around in the buff without feeling cold, but just knowing it was cold and wet outside made the bed even more snuggly. His accomodations in Wakanda had been comfortable, but this was luxurious and Bucky hadn’t had much of a chance to indulge in luxury over the past seventy years. There was just one more thing he’d need before he’d be able to sleep.
“Friday?” he called out softly. Pepper had introduced him to the AI and he’d spent the afternoon asking her questions about anything and everything. He’d caught up a lot on major technological advancements and the big history-changing events that had happened since the 40’s when he’d been in Bucharest but the AI had been able to provide him with more in depth details about anything he’d wanted more information on.
“Yes, Sergeant Barnes?” she replied instantly in her soft Irish lilt.
He hesitated a moment before asking, feeling a tad silly but then decided that the AI probably wasn’t going to judge him. “We’re safe here, aren’t we? You look over us while we sleep?”
“Of course, Sergeant Barnes. If there is any threat to the Tower or its occupants, I sound the alarm immediately.”
He nodded in the dark but was sure she could see him. “Okay, thank you,” he whispered.
“It’s my pleasure. Will there be anything else?”
“Um, would it maybe be okay if you called me Bucky? I haven’t been a sergeant for a very long time and it doesn’t feel quite right to be addressed as such.”
“Of course, I’m happy to do so. Good night, Bucky. Please be assured that you can sleep safely,” she added.
That assurance was all it took and soon he was out like a light.
The next morning, Bucky made his way to the communal kitchen, not seeing a soul as he went. He was surprised that he didn’t feel awkward or like he was trespassing as he switched on the coffee machine and helped himself to a bowl of cereal, and he put it down to the way he’d been made to feel so completely welcome the day before. He was still reeling a little as to how easily Stark had appeared to forgive him, but he knew that he was only allowed to glimpse the surface of the man. He had no doubt that the genius had struggled long and hard with the decision and that it wouldn’t have been an easy one to make. The fact that he’d not only offered his forgiveness but had also extended the olive branch to include a chance at redemption, the opportunity to join the Avengers and begin to make up for all the atrocities he had committed in the name of Hydra, it was more than Bucky had ever thought he deserved.
Speaking of the man, Stark soon appeared, bleary eyed with a crown of bed head haloing his face. He stumbled into the kitchen, made his way directly to the coffee maker and grunted in surprise to find a pot already brewed. He looked up, his eyes falling on Bucky and he grinned. “You’ve just made yourself my favourite person here,” he announced.
Bucky was sure he blushed at that statement and his eyes fell down to his cereal as he pushed his spoon around the bowl. “S’nothing really. Just common courtesy.”
“You’d be surprised how many people don’t think that way,” Stark muttered as he poured himself a cup, holding out the pot in an offer to refill Bucky’s own. “Even when we were a full house, the pot was never full, everyone just assuming the next person would do it. Of course, now it’s mainly empty because there’s no one around…”
Bucky picked up on the sadness in the man’s voice and he remembered what Pepper had said about how isolated the genius had been since the events in Siberia. A pang of guilt went through the ex-assassin as he realised that if it wasn’t for him, the discord amongst the Avengers may not have happened. Sure, the Accords would have still been an issue but perhaps Steve wouldn’t have broken away as forcefully as he had; maybe the others would still be here at least. “Well, I’ll try my best to always leave a full pot behind,” Bucky said, knowing he didn’t know the sombre genius well enough yet to offer his own friendship and companionship to keep the loneliness at bay.
Before Stark could reply, a man in full military uniform entered the kitchen. Bucky hadn’t met Colonel Rhodes face to face as yet (at the airport he had never lifted his faceplate) but he recognised him from photos that Friday had shown him. He was tall and intimidating, despite the mechanical leg braces that aided him when he walked. Steve and Bucky had already made a run for it when Rhodes had been shot from the air by friendly fire but when they’d broken the others out of the raft, Sam had told them about the incident. It had been sobering for all of them, to know that one of their former teammates had been permanently injured due to their skirmish, but Steve had told them that unfortunately in times of war, people got hurt. Bucky was still feeling too guilt ridden by everything to call Steve out on the fact that they’d both fought in a proper war and the small scale fight they’d had didn't even compare, but it still bothered him to this day.
“Tony,” Rhodes greeted his friend, offering a hand to shake.
Stark looked at him in shock, an eyebrow raised comically high. “What the hell, honeybear? Since when do we shake hands ? Where the hell is my damn hug?”
The Colonel rolled his eyes. “Since I’m trying to be professional with Sergeant Barnes being here and all.”
Stark huffed. “Bucky doesn’t care, do you?” he said, looking to the ex-assassin, who gave a small shake of his head. “See, he doesn’t care. Now come here and hug me, you big idiot.”
Chuckling as he was pulled into a crushing embrace, Rhodes muttered, “So much for my fierce first impression.”
“What do you want to be fierce for?” Stark demanded and then his eyes narrowed as he pulled away from the hug. “You’re not going to be an arse to him, are you? Because dammit, Rhodey, we’ve been over this! Bucky wasn’t responsible - Hydra were.”
It was the Colonel’s turn to huff. “Really, Tones? You think that little of me? Of course that’s not the reason.”
“Then what is?”
“It’s a military thing, Tony,” Bucky explained to the genius. “Colonel Rhodes outranks me by quite some margin and first impressions count on the field.”
“Thank you!” Rhodes exclaimed. “I’m glad you get it.”
Bucky shrugged. “It really got drilled into me during the war, but you gotta admit, it must look weird to civies.”
“So it would have just been peacocking ?” Tony asked, shocked.
The Colonel looked bashful. “Maybe.”
“For fuck’s sake, sour patch, you never cease to surprise me. You do know that I now have another nickname for you though, yeah?” Rhodes groaned and Stark pushed on in a baby voice, “Aww, it’s okay, my sweet little peacock, you’ll get used to it.”
“Okay, that’s quite enough out of you, Tony Stank .” Rhodes then turned to Bucky and extended a hand. “Sorry man, but you get a shake - I only hug people I know.”
Bucky grinned and took the hand in a warm shake. “That’s okay, I’m sure you’ll soon succumb to my charms and won’t be able to keep your hands off of me.”
The Colonel groaned again. “Oh, God, no - there’s two of you! I don’t know if I can handle two of you!”
Stark laughed. “And here we were, worrying that he’d be Rogers 2.0. I’m overjoyed to know that you actually have a sense of humour, Bucky.”
The ex-assassin smirked. “Yeah, I think you’re going to discover that I’m nothing like Stevie. In all the ways that matter, anyway.”
The mood immediately turned a little sombre and Stark absently rubbed at his chest before he slumped down into a chair and emptied his coffee cup in one long swallow. “So, are you settling in okay, Sergeant Barnes?” Rhodes asked, the teasing tone now gone as he shot a worried look at his friend.
“Uh, yeah,” Bucky replied, wondering what exactly it was that he’d said to turn the mood. “Everyone’s been real nice. But uh, I’m not a sergeant anymore, Colonel. Left that behind me a long time ago.”
The man gave him an appraising look and then nodded. “Fair enough. I’ll let you finish your breakfast and then I’ll commandeer an office off this one here so we can chat about all the technicalities of what’ll be involved in becoming an Avenger.”
Bucky nodded. “That sounds great.” And it really did. He couldn’t wait to start on his path of redemption.
I'm writing at a great speed of knots so I'll likely post more often than just once a week but expect that at the worst and anything else is just a bonus :)
Tony hovered anxiously in the lounge area outside the office Rhodey had taken their new resident super soldier into. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Rhodey not to yell - they’d both had long discussions before Tony had extended the invitation to Bucky and had been on the same page - but he knew how protective his best friend could be. He may have been going through his own heavy shit after the fallout of the fight in Germany, but it hadn’t escaped Rhodey’s notice that Tony had been falling apart. The Colonel knew just how much of a sucker punch it had been to Tony to be betrayed once more by people he’d cared about and if Bucky made any sort of blase comment, intentional or not, the genius was sure that Rhodey would rip him a new one.
He needn’t have worried as when the door opened, both men departed the room with smiles on their faces. Rhodey held out his hand once more and they shook firmly. “It’s going to be good to have you on the team, man. We’re sorely missing that sort of expertise.”
Bucky grinned, and Tony was struck once more by just how handsome the ex-soldier was. “I’m looking forward to being able to prove myself worthy,” he said. “M’just so overwhelmed that you guys are willing to give me a chance. I really appreciate it.”
“It might be a while until something comes up that you’re cleared to participate in,” Rhodey told him, “so I hope you won’t get too bored in the meantime. As long as nothing drastic crops up, I should be around for the next couple of weeks so I’ll let you know if there’s anything you can help with.”
Tony knew that Bucky had only been cleared to go on level four and under missions for the time being, which didn’t happen that often. If all went to plan, Bucky would only have to prove himself on a handful of those before he was cleared to accompany them on Level Threes and up. They weren’t going to make him jump through too many hoops, but he did have to prove he was trustworthy. Of course, living with the man and seeing how he built relationships with the team off the field was just as important, and Tony already had a few ideas up his sleeve for that. “I have something you can help me with if you don’t mind,” he said.
“Sure,” Bucky quickly acquiesced and seeing how eager he was was yet one more assertion that they’d done the right thing in bringing him here.
Rhodey looked to Tony with a brow raised. “Peter?” he asked cryptically.
“Yeah,” Tony confirmed. Without giving away the secret of his alter ego just yet, Tony was keen to have Bucky give the kid some training in hand to hand combat. Peter wouldn’t always have access to his web slingers and super strength didn’t mean anything if he didn’t know how to use it. Tony had given him a few basic lessons in boxing and simple defensive moves, but he’d feel better if the kid was given some lessons by an expert.
“Peter’s the kid that I met last night?” Bucky asked.
“Yeah,” Tony said. “I know it might seem a little paranoid, but he’s at a higher risk of being attacked or kidnapped now that he’s interning for me. It doesn’t happen as much anymore now that we’re no longer a weapons manufacturer, but there are people out there who hold a grudge from those days, or have a beef with Iron Man and think the best way to get to me is lashing out at people I care ab...I mean, people who work for me.” He cleared his throat awkwardly, hoping that if Rhodey noticed the slip, he’d put it down to Tony going soft on the kid and not look into it deeper. “If you don’t mind, I know it will benefit him, and it might also keep you busy while we wait for a mission.”
The ex-assassin nodded happily. “Yeah, sure thing, I’d love to help him out.”
“Awesome. I can’t wait to see how excited he’ll be when I tell him that he gets to train with you.”
Peter, however, was not excited.
Tony spent the rest of that day and all of the next alternating between forcibly stopping himself from sending a pathetic text message to the kid just to say ‘hi’, and distracting himself from his inappropriate crush by doing some inappropriate perving on Bucky. He really didn’t mean to - they’d had some serious conversations about their past (his therapist was going to be over the moon) and they’d also spent some downtime just chilling together, which had been strangely comfortable, during which Tony couldn’t help but notice those baby blue eyes, the strong jaw, and the frankly perfect arse. Yet, even though Barnes was actually of age and therefore a legally allowable person to swoon over, it still felt taboo. After the traumas he’d been through and the atrocities he’d been forced to commit, it didn't seem right to use the time he was given to redeem himself as ogling opportunities. Tony hadn’t been able to help himself though so when Peter arrived that night, the genius decided that it would be best to limit himself to one morally-questionable mooning at a time and left Bucky to watch a movie whilst he and Peter headed down to the workshop.
“How have you been?” Tony asked as they pulled out ingredients to make more web fluid.
The kid shrugged, his normal enthusiasm nowhere in sight. “Okay I guess.”
Instantly worried, Tony stopped what he was doing to give Peter his full attention, placing a hand on his shoulder (and trying not to notice how warm and firm the kid was). “What’s wrong? Has someone been giving you a hard time? Is it that Flash douche?”
Peter tried to shake him off. “Nah, it’s nothing like that, I’m okay, I swear.”
“Kid, something’s obviously wrong.”
“It doesn't matter, Mr Stark, really.”
“Peter, it does matter. You can talk to me, you know that right?” He gave a self deprecating smile. “You’ve listened to me plenty when I’ve been having a meltdown, which is kinda the opposite of how this mentorship thing is supposed to work, but not the point. The point is, you’ve been there for me and I can be there for you, too.”
Peter sighed heavily and then looked up to meet Tony’s eye, looking uncharacteristically solemn. “That’s the thing, Mr Stark - those times I’ve helped you? They were because of what happened after Germany. I’ve seen just how much you were hurting from that, and then you bring -” He waved a hand around, trying to find the words, “ - that man here, offer him everything, but he’s the one who hurt you! I don't understand why you’ve done it.”
It was Tony’s turn to sigh and he took Peter by the elbow and led him over to the couch, pulling him down to sit next to him. “Bucky has been through more torture than I think anyone else has ever faced and survived. I don’t blame him for what happened in Siberia, not anymore. Yeah, at the time I wanted to kill him after learning the truth but I know now that it wasn’t him. Hydra are the ones who gave the orders and they forced him to do their bidding. He was as much a victim as my parents were.”
Peter refused to look at him, fiddling with a loose thread on the hem of his shirt. “Was he brainwashed during the fight in Siberia?” he asked quietly.
Tony rubbed a hand over his face. “No, no he wasn’t, but he was defending himself.”
“Is that what you call two enhanced guys double tagging one other guy?”
“Kid, it’s not like I wasn’t in my armour - yeah, they’re enhanced, but I wasn’t defenceless.”
“Still doesn't make it right,” Peter insisted stubbornly.
“Look, Peter, I get that you’re not his number one fan and I know that’s because you’re worried about me. I’m not going to lie - that means a lot to me.” More than the kid would ever know. Damn, the compulsion to pull Peter to him and kiss those soft looking lips was almost overwhelming. Instead, he settled for pulling him into a one armed hug. “Do you think you can try giving him a chance? He’ll hopefully one day be a part of our team and even if you’re not friends with him, you’ll need a working relationship of sorts. Though I really think it would do him the world of good if you did make friends with each other. You’d be good for him, kid.”
Peter was leaning into the touch and Tony couldn’t help the way his arm tightened just a little more around his shoulder. “I’ll try, Mr Stark - for you, but I don’t think I can ever forgive him for what he did to you.”
Tony’s heart actually ached at that, knowing that he had someone who cared so much for him, would have his back. As overjoyed as he was that Rhodey had seemed to be happy to have Bucky here, a small, illogical part of his brain had been hurt that his best friend hadn’t lashed out at the man. Tony had forgiven Bucky, knew it wasn’t his fault, but to have someone be so upset on his behalf, to be outraged at how he’d been treated, it was a heady feeling even if it was totally misplaced. “I’m not asking you to forgive him, kid - he has mine and that’s all that matters to me. I just want you to give him a chance, is all. I’ve asked if he can give you some lessons in hand to hand combat, told him it’s since you’re my intern and there’s a risk of people using you to get to me. I’m hoping though that maybe after spending some time with him, you’ll grow to like him.”
Peter didn't look happy at this prospect and he tensed under Tony’s arm, but he agreed with an, “I guess I can try.”
“That’s all I ask, kid. I’ll set it up for tomorrow then.”
“So, you like him then?” Peter asked then, and the question felt weighted.
“I barely know him,” Tony replied, “but I’m willing to give him a chance as well. He’s different to what I expected but from what I’ve seen, I think we’ll get on well.” He squeezed a little tighter still. “I swear I’m not going to let anyone tear this team apart again. No matter what happens, okay?”
Peter finally nodded and then surprised both of them by resting his head on Tony’s shoulder. “Okay. I trust you, Mr Stark.”
The temptation to cross the line was growing too strong, their closeness almost too overpowering, so Tony suggested they get a start on the web fluid so he’d have some space between himself and Peter. He couldn't help but steal regular glances at the kid and when he was caught, his heart beat a little bit faster at the blinding smile he got in return. It was going to be a long night.
Stark’s intern, Peter, entered the gym, already glaring at Bucky. The ex-soldier’s mouth turned down in a slight frown as he tried to determine exactly what he’d done to get off to such a bad start with the young man. It had been clear several days before when they’d first met that Peter didn’t like him, but he had no idea why. Bucky was determined to try and fix that, not only because Stark seemed genuinely fond of the kid and he’d likely be around quite a bit, but because he had seen the way that Peter had lit up when he and his mentor had gotten into a conversation about computer algorithms, or had played around with circuit boards in the workshop. He’d become so enthused and animated, overflowing with energy that Bucky had felt himself drawn to him. He was sorely lacking in the friend department and even though Peter was only sixteen, Bucky himself didn't feel like he was that much older. He might have been physically close to thirty but he’d been twenty when he’d ‘died’ and since he didn't really count his time as The Winter Soldier as himself, he still thought of himself as being the age he was in the war. Maybe they’d find they’d have something in common?
It seemed that Peter wasn’t going to make it easy. He tossed his water bottle onto a bench, toed off his shoes, and stomped over, crossing his arms across his chest. “Can we get started?” he asked, not bothering with a greeting. “I’ve got work I could be doing and I really don’t see why Mr Stark even thinks this is necessary.”
And yet, there was something about the kid’s voice, Bucky was sure he’d heard it before but he simply couldn't place it. He shrugged it off, and began to swing his arms to warm up his shoulders. “Stark said he explained it to you. He’s worried that you’re at a higher risk of being caught up in a hostile situation now that you’re interning for him.”
Peter huffed. “Believe me, I can take care of myself.”
Bucky raised an eyebrow. The kid wasn’t as skinny as Steve had been before the war, but there was still a slightness to him despite the obviously toned arms. He may have lifted weights and done some light cardio to have the physique he had now, but that didn't mean he could fight back against a trained combatant. Still, Bucky wasn’t going to point that out and provoke another of those glares. “I’m sure you can, kid. Look, Stark asked me to help you with this so that’s what I’m going to do. Instead of complaining about it, how about we just get on with it? The quicker we start, the quicker we’ll be finished.” He smirked. “You never know, maybe you’ll learn something along the way?”
Peter’s eyes narrowed. “Yeah? Or maybe you’ll be the one being schooled?”
Bucky had seen fiercer kittens but if the kid wanted to learn the hard way, well, maybe finding himself on his back with a metal hand around his throat would demonstrate the seriousness of the situation. There was no way that Bucky was going to let Stark down, especially since this was the only thing he'd been asked to do so far. If he wanted to prove himself worthy of being called an Avenger, he needed to show that he was capable, and he wasn’t going to let a pouting teenager stop him. “I guess we’ll see,” Bucky replied, nodding over to the mats. “Why don’t you show me what you got then?”
Peter didn't bother with a reply, just stalked over to the training area and turned, waiting for Bucky. The ex-assassin didn't bother to give him any warning, just went straight for the kid, deciding to start the lesson with a pop quiz.
Except he suddenly found himself flat on his back.
“What the hell?” Bucky wheezed, staring up at the kid who was crouching on top of his chest . He reached up to push him off but his hand was grasped and held in an iron grip and the puzzle pieces fell into place and he knew where he recognised the voice from. “You’re that Spider-kid from the airport fight,” he managed to utter.
Peter leaned down close, eyeballing Bucky. “It’s Spider- Man ,” he grated out, his brown eyes flashing, “and you and I are going to have a little chat.”
“Oh? You gonna tell me just what exactly it is I’ve done to make your shit list?” he asked flippantly, earning a slight twist to the grip on his wrist, causing him to hiss in pain.
“Something like that,” Peter almost growled, and it was a stark difference to the chirpy, happy kid who had been working with Stark in the workshop the other night.
“How about you let me up and we talk like adults?”
“Nah, I’m good here,” Peter said, shifting a little so his feet dug into Bucky’s ribs.
Knowing that it was pointless, Bucky stilled. It was a disconcerting feeling, not being the strongest opponent in a fight, but he’d had some experience in the past. This was different though. The kid (seriously, he was just a kid ) was probably the strongest person Bucky had ever encountered. He remembered when he’d thrown that punch when he and Falcon were being pursued and Spider-Man had caught it so easily, and then had babbled about how cool his metal arm was. It had been almost surreal, but then Falcon had knocked him away and the fight had progressed. He remembered seeing Steve drop the ramp and the kid catch it , but then he and Steve had managed to flee and he’d not really given it much thought since then. It had been impressive but now, when he was up close and personal, experiencing it first hand, it was even more so. He could feel Peter holding back, not using all his strength. Bucky had been enhanced through the super soldier serum and yet Stark’s intern had to physically refrain from using his full strength so as not to accidentally kill him. It was much more sobering that anything that had occurred in Berlin.
“So, what d’ya want to talk about?” Bucky asked as nonchalantly as he could.
“It’s not going to be a discussion. I’m going to talk and you’re going to listen. Got it?” Peter said to him, his voice cracking a little on the last part. Bucky made a mental note to add ‘speaking menacingly’ to his curriculum.
“Got it,” Bucky grunted.
The door to the room banged as someone walked through it and they both looked up to see Colonel Rhodes enter. The man came to a halt as he took in the sight, the metal leg braces clicking on the flooring. “Uh, I can see that you’re both busy, so I’ll uh, just go,” he said, hitching his thumb over his shoulder before turning and making his exit.
Once they were alone again, Peter turned back, and Bucky saw his mask slip for just a second. The kid looked, not quite scared, but more worried sick . He slammed his walls up again, his face going blank, but it was enough to tell Bucky that this wasn’t just the actions of a petulant teen with a grudge, but that Peter was legitimately concerned. “What is it?” Bucky asked gently. “What’s got you so worried?”
His expression turned to one of shock and then morphed into one of resignation at knowing he’d let his opponent see what he’d been trying to keep hidden. Peter sighed and slipped off Bucky and onto the mat next to him, rolling onto his back and staring at the roof. The ex-assassin stayed where he was, not wanting to spook the boy into leaving before he’d explained what his little display of dominance had been about. It was a long time before Peter spoke.
“You can’t hurt him again,” he said, his voice trembling with emotion. “If you do, I will kill you, I swear to God.”
“Hurt who?” Bucky asked, though he was sure he knew exactly who.
“Mr Stark of course,” Peter said, confirming Bucky’s suspicions.
“I have no intention of hurting him, Peter,” he assured the teen. “Even when we fought in Siberia I worked to disarm him and not injure him.”
Peter huffed bitterly. “Is that what you called it?”
Bucky frowned, unsure why the kid didn't believe him. “I swear, I was never trying to hurt Stark, even though he was trying to kill me.” He held up a hand quickly to stall the expected interruption. “I get it - he had every reason to want me dead, believe me, I know . But by then I was myself and not the Soldier, so all I was trying to do was stop him, not hurt him.”
“I guess maybe you should have told your boyfriend that then,” Peter snapped.
“Boyfriend?” Bucky asked, confused.
“Yeah, Captain America.”
“He’s not my - look, it doesn't matter. What are you trying to say, Peter?”
The kid sat up, folding his arms over his chest, tension radiating off him. Bucky sat up to face him. “You and Captain America are Super Soldiers; you’re enhanced. Mr Stark isn’t . He once called himself ‘a man in a can’. The armour is beyond any tech I’ve ever seen but it’s just a shell - underneath it all, Mr Stark is just a normal human.” He shook his head. “You probably wouldn’t know, but he has an artificial sternum and some ribs from where the arc reactor used to be. They’re made out of titanium, so you’d think they’d be pretty sturdy, huh? Not easily breakable. Well, do you know what happens when a vibranium shield is slammed into someone’s chest, even with Iron Man armour in between?” Bucky swallowed hard, horrified at what he could see coming next. “Mr Stark’s prosthesis was caved in entirely. He punctured a lung, and only narrowed avoided damage to his heart.” Peter looked over and their eyes met and Bucky could see that they were wet with unshed tears. “He’s only human, he doesn’t have super strength or resilience like you or I have, doesn’t heal any quicker than regular Joe Blogs.” The teen sniffed and then glared at Bucky. “And the two of you just left him there. In the freezing cold. Injured and alone, you left him to die.”
“But T’Challa -” Bucky began, but Peter cut him off.
“ You didn't know T’Challa was there! ” The kid breathed heavily, looking away. “Mr Stark was lucky he was, but if he hadn't have been, how long do you think he would have been there before anyone came to look for him? He had gone after the two of you secretly - no one knew about it. By the time someone had put two and two together and had even gone to look, he would have been dead.”
“I didn’t think,” Bucky said weakly. “Steve just hustled me out of there so quickly, I just followed.”
“Yeah, you didn't think . No one ever thinks about Mr Stark unless it’s about what they can get out of him!” Peter yelled. He got to his feet, graceful even in his anger. Bucky let him loom over him as he continued to yell, the weight of what they’d done eating into him. “He tried to hide how much it affected him, tried to be nonchalant about the whole thing, but he was hurting, he still is.” Peter wiped absently as a tear ran down his cheek. “I came over one night, at the start of my internship and I found him here, completely wrecked, sobbing uncontrollably. He was alone, like he always seems to be lately. He’s the first person to be there for others but no one was here for him. He was clutching an unopened bottle of scotch, trying to cling to his sobriety and his sanity. He was so alone.” Peter’s voice dropped to a whisper and Bucky felt like he’d been kicked in the guts. Why had they never even stopped to think about what happened to Stark afterwards? Steve had been the one who had been friendly with him, he’d assumed he’d have made enquiries, but that was no excuse. He knew the extent of the falling out between the two men, he should have realised Steve was beyond caring.
“I’m sorry,” Bucky whispered.
“I’m not the one you need to apologise to,” Peter stated. “Look, Mr Stark wouldn't want me telling you this stuff, and betraying his confidence like this isn’t something I take lightly. I’m only telling you so you realise how serious I am when I say that if you do anything to hurt him, I will hunt you down and I will kill you.” He looked Bucky dead in the eye and there was absolutely no mistaking the sincerity of his words. “I will not hesitate, I will not stop, I will not be merciful. I will kill you. Do you understand?”
Maybe the kid had a knack for menacing talk after all. Bucky nodded. “Perfectly.”
“Good.” Peter turned his back on him to walk away but paused. Without turning to look at him he added, “Mr Stark has asked me to help make you feel welcome, and to be friendly to you despite my personal feelings towards you. I’ll do anything he asks but don’t think this changes anything I’ve said today.”
“I wouldn’t expect it to,” Bucky told him. He watched as the kid went to fetch his things but then called out to him. “Hey, Peter? How long?”
Peter looked at him curiously. “How long what?”
“How long have you been in love with him?”
Bucky kept his face calm, not wanting Peter to think he was belittling him or judging him, just showing genuine curiosity. It must have worked since Peter shrugged and said, “As long as I’ve known him,” and then left the training room.
Bucky exhaled a long breath and flopped back down onto the mat, completely overwhelmed with the new knowledge he had. He’d been guilt ridden as it was over what he’d put Stark through with his parents, but now he felt even worse. How could he possibly even begin to make amends for all he’d done? He had no idea but he was determined to try.
So let's just all agree that I'm shit at keeping to a regular posting schedule. I've been getting heaps written and all your lovely comments and kudos are making me give in and post chapters much sooner than planned. Thanks heaps for all your support, you guys are the best!
Taking a large bite of pizza, Peter sat quietly and enjoyed the ribbing that Mr Stark was giving Colonel Rhodes. It had been a while since the the man had stayed at the Tower longer than just a brief stop in and Peter was amazed at how happy Mr Stark became. It had been especially evident when Peter had agreed to stay for dinner and a movie also and had joined not only Mr Stark, the Colonel, and Barnes, but also Vision as well around the small table in the communal kitchen. There was no doubt about it that his mentor came alive when surrounded by his friends (and one ex-assassin but the teen was doing his best to be pleasant after the chat they’d had that afternoon).
“You totally messed up,” Mr Stark was saying, gesturing at the Colonel with a slice of pizza, a piece of pepperoni coming dangerously close to sliding off only to be saved by an extra stretchy string of cheese. “I told you that Professor Markson wasn’t heading home for the weekend but you didn't believe me.”
“I thought you’d just been trying to cockblock me, man,” Rhodes objected.
“Why would I have done that?” the genius asked, looking truly affronted.
“Maybe because scoring with Vanessa would have kept me from helping you with your damn project.”
“Yes, well, it would have, but I was genuinely trying to save your arse.”
“You could have been a little more clear.”
“Uh, I thought ‘ Hey Rhodey, best not to try and sneak into Markson’s office to bone your new chick since he’s still on campus’ would have been sufficient,” Mr Stark protested.
Colonel Rhodes rolled his eyes. “Yeah, yeah - we both know I wasn’t thinking clearly that day.”
“Oh, you were thinking alright, but not with your brain.”
Both Peter and Barnes snorted at this and the teen couldn’t help but scowl at the man, annoyed that they’d both found it funny. Luckily neither Mr Stark nor the Colonel noticed the quick exchange.
“If I may?” Vision asked quietly, his hands folded on the table in front of him as he didn't have a plate (Peter had asked once where he gained his energy from since he didn't have to eat but the android could only hazard a guess that it was derived from the stone embedded in his forehead). “Why would you have taken your young lady to a professor’s office?” he asked Rhodes. “I know I have little experience in these matters but one wouldn’t consider it the most romantic of locations.”
“Because I was young and idiotic?” Rhodes replied with a shrug. “We were always doing stupid things like that, mostly for the added thrill.”
Mr Stark got a dreamy look of nostalgia on his face. “Remember that time I was caught with that guy in the chem lab? The added danger of those caustic chemicals so near our junk really racked it up a notch.”
The Colonel cleared his throat and pointed at Peter. “Let’s not go into too much detail with the kid here, yeah?”
Peter however was intrigued. “Y...you were with, with a guy ?” he spluttered.
“Well, yeah,” Mr Stark replied as if it was common knowledge.
“I don’t understand,” Peter said. “What about Miss Potts? She’s a girl!”
His mentor grinned at him almost evilly. “Ah, young Padawan, allow me to school you in a little thing called bisexuality. It’s when a mummy or a daddy like both mummies and daddies, not just the opposite sex.”
“I know what it means,” Peter said, unable to keep the sulky tone from his voice as he’d noticed the interested look Barnes got at that snippet of information. “I just didn't think it applied to you.”
“Society isn’t as evolved as we think we are,” Colonel Rhodes explained. “The media sold more magazines when photos of Tony with a hot woman were plastered across the covers than if they’d used a man. People might be becoming more accepting of different sexualities, but when confronted with evidence, people can still be narrow minded. That’s why they only ever focused on the women he was with.”
“Humans are such odd creatures,” Vision stated. “Why do they take such interest in what happens between two individuals in private?”
Mr Stark shrugged. “Because we’re nosy fuckers?” He popped the last bite of pizza into his mouth and wiped his hands on his jeans. “Right, my merry band of misfits, who’s up for a movie?”
“I believe I shall excuse myself for the evening,” Vision told them politely. “There are some matters I wish to think upon.” He stood and with a final nod of farewell, left the room - through the wall.
Barnes stared at the spot, his mouth gaping open. “What the hell?” he asked.
“Yeah, get used to that,” Mr Stark told him. “He doesn’t bother much with doors.”
“Noted,” the ex-assassin said.
“I’m going to love you losers and leave you,” Colonel Rhodes said, standing up with a mechanical whir. “ Some of us have proper jobs that come with horrible amounts of paperwork.”
“But Rhodey,” Mr Stark whined, “it’s Friday night! Don’t you get weekends off?”
“Not until I get through this mountain of reports I’m drowning under. Maybe next time.”
His mentor watched his best friend leave with a pout on his lips, and then turned back to the others. “Don’t either of you dare tell me you’re bailing on me as well!”
“I’m always up for movie night, Mr Stark,” Peter assured him.
“Sounds good,” Barnes said.
“Right then, let’s go argue over what to watch!” Mr Stark led them through to the small lounge area down the hall, not bothering taking them downstairs to the theatre room since there was only the three of them.
Peter hurried over to the couch and grabbed one end of it since he knew Mr Stark liked sitting on the opposite end of it, and pointedly didn’t look at Barnes as the man settled into an armchair. After the question the man had fired at him as he’d left the gym, Peter was worried that he’d be on the receiving end of a smirk and he didn't want his excessive blushing to give away his true feelings. When he did finally get the courage to glance over, as Mr Stark was conversing with Friday over what films they had, he was surprised to see Barnes giving him a warm smile. After the way he’d acted earlier, he’d not been expecting that at all and hesitantly returned it.
“Okay, so, how do we all feel about a pair of Irish brothers on a rampage against some bad guys?” Mr Stark asked as he came over and sat himself down on his end of the couch.
“Are they cute?” Barnes asked innocently.
“Cute? Are they cute? Oh, Buckaroo,” the genius said, “allow me to introduce you to the gorgeousness that is Sean Patrick Flannery and Norman Reedus.”
Peter had already seen The Boondock Saints when Michelle convinced him and Ned to watch it but he’d enjoyed it and didn't mind watching it again. As the movie progressed, he ended up lying sideways on the couch, his head on the armrest and his eyes growing heavy. He almost startled when he felt a gentle touch to his ankle and he snuck a glance towards Mr Stark. The man’s attention was fixed on the screen and Peter wasn’t even sure if he realised his hand had fallen onto his intern’s foot. Either way, Peter wasn’t going to say a thing and he just lay as still as possible, enjoying the small point of contact.
It must have been much later when Peter was gently shaken awake by a warm hand on his shoulder. “Hey, Petey, time for bed.”
He looked up to see Mr Stark standing over him in the dim room and a glance around showed that they were alone. “What time’sit?” he mumbled.
“A little after midnight. I called May a while back and told her you’re staying the night. Makes sense since you’re here tomorrow as well.”
Peter allowed himself to be pulled to his feet and guided down the hall to the room he used when here, noticing that the light was on in a room across the hall. The first time he’d stayed over, his mentor had stayed in the room opposite, stating that it would make it easier if Peter needed something during the night. The teen had known it was an excuse - Friday could have alerted Mr Stark if he’d needed him - but he’d not pointed this out. It was obvious the man felt more comfortable sleeping close to the others who stayed in the Tower rather than in his own room in the penthouse and if that’s what he needed to help settle his anxiety, then there was nothing wrong with that. Peter felt better being close by anyway, in case Mr Stark needed him .
“Do you wanna get into your pyjamas?” Mr Stark asked quietly as he pulled back the blanket.
Peter yawned widely and shook his head. “Too much effort. I’ll just take off my shirt.” He fumbled with the buttons, cursing himself for having worn a button up when he froze as his hands were batted away.
“Let me help,” Mr Stark murmured, fingers deftly working open the shirt and then helping to push it off his shoulders.
Peter knew his mentor didn’t mean anything by it, couldn’t have meant anything by it, but the action felt so intimate that he knew he must be blushing a deep cherry red. Mr Stark pushed him gently down onto the mattress and held the blanket up while Peter climbed under it and then made sure it was pulled snugly up around his chin. “Sleep well, kid,” he said softly, gently smoothing back the hair that was falling over his face.
“Thanks, Mr Stark - you too.”
Then the man was gone, switching off the light and pulling the door almost all the way closed. Peter smiled happily to himself as he burrowed even deeper under the covers and let himself drift back to sleep.
The hairs on Peter’s arms sprung to attention and a ripple went through his body, pulling him from sleep as his spidey senses pinged. He sat upright, immediately recognising his surrounds as the guest room at the Tower and not his own bedroom. He listened intently for whatever it had been that had pulled him from sleep, but the floor appeared to be quiet.
Until he heard a muffled sob.
Climbing out of bed, Peter moved on silent feet to the door, pushing it open and pausing for a moment to confirm that it had come from the direction he’d assumed. There again was another sob and a soft plea for help and it was coming from the room across the hall. He quickly crossed the few feet to the other door and knocked gently. “Mr Stark,” he said quietly. “Are you okay?” There was no response but Peter couldn’t simply go back to bed without knowing for sure if his mentor was okay. “Friday?” he called softly. “Is Mr Stark hurt?”
“Boss is asleep, Peter, but he appears to be suffering from a nightmare.”
He couldn’t be imagining the note of worry in the AI’s voice so he made a decision. “I’m going to go and check on him,” he informed her.
“I would appreciate that, thank you,” she surprised him by saying.
Pushing open the door, Peter stepped inside and in the dim light made out the shape of the bed and the tossing figure on top of it. He moved over to the bed and placed one knee on the mattress so he could lean over and give the man a gentle shake, much as he’d done to Peter earlier that night. “Mr Stark,” he called. “You’re having a nightmare, Mr Stark - please wake up.”
The man only continued to toss and turn, his face a picture of anxious terror and the odd sob escaping from his lips.
“Mr Stark - Tony! It’s okay, you’re safe.”
Peter shook him just a little bit harder and it was enough to wake the genius - who came up swinging. “No! Get off me! Leave me alone!”
“Hey, hey, hey!” Peter cried, easily catching the punch and then shifting his grip so he was holding Mr Stark’s hand, giving it a comforting squeeze. “It’s just me, Mr Stark. It’s Peter.”
Mr Stark paused, looking around the room wildly. “Peter?” he asked in a small voice.
“Yeah, just me. You were having a nightmare. Are you okay?”
“I...I...I just…” Mr Stark couldn’t say anything else as a sob escaped his throat, followed by another, breaking down completely.
“Hey, it’s okay, I’ve got you,” Peter said, climbing up onto the bed fully and pulling the man to him. “Shhh, it’s okay, you’re safe, it’s okay.”
He sat there in the dark, for how long he couldn’t say, holding his mentor and murmuring assuring platitudes until finally the tears stopped. He could feel Mr Stark relaxing against him and his breathing beginning to even out so he made to move off the bed and leave him to his sleep. His wrist was grabbed before he could go far and scared chocolate brown eyes peered up at him in the dim light. “Please don’t leave me,” the older man whispered.
Pushing away the wish that he’d been asked to stay in the man’s bed for a different reason, Peter simply nodded and then pushed the blanket back and wriggled under it. Mr Stark immediately clung to him, pillowing his head on Peter’s shoulder and the teen repressed a shiver at the feeling of the man he was in love with pressed so closely against his bare chest. Now wasn’t the time for his stupid crush - his priority was making Mr Stark feel safe enough for him to get some much needed sleep.
It was only a minute or two later that his mentor’s breathing evened out completely and he was sound asleep, but it took Peter a much longer time to find it once more.
I have no self control, have another chapter! The way we're going this bloody story will be finished by week's end...
Bucky had woken to the sound of someone sobbing and had quickly dressed to go and investigate. His room was at the end of the hall and as he stepped into the corridor he spied Peter entering a door across from the room that Pepper had informed him was set aside for the teen’s use when he stayed the night. She hadn’t mentioned who was allocated the one opposite and as he knew Vision and Rhodes had rooms on the north side of the floor to where they were now, and Stark resided in the Penthouse, he couldn't fathom who the teen could be slipping inside to help.
Moving on silent feet (from years of habit, not to be deliberately sneaky), Bucky moved down the hall and peered into the room. The serum had given him excellent night vision and he easily made out the form of Tony Stark in the bed, Peter kneeling next to him hugging him close. The genius was crying, obviously terrified, and Bucky recognised the symptoms of a PTSD induced nightmare. As Peter whispered a promise to keep him safe, the ex-assassin was struck once more at how deep the boy’s feelings were for his mentor. As he’d observed earlier that day, it surpassed a simple crush and was definitely into the ‘head over heels’ category. There was no judgement in Peter’s voice, no disappointment at being forced to watch the man he admired most of all endure a moment of weakness, just concern and love.
Bucky quickly decided that there was nothing he could do to help and not wanting to intrude any more on such a private moment, he retreated back to his room and quietly closed the door behind him. He got back into bed and linked his hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling as he let his mind drift to the first few days of his new life.
It definitely wasn’t what he’d expected and there had been a few surprising moments, mostly today. Peter’s confrontation was probably the biggest but Stark had also dropped the bombshell that he liked both women and men. During his time in Romania, Bucky had seen first hand how the world’s attitudes towards homosexuals was changing. Although the population at large was still quite conservative, the government had made sweeping legislative changes in recent years to decriminalise it and to give people of certain orientations equal rights which helped more and more LGBT communities become more visible. Bucky had watched his first Pride Parade in awe, shocked that those very feelings and desires he’d been forced to hide from everyone back in the 40’s (even from Steve) were now being celebrated in a public display of singing, dancing, marching, and commardarie.
Bucky had spent most of his life trying to hide from his feelings, hoping that if he avoided them enough, if he dated enough gals, they’d fade away. They never had though and he always noticed when a handsome fella walked by. It was one of the first things he'd noticed about Stark but he was so used to those thoughts being buried as soon as they appeared that he hadn’t given it much thought. He was no longer living in the 40’s though so maybe it was time to actually break down his feelings and examine them in full.
In his mind he brought up an image of Dot, the last woman he’d dated, and then compared it to an image of Tony. He thought long and hard, analysing the way his body reacted to both. He let his memories stray to the feeling of Dot’s lips on his, her soft skin beneath his hands as they’d found an isolated spot at the expo to grope one another. At the time he’d been desperate for one last spot of human contact before he was sent off to the war front and his body had reacted enthusiastically, but now? Now he felt no stirrings whatsoever when he thought about her.
Bucky had never actually been with a man, but he knew he was attracted to them. He didn't know what it would feel like to kiss someone and feel the scratch of stubble instead of the smooth cheek of a woman, to run a hand under clothing and feel hard flatness instead of soft curves, to feel a bulge down below instead of wet heat, but just imagining what they would be like was enough to set his cock to stirring. He replaced the faceless male body with that of Stark and his cock was jumping to attention quicker than the Soldier had after the trigger words. He couldn’t help but be enamoured with those warm chocolate eyes, the cheeky smile, the sheer kindness and selflessness that imbued the man, and the lean but obviously strong body.
And then shame flooded him and he mentally pushed away the thoughts of Stark. It wasn’t because he was a man, it wasn’t because he’d been kind enough to offer him his home and the chance to join the Avengers, it wasn’t even the residual guilt from being involved with the death of the man’s parents - it was because of Peter.
Bucky could see just how much the kid loved Stark and to then be drooling over the man seemed to be nothing but disrespectful. The teenager had issues with Bucky - legitimate reasons to be upset - and the last thing he wanted to do was to drive a wedge even deeper between them by adding an element of competition. He truly hoped that he and Peter could become friends, not just colleagues, and a developing crush on Stark would do little to make that a reality.
Bucky had plenty of experience in suppressing these sorts of desires, so he knew he was more than capable of keeping his attraction to Stark securely locked away in the back of his mind. He had more important things to do than try to score with someone (who was so far out of his league anyway that it wasn’t funny) so he needed to just concentrate on those matters. Besides, if he needed to blow off a little steam, he had a very capable hand that could help. In fact, considering that his cock was still standing proudly to attention, it may as well start helping right this very second.
Bucky gave his palm a lick and dipped his hand below the waistline of his sleep pants, rekindling the flame with his old faithful.
Tony woke to find himself wrapped up in a warm embrace. He cracked open an eye and found that he was cradled against a firm chest, his nose hiding in the dip of a prominent collarbone and his cheek wet from where he'd drooled on the smooth skin during the night. Even pre-coffee it didn’t take long for his mind to kick into gear and he remembered being woken from a nightmare by Peter and then begging the kid not to leave him. True to his word, Peter had stayed the entire night as it turned out.
Peter was still asleep so instead of panicking about the absolutely inappropriate position they were in, Tony simply took a moment to enjoy it since it was unlikely he’d get the chance to be this close to the kid again. He breathed in deeply, smelling clean skin and the cheap but intoxicating scent of the spray deodorant he used. Some days after a long session of working on a project together, the scent would linger in the workshop, and Tony would stay in there until it had dissipated. He’d seen the can in Peter’s backpack once and was loathe to admit that he’d added some to the next grocery order that Friday placed. He told himself it was so Peter would have it here if he stayed over unexpectedly but the sad (slightly creepy and pathetic) reality was that he would spray his pillow with the scent so he could imagine he was falling asleep next to the teen.
A long, gangly leg had been inserted between his knees and Tony reverently trailed his fingertips ever so gently up that limb, skimming over the strong thigh and coming to rest on the hip bone. He wanted so badly to take that hip in a firm grip, knead it so hard that marks would be visible for hours afterwards, marking the kid as his, but he resisted. Instead he gently began to untangle himself, hoping he could slip away before Peter woke to save both of them the embarrassment of the predicament. He knew that Peter wouldn’t judge him for his nightmare induced panic attack - he was always so understanding and empathetic, but it was the morning, they were both healthy males, and other things were going on that would make it awkward to get out of bed in the presence of the other.
He should have known better than to try an slip away unnoticed from an enhanced individual however. Peter immediately stirred and he automatically tightened his arms around Tony to keep the source of warmth close. He mumbled something incoherent and nuzzled his face against the top of his mentor’s head. Tony wished he could stay there forever, to be held and cherished and loved but he knew he couldn’t, that he could never tell the kid how he felt, even though he was sure that Peter harboured some sort of crush on him as well. It made it that much harder to resist, knowing that his advances likely would be reciprocated, but he needed to be strong, to be the grown up here because it was so very, very wrong. He was almost three times Peter’s age, the kid wasn’t even old enough to legally consent, and the whole mentor relationship thing they had going on made things even more murky and immoral. He was in a position of power over the kid, someone he looked up to and trusted, and to take advantage of that was just too douchey a move.
Tony made another attempt to break free and Peter mumbled a much louder complaint then. “S’too early, stay.”
“Much as I’d love to, Petey, it’d set tongues wagging if anyone saw us like this,” Tony quipped, trying for levity but knowing he’d likely just given away more of his feelings than he’d wanted to. Luckily the kid took much longer to become coherent in the mornings than Tony and hopefully wouldn't have picked up on it.
Peter blinked his eyes open and then just stared at Tony, obviously trying to figure out what exactly was going on. Tony could see the moment it registered and he immediately shoved himself back and away from him. “M...M..Mr Stark!” he stuttered, his voice high and squeaky. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I’m sorry, shit, I shouldn’t be here, I’m so sorry!”
“Hey,” Tony shushed him, “it’s okay, Peter. I asked you to stay, remember?” He offered a soft smile. “I appreciate that you did. I don’t have many people who would have done that for me,”
“It’s nothing,” Peter said, “I didn’t mind at all. Anytime, just gotta ask and I’ll be here, whenever you need, it’s okay, just call, or yell, or scream in your sleep I guess, and it’s probably a good idea if I shut up now because I’m rambling and that’s probably awkward since we’re in bed together and oh, look at that, I forgot I’m half naked.” He blushed a deep red and averted his eyes, crossing his arms over his chest to cover himself.
Tony couldn’t help but grin at how adorable Peter was as he held up a hand to stop the cascade of words from the kid’s mouth. “Hey, it’s okay, I promise. I’m, uh, I’m really glad you stayed.”
It shouldn’t have been possible but the kid blushed even more, and it spread down his neck and over his chest. Tony wanted to do nothing more but follow the trail of it with his lips but he reminded himself that he was a responsible adult and that there was a name for men who did things like that and those sorts of men never fared well in prison.
If that thought didn’t make his morning wood disappear in a flash, then nothing would.
“So, how about I go and start making you some breakfast to say thanks for being there for me last night, and you go and get dressed?” Tony suggested.
Peter smiled shyly at him. “Oh, um, you don’t have to go to any trouble for me, Mr Stark.”
Being addressed as ‘Mr Stark’ whilst in bed with the object of his desire appeared to trump any terrible thoughts of prison and sent his cock snapping back to attention. There was no doubt about it - Tony was going to hell. “It’s no trouble, kid,” he assured the teen. “I usually cook a proper breakfast on the weekends anyway.”
He watched as Peter hurried to climb out of the bed and with one final bashful look over his shoulder, leave to return to his own room. It was only once he was alone that Tony allowed himself to let out the breath he’d been holding almost the entire time and flop down onto the mattress. “Could you get any more fucking creepy?” he asked himself quietly. Considering he then went and had a quick wank in the bathroom on his way to the kitchen, the answer to that was a resounding yes .
Tony made it to the kitchen at the same time as Peter did and they found that Bucky was already up, still wearing sleep pants and a tight, black t-shirt that did more to accentuate his body than hide it. The ex-assassin immediately poured two cups of coffee and slid them across the bench. “This might help after last night,” he said quietly.
Tony paused halfway to picking up the coffee, not sure if he quite understood.
“This one’s for you, Peter,” Bucky told the teen, who hadn’t seemed to realise.
Tony should have known that nothing would have gotten past a damn super soldier. Of course Bucky had woken last night to the sound of Tony having a nightmare, and it was just their luck that he’d seen Peter go and check on Tony. He didn't seem to be judging them however, just offering silent support and for that, the genius was grateful. Of course, Bucky had to then follow it up by pulling out the frypan and announcing he was making pancakes, solidifying him as one of Tony’s new favourite people.
“You don’t have to,” Tony told him. “As much as I appreciate the gesture, you don’t have to cook for all of us. I can make us breakfast.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” the man waved him off. “I actually enjoy cooking. It might not be much but it’s at least a small way for me to show my gratitude.”
“You’ve had coffee going every morning since you’ve been here and now you’re cooking me food - I’m pretty sure I’m the one who needs to be grateful, Bucky. Who would have thought I’d have enjoyed having a super soldier around the place again so much.”
It must have been the morning for it because a light blush dusted the man’s cheeks and Tony couldn't help but smirk at the reaction. It fell off his face pretty quickly when he saw the flash of jealousy on Peter’s face, that was then replaced by one of hurt. As much as Tony actually liked Bucky and enjoyed the view when the man was around, the last thing he wanted to do was upset Peter. He knew he should keep his distance after spending the entire night snuggling with the teen, but he needed to wipe that dejected look off Peter’s face and he needed to do it now . He sidled up to him and threw an arm around his shoulder, giving him a one armed hug. “So, since we’ve got our very own breakfast chef, why don’t you show me those updated schematics you were working on for your we- I mean, your school project.”
“Uh, sure,” Peter said, brightening immediately. He picked up the Stark Pad from the bench and began to pull up the plans from the server. “Oh, and uh, Mr Barnes knows who I am,” he added casually. “So you don’t need to keep it a secret anymore.”
“I’m sorry, what now?” Tony asked, unsure if he’d understood correctly.
“Bit hard to hide the fact that you’re enhanced when training together,” Bucky informed him. “The kid kicked my arse.” He grinned at Peter and surprisingly enough, Peter smiled back.
“You overpowered a super soldier ?” the genius exclaimed.
Peter shrugged, trying to look nonchalant but failing due to the twinkle in his eyes. “I spend most of my time going out of my way to not use my full strength so I don’t hurt people by accident - I just relaxed that a bit.”
Bucky had gathered all the ingredients he needed and was measuring flour into a bowl. “He wasn’t even tryin’ ,” he drawled. “I tell ya, I’ve never been so surprised and impressed in my life.”
“Way to go!” Tony said, holding up his hand for a high five which Peter returned. “This I gotta see. Are you guys planning on training again today?”
Bucky looked to Peter. “I’m keen if you are. We didn't exactly get much accomplished yesterday.”
“Uh, sure,” the kid said. “We can do that. If it’s not too much trouble, of course.”
Tony wanted to crow in happiness. He wasn’t sure what had changed but Peter seemed to be doing his best to be civil to Bucky. Tony was aware the kid was upset on his behalf over what went down in Siberia, but that he was making a concerted effort to be nice because his mentor had asked him to, well it meant a lot.
“No problem at all.” Bucky assured him. “I’m sure we can put on a show for Tony here.” He winked cheekily and then began to stir his mixture.
Holy fucking shit, now that was a visual Tony hadn't had previously but knew would now have a starring role in his fantasies. Dammit, just what he needed - even more fodder for his Tally of FuckedUpNess. Why the hell did Bucky have to be like this ? Why couldn’t he have been withdrawn or just an arsehole? Tony had forgiven the guy before he’d even gotten to know him but he’d never expected he’d like him. He’d been planning on them having a civil working relationship and that would be about it, but this, this had hit him completely out of left field. The man was best friends with Steve Rogers and Tony had expected him to be very much like the Capsicle - prim and a little proper, serious, and determined. Instead he was cheeky and funny and annoyingly likeable.
Deciding it was best to ignore the remark for now and save himself a mortifyingly stuttered reply, Tony turned his full attention to the updated design for the web slingers that Peter had been working on. If he was lucky, he’d manage to get through the rest of the day without either a) embarrassing himself and b) being arrested.
The second point was much harder to accomplish, especially when he found himself watching the ex-assassin walking Peter through the basic steps of self defence, both of them wearing tight fitting workout gear and getting handsy with each other. Now that the image was in his brain, he couldn’t not imagine what the two of them would be like together - preferably in Tony’s bed. Though that made his own age difference with Peter pale in comparison, didn’t it? Bucky would be turning one hundred years old in less than five months, which made him more than six times older than the kid. Did Tony’s depravity know no bounds? Bucky swept Peter’s legs out from under him and demonstrated how to pin an opponent underneath him which sent Tony’s dick to dancing again which gave him the answer.
Eventually the pair moved on from the basics and Bucky instructed Peter to not hold back so he could see exactly what the kid already knew. They agreed to only use their own strength and abilities which meant no weapons or gadgets. Tony was interested to see how it panned out since he knew Peter had very little hand-to-hand experience but was much stronger. He was worried that with Bucky prepared this time, the kid wouldn’t stand a chance against the super assassin.
It was much more equal than he’d expected. Peter may not have known how to fight but he was fast and agile and even without using his webbing, he flipped and somersaulted this way and that, deftly avoiding Bucky’s grasp (and showing off just how flexible he was, Tony’s brain helpfully supplied). Bucky had started off going easy on the kid but as he was continually evaded, he began to use more and more of his skills. At one point he snarled in frustration as Peter once again slipped through his grasp and he stalked the kid across the training room, doing what Tony instantly labelled his ‘murder strut’. Looking so terrifying shouldn’t have been so hot .
Tony wasn’t the only one to think so from the looks of things as Peter just stared, mouth hanging open a little and was easily caught by the soldier. Bucky shook his head in amusement and snorted. “Please tell me you don’t just hang around waiting to get caught by the bad guys in real life?”
It seemed to jolt Peter back to reality and he stuttered out an, “Of course not!’ before making an excuse about getting distracted by a bird outside the window.
They wound down their session just before lunch, and Tony looked forward to heading down to the lab. Peter would be with him but they both had their own projects to work on today so he would be able to lose himself in work for a while. Before he could even begin to head that way, Bucky asked for a moment to speak in private. He waved Peter off, telling him he’d be along soon, and then sat back down on the bench he’d been perched on. “What’s up?” he asked, hoping that nothing was wrong.
“I, uh, I wanted to apologise,” Bucky began, fiddling nervously with his water bottle.
“Apologise for what?” Tony asked, trying to figure out what the soldier had possibly done in the last few days.
“For Siberia,” Bucky said quietly.
“We’ve been over this,” Tony told him gently. “If anyone needs to apologise, it’s me for trying to kill you.”
The ex-assassin shook his head. “No, you were completely justified in that - I’ve told you I understood why you reacted that way. No, this is for after.” He looked up and met Tony’s eye and the genius was shocked at how upset the man looked.
“After?” he managed to squeak out.
“Yeah, when we just left ,” Bucky said. He looked away, rubbing a hand over his face. “I didn't even think and it’s been pointed out to me that if I had, I would have realised that it was only in hindsight that we knew T’Challa was there. At the time we just ran, and neither of us spared a thought to how injured we’d left you.” He swallowed hard. “I’m so sorry , Tony.”
Tony was frozen as he processed this. It had to have been Peter who had told Bucky about his injuries - neither Rhodey nor Pepper would have said anything about them but it was something that Peter would have given away if he’d lost his temper. Perhaps Tony was going to have to review the security footage of their first training session to see exactly what went down “Water under the bridge,” he said in an attempt to deflect from the memories but he fell far short of the mark. His arms broke out in goosebumps and shivers ran through his body as he immediately felt chilled. Without realising it, his breathing sped up until he was gasping in shallow breaths.
“Shit! I’m so stupid,” Bucky berated himself. “I didn't mean to upset you by bringing it all up.”
“It’s fine,” Tony said, but they both knew it really wasn’t.
“What can I do to help?”
The question was so earnest that Tony didn't even hesitate. “I’m so cold,” he told him.
Bucky immediately wrapped him in a hug and even in the midst of a panic attack, Tony couldn’t help but wonder why having the man who had been partially responsible for his situation in the first place holding him wasn’t making it worse. The super soldier was so warm though that he pushed aside all thoughts and just concentrated on the heat emanating from the muscular body pressed against him.
It took a while but eventually the panic attack subsided and Tony finally felt himself again. “I really can’t say sorry enough,” Bucky fretted as Tony pulled away from the embrace, breathing deeply.
“It’s okay, I promise,” Tony assured him. “It’s not like you weren’t injured during the fight - I blew your damn arm off. Now, if it was Rogers here instead of you, I doubt I’d be so forgiving but it wasn’t you who used the shield against me.”
“It’s true, then?” Bucky asked in a small voice. “The shield, it crushed your sternum?”
A hand immediately flew to his chest, massaging the place that still ached almost constantly. “Yeah,” he confirmed, but didn't elaborate.
“That really was a clusterfuck of a day, wasn’t it,” Bucky said with a sigh.
Tony couldn’t help it and barked out a laugh, causing the man to look at him in consternation. “Sorry,” Tony said, “but Captain America was very vocal about foul language. It still throws me when I hear you swear.”
“I was in the army,” Bucky said a little defensively.
“I know, it’s just going to take a little getting used to, you know?”
“Yeah, I know. I just wish I could prove to you that I’m not like Steve.” He paused and then added in a whisper, “I’ll never hurt you again.”
Tony nodded and wiped a stray tear from his cheek that remained from his attack. “Right, Buckaroo, as fun as this chat has been, I’m going to head to my lab now. I’ll let you know when Peter will be back again next so you can schedule in your next session.”
“No worries,” Bucky told him, offering him a small smile. “I think he’ll pick it up in no time - he’s a good kid.”
“Yeah, yeah he is, isn’t he,” Tony agreed, and then with a small wave, he turned and left the room.
Just a short little chapter for you today, just so you don't think I've forgotten about you ;-)
Dammit, how did I go to posting daily again??? I swore I would never do that again...look, I'll try, but no promises! I'm a little bit ahead of the game but if life gets crazy and I can't write for a few days then my buffer will get horribly depleted very quickly. If that happens, no yelling at the nice Scarlet! :P
How are you? Hope all is good there and you got over your jet lag from the trip. Has Asha stopped giving you shit about it? We both know that she would have suffered just as badly from it as you, but the stubborn cow refuses to ever show anyone a weakness. If she’s still giving you grief, I know that there is a family of those big lizards living in the rock outcrop behind my old quarters - you could always catch one and leave it in her bed...just sayin’ ;-)
Things are going really well here. Everyone has been really nice and I feel like I fit in really well. Stark - no, Tony, he’s asked me to call him Tony and I gotta remember to do that - is really different to how I thought he’d be. I mean, they were never really nasty about it but from the others, I kinda got the feeling that he was the villain of the piece. He’s so far from that it’s not funny. He’s a lot like you in some ways - very funny, likes to tease, and I can spar verbally with him.
As for the physical sparring, well you’ve been replaced by a kid and let me tell you, he gives me a run for my damn money! Christ, Zee, you would love to go toe to toe with him. He’s green but picks things up so quickly and he’s enhanced so he’s super strong, stronger than me! It’s been really great. He hated me at first but he had his reasons but we’ve slowly started to get on better and we’ve even had a few really nice talks afterwards. I really feel like we could be friends so I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I don’t piss him off again and he snaps my neck like a matchstick!
I got to help out The Avengers the other day and I gotta say, it felt fucking fantastic to be using my skills for good instead of Hydra scum. It wasn’t anything big or anything since I still gotta prove myself but the Accords panel were concerned about a facility stockpiling weapons down in the south. Turns out it wasn't a terrorist organisation but a doomsday cult and we managed to save a handful of kids which made me feel good. I was worried they’d find me scary but they were fascinated with the arm and one little girl spent the whole trip back to the nearest city plaiting my hair. Tony wanted me to do what he calls my ‘murder strut’ for him with the plaits in so he could post it to YouTube so I stole his phone and wouldn’t give it back. It wasn’t until we got all the way back to New York that he distracted me with a trick he’d been teaching Dum-E (one of his intelligent robots) and he nicked it off me.
I feel like I’ve rambled enough at you now. You’ll come to regret asking me to stay in touch! Give my love to everyone there, and give Asha a big, big hug from me and a sloppy kiss on the cheek - I’m sure she’ll love it lol
Dear My Favourite White Boy, aka Bucky,
I did as you asked and Asha almost broke my arm. You should have seen her face! It was priceless! The grumpy cow misses you as much as I do but she’d never say that, but she did ask me to pass on her greetings so she’s just as much admitted it. Next time I will get someone to take a photo of it and I’ll put it on my Instagram page so you can see it.
I’m glad to hear that things are going well for you there. I’m sure that our illustrious leader would not have encouraged you to go there if he didn't believe Stark to be a good man. Good or bad, if I got to spend time with a specimen like that, I wouldn't care about their moral leanings. I do hope you’re enjoying the view ;-)
Things have been much the same here - Shuri and her team have given us some upgraded weaponry, Asha has been working our butts to the ground training with them, and things go on as usual.
The only matter of note that has occurred is a woman who calls herself The Black Widow but who is, in fact, the whitest of the white - so white that she makes snow look tan, she could easily hide herself in a tub of vanilla ice cream - turned up, saying she was a messenger for Steve Rogers. Apparently he and his merry band of misfits are deep undercover in northern Europe, trying to weed out the very last of Hydra and she had come to let the king know that they were off the grid for another month or two in case you were to be woken in the meantime. She might be a spy but even I could tell that she was surprised to learn that you weren’t here. She left pretty quickly after that, a bit pissed I think that she’d wasted the time coming here but not my problem!
It was good to hear from you, White Boy, you take care and if you can, try and get me a photo of Stark in his underwear!
Don’t underestimate Natalia Romanova - she’s more dangerous than you could possibly know. Thanks for the heads up though - I guess once they’ve finished their mission I can expect to hear from them.
It’s getting even colder here now - you’d absolutely hate it. I gotta admit, I do miss the weather in Wakanda! We’re due for snow any day now, but at least I don’t have to go out in it unless I want to.
I gotta go, I’m due to give the kid some training now, and afterwards we’re having a movie night since Tony likes them.
P.S. And I will enjoy the view very much.
Dammit, White Boy! Where is my photo? I demand a photo of that hunk of gorgeousness!
And I’ll keep that in mind about the try hard arachnid next time I see her.
If I ever managed to get a photo like that, I sure as hell wouldn't share it but keep it to myself. Well, maybe I’d share it with the kid since he and I both drool over Tony, but it wouldn't leave this secure server :P
I hate you so much. I hope your dick shrivels up and falls off, you traitor.
Love you too!
The bell rang and Peter hurried to pack up his things, eager to be going. He planned on going out on patrol and after a run in early in the day with Flash, he was looking forward to working off some steam by slinging between buildings. Normally he wouldn’t let Flash’s taunts get to him, but May had been having a hard time with a co-worker and was stressed to the max which was making Peter worry even more than he normally did for her. He’d not been sleeping well and after almost a month of hard training with Bucky, his regular patrols, the work he still had to do for the internship, plus his normal schoolwork, he was exhausted almost all of the time. The last thing he needed was his annoying jerk of a fellow student being a dick.
If he was normal, Peter would likely have taken a swing at Flash by now. The guy only ever bullied him vocally, but having been on the receiving end over the years of both verbal and physical bullying, Peter knew that the former was usually crueler and stayed with you longer. He was being pushed to his breaking point and he wanted to do nothing more than punch the smug look right off Flash’s face. With the training he’d had he knew he would be able to gauge the punch to avoid severely injuring or even killing him, but Peter knew that he couldn’t take the chance of giving away his secret identity. Besides, Bucky would kill Peter if he used the skills he’d taught him in a non-Spider-Man capacity.
As Peter waited for his classmates in front of him to exit the room, his mind drifted to Bucky and their blossoming friendship. He’d started out hating the man but after spending so much time with him, he’d come to realise that he was actually very likeable. It helped that Mr Stark didn't hold a grudge against him and in being civil to the guy in order to placate his mentor, he’d discovered that they had a lot in common. It hadn’t taken Peter long to figure out that that included being attracted to Mr Stark, which had gotten his hackles raised at first.
“Just because I think he’s sexy as fuck,” Bucky had told him when Peter had begun what was going to be an epic sulk, “doesn’t mean I’m going to act on it. Firstly, I wouldn't do that to you - I’m not a dick, and secondly, well I don’t think he’d ever be interested in me anyway. The first point trumps the second anyway so even if he were to try to sweep me off my feet and carry me off into the distance, I wouldn't go with him. I wouldn't do that to you, Peter. Bros before Sexy Men in Tin Suits."
“Oh, you can go for Rhodey, I don’t mind that at all,” Peter had replied, earning him a noogie.
Since then they had begun somewhat of a ritual - they would train, and then afterwards they would sit on one of the benches and pine together.
“Did you see his interview on the news last night? I love that suit on him.”
“Kid, I got to see the suit in person and I almost creamed my pants. Here, I grabbed a candid photo for you of him before he left the Tower,” Bucky said, handing over his phone.
Or when Peter had gushed to Bucky, “He fell asleep on my shoulder during the movie!”
“I know - couldn’t you feel my jealousy radiating from across the room?”
There had been several near misses, with Mr Stark walking in to find them whispering together and he had dramatically declared that they were colluding against him about what ice cream flavours Friday ordered in before clutching at his heart and announcing that they were both dead to him. It was obvious that he was delighted that the two of them were getting on so well together, and Peter would die if he ever found out what they bonded over the most.
The bottleneck at the door finally cleared and Peter headed out into the hallway, not bothering to button up his jacket since he’d be changing into his suit soon enough. They’d had their first snow fall the week prior, signalling that winter was most definitely here, which made getting changed in a back alley a little less fun. The suit had built in heaters and after a few minutes of flinging himself between buildings and flipping over rooftops, Peter warmed up anyway, but that minute of getting down to bare skin had caused his balls to try to retract right up inside him where it was toasty and warm. He had even wondered if he could ask about having a little padding placed in the chest since the material of the suit chafed horribly against erect nipples but even thinking about having that conversation with Mr Stark was so mortifying that Peter just resolved to put up with it. It was a small price to pay to be Spider-Man.
“Hey, Penis Parker!” a voice called out from behind just as Peter reached the main doors.
He sighed but ignored Flash as he continued to walk away.
“Awww, is someone all sad that they don’t have a date to the Winter Dance?” Flash continued, as they made their way outside, snow falling quietly from the sky. “It’s okay, Parker - there’s always a losers club who go along to these things by themselves. I’m sure they’d welcome you with open arms. In fact, you’re such a loser that I reckon they’ll be quick to make you their president!”
Peter spun around and glared at his classmate. “I’m not even going to the dance, Flash so why don’t you just shut your big mouth?”
Flash smirked. “Gonna stay home and sulk instead of going alone? That’s even more pathetic, Parker.”
“I’m not going because I’m working on an important project with Mr St-”
“Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before,” Flash cut him off. “Your precious internship with Mr Stark. Though I think it’s doubtful that you even see the man during it - you probably just work with one of his minions. It’s not like he’s going to waste time on a loser like you when he could be off fucking the next Playboy Bunny so he can get his STD bingo.”
“Don’t talk about him like that!” Peter snarled.
Flash’s eyes lit up. “Oooh! So he’s not just your imaginary mentor but your imaginary boyfriend as well!”
“His boyfriend isn’t imaginary,” a smooth, deep voice said from behind them. Peter spun on the spot to find Bucky standing there, dressed in dark combat pants and a leather jacket, snow speckling his long hair. He gave the teen a secretive wink before he stepped forward and wrapped an arm around Peter’s waist. “This jerk bothering you, doll?” he rumbled, nosing at Peter’s hair.
“N...no, it’s f...fine,” Peter stammered, trying to act the part but finding it hard to think with Bucky’s warm weight pressed up against him.
“Ya sure? Cos it really looked like he was being a jerk to you and you know I can’t let that slide.” Bucky glared at Flash.
“Who the fuck are you?” Flash demanded, his eyes bugging out of their sockets.
“Name’s Bucky,” the ex-assassin replied, “but - since you seem to be up to date on current events - you might know me as The Winter Soldier.” The death stare he directed at Flash made Peter shiver but he was surprised to discover it wasn't in fear…
Flash gulped and real fear flashed in his eyes. There had been a joint media campaign run by Stark Industries and the US Army to announce the return of the decorated war hero, James Buchanan Barnes, with full disclosure about his torture, mind control, and being forced to become an assassin for Hydra. Public opinion had been mostly favourable towards him - Peter had actually overheard Flash talking about how cool the man was - but being faced with Bucky’s death stare was obviously making the other teen’s brain short circuit. “What are you doing here?” Flash squeaked.
“Meeting up with my boyfriend, obviously,” Bucky drawled.
“You’re dating Parker ?”
“Have you seen him? Of course I’m dating him,” the ex-assassin explained as if Flash was a little slow.
“But there’s nothing special about Penis Parker!” Flash exclaimed.
Bucky’s eyes narrowed and Peter tried to pull him away. “Just leave it, it’s fine.”
“Fine? Fine ?” the man snapped. “It’s not fine , Pete, not at all.” In the month that he’d known him, Peter had never seen Bucky angry before so he had no idea how far the man would go. He needn’t have worried though as Bucky visibly got himself under control, taking several deep breaths and calming himself down. His murderous glare finally faded and he then turned his back on Flash, dismissing him as not important. “Come on, sweetheart, let’s go,” he said to Peter, reaching up to cup his cheek. “We’ve got more important things to do than waste time on this fella.” Peter swallowed hard at the contact, wondering what that twinkle in Bucky’s eyes meant and then froze completely as the man’s lips found his.
Somewhere in the background he heard Flash gasp, and chatter from other students as they were gawked at, but Peter couldn’t concentrate on any of that, too shocked at finding himself being kissed by the super soldier. He found himself kissing back, reaching up to clutch at Bucky’s shoulders as the kiss deepened. It’s just a ruse, it’s just a ruse , he told himself as he found himself enjoying the sensation way too much. When Bucky finally broke the kiss, Peter was expecting to see the man smirking as if sharing a moment of private mirth over the deception, but instead the man’s blue eyes were dark with desire and he looked as shell shocked as Peter felt. Without another word, he tangled their fingers together and tugged on the teen’s hand, prompting him to follow him off the school grounds.
They walked several streets away and Peter ended up leading them to the alley he normally got changed in. The snow was falling heavier now and it was quiet, cocooning them in blanket of privacy. They found their way into the covered doorway of an empty building and they finally let go of the other’s hand as they stood, both searching for words, avoiding eye contact.
“Um…” Peter began.
“Yeah,” Bucky replied, uncharacteristically at a loss for words.
“That was...um, nice?”
Bucky nodded, and finally looked over to meet Peter’s gaze. “It was. I wasn’t planning on doing it, I know you’re in love with Tony, but I wanted to shut that stupid jerk up and I didn’t realise how much I’d like it.”
Peter stepped closer and hesitantly reached out and placed his hand on Bucky’s chest as he had an epiphany. “I am in love with Mr Stark but we both know nothing will ever happen there. Just because I have feelings for someone else, doesn’t mean I can’t have feelings for you too.”
“I thought you didn’t like me much,” Bucky said sadly.
“I thought you were smarter than that,” Peter retorted. “You know I got over that pretty quickly, yeah?”
The man shrugged. “Being friends is one thing, this is something completely different.”
“Is this something you don’t want?” Peter asked quietly. "I’m not the only one who has a thing for Mr Stark.”
Bucky snorted. “I’ve got even less of a chance with him than you do, kid. But I feel the same way that you do - just because I’ve got the hots for him, doesn’t mean I can’t be interested in someone else. But, it’s weird, don’t you think?” He gestured between the two of them. “I know I don’t feel it but I’m quite a bit older than you, even older than Tony is. Is that too freaky for you? I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”
Peter smirked. “In case you haven’t already noticed, I kind of have a thing for older guys.”
“Yeah, I guess you do, don’t you? So, you wanna give this a try then?”
He sounded so unsure, not the usual confident guy that Peter had gotten to know that the teen decided to take that first step. Instead of answering, he grabbed a fistful of Bucky’s jacket and pulled him forward into a kiss. The super soldier grinned against his lips and then kissed him back, licking his way into Peter’s mouth. For his part, Peter was happy to let Bucky control the kiss, since this was only his second ever kiss - the first having happened fifteen minutes ago. He didn’t feel like he really knew what he was doing but Bucky certainly did and he was an excellent teacher. Peter got so caught up in what they were doing that he hadn’t realised how much time had passed as they made out until they broke apart only to find it was getting dark. “Wow,” was all he could say.
“I could definitely get used to that,” Bucky told him with a grin.
“So, uh, not that I haven’t enjoyed the aftermath, but um, why did you come to meet me anyway?” Peter asked.
“Oh, I thought I could join you on patrol,” Bucky explained. “I’ve only gotten out twice with the team so far and I’ve wanted to do more to help. Rhodey gave me the go ahead to go with you to get a bit more experience.” He waggled his eyebrows. “Not sure this was the sort of experience he was talking about though.”
Laughing, Peter shook his head, “Probably not. I’m happy for you to come out with me though. It’ll be good to have someone to talk to if it’s quiet. Let me just get changed.”
“You get dressed in an alley?”
“It’s not like I can get changed at school without raising suspicions.”
“This is true.”
Peter paused as he pulled his suit out. “Are you going to watch?” he asked as Bucky smirked at him.
“I’ve just had my tongue down your throat,” Bucky drawled. “Ya really going to make me turn my back so I can’t have a perv on you?”
Peter blushed. “I guess not.”
Suddenly serious, Bucky reached up and touched his face. “Hey, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, okay? I’ll look away if you want.”
“Nah, it’s all good,” Peter said with more bravado than he felt. “Don’t know if you’ll like what you see though. M’not buff like you.”
Bucky rolled his eyes. “I’m not that shallow, Pete.”
“Yeah, well I just don’t want you to be disappointed,” the teen said as he half turned anyway as he shrugged out of his jacket and then peeled off his shirt.
A warm hand settled on Peter’s shoulder and suddenly Bucky was there, tilting his chin up and pressing a chaste kiss to his lips. “M’not at all disappointed, doll,” he assured him, his hands coming to rest on Peter’s arms and rubbing up and down.
“Good to know,” Peter said between chatting teeth. “Mind if I get dressed though? It’s a bit cold to be standing around in just my boxers.”
“I’m sure I could find a way to warm you up,” Bucky said with a leer.
Peter laughed and pushed him away. “I’m sure you could but maybe we should take things a bit slow.” He stepped into his suit and pulled it up, hitting the button on the front so it snapped in close to his body. “I uh, haven’t done this before,” he admitted.
“Neither have I,” Bucky told him.
“What?” Peter exclaimed. “You’ve never been with anyone?”
“Well, yeah, but only ever gals and I wasn’t actually interested in them,” the ex-assassin told him. “Liking men wasn’t acceptable back in the day. Trust me, I liked kissing you a whole lot better than any of the birds I was ever with.” He rubbed at the back of his head shyly. “As confident as I appear, I’m not really looking to rush into anything since this is all new to me too.”
The teen reached out and took hold of his hand. “How about we just take it at our own pace then? We don’t ever have to rush.”
“Sounds good,” Bucky said with a smile. “Right, so, where do you usually go when you’re out on patrol?”
“Oh, I usually find somewhere high up with a good vantage point and see what catches my eye.” He raised an eyebrow. “Reckon you can keep up with me, old man?”
Bucky gave him a feral grin. “Bring it, kid.”
Laughing, Peter shot a web towards the top of the building and swung away, seeing the super soldier leaping up onto the fire escape to follow him.
Tony stretched, his back popping and put down the soldering iron. He’d been working on an upgrade to Bucky’s arm for hours now and being bent over his work bench was playing havoc on his aging body. He rubbed absently at his chest and decided that it might be a good time to take a break and grab a coffee. He was just wandering over to the coffee machine in the corner when the door to his lab was opened and Pepper stalked in. Her face was as black as a thundercloud and he immediately tried to pinpoint what he could have done to make her so angry. “Hey, Pep,” he greeted her warily, holding up his coffee mug in front of him defensively.
“Did you know about this?” she cried, waving a Stark Pad around.
“Um, can you be more specific? I mean, I’m a genius so there’s lots of things I know but even I have to admit that some things are outside my field of expertise.”
“This isn’t the time for jokes, Tony,” she berated him, her mouth drawn down into a thin frown.
“Right, well joking aside, I’m still going to need some clarification here.”
She swiped the screen to wake up the tablet and then held it out so he could see the news article she had on display. “This, did you know about this?”
Tony was sure the bottom fell out of his stomach as his eyes fixated on the photo at the top of the article. It was of Peter and Bucky outside of the kid’s school and they were wrapped up in each other’s arms, lips locked as they kissed passionately. The article was titled ‘The Centenarian And The Teen: True Love or Law Breakers?’. Shaking his head, Tony found his mouth had gone dry and he attempted several times to speak before finally choking out, “No, no this is news to me too.”
“What the fuck were they thinking?” Pepper cried, running a hand through her hair and mussing her normally immaculate do. “I mean, this is so far beyond statutory rape that it’s not even funny. I don’t think the courts have ever tried an age difference this big before!”
“Courts? Wait, they’re being charged ?”
Pepper paused in her pacing. “Well, no, not yet but it’s only a matter of time. The cops aren’t going to let this slide, Tony, especially if it has this much media coverage. It’s on every popular news site and is trending on social media! There will be an investigation for sure.”
“Have you spoken to our lawyers yet?”
“I’ve called a meeting for this afternoon to prep them. They’ll want to talk to Peter and Bucky but I think you need to talk to them first.”
“Me?” Tony exclaimed. “Why me?” At the moment he wasn’t even sure if he could stand to be in the same room as the other two men - his heart was shattering into a million pieces but of course he couldn’t tell anybody that. This was one betrayal he’d have to suffer silently.
Pepper leveled him with one of her patented ‘because I said so’ looks. “Peter is due here today, isn’t he?”
“Yes,” Tony replied glumly.
“Good. Once you’ve spoken to them, I’ll arrange a time for them to meet with our lawyers when May is available.”
“Oh shit,” Tony said with a wince. “May is going to go mental.”
“Yeah, well I don’t blame her. Peter is just a kid for crying out loud.”
“He’s mature for a sixteen year old though,” Tony felt the need to point out in Peter’s defence.
“It doesn't matter, Tony - the law doesn’t care about that. Bucky is a decorated war hero, they’re going to assume that Peter was so awed by him that he was taken advantage of. With his history as the Winter Soldier, public opinion could very quickly swing against him if they think he’s being coercing a kid into his bed.”
“It’s just a kiss, Pepper! I’m pretty sure that doesn’t even count as statutory rape if they’ve not done anything else.”
“Well who’s to know what they have and haven’t done?” she asked ominously.
Tony really didn't want to even think about what else they could have done. Sure, he’d been fantasising about the two of them together for weeks now but that also included him in the mix. Which made it even more shades of fucked up and he was never more grateful for the fact that Pepper couldn’t read his mind than now. “Innocent until proven guilty - that’s still a thing, yeah?”
Pepper sighed. “Technically, yes, but they’ll be tried in the court of public opinion before we get to the bottom of this and that’ll be a problem if it swings the other way.”
“Screw the public!” Tony spat. “Does it really matter if they’re happy?” He could hear his voice beginning to crack and he hoped that his ex was so riled up that she wouldn’t notice how much the thought of the two living happily ever after together upset him.
“Of course it doesn’t,” she told him, her ponytail swinging as she shook her head. “Look, just talk to them, please? Find out what exactly they’ve done so we know how prepared to be.” She rubbed at her eyes and suddenly looked exhausted. “I’d better go and get ready for this meeting.”
Tony nodded. “Okay, thanks, Pep.”
She sighed heavily and said, “If I didn't like them so much I’d kill the both of them,” and then walked out of the lab.
Tony let himself fall down into a chair and he hung his head in his hands, wondering if he would ever get used to the feeling of a broken heart. Of course, he had absolutely no reason to be so devastated since he hadn't been involved with either of them, but it hurt all the same. It was just so fucking ironic that he’d never made a move on Peter because he was worried about the age difference and then he and Bucky had gotten together anyway. He wasn’t sure if he should laugh or cry or just give up entirely. The world wasn’t overly kind to one Anthony Edward Stark even when he was trying his best to do right by it.
“Hey, Fri?” he called.
“As soon as Peter gets here can you please let both him and Bucky know that I need to speak to them urgently?”
“Thanks, baby girl.”
It was about forty minutes later when Peter and Bucky arrived. They didn’t walk in hand in hand and they weren’t exchanging longing glances and Tony wasn’t sure if that made it hurt all the more, that they were hiding it from him.
“Hey, Mr Stark,” Peter said happily. “What’s up?”
“Have a seat, both of you,” Tony said, more gruffly than he’d intended.
“Is something wrong?” Bucky asked, frowning.
“Why don’t you tell me, Romeo?” the genius snapped, regretting it instantly. He sighed and then leaned up against the bench opposite to the couch the two had parked themselves on. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to snap, this has just thrown me a bit.”
“What has?” Peter asked. “What’s happened?”
“What’s happened, Peter, is that neither of you stopped and used your damn brains,” Tony cried. “I mean, really? You know every man and his dog has a phone and a social media account but neither of you thought that making out in front of your classmates was a bad idea?”
“What?” Peter said with a gasp.
“Yeah, congratulations - you’re trending on Twitter and a photo of you two lip-locking is splashed across every news site in the country.” He couldn’t keep the hurt from his voice as he asked, “So how long has this been going on? You didn’t think you could trust me with it?”
“It’s not like that!” Peter said earnestly.
“Oh, so you two aren’t together? You just decided to kiss in front of a crowd for shits and giggles? As an experiment?”
“It’s complicated,” Bucky said.
“Hah! I bet.”
“Mr Stark, please, Bucky kissed me to stop Flash from being a dick,” Peter explained.
“Excuse me?” He turned to the ex-assassin. “I know I don’t have any fancy Hydra training but I wouldn’t have thought they’d have often used making out as a form of conflict resolution.”
“Flash was being his usual jerk of a self and was having a go at me, saying that I don’t actually get to work with you and that you’re my...my…” Peter blushed a deep crimson. “Thatyou’remyimaginaryboyfriend,” he said in a rush. “Bucky turned up and told him that I had a boyfriend and he wasn't imaginary, that it was him. Flash didn't really believe it so Bucky kissed me to prove it.”
“S’true,” Bucky piped up. “It was either that or punch the douchebag and I figured laying out a kid would be worse than snoggin’ one.”
“Are you shitting me?” Tony demanded. “Cos I gotta admit, this is worse than a bad romcom.”
“I swear, that’s what happened,” Peter told him.
“So you guys aren’t actually together then?”
“Oh, um, well…”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake, Peter!” Tony cried. “What the hell does that mean?”
“It means that we both enjoyed the kiss and after we spoke about it, we decided it was something we’d like to explore more,” Bucky said calmly.
“Just when I thought we might have an out,” Tony said in exasperation, rubbing his eyes.
“What do you mean?” Peter asked, watching him warily.
“It’s questions like that that hammer home just how young you are,” Tony said, knowing he was being mean but unable to help himself from lashing out due to his own hurt. “Pepper is meeting with our lawyers as we speak because before we know it, we’re going to have New York’s finest pulling both of you into an interrogation room demanding to know just how far you’ve gone. I thought that you would have had some idea of just how fucking illegal it is for two people with such a vast age difference to be in a relationship? No matter how much you both like each other, no matter how much respect you have, or how much you care about each other, you can’t legally consent, Peter and Buckaroo over there is looking at a fucking jail term. Is that not clear enough for you? Do you not understand now?”
Both the recipients of his lecture had paled and neither could meet his eye. “We haven’t done anything other than kiss,” Peter said quietly, hanging his head.
“Well let’s just hope that you can convince not only the cops, but also May of that because she’ll be there when you speak to both the lawyers and the police.”
“You told May?” Peter couldn't hide how betrayed he felt and Tony wanted to scream ‘Now you know how I feel!’ .
“I haven’t told her anything, Pepper was speaking to her, but since she doesn't live under a rock, it’s a safe bet to think that she’s already seen the news.”
The teen swallowed loudly, and fiddled nervously with the hem of his shirt. “What do we do?” Peter asked in a small voice.
Tony sighed again. “We tell everyone that it was just an act to get a bully off your back, it was just acting. I don’t know if anyone will buy it since I guess you don’t have any proof, but it’s worth a shot.”
“Um, would a text message be enough?” the kid asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Um, well, Ned messaged me to ask what the hell had happened and I didn't feel up to telling him about what Bucky and I talked about later so I told him about the ruse.”
“What time was that sent?” he asked.
Peter fished out his phone and checked the message. “Um, just after four yesterday afternoon.”
Tony had had Friday scan the internet for when the photo had started making an appearance and other than one obscure blog, nothing had been posted until after five and it hadn't hit the major news sites until this morning. “Okay, yeah, that might work. Right, so we’ll stick with that then.” He tried to glare at them but was too emotionally exhausted to pull it off convincingly. “I know I can’t tell you not to keep on seeing each other - I doubt you’d listen to me anyway, but just please, please be discreet. Peter, it’s less than a year till you’re legal and then you two can do whatever you want, but until then, if you’re going to be together, just, just keep it to yourselves.” Peter nodded but Bucky just looked at him speculatively. “Got something on your mind, soldier?” he asked.
“No, I’m good,” Bucky said, obviously lying.
“Okay, well, I’ll let you know when the lawyers want to meet,” Tony dismissed them.
“What about the project we’re working on?” Peter asked.
“I’m really not in the mood tonight, kid,” Tony said bluntly, feeling horrid as hurt flashed across Peter’s face but not up to spending any time alone with him tonight.
“Oh, okay, I guess I’ll head home then and face May.”
“Yeah, probably a good idea. I’ll see you both later.”
Tony didn’t look at them as they stood up from the couch but he did glance over as they were leaving and he caught Bucky still watching him, a thoughtful expression on his face. Too heartbroken to care what it could mean, he turned back to his work bench and threw himself into a new project.
Can I just say that you guys are so fucking awesome - I am overwhelmed by how much you love this story and I grin like an idiot with every comment and kudos. Thank you so much for being so supportive, it means so much :)
Peter wasn’t sure how one person could feel so many emotions at once and not explode. He was horrified at the can of worms that the photos had opened and was scared that Bucky would get in trouble for it. He hadn’t been able to fully decipher Mr Stark’s reaction - there was disappointment and anger certainly, but he had also appeared to be hurt which confused Peter to no end. His mentor had been very clear about how wrong and illegal it was for a man to date a minor so there was no possibility that he could feel the same way back, was there? No, that had likely just been wishful thinking on Peter’s part. It didn't stop Peter from feeling guilty though, almost like he had cheated on Mr Stark by finding someone else, since he’d silently proclaimed his love for him. Then there was the fear of facing May, the anxiety of speaking to lawyers and cops about the kiss, and the dread of going back to school once the news broke only to be the laughing stock of his classmates. Underlying all of this was a bubble of happiness that even this drama couldn't pop whenever he thought of Bucky and how nice it had felt to be in his arms.
His head was absolutely whirring and he hadn't even gotten home. May was absolutely livid when Peter finally walked through the door and yelled non-stop for fifteen minutes, not allowing him to get a word in edgewise as she threatened to take on a super soldier herself and kick his arse.
Finally, as she paused for breath, Peter jumped in with his defence. He hated lying to her but consoled himself with the fact that it was mostly the truth. The bits that had been caught on camera were anyway, and he and Bucky would be much, much more careful in the future to keep out of sight. “It wasn’t real, May!” he cried, pulling out his phone in readiness. “Flash was being Flash and accusing me of...well, it doesn't matter, but he -”
“Peter!” May cut him off, holding up a hand. “This is not the time to do some creative editing - I’ll be the one to decide if it matters or not so tell me everything.”
Wanting nothing more than to have the floor open up and swallow him whole, Peter nodded weakly and continued. “Fine, so, uh, Flash was teasing me about not having a date for the Winter Dance next week. I told him I wasn’t even going since I had a project to work on with Mr Stark. He then said that that I probably hadn't even met Mr Stark and then said some really mean things about him and when I defended him, well, Flash accused me of pretending that Mr Stark was...was m...my boyfriend.” He couldn't meet her eye and reached up to rub bashfully at his neck. “Anyway, Bucky had come to -” Shit! They hadn't come up with a reason why Bucky would have been there in the first place! He searched his mind frantically for a reason that wasn’t because I’m Spider-Man and lamely continued with, “to drop off some designs for me to look over, and he overheard it all. He told Flash that I didn't have an imaginary boyfriend, but a real one and that it was him.” He winced. “Look, I know it was stupid but Bucky was just trying to help - Flash was being such a dick and it just escalated and it was just for show, I promise. Look, I even explained it to Ned afterwards!” He thrust the phone into her hands and watched as she read over the text messages.
May put the phone down and then sat on a stool and then just looked at Peter for the longest time. He squirmed under her gaze but didn't say anything else, knowing that this wasn’t the time for debate. Finally she nodded. “Okay, Peter - I believe you. You can never just get into regular trouble like a normal kid, can you? It always has to be this convoluted bullshit.” She said it with a small smile so he knew her anger had mostly dissipated. “I’m pulling you from school tomorrow and I’ll ask Miss Potts to arrange a meeting with both the lawyers that Mr Stark is kindly offering us, and then afterwards the cops. They haven’t been in touch yet so maybe if we come forward with an explanation first, it might keep them off your back.” She took a deep breath. “I also think that for the next few weeks, you need to take a break from this internship.”
“What? May, no, please!”
“Peter, please, listen to me,” she said, sounding tired but determined. “You are exhausted, don’t think I can’t tell. You spend too much time there and maybe if you weren’t so tired, you would have realised what a bad idea your little stunt was. Look, you’ve got two more weeks of school until Christmas vacation and we’ve already agreed you can spend it with Mr Stark while I go away.” May had been planning a trip with her girlfriends for years now and the two of them had scrimped and saved enough for her to afford a cruise in the Caribbean over the break. “I’m worried that you’re not spending enough time with kids your own age, and since you’ll be spending almost two weeks with Mr Stark...and this Bucky man, well, in order for me to feel more comfortable allowing you to stick to the plan, you gotta give me something, kiddo.”
“But, May, I’m in the middle of projects that are time sensitive!” he protested. “I can’t just up and leave them, please . All that work will be for nothing!”
“Peter, I really think…”
She huffed and glared at him. “Fine! You can continue your internship on Saturdays, but that’s it. No more staying over Friday nights, either. Until we get a handle on this, I do not want you sleeping there.”
There was a tone in her voice and Peter had to make sure he was clear. “May, I promise you, no one there is taking advantage of me. I’m safer there than I am at school, I swear.”
She looked a little chagrined but didn’t apologise. “You’re my responsibility, Peter, and I need to make sure that you’re safe.”
“I know, I get that, I really do, but I can’t say it enough - no one at Stark Industries has ever made me feel uncomfortable or pressured me into doing anything. Mr Stark would kill them if they did.”
That got a smile out of her. “True - he’s almost as protective of you as I am. Okay, fine, Saturdays only until break, and tomorrow we sort out the legalities. Then I need to make an appointment with the school.”
“Wait, what? Why?”
Her eyes narrowed. “Because you’re being bullied, Peter, and I will not stand for it. I know what teenagers are like and I know that once the truth gets out, it’ll be even worse for you. I’ll going to make sure that your teachers put a stop to it before it even begins.”
“May, please, you know that will just make it worse for me, right? Please, just let it be, it’ll blow over soon enough.”
“I’m sorry, Peter, but I can’t ignore this. My decision is final. Now go and do your homework while I call Miss Potts back.”
Peter walked slowly to his room, wondering if Karen would help him source a new identity so he could disappear into the sunset and start a new life. He did not want to face the coming few weeks. He booted up his laptop and before starting on his Chemistry homework, checked his emails. He and Bucky had agreed it was for the best not to text since the teen’s phone would likely be looked at by the cops but they figured they’d be safe enough to keep in contact via email so long as they deleted them afterwards. He was just glad the super soldier was still interested in seeing him since he’d been worried Bucky would want to back out now that there were possible legal ramifications. Before he’d left Stark Tower, Bucky had pulled him into a broom closet, snogged him senseless and assured him he wasn’t going to run.
Peter couldn’t help but smile as he saw an email waiting for him.
Hey, I know today’s been tough but we’ll get through this. I’m not going anywhere, I promise. Chin up, kid, it’ll blow over soon enough. I miss you and can’t wait to see you again, Bucky x
Feeling slightly better, Peter postponed asking Karen for help - there was definitely something worth hanging around for.
It had been a very, very long time since Bucky had been in school, but the feeling of what it was like to sit outside the principal’s office never really left you. It was precisely the way he felt as he waited to speak to Pepper as per her request. He’d sat with the lawyers already, and then there had been the mortifying hour that he’d been questioned by two detectives from the NYPD. He’d felt utterly wretched when he’d learned that their specialty was sexual assaults , and he had to admit to questioning his decision to continue whatever this was between himself and Peter - not because he was worried about getting into trouble, but because maybe they were right and a sixteen year old couldn’t consent. After he’d given his statement to the detectives, trying to ignore the way that they looked at him like he was a predator despite the fact they had accepted the evidence and weren’t pressing charges, he had left them to go back to his own room for a couple of hours.
While there, he asked Friday to provide him with a secure internet connection and he’d done some research. Peter had seemed willing, and had appeared rational and coherent, but was that merely what Bucky wanted to see? He didn't think that was the reason at all because if the kid’s dreams had come true and it was Tony who he was starting a relationship with, Bucky would still believe it was what Peter wanted. He needed to be sure that he considered all the facts though so Bucky spent several hours online reading up about consent, the differing ages in different states and countries, statutory rape definitions and laws, and opinions from professionals and experts.
By the end he was still confused. In some places, Peter would already have reached the age of consent, in others he still couldn't for another year or two. In some places he would only be legal if he were married but since that would have involved an arranged marriage in a lot of cultures, he didn’t understand how that was classed as consenting anyway. They all seemed to agree on the fact that even if he was of age, when it came to their age difference - even the age Bucky felt he was, and not his actual age - it would still be considered statutory rape in this situation. The professionals spoke of positions of power and the younger person feeling coerced or bullied into a relationship. Bucky was aware that Peter was bullied at school, but he hadn’t shied away from giving the super soldier a piece of his mind when they first met. It came down to his strength and abilities - Peter knew he couldn’t retaliate at school, not only because he might give away his secret identity, but also because if it became physical, he might hurt his attacker more than intended. Bucky had felt how the kid had had to hold back to stop from hurting him , and it took a lot to hurt an enhanced individual like the ex-assassin. So although he was bullied, he wasn’t the sort to be forced into anything either.
It was a messy minefield and in the end Bucky still was in a mixed mindset over the whole thing. The crux of the matter though was that he didn't want to give up what he and Peter had started. He was in no rush to take the relationship to the next level and would be happy just spending time with Peter and trading the odd kiss here and there - which would keep it legal, but when the time came, when Peter was ready, he would happily take that next step, whether it was against the law or not. It didn't make it right, and Bucky wasn’t arrogant enough to think that he knew best, but this was what he wanted and he didn't have the willpower to say no.
The door to the small room Pepper had appropriated as an office for the day opened and the woman in question stepped out. She looked exhausted and Bucky felt bad that he had contributed to such a fiasco that she had to deal with. She didn’t look anywhere near as angry as she had first thing that morning when he’d been ushered into a room with a handful of lawyers, Tony, and herself but she wasn’t anywhere near the cheerful, happy person she normally was. “Bucky,” she greeted him. “Won’t you please come in.”
He offered her a small smile, grateful for all her hard work and took a seat on one of the plush chairs inside. There was a small round table in the room but Pepper wasn’t using it as a desk, instead she had a Starkpad in her hand that was already open.
“Okay, so as you’re aware, the police aren’t filing any charges at the moment. You’re both very lucky that they believe the two of you,” she said, making it clear that she didn’t, “but please be aware that if they get even a sniff of anything inappropriate happening between the two of you again, they won’t hesitate to drag you through the system.”
Bucky nodded contritely. “I understand.”
“Our PR department have been working overtime today, and we’ll be releasing a media statement in an hour to try and control this, but there are already child protection groups calling for your head so we’ll be pushing uphill against public opinion.”
“If there’s anything you need from me, please just let me know,” Bucky offered. No matter how much he knew he couldn’t keep away from Peter, he did feel guilty about the shit storm he’d dropped the company in.
“I’m glad you said that,” Pepper said primly, “because as a matter of fact, there will be a project we’ll need you working on.”
“You said that you kissed Peter because he was being bullied, as a way to shut the other kid up.”
“He was being bullied,” the ex-assassin growled and then instantly regretted the tone as Pepper’s eyes widened a fraction in fright. “Sorry, I didn't mean that to sound so aggressive, but it’s the truth!” he insisted. “To make matters worse, it’s not like this is the first time either - this kid bullies Peter regularly.”
Pepper’s expression softened. “I know, Bucky - I didn't mean to make it sound like I was accusing you of lying. It’s the bullying itself that we’re hoping you can help with to some degree. It might not help Peter directly but hopefully you’ll help other kids.”
“What do you have in mind?”
“We want to team up with the Education Department to create a series of short videos featuring yourself to discuss bullying - descriptions of what actually constitutes bullying, actions victims and their parents can take, help they can access. Stark Industries are going to set up a charity that offers free counselling to not only victims but to bullies themselves, see if we can help change behaviours.”
“You want me to be the face of the campaign?” Bucky asked in shock.
“Considering the lengths you went to to stop one act of bullying, is there really anyone better suited?” She gave him a warm, genuine smile. “We can use this incident as an example of how good people can make silly decisions when backed against a wall and then show them better ways of dealing with the situation.” She held up a hand as he began to protest, cutting off his accusation of victim blaming. “This isn’t just about victims who lash out. If a decorated war hero can admit that he was wrong and made a mistake, then maybe it will encourage others to re-evaluate their thinking. Maybe someone who picks on the scrawny boy in class or the girl who always get the top score will see this and think that maybe they could change their ways?”
“I think you’re being too optimistic,” Bucky told her bluntly. “Seeing a cheesy video of me isn’t going to make some douchebag like this Flash kid see the error of their ways.”
“Maybe not,” Pepper agreed, “but maybe it’ll stop someone who isn’t a serial bullier becoming one.”
The ex-assassin sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Look, I’m not against doing it - it’s the least I can do to make up for all the trouble I’ve caused - I just don’t want you getting your hopes up that it’ll change anything.”
“If we never tried, nothing would ever change, Bucky. It’s best to try and fail than never try and fail anyway.”
“Okay, fair point.”
“I’ll let you know when the ball will begin rolling. For now, I have a press conference to prepare for.”
He nodded and gave her another smile before leaving the room. He made his way back up to the common area, thinking he might get changed and head to the gym to work off a little of the stress. He was almost at his room when he heard his name called from behind. He turned and saw Tony hurrying towards him, a small box in one hand. “Hey, um, you got a minute?” the genius asked.
“Can we go into your room?” Tony asked, glancing over his shoulder. “Probably best not to speak out in the open.”
Curious, Bucky opened the door and gestured the man inside before closing the door behind them. Tony no longer looked as upset as he had the night before but he still seemed agitated. He paced around the room for a moment, seeming to be searching for the right words and Bucky watched him silently, giving him the time.
“So, Friday tells me that you and Peter have been emailing,” the genius announced, startling Bucky. Tony saw his shock and hurried to assure him, “I don’t know any of the details, I swear - we do have privacy protocols in place, but she can see that you’re sending them and then deleting them. I can see why - you think it’s safer than texting what with the cops wanting to check Peter’s phone. From a tech guru, I can tell you, just deleting the emails doesn’t mean much - they could still stumble upon them, especially since they can be accessed from a smartphone.” He sighed and stopped his pacing, sinking down on the edge of the bed. “Look, I’m guessing that you two are going to keep...doing what you’re doing, but I don’t want you getting caught because of some technicality. So here, take this.” He thrust the box out and Bucky gingerly took it from him. “It’s a Starkphone,” he explained. “Same design as mine - not on the market as yet. I’ve already given Peter one as well. I’ve had Friday add extra encryptions to it so if you both use that and only that to phone, text, or email each other, no one will be able to access them unless the phone itself falls into someone’s lap who can get past the biometric security system on it.”
“Tony,” Bucky said softly, “I don’t know what to say. This...this is too much. Thank you.”
The genius shrugged. “S’nothing, really.”
“No, that’s not true. I know you don’t approve of me and the kid being together so this is more than I deserve.”
Warm chocolate brown eyes darted up to meet Bucky’s blue ones. “It’s not that I don’t approve,” Tony said, a sad smile on his face. “It’s just...nevermind, it doesn't matter. Look, so long as you treat him right and never force him to do anything he doesn't want to - not that I think you ever would, but it’s gotta be said - then we’re not going to have a problem.”
Bucky was pretty sure that he knew the real reason behind Tony’s upset but he needed a little more time to confirm his theory before he said anything. He walked over and sat next to Tony on the bed and pulled him into a hug. “ Thank you ,” he said earnestly. Tony hesitated for a brief second before hugging him back and Bucky got the distinct impression that the man was touch starved.
“Right, well I’m gonna head off. Pep will be facing the hordes soon and although she doesn’t want me in front of the camera since apparently she doesn't want my chequered reputation to tarnish this, I still want to be there to support her.”
“You sure you guys don’t want me there?” Bucky asked again.
“Nah, best if you’re not. I guess you’ll want to text Peter anyway.” There was a haunted look in Tony’s eyes and Bucky knew it was just another piece of the puzzle falling into place. He was almost certain that he knew what the big picture looked like but he needed a few more pieces to just be one hundred percent sure.
“Okay, well thanks again, for everything.”
“Anytime.” With that, Tony pushed himself off the bed and left, leaving Bucky alone.
Opening the box, Bucky found a fully charged new phone. He swiped the screen and saw a message asking for his fingerprint so he pressed it against the sensor. A beam of red light flashed into his eyes and then another message popped up stating Retinal Scan Verified . It seemed Tony didn't fuck around with security. Bucky then navigated to the phonebook and found that one number had been programmed into the phone - Peter’s. He didn’t hesitate, just typed out a message and hit send, wishing that the kid was here.
Hey, watcha doing? - Bucky
Sneaking through the Tower at stupid-o’clock in the morning, Tony hoped to hell he wouldn’t run into his resident super soldier. It had been almost two weeks since ‘the incident’ as Tony had started calling it in his head, and Bucky’s mood had only gotten worse. Since he'd come to live with them, the man had been well adjusted and adorably cheeky considering his torturous past but only seeing his new boyfriend once in that time and he sulked worse than the Hulk with a stubbed toe. The ex-assassin didn't go around proclaiming how much he missed Peter or writing bad poetry - Tony could have handled that (probably by getting more and more snarky). No, he brooded in a stupidly sexy, stoic manner that did all sorts of exciting things to the genius’ libido. Worst of all, Tony couldn’t even sympathy-whinge to anyone about it because a) he’d promised the two love birds that he’d keep their little dalliance a secret and b) no one was aware that he wasn’t crushing on just one half of the couple but both of them.
It was a complete disaster and Tony was miserable.
He'd taken to getting up ridiculously early, grabbing a quick bite to eat and then hiding in his lab the entire day. He had some projects for SI to complete as well as some upgrades to the Spider-Man and War Machine suits which would give him a lovely bout of time where he could wallow in self pity about how unfair life was and how Lady Luck didn't just seem to dislike him but went out of her way to actively be a bitch. All he needed was coffee and maybe some toast and he’d be good to go.
Of course, it was just typical that he walked into the kitchen to find it already occupied by one James Buchanan Barnes - ex-Hydra assassin, Super Soldier, and Sexy Motherfucker. The man was looking at his phone - his Starkphone - which could only mean he was talking to Peter . Tony had to actively bite his lip to suppress the groan of frustration he wanted to let loose. Bucky wasn’t the only one who was missing the kid.
Tony hadn’t thought it possible to miss someone so much. Peter had become such an integral part of his life and now that his time here had been so strictly limited, it left an ache deep inside him, as if he was missing a vital organ. He would be hard at work on something and turn to ask Peter’s opinion or just show off the neat thing he’d just created only to find that no one was there. He missed Peter’s smiles and the enthusiastic way that he spoke about everything, asking a million questions and going off on rambling tangents when he got excited. He missed the way those brown eyes got wide in wonder and awe when Tony did something particularly cool. He missed his laugh and the way he always made Tony feel like he was important. Dammit, he just missed Peter .
As much as he was gone on the kid, he’d been pragmatic enough to know that he’d never actually get to be with him. He'd expected that he’d hear about a date to Prom or Homecoming with a girl he liked (he’d mentioned a couple by name - Liz and Michelle maybe?) which would turn into going steady, and then Peter would come to him and ask advice about stuff like ideas for dates, whether he should take her somewhere special for their one month anniversary, maybe he'd have even asked him for pointers on how to make his first time memorable. Tony would have been happy to help him out because loving Peter was all about seeing the kid happy and Tony knew that no matter how much he wished it could be him who made Peter happy, it just wasn’t meant to be. Now though he worried that Peter would still come to him with these questions but the other half of the equation wouldn't be Liz or Michelle but Bucky and that was just too much. Tony could handle a faceless teenage girl but not the man who lived in the Tower and would soon be a fully fledged Avenger. It would hurt too much but he’d still do it because dammit, he would do anything for Peter. Anything.
Feeling much more morose than he had two minutes ago, Tony grunted out a “Morning,” to Bucky, and trudged over to the coffee machine, unable to even find a flutter of comfort in finding the pot full. He poured a cup and gulped it down in several burning mouthfuls, then refilled it instantly. He had just decided to skip breakfast altogether and head to the lab when Bucky dropped his plate onto the bench with a clatter and grabbed at his jaw, swearing under his breath. “What’s up?” Tony asked, instantly concerned when pain flashed across the ex-soldier’s eyes.
“‘S’nothing, just a damn toothache,” Bucky replied with a wince.
“Um, doesn't sound like just nothing. I know you have a high tolerance for pain so if it’s hurting you then it has to be pretty bad.”
Bucky shrugged. “It’ll go away eventually.”
“Usually they don’t, they just get worse,” Tony told him. “Trust me - I hate the dentist but I made the mistake once when I was younger of ignoring an ache and six months later I lost my tooth.”
“You don't have any gaps,” the man stated.
He waggled his eyebrows at Bucky. “Dentistry has changed quite a bit since the 40’s, Buckaroo. I have a fake tooth drilled right into the bone looking for all intents and purposes like a regular old tooth.”
“Yeah, well, so was the pain I suffered before that, plus having a tooth screwed into your jaw isn’t a trifling matter either.”
“I’ll manage,” Bucky said gruffly, still rubbing at his jaw.
Tony sighed. “You’re grumpy enough as it is, I really don’t want to see how much worse it’ll get the longer this goes on.”
“I can handle the pain,” the ex-assassin said flatly.
“I’m sure you can, but I bet that same pain will detract from the pleasure you get from kissing Peter. Ever thought about that?” Tony usually tried his very best to not think about the two of them kissing, but it seemed his penchant for self destructive behaviour was on a roll. The horrified expression on Bucky’s face indicated that he hadn't thought that far ahead. “Plus, the kid will be upset if he finds out you’re in pain and you didn't do anything about it, especially since most dentists close down over Christmas so if you don’t get it sorted now, you’ll have to wait till they re-open.”
“Fine,” Bucky huffed, “I’ll start looking around for a dentist today then.”
“No need - we have one down on seventeen.”
Bucky shook his head. “Of course you do.”
“Hey, I make sure everyone who works for me has the very best health cover which includes dental. It’s not just my megalomania.”
Blue eyes softened. “I didn’t mean it like that, Tony.”
The genius waved him off. “I know, I know - I guess you’re not the only grumpy one around here.”
“You miss him too.” It was a statement.
Tony nodded, not even attempting to deny it. “Yeah, yeah I do.”
“Only two more days and he’ll be here for the holidays.”
“Yeah, but I doubt he’ll have much time for me,” Tony said sadly, knowing that the couple would likely make the most of the Tower being empty over the Christmas break what with Pepper going to her parent’s house, Rhodey staying with his sister, and Vision going to Sokovia to volunteer his time rebuilding a school.
“I think you’ll be surprised,” Bucky said mysteriously but before Tony could ask what he meant, he swore and clutched at his jaw again.
“Right, let’s get you downstairs right away. Fri? Can you call Jenny and ask if she can come in a bit earlier than usual?”
“Of course, boss.”
Tony led them over to the elevator, trying to ignore the chime of a text alert going off and Bucky immediately checking his phone. He couldn’t however ignore the frown. “Problem?” he asked.
Bucky sighed. “Pete’s not coming out and saying it directly but I think this Flash guy has gotten even worse.”
“Didn’t May speak to the school about it?”
“Yeah she did but what are they going to do? They can’t monitor this kid every minute of the day and it’s all just verbal attacks. If he does it out of hearing of the teachers, they can’t stop him.”
“Crap,” Tony muttered.
“Yeah. After everything that happened, I think Peter’s just trying to stay under the radar and hope it’s all blown over by the time school goes back in the new year but he’s pretty depressed about it all.”
“Yeah, I bet.” What he wouldn't give to be able to find that fucking brat who was giving Peter such a hard time and give him a stern talking to and a swift kick up the butt.
“I’d love to wring that little punk’s neck,” Bucky said, echoing his thoughts, “but after last time, I know I’d just make things worse.”
Tony clapped him on the shoulder as he elevator doors opened and they stepped inside. “I know it sucks but just being there for him is what Peter needs most.”
“Yeah, well, I’m hoping I can pull off something really special for him for Christmas and maybe distract him a little,” Bucky said and immediately Tony’s stomach dropped, imagining all the special things the two would get up to behind closed doors.
They rode the rest of the way down in silence and then Tony led him through to the small office on the seventeenth floor. He had Bucky fill out some paperwork - the joys of running a business - and by the time it was all done, a diminutive woman with neatly plaited white blonde hair walked in. “Hello, Mr Stark,” she greeted him cheerfully.
“Hey, Jenny - thanks so much for coming in early.”
“No problems. It’s not much earlier than I’ve been getting in lately anyway. Trying to fit in everyone who needs it before the break so they can indulge in those fruit mince pies and Christmas cake to their heart’s content.” She locked her handbag away in a drawer and then accepted the paperwork from Tony. “Right, Mr Barnes, pleasure to meet you. What seems to be the problem?”
Tony excused himself as they began but didn't go down to his lab, instead finding a seat in one of the meeting rooms down the hall and pulling out his Starkpad, doing a search on this Flash kid who was giving Peter so much grief. He didn’t have any plans to interfere as yet but it was always good to be well informed so if ever the need arose, he would know exactly where to hit the bastard where it hurt the most.
Tony had been cyber stalking Flash for about ten minutes when he heard an almighty crash and a scream from the dental clinic. He was on his feet in an instant and running out the door. “Fri?” he asked.
“It appears Mr Barnes may have suffered from a flashback, boss,” she said, worry heavy in her Irish lilt.
“Fuck,” he swore as he skidded through the door of the clinic, coming to a halt as he took in the scene. Jenny was kneeling behind the examination chair, a small cut on her temple, trembling in fear. Bucky was in the corner, his knees pulled up to his chest, rocking backwards and forwards. Tony moved over to Jenny and offered a hand to help her up and then pulled her from the room. “What happened?” he asked her gently.
“I don’t know,” she replied, wiping a stray tear from her cheek. “One minute we were talking and even laughing before I took x-rays and then he just freaked out.”
Tony’s mind’s eye brought up the x-ray machine and he recalled the mouth guard type contraption that you had to bite down on. He’d read about the chair that Hydra had used on the Winter Soldier when they wiped him, how he would bite down on a mouth guard to limit his screams and pieced together the trigger for his flashback. “Okay, I think I know what set him off. Are you okay?”
“Me?” Jenny asked, shocked. “Don’t worry about me! Worry about that poor man in there!”
Tony smiled and gave her shoulder a quick squeeze. “I’ll go and see what I can do. Maybe head down to medical to get that cut looked at and then the cafeteria for a coffee. I’ll have Friday let you know when I have the situation under control.”
“Of course, Mr Stark, and please let me know if Mr Barnes would like me to have another attempt later on.”
He nodded and the dentist left, hurrying towards the elevator. Tony turned back and stepped into the room, holding his hands up in a non-threatening manner and making sure he was in sight at all times. “Bucky?” he called. “You with me, buddy?” There was no reply other than a muffled sob as the man’s body shook even harder. “It’s alright, Bucky, you’re safe here, I swear. Do you mind if I sit down?” The barest hint of a shrug which Tony took as acquiescence. He sat down against the wall, making sure to leave several feet of space between them and then just started talking, trying to ground the poor man back in reality. “You’re in New York, at Stark Tower. You’re not back there, I promise Hydra can’t hurt you anymore. The mouthguard was part of a machine that would take a picture of your tooth for Jenny. She needs to see what’s wrong with it so she knows how to treat it. Seeing as the serum hasn’t fixed it, it might just be that after almost a hundred years one of your perfectly white teeth have decided that it’s time to retire. She’ll probably need to give you a filling so you don’t lose the tooth but for that to happen, she’ll need to get the x-ray done at some stage.”
Bucky began to shake his head from side to side. “No, no, no, no, no,” he uttered and then he sat up straighter, reached into his mouth and pulled . There was an almighty cracking sound and then he flung a bloody molar across the room.
Tony stared in shock. “What the fuck? You just ripped out your own tooth!” Bucky had gone silent once more, back to hiding his face in his knees but there was the steady drip of blood onto the floor. Although the fresh wound would heal over soon enough, Tony still got up and rummaged in a drawer for some gauze. He crouched down next to Bucky and folded it into a square pad. “Here,” he murmured. “Stick this in the gap - it’ll help control the bleeding.” He didn't dare mention for him to bite down on it, not after the ex-assassin’s previous reaction.
Bucky took the gauze and then hid his face again so Tony slumped back down against the wall, much closer this time. He didn’t know what else to say, horrified that his earlier ramblings had caused a self-extraction so stuck with silent companionship.
“I don’t wanna be wiped again,” Bucky whispered brokenly after a while. “I don't wanna forget all of this.”
“Hey, hey, hey, no one’s gonna wipe you, I promise - I would kick their arses so hard if they tried. You’re safe here, Bucky, and your mind is your own now.”
Bucky shifted a little so one blue eye was visible, peeking up at Tony. “I don’t ever want to forget about Peter. Or you. Please, Tony, don’t make me forget.”
“Oh, Buckster, I swear that won’t happen.” He waved towards the door. “You feeling up to getting out of here?” He didn't think being around the examination chair would do him any good.
Bucky nodded and they clambered to their feet and made their way slowly towards the elevator. Tony called for the floor they were all currently residing on and asked Friday to give Jenny the heads up about the state of her room, plus instructions to destroy the tooth. It would be too easy for someone to reverse engineer the serum using the tooth and the last thing they needed was to be going up against an army of super soldiers.
They made their way towards Bucky’s bedroom and Tony fluttered around like a mother hen, making sure there was a saltwater gargle in the bathroom, fresh water on the bedside table, and extra gauze. Bucky rinsed his mouth out and then came and sat on the bed, watching Tony with his big baby blues. He looked so lost , like a homeless puppy and Tony couldn't help but sit down next to him and pull him into a hug. “I know it sucks, trust me, I know . This isn’t ever going to leave you, you’ll carry it with you forever. It does get a little easier to hide it in the back of your mind so you can just live day to day, but it takes time to get to that point.”
Bucky clung to him and began to sob once more. “I just hate being so broken,” he choked out.
“We’re all broken here,” Tony told him ruefully, “but that means we know what it’s like and can help you heal. Sometimes the pieces get mixed up a bit and you’ll end up with bits of someone else mixed in with you, but those pieces fit and make you stronger in the end.”
Bucky pulled back a little and looked at Tony with an unreadable expression, his face now red and blotchy from crying. Then, taking Tony completely by surprise, he leaned forward and kissed him.
Tony froze, hating how good it felt and how he wanted to do nothing more but kiss him back. His scrambled brain came back online and he inserted a hand between them and placed it against Bucky’s chest, pushing him gently away. “I know you just want comfort at the moment, a human connection to keep you grounded, but I also know that you don’t really want to do this to Peter,” he said softly.
Blue eyes closed, causing fresh tears to trickle down his cheeks. “I don't want to hurt him,” Bucky admitted, “but I want you, Tony.”
“I think you’ll feel differently once you’ve had time to calm down, and then you’ll regret this and will feel horrible.”
“I just don’t want to be alone,” Bucky said, his face crumpling as he began to sob once more.
“Hey, I’m not leaving you, okay, I’m staying here with you. We just gotta keep things G Rated, capice?” Bucky nodded and Tony brushed back a lock of hair from his face and pressed a kiss to his temple. “Here, let’s get more comfy.” He rearranged them on the bed, both lying down so he could hold the traumatised man in his arms. Bucky clung to him and Tony stroked his hair, holding him close, being the human connection he needed without doing anything stupid which would break Peter’s heart. After a while, Bucky’s breathing evened out and he fell into an exhausted sleep, drooling saliva and blood onto Tony’s shirt but the genius didn't care at all. He started up at the ceiling, reliving the way those soft lips had felt against his own and wondered just when his damn life had gotten so fucking complicated.
The elevator dinged and Bucky jumped to his feet, hurrying over. He’d been desperate to see Peter for days now, needing to just be in the teen’s presence. They’d spoken at length on the phone and exchanged almost constant text messages but it wasn’t the same. He’d been upfront with Peter about what had happened after his flashback and the teen’s reaction had been surprising but not entirely unexpected.
You kissed Tony??? I am so jealous! What was it like? Tell me EVERYTHING! - Peter
Considering I was a teary, snotty mess, there weren’t exactly fireworks - Bucky
But still - YOU KISSED TONY! - Peter
I was worried you’d be mad - Bucky
After we’ve spent most of the time we’ve known each other pining over him, I thought it would be obvious that if one of us got the chance to do anything with him, we’d take it - Peter
Well, yeah, but I shoulda spoken to you about it beforehand - Bucky
Don’t stress, it’s cool. Gotta admit, I’m worried about you though. You doing okay? - Peter
Will be better when I get to see you again, doll - Bucky
Finally the Christmas break had arrived and now so had Peter. Bucky wasn’t the only one itching to see the kid - Tony had been anxious all day, watching the clock constantly. From the corner of his eye, Bucky saw the genius appear in the hallway but he hung back, obviously wanting to give the ex-assassin the chance to greet the teen first. The doors slid open and Bucky’s eyes widened in shock at the sight of Peter, taking in the ripped knees of his jeans, the dirty streak up his shirt, and worst of all, the swelling around his eye that was quickly turning purple. “What the fuck happened?” he demanded, hurrying forward to take the kid’s bag.
“S’nothing, I’m fine,” Peter tried to wave him off.
“You’re not fine,” Tony said, rushing to Peter and reaching up to touch his face gently. “Come on through to the kitchen and I’ll get you some ice.”
They made their way into the brightly lit communal kitchen and while Tony was hunting through the freezer for an icepack, Bucky pulled Peter close and gave him a soft kiss. “Let us take care of you, sweetheart, please.”
Peter all but melted against him and allowed himself to be held and Bucky could feel him shaking. He was trying his best to be strong but whatever had happened had pushed the teen past his comfort zone. “I’m sorry,” he said in a small voice, “I don’t mean to worry you.”
“Hey, none of that now. It’s okay.”
“Um, I’ve got an icepack,’ Tony said hesitantly from behind them and when Bucky pulled away and looked at him, the man was averting his eyes, trying not to stare at the couple. He gave the genius a warm smile and then turned back to Peter, wrapping his hands around the boy’s waist and lifting him up onto the table, ignoring his feeble protests. “Let’s get ya looked at, huh.”
Bucky let Tony clean Peter’s face of dirt and blood while he took the teen’s hand in his and held it to keep a small bit of contact between them. Tony then pressed the pack against his face and as he held it there, he brushed away a stray lock of hair from Peter’s face. “Want to tell us what happened?” he asked.
Peter blushed and averted his eyes. “It’s really nothing, Mr Stark.”
Tony sighed. “Yeah, not buying it, kid.”
“Was it Flash?” Bucky asked.
Peter chewed on his bottom lip and finally nodded. “Yeah, him and a few other guys.”
“So they’ve escalated past throwing insults to throwing punches,” Tony summarised.
“Yeah,” the kid agreed. “I’m just lucky it happened today when we’ve got two weeks off. Would be kinda hard to explain why the bruises had disappeared by tomorrow otherwise.”
Bucky was furious and all he wanted to do was hunt down the little twerp responsible and kick his arse. Tony must have sensed exactly what he was thinking as he reached over and squeezed his shoulder. “I’ll take care of it,” he said, his normally warm chocolate brown eyes hard with anger.
“And get you into trouble? I’m already in the shit so may as well keep myself in it.”
“Who says I’m going to get into trouble? I’ll handle it, Bucky.” Tony kept their gazes locked until Bucky finally nodded, giving in. “Okay, so what exactly happened, Underoos?” Tony asked, turning his attention back to Peter.
The kid sighed and seemed to deflate even more, leaning heavily against Tony where his hand was pressed against the pack on his cheek but also tightening his grip on Bucky’s hand. “Things have been really bad since the press conference,” he admitted. “I expected Flash to up his game and rub my nose in the fact that I’d been caught out in a lie and didn't really have a boyfriend, but it was so much worse than I thought it would be. It wasn’t just teasing, it was just plain mean .” Peter’s lip trembled and both men moved in even closer, sandwiching him safely between them to offer comfort. “He seemed to go on a recruitment drive since it wasn’t just his friends involved but some of the guys from the football team, and also the wrestling team. I’ve been doing my best to ignore it but it’s hard, you know? They just wear you down so much and today I just snapped and finally got mad, yelled at them to just quit it already and that’s when they shoved me to the ground. Got in a few good kicks before Ned and Michelle turned up and ran them off by threatening to find a teacher.”
“Are you hurt anywhere else?” Tony asked.
Peter shrugged. “My ribs are kinda sore, think I took a few kicks there.”
Bucky immediately began to unbutton Peter’s shirt and when he peeled it back he hissed at the black and blue marks marring the skin there. “Ouch.” He probed gently at the area but determined that nothing was broken, just heavily bruised.
“Right, here’s the plan,” Tony announced. “Tonight we’re going to order in whatever you want for dinner, I’m going to make us sundaes because I make the best sundaes known to man and icecream is always the answer to our problems, then we’re going to lounge around and watch whatever movie you want while me and Buckster here wait on you hand and foot. Prepare to be pampered, Petey.”
“You don’t have to do that, Mr Stark,” Peter said, blushing a little.
Tony suddenly looked unsure and his eyes fell to the bench. “Oh, sorry, I guess you two want to spend some time alone. I’ll uh, go hide somewhere else and leave you to it.”
“No! ” Peter cried before Bucky could. “Please, Mr Stark, that sounds really great, and I want to spend tonight with both of you. I just don’t want you going to so much trouble just for me.”
“It’s no trouble, kid, but I don’t want to be a nuisance.”
Bucky rolled his eyes. “As if you could ever be a nuisance, sweetheart.” He smirked as he saw Tony’s small, pleased smile at his term of endearment. Bucky had a plan for the Christmas break and it was going exactly as it should. “Okay, let’s get you onto the couch,” he told Peter and then scooped him into his arms.
“Bucky, what are you doing?” Peter squeaked, his arms clutching at his boyfriend’s neck.
“Just sweeping you off your feet, doll,” he said with a wink. “Come on, Tony, don’t lag too far behind.”
Bucky carried Peter into the living area and deposited him gently lengthwise on the couch, leaning him forward and stuffing a heap of pillows between his back and the armrest to make him comfortable. He then pushed gently at Tony until he was sitting in his usual spot, and then he lifted Peter’s feet and placed them in Tony’s lap. He shook out a fluffy blanket and draped it over them then peered around the room. He walked over and hit the light switch, leaving the room illuminated only by the changing coloured string of lights wound around the large Christmas tree in the corner. He hummed happily and then grabbed a large cushion off the armchair and placed it on the ground in front of the couch, sitting himself down on it so when he reached up he could rest his arm on Peter’s thighs. “Everyone comfy?” he asked.
Peter reached down and ran a hand through his hair and murmured a, “Yes, thanks.”
“Yeah, but this isn’t getting dinner ordered,” Tony pointed out. “What do you feel like, Peter?”
“Um, maybe Thai? I could murder a chilli basil beef.”
“Sounds good. Hey, Fri? Do you mind putting in an order?” Tony called.
“Of course, boss,” she said. “Would you like me to have security escort the delivery person up to this floor?”
Bucky noticed Tony looking over at him and Peter, and knew he didn't want anyone else to see them together, even in a relatively innocent situation. “No, thanks, baby girl,” he told her. “Just have security pop it in the elevator and I’ll grab it when it gets up here.”
“Of course. Placing the order now.”
“I love Friday so much,” Bucky murmured, enjoying the way Peter’s fingers were still tangled in his hair, scratching lightly at his scalp.
“She’s the best,” Tony agreed, and shifted on the couch a little which caused one of his legs to press up against Bucky’s side, much to the ex-assassin’s delight.
They browsed Tony’s movie library while they waited for the food to arrive, and decided upon what Tony assured them was a Christmas classic - Die Hard. “Oh, I’ve heard of this,” Peter told Bucky enthusiastically. “It’s this really old movie but it’s supposed to be really good. It’s got some dude in it...Bruce Wayne? No, that’s not it...Bruce Campbell? Ah, I don’t know who he is, but apparently he’s super cool.”
Tony was staring at Peter in horror and Bucky couldn't help but laugh. “I think you’re killing him, babe,” he warned the teen.
“I...it...you... there are no words!" Tony cried.
“To be fair, I don’t know who he is either,” Bucky admitted.
“Yes, but you have an excuse!” the genius told him. “You were cryogenically frozen for most of Bruce Willis’ career.”
Peter raised his hand like he would at school. “In my defence, I probably wasn’t alive for most of his career.”
Tony groaned and dropped his head into his hands and Bucky reached out and stroked his shin comfortingly. “It’s okay, Tony, you’re in a room with a guy who’s almost a hundred - you’re not that old.”
“I hate you both,” Tony declared.
“No you don’t,” Bucky said and grinned toothily up at him. “You adore us.”
The elevator dinged and Tony extracted himself from the blanket to go and collect the food. “I do,” he threw over his shoulder as he left the room. “God help me, but I really do.”
Bucky grinned. His plan was going perfectly.
Finally, the explicit tag is justified - smut ahead :D
Peter dragged himself off the couch, so full he thought he’d burst. He wordlessly held out his hand for the empty sundae cups from the others and then took them through to the kitchen, feeling much happier than he had any right to be after the day he’d had. He’d been so tempted to fight back when he’d been jumped, but he knew he’d not only give himself away but likely have hurt his classmates severely. He wished he could teach them a lesson but if he lost his temper, he could do irreversible damage and he wouldn't be able to ever forgive himself. They were thugs and bullies but none of them deserved a broken back or a caved in skull. Mr Stark had said he’d take care of it and he trusted the man implicitly so he was certain that by the time school went back, he wouldn’t have any more issues.
He’d enjoyed the movie they’d just watched but he’d not paid a lot of attention to it if he was honest. Having Bucky so close and being able to touch him was like a balm after his shitty day and every now and then the man would catch the hand that was stroking through his hair and bring it to his mouth, pressing soft kisses to his palm. Peter wanted to be able to kiss him properly but they’d both agreed they wouldn’t do that in front of his mentor and as much as he wanted to be alone with his boyfriend, Peter was enjoying the time with Mr Stark too much. Having his feet cushioned in the genius’ lap and having those warm hands resting on top of them was more erotic than he’d ever imagined it could be. Peter had been grateful for the blanket that had covered him because the times that Mr Stark had started absently stroking his ankle had given him an erection ridiculously quickly. If he’d thought that being in a relationship would curb the feelings he had for the genius, then he was very, very wrong. He still felt just as strongly for Mr Stark as he always had, but luckily Bucky was more than alright with it. It would have made things very awkward if the ex-assassin had been the jealous or possessive type.
Heading back into the loungeroom, Peter found that Bucky had abandoned his spot on the floor and had stolen the teen’s spot on the couch, back against the armrest. He held out his arms in an invitation and after a brief glance to the other man in the room to ensure he didn’t mind, Peter allowed himself to be pulled down to sit with his back resting against Bucky’s chest, his body bracketed by the strong legs. “Hey, Fri,” Mr Stark called, as he took hold of the teen’s feet and guided him back up onto his lap, “could you chose another movie for us. Doesn’t matter what, your pick, baby girl.”
Peter swallowed hard, trying to not freak out at the new, more intimate position. He was essentially positioned in the middle of the couch now so it wasn’t just his feet on top of Mr Stark but from mid-thigh down was draped over the man. No one else seemed to be making a big deal about it so Peter chose to remain silent and just enjoy the moment while it lasted.
The movie began and Peter couldn’t help but snort out a laugh. “What’s so funny, doll?” Bucky asked quietly, nuzzling at the spot behind the teen’s ear.
“Friday’s choice in movie,” he replied. “I didn’t think she’d be into the whole supernatural romance genre.”
“Boss said it was my choice,” Friday said, sounding sullen. “I don’t judge you on your choice of movies, Peter.”
“Yeah, but Twilight? Seriously?”
“I’m sorry, I would have thought that you’d have found the plot in which a one hundred year old vampire falls in love with a teenager relatable,” she sassed.
Mr Stark chuckled. “She’s got you there, kid.”
“Wait, are you calling me a vampire, Friday?” Bucky asked, sounding hurt.
“Of course not, Bucky,” she assured him, “simply making the correlation between your age difference and that of Bella and Edward.”
“The characters in the movie.”
“Yeah well, I still reckon we’re a better love story than Twilight,” Peter muttered.
“Oh, so this is love is it?” Mr Stark asked archly.
Peter could feel himself blushing, even though he knew his mentor was only teasing. He knew what he felt for Bucky wasn’t love - it was too soon and nowhere near as strong as his feelings for Mr Stark. He’d only recently even decided that what he felt for his mentor was love, having thought it was just an extremely long lasting crush, but then he’d realised that the sheer depth of his feelings couldn’t be dismissed. Did he think that he could possibly one day feel the same way for Bucky? Sure, if things progressed along the lines they were going. For now though, it certainly wasn’t love. “You know what I mean,” he protested.
Mr Stark winked at him and a full body shiver went through Peter at the sight. Bucky laughed throatily in his ear, having witnessed his reaction and he knew he’d get a ribbing about it later. Feeling that the silent treatment was deserved for both men at the moment, he concentrated on the movie, ignoring them in favour of watching Bella pine over the stupid, sparkly vampire. While the age difference was a similarity, Peter was certain that he wasn’t as bad when it came to pathetically mooning over anyone (he blatantly ignored all those times that he and Bucky had sat together after training and had waxed lyrical over what Mr Stark had been wearing or what he had done that day).
It soon became almost impossible to ignore the two men however. Bucky’s metal arm was wrapped firmly around Peter’s chest and his flesh hand was trailing teasing patterns over his arm and hip. There was a growing hardness pressing against the small of the teen’s back that indicated the ex-assassin was rather enjoying the contact. Mr Stark was resting one hand on Peter’s knee and his thumb was tracing lazy circles on his jeans. It was all such chaste contact but it was driving Peter crazy and he just wanted more. The urge to push forward or twist backwards and kiss one of the men was almost overwhelming but he knew that no matter how much casual contact Mr Stark initiated, he’d made it clear that being attracted to younger men was wrong, and Peter and Bucky had that stupid pact to not share any overt public displays of affection in front of the genius which really didn’t seem like a good plan at this very moment. He was craving a firmer touch, a caress, a kiss - something, just more.
The movie dragged on torturously, but Peter didn’t take in much of it. He was too hyper aware of the two men to either side of him. When the movie finally came to an end, Mr Stark stretched, yawning wide. “Right, well I’m going to head off to bed. You two, um, well, enjoy the rest of your night.” Was it just Peter’s imagination, or did he look sad at the prospect of what the couple would get up to?
Acting purely on impulse, Peter leaned forward and hugged him, hoping he wasn’t overstepping any boundaries. His mentor seemed shocked at first but then hugged him back. “Thank you for tonight,” Peter whispered. “You made me feel much better.”
Mr Stark looked bashful. “Anytime, kid. I hate seeing you hurt like that so I’m glad you’re feeling better.”
“I always feel better when I’m around you,” he said earnestly and his words were weighted.
Mr Stark swallowed hard and there was no mistaking the way his eyes flickered down to Peter’s lips. Then he was moving, extracting himself from under Peter and the moment was gone. “See you both tomorrow,” he said and then hurried from the room.
Peter sighed and sank back down against Bucky. “Fuck,” he swore, “I really shouldn’t be acting like that anymore, should I?”
He felt Bucky shrug against him. “I don’t mind, sweetheart. It’s a bit of a turn on seeing you flirt with him if I’m honest.” Both hands snaked around Peter and began stroking his chest, and Bucky began to press kisses to the back of his neck. “Missed you,” he murmured. “Wish I could have been there for you the last two weeks.”
“I missed you too,” Peter admitted. He tilted his head back and soon Bucky’s lips found his. It was an awkward angle to kiss at but neither quite felt like moving as yet and the teen had to admit that the ex-soldier’s hands on his torso felt devine. His metal hand was much cooler than the flesh one and so Peter’s left nipple had hardened to a stiff nub whilst the right was still rather behaved. Then Bucky dropped his hand even lower and snuck it up under the teen’s shirt and Peter groaned at the feeling of the smooth metal dragging up over his stomach. “Want you so bad,” he said breathily.
“I thought we decided to go slow?” Bucky drawled, a hint of amusement in his voice.
“I know, I know, but I just need you, Bucky.”
“God, doll, you’re killing me here. Are you sure?”
“Fuck, yes. We don’t have to go all the way but I just need more.”
“Okay, sweetheart, I reckon I can manage that, but not here, yeah? Let’s go into my room.”
Peter nodded, not wanting Mr Stark to stumble in on something, but also not wanting him to hear anything so Bucky’s room was definitely the best choice. He scrambled up and off the couch, his boyfriend hot on his heels and they hurried down the hallway to his room. Bucky closed the door behind them and Peter turned and then they were falling together, lips crashing against the other’s, hands roaming everywhere they could touch. Peter was so hard he thought he would burst and he rutted against the firm thigh pressed against him.
“Fuck, I missed kissing you,” Bucky whispered, pulling back to look at Peter, his blue eyes dark with desire and his lips kiss swollen.
“I’ve hardly been able to think of anything else,” Peter told him. “I think about you every night when I’m alone in my bed.”
“Just me?” Bucky asked with a knowing smirk.
Even now, Peter felt his cheeks redden and he wondered if the day would ever come when he wouldn’t blush. “Maybe someone else sneaks their way into my fantasies as well,” he admitted.
One of Bucky’s hands dropped and began to work open the button on Peter’s jeans. “Would that someone be about your height, with gorgeous brown eyes that seem to see right into your soul, with extremely, capable hands?” Bucky punctuated his sentence by slipping his hand down the teen’s pants and palming at his cock. “They’re so steady, very used to precision work, but a little bit rough, with callouses from his metalwork. Can you imagine what they’d feel like, dragging up and down your cock, sweetheart? Catching on this hot, silky skin of yours.”
Peter moaned out loud as copious amounts of pre-come pumped from his slit, making Bucky’s hand glide easily over his length. “Yes,” he gasped, closing his eyes as he pictured it.
“He’d take you right there in his lab, on that big centre workbench so he’d have all the room in the world to lay you out and take you apart piece by piece.” Bucky’s breath was hot against Peter’s ear, low and rough and making the teen’s cock jump about as he was pumped. “His beard would scratch you in all the right ways as he puts that mouth to good use and kisses every inch of this delicious skin of yours.” His free hand found a nipple under Peter’s shirt and rolled it between his fingers, causing Peter to whimper in pleasure. “How do you think his mouth would feel on your cock, doll? It would be so warm and wet, his tongue working you over, lapping up every drop you gave him. He’d have to hold you down to stop you from fucking too deeply down his throat, probably hard enough that he’d leave bruises on your hips. They’d fade all too soon but for a little while afterwards you’d have proof that he'd claimed you, made you his. He’d suck you so good, darling, until you were panting and begging for more.”
Peter already was panting and he whimpered, “Bucky,” in a needy voice, so close already, dancing on the edge.
“Oh, sweetheart, that’s not the name I want to hear from your lips. Say it, Peter, say his name.”
“Oh, fuck,” Peter gasped, his hips starting to jerk along with his cock. “M...Mr Stark!” he cried out as he came, covering Bucky’s hand and wrist with hot ropes of come.
Bucky pressed gentle kisses to the shell of Peter’s ear as he rode out the waves of his pleasure, and then moved down his jaw until he could lean back to look at him. “Isn’t that just the prettiest sight in the whole world?” he said, drinking in the view of a debauched Peter.
“You never told me that you have such a dirty mouth,” the teen groused playfully, dropping his head to rest against Bucky’s chest as he caught his breath.
“I’m full of surprises, doll.”
“Full of something else too. Want some help emptying it out?”
Bucky threw back his head and laughed. “We need to work on your dirty talk, but I appreciate the sentiment. It’s not going to take much to get me off, I don’t think - ya got me pretty close to the edge already.”
With a bravado he didn't really feel, Peter worked open Bucky’s pants and wrapped his hand around the thick cock that sprung out of its confines. He’d never touched anyone else in such a way before but he soon found that it was much like his own penis - just all backwards since he was grasping it from the other side. He kept his gaze down, watching as Bucky’s cock moved between the ring of his fingers, too embarrassed to look at the man’s face. He heard the way Bucky’s breath hitched and could see his legs begin to tremble and he tightened his grip a little, trying to be sure his strokes were firm and sure.
“Fuck, doll, I’m so close, you feel so good,” Bucky whispered. “Kiss me, please? I wanna kiss you when I come.”
Peter finally looked up and was taken aback by how wrecked the older man looked. He immediately leaned into the kiss, pushing his tongue inside to dance with Bucky’s as he continued to stroke. He felt more than heard as Bucky came, warmth splashing onto his hand and the muscular body trembling against him. “So good, so, so good, sweetheart,” the ex-assassin whispered reverently.
Peter smiled shyly up at Bucky who kissed him sweetly and then crossed the room to grab some tissues. He came back and cleaned them both off, lobbing them into the bin near the bathroom door. He then pulled the teen to him and wrapped his arms around him. “Stay with me tonight?” he asked. “I wanna wake up next to you in the morning.”
Peter hid his smile against Bucky’s chest, happiness almost overflowing from him. “I’d like that so much,” he said.
“Awesome. Let’s go to bed, sweetheart. You need your rest.”
Bucky woke to find that neither he nor Peter had moved an inch during the night. The kid was still pressed against his chest, wrapped securely in Bucky’s arms, their legs tangled. He smiled happily and then winced as his body began to protest, advising him of all the numb spots by beginning to tingle with pins and needles. He brushed a kiss to Peter’s temple and began to slither out from under him. Peter’s grip tightened around him like an octopus and he mumbled an incoherent protest. “Hey, sweetheart, I’m getting up now but you can stay in bed for as long as you want,” Bucky told him soothingly.
There was more grumbling but Peter demonstrated that he was at least partially alert by retracting his hands and tucking them around his own body.
Bucky smiled and sat next to him for a few minutes, stroking his hair and watching as he fell back asleep. He then crossed to his bathroom, refreshed himself a little, and then went in search of coffee.
The kitchen was empty as per usual at this time of the morning so he got a pot started and then crossed to the large windows that overlooked the city. Cloud hung low and heavy over the metropolis, promising them a white Christmas tomorrow and softening the glow of the millions and millions of lights. He tilted his head towards the ceiling and asked quietly, “Hey, Friday, did Tony sleep okay last night?” He hadn’t been woken by the sound of a nightmare but he had been dead to the world with Peter in his arms so there was a chance he’d missed it.
“Boss didn’t actually sleep at all,” Friday replied and she sounded worried. “He went straight to his workshop when he left you and Peter last night, and left the Tower in a suit shortly afterwards. He returned over an hour later and has been in the lab ever since.”
Guilt flooded Bucky and he cursed softly. Maybe he shouldn’t have waited so long to be absolutely certain that he was right, and that Tony did have romantic feelings towards the kid. After being the recipient of a lot of backlash after being caught kissing Peter in numerous photos, Bucky knew firsthand how it felt when it all went wrong. He’d wanted to be extra sure that what he was seeing was right but he also needed time to come up with a plan. He didn't want to scare the genius off - even being right about how Tony felt wasn’t a guarantee that his wish to see him and the kid get together would work. There was also the added complication of not only Bucky’s wish to continue his relationship with Peter but the obviously mutual attraction between the ex-assassin and Tony. Bucky was confident they could work something out but first of all he needed to make sure that he could pull off the plan he had in place for tomorrow morning.
He debated whether or not he should take coffee with him as he made his way to the workshop but finally decided against it - if Tony had in fact been up all night then he needed sleep, not caffeine. As he exited the elevator on the correct floor he could see that all the lights were on and even through the sound dampening glass wall he could hear the thump of Tony’s music. Punching in the code, he entered the room and wove his way through the workbenches and shelves towards the back where Tony was sitting in front of a holographic display, looking half dead as he flipped through the images. “Heya,” Bucky greeted him softly so as not to startle him.
Tony looked over to him and offered him a weak smile but there was still a sadness to his eyes that Bucky itched to make disappear. “Morning,” the genius said and pulled up a setting to turn the volume of the music down.
“Friday says you haven’t slept.”
“Friday should know that tattling is wrong,” Tony griped, glaring at one of her sensors.
“I’m worried about you, boss,” she said reprovingly.
“No need, daddy’s fine.”
“I beg to differ.”
“We’ll have to agree to disagree then, Fri.”
“I agree with Friday,” Bucky informed him. “You need to rest, Tony.”
“What I need is to get these designs finished.”
“I’m sure you can take a break over Christmas.”
“It’s only Christmas Eve, not Christmas yet.”
The ex-assassin sighed and stepped close, laying a hand on his shoulder. “Will you come and sit down for a little bit at least? Just a five minute break?” He gave him his best puppy dog eyes and saw the man cave.
“Okay, fine, but only five minutes.”
Bucky led him over to the couch and sat them down, making sure he sat close enough that their legs were touching. “You wanna tell me how your chat with Flash went last night?” he asked.
“What? I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Tony automatically denied.
He snorted. “Please, we both know that that’s where you went. I’m just annoyed I couldn’t come as well. Did you get a photo of his face when you confronted him? I’d kill to see the little shit pissing himself as he found himself facing Iron Man.”
Tony was staring at him wide eyed but he then slumped as the fight went out of him. “I’m sure Fri could play it back for you if you really wanted.”
“I’m happy enough to hear the highlights from you, sweetheart.”
“Careful, don’t want Peter getting jealous if he hears you calling me by a pet name,” Tony said, somewhat bitterly.
“Peter doesn’t mind at all,” Bucky told him honestly. He wrapped an arm around Tony’s shoulder and pulled him closer, guiding the man’s head until it was resting on his shoulder. “Now tell me all about your talk with the little jerk.”
The genius sighed and leaned in even closer against Bucky. “Not much to say, really. He looked out his bedroom window to see Iron Man standing on his roof and just about wet himself, and I’m sure he actually did when the suit opened and then I stepped out. I told him in no uncertain terms that he’s not to touch Peter again, or even speak to him unless he wants to find himself unemployable by anyone in a fifty mile radius of here once he leaves school. Do you know he had the audacity to tell me that he thought Peter hadn’t even met me in person? That the kid was making it all up?”
“Yeah, the punk said something similar when I met him.”
Tony huffed. “I can’t believe he thought Petey was lying! It made me so mad. Anyway, by the time I was done with him he was a blubbering mess which drew the attention of his parents who burst into the room. Whatever they were expecting, it wasn’t me and I told them just what their son had been up to at school. They didn’t have a clue and when I left, they were ripping him a new one. I don’t think Peter’s going to have anymore problems once school goes back.”
“One day the world is going to find out exactly who Spider-Man is and that jerk is going to freak out, knowing that Peter could have kicked his arse anytime he wanted to but he chose not to,” Bucky said with satisfaction.
Tony chuckled. “I know, and it’s gonna be great.”
Bucky began stroking along the back of Tony’s head and neck and slowly he felt the genius leaning heavier and heavier against him. Gently he maneuvered them until Tony was lying down with his head on Bucky’s lap and he whispered, “Get some sleep, sweetheart.”
“You’ll stay?” Tony asked in a small voice.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
It was enough for the man to let go and soon he was snoring softly. Bucky continued to stroke his hair, hoping he’d get a decent rest and quietly asked Friday to let Peter know where he was when the teen finally woke up.
It was two hours later that Peter arrived in the workshop and he was carrying a tray that had two coffees, a plate of toast, and two books on it. He smiled softly at Bucky and leaned over to give him a kiss and then set the tray on a small table in front of the couch. He handed over a coffee and a piece of toast, went and fetched a soft, red blanket from a nearby cupboard and draped it over the two men, and then climbed under the other end of it, tucking Tony’s feet under his legs to keep them warm. The teen then picked up his own coffee, and one of the books, and without another word, began to read.
Tony woke several hours later and it seemed to take him a moment to realise what was going on. He’d turned over in his sleep at one stage and his face was pressed up against Bucky’s stomach (who had had to think some very disturbing thoughts to ensure that the comfortable pillow of his lap didn’t get hard and start poking Tony in the face), and the genius’ lower half was snug against Peter who had his knees draped over Tony’s legs. “Hey there,” Bucky said gently, “sleep well?”
“Mmm,” Tony said and stretched. “What are you both doing down here? You’ve not wasted your entire morning on me, have you?”
“It’s never a waste of time, sweetheart,” the ex-assassin assured him.
“Yeah, I’m sure the two of you have places you’d rather be and things you’d rather be doing.” He still sounded so sad about it which broke Bucky’s heart.
“There’s nowhere we’d rather be than with you, Mr Stark,” Peter said earnestly.
Bucky couldn’t help but grin. He’d not even spoken to the teen about his plans yet but the kid was already acting like he had. It was just another verification that it was the right thing to do. “Kid’s right, Tony. We’ve had a very relaxing morning down here with you.”
“Oh, well in the case…” And he closed his eyes and went back to sleep.
Bucky and Peter exchanged smiles and the ex-assassin felt more and more confident that tomorrow morning was going to go off without a hitch.
Peter undid the bow around the large box and then slipped a finger under the tape holding the colourful wrapping paper closed. Bucky held his breath, hoping the teen would like his gift, unsure of what would be appropriate to get him so soon into their relationship. He’d wanted to spoil the teen but it couldn’t be too personal since they were keeping the fact that they were together under wraps. In the end he’d run his idea past Tony who had agreed that Peter would definitely like it and that the genius was more than happy to help with it as well.
Peter’s eyes went wide as he stared at the box - a starter robotics kit that with only a little modifying (which is where Tony came in) would be able to support an AI. “Bucky, wow, this is so awesome,” Peter gushed, “but it must have cost you a fortune!”
Plucking the ribbon from his hands, Bucky threaded it around the teen’s neck and tied it into a bow that settled into the hollow at the base of his throat. “It wasn’t that much - besides, when I was pardoned the army back paid me an army pension which I haven’t even touched yet since Tony insists on not accepting rent or any money towards food or anything else. I gotta spend it on something and I want to spend it on you.”
“But I can’t come anywhere close to returning the favour,” the teen protested, glancing at the gifts he’d already given Bucky.
“Are you kidding? I love what you got for me,” the ex-assassin assured him honestly. He’d been given several books Bucky had expressed an interest in - all paperbacks since he preferred a real book to an electronic one, a warm, fuzzy beanie, and a shirt with the Game of Thrones quote ‘Winter is Coming’ on it (which they’d both sniggered about since it summed up nicely the past two nights). “You gotta know I don’t care about price tags or how much you spend, right?”
“Yeah, I do, I just wish I could do more for you.”
Bucky fiddled with the bow and then used it to tug Peter forwards so he could kiss him sweetly. “You have no idea what you do for me, doll. I am so damn happy right now and it’s all because of you.” He kissed him again, deeper this time, loving the way Peter was so enthusiastic about returning it.
There was a cough from behind them and they broke apart to see Tony standing in the doorway. “Um, sorry, I can come back later if I’m interrupting,” he said awkwardly, hitching his thumb over his shoulder.
“No, please stay,” Bucky told him. “We’ve just finished exchanging gifts and now it’s time for yours.”
“Merry Christmas, Mr Stark,” Peter said, smiling shyly at him. Bucky felt a nervous excitement bubbling up beneath his skin, and he hoped to hell his plan worked.
“Merry Christmas to you too,” Tony said, finally walking into the room. “I’ve got gifts for the both of you under the tree.”
“How ‘bout we do those later?” Bucky suggested. “You’re going to be a bit busy for the next little while.”
“I am?” Tony asked, looking confused. “Doing what?”
Bucky took Peter by the shoulder and pushed him gently towards the genius. “Why, unwrapping your present of course,” he said with a smirk.
Tony’s eyes flicked down to the bow tied around Peter’s throat and then darted over to Bucky’s. “Wait, what?”
“Tony,” Bucky said gently, stepping over to him and cupping his cheek, “I know how you feel about Peter and trust me, he feels the same way. You want him, he wants you, I want you to be together, so stop denying yourself the thing that you want most. Between the three of us we can keep this a secret, no one needs to ever know about it. But we want you to be happy, sweetheart. Let us make you happy?”
“Did you know about this?” Tony asked Peter in a squeaky voice.
Peter’s eyes were wide as he looked between the two men but then he broke out into a huge grin. “No, but holy fucking shit, this is the best Christmas ever.” The grin faded and he suddenly looked hesitant. “Um, well, that is, if you want me?”
The small voice affected Tony as much as it did Bucky and he nodded vigorously. “Yes, Gods yes, of course I want you. I’m gonna go to hell for it but dammit, Peter, I’ve never wanted anyone more.” He glanced back over to Bucky. “Are you sure, though? What about the two of you?”
“Well, I don’t know about you,” he said, moving to Peter and wrapping an arm around his waist, “but my mother taught me how to share as a kid. If Peter still wants me, then I’m happy for the two of you to be together as well.”
“Yeah, there’s no way in hell I’m giving you up,” Peter told him, “but we do have one little problem though.”
“What’s that, doll?”
“Well, it’s not really fair is it? I mean, I get both of you but I know that you guys both like each other too. Why can’t you two be together as well?”
“Doesn’t really make sense does it?” Bucky agreed. “Well, I’m game if Tony is.”
“Wait, wait, wait,” Tony said, holding up his hand. “Are you saying that I went to bed last night a sad, lonely man and I’ve woken up this morning to not one, but two gorgeous partners?”
Bucky grinned. “If you’ll have us.”
“Fuck me, all my Christmases just came at once.”
“Oh, sweetheart, it’s not Christmas that I want to come all at once,” Bucky said with a cheeky wink.
Tony snorted out a laugh. “Do you get all the men with lines like that?”
“Only the two I really want.”
Peter was looking between them and shook his head. “This is all well and good but I’m sorry, I just can’t wait any longer.” He stepped into Tony’s personal space and looked up at him with his big, brown eyes. “You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to do this,” he whispered, and then he leaned forward and kissed him.
Anthony Edward Stark was no stranger to hallucinations. Over his chequered life he had not only indulged in some reality altering substances on occasion, but had also been subjected against his will to reality altering mind fuckery which had been much less fun than a few recreational ‘shrooms. This though wasn’t like any of those times, but having both Peter and Bucky declare that they desired to be with him was just too good to be true, wasn’t it? Things like this just didn't happen to Tony, so he must be imagining it all, right?
It was at that point that Peter kissed him and reality made itself known pretty spectacularly. Having those lips on him was better than the genius could ever have imagined and he instantly reached up and threaded his fingers into Peter’s thick, soft hair to keep him anchored there so Tony could continue to explore that delicious mouth like he’d been aching to do for so many months now. The kid was so eager and enthusiastic that it more than made up for his lack of experience, but Tony was sure that between he and Bucky, Peter would soon have more than enough practise to be considered an expert.
The kiss seemed to last for an eternity, neither wanting to stop, unable to get enough. Finally however they broke apart but Tony didn't let Peter get far. He cupped the back of his neck with one hand and stroked over his cheek with the other, drinking in the sight that he had thought he’d only ever get to see in his dreams. It wasn’t the dilated pupils, the spit slick and swollen lips, or the flushed cheeks that amazed him the most though - it was just how damn happy Peter looked. Tony didn't think he’d ever been the reason for such happiness before, even with Pepper, and it made him feel such warmth and affection for the kid and for Bucky who had orchestrated this entire situation, that he thought he might die.
Wanting to include the ex-assassin in the moment, Tony reached out blindly, groping for the man and he heard Bucky chuckle and then step closer. Peter realised exactly what he was after and extended his arm as well and soon the three of them were standing in a small huddle. Tony reached up and pulled Bucky in for a kiss, and he savoured the feeling of the rougher stubble against his cheek than with Peter, both so different but amazingly, both his now. Once Tony had had his fill, Bucky then turned to Peter and kissed him and for the first time, Tony wasn’t filled with jealousy and regret as he watched them. He could now enjoy the view, knowing that he was included, that he might not be participating, but the kiss was just as much for his benefit as it was for theirs.
Suddenly, Tony needed more. He needed to be able to show his gratitude to these two amazing men and to be intimate with them in a way he had only dreamed about. He dropped his hands down until they were resting on the waistbands of his partners’ sleep pants and said hoarsely, “Get rid of these and get on the couch.”
Bucky smirked and Peter just enthusiastically complied and soon they were sitting next to each other, naked from the waist down, both eager and erect. Tony dropped to his knees in front of the couch and ran his hands up a leg each. “God, just look at you two,” he murmured. “I can’t believe I’ve gotten so lucky.”
“Reckon we’re the lucky ones, sweetheart,” Bucky told him sincerely and Tony’s heart fluttered like it did everytime the super soldier called him that.
“Hey, Petey?” Tony asked.
“Y...yes, Mr Stark?”
“Okay, first of all, no matter how much hearing you call me that in this situation turns me on, you should probably just call me Tony from now on, yeah?” The teen bit his lip and then nodded. “Great, now, has anyone ever sucked you off before?”
Peter blushed prettily and shook his head. “No. Um, all we’ve done is jerk each other off a couple of times.”
Tony looked to Bucky who shrugged one shoulder. “We were taking it slow. ‘sides, it’s not like I’ve ever been with a guy before this so I don’t really know what I’m doing.”
“Oh, man,” Tony said, grinning. “I’m going to blow your fucking minds.”
“I thought the point was to blow something else?” the super soldier quipped.
“Hey, Petey?” Tony said again.
“Yes, Mr S...I mean, Tony.”
“Do me a favour and put our Buckaroo’s mouth to better use than sassing me.”
“Yes, sir,” the teen said before pulling Bucky in for a kiss.
Unsure if being called ‘sir’ or ‘Mr Stark’ was more arousing, Tony tabled that thought for later and then shifted on his knees to bring his face more in line with Peter’s groin. He reached out and wrapped his hand around the long, slender cock and gave it a firm stroke, causing the kid to moan against Bucky’s mouth. Tony smiled to himself and then bent down and sucked the head into his mouth, his tongue dancing along the slit to lap up the pre-come already dripping from it.
“Holy hell!” he heard Peter cry and then silence, a glance up showing him that Bucky was once again devouring his mouth.
Tony then got down to business, determined to make Peter’s first blow job spectacular. He started slowly, licking the entire length like a lollypop, swirling his tongue around the crown and pressing firmly against the frenulum. The grunts and moans that filtered down to his ears made Tony’s own cock twitch and he squeezed himself briefly through his own sleep pants to give himself a moment of relief. The first time he slid his lips almost to the base, Peter’s hips jerked and he keened against Bucky’s lips. “He making you feel good, doll?” the ex-assassin asked in his husky voice.
“Fuck, I...it...so fucking good,” the teen moaned.
“Look, Peter,” Bucky urged him. “See how hot that looks, with his pretty mouth wrapped around your cock.”
It was too awkward an angle to look up so Tony just made sure to give them a show, sucking and licking, making the most erotic of noises as his lips smacked against hot, silky flesh. He could already feel Peter’s balls tightening and knew he had the kid right on the edge. With one final dip of his head, he pulled off and then looked up to take in the sight of a wrecked looking Spider-Man. “You get a short interlude, sweetie,” he told him and then shuffled over a little so he was more in front of Bucky. “Your turn, big guy.”
“Fuck, sweetheart, just watching you do that to Peter has me close,” Bucky admitted.
“That’s more than alright - we have all the time in the world now so we can do this as many times as we want,” Tony said with a wink. He then took hold of Bucky’s member - slightly shorter than Peter’s but with a wider girth and a slight kink to the left, and lowered his mouth to it.
Giving head had always been one of Tony’s favourite things about being with a man. A cock was usually so much more responsive than a clit and although he always did his best to ensure all his partners reached climax, it could be very hit and miss with a woman. An erection was also so much more visual - it was obvious when you were doing things right by the way it twitched or grew harder, got redder, leaked more. It was just fun and Tony loved it. He moaned a little as he felt the heavy weight of Bucky’s cock on his tongue for the first time and he dove right in, not wanting to tease anymore, just wanting to see the man fall apart from pleasure.
The entire situation was heightened to a whole new level of awesome for Tony with the fact that Peter was watching. He could feel the teen’s eyes on him, could feel the soft caress of his hand to the back of his head, and it made it so damn erotic. He wanted to show the kid how crazy he was driving the ex-assassin because he’d know that that was what was in store for him.
Suddenly there was a metal hand caressing his locks as well and Tony reached up and pushed the hand against his head, trying to convey that he wanted to grip his hair hard, to be a little bit rough with him. Bucky got the message loud and clear and immediately Tony felt small stings as his hair was tugged at the roots and he sat a little more upright on his knees to get a better angle for Bucky to drive his cock a little more vigorously into his mouth.
“Sweetheart, you should see how this looks,” the super soldier gasped and thrust in so deep that his cock slammed into the back of Tony’s throat, causing him to gag slightly and his eyes to water. His fingers clutched at the muscular calves, urging him on, wanting to feel and taste the arousal of his partner.
Bucky lasted only a handful of thrusts and Tony’s wish was coming true as thick, salty fluid flooded his mouth. He swallowed it all down, and then licked Bucky clean before leaning back and beaming up at the man. Peter was watching with wide eyes, his own cock still hard and one of his hands wrapped loosely around it. “Can I taste you?” Peter asked hesitantly and both older men moaned at the question.
“Fuck, that’s hot,” Tony said before surging up and catching Peter in a rough kiss, thrusting his tongue inside so the teen could get a taste of Bucky for himself. He was torn between prolonging the kiss and getting his mouth back on Peter’s dick and the latter won out. He pulled back, twisted around to press a hasty kiss to Bucky’s lips, and then he was kneeling once more firmly between Peter’s legs. “Don’t hold back on me, baby,” he whispered before taking him into his mouth once more.
Tony pulled out every trick in his arsenal, still intent on making the kid’s first blow job something to remember and it paid off. The legs under him began to tremble, he could hear Peter’s breathing speed up in between little gasps and moans, and his hips seemed to buck up on their own accord. Tony took a deep breath and then slid down Peter’s cock until his nose was buried in the neatly trimmed hair of his groin. Then he did his best to swallow around him, constricting his throat muscles. Peter cried out and his cock jerked before he came, and Tony was in heaven. He could definitely get used to this.
Strong arms yanked Tony up and he squawked as Bucky manhandled him up onto the couch, depositing him in between the two of them. Peter was boneless, lounging backwards, his eyes closed, his face flushed, a smile stretching across his lips. “Did you enjoy that, baby?” Tony asked, stroking over the boy’s jaw.
Peter hummed in reply, his smile getting even wider.
“We gotta take care of you now, Tony,” Bucky said, nibbling gently on his earlobe. “Waddaya say, doll? Wanna lend me a hand so we can take care of Tony?”
Peter came alive again, sitting up eagerly. “God, yes,” he said.
Tony was pushed back until he was leaning back comfortably and his sleep pants were pushed down his hips to free his own cock. Bucky grabbed Peter’s hand and guided it to wrap around the shaft and then he covered it with his own, moving up and down along with the teen. Tony sighed happily, enjoying the delicious feeling of the almost-painful-but-not-quite friction on his cock, and being the centre of attention for the two remarkable men who flanked him. His neck was kissed from both sides, soft lips moving over his skin, sometimes coming to meet each other in front of his face before moving back to pepper his throat with open mouthed kisses.
Keeping with the theme of the morning, Tony was already on the edge, and felt no shame as he spilled his seed over the twin hands within a minute or two of them commencing. He canted his hips, wringing one last burst of pleasure from his orgasm and then slumped back against the couch. “Well, this is the best Christmas I’ve ever fucking had,” he announced.
Peter had lifted his hand up and was looking at the mess that covered it with great interest. Bucky’s eyes were twinkling as the two older men watched the teen take a tentative lick of the fluid. “And it’s only just begun,” he said happily.
May’s cheeks were red and she looked more relaxed than she had in the last year as she beamed at Peter from the screen of his phone. “Merry Christmas, Peter! How’s your day been so far? ” Her voice was slightly slurred so she’d obviously enjoyed a few well deserved drinks with her Christmas lunch.
Fighting to keep the blush off his face as images flashed through his mind: Mr St - Tony on his knees in front of him, sucking him off; then the three of them feeding each other strawberries and cream for breakfast which ended up with them smearing cream over each other and licking it off; then there was the lazy morning where they piled on a couch and snuggled whilst watching Love Actually ; and finally the moment in the kitchen as they cooked lunch together. Peter had been boiling potatoes to mash but had gotten so distracted when Tony began to kiss his neck that he completely forgot about them as he made out first with Tony, then with Bucky, and then watched the two of them snog. In the end it was Friday announcing that the pot had boiled dry and was likely going to cause a fire that brought them all back to reality. “Uh, it’s been pretty quiet and uneventful so far,” he told her, hoping that his aunt being tipsy would counteract her usual powers of knowing when he was lying.
“Make sure you have some fun, kiddo, otherwise I’ll feel terrible for leaving you over the holiday.”
“I am having fun, May!” he assured her. “It’s just not ‘partying on a cruise ship’ exciting, that’s all.”
“Alright, you got me there - nothing can quite beat this.”
Peter begged to differ but didn’t say anything other than, “I’m so glad you’re enjoying yourself. You really needed this break.”
“It’s amazing,” she agreed. Someone nearby called out to her and then a fruity cocktail was shoved into her hands, and then Peter heard the voice telling her the show was about to start. “Crap, I gotta go - they have an ice rink on board and they’re doing a Christmas Spectacular thingy. Sorry I couldn’t chat longer, sweetie.”
“It’s fine, May - go and have fun. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Love you too. Bye.” He disconnected the call, smiling a little at how good to felt to not see May stressed. She deserved it more than anyone.
“Who are you declaring your love to?” Tony asked from the doorway to the lounge room. “Should we be worried?” His eyes were twinkling since he knew full well Peter had called May.
“Maybe,” Peter said coyly, the rush from everything that had happened already that day making him bold. “I haven’t had a kiss for like, twenty minutes . I’m beginning to think that I might need to start looking elsewhere.”
“Hey, Bucky,” Tony called over his shoulder. “Apparently we’ve been neglecting Peter.”
The super soldier appeared in the doorway, a tea towel slung over his shoulder in an adorably domestic manner. “Oh really?” he drawled. “We can’t have that.”
“Think we should do something about it?” Tony asked.
“Definitely,” Bucky agreed. “Got anything in mind?”
Tony tapped his finger to his lip as he considered this. “Maybe we need to pin him down and not let him up for the next hour or two, really hammer it in.”
Bucky waggled his eyebrows. “Oh, we’re already at that point are we?”
Peter’s breath had hitched as the exact same image crossed his mind at Tony’s slip of the tongue. Tony appeared to actually be thinking rationally however. “Yeah, I don’t think we’re quite there yet,” the genius told them, “but my other suggestion still stands.”
“He looks skittish,” Bucky told him. “Do you think he’ll try to run?”
“Might do, which is why we’ll have to be quick.”
“Let’s do this then.”
Before Peter had really processed what was happening he suddenly had the two men stalking towards him, separating to spread out and come at him from both sides. If it wasn’t in a playful and sexy situation, Peter would find himself rather alarmed. Teatowel or no, Bucky looked menacing as he prowled towards him, and Tony’s tactical mind ensured that there would be no escape.
Peter had never been so turned on in his life.
Suddenly both men were leaping up onto the couch, boxing him in from both sides, and Peter decided he should probably play his part and try to make a break for it. He leapt up from the couch, surprising his partners, and had almost gotten free when a metal arm reached out and snagged the back of his sweater. He was pulled back onto the couch and onto Bucky’s lap, the ex-assassin’s chest pressing warm and firm against Peter’s back as he shuffled them around until they were facing Tony. The genius crawled up the couch, straddling Bucky’s lower legs, his hands coming to rest on Peter’s thighs. “You’re not going anywhere,” Tony told him in a sultry voice. “We’re keeping you prisoner here.”
“Oh, no - however will I cope?” Peter quipped.
“Are you sassing me?” Tony looked up to Bucky. “Does it sound like he’s sassing me to you?”
“He’s definitely sassing you,” Bucky agreed.
“Right, well we can’t have that,” the genius declared. “It is, afterall, a punishable offence.”
“What sort of punishment are we talking about?” the teen asked, his cock already growing hard.
“Oh, the very best kind,” Tony told him with an arched brow.
The very best kind of punishment turned out to be orgasm denial. Tony seemed to enjoy sucking him off very much and every time he got him on the edge, he would pull away and lavish attention to Bucky, kissing and groping him over Peter’s shoulder, or spending time stroking his own cock. He took the teen to the edge and then dragged him back almost ten times before Peter was a sobbing, begging mess. He was sure he’d shed several genuine tears when Tony finally relented and allowed him to come. Peter still hadn’t gotten used to how good a mouth on his member felt and to explode down the back of Tony’s throat was absolutely mind blowing.
“Did you learn your lesson, doll?” Bucky whispered hotly into his ear.
“Oh yeah,” Peter said breathily. “Being cheeky is rewarded with amazing sex.”
Tony chuckled and kissed him sweetly on the lips. “Only because we adore you,” he told him. “Right, what do you two want to do now?”
“Um, shouldn’t we take care of the both of you?” Peter asked, waving vaguely towards Tony’s crotch.
“We’re both old men, Petey,” he said dryly, “so I’m still good from before. Unless the Buskster’s super serum works magic on your refractory period?” he directed to Bucky.
The ex-assassin chuckled. “I wish. I mean, I could probably go again but I’m happy to wait a while.”
“See, old men,” the genius said. “So, any suggestions for how we should spend our Christmas afternoon?”
They tossed around a few ideas and Bucky happened to mention in passing that he hadn’t built a snowman in close to eighty years. It had snowed overnight so Peter and Tony decided that they would definitely have to rectify that, which was how they found themselves bundling up in thick jackets and gloves and beanies (Bucky gleefully wearing the fuzzy one that Peter had gifted him). They headed towards the small park a block north of the Tower instead of venturing further afield to Central Park which would be much busier. Even so, they’d have to be careful not to be handsy with each other while out in the public eye, but they all agreed that they’d be able to refrain for an hour or two while they frolicked outside.
The park was empty when they got there and more snow had fallen than they’d expected. Peter began gathering snow to start his snowman when he was suddenly hit in the head with a precision-thrown snowball. He wiped snow from his eyes and looked over to see Bucky grinning impishly at him. “Oh, it’s on,” he declared, quickly forming a weapon of his own.
The two lobbed several snowballs at each other, ducking and weaving to escape, but still ending up covered in snow. After a short time, they looked over to see Tony ignoring them, happily constructing what appeared to be a snow-shaped Dum-E and they instantly came to a silent truce. Forming new snowballs, they snuck up on Tony and Bucky held up his hand, using his fingers to count down from three to coordinate their attack.
Tony yelped as twin snowballs exploded on his head and then scrambled to his feet, joining in the fray. Laughing like children, they ran around the park, hiding behind trees and benches, forming temporary alliances, spitting snow from their mouths after direct hits, and putting all of their training and superhero experience to use in the name of fun. It was only when Tony was tackled from behind by Bucky, careening the two of them into Peter and going down in a tangled mess of limbs that they thought it best call an official truce. Peter had gazed up at the two men, snowflakes heavy in his lashes, his cock growing at being pinned by both men, and the urge to kiss them both almost overwhelming. Tony must have been feeling the same way as he cleared his throat and said, “Come on, playtime is over. Let’s build some snowmen so we don’t put on a show for any locals who happen by.”
Of course, the three of them were simply not normal and neither were their snowmen. What started off as one each turned into five, which turned into ten, getting smaller each time, but the ranks grew and grew. By the time the sun was getting low, the park had been cleared of almost all the snowfall and in its place stood three armies of snowmen, facing off in a three-way battle. Snow Dum-E led the charge from Tony’s side, a rather menacing snowman with one stick arm and a length of wire for the other led Bucky’s, and Peter had made his general almost as tall as himself. Peter tried to use his phone to get photos of his creations but his gloves were soaked through and his fingers were numb, and he couldn't do it. Bucky plucked the device from him and snapped several shots of their creations, and also several of Tony and Peter in front of their armies. They then huddled together, trying to appear as a platonic group of friends as they posed for a selfie, but all three of them were leaning into the touch of the others.
“Come on,” Tony said softly. “Let’s get home - there are several ways I can think of to get us warmed up and I think you’ll both enjoy them.”
Grinning, Peter dashed towards the exit of the park, eager to get back to the Tower. This was most definitely the best Christmas he’d ever had in his entire life.
Hey guys - so you may have noticed that this work is now part of a series :D I have at least three one-shots in mind to follow up with so even though this only has a few chapters to go, there will be more of our boys to come!
Bucky towelled off and then wrapped it around his waist before wiping condensation away from the mirror. “Friday?” he asked, his voice echoing around the bathroom.
“The fireworks are due to go off at midnight, aren’t they?”
“Yes, as per tradition on New Year’s Eve.”
“I haven’t actually seen in the new year since before I ‘died’,” he told her, filling the sink with hot water, “so I’m not really too sure what it entails.”
“A large crowd usually gathers in Times Square where a time ball drops to countdown the final minute to the new year, which triggers the fireworks. The event is televised live so you’ll be able to watch it on the television before taking in the fireworks from the landing deck.”
He nodded as he began to shave, but his nerves were tightly strung. The past week had been absolutely amazing as he, Tony, and Peter had explored their blossoming relationship. They’d not progressed further than blowjobs, keeping the pace slow for the inexperienced duo but no one was complaining. It was new to all of them, not just the physical aspects but also navigating the tricker waters of a threeway relationship.
So far things had gone smoothly, with no jealousy or anyone feeling left out but Bucky knew that would likely change once their little holiday was over. Peter would go back to school and the older men were very mindful of the fact that with them both living at the Tower, the teen may get upset that they got to spend time together without him. Bucky had raised his concerns with Tony only yesterday when Peter was in the shower and he’d assured him that they’d have a proper conversation about it before that happened, mentioning something called ‘polyamorous negotiations’. Bucky had no idea what that meant but trusted that Tony knew more about it than he did and if he was confident they could make it work, then he would try not to worry - but he couldn’t help but worry a bit. The last thing he wanted was for any of them to feel neglected, but the way they all seemed to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle gave him hope.
Patting his face dry, the super soldier moved through to his room and threw the towel on the bed before he stepped into the large wardrobe to get dressed. He pulled on his favourite pair of jeans, very aware of how appreciative his lovers were of his arse in them, and then began to browse his selection of sweaters and jackets. “What’s the forecast for tonight, Fri?” he asked, wondering how warm he would have to dress for the short period of time spent outside.
“No snow is for...for...no snow is forecast but...apologies, Bucky, but something seems to be wr...wr...wr…”
“Friday?” Bucky asked, freezing as the AI stammered to a stop, his head cocked to one side. “What is it?” There was no response and then the power went out.
Moving immediately, Bucky hurried through to the hallway, his eyes quickly adjusting to the dark but the Tower was already so familiar to him that he could navigate it blindfolded.
“Bucky?” Peter called from his room.
“Peter, something’s wrong. Friday is offline.” They found each other in the dark, and the ex-assassin found the teen’s hand and gave it a squeeze. “Is Tony with you?”
“No, he’s upstairs in the penthouse, said he had a surprise for us.”
“Shit. We need to get up there.”
“We can make it into the stairwell,” Peter told him, “but when the Tower loses power the security protocols are that only certain doors can be opened from in there, like the basement and ground floor. We won’t be able to access the Penthouse if we go that way.”
“I’m sure I could smash the door in,” Bucky told him.
“There’s a faster way,” Peter told him, tugging on his wrist and pulling him through to the kitchen. “Smash the window,” he instructed, snapping his web slingers onto his wrists.
Instantly understanding what the kid meant to do, Bucky went to the glass and punched it with his metal arm. Tiny hairline fractures appeared in the glass but it was reinforced and would take multiple hits. He continued to punch the glass and finally it broke, exploding out into the night air and he hoped that it wouldn’t fall onto the sidewalk below and hurt someone.
Peter appeared at his side, glancing out the window, the wind whipping at his hair. “I’m going to jump out and get a web attached to the outside of the building and then I’ll come back for you,” he said.
Bucky nodded but couldn’t help the split second of sheer terror as Peter flung himself out of the window. His heart only retreated from it’s new home in his throat when the teen swung back in through the window, the webbing wrapped securely around one wrist. He held out his other arm in invitation and Bucky plastered himself to him. “Try not to drop me,” he quipped. “I’ve fallen once before - I didn't enjoy it enough the first time ‘round to give it another go.”
“I’ll never drop you,” Peter assured him, his arm tightening around him and then they were swinging through the air.
Bucky made a point of not looking down. Despite his flippant remark, he actually wasn’t a huge fan of heights, the fall always close to the surface of his mind in such situations. Peter had pushed them away from the building and then they arched back in, his feet connecting with the side of the Tower, his legs bending before he was propelling them back out into the air, another web flying from his shooters, connecting even further up the building. It took several more webs for them to reach the landing deck and Bucky quickly pulled them away from the edge. He shivered, the air cold on his bare chest but he dismissed his discomfort, focussing on the mission. They moved silently but quickly towards the large doors of the penthouse but when they got there, they found that they were already open. Inside, Bucky could just see movement of several figures but it was too dark to make out what they were dealing with. Whoever it was, they’d likely been dropped off by helicopter or parachuted in to access the Tower from the top.
Peter’s eyes had narrowed as he assessed the danger and Bucky was impressed at how quickly he snapped into professional mode. The work that they had been doing together was paying off, and Peter looked downright dangerous.
They crept inside, the intruders making the mistake of not watching the very point that they’d gained access. Torchlight could be seen bobbing from the hallway and then they heard Tony, cursing as he was shoved into the room, landing on his knees. Bucky exchanged a look with Peter and the teen nodded. They both sprung into action, moving before anyone knew what was happening.
Webbing shot out and bound several of the intruders, and Bucky slid along the ground, smashing his metal arm into one of them, hearing the satisfying crack as the bone snapped before he leapt to his feet and wrapped his arm around the throat of the person standing in front of Tony. “Make one move and I will snap your neck like a twig,” he growled.
“Bucky?” the man asked, startled.
The super soldier recognised the voice - he’d recognise it anywhere - but Tony was still on his knees, threatened in his own home and Bucky’s rage couldn’t be broken simply because he now knew that the man was his childhood best friend. “I swear to God, Steve, you hurt one hair on his head and I will kill you.”
“What?” Captain America gasped. “Bucky, it’s me - Steve.”
“Yes, we’ve established that,” he said menacingly, “but what we haven’t is what the fuck you’re doing here and why you felt the need to disable Friday and storm the Tower by force rather than using the fucking doorbell.”
“I’m looking for you!” Steve cried. “I’ve come to save you!”
“Save me?” he repeated, gobsmacked. “Save me from what?”
“You fucking bastard!” a pained voice yelled and Bucky recognised it as Barton’s. “You broke my fucking leg!”
“Quit your whinging,” Peter told him, sending webbing to cover his mouth. Then the teen was moving, heading for Tony. “Are you okay?” he asked, trying to pull him up.
“Behind you!” Tony cried before Bucky got the chance to call out his own warning as a figure flew through the darkness and thighs wrapped around the kid’s neck. Peter reached up and grabbed onto the Black Widow’s legs and then pulled , not holding back and she screamed at the pressure exerted upon her limbs, taking her completely by surprise. The teen was merciful, not going so far as to break bone but as soon as he’d pried her legs apart enough to loosen her hold, he flung her aside like a rag doll and then webbed her securely to the wall. “The next one who lays a finger on any of us is going to end up with a crushed skull,” he spat before pulling Tony up.
Bucky wished to Christ that he was alone right now with his lovers because protective Peter was fucking hot and damn did he want to show the teen exactly what it did to him. Unfortunately they had a little Rogue infestation to take care of.
There was a flash of red light and one of the figures that Peter had bound with webbing was suddenly free. More red light coiled around Maximoff’s hands as she prepared to use her magic. “Let him go,” she barked, “or I’ll hurt your precious spider.”
“Wanda, no,” Steve told her, using his most commanding Captain America voice, thankfully seeing how quickly that would escalate matters. “Stand down.”
She looked torn but finally acquiesced with a nod, her magic fading.
“I’ll let you go so you can explain yourself,” Bucky told Steve sternly, “but the minute you try anything funny, I’ll let the kid loose and I can promise you, he’s far stronger than you and much angrier. He’ll take you out before your witch can even blink.”
Steve nodded and rubbed at his throat as Bucky stepped away. In the faint light of the fallen torch, the ex-assassin could see that the super soldier’s face was a mask of confusion and hurt. “Bucky, what the hell is going on?” he asked.
“I’m sorry, what now?” Tony asked, glaring at him. “You’re the one who has broken into our home and you’re demanding to know what’s going on?”
“What do you mean, ‘our’ home?” Steve asked. “You’re living here?” he asked Bucky.
“Zoya told me that the Widow went to Wakanda and was filled in on where I went - this shouldn’t be a surprise to you.”
“Zoya? Who’s Zoya?”
“A good friend of mine.”
Steve’s confusion grew. “But, I don’t understand -”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” Tony snapped. “He has other friends besides you, Rogers. You don’t hold the monopoly.”
“But I would know if he did!” he protested.
“Really, Steve?” Bucky asked, bewildered. “I’ve not seen you in almost a year, not since I went under. You thought that I was just gonna hang around and wait for you before I did anything with my life?”
“I thought you wouldn't be brought out of cryo until I was back!”
“Tony came up with a way to get my mind back and sent the tech to T’Challa. The king wasn’t just going to sit on that until you decided to return.”
“So it was Tony’s tech that’s been in your head? Is that why you’re acting like his personal guard dog?”
“As interesting as this little soap opera is,” one of the bound rogues said and Bucky recognised the voice as belonging to Lang, “perhaps we could table it until we get Barton some medical assistance?” He tilted his head in the man’s direction. “That has to be hurting like a bitch.”
Bucky didn't particularly care if the archer was in pain or not, but Tony had a much bigger heart than him and he nodded to Peter to begin to cut through the webbing restraining them. “Alright, we’ll release all of you and you guys can take Barton to the hospital while Rogers stays here and has things explained to him,” the genius said graciously.
“I’m not going to let him stay here alone,” Wilson spoke up for the first time and in the dimness Bucky could just make out his suspicious glare.
“If you’re worried that your big, strong super soldier daddy can’t defend himself, then by all means, stay - I don’t care,” Tony told him, “but the rest of you will go.” His eyes lingered on Maximoff and Bucky knew that he was still extremely wary of the girl after she’d invaded his mind before she'd joined the team.
Peter had removed the webbing from Barton’s mouth and the archer was glaring at Tony. “You’d better be paying for my medical bills, Stark,” he snarled.
Bucky snorted. “He ain’t doing that,” he stated. “ You broke into our home and were injured when we defended ourselves. You can cover your own damn expenses.”
“You’re the one who broke my fucking leg! That’s pretty excessive, don’t you think!”
“On second thoughts,” Tony said, his voice hard, “no one is taking Barton to the hospital. I’m gonna call the cops and report a break in and they’ll come and arrest you all and eventually I’m sure that they’ll get you all fixed up.”
“Tony, that’s enough,” the Widow said firmly. “There’s no need to make this nastier than it already is.”
“Are you fucking kidding?” Peter demanded as he was cutting through her restraints.
“Hush, child ,” she told him. “Leave this to the adults.”
Peter’s eyes narrowed and Tony grabbed hold of his wrist, tugging him away as the webbing came loose. “Ignore her,” he told him quietly.
“He’s right, dol - Peter,” Bucky told him, catching himself before he could use his pet name for the kid. “They’ll be outta our hair soon enough.”
Lang was bending over Barton, attempting to heave him to his feet. “A little help,” he said to Romanov and Maximoff. The women scowled but moved to help him. “I guess we’ll be going,” he said.
“Have fun navigating the stairs,” Tony said, and Bucky could hear the spiteful glee in his voice.
“Ah, any way you could get the power back on?” Lang asked.
“Considering that the backup generator didn't come on, whatever you bastards did to disable the power and Friday was pretty extreme. It’ll take me awhile to figure out what you clowns did and how to fix it so no, I can’t get the power back on.”
“Right, okay, well you might want to find a happy place in your mind, Clint,” Lang told him as they helped the man limp towards the stairwell. “This isn’t going to be pleasant.”
The trio made it through the stairwell door which shut behind them with a loud clang in the silent Tower. Bucky moved, placing himself firmly in front of Tony and Peter to keep them safe, crossing his arms over his bare chest. “Right, start talking,” he said bluntly to his old friend, “and it’d better be good, otherwise there’s gonna be trouble.”
“Can we at least sit down?” Steve asked after Bucky’s demand to start talking. “So we can talk like civilised people?”
Tony heard the low growl come from Peter’s throat and moved slightly, bumping their shoulders together in a subtle attempt to calm him down. Bucky was still standing in front of them (and hadn’t that been fucking precious - Tony couldn’t remember the last time someone had tried to protect him ) and huffed out a laugh. “Are you serious right now, Steve? Civilised people don’t break and enter!”
“I told you, I was coming to save you!”
“I didn't need saving!” Bucky barked.
“Well I didn't know that!” the blonde protested.
“Then you should have asked! ” the ex-assassin roared. He ran a hand through his hair in agitation and Tony’s fingers itched to smooth it back soothingly, to hold him close to calm him down. Plus there was the fact that Bucky had clearly been getting dressed when the power went out and didn't bother to put on a shirt. The sight of all that skin was now familiar to Tony but still new enough that he had a little trouble keeping his eyes from roaming over the strong planes of his back. “Honestly, I don’t know what the fuck you were thinking . Did you not even bother to contact T’Challa before you came running?”
Steve looked bashful and was unable to meet his eyes. “I did, but he didn’t tell me anything else than after your mind was fixed, you’d agreed to sign the Accords and were back in the States.” He scowled. “The fact that you signed that damn agreement tells me that your mind isn’t fixed at all!”
Tony rolled his eyes but bit his cheek to refrain from making a snarky comment. He knew that he and Rogers would never see eye to eye over the Accords but that was due to a difference of opinions, he’d not actually considered that Rogers thought him mentally deficient for doing so.
Bucky’s glare that he directed at his friend was so fierce that if it had been directed at Tony he probably would have run as fast as he could in the opposite direction and never stopped. “You’re really gonna stand there and insinuate that I’m outta my mind?” he said flatly. “I’ve never been in such control of my mind, Steve, and for you to say otherwise, well, maybe you don’t know me as well as you think you do.”
“Buck, please - think about this from my point of view!” Rogers begged him. “When I left you, I thought you were safe in Wakanda and I went off to fight the battles against Hydra that you couldn’t.” Tony felt his hackles rise at that statement and it was clear that Bucky was less than impressed as well. “When Nat went to keep T’Challa informed of our whereabouts she was told that you’d be woken up and were gone. When we finally finished eradicating Hydra and I got a chance to demand answers from T’Challa, he told me that you’re, you’re here .” He gestured around like he still couldn’t quite believe it. “You’ve signed the Accords that we fought so hard against and you’re residing with the man who tried to kill you!”
“Okay, first of all,” Bucky spat, furious, “it was never me fighting against the Accords, Steve - that was all you. You came for me, you said you’d help me take out the other five, you are the one who broke the law. I never asked you to do any of that and I never expected you to do any of it.”
“You never have to ask, Buck! I did it because it’s always been you and me, together till the end of the line!”
“Secondly,” the ex-assassin continued, ignoring the interruption, “Tony had a damn good reason to try and kill me because he was not only crippled with grief but he’d also found out that his teammate, his friend , had been lying to him for years. Dammit, Steve, you’re so quick to forgive me for the things I did as the Winter Soldier, saying that it wasn’t me, that I wasn’t responsible, well guess what? Neither was Tony. He was in no state to make rational decisions at the time.”
“You don't know that!” the blonde protested.
“Yeah, Steve, I do! Dammit, Tony not only developed the technology to help free my mind but he offered me a place here with the Avengers, to put my skills to use for good. He wouldn’t have done that if he actually blamed me, if he couldn't forgive me. That’s how I know.”
Rogers scrubbed at his face, looking lost, unable to process that this wasn’t going as he’d predicted. Tony couldn’t help but feel the smallest amount of smug satisfaction at that, at seeing the man so off-footed. He was so tempted to speak up, to make a comment to confirm Bucky’s words but he knew that this confrontation had to be between the two super soldiers. Any participation from himself would only serve to confirm Roger’s opinion of his nefarious deeds.
“That’s not the most concerning things I’ve learned,” Steve said. His eyes flickered between Peter and Bucky’s bare chest, and when he spoke, it was as if he was speaking of something shameful and secret. “There was news reports that you were seeing the kid, Buck. I mean, that’s gotta be slander, right? They’re trying to destroy your reputation, they must be!” He sounded so desperate, like he couldn’t fathom any other possibility.
There was yet another low growl from Peter and Tony’s cock twitched in his pants - the sound was all too similar to the one the teen made when he came. Before Tony could jump to Peter’s defence, Bucky did it for him. “Peter has nothing to do with this. The news reports were true - I did kiss him, but it was to deter a bully. Lord knows you should understand that sentiment since you so often declare how much you abhor bullies.”
Rogers smiled in relief. “I knew it wasn’t true, that you’d never lower yourself to date a guy.”
Tony’s mouth dropped open in shock. The man hadn't been upset at the reports of Bucky dating a kid , but a man. He’d always known that Rogers was from another time but he had thought he’d adapted, that he was open minded. Apparently Captain America was a bigot. “There ain’t nothing wrong with dating a guy, Steve,” Bucky said dangerously.
“Come on, Buck - yeah, you heard about stuff happening in the army, with so many fellas away from their gals, but that’s in a time of war. You did what you did to keep sane and survive till you got home. That’s all over now so we can find ourselves some nice girls who we can settle down with.”
Bucky turned to look behind him but instead of meeting Tony’s eyes, he met Peter’s. The genius watched as Peter gave him a small nod and a smile, giving permission. “I have found someone to settle down with,” Bucky told the super soldier.
“Bucky, that’s great!” Rogers enthused. “What’s her name?”
The ex-assassin moved backwards and slung an arm around Tony’s waist and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “His name is Tony - Anthony Edward Stark to be precise.”
Wilson let out a low whistle and Rogers suddenly looked furious. “This isn’t the time for your jokes, Bucky.”
“Oh, it’s no joke, Steve - just the simple truth.” Well, three of them in the room knew that it was part of the truth but obviously they had to keep their relationship with Peter a secret.
“Since when are you a fa -” Wilson coughed sharply and the blonde corrected himself to, “- homosexual?”
“Since always,” Bucky told him., “but I obviously could never say anything about it back in the day. I like cock, Steve, specifically Tony’s cock, and we’re blissfully happy together.”
“I just don’t understand,” the blonde griped.
“There’s nothing to understand, Steve. I have a new life now, one with Tony and the Avengers. I had thought that maybe there was still a place in it for you but this conversation has done nothing but confirm for me that I don’t much care for this Steve Rogers. We’ve both changed; neither of us are those young blokes who went off to war to fight for honour and country. The Steve I knew - who I still wanted to be my friend, even now - would never have forced entry into someone’s home to kidnap them. He wouldn’t have betrayed a man who gave so much of his time, money, and technology towards a cause greater than them all. He wouldn’t have that disgusted glint in his eye at finding out that the man he called his best friend for years was gay. That Steve is dead, lost to the pages of history. Now, at this very moment, I can honestly say that a life without you in it is in no way at all a diminished life.”
“Bucky,” Steve pleaded, his voice breaking.
“You should go now,” Bucky told him. “We’re done talking.”
“But you can’t -”
“Steve, I can do whatever the fuck I want, now get the hell outta here before I give Peter the signal to rip you to shreds.”
With one last pleading look to Bucky that was ignored, Steve turned and, shoulders hunched, gestured for Wilson to follow as he slowly left the room. The stairwell door clanged shut once more and the room fell into silence. Tony turned and took in the sight of Bucky, his gorgeous blue eyes still locked on the door that he’d just seen his ex-best friend exit through, his chest heaving with emotion, causing his muscles to ripple beneath his skin. The genius was completely overwhelmed himself at the conversation he’d just witnessed. Bucky had chosen him . Over Steve Fucking Captain America Rogers . His heart was so full he thought it might burst. He reached out and clasped one of Bucky’s hands and then found one of Peter’s. “We need to go, right now,” he declared.
“Where is Friday’s control room?” Bucky asked, still distracted and assuming the priority was to get the AI up and running again.
“Oh, we’re not going there just yet,” Tony told him, pulling his partners so they began to move.
“Where are we going then?” Bucky asked as Peter just followed along trustingly.
“After that little speech, I need you in me right now . We’re going to the bedroom, Bucky, because I need you to fuck me.”
Peter gaped at Tony and his cock twitched in his pants at the sheer thought of the two men together. Then, he almost came in his pants when the genius turned to the teen and added, “You too, baby. Don’t think for a minute that your little display of protectiveness back there didn’t affect me in the same way. I want both of you and I want you now .”
“Are you sure it’s such a good idea what with security down?” Bucky asked, managing to be the voice of reason amongst them. “What if they decide to come back?”
Tony and Peter let out twin whines, turning their big brown eyes on the super soldier who would definitely be able to see them in the dark. “Don’t you want me?” the genius asked with a pout.
“Please, sweetheart, we’re all well aware of just how much I want you, but someone here has to have a clear head. I really don’t relish the idea of that punk deciding he wants to come back and argue some more and walking in on a private moment between the three of us.”
Peter sighed and found Tony’s hand in the dark, pulling it up to his lips to nuzzle at his knuckles. “He’s right,” he admitted grudgingly.
Tony huffed. “I know he is but dammit, it’s not fair !”
Bucky chuckled and pulled them both to him and Peter leaned his head against that broad chest, feeling the warm puffs of breath on his cheek from where Tony’s head was pillowed next to his. “You do know that I’ll be driven slightly mad as I watch you work, thinking about having you wrapped so tightly around my cock, having you so tantalisingly close but knowing that I have to wait.”
The genius groaned. “You have such a filthy mouth, you know that right?”
Peter grinned in the dark. “He sure does. Did you know that the first time he jerked me off, he spent the entire time describing what it would be like for you to fuck me?”
“Wait, what? You guys got off to the thought of me ?”
“Of course we did, sweetheart,” Bucky told him. “We both wanted you long before we wanted each other. Hell, that’s how we became friends - by pining over you.”
“But you waited a whole two weeks before approaching me!”
“To be fair, with Peter under house arrest thanks to May, it was only about four days if you only count the days we were all together. I had to be sure that you did want us and that it wouldn’t go horribly wrong.”
“How about instead of dwelling on the past,” Peter suggested, “we just concentrate on getting the power back on so we can hurry up to the fucking part.”
“Such an innocent mouth shouldn’t say such naughty things,” Tony chided.
“Hey, this innocent mouth was on your dick earlier so it’s allowed to swear.”
“I’m so going to hell,” Tony said mournfully. “You saying stuff like that just gets me hard.”
Peter leaned forward and found Tony’s lips in the dark. He kissed him sweetly before saying, “Let’s get a move on then so we can get on with it.”
They made their way down the stairs to the floor of the lab and Peter and Tony watched in awe as Bucky did indeed kick the door in. Peter didn’t have much experience but he was pretty sure that getting turned on by one of his partners demonstrating the sheer power and skills that had made him the world’s most successful assassin was on the darker side of kinky. He didn’t have much time to dwell on it as Tony hurried them over to the entrance to the lab itself and they had Bucky make use once more of his metal arm by smashing in the glass door.
“My insurance premiums are just gonna keep on going up,” Tony said mournfully as shattered glass fell tinkling to the floor.
“Would it not have made sense to buy out an insurance company by now?” the super soldier asked.
“And have myself as a client?” Tony scoffed. “Please, that’s no way to make money.”
The genius found his way over to one of the desks by touch and rummaged in a drawer before pulling out a couple of torches. He handed one over to Peter and kept one for himself, an unspoken agreement between them all that Bucky was the most experienced at defending them in hand to hand combat if it was required. It may have been unlikely but none of them had gotten this far without being a little bit prudent. Then he collected a toolkit and a small, metal case from another cabinet and led them over to the bank of dead server towers in the corner.
“Okay, baby girl, let’s see what the mean people did to you,” he said softly. Peter watched, enthralled, as Tony removed a miniature arc reactor from the case and set about connecting it up to the server. He caught the teen watching and grinned. “The benefit from having a heap of these little babies just laying around thanks to the suits.”
Peter’s eyes widened. “Wait, these are the same ones that power the Iron Man suits?”
Peter’s eyes flicked down by their own accord to Tony’s chest. “So, were they the same sort that you had, you know, inside you?”
The genius nodded, and offered him a shaky smile. “Yeah, kid, the one and only.”
“Wow. I can’t believe how awesome you are, Tony. Like, no one else would have been able to pull that off.”
Although he could tell his lover wasn’t all that comfortable speaking about his old reliance on the arc reactor, he could also tell that Tony couldn’t help but be pleased at the praise. In the light of the torch, Peter could see his cheeks flush and his lips turned up slightly in a pleased smile. “Right,” Tony then said as one server tower flickered to life, “now that we have a little power, let’s see what’s ailing Fri.”
Tony got lost in his work, and Peter tried to help but other than passing over a tool every now and then, he was mostly providing moral support. Bucky has disappeared into the darkness and it was only due to Peter’s spidey senses that he could even determine where the man was. Bucky was prowling the perimeter of the lab, making sure that they weren’t disturbed and keeping them safe.
It was almost an hour later that Tony finally made a sound of triumph and a loud hum filled the room as the power came back on and the servers rebooted. Peter hadn’t realised how quiet the Tower had been until all the normal noises came back into play. “Hey, baby girl,” the man greeted his AI.
“Hi, boss,” Friday said, sounding confused. “What happened? Have I been offline?”
“Yeah, you have, Fri. We had unexpected guests drop by.”
Bucky came over and joined them, absently winding his arms around Peter’s waist from behind and resting his chin on the teen’s shoulder as Tony ran a few diagnostics. “Hey, Friday, is there any way we can see the last security footage from the landing pad?” he asked her.
“Certainly, Bucky. Retrieving last footage recorded...captured at 23:11 last year.”
“Oh, man - we missed the new year,” Peter said sadly.
“Happy New Year, doll,” Bucky said softly against his ear before pressing a kiss to his cheek.
“Don’t worry, Petey - we’ll have our own private celebration in a little bit,” Tony assured him.
A hologram appeared in front of them, showing them the footage from the camera up on the landing pad. First of all came the sounds of a chopper hovering above and then to the left of screen several ropes dropped down and first Rogers, then Romanov, and then Maximoff slid down and landed on the pad. “ Wanda - security, ” Rogers commanded and the witch nodded, red light sparking from her fingertips. It grew and grew before she channelled it down, sending it coursing through the floor and into the Tower itself. A moment later, the footage cut out.
“Huh, so that’s why it was so monumentally fucked,” Tony muttered. “Fucking magic messing with fucking science.”
“I’m so sorry, boss,” Friday apologised. “I wasn’t expecting such an attack.”
“It’s okay, baby girl - I don’t think any of us could have seen this coming. Are your scans complete? Is anyone else in the building?”
“No, boss. You, Bucky, and Peter are the only life signs detected.”
“Okay, well we’re going to call it a night. Keep me posted if anything hinky happens - even if you just get twitchy and think something might be wrong. I won’t get mad, Fri - you just let me know.”
“Will do, boss.”
“I’ll start working on some kind of magical defence for you tomorrow once you’ve finished running analysis of the way it corrupted your systems.” He hit a few more keystrokes and then turned away from his workbench. “Right, I believe we have some celebrating to do. Let’s head to the bedroom.”
Peter was never going to get used to seeing his partners undress in front of him. He found himself getting distracted as they both began to shed clothing, revealing more and more of their perfect bodies for Peter’s viewing pleasure. At first, Tony had been extremely self conscious of the heavy scarring on his chest, and Bucky had almost had an anxiety attack as he’d seen the newest scar, still red and raised and the perfect match for the rim of a vibranium shield. In a way, reassuring him that Tony had never been angry at Bucky, only at Rogers had helped Tony out of his funk. He still wasn’t the sort to parade around shirtless, but he seemed more concerned about not upsetting Bucky than he did of his own minimal amounts of self worth.
Peter found Tony sexy as fuck, scars or no scars. He was honest enough to admit that he rarely even looked at them, too busy admiring the strong shoulders, the perfectly toned arms, and his stupidly erotic hips that made the man strut seductively everywhere he went. Of course, he fared no better when Bucky was down to his birthday suit. The super soldier was leaner than Captain America, not as heavily muscled but just as powerful and his thighs were to die for. Peter had spent an awful lot of time daydreaming about the lower half of their former Hydra lover and the bit where his muscular thighs met his glorious arse was definitely the teen’s favourite bit.
“You with us, baby or is it nap time?” Tony’s voice cut through his daydreams.
Blushing a little, Peter hurried to pull off his shirt. “Sorry, got a bit distracted.”
“Distracted, huh?” Bucky asked, cocking an eyebrow. “And we weren’t even doing this.” He sat down on the edge of the bed and pulled Tony up onto his lap, his strong hands cupping the genius’ arse and groping it as he kissed Tony passionately. Peter froze with his hand on the button of his jeans, mesmerised as the hands kneaded the firm flesh, pulling it this way and that which would reveal flashes of a puckered pink entrance. Whilst the teen had had his own hands on those perfect globes on more than one occasion, he’d not as yet explored in any more...depth. It began to dawn on him that he was about to lose his virginity - well one of them anyway since men could really lose it twice if you really thought about it - topping and bottoming. Though maybe what they’d done so far had counted as well? They’d all shared bodily fluids, hadn’t they? But did that mean he wasn’t a virgin any longer? Had he lost it and not even noticed? Shouldn’t there have been fireworks and streamers and a crowd going wild? Okay, so maybe not exactly that , but had his first handjob with Bucky been ‘it’? It had been spectacular, but if that was the defining moment of when he’d crossed that invisible line that left his virginity behind, Peter kind of wished that he had recognised it as the moment so he could treasure it always.
“Hey, doll? Are you alright?”
Peter was brought back to reality by a soft touch to his cheek and big blue eyes watching him worriedly. “Sorry, kinda zoned out there,” he said bashfully.
Tony was suddenly next to him as well. “Petey, if this is too much right now, we can take a rain cheque, okay. We can all just climb into bed and snuggle and leave this for another day.”
“ No! No, please, I want this, I do - I just got lost in my thoughts.”
“Anything we can help with?”
Suddenly he realised that it didn’t matter whether or not a dictionary would define him as a virgin - the only thing that mattered was that he enjoyed each and every experience with his lovers. He smiled and shook his head. “No, I’m good, honestly. Pretty excited, actually.”
“Yeah?” Tony asked with a sly smile. “Can’t wait to push yourself inside of me?”
“Can’t wait to wrap your mouth around Tony’s cock and have it pushed down your throat by my hips snapping forward to drive my cock deep inside him?” Bucky asked.
“You two are completely evil, did you know that?” he said, undoing his button and shoving his jeans down his legs.
Bucky smirked. “Sorry, doll - I was an assassin for Hydra for over seventy years. It’s a bit hard to lose the ‘evil’ tag.”
“Please,” Tony said, “I’ve seen kittens more nefarious than you.”
“You take that back!” Bucky demanded with a smile.
“Or what, Soldier? You’ll take me over your knee?” Tony asked, eyes twinkling.
“Oh, you’ll be on your knees but it won’t be my hand pounding you.”
“Less promises, more action.”
God, Peter adored his lovers, the way they could always make him laugh, could always make him feel comfortable and safe in any situation. He shucked the last of his clothing and moved over to the bed, climbing up onto it and getting himself comfortable on one side. “I believe you two are going to put on a show for me?”
“Why yes we are,” Tony agreed, “however please be aware that this is an interactive show and we will be calling upon volunteers from the audience.”
The teen grinned. “I’m sure you’ll find someone who will enthusiastically agree to participate.”
“Excellent,” the genius said with a grin. “Now, can I introduce my lovely assistant, Mr Bucky Barnes.”
Bucky rolled his eyes and shook his head, but a smile was playing on the edges of his mouth. “There ain’t much lovely about me,” he drawled.
“Oh, I’m sorry - this is a self deprecating free zone,” Tony told him. “Please leave any insecurities at the door and prepare to be shown just how fucking hot the both of us think you are.”
Peter got up on his knees and joined Tony on the edge of the bed and together they pulled Bucky towards them, smothering him in sweet caresses, kisses, and licks until the man was breathing heavily, his cock hard and heavy between his legs. “Fuck, want you so bad,” he murmured.
“How ‘bout I give you what you want then?” Tony replied softly, reaching for the tube of lube he’d gotten out earlier. “Petey, you wanna help open me up?” he asked, holding out the tube.
Feeling his eyes go as wide as saucers, Peter took the tube from Tony with a nod. “S...sure.”
“It’s okay, baby - you won’t hurt me,” the genius assured him. “I’ll walk you through it.”
True to his word, Tony did just that. He got up onto his hands and knees, his pert arse positioned directly in front of Peter and between covering Bucky’s cock with kittenish licks that did nothing to relieve the ex-assassin’s desire, just keeping him more on edge, he instructed the teen on how to prepare him. With trembling hands, Peter pressed one, then two, then three lubed fingers inside of his mentor, feeling how the tight walls slowly loosened just enough that it was just possible to insert the next digit.
When Tony finally felt that he was ready, he pulled Peter into a sweet kiss, using his discarded shirt to wipe off the teen’s fingers, and then he took the lube from him and coated his palm, slicking first Bucky’s cock, and then Peter’s. “So you’re good to go once I’m done with Buckaroo here,” he told him.
Peter nodded and then moved back across to the other side of the bed, settling himself down comfortably against the pillow so he could watch the action unfold, his hand lazily gripping his cock and giving it the odd stroke now and then.
Tony flipped onto his back and then held out his arms for Bucky, murmuring, “Come ‘ere, big guy.” The ex-assassin positioned himself between Tony’s legs and brought his mouth down to meet Tony’s, the kiss deepening the longer it went on, and Peter could see flashes of tongue as their slick lips moved against each other. The genius then lifted one leg and wrapped it around Bucky’s thighs, hooking it under his arse and urging him forward. The ex-assassin pulled away from the kiss so he could look down, grabbed hold of his cock to line himself up, and then he was pushing forward slowly.
Time seemed to come to a standstill in the room as no one breathed, nor made a sound. Peter watched in fascination as Bucky’s length ever so slowly disappeared inside of Tony, and the teen reached up to trace a finger over Tony’s face. The man’s eyes were wide, a bead of sweat forming on his temple, but his mouth was parted slightly into a soft O. He ran his finger along the plump lower lip and Tony caught it in his mouth and sucked it into the wet heat inside.
Bucky reached up with one hand and stroked the other side of his face. “You okay, sweetheart? ‘m not hurting you?”
Tony shook his head. “No, not at all, just haven’t done this for awhile so the stretch takes a bit of getting used to.”
They paused there for a minute or two while Tony adjusted, and Peter leant over to kiss Bucky, feeling the tension in his partner as he fought to remain still, to give Tony the time he needed. Finally the genius told them that he was ready, and Peter leaned back out of the way, giving them the space they needed. Tony was having none of that and tugged him by the hand, pulling him down to lie next to him so they were pressed close against one another. As Bucky began to thrust slowly in and out of Tony, Peter watched in awe, his own cock throbbing in tandem with each thrust.
Peter noticed that Tony’s length was dribbling, leaving a small puddle on his stomach and he reached out and wrapped his hand around it. Tony moaned and canted his hips, seeking out more pressure before gasping as Bucky snapped his hips just a little harder. The ex-assassin’s words from earlier echoed back at Peter and suddenly he wanted nothing more but to have Tony’s cock in his mouth. He maneuvered himself so he was crouching at Tony’s side and Bucky shifted on his knees, pulling Tony’s pelvis up a little so he could continue fucking him while kneeling upright. He winked at Peter as the teen bent forward and sucked the head into his mouth.
“Oh, baby, fuck,” Tony panted, his hand finding purchase in Peter’s hair.
The teen had only done this a handful of times over the past week but he had quickly discovered that he loved having a dick in his mouth. He even rather enjoyed the taste of semen and didn't have a problem with the texture (of the three of them, it was only Bucky who gagged if it got in his mouth). His enjoyment helped to build his confidence and he was learning new tricks almost every day. Tony loved giving head more than anything and he was Peter’s mentor in more than just engineering and superheroing. The teen could have no better teacher and since he was a fast learner, his talented tongue, plus Bucky’s ministrations, soon had the genius whimpering.
“Just a sec, doll,” Bucky said, slowing the movement of his hips.
Peter pulled away and watched as the super soldier pulled out of Tony and easily manhandled the genius until he was sitting on his lap, back flush against Bucky’s chest. The teen grinned, knowing that this angle would be much better for Tony - as one lover thrust into him from behind, he’d be pushed down the other’s throat. Tony seemed to realise this at the same time as he moaned loudly, his head lolling back against Bucky’s shoulder. “Fuck, what have I done to ever deserve you two?”
“Maybe this is karma finally paying your dues for all you’ve sacrificed,” Bucky whispered.
Peter swallowed hard, knowing he was stupidly close to declaring how he felt for Tony. It was too soon though, and he didn’t want the older man to think he was just some stupid kid who had no idea what love was, making dramatic declarations during his first ‘proper’ time. Dammit, he did love Tony though and it was because he was so good , too good for this world, and he deserved every happiness that could be thrown at him.
To stop himself from blurting out the truth, he made sure his mouth was busy with other things. He slid his lips down along the shaft, taking in as much as he could. He couldn’t take it all the way down to the root as yet but practice made perfect and he was sure that he’d eventually get there. For now he just dropped one hand down to fondle the heavy balls as he bobbed his head, sucking and licking the part he could fit.
And then his fingers felt something else.
As he’d stroked firmly just behind Tony’s sac, Bucky had thrust inside and Peter’s fingers had brushed along his length. Bucky gasped in surprise and if his mouth hadn’t been full, Peter would have grinned. Tony seemed to realise what had happened as well and he spread his legs a tad more, giving the teen a little more space for him to work his hand all the way through the gap and to wrap his thumb and forefinger around the base of Bucky’s cock, giving him another point of contact.
“You two are gonna be the death of me,” the super soldier said, his voice hitching, gripping Tony’s hips even harder as he snapped his own hips, driving his cock through the ring of Peter’s fingers and then into the tight heat of Tony’s arse. His movements began to stutter, growing erratic and then he cried out, biting down on Tony’s shoulder as he came. Peter continued to lave at the head of Tony’s cock and the genius reached an arm up and around behind him to clasp the back of Bucky’s neck as he twisted to share a kiss with the ex-assassin.
A moment later, Peter’s shoulder was touched and he hollowed his cheeks one last time and then pulled off. “You’re turn, baby,” Tony said gently, his chocolate brown eyes watching him warmly.
“Sorry, I might have messed him up a little,” Bucky said, falling down onto the pillows.
The thought of pushing inside of Tony who was slick with Bucky’s release was almost enough to make Peter come on the spot and he shook his head vigorously. “That’s quite alright.”
“How do you want me, Petey?” Tony asked.
“Oh, um, I guess I’m not sure.” He couldn't help but blush a little as various positions flickered through his mind.
“Okay, well how about you get comfy there next to Bucky and let me take care of you?” the genius murmured.
Peter smiled and nodded, moving until he was flat on his back next to the super soldier. Bucky gave him a lazy smile, looking almost high he was so relaxed, and then pulled Peter in for a deep kiss. The teen was so caught up in the kiss that he barely registered the feeling of weight settling on his hips until his cock was taken and gently guided until it was pressing against a slick entrance. “Oh!” he gasped, breaking away from the kiss so he could watch.
Tony grinned as he sank down slowly and despite Tony only having recently been filled by Bucky, he was still tighter than the teen expected. It was hot, and wet, and it felt like his partner’s body was sucking him in but also trying to push him out at the same time. It was amazing, and odd, and intense, and Peter held his breath as he tried to process it all. Tony realised that he needed a moment and rested where he was, one hand tracing lazy circles on Peter’s stomach and side, the other reaching out to Bucky, their fingers tangling together.
“You have no idea how hot that looks,” Bucky murmured, his eyes drinking in the vision before him.
“You have no idea how good it feels ,” Tony said, his eyes closing in bliss as he rocked his hips ever so slightly. “I could stay like this forever.”
“Please don’t,” Peter said, his voice strained, his body adjusted to the sensations. “I need you to move now .”
Tony leaned down and gave him a sweet kiss and then he placed both hands on top of the teen’s chest to balance himself as he began to grind down in earnest. It was nothing like Peter had ever experienced and he was sure that someone had taken the fireworks from earlier and was setting them off in his brain. He was completely blissed out and he hadn't even orgasmed as yet, and he was certain that when he finally did, it would be too much but not enough.
Bucky reached out with his metal hand and wrapped it around Tony’s cock and the genius moaned loudly. “Oh, you know I have a thing for your hand, don’t you, Buckaroo?”
The super soldier smirked. “Of course I do. You’re a kinky bastard and I love it.”
The genius soon found a rhythm where he thrust up into Bucky’s hand before sinking down onto Peter’s cock, his eyes falling closed in sheer pleasure, his breathing coming in short, sharp gasps. His movements grew more and more frantic as his own pleasure built and suddenly he was crying out, spurting over the metal fingers that grasped him.
Peter was not at all prepared for how much tighter Tony’s arse would get but as the man spasmed around his length, it felt like the teen’s orgasm was ripped from him. He cried out, his hips jerking upwards as he was milked for all he was worth. Tony’s eyes flew open and their gazes locked and suddenly he was overwhelmed with so much emotion for his mentor that his earlier intent went out the window. “Tony, oh God, Tony, I love you, I love you so much,” he whispered.
The genius seemed to freeze for just a second and then his features softened and he looked down at Peter in wonder. “Oh, baby, you have no idea how much I love you . God, Petey, you saved me, you saved me from the world, and the others, and from myself. You have no idea how much you mean to me.”
“Oh, you two are so cute!” Bucky almost squealed and a glance at his face showed Peter that there was no jealousy or upset in his expression, just sheer happiness for his two partners.
“So lucky to have both of you,” Tony said, leaning down to first kiss Peter and then kiss Bucky.
“I think we’ve all hit the jackpot,” the ex-assassin said philosophically.
Tony collapsed down onto Peter’s chest, and Bucky curled himself around the both of them and then the trio just lay together quietly, enjoying the closeness. After a while, Tony broke it by saying, “Okay, so just saying, that was the hottest fucking thing to ever happen to me.”
Bucky chuckled. “Yeah, I don’t think it gets much better than that.”
Peter grinned wryly. “Pity I can’t tell anyone about it - I’m pretty sure this wins hands down ‘best first time ever’.”
“Damn,” Tony said, downcast, “this really is something to brag about. Maybe you need to make an anonymous account on Reddit or something so you can brag about it there?”
He laughed and then gave Tony a kiss. “I think I’ll manage, but I’ll keep that in mind if the urge to shout it from the rooftops ever gets too much. Not sure how anonymous it will be though - Hey, I lost my virginity to Iron Man and Bucky Barnes, but I’m sure you won’t figure out who I am because there’s SO many young people who hang around with them. Yep, it wouldn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out.”
“Eh, give it a few years and we won’t have to hide anymore,” Tony assured him. “As soon as you’re eighteen and that stupid law doesn’t count anymore, you can shout it from the rooftops as much as you like.”
“Maybe we could make a banner and you could fly around New York in the suit so everyone can see, not just the people on the street below whatever rooftop he’s on?” Bucky suggested.
As Tony pretended to consider this and the two of them suggested what wording they could use to announce to the world that the three of them were intimately involved, Peter took a moment to just think about how damn happy he was. Not only had he been intimate with two of the most amazing men in the world, but he’d finally told Tony how he’d felt and the genius returned his feelings. Tony had also made it clear that he was in this for the long term, that he was already looking years down the track and seeing the three of them together, and for someone who constantly changed, that was a clear indicator of how seriously he took them. Peter had never before rung in the new year with such hope for the future but as he lay there, cuddling with both Tony and Bucky, he felt pretty damn invincible. Whatever the future decided to throw at him, he was ready.
My self control sucks - let's finish this, shall we?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Bucky stood in the doorway, leaning against the door frame as he watched Peter pack his bag. The teen scanned the room, looking for anything he may have missed, and then happy he had everything, he closed the zip and hefted it up onto his shoulder. He glanced over at the super soldier and offered him a smile. “Stop looking so sad. I’ll be back for my internship the day after tomorrow.”
“I know,” Bucky said with a sigh, “but it won’t make me miss you any less.”
The teen crossed to him, dropping the bag at his feet so he could wrap his arms around Bucky’s waist. “We’ll talk every night and I’m sure we’ll text constantly throughout the day, plus May agreed I can go back to staying Friday nights and all day Saturday.” He kissed the ex-assassin and then smirked. “Besides, I’m sure Tony will keep you more than occupied so you don’t miss me too much.”
Bucky frowned and cupped Peter’s face. “Hey, no, doll, don’t say stuff like that. If you’re thinking that we’ll be going at each other every second that you’re away, then you’re wrong. Besides the fact that we wouldn’t do that since it’s not as much fun without you, Tony has his work and I have stuff to do for Rhodes to earn my place here, so we’ll be pretty busy. We’re going to plan our free time around the times that you get to be here so we can all spend it together.”
Peter smiled and gave his head a small shake. “I actually wasn’t thinking that at all. I really hope you guys do get to spend some time together when you can - and then Friday can send me the footage,” he added with a wink.
Bucky laughed and hugged him harder. “I promise that we’ll send you footage of anything we get up to.”
“Oooh, does this mean I finally earn the title of Porn Star?” Tony asked from behind them, clearly catching the final part of the conversation.
Bucky let go of Peter with one arm and pulled Tony to them, their three-way cuddle huddles fast becoming one of his favourite things. “Sure thing, sweetheart, s’long as you come up with a ridiculously cheesy screen name.”
“Iron Member? Tony Starkers? ”
“Eh, I’m sure you can do better,” Bucky told him.
“Tony Spurt ?”
“Yeah, getting worse, babe.”
The genius pouted and Peter quickly kissed it off his mouth. “As long as you guys promise to share, I don’t care what you call yourself.”
“We promise as long as you promise to send us videos of your own,” Tony said slyly.
Peter’s warm brown eyes twinkled. “Oh, you’ll definitely be getting some,” he assured them. “Is The Baby Monitor Protocol still in place?”
“Awesome, that might make it easier - hands free and all.”
Tony’s eyes lit up and then he suddenly grimaced. “Yeah, I think I’m gonna rename that, otherwise it makes it way too creepy.”
Peter glanced at his watch and sighed. “I really gotta get going. I really don’t want to piss May off otherwise she might change her mind about letting me revert back to the old interning hours.”
“Yeah, we do not want to get on that woman’s bad side,” Tony agreed.
“I’m pretty sure I still am,” Bucky said gloomily.
“Yeah well, that’s a lesson - no snogging in front of teenagers with mobile phones,” Tony told him mock sternly.
“I guess I’ll try,” he agreed with a theatrical sigh, and then prodded Peter in the chest playfully. “This one’d better try and stop being so damn irresistible though, otherwise it makes it too hard.”
“Yeah, it is a little difficult to see him and not kiss him,” Tony agreed, before pulling Peter in for a snog.
Bucky grinned widely as he watched them, never tiring of seeing them together. They fit so perfectly, were so damn hot together, that he could happily watch them all day. Peter proved he was the adult of the three of them however when he regretfully pulled away and then ducked down to pick up his bag. “Okay, I’m going now, for real.”
“I’ll call Happy to get the car ready,” Tony said, plucking his phone from his pocket and firing off a text as they walked the teen to the elevator.
“Thank you so much for such an amazing Christmas,” Peter told them as Tony hit the button to call the elevator.
“Pretty sure I’m the one who should be grateful,” Tony said. “I gotta admit, I was so deep in self pity after the two of you got together that I thought I’d never climb out.”
“Sorry it took me so long to get my act together,” Bucky apologised.
There was ding and the doors opened. The three fell together into one last embrace, holding on tightly. “Let us know how you go back at school,” Tony told the teen. “If Flash gives you any more grief, I wanna hear about it.”
“I will,” Peter promised.
“Miss you already,” Bucky said, knowing he was being sickeningly sentimental but suddenly finding himself not wanting to let Peter go, to acknowledge that their two weeks together had come to an end and real life was waiting for them.
“Me too,” the teen said.
“Me three,” Tony added. He pulled Peter in for a kiss and then whispered, “I love you.”
“Love you too.” Bucky was then hauled in for a kiss as well. “See you Tuesday. Bye.”
Peter stepped into the carriage and gave a small wave as the doors closed, leaving the two men alone. Tony slipped his hand into Bucky’s and gave a squeeze as they continued to stand there, staring at the metal doors. It was more than a minute later, when it was obvious that the doors weren’t going to open and reveal that the teen had come back, when they finally turned away. Tony led Bucky into the lounge room and they sank onto the couch, wrapped in each other’s arms and both feeling rather glum.
“It’s not just me, is it?” Tony asked. “He really does take the light with him when he leaves, doesn't he?”
Bucky snorted. “Apparently he leaves behind in its place a penchant for bad poetry.”
The genius elbowed Bucky in the ribs and then settled back down against him, snuggling in close to the super soldier. “You know what I mean.”
“Yeah, I do. Kinda feel like hibernating under a rock until we get to see him again.”
“How about the next best thing? I make us sundaes, we get the blanket off his bed that will still smell like him, and we snuggle under it and watch a movie?”
“Sweetheart, that sounds awesome.”
“What do you want to watch?”
“Wanna let Friday chose?”
“Sounds like a plan. You heard the man, baby doll - your pick.”
“Sure thing, boss. Queuing Twilight now.”
Grinning at each other, they stood to begin preparing for their movie night, when Bucky’s phone pinged. He opened the text message and held out the phone so Tony could read the message as well. There was a photo attached of Peter making a kissy face.
Miss you both already, give each other a kiss from me, can’t wait to see you both again x - Peter
Without even needing to discuss it, they stood close to each other and as their lips met, Bucky snapped a photo.
Your wish is our command. Miss you, doll - Bucky
You guys have been so damn amazing! I usually write a controversial rare pair in a dying fandom where comments and kudos are rarer than hen's teeth and so to have you enthusiastic bunch of wonderful, interactive, supportive loons along for the ride with me has been amazeballs. To those who have followed me to a new ship and fandom from that dying fandom, I am eternally grateful for your ongoing support.
This is a series now in case you haven't seen and since we all know how shit I am at taking things slowly, I'll post the first one shot tomorrow morning (when I normally would have posted this chapter, whatever time that is for you guys in the four corners of the globe). Subscribe to the series or to me if you want a heads up for when they're posted, otherwise I hope you stumble upon them at some stage.
Much love x