1990 - part I
After almost a year of successful soil amendments, they’re finally ready to put in the first living plants on the moon. They’ve been very carefully selected for the environmental factors present. This is honestly the most critical part of the process, because if they can’t get the right balance of atmospheric creation between the gasses they pump out and the flora they plant, no ozone layer will form and they’ll be screwed.
The moon is going to look an awful lot like high desert at first, but that’s ok. The desert is beautiful in it’s own way.
At their six month data point, oxygen and nitrogen levels are holding steady and the plants are thriving, so step two of phase one is declared a success.
Bucky receives a promotion, but it’s contingent on him being willing to move to a new, higher tech lab that’s opening up in New York.
It’s been a long time since he’s been home, and the timing feels right, so Bucky accepts.
He doesn’t feel like mooching off of Steve again though, not after all this time living by himself, so he rents an apartment of his own not too far from the lab. Bucky also doesn’t tell anyone about his promotion and move, opting to show up and surprise them. He hasn’t always kept in touch like he should, so it actually won’t be too out of character not to hear from him for a little while…
But that’s going to change soon.
Bucky pays extra at his complex to have two parking spaces, so he can keep his old Indian with him and ride it when the weather’s good. He’s gotten a little spoiled with the California and then Florida winters...or rather, the lack thereof. Since it isn’t until the day before Thanksgiving that he’s finally settled in, Bucky’s pretty sure his chances to ride are dwindling rapidly. He doesn’t smell any snow in the air the next morning though, so he risks it and takes the bike over to Steve’s house.
And no one is home.
Well, that’s what he gets for not calling ahead on a holiday...
Bucky fires up his bike again and heads down the street toward the Stark’s mansion, having a pretty good idea of where everyone is if they aren’t here. Steve instituted joint holidays when he started taking a bigger role in Tony’s life, and from what he said, Maria never once complained about it.
Steve is tickling his great-grandchildren, while their mothers watch on in amusement, when he hears the sound of a motorcycle coming down the street.
“Who’s riding a motorcycle in November? It could snow at any moment,” Ellie frowns, her hearing having picked it up too.
Marjie leans forward in her chair, listening, as she sets her drink aside. She catches her dad’s eye, sharing a look with him.
Steve gets up off the floor, handing toddlers back to their parents as he goes, trying to tell himself not to get his hopes up. He looks out one of the front windows just in time to see a lone rider punching in an access code at the gate.
“Holy shit,” he says, grinning and letting the curtain fall back.
“Uh, language,” Tony says sarcastically from where he’s sprawled over an armchair.
Steve gives the girls a sheepish look, but the effect is ruined by how much he’s smiling. He heads for the front door at a half jog while everyone else is still figuring out what’s going on.
As soon as Bucky parks his bike, the front doors of the mansion open and Steve comes trotting out, smiling like a loon.
“Hey Stevie, surprise,” Bucky says, swinging off the motorcycle and into a hug. The rest of the family comes streaming out behind him, with shouts of “Uncle Bucky!” ringing through the air.
It’s nice when a plan finally comes together.
“I’m back, Steve,” Bucky says tightening the hug for a second.
“Back? You mean it?” Steve says, squeezing him in return.
“Yeah, got an apartment downtown and everything,” Bucky tells him as they finally let go.
“Did you hear that Peg? Bucky’s back in New York!” Steve shouts as he turns around to find his wife, who’s actually closer than he thought she was.
“No need to yell, darling, I haven’t quite lost all my hearing yet,” she says blithely, coming in for a hug too. “Welcome back, then, Bucky.”
“Thanks Peggy. It’s good to be back.”
There’s a round of hugs for pretty much everyone, except for when he gets to Howard, who’s already into his scotch at one in the afternoon.
“You need a haircut,” is the first thing out of Howard’s mouth, looking at Bucky’s appearance disapprovingly.
“You need to quit drinking,” Bucky says back, smiling a little too widely.
Then they both nod at each other and go for a handshake.
“What my husband means to say is, ‘Welcome’,” Maria says, giving Howard a look. He shrugs it off. She sighs and gives Bucky a very polite, ‘what can you do’ sort of smile. Then she turns toward the house and says, “Tony, come and meet Colonel Barnes.”
There are more than a dozen steps leading up to the front of the Stark’s mansion, which puts Tony far above him when Bucky gets his first real look at the guy.
Which is fitting, because Tony Stark descends his front steps like a young god; one who’s still fascinated by humanity and is enjoying his time among them.
Jesus, he’s gorgeous.
Bucky may or may not be having a religious experience watching his lithe form get closer and closer.
Tony grins an easy, knowing smile, obviously looking Bucky up and down too as he approaches. There is a definite spark in his eyes as he says, “You must be this ‘Bucky’ character I’ve heard so much about...”
“That’s me,” Bucky confirms, feeling a slow smile overtake his own features, “You must be Tony.”
“The one and only,” Tony tells him, bouncing on the balls of his feet a little, “So, you aren’t going to ask if the stories were good or bad?”
“Oh, I’ve got a fair idea of the stories that get told about me...the rumors too,” Bucky says, playing it up.
“Yeah? Any truth to them?” Tony asks, as if he knows exactly which rumors Bucky is referring to. He does absolutely nothing to disguise the want in his eyes as he looks Bucky up and down.
Bucky licks his lips and says, “Definitely.”
Marjie comes up beside Bucky and briefly puts an arm over his shoulders, interrupting the moment with a teasing, “Save it for dessert, boys, Jarvis is politely waiting to tell us dinner is ready, and I’m starving.”
“Well, we wouldn’t want to keep the lady waiting,” Tony says, grinning at Marjie and not looking chastised at all to get caught flirting with her uncle.
Maria gives Tony a look, but doesn’t say anything out loud.
Bucky doubts Howard even noticed the exchange, for all his showmanship with crowds he’s always been shit at picking up on social cues…
They all head inside, with Tony being first since he was the last one down the stairs before.
And yeah, it’s definitely a new religion Bucky is finding as he watches that glorious ass work its way up the steps.
“You know, I feel like we missed an incredible opportunity to be taking bets here...” Marjie muses at his side.
Bucky elbows her in the ribs. Not like super soldier hard, but just ex-Ranger hard. She makes an oof sound and pushes him in retaliation, but suddenly Steve is there breaking things up with a hand on each of their shoulders.
“Get along, kids,” he says pointedly, “It’s Thanksgiving, no wrestling in the house.”
Tony snickers ahead of them, leading the way to the dining room. When everyone is done getting seated, Bucky is happy that Tony is only across the table from him, one chair down. However, Steve is sitting directly across from Bucky, and Howard is at the head of the table like two seats away, so he vows to himself to try and keep the flirting to a minimum.
There is an actual, literal feast prepared, with several turkeys, multiple hams, and mountains of side dishes all along the table. It kind of has to be one, to feed all the super metabolisms present. Steve says grace even though it’s Howard’s house, then they all dig in.
At one point Steve goes to get another piece of ham with his fork but is distracted by something Ruthie is saying down the table, and almost skewers Maria’s hand, who was reaching in that direction at the same time.
Bucky’s reflexes are as fast as ever though, so he’s able to get his metal hand in between them in time for the fork to bounce off of it with nothing more than a clanging sound.
Everyone looks at the noise, with Steve being especially confused until he realizes what he just almost did.
“I’ve been told it’s rude to stab your hostess, Steve,” Bucky jokes, pointing a metal finger at him, “Eyes on what you’re doing, punk.”
“I am so sorry, Maria, are you ok?” Steve immediately starts apologizing.
“I’m fine, Steven, thanks to Bucky’s quick thinking,” she assures him.
“Of course,” Bucky waves off her gratitude, “Allow no harm even through inaction, and all that…”
Tony makes a small sound in his throat as he tilts his head, “Did you just quote Asimov?”
“Uh, yeah,” Bucky says, giving him a smile.
“Huh. I’m impressed,” Tony replies, taking the attention off Steve, who still looks mortified.
“Well, the Doc who put on my arm said it was required reading for me now, so…” Bucky shrugs, but his grin gives away the joke.
Everyone chuckles at that, even Howard, and Tony is looking at him with a new, different light in his eyes afterward. Not just lust, but genuine attraction .
And wow, does Bucky find that he likes that. He doesn’t think he’s ever had a single person express interest in him because of his brains before…
“Well, you know what’s really impressive,” Bucky takes a more serious tone, looking at Tony directly, “Is your work on artificial intelligence. You know, I don’t think Asimov actually ever envisioned it being a reality. A lot of the issues he presented were really just metaphors for how a parent fears their own child, or the younger generation in general.”
The look on Tony’s face is very clearly saying, “Oh shit, he’s hot and smart...”, which Bucky appreciates very much.
“Uh, thank you,” Tony quickly gathers himself together, “So, are you a fan of science, or just science fiction?” he asks, feeling Bucky out.
“Both. My all time favorite is actually Dune though, so I hope you can forgive me… But in all honesty, I’m really a huge fan of how most science fiction ends up becoming just regular ‘science’, you know, eventually . I mean, humanity has dreamt up all kinds of crazy things over the years, but it can be a long time before people who are actually smart enough to make them a reality come along,” Bucky says, tipping his glass to both Tony and Howard, since he seems to have the whole table’s attention.
“I think we’re still a ways off from making ships that can fold space,” Ellie’s husband says, reaching for another roll.
Bucky glances at Howard, only to find that Howard glances at him at the same time… They both look away without saying a word.
Tony is looking back and forth between the two of them with a thoughtful expression on his face, having caught their little exchange.
“I actually meant the terraforming,” Bucky says, deftly avoiding the tesseract subject, if he does say so himself, “Did you know Frank Herbert got the initial idea for the story because he was reporting on a community that was being lost to coastal dunes by erosion?” he asks.
“No… Where did you hear that?” Tony wonders, looking like his sole focus in the room is now Bucky.
“From him. I got the chance to attend a lecture in college once where he was a guest speaker, before he passed away,” Bucky explains.
“You went to college?” Steve says, frowning as he interrupts Bucky and Tony’s conversation.
“What? You knew that,” Bucky says, giving him a frown back.
“No I didn’t,” Steve asserts, “You didn’t even tell me you were out of the army until like a year after you’d left it.”
“Oh… I thought for sure I’d mentioned it… I actually left the army to go to college…” Bucky gives Steve an apologetic look.
“Did you not graduate?” Steve asks, gearing up to either be sympathetic or more offended.
“Yes, Steve, thanks for the vote of confidence,” Bucky rolls his eyes, “But you and Peggy were off on your vacation thing that you took a few years ago, so I didn’t want to disturb you guys.”
“Oh… You know we would still have made time to come see you, even so,” Steve says, his anger deflating.
“I know,” Bucky says, “And that’s why I didn’t mention it.”
Peggy reaches over and silently squeezes Bucky’s hand, which Steve of course sees happen, and decides to let the issue go.
Maria interjects at the same time, helping to ease some of the tension that’s crept into the room.
“So, Bucky, what did you get your degree in?” she asks.
Peggy pats his hand and then lets him go, so Bucky takes a breath and moves on.
“Actually, it’s in terraforming,” he tells her, smiling proudly.
Howard makes a noise in the back of his throat, which very much sounds like a scoff, but he could just be choking on something…
“Bullshit,” Howard says, looking right at Bucky.
Ok, so it wasn’t just some stuffing that went down wrong…
“Well fuck you too, Howard,” Bucky says flatly, holding his gaze steadily.
Howard stares him down for a moment.
Nobody says anything about their “language”.
“There’s only one university in the country, hell, in the world that offers a degree in terraforming,” Howard says like he’s passing the information out to all of them in order to set Bucky up for a fall.
“Yep,” Bucky replies with a smile, popping his “p” a little.
“You’re trying to tell me you went to Berkeley .”
“That’s a top three school…”
“Yes it is. Well, mostly, anyway. Sometimes Princeton edges us out, we go back and forth, actually,” Bucky very humbly admits.
“What about Stanford?” Tony asks, a mischievous gleam in his eye as he draws Bucky’s attention back to him.
“You watch your mouth,” Bucky says in mock seriousness, pointing a forkful of turkey at him.
Tony grins and his eyes drop down to Bucky’s mouth.
Bucky eats his bite a little more slowly than normal, staring at Tony the entire time.
“Really, Buck?” Steve says, looking at him flatly.
Bucky pretends he has no idea what Steve is talking about.
“Why would you go and get a degree in terraforming just to sit around on your ass all day,” Howard says gruffly, completely missing Bucky and Tony’s interaction .
Steve looks offended on Bucky’s behalf now, but Bucky speaks up before they go down the path of another Thanksgiving that ends with mashed potatoes on the ceiling.
Sure, Bucky wouldn’t have to be the one cleaning them up this time, but he doesn’t want to do that to Jarvis either, since the guy is ancient now...
“Technically, Howard does have a point, I ain’t had a job for a long time before this. Unless you count the army…” Bucky scratches his chin.
“Yes, Bucky, the army counts,” Steve tells him, like he’s talking to a small child.
“Who are you working for now ?...” Howard asks suspiciously.
“NASA,” Bucky says confidently, knowing it will irk him, “Just got promoted, too.”
“You did the paper on nitrogen fixation,” Tony says, looking at him like a light switch just came on, “You’re ‘J. Barnes’, aren’t you?”
“Nothing gets by you, does it, doll?” Bucky replies cheekily, giving Tony a wink.
“Did you just call my son ‘doll’?” Howard asks, finally seeming to have caught on to their flirting.
“Yeah, I did,” Bucky says, not about to back down because of a little thing like Howard .
There’s a moment of silence where everyone at the table is waiting to see what’s going to happen.
“I’m too sober for this,” Howard mutters with a frown and an exaggerated sigh, standing up and walking away from the table.
There’s a little bit of an awkward silence where Bucky can practically feel Maria resisting the urge to call ‘bullshit’ herself…
But then Marjie speaks up.
“Aw, you didn’t bring up Dupont…”
“Hey! Shut your pie-hole, Marjie,” Bucky says, throwing a roll at her.
Bucky ends up getting put in a time-out by Peggy, but Tony sneaks him a piece of pecan pie and they talk for hours about robots and science and the moon, so he feels like he actually owes Peggy one for that, when all is said and done.
When things are winding down, and polite guests would be making a move toward the door soon, Bucky gets Tony’s attention for one more quick chat.
“So, in my mind, dating is what people do when they want to get to know each other better,” he tells Tony, hoping he doesn’t get shot down in a moment, “So if us gettin’ to know each other is something you’d like too, then I have a brilliant idea I’d like to run by you, doll…”
Tony smiles up at him, his tongue darting out to wet just his bottom lip as he stands entirely too close to Bucky. “I would like that,” he says, “Fire away, soldier.”
“Go out with me?” Bucky asks, settling a hand on Tony’s hip.
Tony brushes their fingers together, curling them slowly until they’re holding hands, “I’d like that, but… I have to be back at school on Monday. I’m still working on my second PhD…”
Bucky isn’t fazed.
“That gives us all weekend still,” he says, “That’s plenty of time to catch a show and grab a bite.”
Tony looks at him like Bucky just might be passing the test…
“So you mean like an actual date , date…”
“Doll, you would be wasted on a quick fuck in the back of my GTO…” Bucky says, rubbing his thumb against Tony’s hip. “Yeah, I want to date date you. Dinner, dancing, looking at the stars, whatever you want. I mean, not that we can’t fuck, if you want,” he says, watching Tony’s pupils dilate a bit, “But that ain’t what I’m after …”
“You do realize that Uncle Steve is not going to like this…” Tony points out.
“Steve is the king of doing whatever the hell he thinks is best and making everyone else just deal with it. He’ll live,” Bucky says.
Tony chuckles, obviously from experience.
“Ok, let’s do a date, thing, then. You pick,” Tony tells him, seeming to lose a little bit of the edge on his suave demeanor for just a second, like it’s actually hitting home that Bucky really is interested in him.
“Is that place on 5th avenue, the one with the amazing steaks, still open?” Bucky asks him.
“Fermin’s? Yeah, they’re still around. That’s a five star restaurant... Do you own a suit?” Tony teases him, looking at the jeans Bucky showed up to Thanksgiving in.
“Actually, I own two ,” Bucky says with a dramatic pride, holding up two fingers as if it’s something that could possibly be impressive to a man whose father lives in tailored three-pieces.
That gets an actual laugh out of Tony, and god, is he gorgeous when his face is lit up with happiness like that…
“Ok, ok, stop trying to show off already...” Tony says with a chuckle, “Pick me up tomorrow at seven?”
“You got it, doll. Here, let me give you my number,” Bucky says, pulling out his wallet, “I don’t have it memorize yet, they just turned on the phone two days ago.”
“You’re not staying with Uncle Steve?”
“Nah, I’ve got an apartment a couple blocks from the lab,” Bucky tells him.
“Good to know,” is Tony’s only comment as he accepts the number.
There’s the noise of a throat clearing as Marjie walks up, giving the both of them pointed looks. “The rest of us would like to say goodbye to Tony too, if you guys are done making out now...”
“Making out was an option?” Tony says teasingly, looking at Bucky as if disappointed that they missed the chance.
“There’s always tomorrow, doll,” Bucky says, giving him a grin and a wink as he steps back to let the rest of the family at him.
“Jesus Christ…” Marjie sighs as if to herself, but they can still clearly hear her.
“Alright, alright, I’m going,” Bucky says, holding his hands up in surrender. “Bye, Tony.”
“See you, Bucky,” Tony says back, watching him go with a thoughtful expression.
Bucky calls to get a reservation for tomorrow as soon as he gets home that night. He’s very rarely as glad as he is in that moment that his name carries weight . Next he gets his good suit out to make sure it’s going to be ready for tomorrow. It’s clean of course, but he didn’t exactly check it over for wrinkles ‘just in case’ when he was unpacking.
Damn it, he’s going to have to go clothes shopping if they go on more than two fancy dates… Because no way is he wearing the same two suits over and over again to date a guy like Tony Stark.
By the time Bucky attempts to sleep, it’s past midnight.
After an hour of staring at the ceiling with a grin on his face though, he gives it up. God, he hasn’t been this excited about, well, anything in a long time…
The next day, it takes everything in him not to be ready a million hours ahead of time.
“Get it together, Barnes, you ain’t some school girl with her first crush,” he tells his reflection seriously, taking a deep breath and letting it out slow.
It helps a little bit, but he’s still a jangle of excited nerves while he’s shaving and slicking his hair back. He pulls on his suit and his freshly shined shoes, then carefully does up the gold cufflinks Peggy gave him when he made Colonel. He’s not used to using them, didn’t think when he got them that he’d ever have much use for them, but he’s glad to have them now.
It’s only a twenty minute drive out to the Stark’s place, so before Bucky knows it, he’s ringing their bell. He learned long ago that it was ‘uncouth’ to knock on the door of a house like this.
Tony himself answers, looking like a goddamn model in a suit that probably costs more than Bucky’s car…
Instead of getting more nervous, the butterflies seem to melt away as soon as Bucky sees him.
“Hey, Tony,” Bucky smiles.
“Hey, yourself,” Tony smiles back, “My god, do you clean up well…” he adds, his eyes making an appreciative circuit up and down Bucky’s outfit .
“Tony?” Maria’s voice comes from the stairs, “I wasn’t aware you had an engagement tonight…”
“It was a recent addition to the schedule,” Tony tells her, right as she comes into view of Bucky.
“Colonel Barnes… What a pleasant surprise,” she says, her eyes taking in his appearance with a sharp precision.
“I’m guessing Tony didn’t tell you I asked him out on a date…” he says, being upfront about it.
“No, he did not,” Maria says, motioning Tony over to her so that she can make microscopic adjustments to his tie and collar.
Tony puts up with the fussing without complaint.
Maria glances at Bucky as she brushes some non-existent dust off of Tony’s shoulders.
“Well, at least you don’t have to worry about him being after your money,” she finally says, which Bucky interprets as being her blessing.
“Is that actually a thing people do?...” he asks, looking between the two of them like she must be at least partially joking.
Maria gives Bucky a gentle smile.
Then she pats Tony’s cheek and says, “Bring him back in one piece, darling.”
“I make no promises,” Tony tells her with a grin.
Bucky feels like he might be missing something… But then Tony is taking his arm and pulling him out the door, and asking in-depth, knowledgeable questions about his GTO, and Bucky has never been one to question the things over his head too hard anyway…
“What are the odds of you letting me drive this baby?” Tony asks, running his fingers over the hood.
“Well that depends,” Bucky says, leaning against the car, “How well do you know your way around a stick?...” he asks, clearly not meaning a manual transmission.
A slow grin spreads over Tony’s face as he puts himself right into Bucky’s space, leaning up to let his breath brush over Bucky’s ear, “Oh, I’m very familiar. I’ve got years of experience… But I could give you a little demonstration first if you’d like,” Tony offers, running a hand over Bucky’s hip, “Before you let me at your prized possession here,” he gestures toward the car with a small tip of his head.
Bucky smiles, tucking his nose into Tony’s hairline as he says, “How about you demonstrate on the car, and if I like how you handle her, I’ll let you get your hands on my most ‘prized possession’ later…”
Tony gives him a knowing look as he slips his hand into Bucky’s pocket, “I’ll accept that challenge, Colonel Barnes,” he says, pulling out Bucky’s keys.
God, he is brazen and gorgeous and Bucky is falling so fucking fast…
“Call me Bucky, please,” he says on autopilot, getting lost in the warm brown eyes in front of him for a second.
Tony smiles a little differently, almost a little more happily, as he notices how Bucky is looking at him.
“Get in the car,” Tony says firmly, making Bucky realize that they’ll be late for dinner if they stand around flirting all night.
“Sure thing, doll.”
As they’re strapping in and Tony is getting the engine going, he asks Bucky, “Have you ever driven one of the European power houses?”
Bucky thinks for a moment and asks, “Does a tank count?”
Tony blinks at him and then bursts into laughter.
“No, a tank doesn’t count… Jesus… Next time we’re taking the Ferrari, because that is a damn shame.”
“You won’t hear me arguing,” Bucky says.
Now, he’s pretty sure that for all their bantering, Bucky wasn’t supposed to be actually turned on by Tony’s driving, but damn does he know how to handle a car. He acts like he was born behind the wheel, and if he’s even half as good in bed as he is with this, Bucky will be an extremely lucky man.
“Who taught you to drive?” Bucky asks as they’re getting out in front of the restaurant.
“Aunt Peggy,” Tony says, handing the keys to a valet.
“I should have known,” Bucky realizes as he takes Tony’s arm to walk with him to the door.
“So you aren’t interested in pretending to be ‘friends’, I’m guessing,” Tony says, giving his arm a squeeze.
“Oh… No, I’m not,” Bucky says, feeling like Tony’s coming a bit out of left field with that, considering the way he’s been acting up until now… “It’s just, I’ve had to ‘pretend’ all my life. Only in the past couple years have I been able to be open about being gay, and I really don’t want to go back to hiding it…” Bucky explains, hoping this isn’t a “make it or break it” issue for Tony.
“What? Go back to… Oh, no, I didn’t mean I thought we should , I meant that it was nice that you just took my arm like that. I don’t want to hide either,” Tony tells him.
Bucky is relieved, pulling Tony in for a quick hug before they reach the doors, “Good. Because you are definitely worth showing off, doll,” he says, brushing a thumb along Tony’s cheek.
“I usually am the brightest thing in the room,” Tony confirms.
Bucky laughs, “I bet you are…”
The maitre d' seats them almost as soon as the words, “Reservation for Barnes,” are out of Bucky’s mouth.
“Ok, I have a small confession to make,” Bucky says as they’re perusing the menu, “I don’t know shit about wine… So I’m probably going to end up ordering a whiskey if left to my own devices.”
“You drink alcohol? Uncle Steve doesn’t bother…” Tony asks.
“I like the taste,” Bucky says casually, “And the burn.”
“Huh,” Tony makes a noise like he’s fairly sure Bucky meant that as a double entendre.
Their waiter comes up right at that moment though to take their order, which stalls that line of conversation. After hearing his selections for the meal, Tony actually shows genuine surprise for the first time that Bucky’s seen.
“You do realize you just ordered like a thousand dollars worth of steak…” he points out.
“Uh, super soldier,” Bucky gestures toward himself.
“Yeah, but Uncle Steve usually just orders a regular meal and then eats again later when he gets home…”
“Well, I used to do that too, up until I was joining the army for a second time and decided that the opportunity for good food was too precious to pass up. And then I just kinda never stopped afterward,” Bucky explains.
“The waiters must love you,” Tony says with a grin, implying the size of tip that would go with those tabs.
“They did…” Bucky agrees, “And they loved the tips too,” he winks.
“Because they were both sizable?” Tony asks, not offended at all by the second hand mention of previous conquests.
“Decent enough,” Bucky says, “Not too much to handle, but they were never left wanting…”
“In the tip department, of course,” Tony clarifies.
“Well,” Bucky says, staring Tony right in the eye, “Maybe not just the tip…”
Tony licks his lips and tells Bucky, “I really hope you didn’t plan on dancing or a movie or anything after this...because I’m thinking about exercising the GTO option.”
“Are you?” Bucky grins with a little half chuckle.
“You said I could,” Tony reminds him in a blasè tone.
“And I am a man of my word,” Bucky promises.
They continue to flirt until their food arrives, at which point Tony lets out an impressed breath. “Ok, ok, we should probably tone it down, just a little, if we want to make it through dinner without getting kicked out for being obscene …”
Bucky leans forward over their small table, motioning for Tony to do the same. Telegraphing his intentions, he cups Tony’s cheek and gives him a soft kiss, holding it just long enough to get the feel of his lips. Then he lets go and eases back into his seat, leaving a thoughtful Tony looking at him.
“It would be worth it.”
Tony doesn’t glance around to figure out who might have seen or not, he just keeps looking at Bucky with an almost hopeful light in his eyes. He covers the expression up after a second though, and starts eating.
Bucky digs in too, especially since he has five times as much food to get through as Tony does, and he certainly doesn’t want to hold them up. They continue to talk about more sedate topics, but the light never leaves either of their eyes the entire time.
When they’ve finished their meal and Tony sees the waiter approaching, he tells Bucky, “Don’t you dare order dessert.”
“Check please,” Bucky tells the man as soon as he arrives.
Bucky leaves a 50% tip, because New York has become a much more expensive town while he was gone, and he knows what it’s like to be just trying to get by.
While they’re waiting for the car to be brought around, Bucky casually slips his hand into Tony’s.
“You want to drive again, doll?”
“How about you show me your skills this time,” Tony suggests.
“I can do that.”
They do drive around for a while, until it starts snowing, so Bucky heads back toward their end of the island before the roads get too bad.
“Nothing against your GTO, because it is a fine marvel of American engineering, but I’m not so sure the backseat looks all that comfortable...” Tony muses, glancing behind them.
“We could go back to my place,” Bucky offers, “If you weren’t wanting the night to end yet…”
“Yeah, that sounds a lot better, actually.”
“So… Before we do this, there’s something I should probably talk to you about,” Bucky says, “Cause if you change your mind, I don’t want you to feel trapped into your previous decision or anything…”
They’re at a red light, so Bucky can steal a glance at Tony in the passenger seat. He raises an eyebrow at Bucky.
“Wow, if you weren’t a super soldier I’d suddenly be expecting the STD talk right about now…”
“Nah, nothing like that,” Bucky assures him, though he’s not sure his actual topic is going to put any less of a pause on things… He realizes that he should probably be looking Tony in the eye when they talk about this, so he pulls over and parks on the street. Bucky leaves the car running, because it’s freezing outside, but he half turns in his seat so he can see Tony better.
“So, this is going to sound crazy, and I know that, but I just want to preface it by saying that I have proof, and that a lot of other completely sane people believe me,” Bucky says.
Tony nods curiously as if saying “go on”.
“Uh, well, in 1942, when I was captured by Hydra, I kind of ended up in the future of an alternate dimension for a week. They took me through this portal thing, and it spit us out into New York in 2015… I met a version of myself there, and of Steve...and of you…” Bucky tells him, holding his breath as he waits to get an initial reaction.
Tony blinks at him, searching his face for a second.
“Ok, I’ll be honest, I’m really clinging to that ‘I have proof’ part of your series of statements there…”
“That’s fair,” Bucky sighs, “Peggy didn’t believe me until I showed her proof either.”
“Aunt Peggy believes you?” Tony asks skeptically.
“Yeah. And Stevie...and your father.”
“ Howard Anthony Walter Stark believes you went to the future ?” Tony says in disbelief, like instead of Bucky being crazy, he thinks he might be having an elaborate prank pulled on him now.
“I’m not saying he wasn’t damn skeptical at first, but like I said, I have proof,” Bucky is thankful he’s learned to lead with that little tidbit after what happened last time…