“Roommate? What do you mean roommate?”
The Winter Soldier gave Tony an odd look, “Does roommate mean something new now?” he said, scowling. Not that Tony had seen him with any other expression, although sometimes it came with an extra helping of anger and/or annoyance.
He was scowling when they first found him in the Hydra facility, he scowled when he signed the papers to officially join the Avengers Initiative, he scowled all they way through battles and clean up.
Although, Shuri had texted Tony saying that he had smiled when they’d finally undone his Hydra programming - and T’Challa had confirmed it, so it was good to know that he, in theory, could make any other expression that wasn't a scowl, but Tony had never seen it.
Tony squinted at The Soldier, “No,” he said carefully, the roommate vine playing on a loop in his head - Peter had been so disappointed when he’d found out that Shuri had introduced him to vines, and the subsequent horror that was Gen Z humour, before he could. Tony offhandedly wondered if The Soldier knew what vines were, technically, he could be classed as a millennial.
He looked over at The Soldier’s whole, demeanor, the Murder Stance™ (a sequel to the Murder Strut™) in full force, topped off with the ever-present scowl (this time, with a flavour of impatience) and decided, that no, The Winter Soldier definitely didn't know what vines were.
And now the Murder Stance™ was the Murder Strut™. Away from Tony - The Soldier had a surprisingly good ass - “Hey, hey! Manchurian Candidate, you never gave me an answer, you gonna move into the tower with the rest of us?”
The Soldier, without turning around, yelled back, “I told you, I have a roommate.”
Tony turned around and frowned at the rest of the team, “When did he get a roommate?” he muttered, not really expecting an answer.
“His roommate,” growled Fury, from behind him, talking over Tony’s squawk and his promises to ‘cat-bell’ him, “is none of your business. Why are you all still in my conference room?”
He huffed, “You gotta be paying him more if he has to have a roommate,” he knew New York was expensive, but the guy was a superhero, and he probably had like, seven decades worth of backpay.
“He’s getting paid as much as you are. Get out of my conference room.”
“I don't know how much I’m getting paid,”
“Check your books, and get out of my damn room,”
Tony and the rest of the Avengers hightailed it out of there, not wanting to relive that particular day.
“Honey, I’m home,” Bucky called, as he entered their apartment, emptying his pockets of all his weapons into the basket near the door, feeling himself physically go from The Winter Soldier, ex-Hydra, ex-brainwashed, SHIELD agent and Avenger, to Bucky Barnes, sometimes drummer, sometimes mechanic, and boyfriend.
It was always so liberating, when he got home, free from surveillance, although, he wasn't naive, he was pretty sure SHIELD knew he lived here. But that better be the extent of it. He’d made sure that the surveillance and oversight clause in his Avengers papers was very clear.
Matt had helped.
He’d had enough of the oversight bullshit with Hydra.
“Hey,” Steve said, walking out of the kitchen, smelling of ginger and garlic and what seemed like twenty-million other spices, to greet him, kissing him on the cheek, “meeting that bad?”
Bucky wrapped his arms around his middle, kissing him on the forehead when he leaned into him, “Am I that obvious?” he murmured, voice stupidly soft. The things Steve did to him, damn.
Steve laughed into his chest and tipped his head up to look at him, “You have residual annoyed-scowl on your face.”
Bucky raised his eyebrows, “Really, where?” he teased, running his hands up and down Steve's back.
Steve leaned up and kissed his nose, “Here,” he kissed his cheek, “some here,” his temple, “little left here,” his jaw, “here.”
“Nah,” Steve leaned up and kissed his solidly on the lips, with a hint of tongue, he tasted of mango cola. “Done,” he said, in a whisper, when they pulled away, running his fingers through Bucky’s hair, pushing back his kinda quiff thing, one of the first things he’d done after he’d escaped off the helicarrier (with help from Shuri, of course) that was meant to take him from Wakanda to America, was get a haircut. He’d fucking hated the long hair.
“Mmm, you cooked?” he asked Steve when he felt he was done messing up his quiff.
“Yup,” he nodded, tugging Bucky into the kitchen, “stir-fry.”
“I knew there’s a reason I fell in love with you,” Bucky said, grinning as he let himself be dragged by Steve. They both knew very well that Bucky could easily just, not, and break out of his hold, he had at least half a foot, maybe eighty pounds and some bastardized version of Erskine’s super-soldier serum on him. But he let himself be dragged into the kitchen, because it was Steve.
He plated up the noodles and put them on the table, next to glasses of wine, Bucky drew him in for another kiss and pulled out a chair for him, “Smells amazing, honey,” he drawled, emphasizing his old Brooklyn accent.
Steve saw right through him, “You forget, darlin’ I’m from Brooklyn too,” he teased in a horrific impersonation of his accent.
Bucky laughed at him, “You’re horrible,”
“Aw,” Steve pouted, “I thought you were in love with me?”
“Nah, I’m just in it for the stir-fry,” he said, grinning.
“Love you too, baby.”
Steve’s phone buzzed and lit up with a message, he flicked it open with his thumb, fork dangling in his mouth. Which was promptly thrown out of his mouth, landing just in front of Bucky’s plate.
“Hey, hey, you ok?” Bucky asked, concerned, leaning over to rub his shoulder, comfortingly.
Steve looked up at him, holding back… laughter?
“Some guy’s trying to commission me for a piece of all the Avengers,” he said once his shoulders have stopped shaking.
“Why’s that so funny?” Bucky asked, smiling, even his not-laugh was infectious.
“‘Cause he’s saying’ that he’ll pay a million dollars for it. For every piece.” He burst out laughing again. And at Bucky’s confused face, he told him that it was definitely a scam, “Bucky, I’m not, like Jack Kirby or Frank Miller y’know, I have a Tumblr and a comic run. As in one.”
Bucky raised his eyebrows, holding off telling him that he’s wrong, he had a very rudimentary idea who those people were, and Steve knew that, “Who was the person? Maybe they’re like a billionaire or something.”
Steve shrugged, “Probably not, their users’ just ‘youknowwhoiam’” he said, showing Bucky the message.
His phone buzzed again, another commission, but this time from someone he knew, “Shuri wants a commission of T’Challa falling over,” he said to Bucky, showing him the video of the King of Wakanda and the Black Panther, falling over.
“Do it,” Bucky said, laughing.
Steve put his phone down and grinned at Bucky, “Yeah, yeah I will.”
“Oh, by the way,” Bucky said, suddenly, swallowing his mouthful of noodles quickly, “Stark asked me to move into his frat house, again.”
“Y’ thinkin’ of leavin’ me, soldier?” Steve teased, hooking his foot around Bucky’s ankle.
Bucky smiled at him, “Nah, but I said that I have a roommate,” he didn't want Steve to think that he was ashamed of him or something, he was so, so happy to live in a time and a country where a man with another man wasn't cause for a trial and a jail cell, or fear of being beat up in a nondescript alleyway.
He told Steve all of this, months ago, when Steve asked if he was ok telling his colleagues about them.
“Why?” Steve asked, curious, not judging him.
“Well, y’know back in the dark, dark ages,” Bucky began, leaning forwards to take Steve’s hand across the table, “we used to say ‘roommate’ instead’a boyfriend, ‘cause, y’know.”
“Dark ages, yeah,” Steve murmured, playing with Bucky’s fingers, “so it was, what, a reflex?”
“Yeah, something like that, I don't know how much I want them knowing so much about me,” Bucky said, quietly, he knew that he should trust them, but, he was still the new guy.
Steve smiled at him and kissed his cheek, “That’s ok, it’s fine if you don’t wanna tell them, take as long as you need.”
He did not deserve him. At all. He’s been so, so patient with him, with his goddamn laundry list of issues and problems. Fucking hell he loved him.
“So, James, Jamesy, who is this ‘roommate’ of yours?” Tony asked, shooting at a doombot.
“Not the time, Stark,” The Soldier growled, tearing the head off a bot.
“You hurt?” Steve asked, as soon as he came home. Bucky smiled tiredly at him, pulling him into a hug, the battle was too close to the offices where Steve had a meeting today. Steve got that and let Bucky hold him for as long as he needed.
“Nah,” he said, finally, into Steve’s hair, “but, Stark asked me about you,” he pulled away to kiss him lightly on the cheek.
“What’d you say?” he asked, smiling up at him, leaning into his touch as he pushed his fringe off his face. Bucky gave him a look, “He asked in the middle of destroying a doombot.”
The Soldier smirked, almost smiled condescendingly, “Nice try Romanoff.”
Steve hummed, taking a sip of cola, “Very homely, what’d you tell her?”
“A fairly PG version of ‘fuck off’” Bucky said, stealing Steve’s drink.
He looked over his shoulder at Clint, rubbing a hand through his hair, “Beat it, Legolas.”
Legolas? Who’d taught him that?
Steve rolled on top of Bucky, and pressed kissed to his neck, “Yeah, what’d you say?”
Bucky hummed and ran a hand down his back, “Called ‘im ‘Legolas’,” he said, smiling proudly.
Steve laughed, “You're cute when you think you're being funny.”
“What the fuck is this, it tastes of grass.”
“You should call your teammates by their first names,” Steve suggested, knowing what Bucky was on about.
He just grunted in response, “Nah, they all call me ‘James’ or ‘Barnes’ or ‘Soldier’ or something cold ‘n ice-y, they think they’re funny.”
“Keep writing your notes, Freedom Pigeon.”
“You need a haircut,” he commented, pushing his hair back and letting it flop over his face. He looked younger, like that, more innocent, with longer hair, flopping all over his forehead.
Bucky just hummed sliding his eyes shut, “Would you be ok, if I said something about us?” he asked, nervous, even though they had talked about it before, and Steve was a hundred percent on-board with it, but he wanted to make sure.
Steve bent down and kissed his forehead, “You know I would, Buck.”
“Do I know you?” He interrupted, he couldn't wait to get home, to get back to Steve.
The lackey locked down at his shoes, “Mr. Stark gave me a hundred dollars to ask.”
He rolled his eyes, “Tell him to try harder.”
“Stark’s really determined, huh,” Steve said, pressing closer to Bucky and wrapping an arm around his neck, “you should troll him or something,” he continued in a mumble, fighting off a yawn.
Bucky pulled away a little, considering Steve and giving him a once-over. Steve mumbled out a ‘y’ like what y’ see?’ drifting into unconsciousness.
“You ok with bein’ called a twink?” Bucky murmured, wrapping his arms around his waist and kissing his shoulder.
“Yup, ‘m your twink,” he giggled, face falling into Bucky’s shoulder
A warm feeling spread throughout his chest, at Steve being his, and at him being all giggly and relaxed and falling asleep, so, so vulnerable in a way no-one would have been, when he was still under Hydra’s brainwashing. He was so in love with him, so, so much.
He reached over, plucked the pen out of his hands and spoke into the near-invisible mic, “My roommate is an artist twink with whom I am in a homosexual relationship and I fuck daily.”
He pressed the pen back into the kid’s hands and patted his shoulder, “Good talk, spider-kid.”
He turned around and walked straight out of the door, leaving Peter bright red and sputtering, whispering into the mic, “I think he wants you to stop asking.”