You finally sat down. Breathe, Y/N. Testing doesn’t even start until tomorrow. You’ll be fine. You’ve been preparing for this for so long. You’ve got this , you thought to yourself. You took a deep breath.
The tests for your latest project in the lab started tomorrow, which meant gathering up facts and figures last minute and making sure everything was set up perfectly for the next day. Unfortunately, the second you got home, your mind went elsewhere. After a long day in the lab, you always needed three things: tea, documentaries, and a goddamn nap. You poured a new type of earl grey that someone had picked you up whilst they were in England and sat down on the sofa, curling your legs underneath you like usual. Tea, check .
Living in Avengers Tower was weird. It’s not like you were technically an Avenger, I mean, you just worked in the lab. Well, to be fair, you were one of the top mechanical engineers in Manhattan (and god only knows the Avengers needed that). You never kicked ass or went out on missions or anything, but you were always ready to do repairs as soon as they got back, especially in Bucky’s case. You were typically the first face he saw when he wearily opened his eyes for the first time again after a tough mission. This tended to be the case for all of the teched-up Avengers. You were close enough to the team to be considered, as Sam called you, an “Avenger-in-law”. You were never sure whether to take that as a compliment or an insult.
You would train with them, and hold mitts and punching bags, or gladly sit on their backs whilst they did push ups. You ate with them, watched movies with them, and led group therapy sessions with them. It was nice to have a family of sorts, even if it was crazy and fucked up and half made-up of superhumans and half made-up of geniuses. As cheesy as it was, you wouldn’t have had it any other way.
You turned on the TV and flipped through the channels to find a good nature or history documentary. There was something about nonfiction that wasn’t quite trash TV, but still a little weird, that just got you going. Your eyes fell on a conspiracy theory special, and your eyes lit up.
An hour in, you were absolutely engaged. You were questioning everything you’ve ever known. Was the moon landing fake? Was the government hiding secrets about aliens? Was 9/11 an inside job? Was time made up by the government?
You were pulled out of your thoughts by a familiar voice saying, “Y/N, are you okay? I’ve been listening to you mumble to yourself for the past half hour and I didn’t wanna be rude so I didn’t say anything, but I just heard the word ‘antichrist’ so now I’m actually concerned.”
“Ah, Bucky, hey! You’re old, right?”
“Shut up, you know you’re old. Anyway--” He let out a soft laugh, something too rare to your ears. “I made the mistake of starting to watch these conspiracy theories and stuff, and now, like, everything I’ve ever known is a lie and how weird is it that you’re like 100 and look like that?” You motioned to his whole body. “Fuckin’...science, dude!” He laughed again, louder this time, a blush creeping onto his cheeks at your compliment. “Hey, you’re not doing anything right now right? Trick question, I know you’re not. C’mere.” You patted the space on the sofa next to you.
He shrugged and sat down next to you. He turned, and you sat in silence, your eyes not leaving the screen whilst his eyes took you in. “You’re a funny gal, you know that?” he finally said in that voice. You know the one. The deeper, flirty, played-up Brooklyn-accented ‘soldier just lookin’ for a good time’ voice. The one you recognize instantly every time he tries to use it on you. Yeah, that one.
“That doesn’t work on me, Bucky, you know that,” you said, your eyes still not leaving the screen.
“What do you mean?”
“Don’t play dumb with me, Barnes.”
“Oooh, last name, huh?”
You dropped your stoic facade. You let out a giggle and a “Shut up!”, gently elbowing him in the side, a wide grin plastered across your face.
Bucky laughed. He threw his arm across your shoulders and pulled you into him. “There’s my girl.”
You overheard the narrator of the documentary say in a serious voice, “Number eight: the moon landing,” as you nuzzled closer into Bucky’s side, leaning your head on his shoulder. He splayed out his fingers over your shoulder and rubbed your arm before his hand finally settled on your bicep. He had an odd habit of not knowing what to do with his hands when he was sitting with you. Since he would often fidget and his hands would wander, you were sure that soon, his hands would end up somewhere else, and you didn’t have a problem with that.
The narrator’s velvety voice filled the room, explaining how they couldn’t have possibly landed on the moon, considering the way the flag was waving when there’s no air in space, and how there were mistakes in all of the pictures, making them look staged. In his best smooth jazz voice, Bucky mocked, “When Neil Armstrong took his first steps on the moon, who placed the camera outside to video it? Hmmm....” and the impression was just so scarily precise that you burst into another giggling fit.
You threw your head back and laughed, “Where the hell did that come from?!”
Through his own laughter, Bucky managed, “I don’t know!” You looked up at him, still giggling.
“I haaate youu,” you teased.
“Please, you absolutely love me.”
“No, I don’t. I haaate you.”
“Lieeeesss!” he hissed. He put his other arm around you, pulling you into an unbearably tight bear hug.
“Aaaah! Okay, fine, fine! I admit it!”
But his arms didn’t budge. “Say it.”
“I don’t hate you!” you said, shaking your head melodramatically.
“Fiiiine, I love you...but only a little bit.”
“I’ll take it. But I don’t know if I want to let you go just yet...”
“Bucky, please!” you whined.
He laughed. “Okay, okay.” He pressed a kiss to your temple and released you.
“God, I thought I was gonna suffocate under all that... man !” He raised his eyebrows, keeping his eyes forward. “Don’t...” you warned.
“I never said anything.”
As the moon landing section of the documentary dragged on, you started getting bored of the repetition.
“Tag yourself: I’m the producer of the movie studio that spent all this time making this obviously fake video,” you said dryly.
“I’m the astronaut that no one believes actually did all the shit they did.”
You choked on your tea for a second while Bucky laughed.
Eventually the sun went down and the hot summer day cooled off. You admired the skyline against the sunset through the huge glass walls in the Tower’s common room. The sherbert-ey oranges blended perfectly against the sweet pastel pinks and soft lavenders. The warm yellows and baby blues high in the sky contrasted perfectly against the deep reds of down below. “This city never ceases to amaze me,” you said, breathlessly. You were suddenly hyper-aware of the warmth against you, and your emotions reflecting into the colors of the sky.
“Red sky at night, sailor’s delight,” Bucky recited.
“Tag yourself, I’m the little streak of pink trying to make it with the big kids up there.”
“I’m the...overwhelming amount of yellow in the sky right now.”
“Tell me about it.” As your eyes scanned across the scene, you interjected the silence, “Wait! I change my answer! I’m the couple fucking against the window two floors down in the building across from us!”
He exhaled. “They always think it’s some kinda kinky, but it’s just gross.”
“I don’t know, I think I’d be open to trying it. Sneakily, though!”
Bucky scoffed. “Of course you would be.”
“What does that mean?”
“You know what that means.”
“James Buchanan Barnes...are you...kinkshaming me?”
“Maybe I am.”
“I’ll have you know that I am highly offended and that I think you, as an elder, should be wise and practice acceptanc--”
“I can’t believe you.”
“--in our great community known as Avengers Tower and that you’re setting an example for all of the little children out there like...uh...Clint’s kids! And Scott’s daughter. What would they think if they knew--”
“I don’t know why we’re even friends.”
“--that a great old man such as yourself was out there fighting crime, and kinkshaming ! I think they would be shocked and appalled--”
“Those are synonyms.”
“--and OUTRAGED to know that someone such as yourself that they look up to is kinkshaming.”
“Are you done?”
“ President Kennedy’s body was illegally moved from Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas to the Bethesda Naval Hospital by secret service agents. Even though it was the president’s body, this was still against the law at that time, before an autopsy was performed. Elm Street, the street Kennedy was killed on, has a 120 degree turn. Standard Secret Service motorcade protocol allows a maximum of a 90 degree turn .”
You yawned. The stars peppered across the now night sky were barely visible past the vast bright lights of the city. The same narrator drawled on, and the room had gone still. You heard the faint sound of Bucky’s breathing.
“Tag yourself. I’m the grassy knoll.”
No response. Was he asleep? You shifted to look at his face and saw Bucky’s very much open eyes, which soon met yours. “Did you hear me?” you asked softly, almost in a whisper. His eyes diverted back to the screen and a tiny smile grew on his face. You repeated cautiously, “Tag yourself, I’m the grassy knoll.”
His face was a blend of sullen and smug.
“Tag yourself, I’m the assassin.”
You gasped. “That was you?”
“Sure is ironic that my girl likes conspiracy theories so much when I am like 90 percent of them, isn’t it?”