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Steve's mind was racing. He wanted to scream, to cry out for someone, anyone to appear, but he stayed silent. Everyone did. The wind howled softly, casting stay locks of hair into Steve's eyes, but he ignored it. He simply looked straight forward, holding his breath anxiously. He was stood next to Tony, and Clint, Nat, Bruce, Thor, Loki, Nebula and Rocket, Rhodey, Carol, and various Wakandans were scattered around the land next to them. They all had their eyes fixed on one thing, the Infinity Gauntlet sitting in the dirt in front of them.

Steve couldn't help but jump in surprise as Scott Lang, Ant-Man, materialized in front of them, breathing heavily and eyes darting around the place. He stood silently for a heartbeat, taking off his mask, before gasping, “I did it. They're coming back.” He looked like he half expected everyone to cheer, hug each other in relief, but nobody did. They all just stood silently, waiting. That was when the dust around them started pulling itself back together, forming people. Rocket was the first to speak, calling out, “Groot!” And barging past Steve to where the tree he had met in battle was now crouched on the ground, looking around, eyes half filled with fear and half with excitement. “..Mr. Stark?”

Again, that kid Steve had met in the Civil War battle, who Tony had talked about almost the entire time they were fighting Thanos for the gauntlet, was standing there. “Pete-” Tony cut himself off, rushing over to grab the boy and hold him in his arms. Steve watched as the people he knew, his friends, all came back. Okoye rushed towards T'Challa and Shuri and Nebula to Gamora. They were all back. Steve didn't believe Tony's plan would work, to have Scott shrink into the Soul Stone and turn on whatever device he had created, but it did. Yet he couldn't find his friends. That is, until, “On your left.”

 

-

 

“Don't even say it, Cap. I got plenty of room to share and I know you need a place to crash. Almost everyone does.” Tony's voice echoed throughout the lobby of Avengers tower. Steve glanced behind him, where almost everyone except the Guardians and the few that did have a place to stay, such as Rhodey, Carol, Sam, Scott, and the people of Wakanda. He didn't respond to Tony, instead glancing back next to him, where the person he thought he never would've seen again stood. “Are.. are you sure about this, pal?” Bucky looked up from his shoes, meeting Steve with big, anxious blue eyes. “I don't think we got a choice.” Steve gave a half-hearted chuckle and wrapped his arm around Bucky's shoulder, giving it a comforting squeeze. He saw Bucky glance behind them, where numerous paparazzi stood outside the doors of the tower, being blocked by guards. Steve glanced over to Wanda, and who walked beside him as well, and gave her a smile. She looked just as nervous as Bucky did.

“You don't gotta worry about that.” Steve said, and Bucky's eyes shot back to his. “It'll die down by the time we get settled in.” The world was undoubtedly thankful for the Avengers, bringing back family and friends and other loved ones, being able to reverse what Thanos had done.. and putting an end to him all together. Steve grimaced to himself at the memory, himself, Tony, Thor and Carol having been the ones to pull that horrible deed off. But it had to be done, he told himself, picking his head back up and glancing at Bucky again. “It'll be okay, Buck.” He said as they stepped into the elevator with Tony, Peter, Clint, Nat, Bruce, Wanda, Thor, and Loki. It had taken some convincing from Thor, but eventually Tony agreed to have the god of mischief stay with them, as he had a considerable role in helping after he decided to come back from 'death.'

“As you know, there's a shit ton of floors, you would all get your own bedroom, big kitchen, living room, bathrooms, ect.” Tony explained, pushing one of the elevator buttons. The elevator began moving, and soon enough they arrived, stepping out to a kitchen area. Steve stepped out, looking towards the den, and numerous hallways all on this one floor. “Some of you guys will have to crash on the floor above, but I don't think that'll be an issue. Happy's gonna be able to get beds by tonight, so you'll have a place to sleep.” Tony went on, wrapping his arm around Peter and saying something about where his bedroom will be, leading him away from the group. “Ooh, this one's mine! Called it!” He heard Clint call from the hallway, and a door shutting. He chuckled softly. “Well, wanna find a place to crash?”

“Do you, uh.. do you think I could bunk with you? Like, uhm, share a room? Like the old days?” Bucky murmured sheepishly, rubbing the back of his neck. “I just don't really feel.. y'know.. comfortable. In this big tower, on my own.” “Sure, Buck. Whatever you want.” Steve nodded. “But if you wake me up with your snoring, we'll have a problem.” “Whatever, Punk.” Bucky rolled his eyes, but Steve could see a small smile pulling on his lips. “C'mon, jerk, let's find the one with the closest bathroom.”

Chapter Text

Bucky was quiet. That wasn't unusual for him, Steve knew this. He was always quiet. But something about him not speaking now, after what had just happened, was slightly off-putting. Bucky would tell Steve everything after he went off to someplace new, which he had suspected would include the Soul realm, but he seemed to be mistaken.

It was later in the day, most of the people waiting outside the tower had left, and Happy had arrived with queen-sized mattresses for everyone. Steve could hear Clint, Nat and Wanda all talking in the room next to them, and couldn't help but feel a pang of jealousy. He wished Bucky would open up to him, but he knew that wouldn't happen for a couple days, when he settles into his new home. He understood, though. Steve didn't think he would want to talk about being stuck inside a rock for six months if he had been in that situation, so why should Bucky?

Steve looked up when he heard a soft knock on the door, and came in Tony. “Hey, we got like, four TV's for rooms and Peter's already claimed one. Do you want one?” “Yeah,” Bucky spoke before Steve could open his mouth. “Yeah, we'll take one.” “Alright. I'm not bringing it in, though, so hurry up before Clint takes all of them.” Tony waved his hand before exiting the room again. “Didn't know you would be interested in that.” Steve said, looking over to Bucky, who was fiddling with an old pencil he found.

“The kid told me about some modern shows he thinks I would like while we were.. there. I want to give them a try.” Bucky explained. “He's a good kid. He annoyed Sam a lot.” He chuckled. Steve rolled his eyes. Of course a teenager bothering Sam would be funny to him. “Alright, pal. I'm gonna go get that television then,” Steve stood up from the mattress. They didn't have bed frames or anything yet, so he was fairly close to the ground.

Bucky ended up following him out, having been in the room most of the time they'd been in the tower. Not many people were out of their rooms, he only saw Peter, Tony, Clint and of course Steve out, by the televisions stacked on top of each other. “Mr. Stark, I-I can hold it. It's fine,” Peter tried to say, watching awkwardly as Tony struggled to pick up the box. Steve lifted up one when Tony finally managed to pick up the box, putting it over his shoulder effortlessly. “Alright, don't brag, Captain.” Tony muttered, turning around and making his way to Peter's room.

“Oh, Tony's assistant dude-Happy! He left a bunch of blankets on the couch, he told me to tell everyone to get as many as they need.” Clint explained. “Thanks, Barton,” Steve nodded. Bucky took that as something to actually help out with, and made his way over to the couch and grabbed three blankets for him, and three for Steve. At least he could be helpful in that sense.

He walked back into the bedroom, where Steve was unboxing the TV. Of course it was fancy and expensive, seeing as Tony bought it. Bucky threw the blankets onto his bed, and then onto Steve's lying them down neatly, folding them just as he knew Steve liked them. “Do you need help?” Bucky asked, seeing Steve struggling to turn on the TV. “..Yeah.” Steve chuckled.

“I have no idea how to do this.” “Here. The kid told me how to build a computer from scratch, I can probably figure out how to turn on some fancy television.” Bucky crouched down as Steve stood up. “Thanks, bud.” Steve ruffled Bucky's messy hair as he walked back over to the beds, trying to make them as best as he could without actual sheets. Eventually Bucky figured out that you need to plug in the TV, and after he did that everything was a bit easier.

He sat down onto his bed, which was on the same wall as Steve's, just spaced out from another, after he managed to get the thing working. “Any recommendations?” He asked, looking over at Steve. “No, I'm probably just gonna sketch for a while, pal.” He replied. He frowned after a moment of silence. “After I get out of this uniform.” He stood up again. “I'm guessing you'd like something more comfortable to wear, too?” He gestured to Bucky's uniform.

He was still wearing what had worn to the fight in Wakanda. “Oh. Yeah.” He murmured looking down. Steve gave a curt nod, before exiting to tag down Tony. “Mr. Stark is in Mr. Parker's room.” Steve jumped as the ambient voice echoed throughout the hallway. Oh, right, he remembered FRIDAY. Steve walked down the hallway to Peter's room, and eventually got Tony to hand over some clothes until they could get to the store in the morning.

“Here, Buck.” Steve tossed a T-Shirt and some sweatpants to his friend, slipping off the top to his Captain America uniform while he walked into the room. All he had was a T-shirt, as any pants Tony would have would definitely not fit him. He slipped on the T-shirt, collapsing onto the mattress. Bucky took off his top, wincing slightly as he did so.

“My arm's fucked up again,” He commented, trying to move his bionic arm, but stopping, pain writing itself on his face. “Are you okay?” “Yeah, I've lived without it before, I can do it again.” “I can get Tony or Bruce to make a new one-” “I don't wanna be a bother,” Bucky cut him off, wincing slightly as he slipped the too-small T-shirt over his head. “Stark hates me.” “I don't think you would be sitting here right now if he still hated you, Buck.” Steve explained. “I thought he hated me too, when he got back to Earth. But it's been years, I think he understands now.”

Bucky didn't reply, his eyebrows furrowed together, and his eyes not looking away from Food Network. “Buck-” “Okay, Steve. You can ask him,” Bucky sounded like he didn't want to speak anymore. Steve frowned, but nodded, taking off his boots and pants, leaving him in just the T-shirt and boxers. The sun was setting, casting orange light throughout the room. The windows in the tower were huge, Steve was glad he wasn't afraid of heights. But Bucky is. He glanced back over to his friend, who had his knees to his chest but still stared at the TV. Steve sighed, grabbing his sketchbook and beginning to sketch, just as he said he would. “Goodnight, Buck.”

Chapter Text

Bucky had cried that night. He can't remember the last time he had cried, but he did that night. He half-wished Steve would wake up, so he could have someone there, but his soft snores didn't stop. He wasn't surprised, though. He was silent when he cried. He was very overwhelmed, overwhelmed with having been stuck inside a rock for 6 months, and just suddenly coming back with the only warning being the ant person appearing out of nowhere, then having travelled back to New York, now being in a giant tower where he was supposed to live, 150 feet above the ground. He also felt guilt, but that wasn't new. Now the sun was rising, and he had only gotten an hour or two of sleep.

He felt relieved when he saw Steve stirring in his tangled blankets, rubbing his face and yawning. He puffed his slightly overgrown hair out of his face, blinking open his eyes and sitting up. “Morning, Stevie.” Bucky yawned, blinking to attempt to see through his mess of hair. Steve looked over to see Bucky, and a smile painted itself on his face. “Morning, Bucky.” Bucky returned the smile, finally sitting up. “Today,” Steve started, “Is the day for a bit of grooming.” He laughed, scratching his beard. “It still looks good,” “Yeah, until there's crumbs in it.”

After some convincing, Steve and Bucky exited the bedroom, where everyone was gathered in the kitchen. “You're late,” Nat teased playfully at Steve. “Sorry,” “The plan is to get clothes, food, all that shit.” Tony was speaking. “Things are gonna be weird for a while, but it'll get better when we actually start taking care of ourselves.” He gestured to Steve, who looked oblivious. Peter raised his hand. “After we aren't zombies anymore, you can decorate your rooms.” Peter slowly put his hand back down.

“Bruce, talk to me about your lab..” Steve stopped listening when it didn't concern him anymore. “Hey, Steve,” Nat called over to them. “We have a single apple and a box of pop tarts. You hungry?” She offered. “I'm okay. Sam's supposed to pick up some stuff on his way over.” “Your loss,” Clint rushed past him, grabbing the box of pop tarts and taking half out, tossing that half to Peter and taking the rest of the box for himself.

“Well, those lasted long.” Bucky murmured, grabbing the apple from off the counter and taking a bite. “You said Sam's coming?” “Yeah, Carol too. They wanted to help set up, or something. I wasn't paying attention.” Steve chuckled. “Of course you weren't,” Bucky rolled your eyes. “That's Steve Rogers for you.” “Hey-” Steve started, but was cut off by the elevator dinging and the before mentioned Sam, Carol, plus Rhodey stepping out. “Hey, Rogers.” Carol called out, her arms crossed. “I brought McDonalds- If you eat that kind of thing.” Sam teased, coming up to Bucky and pushing one of the bags into his grasp.

“What's up, dickhead,” He greeted him, a mischievous smile on his face. “Hey, Sam,” Bucky sighed, rolling his eyes. “Tones, I got you a cheeseburger,” Rhodey called out, going in the direction Tony had walked off to. Thor popped out of what seemed nowhere, grabbing one of the bags from Carol's hands and grinning. They had grown close as friends during the battle.

Steve eventually managed to slip away from the group, finding a bathroom, shaving and taking a much needed shower. When he finally opened the door to the bathroom, towel around his waist, a stack of clothes sat outside the door. Well, they managed to get to a Target fast. He grabbed an outfit and slipped back into the bathroom to slip it on quickly, before heading back into him and Bucky's bedroom to put the rest of the clothes.

A lamp was added into the room, but that was it. Did I really take that long of a shower? He rubbed his damp hair with his towel, exiting the room again to find Bucky sat on the kitchen counter, looking slightly anxious and annoyed as Tony fiddled with his arm.

Thor, Carol, Wanda, and Loki sat on the floor next to them, and Sam and Peter by the fridge. “Took you long enough,” Bucky grumbled under his breath when he saw Steve. “Sorry. What's going on?” He flipped the towel over his shoulder. “Noticed he wasn't using this arm. Wanted to figure out why,” Tony murmured, not looking up.

“Last night he said it was hurting-” “Steve!” “Oh?” Tony looked up. He looked at Bucky expectantly, who grumbled, but nodded. “Well, I can't say I'm surprised, if it didn't have any maintenance for 6 months, it's probably a bit loose and weird.” Tony blabbed on for a moment about science-y stuff Steve didn't understand, before saying he could fix it if he wanted. “If it'll get you off of me, be my guest.”

 

-

 

“I'm sorry for stealing your shield,” Peter looked up sheepishly. The boy seemed nervous around everyone, his favorite childhood heroes, seeing as the last time he was around them was a fight. “Don't worry about it, Queens,” Steve blinked. “Mr. Bucky Winter Soldier Barnes told me you thought it was cool, but I wasn't-” “He's not mad at you, Pete.” Tony ruffled his hair as he walked past, grabbing some tools Steve guessed he needed.

Steve offered a smile to the boy, who smiled in return. “Alright, Barnes, just relax a bit and don't move, that thing will be off of you in no time.” Tony sat down on the table where Bucky sat, getting to work. “How long will it take to fix it?” Steve asked, walking to Bucky and patting his shoulder comfortingly. “A week or two at most, Bruce said he's gonna help me out once he settles in, plus the kid's not gonna leave my side no matter how many times I tell him to.”

“I'll be fine, Steve. I've lived without an arm before.” “I know,” Steve smiled sadly. Bucky grunted as Tony finally pulled the arm off, looking down and moving the stub that sat on his shoulder. It was scarred, and it looked slightly irritated but Bucky didn't flinch. “Hey, uh, Barnes.” Tony started, his tone slightly more serious than before. “I've had quite a bit of time to think about things, and I'm not gonna get sappy and shit but uh, no hard feelings?” He looked up from messing with the arm. Bucky didn't respond vocally, just nodded his head, but he didn't look in Tony's eyes. “Alright uh, I'll start working on this. Pete, don't touch that.”

 

-

 

Nobody in the tower was acting completely normal. Thor and Loki were confused with the Earth things, not to mention everyone who had spent time in the stone were suffering some sort of PTSD. Steve could tell Bucky was suffering from it too, no matter how hard he tried to hide it. He knew Bucky.

Steve sat cross-legged on the couch, hand digging through a bowl of popcorn. Bucky sat next to him, and Sam on the other side. Loki was on the other couch, reading a book. It was still nerve-wracking to have the god in the same room as him, no matter how he had shown his loyalty during the battle. Steve had gotten to get a haircut, finally starting to feel a bit normal again.

He hadn't cut it since the fight in Wakanda. Bucky's hair was still long, stray pieces falling across his face as his eyes stayed locked on the TV, but he had showered after Tony took his arm. Stephen had come and gone, taking a quick look over everyone and leaving once more, seeming to not want to stay longer than he had too. Carol too, but Rhodey was somewhere in Tony's lab.

“You like cooking?” Sam asked, trying to make some sort of conversation when he saw Bucky watching Food Network. “Never tried to.” Bucky responded, not looking away. “He was watching it last night. I'll get Nat to teach him someday,” Steve chuckled softly. The smile left his face quickly though. He knew Bucky wasn't watching TV for the pleasure of it, he was doing it for background noise to get lost in his own thoughts with.

“Alright, well while this is super interesting, I'd better be on my way,” Sam sighed, standing up. “See ya, Steve. I'll call you soon.” He made his way to the elevator before Steve could speak again. He looked down to the bowl, only a few kernels of popcorn left. “You doin' okay, Buck?” Steve asked, looking up again. “Clearly not,” Loki spoke up, but Bucky finally looked away from the TV, and offered a small smile. “I'll be okay, Stevie.” “Whatever you say, pal. If you wanna talk about anything.. Just ask me, okay?” “Okay, punk.”

Chapter Text

“You're going to burn them, you can't cook like that,” Tony exhaled tiredly, trying to explain to Thor why he can't cook food using lightning. Peter was laughing loudly, even Bucky had a small smile on his face at Thor's stubbornness. Bruce was the only one to make Thor listen, offering to help him figure out the waffle-maker. Everyone was beginning to settle in, the kitchen was fully stocked, everyone had bed frames and sheets, paparazzi had left.

It reminded Steve of when they all stayed in the tower before, even if the circumstances were different. He felt bittersweet hearing Clint and Nat or Thor and Loki laughing in rooms next to him, when him and Bucky sat in silence, eyes on the TV. He couldn't feel too upset though, after all, he had all he needed. Bucky.

After breakfast, Bucky and Steve were the only ones still in the kitchen, Steve doodling in his sketchbook at the barstools and Bucky doing the dishes. The only noise was water running, clanging on plates knocked against each other and laughter from other places in the tower. Steve wasn't thinking of much as he drew, just far-off memories from too long ago. Bucky grabbed a hand towel and dried off his hand once he finished, looking over to Steve. “What're you drawing?” “Nothin'.” Steve didn't look up from the paper. “It's clearly something,” Bucky tossed the towel over Steve's way playfully, it landing on his head. Steve grinned, finally looking up.

“You were too good of a reference not to take on,” He explained finally, turning the sketchbook over so Bucky could see. Steve noticed his cheeks dust red, and when he finally looked up again he was fighting back a smile. “You never fail to amaze me, Stevie.” He said finally, coughing into his fist, not looking into the blonde's eyes.

Steve looked back to the paper, closing the book up. Embarrassment flushed at his cheeks. “Thanks, Buck.” “I remember when your mom wouldn't let you out when everyone was playing in the snow. We stayed in all day, and you were sketching away the whole time.” Bucky chuckled, hopping up to sit on the counter. “You kept trying to shove those books in my face,” Steve laughed. “I wouldn't even talk, I was so angry.” “What were we, like, 12?” “Yeah,” Steve rested his head in his arms, leaning over the counter. He gazed up at Bucky, the dumb smile still on his face. “What?” Bucky raised an eyebrow, looking down at him. “Nothin'.” Steve closed his eyes. “Nothin'..”

 

-

 

The room was dim, Steve had to squint to see the words he was trying to read in front of him. The room was always dim, but he hadn't tried to read in there yet. Bucky liked the room dark, and Steve didn't have a problem with that, other than the fact he couldn't see anything when trying to read. He sighed dramatically and shoved the book away, turning over in bed to face Bucky's side of the room. He was, big surprise, still watching the cooking channel.

“Don't you ever get bored of that?” Steve asked, making Bucky pull his eyes away from the screen. “One guy screams a lot. It's entertaining.” He insisted. “Okay, I believe you,” Steve rolled his eyes, turning back over and wrestling with his covers. It wasn't even that late, the sun had only just set, but here they were just as the nights before, sat in their beds without a word.

He felt frustrated. He had seen everyone make progress, open up. He had comforted Wanda the previous day about what they went through in the Soul Stone, what had even happened. He had expected to do that with Bucky, but they just sat in silence, like they hardly knew each other. Like nothing ever happened between us. He wanted to give him time, give him space, but he knew Bucky wasn't okay.

“Buck?” Steve looked up again, biting his lip nervously. “Yeah, Steve?” “What was it like? In the.. In the stone.” Bucky's face immediately dropped, and he looked back to the TV. “I just-” “It's fine, Steve,” Bucky sighed through clenched teeth. He looked almost defeated. Steve got up, going over and sitting on the edge of Bucky's bed, looking at him expectantly.

Bucky stayed silent for a moment longer, before finally turning back to look at Steve. “3.5 billion people, but nobody spoke. They just huddled together, looking at T'Challa for guidance. He kept everyone in line.” Bucky's fingers were messing with a loose string on his sheets, brown hair falling into his eyes. “I stayed with Sam and the kid for most of the time, but everyone was there. It wasn't heaven. Only the people dusted where there, I didn't see.. Pietro, was it? I was hoping ma' and pa' would be there, but they weren't. Even then, it was still so lonely. Nobody knew what was going on. We were always hungry and tired, but we had nothing to eat and nowhere to sleep. The kid was the only one who really kept everyone from giving up.” He stopped for a moment, before looking up again. “I was so scared, Steve.”

Steve knew that look. Bucky, despite the tough exterior, looked so small, and fearful, and sad when he was going through something. Anyone could see through it. “I hadn't felt like that since.. you know. I thought it was gone, but it wasn't.” Bucky's fist was clenched against his sheets, squeezing tightly. “Buck-” “I wanted to talk to you about it, but I can still feel it. It's still there, I still feel how we did in that hell.” Steve put his hand on Bucky's shoulder, then pulled him closer into a hug. He could feel Bucky tense against him, but eventually melt into it.

“God, Buck.” Steve's voice was muffled against Bucky's shoulders, and he squeezed him tighter. “I'm sorry. I'm so sorry.” Steve blinked away the tears that threatened to spill from his eyes as he pulled back. “Fuck, I'm so sorry. We should've done more.”

Guilt spread across Steve's chest, and he looked away from Bucky. “Not your fault, you know that.” Bucky murmured quietly, looking down as well. “Still. God, I'm sorry.” “You got us out. You killed that fucking monster, you fixed it. I'm so fucking grateful for that. And now,” Bucky paused. “We're together again. Just how we wanted to spend the days when we were younger.”

Steve's heard jumped, a warm feeling spreading across his chest before it was replaced with guilt once more. He wanted to hug Bucky again, for whatever reason. The guilt stopped him from doing so. “Yeah. Yeah, you're right.” Steve let out a shuttered sigh, looking back up at Bucky and smiling sadly. “Thank you for trusting me.” “Thank you for making me trust you.”

Chapter Text

Bucky slept through the night for what seemed like the first time since Wakanda. He woke in the morning to Steve shaking him awake, the smell of bacon sifting through the air. He groaned, blinking open his eyes. “Sorry Buck, but I know you'd be mad at me if I let you sleep through your favorite.” Bucky groaned again, swatting at Steve's face and turning over on his side. “I will drag you out here.” Steve threatened playfully. “I miss when you couldn't do that.” Bucky grumbled, but threw his sheets off his body and sat up, running his one hand through his hair to push it out of his face.

“Come on, jerk, or Thor's gonna take all of it.” Bucky swung his legs over the bed and followed Steve out of the room. He saw everyone sat at the barstools (Peter and Clint on the counter), eating breakfast. But something felt.. off. Everyone was talking, yes, but not about anything in particular. It was just various “yeah”'s and “of course”'s. “The hell's going on?” Bucky leaned into whisper into Steve's ear.

“You guys are horrible actors.” Tony barged into the room before Steve got a chance to reply, holding a box in his grip. “Here,” He shoved it towards Bucky, before turning towards Peter's plate and snagging a piece of bacon off it. “What is this?” Bucky murmured, looking up to Steve again. “Just open it, Buck.” Steve chuckled softly. “Too damn early for this,” Bucky muttered, but put the box on the counter and opened it with his one hand. Inside lied a robotic arm. It looked similar to the arm he got in Wakanda, but it was hued blue instead of green.

Bucky ran his finger across it slowly, and looked up at Tony again. “Ya' like it?” Tony's voiced was muffled by a bagel. “Y-uh, yeah,” Bucky said. “Thanks.” “We'll get it attached after breakfast, I've been working on that thing all night.” “You never know when to stop do you?” Steve rolled his eyes, but returned his gaze to Bucky after a moment. “Do you like it?” “I already answered that question.” “Well, yeah, but do you? I, uh.. helped a bit on the design and stuff.” Steve said sheepishly. “I love it, Stevie. It's all I could've ever asked for.” Bucky offered a genuine smile.

Steve seemed satisfied with that, and ruffled Bucky's hair. “Welp, if I didn't have bedhead before, I certainly have it now.”

 

-

 

“Okay, try to move it,” Tony instructed. Bucky complied, and the bionic arm bent in response. He wiggled his fingers and stretched out the arm, not taking his eyes off it. “I think it's good.” He said. “Come back to me if it's got any problems.” Tony crossed his arms, a satisfied grin on his face. “Not like there will be any.” “Thank you, Tony.” Steve spoke for Bucky. “Uh, y-yeah. Thanks, man.” Bucky coughed, looking up finally. “Eh, don't worry about it. Needed something to work on to get settled back into this place.” Tony shrugged. “Now get out of here, I have things to attend to.”

The billionaire pushed the two out of the lab, shutting the giant door behind them. “What do you think?” Steve looked at Bucky expectantly. “It's weird, I guess. I appreciate it, I really do- It's just..” Bucky paused. “I don't think I deserve another high-tech murder arm.” “Well, you're technically an Avenger now, and I don't think any old arm would help in a battle.” Steve teased. “I guess,” Bucky rolled his eyes, but followed Steve back to the den area. Peter was sat in front of the TV on the floor, a guitar in his arms, eyes on the TV. It looked more like a youtube tutorial than a television program- not that Steve or Bucky knew the difference.

The boy looked up when he saw the two enter the room, and offered a smile. “Hi,” He greeted. “Hey kid,” Bucky rolled onto the couch nearest to the kid, messing with his arm a bit. Steve smiled. Guess they did become close during their.. situation. “What're you doing?” Bucky finally looked up. “I'm trying to learn this song, but it's really difficult playing again after not for so long,” Pete explained, strumming the guitar absent-mindedly. “I'm sure you'll figure it out eventually,” Steve offered, grabbing his sketchbook off the coffee table and sitting on the couch opposite of Bucky.

Steve zoned out for a moment, sketching blankly on the page, before, “Hey Steve, should I learn guitar?” “I thought you already knew it, Buck.” Steve didn't look up from the page. He heard an exaggerated sigh, then, “Steve, that was 70 years ago. I don't think I'd remember.” Peter laughed. “I could teach you- If you, uh, wanted,” He offered. “Sure, kid. Sam'll be jealous.” Bucky grinned mischievously.

“I'm sure he'll be so jealous that you can play the guitar, Buck. Who wouldn't be?” Steve teased, earning a pillow thrown in his direction. “Shut up, old man.”

Chapter Text

“Fuck!” “Hah, dumbass!”

Steve sat on the couch, and opposite of him sat Tony. Bucky, Sam, and Peter were on the floor, all messing around with Peter's guitar. “Tell your kids to stop swearing in front of my kid,” Tony said, voice muffled by popcorn. “You swear like a sailor around him all the time,” Sam shot back. Tony shrugged. “I can do whatever I want.”

Bucky had been re-learning the guitar all day, and though he was doing fairly well, his short temper came into play when he messed up. Peter decided he was ready enough to learn a song, but they hadn't decided what yet. “Okay, assholes, get your food and off of the floor.” Clint ordered, balancing many bowls of microwave-popcorn in his arms. “Thanks, Hawkeye,” Nat teased behind him, grabbing a bowl and hopping over the third couch. Loki appeared out of thin air, sitting next to Thor, who was practically stuffing his face already. Wanda sat politely on the couch with Steve, but left room for Bucky and Sam. Peter hopped up excitedly, practically leaping across Tony's lap to reach Clint for a bowl. Bruce was nowhere in sight.

Bucky climbed onto the couch and sat closest to Steve, leaving room for Sam beside Wanda. “Any suggestions?” Tony looked around the room. “Ooh, ooh- Mr. Stark, you promised we'd watch Ghostbusters!” Peter immediately said behind a mouthful of popcorn. Tony paused for a second, before a reluctant sigh. “Ghostbusters it is.” “I'm guessing you've never seen this?” Sam whispered into Bucky's ear, who shook his head. “Then I take it your movie nights are gonna consist of old classics.” He grinned, shoving him lightly with his shoulder.

Steve eyed the television screen intently, taking a handful from the bowl of popcorn Bucky was holding every few minutes, but his eyelids fell heavy, and the dim, orange light that filled the room from the sunset made his head droop. He slouched down a bit, curling into a ball and resting his head in his arms, which rested on the arm of the couch, trying his best to keep his eyes on the screen. Bucky took note of his friends sudden tiredness, and motioned for Wanda to pass him the blanket hanging on her side.

He draped the blanket over Steve's curled up form gently, tucking it into his sides. Steve looked up bleary-eyed, grunting quietly. “Go to sleep, Stevie.” Bucky said softly. “Hmmm,” Steve murmured, closing his eyes again and nuzzling into the crook of his arm. “Guy can't last for 5 minutes,” Sam laughed. Bucky didn't pay too much attention, instead gazing at Steve. A stay piece of hair blew upwards every time he exhaled, and he chuckled quiet enough nobody could hear. But something else was there, something he couldn't put his finger on. Perhaps he's just nice to look at, He shook the thought from his head, looking back up to the movie.

..Really, really nice to look at.

-

Clearly, the Avengers had different ways of waking people up. Nat threw a cup of water in Clint's face, Tony swung Peter over his shoulder, and Bucky was just about to try out Nat's tactic, before he stopped himself. Steve simply looked too peaceful to wake, at least like that. He reached to run a hand through his hair, but stopped himself again. Is that weird? He settled for, “Uh, Steve. Wake up.” Steve stirred after a moment, murmuring blearily with a puff.

“The movie's over, Steve.” “Mrmmm, what time is it?” Steve rubbed his face with a hand. “Uh, like 10:30, I think.” “We were afraid you went back under the ice, Cap.” Tony teased, ignoring the whining teenager on his shoulder. “Yeah, yeah,” Steve murmured, sitting up again. “C'mon, Stevie, let's go to bed.” “Where's Sam?” Steve slurred sleepily as Bucky helped him up. “He already left.” Bucky explained, letting Steve lean onto him as they walked to their room. “Hmmmmm,” Steve hummed, his eyes closed as he walked. “Shit, Steve, you're really out of it.” Bucky laughed, pushing him onto his bed when they arrived. “Don't say that, that's a bad word.”

“That's not the Steve I remember, cursing up a storm the second he saw a guy two times bigger than him he didn't like.” Bucky rolled his eyes, going over to his own bed and sitting down. “Yeah, yeah,” Steve rested his head down on his pillow, gazing dreamily Bucky's way. “Go back to bed, punk. You clearly need it.” “You'll be here in the morning?” Bucky laughed, turning off the light. “You know I'm here 'til the end of the line.”

-

“You were so out of it last night, dude.” Bucky laughed. “Yeah, yeah,” Steve rolled his eyes, cracking his neck and jogging in place for a moment. Soon the door opened and Steve rushed in, grabbing his shield from off his back and throwing it at the first hologram he saw.

Tony was having him test out the upgraded training systems, and Steve has asked Bucky to tag along so it wasn't too boring. Bucky leaned against the wall, arms crossed and his eyes on his friend. Steve seemed to always know when another hologram appeared behind him, and knocked it out within seconds. Bucky watched intently as Steve kept at it for a few minutes, before FRIDAY's voice cut it off with “Simulation complete.”

Steve grunted, coming back over and grabbing a water bottle from Bucky's hands. “Y'know,” Steve stopped to take a sip of water, though he hadn't broken a sweat. “When I asked you to come down here, I was thinking you'd actually join in.” “Well, you're clearly taking care of it without me.” Bucky shrugged. “It's not just to mess around with, Buck. This is training, we might actually have to deal with this stuff one day.”

“We?” “I would hope you'd be there, too?” Steve looked at him, dumbfounded. Bucky gulped. “You're technically an Avenger, pal.” Steve laughed, shoving his friend with his elbow. “Uh-alright, I guess I'll help you out.” Bucky set the water bottle back down. “But I am not ripping this shirt while doing so.”

Bucky slipped off his t-shirt and tied his hair up with a hair tie nat had given him. “Let's see what I can do without a gun,” Bucky stretched. Steve didn't know why, but he found it hard not to stare at Bucky's chest. He shook the thought out of his head, looking up and telling FRIDAY, “Restart the simulation.”

The two jumped forward, back to back and throwing around whatever holograms came at them. Steve even tossed Bucky his shield every once in awhile, who used it gratefully. They seemed to be the perfect team, working together gracefully and seemingly flying through the simulation without issue- that is until Steve tripped on Bucky's foot, causing them to tumble to the ground. Bucky landed on top of Steve, arms straight and palms to the ground. Steve's face went red when he opened his eyes back up from the flinch, and he curled his arms up to his chest.

“Simulation failed,” FRIDAY chimed before the door, of course, had to open. Tony stood there, shoving a donut in his mouth. “..Am I interrupting something?” He asked, raising an eyebrow. “Uh- no!” Steve squirmed up, standing upright in an instant, shield strapped back on his arm. Bucky stayed crouched on the ground, his face red and heart racing. “We, uh, we slipped.” Steve coughed, walking up to Tony.

“Riiighht,” Tony looked to Steve, then to Bucky, then back to Steve. “Aannyyways.. How's my program working for you?” “Good! Uh-really good. It felt like we were actually fighting.. uh.. bad guys.” Steve sputtered out, an awkward grin on his face. Bucky realized he was still on the floor and stood up again, pushing a few stray hairs back behind his ear. Tony seemed to notice the tension and looked into the room, then back to Steve. “Okay, get back to your fondling. Or whatever,” Tony closed the door and Steve sighed a breath of relief.

“Sorry,” Bucky blurted out when Steve turned back to face him. “No, it's fine, I'm the one who tripped,” Steve didn't know why it felt this way now. They had tripped and fallen onto each other numerous times. Why did it feel so weird now? “Should we uh, try again?” Bucky offered. “Yeah, let's do that,”

Chapter Text

“That's better! You hardly messed up that time!” Peter encouraged, grinning widely. “Okay, hold on. I wanna do that one you were playing earlier.” Bucky sat up straight, his back cracking from sitting hunched over for so long. “Which one- Billie Eilish?” “Kid, I don't know the name of whoever it was.”

“Well did it go like this?” Peter took the guitar from his grip and began strumming slowly, the song being 'wish you were gay' by Billie Eilish. “Yeah, that's the one. I wanna do that one.” “Okay, here,” Peter turned back to the TV, pulling up the tutorial.

“This one's one of my favorites,” Peter commented, pausing the video to look at the chords while Bucky messed around with the strings. It was at this point Steve and Tony walked into the room, both looking sweaty and worn-out, Tony in the Iron Man suit.

“Look's like you've been busy,” Bucky looked up, “More training, Tones wanted to see if there were 'bugs' or something.” Steve grabbed a glass and filled it in the sink, taking a long gulp. Tony's suit seemingly materialized away out of thin air, making Bucky blink. I'm too old for this shit, He thought humorously, before looking back down to the guitar. “Finish that up, kid, I'm gonna mess with your suit for a bit and I'd think you'd like to be there.” Tony instructed.

Peter got up after writing down the chords on Steve's sketchbook for Bucky, before sprinting to follow Tony to the lab. Steve eventually came back from the kitchen, wiping his forehead of sweat with a hand towel. “Still workin' on that?” He raised an eyebrow curiously. “Yeah. I gotta get my own guitar soon, I'm with the kid's more than he is.”

“You smell like ass, go shower,” Bucky teased, a mischievous smile on his face. “Wow, I can't believe I'm getting this treatment.” Steve ran a finger down his face, mocking tears. “I'm not the one who decided to train for three hours straight,” Bucky shrugged, earning the towel thrown at him.

Steve did eventually leave and Bucky heard the shower running, so he began practicing the chords Peter had written down for him. He exhaled calmly, just about to strum the guitar, but he was cut off by, “Buuuuuck!” “What?” He screamed back. “I forgot to get a towel!” Steve's voice called. Bucky groaned in frustration, sitting up.

He stood up and made his way to a closet, grabbing a towel and making his way towards the bathroom. Without thinking, he barged into the unlocked bathroom. Steve was stood there, butt naked, and screamed, grabbing the shower curtain and trying to cover up. Bucky stood there for a moment, his eyes stuck to Steve's abs and.. other features.

Soon he realized he was staring and panicked, throwing the towel at him and slamming the door shut again. “Sorry!” He called from the other end of the door. “You totally did that on purpose, Buck!” Bucky could practically feel Steve's embarrassment from behind the door. Why the fuck did I just stare? Bucky's cheeks were hot.

Soon enough Steve barged out of the bathroom, shorts around his waist and the towel draped over his shoulder, his hair still dripping. “You know I hate when you do that,” Steve grumbled, his cheeks still red. “Every time I've done it it's been an accident.” Bucky retorted, following him to the kitchen. But the other times I didn't stare! Steve didn't respond, only raised an eyebrow, grabbing his book from the kitchen counter.

“I'm sorry, Stevie.” Bucky gave the best puppy eyes he could manage, pouting his bottom lip. “Don't you dare,” Steve sighed, before his embarrassed and annoyed expression turned into a smile. “You're a jerk.” He shoved him with his shoulder, letting him follow him back to their bedroom. Bucky grinned widely, flopping onto his bed. “You know you love me,” He teased. Steve rolled his eyes, sitting down gently onto his own bed, setting down his book and ruffling his still wet hair with the towel. “Only when you're not being a bother,” He shot back.

“Since when am I ever a bother,” Bucky fluttered his eyes innocently. “I have a list, Buck.” Steve grinned. “Whatever,” Bucky grumbled, a mischievous smile still on his face. Steve tossed his towel over to an unsuspecting Bucky once he finished drying his hair off. “I'm literally gonna throw you out this window, Steve,” Steve snorted in response, laughing at the sight of the towel thrown over his friends head. Bucky couldn't help but smile too, no matter how annoyed he tried to be. “Buck, let's stay up, like we did when we were kids. You would throw your old mattress on the floor and we'd stay on there all night. I wanna do that again.” Bucky looked up in surprise, finally grabbing the damp towel from off his head and shaking his hair out of his eyes.

“Yeah? What were you planning to keep us entertained with?” “You said Parker recommended you things. You can teach me all of those cooking words on your cooking channel.” Bucky rolled his eyes. “Fine. But I'm not moving my mattress this time, you better figure something out.” He felt his cheeks go a bit red at the thought of sharing a bed for the first time in 70 years, but if they did it as friends so long ago, why would it be any different now?

-

Steve had figured something out. The two men sat cross-legged on the mattress, in front of their TV, surrounded by pillows. They never had this many pillows when they were kids. “I saw him on the commercial. Who is he?” “Gordon Ramsay.” Bucky said. “He's the one I told you about. Who screams.” “Oh,” Steve's lips curled into a smile. Steve had managed to figure out how to get FRIDAY to not dim the windows at night, so they could look out at the stars. Bucky, although not too fond of the height, loved looking at the cars down below, and the moon shining above him. It was mesmerizing. Now, they were lying down, though it wasn't as easy to stay apart as it was 70 years ago, as someone had a slight growth spurt.

“I should get that for you,” Steve pointed forward tiredly at the TV. It was an ad for a purse. “Shut up, asshole,” Bucky shoved him. He heard Steve giggle drowsily, and then turn over. Bucky turned over as well, managing to keep an eye on the television still. He looked back to Steve, who was just smiling dumbly on his mountain of blankets, his eyes closed. “What's got you so smiley?” Bucky raised an eyebrow. “Remember that time we tried to grab those fancy crackers your ma' bought and she caught us? She blamed you for all of it,” “And it was your idea,” Bucky finished for him, rolling his eyes. Steve laughed softly again.

Bucky looked back to the TV again. Not much was on at this hour of the night anymore, not even on his favorite cooking channel. He looked back to Steve, who had started snoring softly, and turned off the TV, closing his eyes and sighing contently. He had almost gotten to sleep when the weight on the other side of the mattress shifted. He waved it off, trying to get to sleep again, when he felt a pair of arms wrapping around him. His eyes shot open and he almost jolted up, before he remembered Steve. He could feel his face go warm as the asleep Captain America nuzzled up against his chest, his arms curled up to his own and sighing contently.

Bucky lied rigidly for a moment. They had done this before, but it was to stay warm. They had plenty of blankets now, so why was Steve doing this? Was it just an unconscious thing from habit, or was it something else? He jolted out of his gaze when he heard a soft grumble, and Steve curled his face closer to Bucky's chest, squeezing his torso. Bucky eventually and slowly wrapped his arms around Steve's head and back, running a hand through his soft hair. It felt.. good. Like, normal good. He wanted to do this forever. He closed his eyes again, breathing in deeply. “Goodnight, Stevie.”