Bucky wasn’t a fanboy - not exactly. He was a fan, sure. But he wasn’t the kind of fan who followed all of the Avengers’ individual instagram accounts, and Twitter accounts, and had Google alerts set up for them. That kind of fan was his twin sister, Rebecca, who made no bones about her, well, boner for the Avengers.
Bucky kept it chill, under control. He followed the team social media account and, sure, he followed Banner’s instagram and Twitter because the man was brilliant and reblogged quality content. And he followed Captain America’s because it felt unpatriotic to do so, and it had nothing to do with the fact that his pre-pubescent sexual awakening was tied to the photographs of a mostly naked Steve Rogers in the genetic engineering book he checked out from the library for a biology project when he was 11. Despite whatever Becca insisted.
And, sure, he followed Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, aka America’s fifth-favorite Avenger, because the man was a goddamn disaster and probably the most gorgeous human to ever grace Manhattan. Plus, his instagram was full of photos of cute dogs and he used Twitter to hype up pizza and coffee shops and razz the other Avengers.
But none of that made Bucky a fanboy.
Back in 2012, when the city had been attacked, Bucky had been on the Columbia campus, sitting in a lecture and doodling in his notebook because the day was way too gorgeous to focus on US Economic History, and also the announcement that Captain America had been discovered and thawed out was less than two weeks old and that was news worth losing some daydreams to. His class had lost their collective shit when a giant reptile whale alien thing went flying by and, well, the Avengers had saved the day, and one Avenger in particular - Hawkeye - had saved Becca from being run over by an alien hovercraft thing, and Bucky was appreciative, was all.
So maybe he had some Hawkeye merch - the proceeds went to animal shelters, okay? - and maybe he had the photo of Hawkeye catching Captain America’s shield and using it to protect a kid from that alien invasion last year as his phone lock screen. Who wouldn’t ?
But - again - Bucky wasn’t a fanboy. Just a run-of-the-mill fan. Who had signed up for archery classes two years ago because, why not? Maybe he just… liked archery.
Just a normal fan.
Which was why, when Clint Barton, America’s hottest Avenger (seven years in a row in the annual ‘Bucky Barnes is not a creepy fan boy, and it’s a weird coincidence that his pornhub searches feature tall beefy blond guys bending over lean brunet twinks’ contest), walked into Mugshots on Thursday morning at 10am, Bucky did not lose his shit.
Instead, because Bucky was a professional part-time barista who was trying to make enough money to feed himself while finishing up his PhD at CUNY, Bucky plastered on a neutral smile and greeted Clint Barton just like he would any other customer.
“Welcome to Mugshots,” Bucky did not gush. “How are you doing today?” Sometimes, he asked people that question. Twice, twice, he had asked people that question instead of just what can I get you ?
Clint Barton smiled at him.
Clint Barton, with his tight purple v-neck t-shirt clinging to his biceps exactly the way Bucky wanted to, and his freckled cheeks and slightly misaligned nose and wide lips and brilliant, pale blue eyes and disastrously-mussed hair, smiled at him, mere mortal Bucky Barnes.
“I’m alive and mostly unscathed, and in desperate need of my third cup of coffee,” Clint said, his voice deep and even and laden with the merest hint of a twang. “How are you doing today, Bucky?”
He knew Bucky’s name.
Bucky was wearing a nametag. Hawkeye could read, obviously.
Bucky willed his flushed cheeks to calm their shit .
“I’m good. Great. So great.”
Bucky was such a loser.
Clint Barton’s grin turned into a smirk, the left side of his mouth hitching a little higher than the right, and a goddamn dimple peeked out of his left cheek.
“Good. I’m happy to hear it,” Clint said, and he looked it, sounded it - so sincerely happy that Bucky was great.
Bucky could stand there looking at him forever.
There was a faint tinge of greenish purple peeking out of the collar of his shirt. A faded bruise. Probably from that mission the Avengers had been on in Thailand last week.
“So, uh, can I get a regular drip coffee and one of those twisty pastry things?” Clint Barton said.
Bucky startled guiltily.
“Yeah. Yes. Of course. I’m- Right away.”
Bucky got the coffee himself, since Amanda, the other barista, was in the back going through inventory anyway, and then passed it over the counter to Clint Barton.
Their fingers brushed together, and Bucky had to actively force himself to surrender the cup and the touch.
“Pastry thing?” Clint Barton prompted gently.
Bucky offered up an apologetic smile, and Clint Barton smiled back, and Bucky did not melt into a puddle on the floor because he was a human being with a skeletal structure and he was not a fanboy.
Instead, he walked over to the pastry case and looked over the items and tried to figure out which one was as close to perfect as possible so he could give that one to Clint Barton, who deserved only the absolute best.
“Thanks,” Clint Barton said with another grin when Bucky handed over a small plate with the pastry on it.
Shit. Bucky hadn’t even asked if he wanted it for here or to go. He had just… assumed, hoped, that Clint Barton would sit in the coffee shop and let Bucky ogle him like the god he was.
“How much?” Clint Barton asked.
“For the coffee and the twisty pastry thing.”
“Oh. Oh .”
If Becca was here, she would be having an aneurysm from laughing so much.
Bucky tried to pull it together and keyed in the coffee and the pastry.
“Sfogliatella,” he said.
“Gazuntite?” Clint Barton offered with raised eyebrows.
It made Bucky laugh, and Clint Barton smiled, looked pleased with himself.
“The twisty pastry thing - it’s a sfogliatella.”
“Oh. Cool. The more you know.”
“Yeah,” Bucky agreed. Like - now that he’d seen Clint Barton in person instead of just on youtube clips or internet photos or one time at a distance of a few hundred yards at Pride, Bucky knew that Clint Barton had a little spray of freckles on the bridge of his nose that almost looked like Ursa Minor, if the far corner of the dipper were missing its star and leaking everywhere.
Amanda came out of the back and cleared her throat, interrupting the creepy staring thing Bucky was doing again, and the allowing him to do it thing Clint Barton was doing.
“Five sixty-nine,” Bucky finally said.
Clint Barton’s eyebrows both raised and his lips twitched, and Bucky… Bucky absolutely felt his face flame because sixty-nine, and he was such an immature child, but Clint Barton was fighting back a laugh and honestly, honestly, could Bucky really be blamed?
Clint Barton passed over a crumpled ten dollar bill.
“Keep the change,” he said, and offered Bucky a wink.
Bucky stared, which was apparently just going to be a thing he did now, while Clint Barton went over to the small counter that hosted the sweeteners and creamers and poured a brief, steady stream of brown sugar into his coffee before taking a sip and humming in delight. He didn’t even bother to stir it.
“You look like a serial killer,” Amanda hissed into Bucky’s ear.
“I would never kill him,” Bucky protested, but he made himself look away when Clint Barton sat down at a table in the corner - after getting to watch the man’s jeans mold themselves around his perfect ass when he bent to sit.
“Maybe not intentionally,” she allowed.
Bucky glared at her, but she just arched her eyebrows in a superior manner, as if she was better than him for not being completely unable to function in the face of Clint Barton’s presence. All it really meant, though, was that she had no concept of human perfection .
Amanda threw a rag at his face, and Bucky grimaced as he caught it.
“Go clean out the espresso machine. It’ll give you the best line of sight.”
There was a reason Amanda was his favorite co-worker. And now Bucky knew what that reason was.
He gladly and enthusiastically set out to complete the task. Meticulously, carefully. Taking his time, because it was an expensive machine and Bucky wanted to do the job well .
Clint Barton was just sitting there, drinking his coffee and nibbling on the sfogliatella, flaky crumbs falling onto his shirt and lap, and Bucky absolutely did not fantasize about licking off the bright little glob of raspberry-almond paste filling that clung to the man’s bottom lip for a second before he himself licked it off.
After he finished off the pastry, he pulled out his phone and scrolled through it, looking at something that made him smile softly.
Bucky hoped it was pictures of dogs that he would share to his instagram account. Because Bucky liked pictures of dogs. Not because he wanted to see Clint Barton’s favorite pictures of dogs. Bucky followed like five other dog photo accounts on instagram, too.
“Are you going to start drooling?”
It was Amanda, no longer Bucky’s favorite co-worker, since she appeared at his elbow like some kind of wraith and gave him the most judgemental look ever. A completely unwarranted one.
“Are you going to let me daydream in peace?” Bucky hissed back at her.
Amanda arched an eyebrow and opened her mouth to speak, but before she could deliver any kind of scathing response, the door to the shop opened and the bell above jangled merrily.
Both Bucky and Amanda - and, Bucky noticed because he was an observant person, Clint Barton - looked toward the front of the shop to see a tall, broad-shouldered man with wavy brown hair arranged in some kind of careless way over his forehead. He was tanned and wearing an obscenely well-tailored suit, and his clear gaze swept around the coffee shop once before landing on Clint Barton.
And then he smiled.
Clint Barton smiled back and rose from his table.
“Oh shit, is that your dude’s boyfriend?”
“He’s not my dude,” Bucky snapped.
He was completely unable to avert his gaze as the man embraced Clint Barton and Clint Barton smiled against the other man’s cheek and squeezed his shoulders.
The two men carried on a soft conversation, voices low and rich, smiling at each other as they pulled apart and approached the counter to order something.
Amanda elbowed Bucky. Bucky elbowed her back.
They had a bit of a shoving contest, but Bucky used his slightly superior size to position himself behind the register, and maybe didn’t look like an idiot as he straightened up to his full height and offered Clint Barton and the guy who might, maybe be his boyfriend, a smile.
“Welcome to Mugshots,” he said to the maybe boyfriend. “What can I get for you?”
Beside the man, Clint Barton leaned against the pastry case, still wearing that easy smile, but his attention slid from maybe boyfriend to Bucky.
Bucky made a herculean effort to keep his gaze focused on the maybe boyfriend.
“Hot chocolate. And one of those weird, twisty pastry things.”
“Sfogliatella,” Bucky and Clint Barton said at the same time.
Bucky looked over at him, unable not to, and found those incredible blue eyes fixed on his face.
Clint Barton winked at him, and Bucky blushed. Because Bucky was twelve and desperate.
“Sure,” the maybe boyfriend shrugged.
“Seven eighty-seven,” Bucky informed him before collecting the pastry and then starting on the hot chocolate.
He was presented with another ten dollar bill, and yet another ‘keep the change’ that made Bucky want to roll his eyes.
But he didn’t, and after he passed over the steaming mug of hot chocolate, Clint Barton and his maybe boyfriend sat down together and Bucky tried to convince himself he didn’t care.
“Seriously. Serial killer vibes,” Amanda informed him, once again appearing out of nowhere .
Bucky sighed and forced himself to turn away from Clint Barton and the probable coffee date that was happening mere feet from Bucky’s pathetic heart, and reminded himself that he was getting paid to work. Not to ogle Hawkeye.
He managed to find enough busy-work to get himself through the late morning slump without looking over at the table too many times, and then the lunch rush rolled in and Bucky and Amanda were busy for the next three hours.
It wasn’t until Bucky was clocking out and rolling his tense shoulders that he even remembered to look back at the table again.
The empty table.
Bucky sighed, defeated, but… what did he think was going to happen? That Clint Barton would push his way through the queue just to wink at him again?
He stored his apron and nametag in the back, grabbed his bag, and headed out.
As soon as he stepped outside, he was assaulted with the familiar cachaphony of urban life - sound and light and smell all competing for his attention - and Bucky made himself appreciate the morning for what it had been.
A chance encounter with his favorite Avenger, the guy that Bucky maybe had a crush on. Hell, at least it was something he was going to get to lord over Becca, who had been saved by Hawkeye, sure, but that had been six years ago and Hawkeye’s job was to save people. Bucky had gotten two winks from the guy. Way better than being saved.
Bucky fished out his headphones from his bag and settled them in his ears. He pulled out his phone to find the podcast he had been listening to on his morning commute, and was about to press play when someone shouted his name.
With a frown, he turned to see who was calling for him.
His frown turned into a slack-jawed, open-mouthed stare.
Hawkeye was calling for him.
Someone shoved into Bucky from behind, which was fair, since Bucky was standing in the middle of the sidewalk.
But then Clint Barton was right in front of him, was reaching for Bucky’s arm and pulling him to the side, and honestly? The world could have ended right at that moment, because Clint Barton had his hand on Bucky’s arm.
“Hi,” Bucky said, stupidly.
“Hey again,” Clint Barton gave him that lopsided smirk again.
“How was your date?” Bucky asked, even more stupidly.
“My - what?”
“Your- The maybe boyfriend guy?”
Clint Barton’s eyebrows were doing this thing that was halfway between adorable and sexy - knit together in something that might have been confusion or calculation.
“Jason?” he said, and then laughed. “ Jason ? Not- Oh, fuck. Uh, no. Not my boyfriend. No, he’s just a friend. Not interested in me at all - not like that.”
“Awesome. I mean. Unless you’re interested in him. Which would suck - because he’s not interested in you. And you- you should be with someone who wants you.”
Why the fuck was Bucky’s mouth making these stupid fucking words come out? Why wasn’t there, like, a portal opening in the sky and raining down aliens or beaming Bucky into space or anything to make him shut the fuck up?
“I… I think I agree.” Clint Barton was still doing the lopsided smirk thing, but now the dimple was back.
“I’m sorry,” Bucky made himself apologize. “I’m really- I’m so sorry. It’s just- You’re so- You’re you, and I’ve always- And you’re the best, and you have constellation freckles and- Please, please make me stop talking.”
“I kinda like what you’re saying, though.”
Clint Barton shrugged, his broad shoulders moving gracefully, and fucking hell, did Bucky want to put his legs over the taller man’s shoulders.
“I mean, it’s nice to think I’m maybe having the same kind of effect on you that you’re having on me.”
“I- I really don’t understand,” Bucky sighed, and slumped into the hand that was still holding his arm .
“I mean, you’re you, and you’ve got the hair thing and the smile and the eye crinkles, and I kinda wanted to just sit in that shop all day so I could look at you, but that’s weird and creepy and I left, but I… stuck around. Because I’m fucking weird and creepy and awful and-”
“No!” Bucky grabbed at Clint Barton’s hand when the man started to pull away. He very firmly wrapped the other man’s fingers back around his own arm.
“You’re not weird or creepy or awful at all . You’re amazing. Look at me forever. Please.”
“Yeah? Um… any chance we could give that a try? Like, maybe during dinner? Tonight? There’s this great pizza place I know and-”
“Yes. I’m in. I’m so, so, so in.”
They stood there, smiling at each other, probably looking like idiots.
And then someone knocked into Bucky again.
“Fucking tourists,” the man muttered as he shoved past them.
Bucky rolled his eyes.
Clint rolled his eyes right back.
“Pizza?” Bucky prompted.
“Pizza,” Clint agreed, and he slid his hand from Bucky’s arm down to his wrist, and then to his fingers, tangling his own with Bucky’s.