Bucky sighed as the café bell jingled over his head and Stevie marched up to the counter in front of him. He just wanted his coffee. The sign outside had riled Steve up, which honestly was not that hard, but Bucky thought it was particularly unfair to have to deal with it before he’d had any caffeine. The sandwich board outside read, ‘Wanted – Staff Members. Preferably alive.’ Steve, being best friends with a vampire, had decided this was a terrible insult to the undead community.
“Excuse me,” Steve said with that voice that people never expected from his five foot four inch frame, “who’s responsible for that sign outside?”
“Morning Steve, morning Bucky,” Clint said, like a normal person. “The usual?”
“Yes please,” Bucky said gratefully. “Unless of course you can’t serve people like me any more.”
Clint rolled his eyes and Bucky saw the tips of his wings twitch.
“Bucky, I’m not sure we should be patronizing a business that clearly discriminates in its hiring practices,” Steve said.
“Thank you,” Bucky told Clint as he passed over a tall cup of black coffee. He took a long sip and breathed in deeply the wafting scent of dark roast. When he opened his eyes, Clint was smirking at him behind the counter.
Feeling the caffeine already, Bucky focused on his friend.
“Calm down, Steve,” he said. “You’re starting to turn red.”
“I do believe in fairies,” Clint murmured, reaching out to lay a hand on Steve’s shoulder. “I believe you, Steve. The sign wasn’t my idea, but I guess the boss has had trouble finding good help. The last couple undead people we hired just seemed to think that undying was pointless and they had no purpose. They kept missing their shifts and freaking out customers with speeches about existentialism, and we need people who will show up for work.”
“Oh,” Steve muttered. He still looked put out, but he was breathing more easily under his scarf and cardigan.
“Green tea, Steve?” Clint asked.
“Uh, yes, thank you. I think I’m gonna go sit down,” Steve said. He gave Bucky a look as he went.
Bucky watched Clint as he pulled down the canister of green tea and began filling a mug with hot water. With his back turned, his wings were beautifully on display. The light catching the feathers made them shine gold and Bucky wished he could run his fingers through them.
Clint turned back to him, his hips swaying ever so slightly as he crossed to the counter and set down Steve’s tea. The intent focus in his gaze made Bucky take one of those deeps breaths he so rarely bothered with anymore. Clint clearly noticed and he smiled.
“So what do you say to that kiss?” Bucky asked as they waited for Steve’s tea to steep.
“You still smoking?” Clint asked.
It was their long standing argument. Bucky argued it wasn’t like the cigarettes were going to kill him. Clint would argue back that that didn’t stop them killing people around him, and besides they would make him taste terrible.
“Kinda,” Bucky said ruefully. “It’s been two days.”
“Come and see me on the fifth day,” Clint said.
“You drive a hard bargain,” Bucky said.
“Seems to me a vampire should be able to handle a little waiting.” Clint lifted the tea strainer out of the cup and set it in the sink. “Drink’s up, Steve!” he called.
Steve came and got his tea, and Bucky followed him back to the table.
“Did you two enjoy today’s flirting?” Steve asked. He raised the cup for a sip.
“I might get to kiss him in three days.” Bucky’s eyes followed Clint as he moved behind the counter. He missed Steve’s eyeroll.
“Finally,” Steve muttered.
“Hey,” Bucky said, flicking him on the shoulder.
“Hey yourself,” Steve said, kicking him back.
Bucky caught Clint smiling at their antics, and he couldn’t stop himself smiling back.
On the fifth day, Bucky was leaning against the alley wall outside the employee entrance of the café. It was evening, the sunlight cutting golden orange shapes between the buildings, and Clint was due off any minute.
It felt like ages, but finally Clint stepped outside. He stopped short when he saw Bucky waiting. His wings gleamed in the sunlight, and once again Bucky wanted to run his hands over them.
Clint stopped and then he smiled.
“It’s been five days,” Bucky said. He felt a little nervous. If he could still sweat, his hands would be clammy.
“It has,” Clint agreed.
“I’ve been eating a lot of peppermint candies,” said Bucky.
Clint gave a little laugh. “I hope it didn’t ruin your bad boy image. Those ripped jeans and leather jacket don’t seem like they’d go with a pocket of hard candies.”
“I make it work,” Bucky said with a little shrug.
“Yeah, you do,” Clint murmured.
He stepped closer, and Bucky stood up straighter.
“A kiss?” Bucky asked.
“One kiss,” Clint said formally. “So you better make it a good one, Barnes.”
Golden feathers obscured Bucky’s vision as Clint leaned in.