Bucky watched the mechanic, no, Sam's friend Tony, closely and warily. He tried to damp it down, fake up some flirting anyway. Sam had reassured him and talked him off the ledge, but at the same time he was still in an underground lab somewhere off the grid, no matter how hot the technician was. It was airy, open, and full of tech like a dream of the future, but it was still a place that could easily turn into nightmares of the past.
He twitched at the thought, and Tony made a little noise and started talking to thin air.
"Einstein's balls, these relays are all jacked to hell, who the fuck designed this, no, don't say it, I don't want to know, I just need to unfuck it enough to work for now," muttered Tony, apparently to himself. "Half-assed nerve impulses, miswired to hell and back, and what the fuck, is this some kind of, for Tesla's sake, what a useless piece of shit." He looked up and said, "DUM-E, I need my small-gauge wiring kit, yeah, you got it, just bring it over. And You, hey, bring me the phone kit while you're at it, might as well unfuck that while I'm making Bucky's life better."
"I ain't sure I can afford-" Bucky began to protest.
Tony waved it off. "We'll work it out. You're a big strong boy, I'm sure there's some heavy lifting that needs doing. These guys aren't that great at stuff that needs judgement calls." He turned away and accepted a pair of industrial-strength toolboxes from his bots, one of them nearly ending up on the floor. "See?"
"Yeah, I see," said Bucky with a chuckle. "You do look like your maid's been on vacation for her entire life," he teased, hoping like hell he wasn't overstepping.
Thankfully, Tony laughed. "If that's on the table, then I will absolutely take it. Lotta guys won't stoop to cleaning as barter." He opened one of the kits to reveal meticulously sorted spools of wire, clamps and clips and splicers and a dozen little technical bits and bobs that were beyond Bucky's rudimentary knowledge. It was so different from the surgical trays in his old life, the kit both multi-purpose and well-used, that Bucky felt something in his shoulders start to relax.
"Thanks for takin' a look tonight," said Bucky, letting his gaze wander to the ocean outside, to the storm coming in over the water that would trap them there, if things took too long.
Tony followed his gaze. "There's a guest room, usual rules apply," he said, going back to his repair work. He removed whatever it is he'd been swearing at before, and Bucky's whole arm immediately felt, if not fixed, than better in a way he hadn't known it could feel. Tony handed it off to the hovering bots for disposal without looking up and added, "Whoever made this arm is an asshole, just so you know."
"Trust me," said Bucky, "I know." He paused, then figured Tony would appreciate knowing, and said softly, "And it's 'was' an asshole."
Tony shot him a sharp, vicious little grin that made Bucky like him better. "That's excellent news."
Bucky fell silent, and Tony filled the void with more muttered curses and half-realized thoughts, mostly involving the arm although he also had a few choice things to say about the state of civilization. The arm gave a few weird twitches and tingles, but it wasn't nearly enough to distract him from the strong breadth of Tony's shoulders, his scarred and agile mechanic's hands, the play of muscles in his arms as he worked.
Bucky reminded himself sharply that he was here as a customer and, from the look of the storm, at least one night invoking guest-rights. "So, how much is all this gonna run me, anyway?"
"Depends," said Tony around the tiny screwdriver in his teeth, "How soon d'you gotta be on your way?"
"I got nothin' but time," said Bucky, shifting to a more relaxed stance when Tony paused to look up at him. "You want me t'clean this place from top to bottom, that'd still be more'n fair, doll."
Tony chuckled. "Room and board while you stay is included, guest rules, and yeah, that'd be a really good start. I'll tune up your car, too, and probably have a few other odd jobs that need an extra hand, and have you outta here in a few days."
Rain hit the windows in a wall, the sound muted and the sight beautifully ferocious. "Is my car gonna be okay out there?"
"Oh, hm, we should move it into a bay. I'm almost ready to close up for dinner, and let you give me some feedback. There's fine-tuning to do still, but I got that shitty regulator out of there and replaced some old wiring."
"Even if you hadn't done fuck-all but get that thing outta me, I'd be grateful," said Bucky, licking his lips as he watched Tony reconnect a few things and then start replacing panels. "Do you got enough food to last us out the storm?"
"It might be boring, but it'll be plenty," said Tony. He tightened the last panel and grinned. "All right, gimme your keys and wiggle your fingers and stuff, I'll drive the car in and you can grab your gear once it's out of the wet."
"You sure you won't blow away, darlin'?" said Bucky teasingly, giving a little wave with his fingers before digging out his keys.
"Away is not my preferred manner to blow, no," said Tony, flirting right back. "Upstairs, and then back down, home's below the lab."
"You've just dug yourself out a whole little paradise in this cliff, huh?" Bucky followed Tony's very fine ass up the stairs, willing for once to let someone else do the dirty work. "It's pretty nice a'ya to let me stay."
"Sam said you could be trusted," said Tony, putting on a fancy-looking raincoat. "Don't make him a liar, and we'll be even."