"I have no idea what I'm smelling but I want it in my mouth," said Tony, looking like a rumpled, adorable zombie in nothing but a tank top and sleep pants with guitars on them. His chest mod glowed through the thin black fabric of his shirt, and Bucky was deeply curious but also too smart to ask.
"Is that a pick-up line or do you want coffee and pancakes, sweet thing?" said Bucky, smirking.
There were already two full plates warming in the oven, with a third filling up because Bucky knew what a morning person Sam was, and he'd had to use up the whole can of peaches once he'd opened them, so he had a lot of batter. There was coffee, too, but he hadn't bothered to make eggs for Tony. Bucky had supplemented his own metabolism with a giant plate of scrambled eggs and cheese so good it actually hid the taste of the powder he had to mix in to keep from being hangry all the time. Tony had actual herbs and spices in his cupboard, so the pancakes had cinnamon and a little ginger in them, and his eggs had gotten a little of whatever smelled good.
"Um, both? Both is good," said Tony with a sleepy little smirk. He shuffled straight to the clean coffee cup waiting by the full pot. "How much extra do you have to eat, supporting all that neurotech?"
"I've got supplement powders," said Bucky. He tried to make it sound casual as he added, "I had eggs and cheese earlier, too."
"Mm, good," said Tony, face already in his coffee. "We should try to clear out some of the pantry stuff, too." He yawned, showing teeth and a pink tongue and a mouth Bucky wanted to just fucking ravish. He'd kept it together yesterday, but after a night of flirting and two very healthy meals with a third on the way, his libido was very, very interested in Tony's other assets.
"It's good to rotate that stuff, yeah," said Bucky. "Storm's cleared out, so Sam'll be here-"
There was a soft sound and the computer said politely, "Mr. Wilson is upstairs. Shall I let him in?"
"Fucking morning people," said Tony with feeling. "Yeah, go on. Does he need a hand, JARVIS?" The name was almost lost in the yawn that followed, but Bucky remembered it well enough to put the pieces together.
"Dum-E has already sent the trolley up on the cargo elevator, sir, so he should be fine," said the house.
"I can help if he needs it," said Bucky. "I'm almost done with the pancakes."
"He says there is no need. He would rather have the pancakes, sir," replied JARVIS, after a long pause.
Tony snorted. "Yeah, I bet. Can pancakes happen at the table, y'know, since we're not animals?" he asked, using those big brown eyes of his to his advantage. He ran a hand through his hair, which only fluffed it up more, making it into a very touchable mess that Bucky wanted to run his own hand through and possibly bury his face in while he buried other parts of himself in other parts of Tony.
Bucky should've spent longer in the shower this morning.
"Hm? Oh, yeah, go sit down before you fall down, doll. I'll bring you a plate. You need eggs?" Bucky put the last two cakes on the griddle and made a tiny show of bending down to get their plates out of the oven, piled high and fragrant with warm peaches and spice.
"Mmngh. Uh. Syrup?" Tony had managed to sit, but he'd definitely been distracted by something. Bucky was starting to hope for a casual fling to go with his arm repairs and emotional vacation.
"If you've got it, you got it, sweet thing," said Bucky with a wink. He delivered the plates to the table, flipped Sam's last two pancakes, and followed Tony's vague gestures to an entire shelf of syrup. He brought the open bottle over to the table with a chuckle. "Right, frozen waffles."
"A man has needs," said Tony, looking up at him with a heated expression. "Sam's willing to fill the waffle-related ones."
"I told you, you ain't my type," said Sam, emerging from yet another hidden door with a whole wheeled cart full of groceries and assorted baking supplies. "You're way too neurotic for my tastes."
"Fair," said Tony with a shrug. "All right, pancakes first, then you can show us what we've won."
"Cold stuff in the fridge first," said Sam.
Bucky finished putting together Sam's plate and stuck it into the still-warm oven. "Let me know if you want eggs, but that whole plate is yours." He stole the syrup and drenched his own pancakes decadently, feeling his body yearn for the luxury of extra calories.
"Nah, I'm not like you and your BFF, who is pining for you something fierce, by the way." Sam was efficiently rearranging Tony's freezer like he belonged there while Tony shoveled pancakes into his mouth and made vaguely complimentary happy noises and ignored Sam completely. "You gotta let me at least tell him you're doing okay."
"You can tell him I'm fine and I'm getting the arm fixed," said Bucky. "I told him the same thing when I left, but he might believe it coming from you."
"Best friends are like that," said Tony, having washed his mouthful down with the last of his coffee. "If you're from Sam's neck of the woods, just don't tell him where you are and he'll never find his way up here."
"I wouldn't be so sure," said Bucky, and Sam echoed basically the same sentiment.
Tony chuckled. "I've known a few people like that. Well, don't make the poor guy suffer too much?"
Sam got all the cold food stashed away, fridge and freezer crammed to capacity, with a very satisfied look on his face. "You're gonna bake cookies today, right? And lasagna?" he didn't even bother to look at Bucky, busy getting his pancakes and coffee.
Tony sighed and levered himself up, taking the last cup in the pot and making a whole new one while he was there.
Bucky chuckled. "Lasagna yes, baking, I've got plans depending on how much of the list you brought," he said. "We'll look once everyone's fed, and then I've gotta do some arm stuff with Tony."
"Once he's fine-tuned, he'll cook and clean while I make your car into a subtle screaming speed machine," said Tony with a wry face, starting up the coffee grinder to belay any argument.
Sam laughed and shook his head, choosing instead to concentrate on his pancakes, which got a thumbs up after one syrup-free bite, and then a drenching of syrup to make Tony proud.
They fell to their pancakes, a smattering of compliments rising above the general noises of appreciation, but mostly being quiet and enjoying the luxury of the meal. In Bucky's case, this was food for which he usually couldn't afford the ingredients, and in Tony's case, that he presumably couldn't make for himself. Sam could have these more often if he wanted, but he always liked it better when someone else cooked and wasn't ashamed to admit it.
Bucky smiled and sipped his coffee, unable to remember when he last felt so good. His arm was working, his belly was full, and his body was rested after a full night in a good bed, not to mention the shower with unlimited hot water. Steve lived pretty well, but New York was still a city of limited resources and SHIELD no longer existed to provide him with a steady paycheck, let alone one big enough to cover Bucky, too.
He sat back and ate the last bite of pancake with a smug smirk. "I owe your mama about three dozen more thank-you cards for reminding me I already knew how to cook," said Bucky, nudging Sam's foot with his.
Sam laughed. "She said next one better have chocolate." He was going slower than Tony, savoring every bite of fruit. "I recommend brownies."
"Only if you promise not to eat 'em this time," said Bucky with a snort. Then he perked up and looked over at the mysterious boxes and piles left waiting to be put away. "Does this mean you brought the stuff for me to make brownies?"
"Yes, yes it does," said Sam, smug as anything.
"I demand brownies," said Tony instantly. "Make extra, and he'll give some to his mom, who is a saint, and ship some to Pep, who is the most patient woman ever."
"If I'm doing that much work, I demand a share, too," said Sam with a chuckle. "Fortunately for you, there was a shipment of cocoa in and I got you three canisters of the kind for baking."
"I knew you loved me," said Tony. "Just for that, I'm going to do something extra special and secret today along with your other boring requests." He stretched and something in his back popped; Bucky couldn't seem to stop staring at the muscles moving under his tank top. "We'll work while you eat. You about ready to rumble, Buckaroo?"
"Uh, yeah, if you've got coffee in the workshop?" said Bucky, finishing off his cup to snap himself out of it.
Sam chuckled. "He'd have coffee in his bedroom if Pepper would let him. Not that she has any say in what he lets into his bedroom anymore, but you know what I mean."
"She didn't have much say before, either," said Tony, sticking his tongue out. "I'm going to take Bucky, here, upstairs and get all up inside him until he's wriggling just how I like it."
"Baby, you say the sweetest things," said Bucky, grabbing their plates and putting everything in the sink, which was now entirely free of dirty mugs.
Sam waved them off, looking happy to enjoy his pancakes at a leisurely pace before unveiling any more of his prizes.
"You got any more secret passageways in your supervillain lair?" Bucky asked, hands shoved in his pockets while he watched Tony's ass in the soft, revealing fabric of his pajamas. Tony, he was pretty sure, had not worn underwear to bed.
"Yep," said Tony, popping the last letter. "You're not cleared for full disclosure yet, but I will say that I can't be bothered to creep on you with them. All nakedness in this household is fully consensual." He turned to wink at Bucky. "I might ask for consent later, though."
"I might give it," said Bucky, smirking right back.
"Good to know," said Tony, waving his hands dramatically as the lights came on. "Wake up, kids, daddy's got work to do!"
One of the bots was already over by the kitchenette, somehow looking guilty despite being little more than an arm on wheels. The other one detached itself from its charging port and came rolling over with what Bucky could only think of as a smug series of beeps, getting some pats on its armature before Tony went over to tut good-naturedly at the first one. Bucky trailed along after him and took over cleaning up the mess so Tony could make coffee, which turned into Bucky and Dum-E gathering empty coffee mugs and plates from all over the lab, while Butterfingers was put on silverware duty.
Tony, once coffee was ready and their breakfast mugs refilled, busied himself with gathering some tools and parts at the bench where he'd worked on Bucky's arm last night. "All right, Buckaroo, leave the kids to their game and get over here. I want to make sure there's no more nasty surprises in there before I do any more fine tuning."
"Much appreciated, sweet thing," said Bucky, sauntering over to sprawl on the stool, showing off his own body in the worn-soft jeans and tee he'd put on for cooking.
Tony made no effort to hide it as he ran his eyes over Bucky from toe to top and back down to the vee of his legs. "Let's open you up before I forget that Sam's gonna come looking for us," he said, licking his lips and reaching for Bucky's arm.
Bucky stroked his metal knuckles over Tony's cheek. "We'll have privacy later, I ain't leaving until this place is spic an' span."
"Square deal," said Tony, grinning, a tiny flush on his cheeks and his eyes dilated, wanting. He took a swig of coffee and turned all that attention to Bucky's arm, going from a heat lamp to a laser as he started to open up the plates and mutter to himself, and then to his AI. Together they fleshed out a hologram of the inner workings, with Tony alternating between poking at that and the real thing.
Bucky would have felt extraneous, except that Tony kept asking him questions and happily explaining anything Bucky asked in return. Those dexterous hands never paused in their work no matter what his mouth was spouting, and soon enough there were three more regulators on the table and one device Tony said was suspiciously without purpose in the current design.
"All right, move for me, if you're okay doing it with it all hanging out like this?" said Tony, gesturing to where the wiring was exposed.
Bucky brought his hand back up to cup the back of Tony's neck and pulled him in closer, so he was nestled in the gap between Bucky's thighs. "I don't mind you seein' me like this, doll."
Tony licked his lips, and it was only Sam's feet on the stairs that kept Bucky from laying one on him right then and there.
Tony stepped back with a sheepish little smile and half-shrug, and started fitting plates back on. "I'm gonna let you clean like this for a while and get a report on how things feel compared to the right hand."
"You two are gonna come upstairs and look at presents with me before any more cleaning happens," said Sam, heading straight for the coffee pot and bringing it over to share between their three mugs. "And then Tony is gonna put his big boy pants on and work on my car, because I can't stay more than the one night."
"I'm already staying in the guest room?" said Bucky, confused.
"There's two," said Tony and Sam in unison.
Tony chuckled. "Pepper insisted. And you can always bunk with me, Bronco."
"Not while I'm here, he can't," said Sam. "You got him decent yet?"
"Three more plates," said Tony cheerfully. "It's delicate work."
"Let the genius do his thing," said Bucky, trying not to blush that Sam had already clocked onto his attraction and was convinced Tony returned it. "You want my arm workin' for cookies and lasagna."
"Too right," said Sam, leaning against the workbench and sipping coffee. The metal table looked too fragile to hold his weight, but it felt sturdy, and a glance showed Bucky it was attached to the floor. There were covered ports all over the concrete where Tony could rearrange the workbenches and still batten them down. "Chocolate chip?"
"Maybe. What's your favorite, Tony?" asked Bucky, trying to be casually flirty and possibly failing, now that he had an audience to remind him that he wasn't actually that good at socialization anymore.
"Oh, um. It's probably too complicated," Tony demurred, fitting the last arm plate into place with slightly too much focus. "Whatever is fine."
"Tony, you make me look for blackcurrant jam every single time I go shopping," said Sam, crossing his arms over his chest.
Tony huffed, and something in Bucky just yearned to hold onto that cuteness for far longer than he was likely to be offered. "Yes, fine, I like Linzer cookies with blackcurrant jam. And you did find me those two jars, which I haven't actually opened yet because I can't, you know, bake."
Bucky blinked and then grinned. "Those are the sandwich ones with the window in 'em, right? Jam in the middle of almond shortbread? Those aren't that hard, just a lot of rolling out dough and stuff. I can do both, and brownies in the morning so they're fresh for his ma."
"I made sure to get ingredients for all of these things," said Sam, looking very smug. "I know the way to Tony's heart, and we both know who'll be mollified if I bribe him with your chocolate chip cookies."
"It ain't my fault he's too cheap to pony up for the chips more often," said Bucky, but for once the thought of Steve just made him smile instead of tensing up.
Sam chuckled. "That's between you and him. Me, I just want my cut for playing courier." He led them further downstairs, and they got busy unpacking things.
There were cookie sheets and some other bakeware along with ingredients he'd need for a lot of his favorite baking. Sam had managed to find almost everything on the list, minus a few hope-and-a-prayer requests. Working the way he usually did, Bucky would be able to feed them really well, even taking his own metabolism into account, for several months.
"Money is magic," said Bucky with a huff, holding onto a jar of Nutella for the first time in ages. "I'm gonna make something real fancy with this so you don't regret however much it cost."
"I'd never regret that, but save a little for waffles sometime," said Tony cheerfully. "Was Pepper mad about the bill?"
"She's happy you made a friend," said Sam dryly. "Considering you're basically a hermit now, that's quite the accomplishment."
Tony chuckled. "I'm a live hermit," he pointed out, though he didn't elaborate, eyes sliding over to Bucky.
Bucky was curious, but in a distant sort of way; Sam wouldn't have sent him here if it was anything too bad. "Better a live hermit than a dead social butterfly," agreed Bucky. He shot Tony a wink and started assembling three sets of ingredients, taking the tablet that Tony had loaned him last night and pulling up a couple of recipes. "Now, get outta here so I can cook."
"I'll go get started on your car, you bring coffee," said Tony, slapping Sam on the shoulder.
"Big boy pants," said Sam, pointing at Tony's very soft, very form-fitting pajamas. "And shoes, please."
Tony sighed and winked at Bucky. "You do whatever it is you want with my kitchen, as long as we end up with something hot and delicious in my mouth later."
Bucky laughed. "You got it, doll," he flirted back, resisting the urge to pull Tony in for a kiss. He might not be that good at social cues anymore, but he knew better than to have a first kiss in front of Sam.
Sam would know. Sam would want to talk about it.
Sam didn't leave with Tony.
"So," said Sam, getting the coffee stuff down, familiar but still a little awkward in someone else's kitchen. "You're interested in him."
Bucky felt his face go hot, but he forced himself to stay loose and concentrate on what he was doing, though part of his attention was on the hallway to Tony's rooms. "Yeah, of course I am. He's interested in me, too."
"This gonna just be a fling?" asked Sam. He turned on the bean grinder, forcing Bucky to hold back his automatic response, to think through his reply before he could answer.
Bucky started measuring out ingredients for the Linzer dough; that would have to rest in the fridge a few times, so he'd be able to work on it between other things and still get them done today. "That's all either of us is offering, far as I know," said Bucky, once the noise stopped.
Sam nodded. "Just make sure you know what you want before you get started with him. He won't mean to break your heart, but if you two aren't on the same page, it could get messy. Especially since I don't have another secret genius in my pocket for next time your arm goes on the fritz."
Bucky paused, looking over at him with a wry smile. "I promise to try to use my words and not just my dick, okay?"
"Please don't talk to me about your dick. Or Tony's dick. No dick talk at all." Sam chuckled and got the coffee maker going. "I'm just looking out for my friends. Tony's known for leaping before he looks, and you're not exactly in the best state."
Bucky gave a rough laugh. "Yeah, you got that right. But, I dunno, it's real comfortable here, you know? Tony makes it easy."
There was a pause while the man in question moved through the living room and up the stairs, the two of them busying themselves with their tasks. Sam rinsed out their mugs and put a little honey in the bottom of two of them, and then the third when Bucky made interested faces.
"Tony's a people person, and he made this place his own personal hideaway." Sam checked the coffee machine and cleaned up while it burbled merrily away. "As long as you know what you want and you make sure he's on the same page, it'll be fine."
"Yes, Dad," said Bucky, giving him a gentle punch in the shoulder. "Now gimme my milk and honey coffee and go bother Tony."
Sam chuckled and poured them all cups, leaving Bucky to stir his own and taking the stairs back up to the surface. It was disconcerting to realize how far underground he was, which somehow didn't seem ominous anymore, despite being behind two different hidden doors to boot. The huge bank of windows showing the clear skies, bright sunshine, and sparkling ocean outside staved off any sense of panic. He wondered if Tony needed the reminder, too, sometimes.
He wondered who Tony had been, before he was just the Mechanic. Then Bucky shook himself and went back to work -- he had a lot of food to make, and there was only so much time and counter space to work with.
The rest could wait until after lasagna and cookies.