Steve was tired when he and the others got back from a call. “I hate dragons. I never thought I’d say that, but I really hate dragons,” Natasha said bitterly. Steve groaned as he started to flop onto the couch but was bodily shoved so that he fell onto the floor instead.
Tony glared at him. “No dragon blood on my couch. The carpet can be clean- OW!”
Steve raised an eyebrow at Stark jerking and jumping a foot to the left. Natasha smirked as she walked past and he yelped again when she passed him. “The hell?” Tony grumbled, narrowing his eyes when she held up a Nerf dart that had had the suction cup removed and replaced with a thumb tack. “What the hell?!” Tony asked again, looking around.
Barton came wandering up with Banner leaning against him and chuckled when he saw the dart in Natasha’s hand. “Nice one, Barnes!” he called, looking up at the ceiling. Banner lifted his head and blinked a few times to clear his vision before giving up and closing one eye to focus on the dart in Natasha’s hand before bursting into tired laughter.
Steve sighed, standing up. “Bucky,” he said flatly. An air vent cover moved and Bucky dropped down silently, smirking when he straightened up and raised a Nerf gun, blowing at the barrel. “Bucky, that’s dangerous. You’re gonna put somebody’s eye out,” he said, then blinked as he looked closer at him. “Uh… Buck… are those ribbons in your hair?”
Bucky shrugged, reaching his metal hand up to twirl at one of his short, stubby pigtails that were tied with thin blue ribbons. “Thor had giant puffy elastics and ribbon left over from when he tried to make balloons. It was blue or lime green. Figured blue brings out my eyes,” he said, fluttering his eyelashes playfully.
“Friends!” Thor said, coming in from the kitchen. “You did valiantly. I regret that I could not intervene, but it is not of my people to get involved in the dealings of dragons of your realm-“
“Why are there dragons of our realm?” Natasha asked. “When the fuck did dragons become a reality?”
Thor looked confused. “Are dragons not common as they once were? I remember making deals with dragons many times on behalf of villages my father felt should be protected in the past.”
Bucky hummed. “So… dragons used to be real and then somebody convince the future that they were fiction?” he asked, and Steve shrugged.
“Makes The Hobbit way cooler, huh?” he asked with a small, excited grin, even if he was covered in dragon blood.
Bucky smirked suddenly and walked over. “You totally were mentally playing Bilbo Baggins instead of Captain America out there today, weren’t you?” he asked with a wink.
Steve ducked his head, cheeks a little pink. “Maybe,” he admitted and Natasha raised an eyebrow at him.
“How do you keep getting to be more and more of a dork?” she asked and Steve shot her an offended look.
“Hey! That was my favorite book!” he defended. “Bucky saw it in the window at a book store one day not long before my nineteenth birthday and got it for me.” He gave her a pointed look. “What would make a little guy happier than a whole book about the little guy that the others all count out saving the day?” he asked with a shrug.
Bucky nodded. “Even I liked it and I hated reading.” He walked over, and shoved at Steve jovially. “I only started it cause this punk was real sick and was bored and he couldn’t really sit up to do anything, so I figured I’d read it to him since I knew it was his favorite book, then when he fell asleep I couldn’t help wanting to know what happened.”
Steve’s smile brightened suddenly. “Oh man, Bucky, you seen the movie? I saw it when it came out, but I don’t know if I put it on your list, you gotta watch it!” he said, and Bucky grinned.
“How ‘bout this,” he started seriously. “You go get this nasty shit off you, then we can watch it together,” he finished with a snicker. “Cause man, Stevie, you’re green! So much you can’t see the blue! Somebody’s gonna call you El Capitán de México!” he teased.
Steve sighed. “Ha ha. Hilarious. You slay me,” he droned flatly, then turned and stalked off, muttering about ‘see how you like dragon blood on you’ as he walked off.
Clint was stretched out on the couch with a book in his hands and Bucky’s feet in his lap as he watched TV from beside Clint when Natasha and Steve came in. Tony and Bruce had taken a break from working in the lab and were playing chess on the coffee table beside Clint. “Hey Nat, what’s seven down?” he asked, showing her his book. “I can’t think of what they mean by ‘masturbation in London’ four letters.”
“That would be ‘wank’,” Bucky offered and Clint snorted, but nodded, writing it in.
Natasha raised an eyebrow. “Are you playing a dirty crossword puzzle?” she asked and Clint nodded.
“Yep! I’m really not pervy enough for this apparently,” he said, and Natasha gave him a disbelieving look. “I’m not! Like this one! What the hell is seventeen letters for ‘a sex act involving three people’? Threesome is only nine letters.”
Steve looked over Clint’s head and tilted to see what it said as he walked around to sit beside Bucky, who lifted his legs and let Steve sit before resting his thighs across Steve’s lap. “Try ‘double penetration’,” he suggested and then turned to Natasha. “Hey, what time did Sam say he’s coming?” However, she just stared at him, eyebrow raised. He frowned. “What?” He looked around, only to hesitate when he saw not just Natasha, but Bruce, Tony, and Clint all staring at him with expressions ranging from curious (Bruce), to shocked (Tony’s jaw was practically on the floor). “What?” he asked again.
Bucky snickered some and Steve looked to him. Bucky nudged his heel against Steve’s thigh. “I think it’s cause you said ‘double penetration’ and you’re Captain Old Man,” he said and Steve rolled his eyes.
“Oh come on-“
“Dude, Steve, how do you even know what that is?!” Clint asked, looking surprised.
Steve cocked an eyebrow. “Uh, it’s been a few years, I know how to use the internet. Also, I’m pretty sure three people having sex isn’t a modern invention,” he added. He shrugged. “I’m not saying I’ve ever did it, but I’m not naïve, Clint.”
Tony flapped a hand. “But… but… aren’t you all wholesome and stuff?! You’re supposed to be all moral and stuff! You’re like Jesus two-point-oh!”
Steve raised an eyebrow. “Sex isn’t immoral, as far as I see it. I mean, all the bad stuff in the world, what’s wrong with people who both want it and agree to it doing something that makes them happy and isn’t anybody else’s business? I think it’s uncalled for to show off and be proud of sleeping around like you used to do, but I really doubt Jesus had a problem with consenting adults having sex with whoever they want to.”
Bruce pushed his glasses up his nose, looking amused. “You know, I’m really surprised you have that progressive of a view on sex just because of the type of attitudes towards sex period typical to the early twentieth century. It’s cool you feel that way, though,” he said, looking impressed.
Bucky rolled his eyes at Stark’s shocked look and Clint’s confused one. “Put it this way, with the shit Steve’s seen and the type of ugliness he’s faced in the world, it makes it hard to think something that makes people happy and doesn’t concern anybody else is wrong.”
“But- but…” Tony made a face. “Cherry Pie over here just said the words ‘double penetration’. Why is that not shocking to you?!”
Bucky raised an eyebrow. “Cherry pie, what- Wait, you think Steve is a virgin?” he asked, then looked at Steve. They both burst out laughing. “Stevie! Stevie, oh God, he thinks-“
“It’s the funniest thing I heard all day!” Steve agreed, leaning into the hand Bucky had on his shoulder.
“Wait,” Natasha said suddenly. “You’re really not a virgin?” she asked, looking doubtful. “Steve, you turned bright red at a closed-mouth kiss to hide us from the guys chasing us.”
Steve gave her a frown. “So? You randomly grabbed me and laid one on me! I can’t help I blush a lot. Doesn’t mean I’ve never had sex.”
Bucky gave Natasha a look. “Heyyyy what the hell were you doing smoochin’ with Steve?” he asked and she shrugged.
“Cover. What’s it to you?” she asked.
Steve blinked, then glanced at Bucky, who suddenly seemed to connect the dots. A smirk grew across Bucky’s lips and Steve gave him a warning look. “Buck-“
“Oh Stevie, talk about naïve!” he said, then sat up, leaning into Steve so that he was almost on his lap when he looked around at them all. “You are all terrible spies and stupid geniuses,” he said, earning an offended huff from Tony.
“Put it this way,” he said matter-of-factly, eyes twinkling mischievously as he looked at Stark. “It’s really for the best Steve got all giant while we were in a war zone and then we both got froze and defrosted in a time where he’s not the only super-strong one, cause my favorite thing was always the way Steve’s legs wrapped around my waist when I fucked him against a wall-“
“BUCKY!” Steve cried, flushing bright red.
“And I was more than a little sad he showed up way too big for me to do that do anymore, but now it’s okay cause I’m strong enough we can fuck wherever we want to, don’t even really need a wall-“
“Oh God, Bucky, stop! Oversharing-“
“Cause I’ve got enough balance we won’t fall over,” Bucky finished with a raunchy wink and blew a kiss at Tony’s shocked face. “And it works both ways so it’s really great to be two super soldiers now.”
Clint raised a hand. “I told you all they were having sex, you just said I was crazy!” he said triumphantly.
Natasha snickered. “I really did think he was a virgin, just like Stark,” she said, leering at Steve, who was shaking his head, face bright pink, hands over his eyes. “Damn, Steve-“
“Just stop,” he groaned and she cackled. He looked up at Clint. “And honestly, we share a bed, did that really not clue them in at all to you not lying?” he asked and Clint gestured to him as he glared at Natasha.
Bucky grinned, looping his arms around Steve’s neck. “I told you a little PDA wouldn’t hurt anything, Stevie. Now look! Your friends didn’t even realize we’re a couple,” he said, pushing Steve’s hair out of his face with an exaggeratedly sweet expression.
Steve rolled his eyes. “There’s no reason to be all over each other in public. I see it all the time and it’s so uncalled for.”
“Yeah but nobody doubts them couples, do they?” he asked. He turned to wink at Stark. “Don’t feel too bad about it. When you met him, he hadn’t had sex in seventy-something years, so you weren’t too far off base,” he said and Steve glared at him.
“Why do I like you?” he asked petulantly and Bucky smirked at his almost pouty expression.
“Cause I’ve looked after your ass since you were that skinny little punk that spouted off and ‘bout got your neck wrung when you were twelve years old behind Banks’ flower shop,” he answered and Steve rolled his eyes. “Admit it, you thought I was a looker even then, didn’t you?”
Steve snickered, meeting his eyes. “Nah, I thought you were an ass.” Bucky flicked his ear and Steve laughed, but rolled his eyes. “C’mon, you know I started lookin’ at you when you hit that growth spurt at fifteen and got all muscled and your jaw got all manly,” he said and Bucky wiggled his eyebrows.
“Don’t I ever. Swear to God, you’d get so red so often I thought you were gonna kick the bucket any day.” He leered and winked at Barton, who was watching them with a slightly creeped out look. “Don’t worry though, we didn’t start makin’ time until he was nineteen and I was twenty and we got a place together,” he said with a wink that made Clint cringe.
“Ewwww, I don’t wanna picture that-“
“Oh come on, who doesn’t wanna picture all of this- “ Bucky gestured to his face. “Between Captain America’s knees?” he asked and there was a round of ‘ewww’s and groans around the room.
“I hate you so much,” Clint said and Steve just slapped a hand over Bucky’s mouth.
“Nope, no more. You’ve broken Bruce!” he said, gesturing to Bruce, who still looked like he was trying to figure something out but was having trouble. “None of that was necessary-“
“Murr empery mehmemary!” Bucky tried to say but Steve’s hand stayed in place. “Um mum maah! Meeeebe!” But Steve left his hand in place, using his other to grab the remote from Bucky’s lap and find something else to watch on TV. Bucky huffed but laid his head on Steve’s shoulder, accepting that the hand over his mouth was staying.
It didn’t stop him from winking at Stark, who couldn’t stop looking at them like he was trying to figure it out.
Steve had barely entered the kitchen when a Nerf arrow flew past his arm and he jumped out of the way. “What the-“
“Hey! Ceasefire! Steve is exempt!” Bucky suddenly dropped from the ceiling, glaring at the wall. “Not funny, Barton, no shooting Steve, we promised! I won’t shoot you and you don’t shoot Steve!”
Clint huffed, popping open a ceiling tile and leaning down upside down. “You’re no fun. I don’t get to protect my guy-“
“Your boyfriend doesn’t need help, Coulson ducks them every time,” Bucky said, and Steve groaned.
“Why did we let you two become friends?” he asked and they both turned wide blue eyes on him, giving him innocent looks. “Oh yeah, like that’s realistic,” he said, shaking his head.
Bucky smirked. “Hey, I got you exempt from being shot with thumbtack darts, his boyfriend doesn’t get that exemption!”
Steve shot him a flat look, but before he could open his mouth a voice sounded from behind him. “Even you aren’t good enough to hit a trained spy with something that moves that slow,” Coulson said with a bland look. “Also, just for the record, I believe the word you mean to use there is ‘husband’. I’m fifty-two years old, Sergeant Barnes, the word ‘boyfriend’ just does not work, even if that was a legally appropriate term,” he corrected.
Steve just smiled at Clint, who was beaming. “You said you were gone for three more weeks!” he accused as he walked over. He didn’t hesitate to curl his arms around Coulson’s neck and kiss him. Steve politely looked away, sharing an amused look with Bucky.
“Wait a minute, husband?” Bucky asked, leaning against the counter. “You never bothered mentioning you were married.”
Clint shrugged. “I call him ‘Phil’ or ‘my guy’ most of the time so ‘husband’ doesn’t come up, but we got married when he came back from the dead. I wasn’t blowing that second chance. It was before I met you by a couple months,” he said.
Steve waved with a smile. “Congratulations,” he said, and Bucky suddenly brightened up.
“Dude, Stevie! Steve, we should get married!” he said, and Steve shot him a look. “I’m serious!”
“You just want to make a spectacle, you don’t care if we’re married or not,” he said and Bucky shrugged.
“So?! Oh God, I could wear a dress and really piss people off!” he said brightly and Steve’s expression grew alarmed.
“Please don’t put on a dress ever. You are a handsome fella, but you’d be an ugly woman,” he said and Bucky gave him an offended huff.
“You’re just jealous I’ve got the legs to pull off a dress. Yours are too big and muscular-“
“I don’t want to look nice in a dress-“
“Bet I’d be the hottest one in the tower in drag-“
“Please don’t say that where Tony can hear it-“
Clint bursting out laughing cut off their bickering. “You guys, really, you sure you’re not married?” he asked with a teasing smirk.
Steve just rolled his eyes when Bucky took the distraction as a chance to leave. “You realize he’s going to go tell Stark he’s the hottest one in a dress, right?”
Clint winked. “I’ll go find my best evening gown to disprove that,” he said and Coulson rolled his eyes, but walked over to the coffee maker with a brief chuckle.
The Nerf dart thumbtack battle ended in a violent hail of darts and both Clint and Bucky covered in little red pinpricks and bearing bright grins when Bruce smirked on his way past them for the next few days. “I love that guy,” Clint admitted as Natasha helped him clean the thumbtack pricks all over his face and arms.
Bucky, who had healed up quickly, nodded, grinning. “Yeah, man. He was so fuckin’ cool about it! Never even saw it coming.”
“Told you, Bruce wasn’t all innocent,” Tony said as he passed through. “He acts all calm and demure but the guy’s got a real mad scientist side. You all think I’m most likely to accidentally blow the building up. Ha!” he added just before walking out the other side of the room.
Coulson sighed. “You’re all a bunch of children,” he muttered, and Steve gave him a wide-eyed, innocently questioning look. Coulson’s ears showed a little color, but he still glared at him half-heartedly. “You’re not at all exempt from that statement,” he argued and Steve chuckled, the puppy-look falling away.
“Hey, whatever you say, Pal.” He looked back at his book, voice lowering just enough to sound less interested. “At least I’m not watching people while they’re sleeping.” He cut his eyes back to Coulson, smirking some when Coulson made a choked cough and the color spread from his ears down his neck and he turned and muttered something about paperwork before leaving in a rush.
Later, when Phil avoided the common room for the night, Clint looked torn between chastisement and encouragement. “You know, I should be all ‘stop picking on my husband’ but…” He snorted. “It’s so fucking funny that you tease him about his little fanboy crush!” he finally admitted, cackling somewhat evilly.
Bucky, who had heard the story many times about Coulson’s blushing around Steve, just slung an arm around Steve’s shoulders. “Hey, you can’t blame the man,” he said with a dramatic wink. “He almost see’s Stevie the way I do, and if I hadn’t grown up with this punk, I’d have the same reaction to somebody this gorgeous hanging around.” Steve rolled his eyes but shared at small smile with Bucky. “‘Sides,” Bucky said. “He’s already your husband, so I know he’ll keep his mitts off my husband,” he said to Clint.
Steve sighed. “Not married,” he said, but everybody else ignored him.
Clint nodded very seriously. “Oh yeah, he spent way too long keeping his hands off me, I’m pretty sure if I thought he was really at all likely to leave me and steal Steve from you, I’d make sure Steve was out of the picture,” he said with a playful wink. “I’d find a way to take out a super soldier if it meant keeping Phil in my hands.”
“Well that’s disturbing,” Natasha muttered and Clint shot her a look.
“Nat, how many people have I threatened for lookin’ like they were gonna ask Phil out before I managed to convince him to marry me so he couldn’t go anywhere?” he asked rhetorically. “I’m not at all a good person, I’m a possessive husband, I have no shame about that either, cause everybody wants a piece of Phil and if I don’t smack some sense into people, one day they could’ve grabbed him up and stole him!”
Natasha cringed. “Really sure not everybody wants a piece of Phil’s anything. At all. Ever. He’s old enough to be my father and I’m older than Steve and James technically.”
“So?! I’m not the only person around with a thing for sexy and competent older badass men,” Clint argued. “I’ve seen Phil Coulson make shooting people erotic, okay?! I have literally gotten erections from witnessing bloodshed and violence at the hands of Phil Coulson. That shit ain’t even a joke,” he said and Natasha rolled her eyes.
“Pretty sure you get erections from Phil walking past you on occasion. You’re seriously like a thirteen year old boy in a thirty-eight year old man’s body,” she accused and Clint leered.
“You’re just jealous you don’t cause erections for me-“
“You’re gayer than Steve, Clint, of course I don’t make you get erections,” she countered and Steve huffed.
“I do like women, too, you know,” he pointed out, then smiled sheepishly. “Although you really don’t do it for me, either, sorry,” he said and Natasha scoffed.
Bucky raised a hand. “Fun fact! You’ve all said the word ‘erections’ so much it doesn’t even sound funny anymore. Spoilsports,” he added with an amused chuckle.
Clint leered. “Well, when you get to be elderly like you two, it’s totally normal to not get them anymore, so obviously you’re sensitive to the subject-“
“Oh shut the fuck up, you know for a fact my sex life is better than yours,” Bucky said with a cocky grin.
Steve turned to him, raising and eyebrow. “He knows for a ‘fact’, huh? And how exactly would he?” he asked and Bucky shrugged, not even looking ashamed of himself.
“Cause he happened to be trying to get a shot at me from the vents two days ago and saw and heard that thing you do with your tongue-“
“Bucky!” Steve groaned, cheeks flushing. “Oh God.” He slapped a hand over his face.
“And then he got stuck in the vent and was there the whooooole next two hours until you went to take a shower and I took pity on him and helped him not get stuck,” Bucky said and Clint just grinned.
He gave Steve an impressed nod. “Gotta say, for an old guy, and judging by what I could hear, somebody’s damn good at what he does, if you know what I mean.” Steve flushed and Clint turned to Bucky. “Still, not necessarily proof your sex life is better. Quality, not quantity, man.” He winked. “Nothing like going a month and a half without more than texts and the occasional phone call then coming home and getting ambushed as soon as you’re in the door and spending all night screwing.”
Natasha made a face. “I was unfortunately staying in the other bedroom on their floor one of those nights,” she said, miming gagging. “Of all the times I considered killing myself, that was the closest I came to doing it.”
“I love how you guys never noticed Barnes and Rogers were a couple and now you’re all sitting around talking about your sex lives,” a voice said from the elevators and Steve shot up, beaming.
“Sam!” he said, hopping over the back of the couch to meet him and draw him into a hug.
Bucky rolled his eyes. “You only noticed we were an item because you wanted to get with Stevie but he was still in love with me,” he argued and Sam laughed, walking over to slap Bucky’s hand.
“I can definitely say I did not want to get with Steve,” he said, flopping on the couch beside Bucky. “The being hung up on you thing, that was true, though.” He looked at the others. “Anyways, what’d Stark call me here for?” he asked them, only to have the elevators open and all the others come out.
“The answer to that, Wilson, is nothing good,” Coulson said as he walked over in the front of the group, gesturing for all the rest of them to sit. He held up a file. “I just received word that a small, almost rogue division of the Army has invoked legal procedures to take custody of Captain Rogers.”
“Who the fuck-“
“No way in hell-“
“Hey!” Clint interrupted, standing up. “Calm down and let him finish,” he said, walking over to stand beside Coulson. “Phil, Hon, what’s going on?”
Phil sighed, throwing the file down on the coffee table. “It appears that, legally, Rogers is technically still US Army property, even all this time later, and this man wants to ‘study’ a super soldier.”
“Let me guess,” Bruce muttered, a cynical smile on his face. “A certain general with an obsession with the super soldier potential?”
Phil nodded. “General Ross. Stark managed to finally legally shut him down in trying to get you, so now he’s gone after Steve.”
“How the fuck is Steve anybody’s ‘property’?!” Bucky spat angrily. “He’s a person, not a fuckin’ object. He’s not a gun, or even a pet dog, he’s a man! Last I heard, this is still America,” he growled.
Coulson shook his head. “The bottom line is that he consented to that study and, apparently, there’s no statute of limitations on signing your body over to science.”
Steve was too shell-shocked to say anything, but the others didn’t have that problem. “JARVIS, relay all this to Pepper real-time, and tell her to get legal on it!” Stark called.
“Want me to take him out?” Natasha asked. “I’ll totally take him out.”
“Second that motion,” Clint said, raising his hand.
Bruce shook his head. “You have no idea who you’re dealing with. This man is dangerous. Even you, Natasha, would have no way to get to him. He chased me around the globe twice trying to get his hands on the Hulk, and it was only SHIELD intervention that has me not strapped to a table being experimented on like he wants to do to Steve now. There’s a reason I never leave this tower now that SHIELD is gone and Tony is all I have protecting me,” he stressed, looking more afraid than any of them had ever seen him.
Phil nodded. “And the government is on his side this time. Not ours.” He shook his head. “You know what I’m doing trying to rebuild SHIELD, but we don’t have shit as far as control goes. We can’t do a damn thing against the US Army.”
“But he’s a human being, and more than that, he’s a public figure,” Sam said carefully. “If he was a random guy then maybe they could get their hands on him, but he’s Captain America. The American people would not at all be down with the government experimenting on Captain America. And that’s one thing nobody can stop, public opinion.”
Clint shrugged. “Yeah, but Steve stays out of the limelight. He’s always doing things anonymously outside of saving the world on occasion. Who says people notice he’s missing until it’s too late?” he asked.
“Yes!” Stark cried. “Merida has it right, PR!” He clapped his hands together as he stood. “I’m good at PR, this is something I can work with! We need to get Cap a more established public presence.”
“And maybe remind these asshats that Steve’s boyfriend is the Winter Soldier,” Natasha added. “Sure, James isn’t all ‘murder machine’ since we’ve recovered him, and maybe he’s officially been pardoned, but the essence of the Winter Soldier is that he’s basically the anti-super hero. ‘Fuck justice, kill people’ kinda thing.” She shrugged. “General Ross might think twice about pissing off Captain America’s Soviet Assassin boyfriend.”
Bucky grumbled. “He better fuckin’ think twice about pissing me off,” he warned, curling his arm protectively around Steve’s shoulders. Steve still was mostly staring blankly at Coulson. “Historically, hurting one of us never works out well for whoever did it when the other one finds your ass,” he added. “Been that way since the thirties, gonna keep being that way.” Steve sluggishly stood up and Bucky frowned. “Steve? You okay?”
Steve swallowed hard, still staring into empty space. “I don’t- I don’t feel well,” he mumbled, walking slowly, almost shuffling past Coulson and towards the elevators.
Bucky’s heart was heavy as he approached the bed and saw the tight lines of Steve’s shoulders. Rather than try to talk, Bucky just slid into the bed behind him. He slid closer and curled his arm around Steve’s waist. Almost as soon as he settled, Steve rolled over in his hold and curled with his head on Bucky’s chest. “What if they get me?” Steve asked in a muffled voice. “Bucky, these people go after the Hulk, what am I next to that?”
Bucky clenched his jaw, curling his metal fingers in Steve’s hair, flexing them where he could see them. “They won’t get you,” he promised. Bucky couldn’t remember everything from before being the Winter Soldier, but he remembered Zola’s lab. He remembered being strapped to a table, he remembered being experimented on, and he remembered how terrified he was the whole time. The fear was worse that the pain. He had no idea what was happening to him or who was doing it. The helplessness of being held down and knowing there was no way to escape or defend himself was one of the worst things Bucky had ever felt. As he held Steve close, he knew that he’d to anything to keep that from happening to Steve.
“Bucky, you can’t know that,” Steve murmured and Bucky shushed him, kissing his hair gently.
Bucky slotted his thighs together with Steve’s and held him close enough that their bodies were pressed together entirely, Steve’s head tucked under his chin, Steve’s body pressed to his, Steve’s arms tight around his waist. Bucky took a breath and stuttered on the exhale, trying to think of what he could possibly say. He closed his eyes and breathed out. “Steve, I will never let somebody take you and experiment on you,” he murmured. “I’d burn them all for trying to touch you.”
Steve sighed heavily, his back rising and falling under Bucky’s hand. “Bucky…” Steve sighed and shook his head.
“No, Stevie,” Bucky murmured, kissing his hair again. “I haven’t been lookin’ after you like I promised I would the last few years and you got your ass in big trouble. Now, though, I’m back and I’m much better… equipped -” He felt Steve flinch some. “- to take care of you. This Ross fella got after Bruce before, but Bruce didn’t have a pissed off best friend with the capacity to murder everybody involved.”
Steve chuckled some. “You mean that, don’t you?”
“Always, Pal,” Bucky whispered. Steve snuggled closer and Bucky clung to him, holding him close.
It would take a lot more than an asshole General and his bloodlust to get to Steve if Bucky had anything to say about it.
For a little while, things continued on as usual. Steve was more withdrawn and Bucky was more on edge, waiting for something bad to happen, but Pepper reassured them all that the legal team was finding a way to rescind Steve’s agreement to be studied by the US Army on the grounds that he died legally when he crashed into the arctic, therefore, legal death voided all contracts he had at the time.
She did, however reluctantly, agree with Tony that making Captain America more visible in the media was a good way to protect him. If there were fans taking photos of him more often, he was less likely to face being captured by Ross’s men. She recommended against Bucky becoming involved in Steve’s visibility, but the minute she confirmed that Steve would be safer if he was more visible, he started going out with Steve more. He got Steve to take him to events Steve had to go to, he started making Steve actually attend Stark charity events, and he started paying attention to what people online said about Steve.
When he found that there were only a few photos of Steve not in his uniform that showed his face clearly, Bucky decided to change that. He created an Instagram account under the name ActualBuckyB and decided to show the world the many faces of Steve.
It pretty much made Pepper annoyed but amused everybody else. Steve gave some token protests at the start, but after a while he didn’t seem to have an issue with Bucky saying ‘smile!’ and snapping a photo.
Photos of things like Steve sitting at the counter stirring milk into his coffee, Steve pink in the cheeks from his morning run, and Steve leaned close talking to Tony about something on the tablet between them were exactly what would make him seem human in the eyes of others and what Bucky hoped would keep Ross’s hands off of him.
Steve wasn’t even in the room the first time Tony yelled, “Everybody look!” and turned up the TV. The channel was some celebrity news channel and moments before, Tony had been watching them critique Pepper’s outfit at a gallery opening, but when the others came over to the couch and saw what he was talking about, it became apparent why he called them over.
“In other news, the newest semi-scandal by far has to be Captain America himself spotted on the red carpet at the latest Stark Industries charity ball with his usually reclusive boyfriend. That’s right, while it has been rumored for ages and mentioned once or twice in the past year or two, other than the occasional fan photo, this is the first time ever that Captain Rogers, America’s hero, has brought his partner to an event as his date for the evening.” There was a video of Steve and Bucky walking with Natasha, her arms hooked through both of theirs as they passed all the cameras that Tony and Pepper were posting for. Natasha broke off at the end of it and moved to greet someone from the security team and the footage followed as Bucky closed the gap and slid his hand into Steve’s, grinning mischievously as he said something to Steve and then brushed a kiss to his cheek before they started moving again and headed up the steps and through the doors. “The couple weren’t available for comment, but the footage leaves no doubt to those who didn’t truly believe the news the Avengers PR representative confirmed this year, that the former terrorist known as the Winter Soldier really is Sergeant James Barnes, Captain Rogers’s childhood sweetheart, rescued and recovered after all these years.”
“Awwwwww,” Clint cooed. “You’re his childhood sweetheart,” he said, batting his eyelashes at Bucky.
Bucky winked. “Well they ain’t wrong.”
“Who’s not wrong?” They turned to see Steve coming off the elevator and Stark whined.
“Dammit, you just missed it! It was great, Steve, they were showing you and Bucky on TV,” he said, gesturing to the screen that had moved on to the latest rock star’s dick pic scandal.
Clint smirked. “They called Bucky your childhood sweetheart.”
Steve looked a little amused as he plopped down beside Bucky. “Well, he is my sweetheart,” he said with a shrug, slinging his arm around Bucky’s shoulders.
Bucky grinned and leaned into his side some. “Damn straight, Dollface.” He turned and pressed his lips to Steve’s jaw, smiling when Steve turned and caught him in a quick kiss.
Tony looked at them with utter disgust on his face. “Ew, that was gross, old person flirting.” Bucky flipped him off and Steve rolled his eyes. “Also, really, Dollface? He’s not a pretty girl or something.”
Bucky scoffed, reaching up to grab Steve’s chin and turn his face to Tony. “Do you see this mug?” He looked at Steve and let go of his chin to brush Steve’s bangs back. “Skin like fresh milk, pinkest lips I’ve ever seen, eyes the color of the damn sky on a warm summer day, long eyelashes, and hair as gold as the sunrise.” He looked back at Stark. “You have seen a porcelain baby doll before, right?” He gestured to Steve’s face. “Prettiest bastard in all of Brooklyn back in our day.”
Steve blushed slightly, cheeks showing spots of pink. “Buck-“
“See! Look at the blush on those gorgeous cheekbones.” He shook his head, smirking at Steve. “Never could figure out what girls didn’t like about you back then, Stevie. Yeah, you were little, but goddamn you were still gorgeous.”
Steve rolled his eyes. “Pretty sure ‘pretty’ wasn’t a big draw for the girls in our neighborhood-“
“Yeah, they knew you were prettier than they were and didn’t wanna be compared to you standing next to them all the time,” he said, making Steve chuckle. “Face it, Rogers, you’re fuckin’ beautiful.”
Clint chuckled. “Don’t feel bad, Steve, I got called ‘pretty’ when I was a teenager too.”
Stark smirked deviously. “Well you’re ugly as shit now, so that’s a change.” He jumped up and ran before Clint could curse and bolt after him.
Bucky and Steve watched as Tony and Clint disappeared down the hallway, Clint yelling and Tony cackling as their voices echoed and eventually faded away.
Steve was gone on a mission.
Steve was gone on a mission with Stark, Thor, and Natasha, leaving Bucky, Clint, Bruce, and Thor’s girlfriend at the tower.
Clint and Bucky decided it was as good a time as any to raid Stark’s liquor cabinet. Unlike Steve, Bucky could actually get drunk. His tolerance was way higher, but that just meant he could enjoy his alcohol. Bruce and Jane were off doing God knows what in Bruce’s lab so it was just Bucky and Clint left to sample Tony’s alcohol. They decided the best way to go about it was to have some of each and every bottle in Tony’s vast collection.
Meaning that, by the time Jane and Bruce returned with Jane’s friend, Bucky was sprawled out on the couch, more than comfortably relaxed, and Clint was lying on the coffee table so that he could drink while lying on his belly without having to lift his head too high. Clint looked up and smiled when he spotted them coming. “Heeeeeey, it’s- it’s-“ He snapped his fingers. “Shit, I know this.” He squinted at them and then beamed. “Darcy! It’s Darcy, hey, Darcy!” he greeted.
Darcy grinned as she came over and flopped down on the floor beside Clint, leaning her back against the couch. “Well somebody is enjoying his down time.”
Clint smirked. “Yeah, they didn’t need a sniper, so me ‘n Bucky figured we’d have a two-man party.”
Jane smiled nervously at Bucky. “Hi, we haven’t met. I’m Jane,” she said, and Bucky took the hand she stretched out and pressed a kiss to it, making her giggle some.
“Hey there, Jane. I’m Bucky.” He waved to Darcy. “Hi Darcy, I don’t know you either, but Clint clearly does.”
Darcy chuckled. “Actually we’ve never talked. He just stalked me a lot for SHIELD.”
“Yep,” Clint said. “And I like you, dude. Very awesome.”
Bruce casually extracted the bottle Clint was about to drop from his hand and set it aside. “I think you’ve had enough to drink, Clint,” he said with an amused smile.
Clint blinked at him then nodded. “Probably. Don’t wanna get too drunk.” He slid off the table and tried to stand but gave up, choosing to sit down beside Darcy. “Nope. Way more drunk than I thought.” He frowned. “Huh, funny, I usually get super depressed when I’m this drunk.” He beamed at Bucky. “You’re my good luck charm!”
Bucky snorted. “Well that’s a new one.”
Bruce tilted his head worriedly, sitting beside Jane across from them. “Why do you get depressed when you’re very drunk? I mean besides the fact alcohol does that to some people.”
Clint cringed. “My parents were addicts and I don’t drink often cause I’m afraid I’ll be one, too, so when I get really drunk, I usually start thinking about how if I got really drunk all the time I could become a bad person like that.”
Bucky frowned. “Well shit, I’d have stopped you a while ago if you told me that.”
Clint shook his head. “Nah, man, I feel cool.” He smiled, leaning back so his head rested against Bucky’s knee. “I feel great,” he said dazedly. “Mmm I miss Phil, but otherwise, I feel awesome.”
Jane frowned. “Phil? Agent Coulson, Phil?”
Clint looked up with a bright smile. “Yeah, you don’t know we’re married?” he asked and Jane raised an eyebrow.
“You are married to Coulson?” she asked skeptically and he nodded exuberantly.
“Yep! Since he came back from the dead’n all that stuff.” He hummed. “Loved that man for way too long to not marry ‘em.”
Darcy cooed at him. “Awwwww that’s so adorable. Coulson’s kind of a jerk in my experience, but that’s still cute.”
Clint beamed. “He’s totally a jerk. That’s the best part about him!” He paused then snickered, closing his eyes. “Well, that and how damn sexy he is.”
Darcy raised an eyebrow. “Riiiight.” She turned to Bucky. “Speaking of sexy! Is your Instagram really your Instagram?” she asked and he raised an eyebrow curiously.
She scoffed. “WHY he asks! Your boyfriend is sexy. Very sexy. Ridiculously sexy!”
Bucky smirked. “I know, trust me.” He pulled out his phone and pulled up some photos he hadn’t posted. “He’s the most beautiful thing in the world,” he said, showing her his favorite photo, one he didn’t post because it felt too much like his and not something to share. It was a photo of Steve still half-asleep, smiling at him from the pillow beside him, eyes mostly shut, hair ruffled, pillow creases on his cheek.
Darcy sighed. “You wake up to that sight every day?! God you lucky bastard.” She took his phone and scrolled some more while he turned back to the others.
Jane smiled at him and Clint. “You two are sappy drunks. That’s not very super-hero-y,” she teased.
Clint smiled. “Could be worse. Tony’s a functioning alcoholic who gets drunk and does science and blows things up, Thor gets drunk and fuckin’ lightenings things-“
Bruce chortled. “I don’t think that’s a verb, Clint-“
“Whatever, he does it.” He ticked off on his fingers. “Oh yeah, Natasha gets drunk and starts talkin’ in Russian about killing people-“
Bucky raised a hand. “I can confirm this.”
“And Phil is handsy when he’s drunk,” Clint said with a leer. “Okay, so that’s not ‘worse’ necessarily,” he clarified. “But then again, Phil doesn’t drink much either. We’re a mostly non-alcoholic couple.”
Bucky snickered. “Steve can’t get drunk since the serum, but he was always a fearless drunk. I mean he was always fearless, but he’d get drunk and walk up to the most loud-mouthed jerk in the bar and threaten to take him outside and teach him how to respect women or some shit.” He snickered. “Ninety-five pounds of aggression is what he was.” He shook his head. “Most adorable little shit ever.”
Clint snickered. “I love stories about Steve before he was Captain America,” he told Jane. “Bucky tells them sometimes. It’s gr-“
“Holy crap!” Darcy burst out. “Duuuuude, if that is your boyfriend in the background, I think ‘little’ is not a word to apply to him.”
Bucky raised up and leaned over to grab his phone and look, only to tilt his head. The photo was of his toes, painted bright pink the day Natasha convinced him to let her do his nails, but just past his toes was someone’s lower half.
Someone with a clearly defined – and pretty damn impressive – depiction of what happened when you went commando in a pair of dress slacks. “That is most definitely not Steve,” Bucky said, frowning. “I don’t… whose pants are those?” He tried to think back. He looked at Bruce. “Your pants are usually kinda baggy,” he discounted, looking back. “Is this Stark?” he asked, holding the phone out to show Bruce.
Bruce blinked, adjusted his glasses, looked closer, then stilled when he realized what they Darcy had noticed. “Uh… I don’t know,” he said, blushing slightly when he handed the phone back.
Clint leaned over to look. “Hey, why’ve you got a photo of my husband’s legs?” he asked, taking the phone. “Oh, it’s your toes. Ha, you’ve got ugly feet, Barnes,” he said as he handed the phone back to Bucky.
Darcy and Bucky both stared in surprise. “Barton, are you telling me that Coulson A- doesn’t wear underwear, and B- is seriously hung?!” Darcy asked and Jane gasped, finally realizing what was going on.
“Darcy! You don’t just ask things like that!” she chastised.
Clint gave them a smug look as he crossed his arms behind his head. “He was free ballin’ it that day cause we totally had sex in his office and I used his shorts to clean up with,” he said, winking at Darcy. “And that photo is soft,” he reminded her.
Bruce looked reluctantly curious and Jane had a hand over her eyes. “I-“ Bruce tilted his head. “I’m no expert in this by any means but…” He blushed slightly. “How does- how does that work?” He cleared his throat some. “I mean the physics of- of well…” He gestured to the phone, then to Clint, looking like he wanted to stop asking but was too curious.
Darcy nodded vigorously. “I’m wondering that myself.”
Clint gave Bruce a downright filthy look. “With enough lube, anything is possible, Bruce.”
Bucky barked out a laugh at the way Bruce’s eyes went unfocused and he tilted his head to the side, clearly getting a mental image. “Aw shit, Clint, now I see why you married him,” he said, looking at the photo again. “I say this as someone who has been with a lot of people – whether as me or as the Winter Soldier - and is well practiced enough he can even deep throat – “ Jane blushed an Darcy whooped crudely. “That man’s ‘business’ is very intimidating.”
Clint chuckled. “Ooooh there’s no use for my lack of gag reflex. I can barely fit the head in my mouth-“
“And that’s officially more than I ever wanted to know about Agent Coulson,” Jane said, standing up with a full body shudder. “I’ll leave you guys to this one.”
Clint laughed as she left and turned to Darcy. “Answer your questions?” he asked, wiggling his eyebrows. “Or you wanna hear about how good Phil’s tongue feels in my-“
“Nope! Stop there,” Darcy said, holding up a hand. “I only asked about that photo cause I thought it was Captain Sweet Ass’s dick. Not ‘old enough to be my dad’ SHIELD agent.”
Bucky chuckled and shook his head, flicking through more photos. “Nah, Erskine’s formula made Steve bigger all over, but not that big.” He winked at Darcy. “Just proportionate.”
She sighed dreamily. “Totally going into fantasy material for later.”
Clint raised an eyebrow at Bucky. “I’ve got twenty bucks on whether or not he got bigger everywhere,” he said and Bucky nodded.
“Yeah, everything got bigger, right down to his little toe.” He grinned. “Well his head didn’t get bigger or something, that would be weird, if he’d had a tiny head before, but yeah, he was real little and then he got real big.”
Clint snickered. “Real little, huh?” he asked, wiggling his eyebrows.
Bucky gave him a lascivious look. “Hey, even small, my fella had the prettiest little body ever.” He sighed comfortably, remembering what he could about Steve from before the war. “He had the most beautiful, delicate wrists, and he had those artists’ hands, long, thin fingers.” He shook his head fondly. “I could hold one of his feet in my hand. My hands near ‘bout circled his whole waist. His ass was small and round and fit right in my palms-“
“No need to get into X-rated territory,” Bruce muttered, and Bucky opened his eyes to leer at him.
“You really miss that?” Darcy asked him, looking surprised. “He’s a big, hunky wet-dream now and you miss him being skinny and little?”
Bucky shrugged. “Not anymore.” He smiled guiltily. “At first I hated him being big. He showed up during the war and suddenly he was taller than me, he was huge, and even if he was Steve and I knew that, he wasn’t my Steve. I fuckin’ hated that I couldn’t curl around him and shield him from the outside world. I hated that his head didn’t fit under my chin anymore when we were standing, and that I couldn’t curl my hands around his thighs and pick him up anymore, and that he couldn’t sprawl on top of me anymore.” He shook his head. “But then I saw how healthy he was.” He smiled warmly. “Steve could run, and he could climb trees, and he could jump and no matter how cold it got, he didn’t struggle to breathe. He could run miles and miles in the frigid, snowy weather and not have an asthma attack.” He sighed. “It was like God had answered all my prayers.” He smiled warmly. “I don’t miss him being little anymore, because he’s always gonna be beautiful in my eyes no matter what he looks like, and as long as he’s superhuman, he can do all the stuff that he never got to as a kid.”
Bruce hummed curiously. “He was that sickly? He couldn’t run or play as a kid?”
Bucky shook his head sadly. “Not at all. He’d start wheezing just coming up the stairs to my parents place so I always went over to his and his ma’s to play with him so he didn’t risk it. His mother had to teach me what to do when Steve got sick or when he had an asthma attack or if his heart acted up and he passed out just so I could take him outside.” His jaw tightened. “Every single winter, I thought he was gonna die. Every single one. After his mother died and it was just us, we were too poor for medicine and he’d catch things that usually only ever got old folks or babies, so I’d be stuck sitting there for days straight trying to get his fever to break so he could wake up and drink some soup and not die on me.”
“And didn’t he go through basic training?” Darcy asked and Bucky growled in his throat.
“If I had been aware of it, I’d have found a way to get back home just to wring his little neck. That dumbass.” He chuckled. “But hey, he got picked and they fixed it so he won’t ever suffer like he used to, so I’m eternally grateful to Erskine and Howard Stark.”
Bruce nodded. “I’d imagine so. Chances are Steve would’ve never made it to the age he is now without you there to take care of him.”
Bucky nodded seriously. “I remember that every time he goes off and does stupid shit just cause he’s super human now. I’ll follow his ass to hell if he gets himself killed just to strangle him, but at least I don’t have to worry about him catching the flu and kicking the bucket from that.”
When Bucky woke up, it was because the sun was shining right on his face as it rose. “Noooo,” he whined, covering his eyes. His head wasn’t pounding, but it was throbbing a little. He sat up and felt mostly okay other than the head. He blinked open one eye and saw Clint lying on the floor with a pink post it stuck on his forehead. Bucky leaned over to read it, squinting some to read the small print.
“Happy hangover, losers?” he read, tilting his head. “What-“ Bucky was cut off by Clint opening his eyes while Bucky was about six inches away and shouting in alarm as he sat up, grabbed Bucky by the arm, and slammed him onto the floor before stopping to look.
“Oh heeeyy Bucky.” He let go of him and Bucky laughed hoarsely as he sat up some. Clint groaned and leaned over against the couch. “Fuck my head,” he moaned.
Bucky nodded. “Yep, it happens.” He was already feeling slightly better with his back to the sun so it wasn’t blinding him, so he got up and stretched. “Coffee?” he asked, holding out his hand.
Clint nodded, letting Bucky pull him to his feet. “Definitely coffee.”
Bucky had only begun trying to make breakfast for him and Clint when he heard voices approaching. Clint was lying across the counter where he sat at the bar, coffee in one hand, his other stretched out to dangle over the edge, when the door swung open and most of the team wandered in, looking oddly not in costume. “Somebody spent the night at SHIELD,” Bucky said, cracking a smile. “More pancakes, huh?”
“Bucky pancakes are horrible, I’m fine without them,” Tony said, going straight for the coffee.
Steve huffed. “Hey, Bucky can cook just fine,” he defended as he passed him and leaned in to kiss Bucky’s cheek on the way past, grabbing the juice out of the refrigerator to take over to the table where the others were settling in.
The last one in was Coulson, who simply closed his tablet case as he walked straight to the table. “Dr. Banner and Dr. Foster will be up soon and we can show them the weapons we found,” he said to the others.
Within minutes, barely long enough for Clint Bucky to stand across from Clint and eat his pancakes while sharing with a reluctant but hungry Clint on the occasion he picked his head up, Bruce, Jane, and Darcy came wandering in, Darcy still in a Nirvana tee-shirt with holes in the hem and a pair of Scooby doo pajamas. “Good morning, Drunk and Drunker!” she greeted loudly, making Clint flip her off and drop his head to the counter.
Bucky chuckled. “More like Hung Over and Super Soldier Who Feels Fine Already,” he said, giving her a wink as she passed him for the coffee maker.
Natasha looked over at them. “Oh so that’s how it is? You two sit around drinking while we’re out working?”
Steve gave Bucky an alarmed look. “How much did you have to drink to get drunk?” he asked and Bucky shook his head.
“Wasn’t drunk, really. Just comfortably buzzed.” He grinned at Clint. “Can’t say the same for Barton.”
Clint raised his head, blinking over at the table. “In my defense, I don’t drink usually, and I forgot how long it takes for the tequila to kick in. I was drunk off my ass before I even noticed how much I’d had.”
Darcy snickered. “You were drunk as hell, dude.”
Bruce snickered, looking mischievous. “I learned way more about the anatomy of the Director of SHIELD than I ever needed to know,” he teased.
Coulson looked up and glared. “Clint.”
Clint held up a hand, shaking his head. “I swear to God I didn’t know I started gloating about how huge your dick is when I’m drunk- I mean-“ He flushed. “Shit,” he said, dropping his head to the countertop again. “Aw, mouth, no,” he whined, voice muffled against the granite.
Coulson was turning slightly red around the ears instantly before clearing his throat. “As I was saying,” he deflected, but Tony whistled and cut him off.
“Wait a minute, Agent is hung?! That explains so much,” he said to Steve, who glared at him.
Darcy wiggled her eyebrows, grinning. “I saw pictures, it’s very true.”
Coulson dropped his tablet and turned to glare at Clint. “Clinton Francis Barton, why do you have pictures to show in the first place-“
“No, no, don’t kill Barton,” Bucky said, chuckling. “It was my fault, my picture, sorry, man.” Every single head besides those who had been there last night turned to look at him suspiciously. He rolled his eyes. “No I don’t have stealth photos of Coulson’s genitals,” he said flatly. “I took a picture of my toes the day Natasha painted them and Coulson was in the background and his pants left little to the imagination. And no, nobody can see,” he said, glaring at Tony who barely got his mouth open.
Clint groaned, voice still muffled by the countertop. “I’m never drinking again, Honey, I am so sorry.”
Bucky patted his head gently. “There, there, Pal.” He looked up at Coulson and shrugged. “Hey at least he didn’t have nudes of you or something.” Coulson glared at him. Tony raised an eyebrow at him and Bucky smirked. “What? It’s not like naked pictures are a new thing, Stark. Hell, tons of people have seen some of Steve’s sketches on display in the Captain America exhibit, but what you haven’t seen are all the ones they couldn’t put on display out of his sketchbooks he left behind-“
“Bucky!” Steve hissed, shaking his head, eyes wide, cheeks flushed.
Bucky’s smirk grew more devious. “They were full of naked sketches. Mostly of me.” He winked at Stark. “Sexual sketches, too, not ‘human figure’ or anything. He did some of those of me for art class, but the dirty ones, those were the good stuff.”
“Oh my God I hate you so much,” Steve grumbled, hiding his eyes behind a hand.
Clint picked his head up and leered at Steve. “Hey, you’ve got new ones, I’ve seen ‘em! Long haired Bucky with the metal arm.”
Steve dropped his hand. “Barton, did you go through my things?!” he demanded, and Clint chuckled.
“I wish I had, but that day I got stuck in the vent and witnessed unspeakable things?” Steve glared. “They must’ve been on the bed and one of you swept ‘em off in the Quest for Nookie because they were scattered all over the floor and I really wanted to not look at you having sex.” He turned to Bucky. “No offense, I’m sure you’re hot in the sack, but hearing it was bad enough.”
Bucky shrugged. “I don’t blame you, it would be terrible to be ruined for all others like that, it’s a good thing you stared at naked pictures of me drawn like a pinup girl instead of live action.”
Steve sighed heavily, shaking his head. He turned to Coulson. “What d’ya say? You kill mine, I’ll kill yours?” he offered and Coulson chuckled softly.
“No court would convict us.”
Coulson was still a little sore at Clint for days before he got over it.
Bucky just wished it was under different circumstances.
He paced outside of the hospital room where Steve was resting, still recovering from being tranquilized with something strong enough to drop him and keep him out for the past few hours, pausing every few minutes to glance down the hall at where Coulson was sitting with his head in his hands, waiting on word from the doctors.
Steve and Clint had been out jogging with Sam early in the morning when Ross’s men attacked. Sam and Clint had spotted Steve just drop ahead of them, and when they got to him they spotted the dart sticking out of his neck just in time to realize what happened before armed men came out of the trees at the park and leveled their guns at them.
Sam and Clint managed to disarm four of the five men before anybody could overpower them, but the fifth man got off a shot before Sam knocked him out. Clint had been shot in the abdomen and from what Sam told Bucky, he’d been positively gushing blood. They knew he’d been alive when he finally arrived at the hospital, but he’d also been rushed into surgery without much word since then.
Sam had gone back to the tower with the others, leaving only Coulson and Bucky at the hospital.
The fifth time he looked up to see Coulson sitting there, Bucky couldn’t take it anymore. He went into Steve’s room and walked over to sit in the chair nearest the bed. Steve was fine, he had been assured, he was just going to have to work through the sedation. They weren’t sure how long it would take for his body to burn it off, but it had been hours already and he was still sleeping heavily.
Bucky reached out and curled his hand around Steve’s, sighing heavily as he laid his head on the bed, looking up at him. “I hope Clint’s okay, Stevie. I like him,” he said softly, stroking his thumb across the back of Steve’s hand.
He wasn’t sure how long he laid there before a nurse came in to check on Steve and then reminded Bucky that it could be a while still. She smiled and suggested he go get a change of clothes, just in case he ended up having to stay the night with Steve – he had been promised that he could stay with Steve the whole time straight off the bat when he got there – and he thanked her, deciding he may as well go get some food and pick up some clothes just in case.
When he got out in the hall, he turned to glance and Coulson and just saw a doctor leaving Coulson, who sat back down and put his head back against the wall. Bucky walked his way, purposefully walking heavier as he approached Coulson. Coulson lifted his head when Bucky got there and Bucky was relieved to see him smile. “He’s going to be okay,” Coulson opened with, making Bucky relax some.
“Thank God,” he said, shaking his head. “Steve’s still out. Might be for a good while.”
Coulson nodded. “Clint’s going to be here another two days. They had to do surgery to stop the internal bleeding where it hit his liver so he’s going to be fine, but they have to keep him under observation. You know how it is.”
Bucky shook his head at the news. “Yeah, but hey, the important thing is he’ll be fine.”
“We’re just lucky they didn’t all get shot,” Coulson said, voice hardened some.
Bucky couldn’t help but agree.
When Bucky left the hospital, he didn’t get a chance to pull his hood up before the reporters with their cameras and microphones spotted him and, before he knew it, he was half-surrounded with people yelling his name.
It was a girl right in front of him that finally got his attention. “Mr. Barnes, can I get your reaction to the US Army trying to claim Steve Rogers?”
Bucky gave her a flat look. “My reaction? You want my reaction to the Army trying to claim Steve is their property?” he asked and the others got quiet, trying to get his response captured. “They shot my friend-“
“But as a veteran, don’t you have some connection with the Army?”
Bucky looked up at the woman who spoke up and glared. “I don’t feel a connection to shit.”
“But you were a soldier in the Army-“
He rolled his eyes. “Look, lady, read a history book, I got drafted to the Army.”
She looked surprised. “You were a decorated war veteran who followed Captain America into the jaws of death for the Army-“
“No, I got drafted and sent to Europe to fight for the Army and then when I got captured they didn’t even fuckin’ try to keep their end of the bargain,” Bucky said openly, almost glad to finally set some shit straight for once. “You know what was going on when Captain America’s tour stopped at the camp?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “They were writing condolence letters to our families. We were prisoners of war, they knew where we were, they knew we were probably still alive, and they wrote us off because it wasn’t worth the trouble to save us.” He shook his head. “Lady, I decided the US Army could kiss my ass while I was getting fucking experimented on. I didn’t follow Captain America ‘for the Army’, I followed the man I loved because he was a stupid ass that had a bone to pick with the jerkoffs that hurt me. Everything I did after Steve Rogers rescued me, I did for him, not for the Army,” he said firmly.
A man shoving a microphone in his face spoke up as soon as he stopped talking. “So you’re saying you don’t endorse the Army faction trying to claim Captain Rogers?”
Bucky shot him an incredulous look. “Jesus, are you really-“ He huffed. “Lemme spell it out for you,” he said, grabbing his microphone with his metal hand and speaking directly into it, his eyes locked with the reporter. “Captain America, Steven G. Rogers, is my best friend, the man I love, and the most important fuckin’ thing in my entire goddamn world. I spent over a decade back in the thirties and forties doing every single thing in my entire life with him on my mind. I stuck it out in a shitty war I wanted nothing to do with for him. I died, for all intents and purposes, protecting him. I spent seventy years as a fucking mind controlled weapon of murder and destruction without a shred of Bucky Barnes ever at the surface. The Winter Soldier had every single piece of humanity burned out of me, and yet the minute I looked Steve in the face and he called me ‘Bucky’, I started to break through seventy goddamn years of that shit.” He tilted his head. “I love that man so much that it’s embedded in me so deeply that seventy years of my brain being molded like clay couldn’t even burn it out of me.” Bucky’s tone grew darker. “I will always be on Steve Rogers’s side. I will always put him first. The US Army can shove their claims down their throats because Steve is nobody’s property.”
He released the man’s microphone and the first woman spoke up again. “So you’re saying you want the man in charge, General Ross, to drop his attempts-“
“I’m saying if they come after Steve again, I’ll hunt General Ross down and feed him his own fuckin’ balls,” Bucky said simply.
The man spoke up again. “Last time an Avenger threatened the bad guy, it didn’t end so well for him,” he pointed out.
Bucky turned his darkest, most twisted smirk towards that guy. “I’m not an Avenger, I don’t give a shit about a ‘bad guy’. I may be Bucky Barnes again, but I’ll always still have the Winter Soldier in me.” His lips curled predatorily as he spoke. “There’s not a single person in this whole damn world that could stop me if Ross takes Steve, or hurts Steve, or so much as touches Steve. I’ll kill him, I’ll kill his men, I’ll kill whoever gave him the idea to take Steve from me. I could slit Ross’s throat before he knew I was even in the room, and I won’t hesitate to do it.” He looked at the nearest camera. “So just in case you’re watching, General, I suggest you back the fuck off of my boyfriend. You will regret hurting a hair on his beautiful fuckin’ head if you don’t.”
Bucky grew tired of the reporters and with little warning, he threw his hood up and shoved his way through them, not caring whose toes he stepped on or whose camera he knocked over, pushing his way through until he could get into the open air and take off at a jog to put distance between him and the cameras.
Bucky didn’t answer his phone or run into anybody else until the following morning when he woke up to the sound of Steve talking. He lifted his head from the fold out chair he’d been sleeping on and sighed in relief when he saw Steve was sitting up and talking to Sam quietly. “Steve,” Bucky muttered hoarsely as he scrambled to get up. Steve turned and smiled at him sheepishly and Bucky glared mockingly. “What am I gonna do with you, Punk?”
Steve held out his hand and Bucky put one knee on the bed, bypassing Steve’s hand to lean over him and hug him tight, arms curling around Steve’s shoulders. “Sorry for scaring you, Buck,” Steve murmured against his neck.
Bucky pulled back and smacked him in the head lightly. “Don’t go apologizing for somebody shooting you with a damn horse tranquilizer,” he chastised. He curled his hand around the back of Steve’s neck, leaning their foreheads together. “Been a long time since I sat beside your hospital bed.”
Steve smiled and pressed a kiss to Bucky’s cheek as he pulled away. Sam snorted. “Not for me it isn’t. This is what? Third time since I met you?” Sam asked, glaring at him.
Steve gave him a sheepish grin. “Sorry I keep getting hospitalized on your watch, Sam.”
Bucky nodded to Sam. “Hey, Clint still doing okay?” he asked, and Sam nodded.
“Yeah, he woke up last night.” He looked at Bucky sternly. “You, however, are gonna be the one in the hospital when Pepper Potts gets through with you,” he warned.
Steve frowned and looked at Bucky. “What’d you do?”
Bucky shrugged dismissively but Sam glared. “He got caught by reporters outside the hospital and basically told the world ‘I’m a dangerous murder machine and I’m pissed off somebody wants to hurt my boyfriend so I’m gonna violently murder everybody who tries to hurt him’ only in way more graphic language.”
Steve groaned. “Bucky-“
“It wasn’t that graphic-“
“You threatened to slit throats, feed a man his own balls, and the whole thing had enough f-bombs in it that the five o’clock news sounded like Morse Code,” Sam countered. “Also you disparaged the US Army, the US Government, and the Avengers.”
Steve gave him a frown. “What’d we ever do to you?” he asked and Bucky rolled his eyes.
“I did not ‘disparage’ the Avengers, I just said I’m not an Avenger, I’m a man who doesn’t take kindly to some jerkoff trying to hurt the man I love,” he defended.
Sam grinned. “Actually that part was very sappy.” He smirked at Steve. “Your boy went off on a rant about how you’re the love of his life, the sun in his sky, the center of his world, all that good, sappy shit, and that he’d kill anybody who tried to take you away from him. It was adorable in a scary, murderous way.”
Steve gave Bucky a coy smile that made him roll his eyes. “Yeah, yeah, whatever, I should’ve told ‘em how you’re a little punk that can’t say out of trouble.”
Steve sighed dramatically. “I just can’t help it, Sam. I’m irresistible to him. It’s useless to deny-“
“Oh you little shit,” Bucky grumbled, shoving him playfully before slinging his arms around Steve again, pulling him close. He pressed his face into Steve’s hair. “I love you, Stevie. I just don’t want to lose you.”
Steve curled his arms around Bucky, holding him close. “I know, Buck. I know.”
Bucky took a picture of Steve buttoning his jeans, his shirt still missing, and Steve looked up and glared at the fake shutter sound. “Bucky-“
Bucky grinned. “Annnnd post!” he said, sliding out of the bed to walk over to Steve. “‘Good to have Stevie home from the hospital in the mornings’,” he read to Steve before showing him the photo of Steve looking down at his jeans as he buttoned them.
Steve sighed, dropping his head back. “Bucky, why did you just post a photo of me shirtless on the internet?”
Bucky beamed. “Trust me, Stevie, your uniform leaves nothing to the imagination. It’s not that different from the shots of you in the newspapers.” He slapped Steve’s butt, making him jump some. “C’mon, Tony wanted a group breakfast since Clint will be home in about twenty.”
Steve shook his head with a smile. “Meaning Pepper is going to use this opportunity to fuss at us all.”
“Probably,” Bucky confirmed with a nod.
When they got to the kitchen, Bucky saw that Pepper was indeed waiting at the head of the table, dressed for work already, and clearly trying to look at calm and unassuming as possible, which meant she generally had a bone to pick with somebody. The most amusing days were when Pepper and Coulson got into it and, both in their calmest, most polite manners possible, they bickered on and on until one of them gave up and raised their voice and the other smirked in triumph.
It didn’t happen often, but when it did, it was hilarious.
This time, as he had suspected, it was him she wasn’t happy with. “So, Bucky,” she started as soon as he sat down at the table. “You made quite the impression with the media.”
He smirked, taking a bite of his eggs. She glared and he shrugged. “That a fact?”
She narrowed her eyes. “Was it necessary to call out General Ross-“
“Was it necessary for him to shoot my friend and tranq Steve?” he countered, wiggling his eyebrows. “I didn’t call anybody out, I just stated some facts.” He shrugged. “Don’t worry, they’ll be over that soon enough, I posted a picture of shirtless Steve about an hour ago, that’ll distract them.”
“Maybe,” Tony said. “A dick pic would’ve worked better.”
Bucky hummed thoughtfully. “I should take a shirtless pic of myself. Show off the arm-“
“Do not take naked photos of yourself and post them online,” Pepper commanded, glaring at him.
Steve narrowed his eyes at Bucky. “Don’t even think about it.”
Bucky just gave him an innocent look. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”
Bucky smirked at the mirror as he stood, wet from the shower, with his towel slung very low on his hips, held in place with his metal hand.
His phone was held in his other.
“BUCKY!” Bucky looked up from where he was painting Clint’s toes as he saw Steve coming off the elevator, glaring. “Bucky, what did you do?!” he demanded just as Pepper pushed past him and walked over, holding out her ringing phone.
“You handle it. I deal with the Avengers, you claim you’re not one, you deal with it,” she said and Bucky frowned but took the phone.
He answered. “Hello? Yes, this is Mr. Barnes.” He kicked back, raising an eyebrow as he looked at the ceiling. “Nude photos, huh?” Steve’s eyes widened and he gestured to Pepper, who rolled her eyes. Bucky grinned. “Full spread, huh? Lemme check something.” He put the phone against his shoulder. “Hey Pepper.” He looked back at her. “What’s a ‘Play Girl’ and why do they want me to do naked photos for them?”
Clint choked as he gasped the same time he laughed. “Oh God, we forgot to tell him about porno mags?” he asked, and Steve flushed.
“Bucky! Hang up the phone right now,” he demanded and Bucky pouted playfully.
“But Steve, what if I want to celebrate and explore the reaches of my sexuality?!”
Steve narrowed his eyes. “Pretty sure that’s what you spent a good chunk of the thirties doing, Barnes,” he said and Bucky snickered.
“I’m a modern man, Pal, my body, my choices. So what if I wanna do naked photos-“ Clint plucked the phone from his hand before he or Pepper could intervene.
“Fifty grand and you can get Winter Soldier and Hawkeye together for a shoot,” he said, winking at Bucky. “Sure thing, send over the offer and we’ll take a-“
Pepper snatched the phone back and glowered at him. “I’m sorry, but on behalf of the Avengers PR team, we cannot have Hawkeye and Winter Soldier doing a naked photoshoot at this time. Thank you.” She hung up and glowered at Clint and Bucky. “I am ashamed of you two,” she hissed as she turned and stalked out, grumbling curses as she headed to the elevator.
Bucky blinked then looked at Clint. “Wow, for a minute there, I coulda swore she was my Ma.”
Clint snickered. “I could’ve swore she was my husband,” he said, and Steve gave him a strange look. Clint rolled his eyes. “You know what I mean.”
Steve shook his head and turned to leave, heading down the hall the opposite way from Pepper. Bucky sighed. “Aw man.”
Clint raised an eyebrow. “What’s up with Steve, man? He’s not one of those types, is he? The one that’s all possessive over you being naked?”
Bucky snorted. “No, Steve’s not like that at all.” He shook his head with a sad smile. “That’s how I know he’s still not over this General Ross crap,” he said softly. “Steve would usually be laughing with me about the porno mag thing and pestering Pepper. He hasn’t been himself since the whole Ross thing first started. He’s been more ‘goody two shoes’ Steve like people expect from him, the smartass little shit I like best is suspiciously vacant the last few weeks.”
Clint hummed. “Yeah, he’s acting a lot like ‘Steve when I first met him’, not ‘Steve since I’ve lived with him’, isn’t he?”
Bucky nodded. “It sucks,” he said, looking back the way Steve went. “Normally Steve wouldn’t be so uptight like he’s been lately.” Bucky glanced at Clint. “Maybe I should give him a lap dance.”
Clint nodded and tilted his head. “Surprise blowjobs are a good alternative, too,” he suggested and Bucky grinned and nodded in agreement.
Bucky moaned softly as he pushed Steve down into the pillows as he draped his body across him. “Mmmm, Steve,” he breathed, pressing open mouthed kisses down his chest. He glanced up and saw Steve’s eyes shut, lip between his teeth. Bucky smiled and nipped down the line of Steve’s abs, fingers trailing up the insides of his thighs, brushing the hem of his boxers.
Bucky reached the waist of his boxers and trailed his tongue along the edge of the fabric. He slid his hand across the front of Steve’s boxers, only to pause. He lifted up some and looked down as he pressed his palm down against Steve’s entirely soft penis, only to frown when Steve grabbed his hand and pulled it away, looking away from Bucky with an embarrassed sound and a blush. “Stevie?” Bucky asked, sitting up.
“Buck, I’m sorry-“ Bucky tutted, cutting Steve off as he crawled up to kiss Steve. He laid down beside him and Steve hid his face in the pillow. “I just- I just don’t feel like-“
“Hey,” Bucky said firmly, sliding his hand into Steve’s hair, cupping the back of his head. “Don’t you apologize, I’m man enough not to take it personally,” he teased, but Steve didn’t smile. He still looked embarrassed. Bucky had noticed they hadn’t been having sex as much lately, but this was honestly the first time he could ever remember Steve not being able to get an erection. “Stevie, Baby, you can tell me what’s wrong. If you just don’t feel like it, that’s fine. You could’ve told me to stop when I pulled you to bed,” he murmured, kissing Steve’s forehead, then down his nose, making Steve make an adorable face when it tickled. “Steve, I know something’s been wrong for a while now. It’s not just us having less sex, you’ve been very much not yourself.” He kissed his lips tenderly. “Talk to me.”
Steve sighed. “I’ve had so much on my mind the past few weeks.”
Bucky nodded. “It’s General Ross, right?” he asked gently and Steve nodded, hair brushing Bucky’s forehead when he did. Bucky shook his head, pressing their noses together. “Don’t worry about that fuck head, Stevie-“
“I’m scared.” Bucky tensed at how small and weak Steve’s voice was. He pulled away just a little and he could see how hard Steve was biting at his bottom lip. His eyes flickered up and Bucky saw a vulnerability he wasn’t used to in Steve’s eyes. “Bucky…” He shook his head minutely. “That tranq had me out before I felt it and it kept me out more than long enough for them to take me anywhere they want to.” He swallowed hard. “I don’t want to be experimented on. I don’t- I don’t want to be tortured,” he all but whimpered, clenching his eyes shut.
Bucky felt his heart break a little bit at that. Steve, the strongest, most stubborn, fearless guy he’d ever known didn’t do terrified for his own safety. But, Bucky reckoned, it wasn’t like Steve had ever had anything to fear so much. With his super soldier enhancement, he’d live through tortures most people would die to escape. He’d suffer more than most anybody. He could possibly even survive more pain and more destruction that Bucky’s own body had withstood. Bucky shuddered. The thought of Steve suffering even a fraction of the things he’d endured was devastating.
“Steve, I promise you, I won’t let anybody hurt you that way.” He shook his head, swallowing hard. “Never, Baby.” He kissed his forehead. “I’ll keep you safe. I promise. Whatever I have to do, I’ll do it, okay? If I have to hunt Ross down myself to make you feel safe, I’ll do it.”
Steve smiled sadly. “Bucky, that wouldn’t do anything but make me more scared.”
Bucky rolled onto his back, using the leg he had hooked around Steve’s to tug him over so that Steve was sprawled across his chest. “Well here.” He slung his arms around Steve’s neck, smiling as Steve looked down at him. “You can make sure I can’t go anywhere and I can keep you wrapped up in my arms like an octopus so nobody can take you away,” he muttered, stroking his fingers through Steve’s soft, golden hair.
Steve chuckled and leaned down to kiss him sweetly. He pressed his forehead against Bucky’s, closing his eyes. “I cannot put into words how much you mean to me, Buck.” He wiggled down some and laid his head on Bucky’s chest, arms curling around Bucky’s sides, hands buried under Bucky’s shoulder blades. “You’re the only person who makes me feel okay most of the time.”
Bucky kissed the top of his head, settling comfortably with the reassuring weight of Steve’s body on him. “Anything for my fella.”
Pepper dropped a folder on the counter in front of Steve as he fixed his coffee. “We have officially solved the Ross problem,” she said brightly.
Coulson nodded at her side. “It’s actually really simple,” he said, thanking Bruce, who handed him a cup of coffee of his own. “Basically, we found a loophole even the lawyers missed.”
Pepper nodded brightly. “The way it was worded, and the lack of tight restrictions on the original paperwork from the forties, all you have to do is change your name.”
Steve raised an eyebrow. “I can just change my name and that does it? They have no claim?”
Coulson nodded. “It’s really shocking to us too, but we checked it out. The way things were handled then, if you change your legal name, then there is no longer a Steven Grant Rogers for them to claim as their property. You can still go by that name, you can still use it on everything but official paperwork, you just need to change your name by the law and Ross can’t do a damn thing.”
Bruce raised an eyebrow. “You really think legality will make him stop trying?” he asked, and Pepper shook her head.
“Probably not, but if he tries again, there’s no legal protection from prosecution. If he tries to touch Steve, we press charges, he gets discharged and loses his spot Army backing.” She smirked. “I think he’ll think twice about risking his military protection.”
Steve smiled hopefully. “So… I just get my name changed? That’s it?” he asked and Pepper and Coulson both nodded.
Bucky bit his lip and slid his fingers into Steve’s, tugging until Steve turned to look at him. “Hey Stevie,” he drawled, giving him one of his most charming smiles. “I’ve got an idea about that whole ‘legal name change’ thing,” he said, and Steve raised an eyebrow.
“Oh yeah? What?” he asked, and Bucky bit his lip, looking almost sheepish for a moment.
He squared his shoulders and gave Steve a loving smile. “Marry me, Stevie,” he said softly.
A bright smile spread across Steve’s face, to the point that his whole demeanor seemed brighter. “You serious, Bucky?” he asked and Bucky nodded, smirking.
“I told you we should get married weeks ago.” He hooked an arm around Steve’s waist and tugged him close. “Now I’ve got a better reason than ever to marry you, Punk.”
Steve chuckled and shook his head. “I dunno, why’d I wanna marry a jerk like you?” he asked, looking at Bucky mock-shyly.
Bucky grumbled playfully and kissed his cheek. “Cause you’re not gonna get a better offer the way you are, you little shit.” Steve laughed out loud and leaned in to kiss Bucky, nodding when he pulled back.
“Well, you’re not wrong about that,” he said, slinging his arms around Bucky’s shoulders. His smile softened. “Yeah, why not?” he asked, and Bucky grinned.
“You gonna marry me then? Finally make an honest man out of me?” he teased and Steve rolled his eyes.
“Barnes, nothing could make an honest man of you,” he argued, poking him in the neck. “You cheat at poker and flirt with anything that stands still long enough,” he accused.
Bucky gasped dramatically. “I do not cheat at poker, you lyin’ shit!”
“The hell you don’t! I caught you hiding cards in your sleeves that time-“
“Oh whatever you say, Captain Pool Shark,” he argued and Steve smirked.
“I can’t help it people fall for my innocent ‘I don’t know how to do this’ face,” he said, shoving at Bucky’s shoulder some. He glanced over at Coulson, who looked amused, and Pepper, who was smiling brightly at them. “So hey, marriage and changing my last name to his, that’d do the job, right?” he asked, and Pepper nodded excitedly.
“Most definitely would do the job,” she confirmed.
Bucky beamed. “Nice, now next time I need to threaten somebody over Stevie, I can tell ‘em I’m a jealous husband!” he said and Steve shot Bucky a stern look. “Oh what, like you wouldn’t punch some sucker in the face and use the ‘jealous husband’ defense.”
Steve hesitated, but smiled sheepishly. “Yeah, okay, probably,” he admitted.
Bucky just chuckled and reeled Steve in, kissing him slowly. “Mmmm, you know in 1936, the night of your eighteenth birthday, when we were on the roof watching the fireworks, I looked over at you and thought ‘if I could do it, I’d marry him’, you know that, Stevie?” he asked softly.
Steve’s eyes widened in surprise. “Eighteen- We weren’t even together then-“
“Yeah, well, I didn’t know you loved me back,” Bucky murmured, stroking his thumb over Steve’s bottom lip. “Point is, it’s been eighty years since I decided I wanted to marry you, Steve.” He looked from Steve’s lips to his eyes. “Trust me, I’ve waited long enough to call myself your husband, I’m gonna make the most of it.”
Steve grinned. “I can live with that,” he said and Bucky chuckled, pulling Steve into a hug, tucking his chin into Steve’s shoulder.
“You better be ready to live with it a long time, Pal,” he said and Steve sighed against his neck.
“That sounds pretty good to me.”
Bucky chuckled softly. “Good.”
Before there could be any sort of a press release regarding the marriage of Captain America and the Winter Soldier after their small, private ceremony, the news was broken by two photos posted on ActualBuckyB.
The first was a photo of Steve wearing a black suit and holding up their marriage certificate with a cheesy grin.
The second was a photo of Bucky and Steve, both sporting bedhead from hell and sleepy grins, nestled together in bed, Steve’s head on Bucky’s shoulder and Bucky’s metal hand threated through Steve’s hair as they smiled up at the camera, the golden morning sunlight making them both glow bright as if highlighting their happiness.