Sunday 23rd June 2019
Steve begun his day as normal, wake up, wash, jog. He was returning to Stark Tower, barely having broken a sweat, with a sense of unease resting on his shoulders. Tony observed the last fact from the window of his lab as he watched the soldier stretching off on the pavement outside.
“Anything interesting, dear?” a warm British accent chirped from behind him, unusually close behind him. The breathe of the tall man tickled Stark’s neck and sent tingles down his arms as he stoically gazed out the window. “Nothing, Loki.” he turned to see the ghost of a smirk dance on the gods lips. Piercing green eyes bore holes into his soul, a moment of tension which he rode out with baited breath.
“Humph, you are no fun at all, Steel Boy”
“Iron Man.” Tony corrected, Loki’s game was tiring. He teased and he joked and he pushed all of Tony’s buttons in just the right way, and he enjoyed it.
“Shall we breakfast?” Proposed the God of Mischief, and - with a glance back out of the window at the beating heart of America - Tony was swept away to the kitchen.
The kitchen was silent. Not unusually, however it was unnerving to the genius, as if he had something to be guilty about. Or rather someone, the thought passed with a pointed glance to the Frost Giant. His skin grew warm and uncomfortable.
It wasn’t the first day Steve Rogers was last to breakfast, however it was the first day he felt so watched by his team mates. Peters eyes flicked up to the Super Soldier, as he stepped out of the lift, and away from his laptop screen, his fingers still tapping frantically on the keyboard. Thor, the Norse God of Thunder, was the only one to ignore him. Instead, staring forlornly at an empty box of pop tarts, although the crumb spattered plate before him implied he was the main suspect for this particular crime. Even Clint and Natasha draped across the couch looked up to him, reminiscent of a pair of cats lounging in a patch of sunshine.
Tony observed the blond over a mug, hot steam dancing before his face. He looked stressed and tense, like he had a secret. Tony huffed and rolled his eyes, making a move to stand, but a firm hand lay itself on his shoulder.
“Pancake?” Quizzed Loki, with just a bit too much force. His brow was quirked and his look was pointed. Tony lowered himself back into his stool, with a sharp shake of the head, resuming his coffee.
Steve left, all thoughts of breakfast abandoned.
Saturday 29th June 2019
It was days before Steve made another appearance at breakfast, instead he awoke extra early to avoid the piercing stares of his team mates. He remained equally as elusive throughout the day, his only breaks from training being sparse time on the roof, sketching and painting the city.
“Idiot.” Steve jumped at the greeting, but was soothed by the realisation of who it came from, James Buchanan Barnes. His long-term best friend approached and draped an arm around his shoulders, scrutinising his work.
“I like it.”
“Jamie… don’t.” the soldiers voice was hoarse and quiet as he shrugged the other mans hand off him. Bucky frowned, remembering the tone, the posture, and the words from himself years ago, after long nights.
“Come to pride with me, Steve.”
“Please!” Here he was, the mirror image of his companion over 70 years ago, begging the other to go out - to Come Out - with him. The blond looked up, the melancholy of the city in his eyes, tugging at the shorter mans heartstrings. He looked so tired.
“Steve… it’s 2019”
“And people are still killed for it.” Steve burst, standing. Bucky took a step back, alarmed, and stared defiantly at the other man, with welling eyes.
“Who’s really gonna try to kill you?”
A bitter laugh “Who hasn’t already tried? Our government, our friends…” he hesitated, preparing to cross a line, “you?”
James Buchanan Barnes turned on his heel and left, blinking ferociously to fight back the tears that so strove for freedom, fists clenched, and feeling sick. The remaining Super-Soldier on the roof pinched the bridge of his nose with a sigh and wandered back to his easel. And he put his fist through the canvas.
Sunday 30th June 2019
That morning both Captain America and the Winter Soldier were absent from breakfast, rousing suspicion from a certain genius, philanthropist, and billionaire. However, as much as he would love to find the two gentlemen, his priorities lie with the five idiots sat before him. Tony gazed with dread and excitement at the tubes of sparkly face paint and piles of feather boas and flags on his table.
“So, blue, purple and pink for Peter, blue, yellow and pink for Loki, and pink and white for Pepper and Thor?” The man pointed at each of them as he named them, and was met with nothing but smiles and nods. “Then lets get this show on the road!”
A nervous cough from the doorway of the kitchen alerted them to the presence of the Winter Soldier. His hair was pulled into a bun and he wore a plain white shirt with jeans, his ‘civilian’ clothing. “Actually, if there’s room for a little one?” he questioned, uncertainty tearing at him. Smiles all around and Tony beckoned him to the table.
“What colours do you want, kid?”
It was late when the six returned. They stumbled out of the elevator all laughing, respective flags clutched in their hands and smudged on their cheeks. Their mood was immediately dampened by the sight of Steve Rogers sat on the couch, elbows on knees, and staring at the floor, silhouetted by a mix of moonlight and soft city lights. His head snapped around to them as they entered, void of emotion, only looking at Bucky.
“Hey, I think this ones for you…” Tony nudged the man further into the room, before bundling everyone else back into the elevator. Muffled “Good Luck”s and “Bye Bucky”s filled the space for a moment. Then it was back to tense silence between the two men.
Steve sighed and lifted himself from his seat. He was wearing a suit, the tie was loose and the top button of his shirt undone, nevertheless he did his best to straighten himself out before shooting a jaunty smile at Bucky. He took steps toward the other man, until he was stood toe to toe with him.
“You look good.” Bucky offered blandly.
“I’m so sorry…” He rested a hand on Buckys waist, cautiously. When that wasn’t rejected he lifted the other to touch the flag painted onto his face, smudging it slightly. Bucky took a step back, to better observe Steve.
“Your tie is loose.” He promptly fixed it, making quick work of the button too.
“I’m going to bed now, Steve, good night.”
“Have you eaten yet?”
“Then follow me.” Steve walked to the elevator, followed by a curious Barnes.
The door opens onto the roof. A series of candles illuminated the area, lining the ledges and the path forwards, towards a small circular table. The table was covered in a white cloth and had a small cluster of candles in the centre, between two plates, piled high with breakfast foods.
“I heard you skipped breakfast this morning…”
“Tony, he text me.” Steve pulled out a chair for his partner, who lowered himself into it, graciously. The men ate in comfortable silence, too concentrated on the meal to discuss the previous night.
“I’d like you to move in with me, move your stuff onto my floor.” Steve offered quietly, he almost thought the other man hadn’t heard but his calculating gaze, as if he was doing complex mental arithmetic, showed he was considering the offer.
“Sure, I expect there wont be this many fire hazards everyday though?” He gestured to the candles with a concerned look.
“Of course not… thank you, Jamie.” Steve grinned down into his empty plate, reaching across the table with empty palms. His hands were immediately filled with the cool metal and warm flesh of Buckys hands.