The history books don’t mention it for obvious reasons, but it’s honestly common knowledge if you know the right people. For instance: any family member of a Howling Commando ever. Their wives, their children, their children-in-law, even their grandchildren. Everyone’s heard the fucking stories, alright? They all fucking know. Because in their infinite wisdom and increasing age, the Commandos decided somewhere along the way that they would not suffer quietly and they would not suffer alone.
Oh, sure, you catch Pappy Dugan or Granddad Jones in a nostalgic mood, they’ll tell you all about the usual things. Dugan misses his bowler hat, Jones misses listening to Dernier talk about his fucking explosives, they both miss the price of eggs and milk, and inevitably they’ll reach for the phone to call up their old buddies.
Catch any of them--any of them--when they’ve been drinking, though, and it’s best to get the hell outta Dodge. Take the booze with you and for God’s sake, unplug the fucking phone, because if they get a hold of one of the others in that state, they’re going to be reminded of a story they forgot. A story which they will then feel the need to share with anyone who’s near.
So, yeah, their descendants have all been privy to insider knowledge of what it was like to work with Captain Rogers and Sergeant Barnes. They all know stories that they wish to God they didn’t.
And if any of the Avengers had bothered to contact the families of the Commandos after bringing Bucky Barnes home, they would’ve known, too. They would’ve been warned. Any Legacy will tell you: warning is key. Expectation makes it easier, somehow.
No one picks up the phone. No one thinks to ask. And the entirety of Stark Tower learns the hard way:
Bucky Barnes is obsessed with Steve Rogers’ ass.
* * *
The first instance is not really an instance at all but it does deserve an honorable mention. And to be fair, that’s because Bucky doesn’t start the discussion of That Ass, he just kind of walks in on it.
In the gym. Where Steve is working out. And the rest of the team - sans Thor and Bruce, plus Sam - is admiring his, ah, form.
Bucky, thus far, has used his time in Stark Tower making himself as comfortable as a recovering prisoner of war possibly can be. Most days are spent barefoot in soft sweat pants and black tanks, hair haphazardly pulled back, and always with some sort of snack in hand. Today is no different and the current snack - an apple - is already half gone by the time he finds everyone in the gym.
“ -- know how many lunges I’d have to do to get an ass like that?” Clint complains as Bucky sidles into earshot.
Tony snorts. “All the lunges in the world couldn’t give you an ass like that, Barton.”
Sam pinches the bridge of his nose.
“Can we please not talk about my boss’s ass?”
Clint ignores this in favor of sniping, “Remind me, Stark, do you have an ass at all?”
Tony scowls and crosses his arm defensively. It doesn’t escape anyone’s notice that he turns his body so that his rear is no longer available for critique. Natasha laughs a little meanly.
“I never knew you boys could be so insecure about your,” she pauses, “assets.”
“With teammates like you and Cap," Sam says, "it’s easy to develop a complex.”
He doesn’t actually sound that concerned about the state of his own assets, though.
Bucky rolls his eyes and looks across the gym to the subject of conversation. Steve faces away from them, completely focused on decimating the punching bag in front of him and completely oblivious to the audience. Each hit jars his body and does, indeed, bring the focus to his ass which visibly flexes and in some cases even bounces with his movements. It’s far too easy to see in the threadbare sweats he’s wearing, which are not dissimilar to Bucky’s own.
Actually, upon closer inspection, those might actually be his sweats.
“Stevie ain’t done a lunge in his life,” he says suddenly, still standing behind them. He knows this as fact immediately, though the holes in his memory don’t exactly lend it a lot of credence.
Tony nearly jumps outta his skin, whirling around to glare at him, while Natasha and Clint just spare him a glance. Sam looks about as surprised as Tony but his reaction is much more controlled, merely turning his head to give his attention.
“You can still bounce a quarter off that ass, though,” Bucky continues. “I should know; I’ve done it.”
He takes a bite of his apple and leaves them in favor of joining Steve, hoping for a chance to spar. As he walks away, the whispers start up.
“He didn’t mean he actually--”
“No way, man.”
“Hey, Nat, can I...?”
“Don’t even think about it, Barton.”
* * *
It should be noted, of course, that the Commandos and their descendants caution against encouraging Barnes’ fixation in any way. That includes the casual objectification and discussion of That Ass if he’s in the same country, let alone the same building.
The Avengers have no way of knowing that and so they have no idea what force they’ve let loose among them.
No one’s supposed to ask Bucky how much he remembers or what, specifically, those memories are. One of the therapists early on suggested that it could have negative effects on his recovery and that led Steve to lay down the fucking law. It’s been a taboo discussion ever since.
Not that that ever stops Tony Stark.
They’re sitting in the living room of Steve & Bucky’s shared floor one afternoon when it happens. Tony simultaneously fiddles with the inside of Bucky’s arm, explains the blueprints for the upgrade that are laid across the glass coffee table, and keeps up a running commentary about pretty much anything else that comes to mind. Bucky’s been ignoring him for the past five minutes or so when he picks up on the words “dear old dad.”
“I remember some things about him,” he says, interrupting whatever it is that Tony’s saying. “Your old man.”
“Oh yeah?” Tony asks sarcastically. “The warm memory of his unfortunate demise wouldn’t be anywhere in there, would it?”
It’s unclear whether the jab is made purely in jest or if it’s intended to hurt enough to close the subject. If it’s the latter, it falls short. Bucky’s memory doesn’t bother him as much as it used to and despite what Steve thinks, he doesn’t mind comments like this one. He’d rather deal with them as they come than for everyone to act like his time as the Winter Soldier never happened. There’s blood on his hands that’ll never come clean and he doesn’t want to be the only one who remembers that.
Besides, making peace with his memories--what’s there and what isn’t--was the first thing Bucky did after deciding to go back home. Steve is, after all, the living embodiment of his half-forgotten life.
“No,” he says calmly. “He walked in on me eatin’ Steve out once. Cheeky fucker wanted to watch, I had to physically kick him out.”
Tony drops his screwdriver.
“What,” he says and his tone is definitely too flat for it to be a question.
“Can’t say I blame ‘im,” Bucky continues, completely oblivious to the internal meltdown happening beside him. He was oblivious to a lot of things when the subject was That Ass. “Stevie’s ass was always a thing a'beauty. You shoulda seen it in the thirties; so goddamn tiny. Nice little handful. That serum they gave him, Steve said it was supposed to magnify what was already there. Boy did it. Gave him an ass you wanna sink your tee--”
“Oh god, please stop,” Tony says, throwing up his hands. They waver by his head like he’s not sure whether he wants to cover his eyes or his ears. He doesn’t know it yet, but it's a common reaction when faced with talk of The Ass; everyone from Peggy Carter to the Legacies can tell you that.
“Guess it makes sense he’d wanna watch,” Bucky says thoughtfully, scratching under his chin with his right hand. “He helped make Stevie like that, y’know, and the man always was weird about his work.”
“I need a drink.”
Hurriedly, Tony begins taking his tools out of Bucky’s arm and closing it up. He wants to get as far away from this story as possible and a helluva lot closer to his liquor cabinet. Just as he’s finishing up, the door to Steve’s bedroom opens and there’s the man himself, coming out in nothing but a fucking towel. A ridiculously tiny towel that leaves absolutely fucking nothing to the imagination. He pauses in the hallway, blinking at them.
“Tony,” he says, and he does not sound nearly as embarrassed as he should be. “I didn’t know you were here.”
“I was just leaving!” Tony half-shouts, his voice shrill.
Steve looks at him oddly, but shrugs and makes his way to the kitchen. Tony isn’t sure if it’s misfortune or not but Steve’s path gives them a direct and spectacular view of his ass. The Ass, as everyone eventually comes to know it as after being exposed to Barnes for any significant amount of time; That Ass always being an acceptable alternative.
The very same ass that Tony had been admiring just a few days previous and that he will never, ever be able to look at the same way again.
Bucky watches Steve until he’s out of view and Tony is distressed to note an expression of hunger in his eyes.
“Stark,” he says seriously. “Unless you wanna have something else in common with your old man, I suggest you leave.”
He gets up and follows Steve into the kitchen without a single backward glance.
Tony, for the first time in his life, abandons his precious tools and makes a break for the elevator. He’s not fast enough to entirely miss the voices coming from the kitchen.
“Buck, what are you --”
“Hey, gorgeous,” Bucky croons, his voice low, and Tony has a terrifying suspicion that he’s not talking to Steve’s face. “Miss me?”
A moan echoes through the floor just as Tony shouts, “Oh my god, JARVIS, get me out of here!”
* * *
Tony corners Steve on the communal floor.
“Wasn’t that illegal in your day?” He hisses, glancing around. Afraid that Barnes will pop up and start waxing poetic again. “Aren’t you supposed to be repressed or something?”
Steve raises his eyebrows.
“I lived,” he says slowly, “in a one bedroom apartment with my best friend in a queer, liberal neighborhood. I wanted to go to war because it was the right thing to do, yes, but I specifically wanted to join the 107th because that was the unit he was in. I mounted a one-man suicide mission to get him back when I heard he’d been taken as a prisoner of war. I brought down SHIELD and HYDRA when I found out they --”
“Okay, okay,” Tony says, waving his hand. He looks queasy and shell-shocked and like his entire worldview has just been turned on its head. “I get the point, Rogers.”
Steve, the bastard, has the gall to look sympathetic as he claps Tony on the shoulder.
“Chin up,” he says. “I hear you get used to it.”
Like the Howling Commandos before him, Tony Stark is not a person who suffers in silence. He makes sure that anyone who will listen knows about his horrific experience. Problem is, not a damn one of the Avengers actually believes him.
They learn soon enough that Tony is many things--sneaky, conniving, secretive--but he is not actually an out-and-out liar.
This time, it’s Maria Hill’s fault. Well, it’s partially her fault but also definitely Clint’s fault.
Turns out there’s a truly obscene amount of paperwork that comes with being declared an actual living, breathing person again. Maria is the lucky Deputy Director of Definitely Not SHIELD Anymore and is therefore in charge of making Bucky official again. She drops a stack of papers in front of him in the middle of the Avengers’ common area and holds out a pen with a contained smile.
“Get started,” she says.
“Jesus, you want me to sign all of this?” Bucky shakes his head. Fucking ridiculous. “You kidding me? The last time I signed anything, it was -- oh.”
Clint’s head pops up from the other side of the couch.
“What?” He asks, smirking. “Some poor kid’s autograph book? Were they disappointed you were all grown up instead of a kid like the comics?”
“Clint,” Steve warns, shaking his head. “Don’t --”
“It was Steve’s ass,” Bucky says over him, grinning fondly.
Slowly, Maria lowers her pen. There's a thud from where Clint's fallen off the couch, but it's not loud enough to cover Steve's sigh as he slumps in his chair. A clatter comes from the kitchen just before Sam walks into the living room, expression wide-eyed and questioning like he's not sure he heard correctly. Natasha trails behind him, carrying a bowl of grapes. Her eyes sparkle with amusement as she grabs a handful, tossing them into her mouth like popcorn at a show. She, at least, doesn’t look surprised at all.
Tony makes an incomprehensible noise and points at Bucky while staring at everyone else, as if to say, See? See?? I wasn’t lying!
Clint picks himself up off the floor, straightening his clothes. “You did what?” He asks.
“No!” Tony shouts because Tony Stark is a fucking genius and it only took one time to learn what the Commandos figured out decades before. Don’t encourage Bucky Barnes. “Don’t ask him that!”
But it's too late.
“That WAC officer copped a feel, d’you remember?” Bucky says to Steve, like it’s his memory they gotta worry about. “Your ass was divine in those dress slacks, I don’t think a damn person actually looked above your waistline that night. But then that officer just came up and grabbed herself a handful. You were so goddamn flustered. Pretty sure Dugan stopped breathing for a full minute before Morita beat it back into him.”
“Bucky,” Steve interrupts because, at that point, Sam’s the one not breathing. He’s got his hand pressed so tightly over his nose and mouth that it’s literally impossible for him to be getting any oxygen at the moment.
“Soon as we were alone,” Bucky barrels on, uncaring of the emotional trauma he’s causing. “Had you all spread out on the bed, didn’t I? Spent half an hour just playin’ with your ass, it drove you nuts. Wanted to make sure you didn’t remember anyone’s hands but mine. You know that, right?”
“Don’t you dare answer that, Rogers,” Tony says, his voice muffled from where he now has his face buried in a couch cushion.
“I can’t believe what I’m hearing,” Clint chimes in, awed and horrified but somehow still looking at Bucky for more of the story. It’s like a trainwreck and he can’t look away no matter how much he desperately wants to.
“Don’t know what made me do it, y’know. Findin’ that pen and puttin’ my name there. Liked it, though. So did you, if I remember correctly. Fucked you after I wrote it, drove you wild.”
Sam lets his hand fall away from his mouth slowly.
“None of the history books prepared me for this."
“They were written by old, homophobic men,” Natasha points out, tossing another grape in her mouth. Her smile is sharp. “Besides, it’s a good possibility that no one knew. Or just didn’t say anything.”
“My dad knew,” Tony reminds them miserably. “And I think the Commandos did, too.”
Bucky starts laughing. “Hell yeah, they knew! Paid me in chocolate to keep it to myself, didn’t they, Stevie? Don’t know where they got that Belgian shit from but it still wasn’t as sweet as your --”
“That’s it!” Tony shoots up from the couch. “I need good, hard liquor to deal with any more of this.”
Maria snorts. “Sounds like Rogers likes it good and hard, too.”
There’s a beat of silence in which Steve turns a deep, concerning shade of red and Sam looks up at the ceiling like it has the answers he’s looking for. Bucky grins and reaches his flesh hand across the table to shake hers.
“I’ll sign anything you need,” he says graciously.
* * *
“Has anyone tried telling him yet," Maria asks around the fourth drink, "that it’s still impolite to discuss the details of your sex life in public?”
Bucky and Steve are long gone. Not a damn one among them is naive enough to think they’re up to anything innocent.
Maria kept her composure as long as they were around, but it’s clear now that she’s just as floored as the others. She just hides it better.
“Are we really the public, though?” Sam says. He grimaces down at his drink like he can’t believe what he’s saying. “Maybe it’s his weird way of showing how much he trusts us.”
“Can he trust us a little less?” Clint asks. “I don’t know if I can listen to that again.”
“You?” Tony exclaims. “You? That’s the second time for me, Barton! The second --”
“Third,” Natasha corrects, cutting off his rant. When questioning looks are thrown her way, she clarifies: “The gym? I think that counts.”
They all stare at each other in horror.
“Dear God,” Tony says quietly. “Did we start this?”
It’s inevitable, of course, that a Legacy ends up on Bucky Barnes’ doorstep.
Many follow in their grandfathers’ footsteps in some way or another, but very few actually join SHIELD. One of those few is Antoine Triplett and somewhere along the way, Trip falls into Phil Coulson’s trusted circle.
Perhaps it's serendipity. Perhaps it's fate. Perhaps it’s a twisted sort of karma for a transgression unknown. Or perhaps it is simply that Bucky Barnes’ admiration of That Ass will always find its way back to a Commando, legacy or not.
Whatever the cause, whether by chance or by design, Agent Triplett is still among Coulson’s esteemed team when they take refuge at the tower after a mission gone bad. Not a damn one among them knows beforehand about the return of Bucky Barnes. If they had, Trip would have done a little storytelling, laid down a few basic rules.
It’s definitely too late now, just after they’ve finished up the meet and greet--and let it be known that nothing is odder for Trip than having two legends gush over him while he’s trying not to mentally replay every story his Granddad ever told about them--and Steve is walking off with Tony, Coulson, and the esteemed Melinda May for a private meeting.
More than one set of eyes is drawn to the cut of the jeans snugly hugging That Ass and Trip is definitely Not Looking himself, not when he’s standing so close to Bucky Barnes. The elevator doors have barely closed when Skye sighs dreamily.
“Hate to see him go, love to watch him walk away.”
Simmons giggles. “A fine specimen, indeed.”
This is potentially the worst possible thing to say in front of Bucky. Trip has only officially known him for sixty seconds, but he still knows what’s coming. He knows and he also knows that there’s nothing he can do to stop it. There's not a damn thing he can do to save a single person in this room. The damage is done, the words are out there, and Bucky Barnes is grinning like someone’s just handed him the world’s biggest chocolate bar.
“You ladies ain’t seen nothin’,” he tells them, drawing the attention of the room.
The Avengers know what's coming. None of them want a part of it.
“Bobbi, let’s spar,” Natasha says, grabbing the other woman’s arm, and then they both disappear using some sort of spy magic that Trip doesn’t possess.
Sam looks down at his bare wrist. “Oh, look at the time. I gotta wash my hair.”
He makes a break for the stairs behind him. Clint, unfortunately, is standing between Fitz and Mack in a corner of the room that doesn’t give him a straight shot to either the elevator or the stairs. He shouts after his teammates, “never leave a man behind!” but no one comes to save him.
Bucky, while all of this is happening, talks straight to Skye and Simmons like his housemates aren’t abandoning ship all around him.
“That ass after it’s been spanked raw,” he says, “now there’s a sight. Could bring a man to his knees. Nearly as pretty as the sounds he makes when you do it.”
Skye sputters while Simmons covers her mouth in shock. Mack’s expression is incredulous and Fitz looks from where Clint is hyperventilating with his face buried in Mack’s arm to Bucky's calm, composed expression and back like he's not quite sure what's going on here. Trip--who has, believe it or not, actually heard this before--just stands there and wonders how this became his life.
“Wait,” Skye says, because she is either oblivious or actually evil. “You guys are…?”
“No!” Clint shouts. As if that could stop anything.
“Shit, yeah.” Bucky snorts. “Since we were teenagers, sweetheart. Got up to a few unsavory things in our time, too, tried out a lot of shit. You wouldn’t believe some things Stevie likes, especially when it comes to what’s in his --”
Skye’s hysterical laughter drowns out the end of his sentence. “Oh my God.”
Bucky doesn't stop there. In fact, he doesn’t stop for another ten minutes and by that time, Trip is uncertain as to whether anyone is actually still alive. The entire room is one huge held breath and there’s no telling how long it’s been that way.
He goes to find the booze.
* * *
After dinner is had and much cleaner stories are exchanged, Trip shuts the door to his assigned bedroom and leans against it. Shaking his head, he fishes out his personal phone and makes a call.
“Code Blue,” he says as soon as the line connects.
“What?” Abigail, great-granddaughter of Jim Morita, sputters incredulously in his ear. “Don’t be ridiculous, Antoine, he’s --”
“Alive,” Trip interrupts. “He’s alive, Abby, and he’s living with the Avengers.”
There's a beat of silence.
“Dear God,” she breathes. “How? When? Did he -- I mean. Does he really?”
“I don’t know. And yes. Definitely, yes.”
“I always thought they must’ve been exaggerating, you know?” She says, so foolishly hopeful. “Or maybe it was just a joke they made up. Some way to remember them without...breaking down or something.”
“It’s not a joke,” he assures her. “It is very much real and none of it was an exaggeration. I think he’s actually gotten worse.”
“Worse? How?” She asks and then immediately protests. “No, no, don’t tell me. I can’t drink tonight, I have a class to teach in the morning. What do we do? What’s the protocol for this?”
“Call the others,” Trip says immediately. “Warn them. Don’t the twins go to school in New York? They have to know, especially.”
“As soon as we hang up,” Abigail promises. “How do the new teammates hold up?”
Trip snorts. “Surprisingly worse than the men who grew up in the homophobic era,” he says, grinning. “And with copious amounts of booze, like the rest of us.”
Her laughter is soft and light over the phone. “I’ll send you a bottle of that whiskey you like, hm? Maybe one of the twins will pick it up for me if I wire them the money.”
“Send it soon,” he begs. “We’re here for another few weeks.”
“Did you...I mean, did you look?” She asks in a superstitious whisper. “The Ass, did you sneak a glance?”
“Oh my God,” he says and hangs up on her.
There is no way on God’s green earth he’s gonna tell her the truth and the truth is this:
Hell yeah, he looked. A lifetime of hearing about That Ass makes a person far too curious to do anything else. And The Ass is just as fucking spectacular as the stories would suggest, entirely worthy of all the obscene things told about It.
If you think he’s gonna say that in the same tower as Bucky Barnes, though, you obviously haven’t been paying attention. Trip’s a Legacy; he knows the goddamn rules.
Steve’s thirtieth birthday--or his ninety-seventh, depending on how you look at it--is an affair to remember at Stark Tower. Pretty much anyone who’s ever been close to Steve and who is still alive is there, including Peggy Carter. It took some finagling and a stupid amount of money to transport her and her medical equipment this far but if anyone can do it, it’s Tony Stark.
She sits on a sofa in the corner of the room between her niece, Sharon, and one of her nurses and there’s an entire medical team is on standby behind her just in case they’re needed. Steve and Bucky don’t get more than three feet from her all evening; she forgets them sometimes but that’s just fine by Bucky. He enjoys the hugs he gets when she looks at him anew.
Anyone who wants to talk to either of them has to come to them, even if it is Steve’s party, but no one actually minds. When it’s Captain America, people make accommodations.
Rhodey appears halfway through the evening, hugging the birthday boy and shaking hands with Bucky like he’s meeting a rockstar.
“Do you plan on signing up with the Avengers?” Rhodey asks, sometime after the pleasantries are over with. “Or can I convince you to come back to military life? I might get a medal just for getting Bucky Barnes to serve his country again.”
Bucky snorts. “All due respect, Colonel, sayin’ God bless America when I see Steve’s naked ass is about as patriotic as I get these days. Enjoyin’ retirement just fine, thanks.”
Sharon spits her drink out. “Oh my god,” she says. “It’s true.”
“Tried to tell you,” Trip whispers, handing her a napkin.
Sharon is not officially considered a Legacy, being Peggy Carter’s niece instead of her direct descendant. She has, however, been privy to the same stories as the other Legacies; though the ones told by her Aunt Peggy were conveyed with considerably more poise and less language than those from the Commandos. Peggy, who is currently giggling like she hasn’t heard a joke so funny in years.
“What,” Coulson says, in a terribly frightening mimic of Tony’s first encounter. Don’t ever tell him that, though, he’d take offense.
Rhodey looks at him and then looks back at Bucky. “Did you know about this?” He asks.
Coulson says, “no,” with widened eyes.
It’s interesting to note that unlike Tony, his entire world view has not been poleaxed, and unlike everyone else, he does not feel a loss of innocence. That particular ship sailed over twenty years previous when a young Phillip Coulson wrote his first Captain America/Bucky Barnes fanfiction. No one is aware of it, but the expression on his face is that of a fanboy realizing that his ship is canon.
Peggy scoffs at both men.
“Well aren’t you terribly dense,” she says, sitting up straighter. “Sergeant Barnes hasn’t taken his eyes off of Captain Rogers’ ass since well before the war.”
* * *
“This changes everything,” Rhodey says, hushed.
“I can finally take those stupid disclaimers off,” Phil agrees. His placid expression doesn’t even twitch but he sounds positively gleeful. “Take that, haters.”
“Everyone said we were crazy.” Rhodey shakes his head, grinning. “Everyone said we were reading too much into it. Ha!”
Phil holds his drink up between them. “To canon.”
“To canon,” Rhodey echoes and their glasses clink together.
It’s not so much what Bucky says this time as what he does.
Here’s the thing: The Ass gets injured.
It’s Steve’s own fault like always, throwing himself recklessly into situations that are bound to get him hurt in one way or another and get hurt he does. The sea monster--well, they’re assuming it was a fucking sea monster, no one actually knows half the time--gets a claw into the meat of Steve’s backside and slashes it all to hell.
The damage is extensive but repairable; just a few days of taking it easy and letting the super soldier serum does its thing, he’ll be good as new. Not that that’s a comfort to Bucky.
As soon as Steve’s out of their makeshift infirmary, bandaged as well as he can be, Bucky gets him on the couch. They’re both dressed in a pair of what is now Bucky’s trademark sweats and Steve’s laying face down, trying not to move around too much. Bucky wedges between him and the couch, settling a proprietary hand on the uninjured cheek and glaring at anyone who comes too close.
“Do I want to know?” Bruce asks.
He was called for the battle and decided to stay for a few weeks before returning to his self-imposed sabbatical. Unlike the last time any of them saw him, he now exudes a peaceful calm that is a welcome relief in the tower. Whatever he’s been doing on his retreat, it’s obviously been doing him good.
“No,” Tony hisses. “I swear to God, Banner, you even think about asking him and I’ll find a way to turn the Hulk bright orange.”
“This is honestly disturbing,” Mack says, shaking his head. “Don’t much care about who a person loves but I’ve never seen someone get so bent out of shape over a body part.”
Clint snorts. “Barnes is definitely an ass man, that’s for sure.”
“None of you know a damn thing,” Trip tells them all, rubbing a hand over his face. “Not a damn thing. But I’ll admit, I’d almost prefer hearing about The Ass in France again to...whatever the hell this is.”
“What’s disturbing,” Sam interrupts, "is that you refer to a man’s backside like that.”
“Makes sense, though, doesn’t it?” Tony asks. He’s already got the booze out, pouring them all a drink. Trip’s actually a little proud of them; they’re starting to plan ahead. “There’s Steve and then there’s Steve’s Ass. It’s like you have to think about them separately if you ever wanna look Captain America in the eye again.”
Trip nods. “Now you’re getting it, Stark.”
Natasha, like the mysterious spy she is, appears out of nowhere. She’s got a bowl of grapes again, ready for the show, but no one’s paying enough attention at the moment to be wary. By the time she speaks, it’s too late for them all.
“So what happened in France?”
A devious smile spreads across her lips as everyone gapes at her, betrayed. It was dangerous enough, discussing The Ass in the same room as Barnes, but at least they were whispering. Natasha, though, she definitely said that loud enough for Barnes to hear.
“Well, you see,” the man in question drawls from the couch. Everyone groans and there’s definitely murder in a few eyes, but no one actually tries to touch Natasha. They don’t want their ass out of commission, too. “We had ourselves a mission that required a more, ah, feminine touch and Stevie here --”
“Pour another drink,” Trip advises and Tony scrambles to obey.
* * *
“Doesn’t it bother you?” Tony asks a few days later after Steve is finally healed and Bucky’s left him alone for a few minutes. “The only thing that guy seems to care about is the state of your ass, Rogers.”
Steve raises an eyebrow. “Yes,” he says, very pointedly. “Being objectified bothers me a lot, actually.”
They stare at each other for a few long moments, each waiting for the other to catch on. Finally, Tony throws his hands up.
“I give up,” he says and walks away.
Behind him, Steve sighs. They’ll get it eventually.
Thor is probably the last person anyone expects to shrug off Bucky’s, ahem, commentary like it’s no big deal, but shrug it off he does.
He stops by for a visit on his way to see Jane and said visit just happens to coincide with Bucky’s first post-resurrection interview with the Avengers. It actually goes pretty well, all things considered, even when the interviewer asks some uncomfortable questions about how he survived all these years and why he still looks the same as he did in the forties.
It goes to shit at the end, though, when she says to the group at large: “Let’s end this on a fun note. Now, the internet seems to think that Thor has the best ass out of --”
“Wait,” Bucky says, leaning forward. “The internet thinks what now?”
Tony puts a hand over his face. “Oh dear God.”
The interviewer blinks. “I’m sorry, is that too forward?” She asks, biting at her lip.
“Are we really gonna trust the internet here?” Bucky asks. He looks to the man in question. “No offense meant, I’m sure you’ve got a mighty fine, uh, example. But have any of these people actually seen Steve’s ass? Now that’s an ass you can take to the bank.”
“That doesn’t even make sense,” Clint says, a little hysterically.
Thor nods at Bucky, perfectly serious. “I must agree with Barnes,” he tells the interviewer. “The Captain’s rear is certainly very muscular and round. It is a fine ass for a warrior.”
“Finally! Someone with some sense around here. You need to come around more, none of these people understand.”
“Do you discuss this often?” The interviewer asks, raising her eyebrows.
Natasha’s shoulders begin to shake just as Bruce says, “You really shouldn’t have asked that.”
“There’s no discussion,” Bucky declares, vehement. “Let me tell you something about that ass --”
“Shut off the recorder!” Clint shouts. “Shut it off, oh my God, we can’t have this on tape.”
There’s already a tangent going on and Tony gets up to find the booze. Sam glares balefully at Steve, who has the nerve to sit there and look composed like his best friend isn’t all but writing a fucking ode to his backside.
“This is all your fault,” Sam hisses.
“No,” Steve says back, keeping his voice soft so as not to distract Bucky. “It’s The Ass’s fault.”
“I hate you so much.”
* * *
“I think you can stop torturing everyone now,” Steve says as they crawl into bed that night. “I overheard Pepper saying earlier that Tony is actually going to therapy now.”
“That guy needs therapy,” Bucky says. “And if me talkin’ about your ass a little gets him to open up about his actual issues then I think I’m doing the world a public service.”
Steve cannot actually deny the validity of that statement, so he doesn’t try. He snuggles up to Bucky, draping himself over his best friend’s chest like he’s been doing since they were fifteen and hiding how much they meant to each other. They had to work out the kinks when Steve grew another foot, but it’s still the way they both sleep best.
“You made my ass a legend,” Steve murmurs, awed. “Did you hear the way Agent Triplett kept talking about it? What did Jones say to him growing up?”
“Only the truth, I’m sure,” Bucky says with a grin. He pats the ass in question. “‘sides, yours really is adorable, Stevie. Just like the rest of you.”
Steve snorts. “How long do you think it'll take 'em to realize you're doing it on purpose?"
"Hope not for a while. It's actually pretty fun, havin' such a wide audience nowadays."
"You're evil," he says fondly. "The poor Commandos. You scarred ‘em for nothing, Buck. None of them ever even looked at me that way.”
“Nope,” Bucky agrees. “But who else was I gonna complain to? Besides, every war has casualties, Stevie. Even this one.”