Thursday February 9th
“So any big plans for this weekend?” Katee with two e's asked, raising her voice to be heard over the music playing in the coffee shop.
“No, not really. Just saying in and maybe binge-watching something new on Netflix” Clint answered.
Katee was by far Clint's favorite barista. She never judged him for his odd hours or extra expresso shots. She always had a smile for him, took the time to exchange some chit-chat and somehow she never got annoyed with the ever-changing complicated coffee orders from Bucky. And on the occasional days, like today, where Bucky wasn't with him she just laughed when Clint, after ordering his usual had no clue what it was Bucky was drinking this week.
Clint leaned a hip against the counter as Katee assembled Bucky's coffee. He couldn't help the slight tapping of his toe. Who could resist getting down to Rihanna?
“That's nice, keeping it casual” Katee threw a smile and a wink over her shoulder to Clint “Netflix and chill.”
“Umm, yeah I guess” Clint responded. “What about you, any plans?”
Katie beamed “Yeah Max has got a whole thing planned out. I'm not really sure what the specifics are, she's being very mysterious.” Clint watched, impressed as she moved around making Bucky's connection while still bopping along to the beat of the music. Considering how much coffee Clint ingested you’d think he would have some idea of what it was she was doing on the other side of the counter, but all the bottles and syrups and foam machines were a mystery to him.
“Knowing her it's going to be super romantic though. I bought the cutest outfit just for the occasion.” Katee was clearly excited, he wasn't sure what she meant by occasion so he just nodded and smiled.
“Nice, I bet you’ll look great.” He figured it must be an anniversary or birthday or something and didn't want to look like a bad friend for not remembering whatever it was.
Clint had a healthy fear of women in general, but where Katee was all sweetness her girlfriend Max was spice. She worked at a crossfit gym as a personal trainer and Clint was a tad intimidated by her. He really hoped whatever the occasion was it wasn’t the kind where he was supposed to give them a gift or card or something, he neither wanted to hurt Katee’s feeling for forgetting or risk Max’s ire.
“We're not planning on doing anything the day of. You know, middle of the week we've both got work. Plus Tuesdays aren't exactly romantic.” Katee finished with another smile and a shrug.
Clint had never really given any thought to whether or not any day of the week was more romantic than any other. He didn't have any hard feelings towards Tuesdays, like he did towards Mondays, but he figured she was right.
“I suppose there isn't anything inherently romantic about a Tuesday” he agreed.
“Well regardless, I hope you and Bucky have a great weekend” she handed over both coffees and a paper bag stuffed full of pastries. Clint accepted them, doing his best to not crush the bag of pastries when he tucked it under his arm.
“You too!” He waved goodbye, careful not to spill Bucky's drink. Clint exited the coffee shop with the distinct feeling there was something he was missing and resigned to have We Found Love playing on repeat in his head for the rest of the day.
Friday February 10th
Bucky genuinely enjoyed taking his and Clint's laundry to the laundromat. No matter how many times Stark threatened (Stark would say offered) to give them a top-of-the-line washer and dryer for the apartment Bucky would not give in. He knew it wasn't entirely fair since technically it was Clint’s apartment and not his. But he figured since Clint didn't care how the clothes got clean and Bucky was the one doing the the work it was his call. He was pretty sure if it was up to Clint laundry would never get done and wasn't sure how Clint and gotten by before he moved in.
The laundromat was only a few buildings over from the apartment and with his super soldier strength it wasn't a problem to carry the laundry back and forth. The woman who owned the joint, Mags, was only just older that he was, but unlike him she looked it. Her wrinkles and white hair a contrast to Bucky’s own youthful appearance. Not that Bucky would ever be dumb enough to say something like that aloud.
She sat on her stool in the corner, knitting and talking to her cats as people came and went. Every week when Bucky came in there was something different broken, a hinge on the door, a washer or maybe the change machine. Every week Bucky came with his arms full of dirty laundry and tools squirreled away in his pockets. Once he had the clothes started in the wash he would turn his attention to whatever this week's problem was. Mags and he would chat about the old days while he worked. When he was done and had fetched the clean clothes out of the dryer Mags would get a mint out of her purse for him. She was funny and kind and their conversations we're one of Bucky’s weekly highlights.
“How's things with your young man?” Mads asked over the sound of her knitting needles clinking together and Elvis’s greatest hits coming out of a radio that was old as the two of them.
“Who?” Bucky responded, his voice echoing since he was currently shoulder-deep in a dryer.
“Don't be coy with me” she commanded, “your young man.”
Bucky extracted himself from the machine hoping eye contact would help clarify the confusion. “I don't know who you're talking about Mags” he said.
“So you mean to tell me all those purple under-things are yours?” she gestured to the running dryer that contained Bucky and Clint’s laundry. “I know you got a fella, no need to be shy. You're always going on about the mischief he’s up too.”
“Oh” Bucky couldn’t help but smile “you mean Barton.”
“Exactly” Mags’ face was pleased and she returned to her knitting. “Your young man, the two of you may think you're being subtle but old Mags knows. Now stop being difficult and tell me, how are you two doing? The romance isn’t dead yet is it?”
Some days Mags was sharp as a tack and and he could tell she knew who he was, fully aware that just because he missed quite a bit in the middle he really did remember the old days of their youth. Other times it would be as if all her years had clouded her mind and when she looked at him she saw someone else she had known in her long life. He wondered with a pang who it was she thought she was talking to today.
“Umm, we're okay I guess” Bucky buried himself back into the dryer, hopping the answer would be sufficient for her.
There was a pause before Mags humphed “Have some advice from old Mags, don’t go making assumptions, assumptions will kill a relationship. He seems like a keeper, even if you're the one always doing laundry, you gotta communicate. You should know how you're doing. You hear me?” she called out.
“Yes ma’am” he answered, closing the open panel in the dryer and once again extracting himself. “All fixed, it should be good now” he declared, leaning back against the dryer and looking up at Mags.
“Relationships are just like your machines, you gotta tend to them or they’ll break, so you make sure to tend to that young man just as carefully.” She said, her face serious.
Bucky felt bittersweet emotion swell up in him as promised to do just that, while Elvis crooned some things are meant to be. He hoped whoever it was she must be mistaking him for had heeded her advice and held onto their fella.
Saturday February 11th
Clint skidded across the floor in his socks, only just managing to come to a stop in front of the door without actually running into it. He flung open the door, light and music spilling out into the hallway.
“Pizza guy!” Clint shouted, spreading his arms in welcome with a flourish.
“It’s Ty, not pizza guy.” Ty said, not for the first time.
“Dude how you been?” It was debatable whether or not Clint actually liked Ty or if it was just a pavlovian type response to the fact that Ty was associated with the arrival of pizza. Ty was actually a perfectly nice guy, an accounting major whose social skills were on the low side. But pizza delivery guys didn’t need a stellar personality to get tips, they just needed to be fast and show up with hot pizza. It was just an economic truth and one of the reasons Ty had picked the job.
“I have been acceptable. Five grandmas pies, that’s 74.05.” Ty held out the stack of boxes.
“Nice, here you go” Clint dug into his pocket to pull out the money for Ty while humming along to the music. “Crazy little thing called love” he belted out, then asked “you a queen guy?”
“What?” Ty was used to odd things happening when delivering to this address but on the scale of unusual things a weird question was pretty tame. Last time Bucky had paid for the pizzas while covered in a green slime and the time before Clint had been out of breath, had broken handcuffs on and a bloody nose. Ty was just glad today Clint had pants on.
“Freddie Mercury, 70’s rock band, Bohemian Rhapsody?” Clint response was so incredulous his voice reached impressive heights.
“Oh, yeah. They're okay, I guess. I’m not really a classic rock fan.” Ty hopped Clint would be satisfied so he could escape quickly.
Clint started in on a rant about how important classic rock was and something about Queen being the perfect band for any and all situation, it was at this point Ty tuned him out. Ty cocked his head and studied Clint as he waved his hands about passionately and came to a realization. He hadn't noticed until now but Clint had clearly been becoming happier and happier over the last few months.
Ty had been delivering to Clint for going on three years now, through the ups and downs. They may not have truly been friends but he suspected he'd been one of the few people to interact with Clint during the worst of his depression. When he ate nothing but pizza and it appeared, at least from Ty’s perspective, that Clint never even left the apartment. Then there'd be gaps where Clint would seem to disappear from the neighborhood all together for weeks at a time, doing who-knows-what. But then he be back with an assortment of injuries and starving.
These last few months had broken the pattern though. Ty was called to deliver to the address still regularly but significantly less often. And the order size had more than doubled. It was fairly obvious that Bucky was the cause of increase of pizza consumption. Ty would be the first to say correlation does not necessarily mean causation but he suspected Bucky also had something to do with the improvement in the overall happiness of Clint.
“You haven’t been ordering as often lately” Ty jumped in when Clint paused to take a breath.
“Oh yeah” Clint’s face went soft and he smiled, “Bucky’s been taking cooking lessons at the Y so yeah, less ordering in.”
“That's good” Ty said, even if it meant less tips he liked Clint and found himself pleased by the idea of Bucky cooking homemade food for him. “Well, here you go” He held out the pizza’s “and I’ll give Queen a try on the way to my next delivery.”
“Great, I’m sure you’ll love them!” Clint accepted the boxes. “See you around pizza guy.”
“It’s Ty. I hope you guys enjoy your pizza and have a goodnight.” It was a canned line Ty delivered along with every pizza he delivered but he felt himself actually meaning it in this case.
Sunday February 12th
“You find everything you were looking for?” Daisy, according to her nameplate, the teenaged girl manning the register asked. She did not look up from scanning Bucky’s groceries when she asked and sounded about as indifferent as possible on whether or not Bucky had in fact found everything he had been looking for.
“Yes.” Bucky knew if Clint had been there he would not have been put off by Daisy’s lukewarm customer service and would have struck up conversation anyways. Perhaps in a different life Bucky would have too, he felt sure he’d been charming and talkative before. Before the war and then Hydra had chewed him up and spit him out.
They were silent as Daisy worked, just the beeps as she scanned each item and the sound of the manger making an announcement about Dan needing to clean alise 5 over the speakers. The manger finished and the radio switched back on as Daisy picked up the new bottle of dish-soap. Now, Because You Loved Me, for all you lovers out there this weekend the DJ introduced the next song, a slow pop tune Bucky didn’t recognize began.
“Ugh, Celine Dion!” Daisy pulled a face and gave a full body shudder “they have been playing this mushy crap all weekend, I don’t know how much more I can take.”
He wasn’t sure how to respond to that so he just stood silently and watched Daisy as she entered the code in for his bag of granny smith apples. She noted the flour and butter she’d just finished scanning.
“Making a pie?” she asked as she reached for the jars of cinnamon and nutmeg.
“Uhh, yeah” Bucky admitted reluctantly.
Daisy finally looked up at Bucky and the scowl she’d been wearing was replaced with a smile of recognition.
“I almost didn’t realize it was you without your other half. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you in here without him” she raised her pierced eyebrow, “he wander off somewhere?”
“He’s at home” Bucky explained.
“Huh, I can’t believe he passed up an opportunity to buy us out of ice cream” she had resumed scanning items, almost done now.
“The pie is going to be a surprise” Bucky admitted in a rush “I’ve been learning to bake and he mentioned his mom used to make apple pie a while ago so I thought I’d give it a try but I didn’t want to tell him beforehand in case I mess it up.” He looked up from where he had been studying his feet with a trace of a blush on his cheekbones.
“Oh my god! Seriously!?” Daisy clutched the last item, a bag of sugar, to her chest “that is the cutest thing ever, I’m going to die.”
“Umm, thanks?” Bucky responded, bemusedly watching while she took a moment to gather herself before she was able to scan the sugar.
“You guys are the best part of working at this shitty little store” she informed Bucky while he entered his pin.
“Here you go, you saved $7.37 today” Daisy held out the receipt. Bucky reached to take it but Daisy held tight to it.
“You have to tell me how the pie goes and more importantly, how the surprise goes” she commanded.
“Alright” He agreed and she released the receipt she was holding hostage.
Bucky left with his groceries baffled by the entire interaction and not sure why making a pie for his friend was such a big deal.
Monday February 13th
Melvin didn’t bother to look up from his book immediately when he heard approaching voices coming from the parking garage entrance. He did reach out and turn his computer's speakers down slightly though. Melvin had been the security guard stationed here since the building was under construction. There was a few different ways to get into this hallway but the only way to get to the top, most secure floors was through the elevator behind him. There had been a few incidents before he was hired but none since he had manned this desk. In his opinion no matter how fancy the tech was it is still better to have a good old-fashioned security guard as well. All the retina scans and pin pads in the world were not much use without some human common sense.
Over his tenure guarding the Avengers elevator he’d seen some pretty crazy things. Here in his ergonomic chair behind his desk he'd come to know the regulars pretty well. Even the ones who weren't human, but there was little that could shake the Gulf War veteran and father of five. His favorite by far though was Clint, not that he'd ever tell him that, it was better to keep him on his toes. The world may not have been given the human archer as much attention as the super soldiers, powered folks or flashy robot suits, but it was Melvin they had to walk past at the end of the day. Melvin looked at Clint and he saw a man that reminded him of his sons and the men he'd served next to. A man that was keeping up with gods and the other powered sorts. Melvin liked and respected Clint’s drive to do good and help those who needed help.
When the Winter Soldier had been added to the list of authorized personnel Melvin had been a little unsure. But then he and Clint had become attached at the hip. Melvin figured if Clint trusted him, he could too. He wasn't sure exactly what it was that had brought them together, why it was that Clint trusted him or what Bucky saw when he looked at Clint. Regardless of whatever it was that brought them together it made him happy to see them together. Two damaged men, leaning on each other and helping make the world a little bit of a better place. Melvin was able to hear them clearly now as they rounded the corner and came into sight.
“I'm just saying, Sarah's got some actual combat training and is far more superiorly armed” Bucky said.
“Superiorly armed! Are you kidding me? Ripley has got that huge badass flamethrower thing!” Clint was always a hand talker, in this instance he was miming a flamethrower.
“A flamethrower is hardly practical for one-on-one combat Clint. And I say again, Ripley is definitely impressive and I would not take her lightly. She even arguably has better survival skills, not that you would win that argument, but you could at least make it. The fact is in one-on-one combat Sarah Connor would kick Ellen Ripley ass.”
“Melvin help me out here” Clint leaned against Melvin’s desk.
“Well I suppose it depends are we talking Alien Ripley and Terminator Connor?” He inquired, setting down his book and turning the speakers down another notch.
“We settled in the car over that their end of Aliens and end of Terminator 2. When they're both at max badass levels and before all the extra shittly sequals” Bucky clarified.
“Alright, ‘cause Terminator Sarah's getting her ass kicked. In this case however, if we're talking Terminator 2 she's got her shit together and will take Ripley to town. In this hypothetical one-on-one conflict you're imagining up gentleman.”
Simultaneously Bucky started to preen with triumph and Clint started to protest. Melvin cut them both off with a raised hand.
“However, let's be real here. If you put Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley in a room together, armed or unarmed, they sure as fuck wouldn't be fighting each other. Those ladies would have zero interest in that waste of effort, they would team up instead ans turn their attentions the nearest alien or AI.”
There was a pause on the two of them digested this. In the silence looking so crazy in love could just be heard leaking out of Melvin’s speakers.
“Okay we can call it a draw I guess” Clint allowed.
“Yeah, alright, Melvin has a point” Bucky agreed.
“For Thor’s and Vision’s sake let’s hope we never find ourselves in an alternate dimension with Sarah and Ripley” Clint mused as they both turned to head toward the elevator and Melvin picked his book back up.
“Oh, one more thing” Clint paused and turned back to look at Melvin. “Are you listening to Beyonce right now?”
“Fuck yeah I am, I love Queen B” Melvin answered. He turned the speakers back up and shimmied in his chair with absolutely no shame before reaching out and pushing the button that would allow the two of them to enter. Clint and Bucky both laughed all the way into the elevator, the sound of it only cutting off when the doors shut.
Tuesday February 14th
Bucky was sitting cross-legged on the floor in front of the couch, the coffee table covered with disassembled firearms. Clint was stretched out on the couch behind him, quietly reading a dogeared copy of Princess Bride while Bucky cleaned his guns. The late afternoon sunlight peeked in through the gap in the curtains and the scent of coffee and gun oil filled the air. Neither man had spoken in more than a hour, they were content to simply share space while absorbed in their own tasks. Until Clint laughed suddenly, shattering the idyllic bubble they had been in. Holding his place in the book with a finger he dropped his head back onto the couch's armrest.
“What?” Bucky didn’t bother to look up from the barrel he was wiping down.
“Barry White? You trying to get it on?” Bucky could barely understand Clint through his giggles.
“What the fuck are you talking about?” He asked, still not looking at Clint.
“The music Bucky! Why are we listening to sex music?” Clint asked.
Bucky set down the barrel and finally turned to look at Clint, turning his whole body so he could look Clint in the eye.
“First, let’s get it on is Marvin Gaye, not Barry White” he held up a single metal finger. “Second, this is your ipod dumbass, not mine” he added another raised finger. “And finally, who the fuck would I be trying to get it on with? It’s just us here” he didn’t bother with raising a third finger, instead he reached out and cuffed Clint on the side of the head.
“Ouch” Clint complained, rubbing his head. “I don’t know, maybe you're trying to get it on with me” Clint grinned and gave an over-the-top wink followed by a ridiculous eyebrow waggle and crude hip thrust, that really just looked silly rather than sexy while laying on the couch.
“Barton I assure you if I wanted anything to do with that” Bucky gestured at Clint “you would know and there would be no trying involved.”
“Do or do not there is no try” Clint responded in his best Yoda voice, which was terrible.
Bucky laughed, a full open laugh, his eyes shining. He leaned more heavily into the couch and rested his head against Clint’s shoulder.
“Your an idiot Barton” his voice was fond and his eyes, which we’re staring straight into Clint’s were full of affection. Clint’s heart stopped for a single beat before starting up again at breakneck speed, he felt simultaneously like he’d been punched in the gut and dizzy.
“Fuck” he breathed out, unable to tear his eyes away from Bucky.
Buckys forehead furrowed “what?”
“Shit, oh no, oh shit” he groaned, wrenched his eyes away from Bucky and covered his face with his hands.
“What is it?” Bucky came up on his knees, leaned over Clint and pulled his hands away from his face.
“I’m an idiot” Clint answered looking up at Bucky, his face miserable.
“Clint talk to me, what’s wrong?”
“I’m pretty sure, maybe, just a little bit, I’m in love with you” Clint grimaced and braced himself.
“Oh” Bucky said. He kept his grip on Clints hands but leaned back on his heels, his face thoughtful.
“I’m sorry, I just realized, it’s cool, no big deal, like you don’t need to-” Bucky cut Clint’s rambling off with a metal hand over his mouth.
There was a heavy pause before Bucky brought his other hand up to grip the back of Clint’s neck and push his fingers into his hair. His other hand slid off of Clints mouth to cup his jaw. He ran his thumb over Clint’s lower lip before leaning in and kissing him. Clint froze for a second before getting with the program, wrapping his arms around Bucky and pulling him in closer. Bucky moaned into the kiss, their lips parted and tongues came together. When the need for air forced their mouths apart Bucky found himself unwilling to move away so he transferred his lips to Clints jaw and trailed nibbles and little kisses down his neck.
“Wow” Clint gasped.
“I’m pretty sure, maybe, just a little bit, I’m in love with you too” Bucky murmured against Clint’s neck.
“Oh, that's good” Clint said, Bucky could hear the smile in his voice. “Can we get back to the making out now?”
Bucky chuckled and complied.
“Ugh, gross!” the sudden exclamation caused them to break apart. Kate stood in the doorway, her eyes covered and making vomit noises. “Not in front of me guys, come on. I know it’s valentines and all but could you get a room?”
“You do know you don’t live here right?” Bucky reminded her, his voice annoyed.
“This is still common space, take your facesucking to the bedroom” she returned, putting her hands on her hip and glaring at Bucky.
“This is our common space” Bucky glared back.
“It’s valentine’s day?” Clint asked, Kate and Bucky both ignored his question as they engaged in a staring contest. Kate gave in first.
“Whatever lovebirds, I need to go wash my eyes out with bleach” Kate turned and stomped away into the kitchen. There was pause when Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love finished before the next song started. Clint snorted and started to laugh when Whitney Houston came on. Bucky groaned and dropped his head onto Clints chest, who just laughed harder.
“Hey,” Clint tugged on Bucky’s hair, still giggling and asked “wanna be my valentine?”
Bucky smiled and answered with another kiss, the sound of Kate’s retching noises and I Will Always Love You in the background.