It’s so simple, how it started.
Clint is never really “conscious” for the first hour or two that he’s out of bed. Bucky would watch him move on autopilot; alarm, kitchen, coffee, microwave burrito eaten at the sink, bedroom, shower, clothes, range. Every day the same.
At first Bucky had only watched for information, still half the Soldier, gathering intel and filing it away. Later, it became curiosity. The archer’s automatic, robotic patterns reminded him of himself, of going through the motions of life when everything still felt like a dream. He wondered if Clint dreamt any during his mornings, or if it was all just fuzzy static.
And it was fascinating, seeing the light finally turn on in his eyes in the middle of a shot, the weapon in his hand as much a part of him as his arms and legs, and just as easily controlled.
And then of course Bucky started messing with him.
At first it was just moving the coffee pot. That morning, Bucky sat in the kitchen and watched as the archer shuffled in, reached for the carafe and frowned. It was almost cute, how he looked so confused for a moment. Bucky had fully expected him to notice the machine had moved just two feet down the counter, but, Nope. Clint blinked a few times, then just went for the frozen burritos like he was just moving on to the next part of the checklist.
He complained of a headache the rest of the day and Bucky felt guilty. So, in penance, the next day he intercepted Clint at the counter with a warm, fresh-brewed mug.
He froze up when Bucky pushed the mug into his hand, blinked at him in sleepy confusion. “Coffee,” Bucky encouraged, his voice still rusty from disuse. Clint took a sip, made a small hum, and continued on with his zombie routine.
Three hours later he sought Bucky out and frowned at him. “Did you make me coffee this morning?”
“Yeah.” Bucky answered tentatively. “That okay?”
Clint appeared to think about it a few beats, then nodded. “Thanks.”
From there it just seemed natural to start making him a proper breakfast. And then somewhere between the bacon and the eggs, Clint started leaning on him while he waited. A solid warmth, pressed up against his back, and Bucky felt that hard chunk of ice in his core start to defrost.
“Thanks, Buck,” Clint mumbled, took his plate and slumped over to the island bar to eat, now not-quite halfway to waking.
And that’s when Bucky knew he was gonna be in trouble.