“Stop pacing, you’ll wear a hole in the floor,” Natasha drawled.
The former Winter Soldier stopped in the middle of the room and crossed his arms.
“Calm down man, it’s not that big of a deal.” Clint said, tossing some popcorn at Bucky’s face.
“Not a big deal? Tony’s gone .” Bucky snarled at the archer.
“Yeah, like every month,” Clint shrugged, “Hell, he’s been kidnapped a whole bunch since you moved into the tower, what’s with all the drama now?”
Bucky had to admit they had a point. It wasn’t exactly a new thing for Tony to get kidnapped. Despite being an Avenger, of all of them Tony was the closest to being a civilian.
Tony didn’t have any superior physical abilities out of the suit and his genius made him an attractive target for any villain who wanted to try and sway him to their cause
Not that Tony would work for them. He was a stubborn son of a bitch, no amount of torture would convince him to turn.
That line of thought caused Bucky to start picturing Tony being tortured and sent Bucky spiraling into worse and worse thoughts.
Another piece of popcorn hit Bucky in the head.
Bucky raised his fist, when a gentle hand fell on his shoulder.
“Okay, let’s cool down everybody. Buck, maybe we should try the gym?” Steve offered.
Bucky didn’t want to go, lest they get word about Tony’s whereabouts, but Steve practically pushed him out of the room.
“Okay, Buck what’s up?” He demanded.
“What’s up? One of our teammates is missing and nobody but me seems to give a shit!”
“Tony gets kidnapped all the time, and he is used to it-”
“That doesn’t make it ok!” Bucky snapped.
“That’s not what I’m saying, Buck!” Steve rubbed his temples and sighed.
“Look, I like it just as much as you do but the fact of the matter is Tony knows what he’s dealing with better than any of us do. He’s been going through this sort of thing since he was a kid, so it’s better to just let him do his thing. We’ve been through this before, either we’ll get a signal with Tony’s location or he’ll come striding right through the door a little bruised up but still fine. Why are you so worked up about him anyway? You, if anyone, should know that Tony can handle himself, you’re practically inseparable on the battlefield.”
Bucky bit back the retort that the only reason he stuck so close to Tony was because Tony had an unhealthy tendency to be a complete and utter dumbass on the battlefield and throw himself into the line of fire.
Instead he just followed Steve in silence. It wouldn’t be fair to take his frustrations out on the others anyway. It’s not like they knew.
It had been exactly one year since Bucky moved into the tower.
One year without having to walk around looking over his shoulder. One year in the same place. Someplace he could call home, filled with people who supported him.
One year fighting as an Avenger, helping people with the skills HYDRA gave him.
One year for Bucky to realize he was completely smitten with the resident genius.
Tony was just something else. The guy could be a little shit during missions, ignoring orders and cracking jokes at the most inappropriate times, but on the drop of hat he would become quiet and caring, listening to a person's problems with the utmost seriousness and understanding.
Bucky could spend hours watching the way Tony’s face lit up as he explained a new piece of technology or talked about upgrades he made to the suit, and Bucky was pretty sure the feeling was mutual. Tony seemed to enjoy the time they spent together in the lab, and there were a few too many lingering glances for Bucky to ignore.
It was also clear the way Tony seemed to catch himself and look away that Bucky was going to have to make the first move.
One night, Bucky was on the couch flipping through TV channels and trying to work up the nerve to ask Tony out, when the genius himself plopped himself down into the seat next to him.
Bucky only grunted in reply as he he desperately tried to remember the lines he had been mulling over in his head and force the words out of his mouth
“Ooh, wait let’s watch this!” Tony grabbed the remote out of Bucky’s hand and flipped back to some sort of sci-fi movie Bucky didn’t recognize. Bucky spent the next hour captivated Tony as he animatedly talked about the movie. Bucky’s heart skipped a beat at the pure joy in Tony’s eyes as he gave dozens of little anecdotes about behind the scenes facts. Bucky was so focused on Tony that he didn’t even realize that the credits were rolling.
“You really like this movie, huh?” Bucky said eventually.
“Oh yeah, it’s a classic, I could talk about it for hours,” Tony replied. He looked at his watch and sighed before standing up.
“Looks like I have to get back to work.”
Suddenly, Bucky remembered what he had been trying to do before Tony came down and they’d watched the movie and stood up, startling the genius,
“Tony wait!” Bucky yelled as he grabbed Tony’s arm. Tony’s eyes widened and for a second Bucky thought he had scared him, but Tony looked more surprised than anything else.
“Something wrong Buck?” Tony asked.
In his head the invitation was a smooth one-liner, You busy later doll? Or something he would have said before the war.
“WANNA FOOD WITH ME?” Bucky blurted out.
“I mean do you want to get food with me. Specifically lunch. Tomorrow.” Bucky stammered awkwardly.
Tony’s eyes widened again and he quickly pulled his hand away from Bucky. He bit his lip nervously as he considered his response.
“I don’t know.” He said softly.
Bucky’s face fell.
“It’s okay if you don’t want to, I understand-”
“No!” Tony said frantically, “I do it’s just. I’m not the best with relationships. You know about Pepper…” the genius trailed off, before giving a sigh.
“A lot of people have hurt you Buck,” Tony whispered softly. “I don’t want to be another.”
Bucky wasn’t sure what to say to that, but he grabbed Tony’s shoulder before the other could slip away and squirrel himself in his lab.
“Well, I mean, it’s not like I’m an expert either. HYDRA training doesn’t exactly include tips on being the best boyfriend,” Bucky said.
“Let’s just take it slow. Lunch every now and then. Or maybe lab time? We don’t even have to tell the team,” Bucky offered.
Tony stopped and considered it for a moment before smiling.
“I guess that’s okay, but if I screw something up, let me know okay?”
Bucky grinned and pulled Tony into a hug.
“I don’t think I’ll need to do that doll.”
And it worked out pretty well, at first. Despite living with a bunch of super spies and soldiers with enhanced hearing, they managed to keep their relationship a secret from the others.
It mostly involved sneaking out for dinner or private picnics in Tony’s lab. They’d been going out for a few months and were starting to talk about moving into the same room, when the blow came.
Tony got kidnapped.
The super soldiers got a few quick rounds in in the gym, Bucky trying to not go too hard on Steve, when Clint’s voice rang out over the intercom.
“Yo, Pouty Soldier. Stark’s back.”
Without so much as a glance at his friend, Bucky sprinted up the stairs and practically crashed through walls to get to the common area.
Tony was at the kitchenette, eating some ice cream. He had a few bruises on his face, a new cut on his cheek and he was favoring his right hand while cradling his left wrist. Bucky immediately rushed over to examine him more closely.
“Hey, hey! It’s good to see you too Buckaroo, but be careful.” Tony said. The genius lightly pushed Bucky away when he tried to check Tony’s hand. “I am fine , Bucky. It wasn’t any worse than usual.”
Bucky pulled Tony close to him.
“I was so worried about you” Bucky whispered into Tony’s neck. “I was scared I’d never see you again”
“Why? C’mon babe, you know me. Stuff like this is a cakewalk” Tony laughed.
“I didn’t know what had happened to you and it would have been all my fault and-”
“Now, now darling, none of that.” Tony leaned forward to shut Bucky up with a kiss. It would have lasted longer if not for the a loud cough from Clint.
“Oh, you’re still here.” Tony gasped. “Ummm, surprise?”
“W-when did this happen?” Clint sputtered.
“A while now, we’re coming up on our sixth month anniversary in fact.”
“Shit are we? Damn, I forgot” Bucky muttered.
“No problem, boo.” Tony winked, “I’ve got the best surprise planned for you.”
“Get a room you two.” Sam said.
“No.” Steve said, crossing his arms. “Tony needs to go to medical to get checked out.”
“Bucky already checked me out.”
“No, Tony. You need a thorough examination from an actual doctor”
Tony pouted and Bucky glared until Steve gave a relenting sigh.
“Fine, Bucky can go with you.”
Tony cheered as Bucky scooped him up and walked them down to medical.