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Bucky had missed the first two contests.  The very first, he’d gone off to battle, and no one had really taken the challenge seriously as the country tried to recover from war. The second, he’d been recovering from his injury that had almost killed him. He was healthy now, though, and the three years between contests had passed, and he was ready to try for Tony’s hand in marriage.


And so, it seemed, was everyone else.


“I will put you down so hard,” Bucky threatened once he’d cornered Steve.


Steve put his hands up placatingly. “I’m not doing this because I want Tony,” he hurried to say, and then lifted an arm for Natasha to sneak under and snuggle up against his side.


Bucky glanced back and forth between them, confused.


“You’ve got one arm, dumb ass,” Natasha said, but there was a little humor in her voice. “We know you’re head over heels for Tony and we know that Tony favors you, and Tony hates that he has to do this stupid competition. So we’re all going to fight for Tony, and then when you fight us, we’re going to let you win.” She tilted her head thoughtfully. “…Maybe.”


“I’ll top you if you let Bucky win,” Steve offered when Bucky started looking worried.


Natasha whipped her head around to look up at him, looking as excited as she ever allowed before she looked back at Bucky. “I’ll let you win.”


Bucky laughed a little. It was a hysterical laugh. He hadn’t expected this much competition. Sure, he’d known that Tony was handsome and smart and wealthy, but he’d also thought that everyone had seen that there was something between them and would back off. He should have known that there would be people that didn’t care, like Tiberius Stone and Sunset Bain and Ezekiel Stane and Justin Hammer. There were alphas coming in from villages far and wide. He hated Howard Stark.




“I hate him too,” Tony whispered, just a touch ashamed to be saying it out loud.


Bucky stroked his thumb over Tony’s knuckles gently. “I’m sure he just wanted you to have a good, strong mate when he died.”


“I just want you!” Tony exclaimed angrily, standing up and beginning to pace the length of his forge. “But now there’s a chance that I’ll have to marry someone else, someone I don’t even like—”


“Likin’ the faith I’m seein’ here, doll,” Bucky drawled, but he wasn’t hurt much. He could understand why Tony was so anxious. Bucky had the serious disadvantage of only having one arm, and he had just finished healing. The scarring was still puckered and red, even. He really did need all the help he could get. “The others are gonna make sure I make it to the end.”


“But then you have to fight me, and I’m not—I will not go easy on you, Bucky,” Tony told him, gripping his hands into fists so that Bucky wouldn’t see him shaking. “Obadiah will be watching and if he even suspects that I’m going easy on you, he can put a stop to it, shut down the entire competition. I’m twenty-four, Bucky. I don’t want to wait until I’m twenty-seven or thirty to start having children.”


“I’ll win,” Bucky promised, reaching out to take his hand again.


“You keep promising that but be realistic, Bucky. You’re down one arm and you’ve only just been able to start training again. Hammer alone could probably beat you, and he’s a fucking moron!”


Bucky had peeked at the fight rosters Pepper had made up. Hammer was the only true competition he had to fight. Steve would be fighting Tiberius, Thor would be fighting Ezekiel, and Natasha would be fighting Sunset. Hammer might have been an alpha, but he was smart like Tony and hadn’t had all the physical training that most alphas took part in because of that. He’d probably get cocky over his opponent having one arm and brag about how Tony was his. Bucky figured he only needed to give Hammer one good punch in the mouth to win.


“I’m more worried about having to fight you,” Bucky said when he noticed Tony was getting really worked up.


“I’m not weak,” Tony hissed. “You’ll find it won’t be that easy to hurt me!”


“That’s what I’m worried about. You’re allowed to have a weapon. I’ll just have one arm,” Bucky said, and all the fight left Tony’s body at once. He held his hand out to him and Tony immediately came, burying his face in Bucky’s shoulder and clinging to his shirt. “Oh, honey.”


“I just want you,” Tony repeated into his shirt tearfully. “Bucky, I just want you.”


“It’ll work out,” Bucky promised, stroking his hand up and down Tony’s back. “Don’t worry. I’ll win the competition, defeat you, and then we can work on getting you those kids you want.”


“You’ll have to make me submit to you,” Tony warned after a moment. He leaned back to look up at him, brows furrowed with worry. “You weren’t here to see it, but last year I nearly stabbed Tiberius to death because he wouldn’t yield. He kept trying to make me submit and the only reason he finally yielded was because Obadiah tore me off him and growled in his face.”


“I’ll figure something out,” Bucky assured him, and then leaned in a little and added, “Wish you’d stabbed him to death, though.”


Tony couldn’t help a slightly guilty smile, covering his mouth quickly to hide it. “You and me both.”




“You know the worst part about having one arm?” Bucky asked Steve as Natasha tore out a chunk of Sunset’s hair.


“Huh?” Steve asked distractedly, trying not to show how hot and bothered Natasha’s displays were making him. Sunset was putting up a good fight, but Natasha had had the fight won the moment she’d stepped onto the field just by virtue of being ready to go; Sunset had had to preen and show off, whereas Natasha had just quietly gotten into position to start.


“I said, you know the worst part about having one arm?” Bucky repeated.


Steve leaned over in his seat to get a better view of Natasha slamming Sunset down on her back. “Hmm?”


Bucky leaned over a little to watch, too. “I can’t clap.”


Steve nodded sympathetically before turning to look at him in confusion. “Wait, what?”


“I can’t fucking applaud your girlfriend, you idiot.”


Steve stared at him a moment before roaring with laughter. Natasha peeked over at them, obviously curious, but it didn’t stop her from punching Sunset directly in the nose, cartilage crunching under her knuckles.


“Steve, you’re gonna miss her making Bain yield,” Bucky said, but Steve was laughing so hard he couldn’t really stop anymore.


Natasha made Sunset yield only a few seconds later, both eyes blackened and nose crooked after another punch. Sunset looked pissed, but she was just as aware as everyone watching that if she didn’t yield, Natasha would have no compunction against killing her. Steve, luckily, stopped laughing just long enough to hear Sunset yield, but his face was red and tears were still rolling down his cheeks from the effort of not laughing all over again.


“Are you okay?” Natasha asked once she’d wiped the blood from her hands and walked over.


Steve visibly swallowed down more laughter. “If you ever hear me laughing for no reason, rest assured it’s because Bucky’s only got one arm.”


Natasha looked appalled until Bucky started patting his thigh. She watched him in confusion, trying to parse what she was seeing, and eventually gave up to ask, “What the hell are you doing?”


“Clapping for you,” Bucky deadpanned.


Natasha stared at him, uncomprehending, as Steve burst into hysterics again.




Tiberius growled, beginning to circle Steve, but Steve matched him step for step. The tension between them had been high the moment they’d stepped onto the field, but it only grew higher the longer they sized each other up, growling, lips curling up to sneer at each other.


Tiberius lost his patience first and lunged in, fist connecting with Steve’s jaw. Steve turned with the impact, let out a snarl, and used the momentum to bring his own fist up and slam his knuckles into the side of Tiberius’s head.


Tiberius crumpled like paper. It was almost… anticlimactic.


The crowd hushed. Steve hovered over Tiberius awkwardly. He’d expected it to be a lot more difficult to put Tiberius down after the last competition, when Obadiah had had to make him yield.


“HA,” Tony shouted, pointing, and then remembered where he was and covered his mouth, shocked.


Natasha began giggling, looking mortified, and Bucky couldn’t handle choking back his own laughter anymore.


The crowd followed suit quickly, and it was probably better that Tiberius was knocked out for it; otherwise he might have turned on them in anger. Pepper began counting to ten, but it was barely heard over the raucous laughter and jeers.


“How the hell did he make it to the round against Tony?” Bucky asked when he’d finally calmed down.


Natasha shrugged helplessly, still giggling as she watched Steve, declared the winner, awkwardly drag Tiberius off of the field to clear it for Thor and Ezekiel. “Obadiah handled the fighting rosters last year. Steve and I were pitted against each other and Ezekiel with Tiberius. I think he figured on Ezekiel being able to beat him, but, you know…”


“Two spoiled brats fighting when only one had something to lose? Yeah, I can see that,” Bucky muttered, running his hand through his hair to push it out of his eyes.


He’d heard rumors that Obadiah had somehow tricked Howard into adding a clause that if a suitor failed to win Tony’s hand by the time he was thirty-three, Obadiah would be allowed to choose a mate for him. It would surprise no one when he chose his own son to be Tony’s alpha. Ezekiel had nothing to lose as long as Tony kept making his suitors yield, and Howard had insisted he know how to use each weapon he could make so he knew what standards to hold his craft to. Few alphas actually had as much weapons training as Tony did, and fewer still the precision.


“Also I think Steve just hates Tiberius because even after Obadiah made him yield, he still tried to get to Tony later.” Natasha tilted her head. “And you know Steve. His hatred cannot be competed with.”


Bucky tilted his head, conceding. Even when Steve had been tiny and sickly, he was full of a rage that he just could not contain. He was better at stifling it now, but sometimes it just… burst out of him.


And Bucky couldn’t blame him for hating an alpha who tried to force himself on an omega that didn’t want him.




Thor’s fight with Ezekiel was disappointing for everyone, most of all Thor.


“Are—are you yielding?” Thor asked.


Ezekiel shrugged, still on his back on the ground. “Yes.”


Thor looked… dismayed by the answer.


“Hit him again!” someone called out. It sounded an awful lot like Tony, but Tony was just lounging in his seat on his platform, looking bored, when people turned to look at him.


Thor looked like he absolutely wanted to hit Ezekiel again, but instead turned and walked off the field as the world’s most pissed off victor.


On the bright side, Obadiah looked just as disgusted as everyone else.




Bucky was nervous when he stepped onto the field. He knew, logically, that he had the upper hand. While he’d been training to fight and going off to war, Hammer had been studying and, when Tony was exhausted, making incredibly shoddy weapons. Hammer didn’t have the training he did, the knowledge of combat.


But Hammer did have two working arms.


Bucky gritted his teeth. No. He wasn’t going to doubt himself. Tony was depending on him, and he wouldn’t let the omega down. He wouldn’t let himself down.


Hammer squared up. Bucky followed suit, taking note of how bad Hammer’s form was. His feet were too close together, he was leaving himself open to a left hook, and he was going to break his thumb the first time he landed a punch. Bucky lamented not having a left arm to hook with, but considering how bad Hammer’s form was, it wouldn’t be difficult making or even finding an opportunity to get a right jab in.


Pepper rang the bell to begin the fight, and Hammer yelled and swung his fist so that it landed on Bucky’s shoulder. His good shoulder. The shoulder that didn’t hurt.


Bucky stared at Hammer for a long moment as he howled and clutched at his hand before jerking his own fist up and punching Hammer in the face. Hammer screamed as he toppled over.


Bucky let Hammer get back on his feet mostly out of a morbid curiosity to see what he would try to do next and pity because honestly, this was just sad. Hammer stumbled to his feet with a lot of flailing and cursing, and then punched him with his other hand. And broke his other thumb. Hammer howled again and threw himself on the ground, wallowing around in pain.


Bucky stared at him again before reaching out and gently shoving Hammer’s head into the dirt. “Yield.”


“Like hell!” Hammer spat after he let him lift his head to talk.


Bucky shoved his head back down in the dirt and rubbed it around so that he got a mouthful of soil.


“—ield-! I yield!” Hammer sputtered.


Bucky turned and held his hand up in victory. Natasha was clapping, and Steve let out a piercing whistle. Bucky turned again. Tony was clapping too, smiling wide. Bucky began to smile back.


Then something thumped against the back of his head. Hard.


Bucky spun around with a snarl, lifting his arm to punch Hammer into next week.


Hammer let out an ‘eep’ as Thor grabbed him by the back of the neck and dragged him over to the side of the ring to dump him into a water barrel head-first.


“…I’ll let you have this, but only because your fight with Ezekiel was a huge disappointment to everyone involved,” Bucky said.


Thor lifted Hammer out of the water barrel and dropped him on the ground without a word—only a short nod.




Bucky snuck through the forge into Tony’s house. Technically none of the competitors were supposed to have contact with Tony now that the contest had started (he probably shouldn’t have even seen Tony beforehand, now that he thought about it), but the other village occupants had no problem studiously looking the other direction while he crawled between barrels and around the anvil until he got through the door.


Tony threw himself at him as soon as he closed the door. “I knew you’d beat Hammer!”


Bucky laughed a little and wrapped his arm around the omega’s waist, burying his nose in his hair. “Mm. You know everything.”


“I do,” Tony said proudly. He sighed, rubbing his cheek over Bucky’s chest and sagging against him. “Everyone’s fights were good, but yours was the best.”


“I dunno,” Bucky replied, smiling, and nuzzled the top of Tony’s head gently. “Natasha’s was pretty incredible.”


“Oh, I never count Natasha,” Tony said, leaning back to look up at him. “Otherwise everyone would always lose to her.”


Bucky would be offended, except he knew it was true. Natasha was beautiful and smart and strong, and the only reason Tony wasn’t her omega was because she was completely gone on Steve.


“Pepper has her fighting Thor tomorrow, too,” Tony added, nuzzling into Bucky’s chest. “To make up for the fight he had today. Or, well, the fight he didn’t have. I think Thor should have kicked Ezekiel while he was lying down.” He peeked up at Bucky and smiled. “Which means that you get to fight Steve, and he’ll let you win!”


“Natasha would have let me win,” Bucky answered in confusion.


Tony shrugged bashfully. “I mean. I wasn’t entirely sure. The way she was beating up Sunset—”


“She hates Sunset,” Bucky pointed out. “Also she’s a huge matchmaker. I’m pretty sure if you’d said ‘Natasha, I want to mate with Stephen Strange,’ she would have done everything she could to get you guys together.”


“The hermit on the mountain?” Tony asked, unimpressed. “Really?”


“He’s a smart hermit,” Bucky said, shrugging, before burying his face in Tony’s hair again. “Mm… She really just wants you to be happy, Tony.”


“At least someone does,” Tony groused. “Wish my father had. I hate him. I can’t believe he’d do this to me. Doesn’t what I want matter?”


“Howard was a dick,” Bucky agreed, smoothing his hand down the omega’s spine. “If he were alive, I’d punch him in the face. But he’s not, and I can’t. Don’t worry though, sweetheart. I’ll win this fight with Steve, and then I’ll make you yield, and then we’ll get married and start making those kids you want so much.”


“I can’t go easy on you, Bucky,” Tony whispered, gripping his shirt tight in his fists. “I want to, so badly. But I can’t risk Obadiah seeing it and calling forfeit on the whole thing.”


“Don’t go easy on me,” Bucky ordered, just a touch harshly, and felt Tony shiver. “Don’t just let me win. If I deserve you, I’ll get you to yield. If we’re meant to be, I can do this on my own, without anyone letting me do anything.”


“…Submit,” Tony corrected quietly, voice small. He nuzzled into Bucky’s chest again, then leaned up, pressing little kisses to his jaw and chin.


Bucky leaned back and tipped his head down to catch his lips instead, and the omega mewled into his mouth, clinging to him. Bucky clutched back at him, swiping his tongue into Tony’s mouth, nipping the omega’s bottom lip and pulling lightly. Then he heard a noise and jerked back with a growl, clutching Tony to his chest. Tony curled into him, frightened.


“You’re lucky it’s me and not Obadiah,” Pepper said, ignoring his growl. She’d never been afraid of him though, even when he’d had both his arms and was more of a threat.


Bucky huffed, rolling his eyes, and loosened his grip on Tony so that he could turn. “Sorry.”


“You’re pushing your luck. Both of you,” she added to Tony, who shrugged and settled himself more firmly on top of Bucky. She sighed loudly in annoyance and grabbed the collar of his shirt to yank him off the other alpha.




“Obadiah will be here soon. You should leave while you can. Wouldn’t want him to disqualify you, after all,” Pepper told Bucky, but she sounded more amused than annoyed now.


Bucky stood up straight, smiling a little. “Alright. Thanks for the heads up.” He looked at Pepper for a long moment and smirked when she jumped and turned her back to him just long enough for him to press a kiss to Tony’s lips—technically she could call foul as well. But, like the other villagers, if she didn’t actually see it, she couldn’t call him on it.


Tony tried to deepen the kiss, but Bucky reluctantly pulled away. “See you tomorrow, sweetheart.”


“Yeah,” Tony sighed, frowning. “Tomorrow.”




Bucky didn’t get to see Natasha and Thor’s fight. He and Steve weren’t even told the winner, because they were to face each other the next day.


“It was probably Natasha,” Steve said.


“I dunno. Thor was so pissed off about his fight with Ezekiel that he might be angry enough to just throw her out of the ring,” Bucky mused.


Steve tilted his head, conceding. Thor loved a good fight. Ezekiel hadn’t just robbed him of one—he’d insulted him as well.


“So… may the best man win,” Bucky said, holding his hand out to him.


Steve smiled wryly. “You will.”


“You’re an awful actor, so don’t fuck this up,” Bucky added.


“I’m gonna kick your ass, beat either Thor or Natasha, and then make Tony submit just so you have to suffer seeing me happy with him and Natasha,” Steve threatened.


Bucky thought about it for a moment before saying, “As long as I get to watch you guys from time to time—”


“You’re gross, shut up,” Steve hissed, but he was smirking a little.


The crowd cheered as they stepped onto the field and entered the ring. Bucky stole a glance up at Tony, who looked nervous, glancing back and forth between them, wringing his hands in his lap. Bucky ached to reach out and take one, run his thumb over the omega’s tense knuckles.


“God, you’re so in love,” Steve teased, getting into a defensive position. “Gross. Is that how Natasha and I look when we look at each other?”


“Natasha has never looked gross a day in her life and I’m telling her that you implied that she did,” Bucky retorted, shifting his feet and lifting his arm protectively. He was pleased to see that Steve looked at least a little nervous at the threat.


Pepper looked back and forth between them, unimpressed, before ringing the bell to start the fight.


Bucky tensed, but Steve didn’t charge him, instead staying where he was. He realized too late what the blond was doing when the other alpha suddenly darted at him, feinting to the side and then slamming into his left side like a goddamn battering ram. Steve had learned that move when he was tiny and scrappy and needed his entire weight to make opponents give ground. He was a lot bigger now.


Bucky went flying, air knocked out of him as soon as he hit the ground. “OOFohmyfucking—” he wheezed, pressing his forehead against the ground as he tried to catch his breath, before finally struggling to his feet. “I’m gonna fucking kill you, Steve!”


“Sorry,” Steve said, actually sounding contrite. To be fair, Bucky had had forty pounds of muscle and the balance of his other arm the last time he’d tried it. “You just wanna punch each other until one of us—”


Bucky snarled and leapt on top of him, punching him in the face.


“Oh my God, fucking—BUCKY WHY—OW!”


Bucky got in a few more punches before Steve did a rolling move so he was on top. Joke was on him, though—Bucky had taught Natasha a lot of her moves, so he had no problem shimmying down enough so that one of Steve’s punches only glanced him, and then swung his legs up so his calves crossed under Steve’s chin and he could yank him backward onto the ground.


Steve let out a startled little yelp before the air was knocked out of him.


Bucky scrambled to his feet and put a couple yards between them, panting, before Steve could get up as well. He waited, but Steve made no move to get up. “…Steve?” he asked, because Steve wouldn’t… trick him, would he? Steve could fight dirty, but… he’d promised to let him win. This was just him letting Bucky win, right? “Steve?” he asked again, edging a little closer.


Pepper startled after Obadiah hissed at her and began counting. “One! Two! Three—”


“C’mon, buddy, not even gonna give me the satisfaction of hearing you yield?” Bucky joked nervously as he stood over the blond, but Steve didn’t move. Bucky nudged him with his foot. “Steve?”


“—our! Five! Si—”


Bucky knelt beside him and shook his shoulder. “Steve? Steve, what are yoh my God,” he breathed when he nudged Steve’s head and saw the big red patch beneath it, and the rock he’d apparently cracked Steve’s skull on accidentally.


“—ght! Nine! Ten!”


“Help!” Bucky shouted, looking up at her, and she immediately looked alarmed. He stood, looking around frantically. “Bruce? Bruce! Help!”


Bruce fumbled with his bag and ran onto the field even though it technically wasn’t allowed—he wasn’t allowed on the field until someone was declared a victor. But Bucky wasn’t going to take any chances with a head wound.


“Holy cow, Bucky, do either of you know what a ‘slight injury’ means?!” Bruce snapped at him before pressing a wad of bandages to the back of Steve’s head to try and stop the flow of blood.


“I didn’t know there was gonna be a rock there,” Bucky defended weakly.


“Steve?! Steve!” Natasha cried out, moving to rush onto the field as well, but Thor held her back. If they entered the field now, it would put them in forfeit for Tony. She shouldn't have even been near the field, but she'd probably been drawn by the hush of the crowd when Bucky had started calling for help, and then hearing no victor announced. “Bruce! Is Steve going to be okay?!”


“…Maybe?” Bruce offered, and Bucky had to sit down, world swimming around him, because oh God he might have just accidentally killed Steve.




“That was great!” Steve said, enthused.


Bucky gaped at him, too appalled for words.


“It was not great,” Bruce scolded, scowling at him.


Steve whipped around to scowl back at him, then winced and clutched his head because he'd moved too fast. “Ugh. Are you kidding?! He put me down without any effort at all and it was real!


“He almost put you down permanently,” Natasha spat, arms crossed. Her back was turned to them. If they looked at her hard enough, they’d see the tremors in her hands, the way her shoulders shook. They chose not to look at her that hard.


The door to Bruce’s home burst open and Tony came flying in. “Steve!”


“Tony!” Steve said happily. “Did you see!? Bucky knocked me ass over kettle!”


“Are you okay, are you—are you gonna be okay?” Tony asked, cupping Steve’s cheeks, pressing the back of his hand to the alpha’s forehead, peering into his eyes in concern. His fingers fluttered up over the bandages around his head. “You went down really hard. I thought—I thought you’d—”


“Hey,” Steve said gently, taking his hand. “I’m fine.”


Tony frowned at him, looking as if he didn’t quite believe him. Then he scowled and punched Steve in the shoulder.


“Ow!” Steve exclaimed, looking betrayed.


“Then why aren’t you groveling to your girlfriend for scaring her, you asshole!” Tony spat, then crossed his arms and turned his back on Steve as well.


“Wh—bu—hey! I didn’t ask to be brained!” Steve sputtered.


Tony let out a ‘harumph’ and stomped out of Bruce’s house as quickly as he’d come, slamming the door behind him.


Bucky and Bruce stared after him, frowning.


“That was weird,” Bruce said after a moment.


“Yeah,” Bucky agreed quietly.


“—‘mon, I’m sorry,” they heard, and turned to find Steve standing behind Natasha, arms curled around her waist, chin on one of her stiff shoulders. “It was an accident. You can’t believe I wanted that to happen. I feel like my skull’s splitting open.”


Bruce opened his mouth to tell Steve that he was in no condition to be standing so soon, but Bucky dragged him out of the house instead. “Just… give ‘em a minute. Natasha doesn’t like to be weak in front of people,” he offered when the doctor gave him a disgruntled look.


“…Alright,” Bruce agreed begrudgingly. He crossed his arms, letting out a little huff, then bumped shoulders with him awkwardly. “It was really impressive right up until you almost killed Steve.”


“Wasn’t even really sure I could do it, he’s so fuckin’ tall,” Bucky admitted, smiling just a little. His smile fell soon after though. “Tony didn’t say a single word to me.”


“He wasn’t allowed to,” Rhodes informed him as he approached.


Bruce and Bucky turned toward him and raised their eyebrows when they noticed Thor had his arm thrown over the other alpha’s shoulders.


“Since you’ll be fighting Tony tomorrow,” Rhodes added when they looked confused.


Bucky pointed at Thor and made a confused noise. He was supposed to be fighting Thor tomorrow, because Natasha had forfeited when she’d finally broken free of the blond’s grip to run out onto the field.


Thor frowned at him severely. “Natasha stabbed me. I am no condition to be a worthy opponent to you, Bucky.”


Bruce nearly choked on his tongue. “Natasha stabbed you badly enough that you can’t fight tomorrow and you’re only just now getting help?!”


Thor scoffed. “Steve needed help a little more than I did,” he pointed out. “Besides. Loki stabs me all the time. I’m used to it.”


“ARE YOU SERIOUS,” Bruce bellowed, and looked about one wrong answer away from stomping away to become a mountain hermit like Strange.


“…Now, Bruce,” Thor began gently.


“Get. In. The. House,” Bruce hissed, and Thor took his arm off Rhodes’s shoulders to hurriedly limp into Bruce’s home to get treated. Bruce stomped after him, slamming the door shut behind himself. Natasha skittered out a moment later, looking quietly terrified. They weren’t surprised, though—nobody liked Bruce when he was angry. And he probably wouldn’t be pleased that Natasha had been the cause of the injury.


Bucky and Rhodes watched Natasha disappear between houses before Rhodes turned back to him. “Natasha forfeited by running onto the field, and Thor is no longer able to fight, so it’s down to you. Hell, Stane almost called off the whole thing, except Pepper argued that she’d finished counting Steve out before Bruce took the field, so you were officially the winner.” Rhodes clapped Bucky on the shoulder. “So it’s down to you. Maybe it’s better this way,” he added, smirking a little. “Since I doubt Thor could make a loss believable.”


Bucky huffed out a laugh. Yeah, he’d been worried about that too.


Rhodes patted his shoulder. “Listen, I gotta go, but… good luck tomorrow. Tony’s been waiting for you a long time.”


“Thanks,” Bucky answered, voice thick. Rhodes was right, of course. Tony had been waiting an awfully long time for him. He just… hadn’t expected it to take so long.


“Give Steve my regards,” Rhodes added before he turned and left.


Bucky nodded tiredly, then turned and walked over to Bruce’s door. He opened it slowly and peeked inside.


“No,” Steve whispered sadly from where he was lying down again. “Bucky, save yourself.”


“And just what does he have to save himself from,” Bruce snapped, and Bucky slammed his door back shut and ran, because he wasn’t a fucking idiot.




Bucky heard the latch of his door jiggling and got up to open the door. If it was an intruder, they were about to get a heaping helping of Sleep-Deprived, Pissed Off Alpha.


Tony stumbled backward, startled. “Bucky!” Then he clapped a hand over his mouth and looked around to see if anyone had heard him. When he saw that no one had, he lunged through Bucky’s door and kicked it shut. He turned to pout up at the alpha. “You changed your door latch.”


“Yeah, I switched it to the other side and a different latch since I’ve only got one hand,” Bucky explained, deadpan. “It seemed to make sense, since I couldn’t just grab it with my left hand anymore.”


“…Oh,” Tony said, looking chagrined. His eyes darted around nervously before he shoved something at his chest. “Here.”


“Oh my G—What part of ‘I’ve only got one hand’ don’t you—” Bucky hissed, scrambling to grab whatever it was that Tony had shoved at him. He paused once he got a grip on it so he could examine it properly. “Is… is this a bracer?”


“In our fight tomorrow, you only get to have one item to defend yourself,” Tony explained hurriedly. “I’m going to use a spear. It’s what I’m best with. I thought about a shield, but this will let you get in closer quarters with me during the fight because it’s not as bulky. Bruce will help you put it on tomorrow. It’s leather so it’ll have a little give but I’ve given you a metal plate so my spear won’t puncture it. You once fought alongside Wakandans during the war, right? My fighting style’s a lot like that.”


“Tony,” Bucky began, feeling warm inside at the care Tony was still showing him.


“Shh! Don’t talk. Just listen,” Tony said desperately, voice cracking. “Please, Bucky, I just—I just want you to win so badly. I want to be yours. I want to submit only to you. But Obadiah was so pissed today because of your win being a technicality that I’ll have to fight even harder tomorrow so he can’t claim I let you win just to get around the rules of the contest.” He cupped Bucky’s cheeks, thumbs running over his cheekbones gently, eyes shining in the dim light from the candle beside Bucky’s bed. “Please win my hand tomorrow, Bucky. I don’t… I don’t know if I’ll survive the disappointment if you don’t. Not again.”


“I’ll win,” Bucky promised firmly, and it was very hard not to lean down and crush the omega’s mouth in a kiss. But Tony was too distressed for that, too scared, so Bucky just let his gaze soften, convey how much he meant it, because he wanted that too, wanted Tony to love and cherish and protect. “I’ll win, Tony.”


Tony stared up at him silently, visibly hoping, and praying, before he let go of him and went to the door without another word, peeking outside carefully before slipping out.


Bucky went to the window to watch him go, gripping the brace tight as he watched the omega dart from shadow to shadow.


He would win. Tony didn’t have to wait anymore.




“Tony favors his left side,” Bruce murmured as he helped tie the brace around Bucky’s arm. “I know it’s weird, because he’s right-handed, but he’s overcompensating for it.”


“Thanks,” Bucky said sincerely as he twisted his arm, testing the feel of the brace. “Tighter at my elbow, yeah? It’s gonna slide off.”




“Not that Tony’s expression wouldn’t be delightful when the brace he made for me came flying off the first time he swiped at it,” Bucky added, and Bruce snorted at the mental image. “All horrified and confused and offended. A gold piece that he’d start yelling at me and attacking me more earnestly for not putting it on properly.”


“I’m not going to take a bet where I’ll lose, because he’d definitely just start beating you with the spear and yelling,” Bruce scoffed. “And then he’d come after me for not putting the stupid thing on you properly.”


“Yeah,” Bucky agreed, smiling, before his face fell. “God. What if I lose. He’ll be so disappointed in me.”


Bruce patted his arm and stepped back so the alpha could go through a whole range of motions. “Don’t be stupid. Even down one arm, you’re still stronger than him just because you’re an alpha. The reason why Tony’s won every fight is because of his skill with a weapon, not his strength. Besides, you’ve seen actual battle; you know more than you think about fighting.”


“Here, tug on it for me,” Bucky said, holding his arm out so the beta could pull on it and see if it would come off. It didn’t. “I’m still down one arm.”


“Use that to your advantage,” Bruce told him immediately. “Everyone knows you’re still sore and sensitive where your arm was amputated. Tony knows it too, and he would never take advantage of that.”


Bucky nodded slowly. He’d known that Tony would never jab him in the shoulder where he was still sore at sometimes even the lightest touch, in the back of his mind, but he’d never thought to actually use it to his advantage. Yeah. He could use that.


“Bucky,” Bruce said slowly.


Bucky jerked his attention back toward him. “Hmm! Yes!”


“Tony’s been dropping hints ever since you come back but I know alphas are stupid so I’m just gonna lay it to you straight,” the beta said. “You are an alpha. Tony is an omega. He wants to be your omega. Use that to your advantage too.”


Bucky nodded thoughtfully, then turned to look Bruce in the eye, because he was manful enough to admit he probably wasn’t picking up everything Bruce was putting down for him and he wanted Bruce to know that he knew. “I’m pretty sure that I still don’t fully understand what you’re telling me so if I lose I will completely deserve it.”


“…I mean,” Bruce sighed, shrugging in defeat. “Alright?”


Bucky clapped him on the shoulder, tilting his head as the crowd began to cheer. Tony must be stepping onto the field. “Thanks, Bruce.”


“You’re welcome. Don’t almost kill Tony,” Bruce added. “I will be very upset if you do.”


“Will I ever live this down?” Bucky wondered as he approached the field as well, even though he knew he definitely wouldn’t, especially with Steve bragging about it. “Is this a thing that’s going to follow me for the rest of my life?” Probably. Luckily Natasha had decided not to murder him for almost killing Steve. She’d said he’d looked absolutely horrified when he’d seen what he’d done and would probably punish himself way more than she ever could. Mostly she just wanted to deck Steve for brushing it off, now.


Bucky paused at the edge of the stands, watching as Tony showed off some truly impressive moves with his spear to the delight of everyone watching. It was as if the spear was just an extension of his arms, his hands. He wielded it as if he’d been born with it. The metal of the spear glinted in the sunlight as he twisted and tossed it. He was laughing as the children he was showing off for cheered.


He was beautiful.


Bucky took a deep breath before he stepped out toward the field as well. The crowd hushed, then cheered again, and Bucky had to wonder what it was like for them.


Howard hadn’t been as well-liked as Tony, but he’d had skills the villagers had needed, especially as the war came on. People had been more amused than anything when he came up with a contest for Tony’s hand. It had boosted morale, and Tony had always laughed about it. No one had expected his dying wish to be for the contest to continue. Most of the villagers were angry on Tony’s behalf, especially because Tony and Bucky had been dancing around each other since they were five and Bucky had told Tony he was pretty. At least everyone knew Howard was an asshole, though.


He hoped he did the spectators proud. Hoped he did himself proud.


Hoped he made Tony proud, too.


Tony turned toward him and his smile went tight around the edges, brows furrowing with worry. “Ready to lose, Bucky?”


“I would surrender to you any day, sweetheart,” Bucky answered, trying for a smirk he hadn’t used since before the war. When Tony blushed, he figured it still worked for him. He went for a wink, too, and was pleased when Tony looked away, cheeks going rosier, bottom lip caught between his teeth because he’d stutter if he tried to talk.


Pepper gave Bucky a supremely unimpressed look again. He was used to it, though—she could only walk in on them flirting so many times before her exasperation got the better of her, and she’d definitely done it plenty before the war. “Win,” she told Bucky simply, and then rang the bell to start the fight, barely heard over the crowd’s roar of excitement.


Tony was moving as soon as the bell rang, and Bucky barely got his arm up in time to block the spear from sinking into his good shoulder. He twisted his arm to try and grab the spear from him but Tony was already dancing out of range, turning the spear in his hands as he watched him, calculating, trying to decide which spot to test next. God, he was attractive like this.


Tony stabbed for his legs experimentally and hummed when Bucky stomped on the head of the spear to keep it in the ground after he dodged. “Not great, but not bad!”


Bucky spun to keep his feet when Tony lunged forward and twisted the spear out from under him, brace coming up to deflect a glancing blow. “When we’re married, I hope we can continue sparring like this,” he admitted, grabbing for the spear again but unsurprised when he missed.


Tony looked shocked, and the flush on his skin wasn’t just from exertion. “You mean you—you like this?” He squawked when Bucky tried to rush him and slid back, pointing the spear at him threateningly.


Bucky backed off, because he wasn’t an idiot, and waited for the omega’s next move. “Yeah. And next time we won’t even have our marriage staked on the outcome. You’re cute when you’re embarrassed, sweetheart.”


“Wha—” Tony sputtered, then scowled, glaring at him. “Don’t get cute with me! We’re not married yet and with the way you’re fighting, we never will be, either!”


“Aw, honey,” Bucky began, then jumped when Tony lunged again, nearly tripping over his feet.


“Fucking fight me!” Tony snarled, and lunged again.


Bucky used the bracer to make Tony’s spear glance off toward his left side, and like Bruce had promised, Tony’s eyes went wide and he yanked the spear back before it could graze his shoulder. Well. At least he didn’t have to worry about his left side that much.


He’d been hoping he could tire Tony out, get him off-balance and take the spear from him, but Bucky hadn’t accounted for Tony’s job—he spent long hours in the forge doing hard labor. Of course he had stamina. What a fool he’d been. And now Bucky was starting to lag instead, because he’d trained as much as he could but it didn’t stop the fact that his injury was still technically healing.


His left shoulder was throbbing with his heartbeat, little pulses of pain that kept him from concentrating fully on the fight; phantom pains from a missing arm distracting him and nearly letting Tony stab him through his good shoulder. His right arm was numb from the metal of Tony’s spear clashing with the steel of his bracer, and it was making him slow. He’d tried to be on the offensive but now he could only defend, backing away in slowly growing circles as Tony continued to advance, looking more and more dismayed with each step.


Tony lunged for his feet again, and Bucky dodged, but then Tony twisted himself around to change direction and sank the point of his spear into Bucky’s calf. Bucky went down without even a sound, exhausted, sore, and angry at himself. He tried to get up but Tony pulled the spear out of his calf and instead shoved it at his good shoulder, and rather than make Tony injure him more, Bucky allowed himself to be pushed down.


Tears were rolling down Tony’s cheeks, and the alpha felt his heart break at out defeated Tony himself looked, too. “Yield,” he whispered, then cleared his throat and said it again, louder. “Yield!”


Bucky snarled and lifted his arm to knock the spear away with his bracer, trying to sit up, but Tony shoved him back down with his foot, shoving the spear into his shoulder harder. Bucky snarled again.


“Yield!” Tony shouted again, trying not to cry in earnest and almost succeeding. “You can try again during the next contest, Bucky. You’ll have had more time to heal and train then.”


“No,” Bucky snarled again, shoving up against the spear.


He nearly gained ground as Tony backed off in terror at him injuring himself, but then he was there again, shoving him back down with one heel, spear hovering above his throat. “I wanted to submit to you too, Bucky. But you’ve lost,” he whispered, sniffing. He took a deep breath, still crying, and shouted, “Now yield!”


Bucky glared up at him, panting, curling his fingers helplessly. He wanted Tony to yield to him, to be his, to soften under him, to—to submit to him. Bucky gaped, feeling as if something he’d been missing had finally been clicked into place.


“Yield!” Tony shouted again, gritting his teeth.


The noise that burst out of Bucky’s throat was more roar than snarl, a terrifying mixture of angry and mean and threatening all at once. Tony stumbled backward, the hair on the back of his neck standing on end, eyes round with terror, spear clutched to his chest. Bucky lurched to his feet, hand gripping into a fist and relaxing again and again, leather of the brace creaking with the movements. He looked at Tony for a moment, took in his wide eyes and heaving chest, the trembling grip he had on his spear. Then he advanced on him, steps heavy and sure.


Tony made a frightened noise and brought up his spear, but Bucky roared again, grabbing the head of the spear and yanking it from the omega’s hands. He tossed it aside like it weighed nothing, advancing on the omega again. Tony stumbled backwards, terrified, tears still wetting his cheeks. He tried to hit the alpha when he stepped into his space, but Bucky didn’t even feel them, hand instead coming up to grab the omega’s chin, fingers curling around his jaw tight enough that the smaller man whimpered.


“Submit,” Bucky rumbled, bearing his teeth.


Tony squirmed, hands curling around Bucky’s wrist and pulling, but Bucky was immovable, and it was like trying to bend stone. He glared up at the alpha with wet eyes and sneered at him.


Submit,” Bucky growled again, and gave him a little shake.


Tony pushed at his shoulders and arm helplessly before blinking up at him, another tear rolling down his cheek, before he sort of… sighed, like he was letting all the fight out in one breath, and sagged into Bucky’s hold, tilting his head back a little further to expose his throat.


Bucky’s pulse was a dull roar in his ears as he drew Tony in, digging his teeth into the flesh of the omega’s throat, feeling his pulse flutter rabbit-quick against his tongue. He released Tony’s chin to wrap his arm around the omega’s body instead, pulling it up against him, lifting his head to press his lips to Tony’s ear so he could whisper, “I yield.”


Tony sagged against him with a hiccup that could have been a laugh but also could have been a sob. Bucky was just relieved that Tony was clinging back to him, obviously not unhappy at the outcome of their fight.


The moment was pierced by a whistle, and Bucky jerked when he remembered where they were, that they had an audience. He curled his arm around Tony tighter instinctively to protect him, hide him, even though everyone was cheering for them (everyone except Obadiah, who lucked like he was sucking on a lemon). Tony huffed against his chest, leaning back just enough for him to see his watery smile.


“Kiss!” someone shouted. It sounded suspiciously like Pepper. “Kiss!


The crowd heard it too, and began to chant, growing in excitement. “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”


Tony peeked up at Bucky shyly, cheeks flushed. “I think they want us to kiss.”


“Sounds like it, huh?” Bucky replied, smiling. “Well, let’s not disappoint them. I don’t think there’s a person out there that wasn’t rooting for us.”


Tony tipped his head up, eyes closing, and Bucky dipped to meet him, pressing their lips together in a chaste kiss.


The roar in his ears this time was the rest of the village cheering.




“Shit,” Bucky grumbled, flopping down onto the bed. “Did you have to stab me so hard?”


“I said I couldn’t go easy on you,” Tony mumbled, but he did look remorseful. He carefully brushed his fingers over the bandages around the alpha’s calf as he helped raise it onto the bed. “Not that it mattered in the end. You had me scared, honestly. Thought I was going to have to kill you.”


“Yeah, well, it’s not my fault you set your heart on a dumbass,” Bucky grunted. He watched Tony putter around his bedroom before letting out an annoyed, “Hey!”


Tony jumped, startled, and turned to him. “Wha-?”


Bucky patted his lap. “You’ve gotta be tired. Come sit.”


Tony scoffed, blushing a little, hovering by the edge of the bed. “How do you know I’m tired?”


“Well sweetheart, you’ve been runnin’ through my mind all day,” Bucky drawled.


Tony squawked in disbelief. “Buck-!”


“Also you totally kicked my ass today, and I tried not to make it easy, so you could at least let me believe it wasn’t,” Bucky added, batting his eyes at him. “C’mon. Soothe my alpha pride.”


“Well,” Tony sighed, trying not to smile and mostly failing. “If it’ll soothe your alpha pride.”


He carefully crawled into the alpha’s lap, careful not to jostle his wounded leg or put too much pressure on his shoulder. Bucky’s chest was bare, so Tony delicately placed his hand on Bucky’s shoulder, running his thumb lightly over the bandages around it, mouth falling into a concerned frown.


“It doesn’t hurt that much,” Bucky promised, settling his hand on Tony’s waist. “Bruce used something green and smelly on it.”


“Mm,” Tony hummed, not convinced, but he trusted Bruce. “I’m sorry.”


“I’m not,” Bucky answered immediately. “That was hot. You can kick my ass any day.”


“Bucky!” Tony exclaimed, meaning to chastise him, but just laughed instead when Bucky waggled his eyebrows. “You’re unbelievable.”


“Yeah,” Bucky agreed happily, sliding his hand down over Tony’s hip and then back to grab a handful of cheek.


“Oh!” Tony blushed, startled. “Bucky! You’re injured!”


Bucky scowled at him. “Yeah, I know, or I’d just roll on top of you and make sure you can’t walk tomorrow.” Tony started to look guilty, so Bucky let his expression soften, giving the flesh under his hand a light squeeze. “Let me just pet you a little, sweetheart. It’s been so long since I’ve gotten to touch you like this. Please?”


“I—o-okay,” Tony stuttered, squirming. He mewled when he felt the alpha’s fingers trailing between his cheeks, over the seam of his pants. “Oh!”


“God, you’re just as beautiful as you were before I left,” Bucky sighed, leaning in to press biting kisses to the omega’s throat.


Tony sighed, pressing closer to him, rolling his hips a little. “Mm…! Bucky… Ah…” He tucked his face into Bucky’s neck, and the alpha could feel his cheeks heating up. “Will you—um—”


Bucky tipped his head, humming inquisitively. “Will I what, darling?”


“Will you… Will you tell me what our wedding night’s going to be like?” Tony asked shyly, because he’d always liked hearing what Bucky wanted to do to him. And with him needing to heal before the wedding, well… he’d probably get to hear it again and again, and he didn’t find that fact a hardship.


“What, you don’t want it to be a surprise?” Bucky asked playfully.


“Wanna hear all your amazing ideas for me,” Tony admitted.


Bucky leaned back to look up at him, smiling. “Yeah?”


“Yeah.” Tony jerked his head back with a gasp when Bucky’s fingers dug in through his trousers, pressing between his cheeks insistently as he felt the fabric getting wet. “Oh!”


“Gonna press kisses all over your body until you’re drippin’ wet and beggin’ for me, honey,” Bucky drawled, watching in delight as Tony’s pupils went wide and dark, lips parting to pant little breaths as the alpha tugged his trousers down to his thighs so he could rub his knuckles over the omega’s damp hole. “Are your nipples still sensitive?”


Tony bit his bottom lip in embarrassment before managing a small nod. “Yeah.”


“Good,” Bucky said, smirking. “’cause I’m gonna suckle on ‘em until they’re swollen and bruised, until even your softest shirt is gonna be too rough for ‘em. You won’t be able t’ wear anything ‘cause they’re so sensitive when I’m done. Show ‘em to me, sweetheart.”


Tony fumbled with his shirt, pulling the red fabric up over his head to show they were already hard, a pretty dusky color just begging for attention. “Bucky-!”


“Wish I still had my other arm,” Bucky admitted, and Tony’s face fell until he continued, “You’ll just hafta be my extra hands, then, honey.”


“Oh!” Tony gasped as Bucky pressed a finger into him, curling and exploring until his hips were shaking in the alpha’s lap. “Ah, ah! Bucky!”


“Play with your nipples for me, baby,” Bucky pleaded, voice deepening, and Tony lifted his hands to do as he was told, rolling his nipples between his fingers before tugging lightly. “Yeah, just like that. Once I’m finished with your nipples I’m gonna suck and lick your pretty cock until you’re beggin’ for me. I might even let you come if you ask pretty enough.”


“I will, I will,” Tony promised, throwing his head back with a gasp as Bucky pressed a second finger into him. He fumbled one hand down between them until his hand closed around the bulge in Bucky’s trousers, squeezing gently. “And then—then you’re gonna fuck me with this, right?”


“Maybe,” Bucky allowed, and the omega whined needily as he pulled on the drawstring of his pants and pulled them open. “Or maybe I’ll use my mouth instead. You drip like a fuckin’ fountain, honey, and I want it all.”


“Yes, yes, you can have anything, I’ll give you everything I have!” Tony whined, rocking back on his fingers. “Take until I have nothing left to give, Bucky, until I can’t even move from the feel of you—”


“Gonna keep you knotted from the wedding night until the end of your heat,” Bucky growled. “Get you those kids you want, sweetheart. How many? How many did you want?”


“A billion,” Tony groaned, stroking Bucky’s cock. “I want a billion kids and I want ‘em all to look like you.”


Bucky laughed breathlessly. “One of ‘em’s gotta look like you, sweetheart. It’s the least we could do for inflicting a billion of me on the village.”


Tony huffed a laugh as well. “I guess, but only one. Ah, ah… Bucky, please, I need to feel you inside me-!” He wailed as Bucky pulled his fingers free, rocking back to try and chase them. “No no wait!”


“Honey, I can’t fit my dick in you if my fingers are taking up all the room,” Bucky teased, and then paused when Tony flushed. He leaned in, grinning. “Ohoho, you like that, huh, want me to stuff you full with my cock and fin—”


Tony scrambled to cover his mouth, mortified. “Oh my God, don’t!”


“I’ll remember this,” Bucky said, voice muffled by the omega’s hands, then gripped Tony’s ass again to lift him up, the head of his cock rubbing between Tony’s thighs until the head finally caught on his wet hole. He moaned and pressed further into that slick heat, perfect and hot and sweet for him. He arched his hips up to grind the all the way in, then winced. “Ow.”


“Oh,” Tony gasped, looking half surprised and half miserable. “Oh, your leg, I forgot-! I’m the worst. I’m sorry, Bucky, I—I’ll use my mouth—”


“Hey,” Bucky cut in, making him stop. He smiled up at Tony gently. “It’s fine. How about instead of your mouth… you use your fucking beautiful thighs instead?”


Tony frowned, unsure, and whispered, “But your shoulder’s hurt too.”


“Lean back,” Bucky ordered, and Tony did obediently. Bucky wanted to weep over the amount of trust his omega had in him. “Put your hands on the bed and lean your weight back on your arms—good boy, that’s right,” he praised as Tony shifted experimentally, rocking back onto his arms before pressing back into Bucky’s lap. “Fuck, that’s—you’re so good for me, sweetheart, so good.”


“Ah,” Tony breathed, throwing his head back as he rocked back into Bucky’s lap. “Ah, shit, shit. Oh my God.” He looked up at Bucky from under his lashes. “God, this is gonna take forever like this, isn’t?”


“Fuck, sweetheart, I already got a bit of knot just fingering you,” Bucky admitted, too turned on to be embarrassed. “Makin’ all those sweet sounds, askin’ me to tell you what I’m gonna do to you. You’re lucky I’ve lasted this long.”


“Ha… Ah, Bucky-!” Tony whimpered. “Keep talking, keep talking, I wanna hear—” His breath hitched as the alpha wrapped his hand around his cock, stroking slowly in time with his rocking. “Oh…!”


“I’m gonna lick you open until you’re soft and dripping for me, honey,” Bucky moaned, twisting his hand the way he knows Tony likes. “Can’t wait until your slick’s drippin’ down my chin ‘cause you’re so wet. And you’re gonna be so soft and wet that I can just slide on in and start poundin’ you from the start. God, I wanna smack your ass, leave my handprints all over it. It’s such a nice ass.”


“Fuck, fuck, oh my God,” Tony groaned. “Oh my God, Bucky, I’m gonna come, I—”


“Good,” Bucky purred. “You ready for my knot, baby? Want me to shove it in as deep as I—”


Tony’s back arched and he screamed, elbows giving out so he flopped back onto the bed. His hips twitched weakly as he came, spilling over Bucky’s fist and onto his stomach. “Oh, oh… Oh Bucky… Oh my God…”


“C’mere, sweetheart,” Bucky cooed, letting go of his softening cock to pull at the omega’s waist. “C’mon, be strong and feisty just a little longer.”


“’m always strong and feisty,” Tony mumbled petulantly, squirming to sit up and whimpering as it jostled the alpha’s cock inside him. “Ah-!”


Bucky chuckled as Tony squirmed in his lap and whined. “Always feisty, anyway. Take a deep breath for me, honey.”


Tony took in a deep breath, then let it back out slowly. Then he yelped when Bucky yanked him down on his knot. “Guh-!”


“Fuck, you’re so pretty like that,” Bucky breathed, staring up at the omega’s face as his mouth opened in a silent scream, eyes wide and sightless. “All overwhelmed and fucked out… God. Pretty as a picture, and all mine.”


Tony sagged against his chest, panting, pressing little kisses to the skin he could reach. “Yours,” he murmured, and then tipped his head up to press a kiss to the base of the alpha’s throat. “All yours.”


“And I’m all yours,” Bucky murmured into his ear, and felt Tony’s lips curve into a smile against his collarbone.


He gently eased Tony further to his left. The ache in his left shoulder had gone down with rest, but his right one was beginning to throb. He didn’t want Tony to notice. Not when he already felt so guilty for hurting him. He pressed a kiss to the corner of the omega’s eye, his cheekbone, his ear, then settled back against the headboard with a sigh.


“…You don’t really want a billion babies, do you?” Bucky asked after a few minutes.


“Remember when we got stuck watching Peter, Ned, and MJ at the Harvest Festival so May and Ben could go enjoy the fireworks alone?” Tony mumbled into his skin.


Bucky smiled fondly; it had been hard, but they’d eventually gotten the trio into some semblance of control and even gotten to enjoy some of the fireworks themselves. “Yeah?”


“And MJ shoved her pudding down Peter’s shirt and he squealed and started swinging at her and she sat on him until Ned separated them?”


Bucky huffed out a laugh. “Yeah,” he said, because it was so hilarious that he’d probably never forget.


“And I said ‘they’re so stupid, I want ten?’” Tony finished, voice soft and shy.


Bucky blinked up at the ceiling slowly. “Ten?”


“Yeah,” Tony whispered. “I want… I was an only child, and then… then I was an orphan with no one else. I was always sort of jealous of you and your sisters, even when you complained that they were annoying. I want a gaggle of kids.”


“Then we’ll have a gaggle of kids,” Bucky agreed with a firm nod. “And I’ll take care of ‘em while you work.”


Tony leaned back to frown at him. “Really? You’d be okay with that?”


“Why wouldn’t I be?” Bucky asked, nonplussed. “You love working the forge, and no one does it better. Besides, I only have one arm. It’s not like I can just take over your job. And I can always scare the kids into behaving by telling them that not eating vegetables is how I lost my arm.”


“You can’t tell them that!” Tony exclaimed, horrified. “You’ll scare them!”


“Into eating their vegetables,” Bucky pointed out.


“That doesn’t make it okay!”


“I’m gonna do it. My arm fell off because I disobeyed my parents.”


“Bucky!” Tony exclaimed, appalled.


Bucky laughed and drew the omega down into a kiss, and eventually, reluctantly, Tony smiled against his lips.