Steve rolled his eyes and shared an exasperated look with his ma, trying not to laugh at the fond look on her face. Buck had been, for lack of a better word, whining, about his room mate practically since the day they'd met. Steve could remember it like it was yesterday – probably because Bucky had been going on about it ever since.
Apparently, according to Mr Love-Stricken, Tony had answered the door to their now shared apartment in a grease-stained muscle shirt, jeans worn so thin, “ I could practically see everythin' Stevie !” And with Tony having not slept for a couple days, he was supposedly an “adorable mess” - it was a good thing that the room had been agreed to ahead of time, because Tony had been too out of it to think clearly, and Bucky was smitten from minute-freakin'- one .
And now, over a year and a half later, and Bucky was head-over-heels in love with Tony, who had no idea. Something that he and his ma were baffled by frequently; if Bucky mooned over him even half as often at the apartment as he did in Steve's company... Steve shook his head and let himself stop drifting to listen to his best friend moon over his room mate.
“Seriously, Stevie, the flash storm last week? He was wearing white! An' his hair was wet an' flat against his head. I didn't realize how much he must use in his hair until it dried and it was so curly, and it looked so soft...”
His ma stifled a giggle, covering it by clearing her throat, “James, dear, mind if I talk Easter dinner in a couple weeks? You are coming, right? Do you have someone to bring?” Bucky blinked at her a few times, then shook his head.
“Nah, jus'... Jus' me, Sarah. But I'll definitely be here.”
“Well, if you change your mind.. You know you and whoever you want to bring are welcome here. Any time.”
She shared a pointed look with Steve as she walked about the kitchen, making her way to him and murmuring quietly.
“Dishes for a month says he'll bring Tony, and they'll figure it out by the end of it.”
Bucky groaned quietly as he woke up, the sunlight in his eyes making him flinch briefly before he turned his head towards his clock and looked at the time; 8:53, not quite when he had to be up, but too close to make it worthwhile to try and sleep for the seven minutes.
He got up quietly, listening for his room mate. Tony had been living with him for more than a year now, and for the life of him, he couldn't keep track of the guy's sleep schedule.
If there even was one. It didn't seem like it most days; he'd be up a couple days straight, sleep for a whole day, stay up sometimes until four or five in the morning... Bucky couldn't figure it out for the life of him.
The apartment, however, was pretty quiet so far; safe bet was that Tony was sleeping. A small smile curved his lips as he thought about the previous day, when he'd found Tony slumped over the kitchen counter, head pillowed on his arms, brown hair askew.
Honestly, it was adorable. Like a puppy. Or, no; thinking on Tony's many moods, his mischievous, playful nature... Tony was a kitten. Definitely a kitten. Soft, sweet, adorable..
He shook his head to stop the thoughts there, glancing in the mirror at himself and smirking sadly. He had it bad for the brunet, but.. Glancing at his left arm, everything below the shoulder missing, he knew that the literal genius could do infinitely better.
Bucky shook his melancholy mood off as he put a shirt on, leaving the room and looking into the kitchen, noticing the coffee was already on, and based solely on the fact that the pot was still half-full, was possibly fresh. Tony didn't often fall asleep halfway through a pot, though it had been known to happen.
Turning the corner toward the living room/dining room, he noticed Tony was in fact awake. And talking surprisingly quietly on the phone, as he came out of his own room.
“No, mom, I-.. I get it. You guys have a good time. I'll just..see you next time. It's fine. Rhodey invited me to come see his mom anyway, I'll just go there instead.” The look on Tony's face could only really be described as..dejected. Whatever they were talking about, clearly it wasn't as 'okay' as he was making it out to be. “Yeah. I'll talk to you later mom. Bye.”
Bucky frowned briefly as he went to the coffee pot, watching Tony shoot back the rest of his cup, “Problem?”
Tony jumped briefly; apparently he was so absorbed in whatever was going on that he hadn't realized Bucky had woken up. “Oh! Sorry Buckaroo, I didn't mean to wake you up. It's nothing, just a change of plans for the holidays. You know how it is.” Tony flapped his hand, his expression carefully nonchalant – something that hadn't fooled Bucky in at least a couple of months now. Whatever it was, he was definitely bothered by it.
“Riight..” Bucky let his Brooklyn out in a drawl, mostly because Tony usually seemed to enjoy his accent, “That phone call would'a had nothin' to do with the kicked puppy look on yer face?”
From the mild glare Tony sent him, the accent wasn't going to cut it this time.
“No kicked puppies here, Buck. My parents are going to be away for Easter; normally Jarvis and Ana do a big spread, but they were given the week off too. Just annoyed I'm not going to be able to eat Ana's apple torte this year. That's all.”
“Sure thing. So you're going to see Rhodes then?” Bucky raised an eyebrow at the brunet; he knew full well that Rhodey was deployed, Tony had been bitching about it for the last week since he'd left. The look Tony gave him called him about ten kinds of idiot, and Bucky just grinned in the face of it. “Tha's what I thought. You should just come with me to Steve's ma's place. She loves havin' company. The more the merrier.” Plus, even if Tony wasn't interested in him, Bucky would take any excuse to spend more time with him.
Sarah had made a point of inviting him and any 'special person' he might have to bring after all; and since finding out he'd been interested in both guys and girls, she'd made a point to be as inclusive as possible, and to let him know she was alright with it.
At Tony's skeptical look, he smiled reassuringly, “She's a great cook, an' even though she's Catholic, she's not pushy 'bout it even on holidays. It'll be fun. I swear.” He crossed his fingers over his heart and winked.
“I don't want to..intrude on your family thing. I know you and Steve are a 'thing', and you're like family for them. I'll be fine on my own here.” Bucky smiled a little at seeing the faintest flush cross Tony's cheeks. God, he was adorable..
“You wouldn't be intruding!” Bucky paused then, and blinked for a moment. “An' what d'ya mean, 'a thing'?” Another pause, followed by a groan and a rather disgusted look, “Oh, ew, no. Steve's like a brother to me. That's just...no. We're not a 'thing', never were, never will be.”
“Oh. Um..good then. Yeah. I guess I'll..come then?” The blush darkened in embarrassment, which was amusing, but the fact that that seemed to change Tony's mind and made him perk up a little was...interesting.
Tony, for the life of him, couldn't understand why he'd agreed to this. He was standing at the door of Steve's mom's place right now, waiting for the door to be answered, Bucky at his side in dark-wash jeans that looked sinfully good, and a deep blue dress shirt (which made his eyes just...wow) over a black muscle shirt and left open (hnnnggh...)..
Steve who, despite all evidence to the contrary – the hugs, the joking, the physical affection, the spending the night – apparently was not Bucky's boyfriend! Tony knew from comments made in the past that Bucky liked men so...well. Maybe he had a shot?
Which is what got him into this mess in the first place! Hope! And now, he was being let in by Steve's mom – sweet woman, looked like a smaller female Steve, who was now gushing over the flowers he'd brought – and he was going to have to try and converse like a normal person while Bucky was looking like.. that .
He was doomed.
In a matter of minutes, he was seated at a table – quaint, with a little tablecloth, and lots of food. Looking at the amount of food, and glancing at both Steve and Bucky briefly – who he'd seen eat before – he grinned at Sarah, maxing his charm. “Did you make enough? I've watched these two eat three extra large pizzas between the two of them!”
From the laughter around the table, he figured he would be alright.
“I practically helped raise James, I know how much the two of them eat together. And if they know what is good for them,” a stern look, “they will make sure that our guest gets to have some of everything before they devour it. Right, boys?”
Tony practically gaped at the meek nods both Steve and Bucky gave, having never seen them so complacent. Though the wink Sarah sent him was a relief – apparently this was just a 'mom' thing. Not something he'd know much about.
They made it through dinner easily enough, and dessert – no apple torte, but the apple pie was divine – and were clearing off the table when Sarah looked over at Tony.
“So, Tony! How did you and James meet? You have to tell me all about it. He's been single so long, I didn't think he'd bring anyone around for me to meet! Or maybe that he was intentionally avoiding it! I've tried to be so supportive since he's come out, but he hasn't been seeing anyone until..well, now I suppose!”
Tony could feel heat filling his face, his eyes widening as he choked slightly on his water. “Oh! Uhm, no, you-.. you've got the wrong idea. We're room mates. We just....We're room mates. I didn't have anyone to spend the holiday with so he invited me along.” He shot a frantic look at Bucky, catching his rather alarmed expression and beet-red face. Steve was snickering across from him, the not-so-little bastard.
“Oh! I'm sorry.. I just..You two have such great chemistry! The way you two.. Hm. Nevermind. I'm sorry to have made this awkward for you!” She gathered the last of the plates, “Steven, please grab the pie so we can wrap it up for these two to take home?” She and Steve left the dining room, leaving Tony with the man he had the biggest crush on, blushing and trying to figure out how Sarah figured it out.
Bucky cleared his throat and rubbed the back of his head, “Sorry, Tony.. I know you aren't.. Well, interested. Sarah just...sees what she wants to see. You know.”
Tony was brought up short; Bucky said he, Tony , wasn't interested. Not that Bucky himself wasn't. Turning to look at the other man, at the blush on his face, the way he was avoiding looking at Tony.. Tony couldn't help but wonder if maybe they'd both been wrong.
“I... I never said I wasn't interested. I just.. I thought you and Steve were dating. I mean... You two touch all the time, he spends the night at least every other week, in your room..” He cleared his throat a little and took a deep breath, turning to face Bucky, “But.. I am. Interested, I mean.”
Bucky looked like a deer in headlights for a minute, then grinned and turned to meet Tony's gaze head-on. “Yeah? 'Cause.. I'm definitely interested too. Have been for a while now.” A couple steps brought them almost chest to chest, and Bucky seemed to hesitate a moment, before placing his hand on Tony's left hip, drawing him in. Tony didn't even hesitate to bring his hands to Bucky's chest, splayed out to feel his muscles and stifling a small, happy moan at the feel of all that right under his hands.
Tony tilted his chin up and brushed their lips together softly.
“So.. Maybe Steve's mom was right? Maybe we..are a thing?” He looked into the most gorgeous blue eyes he'd ever seen, bright and happy as they were now. Bucky didn't even respond, just leaned in and kissed him deeply, his arm bringing Tony flush against him as he smiled into the kiss.
Steve and Sarah peered through the door into the dining room with matching grins.
“I told you it would work.” Steve laughed quietly and nodded, turning to do the dishes while Tony and Bucky were occupied.
“Alright, you win. Consider the dishes done, and consider this me refusing to bet against you ever again, ma.”