Tony loved Christmas.
People usually expected him to hate it, with his parents’ death anniversary and the whole Killian issue not so long ago, and they always were surprised how much he loved Christmas time despite those things. The facility got decorated with about a million lights, there were two giant Christmas trees by the entrance and even DUM-E and U got festive outfits and fairy lights wrapped around them.
It was Bucky’s first Christmas since he became a free man, and the whole overload of decorations overwhelmed him, at first. He soon found that he liked the lights a lot though, because it was never entirely dark during the night. There was an atmosphere that made him feel at ease, and the warmth and nice smells in the house were a lovely distraction from everything else that was on his mind.
Tony’s love for Christmas just added to his rather quirky persona, and Bucky caught himself watching the man even more often than he had before. He watched him put up decorations with DUM-E’s help, smiling every time when the man threatened to dismantle the robot for once again dropping the fairy lights. Tony would never do that, and he clearly enjoyed working with his robot despite his clumsiness, or he probably would have asked Steve for help. It was kind of adorable, the way Tony treated his bots, as if they were people, or maybe just very sweet but rather clumsy puppies.
One thing bothered Bucky, though. There were mistletoes everywhere, in all the doorframes and many other frequented areas, there was no way of avoiding them. He had seen Tony kiss basically everybody if they passed under them. A smooch on the cheek, sometimes even a teasing kiss on the lips, but he got them all, somehow. All but Bucky.
At first, he figured that Tony still had reservations about him, considering what had happened. But that couldn’t be all of it - He had forgiven Steve, and once he had even seen the genius plant a kiss on a very perplexed Loki’s cheek. It seemed that Tony simply didn’t like him, and that stung. It bothered him a lot, because over the past few months, he had really grown to like the man.
Tony had helped build him a new arm. Tony had provided the BARF tech to help him work on his memories and triggers. And Tony had given him a home, despite everything that had happened. He had given him so much and asked for nothing in return, had smiled at him and simply said “Don’t mention it” every time. Bucky loved that smile, and he wished he could make Tony smile more often. But maybe he simply wasn’t the right guy to be doing that.
A loud crash pulled Bucky out of his thoughts and he looked up, the ladder Tony had been standing on had just crashed down. He was almost up on his feet when he saw Tony hadn’t been on it anymore, DUM-E had just driven into it. “Okay, buddy, you’re done”, Tony sighed, rubbing his face. “Go to your charging station and think about what you’ve done.” DUM-E clicked his claw and drove off, and once again it baffled Bucky how expressive that little robot was with as little as an arm and a claw. Tony picked the ladder up again and climbed up once again. Bucky bit his lips, then made a decision and got up. “D’you need any help?”
Tony looked down briefly, but barely kept his eyes on him for longer than a second. “Nah, I got it, don’t worry about it.”
At this point, Bucky pursed his lips. Tony didn’t want his help. Tony probably didn’t even want him around, did he? But why didn’t he just say so, if that was the case? It really bothered Bucky, and he decided that he needed to know. He would feel better if he just knew. “You don’t like me, do you?”
That got him Tony’s attention again. Lowering his arms from where he’d just been about to fix another mistletoe to the top of the door frame, he turned to look down at Bucky. He seemed puzzled, and even a bit alarmed, but that made no sense, did it? “What makes you think that?”
“You kiss everybody but me.” Bucky felt the heat creeping up his cheeks in embarrassment.
Tony stared at him. “That - That bothers you?”
“Well, yeah. Of course it does. I mean - “ Bucky sighed and decided that it was now or never. He had to get this off his chest. “Tony, you’re amazing. You’re the most caring person I’ve ever met, you’ve done so much for me, even though… Even when…” He trailed off momentarily, then cleared his throat. “Honestly, who wouldn’t fall for someone like you?”
On Tony’s face, surprise turned to glee as a wide grin spread on his lips. “You’ve fallen for me?”
Bucky could feel his face going an even brighter shade of red that would put Steve’s tomato embarrassment face to shame. “Well - yeah. Yeah, I think I have.”
Tony leaned his arms on the top of the ladder and looked down at Bucky with an amused expression. “You know - the only reason I didn’t kiss you was that I thought it would make you uncomfortable…” He bit his lips, trying to hide a smirk. “And the fact that I probably wouldn’t have been able to stop kissing you.”
Bucky blinked at that, surprised. “...really?”
Now it was Bucky’s turn to grin brightly, his heartbeat picking up. “Then why don’t you come down here and get to work already, Stark?”
Tony laughed and let go of the mistletoe, climbing down with a little bit too much enthusiasm - which caused him to slip. Bucky was there right away though and caught him with ease. “Looks like you’ve fallen for me now, doll”, he commented with a cheeky smirk. It made Tony laugh as he wrapped his arms around Bucky’s neck. “Looks like it, Sunshine”, he replied and leaned in, their lips meeting halfway. The mistletoe lay forgotten on the ground two feet away from them.