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It Must Have Been the Mistletoe

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Tony's bed was the most comfortable thing Bucky had ever slept on.

Bucky still wasn't quite used to waking up in Tony's room instead of his own. It was too big; Bucky preferred smaller spaces, ones with lower ceilings and fewer windows, even if the blinds gave them as much privacy as Bucky could've wanted. The bedroom carpet was thick, always feeling too luxurious between his toes, and the bathroom’s heated tiles made Bucky feel more like a guest in a hotel than Tony Stark’s - what? Boyfriend? In the three weeks they'd been together, they hadn't quite gotten to that conversation. Not that Bucky minded. Whatever they decided to call it, this thing between them was good. For the first time in a long time, Bucky felt wanted. Needed. Necessary, and not because he was the Winter Soldier. Just because he was Bucky.

Bucky stretched, glancing over at Tony's side of the bed. Empty. Not surprising. Tony rarely slept for more than a few hours at a time, no matter what kind of bad behavior he and Bucky had gotten up to the night before.

“JARVIS? What time is it?”

“The current time is seven-thirty a.m.”

Bucky blinked, shoving a displaced pillow underneath his head. He still had an hour before his run with Steve. He glanced toward the door, wondering if he should go looking for Tony-

And there it was, hanging from the door frame.

Mistletoe.

Bucky couldn't believe he'd forgotten about the mistletoe. It was like a weed growing all over the damn tower. He had counted - since the beginning of December, he'd gotten caught under the mistletoe seventeen times. He had even started a list to keep track of every place he'd found the stupid plant (which, according to several articles he'd read, was actually a parasite). Bucky grabbed his notebook from the bedside table drawer, reaching around for a few seconds before finding a pen. He frowned, reading through what he had so far.

Kitchen doorway.

Entrance hall.

Balcony awning.

Media room.

Quinjet pilot’s seat.

Curtain rod.

Bedroom doorway.

Steve's shield.

Backseat of Tony's car.

Redwing.

Dining room chandelier.

Freezer.

Swimming pool showers.

A couple more notable places to add. Bucky uncapped the pen and scribbled them down.

Elevator. Right. The elevator. Thinking about that still made Bucky’s face heat in embarrassment, not because anyone had caught them, but because Tony had barely touched him and he’d gone off like a rocket.

Ceiling fan. Bucky laughed. That one had been creative, at least, and more than a little entertaining. He and Tony had gotten competitive about it until Sam had turned off the fan and ruined the game.

Tailpipe. He still didn't understand why Tony had wanted to kiss him while he'd been on his back, sweaty and covered with grease, still halfway underneath the damn car.

Dum-E. Oh. Right. Bucky probably owed Dum-E an apology for the not-so-subtle threat of violence. The bot had only been following orders (by holding mistletoe above Bucky’s head and following him around the workshop until Bucky had had just about enough).

That was the last one. Bucky read through the list again in its entirety: kitchen doorway, entrance hall, balcony awning, media room, Quinjet pilot’s seat, curtain rod, bedroom doorway, Steve's shield, backseat of Tony's car, Redwing, dining room chandelier, freezer, swimming pool showers, elevator, ceiling fan, tailpipe, Dum-E.

Bucky shook his head. The list looked like it belonged in CLUE. Tony Stark with the mistletoe in the elevator. That sounded about right.

Of course, Tony still hadn’t admitted to hanging the mistletoe in the first place. He hadn’t admitted to any of it, even though Bucky knew Tony was responsible for all the decorations in the tower. Bucky had to hand it to him - Tony didn’t do anything halfway. Lights in all the windows, holiday music piping in from the sound system, a sixty-foot Christmas tree, not to mention that the kitchen always smelled like cinnamon or pumpkin or peppermint. Bucky had never experienced anything like it, not even before the war. The sheer magnitude of it all was overwhelming.

Bucky didn't hate it. He just didn't quite understand it. “Hey, JARVIS?” he asked, looking up at the ceiling.

“Yes, Sergeant Barnes?”

“Tony's been puttin' up all this mistletoe, hasn't he?”

A long pause. “I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to say.”

Bucky snorted, dragging a hand through his hair. That answered that question, then. Sitting up, Bucky crossed his legs under the blanket and leaned forward. What did that mean? Was Bucky supposed to feel flattered? Or was he not giving Tony enough attention?

You oughta just ask him.

Except that asking Tony didn’t guarantee a straight answer. Tony was as stubborn as he was smart. Bucky could ask, but the conversation might get shut down with a breezy, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” No, Bucky would have to come at it a different way.

Bucky chewed on his lip. If Tony was hanging mistletoe, that meant he could catch Tony in the act. Then Tony would have to come clean. That would work, right? All Bucky needed was the right moment.

“Hey JARVIS,” Bucky said, trying not to feel too much like a traitor for conspiring with Tony's AI. “When Tony leaves the room tomorrow mornin’, could you turn on the lights and open the blinds?”

“Of course, Sergeant Barnes. Consider it done.”

“Great. Thanks.” Bucky slid out of bed to stand on the carpet, wiggling his toes. “Oh, and JARVIS?”

“Yes, Sergeant Barnes?”

“I'd appreciate it if Tony didn't know I was onto him.”

Bucky knew it was ridiculous, but for some reason he felt like JARVIS was smiling at him.

“I understand completely.”

~

Bucky woke the next morning to too much movement.

"Stop," Bucky said, even as Tony wriggled out of his grip. He missed the warmth of Tony's body almost instantly, and he rolled onto his side, trying to grab Tony's hand. "Stop," Bucky said again, not entirely faking the sleepy rumble in his voice as he reached out and found only empty mattress. “Stay.”

“Shhh,” Tony replied, leaning over to kiss Bucky’s temple. “It's early. Go back to sleep.”

Bucky growled a little, then nodded, closing his eyes. “’Kay.”

Tony padded quietly out of the room, and Bucky heard the door creak as Tony's footsteps grew distant. Damn it. Tony always left so early. Why did Tony always leave so early?

Bucky frowned. Something about that was important. Tony. Early. Mistletoe. Finally Bucky's mind caught up with his body, and it was a good thing too, because the lights were fading up, the blinds rising to reveal a pink and orange sky.

"Thanks, JARVIS," Bucky whispered, slipping out of bed and pulling on a shirt. Three minutes. He’d give Tony a three minute head start. Hopefully that would be just the right amount of time.

~

Tony hadn't gone far. There were only so many places a person could hang mistletoe, and this - the common room’s stupidly high vaulted ceiling - had been Bucky's first guess.

Game over, Stark. Finally caught you.

The evidence was damning. Iron Man was only holding a single sprig of mistletoe, but an entire basket of the stuff sat up on the ledge by the small windows near the ceiling, just out of reach.

Bucky leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms. “So,” he said, smirking at the way the Iron Man froze in place at the sound of his voice. “That’s how you’ve been doin’ it. I was startin’ to wonder.”

Slowly, looking almost sheepish, Iron Man lowered the mistletoe, hiding it behind his back. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” came the metallic reply.

“Sure you don't.” Bucky raised an eyebrow and gestured with a nod of his head. “What's that in your hand?”

There was the sound of a repulsor powering up, then a brief flicker of light. “Nothing,” Tony said, sounding too innocent as he held up empty gauntlets, wiggling robotic fingers.

Bucky laughed, shaking his head. That was one way to destroy the evidence. “C’mon, doll. Take that armor off and come down here.”

The suit took an eternity to descend to Bucky's level, and Bucky watched, eyes trained on the faceplate. Finally the armor peeled away, and Tony stepped down in front of him, flashing an embarrassed smile.

“Hi,” Tony said.

Bucky’s heart clenched with affection. Tony was still wearing his pajamas, the too-long plaid bottoms covering all but his toes.

“Hi,” Bucky replied, reaching out to rest his hands on Tony’s waist. He traced his thumbs over the soft fabric of Tony's shirt, the heat from Tony's body radiating through to his palms. Would he ever get tired of this, of being able to hold and touch whenever he wanted? Bucky didn't think so.

“So," Bucky started, drawing Tony just slightly forward. "You're the one puttin’ up all the mistletoe.”

“Yeah. Guess that's me.”

“How come?”

Tony bit his lip. “I didn't do it the first time, I swear that one was just a fluke. But after that, I… I guess I wanted an excuse to kiss you.”

Bucky smiled a little. “Don’t need an excuse to kiss me, doll.”

“I just…” Tony sighed, looking away. “I didn't want to have to explain myself every time. I didn't want to seem needy.”

“You're allowed to be needy.” Bucky took a step closer, tracing his fingers gently through Tony's hair. “It's nice, bein’ needed. Stevie used to need me, back before the serum, but - I like takin’ care of people. Of you.”

“Yeah?” Tony asked, uncertain and hopeful.  

“Yeah.” Bucky moved his hand slowly, threading his fingers into the hair at the nape of Tony's neck. It was getting longer than Tony usually let it grow, and Bucky got lost for a moment in the softness of the strands.

Tony blinked, his lips parting softly. “So. I have permission to kiss you whenever I want?”

“Whenever you want,” Bucky replied, pressing closer to nuzzle at Tony's temple. Damn, but Tony smelled good. Bucky trailed a slow, deliberate line of kisses down toward Tony's ear, then nipped at the lobe with his teeth; Tony made a noise somewhere between a laugh and a moan, entirely too gratifying.

Bucky took Tony's hand with his metal one, lacing their fingers together. “C’mon, doll. Leave the mistletoe. Let's go back to bed.”

~

Epilogue

“Good morning, sunshine.” Tony stood in the doorway to the bathroom, still dripping wet, a towel wrapped low around his hips. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas,” Bucky replied from his seat on the edge of the bed, his mouth going dry at the sight. He licked his lips, and that couldn’t have been subtle, but Bucky couldn’t help it. Tony looked good. Tony always looked good. It was a miracle they ever made it out of the bedroom with Tony looking like that.

“There are presents for you downstairs,” Tony said as he crossed slowly toward the bed, “but I was thinking we could celebrate Christmas morning just the two of us first.”

Bucky sat up straighter, swallowing when Tony stepped close to him and nudged his knees apart in order to stand between them.

“What do you think?” Tony traced a thumb over Bucky’s lips, then a finger, smirking when Bucky sucked the digit into his mouth. He released it with a wet pop, licking his lips again.

“Yeah,” Bucky said with a nod. “I think that’s a great idea.”

“Good.” Tony sank to his knees, rubbing his hands over Bucky’s thighs. “Take these off for me?” he asked, tugging gently on the fabric of Bucky’s sweatpants.

Bucky didn’t need to be asked twice. He stood only far enough to pull the sweats down, and then Tony was pressing closer, lips skimming along the inside of Bucky’s thigh.

“Shit,” Bucky gasped, his cock already rock hard. Just looking at Tony shirtless was enough to turn Bucky on, these days. “Tony, you don’t have to - Christ.

There was no point in arguing, not when Tony had already wrapped his lips around Bucky’s cock. Bucky’s head dropped back, and Tony took Bucky deeper, his tongue tracing the vein before circling experimentally around the head.

“Damn it,” Bucky groaned, muscles tense, determined not to arch forward into Tony’s fucking beautiful mouth. “Damn it, Tony - Tony, stop.”

In the evening, Bucky had endurance for days. In the morning, it took Bucky an embarrassingly short amount of time to reach his threshold. He threaded a hand into Tony’s hair and tugged as gently as he could. “Too close, doll, already too close, can't-”

Tony pulled off, a devious look in his eyes. “You and I both know you've got more than one in you.”

Bucky groaned as Tony sucked him down again, taking him even deeper.

“Tony. You're - nng.” Bucky wanted to say that Tony was too damn good at this, but the words didn't make it from his brain to his mouth. How could they when Tony was sucking him off, looking so goddamn beautiful between his legs, tongue sliding along the underside of Bucky’s cock, perfect mouth and throat taking almost all of him? Shit, that was already so good, and then Tony hummed, the vibration traveling all the way down to Bucky’s toes.

Bucky tugged Tony's hair again in warning. “Tony. Please.” Bucky cursed, struggling to stay still.

“You’re holding back,” Tony accused as he pulled away, only a little out of breath. “Don’t.”

Bucky nearly whimpered, and then Tony’s mouth was on him again, hot and wet. The suction was incredible and too much and not enough, and Bucky gave in, fucking into Tony’s mouth with as much restraint as he could muster. Shit. That was - fucking damn it. Bucky was so close-

“Tony - gonna come, gonna-"

Bucky gasped and came hard, both hands tangled in Tony's hair as he pulsed down Tony's throat. Tony swallowed it down, and when Bucky finally opened his eyes, Tony looked up at him with a self-satisfied smirk.

"Ready for more?" Tony asked, standing up slowly.

Bucky shifted back onto the bed, pulling Tony down on top of him. "Ready for you to take that damn towel off."

Bucky yanked the towel away before Tony even had time to react, and then Tony lowered his hips. Yes, there it was, the friction Bucky so desperately needed. Their cocks brushed together, and Tony grinned, reaching down to take them both in hand.

“See,” Tony said with a wicked twist on the upstroke. “You’re already hard.”

“Nobody likes a know-it-all.” Bucky reached up and grabbed the lube from underneath his pillow, slathering it onto his palm, then replaced Tony’s hand with his own. “Let me.”

It took minutes to bring Tony off, and Bucky wasn’t far behind, the second orgasm punching through him hard and hot like gunfire.

“Hmm.” Tony hummed, wiggling his hips in what Bucky assumed was satisfaction before dropping a kiss on Bucky’s mouth. “So, be honest - would saying Merry Christmas right now not be appropriate? Because I really want to say Merry Christmas.”

Bucky laughed, a wry smile spreading across his face. “Go ahead and say it, doll.”

“Okay then. Merry Christmas." Tony's eyes sparkled as he looked meaningfully at the ceiling above their heads.

Bucky followed his gaze. “You gotta be kiddin’ me." He gave Tony an incredulous look. "I thought we were done with the mistletoe.”

Tony laughed, brushing a strand of hair fondly out of Bucky’s face. “Last one. I promise.”

"I'm gonna hold you to that," Bucky said, not objecting when Tony drew him into another languid kiss.