Damn, he could move.
Like some kind of jungle cat – a predator for sure – a perfect amalgamation of anatomical perfection and raw power encased within a bone structure so solid Vibranium wouldn’t even crack a dent in it. The leather hugged every bulging muscle and undulated with every twitch and exhale of the former assassin as he stepped into the workshop.
Casting aside the muzzle he insisted on wearing on missions, Barnes settled himself at the bench, metal arm already slipping into its designated position for maintenance, before he cast Tony an apologetic look under a fan of inky lashes.
Inwardly he gulped before settling into the routine they’d already established. Easily enough, Tony faked his way through the banter and recon of one of the few missions the Rogues were authorized to take part in.
Barnes, for his part, didn’t seem to notice the way Tony lingered somewhat wistfully at the bicep of the prosthetic and didn’t even flinch when Tony was sitting so close to his back that he was practically plastered to it.
Tony could dream, right?
He practically jumped out of his skin when he felt a hand squeeze his knee.Barnes looked over his shoulder at him then, plush lips set in smile as he practically purred, “Thanks, Krasavchik."
Tony really wasn’t a shitty person, he didn’t deserve this.
Sure, he wasn’t perfect, but he tried not to do shitty things. And wasn’t choosing not to be shitty part of what made you not a shitty person? Or was it still a case of “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”?
Either way, the important take away was that Tony was trying, no matter how inadequate anyone else thought his efforts to be.
He didn’t deserve to be attracted to the unfairly (god, it was severely unfair) best friend of Captain Douchecanoe.
Their history was complicated enough as it was, and though Tony had had not only the closure of punching the shit out of the good old Sarge, and several months of intensive therapy to “get over” his parents’ murder by the same man, it was still twisted – even by Tony’s standards – to want to climb James Buchannan Barnes like a tree.
He even (forcibly) referred to him only as his last name just to keep the pretense of professional courtesy. Not that it stopped the wonderful daydreams he entertained on an embarrassingly regular basis.
With that said, Tony did at least try to do everything he could to avoid the man, at least around the Rogues.
Lord knew what kind of shit would fly if they caught Tony unawares – gawking and drooling over the man responsible – not only for the “Civil War” nonsense the previous year, but also for Tony’s sexual awakening at twelve when he’d unearthed those pesky Captain America comics and taken a shine to the roguishly boyish Bucky Barnes.
That wasn’t even taking into account what Rogers would do if he ever got wind of Tony’s little infatuation.
Either way, it didn’t matter that the Rogues, all under house arrest in the renamed Stark Tower until the United States Government deemed them safe for consumption, were all talking shit about Tony avoiding them.
Please, he internally scoffed, I could look that Hydra Witch in the eye after she sufficiently fucked with my head enough to give me PTSD on steroids and inspire the creation of a murderous android, who are you weakass bitches against that kind of trauma?
Barnes, at least, was good at keeping Tony distracted from that.
While he seemed understanding towards the “Barnes” referral, Barnes himself wasn’t under any impression to treat Tony similarly, and probably having heard of Tony’s previous aversion to using actual names, Barnes called him “Krasavchik" for shits and giggles. (As if Tony’s old heart couldn’t be battered anymore, being referred to as “Handsome” by the Russian – and Barnes insisted he was – Prince Charming did not help keep that “professional courtesy” divide up at all.)
Clearly, Tony could never just have nice things.
Hence, his current predicament:
Ever since Tony’s return from a meticulously planned press junket that had taken most of the Rogues’ adjustment period to being back in the United States, Barnes had stuck to him like glue.
It turned out he wasn’t particularly comfortable around the Rogues – they were all antsy and angry and not in any way good company for a guy that was working through brainwashing and the accumulated emotional baggage of seventy years as a human version of a wrecking ball. The presence of the Witch too set him off, and Rogers didn’t help matters either with his insistence on turning Barnes into the Bucky Barnes of Before.
Friday, sweetheart that she was, talked her dear old dad up to the super soldier and he in turn, appointed Tony as his responsibility on account of the trauma of being surrounded by crazy people who didn’t recognize PTSD when it presented itself via murderous androids, and also because, “Ms. Friday’s fond of you, it seemed only right I watch your back.”
Which was all well and good but didn’t give Barnes any damn right to turn Tony’s highly advanced brain process into the equivalent of early millennia internet dial-up.
Speaking of, Barnes stepped into the small kitchen refurbished on the workshop floor; his hair in a messy man-bun, vest crinkled and tight across his chest, and sweatpants riding low on his lips.
Promptly, Tony stopped paying attention to anything else, his brain immediately approaching a coding failure and brushing intimately with the blue screen of death once more.
Because the Rogues’ shit, Tony expected – prepared for, even – but his walking boyhood fantasy of Bucky Barnes?
The man was a menace.
He prowled and murder strutted like he wanted you for dinner and he was going to have you because you’d be naked, presenting and panting for it.
Which arguably made it worse was that regardless of his hundred-year expiry date, the man seemingly had no awareness of how hot he actually was.
Making a beeline for the fridge and bending at the knee to reach for something on the lower shelf, Tony was treated to the sight of those glorious skull-crushing thighs topped with a perfectly rounded ass, and had to restrain the physical urge to whimper.
Completely unaware, Barnes straightened a second later, a box of juice in hand before he popped the cap and chugged directly from the container, leaning against the fridge with his flesh hand and throwing his head back like he was on some GQ billboard.
And Tony really was trying his best not to blue screen, but goddamn, watching that marble pillar of a throat work was going to be the sole cause of his death, what a way to go.
Surprised that that didn’t come from him, Tony was startled to notice that Barnes had gone a bit overboard with the juice (no kidding) and had drenched what remained of the carton on his vest and was currently standing in a sticky puddle.
“We should get you a sippy cup,” he managed to snort, doing his damnest to ignore how exponentially tighter that vest had gotten.
“Another shirt would be more helpful,” Barnes retorted, accent curling his words as he too snorted, just before he whipped the soaked material off and –
Goddamnit, there was that blue screen again.
“Ms. Friday, would you mind getting a cleaner bot in here?”
“Of course, Sergeant Barnes,” the AI intoned cheerfully. “You can clean up, Boss’ bathroom is stocked.”
Oh god –
“Oh, that’d be great,” Barnes glanced at him, a small smile at the ready. “You wouldn’t mind, would you, Krasavchik?”
He minded. He minded a lot.
“Great,” he exhaled in relief as if Tony could ever deny him anything, which only confirmed that Barnes had no idea what he was doing to him, and added, “I think these pants are ruined too.”
“Can’t take you anywhere,” Tony complained. “Don’t worry about it, I’ll – uh, get you another pair.”
“Don’t sweat it, Krasavchik,” he said easily, “You look busy.”
Jesus, if you’re listening, Tony would like to remind you that he really wasn't a shitty person, he didn’t deserve this punishment.
It didn’t take long for Barnes to finish up the bathroom, less than ten minutes later he made his way out, turning around to make faces at one of Friday’s cameras as he was wont to do when he chatted to her.
A stray drop of water followed the path of the tight obliques with precision, tracing over his skin like a caress as it raced to the finish line where the towel clung to his waist – hanging dangerously low from its perch just below the sharp line of his hip –
And damn, Tony was jealous.
That drop of water had no idea how goddamn lucky it was, and at this stage, he was getting leery of that towel too.
The material was luxurious, but still outlined thick thighs as well as the shadow of something else.
The subtle, effortless ripple of his muscles reminded Tony of water moving over smooth stone; the pink, dewy glow of a recent shower a perfect touch of color to his winter white skin that Tony just wanted to see more of it, and god, that was very-not-good.
“Krasavchik, are you alright?”
Tony was suddenly very aware that a tundra of pale blue was meeting him head on – up close and personal – so close that he could see the practically glacial lift of plush lips into a smile, and he was so staggered by that that he didn’t realize that Barnes had his chin between his thumb and forefinger.
“I -uh,” he licked his lips anxiously, and up close and personal, Tony bore witness to the way Barnes’ pupils blew up instantaneously, and how lips were getting closer to his and then he was just surrounded – James Buchannan Barnes, fresh from a shower that smelled of Tony, had him pinned to the workbench, with nothing but his lips.
Blue Screen of death, I embrace you with open arms.
“Well, fuck,” he finally managed between one breath and the next before being rewarded by a slow devastating smirk in return.
“Took you long enough.”
Tony huffed. “You’re telling me you were doing it on purpose? Oh my god, I’ve been had by a Russian spy. Get your mouth back over here and make it up to me!”