Tony Stark is a marvel. Fact.
He revolutionized the world for fun, and everything he’s done since he was four years old when he made his own circuit board to the day he’d grace the world with his AI-holograph to continue to guide the future geniuses of the world, Tony Stark would continue to be a goddamn marvel.
Also, until that day came, Tony Stark would also continue to be a goddamn idiot.
After all, no normal person, when faced with someone who’s tried to kill, sighs dramatically and complains, “Pete, I swear to god, I just sent you out for milk.”
Bucky knows he wasn’t in the best shape but come on.
He’d been spotted waist deep in a scrap heap trying to find a spare part for his arm before he was subsequently dragged into Stark Tower by the Spider kid (“Peter, my name’s Peter!”) in all his nearly-but-close-to-homeless glory.
He looked pathetic, he knew, but he still had the Hydra arm (a compromise during his brief stay in Wakanda during talks of his pardon) and he was still the world’s deadliest living assassin.
Tony Stark, and all who knew him should know better.
Instead, the kid, Peter, continued to babble on about how Tony’s gonna lose it! and then adding, You’re looking a little thin and Oh dude, when was the last time you showered?
Which – rude.
None of his life after breaking free of Hydra’s control had gone to plan. However flimsy the plan had been.
Granted, in the end, it had worked out for the best.
He hadn’t signed the Accords, preferring to retire, and was promptly returned to the United States at his request (anything to get away from that psychotic witch Steve was convinced was just a kid).
Steve, on the other hand, refused to sign, as did the rest of the Rogues out of pure spite against Tony. Bucky didn’t miss them, and he was grateful he didn’t have the means to communicate with them because he’d honestly stick pins in his eyes than have to go through the whole song and dance of “I’m Bucky, but not your Bucky” again for the millionth time.
At the very least, distancing himself from Steve’s patriotic shadow helped Bucky find some anonymity, a great help in avoiding getting lynched in Tony’s city. Not just because of the role Bucky played in the dissolution of the original Earth's Mightiest Heroes, but also because of his tumultuous history with the billionaire which guaranteed that this meeting would go to the shitter and would thereafter find Bucky in the midst of the aforementioned lynch mob.
The kid dragging him to Tony’s doorstep would certainly help make that a reality. Apparently “spidey senses” were only in effect when Peter was the one in danger, go figure.
Instead, a month later, Bucky’s putting an “Arc Reactor” nightlight in the cart of Tony’s Amazon account for his room because Friday’s got jokes, and even Bucky thinks Tony would find it funny which –
Clearly means both he and Tony have “being idiots” in common, even if that conversation had gone like this:
“You realize I could murder you, right?”
“He says as he angrily grates cheese.”
Making Bucky snap, “You need your calcium” you know, like an idiot.
“Says the guy with the metal arm,” Tony retorted, clearly in the know about the state of Bucky’s intelligence.
“Don’t make me add spinach to this,” Bucky warned still very idiot-like, though at least that had gotten the so-called genius to shut up and start pouting which, apparently was the level of danger Bucky possessed. Even the boys, Peter, his best friend, Ned and another boy, Harley, hadn’t even worked up the nerve to fake a tremble when Bucky scowled at Tony’s attempt to give him the puppy eyes.
“You’re adorable, and all this cooking you’ve taken to doing makes you my own personal Gordon Ramsey. Except hotter and Russian,” Tony declared with a wiggle of his brows.
“I have a reputation,” Bucky grunted to himself.
“Forgive me for not cowering at the feet of the guy who makes smiley-faces out of pancakes and bacon.”
“Harley said you wouldn’t eat it if it didn’t smile at you.”
He wanted to brain himself on the kitchen counter when he heard the tell-tale smack of Harley, Ned and Peter high fiving over their homework.
Tony, on the other hand, cooed.
Bucky huffed, repeating firmly (more to himself than anyone else at this point), “I could murder you.”
“Of course, you could, kitten,” Tony soothed, sounding completely trusting to the fact that Bucky wouldn’t which was stupid of him, but also true. Even though it had only been a week, Bucky would rather stick his flesh arm into the trash compactor than even be responsible for giving Tony anything more severe than a papercut.
Though, that didn’t mean that Bucky was beyond hurting Tony in other ways if it meant it was for his own good. In Tony’s defence, Bucky had asked.
“When was the last time you even slept?”
Tony paused, and had to honest to god think about it, before replying, “I had a really long blink yesterday.”
Friday intoned flatly, “We’re all very proud” which meant that Tony’s youngest had definitely reached the end of her metaphorical rope and was on full passive-aggressive snarking.
Ah, like father like daughter.
“Unhand me, you heathen!”
“I’m doing this because I care about you,” he reminded just as the boys and Pepper walked in to witness Bucky manhandling Tony onto the couch, swaddling him up like a baby or a burrito, one-handed while his other hand was preoccupied with keeping the man still.
“Huh,” Pepper mused, “I thought you said he was being difficult.”
“He was,” Friday chirped, her annoyance dissolved quickly at the sight of resolution to her father's less than healthy sleeping habits. “Mr. Barnes was kind enough to lend a hand.”
“You traitor,” Tony complained, still trying to wiggle free and squirming rather unnecessarily on Bucky’s lap as he accused, “You told Pep on me!”
“It’s for your own good, Stark,” Bucky grunted, and said, like an idiot, “stop moving, damn it. I worked really hard to wrap you up” which obviously translated to Tony doing exactly the opposite as he growled back, “Ugh, I hate you.”
“Shut up and go to sleep.”
Pepper snorted a laugh. “I’m helping the boys and May with early admissions, do you have this handled, Barnes?”
“Yes ma’am,” he replied solemnly to Tony’s splutter.
Peter stopped to pat Tony’s cheek with a cheeky grin. “We’ll bring you back churros!”
Tony huffed in the wake of their departure, glaring over his shoulder and grinding down in vengeance which honestly was not a good plan because, “Joke’s on you, you’re just making my dick hard and this whole situation awkward.”
His scowl turned into a slow smirk. “Only if you want it to be awkward.”
He deadpanned, “Are you seriously trying to get into my pants to avoid going to sleep?”
With a pout, Tony (mercifully) paused in his torture, as if turning puppy-dog-eyes on Bucky would weaken his resolve and turn his completely innocent task of making sure the man slept to performing indecent acts to him outside of Bucky’s own thoughts and shower fantasies.
“Seriously, all I’m asking for is for you to take a nap," Bucky complained, making sure to sound disappointed.
“Fifteen minutes," Tony bargained.
“Impossible, I have a whole stack of R&D proposals and a simulation with the kids to test and -”
“All of which will be there once you wake up,” Bucky reminded. “And just for that, an hour.”
Tony gaped. “That’s inhumane.”
Bucky shrugged as if he didn’t care, and in all honesty, he didn’t.
Bucky knew well enough after two months being part of the Stark household that Tony avoided sleep like he avoided meetings.
He’d be the first to admit that it was definitely a situation of pot-and-kettle in this instance, but it wasn't like Bucky had much of a life outside of the Tower. Even with the online classes he was taking to get his GED, and the volunteer work with vets Jim talked him into, the foundation Tony had started up under his name that Pepper insisted she needed his input running, and the sciencing and mock-training sessions he did with the boys when they were over every other week and -
Besides the point.
Tony needed sleep, and if he had gotten to know Pepper and Friday as well as he thought, getting him to make sure Tony got his rest had the added benefit of making sure Bucky got his too.
Oh, he walked into this one.
“Fine,” Tony agreed, seeing the compromise for what it was, and like an idiot, Bucky showed his relief, and Tony was on it like white on rice. “But we’re cuddling.”
“You need sleep too.” Why wasn’t he surprised that Tony had noticed? “Besides, I could still escape this burrito roll you turned me into.”
Bucky rolled his eyes but took to arranging them on the couch: Tony’s head pillowed by the Bucky’s bicep as he tucked his metal arm around Tony’s waist, nose pressed into Tony’s curls as he got comfortable in his big spoon position.
“You know what would really help me go to sleep though,” Tony murmured, wiggling none too subtly to better situate his ass in the cradle of Bucky’s crotch.
He exhaled, “I will murder you.”
Tony hummed, “Promises, promises.”
Less than a week later, with some semblance of Tony’s sleep schedule (and Bucky’s) on the relative mend thanks to the constant naps and couch cuddles, Bucky informed, “The media says you’re an idiot.”
“Rude,” Tony scoffed.
“I agree with ‘em.” Not that there was any room to disagree. Tony had willingly made himself a target to a whole hoard of Doom-bots for fuck’s sake. Though the media hadn’t exactly said Tony was an idiot – they used words like heroic and self-sacrificing, you know, words that were nicer but meant the same as being a goddamn idiot.
“Now you’re just being mean.”
Bucky rolled his eyes, muting the coverage over the news anchors’ discussion over how much punishment Tony’s body could take in the suit – how they didn’t envy the work his healthcare professionals probably had which – yes, thank you for the acknowledgment.
Tony was a shitty patient.
Not a surprise to find out considering getting him to consume things that weren’t questionable green shakes had taken up the majority of Bucky’s time (though plus side: everyone preferred his smiley pancakes over Jim's). Though Pepper had stuck a “Good Job” sticker on the arm for managing to get the shakes almost entirely out of Tony's diet, and with that woman being the biggest hardass Bucky’s known since Peggy Carter, Bucky counted that as a win.
Though that, unfortunately, meant little in the face of Tony’s Iron Man exploits.
The man was already hindered by most things non-enhanced humans were subjected to: Lack of endurance and speed, prone to exhaustion and sickness, a slow healing period, reduced senses of sight and sound and a distinct lack of hard-outer shell to cushion every punch and fall that would take out a regular person, including and especially him. That Tony – despite being inexperienced and untrained in formal tactical exercises meant that he, genius-billionaire-philanthropist aside, was basically a regular civilian – insisted on taunting terrorists, drug cartels, the bad guy of the week and aliens, did not help matters either.
While Tony looked good for his age, he was still going on fifty for god’s sake. He had a heart condition.
“You cannot keep doing this,” Bucky repeated for what was probably the eighth time this week.
“You’re a certified genius, and that’s the best comeback you’ve got?” Tony shrugged, stubbornly avoiding his eyes even as he grimaced his way through Bucky cleaning up the recent injury.
Maybe if Jim had been around to help, and not on the other side of the world talking shop with the Accords council, Tony wouldn’t have gotten hurt. Though that was just wishful thinking. Even with a whole team that was actually in his corner, Tony made out with danger which explained why Bucky was here; Super Soldier, Hydra trained and playing nursemaid.
Tony, like the goddamn idiot he was, sat all trusting and vulnerable with Bucky between the V of his legs.
And Bucky, like the idiot he was, lingered there – caressing his cheek under the guise of turning Tony’s head to see the extent of the bruise that purpled his skin.
Tony hadn’t helped matters either, instead of pulling away, he leaned in. He had no self preservation instincts at all.
“I’m still mad at you.”
“Come on, Boo Bun, I don’t want to fight,” Tony placated, meeting his gaze with large brown Bambi eyes. “Someone has to save the world.”
Disgruntled, he retorted, “It doesn’t have to be you, you know.”
“It can’t not be me,” he said, apologetic. “I can do some good, it stands to reason that I should.”
Huffing, Bucky dropped his head until their foreheads were resting against one another. “I know. I just worry.”
“’Cause you’re an idiot.”
He couldn’t stop Tony from putting himself in danger, but he could personally shoot anyone that side-eyed Tony. At least under the guise of missions. Briefly, he wondered if Pepper would help him legally bury anyone that Bucky’s fist couldn’t dispose of for looking at Tony wrong, but he’d ask her later.
“I’ll sign the Accords.”
“W-wha, but you’re retired!”
“I can always repeal.”
Scandalized, Tony reminded, “You’re a senior citizen.”
“I managed to start an argument about flat earthers on the subway with a homeless guy and a couple of drag queens. And I successfully convinced four people in a Starbucks line that Barton was actually two dogs wearing a vest.”
“Trolling doesn’t have an age restriction,” Tony defended.
“Neither does making sure you don’t get yourself killed for being an idiot.” Bucky was pretty sure that Peter and Harley took turns making sure Tony didn’t fall asleep soldering or sciencing in the workshop, and those two were actual babies.
“Yeah, but -”
“I’ll retire when you do.”
Tony’s jaw remained unhinged. “You…you would do that?”
Bucky shrugged, unable to resist the urge to snark, “Gotta earn my rent somehow right?”
“I accept sexual favors.”
He snorted, ignoring the rise of heat on his face and taking a half step back. “You should have someone to watch your back. I know Jim has it, and the rest of the New Avengers, but they’ve got the mission to care about too, and I won’t have that problem.”
“So, what you’re saying is,” Tony began slowly, “you care about me.”
He grunted, refusing to look Tony in the eye.
“Aww,” the man cooed, “you’re just as cuddly on the inside as you are on the outside aren’t you, Frosty?”
“I could murder you,” he reminded flatly.
With a dramatic, love-struck sigh, Tony brushed their noses together and murmured, “I know.”
See, Tony is clearly an idiot.