Bucky doesn’t have to look far to find the Director and when he does, he has to fight down the impulse to throw himself into her arms. She's with Agent Sanders and they’re sweeping a corridor outside the server room, guns in hand and expressions grim.
“Barnes,” she says, clipped. “Sitrep, now.”
“We took back the hub, Rumlow is down,” he says quickly. “Me, Commander Rogers and Spider-man.”
“Spider-Man?” she echoes, looking unimpressed for a moment. Her eyes narrow and she looks Bucky up and down, like she’s noticing him for the first time. “Never mind Spider-Man, why are you carrying a rifle? What are you wearing? Did he sidekick you?”
“I volunteered?” Bucky says, his voice lilting like a question.
“Of course you did,” she says, like Bucky should have known better. “Alright, define down. Just how down is Rumlow?”
“I shot him. Theee times. Um, non-lethal though. He’s alive. I didn’t know if Steve - If Commander Rogers wanted me to kill him. Like he said ‘oh I’m gonna kill Rumlow,’ a lot but I didn’t know if he meant it. Like killing is pretty final right? So I just...”
”Filled him with sniper rounds accurately enough to incapacitate him but not kill, leaving the decision up to the Commander,” Hill finishes, the tiny lift of her brows impressed enough that Bucky’s stomach is doing happy little cartwheels. “And with a fairly new prosthetic to boot.”
Bucky flexes his metal fingers, looking at them like he’s only just remembered they’re there. “Uh, I guess.”
”Yeah, you’re getting a medal of merit. Probably a pay rise too,” Hill says, and Bucky doesn’t like to think he’s shallow but boy he knows which one he’s happier about. Hill holds her hand out. “You have your phone?”
Bucky nods and hands it over. “How did you get out?”
She gives him a bitch-please look, which he probably deserves, and calls Steve. “Rogers. Where the hell have you been? Sure. Of course I’m fine. Four hostiles apprehended in the server room, all neutralised. The lower deck, acknowledged. I’m sending all non-combat-ready staff to the cafeteria. Yes, good idea, triage too. Okay. Can I borrow Barnes? Why? Because he’s upright, has a rifle in hand and by all accounts is a damn good shot. Oh, okay.”
She hands Bucky the phone and turns on heel, presumably to go kick ass and take names on the lower deck. “Hi,” he says into the phone. “Am I going to shoot more bad guys?”
“No, Hawkeye is heading to lower deck to shoot bad guys,” Steve says. “You and Sanders are going to go to saferoom three to get Jade and Kevin. I need them and any members of cyber-sec who are functional to get our systems up and running again.”
“Like that bit in Jurassic Park where the velociraptors are trying to get in and she has to bring the Park back online?”
“I have literally no idea what you’re talking about,” Steve says. “Get them up here, pronto.”
“Pronto, sure thing,” Bucky says and Steve hangs up on him. Bucky looks left and right, realising that for as high his security clearance is, he has no idea where the saferooms are. “Uh, saferoom three?” He says to Sanders, who nods and leads the way. Saferoom three turns out to be hidden behind a practically invisible door on the corner of a corridor. Sanders raps his knuckles on the door and they wait, but nothing happens.
Bucky bangs in the door. “Jade. It’s me, let us in.”
Still no answer. Exasperated, Bucky pulls his phone out and calls Jade.
“Can you not hear us knocking? Let us in.”
“No, you might be being coerced,” Jade says. “I can’t.”
“Jade, it’s over. I shot Rumlow myself.”
“That’s exactly what someone who hadn’t just shot Rumlow would say!”
“Oh for - get Kevin to access the security cameras. You’ll see me and Sanders standing in the corridor. Want me to get Steve to drag Rumlow’s bullet-ridden body down here?”
“Hang on, Kevin, can you - Oh okay. We can see you, and we can see the hub - Oh god, that’s a lot a blood, that’s a lot of-”
There’s a muffled thump. “Jade?!” Bucky says, alarmed. “Jade, are you okay?!”
Another voice comes to the phone, a deep slow voice that sounds super relaxed, not remotely like a person who has been on lock-down during a siege. “Yeah she’s fainted,” Kevin says with a chuckle. “I’ll let you in, bro.”
Kevin turns out to be as far away from a stereotypical computer geek as someone can get. He looks more like a guy who would be found wearing a cap backwards in a gym, but Bucky keeps his opinions to himself seeing as Kevin and Jade pretty much just saved the day. He tells them as such and Kevin just waves him off.
“No big deal, bro. My job, right?”
Jade is sitting on the floor, propped up against a desk. She looks pale, but is smiling weakly at Bucky. “You saved us,” she says, blinking rapidly. Jeez, Bucky hopes she’s not going into shock or trying to flirt or something.
“Well, not really,” he says, feeling awkward. “You guys did the heavy lifting. We wouldn’t have been able to get in without you two.”
“No, you’re like a hero,” Jade says, and she reaches for Bucky’s hand, holding it tight between hers before blurting out, “Do you want to go on a date with me?”
Bucky winces because yep, that was her trying to flirt. He decides to be honest, band-aid style. “I have a boyfriend.”
Kevin hums in vague agreement. “He’s dating Hawkeye.”
Jade makes a noise like a mouse that’s just been trodden on. Her mouth falls open and she just stares at him, unable to form words.
Bucky turns to frown at Kevin. “Wait, how do you know?”
“Gossip from HR,” Kevin says.
“Of course,” Bucky sighs. He squeezes Jade’s hand. “Jade, you’re lovely and I hope we can be friends, but I’m with someone, and I really like him.”
“Sure,” she says, voice back online but way higher-pitched than it should be.
Bucky offers her an apologetic smile then climbs to his feet. “Come on, up you get. Commander wants everything back online as it was.”
“Sure thing,” Kevin says, and he hauls Jade to her feet so they can start working, probably thinking that the sooner he gets done, the sooner he can get to the keg-party that he’s probably got lined up.
Whatever, Bucky’s not judging. He’s fully on board with anything to get Kevin motivated, because then he can go home and sleep for eight days straight.
Six hours later, and they’re done. Most of the SHIELD staff have been sent home, except for Clint, Sanders and the handful of squad agents who are helping transfer Rumlow and his thugs to a secure facility or the hospital wing of said facility. Parker vanished an hour ago, claiming he had homework to do. All security systems are back up and running, and a construction crew are already on site, starting the various repair jobs that need doing. Firstly, the large gap where the bulletproof windows used to be.
“Really?” Maria is saying, arms folded across her chest as she stares at the suspiciously Commander-sized gap where the window once lived. “You came through the window?”
“To be fair, Clint gave me the idea a while back,” Steve says, not looking remotely sorry. “And I’m too big to fit in the vents. Speaking of, we need to get some grills put in the vents and the storm drains. Apparently they’re completely accessible to a sniper, as long as they’re only five foot tall.”
“Five foot one,” Bucky say, because it’s important. He rubs at his face, blinks tiredly. “Can I go home now? We’re done for the day, right?”
“Yeah, you can go,” Steve says. “I need to go and get my helicopter back anyway, can’t really leave it overnight.” He reaches over, squeezes Bucky’s shoulder. “You did great today, kid. I’m proud of you.”
And Steve is his boss and it’s probably completely inappropriate seeing as they’re technically still at work, but fuck it. Bucky pushes in for a hug, slotting himself under Steve’s arm and pressing in to his side, arms tight around Steve’s ribcage.
Steve gives him a gentle squeeze. “Go,” he says. “Take tomorrow off. I’ll call you and let you know what’s going on after that.”
Bucky nods. He picks up his rifle and hands it to Steve to deal with, because he’s pretty sure he’ll get stopped for having it on the subway. He’s not sure if the combat get up and blood on his face will be enough to get him stopped; he’s a skinny white kid with a hipster haircut travelling through Brooklyn towards Manhattan, so might just fit under the ‘typical New York weirdo’ category.
“Bye,” he says. “Bye Maria.”
He gets as far as inner security - Hannes is there at the desk, looking almost as if nothing ever happened apart from the fact he’s got a clearly broken nose and a rapidly swelling black eye.
“Your phone,” he says to Bucky, who is so exhausted that he nearly forgot. He takes it with a grateful grunt and then almost immediately considers giving it back; he has four missed calls and twelve messages from his sister.
Why are you being weird
WHY ARE YOU BEING NICE IM SUSPICIOUS
Why are you text8ng off your work phone
Bucky text me back
Seriously stop being an asshole and get me back
You know I’m not allowed to contact your work phone why are you texting from your work phone
Bucky you’re freaking me out
I’m in the ED I don’t have time for this
James Buchanan Barnes if I find out you’re being dumb I’m gonna rip your head off
I WILL CALL THE FUCKING POLICE
“Oh shit,” Bucky mutters. He dismisses the idea of giving the phone back to Hannes, and instead considers stealing himself a new identity and moving to Panama. Eventually he just goes with texting Becca, ‘ I’m fine something went down at work entirely Steve’s fault but we’re all okay I love you don’t be mad.’ He follows it up with ‘ I will buy pizza for us if you’re not mad at me.’
He considers crying because he’s forgotten his AirPods for the journey back, then does cry a little when he gets to security and they tell him that the shuttle isn’t running because that means that he’s got to walk, and he’s tired and cold and bruised from crawling through fucking drains and vents all day. The two security guys look awkward and then one blurts out that Derek the security guy was killed when Rumlow and his men stormed the facility. Bucky cries even harder. One security guy awkwardly pats him on the shoulder and the other one mumbles something about calling Steve.
“God, I just - I’m crying about the goddamn shuttle and then you tell me about Derek and I’m super fucking embarrassed,” Bucky takes a shuddering breath. “And I shot Crossbones, it’s been a long fucking day.”
“You shot Crossbones? Nice one,” one of them says, and the other guy shoots him a reproachful look. “Anyone we can call for you? Want us to call Commander Rogers?”
Bucky looks up and almost collapses in relief because it’s Clint, wandering towards him with his bow in his hand and a backpack slung over his shoulder. Bucky stumbles towards him and Clint catches him, concerned.
“Hey, hey,” he says, tilting Bucky’s face up. “What’s wrong?”
“Derek the security guy,” Bucky says. “And everything. Today’s been…”
“Yeah, I know,” Clint says, rubbing his hands up and down Bucky’s arms, big hands warm and soothing. “You wanna come back to mine, get some sleep? Or back to yours?”
“Mine,” Bucky says, wanting the security of familiar surroundings. “You can come if you like.”
“Yeah,” Clint says, looking relieved. “Yeah, I wanna come with you. No pressure, I just...”
“I know,” Bucky says, smiling weakly. He turns his face up and Clint obliges, leaning down and pressing a kiss to his mouth. “Come on then, Hawkeye. Take me home.”
“Bossy bitch,” Clint says with a smile, and he does.
They sit side by side on the subway, Clint with his head resting against Bucky’s, snoring softly as he dozes. Bucky’s too wired to sleep so just sits there, arms folded across his chest as the train rumbles on towards home. They’re almost at their station when Bucky pulls his phone out, holding it out in front of him to snap a photo of them both; bruised and battered and, in Clint’s case, a little bit blood-stained. That’s not important. What is important is that they’re safe and well and together.
“Putting me on Instagram again?” Clint mumbles, obviously not as asleep as Bucky first thought.
“Nah,” Bucky says quietly, turning his face so his nose presses against the bottom of Clint’s chin. “Keepin’ these just for me.”
Clint yawns and pushes himself upright. “I gotta go get some stuff from my apartment,” he says. “You okay if I meet you at yours or you want me to take you home first?”
“I’ll be fine,” Bucky says honestly. “I’m a big boy, I’ll be okay.”
“You’re a small boy but whatever,” Clint says, grinning as Bucky kicks at his ankles. “You sure? Alright, I’ll see you in a bit then,” Clint says, standing up and stumbling slightly with the motion of the carriage as it slows down. He grabs his bow, almost forgets his backpack and then leans down to kiss Bucky before jumping off, vanishing into the crowds.
Bucky smiles faintly as he watches him go, wishing he had his airpods on him for the whole two extra stations he’s gonna go-
“Hey, was that Hawkeye?”
Bucky looks up to see a guy in a business suit looking at him, bewildered.
“The guy with the bow and arrow, who just kissed you?” the guy says. “That was Hawkeye, wasn’t it?”
“No,” Bucky lies. He can tell the guy isn’t convinced but really it’s none of his fucking business anyway, so Bucky just goes back to looking at the pictures of him and Clint on his phone.
Becca’s not there when he gets in, so Bucky drops all of his things onto the coffee table and strips out his tactical gear right there in the kitchen before staggering to the bathroom. He showers himself in a daze, then drags a pair of sweatpants on before bagging up the gear and shoving it in a corner so he doesn’t have to think about it. He knows he needs to wash it but funnily enough the Black Widow’s combat gear doesn't come with washing instructions on the label and he really doesn’t want to wreck it. Fuck it, he’ll work it out later.
He calls his therapist, leaves her two rambling voicemails explaining what happened, then collapses onto the couch. He’s just about awake enough to drag a blanket over himself and then he’s asleep.
He’s jarred awake again by knocking at the door. Sleep-fogged and sluggish, he stumbles over, ready to let Clint in then go back to sleep on the couch. What happens is that he throws the door open and feels his insides do a weird happy shimmy because Clint is standing there, still bruised and dirty and blood-stained, but he has a bouquet of slightly battered looking roses in one hand and a dog leash in the other, and sitting by his feet is the best dog Bucky has ever seen.
“I bought Lucky with me?” Clint says with an apologetic shrug. “He’s pretty good at making people feel better.”
Bucky backs up to let them into the apartment then drops to his knees to fuss over Lucky, who is thumping his tail against the floorboards and cocking his head to look at Bucky with his one eye. He’s some indiscriminate Labrador-retriever-hound mix and Bucky loves him already.
“Can I put him on Instagram?” Bucky asks, obliging Lucky with belly skritches as he rolls onto his back, tongue lolling out.
“Sure,” Clint says. “Here. These are for you.” He thrusts the bouquet of flowers at Bucky who slowly stands up to take them.
“No-one ever bought me flowers,” he says. “I love them. Nearly as much as I love Lucky.”
“Score,” Clint says happily. “I didn’t know if you’d like them but hey, I wanted to be romantic.”
“You did great,” Bucky says, blanking for a moment because he doesn’t own a vase, then just putting his flowers in one of Becca’s empty smoothie containers. He turns to see Clint digging through his backpack at the kitchen counter and Lucky making himself comfortable on the couch.
“Mind if I shower?” Clint asks and Bucky wants to squeak with happiness because Clint has obviously rushed to get back to Bucky and that makes Bucky feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
“I like you stupid amounts,” Bucky blurts out and promptly wants to punch himself in the mouth but luckily Clint just grins and swaggers over, taking Bucky in his arms and kissing him like they’re in a V-J Day photograph. “I like you too,” he murmurs, then sets Bucky back upright and heads to the bathroom, pulling his shirt over his head as he goes. “Hey, we should go away for a weekend,” he calls back, leaving the door open. “A proper romantic getaway. Somewhere with like, a heart-shaped hot tub.” The sound of the shower starting up covers Bucky’s soft laughter. He doesn’t think Clint was really looking for a serious conversation there, so just opts for flopping down on the couch next to Lucky, who just looks at him, tail wagging.
“Yeah he’s pretty great,” Bucky whispers, digging his fingers into Lucky’s fur and getting a happy huff in return. Bucky busies himself with petting the best dog in the world, focussing entirely on the task. He’s starting to feel...unsettled. Like if he stops petting Lucky or thinks about things too much, he’s going to lose it. He probably needs to cry some more, probably needs to talk to Steve for some reassurance, probably needs to take some time to really think about what he did today, but for now he just fixes his attention on Lucky, reminding himself of everything he knows in this moment.
I’m safe. I am at home. My boyfriend is here. I helped today. I chose to help. I am not hurt. I’m safe.
His therapist will be proud.
Clint comes out of the shower a while later in nothing but his boxers, shoving Bucky up until there’s space for him on the couch. Lucky wriggles until he’s lying over Bucky’s legs, a warm reassuring weight on his thighs.
“So, Netflix?” Clint says, reaching for the remote.
“What, and chill?”
“If it makes you feel better, I’m sure I could oblige,” Clint says. “Though I am down for just semi-naked blanket cuddling and ordering pizza if that suits you better?”
“Yeah,” Bucky admits, looking away. “Sorry.”
“What for?” Clint asks, surprised. “You know I’m here for more than sex, right? We filled in HR paperwork, remember?”
Bucky laughs. He wants to be closer to Clint - like feels like if he doesn’t get skin on skin he might just die -so he shifts around, nearly knocking Lucky from the couch as he does. It takes some maneuvering but eventually they settle with Bucky sitting between Clint’s legs, leaning back against his chest. Lucky has given up with them, choosing instead to spread out on the floor on his side.
“So what we watching?” Clint asks, already sniggering. “Die Hard?”
“You are not funny,” Bucky says flatly. “I am cooler than John McClane.”
“Debatable,” Clint says, and yelps as Bucky pinches him with his metal fingers.
They settle on the old-school Disney Robin Hood because Bucky thinks he’s hilarious, which they half watch, half doze through. Bucky doesn’t know what the usual drill is for the Avengers, if they just do shit like this and never talk about it, like it’s just a regular day at the office. It’s pretty much a moot point though because he’s too tired to think, nevermind talk. The film’s just about finishing when there’s a knock at the door; Bucky lifts his head with a frown. Clint is already here, the pizza has been both delivered and devoured, and Becca wouldn’t knock, not unless she’s lost her keys again.
“Gotta get the door,” he mumbles, trying to wriggle out of Clint’s arms.
Clint grunts and refuses to budge, arms still wrapped around Bucky’s middle. Bucky has to struggle free, managing an undignified slither out of Clint’s grip and glaring at him as he lands on the floor on his knees. “Asshole,” he mutters, kneewalking across the floor and staggering to his feet as he reaches the door. Rubbing his eyes and really hoping it’s not his neighbor, he pulls open the door and his heart leaps as he comes face to chest with a familiar figure.
“Steve!” He exclaims. “What’re you doing here?” He looks over his shoulder just in time to see Clint scramble up and roll over the back of the couch, vanishing in a flailing of arms and legs, hitting the floor with a thud.
There’s a pause. Clint doesn’t re-emerge, and Bucky has no idea how to explain.
“Smooth,” Steve finally remarks, and to Bucky’s relief, he breaks into a tired smile. “You’ve not told him we talked, have you?”
“Kind of had other things going on today,” Bucky says. He steps back, gesturing Steve into the apartment.
Steve shrugs his jacket off. He’s clean and showered at least, wearing a white tee and jeans rather than his damn Commander tactical suit pants. Bucky’d give the outfit a 9/10 for the classic James Dean vibes, apart from the fact the tee is clearly two sizes too small. He’s genuinely not sure if Steve is showing off or just incompetent when it comes to buying clothes for himself.
Steve folds his arms over his chest, giving the couch an unimpressed look. “Clint, I know you’re here,” he calls. “Even if I can’t see you now, I saw you literally jump over the back of the couch. I’m not a baby, I do have some knowledge of object permanence.”
There’s a moment in which Bucky thinks Clint is just going to carry on pretending he’s not there, and then Clint appears over the back of the couch, looking wary. “Okay, I’m not wearing pants because I spilled coffee and a racoon stole my shirt-”
“Clint it’s okay,” Bucky says. “He’s cool with it.”
The wary look turns outright suspicious. “But you were such a dick about it.”
Steve grimaces. “I know, not my finest moment.” He looks down as Lucky trots over, nails clicking on the floor. “Hey, buddy,” he says, and crouches down to pet him.
“Lucky, you traitor,” Clint scowls, standing up.
“Hey,” Bucky says, mediating because that’s an actual flicker of hurt crossing Steve’s face. “You two need to talk. I’m not having you ruin my Disney marathon with passive-aggressive aggression.”
“Passive-aggressive aggression,” Steve repeats flatly.
“I’ve had a very long day,” Bucky scowls at him, grabbing his phone, a blanket and shuffling across to his bedroom. “You. Talk. Half an hour. Come get me if I’ve fallen asleep.”
“Hey, leave the blanket, I’m not having this conversation in my underwear!” Clint shouts after him. Bucky just drops the blanket behind him and carries right on, stumbling into his bedroom and kicking the door shut behind him. He feels exhausted, but the kind of exhausted where he’s not sure he’s actually going to be able to sleep, so just slumps onto his bed and starts watching vine compilations on YouTube.
He falls asleep somewhere between 'I don't have enough money for chicken nuggets' and 'stop, I could've dropped my croissant,' and is only aware of it when he's being gently shaken awake.
"Hey, hey, just me," Clint says. “Food just arrived.”
Bucky blinks owlishly. Clint is dressed again, which is a shame. “We already ate.”
“Steve didn’t. He’s ordered enough Thai food to feed an army. Or, himself and maybe we get a few snacks if we’re quick about it.”
Bucky struggles upright, rubbing at his eyes and wincing when he catches his skin between the plates of his fingers. He swaps hands and tries again. “You two talked it out?”
Clint nods slowly. “Yeah. It was horrible and if you ever make me do it again I will be leaving through the fire-escape.”
Bucky gives him a withering look. “Maybe you two should just learn to grow up and communicate like adults,” he says.
“Hey, I am an adult, I pay taxes and everything,” Clint says. “But jokes aside...it was good. Talking it out with Steve. Yeah. I’m glad we did it.”
“Good,” Bucky says. “See, I am always right.” He goes to push past Clint but he’s stopped by a hand on his chest, Clint gently pushing him back.
Clint heaves out a sigh, like he doesn’t want to have to say what he’s about to say. He settles his hands on Bucky’s shoulders, thumbs stroking at his collarbones. “I can’t promise this won’t ever happen again,” he says bluntly. “It’s not every other Tuesday, but I’ve been kidnapped a lot. I’ve been shot, I’ve been stabbed, hit by cars, fallen off of buildings, been sent into alternative dimensions, fought genetically modified sharks. My job is dangerous.”
Bucky nods slowly, understanding what Clint is getting it.
Clint’s mouth twists. “If you want...if you’d rather walk away now, I won’t hold it against you. Today was fucking awful...but it could have been worse. Maybe one day it will be worse.”
Bucky swallows hard, looks down. Neither of them are wearing socks and their bare toes are almost touching.
“I think I’ll need to start therapy again,” he says to the carpet. “Regular sessions. Just - you’re right. I get it. I know it’s dangerous.”
“No,” Bucky interrupts. “I like my job and I like-” he falters, summons up some courage from places he never thought he’d get back again, not after everything. He reaches up to press his metal hand to Clint’s chest, blinking at it for a moment before looking up at Clint’s face. “I love you. You’re worth it.”
Clint’s jaw drops. He stares at Bucky and then he’s kissing him, leaning down with such haste that he nearly knocks Bucky over backwards. Bucky kisses him back, winding his arms around Clint’s neck and laughing as Clint lifts him up onto his tiptoes.
“You’re the best,” Clint says fervently, mouth still brushing Bucky’s. “Let’s go fill in more paperwork together.”
Bucky laughs again, smacks Clint’s arm to get him to put him down. He feels like he could cry again, but in a good way this time. A great way. An awesome way.
“Let’s just relax for tonight,” he says. “Come on, before Steve eats everything.”
Clint presses one last quick kiss to his mouth before letting him go, turning to grab Bucky’s blanket and wrapping it around his shoulders before nodding in satisfaction and steering him towards the door. Smiling, Bucky hitches his blanket up around his shoulders and shuffles towards Steve, who is sitting at the counter and shovelling pad thai into his mouth at a frankly awe-inspiring rate. Bucky leans against his shoulder, nudging at him with his elbow.
“All friends now?”
“Yeah,” Steve says, wiping his mouth with his fingers. “Thanks, Buck.”
“Welcome,” Bucky yawns. “Hey, wanna watch a film?”
“As long as you don’t mind me...” Steve begins, making some handwavey gesture between Bucky and Clint.
“Stay,” Clint says, before Bucky can answer, flopping back down onto the couch and petting Lucky. “We’re all friends here, right?”
“Right,” Steve agrees, and the smile he shoots at Bucky is small but genuine, and it makes Bucky incredibly relieved to see it.
Bucky takes control of the remote and puts Jurassic Park on, intending to point out the reference Steve missed during the mission earlier. What he doesn’t expect is Steve to be utterly entranced with it, staring at the screen open-mouthed and barely blinking, not even when Bucky keeps playing the vine of the guy playing the theme music on the harmonica. Steve’s so distracted that he keeps reaching for his beer and missing it, hand groping in mid-air until Bucky takes pity on him and nudges it closer. He also announces he wants a T-Rex of his own, which Bucky wouldn’t be worried about if they didn’t know Tony Stark. He makes a mental note to look into the ethics of dinosaur creation, to preemptively guilt-trip Steve out of any schemes that could end up with too many teeth in the office.
They move on to the Lost World and are just trying to talk Steve out of watching the third film when Bucky hears a sound more terrifying than the footsteps of a T-Rex; a key in the apartment door. His one boyfriend and one friend are here, so unless his therapist has started doing unannounced housecalls, there’s really only one person it could be.
Bucky gulps as the door swings open. “Hi Becs.”
“Hi Becs,” she echoes in disbelief, like that is somehow the worst thing Bucky could have said. “Hi Becs?! Hi Becs?! ”
“Okay I can explain-”
“You!” she shrieks, ignoring Bucky’s attempts to placate and pointing at Steve. “What did you do?!”
Steve looks very much like a deer caught in headlights. “Uhhh,” he tries.
“ I have been worried sick, ” she screeches, almost at a register that only bats can hear. Bucky scrambles off the couch and goes to pull her into the apartment, pushing the door shut. She uses it as an opportunity to hit him with her backpack, still yelling at Steve. “He texts me and then I hear nothing and he says it’s your fault and the news is saying SHIELD was attacked by terrorists and no-one even thought to call me, I am going to kill you-”
“DON’T EVEN MAKE NOISES!” she shouts, hitting Bucky with her backpack again. Christ, the thing is full of fucking books and she’s gonna take his eye out or give him a concussion at the rate she’s going. Bucky looks around for help because he’s outgunned here and he knows it: Clint is sitting on the couch with one eye screwed shut, looking like he’s bracing for an impact. Steve sits motionless for a moment and then stands up, walking towards Becca, which in Bucky’s opinion is the dumbest thing anyone could be doing right now.
“They said people died and you didn’t call me you just sent me one lousy text letting me know you were alive, I cannot handle you getting blown up again, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t-”
Steve reaches Becca and in one smooth move manages to grab the backpack, halting it’s trajectory towards Bucky’s face. He tugs it out of Becca’s grip and then pulls her in with his other arm, folding her up in a hug just as she bursts into tears.
“You are such a fucker,” she sobs, hitting at Steve’s chest ineffectually with a balled up fist.
“Yeah, no cure for that I’m afraid,” Steve says ruefully. “We’re okay Becca. Everyone here is safe and we’re okay.”
And Steve must be like the Becca-whisperer or something because she just nods into his chest and cries a little more, then allows herself to be bundled up in the armchair, accepting the cocoa that Clint presses into her hands.
“What happened?” she asks once she’s calm enough to talk without shrieking. The three of them somehow manage to cobble together a semi-coherent narrative of what happened and they must do a decent job because by the end she’s stopped threatening them and is instead threatening to go and treat Rumlow.
“Why did you not shoot him in the head?!” Becca demands, glaring at Bucky for all she’s worth.
Bucky huffs out a laugh, sinking into Clint’s side and smiling weakly as Clint squeezes him and presses a kiss to his temple. “Didn’t you hear? We’re the good guys.”
“Bitch, please,” Becca says, nose wrinkled in disgust.
Because he has pretty shit social skills - or either doesn’t care that it probably isn’t considered polite conversation by most - Steve starts explaining the difference in the amount of paperwork he has to do when he kills someone or allows SHIELD to kill someone. Becca seems weirdly interested so Bucky leaves them to it, tuning out as Becca starts asking “but what if you can make it look like it wasn’t deliberate?” He twists around to get comfy, shoving at Clint until he’s in optimum pillow-position.
Bucky forces his tired eyes open, chin propped on Clint’s chest. Clint is smiling crookedly at him and is so handsome it hurts, even with a black eye and a split lip.
“Yeah,” Bucky says quietly. He lets his eyes close again, settling his head down to listen to the thump of Clint’s heartbeat, and it’s not a lie when he says, “I’m good.”