When the door starts to open, Tony plasters a dirty grin on his face. “I’m here to snake your pipes-”
Only it isn’t Bucky who answered the door. It’s a Blond Beefcake who looks like the star of the wet dreams Tony used to have as a teenager.
“We didn’t call a plumber,” Blond Beefcake says. “At least I don’t think so. Hey, Buck, did you call a plumber for some reason?”
Then Bucky appears in the doorway, and his face says he wasn’t expecting Tony to show up at his door. At all.
“Hey Tony,” he says. Tony kind of wants to die.
“Hi,” is all he can think to say.
“Steve, this is my neighbor, Tony,” Bucky says. “Tony, this is my boyfriend, Steve.”
Boyfriend . Bucky has a boyfriend. When did Bucky get a boyfriend? It’s been less than a week since the last time Bucky fucked Tony into his mattress.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Blond Beefcake - Steve - says.
“Nnngh,” Tony replies.
“What are you doing here?” Bucky asks.
Tony freezes. “I. Uh. Um.”
“He said he came to snake the pipes,” Steve says, and where, oh where is a hole in the ground to swallow you up when you need one?
“You clearly don’t need my plumbing skills so I’m just gonna…” Tony gestures over his shoulder, then turns and walks away as fast as he can without flat out running.
Tony does not spend the next week and a half eating ice cream and binge watching (read: yelling at) Mythbusters on Netflix. Maybe only about six days, tops. Mainly because on day seven, Pepper and Rhodey drag him out of his apartment and to a bar where they tell him to drink his broken heart away.
“That’s ridiculous,” he tells them while on his third shot. “I can’t drink it away because my heart isn’t broken . Bucky and I were never together.”
Rhodey passes him another shot. “You don’t have to lie to us, Tones. We’re your best friends.” Pepper just gives him a Look.
Tony scoffs and just downs the shot.
It’s at that moment that Rhodey gets a text, and Pepper’s phone rings. As Tony’s contemplating another shot, Pepper gets off the phone. “I hate to leave, but I have to go fire someone,” she says apologetically. Tony assures her it’s fine and gives her a hug goodbye.
Rhodey looks up from his phone just as Tony is ordering nachos. The look on Rhodey’s face tells Tony something’s wrong. “What’s up honey bear?”
“My idiot brother-in-law just broke his leg and needs a ride to the hospital.”
“It’s fine, sour patch,” Tony tells him. “I’m just gonna eat and go home, anyway.”
Rhodey contemplates him for a moment before slapping some bills on the table. “We’re gonna have to do this another time,” he says, hand on Tony’s shoulder.
“I’m fine,” Tony insists. “No need to do the drunken heartbreak thing.”
“Yeah, sure.” Rhodey pats Tony on the shoulder and leaves.
Tony intends to eat his nachos and go home. He really does. But then he’s approached by a tall guy with long hair who looks absolutely nothing like Bucky who offers to buy him a drink. “You look like you could use it,” Tall-Dark-and-Buff says, and who is Tony to refuse a handsome stranger?
Five shots later, and Tony is practically in Not-Bucky’s lap. “And then he jus’ - he jus’ introduces us, like, ‘no big deal, Tony, this is my boyfriend , I don’t need you as a fuckbuddy anymore’,” Tony slurs while Not-Bucky’s hand gropes his thigh. Tony scoots away from Not-Bucky and lifts his hand off of his leg. “He didn’t even have the decency to text me,” he adds.
“That’s rough.” Somehow, Not-Bucky’s hand has found its way back to his thigh, only now it’s inching closer to his groin. “Hey, what’d’ya say we get out of here?” Not-Bucky murmurs into his ear, and Tony leans away, uncomfortable.
“I think I should go home, actually,” Tony says, trying to find a way to get Not-Bucky’s arm off of his shoulders without seeming rude.
“Aw, c’mon, sugar, don’t be like that.” Not-Bucky nuzzles his ear, arm tightening around Tony’s shoulders.
“He said he’s not interested,” Tony hears, and suddenly Not-Bucky is gone, and Tony looks up to see strong hands gripping the guy by his jacket collar.
It’s Blond Beefcake - Bucky’s boyfriend. What was his name?
Blond Beefcake - Steve, Tony suddenly remembers - is glaring at Not-Bucky, who suddenly doesn’t seem as intimidating. “Hey, man, I didn’t know he was taken,” Not-Bucky insists, which just makes Steve's face go even harder. Probably at the idea of dating Tony. A Blond Beefcake like that would never go for someone like Tony - not when he can have someone like Bucky . Tony sighs.
“Just get lost, will ya?” Steve says, and Not-Bucky scrambles to get out of there.
Huh. “That’s a neat trick,” Tony says.
“Getting him to disappear like that,” Tony explains. Steve is looking him up and down, probably trying to see just what kind of drunken idiot he’s dealing with, whether Tony’s worth the effort of helping or not. Because, there’s no doubt, if Steve is dating Bucky , he’s probably the kind of guy who helps random strangers in bars who look too drunk to find their keys, let alone get home safely.
“Are you okay?” Steve is asking.
“Huh? Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” Tony says, standing up. “I was just leaving, actually,” and then Tony trips on something , clearly he doesn’t trip on nothing, because that would be stupid, and suddenly there are warm hands on his arms and he’s leaning up against the firmest chest Tony’s felt since...well, Bucky.
Tony looks up, and hey, Steve’s eyes are blue. This shade of blue that reminds Tony of the ocean in California on really, really clear days.
“Can I help you get home?” Steve asks, and Tony is about to say no, thanks but no, when his stomach decides it’s a great time to empty its contents all over the floor.
Steve ends up walking Tony home, and it’s convenient that Steve already knows where Tony lives, because he’s not sure he could find his way out of a paper bag right now. He ends up leaning on Steve most of the way there, mostly because he can barely stand upright by himself, but partially because he wants to see if Steve’s biceps are as firm as they look.
They wind up in front of Tony’s apartment, and after searching his pockets (and having Steve search Tony’s pockets, completely necessarily) Tony realizes he left his keys inside the apartment.
He could go downstairs to his office to get the spare key, but, god, that seems so far away.
“C’mon,” Steve says, and pulls Tony toward Bucky’s apartment. They get inside, and, oh, Steve has a key, of course he has a key, he’s dating Bucky now, and Steve helps Tony to the bedroom, where Tony promptly passes out as soon as his head hits the pillow.
Tony wants to die. Someone clearly took a jackhammer to his skull in the middle of the night, and nothing will ever make it better.
Well, except -
Tony moans into the back of Bucky’s shoulder. “Don’t ever let me drink again, Jesus.”
“Bucky, actually, but sure, I can do that,” says a familiar voice, and then Tony remembers.
Bucky has a boyfriend.
So what is Tony doing in bed with him?
Tony shoots up in bed, then regrets it immediately when his head throbs. “Here,” Bucky says, and then there’s a glass of water and a couple aspirin in front of him. Tony takes the pills and drinks the water like a dying man. “Better?” Bucky asks, and Tony squints at him.
“Give me about three hours in the shower,” he replies, before realizing that maybe Bucky might think Tony meant his shower, and how inappropriate that would be, given that Bucky has a boyfriend now, a boyfriend who saved Tony from a creep last night and made sure he got home without dying-
Tony scrambles out of bed and nearly lands on his face.
“Where’s Steve?” he asks.
“Probably on his morning run,” Bucky says.
“So.” Bucky looks just as awkward as Tony feels.
“Why am I in your bed?” Tony figures getting the obvious out of the way first is the best option.
“Because Steve’s a punk,” Bucky says, and at Tony’s confusion, adds, “He brought you home last night, put you in our bed, and slept on the couch. I swear he’s from the forties or something.”
The only words Tony catches out of that are “our” and “bed” and oh, Steve and Bucky live together.
Of course they do.
“I should go,” Tony says.
“But I was just about to make breakfast,” Steve says from behind him, and Tony nearly falls over spinning around. “Won’t you stay?”
Of course Steve is the type of person to walk his boyfriend’s drunken fuckbuddy home, put him to bed, and then make breakfast the next morning. Of course he is.
“Uh,” Tony says.
“Stay,” Bucky says, and with that and Steve’s pleading eyes that belong on a puppy, Tony really has no chance.
Tony does end up taking a shower, and ends up wearing a pair of Bucky’s sweatpants that he has to roll up the legs on, and a t-shirt of Steve’s that smells just as good as Tony would expect.
“Shit, we’re out of milk,” Steve says when he’s halfway through making the waffles, and before Bucky or Tony can say anything, he’s gone.
The awkward silence is deafening.
“So how long has Steve been living here?” Tony asks at the same time Bucky says, “how’ve you been, Tony?”
“Since last Thursday,” Bucky answers.
“How long have you been dating?”
“...Since last Thursday.”
Tony suddenly feels like crying. “I’m...that’s great, Bucky. I’m happy for you.”
“No you’re not.” Bucky is suddenly in his face, wiping away, goddamnit, wiping away a tear from Tony’s cheek, and suddenly Tony is angry, angry that he’s crying in front of Bucky, angry that Bucky would fuck Tony and get a boyfriend four days later, angry that Steve is as perfect as Bucky had always described him to be.
“I can be happy for you and still sad at the same time,” Tony snaps.
Bucky smiles at him sadly. “I know.”
Tony shouldn’t ask, he really shouldn’t, but he just can’t help himself. “How long have you been in love with him?”
Bucky clearly doesn’t want to answer, but Tony continues to glare at him, until Bucky finally sighs. “Pretty much since I met the punk,” he admits.
“So what was I?” Tony asks angrily. “A way to scratch an itch until your best buddy Steve realized he was in love with you?”
“Tony, no, that’s not-”
“Whatever. I mean it’s not like we were ever official or anything, right?”
Tony would almost say the look on Bucky’s face is heartbreak, but that can’t be what it is.
“Tony-” Bucky starts to say, but Steve comes back then, milk in hand, and resumes waffle-making. He gives Bucky a knowing look that Tony can’t decipher.
The waffles are amazing, of course, because Steve just has to be good at making breakfast, too. Tony absently finds himself wondering what else Steve is good at, and if any of those things are things that can be done in a bed, and then mentally slaps himself for thinking dirty thoughts about Bucky’s boyfriend.
“I think I should go,” Tony says, but Steve stands up suddenly.
“Stay,” he insists. “I get the feeling you two haven’t finished talking.”
“There’s nothing more to talk about, is there, Bucky?” Tony looks at Bucky.
“There’s always something to talk about with you, doll,” Bucky says, and Tony’s heart clenches at the nickname. He wonders if Bucky calls Steve that.
Still, “I feel like I’m intruding,” Tony insists. “You two probably have...coupley...things to do...or something...and I have things I need to be doing. Like. Like.” He fumbles for an excuse. “Like fixing someone’s plumbing. Or something.”
Steve raises an eyebrow.
“Please, let me talk to you, Tony,” Bucky pleads. “Let me apologize.”
“Apologize for what? You didn’t do anything wrong.” Tony wishes his heart agreed with his mouth.
Bucky stands up and comes closer to where Tony’s sitting on a barstool. “Yes I did. I fucked you and ran. We were...together, and I just up and started dating someone else without even telling you.”
Tony glances at Steve, in disbelief that Bucky is saying all this in front of him. “We were never together,” he says.
“But maybe I wanted to be.”
“Tony.” Steve steps forward, now, blue eyes piercing. “From the way Bucky talks about you, the things he’s said, he’s really gotten me wanting to get to know you.”
Steve is big, next to Tony. As big as Bucky. And, Tony remembers, firm. “Get to...know...me?”
Steve’s face is close enough that Tony can feels Steve’s breath on his face. “If you’d let me.”
“He means he wants to take you on a date,” Bucky interprets.
“A date?” Tony feels like he’s just repeating everything they’re saying.
“Not a date,” Steve corrects. “I want to date you.”
Tony has nothing to say to that. Steve (wrongly) takes his silence as possible disinterest. “If you wanted, I mean,” and Steve blushes, making Tony wonder how far down his blush goes.
“I may have...misled you, last night.” At Steve’s questioning look, Tony explains. “I own this building. The office downstairs has a code to get in. I could’ve gone and gotten a spare key to my apartment, but I didn’t want to. Maybe I...subconsciously wanted you to take me to Bucky’s place. To your place.”
“Tony, I know,” Steve says. “You said that last night.”
“Are you coming up with other excuses to say no to Steve in that giant brain of yours, or do you just not want to date us?” Bucky asks.
Bucky chuckles. “Yes, doofus. The offer is to date both of us.”
Tony responds by kissing Bucky.
“Is that a yes?” Bucky asks when they pull apart. Tony looks at Steve, who pulls Tony toward him to press their lips together.
Steve is just as good a kisser as Bucky. “Yes,” Tony whispers, after.
“Let’s go, then,” Steve says, and he walks away, picking up his jacket and his keys.
“Steve’s an impatient person,” Bucky says, threading his fingers through Tony’s. “Once he decides he wants to do something, he wants to do it as soon as possible.”
Tony leers at Steve. “Does that go for everything?”
Steve takes Tony’s other hand. “Why don’t you kiss me again and find out?”
They don’t actually make it out of the apartment that day.