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Latte Art and Slow Dancing in the Dark

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Bucky picks up the paper cup and scribbles the order on the side in his sharp penmenship and then sets it on the counter.

“Will that be all?”

“And maybe a slice of that lemon bread thing,” the man in front of him says.

“Good choice,” Bucky smiles and rings it all up, taking the agent’s money and then calling to one of his coworkers to grab an iced lemon for the customer as they move down the bar. “I can take whoever’s next.”

And that is when it happens.

“Yeah can I get a venti Caramel Macchiato?”

“Hot or Iced?”

“Iced.”

“And anyth-” Bucky looks up but stops mid-word as he lays eyes on what has to be the hottest man he has ever seen in his entire adult life. Holy fuck he is really gay. He blinks once or twice as Hottie McHotterson just stares blankly at him and then picks up where he left off, “anything else?”

“Blueberry muffin?”

Bucky sighs and does that retracted slow blink you do when you cannot believe what is happening in front of your fucking eyes and rings it up before going and getting it himself and presenting it back to blonde, stacked, and stubbled. “You can have anything you want … that’ll be --”

The guy hands over a $10 bill like he knows and Bucky takes it, gives him his change and watches as he blushes, drops the change in the tip jar and scuttles down to the end of the bar to wait for his drink.

That interaction is going to get him through the rest of the morning rush hour and maybe even into the dead zone between breakfast and lunch. Goddamn how can anyone that hot actually work here, it’s criminal?

When things calm down, Bucky elbows his coworker, “Hey, Iron Man, please tell me you saw that blonde at breakfast this morning.”

“The one with her hair in a --”

“No you disgusting heterosexual, the beefcake smokeshow that came in and looked like he could bench-press a Fiat. Lovingly though.”

Peter rolls his eyes. “I mean I think so? I don’t really pay attention like you do.”

Bucky sighs and reaches out, flicking at their name tags, “this is stupid.”

“Privacy man. No compromised identities.” Bucky rolls his eyes and pulls his apron over his head.

“I need to get to class. I’ll see you tomorrow. If that guy comes back and asks for my number tell him I’m a verse botto--”

“LEAVE.”

****

At school, Bucky tries to concentrate but honestly it’s a struggle because all he can think about is the shoulder to waist ratio on the guy who walked into his Starbucks today and also his blue eyes and blonde hair and--

“Mr. Barnes?”

He glances up from where his pen has been bleeding ink on the page for probably the last 10 minutes straight because there’s a puddle of it.

“HnnghYEAH?”

“Did you want to share with us your thoughts on the diplomatic immunity situation we discussed last class?”

He really wants DICKlomatic immunity which he files away to tell his roommates later but instead clears his throat and flips back to his notes from his last class and scans them before answering at least somewhat intelligibly. He’s relatively certain he has the answer correct even though this isn’t a pass/fail scenario and more an open discussion and thoughtful dialogue.. Whatever that means. Fuck he really likes Professor Rhodes he just wishes the guy wasn’t so attractive and also terrifying.

He’s also heard his husband is way scarier but thankfully he’s not a professor so there’s that. Praise God for small favours.

By the time classes let out it’s late and Bucky is dawdling around the metro and then skipping a connecting bus to just walk home. It’s not worth waiting around and the weather is just starting to break from winter to spring so he kind of wants to enjoy it before they get a freak last minute blizzard or something. When he gets to his house he unlocks the front door, hangs up his coat and toes off his shoes as he shouts towards the kitchen.

“Mom, Dad, I’m home!”

“In here sweetheart!” the sarcasm travels.

Bucky rolls his eyes and comes around the corner with his bag in hand, “you cooking tonight? Shit I better order a pizza.”

“Ha ha very funny,” Clint says, he’s still got his hearing-aids in and Bucky ambles over to see what he’s actually up to before he sets up with his homework at the dining room table.

“You need any help in here?” He asks.

“Nah, just gonna throw this in the oven to finish and then when Nat gets in we can throw in the garlic bread. You wanna crack open the wine?”

“You haven’t already?” Bucky raises an eyebrow and goes over to their rickety little rack and tugs at a few different bottles before he finds the one he’s looking for and grabs it and the bottle opener.

Clint motions towards the recycling bin where the bottle that was previously half empty is now full empty and he shrugs. “Some of it went in the sauce.”

“Some…” Bucky repeats.

He pours out glasses of wine and then takes his to the table to settle in with his homework. He wants to stay on top of things it’s one of the ways he keeps a vestige of control on his life since he came back from Iraq. Not that he talks about that all too much. By the time Nat comes home and they’re sitting around eating, Bucky still ticking away on his laptop occasionally, he almost forgets what he wanted to tell them about.

“Oh -- shit I know we don’t talk about office stuff.”

Nat and Clint both nod. It’s one of the unofficial/official house and office rules. They work for the CIA as operatives or agents or something; frankly Bucky isn’t really sure and he thinks he’s probably safer not knowing. But! They did tell him about the opening at the Starbucks inside the agency when his old job laid a bunch of people off. They keep things vague when they bring anything up and it’s best that way. Still, this is definitely only tangentially work related so he thinks it can fly.

“There was a super hot guy at work today and I want to bang him like a screen door in a hurricane.”

Clint reaches out to high five him and Nat just nods approvingly.

“That’s progress,” she says.

“See, that’s what I was saying,” Bucky says half to himself and half to the table. “He’s just … I can’t describe him to you I know but God he is HOT and I want to just…” he flaps his hands aimlessly and Clint nods.

“It do be like that.”

Nat rolls her eyes and reaches out to steal the last piece of garlic bread. “I’m glad you found someone who caught your eye. It’s been awhile and it’s about time you thought about fulfilling your needs.”

“Oh he can fill me alright.”

Clint snorts his wine out and fist bumps Bucky as they both crack up laughing and Nat blows a breath out through loudly, “you know what I’ll do the dishes just to escape you two. Also Clint, I’m not giving you a blowjob anymore.”

“Aw… babes.”

Bucky pats him on the shoulder consolingly, “sometimes you gotta make sacrifices for comedic timing.”

“Maybe I can help her do dishes and get brownie points.”

“You do that man,” Bucky says, leaning back into his seat and dragging his books back towards him. While he’s writing up a policy brief he thinks about how he can get this guy’s attention at work. One of the big policies they have is that you can’t just ask for someone’s name and it’s also why none of them wear a nametag with their real name and instead go by fake character names (currently they’re rotating comic books). It’s a safety issue. There’s also lots of stuff about not making casual contact outside of work with the agents - like if you recognize them outside of the building don’t wave. Don’t acknowledge you know them. No posting which capitol Starbucks you work out. Social Media Blackouts. Privacy is Priority.

Oh and you better know how to make a damn good flat white.

Bucky managed to get cleared lightning fast but he was also a former sniper for the 75th Ranger Reg and then Delta Force. Young recruit, in and out. Then someone blew a hole straight through his goddamn shoulder and ruined his shooting career. He’d been discharged, honorably. They’d given him a number of options to stay in but he was ready to get out after what he’d seen and done and frankly it was kind of nice to go out on top. They gave him medals, paid for his surgery and rehab and now he was going to school at Johns Hopkins for Advanced International Studies.

When he put it all out there like that on his barista application he sounded almost put together, normal. He didn’t put anything down about the screaming nightmares or the fact that he lived with his two friends because his family wouldn’t have him back after he came out. There’s a lot that’s bad but he’s trying to focus on the good these days as much as he can. It’s hard though.

Still, he can do this.

By 11pm he’s shutting down his computer and packing everything up to head to bed. He’s got the opening shift again and he drags himself into a shower before he passes out in a haze of blonde hair and blue eyes.

*****

When his alarm goes off at 4am he grudgingly gets out of bed and gets ready. There’s no pep in his step, just a resigned acknowledgement that this time of day actually exists and that he’s up at it. He needs the money but fuck, at what cost to his sanity?

Still, he cheers a little when he thinks he might run into Hot Guy again and actually gets to the time clock 5 minutes early.

As he preps everything he sings along quietly to the set playlist even though it’s fucking dumb but all the songs are stuck in his head now whether he likes them or not. There’s fresh coffee ground up and ready to be brewed, every syrup that needs to be made fresh is made, all the milk is restocked, the blenders are set up, and each scoop container is topped up and ready. The first customer comes in at 6am on the nose and Bucky gets them a fresh blonde roast drip coffee and then settles in to wait for the rest of the crew to turn up and the place to get busy.

When Peter gets in, Bucky switches to bar and Peter takes over register, the two of them working seamlessly on the line. Cups start working their way towards Bucky and he checks the orders up and then maneuvers them so that everything is made in the fastest way possible. He’s got it down to an art form and it keeps him steadily in the zone. He’s sort of out of it when he glances up to hand over a cappuccino and when he does he sees blonde guy from yesterday hanging out and waiting at the end of the counter.

On the one hand there’s nothing saying that he isn’t allowed to recognize people that come in every day, on the other hand he doesn’t want them to make a rule saying that because he goes and does something weird to an agent.

Still, he totally saw the guy blush so he must be at least A LITTLE into it. Bucky is standing there, waiting for the last of the shots to finish when he has an idea. A terrible, awful, HORRIBLE idea… but he goes with it because there’s no rule against writing other things on the cups. Just no names.

Well, this isn’t a name.

Bucky takes his sharpie out, draws a winking smiley face and then pops the lid on Blondie’s drink. When he hands it over, he makes sure the added artwork is facing it’s intended audience and so is Bucky.

“I have an iced, venti, caramel macchiato?”

Blondie steps up to the counter, hand outstretched and does a double take at Bucky before a cute, sweet blush sweeps over his cheeks. God he’s fucking cute, Bucky just wants to sit on his lap and tell him all about how his day went.

“That uh… that’s mine,” the guy says.

Bucky bites his lip in an inviting way and hands it over, making sure their fingers brush.

“Have a great day,” he says, glancing up through his eyelashes.

Bucky turns away, not wanting to be a fucking creep and drag the moment out but he doesn’t miss the way that Blondie hovers at the end of the counter and the little snort he makes at what Bucky hopes is the winking face on his cup. Fuck.. FUCK he’s flirting with a CIA agent what is his fucking LIFE.

He decides that night after classes that this is how he’s going to play it. He’s going to keep giving Blondie little reminders that he’s into him and then he has to let Blondie make the first move. It’s literally the only way. After all, Blondie is the one with more to lose here and he definitely outranks Bucky in the grand CIA/Starbucks hierarchy of things. It might take patience, which Bucky can do. After all he was a sniper that position is a waiting game.

Currently he’s got a moving target in his cross hairs.

*****

Bucky works 5 days a week which means he has the opportunity to see Hot Boy every day. The winking face was on a Tuesday so that means he’s got to come up with three more of these things for the rest of the week.

He goes for a classic.

That day when he’s working the bar he scribbles ‘007’ on Blondie’s cup and slides it over to him with a wink. When Blondie glances up at him to say something Bucky taps his name tag and Blondie’s mouth just hangs open a second.

The nice thing about these stupid erasable tags is that Bucky can change them up daily. Usually he and Peter just doodle stupid things around their currently assigned nicknames but for today Bucky purposely had an extra in his pocket that he slipped on when he saw Blondie come in that said “Bond Boy” on it.

He hopes that sends a clear enough signal.

This time Blondie clears his throat and smiles a little behind his hand before digging out a couple of dollars and dropping it in the tip jar.

“Have a nice day,” Bucky says.

“You too,” Blondie replies. He looks like he might add something else but then thinks better of it and leaves in a hurry.

Bucky hates to see him go but loves to watch him leave.

That night at dinner he tells Clint that he got a smile out of the cute guy at work and Clint claps him on the back. They crack open celebratory beers and Bucky pointedly doesn’t ask where Nat is. The answer is probably covert ops but they definitely can’t talk about it and Bucky moves his homework over to the couch where he can sit near Clint and the two of them watch Gilmore Girls reruns because it keeps Clint from going off the deep end.

*****

The next morning, Bucky is on register and he’s taking orders instead of making them. Still, when Blondie comes up to his register, Bucky waits patiently to hear his order even though he knows what it’s going to be. He writes it on the cup with a flourish and tries not to smile too much.

“What else do you want?” he asks, voice low and sultry on purpose.

When he glances up over the order screen he can see Blondie staring at him and Bucky stares right back.

“You…” Blondie says and a beat too long passes to be a mistake before he’s looking aside and licking over his bottom lip, “could suggest something?”

Bucky exhales and feels his heart start beating again because he didn’t think he could get the guy to play back but fuck now that this is on the table he’s never going to recover.

“Why don’t you try the sous vide egg bites?” Bucky says, sounding almost professional. “A little more than a mouthful but,” Bucky shrugs and makes it a point to look his crush up and down, “I think you’ll like it.”

Blondie is pink in the cheeks but he nods, “sure.”

Bucky rings it up and as Blondie goes to leave Bucky says, “bye~”

It’s flirty and dangerous and Bucky sort of worries about it a little but if he can sneak around an active combat zone he figures this is nothing.

He waits a minute and glances down to the end of the bar as he hears Peter calling Blondie’s drink order up because he wants to see his face. He can see the guy’s lips curve into a half smile and Bucky looks away before he gets caught. Today’s cup just said “Nice Eyes” and he’s kind of feeling like he can do anything.

Class that night is predictably brutal. It’s his Tues/Thurs so it’s Dr. Rhodes again and he never goes easy on any of them. Then again he is the best so what do you expect. Bucky follows along the best he can but he’s still distracted by thoughts of the guy at work - then again he knows what happens when he gets called out daydreaming so he drags himself back to the present and forces himself to stay tuned into the lecture.

When he gets home Nat still isn’t back so he and Clint order pizza and go back to Stars Hollow. While they’re sitting there Bucky brings up the hot guy at work and Clint puts a hand up.

“Remember. No identifying details no--”

“I know the rules I was just going to say he flirted back a little and it was kind of cute.”

“Oh yeah?” Clint asks, looking at Bucky, “that’s .. huh. I mean I don’t think that’s against the code of ethics but still good for you man.”

“I’m trying to think of how to get him to ask me out without you know… asking him to ask me out.”

“If he’s into dudes I’m sure you have a shot,” Clint says because he’s kind and likes to boost Bucky’s ego.

Bucky sighs and tabs between documents, pulling up his latest essay that he’s supposed to be copy editing and groans as he finds another obvious typo and missing citation.

“Fuck me…” he mutters under his breath.

“Tried that in Kuwait,” Clint reminds him helpfully.

“Please never bring that up again.”

*****

Friday.. Friday he can do this it’s the last day of his scheduled shifts and then he’s got the weekend to party. If by partying he means do his homework and laundry and put in some time at the gym before he lets his entire body go to waste.

Still, he’s angling to get Blondie’s attention but when he shows up at the register today he’s all business and looks frazzled and talking in low voices with whoever is next to him, someone who looks important and full of absolutely Taking No Shit. Bucky loses whatever steam he had planned and instead just writes Blondie’s order on the cup with a sympathetic frowny face and heart before sending it along.

He sighs and taps in the orders, takes their money and doesn’t think about it, reminds himself that it’s the weekend maybe he can get a couple of drinks in him and go to the club or something. Or try to. He’s just taking another order and thinking determinedly about how he is not going to mope or be weird about this when Blondie reappears at the register and shoves a $5 bill into the tip jar. Bucky looks up, stunned and Blondie just holds the cup up, looks like he’s just as sad as that little face and then he’s gone again in the crowd.

It’s the strangest fucking interaction that Bucky has probably ever had with a human being that he wants to bone but … well his whole life is kind of strange when he thinks about it.

Nat is home that night, but she’s already in bed when he gets in and Clint is cleaning up the kitchen very quietly. He pushes a pre-made plate over to Bucky and winks before stealthily climbing upstairs to presumably join Nat in bed.

Bucky signs ‘thank you’ at him and Clint signs back ‘good night’ before he disappears around the corner of the staircase.

For a minute Bucky considers going out and getting shitfaced but also he has a lot of homework to do so that’s probably the least helpful idea. Fuck.

He grabs his plate and his homework and heads to his room and shuts the door. An exciting weekend for JBB.

*****

Monday morning causes him physical pain and he tries to let it go but also it’s Monday and he’s opening. His entire soul hurts. It’s 4am and he’s boarding the metro and he feels like his eyeballs are full of sand and murder.

When he gets to work he half drags his body through the motions and okay he is not only on the struggle bus he is driving the struggle bus. But he’s determined.

Also he has everything set up for this week in terms of flirting with Blondie. He’s going to come out of the gate strong and maybe by this weekend he’ll have a date or at the very least a confirmed ‘yes or no’ to keep pursuing.

And it works to a point.

Monday he writes “Cutest Agent” on the cup and makes Blondie blush all the way to the tips of his ears. It’s worth it and Bucky almost gets a little bashful in return at how fucking cute the guy looks when he’s put on the spot like that. God he wants to take him apart.

Tuesday he hits him at the register with “Favorite Part of My Day” and Blondie gives him this rueful little smile that just looks so ‘gosh ma’am’ that Bucky kind of feels like punching him in the shoulder and asking if he wants to get an egg cream at the malt shop for fucks sake. The way Blondie looks up through his mile long lashes also makes Bucky want to melt but God when he says “same” Bucky feels his knees get physically weaker.

Wednesday, Bucky goes for BROKE. He’s making drinks at the bar and when he gets Blondie’s he scribbles, “Gay? (pls…)” and maybe he shouldn’t have had like 10 shots of espresso today. Normally he stops at 8 but something about those last two has just … pushed him straight over the edge until he’s basically vibrating at a high frequency that dogs can probably hear. He hands the cup over to Blondie and even though he just wrote it he blanks on what he put. Blondie picks it up, laughs and shakes his head, raises an eyebrow and says, “Bye.”

He makes a cheers-ing motion and Bucky makes a stuttering sound, looking like he’s been shot, again, as he goes and then he turns to look at Peter saying, “I think I’m going to be sick.”

He runs into the back room and is indeed very sick. It might not have been the 10 shots of espresso either he actually feels like he’s coming down with something like FUCKING REJECTION no that’s not it. I mean that is contributing to how low he feels but the 102 fever doesn’t help either. Bucky goes home early and picks up some over the counter meds along the way and then holes up in his room with his laptop already emailing professors about his lack of attendance and seeing if he can get ahold of class notes.

He feels like baked ass and after making a fucking fool of himself in front of Blondie he feels even worse. What was he thinking. WHAT WAS HE THINKING!?

Bucky takes a deep breath and heaves into his little trash bin that he brought in because he had a feeling the nausea was not finished with him and then he gets up and cracks open a new gatorade. He just wants a peaceful life and maybe to get some hot ass occasionally and finish school and … he’s spiraling a little.

He thinks about how he probably needs to transfer now but also he’s not sure if you can get a transfer out of the CIA Starbucks. What do they even say to a potential future store? “Hey we would love to recommend this associate but we can neither confirm nor deny their employment at the current Starbucks store in question and while we’re at it we cannot confirm their identity either. Thank you.”

Bucky groans and rolls over, “Alexa? Turn off the lights.”

The little digital voice answers “Okay!” and his lights click off across the room. He thinks he’s probably in a relationship with his robot. Is that something you put on Facebook?

*****

By Monday Bucky feels almost human. That’s an overstatement, he feels like a multi-cellular organism but probably not a complex one. He drags himself into work because he feels bad calling out another day and besides he really needs the fucking money.

When he gets in he sighs and feels the sting of disappointment hit him all over again. Better make this week a good one for Blondie but also just kind of benign or thematic.

Oh a theme. He can do a theme then he can just play it off if things go south. I

He works register and Peter works the bar, when he sees Blondie, “Hey!” the guy is in earlier than usual and he makes a bee line right towards Bucky. “Hey you’re back!”

“Hey,” Bucky says, trying to be neutrally polite, “what can I get for you?”

Blondie looks at him and then slowly his smile goes from happy to confused, “are you okay?”

“I had a stomach bug,” Bucky says with a shrug, “I hope I didn’t get you sick or any--”

“Are you better now?” Blondie asks, seriously.

“I’m fine,” Bucky replies, his sharpie in hand hovering over the iced cup. He knows the guys order by heart but he has to wait for him to say it because otherwise it’s a protocol breach.

“Oh.. okay,” Blondie says, suddenly careful. “I’ll have the usual.”

Bucky hangs his head with a huffed out laugh, “you have to say it,” he says, “I’m not allowed to memorize your drink order.” He pauses and then looks up, “sir.”

Blondie looks almost taken aback and then just looks sad. “O..oh. I just you were - the cup --”

“I could get fired for it sorry,” Bucky puts it back and caps the sharpie. “What would you like to drink?” he asks again, the cheer in his voice obviously fake and sounding just as tired as he does. There’s thankfully not a line or else they’d probably both be getting yelled at.

“Venti, iced, caramel macchiato,” Blondie says, frowning.

Bucky reaches out for the iced cup and writes the order on it and then sends it down the bar.

“Can I get you anything else?”

They stare at each other for a little too long and then Blondie just shakes his head no and pays.

“Have a nice day,” Bucky says.

“You too.”

When Blondie gets to the end of the bar, his drink is waiting and he picks it up and Bucky watches him check it out of habit. He sees his face crinkle in confusion and then he walks away. Today it said, “you can fall apart.”

*****

After that, Bucky begs Peter to let him take over the bar because he just can’t have an interaction like that again with Blondie and if he’s working on making the drinks they can’t talk. He’s too busy working. With his hands. And foaming hot milk it’s dangerous. Stuff. Things.

On Tuesday he puts “break my heart” on Blondie’s cup and tries not to make eye contact with him the whole time.

Wednesday, he gets a reprieve and Blondie isn’t there so he doesn’t have to worry about the repeater.

Thursday, he hands over “doesn’t even start.”

And then it’s Friday and Bucky is jittery with nerves because this is the one that will hopefully make it all make sense. Or he’s going to look like a psychopath. Well to be fair he probably already looks like a psychopath at this point so is there really any going back?

When Blondie comes through the line, Bucky hands over the last of this week’s cups and it says “i’m in love”.

Blondie freezes for a moment and then his face softens and then he looks like he’s between emotions.

“The Cure,” he says.

“Mm,” Bucky says noncommittally.

Blondie runs his thumb over the letters and then drops a $10 bill in the tip jar before he’s gone and Bucky doesn’t feel very in love at all.

Normally he’d be going home and going straight to bed because he signed up for an extra Saturday shift in the morning but he feels like shit and he kind of needs to get out. So.. .he does what anyone who has to wake up at 4am does. He gets his best friend to go to a club with him and be his PTSD spotter.

Clint is a trooper, he can usually tell when Bucky is getting to a bad place with the strobe lights and the crowd of people and he’s never weird about going to gay bars so it’s perfect. Nat sometimes goes with them but she’s been kind of a homebody since her last excursion and Bucky doesn’t want to push her so she sends the two of them out, taking a picture on her cell phone like she’s a proud parent and out they go towards the gayborhood.

Bucky pregamed at the house with some vodka/cranberry and he’s got a disposable water bottle in his hand that he’s sipping out of that’s the same. It’s trashy but he’s not paying $16 a drink just because they’re near Dupont. Fuck that.

By the time they get to the club it’s already pretty packed and he’s happily tipsy and his plan to only get one drink to ease his bullshit feelings goes out the window especially because Clint buys the first two rounds and for some reason they’re doing some kind of Pride Happy Hour. Bucky doesn’t ask questions he just opens his mouth and allows the alcohol to flow through him. Let go and Let God.

At some point he loses his shirt and is in the middle of the crowded dance floor, the whole place seemingly grinding up against him to Biggie and he feels better than he has in days. This whole workplace crush thing was a stupid idea and he doesn’t need anyone else to be happy. He’s got a lot of fucking homework to keep him company and he should just be happy with that. Yeah and when he wants to let go he’ll just come here. When he closes his eyes he can feel hands on his bare side and stomach and it feels good - it feels like too much and just enough. He’s sweaty and loose and wanting and getting. But he knows he has work in the morning so when someone gets closer and asks if he wants to step out back he has to turn them down.

Maybe another night he says, giving them a kiss on the cheek.

Clint meets him by the door, the two of them signing at each other over the crowd and the thumping bass.

When they get to the street, Clint motions to his ears and shakes his head and Bucky nods, sloppy with it and goes to signing. He lisps with his hands at the best and soberest of times but now he’s messy and giggly and Clint is laughing at his attempts at signing while shit faced. Still.

It was a good time it’s what he needed and he’s glad Clint came out with him.

He gets home, falls straight into bed and tries not to remember that he has to be awake in two hours.

Power napping.

*****

Waking up is like getting run over by a truck.

Bucky isn’t sure if he’s hungover or still drunk but when he gets to his feet and looks in the mirror and sways he’s pretty sure he might actually still be drunk. Which he thinks he’d rather have that than a hangover.

Still. It’s a Saturday shift. No one comes in on Saturday and it’s a short one - only until noon and then he’s out of there and he can come back here and sleep off whatever the fuck he drank last night. He really hopes it wasn’t Jager because if it was he’s never going to recover and that’s that on that.

Bucky rolls out of bed and leaves on most of what he was wearing the night before but grabs his uniform shirt and hat and then somehow gets to the metro. Fuck… this was a terrible idea but he still isn’t regretting it.

When he gets to work he sneaks a breakfast sandwich and then makes the most caffeinated thing he can think of which is 10 shots on ice and just starts pile driving the thing. He almost feels human after an hour although still kind of drunk but hey, as long as the fucking CEO doesn’t come in he’s going to be fine.

He can handle it. It’s mostly administrative and building crew on the weekend - service staff and people to do maintenance that kind of thing. None of them are going to judge him.

And you know, everything is going fine as far as Bucky is concerned, everything is coming up JBB. He’s just about to grab a cup of ice water for himself when he hears footsteps and when he looks up he says “fuck” out loud.

Blondie isn’t supposed to be in on Saturdays. What the fuck.

He assumes Blondie must have the same reaction because he freezes halfway through the store and looks at Bucky like he’s been slapped and they have a strange high-noon stand off going for a minute before the need for coffee must outweigh how awkward it all is and Blondie comes up, looking pinched and stretched at the same time.

Bucky hopes he looks sober.

“What can I get you?” he asks, and manages it without slurring a single word.

Blondie nods and puts his hands in his pockets, “venti, iced, caramel macchiato.”

Bucky nods back as he scribbles the order on the cup, the one he knows by heart, “anything else?”

Blondie looks over at the pastry case and shrugs, shakes his head, “nah.”

Bucky takes his money and then moves over to bar because it’s skeleton crew on the weekend and in the early mornings so he’s a one man show. He makes Blondie’s drink and when he slaps the lid on it he feels jaunty. Fuck maybe he is more drunker than he thought. Actually maybe this is the hangover portion hitting. Fuck he hates getting a hangover while awake what the fuck.

Pushing the cup towards Blondie he huffs and goes back to clean up the mess he made at the bar and he hears Blondie choke. Bucky whips his head back making sure he’s actually not medically in danger and instead finds Blondie red all the way down his collar and pointing at his cup.

Bucky squints and then looks mortified for .5 seconds before straightening up. He was a fucking Black Ops agent, he will not be intimidated by some suited up CIA fuckboy. It’s not going to happen, not today and not ever.

“Yeah?” Bucky says.

Blondie stares at him and Bucky just stares right back. He might be seeing … well.. Not quite double of Blondie but maybe one and a half of him but that’s not going to stop him from winning whatever it is they’re doing here.

Blondie sets the cup down, reaches in his pocket and pulls out his wallet. Bucky assumes he’s about to leave the world’s smallest tip as an insult but instead he pulls out a … $2 bill.

Bucky squints harder. Blondie is taking out a pen and scribbling on the bill.

“Isn’t that--”

“Illegal to deface legal tender but also illegal to do what I’m doing so … I hope it all comes out in the wash.”

Blondie straightens up and Bucky coughs.

“I thought $2 bills were fake.”

“They aren’t.”

Blondie pushes the $2 bill across to him and when he starts to look at it, Blondie covers it up with his hand. “Fold it up and look at it later, maybe when you’re home?”

Bucky has just enough fire left in him to glare, “Fine.”

“Good.”

“Bye Hot Boy,” Bucky sasses as Blondie leans back and grabs his drink.

“I thought it was ‘Daddy?’” Blondie holds up the cup with Bucky’s own writing turned towards him and Bucky shrugs.

“Earn it.”

Blondie gives him a look and then snorts, “wait until you get home to read the money.”

“Whatever.”

Bucky isn’t in the mood. If he were sober he’d probably be appalled at literally everything he just did and when he gets back into the right headspace tomorrow he’s probably also going to beat the shit out of himself for it all. But right now he feels like hot garbage and he is not going to put up with anything or anyone. Not even the hottest guy in the CIA.

*****

Bucky waits until he’s home to read the money.

*****

What he has is a $2 bill in his pocket that says “Steve” followed by a phone number with a NY area code. Bucky sucks in a breath and stares for a good 7 minutes thinking this is some elaborate prank. Maybe not homophobic then. Huh. So Bucky does what any sane person would do, he puts the number in his phone and texts it with:

 

Bucky
Are you fucking kidding me?

 

He has to wait for about 10 minutes to get a reply but when he does…

 

CIA Daddy
Seemed like a good way to get your number. Besides, I like $2 bills they’re classic.

Bucky
Is this a social call or what?

CIA Daddy
I don’t know, what do you want it to be, Captain America?

 

Bucky groans because he forgot that’s what his goddamn name tag is at work.

 

Bucky
I don’t know anything about you. Other than the coffee order I’m not supposed to. And I guess your name.

CIA Daddy
That’s fair. Can I take you out for dinner and drinks tonight? I’d normally say coffee but…

Bucky
Sure. How about 9pm. I need a nap.

CIA Daddy
Jack Rose Saloon?

 

And that… that makes Bucky pause but you know… in for a penny..

 

Bucky
If you’re buying.

CIA Daddy
You said I had to earn it. I plan to.

The phone drops out of Bucky’s hand and he lets his face smash unceremoniously into the pillows as he screams. Letting them muffle the sound.

“Alexa? Set an alarm for 8pm.”

“Alarm set today for 8pm.”