The bar is crowded and just what Tony needs. He pushes past people to the bar, glancing behind himself, his heart beating a mile a minute. The door opens and over the sea of people Tony sees the familiar blond head. He turns around immediately, eyes scanning the room for possible exits that wouldn’t put him in Ty’s way.
Nat was right, he thinks bitterly, an exit strategy escaping him. Tony’s been hiding out with her for the last couple of months after the break up and the consequential harassment. He shouldn’t have come back to his apartment, should’ve known that Ty won’t let him go that easily. But Tony wanted something familiar and he couldn’t stay with Nat indefinitely anyway. Especially not with his classes starting back up soon. The commute from Dorchester alone would be a pain in the ass, not to mention that he needs space for all his experiments.
Still, it was so not worth it to come back and be stalked by his abusive ex. Maybe he should just drop out of MIT and move to the west coast. Though Tony’s not sure if Ty wouldn’t follow him there too.
“Fuck,” he mutters softly to himself. He needs something good to make Ty back off. Or someone.
Rhodey’s been on Tony’s case since before the break up to let him teach Ty a lesson. And Tony could let him now and not feel guilty about it. Or he could take Pepper’s suggestion and pretend they’re dating. Ty was always afraid of her and he wouldn’t dare touch something that belonged to her. Not that Tony belongs to anyone but himself as he’s not a thing but that’s not even the point. Pepper’s not here anyway and so she can’t threaten to stab Ty with her heel if he doesn’t back off. Tony’s alone and desperate and maybe that explains his next plan of action. Though it’s less of a plan and more just acting.
The blond beefcake at the end of the bar nursing a beer alone seems like Tony’s best bet. He’s well built, shoulders probably twice as wide as Tony’s, and he’d look intimidating if not for the way his cheeks turn rosy when the bartender puts her hand on his, no doubt making some lewd comment. Tony doesn’t begrudge her that, he’d do the same in her place. But the Adonis only blushes, lowering his eyes and shaking his head, all shy and embarrassed. And Tony can work with that.
So he approaches the guy, offering a smile that probably borders on a grimace. “Hi, I’m Tony,” he introduces himself, watches as the guy looks from the bartender and down to Tony, quirking an eyebrow.
“Hi, Tony,” he says, a little amused curve to his mouth. He turns to Tony fully, leaning an elbow on the bar.
“Listen, I don’t know you but my gut tells me you’re a good guy,” Tony barrels on. Not that he should trust his gut after Ty but he’s really out of options. “I know this’ll sound crazy but I need your help. My ex has been stalking me for two days now. He’s really not happy about the break up and I thought he’d be over it after two months but he’s not. Anyway, would you maybe not be opposed to pretend to be here with me so he’d back off?”
Perfection personified gets frownier during Tony’s speech, eyes darting behind Tony and then returning to him. “Your ex sounds like an asshole.”
Tony barks a desperate laugh. “Oh, you have no idea. Is that a yes, though?” His voice sounds too hopeful and Tony hates it.
But before tall blond and handsome can answer, another person joins them, wrapping an arm around Tony’s fake-boyfriend-to-be’s waist and smirking down at him. “Who’s the Bambi eyes?” he asks. “I can’t leave you alone even for a minute, huh, Stevie?”
Of fucking course the Adonis isn’t single or even here alone. Tony’s such an idiot. And of course his boyfriend is just as gorgeous as he is. Tony has to stop himself from thinking inappropriate thoughts of how much fun the three of them could have together.
“Shit, sorry,” Tony says, eyes wide. “Didn’t realize you were here with someone. I’m so sorry.”
“You’re fine, Tony,” Adonis says with a slight exasperated sigh. He glances at his boyfriend. “Don’t scare him off, Bucky.”
Bucky rolls his eyes. “I’m not scaring anyone.” He turns his gaze to Tony and Tony suddenly can’t breathe being the focus of those icy blue eyes. “I completely get the urge to want to flirt with someone as handsome as my Steve.”
Steve’s cheeks turn red once again and he shakes his head. “Buck, come on,” he says, jostling their shoulders together.
“We weren’t flirting,” Tony finds it necessary to say. “I was asking for a favor. But I can ask someone else.” He starts to back off but Steve’s fingers wrap loosely around his wrist.
“Wait, we can help,” he says.
“Help with what?” Bucky asks, eyeing the way Steve is still holding onto Tony.
So Tony extracts his wrist. “My abusive ex is here. He’s been stalking me for a couple of days and he doesn’t take no for an answer. So I thought if he saw me with someone else…”
“He’d leave you alone,” Bucky finishes, nodding his head. The smirk is gone, he looks as serious as Steve did when Tony told him. “We can totally help with that.”
“Really?” Tony can’t help but let his shoulders slump with relief.
“Yeah, Bucky and I know a thing or two about dealing with bullies,” Steve responds.
Bucky snorts, disentangling himself from Steve. “You more than me, babe,” he says with a fond smile. Then he turns to Tony. “You have no idea how many times I had to save his ass from being beat to a pulp just ‘cause he tried to help someone.”
The first thing Tony thinks is that his gut was right. But then he blanches. “Oh, I, uh, wouldn’t ask that of you guys. Not that Ty would be particularly challenging to beat--”
“Leave that to us, Bambi,” Bucky tells him with a smile. “Want a drink?”
“Are you even of legal drinking age?” Steve interrupts with a narrowed eyed look at Tony.
Tony quirks up an eyebrow. “What a subtle way to ask how old I am,” he drawls. “I’m twenty three, by the way.”
“A little on the young side but I’ll take it,” Bucky says and flags down a bartender, ordering Tony a beer.
“I’m guessing you’re studying here?” Steve asks.
Somehow Tony ends up with his back pressed against the bar and his saviors in front of him. “Yeah, MIT,” Tony answers. “Working on my third PhD.”
Bucky chokes on his beer and Steve stares at him wide-eyed. “Third PhD? And you’re twenty three?” he asks.
“Did I forget to mention that I’m a genius?” Tony asks with a self-satisfied smirk. Not where it counts though. Give him complex engineering problems over people any day. That’s how he ended up with the bastard Ty. Maybe he should try a PhD in social studies next.
“We found ourselves a good one, Steve,” Bucky laughs.
Tony can feel his smirk turning into something fonder and aborts that immediately. Pepper always says that he falls too fast. So he doesn’t let himself enjoy the sound of Bucky’s laugh or the awed gaze that Steve sends his way. Instead he turns his head to the side, intending to scan the crowd but he doesn’t have to.
Ty has worked the room and reached the bar. Their eyes meet and Tony can’t help tensing up, his heart rate elevating alarmingly quickly.
“Tony?” There’s a hand on his shoulder and Tony watches Ty’s eyes harden at the sight of it, his jaw clenching. He never liked anyone else touching Tony without his permission.
Tony swallows the initial response of fear and turns back to two sets of worried eyes on him. “He saw me,” is all he manages to whisper.
“Tony, darling, haven’t seen you in a while,” Ty’s voice is as sickly sweet as Tony remembers and the endearment makes a small shudder of disgust run through him.
“Ty,” Tony responds with a tight smile.
“Won’t you introduce me to your new friends?” Ty asks slyly. “Haven’t seen them before around you.”
“Of course, where are my manners,” Tony grits out, stalling, trying to think if he should introduce Steve as his boyfriend and where that would leave Bucky.
“We’re a bit more than friends,” Bucky interrupts. The words coupled with his suggestive smirk and the arm wrapping around Tony’s waist can’t be mistaken for friendship.
Steve settles at Tony’s other side, his own arm settling around Tony’s shoulders, his thumb rubbing soothingly up and down Tony’s bicep. “I’m Steve,” he says with a pleasant smile. “And that’s Bucky.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Ty says with barely masked disgust, glaring at all the points of contact between Tony and his two fake boyfriends. “Tony, can we talk alone for a minute?”
Tony scoffs. “There’s nothing for us to talk about. Leave me alone.” He exaggerates enunciating the last words so the meaning doesn’t get lost in Ty’s fucked up brain.
Ty purses his lips into a thin line, his hands clench at his sides. “I just need--”
“Fuck what you need,” Tony spits out.
“Tony,” Ty growls out, stepping forward and reaching for him. But before he can so much as get close, Steve steps in front of Tony, shoving Ty back and making him stumble.
“Keep your hands to yourself,” he says, voice steely.
Bucky sighs beside Tony, squeezing him closer before letting go and stepping up to Steve. “Babe, let’s not get us tossed out of the bar, okay?” he asks quietly, a hand on Steve’s shoulder.
Now Tony can’t see Ty from behind the two muscly men defending his honor but he’s sure Ty’s not too happy about this turn of events.
Steve relaxes his posture, shoulders rolling back. “I see you near Tony again and I won’t hold back,” he threatens.
“And I’ll gladly help him,” Bucky adds.
There’s a tense few seconds, Tony hears Ty grumbling something but it’s too low for Tony to hear clearly, and then his knights in shining armor turn back around to face him. Tony should probably feel weak for letting others fight his battles but all he feels is relieved and grateful.
“Thank you,” he says with a small smile directed towards them both.
“Our pleasure, gorgeous.” Bucky returns to Tony’s side with a smile of his own.
“You okay?” Steve asks, joining them and jostling Tony’s shoulder.
“Yeah,” Tony bobs his head. “I hope it sticks this time.”
“Gimme your phone,” Bucky says, hand palm up and fingers wiggling. Tony complies and watches Bucky enter his number before handing the phone to Steve. “In case it doesn’t stick,” he says with a grin.
Steve gives Tony his phone back, fingers grazing Tony’s. “How about another drink?”
Tony bites his lip, thinks he’s done one crazy thing tonight so what’s another one. “What if I buy you dinner instead?” he asks, looking from Steve to Bucky and back again.
Bucky’s grin is predatory as his fingers cup Tony’s cheek, thumb swiping gently over his bottom lip. Tony can’t hold in the sharp inhale at the action. “You could buy us breakfast too.”
“Buck,” Steve’s voice sounds reprimanding.
Bucky pouts at Steve over Tony’s shoulder but retracts his hand, fingertips trailing down Tony’s neck. Steve’s hand on Tony’s forearm is not as forward but his eyes are as lust filled when Tony turns to him.
“We’d love to have dinner with you,” Steve says, a soft smile on his lips.
Tony grins back, mutters, “Great.” And if he does end up buying them breakfast too the next morning, well it’s only polite.