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It All Started In Indiana

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Steve, Tony, Clint, Natasha and Bruce had just settled in for their weekly team movie night when JARVIS interrupted with an announcement.

“Sir, James Barnes just entered the lobby and is requesting to see Captain Rogers.”

“What?” Tony and Steve exclaimed in unison.

Ignoring that, JARVIS continued. “He has a small child with him as well.” Steve was off the sofa before anyone else even thought about moving.

“Hold up,” Tony called after him before he reached the elevator. “Let’s be smart about this.” He plucked the back of Steves shirt between his fingers pulling back to make his point when Steve hadn’t slowed down.

“Tony,” Steve sighed, turning to face him. Tony held up his hands placatingly.

“Okay, Nat come with us. Clint hide somewhere and keep an eye out. Bruce, I don’t really want the big guy making an appearance so,” Tony trailed off.

“Have JARVIS let me know if you need anything,” Bruce replied quietly sitting down again.

The four Avengers took the elevator down to the lobby, Clint splitting away from them once the doors opened. Steve froze at the sight of his old friend standing calmly near the security guards desk waiting. Tony pushed forward.

“The Winter Soldier in Stark tower. To what do I owe the pleasure?”

Bucky glanced up at Tony and then behind him a few feet where Steve slowly made his way forward. “It’s Bucky,” he replied softly. “Just Bucky.”

Tony heard Steve gasp behind him. “Buck?” Steve surged forward then only stopping when he was about a foot away from him glancing down at the kid that was holding Bucky’s hand.

“We need to talk,” Bucky replied seriously. “About him,” he nodded in the boys direction.

Steve nodded quickly. “Okay, yeah. Come on, let’s get out of the lobby.” He gestured for Bucky to follow and Bucky picked the kid up and held him as he followed Steve, Tony and Natasha following close behind. They entered the elevator and Steve went to select the button for their personal floor but Tony pushed his hand away selecting the floor where the Avengers normally hold their meetings instead. Steve made eye contact with Tony who just shook his head and looked away.

They all regrouped in one of the conference rooms, Clint and Bruce now joining them.

“So, who’s the kid?” Tony started when no one else seemed to know what to say. “Or better yet, why aren’t you trying to kill us?” Bucky winced, staring down at the table. The young boy in his lap, chest to chest.

“I got away from Hydra about 10 months ago. As long as I don’t hear the trigger words I’m fine. I’m just me,” he answered quietly.

“And the kid?” Tony persisted, nodding at him. Bucky made eye contact for a second, sighed, and then reached down to his backpack which was beside his chair on the floor. He pulled out a file folder and slid it in front of Tony.

“I found him in a Hydra base, that’s his file. I was in Indiana, just trying to get away from everything,” he shook his head.

“Where you were born,” Steve added, speaking up for the first time since they entered the room.

Bucky nodded. “I just wanted to go somewhere quiet where they wouldn’t find me. Turns out I basically walked straight into Hydra but,” he paused, gesturing to the boy. “Least I got him out.”

“Holy shit,” Tony murmured suddenly.

“Tony?” Steve questioned, sitting up straighter, on alert. Tony’s head whipped up to look at Steve and then to Bucky where he held his gaze.

“What is it Tony?” Bruce asked calmly, gaining Tony’s attention.

“Hydra created this kid in a lab using one persons DNA, no mother, just machines and science.” Tony sighed.

“Who’s DNA? Bucky’s?” Bruce guessed. Steve looked over to Bucky but he was already shaking his head no.

“Not Barnes,” Tony agreed. “Steve’s.” He looked up at his partner who was staring at him dumbfounded. “It’s your kid, Steve. Biologically, anyway.”

The boy snuffled in his sleep as he napped against Bucky, temporarily drawing everyone’s attention. Bucky patted the boys bottom where his hand was resting absently and the boy quieted but his eyes blinked open slowly.

“Buppy?” The boy said softly while his head still rested on Bucky’s chest.

“Yeah, buddy. I’m here. You’re okay,” Bucky whispered to him. “These people in this room, they’re good. They’re safe,” Bucky stressed.

Natasha stood up, pulling Clint to his feet next to her. “I think us non-essentials will leave you to figure this out.” Clint grumbled something about wanting to stay but he followed her out.

“Let me know if you need me to take a look at him,” Bruce said to Tony, a hand on his shoulder, before leaving the room.

“How old is he?” Steve asked quietly after a moment. Tony moved to open the file but Bucky answered before he had to.

“Almost 3.”

“Oh my god,” Steve exclaimed. “He’s been tortured by Hydra for almost 3 years.” He ran his hand over his face.

“But he’s here now. You can help him,” Bucky insisted. “He’ll be okay because he has you. All of you.” Bucky rearranged the boy so he was facing out. “Can you say hi to Steve and Tony?” The boy waved his little hand out in front of him. Tony smirked.

“You got a name, squirt?”

“Indy,” the boy replied, waving his hand at Tony again. Tony waved back.

“Uh, he didn’t have a name from Hydra. I’ve been with him over a week, preparing to drive here so I had to call him something,” Bucky shrugged.

“And Indy because...?” Tony prompted.

“I found him in Indiana,” Bucky answered sheepishly. Tony nodded and Bucky turned back to Steve. “You wanna hold him, Stevie?”

Steve opened and closed his mouth without answering. Then abruptly stood up causing Indy to flinch back into Bucky’s embrace. “I, uh, I need a minute.” He quickly walked out of the room.

“Just hang here for a minute, okay?” Tony asked. Bucky nodded. Tony exited the room swiftly expecting to have to track his boyfriend down but Steve was right outside the door, sitting on the floor against the wall across the hallway, head in his hands. “Hey,” Tony called softly. Steve didn’t answer but Tony heard his breath catch like he was holding back tears. He slid down the wall next to Steve, shoulder to shoulder. “It’s a lot to take in, huh?”

Steve turned more toward Tony, picking his head up and pressing it to Tony’s shoulder instead. Tony put his hand on Steve’s knee and squeezed. “What are you thinking?” He felt Steve shrug. “Well, I can tell you I’ve never met anyone who I thought would be a better father.”

“Tony,” Steve whined, which Tony smiled at.

“It’s true. And he needs you.” Steve sat up a little straighter, wiping his eyes with the back of his knuckles.

“You really think I could be a good dad?” Steve asked so earnestly that Tony wanted to cry.

“The best,” he answered immediately. “Let’s go meet your son. Properly.” He stood and offered his hand to Steve who took it to pull himself up before going back to the conference room.

When they entered they saw that Bucky had sat Indy on the edge of the table facing him, his small feet in Bucky’s lap. Bucky was handing him a small brown teddy bear which the little boy took happily.

“Hey,” Steve said softly, coming up beside them. Bucky gave him a small smile. “Buck, did you, uh. Did you tell him who I was?”

“Not yet. I wanted to wait, just in case, you know?” Steve nodded, looking at the little boy. “You want me to introduce you?”

Steve nodded again, not trusting his voice. Tony resumed the chair he had sat in before, next to where Steve was crouched.

“Okay buddy, got something to tell ya,” Bucky said as he lifted the boy and placed him back on his lap, sideways facing Steve.

“Buppy!” Indy exclaimed, smiling wide.

“I gotta interrupt, sorry,” Tony said. “Buppy?”

Bucky laughed. “I don’t know, he can’t say Bucky. I corrected him the whole first day I had him and then I just let it go.”

“Buppy,” Indy repeated softer. Bucky ruffled his hair.

“So Indy, like I said before, this is Steve.” Indy looked up from his bear to Steve. “He’s your dad, do you know what that is?” Indy looked at him seemingly confused. “It means you’re his little boy,” Bucky added. “And he’s going to take care of you.”

“Indy, can I hold you?” Steve put his hands out but stopped short of the little boy giving him the choice. Indy looked at Bucky first and he gave a small nod so the boy leaned forward falling into Steve’s waiting hands. Steve brought the boy to his chest as he stood up, noting how small and light he was, much smaller than an average 3 year old. “I’m sorry you had to be in that bad place for so long,” Steve whispered. “I didn’t know about you or I would have tried to find you.” Indy put his head on Steve’s shoulder and yawned. Steve pat his back rhythmically as his eyes drifted shut. Steve sighed and held him a little tighter.

Once Indy was definitely asleep Tony spoke up. “We should put him down somewhere to rest, Steve.” Steve looked over from where he had been swaying and nodded. “You can come up to our floor,” he added to Bucky. “We have guest rooms.” Bucky looked unsure.

“You can’t leave now, Buck,” Steve said before he protested. “Please. We need to talk, but it’s late. You can stay here tonight.”

Steve looked so hopeful that Bucky had a hard time finding a reason to say no. Plus, he wasn’t exactly ready to say goodbye to Indy yet if he was honest with himself.