Bucky Barnes was bored.
Steve was busy doing some charity thing, leaving Bucky to roam their room in the Avengers Tower alone.
God he was bored.
Fifi, the beautiful German Shepard who was his service dog, wandered over and jumped up at him, sniffing his chest and nuzzling him.
"Yeah yeah I know pup." He sighed, giving her a quick cuddle and running a hand through his hair. "I'm fine, I just miss Stevie." He told her, then frowned at what he said. Did he?
Their apartment in the tower was a large, open planned area, with living room, a kitchen area behind the sofa, and two separate bedrooms on either side of the small hallway. He grabbed a beer out the fridge, then cracked it open and wandered aimlessly into the hall.
A soft, warm light spilled from Steve's room and he frowned at it. Had Steve left it on? Or had someone broken in? No he would have heard them, right? Right?
Suddenly he became aware of his breathing; sharp short burst of air, panic was taking over. Fifi instantly came bounding over, licking his hand supportively and whining slightly. He sank to his knees and wrapped his arms around her neck, burying his face in her fur and mumbling softly to himself. She licked at his tears, whining and pawing at his arms. After a few minutes, he stood, stretched out his arms, then stepped tentatively into Steve's bedroom. The lamp on his desk was still on. He sighed and stepped forward and was about to press the switch when he noticed the drawings scattered across the desk.
He picked them up carefully and flicked through them. One showed Natasha dozing in a chair whilst Tony and a few people he didn't know were all talking. He smiled a litte, then looked at the next one. It showed a man he didn't know, with serpent like features, black shoulder length hair and menacing eyes. The next one was a half finished sketch of, surprisingly, his own face, clad in the mask Hydra made him wear. He shuddered and quickly put it down, revealing a drawing of a train with a hole in the side. The bent and buckled metal seemed familiar somehow, but he couldn't place where he had seen it before.
He put the last drawing down and went to leave when he noticed the note book on Steve's bed. He picked up the note book and flicked through, finding small doodles, to do lists, and then a page of....
Bucky read through the list, grinning at the things he found. It was a list of things he liked about Bucky.
He closed the book and flicked the light off. Fifi followed him into the living room as he flopped on the sofa, bored and tired, gazing up at the ceiling. One particular note stuck out in Bucky's mind.
Whenever I hear him speak Russian, even though I have no clue what he is saying, it kind of turns me on...
Bucky smirked, then stood up to get a beer. Fifi followed, sticking so close that he kept tripping over her.
"Really dog?" He scowled down at her as she wagged her tail and panted up at him. "Jarvis, is Tony busy?"
"He is currently working on some suit upgrades. Should I ask if he is taking visitors?" The A.I asked.
"If you don't mind." Bucky smiled, pulling on a pair of sneakers and a slightly too big hoodie. After a pause, Jarvis responded with, "He said feel free to come down."
So he did. He took the elevator to Tony's workshop and the heavy metal that had been playing at max volume suddenly muted as he opened the door.
"You good Buckman?" Tony asked, not looking up from the suit he was working on.
"Bored. Got anything I can help with?" Bucky glanced around at the messy workshop.
"Can you weld?" Tony looked up and slapped his thighs, calling the dog over. "Hey Fifi!! Who's a good girl? You keeping the Buckman safe? Are you? Good girl!"
"Yeah, they taught me how to, just in case I needed to make repairs on my arm."
Tony didn't look up from making a fuss of the dog. He knew who "they" were. He also knew that Bucky still didn't like saying the name of that damned organisation. "Okay, well, come here then." He held out the blowtorch and pointed to what needed to be done.
"I uh... I found Steve's diary just now." Bucky told Tony.
"Right..." he said, looking up at Bucky as he rubbed the dog's belly. "What did you find?"
"He thinks me speaking Russian is hot. Any idea why he'd think that?"
Tony's eyebrows wiggled. "I think you know why Buckman."
"Look Tony, you need to stop calling me that." Bucky sighed, pausing what he was doing and scowling at the other man.
"Oh no, the scowly-duck-face of doom, oh no!" Tony cried in mock horrror. He flopped backwards, a hand at his forehead, and instantly Fifi pounced on him, licking his chin and nuzzling him
Bucky just raised an eyebrow. "Only you would mock an ex-assassin..." He sighed, before getting back to welding the suit. "But seriously Tony.... why would he think that?"
Tony sat up and hesitated before speaking again. "I've seen footage of you two together during the war. The way he looked at you.... well, let's just say you don't look at friends like that."
Bucky whole body stiffened.
"And... it didn't exactly look one sided either."
"Are you implying what I think you are? I'm not a fucking fairy Tony...." he whispered, trying to hide his anger. Tony stood up and Fifi went wandering off somewhere.
"Bucky, you can't say things like that anymore. It's okay to be gay now." Tony sighed, putting an arm around Bucky's shoulders. Bucky leaned into Tony's side.
"I know... it's just hard to get all of that out my head... I'm sorry..." Bucky relaxed slightly.
"Don't worry Buck, you'll get the hang of things." He clapped a hand on his shoulder and smiled warmly.
Bucky finished welding and then sat down, watching Tony work.
"What was you listening to before I walked in?" He asked after a while.
"Hm? Oh it was a band called Avenged Sevenfold. Wanna hear?" Tony asked. Bucky nodded. "You heard the man J." Tony said.
At first, Bucky thought it was all just noise. Then the singer started, and he was mesmerised. His voice was raspy and sounded angry, yet as he listened he could sense something lurking beneath...
"You've been lied to, just to rape you of your sight and now they have the nerve to tell you how to feel..." Tony murmured along as he scribbled something down on a notebook.
Bucky's eyes widened as the lyrics continued.
"So sedated as they medicate your brain and while you slowly go insane the you tell you 'given with the best intentions, help you with your complications'..."
Bucky sniffled a little and shifted in his seat slightly. Tony noticed Bucky's expression and paused the music. "Hey, you okay?"
"That's... that's how I felt at Hydra..." he winced at the name of the organisation that broke his mind. Fifi came trotting over once she realised something was up, and placed her head in his lap. He tugged her ears playfully before planting a kiss on the top of her head. Tony knelt down in front of him and placed a reassuring hand on his knee. Bucky took a deep breath before resuming talking to Tony, "I... I hated every moment. Every kill, every fight, every order was hell. But they made me think I deserved to be their attack dog. Made me think I was special. If I refused, they'd wipe my mind and ask again... eventually they realised f they take away my free will, take away my ability to say 'no, I don't want to' then they wouldn't have any more problems with me being defiant." Tony's eyes were shining, wet with tears that had built up suddenly and threatened to spill over.
"God Buck... you're hurting me..." Tony mumbled, his arms snaking around Bucky's waist and resting his head on his lap. Bucky bent forwards and rested his forehead against Tony's cheekbone, squeezing his eyes tightly shut to stop the tears from escaping.
"We won't let any of them get away. Nat has been searching for any signs of Hydra online, but so far we've found nothing. They're either not doing anything, or very good at keeping secrets." Tony let go and stood up. "You're safe here."
"Yeah... it's hard though..." Bucky whispered. "So so hard..."
"I know. I've been keeping an eye on you. Well not me, Jarvis. But J is set to alert me if something goes very wrong on your end."
"Oh okay..." Bucky's eyes flickered over the workshop aimlessly.
"Hm..." he responded, half out of touch with the world around him.
"Steve just got back. Want me to walk you up to your floor?"
"Don't care..." Bucky sighed, rubbing his palms over his face. "If you want."
Tony stood up and started walking to the elevator. "Then lets go. Come on dog."
Fifi gave Bucky's hand a lick, then followed Tony. Whenever she was down here she was always torn between helping Bucky, her owner, or Tony, the man her owner was friends with but always seemed sad. Often she just flitted between them both. Bucky joined them in the lift, wiping his hands on his jeans and smiling weakly.
"J, you know where."
"Yes sir." The AI said. Instantly, he felt the elevator give a his stomach a little lurch as it started to rise. Once at his floor, he gave Tony a quick hug before walking into the apartment.
"Hey Steve, how'd it go?" He called, trying to disguise his unhappiness.
"It was good, we managed to make loads of money. How was your day?" The blonde man walked over and gave his friend a quick hug, slapping his back affectionately. Bucky did the same, then stepped back and looked Steve up and down.
"We've been living together what, 4 months? It's still hard to believe that you are my Steve..." Bucky mentally slapped himself as soon as the words left his mouth.
"What do you mean Buck?" Steve chuckled, "surely you're used to the idea of sharing an apartment with me... we used to back in the 40s."
Bucky frowned. He could vaguely recall it. The information as to why and where were out of his reach. "Was it the same then as it is now?"
Steve smiled warmly. "Heavens no. We had to share a bed for a start. I was still small back then, and I was always sick, and my asthma was killing me. You'd wrap me up in your arms to keep me warm, and help me if I had an asthma attack, take care of me basically."
Bucky did his best to make his face look neutral. An easy task thanks to his assassin training. "We shared a bed?"
Steve nodded. "You insisted on it. I always offered to sleep on the couch or the floor, but you'd always say no. If I tried to leave the bed once you were asleep you'd wake up and then come and carry me back."
Bucky laughed and crossed to the fridge. He pulled out two beers and offered one to Steve.
"I can't get drunk Buck."
"Just drink it, punk."
Steve rolled his eyes and took a swig from the bottle.
"Heard from Nat?" Bucky enquired, flopping onto the sofa and lifting Fifi onto his chest for a cuddle.
"Nothing to report. She said she wants to drop by tomorrow and see us though." Steve looked at Bucky strangely, but Bucky didn't comment.
Fifi rolled onto her back, still sprawled across his chest, her tongue out and panting. He laughed and rubbed her belly, burying his face in her fur and speaking Russian to her. Steve sat down beside him and their thighs accidentally touched. Bucky sprang sideways, flinching at the sudden contact.
"Shit, Buck I'm sorry, are you okay?" Steve asked, slightly panicked.
"I'm fine Steve, jus' made me jump is all." Bucky smiled, shifting back over to his original position, his leg pressed against Steve's once again. He noticed Steve's other leg bouncing up and down with nervous energy and smirked slightly. He felt the same way, but he hid it better.
"Are you okay with sharing an apartment with me? It was... different to this when we were kids. You had to look after me, if I was left alone and something happened, I'd have died." Steve wasn't looking at Bucky. He was staring at a patch of floor and absentmindedly stroking Fifi. His eyes were slightly glassy.
"Steve, why wouldn't I be happy? I got my best friend by my side, taking care of me when I get flashbacks or nightmares, kicking down doors to find the men that hurt me, buying me food and doing my laundry. What more could I want?"
Steve grunted. "I'm not doing your laundry anymore by the way. It's time you learned how to use the machine."