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Heroic Gestures

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Today had been going so well– you ran some errands, you cleaned the kitchen, you changed the password on Bucky’s computer so he can’t skip out on quality time with you when he gets home from his stupid SHIELD thing–

Where is it?”

You're not sure how an otherwise mostly-pleasant morning has topped off with you tied to a chair in the middle of your ransacked living room, but you are going to kick somebody for it.

“I don’t know what ‘it’ is!” you snap and then gasp when the man’s face contorts in anger. Okay, easy; don’t piss off the guy with the gun sitting in arm’s reach. “I- I don’t know what you’re talking about; I don’t, I swear.”

He sighs like you’re the dumbest person he’s ever met. Rude. You could say a lot of things about a guy who breaks into someone else’s home, throws everything all over the place, and then starts asking where something is without telling the person he’s asking what he’s looking for. But you won’t. Mostly because he has a gun. And a knife. And a lot of muscles. Really, you’re more of a lover than a fighter, and you intend to keep it that way.

Unfortunately the man in front of you has a face only a mother could love, and a personality that you hope no one would care for. He grinds his teeth and takes a deep breath, which is good, you think. “Earlier today, Tony Stark came by and dropped off a package,” he says slowly. He raises both of his thin eyebrows. “Ring any bells?”

Ah, Tony. You are so kicking him later. “Honestly, no,” you say, because it is unfortunately not uncommon for Tony to just ‘drop in’ from time to time to do things like leave weird ‘presents,’ or upgrade your security system without asking, or stick rude notes that are too funny to get mad at on the refrigerator. Steve and Bucky don’t know how he gets in. Well they should be happy to not-know that you are so revoking his key after today.

The man grips your chin to painful degrees. “I don’t!” you insist, panicking that this is about to get way worse. But then he suddenly lets go.

And then he hits you. Hard enough to turn your head. Hard enough that half your face starts to throb. Despite your attempts to keep cool, you tear up a little. “I wasn’t even that rough,” he says and yanks your face back into line. When he does you catch a glimpse of someone lurking in the shadows– and the familiar glint of metal makes you able to breathe again.

“It can and will get worse,” Big Ugly tells you very seriously. You almost smirk, because yeah, it’s going to. And you hope Bucky lets you get a kick of your own in for good measure. But Bad Guy lets go of your face and sits back, smug and self-satisfied. For now. “Now– what did Stark give you?”

You sigh. “If Tony left anything then it would probably have been for one of the other two Avengers I live with. You’ll have to ask them.”

The man’s eyes flit suspiciously, but he doesn’t look around, even as he acquires a large and menacing shadow. “Oh really?” he asks sarcastically, like he doesn’t believe you have even so much as a roommate. In a brownstone. In Brooklyn.

Tourist.

“So where are they?” he asks and leans just a little too far back, away from you, and towards–

Bucky strikes, metal arm like a shining silver cobra, and grabs the other man by the throat, hauling him up over the chair he’s sitting him and pulling him back gagging and gasping and flailing so your beautiful specter can growl into his ear, “Right. Here.”



“I can’t believe you didn’t let me kick him.”

“I didn’t want you anywhere near him,” Bucky mutters and keeps dabbing at your face. You didn’t even feel the blood so you must be cleaned up by now, but repetitive motions can help soothe him when he’s like this, and right now Bucky looks like he’s a million miles away. “Steve’s gonna kill me.”

Steve will do no such thing and you both know it, but it doesn’t seem like a particularly comforting fact right now. “He’s gonna have to go through me,” you say and put your hand over his to hold the cloth there. “How are you feeling?”

He gives you a Look. “I punched him.”

“So pretty good then?”

You catch a hint of a smile before he dips his head down low. “Hey,” you say and hold his face, bringing him back up. You rub familiar stubble with your fingertips and cradle his jaw in the palms of your hands. “It’s not your fault. He came because he saw Tony. It’s not Tony’s fault either. It’s his fault. You saved me. Nothing really terrible happened. Breathe, baby.”

He does. He doesn’t look all that happy or relieved about it, but it’s not your place to harangue him out of having emotions.

“That said, maybe I can get Tony to do a drop off in an Amazon locker next time.”

Harangue, maybe not. Encourage some others, definitely yes, and Bucky rewards you by breathing a brief laugh. He then shakes his head and goes back to dabbing your face. “Steve is going to kill me.”



You should have bet on it because when Steve comes home a couple of days later, Bucky walks in right behind him completely hale and hearty– much like Steve, who predicts your running jump with such aplomb that he drops his bag to the floor just in time to catch you. “You’re okay!” you say, legs wrapped around his waist, and you kiss him several times over while he takes you over to the couch and sits with you on his lap.

“Likewise,” Steve says and runs a gentle hand up the side of your face. You didn’t think you looked that bad, but he adds, “Bucky told me what happened. How are you feeling?”

Bucky is currently lurking in the big armchair off on the side, watching the two of you like he’s afraid to interact. You hope he got his kisses in when he greeted Steve at the airfield. Actually, scratch that– you hope Steve got his kisses in, because Bucky is full-on into self-flagellation mode for not having been psychic about a wanna-be terrorist stalking Tony for a delivery the boys weren't even expecting.

Still, you try. “I’m fine. Bucky swooped in, all knight-in-shining-armor-y, and saved me.” You smile at Bucky while still addressing Steve. “I’m no shrinking violet, but I felt braver when I saw him.”

Bucky perks up from his busy ‘Sit Morosely in a Chair’ activity. “Really?”

“Mm hm,” you say, still enthused with running your hands over Steve’s. Luckily he never seems to mind how touchy you get after a mission.

“I’m sure you were brave,” Steve says and brings up your hands to kiss them.

“Nope!” you say, too cheerful on purpose. You sit back on the couch and drape your legs across Steve’s lap. “So, here’s what happened: one day while I was out, completely unbeknownst to me, Tony came over and dropped something off.” You put Steve’s hands on your thighs and pat them. “And don’t worry; I have since talked to Tony about dropping by when one of us isn’t home.”

“So have I,” Bucky mutters.

“Shush! This is my story,” you say and shoot Bucky a glare. He crosses his arms and looks away, so you clear your throat. “Anyway. Unbeknownst to Tony, he was being watched by someone else. Dundunduuuu–”

“AIM,” Bucky murmurs and you glare at him again. He puts his hand to his mouth.

So, I got home after running some errands and one of the mysterious evil people watching the house decided to make their move,” you say, but Bucky looks so sad again you think…why not have a little fun with it. “He forced his way into my apartment, but I held him off…” for five seconds, but you punch the air and say, “–with my untapped assassin powers!”

Steve lets out a startled laugh and Bucky looks at you like you’re crazy, but he’s stopped looking sad, so you run with it. You nod emphatically. “Yes, to my surprise, I held him off with magically discovered physical ability that would make even Natasha say “whoaaaa.’”

Bucky snorts and his hand is less for showing you he’s going to behave and more for covering up a smile. That’s way better, and totally worth the pain you’ll endure if Natasha ever finds out your impression of her sounds more like Bill and/or Ted than her. You grin and continue with your story. “We fought for hours. I was amazing.”

“Well, I have seen you catch a chip when it started to drop on the other side of the room,” Steve says thoughtfully.

You snap your fingers and point at him. “See? Same motivation.” You then mock a swoon. “Alas, my hubris got the best of me and I was defeated. I awoke, tied to a chair.” You put your hand to your chest. “My own fault; I underestimated my lesser-but-still-formidable opponent. So, he interrogated me. It was kind of scary, but I gave him nothing.” You lift your hands when you shrug. “Mostly because I didn’t know shit. But! Also because I’m brave and stout of heart and yadda yadda.”

Steve is doing real bad at trying not to laugh, and Bucky, though more composed now and trying to be stern, is cracking fast. Good. “And then.” You clasp your hands over your heart as though to keep it in your chest. “Bucky came out of the smoke and shadows and loomed over my lesser-but-formidable opponent.”

“We have a smoke machine?” Steve asks.

“Nope. He was just that awesome,” I said. “I was pretending to cry, to catch my lesser-but-formidable opponent off-guard. It totally worked; he was such a dummy. And then– and then!” You sit up because you’re at the best part, and Steve wraps an arm around your waist to help you stay steady on the cushions. “So I told my lesser-but-formidable opponent that Tony didn’t give me anything, but if he did it would be for the two Avengers I actually do hang out with–”

“‘Hang out with,’” Steve scoffs and pinches your thigh. You yelp and fall against him to make him stop.

“I’m at the best part!” you say and cover his mouth. He takes your hand and starts kissing it, but he’s paying attention (and it feels nice) so you allow it. “So- so he says, ‘where are they?’ and Bucky– cape flowing, lightning striking, shadows casting over his face–”

“Did I have a rose whip too?” Bucky asks dryly.

“I think you would look fetching in a domino mask, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, so- so Bucky says–” you drop your voice almost as low as you can, “‘–Right. Here.’ And POW! WHAM!” You swing, making punching motions at the air, so hard and numerous that you almost fall off the couch. Steve is still holding you and at one point he keeps you from diving face first into the floor. “Thanks,” you pant and take two more big, deep breaths to get back to baseline. “And then I totally forgot I had magical badass powers and let Bucky handle the situation, and he beat up the bad guy, and untied me, and I fell right into his arms because he’s my hero. And then some other boring stuff happened. The end!”

Steve claps and Bucky joins him, and you stand up to take a bow, as is your due. You then hop over and sit across Bucky’s lap. It’s hard for Bucky to mope with someone draped over him, as you have well learned from watching Steve. “You’re amazing–” you kiss him, “–and strong–” you kiss him again, “–and I love you so–” kiss, “–deal–” kiss, “–with–” kiss, “–it,” kiss kiss kiss.

“Fine! Fine,” he grumbles but he can’t hide that smile from you. “Shouldn’t you be harassing Steve? He’s the one who hasn’t been home.”

“I have a solution for that,” Steve says, suddenly next to you, and he lifts you into his arms.

“Hey!” You smack at his hand. It’s one thing when you’re making him catch you, it’s another thing when he initiates. You're supposed to be in charge, dammit. You’ve said so.

“I need to thank my heroes for taking care of the homestead while I was out,” Steve says and nuzzles your neck, dipping down to kiss and nip at your collarbone. You shiver and even Bucky looks entranced when Steve lifts his head and says in a deeper voice, “Are you in, Sergeant?”

Bucky manages a barely intelligible “yes” as he stumbles to his feet and follows you both to the bedroom. Steve doesn’t ask you but, admittedly, he doesn’t have to. You’re easy and you’re pretty okay with it. Also, you feel like after this week you deserve to be doted on a little bit. And you know you will be.

It’s good to be a hero.

However if they try to start dragging you to the gym with them, you’re going to show them some actual secret ass-kicking abilities.