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We Are Not Soldiers

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Bucky was not a morning person. He hadn’t been a morning person in 1937 and he wasn’t a morning person in 2014. Steve took comfort in the fact that some things never changed and always turned into a pile of warm, gooey, disgusting fond (Tony’s words) anytime he happened to be around when Bucky finally stumbled out of bed and into the waking world.

(Ever since that one time Bucky woke up and stumbled into Tony’s workshop and then onto a pile of sharp, pointy, probably biohazardy, possibly sentient...things, Steve made sure to pretty much always be around when Bucky blinked awake.)

This particular morning, Steve was awake earlier than usual on account of the fact that Clint had dropped Lucky off the day before and then vaporized into the ceiling without saying where he was going. The dog’s whining was becoming progressively louder so Steve began the delicate process of untangling himself from Tony and Bucky without waking either of them. Granted, Bucky could (and had) slept through an alien invasion but Tony had actually come to bed and slept the night before and the last thing Steve wanted to do was wake him.

“Lucky hush,” Steve whisper-yelled to the dog as he finally wiggled out from under the dead weight of Bucky’s arm and stood up. He pulled on a pair of sweats, grabbed his running shoes, and dragged Lucky out of the bedroom.

It was that one hour right before dawn when the city finally took a breath and sat still--blink and you’ll miss it--and as Steve stepped outside he took a deep breath, closed his eyes, and could almost imagine that it was the New York he had left in the last century. Lucky barked and Steve opened his eyes, smiled, and genuinely didn’t miss anything because somehow he’d gotten it all back and then some. He was still working on trying to believe that he deserved it.

There were days when he couldn’t stand the thought of having all this, of being okay--good, even. Nights when he couldn’t sleep because his dreams were ice and cold and metal and space. But then he’d roll over and have Bucky there, always on the side of the bed closest to the door, and he’d know that Tony was downstairs, hopefully not blowing anything up, that he’d be to bed soon too, and Steve knew he would be okay. He might not always fall back asleep, but he’d always be okay.

Lucky barked again and bounced off of Steve’s chest, completely ruining the moment, and Steve wondered if Clint had passed that particular skill on to his dog or if the dog had just come with it and the fact that he ended up with Clint was fate. Probably an even mix of the two, Steve thought as he double-wrapped the leash around his hand and set off at a steady jog.

--

The sun was up when Steve and Lucky got back home, but it was still early. He headed up to the kitchen, figuring he had time to feed the dog and get coffee started well before anyone else started to even think about rolling out of bed. Lucky skittered into the elevator and when the doors opened, he bounded out towards Tony, who was staring at the coffee maker like he’d been personally victimized by it.

“Hey, dog,” Tony said when Lucky bumped into the back of his knees.

“You just sounded remarkably like Clint,” Steve told him, coming up behind Tony and leaning down into the crook of his neck.

“Still not convinced that dog doesn’t have some kind of--” Tony swirled his hands around above his head, indicating some supernatural alien science thing that Steve only 20% agreed with. (And that number was only higher than 0% because a) he’d met Cosmo and b) it was Clint’s dog.)

Steve shoved his nose into the hair curling around Tony’s ear and sighed, spread his hand out flat on Tony’s stomach, and pulled him closer.

“I was gonna start coffee. Didn’t think you’d be up,” he said.

“I. Yes. You starting coffee is brilliant. Do that. Please,” Tony replied at the same time as he shifted his hips backwards and pressed into Steve. Steve wasn’t sure if he was referring to the coffee or to the climbing on top of each other, but he knew that in the grand scheme of things, coffee should probably come first.

Tony whined as Steve turned him towards the cupboard where they kept an extra bag of Lucky’s food and handed him the dog bowl. Lucky whined because he was clearly starving. Steve rolled his eyes at them both.

Coffee and toast successfully prepared, they sat quietly at the little breakfast table, legs in each others’ laps as the sun continued to rise. Lucky had passed out in the brightest sunbeam; his snoring was the loudest thing in the room. Tony flipped through something on a tablet and Steve tracked the sun as it slowly inched across the floor. When it got to the edge of the carpet that separated the kitchen from the den, he’d get up and wander back down to the bedroom after Bucky, but it was still early and Steve felt settled down to his bones. He wasn’t ready to move just yet.

He was on the verge of dozing off when the elevator doors dinged open. Bucky shuffled out, wiping his nose on the too-long sleeve of Steve’s sweatshirt, hood up and hair falling into his eyes. He had on a pair of Tony’s pajama pants and was wearing one sock. Lucky’s tail thumped three times against the hardwood and Bucky grunted a greeting in response. Steve started to stand but Bucky waved him off and made his way towards the coffee. He drank an entire cup and then poured another before joining Steve and Tony at the table.

Bucky propped both of his legs up in Tony’s lap and slouched down in his chair, pulling the steaming cup up to his mouth and tipping his head so the hoodie covered the rest of his face. Tony didn’t look up from his tablet but Steve felt him squeeze Bucky’s ankle before he spoke.

“If it’s a no-talking day you gotta let us know.”

“M’fine,” Bucky replied groggily. No-talking days happened every once in a while, but the deal was Bucky had to let them know. They’d gotten pretty good at the whole communicating-like-(broken-but-functioning)-adults thing over the last year, but Steve was still relieved to hear Bucky answer Tony with what was pretty much an actual word.

“‘kay. Need Steve to make another pot or 20 of coffee for you?”

Steve dug his heel into Tony’s thigh for that but Tony just smirked, eyeballed Lucky, and mouthed “Clint” at him. Steve rolled his eyes. Again.

“Goin’ back to bed innaminute,” Bucky mumbled into his mug before setting it down onto the table. Steve reach forward slowly and ran his fingers through Bucky’s hair, pushing the hoodie back in the process.

“Dammit, Buck,” Steve swore, fisting Bucky’s hair a little tighter. The tips of Bucky’s ears turned pink and Tony grabbed his chin and rotated his head so he could see what Steve was cussing about.

“Aw Metallica. Did you accidentally give yourself a black eye trying to get out of bed? Again? I promise you, just give me FOUR HOURS with it and--”

“You’re not gettin’ my goddamn arm, Iron Maiden. Fuck knows what you’d program it to do and I cause enough of a scene everywhere I go as it is,” Bucky replied, grinning as he shoved Tony’s hand away.

Steve and Lucky sighed together.