Things hadn’t started off easy. When he first reappeared in New York, no less in front of Avengers Tower, he’d half expected to be thrown to the ground and escorted inside in handcuffs. What greeted him instead was a very buff version of his childhood friend.
“Bucky.” There was a soft smile on Steve’s face as he held out his arms wide. Without thought Bucky met him in a hug, his eyes dry, but heart aching.
Meeting the other Avengers was a blur. He recognized Sam and Natasha from DC and Tony from the magazines and tabloids. Bruce was a kind soul and Thor was all smiles. Clint made a joke at his expense, but it was clearly done in a kidding manner.
It made Bucky wary. He wasn’t used to such easygoing people. Even rarer was the fact that they all seemed to just accept him without judgement. He knew that was partially due to the fact that they all had something dark in their past, but he knew that Natasha’s sins were a pittance compared to his own.
Things went so smoothly though. Sam and Steve convinced him to get into counseling. Tony helped repair and modify his arm so that it wasn’t constantly causing his body to ache. Bruce taught him how to cook despite Bucky being a horrible student. He and Clint had shooting matches to see who was more accurate with various weapons. Natasha spoke soothing Russian to him as they exchanged stories of both the good and the bad times.
There were the little things, like how he was always invited to the Avengers Movie Night. They threw him a party for his birthday. Tony bought him a motorcycle that matched Steve’s.
Then there were the science conventions. Bucky had expected Tony to take Bruce, but instead he always ended up asking Bucky. He thought no one knew of his love for all things technology except for Steve.
And when they went… it was so much better than the fair he attended with Steve and those two dames right before he was shipped off.
Tony seemed to enjoy explaining every little thing to him and never tired of Bucky’s questions. If anything that made Tony smile wider.
It sort of became their thing. Bucky would hang out in Tony’s lab and Tony would talk him through everything he did. It was fascinating and it wasn’t long before Bucky realized he wasn’t only coming there to see the future of technology unfold.
Tony was… so charismatic. He was quick with a joke and a roguish smile.
Bucky found himself enjoying the sound of Tony’s voice, especially when he was snarking at one of his teammates or Jarvis.
Tony seemed to notice him back too. Sometimes he’d give Bucky long looks that ended with a smile and the both of them blushing.
“I’ve never met a fella like him before,” Bucky said to Steve. “He’s like no one I’ve ever seen and I can’t pull my eyes away.”
“He seems pretty interested in you too, Buck. He hasn’t brought anyone home in months. That’s pretty big for Tony.” Steve was grinning like a mad man and Bucky threw a pillow at him just so he wouldn’t have to see his face.
“I’m just a tin soldier and he’s Tony Stark. He’s literally the US’ number one sought after bachelor.” Bucky sighed and his head fell forward slightly.
“So what? Tony doesn’t give those looks to anyone other than you.”
“You’ve seen them?” Bucky was both embarrassed and elated. Maybe he hadn’t been imagining things.
“Everyone’s seen them! Natasha and Clint put bets down on when one of you two lugs is going to finally ask the other one out.”
“Damn, am I really that big of an idiot?”
“Yeah, you are, but you’ll always be my best pal anyway.”
It took Bucky a week to work up the courage to finally approach Tony again. He didn’t know why he was so nervous. This wasn’t the first time he’d asked someone out on a date and he’d been in far more stressful situations both during the war and after.
Just when he was ready to do it he found the lab empty. Jarvis directed him upstairs to the communal floor.
Bucky almost chickened out again when the elevator doors opened. Music different than Tony’s usual was playing. It was somehow smoother and more relaxing. It put Bucky on edge since it wasn’t what he was expecting.
Tony was lounging in a chair with a glass of scotch. Natasha was sitting across from him reading a book.
“Tony, do you have a minute?” Bucky was rather proud of how steady his voice was.
“Sure, how about we go onto the balcony?” Tony was giving him another one of those charming smiles and Bucky’s heartrate picked up as he nodded. Tony placed his hand on Bucky’s lower back and that gave him a bit of courage. When they were alone Tony just grinned.
“I was wondering if you’d like to go on a date, maybe this Friday?” It hadn’t come out as smoothly as he’d hoped, but there it was.
“I was starting to think I was going to have to be the one who asked,” Tony joked, but Bucky still couldn’t relax. Tony hadn’t answered yet. “That means yes, by the way.” Bucky was startled when Tony suddenly leaned up and placed a quick kiss on his lips. “See ya then, soldier.”
Their first date was perfect, their second date was even better, and their third was downright magical.
Everyone was thrilled for them and Bucky found that he was starting to feel like his old self in the most peculiar ways. When he’d tried popcorn on the first Avengers Movie Night it tasted bland, but now when he watched movies with Tony and the team the popcorn was bursting with flavor and it was always fun to throw and catch in his mouth. He and Clint were still competing to see who could catch the most pieces of popcorn in a row.
Bucky started seeing the world around him in more than a tactical sense. He still knew every exit and weapon when he walked into a room, but now he could appreciate the smell of fresh food and the way parents doted on their children.
The world was almost more alive than before he entered the war.
Bucky became an Avenger and everything just felt a bit better in the world because he was part of a team again, a team with Tony on it.
And then there was the sex. Bucky never knew he was a bottom until Tony came along and showed him how talented his fingers could be. Every night Tony had Bucky panting and clutching onto the sheets for dear life.
They had exchanged those three words while on a short vacation in California.
Tony taught him all about the things he loved while Bucky realized all the things that made his life living for now that he wasn’t under the control of Hydra anymore, first and foremost Tony.
Sometimes things weren’t perfect, as it is with all relationships. Bucky knew it was stupid, but he hated that Tony was always so reckless, both in the lab and during combat. Tony griped at him for ignoring his other friends, which just made Bucky feel like he was too clingy.
Almost a year and half to the day of their first date Tony was taking them to one of the smaller restaurants they liked to frequent that was far outside of the city. Tony was doting on him and Bucky was sponging up all the affection he could. Tony was always tactile, but tonight he seemed doubly so. It just felt so good to be touched without hesitation or fear.
The restaurant was small and secluded, but well maintained. They got a nice table near the back. Tony was his usual flirty self with the waitress, not that Bucky minded. If anything it was just one of the reasons he loved him. They had enough trust that Bucky felt secure even when Tony was showing off that grin and using that smooth talk of his. Bucky knew that when the night ended it was always just going to be the two of them.
The food was delicious and when dessert came Tony was grinning more than usual. It just made Bucky happier in turn. And then Tony was on one knee and Bucky was tearing up as he said yes. The ring was simple and fit perfectly on his metal ring finger. Pictures were taken as they embraced.
Once they were in the parking lot he gave Steve a quick call with the news before giving Tony a blowjob, using every trick he’d picked up over the years. He loved the sound of Tony’s moans and the way he panted out Bucky’s name.
In the car he couldn’t stop grinning or playing with his new ring.
Tony was telling him all the ways they were going to celebrate at the tower when everything suddenly changed.
Their car was hit hard from the right side, sending them careening into a ditch. Bucky tried to protect Tony from the full impact, but there wasn’t much he could do. The car landed on its left side.
“Are you alright?” Bucky asked frantically as their airbags deflated. Tony let out a cough before responding.
“Just a bit jarred. Where the hell did that car even come from?”
“I don’t know, but we should probably check on the other driver.” Bucky brushed away the broken glass from his side window, doing his best not to let it rain down on Tony. He pulled himself out and over before helping Tony out. He scanned the area, but the other car was already gone. “Son of a bitch,” he whispered before giving Tony the once over. He had a few cuts and bruises, but was no worse for wear.
The sound of a gun going off was sharp and Bucky threw himself over Tony, trying to protect him as they toppled off the car, using it for protection.
“What the fuck?!” Tony grabbed his cell phone after activating his bracelets. Bucky was scanning the dark tree line even though he was fairly certain that the shot had come from the other direction.
“Were you shot?” Bucky asked, almost scared to look at him. There was a dark laughter before a sudden sharp pain ripped through his gut. He flinched and Tony was suddenly out of his arms. “Wh—what?” Bucky looked down at his stomach, not understanding that he’d just been stabbed. His confused eyes fluttered up to Tony who was grinning manically.
“James, my dearly beloved James.” There was something in Tony’s voice that made Bucky flinch. Tony pressed a button on his phone and six red dots of light appeared on Bucky in different places, all from sniper rifles.
“I… I don’t understand.” Bucky was gripping his wound.
“Honestly, I was really getting off on this whole game, just waiting for this.” Tony raised the bloody combat knife and sniffed the blade. Bucky’s eyes went wide, feeling even more confused despite his whole heart dropping. “Every time I fucked you I was just imagining this moment, that expression on you face. It’s actually better than I expected. Hate sex has always been one of my kinks.”
“Hate?” Bucky’s eyes were starting to tear up. This just didn’t make any sense.
“Don’t interrupt, you disgusting joke of a human.” Tony sneered. “I wanted to kill you before Cap found you, but when I tracked you down you were so broken and empty, not even worth my time.” Tony shook his head. “You assassinated my parents and Jarvis, but killing a shell wouldn’t be as satisfying.” Tony paused, a sick grin in place.
“This isn’t you, Tony.” Bucky’s voice was shaking.
“No,” Tony let out a little huff of a laugh, “this is me.” Tony held his arms out wide. Bucky almost let out a sigh of relief when he saw two Iron Man suits come in, that is until one slipped on shoes nearly identical to his own while the other put on combat boots. “Have to make it look like there was a scuffle.” Tony winked at him.
“Please, Tony, I love you. I’m sorry. I don’t even know I killed your parents or your butler.” Bucky reached out for him, trying to convey his love and regret.
“Yeah, I kind of figured that. I was considering having you find the file so you could stew in your guilt, but that would have just complicated things. It’s better this way, killing you after the happiest moment of your life.” Tony was thumbing at his phone. “Admittedly, Stark Industries’ stock prices will probably drop a bit when they think I’m in mourning, but that will just give me an excuse to play more in my lab.” Tony shrugged, still smiling. “Such is life, I suppose. Goodbye James.”
A shot cut through the night and Bucky let out his last breath of air, Tony’s name still on his lips.