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candy hearts and flowers can't compare to your love

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Tony Stark wakes up on Valentine’s Day in bed with his boyfriend’s boyfriend.

It’s criminally early.

They’d gone to bed as usual, Steve in between Tony and Bucky. But then Steve had been called in for an Avengers mission. He’s meant to be back soon, but in the meantime Bucky’s fast asleep, curled in on himself with the blanket kicked away.

Tony’s used to five hours of sleep, and when he gets forced into bed at midnight, he ends up awake too early. One would think that at least on the nights where Steve’s not in the Tower, he’d get away with having control of his own sleep schedule. Unfortunately, Steve’s also dating Bucky, and that means Bucky’s protective nature bleeds through his relationship with Steve and into his friendship with Tony.

Don’t get him wrong, Tony’s happy with the friendship. When one shares the love of their life, their home and even their bed with someone else, being friends with that someone else is a plus. The point is that it’s Valentine’s Day, and Tony had been looking forward to waking up in Steve’s arms. But instead of Steve being squished comfortably between the two of them, it's empty space that separates him from Bucky.

It’s not a bad view. Bucky hates the dark so their night light is on, and it casts pretty shadows over his sharp cheekbones and cleft chin. His hair’s escaping its low bun, and Tony suddenly wonders what Bucky must look like on his knees, Steve’s fingers disappearing into all of that hair.

So he’s a pervert, sue him.

“How long're ya planning to stare at me all creepy-like, Tony?” Bucky’s eyes are closed damn it, but his lips are forming a smirk.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Tony says, sitting up in bed.

“What time is it?”

“Five-ish.”

“Hell and damnation, Tony! Go back to sleep!” Bucky throws Steve’s pillow in his direction. It hits Tony square in the chest. Tony wraps his arms around it and brings it to his face, breathing in the familiar scent of Steve’s aftershave.

Right. Steve.

“Yeah. We have breakfast plans for Steve, plans that require time to execute.”

Bucky huffs, and then rolls until his head is beside Tony’s hip. With a squeak, Tony’s pulled back down and secured tightly in a bear hug. Bucky’s breath comes out in little puffs of warm air behind Tony’s ear. “Sleep now. Scheme later.”

-

In the end, it’s Steve who wakes them up with breakfast in bed, freshly showered and smelling like metal and musk. Bucky’s closer to the door, so Steve kisses him first. Tony watches in fascination as Steve licks into Bucky’s mouth, all gentle and comfortable. Tony wets his lips, and then he’s caught the Captain’s eye. Steve leans over and presses his lips to Tony’s. Steve tastes like sleep — like Bucky — and Tony savours the taste from his lips.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Steve tells them, sitting back across from them on the bed. “Now eat up before it gets cold.

Tony looks down at his tray. He has gluten-free waffles and scrambled eggs to Bucky’s sunny side up egg and buttermilk pancakes. Everything is made from the ingredients Tony and Bucky had ordered to make their romantic breakfast for Steve.

 “I told you to get up,” Tony tells Bucky, then turns to Steve. “We had a plan. There were meetings. There would have been omelettes.”

Steve loves omelettes.

Steve just smiles one of those fond smiles of his, the kind that starts on one half of his face and spreads to the other. The kind that leaves Tony feeling loved. “I’ll just have to try some of your breakfast, then.”

Tony holds out a fork full of maple syrup drenched waffle, and Steve leans in to take a bite. Bucky beats him to it, taking Tony’s wrist in his hand to direct the fork into his mouth. “Aww, Stevie you outdid yourself,” Bucky says saccharinely after he swallows.

Steve rolls his eyes. “You’re a jerk, at least Tony loves me.” He leans in and Tony follows instinctively to kiss him again, but Steve just licks at the corner of his mouth, sneaking a taste of maple syrup before sitting back. Bucky smirks, before he leans in lightning fast, tongue sneaking out to brush against Tony’s lip. “He missed a spot.”

When Tony, surprised as fuck, leans back to look at Steve, he finds his boyfriend’s pupils blown wide with lust, and Tony nopes right the fuck out.

See here’s the problem. Tony knows that Bucky cares about him. He remembers very clearly that day when Bucky had sneaked into the lab, scaring the crap out of Tony and nearly costing him a leg, just to tersely tell him he liked him. (Early days, Bucky’s tact had been a bit off back then). This isn’t Tony’s first polyamorous rodeo, after all. Tony had been the one who suggested it when Steve had come home, heart broken and in the hands of a ragged mess of a man. He could share Steve with Bucky; that was easy. Okay, maybe he’d only suggested it in the beginning to keep Steve from leaving him outright. But now he knows that Steve’s happy with both of them. Steve still seeks him out in the lab, still crawls into bed with the two of them, still wraps his arms around Tony, still kisses Tony like he’s underwater and Tony’s his last breath of air.

Tony’s happy. He loves Steve and Steve loves him. Steve also loves Bucky but that doesn’t mean he loves Tony any less. The question is whether Steve could share Tony with Bucky, or Bucky with Tony. Yet even if Steve did, Tony knows where Bucky’s heart lies. Yes, Tony’s caught him looking. Bucky obviously wants him, and Tony wants him right back, but Tony loves Bucky, knows he’ll never be satisfied with just sex when he wants Bucky to hold him the way Steve does. Bucky wants him, but he’s not in love with him, and Tony would rather be with Steve than lose both of them.

Because they are happy. Tony’s not pining or jealous of Steve. He’s lucky enough to be loved by Steve, he won’t fuck it up.

So instead of returning Bucky’s devious smile, Tony stuffs half a waffle into his mouth, chewing slowly. Once he’s calmed down enough, he swallows. When he goes in silently for more eggs, there’s a lone candy heart on the plate. ‘luv u’ it says, pink and adorable and gag-inducing. Suddenly touched by emotion, Tony pops it into his mouth before putting the tray down and reaching for Steve with both hands. Steve pulls him into his lap and kisses him, downright filthy, and Tony gives his heart back to Steve. He doesn’t have any candy hearts but that’s pretty close to a ‘luv u 2’ in his opinion.

Suddenly there’s a warm weight behind him and Steve kisses Bucky over Tony’s right shoulder, gasping. Bucky’s arm is thrown casually over Tony’s the metal hand traps Tony between the two as Bucky pulls Steve closer to him.  A few months ago, Tony would have wondered if this was a power play. Now he knows better. Bucky’s his friend, and he’s comfortable enough to touch Tony. It’s what makes it so much harder not to touch back.

When Bucky finally pulls back, Steve laughs and sticks his tongue out, showing off two candy hearts.

-

After breakfast, Tony takes Steve to the balcony with two cups of coffee. Bucky heads out of the apartment. They’d planned this all out, so that both of them could spend some quality time with Steve. Tony got to spend the morning with him, Bucky the afternoon, and they would have dinner together. Tony checks his phone to make sure Pepper’s done the thing, and then leads Steve back into the bedroom.

“Oh my God.”

“Vincent, actually. Van Gogh. You think you of all people would know that,” Tony comments.

“Is this…” Steve climbs into bed to better look at the painting hanging above the bed frame.

“It’s the first one. Don’t worry. I didn’t steal it from a museum.”

“There’s a van Gogh original in my bedroom.”

“Danny’s a friend of mine, and he wasn’t really up to parting with it, but I made him an offer he couldn’t refuse,” Tony says, climbing into bed and reaching for the edge of Steve’s shirt. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Tony’s doesn’t care much for art, but even he has to admit that the painting looks pretty fabulous in front of him as he fucks Steve into the bed frame.

-

Tony goes for a walk and there’s a street vendor selling roses in Central Park. He buys two red ones because Tony has zero self-control and he wants Bucky to have nice things too. He pays with a crisp hundred dollar bill, tells the young woman to keep the change and makes his way back to the tower. Steve and Bucky are sitting at the dining table, both looking flushed and happy and sated.

He hands them the roses, accepting Steve’s kiss and ignoring Bucky’s look of surprise. Their plan is simple: as none of them had wanted to go out for dinner, they’d decided to stick to the basics. They'll cook together, macaroni and cheese, with artichoke and spinach because Steve’s a mother hen and with too much cheese because Bucky’s secretly Italian.

They sit down at the dining table, and they may not be wearing nice clothes or eating at a five star restaurant, but this is perfect. Tony knows happiness and it’s the way Steve’s reaches for his chest when he laughs and how Bucky bites his lower lip.

Tony’s pushing away his plate when Bucky disappears into the kitchen, coming back a moment with strawberry cheesecake. “Steven, I believe your boyfriend is trying to make you fat,” Tony says jokingly.

“Oh no, Steve hates strawberries. This is your present,” Bucky says with a grin.

“You know your job is to get Steve presents right?” Tony asks, because deflection is the almost always the best course of action.

“Oh I got him a present too,” Bucky says, setting the cheesecake on the table before coming to sit on Tony’s lap.

“Wha-what would that be?” Tony stutters, looking at Steve, who’s watching them in awe and barely concealed desire.  

“You’re the genius,” Bucky whispers, close enough that his lips are brushing Tony’s jaw. “Figure it out.”

Tony looks at Steve first, because everything is for Steve, even this — whatever this is — but Steve just watches with a slack jaw, blush staining his cheeks. There’s a slight twitching of his fingers, the way Steve gets when he wants to throw Tony down and fuck him, but needs to control himself.  Steve wants this, badly.

Tony kisses Bucky.

For Steve, he can do this. Tony can give Steve the night he wants with both of them. It’ll be okay, he thinks, as Bucky kisses him, arms wrapping tightly around Tony. Steve’s groan is louder than Tony's harsh breathing, than the guttural sounds coming out of Bucky’s throat. When they finally pull away, Tony turns to Steve. “Are you planning on enjoying your present or what?”

Then Steve’s right there, pressing kisses down Bucky’s metal shoulder as Bucky places a chaste kiss on Tony’s eyebrow.

And that’s what destroys him, really.

A deep, bone-aching shiver runs through his body and not the good kind, and in that moment, Tony sees how this will end. They’ll wake up tomorrow morning and they’ll both be Steve’s, but now that Tony knows how it feels to have Bucky’s hand on him, he won’t be able to let go. Then the jealously will set in and the fights will begin. Steve will realize that being with Bucky is easier than being with both of them, and they’ll leave, and Tony’ll be alone again.

But if he says no now, they might just leave anyway.

Tony reaches forward and grabs Bucky by his collar, kissing him soundly. If he only has this one night, then he might as well make the best of it.

-

Between Bucky and Tony, the three of them end up in the bedroom within the minute, naked and hard and desperate. This is meant to be Steve’s present, but Bucky keeps kissing him like it means something and Tony kisses back hungrily, counting every kiss because he doesn’t know how many he’ll be granted. Steve presses right up against his back and groans appreciatively.

“Aww, Stevie do you like watching us?” Bucky drawls. Tony sucks a particularly sharp hickey into Bucky’s collarbone. It makes Steve’s fingers around his hips tighten.

“You know I do,” Steve rasps out.

So now it’s come to this: Tony riding Steve but only barely, because Steve’s deep and Tony likes it that way. Steve has one arm wrapped around Tony’s belly. The other reaches over to tangle in Bucky’s hair as Bucky looks up at them, his pink lips wrapped around the base of Tony’s cock. “I’ve dreamt of this,” Steve rasps, rolling his hips.

Tony’s finished. He tries to push Bucky away but Bucky holds on, taking it all as Tony’s comes down his throat. Steve begins to thrust harshly and quickly, barely pulling out before slamming back in and Tony’s boneless but he keeps himself steady for Steve, makes himself strong for Steve. Bucky climbs up, pressing a quick kiss to the corner of Tony’s eye, and Steve loses all rhythm, frantically fucking into Tony with a hoarse ‘I love you’ before emptying himself in hot spurts inside Tony.

Tony shuts his eyes. This is it. A lone tear escapes and travels down his cheek. Bucky’s suddenly up there, his hard cock leaving wet traces of pre-come on Tony’s belly even as he gently kisses the tear away from Tony’s cheek. He leaves a trail of wet kisses down Tony’s jaw line, up his earlobe, sucking on it gently before pulling away.

Instead Bucky cups his face with both hands, opening his mouth to ask what’s wrong, and Tony decides he’s not ready to lie to Bucky just yet. He reaches for Bucky and jerks him off, hard and rough-like until Bucky bites into Tony’s neck and cries out in relief. And oh he’s beautiful.

“Tony,” Bucky whispers the name again and again like a mantra, head resting on Tony’s chest, Steve’s arms wrapped around both of them. Tony, still hopped up on oxytocin, nearly misses the next sentence. “Tony, I love you.”

“Steve,” Tony automatically corrects.

Steve laughs at that. “No, he means you, baby.”

Tony gulps air. It’s the endorphins talking. They had sex and now Bucky’s just on a hormone kick from the orgasm. Except for the way he’s plastered to Tony’s chest, the way his fingers run circles on Tony’s skin. “No. You love Steve, and Steve loves you.”

“Yes and yes. And I love you,” Bucky says nonchalantly, like this isn’t front page news to Tony. “Sam said communication is important in relationships. So I’m communicating. I love you. I don't just want to have sex with you and Steve. I want to have what you and Steve have. What Steve and I have. With you.”

Tony closes his eyes and opens them again. Bucky’s missing social protocols. He doesn’t realize that you can’t just spring that on someone. But that’s what Tony loves about Bucky, that he’s honest. He doesn’t care if it’s socially acceptable or not, he goes with what he believes is right. Case in point their current polyamorous relationship. And apparently, telling someone he loves them right after they have sex.

“Okay,” Tony says.

But suddenly Bucky looks rather lost, like he’s made mistake. “Should I not have told you that? But you’re always there, and you hold my hand when I have nightmares, and—”

“I love you too,” Tony blurts out, because he does, and anyway Sam’s right about the whole communication thing, and Steve’s finally relaxing behind Tony. 

Bucky smiles and it’s gorgeous, and Steve’s kissing the back of his neck and Tony loves it, loves it. And he loves them. And he's never letting them go, either of them. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Bucky repeats. “And you’re welcome.”

“For what?” Tony and Steve ask in unison.

“For the best gift ever,” Bucky grins.

“Tony got me a van Gogh,” Steve shoots back. “

“You can’t fuck the van Gogh in the shower, Stevie.”

“If I say you win, will you fuck me in the shower?” Tony asks Bucky. The only answer he gets is Bucky lifting him off of the bed and carrying him into the bathroom bridal style. Steve trails after them, laughing. 

-

Tony’s so sore he stands for the entire board meeting on Monday. It doesn't matter. Bucky kisses him the moment he passes the threshold, and Steve smiles fondly at them from the living room.

It was worth it.