Bucky was slouching down the corridor, not even really looking where he was going, functioning on complete autopilot with only one goal in mind. The kitchen, or to be more precise, the coffee machine in the kitchen, and whatever dared to place itself in his path would be dealt with with sleepy prejudice.
Totally worth it, Barton had said, you won't regret it, he had promised. Nightowl freak. Going clubbing, what a fucking idea when you had to be up at the fucking crack of dawn the next day for some shitty mission debrief.
Maybe the dancing, the flirting and the fun had been worth it, and Bucky really didn't regret a single second of the last night, but he really regretted going out of a warm bed to get ready for work. Work. Fucking work on a Sunday. Who did that? And more importantly, who dared to do that to him?
Steve, of course. Fucking Rogers.
Grumbling to himself he made his way further down the corridor that would lead him to the kitchen on the common floor, the one best stocked and most used. If he was lucky Steve was already up and could get a taste of what the rest of the day with him would feel like. When he turned the corner, he could hear several voices though, Steve among them.
"It's not breakfast," he was presently complaining and admonishing at the same time, the groan that followed that could easily be assigned to Stark, "Don't huff at me. It's sugar with sugar, colored in some atrocious things that people claim to be colors."
"Noo," a voice whined in the next moment and Bucky could almost picture Steve ripping the box of children's cereal out of Peter's hands. Poor kid.
"Your teeth will thank me." Steve declared and set something down on the table with a thump, Bucky continued to walk to towards the open kitchen door.
"Tony has the best dentists in the country!" Peter tried to defend himself just as Bucky reached the doorframe and leaned against it, observing for a moment. Peter was slouched over the table, staring at the healthy bowl of cereal with chopped fruit as if it as a deadly enemy. Across the table from him, Tony was fiddling with his tablet, watch and coffee at the same time while he read something in the New York Times.
Steve was still holding onto the box of Fruit Loops but had turned back to the pan on the stove, and Bucky nearly gagged upon the air of domesticity. It was too fucking early for this. All three Avengers were well put together, even Stark was looking impeccable in his neatly ironed shirt, despite the fact that Bucky couldn't remember when he had last seen the billionaire before noon on a Sunday.
"Just because we have the best dentists, doesn't mean we need to give them constant work." Steve spoke up again and Bucky saw how Peter stuck out his tongue at Steve's back before grabbing his spoon and poking around in the bowl.
"Yes, Pete, listen to your mother. Sugar is very bad for us." Tony said and looked briefly to send a smirk in Peter's direction, ducking in the next second to avoid the towel being thrown his way.
"Someone needs to look after the kids if Dad spends his time golfing with the president." Steve shot back and Bucky pressed a hand over his eyes. The movement alerted Peter to his presence while Tony took the towel and slapped at Steve's ass, brown eyes grinned at him.
"Hey, Uncle Bucky," the boy called out so happily and high-pitched that Bucky's non existent headache gave a cry, while Tony and Steve both turned around.
"I'm going back to bed." Bucky declared but Steve pointed to the chair next to Peter, eyes starting to narrow, while Peter grinned and Tony looked at him in confusion.
"Uncle Bucky?" Tony wanted to know and Peter shrugged, pulling his foot off the chair next to him when Bucky tugged at it so he could sit down.
"Well duh, if you're Dad, and Steve's Mum, he's uncle Bucky." Peter explained calmly and Bucky shoved the bowl of cereal closer to him.
"Man, you're grumpier than usual this morning, Robo-Cop, what crawled up your bed last night?" Tony asked and smirked at the glare Bucky send his way.
"I'm more concerned over the state the others will be in if he looks like this," Steve muttered under his breath, filling up the until then empty plate in front of Tony with scrambled eggs. "You know that Clint is full of stupid ideas, right? Thought you would have realized that by now."
Stealing Tony's coffee, Bucky leaned back in the chair and refused to give a comment, Steve sighed and turned off the stove, "Well then, Tony, Peter, eat up. Buck, feed yourself. I'm gonna wake up Sam and Rhodey so that we can get started." Steve left the kitchen with a way too sunny smile, his left hand still holding the cereal box, prompting Peter to whine again.
"So, I have two questions," Sam grunted when Bucky and him were trudging after Steve down Fifth Avenue, "One, why are we waltzing down Fifth Avenue on a freaking Sunday? And two, why so fucking early?" Sam was a good buddy, a real good pal, and right along with Clint he was definitely the one Bucky got along with the most among the others.
Steve chose to fully ignore the grumpy tone of a really hungover Sam and send both of them a blinding smile, he was in such good spirits that Bucky was honestly considering to punch him to get that sunshine smirk off his face. God, love. And there he had thought the bloody honeymoon phase between Steve and Tony in the first three fucking never ending months post war had been horrible, when in fact they had been a frigging piece of cake compared to this amount of cringe worthy domesticity.
Don't get him wrong, Steve being happy was all epic and wonderful, but he really needed more sleep to take this.
"We're going shopping." The blond super soldier puppy explained in that voice he usually reserved for Clint's kids. Ahead of them, Peter kept on bopping his head to the music from his earphones, already full of energy, stupid youth. He better be prepared for being off age and getting dragged off into the fucking nightlife right before fucking missions...wait a second....
"What did you just say?" Bucky raised his voice just loud enough to make sure Steve could hear the growl, "Shopping? I didn't mishear, right? Shopping? You told me to be ready for a mission debrief," he snarled and yeah, not proud of it, but fucking hell, he had had barely four hours of sleep. Steve turned all sheepish and innocently smiling, but he huffed under the combined glares of Sam and Bucky.
"It kinda is a mission, a private one." Steve explained and Bucky glanced at Sam to check if he was as irritated by it as he was himself, Sam didn't disappoint, mouth open, he was gaping at Steve with all the power his tired eyes could work up.
"Yes!" Peter called out, having stopped and turned around, "Tony ended the civil war, now Steve gets to end the civil union."
"The what?" Bucky wanted to know while Sam's mouth dropped open even more, Steve's cheeks flushed a little and Bucky raised an eyebrow.
"Are you breaking up with Tony?" It spluttered from Sam's lips after an awkward minute of silence and Bucky snapped his head around to stare at Sam, then at a suddenly befuddled looking Peter and an even more shocked looking Steve.
"You what?" He called out, pulling up all inner defense mechanism, bracing himself for the horrible possibility that Steve and Tony might start fighting again and then...
"Of course I'm not breaking up with Tony."
Oh thank god.
"Then what the bloody hell is Parker talking about?" Sam pressed on while Bucky focused more detailed on what the kid had said, "What is a civil union?"
Steve took a really deep breath and then closed his eyes for a moment, coming to stand next to him, Peter whipped back and forth on his feet, grinning from one side of his face to the other, finding this all extremely amusing.
Bucky was not surprised.
The sucker liked trouble and pranks so much, but had exactly the right two people wrapped around all of his spinning little fingers to get away with fucking everything. Stupid pouty face. Stupid big round doe eyes. Natasha had told him, Clint had been like this once, Bucky had asked her in return why exactly she was talking in past tense. Steve cleared his throat and started to smile, successfully interupting Bucky's inner monologue.
"I'm going to ask Tony to marry me."
"WHAT?" It exploded out of Sam's and Bucky's mouths at the same time, both of them taking a quick step forward to crowd right into Steve's personal bubble, "You're what?"
"We've talked about it a couple of weeks ago, agreed that maybe it's...an option after all, after everything that happened." Steve said so fucking calm that Bucky couldn't blame Sam for the bristle that he conjured up, growling and huffing before ripping the StarkPhone out of his pockets, "What are you doing?"
"Not that I don't feel all blessed by all this, but you're doing it all wrong. You're not supposed to bring your besties." Sam grumbled and typed with his nails scraping the phone, Steve was blinking at him and Peter was looking at Steve. "You're supposed to take your future husband's best buddy to get his opinion on what your hubby-to-be will like in a ring." Sam's phone started ringing in the next moment and he picked up, "Hey, Rhodes. Yes, I know, can you believe it..."
Sam started firing off questions so fast and confusing that Bucky tuned him out and instead started to hatch a plan that including the Starbucks he knew was right around the corner, get coffee, wake up, and then disappear. Good plan, solid plan, could work so effortlessly easy if...
"Hey, Buck, you okay?" Steve's voice cut through his head again and Bucky blinked to focus back on his best friend's face, only now seeing that Sam had wandered off a little, still talking a mile an hour with Rhodey. Peter had gone over to balancing on a bicycle rack.
"Course, I'm fine." He hurried to reply, just don't let him see that you kinda wanna hightail it out of here.
"You sure?" Steve pressed on and Bucky scoffed at him, "Okay, alright, just checking. Tony and you took some time to get along after all and..." Bucky sighed and chose to interrupt that bubbling mess of nerves, reaching up to place a steadying hand on Steve's shoulder.
"Steve, it's okay. He makes you happy, he is good for you. We're friends now, alright? Stark and you, you're fucking perfect for each other and you certainly deserve each other even more. You fucking fake-adopted a kid together, man, can't get more married than that."
Sam whooped and then fistpumped the air before coming over to them again, "Got everything I need, let's go. Who is the lucky jeweler who was begged by Captain America to open on a freaking Sunday morning?"
Steve started grinning again and pulled Peter down from the rack, pointing towards a building a couple of dozen feet down the block.
Bucky let the three of them lead the way and hung back a bit, smiling quietly to himself, he really was happy, because despite everything that had happened in the war, Steve and Tony had proven that their love for each other was strong enough to last. And it wasn't like he hadn't heard of that discussion over marriage before, two weeks ago to be more precise.
Two weeks ago when Tony had lured him down into his workshop to show him the ring options he had found.
In the following days, Bucky kept perfectly silent, took probably way too much pleasure in watching Steve and Tony trying to figure out what the best moment to propose could be. Sam, Rhodey and Clint had bets running on where, how, and when Steve would utter that four worded question.
Bucky personally suspected that Tony's patience would run out first.
Exactly a week after Steve had dragged Sam, Peter and him out onto Fifth Avenue, that suspicion turned out to be true. And they all watched, because of course no one ever got any freaking privacy in this tower.
Tony had asked Steve out on the rooftop as the sun slowly set for the night, and the rest of them were crowded around the TV in the living room, Natasha had produced popcorn from somewhere and Rhodey had already pulled out a bottle of champagner.
Despite offering them footage from the security cameras, Friday resolutely refused to add audio as well, and Bucky was relieved over that. Tony and Steve still deserved to have something just for them.
"So, you think Steve will use this chance?" Sam asked as he shifted to get more comfortable, squished between Natasha and Clint as he was. Bucky bit his lips to keep the smile from showing, having run into Tony earlier this evening and been needed for a pep talk, he knew exactly that it wasn't Steve who would drop to his knees.
Around him the discussions over Steve's plans went on.
Only to stop abruptly as everyone went silent, gaping at the TV screen, Clint had even dropped the bowl of popcorn when Tony went to his knees in front of a deeply surprised Steve.
It was sweet, even though they couldn't hear what was being said, it was clear that Steve was just as moved as Tony, while the dark haired man talked, the hand holding the ring was shaking slightly.
"Holy shit, guys, do you see the ring? How did Tony know not to take gold? Is that silver?" Clint babbled excitedly as everyone leaned closer to get a better look at the ring, Bucky though chose to keep his eyes flickering between Tony's and Steve's faces.
So it was him who could read the words off of Tony's lips. Who saw the yes falling from Steve's lips without any delay. Who saw how Tony scrambled back to his feet and slipped the ring on Steve's finger before pulling him down for a kiss.
"The ring is vibranium. No gems. I was the one who asked T'Challa for a favor. Tony finished creating it two and a half weeks ago. And if you've got any other questions, Friday has the asnwers, I'm going to bed." Bucky rattled down and then pushed himself to his feet as everyone whirled around to stare at him.
"You knew?" Sam and Rhodey screeched almost and Bucky rolled his eyes as he walked towards the door, pointing calmly at the ceiling when questions were called out for him.
Once he was in the safety and privacy of the elevator to go down to his apartment, he leaned against the wall and didn't keep the grin off of his face any longer, "Hey, Friday, can you congratulate them from me?"
"Certainly, Sergeant Barnes," Friday responded quickly and then stopped the elevator on the right floor.
Bucky was pulling out a fresh shirt to sleep in after taking a shower when his laptop rang with an incoming skype call. Taking the shirt over to the bed, he flopped down on his side and clicked accept.
"Wow, is this what greets me when I call without asking first? Jeez, I should do this more often," the heavily accented voice spoke up and Bucky smirked, making a show of throwing the shirt away over his shoulder. On the screen, brown eyes got rolled, "I assume, you've got time then?"
"Friday, activate privacy protocol for the apartment. Give an exception to Steve calling." Bucky said with his lips curling into a satisfied grin when no reply showed the immediate reaction to that command, "Now, I'm all alone and I've got all the time. Why are you still awake?"
Pulling up a pillow to get more comfortable, Bucky watched how T'Challa pushed a hand through his hair, he was in his quarters, sitting in his bed, so he could be sure they would be undisturbed now. Unless the Avengers alarm sounded or someone attacked Wakanda at least.
"Couldn't sleep. Advisers are throwing their sisters and daughters my way again, it's been a couple of...exhausting days," T'Challa answered quietly and Bucky's smile faded a little, "No, please, don't give me that face, James. I'm fine. Tell me how your day went? Why are you in bed alread?"
"Tony proposed, Steve said yes. I am hiding away to not be taken into cross fire by too noisy teammates." Bucky explained and slouched back, pulling up a blanket.
"Come here. Two birds, one stone. I get to shove you at all the women fluttering their eyelashes at me and you get to escape your team. You earned yourself a vacation." T'Challa smiled and leaned back against his own pillows.
"Watching you reign is not a vacation. And being an Avenger is not a simple day job I can take time off from." Bucky protested but smiled brighter when the other man raised a sharply formed eyebrow.
"No one said I would work while you're here. The Avengers can last some time without you, and if a dire situation arises, I might even be convinced to fly you there myself. And most importantly, Stark and Rogers owe me. Both. Big time. I am calling in my prize now. You, in Wakanda, at the palace, for at least two weeks."
In response, Bucky just smirked.
"You got yourself a deal."