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Two birds, one (unused) bullet

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Steve’s voice from the other room cuts through the sound of water as Bucky stands under the showerhead.  

“What the hell?” 

The surprise of Steve’s exclamation is so sudden and loud that Bucky almost slips on the ceramic of the tub’s floor. He maintains his balance and grabs at the faucet, turns the water off as quickly as possible, his ears straining to hear any sounds.

“Easy there, Captain. We don’t want anyone to get hurt,” he hears an unfamiliar voice say. It’s cool. Calm. And despite the fact that the bathroom is still warm from the water, the hairs on Bucky’s arms and the back of his neck stand on end.

He doesn’t breathe, waiting for any sounds that might tell him what is going on in the other room. He doesn’t hear any movement, which is good, but his gut twists as when he can’t hear Steve reply.

As quietly as possible he reaches under the basin of the sink until his fingers touch the cool metal of his gun.

Silently, he steps out of the tub and onto the bathroom floor. He breathes in and then out. Calming himself. And then, between one breath and the next he reaches for the doorknob with a steady hand, turns and steps out into the room, his gun trained on whoever the hell just broke in.

Steve’s standing by the kitchen counter, unharmed. Facing him is an unfamiliar man with short hair, and next to him is Tony Stark.

All three of them look when Bucky enters the room. Steve’s eyes widen and his mouth opens as if to say something, but no words come out.  

“Captain?” The man says calmly, eyeing Bucky with an unruffled look and the hint of a smirk. “Why does Sergeant Barnes… Mister? Winter Soldier? Why does he have his gun trained on me?”

“And why is he naked?” Tony asks.

Bucky is tempted to shoot by Stark’s ear just to wipe the amused grin off his face.

“You’re the genius, Stark,” Bucky says, lowering his gun and doing nothing about his lack of clothing. “I’ll give you three guesses. The first two won’t even count.”

He turns to Steve. “You okay?”

“I am,” Steve looks at him, up and down, Bucky can see a pinkening at his ears and a smile quirk at the corner of his mouth. “Bucky, this is Phil Coulson.”

Bucky recognizes the name. “You look pretty alive for a dead guy.”

“Thanks, I do what I can. And I could say the same about you,” Coulson answers.

“Not that this little reunion of the back-from-the-dead Steve Rogers fan club isn’t heartwarming, but maybe Barnes would like to put on some pants and put away the firearms now that he knows no one is in immediate danger,” Stark suggests.

Bucky catches Steve’s eye and Steve nods.

“Let me help with that," Steve says, walking toward Bucky. Bucky can see the moment the suggestion in Steve's words sink in. Stark's surprised bark of laughter fills the room and Steve's ears blaze red. "I mean..." Steve sighs and gives Bucky a lopsided grin. "We'll be back in a minute."

Bucky smiles when he realizes Steve is acting as his shield as they walk toward the bedroom.

“So, going out on a limb here... Rogers and Barnes, huh?’” Tony says as Bucky closes the bedroom door.

“With a comment like that, I’m guessing you didn’t even bet in the office pool.”

 Bucky’s pretty sure he’s going to like this Coulson guy.