When Bucky pines, he pines hard.
One moment he's growling at Steve for dragging him out of bed, the next he's looking at Tony like he hung the moon, as the sleepy genius stumble into the kitchen.
Noticing Bucky's presence, Tony slumps against the wall and drawls out a flirty, "Hey there Bucky babe."
That one sentence shouldn't make Bucky blush and feel like the happiest guy in the world, but it does, and he can almost hear Steve laughing at how pathetically hung over he is, with Tony.
Tony peers up at Bucky with his lids half open and a lazy smile on his face. His hair flopping messily and wow - Bucky knows Tony always look good in tank tops and suits but the grey hoodie that Tony wore to sleep definitely takes the top of the list right now.
Fighting down the urge to squeal like an excited school girl, Bucky flashes his biggest smile and offers a cup of steaming, nasty, disgusting, bitter black coffee to Tony.
Tony's eyes light up and he blink owlishly as he surges forward to grab the cup.
The lazy moan and the bright smile that Bucky received in return is enough to make him cry in joy for a few days.
When Bucky pines, he pines really hard.
One moment he's the Winter Soldier - oooo scary, menacing, a mindless killer machine - then Tony is in the picture, squealing happily and latching onto Steve tightly.
"Yee ha!! Suck my dick, stupid hydra soldiers!"
Bucky murmurs a "I'm trying" incredulously while trying to fight down the jealousy boiling in him.
Before he can turn away from the scene to hide away in his room to mope about in sorrow, Tony jumps off Steve and starts running towards Bucky.
"Bucky-boo!" Then Bucky is tumbling down, with Tony on top of him, as he hits the floor with an 'oomph'.
"Bucky! Stupid hydra can suck that! Aren't you happy? This is the fourth time this month we kicked Hydra's ass! What were they thinking? We are The Avengers! The Avengers with capital letters T and A and bold and italicised and underlined with a trademark. And we have you! The Winter Soldier! You were so cool just now!"
Bucky doesn't know whether to smile at how adorable Tony is or cry at how torturous this is when Tony is right there where he wants him to be, but not really.
When Bucky pines, it's a maddening experience for his friends, especially his best friend.
"Was it just me or did Tony smile at all of you too?"
"Steve, Tony said to not touch the toaster, he said he will fix it. Stop fiddling around with it."
"Natashaaaaaa, that should be me holding his hand. That should be me . . . This so sad."
"Clint! How's the new arrows? Working great? Of course! Tony's a genius."
"Hey guys, Tony fell asleep in the workshop. Should I carry him up to bed? Would that be too intimate? Or should I stay and wait for him to wake up? Would that be weird? What should I do?"
"Bruce, what is Tony working on? Does he need any help carrying heavy stuff?"
"Steve, I repeat, Tony kissed me on my cheek and said 'Break a leg, Bucky-babe.' He kissed my cheek, he kissed me."
"Oh my god, he's so cute."
"Oh my god, he's so smart."
"Oh my god, he's so good-looking."
"Oh my god, he's so hot."
"Oh my god, he's such an angel."
"I think I love him."
When Bucky pines, he tortures himself.
He does so by following every blog and website that posts updates about Tony Stark.
Then he binge watches every interview that Tony has been in.
Then he would try to contain his anger when some of the interviewers get too invasive and make Tony feel uncomfortable.
After he resurface from the world that is just TonyTonyTony, he would reflect on his life.
"He's credited over two dozen assassinations in the last 50 years." They say.
"So he's a ghost story." They say.
And here he is, in his bedroom gushing at how beautiful Tony Stark is to JARVIS.
"His eyes are so pretty. I can get lost in them."
"Sure they are, Sergeant."
There was a pause, and Bucky swears there's a hint of amusement in JARVIS' voice when he replies, "Yes, Sergeant?"
"What is Tony doing right now?"
"Sir is currently working on the the upgrades for the quinjets, Sergeant."
Bucky sighs dreamily.
When Bucky pines, his brain loses the ability to think and decides to profess his undying love only when he finds himself waking up with a sleeping Tony in his arms.
Tony's curled up on his lap, hands wrapped around Bucky's waist, small puffs of breath tickling Bucky's neck.
The predicament hits too close to home and Bucky legitimately wants to remain in his position forever, to have Tony in his lap, safe and relaxed.
Tony mumbles something unintelligible and he freaking nuzzles the juncture between Bucky's shoulder and neck.
Apparently, that's the exact moment Bucky's brain chooses to realise the intensity of his feelings for the genius sleeping in his arms, so without preamble, he blurts out. Loud.
"Oh my god, Tony, I think I love you."
Tony jerks a little in his embrace, the arms wrapped around Bucky's waist snake up to wrap around Bucky's neck tightly.
Bucky stays trapped in the realisation, that he loves Tony - no no, he's in love with Tony.
"Oh my god, I love Tony." He gasps in disbelief.
Tony freezes, but Bucky continues.
"Oh my god, no. I don't love Tony."
Bucky misses the genius' flinch.
"Shit, I don't love him. I'm in love with him."
Tony stares up at Bucky with wide eyes.
"I'm in love with Tony Stark." The super soldier drawls out dreamily.
Tony huffs, "Yeah, and Tony Stark is right here, James Barnes."
And it's Bucky's turn to freeze.
"Oh shit, hi Tony. What are you doing in my arms - oh, I did not pull you to myself so that I can cuddle with you - shit, you heard what I said previously, didn't you, I said I'm in love with you - I hope you heard that because I don't think I have the courage to say that again, you would have - "
"Bucky, please shut the fuck up."
"Steve told me that you love me a few weeks ago."
Bucky curses. "That piece of patriotic shit, I'm gonna - "
"Natasha told me that you're in love with me."
"Stupid Spider with - "
"Bruce told me that you were jealous of him when I spend too much time sciencing with him."
"Goddamn Bruce, I had better - "
"Clint told me that you would legitimately shove your arm in a blender so that you can spend more time with me in the workshop."
"Well, I can't say that's not true - "
"But I didn't believe them."
Bucky stares at Tony.
"I thought my feelings were one-sided so I didn't believe them."
"Your feelings?" Bucky splutters.
Tony smiles shyly and glances up at Bucky through his lashes, Bucky finds himself giddy with hope and adoration.
"Until you, told me that you are in love with me too."
"Oh my god."
Bucky flips them over, so that he's hovering over Tony.
Their first kiss is sweet and innocent, and full of happiness.
The second is longer and sweeter and they are both grinning.
The third is no longer sweet, but full of longing and finality.
When Bucky pines, he pines hard, and he loves hard too.