It was the Science channel. Of course it was.
“You realize this is child’s play, right? I could have narrated this show from my crib.”
“Shut up. I’m watching it.”
“I guess it beats your sparkling conversational skills.”
“I’m gonna wow you with my linguistic skills later. TV now.”
“Fine.” Tony crosses his arms over his chest. He isn’t pouting, not exactly. It also doesn’t count as snuggling on the couch if he isn’t the one doing the touching. Right? Right. But why is he on the kid’s right side? He built that arm himself. The least Bucky can do is show him a little tech-love.
“You got coffee?” His blue eyes don’t leave the screen.
“Yeah, but it’s probably lukewarm by now. Someone wouldn’t let me leave the couch.”
“Quiet, or I’ll throw you over my shoulder again.”
“Threats of manhandling me will get you nowhere.” Actual manhandling, on the other hand...had gotten them pretty far.
“I know, Tony, I know. You’re more of an actions-speak-louder-than-words guy.” He turns then, and presses a kiss to Tony’s cheek. He hates when Bucky does that. It’s so sweet and affectionate. Makes it harder to be mad at him. “Though god knows you got a serious case of mouth-diarrhea for a guy who prefers actions.” He rises from the unnecessarily-expensive leather sofa to go into the kitchen and make Tony a fresh pot of coffee.
“Hey. It’s cold over here. No one gave you permission to leave, soldier.” Bucky just turns and gives him a look that makes Tony blush and keep quiet for a minute. He heats the lukewarm cup of coffee in the microwave and then comes back in time to see what the new Japanese robots are doing.
“Here.” Once Tony takes the mug, Bucky tugs him into his lap. Now he can feel both arms, the metal one, and the flesh and blood. He snuggles back, getting comfortable.
“In case you were wondering, I’m not some little doll you can just manipulate at will.”
“Uh-huh.” Bucky reaches for the popcorn bowl, paying him no mind, as usual.
“I’m only allowing this because I was honestly a little chilly.”
“You want your scarf?”
“Stop trying to spoil me. I’m not your little purse dog.”
“Fine.” Bucky shoves Tony off his lap, nearly causing him to spill his coffee.
“Okay, now I’m upset. Do you know how hard it is to get coffee stains out of suede?”
“Same way you get out protein stains?” Bucky is still watching TV, eating popcorn.
“Okay, that--” He huffs. “That was supposed to stay between us.”
Bucky makes a show of looking around the room. “It’s just us, Tony.”
“You typed it into yahoo answers !”
“Hey, they had the answer, didn’t they? And the sofa’s good as new now. C’mere and stop sulking.”
“Stop!” Tony holds up a hand until he has time to set the coffee mug down. “You may proceed.” He wishes he could say he dislikes getting tugged into Bucky’s lap as if he only weighs ten pounds. “Also, I can sulk if I want to,” he tells him, snuggling back.
“Fine. Sulk in my lap then.”
“Maybe I will!” His arms are crossed over his chest again.
“Fine.” Bucky never seems to take his threats very seriously.
“Fine.” That’s irritating.
“No I don’t want any of your horrible plain popcorn!” But he lets Bucky feed him some. “Okay, you added toppings this time.”
“It’s not bad.”
“Thanks. Are you gonna let me watch the show, or are you gonna keep talking till I shut you up?”
“Hmm.” Tony checks his watch. “It’s early.”
“I haven’t eaten yet.”
“You gotta eat, Tony.” Tony’s leaning toward him. Super-soldier or not, Bucky hates getting tickled by his beard when he’s not expecting it. “I’m not gonna let you do it until you eat,” he says, stubbornly
“LET me? News flash for you, James Buchanan Barnes--”
“That’s not my name.” His eyes are on Tony now, that scary shade of ice blue.
“Stop trying to change the subject.” Tony huffs. That look always gives him chills.
“Okay.” The popcorn bowl goes back on the table. And then he’s shifting, tipping Tony back off his lap, pushing him down on the sofa with just the warmth of his body, moving on top of him. “You were sayin?”
Tony sighs in mock-frustration. “Well now you’re going to have to kiss me.”
“Horrors.” Somehow, Bucky doesn’t seem bothered by the prospect, and he delivers more than one of his trademark, burning, intense kisses that have become Tony’s new addiction.
“Okay, this isn’t fair.” How is it possible for someone of his superior intellect to be manipulated so easily by a soft pair of lips?
“Stop doing that when I’m scolding to you. I’m upset. You’re supposed to be listening.” He’s really not that upset.
“I am listenin’.” Bucky goes back to kissing, and now they’re aimed at other sensitive areas of Tony’s anatomy.
“All right, I have trouble focusing when you do that.”
Bucky comes up for air, sweet blue eyes apologetic. “Okay, Tony. I’m sorry.”
“No you’re not. Angel-faced jerk.” It’s frightening how attached he’s become to this person in such a short amount of time.
“Conceited ass I could eat all night.” Bucky smirks.
“See, it always has to get graphic with you. That’s what I don’t understand.”
“You wanna keep things PG?” Bucky’s eyes sparkle with amusement.
“Does it look like My Little Pony lives here?”
“Well, the pink towels in the guest bath--”
“Shut up. Get back down here.” Tony has two fistfuls of Bucky’s shirt, and he jerks the youthful World War II veteran back onto his lips.
“Better?” Bucky asks, coming up for air.
“Maybe.” Bucky’s lips do love to wander. “Yeah.” In fact, yes in more ways than one! “You’re missing your show,” he observes, idly.
“I know.” His metal fingers are sliding up under Tony’s Black Sabbath t-shirt, giving him goosebumps. “Somebody was distracting me.”
“No idea who that could be.” His toes are curling with impatience. Flirting is fun, but Tony wants more, more, more.
“Nope. Coffee’s ready.” His tongue is so close to Tony’s left nipple.
“No, I don’t want coffee anymore.”
“Since when does Tiny Snark not want coffee?” Bucky looks up to smirk at him, infuriatingly.
“You know I despise that name, Bucky bear.” He pinches one stubbled cheek.
“No, you’re just steamed you didn’t think of it first.” How he loves to tease Tony.
“You’re wrong, I thought of it 35 years ago. I rejected it. I think of everything. I’m light years ahead of you, remember?”
“Your superior intellect can run circles around mine in its sleep. I remember.” As he speaks, Bucky’s titanium fingertips draw a circle around his areola, and Tony’s back arches.
“Good boy. Just to be clear.”
“You talk to me like a dog, I’mma treat you like one.”
That look in his eyes. Yes. It’s an ‘I’m about to mount you’ look. “Once again, your idle threats fail to intimidate me.”
“You sure?” Bucky pulls Tony’s leg up over his shoulder, starting to move into position.
“What the hell are you doin’ to Tony???”
Bucky springs off the couch like someone’s pulled a string attached to his back, raising both hands in surrender. “Oh look. Cap’s back. Did you know Cap was back? I certainly didn’t know Cap was back. Hey, Friday, did I not tell you to let me know when Cap was back?”
“Not this time.”
“Is this really something I have to program into my calendar every single time?”
He gives Steve a sardonic look. “It’s so hard to make good help these days.”
“Are...are you alright?” Steve crosses the room in three strides and kneels down in front of the sofa to check Tony for injuries.
“Never better.” Tony can play it cool. But the state of his clothing tells a different story. “Bucky bear was just getting me a fresh cup of coffee. Weren’t you, Angel-face?” Bucky doesn’t have to be told twice to head for the kitchen.
“I don’t understand.” Steve watches him go. “When did the two of you--??”
“Start sleeping together? That’s a great question; I’m glad you asked.” A crash from the kitchen shows another one of his good mugs has left this world. “You’re replacing that out of your allowance!” he calls out.
“Fine! Let me just ask my sugar daddy for more money!”
“No more money till you clean your room!”
“What about if I clean your kitchen?”
Steve steps in to interrupt this really disturbing cross-room flirting. “Okay, tell me what’s goin’ on. Now.” He does not look remotely amused. Tony sighs and sits up, reaches for his coffee. “I left him here with you so you could oversee his therapy. Not--not take advantage of him.”
Sardonic is not a strong enough word to describe the look in Tony’s brown eyes. “Jee, Cap, I didn’t know you thought so much of my seduction skills.”
“This isn’t funny, Tony. It’s hard enough for me--”
“Yeah, for me it was easy.” Tony shrugs. “Having you show up with your childhood sweetheart, like those two years of our lives were meaningless to you. From one day to the next, you quit me cold turkey, like I never--like we never existed. You did that!” He tries to keep his glare steady. Don’t cry, Tony. Don’t give him that. “You did that before you even found him. Just left me hanging, wondering what I’d done wrong--”
“Say you’re sorry, Steve.” The voice is soft, but it’s Bucky’s all right.
Steve turns around, feeling betrayed. “Buck, stay outta this.”
“Why? He’s right, ain’t he? I’m the reason you stopped--you stopped with him.” It’s hard for Bucky to even say the words, even though in many ways he’s moved past it now. Steve looks down at the floor, as good as confirmation for Bucky. Watching that stormy brow, he waits to see if the temper tantrum follows.
“Buck, I thought you were dead.” No, it’s the tears instead. He almost wishes Steve would have gotten angry. “I never would’ve...if I knew…”
Bucky sighs, walking over and taking Steve into his arms. “Come here, dummy.”
“Yeah, I think this is where I exit stage left.” Tony pushes up from the sofa and starts to walk away.
“Tony! No. We talked about this.” Bucky tries to hold him with his eyes, because both arms are holding Steve.
“I can’t watch this.” He keeps walking, muttering, “Honestly...my worst nightmare...you think I’m gonna stay--”
“Don’t leave, Tony.” Steve’s eyes are red and overflowing with shining man-tears. And who can resist a tearful Steve?
“All right, that’s just not fair.” Not Tony Stark.
“You know what we need?” Bucky asks.
“Group therapy?” Steve hazards.
“A stunning rosé followed by a bullet to the head?” The bleakness of Tony’s imagination scares Bucky sometimes.
“A nice, quiet night on the couch,” he tells them both. Bucky sees Tony about to protest. “We don’t even have to watch TV. Steve’s got his tablet. I got a couple library books. You have your...whatever tech has struck your fancy today. Come on.” He grabs them both by the hand and drags them bodily to the couch.
“Buck…” Steve’s only protesting a little. “Who sits where?”
Bucky flops down on the couch. “Well, I’ll be sittin right here. You guys choose. Or I choose for you.”
Without a word, Tony climbs in practically on top of Bucky. This is all very upsetting. He needs hugs. Bucky settles him in and then motions for Steve to join them, sitting on the side where Tony is. Steve hesitates for a moment, but sits down, looking stiff and uncomfortable.
Bucky nuzzles Tony’s hair, a comforting gesture, and grabs the remote. “Wait, I thought you said no TV,” Tony protests.
Bucky sighs. “I said we didn’t HAFTA watch TV.”
“Fine.” Tony knows it’s a better distraction from the unresolved tension in the room. “But no more basic science channel.”
“What, you want the Disney channel?” Bucky teases him.
“Yeah!” Finally Steve’s excited about something. Both Bucky and Tony look at him in disgust.
“No way.” Bucky’s tone brooks no argument.
“Do you know how many nights I had to sit here and watch that drivel that passes for television? My brain started to melt!”
“You hate TV anyway, Tony,” Steve points out.
“I hate TV. Guess what I think of the Disney channel.”
“All right, all right.” Steve gives up. “I get the message.”
“See what happens when you leave me? You don’t get control of the remote anymore.”
“Well, who has control of the remote now? Bucky?” His dander is up. Oh yes it is.
“Are you actually jealous?” A wide grin is spreading over Tony’s face.
“‘course he is,” Bucky answers for Steve. “You’re not allowed to move on. Once Steve’s, always Steve’s.”
“Is that what this is?” The anger in Steve’s voice is palpable. “Moving on? The two of you?” How dare they is implicit in his tone.
Bucky rolls his eyes. “God you’re stupid sometimes. Because you can only ever love one person. Like you and me and Peggy. Right? You stopped loving me when you met her.”
“I never did! Buck, you gotta believe me--” From indignant to pleading. This is already an emotional rollercoaster.
“I believe you, Stevie.” Bucky’s smile is sad, but he reaches up to brush his fingers through Steve’s hair. “I’m makin’ a point. Just because I was back from the dead doesn’t mean you stopped caring about Tony.” Steve’s looking at Tony now, looking guilty.
“I never meant to hurt you, Tony.”
“You know, Cap, you say that an awful lot. For someone who never means to.” But he’s living for this apology. Bucky can tell by the way Tony’s looking in the exact opposite direction of Steve.
“Well, what do we do now? The two of you are...what are you?” Steve is still hurt. What a way to find out the two men you love are...
Bucky shrugs. “Two guys who happen to love the hell out of you. Even when you’re bein’ a punk.”
“Translation from 40’s vernacular, read: asshole.”
Steve makes a face. Language . “And you’re not...the two of you are okay? With this?” Relationship polygons are difficult for him to wrap his pre-war sensibilities around.
Tony and Bucky exchange a look. “It’s hard to hate him. Look at that face.” Tony reaches up to smoosh Bucky’s face in one hand. “And...he’s ridiculously sweet. He looks after me. Makes sure I sleep and eat. He’s put up with all of my neuroses with hardly a protest. Oh. And he’s way better in bed than you are.”
“Tony!” Steve is both shocked and a bit insulted.
“All right, all right. Let’s not play the see how red Steve can turn game.” Bucky’s defending him. Sort of.
“Aw, I happen to like that game.” That’s an understatement. Tony loves that game.
“Your game is poking bears with sticks. Know when to quit, Tiny.” Part dad, part boyfriend. Tony still can’t believe his worst nightmare turned out to be...this.
“And you?” Steve’s looking at Bucky, broken-hearted. But he’s out of Bucky’s reach now. Tony did get him all worked up.
“I dunno, Stevie. He’s small. He’s got a smart mouth. Lives to bite off more than he can chew. Who does that remind you of?”
“I resent the fact you’re talking about me like I’m not here.” Tony huffs.
“Don’t make me shut you up again, Tony,” Bucky warns. Promises?
“Please?” Bucky pinches Tony’s cheek, but he’s waiting for Steve.
“You’re sayin’ he’s like me...before the serum?” It’s clearly a suggestion that weirds him out.
Bucky shrugs. “I’m saying he reminds me of you a little bit. Yeah. That little guy from Brooklyn who was too dumb to run away from a fight.”
“I wasn’t dumb.” Steve’s always wanted to refute that phrase.
“Nah. Just stubborn as hell.” Bucky’s smile is fond.
“So…” He watches Steve try to put it together. “You’re both...with me, and with each other?”
“That’s one way to put it,” Bucky nods.
“He lets me do this whenever I want.” Tony demonstrates by leaning on Bucky and putting his arms around him, snuggling into his chest. “Let me keep him, Cap. Please. He’s like a sexy teddy bear.”
That startles a laugh out of Steve. “I’ve never...I’ve never seen you do that with anyone else.”
“Well, I tried with Bruce once.”
“Oh my God, Tony! Why do you always have to tease--” It’s so easy to get a rise out of Cap, honestly.
“I call bullshit,” Bucky cuts in. No fair.
“You’re right. I didn’t. Even I’m not that much of a masochist,” Tony lies.
“That’s a lie.” Bucky calls him on it.
“You know, a guy can get really tired of you seeing through him, Barnes. Polite people can at least pretend.”
“Tell me about it,” Steve commiserates.
“Oh, you’re ganging up on me now, huh?” Steve smiles and Tony smiles wider, leaning back against Steve for the first time in...too long. Bucky can’t feel bad about that. He looks so happy.
“Well, if that’s how you’re gonna be, I say stop being so transparent and I’ll stop reading you,” he shoots back, barely keeping a straight face.
“What should we do to ‘im for that? I feel like that comment deserves something.” Steve is almost smirking.
“Oo, you guys like to punish each other? You never told me you were into that, Cap.” Tony seems a little too excited at the thought. Bucky laughs out loud, because the look on Steve’s face is...priceless.
“I didn’t mean like that,” Steve mumbles, so embarrassed, he’s practically inaudible.
“So what, then? You’re no fun.” Tony pouts a little. But he’s still sitting with--against Steve. So he’s actually beaming. He leans toward Bucky, whispering, “What should we do to you, Bucky bear?”
Bucky turns on the TV, finds a good non-fiction channel. “Oh, whatever you do,” he deadpans. “Please, please. Don’t sit on my face.” Tony swats him playfully.
“Buck!” Steve’s sense of decency is being sorely tested tonight.
“Aw, c’mon, Stevie, there’s nobody else here.”
“I mean, I’d offer to do it, but it seems to make him pretty happy,” Tony tells Steve.
“Maybe Stevie should do it, then.” Bucky gives Steve a sly look. Steve, who’s still blushing almost fuchsia.
“Buck…you know what that does to me.”
“I don’t,” Tony says. “Can I see?”
“Don’t get me wrong; I’m still jealous. But now that I’ve had both of you...I’m sort of curious about having both of you. At once.”
Bucky feels sorry for Steve, because he knows he’s literally dying of embarrassment. “Aww, Stevie. Does he always embarrass you like this?”
“Only when he’s lucky.” Tony looks far too pleased with himself.
“I dunno.” Steve covers his face. “I don’t feel like he had somethin’ to hold over me like this before.”
“Like having fucked your best pal?” What a leer. Tony’s enjoying the hell out of this.
“Tony, I swear to God--” That Irish temper can come out of nowhere. Bucky knows he’s dead-serious from the flash in his eyes.
“Whooooa, Steve. Calm down.” Bucky reaches across Tony to grip Steve’s shoulder. “He never did.”
Now Tony’s indignant. “I absolutely did, and I resent that.”
Bucky holds Steve’s eyes, shaking his head. “He never did.”
“Excuse me! Someone’s talking here. I don’t like being ignored!” Tony’s working himself up to a pretty good temper tantrum. Steve puts his arms around Tony and jerks him close from behind. “Okay, that’s a bit better. But don’t lie to him, Bucky bear.”
Bucky’s still shaking his head at Steve. “He fucked you?” Steve whimpers, looking to Tony, clinging to him for comfort, hating every second of this revelatory conversation.
“By gosh, he did. And it cleared my skin, put oil in my car, and paid my back taxes.” Bucky cracks up laughing.
“Buck…” Steve sounds almost weepy.
“Stevie.” He touches Steve’s cheek. “What did you think? We were just foolin around, like. Dick-wrestlin’?”
“I mean, it sounds like a sport I’d like to know more about,” Tony says.
“No.” Steve hangs his head.
“So is it better or worse than if he fucked me?” Bucky asks, because he knows Steve will just weasel out of the subject and never think about it again if they let him.
Steve comes up hissing, angry. “Both bad!”
“God, I love it when you get jealous.” It’s been so long, Bucky almost forgot what it was like.
“Me, too!” And it’s a happy wiggle he does in Steve’s arms, but Bucky knows Tony enough to know he’s almost as uncomfortable as Steve is in this conversation. “Okay, so I’m gonna make a mental leap here, and don’t tell me if I’m right, because I know I am.” Tony looks at Bucky. “He’s the pitcher with you. Usually.” He turns to glance back at Steve. “And that’s interesting, because I’m the pitcher with you , usually.”
“What?” Bucky actually looks surprised. “Steve!”
Steve just looks uncomfortable. “Well, I...he never minded, and I--”
“You’re a big ass-slut,” Bucky finishes for him. Steve actually giggles.
“Oh? I feel like there’s a story here.” And how is it possible to feel jealous, left out, curious, and turned on all at once?
“Holy shit, you shoulda seen the first time I fucked Steve.”
“Is it available on Netflix triple X?” Tony jokes.
“No!” Steve’s back to being embarrassed.
“This guy went crazy!” Bucky grins, remembering.
“Oh, I do know that,” Tony smirks, glancing up at Steve.
Bucky struggles with the dual emotions of jealousy and amusement. “Well, anyway, I’m...I’m glad you could do it for him?” It’s hard having to be the lone adult in the room.
“You’re not mad?” Steve looks up at Bucky like a kid in the principal’s office.
Bucky sighs. “Stevie, I was in a giant freezer. How’m I gonna get mad at you for moving on?”
“But I didn’t move on!” Steve is adamant.
“Thanks a lot.” Tony looks like he’s considering leaving again.
“Stevie, you’re hurting Tony’s feelings again.”
“Look, I fucking love you, okay?” The swearing and the gesturing with the hands is 100% Brooklyn. Captain America rarely gets so Brooklyn these days. That’s how Bucky knows he’s 100% serious.
“Well I love you, too!” he shouts back. It’s like an argument, but not.
“Why are you both yelling? You’re that old that you have trouble hearing each other across my poor neglected body?” Tony whines.
“I’ll neglect your body, you tiny tyrant.” There’s a lot of tongue in that kiss, and Steve just watches them, both stunned and vaguely aroused.
“Buck!” Don’t forget shocked. Bucky looks up at Steve with bruised lips.
“No, why did you stop? I didn’t authorize this.” From what Steve can tell, Tony seems to get revenge on Bucky by tweaking his nipples a great deal. That, or he’s trying to radio Mars. Who knows what that new metal arm can do, honestly?
“Fuuuuuuuuck--stop, you little shit!” And Steve can tell Bucky’s more annoyed than angry. But his cheeks are also flushed.
“I’m not little!” Tony protests from underneath Bucky’s bulk.
“Come on, Stevie.” Bucky’s looking up at him with bedroom eyes. “Don’t you just wanna fuck him sometimes?”
Steve’s not sure what the right answer is. So he just stares back. Bucky glances pointedly at the boner in Steve’s jeans. “Who do you think you’re foolin’?”
“Maybe it’s you I wanna fuck,” Steve growls.
“Do I get a say in this?” Tony’s finally worked his way out of Bucky’s manly bosom for air.
“Sure.” Bucky grins. “Which one of us do you want to fuck you?”
“Oooo!” Tony looks like a kid in a candy store. “Can I pick Cap?”
“Okay, here’s what’s gonna happen.” Steve Rogers has his command hat on, all of a sudden. Tony watches him with bright, hero-worshiping eyes. “I take Buck. He takes you. Then...I dunno, maybe we switch.”
“Maybe we fall asleep,” Bucky suggests, knowing that’s usually what happens to Tony right after.
“That, too.” Steve also knows this.
“Oh, come on. I’ve had both of you. Don’t act like you’re not raring to go after another three minutes.” They all seem to know a great deal about one another’s sex habits. Funnily enough.
“YOU fall asleep, though,” Bucky puts in, in that tone which means Tony should take it easy and maybe prolong his life by another five years in doing so.
“Sweetie-pie, I’m a 40-year-old man. They don’t make me like they used to. I’d explain the biology behind it, but I feel like you’ve already watched one of your Fischer Price documentaries about it.”
“Prolactin,” Bucky says.
“See?” Tony looks at Steve, ironically. “What’d I tell you?”
“I don’t see the problem.” Steve says, suddenly all business.
“Okay, but. Maybe another time you’ll do to me what you apparently feel it’s your territorial right to do to him?” Tony wheedles.
“We’ll see.” He’s playing so stern. Does anybody really fall for that? Bucky wonders.
He rolls his eyes. “He will.”
Steve stands up. “Come on.”
Tony reaches up. “Carry me.”
Bucky cracks up. Yet he objects to being treated like a purse-dog. “Wait, why’re you lookin’ at me?” he asks Steve. “He wants you, Stevie.”
“You’re the one who’s been screwin’ him behind my back. You carry him.” Oh, that was low. Apparently they’ve got a ways to go in this healing process.
“Hey!” And yet Tony bears the brunt of Steve’s jealousy.
“Come on, Tony.” He knows he’s second fiddle, but Bucky honestly enjoys spoiling the tiny egomaniac. “But to be fair, Steve, you cheated on me with Tony first.”
“You just said it was okay!” And now Steve looks upset again. Bucky laughs.
“Wow, he really is mean to you. I can see why you left him for me.” Tony’s feathers are ruffled, ruffled, ruffled. But Bucky doesn’t take it personally.
“I didn’t--” Steve suddenly figures out he’s being goaded into a certain reaction. “You’re both terrible people,” he grumps, storming out of the room toward Tony’s bedroom.
“I think he’s mad at us,” Tony stage-whispers to Bucky.
“I figure we both know what he needs to blow off steam.” Bucky’s happy to conspire with Tony toward Steve’s sexual gratification.
“I can think of a few things.” Bucky loves when he strokes his goatee.
“Holy cow, you learned same! I’m so proud of you, Poptart!”
“Yeah, I’ve been waiting for a place to work it in,” Bucky confesses.
Amicable conversation ceases as they approach the bedroom door, which is blocked by an angry-looking Steve. “Oo, scary,” Tony observes.
And Bucky laughs. He knows what that look on Steve’s face means. A night of rollicking good fun, if he’s any judge. And with Tony there to break the tension, he honestly can’t wait.