“They are the most messed up.”
“Really? Them?” Clint wiped at the dried, hopefully not blood, gunk on his face. In the mirror he looked less like his handsome self and more like he climbed out of a well.
He glanced over at his fellow avenger. Tony was already out of the suit, scrubbing at his own sweaty face over the locker room sink.
“Yes, them,” Tony slammed the faucet off, water dripping from his face onto his sweaty tank top. The safety suit he usually wore under the iron man suit was crumpled somewhere, useless after today’s adventure. “You know, I thought I was messed up. But them? Jeez, they can give me a run for my money.”
Clint shrugged, still trying in vain to scrape mud and plasma out of his hair. Shoot, he was gonna have to shower. Did this warrant going to the tower elevator up to his unit and stink up the place, or did he dare go into the communal showers where Barnes and Rogers were no doubt scrubbing down. He hadn’t walked in on much yet, but only time stood between him and his first accidental super-soldier-makeout-gropefest. They were such charming boys.
“If you’re looking to build a roster on who has the worst case of PTSD, I think the sign-up sheet would be the front door. You know, into the Avengers. ‘Cos Tony, buddy, we all got problems.”
Tony grunted and pushed his wet hair out of his face. He needed a shower too.
“Listen, Barton, I’m talking about the way those two deal with shit. It’s not natural.”
“Oh, and you’re a prime example of someone who ‘deals’?” Clint cocked a brow.
“Eh,” Tony shrugged. “It’s just the way they talk, you know? I thought old fogeys spoke all nice and polite. Where’s the Cooper and Gable? Or Chaplin?”
“You can’t blame Barnes. He’s saddled with the Captain America. Anyone looks mouthy next to him.,” Clint sighed. There was a clatter from the shower room around the corner.
“Naw,” Tony huffed, glancing over at the noise. “I mean, the way they talk to each other. It’s mindblowing. Who talks to their loved ones like that?”
Clint frowned, “You mean with abject, outspoken affection?”
Tony frowned to match, “No! The-the nasty language. Pepper would slice me fruit-ninja style if I ever spoke to her like that. You know what I mean!”
Clint just shook his head, face still showing his confusion. “I don’t, though.”
“Augh,” Tony threw his hands up and was clearly going to bluster on, when the two topics of conversation walked in.
Barnes barely nodded, walking by in nothing but a plain white towel around his hips, massive rippling physique on display. Rogers followed not far behind.
Clint shook his head as the two men went to grab their discarded gear and toss it into the laundry chute. “Goddamn,” he breathed softly. He turned to Tony. “You know, even if I worked out twenty hours a day for ten years, I would never look like that?”
Which was mostly true. Watching Barnes shove Rogers, the water droplets still clinging to their smooth skin, Clint pondered how the two men would look if they actually tried as hard as he himself did at keeping fit.
Steve bent over, towel snug around his slim hips. “It’s a travesty, is what it is,” Stark made a face. But he wasn’t looking away either.
“Ugh,” Bucky grumbled from beneath the covers. Steve smiled down at the mound he was clearly hiding under.
“Come on, Buck, breakfast,” Steve said, poking at what looked to be a hip. Bucky just grunted.
Steve smiled wide and clambered over Bucky, flopping down beside him.
After a moment, the Bucky-lump shuffled enough to give space for Bucky’s head to pop free.
“You are Satan incarnate,” Bucky said.
“Re-incarnate, perhaps,” Steve chuckled. He brushed Bucky’s hair off his forehead. “Gotta have a full belly if we’re heading out.”
“Bleh,” Bucky pushed the covers down over his bare shoulders and down to his hips, but he stayed close, clearly liking Steve’s hand in his hair.
“We don’t have long; plane leaves in an hour or so,” Steve murmured.
“Fuck that,” Bucky grumbled into his pillow, his eyes dropping closed.
Steve just smiled, fondness welling up inside his stomach.
“What can I do to get you out of bed?” he said gently, running his palm over Bucky’s cheek.
“You can close the curtains and go away.”
Steve snorted, used to this. He gently pulled at Bucky’s hand. He kissed the knuckles, torn, scabbed and red from their last mission. Bucky’s eyes fluttered open again.
“Stop it,” he growled.
“You sure?” Steve grinned against Bucky’s fingers.
“Go away,” Bucky answered.
Steve had to work dirty. So he sighed and rolled away. “Fine, Buck. I’ll tell the others you ain’t feeling so good.”
He knew he had Bucky’s attention when he sat up on the edge of the bed. He stood up, toeing at his pyjama pants, already shirtless from their night’s sleep. He hooked a thumb into the already dangerously low waistband, tugging. He was pretty sure he could hear Bucky’s breath catch.
“Steve,” came a soft grunt.
Steve paused, his pants only down halfway over one cheek. He twisted and looked over his shoulder. “Hmm?”
Bucky was making grabby-hand motions with one arm. “C’mere,” Bucky whined gently.
Steve tutted, “Nu-uh, I’ve got a briefing to get to. No time, Buck.”
Bucky scowled, a lump of rage in a heavy down comforter. “No, c’mere.”
“You are such a brat,” Steve huffed. “I have to shower. And I have to eat. You just sleep the day away while I do some real work.”
He knew the guileless guilt-trip wasn’t going to work, but he did distinctly hear a whine when he bent over to roll his pyjama bottoms to the floor. He stood up.
“You little shit,” Bucky growled. “You’re not playing fair.”
“I don’t know what you mean, Buck,” Steve said, walking over to his dresser and digging out socks and underwear. “I’m a professional, you know.”
“Just, Steve,” Bucky murmured.
Steve took pity and turned a bit. Bucky was beckoning, still on his belly, arm outstretched. So Steve walked back over, careful to stay out of arm’s reach.
“Just let me touch it,” Bucky huffed annoyed. “Give me some happiness, you sonuvabitch.”
“You talk to me like that and you get nothing,” Steve grinned. But he relented and leaned in, one knee on the bed, so he could nip at Bucky’s ear. He should have known that even in that split-second, Bucky Barnes would somehow manage to worm his hand up and over to grab at Steve’s ass.
“Ah-ah,” Steve backed off quickly, getting back to his feet.
“I’ll treat you real good, Rogers,” Bucky said, getting up to his elbows and scowling.
“I’m sure,” Steve laughed, backing away. “I definitely don’t have time to roll around in the bed with you, Barnes.” and Bucky pouted. “But the shower, on the other hand…”
And Bucky was up and dragging him into their shared bathroom in a flash.
“Jesus, what happened? I thought it was a milk run?” Clint said, hopping off the kitchen counter where he’d been sitting, chewing on some cheez-its. He dusted his hands against his pants.
Wilson was out of his uniform but looked like he’d had a run-in with a lawnmower, or a ninja.
“Just–“ Sam said, hands up. He pulled out a barstool and slid onto it, groaning. “Oh, my back.”
“Why didn’t you call in backup?” Clint asked, as Barnes entered the room. “Oh Christ, Cap’s gonna bust a nut.”
Barnes just grunted, yanking at his, what looked to be bloodied, fingerless gloves.
“I’m gonna what?” Steve’s voice rang out. The blonde himself appeared, having clearly just been at the gym, attacking the poor, defenceless workout machinery. His black Under Armor tank top was so snug, Clint wondered how much chafing the guy endured.
Maybe he had super nipples? Like, they didn’t chafe? Man, to be a superhuman.
Steve rounded the kitchen island, and opened the fridge to pull out the giant orange juice they kept on hand, just for him and his penchant for bitter juice.
When he turned, Steve got a good view of his two friends, and he almost dropped the bottle. Well, he did drop it, but Clint was fast and he snagged the drink before it plastered them with pulp.
“Bucky! Sam! You’re hurt!”
And they were, too. Wilson had an array of scratches and gashes along his face and chest, cutting through his t-shirt. The grey material was dark with blood. That means the cuts got through his Falcon uniform, which was something else. “Yeah, well, switchblade dynamite over here had to offer up weapons, didn’t he?”
Barnes glared at Sam, beside him.
“What?” Steve said, leaning against the counter, clearly fighting every urge in his body to envelop his friends in a warm, healing American hug.
“Nothing,” Barnes grunted, settling into his own barstool. He blinked at Rogers.
Barnes was sporting one hell of a shiner, the skin beneath his left eye blossoming into a really brilliant shade of aubergine. He also had blood on his chin from what was probably a split lip.
“What happened?” Steve asked gently, eyes flicking between his two teammates.
“Yeah,” Clint added, leaning on the counter. “Pretty sure you were just supposed to be scouting some funny activity in Harlem. Routine stuff.”
That had been half a day ago. The sun was long gone sunset.
Clint just assumed Wilson and Barnes had gone to get hammered, which was one his personal favorite things to do after a lame mission.
“We, uh,” Barnes said gruffly, eyeing Wilson. “We met the devil?”
The awkward silence was pretty extra super awkward, if Clint was being honest. Was this going to turn into the story of how Barnes and Wilson saw the light of the Lord and were gonna start going to church every Sunday? Evangelical superheroes? Was that niche filled yet?
Steve blinked. “Sorry, what?”
“Of Hell’s Kitchen?” Barnes amended. He looked a little perplexed, but also kind of annoyed.
“Oh, shit,” Clint said, brows rising into his hairline. “No way. So the guy’s real, huh? What’s he like?”
“Stabby,” Sam said, wincing as he rolled his shoulders. “And fast. Man, we didn’t even hear him coming.”
“Wait, wait, this is the same devil guy that’s been on the news? The red leather vigilante?”
Barnes and Wilson both gave Steve the look.
Cap always seemed to forget that he prances around in a star-spangled red and blue costume and brings his own brand of justice to the wild, wicked streets of New York.
“Just,” Steve grunted, blinking. “Go on.”
Barnes shrugged. “Dunno, like Wilson said, the guy came outta nowhere. Don’t really know why he attacked. We were just kicking some low-level gangters’ asses. As we do.”
“Well, if you didn’t look so much like a damn thug, maybe he wouldn’t have assumed we were with them, or even worse gangsters,” Wilson said petulantly.
“Says the idiot with the passion to become a bird,” Barnes sniped back. “Walkin’ around with your stupid wings on. Man, you make me look bad.”
“He probably thought you were the new mob in town,” Wilson added, “the way you were busting chops. Man, I told you to calm it.” Clint could imagine what the scene looked like. Barnes wasn’t one for gentle chit-chats and talk about reconciling one’s murderous urges with their inner calm.
Barnes just glared at Wilson, then turned to look at Rogers. “Whatever. I hate you.”
“Hold on, wait,” Steve put a hand up. “This red devil, he just, got the drop on you?”
Both Wilson and Barnes glared.
“He did, didn’t he?” Steve said, possibly amused. “Well, I’m gonna guess you all hashed it out?”
“Thing is,” Sam cut in. “How does he not recognize us? We’re Avengers. I mean, we chased those dumb idiots straight out of Harlem. We didn’t hurt nobody, didn’t crash any cars, nothing. We were doing our jobs and this silent death just comes outta nowhere, fists pop-n-lockin’ like it was his day job.”
Barnes was for real pouting. Clint leaned over and said, “You will always be my favorite silent death.”
That seemed to appease the Winter Soldier a bit.
“He kicked me in the face,” Barnes said, annoyed more than anything. “Came swinging down from a damn fire escape, like a scene from, what’s that show? Rent?”
“I love Rent!” Clint crowed. “Sorry. Go on.”
Steve chewed his lip. “Okay, but he knows now? I mean, he knows you weren’t the bad guys?”
“Hell if I know,” Sam said, sitting back. The bruises he’d garnered were only just starting to show. “He just gave one of your sorta ‘if I ever see your faces’ bla-bla speeches and told us to get lost.”
Steve and Clint looked at one another.
“And you …left?” Clint said slowly.
“All righty then,” Clint said, clapping his palms together. “Now we know that section of the city’s covered, huh? Less work for us.”
Barnes and Wilson just grumbled some more.
Steve gently ran a finger over Bucky’s bruised face. “He really got you, huh?”
Bucky was sitting on the counter in their bathroom while Steve tended to his bumps and scrapes. He just shrugged.
“And you let him go?” Steve said, looking Bucky in the eye.
Bucky shrugged again, “Guy was doing the right thing. I guess. Not gonna break his neck or anything.”
Steve looked over Bucky’s scabbing bottom lip. “You sure about that?”
Bucky blinked and looked at him. “He really did come out of nowhere.”
Steve smiled, “So you said.”
“It was kind of … scary, actually. I mean, just surprising.”
“Were you breaking faces at the time?”
Bucky snorted. “Yeah.” He held up his now-clean hands. His knuckles were black and blue. But he paused his movements and looked at Steve.
“Wilson didn’t mention it, uh, maybe he didn’t notice.”
“Notice what?” Steve said, taking those bruised hands and pressing them to his neck. Bucky gently rubbed his thumbs over Steve’s skin.
“Guy was silent, right? And yeah, he was quick. Got my knife. Slashed Wilson pretty bad.”
“But that wasn’t the thing,” Bucky frowned, head tilting as he recalled the event. “He was, well, I’m pretty sure his helmet, or cowl, or whatever–“
“Like mine?” Steve added.
“Sort of,” Bucky said, “‘cept, his eyes were covered. It was freaky as hell.”
“Covered? Like, with lenses?”
Bucky pushed his hands up, cupping Steve’s jaw and giving Steve goosebumps.
“Nah, like, covered. No way he could have seen a thing. I thought the horns were bad enough.”
They were silent for a while, as Steve took that in.
Steve kissed Bucky’s thumb as it moved over his lips. “Life lesson: Stay outta Hell’s Kitchen?”
“Yup,” Bucky popped the p, as he exhaled.
“You’re serious,” Tony blathered, waving his hand around. Natasha thought it was cute how he liked to do little handyman jobs around the tower, like the genius inventor still got pleasure out of helping her put up an Ikea picture ledge. “You’ve never heard the way they talk to each other?”
Natasha stood close, screws and miscellaneous drywall bits in her hands. Tony grabbed for a new one, tapping it to his drill.
“I don’t know what you want me to say, Stark. They’re kinda cute.”
“No!” Tony launched into some kind of tirade, which was lost against the noise from the drill. “–call that cute!” the drill eased off. Tony looked at her. “It’s weird.”
“What is?” Natasha asked simply.
“The –the language! The insults! The name-calling! I mean, I didn’t know Cap had it in him, honestly.”
Natasha tilted her head. “You mean the cutesie nicknames?”
Tony paused. “They have cutesie nicknames for one another?”
Natasha shrugged, “I don’t know. Was hoping that’s what you heard.”
Tony just sighed, grabbing another screw. “Get my hopes up like that, honestly. No, I’m talking about the yelling and the shouting, and the filthy, filthy words that I’ve heard between them. It’s not natural.”
Natasha just shook her head. “I’m thinking you need sleep, Stark.”
Tony sighed, “Why does everyone keep saying that?”
“Where’s Cap?” Tony asked at his Midsummer soiree, where he hosted the bigwigs in town, to ease favour in his company’s direction. Pepper was way better at this than him. She was across the great hall, clad in one of her amazing golden gowns that made Tony’s jaw hit the ground every time.
Barton, the vagabond, had actually cleaned up nicely. He was, unfortunately, already tipsy, if the severe slant his glass was dangling at was any indication.
“Um,” Barton pursed his lips. “On the veranda? Balcony? Outside. Saw him outside a while back.”
Romanov sidled up to them, absolutely striking in her black, velvety slip. “What’re we gossiping about? Is it the State’s Attorney? Because I’m fairly sure he’s assisting in smuggling illegal firearms into New York State with the Croatian mob, an under-appreciated gang, but a gang nonetheless.”
Tony blinked. “Conflict of interest, if you ask me.”
Romanov shrugged and took Barton’s drink from him, so she could sip at it. She tilted her head. “Mmm, good vodka.”
“Don’t act surprised,” Tony snarked. “I’m looking for Cap. He promised me a teary, love-filled, Stark Industries speech.”
Barton and Romanov both raised a brow. “He did not. He hates this stuff.”
“Well, Barnes hates it more, and he’s here. So Cap owes me a speech.”
Romanov glanced at Barton. “Outside, you said?”
“Yup,” Barton nodded slowly, smiling gently at her. Gosh, but the kid was a goner.
“Why do I have to do everything?” Tony griped, pushing away from the marble pillar Barton had been leaning against.
“Oh, we’ll come too,” Romanov said. “We could do with the fresh air.”
The three of them slid through the fancy crowd of senators, leaders, CEOs and their itinerant civilian followers.
Tony was good at ignoring the hellos and waves. Pepper was the polite one.
Once they walked out through the tall, open doors and onto the massive outdoor veranda, the cool air met them, chilling their exposed skin.
“The hell, man,” Tony said, looking around. “Why do I insist on using such extravagant venues. Can’t find a hulk in this place if I tried.”
Romanov snorted from somewhere behind him. The veranda wasn’t as busy as inside, but it was dark, lit by twinkling fairy lights and the view called out to all the romantics.
Pillars were adorned with vines and waiters drifted about, trays of expensive canapés and champagne at the ready.
Barton snagged a shrimp bao, munching down happily.
“Oh, spicy,” he murmured, Romanov tugging him along.
Tony kept walking, looking at groups, at couples, trying in vain to locate one, or both of the city’s annoying super soldiers.
“They’re not here,” Tony griped, coming to a stop. “did they fucking leave?”
“Rude,” Barton said.
“It’s a free world, Tony.”
“No, it isn’t,” Tony sighed.
“Mr Stark!” a voice cried out. “Hey, Mr Stark!”
“Oh Christ,” Tony winced.
“Oh, didn’t know spider-baby was invited,” Barton said, muffled by the remnants of his tiny meal.
“Exit,” Tony said, looking about, “Gotta find an exit.”
But Parker was a quick motherfucker.
“Hi, Mr Stark,” Parker appeared suddenly, navy tie askew, suit slightly too small for him. “Ma’am,” Parker nodded at Romanov. “Mister Hawkeye, Sir.”
“Hey, kid!” Barton slapped Parker on the back. “Long time.”
Parker grinned and Tony squeezed past, trying to escape.
“Oh, uh, Mr Stark, wait!” Parker babbled, clearly not getting the hint. “I, uh, was wondering. You know that grant you talked about? For College? Well, my Aunt was saying–“
“Kid, look,” Tony said, brushing past an elderly couple. Crap, crap. There were no secret stairs. Only grass and vines and darkness. To hell with fancy rich venues!
“Look, I hear ya, I do, talk to Pep, she’ll help you out–“
“No, but Mr Stark, if I could suggest someth–oh my God. Captain Rogers?”
Tony spun around. Where? He squinted, seeing only the massive stone balcony wall, the dark foliage and not much else.
Then, from the darkest part of the wall, where the building’s pillar met stone, Tony heard a curse.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Tony snapped. Because now that his eyes were adjusting (fucking spider-boy and his spider-eyeballs), Tony could just make out two bodies pressed up against the pillar.
“Are they making out?” Parker said, startling Tony. He twisted around.
“Cover your eyes, child,” Tony gasped, clasping at Parker’s face.
“Hey, stop that,” Parker whined. “I’m not a kid! I’ve seen Pretty Woman.”
“Tony,” came Rogers’ annoyed voice. Though to Tony, it was his normal voice.
And two super soldiers stepped out of the shadows, like some kind of Assassin’s Creed shit.
Barnes was scowling, tugging at his suit jacket. Rogers’ hair was a fucking mess and his bowtie was all junked up. Such a tragedy because Rogers in a bowtie was pretty goddamn adorable.
“Aw, hell,” Tony whined. “Were you two assholes taking part in some public indecency?” Tony’s smile could have lit the entire western hemisphere. “I’m so proud.”
“Shut up,” Rogers grumbled, fiddling with his tie. His face was definitely flushed.
Tony did his best to not remark on the state of their trousers. Barnes looked really frustrated. Murderous, even.
“Sergeant Barnes, Sir,” Parker saluted. He smiled weakly.
Barnes looked to the heavens and sighed dramatically, giving Captain Drama-queen a run for his money.
“What is it, Tony?” Rogers grumbled, stepping into the dim light. Oh, such pink cheeks.
“I dunno,” Tony opened his arms wide, grinning. “I forgot.” He turned to find Barton and Romanov right beside him. “Do you recall?”
Barton just gurgled a laugh out. “Somethin’ about … um. Hey, Cap. You feeling okay?”
“Yeah, you look a little …” Romanov smiled slowly. “Frazzled.”
Rogers huffed, fists at his sides. “Can’t a guy just–“ he huffed again, obviously trying to rationalize why he was macking on and probably heavily grinding on his boyfriend in the shadows of a high-end soiree populated by some of New York’s biggest bigwigs. “Shut up. Everyone. Just shut up.”
Oh but if that didn’t sound glorious coming out of that mouth.
“Yeah, baby,” Bucky kissed Steve, “come on.”
He ground down, slowly swirling his hips, his cock deep inside Steve, right where he liked it.
Steve shuddered, sweat covering his brow, his cheeks, his neck. He looked magnificent like this.
“You know, I hate being interrupted,” Bucky hummed, gently pressing kisses to Steve’s lips.
He pushed himself up, both hands braced against their bed. He looked down the expanse of Steve’s chest, down over the rippling muscle and twitching hips. God, this man was a masterpiece!
“S-Stupid Tony,” Steve whimpered, hips rolling to match Bucky.
“Oh,” Bucky shuddered, revelling in the feeling, the skin-to-skin contact. His dick pulsed heavily.
They’d been at it for a while now, Bucky taking his time, carefully pulling Steve apart. It had been so long since he’d had the luxury to take his time. Normally it was a quick blowjob in the shower, or a handjob under the sofa blankets. Never a love session in bed, with the curtains closed and the world shut out.
Steve was dribbling all over, his skin wet with it. Bucky loved seeing him like this.
“Unh,” Steve whined, pulling Bucky down again for some sloppy kisses. When he was this far gone, Steve was a messy kisser, all tongue and teeth and whimpers.
So Bucky got to work, pumping his hips a little faster, in and out, watching Steve come apart. He sped up, angling himself to hit Steve right there.
“Bucky,” Steve breathed, sweat glistening on his soft pale skin. “More. Come on.”
And what could Bucky do, but oblige such a request?
They both trembled when the sensations rose, when their slick skin slapped together, when Bucky grunted, feeling Steve grab at his ass, pulling him in tighter.
“Jesus Christ,” Bucky shuddered, voice a wreck.
Steve bore down, squeezing so tight and Bucky was lost, his hips juddering, then pushing Steve flat to the bed, emptying himself. He fell forward, all but crushing Steve.
“Oh,” Steve hummed, nosing at Bucky’s jaw. “Buck.”
“Wait,” Bucky gasped, still trying to run through the aftershocks of his extended orgasm. “Let me just–“
He grunted heavily when Steve abruptly flipped them, his head hitting the mattress with an oof!.
“Shit,” Bucky heaved, out of breath, as Steve looked down at him. Steve was still locked around him, and he settled his hips, feet curled around, heels nudging at Bucky’s ass.
Bucky almost went cross-eyed.
“You relax,” Steve huffed.
“But I gotta–“ Bucky tried to sit up.
Steve pushed him back, easily. “You just lie there. And watch.”
“Oh, baby, no,” Bucky whined as Steve got to work on his own dick. He squeezed and slipped his fingers around his cock, causing Bucky to almost have an aneurysm. “No, let me. Oh God, no, you’re killing me here.”
Steve smirked, the bastard. He knew the effect he had. He worked his dick, spreading slick and come all over, making Bucky watch as he brought himself off.
It was beautiful, sweet torture and Bucky fell for it.
Steve was close, too, so every time his fingers glanced across the head of his cock, he shuddered, hips twitching, squeezing Bucky still.
“Oh Jesus, “Bucky grunted as Steve’s hand sped up. It was like watching a painting come together, piece by piece. Wet skin, thick arms and legs and a sinfully pouty mouth, all for Bucky to take in.
Bucky winced when Steve jacked himself faster, crying out, his orgasm spurting, all over Bucky’s stomach. The view, the sensory overload had Bucky shivering with super soldier aftershocks, like a mini orgasm.
“Fuck me,” Steve breathed, gasping for air.
“Can’t a guy … get a break?” Bucky gasped as well.
Steve lolled his head forward and looked down at the mess he’d made. He smiled.
Bucky loved that smile.
“I fucking love the hell out of you, Barnes,” Steve murmured, curling forward to press his forehead to Bucky’s.
Bucky groped his ass.
“Damn right you do,” Bucky answered, nipping at Steve’s lips.
“Not that you deserve it,” Steve kissed back.
Bucky couldn’t argue with him there.
“You’re exaggerating, Stark,” Sam said, flicking through the three hundred available channels.
“I am not!” Tony cried. He jabbed a hand in Bucky’s direction. “You didn’t see it, you didn’t hear it!”
“So they had an argument, go figure,” Clint murmured, watching the TV flicker between channels. Oh! Saints versus Forty-niners! Here!”
“Man, are you kidding?” Sam griped. “I’m looking for the Ravens.”
“Listen. to. me,” Tony said. He glared around the semi-circle of sofas.
“We are,” Natasha grumbled. “Get to the point.”
“Those two,” and again, Tony pointed at Bucky, Steve in the kitchen, not here to see it. “Have the filthiest mouths of all of us.”
Clint sighed. “Tony, we don’t care.”
“Well you should! It’s like Jekyll and Hyde over here and you’re all just wilfully ignoring it for the peace of mind that these two old-boys are just cute Brooklynites with shitty histories.”
“You better not be bashing my National Hero, Stark,” Bucky murmured, still engrossed with his phone.
“You don’t fool me, Barnes,” Tony said. “You might dress like a normal guy on your days off, but I’ve heard it all. The stories my dad had? Nothing compares to what I’ve seen first-hand.”
Bucky glanced over his outfit of pyjama pants and grey tee. He shrugged.
“You’re going to give yourself stress acne,” Clint said.
“And that shit’s nasty,” Sam nodded.
“You’re all blind,” Tony stood up, shaking his head. “Sheeple.”
He clambered over the myriad of Barton and Romanov’s limbs so he could get to the kitchen.
Once there, he was met by Steve, who was diligently mixing up a pitcher of punch, per movie night tradition.
“Hi Tony,” Steve said with a small smile.
“Don’t talk to me,” Tony huffed, yanking the cupboard above the coffeemaker open. He dug around and found his secret stash.
“Marshmallows?” Steve cocked a brow.
Tony tore into them, stuffing a handful into his mouth, like an oversized chipmunk.
“Up yours, Rogers.”
Steve blinked, then shrugged. “Okay, then.”
“Hey, you fall in the drain or something?” Bucky said, appearing like the mist assassin he was.
“Oh no, I gotta get out of here,” Tony said.
Bucky held out his metal arm.
“Hey, calm down.”
“No, you assholes. I know you play nice and pretty all the time, but I’ve witnessed it. You guys are crude as hell, and that’s coming from me.”
Bucky smiled. “I don’t know what’s got you so riled. Natalia said you were ranting and raving over at her place.”
“Hey, yeah, what’s going on, Tony?” Steve shifted over so he could lean against the counter. He was also wearing inoffensive pyjamas and a stupid Adventure Time t-shirt.
“I don’t know what kind of ‘love’ this is with you two,” Tony started, “But I have never heard anyone call their loved ones the names you have for each other. It’s bizarre.”
Steve glanced at Bucky, who blinked back.
Then, the bastards smiled.
“You know what he’s on about?” Steve said to Bucky.
“Dunno, asshole, what do you think?”
“Well, I’m guessing it’s that whole thing we had, on that mission, where you were acting like the world’s finest sonuvabitch and disobeying orders.”
“I wasn’t disobeying anything,” Bucky sniped back, “You stupid sack of crap. You’re the one that pissed me off. Going in blind like that, like you’re a tank or some dumb shit.”
Tony gasped. “This! This! Why does no one else see it?”
“Because, Tony, there’s nothing to see.”
“Or hear,” Bucky added, moving up to Rogers so he could wrap an arm around that tiny waist.
“Your brand of affection is deeply troubling,” Tony grumped, stuffing another marshmallow into his mouth.
The two of them looked so sweet, so innocent, in their damn jammies. What a crock of shit.
Steve jumped a little, so Tony guessed Barnes had copped a feel.
“Well, when you grow up in the depression, it’s kinda hard to string together some sugar-coated sentiment,” Steve said.
“Or if you live out a life of unrelenting murder and lack of internal determination, flowery affection just don’t get the job done,” Bucky added, resting his head against Steve’s jaw.
“Oh, cry me a river,” Tony said, flouncing out of the room, bag of marshmallows jammed under his arm.
“Barton’s walking around in his underwear again,” Steve said, coming back out onto their balcony.
Bucky looked up from his lawn chair and frowned. “It’s three o’clock in the morning,” he said.
Steve shrugged and flopped down onto his own chair beside Bucky. He handed over what he’d gone down to the communal floor to get.
“Oh, yes, baby, come here,” Bucky hummed, the warm cup steaming as he grasped for it. “Tell me you stole the whole box?”
“No, just a couple bags,” Steve murmured, settling in. “I’ll go buy some tomorrow, though.” he glanced at the sky. “Today, I guess.”
Bucky snuffled, but was grateful for the peppermint tea he so craved.
“You think he’s sleepwalking?” Bucky said, staring out over the dark city.
Steve sighed, “No. He was totally awake. Says hi.”
“So he’s just walking around in his underwear in the Avengers kitchen for no reason?” Bucky asked.
“Guess so,” Steve shrugged.
They sat in silence, just looking at the blinking lights.
“Maybe it’s a new life choice, or whatever they call it?”
Steve looked over and in the dimness, Bucky could make out his trademark quirked brow of interest. The one he used whenever Parker was around, blabbering away about dumb shit.
“You know,” Bucky waved his metal hand, his tea safe in his flesh fingers. “Maybe he feels in control of his life when he chooses to not wear pants, or some shit.”
“Like how you choose to not abide by my no-headshots rule?”
Bucky shrugged, “I stand by my choice to blow the brains out of useless Hydra skulls.”
Steve sighed. He sighed a lot.
“If it is his new life choice, all the power to him, I guess,” Steve said softly, settling in beside his favorite person on earth.
Bucky just hummed and sipped his tea.
He couldn’t sleep, so tea it was. For whatever reason, rituals like bathing and enjoying warm drinks were supposed to help with chronic insomnia. And Steve was up anyway, nervous about the news conference in the morning. Bucky wasn’t shy about skipping those things. He hated that crap.
So here they were, again, awake on the balcony in the height of summer. In winter it was under blankets by the fire.
“So what you’re telling me,” Bucky murmured into the stillness, “ is that you wholeheartedly support Barton strutting around in his skivvies.”
“Sure,” Steve yawned. He stretched his arms up before flopping back down like an oversized doll.
Bucky turned and eyed Steve. “Well, I certainly think he’s on the right track.”
Steve cocked a brow at him. “Oh you do, do you?”
Bucky tried to hold back a smirk. “Yeah. In fact, I highly recommend you adopt his new mindset. What was it the Doc said? Break social rules if it helps you make healthy choices?”
“You highly recommend my ass,” Steve said, swiping at Bucky’s bent knee.
“I’m pretty sure that’s what I just said.”
“You don’t want me walking around in my underwear, Barnes.”
“You clearly don’t understand the intensity for which I wish you would, though,” Bucky said. “I would fight tooth and nail for your right to do so. God Bless America and all that.”
Steve chuckled and leaned in closer to press a kiss to Bucky’s shoulder.
“Home of the free, Steven,” Bucky chuckled.
Steve looked up and caught Bucky’s smirk. “So patriotic,” he rumbled in response.