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Sick Day

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Bucky is honest-to-God giggling, and Sam doesn't know what to do with that. He's also sitting cross-legged on Steve's big, squashy couch, a huge, plastic mixing-bowl nestled between his thighs. It's half full of what looks like every disgusting, neon-colored, all-sugar cereal out there, and Bucky's got a big spoonful of it halfway to his mouth, pink-tinged milk and soggy-looking shapes dripping off it. There's probably five boxes of different kinds of cereal scattered on the coffee table, and a container of almond milk.

Bucky's staring wide-eyed at the TV, and Sam glances up to see what has him so enthralled.

"Fucking Muppets? Are we serious, now?"

"The chickens," Bucky says, in a horribly congested voice. Grinning, still staring, he shoves the spoon into his mouth, chewing and giggling as the Swedish Chef and his chickens cavort across the screen.

"It's that cold medicine," Steve says, waving a hand at the scatter of prescription bottles and store-bought stuff on the side table. "It makes him kinda-"

"Loopy as fuck," Sam says, squinting down at a label. "Codeine, Jesus."

Bucky drops the spoon with a little splash and gropes sideways. He comes up with a handful of Kleenex and shoves them in his face right before he sneezes, five or six times in a row. Steve wordlessly holds out a little trash can and Bucky drops in the now-soggy tissues and goes fishing for his spoon.

"Steve, Steeeeve, are there marshmallows? I need marshmallows," Bucky says, and he turns the most pitiful look on Steve that Sam's ever seen. If anyone else over the age of five had tried that, Sam thinks, he'd have laughed himself sick. But Bucky....

"Sure, buddy," Steve says, all soft, sappy smile, and Sam rolls his eyes and comes around the side of the couch to sprawl down the acceptable five feet or so from Bucky, who still has some space issues. And touch issues. And issue issues. Which is why Sam is also, very deliberately, on Bucky's right, because currently only Steve is allowed on his empty left.

Bucky blinks over at him, spoon stirring around in the mixing bowl. "Saaaam," he says, and there's that look again, and Sam cannot believe it's making him feel all...fuzzy.

Bucky's still kinda thin, and his eyes are dark-circled from his latest bout with 'flu or whatever the hell he's picked up this time. It makes them really blue, or maybe it’s the red rims, his eyes obviously irritated. Or maybe the fact that only about half his hair is still in the little tail, and the other half is draggling around his cheeks and into his eyes and Sam, astonished at himself, has to resist the urge to smooth it back and tuck it behind Bucky's ear. He's also wearing what appears to be the most oversized hoodie in the history of ever, red fleece with little black Scottie dogs dotting it. The hoodie strings are plaid, dear God.

"Hey, Bucky," Sam says, and Bucky blinks again.

"Where did the chickens go?"

Sam points at the tv. "Right up there. Oh, look, now there's a frog."

Bucky looks obediently and then stares and then he's laughing, all snorty and half-choked and ridiculous, as Kermit flails at Fozzy Bear and Gonzo, and the weird, purple hippie chick puppet, whose eyes never open, says something weird and hippy-dippy.

"Steve! Steeeve! Look!"

"I see it," Steve says, appearing from the kitchen area with a bag of mini marshmallows dangling from his hand. He flops down on the couch a foot or two closer to Bucky (he's got distance privileges, too; Stark has to stay back about fifteen feet, and Natasha and Clint are lucky to get in the room,) and puts the bag between them. Bucky giggle-snorts and ladles another spoonful of disgusting cereal into his mouth, chewing with his mouth open (since he apparently can't currently breathe through his nose).

"Ma had chickens in the back yard," Bucky says, absently, and he looks down at the marshmallows, squinting suspiciously. Sam is staring at Steve over Bucky's head, and Steve is, predictably, looking a little misty-eyed.

"Yeah, and that rooster. Damn thing always flew at me," Steve says, and Bucky twists, spoon dropped again, to poke at the marshmallows warily, as if they'll attack.

"He was a mean one, yeah," Bucky says. He picks some marshmallows out of the bag and examines them up close, then drops them, one by one, with little splashes, into the bowl. Then he eats them.

Then he leans back on the couch, blinking slowly, that big, wide grin coming and going on his face as he watches the dancing muppets; just...running down. "I liked the chickens. They were reeeeal...soft," Bucky says slowly, and Steve reaches over and lifts the bowl out of his lap. Bucky barely reacts, just slides kind of sideways and down - Steve rescues the marshmallows, too - and curls himself back into the stacked pillows and couch cushions. He's got a fleece throw half over his legs, and he plucks at it clumsily until Steve reaches over and carefully tugs it into place, covering Bucky up to his chin.

"We'...get th'...eggs la...ter," Bucky mumbles, and then he's out, breathing in wheezy, rough breaths, two spots of hectic fever-color on his pale cheeks. Steve lightly pats his shoulder and then looks over at Sam, little rueful smile on his face.

"He remembers some crazy stuff, sometimes," Steve says, and then he sniffs and clears his throat and takes a big breath. "I was gonna make some dinner, before Bucky noticed the cereal. Wanna join me?"

"Sure," Sam says, and they head to the kitchen, loaded down with the bowl, and the marshmallows, and the cereal boxes, leaving Bucky with Rowlf the dog singing 'What a Wonderful World'.

Maybe it is, Sam thinks. Just maybe.