“ - at’s stupid, you’re stupid,” Nat heard Bucky saying before he practically slammed his things down opposite her at the table.
She looked up from her book and raised an eyebrow. He was scowling at his own hands, so she leaned over and grabbed one of them. “Everything all right?” she asked quietly.
“Yeah, s’fine,” he said, not very convincingly. “Where’re the guys?”
Natasha narrowed her eyes at him but let it go. For now. “Sam booked the Quidditch pitch for extra practice this morning and Steve is still working through his Saturday morning detentions with Fury.”
Bucky frowned thinking. “Wait, still? Over that whole thing with Pierce? I didn’t think it was such a big deal.”
“That’s because you spent most of that ordeal in the hospital wing,” she said testily. “Trust me, from the outside, it was very much a ‘big deal’.”
“Hey,” Sam said breathlessly, sliding into place beside Bucky and pressing a quick kiss to the other boy’s cheek. “What’d I miss?” he asked, grabbing at several of the nearest plates in order to fill his own.
“Bucky downplaying the Pierce incident,” Nat said. “Again.”
“Whar? Hell no! What he said - what he did - was not okay!” Sam said, practically vibrating with righteous Gryffindor rage. He slung an arm around Bucky’s shoulders and yanked him closer, eating with one hand while he continued to mutter curses and imprecations against the Pierce line under his breath.
“Do you mind?” one of Nat’s housemates said huffily. “I am trying to study.”
“And we,” Nat said, turning and giving the girl her best glare (it was a good glare), “are trying to have a conversation. If your concentration is so damaged by simple speech, maybe that explains your Potions grade, hmm? Perhaps consider going elsewhere for your early morning study session, Raina.” She turned back to the boys, both watching her with matching fond expressions. “What?”
“Nothing,” Sam said.
“Just enjoying the rare sight of your Slytherin side,” Bucky teased.
“Did I hear someone singing my song?” Steve asked, slipping into place beside Nat easy as breathing. The two of them sort of melted together until it looked like there was a two-headed, four-armed, Ravenclaw/Slytherin tangle sitting there instead of two different people.
“Just Nat being subtly threatening,” Bucky said.
“Aw, really?” He kissed the corner of her mouth. “I love watching you do your thing,” he said, sounding sad to have missed it.
“Just wait a little,” she returned, sinking into his embrace with a soft sigh that belied the glare she was casting about the room. Several people seemed to suddenly find their pumpkin juice absolutely fascinating. “The idiots seem to be out in force today, and it’s not even eleven yet.”
Steve shrugged when he saw what she was doing, as ever unbothered by the staring. When she asked, he usually told her, “I don’t care what they think, I care what you think. If it bothers you, just say the word and I’ll be bothered too.”
Bucky was of a similar mind when others’ thoughts on their unusual relationship were brought up. “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind,” he’d said with a soft smile and the air of someone quoting something. “I know what’s really important,” he’d continued, flicking at her with the end of his Hufflepuff scarf.
Sam was the only other one to care, as she did, but - much like her - it bothered him only inasmuch as he wanted to be sure that neither of the other boys was ever bothered by unkind words or deeds. He had most of Gryffindor thoroughly charmed, and the majority of them thought him brave (if extremely foolhardy) for attempting to juggle three paramours from different houses. He’d tried to explain that there was no juggling if it was four people trying to make something together instead of one person trying to keep three things going but… he’d settle for wary admiration if he couldn’t have understanding.
Natasha slumped down in her seat a little and hooked one ankle around Bucky’s foot, the other around Sam’s. “Let’s go do something,” she said.
“Fly?” Sam suggested.
“Head down to Hogsmeade?” Bucky offered.
“We should go sit by the lake,” Steve said decisively. “It’s gonna be a beautiful day.”
She nodded, wanting nothing so much as to settle down with her boys far away from the eyes and ears of Hogwarts. “Yes, lets. After breakfast,” she added, pointedly nudging a plate in Steve’s direction.
“Oh, right,” he said sheepishly, and began to pile things on. Sam and Bucky quickly joined in, sneaking food onto Steve’s plate until he realized what was going on and a small fork fight began.
Life, as ever, went on.