brandnewfashion

Clothes sharing is just like the ultimate fluffy trope. Like fuck yes, give me one person in my otp letting the other wear their letterman jacket around school like every cheesy high school romance in existence. Give me the smaller one walking around in the bigger one’s oversized, worn sweatshirt and socked feet, with their hair all messed up from sleeping. Give me my otp wearing those dumb but adorable coupley shirts that match each other. Just give it to me in every variation possible I love that shit it’s so cute I can’t handle it.

okay, yes, so many things just happened in this update. yes i’m still crying. but I just want to take a second to really look at this panel.

Mainly, I want to look at this line: “but you told me to call if I ever…needed you”

I’m constantly amazed by how much nuance and meaning that Ngozi can communicate through just one little sentence or phrase. Every word and every punctuation choice matters, especially when you’re only amounted 10 panels each update to develop a variety of relationships, emotions, and storylines. To me, in this line, the “…” makes all the difference. All this time, Bitty has been putting his own feelings and needs aside in order to be with Jack. Obviously this isn’t Jack’s fault, because we know he would never ask Bitty to compromise his own happiness. In fact, from this panel, we know that Jack, probably closer to the beginning of their relationship, specifically told Bitty at some point: “If you ever need me, don’t hesitate to call me, okay?”

But we know Bitty. He’s selfless and kind, and so often he puts others’ needs before his own. And Ngozi has said so before: Bitty has a tendency to avoid his problems. He compartmentalizes. He distracts himself. He doesn’t like to deal with his issues head on. Concerning his relationship with Jack, we’ve seen this multiple times already too—just two updates ago, we saw him somberly murmuring to himself “right, you have to think about your career,” before distracting himself by asking Jack what it was that Jack wanted to show him.

So what am I trying to say? I guess, linguistically, the “…” in “but you told me to call if I ever…needed you” is communicating all of this about Bitty’s personality. About his recent struggle with avoiding how upset he is about having to hide his relationship with Jack. I think the pause there is showing us how hard it is for Bitty to put himself first, for once. It’s Bitty swallowing the lump in his throat, swallowing against his impulse to just pretend that everything’s okay, and forcing those words out. Jack told Bitty to call him if he ever needed him, and genuinely meant that, but Bitty, because of his tendency to put others before himself, never took that statement to heart.

(And this brings me to the image of Jack’s phone, and how he has all those missed calls from Bitty. I think you can definitely interpret that as Bitty has called him multiple times because he really wants to talk to Jack, but I’m interpreting it as Bitty choosing to call Jack, then hanging up the phone quickly because he’s telling himself “it’s nothing, it’s nothing.” But it’s not nothing. And so he calls again. Hangs up again. Calls again…until finally he lets that dial tone ring for good without hanging up.)

((EDIT: and god, I’m just rereading the update again and Bitty’s selflessness just blows me away, even when he’s trying to communicate his own feelings he’s still putting Jack first—like when he says “No one’s ever fair to you” in regards to the media…….like probably a good portion of why Bitty’s upset is also because he’s frustrated he can’t speak up/protect Jack against all those negative comments, god he loves him so much)

Bottom line: it’s clear that Bitty can’t avoid the elephant in the room anymore. All that stress and worry and sorrow has finally built up to a point where he’s finally taking Jack’s words for what they were meant for. I can’t even imagine the amount of mental strength it took for Bitty to finally follow through and admit to himself “yes, I AM worth it,” and ask Jack, “Can we talk?”

I’m so proud of him.

imagine tiny little tony stark having a nightmare and climbing into bed with maria and her comforting him until he falls asleep again. but the next time howard is there and yells at him. maria, naturally, yells back and goes and gets in tony’s bed with him instead, but the next time tony has a nightmare he doesn’t go to their room because he doesn’t want them to fight again.

instead, he very shyly wakes jarvis and asks if he can stay there, and before jarvis can even answer, anna sits up and says of course he can and lifts him up into the bed herself to sing him back to sleep. jarvis falls in love with her all over again when she smiles at him over tony’s head.

9

make me choose: brandnewfashion asked MCU stevetony or & 616 stevetony

Jack’s halfway through a sentence when he realizes that Bitty’s fast asleep. 

His mouth snaps shut immediately, whatever he’d been in the middle of saying slipping from his mind. He falls silent, staring at the screen. 

Bitty is laying on his stomach, the side of his face pressed against his pillow, his pale, sleep-mussed hair tumbling over his forehead. He still has his rabbit tucked under his arm, and now that he’s quiet, Jack notices that he’s making adorable little snoring noises. 

Jack feels something bubbling warm and sweet in his chest, and a smile tugs at the corners of his mouth. He takes a moment just to stare at Bitty; the familiar slope of his shoulders, the “ZI” on the back of Bitty’s shirt, the way the blankets block the rest of his name out because they’re tugged up around Bitty. He takes a moment just to look, and marvel at the fact that he can. Jack gets to see Bitty soft in his sleep, his hair all ruffled and his face relaxed in his slumber. He gets to wake up next to Bitty and see him blink the sleep out of his eyes. 

When they’re together, he’ll be able to kiss Bitty good morning. He won’t care about morning breath, but Bitty might, and Jack might earn that face Bitty makes when he scrunches his nose up in that adorable way. 

It’s quiet moments like these when he realizes how much he loves Bitty, and it still surprises him that it’s not hard. It’s hard being away from him, it’s hard keeping it a secret, its hard being scared of not knowing what could happen for them in the future. 

But loving Bitty, right from the moment he realized he did, has always been easy. That part has never been hard, and he knows it never will be.

Jack lingers for a few moments more, soaking it all in, before he sighs a little and reaches out to brush his fingers across the screen, right where Bitty’s hair is falling across his forehead. 

“Bonne nuit, mon coeur,” he murmurs softly. 

Bitty doesn’t stir, and Jack closes his laptop, gets up to set it on his desk and turns off his light. 

When he gets back in bed and pulls the blanket up to his chin, his heart is full and he falls asleep knowing how it feels to be completely and utterly happy.

based on this amazing gem that ngozi blessed us with today:

When Bitty first calls Jack “sweetheart,” Jack freezes in place.

For a moment, Bitty thinks it’s just his Skype video acting up, but then his own words catch up to him, play back in his ears like a wave crashing back to shore. Jack’s still frozen on screen, his mouth slightly agape, his eyes widened. Even in low resolution, Jack’s eyes are still so, so blue.

“I—I mean…” Bitty huffs out a breath, wrings the corner of his bedsheet nervously. “Sorry, I didn’t mean—no, well I did, I just—” Bitty laughs, and even to his own ears it sounds forced and fake. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot like that. It’s just, southern habit, I guess, you know.”

He bites his tongue so he doesn’t accidentally say the rest. That calling him “sweetheart” felt so natural and right in his mouth. That he wants to call him other things, like “honey” and “baby” and “darling.” That it’s not just a southern habit, that Bitty wants to save these names for Jack and Jack only, that he wants Jack to know that he’s precious. That Bitty loves him.

Jack’s mouth moves. He says something, but Bitty’s ears are still hot and ringing and he misses it.

“What—what’s that?” Bitty asks, and presses down more firmly on his earbuds.

“I like it when you call me that,” Jack says, quietly, and the way he’s looking up through his lashes is soft and vulnerable and almost demure. “Sweetheart. I like that. A lot. It sounds—it sounds good, when you say it.”

“Oh,” Bitty says, and it’s not even intentional, it’s barely a breath. “You do?”

“I do,” Jack says, and oh, is he blushing?

Bitty suddenly desperately wants to be next to him, wants to be crushed in his embrace and feel how that blush tastes under his tongue.

“I miss you,” he says instead, because it’s true, he misses Jack fiercely, more than anything else in the world. “I miss you so much honey.”

Jack’s mouth parts again, his bottom lip pink and wet. He looks like a man who has seen something beautiful, like a man so very much in love.

“I miss you,” he says back, like it’s a reflex, then seems to collect himself. He chuckles softly. “I’m going to be down next week anyway, you know that.” He smiles again, a wide and shining thing, and Bitty feels so, so lucky.

“Oh, don’t I know it,” Bitty says, and props his chin on top of his folded arms. “I hope you’re ready for the Georgia heat, you poor ice creature. It was over 80 degrees today.”

Jack laughs, chirps, and the rest of their conversation is soft and easy, like it has been ever since graduation back in May. It isn’t long before Bitty looks down at his phone and sees that it’s 2 am.

“Don’t big hockey stars need their sleep?” he teases, and Jack grins at him.

“Don’t want to sleep, want to talk to you,” Jack says, and Bitty feels his heart glow.

“Go to bed. I’ll text you in the morning,” Bitty says. He pauses. “Goodnight, sweetheart.

“Goodnight,” Jack says. He looks radiant. Then, “Mon coeur.

Bitty doesn’t know what that means, but it warms him down to his bones all the same.

—————

A few days later, when Jack does come down to Madison for the 4th of July, Bitty meets him at the airport and stops just short of launching himself into Jack’s arms. Instead, he leans forward, pushes himself up on his tiptoes.

“Hi sweetheart,” he whispers, and Bitty is so close that he can see in full detail just how Jack reacts to the name: can see the way his mouth trembles, how his eyes shine, how the lines in his face become smiles.

“Hi there,” Jack says back, voice hoarse, almost shy, and he lets go of his duffel bag for just a moment to lace his fingers with Bitty’s, trapping warmth between their palms.

Bitty squeezes, smiles. Slowly, Jack lifts their entwined hands and gives Bitty’s a kiss, closes his eyes, and holds on for as long as he possibly can.

What do you think Bitty’s reaction is when he sees that Jack keeps all of his little notes?

Imagine him shuffling into the kitchen one morning, the first morning he’s ever slept in later than Jack. Normally Jack gets up before Bitty has even stirred, goes for a run, showers, and gets back in bed to cuddle Bitty awake. Bitty wakes up with soft kisses down his neck and his boyfriend whispering good morning into his skin and he can’t think of anything he would rather wake up to. 

But this time, they stay up late talking and… other things. Bitty knows Jack is especially tired from a long week, so he convinces Jack to turn off his alarm for the next morning and sleep in a bit; he deserves a day off. Surprisingly, Jack reluctantly agrees.

So Bitty wakes to the sound of Jack’s soft breathing beside him, rolls over to see Jack’s face all relaxed with sleep, his lashes dark against his skin. Bitty pauses to appreciate how lucky he is to be waking up to this man, and carefully leans over and kisses Jack’s forehead before slipping out of bed. He grabs one of Jack’s shirts on his way out; it’s so soft and so big on him, and it smells like Jack. Bitty loves it. 

So he’s trying to be as quiet as possible as he walks out into the kitchen with the intention of making breakfast for Jack. Normally they do it together, which is always fun, but Bitty really wants to take advantage of this one opportunity to have Jack wake up to a breakfast he loves. 

Bitty doesn’t even notice the notes at first. He’s already halfway through mixing the pancake batter and is just about to put away the milk when he catches sight of his own handwriting. He stops dead with one hand outstretched to open the fridge, and his mouth is hanging open a little bit as he stares at the rows of post it notes that are on the fridge in front of him. 

And the thing is, Bitty knows that Jack loves him. He knows it; Jack isn’t shy about telling him, he tells him all the time, and Bitty sees the look in Jack’s eyes when he says it to him. It’s as intense as his game face, but so much softer, and it makes Bitty feel like he’s the only person in Jack’s world for those few moments. He knows Jack loves him. 

This makes him feel different, though. Those moments when Jack tells him he loves him are beautiful and Bitty feels weak in the knees when he hears it, but those are moments Jack chooses to share with him. This is different. Bitty feels like he’s peeking behind the curtain, looking past the affectionate touches and the reverent smile Jack gives him–the one that tugs softly at the corners of his mouth and makes Bitty’s heart flutter–and seeing just how deeply embedded into Jack’s life he is. It seems silly, but his heart is racing and suddenly he realizes that when Jack isn’t with him, he’s thinking about him. When Bitty is miles and miles away from him, Jack is still here in this kitchen, loving him just as much as if Bitty were standing right in front of him. Bitty feels silly for being so overwhelmed by it, but he’s tearing up and he can tell that he’s smiling stupidly but he doesn’t care. Jack thinks about him in those quiet moments that he has by himself in his apartment… even when they’re apart and he’s alone, he wants little pieces of Bitty with him. He loves Bitty that much, so much that he doesn’t get tired of being reminded of him. 

Bitty has known Jack loves him for a while now, but it isn’t until that moment that he really realizes the magnitude of it, because Jack keeps his silly little notes on his fridge and Bitty has never been happier in his entire life. 

Untitled Steve/Tony 1/1

Untitled
Steve/Tony
Identity porn, post-break-up
Steve has regrets. Tony is out of his depth. 

@brandnewfashion posted some snippets about Steve breaking up with Tony and then coming to his friend Iron Man to talk it out and god help me this happened.

****

The universe hated him. Tony had suspected it for years, and here was his proof.


Once, the sight of Captain America walking toward him, his hair tousled and spiky with sweat and a beer in each hand had been the highlight of Tony’s fucking day. Now it was a punishment – karmic vengeance for Tony’s sins.


He’d never hated his secret identity more than now, having to be the supportive friend while Steve hashed out his break-up with his faithless, worthless lover, Tony Stark.


That was unfair, he reminded himself. Steve knew Iron Man and Tony were friends, he didn’t trash Tony to Iron Man’s face, he just… he told the truth. It wasn’t Steve’s fault that the truth ripped Tony’s heart out every time.


The stupid chest plate was three-quarters charged. Ten more minutes and he could have made his escape.


“Hey, Cap,” he greeted. He didn’t get up from his place on the window seat, just nodded his head at his teammate as Steve approached.


Steve handed him a beer – with a straw already in because he really was a damned considerate friend – and lowered himself down beside Tony with a tired grunt. “I was afraid you’d already left.”


“Without my beer?” Tony raised his bottle to Cap in a teasing salute and tried to ignore the pain in his chest, the wistful yearning that Steve could have wanted Tony to stay, that he could have wanted to spend time with Tony like this.


Ah well. He took a long sip of his beer and breathed past the pain. Iron Man had always been the best part of him. Tony Stark was only ever the mistake.


“I screwed up, Shellhead.” Steve braced his arms on his knees, stared down at the floor, his beer hanging limply in one hand, untouched. “I don’t know what to do.”


Tony paused, the battle running through his mind moment-by-moment. “What are you talking about, Cap? You ran a clean mission, just like always.”


“No, not that, not – this isn’t about the Avengers.” Steve dragged in a deep breath. “It’s Tony, it’s – how I handled things with him when I left.”


“Don’t be too hard on yourself, Cap.” Tony kept the mask aimed toward Cap but forced his eyes to focus on the wall over Cap’s shoulder. “Look, if you think you were harsh on the guy or whatever no one’s gonna hold it against you. Breakups are emotional, it happens.”


“I was cruel.” Steve’s voice was barely a whisper and wavered on the last syllable. Tony closed his eyes for a moment and refused to think about it. Refused to acknowledge the way his heart fluttered in his chest with hope. No. Steve was too kind, that was all. He regretted the way things ended but – but that wasn’t the same as regretting that they ended.


“You’re not cruel,” Tony said finally.

“You weren’t there, you don’t-” Steve took a deep breath. “You don’t know what I said to him. I said – I said some pretty terrible things, Shellhead. I accused him of lying to me. I told him he was a disappointment, that I should never have expected any better from him.” He rolled the beer between both hands and dragged in another shaky breath.


“Not very diplomatic,” Tony said. “But nothing that wasn’t true. Stark’s probably well aware that he’s not exactly relationship material.” He set his own beer down as his stomach roiled. “Look, you’re better off without him anyway.”


“Don’t.” Steve’s voice was low and hoarse. “Don’t say that. It’s bad enough I did.”


“The break-up wasn’t your fault.”


Steve sat up abruptly. “Wasn’t it? He was trying – I could tell he was trying. And I could tell he was floundering but instead of helping him I just stood there, expecting him to know what I wanted and them blaming him when he didn’t meet my expectations.”


“Relationships come with expectations, Cap.”


“Relationships come with compromises,” Steve spit the word out like it tasted bad. “I knew – I knew he was struggling. I knew he wasn’t sure how to make it work and I just – I let him hang himself. Over and over again. And then I blamed him for choking.”


Tony felt strangely light-headed. He had to resist the urge to check his pulse. The chest plate was almost fully charged, he was fine. “I think you’re probably being too hard on yourself.”


“I love him.” Steve ran both hands over his face. “I love him and I really made a mess of things, Shellhead. I don’t know what to do.”


“What do you want to do?” Tony asked carefully.


“I want to rewind time and punch my past self in the teeth,” Steve said. His voice was shaking but there was an edge of anger there that had been missing. “I want to be half the partner I thought I was. I want to find the part of me that took some sick satisfaction in letting Tony down and cut it out with a knife.” He slammed his beer down on the end table hard enough that Tony was half expecting it to shatter. “I want to make it right, but I know I can’t.”


“Okay. Well, if you did let Stark down – and literally no one in the world is saying you did, Cap – but if you did, then he’s the one who has to decide if you can make it right.”


Steve slumped like a puppet with its strings cut. “I know.”


“For what it’s worth, I think you’re wrong.” Tony clapped a hand on Steve’s shoulder, mindful of the armor. It feels weird to say that – so much of their relationship has been built around the idea of Steve as the just leader, the brilliant commander, the trustworthy confidant. Tony had disagreed with Cap before but he couldn’t remember ever flat-out telling the man he was wrong to his face before. “But if you want Stark back he’d be an idiot not to have you.”


“I want him back,” Steve said thickly. Tony turned his head so he wouldn’t have to see the best man he’d ever known cry over Tony Stark.


“He’s high-maintenance,” Tony said. “He’s going to let you down again.”


“Not as much as I’ve let myself down.” Steve reached up and covered Tony’s hand with his, squeezing the gauntlet slightly. Tony couldn’t feel it through the metal, but he could imagine the strength of that grip. “You’re a good friend.”


Tony closed his eyes. “Not as good as you, Cap.”

(x)

I really like the idea that Jack kisses Bitty silent sometimes not because he doesn’t like hearing Bitty babbling, but the exact opposite. I like to think that once Bitty gets going, Jack is half mesmerized and can’t help but lean forward and steal a kiss, one that often ends up going a lot longer than expected, and leaves them a bit breathless. Jack just loving the fact that he gets to listen to Bitty talk like this, that he gets to soak up his presence and feel his warmth, and god does he love that sweet drawl that comes out of his boyfriend’s mouth. 

Also, Jack can’t decide if he likes Bitty’s voice or his kisses more. If he had to choose between them, he’d probably combust.

2

listen……li sten……i Need to know….how many kisses have they had since that day in May? how many times have they been able to practice just the way they like to be kissed, mouths wet and slick and bruised, over and over until it became as natural as breathing, until they forgot what it was like to have ever lived without each other’s kisses, until they had memorized every soft fold and crease of each other’s lips…….

how many times………please ngozi……..i must Know……….

Consider: Tony buying Steve a “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” shirt for St. Patrick’s Day. He’s tickled to death when he presents it to Steve after his morning run. Steve recognizes that there’s a bit of a challenge there, in that Tony thinks Steve would be embarrassed to wear it. So Steve showers and puts it on. 

Tony’s only a little surprised and mostly delighted, and takes advantage of the excuse (as if he needs one) to kiss Steve at every turn. 

But then the rest of the team starts trickling into the kitchen for breakfast… and Tony realizes he may have made a mistake. 

Pepper and Rhodey are already sitting at the table when Steve and Tony get there. Rhodey just raises an eyebrow at Steve’s shirt, but Pepper grins and tugs on his sleeve until he leans down far enough for her to kiss his cheek. 
Clint wanders in next, grins at Steve’s shirt and plants a dramatic, sloppy kiss on Steve’s cheek. Wanda comes in on the tail end of that exchange, giggles at the way Steve is wiping his cheek and glaring at Clint, and drops a dainty little peck on his nose. 

Sam comes in with Bucky and Natasha just a minute behind him, and laughs before kissing Steve soundly on the cheek. Tony, at this point, is starting to reconsider the wisdom of his actions, when he looks up and spots the matching shit-eating grins on Bucky and Natasha’s faces. 

Natasha takes Steve’s face in her hands and pulls him into a kiss that has his eyes widening in surprise, and before he can catch his breath Bucky has taken her place. 

When he pulls away, Bucky and Natasha exchange high-fives, Steve is still breathless and a little dazed, Rhodey and Clint are both about two seconds from falling out of their chairs laughing, and Tony is openly sulking because the point was to make Steve blush and everyone else laugh, not for the entire team to make out with his boyfriend right in front of him. 

…and that’s when Thor comes in. He pauses for a moment, takes in Steve’s shirt, Tony’s pout, Bucky and Natasha’s self-satisfied grins. And then, in true Thor style, pretends to not understand midgardian culture or jokes (which is bullshit and the whole team knows it at this point, but it doesn’t stop him) and actually lifts Steve out of his chair to plant one on him, even more thorough than Bucky and Natasha’s.

Tony refuses to let Steve wear the shirt out of the house.

okay but picture this:

jack and bitty are in an official long-distance relationship. after many months of planning and comparing schedules, bitty finally gets the chance to spend a weekend in Providence at jack’s new apartment. they enter the apartment lobby and wait for the elevator side-by-side, holding hands so tightly and they just can’t seem to take their eyes off each other, vibrating with anticipation and this overwhelming sense of disbelief, and then finally finally when the elevator arrives, the moment the doors slide shut, jack takes bitty by the shoulders and pushes him up against the wall and kisses the daylights out of him….bitty is laughing and laughing and he throws his arms around jack’s neck to meet him halfway, and jack—

jack just pulls back briefly, not too far, just enough so that he can look into bitty’s eyes, and bitty’s breathing in shallow heaves, his face just full of light and still slack with laughter, and jack can’t believe how fucking lucky he is, how happy and warm he feels, and he realizes that he has never loved anyone or anything, not even hockey, as much as he loves this boy in his arms, this golden, golden boy…

and later, when they’re tangled together in bed, bitty spooned up against jack and tucked right under his chin, jack leans down and presses several kisses against bitty’s ear, calling him mon soleil, calling him sunlight.

I really want a SteveTony fake relationship au that doesn’t use either of the two major premises for this kind of fic. Usually it’s either they’ve been pining forever and every second is beautiful agony because it’s everything they want but it’s not real, or it’s that they never even considered this person romantically but OOPS turns out they’ve been in love all along. I love both of those, but I don’t want them this time.

I want one where they have feelings for each other and they’re each aware of their own feelings but not the other person’s, but instead of months/years of pining it’s something that’s still in the giddy new crush stage. You know, the feeling where every bit of attention can make you feel flushed and excited and you can’t stop smiling, even though you’re not really any closer to dating? 

I want Steve and Tony at THAT stage, and they’re both fine with the fake relationship thing because it lets them test out what it would be like to be with them while they’re still trying to determine if that’s what they really want (hint: it is), and they tease each other with the flirting and over-exaggerated pet names which leads to more of the giddy flushed excitement thing. And rather than avoiding PDA or it being bittersweet because “he doesn’t mean it!”, they’re both a little overeager about it, but neither of them notices that the other is at first.

And then, idk like they get a little too caught up in one kiss near the end of the whole thing an they pull back and stare at each other and have that moment of “Did he feel that too?” and they’re kind of quiet and distant for the rest of the mission or whatever it is, but at one point once of them glaces at the other across the room, and the other person tries for a hesitant smile, and he smiles back and then when it’s all over they go make out in a closet or something.

The team is relieved because they were pretty sure they couldn’t handle another second of the heart-eyes and honest to god giggles every time the two of them had a conversation.

Punk!Steve showing up at Tony’s school in his leather jacket and torn jeans on his monstrosity of a bike and everyone just like “oh my god what the heck is he doing here” then Tony Stark walks up to him and Steve’s face lights up like the fucking sun when he sees him and Tony just makes a beeline for him and kisses him senseless because he may have seen him last night but it’s been too long

Okay but if Marvel has to put us through “The Multiverse was destroyed! And now everyone is in Battleword but each former universe is still it’s own domain” bullshit, you know what I want? 

I want a goddamn 3490 comic.

Letting out a sigh Tony drops onto the plush sofa in Steve’s office. His neck aches and his feet are sore after being at the restaurant for a solid six hours. Then it had been off to his internship for three hours, on top of the bits he takes home and pours over at more convenient moments. Tony’s developed an understanding of Steve’s dictates for having to fill out forms in triplicate. Plus he has a few more freelance gigs waiting on him to complete for a little extra on the side. And the small, small consulting role he’s taken out with some of SHIELD’s accepted business associates. 

Needless to say Tony has his plate full and he’s worn out. The softness of the cushions is heavenly even if he’d rather be in bed. Particularly with Steve who throws off heat like a furnace. Or a shower would be good, if he could be bothered to get up.

Head resting on the back of the sofa and eyes closed he doesn’t bother to open them when the door opens. No one should be surprised to see him and it’s late enough Steve should be about ready to go home.

“You look like shit.” Bucky says as he comes around to get a good look at Tony, frowning.

Tony just snorts. “I love how you never mince words Buck.”

“I’m eloquent as fuck kiddo, don’t forget it.” And for their occasional sniping he is fond of the kid. “So what’s going on Stark?”

“Thought I’d surprise Steve and we could go home together.”

“So you can fall into bed like you’ve been doing for how long now on the guy?” There’s accusation in the words. Bucky wants to know what is going on.

Tony isn’t sure if it makes it worse that he winces guiltily to have it put so plainly he’s been dead on his feet since he increased his working hours. There are only so many hours in a day and Tony is only human. Were there some other way he could manage he would, but he has to remain within the realm of possibility. 

But Tony is guilty of coming home lately and falling into bed, without even eating a few times now. Steve hasn’t complained about it either. There have been some long, concerned looks that Tony has pretended not to notice. Guilt is difficult to stifle though and Tony does offer what affection he can when he can. A handful of kisses and some lazy morning cuddling hardly make up for being neglectful, however. 

“Gonna explain?”

Truthfully he does trust Bucky and he could use his help.

“I needed to earn some extra money so I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. More than I should be I guess.” The guilt in his voice is obvious.

Steve and Tony live together now so it’s not a matter of having to make rent or cover utilities. The kid isn’t starving either, though he’s not too shabby at making something from nothing in that department. The novelty of cooking still hasn’t quite warn off for Steve.

“I know you had the two jobs.” Which had been more than enough in his opinion but Bucky understood how Tony didn’t want to be a kept man. Bucky understood pride just fine. But he also was pretty sure Steve and Tony had sorted that conversation out by now.

“There…might be two more that aren’t full-time but..”

“Four? No wonder you’re so beat.” And Bucky has crossed the line from mildly annoyed for Steve’s sake (he’d been sulking recently) into concerned for Tony. Because he hasn’t see Tony pushing this hard since he was struggling to keep up with a particularly demanding professor on top of two jobs, plus trying to give Steve every moment in between. Tony pushes himself too hard, too stubborn to say uncle when he ought to. “What are you hurting for cash so badly for? Tony if something’s wrong Steve doesn’t even need to know about it.”

The look Tony offers Bucky isn’t mulish or even stubborn. He’s beside himself.

“Not worth you killing yourself for kid. Not like I can’t spare it.” Bucky’d do it if only for Steve. But he’s gotten to like Tony who is the best anyone’s been to Steve since Peggy. Maybe better in some ways.

When Bucky doesn’t backtrack Tony waves his hand at him. “Relax. It’s not like I’ve got gambling debts and someone’s coming to snuff me or something. It’s not anything like that if your mind is going there.”

“Call me less than relieved.”

And Bucky waits because he can see the hesitation on Tony’s face. Patience is the only thing that will get him the answers he wants so he digs his up. Living with Steve Rogers all his life has taught him a thing or two about being patient. 

“It was for Steve.”

“I’ll stop you when it makes sense.” Because that doesn’t make the least bit of it. Steve is a billionaire, who could easily pay Tony far more than what he’s earned in all the time he’s been away just to keep him around. The idiot would too with how gone he is over the boy.

The kid is looking away from him, up at the ceiling. It’s hardly the direct kid that Steve first dragged along for him to meet. Tony can be surprisingly shy and reserved about being emotional. Years of foster care and a less than stellar home life with his biological parents had sent the groundwork for Tony’s trust to be hard earned. Tony doesn’t let himself show weakness too easily, though he has a strange way of qualifying weakness.

“It’s for a ring.” It’s a mumble. “For Steve.”

Stunned silent for a moment Bucky rolls that idea around in his head. When it settle he drops beside Tony on the sofa cushions.

“That’s…pretty serious.”

“Don’t make me deck you Barnes. I know what I’m getting into.” That sounds more like the Tony they all know. 

Bucky can’t help but laugh at that. With that bit of perspective he has a whole new understanding of all the hours Tony is putting in. Of the way he was speaking in circles about it to avoid sharing the secret. 

“You’re an idiot.” Is all Bucky bothers to say after that.

Bucky can feel Tony shrug sitting next to him. And it’s reassuring that Tony would confess what was wrong to him. Steve would be crushed with anything happened to Tony and he’s seen the way they’re both good for each other. It had made it hard to insist before that they cut out their little relationship game. Four years has led them to this point and Bucky is not surprised, but staggered by the truth of it in front of his eyes.

“Been called worse for worse.” 

Not for a moment is there a doubt in Bucky’s mind that’s the honest truth.

“Do you think you could tell me his ring size?”

“Say please.” 

“Please. With sugar on top?”

Rolling his eyes Bucky reaches for one of the pillows and swings it right at Tony’s face. “Brat. You better of this right of I’m not going to help you.” 

Tony only laughs and doesn’t resist when Bucky presses the pillow against his face before he drops it. It lands in Tony’s lap with a muffled thump. 

“I have condition Stark. I get to see this ring before you give it to him. I better get a mention in a speech somewhere by you for being helpful. And you do it right or I find you and break your legs because he’s still my best friend.”

“..think I can manage all that.” 

And Bucky can’t even keep the attempt to be threatening in the face of Tony’s genuine, tired happiness about the help. It’s a casualty to being friends with two ridiculously in love idiots. 

“Take a nap. I’ll get you the information later.”

“Maybe I should marry you instead Bucky.”

Bucky hefts himself up from his seat, hands pushing off his knees. An undignified snort later he’s staring down at Tony. “You need the sleep if you are even saying that. Ain’t my type.”

“No but you’re an okay guy Bucky.”

“Yeah, yeah. Don’t let that get around now.”

“On pain of death.” 

Tony manages to wriggle down to lay out of the sofa, feet hanging off. It doesn’t take long for him to drift off and the snoring to begin. Bucky doesn’t take it personally that his company is sleep inducing. Frankly he’s glad Tony’s getting some rest and Steve will be happy to see the little bugger when he gets out of R&D bi-weekly meeting. 

Plus the pictures of Tony’s drooling in his sleep will make for great material in a Best Man speech.