I have been having a lot of trouble writing these last few months, so I decided to go back to one of the older stories and see what I could do. This is unbeta’ed, probably riddled with errors, but at least it’s words on the page!
Steve stretched his arms above his head and leaned into
Bucky’s old couch. He still remembered fighting the oversized ugly thing up
four flights of stairs and spending the rest of the day scrubbing at the
cushions with upholstery cleaner, all the windows open to air it out, the
apartment freezing and wet. Over the years, the couch had learned Steve’s body,
and even six months away hadn’t changed the way it fit to his spine.
A cold shock to the back of his neck made him jump, his
breath sucking through an aborted yowl of surprise. Laughing, Bucky handed him
the bottle, cap already twisted off, and climbed over the back of the couch
like he was still nineteen and hadn’t been through a war. Steve jostled him on
the way down and Bucky did some interesting twisting to keep his beer upright
and fend off any further attacks.
“So how’s life in the ivory tower?” Bucky asked. He tucked
his feet up into the couch, and then wiggled his left foot under Steve’s thigh.
Steve rolled his eyes. He could feel the chill of Bucky’s
foot all the way through his jeans. He obligingly hiked his leg up and Bucky
wedged his foot in deeper under Steve’s thigh. Bucky took a long pull of his
beer and then twisted to his back to the arm of the couch so he could shove his
other foot into the crook of Steve’s knee. He turned his attention to the TV
and Steve thought he was going to get off lightly for the interrogation.
“So?” Bucky pressed as soon as the first commercial started.
He muted the heartburn medication commercial and tossed the remote back to the
coffee table. It hit the top and clattered into the middle of the table.
Steve shrugged and turned the bottle over in his hands. He
picked at the corner of the label, peeling back a quarter inch of gold paper.
“It’s fine.” He took a sip of the beer and did his best to repress a stupid
smile. “It’s great, really.”
“She’s a cute kid,” Bucky said.
There was just enough of a pause to catch Steve’s attention.
He felt his spine straighten up and turned to Bucky, his eyes narrowing.
“Nothing,” Bucky said too-innocently. He bit down on his
lower lip and hid his grin behind his bottle. “Of course,” he mused, “So’s her
“A cute kid?” Steve asked with a snort. “He’s definitely a
kid, that’s for –”
Steve’s phone went off in his pocket, buzzing hard enough to
make him jump. He twisted on the couch
to pull it out and frowned at the caller ID. Bucky laughed at him and nudged
him in the ribs with a toe as he swiped the lock screen open. Tessa’s screaming
came through immediately and Steve sat forward sharply.
“Is Tessa okay?” he asked. Tony’s face appeared on screen.
His hair was a mess, he had a streak of engine oil down his cheek, and
something bright green on his forehead. He shifted the angle of the camera
slightly to show Tessa against his chest, crying into his shoulder.
“She is fine. Angry, but fine.” He jostled the phone and
leaned over, pulling a cushion off the couch down in the lab.
Steve relaxed immediately. “Tony, this is my night off. I
have not had a night off in –”
“Twenty-nine days,” Tony finished for him, “I know. I’m
sorry – I just can’t find the – Tessa, honey. Will you just. I’m trying to find
the – Steve. I can’t find the pink one.”
Steve sighed. “The pink what,
Tony? You realize that she has about three hundred pink things, right? Every time Rhodey comes back from wherever he
takes off to, he brings back a dozen pink things.”
“The – Steve! Tessa, honey, talk to Steve. Tell him you miss
your pink… mouse thing,” Tony said, turning the camera to Tessa, who just
tucked her face against Tony’s neck and bunched her knees up.
“It’s not a mouse, Tony. It’s a rabbit. It has long ears,”
Steve said. “How did you lose the rabbit? I left it in her crib less than three
hours ago. She’s not going to go to sleep without it.”
“I know that!” Tony sing-songed. He jostled his whining
little bundle. “Dum-E brought it down to the lab.”
Steve made a frustrated noise. “You need to restrict his
access to the nursery. I know he loves her, but he drags things ev –”
“Steve!” Tony interrupted. “Focus. Pink bunny-rabbit-not-a-mouse
with the long ears. Where?”
“How would I know? I am not there. Where would Dum-E hide
it? Did you check his charging station? He’s been hoarding things back there.”
Tony sputtered, outraged. “He’s not hoarding things! He’s
collecting. He’s a collector.” He climbed over a pile of blankets and toys that
he’d obviously dragged out of her toy box and left on the floor.
Steve scratched at the back of his neck with a resigned
sigh, knowing that the mess would still be there tomorrow for him to clean up. The
camera jostled, turned to Tessa’s striped green blanket and went dark. Bucky
dragged his feet out from under Steve’s leg and twisted around on the couch so
he could see the screen.
“Is he always like that?” Bucky asked, clearly amused. He
took a long pull on his beer and rested it on Steve’s thigh, leaving a nice wet
ring to soak through his jeans – it wasn’t like he hadn’t grown accustomed to
being covered in various liquids over the last six months.
“Pretty much,” Steve said.
The camera moved and briefly showed Tony’s feet – bare, and
Steve should probably give up trying to get Tony to wear shoes in the lab – and
then Dum-E. The bot was in a corner with his camera pressed against the wall.
Tony aimed a light kick at Dum-E’s side. “Dum-E, tell dad where you put the
rabbit. Steve said it’s a rabbit, not a mouse.”
The bot made a quiet beeping noise and moved further into
“Steve. Tell Dum-E –”
“I am Tessa’s nanny, not Dum-E’s,” Steve interrupted.
“But he listens to
you – Tessa! Please, I am trying to find the atrocious pink stuffed creature.
You know what, Steve – Rhodey is banned from pink for at least the next
Steve dragged a hand down his face and Bucky hid his face in
Steve’s shoulder while Tessa continued to complain about her missing toy. Tony
turned the phone around so he could see the display. “Oh, it’s this kind of
“Hi, Stark,” Bucky greeted, waving at the camera from around
Tony dropped his phone into his breast pocket, giving them a
view of his collarbone and more engine oil on his neck. “Hi, Barrista God.
“Not coming to work for you, Stark,” Bucky responded.
“The other side of your neck had better not have oil on it,
Tony,” Steve said suspiciously. “You know that will make her sick.”
“It’s fine,” Tony said. Tessa took a shuddery breath and
quieted to fussy whines and hiccups. Tony’s voice lowered immediately. “Just
help me find the rabbit.”
“Tony. She sleeps with the bunny because I put it in a bag
with a towel sprayed with your cologne during the day,” Steve explained.
The phone jostled and Tony fumbled it out of his pocket to
point the camera at his face. “What?”
“You heard me. Just go take a shower to get all the oil off
and let her sleep in bed with you.”
“I’m not putting her in bed with me!” Tony hissed. “What if
I roll over on her?”
Steve rolled his eyes again and took in a very patient
breath. “Tony. It’s only seven and I will be home by eleven. Just bring the
cushion that I left on the couch upstairs, put her on it so she doesn’t roll
off the bed, and do your prep work for the shareholder’s meeting tomorrow in
“How do you know I have a shareholder’s meeting?” Tony asked
indignantly, but he was already climbing back over the mess of toys. “Pick up
the toys, guys.” Dum-E and U both chirped at him with the same level of
indignant protest. “Don’t argue, you made me make the mess by hiding the mouse
– the rabbit. Don’t think I forgot
about you knowing about my meetings.”
“Pepper told me,” Steve said. “So you couldn’t weasel out of
“You two are not allowed to collude,” Tony complained. “I
thought she didn’t like you.”
“She likes Steve better than she likes you,” Bucky told him.
“How would you know?” Tony asked.
Steve twisted to look
down at him with an eyebrow twitched up. He’d managed to curl up so his feet
were once again under Steve’s leg and one of his knees was pressed into Steve’s
ribs. Bucky’s flexibility constantly surprised him, and he got very tactile
when he was tipsy. Bucky looked back up at him with a smug smile that set of
all of Steve’s Bucky-senses. “Yeah, how would you know?”
Bucky took another drink, draining the last of the beer and
leaning forward to set it on the coffee table. “She told me,” he said innocently.
Tony came to a messy halt at the elevator doors and spun
around, jostling the camera to get it back up to his face. Tessa hiccupped and
let out a fussy cry. “Are you seducing my CEO?” he demanded. “That is not allowed. She is – she is not allowed
to. With you! Coffee God or not, she is way too good for you.”
Bucky rolled his eyes. “Thanks, Stark.”
“Okay!” Steve broke in before they started arguing in
earnest. “Tony, Pepper decides who is good enough for her. Don’t forget the shower, or the cushion. I will see you at
eleven. Do not call again unless it’s an actual emergency.”
“Like the missing pink bunny is not an emergency,” Tony
scoffed. He shifted Tessa up against his neck so he could point at the camera.
“I’m watching you, Barnes.”
“So he does know my name,” Bucky murmured.
“And no seducing my nanny either.”
“He was mine first,” Bucky shot back.
“Your nanny?” Tony asked.
“Both of you. Stop,” Steve said. “Shower, Tony. Night,
Tessy.” He waved at the camera, even though she still had her face in Tony’s
neck. He hung up before Tony had a chance to get back into it with Bucky and
set his phone face-down on the side table that had started its life as an apple
crate. Bucky had salvaged it from a dumpster when he worked for an organic
grocery and Steve had broken a pallet apart to make a top and a shelf. He
elbowed Bucky in the side. “You don’t have to antagonize him.”
Bucky shifted to put his hand behind his neck, shoved his
left foot between Steve’s back and the couch, and set his right foot in Steve’s
“Since when am I part of your furniture?” Steve asked,
shoving at Bucky’s foot. Bucky evaded him and retaliated by shoving his foot
against Steve’s cheek. Steve snagged his foot and pushed Bucky’s leg straight
up, which Bucky did not seem to mind at all. He wiggled his toes and pushed his
leg against Steve’s palm. “Why are your feet always cold?”
“Poor circulation,” Bucky answered. He reached over to ease
the TV remote off the coffee table. He caught it before it hit the floor and
turned the sound back on, just in time to take advantage of the slick sound
effect of the protagonist forensic tech peeling skin off a skull.
“Why do we watch this?” he asked, grimacing.
“For the gore,” Bucky said cheerfully, shifting his leg out
of Steve’s palm and pushing his foot back under Steve’s thigh.
“You could just wear socks,” Steve suggested.
“Socks don’t come with space heater installed.”
Steve sighed. “Of course.”
Steve ignored him for a few minutes, but eventually fished
Bucky’s foot out from under his thigh and dug his thumbs into the arch,
chaffing Bucky’s toes between his palms. Bucky didn’t say a word, but the badly
repressed grin said it all. Steve let him have his delusions, and Bucky didn’t
bring up Tony and Tessa again.