“Absolutely not,” Tony says immediately. Steve will probably feel a little hurt later, after he gets over the surprise. “You’re not even going to think about it?” “Steve, you look like a stiff breeze could blow you over. I’m honestly worried that even taking a single sip would be too much.” Bucky sighs tiredly as Steve draws himself up straight. “Tony, why.” “A breeze will not blow me over, you sanctimonious dick!” Tony is not… scared of Steve, but he is certainly terrified of the tirade he goes on about his health and his concerns and his consent and lots of other things that are probably super important but mostly just sound like “MAD MAD MAD.” “I,” Tony begins weakly. “I’m sorry.” He twitches away but Steve grabs him by one pointed ear and drags him back. “Don’t run away when I’m yelling at you!”
“Here, honey,” Bucky says gently, setting a cup of coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream in it in front of the shell-shocked vampire. “How does someone so small contain so much anger?” “It’s the same amount of anger everyone else has; it’s just more concentrated than it would be in, say, me?” Tony stares into the distance stonily. Every time he thought he understood humans, he met a new one that challenged everything he knew about them. He had never met anyone like Steve and while he very much liked Steve he was glad he hadn’t met Steve earlier. He probably wouldn’t have been able to cope.
Steve doesn’t ask again, but he’s still kinda hurt about it. He understands why Tony has (valid) concerns about drinking from him, but that he didn’t even have to think about it… It just makes him feel useless and looked-over like he did as a kid all over again. He can do something to help now, and Tony won’t let him. He gets it, especially because he knows about Tony’s aversion to blood, but it still really, really stings. Bucky sighs and leans his chin on his hand as he watches Steve mope around the apartment. “I get that you’re hurt, Steve.” “He drinks from Rhodes!” Steve bursts out, realizes he sounds like a jealous asshole, and flops face-first onto the couch in despair. He doesn’t want to be a jealous asshole. “…I bet he’d drink from you,” he can’t help but add petulantly. “If only I wouldn’t instinctively bite him back with the intent to crush his throat in my jaws,” Bucky deadpans. Steve sits up to glare at him. “You know what I mean, you fuckin’ asshole.” Bucky sighs. He does know what Steve means.
“I haven’t,” Tony begins helplessly when Bucky gently brings up how hurt Steve was that he wouldn’t even think about it. “I mean, I’ve never—It’s not, not because I don’t trust him, or that I think he’s one of—of those people—I just—” “He’s not drunk from a lover before,” Jarvis supplies, and Tony squeaks and covers his face in embarrassment. Bucky can’t help the way the corner of his mouth quirks up in amusement. He also can’t help but imagine what Tony would look like, flushed with color and healthy. Probably beautiful. He’s pretty enough right now, but healthy… he’d probably glow.
“I’m not saying that you hafta do it,” Bucky assures him when Tony starts to look stressed out. “In fact, even if you know you’re just gonna say no again, that’s fine. But just—think about it? Steve has an inferiority complex, doll, no matter how he might insist he doesn’t. He just wants t’ feel needed. I know you’re scared t’ hurt him. I was scared to hurt him too. But he’s a lot easier to live with when you realize that he’s too stubborn to die easy. Start viewin’ him as this weird faux-supernatural.” “Faux-supernatural?” Tony repeats, brows furrowing together in confusion. Bucky rolls his eyes. “What part of ‘too stubborn to die easy’ doesn’t sound supernatural to you? Sometimes I think he’s a supernatural creature that got switched up finding a body.” “He doesn’t look like a Changeling, but I could ask Pepper if you want to be sure,” Tony says seriously. Bucky sighs. “Tony, no.”
Steve notices that Tony has stopped showing up to the diner. “I did scare him off,” he laments when they get home that night, face pressed into the couch. “I’m sorry, Buck.” “There, there,” Bucky says, trying not to laugh, and pats his head gently on the way by. “You didn’t scare him off. Probably. I’m sure if you’d actually scared him, Rhodes or Pepper would have tracked us down and murdered us.” “…Well,” Steve agrees reluctantly, then groans when he hears Bucky in the kitchen. “Ugh, how can you stand to cook after being at the diner all night?” “Unlike you, I was serving food all night, not cooking it. Dumbass. Whatcha want? Fried tofu or chicken?” “I want a nice juicy steak.” “Chicken it is.” Steve mutters into the couch petulantly.
“Why can’t you have steak?” Tony asks from where he’s sitting in the armchair. “Because as popular as the diner is we can’t afford to splurge that often and because I can’t eat that much red meatHEY,” Steve barks, sitting up. “How’d you get in here?! Don’t you need to be invited in?!” Tony blinks at him slowly. “You have a welcome mat.” These goddamn fucking welcome mats for heaven’s sake. “Chicken?” Bucky calls over his shoulder. Tony blinks at him as well before he finally answers, “I guess.” He looks at Steve. “Bucky can cook?” “Yeah, he just doesn’t like to do it unless it’s just for a couple of people,” Steve admits. Bucky would take over the grill in a pinch, but he hated not seeing who was stepping into his territory in the dining room.
The chicken is juicy and tender and Tony takes just as long to eat that as he does everything else. Steve and Bucky are sipping cups of decaf coffee so they’re not all wired when they go to bed before Tony even gets to his vegetables. “I’ve been thinking,” Tony says between bites of broccoli. Bucky hums to show he’s listening as he leans all of his weight on Steve, and Steve rolls his eyes and sighs but reaches up to rub circles into the bones behind his ears. “Yeah?” “…If… if you really want me to,” Tony says hesitantly. “I could—bite you. I guess.”
“Fucking ow,” Bucky snaps, jerking his head away from Steve’s fingers which had dug in way too hard to his skull. “Steve!” “Tony,” Steve chokes out in concern when he notices the way the vampire is fidgeting nervously where he sits. “You don’t have to do that if you really don’t want to. I’m sorry I was such a brat about it.” Tony fiddles with his fork a moment before taking a deep breath and letting it out again. “I’m just saying—that if you wanted to try it, and Bucky was okay with it, and it wouldn’t hurt you or exacerbate any of your current illnesses… I guess I wouldn’t mind trying. Not because I think I have to,” he adds hurriedly. “But Jarvis said—Jarvis said that if we were all consenting parties and had considered the risks—” “You were given a sex talk by a hundreds-year-old cat?” Bucky sputters, and Tony sighs and rolls his eyes in annoyance as the werewolf and human begin giggling like idiots.
They decide to do it on the next thirteenth that fell on a Friday. The diner was closed those days—too many supernatural creatures liked to make mischief on Friday the Thirteenth, and Steve would probably give himself a goddamn aneurism if he tried to corral them so they just closed for his (and the other supernatural creatures’) safety. Tony insisted Steve would need time to recover and while they’d discussed how much blood would be taken (not a lot) and that it shouldn’t be a problem, Tony wanted to be sure, and Steve was willing to concede this point after being an asshole.
“And we can stop at any time,” Steve adds, and Tony nods furiously. “Of course! Steve, I wouldn’t want to make you uncomfortable—” “I meant you,” Steve cuts in before he can misunderstand too much. “If you decide you really don’t want to go through with it, you can stop it, too.” Tony fidgets, frowning. “I—okay?” “Okay,” Steve and Bucky say firmly, even though their hearts ache that Tony hadn’t even considered he could say ‘no’ once they started. But it was okay. They had plenty of time to teach him that, too.