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Arrow's Tony and Bucky One-Shots

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From: Tony Stark
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 3:10 AM
Subject: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: James Buchanan Barnes

Barnes,

Been staring at the proposal you sent over for the last three hours. At first I thought someone was punking me because this reads like MacGyver and Wil E Coyote had a bastard lovechild who really likes explosions and lacks all common sense. Chemistry 101 says no to pretty much this entire concept from start to finish but... I started running the math and this shit could work.

Could really work. I’ve pulled in Dr. Banner. We’ve got ideas.

I’m attaching-- 160 pages of notes? That can’t be right. Well, the attachment says 160 but just assume that however many notes you receive are the notes that are there. We were using the holoboard and

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From: James Buchanan Barnes
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 3:15 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: Tony Stark

Dr. Stark,

There’s no attachment. Also, if you said anything after ‘holoboard and’ I didn’t receive that either.

James Barnes
Engineer Class III
Research and Development
Stark Industries

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From: Tony Stark
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 3:16 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: James Buchanan Barnes

Should be attached now.

Tony

Attachment: You’ve-got-to-see-this

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From: James Buchanan Barnes
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 3:18 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: Tony Stark

Dr. Stark,

This attachment is a jpg of a piglet wearing rain boots. Is this some kind of continued employment test? I thought they only did that at Google.

James Barnes
Engineer Class III
Research and Development
Stark Industries

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From: Tony Stark
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 3:38 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: James Buchanan Barnes

Yes. The pig was a test. You passed. The attachment was not at all the result of me being up for 44 hours straight working on this piece of shit government oversight paperwork to get it out in time. Or me forgetting what I named the piglet file when I saved it to send it to the guy I’d been seeing but who was really after my money or the spotlight or something. I don’t know. He was fucking someone else so he couldn’t have been that into me, right?

Anyway, Jarrod had about the same reaction as you to the pig. Unimpressed.

It was an employment test like you said. Got it in one. Excellent work. I’ll pass your Piglet Identification Exam score along to HR.

Numbers and notes should be attached. For reals this time.

Tony

Attachment: You-have-got-to-see-this

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From: James Buchanan Barnes
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 3:46 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: Tony Stark

Dr. Stark,

The numbers came through. I’ll look at them now.

James Barnes
Engineer Class III
Research and Development
Stark Industries

P.S. I was not unimpressed by Porkchop. What kind of soulless jerk is unimpressed by a smol pig in rainboots? Pig’s just doing his thing, trying to keep his feet dry. I AM unimpressed by your ex. You can do better.

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From: Tony Stark
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:02 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: James Buchanan Barnes

James,

Look at the math in the morning, at your desk, when I’m paying you for it. Don’t feel pushed because I’m an insomniac. I’ll feel like an ass.

Tony

P.S. Porkchop? You’re naming our pig Porkchop? You’re going to give him a complex. What if I named you-- shit, I guess there’s no name for a piece of a human that you eat, is there?

P.P.S The ex was a Nobel prize winner. You think I’m going to do better than that?

P.P.P.S. Stop calling me Dr. Stark. You’re creeping me out.

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From: James Buchanan Barnes
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:08 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: Tony Stark

Tony,

I don’t mind looking at the numbers now. I was running my own numbers when you’re email came in. Don’t need much sleep. I’m pretty sure at this point my blood’s mostly caffeine. It’s fine.

Like you said, it seems like there’s got to be some kind of flaw I’m missing in the work I turned in. Logic says explosions should be imminent but the math says they’re not. And between logic and math, math always wins.

James Barnes
Engineer Class III
Research and Development
Stark Industries

 

P.S. Guess that depends on how you define eat. Think outside the box and you can probably come up with something. Just nothing you can call me without getting into trouble with Human Resources.

P.P.S. What about Hampton?

P.P.P.S I’d rather be with a nobody who likes me than a somebody who doesn’t. Just sayin’

P.P.P.P.S. Most people call me Bucky.

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From: Tony Stark
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:10 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: James Buchanan Barnes

Bucky. Seriously? Who’d you piss off to get a nickname like that?

Tony

P.S. This might be the first time someone’s ever told me, King of Thinking Outside the Box, to think outside the box. But Pepper will yell at me if I type any words in this email that would embarrass the company if I had to read them out loud in court, so just assume I called you an incredibly clever nickname related to being eaten. Blush accordingly.

P.P.S. Hampton will do.

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From: James Buchanan Barnes
Date: Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:11 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Resonance in FTL Magnetometer from Fused Zirconium Connected by Indium Solder
To: Tony Stark

Tony,

That’d be my friend Steve. But we were 4 so I’ve had some time to forgive him.

Bucky

P.S. It takes more than that to make me blush.

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Bucky waits up almost another full hour but there’s no response. Hopefully Dr. Stark got some sleep.

The next morning, he reads over the emails again on the way to work. He can’t stop smiling. He doesn’t think anything’s gonna come of any of it. Not a chance. But it was still a fun way to spend the evening and he knows that’s a side of Dr. Stark that hardly anyone gets to see.

So he takes it for what it is: a one-off sleep-deprived nonsense fest between himself and the owner of the company. He’ll look at the attached notes when he gets to his desk, fire off a totally professional email, and get on with his life.

But first, coffee.

Once he has a huge cup, he sits down and opens his laptop.

“What’s that?” Peter asks from behind him.

Of course it’s the picture of the piglet in rainboots, displayed full screen.

“Jpg from a friend,” Bucky says.

“You should print him out!” Kamala suggests. “Cheer up your cubicle a little.”

“Then people will stop asking why you’re depressed,” Riri chimes in.

This is what Bucky gets for making friends at work.

It’s not that there’s anything wrong with Peter and Kamala and Riri. They’re actually great kids. But that’s the problem. They’re kids, fresh out of college, and early graduates at that. Peter’s the oldest at 21, and Riri’s only 17, making her 11 full years younger than Bucky.

Engineer Class III is where all the newbies go, and he’s the oldest of the newbies since he went into the service first, and is only at Stark Industries because of a Veteran’s Hiring Initiative that they’d started up a few months before. He was the very first veteran to be placed.

At first he was wary of so much as speaking to the other three R&Ders who shared his cubicle pod, but they were all so damn insistent on making friends that it just kind of happened.

And now here they are.

Bucky’s got his hand (his only hand) on his coffee and he doesn’t swat Peter away when he reaches over to press the print screen command.

Kamala’s the one to walk over to the printer to get the little colorful pig, and take scissors to it to trim it carefully into something that can be displayed. Riri uses a thumbtack to place it up front and center in Bucky’s cubicle and Bucky knows he could take it down, but he’s not really inclined to do so.

It’s like an inside joke that’s only inside to him. Well, and Dr. Stark, but he’s not ever going to see it, so really it’s just there for Bucky. And Kamala wasn’t wrong... it does cheer the space up considerably. The three of them have all kinds of pictures of friends and family and comic strips and motivational sayings hung up in their walls. Hampton is Bucky’s first and only.

With coffee in him, and his coworkers finally on to their own projects, Bucky can focus on the task at hand. He opens the notes attachment and starts to wade through. It’s a fascinating read. The notes are pretty much just screenshots of the holoboard, taken every few minutes, and done in two distinct handwritings. It’s easy to tell which belongs to Dr. Banner because it’s neat and orderly and all laid out in a way that makes sense. Tony’s (wow, that’s going to be a hard habit to break) is chaotic. There are slashes and doodles and smileys and smudges but the math

Holy shit the math.

It’s the most beautiful thing Bucky’s ever seen.

Tony hadn’t been lying when he said he was King of Thinking Outside the Box. He’d taken Bucky’s idea and just... launched it into space. All of the variables were there, and the tensile strength calculations and the load bearing adjustments and some calculus that Bucky understands but that’s definitely being applied in a way that he’s never thought possible.

Bucky takes in a deep breath and holds it.

He’s got a mad crush. On Tony’s brain. He’s actually a little hard, which is-- all kinds of inappropriate and awkward. And he has no choice but to continue on wading through the notes until he has enough information to work on his own calculations and finally then he stops sporting nerd wood.

What has Stark Industries even done to him?

Once he’s put together a response that sounds intelligible he sends his thoughts back to Dr. Stark, and again, he doesn’t hear back. That’s fine. That’s not even unusual for their line of work. He has other projects in the backlog and he moves on to those.

Days pass.

A picture of Steve and Natasha joins the Rainboot Piglet on his board. Then a hilarious fortune he got out of a fortune cookie while he was out to lunch with the Class III Engineers. Then a postcard his sister sent him from Spain, and an autographed picture of Bill Nye that Sam gave him out of the blue.

Still, Hampton stays in the place of honor and when Bucky looks at him he smiles every time.

It’s a Monday in mid-December when Bucky gets to work early and sees someone hovering near his desk.

“Can I help you?” Bucky asks. “The rest of the team won’t roll in for another half an hour or so.”

“No,” the man says. “I was just-- just dropping something off.”

“At my desk?”

That gets the man’s attention and he turns to look at Bucky and oh god it’s Tony Stark, looking disheveled and sleepy and so so much more attractive in person than he looks on company memos or in that giant picture that hangs in the lobby.

Bucky’s mouth falls open.

“You kept the pig,” Tony says.

Bucky nods. “I told you I liked him. And I still maintain your nobel-prize-winning-ex was a dick if he didn’t. What’d you bring me?”

“Oh-- that. Well, come look.”

Tony gestures to Bucky’s desk and Bucky walks over to see a stack of papers. “My recommendation for making the changes you suggested to the FTL Magnetometer. With full credit to you. Bruce and I worked on a few prototypes and the math held. No explosions. I also recommend that you should be brought in as the engineering consultant on the project.”

Now it’s Bucky’s turn to go silent.

“Is that okay?” Tony asks.

“That’s... incredible,” Bucky says. “More than incredible.”

“I thought all the Class III Engineers were kids,” Tony says suddenly. Nothing Bucky’s said would make those words make sense in that order.

“Well, the other three are,” Bucky says slowly. “I came in through the Vets program so I’m the odd one out. Is that a problem?”

Tony shakes his head.

“Only the part where I stopped emailing you because I thought I was chatting up a kid young enough to be my son and felt like a complete creeper. You said you still had a friend who knew you when you were four. I figured that meant you were under twenty. Who keeps friends that long when they’re-- however old you are?”

So that was why the emails stopped so abruptly.

“Pretty sure HR doesn’t let you ask,” Bucky says with a smile.

“There’s a lot of things HR won’t let me do,” Tony responds. “And some that they will.”

“Like what?” Bucky asks.

“Like take you out for coffee.”

“To discuss the project?”

“And other things,” Tony says. “I’m not your direct supervisor. There’s some ummm... paperwork. And I know this is sudden and I’m not gonna lie I have not had sleep in a while. For-- some amount of time that would make you wince. But coffee’s allowed. Not mandatory. Say no if it’s a no. You’re still on the project. You’re still brilliant. Maybe batshit, too, but the math. It’s kept me warm at night. Wishing you were ten years older, and now here you are...”

“I saved our emails,” Bucky says. “And--” he gestures toward the pig, “Hampton’s what made me finally start feeling like maybe SI is where I belonged. And I haven’t had that much sleep either.”

“So coffee then?” Tony asks hopefully.

“Coffee,” Bucky agrees.

And paperwork. In the end there is so. much. paperwork.

---------------- Two Years Later ----------------

From: Tony Edward Barnes Stark
Date: Wed, May 13, 2019 at 9:10 AM
Subject: Legit work related email about v important work things
To: James Buchanan Barnes Stark

I wish I was your project notes for the model imperfections in variational data that I know are due by end of day.

You know why?

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From: James Buchanan Barnes Stark
Date: Wed, May 13, 2019 at 9:12 AM
Subject: Re: Legit work related email about v important work things
To: Tony Edward Barnes Stark

I can’t even venture a guess here, doll.

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From: Tony Edward Barnes Stark
Date: Wed, May 13, 2019 at 9:13 AM
Subject: Re: Re: Legit work related email about v important work things
To: James Buchanan Barnes Stark

Because I’d be ridiculously hard and you’d be doing me on your desk for the next 6 hours.

P.S. I love you.

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From: James Buchanan Barnes Stark
Date: Wed, May 13, 2019 at 9:14 AM
Subject: Re: Legit work related email about v important work thing
To: Tony Edward Barnes Stark

… I love you, too.