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Tony had a problem. A six-foot, broody, and unfairly handsome problem standing between him and victory. If Bucky Barnes didn’t stop being so damn hot in the next few minutes, Tony was sure he was going to choke during the next round, and not even in a fun way.

 

“Tony!” Pepper, one of his Science Bowl team members, hissed, smacking his arm. “Stop staring and start thinking!”

 

Tony tore his eyes away from Bucky with some difficulty. “Sorry, Pep,” he said, flushing slightly. “I’m paying attention. What’s the topic of the next round?”

 

“Physics,” Bruce piped up and did something disapproving with his eyebrows. “That means you’re up.”

 

“Don’t fuck up because you’re staring at Barnes,” Rhodey chimed in. “Are you guys still rivals?”

 

Tony nodded reluctantly. “It’s unfair that my rival gets to look that hot in that hideous color,” he groaned. “This is purposeful distraction. He knows what he’s doing to me. This is cheating, I say.”

 

“Sure it is, Tony,” Pepper consoled, patting his cheek. “Are you going to let a cheater win?”

 

“I know you’re manipulating me, but you’re siding with me, so I don’t care.”

 

“Crush him, Tones,” Rhodey said supportively. 

 

“Like a little bug,” Bruce agreed, smiling fondly. 

 

“Yeah,” said Tony, gaining confidence. He grinned at his team, looking more than a little like the mad scientist he claimed not to be. “We’re going to kick his ass.”

 

“Are you talking about my ass, Stark?” Bucky drawled, coming out of nowhere to lean against the table right in front of Tony. 

 

“In your sad, pathetic little dreams,” Tony shot back, casting a quick look at his team for support. Pepper not-so-discreetly gagged, while Rhodey shot him a thumbs up. Bruce just arched an eyebrow. Tony wanted a better team. “Why are you even here, Barnes? Don’t you have your own team to console?”

 

Tony’s team was up by a comfortable margin, thanks to Bruce’s domination during the biology round and Pepper and Rhodey owning the general questions. Even if Tony lost his head in the next round, they could still win, but it wasn’t a risk Tony was willing to take.

 

Bucky, of course, had to be a physics genius, though he held his own in the other categories. But it meant that he and Tony would be going head to head, as usual. Tony was a prodigy in physics (and many other fields of science some he’d made up), but Bucky definitely did better under pressure. They were fairly evenly matched, which Tony hated a little bit. 

 

“I figured it would be better to console your team in advance,” Bucky winked. “You know, because you guys are going to lose.”

 

“I got that, thank you,” Tony said dryly. “But if I remember correctly, your team is down a hundred points and change.”

 

“One hundred and sixteen,” Bruce said helpfully. 

 

“Exactly,” preened Tony delighting in Bucky’s glare. “Tell me again who needs consoling?”

 

“In case you forgot, this round runs one hundred and fifty points,” Bucky nearly growled. Tony didn’t find it hot at all, no siree. “All we have to do is win it.”

 

“Oh, Snowflake,” he made a pitying face. “Not gonna happen. It might be better for you to just give up now, actually.”

 

“You sound uncertain,” Bucky shot back. “Maybe you should give up. In fact-” he dug in his pocket for a moment, producing a piece of white cloth that he thrust at Tony. “Here.”

 

“Ew, Barnes,” Pepper wrinkled her nose. “No one but Tony wants to see your dirty underwear.”

 

He barely spared her a glance, intense gaze focused on Tony. “It’s a white flag, and you better start waving it now, doll.”

 

“Does he just… carry that around?” Rhodey asked quietly. “Like, all the time?”

 

“Probably,” Bruce said placidly. “He does seem like the type.” 

 

Tony ignored them and pushed Bucky’s white flag back at him. “The only thing that I will be waving is your decapitated head on a stick in front of your weeping mother!”

 

The whole room went silent. “Good Lord,” Bucky breathed. 

 

“Well,” the announcer cleared his throat. “If we’re ready to begin?”

 

“Decapitated head,” Tony repeated as Bucky walked back to his own team. “Stick.”

 

“You are so fucking weird,” Rhodey groaned. “Can’t you flirt like a normal human being?”

 

“That was not flirting,” Tony denied instantly. “That was verbally destroying my enemy. That was psychological warfare at its finest. That was-”

 

“Flirting,” Pepper cut in. “It was flirting.”

 

“E tu, Brute?”

 

“The questions are about to start,” Bruce reminded them. “Could we table Tony’s terrible flirting until after we win, please?”

 

“Thank you, Brucie,” Tony said pointedly, turning his attention to the announcer. “Let’s win this thing.”

 

“And the first question, for ten points…”

 

---

 

“Not to be that asshole, but I told you so,” Tony gasped between kisses. Bucky had cornered him as he was leaving the building, pushing him against the wall and kissing him like his life depended on it. “I told you we’d crush you.”

 

Bucky stopped where he was sucking a mark on Tony’s neck to raise an eyebrow and Tony whined at the loss. “Is that seriously what you want to talk about right now?”

 

“Probably not,” admitted Tony, arching into Bucky’s touch. “But I feel like- ah! - it’s relevant.”

 

“I will leave you here,” Bucky threatened, knowing full well that Pepper, Rhodey, and Bruce had already driven away and he was Tony’s ride home, as per usual. “I will walk away right now.”

 

“Aw, babe, don’t be like that,” Tony pouted, kissing Bucky softly. “It’s only fair. I did give you the chance to surrender.”

 

“You told me you were going to cut my head off!” Bucky pulled away and glared. “And show it to my mother!”

 

Tony shrugged. “Same difference.” He spun them around with a wicked grin, cutting off Bucky’s complaints with his mouth. 

 

Though, when he started humming We Are The Champions between moans , he had to sprint to catch up before Bucky left the parking lot.