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Physio Therapy (I'll Be Your Baby)

Chapter Text

Bucky hates physio. Some days, he hates it enough that the goddamn piece a' metal strapped to his shoulder doesn't feel worth it. But then he'll do somethin' like tie his shoes or rush through gettin’ dressed or just fuckin’ live, 'n he realizes that as much 'a pain as it is, havin' two arms is worth the day 'a pain physio causes. Pushin' his way into Stark Tower, Bucky does his best to dredge up a smile for the pretty blonde at reception. He feels a little bad that he hasn't bothered to learn her name, but he's only here once a week.

The fact that he even has a Stark prosthetic is plenty neat, seein' as he only got it ‘cause he got his arm blown off on the other side ’a the world. Recruitment speeches definitely don't ever mention the loss ’a arms; though if Bucky's bein' real honest with himself, the missin' arm wasn't the worst thing he came home with.

His shoulder may be a mess ’a scarred skin, but his brain issa mess ’a scarred memories, so...Bucky’d rather sleep than be able to tie his damn shoes. Lucky him seein’ as he can’t do neither no more.

Yeah. He’s a little bitter, fuckin’ sue him. 

Issa long elevator ride that Bucky hates taking. Tight spaces 'n him don't get along too well no more. Havin' his phone helps, 'n he dicks ‘round the Instagram account Tasha made him set up despite him tellin' her he was too old to be postin’ pictures 'a his food online. It’s mindless 'nough that it helps though, a little. He doesn't feel peachy ridin' up in a piece 'a metal, enclosed without any fresh air or sunlight, but he manages it, and Wilson's always sayin' managin' is good 'nough ‘n that it ain't settlin'.

He still rushes off the damn thing.

The floor he's on ain't meant to be a doctor's office, 'n it looks it. Issa big room, filled with lab benches 'n lab tables and lab chairs and folks in lab coats. There’s always somethin’ goin’ on, some beaker filled with some fluid that Bucky can’t tell heads nor tails of. He ain’t dumb, but he ain’t no scientist either. 

Bucky doesn't 'ppreciate bein' ‘round big groups ’a people, so he always meets with his doc in the far corner. It gives them some privacy while still bein' in the open room, though today it isn't too busy. Bucky likes when it isn’t too busy like this, only a few friendly faces. The floor is big 'nough that by the time Bucky gets to his corner, he can barely hear 'em chattin' to each other.

Bucky's sittin' on the metal bench, fiddlin' with his fingers 'n tryin’ not to shiver with how it feels like he’s bein’ watched even though he isn’t, when the door swings open 'n his doc walks in. He tries for a more honest smile, relaxin' a little at the familiar face, though instead 'a things goin' smoothly, his Doc walks up to him 'n ruins his whole day.

"Hello, James. How are you today?" Dr. Aya is a nice lady, real pretty, 'n Bucky's always gotten the impression she's real smart. She works here, after all, 'n Bucky's heard is a hard place to get in to.

"Eh, been better," he says honestly. He'd learned after the first couple 'a weeks that bein' honest is the way to go. Unlike the doctors he'd been with back before he'd settled home, she actually cared 'bout his well-bein’, not just makin' sure he lived long 'nough to return to America. "The arm’s been pullin' if I reach above my head," he lets her know, watchin' as she scribbles somethin' down then smiles.

"That's excellent, actually!" she exclaims, though she explains when she sees the look Bucky's shootin' her (his arm hurtin' is not excellent, thank ya muchly), "If it's okay with you, I would like one of our interns to lead your session today."

"Interns?" he asks frownin'.

"Relax, James,” It doesn’t sound partonizin’ when she says it, so he lets it go with a grumble. “Peter is a genius, and honestly the only reason I'm not working for him is because he won't let Dr. Stark hire him until after he graduates."

"Wait... Tony Stark?" Bucky's pretty sure everyone in the world knows what a genius Tony Stark is, 'n everyone's pro'lly heard the story of how he took over his father's company after his godfather tried ta rob him 'a his fortune 'n made the company better than it'd ever been. Again, Bucky's not real book smart—he ain't dumb , no matter what people tend to think ‘a him—but he's certainly aware that this kid must be all types 'a smart if Tony Stark wants to hire him.

"Mhm. Peter is Tony's personal intern, though he's been doing a lot of work down here lately. He seems very interested in our department. Some of the research I've seen from him's not anything science is even close to theorizing , but it’s as though he is trying to put it into practice already." She sounds damn impressed, 'n he's got Wilson's voice in the back of his damn head 'bout socializin’ whenever he can.

He shrugs, but when she raises an eyebrow says, "Sure. S‘long as he's as smart as you say he is, I ain't got a problem with that."

"Perfect," she says happily, markin' somethin' off her clipboard. "If you don't mind waiting, I'll go grab him and brief him on exactly what you two should do today, alright?"

Bucky nods. He stays sittin' in his seat 'n watchin' out the windows. This far up, you can't see much out the glass, but Bucky likes it anyway. He never spent much time up in the air, but he spent plenty of time in hot deserts covered in sand. Lookin' out over New York from the forty-second floor looks nothin' like that, 'n it's made him feel safe since the first time he had a meetin' here.

He's always been real observant, but since he got home it's been like a second nature to know where he is 'n where everyone else is at all times. So he notices when another doc starts walkin' towards him, though he doesn't look up right away. Which, he realizes once he does peel his eyes from the floor, was a mistake. Cause the boy walkin' towards him is a goddamn angel

Holy lord but this boy is pretty. Curly brown hair 'n pretty brown eyes (Bucky's always had a thing for brunettes) and so tiny Bucky thinks his hands would fit 'round his whole waist (and doesn’t that sound like an interestin’ image). He's got cheekbones and a jaw lookin' like they were sculpted outta marble, and pretty pale skin that makes Bucky think of things that are sinful.

He barely manages to pick his jaw offa the floor before the boy is steppin' up to him. He hasn’t been this attracted to nobody since he got home, ‘n it makes him feel wrongfooted in a way he don’t like but can’t help. 

"Hello there, Mr. Barnes," Angel says, and his voice is just as sweet as the rest 'a him. Goddamn , Bucky's gone for him already. 

"H-hiya," he stutters, feelin' like a fumblin' idiot when the shorter man— boy? cause damn he looks young—smiles up at him. "Just Bucky, is okay!"

"Alright then, Just Bucky," the boy says with a cheeky little grin, ‘n there goes Bucky’s whole damn heart. "I'm Just Peter, and today I'll be working with you, if that is still alright?"

"Yes!" he says quickly, then feels silly when Peter raises a brow at him. "Uh, I mean, yeah that's totally okay. Chill, even."

"Chill?" Peter asks him, his eyes freakin' twinkling. How the hell can anyone look like that an’ be real?

"Uh, yeah? Isn't that somethin’ you kids say?" he teases, then wonders if pointin' out the age difference is a good idea. Bucky ain’t old, but he sure as hell ain’t young no more. He’ll be crossin’ into thirty soon, but hell if some days he don’t feel decades older. The boy standin’ in front ’a him is gorgeous, but he looks awfully young 'n Aya said he ain't even graduated yet. Oh god, he's not in high school, is he? "So. Ugh. You in college?" Real smooth, Barnes, real fuckin’ smooth. Goddamn, he's such a tool.

"Just Bucky, you are not that old," Peter tells him sweetly. At least Bucky thinks it's sweetly. It sure as hell sounds sweet to him, specially when he shakes his head with a little smile and his curls bounce ‘round his face. "And yes. I'll be finishing my undergrad soon, which is why Dr. Aya asked you if I could take over your session for today. This is okay, right? If you're not comfortable, I would be more than happy to step back and watch Dr. Aya perform your session instead."

"No! No, you don't gotta do that. I don't mind ya doin' the session," Bucky tells him firmly. When he chances a glance up (though really not that far, the boy isn't too tall) Peter's cheeks are a pretty pink. That's a good sign, right? Sure, it’s been a few years since Bucky's flirted with anyone, but blushin's good, ain't it? "I'm comfortable with ya, don't worry."

"Good," Peter says, takin' a step closer. The boy even smells heavenly, ‘n Bucky tries to inhale without bein’ too obvious ‘bout it. "So, Dr. Aya mentioned it's been hurting when you reach up, correct?"

"Yea, it's been pullin' when I reach over my head."

"Alright. I'm sure you're familiar with this process by now, and I am very thankful you're letting me give this a go. We'll start by getting your shirt off so we can properly monitor your heart rate while we take a look at the shoulder joint. The rest of the arm looks good from the outside, but we'll take a scan of what's going on under all this shiny plating.” The boy takes a breath, givin’ Bucky a big eyed look that makes him wanna get down to his damn knee‘s long as it pleases him. “Does that all sound alright?”

"Sure thing, sweet thing," Bucky drawls purposefully, watchin' with a growin' grin as Peter's cheeks get even darker.

Bucky'd forgotten all 'bout this part. He grins even more to himself as he sits up straighter, flexin' his core as he rolls his body to take off his shirt. He may be discharged, but he still takes good care 'a himself. Workin' out is good for clearin' his brain, 'n it's also good for makin' cute interns blush, 'pparently. He knows his grin must be close to feral but he can't do nothin' to tamp it down, 'specially when Angel scruff's his feet 'gainst the floor.

"Oh. Oh, uhm, yes alright. You're shirtless now. That's good. For science! It's good for science oh my gosh, Peter," the boy mumbles to himself, stupidly cute, 'n Bucky grins even more.

"Sure is good," he agrees with an easy smile, leanin' in when Peter lets out a huff 'a nervous laughter. God, but Bucky wants to soak in this boy’s sweetness. He takes a deep breath ‘n lets the way Peter’s tryin’ not t’look at him, but is still totally lookin’ at him, sink in. Comin’ back home, he never thought he’d have nothin’ like this again. But maybe he can flirt with cute scientists. "C'mon now, doll, I'mma big boy, I can handle some exercises. Whatcha got for me?" 

"What do I...Oh! I have science! That's what I have for you. Wires and readings and scanning things, yes, all of that!" the boy rambles, 'is voice raisin' in pitch till it’s squeaky but somehow still soundin’ damn adorable.

Yeah, he’s gone alright. 

Bucky watches, unable to pull 'is eyes away as the boy works, gettin' him strapped up and playin' around on the machine Dr. Aya uses to scan 'is arm. This is familiar, at least, and despite the dark flush that’s still stainin’ his cheeks, Peter’s hands are sure and steady. It eases the last bit ’a tension Bucky didn’t even know he had been holdin’ on to.

He’s not sure if it’s obvious that he feels more at ease, but Peter stops bein’ so quiet and starts talkin’. Issa little stilted at first—’n boy does it make Bucky feel great ‘bout himself knowin’ that him bein’ shirtless made someone as pretty as Peter so flustered—but soon ‘nough he starts talkin’ like he was before. 

Bucky likes it. Dr. Aya is not much ’a talker, not that it’s ever bothered him before. He just likes this more, likes talkin’ to Peter as the boy works. He tells Bucky what he’s doin’ as he does it, but he also talks about other things too, like how his undergrad is goin’ and his best friend Ned, ‘n how he doesn’t have any desire to go out drinking but he’s still excited to be turnin’ twenty-one in a year cause him ‘n his aunt have ‘wine nights’ ‘n then it’ll be legal ‘n all—Bucky releases the biggest damn breath ’a air ever at confirmation that the boy is old ‘nough for him to be lustin’ after the way he is.

There’s a healthy dose ’a flirtin’ goin’ on, Bucky’s happy to note. He ain’t the only one interested, he doesn’t think. Peter keeps lookin’ at him, and he don’t think it’s just because they’re doin’ science, as Peter says. 

He smiles like a goddamn fool when Peter’s fingers rub over the scarred mess ’a his stump when he makes Bucky raise his arm past where it’s comfortable. He has to grit his teeth against the pain, but Peter’s hand is easy to focus on, his long fingers and the warmth of his skin the perfect distraction. His Angel types some things into the computer, ‘n the next time he raises his arm it don’t hurt at all. 

When he tells Peter this, the boy smiles at him so widely that Bucky’s heart rate spikes on the monitor. He has to drop his eyes for a minute and will his own blush away before lookin’ back up, but when he does Peter is smilin’ at him sweetly. He doesn’t comment on it, thankfully, and the quiet they fall into is comfortable enough that Bucky doesn’t mind it. 

By the time Peter is pullin’ the last sensor off ’a his arm, Bucky realizes that he’s laughed more in the last two hours than he has in the last two weeks. He feels lighter than he has since he first woke up with one arm ‘n a whole heck ‘a lot ‘a PTSD. When Peter looks at him, smile so damn sweet, he doesn’t feel like half ’a man, good for nothin’ but killin’.

“Here you go, Just Bucky,” Peter says cheekily, handin’ him his shirt ‘n pullin’ him from his thoughts. He sighs as Bucky pulls it on, and damn him if the noise doesn’t sound fuckin’ wistful. Bucky sure as hell wants to believe Peter’s sad about him puttin’ his shirt on, at least. 

“Thank ya, Angel,” he says, not keepin’ the nickname to himself any longer. Sure, it may not be real proper to be flirtin’ with his doctor but technically Peter isn’t , seein’ as he’s just an intern that looks like he was put on earth directly to fulfil every desire Bucky’s ever had. 

He’s so goddamn gorgeous, Bucky doesn’t even know how to handle it. 

“I-I—you’re welcome,” Peter stutters. His smile, now, is smaller but no less pretty. Bucky has to wonder if Peter hadn’t thought he was really flirtin’ with him before, with the look that’s on his face right now. 

“Will I be seein’ ya next week?” he asks, tellin’ imself that you miss a hundred percent ’a the shots you don’t take, and soundin’ way too much like Wilson for his own comfort. When Peter bites into his bottom lip— he looks like sin, God— Bucky says, “Cause I’d be real pleased to see you again, doll.” 

Peter rocks back onto his heels, worryin’ his bottom lip with his teeth in a way that makes Bucky’s blood feel like it’s boilin’. He doesn’t say nothin’ while Peter thinks, just looks at the boy with what he hopes is an encouragin’ smile. He really, really wants him to say yes, but he ain’t gonna push it if he ain’t interested in Bucky like Bucky’s interested in him. 

Peter finally nods twice, hair bouncin’ and eyes sparklin’ and fingers skippin’ over one another, and he says, “Yeah, Bucky, I’ll be here.”

When he smiles, he can’t do nothin’ to stop himself from lookin’ like a goddamn fool.

Chapter Text

“I'm in love!” Peter bemoans, falling back onto his couch with a suitably dramatic sigh for how torn up he feels even hours after leaving work.

All he has been able to think about is Just Bucky and his cute little grin and pretty eyes and strong jaw and his body, oh my god what a body! Not only that, but his voice and that accent and the way he freaking drawled his way right into Peter’s heart with dropped g’s and endearments that made Peter blush darker than he’s ever blushed before. 

Oh God. Peter is screwed. Completely screwed. And not even in a good way! Well, not in a good way yet...because Bucky had totally been flirting with him, right? That had to be flirting. Peter sure as hell has never taken off a shirt like the way Bucky did, rolling his hips like a porn star or something equally sexual. Hell, Peter had almost busted a nut! 

“You’re not in love,” Ned tells him. Because he’s a traitor. And unsupportive. Yep, this settles it. Ned is a horrible best friend. 

“You’re a horrible best friend,” Peter tells him solemnly. May snorts from the kitchen. So rude!

“You’re adorable,” May says. Peter pouts, because he’s not adorable, thank you very much. He is a rather attractive twenty-year-old who totally caught Bucky’s least, he hopes he caught Bucky’s eye. “From what you’ve told us, that man was just as interested as you are. Don’t worry, I’m sure he’ll see what a sweetheart you are.”

May!” he groans dejectedly, throwing his arms out. “I don’t want him to think I’m a sweetheart!”

“Peter,” Ned says very seriously. Peter sends him a look because his face is not serious at all. “I’m sure he thinks you’re a completely fuckable piece of twink ass.”

“Ned!” May’s cry is outraged. Peter just throws himself back onto the couch and grabs a throw pillow to smother himself with. Maybe if he suffocates he won’t have to deal with his family ever again? 

“You guys the worst,” Peter complains at them. He thinks over his day and how completely unbelievable it all was. He’s never really believed in love at first sight, but Bucky...yeah, he’s pretty amazing. “He called me Angel.”

May coos like a good, supportive Aunt and then pinches his cheek even though she’s, like, fifteen years older than he is. Ugh. He smothers himself tighter with the pillow as he thinks back on what Bucky said to him and how the soldier asked if he would see Peter again. That has to be a good sign, right? 

Peter is seriously too busy to be this worried about a boy —er, man, really—and he really, really needs to get up because he has about forty pages he needs to read and at least two papers he needs to work on and then there’s the work he’s doing with Dr. Stark that he still has to do and he was actually really hoping to do a little bit of reading, like, for fun tonight.

Peter doesn’t have time to be thinking about Bucky’s smile, or how sweet he was, or how he’s the first person Peter has felt so connected to since MJ back in high school. He should be getting up and getting work done, but instead, Peter holds the pillow even tighter against his face and groans. 

Peter’s running late. Peter is running very late. The universe hates him, clearly, and Peter slips through a crowd of people waiting at a cross light and says a little prayer as he hops out into traffic, dodging cars and blocking out their angry honks with the Ariana Grande he has blasting in his ears. His day is already off to a horrible start, and it isn’t even nine in the morning!

Running a hand through his hair, Peter jerks his backpack back onto his shoulder and twirls around a couple making out in the middle of the sidewalk—ew, privacy much?—and hurries down the sidewalk, bemoaning the state of his entire life as the move makes his head pound. Wine nights with May have been a tradition ever since Peter turned eighteen—though if anyone ever asked, this was always the very first time May ever let him drink alcohol—and they had been up way too late the night before.

Peter had slept through his alarm, because the universe hated him and wanted to make his life hell, and had to rush to get out the door in record timing, not even getting a chance to down a couple of Tylenol before he was throwing himself out of the apartment and onto the very loud and very busy streets of New York. 

Which was why Peter was all but running towards work, panting for breath because he did not work out regularly. Luckily, Dr. Stark had helped May find a better apartment real close to the tower for a similar price (more accurately, Tony bought out an entire apartment building when Peter told him he didn't want to move in to the tower and then pitched it to May as if he'd just stumbled across an apartment leasing that was thousands of dollars less than any other building on the street) so he doesn't have too far to go, and it's only a few more blocks before he ducks into the coffee shop he frequents. 

Panting, Peter tries to heave for air as subtly as possible, wiping the sweat from his forehead and pushing his hair back from his eyes. God, he really needs to start going to the gym with May on his nights off instead of lying on the couch watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S for hours on end. 

Luckily no one seems to notice him dying all the way at the end of the line.

Peter goes to grab his wallet and finds that this really is a cursed day when it’s not tucked into his back pocket just like it is every other morning. Sharp panic surges through his entire body thinking he must have lost it on the way before he distinctly remembers telling May to grab some cash from it for the pizza they’d ordered last night and figures she must not have tucked it back into his jeans. 


Slipping his bag from his shoulder, Peter riffles around the various pockets in hopes of finding some change. He actually usually has some, since he prefers using cash for most things, and manages to dig up a couple of coins from the smallest pocket with a triumphant noise that’s maybe a little too loud for a coffee shop line, going by the dirty looks he gets. 

Whatever. He turns down his music a little, tabbing through his notifications on his Stark Watch (being Dr. Stark’s intern is literally the best thing ever for so many reasons, but the most superficial and materialistic is definitely Peter’s access to technology he could never otherwise afford) and quickly sliding through his schedule as he follows the slowly shuffling line forward.  

He can’t stop the smile that breaks out over his face when he sees Bucky’s name next to his usual Internship block, and doesn’t even mind that his grin is probably really stupid. Well, Peter doesn’t think that the grin is stupid, but every time Ned’s seen it over the last week he’s called it stupid, so. It might be stupid, or it could be totally normal and Ned could be stupid was probably a little stupid. 

“Can I get who’s next?” 

Peter’s head snaps up when he realizes that’s him, and he quickly shuffles forward with his best customer service smile (one that he perfected during a summer working part-time at a carnival selling tickets). He orders his coffee, pays with his crack change, and happily tunes back into his low-playing music as he moves over to wait at the drink counter, swaying his head to the beat of Sign of the Times and mouthing along with the words. 

He grabs his coffee with a smile and a murmur of thanks, feeling a little bad that he didn’t get anyone else one like he usually does. He knows he isn’t really an intern and the only reason that he’s not being paid is because he won’t let Dr. Stark throw an outrageous salary at him just because they’re somehow friends, but he still really likes all the people down in the prosthetic lab and he likes bringing them their coffees on the days he’s in. 

Looking back down at his watch, Peter swears to himself as he swings his bag back over both arms, juggling his coffee between his hands until he gets himself situated and then turns away from the bar. It puts him in line with the front door, and Peter’s eyes catch on a set of shoulders that should not be familiar since Peter has seen them only once before. 

Quickly walking forward, a smile pulls up the corner of his lips that he can’t stop. 

“Hiya, Just Bucky!” Peter chirps happily, wondering if maybe the universe doesn't hate him all that much since Peter comes to this coffee shop literally every day before work and he’s never seen Bucky in here before. And, giving the big, big man a once over, Peter knows he would have noticed him. 

“P-Peter?” Bucky asks him, looking a little shell-shocked and really fucking adorable—which is a hard look to pull off on a man who could literally snap him in half with his one arm—in such a way that makes Peter swoon a little. His hair is pulled into a bun that’s piled atop his head, and his beard is longer than it was last week—which, Peter’s always known he had a thing for facial hair, but damn. 

“Yep,” Peter says with another sappy smile (which is a much better descriptor than stupid, Ned), heart fluttering a bit because Bucky remembered his name. Oh God, he’s so far gone. “What’re you doing here?”

Bucky holds up his to-go cup in front of him, and Peter’s cheeks heat up. Duh. “Just grabbin’ a coffee ‘fore our session. I didn’t sleep too well last night.”

There’s something heavy in his voice that Peter hasn’t heard before, and he takes another half step forward so he can quietly ask, “Is everything all right?”

“S’fine, angel,” Bucky tells him with a smile that looks sort of...sad. “You don’t see the thin’s I’ve seen ‘n sleep easy. Some nights are worse ‘n other nights, s’all. Don’t worry your pretty head ‘bout it.”

“Only if you’re sure you’re okay,” Peter says quietly, the compliment turning his cheeks a deeper pink, then tries for another bright smile as he changes the topic. “So, I’m really excited for our session today!” 

Thankfully, it seems to be the right thing to say, because Bucky’s smile gets a little wider and he moves forward. Bucky’s standing in front of him, so Peter doesn’t move ahead of him to open the door. He actually only realizes that Bucky’s not wearing his prosthetic when instead of using his free hand to open the door (since he doesn’t have one) he uses his last two fingers to pry the front door open. 

Peter walks through it, since Bucky’s holding it open for him, and he looks over his shoulder to give him as sweet of a smile as he can pull up. Bucky’s cheeks dust pink just above his beard, and the sight puts a little spring into Peter’s step as they start down the sidewalk side by side. The Tower really isn’t far, only a few blocks down, but Peter doesn’t bother hurrying when his patient is right beside him. 

“So, how has your week been?” Peter asks. He keeps glancing at Bucky from the corner of his eye. The man does look tired, when Peter really looks at him. The skin under his eyes is dark, and his cheeks seem to be sunken in. It makes Peter’s chest ache, even though this is only their second time speaking. 

“S’okay,” Bucky says with a shrug. “I got this friend from the VA who’s a real dumb ass and this other friend who’s a bigger dumb ass but also scary as all get out, ‘n they wanted to go ta this concert wit ‘em ‘n forced me outta my house this weekend to go with ‘em.”

“That’s not cool!” Peter protests, waving his arm to show his level of feeling. “Honestly, if someone forced me to go out I’d probably smite them. There’s nothing better than me and my bed.”

Nothing, huh?” Bucky asks, and when Peter looks over there’s a dirty grin on his face that’s much nicer than his sad smile from earlier. 

“Well, maybe me, tall, dark and handsome, and my bed,” Peter flirts. At least, he thinks he sounds flirty. He hopes that he sounds flirty. Oh god, what if he actually just sounds like an idiot? Well, idiot or not, Bucky laughs with his head thrown back, looking gorgeous, and Peter trips over his other foot because he’s an idiot. 

“That right, angel?” Bucky asks, and Peter stutters out a dumb, “T-that’s right.”

Thankfully, Peter gets to end the conversation and his horrible, embarrassing attempt at flirting by pulling the front door of SI open for Bucky and letting him walk through the door. Bucky thanks him, which leads to Peter stuttering through another stupid response, before hurrying to the front desk where he says a familiar face.

“Sorry Mia,” Peter says regretfully, all but throwing himself over the counter in a bid to get away, “I forgot my wallet and only had crack change. I’d give you this one, but then I’d have to fight you for it, and honestly, you would probably win.”

Mia laughs sweetly. Peter is the most gay to gay, but she’s absolutely stunning and her laugh sounds like angels. It’s kind of ridiculous since Peter’s pretty sure she actually models in her spare time, and it’s so not fair that she’s that pretty and laughs like that. “Thank you, Pete. It’s okay, John is coming by to take me for lunch, so I’ll grab one then.”

“Oh, is that still going on?” Peter asks, leaning a little over the desk as he widens his eyes dramatically. “I did not know that was still going on. What about Mark? Mia, tea.”

She laughs again, and Peter grins at her widely. Then, because he really is the most gay to gay and has been acutely aware of Bucky since he stopped to talk to Mia (and doesn’t feel like his face is going to burn off because he’s blushing so hard), he gestures towards the other man and says, “Mia, this is Just Bucky Barnes, my patient. Bucky, this is Mia, reception extraordinaire and keeper of all the juicy gossip

“Oh, your patient? Is that what the gays are calling it now?” Mia asks with an eyebrow waggle that looks slightly ridiculous on her because, again, she’s literally a model. 

Despite the ridiculousness, Peter’s face goes beet red and he makes a noise similar to that of a dying whale only...a lot higher in pitch. Bucky laughs, thankfully, and shrugs with him armless shoulders. “So, you’re the one I should be askin’ to find out if a cute little intern that looks like an angel is single, that right?”

Bucky doesn’t look at him, thank god, so he doesn’t have to see Peter’s gaping mouth, which is probably unattractive and not actually sexy since they’re standing in the middle of Stark Tower with business as usual bustling around them. Mia does a slow once over of Bucky with a smile that is downright evil and rakes her eyes over Bucky’s form before she hums as if considering the question. 

“Depends on who this intern is.” Mia raises one of her amazing eyebrows and stares right back at Bucky as if Peter isn’t literally dying right in front of her from heart failure. 

“Not quite sure a’ his name, darlin, but he’s bout the prettiest boy you ever seen. Got these gorgeous brown eyes with lashes like sin and these pretty little curls all over his head that just bout drive me crazy watchin’ bounce all around. Best thing bout ‘im is that he’s a damn genius, though. C’mon, you gotta know bout this angel.” Bucky says it all with his Brooklyn drawl in his ridiculously deep voice that sounds like sex, and he doesn’t once look over at Peter which means he remembers what Peter looks like and oh my god, Peter’s heart is beating so fast he’s actually kind of worried. 

Mia’s smile softens from something sharp, and she gives Bucky another once over with much kinder eyes. “Ah, you must mean Peter Parker,” Mia cuts her eyes back to Peter and the question in them is clear— why she’s asking it is not, and he rapidly nods his head until he turns back to Bucky, “who yes, is in fact single.”

“You just made this veteran’s day, darlin’, I thank ya for your service,” Bucky jokes, and then turns to Peter with an easy grins and says, “C’mon, angel,” as if he didn’t just ask someone if Peter was single while throwing out an entire slew of compliments that have left Peter’s brain blue screening as his cheeks so warm he’s absolutely certain they’re bright pink. 

“O-okay?” he says uselessly, looking between Mia’s soft smile and Bucky’s easy-going grin and wondering if he’s maybe having a stroke or in a weird coma fever dream. 

He trails behind Bucky feeling just as ridiculous as he did on the walk to the Tower, and they wait for the elevator in silence. Bucky presses the close-door button as soon as they’re both inside, then turns to Peter with a grin that makes him kinda hard. 

He’s twenty, that’s a totally valid bodily reaction. 

“Was wonderin’ if I could get ya number?” Bucky asks him, all Brooklyn-y and completely too-hot-to-be-legal. “Just figured I should law all ‘a my cards out on the table ‘fore you look at my arm again. Don’t wanna get you in no trouble and I don’t want you doin’ somethin’ you ain’t comfortable with.”

Peter steps closer, and he can’t help himself when he reaches out and curls his fingers around Bucky’s (very wide, dear god is every part of this man gigantic?) forearm and carefully rubs his thumb in a circle. He looks up into Bucky’s bright eyes and tells him, “I’m not going to get in trouble, and I’m not uncomfortable.” 

Bucky’s eyes crinkle, which is super sexy and also so very heart-warming, and he says, “That’s real, real good to hear, angel.”